Top 5 Fun cars

Cars don’t always have to be practical, they don’t always have to be usable everyday, sometimes a car just has to be fun to win your heart and once a car reaches their its never leaving. Now a fun car doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good car, its character driven, and every persons list will be completely different based on our tastes and experiences. So here is my top 5 list of fun cars.

Aston Vulcan

  1. Track day cars

A track day car does exactly what it says on the tin, a fun car based for the track, be it a base level Caterham 7 or a top of the line Aston Martin Vulcan both are essentially built for the same purpose to but a smile on your face whilst on the track. Most track day cars however are just plain horrible to live with, some don’t even have windscreens or are even illegal to drive on the roads. But that doesn’t stop you wanting one.

Fiat Barchetta

  1. Fiat Barchetta

The Fiat Barchetta is an unusual car as it looks like the classic Italian sports car, and driving it can brighten even the darkest day, you could be driving home from your parents funeral and couldn’t help but smile in a Barchetta, its just a happy little car. But the Barchetta is under powered and front wheel drive making it fall far behind its completion in the Mazda MX5 and Toyota MR2. But neither of those cars have the character of the little Fiat, the Fiats flaws are exactly what makes you love it, it makes it oddly human.

E-type

  1. Classic Cars

Classic cars are generally fantastic, they make you yearn fro a time when fuel was cheap and the roads were empty. They maybe weren’t as fast as their modern competitors and were in no way safe but they were fun and some would say prettier than most of the cars on the roads today. But with age comes unreliability, it will happen to us all as you get older you’ll find yourself pulling over much more often because of a leak or an odd smell, I think I’m still talking about the car but I may be wrong.

VW Beetle BAJA

  1. VW Beetle Baja

What could be more fun than Herbie, and off road Herbie. The Beetle is an undeniable legendary car but its less common off road brother is where my heart lies, its capability off road is still limited compared to your much more hardcore off road rivals but those are so much less fun. The Beetle Baja wasn’t built for speed, safety or comfort but wins you over with its amazing characterful go anywhere ability and of course because it’s a Beetle.

VW Golf MK4

  1. Your Car

There could only be on pick for the most fun car to drive, it has to be your own car, because driving is inherently fun and being in your own machine that you’ve spent your own hard earned money on with your music and the road to yourself is truly magical. It doesn’t matter what you drive be it a 1.1 Daihatsu Charade or a Ferrari 488 GTS if you own it, its your magical place of worship to the driving gods, yours place to fulfil your driving passions and desires. It is truly the most fun car ever.

Whats Do you think is the most fun car? Sound off in the comments.

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The VW Up GTI: a return of the true GTIs?

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIVolkswagen recently announced the new Up GTi will be going on sale in 2018 for £15,000. The Up has remained on of the great city cars since its launch in 2011 with its tight nippy handling and refined understated interior. The Up was followed by its VW group colleagues the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo. Rumours surrounding the Up GTI have been circling for years and VW have finally confirmed it. The Up GTI will be unveiled at the Volkswagen fan festival at Lake Woerthersee, Austria.

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIThe Up GTIs stats do give an interesting look at what the car could be though, the Up GTI is powered be a 1 litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 113BHP and 147lb-ft of torque. The low weight of the new Up GTI, a tiny 997kg gives the little car a power to weight ratio of 113.3BHP per tonne, which is funny because the original MK1 Golf GTI had a power to weight ratio of 113.3BHP per tonne. Could Volkswagen be looking for a return of their heyday?

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIThe Up GTI comes with a close ratio 6 speed gearbox, giving the car a 0-62 time of 8.8 seconds and the little Up will go on to a top speed of 122MPH. Both those stats are quicker than the MK1 Golf GTI. The suspension of the Up has been fettled with over the standard version with a 15mm lower height and unique spring and damper rates. The Up GTI is looking to take on the likes of the Vauxhall Adam S and the Abarth 500 and while its down on power VW are looking to dominate in the handling department.

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The new Up GTI is looking to rekindle the VW glory days with a light weight and great handling. The Up GTI certainly looks the part with its more aggressive styling and a machine gunning of GTI badges and VW have always been great at the small light weight hot hatch but only time will tell if the VW Up GTI can bring back the old GTI magic so many of us have been craving over the years.

What do you think of the new VW Up GTI sound off in the comments.

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Top 5 stupidest names in motoring

A name can make or break a car. The name is the first impression most people get of a car, so calling your car a weird, funny or just plain not thought out name can ruin that car entirely, even if the actual car is great. A good name should represent the characteristics of the car itself, be it a flamboyant Italian Maranello or an aggressive brutish Charger. The name is everything. Some companies don’t really think this through very well so here are the top 5 stupidest names in motoring.

Nissan Sylvia

  1. Nissan Sylvia

Giving a car a human name is a gamble, you’ll never see the Ford Dave or the Aston Martin Martin. Sometimes it can work such as the Ferrari Dino, then there’s the Sylvia. Sylvia is a grandmothers name, it’s your older relative who gives you sweets when your parents aren’t watching. What it isn’t is a rear wheel drive coupe loved by drifters around the world for its easy modibility and tail happy action.

Mitsubishi Starion

  1. Mitsubishi Starion

The Mitsubishi Starion was a surprisingly good car, designed to go up against the Mustang in America an urban myth would tell you it was meant to be called the Stallion but due to a language barrier between the European and Japanese wings of Mitsubishi it ended up being called the Starion. Now its one thing to think up a bad name for a car it’s another to call it completely the wrong thing entirely. Another of Mitsubishi’s naming disasters came from the Pajero which in Spanish means masturbator/ wanker not a great showing from Mitsubishi.

Toyota Urban Cruiser

  1. Toyota Urban Cruiser

There are bad names out there and then there’s Urban Cruiser. An Urban Cruiser sounds like someone who’s not allowed within 500 metres of a school, its an especially bad name for family run about used to take the kids to school and go shopping in. The Urban Cruiser is not a car you’d boast about in the pub to your mates.

VW Sedric

  1. Nissan Cedric/ VW Sedric

Nissan really had a problem with naming cars in the past. The Nissan Cedric was an incredibly dull 4 door saloon designed with a ruler. Cedric is not in anyway an exciting name for a car. Which is why its all the more surprising that VW have brought the name back for one of their new self driving cars, and they’ve spelt it wrong. The VW Sedric is a very odd looking thing. It appears to be a box with enclosed wheels, and a face for some reason.

Renault Wind

  1. Renault Wind

I’d liked to have been a fly on the wall in the Renault offices when someone put forward the name Wind for their new two seater roadster. You may as well call your car the Renault Fart. How many people did that have to go through till it received the ok? You’re telling me nobody thought it was a bad idea. You couldn’t hold your head up high in the pub and say I drive a Renault Wind, you’d be laughed out the door, and off a cliff. The Wind was a cute little two door roadster that I actually quite like except for the name, obviously.

What are some more horrible names for cars you can think of sound off in the comments.

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Enough with the retro styling

MINI grows

Cars get old. It’s just a fact of life and when cars get old you replace them with something new and better. The trouble comes in when something is so iconic that the public just can’t seem to let it go. So the company decides to just make the old car again just with new technology. We first saw it with the New Beetle, which was just a Golf in a dress with a flower pot stuck to the dash. Then we saw the new Mini from BMW, which was a bit more successful but has in no way reached the iconic status of the original Mini. Finally we had the Fiat 500 a car that in the past pretty much ran Italy, but again the new 500 is just a Fiat Panda with a new body.

BeetleThis obsession with the past has to stop. Cars become iconic over time and trying to recreate them in the modern age just doesn’t work simply because those legendary cars of the time in fact weren’t that good to begin with when you compare them to todays standards. The VW Beetle was a car born out of war just to get Germany back on its feet and I don’t think it would be as revered today if it hadn’t had a red and blue stripe down it and the number 53 on the door. Both the Mini and the Fiat 500 are death traps you would be safer on the road in a paper bag than one of those.

Citroen Type HWhy am I ranting about this now, well because Citroen have decided to get in on the action with a new body kit for their Citroen Relay van, the kit is meant to look like the Citroen type H van, which was first made in 1947. Now this is a van that is quite literally a shed with wheels and while it maybe old, maybe even a classic, it in no way deserves to be modernized in this way. The new H is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the original and thankfully only 70 will be made.

BMW M2 2002Please car companies stop with the retro cars, how can any new cars grow to be as iconic when you keep reminding us of the past with these new retro cars that merely act to damage the reputation of the original. Let the icons live on in classic car form and create new classics, cars like the VW Corrado or the BMW M2 (which while it copies the 2002 Turbo ideas is its own car entirely), cars that are as brilliant today as they will be 20 to 30 years from now.

What do you think of this retro revolution sound off in the comments.

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VW Beetle Dune comes to the UK

 

Beetle Dune Reaer

The VW Beetle Dune is available to order as of today here in the UK. This new evolution of the classic Beetle Dune Buggy is available as both a coupe and as a convertible, so expect some dune bashing to be happening soon. The Beetle Dune is essentially a normal VW Beetle with some slight modifications to the body and the mechanicals. The body has some slight wheel arch extensions which mean the Dune is 14mm wider than the standard Beetle, whilst a 10mm lift adds an extra off road hint.

Beetle Dune interior

The base model comes with a 1.2 litre engine with 104BHP, with the option of either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG auto gearbox mirrored from the standard Beetle. The interior features also mirror the standard Beetle with a 6.5 inch touchscreen with Bluetooth along with a DAB radio, auto lights and wipers, and parking sensors. The Dune also gets some new funky sports seats to complete the interior.

Beetle Dune

Whislt this may not be every mans choice, in like the look of the Dune, the new Beetle never really made the splash it intended to when it launched, but I really like the additions VW have made to create the Dune, its just enough to remind people of the original Baja Bug of the 60’s and 70’s but with all the modern creature comforts that we demand from out cars. It’s certainly better than Citroen’s reimagining of the Mehari with the C4 Cactus M.

The Emissions Scandal Rolls On

 

Renault Clio RS.jpg

Last year when VW were found to be using a cheat device in the emissions system for there diesel cars it was shocking and is going to cost VW a lot of money not just in recalls but in compensation as well and possibly lawsuits. So it would be incredible if any other company would be found to be cheating their emissions. VW has set the example in how not to do it, so surely nobody else would do it. Well no Renault recently had their factories raided by police in relation to the emissions scandal. It is believed that several computers owned by company directors have been seized following the raid.

Renault Megane.jpg

Despite the raids on the company Renault are confident their cars will pass the tests set up in the investigation with flying colours. Despite this the damage may have already been done as company shares dropped by 20% following the raid. Renault were supposedly meant to be one of the companies calling for stricter regulations after the initial scandal.

Vauxhall Zafira

The car industry is under close scrutiny after VW, and Ford and Mercedes are also said to be under investigation. Vauxhall were quick to deny a defeat device after BBC Panorama ran an investigation on the Vauxhall Zafira and found that it was cheating on emissions as well.

The Jim on Cars car of the Year 2015

Porsche Cayman GT4

  1. Porsche Cayman GT4

Now whilst the Cayman has always been the baby of the Porsche range, the GT4 was a fantastic example of what Porsche could do if they didn’t stick with the 911. Whilst the 911 is a very good car I cant help but think the 911 would be better if it had the engine in the middle rather than the rear. Porsche have struggled past the problems with weight distribution and created a great rear engined car, but it took 50 years. The Cayman GT4 however is a fantastic car that Porsche built using a traditional format, and if they continue to support the Cayman I would expect to see great improvement in the coming years.

Ford Mustang GT350

  1. Ford Mustang GT 350R

I’m sure regular readers would have expected a Ford on this list so here it is the Mustang GT350R. Many would expect the GT350R to just be another muscle car, all power but no handling, but they’d be wrong. The Mustang has moved past the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger and I would now consider (particularly the GT350R) to be a rival for the likes of the BMW M4 and Audi RS5. The Mustang has always looked great and had good power, but now the car finally handles like a dream, and that engine sound, wow that’s worth the £42,000 price tag alone.

VW Golf R

  1. Volkswagen Golf R

Many will probably be surprised that the Honda Civic Type R hasn’t made this list, and that’s for two simple reasons, 1. It looks like it crashed through a branch of Halfords with a magnet and 2. It’s a horrible car to live with everyday. The Golf R however is fun to drive, quick, safe and most of all doesn’t have a stupid rear wing that blocks your rear window. Volkswagen may have had a lot of trouble with their diesels recently, and that has slightly overshadowed the new Golf R, but I urge you to look into it because underneath all the news stories is a great car, that is fantastic to live with everyday, and that exactly what a hot hatch need to be, quick but also practical.

amg gt

  1. Mercedes AMG GT

Mercedes have been doing great recently ever since the new A class was released they’ve been on a roll and the AMG GT continues that. I was very disappointed when Mercedes announced they would be dropping the SLS (I’d say prematurely) as I thought the SLS was a flagship supercar the company could be proud to put the three pointed star on. However the AMG GT is an amazing piece of engineering, whilst the SLS was quite a large GT car, the AMG GT is much more of a driver’s car, a sports car. The AMG GT is fantastic on track and then even better on the road because whilst it will still set your hair on fire its still great when you just want to cruise home after a long stressful day at work.

Mazda MX5

  1. Mazda MX5

I have been struggling with this for a while, whilst the AMG GT is a fantastic car, its kind of what you expect from Mercedes, meanwhile the little MX5 is a giant killer, the new MX5 is same weight as the original from way back in the 90’s, and that’s still with all the modern safety equipment and luxuries of a modern car. As time has gone on the MX5 had become fatter and slower, but the new car changes that and brings it back to its routes of being a modern, ‘classic British sports car’. A riot to drive and up to date aggressive looks mean there was only ever one choice for my car of the year and that is the Mazda MX5.

Congratulations to Mazda,

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The Beach Buggy Returns

Beetle Dune

Well it seems I was wrong, it seems that the beach buggy is coming back. What with Citroen showing off the new C4 Cactus Mehari at the Geneva Motor show this year, and now VW announcing a new VW Beetle Dune at the recent LA auto show, they seem to be returning rather quickly. Whilst I still think that the C4 Cactus Mehari is a stupid idea (its got no back doors for god sake) I am much more interested in the VW Beetle Dune.

Beetle Dune interior

The Dune has been rumoured for a long time now and VW finally pulled the covers off it at the LA Auto show, possibly to distract people from the recent emissions scandal. The Dune is set for release in the US in early 2016 and in Europe later in the year. The Dune is available in both convertible and hard top models and rather than being the beach cruiser we all wanted VW say it is much more of a crossover vehicle.

Beetle Dune Reaer

Other than the exterior changes and slight interior tweaks (sports seats and a new dash) most of the Dune sticks with the current Beetle platform. This includes the engines with three turbo petrol engines and two diesels ranging from 104BHP to 217BHP.

 

 

The Paris Autoshow

So the Paris Autoshow is going on right now an occasion where all auto makers show off there new stuff there everything from a new Mazda MX5 to a new Lamborghini I’ll attempt to show you everything interesting but I may miss something let me know in the comment if I do.

Asterion exterior Asterion interior

So first of all the New Lamborghini Asterion (concept) is it just me or are car makers trying to make all their new cars impossible to say it all started with the Huayra and now Lamborghini’s got the bug. Lambo’s new car has got on the hybrid band wagon as well with a 5.2 litre V10 from the Huracan and two electric motors giving this incredible car 907BHP, are you listening Ferrari and with the Asterion you get an incredible looking interior as well.

VW XL

Then there is the new VW XL Sport this great looking car has a 197BHP V twin form a Ducati of all places. Now the car is based on the super efficient VW XL1, which means it weighs a micro 870KG and gets from 0-62 in 5.7 seconds topping out at 168MPH. this car was built to celebrate VWs 200 Millionth car (now that’s a lot of Golfs) and that is quite frankly terrifying.

image

Another car I completely forgot to write about at launch was the Mercedes AMG GT now this is Mercedes attempt to take on Porsche’s 911 and the Jaguar F-Type but sadly it replaces the SLS AMG one of my favourite cars of all time. The Top AMG GTS has a 4 litre twin turbo V8 giving you just over 500BHP and a top speed electronically limited say Mercedes to 193MPH.

Civic Type R

Now I have to say I’m not a massive fan of the Civic Type R I think there are much nicer cars for the same price. The Type R always struck me as a yobos car screeching round an empty car park at 3 in the morning. And I’ll be honest the new one seems no different with a 2 litre engine giving us 276BHP. (not as much as the now ancient Focus RS)prices will be announced early in 2015 when it goes on sale.

tt convertable

The final car I’m going to talk about is the Audi TT now we saw the standard version a few months ago but now they’ve shown off the headless version (convertible) and it looks much more California cruiser than balls out sports car which ill be honest does disappoint me. Of course the standard engines are carried over from the hard top and all that usual crap. Prices start at £31,000

Now I know there were many more cars than just these 5 like our old friend the MX5 and the Jag XE and even the new Ford Mondeo but I didn’t have time to cover them all sorry.

Rumours for 2014

Many people are speculating about what we may see in this upcoming year. These are merely rumours I have heard throughout the motor industry and are in no way confirmed.

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Ford Fiesta RS

Since the success of the Fiesta ST last year (it was even my car of the year), Ford would be well advised to bring out an even hotter version of the premier Hot Hatch. Horsepower wise probably expect more than the Fiesta ST but less that the mental Focus RS, between 230BHP and 250BHP would be my guess.

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Beetle Dune 2

Many people urged VW to put the original Dune concept into production way back in 2000 but they didn’t. It was going to be an off-road beetle. The problem with this is I see the retro car turning into the Mini with thousands of different types none of which are any good except the original.

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BMW M2 M4

This is pretty much confirmed the M2 will be the new 1M coupe and the M4 will be the new 2 door M3 not much more to say other than expect these to be on the streets very soon.

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Ferrari California

Yes I do realize that there already is a Ferrari California, however due to Ferraris life cycle this would be the year for a new one maybe Ferrari San Francisco. Many people hate the original California just because it is the soft Ferrari, however I quite like it, even if it does look like a Lexus SC430.

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Toyota Supra

The Toyota Supra is a legendary car. Not much is known about the new Supra or even if it exists. It’s not even known what it’ll compete with, will it go for the Super car market against Ferraris, or will it stand where the original was, against the coupes, Audi TT Alfa Brera and Mazda RX8. Personally I think it will be the latter. I think it will be a bigger more powerful GT86. This car is so unknown its even tough to find a picture.