Monday January 20
As you have no doubt now figured if you've read a few of our updates, Monday is car swapping day in the motoring world, but today, instead of heading to swap cars, I am off to Carton House for the launch of the facelifted Audi A8. This is a model we have already driven at its international launch but there is nothing like getting a car on home turf (and roads you know) to see how it truly stacks up. The market for €100,000 saloons is fairly small right now, but Audi Ireland is already reporting good demand for the car including one prospective buyer who is looking at one of 50 limited edition A8 L W12 models. Starting price - €155,000!
While at Carton House the ever helpful Automotive Team (the logistics company that look after a lot of press fleets) swap my BMW 3 Series GT for a Volkswagen Tiguan. Bizarrely, this is my first experience with Volkswagen's compact SUV.
Tuesday January 21
Awake before the birds for my first international launch of the year. Once the trips start coming thick and fast rousing at 4am will become second nature but having not caught a 'red-eye' flight since November, today requires more espresso than usual.
I am off to Barcelona to drive Mitsubishi's new Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and cruising along Spanish motorways in relative silence is just the kind of drive to ease you into the day ahead. Also got to check out some of Barcelona's architecture - why can we not have anything like this here?
Wednesday January 22
Still in Barcelona and time to take the Outlander PHEV on a more representative drive - into the Spanish mountains and a brief coffee stop at a winery where, sadly, only espresso was consumed as the drive from the coffee stop to our finishing point on the coast is another hour away.
Lunch over we board a bus and hotfoot it to the airport where I began drafting the review for CompleteCar.ie, which is then finished on the plane and filed by the time I get back to the office. Read the full first drive of the Outlander PHEV here.
Thursday January 23 & Friday January 24
The Outlander PHEV has been on sale in Japan and Nordic countries like Norway and the Netherlands since last year but as we are amongst the first group of English speaking journalists to drive the car we have a few more outlets who want copy around the world so that is Thursday and Friday taken care of. But not before catching back up with the news, which Shane has been taking care of in my absence.
Monday January 20
Getting back into the swing of things with a very early start involving a flight to Madrid to attend the international launch of the new Nissan Qashqai. If ever there was a car that faced a bit of pressure to replicate past success it's this. Initial impressions are good and looks-wise it is certainly a winner. After the driving we headed up to the 49th floor for a brief presentation that included the chance to talk to some of the engineers who worked on the car - always…
Like everyone else, we love new cars. Why wouldn't we? Driving the very latest models, with technology and drivetrain innovations that never fail to astound is fantastic. We've gotten used to driving cars with 200hp that will easily do 50mpg. It's automotive nirvana. However, we're not stupid. Every day we hear stories of people losing their jobs and being forced to hand back the company car. A tough motor for tough times is what's called for, then.
Apart from the resolute shock of losing your job, there's the immediate need to finds a really…
It's been a few years since I've travelled to the Detroit Auto Show, but a trip that also took in the international launch of the BMW 2 Series Coupé and 4 Series Convertible (click on the names to read the reviews) was too good to pass up so I found myself staying five minutes away from Cobo Hall and with a day and a half to explore it in. I forgot how compact the show is. A day and a…