Porsche Panamera – Judges Report
Nov30

Porsche Panamera – Judges Report

In what can only be described as the Wildcard of the competition – the Porsche Panamera surprised all the judges at The Chauffeur Car of the Year Awards 2010. The Panamera was introduced to the market in September 2009 and has already sold more than 20,000 units worldwide. The Marmite looks of the four-seat Porsche certainly caused bit of a storm amongst the judges, but the overall performance and even economy impressed them in the end. The Panamera 4S fitted well in the £50,000 to £100,000 category and although it was the lowest scoring vehicle of the awards with 73 points, it was only a few points below some of the other cars judged. Even with its sporting pedigree, the Panamera actually offered a relatively smooth ride, considering it is basically a performance car with two extra seats! When you first enter the Panamera, you sit low and everything is typically Porsche. So instantly, you would find it hard to believe it would suit the chauffeur industry at all. After settling into the bucket seats and figuring out the massive array of buttons which make the dash look like something straight out of the Eurofighter, you can set upon playing with the variety of suspension settings, which will hopefully give Sir in the back a smooth ride. Although the Panamera was returning almost 30mpg which is pretty impressive in itself, the general running costs and space just would be a too bigger issue for most clients. The shallow 445 litres of boot space is enough for the golf clubs and a couple of over night bags, but not much more. Up against the Aston Martin Rapide and Maserati Quattroporte, the Panamera 4 starts at just under £67,000 for the 300bhp, V6 model, and on paper seems good value, but a quick look at the pricey options list could easily make this a £85,000 vehicle. Ultimately, there is a place for the Panamera, and it certainly is not the general hire and reward market. It would be ideally placed outside some of the top London hotels as an alternative to the ‘normal’ chauffeur cars they already operate. Overall, it is an excellent car and if I was in the market for something fun personally it would be hard not to choose the Panamera, but if you are determined to have the Porsche brand on your fleet, then the 4×4 Cayenne would be a safer and far more comfortable...

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Jaguar XJ L – The Judges Report
Oct11

Jaguar XJ L – The Judges Report

In the latest of our full reports from The Chauffeur Car of the Year Awards 2010, we concentrate on the all-new Jaguar XJ long wheelbase which was judged in the £50,000 to £100,000 category. The XJ L took joint second place in the awards receiving only two points less than the winner, the BMW 730Ld. As one of the newest vehicles to be judged, the XJ was awarded a total of 80/100 points which matched the previous shape Audi A8 L. In the Power and Performance section, the XJ was marked extremely high for its outstanding 3.0 V6 diesel engine, producing 275 bhp and returning around 40mpg at the same time. The XJ is extremely quiet under acceleration and it remains that way for the rest of the journey. Judges noted the smooth gear changes, precise steering and also marked the XJ high for its low Co2 emissions of only 184 g/km. The quietness of the XJ then extends to the physical ride from the rear seats. You are cocooned within the acres of well-crafted wood panels and beautifully stitched leather which together make the cabin of the XJ an amazing place to be. Rear reclining seats would be beneficial in the long wheelbase model which is expected to be an option in the future. It has already won an array of awards for its stunning interior which is unlike any other car on the road – you sit low in the cockpit surrounded by plenty of elegant touches and state-of-the-art display which replaces the traditional dials on the dash. The boot is much bigger than the previous model XJ, now offering 520 litres of space which is on paper more than an Audi A8. However, chauffeurs might struggle to get three large cases in the boot, but with the XJ L not being a traditional ‘airport run’ car, then it shouldn’t cause too many issues whilst on duty. In the rear, the seats are comfortable and a high waist line on the car gives you a sense of being protected from the outside world. However, this does have an effect on the headroom available to taller clients. Those who are more then six feet tall, might find it a little tight which could certainly be fixed if the whole rear seat was dropped by an inch or two. From the outside, the XJ is simply stunning. It’s angry but then somewhat elegant grille makes it stand out from any other luxury vehicle in the market. Large LED lights and plenty of chrome certainly makes a statement and there is no doubt that the XJ would turn heads in...

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BMW 7-Series scoops award in competitive category

A total of seven vehicles were judged in the £50,000-£100,000 category which made it the toughest section of all. Even though the winner of this section, the BMW 730Ld was awarded the highest points, the top four vehicles were only three points apart, making it the closest year ever. For the first time in the awards history, two vehicles took second place by scoring exactly the same amount of points. The all-new Jaguar XJL and the Audi A8L both impressed the judges and scored 80 points, just two points away from the overall winner of this category. The all-new Audi A8 long wheelbase will not be available in the UK until the end of 2010, so the older model was judged, but still scored impressively high. Hopes are high for the latest model which will now be entered into the 2011 awards. Judges were also excited to test the all-new Jaguar XJ, which met all expectations with its dramatic looks and stunning 3.0 diesel engine. The XJ’s revised chauffeur programme now makes the Jaguar a serious option with a massive list of benefits which were marked high by the judges. Boot space is still a little tight but greatly improved from the previous model, and passengers over 6 feet tall might suffer with a slight lack of headroom in the rear seats. Third place was taken by the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 350 Long wheelbase. Scoring just one point less than the joint second place vehicles, the S-Class simply offers everything a chauffeur would expect from it. Judges continued to praise the brand and marque desirability, but marked the S-Class down for the lack of chauffeur programme details and massive list of options on our test vehicle which took the price to almost £90,000. The winning vehicle, the BMW 730d took the award for its excellent chauffeur programme prices, acres of boot space and pure luxury interior and technology which makes it the perfect vehicle for any serious chauffeur company. Full judges test report coming soon on...

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E-Class sets standards in under £50,000 category
Sep20

E-Class sets standards in under £50,000 category

Surveys conducted by thechauffeur.com have always revealed the Mercedes-Benz E220 CDi to be the most popular choice for the UK’s chauffeur industry. The all-new E-Class Saloon was entered into this years £50,000 and Under category and was awarded 77 points, beating other vehicles such as the BMW 530 saloon, 530 GT, Jaguar XF and Skoda Superb. With its 50 plus MPG figures and class leading boot space, the E-class certainly provides everything for the chauffeur offering a premium executive service. Although, judges did feel a little more development is needed in making the suspension a little softer, and perhaps more attention to detail inside the cabin. Chauffeurs like the fact little advertising is required to promote the Mercedes-Benz marque, therefore making it an extremely popular vehicle. Away from the badge, the E-Class does offer a great quality ride, standard equipment levels and looks the part from the outside. Although judges were unaware of the chauffeur programmes on offer, the base model priced at a shade under £29,000, it proved excellent value for money when put alongside other cars in the category. Full judges test report coming soon on...

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Chauffeur Car of the Year result imminent

In just seven days, the worlds most luxurious car manufacturers will find out which vehicles have won the prestigious Chauffeur Car of the Year 2010 title. Judges for the awards tired and tested fourteen shortlisted vehicles for their suitability for the chauffeur industry – the results are due to be announced next week. In 2005, thechauffeur.com created The Chauffeur Car of the Year awards, and winners over the past five years have been vehicles such as The Jaguar XJ, Audi A8L and Lexus LS600hL. Now, manufacturers and chauffeurs are eagerly waiting to find out the 2010 winner. This year has seen a number of new entries into the chauffeur market such as the all-new BMW 5 Series along with its Gran Turismo sister, the Jaguar XJ and wild card entries such as the Porsche Panamera. All of these have been tested for their performance, passenger comfort, boot space, economy and for the first time, the manufacturers chauffeur programmes have been studied to find the winner. One vehicle will be awarded from four categories which were scored using a 1-10 scale in each section. The totals from each judge were added-up and the average score was used to find the vehicles total. All judges were from the chauffeur industry and are experienced in operating a variety of vehicles, and know exactly what is required to run a successful chauffeur firm. The results of the awards will be announced in the national media, and thechauffeur.com on Monday 20th September 2010. Photograph: Paul...

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Newcomer Hyundai takes MPV award

For the first time in the history of The Chauffeur Car of the Year Awards, Korean manufacturer Hyundai has received its first award for the i800 people mover. Being a relatively newcomer to the industry, the i800 impressed judges with space to fit eight large suitcases in the boot, along with passengers, and un-van like driving qualities which is difficult to achieve in this market. Rear air conditioning, ambient lighting and easy access to all three rows of seats also gave the 2.5 diesel engined i800 excellent marks. Pricing options were the biggest surprise as the i800 is available exclusively to the chauffeur industry for less than £17,000, with the leather upgrade being a low cost option. Hyundai’s five year, unlimited mileage warranty made the i800 stand out from the rest as a real profit maker, and earned it first place in the MPV category. In the future, judges would like to see a sliding third row of seats which would allow more legroom when the boot is unused, and an auto gearbox option which is sure to earn it even more...

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