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All posts by Andy Walker: staff reporter

  • Formula E is not the environmentally-friendly racing series we were hoping for, but it’s a start

    Let's not fool ourselves. Although I hate to knock it before its first race, Formula E really is no greener than it's petroleum-based cousins. The Formula E cars once racing will emit no carbon emissions, but that's just on the track. The series's trailer frustrates me the most. The stock footage of an unspoilt earth, people frolicking in fields and wind turbines gently twirling in the breeze suggests that Formula E is the motorsport that will change everything. If it is purporting to be a green series, its not only fooling itself but the public as well. Even though its...

  • VW sells its first XL1 ultra efficient hybrid for around $150 000

    Volkswagen, always on the edge of technology's tall cliff face, has sold its first example of what is the world's most efficient Batmobile, the XL1. We've covered the XL1 before, tracking it from concept to full blown production model. But the space age car is now available for an exclusive audience in Germany and Austria at a price that is unfortunately, nowhere as low as its fuel usage figures. The first of a batch of 250 cars has been sold in Germany for an estimated US$150 000 to a former test driver Dr Christian Malorny. This may sound like a ludicrous...

  • LEGO Mini Cooper scale model is the perfect toy for adults

    You'd be right to think that cars are like living toys, but LEGO has taken this notion one step further. The Danish toy company has given the Mini Cooper the LEGO scale-model treatment, allowing fans of both toys and cars to build the ultimate scale model. The set will retail for US$100, and will be available in August. In addition, building the Mini will probably take a sizable chunk out of your day as well, with nearly 1 100 pieces needing steady and gentle hands. http://youtu.be/v_Ud4Hp5kkw The iconic British racing green car, complete with a white roof and customary round fog lights,...

  • 8 movies where the cars were the real stars

    Movies without a vehicle of some sort either aiding production or featured in the filming is virtually non-existent nowadays. Often though, (awesome) screenwriters and directors give cars a starring role in their blockbuster movies, be them the villain or the protagonist. For this reason, why should these famous cars not be honoured like their human counterparts? 1. The (rebadged) BMW 735i E38 from The Transporter (2002) Although protagonist Frank Martin, in the TV series spinoff, uses a modern Audi A8 4.2-litre v8, the original The Transporter was dominated by the suave, stately and sophisticated facade of the BMW 7-series - until...

  • Audi’s stylish RS7 TFSI focuses on performance without sacrificing economy

    Audi has revealed details of its revised RS7 Sportback sedan, that will retail in Germany later this year for around US$154 000. The Ingolstadt-based marque has recently given its A7 range a nip and tuck - a move that has has gradually filtered its way onto the company's performance model. The now-prettier RS7 sports new LED headlights and an infotainment system powered by chip manufacturer Nvidia. Under the car's glinting red bonnet, the 4.0 V8 bi-turbo TFSI engine is both powerful and efficient, producing 560 horsepower while coughing up a mere 221 grams of CO2/km. Peak torque of 700 N.m. is...

  • Porsche’s most advanced engine ever is set to challenge Audi at Le Mans

    Porsche has released details of its Le Mans LMP1-specification engine that will compete in one of motorsport's most renowned races this coming July. The power unit is Porsche's most advanced yet and certainly one of the most efficient it has ever made. The Porsche 919's 2.0-litre turbocharged V4 engine is aided by a KERS system that recovers energy from the front axle, and a ERS system that uses exhaust gases. The energy is stored in batteries and used by an electrical motor, adding 247 horsepower to the petrol engine's 493 horsepower. Incredibly, this combined 740 horsepower power unit is slated...

  • The drive to perfection: a brief evolution of vehicle transmissions

    If there has been one area of car development that's undergone a massive tech explosion over the years, it's transmissions. Facing more recent pressure from lawmakers, the environment and the public than ever before, the past decade has seen automakers move away from fuel-drunk Earth-killers and towards smarter, greener and cleaner vehicles. Most are developing a form of hybrid power unit, meshing combustion engines with rechargeable electrical motors. Others like BMW, have invested heavily in lighter construction materials, shunning traditional alloys in favour of "carbon fibre and thermoplastic," in the case of its i8. But those not ready...

  • Mini’s Superleggera-designed roadster is a work of aluminium art

    The Mini Superleggera Vision is what happens when a German-owned marque meshes Italian style and flair with legendary British heritage. Frankly, this Mini concept looks nothing like any Mini that has preceded it, and that's actually a good thing. The topless two-seater roadster is bathed by gentle lines and elegant trim all while somehow retaining the essence of the Mini badge it wears. Designed by Italian firm, Touring Superleggera (responsible for the gorgeous Alfa Romeo C52 Disco Volante) the Vision concept is as kind to the environment as it is to your eyes. BMW reveals that the car is built exclusively...

  • Watch McLaren’s VIPs thrash the 650S Coupe around Monza [video]

    You don't have to be a McLaren fan, or executive, to appreciate this. Mentioning "McLaren" and "Monza" in the same sentence should evoke nostalgia of Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen dueling for the win. But this time the McLaren in question is the marque's road-going, incredibly swift 650S Coupe. The 641-horsepower, 3.8-litre turbocharged monster was recently spotted kissing the curbs of Italy's fabled Monza racetrack, at the hands of the company's VIPs. The "McLaren Pure Driving Experience" is about as close a car fan could come to a midyear Christmas. The video showcases four 650S engines rumble into life, burbling away as...

  • E-Type reborn: Jaguar to complete its 50-year-old promise

    In 1963, Jaguar planned to build 18 "Lightweight E" E-types, but for reasons unknown the company only made 12. To remedy this grave indiscretion, the automaker has announced plans to construct the remaining six vehicles to the exact original specifications, nearly 50 years later. There's no information of what these pieces of history will cost, but considering the original vehicles with proven racetrack pedigree can fetch up to US$6.7 million each, we reckon a seven-digit price tag. The "2014" Jaguar E-type lightweights will stay true to the original design specs, from the spiritual home Coventry-based Browns Lane factory, to the handcrafted...

  • Watch this mining truck drift between classic cars, on purpose [video]

    "Drifting" and "truck" don't normally share space in the same sentence, but when they do the result is either catastrophic or utterly brilliant. Enter the latter case. In Mike Ryan's world there's nothing a car can do that a truck can't. The American stunt driver has done some of the craziest things with rubble-movers, most notably setting the Bonneville Salt Flats record by pushing an 11-ton Freightliner semi-truck beyond 360km/h. He has been known to drift a few, as well. In his latest conquest, he teams up with the data company EMC for its new advert. Ryan rather daintily guides a...

  • Rolls-Royce’s Phantom ‘Waterspeed’ pays homage to luxury and legacy

    Rolls-Royce, a company never shy to celebrate its heritage, has announced an even more opulent version of its Phantom Drophead Coupe, dubbed the "Waterspeed Collection." The 35 examples will leave prospective buyers cocooned in luxury, but severely broke. The car will retail for a bonkers US$732 975. The Waterspeed pays homage to Sir Malcolm Campbell's 1937 world waterspeed record while piloting the Rolls-Royce-powered Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat. In the 1930s, Campbell was practically the fastest man on the planet. The exclusive vehicle will feature elegant nods to Campbell's craft. These include hand brushed aluminium decking, hand-engraved Bluebird motifs on the door panels...

  • Audi’s R8 LMX flaunts the ‘world’s first’ production laser headlights

    Bavarian automotive engineering is never uncompetitive, so when Audi and BMW both announced plans to add laser headlight technology to their production models, the race to outshine each other was on (pun intended). Audi has now proclaimed itself victor, by manufacturing the first production car to come standard with laser high beams: the limited edition Audi R8 LMX. Only 99 of these cars will be made and each will retail for around a dizzying US$290 000. Although the headlight technology is undoubtedly a thing of beauty, the R8 LMX is more than just a pair of pretty eyes. The automaker's 5.2-litre...

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Porsche's most advanced engine ever is set to challenge Audi at Le Mans

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