The latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is probably the most aspirational compact executive saloon on the market. This vehicle will not disappoint you.
Unless you have been away from civilisation for the last 30 years you should be aware of the famous Volkswagen Golf. Few cars have commanded such attention as the Golf, with sales exceeding 25 million over its life span. Truly egalitarian, whether you’re cruising down the motorway, collecting the kids from school or zipping off to a black tie event, there is no other family hatch that does it better.
Seat’s answer to the compact family hatchback, the Leon blends coupe styling with practicality. In a hugely competitive sector with a wide choice of manufacturers the Leon holds its own. The model variants are extensive ranging from a modest £12,850 OTR to the scorching hot hatch Cupra K1 at £20,545. Business Matters takes a look
What is it?
A large executive car first produced in 1972 by BMW. It took its name from the fifth series built after the V8 and Isetta era. BMW’s intention was to replace its smaller saloons, providing a clear distinction with its coupe models. The 5 Series set the trend for naming models with 3 digits, e.g. 520, 525 (the first number being the model, the second and third numbers are the engine size in decilitres). Each of the 5 generations of the 5 Series is recognised by a unique ‘E’ number chassis reference.
Changes to the company car tax free fuel benefit for the 2008/09 tax year make the cost of the benefit-in-kind increasingly marginal.
Where Audi really needed to improve its game was in the driver involvement department. With the A5, it has just done that. The coupe features a wide track, its steering has been engineered from scratch, the quattro 4WD is biased towards the rear and the front axle has been moved forward 120mm to counteract understeer. All this work has had the desired effect.
The Peugeot has a very well judged blend of ride and handling and here we take a look at the new 308 model to see if it stands up against some fierce competition
What’s it like? In a city with over 350 years of history, the Langham plays its part, being a conversion of the granite and limestone 1922 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Opened originally as a Le Meridien in 1981, the Langham has an old-world charm that sets it apart from new five-star rivals such as the recently opened Westin Boston Waterfront and the Intercontinental.
The Langham is spotless and everything works perfectly well, but there are big plans for an interior renovation. First up is a new and larger gym on the third floor; an improvement of the stately lift system; a new bar on the ground floor; and a spa in the basement.
When it comes to service, it is as good as you would expect from this five-star group. A request for a jogging map from the concierge early one morning elicited a detailed description of the route I should take along the river and the views I would enjoy on the return leg, and he was right in every respect.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The Hilton London Euston is made up of two Victorian town houses joined together. It has had a few previous incarnations: as a Cora Hotel it was burnt to the ground in 1989 and after a rebuild and refurbishment it became a Scandic Hotel in 1991 and Euston Plaza Hotel in 2001. Hilton took over the property in 2004 and a year later updated the public areas and guestrooms. It looks more like a contemporary town house inside than its exterior suggests.
WHERE IS IT? Off the main Euston road in Bloomsbury, the hotel is a five-minute walk to London Euston station and a 15-minute walk into Holborn and Covent Garden beyond. Week-night business is dominated by travellers coming from the north through Kings Cross and Euston.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? First impressions were good – the hotel felt bright, fresh and spotlessly clean, and the reception staff were welcoming and happy to help with queries such as searching the internet for directions to a shopping centre.
WHERE IS IT? Around five minutes’ walk from Reading mainline station. The hotel has a few parking spaces (£7 per day), and an agreement with the NCP car park for half-price parking for guests. Drivers should plan their route before they arrive though as the centre of Reading is a one-way maze – I pulled up at the front of the hotel, only to be directed on a ten-minute round-Reading trip to the car park entrance, about 50 yards from where I’d started.
You might have thought car rental companies were just that: companies which offered you the chance to rent a car. They do that, of course, but in the 21st century they offer much more. With ever more demanding customers, the major rental companies could not sustain their infrastructures from simple car rental, so came up with the concept of "total mobility": cars, vans, trucks and even motorcyles if you need them, extended rental periods, full leasing, and contract hire to take care of long as well as short-term needs. They aim to offer a seamless system so integrated with the client that it is difficult to move to another rental company.
For larger companies this has enabled the replacement of the fleet department. Taking care of all transport, from a car to collect a visitor from the airport right up to providing executive saloons for the directors, as well as pre-contract vehicles, short-term leases for new recruits and even short-term high-performance cars as incentives for sales staff: all is well within the capability of the top car rental firms.