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…)

Top Seven New Cars of 2016 | With Ned Jasper

Yeah, 2016 probably won’t go down as a vintage year in terms of global politics and current affairs. However, when it comes to new cars, it’s most certainly been a classic! As the man who has covered the biggest new releases for ESM this year, our man Ned Jasper picks his top seven.

Top 7 New Cars of 2016

Well, here it is. Christmas time 2016. That means festive tunes fill the airwaves, trees go up and presents are bought. That also means that it’s nearly the end of 2016. So let’s take a look back at some of the greatest new cars to come out this year. This is ESM’s top five new cars of 2016. Actually, it’s not. There were so many good contenders this year that we stretched it to seven! Yes, yes, I know I said that last year as well, but this year we really have had some rather special cars released. Here they are:

7. Porsche 718 Boxster S2016 718 Boxster SI know what you’re thinking. Great intro, best cars of 2016, and now I’m presenting you with a Porsche Boxster. What is going on? I had my reservations about this one too. This is the baby Porsche, only with fewer cylinders and a turbocharger. Not really a recipe for success is it? However, it’s been 11 months since this little gem was released and, I must say, it’s grown on me.

First, let’s talk about the heart of this little orange and black tiger. It’s down two cylinders from the previous model, but it’s up one turbo and a whole heap of power. What’s more, the Boxster S has a variable vane turbo – not necessarily something you would expect to find from this class of car.

So what about the rest of it? Underneath we have the same mid-engined, rear-wheel drive, sports car with a manual gearbox (PDK is available, too) that’s been entertaining drivers for nearly two decades. Despite the engine alterations, the recipe remains unchanged with superb handling and excellent composure. Only this time with a little more grunt. Well worthy of the number 7 spot.


6. McLaren 570GT2016 McLaren 570GT

You would think that with 562bhp, and a top speed of 204mph, the 570GT would undoubtedly be the fastest hatchback in the world. The thing is, it’s not even the fastest hatchback on this list – told you it was a good year! What the 570GT is, though, is a remarkable piece of British engineering. Not only is it a comfortable, usable supercar, it’s also stunningly good to look at, and actually practical.

First, the looks: unlike the other cars in the McLaren range, the 570GT is a little more mature. There’s no lurid paint and no stripped out interior on this show car. Instead we’ve got rich silver-grey paint, mixed with deep red leather. This car is, in my eyes, the best-looking McLaren of the lot. Now, I said it was a practical hatchback, and I wasn’t lying. In total, the 570GT has 370 litres of luggage space. Sure, it’s split between two different enclosures, but that’s still more space than a Ford Focus.

The 570GT is a remarkable piece of engineering and surely serves as proof that we’re living in a new age. No wonder McLaren has just churned out its 10,000th car!


Opinion – Why contemporary F1 is boring, statistically

The Hungarian Grand Prix is often regarded as being a processional affair, with limited overtaking opportunities. This weekend’s event is therefore unlikely to liven up a Formula 1 era that is the most one-sided in a generation. ESM’s editor has donned his anorak and crunched the numbers from 1998 to present.2016 Mercedes AMG F1 HamiltonCast your mind back to the year 2000 and you might recall the Millennium Dome, fears of the ‘Millennium Bug’ or even just the Willenium. Yeah, the latter really did happen. If you’re a Formula 1 fan you might remember it as the year Ferrari and Michael Schumacher started out on a five-year long display of hegemony over the World Championship.

But, after watching Lewis Hamilton take another victory at the British Grand Prix, it got us wondering as to whether the current Mercedes AMG streak out ranks even the 2000-2004 Ferrari era for dominance. Surprisingly it does, and by a fairly significant margin!

Let’s break it down to the most basic numbers in terms of wins during those title-claiming periods. For Ferrari this is from the 2000 Australian Grand Prix, to the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. That covers some 85 races in total, of which Ferrari won 57 of them. In percentage terms that’s 67%, so just over two-thirds were won by the Scuderia in that seemingly endless period of Ferrari success.Ferrari F1 Dominance StatsSince the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, which saw the introduction of the new engine regulations, there has been 48 races. That’s counting the 2016 British Grand Prix – won by Lewis Hamilton, of course. In that period Mercedes AMG have taken 41 victories! Yes, seriously, in two and a half years, only seven races have been won by non-Mercedes drivers. That gives Mercedes AMG a win percentage of a staggering 85%!

Even more considerable is that they’ve claimed 94% of pole positions (45/48) in that time frame. For comparison, Ferrari only managed 59% of poles during their era of dominance. Taking over two-thirds of all fastest laps since the beginning of 2014, must also make Mercedes feel pretty smug about just how far ahead of the game they are.Mercedes AMG F1 DominanceEven in comparison to Red Bull, who many claimed to have made F1 dull during the period of Vettel domination, Mercedes-AMG still stands far ahead. With four back-to-back titles, Red Bull took wins in just over half (53%) of the 77 races entered. Pole positions percentages are also lower (66%) compared to Mercedes, with fastest laps at less than half  (45%) in total. Those who bemoaned the seemingly constant chain of Red Bull wins might be a little surprised, although Vettel’s nine-race winning streak at the end of 2013 is perhaps what people remember.
Red Bull Racing F1 Dominance Stats


Photo Gallery – 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed – Paddock Action

Despite weather that threatened to make Goodwood seem more like Glastonbury at times, the 2016 Festival of Speed proved to be as impressive as ever. ESM was there, for two days this time, getting up close and personal with as much of the machinery as possible. We could write 1,000s of words but, instead, we’ll give you the pictures first. 2016 Goodwood Festival of SpeedTrying to pick which photos to feature isn’t easy given the ridiculous selection of race and road cars on offer at the Festival of Speed. To try and keep things simple, we’ve broken it down into three galleries: the highlights from the paddock, what the manufacturers brought to the motor show, and cars in action tackling the hill climb. In this first gallery we’ve covered our favourites from the various paddocks at Goodwood, where it’s possible to be inches away from priceless racers and motorsport icons. We’ve also included what we found after the (long) trek to the rally stage at the top of the hill, and a special feature on BMW.

2016 Festival of Speed – Main Paddock

BMW Paddock Highlights
BMW was the featured marque at the Festival of Speed, so the brand accounted for a lot of the cars on display. Including one particular car that’s very dear to ESM’s heart.  (more…)

New – McLaren 570GT joins Sports Series

After an emphasis on outright performance, McLaren turns to the idea of luxury and refinement with the latest addition to the Sports Series of cars.

2016 McLaren 570GTJoining the 570S and 540C Coupe, the third model in the entry-level Sports Series makes a number of detailed changes to increase everyday usability. Whilst the concept of a 562 bhp supercar being practical and easy to use might seem an oxymoron, rivals like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo proves demand exists in the marketplace.

2016 McLaren 570GTThe 570GT isn’t just an exercise in fitting softer suspension or extra sound deadening, although both of those changes are included in the transformation. There are far more substantial changes, such as the redesigned rear windscreen that replaces the flying buttresses of the 570S with a side opening rear hatch. So, technically, the 570GT is an extremely hot hatchback… (more…)

Pebble Beach 2015 | McLaren MSO 570S Coupé

It’s that time of year when British car manufacturers migrate to California to show off expensive custom creations at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. McLaren is back again this year, featuring a distinctively painted 570S.

2015 McLaren 570S Coupe by MSO 001According to McLaren, it’s categorically not purple. No, it’s officially painted in a colour described as ‘Mauvine Blue’ which, to us, sounds like a very Ron Dennis way of describing something in a more complicated way than necessary. So even though it looks like a bar of Dairy Milk, and has a name seemingly derived from a purple synthetic dye, it definitely isn’t purple, ok?

2015 McLaren 570S Coupe by MSOWhatever the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) team decide to call the hue of this 570S Coupé, it’s the car they’ve picked as one of their main attractions at Pebble Beach this year. It’s certainly more visually exciting that the sombre-toned P1 they brought along twelve months ago, at least. In addition, there will also be a ‘Ventura Orange’ version of the 570S supercar on show too. We’ve done our research, and Ventura Orange is 100% orange – ESM is confident of that.


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.


Another New McLaren – The McLaren 540C Coupé in Shanghai

It doesn’t seem five minutes since McLaren revealed the first member of its entry-level road car family with the 570S. A few weeks later and we’ve got the actual cheapest model in the Sports Series – the 540C – shown off at the Shanghai Auto Show. 

2015 McLaren Sports Series 540C

Unless McLaren decides to wedge an even cheaper model into the Sports Series lineup, this will be the least expensive way to get behind the wheel of a performance car from Woking. Although give it a couple more weeks and you can probably expect to pick up a McLaren-Honda MP4-30 F1 car for around £20. But until then you’ll need £126,000 for the babiest-Mc.

Entry-level doesn’t mean basic, however. Using the same 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 as the 570S – and other McLarens – the 540C produces a predictable 540 PS. So that’s 533 bhp in real money combined with 398 lb-ft of torque, meaning a 30 bhp and 40 lb-ft deficit to the 570S. Performance is reduced, ever so slightly, with a 0.3 second slower 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 199 mph that falls 5 mph short of the more powerful car.

2015 McLaren Sports Series 540C

A McLaren that isn’t orange!

How much that matters to you may dictate if you really want to pay an extra £17,500 for the 570S – equivalent to £583 for each additional horsepower. Fuel economy and C02 emissions are no different whatever state of tune you take the 3.8 litre engine in, staying at 25.5 mpg and 258g/km respectively. You’ll also get the same adaptive dampers, including a sport mode, but with settings revised to make the 540C more useable everyday. (more…)

Updated – The New McLaren 570S Coupe

Adding to their ever-growing ranks of orange coloured supercars is this latest offering from McLaren – the 570S Coupe. Unveiled at the New York Motor Auto Show today, the 570S is the entry model to McLaren’s road car roster. So, is it more Fifth Avenue than the Bronx for the baby Mac?

2015 McLaren 570S 01

Let’s cut to the chase – ‘entry level’ in this segment is still pretty serious when it comes to power and performance. So this Sports Series car, which sits below the Super Series (650S) and Ultimate Series (P1) is rather potent. Using the familiar twin-turbocharged 3.8 litre V8 engine, the 570S makes – the clue is in the name – 570PS (562bhp). That’s along with 443lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of just 3.2 seconds. Top speed is 204mph – not quite so junior!

Transferring that power the short distance from the mid-mounted engine to the rear-wheels is a seven-speed ‘SSG’ paddle shift gearbox. Braking is via standard carbon-ceramic brakes, which hide behind 19″ front and 20″ rear wheels. It’s not just the brakes which are made of carbon, as the lightweight Monocell II chassis is made from carbon fibre too. Weighing only 80kg, it helps the 570S achieve an overall dry weight of just 1,313kg – if you tick the right options.

2015 McLaren 570S 004

Rear deck has vents to ‘evacuate heat’ from the engine bay. So, they’re cooling vents to the rest of us.

Such low weight means the 570S achieves some very non-supercar like fuel economy figures. The official combined 25.5mpg and CO2 emissions of just 258g/km are pretty impressive for a 560bhp machine. It’s the same as what the Mk5 VW Golf R32


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.