The Motoring Week: Friday 23rd October
Friday 23rd October:
Thursday saw the return of the Mini, to be swapped for a white, BMW 520d M-Sport model. The M-Sport features a sport setting which will firm up the car’s dampers and even though this car comes with 18″ alloy wheels for some reason even these don’t really look big enough to fill the arches.
There has been a lot of talk about “boy racers” again, what with the Garda clampdown that took place during the week, where 100 arrests were made and this morning I spoke on 4Fm about the fact that it isn’t always fair to tar the good guys with the same brush as the thugs. I’ve been around the modified car scene and there are a number of genuine enthusiasts who spend lots of money and even more elbow grease in getting their cars just right and they certainly don’t trash them around industrial estates.
Joyriding and anti-social behaviour in cars is not new and won’t go away any time soon, but often we fear what we don’t fully understand. Better clamping down on insurance and road tax defaulters might actually separate the good from the bad.
Wednesday 20th October:
Back to the DeLorean
It has been 25 years since Back to the Future was launched onto our screens and I took the chance to catch it in the cinema this evening. There was always two stars of the film for me and they weren’t human. One was the stunning customised black Toyota Hilux which was solely responsible for me still loving that pick up truck to this day. The second and more obvious, is the DeLorean DMC-12. Six were used in the making of the film and in the film, Doc Brown’s rationale for choosing the DeLorean was stated as: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style!” Doc also started to say something about the stainless steel construction being ideal for “flux dispersal”, but he was cut off by the time machine’s arrival. The choice of the DeLorean was actually for the purpose of a gag in the film that occurs when the car arrives in the year 1955 and is mistaken for an alien spacecraft due to its resemblance to the picture on the cover of the farmboy’s comic book, as well as for its gull-wing doors.
The story of the John DeLorean and the car’s demise has been well documented but there are some modern twists to the DeLorean story all these years on. While the original DeLorean in Back to the Future ran on petrol with a little help from plutonium, the Italian version of Wired magazine have decided to make an electric version, which will run from Milan to Rome on the 25th of October. You can follow (depending on your Italian) this project on http://www.electricrace.it.
If you want your own DeLorean, you can generally find a few around, despite their relative rarity. Most ended up in America and you can but restored models from a company in Houston. You can check out a documentary on that firm below.
Since the car’s were made in Northern Ireland there is quite a flourishing scene in Ireland as you might imagine. Check out this video on some of the Irish DeLorean car club.
Nissan GT-R gets more power
Although we didn’t see any of sold officially in Ireland, there is already a revised version of the awesome Nissan GTR. For the new one engine output is improved to 530hp, with the maximum torque of 612Nm from 3,200 to 6,000rpm.
The new GT-R is actually cleaner and more fuel efficient than the last one too. Fuel economy has also been improved by modifying the boost pressure of the turbocharger, valve timing and air mixture ratio along with larger diameter inlet pipes and a modified exhaust system. Don’t expect to see any sold in Ireland anytime soon, where it would cost around €100,000.
Tuesday 19th October:
We recorded the Irish Times Motors Podcast and it really isn’t hard to be jealous of Ben Oliver, who joins us on the show this week. He is one of the only people in the world to drive the new Bugatti Veyron Supersport. Bugatti have added nearly 200hp more to the already, hardly slow Veyron. That is like adding the power of a Volkswagen Golf GTi to a car that was one of the fastest cars in the world.
If you want to read about a car that has €20,000 tyres then click here. Also in this week’s show Michael McAleer has been driving the new Mercedes-Benz CLS and you can read about that in next week’s Motors and we also spoke to Renault Ireland’s ever-enthusiastic boss Eric Basset about the arrival of the Fluence and Kangoo V.E electric vehicles to Ireland. Unlike Nissan, who are planning to sell the Nissan LEAF outright, you will pay the same price for the Fluence Z.E as for a high-grade diesel one and then lease the battery for €72 per month. The Fluence Z.E will cost €21,620 and the Kangoo Z.E will cost €15,800, with both vehicles getting the same €72 per month battery lease based on 15,000km.
To hear this week’s Irish Times Motors Podcast click here.
Monday 18th October:
It was a busy weekend catching up with three of the latest small cars to come to the Irish market. Audi’s A1, the revised Mini and Nissan’s quirky Juke. Aside from a very packed driveway it gave us the chance to see which of these cars are likely to be popular in 2011. We know a lot about the Mini already so there really isn’t that much to tell about the facelifted version. It is a case of blink and you will miss it, but Mini have got the formula right in this car, while Audi are new to this genre.
The A1 is a harder car to figure. It certainly takes itself more seriously and doesn’t have the cute and cuddly image of the Mini. We have pitched these two cars head to head and you can read the results in the coming weeks in Motors. Our test car was very good, but cost €30,566, which seems to be an outrageous amount of money to spend on a small car but I spoke to an Audi salesman this morning who just sold one for €35,000. He says he is getting lots of older buyers – empty nesters who want want compact luxury. There certainly isn’t anyone with grey hair in the A1 brochure.
The real surprise of the weekend was the Nissan Juke, which I fully expected to hate but ended up loving. It looks…interesting, but from the right angle it sort of works. It drives really well and is really well equipped for the money. When you are testing lots of cars at once, be they for comparison tests or otherwise if you keep grabbing the keys of one car over all the others it tells you something and I kept reaching for the keys of the Juke.
Monday afternoon saw the arrival of the Toyota Hilux. They are well known for their strength and durability. We didn’t give it the most difficult task this evening, but it passed with flying colours. Hilux 1 Couch 0.