Features

Friday Video | Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT drag race

We’re not shy about being fans of Hemi power here at EngageSportMode, even when placed in something slightly inappropriate like an SUV. This video might demonstrate why.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Hurrah, we can use our preferred ‘nobody needs one, but we still love’ line again! The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is totally unnecessary, but we still love the fact it exists. We love the new Hellcat-powered Trackhawk version even more, but that’s not the one making waves here today.

No, this is just the ‘regular’ Hemi-powered SRT Grand Cherokee with a 468hp 6.4-litre V8, taking on a classic hot rod. Naturally this hot rod is based on a Ford Model A body, but this too features a Hemi engine up front. We can’t really say ‘under the hood’ given that this one has pretty much gone sans bonnet.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT UK

It’s also a little bit of an unfair matchup, given that the Hemi in the hot rod is 1956 DeSoto FireDome unit – the original Chrysler hemispherical engine. With 304hp it’s a little bit down on the new 6.3-litre motor in the Grand Cherokee, even if it does have substantially less weight to haul. So who won? Well, we won’t spoil the surprise for you:

So yes, we’d still quite happily have an SRT Grand Cherokee please, Jeep.

Friday Photo | 2016 BMW M6 GTLM Art Car by John Baldessari

If you’ve heard of John Baldessari, then you can consider yourself more educated than ESM when it comes to art. He’s the man responsible for the latest in a long line of BMW Art Cars. So just what is this M6 GTLM all about?

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

Actually, choosing the M6 GTLM as the basis for an artistic creation isn’t a bad place to start. We already happen to think it looks pretty damn good, and the fact it packs a 4.4-litre V8 with up to 585hp only adds to the appreciation. In actual fact, we got quite excited about it in naked carbon fibre form at the start of the year, so Mr Baldessari had a great canvas to work with.

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

Ok, we’ll admit it. We don’t quite get what the 85-year-old conceptual artist has done here. There’s some colourful spots and stripes, the word ‘FAST’ written on one flank, and a picture of the M6 on the other. Baldessari is famed for his love of minimalism and once had a canvas, only featuring some written words, sell for over $4m dollars. So seemingly this car must be good too, right? Like we said, we’re clearly not experts at this art game.John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

According to the man himself, the red dot on the roof is there “so you can see it from above” whilst the whole concept turned out “playfully satirical” for him. The picture of the M6 GTLM, on the M6 GTLM itself, is meant to symbolise an ironic play on the multi-dimensionality of the race car as an art object. We’re not going to lie, that last sentence was also gleaned from the press release. (more…)

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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Friday Photo – BTCC Audi A4 quattro Super Tourer with Frank Biela

Twenty years ago the British Touring Car Championship was reaching peak popularity with global motorsport fans. On track, the 1996 season was being dominated by an all-conquering silver machine.1996 BTCC Audi A4 quattroFull disclosure – the Audi A4 quattro Super Tourer is, without doubt, the favourite BTCC machine of ESM‘s Editor. Ever. He even has the t-shirt, although it’s a little tight after nearly two decades… So the news that Audi Sport legend Frank Biela is going to be reunited with the A4 quattro this weekend is a big deal.1996 BTCC Audi A4 quattroIn 1996 the BTCC was one of the most competitive championships on the planet. To turn up and take both Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles at the first time of asking, was a huge achievement for Audi Sport, and a massive marketing boon for the Audi brand. Using all-wheel-drive gave the A4 a big advantage over two-wheel-drive rivals, resulting in Biela winning eight races in addition to taking another twelve podiums. Weight penalties in 1997 meant Biela could only fight to second in the championship, whilst for 1998 all-wheel-drive was banned from Super Touring.

Although the technical ability of the A4 quattro was immense, Frank Biela’s own personal talent cannot be understated. Along with the BTCC title, his career highlights include: five outright Le Mans wins (2000-2002, 2006, 2007), two American Le Mans Series wins (2003, 2005), 1991 DTM champion, 1993 French Touring Car champion, and 1995 Touring Car World Cup winner. For many racing drivers, winning one of the above would be immense, but to do all of them is off the chart. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, all those titles were taken behind the wheel of an Audi. Cut Biela open and you’ll probably find his veins arranged in the shape of the Audi badge, such is his association with the brand.

So it’s fitting that he’ll be driving the A4 quattro BTCC racer this weekend at Knockhill, doing parade laps as part of the David Leslie Super Touring Car Festival. It probably wouldn’t have been fair on everyone else to let him actually race, we imagine. To celebrate, Audi UK have shared a host of photos from that successful 1996 season. Enjoy:

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

Friday Video – Shocking New Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford Performance is quite proud of the shock absorbers fitted to the new Ford F-150 Raptor. So much so that they’ve made a video to celebrate. For us, it’s just an excuse to see the forthcoming pick-up truck looking awesome in the desert. 2017 Ford F-150 RaptorWhat’s so special about these shock absorbers? Having been jointly developed with Fox, the shockers are purpose-built to make the Raptor even better off-road and on.

At 3 inches in diameter, the special internals allow for lower pressure that makes the Raptor more comfortable on tarmac. There’s also an addition of 2 inches more suspension travel, with the fronts having 13 inches and the rears 13.9 inches. That’s quite a lot of movement!

More importantly, just enjoy the F-150 Raptor storming across sand dunes and rocks:

Friday Photo – Nissan Bladeglider hits Rio

Remember the ZEOD RC, and the DeltaWing before it? Nissan’s fascination with narrow-track and electric power continues, but now in the form of something that could actually appear on the street. Oh, and with a drift mode.2016 Nissan BladeGlider According to Nissan, this is the future of electric cars that enthusiasts shouldn’t be scared of. That a car can be fun, despite not burning fossil fuels inside, but relying on the gentle hum of batteries instead. Whilst the name sounds like something Gillette would sell, the BladeGlider is a very serious attempt at showcasing what the near-future might hold. This is the Leaf with excitement added: the drama of dihedral doors, an open roof, and technology from Williams Advanced Engineering beneath the radical styling. The narrow front-end and wider rear is lifted straight from the DeltaWing design, maximising aerodynamic efficiency. Cameras replace the wing mirrors for the same reason.2016 Nissan BladeGlider Previously displayed as “just a concept” in 2013, Nissan is using the 2016 Olympics to showcase the real-word potential of the BladeGlider. If you happen to be in Rio de Janeiro, and be a fancy VIP, you may well find yourself being shuttled around by the BladeGlider. That’s chauffeured around at considerable pace, too. With the equivalent of 268hp available, and a thumping 521 lb-ft of torque, the BladeGlider can hit 0-62mph in less than 5 seconds and go all the way to 115mph. Whilst that isn’t quite Tesla Model S Insane Mode fast, it’s certainly punchier than your average Leaf.2016 Nissan BladeGlider With each rear wheel using an individual electric motor, the BladeGlider’s real party trick is the ability to torque vector. Just like a Nissan GT-R, or a certain Ford Focus RS. Should the car detect understeer, it’ll send torque to the outside rear wheel to turn the car back onto line. But it also allows for added fun with the drift mode option – perhaps there is some extra karma from doing lairy drifts in an electric vehicle… (more…)

Friday Video – Mercedes-AMG GT S through the Alps

If you follow us on social media, you’ll know we recently spent some time with a rather raucous Mercedes-AMG hatchback. Our comprehensive review of the A 45 is coming very soon but, for now, we just wanted to share this rather cool video of another AMG product.

Mercedes-AMG GT

We’ll admit there’s also an element of excitement about the possibility of ESM driving the AMG GT S next week, too. Plus, you can never have too much AMG V8 noise, especially when filmed in underground car parks or tunnels. Without further waffling, here’s the video:

We think it’s pretty cool, and there’s some amazing accompanying photography to the video if you follow the links on YouTube to the creators. For now, however, we’re back to dreaming about forced-induction V8s, and uploading AMg A45 images…

Friday Photo – Design your very own Ford GT

Wanting your own slice of the Ford GT’s American pie? A new online configurator lets you live the dream.

2017 Ford GT ESMBe warned – just because you can now pick out the colours and trim you desire, doesn’t mean you can have one though. In a move that sounds more Maranello than Dearborn, those who want the EcoBoost-powered GT have to submit an application to Ford online. There’s no detail on just what criteria you’ll need to meet, but presumably being able to demonstrate you’re a longterm fan of the Blue Oval will help. We do suspect owning a string of Escorts and Fiestas might not be enough on this occasion, however. As Ford wants GT owners to be ambassadors for the brand, your social media worth is perhaps just as valuable as your money in these circumstances.

With an expected starting price of over $400,000 in the USA – UK prices haven’t even been confirmed yet – you’ll certainly need a bank balance as substantial as your number of Twitter followers. Those fortunate to snag one of the 500 cars will have it tailored to their exacting specifications by Ford’s very own concierge service. The experience won’t be the same as popping down to your local dealership we imagine, and this obviously fits with the aim of Ford to push products further upmarket. Something demonstrated by the recent ‘Vignale’ range of models.

For those of us unable to consider buying a GT, the online configurator is at least the chance to dream of what might appear on your drive following a substantial lottery win. Liquid Grey with Competition Orange stripes is, of course, the most ESM way to go. Although we do quite like Frozen White with Lightening Blue, or Triple Yellow with Shadow Black, or…

Friday Video – No Fooling

As the post goes live it’s April Fools’ Day, which means the press offices and PR departments of car companies have been in overdrive trying to find the wittiest way of plugging their products.

Nissan – Alive (2016) from Alessandro Pacciani™

We’ve covered these efforts before on ESM but, instead, this year we’ve decided to take a completely different approach. The fact is, car advertising in the UK finds itself embattled with the Advertising Standards Authority, which takes a dim view of anything dangerous or exciting. Quite frankly, it’s amazing that we haven’t had car adverts banned from TV altogether, for fear of upsetting Britain’s Victorian morals. Read the industry guidance on car advertising and you’ll begin to understand the minefield marketing departments have to navigate.

Take, for instance, this BMW M4 Convertible advert – banned by the ASA in 2014 after a grand total of a single complaint. Yes, one person, or more likely a single safety-minded organisation, put the brakes on the advert which featured the car on road and race track. The ASA were concerned viewers might not be able to tell the difference, and thus be encouraged to drive dangerously on the public highway.

So that’s why, to celebrate the ridiculousness that are the rules imposed by the ASA, we’ve featured two videos from the incredibly talented director Alessandro Pacciani. We’ve no doubt his work would be banned instantly were it shown on TV, but that’s more of a reason to like it. Also, we were attracted to the absurdity of a Nismo-spec Nissan Patrol in the first video, and the obvious irony of a BMW M4 doing naughty things in the second one:

BMW M4 – Factory Trailer from Alessandro Pacciani™

Consider these your welcome break from the April Fools’ adverts you’ll have endured this morning.