The European Motor Show in Brussels

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    Once more the halls of Brussels Expo will reverberate with the roaring of engines large and small, as the world’s finest automobile brands vie for the attention of, thousands of eager car fanatics.

    Together’s Bob Monard gives us a run-down of some of the big names that will be making an appearance at this year’s catwalk of the automobile industry.

    AUDI
    In 2013, the brand with the five rings unveiled its A3 notchback saloon to great acclaim, and its new A3 Cabrio. But the heart still beats fastest for RS, be it RS5 Coupé, the RS6 Avant or RS7. All three are powered by a 560hp twin-turbo V8, the most ‘satisfying’ five-cylinder 450hp. Integral transmission, four-wheel and S tronic auto box are the icing on the cake.

    Sure, responsive, precise – the Audi RS is a tasty treat like few others. It is constantly evolving. What a feast!

    The A1 Quattro 256hp and the A4 Avant RS4 450hp are sporty, robust and muscular – they boast dynamic silhouettes with an air of genuine exclusivity.

    BMW
    Known for racy and powerful vehicles that have proven to be first choice in motorsport, BMW proves that is also ‘switched on’ – enter its latest offering, the i3 electric. This top-class vehicle has 170hp and 150km of autonomy and is a sheer delight to drive. The i8 is in the same vein. Other news: the 2 and 4 cabriolets replace the 1 and 3 convertibles.

    BMW 3 GT is 6cms higher than the three ‘normal’ versions, and its tank takes 520 litres.
    Another top-class vehicle that is synonymous with quality and functionality, equipped with xDrive, which detects even the slightest over-steering or under-steering, ensureing that each axle offers maximum traction. Intelligent AWD from BMW.

    FIAT
    Undisputed star of the history of the automobile, the Fiat 500 was redesigned in 2007 and never ceases to delight fans of this nostalgic, modern vehicle.

    The 500 Living is designed to decently accommodate five adults and two little cherubs. With boot space of 168-1,584dm3, it relies on its Twin Air engine 900 cm3 105 hp and 1,400 cm3 95 hp. Diesel engine’s numbers: 1300cm3 with 85hp and 1600cm3 with 105hp. Friendly, fun and spacious… the 500 is all in all an exciting travelling companion.

    With its all-terrain look due to its raised ground clearance and exclusive interiors, the 500 Trekking also boasts exclusive accessories (special bumpers front and rear, strengthened body protection) – great if you want to be spotted! Better still, it is fitted with Traction+, which improves control on poor surfaces. Also the City Brake Control system adds greater safety when driving in the city.

    JAGUAR
    Beauty, refinement and pure exaltation of power: the Jaguar XJ embodies passion in motion. Its aluminium structure and technology are right on the cutting edge of innovation, delivering flexibility and unparalleled manoeuvrability.

    A sublime incarnation of the true Jaguar sports car, the Type F is as powerful (340, 381 and 495hp) as it agile. Its aluminium frame combines clean lines, lightness and rigidity for optimal handling – an exceptional dynamic for a classy coupé.

    The XF Sportbrake is a double coupé designed with versatility for families. Its one-piece tailgate opens onto a very generous storage space (1,675 litres with the seats down).

    Comfort, luxury and quality are the key words. The Jaguar Drive Control™ system regulates the engine and transmission depending on driving preferences and road conditions.

    MASERATI
    Based in Modena fifteen kilometres from Ferrari’s home in Maranello, the trident brand has no need to use up all the consonants to describe its range of cars since G and Q alone suffice. Alongside the Granturismo (4244cc/411hp and 4691cc/439 and 460hp), we’d like to highlight the Grancabrio (4691cc and 450 and 460hp). Then there’s the Ghibli whose 3-litre V6 330hp with a choice of 409hp, 410hp and 275hp in its diesel range. As for the Quattroporte, it features a 3-litre V6 twin-turbo 409 hp and a 3.8-litre V8 530hp which is as melodious as it is cavernous. Year after year, Maserati remain splendid ambassadors of the Italian automotive culture, where aesthetics, elegance and refinement are the touchstones.

    Mercedes
    Always on top of safety technology, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer has filled up its E collection by feeding it eleven new driving assistance systems. These new E functions favour comfort, quality and driving pleasure. A special congratulations for soundproofing and suspensions.

    This great car manufacture offers up the high-end E 63 AMG, with a tasty and melodious 5.5-liter V8 that drives 525 galloping horses!
    Every seven years, it offers a new look and new, both aesthetic and technological. The 2013 S-Class has lived up to Together’s expectations because it is again chock-full of innovations, as evidenced by the S 65 AMG 630hp engine.

    The very exciting 45 AMG 360hp, like its bigger brothers, can be seen in the Mercedes House in Brussels’ Sablon, an essential meeting place for all those who appreciate elegance and craftsmanship.

    MINI
    What a success story in the small car segment! New things just keep coming in the world of MINI – the MINI Clubman and MINI Convertible both confirm this unique top-class brand’s leading position when it comes to sporty driving pleasure, efficiency and customization.

    The Roadster is the sixth model in the brand’s current range and first the two-seater convertible. It’s a sporty and compact two-seater with a fabric hood that opens manually. Designed for discerning customers who appreciate elegance, sportiness, open-top driving pleasure and an irresistible style – on top of that it inspires with its handling thanks to powerful engines and sophisticated chassis technology.

    ALL4 (all-wheel drive) provides maximum driving pleasure and the MINI Paceman enriches the range of AWD models.

    PEUGOT
    Lighter, shorter, more compact, with a larger boot, the Peugeot 308 2014 vintage also benefits from a completely redesigned dashboard, with dials perfectly placed above the steering wheel, and there is a generously sized (10 inch) touch screen to control everything. The two petrol engines come in 82, 125 and 155hp, while the diesel has 116 and 150hp.

    As a B-segment crossover, the Peugeot 2008 includes both onboard peripheral vision and innovative features: the in-car positioning is distinctive, structured around a small steering wheel, combined with excellent head-room and touch screen technology. Under the hood, we find 82 and 120hp engines (petrol) and 68 and 92hp diesel.

    An elegant and refined sports car, the 208 GTi represents a successful synthesis of performance, safety and fun. The latest Peugeot ‘bomb’ won us over with its flexibility, accuracy of driving and discreet great looks.

    PORSCHE
    The type 991 appeared in 2011 and was the brand-new 911 turbo, with its sensational four- wheel drive and steering. For 50 years, the 911 has perpetually renewed and modernized, without altering the DNA that has shaped its legendary success. A lighter vehicle, it operates on a six-cylinder 3.8-litre turbo 520hp and 560hp (Turbo S).

    The undisputed king of Stuttgart, with its Carrera Cabrio 350 and 400hp and 476hp GT3, as well as its Boxster 211, 265 and 315hp variants, with Cayman 211, 265 and 325hp, Panamera 299, 300, 400, 430 and 511hp – it is also available in diesel (211hp and 250hp) and, recently, as a hybrid 379hp.

    A powerful and luxurious 4×4, the Cayenne is powered by a 3.6-litre V6 (299hp) and hybrid (333hp), a 4.8-litre gasoline V8 (400, 420, 500 and 551hp) and two diesel models: the Mach 1 litre V6, 211hp and 245hp V8 and a 4.2 diesel 382hp.

    The highly anticipated compact SUV will come in 340 and 400hp gasoline and 258hp diesel versions.

    LAND ROVER
    The imposing Range Rover has been the star among off-roaders since 1970. With its prestigious, super-luxurious bourgeois limousine interior, its comfort is breathtaking: the seats, soundproofing and suspension are all simply delightful, like an up-scale sedan vehicle. Majestic on the highways (258, 339 and 510hp) or steep forest trails, the Land Rover range’s flagship never stops improving.

    Now, the range offers a 340hp hybrid version – decidedly cleaner, the V6 hybrid remains unchanged in representing all the charm and comfort of the Range Rover series. Premium British class.

    With its revolutionized handling and off-road performance, the Range Rover Sport is unparalleled. A synonym for refinement and comfort, with its lightweight aluminum architecture and cutting-edge technology.

    RENAULT
    The Renault Captur is a seductive fusion of MPV, SUV and sedan. An elegant alternative to the versatile Cité, it offers two petrol engines at 90 and 120hp, plus a 90hp diesel.

    Moving on to the Clio Grandtour, the choice is between petrol at 73, 90 and 120hp and diesel at 75 and 90hp – its personality is a hundred miles away from Renault’s ultra- popular utility vehicles.

    Beefier and with a traction control system, the crossover Scénic is now thinking outside the box and has a look that definitely plays a part – elevated cockpit, fender extensions, roof rails, most distinguished. However, it retains 2WD flanked by extended grip for torque and brakes. Under the hood, it’s 115 or 130hp gasoline and 110 or 130hp diesel.
    The XMod? A refreshing alternative.

    And the Renault Twingo is celebrating its 20th anniversary – to mark the occasion, Renault presents the Belgo-Luxembourg limited edition Renault Twingo ‘20TH’ at €9,270. Renault Twingo.

    SKODA
    What progress Skoda has made during the past 20 years – powerful and simple engines under the hoods of seven product lines. Thus, we now have the Citigo 3 and 5 doors, the versatile 5-door and Fabia Combi, the compact Roomster MPV and Rapid Spaceback, family cars Octavia and Octavia Combi and the excellent Royal Superb and Superb Combi, all at the top of their game. Do not believe that the purr of the 3-cylinder 999 cm3 of the Citigo and the leg-room for rear passengers in the Superb are one-offs – these are now the common denominators of Skoda’s production lines: the brand’s devotion to construction and finishing have seduced reliable and attractive car enthusiasts, a very important market share. Available in both petrol and diesel.

    VW
    Succeeding the legendary Beetle, Beetle Mark II represents a lifestyle on four wheels. The famous cult car is now lower and wider, but retains its distinctive protruding wings and large wheels and the character of its interior, in 105 to 210hp model.

    A legend now as ever!

    The Golf variant comes in 605 to 1,620 litre versions – it’s100kg lighter than its previous guise, and offers as much space for passengers. With a quality fit and finish, and sharp soundproofing – nothing is missing, and it resembles a sedan, with its luxurious ventilation.

    Volkswagen is continuing its expansion of the Golf range with the launch of the series’ flagship: R. The Golf R is a super-car four-wheel drive, powered by a new 300hp TSI engine. The sport chassis has been lowered by 20mm, there’s a new dynamic steering and electronic stabilization ESC Sport program, enough to reach 100km/h on 5.1 seconds. With the 6-speed DSG, the car can reach 250 km/h!

    VOLVO
    The new Drive-E Volvo engine guarantees more pleasure and clean driving.
    Volvo has opted for smaller but more powerful engines, with its power curves promoting drivability and economy.

    Its S60, V60 and XC60 feature three new 4-cylinder engines: the turbo-charged T6 petrol 306hp, 245hp T5 and D4 turbo diesel 181hp. To ensure energy efficiency, the engines are twinned with either a new 8-speed automatic transmission or a manual 6-speed optimized transmission. Four types of chassis are available: Comfort, Dynamic, Four- C and lowered Chassis Sport.

    The V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the world’s first rechargeable diesel hybrid. Its front wheels are driven by a 5-cylinder 2.4-litre turbo-diesel 215hp and the rear axle is driven by an electric engine that delivers 68bhp. In Sweden, clean driving and safety go hand in hand.

    European Motor Show
    January 16-26 2014
    www.autosalon.be