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All posts by Ryan Bubear: Columnist

  • The Chevrolet Bolt has beaten the Tesla Model 3 to the affordable EV punch

    Chevrolet and Tesla are two exceedingly different automakers. One is a 104-year-old American manufacturer peddling everything from dinky city cars to chunky SUVs, fire-breathing muscle cars, and macho pick-up trucks. The other is a potential market disruptor that has quickly become known for its blindingly fast, highly desirable electric vehicles. But these two divergent brands share one particularly significant goal: that of bringing a mass-produced electric vehicle (with a decent range) to the US market at a relatively affordable price. 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Indeed, the upcoming Model 3 – which Elon Musk promises will be unveiled...

  • 6 of the geekiest compact cars we can look forward to in 2016

    So, 2016 is here. The fireworks have fizzled out. The parties have died down. And countless New Year’s resolutions have already been broken. However, if your resolution involved buying a compact, technology-filled car, you’re in luck. This year, the choice is even broader, thanks to the impending arrival of a number of new players. So, we’ve created a list of six upcoming small vehicles (nothing bigger than a C-segment hatchback) scheduled to hit the new car scene at some stage in 2016. And there’s something for pretty much every brand of automotive geek. Yes, there’s everything from a performance coupe...

  • 5 of the most innovative cars of 2015

    The modern car-buyer is positively spoiled for choice. Indeed, the market is flooded with various types of vehicles, each with a plethora of strikingly similar competitors. Despite the fact that there are so many seemingly different cars around, they’re all, well, very much the same. Automakers, it seems, are all doing pretty much the same thing in pretty much the same segments. And that makes instances of true automotive innovation all the more rare. But, bravely wade through the soul-destroying sameness and you’ll be rewarded with a small handful of refreshingly innovative vehicles. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork for you. And...

  • 8 concept cars from 2015 that unquestionably need to be built

    Here at Motorburn, we’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with concept cars. On the one hand, most concepts draw us in with their extravagant styling, futuristic powertrains, and refreshing impracticality. But, when push comes to shove, these show-stoppers rarely make it through the arduous journey to production. And the lucky few that do indeed see the light of day tend to barely resemble the concepts that roused our interest in the first place. It’s a cruel cycle that petrol-heads endure year after year. The year 2015, of course, was no different. We spent countless hours ogling the...

  • 4 reasons the Volvo S90 sedan is destined for success (and one reason it isn’t)

    The Volvo Cars brand is in the midst of what could just turn out to be quite the transformation. Indeed, with the launch of the widely acclaimed second-generation Volvo XC90 in late 2014, the Swedish automaker took its first public step towards the sort of success that seemed impossible during its final years under Ford ownership. And now, still boasting the considerable backing of the Chinese automotive giant that essentially rescued it, the Gothenburg-based manufacturer has taken the wraps off its next flagship sedan: the 2017 Volvo S90. This sleek premium saloon – which replaces the largely forgettable S80...

  • 4 rumours about the upcoming Tesla Model 3: which ones are likely true?

    Elon Musk once said that developing a long-range, affordable electric vehicle was at the very top of Tesla’s list of long-term goals. And the Model 3, which the 44-year-old Tesla Motors CEO promises will be unveiled to the no-doubt drooling public in March 2016, is intended to be that very car. So, there’s plenty riding on the upcoming model, which will see the California-based electric car-maker finally move into a volume segment. In fact, it’s this vehicle – along with perhaps the Model X, to a smaller extent – that the brand believes will drive annual sales to the 500...

  • Mazda MX-5 vs Fiat 124 Spider: exactly how do these unlikely siblings differ?

    The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider draws its roadster inspiration from two distinct sources. The first, of course, is the most obvious. The revival of the nameplate takes us back to the original Pininfarina-designed Fiat 124 Sport Spider 2+2 convertible sports-car, which the Italian brand built from as early as 1966. Nearly 200 000 units were sold over a lengthy production run, making it a tremendously popular offering, particularly in the United States. Fitting, then, that the new model -- which doffs its cap at the original with a handful of smart styling cues -- was unveiled at the 2015...

  • Will large-scale 3D printing revolutionise automobile manufacturing?

    3D printing – the process of creating a three-dimensional object using successive layers of material under computer control – has the potential to drastically change a massive number of industries. One of these industries, of course, is that of automotive manufacturing. And it’s already started. Yes, 3D printing is today used – on a relatively small scale, admittedly – by a number of car-making powerhouses. The internals of the whopping great turbocharger in the Koenigsegg One:1 hypercar, for example, are 3D-printed. And so is the chunky titanium exhaust tip poking out the rear, saving some 400g (hey, every little...

  • Confused by Merc’s new model-naming system? Let us break it down for you…

    Way back in 1994, the heavyweights at Mercedes-Benz HQ decided to shake up the brand’s model-naming system. And so, determining the designation of each new derivative came to involve halving the age of the chief vehicle designer’s second-born child, multiplying by 13.74, and tacking this rounded-down number on to the end of whichever letter – or three – happened to be pulled out of Heinrich’s traditional Alpine hat that day. Okay, so this is obviously somewhat of an exaggeration. Heinrich wouldn’t have been caught dead in one of those hats. And the nomenclature did, admittedly, make sense to a point....

  • 4 things this year’s Tokyo Motor Show tells us about the future of driving

    Most major motor shows are dominated by the official unveilings of new production vehicles – essentially models you’ll very soon be able to buy. But not a certain Japanese event… No, the Tokyo Motor Show rarely bothers itself with production car reveals. Instead, this biennial exhibition showcases the possible future of the industry via all manner of weird and wonderful concept cars. The 2015 version, of course, didn’t disappoint. Indeed, this year’s show featured as many impossibly long bonnets, incredibly large alloys, and eye-searingly bright paint schemes as usual. But what we’re really interested in is the ideas behind...

  • 2016 Green Car of the Year Awards: here’s why the 5 finalists are special

    The Green Car of the Year Awards have been around for a decade now, showcasing environmental progress in the automotive industry by crowning an efficiency champion each year. Interestingly, the first three years of the Green Car Journal competition saw hybrids reigning supreme, before a couple of diesels from Volkswagen and Audi put a cat amongst the eco-friendly pigeons. Of course, thanks to the emissions-cheating scandal currently engulfing the Volkswagen Group, both of these so-called “clean diesel” models have since had their trophies rescinded. Ouch. Other interesting winners include the 2012 Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle and the 2015 BMW i3...

  • BMW i Remote app review: is it essential to the i3 experience?

    Making the switch from a petrol- or diesel-powered car to an electric one requires a significant shift in mind-set. You see, with an electric vehicle, refuelling is not nearly as simple as popping down to the closest petrol station when the needle nudges “empty”. In fact, it takes quite a bit more forethought than that. Even with a wall-mounted charging station nestling reassuringly in your garage, you still need to keep a beady eye on the battery’s status – particularly since public charging stations are few and far between in South Africa. And that’s where the BMW i Remote app...

  • What the water-injected M4 GTS means for BMWs of the future

    The folks over at Bayerische Motoren Werke certainly know how to celebrate a milestone. No, we’re not talking about the little office party they threw when Lukas in accounts found out his wife was pregnant. We are, instead, alluding to the Munich-based automaker’s penchant for dreaming up tasty high-performance special edition models to mark its various achievements. The latest in a drool-worthy line that includes the M3 CSL, M3 GTS, and M3 CRT? None other than the 2016 BMW M4 GTS, which will serve to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the M3 (yes, this famed moniker has been around since...

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