2015 Porsche Cayman GT4

Top 7 New Cars of 2015 with Ned Jasper

The end of 2015 is fast approaching so when our newest, and youngest, contributor suggested a rundown of the top new cars of 2015 we said yes! Ned has put together a list of the hottest metal from the past twelve months, so read on to see which one takes the glory.

ESM Top 7 New Cars 2015 Logo

Well, 2015, nobody can deny that it was a big year for ESM. Not only has it recruited its youngest ever member (myself), but also Mr ESM has tied the knot with Mrs ESM. Now as much as I would like to dwell on personal successes, I’m afraid I’ve been beaten to it. So go and have a read of John’s article first.

2015 has been a golden year in automotive terms. Over the past 12 months we’ve seen offerings from across the globe. Some pretty, some fast, some neither of those things, but they’re still exciting none the less. 
What you have before you are ESM’s favourites; the top 5 new cars of the year. Well, actually it’s not; there are seven. After whittling a list of 30+ cars down to just six. Torn between which one to drop I just included them all. Then I remembered about the M4 GTS. So seven it is.

7. Ford Focus RS
2015 Ford Focus RS 001

The Ford Focus RS; infinitely cool, ever practical thanks to its five-door hatch layout, and shockingly fast. This humble hatchback comes complete with 345bhp, a sub 5 second 0-62mph time (that’s 4.7 in case you were wondering) and looks to kill. In a market now mainly dominated by the Germans, this turbo tear-away has allowed the competition to take a step back and reconsider who is boss. This latest incarnation of the RS now features a comprehensive AWD system – just like the RS Cossies of old – the difference, this time, being that it can send up to 70% of torque to the rear tyres. This not only gives new levels of grip and performance but, as you would expect, makes it a lot more fun too. Let’s face it; anyone with even an ounce of petrol running in their veins wants one of these on their driveway. And… here comes the better news, they can, with a price of £30,000, it really is an every man’s car. We’ll take ours in Nitrous Blue, thanks.

6. Audi R8
2015 Geneva Audi R8 V10 plus

When creating this latest generation, Audi took what is one of the best sports cars on the market and turned it into a supercar. Gone is the 4.2 V8 of old, in its place is the beating heart of the Lamborghini-derived V10. 
There’s talk of an entry-level turbo V6 at some stage but, for now, were left with that cataclysmic V10 and the supreme V10 Plus. Which are both equally awe worthy. The ‘Plus’ boasts a 602bhp headline figure, a minuscule 3.2 seconds 0-62mph time and what is a rather fetching fixed rear spoiler. The ‘base’ V10 isn’t far off that either, although it sadly lacks the wing. The bigger power, sharpened looks and new tech really set this car off. It should make the perfect gift for millionaire playboys alike.

2015 BMW M4 GTS

The M4 was a bit of a last-minute choice really. The car itself isn’t a huge leap above the standard M4 in terms of performance. Stood beside the supercar royalty of this list it looks a little tame. But there was one factor that clinched it in the end. The looks. This car has served as my laptop wallpaper for the last few months now, and there hasn’t been a moment when I couldn’t stop ogling at it. That combination of dark grey and orange – much like ESM – is something that is so dazzling, so magnificent that it makes this car a true object of desire. The fact that it has 493bhp and can get to 62mph from rest in just 3.7 seconds is simply a bonus. Santa, if you’re reading this, above all else, this one please.

4. Porsche Cayman GT4
2015 Porsche Cayman GT4 001

If you’re looking for the blueprint of a driver’s car then this is it. When creating the GT4, Porsche have basically shoehorned all the best bits from the range into one complete package. Manual gearbox? Tick. Rear drive mid-engined layout? Tick. Tactile steering and exceptional levels of grip? Tick. The GT4 really has everything a keen driver could want. With the main focus of the GT4 set on the twisties, you would expect the car to lack slightly in the outright speed department. That’s where you’re wrong; the GT4 utilises the same flat-six borrowed from the Carrera S. However, mated with the lighter chassis, it allows the hardcore ‘baby’ Porka to spring from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds, and keep on accelerating to 183mph. I think it’s safe to say we all want one. (more…)

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…)

Friday Video – Porsche Cayman GT4 vs. Ford Focus RS

Ok, there’s a little bit of artistic licence used in the title for today’s feature. But we do have ‘in-action’ footage of two of the hottest new cars from this week: the Porsche Cayman GT4 and the Ford Focus RS. 

Ford Focus RS v Porsche Cayman GT4

Both of these caused the Twittersphere to descend into meltdown it seems, especially Porsche officially announcing the Cayman GT4 just as everyone was going to bed. Thanks for that Zuffenhausen. So, without further ado, here’s the very yellow GT4 in a video showing a distinctly German sense of humour:

Although there’s not a huge deal of on-track footage, it’s safe to say the Cayman GT4 sounds rather awesome, and also appears to go sideways rather happily. On a side note, the video was made with the help of Skynamic – the firm responsible for the epic drone-cam video from the 2013 Monte Carlo rally. It’s worth checking out their website for the ‘intro’ movie alone.

Ford have taken a slightly less subtle approach for the Focus RS, employing Ken Block – of Gymkhana ‘hooning’ fame – to, well, hoon about in their new superhatch. Block has been taken on by Ford as a consultant, so we can expect the Focus RS to come with a free clip-on beard and pair of DC shoes. Maybe. We could mention something snarky about WRC too, but we’ll be kind on this occasion.

The video was obviously filmed before the official unveiling, hence the disguised bodywork, as Ken rips around Ford’s Cologne factory. Fun fact – the Focus isn’t actually produced at the Cologne plant, but at the Saarlouis factory instead; be sure to tell your friends that. Like the GT4, it’s clear the Focus RS is very capable of going sideways and makes a lot of noise too.

We’re tempted to ask which would you pick but, with the mid-engined coupe costing more than twice what the Focus RS probably will, it’s kind of an unfair question.

News and photos – Porsche Cayman GT4

Porsche has just announced information about the new Cayman GT4. Intended to be the top dog in the Cayman family, the GT4 is the most hardcore version of the mid-engined two-seater coupé yet.

2015 Porsche Cayman GT4 001Using a 3.8 litre flat-six derived from the bigger 911 Carrera S, the GT4 becomes the most powerful Cayman so far, with 380 bhp (385 PS). Reassuringly, despite Porsche’s recent fondness for the PDK paddle-shift transmission, the GT4 will only be available with a six-speed manual gearbox. A 0-62 mph time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph make this the quickest factory Cayman. Porsche is also keen to point out that the GT4 has lapped the Nordschleife-Nürburgring in a time of 7 minutes 40 seconds; that’s as quick as the old 997.2 version of the 911 GT3.

015 Porsche Cayman GT4 002Aiding the on-track performance is a new, downforce generating, aero-kit featuring that rather substantial rear spoiler, along with a front splitter. The GT4’s suspension is lowered by 30 mm over the regular car, and it also gains an uprated brake package. There’s also a mechanical limited-slip-differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring, a sports exhaust, and 20″ wheels as standard.

Further options are available should you want to make your Cayman even more hardcore: a carbon-ceramic braking system, lightweight carbon fibre bucket seats, and a Club Sport pack being some of the highlights. Inside the GT4 is a lot of Alcantara, covering the seats, steering wheel and gear knob. There’s also race-style material door-pulls instead of actual handles; a feature borrowed from the 911 GT3 RS.

Unsurprisingly, the Cayman GT4 will get an official airing at the Geneva Motor Show next month. An expected UK price of £64,451 makes the GT4 something of a bargain for the performance on offer. If it’s as hardcore as the details suggest, could this tempt enthusiasts away from the PDK-only 911 GT3?