Lifestyle – Men Style Fashion We Show You How Fri, 18 May 2018 08:02:41 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 European Premiere of the BYTON Concept Car – High-tech And Lounge Appeal Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:46:01 +0000 As part of Milan Design Week BYTON will be showcasing the BYTON Concept for the first time in Europe in a creative experiential environment covering around 600 m2 (approx. 6,500 sq ft). From April 17 to 22 visitors to the heart of Milan will experience the sight of the premium electric car that will go into mass production from 2019. It is designed to impress in form and function both on the outside and on the inside.

“We’re living in a time of transformation. Mobility is changing considerably thanks to new connectivity and autonomous driving technology. Through this, we can enable our customers to make much better use of their time in a car”, explained BYTON CEO and co-founder Carsten Breitfeld. “This brings a new freedom to the car – something that can only be truly experienced if the vehicle and above all its cabin are designed with this in mind. This is what we are doing at BYTON to meet our customers’ needs in the best way possible”.

BYTON is anticipating the needs of the digital generation with a range of high-tech elements that are always stylish. Visitors to the BYTON exhibit in Milan can experience at multiple points just how this looks, feels, and can be used – something that will quite literally appeal to all the senses.

The vehicle that will be showcased in an art gallery also gives an idea of how the cabin of the production model can be personalized. BYTON will show the wealth of options available using exhibits with different color and material combinations. These configurations can also be simulated in the online visualizer or in the BYTON augmented reality app on the smartphone.

Intelligent Car Experience in an interactive exhibition area

In another interactive exhibition area, the BYTON team will be presenting its Intelligent Car Experience. This looks at how the driver and passengers interact with the vehicle and the outside world via a range of social networks, services, and entertainment offerings. Innovative interfaces such as using gesture control or facial recognition will be explained here in various exhibits as will the BYTON Life platform, which adapts intelligently to user behavior, learns from it, and in doing so provides personalized content and assistance functions. Four BYTON Life features on display in Milan features include my HEALTH, my COMMUNICATION, my ENTERTAINMENT and my ACTIVITIES. Built-in hardware synchronizes with user’s other devices, enabling BYTON to track the user’s health status, including weight, heart rate, blood pressure; and synchronize user’s data to give fitness advice.

Brand stores as new forms of experience spaces

At the same time, the BYTON brand store concept will be making its global début. These stores will start opening from the end of 2018 onwards as new brand experience spaces in major cities in China, the US, and Europe.

“Design Week turns the whole of Milan into an international stage and source of inspiration for an entire week. It’s all about spaces in which people feel comfortable, a communicative atmosphere, and a positive lifestyle – this fits perfectly with our ethos and values. BYTON isn’t just about transforming mobility; it’s also about redefining the time we spend together – even in the car. Ultimately, for us it’s always about offering an enjoyable time and real advantages in the process. And not just in the vehicle, but also at our brand stores which we will be opening in major cities around the world. These will not only offer information on our vehicles, but also a chance for our visitors to also experience a variety of theme-based environments where BYTON is at home – including digital connectivity and autonomous driving”, said Daniel Kirchert, President and Co-Founder at BYTON in conclusion.

The Salone del Mobile and accompanying Milan Design Week attract around 300,000 visitors each year. BYTON will be presenting the BYTON Concept for the first time in Europe in the Brera Design District at the gallery Casa d’Aste Blindarte, Via Palermo 11. Following a presentation for the media and guests on April 17, the BYTON exhibit will be open for all to see from April 18 to 22.

About BYTON Concept

The new SUV will be manufactured at BYTON’s plant in Nanjing, China. Its price will start at USD $45,000. The car will be available in China towards the end of 2019, and in the U.S. and Europe in 2020.

Key features include:

  • Shared lounge experience for in-car communication, entertainment and work, with content and connection driven by the BYTON Life cloud platform
  • A single 125 x 25 cm (49 x 9.8 inch) Shared Experience Display center console, along with three additional display screen
  • Unique human-vehicle interaction incorporating voice recognition, touch control, biometric identification and hand gesture control technology
  • Incorporation of Amazon Alexa for intelligent voice control, with additional Amazon collaboration on audio and video content
  • Maximum range of 520 km (323 miles) on a single charge

Interior design is the ultimate lounge experience

  • The new SUV leverages Electric Vehicle architecture to maximize space. A flat floor and absence of a center console convey openness to all cabin occupants. Individually adjustable seats provide sofa-like comfort and luxury akin to a premium lounge
  • BYTON is equipped with multiple screens including a Shared Experience Display replacing the central console in traditional cars. Driver Tablet and two display screens on the rear-seat entertainment system integrate other content and features as part of the lounge
  • The most eye-catching feature is the Shared Experience Display: Its 125 x 25 cm (49 x 9.8 in) screen automatically adjusts brightness according to changes in light, with a unique horizontal layout enabling content shown to be shared with other passengers in the car
  • Additional features include a wooden floor, leather seats and interior color matching. Front seats can rotate 12 degrees inwards, creating a shared space where occupants can interact with each other and the Shared Experience Display, even from the rear seats

Gracie Opulanza admiring Byton

Exterior design is all about digital horsepower

  • BYTON Concept is a mid-size premium smart electric SUV, measuring 4,850 mm (15.9 ft), with a wheelbase of 2,945mm (9.6 ft) and a wheel size of 22 inches. Its exterior design reflects the SUV’s robust style and distinctive proportions, with a loping roof line and green house tapering for optimized aerodynamics
  • BYTON Concept leverages Smart Surfaces beginning with the front grill. LED lights throughout the front highlight the luminescent logo in the middle, along with connecting lines and dots that can switch to different display modes to suit different driving scenarios as well as communicate with users and pedestrians. The rear of the car also adapts the Smart Surfaces design
  • Three facial recognition cameras are embedded in the B-pillar on both sides of the car. Side-view cameras replace traditional side mirrors. BYTON Concept also includes an invisible door handle and perfectly integrated antennas  

Unique human-vehicle interaction

  • As a next generation smart device, BYTON creates new and convenient human-vehicle interactions.
  • BYTON Intuitive Access: a different method of unlocking the car. Face recognition cameras recognize the driver or passenger to unlock the door. BYTON also recognizes driver and passenger information to auto-adjust seat angles, entertainment preferences and other information according to user preferences and usage
  • User profiles auto-enabled for every BYTON. No matter which BYTON the driver sits in, his or her profile can be downloaded from the cloud to the car, making the customer feel as if every BYTON is his/her own car
  • BYTON Air Touch for advanced gesture control. This feature allows for display control via easy hand gestures at any position within the car. For example, users can caption a location with a grabbing motion in the air, and then put it into the maps function in the middle of the display to start the navigation
  • The Driver Tablet allows the driver to control the Shared Experience Display, navigation, seat adjustment and other functions. The sides of the tablet integrate few physical buttons in the car such as the volume control or buttons for changing driving modes. In collaboration with Amazon, BYTON has also integrated Alexa Voice into its in-car voice control system

BYTON Life cloud platform: personalized, seamless, connected life

BYTON Concept is designed to make technology benefit life, providing enjoyable time for people on the move. BYTON Life is the core of that experience. It is an open digital cloud platform that connects applications, data and smart devices. When integrated with innovative human-vehicle interaction, it takes the intelligent experience inside vehicle to a whole new level.

  • Four BYTON Life features on display at the European premiere in Milan include my HEALTH, my COMMUNICATION, my ENTERTAINMENT and my ACTIVITIES. Built-in hardware synchronizes with user’s other devices, enabling BYTON to track the user’s health status, including weight, heart rate, blood pressure; and synchronize user’s data to give fitness advice
  • BYTON Concept supports video and telephone conference capability, enabling users to work productively while commuting or connect with family and friends
  • Seamless switch from the outside to inside the car. BYTON Life enables music, video and other content played on one’s smartphone to continue to play in the car displays, from the time when the user has just entered the vehicle
  • Advanced AI and machine learning capabilities analyze a user’s calendar, locations, hobbies and application data to provide customized advice on what to do next, making BYTON smarter with every interaction
  • BYTON’s interconnected hardware prepares for 5G communications. The hidden antenna on the roof allows data transfer rates up to 10 Gbit/second which is hundreds of times the normal average bandwidth
  • Data security built into all features and services. BYTON has established a dedicated independent Security Lab to ensure data security whether connected to the cloud or within the vehicle. BYTON Smart Gateway with machine learning ability is an additional core technology, enabling BYTON to track the security status of the vehicle in real time, detect potential failures and threats and take auto-countermeasures

Other information: battery charge, power options und future products

  • BYTON’s production car will have two range options for endurance: a rearwheel drive model with a 71 kwh battery pack and a driving range of 400 km, or a four-wheel drive model with a 95 kwh battery pack and driving range up to 520 km (323 miles)
  • In fast charge mode, 80% of the battery is recharged in just 30 minutes
  • BYTON to include two power options: 200kW (400NM torque) single motor rear-wheel drive model and 350kW (710NM torque) dual motors four-wheel model
  • BYTON has adopted an all-new platform specifically designed for electric vehicles. In addition to the first SUV model launched in 2019, BYTON will produce its sedan and multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) on the same platform

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Mental Health – Signs To Look Out For! Mon, 09 Apr 2018 18:06:15 +0000 It occurred to me during my journey starting MenStyleFashion that men just like us women have their melt downs let alone insecurities.  Are men just as conscious of the way they look and feel about themselves. Do they go through periods during their life of doubt about who they are. Do men suffer from depression?  The simple answer to this is yes. For me when I am working with guys, the one aspect I adore is the transformation of how they feel about themselves. My role is to make men aware of, in relation to fashion, that their personal appearances counts in every day life.

According to Josh Klapow, PhD, a clinical psychologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health, men are more likely than women to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression as their chief complaints.


Sleep problems such as insomnia, waking up very early in the morning, or excessive sleeping—are common depression symptoms.  “[Some people] sleep 12 hours a day and still feel exhausted or toss and turn and wake up every two hours,” says Dr. Cook.  Like fatigue, sleep troubles are one of the main symptoms that depressed men may discuss with their doctor, experts say.

Stomachache or Backache

Health problems such as constipation or diarrhea, as well as headaches and back pain, are common in people who are depressed.  But men often don’t realize that chronic pain and digestive disorders go hand in hand with depression, according to focus groups conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health. Norman Sussman, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, says people who are depressed do genuinely feel bad physically.

Irritability And Concentration

Instead of seeming down, men who are depressed often show signs of irritability. “If they talk about an emotional component, it could be sadness with irritability,” says Dr. Cook. Psychomotor retardation can slow down a man’s ability to process information, thereby impairing concentration on work or other tasks.

“Depression fills one with negative thoughts, almost like an intrusion,” Klapow says. “You’re slowed down and constantly thinking about negative things in your world. As a result it makes it very difficult to focus on anything.”

Anger or Hostility

Some men manifest depression by being hostile, angry, or aggressive, says. Dr. Sussman. “A man who realizes something is wrong may need to compensate by demonstrating that he is still strong or capable,” he says.  Anger and hostility are different than irritability. “Anger tends to be a stronger emotion,” Klapow says. “Irritability is a crankiness.”

“Men might be more likely to report symptoms of depression as stress. It’s not that they have more stress; it’s that it’s more socially acceptable to report it,” Klapow says. According to Dr. Cook, stress and depression can also travel a two-way street. “It’s accurate to say that feeling stressed can be an indicator of having clinical depression but also be part of the cause,” he says.

Research has shown a strong link between anxiety disorders and depression.  Men may be no more likely than women to experience anxiety—in fact, anxiety disorders are about twice as prevalent in women—but it’s often easier for men to talk about feeling anxious rather than sad, Dr. Cook says.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse frequently accompanies depression. Research has shown that alcoholics are almost twice as likely to suffer from major depression as people without a drinking problem.  “It can happen for both men and women, but using drugs or alcohol to mask uncomfortable feelings is a strategy many men will employ instead of seeking health care,” says Dr. Cook.

 Sexual Dysfunction

Depression is a common reason for loss of desire and erectile dysfunction (ED), and it’s one symptom that men are inclined not to report. “Performance problems can come from depression and make depression worse,” Dr. Cook says.  However, ED can be the result of other medical conditions or medications (including antidepressants), and ED by itself does not signal depression.

 “I can’t count the number of people who have said, ‘I had money in the bank but the phone got shut off because I couldn’t bring myself to [pay the bill] or decide what to do and when.’ It gets overwhelming,” Dr. Cook says.

Some people naturally have a hard time making decisions, so an inability to make choices is usually worrisome only if it’s a new behavior.

Suicidal Thoughts

Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are more than four times as likely to die if they do attempt suicide. One reason is that men tend to choose more lethal methods. “They more often use firearms and kill themselves the first time they try,” Dr. Cook says.

Older men are at highest risk for suicide, and doctors may miss depression symptoms in this group. In fact, more than 70% of older suicide victims saw their primary care physician within the month of their death.

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Super – Review Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:10:16 +0000 Fine wine, good food and beautiful cars; Italians are renowned for a number of things, but it’s the latter we’ll be focusing on in this review. The Giulia name first adorned an Alfa back in the ’60s, but a long period of gestation followed and it wasn’t until 2015 that the name was officially relaunched. Pushing the manufacturer’s rear-wheel drive platform forward, it marked something of a new beginning for the brand.

Whilst we’re covering a bit of history, it’s fair to say Alfa Romeo hasn’t always had the best reputation for manufacturing reliable, well-built cars. However, they have always been fabulous to gaze at, which is why we’re going to start by looking at the appearance…

Those Looks

In typical Alfa Romeo style, the Giulia has good looks in abundance, particularly so at the front where the angular chin and squinty lights work together beautifully – all complimented by the Montecarlo Blue metallic paint job. The rear end of the car is a little plain compared to the front, but still has a certain elegance to it which rivals in this class struggle to match.


The interior matches the good looks of the outside – with swathes of leather, in a mixture of tan and black, adorning the various surfaces and generally looking fantastic. A heated steering wheel, heated & electronically adjusted front seats and Silverwood/Walnut trim pieces round off the included Lusso pack, a £2750 option included on the car tested.

In terms of in car technology, our test car came complete with all the kit you’d expect from a modern car, with it all integrating seamlessly and working flawlessly throughout. Our only gripe would be that the infotainment system feels a little simple and less developed compared to certain German rivals, but it was easy to use and never felt lacking in features. Audio was provided by the excellent Harmon & Kardon system, a £950 option which sounded fantastic and would give any car in this class a run for it’s money. Speaker placement around the cabin is clever, with some speakers covered in aluminium grills which complement and add to the overall interior aesthetic.

Driving controls are all logically laid out and it doesn’t take long to feel at home in the Giulia. Whilst the instrument cluster isn’t fully digitised like many of its rivals, Alfa’s implementation of analogue gauges works very well. A smaller digital display in the centre is efficiently laid out to give adequate information on the road – the flow of data never felt restrictive.


Worthy of special praise, the 8-speed automatic gearbox fitted to the test car is absolutely sublime. When the car is driven smoothly, the drivetrain is lovely and soft, with the gearbox ‘experience’ like that of any other modern auto. However, push hard (particularly with the car in dynamic mode), and it’s the most rewarding and characterful 8-speed auto we’ve driven to date.

Each gear change is rewarded by the car giving a noticeable surge as the ratios change, similar to running a dual clutch transmission. Most other manufacturers seem to dial this out, creating a smooth but very ‘slushy’ gear change in the process. Having the car push your head back into the headrest each time a paddle is pulled is what it’s all about when you’re driving hard. The column-mounted aluminium paddles themselves are excellent – with a reassuring weight and tactile click for every gear change; you’d struggle to find better.

Outside The Box

Moving away from the gearbox, the rest of the chassis and drivetrain had a lot to live up to. Chassis wise, we were very impressed with the Giulia, which corners nice and flat, has good steering feel (although perhaps a little light for our liking), and rides bumps well. Our test car came fitted with electronic dampers, with the extra stiffness they offer in dynamic mode much appreciated when pushing hard. A slightly strange omission is the option to disable traction control, with no cabin side button offered – no sideways action for this Giulia then (perhaps this is for the best though…)!

The engine picks up extremely well, particularly from low down, giving more than enough go to get you into, or out of trouble. It produces a quiet but audible growl as the rev’s build, although it was a little quiet for our taste (a valved exhast would work wonders here). Unfortunately fuel consumption was extremely high during our testing, with MPG averaging mid-20s. We managed to get mid-30s when driving carefully, but drive the car hard and high teens are possible – far below the 47.9 (combined cycle) book figures.

Other Notable Items

In our time with the Giulia, we found ourselves four or five up at various stages and whilst it wasn’t the most spacious, it certainly didn’t feel cramped and leg room for those in the rear was good. The boot is also spacious, whilst the various cubby holes and conveniently located auxiliary and USB connections were much appreciated.

General build quality and feel of the Giulia was very good, with only the boot causing any suspicion of anything less than top-notch build quality. Whether it’s the mechanism employed or the construction of the boot itself, the lightweight feel to the panel work was a little disconcerting.

Final Thoughts

Alfa’s have always carried a reputation for being curiously lovable cars. Having finally spent a decent amount of time in one, I can now relate to this and found myself falling for the Giulia more and more. It’s so satisfying walking into a car park and knowing the gorgeous Alfa is your ride home, especially when the interior is such a joyous place to be.

Personally, I’d avoid the 2.0 litre petrol; if you’re concerned about economy, have a look at the Diesel options. However, with the chassis and gearbox as good as they are, the Giulia is clearly a car to be enjoyed – and Alfa have developed a model optimised for exactly that. The 510hp Quatrifoglio sits at the top of the Giulia range, and is surely an absolute hoot. We hope to find out for ourselves soon…

Our test car came in at £43,390 OTR, whilst the base price for the Giulia is £32,990.

We’d like to thank Alfa Romeo UK for arranging our test car.

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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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Wireless Speakers – Freya 2 Reviewed Mon, 19 Feb 2018 07:30:20 +0000 Billed as the speaker that looks and sounds perfect in every room, ‘Clint Audio’s latest offering to the wireless speaker market are the Freya 2.

Freya 2 is part of the ‘Asgard’ range of wireless speakers. Named after the home of Nordic gods and goddesses, the speakers design and usability are based on the godly characteristics of toughness, endurance and power:

“Freya is a petite and propitious goddess admired for her love, beauty and especially her appreciation of music”

The Danish company’s mission is to go back to basics with design and functionality and this is certainly reflected in the robust, simple and elegant look of the Freya 2.

The front grille that wraps effortlessly around the cylindrical shape is striking and the colouring of the unit is entirely contemporary. The front grille reminds you of the exhaust on a big American truck. With this almost industrial design and varying colours you get the feeling that these speakers are both masculine and feminine.

You get the colour options of Misty Green, Dusty Rose, Olive Green, Marsala Red and Powdery Blue. Menstylefashion were also supplied with the special edition, Midnight Black with copper.

How Does It Work?

The operation buttons are located on the top.  Although there is no specific power button, once initially charged you simply hold down the play/pause button for power. Nice and simple. It’s the same with the initial connection to your device. Just hold down both volume buttons for a few seconds and you’re there.

As the speaker is searching, the front line of indicator lights shoots horizontally up from the base of the unit until a connection is made and it then lights in a solid formation. Kind of reminded me of      ’ Kit’, the car from my 2nd favourite 80’s TV series, ‘Knight Rider’ ; Voicing the words, ‘Hello Michael’ to the fully leather clad Michael Hoffman, aka ‘The Hoff’. Really cool.

Once turned on a kindly yet firm sounding female audio message tells you that its either searching for a device or that the device is now connected. Connection from your phone or device is true plug and play. You turn the Freya 2 on let your device find it and you’re effortlessly connected.  Or if you’re really technophobic, Clint audio have helpfully built in an audio jack and provided the necessary jack lead.

I share my four story town house with my family of four women all of whom have varied music tastes.  In my house, we have a couple of blue tooth speakers and our main living area has a blue tooth connection device connected to our amp and wired in speakers.

On a Sunday we try to enforce a no TV rule and listen to our local radio station playing rare disco funk to ease us in to a lazy Sunday afternoon.  On one of these Sundays I replaced my stereo speakers with two of the Freya 2 to get a true feeling of sound in a classic home environment.

The Sound

I started with Alberosie’s live version of ’International Drama’. The track goes from classical opera to Reggae in the course of a four minute track. The punchy base intermingled with the clarity and tone required for classical music and the Reggae deep and clear with bass more than evident and with no distortion. The sound is balanced and has a real depth, given the size of the device.

Singularly, the Freya 2 is clear and punchy and the bass evident.  Perfect clarity and velocity for a rowdy or quiet dinner party, depending on how much volume you need. It really was punching above its weight.

Pairing the Freya 2 is an altogether different sound. Set at the same position as my usual home speakers and at high volume the sound is balanced and clear. You can feel the bass in your ears rather than your body.  Kind of like walking in to a night club before it kicks off.

When walking round the house and in or out of range, the Freya 2 flawlessly connects or disconnects as required or reports with the audio voice that you need to reconnect your device. Our recent party guests found it easy to connect, which is ideal for when you have that annoying person who always wants to DJ….

In a busy home, these speakers really work. When used as a single unit in a teenagers or parents bedroom, even at a low to medium volume the sound fills the room yet is unobtrusive to the rest of the house. When paired together in a room you have fully functioning house party speakers.

The Freya 2’s are perfectly sized, are light and can be easily handled due to the matt paint finish. Put in a tote bag for a speaker on a beach or for a party at home the Freya 2 make the difference to any environment, both for sound quality and look.

The Freya 2 are certainly and eye catching choice for the more discerning audiophile and at a retail price of around £150.00, you’re certainly getting your money’s worth.

Specification :

Wireless Bluetooth speaker with built in battery (2600mAh) for up to eight hours depending on usage

Weight 1kg. Dimensions: Height 210 mm x diameter 100mm

7 Watt amplifier with DSP for optimum sound performance

Wireless technology supported: Bluetooth (TrueWireless)

USB port can handle up to 5v 2.4A output power

Eco save function – FREYA will go to auto standby if not used for 20 minutes

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3 Tech Trends To Expect in 2018 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:58:47 +0000 Each and every year, tech savvy individuals and casual tech users alike eagerly await new developments. Of course, 2018 is no different and following events like CES many of us are looking forward to the numerous tech trends we can expect over the next twelve months. Will we have AI-powered robots by Christmas? Will Virtual Reality finally lose the high price and the wires? Will we get anything more reliable than 4G? Here are just a few tech trends that are expected in 2018.

An Artificial Intelligence Boom

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for several years now, and yet it has remained somewhat under-utilized. Well, that is unless you count the human-like AI robots and helpful devices created by companies like Amazon. Fortunately, in 2018 we’re expecting to finally see AI evolve due to more funding and increased incorporation. It’s thought that AI will be adopted by numerous new platforms, apps and devices to improve user experience – though the specifics are yet to come to light. Still, by the end of this year, we’re being told it’s very likely that AI will be a mainstream part of modern technology.

VR 2.0 Will Change Gaming Forever

For years now, Virtual Reality (VR) has been slowly building a reputation within the world of gaming. Google Cardboard improved smartphone-based VR experiences and PS VR ensured headsets would become a popular gaming accessory. Even the iGaming industry adopted VR tech, such as Mr Smith’s UK based online casino offering live dealer games that stream straight to VR mask-hooked mobile headsets to create authentic casino experiences. In 2018 though, the way VR is consumed will change entirely. Instead of requiring external devices, upcoming VR hardware will have the computing power built-in. The Oculus Go, Oculus Santa Cruz and the HTC Vive Focus are just some of the innovative headsets we can expect this year that are sure to help VR reach the overall goal of becoming mainstream.

Preparation For 5G

Now, unlike AI there’s no way that 5G will become mainstream by the end of 2018, unfortunately. However, we will likely see preparation for 5G networks and 5G devices this year, both of which might be out by the end of 2019 at the earliest. According to some tech forecasts, 5G could potentially be ten times more powerful than 4G and could even overshadow present home internet services. This will no doubt completely change the way we consume mobile data, and therefore the apps and streaming services available on our devices. Needless to say, developers, engineers and mobile providers are seriously going to have to buckle down in preparation.

In addition to these three tech trends, there are rumours of seamless conversation technology evolving, UI overhauls and huge amounts of data becoming available to everyday consumers. Needless to say, 2018 will be another massive year for technology and we couldn’t be more excited. We are also interested to know what you are looking most forward to this year. Are you a VR fanatic or do you just want better, more reliable mobile data? Let us know in the comments below.

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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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IFI Nano – Enhance The Sound Quality Of Your Mobile, Tablet, Laptop & PC Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:38:40 +0000 The ifi Nano Is the world’s smallest, portable digital to analogue convertor that plays all high resolution formats.

I was informed by the manufacturers that with this simple piece of equipment can convert the sound quality and power output of standard audio equipment to a much more premium, high end system for a fraction of the cost of a really decent set of headphones.

In less technical terms, The Ifi Nano converts the digital sound from the output of your music playing device; be that and iPhone, laptop, Tablet, PC,  back in to the original analogue format and adds a lot more power to the output of whatever  your listening to. You should in theory get a much better quality sound by using the Ifi Nano between your device and headphones.

As an avid music fan and regular attendee of festivals and gigs I was excited to be invited to the launch of the Ifi Nano. I generally listen to music on a set of over ear headphones that retail at around £300.00 and to be honest, these outperform much more expensive rivals.

The Launch

I arrived at the launch fashionably late in the day and just as the crowds of journalists were leaving. And after a brief introduction, I was introduced to the Ifi team and the Ifi nano.

Presented with a set of over ear head phones, I was asked to select a track on a standard android phone. Being a drum and bass fan I opted for’ Klax – Hotline’ a proper bassy track that would really test the limits of Ifi’s claims. The headphones were of a premium quality and the sound quality was , as expected, pretty good. I was then invited to plug the Ifi nano in and play the same track through the same set of headphones.

The effect was immediate. The back ground music and chatter fell silent as the audio filled my head with crystal clear sound. Each vocal, beat and melody intertwined with the other instruments and samples that form the track were as smooth as liquid  and punchy. My mouth involuntarily grinning like a Cheshire cat and my head slowly bobbing, I could see the guys from Ifi genuinely looking excited as my eyes lit up as I mouthed  ‘OMG’….The difference was entirely tangible.

So, my immediate question to the team at Ifi was: what is this little black box actually doing?

The ifi Nano is a mobile digital to analogue convertor and a head phone amplifier. Its job is to turn the digital signal you’re your device back in to the original analogue recording and increase the power output of your headphones without compromising on the quality of the sound

As the Ifi guys explained “when you speak or record music through a microphone in a recording studio, the computer cannot understand you because as yet computers are unable to understand humans. So it has to go through a translator. Which in other words is a convertor. So it converts the frequencies that the recording picks up to a digital signal. When you play that back through a digital to analogue convertor it’s converting it back to the original sound, therefore reversing the process and vastly improving the listening experience”

“When you play your music on your phone or device its doing one of three things; Its storing the file, its converting it from digital to analogue and its also doing the application playing the music. So your phone or device is doing stages 1, 2 and 3 all at once and therefore the quality of the audio is diminished. So when you insert the lead from your headphones in to the black label (Ifi) your phone will send the audio file, the Ifi Nano will then separate the stages 1, 2 and 3 and do stages 2 and 3 much better.

By separating these stage’s off the sound becomes much more like the original audio file. And a hell of a lot more powerful”

The Test

Living in a busy household, sometimes the only respite I get from noise is to grab a device and stick my headphones on whether to listen to music or watch a movie

When travelling, I generally use standard phone company issued inner ear headphones due to their size but the sound quality is never as good as the over ears. I was therefore intrigued to see what difference a little black box could make to the sound quality of both these devices and keen to test out Ifi’s claims that the Nano does what it says.

The Ifi Nano comes neatly packaged in a tight fitting cardboard box and has all the required leads for charging and connection to your PC/Laptop as well as the required jack leads to connect to your device. It does not come with the actual leads to connect direct to your phone as these are normally issued by your phone supplier. The matt black and orange detailing of the device complement each other perfectly and you get a black velvet carry pouch for travel.

Having already tested the device on a set of over ear headphones at the launch, I was keen to see how they worked in my home environment. Listening to ‘Alberosie – Natural mystic’ , was as always a pleasure. Keeping the volume on my device to around halfway, I plugged the jack lead in to the Ifi Nano.  I was not quite expecting the difference to be so apparent.  Plug and play is straightforward and with little effort you are immediately launched in to a world of sound. You can literally hear everything that the track has to offer and the volume was only halfway with a lot more to give.

On the inner earphones issued by my phone supplier the, difference was entirely mirrored. Clear, bassy and the surrounding sound pretty much cancelled out. The usual poking in of the inner ear earphones not required as the music took me in to my own arena .As I switched to watching a movie, the Ifi Nano helped drive the experience of fear, adrenalin  and excitement as every footstep, door creaking and dialogue were as clear as day.


Having never played my music through such a device and being a complete novice when it comes to high end hi fi equipment, I was actually quite gobsmacked of the effect this little black box had on my overall listening experience. A serious Jaw dropping difference.

As a regular traveller and commuter, the Ifi Nano is now an essential piece of my audio kit. In terms of practical use, the Ifi Nano is tiny, only measuring around 75mm x 100mm x 30mm deep  and is light yet robust. It has a 10 hour charge time and will fit neatly in to any hand or man bag.

Retail price £200.00

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First Date – 5 Restaurant Tips To Impress Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:09:36 +0000 First dates are the make or break moments for most people seeking lasting relationships. A lot of anxiety comes when choosing a restaurant for a first date. Your choice will unconsciously tell your date the kind of person you are. You need to be very choosy in order to make a great first impression. First impressions are lasting impressions.

The choice can be difficult to make especially if you are not sure what your date likes or doesn’t. However, you can choose a simple but memorable date that anyone would like despite his or her preferences. Greater London restaurants have great features that can entice you. You could consider the following for a memorable first date.



The Budget

Good food and environment does not have to be costly. When choosing a restaurant for a first date, it is important to check the ones that you can afford. You don’t want to get a large bill that you cannot foot after a simple meal for two. This can leave you in debts and create a wrong impression on your date. If you have sufficient time before the date, you can plan appropriately and save up for the same.

Background Music

A noisy restaurant will only make you two shout in order to be heard. This is not the best environment to get to know someone you want to date. You need a place with some good Jazz music or lounge textures in the background. Romantic music should however not be overdone. It is too aggressive on a first date. Leave that for couples.

The Lighting Fixtures

You do not want too much light that blinds you, neither do you want dim light that you can barely see your food or partner. Just enough light makes you comfortable and sets the mood for the rest of the date.

Available Dishes

You need to be wise in this area. Some restaurants offer specialised food like say Greek, Ethiopian, Italian, Turkish and the likes while some are just general. On the first date, the attention is on the two of you and not the food. On the other hand, the food is part of the date and therefore it has to be great. This means you will have to avoid foods that need attention like big burgers, fried chicken, crabs among others. The food needs to go in without interruption as your date focuses on you.

Most romantic restaurants serve excellent food. Italian and Mediterranean food will be a good pick for a first date. A glass of divine wine afterwards will make it even more superb.

The Service In The Restaurant

Imagine going to a restaurant and waiting for more than fifteen minutes without anybody coming to ask what you want or how they may help you. You certainly do not want this on your first date. It can kill the mood.

Choose restaurants where you have excellent and warm service. A smile from the waiters makes the food even more enticing. Excellent service may also make this restaurant a special part of you two. MenstyleFashion has reviewed many London restaurants for 2017,  click here to find one that suits you and your first date.

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