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Motortrend News Feed: Mercedes-Benz E400 All-Terrain 4×4 Squared Review (W/Video)

The Top Zones - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 09:00

When I was 12 years old or so, I used to fantasize about jacking up my family’s brown Pontiac station wagon on huge off-road tires. I also believe a big-block 454 and a flame job were part of the daydream. There’s a Pee-Chee folder rotting away at the bottom of some Southern Californian landfill with my exact design scribbled on it.

Now, I’m not accusing Mercedes-Benz of digging through my old trash, but when I first saw the E400 All-Terrain 4×4 Squared, my immediate, incredulous thought was, “Wow, I’ve been dreaming of this thing for 30 years.”

What on planet Earth is it? Mercedes builds a wagon it doesn’t (yet) sell to Americans called the E-Class All-Terrain. Think of it as Benz’s Audi Allroad version of the E-Class wagon; the grille is off the GLE SUV, the wheel arches are flared, there’s a skidplate, and it has increased ground clearance, thanks to adjustable air springs.

Now, suppose you were to take that soft-roader and insert honest-to-goodness portal axles underneath it, giving the finished product 17 inches of ground clearance? Well, you’d have this serious, go-anywhere luxury off-roader that Mercedes is calling the E400 All-Terrain 4×4 Squared.

The how and the why are simple. A Mercedes engineer named Jurgen Eberle thought it would be cool to put a station wagon on portal axles. Portal axles allow for massive ground clearance because the half shafts enter the top of the wheels rather than the center. Think Hummer H1. Mercedes has a long tradition of utilizing portal axles dating back to the first Unimog in 1946. Recently, Mercedes put portals on the iconic G-wagen, creating the G500 4×4 Squared. A key difference with the E400 version is that the axles are independent. They’re also designed from the get-go to bolt right into the E-Class chassis. Jurgen got an engineer buddy of his to 3-D print the bigger fenders.

There’s only one in the world, and once teleported to a dingy Swabian rock quarry, I got to drive it. With all that ground clearance, the 4×4 Squared wagon can go anywhere, and it does so in near-perfect luxury. Imagine driving over pillows. Huge piles of pillows. That’s what you feel from behind the wheel. Herr Eberle “wanted people to like it,” so he ditched the All-Terrain’s diesel engine in favor of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6. Should the odd beast go into production, expect to see Mercedes’ new M256 inline-six under the hood. After driving over essentially every muddy, rocky, fallen-log, and water-trap obstacle I could, I strongly advocate that Benz hog-tie the accountants in a broom closet and build this lovely mutant.

 

The post Mercedes-Benz E400 All-Terrain 4×4 Squared Review (W/Video) appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Motortrend News Feed: Volkswagen says it’s Going to Build a Convertible Crossover

The Top Zones - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 02:00

If there’s one thing automakers love to do, it’s chase trends. So even though Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet sales never really took off, Land Rover now sells the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. And today, Volkswagen announced plans to build its own convertible crossover coupe based on the new T-Roc. Expect it to go on sale in the first half of 2020.

The sketch shown above is the only image we have so far, and from what we can tell, it doesn’t look horrible. At least as far as two-door convertible crossovers go. And considering how popular CUVs are these days, it will probably sell better than the struggling Buick Cascada. Then again, based on how few Evoques were sold in the U.S. last year, we have a hard time imagining more than a few thousand of those were convertibles. So maybe the demand isn’t really there.

Volkswagen says the decision was made as part of a new focus on SUVs and that it’s ready to spend $98 million (€80 milion) bringing the T-Roc Cabriolet to market.

“Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand,” said CEO Dr. Herbert Diess. “The T-Roc is already setting new standards in the compact SUV segment. With the cabriolet based on the T-Roc, we will be adding a highly emotional model to the range.”

At the moment, there’s no word on pricing or U.S. availability, but in this case, no news may be good news.

Source: Volkswagen

 

The post Volkswagen says it’s Going to Build a Convertible Crossover appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Motortrend News Feed: Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Volvo V60

The Top Zones - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 00:00

After spending all of 2015 with a Volvo V60 long-termer, we came away seriously impressed by the Swedish wagon’s do-everything capability. It was fun to drive, comfortable, offered plenty of cargo room, and could even handle some light off-roading. It never sold in huge numbers, but the V60 was a great little wagon. Now, however, there’s a new V60 that’s been given a complete redesign and a brand new look. The question is, how does the V60’s new styling compare to the wagon it replaces?

Up front, the V60 borrows heavily from Volvo’s S90-based wagon, the V90. The headlights, grille, and even the T-shaped running lights all look very similar to the ones on the larger wagon, but the V60 differentiates itself with larger, more pronounced lower intakes that give it a bit of a catfish-like appearance. We can see a few subtle design cues carried over from the old V60, but you have to look very closely to see them.

In profile, the new V60 looks much more sculpted and stylish than the wagon it replaces. So while the old V60 made a great sleeper, the new one will probably get a lot more attention. The side view is also where you start to see more differences between the V60 and the V90. For example, the liftgate on the V90 is more steeply raked, while the V60 gets more pronounced hips. Out back, it’s clear the new wagon has evolved, but unlike other angles, the rear view retains a number of the older design cues.

Inside, the new V60 could not possibly look more different from the model it replaces. In place of the altar to buttons that was the old V60’s center console, Volvo added a huge touchscreen infotainment system like the ones it uses across the rest of its new lineup. Really, the entire cabin looks like it could have been pulled out of any of the recently redesigned Volvos. We love the new interiors, so that’s good news to us, but fans of the old wagon’s buttons may disagree.

At the moment, pricing is still unavailable, but look for that to be announced before the 2019 Volvo V60 goes on sale this fall. What do you think of Volvo’s new smaller wagon? Tell us on Facebook.

The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Volvo V60 appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Motortrend News Feed: This Shadowy Video Shows More of the A6 Than Audi Intended

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 22:00

It hasn’t been redesigned since 2011, but the Audi A6 is still stylish, comfortable, and relatively fun to drive. It also has one of the best interiors in the midsize luxury segment. Today, Audi released a new video teasing the next-generation A6. At first glance, it doesn’t look like there’s much to see, but despite the close-ups and quick cuts we got an early look at Audi’s new BMW 5 Series competitor anyway.

For example, the clear shot of the grille (above) looks a lot like the one on the new A8. Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, though, we were able to uncover several more blurry-but-revealing shots that Audi probably didn’t want us to see.

In this shot, we can’t quite see the entire car, but the shape of the headlights and the outline of the grille are definitely visible. We see a little more A7 in the headlights, but the chrome grille looks very A8-inspired. If you parked all three cars next to each other, their differences would probably be more obvious, but good luck telling Audi’s new sedans apart on the street.

This angle is even more shadowy, so it’s hard to pick out specific details. That said, the taillights look different than what we’ve seen on both the A7 and A8. It also looks like the A6 keeps a lot of the outgoing car’s sharp styling. The roofline isn’t as coupe-like as the A7’s, but from what we can see, it will still be an attractive car.

Audi hasn’t said when it plans to debut the new A6, but the video does promise more teasers in the near future. With both the Geneva Motor Show and the New York auto show taking place next month, don’t be surprised to see an official reveal in the next few weeks.

Source: Audi via YouTube

The post This Shadowy Video Shows More of the A6 Than Audi Intended appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: From the Ashes: Project Phoenix is Jon Olsson’s Stunning New Audi RS 6 Wagon

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:11

A few years ago, Swedish freeskier Jon Olsson’s highly customized Audi RS 6 Avant achieved internet stardom thanks to its wild DTM-inspired look and more than 900 hp on tap. It was sold to a new owner and subsequently stolen at gunpoint only to be found burned to the ground. Though it was no longer his car, Olsson was understandably saddened to see the destruction of something he spent hundreds of hours making his own. He vowed to “follow this build up with something just as good,” and now he has. Together with renowned Audi tuner ABT Sportsline, Olsson unveiled his second Audi RS 6 wagon, appropriately named “Project Phoenix.”

Olsson worked with the ABT Individual team to put together this one-of-a-kind Audi that makes 725 hp and 679 lb-ft of torque. That’s less power than the last car had, but it’s still impressive. The custom build is based on ABT’s limited-production RS 6+, which itself is based on the 605-hp RS 6 Performance. In addition to the power upgrades, Project Phoenix sports a unique Two-Face-like black and white paint scheme that’s split down the middle. It also gets dark tinted headlights and a front lip, side skirts, mirror caps, fender vents, and rear spoiler all made of carbon fiber. Among Olsson’s favorite touches are the staggered prototype ABT aero wheels painted in black, white, and orange.

Though it’s not the same wagon he lost to theft and arson in 2015, this new Audi RS 6 Avant is arguably just as impressive. Watch Olsson drive his new custom wagon for the first time in the video below.

Source: ABT, Jon Olsson via YouTube

 

 

The post From the Ashes: Project Phoenix is Jon Olsson’s Stunning New Audi RS 6 Wagon appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Motortrend News Feed: Porsche Promises the Next 911 Won’t Go Electric

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 19:30

After showing off the gorgeous Mission E concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche waited only a few months to confirm plans to put the electric sports sedan into production. It’s currently scheduled to go on sale in 2019, and Porsche’s said it expects to sell about 20,000 a year. But as serious as Porsche is about taking on the Tesla Model S, don’t expect the Mission E’s electric powertrain to make it into the 911 anytime soon.

Porsche released a few next-generation 911 teasers today, essentially showing off the entire car. As you can see, it looks a lot like the current 911, but after more than 50 years of incremental updates, that’s to be expected. The significant changes are almost always hidden under the sheetmetal. But while we may eventually see an electrified 911, the next generation will definitely not drop its internal combustion engine.

“Just to preclude any misunderstandings: the Porsche 911, Type 992 is not an electric sports car. But it could be an option somewhere down the line,” Porsche said in a press release.

When it comes to electrification, 911 boss August Achleitner said he’d had a change of heart. “Two years ago I’d have said no way. Today I wouldn’t categorically rule it out,” said Achleitner. “I drove the prototype of our coming electric sports car, the Mission E, and it was a very compelling experience. And the performance of the Porsche LMP race cars with hybrid drive systems is quite simply sensational.”

But even if he’s open to the idea of electrifying the 911, Achleitner also promised that the 911 will be one of the last cars to adopt autonomous driving. The way he sees it, “Even when it comes to the individual assistance systems, they have to fit with the 911. Those are convenient and useful things. But the customer has to make the choice to use them and, above all, be able to switch them off when they’re not desired.”

Just as the first teaser hit the web, our spy shooter sent shots of the 992-generation 911’s interior. Check it out along with a few past spy shots in the gallery below.

Source: Porsche, CarPix

The post Porsche Promises the Next 911 Won’t Go Electric appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 5 things I learned from the 2018 Honda CR-V, America’s favorite crossover

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 18:25
It’s as American as the strip mall parking lots where you’ll find its cupholders loaded up with Ultra Maximum Super Grande Big Gulps. It’s the 2018 Honda CR-V. If you don’t own one, you certainly know someone who does—statistically, at least. MORE: Read our 2018 Honda CR-V review After all, the Honda CR-V is...
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Property Week News Feed: Best Places to Work in Property 2018: Work-life balance critical to diversity, says Green & Black’s founder

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 17:48
Enabling staff to have a good work-life balance is critical to helping women succeed in business, Jo Fairley, the co-founder of Green & Black’s, told the Best Places to Work in Property 2018 event today.
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The Car Connection News Feed: Sony's taxi-hailing, Audi S6 Avant, Tesla charging stations: What’s New @ The Car Connection

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 15:30
Sony to enter taxi-hailing app business Sony is using its considerable technological weight to get into the mobility app game in Japan. However, in a country where Uber and Lyft are not widely used and taxis are readily available and affordable in urban centers, the software will use AI to predict the movements of cab fleets. Diesel is dead at...
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Property Week News Feed: Anthology secures £47m for Deptford development

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 12:00
Residential developer Anthology has secured further funding to deliver a 276-unit development.
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Property Week News Feed: Rightmove posts 10% rise in annual profit

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:34
Pre-tax profit at Rightmove rose 10% in 2017 off the back of an 11% rise in revenue, the group reported this morning.
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Property Week News Feed: Barratt leads fallers as FTSE ends in the red

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:21
Barratt Development was the FTSE 100’s biggest faller on Thursday despite revealing record first half figures earlier in the day.
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Motortrend News Feed: Spied! Next-Gen 2019 BMW 3 Series Starts Losing Camo

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 01:46

Though sedans are taking a backseat to SUVs and crossovers industrywide, the BMW 3 Series is still—for now—the Bavarian automaker’s single best-selling model. That means there’s a lot riding on the next-gen car, and from the looks of these latest spy shots, it doesn’t look like BMW is taking very many styling risks with its bread-and-butter product.

As we’ve seen in previous spy shots, the next-gen 3 Series maintains a similar profile to the current car that first went on sale in 2012. Now, we can see the sedan’s headlights and kidney grilles a little clearer, and both look a lot like the units on the 5 Series and 7 Series. We can’t see that much of the taillights, but we wouldn’t be surprised if those also draw inspiration from the 5er. Our shooter captured not one but two 3 Series prototypes, and one appears to wear an M Sport package with a unique front valance.

The next-gen 3 Series will ride on BMW’s flexible KLAR platform, which also underpins the new X3, 5 Series, and 7 Series. That means you can expect the new car to lose some weight. For powertrains, the BMW 3 Series should get updated versions of the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 and turbo 3.0-liter I-6 currently available in the 3 Series. You can also likely expect a plug-in hybrid variant in a similar vein to the 330e iPerformance.

The next-gen 3 Series should debut this year, likely as a 2019 model year. Check out the spy shots in the gallery below.

Photo source: CarPix

The post Spied! Next-Gen 2019 BMW 3 Series Starts Losing Camo appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Property Week News Feed: Luxury Mayfair resi scheme bucks super-prime slowdown

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 00:00
Finchatton’s 20 Grosvenor Square scheme is already 50% sold to a range of British and international buyers.
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Property Week News Feed: Social housing specialists mull launch of new REITs

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 00:00
Horizon Infrastructure Partnership and Fundamentum Property have both drawn up plans for IPOs.
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Property Week News Feed: Leisure specialist to expand in UK and US

The Top Zones - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 00:00
Social Entertainment Ventures embarks on competitive socialising roll-out.
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Motortrend News Feed: 2018 Mercedes-AMG S63: Five Things You Need to Know

The Top Zones - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 23:45

When Mercedes redesigned the S-Class for 2014, it smoothed out the exterior design and then added a completely new interior that completely outclassed the BMW 7 Series. But while the S550 was pretty quick, the S63 AMG got a 557-hp V-8 that turned it into an absolute rocket. For 2018, Mercedes gave the S-Class a midcycle refresh that, at least at first glance, looks relatively minor. After testing the 2018 Mercedes-AMG S63, however, it’s clear that Mercedes did a lot more than tweak the options list. If the concept of an AMG-tuned full-size luxury sedan has your attention, then here are five things you need to know.

There is a replacement for displacement

The 2014 S63 used a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, but for 2018, AMG dropped that engine in favor of its ubiquitous 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. On paper, that might look like a step backward, but you can’t argue with the power gains. The S63 now makes 603 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, trumping the old V-8’s 577 hp even though it’s missing 1.5 liters of displacement. Isn’t modern engineering amazing?

It’s ridiculously quick

No car that weighs more than 5,000 pounds should be this quick. But thanks to its 603-hp engine, a new nine-speed transmission, and all-wheel drive, the new S63 managed to hit 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. It also ran the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 121.5 mph. For comparison, the 2014 S63 hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and needed 12.1 seconds to run the quarter mile at only 115.5 mph. It wasn’t too long ago that those were supercar numbers.

You’re essentially buying two different cars

In Sport+ mode, the S63 sounds and feels every bit like an AMG. The rumbling exhaust roars every time you touch the accelerator pedal, popping and crackling every time you downshift. Punch it, and the car leaps forward, pressing you back into your seat. But put it in Comfort mode, and you might not even notice you’re in an AMG anymore. Everything gets quieter and softer, letting you relax in pure luxury. Sure, lots of cars offer different drive modes, but only a few can completely transform like this.

Luxury touches rival Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Traditionally, the S-Class’ rival has been the BMW 7 Series. Sit down in a new M760i, however, and you’ll quickly realize that’s no longer the case. Both cars are similarly quick, but the S63’s cabin feels like it’s in a different class altogether. From the interior design to the quality of the materials, and even the optional champagne fridge between the back seats, the S63 feels more like a Bentley Flying Spur or Rolls-Royce Ghost, especially when equipped with the Executive Rear Seat Package PLUS. It’s also quicker than either car and costs a good bit less.

It’s full of cutting-edge technology

The Mercedes-AMG S63 doesn’t offer the same kind of Level 3 autonomy found in the Audi A8 or Cadillac CT6, but it’s still brimming with technology. If the weather is clear, the S63’s combination of adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist allow it to do most of the steering on clearly marked highways. Drivers aren’t allowed to take their hands completely off the wheel for more than a brief time, but on long trips, it’s seriously helpful. With the tap of the signal stalk, the S63 is also capable of changing lanes on its own. And if you start to get tense, the seats offer multiple massage settings.

The post 2018 Mercedes-AMG S63: Five Things You Need to Know appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Motortrend News Feed: Spied! Is This Ford Mustang Prototype a Hybrid or a Wingless GT500?

The Top Zones - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:00

Considering that Ford gave the Mustang a mid-cycle refresh for 2018, we thought Ford might take a break from testing heavily camouflaged prototypes for a little while. But then reader Eric Cheyne saw this Mustang testing in Wixom, Michigan. Clearly, Ford is testing something, but what is it?

We know Ford plans to reveal the new GT500 soon. We also know Ford’s developing a hybrid Mustang that will go on sale in 2020. So is this the GT500, the Mustang Hybrid, or something entirely different?

 

Up front, the prototype’s massive splitter, bulging hood, and huge grille opening look a lot like what we’d expect to see on the new GT500. But in Ford’s official teaser video below, the GT500 can clearly be seen with a large rear wing that the Mustang in these photos doesn’t have. It’s also wearing a lot more camouflage than we’d expect on a variant that’s already been confirmed and may be revealed at the New York auto show next month.

Since it won’t go on sale until 2020, it would make much more sense for this to be the Mustang Hybrid. But that performance-focused front end doesn’t look like it has fuel economy in mind at all. And according to the reader who sent in the photos, it sounded like the prototype had a V-8 under the hood, not a turbocharged four like you might expect from a hybrid Mustang. Then again, Ford could also be working on a Ram eTorque-style hybrid setup to boost the V-8’s gas mileage.

Of course, this Mustang might not be a hybrid or a wingless GT500. It could be something else entirely. But either way, we’ll be on the lookout for more information.

Source: Eric Cheyne

The post Spied! Is This Ford Mustang Prototype a Hybrid or a Wingless GT500? appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Getting a Diesel in U.S.

The Top Zones - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:46

The new Hyundai Santa Fe just debuted in South Korea, and the automaker has already announced details for the U.S.-spec 2019 Santa Fe that will go on sale this summer. The midsize crossover will offer the usual naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder gas engines, but the biggest news is that we’ll be getting it with a diesel option.

The lineup shuffling described in the press release is a bit confusing, but we gather that this model essentially replaces the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. That would explain the new Santa Fe’s tweener dimensions. Meanwhile, the current-generation long-wheelbase three-row Santa Fe will carry over renamed as the Santa Fe XL. This will act as a stopgap until Hyundai’s upcoming large eight-passenger crossover arrives. The automaker confirmed that model will get an all-new name.

Just like the Korean-market Santa Fe, the crossover bound for the U.S. will receive a Kona-like front end complete with the brand’s signature “Cascading” grille and slender LED headlights. Diamond-cut 19-inch alloy wheels will be available. Hyundai promises the new Santa Fe will offer improved ride comfort and handling thanks to new suspension geometry.

The base 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe will offer a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making an estimated 185 hp. That sounds like the same unit available in the outgoing Santa Fe Sport so expect a similar 178 lb-ft of torque. The upgrade engine will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 making an estimated 232 hp, down slightly from the 245 hp that other Hyundais equipped with the 2.0-liter turbo currently make. If buyers want torque, they can always opt for the new 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel I-4 that makes about 200 hp at 3,000 rpm and 320 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm. All engines come mated to a new in-house-designed eight-speed automatic transmission and will have the option of HTRAC all-wheel drive.

The new Hyundai Santa Fe will get a completely redesigned interior that’s similar to other recent Hyundai models. Base Santa Fes receive a 7.0-inch infotainment screen that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, as well as Qi wireless charging. Higher end models can be ordered with a heads-up display, a 630-watt, 12-speaker Infinity sound system. Though buyers will have to step up to the Santa Fe XL if they need three rows, the diesel Santa Fe will offer an optional “occasional-use” third row.

Expect pricing to be announced closer to the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe’s launch this summer.

Source: Hyundai

The post 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Getting a Diesel in U.S. appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Allsop breaks UK resi record with £8m single-lot sale

The Top Zones - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:54
Auctioneer’s February sale raised £75m, with lots guided at £1m and above making up over half the total.
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