Ned Jasper – Friday Video – What makes a good car advert?

With one of the best car adverts of late banished from our TV screens, Ned takes aim at those making, and scrutinising, those commercials.
Audi R8 V10 plus
Nowadays, you’d be hard pushed to go out and not find an example of health and safety. We drive our cars with seat belts, airbags and countless electronic systems which prevent you from skidding of the road every time you’re a little heavy footed. As a result, countless lives have been saved and the world is a better place for it. But then we have “health and safety gone mad”. It’s a phrase we hear a lot these days, but is there any truth in this expression?

Actually, yes. I can’t speak for every aspect of modern society – that would take too long and be about as interesting as an empty pint glass – but what I can talk about is car advertisements. Now, it’s no secret that we’re quite partial to a good car ad, especially those from a certain four-ringed company. [Guilty as charged! – Editor]

But, how on earth does this relate to health and safety? Well, it’s because one of Audi’s latest R8 ads, The Eye, has been banned. If you don’t know what I’m talking about watch this:

Done that? Good. The ad in question was struck from our screens by the ASA (the Advertising Standards Authority) as it ‘linked speed with excitement’. I know. It turns out, a big, shiny, bright orange supercar is exciting, who’d thought?

The thing is though, the advert didn’t feature high speeds. Was it inferred? Well, yes. But all we saw was a 30mph tracking shot and a retina. To add insult to injury, the removal of what is one of the only interesting car advertisements currently on TV was down to ONE measly complaint.

It is because of things like this that almost all car adverts are now not only tedious, and stale, but also related in no way to the car in question. After all, the advertisement is supposed to make you want to buy the car, not hate it. The following is a small compilation of some of the worst car advertisements shown on TV, and don’t fear, because after you’ve sat through 4 minutes of dull, unimaginative drivel, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best car ads of all time.

Citroen C1

I wish I could magic a car out of a bus stop too! But I’m not Harry Potter, so I’ll just walk instead. Maybe ASA should step in here, before everyone tries to walk through a bus-stop and steal a car!

Toyota Aygo

Hilarious!…Not. Another great message, dress up as a seat and prank McDonald’s. I still know nothing about the car.

Toyota Aygo 2

Boy, am I excited! What could make me want to buy the car more than it driving through a maze full of balloons that change colour! That’s right Toyota, there IS a better way.

Peugeot 108

Brilliant, some moody lighting, and a montage of the car driving. If I need some wheels to meet a shady lover in the dead of night, I know where to look.

There. I’ve tried my best to inject the dullest part of this article with a comical interlude. But the facts remain that all of these adverts tell you nothing about the car. A car ad should be something that captivates, then charms us into wanting one more than our next breath. We want loud noises, aural symphonies, drifting, explosions, and chills down our spines. We want to feel like we’re watching an action movie, not a documentary!

Most of all, we want to react to it. We want that uncontrollable urge to tell everybody we’ve ever met just how cool the advert was. Or better still, we want to buy the car. Below is an eclectic mix of some of the very finest automotive advertising, so make a cup of tea, and sit down for the best 10 minutes you’ve spent on the internet today (probably).

E39 BMW M5

It’s spaceman meets family man. This video does without any iconic music or slick acting, It simply shocks you – or would have done back in the early noughties when this advert first hit TV screens. It leaves you to contemplate the thought of your neighbour’s new BMW outrunning a Saturn V rocket.

Peugeot 205 GTI

Do Bond’s budget cuts mean he’s ditched the Aston in favour of a cheeky little french hatchback? No. But who wouldn’t want a car that could beat an entire airforce? Perhaps it’s a little silly, but you’re talking about it, which means the advert’s worked.

Audi R8

Chillingly good. [I still have this one saved on my Sky+ box – Ed]

BMW M235i

That was cool, I want one just that little bit more now.

Audi R8

If you didn’t have a smile on your face by the end of that, you’ve got something wrong with you!

Now I’ve put the world to rights, and no doubt wasted your afternoon, maybe you’ll be a little more critical of the next car ad you see. I’ll leave you with two things. The first being this bonus clip – which is more of a short film than an advert – and the second being the overwhelming desire to own every car you’ve seen in the latter ads!

Bonus E39 BMW M5

Ned Jasper

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.


New – Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary Limited Edition

Let’s be honest, we’re probably best off adding the phrase “at the Goodwood Festival of Speed” to anything regarding hot hatches this week. After Ford and Honda, here comes Peugeot with their special edition GTi launched there today. There’s more than meets the eye with this one though.

2014 Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniverary 01

1984 was a particularly good year although, with this writer’s impending third decade fast approaching, I would be inclined to say that. However, it also marked the introduction of Peugeot’s iconic 205 GTi; the model virtually every fast Peugeot, and hot hatch in general, has been benchmarked against by motoring journalists ever since. So, to commemorate such a substantive piece of automotive history, Peugeot has created this 30th Anniversary limited edition version of the 208 GTi.

2014 Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniverary 02

Let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way; that two-tone colour scheme. We’ve already seen Peugeot use this on the 308 R concept from last year, and we weren’t particularly a fan then. The textured black and high gloss red are divided by a coupe tranche: an oblique straight line. If we’re being honest, it reminds us a little too much of dip dye ombre hair. Luckily single tone Pearl White and Ruby Red options are available too.

Chrome trim on the regular GTi is replaced with matt black, covering the grille surround, fog light bezels and window surrounds. The wing mirrors also get the matt black treatment, as do the side skirts and wheel arch extensions; themselves housing matt black 18″ alloy wheels. Inside there are black Alcantara bucket seats, gloss black trim and a unique numbered plaque saying which 208 GTi 30th you’ve got.

Exterior meddling aside, it’s under the skin that the 30th Anniversary becomes quite a serious prospect. Most impressive is the fitment of the six-speed gearbox and Torsen Limited Slip Differential from the RCZ R coupé. Clearly Peugeot aims for this GTi to be able to take on track day action with ease. Matched with a power boost to 205 bhp and 221 lb-ft of torque, 0-62 mph arrives in 6.5 seconds – a 0.3 sec reduction. Emissions from the 1.6 litre THP four-cylinder engine stay at a competitive 125g/km, meaning the GTi 30th is still a relatively frugal machine. (more…)

What did we learn from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show?

Here at EngageSportMode we’ve brought you a veritable banquet of new cars in the space of one short week. You can find all our coverage here, but with the dust settling and the return to normality, we’re left pondering just what did Geneva 2014 teach us about the state of the car industry?


Everything is now turbocharged
Be it from the smallest city car to the most powerful supercar, and everything in between, turbos are now seemingly commonplace in the pursuit of both performance and economy. With their ability to offer the witch craft combination of efficiency, compactness and added oomph the turbocharger is here to stay.

Biggest in terms of turbo news is the fact the Ferrari (more…)

Peugeot 308 (somehow) Wins 2014 European Car of the Year

Sometimes things happen when you least expect them. Who could have predicted Russia reigniting Cold War tensions, Red Bull suffering horrendous F1 testing reliability, or a distinctly average hatchback winning 2014 European Car of the Year.


Realistically the latter was probably more foreseeable than the former two examples. But it still makes you question just what exactly does the eCotY prize actually stand for. Back in December EngageSportMode rated all contenders in the 2014 eCotY finals and placed the Peugeot 308 seventh out of seven. In our opinion, the 308 brought nothing new to the party and merely showed that Peugeot could do what everyone else had been capable of for the past decade.


Friday Photo #16 – Alfa Romeo 4C

Beauty is, apparently, in the eye of the beholder. So what exactly does that mean for the winner of the ‘Most Beautiful Car of the Year 2013’ award? Who knows, but Alfa Romeo are obviously pleased that their new sportscar picked up this award. 

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C 001

There is no denying that, apart from the rather geeky looking headlights – wrapped in carbon fibre they may be, but they’re still weird – the 4C is a genuinely pretty car. So pretty in fact that the judges at the 29th International Automobile Festival decided it was the best looking car to be launched last year, beating a short-list of the BMW 4-Series Coupé, Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Mazda 3. No, we’re not really sure how that last one sneaked on there either, but then the long-list also included the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Lexus IS300h! So actually, there was only one real contender which probably explains why the 4C took 41% of the votes.


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…)

A Girl Writes – It’s a Boy/Girl Thing Part II

Tonight, ESM’s opionated Other Half returns with a second article discussing the touchy subject of “girl’s cars” and shows us some notable, yet respectable, examples.

It’s a Boy/Girl Thing – Part II

Girls Car

When I wrote my last post I felt it important to establish the criteria of a “girl’s car” and why certain models were branded as such. I can appreciate why the term “girl’s car” exists but as highlighted in my previous article, there are usually good, practical reasons for the car choices a lot of women make. Maybe it’s because statistically, woman aren’t really bothered what’s under the bonnet. But what if they actually are? What if the idea of owning an impractical fuel guzzler, depleting your bank balance at a rate of knots, is ludicrous in these financial times? With tail end of the recession still looming over our heads, why not own an economical car to get you from A to B? Yes typically women may make up the majority of that demographic, but what’s to stop a man proudly owning and driving one? You may get lynched by your petrol head mates for owning one of these, but for daily commutes, city driving and family business, surely these are an obvious choice?

So based on this eureka moment, here are a few examples that fall into the category of the small, cheap and economical “girl’s cars” that aren’t too embarrassing to drive:

1. Peugeot 107 – 1.0 litre, 68 bhp, 65.6 mpg (combined), 99g/km CO2

Peugeot 107 001

First and foremost, this city car is cheap to buy, cheap to run and even those with the spatial awareness of an Audi driver could park it with ease. Thanks to the low CO2 emissions, you need never fork out for road tax and the mpg is not to be sniffed at. With basic models in the region of £8k – £9k new, it’s a definite contender. (more…)

2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Photo Highlights

EngageSportMode couldn’t be at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show but, fortunately, it knows some people who are. So with the press days now out of the way, what are some of the highlights from the 2013 Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung?

Below are some of the stand out new cars announced at this year’s show. Some are purely concept cars to set new directions and garner interest, whilst others are production ready. Click the photo for bigger images.


New – Peugeot 308 R Concept

So only a few days after we mentioned a VW Golf R, Peugeot decided to show off their new creation which also wears an R badge. If we don’t have a SEAT Leon Cupra R or Kia Rio R by the end of the month ESM will be very disappointed.

Peugeot 308 R Concept 001

Regardless as to what everyone is calling their hot hatchbacks, here are the details on the 308 R Concept. The Concept tag is important because, for now, Peugeot isn’t making any real commitment to offering the 308 R to the masses. Instead it attempts to remind everyone that the facelifted 308 exists and that Peugeot does know how to make C-segment hot hatches, honest. (more…)