Thought Thursday: McLaren’s new 570S and the future of fast cars.
The super car segment has never been as versatile as it is today, with choice being on the side of the consumer. I feel sorry for the man or woman who has the fortune to spend on a car such as this, because when you’re spending upwards of R2,5 million, it’s not a case of eeny meeny miny mo. Or is it? I wouldn’t know because I have never had the “nice life problem” of being in such a predicament. If I was in that position though, I would need to do some thinking before signing any papers, especially after McLaren decided to make things a little bit more complicated.
What would I buy if I had R3 million?
Traditionally, If one wanted something fast and expensive that could be used everyday, the Porsche Turbo was the answer to all your needs. It was the best value for money performance car that would not make you look out of place when you played golf with your Ferrari and Lamborghini owning friends. That changed when the new Porsche Turbo S came out costing around R3 million rand. That being said the Porsche Turbo clientèle are a very specific group of individuals, so even though the cost of the new car increased drastically, they still bought the new car. This is because these clients require everyday usability coupled with immense power, something the Turbo offers second to none. Until now it seems.
The folks from Woking have introduced a car that may make the folks from Stuttgart lose sleep. Say hello to the McLaren 570S, a 0-100 km/h in 3.2 second, 3.8 litre twin turbo car that looks like a younger version of the P1. This car aims to look the likes of the Porsche Turbo right in the eyes and face off with it like arch enemies in an old western movie. The 570S is the entry level McLaren, called the Sports Series segment for the brand. The car produces insane numbers even though it is the entry level McLaren, with 419 kW and 600 Nm. The most ludicrous bit about the 570S is the fact that it can get to 200 km/h in 9.5 seconds.
What will be the preferred choice?
The problem is that the top offerings in this choice of car, all represent the same thing, power, sophistication and success. They all offer extraordinary performance and amazing dynamic attributes and lastly they both are very beautiful cars. The McLaren is more flamboyant aesthetically, especially with doors that open up the way they do. This both a positive and a negative, in terms of elusiveness its a negative but at the same time, if you’re spending that amount of money you want something that will set you apart. The fact that the McLaren is so different is what may give it an edge against its competitors.
McLaren is clearly on a mission, a mission to change the way we look at super cars. In a short space of time, cars like the MC-12, the 650S and the P1 have solidified the brand into a staple in the super and hyper car segment. One get’s a feeling of determination from the brand, a determination to be the best. This determination is working because a few years ago when one thought of the best super cars, automatically you would think Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. Today I think many would say Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche. The future shall be very interesting indeed. Happy Thought Thursday Motorists.
Fresh off the press: The New Toyota Prius
If the executives of large car brands are petty amongst their competitors, Toyota has every reason to say “I told you so” to other manufacturers. This is because before the millennium already, they were at the forefront of pushing the word “Green” amongst the car makers. This was done through the first generation Prius (which means “to go before”), the worlds first mass produced electric and petrol engined hybrid vehicle. This car was definitely revolutionary, especially during a time where many other manufacturers were going bigger and better in terms of engine size.
The second and third generation Toyota Auris’ are the cars that became celeb-mobiles, as these were offered in different markets other than Japan. The car started to carry a “holier than thou” stigma to it in the States because many celebrities drove them to prove that they care about the environment almost to say “if you don’t own one, you’re an earth-hater”. As much as many people rolled their eyes when Toyota was pushing greener cars, they soldiered on. Fast forward to 2015 and Toyota must be donning a face so smug because most manufacturers are now on the same page when it comes to environmentally friendly cars.
Which brings us to the 2015 Toyota Prius, it uses the same setup as its predecessors but with a new bold look and design to it. Toyota says it wanted to steer away from the look of a hybrid and rather employ sportier design cues to the car. Like the current Auris, the new Prius does look good. It’s unique it’s is design and looks quite space age too. Of course being newer, the car is also more efficient as well. Toyota also says the new Auris is more fun to drive as they have improved on the car dynamically, giving it it more of a planted feel. This has been achieved through lowering the car and making it wider. The Toyota has never been cramped inside so don’t expect anything to change with the new version too. The car still offers good interior space and if it drives anything like its siblings, it should provide good comfort too. We’re sure you can start enquiring about the car at local dealerships now. It’s a good thing we’re in South Africa so one won’t have to be put behind the Brad and Angelina on the waiting list.
Tech Tuesday: Range Rover’s James bond inspired Sentinel.
Do you wake up in a cold sweat at night because you think people are coming for you? Do you suffer from paranoia? Do you introduce yourself by your last name then your first name, like James Bond? If so Range Rover has a vehicle for you, it’s called the Range Rover sentinel. Now maybe you don’t have the problems listed above, but you are somewhat of an important individual that people may want to kill, like a president or a member of the Royal family. If that is the case you will be happy to know that the Range Rover Sentinel is bulletproof, bomb proof and even grenade proof too. This is the first armoured Range Rover that has been developed in house by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations.
How bulletproof is it?
From a scale of 1-bulletproof, the Range Rover Sentinel can withstand 7,62mm armour piercing rounds. It can also withstand 15kg of TNT and grenades thrown under the vehicle too. The car has a protective shell around it which is basically a fortress on its own. The glass fitted in the car can withstand the same type of armour, so you don’t have to worry about any potential threats getting at you through the windows. Basically when you close the doors of this car, you are driving in Fort Knox.
Isn’t the car heavier now that is fitted with all this armour?
Yes the car is definitely much heavier, but it can still manoeuvre through danger like a boss. This is because the brains behind the car have beefed up the suspension by strengthening the dampers and upgrading the braking system. If the attack on you is so bad that your driver needs to go off road, the vehicle won’t be compromised as it’s still a Range Rover and can do all sorts of great off road stunts. The tyres are even strengthened to handle this. If all else fails and the car can’t drive you can always escape through the trap door found in between the rear seats.
What is the point of the Range Rover Sentinel?
As ridiculous as this car sounds, it makes perfect business sense for Range Rover. Why sell a luxury car to politicians and wealthy business people who are going to take the car to get armoured by external companies, when you can do it yourself? This cuts out the middle man and lessens the work for the representatives of the people who buy these cars. Armouring a vehicle is already expensive so why don’t you pay a once off fee and buy a finished product from a reputable car maker?
How much does it cost?
Which brings us to the most important thing, the price. The Sentinel will cost around £400 000. Yes, that is a lot of money. Again though, if you’re a president, what’s £400K? If you’re a super rich business person who fears for his/her life, what’s £400K? That money is a lot for the normal person, but if you need a car like that, you’re not a normal person. The great thing about the Sentinel is that even though it’s James Bond inspired, outside it looks like a normal Autobiography, so no one knows how important you are. The blue light brigade are going to be so chuffed. Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.
Mini’s fastest S yet, the JCW Cooper S.
John Cooper was a man who had an extreme passion for motorsport, a man who was a proper petrol head. His passion for cars saw him competing in various races but he became a legend through his business, the Cooper Car Company. This company which was co-founded by himself and his father, created small single seater race cars that pioneered many design elements for race cars of the future. Fast forward a few decades later and John Cooper was behind the Mini Cooper and Cooper S, the fast versions of the original Mini. These cars were used for rally and were very good at it too.
Has the John Cooper legacy lived on?
John Cooper was a man who loved some good old fun whilst driving. Anyone who has driven a new age Mini Cooper S can agree that it is possibly one of the best handling fun hatches to drive. So the definite answer to that question is a whole-hearted yes. I wonder what John Cooper would say if he was alive today and knew that the current car bearing his name produced 170 kW and 320Nm? I think he would be well impressed by those figures.
Those figures aren’t ridiculous, there are other hot hatches that produce more than that. That being said, those other hatches don’t weigh less than 1300 Kg, something the Mini has as an advantage. They say less is more, in the case of the JCW Mini Cooper S this is true. The vehicle accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds, which is properly quick for a small hatch. This new JCW version is the fastest production Mini ever made and the coolest looking too. There is nothing soft looking about it, it’s screams aggression in a sophisticated kind of way.
There is no such thing as being sophisticated when behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper S JCW though. The normal Mini Cooper S already makes one act like a small child on a sugar rush, so one can only imagine what the JCW does to an even remotely well composed individual. That is the point of the car though, it’s not meant to be calm, it’s meant to excite you and set your pants on fire, that is what John Cooper would’ve wanted. It’s good to see that even under new management, the name John Cooper has not been watered down, his legacy has lived on. His legacy was a simply one too, a small car, a good engine and a brilliant chassis. Happy Modded Monday Motorists.