HSV (Holden Special Vehicles): HSV Maloo R8 LS3 2008 Review

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With utes of old there used to be a line item in the brochure called ‘Brakes and steering’, next to which it said ‘Sort of’. Meet HSV’s Maloo R8 — it’s the ute that thinks it’s a Porsche. It has brakes and steering in abundance, along with enough power to pull the skin of a galactic-sized rice pudding.

The Maloo has the shoulders of Atlas, and you feel like you own the world. Unfortunately those shoulders kind of limit the view to the left and right, creating the most enormous blind spots. This could be very easily cured by HSV by fitting some convex mirrors. Until then, drivers have to use luck charms and psychic abilities (or take a really good look) before pulling into another lane.

From your driving perch the dashboard and seats are pretty much straight out of the Clubsport R8, and therefore of reasonable quality. The seats are sporty enough, but not so tight that the more amply hipped drivers will feel squeezed. Dashboard controls revolve around the large screen that shows air conditioning and stereo functions.

For what is essentially a sports car, the steering wheel is still slightly too large and the accelerator pedal is hinged at the bottom and not ideally positioned for heel-toe action.

There are some useful netted cabin storage binnacles behind the seats, but it would be nice to see some kind of storage you could put a laptop or other valuables in, other than the flat bed where things slide around like Torvill and Dean during Bolero.

External styling carries through Atlas’s shoulders and onto his washboard abs. It’s bold, even in white, from its deep front splitter, back to the trapezoidal vents just in front of the rear wheels, and the quad exhaust pipes that nestle in the rear diffuser. The HSV Maloo is all muscle, and it has the legs to match.

Instant endorphins are what the Maloo provides with a sonic injection of 6.2-litre LS3 noise that sounds like you are ripping the cloak of Beelzebub himself with the massive 550Nm of torque. It sounds every bit as good as the Clubsport R8 sedan, if not better. It’s the one area in which HSV is much, much better than FPV.

So while we’re on the subject of FPV, how does its Super Pursuit offering stack up against the Maloo? In my opinion, the Maloo just wins out in overall experience. It’s slightly more comfortable, it feels quicker, the sound is glorious, and the styling is meaner (as an example, the Super Pursuit’s rear wheels sit too far inside the bodywork, making it look ‘under-endowed’ in the wheels department). The Maloo’s driving position is not as good as the Super Pursuit, though. Also, the steering wheel needs a rethink, and the FPV’s traction control is slightly more progressive and subtle when clamping down on the wheelspin.

What we have is a car that says “I’m ready, ladies,” but it won’t appease the local constabulary — the kind of donuts they like aren’t the ones that the Maloo can create in abundance with its 317kW.

What you need with this petrol-fuelled largesse is a substantial set of stoppers. 19-inch wheels (not practical for a tradesman, but stunningly nice nonetheless) conceal slotted brake discs so enormous that if you left one in the middle of the Nevada desert the US Military would think a UFO had crash landed.

Those that buy utes tend to want to occasionally do ‘ute-y’ things in them. I decided I’d help a friend move house. With the hard tonneau you can’t really load the Maloo up with anything tall. I managed to get a rowing machine and queen-sized mattress on the tray, but couldn’t get the lid down — one of the advantages of the soft tonneau covers.

The six-speed manual Maloo R8 is a car that will mix it with some serious exotica. Acceleration to 100kph feels like it’s firmly in the mid-5s, and with its steamroller-sized tyres there’s serious grip. It sonically assaults your ears, physically assaults your senses and generally makes a grinning idiot of you. I like that.

Price: from $73,000 (6-speed manual or 6-speed auto)

What we like

  • Noise
  • Styling
  • Performance

What we don’t like

  • Blind spots
  • In-cabin storage options

Brakes

Front: 365mm ventilated discs. Four piston calipers
Rear: 350mm ventilated discs. Four piston calipers
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Incorporating Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Brake Assist (EBA)

Engine

317kW, 6.2 litre LS3 Generation 4 alloy V8 Standard
Power (DIN kW) 317kW* @ 6000rpm
Torque (DIN Nm) 550Nm* @ 4600rpm
Recommended petrol – octane rating 98 RON PULP. Note that using 95RON (PULP) or lower will not cause any problems, but will result in slightly less engine performance and economy.

Exhaust

317kW, 6.2 litre LS3 Generation 4 alloy V8 Standard
Power (DIN kW) 317kW* @ 6000rpm
Torque (DIN Nm) 550Nm* @ 4600rpm
Recommended petrol – octane rating 98 RON PULP. Note that using 95RON (PULP) or lower will not cause any problems, but will result in slightly less engine performance and economy.
Linear Control Suspension
Sports Touring Suspension
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) incorporating
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) – Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)
- Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) – Traction Control System (TCS)
Suspension Front: MacPherson strut Direct acting stabiliser bar.
Progressive rate coil springs
Rear: Multi-Link independent rear suspension (IRS).
Progressive rate coil springs. Stabiliser bar
Steering Variable ratio rack and pinion
Track: Front: 1592 Rear: 1590
Turning Circle (kerb to kerb, m) 11.4

Transmission

6-speed Manual Transmission Standard
6-speed Automatic Transmission with active select Option
Limited Slip Differential with HSV specific ratio Standard
Gear ratios 6-speed Manual / 6-speed Automatic Standard
1 3.01 / 4.03
2 2.07 / 2.36
3 1.43 / 1.53
4 1.00 / 1.15
5 0.84 / 0.85
6 0.57 / 0.67
Final Drive 3.7 / 3.27

CABIN

Dual zone electronic climate control: driver and front passenger

6.5″ multi-function display colour LCD screen. Displays stereo, heating and air conditioning information. DVD player and Satellite Navigation compatible

Power windows. Driver and front passenger windows express down

Front centre sliding armrest with leather trim

Vanity mirror, driver and passenger.

Sunglasses holder (except where sunroof fitted)

Satin Chrome finish interior door handles

DRIVER

Steering wheel height and reach adjust

Leather wrap HSV unique Sports steering wheel

Multi-function steering controls for:

- Sound system – Trip computer

- Bluetooth phone – Satellite navigation (where fitted)

Multi-function driver display, featuring:

- Trip computer information – Sound system information

Priority key. Stores settings for:

- Climate control – Sound system

- Trip computer – Speed alert

- Headlamp and interior lighting time delay options

Alloy faced pedals

Leather wrap gear selector

Cruise Control

Rear Park Assist

Power exterior mirrors

Road speed dependent intermittent wipers

Automatic headlamp mode. Switches on at twilight or low ligh

Headlamps auto-off feature (variable delay)

Trip computer with triple display, including:

- Average speed – Odometer/Tripmeter/Trip time

- Distance/Time to go – Average fuel consumption

- Digital speedometer – Visual and audible speed warning

- Tracks two trips simultaneously (eg. Short day trip within long interstate trip)

- Fuel used/range

Service reminder. Appears 1,000km before service is due

HSV Sports instrument cluster

Tachometer

HSV sports triple center gauges (Voltage, Oil Temp. and Oil Pressure)

Sound system able to accommodate mobile phone kit. Auto mute when in use

Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity

Satellite navigation     Option

SEATING

HSV Performance seats with cloth trim

HSV Performance seats with leather trim (Onyx)     Option

4-way electric drivers seat

Adjustable driver and front passenger seat lumbar support

SOUNDS

Blaupunkt AM/FM stereo

6 disc Five speakers. Total 150 watts

Speed dependent volume control

STORAGE

Twin cup holders in centre console

Centre console storage compartment

EXTERIOR

Front projector fog lamps
Front driving lamps
Projector headlamps
HSV Performance sail plane
HSV Remote locking hard tonneau (not watersealed)
HSV unique tail gate
HSV Performance body design
Quad exhaust outlet
Metallic Paint     Option

WHEELS

19″ x 8″ front alloy wheel with 245/40 R19 98Y tyre
19″ x 9.5″ rear alloy wheel with 275/35 R19 96Y tyre
20″ x 8″ front alloy wheel with 245/35 R20 95Y tyre     Option
20″ x 9.5″ rear alloy wheel with 275/30 R20 97Y tyre     Option
Full size spare wheel and tyre (as per front wheel and tyre)

Words and photos Darren Cottingham



News: Hummer HX concept unveiled

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Hummer may be struggling to stay afloat with rumours of GM shopping the brand around to potential buyers, but that isn’t stopping it from displaying this concept – the HX – at the British Motorshow.

The HX will be powered by a 3.6 litre V6 boasting E85 flex fuel abilities and is said to be the small ‘open’ version of North America’s most recognisable 4WD.

View the press release below.

HUMMER will showcase the HX Concept, a nimble, reconfigurable off-road concept vehicle, at the British International Motor Show.

HX Concept provides vision of a FlexFuel, open-air HUMMER

* Convertible body with removable roof panels, modular rear roof assembly, easily removable fender flares and doors
* Full-time 4WD with front and rear locking differentials
* Aeronautically inspired interior with functional, lightweight design elements
* 3.6L direct-injected V-6 E85 FlexFuel engine with six-speed automatic transmission

With unmistakable HUMMER design cues and a compact, go-anywhere attitude, the HX is an entry-level, open-air vehicle that packs the off-road acumen for which HUMMER has become legendary into an easily convertible body.

An open-air driving experience is made possible by a pair of removable roof panels above the driver and front passenger, and a modular, removable rear roof assembly. With all the roof panels removed, the HX is transformed into a true convertible. It can also be configured into an SUT, a stylish slant-back or a traditional, wagon-like design that offers a bit more cargo space. Doors and fender flares can also be quickly removed for additional fun and trail/rock clearance while off-road driving.

More compact than a HUMMER H3, the HX is 2,057 mm wide, with a 2,616-mm wheelbase. These compact dimensions, almost no overhangs and grippy 35-inch tires prepare the HX for driving on most any terrain. Like HUMMER production models, the HX has sturdy, body-on-frame construction, onto which is mounted front and rear independent suspensions. A full-time 4WD system can pull the HX over, through and around off-road obstacles. It transfers torque to the front and rear axles, each of which is equipped with a locking differential.

News: Honda OSM concept revealed in the U.K

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Honda’s low-emission sportscar study model has been revealed at the British International Motor Show, at ExCeL, London.

The lightweight roadster design study displays one of Honda’s core engineering principles — to design stylish and exciting cars that are also environmentally responsible.

Named the OSM (for Open Study Model), the two-seater joins the confirmed-for-production CR-Z sports hybrid and FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car on the Honda stand at the show.

“We’re trying to show that low emission cars can be attractive,” says Andreas Sittel, Project Leader for OSM. “There is no reason why a car that’s more environmentally friendly can’t look great too — and be sporty and fun to drive.”

The concept for the project was ‘Clean and Dynamic’ — and this direction was followed for both the exterior and interior design, ensuring a joined-up, consistent ‘language’ between the two. One example of this can be seen at the rear of the car, where the body actually extends into the cabin between the seats.

The exterior design is a balance of smooth, rounded curves and sharp lines to provide definition in key areas. The headlights are cleverly integrated into the front end, stretching from the nose to the top of the wheel arches to look more like a part of the original body.

Inside, this uninterrupted, fluid approach is continued, with long sweeping curves extending from both door panels to form a frame for the instrument display. The concept for the dashboard was to avoid creating the traditional block of ‘heavy’ colour and material in front of the driver; in keeping with the clean and lightweight theme. For that reason, the dash is broken into sections, with the most important instruments in direct line-of-sight of the driver.

Key information is displayed in a rounded, enclosed central binnacle, with levels and figures in bright blue on a black background. This matches the trim inside the car, with the seats and door furniture trimmed in a new, gloss-effect blue leather, accompanied by white leather sections, in line with the exterior body colour, a one-off paint called Mystic Pearl.

The driver’s main controls and functions are distributed in an intuitive layout, close at hand on a panel that curves downwards to the right of the driver. A centrally-mounted semi-sequential gear-shift points towards a fun-to-drive transmission, along with paddle shifts either side of the steering wheel. Integrated into the gearshifter itself is a red ignition ‘start’ button, which reinforces the sporty direction of the car.

The Honda OSM was designed by Honda’s R&D facility in Offenbach, Germany. It’s the latest example of the young talent being developed within Honda’s design studios in Europe — following the Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept (Geneva 2007) and the Accord Tourer Concept (Frankfurt 2007).

At present, the Honda OSM is a design study model, and there are no plans for it to enter production.

1972                The CVCC engine is developed for the Civic — a low-emission petrol engine that meets strict US regulations

1993                Honda wins prestigious World Solar Challenge with the solar-powered Type Dream car

1996                Honda EV Plus electric vehicle — capable of carrying four adults nearly 140miles on a single charge — is presented to the public

1997                We unveil the Civic GX, which runs on natural gas and is available to buy in America. It becomes the world’s cleanest car

1999                Honda launches the Insight — a petrol-electric hybrid car capable of 83mpg on the combined cycle, with emissions of just 80g/km of CO2

2003                Civic IMA hybrid saloon is launched, with CO2 emissions of 116g/km

2006                New Civic Hybrid goes on sale, with fuel economy of 61.4mpg (combined) and emissions of 109g/km

2007                A lightweight hybrid sportscar concept, named CR-Z, is revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, and a version is confirmed for production

2008                Honda unveils OSM study model at the British International Motor Show.
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Honda FCX Clarity rolls off the production line in Japan, and leasing of these zero emission vehicles starts in the US

2009                A much more affordable hybrid car from Honda is due to go on sale in the UK in the Spring — making cleaner motoring technology available to more people

News: Lotus Evora: The concept formerly known as ‘Eagle’

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Lotus has finally given a name to the ‘Eagle’ concept that was centre stage on the Lotus stand at the British Motorshow. The new Lotus will not be the much hoped for Esprit, but will be labelled ‘Evora’.

The 3.5 litre V6 is said to pump out 280hp (208kW) in a car weighing 1350kg. These figures are nothing to really shout about and look set to distance the Evora from the light-weight sporting theme that Lotus has excelled at in the past. Funny then that CEO Mike Kimberley would say “I think Colin Chapman would have approved” as Chapman was about weight saving.

View the press release below, but beware. It contains high levels of self congratulatory remarks.

With its stunning visual impact, exhilarating all-round dynamic performance, innovative chassis technology and high levels of luxury, packaging and convenience, the Evora heralds an exciting new era for Lotus.

The first all-new Lotus since the iconic Elise made its debut in 1995, The Evora enters the sports car market as currently the world’s only mid-engined 2+2. Powered by a Lotus-tuned 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 280 PS, and weighing just 1350 kg (prototype specification), the Evora promises breathtaking performance. During preliminary testing around the famous Nürburgring, the Lotus chassis engineers report that it is extremely agile and great fun to drive – even when clad with the full development disguise that hid the beautiful lines from the prying motor-industry paparazzi.

In addition to its excellent performance and exemplary handling, the Evora offers a more refined ownership experience than Lotus’s existing smaller four-cylinder models. Its elegantly styled cabin is elegantly trimmed and its equipment list includes contemporary features such as an advanced touch-screen multi-media system and electric power-fold door mirrors.

Because one of the roles of the Evora is to attract new customers to the Lotus brand, much attention has been paid to its ease of use. Wider, taller door apertures and narrower sills make getting in and out of the cabin a less athletic undertaking than it is in Lotus’s smaller sports cars (the Elise, Exige, Europa and 2-Eleven), while the design of the cabin itself will accommodate two 99th percentile (6ft 5in tall) American males in the front seats.

The ‘convenience factor’ of the Evora extends to less obvious areas of the car. For instance, beneath the skin the entire front-end structure is a high tech aluminium sacrificial modular unit, attached to the main extruded aluminium tub. This modular unit is designed to deform for maximum safety, and to reduce repair costs in the event of a frontal impact.

The Evora has been designed with global automotive regulations in mind, and future derivatives are planed, these including amongst others, a convertible.

The Evora will be hand crafted and built on a dedicated new assembly line within Lotus’s advanced manufacturing facility at Hethel in the east of England; capacity limitations will restrict production to approximately 2000 cars a year, ensuring the dynamic new sports car’s rarity and exclusivity.

Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, has this to say about the exciting new model: “The Evora is the biggest milestone Lotus has achieved since the Elise was born 13 years ago and is part of our bold five year strategic plan, which includes the introduction of new cars and technologies to many more markets around the world. The Evora also represents Lotus core values of performance through light weight and efficiency and proves that you can have phenomenal performance, fuel efficiency elegant design and practicality all in a class leading mid-engine 2+2 sportscar, which will meet global safety and homologation standards”

Mike Kimberley continues, “Looking to the future, we will continue to research, develop and produce lighter, more efficient vehicles which are linked to our extensive and well-regarded work on all aspects of future fuels, alternative engines and electric and hybrid vehicle solutions for the future. We all have an environmental responsibility to future generations and the Evora is another example where Lotus is seen to make significant steps towards improving the efficiency and sustainability of the motorcar keeping Britain at the forefront of the high technology motor industry.”

By the time the Evora reaches the Lotus showrooms from Spring 2009 onwards, it will be the most thoroughly tested Lotus car in the history of Lotus. It will also be one of the company’s great milestones.

The order book is now open in the UK and across continental Europe, with markets around the world to start taking orders in due course. Final specifications, options and prices of the production Lotus Evora will be published closer to the sale date in the many Lotus markets around the world.

Mike Kimberley sums up, “This year Lotus celebrates its 60th anniversary and it is fitting that 2008 is also the birth of the Lotus Evora, a fantastic addition to the Lotus range. The Lotus Evora represents Group Lotus, a company that is at the forefront of the automotive industry, in a changing world where priorities of efficiency, economy and environmental impact go hand in hand with performance, design and individuality. I think Colin Chapman would have approved.”


News: TH!NK about it: Norwegian company releases electric vehicle

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Norwegian electric company TH!NK (yes with an exclamation mark for the ‘i’) have put their latest offering on show at the British Motorshow.

The company claims that the TH!NK city has a range of 210km and only requires an overnight charge and will cost around NZ$265 to travel 16100km. Of course that is based on grid electricity costs in the UK.

As an inner-city alternative TH!NK could have something.

View the press release below

Displayed at the 2008 British International Motor Show at ExCeL London by Norwegian electric vehicle pioneers Think, a company with 17 years experience in electric vehicles, the new TH!NK city will be available for UK customer orders next summer.

TH!NK city is a true, modern urban car, not a quadricycle. It is a fully environmental vehicle, emission free and 95 percent recyclable. With an energy efficiency three times that of a traditional combustion engine car, it is a vehicle that realistically meets the growing challenges of environmental protection, traffic congestion and emissions legislation.

The two-seater urban car has a top speed of 110km/h. It accelerates from zero to 50km/h in just 6.5 seconds and to 80km/h in 16 seconds. It requires just an overnight top-up of electricity and can travel for 210km in city driving on a fully charged battery.
To charge the batteries from 20 per cent capacity to 80 percent takes just four hours. Over 10,000 miles use, the total cost of electricity used to power a TH!NK city will be in the region of £100 (NZ$265)

TH!NK city is designed to meet the strict safety requirements of both Europe and the USA, as a genuinely-safe road car. It is the world’s only crash-tested and highway-certified EV. The car is equipped with ABS brakes, airbags and three-point safety belts with pretensioners and it surpasses all European and US requirements.

“Unlike the lower-range, electric quadricycles that have had limited success in the UK, the TH!NK city is a real car which provides a realistic option for those motorists who want to drive a true zero emissions car,” said Richard Blundell, Managing Director of Think UK.

“Concern for the environment has been at the heart of the development of TH!NK city. It’s not only environmentally sound to drive, but the car itself is designed to be recycled,” he said, “Driving a silent car will give urban motorists a totally new experience. The TH!NK city produces no waste heat and no pollution. Critically for London and many other urban markets it beats the congestion charge!”

“Moreover, the TH!NK city is fund to drive, cheap to run, great to look at, generates incredible mileage figures and is extremely kind on the environment.  This is a proposition that we believe will interest many drivers who are re-thinking their approach to motoring,” he added.

Engineers, developers, buyers and designers in the Think company have focused on utilising clean recyclable materials and non-polluting production processes. The dashboard can be completely recycled. The fabrics, body, supports, air ducts, adhesives and fixings are designed using the same recyclable materials.

TH!NK city’s body is made of recyclable ABS plastic, designed specifically for city driving. Not only is it ideal for motorists who want to avoid visible scratches and irritating dents, the unpainted, self-coloured plastic bodywork also reduces both energy consumption and toxins, while making the panels easier to recycle. The battery is returned to the supplier at the end of its useable life.

These factors have been warmly welcomed by the auto insurance industry, resulting in reduced auto insurance rates by as much as 30-50 per cent.

Standard equipment on each TH!NK city includes power steering, central locking, a 4kW electric heater, and electric windows and mirrors. Optional equipment will include air conditioning, a pre-heat timer, electrically heated windscreen, full length sunroof, Radio CD with MP3, USB, Bluetooth, a navigation & multimedia system, alloy wheels, roof rack and 2 + 2 child seats (including 3-point seat belts)

Production started this year in Norway, and the first batch of right-hand drive cars will be delivered to UK customers in summer 2009. Prices of the TH!NK city will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

Company history and background

Think designs, develops, manufactures and markets environmentally friendly vehicles and technologies. The company has more than 17 years experience in developing and producing electric vehicles and there are about 1,200 Think-built vehicles driving on Norwegian roads today, many with over 100,000 miles registered on their odometers.

The latest TH!NK city is the sixth-generation electric vehicle that has been produced in Norway. Series production of the newly designed TH!NK city car has recently started and the first cars have already been delivered to Norwegian customers. Currently, cars are being produced at a rate of three to five a day, rising to 20 a day in the next six months.

The capacity of Think’s first assembly plant in Aurskog, outside Oslo, is presently being increased to 10,000 cars per year. Think plans to increase its production capacity with new assembly plants in the USA, Continental Europe and Asia in the next two years.

In April this year, Think reached across the Atlantic and established TH!NK North America in partnership with the leading clean-tech investors RockPort Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers. Sales other than initial trial and demonstration projects will begin in the North American market in 2009.

At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Think announced a strategic partnership with energy giant General Electric, also an investor in Think. Think has also established partnerships in the US with lithium-based battery suppliers A123 Systems and EnerDel.

Think has been developing and producing urban mobility solutions since the early 1990s. The first prototype predecessor to today’s modern TH!NK city was developed in 1991. TH!NK city was initially put in serial production in 1999.

During recent years, a wave of environmental consciousness and climate change awareness has ripened the market for alternative mobility solutions. In 2006, new Norwegian investors bought Think, and an experienced management team was engaged to lead the global design, development and commercialization of Think’s electric drive train mobility products.

Both new and former staff members were added to the team, and a new, global strategy was outlined for the company. A USD 97 million private placement during 2007 prepared Think to go into regular, serial production of the sixth generation TH!NK city. It also ushered in a new and dynamic ownership of experienced, clean technology investors. The car company of the 21st century was on the road.

“We are the car company of the 21st century. We develop zero emission vehicles and sustainable solutions and we are proud to be launching TH!NK city in new markets in 2008 and 2009, something that shows that the demand for sustainable solutions and zero emission vehicles is greater than ever before,” says Jan-Olaf Willums, CEO of Think Global.

Blogs: Do your car purchasing habits minic your parents’?

(Fellow scribe) Ben and I were talking yesterday about the cars that are in your family holiday photos. He was saying that if you look back through his family’s snaps there’s always a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore in there. I have personally heard people say that they bought their car because it was the same brand as their Dad used to drive. My family always had one runabout (Mazda 323 or similar), a van (usually a Toyota Hiace) and a powerful car (3 x Rover SD1 3.5V8, 3 x Saab 9000 turbo) – I wouldn’t want to own either of those, but my lust for horsepower is retained, burned into my soul from a young age.

I was too young to appreciate the V8 roar in the Rover, and by the time I was really interested in cars Dad was onto his first Saab. For me, a ride in that when Dad was in a hurry, was a thrill. It made the 0-60mph dash in a shade over 7 seconds, accompanied by lots of torque steer, and at the time that was quick. It was also comfortable. It was a time when the UK police were sensible with their speed policing – if everything was moving at 80-90mph (up to 145kph) on the motorway, they’d just let it flow.

For a while I thought I’d end up buying a Saab, but I found myself in rally-bred Japanese pocket rockets. Ben, on the other hand, has just been reliving his youth with a Ford G6 and HSV GTS. So, if you had good experiences in the cars that your parents had (i.e. if they were cars that were exciting, didn’t break down, etc), then perhaps you’re more likely to be loyal to those marques.

The Holy Grail of brand loyalty is when the kids start buying what the parents drove, but with the thousands of options available nowadays, and people’s urge to be independent, this could possibly be a futile wish by the car manufacturers of the future.

News: Volkswagen lightweight mid-engine Elise-beater on the cards

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Rumours of a lightweight mid-engine car from VW-Audi continue to circulate and look to climax with the unveiling of a such a Volkswagen at the Los Angeles Motorshow later this year.

There are also rumours that this car could also be the Audi R4, the phantom-like unconfirmed but believed-to-exist model, that has auto-nuts blabbering like alien conspiracy theorists.

A third shot in the dark (that could still hit the target) is that with Porsche owning part of Volkswagen a resurrection of the 914 tag could be on the cards.

Facts will dissolve speculation when the L.A Motorshow opens in November.

News: MINI SUV could be on the shared BMW-Fiat platform

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News of the MINI SUV said to labeled ‘Crossman’ and to debut at the forthcoming Paris Motorshow could utilise the partnered platform from BMW and Fiat has come to light.

The platform is touted to be under consideration for the new Fiat Punto Grande, the Alfa Romeo MiTo and the MINI Crossman. It has been substantiated that the platform codenamed C-Evo will be used for the new Alfa 147 and could house either FWD and AWD set-ups.

While the look of the MINI Crossman has caused considerable debate, it looks unlikely that BMW won’t produce it. The big MINI is due out in 2015.