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All posts by Ryan Bubear: Columnist

  • 8 of 2013’s most innovative cars

    Roughly 83.48 percent* of all press releases issued by car manufacturers contain the word “innovative”. Thing is, hardly any of the vehicles mentioned in such adjective-laden PR material genuinely embody true innovation. Sure, practically every new car is an improvement on its predecessor, but how many are groundbreaking? How many are, indeed, novel? Yes, where improvement is the act of merely doing something better, innovation is the feat of doing something completely different. And doing it well. With this in mind, Motorburn decided to look back at some of the most innovative automobiles of 2013. Bear in mind that we’re concentrating...

  • Fuel economy claims: setting the record straight

    So, you’re about to buy a new car. And, considering that the price of fuel seems to increase almost as often as Kim Kardashian snaps a selfie, efficiency is chief among the objectives that inform your buying decision. You eventually settle on a neat compact hatchback, swayed by the little sticker on the window declaring that it consumes a mere 4.3 litres per 100km. After a spot of messy mental arithmetic, you deduce that you’ll now be spending about half as much on petrol compared to what you used to in the gas-guzzling rust-bucket that previously passed as your chariot....

  • Sound symposers: tech marvel or just plain cheating?

    With apologies to Wikipedia, sound can be defined as a mechanical wave or oscillation of pressure transmitted through some medium -- such as air or water -- and composed of frequencies that are within the range of hearing. Or, to petrol-heads, what happens when you hit the loud pedal. Yes, to many car enthusiasts, the aural appeal of a performance vehicle is just as important as, say, its zero to 100km/h sprint time or how well it goes around corners. Induction gushes, turbo whistles, exhaust notes and even pops and crackles on the overrun can all add to a sporty...

  • The Audi A7: A diesel-head technophile’s dream

    The Audi A7 Sportback isn’t exactly new. In fact, it first went on sale globally in 2010. But now Audi has added a beefier turbo-diesel to the line-up, complementing a 3.0-litre petrol version, two less powerful diesels and, of course, the range-topping, fire-breathing 4.0-litre V8 S7. And, as it turns out, this new bi-turbo powerplant -- still in the familiar 3.0-litre V6 guise -- is a bit of a technological wonder in itself. As the name suggests, it makes use of a pair of turbochargers to deliver oodles of oomph to all four wheels pretty much throughout the rev-range....

  • 8 crazy car gadgets you’ve probably never heard of

    Automotive gadgets that were once unique to the most well-appointed of luxury barges often end up filtering down to common-or-garden runabouts that ordinary people buy, albeit over the course of many years. But sometimes these gizmos don't trickle down at all. And sometimes they're, well, not very luxurious either. Or they are, but you never get to hear about them since they're consigned to the scrap-heap of failed trend setters before you can say "automatic safety belt" (YouTube it). Here's a look at eight (some old, some new) rather unusual automotive gadgets. If you've heard of more than half of...

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