Episode 65 : Happy Birthday Us - Audi R&D Boss, SEAT Ateca Launch, Ig Nobel for VW, MG ends UK production, Paris Motor Show Preview

Where has the year gone? Wow! Before we, at the Motoring Podcast, wallow in self congratulatoaryness we have a show to do! Let's start, with the story that's been our ever constant companion, #Dieslgate.

AUDI R&D BOSS CAUGHT UP IN #DIESELGATE

Stefan Knirsch the Audi R&D boss was initially suspended, then he stepped down, following allegations he knew about the engine manipulation. He was only in post for nine months. To read more click here.

SEAT ATECA LAUNCH

Welcome Light a nice touch

Welcome Light a nice touch

The podcast, more specifically Andrew, was lucky enough to attend to UK launch of the SEAT Ateca, their foray into the SUV market. This is a model the SEAT brand has been crying out for and the importance of this cannot be underestimated. SEAT are very excited about this car as it will help them to offer a more complete range of vehicles to the UK market.

Whilst SEAT expect the car to sell well from the start, the numbers will really make an impact on their 2017 figures. However, they have had an unprecedented level of interest in this vehicle, even before it was officially on sale here. 

There are two main versions, two-wheel drive and 4Drive (SEAT's four wheel drive system). Two-wheel drive has three modes; Normal, Sport and Eco. 4Drive adds Off Road and Snow modes. These change the throttle, steering and gear change response (on DSG).

Andrew had a day of driving versions of the range. He started in a First Edition 1.6 TDI Ecomotive 115 PS 6-speed manual, in Samoa Orange. This one of the better colours, particularly in the UK, where it shows off the sharp lines and smart styling. This starts at £24,305 but with the one driven was £24,880 due to the paint tax. The other car he drove was a SE 1.4 EcoTSI 150 PS 6-Speed manual, in Nevada White, which is metallic. This starts at £21,015, but the one driven was £25,970 with a lot of extras fitted.

The smart SEAT Ateca in it's best colour

The smart SEAT Ateca in it's best colour

The ride is decent, soaking up Manchester's horrific surfaces well. That is important because these cars will be driven more in urban areas than the countryside. The diesel engine is quite responsive, pulling away well, but is a little bit noticeable, especially when compared to the petrol version Andrew also tried. Once you get to 2000 rpm, the petrol engine pulls keenly too.

Interior is well laid out, as you would expect from a VW Group vehicle. The materials were decent, with a nice mix of soft-touch plastics, more robust ones and leather. Front seats are comfortable and hold you well in place. A comfortable seating position is easy to find. The rear seats are a lightly sculpted bench, which will sit three in comfort, although the transmission tunnel is a bit pronounced.

The boot is a decent size, with plenty of the bag hooks Andrew is so keen on! However, there is no way to hold the solid rear parcel shelf (rather than a pull out cover) up when loading stuff into the back.

The infotainment system works well, although Andrew didn't try it fully out in the brief time he had with it. The sat nav is clear and easy to use. However, if you are using a route with many waypoints and you miss one, it doesn't like that!

Overall it is an excellent addition to the medium SUV sector, with a strong look, good build quality, plenty of space, decent to drive and competitevly priced. This car should sell lots for SEAT and deservedly so.

AUDI WINS UN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE

Irony alarms nearly implode at the news Audi has won a UN environmental prize for spreading environmental awareness. To read more click here.

VW WINS IG NOBEL AWARD

Volkswagen's defeat device has won the company an Ig Nobel, comedic awards focusing on scientific work. To read more click here.

UK CAR PRODUCTION AT 14 YEAR HIGH

August saw the most cars produced for 14 years. On the one hand it is great to see UK manufacturing performing so well, but this does worry us that there's a bubble that will burst soon. Hopefully, this worry is unwarranted. To read more click here.

MG ENDS UK PRODUCTION. AGAIN

MG announced that it will be ceasing car production in the U.K. This will result in the loss of 25 jobs. To read more click here.

NO APPLE MAC (sorry)

McLaren Automotive have denied the rumours that they're in discussion with Apple over potential investment. So the Apple Mac jokes can stop now. Discussions were happening between Apple and McLaren Applied Technology.

BMW ENTERS FORMULA E

BMW is partnering with the Andretti Formula E team for the season ahead. This will allow them to evaluate if running a works team will be something they can do for the 2017-18 season. To read more click here.

MOT EXEMPTIONS DUE TO AGE

For some reason the Government is returning to the daft idea of considering exempting cars older than 40 years from needing an MOT, amongst other permiatations. This is very silly, we back Great Escapes classic car hire, in their campaigning to prevent this from becoming legislation. The consultation is open until 2 November 2016. To read more click here and to make your opinions heard click here.

GEELY BACKING BLOODHOUND

Yesterday it was announced, that Geely auto group would be sponsoring the BLOODHOUND SSC project. This is great news for the project. To read more click here.

PARIS MOTOR SHOW PREVIEW

Andrew finally lets Alan discuss some of the cars that will be at the Paris Motor Show this week, after months of leaks and reveals before the reveals in Paris. To read more click here and here.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

This show marks the one year anniversary of publishing our first episodes. Alan and Andrew want to thank each of you who have listened and those that continue to do so. All of the manufacturers who've been supportive of the show to date also deserve a thank you. Without that, we wouldn't be able to inform you about the models they have.

Both the chaps love doing the research (yes, there really is some), recording, editing (oh the editing), publishing and promoting for episodes. They are gratified and humbled that anyone listens, let alone so many who tell us they enjoy it, point out when Alan is wrong and help with ideas for improving the show.

There are plans to continue improving in both the sound and content quality of the show. However, to do that the chaps need to work out a way of earning an income from what they do. Attending events, driving days, launches, testing cars, podcasting equipment, hosting the website and podcast all costs them money.

In Year Two the aim is to start covering some of these costs. Nothing has been decided as to how they will exactly go about that yet. But, we wanted to warn you so you understand why they are happening when we do implement these changes.

What we can say, for definite, is that the weekly format of this show will remain the same. We plan to add at least one Special Edition a month, as they've proved popular with you. Alan and Andrew are investigating creating a series of more consumer-focused Special Edition episodes, similar to Episode 35 where we discussed what options there are for electrified vehicles.

But that is not all! Starting Friday a new show will be released by the Motoring Podcast team, called Rear View. This will be a regular show where we chat with a fascinating person, connected to the motoring world. We would love it if you could give it a whirl.

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