It’s no secret that Opel has recently undergone some brand rejuvenation through its current offerings. Not too long ago you would look at the Corsa and think “meh”, but now you stop and think “hmm”. The Adam is a funky little car and I quite liked it. The Corsa seems a little more grown up but still maintains the funky persona found in its new sibling, the Adam. As I have mentioned in previous articles, a customer looking for something entry level will struggle to find a terrible car when comparing between the major brands. The competition is tight, so manufacturers have to make sure that they’re on their “A” game to stay in the running. So much so that nowadays you can get an entry level car with more spec in it than a luxury saloon from ten years ago.
The new Opel Corsa is an example of this, the Cosmo (top of the range version) for instance has xenons, bluetooth, touch screen radio and rain sensors as standard equipment. This is on top of the spicy little 1.0l 85kw/170Nm engine it has. Now if that doesn’t get it’s competitors sweating than maybe the fact that you can even get Park Assist as an option will. We spoke about saloons from ten years ago remember? Forget those cars, the Corsa of that time itself was as basic as a loaf of bread, now I can get Park Assist in the current one? That’s progression I tell you. Is it overkill? I don’t think so, let me tell you why. If you’re a person who has been around for a while, certain features like a touch screen radio and park assist will mean nothing to you. It’s all gimmicks to that type of client. The older generation that grew up on cassette players and cigarette lighters don’t get ditsy about things like those. My dad often says “as long as I can send texts and make calls, that’s fine”.
I on the other hand, being part of a newer generation, want something that can text, call, email and Instagram at the same time. Why? Because that is what I am used to. So when it comes to cars, for the target market of the new Opel Corsa, it makes sense to throw in all the options because that is what that target market wants. We are the gimmick generation and gimmicks sell. I wouldn’t say that the new Corsa is full or gimmicks, I would refer to them as “luxuries”. As much as I don’t like Park Assist in any car, the fact that you can get it in an entry level car like the new Opel Corsa makes me wonder what will be available in 2025. Happy Tech Tuesday
Not once has someone thought “slow” when the word Ferrari pops in their heads. Automatically, we think power, noise, beauty and price. With all this being true, the last decade of Ferrari’s have proven to be the most technical too. Technology has made the Ferrari’s of today become some of the most exciting cars to drive. The merger of technology and passion has been so well fused, we have seen many journalists lose their minds like three years olds receiving new Lego when driving these cars. A few weeks ago we spoke about Side Slip Control found in the 458 Speciale, now we have the new kid on the block to talk about, the 488 GTB. To the normal person, this car looks like a sort of different looking 458. Yes there are many characteristics that are similar to the old car, but this is a new car completely. First off the engine. It’s no shock to see a turbocharged Ferrari as the most legendary Ferrari, the F40 was a boosted beast. This time around, we have 21st century technology and things are far more sophisticated. For instance the 3.9l engine has ball bearing turbochargers with compressor wheels made from the same stuff you get in jet engines.
How’s that for bragging rights? Your golfing buddies won’t be able to top that. If they do top you, you can tell them that your car has just under 500…Kilowatts, not horsepower and 760Nm of torque. At this point, they will be phoning their bankers and organising themselves Bugattis to top you. The great thing with the 488 GTB is that not only do you have stupid power, you have the aerodynamics to back it up too. If you so happen to be on an airfield you can trust that your Vortex Generators,will keep your car stuck to the ground at high speed to make sure you can cruise at silly speeds. Vortex Generators? Yes these are appendages under the car which help direct air flow so that the car can generate more downforce at speed. See what I mean when I say Ferrari’s nowadays are packed with crazy tech? So if you’re rich enough to own one, be happy that your car shares many design elements with Sebastian Vettel’s car. If you don’t know who that is, google him and use it against your friends at the golf course. Happy Tech Tuesday…
Tech Tuesday: The new Civic Type R suspension and dampers
I don’t know how long it has been since we first heard about the upcoming Honda Civic Type R. My Honda loving friends have been already bragging about how it will destroy all the other hot hatches due to the fact that it’s turbocharged. The car is now officially revealed and I must be honest, it looks stellar. Honda has put their head on a block regarding this car, saying it will be the fastest hatch on the Nurburgring. They have managed to get some exciting times from their non production version of the Civic Type R, so let’s hope they can back it up with the road car. Power figures are steep with 228Kw and 400Nm, that’s definitely not something to take lightly. The problem with front wheel power houses like these is one, torque steer. Limited slip differentials can curb this, but often times you will still run the risk of running over an old lady each time you accelerate. Honda has another trick up their sleeves to counter this, that is through a system called Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension. This isn’t anything new, it’s essentially very similar to Ford and Renaults systems but with a different name to it. A few tweaks here and there, but the idea is the same.
The car also uses the same dampers as the Lambo Aventador SV, the Magnetorheological ones remember? Yeah so it packs a lot of interesting tech for a hatch. Judging by the reviews, the reactions are generally good, some not so good. With a 0-100kph time of 5.7 secs, I think it does the job from a performance point of view. It’s all about how it delivers that performance though, I’ll let you know the moment I get behind the wheel of one later this year. Till then, Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.
If you like rear engined German cars, you will notice that the only company that uses this platform have come out with a new car. Yes, Porsche has added another model to their range of 911’s and not just any model, but something rather special. The words RS have a special meaning to car lovers, if you want to make a car person salivate say those two words and you will have their attention. The reason being that most manufacturers know that there is a certain expectation when they place those letters on their cars. For instance, Audi’s RS3, Ford’s Focus RS and of course Porsche’s 911 RS’s, specifically the GT3 RS. The car has been anticipated for a while now and it’s finally here. As with all RS’s, this means more power by means of a bigger engine, better handling, more aggression and even better looks. Now the car looks amazing but there is one thing that made me second guess it’s fine lines. Above the front wheel arches you will find something that resembles parts of a George Foreman grill. These are vents and I don’t quite like them. They look somewhat trashy for this Porsche. Mind you the previous GT3 RS’s had Smartie coloured rims and graffiti on the panels, so it’s not like Porsche has been conservative in the styling of these models before.
Despite my disapproval, there is a reason for this out there feature on this car and it’s not for simple styling. These vents create downforce, which is what makes the car stick to the ground at higher speeds. It’s amazing that what we may think is purely styling is something that can double the downforce on a high performance sports car, such as is the case in the GT3 RS. Think of it like cycling shorts, they may look terrible, but they certainly help the cyclist be more aerodynamic whilst cycling. Many technologies have been added to the new Porsche GT3 RS and increased downforce has played a huge role in making this car better than it’s “softer” brother. So if ever you were asking yourself why Porsche placed bits of a fan to the fender of their car, it’s to make it go better. Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.
Magnetorheological suspension sounds like something that could threaten national security. In fact, I can see it in my minds eye, a super villain terrorising a city with it and a special elite force must come in and save humanity from it. Sounds like a cool movie doesn’t it? Well I hate to tell you that Magnetorheological suspension or dampers is a fancy type of vehicle suspension. The type of suspension you get on let’s say, the new Lamborghini Aventador SV. What does this suspension do? It cures any disease. No I lie, it makes for a super responsive ride through the use of Magnetorheological fluid which is filled in a shock absorber and controlled by a magnetic field. How? Science that’s how. All you need to know is that it makes your car handle very well especially in a car travelling very quickly. You see, if you’re on a track and you’re turning from one side to the other at great speeds, then braking very hard, chances are you’re going to get sick. Unless you’re used to the G-Force of being on a track. Now what Magnetorheological damping does is assist the car to handle those constant changes in direction smoothly therefore making the car handle better. Simple? So if you have a few million and would like to feel how that suspension works, get yourself a new Lamborghini Aventador SV. If the former isn’t possible watch this video to see how the car handles. Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.
I have a gripe with gourmet burgers and the hype behind them. The amount of times my friends have told me about “The most amazing burger I will have” has made me loathe the very notion of even trying out a new gourmet burger. See I am a foodie, so if you tell me that something will be the most amazing thing I have experienced, it makes me rather excited. When it’s not as good as you make it out to be, it feels like that one time you were promised a clown at your party but then it turned out to be your uncle. Why make as if Ronald Mcdonald himself will be the source of entertainment if I can clearly see that this is uncle Mordecai with a suit on? It’s so annoying. Then he has the audacity to say “what’s your name little boy?” Its Francisco! Remember? you took me to go watch Spiderman with your kids last week, you’re not fooling anyone, I know who you are. You see this annoyance? This is how I feel about self parking cars. These systems which use extra park distance control sensors basically tell you when to brake and accelerate whilst the car turns the wheel for you during a parking manoeuvre. The result? Nine times out of ten you look like a new driver that just passed their test because your instructor felt sorry for you because you wouldn’t stop crying. So in short, their useless.
To add insult to the injury these systems which barely work cost an extra fortune on new car and they encourage laziness too. I have driven three different vehicles with these systems and each time, they have disappointed me. Perhaps my uncle Mordecai is the chief designer, you never know with him. Check out a video of exactly what I am talking about and tell me if I am crazy.
PS: Surprisingly, there has been one gourmet burger that was in fact brilliant, maybe car makers will surprise me and develop a self parking system that works too.
Side Slip Control. That sounds like something used to prevent old people from falling down the stairs. It isn’t, trust me it isn’t. Instead, that is the name of a feature found in certain Ferrari’s such as the 458 Speciale. So what is this feature? To put it in its simplest form, this technology allows you to manage and maintain perfect oversteer. To put it simpler, this feature allows you to drift your Ferrari and look good doing it. How? Its all very complicated you see, it uses various things such as the diff, steering angle and a whole lot of other things I feel a man with a P.h.d would need to explain. All you need to know is that it helps you drift and I think that’s awesome enough. Prepare to see this feature in the upcoming 488 GTB which will soon be on the streets in many countries. For instance, most of us love sausages, we don’t want to know how their made as long as they taste good, that’s all. Now let’s see how this stuff works, and for that we need the help of Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar. Enjoy
So to start off Tech Tuesday on the right note, we need a car that will revolutionise the industry with certain features that it will have. We think the winner this week is the new upcoming BMW 7 series. If you are in the business of selling arms or legs, this is the car for you. Already the current 7 series is not for the shallow pocketed so you can imagine what the next one will cost, especially with some of the features that the car will have.
Remote Control Parking: Yes you read right, the new BMW 7 series will have a feature that will allow you to park the car using a your key.
LCD Key: The new BMW 7 series will have an LCD screen on the key. A BMW insider tells me that it’s very I8 like and that things like fuel range will be available to see on the key.
Structure: The new 7 series is a big car, so you can imagine that you would feel the weight whilst driving it, apparently not. The upcoming BMW 7 series will have components made of Carbon fibre, this will make the car better dynamically and economically too.
We look forward to spending some time in this car when it arrives in South Africa, until then, start saving or start selling.