x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

The Week in Motoring: UK police smash Mercedes window to rescue 'dog'

Plus: Fisker reveals four-door family saloon; Ferrari or hedgehog? That is the question; Chinese face of British stalwart Bentley; and 911 designer Ferdinand Alexander Porsche dies at 76.

The Atlantic will go head-to-head with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. Bloomberg
The Atlantic will go head-to-head with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. Bloomberg

Police 'save' toy dog in car

Police in the UK smashed the window of a Mercedes to "save" a dog trapped inside – the only problem being that the dog was a stuffed toy.

Officers took action after receiving a call from a concerned passer-by who spotted a dog that had been left on the back seat of the car in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The owner of the toy dog, 80-year-old Gordon Williams, agreed that police had done the right thing. "I know Little Willy is quite realistic and if they weren't sure, they did a good thing as we don't want any more dogs dying in the heat of a car," he said.

Williams added that it cost him £180 (Dh1,050) to repair the window and Nottinghamshire Police were negotiating a payout to him.

A police statement read: "The call was made in good faith from a passer-by.

"Officers believed a dog could be suffering due to the heat of the day and its life was potentially at risk, so felt there was no other option but to enter the vehicle. This is a perfect example of why drivers need to think about what they leave on view in their car."

Williams added that Little Willy will be staying at home from now on.

 

Fisker reveals first attempt to crack mainstream family market

Fisker has made its first move into the mainstream production market with the launch of a four-door saloon it calls the Atlantic.

The US hybrid car maker launched the all-new vehicle at a VIP event ahead of the New York auto show last week and it is set to hit showrooms at some point next year, becoming a competitor with the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6.

Like the Karma, the Atlantic is a plug-in hybrid that allows drivers to switch between electric and petrol driving modes and sustain the charge of its lithium-ion batteries on the move. Unlike the Karma, however, the Atlantic utilises a BMW four-cylinder turbo engine, producing 240hp, instead of the GM-sourced engine in the Karma.

"Fisker is transitioning from a start-up automaker to a fully fledged mainstream car manufacturer and the Atlantic is a crucial milestone," says Tom LaSorda, the company's CEO. "We have a long way to go, but in the near future Fisker intends to deliver this exceptional American-designed, engineered and manufactured vehicle to showrooms worldwide."

Fisker says the car is likely to cost around Dh232,000.

 

Save a Ferrari or a hedgehog?

If you asked most people if they would rather have a hedgehog or a Ferrari, it's pretty obvious what the response it going to be.

But for businessman Joerg Daecher, he didn't have time to think it through and, unfortunately for him, his instinct kicked in.

The 53-year-old was driving his Ferrari Testarossa home from work in Lower Saxony, Germany, when he encountered the prickly creature on the road ahead. And rather than hit the animal, he swerved and crashed his car into a barrier, causing up to Dh175,000-worth of damage, according to a spokesman for local police.

Daecher told police that the supercar spun out of control on leaves on the B64 road near Eschershausen after he spotted the hedgehog.

His efforts saved the little guy from certain death but left the businessman with a monumental headache.

Daecher can take some comfort from the fact he's not the first to suffer. Motoring reported on an incident on a major motorway in Japan in December where no fewer than eight Ferraris, three Mercedes and a Lamborghini were among 14 vehicles destroyed in a huge crash that caused about Dh14.1 million of damage.

 

The new Chinese face of classic British luxury car maker Bentley

Long a status symbol for the elite of the western world and also here in the UAE, Bentley is now becoming synonymous with a new variety of owner.

The new face of a Bentley owner is now predominantly a Chinese one as the company revealed this week that more of the luxury vehicles were sold in China than anywhere else in the world.

It's the first time China has topped the company's sales charts. In the first quarter of this year 578 of the 1,759 cars the company sold were to Chinese buyers, compared with 468 in North America.

Worldwide, sales were up by 47 per cent on last year and up by a whopping 85 per cent in China - not bad when you consider each car can cost a customer up to Dh1.3 million.

"Bentley's customers in China, as those elsewhere, value our emphasis on the finest craftsmanship and automotive engineering," says chief executive Wolfgang Duerheimer.

 

Iconic 911 designer Ferdinand Alexander Porsche dies at 76

The designer of the Porsche 911, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, has died at the age of 76.

The grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who set up the company and also designed the Volkswagen Beetle, first devised the 911 in the 1960s.

It is a tradition that every generation of the Porsche family take part in creating a car and the 911 was Ferdinand's chance after his father, Ferry, had created the 356.

The now-iconic car went into production in 1964 and is the German marque's best ever seller. The 911 is now in its seventh version and has been voted in many polls as one of the best cars of the 20th century.

FA Porsche was chairman of the company from 1990 to 1993.

The company said FA Porsche died on April 5 in Salzburg, Austria, but it did not reveal the cause of death.

He will be buried in Austria, though a memorial service was to be held in Stuttgart, the city of his birth and Porsche's headquarters.