Skoda Starts Again

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If, by some chance, you’re in the market for a lime-green, Audi/VW-inspired saloon car, with massive alloys and a Skoda badge, you’re in luck.

20140226_SKODA_VisionC_rearThat’s because Skoda have just announced their VisionC concept model, “the next stage in the development of Skoda design language” as Skoda themselves put it, in that form of English known only to marketing executives.

So far we’ve learned that it’s a five door coupé with room for four people and (unsurprising in a Skoda) plenty of space for luggage in the boot. Under the bonnet is a 1.4 TSI turbo engine with 108bhp running on either petrol or natural gas, with estimated fuel-efficiency figures of around 70mpg. 20142026_SKODA_VisionC_front

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Lotus take on two wheels

Photo from thelotusforums.com

We here at Car Craic aren’t really the biggest fans of motorbikes, mostly because we can’t drive them, and also because of an unfortunate incident involving a bicycle when we were six. Still, there’s something undeniably cool about the C-01 – the first ever motorbike from Lotus.

Lotus aren’t the first car manufacturer to produce a motorbike – Caterham have already got in on this act – and on first glance, it doesn’t appear as though they’ve done a terrible job. It’s not quite modern in its style – more of a blend of a drag racer and early motorised bikes. It’s early days yet, however, and until the design comes to life and our roads, we can’t really tell if you’ll look really cool, or a like a twat.

Designed by Daniel Simon of the VW Group – the man behind the design of large parts of the Bugatti Veyron and a futuristic Tron motorbike – the C-01 will be powered by a 4 stroke 200 bhp V-Twin engine, while weighing in around 181 kg. There’re no official figures available just yet on how fast this thing will go, but expect the surrounding countryside to blur into oblivion. Only 100 units of the limited edition motorcycle are going to be made, which instantly makes two things clear – it’ll be in huge demand, and it will undoubtedly be expensive.

Now that Lotus have dipped their toe in unfamiliar waters, perhaps it’s time for Lamborghini and Ferrari to take things in a different direction? For now, a prototype of the C-01 has been built, equipped with 200 bhp to tear along the roads in test mode. Keep an eye out on a ditch near you.

There’s a (second) new McLaren in town

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In the wake of the McLaren P1, the supercar the world just can’t get enough of, comes yet another beast from the British automaker – the McLaren 650S. Named for its power output (650PS in metric power), this will undoubtedly be a truly exhilerating car. Mid-engined, its top speed will be 331kph, with 0-60 times of just 3.1 seconds. The 3.8L V8 turbo engine churns out a most impressive 641 bhp, regulated through a 7 speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Things can get a little confusing, quickly. It’s a little like an updated 12C, yet in the McLaren line-up, it joins the range alongside the 12C – though higher in the pecking order – and the fabulous P1. Wherever it takes its design cues from, it really is a beautiful car. McLaren say the car’s design 05_mclaren_650s_coupewas inspired by the sold-out P1, and on the front, the P1’s influence is obvious. Aerodynamics is the name of the game here, and an integrated front splitter increases downforce while unique door blades just behind the front wheels also contribute to front end grip and balance. The bodywork is functional as well as beautiful; aerodynamic performance is the same as the 12C yet the air is worked more efficiently – at 150mph downforce levels are increased by 24 per cent, according to the company.

At the back the McLaren Airbrake (originally fitted to the 12C and 12C Spider) can be found, deploying whenever the car senses extra downforce might just come in handy. Beneath this the three-piece bumper, which isn’t too different from the GT3 version of the McLaren 12C, rounds out the car nicely.

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Car Enthusiasts – Assemble!

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The RIAC National Classic Car Show will be on at the RDS on the 1st and 2nd March (Saturday and Sunday for those of you who haven’t got the energy to open the calendar). And if you love cars, then you’re going to want to be there this year.

Amongst the usual litany of classic cars, trucks, motorcycles and various other vehicles will be the Lamborghini Miura, also known as the world’s first supercar. Produced by the Italian automaker between 1967 and 1973, the Miura is believed to be behind the move towards two-seater, mid-engined sports cars. When it was first launched, it was the fastest production car you could get your hands on, powered by a 3.9L V12 engine which churned out around 350 horsepowers with a top speed of 283 km/h.

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Explosive Drag Racing

Have you ever seen what happens when a 7,000 hp engine explodes? No? What on earth are you doing with your life?

American drag racer Ron Capps has some unfortunate first-hand experience with just such a situation – while running his Dodge Charger R/T in the National Hot Rod Association’s 300mph class, pieces of the engine suddenly flew off, as did bits of the top of the car’s carbon fiber body. In a remarkably calm and succinct description, “You go from a car that’s all dark [inside] and then you’re [driving] a convertible,” said Capps.

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Let the drone wars begin…

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As all drivers will know, there isn’t much which is more painful than the sight of brake lights lighting up in front of you on the road, while all the cars around you gradually slow to a complete and frustrating halt. Yup, you’re right in the middle of yet another traffic jam, something which can turn even the most patient driver into a roiling hurricane of hatred.

Presumably some of the designers at Renault have to brave the traffic on their way into work, giving rise to the new Kwid concept, which includes a small drone which can be deployed from the roof and sent on ahead to let you know just exactly what it is you’ve been cursing for the past half an hour.

Don't bother running. We'll always find you.
Don’t bother running. We’ll always find you.

It’s actually a great idea – the drone can be released at the press of a button and will either follow the car or buzz ahead on a pre-determined route, all the while beaming back images to a dashboard-mounted tablet. It’d be worth it just for the looks on the face of the drivers in your vicinity. According to Renault, the Kwid is aimed at the younger market, as evidenced by the oversized wheels, bright yellow colour scheme and the funky white interior of its initial release photos.

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