Reviews

Love At First Gear: The Itch

I can tell you specifically when it happened. The moment I fell deeply in love with cars. It was the summer before grade ten, half a year before I could even apply for a driver’s licence.

Track Tested: Ginetta G40 R

The Ginetta G40 R is not your average sports car, and, I think it fair to say, carries more than the weight of a hopeful profit margin on its shoulders. Indeed, the future of Ginetta as a road car manufacturer may indeed hinge on the success of both the G40 and the G60 as road cars, both soon to be released and as seen here, and in near production ready form.

Behind-the-scenes at the 1 Series M Coupe photoshoot – the customer’s view

SkiddMark reader Andrew Mulholland was one of the first customers to view BMW’s new 1 Series M Coupe when he joined us at our photoshoot last Thursday. He got the chance after responding to one of my tweets a few weeks ago (you can follow us at @DriversRepublic), offering a reader the chance to meet BMW’s new M car, and it took him all of about 3 seconds to accept the invitation when asked!

In the studio with BMW’s 1 Series M Coupe

It feels like we’ve been waiting an eternity to see BMW’s newest M-car set free of its body mask and released on the road. We’ll have to wait a little longer before it can be driven, so today is all about drinking in its muscular lines, discovering all of its unique M-features and describing what it’s really like to see for the first time.

Driven: BMW’s 2011 X3 xDrive20d SE

It seems fortuitous that BMW chose a snowy Austria for the UK launch of its new 2011 X3, in fact the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. As I write this, much of the UK is gripped by the most wintry November conditions in recent memory, Ideal for the four-wheel-drive SUV sector that BMW has targeted with its X3. But of course four-wheel-drive is only as useful as the traction available to a car’s tyres, so BMW also chose last week’s X3 launch to reveal its new range of winter-tyre packages available on all BMW and MINI models.

Sound-clip: 335i Coupe with BMW Performance kit

We’ve been spending some time this week in BMW’s 335i, fitted with the full catalogue of BMW Performance upgrades. Our initial plan was to use it as an ice-breaker for our interview with Lincolnshire racer Jack Harvey – runner-up in this year’s Formula BMW Europe Championship – but we decided to hang on to it for a few days to find out whether the BMW Performance range adds a worthwhile boost to the 300 bhp 335i’s repertoire.

Volvo S60 – Not naughty, but nice

Last month we asked the question, “Volvo’s S60 – Is It Naughty Enough?”, as we reviewed Volvo’s Naughty campaign used to launch the new S60 and V60 saloon and estate.

When examining the vast array of videos, microsites and social media content we concluded that there was simply too much – the average viewer neither has the time nor the interest to wade through 24 videos (now 26 including the recent V60 promotions) and such dilution of their focus can subsequently undermine sharing on social media channels as our brief analysis of the views and shares appears to prove.

First Drive: Honda CR-Z

“It doesn’t know what it’s trying to be, what’s it meant to be? Too schizophrenic for me.” These are the words of a fellow scribe who has also just spent the last 90 minutes in the East Midlands countryside driving Honda’s new hybrid offering – the CR-Z.

I personally don’t agree with this assessment, though even Honda themselves admit there’s no real competitor to its Honda Insight successor. Nevertheless, curious and intrigued by a car whose chassis designer claimed the Elise partly inspired the CR-Z, I popped along a week ahead of its UK launch to see what all the hype was about.

Ford Focus RS Test

Got back from France last night after 24hrs with the new RS. We took an R26 R and an STi along to add some context, and I have to say the results were pretty surprising.