The Juke’s competition

downloadIt’s been a week for concept cars, and Toyota have added another entry into the ring. Also due to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show next month, the C-HR concept is a compact hybrid crossover. A much sportier model than the RAV4, it looks like Toyota will be going head-to-head with the similar Nissan Juke.

There weren’t any specifications included with the photos, but the C-HR does include a hybrid drivetrain, what appears to be keyless entry, muscled wheel arches and a sleek profile.

We’ll reserve judgement (it’s not mindblowing).

The customisable U2

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This is Toyota’s latest concept car, which has just made its world debut in New York. We’re not really sure how to describe it. For now it’s known as the U2, and was conceived by Toyota’s design studio in California.

Built with urban utility in mind, it has a few nifty features like a retractable utility bar for holding equipment, or your shopping, customisable side panels, tough bodywork, and a drop-down tailgate which can serve as a loading ramp. It’s as small as a compact car, but has the space of a van, and can serve as a pickup truck too.

Although it’s designed with Americans in mind, it’d be interesting to see a few pottering around on Irish roads.

Fiesta Road Rage

Considering the amount of people out there who appear to have learned to drive on a bicycle, it’s no wonder that even the best of us succumb to road rage every now and then. Some people reach the tipping point and just lose their cool completely. Like this guy, who cuts in front of a lorry, screeches to a halt and blocks up a dual carriageway.  The sole YouTube comment sums it up: ‘what a bellend’.

Peugeot’s Quartz concept

QUARTZ_1409STYP001Meet the Peugeot Quartz Concept – due to be unveiled to the world at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in October – a four wheel drive, hybrid crossover with 500bhp on tap. Following a line of some very tasty Peugeot concepts, including the Exalt, Onyx and the fantastic Dakar racer, the Quartz sounds a little conflicted about what it wants to be.

It’s powered by a 1.6L petrol engine with 270bhp, which drives the front wheels via a six speed automatic gearbox. There’s also a pair of electric motors on board – one on the front axle and one on the rear. You might be wondering where the full force of 500bhp comes into the picture. The Quartz has three drive modes; full EV (which will get you approximately 50km of travel), Road mode (only the front axle is engaged) and finally Race mode. When you select the Race setting, the Quartz harnesses the combined power of the petrol engine and the electric motors.

It’s quite the looker too, all sleek lines and curves, sitting on 23-inch alloy wheels. There’s an electronically retractable step for easy access and two rear spoilers which flow from the roof, not to mention the scissor doors. Inspired by basalt – a strong and light rock formed when magma cools – you’ll find a range of materials inside including digitally woven textile, black leather and red-tinged door frames milled from a composite material. Four bucket seats means there’s a little extra room to play with, while the driver’s ‘i-Cockpit’ includes a head-up display.

We like it already.

Tinder…for cars?

Image via AutoSwipe
Image via AutoSwipe

Dating app Tinder has been seemingly shooting from strength to strength over the past few months, with lots of happy couples forming relationships for varying lengths of time. It’s unsurprising that someone has attempted to replicate its success, but when you swipe right on this particular app, you could find yourself face-to-face with a used Ford Focus.

It’s called AutoSwipe, and works exactly like its dating counterpart – you just select the qualities you’re looking for in your (motoring) partner and AutoSwipe will give you a list on which you can swipe left to reject, or right to get in touch with the owner.

The app hasn’t launched yet, but will presumably be just for our American friends at first, though there’s no reason why it couldn’t spread further afield. Although, like Tinder, flicking right on a used car and messaging the seller is no substitute for checking it out in person. You never no what you could wind up with.

The new and improved Bentley Mulsanne

Mulsanne Speed

Allow us to introduce you to the aptly named Bentley Mulsanne ‘Speed’. Aptly named because this is Bentley’s fastest ever Mulsanne, which undoubtedly gives driver and passenger the same feeling as you’d experience while hurtling through hyperspace in a plushly decorated Millennium Falcon. Under the bonnet is a tuned 6.75L V8 producing 520 bhp and 1,100Nm, a powertrain which will deliver you from a standstill to 100km/h in a mere 4.9 seconds. In a room on wheels.

We won’t pretend to understand the Bentley engineers’ tinkering, but they’ve re-calibrated the engine management system and the gearbox, meaning torque is available the moment you push down on the throttle. There’s also a new ‘S’ mode, which keeps the engine revving above 2,000rpm, meaning the turbochargers are always ready to do their thing.

And it’s a Bentley, so expect an interior furnished to a degree greater than most people’s homes (think quilted panels and seats), four new paint colours, a 60GB hard drive for music and films, electronic tables, a frosted bottle cooler (including bespoke champagne glasses), and a 14-speaker 2,200W audio system. And that’s just a few items on the list.

It’s a beautiful car, matched by even more beautiful power stats. It does seem a little wasted, however. If stereotypes are anything to go by, then many of the Mulsanne’s buyers will be in the back seat, drinking chilled champagne and relaxing to the dulcet notes of Bach or Beethoven. At least the chauffeur will be happy.

Hot off the (printing) press

There are a number of claims to the world’s first 3D printed car, and the crowd-sourced firm Local Motors – based in Arizona – have firmly planted their flag in the arena.

Prepare to be excited.

Their effort is a combination of printed panels with regular underlying parts like the chassis, engine and the wheels, and took 44 hours to complete via 3D printer, with an extra day for milling and another two for assembly. It’s called the Strati, and it’s actually not half bad looking, like a combination of a go kart and a roadster. Compared to 2,000 parts for your average automobile, Local Motors say this has just 40. The bodywork, windscreen and various support structures around the car were churned out by the robot, while the powertrain (electric) was lifted from a Renault Twizy. And it’s not just for show — it actually drives too.

These are exciting times for the automotive industry, and while you won’t be sitting down at your laptop to print off a Ford anytime soon, something similar might not be completely mad in the years to come.

So, we have a definitive answer to the age old (in internet time) question — yes, we most certainly would download a car.

£150k bill for short lived Porsche owner

The Boxster in its original form. Photo: Reece Garside Photography via Flicr.
The Boxster in its original form. Photo: Reece Garside Photography via Flickr.

A Chinese driver managed to destroy her £50k Porsche Boxster – moments after leaving the dealership. Ping Ch’ang had just picked up her new Porsche from a showroom in Shenyang when she apparently confused the accelerator with the brake, and promptly shot forward into queue of cars waiting at the traffic lights.

Salesman Qiang Chiu was undoubtedly a little surprised. “”We were still waving her goodbye when she shot forward and there was a tremendous bang,” he said, according to the Mirror. “We’d warned her that it was a very powerful car.”

Chinese police have said that as all other cars were stopped, the Porsche driver is responsible, and will have to foot the bill for repairs for all cars involved, and compensation to the drivers, said to be around £150k overall.

Luckily, there were no injuries in the accident (except for the driver’s pride) and for the meantime, the broken Boxster is back at the garage as mechanics attempt to undertake extensive repairs. At least it didn’t have far to go.