The Big three: Gran Turismo Sport vs Forza Motorsport 7 vs Project Cars 2

McLaren Ultimate Vision 8A lot of young peoples first entrance into the car world isn’t through a garage or a drag strip but through a computer screen. The virtual car world is as big if not bigger than the real one, and this year saw three new big titles come out and I’m about to tell you which ones best.

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7 is an incredible looking game, its weather effects are second to none. Wind and rain battering down means the track not only visually changes but the way your car reacts changes, braking distances get longer, huge puddles cause you to aquaplane and you can’t put all your power down coming straight out of a corner. FM7 has the most diverse car list of the three games, with everything from a Ford hot rod to full on Lemans racers. But with that diversity comes issues, thanks to Forza Motorsports sister franchise, Forza Horizon a lot of off road vehicles are included in the game, but there are no dirt tracks, although a much smaller part of the game the other two franchises feature numerous dirt racing circuits (Project Cars 2 even has ice racing) Forza has the most off road racers but nowhere to drive them off road, very disappointing and something that seems to be overlooked. FM7’s drivatar system is fantastic, taking the job of AI drivers the system takes your driving characteristics and creates a profile which races for you online, not only earning you in game currency but creating an exciting competition far superior to the other franchises AI.

Gran Turismo Sport 

Gran Turismo Sport is by far the most disappointing of the trio, considering the amount of time its taken to come out I expected much more. Whilst looking fantastic when racing in the dry, its wet weather effects fall flat and seem to have no major effect on the driving characteristics of the track. GT Sport also has one of the most dull and boring car rosters ever seen in a racing game, there are no classics, very few entry level cars and seemingly hundreds of theoretical concept cars drawn up especially for the game. (The Vision McLaren I talked about a few weeks ago is one of these) The career mode is non-existent, taking you to an online only competition where you are easily out raced by competitors from around the world and the driving school appears to be the only other task to complete which veers from ridiculously simple (driving in a straight line) to stupidly hard Endurance competitions. The AI in Gran Turismo Sport is particularly bad, it has no life to it, seemingly driving a set line around a track making no active defence of positions or trying to overtake. This leads to the races becoming a dull and boring affair where you only need to avoid the AI drivers and drive a better line to win.

Project Cars 2

The first Project Cars game was well received by critics and fans alike and the sequel is continuing that success, it may not be quite as good looking as the other two games but it has nine tenths of the beauty. The car list whilst still not being as good as Forza has the diversity needed to create exciting racing, taking a McLaren 720S ice racing was a particular highlight. What sets Project Cars 2 apart from the competition is the real world racing rules, in the other games if a car was being particularly annoying you could simple punt him into a wall to get through. In Project Cars 2 however if you do such a thing you will be required to drop back behind the car (which will sometimes be many places down depending on the violence of the shunt) or face disqualification. This means you need real talent to get to the front of the pack and win rather than brute force. The AI in Project cars 2 is middle of the pack, whilst it provided a competitive high level opposition it can be a little dumb, barrelling into pile ups and flying all over the place for no obvious reason.

The Verdict

Overall the racing game enthusiast has a great opportunity this year, Forza has been the leading horse for many years purely because of its regularity, but now it has competition and its not really holding up against some. Gran Turismo Sport is a shambles and a shadow of its former self. And Project Cars 2 is a really good up and coming racing series that is showing real promise.

First I would tell you to avoid Gran Turimo Sport, its poor AI, lack of interesting cars and bad career mode have led one of the original innovators in the genre to become a poor excuse for a simulation racer and something that has been beaten by much better and much more enjoyable games. Secondly I would say that Forza Motorsport 7 is an amazing entry into the world of racing games, its incredible roster of car and ever-changing AI patterns have led it to be one of the truly great racing games. But its lack of dirt racing and easily available in game currency that leads to an irritatingly easy career mode that has put it in second place. Finally my number one, its racing is exciting, challenging and best of all realistic, which has led it to be one of the best racing games out there. FM7 is a great stepping-stone into racing games but Project Cars 2 is what a racing game should aim to be.

What do you think of the new racing game, let us know in the comments

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Mini take inspiration from the 1275 GT in the 1499GT

Mini 1499 GT 9Mini have shown off the newest addition to the range, the 1499 GT. The new model is designed to celebrate the 1275 GT model from the original range. The new 1499 GT uses a turbocharged 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine producing 101BHP, the same engine as the rest of the base Mini range. The 1499 GT 0-62 time is the same as the rest of the base level Minis, 10.1 seconds.

Mini 1499 GT 4So what’s different about the new Mini then, well the new 1499 GT is only available in two colours, white or black. The Black model features exclusive decals in gold, whilst the white version gets the same decals in black. The Mini 1499 GT also gets the front and rear bumpers and the spoiler from the top end JCW Mini. The key part of the Mini 1499GT is the JCW Mini suspension it gets. Making this Mini more than just a visual upgrade.

Mini 1499 GT 7The Mini 1499 GT is on sale now for £16,990 and Mini are expecting the 1499 examples to sell out quickly. But is it worth it? Not really the handling of the standard Mini is exceptional, is the JCW better yes but it’s not life changing. The 1499 GT is designed to celebrate the 1275 GT, my personal favourite Mini. What was special about the 1275 GT was the bigger engine than the standard 998CC. To keep the base model engine in this supposedly special edition gives the view that this is just an on paper upgrade and has no real significant value to the Mini brand. Nothing is new on the 1499 GT its just a new combination from existing Mini parts.

What do you think of the Mini 1499GT, let us know in the comments.

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Dyson to build an electric car

James DysonWell known vacuum cleaner maker Dyson is looking to get into the car making business.  Inventor and company founder Sir James Dyson revealed the plans late last month with the car to go on sale in 2020. Dyson says its intensions are to reduce air pollution from the source: “I committed the company to develop new battery technologies. I believed that electrically powered vehicles would solve the vehicle pollution problem.”

electric-chargineThe new comer to the car market has stated they aim to use solid-state batteries, an improvement over the commonly used Lithium ion batteries in most electric cars today. The advantage of the solid-state batteries is that they are quicker to charge and have a higher energy density. They also run cooler and could potentially produce more power.

Tesla Model SDyson say that rather than a mass-market vehicle they aim to produce a car similar to its other products aimed at the technologically minded, ie: a premium market car similar to Tesla and Porsche. Dyson is not the first tech builder to go into the car market, both Apple and Google are in the race to build an electric car. Dyson has slowly been building up his car making team with a combination of car-maker executives and Dyson engineers, his team is said to have reached almost 400 people.

SmogNo stats of the car or even any design plans have been revealed as of yet but Dyson has said that the car will be built close to battery suppliers to limit costs. During the announcement Sir James Dyson took numerous shots at the UK government and other car manufactuers over the numerous ‘clean diesel’ claims they have made in the past, all of which led up to the emissions scandal: “Governments around the world have encouraged the adoption of oxymoronically designated ‘clean diesel’ engines through subsidies and grants. Major auto manufacturers have circumvented and duped clean air regulations. As a result, developed and developing cities are full of smog-belching cars, lorries and buses. It is a problem that others are ignoring.”

Google carPersonally I don’t see this project reaching anywhere, many tech companies have tried to get into the car business even going back to before the electric car was on everyone’s mind. None have been able to compete with the might of the car industry, Tesla is one of the few to break through because its sole intention was to make a car, rather than spreading their assets around making phones, search engines or vacuum cleaners.

What do you think of the Dyson making a car, will it suck (sorry I had to) let us know in the comments.

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Ken Blocks Climbkhana: A return to form for Mr. Block

Ken Block has been very busy as of late it was only a month ago I was talking about my disappointment in his Terrakhana video. But already Ken is back with his new Climbkhana video. Taking place at the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb course Ken takes his 1400BHP Hoonicorn V2 Mustang up the course in a death defying display of drifting mastery. Block has become well known for his gymkhana videos over the years, it’s what has made him such a success. But his last few videos have failed to hit the spot with me.

Ken Block TerrakhanaI am happy to say though that his latest video Climbkhana is a return to form. Block’s choice in Pikes Peak for his latest creation is fantastic and much more visually stimulating than the dust bowls in his previous Terrakhana video. The car itself is also much more interesting, rather than being a run of the mill Fiesta rallycross car we see the legendary Hoonicorn in action. My personal highlight of the video was Block drifting the Mustang round the famous corner the locals call the ‘Devils Playground’ where back in 2012 Jeremy Foley rolled his Mitsubishi Evo in a horrifying crash. (See Here) But of course Block laughs in the face of danger, and with 1400BHP on tap who can blame him.

Ken BlockKen Block has managed to make the promotional video an art form, because that’s basically what all these videos are, just videos to forward his Hoonigan brand and bulk up his bank balance with more money from sponsors. But who can blame him, his videos are an internet sensation, Climbkhana has almost reached 4 million views in just two days online. The standard may have slipped in some peoples opinions but to others every single one of his videos is a must watch clip of driving perfection.

What do you think of Ken Block’s Climbkhana let us know in the comments.

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The McLaren Ultimate vision to appear in Gran Turismo Sport

 

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Gran Turismo is one of the best selling and most loved racing games ever, its continued innovation and development of the genre has seen many manufactures join its roster of cars (This year Porsche join the crew). Some special car makers have also seen revolutionary concepts made exclusively for the game, companies such as Bugatti, Volkswagen, Red Bull, Lexus and even Alpine have all seen amazing video game based racing concepts, some are even recreated in the real world. The next in line for the Vision Gran Turismo treatment is McLaren, who will see their ultimate vision of a racing car come to fruition in the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport.

 

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Whilst the McLaren Ultimate Vision will sadly remain on a TV screen it is said to be a look at what McLaren could produce beyond 2030. The virtual McLaren concept features a unique driving position more similar to a bike than that of a car, it sees you leaning forwards as close to the front wheels as possible. Of course in the virtual world anything is possible so McLaren’s Ultimate Vision comes with over 1100BHP and 1275Nm of torque all from a 4.0 litre V8 teamed with an electric motor, and it weighs a mere 1000KG. The McLaren Ultimate Vision is also all wheel drive.

 

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“More than anything though, the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo is a stunning looking car. The design form communicates exactly what the car’s mission is and what its intentions are: it’s the ultimate expression of the McLaren design pillars and principles we have already established.” – McLaren Design director Rob Melville

Gran Turismo Sport is to launch on October 17th and I will be doing a full on head to head between it and Forza Motorsport 7.

What do you think of the McLarens Virtual Ultimate Vision concept car, let us know in the comments.

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Frankfurt Motor show 2017 round up

The Frankfurt motor show is going on right now in Germany, with the great and the good from around the car world coming together to give us a look at what the showrooms will look like in 2018 and beyond. There are far too many cars to go through to list them all so I thought I would list my highlights from Germany’s premier motor show.

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  1. Kia Proceed

Not to sound like a school report but Kia have improved greatly over the last decade, their growth has been impressive and turned them into one of the companies to look out for in the future along with Hyundai and Skoda. The Proceed is yet another amazingly designed concept car that follows the likes of the Stinger and Novo cars from previous years. The striking sweeping rear end follows the likes of the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake in its aggressive approach to an estate car.

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  1. Honda Urban EV

Whilst the Honda Urban EV is clearly a concept at the moment its inclusion on this list is purely because of the attention it drew at the show. The Honda Urban EV is a future electric car expected in 2019, whilst no specs have been revealed people are amazed by the way it looks both modern and retro at the same time. The looks have been compared to everything from a VW Golf MK1, to a Peugeot 205 and I even see a little Nissan Cube creeping in at the front there.

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  1. BMW X7

This thing is big, like really big. The X7 is an upcoming luxury SUV for BMW expected in 2018. The BMW X5 is a big car already but the X7 is even bigger at 5 metres long. BMW are trying to take on the giants in America from Lincoln Cadillac and Ford. But on European roads the X7 will dwarf just about anything.

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  1. Borgward Isabella

Back in 2015 Borgward returned with the BX7 an SUV designed to take on the Mercedes M class and BMW X5, and they pretty much faded away after that. But now they have returned again to Frankfurt to unveil the concept for their prestigious Isabella. Named after their car from back in the 50’s the Isabella is a 4 door electric car, and whilst no new specs have been revealed Borgward did say they wanted it to be one of their flagship models. Its unlikely this new Borgward adventure will succeed as they are fairly forgettable and have a silly name, but prove me wrong Borgward.

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  1. Mercedes AMG Project One

The star of the show that drew all the eyes and stares from all around the arena was the Project One. The Formula 1 powered hybrid monster is set to take to the roads in early 2019. This new Mercedes monster looks like a combination of the McLaren F1 and Mercedes CLK GTR (and even looks a bit like a Spyker from above). The Project One is going to be up against tough competition in the Aston Martin Valkyrie in the hyper car battle to end all battles. This 1000BHP monster hybrid uses the engine from Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 car to take it to a top speed of more than 218MPH and from 0-124MPH in 6.0 seconds, certainly an amazing machine set to take the world by storm.

What were your highlights from the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, let us know in the comments.

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Everything’s greener with a Leaf

Nissan Leaf 20The Newest version of the Nissan Leaf was revealed today. Going on sale in January 2018 the new Leaf features many improvements and advances over the previous version. Most notable is the range, which has risen by 100 miles from 135 to 235. This is thanks to the new electric motor built under Nissans ‘intelligent power’ idea. The new motors power has increased from 80Kw to 110Kw with this comes a torque increase as well the new Leaf produces 320Nm, great for a car of its size but should be expected from an electric car. Nissan have also said they will be building a more powerful version of the Leaf for the end of 2018, the increase in power means a longer range and more versatility for the vehicle.

The Leaf also sees the debut of Nissan’s new intelligent driving technologies, three modes which Nissan believe make driving easier and less stressful.

They are as follow:

Nissan Leaf 32

  • Pro Pilot is similar to radar guided cruise control seen in other cars currently, with Pro Pilot mode the Leaf controls the distance to the car in front, if it stops the Leaf stops, simple enough. The Pro Pilot system also helps the driver steer within your lane keeping you centred unless otherwise adjusted by the driver.

Nissan Leaf 33

  • Pro Pilot Park this system is simple enough, the Leaf will park itself, taking control of all brakes, acceleration, gears and steering to make, “Parking stress free and more precise for all drivers”.

Nissan Leaf 31

  • The E-Pedal basically turns the accelerator into a switch, when the driver presses it the car will set off as normal, but when the pedal is released the car will use regenerative and friction brakes to bring the car to a gradual and complete stop (meaning you only really need the one pedal for driving around) Although Nissan add that in aggressive situations the brake pedal must be used.

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The Leaf has always been one of the best electric cars you can buy, because from the surface it looks and acts like a normal car. Some electric cars have to look so unusual and out there that they force you to notice them and realise they are electric cars, and they are better than you. The Leaf could be mistaken for a Micra which believe it or not is a good thing. The new Leaf is continuing that trend that has seen it become one of the best selling electric cars. We used to look to the Mercedes S-Class for the next big thing in car technology, maybe with these new advances we should be looking at the Leaf.

What do you think of the new Nissan Leaf, let us know in the comments.

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Bentley unveil the new Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT 10The Bentley Continental GT has always been a bit of a problem car for me, whilst the first generation was fast (it had a top speed of 197MPH) it always looked too large to be a believable performance car. Its large frame and boring at best/ ugly at worst styling put a lot of people off, apart from the footballers of the world who flocked to the Bentley dealerships just begging to spend their money. The second generation although improved still had quite lazy styling and a bit of a weight problem weighing in at over 2.3 tonnes.

Bentley Continental GT 13Now however Bentley may be on to a winner, the new Continental GT finally looks good, taking some of its styling cues from the EXP 10 Speed 6 we saw at the Geneva Motor show the new Continental GT is a much lower sportier looking car, similar to an Aston Martin Vanquish or the Mercedes SLS AMG. Bentley have managed to retain some of the ideas of the original GT but brought in new ideas to modernise the car to compete with modern standards.

Bentley Continental GT 20During the second generation of Continental GT Bentley slowly began moving to a more environmentally friendly engine in the 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 rather than the 6.0 twin turbo W12 we had seen in the first generation (although the W12 was still available as an option. In the new version of the Continental GT we see a return for the big W12. The heavily revised version of the W12 produces 626BHP and 664lb-ft of torque, the power goes through a duel clutch eight speed gearbox to a new version of Bentley’s all wheel drive system. Whilst the Continental GT will launch with the W12 a new version of the 4.0 litre V8 is likely to be available down the line.

Bentley Continental GT 19The Continental has certainly gained my interest now, more so than in previous years. Bentley says they are going after customers who would normally buy a Porsche, which should tell you that the new Continental GT won’t be that bad in the corners. The new GT boasts better weight distribution than its predecessors being 53:47 rather than the last ones 56:44 the GT’s handling will also be improved by its weight reduction, weighing in at 2.25 tonnes rather than the last ones 2.32 tonnes.

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The Continental GT is looking to take over the Grand Touring world, do you think it can manage it, let us know in the comments.

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Ken Blocks TERRAKHANA!

Ken Block has finally unveiled his newest gymkhana video. What makes this one different to all his other videos? This time its on dirt. Called Terrakhana, the video sees Block throwing his new 600BHP Ford Fiesta ST RX43 round the Swing arm city in Utah. Block and his Fiesta battle the dirt and the dust of the desert in an impressive drifting spectacle.

Ken Block

But I was a little underwhelmed by the video, it was an impressive show of skill by Block but so were his previous videos, which were in much more enclosed spaces making the movements more precise and more impressive. In Terrakhana Block is unlikely to hit anything major for miles around, carving the steep bowls of the Swing arm city although looking cool provides little danger and once you’ve seen it once its not as impressive the next time.

Ken Block Terrakhana

When Ken approaches a steep cliff he just drifts around it and whilst still impressive, we’ve seen it earlier in the video where he got closer to the edge of the ridge and turned at the latest possible moment, the giant cliff was meant to be the pinnacle of the video but ended up disappointing. When I saw the cliff I expected Block to jump off the edge, although realistically this would have ended in just a crater of blood oil petrol and a burning pair of DC shoes. This video had a shortage of the amazing heart stopping moments of his previous videos and lacked the edge of your seat finale we have all come to love. Hopefully Ken can return to form in his next video which will hopefully star his new twin turbo Hoonicorn V2.

What did you think of Ken’s latest Gymkhana video, sound off in the comments.

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Ford announce the ’67 Heritage edition GT

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Do you remember when everyone joked that Porsche had the laziest designers ever who just released the same 911 every year for 50 years, and then Mitsubishi out did them with the Evo 9 looking exactly the same as the Evo 8. Well Ford seem to be looking to bring back the idea with their new special edition GT. The Ford GT ’67 Heritage edition is built to celebrate 50 years since Fords victory at Le Mans in 1967. Sound familiar yet, well let me remind you that last year before the first GT had even been built Ford announced the 66’ Heritage edition, built to celebrate 50 years since their victory at Le Mans in 1966. The ’66 Heritage edition came with a new paintjob to resemble the 1966 winning car along with special interior parts and badges, no more power or less weight, just a paint job.

The new ’67 Heritage edition is more of the same, no power upgrades just a new paint job and some badges. Ford say: “The Ford GT ’67 Heritage edition features a gloss-finish Race Red exterior with white stripes and exposed carbon package. The car sports Frozen White No. 1 hood and door graphics, and 20-inch one-piece forged aluminium wheels in silver satin clearcoat with black lug nuts. Red calipers and silver rearview mirror caps complete the look.”

The interior see shockingly similar upgrades to the ’66 Heritage edition as well with new leather trim for the carbon fibre seats with red stitching to match the exterior, the seatbelt webbing is now red as well. Other changes include, “Paddle shifters that are anodized grey, and satin dark stainless appliques are used on the instrument panel, door register bezels and X-brace.”

Almost identical upgrades to the ’66 Heritage edition besides the colour. I’m now predicting we will see a ’68 Heritage edition and ’69 Heritage edition as well in the coming years to celebrate Fords victories at Le Mans. But I hope Ford learn their lesson and give the car more than just a shiny new paintjob and interior because all this looks like is a quick cash grab for a pseudo special edition, that had no additional features or specialties.

What do you think of the ’67 Heritage edition, quick cash grab or a great celebration of Fords victory, let me know in the comments.

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