Maserati has just released two new supercars and we're obsessed

Maserati has just released two new supercars and we're obsessed


Every year, the automotive industry in the UK gathers on the opulent grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire for the Salon Privé garden party

Maserati

Alongside fine food and drinks (we’re talking Pommery champagne), guests are welcomed to experience the country’s oldest classic car competition, as well as the latest launches of some of the industry’s most prestigious brands.

This year’s Salon Privé event was particularly special, as it provided the perfect backdrop for Maserati to showcase its sleekest Italian creations, the Levante V8 Trofeo and GTS.

Offering the perfect blend of performance, luxury and style, the Levante Trofeo is one of the fastest SUVs ever made, reaching a top speed of 186 mph.

Next up was the Levante GTS. Turning heads with its striking exterior, the GTS’ powerful Twin Turbo petrol engine also commanded the attention of guests.

Maserati

With their elegant exterior accents and silky-smooth interior design, both vehicles truly embody the very essence of Maserati.

Guest’s at this year’s Salon Privé were given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Levante 3.0 litre V6 twin-turbo petrol 350 HP and 430 HP versions, with the riveting noise of one test drive after another elevating the already bustling atmosphere.

Pricing for the Levante GTS starts at a cool £104,900, while the value of the Trofeo is set ever so slightly higher at £124,900. Both are now available in the UK and can be ordered through the official Maserati dealer network.

If you’re keen know more about the Maserati Levante range, you can check out their website for further information on their extensive collection of vehicles, including the VS Trofeo.

The post Maserati has just released two new supercars and we’re obsessed appeared first on Marie Claire.

Masterati has just released two new supercars and we're obsessed

Masterati has just released two new supercars and we're obsessed


Every year, the automotive industry in the UK gathers on the opulent grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire for the Salon Privé garden party

Maserati

Alongside fine food and drinks (we’re talking Pommery champagne), guests are welcomed to experience the country’s oldest classic car competition, as well as the latest launches of some of the industry’s most prestigious brands.

This year’s Salon Privé event was particularly special, as it provided the perfect backdrop for Maserati to showcase its sleekest Italian creations, the Levante V8 Trofeo and GTS.

Offering the perfect blend of performance, luxury and style, the Levante Trofeo is one of the fastest SUVs ever made, reaching a top speed of 186 mph.

Next up was the Levante GTS. Turning heads with its striking exterior, the GTS’ powerful Twin Turbo petrol engine also commanded the attention of guests.

Maserati

With their elegant exterior accents and silky-smooth interior design, both vehicles truly embody the very essence of Maserati.

Guest’s at this year’s Salon Privé were given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Levante 3.0 litre V6 twin-turbo petrol 350 HP and 430 HP versions, with the riveting noise of one test drive after another elevating the already bustling atmosphere.

Pricing for the Levante GTS starts at a cool £104,900, while the value of the Trofeo is set ever so slightly higher at £124,900. Both are now available in the UK and can be ordered through the official Maserati dealer network.

If you’re keen know more about the Maserati Levante range, you can check out their website for further information on their extensive collection of vehicles, including the VS Trofeo.

The post Masterati has just released two new supercars and we’re obsessed appeared first on Marie Claire.

The new McLaren GT has got female drivers talking, and here's why

The new McLaren GT has got female drivers talking, and here's why


Has the typically hardcore McLaren embraced a softer side with the new GT?

McLaren GT

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader

McLaren is probably the most masculine car brand out there: its focus has always been on hardcore performance for the driver, rather than any creature comforts for passengers. With a philosophy based entirely around stripping out weight, fripperies like cupholders have been largely banished to date.

But now this, the GT; the two letters stand for Grand Tourer, a type of car which traditionally majors on comfort and space alongside power for long-distance journeys. Can McLaren shake off its hardcore vibe to embrace a softer side?

Style

While it bears many similarities to every other McLaren – a deep windscreen, glass roof, gullwing doors, low profile and raised exhausts – there are enough differences to make this feel like a departure for the brand, and a car that will appeal to more women, of which there are sadly precious few on the order books.

The bodywork is much more simple, with none of the massive swoops, grills and air intakes present on the rest of the range. The headlights are less aggressive, and the silhouette is pulled low over the rear wheels, elongating the lines.

Inside, although there is plenty of leather (instead of the usual smattering of carbon fibre), it still feels fairly stripped out; there are few storage areas or cushioned surfaces.

Tech

Thankfully McLaren’s infotainment system is new: the previous one was slow to load. This time, the satnav is up to date, with frequent updates and real-time traffic information. The touchscreen is still small, and the air-con graphic denoting airflow to the head is still a racing helmet, but that’s as it should be: you wouldn’t want to throw the McLaren-heritage baby out with the bathwater. You can specify front and rear parking sensors and rear camera, and we’d recommend upgrading to the Bowers and Wilkins audio system. There’s only one USB charging point though, which seems stingy for a GT.

McLaren GT

Comfort

It’s all about the luggage space in a GT, which is important for freeing up space inside a two-seater. The McLaren is impressive here: while the big play is about the fancy new luggage deck under the lifting glass tailgate, which will fit skis or one set of golf clubs plus a weekend bag, the major space is under the bonnet (the engine is behind the seats, in the middle of the car). Here there’s a really deep space, enough for two air cabin suitcases, bringing the total space to the same as that of a Ford Focus.

You can choose how loud you want the exhausts to shout: in Comfort mode they’ll be decently quiet, or you can switch to Sport to open the valves for a real crack.

The ride is still fairly hard (weirdly in Sport mode it felt more supple).

Power

This is where it’s all at: McLaren uses a 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged V8 engine with 620 horsepower; that’s enough for 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of over 200mph. Any bloke will be seriously impressed by a woman at the helm of that, and rightly so (although, if you can keep a secret, it’s extremely docile to drive around town). It makes the McLaren one of the most dynamically gifted GTs, with razor-sharp steering. The flip side is that the ground clearance is that of a hatchback, making this also one of the most everyday-useable GTs: we went over all manner of speed humps in it and never had to use the extra lift button, which is impressive.

Price

The GT starts at £168,000 but by the time you add such things as those much-needed parking sensors, and some nice paintwork, you’ll probably be easily heading towards £200,000. But this is a proper supercar, masquerading as a GT with the help of more space and more gentle looks, and any owner at the wheel deserves more than a nod of respect. There won’t be many on British roads; for the lucky few, it’s an extraordinary piece of metal. Fingers crossed, it will encourage more women to buy a McLaren.

The post The new McLaren GT has got female drivers talking, and here’s why appeared first on Marie Claire.

The iconic Land Rover Defender is back, and with more advanced off-road ability

The iconic Land Rover Defender is back, and with more advanced off-road ability


Land Rover finally took the wraps of its brand new Defender this week at the Frankfurt motor show

Land Rover Defender

The result is a resurgent British motoring icon, with enough echoes of the old shape to keep loyal owners happy in its 71st year of existence, while adding dozens of cool contemporary design cues, materials, clever toys and technology.

The Defender comes in the smaller, three-door “90” version, and the larger “110” version which you can specify with five, six or seven seats.

Externally, you can choose from loads of different paint colours, or the option of a matt wrap. If the wrap surface is scratched while off-roading, it has the ability to mend itself if the sun is warm enough; otherwise it’s a trip to your service centre which will just peel off the damaged panel and re-wrap it.

There are two petrol and two diesel engines on offer, all using Land Rover’s eight-speed automatic gearbox. The more powerful petrol has a mild hybrid powertrain, and next year there will be a plug-in hybrid version on sale. It goes without saying that it has world-class off-roading capabilities.

But it’s the wealth of clever options that come with this car that make it quite such a special model, and explain which you can pay anything from £45,000 to £78,000 for a new Defender.

You can, for example, choose to have a third jump seat in the front row. When not in use, it flips down to create a surface for storage. When up, the middle passenger has space for their feet thanks to Land Rover moving all the controls up by the raised gear-lever on the dashboard.

Land Rover has cleverly split the options packages into urban, country, adventure and explorer. Urban smartens things up a bit with more polished bright metal and a smoother grill. Country adds rugged styling like wheel arch bumpers, while adventure includes a side-mounted metal pannier for carrying gear outside the car, mud guards and a backpack built into the rear seat. Explorer goes the whole hog with a massive roof rack, ladder to reach it and matt black bonnet styling.

You can also choose a strange metal square placed on the outside of a rear passenger window; on the inside, it gives you magazine-rack style storage for something like a laptop, and even includes a charging port there for your computer.

We’ve rarely seen such well thought-out design details that look so smart but have customer practicality fully in mind.

This could well be Marie Claire’s Car of 2019.

The post The iconic Land Rover Defender is back, and with more advanced off-road ability appeared first on Marie Claire.

The DBA Mini Remastered brings old-school glamour back onto the roads

The DBA Mini Remastered brings old-school glamour back onto the roads


The charming Mini is available in many different variations, with each one more beautiful than the last

DBA Mini Remastered

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

If you’ve never heard of David Brown Automotive (DBA), you’re forgiven: it’s a very small, British car company, based at Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, and it builds new, bespoke Minis based on old, original ones, hence the “Remastered” bit of the name. It’s what’s known as a coach-builder – essentially a company that takes an engine and gearbox and suspension, and designs a new body and interior for it.

The fashion for brand new cars that use the skeletons of original ones from decades before is proving very popular, with “continuation models” as they’re called, of various classics such as the Jaguar E-Type, fetching north of £1 million. Which might go some way to preparing you for the price of this Mini….

Style

This is what it’s all about, and entirely what you are paying for, make no mistake. The DBA Mini Remastered comes in many different variations, each one more beautiful than the last. We’ve driven the Cafe Racer and Monte Carlo editions and now this beauty, the Day Tripper. Inspired by the seaside, the bottom half of the body is a matt white paint, and the top half a dazzling marine blue. The interior mimics the exterior, with the seats in waterproof Day Tripper white leather and electron-blue Kvadrat fabric (it’s a luxury wool blend also used by Land Rover). The ceiling is lined in brilliant blue leather with a large electric sunroof in the middle.

The steering wheel is a thin, beautifully varnished circle of wood with a dazzling chrome boss and spokes in the middle. There are knurled silver tips on the indicator and light stalks, more brushed silver on the ventilation buttons and more blue Kvadrat on the dash.

The exterior has chrome surrounds for the bespoke tail lights, an enamel DBA badge and more silver on the fuel filler cap.

The exterior metal work has been de-seamed, which means all the metal joins at the corners have been smoothed out into a rounded surface, giving the car even greater kerb appeal.

If all this sounds no greater than the sum of its parts, the reaction when we drove it down its spiritual highway, the Kings Road in Chelsea, was extraordinary. Everyone had a smile on their face and their phones out for InstaGram.

DBA Mini Remastered Tech

There isn’t a lot, partly because it’s a tiny car, and partly because you’re paying for beauty, not connectivity. But you do get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB slots, DAB radio and a small satnav system courtesy of a Pioneer screen. But this is all about the retro vibe, so the dash is dominated by the original Mini large circular dial showing your speed (not much), with a little dial on either side for revs and temperature. And, er, that’s it. If you forgo your smartphone, you have a digital detox right there.

Comfort

Let’s be honest: the original Mini, which is celebrating its 60th birthday, was never very comfortable, with that short jiggly wheelbase, and lack of sound deadening or expensive suspension, and so it remains. There isn’t much room for four adults, and not much (leather-lined) boot space either. And all that is as it should be. It’s a Mini. The clue’s in the name.

Power

There’s not much power, either, although there’s 50 per cent more than there used to be; they’ve enlarged the cylinders in the original engine to produce 83 horsepower. And that’s fine – all you’ll be doing in this poppet is wriggling and jiggling around Kensington, and whipping into parking spaces too small for anyone else with an immense sense of satisfaction.

A good job too that there isn’t much power because the brakes are somewhat iffy, for a genuine experience.

And weirdly, there’s a four-speed automatic gearbox where you’d expect a manual one, because back in the Sixties they put one in the Mini.

Price

Ok, here it is: the price for the David Brown Automotive Mini Remastered starts at £82,500 excluding VAT, but our test car, the beach-themed one, will cost you £120,000. You’re paying for 1,000 man hours of craftsmanship, and a high degree of personalisation, and something very rare – only 100 will be built next year, and many of them will be exported to far-flung destinations – examples have already been sent to Hong Kong, Canada and, wonderfully, Laos. Whether it proves value for money is entirely subjective, but it’s certainly a little work of art.

The post The DBA Mini Remastered brings old-school glamour back onto the roads appeared first on Marie Claire.

The Polo SE is a welcome step forward from the soft curves of old

The Polo SE is a welcome step forward from the soft curves of old


With a sharper outline and narrow, aggressive headlights, the SE is the best looking version of the Polo to date

Polo SE

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

VW’s dinky Polo has been with us since the 1970s. It’s still hard to beat that combination of German build quality, decent technology and sharp urban design, as 40 years’ heritage and 1.4 million global sales show.

Style

This is the best-looking version of the Polo to date, with a sharper outline and narrow, aggressive headlights. It’s a welcome step forward from the cutesy round headlights and soft curves of old. We had a fabulous “Energetic Orange” metallic paint job for an extra £570 – well worth it.

Inside, the Titan Black fabric upholstery echoes the more grown-up redesign of the exterior, giving the whole interior a classier feel. The leather-trimmed steering wheel is some of the smoothest leather we’ve experienced in a car, which sounds like a minor point but the steering wheel is the bit of the car you touch the most; it’s your daily handshake, if you like, and a nasty plastic surface soon starts to taint your entire driving experience.

Tech

VW has a clever touchscreen for its infotainment system: as your finger approaches the screen, extra functions spring up, which otherwise remain hidden to give you a clearer view. The DAB radio station graphics are colourful little blocks and the satnav is clear and helpful, which sounds like a given, but sadly isn’t always.

There are two USB points but, joy of joys, the Polo still has a CD player: are we the only people out there who still love a CD?! The audio system could do with a bit more bass and a mellower vibe in our humble opinion, but it’s a matter of taste.

The Polo is also linked up to the Volkswagen Connect app – you slot the VW DataPlug into a port under the steering wheel and the car will send your app data on service intervals, fuel level, mileage, cost of recent journeys, driving style analysis and a 24-hour helpline.

Polo SE

Comfort

Our test car came in the SE trim level (it goes S, SE, Beats, SEL, R-Line, then the more powerful GTI version). Although this is the second cheapest version, it’s got pretty much everything you’d need and is the best-seller: electric windows front and rear, heated and powered wing mirrors, hill-hold control so you don’t slip back on hill starts, stop/start engine function, air-con, automatic headlights and a warning sound if you leave your lights on. Pay more, and you can get all the creature comforts of bigger cars – adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection and more.

The three-door version of the Polo has gone, which is no bad thing: rear doors are far more useful and this small hatch will fit two adults in the back (three will feel cosy).

The surprising aspect is how quiet this car is on the move: you expect light, small cars to be noisy on motorways, because sound-deadening costs money and adds weight, but you could travel long distances in the Polo without getting a headache.

Power

We tested the 1.0-litre petrol version with just 80 horsepower, and a five-speed manual gearbox – power doesn’t get much lower than that unless you switch to a motorbike. While you need to think twice before you pull out to overtake on a steep hill (0-60mph takes a yawn-inducing 15.4 seconds), it’s plenty for daily journeys round town like the commute, or school/supermarket run. The upside is very decent fuel consumption – our car sipped petrol, resulting in about 50mpg which is ace.

If you’re more of a petrolhead, you can go right up to the 2.0-litre, 200 horsepower engine in the Polo GTI, which is the same package as an old Golf GTI provides.

Price

The base list price of our Polo SE is £15,735, which feels like a bargain when you get such a smart piece of German engineering and design. Add on that orange paintwork, heated front seats (£295), carpet mats (£90 but haggle to get them thrown in!) and bits and pieces and our actual test vehicle came in at £17,030.

If you stick to the 1.0-litre engine with 80 horsepower, your insurance will look more attractive, and your fuel bills won’t get much lower (don’t opt for diesel because who knows which will be the next city to introduce a diesel tax, or ban them altogether). There are all sorts of attractive finance options for the Polo; ask your local retailer but take your time to think about it; never feel pressured into a deal.

The post The Polo SE is a welcome step forward from the soft curves of old appeared first on Marie Claire.

The new Polo SE is a welcome step forward from the soft curves of old

The new Polo SE is a welcome step forward from the soft curves of old


With a sharper outline and narrow, aggressive headlights, the SE is the best looking version of the Polo to date

Polo SE

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

VW’s dinky Polo has been with us since the 1970s. It’s still hard to beat that combination of German build quality, decent technology and sharp urban design, as 40 years’ heritage and 1.4 million global sales show.

Style

This is the best-looking version of the Polo to date, with a sharper outline and narrow, aggressive headlights. It’s a welcome step forward from the cutesy round headlights and soft curves of old. We had a fabulous “Energetic Orange” metallic paint job for an extra £570 – well worth it.

Inside, the Titan Black fabric upholstery echoes the more grown-up redesign of the exterior, giving the whole interior a classier feel. The leather-trimmed steering wheel is some of the smoothest leather we’ve experienced in a car, which sounds like a minor point but the steering wheel is the bit of the car you touch the most; it’s your daily handshake, if you like, and a nasty plastic surface soon starts to taint your entire driving experience.

Tech

VW has a clever touchscreen for its infotainment system: as your finger approaches the screen, extra functions spring up, which otherwise remain hidden to give you a clearer view. The DAB radio station graphics are colourful little blocks and the satnav is clear and helpful, which sounds like a given, but sadly isn’t always.

There are two USB points but, joy of joys, the Polo still has a CD player: are we the only people out there who still love a CD?! The audio system could do with a bit more bass and a mellower vibe in our humble opinion, but it’s a matter of taste.

The Polo is also linked up to the Volkswagen Connect app – you slot the VW DataPlug into a port under the steering wheel and the car will send your app data on service intervals, fuel level, mileage, cost of recent journeys, driving style analysis and a 24-hour helpline.

Polo SE

Comfort

Our test car came in the SE trim level (it goes S, SE, Beats, SEL, R-Line, then the more powerful GTI version). Although this is the second cheapest version, it’s got pretty much everything you’d need and is the best-seller: electric windows front and rear, heated and powered wing mirrors, hill-hold control so you don’t slip back on hill starts, stop/start engine function, air-con, automatic headlights and a warning sound if you leave your lights on. Pay more, and you can get all the creature comforts of bigger cars – adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection and more.

The three-door version of the Polo has gone, which is no bad thing: rear doors are far more useful and this small hatch will fit two adults in the back (three will feel cosy).

The surprising aspect is how quiet this car is on the move: you expect light, small cars to be noisy on motorways, because sound-deadening costs money and adds weight, but you could travel long distances in the Polo without getting a headache.

Power

We tested the 1.0-litre petrol version with just 80 horsepower, and a five-speed manual gearbox – power doesn’t get much lower than that unless you switch to a motorbike. While you need to think twice before you pull out to overtake on a steep hill (0-60mph takes a yawn-inducing 15.4 seconds), it’s plenty for daily journeys round town like the commute, or school/supermarket run. The upside is very decent fuel consumption – our car sipped petrol, resulting in about 50mpg which is ace.

If you’re more of a petrolhead, you can go right up to the 2.0-litre, 200 horsepower engine in the Polo GTI, which is the same package as an old Golf GTI provides.

Price

The base list price of our Polo SE is £15,735, which feels like a bargain when you get such a smart piece of German engineering and design. Add on that orange paintwork, heated front seats (£295), carpet mats (£90 but haggle to get them thrown in!) and bits and pieces and our actual test vehicle came in at £17,030.

If you stick to the 1.0-litre engine with 80 horsepower, your insurance will look more attractive, and your fuel bills won’t get much lower (don’t opt for diesel because who knows which will be the next city to introduce a diesel tax, or ban them altogether). There are all sorts of attractive finance options for the Polo; ask your local retailer but take your time to think about it; never feel pressured into a deal.

The post The new Polo SE is a welcome step forward from the soft curves of old appeared first on Marie Claire.

The DS3 Crossback celebrates classic Parisian style with a rambunctious twist

The DS3 Crossback celebrates classic Parisian style with a rambunctious twist


DS3 Crossback

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader 

DS used to be the luxury arm of Citroen, in the way that Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota, or the now-defunct Infiniti was to Nissan. But in 2014, the powers in Paris decided DS should go it alone, with no Citroen badges on its cars. While the cars under the skin remain the same, the skin itself is very much changed, with different styling inside and out, and a focus on luxury materials, colours, lighting and design.

So here’s the dinky DS3 Crossback – the lovechild of a city hatchback and a tiny SUV.

Style

What a great looking car: ours was painted a jewel-like amber, with an intricate headlight design, large glitzy grill, swirling body work and smart small tail lights.

Inside, the diamond theme that’s at the heart of DS design is everywhere: on buttons for the phone and satnav, as well as the air vents and window switches.

Perhaps the best design is the seats, which come with leather cut and stitched to resemble links in a watch chain.

Our test car was the Opera specification: continuing the Paris theme, there are also Bastille, Rivoli and Montmatre versions. It just oozes French elan, which makes it pleasingly different from the usual German and Japanese offerings.

So strong is DS’s focus on style above, some might say, substance, that this car split opinion like no other: What Car? website gave it 2/5 while Top Gear gave it 7/10.

Tech

As DS is the premium face of French car making, you get a lot of kit for the standard price: keyless entry and door handles that pop out of the bodywork, rear parking sensors, emergency braking, lane-keep assist, hill start assist, electrically folding door mirrors and a 7in touchscreen that shows Apple CarPlay as well as Blueooth connectivity.

You can pay for wireless phone charging, a head-up display, front parking sensors and better audio.

Comfort

DS might be a separate brand for marketing purposes, but underneath the skin lies a Citroen, from a brand which has “Comfort” as its primary selling point this year. The DS3 Crossback is a small but beautifully formed little package, with comfy seats, and room for four adults although not if they’re all over six foot. But there seems to be an uncanny amount of leg space for such a neat little package, and there’s a good feeling of light and space from all the glass. Our driver’s seat had a massage function and was heated, which seems a sumptuous extravagance for a city car, but much welcomed.

Power

This is a small city car with a 1.2-litre petrol engine producing 155 horsepower, and 0-62mph in eight seconds, which isn’t a bad trade off – we’ve just tested the VW Polo with 80 horsepower which really is too little, whereas you don’t have to worry about getting stuck on the outside lane while overtaking uphill in the DS3.

Our car had an eight-speed automatic which doesn’t feel right in a cheeky, fun, small car, but on the other hand, in stop-start urban traffic jams, the lack of a clutch is a blessing.

You’ll get about 45mpg from the DS3 Crossback, which is a good return for a petrol car these days.

Price

At £32,455 for our DS3 Crossback, it’s expensive for the body shape: if you simply want a small, comfy car for round town, we’d go for a VW T-Cross, Audi Q2 or even a Mini. But they’re all very common sights round town these days, and there is something deeply loveable, and timeless, about premium French cars, where all the care and attention has blatantly gone into the styling.

Nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty, after all.

The post The DS3 Crossback celebrates classic Parisian style with a rambunctious twist appeared first on Marie Claire.



Stephanie Travers on engineering, dreaming big and travelling the globe with Formula 1

Stephanie Travers on engineering, dreaming big and travelling the globe with Formula 1


Meet the woman helping the Mercedes-AMG F1 team reach new speeds, and all from behind the scenes

When 25 year-old chemical engineering Graduate, Stephanie Travers, applied to be a PETRONAS track-side fluid engineer last summer, there was no anticipating just how quickly her life would change.

Now six months into her role, Stephanie travels the world with Formula 1, and plays a pivotal role in helping the PETRONAS team power Mercedes to its greatest run of success in the F1 era thus far.

We sat down with Formula 1’s freshest member to get behind the veil of champagne showers and fast cars, and get an insight into what goes on underneath the bonnet…

What initially attracted you to motorsports?

‘I had cousins who did Go-Karting and worked within racing, so I was very into the motorsport industry from a young age. I really enjoyed learning about engines, how cars are put together and just seeing what happens when a car runs. I then went on to study chemical engineering at university.’

Tell me a little bit about the PETRONAS application process

‘I was working as an engineer on a chemical plant when I came across the application for the fluid engineer role. There were 7,000 other applicants, and I went through a gruelling five-part selection process. I was picked to be in the final three, which involved a timed race through Kuala Lumpur city centre to find the CEO of PETRONAS and have one final interview with him – and then I got the job!’

What was your reaction after finding out you were the latest addition to the Formula 1 team?

‘When they told me I was super shocked – I kept asking them, ‘are you sure it’s me?’ The first thing I did was call my parents and tell them, because they were so supportive throughout the whole process and pushed me through school to help me to achieve my best.’

What does a typical race season look like for you?

 ‘In just one season, our team will travel to 21 different countries. PETRONAS has a trackside lab that travels with Mercedes to every race, so I’ve visited places like Australia, Bahrain and China so far. Inside the lab, I analyse the fuel and functional fluids to monitor the wear within each car’s engine and look out for any potential problems with the car.’

How have you found your experience with Formula 1 so far?

I’ve enjoyed putting everything I’ve learnt at university into practice, and just connecting with everyone within the team. Everyone’s been really friendly and helpful. It’s made settling in a lot easier, especially when you’re away from home for so much of the year.’

How does it feel to be a woman working in a male-dominated industry?

 ‘I was one of five girls on my chemical engineering course, so for me, it doesn’t feel any different because I’m used to being in a male-dominated environment. This job has always been something that I’ve always aspired to do, so I wasn’t going to let anything deter me away from it.’

What’s next for you?

 ‘Completing an MBA has always been a dream of mine, so I might go back to university one day. For now, I’m really enjoying Formula 1. I’m only in my first six months so I’m just taking it in its stride – there’s still a lot more to learn.’

PETRONAS have just announced a global search for a Trackside Fluid Engineer to provide onsite technical support for Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Motorsport in the 2020 FIA F1 World Championship. To apply, visit PETRONAS Lubricants International LinkedIn page. The search is open until 25 September 2019.

The post Stephanie Travers on engineering, dreaming big and travelling the globe with Formula 1 appeared first on Marie Claire.

Volvo proves that it can do no wrong with the latest addition to its SUV family

Volvo proves that it can do no wrong with the latest addition to its SUV family


Volvo

Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader

Volvo can do no wrong right now: this smart Scandi brand built its reputation on outdoors adventure, safety and a sustainable Nordic lifestyle, all themes which resonate with today’s consumer more than ever.

The XC40 is a new model, cashing in on the enthusiasm for small but chunky, high-seating cars that work in an urban environment but exude a sense of rugged adventure.

Style

The first of many big ticks for Volvo here. The outside ticks the SUV box, with a chunky, 4×4 design but the lights front and rear keep that sleek family DNA which spreads across everything from the S90 saloon to the V60 estate. The XC40 is the baby of Volvo’s SUV family, with the XC60 and seven-seat XC90 sitting above it.

Our test car was the R-Design spec, which is the highest level, with a black roof, in Fusion Red – a great, dark red. There are loads of great colours around – Volvo does a fab pastel blue with the black roof, too.

While that means plenty of extra little styling touches, it also meant, in our car, a black leather interior with soft-touch black plastics and silvery metal details. Personally, if I’m going to buy a car with a small rubber Swedish flag attached to it (as our car had), then I want that cream leather and bleached wood interior, to feel like I’m sitting in Stockholm itself.

Tech

It might be the baby of the range, but the XC40 still gets the iPad-style touchscreen with every imaginable function on it if you swipe left or right from the home page. As well as Apple CarPlay (£300), and a pinch-to-zoom good satnav system, I had the Intellisafe pro pack (£1,500), which is well worth it for a family car. It comprises PilotAssist which will do the steering for you up to 80mph, adaptive cruise control which takes care of acceleration and braking, blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert which tells you if something’s coming as you’re reversing out, and rear collisions mitigation which will slam on the brakes if an accident is imminent.

We also had wireless phone charging (£175), which is well worth it in our book.

Volvo

Comfort

Volvos have always excelled in the comfort league. They tend to offer the most space for the body size (the XC90 is great on that score), be quiet on motorways and have soft suspension that lulls children to sleep.

Our test car also had a tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, and powered folding rear seats and head rests as well as a boot floor that can be lowered for extra space, with a shopping bag holder, and storage under the driver’s seat. The powered rear tailgate is well worth it if you often carry toddlers/babies/shopping/small animals…It’s a £375 option but you’ll miss it if you’ve ever had it and don’t tick the box this time round.

Power

We had the petrol T4 engine, which indicates 190 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s not scintillating power (0-60mph in 8.2 seconds), but enough for trips round town and motorway journeys as long as you don’t plan to spend all your time overtaking. In return, you’ll get about 34mpg: while a standard hatchback (think Golf, Focus etc) would have the same leg space and could give you better fuel economy, you won’t better it in a similar-size petrol SUV.

Price

Volvo is making big changes in response to how people want to buy their cars these days. So while the sticker price on this car is £36,985, that’s pretty much irrelevant now – no one buys a car outright any more. Volvo recently launched its Care by Volvo leasing and subscription service. It’s still in its infancy and right now operates like a normal three-year leasing contract, except you can opt for just two years. You don’t put down a deposit – you just pay a monthly price to hire the car. But eventually, you’ll be able to hire a Volvo for a few months, or swap in and out of different cars. Happy days.

The post Volvo proves that it can do no wrong with the latest addition to its SUV family appeared first on Marie Claire.