Gallery Feature | Fifty Shades of (automotive) Grey

Over 17% of new car buyers picked grey last year, and it’s now the third most popular tone in the UK. But how many different types of grey can there really be? Quite a lot, actually.

50 Shades of Grey

For reference ESM’s Editor has never actually seen Fifty Shades of Grey, or read any of the books. However, he surmises that the plot revolves around a man who treats his interior designer quite badly, whilst she struggles to pick the right grey tones for his house. Plus, the lead character insists on one room painted red, in a tribute to Changing Rooms from the 1990s. Beyond that, who knows what happens, other than inspiring us to seek out fifty shades of grey paint offered on new cars.

We’ve taken these directly from the configurator websites for the respective manufacturer. As a result, the quality of some images is not the best. In the case of Skoda, it’s truly dreadful; like 8-bit Nintendo retro. We’ve tried to accommodate as many different brands as possible, but other greys are available. We’re also not sure how some of these can even be classed as grey in the first place.

Shades 1 to 10

Tasting Notes: (more…)

Photo Gallery – 2016 Newcastle NE1 Motor Show

Following the success of the first event in 2015, the NE1 Motor Show was back in Newcastle-upon-Tyne at the weekend. ESM went along to see what was new.2016 NE1 Motor Show Ford Mustang GT 001

New for this year was typical North East weather of grey skies and rain. Not perfect, but it did bring back memories of Goodwood from a fortnight previous at least. Seeing a Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and 718 Boxster S, both painted in Lava Orange, at the foot of Grey’s Monument did help brighten things up somewhat. Noticeable was the lack of representation from some marques seen at the 2015 event such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Nissan. As an event backed primarily by dealerships, recent restructuring in the North’s big dealer chains might be the reason why. But, regardless, there was still a decent selection of new metal on show:

Further down Grey Street was an array of modern and classic cars which, if we were being lazy, we could probably have just substituted our photos from last year for. Suffice to say lots seemed familiar, even down to the place and order in which they were parked. What did stand out this year was the love for the Ford Mustang. Both new and old, almost every shape of Blue Oval-wearing pony car appeared to be represented.

It’s worth remembering that the NE1 Motor Show is free, and designed to get people into the centre of Newcastle. Given the crowds present, despite the inclement weather on Saturday, it seems to have certainly succeeded again this year. We’ll look forward to 2017 – just surprise us by mixing the order up a little!

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…)

Friday Photo – Frankfurt 2015 Gallery

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show proved to be fairly impressive, with a host of big names revealing new products and concepts. Incredibly, this even included cars that hadn’t been previewed in a press release weeks beforehand! Who knew that was still possible? We’ve picked out some of the notable cars making an appearance in Germany. 

2015 Frankfurt

ESM actually spent the first Frankfurt press day helping out the good people at Motoring Research with their live blog. We heartily recommend you go and read it, especially for the Periscope video action from Andrew and Gav. Trust us, you’ll find yourself longing for a special edition Suzuki Jimny or at least learning where not to leave you bag on a motor show stand.

Possibly the biggest talking point of the whole Frankfurt show was the Bentley Bentayga SUV. Promising to be more luxurious than a Range Rover, but with epic performance from a W12 engine, it’s a pretty big deal. To some it’s a step too far for the Bentley brand, and the styling is also equally divisive. However, ESM is pretty sold on it – especially in orange. The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is just as mental in real life as in the initial photos – a definite showstopper. Oh, and yes that is a tent on the back of the Citroen Cactus M.

We’d already seen PR photos of the Ferrari 488 Spider, but it’s seemingly even more impressive in the metal. Some even going so far as to say it’s better looking than the GTB coupé. The Hyundai stand was one of contrasts, with the Korean company pushing its new “N” performance sub-brand with the rather mental 2025 Gran Turismo concept, alongside the Santa Fe and i20 Active. Jaguar’s F-Pace stole the pre-show excitement with a Guinness World Record-breaking launch event, whilst the MotoGP-engined Honda 2&4 concept proved to be a winner.


Friday Photo – NE1 Newcastle Motor Show Gallery

In something that seems to be worryingly turning into a trend, the North East saw yet another automotive event take place here at the weekend. Naturally, ESM headed along to check things out.

2015 NE1 Motor Show Mercedes SLS AMG Black

Gull-winged SLS AMG stole the show

The NE1 Motor Show, chiefly backed by the Benfield dealership empire, aimed to bring both new and classic cars right to the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. Occupying the area around Grey’s Monument, and then the entire length of picturesque Grey Street, the NE1 show certainly hit the mark in pulling people in. Being free will, of course, have helped but it was still great to see so many people taking an interest in the event.

With our BTCC Correspondent and Uncle Steve, we made short work of covering the 100 or so cars which made up the NE1 display. Ok, so it wasn’t quite Geneva or Goodwood, but this is progress. We can now tell Katie Glass that ‘the North’ is so modern we even have motor shows these days. Who knows, we might have indoor toilets and colour television by next year… But, we digress. We’ve already written about the NE1 show for the good people at Motoring Research, so here are our collective photographic efforts for you, ESM readers. Enjoy.


2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed – The Racers Gallery

Whilst the Festival of Speed has grown to become the de facto British motor show, it’s still all about the epic racing cars that tackle the hill climb course. Our second 2015 gallery features some of the exotic and expensive machinery found in the paddock.

2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed Racers 007

A whole class was dedicated to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR this year. An awful lot of money under one tent.


Friday Photo – Geneva 2015 | Orange is the new … blue?

Earlier in the week, the doors opened at the PalExpo centre for the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. EngageSportMode spent a hugely enjoyable day helping the guys at Motoring Research with their live blog on Tuesday. If you haven’t seen the live blog already, go grab a Toblerone and experience it now. Then come back and see why we spotted a new emerging trend on Tuesday: that everything was orange. 

2015 Geneva Porsche 911 GT3 RSObviously, EngageSportMode wouldn’t want to take credit for manufacturers deciding that orange is the colour to be seen in this season. It’s clearly just a coincidence. No, we’ll just be smug about it and present you with a gallery of the cars on display at Geneva that were carrot-coloured. Art-geek point: on the colour wheel, orange is opposite blue – which was, of course, the colour of everything at Geneva last year. Anyway, here are the pics:

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There you go. Unequivocal proof that orange is the colour for this season. Just note that EngageSportMode takes no liability for horrendous depreciation if you order anything in a satsuma-esque shade. It’s your call!

We’ve had an amazing week with Geneva, and we’ll be bringing more in-depth details of the big show stars soon.

What did we learn from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show?

As the first major event on the global automotive calendar, the North American International Auto Show sets the scene for the rest of the year to come. Yes, there’s a definite US-centric bias to a lot of the offerings on show, but many of the new cars will also be available globally. Check out the key trends below:

Blue is definitely the colour for promotional cars
Last year at Geneva we noted that blue had replaced brown as the paint colour of choice for cars on display at motor shows. At Detroit, things got turned up a level, with virtually everything painted bleu this year. Ford even went to the extreme measure of painting its new performance models all in the same shade of Liquid Blue for their Detroit show stand. From Fiesta ST to F-150 Raptor and, obviously, the new GT everything was the same hue. It’s worth noting that Liquid Blue isn’t a production paint colour so, despite being teased by it, you can’t pester your local dealer to deliver you a Focus ST wearing that shade. Notable exceptions to the blue-ness were the new Acura NSX in red, and Cadillac who painted their ‘V’ series performance models white.

The V6 is the new V8
Again, this trend is primarily represented by Ford’s offerings, but it’s quite a significant one. The new GT supercar packs a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, where once lived a supercharged V8. The F-150 Raptor has also ditched the 5.4 and 6.2 litre V8s from the previous generation, again favouring a boosted 3.5 litre V6. Only the Shelby GT350R Mustang seems to have emerged from Detroit with all eight cylinders still intact. The EcoBoost unit has, of course, already arrived in the regular Mustang model. (more…)

Bentley Continental GT3-R – Refined road racer?

A lighter, fitter, Bentley based on an already successful race car? Sounds almost impossible to believe, but it’s real and as of today you can get your name down for one.

2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R 01If you didn’t know, Bentley has turned the Continental into a genuine GT racer.  It currently competes in the Blancpain Endurance Series alongside cars such as the Audi R8 LMS and McLaren MP4-12C. Furthermore, the GT3 Bentley actually won at Silverstone last month, in only the second outing for the M-Sport developed car. So, with that out-of-the-way, what is this GT3-R we’re now being offered?

2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R 03

Essentially, it’s meant to be the road-going equivalent of the GT3 racer. Based on the Continental GT V8 S, the GT3-R follows the same pattern as the Renaultsport Megane featured yesterday; adding power and taking away weight. In fact Bentley have taken away 100 kg from the Continental GT, just like Renault did with the 275 Trophy-R. It’s just that Bentley had a starting point of almost 2.3 tonnes to work with, rather than the 1.4 tonnes which Renault had. So, at a kerb weight of 2,195 kg, it’s still rather hefty.

2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R 02

But you can’t expect Bentley to turn the GT3-R into a stripped out lightweight trackday machine. For all the sporting pretensions, it is still first and foremost a Bentley. Which decrees a certain level of fit, finish and refinement. There are no plastic windows or roll-cages here. But, instead, you do get a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 572 bhp and 516 lb-ft of torque – the latter from just 1,700 rpm. Thanks to the 8-speed auto’ gearbox’s shortened gear ratios and AWD, that’s enough power for 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and top-speed of 170 mph. Sound is played out through a titanium exhaust system that saves 7 kg of weight, and has been tuned to deliver a ‘unique baritone roar’ from the tailpipes. Ooh!

2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R 05

You’ll have to imagine the ‘baritone roar’ for yourself.

Bentley would also like to make it clear that this is not just an over-engined muscle car. It claims that the GT3-R represents the most dynamic road car it has ever built. The all-wheel-drive system uses torque vectoring, to distribute twist between the rear wheels individually, which should allow more ‘enthusiastic’ cornering. In addition, the air suspension is further tuned from the GT V8 S to give sportier handling, and there are 21″ lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in high-grip Pirelli tyres. However, our favourite piece of news is that the sport mode setting has been enhanced ‘for more spirited driving’ situations. We approve of this.

2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R 04