Opinion owners of cars
Can a car with the status of the McLaren F1 really be considered a giant-killer? Yes it can, when you consider the circumstances it was born into. The supercar wars raged throughout the Eighties, fuelled by the demands of wealthy market speculators who often traded their appreciating-asset supercars without actually driving them. But the cars needed credible high performance, so the technology came straight from the track.
There might be some discreet sniffling at the demise of the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat saloons, but to me the slow death of the MPV multi-purpose vehicle is sadder still. For the past four decades, the best MPVs have been exemplars of clever packaging, unlike a great many so called sports utilities, which often make miserable use of their size.
Had BMW set out to create a superior mainstream hatchback from scratch, it would surely not have made such a poor fist of it as the Compact. A serious attempt at efficient packaging would have dictated a transverse engine and front-wheel drive. Back to basics, no less. Or forward to Rover. No, the Compact is the product of commercial opportunism, not mould-breaking design. In making a pig’s ear from a silk purse, BMW is guilty of regression, not advance.
One of the things that has set Tesla apart from other manufacturers, and created a notoriously devoted fanbase of owners, is the ‘Easter eggs’ found within its cars. So what are they? Sadly Elon Musk doesn’t send you a chocolate egg each year – although that would be nice – but no, it’s the term given to unexpected bonus items hidden within the software.
With all the hype currently out there surrounding electric vehicles, Evanswonders if the real world implications have actually been considered. GMC Hummer EV. Image: GM Recently I tuned into a press conference regarding electric vehicle (EV) adoption.
Our new Italian columnist – design critic Matteo Licata – explains why the new Alfa-Romeo Tonale needs to succeed at all costs I'll turn 40 this year, and I've been hearing bold Alfa Romeo revival plans for as long as I've been alive. Yet, to put it mildly, success has proven elusive. Arguably, there have been times when it seemed the ‘Biscione’ was back for good, for instance between 1998 and 2002 when the 156 and 147 posted record sales and Alfa dominated European Touring Car racing.
Google ‘ugly MPV’ and you’ll be presented with a stream of Fiat Multipla images. All but one of the first 15 results show the criminally under-rated and unfairly panned Italian MPV, with a rear view of the SsangYong Rodius the only thing preventing a clean sweep for the Multipla. It’s as though the designer Ken Greenley saw the Rodius as an opportunity to save the Fiat from a lifetime of derision and cheap laughs. Much like the Multipla, the SsangYong Rodius was designed from the inside out.
Like many European businesses, due to the current situation in Ukraine, Porsche has suspended the delivery of its products to Russia until further notice. Additionally, Porsche has decided to donate one million euros to those affected by the conflict. Of this amount, €750,000 will go to the UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe e.V. (UN Refugee Aid), a long-standing partner of the Volkswagen Group delivering crucial practical support on the ground.
I must admit that when it comes to art I’m no world authority on the subject. I like some, can take or leave plenty of it and also indulge in some serious head scratching trying to understand why some folk are prepared to pay so much for something that you couldn’t pay me to hang on my wall. I wouldn’t say I’m a philistine, just not an aficionado either.
What’s the worst car you’ve ever owned? Maybe it was your first car; something bought for next to no money and maintained with crossed fingers and fresh air. Maybe it’s the car you have now, but that’s a fairly depressing thing to think about so try not to dwell on it for too long. Mine was a 1992 Audi Coupé 2.0E, bought in Leeds, in the rain, and in the dark.
Cover up the Chevrolet bow-tie logo and anyone beyond the membership of the Society of Korean Saloon Apologists would struggle to name the manufacturer. It smacks of a car designed by committee to appeal to a global audience. As inoffensive as a local radio station playlist, although arguably more tuneful if you opt for the Porsche-engineered, transversely mounted, straight-six engine.
The PDK double-clutch automatic gearbox is so good, the decision between manual or automatic can be quite a dilemma for 911s from 997.2 onwards. But where does that leave models that have the previous incarnation of automatic technology, the Tiptronic models? Are they tougher to sell, and take up valuable forecourt space? “In short, no,” says Philip Raby, of Philip Raby Specialist Cars. “We had two in lately, both 996; a Cab and a Coupe. Both sold within 24 hours,” he says.
From early days in school, I have been fascinated by the Abarth marque. Abarth was the first entry in my Observer’s Book of Automobiles and I was drawn to it almost hypnotically. The mother of my best friend at school had a Fiat-Abarth 595, and I remember thinking what a special little car that was. Whenever possible, I would persuade my father to stop for petrol at Anthony Crook’s Hersham Garage, which had the concession for Abarth, Bristol and Zagato-bodied cars in the late 1950s and ’60s.
There’s no denying that it has never been so expensive to fill up. The mainstream media do not appear to be interviewing taxi drivers and hauliers, who must be spending a colossal amount of extra money on fuel. My average fill-up costs me an extra £20-£30 in some cases, especially with the introduction of E10 in standard unleaded petrol, so I’ve had to switch to the more expensive E5-rated super unleaded. The price at the pump as I write for standard unleaded petrol is 147.28p and diesel 150.
My sister is a responsible adult, who looks after her stuff regardless of the cost. When she buys a car, she keeps it clean, has it serviced regularly and gets things fixed as soon as they break. I, on the other hand, have spent a lifetime not doing any of these things; a fact which adds a thick layer of insult to the injuries I inflicted on the Mini I bought from her back in the early 1990s.