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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The Big names join together for Electric cars

electric-chargine

The car industry has reached a major milestone this week, by coming together to share knowledge and capabilities to further the evolution of electric cars. the BMW group, Daimler, Ford and the VW group including Audi and Porsche have come together to provide an ultra fast high power charging network across Europe. The plan is to evolve the charging process to the point that it is as quick and convenient as filling up a conventional car.

BMW: “This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility”, says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.“The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”

Daimler: “The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”

Ford: A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving”, says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”

Audi:
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging”, says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “Reliable fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation we want to boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving.”

Porsche: “There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”

This is certainly a huge step for the electric car, a unified motor industry is almost unstoppable in terms of innovation, creativity and design and if the companies can maintain this partnership, the forward thinking nature of the group will finally bring the electric car into being a viable option for everyone on the road, not just little old ladies who only go out once a week and have an annual mileage of less than 1000 miles.

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 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

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I WAS WRONG!

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Last year I wrote here that the Cornish car/music festival Run to the Sun had been canceled (original story here: https://jimoncars.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/run-to-the-sun-is-over) however I am happy to announce that for the first time in my 20 year life I was wrong! Trevelgue Holiday Park and Smugglers Haven  the shows venue have recently announced that the Fantastic show will return for May 2014.

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The event is being dubbed ‘The New Dawn’ will run from the 23rd to the 26th of May and will feature the usual range of music and cars. The event has been dominated in recent years by the VAG scene and the classic VW’s but is open to all.

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For those of you who don’t want to shell out the £75 (£65 for early birds) for tickets for four days of madness, music and cars (Why not) simply go to the surrounding roads around the park and watch the parade of Classic and modern (but all awesome) cars enter the park some say that’s cheating but just think of it as a moving motor show.

Check out the RTTS Facebook for more information and tickets.

https://www.facebook.com/TheofficialRuntotheSunSite

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.

Run To The Sun is Over

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Run to the Sun the well-known Cornish car and music festival has finished with the last festival closing yesterday.

Run to the Sun has decided to finish after their 27th year. The Newquay festival famous for its music and Volkswagen show took place at the Trevelgue Holiday Park.

The festival has always been big for the VW fans: “I just love to bring my bus down and soak up the atmosphere.” Said Jack Shory 25, from Birmingham, “the journey takes a while but the festival is awesome.”

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The festival has often caused upset among the local residents because of the conjestion of the roads and the noise late at night. However the Run To the Sun festival has never been there to please the locals it’s there because of the amazing music and cars on offer.

The show and shine is always a highlight of the festival for the car fans and this year was no different with hundreds of Golf’s Beetle’s and Campers coming from miles around just for the festival.

Local resident Steve Plyde said: I wont miss the festival at all, I mean yes the young people have lost their festival but us residents have regained our quiet beautiful scenery.”

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Crime has halved this year thanks to a strong police presence at the site and surrounding area, with 34 offences recorded between Friday and Monday compared to 64 last year.

Many will sadly miss the festival as it’s always been one of the first modding festivals of the season but sadly the VW scene will have to find somewhere else to start their festival season.