Saturday, 22 February 2020

A classic American 4x4 with zero emissions and Rolls-Royce build quality? What next? Vegan pork?

A classic American 4x4 without emissions and Rolls-Royce build quality? What now? Vegan pork?

"Road" is a mite generous as a description, actually. It is a rocky vein that is lightly sketched over the ankles of a small mountain. A roadway busy with everything but traffic, all dust and rocks, and brush that grumpily scrapes itself out of the dirt as if angry about its own existence. The sun starts with its low pass, meaning that this vintage Ford Bronco is haunted all the way by a block shadow for a millisecond in second place, a silhouette softened by the light trail of dust that we plow in our wake as we climb.

We crawl over rocks in the low range, pick light on the path, pull ourselves higher and higher until the view reveals itself and we stop to a halt, absorb the view as if we are breathing in, a view painted in muted watercolors along the horizon. It is a scene that could be drawn from the sixties, given the age of the car we drive. Except when you listen and look closer. Because firstly the Bronco is almost silent even when it moves, and secondly, if you save this Ford more than a fleeting glance, you will realize that this car is the same as a Sixties Bronco in the same way that a cat is a horse. Same basic design architecture,
Words: Tom Ford // Photography: Rowan Horncastle

It goes deeper than modern paint. Or the millimetric carbon-fiber panel openings that are definitely onBronco, both in material and finish. The remake body that calms some of the original Bronco's more uncomfortable production needs. It goes beyond the hardcore and respected Currie Enterprises differentials that you can see peeping from under the car front and rear, or the Fox Racing suspension that you see. Furthermore, even an interior that you would like to mount on a wall as modern art: floating center console modeled on an Eames seat, manual gear lever as tangible a piece of technology as you would hope. Because this is a Ford Bronco from Zero Labs. It is different because it has been redesigned from the ground up. And it's quiet because it's electric.

Heresy? Depends on your point of view. Because Zero Labs is currently eliminating fully electric, heavy-duty restomod classic Ford Broncos, two of the most popular automotive trends are braiding in a vehicle that is about as trendy as possible without involving a vegan Kardashian wearing nothing but a pair of Yeezys. And without spoiling the end of the story too much, it is completely, completely tempting. To explain why, it's probably best to start at the beginning. With Adam. But not that.

“You have to look to the future as if it has already happened. Your unconscious does not recognize time. You cannot be anchored in the present. I have to believe that this has already happened ... that this Bronco is a thing of the past. Hope is not how it happens. You have to live in the future. "

Rewind to a few hours earlier, and Adam Roe, CEO and founder of Zero Labs Classic Electric Vehicles, is doing well and it is hard to decide whether he is genius or intriguingly insane. Maybe it's the jet lag, but I'm staring glassy, ​​focused on thoughtful and knowing, coming up somewhere on the other side as if I had faced an unarmed battle. Smile flickers occasionally like vintage neon, Roe gestures outstretched to Zero Labs' new production facility alongside Elon Musk's Space X in Los Angeles and asks, seemingly uncertain, "But it is cool right?"

Yes it's cool. But I realize this when a lady named Kaylee glides past on a longboard, with a cup of coffee the size of a fire extinguisher ... this is peak California. And it's not just the commuter traffic between the rooms. The energy here is palpable. You can taste the optimism in the back of your throat, feel the people leaking away, the place. It is as warming as the California sunshine that does its best to disturb itself through the office window. It's incredible and a little ... weird. Or maybe, you know, jet lag.



My eyes continue to wander to the matte gray Bronco that is lurking 30 meters away. It certainly looks, and I hope that this is not a paved Instagram-beautiful facade. I feel attracted by the enthusiasm of Zero Labs, and it becomes a murderer if the car is rubbish. It doesn't help that I like Roe right away, because it's impossible not to. He is not what you would call the typical car CEO. Fit-dressed, dressed in a black V-neck T-shirt, denim jacket and planed sneakers, is Ada

Porsche Macan GTS review: the last of its breed

MAXIMUM SPEED
162Mph
INSURANCE GROUP
45E
MORE SPECS

COMPARABLE CAR FINANCING

A new Porsche SUV?
Meet the new Macan GTS, the last of Porsche's smaller SUV series for the mid-life update update. It arrives in a political climate where overly long, over-powered hatchbacks prove to be harder to defend, so it has a small task to prove its worth. The big claim of the GTS? "No Macan has been closer to the road than this," thanks to a 15 mm lower suspension.
Doesn't that beat the point of an SUV?
JEP. The Macan has always been at the better end of its market, although it felt more like a chubby hot hatch than many of its colossal rivals. When we see the new GTS parked, we can't help but wonder why Porsche not only made a more traditional fast legacy.
But then we don't have a profitable car manufacturer, and probably we would never do that by putting such old products into operation. The Macan and Cayenne bankroll Porsche on levels that are so stratospheric that we simply have to learn luddite enthusiasts to accept their existence - indeed welcome.
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What's new here?
The engine. It is a displeased version of the 2.9-liter V6 of the Macan Turbo, which is itself a displeased version of the powertrain of the Audi RS4 Avant. Here it produces 375 hp and 384 lb ft, the latter delivered on a "wide and practical plateau" between 1,750 and 5,000 rpm. This is not Porsche that speaks the traditional language of sexy sports cars.
The Macan GTS, however, goes rather as one, with a time of 4.9 sec 0-62 mph and a top speed of 162 mph. It reaches 100 km / h in less than 12 seconds, which is annoyingly impressive.
Why should I choose the GTS over the Turbo?
It's for people who want to shout louder about their SUV performance, says Porsche. So the GTS gets bold alloys and details, Alcantara and contrast stitching in abundance and a more vocal outlet card for both passengers and bystanders to enjoy. Or admonish. Large parts of Macan Turbo buyers, on the other hand, opt for a sober color and remove the letters from the tailgate. And probably stay far away from the optional body-colored wheels shown above ...
Then go. Is it going well?
Yes, I am slightly ashamed to say. Should SUVs sit so low, be able to revolve sharply or handle them tightly? No they do not. But that's what it's all about. The surprise and enjoyment of a car that is so thick that it is so easily dragged into driving with a stern face is fun at a level that I would dare to admit in the company of someone who deals with climate change.
Porsche claims that its four-wheel drive is heavily rearward, and although there is no upset on its own - at least not at driving speeds - it is a considerably agile car to drive than all its rivals without an AMG badge. This is the performance SUV that is least bothered by physics, but that's because the dimensions and ride height mean that it lives on the edge of its target market. We suspect that some Porsche engineers would rather make a dinky fast estate like the RS4 with which he shares his engine, and this is the car that comes closest.
How are things inside?
The seating position, handlebar size and visibility are all classic Porsche: absolutely propelled. What is less ergonomically attractive is the enormously busy stack of buttons that are located on either side of the PDK gear lever.
It proves a) how much kit Porsche has thrown at the GTS to make it drive, act and sound like its badge promises, and b) why touchscreens and haptic feedback have become a 'thing' introduced in Porsches since the introduction of the Macan in 2014. It's all very distracting to play with it individually, so we suspect you will adhere to the Normal, Sport and Sport + modes in the steering wheel dial to keep your eyes on the road.
Do I need to know anything else?
This is the most sporty Macan with internal combustion that we will ever see. The next one will be fully electrified, sharing a platform with the new Audi Q5, and between now and then there won't be a Macan Turbo S or anything like that. So maybe this car can be enjoyed with a little less guilt, knowing that it is essentially the last of its race. If you can live with the image - or fully own it and enjoy it - then it's a great way to go outside.

What next? Vegan pork?

A classic American 4x4 without emissions and Rolls-Royce build quality? What now? Vegan pork?

"Road" is a mite generous as a description, actually. It is a rocky vein that is lightly sketched over the ankles of a small mountain. A roadway busy with everything but traffic, all dust and rocks, and brush that grumpily scrapes itself out of the dirt as if angry about its own existence. The sun starts with its low pass, meaning that this vintage Ford Bronco is haunted all the way by a block shadow for a millisecond in second place, a silhouette softened by the light trail of dust that we plow in our wake as we climb.

We crawl over rocks in the low range, pick light on the path, pull ourselves higher and higher until the view reveals itself and we stop to a halt, absorb the view as if we are breathing in, a view painted in muted watercolors along the horizon. It is a scene that could be drawn from the sixties, given the age of the car we drive. Except when you listen and look closer. Because firstly the Bronco is almost silent even when it moves, and secondly, if you save this Ford more than a fleeting glance, you will realize that this car is the same as a Sixties Bronco in the same way that a cat is a horse. Same basic design architecture, wildly different

It goes deeper than modern paint. Or the millimetric carbon-fiber panel openings that are definitely onBronco, both in material and finish. The remake body that calms some of the original Bronco's more uncomfortable production needs. It goes beyond the hardcore and respected Currie Enterprises differentials that you can see peeping from under the car front and rear, or the Fox Racing suspension that you see. Furthermore, even an interior that you would like to mount on a wall as modern art: floating center console modeled on an Eames seat, manual gear lever as tangible a piece of technology as you would hope. Because this is a Ford Bronco from Zero Labs. It is different because it has been redesigned from the ground up. And it's quiet because it's electric.

Heresy? Depends on your point of view. Because Zero Labs is currently eliminating fully electric, heavy-duty restomod classic Ford Broncos, two of the most popular automotive trends are braiding in a vehicle that is about as trendy as possible without involving a vegan Kardashian wearing nothing but a pair of Yeezys. And without spoiling the end of the story too much, it is completely, completely tempting. To explain why, it's probably best to start at the beginning. With Adam. But not that.

“You have to look to the future as if it has already happened. Your unconscious does not recognize time. You cannot be anchored in the present. I have to believe that this has already happened ... that this Bronco is a thing of the past. Hope is not how it happens. You have to live in the future. "

Rewind to a few hours earlier, and Adam Roe, CEO and founder of Zero Labs Classic Electric Vehicles, is doing well and it is hard to decide whether he is genius or intriguingly insane. Maybe it's the jet lag, but I'm staring glassy, ​​focused on thoughtful and knowing, coming up somewhere on the other side as if I had faced an unarmed battle. Smile flickers occasionally like vintage neon, Roe gestures outstretched to Zero Labs' new production facility alongside Elon Musk's Space X in Los Angeles and asks, seemingly uncertain, "But it is cool right?"

Yes it's cool. But I realize this when a lady named Kaylee glides past on a longboard, with a cup of coffee the size of a fire extinguisher ... this is peak California. And it's not just the commuter traffic between the rooms. The energy here is palpable. You can taste the optimism in the back of your throat, feel the people leaking away, the place. It is as warming as the California sunshine that does its best to disturb itself through the office window. It's incredible and a little ... weird. Or maybe, you know, jet lag.



My eyes continue to wander to the matte gray Bronco that is lurking 30 meters away. It certainly looks, and I hope that this is not a paved Instagram-beautiful facade. I feel attracted by the enthusiasm of Zero Labs, and it becomes a murderer if the car is rubbish. It doesn't help that I like Roe right away, because it's impossible not to. He is not what you would call the typical car CEO. Fit-dressed, dressed in a black V-neck T-shirt, denim jacket and planed sneakers, is Ada

Holy heck, the new Audi e-tron S will drift

So what has changed?
It is the way the engines work. The standard e-tron uses two different engine sizes, with a smaller one on the front axle. The e-tron S folds the two around - puts the larger in front - but puts two of the smaller engines on the rear axle, and they work independently to create a torque vector system that delivers power shift pleasure without the need for a traditional, mechanical differential.
However, as an S-badged Audi, it must also be wise. So the way the power is shaken varies depending on the driving modes you are in. Comfort sees the power being distributed about 50:50 in the front and rear, but Dynamic can see the split as wide as 10:90, with constant torque distribution varying according to the circumstances - even off-road conditions ... as if one of them was ever on the road will be for something that is approaching the wilderness.
Oh, and considering how much this Tesla's territory enters, you probably want to know a 0-62 mph time. It will do it in 4.5 seconds, more than a second faster than a standard e-tron.
Tell me about drifting.
This is not suddenly a bizarre drifter, but the e-tron S will perform very well for the camera, if you ask for it. In Comfort, it offers an unmillable four-wheel drive; cheeky little hints of power that are used at the rear, but only for a neat, tidy and highly professional cornering posture. This is the car for when a snow pocalypse suddenly strikes and you are still planning to come home (as long as you have enough reach).
However, the dynamic mode is for the empty supermarket parking when you are back in one piece. It is not a hooligan on the surface, but loosens the stability check and it will allow some pretty excessive angles of upset with only mild provocation.
Is that relevant?
Not for buyers of electric SUVs. Lord no. But what it stands for is quite exciting. For the first time ever in the company of Audi engineers I got a wet circuit with an enthusiastic man in a brand jacket who encouraged me to disconnect the links from the ESP and to accelerate as flamboyantly as possible. Images of e-trons that act as mobile smoke machines played on video walls when I registered at the Neuberg test facility.
Normally I would not break through the fourth wall and describe such nerdy admin details, but it is clear that Audi wants us to know that electric cars can not only be fun, but also their own, often sleek performance cars. The usually smart S-badge has a new wanderer thanks to the freedom offered by electric power.
"Our sport differential is great for a car with a combustion engine, but we are always limited by the clutch," says Martin Baur, project manager for Audi's electric torque vectoring. "Here it is completely free and not limited. It is faster, with a much higher torque and a whole new freedom in torque distribution.
"This car floats on snow, on wet, on dry, on the circuit, in the Alps ... You can drive it wisely on the highway and it is a very efficient car with a lot of rain or you press the button and you have pleasure. "
And when you are sensible?
Away from the handling loop where childishness was actively encouraged, the e-tron felt neat and tidy for a car weighing more than 2.5 tons. A smoother, smoother test circuit showed how natural and mature this powertrain feels with smoother use and how well it repels understeer thanks to the magic with torque vectoring underneath.
Only if you hit the brakes hard and lose a lot of speed, the powerful torque is built up so effortlessly that you realize how enormously heavy this vehicle is. The engineers have thrown a cloak over the problem in the corners and concealed it with remarkable success.
What else does the S-badge deliver?
Stiff suspension compared to standard e-trons, as well as a butcher, more assertive appearance with 23 mm wider wheel arches, redesigned bumpers and 20 inch alloys that carry wider tires (with 21s and 22s optional).
It will be available in both e-tron and e-tron Sportback versions, the latter pictured here. The car you see here is described as "very close to production", and we will soon see the e-tron S without disguise, at the Geneva Motor Show in early March, where we also get more specifications and a specification idea of prices. And where, for the life of the rear tire, it will still be dead.

Audi RS Q3 Sportback review: oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Coincidentally, it arrived at the Top Gear office to overlap with the new coupĂ© version of the RS Q3. The £ 51,805 RS Q3 Sportback is also fast and full of grip, but the good news stops dead there.
What's wrong with it?
Let's start the ride. The (£ 58k as tested) RS Q3 Sportback Audi included was an interesting, relevant spec. The classic British buyer habits all ticked. Posher paint, 21-inch wheels and a little interior technology. It was crucial that the money was spent to make the RS Q3 more photogenic (ish) and to show off better with your friends. Not to make it better to drive.
This is a long car with a short wheelbase that tries to be sporty, driving on 21-inch wheels. That comes down to driving quality that is unacceptably jiggly and hard. It doesn't matter if you are in town, you are driving over a speed bump, on an open road, dogfighting with pits or just running along the outer lane of the M4, braced for the expansion gaps on the bridges. The shocking, horribly tight ride of the RS Q3 is a conversation stop. A singalong song interrupter. At least very effective to reduce your speed.
You are no stranger to endure a brisk ride if the ministry is a giggle ...
Good point. Cars such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Mercedes-AMG E63 have been great favorites for Top Gear and have even won our best of the year - despite driving like skateboards on stairs. But that is because what they give away in squidge, they give back in balance, agility and balance. They are rock hard and yet you can see when you ask for problems. The RS Q3 is the worst of all worlds. The suspension is made of petrified Jurassic wood, and yet it feels numb and lead in the corners. The controls are frigid and distant, regardless of the modes.
There are modes?
Yes, but they do not save the RS Q3 Sportback. Without £ 900 in adaptive suspension to facilitate the smooth ride, the only thing they do is with the dashboard graphics (admittedly, the retro Quachro-style tacho is cool), pour maple syrup in the handlebars and espresso martini on the driveline circuit boards.
Isn't the engine a masterpiece?
Who on earth demanded 400 horsepower at a crossover? It's so ... ugly. Very fast of course, but to unlock this pace, you have to drive through the gaping gaps in the processing power of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The whole point of a DSG is imperceptible warp shifts when you are cracking, but the RS Q3 slurps its changes and the kickdown refuses to acknowledge that there is 354lb of torque to call.
The only solution is to take matters into your own hands with the cheap plastic paddles. Mind you, a large part of the cab lining is a minefield of "how much money can we get away to save here?" Except for the spicy touchscreen. It is probably the best there is. The non-supporting seats on the other hand, erm, bum, have no place in a £ 50k super SUV.
But the noise ...
Active exhausts are now on the legislative naughty step, so Audi has done a Golf R and amplified the engine sound with a boombox in it. That makes sense in a Golf R or Cupra Leon, because the standard four-cylinder engines sound flat. But putting inflated socks in the pants of a 2.5-liter five-cylinder is horrible. Fortunately, you can switch off the amplified soundtrack on the touchscreen.
What is this car good at?
Other than making other road users feel sorry for you / hate / aggressive to make your day miserable? Depressed, I'm scared. It is fine on the highway, but there are plenty of other front runners who do better everywhere for £ 50k. How about an Evoque? Or an M2 competition?
There's a hint of half-arsedness here: that the engineers were so offended by having to sign the RS Q3 Sportback, they didn't really do their best. In contrast to, for example, a Porsche Macan or Alfa Stelvio, where the die-hards may not have liked their new project, but still have their socks edited to make the result a success.
It is like eating a settee that you know was prepared in an industrial warehouse by someone who despises the consumer. It is the technical equivalent of doing a wet fart on the boss's office chair after they have told you to do paperwork late.
Ouch. Are you ready?
I am not alone. TG's Teflon-coated "I love the cars you love" correspondent Rowan Horncastle spent a weekend in the RS Q3 and returned with opinions that cannot be published on a family website. Here's what I could get through with it:
“It is the ultimate buzzword car from the 2020 market: a fast, picked up, unnecessary microcoupĂ©. It is enough for people who know nothing about cars (fast in a straight line, fake warble, XXL exhausts, large wheels, expensive) that make them think that

BentleyWe drive Bentley's Continental GT Ice Racer FIRST DRIVE

It can't go wrong with light bars and skis, right?
Indeed not. This is perhaps the only Continental GT that Bentley created for the GP ice race last month.
It's not on ice now, is it?
No. We managed to intercept the carrier on the way back from Austria to Crewe and redirect it to a test track so that we could go quickly.
And is it fast?
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Of course. It is mechanically identical to a standard Conti GT W12 - meaning that the 5,950 cc twin-turbo W12 produces a torque of 626 hp and 664 lb ft (from just 1,350 rpm, punching fans). No changes in the gear or final drive, because when you have so much torque at the tickover, which gear is not relevant to you in principle. So it's as hard as a standard Conti GT (0-60 mph in 3.6 sec) but just feels a bit looser while you do this.
Why is that?
Although the suspension is the same, the standard air springs are raised 30 mm to give the car extra ground clearance - and more visual impact - plus it runs on 22-inch Pirelli Scorpion tires, which have metal studs drilled.
Hold on, were you driving on asphalt on studded tires?
Yes, not unusual, just talk to your friendly local Scandanaviaan. You just don't want to drive too long, or ideally to carry them too heavy. At this stage I have to say the following: Bentley, I apologize for the sideways curves. Hard to resist because not only the ESP is completely switched off, but the torque distribution calibration has been changed to send more power to the rear axle, depending on the circumstances.
Conditions than skiddy.
That is clearly the case. What is remarkable is that the Conti GT feels almost as ballistic. A Conti GT weighs 2,244 kg as standard, so it - with roll container, fire extinguishing system and harnesses - must weigh more than 2.3 tonnes. Yet it slides with authority.
But hardly relevant.
What do you mean?! This is an ice racer, the windshield must be a blind plate, all visibility needs are taken care of by the side windows. It is impressive to drive. You immediately notice the extra height if you are at a level that is halfway a Bentayga. A standard Conti GT controls its weight and movement reasonably well. By jacking it up, you get more attention for squat, pitch and dive. The 48v anti-roll is still active, so blame the height and your inner ear.
It's pretty endearing. Instead of swinging or slipping over it, it is simply compressed and continues. I think the tweaks mean that it is sending at least 80 percent of the force back, because it leaves the corners neutral, all four wheels pointing straight ahead, the track slightly bent, or actually quite flamboyant. Steering is a bit more out of the way (we can blame the squishy tires), but all in all this is a Bentley off-roader that allows us to get on board all the way.
How does it sound
Almost forgot! It sounds great because Bentley thought it was appropriate to ruin the standard muffled exhaust and a set of noisy Akrapovic pipes instead. The sound is loud, fresh and funny. Matches the much more, well, open features of this GT. It's not a car lurking at parties in a dark corner, wishing he was home with his jimjams on - he has an attitude and an attitude. In addition to being 30 mm higher, the track widths are also 15 mm wider. That's not much, but makes a noticeable difference. At the top there is a Lazer light bar and a set of Bomber for Bentley Centenary Edition skis.
And what about indoors?
Large seats. Huge. They take up even more real estate than the multi-adjustable seats in the regular car. Thick filling, you lock in place, allow almost no movement. There is an ignition opening in the cup holders, but the best detail is the mode button. Where you once found Sport, you will now find Ice GT, complete with a small mountain image. It's just a sticker, but it's the thought that counts.
Go directly into production?
Absolutely not. It is destined to remain a nice one-off project car. This raises the question: what would you like to see do differently?

On the inside

Just like when driving, even when you're in the Leaf, you have to adjust to your habit. The steering column does not telescope, so you may find it too close or too far unless you lean back in a way that you are not used to. After a while, the problem disappears for most people. The seats are pretty squidgy, a match for the generally relaxed driving style that drives the battery.

Space in the back is OK, except for a lack of foot space under the front seats. The rear luggage space is about average for medium-sized hatches. But there is no spare wheel, and the backrest fold is just a simple thud, leaving a very stair-like floor in the max-cube mode.

In keeping with the new strangeness-reduced external style, the cabin is now more visually orthodox. The instruments (a good hardware speedo, the rest through screens) have relatively modest graphic images, while they offer an abundance of factoids on travel, energy, assistance and entertainment.

On everything except the basic model, you get built-in connected apps plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A well-rounded Bose sound system is offered.

It uses decent plush materials in the most striking parts of the dashboard and doors. However, you don't have to look far for cheap elements. Among them, the cup holders are simple hard-plastic cylinders. Only one barrel size fits, while everything else annoys. None of the waste bins are softly lined.

So, a cabin that is practical, if not the most spacious, and solidly built if it does not offer the ooh-ah quality of a wave.