motoring

16 Sep 2018
    You’re probably familiar with Jaguar’s F-Pace by now, their first foray into the premium SUV market is also their best seller. Like Porsche, Jaguar actually shift more 4x4s these days than they do sportscars. The purists may baulk at the idea, but clearly the faux-by-four is what makes the big money these days.    It’s no wonder then, that, keen to cash–in ever further, Jaguar have now also...
08 Aug 2018
     It’s the noise you remember most. Long after you’ve pressed the button that switches the F-Type R’s engine off, and long after the exhaust system has stopped pinging itself cool, the sound of Jaguar’s 5.0 litre supercharged V8 lingers long in the air.    It shatters the morning silence on start-up – four trumpet-like tailpipes playing a fanfare that signals your departure – before settling...
10 Jul 2018
   It was not so long ago that SEAT, Volkswagen’s Spanish and sporty brand, didn’t have an SUV in their line-up. Now they’ve got two. First there was the Ateca.  That’s their bigger one, based on the MQB platform that underpins a whole host of VW group regulars. And now there’s this: The Arona.    Well, I suppose, it’s a crossover really, rather than an SUV.    I say that because the Arona is...
20 Jun 2018
     You may perhaps not even have seen one yet, but already Volvo’s new XC40, has been winning awards. Not only did it recently win both the Car of the Year and Best Medium SUV titles in the recent DieselCar and EcoCar Top 50 awards 2018, it also scooped the coveted European Car of the Year award prior to its unveiling at this year’s Geneva Motorshow in March. What Car? Named it their Car of the...
23 May 2018
   Think Alfa Romeo and if you’re anything like me you’ll probably think of delicate sports cars, pretty little saloons, racing red cigar-shaped single seaters, and legendary drivers such as Fangio and Farina. What you probably won’t envisage is four-wheel drive, suburban school-run mums - no doubt from the pricier parts of town – and, SUVs. However…     Alfa Romeo are under no illusions that if...
22 Apr 2018
  Another week, another SUV. Honestly, that’s how it’s beginning to feel. Crossovers, soft-roaders, Sports Utility Vehicles, call then what you will, they’re the current automotive equivalent of the proverbial hot cake; they’re selling like them too. However, they don’t always prove that tasty to drive. They’re practical, yes, and undoubtedly so in some cases, but exciting? Not really. Well, not...
16 Feb 2018
      Park Hyundai’s i30N next to a VW Golf GTi and it’s easy to see where the Koreans have firmly set their sights. The Golf of course has long been the go-to hatchback bench-mark, and it’s not stretching the imagination too far to say that, even in their respective milder forms, both the i30 and the definitive people’s car share certain similarities: Size for starters, plus the ability to seat...
29 Dec 2017
    The arrival of Suzuki’s new Swift complete with Boosterjet engine and in SZ5 spec I might add, here at Chez Bird also coincided with a Ferrari GTC4Lusso being here too. I know, go on… say it: how I suffer for my art. And it’s at this point that you’re probably thinking “I bet that Suzuki didn’t get much use then did it?”  Well, you’d be wrong.     You see, both the Swift, and, err… the very...
10 Dec 2017
      Figures were never really my strong-point, so let’s get them out of the way first shall we?     Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso is a 680bhp, 12 cylinder, 4 seater, 4 wheel-drive, 4 wheel-steer, 0-62 in 3.4 seconds, 0-125 mph in 10.5 seconds, 208 mph all-out super-coupe. It weighs 1,920kg, has a 7 speed dual-clutch gearbox (in fact it has 2 gearboxes, we’ll get to that later), and is nearly 5 metres...
19 Nov 2017
     From January onwards you’ll no longer be able to walk into your local Volkswagen dealer and order a 3-door Polo, they’re not going to make them anymore. You can’t buy a 3-door version of the new SEAT Ibiza either, or the Skoda Fabia for that matter either. As people downsize (and ironically cars get bigger) the people in (the predominately German) suits have declared that there’s no longer a...
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