I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Maths are getting better, the new refreshed Dacia Duster, even better value for money.

  • Styling and trim upgrades with no increase in prices
  • The UK’s most affordable SUV
  • New grilles, roof bars, upholstery and tailgate trim across the range
  • New metallic colour options for top two trim grades
  • Two engines, three trim levels and two- or four-wheel drive
  • Range pricing starts at “shockingly affordable” £9,495
The ever-popular Dacia Duster benefits from a package of styling and trim upgrades for the 2015 Model Year, but with no increase in the brand’s no-nonsense, “shockingly affordable” pricing.
The line-up continues to consist of two- and four-wheel-drive models based on three trim levels and two engines. The entry-level Access is powered by a 105 hp 1.6-litre 16-valve petrol engine, while the mid-range Ambiance and top-grade Lauréate versions have a 107 hp (109 hp on 4x4 versions) 1.5-litre dCi 110 turbodiesel power unit. Prices start at less than £9,500 for the two-wheel-drive Access model and under £11,500 for the four-wheel-drive version.

New for 2015 is a more stylish chrome front grille made up of two layers of four small intakes surrounding the Dacia logo. All versions now have ‘Duster’ branded roof bars – chromed on Lauréate models. At the rear, a black tailgate trim with ‘Duster’ branding sits above the number plate. Lauréate versions have smart new Tyrol 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and dark metal door mirror casings. Five new metallic colours – Mercury, Khaki, Pearl Black, Slate Grey and Cinnamon – replace the previous choices as alternatives to solid Glacier White on the Ambiance and Lauréate.
There is new upholstery and seats for every model. Access versions are finished in Hassium cloth, Ambiance in Osmium cloth and Lauréate in Rhodium cloth with ‘Duster’ lettering.  An Emergency Spare Wheel now becomes a £150 option on all 4x2 versions and remains standard on 4x4 models.
The range structure is the same as before. Highlights on Access models are 16-inch Eiger steel wheels, remote locking, a Thatcham-approved engine immobiliser, electric front windows, anti-lock brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control, a Tyre Pressure Monitor, four airbags, an ECO driving mode and gearshift indicator and a four-speed heating and ventilation system.  Body-coloured bumpers, black door handles and Duster-branded roof bars and bumpers are all standard. Glacier White is the sole colour. The 4x4 version has a centre differential lock with 2WD, Auto and Lock modes.
Ambiance versions add Matterhorn 16-inch steel wheels, satin chrome door handles, a chrome gearlever insert and instrument surrounds, a radio/CD player with AUX and USB sockets and Bluetooth, front foglights, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a 60:40 split rear seat.
Topping the range are the Lauréate models with 16-inch Tyrol alloys, manual air conditioning, electric mirrors and rear windows, cruise control with a speed limiter, a seven-function trip computer, a glovebox light, a passenger vanity mirror and body coloured door handles, satin chrome Duster-branded roof bars, scuff plates and side sills. Also standard are piano black interior door handles, door and steering wheel inserts and centre console surround, a leather-covered steering wheel and map pockets in the front seat backs.
Dacia has been Europe’s fastest-growing automotive brand for eight years in a row. The Duster is the most affordable SUV on the UK market – and has been since it came to the UK in mid-2012.  Production of Right Hand Drive UK-bound Dusters was originally at the Chennai plant in India and, with the advent of New Duster, has moved closer to its British end customers to Dacia’s home plant of Pitesti in Romania.
The model has claimed a stack of awards in the UK, Europe and India and has established an immensely loyal following, not least because of pricing and specification which is more in tune with that for a car from the class below.
The Duster is covered by Dacia’s standard three-year/60,000 mile mechanical  warranty plus two-year paint and six-year anti-corrosion guarantees.  
(hp @ rpm)
(Nm @ rpm)
Top speed
Access 1.6 16V 105 4x2105 @ 5750148 @ 375011.5104
Access 1.6 16V 105 4x4105 @ 5750148 @ 375012.899
Ambiance dCi 110 4x2107 @ 4000240 @ 175011.8106
Ambiance dCi 110 4x4109 @ 4000240 @ 175012.5104
Lauréate dCi 110 4x2107 @ 4000240 @ 175011.8106
Lauréate dCi 110 4x4109 @ 4000240 @ 175012.5104
ModelMPGCO2 (g/km)BIK
(band %)
Access 1.6 16V 105 4x239.816526%G6E
Access 1.6 16V 105 4x435.318530%I5E
Ambiance dCi 110 4x256.513022%D10A
Ambiance dCi 110 4x453.313523%E10A
Lauréate dCi 110 4x256.513022%D11A
Lauréate dCi 110 4x453.313523%E10A
ModelPrice (On The Road)
Access 1.6 16V 105 4x2£9,495
Access 1.6 16V 105 4x4£11,495
Ambiance dCi 110 4x2£11,995
Ambiance dCi 110 4x4£13,995
Lauréate dCi 110 4x2£13,495
Lauréate dCi 110 4x4£15,495
  • MediaNav – £300.  Available on Lauréate
  • Adventurer Pack – £445. Available on Access, Ambiance, Lauréate
  • Leather Pack – £995. Available on Ambiance, Lauréate
  • Protection Pack – £595. Available on Access, Ambiance, Lauréate
  • Styling Pack – £655. Available onAccess, Ambiance, Lauréate
  • Touring Pack – £555. Available onAccess, Ambiance, Lauréate

MG launches new graphics packs for MG3, god they are awful, would you want your car to look like this ?

  • MG Design display at London Design Week - Tent, Superbrands 18-21 September
  • First showing of MG Personalisation Design Concept
  • MG also launches new expanded personalisation collection
  • Designed in UK by young British female designer, Louise Thorburn
  • Follows highly successful launch of MG3 and personalisation collection
  • MG3 offers affordable British style with top model only £9,999 or  PCP available from £99 a month
MG revealed the marque’s latest MG3 personalisation design concept, alongside the latest additions to join the MG3’s one million personalisation options, at Superbrands London tonight as part of London Design Week.
Created by MG Designer Louise Thorburn, the concept display car will be on show at Superbrands from 18-21 September, alongside the latest three designs to join the MG3 personalisation range. Louise, a recent graduate of Dundee University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, with an honours degree in Textile Design, is the latest addition to the MG Design team. 

After various magazine features and exhibiting her graduate work at London based exhibition, New Designers in 2012, Louise completed two internships, one at MG and one at iconic shoe designer, Jimmy Choo, before returning to MG as Colour and Materials designer, a role created as part of MG’s growing investment in UK design talent acquisition and facilities.  Louise will join Vice Design Director, Martin Uhlarik in the Supertalks Design Exchange event on the future of design and transport design, on the 18 and 19 September respectively.
The Superbrands event, now in its eight year, will run from 18-21 September in central London, and features the very best in global contemporary design, providing an anchor for the London Design Festival. Last year over 21,000 visitors attended the Superbrands event, which is part of the Festival programme, made up of over 300 events and exhibitions staged by hundreds of partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world.
The latest collection of MG3 personalisation graphics, named the Autumn Additions Collection, will join the existing range of more than one million options currently available in the MG3 range, starting from just £39.00 fitted. MG3 personalisation options have already been phenomenally successful for the Midlands based manufacturer as, since the supermini’s launch last year, over 40 per cent of orders have featured at least one specified design addition.  All current options can been seen on the MG3 configurator at www.mg.co.uk/mg3/configurator. The three new designs have been added to the configurator following the launch yesterday, 18th September.
Launched in September 2013, the MG3 benefits from an ultra low 4E insurance group, strong residuals of up to 61 per cent, exceptional interior and boot space, class leading chassis and driving dynamics and high levels of equipment on all specifications as standard. There are also over one million personalisation options and exceptional value for money aftercare packages to choose from. The MG3 is priced from only £8,399 to £9,999, or on PCP with zero  deposit or from only £99 a month.
Over 280 companies from 29 countries will be represented at Superbrands this year, grouped into four 'trends': Raw (exposed textures and revealed processes), Bold and Beautiful (big colours and arresting visuals), Frame (geometric and arrestingly simple designs) and Refraction (optical effects and Pop Art stylings). Among the notable appearances will be glassware from the Crafts Council of Ireland, a Tokyo Designers Week retrospective and artisan creations from Korean Traditional Craft 2014.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Aston Martin reveals Vanquish Carbon special editions.

Hot on the heels of the successful introduction of the sought-after new 15 Model Year Vanquish, Aston Martin is revealing two new special edition versions of its ultimate GT: The Vanquish Carbon Black and Carbon White.
Offering Aston Martin’s desirable Carbon Black, or Carbon White, special edition treatment to the Vanquish Coupe or Volante creates a sports car with a powerful road presence to match its 200 mph-plus performance.
A Carbon Black special edition will be one of the stars of the Aston Martin stand at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show and the car on display perfectly accentuates the Super GT nature of Vanquish through a strong dark theme, underpinned by a unique combination of lightweight carbon fibre as standard. 
The contemporary Carbon White special edition, meanwhile, also creates a dramatic visual appeal, contrasting the carbon fibre and dark elements against eye-catching Stratus White paint.

Striking new features available as standard for both Carbon Black and Carbon White editions include black window surrounds and ten-spoke gloss black alloy wheels. Inside, the theme continues with a choice of accent colours and materials that showcase a combination of standard carbon fibre features and black hardware.
However the key to these monochrome special editions is the ability to add highlights of colour; through an accent brake caliper, or an accent stitch or welt, giving the customer the freedom to decide how much accent colour to use.
Eye-catching features distinguishing the Carbon editions from their standard Vanquish siblings include an exposed carbon fibre roof panel (coupe only), carbon fibre side strakes and carbon fibre mirror caps and arms. Meanwhile a machined carbon fibre ‘wings’ badge is available for the first time as an option on the special edition cars.
Some of the distinguishing features inside the Carbon special editions include machined carbon fibre sill plaques with Carbon Black or Carbon White logos; a herringbone Carbon fibre facia; black anodised centre stack rotaries; Obsidian Black leather with optional contrast stitching in accent colours and black gearshift paddles with accent coloured leather tips.
Aston Martin Design Director Marek Reichman said: “I’m sure the Vanquish Carbon special edition models will generate a huge amount of interest, and desire, among existing and prospective Aston Martin customers.
“The emphasis on predominantly monochrome design, with subtle accent colours, and the relatively extensive use of exposed carbon fibre perfectly showcases the authenticity and purity of Aston Martin design and engineering.”
Vanquish Carbon Black or Carbon White special edition models are available to order now via Aston Martin dealers in most major markets worldwide.

Infiniti looks ahead to the Singapore Grand Prix.

Character counts for a lot in F1, and for any new circuit on the F1 calendar, the establishment of a recognizable identity is half the battle in attracting a fan base and holding on to your slot on the schedule. We'll spare the blushes of those that have fallen by the wayside and instead point to Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina and Austin's COTA as two places that have done a decent job of building a good identity – one as high tech, the other down home, over the past few years.
However, when it comes to nailing an identity from the off, we reckon few can compete with the Singaporeans, whose glittering night race is surely the biggest spectacle of the season.
Indeed, ever since it arrived on the calendar in 2008, Singapore has firmly established itself as one of F1's must-visit venues, blending glamour, exotic spice and several million candle power with a punishing harbor side street circuit that's sort of like a more macho Monaco.
And in that are the big pluses of the Singapore GP. Under floodlights and against the city's amazing skyline, this is one of the most visually stunning races you'll ever see.

Attending it is dead easy. Fly into Changi airport, take a 20-minute taxi ride downtown, install yourself in a decent hotel, walk, take the subway or a taxi to the race every day for not much cash, and that's it. Singapore actually might be the most fan friendly race of the whole season.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit itself is situated in the heart of the city center, with the Colonial District to the North and the Raffles City/Citylink/Marina Square complex of malls to the South. It's also fairly close to Clarke Quay with its plethora of bars and restaurants.
It can be a little bit tricky navigating the closed streets on race weekend and hard to get a cab due to the closures, but with the aid of a decent map you'll soon figure it out, and most of the places you'll want to get to are no more than a 15-minute cab ride away.
In terms of where to watch from, well, it's a city so whatever grandstand you opt for will afford a limited view thanks to the buildings all around. It's no big deal, though, as most grandstands have jumbo screens opposite so you can always keep in touch with the action. If it were up to us we'd opt for the grandstands at Turn 2, Turn 3 and the Stamford Grandstand at Turn 7. The Bay grandstand may be cheaper than others, but it does afford great views across, yes, you guessed it, the bay.
The Track

It's not the longest in terms of distance at just 5.065 km, but it is definitely the longest of the season in terms of duration. With 23 corners, it's a stop-start affair and that means a lap is time-consuming. In the six editions of the race to date, every single one has gone to within four-minutes of the two-hour cut-off point. In the case of the 2012 race won by Seb, the race lasted two hours, 26 seconds and was ended two laps shy of the 61-lap total due to several stoppages during the grand prix.

Given its duration, the race is tough on the drivers and the cars. The lap is full of braking events, and those brakes can deteriorate quite badly as the race unfolds, making all those corners even more taxing especially when you're trying to engage fading brakes over the bumpy street surface.
The stop-start nature of the track also means drivers are up and down the gears all the time. On average there are about 80 gear changes per lap here, about 50 percent more that most races. Add all that to the fact that even with an 8:00 p.m. (local time) start, the temperature still regularly hits 30˚C and it becomes apparent that despite the slow speeds this is a punishing ride.
Powerplants haven't taken a real beating here in the past, with about 46 percent of the lap run at full throttle with the last generation of cars, but that could all change this year. The long race and high temperatures and humidity could stress the new hybrid power units severely. Due to its stop-start nature, Singapore is also one of the most fuel inefficient circuits of the year, and with strict fuel usage regulations in force this season, race management and strategy will be interesting.
Five Odd Singapore Facts
  • Singapore is one of the 20 smallest countries in the world, at 426 square miles.

  • The government has its own matchmaking department for citizens, which was originally called the Social Development Unit (SDU). However, locals gave it the slightly disparaging nickname of 'Single, Desperate and Ugly', so the Unit was changed to Network.

  • The world's highest man-made waterfall, standing at 30 meters, is located at the Jurong BirdPark.

  • The famous Singapore Sling cocktail was first served in 1915 at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel by Hainanese bartender by Ngiam Tong Boon. The Times described the "original recipe" as mixing two measures of gin with one of cherry brandy and one of orange, pineapple and lime juice.

  • Finally, a Singapore Grand Prix existed between 1966 and 1973. The event was a Formula Libre race, essentially meaning that racers were invited to 'run what you brung'. The last winner of the pre-F1 Singapore GP was Australian Vern Schuppan, driving a March 722. During the race Schuppan was leading fellow Aussie Malcolm Ramsay when Schuppan's car kicked up some stones. Ramsay's petrol tank was punctured and he was covered in fuel. Ramsay manfully raced on until, in the words of his mechanic Angus Lamont, "the pain of the petrol burning his balls forced him to retire"!