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.

What do you think of BMW’s incredible stunt, let us know in the comments.

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Car of the year 2017

So 2017 is over and done with which means it’s time for me to name my car of the year. The overall theme of last year seems to have been one of surprises, many car companies changed their ways last year and brought out cars that were surprisingly good as is evidenced by this list. The competition has been one of the fiercest ever and it was a struggle to come up with just 5 cars to make the list but I persevered and here we go.

McLaren 720S

  1. McLaren 720S

The McLaren 720S is an amazing car that beats the world in its segment and even challenges cars in much higher areas. Better than the Ferrari 488 and the Lamborghini Huracan, the 720S manages to continue McLarens dominance of the super car market. But the 720S doesn’t reach higher on the list because it does exactly what McLaren has done since their return to the road car game. All previous McLaren road cars have been world-beaters, the MP4-12C beat the Ferrari 458, the 650S beat the 488 the McLaren 720S should beat the world because that’s exactly what it was built to do, but nowadays beating the world seems just to easy for McLaren.

Kia Stinger

  1. Kia Stinger

In my introduction I talked about surprises, one of the biggest surprises of the year was the rise of Kia, a company more commonly known by their reliable yet boring hatchbacks. The Kia Stinger is an off shoot for the Korean company and one many may have missed purely because of the relatively humdrum badge on the front. Whilst the Stinger may not be a match for the big boys of the super saloon world like the Audi RS4 and BMW M3 the little Stinger is easily a match for the lesser S4 and 330i. The little Stinger is a step in the right direction for Kia and has brought them to the forefront of the motoring world, 2018 will certainly be a year of growth for the company and its exciting to see what they’ll come up with next.

Bugatti Chiron

  1. Bugatti Chiron

When we talk about world-beaters there’s only really one name in the conversation. The Veyron was one of the greatest cars ever made and its sequel is certainly something to worry about. The Chiron is an incredible machine, faster than the Veyron and possibly even prettier. Other companies from around the world have beaten its top speed but many of those are just stripped out racers, the Chiron is one of the fastest cars in the world but also one of the most luxurious, leather and carbon fibre team to create on of the nicest interior I have ever seen. The Bugatti Chiron is special because it dominates in both luxury and speed, whilst the handling may be compromised by its incredible power, its presence cannot be understated

Hyundai i30 N

  1. Hyundai i30 N

Who would have ever thought a Hyundai would be higher on this list than a Bugatti? Well this Hyundai isn’t just any old Hyundai, it’s the greatest car the company has ever made. Hyundai’s first foray into the fiercely competitive hot hatch market is a successful one, whilst the little i30 N is unlikely to keep up with the likes of the Golf R and Civic Type R the i30 N is much more of a match for the lower grade Golf GTI, its power and handling are much better than expected from the budget brand. The i30 N is yet another example of Hyundai’s desperation to be accepted as a serious contender in the hot hatch market, it’s a step in the right direction certainly but the lacklustre interior falls far behind that of the Germans meaning it only reaches second on my list.

Alpine Vision

  1. Alpine A110

When I first heard of the return of the long since forgotten Alpine brand I thought, “oh great another attempt to rekindle a brand nobody cares about that will eventually fail.” And when I heard about the new A110 sports car coming from the company I thought, “it’ll just be a badly built kit car with second hand Renault parts” but I’m glad to say I was wrong both times. The Alpine A110 is another of the retro remakes that we’ve seen in the likes of the VW Beetle and Fiat 500 but this is the first time we’ve seen a reimagined sports car. The A110 is going up against stiff competition in the form of the new 718 Cayman, and whilst being less powerful with only 249BHP compared to the 718’s 361BHP the Alpine weighs less meaning 0-60 times are similar of around 4.5 seconds. I didn’t want to like the Alpine I thought is was going to be a cheap money grab by Renault but the little A110 is a fantastically handling sports car that can take on the world which is why it has won my car of the year for 2017.

Congratulations Alpine

What were your highlights of 2017 let me know in the comments.

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What to look forward to in 2018

BMW 8 Series 1

So as 2017 draws to a close we start to look forward at what’s to come in 2018 we’ve already seen a lot of what’s on the way thanks to the numerous motor shows and unveilings companies have had over the past 12 months so here my list of the top five cars to look forward to in 2018.

BMW Z4 2018 15. BMW Z4

BMW revealed the long awaited new Z4 convertible at this years Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, it received a lot of praise for its departure from the previous generations folding hardtop roof design and its visual similarities to the also recently revealed BMW 8 Series. The engines haven’t been officially released but are expected to be a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder and a 3.0 litre 6 cylinder, and possibly a 3.5 litre 6 cylinder for the M-Sport version. Sadly we are unlikely to see a Z4M due to low sales of the E85 M version. This is also likely to be the reason why we never saw an M version for the E89 Z4. The new Z4 is also expected to release during the summer months with a price tag of around £35,000.

Mercedes A class4. Mercedes A-Class

Things have been looking up for Mercedes since their revamp a few years back. When they unveiled the newly reworked A-Class as a sporty little hatchback in 2012 Mercedes finally had a hot hatch that could compete with the likes of the BMW 1M and the Ford Focus RS, and Mercedes have revealed a much more radical car to take on the world in 2018. Its much more angular than its predecessor leading many to believe the new A-Class could receive an even faster upgrade than the already mental A45 AMG.

Jaguar I-Pace 73. Jaguar I-Pace

The Jaguar I-Pace was revealed at the start of the year and follows on from Jaguars previous embarks into the SUV market with the F-Pace and E-Pace. The I-Pace will be the first of the Jaguar electric cars to take to the roads in 2018. Looking to take on the Tesla Model X the I-Pace is a high riding sleek cross-over vehicle expected in mid 2018. The I-Pace will be the first car Jaguar launches that uses technology from their recent trip into the world of Formula E. Whilst its unlikely the I-Pace will use much of the motorsports tech the electric motors and systems will be very much similar.

BMW Concept 8 Series2. BMW 8 Series/ M8

Another entry on this list for BMW. BMW’s next flagship GT car the 8 Series makes a welcome return from its 90’s heyday. The new 8 Series and its sister car the M8 are two of the most eagerly awaited cars of 2018. With tough competition in the form of the new Bentley Continental GT and Porsche 911 Turbo the M8 is expected to release with a tuned version of the previously mentioned G30 M5’s 4.4 litre V8 with horsepower numbers expected to stretch past the 600BHP mark. Available in both hardtop and convertible forms the new BMW 8 Series and M8 will be available towards the end of 2018.

Land Rover DC1001. Land Rover Defender

The Long awaited replacement for the Defender has been expected to land in 2018, although its not known if that will be in concept form or a full road going model. The Defender is one of the greatest cars in history and I don’t envy the designers trying to follow up with it. We haven’t seen any concepts for the new Defender since the DC100 from 2011 but both Range Rover and Land Rovers design language has changed significantly since that concept 7 seven years ago. There have been a number of spy shots of a shortened Evoque bodied car that many suspect is a development model for the new Defender but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Oh! and Merry Christmas.

What are you waiting for in 2018, let us know in the comments.

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Fiat Punto is the first car to get zero stars by Euro NCAP

Fiat Punto Euro NCAPThe Fiat Punto is getting on in years now, the current version of the Italian super mini has been on sale for 12 years. As time goes by technology improves and the motor industry is one of the fastest moving, when the Punto was originally released in 2005 it was the first car to achieve Euro NCAP’s highest rating of 5 stars. However standards have improved over the following 12 years resulting in the Punto becoming out dated and dangerous. When it was recently retested the Punto achieved 0 stars, making it the first to get 5 and 0 stars.

Fiat Punto Crash TestAn FCA spokesperson brushed aside the statistics to try to maintain focus on the Fiat Chrysler groups more current offerings: “Safety is of the utmost importance to the FCA group. When Punto was launched 12 years ago, it was the first 5* EURO NCAP car in its class.  The importance of safety to the FCA group is demonstrated by the number of new models achieving 5*, for example Alfa Romeo Giulia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and the Jeep Compass.” Fiat are yet to comment on what measures the company will take to rectify the situation.

Fiat Punto Crash test 2To demonstrate the severity of the situation the Dacia Duster was also recently tested and achieved 3 stars, with a Dacia spokesperson claiming: Aiming for four or five stars would have meant equipping Duster with a range of recent driving aids and technology and that would have made the car more expensive and more complex to drive.” Meaning that the Fiat Punto is suffering from a severe case of out datedness. Euro NCAP secretary general said: “This is perhaps the strongest example of a manufacturer continuing to sell a product that is well past its best-before date at the expense of the unsuspecting car buyer. We would urge consumers to choose cars with the most up-to-date five-star ratings, many examples of which we have seen in 2017.”

MK4 Golf Euro NCAPResults such as this do make you question the safety of other old cars on the road. I for one am thinking about how safe my own MK4 VW Golf is, originally a 4 star car I suspect under the current safety regulations my Golf would also be a 0 star car as well if not worse.

What do you think about the Fiat Punto’s safety score let us know in the comments.

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BMW reveal the new i8 roadster and refreshed coupe

BMW i8 1Rumours have been swirling for years about the convertible i8, those rumours intensified when spy shots of early prototypes were spotted winter testing. But now finally BMW have unveiled the convertible BMW i8. The i8 has always been a fantastic looking car and the new i8 roadster is possibly even better looking. The i8 roadster also heralds a mid cycle refresh for the original coupe from 2014.

BMW i8 2The worlds best selling hybrid sports car not only gains a visual update but is also on the receiving end of a technological upgrade, the electric motor gets a power increase of 12bhp bringing electrical power up to 143bhp. This is thanks to upgrades in battery technology, which means that the i8’s electrical range has also increased to 34 miles (33 For the roadster). That added horsepower means when combined with the 1.5 litre 3-cylinder petrol motor the i8 now has 374bhp and 320Nm of torque, powering the hybrid sports car to a top speed of 155MPH. That added boost in power also results in a quicker 0-62 time of just 4.4 seconds for the coupe and 4.6 for the roadster.

BMW i8 5A lightweight design was key in making sure the roadster version of the i8 was just as capable as its coupe brother. The i8 roadster comes with a whole host of carbon fibre upgrades to ensure the i8 roadster maintains its lightweight design ideals. The doors, windscreen frame, side skirts and sections of the body are all carbon fibre, this means that the i8 roadster has minimal weight gain of just 60KG more than the coupe, with a weight of 1595KG.

BMW i8 6The new i8s also receive a number of safety upgrades including cruise control with a braking function, and a driving assistant known as surround view, a system which comprises of a collision and pedestrian warning with a city braking function, park distance control, high beam assist and speed limit info with a no passing information display. The i8 also features new Laser headlights which BMW say are non-dazzling with a range of 600 metres, double that of BMW’s LED headlights featured on other models.

BMW i8 4Another new addition to the BMW i8 is an acoustic pedestrian warning system, this system projects a sound similar to that of a turbine up to 18MPH to make sure pedestrians hear the i8 coming when road or wind noise wouldn’t be sufficient. The system is an interesting addition and one that could be necessary in the future of silent electric cars and should be one that other manufactures consider implementing in their own vehicles to avoid the silent killer electric car headlines.

BMW i8 3The i8s mid cycle refresh and the introduction of the long awaited roadster have certainly gathered headlines for BMW, but I feel that the visual refresh could have been much more exaggerated, to bring the i8 up to date. Whilst the i8 doesn’t look old in any sense of the word, it is starting to look current. The introduction of new modern supercars such as the McLaren 720S and Ferrari 812 Superfast have resulted in the i8 looking modern rather than ahead of the curve like it was back in 2014. A much more aggressive restyling could have resulted in the i8 being coveted rather than being just another hybrid sports car.

The new i8 and i8 roadster will be available in January 2018 for a price tag of £112,730 for the coupe and £124,730 for the roadster

Alfa Romeo makes a welcome return to Formula One

Sauber 2017 1Alfa Romeo are set to make their return to top level motorsport next year in a partnership with the Sauber Formula One team. The last time the Alfa name was associated with Formula One was way back in 1988, but Alfas history in the sport stretches way back to before WWII. Alfa Romeos new partnership with the Sauber F1 team means the Swiss team will be renamed Alfa Romeo Sauber.

alfa-romeo-giulia-quadrifoglioAfter Saubers 2017 season you could be mistaken for thinking Alfa Romeo was already part of the team with their reliability issues. The new partnership will see the team using Ferrari engines, with technology being passed between the two companies to not only improve performance on the track but to introduce Formula One technology into Alfas road cars. Sergio Marchionne CEO of FCA said: “The Alfa Romeo engineers and technicians, who have already demonstrated their capabilities with the newly-launched models, Giulia and Stelvio, will have the opportunity to make that experience available to the Sauber F1 team. At the same time, Alfa Romeo fans will once again have the opportunity to support an automaker that is determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history”.

Sauber 2017While its unlikely this new partnership will mean that Alfa Romeo Sauber will be competing with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari at the top of the championship standings, the added influx of funds and technology may mean that the team could up their standings against the likes of Haas, Toro Rosso and Force India.

Aston Martin ValkyrieAlfas sudden interest in returning to Formula One is not alone though, 2017 saw Aston Martin try to make its mark on the championship with Red Bull with both technology and ideas combining to form the Aston Martin Valkyrie. In the 2018 Formula One championship Red Bull will compete as Aston Martin Red Bull racing.

What do you think of Alfas return to motorsport let us know in the comments.

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Tesla unveil the planned 2020 Roadster

Tesla Roadster 2Wow you take a weeks break and the whole car world goes insane. Tesla announced during a press conference for the reveal of their new truck that there would be a new Tesla Roadster in 2020. Whilst that’s a long way off Elon Musk was able to give us some stats for the new electric sports/ super car. 0-60 in 1.9 seconds and a top speed in excess of 250MPH. Not only that but Musk also announced that the new Tesla Roadster would have a range of 620 miles, better than any other electric car on the market today.

Tesla Roadster 3Now I’m not going to be the one to call Musk a liar but all of this does seem a bit farfetched. Especially as Tesla has been losing money year after year, the Model 3 production schedule is a mess and Musk has already talked of the existence of numerous new models coming in the next few years, we have the Model Y (a 4×4 SUV based on the Model 3) a truck, a minibus and a pickup. And that’s not including the Tesla Gigafactory, which is still being built (it started in 2014). The Gigafactory is supposedly meant to be up and running next year.

Tesla Roadster 1The new Roadster (if it ever happens) will go on sale at a price of £188,000, but Musk plans on taking preorders of £38,000 in the near future. The Roadsters fictional stats are faster than any Bugatti, but we’ve heard this from companies before. They announce the stats before even seeing if it’s possible. Tesla are at the forefront of the electric revolution, they need to be careful if they want to pull this off. The number of stories of problems with Tesla seems to be increasing and the industry is waiting for Tesla to make a mistake and to destroy the electric future.

What do you think of the upcoming Roadster, let us know in the comments.

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Lamborghini Terzo Mellennio revealed Coming soon?

Lamborghini Terzo Mellenio 18The first of the big names has revealed their vision for a fully electric super car. Lamborghini unveiled the Terzo Mellenio, a fully electric super car built to look at the future of what the super car can be. The Terzo Mellenio is just a concept and not built for production any time soon, but Lamborghini say the Terzo Mellenio is built to investigate the technologies that they may use in the future including energy storage systems, innovative materials, propulsion system, visionary design, and emotion. So whilst the future Lambo super cars wont look like this it may feature some of the tech we see on it.

So whats so special about the Terzo Mellenio, well the Terzo Mellenio features a unique power storage system. Rather than the conventional batteries we see in the likes of Teslas the Terzo Mellenio is designed to use super capacitors a new innovation in the car world, Lamborghini first started developing super capacitors on the Aventador. The Terzo Mellenio also saw the announcement of a partnership between Lamborghini and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to develop future power sources and materials needed to further the super car world.

Lamborghini are also working on a way to create a carbon fibre body capable of storing energy, essentially turning the whole car into an energy storage device. Lamborghini’s work with MIT is their attempt to protect their future, they are trying to innovate further into the future than anyone else, they are going beyond batteries to develop an electric car capable of beating the world, but also capable of changing the world.

The Lamborghini Terzo Mellenio is nothing but a concept, we will never see anything like it approach production for a long time, while it looks awesome and the technology behind it is incredible it is merely an idea of what Lamborghini are headed towards. The Terzo Mellenio is similar to the BMW concepts released showing their new 100 years plan, Lamborghini could be planning something much further away though, especially as Terzo Mellenio translates to third millennium.

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The Grand Tour is Back on 8/12/17

The Grand Tour just revealed the release date for the next series of the Amazon Prime show. Coming out on the 8th of December the release date was accompanied by a new trailer for the show, giving us a glimpse of what we can expect to come into the new year.

Top Gear 1The Grand Tour has had a much better run than Top Gear has since the ‘fracas’ Top Gear has had two series since the trios departure and is only just finding its legs. The Grand Tour disappointed some with its debut series but has had a lot more time to rejigger the show into something the fans want to see. The new trailer shows us that the trio seem to be going strong with the cheap car challenges the public loved when they were on Top Gear. Clarkson Hammond and May appear to be taking three Jaguars down a ski slope with terror from all three being the result. We also see them go to Africa in what appears to be May in a Mercedes estate, Clarkson in a Nissan SUV and Hammond on a motorbike.

Top Gear Bugatti ChironWhat troubles me is that we also see a lot of stuff that we’ve seen before, ie: a Bugatti Chiron review from Clarkson (we saw Chris Harris review it on Top Gear) and a review of the Arial Nomad (which we also saw on Top Gear). The trailer also shows them driving an amphibious car, which, they’ve done before themselves, and the new Top Gear has done it as well. From what I can tell the schedule for the show means that when they review a car its often months if not years after someone else has beaten them to it.

Rimac Concept oneWe also get a view of the trio testing the Honda NSX, Lamborghini Aventador and the Rimac Concept One. We don’t see any of Hammond’s crash in the Rimac but its unlikely that they will try to avoid it as with Hammonds much more serious Jet car crash they went through it in extreme detail. Well just over a month to go to see whats what, see you on the 8th of December with a review of the first episode.

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Honda Sports EV concept unveiled at Tokyo motor show

Honda Sports EV 1

Honda unveiled the surprisingly likable Urban EV at the recent Frankfurt motor show, and its looking like it was the first of a series of concepts as at this years Tokyo motor show Honda unveiled the Sports EV, a sleek coupe with similar styling accents to the little Urban EV. The Sports EV is an electric sports car designed to show where Honda is looking to go in the future.

Honda Sports EV 3The Urban EV was also announced to be going into production in 2019, the quick turnaround is a sign that the Sports EV could be expected as early as 2020, to head up Honda’s electric division. The Sports EV shares the same white paint scheme as the Urban and also carries over the simple design of the head and taillights. The Sports EV is similar in size to the Mazda MX5 leading people to believe it will be in a similar performance bracket rather than more powerful cars like the Mercedes SLC and the Jaguar XK.

Honda Sports EV 2Whilst no performance specs have been released for the Sports EV, Honda insiders have talked of a 150 mile range for the Urban so a similar spec is expected for the little sports car. The Sports EV joins Honda’s range of sports cars with the likes of the NSX and S660. The little electric sports car is a sign of where Honda is headed to, the increased pressure to release electric cars is threatening all car manufacturers and the Sports EV is what we should come to expect to see in the future.

Honda Sports EV 4On the whole I like the little Sports EV, just as I liked the Urban EV. Its styling takes much less inspiration from cars and more from things like the iPod with its smooth white finish with no aggressive styling or aerodynamic attachments, maybe Honda could learn a thing or to and transfer these ideas to the current Civic Type R.

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