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Monthly Newsletter - May

Harsher fines on the way

From the 24th April 2017, a new higher penalty for the most serious offenders has been introduced, meaning magistrates will be able to fine guilty drivers based on their weekly income.

In incidents of speeding, fines for the top band of seriousness will have a starting point of 150% of weekly income, rather than the current 100%, up to an upper limit of £2,500. 

This could see a driver caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, being fined one-and-a-half times their weekly income, according to new Sentencing Council guidelines. In fact, this level is just the starting point, the range of the fine in the top 'Band C' category could even reach 175% of relevant weekly income. 

For example, if you earn £400 a week, the most you could previously be fined for speeding on the road was £400. If you are sentenced for the same offence after 24 April, it could be £600, plus the usual temporary disqualification or points on your licence. Meanwhile, the wealthiest motorists could find themselves facing penalties more than four times that amount. 

The guidelines apply to all who are sentenced on or after 24 April 2017, regardless of the date of the speeding offence.

Fully Electric Vehicles

Fully electric vehicles still account for a tiny proportion of car sales, but that could change in the next few years.

Demand for electrified cars has surged in the last four years, with registrations increasing from around 3500 in 2013 to almost 89,000 in 2016. However, they still represented only 3.5% of the UK car market – and 63% of that 3.5% was plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rather than fully electric models. 

The reason for this is that most of today's fully electric cars have quite a limited range between charges, making them unsuitable for long journeys. But a host of manufacturers are preparing to launch new models that solve this issue, while also offering stylish looks and innovative technology. Below are what's coming when: 

Audi E-Tron quattro

The brand's sales and marketing boss, Dietmar Voggenreiter, has confirmed that this will be sized between the Q5 and Q7, but closer to the Q5, and that it will closely resemble the E-tron concept of the 2015 Frankfurt show. It will also have a range between charges of more than 310 miles.

Audi E-tron Sportback

A second Audi electric car will follow in 2019, with this based on the E-tron Sportback concept from this year's Shanghai motor show. A similar size to today's Audi A7, it has the same sort of sleek, coupé-like roofline, but combines this with the raised driving position and aggressive detailing that have helped make SUVs so popular. Power comes from three electric motors which produce a combined 496bhp and get the car from 0-62mph in just 4.5sec.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar will introduce its fully-electric I-Pace SUV in 2018. This has a motor on each axle, making it four-wheel-drive, and a 395bhp output, which allows it to accelerate from 0-60mph in around 4.0sec. The I-Pace can be charged in just over two hours from a standard charging point, or to 80% of capacity in 90 minutes, while its driving range is about the same as the E-tron quattro's.

Mini E

From 2019 you'll actually be able to buy a fully electric Mini E. This will be based on one of the company's existing models, and Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer has said that it will feature "completely new battery technology" to make it far more usable than existing electric vehicles.

Porsche Mission E

Porsche's answer to the Tesla Model S was first shown at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, and is a four-door, four-seat, four-wheel drive supercar powered exclusively by electric batteries. In combination with two electric motors, it promises a 0-62mph time of just 3.5sec. And thanks to a new 800v charging system (twice as powerful as today’s quick chargers), it can receive an 80% charge in just 15 minutes. 

Road Tax Changes - How can you beat them?

VED or 'road tax' as it's more commonly known, has been the bane of motorists' lives since it was introduced way back in 1920. Going electric will negate any taxation, provided it's list price is less than £40,000.

If you lease your car, VED will be factored into your your monthly payment, and spread over the course of your contract, which is nice. But even then you’ll likely to still be paying more than before April 2017. So is there any way of avoiding the new charges? 

If you fancy an electric car, then the answer is yes. Going electric will negate any taxation, provided your car has a list price of less than £40,000 that is, which rules out the Tesla Model S and BMW i8, for example.

2017 Honda Civic

The tenth generation of Honda Civic looks every bit as radical as the last two generations, however this version is longer, wider, lower and lighter than the car it replaces – resulting in an impressive ride and handling.

One third of Honda’s research and development budget has gone into this new car, which demonstrates just how seriously this Civic is being taken, so anything other than success would be devastating. Fortunately, first impressions are good translating into immediately impressive ride and handling qualities.

There’s fully independent suspension at the rear that makes it feel stable, while also aiding agility. Body control is pretty good too, with little roll. This result is a car that can be driven with enthusiasm without fear of the chassis letting the side down.

There’s no diesel option for now, but this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to the current anti-diesel rhetoric as the superb 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine will be fitted to the Civic before the end of the year.

Premier League Cars

Ever wondered what car's your favourite footballer drives to the training ground in? Here are the top 5 choices of the Premier League stars...

5. Porsche Cayenne

The Cayenne has been a go-to choice for many footballers since it was introduced well over a decade ago and it’s easy to see why: big, flash, a hefty list price and of course, that all-important Stuttgart badge all weigh in its favour. Notable owners include Yaya Toure, Robin van Persie, Chris Smalling and Steven Gerrard and, with the range-topping Turbo producing 500bhp, its 0-62mph of 4.7 seconds makes it ideal for seeing off those pesky papps after a training session.

4. BMW i8

It’s not all big SUVs though. Times are changing, and even footballers have the upcoming VED changes to worry about. With that in mind, BMW’s brilliant i8 hybrid supercar fits the bill perfectly. In fact, until 1 April this year, you even get a bonus £4,500 grant from HM government if you decide to go green. Wayne Rooney is known for driving one, while following their unbelievable Premier League win last year, Leicester City’s chairman decided to get on the eco-friendly action too, buying i8s for his entire team.

3. Chevrolet SUV

A footballer in a sensibly-priced Chevrolet SUV? Surely not? No, we haven’t gone completely mad, although Manchester United’s corporate sponsor, Chevrolet did, back in 2014. Following a £47m-per-year sponsorship deal, you can’t really say the Chevy bosses were asking too much when they demanded players occasionally be seen out and about in their products. The likes of David De Gea and spotted driving around in the Captiva, a practical SUV. Like the rest of Chevy’s European range however, it has now disappeared, leaving only the true, red-blooded American Camaro and Corvette on the UK market – something we reckon the players will be thankful for.

2. Bentley Continental GT

As far as footballers’ cars are concerned, the Bentley Continental GT can be considered the one that kicked it all off. Marcus Rojo, Chris Smalling, Jamie Vardy, Alexis Sanchez, Kevin Mirallas, John Terry and David Beckham all feature on the endless list of Continental-owning pros. There’s a choice between a roaring V8 and a supremely refined W12 and, with its British sophistication and Germanic build quality, it’s small wonder it has become the luxury motor of choice for the sporting stars who can afford it.

1. Mercedes-Benz G-Class Station Wagon

Remember when we said it wasn’t all about big SUVs? Well actually, it is. The latest gargantuan fashion bauble to grace the Premier League car park is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, specifically the fire-breathing, 540bhp AMG 63. Despite its rather retro appearance, it’s got the power to make it fast enough to keep up with much sleeker vehicles, while the 760Nm of torque also enables you to pull a house down should the feeling take you. What more do you want for £135,000?