The Nurburgring ruins everything


I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Nurburgring, it seems car makers believe if a car can put a good time in at the ‘green hell’ then it’ll work well everywhere, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Carmakers in recent years appear to be under the impression that every performance car under the sun has to have taken a trip to Germany to prove its worth but this is simply untrue. What the Nurburgring has led to is a string of performance cars that are hard riding unforgiving death traps, because to perform well at the ‘Ring a car has to live on a knife edge, yes a racing driver at his best could set records in a specially designed car developed at the Nurburgring but your ordinary driver will suddenly end up upside down in a ditch possibly on fire all because his car oversteered unexpectedly when the driver ran out of talent.

Renault Megane R26RThe Nurburgring has also led to completely unnecessary cars to be developed there all for this imaginary badge of honour, why on earth does a high riding SUV need a good ring time. I have no idea but Lamborghini must because they took the Urus there for development. The Nurburgring also spoils perfectly well performing cars that were great before they went to the ‘Ring, the Renault Megane for example was a fantastic fun little hot hatch that was incredibly quick on a back road and could keep up with anything. Once the Frenchmen found the Nurburgring however we ended up with the completely idiotic Megane R26.R a modified version of the once great R26 giving it a useless roll cage, which removed the rear seats and five point harnesses which made the result a unusable mess that only worked on the one day it wasn’t raining and you were at a track.

McLaren P1The Nurburgring even managed to ruin the good old pub argument of which car was better, it used to be an argument of this car has more power, but this car is lighter, but this car has a faster 0-60 time, but this car has a better power to weight ratio. Now the argument goes: it has a faster time at the Nurburgring and that person will absolutely refuse to hear any other argument. The ‘Ring is seen as this anointing by god of a good car when in reality it’s a statement that this car performs well on one track in the world that the owner will never even go to, but in the everyday world it is a nightmare and could one day kill you for no obvious reason other than it was raining.

Nurburgring Crash

So in conclusion of this rant about the Nurburgring it is not the be all and end all. The Nurburgring is just another racetrack, a car that performs well on the road is far more interesting than a track bred uncomfortable unrestricted race car. This obsession with the ‘Ring needs to end before car enthusiasts around the world only care about a time that is essentially meaningless. There will always be a faster car as new cars released every day, a ring time is only relevant for about as long as it takes to get round the ‘Ring.

What do you think about the mythical Nurburgring, let us know in the comments.

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Geneva Motor Show 2018

So its Geneva Motor Show time again, the greatest week of the year for petrol heads. A time when the great and the good from around the world travel to Switzerland to show off what they’ve been working on and what will possibly be seen on the roads in the future. As with every year there seems to be so many notable cars on show that to go through all of them would mean you wouldn’t have finished by next years Geneva Motor Show. So I’ve chosen 5 cars that I think are the highlights of this years show to give you a glimpse of what is going on in the world of motoring.

Polestar 1Polestar 1

The Polestar 1 is the first car from the company that was formally the tuner of some of the greatest Volvos the world had ever seen (I know its not a long list). The Volvo DNA is still unmistakably present in the Polestar 1, and sticking a Volvo badge on would be completely understandable. But that’s not what Volvo want for Polestar, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath (who is also Volvo’s Design director) said “Polestar will become Volvo’s technological spearhead that, after the 1 hits the market, will make only all-electric performance cars.” the Polestar 1 is currently a hybrid with a 2.0 litre turbo engine and twin electric motors on the rear axle producing just under 600BHP, not bad for a first outing.

Toyota Supra CompetitionToyota Supra

Toyota is determined to keep the final production version of the Supra under wraps for as long as possible, what’s on show at Geneva is the racing version. It may have a giant rear wing, frighteningly wide arches and large rear diffuser but the racing supra does give us a glance at what the future may hold for our long craved 90’s icon. Autocar are reporting the new Supra will have a 3.0 litre turbocharged straight 6 up front making 330BHP and a sub 4 second 0-60 time. All of that’s very good but isn’t as much as I was expecting, the Nissan Skyline was always the Supra’s biggest rival in Japan and nowadays the Nissan GTR has by far out grown those number making it a super car killer not just a sporty coupe/midlife crisis mobile.

VW ID VizzionVW ID Vizzion

And now for something completely different, the VW brand has been going through some significant struggles since diesel gate and has been trying to change the subject in many different ways for a long time, one of those ways was the reveal of the VW ID concepts, a series of concepts designed to show the VW range when both autonomous driving and electric cars have really taken off. The ID Vizzion is the next in line and VW say it will go on sale in 2021 as the first VW without a steering wheel or pedals, relying solely on autonomous tech to keep it on the straight and narrow. The ID Vizzion is designed to be the replacement for the phaeton and joins the other ID cars, the Buzz, Crozz and imaginatively named Hatchback.

Porsche Mission E Cross TurismoPorsche Mission E Cross Turismo

One of the big surprises at the show this year was the reveal of the Cross Turismo, a car designed to reach production in 2021. The Cross Turismo is based on the same tech Porsche have used on the also still in development Mission E high performance saloon based off of the Panamera. The Mission E cars are Porsches examples of electric cars and will supposedly be Porsches future once the electric revolution really takes off. The Cross Turismo is a rather odd looking SUV, rather than being based on Porsches previous 4×4 off roaders the Macan and Cayenne the Cross Turismo appears to have been based on the Panamera again leading to a rather lifted saloon look rather than a full on off roader similar to that of the Volvo cross country estate cars.

Aston Martin LagondaAston Martin Lagonda

Yet another electric car was shown off as seems to be the trend at this years show, this time it was the Aston Martin Lagonda. The fully electric concept is Astons attempt to yet again reanimate the corpse of uber luxury brand Lagonda. The Lagonda name is set to be used on two new cars by 2021, one an electric saloon seen here, the other an SUV. The Lagonda Saloon is set to be the most radical car Aston has ever made, just as the original Lagonda was back in the mid 70’s. The new Lagonda won’t even have a bonnet to open, thanks to the electric motors it’s simply unnecessary. The Lagonda is still planning on being a conventional car however rather than an autonomous car like the VW Vizzion.

What’s your favourite car from this years Geneva Motor Show, let us know in the comments.

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Everyone and their dog seems to think they can make a Super car

ZenvoSuper cars are a special breed, usually developed over many years with millions of pounds being spent on development to make it a world-beater, the super car is the pinnacle of motor engineering and is very easy to get wrong. If your super car doesn’t handle well has too much power or is ugly you have failed. When companies are charging more and more for these super cars you expect them to be a quality product however of the past few years the number of super cars coming out has increased massively, all from companies you’ve never heard of.

Glickenhaus SCG 004SFor example have any of you heard of the Arrinera Hussarya, the Tauro V8 Portago, The Devel Sixteen, the Ikeya Formula IF02RDS, the Apollo Intesa Emozione, the Dallera Stradale, the Aspark Owl, the Vencer Sarthe, the Mazanti Evantra Millecavalli, or the Glickenhaus SCG 004S. No I thought not, just because you’ve made your name out of scrabble tiles doesn’t mean you can make a super car. And guess what every single one of the cars I’ve just listed will fail. Yes they may sell one, maybe even two cars but they will never have the prestige, technical knowhow or appeal of a Ferrari, Aston Martin or McLaren. But why won’t they succeed, Ferrari had to start somewhere, all manufacturers did, well many manufacturers started out in racing, the previously mentioned Ferrari, McLaren and even Bugatti started out on the track then transitioned over to road cars.

Aston Martin ValkyrieRunning a race team with your name on it builds up a reputation and a fandom of that brand, particularly if you are successful, also you build up a knowledge base of engineers who can then transfer those expertise onto the roads, take Red Bull for example. Fifteen years ago it would be laughable to think an energy drink manufacturer would be able to build a respectable road car, but four F1 world championships later Red Bull are working directly with Aston Martin on the new Valkyrie hyper car and I wouldn’t be surprised to see their own Red Bull branded road car announced by 2025. What these no name manufacturers have done is essentially take an engine from another manufacturer stick it in a weird looking carbon fibre body and expected it to be successful, when in actuality what they have is nothing more than a glorified kit car.

Mclaren P1

When somebody drives up in a super car everybody should be able to tell just by looking at the car what it is, the question when the driver gets out shouldn’t be “What is that?” it should be “Can I have a go?” these no name manufacturers won’t be remembered in 5 years let alone the rest of history.

What do you think of the sudden rise of random supercars, let us know in the comments

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The New Ferrari 488 Pista: Italian styling, now with stripes

Ferrari 488 Pista 1It’s always tough buying a Ferrari, other than the financial out set there is always the fear that 6 months down the line the prancing horse will announce a faster version of the car you own, and in the process send your resale value through the floor. It happened with the 360, 430, 458 and now it has happened to the 488. Whilst the 488 has been a success overall it has always felt to be in the shadow of the 458 Italia, which changed the game for Ferrari and set them on a new course. Ferrari are hoping the 488 Pista will be the car to come out of the 458’s shadow and yet again change the game in Ferrari’s favour.

Ferrari 488 Pista 2The new Ferrari 488 Pista is essentially a souped up version of the standard 488, coming with a 3.9 litre turbocharged V8 the new 488 Pista produces 711BHP and 770Nm of torque. That power increase of 50BHP means the 0-62 time drops to a staggeringly quick 2.85 seconds. The Ferrari 488 Pista can go on to a top speed of more than 211MPH. The full reveal of the new 488 Pista is set to take place at the Geneva Motor Show next month where the order books will also open.

Ferrari 488 Pista 4The 488 Pista was designed in conjunction with the FIA World Endurance championship, where the Ferrari team have won 5 championships. This has led to Ferrari’s main aim for the 488 Pista, “to offer track-like performance on and off the road, even when in the hands of non-professional drivers”. Along with the power increase the Pista is also 90KG lighter thanks to a number of upgrades taken from the 488 Challenge car that competes in the Ferrari Challenge Series these include lighter Inconel exhaust manifolds, a lightweight crankshaft and flywheel along with titanium con rods and carbon fibre intake plenums.

Ferrari 488 Pista 3Rumours surrounding the follow up to the 488 been swirling for a while now, with many claiming the car would be known as the 488 GTO, taking the name from numerous Ferrari road racing cars. Pista in Italian actually means track and denotes Ferrari’s dedication to building cars that work just as well on the track as they do on the road whilst also hinting at the 488’s true home. Interestingly the 488 Pista shares many of the performance stats with the newly announced McLaren Senna although the price point for the Ferrari is less than a third of the Senna’s costing a measly £215,000 compared to the Senna’s £750,000.

Ferrari 488 Pista 5The interior and exterior of the Ferrari is covered with lashings of carbon fibre and features the now iconic Ferrari special edition stripe featured on many upgraded Ferraris in some form or another. But the new features don’t stop there, the new 488 Pista has a number of aerodynamic upgrades resulting in a 20% increase in downforce. But don’t think Ferrari have forgotten how to have fun in all their motorsports inspired lunacy, the 488 Pista features a new level of its Slideslip angle control system, first seen on the 458 Speciale the system allows an advanced level of stability control similar to that of a ‘drift mode’.

What do you think of the new Ferrari 488 Pista, let us know in the comments.

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The Best looking everyday cars

Vauxhall InsigniaThere are a lot of cars on the roads today, most are just shapeless blobs that fade away into the background but occasionally there are cars that like to stand out from the crowd, not million pound super cars, not one off special editions just your everyday family saloon. Here are just some of the cars that stand out against the dull grey background and ooze style, design and creativity.

Citroen C6Citroen C6: Now when all cars are commissioned we see countless design drawings and fantasy sketches that make any car look cool and stylish, but rarely does the final production model look anything like the concept car let alone these initial design drawings. The Citroen C6 is the exception, this big executive saloon has so many interesting features I could write this whole article on just this car. Everything from its concave rear window to its sweeping lines stand out from the sea of German black and grey boxes. Unfortunately the public didn’t agree and the C6 was a flop but every now and again you’ll see a C6 on the roads and think that is just a special design that we rarely see these days.

Ford MondeoFord Mondeo: It’s weird that the Mondeo isn’t the only car on the road these days, one of the best cars to drive in its class, affordable and good looking are just some of the reasons the Mondeo should lead the way for car design, and whilst popular it isn’t the world dominating car it was from the late 90’s to early 2000’s. But weirdly it is the best looking it has ever been, its sloping rear screen makes the Mondeo look sleek whilst its front end is quietly aggressive and purposeful. Top Gear did a news piece on the show by briefly revealing an image of the Mondeo and asking the audience what they thought it was. The audience thought it was an Aston Martin, and that’s as higher praise as I can think offer to describe your everyday family saloon.

Renault Laguna CoupeRenault Laguna Coupe: The Renault Laguna had always been a bit of a slush box prior to 2007 it was a fairly mundane cheap saloon but nothing more. It felt like Renault had cared more about their safety ratings than how the car looked and drove, but that all changed in 2007 when Renault unveiled the amazing Laguna Coupe. Suddenly Renault were the centre of attention again with this amazing sweeping coupe that most Italians would be jealous of. But again it seems the public couldn’t recognise good design and the Renault Laguna again flopped with Renault pulling the plug entirely in 2015 with the Lagunas replacement the also great looking Renault Talisman not even being sold in the UK.

Vauxhall Insignia 2Vauxhall Insignia: Vauxhall’s previous attempts at a good-looking saloon only went as far as the Vectra, ie not well. But since the introduction of the Insignia replacement in 2008 the company has been going from strength to strength improving on the design with every iteration. The current version of the Insignia also manages the difficult task of looking good in both saloon and estate form. The Insignias best achievement is to fade into the background. It doesn’t try to hard like you could say about the Citroen C6 previously mentioned, you could just pass by it in the multi storey car park, but when you do look it grabs your attention and holds your attention till it goes out of sight.

Volvo S90Volvo S90: Much like Renault on this list Volvo were better known for their safety rather than their stylish design, but in the S90’s case it manages both. Volvo has been on a roll as of late, the XC90 looks fantastic, the XC60 and XC40 the same. The S90 is just the next in line of great looking Volvo cars. Volvo are on the ups with the S90 and are taking direct aim at the German elite from Mercedes Audi and BMW. Its smart front end makes a change from the rather boring styling of previous Volvos, and its striking rear end is dramatically different from Volvos of the past making the S90 one to look out for on the roads.

What do you think are the best looking everyday cars on the roads today, let us know in the comments.

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Nissan are ready for the slopes with the Nissan 370Zki

The Nissan 370Z is getting a bit on the older side nowadays, its still a great driving reliable sports car that can still compete with its much fresher newer competitors. But it’s the boring choice, when somebody asks you the question what are you driving now? And you answer the 370Z there is never a follow up question. The 370Z doesn’t need one it’s a known quantity. But like most sports cars (particularly convertibles) it does struggle when it gets cold. Driving a rear wheel drive car in the snow can be a scary experience as the front wheels seem to offer no indication of what direction you’re going.


To combat this clearly dire error on their part Nissan have unveiled a new version of the Nissan 370Z to directly address the cars winter issues. The Nissan 370Zki (pronounced 370 Ski) is what happens when you cross a convertible Japanese sports car and a snowmobile. Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show the 370Zki uses a set of ‘Dominator’ tracks from American Track Truck inc and a set of custom skis instead of the front wheels also from American Track Truck inc. The Nissan 370Zki is only a custom car for the show as explained by Michael Bunce, Vice President of product planning at Nissan North America: “The Nissan 370Zki continues our recent tradition of bringing imaginative winter vehicle concepts to the Chicago Auto Show. With the Nissan Z’s long heritage of motorsports competition, the 370Zki seemed like a natural combination”.


You would be surprised as to how much modification was needed to create the 370Zki, a custom lift kit was used to raise the standard car 3 inches, along with aftermarket springs and wheel spacers at the rear to ensure the tracks would fit onto the little convertible. The only other issues the team ran into were rerouting the standard brake lines and exhaust. The front end only saw modification to the suspension to ensure the skis could turn sufficiently, the skis were fitted to the standard wheel hubs with some spacers. The engine and gearbox were custom mounted but remained mechanically standard.


So expect the 370Zki to be roaming around your local high street next time there a light sprinkling of snow. It’s an insane creation and could only have come out of America. What I love about the 370Zki though is that it was created in house, its just a bit of fun which is something I feel the motor industry has lost over the years, not everything needs to be a dominating road warrior built to beat the world, sometimes a car can just be a bit of fun.

What do you think about the Nissan 370Zki, let us know in the comments.

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It’s not an F-Type, seriously it’s the new Lister Thunder

Britain used to be a titan of the motor industry, we had so many manufacturers it would take me all day to list just half. But sadly over time our British car industry has dwindled to become a shadow of its former self, Jaguar are now owned by Indian company Tata, same with Land Rover, Mini, Triumph, Bentley and Rolls Royce all owned by various German marques. Our car industry is now basically non-existent.

Lister Thunder 2But in our heyday one of the things we were especially known for were sports cars, and now a company from our legendary past is attempting a comeback. Of all the companies to make a return Lister are attempting to rekindle the old magic with the new Lister Thunder. Now what you may be thinking right now is no that’s just a Jaguar F-Type, and you’d be right the Lister Thunder is essentially a Jaguar F-Type that has been reengineered by the all-British team at Lister. While we will have to wait for the full specs at the big reveal in February, Lister have confirmed a low 3.1-second 0-62 time and a ‘devilish 666BHP’ thanks to a 5.0 Litre V8 with a top speed of 208MPH, the fastest production Lister ever.

Lister Thunder 3You may be thinking the Lister Thunder is just a modified F-Type and you’d be right but Lister’s history with the big cat goes back much further than the Thunder. During the 50’s Lister saw success with the now legendary Lister-Jaguar Knobbly sports car (has there ever been a more British name than that) which saw a lot of racing success with racing legend Sir Stirling Moss behind the wheel. A Jaguar V12 powered the incredible Lister Storm which won the FIA World GT championship in 2000.

Lister Thunder 4CEO of the Lister Motor Company Lawrence Whittaker sees Lister as a new tuning company specifically for Jaguar “Like Brabus and AMG with Mercedes and Alpina with BMW, we are hoping to become synonymous once again with tuning Jaguar vehicles, giving customers new enhanced, bespoke performance and design alternatives to Jaguar’s acclaimed model programme.”

Lister Thunder 1The Lister Thunder is getting a new interior finished in Bridge of Weir Nappa leather and also receives a shiny new carbon fibre body kit that Lister is also offering for standard F-Type owners. Only 99 examples of the Lister Thunder will be built with a price tag of £139,950 all built to their owner’s specifications, making each on unique.

Will Lister save the UK car industry, I doubt it but that doesn’t make the Lister Thunder any less of an incredible car, Lister have a phenomenal history in the motoring world both on the track and on the road. The Lister Thunder is just the next example of that classically British talent for Sports cars.

What do you think of the new Lister Thunder, let us know in the comments.

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Range Rover to unveil SV Coupe at Geneva

Range RoverMore Land Rover news this week, Range Rover have announced the unveiling of a full size luxury SUV Coupe called the SV Coupe at the Geneva Motor show in March. The SV Coupe has also been built to celebrate Land Rovers 70th anniversary just as the Defender Works V8 I talked about last week was. The SV Coupe is designed to pay homage to the original Range Rover.

Range Rover SV CoupeGerry McGovern, Land Rover Chief Design Officer, said: “The Range Rover SV Coupé is a highly compelling design with peerless refinement and uncompromised sophistication from its breath-taking exterior proportions to its sumptuous, beautifully appointed, interior. This is a vehicle that will resonate on an emotional level.”

Range StormerThe idea of a coupe Range Rover has been thrown around for a long time, the Range Stormer concept car was revealed at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. The Stormer concept eventually became the Range Rover Sport but the concept was an aggressive low-slung three-door coupe. All we have at the moment is an image of the luxurious interior. The Range Rover SV Coupe will be built at Land Rovers special operations centre in Warwickshire the Special operations centre is only for Land Rovers most premium vehicles, the Defender Works V8 will be built there alongside the SV Coupe.

Range Rover SportRange Rover are saying the SV Coupe will be a dramatic addition to their portfolio with a, “seductive body design and a supremely refined interior.” Only 999 SV Coupes will be built with an estimated starting price of over £150,000 making it the most expensive Range Rover currently on sale and what Range rover hope to be the most luxurious and premium SUV on the market today.

What do you think of a Range Rover Coupe, let us know in the comments.

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The Land Rover Defender is back, sort of

Land Rover Defender Works V8 2It was a sad day back in 2016 when Land Rover finally announced the death of the legendary Defender, a car that had been at the top of its league since 1945. The Defender was killed off due to emissions and safety concerns that made the Defender too expensive to continue making. Weirdly however Land Rover announced today the release of a new V8 Defender. Built to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Land Rover, the Land Rover Defender Works V8 is pretty much the same car that ceased production back in 2016, but this time comes with a 5.0 litre V8.

That big 5.0 litre V8 means that this defender is actually the fastest Defender ever, with a 0-62 time of just 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 106MPH, quick for what is essentially a shed on wheels. That modern V8 is teamed with an 8 speed automatic transmission with sport mode, another first for a Defender. The Defenders underpinnings have also been upgraded to cope with the abuse of that new engine, the Works Defender comes with uprated brakes, springs, dampers and anti roll bars.

Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classics director said: “The Idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull. We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.”

Whilst little has changed on the outside of the Works Defender V8 other than a new fuel filler cap and some shiny new aggressive alloys the interior has been swathed in leather and the seats have been replaced with sports style Recaro seats. Both 90 (short wheelbase) and 110 (long wheel base) versions of the Land Rover Defender Works V8 will be built with prices starting at £150,000 for the special edition 90.

What do you think of the new Land Rover Defender Works V8, let us know in the comments.

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BMW Breaks drifting world record in incredible fashion

BMW have set a new world record for the longest continuous drift more than doubling the previous record. Johan Schwartz was behind the wheel of the new M5 when he set the incredible record of 232.5 miles breaking the previous record held by Harald Muller of 89.55 miles who set the record in 2014 in a Toyota GT86.

BMW M5 1

The most interesting part of this stunt is they actually set two records with a pair of M5’s setting the record for longest tandem drift at 49.25 miles. The other M5 driven by Matt Mullins wasn’t just there for the stunt, it was also used to refuel the main M5 in motion. Schwartz said: “We knew that if we were going to recapture the world record for the longest sustained drift and set the bar as high as possible, we would need to find a way to keep the M5 going without stopping to refuel. In the end, the refueling system worked flawlessly and the M5 performed as expected.  It was a big win all around.”

BMW M5 6Both M5s used modified fuelling systems on board to aid in the refuelling process but were otherwise completely standard. You have to wonder what BMW bosses thought when this stunt was proposed. And then you have to think about how big the risk assessment had to be. You always hear about these kinds of stunts and think oh its obviously faked or it’ll go wrong in someway and end in a big fireball, but not this time.

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