Ned Jasper

Ned Jasper | 2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Ned Jasper is back, and he’s got the latest on the latest addition to the Porsche model range. It’s not rear-engined, but there’s certainly a lot going on out back!

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

I’m told that good things come to those who wait. So, considering the Panamera Sport Turismo is the first Porsche estate car to leave Stuttgart since the company was founded back in 1931. It better be good! Thankfully, the first impressions are good. Very very good. The front half of the Sport Turismo is near enough identical to a ‘normal’ Panamera. That means handsome looks and road presence akin to that of a supercar.

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

But it’s what happens around the back that matters. Gone is the standard Panamera’s slopping 911-esque roof line. In its place, is in my eyes, the best looking car rear end not just of the year, but of the last decade. The Porsche design language remains clear, with hints of 911 and Macan showing face. However, the combination of the squatted rear, combined with the giant muscular haunches, is just so spot on.

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

The interior of the Sport Turismo remains near identical to that of the standard Panamera. That means svelte materials, contemporary shapes and angles, plus there’s a colour scheme almost as rich as the kind of person who can afford to buy one. Who knew brown could look so good, eh? Move towards the rear and you’ll begin to notice the differences. Or should I say, the difference! With the Sport Turismo being an estate after all, it was only right of Porsche to fit a proper rear bench. It seats three, and is capable of folding flat in 40:20:40 sections. Practical.

Despite the rather large exterior changes, the boot space isn’t too dissimilar to that of the standard Panamera, with the ST boasting just 25 litres extra space. That’s about the same size as a medium suitcase. The total room available is 520 litres or 1,390 with the rear seats folded down – Panamera van, anyone?! (more…)

Top Seven New Cars of 2016 | With Ned Jasper

Yeah, 2016 probably won’t go down as a vintage year in terms of global politics and current affairs. However, when it comes to new cars, it’s most certainly been a classic! As the man who has covered the biggest new releases for ESM this year, our man Ned Jasper picks his top seven.

Top 7 New Cars of 2016

Well, here it is. Christmas time 2016. That means festive tunes fill the airwaves, trees go up and presents are bought. That also means that it’s nearly the end of 2016. So let’s take a look back at some of the greatest new cars to come out this year. This is ESM’s top five new cars of 2016. Actually, it’s not. There were so many good contenders this year that we stretched it to seven! Yes, yes, I know I said that last year as well, but this year we really have had some rather special cars released. Here they are:

7. Porsche 718 Boxster S2016 718 Boxster SI know what you’re thinking. Great intro, best cars of 2016, and now I’m presenting you with a Porsche Boxster. What is going on? I had my reservations about this one too. This is the baby Porsche, only with fewer cylinders and a turbocharger. Not really a recipe for success is it? However, it’s been 11 months since this little gem was released and, I must say, it’s grown on me.

First, let’s talk about the heart of this little orange and black tiger. It’s down two cylinders from the previous model, but it’s up one turbo and a whole heap of power. What’s more, the Boxster S has a variable vane turbo – not necessarily something you would expect to find from this class of car.

So what about the rest of it? Underneath we have the same mid-engined, rear-wheel drive, sports car with a manual gearbox (PDK is available, too) that’s been entertaining drivers for nearly two decades. Despite the engine alterations, the recipe remains unchanged with superb handling and excellent composure. Only this time with a little more grunt. Well worthy of the number 7 spot.

 

6. McLaren 570GT2016 McLaren 570GT

You would think that with 562bhp, and a top speed of 204mph, the 570GT would undoubtedly be the fastest hatchback in the world. The thing is, it’s not even the fastest hatchback on this list – told you it was a good year! What the 570GT is, though, is a remarkable piece of British engineering. Not only is it a comfortable, usable supercar, it’s also stunningly good to look at, and actually practical.

First, the looks: unlike the other cars in the McLaren range, the 570GT is a little more mature. There’s no lurid paint and no stripped out interior on this show car. Instead we’ve got rich silver-grey paint, mixed with deep red leather. This car is, in my eyes, the best-looking McLaren of the lot. Now, I said it was a practical hatchback, and I wasn’t lying. In total, the 570GT has 370 litres of luggage space. Sure, it’s split between two different enclosures, but that’s still more space than a Ford Focus.

The 570GT is a remarkable piece of engineering and surely serves as proof that we’re living in a new age. No wonder McLaren has just churned out its 10,000th car!

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Ned Jasper | 2017 Vanquish S – The last proper Aston Martin?

The greatest noise from Aston Martin this year has, understandably, been all about the new DB11. Does it mean time is up for the naturally aspirated V12 creations? Ned Jasper takes a look at the latest Vanquish S.

2017 Aston Martin Vanquish S

Now, I don’t usually tend to comment on a car manufacturers yearly model alterations. The changes from the previous year are minor and, for the most part, insignificant. For me to write about a new brake light cluster or centre console alterations is, to say the least, boring. You’d probably enjoy reading about them as much as a vegetarian enjoys a bacon sandwich. But, when Aston Martin announced they were adding the Vanquish S to their range next year, I just had to do something.

2017 Aston Martin Vanquish S

This is it. At a glance it looks much the same as a ‘normal’ Vanquish. That is, effortlessly pretty. Somehow, Aston manages to do something to its cars – something indescribably special. (The fact that you’re reading this means we probably share the same passion, and that you completely understand what I mean. It’s like Aston sprinkles a little bit of magic in with every car that leaves the production line. The bodywork manages to catch the light in ways that you never thought were possible. The paint’s so deep, and so rich, you could almost waste an afternoon getting lost in the colour. Then there’s the noise, a deep, baritone, soulful howl that couldn’t be more Aston if it tried. All of this is true for a normal Vanquish, so what about the ‘S’?

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Ned Jasper | The Unclaimed M – Four BMWs you never knew you wanted

It’s Friday, so what better way to celebrate than with photos of BMW’s special M creations? Ned Jasper takes you through them. 

2000 BMW E46 M3 Touring Concept

BMW M cars – namely the M5 and the M3. They’re blisteringly-quick saloons, right? Yes, in the past the M3’s also been a coupe and a convertible. But what about a hatchback version, or maybe an estate car? And how do you fancy an M5 convertible?

The following list consists of some of BMW M’s lesser-known secrets, and also happens to be a list of some rather cool creations. So prepare for what is almost definitely going to be an overwhelming sense of want for at least one car on this list.

1. E46 M3 Touring2000 BMW E46 M3 Touring Concept

This car recently hit the limelight in BMW’s “30 years of M3” celebration. What a masterpiece it really is, although it might not be quite as pretty as it was in my dreams. It rides a little high, plus the wheel and colour combo don’t exactly flatter it – I’d have it in Interlagos Blue with the diamond cut 19″ alloys. It is, however, infinitely cool.

Who wouldn’t want a high-revving, 3.2-litre naturally aspirated straight-six, a manual gearbox, and enough room for all the family including the dog Considering BMW never made a saloon version of the E46 M3, the chances of an M3 Touring (that’s BMW for estate car ) were highly unlikely. Still, it’s nice to dream.

2. E36 M3 Compact1996 BMW E36 M3 Compact Concept

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Ned Jasper | Tesla Model S 90 P90D

The Tesla Model S is kind of a big deal. No, scrap that, it’s a massive deal. We’ve heard from The Tame Geek when he drove one, but what is it like to be a passenger in the fastest four-door in the world? Ned found out.

tesla-model-s[Just a small disclaimer before I start the article, due to my age, I haven’t actually physically driven the car myself. I did, however, have a ride in the back, and this is my review from that perspective. Enjoy.]

2.8 seconds – that’s about the time it takes for you to decide whether or not you want to continue reading this article. Hopefully, it’s the former. But if you were in a Tesla P90D – with Ludicrous Mode – 2.8 seconds is the time it takes to blow your mind. Why? Because this 2.2-tonne family saloon can out-accelerate a Porsche 911 Turbo, that’s why! So in case you haven’t already guessed, 2.8 seconds is the 0-60mph time. Now, the way this thing looks.

The Model S came out in 2012, yet in the Spring of this year, we saw it oust its cocoon and flourish into quite a handsome brute. The combination of the long sloping roof line and powerful stance make spotting one on the roads an occasion. What’s more, the new eyelash-shaped wrap around headlights make it yet more menacing in the dark. Overall the Model S manages to mix a little bit of the future with much of the present. So even in 10 years time, I can’t imagine it looking dated.

With it being “the car of the future” and all, the Model S is inevitably a tech fest, and the whole car is adorned with little flourishes that do more that just please the eye. Those devilish lights, for example, are now full-LED and fully adaptive. The air suspension is fully adjustable too and, with the help of GPS mapping, the Model S will track where you’ve altered the suspension so that next time it can automatically do it for you. (more…)

Ned Jasper – Friday Video – What makes a good car advert?

With one of the best car adverts of late banished from our TV screens, Ned takes aim at those making, and scrutinising, those commercials.
Audi R8 V10 plus
Nowadays, you’d be hard pushed to go out and not find an example of health and safety. We drive our cars with seat belts, airbags and countless electronic systems which prevent you from skidding of the road every time you’re a little heavy footed. As a result, countless lives have been saved and the world is a better place for it. But then we have “health and safety gone mad”. It’s a phrase we hear a lot these days, but is there any truth in this expression?

Actually, yes. I can’t speak for every aspect of modern society – that would take too long and be about as interesting as an empty pint glass – but what I can talk about is car advertisements. Now, it’s no secret that we’re quite partial to a good car ad, especially those from a certain four-ringed company. [Guilty as charged! – Editor]

But, how on earth does this relate to health and safety? Well, it’s because one of Audi’s latest R8 ads, The Eye, has been banned. If you don’t know what I’m talking about watch this:

Done that? Good. The ad in question was struck from our screens by the ASA (the Advertising Standards Authority) as it ‘linked speed with excitement’. I know. It turns out, a big, shiny, bright orange supercar is exciting, who’d thought?

The thing is though, the advert didn’t feature high speeds. Was it inferred? Well, yes. But all we saw was a 30mph tracking shot and a retina. To add insult to injury, the removal of what is one of the only interesting car advertisements currently on TV was down to ONE measly complaint.

It is because of things like this that almost all car adverts are now not only tedious, and stale, but also related in no way to the car in question. After all, the advertisement is supposed to make you want to buy the car, not hate it. The following is a small compilation of some of the worst car advertisements shown on TV, and don’t fear, because after you’ve sat through 4 minutes of dull, unimaginative drivel, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best car ads of all time.

Citroen C1

I wish I could magic a car out of a bus stop too! But I’m not Harry Potter, so I’ll just walk instead. Maybe ASA should step in here, before everyone tries to walk through a bus-stop and steal a car!

Toyota Aygo

Hilarious!…Not. Another great message, dress up as a seat and prank McDonald’s. I still know nothing about the car.

Toyota Aygo 2

Boy, am I excited! What could make me want to buy the car more than it driving through a maze full of balloons that change colour! That’s right Toyota, there IS a better way.

Peugeot 108

Brilliant, some moody lighting, and a montage of the car driving. If I need some wheels to meet a shady lover in the dead of night, I know where to look.

There. I’ve tried my best to inject the dullest part of this article with a comical interlude. But the facts remain that all of these adverts tell you nothing about the car. A car ad should be something that captivates, then charms us into wanting one more than our next breath. We want loud noises, aural symphonies, drifting, explosions, and chills down our spines. We want to feel like we’re watching an action movie, not a documentary!

Most of all, we want to react to it. We want that uncontrollable urge to tell everybody we’ve ever met just how cool the advert was. Or better still, we want to buy the car. Below is an eclectic mix of some of the very finest automotive advertising, so make a cup of tea, and sit down for the best 10 minutes you’ve spent on the internet today (probably).

E39 BMW M5

It’s spaceman meets family man. This video does without any iconic music or slick acting, It simply shocks you – or would have done back in the early noughties when this advert first hit TV screens. It leaves you to contemplate the thought of your neighbour’s new BMW outrunning a Saturn V rocket.

Peugeot 205 GTI

Do Bond’s budget cuts mean he’s ditched the Aston in favour of a cheeky little french hatchback? No. But who wouldn’t want a car that could beat an entire airforce? Perhaps it’s a little silly, but you’re talking about it, which means the advert’s worked.

Audi R8

Chillingly good. [I still have this one saved on my Sky+ box – Ed]

BMW M235i

That was cool, I want one just that little bit more now.

Audi R8

If you didn’t have a smile on your face by the end of that, you’ve got something wrong with you!

Now I’ve put the world to rights, and no doubt wasted your afternoon, maybe you’ll be a little more critical of the next car ad you see. I’ll leave you with two things. The first being this bonus clip – which is more of a short film than an advert – and the second being the overwhelming desire to own every car you’ve seen in the latter ads!

Bonus E39 BMW M5

Ned Jasper

Ned Jasper – New Mercedes-AMG GT R

The AMG GT R stole the show at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, with a combination of visual aggression and aural menace. Let Ned Jasper tell you more about this green monster.2016 Mercedes-AMG GT RLouder, lower and angrier – that, I presume, must have been the design brief when AMG decided to come up with this thing. It’s called the AMG GT R, and it has more power than the standard car, and it’s also a little lighter too – but we’ll come to that later. For now, all you need to know is that this Hulk-like incarnation of the AMG GT has enough road presence to make even a Porsche purist reconsider their chosen allegiance.2016 Mercedes-AMG GT RUnderneath the bulging muscles and flared nostrils is the same AMG GT that we know and love. Only this time, the blokes from AMG have agitated it so much it’s been turned up to 12! The same 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 remains, but now it’s packing even more punch – up 74bhp to a colossal 577bhp! What’s more, the torque receives a considerable hike too, now peaking at 516lb-ft – that’s an increase of 37lb-ft from before.2016 Mercedes-AMG GT RTo help convey this extra oomph to chimerical performance, the gearbox has been altered too, providing the optimum in expeditious gear changes. It should also mean that the availability of
 ‘snap crackle and pop’ becomes even rifer with downshifts. 
All-in-all, the drivetrain modifications mean that this lurid creation now roars to 0-62mph in a brisk 3.6 seconds, and keeps on accelerating until a top speed of 198mph! (more…)

Ned Jasper – Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition. Something different?

Bentley has a new special edition of the Continental GT. Is this how a sporting luxury car should look? Ned Jasper gives his opinion.

2016 Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition Coupe 001This is the Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition. It’s the fastest production Bentley ever, with 633bhp on tap and a top speed of 206MPH. It also has enough torque to move a mountain – 620lb-ft – and a 0-62 time that will worry the likes of the Aston Martin Vanquish – 3.9 seconds. But, more importantly, it features a colour scheme, which has turned this article into more of an opinionated piece than anything else. Warning, rant to follow…

If you’re going to spend the best part of £200,000 on a new set of wheels, the chances are you’re going to want something rather special. You’re going to want this. To some, it’s nothing more than another Continental, this time with yellow mirror caps, but in my eyes (you might agree), it is the pure expression of everything that is great about the automotive world. It is bold, it is brash, but it is oh so perfect. Bare with me.

The world of über GT cars is a thriving market sector, with entrants coming from all over the globe. Whilst they may come in some of the most exotic and shapes and sizes, they are, for the most part, safe and err… boring, colour wise. How often do you see a Mercedes S-Class coupe in bright lime yellow, or orange, or even red? Maybe I’m wrong, perhaps the use of extravagant colours detracts from the overall class and desirability of a car. But, the fact remains; if you’re going to spend such an extravagant amount of money, shouldn’t the car you buy be extravagant too?

2016 Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition 003

Whilst the addition of these bold colours could be seen upon as overbearingly ostentatious, it does, however, emphasise the quintessential elegance and style of what a Bentley should be, and what the GT Black Edition is. The way in which Bentley have almost re-envisioned how quality is defined, the juxtaposition of two profoundly different aspects of  what is probably best described as art, is simply breathtaking. Have I lost you? Think of it this way. You’ve got the traditional classy stereotype, dark leather, silver and piano black wood inlays, polished aluminium, all of which create a vision of grandeur. Yet, it’s been combined with the fairy, ‘in yer face’ Cyber Yellow and Red additions. The kind of colours you would expect to see in a sweet jar or spray painted on a wall as part of an abstract graffiti painting. (more…)

Geneva 2016 – Porsche 911 R

Turbocharging, dual-clutch gearboxes; is nothing sacred in Zuffenhausen anymore? Porsche appears to have heard those collective complaints, and picked Geneva as the place to launch the enthusiast-pleasing 911 R. Ned Jasper gives you the details.

2016 Porsche 911 RFancy a GT3 RS with less shouty bits and a manual gearbox? Step this way; it’s the 911 R. When Porsche announced there wasn’t going to be a manual GT3 RS, the purists among us got quite annoyed. Then when they changed the majority of their range to forced induction, this did little more than exacerbate things. Now Porsche has come to its senses, and created a car that is focused purely on driving enjoyment, rather than the optimum amount of aero or emissions.

2016 Porsche 911 RExternally the 911 R is very much the same as the GT3 RS, albeit, without the gigantic rear wing. In its place, you’ll find a ‘normal’ retractable spoiler. More importantly, there’s a distinctive pair of red stripes. Whilst the omission of the wing and the supplement of stripes may not be to everyone’s tastes, it remains a firmly good-looking car.

2016 Porsche 911 RDespite the GT3 RS’s stripped out race-prepped cabin, the R actually weighs in at a substantial 50 kg less. That’s thanks to the carbon-fibre construction and plastic windows. Like with all lightweight, battle-hardened Porsches, you’ll also find a chasm where the radio and A/C should be (although they are an option) and, of course, ribbon door handles. Every little helps, I suppose.

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New – Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Ferrari’s FF has tried hard to be the practical V12 supercar. But now there’s a revised version with even more power. Let Ned Jasper give you all the details, including that new name.

2016 Ferrari GTC4LussoThis is the Ferrari GTC4Lusso (great name by the way, but we’ll get to that later), and it’s Ferrari’s latest attempt to try and market their cars at people with a family. Or indeed the kind of chap who likes to go on long cross-continent road trips with their mates, carrying all of their belongings, and traveling at speed. As to whether this exceptionally wealthy family man, or continent-crossing playboy, actually exists is another matter. But don’t let that put you off.

2016 Ferrari GTC4LussoOn paper the GTC4Lusso appears to be a relatively sane car. It’s dripping with technology, has four large and no doubt comfortable seats, boasts a usable boot, and is pumped full of safety features. There’s ample air bags, all wheel drive, and even a new four-wheel steer system (previously seen in the F12 tdf). This however is not a ‘sane’ car; it’s a Ferrari. That means that at this beast heart lies that same 6.3 V12 only this time it’s pumping out a whopping 681 bhp. That’s 30 more than the old FF could muster. Not only that, the reworked engine now gives a chunk more torque as well; 514 lb-ft to be exact. All of which means that this prancing horse can now gallop from 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds (0.3 quicker than the FF), and it’ll keep on accelerating to 208MPH. This is a “family” car, remember.

At first glance, the GTC4Lusso seems to look almost identical to the car it replaces. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that in actual fact almost every panel on the new car is different. Most noticeable of these alterations are the sexy little wing vents (similar to the gills of a shark), and the new more pronounced rear haunches. The latter allows the GTC4Lusso to sink a little further into the pavement, whilst also gain a more menacing road presence. The new bonnet and front grilles which, especially in grey, make the car look a lot more agile and bring strong connotations of the immense power which is lurking underneath. Finally, the rear. In my eyes – I’ve no doubt you’ll agree – the back of this car looks absolutely stunning. The whole car is already the automotive equivalent of a stunning Italian supermodel, but the rear end, now that’s the standout feature for me. The mixture of sharp razor-edged creases, and smooth free-flowing curves, make it an absolute feast for any like-minded petrol head. (more…)