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    Archived pages: 198 . Archive date: 2013-07.

  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - New Mondeo Coupe
    Descriptive info: New Mondeo Coupe.. 15 June 2008.. Auto News.. Can't afford a Mercedes CLS? Ford has the ideal solution as it takes its family favourite upmarket by offering more style and luxury.. Ford is taking the Mondeo to the max, with an all-new coupé version offering Mercedes CLS looks for half the price.. The forthcoming Vauxhall Insignia is set to raise the style stakes in the class, while the Volkswagen Passat CC has proved there really is demand for four-door coupés.. So the time is right for the ultimate evolution of Ford s family car to take a bow.. But the Coupé s arrival also coincides with the blue oval s increased European profitability.. The company s formula of good looks and strong driver appeal has been so successful on cars such as the standard Mondeo and S-MAX people carrier that confidence among bosses is currently at an all-time high.. Upcoming products such as the new Fiesta and Ka plus the Capri (Issue 1,010) will continue this philosophy.. The Mondeo Coupé s role is to sit at the very top of the range, as a desirable flagship.. And it has some talented machinery in its sights, including the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class.. The foundations have already been laid down by the latest-generation Mondeo, so the Coupé can offer an even more desirable mix of looks, driving dynamics and luxury.. As you can see  ...   hi-tech equipment including the latest touchscreen sat-nav package.. This comprises programmable driver settings, and will be offered alongside Bluetooth wireless phone technology, a docking station for MP3 players and a keyless go system.. Under the skin will be a mildly updated version of the Mondeo s suspension set-up, with electronically controlled dampers giving the driver the option of Sport and Comfort modes.. This will allow the Coupé to combine agile, sporty handling with excellent refinement at cruising speeds.. Engines will be sourced from the top end of the Mondeo line-up, and will include the new 175bhp 2.. 2-litre diesel from the Titanium X Sport model and a turbocharged 217bhp 2.. 5-litre petrol five-cylinder.. There is the possibility that the car will get the option of Ford s new Powershift double-clutch gearbox, in addition to the conventional six-speed manual transmission fitted as standard.. Also, there are rumours that, as with the Insignia, the Coupé will be available with a new four-wheel-drive system, as well as stop-start technology to cut CO2 emissions and boost economy.. While Ford has yet to confirm the Mondeo Coupé officially, buyers can expect the car to appear in around 2011, with prices from 25,000.. Return to list.. Categories.. View All.. (43).. According to Clarkson.. (12).. (20).. Car Reviews.. (8).. Spy Shots.. (3).. Archive.. View Latest.. October 2011.. October 2008.. September 2008.. August 2008.. July 2008.. June 2008.. April 2008.. December 2007.. April 2007..

    Original link path: /news/New-Mondeo-Coupe
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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Land Rover LRX
    Descriptive info: Land Rover LRX.. 14 December 2007.. Given the environmental stink surrounding big 4x4s at the moment, and the fact it's likely to get worse, it's no surprise Land Rover is thinking small.. To get the ball rolling, it'll use the Detroit show in January to unveil this show car called LRX.. This paves the way for a production car in three years' time.. The LRX is based on the Freelander's underneath, which gives you an idea of its wheelbase (and also shows how feasible it is).. But 250mm has been chopped off the overall length, making it sportier and lighter.. Most of that has come off the tail.. Frankly, it looks a lot smaller than that.. Visual tricks to shave apparent mass off the shape include a very tapered rear end, which makes the tail look extremely short when you look at it from the front.. The bonnet is a different shape from the Freelander's too.. Where the Freelander's has raised outer portions, the LRX's drops at the sides.. It's a small thing but it makes a big difference, making the LRX seem a lot less bluff.. Huge 20-inch wheels also make the body seem small.. The LRX has a very shallow grille, a more steeply raked windscreen and a low roof.. But not that low - in fact, much of the apparent lowness comes from the shallow glass made possible by the rising belt-line towards the back of the car.. This is the first wedged Land Rover.. A big departure.. But it's still a Land Rover.. The surfaces have that straight-edged solid feel we're used to, and sitting inside, the seats are still pretty high, which combines with the low belt-line to give  ...   LRX.. That means smart cabin materials, clever technical solutions and a real up-market feel to the design.. The LRX show car is an indication of the way the designers are thinking.. Inside, there are four seats, each the same as all the rest.. They have a clever hinged mechanism that exposes a bike rack when they fold.. McGovern is himself a keen pedaller and reckons most LR owners will go for this feature.. There's a new take on the familiar Range Rover tailgate, where the lower half drops to make a picnic table.. Here it has a bottle cooler built in, and the hi-fi speakers can be angled backward.. Ideal for pissing off the crowd at the Burleigh Horse Trials with your gangsta rap.. Sustainability is a key feature.. Until the Detroit show itself, LR is being extremely tight-lipped about the powertrain (that'll be a diesel hybrid, then).. But the designers are happy to talk about the cabin materials.. The leather is thick and soft and doesn't use the usual toxic tanning materials.. The headlining is felt, made of recycled plastic bottles.. The floor is re-used wool, originally from a fully renewable sheep.. There's high-tech in here, too.. All the vehicle settings, plus your music and communications and nav settings, are downloaded to an iPhone.. Get into the car, dock it and it becomes the starter button and the head unit for many of the infotainment functions.. By day the dominant interior colour is a rich chocolate shade, but by night the whole place is bathed in coloured mood lighting.. Change the terrain response and the lighting changes colour - green for the light-throttle economy mode, red for sports mode and blue for off-road..

    Original link path: /news/Land-Rover-LRX
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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Citroen Berlingo Multispace
    Descriptive info: Citroen Berlingo Multispace.. 03 August 2008.. Jeremy Clarkson.. Sarah Brown, the wife of our prime minister, is a complete mystery.. For all I know, she collects fish, is qualified to fly fighter jets, has two left feet and sounds exactly like that woman with the broom in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.. You even have to say Sarah Brown, the wife of the prime minister.. Which was unnecessary with Cherie Blair or Denis Thatcher.. All I do know is that she looked at the country s 28m men and thought: No.. They are all horrid except for Gordon.. Which must mean she s a bit odd.. And let s be honest here shall we; like all women in and around British politics (with the notable exception of Samantha Cameron), she s not exactly a purring sex kitten.. Things are very different in Italy where Silvio Berlusconi has filled his entire cabinet with ex-glamour models.. And naturally, this brings me on to France s President Nicolas Sarkozy.. Unlike anyone in British politics, he attained high office and responded immediately by replacing his wife with the almost impossibly gorgeous Carla Bruni.. Her mother is a concert pianist, her sister an actress and film director, and she s an heiress to an Italian tyre fortune.. We re talking good genes here.. And you can see them all in those cheekbones.. I m very much in love with Carla.. More than that, I m very much in love with the French for taking her into their hearts.. That d never happen here.. Imagine, if you will, Gordon Brown winning an election (hard, I know) and then ditching Sarah for Abi Titmuss.. He wouldn t last a week.. Weirdly, however, while the French like a good-looking woman in the Elysée Palace, they plainly have trouble with aesthetics in other departments.. Take the oyster as an example.. I have no idea who first cracked one open, peered at the snot inside and thought: Mmm.. I m going to put that in my mouth.. But I bet he was French.. Of course, Paris is a fine and handsome city but the man who dreamt up those 12 wide boulevards radiating from the Arc de Triomphe was called Haussmann.. And while he was born in France, his parents were from the disputed province of Alsace.. Which technically makes their son an Alsatian.. Which means he was a dog.. It s also true, of course, that Parisian women are very elegant but I always think they were put on earth to make Italian clothes look good.. And have you ever been in a Frenchman s house? Holy cow.. It s an orgy or horror: antimacassars, Dralon, floral wallpaper, Formica and chintz.. The minimalist Danish look completely passed them all by, leaving them all  ...   starting to buck the trend.. The C5 is exceptionally good looking.. The C6 has great presence, and if you drive through town in a C4, no one is going to point and laugh.. But then, just when you think Citroën has got the idea, out pops the new Berlingo.. The old one was just a van with windows and it struck a chord.. Oh sure, it looked like a frog that had sat on a spike, but there was something rather appealing about the nononsenseness of a box with seats.. Especially as it retailed for about 60p.. Sadly, with the new version, they ve tried to disguise the window cleaner origins with chrome this and flared that.. What they ve ended up with is a plumber in a tux.. It looks and feels completely wrong.. Almost certainly, then, you will see it and immediately decide to buy something else.. This would be very big mistake.. I ll start with the problems.. Um.. Well, the tailgate is so huge that when you push the button it will rise up, and unless you re standing well back - which you won t be because you ve just pushed the button - it will smash into the underside of your chin and remove your whole head.. This would become wearisome.. But aside from this upside-down guillotine feature, and the British female politician looks, the rest of the car is an object lesson in common sense.. Prices start at less than 11,000, which is very low for something with this amount of interior space.. It rides more smoothly than a Jaguar XJ8 - they should have called it the Aeroglisseur - and it is the first car ever to come with a loft.. I mean it.. There is an internal roofbox into which, I m fairly certain, you could fit a pair of modern-day skis.. And that s just the start.. There are so many cubbyholes and oddment stowage boxes that you could hide a priest in there and never find him again.. The car I tested had a 90 horsepower diesel, which meant I couldn t go very fast.. But on the long straight between Shipston on Stour and Chipping Norton, I did get past a tractor in just 18 minutes.. So it s not the end of the world.. And better still, it should do 40mpg easily.. It s a good car, the Berlingo.. And in these difficult times, it makes even more sense than usual.. Clarkson s Verdict:.. A good car for bad times.. 4 Stars.. ENGINE.. 1560cc, four cylinder.. POWER.. 90bhp at 4000rpm.. TORQUE.. 159 lb ft @ 1750rpm.. TRANSMISSON.. Five-speed manual.. FUEL.. 49.. 6mpg (combined).. CO2.. 150g/km.. ACCELERATION.. 0-62mph: 14.. 3sec.. TOP SPEED.. 100mph.. PRICE.. 11,905.. TAX BAND.. C ( 120 for 12 months)..

    Original link path: /news/Citroen-Berlingo-Multispace
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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium
    Descriptive info: Ford Kuga 2.. 0 TDCi Titanium.. 27 July 2008.. Jeremy Clarkson.. Interesting news from the quagmire.. Sales of tents and camping equipment are up by 40% as the credit crunch bites and families appear to ditch their annual pilgrimage to the Mediterranean.. According to tenting enthusiasts, a fortnight in Mallorca costs a family of four about 3,000, whereas they can spend two weeks under canvas in Devon for as little as 500.. I don t doubt this is true.. But I m not sure the comparison is relevant, because they aren t really comparing like with like.. Arguing that a holiday in Mallorca is more expensive than a holiday in a field full of cow dung is the same as arguing that a Rolls-Royce Phantom is more expensive than hitchhiking.. Tenting works well when you are in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban, but I find it extraordinary that a family should say: Well.. Things are tight.. So let s spend our holiday this year soggy and quarrelling in a room none of us can stand up in properly.. If you are that hard up, and you are so desperate for a change, then why not simply stay at home and cut your legs off?.. It s claimed by medical experts that we cannot remember pain, but that isn t true, because 40 years ago my parents took me on a tenting holiday on the west coast of France, and I remember every little detail of it so much detail that sometimes it makes me cry.. I remember the rain, and the way it cascaded down into the hollow where our tent was built.. I remember the wind that knocked it down.. I remember the Germans laughing at us.. I remember the hateful food mustard-encrusted salmonella entombed in the pungent aroma of Calor gas.. I remember the soggy sleeping bags, the sloping floor, the stones that dug into my back, the lack of sleep, the arguments, the discomfort, the pain, the misery, the mosquitoes, the desperation, the homesickness and my poor little sister s confused face asking: Why have our parents done this to us?.. At home we had headroom and walls.. We had space.. And when we wanted to go to the lavatory, we didn t have to tiptoe through the ooze to a filthy shower block full of yet more Germans with faulty bomb-aiming equipment.. I can see them now if I close my eyes.. All those massive Germanic turds; some not even close to the centre of the 101 bogs they had in France in those days.. I don t doubt for a moment that it hadn t cost very much money, but even today I cannot work out why it cost anything at all.. Nor can I work out why a fortnight s holiday under canvas today could possibly cost 500.. Killing yourself would be so much cheaper and more pleasant.. In every single walk of life technology has made things easier since the 1960s.. We have dishwashers, computers and oven-cleaners that wipe away grime in a flash.. So you might imagine tenting had come on in leaps and bounds as well.. It hasn t.. As I discovered on my trip to the North Pole, it s still an impenetrable maze of zippers, flaps, straps, exploding cookers and tent pegs that have the structural rigidity of overboiled pasta.. Oh, and the skin of the modern tent is still exactly one inch smaller than the frame  ...   with some wellies.. The Cortina was Britain s most popular car back then because there was no choice.. You couldn t buy an Austin because it wouldn t work, and Japan hadn t been invented.. It was Carry On Camping with windscreen wipers.. Four seats and a boot.. British Rail tea.. Today, however, there is simply no need to buy a modern-day Cortina, because Terry s dead, June s in Ab Fab, Mallorca s only two hours away and British Rail, or whatever it s called these days, can rustle up a skinny latte instead.. That s why you ve got an MX-5.. Or a RAV4.. Or a Prius.. The thing is, though, that somewhere deep down inside us is a fear that all this choice is frightfully unBritish.. That we re not really cut out for being tall poppies.. That we should be washing our clothes in a mangle.. That s why tenting s made a comeback.. And it s why we all still have a secret soft spot for the family Ford.. You might imagine that if you traced the Cortina s bloodline, you d end up with the Mondeo, but that s not so.. Today the modern family likes a high driving position and four-wheel drive, which means that actually today s 1.. 6 Deluxe is the Ford Kuga.. Ooh, it s a good-looking thing: nicely proportioned with just the right amount of styling trinketry.. It s good underneath too, with independent rear suspension like you get on a Focus.. However, it has none of the things you might normally associate with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.. There is no hill descent control, no low-range gearbox, no little button to lock the centre differential.. It s almost as though Ford is embarrassed that it has four-wheel drive at all.. Perhaps, in these mad eco times, that s sensible.. Instead, Ford makes a great deal of noise about what a small amount of carbon dioxide the Kuga produces.. I guess that s more important these days than an ability to climb every mountain and ford every stream.. It s well thought out in other ways too.. There are two boot doors, easy-to-fold back seats, a good, solid feel to the interior and an impressive ride.. Unlike most high-riding cars, this one neither rolls nor bounces.. If you have a Subaru Forester or a Honda CR-V, you d be amazed at how much better the Kuga feels.. Except for one thing.. Ford has a habit of fitting its cars with ridiculously hard seats and in the Kuga it s gone mad.. I ve sat on comfier kitchen chairs.. Actually I ve sat on comfier spikes.. When it comes to beds, I appreciate that some people like the firmer feel, but in a car, no one does.. Unless, of course, they are used to camping, in which case anything with a roof and a heater and chairs no matter how back-breakingly solid they may be is going to feel fine.. More than fine, because the model I tested had a neither-here-nor-there diesel engine.. And it was as brown as an alderman s sideboard.. In this setup the Kuga is perfect for the modern age.. It s oxtail soup in a Tetrapak carton.. Clarkson s Verdict.. 3 Stars.. Fun like my sideboard.. 1997cc, four cylinder.. 134bhp @ 4000rpm.. 236lb ft @ 2000rpm.. TRANSMISSION.. Six-speed manual.. FUEL.. 44.. 1mpg (combined).. 169g/km.. 0-62mph in 10.. 7sec.. 112mph.. 22,495.. E ( 170 a year)..

    Original link path: /news.php/Ford+Kuga+2.0+TDCi+Titanium
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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster
    Descriptive info: Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster.. 13 July 2008.. Fortunately, my economics teacher at school never really shook himself properly after a trip to the urinals.. This meant that instead of listening to his endless droning lectures on Smith and Keynes, I sat there, transfixed by the growing splotch of darkness on the front of his trousers.. This meant I was never tempted to leave school and get a dreary job in a bank.. And better still, because I learnt about the importance of taking care while in the lavatory, I have never once been caught by the paparazzi with an embarrassing trouser stain.. What s more, it means that, today, I do not concern myself with Dickensian theories and Victorian idealism when it comes to the question of business.. I rely instead on common sense.. For instance: if you have a product that people want to buy, you will do well.. If it is too expensive, or ugly, then you will not.. The end.. I have some sound theories on investment too.. When times are good, put your savings in property, and when times are bad, put them in a high interest account at the bank.. Background.. Unfortunately, in the wake of Northern Rock, entrusting your money to the men in braces is more dangerous than using it to fund coups in Equatorial Guinea.. And here s the thing.. It is impossible to predict which bank will fold next, which means it s not safe to give your money to any of them.. And because the police are too busy filling in health and safety forms to investigate burglaries, it is not safe to put it under the mattress either.. Gold has been the traditional recourse of the terminally scared but that s expensive at the moment.. So s art.. Someone recently paid 17m for painting of a fat jobcentre supervisor on a sofa so we aren t really going to get much more than a Hallmark greetings card with our life savings.. Land s a nono too.. Clever people whose economics teachers did not routinely wet themselves have already noticed that just 8% of the world s landmass is suitable for growing crops, and with the food crisis in full swing, much can be made from this.. So, farm land in Britain has gone from less than 2,000 an acre a couple of years ago to nearly 9,000 an acre today.. By the time you have found someone willing to sell, you re going to end up spending all your life savings on an allotment.. I have, therefore, been thinking about what can be done, and I m delighted to say, the answer is very enjoyable.. If we are about to enter a period of great economic turmoil with bankers hurling themselves out of the Empire State Building and stockbrokers selling their children for medical experiments, money will become worthless.. So you may as well spend it now on things that will make you happy.. A Fairline Targa 52, for instance.. Or a villa adjacent to Lake Como.. Or a nice car.. This, for once, really does bring me neatly to the semi-gullwing door of the Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster.. I am more familiar than most with the original coupé version, having driven one nonstop - apart from a health and safety enforced break in Copenhagen (which wasn t as  ...   s got presence.. People suggest that if the devil were ever to pay us a visit, he d have small horns and maybe some numbers in his barnet.. But there is some evidence to suggest that he s here now, with an SLR badge and no roof.. And terrible, terrible brakes.. Other car makers have got carbon ceramic discs to work properly, but McLaren, which I think was the first to put them on a road car, has not.. They operate like a switch, doing nothing at all when you first press the pedal and then smashing your nose into the steering wheel when you press it a bit more.. This is fine in a Formula One car when you never want to slow down a bit , but when parking, you do.. And in the SLR McLaren, you can t.. In time, you do get used to them, in the same way that you can get used to having no arms.. And when you do, the rest of the car is a big slice of bonkers joy.. Some say that you can achieve much the same from a normal Mercedes SL.. They say that the standard car comes with a folding metal roof, rather than a strip of canvas, and that it s a third of the price and that it has more toys.. But this is like saying: Why buy a private jet when for so much less you could have a washing machine?.. The McMerc feels so much more exciting, so much more like a racer, albeit a heavy and enormous one.. Lumber is not a word you normally associate with a car like this but that s what it does.. Lumber quickly.. A Ferrari feels light and technical.. A Koenigsegg feels like it isn t finished.. A Zonda feels like you re on acid and you ve fallen down some stairs.. The SLR feels like Jonah Lomu.. And the noise is extraordinary.. No car sounds like this.. It s a big, dirty, bassy rumble.. My daughter said it sounded like a big fart.. She s right.. A massive, amplified fart from hell.. It is unique.. Nothing else combines genuine blitzkrieg power with such everyday normality.. Seriously.. As you are carried by the Devil s Wind, you have the leather seats, the sat nav and all the usual Mercedes bits and pieces.. My only real gripe in this department is the roof, which is only partly electric.. That s to save weight, said the man from McLaren.. Yeah, right.. I liked this car even more than I liked the coupé; but normally, of course, I would never dream of urging anyone to actually buy one.. And not just because of the penny-pinching roof mechanism and the braking system.. I wouldn t recommend it because if I had 350,000 sitting about, I d use it to buy a bond of some sort.. Now, though? Would you rather give your money to a banker so he can go bust with it or would you rather drive through the recession at 200mph in a big black Mercedes SLR McLaren?.. 5439cc, eight cylinders.. 617bhp @ 6500rpm.. 575lb ft @ 3250rpm.. Five-speed auto.. 14.. 5mpg (combined) CO2 348g/km.. 0-62mph: 3.. 8sec.. 207mph.. 346,570.. G ( 400 for 12 months).. Clarkson s Verdict.. Sell your house and buy this Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster..

    Original link path: /news/Mercedes-SLR-McLaren-Roadster
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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Porsche 911 Carrera GT2
    Descriptive info: Porsche 911 Carrera GT2.. 06 July 2008.. Golf is not mysterious.. I understand absolutely why someone would play it once.. and then decide to play it again.. It s not because they have a Rupert Bear fixation or because they dislike the company of women or because they secretly want to be a freemason.. No.. It s because they think that if they keep playing, they might get a bit better.. Luckily, I was born with a body that renders me quite incapable of doing anything very well.. Which means I never suffer from this.. Chess? I m rubbish.. Tennis? I m so spectacularly bad, I can only just beat Jimmy Carr.. DIY? For me this is simply impossible.. Even if I attempt something simple, such as hanging a picture, I end up in casualty, the painting ends up ruined and the wall ends up in the garden.. So when I played golf for the first time, I knew there would never be a second.. There would be no point.. Even if I played every day for 1,000 years, the ball would still never travel more than 6in.. And in all probability I d end up with a severed jugular vein.. That s what happened when I tried to help my boy make an Airfix model the other day.. This is a good thing, of course, because it means my life is varied and interesting.. I never do the same thing twice whereas someone who has a hobby does exactly the same thing day after interminable day.. James May, for instance, enjoys taking old motorcycle engines to pieces and then putting them back together again, as slowly as possible.. Consequently, this is all he does.. Chris Tarrant, meanwhile, likes to spend all his free time standing up to his testicles in dirty water trying to outwit a fish; a creature with less brain capacity than a washing machine.. This brings us on to the Porsche 911, a car aimed at people for whom the drive to work every morning is not a chore or a pleasure.. It is a pastime, a hobby.. Something that can be improved and finessed with practice.. Sometimes, I imagine that 911 people go to work, turn round and then go to work again.. People buy Ferraris and Lamborghinis because cars like this effervesce.. They fizz and crackle and they re as much about style and panache as they are about generating G in the bends.. A 911, on the other hand, is not about style at all.. It s fishing, with a steering wheel.. When you buy a normal car, you choose the model, choose the engine size you d like and then add as many extras as you think you can afford.. Then a few you can t.. It is not so simple with a 911.. The range is mind boggling.. It starts with the simple Carrera, which has no frills, no spoiler on which the RAF could land a jet, no wide wheelarch-es, no turbocharging.. You get a simple 3.. 6 litre, flat six that drives the rear wheels.. This, then, is the starting point.. My little pony.. If you go for the 3.. 8 litre S model, it is the best of the 911s.. It offers all of the design s best features with none of the drawbacks, at a reasonable price.. But sadly, once  ...   road and by the time the manoeuvre was complete, I was doing 165mph.. That is not a boast.. That is a fact.. And if anyone asks, I shall say I was on the Isle of Man.. I then went to the track, where I discovered that the GT2 can lap more quickly than a Ferrari Scuderia.. This is astonishing.. A Ferrari has nocarpets, an electronic differential, sophisticated traction control, adjustable suspension and a flappy paddle box that can shift gears in 60 milliseconds.. The Porsche has none of these things.. Just its big muscle and a basic six-speed manual.. And yet it was faster.. This alone would be enough to get the hobby-boys chortling into their G and Ts.. And there s more.. The GT2 handles like an old-school 911.. Push it hard into a corner with the traction control turned off and you have yards of nasty understeer which, no matter what you do to correct the problem, results in a violent lurch from the rear: 911 fans love this.. They reckon that being able to tame this problem makes them men among men.. But for me, as a man who can t do anything properly, it s a bloody nightmare.. The grip from a GT2 is biblical.. In a bend, you can feel the G-forces peeling your muscles from their mountings.. But when you exceed the limits and what s the point of a car like this if you don t at least try you are almost certainly going to spin.. On a road, the problems are even worse principally it s all far too firm.. Anyone who knows where the A40 blends, in a nice right-hander, onto the M40 just outside Oxford knows about the bump at the apex of the corner.. In most cars it s nothing to worry about.. In a GT2, however, you take off and don t land till you re in Hil-lingdon.. Good for the fuel consumption, I guess.. But bad for your nerves.. It was much the same story last night.. There s a crest on a B road near where I live, and in most cars the traction control light flickers as you go over it.. The GT2, however, slewed sideways.. Suddenly.. It was extremely alarming.. I may even have wet myself a bit.. And then there s the tyre roar.. The GT2 has giant 325/30 rear tyres and, boy, do they make a racket.. Even on a smooth modern motorway you cannot hear yourself think.. I hated this car.. Yes, the speed is mesmerising.. Epic.. But the price is too high.. It s too difficult, too much like hard work and the only rewards if you push it are a series of terrifying and unpredictable lurches.. Think of it as a carbon fibre fishing rod.. It will make you look serious and keen among your peers.. But one day, you re going to snag it on an overhead power line.. And as you lie in hospital afterwards, with no face and melted feet, you re going to wish you d stuck with a bamboo cane and a piece of string.. It s too hot and too hard to handle.. Vital statistics.. 3600cc, six cylinders.. 530bhp @ 6500rpm.. 501 lb ft @ 2200rpm.. TRANSMISSION.. 6 speed manual.. 22.. 6mpg (combined) CO2 298g/km.. PERFORMANCE.. 204mph PRICE 131,070.. ROAD TAX.. BAND G ( 400 a year)..

    Original link path: /news/Porsche-911-Carrera-GT2
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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - BMW M3 convertible
    Descriptive info: BMW M3 convertible.. 01 July 2008.. It s my job, each week, to come here and write about flowers, frogs, foxes and fornication and then, towards the end, say a little bit about the car I ve been driving.. It is not my job to tell the motor manufacturers what to do.. Some of my colleagues in this auto journalism malarkey are an extension of the car industry, shaping its policy and directing future operations.. They are clever.. They can understand and explain torque.. I can t.. I m just a punter, test-driving cars and saying whether I like them or not.. Normally, then, I would say that the satellite navigation system used by BMW is rubbish and move on.. But with petrol at 400 a litre, we can t afford to be wasting the stuff by driving to the shops via Dorset every morning.. So, today, I shall break with tradition and urge BMW to talk to its sat nav suppliers, with some steely-eyed, Germanic sternness.. The system in the M3 I had last week did not know about the A43.. It has no clue that the M25 is connected to central London by the A40.. And it had never heard of the Fosse Way, even though it s been around for 2,000 years.. Wednesday, I needed to drive from London to Corby, which, in my mind, was just a few miles from the A1.. But the madman in the M3 s dashboard had never heard of the Great North Road and was adamant I should use the M1.. So I did.. Big mistake.. Back in 1959, the M1 was a wondrous thing, a big grey superhighway for people on the move.. It had a point.. It had a purpose.. Back then the government took our money in taxes and used it to make our lives better with new roads.. Now, it uses those roads as a device for making money to fund the government.. The M1 has become nothing more than a cash cow.. They say that they are widening the carriageways from London to Watford, and they probably are.. But when work moves this slowly, it s hard to be sure that they re telling the truth.. What we do know is that by putting cones on the hard shoulder, they can claim that roadworks are happening and this means, of course, they can impose extra low speed limits to protect the workforce.. How this is possible I don t know, since the workforce is all in Dublin, drinking Guinness.. But no matter.. To enforce the 50mph limit, they have erected average speed cameras not just over a short stretch but for nearly 20 miles.. And so, onwards you trudge, at caveman speeds not daring to look up from your speedometer in case you accidentally do 53 for a while.. This would then require some mental maths to work out how far you d have to travel at 47 to bring your average down again.. And since we know we can t use a mobile phone while driving because it s a distraction, we can be fairly certain, calculators aren t allowed either.. It s absurd.. Plainly, the M1 is no longer what the politicians now insist on calling fit for purpose.. Endlessly widening it means it s endlessly narrower and even more useless than if they d left it alone in the first place.. They should give up and simply build another six-lane highway that runs in parallel.. There is time to think about all this, and exactly where you d shoot objectors, as you crawl  ...   to B.. The saloon version is even better.. It doesn t have a carbon fibre roof, which makes no difference at all, but it does have four doors and a bigger boot, which means your children can come too.. And it s a little bit cheaper.. The new convertible version, however, has a problem.. Taking the roof off, say, a Peugeot doesn t really matter.. Who cares if it s all floppy as a result.. It was never built to be the ultimate driving machine in the first place.. The problem is that BMW s M cars are built to be the last word in precision, handling, fun, grip and speed.. And if you take the roof off, you are sacrificing torsional rigidity, which means you are sacrificing precision, handling, fun, grip and speed.. You are therefore removing the whole point of the car.. It s much the same story with the Porsche 911.. You can feel the floppiness as you drive along.. There s a vibration in the steering wheel and a sense that all is not quite right in the corners.. You can feel the weight too.. It feels all the time like you re dragging an anchor.. It wouldn t be so bad if BMW had stuck with a canvas roof, but due to perfectly sensible market demand, it s gone instead for the folding metal option.. It really doesn t work because apart from the extra metalwork this requires, the styling is hopeless.. To get the back window to fold into the boot, it doesn t slope like it should.. Instead it rises like a small cliff from the base of the boot.. This allows the roof itself to split in two and stack underneath it before folding into the boot.. It s all very clever but you don t half feel like a show-off if you press the button in public.. And good though the Germans may be, you just know that, five years from now, it s going to jam.. Other things? Well, although back seats are fitted, God has not yet made a creature that would fit in them, and with the roof stowed, the boot is useful only if you are a naturist.. So, to conclude.. The new 4 litre V8: very good.. Lovely.. Nice noise.. Lots of power and bags of torque, whatever that is.. The ride: excellent.. Here at last is proof are you listening, Mercedes? that a sporty car does not have to shake your eyeballs out of their sockets.. I also like the system that uses energy from the brakes to power the electrical appliances.. This means the alternator has less to do and consequently takes less power from the engine.. That s good for fuel economy, slightly.. But there s no getting away from the fact that if you want a convertible, you are better off with an Audi RS 4 or a Mercedes.. And if you want an M3, you are better off with the coupé or saloon.. Just be aware.. Until BMW sorts out the stupid sat nav system, you will also have to invest in a portable TomTom.. Because if you rely on the idiot in the dash, you re going to spend the rest of your life in Guildford, looking for Edinburgh Castle.. Model.. Engine.. 3999cc, eight cylinders.. Power.. 420bhp @ 8300rpm.. Torque.. 295lb ft @ 3900rpm.. Transmission.. Fuel.. 21mpg (combined cycle) CO2 309g/km.. Acceleration.. 0-62mph: 5.. 3sec.. Top speed.. 155mph.. Price.. 54,760.. Road tax.. band G ( 400 for 12 months).. On sale.. Now.. Rating.. 2 stars.. Verdict.. Compromised and confused cabrio..

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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder
    Descriptive info: Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder.. If I were to walk round a modern-day motor show featuring all the latest cars with all their clever electronic gizmos, there might be one, or maybe two, that I d think seriously of buying.. While walking round a field in Leicestershire recently, I found about 200 cars that I d have gladly swapped one of my kidneys for.. There were a few I d have swapped my heart for.. It was the Auto Italia festival, an event at which thousands of car enthusiasts spend the day demonstrating who is best with a vacuum cleaner.. They even have a competition to see who has the cleanest car.. It is ridiculous.. If you delve behind the preposterously lacquered paint and the Mr Sheened dashboards, however, you are left with acre after acre of machinery that will leave you breathless with desire.. I wanted everything.. And I m not talking here about the fields full of Ferraris.. Mostly, they were crummy 348s, which had wooden tyres and suspension made from old pianos.. Nor was I overly bothered by the Lambos either.. Owning a Countach or a Diablo is just another way of saying that you are deformed.. The stuff that blew my trousers off was the humdrum 1970s cars from Fiat, Alfa Romeo and most of all, surprisingly, Lancia.. Let us begin our romp down the autostrada of yesteryear with the Lancia Montecarlo.. Early models were plagued with a tendency to lock up their front brakes and so Lancia took the unusual step of removing it from production while the problem was addressed.. A year passed and everyone assumed the little sports car had gone for good.. But no.. Lancia then rereleased it, saying it had cured the issue by removing the servo.. In other words, it had simply made the back brakes perform as badly as those at the front.. Brilliant.. Provided you never want to stop, you can buy a Montecarlo these days, in good condition, for about 4,000.. And for that you get a 2 litre twin-cam mid-engined sports car with, if you want, a folding canvas roof, tweed seats and looks that could melt a girl s face.. I decided after about 10 minutes that I didn t want one at all.. I needed one.. It was more pressing than my next breath.. I even started offering one owner some money and then, when that didn t work, some quiet threats.. Look, I whispered.. This car will be no good to you if you have lost your legs.. And you will, sunshine, if you don t sell it to me.. His dignity was saved because, while threatening to burn his house down, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a selection of Fulvias.. By modern standards, the Lancia Fulvia is not much to write home about.. It has carthorse suspension at the back, a setup that s weirdly complicated at the front and a 1.. 6 litre V4 engine that, in the HF, develops just 115bhp.. Fast? Well yes, but only if you are a visiting Victorian, or you are used to driving a Motability shopping scooter.. However, they are balls-achingly pretty and one of the show cars belonged to an old mate.. Hello, John, I said cheerily but with a hint of Stanislavski menace.. Would you like to sell me your car or would you like me to stab you in the throat and get the crowd to cheer as you gout arterial blood all over everywhere? Because those are your only choices.. Happily, from his point of view, I realised  ...   Alfa s quad-cam, fuel-injected V8.. Now with 2.. 6 litres, it developed 200bhp and had a top speed of 137mph.. In 1970 that was lots.. Above the racing heart was a body that had been styled by Bertone and garnished with all sorts of beautiful adornments it simply didn t need.. Such as six air vents in each rear pillar and grilles over the headlamps that retracted when the lights were switched on.. Or, rather, being Italian, didn t retract when the lights were switched on.. Of course the Montreal was a catastrophic sales failure.. Fewer than 4,000 had been made before it was officially discontinued in 1977.. But most people believe they stopped making it years before that and had simply spent the time shifting unsold stock.. This is what makes it stand out today.. It s what made so many of those cars in that Leicestershire field stand out.. They were not made to make their makers money.. They were made by enthusiasts because making cars, when you re a car maker, should be fun.. They were, in short, Italian.. Did the world need a Fiat X1/9 or an Abarth version of the 500? Cars such as this and the Montreal, the Montecarlo, the Fulvia and countless more besides were, in the 1970s and 1980s, dream cars.. And they remain so.. I yearn to own them all because they are beautiful and they are interesting and they were designed by people who truly loved cars.. And that, rather late in the day, brings me on to the Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder.. I have a sneaking suspicion that Porsche is now the only car maker left that s still motivated by the same things that motivated the Italian car companies of yore.. There is no Porsche econo-box.. The 911 still puts its horsepower at the back.. And when the firm did finally follow fashion and build a 4x4, it gave it a sodding great turbo.. Porsches do not sound like other cars.. And they do not drive like other cars.. They drive.. how can I put this? Better.. This is not a volte-face.. For reasons I don t understand, I still do not want one, but that is not relevant here.. If I put on the hat of an impartial reviewer, ignore the badge and concentrate on the RS 60 as a piece of machinery, I m forced to conclude it s wonderful.. Yes, it looks silly, the driving position is cramped and the interior colour on this limited-edition special is exactly the same colour as a cow s bottom just after it s given birth.. I must also say I cannot see how it s worth 5,405 more than a normal S.. All you get is bigger wheels, a button to make the exhaust noisier and a dribble of extra power.. But those are details.. The package is superb.. The way it steers, the way it rides, the way it grips.. It makes you fizz and shiver in a way other cars do not.. I drove it on the Fosse Way with the roof down the other night.. There was no other traffic.. The sun was out.. The countryside looked stunning.. And then, as Nessun Dorma came on the radio, I started to smile.. Because and this is the highest compliment I can give to any car in these profit-and-loss times it felt Italian.. Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder.. 3386cc, six cylinders.. Power.. 303bhp @ 6250rpm.. 251 lb ft @ 4400rpm.. Six-speed manual.. CO2 25.. 7mph (combined cycle) 262g/km.. 4sec.. 165mph.. 45,400.. So good, it ought to be Italian..

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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Ford Focus CC
    Descriptive info: Ford Focus CC.. 22 April 2007.. As I write, the Grand National has just been run in a bath of warm sunshine, Chelsea have beaten Blackburn in temperatures better suited to cooking meat, and the newspapers are filled with gloating pictures of people being all wet and soggy in the Costas.. Britain, we re told, is hotter than Athens.. Which isn t so much a piece of news as a yah boo sucks to the poor bastards who ve shelled out for an Easter holiday in the Med.. I think this is a rather mean trait, especially since I recently spent two weeks in Barbados under a dome of grey skies and light drizzle.. We ve never known anything like it, said the locals, as though that might make us feel better.. The Daily Telegraph certainly didn t, with endless shots of pretty young girls frolicking in the daffodils back home.. The captions didn t say, Hey w****** in the Caribbean.. How do you feel now?.. But that was the inference.. We all want a holiday once in a while I can t see what s wrong with that: it s not paedophilia and all we want from our holiday is a bit of sunshine.. It s not much to ask; a bit of skin cancer to go with your chablis.. So why should those at home be encouraged to laugh if it s grey and miserable?.. Oh, I m long past the age when I care two hoots about a tan.. In the past I d stake myself out on a day bed and lie there blinking the sweat out of my eyes and rubbing Mazola into my secret gentleman s areas.. This would make me look rich when I got home.. But by the age of 37 I d realised that most of my hard-earned brownness would be left in a series of unpleasant flakes on the homeward-bound aeroplane seat.. So I d arrive back at Heathrow with one completely see-through layer of skin straining to stop my internal organs sploshing all over the luggage carousel.. And I d be in screaming agony because I always always always forgot to put sun cream on the top of my feet.. So they looked like championship salamis.. And it got worse when my hair started to recede, because then my afro was no longer able to protect the top of my head.. The result was that every morning my pillow was covered in what can only be described as a Guardian reader s lunch.. That s why I gave up sunbathing and decided to spend my time under a hat, a tree and a roof.. It shouldn t really matter, therefore, that I had lousy weather in the Caribbean this year.. And yet it did.. Sunshine, whether I m in it or indoors looking at it, lifts my world and my spirits.. I think more clearly, I write more coherently.. I feel better.. A while back some American doctor, who wanted some money, came up with the concept of seasonal affective disorder, or Sad.. You may think it s idiotic, suggesting that people get depressed if they don t see the sun for long periods.. You may argue it s just an excuse for Scottish miserabilism.. But genetically I think I may be 98% bear, with a sprinkling of hedgehog.. All I know is that a bougainvillea bush on a grey day is just another plant.. In the sunshine it  ...   picked out in the overnight cobwebs and you have an excuse for putting on your Aviators and listening to some Don Henley.. This brings me on to the Ford Focus CC, which like most of the mid-range convertibles these days has a metal roof that folds electrically into the boot.. On paper this sounds good.. It means that when you re driving with the roof up it s as quiet and as refined as a normal saloon.. And when it s parked the roof cannot be slashed by vandals.. There are, however, some drawbacks.. In order to fit into the boot a roof that is big enough to shield four adults the rear end must be as big as an aircraft carrier.. You only need look at Peugeot s effort to see the ugliness that can result.. What s more, you are bound to end up with very little space for rear passengers, and when the roof is down almost no boot space at all.. At first it looks like the Ford suffers from all these problems and more.. The extra weight, thanks to all the ironmongery, means the 1.. 6 litre version will barely move.. Unless you want a diesel, you really have to go for the 2 litre, and even this struggles.. And despite the best efforts of Ford s chassis engineers, who are some of the best in the business at the moment, it s not what you d call a sprightly point-and-squirt car.. It feels like you re driving around in Al Gore.. So yes, you get the vandal-proof roof but the price you pay is limited rear space, a small boot, a dramatic loss of performance and some suet in the handling mix.. And yet, after a few days I began to like this car very much.. Yes, it has the bulbous rear end, but actually when you stop and look at it, as a whole, you have to admit it s a very elegant car.. I don t know why but it puts me in mind of a Riva speedboat parked in Portofino with an Agnelli at the wheel.. It has a Sixties playboy look somehow.. And while it may not be the best handling car in the world, it rides beautifully, soaking up the worst bumps and potholes without a murmur of complaint.. In short, it s tremendously comfortable.. Of course, at this point you may be saying that you don t care, because it s still only a Ford Focus.. True enough, but it s built in Italy by the people who styled it Pininfarina and it s available with a range of colours both inside and out that are bound to appeal.. Will it go wrong? Well, I ve had one of the old Focuses for six years and it s still as tight and reliable as the day I bought it.. So no, I don t think so.. It isn t what I was expecting, the Focus CC.. I thought it d be an updated version of the old Escort cabrio, a molten banana with an Essex girl at the wheel.. But it isn t.. It s a refined, elegant, comfortable and remarkably well priced tool that s ideal for those of us who are 98% motorist and 2% hedgehog.. Ford Focus CC-3.. 1999cc, four cylinders.. 143bhp @ 6000rpm.. 136 lb ft @ 4500rpm.. 37.. 7mpg (combined).. 179g/km.. Acceleration.. 0-62mph: 10.. Top speed.. 130mph.. 18,795.. Verdict More Pininfarina than Ford..

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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - MINI Convertible
    Descriptive info: MINI Convertible.. 21 June 2008.. The new MINI Convertible has broken cover! Given the success of the previous drop top MINI, it s no surprise that BMW has lifted the lid on the current generation.. In keeping with the Bavarian firm s evolutionary philosophy for the latest MINI, the new convertible appears to have changed little on the surface, despite sharing nothing with its predecessor.. Due to hit showrooms around spring next year, the new open top will feature the same two-stage electronically-operated roof as the previous car, which can be partially opened to act as a sunroof as well as fully retracted.. And as before, the folded roof will sit on top of the body, rather than being stowed inside the boot.. The MINI we  ...   topless, including the diesel-powered Cooper D.. In addition, each convertible model will feature MINI s Minimalism package, which is marketing speak for BMW s environmentally-friendly efficient dynamics programme.. So, expect start/stop technology, low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic tweaks all around to ensure the cabriolet is as green as possibleThe new MINI Convertible has broken cover! Given the success of the previous drop top MINI, it s no surprise that BMW has lifted the lid on the current generation.. The MINI spied testing in Germany is a left hand drive Cooper S, distinguished by its chrome wing mirrors, dual central tailpipes and bonnet scoop.. So, expect start/stop technology, low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic tweaks all around to ensure the cabriolet is as green as possible..

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  • Title: Left Hand Drive Cars - Lhd 4x4 - News - Aston Martin Rapide
    Descriptive info: Aston Martin Rapide.. 01 April 2008.. Aston Martin Rapide - Spotted the luxury super saloon out on track.. The eagle eyed spies had to be quick, but they still managed to catch the Aston Rapide! These are the best pictures yet of the exciting four-door saloon that has the forthcoming Porsche Panamera firmly in its sights.. With stunning looks, V12 power and supercar performance it is set to be one of the most desirable saloons on the road.. As you can see, the Rapide is heavily influenced by the DB9 and DBS coupes.. With the same aggressive nose, high waistline and low sweeping roofline it s much more rakish than rivals such as the Maserati  ...   give the cabin a light an airy feel.. The Rapide is likely to use the same dashboard as the DB9, while in the rear will be two individual chairs, making the Aston a strict four-seater.. Power will come from the firm s powerful 6.. 0-litre V12, which should produce around 500bhp.. As a result the saloon should sprint from standstill to 60mph in around five seconds and carry on to a top speed in excess of 180mph.. There will be a choice of either manual or automatic gearboxes, both with six ratios.. No firm release date for the newcomer has yet been released, but expect to see the first cars hit showrooms late in 2009..

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