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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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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The Geneva Motorshow 2017

So the Geneva Motor show is in full swing and the great and the good of the motor industry are out in force at the Swiss event. If I were to go through everything at the show I would be here for three days straight so I thought I would just bring you the highlights of the greatest show on the motoring calendar.

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720S

McLaren are releasing cars thick and fast right now and they have been working hard on the new replacement for the 650S. So here we have the long rumoured 720S. Boasting a new 4.0 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine (upped from the 3.8 in the 650S) the 720S has 710BHP and 770Nm of torque. McLaren tasked themselves with doubling the aerodynamic efficiency of the 650S for the new 720S. Which has led to the distinctive look of the new car with its hidden headlights and aerodynamic streaks down the side, certainly an impressive machine to behold. Prices start from £208,000 and its on sale now.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Finally they did it, the Panamera estate has been in development for what seems like years now. There were spy shots and camo cars but finally Porsche revealed the Sport Turismo. The extra boot accessory gives the Sport Turismo 20 litres more boot space over the original and also means the Panamera has room for an extra seat in the back, now making it a five seater, prices start at £84,000 and go all the way up to £138,000 through all models from the S to the big bad Turbo model.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

Its seems like just last week the new Type R was rolling into showrooms but Honda already have a new version ready for the new shape Civic, and while I’m not a Civic fan I can still safely say that the new Type R Civic is hideous. Looks aside though the new Type R has 316BHP, ten more than the previous model but still 30 less than the out going Ford Focus RS. Honda still plan on going back to the Nurburgring to try and break records again.

Bentley EXP12 Speed 6

Bentley EXP12 Speed 6

One of the more beautiful cars on the show floor is the new Bentley EXP12 Speed 6. Whilst only being a concept of things to come from the company, the EXP12 is still paving the way forward in being a fully electric Roadster, an area even Tesla seem to have left well alone. The EXP12 isn’t expected to make production any time soon but after a good response from press and the public Bentley may be forced to change their mind on the subject.

Aston Martin Valkyrie

Aston Martin Valkyrie

We at long last have a new name for the AM RB001 hyper car from Aston Martin and Red Bull, the new car called the Valkyrie will have over 900BHP from a naturally aspirated 6.5 litre V12. The Valkyrie uses an F1 style ERS system to harvest Kinetic Energy from braking. Only 150 road models will ever be made, along with 25 track only versions costing in the region of £2-3 million with deliveries expected to take place in early 2019.

What are your favourites from Geneva 2017, Sound off in the comments.

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McLaren 650S successor spotted

p14-7

The supposed replacement for the McLaren 650S has been spotted testing in the south of Europe this week. The replacement is expected to be called the P14 and is to mimic its bigger brother the P1. Whilst still in the early days of development (the car isn’t expected till 2018) the P14 will have a new more developed version of McLarens carbon tub chassis design. Power is also expected to come from the current 3.8 litre V8 from the 650S albeit with more power and torque. Although AutoCar speculates that it may have less than the 666BHP number of the 675LT, so as to not steel a market from the exclusive special edition.

p14-5

From the images its difficult to ascertain the look of the car, but the lights have been adapted to LED’s rather than the McLaren logo shaped units of McLarens current models. The McLarens rivals are no slouches so its expected for the P14 to reach speeds of over 205MPH and a sub 3.0 second 0-62 time. Whilst McLaren deny that the images are of the new P14, saying it is merely a development mule, analysts are convinced that the new car is the P14.

Images courtesy of AutoCar

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Ferrari LaFerrari Spider Confirmed

 

Ferrari Laferrari

The Ferrari LaFerrari is one of the top cars in the world right now and is set to get a little bit better in 2017. In an interview with Automobile, Sergio Marchionne CEO of Ferrari confirmed that the Spider was in development and that potential customers had already been approached. One of these customers is professional Chef and swearing enthusiast Gordon Ramsey, who on the debut episode of Top Gear confirmed he would be getting one, and was able to show off the key given to him by Ferrari.

Ferrari California Roof

Practically nothing is known about the Spider as Ferrari has only just confirmed it themselves, but Autocar magazine speculates that it will have a similar electric folding roof arrangement as both the California and 488 Spider. Another option for the Spider would be a removable targa top similar to Koenigseggs much of the other options for the LaFerrari will likely be the same including the 950BHP V12 hybrid engine.

Mclaren P1

This will also leave Ferrari rivals McLaren as the only company of the big three to not have a convertible version of their hyper car as the Porsche 918 Spyder had a removable roof from launch. While no convertible P1 has been announced it is likely we will see one emerge by the end of the year in concept form at least as McLaren will just be leaving money on the table for the other players to just pick up.

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I’M Back, time for a catchup post

So regular readers of my work will notice that I’ve been away for a couple of weeks on holiday so here is my giant catch up post full of all the stuff I missed whilst I was away.

Alfa Giulia

First of all Alfa Romeo revealed their new 3 series rival the Giulia. Now the biggest problem with the Alfa saloons has always been that they just didn’t sell how often do you see 159 rolling around, never. And I don’t think it’s the age-old Alfa problem in that they’ve broken down. I just feel that compared to the rest of the Alfa range the saloons just seem boring. This is gonna happen with the Giulia as well, the business men of this world would rather buy a 3 Series or a C Class. Why have a 3 Series wannabe when you could just have a 3 Series. But there is one caveat to this Ferrari. The name amongst names and also the engine supplier for the Giulia how does a 503BHP V6 sound interesting I await more news on this hopefully great car.

Aston Vulcan

The Goodwood festival of Speed also happened whilst I was away and loads of stuff came from there, notably an all electric Morgan 3 wheeler showing they have finally joined the modern age, we also saw the Aston Martin Vulcan racing up the hill climb for the first time, the more race derived car looking fantastic in matt black and blue accents. We also saw the debut of the Lotus 3-eleven a tiny little pocket rocket with 450BHP and 900KG it truly is a fantastic little thing.

Veyron Successor

Photos courtesy of Autocar

Bugatti also let slip of some details about the Veyron’s successor and as expected it’s going to be a hybrid, similar to that of McLaren Ferrari and Porsche they also mentioned to Autocar that they hope to reach the dizzying heights of 286MPH smashing the previous record of the Veyron SS. Bugatti also say the new car will have an updated version of the Veyron’s 16.4 litre W16 engine with nearly 1500BHP and I cannot wait for that.

Lamborghini LP750-4

Lamborghini are to bring out a convertible version of the Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce (they really need to think up shorter names for these things this is getting ridiculous) the roadster will have everything the hardtop does (apart from a roof) and the usual slightly slower 0-62 time and again the usual increase in price. Only 500 Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce Roadsters (see what I mean) will be made so get your orders in fast people.

Alfa SUV

Photos courtesy of Autocar

In more Alfa Romeo news two new SUVs has been spotted being tested around the streets of Italy Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne mentioned the cars at the launch of the Giulia and they are expected to be released in 2016 and 2018 respectively. I think we can clearly see a connection between the Fiat 500L and these cars. Little is know about the cars in question apart from the fact that Fiat Chrysler are clearly trying to find a way to make Alfa Romeos more appealing this includes a return to the USA in the next few years.

BMW M5 2017

Photos courtesy of Autocar

And finally the new M5 has been spotted testing at the Nurbergring. The new car is expected for 2017 and has a completely new front end along with a V8 under the hood although this is only going from reports from photographers and what they thought the car sounded like.

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The Return of TVR

TVR

I spoke last week about the return of the sport car, and this week I’m talking about the return of one of the greats TVR.

I never really cared about TVR during their final years, I always recognised that they were cheap loud and fast, and nothing more. But after they died I did start to care about them again, I would look up old Sagaris and Tuscans on ebay wondering if I could afford one. It was sort of a, you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone situation. Finally there does appear to be hope for the old girl though from none other than Gordon Murray, yes of McLaren F1 fame. The new rumours going round are that the TVR name will return to our roads, with a Murray designed body and a Cosworth V8 engine.

So it sounds as if it will be more of the same good looking and fast, the rumoured price tag for the 2017 car is between £55,000 and £85,000. Hopefully this will mean good things for not only the company but also the employees up in Blackpool. I really hope TVR returns there as they were born there and they died there its only right to re-invigour the old girl back in her hometown. The involvement of both Gordon Murray and Cosworth also brings an air of prestige to the brand, and if Murray sees a future for the brand it’s a good sign for everybody.

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The 911 rivalling McLaren 540C

540C

McLaren have decided to take on the 911 with their new car the 540C, only one company in recent memory has managed to challenge the 911 for its crown as most usable daily supercar and that was Audi with the R8. However the level of innovation over the R8’s lifespan has a lacking rivalling the 911 itself. This has led to the R8 becoming just as boring a choice as the 911. However with McLaren showing an increased productivity level that we haven’t seen from them ever with them announcing the 650S, 650 GT3, 675LT, 570S and even the P1 followed by this 540C I don’t think their new car will become as stale as the R8 and is more likely to be replaced by a new car before its due.

540C R

Revealed at the Shanghai auto show the 540C will come with the same 3.8 litre V8 that has become standard across the whole of the McLaren platform it’ll produce 533BHP and 398lb-ft of torque with a 0-62 time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 199MPH prices start at £126,000. Many have been saying that this is just a detuned 650S and their may be some truth in that but is that so wrong. The 650S is a fantastic car but now you can afford one that is just a tiny bit slower than the latter, just like the 911. Can’t afford a Turbo but want a 911 get a Carrera its simple. I can’t see the McLaren being as successful as the 911 but I think it will give the option to someone who doesn’t want the now boring R8 or wants to be imaginative and not buy a 911.

Clarkson Controversy What can the BBC do?

I realise I’m a little late to the party here but I thought id just throw my thoughts in. Jeremy Clarkson famed for being the outspoken host of Top Gear has been suspended by the BBC after a ‘fracas’ with producer Oisim Tymon.

Jeremy Clarkson

First of all I think the interesting thing is that Clarkson himself reported the ‘fracas’ himself not Tymon, this we can only hope will work in his favour. Clarkson has always been the outspoken kind of guy but he has said in the past the only person he’s punched is Piers Morgan, for obvious reasons. This brings me on to my next point. Something else must have happened during the day for Clarkson to snap over no hot food. It just doesn’t make sense, a non-violent man punches someone over a steak. I understand the BBC investigation is on going but I just wish we new more of what went on in that hotel.

So what will the BBC do, well the way I see it they have three options, 1 they fire Clarkson and cancel the biggest show on the planet and allow other companies to hire Clarkson. That is like saying I have two feet, I’m going to shoot myself in that foot and then tread on a land mine with the other. The BBC already saw collapsing viewing figures just this week with the cancelling of Top Gear, meaning they would be likely to lose more if it continues this way. Option 2 is they let Clarkson carry on as is and do nothing. This however would result in Tymon suing the BBC and Clarkson for everything they have. Not a nice outcome for anyone except Tymon there. Then we have option 3. This I believe is what they should go for, allow Top Gear to run out the rest of the series as is, then organise one last show in an empty Top Gear studio with Clarkson, Hammond and May all putting forward their favourite moments from the show and celebrating it for the marvel that it is. Then close the show with what everyone has been waiting for the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 finally racing on the track, bringing a close to the greatest show on earth with the three greatest cars ever made.

This would allow the fans closure whilst still punishing Clarkson for what he did. A win win for everyone in this situation as I see it.

In the meantime please sign this petition to get Clarkson back on Top Gear it may do nothing, but then again it may make the difference. And I’d just like to say thank you to the Top Gear fans we don’t care about the controversies but if you try to take away Top Gear we will come out in force to stop you.

As someone on Twitter said:

“He may be an idiot, but he’s our idiot.”

https://www.change.org/p/bbc-reinstate-jeremy-clarkson

The Geneva Motorshow

Apologies for the lateness of this post this is due to the Geneva Motor show last week and I didn’t want to miss anything so I will give you an extra long post now.

Geneva 1

First of all I want to talk about Aston Martin, lately I’ve felt that Aston has been trundling along just fine, the trouble is a lot of their cars are the same they all have the same 6.0 litre V12 although giving slightly different power each time, and their cars look roughly similar to the DB9. Vantage, mini DB9, Vanquish, expensive DB9, One 77, expensive DB9 and of course the DBS is a DB9 sport and with their new car shown of at Geneve we finally have a track day DB9, its called the Vulcan and isn’t road legal. Think of it in the same light as the Ferrari FXX or the Pagani Zonda R.

Geneva 3

Secondly we have the new Koenigsegg Regera a car with monstrous power (1782BHP to be exact) from a hybrid V8 with three electric motors attached. I think we have come to the point when I have to say is that really necessary almost 1800BHP and it only goes 0-62 in 3.2 seconds and up to 250MPH in 20 seconds, the Veyron has already done that and shocked the world when it did, it doesn’t need doing again. Also apparently according to Andreas Petre, Koenigsegg’s director of sales in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Oceana, it wouldn’t be difficult to drive on the road: “It has very sophisticated ESP, traction control, active chassis and aerodynamics. It’s like a very fast Tesla with a beautiful sound.” I doubt that very much so.

Geneva 4

McLaren showed off an update to the 650S already, they call it the 675LT(LT referring to F1 long tail of the past) and its supposed to be a harder faster version of the 650S. It’s said to go 0-62 in 2.9 seconds (see Koenigsegg you’ve already been beaten) with a devil enticing 666BHP from a twin turbo V8. The 675LT is also lighter than the 650S, with a dry weight of 1280KG it weighs 100KG less. Only 500 are set to be sold worldwide for a easily affordable £259,500. (Right where’s my checkbook)

Geneva 2

Porsche showed off the old 911 GT3, sorry the new GT3 (so hard to tell the difference these days) with a 4.0 litre 6 cylinder engine it produces 493BHP. After that its essentially the same old story, fast version of fast car that goes fast blah blah blah.

Geneva 5

Anyway Bentley have brought a nice new Aston Martin shaped car to Geneva in the EXP 10 Speed 6 and I have to say I really don’t like the front end of this car, it looks like that hideous Japanese Mitsuoka Arochi that nobody cared about. The Speed 6 is to go one sale within the next 3 years alongside the Continental GT for £120,000. Bentley says it will be a hybrid, however it is more likely to use the same 4.0 litre V8 used in other Bentleys.

Geneva 6

In other news Morgan revealed another car from their past in the Aero 8, they say its all new however it looks suspiciously like the old Aero 8 right down to the cross eyes. It also uses the same engine a BMW sourced V8 that other Morgan’s used. So it looks as if they have brought a car back from the past, who would’ve expected that from Morgan.

Photos courtesy of Autocar

Please sign this petition to keep Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear.

https://www.change.org/p/bbc-reinstate-jeremy-clarkson