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.

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  • 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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Rolls Royce takes aim at Bentley

Rolls Royce Phantom 9You may be pleased to hear that this week I’m not going to talk about electric cars, emissions or even the electric revolution. What I am going to talk about is the shots Rolls Royce CEO took at Bentley this week. Age old rivals Rolls and Bentley have been battling it out for the king of luxury for decades. But it’s a war that for the past ten years Rolls have been winning and Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes puts it down to the fact that Rolls Royce aren’t taking the base for its cars from lesser manufacturers.

Bentley BentaygaIt’s true the Bentley of today has taken the Audi Q7 and put a new set of clothes on it to call it the Bentayga, but this is the first major shot heard from Rolls in a long while. Most car companies will remain polite about their competition saying things like, “we enjoy the competition and wish them every success” meanwhile behind the scenes they are plotting every way to put them out of business.

Rolls Royce Phantom 23Mueller-Oetvoes made these comments at the European launch of the new Rolls Royce Phantom VIII, saying: “We are not using mass-manufactured body shells. That limits what you can do on the design side, and it undermines exclusivity massively. You don’t want a camouflaged Q7 in that segment. You want to have a true Rolls-Royce.” What this means is that all new Rolls Royces will have their own bespoke underpinning rather than sharing them with the likes of the BMW 7 series which was the basis for the original Ghost.

Rolls Royce Phantom 21

Rolls are calling this new idea the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ and can be seen in the Phantom VIII, new SUV the Cullinan and future generations of the Ghost, Dawn and Wraith. In a press release about the new Phantom VIII whilst not mentioning them by name Rolls went as far to say, “No future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by mass-manufacturers and some mass-luxury brands.”

Bentley Continental GTRolls are determined to be the only Luxury car brand there is even if it means tearing down their competition with hurtful words. Bentley are transitioning away from the Audi platform over to the Porsche platform but seems to refuse to make a fully bespoke luxury car of their early years, Bentleys market has changed, the Continental GT is proof their aim is footballers not Lords and Ladies.

What do you think of the luxury battle between Bentley and Rolls Royce, let us know in the comments.

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Maserati electrified by 2019

MaseratiElectrification is ruling the news stories as of late, indeed my last few posts have been about the introduction of electrified cars and the reduction of regular internal combustion cars, but know one of the big names has finally made their push to electrification. Maserati have announced that by 2019 they expect all their new cars to be electrified in some way. The call comes from Maserati owners Fiat Chrysler, who plan on having more than half of their cars electrified by 2022, with Maserati spearheading the project.

Sergio MarchionneThe announcement was made during a conference call with investors, CEO of FCA Sergio Marchionne said: “They had been reluctant to embrace that avenue until we saw a clearer path forward”. The first electric Maserati is expected in 2020 and will be based off the two-door sports car revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Alfieri.

Maserati LevanteThe current line up of Maseratis are also likely to receive upgrades through hybridisation with the new SUV the Levante being first in line. Maserati Europe boss Giulio Pastore told Autocar last year: “The current platform allows for hybrid. We are working on it for 2019, when we will be ready to offer hybridisation.”

Maserati QuattroporteThis certainly means exciting times are ahead of us, first Volvo then BMW and now Maserati. Its only a matter of time before we see a fully electric Ferrari. I’d predict the next big group to announce electrification will be Volkswagen. They need a win they need to show they are ahead of the curve particularly after the emissions scandal, and with a large popular group that includes Audi, Skoda, Seat and of course not forgetting Lamborghini. The Electric future is coming, are you ready for it.

What do you think of Electric Maseratis let me know in the comments

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Petrol and Diesel cars sales banned by 2040

Michael GoveThe UK Government have announced extreme measures to cut down on air pollution, banning the sale petrol and diesel cars by 2040. The current Conservative governments Environment Secretary Michael Gove revealed the plans yesterday, and followed up by saying they could give local councils the power to impose tough restrictions on highly polluting areas as early as 2020.

electric-chargineThe plans however fall short of offering a full diesel scrappage scheme, something which motoring campaigners were calling for. The plans have also been criticized by the AA, which claims that such a plan could cause chaos in the National Grid, and require up to ten more power stations to provide the electrical output required for such a large switch on of electric vehicles.

Tesla Model SMany car companies have begun an electrification process in their cars, Volvo recently announced that all new Volvos would be electrified in someway by 2025. Mini announced yesterday that they were beginning production in 2019 of a fully electric 3-door version of the Mini at their plant in Oxford, BMW also expects electrified models to be between 15% and 25% of their sales by 2025 after announcing electrification would be available on all of its models.

Elon MuskWhich? Car magazine also warned the government that electric cars were currently more expensive and less practical than conventional cars. Around 4% of cars sold today are electric. Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders CEO Mike Hawes told Autocar: “Currently demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level as consumers have concern over affordability, range and charging points”.

Rimac Concept oneIt should be said that the Government has also said that restrictions would be lessened after the air pollution levels have reduced to acceptable levels “Local authorities should bear in mind such access restrictions would only be necessary for a limited period and should be lifted once legal compliance is achieved and there is no risk of legal limits being breached again”.

What do you think of our electrified future, let us know in the comments

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