Jaguar C-X17 Sports Crossover Concept

You wait for ages for one performance crossover concept car, and then two come along at once. Whether it may be a necessary evil is a matter of personal opinion, but a Jaguar SUV seems likely – if it happens, expect it to look like this.

Jaguar C-X17 Concept 001

Jaguar C-X17 Concept 002

Jaguar C-X17 Concept 003

In a world where Jaguar and Land Rover are held together in one company, you have to question just how requisite a Jag SUV really is. Surely no matter what the price point or specification, somehow it will be treading on the toes of either a Land Rover or Range Rover branded product. I have no doubt it fits into a strategy aimed at important world markets such as the USA and China where such vehicles are of significance – even Bentley wants in on the 4×4 action – but it still represents a radical departure from Jaguars of old. (more…)

New – Audi nanuk quattro concept

Another day, another Audi concept car – although this one was slightly more unexpected compared to the Sport quattro concept revealed last week. To mark the start of the Frankfurt Motor Show, which we’ve seemingly been talking about for weeks, Ingolstadt dropped this unexpected new V10 diesel coupe on us.

Audi nanuk quattro concept

  • Twin turbo 5.0 litre V10 TDI making 544 hp and (737.56 lb-ft of torque,
  • 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds, 189 mph top-speed,
  • AWD quattro drivetrain and four-wheel steering.

Audi is pitching the nanuk (yes, lower case n) as the sports car for “any stage of life and for any surface” combining on-road performance with off-road ability. Although it may only be a show car, the engineering behind the nanuk celebrates Audi’s achievements in motorsport and road car technology, whilst also hinting at future developments. (more…)

BMW i3 – Munich gives us the future – now.

Electric cars are nothing new, in fact they’ve been around as an idea since the middle of the 19th century. We’ve also had cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet/Vauxhall Volt/Ampera and Tesla Roadster available for some time. So why does today’s unveiling of the BMW i3 knock all of them into the gutter? 

BMW i3 001

No, it isn’t conventionally attractive – the unkind might even call it ugly – with its squashed kidney front grille, asymmetric window line and two-tone colour scheme. But, when The Tame Geek and I discussed this earlier, we agreed that the i3 looks like a vehicle of the future, rather than a contemporary car made to look futuristic. Quite frankly, if you’re going to buy something that is meant to be changing the face of driving, would you at least want it to look different to everything else on the road? (more…)

Top Gear Review – Series 20, Episode 4

We are now two-thirds of the way into this season of Top Gear. So, how did episode four shape up? Like an old copy of Max Power magazine, this post contains spoilers.

Top Gear Series 20, Episode 4 – UK Air Date 21st July 2013 

This episode turned out to be somewhat of a mixed-bag in terms of quality, ranging from competent to cringeworthy.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive 00


Tame Geek Review – SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI

Some say he manages to get behind the wheel of more new cars than The Stig. All we know is he’s called The Tame Geek, and tonight he’s feeling all Catalonian.

2013 SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI 

2013 SEAT Leon FR 00

What! The Tame Geek is going to review another car from the Volkswagen Group? Yes, but hold on! This is important, as it’s actually some consumer advice too!

So, as these things often go, and act of providence brought this car to me and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a good long spin.

Having reviewed the new Audi A3 already, many would say what’s the difference considering they are both based on the MQB? Well the differences are subtle in some respects and vast in others. (more…)

Why the Volkswagen XL1 is better than a Le Mans racer

Volkswagen is currently making a lot of noise about this:


If you didn’t already know, that’s the Volkswagen XL1, currently the world’s most fuel-efficient hybrid car in regular production. EngageSportMode isn’t usually a fan of eco-cars, but the design details of the XL1 mean that it feels less hair shirt and more Nomex overalls than most.


EngageSportMode is NOT at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013

Unlike last year, EngageSportMode decided not to make the pilgrimage to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It’s a very long way from Newcastle Upon Tyne, ESM’s Mate Dave has just bought a house, and if you go every year it might lose the novelty.

So, instead, ESM is at home watching the Festival of Speed unfold by the power of Twitter. It’s a lot like being there, just without the £8 burgers, stupid blazers and the smell of burnt rubber and clutch. Almost identical you could say. It would have been great to have seen the Volkswagen Polo R WRC hammering up the hill in anger (or doing doughnuts like yesterday) but that will have to wait for another time.

The Festival of Speed organisers have set up a rather good live blog at showing off Instagram  and Twitter tagged photos and thoughts.

Plus, if you want read all about EngageSportMode’s experience at last year’s event, feel free to read these:

If you’re there this weekend, do let EngageSportMode know what your favourite car/bike/champagne bar was. Oh, and for old time’s sake, here is the ESM favourite from last year, the Mazda MX-5 GT Concept (again):


Uncle Steve Writes – Part 3 of 4 – MINI Cooper SD

In the penultimate part of the 4 part series, ESM’s Uncle Steve covers his most recent car purchase.

So, as previously mentioned, the Leon FR TDI has gone, arriving in its place is a MINI Cooper SD hatchback. Again purchased from our tame motor trader, Cooper MINI Durham. So let’s get right down to the specs:

  • MINI Cooper SD Hatchback
  • Lightning blue with contrasting black roof and mirror caps
  • Chili pack
  • Media pack
  • Sun protection glass
  • Anthracite roof lining
  • Chrome line interior
  • Chrome line exterior
  • Piano black interior trim
  • Heated front screen
  • Park distance control (more…)

Uncle Steve Writes – Part 2 of 4 – MINI Countryman Cooper D ALL4

In the second part of his tetralogy, Uncle Steve tells us all about the MINI Countryman Cooper D ALL4 – is this the longest car name in the world? Maybe, but it’s also the name of the car purchased by the fiancé of Uncle Steve.


Back in October last year, we were looking for a car to replace Amy’s Leon FR TDI. Given recent winters we wanted something that would enable us to get out and about if the bad weather returned, but also something that was fun to drive and reasonably economical. Following a visit to several dealerships the MINI found its way straight to the top of my list given the attentiveness I received from the MINI dealership we visited. In fact, given the poor performance of the other dealerships, had they simply waved hello they’d probably have still been top of my list, this was the woeful customer service delivered by SEAT, VW and Audi and all on the same day! (more…)

Uncle Steve Writes – Part 1 of 4 – The Leon FR TDI

In part 1 of a 4 part special, ESM’s Uncle Steve returns. Since he knows you’d be disappointed if none of the four contained a rant or complaint, he’s getting in there straight away with an article on possibly the least reliable car ever produced by SEAT, a Leon FR TDI owned initially by Steve’s fiancé and, more recently, by Steve himself. At some point Steve also intends to stop writing in the third person!


In the summer of 2010 my fiancé decided that she needed a hot hatch to rival my own (see my article on the MkV Golf GTI I owned), she’d always loved the SEAT Leon Mk2 and we decided that the frugal diesel was the model to go for to give us a nice blend of practicality and fun between our two vehicles. (more…)