It's a bit bigger in every dimension, better on fuel, and even a bit faster than ever before. What do you think of it?
It didn't necessarily have to be Essex but that's where Car Limits is based, at North Weald Airfield. Car Limits principally concerns itself with teaching car control in your own vehicle, so whilst I'm usually a plodding pace car, or frantically chasing down far more powerful opposition in a David versus Goliath matchups, I felt it was time to give the plucky underdog an edge.
Performance driving schools all strive for an identical result but they get there through slightly varied methods; the focus of Car Limits is steering. This isn't simply about using the wheel, … Read more
Winter is an interesting time of year. It gets cold, people spend more time at home watching interesting TV (why else do you think there's chuff all good on in the summer?), couples spend more time...together, Christmas happens, and those of weak disposition moan about the weather.
It's also when SUV owners with four-wheel drive get smug. "Oh, well the bad weather doesn't bother me. I have a Range Rover, you know.
"Having the power delivered to all four wheels means that when the weather goes south I'll be able to drive as … Read more
The first-generation Cayman showed that you didn't have to buy a 911 to have an amazing Porsche experience. It also helped that it cut a fine figure pootling down the road. Now there's a new Cayman and it's better than its predecessor.
It shares much with the Boxster -- its look, engine, and interior are all pretty much the same. The biggest difference, as before, is its roofline. That extra roofyness gives it a cleaner look and a touch more rigidity that makes it feel just that little bit better than the drop-top Boxster.
Unlike the last-generation … Read more
Audi's quite a greedy company when you think about it. Not only has it cornered the market on four-wheel-drive fun, but it's also got the whole "subtle brutality" thing down as well. The new RS 4 is a perfect combination of both.
Audi's got form when it comes to fast estates -- 1994's RS 2 was the firm's first, and it was pretty cool. Developed with Porsche, it could hit 30 mph faster than a McLaren F1.
That's quite something, isn't it?
From then on Audi's portfolio of RS cars … Read more
Mercedes makes a car for every niche nowadays -- need a car for transporting the President? Why not an S-Class. How's about for taking the kids to school? There's a C-Class or E-Class for that. Need some supercar kicks? SLS AMG for you, sir. There's a Merc for every occasion. There didn't used to be though, so when the G-Wagen appeared in the late 70's it was quite a big deal.
Mercedes wanted to build a car that could take on any terrain, that a farmer could use (if he was minted), or a military … Read more
Rally cars: They look like the cars you see on the street, but that's pretty much where the similarity ends. We asked Andreas Mikkelsen to teach us to drive his Skoda Fabia S2000 to see how different they are...
The saying goes, "If you don't ask, you don't get," right? It took one slightly tipsy ask at the Skoda Citigo launch to see whether Skoda would be foolish enough to let me have a go in its internationally acclaimed Fabia S2000 rally car. It turns out: yes, we could have a play. Not only that, … Read more
Pagani makes the kind of cars that most people dream about. They've got big wings, big engines, interiors out of 1940s sci-fi, and designs that look like they came from Mars. They're also pretty rare -- there are around 150 Zondas in the world, and only a handful of Huayras. A trip to Pagani has been on XCAR's imaginary list for a while, so the day I received an e-mail inviting me to try out the firm's 730 horsepower Huayra was a rather good one.
Pagani Automobili is based on a rather unassuming industrial estate near … Read more
Single-cylinder engines are the simplest form of engine. They have just one piston and tend to be mounted either horizontally or vertically. You'll typically find single-cylinder engines in lawn mowers, scooters, and bikes because of their size and simplicity.
The most common engine is the "straight" engine. These tend to have four or six cylinders. Most cars come with a straight-four engine because they are relatively compact and offer a good potential mix of refinement, power, and economy. In some cases you may find straight engines referred to as "slant" engines, if the cylinders are … Read more
Downsizing is one of the automotive industry's biggest buzz words at the moment, with most manufacturers swapping large engines for small turbocharged versions to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Sounds great, but the idea is nothing new.
Back in the 1980s, there was an entire crop of forced induction superminis breathing fire into the small-car segment. By the 1990s they'd almost all died out as small hot hatches used larger, naturally aspirated engines. It's ironic to see their descendants going full circle.
There's still a lot of fun to be had with a boxy, boosted … Read more