The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz EQE Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz EQE review for everything you need to know about Mercedes' new electric saloon in Ireland.

Mercedes-Benz is accelerating their brand towards an electric future with the launch of a suite of new electric cars and SUVs from their Mercedes EQ range of vehicles.

First to market were a new range of battery-powered SUVs - the EQC, EQA and EQB, all previously reviewed on this website.

But Mercedes-Benz has long been the purveyor of luxurious saloons and thankfully 2022 saw the arrival of two electric saloons - the flagship EQS and the EQE.

The EQE is more compact than the EQS with a shorter wheelbase. In terms of external dimensions, it's similar to the CLS in the Mercedes-Benz range.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes
The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the new Mercedes-Benz EQE?

While it could be tagged as an electric E-Class that would not do this car justice. The new EQE is a stand-out model for the brand in its own right, sporting a sleek, aerodynamic design that points to a new breed of Mercedes-Benz.

The wealth of technology underneath can see the EQE cover over 600 kilometres on a single battery charge.

The EQE goes on sale in Ireland priced from €82,010. All version come with a 89kWh battery but vary in power and driven wheels. The entry into the range is the EQE 300 with 245hp, while the EQE 350 on test offers 292hp and 4Matic four wheel drive.

Styling is sleek for aerodynamic efficiency including flush door handles for a smooth silhouette. The EQE sports a futuristic front end in line with other Mercedes EQ models. It's smart and subtle -  a good evolution for the brand towards an electric future.

Various trim lines are available like Electric Art and AMG Line, which alter the look of the car slightly. 19-inch alloy wheels come as standard.

But it's inside where the EQE really shines, with an avant-garde interior that is beautifully appointed.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz EQE
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz EQE

Inside the new Mercedes EQE

Mercedes-Benz interiors are maturing, with a strong digital component to every new model launched. The new EQE takes inspiration from the larger EQS, though the brand's impressive new MBUX Hyperscreen is not yet available here in the EQE.

The EQE might be electric, but Mercedes has not scrimped on quality and the EQE feels suitably posh inside with lots of beautiful, tactile materials used to create just the right ambience for a high-tech electric saloon. Heated front and rear seats come as standard, as does a wireless phone charger.

There's also a full digital display for the driver and a gorgeous MBUX portrait-style touchscreen that we've seen in some other models like the newly-launched Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The interior dimensions are a bit bigger than the current E-Class with a bit more shoulder room and a slightly higher driver position. In the back there is enough legroom for adult passengers, though headroom feels tighter than an E-Class. The boot capacity is 430 litres, which is a bit less than an E-Class - but the saloon-style opening means neither car offers the most practical boot shape.

The EQE is available from about €82,000 in Ireland
The EQE is available from about €82,000 in Ireland

Driving the new EQE

On the road the new EQE shines for both refinement and electric driving range. The EQE 350 offers a smooth delivery of power and rides exceptionally well, making it the perfect long distance cruiser.

It's responsive and agile, though a BMW i4 is a more engaging drive when the roads get a little tighter and more interesting.

Mercedes' battery technology and the EQE's efficiency also make it a great choice of premium electric car. All versions of the car can post a driving range in excess of 500 kilometres on a full battery charge. The EQE proved to be one of the most efficient EVs I've driven in a while, with consumption averaging at 17 kwh per 100 kilometres.

AC charging is available up to 11kW, while DC fast charging is available up to 170kW.

Rear seating in the EQE
Rear seating in the EQE

Did you like it?

These days we tend to see more electric SUVs hitting the roads than electric saloons, but the EQE's aerodynamic design certainly proves to be very efficient and desirable.

Over the coming months an SUV bearing the EQE badge is expected for those that prefer a more rugged design and high driving position.

Mercedes-Benz is famous for executive saloons so there's a lot riding on this EQE. Its beautiful sleek design is enough to garner it a few fans and Mercedes is successfully moving their brand into this new era of electric mobility.

For an EQE that may live on the motorway, the combination of fast charging capability and an excellent driving range makes it a reliable companion.

Inside, the EQE provides a cabin design that will not isolate the brand's current customer base, such is the quality of the finish and the ease of use of the technology on board.

The Mercedes-Benz EQE is an exclusive car but ticks so many boxes for buyers looking for a high-end luxury electric car.

The EQE offers comfort, refinement and excellent battery performance
The EQE offers comfort, refinement and excellent battery performance

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 AMG Line 
Price: 
€85,980
Battery:
89 kWh
Range: 641 km (WLTP)
Power: 292hp
Torque: 565Nm
Top speed: 210 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.4 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

 


The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year

BMW 3 Series Review (2023)

The BMW 3 Series is an icon of the BMW range with over 16 million sold to date in its 45-year history. The G20 3 Series arrived in Ireland in 2019 and now has been updated to keep it competitive in the compact executive class against rivals such as the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4. Subtle updates to styling and the addition of some new colours enhance the handsome 3 Series, but the most welcome changes take place in the cabin.

Caroline travelled to Munich with BMW Ireland to drive the latest 3 Series.

The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year
The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year

Styling

BMW has made a few small changes to the styling of the 3 Series - a subtle refining of the car's classic good looks. Sold in Ireland as a Saloon or a Touring (estate), at the front the kidney grille has been redesigned with a slightly different contour and the addition of new vertical double bars. The grille hasn't grown in size like some other BMW models. Available in Sport or M Sport trim levels, there are some different trim elements depending on which version you go for. The standard full-LED headlights now have smoother edges and feature new inverted L shaped daytime running lights. Boomerang-shaped air intakes at each side of the front bumper add more sporty definition, while the large central intake in M Sport models has a new honeycomb pattern. At the back there is a more pronounced rear apron emphasising the 3 Series’ sporty stance.

Sport models get 17-inch alloy wheels, while M Sport get 18-inch. Top of the range BMW Performance models come with 19-inch alloy wheels and 20-inch are now available through BMW M Performance Parts. The M Sport Pro Pack for M Sport models adds a black kidney grille surround, black chrome tailpipes, red brake callipers with M logo, and a black M rear spoiler for the saloon models. New colours include Skyscraper Grey, and M Brooklyn Grey - exclusive to the M Sport - as well as several ‘frozen’ metallic matte finishes.

The interior of the updated 3 Series - just fabulous!
The interior of the updated 3 Series - just fabulous!

Interior

Inside, the 3 Series cabin has been modernised with the addition of the new BMW Curved Display for the very first time. We've seen this in some other new generation BMWs like the iX and i4, and it's welcome addition to the cabin of the 3 Series. It looks sleek and high-tech, and gives a stunning widescreen effect. Using the latest BMW operating system 8, it now also responds better to voice commands. The climate controls are accessed through the screen - the manual knobs and switches are gone. But a shortcut on the screen means they are easy to access quickly. Other new features include a rocker switch for the gear selection and sporty paddles on the steering wheel are now standard across the range.

Elsewhere, the quality of the interior is excellent. It feels like a luxury car inside with lots of soft-touch materials and a variety of finishes including Sensatec synthetic leather seats in a number of colours.

Practicality

Rear seat passengers can enjoy the new standard fit tri-zone climate control, though that large transmission tunnel makes the rear bench more comfortable for two rather than three. In terms of boot volume, there's actually not much between the Saloon and the Touring, though the Touring naturally has easier access for loading and unloading. Opt for the 330e hybrid, and bootspace is reduced from 480 litres in the standard saloon to 375 litres. Petrol and diesel versions of the 3 Series Touring offer 500 litres of space or 410 litres in the 330e.

Some mild styling tweaks for the latest 3 Series
Some mild styling tweaks for the latest 3 Series

Engines

The 3 Series is available with petrol and diesel engines, some with mild hybrid technology, and as a plug-in hybrid. The 318d entry level diesel is no longer on sale, so the long-standing 320d with 190hp from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder will be your best diesel option. All versions of the 3 Series now come with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The 330e plug-in hybrid accounts for over 50% of 3 Series sales in Ireland and can be driven electric for up to about 60 kilometres.

On the road

The 3 Series is still a classic rear wheel drive car, but xDrive all-wheel drive is available across the range too. The top of the range BMW Performance models, the six-cylinder M340i (374hp) and M340d (340hp) offer stunning performance aided by a bespoke suspension, M Sport differential, sport transmission, rear-wheel drive focused xDrive, bespoke exhaust system, launch control and a sprint function. The M340i offers milder looks and performance than an M3 but what a car. The 3.0-litre, six cylinder engine is legendary, delivering power with urgency to a beautiful accompaniment of pops and bangs from the bespoke exhaust. The steering is ultra-precise, the car bounds around corners like a true athlete - an elite one.

Back in the 320d Touring, and it was a chance to revisit a more standard 3 Series experience. The 320d offers some of the best economy figures of the range, while offering good refinement on the move. BMW didn't have to tweak the handling - the 3 Series still leaves rivals behind with the level of engagement and agility it offers.

No matter which version you go for, the 3 Series offers class-leading handling, feeling sharp and more driver-focused on the road than rivals. M Sport models come with a sports suspension (except the 330e plug-in hybrid) and do ride a bit firmer than more comfort-biased rivals like the new C-Class.

Rear seating in the 3 Series
Rear seating in the 3 Series

Pricing 

The latest BMW 3 Series starts from €52,440 for the 330e hybrid and the 320i petrol. The 320d now starts from €54,130. The range-topping, high-performance M340d xDrive and M340i xDrive are available from €83,870 and €89,120 respectively. There are two trim level, Sport and M Sport.

Summary

The BMW 3 Series is an icon of the BMW range. You don't mess with an icon but the latest round of styling updates give the 3 Series a sportier and more mature look.

Inside, the 3 Series benefits from the new curved display.  It brings the 3 Series in line with other models in the BMW range and adds a contemporary finish to the cabin. But it's still a gorgeous cabin, driver-focused with lots of good quality materials.

On the road, the 3 Series remains one of the most engaging to drive compact premium saloons. The line-up has been streamlined but the well-placed 330e and 320d should remain high on the shortlist.

Not a major update for the 3 Series but enough to keep it a front runner in its class thanks to its classic good looks, sporty drive and cabin experience.

The BMW 3 Series remains a great choice of compact executive saloon
The BMW 3 Series remains a great choice of compact executive saloon

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The new Mercedes-Benz CLS on test for Changing Lanes!

Mercedes-Benz CLS Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz CLS review for everything you need to know about buying Mercedes' updated four-door coupé in Ireland.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS has been updated for 2022 with sharper exterior styling and a more high-tech cabin experience.

Designed as a sporty, high-end, four-door coupé, the new CLS goes on sale priced from €86,035 in Ireland. It's positioned between the E-Class and the flagship S-Class, and is known for its prestigious, coupé-inspired design.

The new generation of the CLS arrived in Ireland in 2018 with a steady line-up of petrol and diesel engines providing the power.

But the world has changed since 2018 and so too has the Mercedes-Benz world, with a slew of new electric models joining the brand's range including the newly launched EQE and EQS.

So where does the CLS find itself in this brave new world? Has Mercedes-Benz done enough to keep it relevant? Let's find out!

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mercedes-Benz CLS on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Mercedes-Benz CLS?

The CLS is achingly beautiful to look at and a cocoon of elegance to spend time in. This car is nothing less than a glamourous companion to modern life. CLS stands for “Coupé Leicht Sport” in German, which means - you guessed it - “Coupe Light Sport”.

As such, this car has all the presence and class of a large Mercedes' saloon, but with the style and beauty of a coupé. The latest version has also been subtly revised to enhance that sporty character. At the front there is a new radiator grille, new air intakes and bumpers, silver-chrome exterior trim elements, new twin and multi-spoke light-alloys, and a new metallic paint colour.

Inside, the glorious cabin gets two new walnut and wood trim finishes, additional leather seat coverings and colour combinations, and a new leather steering wheel with touch sensitive controls.

There's also updated MBUX infotainment for a more modern finish with two digital screens.

All versions come in AMG Line specification, which suits the car perfectly. Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, keyless start, 360-degree camera, active lane keeping assist and wireless smartphone charging.

The CLS is just gorgeous
Updates for 2022 are subtle - the CLS is still a gorgeous, sporty coupé

Inside the Mercedes-Benz CLS

The cabin of the CLS has a beautiful design that still looks modern and contemporary. Good quality never goes out of fashion!

Leather upholstery comes as standard, available in a variety of colours that give the CLS just the right luxury ambience.

The interior is very well-appointed with a fine mix of materials illuminated perfectly by the ambient lighting that traces the elegant design of the dash beautifully. There are some stunning wood trims also.

The CLS has also had a little digital upgrade too. There's a new steering wheel and two 12.3-inch digital screens combine to give a widescreen effect that comes from the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The graphics are modern and crisp and it responds willingly to commands of 'Hey Mercedes'.

Up front the cabin is large and roomy as you would expect. In the rear, the footwells are large but the large transmission tunnel makes it more suitable for two people. The sloping roofline also limits headroom a bit for taller adults and makes access a bit trickier.

But it's still more practical than a two-door coupé, and looks just as good. There's also a 520-litre boot, which is comparable to any large saloon.

The interior of the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé
The interior of the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé

Driving the Mercedes CLS

The CLS is sold with the choice of two petrol engines and three diesels in Ireland, with a 9-speed automatic gearbox standard on all versions. Some use mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency.

The entry into the range is the CLS 220 d, which is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel. There's also the 2.0-litre CLS 300 d 4MATIC and the 3.0-litre CLS 400 d 4MATIC.

Petrol models include the 3.0-litre CLS 450 4MATIC and a high performance 3.0-litre Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+.

My test car was the 'smallest' of those diesel engines - the CLS 220 d. It uses a familiar 2.0-litre, four cylinder diesel from some other Mercedes models that puts out a modest 194hp and will take the CLS to 100km/h from a standstill in a nifty 7.5 seconds.

This is a big car.  Thanks to rear wheel drive, it does handle the road well, always feeling agile and responsive. But it certainly is no hot hatchback. Would you even want it to be? Instead, it's a car that favours a more relaxed pace - long motorway cruises where you can enjoy a high level of comfort and refinement.

It's relatively frugal too with consumption as low as 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres. And a large fuel tank means over 1000 kilometres is possible on a full tank.

The CLS is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines
The CLS is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines

Did you like it?

For a big luxury car, it's hard to find fault with the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

For sure, it's somewhat old-fashioned now, with a line-up of pure petrol and diesel engines - there's not even a plug-in hybrid in sight.

Mercedes is already now producing some excellent electric saloons like the new EQE at a similar price point and a pure electric range upwards of 600 kilometres.

But as lovely as that car is, the CLS is more desirable in looks alone and the timeless elegance of its very luxurious cabin. The updated digital technology goes a long way to modernise the cabin too, while equipment levels are high now.

The 220 d is a straightforward power match for the CLS, though buyers seeking more power and performance may want to consider one of the larger engines.

If you're looking for the latest powertrains and zero emissions driving, the CLS is not for you. If you want a luxury car that will take you across land in comfort and style for many kilometres between refueling - I can't think of a better way of doing it.

The CLS remains a great choice of luxury car
The CLS remains a great choice of luxury car

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz CLS 220 d Coupé AMG Line
Price: 
€86,035
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power:
194 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h:
7.5 seconds
Top speed: 235 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
148 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The BMW i4 on test for Changing Lanes!

BMW i4 Review

Read Caroline's BMW i4 review for everything you need to know about buying BMW's new electric car in Ireland.

BMW has been on a 'charge' to electrification with the arrival of many new plug-in hybrids and full electric models in recent months. BMW's 'i' family is growing with the arrival of the BMW iX3, iX and now this, the BMW i4!

The BMW i4 is arguably the most interesting of them all, certainly for people who enjoy driving. According to BMW, the i4 is the brand’s first electric vehicle focused squarely on driving dynamics.

There are two versions available from launch: the BMW i4 eDrive40 tested for Changing Lanes, and the i4 M50 with even more performance worthy of the famous BMW 'M' badge.

The i4 eDrive40 goes on sale in Ireland priced from €65,505. Let's take a closer look.

The BMW i4 on test for Changing Lanes!
The BMW i4 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the new BMW i4?

The new BMW i4 is a little bit different to other electric BMWs that have come to market recently, like the iX3 and the iX - both SUVs.

The i4 has been designed as a sporty, four-door 'Gran Coupé', making it the real style icon of the BMW i range. This car is just beautiful to look at, with the same timeless good looks of a classic 3 Series or 5 Series. It might look quite like a saloon with its elongated rear end but in fact it's a hatchback - just lift the boot and you will understand. But for sure the 'Gran Coupé' moniker is posher!

From the front, the new i4 bears the brand's signature kidney grille flanked by slim headlights. Colour accents in blue feature in the lights and around the badge if you look closely, a characteristic linking all electric BMWs of this generation. But certainly the styling of the new i4 doesn't scream 'electric', which is a good thing.

M Sport versions like the car on test for Changing Lanes (from €67,345) look the best with 18-inch alloy wheels, M Sport exterior bodystyling, and glossy black exterior trim.

Inside, the i4 has a latest generation BMW cabin with a showstopping curved digital display and exquisite quality worthy of a premium car.

Powered by an 80.7 kWh battery, BMW says over 500 kilometres of driving is possible on a single battery charge. So you needn't really worry about range. But it's the way this car handles that really impresses.

The BMW i4 uses a 80.7kWh battery
The BMW i4 uses a 80.7kWh battery that can potentially return over 500 kilometres on a full charge

Inside the BMW i4

M Sport versions have leather upholstery and an M Sport branded leather steering wheel. The main focal point of the cabin is now the 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display that combine to give a stunning widescreen effect, very fashionable in the motor industry at the moment. It certainly moves the game on for BMW interiors and is easy to use and navigate.

Yet there is a familiar feeling to this i4 cabin. The quality is excellent throughout. The driving position can be low and sporty. There is a small bit of use of blue accents inside to highlight this car's membership of the BMW i family. But it's subtle and does not distract at all from what is a wonderful cabin experience in a premium electric car.

The BMW i4 is a Gran Coupé so open those frameless doors and you'll find seating for five. However, there is a large transmission tunnel in the rear so it's probably more suited to two adults in the back. There is some compromise to headroom for the sake of that sloping roofline. It was all worth it.

The boot comes with a powered tailgate and opens just like a hatchback to reveal 470 litres of space. There's no 'frunk' under the bonnet but the i4 can store its cables away neatly in a space at the side of the boot.

The interior of the BMW i4 M Sport
The interior of the BMW i4 M Sport - just gorgeous

Driving the i4

BMW has years of experience creating sporty premium cars and the i4 certainly got the memo. It was designed from the onset to be sporty and engaging, which influenced the design and placing of all the components to make the best of it.

Yes acceleration is rapid, even in this eDrive40 variant. It takes just 5.7 seconds to get to 100 km/h, and the i4 is always ready to respond quickly. Yet, the i4 just feels marvellous on the road. In the eDrive40, a single motor sends 340hp to the rear wheels and the new i4 handles like a classic rear wheel drive BMW. Praise be.

The steering is tactile, and there is a grace to the way this car handles the tarmac that belies what you might think possible of an electric car. There's very few cars in this price range at the moment that can compete with the i4 when it comes to driver engagement, even the Polestar 2 or Tesla Model 3. It's also sublimely comfortable.

In real world driving over 400 kilometres seems possible even with high speed motorway driving. The i4 was efficient during my time with it, averaging about 18.5kWh per 100 kilometres. Being low and sleek certainly helps.

The i4 can charge up to 205kW, getting to 80% battery charge in about 30 minutes. Up to 11kW AC charging is possible.

The BMW i40 M50 if you want even more power - 536hp
The BMW i40 M50 if you want even more power - 536hp and all wheel drive

Did you like it?

The BMW i4 is an excellent car. So good, that you will forget it's electric. It's a car you buy because you love driving.

For sure, there is still a premium to be paid for an electric car like the i4. But for the refinement and rapid acceleration, there is enough here to abandon your premium petrol or diesel saloon once and for all.

An SUV might be more practical, but the i4 is sexier by far. Sporty premium electric cars don't get much better than this.

The BMW i4 compromises none of the style and quality the brand was built upon. It handles beautifully and with well over 400 kilometres possible between charges, that's a lot of fun driving in utter comfort.

The interior quality belongs to a car of this price also and the new digital technology looks great.

If you're thinking of buying an i4, you probably should!

The BMW i4 is fun to drive and comfortable too
The BMW i4 is fun to drive and comfortable too

Model tested: BMW i40 eDrive40 M Sport
Price: 
€67,345
Battery:
80.7 kWh
Range: 493-590 km (WLTP)
Power: 340hp
Torque: 430Nm
Top speed: 190km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class on test for Changing Lanes!

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review (2022)


Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz C-Class review for everything you need to know about the latest generation of the brand's classic executive saloon.

Mercedes-Benz has returned with a new generation of the perennial C-Class. This car is undoubtedly a pillar of the Mercedes-Benz brand, with a strong lineage that comes from a time when saloon was king.

These days saloons are under pressure from SUVs - but the timeless quality of the C-Class means it's a car that still has plenty of relevance in today's market. In the last decade, the C-Class was the highest-volume Mercedes-Benz model, with over 11 million sold worldwide.

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class on test for Changing Lanes!

What's new for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

There are two themes the motor industry loves right now - digitisation and electrification. Naturally, the new C-Class touches both. It's electrified thanks to plug-in hybrid and mild hybrids to improve efficiency. Inside there is also a significant improvement to digitisation with a new display and operating concept adopted from the latest S-Class.

The new C-Class goes on sale in Ireland priced from €57,580 for a C 200 d (diesel), from €59,385 for a C 180 (petrol), and from €68,430 for the C 300 e (plug-in hybrid). It's available as a Saloon or Estate.

Mercedes-Benz has smartened up the C-Class considerably. For this new generation, the C-Class has a new look inspired by the S-Class, but with more sporty and dynamic proportions befitting of a junior executive saloon.

At the front, a charismatic Mercedes-Benz grille takes centre stage, suitably modernised for this latest version. At the rear, the lights now have a two-piece design for the very first time, just like the larger Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class saloons.

The C-Class undoubtedly has kerb appeal, especially with the larger alloys and sportier stance of the AMG Line models, with further sporty enhancements to the interior.

The new C-Class goes on sale priced from €57,580
The new C-Class goes on sale priced from €57,580

Inside the new C-Class

Inside, the C-Class manages to feel even more luxurious than before. Cool ambient lighting sets the tone, while the new aviation style air vents give a sporty feel to the interior. The dashboard and central display are also now slightly tilted towards the driver.

Leather upholstery comes as standard. Other highlights include latest generation MBUX infotainment and ‘Hey Mercedes’ multimedia systems with voice-activation and touch screen functions, alongside a 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster.

Mercedes-Benz has raised their game with all models now getting a stunning portrait style, 11.9 inch media display in the centre of the dash. Ventilation controls are now accessed through the screen, but it’s quite simple to use. Overall it's one of the most modern and stylish cabins of the class.

Driver comfort and safety features include distance assist, steering assist, lane keeping assist, improved surround sensors, emergency braking functions, and a feature that can detect and raise the body height in anticipation of a collision.

Slightly longer and wider than the car it replaces, the new C-Class has improved headroom, elbowroom and kneeroom for passengers. A large transmission tunnel in the rear means it’s a car most comfortable for two adults in the back. There’s 455 litres of boot space in the Saloon, rising to 490 litres in the C-Class Estate for even more practicality.

Inside the new Mercedes C-Class
Inside the new Mercedes C-Class

What are you driving?

The engine range for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at launch includes four cylinder petrol and diesel models, which all come with mild hybrid technology and an excellent 9-speed automatic transmission.

There's also a new plug-in hybrid that offers over 100 km in electric only driving range and 313 hp from a petrol engine and electric motor.

On test for Changing Lanes was the C 200 d AMG Line. It uses a 2.0-litre diesel engine to produce 163 hp and 380 Nm. It offers healthy if not stunning performance in the new C-Class. There’s also the more powerful C 220 d available with 200 hp for example.

Efficiency is good with my average fuel consumption over a week of driving working out at 5.5 litres per 100 km. The insulation of the car gives you a nice buffer from the sound of the diesel engine.

On the road the Mercedes-Benz C-Class shows where your money goes with a beautiful ride comfort balanced with an athletic turn through corners and precise steering. The 3 Series would still have the edge on overall driver involvement. But the C-Class is a tidy performer with a lush cabin experience and smooth ride that makes you forgive it anything it might lack!

The C-Class makes an elegant return in 2022
The C-Class makes an elegant return in 2022

Did you like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

This latest C-Class is an elegant return for the popular compact Mercedes saloon.

Clever styling and packaging means that it many ways, it's a junior S-Class. It certainly has presence on the road, a handsome and stylish car that looks good everywhere.

The C-Class now really stands out for its new interior. Quality is excellent and there is a glam side to this car that certainly gives it an edge on rivals. But with Mercedes latest infotainment and digital dashboard, the C-Class has the technology on board to back it up.

Driving the C-Class and you'll quickly find it's every inch the elegant cruiser, offering a comfortable and refined drive that never goes out of fashion - keeping the market alive for premium compact saloons.

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz C 200 d Saloon AMG Line
Price: 
€61,196
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
163 hp
Torque:  380 Nm
0-100km/h:
 7.7 seconds
Top speed: 230 km/h
CO2 emissions:  
120 g/km
Motor tax: 
€190 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes


The new Peugeot 508 PSE on test for Changing Lanes!

Peugeot 508 PSE Review (2022)

Read Caroline's Peugeot 508 PSE review for everything you need to know about buying Peugeot's new flagship high performance hybrid in Ireland.

Peugeot is striking the Irish new car market with a range of new hybrid and electric models. Key model ranges like the 208, 2008, 3008 and 508 now all contain some sort of 'electrified' model, be it a full battery electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid.

The soon-to-arrive new Peugeot 308 range will also have a hybrid available for the very first time.

It's an exciting time for Peugeot passenger cars. But their high performance division is also undergoing a revival. Peugeot Sport brought us so many epic performance cars like the legendary 205 GTi and recent hits like the 208 GTi and the 308 GTi.

The new Peugeot 508 PSE on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Peugeot 508 PSE on test for Changing Lanes!

But times are changing and Peugeot Sport must reinvent itself for this new era of hybrid and electric power, while bringing exciting performance cars to market that blend efficiency with performance and dynamism to thrill even the most hardened petrolheads.

A big challenge for any brand, and for one with a sporting heritage like Peugeot. So they have created a new brand - Peugeot Sport Engineered (PSE) - and the first model to come to market is the Peugeot 508 PSE.

What's so special about the Peugeot 508 PSE?

Based on the 508, Peugeot's stylish executive car, the 508 PSE is a high performance hybrid that can drive on electric power for a range of up to about 42 km.

Available as a 508 PSE Fastback or SW (estate) with a list price starting from €70,405, this car has a premium billing. It's the most powerful production Peugeot has ever made and probably the most expensive too!

The 508 was a stunning car to begin with. The 508 PSE adds an aggressive, sporty look very befitting of a high performance car. PSE models are available in Perla Nera black, Pearl white or exclusive Selenium grey. The new PSE brand adds lime green accents and 'claw' marks around the car. There is an aggressive bodykit with very distinctive winglets, a black diffuser at the rear, and 20" wheels.

WATCH MY VIDEO REVIEW OF THE NEW 508 PSE

Inside the 508 PSE

There's a premium price tag for the 508 PSE but the interior does not disappoint. Peugeot has been on a move upmarket for years now, and the product reflects that.

Inside the Peugeot 508 PSE manages to feel even more special and sporty than standard versions of the 508. There are beautiful sports seats as standard and lime green stitching. Peugeot's iCockpit still looks great with a 12.3" digital instrument panel for the driver and a central 10" HD touchscreen for the infotainment and other functions. The compact steering feels great in the hands, adding to your sense of control over the vehicle. You sit low and sporty, with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat.

This is a big car, with the SW model being the more practical of the two. Thankfully the design of the hybrid has not impacted boot space or passenger space in either vehicle.

Two adults will be comfortable in the rear. The boot of the SW has a 467 litre capacity, wide opening area and low loading sill making it ideal for carrying gear!

The interior of the Peugeot 508 PSE
The interior of the Peugeot 508 PSE

Driving the 508 PSE Hybrid

Under the bonnet there is a familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, derived from a few of our favourite Peugeot hot hatchbacks. But there's more: two electric motors - an 80 kW at the front and an 83 kW at the rear. So this halo car for the Peugeot range is all wheel drive with 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque. Power is put to the road through an 8-speed automatic gearbox that never misses a beat. Acceleration is hot hatchback quick: 5.2 seconds. While the top speed is an electronically limited 250 km/h.

The performance stats are certainly stunning but theses days they don't tell the full story. The question is how good does the Peugeot 508 PSE feel on the road?

PSE has taken a Peugeot 508 and given it a high performance makeover to handle 360 hp. They have worked on the chassis, it has a lower and stiffer suspension, wider track, sticky Michelin tyres and very strong performance brakes. All wheel drive helps with the power distribution to the road. There are driving modes and adaptive suspension. Modes include hybrid, electric and sport. The latter gives a more responsive throttle, tighter steering and adjusts the adaptive suspension settings. There's also some augmented engine noise in the cabin when you hit the accelerator, which is realistic and does add to the excitement behind the wheel.

This car has a number of different sides to it and it transitions seamlessly between them. Refinement and comfort is excellent, making this car a great all rounder.

The 508 PSE has 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque
The 508 PSE has 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque

But Sport mode is maximum attack mode, where you access the car's exciting performance character and efficiency goes out the window! The car handles the road sublimely well. There is instant throttle response, pushing you all the way to the back of your seat. But the cornering performance is something to behold. The steering has been vastly improved over a standard 508 so all the sensations reach your fingertips. It feels more fluid, precise and well weighted. This car dips and dives into corners like a car half its size. Despite weighing 1850 kg with all its hybrid 'gear' on board, it behaves like a hot hatchback in corners. A good one.

Fuel consumption does differ from about 5.5 litres per 100 km in a cruise on the motorway, to up to 8.5 litres per 100 km in full attack mode. But with the opportunity to charge the battery and run the car on electric power, the efficiency of this vehicle and its running costs are truly up to you.

Did you like it?

Yes, yes and yes. Peugeot Sport has done a wonderful job with this car. It's the first performance Peugeot in about 5 years. It has a lot to live up to. Frankly I did not quite expect such a visceral experience from a hybrid performance car. Peugeot has done it with the 508 PSE.

It a very expensive Peugeot. But when you look at the quality of the car, the engineering and the performance on the road, it all makes absolute sense.

Peugeot has been on a move upmarket. The 508 PSE is the best of Peugeot at the moment. A very interesting car that is practical and fun to drive. Certainly one to aspire to and a halo car for the entire Peugeot range.

The Peugeot 508 PSE is a master of hybrid performance
The Peugeot 508 PSE is a master of hybrid performance

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Peugeot 508 SW PSE 
Price:
€71,890
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power:
360 hp
Torque: 520 Nm
0-100km/h: 
5.2 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
CO2 emissions:
42 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year


In this review we test the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series: Which Is Better?

In this review we test the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series
In this review we test the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series: Which is better?

Thinking of buying a new mid size executive saloon in Ireland in 2022? In this Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series comparison review, we are going to take a closer look at two titans of the executive car park – the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. In 2019, BMW released an all new generation of the 3 Series, while in late 2019, a revised Audi A4 range hit dealer showrooms in Ireland.

The G20 BMW 3 Series sports a gentle evolution in styling of a very familiar silhouette. It’s the classic German 3-box saloon. Proportions have been revised, styling modernised more in line with the 5 Series from a class above. But the hallmarks of the 3 Series remain – the strong BMW kidney grille at the front and a road hugging sporty stance teasing the class-leading handling ability the BMW 3 Series will always be inextricably linked to.

In the Audi corner, the A4 does a fine job of commanding the executive car park. Timeless design, clean lines and elegant detailing are what make buyers fall in love with the Audi A4 quicker than you can say ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’. The 2019 facelift enhanced what was already a smart, contemporary design of a premium saloon car.

The interior of the latest 2020 Audi A4
The interior of the latest 2020 Audi A4

LED headlights are standard on both the A4 and the 3 Series ranges. Trim levels give a classic look or a sporty one in both the 3 Series and A4 ranges. This reviewer prefers the sporty look bestowed by BMW’s M Sport trim or Audi’s S line. Larger alloy wheels, meaner body kits and other exotic details make these models a little bit special (and more expensive).

So which car has the best interior?

The latest generation BMW 3 Series has a new interior that has been delightfully modernised with the latest technology features and infotainment. The material quality is excellent with beautiful leather upholstery available as standard on higher spec M Sport models. We loved the sporty M Sport steering wheel and new digital instrument panel, the latter which comes as standard across the range. SE and Sport models get a new 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while M Sport gets the larger 10.25-inch with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, gesture and voice control. You can also control using the iDrive controller on the centre console.

In the cabin of the Audi A4, you can have a similar digital and techy experience. The cabin design is even better in the Audi A4. Though this car debuted in 2015, it still looks really elegant and contemporary inside. The 2019 update has made the A4 even better again with the latest 10.1-inch high resolution MMI touch display tilted slightly towards the driver. This set up comes as standard and keeps the Audi A4 at the races. A digital instrument panel is an extra however.

The 2020 Audi A4 S line
The 2020 Audi A4 S line

How practical are they?

The 3 Series has a longer wheelbase than the car it replaces and cabin comfort has been improved for passengers. There is still quite an intrusive transmission tunnel in the middle but overall there is more shoulder room in the front and extra legroom in the back. BMW has also increased the height of the door opening so getting in and out of the car is easier for rear passengers. There is not much between these two cars in that they will fit four adults comfortably. The boot volume is the same in both the A4 and the 3 Series - 480 litres. Both cars are available as more practical estate cars – the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring.

Engine options

In Ireland the new BMW 3 Series is sold with petrol and diesel engines, and there is also a new BMW 330e plug-in hybrid. On the petrol side there is a 2.0-litre petrol badged 318i, 320i or 330i depending on horsepower; there are also 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre diesels (badged 318d, 320d, 330d). There's also a top end 340i and 340d models, which also feature BMW ‘xdrive’ four wheel drive. My pick is the popular BMW 320d with 2.0-litre diesel engine and 190 hp for a mixture of power, refinement and economy. 8-speed automatics and 6-speed manual gearboxes are available. However the 330e hybrid is another good choice in the range.

The interior of the 2020 BMW 3 Series
The interior of the 2020 BMW 3 Series

The Audi A4 is also available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, however at this time there is no A4 plug-in hybrid to match the popular BMW 330e. Power comes from a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 150 or 190 hp, or a 2.0-litre diesel with 136, 163 or 190 hp. A 6-speed manual gearbox or S tronic automatic are also available. Audi’s quattro four wheel drive is available on the 2.0-litre 190hp diesel. The 2.0-litre diesel with 163hp is a popular choice in this large executive car segment and very economical.

Why not try these for a test drive?

Audi A4 35 TDI 163hp S tronic S Line. Fuel consumption quoted at 5.4-5.7 litres/100km.

BMW 320d 190hp M Sport. Fuel consumption quoted at 4.4-4.7 litres/100km.

Driving them

On the road both the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series offer premium levels of comfort and refinement. They slice through the air seamlessly and silently. The Audi A4 seems just that little better in this regard with refinement and comfort being key pillars of this model. But that’s not to say that the BMW 3 Series is bad in this particular area. However the BMW 3 Series is a lot more fun and engaging to drive than the Audi A4, even as a basic four pot diesel. The steering is sporty and tactile, the grip and poise sensational. It’s the one that never ceases to entertain.

We'll always love a drive in the BMW 3 Series
We'll always love a drive in the BMW 3 Series

Equipment

For the most up to date pricing for the Irish market, please check the manufacturer's website!

The BMW 3 Series comes in three trims SE, Sport and M Sport. The entry level SE model has 17″ alloys, LED headlights, BMW Light Carpet, interior ambient lighting, reversing camera, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing. There’s also a leather sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.

The Audi A4 comes in SE or S Line trim. Standard equipment includes heated, electrically adjustable front seats, tri zone climate control, the 10.1-inch colour display, smartphone interface, 18“ alloys, LED headlights and rear lamps, rear view camera, Audi Drive Select, keyless go, front and rear parking sensors, and cruise control.

The Audi A4 shines for its refinement and elegance
The Audi A4 shines for its refinement and elegance

So which are you buying?

This is a very tough call. When you are buying a car at this level of the market, a few things are guaranteed: prestige, refinement, comfort and quality. The Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series deliver on these fronts. Under the skin, the BMW is the newer car here, however the Audi A4 2019 facelift means that you would be hard pressed to know it. The Audi A4 steals the show in terms of interior design and technology. It just is a nicer cabin to spend time in. However, beside the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 is fine but dull to drive. The 3 Series is really good to drive, engaging, athletic and supple. The Audi A4 is a classy, plush ride. So which will it be?

In light of our summation above, you won’t regret buying either car. But for this reviewer who loves driving, my money would be on the BMW 3 Series.

Caroline Kidd


The new BMW 330e on test for Changing Lanes!

BMW 330e Review (2022)

The new BMW 330e on test for Changing Lanes!
The new BMW 330e on test for Changing Lanes!

Thinking of buying a new BMW 3 Series in Ireland. Read Caroline's BMW 330e review for everything you need to know about the hybrid 3 Series.

What happens when you mix plug-in hybrid power with the BMW 3 Series? It’s a question very much worth exploring as the German brand continues to launch a slew of new electrified models on the Irish market.

Badged 330e, the 3 Series hybrid has some history, debuting for the first time in Ireland back in 2016. Yet with an all-new generation of the 3 Series on sale since 2019, and a reworked 330e, it’s game on in the Changing Lanes test garage!

Driving the latest generation BMW 3 Series again is a reminder of a few magical days in 2019 spent with the 320d. A BMW 320d is a bit of a legend in its own right with a four cylinder diesel engine that delivers smart economy and plenty of fun behind the wheel.

What's so special about the BMW 330e?

But the 330e has proven its mettle in the 3 Series range, winning over its own quotient of buyers with its smooth petrol power and ability to plug in and charge up between drives, plus super low CO2 emissions meaning motor tax is just €140 per year.

In the new generation of the BMW 3 Series of course it’s ‘better’ all round. They don’t release these cars without some improvements!

The BMW 330e Hybrid goes on sale in Ireland from €48,894
The BMW 330e Hybrid goes on sale in Ireland from €48,894

Let’s recap on a few of the basics first. The BMW 3 Series range kicks off from €44,453 in Ireland for a petrol 318i, with a diesel 318d from €46,564 and the 320d range from €49,765. The 330e hybrid starts from €48,894.

The BMW 330e uses a 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol engine, battery and electric motor. Power output is a formidable 292 hp while there is 420 Nm of torque to play with. Yipee!

The BMW 330e is handsome. Super handsome. Finished in Portimao Blue and bejewelled with the M Sport trim elements, our 330e test car is sporty, muscular, and sophisticated.

Inside the BMW 3 Series

Inside the 3 Series has a wonderful interior that puts the driver competently in the centre of the action. This is a real driver’s car. Vernasca leather upholstery makes us feel comfortably executive, while the digital instrument panel, centre screen and iDrive system give the required touch of modernity. Material quality is excellent and this is a great car to spend time behind the wheel of!

The junior executive saloon will seat five with good sized footwells in the rear, though a large transmission tunnel eats into legroom for a middle passenger. Boot space is compromised somewhat in the 330e plug-in hybrid however, down about 100 litres to 375 litres to accommodate the battery.

The interior of the 2021 BMW 3 Series
The interior of the 2021 BMW 3 Series

Driving the BMW 330e

On the road, the 330e feels snappy and swift. Power delivery gets a professional finish. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a car wearing this badge. The 330e is as happy to cruise as it is to take on some corners. Rear wheel drive agility keeps things light and interesting behind the wheel. There’s plenty of grip and steering is direct. The set up is quite firm in this one, so rougher road surfaces do communicate more into the cabin. But on the smooth stuff, all is well.

Interestingly the car doesn’t feel quite as communicative in your hands as the 320d we tested previously. The electrified powertrain mutes the sensations somewhat. But the instant power delivery of the electric motor is immediately obvious. Boom!

But let’s not forget there is mighty wizardry at play here allowing you to slip this baby into electric mode and stealth mode slide around town on electric power alone for a range of up to 60 km. That’s more than before.

The plug-in hybrid models in the new BMW 3 Series owe their increased electric range to the latest advances in battery cell technology. Their lithium-ion batteries, designed specifically for each model and manufactured by the BMW Group, have a gross energy content of 12.0 kWh.

Using the electric range is best suited to low speed driving in town or short commutes, as the battery power will drain more rapidly at high speeds on the motorway for example. But I was lazy with the charging and still managed to post a good return on economy of 6.4 litres per 100 km.

It takes between 3 and 6 hours to charge the battery to full, depending on type of connection.

The 3 Series is a fun sports saloon
The 3 Series is a fun sports saloon

Did you like it?

BMW’s compact executive saloon gains even more power and flexibility in the 330e. The 330e gives options as we transition to more electrification, but even if you are not a frequent charger, the car performs on fuel like a decent petrol car.

There is an impressive fluidity to this car on the road, aided by the electric motor. Maybe not quite as sharp as a 320d for example. But it is a sporty car with a firm enough set up on the road.

It’s indeed a beautiful car, particularly in M Sport trim. We love the high quality interior, and that very meaty steering wheel.

The 3 Series is a legend and deservedly so!

The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid offering an all-electric drive up to 60 km
The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid offering an all-electric drive up to 60 km

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: BMW 3 Series 330 e M Sport
Price: 
€49,082
Engine: 
2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 292 PS
Torque: 420 Nm
Top speed: 230 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
34 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year

 


The BMW 5 Series has been updated for 2021

BMW 530e Review (2022)

The BMW 5 Series has been updated for 2021
The BMW 5 Series has been updated - the brand's most popular model in Ireland

Caroline drives the the latest BMW 530e! The brand's large executive saloon now with plug-in hybrid power but is it any good? Read Caroline's BMW 530e review to find out.

What's so special about the BMW 5 Series?

The BMW 5 Series is unquestionably a stalwart of the BMW range and indeed the entire motor industry. Making a grand entrance comes simply to the 5 Series - it has been doing just that for well over 40 years.

The latest generation of the large executive classic launched here in Ireland back in 2017. That story ended with the 5 Series winning us over with its luxurious cabin and fun to drive character behind the wheel.

In 2020 the BMW 5 Series returned with a few tweaks to keep it competitive in its class. It's the 'facelifted' 5 we find here on test for Changing Lanes.

The 5 Series is BMW’s bestselling model in Ireland and the updated range goes on sale from €53,468 for a 520d diesel or from €53,803 for a 520i petrol.

What’s new for the BMW 5 Series?

Electrification moves up a gear with a revised 530e in 2021 – the plug-in hybrid 5 Series that’s capable of driving on pure electric power for a range of up to 58 km. It goes on sale from €59,822 and posts some very impressive performance figures while keeping CO2 emissions as low as 40g/km. Plug-in hybrid power is growing in popularity across the motor industry and indeed the BMW range, with many old favourites now getting the addition of a battery, electric motor and plug!

Elsewhere styling has been mildly tweaked and new equipment added. But the 5 Series in 2021 remains a gloriously handsome car that makes you feel like a boss! The BMW kidney grille is now bigger, flanked by slimmer LED headlights with two U-shaped daytime running lights.

The 5 Series goes on sale priced from €53,468
The 5 Series goes on sale priced from €53,468

In Ireland the new BMW 5 Series will be available in SE, M Sport and M Sport Edition trims. The M Sport package features new 19” and 20” wheels, while the new limited M Sport Edition comes with exclusive Individual metallic paint and unique 20” Air Performance wheels.

The front apron of both SE and M Sport cars has also been redesigned with larger and more pronounced air inlets. At the rear, the taillights have been redesigned with blackened glass. There’s also a redesigned rear apron, trapezoidal tailpipe finishers and a sportier mounted diffuser.

Inside the BMW 5 Series

The quality and comfort inside the 5 Series make it one of the most desirable large premium saloons on the market today. Yes, you will know you are behind the wheel of something expensive. There are many different trims and beautiful interior options you can choose from, which makes every 5 Series feel more individual and nothing short of luxurious! Leather upholstery is standard across the range and the test car had Ivory White Dakota leather. Material quality is just excellent everywhere.

New interior features include a larger 12.3” Central Information Display powered by the latest Operating System 7.0 with rotary controller, including BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant and smartphone integration. The new 5 Series also benefits from the latest camera- and radar-based driving assistant systems, including features like steering and lane-control assistant and active cruise control.

The interior feels large and welcoming with good width across the rear bench for three, through the transmission tunnel takes up a fair bit of space on middle passengers. Wouldn’t it be more realistic for two VIPS or executives?

In the 530e plug-in hybrid, boot space is somewhat compromised to accommodate the 12 kWh battery under the boot floor. But the floor remains flat and there is a decent 410 litres of space regardless.

The interior of the 2021 BMW 5 Series
The interior of the 2021 BMW 5 Series - luxury limo!

What are my engine options?

The 530e uses a 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol engine, battery and 80 kW electric motor, all combined with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Plug-in hybrid is a big emerging trend in the BMW range with the brand adding many new plug-in hybrids across model ranges in the last 12 months. The 530e plug-in hybrid gets improved for 2021 with more power, torque and better efficiency, while a new 545e has also been added with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine. The 5 Series Touring is also available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time.

Other engine options include four and six cylinder petrol and diesel engines with mild-hybrid technology across the board to enhance performance, lower fuel consumption and improve driving comfort.

In 2017 we tested the classic BMW 520d 2.0-litre diesel at Changing Lanes and it never fails to impress with its refinement, power and economy.

Driving the BMW 530e

This time at Changing Lanes, it’s the turn of the petrol electric hybrid 530e. It is one of the most powerful of the range with 292 hp and 420 Nm of torque. This means it feels lively and flexible all the time, with a responsive throttle that marries beautifully with the 5 Series rear wheel drive dance through corners. This is a real thing. BMW make cars do this very well. They have been doing it for years. The 530e is lithe but we think the 520d we tested previously might have taken on the lateral challenges of corners a teeny bit better owing to the traditional combustion engine powertrain sans battery and electric motor.

Power is put to the road in a controlled, stately manner. It's the most fun large plug-in hybrid you will find in the executive car park! This is a super quiet, comfortable long distance cruiser. The steering is meaty with plenty of feedback for a tactile experience behind the wheel. Sport mode livens things up even more but you can optimise efficiency in the Hybrid mode and still enjoy this car.

Ideally, your plug-in hybrid should be charged regularly to get the best out of it and run it on electric power for the range of up to 58 km. Ideal for low speed trips around town. When you get out on to the motorway your battery power will drain fast. But the 530e still posted some very acceptable economy figures for what is a heavy car. Over a week of driving we averaged 6.7 litres per 100 km. And wow was this car good to drive on the motorway! For this generation of the 5 Series BMW paid particular attention to reducing interior noise levels.  The BMW 5 Series is forever stylish and fun to drive!The BMW 5 Series is forever stylish and fun to drive!

Did you like it?

We love the 5 Series at Changing Lanes. It has such class and presence, amazing pedigree and fun rear wheel drive handling.

The BMW handles superbly and feels alive in your hands like none of its competitors. The 530e adds hybrid power to the mix championing a silky smooth transmission and a new degree of silence to driving a 5 Series.

The 5 Series is ageing but still looks good. The interior is high quality with a reasonable digital upgrade helping keeping it up to date with competitors.

Diesel has been the default in this segment for a long time but the 530e is a successful alternative, offering buyers flexibility - but at a premium. We can't see the classic 520d being abandoned any time soon. It posts great economy, especially for high mileage and frequent motorway users. But whatever your preferred flavour of 5, you will find an amazing companion in the BMW 5 Series!

The new BMW 530e on test for Changing Lanes!
The new BMW 530e on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: BMW 5 Series (530e) M Sport
Price: 
€66,996
Engine: 
2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 292 PS
Torque: 420 Nm
Top speed: 235 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.9 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
40 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!

Tesla Model 3 Review (2022)

The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Tesla Model 3 on test for Changing Lanes!

Read Caroline's Tesla Model 3 review for everything you need to know about buying Tesla's new more affordable electric car in Ireland.

Tesla has arguably done more to accelerate the movement of the motor industry to electrification than any other car brand. And they really don’t operate like any other car brand. In fact, this relative newcomer (Est. 2003) does everything a little bit differently. And as I was soon to find out as I approached the Tesla Model 3 for the first time, there is nothing ordinary about the car in front me!

What's so hot about the Tesla Model 3?

Designed as Tesla’s smaller, simpler, and more affordable car, slotting in below the brand-defining Model S and ‘groovy-doored’ Model X SUV, the Tesla Model 3 officially went on sale in Ireland in 2019.

With pricing starting from €48,990, this car has massively contributed to the rapid widening of Tesla’s customer base. The brand has registered 340 cars in Ireland so far in 2021, with 335 of them Model 3s.

As I approach the car with what looks like a Tesla-branded credit card in my hand, it’s probably already done a background check on me and knows my first pet’s name. A swipe of the card against the B pillar and I’m in!

Glistening in ruby red, the Tesla Model 3 brings next generation glamour to Irish roads. Three variants are available all with varying levels of performance and battery wizardry: the Standard Range Plus (448 km WLTP, priced from €48,990), Model 3 Performance (567 km WLTP, priced from €65,990) and Long Range (580 km WLTP, priced from €58,990).

Topping up the Model 3's battery at the Tesla Supercharger
Topping up the Model 3's battery at the Tesla Supercharger

What's new for the Model 3 in 2021?

The Model 3 has also received a range of styling improvements for 2021 including matte black trim around the car's exterior features like the door handles, more efficient tyres and updated 18/19” Sports Wheels. The Model 3 Performance can now be ordered with new 20” ‘Uberturbine’ wheels. There’s also a new electrically operated boot lid, which opens at the touch of a button or from the touchscreen or Tesla app.

Interior updates include more matte black finish, which replaces the gloss finish in previous versions of the car. The centre console has been redesigned, featuring fixed inductive charging mats for two smartphones. Two additional high-powered USB-C ports have been added for high-speed device charging. Plus, an additional USB-A port in the glove compartment to use for storage devices for Sentry Mode and Dash Cam footage. A new heat pump improves how fast the cabin heats up.

Eight surround cameras allow for 360-degree vision, while twelve ultrasonic sensors provide detection of surrounding objects. Driver assistance features such as emergency braking, collision warning and blind-spot monitoring try their best to keep you out of trouble, while Autopilot is included as standard which, under driver supervision, enables the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane.

Inside the 2021 Tesla Model 3
Inside the 2021 Tesla Model 3

Inside the Tesla Model 3

Yes, Tesla do things differently - but depending on how you like your cars, the Tesla’s austere cabin design and gigantic 15" touchscreen in the centre of the dash might have you running for something more analogue and familiarly square.

Even moving the side mirrors requires a quick detour into the central operating system. But as smart as Tesla is, the pure mechanical action of adjusting the wing mirrors is then done through a few twists, turns and slides of a reassuringly normal button on the steering wheel. And except for some stalks for the wipers, indicators, and gear selection, that’s about it. There’s no ON button or ignition - the Tesla just knows you’re ready to go. The Tesla Model 3 is the smartest car I’ve ever met. And I've met a lot of cars. Over 300!

The finish of the cabin and the quality of the design is an improvement on the Model 3 but it feels more basic than a premium German saloon that would command a similar list price. Cabin space is excellent with lots of glazing making it a pleasant place to travel in. The rear bench can seat three, while the boot opens to reveal over 500 litres of cargo space.

So will I be stopping a lot to charge it?

Tesla’s battery technology is truly astounding. Seeing over 500 km on your range counter means less time plugged in or even contemplating where the next charger is when driving between destinations. And Tesla has been building these big milers for years, with well-established car brands only beginning to catch up now. And they are still not there yet.

Yes, it is a very clever car. I sat for hours behind the wheel thinking about this. No need to do rapid calculations in my head, extrapolating, predicting, estimating, and still not having enough range to get home comfortably. With a real world driving range in excess of 500 km, this model moves the conversation on completely when it comes to normalising electric cars, what you can do with them and how it feels to own one.

The Tesla Model 3 has a great design with plenty of interior space
The Tesla Model 3 has a great design with plenty of interior space

Driving the Model 3

And how you can drive them! If the range doesn’t excite your passengers, then the performance surely will. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds and it feels just as fast with a silent shove of torque that requires a small warning to passengers of warp speed that is about to be engaged.

Rapid acceleration is a novelty but the Model 3 Long Range is a talented handler with all wheel drive delivering a distinct style of tarmac hugging charm.

It’s very comfortable for the most part but the ride falls short of truly magic carpet premium.

Most buyers will charge their Model 3 at home from a wallbox and rarely need to charge on the go. But the Model 3 also comes with a built-in CCS Charge Port for compatibility with third party fast charging networks like IONITY and ESB, or Tesla’s own Supercharger network and Destination chargers.

The Tesla Model 3 Long Range available from €58,990
The Tesla Model 3 Long Range available from €58,990

Did you like it?

The Tesla Model 3 is a marvel, no doubt about it. The smartest car on the road, already set up for self-driving in a world that isn’t ready for that yet.

But it is not emotional at all. From the cut of the cabin to the myriad of functions and games set in the central operating system, the Model 3 has the distinct feeling of being a device. A good one, but it’s a different approach to building cars. Not wrong, simply different.

The on-road performance is silently charming but the Model 3 will never talk to you through the steering rim or the pedals and whisper words of encouragement like some of the best cars I’ve ever known.

But over 500 km driving range on battery power and not a bead of sweat on my forehead hustling through four counties in one day? With reliable fast charging at the other end on the Tesla Supercharger network? Maybe we need a new definition of 'best' at Changing Lanes!

The undeniable magnificent battery technology, next level operating and design mean this car has and will continue to attract its own loyal following. It remains a status symbol of futurism and cleverness, and reassures that someday we won’t talk about cars and electric cars as if one is somehow compromised over the other. Just cars that can take you from A to B.

Caroline behind the wheel of the 2021 Tesla Model 3!
Caroline behind the wheel of the 2021 Tesla Model 3!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive
Price: 
€58,990
Battery: 
75 kWh
Range (WLTP): 580 km
Top speed: 233 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.4 seconds
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year