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Motoring News







The mid-sized E 350 Merc convertible combines sheer driving fun with long-range grand touring capacity.

Mercedes-Benz has updated its E 350 sedan, coupe and convertible models with mild hybrid technology adding extra power, smoother engine response and lower fuel consumption.

Five variants are available: E 200, E 350 and AMG E53 with the coupe body plus E 350 and AMG E 53 convertibles. We’ve just spent a thoroughly enjoyable week behind the wheel and under the roof – only when we had to – of the E 350 Cabrio.


The E-Class is the mid-sized model in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range. The current Benz family styling has been adopted with a diamond patterned infill to the grille and the traditional three-pointed start in the centre. Headlights are Multibeam units with 84 individually controllable LEDs with adaptive high beam.

The wheels on the E 350 are 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloys.

The optional Night Package adds some attractive exterior design elements.

Although most current convertibles come with solid roofs Mercedes has catered for the motoring purists by sticking with a traditional fabric roof.

There’s a wide range of body colour choices, nine of them standard or no-cost option colours available as well as two cost options. The standout to our eyes, and most who saw it, was the rich burgundy Rubellite Red in our test car.

Four fabric soft tops are available, we had the matching dark red.


Obviously, as a two-door, access to the rear seats is through the front doors, unless you’re young and agile enough to jump over when the top is down. Once seated there’s decent legroom although the passenger sitting behind the driver may occasionally need to compromise.

To cater for rear seat occupants the front doors are wide and need to be opened cautiously in tight parking spaces.

All Mercedes E 350 variants have leather upholstery with a choice of five different colour combinations.


All three E350 variants come with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine generating 220kW of power and 400Nm of torque with a nine-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels.

The EQ Boost system uses a 48-volt integrated electric motor to add up to 10 kW and 150 Nm for short periods. Additionally, the system utilises high-efficiency energy recuperation to supply power to the battery, making it possible to drive without the combustion engine. M-B describes this as “sailing”.

The E 350 sedan and coupe variants do the zero to 100 km/h sprint in 5.9 seconds with the convertible only marginally slower at 6.1 seconds.


Standard safety features across the E-Class coupe and cabriolet range include nine airbags, enhanced ABS brakes; electronic stability control program; acceleration skid control; active bonnet; tyre pressure warning; run-flat safety tyres; traffic sign assist; and a 360-degree camera.

Attention Assist uses a sensor and detailed algorithm to detect fatigued driving behaviour.

Driving Assistance Package Plus adds active distance assist; autonomous emergency braking; brake assist with cross-traffic function; lane keeping and lane assist; stop-and-go assist; blind spot monitoring; evasive steering assist and route-based speed adaptation.

Pre-Safe Plus helps prevent, or reduce the effect, or rear collisions crashes. If the car’s rear radar detects a potential rear-end collision, it rapidly flashes the rear hazard warning lights to alert the driver.

Specific features in the E-Class convertibles include with head air bags in the doors and specifically-designed roll-over protection.

A head-up display is available with the Vision Package option.


The Benz E250 uses the latest version of the company’s MBUX widescreen multimedia system.

Information is displayed on two 12.3-inch high-resolution digital screens. In front of the driver is the digital instrument cluster with the central touchscreen providing access to the usual range of features including smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; Bluetooth phone and audio; wireless smartphone charging; and embedded NTG6 satellite navigation.

Our test car had the optional Burmester premium sound system.

There’s also remote interactivity with other vehicle functions through the Mercedes ‘me Connect’ app.


At start up the central information screen displays the following warning, no doubt at the behest of the M-B legal team, ”Do not let the system distract you from the traffic situation”. While this clearly applies to every new car nowadays it’s even more relevant to the E-Class because there’s so much to learn before hitting the road.

There’s also a plethora of tiny controls on the chunky Nappa leather AMG steering wheel feels great

We couldn’t have picked better weather for our test and did a couple of open-air runs along our favourite route on the Central Coast hinterland. Opening and closing the roof takes around 15 seconds and can be done at speeds up to 30 km/h.

We escaped from Sydney’s urban jungle, including its numerous tunnels, with the roof closed and found the interior to be quite well insulated. Once the top was folded, we were able to activate the Aircap auto draught-stop and air scarf neck-level heating systems to reduce the effect of the outside elements. Although we didn’t need it, seat heating is available.

Fuel consumption is excellent, listed at 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle. We averaged 8.2 L/100 km overall, managing just 6.4 L/100 km during our two rural grand touring cruises.


With so many SUVs on the road, all providing differing degrees of sensible and practical motoring it was an absolute delight to enjoy a really enjoyable driving experience with the Mercedes-Benz E 350 Cabriolet.

There’s sufficient interior space to almost qualify as a family vehicle although most of the time should be spent out on the open road. It’s high comfort levels, smooth and powerful engine and excellent fuel economy make it an ideal long-distance grand tourer.


Looks: 9/10

Performance: 9/10

Safety: 9/10

Thirst: 8/10

Practicality: 7/10

Comfort: 8/10

Tech: 8/10

Value: 8/10



E 350 Sedan: $129,591

E 350 Coupe: $132,543

E 350 Cabriolet: $146,344

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mercedes-Benz dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mercedes-Benz E 350 2.0-litre turbo-petrol Hybrid two-door cabriolet)


Capacity: 1.991 litres

Configuration: Four cylinders in line

Maximum Power: 220 kW @ 5500 rpm

Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 1800 rpm

Fuel Type: Premium unleaded / electric

Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.8 L/100km

CO2 Emissions: 177 g/km

DRIVELINE: Nine-speed automatic


Length: 4841 mm

Wheelbase: 2873 mm

Width: 1860 mm

Height: 1420 mm

Turning Circle: Not supplied

Kerb Mass: 1906 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity: 66 litres


Front: Ventilated disc

Rear: Ventilated disc


Five years / unlimited kilometres

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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record




2024 Lotus Emeya

2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record


By Jeff Gibbs

The all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, an upcoming electric super-sedan, has set a new benchmark in DC fast-charging technology. With its advanced 402kW peak charging speed, the Emeya can recharge its 102kWh battery from 10% to 80% in just 14 minutes.

Key Highlights:

  • Record-Setting Recharge Speed: The Emeya achieves a 10-80% top-up in just 14 minutes using a 400kW DC charger, maintaining an average charge speed of 331kW.
  • Rapid Range Addition: This translates to approximately 310km of added range in just 10 minutes.
  • Advanced Battery Technology: The Emeya’s cell-to-back battery structure incorporates a cutting-edge cooling system that significantly enhances thermal performance, surpassing many competitors.

Performance and Competition

The Lotus Emeya was tested against several high-profile electric vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS, BMW i7, Tesla Model Y, Genesis G80, XPeng G9, Hyundai IONIQ 6, Nio ET5, and BYD Atto 3. This testing highlights the Emeya’s superior charging capabilities, narrowing the gap between the time required to recharge an electric vehicle and refuel a conventional combustion-engine vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that recharging the Emeya for a 310km range still takes five times longer than refueling a combustion engine car like the Porsche Panamera, which takes about two minutes.

Among its competitors, the XPeng G9 was the closest, achieving a peak charge rate of 320kW but averaging around 233kW as it approached 80% capacity.

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

Power and Speed

Designed to compete with the fastest electric vehicles on the market, particularly the Porsche Taycan, the flagship Lotus Emeya boasts impressive performance specs:

  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in a claimed 2.8 seconds, matching the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
  • Top Speed: 256km/h.
  • Powertrain: Dual-motor setup delivering 675kW and 985Nm.
  • Transmission: Two-speed system for optimised performance.

Official Statements

Lotus Group CEO Qingfeng Feng emphasised the breakthrough in charging technology, stating, “With our industry-leading charging technology available today, Emeya pushes the boundaries for how an EV performs, providing drivers with the confidence to travel anywhere. We’re bringing an unrivalled driving experience in the ultimate grand tourer package, so drivers want to go electric.”

Launch and Availability

Customer deliveries have already begun in China, with the Lotus Emeya set to launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya not only sets a new standard for fast-charging electric vehicles but also promises exceptional performance and driving experience, making it a strong contender in the luxury EV market.


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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing and Specifications: Base Price Increases by Nearly $10,000




2024 Hyundai Santa Fe

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing and Specifications: Base Price Increases by Nearly $10,000


By Jeff Gibbs

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seater now comes exclusively as a hybrid and is significantly better equipped, resulting in a base price increase of $9,450 compared to the previous V6 model.

Key Points:

  • Pricing and Specifications for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hybrid-Only Model Available in Three Variants
  • Expanded List of Standard Features
  • Starting Price at $55,500 Before On-Road Costs

The entry-level price for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seat SUV has jumped by nearly $10,000 for this larger, better-equipped, hybrid-only model, set to arrive in showrooms soon.

New Hybrid Powertrain and Design

The 2024 Santa Fe will be available in Australia solely as a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol hybrid, offering both front- and all-wheel drive options. The redesigned model features a larger, boxier body and includes more advanced equipment and technology. While a petrol-only 2.5-litre turbo variant may be added later to replace the previous V6, the diesel option has been completely discontinued for this new generation, according to Hyundai Australia’s latest information.

Price Increase Details

The starting price has risen to $55,500 plus on-road costs from the previous $46,050 plus on-road costs for the base petrol V6 model. The lineup now includes three models: an unnamed base grade, the Elite, and the Calligraphy, which replaces the Highlander.

  • Base Model (AWD): Priced at $58,500, this is $8,950 more than the previous entry-level all-wheel-drive version, which used a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine. It is only $210 more than the entry-level Toyota Kluger Hybrid.
  • Elite Model: The hybrid AWD Elite is now $65,000, marking a $2,000 increase over its predecessor, which was the most affordable hybrid in the previous Santa Fe range.
  • Calligraphy Model: Prices for the Calligraphy variant range from $75,000 for the seven-seat version to $75,500 for the six-seat version, an increase of $5,450 to $5,950 depending on the configuration.
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior

Enhanced Features

The significant price increases are justified by a longer list of standard features. These include 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual 12.3-inch interior screens, dual-zone climate control, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, all standard across the range. Many of these features were previously limited to the higher-priced Active and Elite versions of the Santa Fe.

Advanced Technology and Safety

Top-tier models now come with advanced technology such as semi-autonomous Highway Driving Assist, which can centre the car in its lane and assist with lane changes.

Performance and Efficiency

All variants are powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack, delivering a combined output of 172kW and 376Nm (an increase of 3kW and 26Nm from the previous hybrid). This powertrain is coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, available in both AWD and, for the first time in Australia, FWD configurations.

Hyundai Australia claims a fuel consumption rate of 5.6L/100km, although it is not specified whether this applies to the FWD or AWD models. Despite the new model being approximately 250kg heavier than its predecessor, this figure is more efficient than the 6.0L/100km claimed by the outgoing Santa Fe Hybrid AWD and matches the efficiency of the Kluger Hybrid.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Prices in Australia:

  • Santa Fe Hybrid seven-seat front-wheel drive: $55,500
  • Santa Fe Hybrid seven-seat all-wheel drive: $58,500
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Elite seven-seat all-wheel drive: $65,000
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Calligraphy seven-seat all-wheel drive: $75,000
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Calligraphy six-seat all-wheel drive: $75,500

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a notable advancement in hybrid technology, design, and features, albeit at a higher cost. Potential buyers will need to consider the improved capabilities and efficiency against the significant price increase.


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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric





Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric


By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.


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