Thursday, January 24, 2013

Racing Legends: Stirling Moss

Hollywood actor Sir Patrick Stewart tells the enthralling story of Sir Stirling Moss's glittering race career. The pair travel to Florence in a classic Gull Wing Mercedes to retrace the route of Italy's most famous road race, the Mille Miglia, and discuss how Stirling's near-fatal crash may have been the best thing that ever happened to him. Yet how will Sir Patrick cope with the raw power of the era when he drives a 1957 Formula 1 car at the scene of Stirling's historic British Grand Prix victory? Well worth the time watching. You owe it to yourself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gran Designs. Driving the 640i Gran Coupe.

On somedays, it takes quite a bit of time to warm up to a new car. To learn about it and understand it's character and idiosyncrasies. The day i was handed the keys to this Gran Coupe though, was not one of those days. Just look at it. I'm sure you have all heard it before, the phrase, "Photos just don't do it justice", this is especially so on this car. The way each body panel throws off light and shows off it's curves are just too difficult for an amateur photography hobbyist to capture. It just has to be seen in real life. How the car sits on the road, it's, forgive me for saying, stance. And how it relates to other vehicles of the road. To put it bluntly, the 6 Series Gran Coupe is as beautiful as the 5 GT is ugly. You'd imagine probably after all the backlash from 5 GT, the bosses went up to the designers and just told them to make a stunning looking sedan with an almost free reign. And what a stunner it has turned out to be. Mercedes might have started the whole trend of 4 door "coupes", but the Gran Coupe has the design aspect nailed. The only other car i can think of in a similar genre with more visual clout is the Aston Martin Rapide, but that is in another level altogether. Forget your CLS's and your Panameras. This is what you want. It's the kind of car you'd probably dream up of when you were a child growing up. The short hunkered down roofline, the muscled out rear hanches and the long cigarette body shape. Even the little details weren't spared some extra designer touches. Inside, the front seats come straight off the coupe, which does present one of such earlier mentioned idiosyncrasies of this car. The seat belt unlike other 4 door cars is mounted onto the seat itself, much like the coupes, it's a small thing but it does take some getting used to. These seats do an excellent job of holding you in place and in much comfort too. Over in the back, it's strictly meant for 2, unless you plan to have someone you dislike mounted on top of the rear central tunnel. Headroom is surprisingly good considering the low sloping roof. With all the controls placed neatly and beautifully ala' it's 2 door siblings, in the test car we drove, a big feature for me would be the very impressive and very pretty looking B&O sound system. With the central tweeter raising up when turned on and sliding back down when turned off. Sound quality as you'd expect is pretty amazing. On the road, this car behaves extremely well. Put it this way, the Gran Coupe feels like a small luxo-barge while the regular 2 door 6ers feel like large coupes. There might be some small differences between the two but having 2 extra doors and a slightly longer wheelbase does not detract from this car at all. If any, it might have made it even better. It cruises extremely well and when the bends come in, the Gran Coupe retains an extremely good amount of body control. With multiple driving modes to choose from, you can go from an extremely spirited drive (315 horses tends to promote such behavior) on the way out and when you have exhausted all your petrol, slot it into eco-pro for the return leg home. Having the privilege of crossing over into 2013 with this car, i really can't think of anything better. The last car i drove for 2012 has turned out to be one of the best cars ever. Even with a S$5,000 premium over it's 2 door sibling, it's a no brainer. It really is THAT good, just look at it. Gorgeous. Everything else is irrelevant.

Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 web trawled videos: Part II - The Girls *Blowout*

While i'd like to believe that most visitors to the Auto Salon go there for the cars, the truth is that a huge number are probably there for other forms of "eye candy". You know what i mean. :) Well, here's a small handful of videos for your viewing pleasure! First off, a nice collection of the ladies. Next up, we have the HINO booth. I personally think that the HINO girls have now totally outclassed those over at AIWA. Have a look. And we applaud this cameraman for his "creative" angles. Bridgestone also had an impressive lineup of ladies. Even Toyo tyres and Goodyear put up some dancing girls. Here's AIWA in comparison. They pretty much just move around and let people take pictures, but they still command an extremely strong following. And at TWS wheels, NISMO and Treasure ONE. Meanwhile over at the event stage. J-LUG is a magazine featuring mostly USDM styled cars, so if you like your ladies on the erm, slightly meatier side... And some other random videos.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 web trawled videos: Part I - The Main Event

Ever since the doors open on this year's Tokyo Auto Salon, i've been trawling the youtubes at every possible moment for the latest videos to make it's way onto the web and well, here are the more notable ones, some put together better than others. But as always, nothing beats being there in real life. Maybe next year...