Running on the rails

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Here in Ireland, trains are often the best or most relaxing way to commute to and from work in the cities (when they’ve not broken down, that is). Generally speaking there’s no stopping for red lights, no getting caught in traffic and there’s plenty of space to get up and stretch or move around – a very different experience to driving home in a car through Dublin or Cork city.

On the other hand, you can’t simply stop where you choose on a train, your luggage space is a lot more limited, and you have to share the rest of your booth or carriage with other people. And who wants that?

A one-off creation from Smart, however, has blended the two forms of travel in that greatest of desires that has driven humanity forward from a stone wheel to space-going rocket ships – to see if they could. The result of six months of engineering work and lots of CAD modelling has resulted in the Smart forrail, a modified Smart forfour designed to run along railway tracks.

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Brabus’ Biturbo monster

Brabus LogoApparently there’s a madness in the water when it comes to the world of powerful estates. Early this year we saw the launch of Audi’s RS6 Avant, while Swedish car maker Volvo have also got in on the act with their Polestar V60 estate.

While Mercedes themselves have the AMG E63, Brabus – the German high performance aftermarket company specialising in MB, Smart and Mayback – have upped the ante with the 850 Biturbo – a 6.0L 838 bhp version of the E63 AMG.

The original wasn’t exactly underpowered but this version is bonkers – a bored 5.9L engine with forged pistons and custom crankshaft, new turbos with larger compressors, special exhaust intake manifolds and an ECU upgrade gives the beast the ability to churn out a breathtaking 838 bhp and 1,069lb ft of torque (limited to 848lb ft, to ensure ‘longevity’). 0-100 takes just 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 217 mph.

Just imagine your kids’ faces when you decide to put your foot down on the school run.