Mind Readers

532056_562090070479195_582989192_nThis just in…

As it can’t have escaped the notice of the average reader, cars are becoming more and more technologically advanced by the day. I’m sure you are aware, dear reader, of the benefits of ABS and traction control, in fact, your car probably already has this and more, but it has nothing on the latest device we see here ->>

It’s a brilliant new device that enables other drivers to actually read your mind! I know!! Unbelievable isn’t it? Next time we’re out in the car and my wife has a silent strop I’m going to see how well it works…

Of course there is one problem:

New gadgets like this are often optional extras, and paid ones at that. In fact, this is where car manufacturers make most of their money. Look at the price of any optional sat nav system. Ford charges £750 for their system, McLaren a whopping £5,100 and this despite an often superior TomTom costing £100 or less. And then there’s any decent smartphone…

However, this situation is often capitalised upon by less luxurious manufacturers to give their cars better value, especially as your ordinary, every day motor is where most of the competition over price will be. That’s why, for example, Renault, Ford, Nissan et al will sometimes stuff models with extras like nice alloy wheels, phone docks, fog lights and the like for little to nothing to pay on top of their car’s base price. Which would you have – a bottom rung and rather spartan german saloon, or a fully loaded top of the range euro hatchback? Possibly a difficult choice.

It also explains another very common phenomenon:

The new gadget in the picture above seems to have caught on fast, and has been offered as standard by more mundane manufacturers already, with the exceptions being the premium marques such as BMW, Audi and Volvo. In a nutshell, this is why you rarely see the blighters indicate.

On a vaguely related note, here’s a funny video about Ford’s new SYNC option that reads out your texts for you whilst you drive.

[youtube http://youtu.be/TolE7CxRdiA]

McLaren v Ferrari

[youtube http://youtu.be/VW2LOgchfno]

It’s on again!

We’re frequently treated to the spectacle of Ferrari and McLaren battling it out on tracks around the world during the F1 season, but this year it’s different, with the rare event of the two titans of automotive sport locking horns on the road again.

So who’s going to win this epic battle this time? Continue reading McLaren v Ferrari

25 Years of the F40

Click for attribution

Just read and watched  this – Dream machine: Ferrari F40 (video below).

Dream come true for this lucky _____ (<– insert chosen expletive here). Wouldn’t we all like to be a motoring journalist? And wouldn’t we all just love to get behind the wheel of one of these?

Recently Autocar did a piece about the 458, and how Ferrari’s baby is now faster than it’s previous top of the tree model, the F40.

So just why was/is the F40 so special? And if the 458 is so much faster, is it still really that special?? Continue reading 25 Years of the F40

A Bit About Fuel Economy

We all know that quoted fuel economy figures are pretty close to fantasy, but they do actually have their uses.

The figures are produced independently using a test rig which reproduces the same test “route” each time. It’s designed to give the best figures and therefore an idea of what’s achievable.

Of course manufacturers cottoned on to this and began to tune torque outputs at certain revs and use gear ratios more suited to the test. This had the unfortunate effect of maximising the test figures at the expense of what you could actually do in the real world.

So why do I think they are still relevant? Continue reading A Bit About Fuel Economy

Who likes V8’s??

After all that guff about tyres, I thought I’d write something a little more light hearted.

See this? ->

It appeared across the road earlier this week and appears to belong to a certain neighbour. I’m pretty sure it’s his as he already has an American van, (the same model the A-Team used), and an old mustang too. Nobody else on my street appears to be collecting American iron, so it’s got to be him… Continue reading Who likes V8’s??

Michelin Energy Savers – Any Good?

If you follow my blog regularly, you’ll know that to me, tyres are not just black, rounds things you have to have fitted to your vehicle.

I do spend money on getting good, branded tyres, and for very good reasons, see my blowout post.

However, with the economy what it is, even I have succumbed to looking into energy saving tyres for our main car.

Michelin energy savers seem to be the one’s to have at the moment, but they’re damned expensive. So are they worth it?

Continue reading Michelin Energy Savers – Any Good?

Getting Good Tyres on the Cheap

I hate paying for tyres. Why? Because I always fit performance tyres to my cars, and it’s never cheap. Plus performance tyres don’t last long anyway.

So why not fit cheaper tyres?

Well one of my previous posts (Blowout), explains the downsides to this, and on the upside it makes a dramatic difference to the performance of your vehicle.

Plus, as you know, I’m a bit of a skinflint, so there’s plenty of scope for getting good tyres at knock down prices. Here’s how: Continue reading Getting Good Tyres on the Cheap

Tax, tax, tax… and how to save money on motoring

But what’s the answer??

Lately, it seems we’ve had the most indeterminate budget in years, and after the Transport Secretary confirmed August would see the planned 3p/litre rise in fuel duty go ahead, George/Gideon/Whatever he’s really called – Osborne, decided to do yet another U-turn and drop the increase.

OK, fair enough, but when over 60% of the price of fuel is tax, I should think so. Continue reading Tax, tax, tax… and how to save money on motoring