Honda

Opinion – Seven fast estates we want to see built

The number of performance estates seems to have expanded massively in recent years but, here at ESM, that’s not enough for us. No, we’re greedy, and we want to see even more quick wagons on the market. To help we’ve come up with a septet that we think should happen.

Fast VW Estates

These aren’t just ‘pie in the sky’ ideas – we’ve picked out ones that, due to the wonders of modular platforms, could probably happen without too much engineering work. We’ve also rated them for desirability and feasibility, just to help point those manufacturers in the right direction…

1. BMW M3 Touring
BMW M3 TouringBMW has flirted with M Touring versions of the larger M5 twice in the past, and even went so far as building a concept E46 M3 Touring which never saw the light of day. Is now the time for a compact BMW performance estate?

The concept of a 431hp twin-turbocharged 3 Series Touring is rather appealing and, we imagine, adding M3 modifications to the estate bodyshell would make for quite an attractive proposition. Plus, BMW appears committed to covering every possible market niche these days, so this would just be one more addition. Think of it as karma for the 2 Series Active Tourer.

Sadly, market demand apparently means that this one falls quite far down the list of possibilities. BMW models are required to have global appeal and an M3 Touring is something that would seemingly only sell in Europe. Audi with the RS4, and Mercedes-Benz with the C 63 AMG, have somehow transgressed this problem, but the men in Munich aren’t convinced. Alpina is already doing a rather good job of building rapid 3 Series wagons, which doesn’t help our case.

Verdict
Desirability – 8/10
Feasibility – 6/10
Likelihood – 0/10 Probably more chance of an 2 Series Active Tourer M

2. Ford Focus RS EstateFocus RS EstateAlthough the hatchback might have only finally emerged, what better time to add a rapid load-lugger to the lineup as well.

The Focus RS hatch is a fairly awesome piece of kit, so making it more practical can only be a good thing, surely? Plus there’s already a Focus ST estate on sale, proving demand exists for quick wagons wearing the Blue Oval badge. With the Volkswagen Golf R notching up sales, there’s certainly buyers out there for estates based on extremely rapid hatchbacks. Plus, the thought of engaging Drift mode whilst on the way to the recycling centre has huge appeal.

Ford is already struggling to meet demand for the Focus RS hatch, so adding an estate variant might just be too much to handle. Although, as the RS is built on a regular production line with extra bits added later, surely there would be scope to squeeze a limited edition in there? There’s no precedent for RS estates, and we imagine that’s the excuse Ford would use to bat this away, but everything has to start somewhere. Also, this rendering by X-Tomi Design shows how good it could look.

Verdict
Desirability – 9/10
Feasibility – 8/10
Likelihood – 6.5/10 We’re still hoping on some ultra-limited edition opportunities.

3. Volkswagen Golf GTI Estate
04 VWYeah, this one pretty much only came to mind to help our OCD with VW’s current estate model range. As part of the performance estate lineup there’s a GTD, and an R, Variant but there’s no GTI version! That’s something which happens to unnerve us, ever so slightly, so we’d be a lot happier if Volkswagen just filled that gap. (more…)

Friday Photo – Configuring the new Acura (Honda) NSX

If you’re in the USA you can order your brand-new 2017 Acura NSX right this very second, with the help of a rather cool online configurator. For those of us not Stateside, it’s the chance to play around with your dream NSX specification at least.2017 Acura Honda NSXIn the UK we’re still waiting on full details of how much the new NSX will cost and when it’ll be released. But, as the model has been designed in the USA, and will even be built there it’s no surprise that the Americans get the new twin-turbo V6 hybrid first. Across the pond prices are set to begin at $156,000 (£111,700) plus destination charges, so we decided to see what the perfect ESM version of the new NSX would cost. 

Sticking to the tried and tested formula of adding ALL the carbon fibre (probably should be fiber) and all the Alcantara options, we ended up at the quite terrifying total of $204,400 (£146,300). Admittedly that’s still cheaper than the McLaren 570GT we featured yesterday, but some of the optional extras are quite frankly eye-watering. You can click this link to go view our design, or just check out exactly what we chose from the list below: (more…)

Friday Photo – Detroit 2016 Gallery

Red, white and – well, more red actually. Not the colours of the American flag, but the colours of pretty much everything on show at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Perhaps rouge is this colour of choice for motor show cars?

(more…)

Detroit Auto Show 2016 – Hefty Trends

As the first big event of the year, the North American International Auto Show offers the chance to spot trends we might see for the rest of the year. It also has the potential to prove if the US market is still obsessed with making the biggest stuff possible. 

2016 Detroit Auto Show

Pickup trucks are getting more outrageous
If there’s one vehicle that sums up the US automotive market in one fell swoop then it’s the pickup truck. But 2016 seems to be the year that manufacturers have truly gone XXL with their offerings.

Ford’s latest version of the F-150 Raptor was launched at the Detroit show a year ago but, twelve months later, it’s already been tweaked. Now there’s a SuperCrew version of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost powered machine so you can fit even more people or stuff inside. Although persuading people to get in the back as you make use of the new Terrain Management system in mud, rock or even baja mode might be a challenge!

Not to be outdone, Nissan premiered the Warrior concept version of its Titan X.D truck, again just one year after showing off the regular production version. With a 5.0-litre Turbo Diesel V8 engine, race-derived suspension parts, and a smattering of carbon fibre body panels it’s a formidable sounding proposition. Whether it becomes a reality remains to be seen.

Not quite as dramatically-styled as the Ford or Nissan, Honda is concentrating on practicality with the all-new Ridgeline. With a design that focuses on things which really matter to pickup buyers, like hauling sheets of plywood or drywall flat in the loadspace, or a 540 watt sound system mounted in the truck bed to improve your tailgating experience. Could it just be a little too sensible for its own good?

The big saloon isn’t dead!
2016 Volvo S90

(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.

(more…)

2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed – Moving Motor Show Gallery

ESM has been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed before – the last time back in 2012 – but this year was a little different. 

2015 Goodwood Festival of SpeedIt started with a letter from the Earl of March inviting ESM to the Festival of Speed as a fully fledged member of the media. It ended with driving almost 700 miles in 30 hours in order to spend just one day there but, when the Earl of March invites you, it’d be rude not to make an appearance.

2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Esso liveried retro Toyota GT86 was our favourite

In Festival of Speed tradition, we’ve broken the galleries down into batches. This first one covers the cars of the Moving Motor Show, while the second and third will include the iconic racers and findings from around the festival respectively. The Moving Motor Show has become a big part of the Festival of Speed, giving the public the change to pilot a wide range of cars up the famous hill climb course. So from the meagre, to the mighty, all the below could be driven.

(more…)

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Geneva 2015 is here with the new Honda Civic Type R!

After weeks of anticipation, the 2015 Geneva Motor Show is finally here!

2015 Honda Civic Type R Production 000

In fact the show hasn’t even officially started, and there’s already been excitement with the new Honda Civic Type R being shown off in actual production trim! It looks pretty much as the concept predicted although, sadly, the massive rear spoiler has been toned down:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More importantly, we know it’s packing 306 bhp and 295 lb-ft of torque deliver by the new 2.0 litre VTEC Turbo engine! 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds, and a top speed of 167 mph. Impressive for a family hatchback

We’ll bring you more news from Geneva as the week progresses. However, tomorrow EngageSportMode will be live blogging for the good people at Motoring Research! As their team of expert journalists roam the Geneva show floor, yours truly will be bringing updates and comment in a live stream. Be sure to check out the action right here tomorrow morning —> Motoring Research 2015 Geneva Live Blog

Be sure to head along and follow all the action on Motoring Research, with a very busy day of new launches and announcements in store.

Friday Photo – The Geneva 2015 ‘known knowns’ Gallery

A few years ago, Donald Rumsfeld made an infamous speech talking about things we know, and don’t know about. Ahead of the Geneva Motor Show next week, we’ve got a gallery covering the new cars we already know will be there. That’s mainly because the manufacturers have already spoilt the surprise by showing them to us. 

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity from automakers across the world, as they’ve revealed and announced all-new cars to be shown off at the Swiss show. Here’s a few of the ones we’ve already seen:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Naturally, these are just a few of the highlights – there’ll be much more to see.  Of course, there’s also another category of cars – the ‘known unknowns’ – which includes ones we know will most probably be there, but don’t know the full details on. Like the Honda Civic Type R and the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS ; although so much information on the latter has been leaked, it might as well be a ‘known known’ now. But there are others, such as the expected Lamborghini Aventador SV and a mystery Bentley concept car. (more…)

More Info – The 167 mph 2015 Honda Civic Type-R

Honda, please, enough! We’ve been teased with videos, titillated with photos, and fed various factual tidbits for what seems like forever. The end is in sight, with the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show, but Honda is still keen to tantalise us up until the big reveal.

2015 Honda Civic Type-R 202Given how we were tormented with details and sneak peeks of the new NSX, we shouldn’t really be too surprised at Honda’s little games. The global PR team has done a fine job of building suspense and intrigue – along with securing over 100 deposits for the new car in the UK alone. Not bad for a car nobody has officially seen, let alone driven, yet.

2015 Honda Civic Type-R 201

The big news today is, of course, that headline top speed of 167 mph. Yes, that’s right, one-hundred and sixty-seven miles per hour. Faster than 155 mph limited German saloons; faster than the original NSX; and, most importantly, faster than any hot-hatch rival at present. Whilst people will trot out the “straight-line speed is meaningless” line, it proves just how much engineering effort has gone into the latest Type-R.

2015 Honda Civic Type-R 203

Redline kicks in at 7,000rpm – lower than previous VTEC cars. Note R+ mode engaged.

Honda has invested substantial time in the wind tunnel, to ensure the turbocharged VTEC engine can power the Type-R to that mad top speed. The underside of the car is almost completely flat, (more…)