Land Rover Defender

During the Jaguar Land Rover Event, I had opportunity to explore the legendary Land Rover Defender. My experience was all about the car, not just driving or off road. For many years, I was trying to get inside one of these cars and I had to wait for quite long time. Defender is not that easy to spot nowadays, they are not placed in every dealer. So, you either run after to see one or wait until to see one. I preferred the second one! Hopefully, I didn’t wait for that long, like a graduate trainee waiting to buy a Louis Vuitton bag! Land Rover PR team provided the Defender during the event and explored this oldie.
Unfortunately, there is no ergonomics inside the Defender. Everything is designed for its purpose and you are supposed to adjust your body for adapting to vehicle. This starts from the entering to Defender, you should be really careful and know how to get inside, otherwise you may hit your head. The gear lever is huge long plastic, the clutch is really heavy, the steering is the same, hand brake is placed really low, the engine sound can be felt inside your stomach, indicator switch is really outdated, windscreen heater’s plug is front of you (You may unplug it by yourself), dials and switches are designed to last forever but with sense of comfort.
In general, Defender is the last car you should buy if you are planning to drive it inside a city. It will be a really headache for you but all of these criticisms I made is there for a reason! This car is designed to cope with the toughest terrains on earth. All of these ugly and outdated switched can run and work under artic cold to desert hot and at same time you can be driving to your destination. This car is really unique piece automotive engineering and it is sad to see that product lifecycle is coming to end!


Jaguar XKR-S

As I promised, I am writing about the cars from the Jaguar Land Rover event. And I would like to start with Jaguar XKR-S. XKR-S is the lunatic version of the Jaguar XK! The extra two letters R-S may not seem like a big difference but these two words make the difference between day and night.
XK is a very nice GT car, you can drive for long journeys. It will always responses to your demands, everything is nicely packed, good handling and you know the rest. However, the XKR-S does the same things but in a more lunatic way. Because, it has a supercharged 5-lt petrol engine produces 550 PS of power and 680 nm of torque. And it is only 1,7 tonnes! With more basic words, this car accelerates and drives like crazy! Even if you are passenger, you can feel the power of the acceleration momentum in your whole body. Also, this car never shifts up the gears until you wish. In manual mode, gears not shifted automatically and sticks to desired one!
When I first saw this car, I never expected this level of engagement with the driver and exposure of power. It looks a bit over styled by the spoiler and a bit funny looking air intakes. You may be thinking, this car is just an over styled version of normal XK. But this is totally wrong! These entire design bits precisely explain the lunatic character of the car. Nothing is exaggerated, actually what you see is nothing.
And it is not limited with the engine, the gearbox, steering wheel, suspension. Everything is so well design, works with harmony with each other. It may not be as accurate as a Porsche 911, or delivers the Formula 1 technology like Ferrari. But, it is definitely a car that can blow you mind off. The engine is so powerful that you need to train your foot to avoid spinning the wheels even the traction is on. This is the only car that you should drive it in winter mode in daily basis, still winter mode does not make this car a domestic pet; it is still a lion!
The surprising thing with XKR-S is the engagement of the car with the driver. This is a real driver’s car and you would love to drive more and more. It may not look like an Aston Martin but it is way better than an Aston Martin.
In my opinion for this price tag, you cannot get something better! Of course, there are some minor issues with the car. The navigation screen is slow acting and blur, they have to replace the screen with a better resolution one. And the electric windows’ control buttons look cheap for this car. However, you won’t be interested on these thing while you driving.
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OTR £97,000
Two Door Coupe
Interior Trim:  WARM CHARCOAL
Interior veneer: PIANO BLACK
 Technical Information
·          Acceleration 0-to-60 mph
·          Acceleration 0-to-100 kph
·          Maximum speed – mph / kph
·          Maximum power – PS @ rpm / min
·          Torque – (EEC Nm) @rpm / min
·          Driven wheels
·          Engine 
4.2 secs
4.4 secs
186 / 300
550 / 405
6000 – 6500
680 / 502
2500 / 5500
AJ-V8 Gen III 5.0L
·          Emissions Class
·          Transmission
·          Combined Fuel Economy (mpg)
·          Fuel Tank Capacity (litres)
·          Kerb Vehicle Weight (kg)
·          CO2 g/km
Euro 5
6-speed auto

 Safety and Security

·          Remote control central locking with dead locking and drive-away locking
·          Microwave intrusion sensing
·          Engine immobiliser
·          Valet mode
·          Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
·          Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
·          Roll-over Protection System (Convertible only)
·          Airbags front and side (driver and front passenger)
·          Adaptive Restraint Technology System (A.R.T.S.TM)
·          Front and rear seat belt pre-tensioners
·          Front seat whiplash reduction system
·          Belt minder system (front seats only)
·          ISOFIX
·          Pedestrian Contact SensingTM – Automatically deployable bonnet system
·          Warning triangle
·          First aid kit
·          Jaguar Tyre Repair System
 Powertrain and Driving Dynamics
·           6-speed electronic automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential ShiftTM
·          JaguarDrive SelectorTM
·          JaguarDrive ControlTM with Winter Mode and Dynamic Mode
·          Adaptive Dynamics
·          Cruise Control with Automatic Speed Limiter (ASL)
·          Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
·          Electric Parking Brake (EPB) – drive-away release
·          Dynamic Stability Control (with Trac DSC mode
 Exterior Features
·          Bi-function HID Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, integrated cornering lights,
·          and automatic levelling
·          LED tail lamps
·          Automatic headlamps
·          Automatic headlamp washers
·          Rain sensing windscreen wipers
·          Heated exterior mirrors with electric adjustment, power-folding with auto-powerfold on locking vehicle, auto-dimming and memory function with integrated LED side repeaters and approach lamps
·          Front and rear parking aid with Touch-screen visual indicator
·          Rear spoiler
 Interior Features                                                                                                                                      
·          Dual zone automatic climate control
·          Auto-dimming interior rear view mirror
·          Auxiliary power socket (centre console)
·          Twin cup holders
·          Front electric windows with one touch open/close and anti-trap
·          Trip computer with message centre
·          Jaguar Smart Key SystemTM with Keyless start
·          Front ashtray and lighter
·          Phosphor blue halo illumination and interior mood lighting
·          Clock in Touch-screen
·          Memory function for driver’s and passenger seat, exterior mirrors
           and steering column
Main Features of XKR-S
·          Jaguar High Performance Braking System with Red calipers
·          Revised springs, revised dampers and forged and fully machined
           front knuckle
·          Uprated Active Differential
·          Uprated Adaptive Dynamics
·          10mm ride height reduction
·          Performance Active Exhaust with quad tailpipes
·          Unique front bumper with twin nacelles, broad vertical side intakes
           and carbon fibre splitter
·          Extended side sills
·          Rear apron featuring carbon fibre diffuser
·          Unique rear wing with carbon fibre inlay
·          Performance seats with carbon and soft grain leather (16/16 way)
·          Bright stainless steel pedals
·          XKR-S tread plates
 Multimedia                                                                                                                            Optional Features – retail prices include VAT
·          Front Media Interface with AUX socket, USB and iPod connectivity
·          Windows Media Audio (WMA) and MP3 compatibility
·          Bluetooth® telephone connectivity
·          Navigation system with DVD mapping
·          7 inch colour Touch-screen display
·          Tyre pressure monitoring system – £410
·          DAB – £360


Frog turns into Prince with BMW X3

I am pretty sure, most of you know this fairy tale. Prince turns into frog and princesses kisses the frog and he becomes prince again. If you are expecting a frog to become a prince, you need to wait for very long time! However, BMW achieved this with the new X3. The first BMW X3 was the most ugliest vehicle one market and the new one is the prince. I think nobody can kiss the first X3 for this huge improvement.
Five years ago, I had chance to drive an X3 but I didn’t dare to drive it. It was very ugly from outside and a catastrophe from the inside. Nothing was special with the X3, expect being magnificently ugly. With these emotional approaches to X3, I always ignored it. However, things have changed. BMW revealed the new X3 with a state of art design. When you consider with the previous one, new X3 is out of this world. It does not look bad, is more spacious, and as big as the previous X5!
On paper, things are not that bad with new one and it worth a drive. So, I visited the BMW’s Turkish distributor Borusan Automotive yesterday and I did something really unusual! I drove the X3 with excitement. I was expecting to satisfy with the vehicle and no chance of being disappointment. When I drove the car and played with its gadgets, my assumption turns into reality.
Exterior design is totally new and there is no relationship with the previous vehicle. The interior quality is really high and I couldn’t find any point to moan about it. The 8-speed auto gearbox works seamlessly, 2.0-lt 184 HP diesel is amazing, suspension is nimble, there are buttons to change the behaviour of gearbox, steering wheel, throttle and suspension from comfort to hard core, start and stop function works extremely well to save fuel, iDrive is usable, instrument panel is excellent with high quality display, Auto Hold function is useful for stop and go traffic and like X6, there is no rear view. I don’t know why, this new design team prevent drivers to see the cars behind you. This is the only thing I didn’t like with the new X3.And as usual, there is no off road ability thanks to too stiff suspensions.
Overall, I would buy the X3 instead of X5. X3 offers everything, which you can find in an X5 with a smaller engine to reduce your tax and insurance costs, and in addition it looks fresher! But if you are planning to buy an X3, order with wood interior and bird-view camera option. They will improve the excitement. Lastly, I didn’t compare the X3 with Range Rover Evoque. Evoque is a totally different type of vehicle. But X3 is the second best choice after the Evoque.
In Turkish;

Kurbağa prensi hemen hemen herkes çok iyi bilir. Prens kurbağaya döner, sonra prenses gelir öper ve kurbağa tekrar prens olur. Bunu gerçek hayatta görmek isterseniz, epey bir süre beklemeniz lazım! Biraz enteresan olabilir ama BMW bunu başardı. Yeni X3 bunun tam bir örneği. Birinci nesil X3, dünyadaki en çirkin arabalar arasındaki yerini asla kaybetmeyeceği kesin olmasına rağmen,  yeni nesil X3 bunun tam aksini ispatlıyor. Kurbağa prensi açısında olaya yaklaşırsak, X3’ü bu hale getirebilecek öpücük pek mümkün gibi gözükmüyor. 

Beş yıl önce, X3’ü kullanma şansım olmuştu ama pek kullanmak istemedim. Neden derseniz, iç ve dış tasarım insanı arabadan soğutuyordu ve içimden o arabayı kullanmak için hiçbir istek oluşmamıştı. Bu duygusal yoğunluk yüzünden yıllarca X3’ü göz ardı ettim, ta ki yeni nesil çıkana kadar. Eski X3 ile yenisini karşılaştırırsak, bu modelin dünya dışından bir yerden geldiğini düşünmek elde değil! Kesinlikle çok daha iyi bir tasarıma sahip, iç hacmi ciddi oranda artmış, hatta birinci nesil X5 kadar büyük! 

Kağıt üstünde bu veriler X3’ün çok daha iyi olduğunu gösteriyor ve en azından bir kere de olsa kullanmam gerektiğini düşündüm. Bunu içinde Borusan Otomotiv’e gittim. Yeni X3’ü tahmin edemeyeceğim bir heyecanla kullandım ve hiçbir şekilde hayal kırıklığı yaşamadım. 

Özellikle, dış tasarımı eskiden çok daha iyi, içeride kullanılan parçaların kalitesi ciddi olarak artmış ve şikayet edecek bir şey bulmak epey güç! 8 ileri otomatik şanzıman rahatsız etmeden vites geçişi sağlıyor, 2.0-lt dizel 184 beygir motor sorunsuz, süspansiyon çok iyi derece tepki veriyor, arabanın sürüş karakterini değiştiren butonlar mevcut, yakıt tüketimi için önemli olan dur ve git sistemi sorunsuz çalışıyor, iDrive kesinlikle kullanılabilir, gösterge paneli yüksek kalite görüntü sağlıyor. Bunula birlikte her X Serisinde olduğu gibi sert süspansiyon sayesinde arazi de gezmek biraz hayal oluyor. En umutsuz vaka ise, X6’da da olduğu gibi kısıtlı arka görüş. Neden bilmiyorum ama yeni nesil BMW’lerde böyle bir sorun var. 

Sonuç olarak, X3 kesinlikle alınabilecek bir araba. Hatta, X5 yerine bile tercih edebilirim. X5’deki hemen hemen her şeyi X3’de bulmak mümkün, daha küçük motorla vergi ve fiyat avantajı da olumlu. Bana kalırsa ahşap iç kaplama ve çoklu kamera sistemini de alırsanız X3 çok daha eğlenceli bir araba haline gelir. Son olarak, Evoque karışında X3’ü şansın biraz düşük ama Evoque tamamen yeni bir araç bu yüzden karşılaştırmak pek doğru olmaz. 

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I Drove It: Mercedes CLS 350 CDi

For the first time, I want to share my opinions on a car, which I drove recently. Usually I don’t write about test drives but sometimes it is worth to share with you. Recently, I drove the Mercedes CLS 350 CDI. CDI means diesel in Mercedes language. As usual, I was expecting a senseless driving experience with the CLS. Most of the Mercedes vehicles I drove for last five years did not give the same pleasure like BMW. I mean the sportiveness!
But this time, things have changed. CLS was not acting like a traditional conservative Mercedes, it was offering a real driving pleasure. Unlike other models, new CLS was a like a magnet. Trying to grab you more and more!
Actually, it was very agile and nimble for a Mercedes on its size. The steering wheel was not like a Porsche 911 but it was much better than many other Mercedes. Diesel engine did not have any turbo lag during the acceleration and offers a very smooth ride. Additionally, the 7g Tronic plus auto gearbox had some reluctance for kick downs but that’s acceptable (Actually many cars have this problem). Suspension was the standard steel springs, which are set to be sportive but also offer comfort. Don’t expect the BMW style suspension settings from a Mercedes.
Unfortunately, interior had some plastic bits and they annoyed me. The plastic parts of steering wheel were below the Mercedes standards but the dashboard was covered with leather. A good trade off! The CLS I drove had the Distronic Plus function. This system is a radar guided cruise control and enables the vehicle to stop and go without the driver’s interference on any pedals. Basically, you set the cruise control speed and just hold the steering wheel. The car slows down, accelerates and stops by its own. This function also offers the BAS Plus brake technology. This system detects a possible front impact and brakes the car autonomously, if the driver does not wish to brake!
Only one thing, I didn’t like! That was the ESP button. Actually, there is no existing ESP button on dashboard. Mercedes engineers decided to remove the button and place it on board computer. This made is very hard to turn off and find inside the menu labyrinth!
For me, it is the only four-door Mercedes offers fun to drive function. Worth to buy? Yes! And you must have the Distronic Plus function, it is the most entertaining function in a car, I have ever seen :) And I love Formula 1 style rear fog light
Technical data can be found in this address:

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