Earlier this week, the Zupra Zaw off the BMW Z4. Yaaa... That didn’t surprise me. I imagine that BMW never truly realised it was in a deadly head-to-head with Toyota – The Germans were just going through the motions of building roadster again, while the Japanese were in a whirlwind to prove themselves. It wasn't enough to just beat the M4 (the humiliation if BMW built a roadster that out-handled Toyota’s comeback coupe), but had to be strong enough to counter the firms inability to create a car from scratch. And obviously that’s a much tougher, more open-ended, philosophical task. Based…
Every year as part of their program, Skoda tasks apprentices at its Mladá Boleslav HQ with designing, developing and even building a one-off concept...
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If, like us, you completely missed the Puritalia Berlinetta’s debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, we have good news. The Italian “super-hybrid” will be displayed at the Salon Privé show at Blenheim Palace next month, where its maker will announce the appointment of dealerships in the UK and Australia. This means, presumably, Puritalia has people queueing up to spend their cash on its limited-edition car. The company says it’ll make 150, all of which will feature a proprietary drivetrain that pairs a front-mounted V8 with an electric motor. The result is, supposedly, 965bhp and 920lb ft. [caption id="attachment_5836" align="alignnone" width="800"] Puritalia Berlinetta[/caption] Its structure is carbon-fibre and aluminium, and it claims to feature technology that manages the deployment of battery power through “auto-learning of driving style and cloud-based AI”. The interior is predictably techy, featuring touchscreens, voice control and smartphone integration, while the exhaust is said to benefit from “smart electronic modulation”. Whatever that is. And naturally the buying experience is said to be pretty special – “reserved for a select elite of car enthusiasts and collectors,” says the company. Each customer will get their own design team to help customise their car. Price? Dunno. Lots, no doubt. Reckon Puritalia will be around for years to come, or quietly fade away into the quagmire of failed supercar manufacturers? [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Puritalia Berlinetta" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="5850,5814,5826"]
Here is a convertible version of an Aston Martin sports car. It is called the Vantage Roadster, and you’ll be able to deploy this to buffet your hair into hilarious styles from Spring 2020. Aston has released these four initial images of the engineering prototype ahead of the car’s launch next year, in order to showcase how pretty the little Aston will look. Job done, we’d proffer. No technical details have been released, but a cursory glance over the images reveals that the new Vantage Roadster will feature a folding fabric roof, which one assumes can be raised and lowered in some seconds. Further revelations we can add include the addition of an entire Aston Martin body, some wheels, doors, lights and maybe even wipers. Underneath? The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 Aston uses for the regular Vantage coupe, which is sourced from AMG and currently produces 503bhp. It also has the capacity to accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.6secs, so we’d expect a tiny time penalty for the Roadster. But speed isn’t everything, of course. Price? No idea, friend. But again, a premium over the Coupe is to be expected, so in excess of £120k is what you’re aiming for. The Vantage is a good, pointy little thing too – here’s hoping Aston can continue that run of form for the soft-top. More as we have it… [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Aston Martin Vantage Roadster" ids="12826,12828,12830,12832"]
Good news! BMW’s M Division is working on a standalone model. Potentially less good news! It won’t be a full-strength hypercar halo like Mercedes-AMG’s One, and it might even be electric. “Standalone M cars are obviously something that my team likes to work on,” says M boss Markus Flasch. “It wouldn’t be the first time; we did it with the M1 many years ago. We have some very concrete plans for something new.” We naturally wager it has two seats and a mid-mounted engine, just like that glorious old M1. “Not necessarily,” says Flasch. “That’s an option. But it’s not the only option.” Likewise there’s a host of powertrain options available, especially as Flasch has been so open that M Division will eventually produce fully electric cars, with a hybrid stepping stone in the middle. “We are working on electrified combustion and we are working on fully electric cars, but we will only bring those options to customers when they offer an advantage in terms of character, in terms of performance. We won’t do it just to be first on the market with a particular type of powertrain. That’s not what our customers are after.” “It’s too early to talk about propulsion,” he says when we wager that halo car might be electric-powered, “but a brand new model without a predecessor is more suitable than a model with a predecessor.” Hints get no more teasing, but apparently we haven’t long to wait to see the fruits of his team’s labour, and there have been previous suggestions the wild Vision M Next might make production. Which makes it more interesting to learn that M Division didn’t once dabble with the soon-to-die i8 hybrid sports car. “We have never worked on the i8,” says Flasch, “but the i and M divisions are in constant interaction, we meet a minimum of once a week and there are no dogmas or taboos between us. We share thinking.” So why not a full-bore rival to the AMG One? “It’s a fascinating idea as we have a lot of competitive engineers, so a halo car is always a thrilling idea. But M is so strong – 2019 will be our best year of sales ever – the brand doesn’t need a halo car. Business- and image-wise I’m a little bit mixed about if this is necessary. I like the idea, but it needs to do a job.” Ideas time, Internet. What form would you like M’s standalone car to take?
Supercars can be considered as the dream items of all men just like Mr.Don Poh, who is the young chief executive and owner of the Hampton International School in Thailand including the notable prep school in Singapore. He’s the owner of the supercar of many people's dreams, like this black shiny Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2. Let’s see his attitude towards these all men’s dream cars. What makes you love Lamborghini? Honestly, it’s a simple one-word answer “Everything”. I mean, the look, the style, the performance and most importantly the experience. It makes driving fun and enjoyable, to say the least. It's my dream car and I adore it. Did you give your car a name and if so what is it and why? “My Love?” haha, well we haven't called each other on a first-name basis yet. When did you start to like a supercar, how? Well, like all boys growing up. We all started from that little toy car to those display model cars. To me, I always had a thing for fast cars. It is something that has stayed with me all the way. Beside from Lamborghini, what is your dream car and why? My dream car is the 2019 Ferrari 488 GTB. Could you share us your success story to inspire the new generation who wants to be the owner of the supercar? Pursue your dreams. There is no breakthrough without experiencing a breakdown. When you are tempted to give up, just know that your breakthrough is around the corner. Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and soul to achieve it. Stay hungry and always strive to be a better person than you were yesterday. Tell us a bit about your professional work or business? I run and own a chain of international schools in Thailand as well as preschools in Singapore. The way the next generation thinks will shape our future, hence I am blessed to be able to play a part in these children’s learning journey. [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="14771,14769,14767,14765,14763"]
After Fisker titled its gullwing doored electro-coupe-saloon the ‘Emotion’, TopGear.com has had a nice crisp fiver bet on the certainty that Fisker’s new 4x4 would be called the SUV-motion. Because rhyming and that. Well, it’s sawdust for dinner and we’re five pounds poorer, because Fisker has named its new SUV ‘Ocean’. Risky tactic, that. If this venture fails then the Ocean will ‘enter stormy waters’ or ‘sink without trace’. And lo, a million easy jokes were born. Happily, the Ocean has plenty going for it. It looks interesting, for a kick-off. As you’d expect from Henrik Fisker, the mind behind the pen that drew the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW Z8. On the inside, meanwhile, this car is WOKE. It’s the Extinction Rebellion pool car. It’s not just the leather-free vegan interior. Oh no. There are solar panels on the roof that generate ‘1,000 clean, free miles’, we’re told. Unless you live in Britain, where the cloudy skies will probably suck charge out the battery all summer long. The carpets you tread on after climbing board the as yet unseen interior? They’re fashioned from recycled fishing nets that would otherwise be littering our oceans. You’re welcome, Nemo. Other good ideas are to be found in the cabin trim (made from recycled t-shirts, among other things) while Fisker promises that large amounts of landfill generated by rubber manufacture (critical for seals and tyres, obviously) will be reused too. So, it’s not just the local emissions that the Ocean saves on – the whole life cycle of the car is aiming to be as green as possible. Fisker says the Ocean will be more spacious than the rest because “the room under the hood has been optimised for housing new-age electronics and the air conditioning unit”. The, erm, bonnet is actually sealed shut for better aero and weight-saving. No front-trunk here. The Ocean goes on sale in 2021 and will begin mass production in 2022. When we say ‘go on sale’ we mean ‘become available for lease on a smartphone app’. Because The Future. But you’ve only got to wait until 27 November this year to see the Ocean revealed. Via an online livestream. Because The Future, of course. Now, can anyone lend us that fiver? [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Fisker Ocean 2020" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="15142,15144,15146"]
You don’t need us to tell you that the new Toyota Supra has massively split opinion in the motoring world. Many are thankful that we’ve got a new straight-six sports car from Toyota to carry on the lineage. Others can’t come to terms with the fact that it’s a BMW at heart. One thing that could please the naysayers, though, is a manual gearbox to replace the current eight-speed automatic. Whilst it doesn’t look like one is in the pipeline from Toyota itself, Texan tuner European Auto Group (EAG) will soon have the answer. You may remember EAG from its decision to fit a dozen or so Ferrari 458 Italias with a six-speed manual, and now they’re answering the calls of the Internet once again. The Supra will also receive the same treatment, apparently for a cost of around $12,000 (£9,900) once you’ve supplied EAG with the donor car. And, whisper it, the parts for the ‘box will all come from BMW, too. Despite that, it should please the purists who want a bit more involvement to match their standard 335bhp and 369lb ft of torque – whether it’s Japanese or not. Plus, a manual gearbox will mean the removal of the BMW gear selector, among the most obvious of the German parts in the Mk5 Supra’s cabin. So, is it something you’d go for? Let us know in the comments below. [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Toyota Supra 2020" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="7187,7191,7189"]
Another day, another armoured car. What is the world coming to? Luckily, here at TG, armoured cars make us rather excited. There’s nothing like a militarised options list to spice up a configurator. Recently we’ve seen the Volvo XC90, the BMW X5 and the current gen Range Rover get the bulletproof treatment – but Canadian company INKAS may have just topped the lot. That’s because, as you’ll have noticed, this is a fully-armoured Bentley Bentayga. Oh yes – the monster Bentley has, in INKAS’ own words, become “an armoured fortress to ensure the safety and security of yourself and your loved ones.” It’s got the usual 360-degree, floor-to-roof coverage of bulletproof protection designed to stop high-power rifles such as AK47s and AR10s (when did that stop surprising us?) and its under-floor armour will deflect the explosions from at least two DM51 grenades at a time. INKAS says that this complies to CEN 1063 BR6 ballistic standards, although if we’re honest, we’ve completely lost track of what these mean. Elsewhere there’s additional ballistic protection for the fuel, battery and ECU compartments, as well as emergency lights mounted behind the grille and a siren/PA system. The options also include a smoke screen system and (one of our personal favourites) electrified door handles. Shocky. There haven’t been too many mechanical changes made to the big Brit, but INKAS has reworked the suspension and will sell you an optional heavy-duty brake system to deal with the extra weight. Please spec this. Under the bonnet is that classic 6.0-litre W12 engine – still putting out a stonking 600bhp and 663lb ft of torque. No change there then. One option you can’t get from Bentley though is a set of ‘heavy-duty wheels’. They aren’t pictured here, but my god we hope they’re steelies. Now there’s something we’d love to see. [gallery td_gallery_title_input="INKAS - Bentley Bentayga" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="8887,8870,8872,8874,8866,8868,8876,8878,8880,8882"]
It’s screen time. Here’s the dashboard of the Porsche Taycan. Yes, the endless tease of Stuttgart electro-saloon fact-ery continues. We’ll see the actual entire car next week, BTW. Top Gear has seen, stroked, caressed and generally fiddled about with this dash. It’s gonna take a bit of getting used to, but the potential is impressive. Most striking is the giant curved free-standing instrument display, nearly 17 inches across. Unlit, it’s just a black polished piece. It looks like the sort of thing you see laying on its back on a countertop in the brochure for a high-end kitchen, holding four artfully placed pink grapefruit. Once the ignition’s on, it shows facsimiles of Porsche’s traditional dials. The centre one covers speed and power, and it too is digital – unlike the real tach in the centre of a new 911’s panel. The outer two circles can be reconfigured in a vast array of options, including the usual infotainment, maps, trip computer and all. Porsche claims the anti-reflection coating means it doesn’t need a shading hood for sunny days. We saw it in a garage so can’t comment. Uniquely for an instrument panel, this screen has touch capability too, with some buttons on the left and right ends for headlights and chassis modes. The whizzo tick box is obviously going to be the optional passenger screen. The person sitting alongside you won’t be able to shut off the ESP, duh. But they can enter a navigation destination, sort out the entertainment and see car info. It goes black if a sensor says there’s no passenger. The lower of the pair of console panels mostly takes care of climate. It’s got haptic feedback to help guide your fingers. Hit a virtual button and it shakes; miss the button and it doesn’t. This screen also has a space for handwriting recognition. The same panel shows charge info when you’re stopped, but when you’re moving it doesn’t have other functions because it’s below eyeline so is supposed not to be a distraction. Like fiddling with the rest of the screens won’t be a distraction… Next up the main centre display, a 10.9-inch touch panel. Pretty routine by the standards of the rest of it. That’s got a home screen, then also a widget screen where you can set up your preferred shortcuts. Routine, but well advanced. Other options include a head-up display, screens in the back for entertainment and climate zones, and a major-league Burmester stereo. The system is prepared for over-the-air updates, for the infotainment at first, and later the deeper workings of the car itself. Oh, and the direction of air from the vents is controlled not by moving a knob on the vent. Oh no, it’s far less intuitive than that. As with a Tesla (and the current Panamera), you have to go into a menu, and then swipe a virtual knob which causes a heavy, expensive and complicated series of motors to move the vanes in the vent in the commensurate direction. Porsche says it’s more versatile, more configurable between drivers, allows a neater dash design. We couldn’t help laughing. [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Porsche Taycan Interior" ids="8239,8241,8243"]
Fully electric delivery vans are nothing new. Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Citroen will all sell you an emissions-free workhorse that’ll help to limit pollution in built-up areas. What those options can’t solve, though, are congestion issues at the same time. Step forward the EAVan. Yes, we know it looks remarkably odd, but stick with us here. Designed and built by Oxford-based startup EAV, it’s described as a bio-mechanical electrically-assisted super-lightweight delivery vehicle. In plain English – it’s a four-wheeled bicycle with an electric motor attached and a big boot for parcels. Seems like a worthy idea for city centres doesn’t it? And surely anything that gets a bit more traffic off the roads – or off less of the road at least – is a good thing for the rest of us. With its 250-watt motor, the EAVan can apparently cover a range of up to 60 miles at 15mph (although we reckon Chris Hoy might be able to eek out a bit more speed using the pedals). It can then be recharged in six hours by using a standard 13amp, 240v plug socket, or the battery can be swapped out for a fully-charged spare. The body is made from advanced composites; one of which is carbon fibre, another is made from hemp fibres that are bonded together with a resin based on the oil from cashew nut shells. Yeah, us neither. The EAVan can be had in multiple body styles. There’s a LWB version, a pod and trailer combo and plenty more possibilities. Plus, EAV says it comes under ebike legislation but includes a number of vehicle attributes such as lights, load ratings and wing mirrors. Delivery firm DPD has already placed orders, as have Norwegian and Danish/Swedish postal services, and EAV are now crowdfunding to take the EAVan further. The company reckons they could also be flatbed trucks, ambulances, security vehicles or taxis. So, what do you think Internet, will we be seeing these all over our city centres in the near future?