Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The sports car that runs on SALTWATER

Sports cars may not have the best reputation for being environmentally-friendly, but this sleek machine has been designed to reach 217.5 mph (350 km/h) – using nothing but saltwater.

Its radical drive system allows the 5,070lbs (2,300kg) Quant e-Sportlimousine to reach 0-60 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds, making it as fast as the McLaren P1.
After making its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March, the saltwater technology has now been certified for use on European roads. 
The 920 horsepower (680 kW) Quant e-Sportlimousine uses something known as an electrolyte flow cell power system to power four electric motors within the car.
It works in a similar way to a hydrogen fuel cell, however, the liquid used for storing energy is saltwater.

The liquid passes through a membrane in between the two tanks, creating an electric charge. This electricity is then stored and distributed by super capacitors.
The car carries the water in two 200-litre tanks, which in one sitting will allow drivers to travel up to 373 miles (600km).
Overall, the four-seater is 5.25 metres (0.4ft) long, 2.2 metres wide (7.2ft), the 1.35 metre (4.4ft).

Its 22-inch wheels sit just beneath double gull-wing doors which feature 'Chrystal Lake Blue' paint.
Inside is a full-length interactive dash, with wood-theme features and an Android-based entertainment system.

No price or sale date has yet been revealed, but some experts suggest it could cost more than £1 million ($1.7 million)
NanoFlowcell AG, a Lichtenstein-based company behind the drive, is now planning to test the car on public roads in Germany and elsewhere in Europe as the company prepares for series production.
It claims the technology offers five times the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries of the same weight. 

'We've got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry,' says NanoFlowcell AG Chairman of the Board Professor Jens-Peter Ellermann.
'The potential of the NanoFlowcell is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology.' 

Apple Watch distracting to drivers

While technology has improved many areas of our lives, there is one part of day-to-day life where the advance of wearable technology poses many dangers: driving.

Ever since mobile phones started to become widely used there have been attempts to stop people from chatting, texting and browsing while in the car. Sadly accidents caused by such activities remain commonplace, as Traffic Cops will attest.
Now, another problem looms: smartwatches. With numerous devices popping up that can sit on the wrist and ping notifications and messages to the wearer, those behind the wheel face even greater likelihood of being distracted.
This is exactly what the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) fears, as it warns those embracing wearables, especially the new Apple Watch, to remember the law of the land.
Neil Greig, IAM director of Policy and Research, said: “An iWatch [sic] has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device. Indeed more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.

“Enforcement will be difficult for the police, but powers exist to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash. The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you.”
Underlining the risk such distractions pose, the IAM said that data from its simulator study on smartphone use between 2006 and 2010 found distraction from a mobile phone was a factor contributing to 1,960 road accidents where people were injured; this figure includes 110 fatal accidents.
Wearables could make this situation worse, the IAM added. “Constant alerts will require motorists’ regular attention. As opposed to using a legal hands-free piece of equipment the iWatch [sic] will require drivers to use two hands to operate the device – impacting speed, lane position and time spent looking at the road," it said.

The IAM noted that the Department for Transport has already confirmed that the Apple Watch will be treated the same as a mobile phone. As such, the penalty for using it behind the wheel is three licence penalty points and a £100 fine.

However, if the Watch causes death by dangerous driving a prison sentence of at least two years is enforced. Clearly, this is far too big a price to pay just to learn that someone on Twitter liked your picture of a cat. Watch the road, not your wrist.

Free motor show comes to Regent Street

Regent Street in London will play host to a huge collection of cars and motorbikes on Saturday November 1st as part of a free motor show.

For one day, the street that is famed for its shopping and is home to such world famous stores as Hamleys, will be closed to traffic to make way for the cars of the Regent Street Motor Show.

Among the types of car that will be on show are performance cars, family cars, eco cars and racing cars. Visitors will also be able to marvel at 100 veteran cars that will be displayed the day before they set off on the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run that begins in Hyde Park.
All the veteran cars due to go on display were built prior to 1905 and are going to get involved in the EFG International Concours d’Elegance.
Speaking about the upcoming event, director of the Regent Street Association Annie Walker said: “The huge variety of exhibits perfectly complements Regent Street, with an array of vehicles ranging from the horseless carriages to the cars of today all set in one of the world’s most prominent shopping streets. It adds a completely new dimension to a visit to the best shopping street in the West End. And best of all, it’s free!”

Ms Walker also explained that the day is now recognised widely as something that is fun for the whole family to do, whether they are just out shopping or if they are really into cars.
The event has been running since 2005 and has been growing in popularity ever since. For car manufacturers, this provides them an opportunity to show off some of their newest products to people who are enthusiastic about motoring or just wandering through.
Last year, the event saw a record 400,000 visitors coming to look at a range of vehicles, from motoring pioneers to brand new supercars.

This year’s motor show will start at 10:30 GMT and last until 16:00 GMT.

Monday, 29 September 2014

World’s Greatest Drag Race: BMW M4, i8, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Camaro Z/28, Jaguar F-Type, Nissan GT-R

MotorTrend puts together an impressive line-up for their annual Worlds’ Greatest Drag Race. This year’s contenders start with the new BMW i8 and M4 Coupe, and continues with Alfa Romeo 4C, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Jaguar F-Type Coupe R, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Ford Fiesta ST, Subaru WRX STI and the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Talk about a variety of different cars with unique attributes and power outputs.

Based on the power output and engines found under the hood, the favorites were the 911 Turbo S, Nissan GTR, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe and Camaro Z/28. While the BMW M4 handles itself amazing on a race track, it is simply not powerful enough to keep up with the big boys on a straight line.
So which comes at the top?
Porsche 911 Turbo S which runs in the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds at 126 mph. Following very closely is the Nissan GT-R Nismo with 11.1 seconds at 125.3 mph. Just barely behind the GT-R we have the Jaguar F-Type Coupe R with a quarter mile of 11.8 seconds at 122.3 mph.
BMW M4 comes up on the fourth place with 12.2 seconds at 117.8 mph while the i8 finishes sixth: 12.4 seconds at 112.1 mph. Not a bad time for the hybrid sportscar.


Do you remember the BMW GINA Concept?

GINA project started in 2001 and it was unveiled to the public for the first time in 2008. GINA stands for “Geometry and functions In ‘N’ Adaptions” and it was designed by a team led by ex-BMW’s head of design, Chris Bangle, who says GINA allowed his team to “challenge existing principles and conventional processes.”

What makes GINA Light Concept special are the surfaces covering the aluminium wire chassis? The flexible, stretchable water resistant translucent man-made fabric skin – polyurethane-coated Spandex, is resilient and durable. It resists high or low temperatures, does not swell or shrink and the movement does not slacken or damage the fabric.
The body changes its shape according to exterior conditions and speeds, and it also allows the driver to change its shape at will. The shape of the frame is controlled by electric and hydraulic actuators, for example, the headlights are revealed when small motors pull the fabric back in an eyelid like fashion.
At the rear-end, the tail-lights are visible through the soft material.

GINA features “bird wings” style of doors, a similar feature we have seen on the new BMW i8. Access to the engine can be gained through a slit that can open in the middle of the bonnet.
Inside the car, variability, form and function are united in an inseparable connection. Whenever selected functions are accessed, the driver also changes the appearance of individual car elements. Again, the car’s variability is adapted to suit the driver’s needs. This creates a close interaction between driver and car in various different situations.
When the car is parked, the steering wheel and the rev counter, speedometer and fuel gauge, which are vertically arranged on the centre console, are in idle position. This provides the driver with maximum comfort upon entering the car. Likewise, the seat only assumes its optimized functional position and shape if and when the driver sits down on it.

As soon as you enter the car, the headrest, previously firmly integrated into the seat’s backrest, rises up automatically. At the same time, the steering wheel moves towards the driver and the instrument panel moves in the same direction. The information on the best driver-specific position of both steering column and seat is stored in the transducer. The engine is started simply by pushing the start/stop button, a feature now standard in all new BMWs.
At the time, the GINA Concept design has been rumoured to serve as a base for many upcoming BMW models, from the lightweight materials to the design language. Looking in the current line-up, we can certainly see some design cues inspired by GINA, starting with the more angular and sleep headlights, and continuing with the heavily sculpted hood and side panels, and ending with the 3D shaped kidney grille.

As far as lightweight construction, BMW i sub-brand is fully invested in building lighter and sustainable vehicles, from carbon fibre to the use of recyclable materials.

Seeing the GINA Concept in person makes it even more special and emotional, so if you’re ever visiting Munich, stop by the BMW Museum across the BMW Welt building.

Friday, 26 September 2014

In-Car Dashboard Cameras: The UK is Finally Catching On

Dashboard cameras and accident witness recorders are fast becoming an essential aspect of in-car technology. They can save you hundreds of pounds on your car insurance and they can become a crucial piece of evidence in the event of an accident.
So is it any wonder why more and more motorists are having them installed? To date they have proved sought-after in countries like Japan, the US and Poland but the UK is now catching up. Sales have reportedly soared over the years, especially given the rise in ‘crash for cash’ scams.
Halfords revealed that it had a 150% rise in the number of dash-cams sold over the Christmas period last year and Digit4U, an electronics website, reported a 28% increase in the last quarter of 2013.
In particularly, taxi drivers remain the most popular consumer to purchase the product to monitor their on-call drives and use it as evidence in the event of an accident.

What exactly is a dashboard camera?
Simply put, it is a small camera that attaches to the dashboard of your vehicle and records your driving. There are various models and makes on the market to choose from varying in price; and some include video that collects data by plugging into the car’s computer.
How can they save you money?
This data can be used for insurance purposes. It can be sent and reviewed to your insurance company on a regular basis to ‘rate’ your driving. Good drivers can reportedly get up to 30% off their car insurance premiums which is a massive bonus.
However, it’s key to note that it can also increase your monthly payments should they find that your driving is awful.
More importantly, they offer much needed protection
Not only can they save you £££’s but dashboard cameras can also come really handy in the event of:
§  An accident
§  Insurance fraud
§  Road rage
§  False testimonies
§  Protect your no claims
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you need supportive evidence for any of these scenarios, camera footage is key.
And they are a perfect solution for worried parents. If you want to keep a close eye on your teen’s whereabouts and driving, an in-car cam is ideal and some can be turned on remotely for extra security.
A camera can also be a deterrent for thieves
If you frequently have to leave your car in a remote location or in an unprotected area, these gadgets are brilliant as a low-cost alternative anti-theft device. Criminals can be deterred when approaching your vehicle to break in or vandalise it, knowing that they are in candid camera.
So you can watch over your parked car with the knowledge it is safe and sound. And if you are a petrol head adrenaline junky, you can even record a road rally or off-road track event using your own state-of-the-art technology!
So next time you are driving down the road and someone bumps into you, don’t get all hot headed and shout blasphemies at the other party- simply smile and have peace of mind that they are on dash-cam camera!
And for businesses, rest assured knowing that you can enjoy reduced fuel consumption and lower repair costs in your fleet of vehicles.

This article was written by Safi Ahmed, Director of Car Communications, the go-to-experts for all your in-car technology needs. We are the leading specialists in state-of-the-art car communications including hands-free car kits, DAB digital car radios and accident witness camera recordings.

2015 BMW i8 Hot Lap at Laguna Seca

Pro driver Randy Pobst hot laps the new 2015 BMW i8 around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Motor Trend’s 2014 Best Driver’s Car.
BMW i8 uses a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a turbocharged three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and BMW eDrive technology in the form of an electric drive system.

The 1.5-liter combustion engine develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels of the BMW i8, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric drive sends its power to the front wheels and allows an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).
BMW lists the official 0 to 60 mph time for the BMW i8 at 4.2 seconds.  Road & Track crushed that time with a 3.8-second time from 0 to 60 mph.

Can the i8 handle the challenging race track? Let’s find out.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Interview with Peter Waddell- Managing Director and CEO of Big Motoring World

Peter Waddell, The Managing Director and CEO of Big Motoring World has been asked a few questions by Perry's Chartered Accountants. The questions and answers were published in 'Perrys' monthly publication telling us about where Peters passion for BMW started and what the most sought after model is in our range of BMW. Why not take a read through the Q&A below:

How your tyres contribute to green driving

Concern for the environment is growing daily and rightly so. Electric vehicles, hybrid cars and plug- in hybrids are increasing in popularity. Did you know that you tyres too play a significant role in preserving the environment?

How exactly do tyres contribute to green driving? 

Tyres and the Environment
In general, tyres do not have a very good name when it comes to environmental friendliness; the fact that they are composed of rubber and several chemical additives works against them. The process of tyre manufacturing includes several chemical processes that involve heating natural and/or synthetic rubber and fusing it on to a steel framework. Certainly not environment friendly!
Yet tyres today do play a big role in green driving.

Introducing: Green tyres

Eco friendly tyres, popularly known as green tyres, are equipped with certain technologies that reduce the environmental impact of driving. Driving pollutes the atmosphere with carbon dioxide emissions. Modern tyre design and technology is helping counter that.

The fuel efficiency of your car depends significantly on your tyres. While moving on the roads, tyres encounter a frictional force, also called rolling resistance, which resists the movement of the tyre. The tyres need greater energy to overcome this resistance, which comes from fuel, thereby pushing up fuel consumption and thus increasing the carbon dioxide emissions.
The first step in creating eco-friendly tyres is therefore to create tyres with significantly reduced rolling resistance. With low rolling resistance, fuel efficiency increases, reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Green tyre technologies in practice

Tyre manufacturers are exploring innovative alternatives to produce tyres that reduce their environmental footprint, without compromise on performance and safety. Reducing rolling resistance of tyres has an impact on the wet braking ability. Manufacturers, therefore have to ensure that there is an ideal balance between the two.

In its Cinturato range, Pirelli tyres has incorporated several eco- compatible materials, thus reducing the environmental impact at the production stage and over the life of the tyre. The Green Performance technology of these tyres reduces rolling resistance by 20% bringing down fuel consumption by 4% with corresponding reduction in emission levels.
Bridgestone has its Ecopia range of tyres, Continental its ContiEcoContact range and Michelin’s green X range are some examples of tyres with low rolling resistance and corresponding high fuel efficiency and green nature.

What can you do?

Driving on under-inflated tyres greatly increases the rolling resistance and thereby harmful emissions, besides being unsafe. As a responsible vehicle owner, check your tyre pressure at least once a month. Best practice driving techniques and tyre care will also ensure that you tyres last longer, removing the need for more frequent tyre purchases. This decreased demand for new tyres will directly reduce the burden of tyres on the environment. 

New photos 2015 MINI 5-door hatch

The new 2015 MINI 5-door hatch joins the hatch which was released late year.
The F55 MINI Hatchback five doors will go on sale later this year and builds atop the design and technology brought to the market by the F56 3-door model.
Its wheelbase has been expanded by 72 millimetres (to 2,567 millimetres) over the F56 model and creates space for three seats in the rear, with 72 millimetres more foot space and legroom, 15 millimetres more headroom and 61 millimetres more interior width at elbow height.

Market launch of the new MINI 5 door with four model variants (combined fuel consumption: 5.9 – 3.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 136 – 95 g/km); two petrol and two diesel engines of the new generation available with MINI Twin Power Turbo Technology; MINI Cooper 5 door with 100 kW/136 hp 3-cylinder petrol engine, MINI Cooper S 5 door with 141 kW/192 hp 4-cylinder petrol engine, MINI Cooper D 5 door with 3-cylinder diesel engine (85 kW/116 hp) and MINI Cooper SD 5 door featuring new 4-cylinder diesel engine presented for the first time with an output of 125 kW/170 hp.

The engines can be mated to either 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed Steptronic transmission or Steptronic sports transmission as an optional extra.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

F83 BMW M4 Convertible looks great in Yas Marina Blue

The recently launched F83 BMW M4 Convertible was spotted on the road featuring the Yas Marina Blue colour.
Initially advertised as the launch colour for the F80 M3 Sedan, the unique blue shade has been seen on the M4 Coupe as well and now on the convertible.

At the International Media Launch of the 2015 BMW M4 Convertible back in August, BMW brought out different models to showcase the colour palette of the new cabriolet.
The M4 Convertible was shown there was in the Sakhir Orange colour which first debuted in the M6 Coupe. The M3 and M4 Coupe/Convertible come with a variety of well-known colours as well as two new ones: Yas Marina Blue Metallic and Austin Yellow Metallic. The other exterior colors are: Alpine White, Mineral Grey Metallic, Sakhir Orange, Black Sapphire Metallic, Silverstone Metallic and Mineral White Metallic.

The new F80 BMW M3 and F82/F83 M4 will officially only get a frozen paint in 2015.
Under the hood, it features the same S55 3.0 litre inline-six TwinPower engine producing 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent to the rear-wheels via a six-speed or an optional 7-speed M DCT transmission.
BMW has announced that pricing for the 2015 M4 convertible in the US will start at $73,425. That represents an increase of $8300 compared with the 2015 M4 coupe and $1750 versus the 2013 M3 convertible.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

How to drive a BMW X5 with no local emissions?

How to drive a BMW X5 with no local emissions? The answer is the BMW X5 eDrive and its plug-in hybrid system. This latest video from BMW brings us closer to the first BMW X5 hybrid.
Running in eDrive mode, the BMW X5 eDrive powers all four wheels up to 20 miles and at speeds up to 75 mph. Motivating the X5 eDrive is a 95 hp electric motor and a four cylinder motor. The seamless transition between electric, combined electric-petrol and pure petrol is remarkably smooth.
Pushing the accelerator farther down with more urgency, the N20 four-cylinder motor making 245 hp fires up and very quickly, yet, smoothly joins the acceleration party.

To manage battery capacity BMW has created three drive modes for the X5 eDrive, Intelligent Hybrid, Pure Electric, and Save Battery. It is the Save Battery mode that highlights how BMW expects the vehicle to be used. Going into Save Battery mode restricts the use of battery capacity – allowing for a reserve to complete a journey in pure electric mode inside a city core for example.
We had the unique opportunity to test drive the BMW X5 eDrive back in April and also earlier this year in France.

Here is the video:

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray vs BMW i8 Drag Race

Is the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray faster than the 2015 BMW i8 Hybrid in a straight up drag race? In other words, which is faster….a traditional V8 or the new BMW Hybrid gasoline and electric i8. Just watch this TFL car drag race video to find out.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has a 6.2-litre V8 engine producing 460-horsepower and reaching 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds (4.1 with 1 foot of rollout as on a drag strip) and clears the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 113.7 mph.

BMW i8 uses a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a turbocharged three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and BMW eDrive technology in the form of an electric drive system. The 1.5-litre combustion engine develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels of the BMW i8, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric drive sends its power to the front wheels and allows an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

BMW M5 crashes into a bus stop – Video

Wet pavement, lots of horsepower and being quick on the throttle, have made this driver crash his BMW M5 into a bus stop.
It’s not the first time we see a poorly handled BMW ending up in a crash, some more serious than others.
Looking at the video below, we observe an F10 BMW M5 in Alpine White colour coming from a stop sign and turning left onto a major road. Upon steering, it looks like the driver was a bit too aggressive on the throttle and with high performance tires on it and a wet road, the M5’s front wheels begin to turn but the back wheels spin out to the outside of the curve, causing the rear of the car to fishtail. Instead of letting off the gas and keep his foot off the brake, the driver seems to panic, counter steers and ends up hitting the bus stop.

It’s unknown if any casualties resulted from this, but our hopes are that this was just a mistake that everyone could recover from.

The lessons learned here are always to assess the driving conditions, be alert and learn some of the basic rules of over steering: quickly steer the car into the direction you want to go, as your car begins to head in the correct direction, counter-steer to ensure your car stays on the intended path.

Monday, 22 September 2014


BMW has eschewed a naturally-aspirated V8 engine in the latest M3 for a twin turbo six-cylinder, or be happy that in a world where emissions restrictions and political correctness dictate a seemingly endless procession of front-wheel drive cookie cutters it continues to exist at all? I’ll take the glass half full option thanks.

With this latest generation, the Ms Split in two; the sedan remains an M3 and the coupe becomes the M4. That’s an issue that has commanded a lot of attention but is relatively insignificant in comparison with the worthy mechanical progress that has been made. Two drenching days of hard road and track driving in New Zealand in Aussie spec right-hand driver prove that beyond doubt.
I’m completely sideways in the new M4 coupe, steering lock wound on, right foot playing a tune on the throttle, real wheels spinning, twin turbo six cylinder engine bah-bah-bahing. Wah-hoo!

Uh-oh! Too sideways and suddenly over the edge, spinning through 360 degrees, then snapping to a halt. Thankfully there’s no crunch of mangling metal. But then again I was doing more than seven or eight km/h. Ah the joys of a wet skid pan, in this case located at the Hampton Downs racing circuit south of Auckland, where we are sampling the M3 and its no-identical technical brother in arms, the newly renamed M4 coupe.

Slip sliding around on a skid pan at ludicrous angles at ultra-slow speed doesn’t reveal that much about these two M weapons, except that traction control definitely works.

At least the soaked skid pan was totally in keeping with the theme of our New Zealand sojourn for the first right-hand drive of the F80 M3 and F82 M4. It pissed down – or pussed down in localise – most of the time we were in-county and pretty much all the time we were in-country and pretty all the time we were installed in that curvaceous new seat, grasping that chubby new steering wheel and looking over that power dome.

If there’s one thing driving 317kW/550Nm rear-wheel drive sports cars on sodden race tracks and ludicrously serpentine Kiwi highways proves, it’s the easy reports of this being the most user-friendly M generation yet are certainly accurate.

Oh there was the occasional slip and slide caught at the Hampton Downs and the Taupo circuit we visited the next day, but sphincter puckers were rare and big grins common.

On the road, where it all really counts, there was no signs of dramas whatsoever, no matter how heavy the rain the Ms just motored on, showing disdain for conditions that might have prompted Noah to head for Mitre 10 and start ordering lumber.

The thought of what an E36, E46 or even the most recent V8 E90 fourth generation M3 might have been like in these conditions is worth contemplating. Especially on the racetrack and especially in the sixes, the traction light would have been blinking a constant Morse code as rear tyres scrabbled for traction.

Not everyone will think making a high performance sports car easier to drive is a step in the right direction. There’s got to be a challenge in life after all. I certainly have sympathy for that view and remember the E90 with great fondness. But that’s not confusing ability with appreciation. I know I am better off in the new generation car than the old.

Having dived in headlong, let’s just take a step back and reprise what we’re driving. We won’t go into it too deeply, because BMW has pre-revealed just about everything there is to know about these cars and ‘we drove them in Europe only a couple of months ago’. What mike Sinclair reported then remains true today.

The renaming of the coupe from M3 to M4, reflecting the change in nomenclature for the donor car, has been one of the biggest pre-launch talking points. But more important to eemphasizeis just how good this new engine is, pouring out a wave of torque like a breached dam and roaring fiercely as the revs spiral upward.

It lacks the threshing mechanical soundtrack of the naturally aspirated E90 and maybe doesn't spin up to and beyond 7000rpm as quickly, but it’s almost as immediate in its throttle tip-in response despite having to spool two single scroll turbos and is clearly faster because it makes more grunt everywhere, shuffling it rearward via a third generation M-DCT dual clutch seven speed gearbox and electrically controlled Active M Diff.

Which brings us to the oh-so talented chassis. Beneath bodies pumped up like gym junkies are bespoke suspensions, strong brakes with a feel-some pedal, 19-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot supersport rubber. The rack and pinion steering has electric assist for the first time and there is absolutely no reason to regret that. This car steers and handles with dexterity, confidence and authority.

Australian pricing and equipment level. If we were to whinge about that it would be having to option significant safety equipment such as blind spot and lane departure warning, which are standard in much cheaper cars.

Overall, the whinge list is pretty short for these cars, but you can add the horrible amount of road noise generated by the huge tyres, although the payback is phenomenal grip.

Then there’s the profusion of center console buttons, which give you three turning choices for throttle response, steering weight, suspension firmness and shift settings for the gearbox (a six-speed manual is a no cost option). You can also detune your traction and stability control response or shut it down altogether.

Efficient is too soft for true M-type throttle response, comfort or sport the preferred choices for steering (sport + was just too heavy). Comfort is fine for the suspension – it was terse enough and sport and sport+ didn't make that much difference – and the mid-level drive-logic setting a good intermediate choice for the gearbox – although going manual via the shift paddles was always fun. On the track it was pretty much sport+ all the way for everything.

Thankfully, you can store your favorite settings behind buttons on the steering wheel and never have to faff around with multiple choice again.

If there was once other theme which emerged from this experience, it was just why would you bother buying the M4? It's more expensive, less practical and lacks the historically prestigious name. the sedan even gets the same trick carbon-fibre roof as the coupe this time round.

The M4 feels no faster despite having a lower center of gravity, smaller frontal aero
(so better aerodynamics even if the Cd is claimed to be the same) and a 23kg lighter kerb weight.

In fact, with that extra weight centered over the rear of the sedan (thanks to rear doors, a heavier seat and boot-lid), some of the more sensitive testers in the media pack ventured the opinion it offered better traction. with conditions and therefore grip changing by the minute your correspondent wasn't prepared to be so definitive.

what is define is BMW's M division has veered the M3 and M4 onto a new course, even if the fundamental direction remains familiar. they are different yet the same, ferocious yet pliable, fierce yet enjoyable, wild yet tameable.

they are exceptional driver's cars and that's to be celebrated. Wah-hoo!

By Beth Lloyd


How the number don’t add up for younger motorists
Young drivers are always getting singled out for strong criticism. They’re accused of being irresponsible, reckless and dangerous. This has led to some lively debates about the UK’s younger motorists during the past 12 months, and a range of headline-grabbing ideas been suggested to ‘deal’ with the issues surrounding them.
But is the reputation of younger drivers justified? If so, why are they a higher risk? And what are the solutions?

The numbers don’t lie
When it comes to young drivers and road safety, the numbers don’t add up in their favor. The Association  of British Insurers says that only 12% of drivers in the UK are under 25, but that this age group accounts for over 30% of road fatalities; the Association of British Insurers estimates than an 18-year-old is three times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver who is 30-years-old.
The data on road accidents and fatalities clearly shows that drivers aged 17-24 are involved in a disproportionately high number of incidents. In 2011 a total of 5,419 people were killed or seriously injured in UK accidents involving young drivers.
It’s an imbalance that can seriously affect young drivers’ ability to find competitive premiums, and leaves them in desperate need of advice when looking for more specialist policies. But what’s the reason for this disparity? Why are so many young drivers and passengers dying on the roads?

Driven to distraction
One explanation is that young drivers are dangerously distracted. A recent YouGov poll of 2,500 young people found that 45% were distracted by scenery, 44% by the radio and 33% by mobile phones.
Then there’s the distraction of carrying passengers; anecdotal evidence suggests that peer pressure to drive fast and take risks is a very real problem. Even when a young driver is alone they’re more likely to break the speed limit – the research by YouGov found a quarter 24% of young drivers said they would find it acceptable to speed at night.

Mind the gap
Another explanation is the skill and knowledge ‘gap’ – younger motorists are less accomplished drivers than their older counterparts, and are more likely to make mistakes in marginal situations.
This certainly isn't surprising. Driving is a skill, developed through years of practical application. Older drivers with decades of experience have logged thousands of hours behind the wheel, whereas young motorists are constantly encountering new situations – such as heavy rain, driving at night or using busy motorways – after they pass their test.
Research by Red Driving School supports the theory of a knowledge gap applying to young drivers. It questioned 1,000 drivers aged 14-17 and found that 79% didn't know the legal drink driving limit in the UK. The research also revealed that 20% of respondents drink drive when “the unexpected happens”. Separate research has suggested that drivers aged 20-24 fail more breath tests than any other age group.

Care and accountability
Finally, the higher risk of younger drivers can be partly explained by a lack of care, investment and responsibility towards servicing and insurance. The society of motor maintenance and traders found young drivers were not servicing their car properly, and were unaware that software updates are available.
The society of motor maintenance and traders polled 2,000 drivers and found 10% of drivers aged 18-24 never had their car serviced; 12% of drivers 25-34 had never serviced their car. These figures are strikingly different to older drivers – only 5% of drivers aged 35-54 – and only 2% of drivers over 55 – fail to have their car properly maintained.
The driver and vehicle licensing agency has reported the number of 17-20 years-old drivers without insurance has fallen by half in three years. However, this age group still accounts for 10% of the 1.2 million uninsured drivers thought to be on the road – a disproportionately high figure.

So the question is are young drivers safe to be on our roads?

By Beth Lloyd

Saturday, 20 September 2014

10 years of BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series was first launched in 2004. The compact luxury car was a successor to the BMW Compact and it has been produced in four different body styles: two-door hatch, five-door hatch, coupe and convertible.
The second generation F20/F21 1 Series appeared in 2011 and compared to the first generation, it has dropped the coupe and convertible variants which are now part of the 2 Series family.
Since its inception, almost 1.9 million units having been sold worldwide.
Several accolades have been won over the years. The BMW 1 Series won the “World Green Car of the Year 2008”, for the first BMW model with a CO2 emission level of less than 100 grams per kilometre. It also won an award for the brand’s first electric vehicle for day-to-day use and for a BMW M automobile with 250 kW/340 hp.

Thanks to the implementation of extensive EfficientDynamics technology, the BMW 1 Series became the leading pioneer in the consistent reduction of fuel consumption and emission levels. It was the brand’s first series to include as from 2007 an Auto Start Stop function, a gearshift indicator, brake energy regeneration and electric power steering and more.
Moreover, the BMW 1 Series also took on an exemplary role in terms of safety. In the Euro NCAP crash test, both the first (2004) and the second model generation (2011) each received the highest rating of 5 stars.

Runflat tyres, adaptive headlight range control, a two-stage brake light, the Start/Stop unit and options such as Comfort Access, the iDrive control system as well as driver assistant systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive using intelligent networking found their way into the compact class with the BMW 1 Series.
The current model generation of the BMW 1 Series (fuel consumption combined: 8.0–3.8 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 188–99 g/km) is available both in a 5-door and a 3-door version. Furthermore, BMW emphasises the increased significance of premium compact models for the international automotive markets by supplementing the product range with a second series.

With the introduction of the BMW 2 Series Coupe (fuel consumption combined: 8.1–4.3 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 189–114 g/km) and the BMW 2 Series Convertible (fuel consumption combined: 8.5–4.4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 199–116 g/km), driving dynamics and sporty elegance have reached a new dimension within the compact segment.

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