UK

UK

For the vast majority of the automobile’s life, horsepower has reigned supreme as the bragging right of most car owners. Torque snuck its way in through the 1980s and is now a little more relevant, but it was all about that almighty HP for the most part. Well, as the emission standards and fuel crisis of just about every decade emasculated muscle cars more and more, a new spec started rearing its wallet-friendly little head: miles per gallon.

With the price per gallon of gas tickling Abraham Lincoln’s feet in some areas of the U.S., mpg is becoming more and more important. In fact, just months ago, Consumer Reports did a survey that showed 37 percent of car buyers actually make their car-buying decision based on the mpg of a car. The next highest percentage chose build quality, and that tallied up to only 17 percent of the people polled.

It has gotten to the point now that even Lamborghini has introduced a start-stop feature on the 2013 Aventador , Ferrari and Porsche are building hybrids, and there is an electric-powered sedan hat hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds while getting 90 mpg equivalent. This leads us to the inevitable, the sports car world is the next thing that has to change or die off altogether, as the supercar world is already rolling toward the mpg side.

There is mention of the Mustang and Camaro both switching over to turbocharged V-6 or, god forbid, 4-cylinder engines . If the pony cars can do it, chances are the sports cars of the world – Nissan 370Z, Porsche Boxster, Mazda Miata, etc. – are all going to have to push their mpg to extremes to remain competitive. This could ultimately increase sticker prices significantly and might result in buyers having no problems saying, “yeah, my car only has 100 horsepower and looks like a shoe, but it gets 75 mpg!”

The UK has been dealing with terrible gas prices for ages and you can see it in its cars. For example, the Nissan 370Z Nissan 370Z costs $33,120 in the U.S. and gets 26 mpg highway. In the UK, however, Nissan Nissan had to tweak it to meet the EU’s more stringent fuel economy regulations, raising its highway mpg to 36, but bringing the 370Z’s cost to an astronomical £29,975 ($48,202 at the current exchange rates). Would you pay nearly $50K for a base 370Z? I know I wouldn’t.

This may very well result in the death of the sports car, what a scary thought. Ultimately it is a change-inexpensively-or-die situation for the sports car as we know it in next 10 years…

Top Gear is at it again. If you don’t remember, several months back they brought us the “Deadly 720” – the world’s first ever double loop completed by a car. Well, Guinness was on location and awarded Top Gear the “official” world record for the stunt.

Apparently that world record combined with their latest record for being the most widely watched factual TV show are not enough, as the Top Gear boys, fresh off of a new contract, are bringing back the “Deadly 720.” This time around they will add in a new element to the double loop, allowing them to set yet another record, according to Top Gear’s creative director Rowland French.

In a statement, French said: “The original Deadly 720 was as far as our experience, technology and bravery allowed us to go and we’ve been inundated with messages from the British public asking us to perform the stunt in the UK this year,” explained French. “The restless nature of the production, however, means I was keen to do something different and shoot for another World Record. The only way to do that is push the boundary further and create an even more extreme stunt. We started working on the project almost immediately after the South African stadium show and have been in rehearsals for weeks. This stunt will break new ground and I can’t wait to see the looks on the audience faces when we reveal it at the NEC.”

We’re not too sure what this new addition will be, but we’re sure it’ll be interesting nonetheless. The record will be attempted at the Top Gear Live show taking place at the Birmingham NEC from October 25th through the 28th.

We’re sure there will be plenty of hints and clues in the coming weeks, so we’ll bring you up to date with each update.

Click past the jump to read Top Gear’s press release.

Mazda has already announced plans to unveil a new generation Mazda3, but until that new model arrives in 2014 , the British market can take advantage of two very cool editions based on the current Mazda3 MPS. The two new models, Tamura and Venture, are priced from £15,995 (about $25,700 at the current exchange rates) and £17,495 ($28,150 at the current rates), respectively.

The new Tamura Edition will be offered with an impressive list of standard equipment: 17" alloy wheels, Sports styling kit, front fog lights, electric windows, six-speaker audio system, dual zone climate control air-conditioning, front, side and curtain airbags, and a Thatcham Cat 1 alarm.

The Venture Edition will add light gunmetal alloys wheels, a unique rear spoiler, privacy glass, 5.8-inch Sanyo TomTom navigation, Bluetooth hands-free, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, and heated front sports seats.

Both models are offered with either a 1.6-liter MZR petrol or diesel engine, both delivering improved fuel economy by 1.4%. Co2 emissions are also reduced by 2%.

For those who do not remember, the Bloodhound SSC is a rocket built by current land-speed record holders, Richard Noble and Andy Green. A few years ago, these gentlemen attempted to break the 1000 mph barrier and after a few years of reworking the vehicle, they are back again to achieve this very goal.

Up until now, all we’ve had for this vehicle were a few teaser images and sketches, but Noble has announced that this rocket system will be tested in its entirety for the first time at Newquay Cornwall Airport. During this test, the SSC SSC will be using a EJ200 Eurofighter Typhoon engine to hit a top speed of 230 mph, after which barrier the rocket firing sequence will begin. Previous details suggested that this sequence will begin after the 300 mph barrier is hit.

The world record attempt will be made late next year, or very early in 2014. The test will be public, so anyone living or visiting the United Kingdom, may want to swing by and check out this fascinating attempt. The previous record was an impressive 763 mph hit by RAF pilot Andy Green driving Noble’s ThrustSSC.

Source: AutoCar

The Kia Picanto is not a model you’ll find zipping through the streets of the U.S., but it has been a relative hit in developing markets, thanks to its low price, and even in the U.K., thanks to its stellar gas mileage. In the 2013 model year, Kia is releasing a series of “Originals” 3-door collection.

The most recent addition to this new collection of 3-door Kias is the all-new Picanto City. This model is, from the outward appearance, almost identical to any 3-door Picanto you’ll see frolicking through the streets of the U.K., but under the hood, in the wallet, and at the pump, it is much different than you would expect.

The U.K. super-mini segment is already overcrowded, so how well can Kia expect to do with this ultra-economic super-mini car?

Click past the jump to read our full review on the 2013 Kia Picanto City and find out how well it stacks up to the growing list of super-minis in the U.K.

Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept

Okay, so as we all know, the automotive rumormill has a habit of bouncing back and forth before finally resting on the truth. Back in August, we heard a rumor that the Alpine would be built in a joint venture between Renault -Nissan and Caterham . Then just days later, we started exploring the possibility of the Alpine and Infiniti Emerg-E being a Renault-Nissan and Lotus project, given the Emerg-E was already built on the Lotus Evora platform and it would be simpler to build both the Emerg-e and Alpine on the same platform.

Well, it looks as if the Lotus and Nissan talk is done with, as Caterham appears to have swooped in and all but completed a deal with Renault Nissan. Sky News is reporting that Caterham boss, Tony Fernandes, is just about to put ink to paper on a $400 million production deal that will join Caterham Caterham and Renault Renault -Nissan at the hip on the Alpine project. The deal would involve a 50-50 split in cost and profits between Renault-Nissan and Caterham.

There is no mention as to whether this will also affect the Emerg-E’s production plans, but chances are that the Emerg-E will remain a Lotus and Renault-Nissan project, since both companies are already so deeply entrenched in the deal.

This also effectively eliminates the chances that the Emerg-E and Renault Alpine will share any significant DNA. It is very doubtful if Lotus would be willing to lend its platform to Caterham for a project that it back-doored from the already struggling sports car builder.

We’ll keep a close eye on this situation because it could boil over into something a little more, as the two rivals compete to snag up a little extra business. The deal is expected to be reviewed on Monday and approved in just a few weeks.

Source: Sky News
Top Gear Season 17 moved to June 26?

Fresh off of their earning the “Most watched factual television program ” record from Guinness and Clarkson’s riveting and tear-jerking speech regarding said win, the folks at BBC decided it was time to reward the Top Gear boys with a new contract. So now we get another three years of hearing James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson talk about and beat the living crap out of cars.

On top of renewing the boys, BBC also bought out the remaining 50-percent share of Bedder 6, the company that Clarkson and Top Gear producer, Andy Wilman, own. Bedder 6 also happens to own the commercial rights to Top Gear, so not only does the BBC now have its hosts locked up for three years, but sole ownership of the entire series indefinitely.

Part of the deal the trio signed requires heavier global promotion of the show, so you can expect more Top Gear shenanigans going on in random parts of the world. Top Gear fans are getting everything they ever wanted: more Clarkson, Mays, and Hammond, more global Top Gear promotion, and indefinite Top Gear airing all in one quick swipe of a pen.

Congrats to the Clarkson and his cohorts, and we look forward to seeing more of them.

Source: BBC News

While the folks in France are checking out the new rides at the Paris Auto Show, in the UK, people are keeping themselves busy breaking records. A battery-powered Lotus Elise developed by utility company, Ecotricity, has reached an average speed of 151 mph near York today. Behind the wheel was 21-year-old Nick Ponting, who managed to smash the previous record of 137 mph set by a Bluebird Electric in 2000.

The Nemesis completed two runs along Elvington Airfield over a one mile distance, with Nick Ponting breaking the record on the first set of consecutive runs with an average speed of 148 mph. The electric supercar achieved this record with the use of two electric motors that develop a total of 330 HP. This setup also sprints it from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.

Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity said: "This is brilliant. We built the Nemesis to smash the stereotype of electric cars as something Noddy would drive – slow, boring, not cool – and I think we’ve done exactly that today. Hopefully this will further stimulate debate about the future of transport in Britain and how we’ll be getting around when the world runs out of oil. What we’ve been able to demonstrate is that wind-powered cars are not just feasible, but can be a load of fun."

Rumors: Dany Bahar Suing Lotus

In the dust stirred up by Dany Bahar, we managed to miss the fact that DRB-Hicom also dismissed two senior executives from Lotus for “gross misconduct.” One was the 6-year head of legal resources and the other had 17 years in as the head of human resources. These employees are now taking Lotus to an employment tribunal saying that they were dismissed unfairly, were harassed, and had to endure sexual and racial discrimination by the new Lotus parent.

From the report, the two fired executives underwent “intense interrogation sessions” after DRB-Hicom took over and started investigating the actions of Bahar. They are also claiming that the management company is more interested in “Malaysianizing” the company rather than fixing it.

One lawsuit is a random happening, but to get three lawsuits for very similar cases seems like a trend to us. Maybe Bahar isn’t all wrong in this entire thing. The man is certainly at fault for using corporate money like it was his own personal Monopoly bank , but maybe his termination was a little bit less on the “up and up” as we anticipated.

All of this is coming straight on the heels of DRB-Hicom announcing that it is in talks to bring in a foreign partner to help clean up Proton Proton Holdings Bhd, which includes Lotus. We’ll keep an eye on this to see if it may negatively impact the talks that are going on between the Malaysian company and its potential foreign partner.

Source: PaulTan.org

When Ferrari North Europe began their campaign to reclaim the world record for a parade of Ferrari cars back in June, they set a mark of 1,000 cars to participate in the attempt. Unfortunately, they didn’t hit their 1,000-car target. They only had 964 Ferraris. You could hear the collective heart break from across the Atlantic.

All joking aside, the new record is mighty impressive in its own right, not only because they managed to bring 964 Ferraris and assemble all of them on one track, but more so because these owners actually found some time to participate in the record-setting attempt.

Heck, even Ferrari F1 driver Felipe Massa was on hand with his 458 Italia to partake in the festivities. And if anybody’s wondering whether this record attempt was done for self-fulfilling reasons, each driver who participated in the event actually donated £5 donation to BEN, the auto industry’s charity out in England.

Congratulations to Ferrari North Europe for the new record! Here’s to hoping that record lasts longer than five minutes!


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