Infiniti

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!

SMMT Test Day 2016 – Part One

Returning to the SMMT Test Day after the extravagant ‘twelve cars in one day‘ affair of last year, ESM promised to try to be more selective over driving choices this year. The result was certainly a varied motoring experience, to say the least.

SMMT Test Day 2016It’s the potentially the biggest day of the year for anyone who writes about cars, bringing manufacturers and media together in one place. The problem comes from being faced with well over 100 cars from almost 40 different manufacturers – there’s almost too much choice of what to drive. But there’s also the challenge of getting to drive the most popular stuff. The Ford Focus RS, Ford Mustang, Audi R8 and BMW M2 were big attractions, so ESM decided to take a slightly more left field approach this year.

Despite the promise to avoid the ‘drive everything that moves’ scenario, we still finished the day having tried a dozen of cars. Perhaps that is just our default setting at SMMT? Either way, here’s the lowdown on what we got behind the wheel of. Due to the sheer number of cars driven, we’ve split our day into two parts.

1. SEAT Ibiza Cupra2016 SEAT Ibiza CupraWhen is a VW Polo GTI not a Polo GTI? When it’s draped in the Spanish body of a SEAT Ibiza, that’s when. Having just literally climbed out of our Polo GTI, getting back in to the Ibiza Cupra felt instantly familiar. Everything fell into place rather quickly, which meant no delay in getting up to speed in testing it out. Interestingly, the doors rattle the same as the GTI where the body meets the seal. 2016 SEAT Ibiza CupraThere are some differences, however. The exhaust note warbles a bit more than the Polo, the gearshift throw is minutely shorter, and the suspension didn’t feel quite so rock-hard in sport mode. Quite possibly we’d need to spend more than just a few short minutes with the Ibiza Cupra to draw out the individual nuances. But it’s good, and if you pick this over a Polo GTI you’re not making a bad decision. Also, tip of the hat to SEAT’s press office for emailing details of the car being driven immediately. That’s impressive service.

ESM Rating: 8.5/10
Stats: £18,900, 1.8-litre I4 turbo, 189hp/236lb-ft, 0-62mph 6.7 seconds, 146mph top speed

2. Audi RS Q3 Performance2016 Audi RS Q3 PerformanceA quattro all-wheel-drive system connected to a five-cylinder turbocharged engine sounds like a recipe for a retro rally car, rather than a fast crossover. But that’s exactly what the RS Q3 packs underneath, and it makes for a fairly entertaining creation which lets you live out your Group B rally fantasies with the whole family. (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?

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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

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Friday Photo – Infiniti Q30 rolls out in Sunderland

ESM is rejoicing at the fact the roads of the North East might now be populated with a new car – the locally built Infiniti Q30.

2015 Infiniti Q30 NMMUK 001When you live close to a Nissan plant that employs almost 7,000 people, every commute in the region involves the now subconscious spotting of Juke, Note, Leaf and Qashqai models. Be it on transporters heading to the Port of Tyne, or just frequenting the roads and car parks around the North East, there’s no getting away from the impact of having a major motor manufacturer in the local area.  (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.

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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.

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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:

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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…)

Detroit 2015 – Friday Photo Gallery

The 2015 Detroit North American International Auto Show has been a pretty good one, to say the least. We’ve seen two brand new supercars, and a host of other special new models rolled out. It might seem like we’re repeating ourselves, but it really is good to see the US car industry returning to form. Here are our photo highlights from this week:

Ford’s new GT took centre stage at Detroit 2015. Our car of the show.

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Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge – Vettel Tests Prototype

Ahead of an expected production confirmation at the Beijing Auto Show later this month, Sebastian Vettel has been behind the wheel of the F1 inspired Infiniti supersaloon.

Infiniti_Q50_Eau_Rouge_001

With his role as Infiniti’s Director of Performance, Vettel will seemingly have a real hand in assisting with the development of the performance four-door. Infiniti has teased his involvement with this short video, showing him behind the wheel of a development prototype:

It seems an ever-increasing likelihood that we’ll see a production version of the Q50 Eau Rouge, named after the infamous uphill bend at the Spa-Francorchamps race circuit. Previewed at the recent Geneva Motor Show, further details have since been released such as the fact the concept makes use of the engine and drivetrain seemingly lifted straight from the Nissan GT-R. (more…)