BREAKING: Daniel Ricciardo Disqualified from Australian GP for Fuel

After the jubilation in Melbourne at the superb drive, and slightly unexpectedly good result by Aussie Daniel Ricciardo through no fault of his own he has been disqualified for fuel irregularity.

An FIA statement said: “During the race car #3 has exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg/h.”

Red Bull have been found in breach of article 5.1.4 of the 2014 technical regulations.

More to follow as we get it. Red Bull are appealing the decision, and have two hours to do so. It will be a shame to DQ Ricciardo for a Red Bull error, but rules are rules and new fuel was one of the main changes for 2014 F1.

UPDATE:
1050am: Christian Horner and Adrian Newey have just left the stewards’ office after arguing their case as to why Daniel Ricciardo should not be excluded. Decision should be soon.

Crazy Honda Street Racing In Hong Kong

I in no way endorse street racing. Get on a real race track if you want to race where you put no innocent bystanders lives on the line.

However, this is incredible. Stupid, but incredible. The skill / luck on show here is out of this world. Here a whole crew of tuned Honda’s go for a street racing blast around the highways of Hong Kong. It is like watching a video game. Anyone play Need For Speed Underground, Initial D or Tokyo Highway Battle?  Absolutely wreckless as all it takes is someone to do the same in the opposite direction and it will be chaos.

This time they get away with it, but some of the close calls are unreal. Skip to 3min 03s for an outrageous overtake around the outside and then he has to cut in at the last second to avoid going into the back of a lorry. Supreme confidence in his fellow drivers.

Thoughts on this?

 

New Porsche Pajun Saloon / Hatchback

The Porsche Pajun is the Porsche rival to the Mercedes CLS. In these renderings from Auto Express, they have got a close example of the final product. It looks like a mix between a 911 and a Panamera. It will have a mix of six cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with a hybrid possible as an option of countries where diesels are not preferred.

It will be interesting to see if Audi allow Porsche to have their new twin turbo diesel unit, as the Cayenne and the Panamera only got the old single turbo unit. Overall the Pajun looks how you imagine it. The renderings are probably pretty accurate. Expect a Turbo model to appear as prices are said to range from €65,000 to €100,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images from Auto Express

Top Gear South Korea Helicopter Crash vs Corvette VIDEO

To answer your question, no I did not realise there was a Top Gear South Korea either, bar the Top Gear Asia magazine. I knew of the US and Aussie TV show, but OK back to the point.

Whilst filming a segment of a Chevrolet Corvette racing around an airfield against a AH-1 helicopter, similar to how the original raced a Lotus against an Apache, the pilot of the helicopter seems to misjudge a maneuver and loses control and goes straight into the ground. Because this was done with a big budget it offers some incredible camera angles including onboard footage from the helicopter. Hopefully everyone was OK.

 

Luxury Hybrids Compared – BMW ActiveHybrid 5 vs Mercedes E300 Hybrid vs Audi A6 Hybrid

The big three from Deutschland have all now revealed and released (or very soon to be released) their hybrid luxury cars for the UK. Interestingly all three have gone for the mid range of the traditional three tiers, i.e. the A6, E Class and 5 Series. However all three have gone very different ways. Auto Express have recently reviewed each separately and here we will look at bringing that data together to see what we have learned about, like it or not, the future of motoring.

 

 

 

 

 

The Layouts

Audi A6 Hybrid242bhp/480Nm (combined) – 4 Cylinder, 2.0l turbo, 208BHP  – 40kW motor, 53BHP, 210Nm.

BMW ActiveHybrid5335bhp/450Nm (combined) – 6 Cylinder, 3.0l turbo, 302BHP – 40kW motor, 54BHP

Mercedes E300 BlueTEC Hybrid - 228BHP (combined) – 4 cylinder, 2.1l twin turbo diesel 201BHP – 20kW, 27BHP, 250Nm

Conclusion: BMW has gone down the Lexus GS route of performance hybrid, Audi have gone for the cheaper economy version of petrol hybrid, while Mercedes have gone for ultimate economy with the diesel electric hybrid setup. Three very different ways but do they work and is there any point when diesels are so good?

Economy and Performance

Like previously mentioned all three have gone very different ways with their hybrid systems for different reasons, however when people hear “hybrid” they think economy, not KERS F1 power boost. With that in mind improved economy has to be a factor, especially in a saloon car that is made for everyday driving. The A6 Hybrid offers the 2.0 Turbo not available in the A6 normally, and with the hybrid setup offers 44MPG combined. Hardly stunning figures, but decent for a 242BHP turbo petrol car. However Auto Express comment that “the A6 Hybrid lags trails the faster 3.0-litre TDI quattro by more than 10mpg. Another dynamic flaw is that by combining such a high power output with front instead of four-wheel drive, this model can be left scrabbling around for grip when pushed – not what you expect from an Audi.” Could do better Audi, hybrid technology is not new anymore and we all expect more.

If you really hate diesel and you can’t get over it, then it maybe worth a look. However then you would also have to overlook the BMW. Although it costs an estimated £4,000 more you will get a glorious six cylinder turbo and nearly 100 more horses. This is where the BMW also makes no sense. Sure go for a performance hybrid, but why not mate the battery to the Twin turbo from the 535i instead of just the 530i model? Or go the more economical but still fast route and mate it to the 528i’s fantastic new twin turbo petrol or the excellent 520d engine. 44MPG is superb for a turbo six that does 5.9 to 60, and kind of puts the Audi to shame on paper (Auto Express saw 30.1MPG around Portugal in tests). However the 535d puts it to shame in every sense. It is cheaper, faster in the real world and more economical. One just for the American’s maybe.

That leaves the diesel electric Mercedes. For me, the clear winner here. At 67.3MPG it blitzes not only the other two but also the E350 CDI and its non hybrid brother the E250 CDI by over 10MPG. Auto Express comment how “by comparison, the standard Mercedes E250 CDI is 0.2 seconds slower to 62mph and can only manage 53.3mpg. Crucially, the Hybrid reduces CO2 emissions to a class-leading 109g/km which has money-saving implications for company car drivers. Previously the cleanest E-Class emitted 129g/km.” The only question is price. At present it is going on sale for just over 51,000€ which translates to low £40s. If this works out in reality then Mercedes are on to a winner especially as you get a huge amount of standard kit with the E300 to justify the price.

Economy Conclusion

Winner: Mercedes E300 Hybrid – Outstanding real world economy for such a powerful car. Autocar even managed to beat the official MPG
Loser: BMW ActiveHybrid 5 – A hybrid for performance boost than economy. Auto Express only saw real world 30MPG compared to the 535d’s 40+ on similar roads.

Performance Conclusion

Winner: Mercedes E300 Hybrid – Sure the BMW is faster 0-60, but with all that torque the Mercedes holds its own in the real world. That twin turbo 4 with the electric boost makes it feel like a E350. BMW should have gone all out for the 535i engine if they wanted a true performance hybrid.
Loser: Audi A6 Hybrid – you need every one of the 8 gears to make it work against this company. That wouldn’t be a problem if it its MPG was in the 50s but at 45 it needs more as its Audi’s TDI units leave the hybrid standing in every sense.

Overall Summary

It sounds like the Audi is a bad car. It is not. Far from it, it just seems to have an incredibly small niche and does not push the boundaries. As Auto Express comment, “the deciding factor for the A6 Hybrid will be price”. How many people out there want a reasonably quick petrol executive saloon with good MPG. When you say it like that, the Audi makes some sense, but for some reason I feel let down. Maybe a Quattro version or this drive train in an A5 would be better. If this car came out 4 years ago I would say wow, but in today’s world its just good.

The BMW is an interesting car, but like I mentioned before it too seems held back. It seems they also have aimed it at the Lexus GS rather than the Audi and Mercedes, which for it’s US target audience makes sense. I think UK / Mainland Europe buyers would like to see the 528i engine or the 520d unit combine with a battery. The Petrol being what the Audi could have been (50+MPG and 250+BHP) or with the diesel a car similar to the Mercedes E300.

The Mercedes kind of wins by default. That’s not saying it’s not that great. With any of the big three German luxury brands you expect class leading figures from every model. The Mercedes does this with superb performance, economy and just a great general drive. That is why it is the winner of these three.

Original Articles and images from Auto Express:
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/271063/audi_a6_hybrid.html
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/277999/bmw_activehybrid_5.html
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/280972/mercedes_e300_bluetec_hybrid.html

 

Drift Demo Toyota FT86 vs Toyota AE86

OK so it is not a competitive match up, but this drift team at the 2012 D1GP is showing off both of their 86 Toyota’s. Finding the now ultra rare Toyota Corolla AE86 is a tough task, many being poorly modified and the prices are hard to swallow. However this is where the new Toyota FT86 and its cousin the Subaru BRZ come into play. Due to the strong Yen, they are not as cheap as they were initially going to be, but you still get a fantastic looking 200BHP RWD sports car.


This video shows that the new car has the potential to live up to its predescessor’s affordable drift machine nature. The only car in this market today is the Mazda MX5, and after so many years of no sports cars, it is nice to see Toyota back on form… No where is that new Supra?

Badge Snobs Rejoice! The New Mercedes Benz SL65 AMG V12 Unveiled

Images / Mercedes Benz

So here it is, the car that middle aged men who want to prove a point have been waiting for. In case you have not guessed, I think the Mercedes Benz SL65 AMG is pointless. Like the old version it is so excessive and for no gain over the much cheaper and superior SL63 AMG. The SL63 AMG is a superb car and I see its point for existence. Great Twin Turbo V8 with 525BHP, or over 550BHP with the AMG performance pack. The current model SL63 is lighter weight than the previous model so has good handling for a two tonnes car, but it still cannot get all that the power and torque down, even in dry conditions. So the SL63 is a great fun car, with plenty of performance costing around £105,000.

This is where the SL65 AMG makes no sense. Yes, its V12 Bi Turbo puts out 91BHP more than the SL63 at 621BHP, however that translates to only 0.3s drop to 4 seconds to 60. Yes, ingear acceleration will be improved, but as Top Gear and several other car magazines have shown with even the SL65 Black Series, this power increase translates to decreased tyre wear more than decreased lap times. In the real world the SL65 AMG will be no quicker than the SL63. Plus if the old model is anything to go by, the V8 of the SL63 will sound better than the V12 of the SL65. Yet despite all this you will have to pay €236,344 (£196,000 estimated as UK pricing is not confirmed).  That is a lot for a badge and an engine which most of the time you cannot use its power.

If you can afford to buy a £200,000 car you do not care about depreciation too much, but it is worth considering. Compared to the SLS AMG Roadster, which costs about £22,000 less than the V12 SL65 new, the SLS will be worth far more in 3 years time. SLS Coupe’s are holding their price at around the £120,000 mark while a SL65 on Auto Trader is currently £98,000, while a 2005 SL65 can be had for £36,000. It will be a long time until an SLS Roadster is that price due to the rarity of the model. The SL65 AMG is devalued by the similarity with the much cheaper SL300 models.

If badge is everything to you and you want the ultimate Mercedes SL then you probably have already ordered the car. It has got a new 7 speed gearbox, which will make it silky smooth to live with, that interior is stunning and it’s sheer size makes it feel special. However the SL63 AMG does all of this.

If I was a Mercedes fan with £200,000 to spend, I would take the £106k SL63 AMG and spend £80,000 on a E63 AMG for when I needed more seats or fancied a change. Or if you want just one car, the vastly superior SLS AMG Roadster for £178,000! Choice is yours. But £22,000 that you would save with the SLS AMG over the SL65 AMG is a lot of petrol to go touring around Europe in and you would get a lot more looks to go with it.

More pictures of the new 2012 Mercedes Benz SL65 AMG V12

Best Real World New Car in the UK

Image / Autocar

What is the best “normal” car you can buy? It needs to be practical as it is an everyday driver, fuel efficient, desirability, great performance (not exclusively speed), and feel special and under £30,000. Autocar have looked at this very question and it makes for an interesting read. They compare the benchmark BMW 3 Series 320d, against the Range Rover Evoque, Skoda Superb Estate, VW Golf GTD and to see if a bit more money is worth it a Mercedes Benz E220 CDI. Good mix of potential rivals for the BMW.

Full review here (estimated reading time 5 minutes), summary below.

On paper all three cars are circa £30k, which seems to be a level you can get a superb car that has everything required. The Skoda and VW come in cheaper, while the RR and Merc are around the 320d price range.

The new BMW 3 Series divides opinion with its looks, however no one can deny its simply outstanding drive and performance. This is what makes it the benchmark to beat. The 320d is what most people would say is the standard 3 Series diesel, and Autocar make the point of showing just how far BMW have moved the game on in just 10 years. The 320d at the turn of the millennium had 136BHP, 49MPG and 0-60 in 9.6s (Source/Parkers). However this latest model does 7.5s to 60 and nearly 62MPG, all in a much quieter, better sounding refined way. It is leagues ahead of the competition. If you are a petrol fan, the 320i does 0-60 in 7.1 with 44MPG and 181BHP compared to 8.1s, 167BHP and 30MPG. Impressive numbers and that does not include the huge drop in road tax prices due to vastly improved co2 emissions.

These figures leave the rivals in the shade on paper, however Autocar praise the Range Rover Evoque for sheer desirability. It drives so well for a chunky looking thing, and where as no one will bat an eyelid at the 3 Series, for now at least the Evoque is a real head turner. The interior is “great fun to be in and has the virtue of being very different”.

The others, well the Skoda Superb is a huge amount of car and if you aren’t a badge snob you can’t go far wrong. The Golf GTD is superb but too expensive in this trim. £28k is too much for a diesel Golf, and a better match is a cheaper version with the same 170BHP engine. The Mercedes is vast and will give you all the prestige you need, 50MPG and is quick, but it is too “old-mannish” with the interior. I personally think the E Class is a great looking car and is considerable value at just £4k more than the Golf.

Original Article/ AutoCar

What is you favourite real world car? What other car’s should be considered? Would you go for a second hand previous generation 320d and save £15,000? Maybe this is the main rival to the new 320d… thoughts?

 

 

Lamborghini Aventador J – Bedroom Wall Poster Manufacturers at the Ready

It appears Lamborghini has won the wow factor of the Geneva show with this simply epic Lamborghini Aventador J. It is a speedster version of the standard Lamborghini Aventador, with some exquisite styling touches.

The rear view mirror comes as a periscope style pod in between the driver. The driver and passenger are almost in pod like compartments, similar to previous Gallardo concepts. The Aventador J also features a body kit which makes the Aventador look like a Ford Focus. So extreme, yet still stunningly beautiful, take note Gemballa. And just in case you were wondering, it has no roof, and no windscreen bar a tiny wind deflector. New car for Bruce Wayne?

The stunning Candy Apple red style colour is made one off just for this car. Everything about this is better and better, except surprisingly the engine, although it is only a concept and 700BHP is never lacking. the letter “J”, it comes from a technical specification that the FIA uses to govern race cars. For me this is the highlight of Geneva. Shame it is a one off.

Images / Lamborghini.com

Hyundai Veloster Turbo Unveiled for Geneva

Will there be any surprises for Geneva this year? Probably not based on everything being leaked. The latest in this line is the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Using a turbocharged version of the standard car’s 1.6 it pushes out 183BHP but also to 270Nm of torque up from 167Nm. Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor UK, commented: “UK drivers tend to prefer more torque from a lower engine speed, so our European engineers have specified a set-up that still provides a substantial increase in power – up from 140 ps to 186 ps – while also delivering the desired low-end torque.  The resulting package is very competitive against the performance of competitors such as VW Scirocco and Vauxhall Astra.”

0-60 is cut to 8.4seconds, which seems a tad slow, but this seems a touch slow for such a powerful car. This could not reflect the “real” 0-60 time to keep in line with Hyundai’s low insurance groups. A similar thing happened to the old Toyota Corolla T-Sport which officially did 0-60 in 8.6 seconds despite having the identical 190BHP as the Celica 190 and only weighing marginally heavier, could not get anywhere near its official 7.2s 0-60 time. Owners club forums and meetings have shown it to be much closer to the Celica 0-60. I would be very surprised if the real world Veloster Turbo time is closer to high 7s than mid 8s.

Other performance upgrades include a faster steering rack and improved suspension. Looks wise it has got some mean looking arches and bumper kits. The exhausts are also large circular pipes rather than the trapezoidal centre ones of the NA model. Economy is unconfirmed but expect 1 or 2 MPG lower than the NA version (43MPG), and a couple g’s co2 less due to it being a turbo (148g/km on the NA).

Pricing has not been announced but if done correctly this could be a bigger version of the Suzuki Swift Sport. Cheap, exploitable power, fun and importantly different. Looks superb to me. Mark another win up for Hyundai, but this time for a real drivers car.

Image / Hyundai UK