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…)

Friday Photo | The madness of SEMA 2015

EngageSportMode has featured the SEMA show, and the quite literally mental creations it throws up, before. This year seems to have been just as crazy, so we’ve pulled together a gallery featuring some of the wildest offerings. Just remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that.

2015 SEMA Car modification in the UK seems to have come a long way from the Max Power glory days. Gone are the bodykitted Corsas and Saxos with huge exhausts and deafening subwoofers. Today, aside from bigger wheels or a vinyl wrap, everything just seems pretty standard looking. But, over in America, the modification industry still seems to be alive and well.

However, it isn’t just aftermarket companies that use the annual Speciality Equipment Market Association event to show off. Car manufacturers are also using SEMA to display their creativity with concepts inspired by celebrities, or just the minds of designers running wild. We’ve picked a handful of our favourites from the show, but there’s a bigger gallery of the slightly crazier stuff further down. Enjoy.


The big Detroit manufacturer rolled out a huge twenty concepts at SEMA, covering the range from Corvette Stingray to classic Camaro and a whole host of pickup truck offerings. With the all-new 2016 model year Camaro about to hit the streets, Chevy has clearly paid some attention to its latest offering, with four concepts based upon it.

2015 SEMA ChevroletHowever, our personal favourite is probably the 1970 Camaro RS with a thoroughly modern LT4 engine.  (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.


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.


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.


All-new Mazda CX-3 Review on Motoring Research

Last week EngageSportMode was tasked with reviewing the brand-new Mazda CX-3 crossover for Motoring Research. Helpfully, the UK launch was taking place pretty much in our own back yard!

2015 Mazda CX-3 Launch 001

So, did we fall for the sporty supermini-sized crossover? Did the sun actually shine in the North East? Well, you’ll have to head on over to Motoring Research and find out the answers.

We were proud to be asked to attend on behalf of Motoring Research; it was a great experience and an excellent showcase for the scenery – and driving roads – we have on offer up here in the frozen North.

UPDATED – Ford GT Inspired Design Objects – Gallery

Although it has a turbocharged engine in place of a huge V8, and also comes fitted with a two-spoke steering wheel, ESM can’t help but like the new Ford GT. It’s a seriously good-looking car. So the idea of objects inspired by it sounds like a great one.

2015 New Ford GT 001

Don’t be mislead into believing there’ll be a V6 powered alarm clock or turbocharged lampshade amongst this assortment of objects. No, the clue is very much in the ‘inspired by’ part of the tagline. How else could you end up with a collection that encompasses things as diverse as a boat to a chaise lounge?!

Inspired by Ford GT: Guitar

Performance Blue guitar does look cool.


The All-New 2015 Mazda MX-5 – News and Photos

Local loudmouths and internet car-forum keyboard warriors rejoice. Mazda’s fourth-generation MX-5 is here for you to recommend anytime someone asks what two-seater roadster they should buy; but without owning one yourself, of course. But in all seriousness, has Mazda remained true to the MX-5 vision on its 25th anniversary?

2015 Mazda MX-5 003

Mazda has sold over 900,000 examples of the MX-5 (or Miata / Roadster, depending on where you are) globally since the car’s introduction in 1989. Whilst North America accounts for almost half of that figure alone, Europe has taken around a third of the pocket-sized sports car over that period too. Whilst it’s easy to poke fun at the MX-5 for being the car that always gets suggested, there is clearly a reason for the significant recognition that’s backed up by the sales figures.

2015 Mazda MX-5 004

Lighter, leaner and sharper are probably the three best ways to describe the fourth-generation car. Something of a novelty in the modern automotive industry; not only is the new MX-5  more than 100 kg lighter than the outgoing version, it’s also shorter and lower. In fact it’s over 100 mm shorter, which is quite a chunk of metal for a car that’s hardly huge in the first place. Mazda, however, has recent form for weight-saving. The current (but soon to be replaced Mazda2) shaved a similar 100 kg from the weight of its predecessor. (more…)

2014 Car of The Year Finalists Announced

The annual search for the “most outstanding new car to go on sale” in Europe in the preceding 12 months is on. With the fact that a hybrid/electric model has won two of the past three years, is the winner already apparent? ESM rates their chances below.


Voting in the European Car of the Year contest has traditionally favoured “homegrown” brands such as FIAT (9 wins) and Renault (6 wins), over the course of the past 50 years. However, neither marque has a contender amongst the finalists this time round, so could we see a first time winner come March 2014?

BMW i3 001

BMW i3
ESM loves the i3, so does the Tame Geek. Can the European voting panel decide to love it too? With such a strong precedent set for an electric winner, the i3’s chances are high. But it is a contender on merit alone, with a supremely well-rounded package, and support mechanisms to counter many of the hybrid “range anxiety” issues.
A serious potential champion. Chance of winning – 9/10 (more…)

The Mazda MX-5 GT Just Got Real!

If you’ve been reading EngageSportMode for a while, then you’ll know the Mazda MX-5 GT Concept shown at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed ended up being one of our stars of the show. It also picked up a prize in the 2012 ESM Awards. Now, thanks to Jota Sport, concept becomes reality.

JOTA Mazda MX-5 GT 001

The heart of the GT Concept has lived on virtually unchanged from the one which roared up the Goodwood hill last year. Jota has taken the standard naturally aspirated 2.0 litre engine and extracted 203 bhp from it, resulting in a 0-60 mph time of just 6.4 seconds; some 1.5 seconds quicker than the regular car. Top speed is limited to 140 mph, with fuel consumption alleged to be unchanged from the standard vehicle.

Bilstein dampers are fitted to enhance what is, arguably, and already sweet handing car. Full road and track Öhlins suspension is available as an option for those who really want to push their MX-5 to the limit. A carbon fibre rear diffuser is fitted to aid aerodynamics, whilst a jutting carbon front splitter and rear boot lip spoiler can all be added at extra cost. If they’re anything like the ones fitted to the GT Concept, ESM would certainly be ticking those boxes.

One thing which, sadly, doesn’t make the extras list is the retina searing orange paintwork of the Concept. Instead you’re given the choice of white pearl (pictured above), true red and aluminium silver metallic. All three options come with the roof painted brilliant black and stylish anthracite-finish alloy wheels.  (more…)