Friday, June 19, 2015

Weird weeks of the Car

The Ferrari 458 Speciale officially has the best engine
"The 488 doesn't have quite the tingling effervescence of the 458, doesn't goad you to the redline in quite the same way, doesn't sing so lustily when you get there..."
So said we when we got our oppo-applying mitts on Ferrari's new V8 supercar a couple of weeks ago. And it would appear the wise, presumably lead-footed judges of the International Engine of the Year Awards - yep, that's a thing - agree.
The 458 Speciale's wondrous 4.5-litre V8, in all its 597bhp naturally aspirated goodness, has just picked up the ‘Above 4-litre' trophy for the second year on the trot, following wins for the F12 Berlinetta's V12 and the regular 458's V8 in the years before.
We're intrigued to see if the 488 can continue the run of success when the Speciale has shuffled its way off this mortal coil. Of course, that twin-turbo V8 will be competing in the sub-four-litre class...

This is a Jaguar XJR fire engine
Mere days after Jaguar threw the facelift treatment at its XJ super saloon, the big Brit limo has been turned into a chase car for Bloodhound SSC.
It joins a blue'n'orange liveried F-Type as one of the (fingers crossed) 1,000mph record-breaking car's Rapid Response Vehicles.
It's no longer a luxury-rich limo, the XJ's back seats ripped out and replaced with all manner of rescue equipment, including various fire-fighting foams and some cutting equipment.
Ensuring it reaches the hopefully hypothetical accident in good haste, the XJR's 542bhp supercharged V8 is in charge of propulsion.
The coolest fire engine on the planet?

You can limbo under a car
Well, this girl can, apparently garnering a new record in the process.
Shemika Charles reckons she's the first person to have shimmied her way under a car. The bendy 22-year-old did so after seeking a new challenge having been unable to better her world-record 8.5inch limbo - the height of a beer bottle.
Charles trains for six hours a day, performs limbo for a living and has been described as a "freak of nature" by her chiropractor. Mercifully for anyone with eyes, this is a record TG will not be attempting to beat...

There will soon be see-through trucks...
Good news, nervy overtakers: help is at hand. Samsung has developed something called ‘The Safety Truck', a lorry that uses a camera up front and telly screen out back to project the road ahead to frustrated drivers stuck behind.
Dangerous jabs onto the wrong side of the road to seek an overtaking opportunity are a thing of the past, then, providing you've got faith in the technology. Here's hoping there's no lag in the system.
Whether the big TVs can be linked up to media players to entertain gridlocked traffic jams hasn't been confirmed, though the potential DVD content of a lorry driver's cab may have immediately marked that out as a bad idea.

Bentley seems to be naming cars after ugly whale breeds
Bentley's going to get a reputation. Only a small handful of months after christening its SUV ‘Bentayga', to the dismay of people who like nice words, the Crewe firm has bestowed the word ‘Beluga' upon this Flying Spur special edition.
Beluga Specification basically sportifies your large, fast saloon, serving up "more athletic stance and purposeful visual appeal" via some 20-inch machined alloy wheels and gloss black detailing on the outside, with deep pile carpets and knurled gear shift paddles inside.
The poshness of it all ought to answer the following question: does its name refer to the Beluga whale, or Beluga caviar?

The Toyota Camatte is a real working car for kids
The Cozy Coupe may be the world's best-selling ‘car', but Toyota has left it looking less than smart.
The Toyota Camatte Hajime, to give it its fullest title, is a car for kids offering far more than some cheaply assembled plastic requiring imagination and brum-brum noises.
It's a real working machine, and doesn't it look, well, flipping brilliant? At 3 metres long it sits somewhere between a Smart Fortwo and Forfour, and it's nearly as wide too.
But it looks heaps more fun, even if Toyota hasn't released a power figure for its electric motor. The much bigger question is this: can big kids have a go too?