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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Team Bloodhound set to break speed records

The next contender for the world’s fastest car is currently being assembled in Bristol. A team of top engineers behind the Bloodhound supersonic car hope to smash through both the sound barrier and the land speed record with their pencil-shaped wheelie beast.

The current land speed record was set way back in 1997 by a British team also led by Richard Noble, who built the Thrust SSC. It reached speeds of over 768mph to become the first car to ever break the sound car and become ‘supersonic’. It was powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines.

But the Bloodhound is set to race past that record with speeds of up to 1,000mph. Noble's team of just 34 people, which is currently working in the former Maritime Heritage Centre on Bristol harbour, will use a jet engine – specifically a prototyope Eurojet EJ200 – to propel the car to 300mph. After that a second engine will pick up the speed, a special hybrid rocket designed by Daniel Jubb, which will blast the Bloodhound up to the 1,000mph barrier.

In total the Bloodhound will have as much power as approximately 180 Formula 1 cars. If the world record attempt goes according to plan, the team will have broken the land speed record by around 33%, which is the highest ever margin. The record attempt is set to take place in 2016, but before that it will be tested on a 12 mile runway in South Africa in 2014.

Hold onto your hats!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is the best car in ages

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is a blast from the past, and a rocket into the future at the same time. Here’s why it’s our favourite supercar of the last five years.

Sitting in this tidy Merc is having your wheels firmly rooted in automobile history. It’s like being in Back to the Future, with classic design and features propelled with state-of-the-art technology and whoosh! contours.

It’s a modern-day take on the classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing from 1954, which makes it look like something Steve McQueen or Sean Connery would have driven back in the day. It’s not easy to get into, but then, being an action hero isn’t supposed to be easy. When they’re open, they look more like wings. And boy, can she fly…

With 369lb of torque at 2000rpm, this Benz screams through the early gears to leave your skull pressed firmly against the headrest. At full throttle, it does 60mph in 3.7 seconds, and handles like a snifter of vintage brandy after a feast of molecular gastronomy.

At £150,000, the SLS AMG looks like a bargain for a supercar of its quality. It is possibly the tastiest item on the menu, when compared with its rivals, the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Aston Martin Vantage V12. Both the Aston and the Porsche weigh in a little cheaper, but if you’re looking for a car that will stand out, the Mercedes has easily the finest handling and aesthetic prowess.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

New generation Hyundai i10 is a great city car

Hyundai are set to challenge Volkswagen as leaders of the city car market.

For some time now, Volkswagen have had the city car pretty much covered. Not only do they have their own Volkswagen Up, which is hugely popular for people with limited parking space who want something a little more spacious than a roller skate. They also engineer two pretty much identical cars for other brands, the Skoda Citigo and the SEAT Mii.

All three of those cars are very good at what they do, but putting out the same car under three different brands was only ever an illusion of choice. They were pretty much the same thing, engineered by the same people.

But now Hyundai is set to offer a genuine alternative for people looking for a good little runaround car, with its New Generation i10 model. “Prepare to take the city by storm,” says the promo material. And it may just do that, having already been recommended by What Car as the best city car for under £9,000.

Since its inception in 2007, the i10 has become one of Hyundai’s biggest successes in recent years, capped off by the winning New Generation model, which is set to really compete with Volkswagen. People who have had a spin in the i10 tend to agree, saying it’s comfortable, well designed to maximise the space, and drives like a go-kart.

For first time buyers and city slickers alike, it looks like Hyundai have just produced a winner.


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