Cars – Men Style Fashion We Show You How Sun, 18 Mar 2018 11:37:14 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Jaguar E-Pace – SUV Review In Rural Britain Sun, 11 Mar 2018 07:54:05 +0000 Jaguar is admired for its luxurious sporting saloons and grand tourers, but when it ventured into the SUV market with the F-Pace in 2016 it marked an entirely new direction for the brand. Fast forward a couple of years, and its baby brother is now here – the compact, tech-laden E-Pace. We were invited to drive it both on and off-road, so naturally set about seeing what makes the new model tick.

Before driving the new baby Jaguar SUV, it’s worth having a look at its underpinnings and some of the thorough thought that has gone into it. The E-Pace is Jaguar’s only current model to use a transverse-mounted engine, which of course is a more efficient packaging solution to keep things compact. While this is new for Jaguar, it’s not a new platform – the E-Pace borrows most of its underside from the JLR D8 platform, and so is closely related to the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Engine Specifications

Engine-wise, the E-Pace exclusively uses JLR’s Ingenium range of engines; 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powerplants available in either petrol or diesel format. The 250 and 300hp petrol options come with all-wheel-drive and automatic transmissions only, while diesel options range from 150hp to 240hp. The entry-level diesel is the only engine available paired to a front-wheel-drive manual transmission, though the mid-range 180hp is also available with a manual (but AWD) gearbox – the rest of the range is auto, AWD only.

Keen to tailor to every customer’s needs, Jaguar has made the E-Pace available in an plethora of appearance packages and trim levels, all available in any combination; you can add the R-Dynamic or First Edition to any specification, whether it’s basic, SE or HSE. No matter what your preference is, the E-Pace promises to deliver a rewarding drive on the road (while remaining capable off-road) and technology to keep the entire family entertained on a long drive.

Petrol Head Point Of View

Being a petrolhead and speed-freak, I grabbed the keys to the 300hp petrol HSE R-Dynamic to get my first taste of what the E-Pace is all about. As you approach the E-Pace one thing is clear – this is a seriously compact SUV; a good looking one at that. Climb inside though, and there’s space a-plenty; Jaguar have very slickly managed to engineer tardis-properties into this machine. This is further helped by the amount of hidden storage inside – there are cubby holes left right and centre, adding up to nearly 60 litres of storage alone; it’s an extremely efficient use of space and really makes a difference.

Visibility is excellent, with the E-Pace delivering the high-up driving position that helps make SUVs so attractive. On-board WiFi, 12v charging points for all five passengers and a  10” central touchscreen give you an idea of the technology available, and the driver also gets a 12.3” digital display and heads-up display, making it easy to see information from speed and gear indicators to navigation and music data. The E-Pace is one comfortable place to be.

Comfort And Style

The comfort doesn’t stop out on the road, either. The sound isolation and damping are both excellent; the petrol engine makes a pleasant noise but is far from intrusive. It seems that the Jaguar traits of sportiness and luxury have firmly found their homes in the E-Pace.

Out on the open road, the E-Pace’s chassis works very nicely, and it’s capable of covering ground at great pace while being fun too. Despite it’s conservative dimensions the baby Jag is no lightweight, and even with 300bhp the engine doesn’t hide the mass as well as the chassis manages to. Though speed increases rapidly enough, the engine just never feels like it has the grunt that the figures suggest.

Interestingly enough, I drove a 240bhp diesel model later in the day and found it far more enjoyable; this would definitely be my pick of the bunch.

The Drive

Another niggle of the E-Pace when driven hard is the 9-speed automatic gearbox. It’s smooth, and of course there are plenty of ratios to choose from. But it has no real sense of urgency; ZF’s 8-cog auto was a masterpiece but sadly it seems its new 9-speed doesn’t share the same magic. I dare say the petrol E-Pace would feel a whole lot more exciting with a snappier gearchange.

While with Jaguar we were invited to try the E-Pace off-road, which is something I was keen to give a try. A key part of the way the E-Pace drives is its ability to torque-vector, using wet clutches to meter out torque to each wheel individually, with great precision. On the road, that means it can use the power to steer the car around the corners and really improve agility. However, when off-road things get really clever; in low traction situations the E-Pace can intelligently sense where the grip is and use its systems to power whichever wheel can make best use of it.

With Low Traction Launch modes and a whole host of other tech, as tried and tested by Land Rover, the E-Pace really is a capable off-roader. Put it at the bottom of a sloped muddy field and I have no doubt it would pull itself out with ease.

The E-Pace has looks, practicality, and comfort in spades, with a chassis capable both on the road and off it. And, with so many options, there seems to be an E-Pace for all; only the more hardcore drivers might not quite fall in love with it. Bravo Jaguar. 

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Bentley Bentayga Hybrid – The Worlds First Luxury Hybrid SUV Tue, 06 Mar 2018 18:42:53 +0000 Bentley announced today the full details of the world’s first luxury hybrid model at the Geneva Motor Show. The Bentayga Hybrid represents Bentley’s first step towards full electrification, combining the serenity of silent motoring with exquisite comfort and effortless performance.

Offering the best of both worlds, the new plug-in hybrid model combines an advanced electric motor with a powerful and efficient new-generation V6 petrol engine. The hybrid version of the world’s most luxurious SUV will be the company’s most efficient model ever with CO2 emissions of 75 g/km (NEDC).

The Bentayga Hybrid feels and rides like a true Bentley, providing the refinement, effortless performance and exquisitely tranquil cabin environment for which the luxury British brand is famed. It represents the future of luxury mobility; an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the city and beyond.

“The Bentayga Hybrid is our first step on the road to electrification, combining traditional Bentley values with the very latest technologies. It gives customers the best of both worlds – engaging, effortless performance on the open road and silent, emission-free driving in the city, which will become increasingly important with the ever-changing regulations around the world. Following Bentley tradition, the Bentayga Hybrid pioneers a new automotive sector – the luxury hybrid – and sets Bentley on the path towards a sustainable electrified future.” – Adrian Hallmark, new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bentley Motors

Bentayga Hybrid is not yet available to order. It will become available to order in selected markets from the second half of 2018.

Intelligent, Experience-Enhancing Technology

At the heart of the Bentayga Hybrid are two power sources – a highly efficient electric motor and a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine. The E Motor acts as both an electric motor and a generator to offer a seamless driving experience and guaranteeing maximum electric-only range.

The Hybrid adds a new dimension to the existing range of luxury Bentayga models. It features all the flexibility associated with the W12, V8 Diesel and V8 derivatives, with the same sure-footed permanent four-wheel drive and four on-road modes – Sport, Bentley, Comfort and Custom.

The Automatic Start-Stop switch is replaced with a control for the three E Modes – EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode. These will enable the driver to manage battery usage during a journey.

The Bentayga Hybrid requires new and different information to be relayed to the driver. As a result, a revised infotainment screen and Driver’s Information Panel with E Motion information have been designed to provide details on performance, consumption and energy source.

The traditional tachometer that displays engine speed is replaced with a dial showing when the car is operating in pure EV Drive, or engine speed if the combustion engine is operating. A battery status dial replaces the coolant temperature gauge.

The infotainment screen can display energy flow in each of the three E Modes, showing whether the vehicle is being powered by energy supplied by the battery, or the combustion engine – or whether energy is flowing back to the battery in order to charge it.

To maximise efficiency, the vehicle uses satellite navigation information to calculate the best usage of electric motor and engine for every journey. Inputting a destination into the navigation system will command the car to automatically engage the correct E Mode for each part of the journey, constantly calculating the most efficient use of battery charge and storing electrical energy for sections of the journey where it is most useful – such as when arriving in the city. The system will reduce on-board charge to zero just as the vehicle reaches its destination, maximising overall efficiency.

A number of Hybrid-specific functions will also be introduced to the latest Connected Car ‘MyBentley3’ services, including My Battery Charge, My Cabin Comfort, and My Car Status, operated via a smartphone app.

Bentley has prioritised the charging experience to ensure that owning a Bentayga Hybrid is as easy as owning a conventional car. Controllable remotely from a Smartphone, or in-person via the on-board charging point, the charging status and programming will be visible on the MMI drivers’ screen and on the user’s smartphone via an app.

Other unique features include E-Charging, where the app will list nearby or relevant charging stations (based on your search criteria), and give you the option to set them as destinations on the car navigation system; and My Cabin Comfort which allows you to set the car to heat (or cool) itself so that the cabin is at the optimum temperature when the door is opened.

The Bentayga Hybrid’s Vehicle Charge Point is located on the opposite side to the normal fuel filler. From here, the car can be connected to either a domestic power supply, or a public charger point. The rear luggage compartment will hold two bespoke bags containing the necessary cables to connect the car to either.

With an impressive electric range of over 31 miles (50 km) in the NEDC cycle, a full charge of the battery from a domestic household socket will take 7.5 hours. However, customers with an industrial connection installed at home can reduce the charge time to just 2.5 hours.

Timeless Bentley by Starck Power Dock

Bentley has collaborated with renowned designer, Philippe Starck, to create a concept for a highly desirable recharging unit for Bentayga Hybrid customers – the Power Dock.

The statement piece showcases the exquisite attention to detail you would expect from both Bentley and Starck, using sustainable and elegant materials. The stylish surround is formed from pressed eco-linen with bio-sourced thermosetting resin, while the domed frontage is fashioned using a hot-pressure aluminium casting.

The minimal and elegant Power Dock is designed to keep charging cables neat and safe at home. Furthermore, it brings a luxurious touch to the act of hybrid recharging, acting as a functional piece of art that will enhance any home.

Starck’s elegant creation – with its tactile surfaces and inviting aesthetic – will encourage Bentayga Hybrid customers to plug-in whenever they are at home, thus ensuring each journey begins with the maximum electric-only range.

Innovative Features and Advanced Technologies

A suite of driver assistance systems and infotainment features, designed to enhance safety, comfort and convenience make the Bentayga Hybrid an innovative and advanced SUV.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Traffic Assist enable the driver to maintain a time gap to the vehicle in front. Predictive ACC uses the navigation data, sensors and cameras to predict upcoming corners, city boundaries and speed-limit changes and can then modify the vehicle speed accordingly, improving both comfort and fuel economy.

In urban environments, there are a number of driver aids available on the Bentayga Hybrid. These systems – such as Traffic Sign Recognition, which detects a wide variety of traffic signs and displays information to the driver; Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, which uses radar technology to detect crossing traffic when reversing out of a parking space; and Top View, a system which uses four cameras to display an overall picture of the vehicle’s surroundings – combine to enhance everyday usability.

Park Assist is also available – a system that detects suitable parking spaces (both parallel and perpendicular) before autonomous steering takes over to support parking manoeuvres, even in narrow and tricky spaces.

Other innovative systems available include Electronic Night Vision, which uses infra-red technology to identify potential obstacles ahead, and a Head-Up Display, which reduces driver distraction and increases safety.

The Bentayga’s 8” touch screen infotainment system boasts class-leading navigation technology, a 60GB hard drive, and a choice of up to 30 languages.

Rear seat passengers benefit from the Bentley Entertainment Tablet – a removable 10.2” Android device with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth for effortless, high-speed on-board connectivity.

Customers can choose between three different sound systems for the Bentayga Hybrid: Bentley Standard Audio, Bentley Signature Audio and Naim for Bentley Premium Audio. The latter is the most powerful system in the segment, with 1,950 watts, a network of 18 speakers and super-tweeters for unrivalled recreation of the highest audio frequencies.

Sculptural Form, Sharp Lines and Elegant Execution

The Bentayga Hybrid’s wheel arches, fenders and bonnet deliver a balance between sportiness and SUV presence.

The ultra-sharp Bentley power line and muscular rear haunch display a taut tension in side profile, as part of the largest single-piece aluminium pressing in the automotive world. Trademark Bentley features such as the large matrix grille and B-shaped wing vents afford the Bentayga a modern, dynamic elegance.

At the rear, within the segmented tail lights, a ‘B’-shaped illumination graphic is incorporated that affords the Bentayga an instantly recognisable and striking night-time signature.

Bentley’s most efficient model ever will be identifiable thanks to a number of elegant exterior styling cues. Copper-coloured ‘Hybrid’ badging on the lower front doors and tailgate – and a copper finish to the wheel centres and Bentley badges – highlight the electric performance potential of the Bentayga’s new powertrain. Additionally, the insert on the tread plates will also read ‘Hybrid’.


The World’s Finest Cabin, Handcrafted at the Home of Bentley

Step inside the Bentayga Hybrid and you find the finest automotive interior in the world, with handcrafted wood and leather throughout – engineered with precision to deliver absolute perfection.

The attention to detail in metal, wood and leather is the epitome of modern British luxury, and is only achievable thanks to the exceptional skill of the workforce in Crewe.

The Bentayga’s cockpit sets new standards for both luxury and precision, with meticulous tolerances between the exquisite veneered woods and metal elements. The dashboard takes the iconic Bentley ‘wing’ design as its inspiration, with the beautifully finished surfaces flowing gracefully from door to door over the top of the instrument binnacles, down under the centre console and back up around the passenger side fascia and foot well.

The hand-selected veneers form pure and elegant surfaces throughout the cabin, and each of the 15 pieces are shaped by Bentley’s artisans from a choice of seven different veneers, and finished with trademark Bentley attention to detail.

Highly polished, handcrafted metal elements adorn the dashboard, centre console and doors. Trademark Bentley knurling on the drive mode selector, gear knob, iconic bulls-eye vents and organ pulls adds sophistication and tactile refinement.

Sumptuous front seats, individually handcrafted in Crewe and featuring 22-way adjustment including adjustable cushion and backrest bolsters, provide superb support and comfort for all conditions. This cosseted feeling is further enhanced with a six-programme massage system, seat heating and ventilation.

Whether selected in four- or five-seat configuration, all of the leather seats in the Bentayga are available with contrast stitching and a quilted diamond design applied to the ‘shoulders’ and bolsters, echoing the design of a finely tailored British hunting jacket.

Bentley specialists individually select only the finest bull hides, all of which are sourced from cool European climates, naturally tanned and never over-printed. Customers have the choice of 15 colours, in three duo-tone and one single mono-tone colour split.

The four-seat configuration makes the ultimate statement in design, comfort and luxury. The two individual rear seats adjust in 18 different ways and include massage and ventilation functions as well as footrests. The veneered rear console hides additional functionality such as cup holders, generous storage areas and USB charging sockets.

The opulent feeling is completed by the fixed back, dividing the interior cabin from the boot. Also trimmed in the signature diamond quilting and including a ski-hatch, it creates an enclosed rear cabin space that sets new standards in the SUV sector.

The full-length panoramic sunroof with acoustic interlayers allows ample natural sunlight to highlight the surfaces and detailing.

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JAGUAR LAUNCHED THE ALL-NEW ELECTRIC I-PACE Thu, 01 Mar 2018 18:18:33 +0000 Finally the day has come as Jaguar revealed its I-Pace at the Geneva Motor Show. The Jaguar I-PACE is the electric vehicle drivers have been waiting for. Clean, smart and safe, the I-PACE delivers sustainable sports car performance, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology and five-seat SUV practicality to place Jaguar at the forefront of the EV revolution.

“We set out with a clean sheet approach to harness new battery electric technology with an architecture engineered from the outset to optimise performance, aerodynamics and interior space. The result is the I-PACE – a true Jaguar and truly driver-focused EV. “For I-PACE customers – fuel stations are a thing of the past, after overnight charging they’ll wake up every morning with a ‘full tank of fuel’!” – Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar I-PACE


With a state-of-the-art 90kWh Lithium-ion battery using 432 pouch cells, the I-PACE delivers a range of up to 298 miles (WLTP cycle). Owners will be able to achieve a 0-80 percent battery charge in 85-minutes using DC charging (50kW). The Jaguar I-PACE will be fully compatible with DC Rapid Chargers (100kW) as the technology is rolled out across the UK, which will enable a 0-80 percent charge in just 40 minutes. Home charging with an AC wall box (7kW) will achieve the same state of charge in just over ten hours – ideal for overnight charging.

A suite of smart range-optimising technologies includes a battery pre-conditioning system: when plugged in the I-PACE will automatically raise (or lower) the temperature of its battery to maximise range ahead of driving away.


Two Jaguar-designed electric motors – which feature driveshafts passing through the motors themselves for compactness – are placed at each axle, producing exceptional combined performance of 400PS and 696Nm, and all-wheel-drive, all-surface traction.

The high torque density and high-energy efficiency characteristics of the motors deliver sports car performance, launching the I-PACE from a standing start to 60mph in just 4.5s. The instantaneous performance is matched with exceptional ride comfort and engaging driving dynamics.

The bespoke EV aluminium architecture uses advanced riveting and bonding technology to deliver a light, stiff body structure. Together with the structural battery pack, it has a torsional rigidity of 36kNm/degree – the highest of any Jaguar.

The battery is placed centrally between the two axles, and as low down as possible, with a seal between the housing and the underfloor. This location enables perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity: together with the advanced double wishbone front and Integral Link rear axle with (optional) air suspension and configurable Adaptive Dynamics, this delivers agile handling and outstanding ride comfort.


There will be nothing else on the road that looks or drives like the Jaguar I-PACE. It is designed and engineered to take full advantage of its smart electric powertrain and maximise the potential of the packaging benefits it brings.

Its sleek, coupe-like silhouette is influenced by the Jaguar C-X75 supercar with a short, low bonnet, aero-enhanced roof design and curved rear screen. This cab-forward design contrasts with its squared-off rear, which helps reduce the drag co-efficient to just 0.29Cd. To optimise the balance between cooling and aerodynamics, Active Vanes in the grille open when cooling is required, but close when not needed to redirect air through the integral bonnet scoop, smoothing airflow.

Inside, the layout optimises space for passengers while sophisticated materials – including the option of a premium textile Kvadrat interior – and exquisite attention to detail identify this as a true Jaguar.

While a mid-sized SUV, I-PACE’s cab forward design and EV powertrain means interior space comparable to large SUVs. In the rear, legroom is 890mm while, with no transmission tunnel, there’s a useful 10.5-litre central storage compartment. In the rear, tablet and laptop stowage is found beneath the seats, while the rear luggage compartment offers a 656-litre capacity – and 1,453-litres with seats folded flat.

Connected Car Technology

I-PACE introduces the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system to Jaguar. Utilising an innovative combination of touchscreens, capacitive sensors and tactile physical controls, Touch Pro Duo is intuitive to use.

A new EV navigation system assesses the topography of the route to destination and insights from previous journeys, including driving style, to calculate personalised range and charging status with exceptional accuracy for maximum driver confidence.

The advanced system uses ‘Smart Settings’ technology – driven by AI algorithms – to identify individual driver preferences, and then tailors the I-PACE’s driving and interior settings accordingly.

I-PACE will also launch an Amazon Alexa Skill. This means owners will be able to ask an Alexa-enabled device for information held in the Jaguar InControl Remote app. For example: Is my car locked? What is the charging level? Do I have enough range to get to work?

To ensure owners always have access to the latest infotainment, telematics and battery energy control software, I-PACE will be the first Jaguar to provide software over-the-air – providing seamless updates.


With competitive whole-life costs and residual values, the I-PACE will be a popular choice for private customers, professionals and companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and fleet costs. The I-PACE will be available from 1 March, in S, SE and HSE derivatives alongside a First Edition, all inspired by the design of the original concept.

As a responsible business Jaguar Land Rover is committed to delivering a cleaner future and has plans to prolong the life of its batteries from its electric vehicle with new recycling partnerships and second life energy storage trials.

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Infiniti – Q60S 3.0 Sport Tech Reviewed Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:10:35 +0000 Infiniti is a luxury automotive manufacturer that was created over 30 years ago with an emphasis on performance, design and customer experience. A division of Nissan, this premium car brand was created to help it compete in the European and American markets driving technical innovation and design.

Industry first technology developments includes; Hydraulic Active Suspension, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention & Backup Collision Intervention Systems. Complimented with other driver focus features like Direct Adaptive Steering and successful history of high-performance V6 engines. Infiniti’s emblem depicts this continued development with two central lines stretching off into the horizon designed to embody the forward-thinking approach.

The Q60S 3.0 SPORT TECH is the latest incarnation of the top of the range encompassing its previous technology developments to produce a high-performance luxury sports coupe with the styling to match.

First Impressions

Instantly the styling of this model stands out with its sleek shape which includes powerful deep creases to show this a powerful sports coupe. This impressive design is helped by the latest developments in 3D manufacturing process with an Infiniti Design Centre in our own UK capital. The vibrant Sunstone Red paint brings the car to life in the flesh and attracted many admirers in the time we tested the car.

With this being the top of the range Sport Tech model, it comes with an impressive range of equipment from Communications to Safety features. Infiniti has prided itself on putting the driver and its passengers at the forefront of the driving experience with protection been a vital ingredient of this. Features in this model include the standard items we have come used to like Anti Brake System(ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Brake for Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Infiniti have taken this to the next level by providing what they call the Safety Shield Pack – Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Forward Collision Warning System (FCW), Predictive forward collision Warning System (PFCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Intervention, Around View Monitor (AVM), Backup collision intervention and finally Forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection. It does not mean you can drive without due care and attention, but the impressive range of systems not only warn you and more importantly prevent where possible.


There were numerous occasions while spending time with the Q60S that I caught myself admiring the styling and detail of the body form. At every angle, you noticed something different and this was enhanced by the sunlight direction and the shadows that were cast over the deep dramatic creases. For me this was is one of the finest examples of how to combine sophistication with a sporting look.

The sleek design provides a low-profile body shape which is another ingredient for the sporting profile and just importantly a low drag coefficient of 0.29. This aggressive stance sitting on those 19” dark chrome alloy wheels provide the finishing touches to the overall striking presence.

From the front, you have the large grill to provide the cooling required which is supported on either side by powerful looking headlights. They wrap around the side of the car providing bright LED illumination on the road for driver’s safety. The splitter completes the view with its angler design to assist in the near zero lift aerodynamics of the vehicle.

As you move around to the rear the design lines continue with many intricate features. The rear quarters include a grill to form part of the rear diffuser that surrounds the twin exhaust system. To provide a rear boot that is flush with the main body they placed the boot lid release button as part of the near-side brake light system. This did bring a smile to my face once I realized after a few head-scratching moments.


As you slide into the driver’s seat, you find yourself in a low driving sports position with fantastic visibility. The windscreen feels like it wraps around you and you could be in the cockpit of a fighter jet. The lined leather seats provide excellent support and one of the more comfortable sports seats that I have had the pleasure to enjoy. They include a 3-mode heating setting which is warming with the current cold climate.  The rest of the interior has a premium look with a combination of carbon fibre interior, leather trim and aluminum components to provide a classy look and feel.

The center console comes with a dual screen to provide all the Infotainment and communications you would require in this high sport tech model via its INFINITI InTouch™ system. This connected system brings a wide range of services into the car from traditional Navigation to weather and stock market status. Like all the best systems it was intuitive to use once you got your bearings around the layout of the two screens. As a result, there is a limited number of traditional manual switches on the dashboard to allow clean lines as part of the continued sophisticated design. Sound quality is superb via thirteen Bose speakers with enhanced acoustics from its Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system.

Overall the cabin is spacious for a coupe and provides seating in the rear, but not ideal for tall people due to the sloping roofline although adequate otherwise.

On The Road

Nissan has an excellent engineering pedigree, and the Infiniti Q60S is using the latest generation of the 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 producing over 400 bhp. Supported by a 7-speed automatic transmission which powers the wheels via an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. I was looking forward to seeing how this would fair in the current weather conditions.

The engine is impressive with little to no turbo lag and feels like a normally aspirated engine. It will rev all the way up to 7,000 RPM with effortless ease at a rapid pace. The 7-speed automatic transmission makes good use of this power and smoothly shifts between gears in standard drive mode. If this was a manual, I fear my gear changes would not be as smooth as a result of being caught napping with the swift acceleration of the engine to the red line. The power curve feels linear through the rev range which provides reassuring drive-ability of the vehicle. Helped by the Intelligent AWD system which can transfer all this power between the front and rear wheels dynamically. For me, this was the masterpiece of the overall performance as it felt like a rear wheel car which was nimble and alive, but provided the secure traction of an AWD system. This was tested in these conditions and fun to drive with all the grip you had available at your disposal.

There are five driver modes which you can pre-select from the drive selector including Snow, ECO, Standard, Sport, Sport+ and Personal. Other than the performance, traction and suspension changes between the different modes is the enhanced noise from the rear twin exhaust. They are relatively quiet compared to the power of the engine, but this increased when you went up to Sport although this could have been more. You would get a blip of noise on the downshifts with the synchronised rev matching control system.

The Q60S model comes with the Direct Adaptive Steering which is electronic versus standard mechanical. This provides a quick and precise response which also supports the light and dynamic feel of the car. For some drivers they might prefer the feedback from the road which a mechanical system provides, but otherwise this works well.

Sports cars in their nature come with an uprated suspension configuration to support the power and performance of the vehicle. The Q60S facilitates this with an advanced Dynamic Digital Suspension (SDS). The setup of the suspension is done electronically and is inline with the driver mode you select. The system will continue to monitor the driving conditions and will dynamically alter the damper settings where required. This worked well and provided a softer ride compared to other sports cars, but without losing that driver centric feel. An example of this if you were to go over a bump or pot hole the suspension would quickly react and not leave you shaken.

Road noise in the cabin was louder than I would expect in a car of this class. Changing the drive mode settings did not have an impact on this other than a louder exhaust note in the sportier selection. It just been fitted with new tyres which could have been a contributing factor, but expect it was mainly due to the run flat tyres which is not an un-common symptom.


No doubt this is a handsome and stylish design which stands out instantly, but it also comes with an engineering pedigree. The vast array of technical features due to continuous innovation from safety, design and performance is impressive and especially for the price point of the Q60S Sport Tech model. Compared to other Sports Coupes in this class it is effortless to drive with great performance and safety of the AWD system to in all weather conditions. It is not as driver focused as other coupes and more of a GT but makes it more useable for every day and attracted many admirers during our time together. The Q60S felt elegant and growing on me.

Spec – Q60S 3.0 SPORT TECH

  • Engine capacity : 2,997cc (Twin Turbo)
  • Fuel Type : Petrol
  • Cylinders / Valves  : Six / 24
  • Power ps : 405@6,400rpm
  • Transmission : Automatic / 7 Speed / AWD
  • 0-60mph: 5.0 seconds
  • Top speed: 155 mph
  • fuel economy combined: 30.1 mpg
  • List price: £48,325 (including optional extra Sunstone Red paint)
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Audi A3 – Winter Fun In The UK Mon, 29 Jan 2018 03:51:50 +0000 The trend for cars these days appears to be all about up-scaling, with 4x4s in particular taking over British roads at an alarming rate of knots.  High ground clearance, superior 4-wheel traction and spacious interiors are all nice, but are they really necessary in Britain?

To put this to the test, we decided to escape on a weekend retreat to Tring, a small market town located in the Chiltern Hills, Hertfordshire. With plenty of narrow lanes, cross country driving and the potential for bad weather, it seemed like the ideal location to put the theory to the test and Audi’s latest A3 through its paces…

Visually, the new A3 certainly catches the eye; especially so in the Vegas yellow as seen on the test car. The colour really ‘pops’, and is complemented nicely by the S-Line level trim, which tweaks the body styling, pumps the wheel diameter up to 18” and lowers the ride height by 15mm. The angular design is typically Audi and to us works particularly well with the proportions of the A3.

Weekend Countryside Driving

The weekend’s driving started off with navigating through some British B-roads towards London, predictably littered with pot holes and providing the suspension with a real workout. Considering the firmer dampers and stiffer springs fitted with the S-Line trim, the chassis handled the roads extremely well, with very few of the lumps and bumps felt cabin-side. Where traffic permitted, the 1.5 litre TFSI engine quickly built speed, providing performance which belied its diminutive capacity.

Pushing the A3 hard through the bends is an experience which proved more rewarding than anticipated, with the chassis seeming genuinely nimble and the increased suspension stiffness making the whole car feel very planted. Body role is well controlled, whilst the front axle provides impressive levels of grip, with traction difficult to break even with the electronic aids switched off. Our only gripe is steering feel, which seemed a little lacking, even with the power steering set to the most sporty ‘Dynamic’ mode.

With fellow countryside venturers collected, it was time to take the A3 out of it’s typical comfort zone, heading off into the country 4 up with the boot brimmed. Rear passenger space and leg room isn’t terrible, but it certainly doesn’t qualify as spacious and would be a squeeze with 3 in the rear. Comfort was reportedly good though, although the rear seats simply couldn’t match the quality of the pair up front – trimmed perfectly in Alcantara and Leather (£550 option) they were a real joy to be in.

Car Technology

In-car tech is up to Audi’s excellent standards, with the digital instrument cluster a particularly nice inclusion (part of the technology pack, a £1395.00 option). Whilst it’s easy to get complacent with technology, we can’t help but feel Audi absolutely nailed the options on our A3 test car. Every piece of tech fitted was used and worked flawlessly over the course of the weekend, highlighting just how good and dependable all these gadgets have become.

Moving away from the city, the roads quickly narrowed and a number of dirt (thick mud – thanks UK weather) tracks and bridle paths were even encountered, all of which the A3 handled with relative ease. Ground clearance (particular on our S-Line model) was the only concern, but traction rarely proved problematic with the clever electronic differential working hard to keep the front wheels driving forward. Not once did the A3 get close to being stuck.

Snow Driving

Returning to the car the following day, we were greeted by a blanket of snow, which had fallen overnight and continued to fall at a steady rate. In true British style we did the only sensible thing; return inside for breakfast, a cup of tea and to wait for the weather to settle.

Once the snow had stopped falling, we ventured out on to the roads and were once again pleasantly surprised by the performance of the A3; the slippery roads weren’t a cause for concern, with the car feeling sure-footed throughout. As the day progressed, the sunshine turned to darkness and the snow to rain, yet the A3 continued to impress and make us smile – this is a genuinely enjoyable and engaging car to drive.

Despite throwing city driving, off-roading and appalling road conditions at the A3, it still managed to return a decent 43mpg over the weekend. It’s also worth noting this was whilst running in ‘Dynamic’ mode the entire time – switching to Eco mode and driving more frugally would surely push this to around 50.

 Feel Good Factor

We’re lucky enough to drive some exciting, high-end and expensive cars at MSF, for which we’re very grateful. The only downside to this is that you can lose touch a little with the mainstream market, as well as what’s actually realistic as an everyday purchase. The new A3 is good looking, packed with useful tech, comfortable to be in and fuel efficient. Most importantly it’s fun, which is something the lower-end Audi’s have sometimes lacked. This is an Audi you can genuinely go out and enjoy yourself in, all without breaking the bank.

It’s safe to say we’re fans… Sadly Audi may not be fans of ours, as after a weekend of mud/snow/rain the A3 was caked in dirt… Sorry!

Model as tested £30,965 OTR.

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Jeep Compass Driven – Brighton UK Launch Wed, 17 Jan 2018 02:51:01 +0000 The uniquely distinct Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee have always represented an unique choice for the average motorist. With the trademark 7 slot front grille across the range, Trapezoidal wheel arches, rugged looks and off road capabilities, this American icon has been turned into a worldwide brand. For over 76 years now, Jeep has established itself as the brand that represents freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion. With an ever increasing loyal customer base, Jeep are exceeding sales targets worldwide.

With manufacturing bases in Brazil, China and India, Jeep has firmly established itself as an international leader in car manufacturing and development.

As a kid growing up in the 1980’s, the Jeep Wrangler was always present in any American adventure film or TV series  (usually Colonel Decker chasing the A-team in his army issue Wrangler) and in the 1980’s my wealthy best friends Dad had a Grand Cherokee. I recall feeling quite privileged and a bit different when travelling in the vehicle, particularly as it had such a luxurious feel to it with full leather interior, electric windows front and back, a really solid ride and was equipped with one of the first car phones. This was a big vehicle that any owner would be proud of.

The Grand Cherokee came with contemporary premium design, 4×4 off road capability, unique and premium interiors and according to Jeep, these features have been carried over in to the new Jeep Compass.

Since then, car technology and Markets have moved on and the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market is now the fastest growing sector within the car manufacturing industry. Measuring 4.4 meters long, the Jeep compass fits neatly in to the CSUV (crossover sports utility vehicle) sector and comes with a host of Jeep Credentials.

The Look

In terms of overall first impressions, the Compass is undeniably a Jeep. It looks like the larger Grand Cherokee and slots between the smaller Renegade and Grand Cherokee in terms of size. The Compass feels large and retains the rugged appeal it has always had yet at the same time looks refined and considered.

The trade mark 7 slot grill and Trapezoidal wheel arches sit elegantly alongside the black roof and angular pillars.  The DLO (Day light opening) moulding to the windows is echoed in the kicked up rear LED Tail lamps and head lamps, giving the compass an angular yet sleek appearance.

The cabin interior has a high flat roof and feels spacious and light. The high seating position gives you an exceptional field of vision for both driver and rear passengers (particularly with the optional extra of a full sunroof) and the two tone leather interior in a hole punch type design is both contemporary and intriguing. The rear seating has plenty of leg room and the boot area is more than adequate for general use.

The Drive

We test drove the 2.0 multi jet -2 170HP 4WD priced at £34,295 and the 1.6 Multi Jet 120hp 2WD priced at £28,995.00 around Brighton and the country side. The 2.0 model comes with an automatic 9 speed gearbox and 4WD Active Drive with Jeeps own Selec -train technology.

As we drove away from the meeting point, the roar and volume  of the engine was the most prominent sound. A reminder that despite its looks, this is a rugged vehicle that is powered not just for road use but also for off road. The change through the gears on the automatic were surprisingly delayed and almost felt at times that the engine was underpowered, although at speed, this car competes with other road vehicles effortlessly.

The 1.6 model we test drove was a actually more quick off the mark and felt nippier. The engine was noisier then the 2.0 model but that may have just been me getting used to the difference of engine size.

I felt very safe, almost cocooned within the vehicle and the high driving position gives you a great feeling of security in that you have an unobstructed view of the road ahead.

The ride is smooth  and across the  range, jeep have developed frequency sensitive dampening suspension shock absorbers. This Technology can change the absorbers behaviour, depending on what surface your on, be that off or on road.

The Macpherson front shock absorbers and rear Chapman suspension system are very unique to this segment of the market and has been developed to make the capability of the vehicle to have the best wheel articulation and to allow the Compass to keep the wheels on the ground at all times. This coupled with Jeeps unique active over drive system, allows a seamless change when switching from 4wd to 2wd or vice versa.

Our  test models came equipped with and 8.4 inch ‘U connect’ Navigation/stereo system with all the latest features, including a 9 speaker ‘Beats’ audio system.

This is the 4th generation of the ‘U connect’ and Jeep have certainly got it right.  Once given brief instructions on how to use the system it actually became very intuitive. The sat nav recognised our destination immediately and took us effortlessly to it. The stereo works with Apple Car Play and Android Auto and at full volume, the sound is clear and precise.


There is no doubt that the Jeep compass is a premium vehicle, both on and off road. The more expensive models have the additional extras such as;  as collision warning cameras, lane warning departure system and  radar ‘stop and go’ functionality when using cruise control. It really depends on how much you want to spend, the look you require and how much you trust your own driving. The Jeep Compass has been independently crash tested  and has a 5 Star rating in the NCAP 2017 rating. So whatever your budget, you can be assured this car is safe.

Added to the adventure is Jeeps innovative Selec-train technology, which as you would expect, enhances the whole 4×4 experience when off road. It is recognised that in the SUV sector, this is lost on the average commuter. But if you’re a testosterone fueled driver you’ll appreciate just knowing its there.

The Compass is packed with over 70 active and passive safety features, even on the entry level and with a compelling starting price of £23,000.00, this is an informed choice of vehicle for any motorist.

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Audi RS4 (B9) – The Ultimate Jekyll and Hyde Estate Car Sat, 23 Dec 2017 17:20:02 +0000 For many, the iconic RS4 will be one of the most eagerly awaited releases from Audi, and we were lucky enough to give the latest – and perhaps greatest – a spin at the recent international launch in Malaga, Spain.

Audi shook up the car world when in 1994 it offered the world something never really seen before – an outrageously fast estate car. This was the RS2, which was co-developed with Porsche and was based on the humble Audi 80 Avant. With a 5-cylinder turbo engine and Quattro all-wheel-drive, it was unsurprisingly a quick car even with its station wagon outer skin.

From this, Audi was onto something. When the 80 product line was replaced by the ‘A4’ moniker as we know it today – starting with the B5 generation – an RS4 came with it, and the iconic status of fast Audi estates was firmly engraved into automotive history.

Fast-forward nearly two decades and we find ourselves in sunny Malaga, face-to-face with the very latest RS4 – the B9 generation. The headline-grabbing change with this latest model is that it harks back to the aforementioned B5, as it uses a biturbo V6 engine like the original, whereas the B7 and B8 models that sit between the two used high-revving, naturally aspirated V8s. Time to see if its reputation really does precede it. 

From old to new – the transformation of the RS4

First Impressions

Glance at the RS4 and there’s no mistaking it for anything less. Audi naturally chose to treat us to the Carbon Edition (a £8,115 option), which includes a whole host of exterior and interior carbon fibre additions as well as LED matrix headlights, 20″ alloy wheels, privacy glass and more.

Hit the start button and the new V6 doesn’t have the raucous drama of the old B8’s 4.2-litre V8, but it does have a sense of purpose to it. It has the same horsepower as before (444bhp) but boasts an extra 125lb ft, enough for some serious performance gains. Especially considering the new car is down 80kg over the outgoing model – so far, so good…


Audi knows how to put together an interior – that much we already knew, and the RS4 does not disappoint. It seems that each and every inch has been carefully considered and plotted, and trimmed with premium leather or glossy carbon fibre, broken up with aluminium highlights.

The controls are well laid out, with everything falling to hand naturally. A neat new touch is that the heater controls are now touch-sensitive, helping you easily navigate the buttons by highlighting their function on the small screen when your finger is hovering over the buttons. There’s plenty of these neat little additions that just make the RS4’s interior easy and quick to use despite the depth of functionality.

Our test car was fitted with the Bang and Olufsen sound system, which comes as part of the optional Sound and Comfort package. Sound quality is exceptional, and smartphone integration – whether iPhone or Android – is easy and quick. With the latest iPhone you can also charge it wirelessly just by placing it in the centre console.

Perhaps the pièce de résistance of the interior is the RS Super Sport front seats. They’re incredibly supportive and offer immense adjustability to suit all frames. Heating and massage capabilities also come as standard, and are both very effective.


If Audi’s interior quality is a benchmark, then their exterior trademarks are not far behind it. Subtle aggression is a term that would be most appropriate, and the new RS4 has it in spades. The design language is something new over the B8, but does share Audi’s almost Stormtrooper-like features.

The box arches have been toned down a touch – though still present – but everywhere else the B9 has been turned up to 11. There are new air scoops next to the headlights, the bumpers feature larger grilles than ever before and the rear diffuser is also more prominent than in previous generations.

Interestingly Audi have taken the trademark RS4 aggression a step further than the coupe version, the RS5. The coupe is 15mm wider per side than the standard model, whereas the Avant is some 30mm per side. It looks fantastic, especially with all of the carbon fibre touches as part of the Carbon Edition package as seen.


The new heart of the RS4, the 2.9-litre V6 Biturbo, is an interesting development on the 3.0-litre V6 seen in the latest breed of S4s and S5s. Rather than a single turbo sat in between the banks of cylinders, the RS engine has a pair.

As well as this, a re-jig of the internals means that compression has been upped to 10:1; don’t let the small drop in capacity fool you, this engine is designed to be very much more potent than its lesser counterparts. The result of this is 444bhp (450 metric horsepower) – the exact same figure as the old RS4 – but 443lb ft which is a 125lb ft gain.

This down-sizing from a 4.2-litre V8 to a turbocharged V6 is of course as a result of ever-tightening EU emissions regulations; however, Audi Sport’s engineers have pulled advantages from that and not just with that bolstered torque figure. The new engine is lighter, too, and that means a drop of 30kg from the new RS4’s nose to significantly improve the handling balance.

Joined to the back of the new V6 is ZF’s 8-speed automatic transmission – a move away from the 7-speed dual-clutch unit we’ve grown used to seeing from Audi in numerous models for some time. It can be operated manually via paddles or with the gear selector when in the relevant mode – of course it can also be simply left to do everything by itself, which it’s very effective at doing.

The final piece of the puzzle is Audi’s trademark Quattro all-wheel-drive, complete with Quattro Sport Differential. It allows power to be shifted between the front axle (which can be sent up to 85% of the engine’s power) and the rear axle (which takes up to 70%).

RS Sport suspension comes by default, however Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) is available as a £2000 option. The brakes are steel discs as standard, with Ceramics available as a £6000 option. For us, both come recommended as you’re about to find out. 

On The Road

Jump into the new RS4 and, once you’ve adjusted your seat and mirrors, it starts to become clear that you’re in a very high-tech cabin. With the (optional) heads-up display projected onto the windscreen, you barely even need to take notice of the Audi Virtual Cockpit. Using Audi’s Drive Select system the RS4 can be put into Dynamic mode, opening the RS Sport exhaust system’s valves, sharpening the suspension and drivetrain and changing the displays to make the rev counter the centred focal point – the RS is ready to go.

As we made our way out of urban Malaga to head towards the winding Spanish mountain roads, it’s immediately obvious that the RS4 isn’t an intimidating car to drive. RS cars of old have always had a feeling of wanting to be driven hard at all times, whereas the B9 (even in Dynamic mode) is just as happy gently weaving through traffic as it is launching from the first red light we find.

However, it’s when we finally get to those twisties that the RS4 comes into its own. Despite being the best part of two tons and having so much power, it never feels beyond control. In fact the chassis is easily exploitable and can be surprisingly playful – flick the big Avant into a corner while trailing the brakes and the rear bring itself around nicely, meaning you can avoid the understeer trap that has plagued Audis in the past; no doubt the reduction in weight across the nose has helped this balance; it is still understeer-biased but not excessively so.

Despite this, it’s probably the ‘brain-out’ pace that the RS4 can give that really impresses. With minimal need for concentration, it can cover ground at an absolutely astonishing rate. The steering, gearing, brakes and throttle input feel utterly intuitive, and with the heads-up-display it’s never difficult to stay on top of your speed and gears. The steering has pretty good feedback as do the brakes, even when ceramics are fitted. They’re immensely powerful but easy to control with precision, and with the pace the RS4 can carry they are certainly recommended. There seems to be only one real weakness.

That shortfall is the gearbox. I’m a big fan of ZF’s mighty 8-speed auto but when every other part of the car has been engineered to be razor sharp, it’s something of a letdown. Every now and then it’ll bang through a crisp perfect shift but the majority of the time there just isn’t the urgency, consistency or precision that the old dual clutch offered.

It is a shame because the new V6 biturbo motor is a good one. It has torque in spades, no real sign of turbo lag and unlike many turbo engines these days, it feels rev-happy and pulls all the way to the redline. It doesn’t have the aural drama of the V8 but it has its own character. It’s got guts, and practically demands to be adored.

What’s amazing after all of this noise, speed and aggression is that when you select ‘Comfort’ the RS4 takes on a completely different character. It’s incredibly quiet, the ride is sublime and the drivetrain is buttery smooth. You couldn’t be blamed for thinking that you were in an A8, which is aided even further with those massaging RS seats. It really is astonishing.


The RS4 is – almost unquestionably – the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde sportscar with an estate body. It’s everything the RS2 originally promised and more, and in many ways it’s unrivalled in its field. BMW, Alfa Romeo and the other brands offering fast saloons will offer just that; only a fast saloon. Mercedes are the only ones to offer a true rival with the C63 AMG estate.

The C63 however is around £10k more at list price. That said, the RS4 becomes alarmingly expensive once you add a few options – many of the elements mentioned in this feature are highlights of the B9 but are not standard. The Carbon Edition package (£8,115), Comfort and Sound Pack (£1295), Head-up Display (£900), Ceramic Brakes (£6000), Dynamic Steering (£950) and RS Sport Suspension Plus with DRC (£2000) as fitted to our test car, along with numerous other additions bring the total price to an eye-watering figure.

The RS4 has always distanced itself from the C63 by offering a razor-sharp dual-clutch gearbox and to an extent with price, but with the B9 having a less precise gearbox and a painfully expensive list of extras, it puts itself a dangerous step close to the Merc. Could the best RS4 ever’s only two downfalls be the ones that curse it?

We’ll just have to get it alongside the mighty Merc to find out…

Spec – Audi B9 RS4

  • Drivetrain: 2.9-litre V6 Biturbo, 8-speed automatic gearbox, Quattro all-wheel-drive
  • Horsepower: 444bhp
  • Torque: 443lb ft
  • 0-62mph: 4.1 seconds
  • Top Speed: 155mph, optional limiter increase to 174mph
  • List price: from £62,175
  • As tested: £83,185

If you like our review of the Audi RS4 Avant you might like the flagship Audi R8 Spider review.

Those sunsets in Spain…….

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Maserati GranCabrio MC – Gorgeous By Default Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:58:54 +0000 A first rain drop reflects the serious intentions of the dark clouds above me, I don’t even blink. Okay maybe I increase the throttle input on the cross-drilled aluminium pedal. Pure physics, certainly not quantum, but basic Newton laws explain that above certain speed the airflow and glass windshield will create a deflector that will keep the open cabin dry. In the meantime rain starts pouring, in buckets. I am on an open road and the situation is almost incongruous. Wipers are on full alert, the fat tires gliding over standing water with my horizon saturated with lightning. As I glimpse at the rear seats, there is not a single drop of water on them. If I ever felt like being sheltered in a cocoon, this was my historic moment. And what a moment in this white new reinterpretation of a Maserati GranCabrio.

A decade on the market, with minor changes and tweaks, the silhouette still looks romantically gorgeous. This newest model isn’t a mere make-up powder application, but actually features a restyled front, that includes an octagonal grill, reshaped air intakes and new bumpers. The result is better aerodynamics with the drag coefficient value down to 0,33. If anywhere, this matters on a convertible; less turbulence and whisper like conversations with your co-driver. More changes in the cockpit bring this machine up to date with current market expectations, a huge screen on a restyled central console, and new infotainment system. This Maserati can now speak a language compatible with your phone.

When I called Davide Kluzer, the PR director of this Modena (Italy) based manufacturer and proposed we take its newest creation to a supercar lifestyle-drive event down the Adriatic Coast, he offered the top of the line model. The Maserati GranCabrio MC, which stands for Maserati Corse. Little did I know that the car was so fresh in production that the license plates were Maserati’s own. That you can see on the picture and we made sure this exclusive drive was something to remember.

As we detached ourselves from the group of other supercars on the event, we found a moon like surface on one of the Croatian islands and explored the possibilities this grandtourer offers. Ride comfort and spaciousness come to mind first, resulting in an almost rejuvenating experience. We have already determined that the way to drive it is with the roof down, no matter the weather, yet still, don’t expect the folding mechanism to perform its ballet while driving. There is one small piece of very relevant information, which makes this two tone structure able and agile on the perfect black asphalt roads of the island Pag. A transaxle layout, meaning the ZF six-speed transmission hinges between the rear wheels. The result is a superbly balanced front to rear weight distribution of 49:51.

As I accelerate from another curve, being the only car by far, I almost feel compassionate for the potential bystanders, onlookers or curious minds alike. It is an event, even a spectacle, that this car is to look at and even more, to hear. You see, the V8 in its classical 90 degree V-shaped layout features a cross-plane crankshaft, not unlike in Maranello where it is flat-plane. This gives it one of the most exhilarating engine sounds in the industry today. But as our model is not a standard Sport but rather an MC there is more to be said about the sound deafening experience. The 460 hp derived from this 4,7 liter wet sump construction, will pass the first mark in less than five seconds. The Brembo rotors of 360 mm diameter in association with Pirelli P Zero rubber make it stop with confidence.

GranCabrio has one of the last large volume atmospheric engines and another episode comes to my mind, year 1972. The last year before the oil crisis. An affair that made people think like they never have before. A pattern we are experiencing this very moment. Hearing a Maserati roar is almost like regaining your freedom. So how does an MC do that? It has mini-scaled silencers compared to the standard car, positioned higher up the exhaust pipes. Once you press a Sport button, the operating valve allows the escaping gases to bypass these sound barriers while generating less back pressure. What fills the air after is a tale for car aficionados to be.

I call this car a tribute to living, to years before the world crisis entered our everyday vocabulary. If you can think of a better number to stripe the sides on a supercar rally, please speak now. But don’t tell Davide we are willing to take any number he offers for the next drive.

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BMW Expands The X Range With The New BMW X2 Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:47:59 +0000 The BMW X2 Concept at the Paris Motor Show and now it is available for real. With its unmistakable design and sporty, urban feel, the BMW X2 breaks new ground for BMW as a unique and exciting addition to the BMW X model range. The car’s chassis and xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system delivers the ideal balance between sporting dynamics and efficiency. The digital services from BMW ConnectedDrive and BMW ConnectedDrive Services – both of which are now available in freshly updated form – add further depth to the overall BMW X2 experience.


Even next to its bigger brothers, the BMW X4 and X6, the BMW X2 makes a distinctive impression. The car’s exterior design combines the low-slung proportions of a coupé with the robust core of a BMW X model.

The BMW X2 is two centimetres shorter and more than seven centimetres lower than the BMW X1, yet has the same wheelbase. Featuring short overhangs, it also has a stretched, coupé-style roofline and slim window graphic.

The kidney grille has always been an identifying feature of a BMW. On the X2, however, its outline is wider at its base than at its top. The X2 is the first modern BMW to feature this design cue, and it gives the new car a broader, more distinctive and sportier appearance. Below the grille, the hexagonal surface treatment in the bumper further reinforces this impression. The high-gloss black grille provides sharp contrast with its chrome surround.

Full-LED headlights as standard on Sport, M Sport and M Sport X models. The bi-LED light for low beam and high beam is highly effective at illuminating the road, while also accentuating the BMW X2’s sporty character. The headlights display precise detailing, achieved in part through 3D Icon LED daytime driving light and laser engraving.

The M Sport and M Sport X models are available with wheels in sizes up to 20-inch, a standout feature in this segment. As standard, both models are fitted with 19-inch wheels. The standard rims for the SE model are 17-inch V-Spoke style light alloy wheels, but ten other rim designs can be specified as an option.

The side skirts of the BMW X2 are among its signature features and contribute to its rugged good looks. The cladding is black on the SE and Sport models and Frozen Grey on the M Sport X. The C-pillars host two characteristic BMW features: the hallmark BMW Hofmeister kink and, for the first time on a BMW X model, the BMW roundel.

At the rear, a spoiler provides a flourish to round off the BMW X2’s roofline and contributes to the BMW X2’s drag co-efficient of just 0.28. Together with the width-enhancing rear bumper, this creates a powerful rear view.

On the SE and Sport models, the rear bumper comes in the vehicle colour and matt black. The M Sport models feature a diffuser-look cladding inlay in Dark Shadow metallic. M Sport X models, meanwhile, get a bespoke diffuser insert in the contrast colour Frozen Grey.

The horizontal design lines of the BMW X2’s rear-end emphasise the car’s width and its strong character, with these lines continuing into the high-set rear lights. The LED rear lights contour and the L shape familiar from BMW coupés.

The car hints at the power of its BMW TwinPower Turbo engines through the design of the tailpipes. All X2 models come with a twin exhaust arrangement 90mm diameter.

Interior And Equipment.

The class quality of the BMW X2 and its levels of equipment, even in the SE model, are both instantly apparent. The instrument panel has contrast stitching as standard, while the centre console features materials including Sensatec also with contrast stitching. The interior of the M Sport model is trimmed in a Micro Hexagon fabric Anthracite/Alcantara combination, with the M Sport X adding leather upholstery as standard. Eye-catching highlights can be added by opting for the new perforated Dakota leather in Magma Red or the Micro Hexagon fabric Anthracite/Alcantara combination upholstery with yellow contrast stitching to match the Galvanic Gold metallic exterior paint shade.

The new BMW X2 combines style with generous everyday practicality. The boot has a capacity of 470 litres, meaning it can handle leisure activities, from shopping sprees to a skiing weekend or mountain-bike tour. This functionality manifests itself in the passenger compartment too, thanks to features such as a door design featuring large storage pockets.

The cabin is driver-focused, with the design of features such as the instrument panel binnacle directed at the road ahead. All controls are positioned to allow the driver to assimilate their information with a single glance and operate them with ease.

The soft-finish instrument panel is pleasant to the touch and gains further visual appeal with contrast decorative stitching. The M Sport model comes with Micro Hexagon fabric Anthracite/Alcantara combination upholstery with M piping in blue or yellow with contrast stitching on the instrument panel and the centre console as standard. The M Sport X model comes with Dakota leather with contrast stitching. Further sophisticated upholstery variants are available as options, including as many as five Dakota leather variants with part-perforation and coordinated contrast stitching. The choice of trim finishers, including High-gloss Black, Aluminium and matt Oak Grain variants, underlines the high-quality credentials of the BMW X2.

Excluding SE model, all functional controls in the centre console are set in high-gloss black as standard, giving the interior a touch of sophisticated elegance.

An optional lighting package within the Plus pack allows drivers to set a stylish lighting mood for the interior of their BMW X2 by choosing from the colours Orange, Lilac, Mint, Bronze, Blue and White. The LED lighting in the trim surfaces of the instrument panel and door panels forms a continuous band that extends all the way around the cabin to the rear.

One of the most distinctive options on the list is the panoramic roof, which adds to the sense of spaciousness inside the BMW X2. The front section of the panoramic roof tilts and slides open, just like a conventional sunroof.

Driving Dynamics.

The TwinPower Turbo engines within the BMW X2 range team with the car’s refined chassis to endow it with class-beating handling qualities, exceptional agility and superb feedback.

The common denominator of all BMW X2 models is a chassis that transfers the core responsiveness of the BMW engines to the road. The car’s driving responses can be adapted by using the Driving Experience Control switch, allowing the driver to choose between default COMFORT mode, efficiency-enhancing ECO PRO mode and SPORT mode. The pre-programmed set-up available via SPORT mode gives the car even more dynamic steering and powertrain responses.

If the optional Dynamic Damper Control is specified, the car’s suspension can be adjusted even more precisely to individual requirements. Drivers can choose between two settings – COMFORT or SPORT – using the Driving Experience Control switch. The result is sporty suspension offering solid road holding and reassuring comfort over any surface.

The M Sport suspension fitted as standard on the BMW X2 M Sport and M Sport X is a particularly good match for these two models and includes tauter spring and damper tuning. BMW X2 M Sport and M Sport X models offer suspension which is 10mm lower than the standard suspension.

At launch, the X2 xDrive20d diesel variant will be available. It generates maximum output of 190hp and 400Nm of torque enabling a zero to 62mph time of 7.7 seconds. Official fuel consumption is still highly impressive 61.4mpg*, while CO2 emissions are as low as 121g/km*. Further attractive variants of the BMW X2 will be added to the Sports Activity Coupé’s line-up in early 2018 – in the shape of the four-cylinder X2 sDrive20i, X2 sDrive18d and X2 xDrive18d.

The 20d diesel model comes equipped with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The integral Hill Descent Control feature enables the BMW X2 to automatically maintain a desired speed on steep descents by taking care of brake control for the driver, who can then devote their attention to the task of steering.

With a drag coefficient of just Cd 0.28, the X2 xDrive20d is one of the most aerodynamically efficient models in the whole segment.

Digital services in the new X2.

All of the BMW ConnectedDrive and BMW Connected elements in the new BMW X2 have once again been designed to assist, inform or entertain the driver at the appropriate time using just the right services.

The new X2 offers its driver three different ways of interacting with their car, as the sixth generation of the iDrive control concept now supplements the familiar iDrive Controller and optional voice control (within Tech pack) with touchscreen operation as standard for the Control Display . The touchscreen can also be used comfortably by the front passenger.

Standard specification for every BMW X2 includes a 6.5-inch Touch Control Display with navigation system. The display concept is designed to provide the driver with a quick summary of the most important information at any particular time by means of, for example, the live tiles that appear in the display’s main menu. Its operation emulates the intuitive touch control principles familiar from smartphones.

For even greater safety and convenience in the BMW X2, there is the option of the full-colour BMW Head-Up Display, also featured within the Technology Pack, projects all important driving information and navigation/assistance system readouts onto the windscreen and therefore into the driver’s field of view – in high resolution.

BMW Connected+ provides a digital bridge between smartphones and the car. It delivers the next level of in-car personalisation and smartphone content integration on the Control Display of the X2. This makes display and operation in the vehicle simpler than ever. One example of a new Connected+ service is Share Live Trip Status which allows the driver to share their current location and time of arrival with business partners, friends or family.

Among the other highlight features enabling connectivity anytime, anywhere are the optional WiFi hotspot preparation (available in Tech Pack), which equips the BMW X2 to host a built-in WiFi hotspot with LTE speeds, and the optional telephony with wireless charging (available in Tech Pack) for compatible smartphones. Apple CarPlay® (available retrospectively from the BMW ConnectedDrive Store), meanwhile, enables easy, wireless in-car use of selected iPhone functions.

Not only does the BMW X2 offer drivers a wide selection of driver assistance systems, it also comes with highly advanced technologies.

The camera-based assistance systems available for the new BMW X2 help to deliver assurance and safety in different driving situations. The optional Driving Assistant (within Drive Pack) includes Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display, anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, as well as Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. In addition to these functions and as an upgrade to the Driver Pack, the Driving Assistant Plus also features the Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function – which maintains both a desired speed between 19 and 87mph entered by the driver and the safety distance to vehicles travelling ahead – and the Traffic Jam Assistant. At speeds up to 37mph, this function takes over both proximity control and lane-keeping tasks from the driver. The Traffic Jam Assistant uses steering assistance to keep the car reliably in the middle of its lane, but the driver needs to have at least one hand on the steering wheel for the system to work.

Standard rear Park Distance Control and the rear-view camera (within Vision Pack), whose images are transferred onto the Control Display, make precise and comfortable manoeuvring that much easier. The optional Park Assist (also within Driver Pack) also helps the driver to find and make use of parallel parking spaces.

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Bentley Bentayga Diesel – Tour Through Andalusia Sat, 04 Nov 2017 12:43:04 +0000 It’s been many years since I visited the Andalusia area and what a better way to explore it than in an Alpine Green Bentley Bentayga. The Bentley Bentayga is a front-engine, all-wheel drive, five-door luxury SUV. It is my second time driving this beauty after my first experiences with the Bentayga in the UK.

I was going to take the Bentayga down to one of the glitziest areas of Spain in Marbella. This city and resort area on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol is the area where the rich and famous come to party or relax. Marbella’s setting is stunning with the nearby Sierra Blanca Mountains offering the perfect backdrop to 27 km of sandy Mediterranean beaches, villas, hotels, and golf courses.

It is a seaside resort area in where many walks of lives comes together to showcase their fashion, lifestyle and luxury cars.  Regarding the way they drive in this region,  it seems that on the most part, everyone understood the basic automobile road rules, unlike the rest of Spain.

Alpine Green

When I collected the Bentayga from C. de Salamanca in Marbella I absolutely fell in love with the Apline Green colour, it certainly blended in with the environment here. Whether parking at Marbella, or the coastal estates leading to Puerto Banús, a marina filled with luxury yachts and surrounded by upmarket boutiques and bars, the Bentayga was in its rightful surrounding. The Bentayga not only belonged here, it was a real show stopper every time I pulled up in any public area. There were both men and women always coming over asking about this SUV.

The Bentayga at Puente Romano Marbella

Puente Romano is famous for the Bjorn Borg Tennis Courts

Near Puerto Banús Marina


Literally an hours drive from Marbella, is one of Spain’s most amazing historical cities called Ronda. Ronda is a mountaintop city in Spain’s Malaga province that’s set dramatically above a deep gorge. This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule.

The drive to Ronda, through the the Sierra Blanca Mountains is slow, windy but has stunning views. This was the perfect road to test, the Bentley Bentayga’s driving technology. The double sun visor and top view camera were an added bonus to see and appreciative these spectacular views. Also on my way down n the early morning fog, the lights were so strong, it was like landing on a runway.

This road is somewhat dangerous because there are not many overtaking lanes and this can cause frustrated drivers to take unsafe risks and overtake other cars or heavy traffic such as trucks. I always kept my distance because, I knew how much power was sitting under my bonnet.

I felt so safe driving on this windy narrow road and when the opportunity arose to overtake, there was nothing more exhilarating when my foot hit the drilled alloy sports foot pedal. It was also equally comfortable when I could drive and relax my foot on the matching foot rest. I did this several times throughout my drive kindly been reminded, to watch my speed and drive safely.

I find in Spain there are always drivers who love to tailgate and God forbid if I braked they would end up ramming into me. So once again it was so empowering to accelerate, look in my revision mirror and giggle as I left my annoying driver way way in the distance. The slow windy drive to Ronda was amazing and as you can see the Bentley Bentayga looked worlds apart from any other SUV out there.

Puente Nuevo –  Historical Stone Bridge

There are two parts of Ronda, one that is historical and the other very new and modern. I got a tad disorientated, so I decided to ask one of the locals to guide me. This is what I love about the power of the Bentley brand. That normally when I ask for car re-directions, it’s a few hand gestures and off I go. But on this occasion, his eyes were peeled on the prize and it certainly was not me he was looking at. In fact as I looked around a slow steady crowd started to gather around me, which it then occurred that I was driving a 220,000 euro car and how often has a Bentley Bentayga pulled up in these neck of the woods. Spain is a very safe country, it was lovely to be able to share the cars opulence in such a small city. So before I knew it, I was being guided by the locals literally with them driving in front of me.

I wanted to park the Bentley in the gorge to get the best views of the historical stone bridge. What a blessing to be shown and taken down a steep windy road. I decided to put it in 4WD, to test out the difference, also my version had the terrain specifications valued at almost 5000 euro. I instantly felt a safe force to lead me to one of the most spectacular bridge drives I have ever done within Europe. The slow steep descent was not an issue for the Bentayga as it had more than enough clearance plus it had the underfloor protection which was crucial regarding handling the rocky Andalusian terrain.

Puente Nuevo, is a stone bridge spanning the gorge, and from the angle bellow it is spectacular to view. Not many cars venture down here for obvious reasons but if you can, I highly recommend it. When you are in the historical town there is also a lookout also from the bridge, offering stunning views of Ronda and its surrounding countryside.

As I parked the car, I wanted to get a few social media shots and I noticed to my left a guy called Ali, who clearly had the right camera technology. After a quick chat,  Ali took over, directed my shots and the trained aviation photographer took some epic shots, and showcases the Bentley Bentayga in a terrain in which I believe it belongs.

As usual the crowd slowly got closer and before I knew it, I was inundated with many questions about the Bentayga.

Historical Ronda

Ronda is also a beautiful place to drive through and there are so many tourists walking it requires slow driving. This was a lot of fun because as I drove there was a real sense of rarity just by the look of the public faces, I knew the Bentayga was as unique as Ronda itself. Many people watching, glaring and taking photo’s as I slowly drove in. I chose to stay in the heart of the city and thankfully there were a few spots in where I could quickly park and off load my luggage.

Luggage Management

When I am pulling up at 5 Star hotel, there is nothing more endearing when they open the boot and notice the beautifully handcrafted luggage management. This system is great for heavy luggage and literally by a push of the button it comes out slowly out.

City Specification

In Spain the parking can be a very challenging adventure, as they have not updated the specs of a parking lot for the last three decades. So I really appreciated the park assist, as parking the very large Bentayga ( Length, 5,141 mm), can be quiet a challenge. The pedestrian warning was also an added bonus because every time I pulled up to park, there were so many people stopping looking and taking photos.

Andalusia Terrain

The Andalusia countryside looked stunning and has some harsh terrains to drive through, but in the Bentayga it was just bliss. Taking in all the surroundings, the steep windy roads were brilliant fun, appreciating the handling power of such a beautiful handcrafted machine. Listening to the amazing stereo which Bentley also claim is the loudest in the world, was absolutely perfect driving in and around Ronda and Marbella. Words can’t even describe my emotions every time I played my music.

Union Jack Exterior Flag

This was an interesting feature to have on the outside of the car, the Union Jack Exterior flag. But as marketing goes it was lovely to remind anyone observing that Britain has held onto timeless historical treasures such as the Bentley brand. One that I am very proud of to be part of as a luxury, lifestyle journalist.

Luxury Leather Interior

As I opened the car I was once again reminded that the Bentley Bentayga for me can only be described as a luxury leather handbag on wheels. The main hide was a camel colour and the secondary hide is a gorgeous burnt oak, which is such a trending colour for menswear in the last year. It is one of my favourite colours and once again it matched the harsh Andalusia terrain perfectly. Team this with the massage chair on whilst driving and touching the leather hand stitching steering wheel, and it was a beautiful reminder, that Bentley stands alone when it comes to luxury car driving. The feeling is like no other and one has to experience this first hand to truly appreciate the leather and craftsmanship of Bentley.


Every time I drive a Bentley I am so overwhelmed by its engineering and craftsmanship. I never can contain my emotions when driving this car both with a city environment and on the open roads. I adore all the attention it attracts when I am driving and I love the reactions of the people when I smile back and make them feel welcome.

Once again my mission is to inspire my readers that everything and all things are possible in experiencing the world of luxury. I can only describe my Bentayga experience in Spain as equally as the New town’s Plaza de Toros, in Ronda.  Which is a legendary 18th-century bullring and which is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.

You may not like it, you may not agree with it, you may not be able to afford it, but the Bentley Bentayga is there for the taking. I personally can’t get enough of it.

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All New MINI 1499 GT Special Edition Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:44:15 +0000 Innovation is the life blood of any company in the New Digital Millennium and this also extends to the Car Industry. This has already been seen across of number of markets with new entrants into their respected fields with examples including – Retail (Amazon), TV (Netflix), Transport (Uber) and Music (Spotify). As consumers we have become reliant on this continued release of new Products and Services which we have now become to expect this on an ever shortening cycles – How often do you upgrade your phone?

Mini as a Global Car Manufacturer part of the BMW Group has a long, rich history and an icon of the British Car Industry. Initially created back in the late 1950’s due to the oil shortage as the result of the Suez Canal crisis with the simple design criteria – Small, Affordable and Fun. Those characteristics still remain today to make it the Premium Car Brand which surpasses all class boundaries and admired by many.

The New Mini 1499 GT is a great example on how this global icon can innovate within its market to meet this ever demanding requirement for the new millennial consumer market. From concept to production has taken less than 12 months which is unique in this industry. This allows Mini to tailor its models to meet the ever changing consumer lifestyle we lead today.

First Impressions

Thinking back to when I started my own car journey which was over 25 years ago with an ownership of 14 vehicles. This has been a range of multiple brands, but I did not enter the premium car market until my 3rd vehicle. The reason for this was twofold – Price entry and Insurance made this prohibitive until my late 20’s.
Mini’s 1499 GT address these requirements with over 50 years of design and manufacturing experiences with the continued DNA that they have retained over those years – Small, Affordable and Fun. It has been developed and packaged to provide all those design features any boy racer within us would want from the John Cooper Works (JCW) body kit to the rare Sports seats within the range.

What underpins this fantastic looking model is the commercial package to allow the younger generation to be the proud owner with a set of keys in their hand. This includes 3 years servicing with 1st year’s insurance all for the sum of £299 deposit plus £299 monthly payment over 47 months subject to T&C’s. Or you can purchase the car out right for an on the road price from £16,990 as well.

Key ingredient to the commercial package is the inclusion of the 1st year’s insurance. For young drivers it can be prohibitive with the ever increasing insurance premiums to own a car with this equivalent specification. The additional benefit of the commercial terms is the use of telematics based insurance solution. This allows young drivers to demonstrate and submit driving behavior via either a “black box” or driving app. In return based on their safe driving they can receive discounted insurance premiums for subsequent years.

Innovation can come in many forms, but this affordable approach by Mini has been insightful and opened the door for the next generation of loyal followers.


Based on the 1969 classic 1275 GT edition the 1499 GT comes with the distinctive JCW Sports pack with styling features and unique graphics. This includes the sporty bumpers, spoiler, side skirts, tinted windows, door entry plates, white lens indicators and sat on 17” Track Spoke alloy wheels in black. There is a choice of two colors – Pepper White and Midnight black with the distinctive 1499 GT stripe in White or Gold respectively.


Mini 1499 GT has been packaged with a number of features you will not find in other models and some that are limited to the top of the range vehicles. It provides a premium sporty look and feel which is under pinned by the crisp dynamics of this car. Features include John Cooper Works Sports seats in Dinamica and leather and JCW badges, a JCW steering wheel in perforated leather with Chilli Red stitching and multi-function controls, cruise control, a Visual Boost radio with MINI Connected smartphone compatibility, air conditioning and Piano Black interior trim, along with Carbon Black interior details and an Anthracite headlining. There is also a range of optional extra’s to choose from as well, but for many this high specification will provide everything one would desire.

On The Road

The 1499 GT will not arrive to the show rooms until November this year and hence test drives will be available from then. From the specification it will have all the sporty feel we love of the Mini which continues to excite as a driver’s car especially down those country B roads. Standard features include Independent rear suspension, six speed manual gear box (auto optional) with sports car inspired rev matching technology which is normally found in more expensive sports vehicles to assist those crisp gear changes.

Within its market segment Mini has created another model which can’t be matched for its dynamic handling capabilities with this level of power. We expect even with the new 3 cylinder twin power turbo and 1499c engine producing a 102 hp to have all the fun driving characteristics which make it the icon brand of today.


Mini yet again has not disappointed and this new 3 door hatch back provides all the hall marks of another future classic with this limited special edition and innovative affordable commercial package. By providing the 1st year’s insurance premium this will attract the next generation of followers to this British icon that we know and trust.

Mini 1499 GT goes on sale this month and will have a limited production run of 1,499 between November and February in 2018. Hence if you want to join this exclusive club you will need to visit one of the 140 Mini dealers in the UK quickly to avoid disappointment. Mine is only 15 miles away.

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Jaguar XF SportBrake – Man Versus Machine Speed Test Tue, 03 Oct 2017 09:42:15 +0000 Jaguar and Olympic Skier Graham Bell set new Guinness World Record for the fastest towed speed on skis. Graham Bell was towed by a Jaguar XF Sportbrake, reaching a thrilling average top speed of 117mph to beat the existing record by more than 47mph. The new Jaguar XF Sportbrake fitted with All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) is the perfect tow vehicle, with outstanding performance and stability. The record was set at a super cool -28C at Jaguar Land Rovers Revi Test Centre in the Arctic Circle.

Olympic Skier Graham Bell

Former British Olympic Skier Graham Bell has smashed the Guinness World Record for the fastest towed speed on skis, pulled by the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake. After only a couple of practice attempts it was clear that Graham and the XF Sportbrake were more than up to the challenge and he went on to smash the previous record by over 47mph, achieving an average top speed of 117mph at Jaguar Land Rover’s Arctic Revi Test Centre in Arjeplog, Sweden.

With temperatures of -28C, it was set to be a real challenge for both Graham’s physical limits and the premium estate’s performance. The existing record stood at a fraction under 70mph, but with the XF Sportbrake’s all-wheel drive technology, Adaptive Surface. Response (AdSR) and All Surface Progress Control, it comfortably hit the high speeds Graham required to break the record.

Jeremy Hicks, Jaguar Land Rover UK MD, said: “The XF Sportbrake’s superb traction, handling and high speed stability made it the perfect choice for this speed record attempt. We’re extremely proud to have supported Graham in this incredible world-beating achievement it’s this kind of trail-blazing activity that really tests our cars to their limits.“

The XF Sportbrake builds on the success of the saloon and has all of the advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) technologies and aluminium-intensive architecture that have made the XF a multi-award winner.

Jaguar XF Ranking

Adding to its list of achievements and awards, the Jaguar XF was also recently the highest ranked ‘Large and Luxury Car’ in the JD Power Survey. Focusing on reliability and customer experience, the Jaguar XF’s position was secured by feedback from genuine customers who have owned their cars for 12-36 months. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is available to order now from UK retailers, with prices starting from £34,910.

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Supercar – What Does That Mean? Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:43:07 +0000 Supercars dominate the imagination when we think of speed and fury. Sure, luxury sedans from the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce have a timeless class and look great when parking it up outside a country estate. But when we’re cruising along the motorway in our economical little matchbox and put the boot down and struggle to overtake something similar, it’s then that we really wish we had supercar power under the bonnet.

Imagine being able to get from 0-60 in under three seconds, rather than taking off at the lights and painfully grinding through the gears as nippy cyclists pass you out. No doubt they will be smirking about how their two biological cylinders make a mockery of your engine. We feel slightly sorry for the disdain our poor little Accords and Puntos get when chugging up a hill with a line of traffic behind them. We know they’re trying their best but they just weren’t blessed with the same capabilities as others. Despite all that they’re ours and we still love them for who they are!

So, what better than to imagine your pride and joy  getting a full supercar makeover like Jennings Ford Direct have done? Giving them a V12 engine to rocket around and a sleek, aerodynamic body to make a stunning visual statement. We’d all happily stick with our under-rated marques forever if it was possible to kit them out like a Ferrari or Bugatti. Imagine your little Renault Clio, often mocked for its delicate features and ‘soft’ image (despite being European Car of the Year twice) tearing up the track at 220mph or cruising around town with a low profile sitting on 20-inch alloys.

That’s exactly what we’ve gone for with this illustration series, supercharging some of the most widely loved models around and seeing what they would look like if they got the Fairy Godmother treatment and went from pumpkin to bad-ass power chariot in an instant!

Think of your Toyota Yaris or Auris finished in a perfect Ferrari Rosso, with the horsepower and engine noise to match one of the greatest supercars of all time. Toyotas have always been known for their reliability but what’s the harm in combining that solidity with speed? Nothing at all we say, it’s about time the cars got rewarded for their loyal service!

Anyone who drives a Kia knows exactly why they do so. It’s economical and rarely, if ever, breaks down. It does the basics extremely well in that you can depend on it to get you from A to B for as little as possible. It will never be a conversation-starter though, nor something a romantic partner might drop into conversation to impress their friends. Until now that is! Our artistic rendition of a Kia supercar would see it suped-up but still maintain its identifiable features like its distinctive radiator grill. With larger rear tyres and a 2WD option the “new” Kia can drift with the best of them.

If there is one badge that no-one in their wildest dreams would have thought of on a supercar it is probably LADA. So that’s exactly what we’ve done! A cheap and unpretentious throwback to Soviet back-to-basics engineering in the 70s and 80s the LADA all but died out in the West by the turn of the century. Probably because it was still based on 40-year-old designs. Despite being the butt of every motoring joke imaginable we have transformed it into something any owner would be proud of. With the characteristic brute-force power and body-shape the new LADA reinforces another stereotype, be careful making fun of a Russian!

So next time you’re stuck in traffic and you feel the people either side of you are looking down on your loyal motor, just sit back and think of how things could really be if your car was a supercar in its body as well as its mind! Supercars don’t have to empty your bank account either. Learn more about affordable exotic cars that even you can own today.


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Kia Miglia – Classic Cars The Driving Experience Mon, 04 Sep 2017 14:36:27 +0000 MenStyleFashion was asked along to experience some iconic classic cars in Germany. When asked to think of powerful, luxurious GTs there is one manufacturer not likely to immediately spring to mind – Kia. However with the imminent launch of the Stinger, Kia’s answer to Europe’s fastest, most comfortable saloons, things are set to change. It’s too soon to get our hands on the keys to a Stinger, but we were able to join some of the designers to explore some of the inspiration behind it.

Kia’s European design team is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and is headed up by Chief Designer Gregory Guillaume. He’s the man responsible for the Stinger; a 375bhp, rear-wheel drive 4-door GT, which represents an incredibly exciting new venture for Kia – much better known for practical, affordable hatchbacks and SUVs. The Stinger is to be a true petrolhead’s machine, and so when Kia Motors UK invited us to join the design team in Frankfurt for a classic car event of their own making, we snapped at the chance.

What Is Kia Miglia

‘Kia Miglia’ is an unofficial event started by Gregory and his team; this is where the foundations of the Stinger start to make sense. The entire team consists of petrolheads through-and-through, with many of them having their own classic car or two tucked up at home – the Kia Miglia started as a great excuse to wheel those cars out for a day of driving, and eight years later is as enjoyable as ever.

The event has a planned route through the German countryside surrounding Frankfurt and the team have an enthusiasm for the day which is nothing short of admirable. Several arrive in period clothing, and the machinery in use is exquisite – Jaguars, Porsches, Alfa Romeos, BMWs; mostly classics with a few modern counterparts for good measure.

Gregory himself was piloting his Austin Healey 3000; he’s owned it for longer than anything else in his impressive collection, which also includes a Series 1 Jaguar E-Type and a Ferrari F355. Interior designer James Moon proudly had the oldest car on the day – a 1931 Austin Seven, but not like any other. It was converted to a race car in the ‘40s and now wears a very small, streamlined body and has thoroughly uprated mechanicals. Design Strategist Monica Felicio Fragoso could be found behind the wheel of a glorious red E-Type for most of the day.

Kia Motors UK was kind enough to arrange a Porsche 356 Speedster and a Karmann Ghia for the select group of journalists invited, myself included. There are some tough days in the office – this was not one of them. While the Volkswagen is a style icon in itself, the incredibly pretty Porsche got my vote.

If the Kia design team can take an ounce of the automotive passion displayed during 2017’s Kia Miglia and place it into the new Stinger, we’re in for a treat. And as we happened to see one being tested on the Autobahn just outside Frankfurt, I can tell you that it is a good looking machine. Perhaps it could be time ‘Kia’ became parts of the sports GT vocabulary?

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Jaguar F-Pace S V6 Diesel – Driven Down Under Thu, 10 Aug 2017 11:00:49 +0000 In April MenStyleFashion had driven the Jaguar F-Pace Model S petrol version in the Netherlands. We were impressed with the F-PACE then, it was a great car that could not come to its great potential due to the extremely busy roads of the Netherlands. Now I have the chance to drive the 3 litre Twin Turbo Diesel version of the F-PACE S through Australia with its expansive country side. My review focuses on driving in Australia and how the F-PACE coped with the roads and also people’s perceptions.

I was born in Australia and grew up driving on rural roads that were a test to my cars. There were many occasions where I lost concentration over driving long distances which thankfully looking back could have lead to a fatal accident between the car and me. For the simple reason there was only me driving on the road. Way back in 1997 I drove around Australia covering 33,000km in less than five months in a Ford Laser. I certainly tested that car to the maximum, it even had a bump with a Kangaroo.

I grew up in an era where car technology was in its infancy and road safety accidents were a major problem within rural and outback Australia. I recall driving my dad’s Holden car and at 100 kmph the steering wheel would shake due to car needing a regular wheel balance. Crikey it certainly scared me along side the roads with huge pot holes. Two hands on the steering wheel was a must otherwise my life was in danger.

Australia then and now prides itself on highlighting and enforcing that the roads Down Under are challenging, vast and to be respected at all times. During my two week stay in Victoria Australia I was very intrigued, excited and was on a mission to see how the Jaguar F-PACE Twin Turbo Charged Diesel would perform and assist me, regarding performance and its road safety technology. How was it going to handle the rural roads and those unexpected pot holes, let alone the kangaroos?

Yes these signs are everywhere in Australia

Driving in Australia is very different to Europe due to the remote distances that one has to cover in order to reach a city let alone a country town. I rarely drive long distances in Europe and the UK. The car traffic in Europe and the UK is constant and there is rarely a place where you will not encounter a vehicle within a 30 km radius, unlike Australia. Other traffic keeps me alert and focused as my brain is always stimulated with new road challenges including traffic lights.

I have lived in Europe for twenty years now and the last time I traveled in Australia for long distances was at least ten years ago. So the biggest challenge here was not the drive but it was the distances that I chose to cover in one day. On many occasion I rarely saw a vehicle for at least 25 minutes. This is where the danger of accidents can and will occur if I didn’t stop and take a rest. This is what I love about Australia, these massive signs to kindly remind you that it’s important to be aware of not fulling asleep at the wheel.

Jaguar F-PACE S 3.0 litre V6 Diesel

I was driving the top of the range F-PACE S 3.0 litre V6 Diesel, valued at AU$130,000. Unfortunately Australia taxes imported cars to safeguard the little that is left of Australian built cars with only the Toyota factory left now that Holden and Ford have both closed production. Thanks to Jaguar Australia, I had plenty of gadgets to play with and test out regarding driving safely here in Australia. Also I had the beautiful 22″ alloy wheels and the Meridian sound system to keep me happy.

Monotony driving here in Australia is why I encourage anyone to buy the latest cars full of technology to keep you on the road safely. What was not monotonous was the Jaguar F-PACE itself, it was a beauty that stood out.

Melbourne to Warrnambool To East Gippsland

My tour began from central Melbourne to Warrnambool in one day driving inland. The drive on average is 3 hours 4 min (256.6 kmvia M1 and Hamilton Hwy/B140. It took me just over five hours to drive for two reasons, I had two young children with me and I simply could not handle the distance. The road on many occasions had little traffic and it was completely straight. This I found was potentially dangerous because I became very relaxed and was in cruise control mode for most of the drive. The monotony in open roads such as this left me drowsy, complacent, bored and due to not driving like this for many years, I found my focus was challenged. I drove this same road way back in 1997 in a Ford Laser. Can you imagine the car technology then, let alone the lack of safety features? I was also a lot younger, had no kids and had a driving partner too. On this occasion I was the only driver, had two children and not driven in Australia for over ten years.

How was my mind going to continually be stimulated to make this one of the safest and most luxurious drives ever for me in Australia?

The Great Ocean Road – One of the most Scenic Drives in the World

What a beauty

Australian Roads

I chose not to drive in the dark due to wildlife encounters I have had in the past. Kangaroos seem to love those car headlights. The last thing I wanted was to hit a kangaroo, a wombat let alone a deer. That’s not to say that one can’t drive in the dark. I just had the luxury option in rural Australia not too.

Hi Emu.

Car Safety Options

Over the 14 days that I drove the F-PACE I nearly covered 2,000km both in Melbourne and mainly rural Australia. During the drive the smile never ever left my face because this luxury SUV had all the bells and whistles to keep me super comfortable and safe whilst driving.

Parked near the cliff top walk.

My Sister Tina’s Guide Dog enjoyed the ride in the F-PACE too

Lane Keep Assistant And Driver Condition Monitor

The Lane Keep Assistant and Driver Condition Monitor where the best driver assist tech on the rural roads. When I did waver from my lane occasionally I was quickly woken up with some AI technology and the car corrected itself, this is worth every penny. Alongside the blind spot monitor which was great for overtaking. I am not one to look over my shoulder much and this little light in the side mirror gave me a warning every time there was a car in my blind spot.

Road Safety Tips Australia

I had not driven in Australia for many years, so I decided to pull into my local Orbost Police Station and spoke to highway patrol for some refreshing road rule guidelines. In speaking to constable Mathew Jenkins, he was very keen to encourage anyone to embrace modern car technology for keeping safe on the road.

Australian roads are very different to European and USA roads. On many occasions even though the road speed stated 100 kmph I was very grateful for the driving assist technology here to keep me alert. How did I get to meet Constable Matthew Jenkins, I got pulled over, but just a regular check, and my guess is that he wanted to take a closer look and admire the F-PACE. This is what he had to say:

Australian police can pull you over at anytime and ask for your personal details and licence. Do not take this personally, it’s Australian law. Don’t fight it just be polite and respect the culture and the law.

Cold Climate Pack – Heated Seats

It was winter in Australia and there was nothing more wonderful then to have heated front and rear leather seats. Also the steering wheel was heated, this is the best thing on a cold morning. The backseat drivers had their own option to change the temperature whenever they wanted too. The many adjustable options to the driver seat made my drive as comfortable as possible. I never came out of the car with an aching lower back let alone a numb buttox.

Jaguar Drive Control

The F-Pace has three driving modes Dynamic, Normal and ECO, this was brilliant as it allowed me to change the way the car drove, ECO for long distance and Dynamic to impress my friends. Yes this baby can do 0-100 kmph in 6.2 seconds. Also because the engine has a twin turbo, there is no lag, when I floor it it goes. This made driving the F-PACE a lot more interesting and fun. The F-PACE in Australia got a lot of attention, and on the open roads I enjoyed spreading its SUV wings.

Cruise Control And Speeding Alert

Australia when it comes to staying within the correct speed is very strict. The speeding fine alone will leave me feeling ill. So I loved it when the speeding alert message would pop up on the HUD to kindly remind me of my speed. The Heads Up Display shows the GPS, my speed and speed limit on the windscreen, only for me to see. Many Ozzies I showed this too were blown away with this clever technology and for me this was another added safety tool.

The 22 Inch Wheels

I loved the massive 22 inch wheels when we had the F-PACE for the first time in Holland and again the size of these wheels is a real head turner in Australia. There not as comfortable as smaller size wheels, but it is a bit like women shoes, the better the looks the more painful the experience. I did take the F-PACE on some gravel roads and I could feel the bumps.

Plastic Backseat Protectors & Cameras

I had two girls and as you know kids don’t respect the luxury that goes into keeping the cars looking their best when it comes to car seats. So the plastic on the back of the passenger seats was a brilliant solution also as I did not feel any kicking. A quick car wipe would remove all the dirt. Also on many occasions I was so grateful for the cameras because of the children are a constant interruption and no matter how many times I try to reinforce that when I am driving or parking to stop talking to me.  The rear and front camera alerted me to many objects that I could have hit whilst parking including gates on the farm.

The Ozzies Reaction And Thoughts

For me the Jaguar F-PACE is a very sporty looking SUV and as a female driver I feel and look very sexy in it. Trust me a lot of blokes were very intrigued and on many occasions I giggled at how many guys stopped and looked, they could not keep their eyes on the Jaguar F-PACE. It was real empowering returning to the parked Jaguar, to find guys looking at it wondering what this SUV was all about.

No matter where I drove it, the F-PACE turned heads. I especially noticed guys really taking a look at how it drove and how it sounded. In a country where the V8 engines dominate I certainly was impressed with how many people stopped, looked and commented how posh my car was. But as an Australian who has many mechanic friends, I could not help ponder how Jaguar would succeed and position itself here down under. This was the question I asked many times to petrol heads and women who were out shopping.

Fuel Economy

This is the land of 4WD and SUV’s, a vast country when it comes to travel so every penny counts regarding fuel economy. Talking about fuel  economy I drove from Warrnambool to Orbost on one tank. The distance and drive was  7 h 11 min (623.4 kmvia M1 and Princes Hwy/A1,  which costs me just under 70 dollars. Crikey I thought that was pretty damn good. So did anyone else I talked too.


The F-Pace and the competition

Personally I felt like royalty and very safe driving the Jaguar F-PACE because in the 2,000km I drove it, I never saw one. Officially around 650 have been sold in total and in a huge country like Australia that means one F-PACE per 12,000 km2. In a rich country such as Australia this is rare, unique and for me money well spent.

The F-PACE is not a common SUV that every Australian will own let alone can afford to buy. It is going to take time for Jaguar to re-establish itself and move away from that old man’s car mentality, and on many occasions the average Australian didn’t even know that Jaguar had a SUV. With the demise of Holden and Ford production in Australia I can see this car market opening up to more imports including Jaguar. The F-PACE is a hit for Jaguar world-wide with this model alone making more than 50% of the total sales. The E-PACE has just been launched which is a smaller version, and next year will also see the launch of the I-PACE all electric SUV. Jaguar is becoming an SUV company.

Does the Diesel Model S version make sense over the petrol one? Performance wise there is not much of a difference. The petrol one does sound better, but the diesel one gives better fuel economy. If you drive long distances which is more likely in Australia I would go for the Diesel.

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