General Motors have recently announced their new Hummer, bringing it back to life after the H3. This time, GM created the Hummer purely electric, and you may presume the driving range would be around 10km, I think everyone has the same concern.
Hummers are notoriously heavy, slow, and unreliable due to their electric power train, with the H1 being the exception. I know I sound slightly negative, but Hummers do not have a good reputation.
According to GM, Hummers are capable of delivering 1000 hp and 15,000 Nm of torque. I think this was a typo! Neither the drivetrain nor the tyres will be able to cope with this amount of torque and stress. The range is approximately 560km but turning on the Hummers front light could reduce the range to 50 km. They appear hilariously energy-consuming for an electric SUV and will feature two or three electric motors with 350 kW charge speed.
In my opinion, it will be fun to see an electric Hummer. Maybe this time GM will produce a Hummer that will not fall apart like the previous ones. We will see!
Recently, Rolls-Royce revealed the second generation Ghost. And I had the chance to see it at the HR Owen Mayfair London dealer. The first generation Ghost was unveiled in 2010. It was based on the F01 BMW 7 Series platform and uses a 6.6lt V12 N74 family engine with a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. It was a great success for the Rolls-Royce; the Ghost enabled them to reach a new audience and begin to capture Bentley’s market share. Also, a coupé and cabriolet version of the Ghost was revealed, named Dawn and Wraith respectively, both of which were very successful.
A decade has passed since Rolls-Royce first released the Ghost. This time, it is based on the Rolls-Royce’s in-house modular platform shared with the latest Phantom and Cullinan models. Instead of using the BMW 7-Series platform, Rolls-Royce wanted to create their own. However, the new Ghost features a 6.75lt V12 N74 family BMW engine. Sadly, Rolls-Royce does not have an engine factory yet (as far as I am aware).
The new Ghost is an all-wheel-drive based on BMW x-Drive technology (a perfect choice) including all-wheel steering. Now you can have the magic carpet experience driving the new Ghost. The front camera and laser scanner analyses the road surface and adjusts the suspension for added comfort. The Ghost is quieter than before; actually, too quiet, causing passengers to experience motion sickness. Therefore, they had to increase the noise level inside the cabin. Rolls-Royce also developed a new upper wishbone damper unit that has never been seen on any other car’s drivetrain.
BMW have included their latest driving assistance system in the new Ghost. I know Rolls-Royce does not wish to mention any mutual technology with the BMW, but without the BMW’s know-how, the Ghost would simply be an analogue car. To stay current in the luxury car market, you need a big company behind you. Just look at Aston Martin, no one is supporting them, and they struggle to keep up with the competition.
People usually say the features I mention are not particularly luxurious. However, the definition of luxury has changed dramatically. If your car does not have smartphone connectivity, it is obsolete. Overall, new Ghost is an amazing car will definitely regain the market share lost to the Bentley Flying Spur.
Coupe of weeks ago Gordon Wagener, the Chief Design Director of Mercedes-Benz, announced a brand-new G-Wagon. A collaboration with Virgil Abloh (founder of Off-White brand and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men wear collection). However, only one has been produced so far, with the project being named Project Gelandewagen. The car is inspired by the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG and looks fantastic.
The reason I am saying that this is a fantastic vehicle is because G63 AMG is undeniably the most pointless SUV. It has massive wheels, its engine is not fit for off-road drives, it makes too much meaningless noise and the exhaust is overexposed. I would even argue that the G63 AMG should have a different, bolder design than the traditional G-Wagon.
The Mercedes-Benz marketing team initially proposed the G-Wagon as a fashion item rather than a functional vehicle. Sure, this helped increase sales figures, but it distanced people like me from the G-Wagon. I think it’s a really good off-road vehicle which doesn’t need to offer an AMG engine. It should be something like a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – a true off-roader!
Now Mercedes-Benz has the opportunity to offer a proper G63 AMG; it has been designed by Virgil Abloh and Gordon Wagener, LV men’s fashion director and the founder of the Off-White brand. It is only a one-off project, but I think it should be mass produced.
A bit about the vehicle itself: literally everything inside the vehicle is removed. The steering wheel is from the AMG F1, the seats are from the AMG GT, the chunky door handles are done. There’s brand new paint inside and outside. All dials are replaced with the GT racing dials. Their massive slick tyres reduce suspension height and project for the headlamps with duct tape.
This is a proper G63 AMG – I loved it, and I believe this is how it should be offered.
A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity of seeing the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon, in person, on the King’s Road, Chelsea. I thought it was a CLA, and that someone had decided to remove the CL from the vehicle’s badge. Apparently, I was wrong! I should have read the Daimler AG’s press release more carefully, as the A-Class Saloon is an entirely different car than the CLA model.
I personally consider the CLA to be the most obsolete car on this planet, in fact, in our solar system! It looks like someone put the CLS into a dryer which resulted in the obscure looking CLA. The CLA is, however, a cash maker in emerging markets, where the taxation is burdensome on cars. Even taking this into account, it does not justify the awkward aesthetic of the CLA.
I have always considered the CLA to be the ‘Saloon’ version of the A-Class, with a similar frontage, the same interior but with a larger boot. Daimler AG headquarters had a different idea, launching the A-Class Saloon, based on expensive consultants, Excel spreadsheets, and very long reports to justify the advantages and differences over the CLA.
I have been interested in cars since I was a child, and I can even spot the model of a car at night. I could not, however, decipher the difference in design between the CLA and the A-Class Saloon. True, the A-Class Saloon has a higher roofline at the C-column, along with a few other variances, including the suspension which is probably a bit softer in the A-Class Saloon. Yet no glaringly obvious difference would entice someone to choose anything other than the cheapest.
The CLA is positioned as a sportier version, but the differences are so slight I doubt that someone would visit a dealer and measure the rooflines to then decide.
The CLA and A-Class Saloon will inevitably saturate each-others’ market share.
A similar situation occurred with the BMW brand. Take the BMW 3-Series Gran Tour and BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe; they look the same. I raised this issue on my blog and received an abundance of emails in response as so many people were bewildered about the difference or lack of difference between the two models. The only notable criterion was pricing, and this soon wore thin with the consumers, and consequently, the 3-Series Gran Tour was abandoned!
Inevitably this may also be the fate of the A-Class Saloon and the CLA. Someone accidently pitched the idea to Daimler AG, and it went into production.
Mercedes-Benz has finally revealed the interior design of the next-generation S-Class W223. Typically, the features you would see inside one S-Class model would be very similar ten years later on subsequent models, including safety technologies such as ESP and the pre-crash system. This time, Mercedes have broken the mould.
The brand is pushing the boundaries with its functionality, with touch-sensitive buttons or tiny touch screens included in its new model for the seat climate controls. The centre console of this S-Class is akin to the likes of the Audi A8, the Tesla Model S, and the Range Rover. There is a complete absence of physical buttons; now you control everything via a state-of-the-art touch screen. It is very much reminiscent of an iPad experience; however, it can be difficult to alter the aircon temperature, for example, whilst you are driving. The lack of real feedback of a physical button when using the touch screen is a concern, and this is a well-known issue.
The S-Class has taken the touch screen control to an entirely new dimension, with even the controls for seat temperature being controlled in this way! Heating and cooling controls for seats used to be psychical buttons. Notably, the Audi A8 still has these, which I consider to be the optimal experience. Now, if you wish to heat your seat, you have to look at the button area to see whether you are touching the correct one; otherwise, you can quickly cool down your seat on a cold winter drive!
Physical buttons allow us to gauge the pressure we apply to the button, and also how many times we have pressed it. These would be much more practical for users when in the motion of driving – something Mercedes have overlooked.
Regrettably, addiction to touch screens will increase the opportunity for a new type of accident. Until now, we haven’t experienced accidents due to driver distraction from touch screen controls, but this could be on the horizon with drivers of cars like this model having to overt their eyes from the road to manage the screen controls. Pre-crash technology systems may prevent such accidents, but there is no need to invent a new type of accident when the existing solutions work perfectly.
For the first time in my blog I will be covering news about the Corvette brand. The iconic American sports car, the Corvette C8 (Stingray spec is the factory default), is crossing the Atlantic and coming to Europe. To date, Corvettes were typically sold by private importers.
Regrettably, the Corvette has previously failed to offer an excellent handling experience due to its leaf spring suspension setup. Furthermore, its pushrod engine also fell short. The leaf spring setup of the Corvette was a composite material, to save weight and space, and the second-generation Volvo XC90 adopted the same structure. It was interestingly a fibre-reinforced plastic; yes, the Corvette used to encompass plastic suspension! The C8, however, has a magnetic suspension.
The C8 now comprises a more conventional independent suspension system, as the leaf spring system in a sports car inevitably won’t be popular in European countries. The engine is a V8 6.2-lt engine, with cylinder deactivation, 495 PS and 637 Nm is being produced. With these statistics, Corvette began to impress me! In addition, you will find an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The brakes are from Brembo, an electronic limited-slip differential is standard, performance data recorder, head-up display, sound system, as well as an array of gadgets.
The interior design hosts more buttons than the SpaceX Crew Dragon cockpit! Yes, Corvette’s interior design director decided to place all of the button controls onto the column; it is likely that you may trigger the seat heater whilst looking for the hazards!
Overall, if the Corvette were not named the Corvette, it would have been more impressive. Notwithstanding, these features and anticipated ground-breaking performance levels will capture the attention of many customers who are becoming bored of the European ‘norm’. The C8 is way better than the Maserati GranTurismo (it is nearly 15 years old) and more fuel-efficient than the Mercedes-Benz SL600. If you have the opportunity, give this car a chance!
Bugatti Chiron is the most powerful (and the most expensive) mass-produced vehicle currently available. In my personal opinion, Chiron is something from the early 2000s – using a W16 8.0 L engine to produce 1500-hp is a bit outdated. Chiron is an impressive car, but it doesn’t compare to the original Veyron that was the embodiment of a crazy idea brought to reality. Chiron is the polished version of the 1001-hp Bugatti Veyron.
Bugatti recently revealed an eccentric detail of the Chiron – the air conditioning unit. It is a system that cools you down when you press a button, but like everything in the Chiron, it is exaggerated. According to the press release, the air conditioning unit needs a cooling system, and that cooling system needs another cooling system! Understandably, this is due to the extensive heat generated by the W16 engine that produces 1500-hp and can travel up to 482 km/h (300 mph) Chiron Super Sport 300+ model.
As the numbers get mental, the laws of physics also start to push boundaries. To achieve the crazy speed of the Chiron, the windscreen is much larger and angled lower than an average car. Similarly, whilst the Sky View option offers two glass roofs, bringing additional sunlight to the interior, this results in a higher than average inner temperature.
Unlike regular cars, the air is not forced through the lower end of the windscreen. This action happens at speeds over 250 km/h. Therefore, the air conditioning compressor has to produce up to 10 kW to achieve cold air. As a guide, this amount of power could quickly cool down an 80 square meter apartment.
In ten years, we will see this technology downscaled to the other VW model for a more efficient cooling system. Sometimes I do wonder if VW Group is using the Bugatti brand as a testing bed and make it sellable to wealthy people so that while VW Group is doing its R&D, they recover some of the costs?
Mercedes-Benz recently revealed their next-generation user interface system for the upcoming S-Class. I didn’t have a chance to try the system, so my assumptions are based upon what I have observed from press releases and others’ experience.
Since the Tesla Model S was launched, there has been a trend to remove all buttons from the dashboard, instead of replacing all controls via a touchscreen glass panel. On paper, it is a great way of minimising the clutter of buttons on the dashboard, whilst upholding a current on-trend aesthetic that is technologically savvy. Undeniably, it also looks great from a design perspective; who doesn’t admire Bauhaus (form follows function)?
By removing all necessary physical buttons and replacing them with a touch screen also created a new source for vehicle accidents; I crashed while I was trying to adjust the climate control temperature.
This problem is ousted by Mercedes-Benz’s voice-activated technology. The system assumes that people will say something and the car will simply understand; wishful thinking? There are so many accent and sentence structures, it is extremely challenging for a computer to understand what we want. You can also control everything from the interior buttons and knobs whilst driving, therefore it is very easy and safe.
Of course, Mercedes-Benz didn’t simply release a funky user interface. They introduced probably the best navigation system launched yet. By implementing augmented reality into the front screen, the navigation system will show arrows and provide direction directly from the windscreen, placing them at the correct points, instead of telling you ‘turn right after 200 meters’.
I loved the augmented reality navigation system and, likely, other manufacturers and brands will soon follow suit. Admittedly, though, I am not in favour of buttonless dashboards. These will only act to increase accidents and distract people. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if operating a touch screen dashboard is a violation of traffic law. Yes, we need touch screens but not for everything. A hybrid approach would be more optimal than a smartphone approach. What is essentially copying and pasting a smartphone experience into a 2-tone metal object that can travel up to 250 km/h is not the way to move forward.
Here is the technical details of the MBUX (next generation S-Class W223):
Display: 1888 x 1728 resolution, 12.8-inch and 200-ppi (pixel-per-inch) (Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 458-ppi)
Storage: 320 GB SSD
Memory: 16 GB RAM with 41,790 MB/sec (bandwidth)
Bentley’s least iconic vehicle, the Bentayga has received a facelift. It was first introduced in 2015 and became the best-selling vehicle in the Bentley portfolio. In my opinion, this is not surprising, it should have been introduced a decade ago. The Bentayga is based on the Audi Q7 using the same MLBevo modular platform. It essentially shares everything with the Audi Q7.
Honestly, on paper, there is nothing not to like about the Bentayga, yet the exterior design is nothing short of a nightmare. When it was first introduced it had the same outdated front-end aesthetic from the Continental range. The Bentley Continental family was introduced in 2004, and ultimately, the Bentayga possessed this same 1990s years later, past the millennium!
Even despite this, loyal customers continued to order the Bentayga with its outdated look. Thankfully, Bentley decided to upgrade the front-end, giving it a complete overhaul. The result; the front-end is now improved, and the rear-end resembles a real estate version of Flying Spur.
Sadly, Bentayga’s design needs to be revised and taken back to the drawing board. Whatever they do, one side of the SUV looks terrible. I saw the rejuvenated Bentayga recently, and yes from the front, it looks better, but it looks terrible from behind and even more bizarre from the side. Despite this absurd design issue, the price tag is floating around £200,000!
The interior received a make-over as well, and now it looks the same as those in the Continental family, which is positive. Don’t expect different interiors for different vehicles, that era passed a long time ago. Nowadays, car companies try to keep costs as low as possible to survive. If the interior is designed well and is easy to use, I am happy to see it inside different models under the same brand.
Long story short, the Bentayga will be Bentley’s saving grace in these uncertain economic times. If you are looking for an SUV that is capable of performing under light off-road conditions, is reliable (I am betting that Audi is part sharing), and exudes luxury, then the Bentayga is your SUV!
The all-new Maserati twin-turbo V6 engine was recently unveiled. Until now, Maserati has historically used Ferrari power plants for the manufacture of its fleet. Essentially, Maserati only featured Ferrari engines, with the exception of their diesel models. With the recent estrangement of Ferrari / Maserati, a few years ago, Maserati has become autonomous for the first time in nearly 20 years with the production of this novel engine.
Maserati calls its engine the Nettuno. It generates an astonishing 630 PS at 7,500 rpm and 730 nm of torque between 3,000 to 5,000 rpm range. According to Maserati, this engine encompasses Formula 1 technology enabling it to reach this power through a 3-lt engine.
The Nettuno’s Formula 1 inspired technology; a dual spark plug design with a pre-chamber combustion zone is set to power the forthcoming Maserati MC20 mid-engine supercar. There are three main features of this engine; the pre-chamber, the lateral spark plug, and the twin injection system (direct and indirect). You can find more details on Maserati’s website.
Even though Maserati is pedaling this engine as 100% manufactured by Maserati themselves, in Modena, R & T (Road and Track) magazine have questioned the authenticity of the Nettuno, that appears to share some resemblance with the Ferrari and Alfa Romeo engines. Honestly, I couldn’t believe this engine was entirely developed without using Ferrari’s know-how. Here are some of the facts acknowledged by R & T magazine:
“The Nettuno specs list a 90-degree angle for the engine, a match for the F154. A cursory glance of the rear also shows a layout that is very similar to Ferrari’s V-8. The 88mm bore and 82mm stroke are a direct match for the F154 as found in the SF90 Stradale. The rev limit of 8,000 RPM is also a match for the SF90, which leads us to believe that development of the Nettuno may have started by removing two cylinders from that engine. The firing order of 1-6-3-4-2-5 for the Nettuno is also the same as the firing order of the F154-based V-6 found in Alfa Romeo vehicles.”
In my opinion; this is simply a great engine that offers F1 technology that can squeeze 630 PS from a 3-lt engine. Just 15 years ago, a 3-lt engine was only capable of delivering 250 PS power and now we have engines that can achieve more than double this. I am sure, there will be an exciting time ahead for the Maserati brand.