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All posts by Ryan Bubear: Columnist

Ryan Bubear: Columnist
Since majoring in English and Communications far too many moons ago, Ryan has spent all of his time in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics (and other forms of crime). But his true passion – sparked at least partly by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 that is still tucked embarrassingly lifeless in the back of his garage, much to his lovely wife’s exasperation – is of the automotive variety. He enjoys driving – as well as photographing – all sorts of four-wheeled machines, from hardcore hot hatches to bundu-bashing bakkies. And, yes, he’d even review a tractor.
  • Top trumps! BMW M2 Coupe vs Audi RS 3 Sportback vs Mercedes-AMG A 45

    The new BMW M2 – the Munich automaker’s keenly anticipated follow-up to the madcap 1M Coupe – has now well and truly arrived. Yes, the brand’s entry-level M model – which borrows a few bits and bobs from its bigger brother, the M4 – has touched down in South Africa to turn its rear tyres into smoke and set the cat amongst the compact performance pigeons. Question is, how does it stack up against the very latest versions of its most direct rivals from the other Germans? That’s right, we’re talking about the Audi RS 3 Sportback and the Mercedes-AMG...

  • Aston Martin and Red Bull’s hypercar: 3 reasons it could be truly glorious

    A British luxury car-maker and an energy drink brand from Austria. When it comes to hypercar collaborations, that doesn’t sound anything like a match made in heaven, does it? Well, the two are indeed teaming up to build what they describe as a “ground-breaking” new hypercar. Indeed, the odd couple says its upcoming creation will “represent the ultimate blend of cutting-edge F1 technology with Aston Martin’s signature sports-car design”. Of course, these days, Red Bull is more than a mere peddler of caffeine-infused beverages. The 32-year-old brand has numerous business interests, and has made a particular habit of purchasing and rebranding...

  • Tesla Model 3 vs Chevrolet Bolt: here’s what we know so far

    Yes, the long-awaited Tesla Model 3 has finally been revealed. And what an astounding reception it has received, with nearly 300 000 interested parties putting down deposits in the first three days alone. But, despite absolutely dominating the automotive headlines – and it really has – the Model 3 won’t be the first available relatively affordable, mass-produced electric vehicle with a range exceeding 320km. Indeed, the folks over at General Motors say that the new Chevrolet Bolt (not be confused with the Volt hybrid) will be available at dealerships in the United States before the end of 2016. The Model 3,...

  • Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO division: four extraordinary creations… so far

    “Special Vehicle Operations”. Sounds like some sort of gadget-crazy division one might find in a James Bond film, doesn’t it? Well, while this unit is most certainly British, it’s actually a genuine business branch of the Jaguar Land Rover group. And its main task is to build a bunch of drool-inducing halo vehicles. Run from a dedicated technical centre on the outskirts of Coventry, the special operations division employs some 150 experts to think up and bolt together high-end luxury bespoke commissions and extreme performance vehicles. In a way, that makes SVO to Jaguar Land Rover (which, incidentally, is a wholly owned...

  • The Lexus LC 500h is sexy, but its clever new gearbox may just be sexier

    We won’t deny it: we reckon the recently unveiled Lexus LC 500h is an absolute belter in the looks department. Yes, this hybrid coupe – just like its purely petrol-powered LC 500 sibling – has curves in all the right places. As with the LF-LC concept car that preceded it, the LC 500h is all sweeping lines, angular lighting elements, and oversized alloys. But, wipe the drool from the side of your mouth and peer beneath the tightly wrapped skin, and you’ll soon realise that this pretty much perfectly proportioned Lexus coupe has the brains to go with its...

  • Bugatti Chiron vs Bugatti Veyron: here’s how these two monsters stack up

    The motoring world was left in a flat spin when the original Bugatti Veyron was unveiled way back in 2005. The French-built mid-engined hypercar shattered expectations, defying physics and refining the term “fast”. Here was an otherworldly-looking thing, packing an 8.0-litre W16 engine (with as many as four turbochargers) worth around 736kW and 1250Nm. Top speed was pegged at a mighty 407km/h, with all of that oomph transferred to the pitiful tarmac via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and permanent all-wheel drive. A few years later, Bugatti added the Grand Sport version, which was essentially a roadster with a pair of removable...

  • Here’s why 2016 may just be the year the hybrid finally goes mainstream

    The hybrid – which draws its go-forward juice from both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor – was once seen as the long-term future of personal mobility. And it certainly made sense. Here was a model that saved fuel, reduced tail-pipe emissions, and served up a generous helping of instant torque. What was not to like? Today, however, such a belief isn’t necessarily as widely held. Yes, the majority of the world’s big automakers are now investing obscene amounts of cash in the development of either all-electric or hydrogen technology (or both) instead, which paints a gloomy picture for...

  • The one safety feature authorities say should be standard on every single new car

    Imagine blasting down the highway in a vehicle that doesn’t offer any seatbelts. If you’re anything like us, you’d feel somewhat unsettled. A little exposed, even. Or just plain unsafe. But there was once a time when that wouldn’t have been the case. When seatbelts weren’t mandatory, or even standard equipment on most vehicles. Today, of course, it’s widely accepted that this relatively simple primary restraint system plays a significant role in the reduction of deaths and serious injuries in traffic collisions. But authorities believe that – in addition to the likes of ABS and airbags – there is...

  • Is this strange little car the start of a hydrogen revolution for the masses?

    A handful of the biggest automakers in the world have long been hard at work attempting to create a viable hydrogen-powered vehicle for the masses. But they may all have just been upstaged by a comparatively tiny company based in the town of Llandrindod Wells in Wales. Yes, Riversimple Movement Ltd has taken the wraps off the road-legal engineering prototype of its Rasa hydrogen-powered two-seater car. And it looks very promising – if a little eccentric – indeed. Riversimple says it has one main purpose: to systematically eliminate the environmental impact of personal transport. In essence, it says its...

  • The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class proves just how fast technology is progressing

    If we were to ask you which Mercedes-Benz boasts the very best of the brand’s cutting edge technology, we’re pretty sure we know what you’d say. The latest S-Class is the most advanced Mercedes around, right? No contest, surely? Right? Well, no. Not for the time being, at least. Rather extraordinarily, the Stuttgart brand’s flagship full-size sedan – which has long been considered the pinnacle of luxurious and innovative motoring – is no longer the most advanced vehicle in its line-up. That accolade now belongs to none other than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Yes, the tenth-generation E-Class has unquestionably eclipsed its...

  • 5 ways the new BMW 7 Series takes the fight to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class

    It’s been going on for generations. Yes, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7 Series have been engaged in a battle at the top of Technology Mountain for a relative age. Each time one of the full-size luxury sedans lands an innovation-laden punch, the other responds with a stinging “first” of its own. Think back and you’ll see what we mean. The pre-emptive safety systems that are common in premium cars today have the W220 S-Class to thank for their existence. The original 7 Series, meanwhile, was the first car to come fitted with an electronic speedometer. Yes, both German automakers...

  • Is the Hyundai Ioniq the hybrid to finally topple the Toyota Prius?

    The hybrid is no longer an unusual automobile. But, interestingly, the vast majority of the world’s modern examples are based on existing, conventionally fuelled models. Yes, these days, you can have a hybrid version of everything from a BMW X5 or Volvo XC90 to a Ford Fusion or even a Toyota Yaris. Indeed, what’s rather more rare is a hybrid that takes the form of a standalone model. Honda tried it with the Insight, which lasted a couple of generations. Chevrolet is still trying with the Volt, which does things a little differently by treating its petrol engine as...

  • The 8 safest cars crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2015

    Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time when the crash-crazy folks over at Euro NCAP reveal their annual list of “Best in Class” vehicles. Keen to learn which models tested in 2015 topped their respective segments? Well, then read on – but bear in mind that Euro NCAP does not profess to assess every variant of every new car to hit the market. Instead, it aims to provide a broad range of useful information to consumers. In fact, this year it focussed on 40 vehicles. As before, each vehicle’s overall score comprises ratings in four specific areas: adult...

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