Tag Archives: BMW

Top Gear, series 18, episode 7, BBC Two, review

imageRachel Ward reviews the final episode of the current series of BBC Two’s Top Gear

Thanks to Dave (the TV channel, not Cameron), I’ve seen my fair share of Top Gear episodes. This, the last of the series, was the one with Slash, Kimi Raikkonen, and golf. I must admit that much of this 18th series has passed me by, mainly because (sorry super fans) I’m usually tuned into Dancing on Ice on ITV1 – an adrenalin-fuelled activity of a very different kind.

Mr Money: the real Car of the Year

imageTelegraph Motoring’s Mr Money, Mike Rutherford, considers the finalists for the World Car of the Year.

There’s been all sorts of fun and games in Geneva over the last few days concerning what can loosely be described as the best on-sale cars on the planet. Just to be clear, unlike much of the futuristic mental concept metal you’ll see on the pages of Motoring this week, I’m talking here about the models that are actually in the showrooms already, available and ready to be bought and driven away by real-world customers.

Geneva motor show 2012: Morgan

imageMorgan has three new models to show off at the Geneva motor show, including the world’s first electric car with a manual gearbox.

Time was when you saw a new Morgan once a decade, these days it’s more like once a fortnight.

Chief designer Matt Humphries has done a fine job in widening the roadster body to stretch over the Plus 8 bonded aluminium-alloy chassis and 390bhp, 4.8-litre BMW V8. And stretch is the word – there’s just enough room for a little finger between the cam cover and the scuttle.

Looking for a long-term fix

imageMaria Fitzpatrick asks five experts for their home improvement advice

What’s in a name? Not much if you are Volkswagen, which trades model names like Top Trumps. As from this year, the 39-year-old Passat name graces the rumps of two entirely separate models, the first in Europe, the second in North America and the Far East. The larger American Passat is built at VW’s new Chattanooga plant in Tennessee, whereas European Passats continue to be built in Emden, Germany.

Tour Auto: seeing France the fast way

imageAs one of the greatest classic car events around, the Tour Auto combines action, adrenalin, stunning scenery and sumptuous lunches.

The annual Tour Auto is the most extraordinary classic car event many of you will have never heard of. Held in France for the last 20 years, it’s a loving recreation of the Tour de France Automobile, which was first run in 1899 and took competitors on a gruelling route around the country’s nascent road network in examples of the very earliest “horseless carriages”.

Husqvarna to emulate MINI in BMW stable

imageThe Swedish/Italian manufacturer’s new boss explains how the brand will sit in BMW’s two-wheeled portfolio.

If the new Nuda doesn’t make it entirely clear where Husqvarna is aiming to be, the hoped-for position of the brand within BMW is clear, according to German Husqvarna MD Klaus Allisat.

He says Husqvarna intends to be to the two-wheeled version of what MINI is to the BMW’s car division. But why not use the Swedish brand, with its strong pedigree in off-road competition, simply to build dirt bikes, since the S1000RR showed that BMW could muscle straight in to the superbike sector against established players and succeed using its own brand?

Frank Stella interview: the bigger picture

imageFrank Stella has been at the forefront of abstract art for half a century. Ahead of an extensive retrospective in Britain, he talks about his work

If you are looking for clues to the character of Frank Stella, the Formula One racing car parked inside his vast studio in upstate New York is a giveaway. ‘Ferrari gave that to me,’ the American abstract artist tells me nonchalantly, hooking a Cuban cigar from an ashtray beside him. ‘It did race, but it doesn’t have a motor now, so it’s just for show.’

Stella has been probing the limits of painting for more than five decades. His love of fast cars, though, dates from the mid-1970s, when BMW gave him one in exchange for decorating a racing model that competed at Le Mans. Six years later, in 1982, he was arrested for hurtling at 105mph along a highway in New York State. But the supercar inside his studio in Rock Tavern is testament not only to the artist’s love of speed. Once driven by Michael Schumacher, it also represents the competitive streak that has blazed through Stella’s life.

Take tennis. When he was younger – before, he says, his hip and knees ‘gave way’ – he used to play for hours, several times a week. After a while, though, his friends stopped playing with him. The gallery director Lawrence Rubin, who gave Stella his second solo show, in Paris in 1961, once said, ‘He doesn’t play for the fun of playing. He plays to win. And that’s the way he plays art.’

BMW M5 review

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BMW has switched to turbocharging for its latest M5. Is it still the leader of the super-saloon pack?

Even by its own lofty standards, the M5 is a big one for BMW. It is with this car that it created the supersaloon genre back in 1984, when it slotted the engine from its M1 supercar into a humble 5-series. The result was not only the fastest production four-door in the world, but also one that handled better than most sports cars.

Jaguar is back on top

imageJaguar may yet return to the big time with its XF saloon, says Neil Lyndon.

For the introduction of its latest range, Jaguar chose the Perthshire highlands – as heavenly a place as any in Britain to try out the fastest road-going Jaguar ever to enter production. Long sightlines and relatively unbroken road surfaces allow a high-performance car to be driven with a freedom you might never find south of Nottingham.

Despite these attractions, however, I doubt if I used more than a third of the powers of the new £97,000 XKR-S. If you so much as rest a toe on its throttle pedal, the five-litre V8 engine growls through its four exhaust tail pipes like a hell-hound protecting a bone. If you do press the pedal to the floor, it flings you back in your seat and takes off in a tumult of sound and motion.

MINI Coupé review

imageDoes MINI’s new Coupé lives up to its billing as the ‘sportiest’ model of the range thus

In the beginning there was the Mini. It was 1959 actually, and it took about five seconds before BMC’s product planning boffins produced variations on the theme such as the Traveller, Moke, Van and Pickup, plus the Riley Elf, Wolseley Hornet and Clubman. Then 120 or so special builders arrived, with catchy names like Many Mego, Deep Sanderson and Butterfield Muscateer. I’ve always had a hankering after a Unipower, but apparently all 75 are now in Japan.

So who can blame BMW for wanting that lucrative business for its new MINI – although it’s not so new now, as it’s now 10 years old, with the Cowley plant this week celebrating the production of the two millionth MINI. Yet while Sir Alec Issigonis’s miracle Mini and Dave Saddington’s assuredly retro MINI are different cars from different eras, both share a singular gotta-have-it factor that needs to be kept constantly simmering.

Mr Money: Fisker performs a miracle

Telegraph Motoring’s Mr Money, Mike Rutherford, talks to Henrik Fisker about his take on green motoring.

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What do you do when you have one of the most glamorous jobs in the global motor industry – chief designer at Aston Martin – but you’ve grown tired of being stuck behind the drawing board in Warwickshire?

If you’re Henrik Fisker, you bravely – foolishly, some would say – turn your back on that safe job and, effectively unemployed, you then sit at your kitchen table quietly designing the petrol-electric car that Aston Martin wouldn’t or couldn’t build when you were in its employ. Next comes the little matter of raising the $1,000 million-plus needed to establish a new motor manufacturing company. After that, the dream becomes reality as you start watching your own production line building your cars which, naturally, wear badges bearing your family name.

New BMW M5 revealed

BMW’s new £73,000 M5 saloon promises a compelling blend of performance and refinement.

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BMW has released details of its new M5, the fifth generation of its flagship performance saloon, which it claims provides the dynamics of a trackday car with the civility and comfort of a true grand tourer. It goes on sale in November, priced at £73,040.

It features the most potent engine ever devised by BMW’s high-performance M division, making its world premiere. The previous naturally aspirated V10 has been ditched in favour of a twin-turbocharged, 4,395cc V8 which develops 560bhp from 5,750-7,000rpm. The two banks of the V8 are arranged at 90 degrees, the space within the V being occupied by the two turbochargers and catalytic converters.

Citroën DS4 review

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a crossover; a mash-up of a coupé and five-door hatchback, with a sport utility’s ride height and slightly compromised accommodation. The Americans have made a black art of mixing styles in this manner, some of which end up with all the charm of pants which you can wear on your head.

And why is it called a DS? That comes from Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre’s original DS of 1955, a car whose sheer eroticism, élan and singularity moved the structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes to describe it as “a new Nautilus”. Citroën could never follow that, but last year it relaunched the DS badge on the front of a three-door, hot-hatch version of its nondescript C3 with a weird floating-roof design and uprated running gear.

World Car of the Year winners announced

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The Chevrolet Volt, Aston Martin Rapide and Ferrari 458 Italia all won awards, but it was the Nissan Leaf that took overall honours.
World Car of the Year winners announced

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