The 88 Tauri smartphone – grab the bull by the horns

Image via lamborghinimobile.com

Fancy owning something from Lamborghini, but don’t want to fork out for a Gallardo?

For the low price of $6,000* you can get your hands on the new 88 Tauri smartphone from Tonino Lamborghini. And we thought the iPhone was expensive.

It actually seems like the 88 Tauri has some decent specs. According to Hi Tech Mail, a Russian technology site, it will come with a 5-inch 1080p screen, two cameras (20 and 8 megapixels respectively, not to mention a 3,400 mAh battery.

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Follow that ghost

jlr_urbanwindscreen_followmeghostcar-and-transparent-pillars_01_LowResWe love companies that take video game concepts and introduce them to the real world. Like Jaguar, for example – a few months back they announced they were developing a virtual windscreen.

The eggheads at Jaguar are at it again; this time it’s a ‘follow me ghost car’, a virtual projection of a car which basically shows you where to go. One of the first things we thought of when we saw it is the AI opponents in the likes of the Gran Turismo videogames. Though increased safety is the idea behind the new technology, you just know someone’s going to try to fiddle with the mechanics, and turn the ghost guide into a racing opponent.

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Driven: the Jeep Cherokee

Jeep_1935_FS

The iconic Jeep brand has its roots in World War II. As war raged in Europe, the US military realised that it required an update for its reconnaissance vehicles, and invited 135 manufacturers to submit their ideas. From this competition, a design from Willys-Overland Quad prevailed, and soon became known as the Jeep, though it’s still uncertain exactly why – some people believe it was named after the popular Popeye cartoon character Eugene the Jeep.

Whatever the reason, it was a success, and more than half a million were produced for action. The name was trademarked by the company after the war, and was first turned into an off-road vehicle for farmers, swiftly followed by a civilian version. The rest, as they say, was history, and in the following years, the recognisable brand has remained the same at least in spirit, and Jeep has become a by-word for 4x4s or SUVs in Ireland.

Redesign

Jeep_1929_FSLooking at the new Cherokee, which comes after a ten year hiatus, you sense a coming together of past and present. The iconic front grille is still there, but has been pulled over the bonnet somewhat; the boxier shape and simple headlamps replaced by flowing curves and aggressive daytime running lights. Stitched into the leather steering wheel which features voice activation control is the phrase ‘Since 1941’. It’s all very nostalgic, but not over-the-top. It’s likely a divisive overhaul in the looks department, but you really need to see it in the flesh before you make up your mind.

Jeep haven’t been the biggest sellers on this side of the pond, but they’re hugely popular in the US, similar in some way to the success of Land Rover here and moreso in the UK. My test version was the Limited 2.0L turbo diesel with FWD and 138hp, married to a six speed manual gearbox. You can also get 4×4 versions of the Cherokee with either 140hp (six speed) or 170hp (nine speed auto). Once you get behind the wheel, you’ll quickly realise that it’s a car built for comfort rather than performance. Max speed is 187, 0-100km/h takes 10.9 seconds (which, to be honest, feels a little sluggish). It’s good for overtaking, but you won’t be winning any drag races (if that’s your thing).

Annual road tax is €280, given CO2 emissions of 139g/km, and we averaged a combined 6.5L/100km (43mpg) which isn’t bad for the class, and better than rivals from BMW or Volvo. In 4×4 models, the Cherokee has a rear axle disconnect feature – basically speaking you don’t expend as much energy when you’re not using all four wheels leading to better fuel consumption, and the car does the switching for you.

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Mansory Madness

MANSORY MB S-Klasse-front

There are two types of car people, we think. Those who look at a beautiful, powerful machine and think, ‘I’d like that.’ And those who look at the same car and think ‘I can make this even better.’

Tuning company Mansory definitely belong to the latter group. We’ve got something of a soft spot for them – they’re a bit like Brabus, specialising in taking nice, high-powered cars and applying their madness until a monster emerges. They’re not really known for holding back.

Their take on the Mercedes S63 AMG is no different. On the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is only a sportier version of the original model. The exterior hasn’t been changed too much – Mansory have only added roof and rear lips, adapted daytime running lights and a new bonnet cover, widened front wings and new side skirts.

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The Roundup: An Audi A9, JCB’s GT and Land Rover’s unofficial twin

An Audi A9?

Audi prologueWe’ve driven Audi’s A8, which sits atop Audi’s regular car pile. But that could be about to change. Meet the Audi prologue, which we could easily see slotting into the Audi line up as a newly introduced A9. A two door coupe concept car, it’s a mixture of power, comfort and surprising efficiency.

Powered by a 4.0L V8 TFSI engine, the prologue produces 605hp and 750Nm of torque, propelling it to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds. Better get used to the scenery passing by in a blur. Interestingly it also has all-wheel steering – the back wheels can turn up to five degrees, which means piloting the behemoth gets a little easier. If this is the prologue, we can’t wait for the full story.

Digging for gold

It’s official – JCB have the fastest digger in the world. Built inThe iconic JCB 3CX backhoe loader Staffordshire, the specially-modified JCB GT vehicle broke the record at Bathurst, near Sydney, Australia, confirmed by Guinness World Records as 72.58mph. That’s quite impressive when you think about it – we’ve driven cars which had trouble getting past 60. JCB invented the popular machine in 1953, and sold more than half a million over the past 61 years.

JCB’s demonstration driver, 43 year old Matthew Lucas, was behind the wheel of the modified version, which was designed to perform high-speed wheelies at racing events. That’s not a typo. Just don’t expect to see a repeat performance next time you drive past a building site.

Imitation isn’t always flattery

Range Rover Evoque (2)Jaguar Land Rover were understandably a little peeved when they discovered that a Chinese company had produced a carbon copy of the Range Rover Evoque and displayed it at the Guangzhou Motor Show 2014. At which Land Rover was also displaying their first Chinese-built Evoque. You have to at least admire their brass neck.

While a genuine Evoque will cost £40,000, the LandWind X7 is the equivalent of only £14,000. China is JLR’s biggest market, and sold more than 90,000 vehicles there last year. We’d be a little angry too.

This piece first appeared in the Q4 edition of Business Ireland magazine.