Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your Beauty Captured

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Desert Car Stuck Girls

The missed party, a car stuck & some mudwrestling"  Scenic Drive















Destroyed City By Natural Volcano










Vanishing Tribes




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Report four: 19 December 2013 - we swap the A7 for a fold-up bike

I’m leaving MSN to take up a new job working indirectly with Volvo, so it’s time to bid farewell to the A7 very soon. And the switch means I will be swapping the glamorous Audi for the not-so-swish world of commuter trains and a folding bike.

MINI, in reply to a question I posed on Twitter about folding bikes, generously offered me one for a short while to test. Turns out the BMW-owned firm doesn’t just make small cars, they dabble in teeny bikes, too.

The matte black bike below folds in seconds and with slightly bigger wheels than a Brompton, offers a more comfortable ride, too. And at £500, they cost half as much as the fashionable British-built Bromptons, but they don’t fold down as compactly, which I could see annoying fellow passengers on the over-crowded rail network. I'll enjoying sticking with the creature comforts of the A7 for now. I'll miss this car...

Report five: 9 January 2013 - a tyre blow-out in the A7!

An hour into our journey to Northern Ireland over Christmas, the A7 flashed up a tyre pressure warning light for the driver’s side rear. We were only a couple of miles from the next services on the M40, but we never made it that far: the tyre let go in spectacular fashion as we were driving up the slip road towards the service station.

I got out to check – the tyre certainly didn’t need a top up of air any more. It was completely shredded and off the rim. As for a spare, I knew the answer before I even checked, but there was at least a compressor in the A7's boot to allow top-ups of air without the need to stop at a garage. Not that this would be much use now.

A quick call to Audi Assist, aka the RAC, and they took details of the tyre to see if they could find one at five in the morning. With 21-inch wheels and a wide, unusual profile, I knew the search was futile. Half an hour later, I received a call to say they were sending a low-loader, not a replacement tyre. It looked like our journey was over before it had barely started.

Audi A7 3.0 BiTDi Quattro Black Edition long-term review

The A7 executive hatchback is back with a new 21in tyre after its blow-out
Report six: 4 February 2013 - the Audi A7 is back with a new tyre
Our last report below noted the motorway blow-out, which left our A7 stranded over Christmas. The tyre was shredded and Audi recovered the car to check it over after its exploding tyre incident. It returned a week ago with a new 21-inch tyre and a comprehensive health check. Let's hope we don't suffer any more punctures, especially as the 275/30 ZR21 boots cost at least £250 and over £500 for some premium brands. Ouch.

Its return was my first chance to drive MSN Cars' A7 3.0 TDI Bi-turbo. I've had a go in lowlier A7s previously, but never this range-topping diesel model with its stout 313hp and Porsche-wilting 0-62mph time of 5.3sec. On first acquaintance, it lives up to expectation: it is an extremely rapid executive express, and I'm grateful for the standard Quattro four-wheel drive system at this slippery time of year. Without 4wd, that 479lb ft of twist would surely be sending me into the nearest hedge.

I have previously lived with a Mercedes CLS for a year and look forward to seeing how Audi's take on the sleek four-door coupe/hatchback genre moves the game on. The model proliferation at Audi can seem beguiling - does one brand really need 42 different models? Our long-term test of the Audi A7 gives an ideal opportunity to see if this car is a niche too far or cleverly positioned.

Best convertibles to buy


A guide to the best new convertibles, cabriolets and roadsters on sale

Budget buy - Mazda MX-5 convertible & roadster coupe (£17,990 -£23,590)

The ever-popular MX-5 received a fresh look in 2009, detail upgrades, an auto option and slight improvements to both emissions and fuel efficiency. Available as a soft-top convertible or a folding tin-top coupe-cabriolet

We like: so much fun to drive, rear-wheel drive balance, improved 2.0-litre engine
We don't like: people who dismiss it as a hairdresser's car, automatic doesn't suit it, steering still a little numb,

Gold-plated Austin Healey: yours for $1 million

What is the gold-plated Austin Healey?


You know that saying, "it’s worth its weight in gold" – well never has it been more appropriate, for much of this 1958 Austin Healey’s delectable detailing is made of the stuff.

That’s right. 'Goldie', as the car is known, features gold-plated brightwork, as well as mink fur upholstery and ivory switchgear (Pimp My Ride 1950s-style, anyone?), and it could be yours for a cool $1 million. Around £600,000.

Please click on the image above to read more about 'Goldie' the 1958 gold-plated Austin Healey.

Underneath that bespoke bodywork and lavish interior lurks a standard 1958 Austin Healey 100-Six.

This model was the second in a line of three 'Big Healeys' that replaced the original Austin Healey 100, which was launched in 1953. Despite its heavier gold detailing, we reckon this example would still have been pretty quick.

The 100-Six used a 2.7-litre straight-six engine kicking out a healthy 117hp and a nice British sports car blare from the exhaust pipes.

With the standard car weighing in at around 1,100kg, this level of power was enough to sprint the Healey from 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds – respectable in the late 50s.

This special Healey was the brainchild of Ken Gregory, the personal public relations manager of Donald Healey (the boss of Austin Healey at the time). Gregory knew how to wow after running his own racing team and managing none other than the legendary racing driver Sir Stirling Moss.

So, for the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show, Gregory persuaded the company to commission this incredible one-off after a private buyer decided it was right up their street.

That buyer was none other than the Daily Express – the paper’s motoring editor at the time, Basil Cardew, got together with Gregory to cut a deal to buy the 100-Six after the British Motor Show.

The Express later gave the car away as the grand prize in a readers’ competition. Can you imagine that? It’d be like winning a gold-plated Porsche Boxster today.






Lexus LS -2013 onwards

The alternative German luxury car still isn’t a strong choice – but F-Sport gets close

Summary

What - Lexus LS 2013
Date - November 2012
Where - Nice, France
Price - From (£71,995-£99,495), Rs 64 lakhs to Rs 88.7 lakhs
Available - January 2013

Better-looking LS looks best in F-Sport guise, which is the best LS you can buy. But key rivals are still better.

We like - More characterful looks that F-Sport enhances well, return of LS 460, supreme refinement and interior comfort, F-Sport dynamics

We don't like - Very thirsty, no diesel, standard car too soft, German rivals are all more desirable.


The new LS is more striking than its predecessor thanks to one key addition - the Lexus spindle grille. But every part other than the roof and doors has actually changed, and the overall effect is more distinctive than the soft-shape old car, although it's still hardly standout.

In a real break from tradition, Lexus also now sells the LS in lowered, sharpened and sported F-Sport guise, costing (£74,495) Rs 66.4 lakhs. This looks great and is potentially the choice LS for driving-focused Brits - if the upgrades have gone far enough. So, have they?

Ah, it's good to have a regular petrol LS back. The 4.6-litre V8 engine is, of course, brilliantly smooth and quiet, but there's also just enough throb finding its way through to make it feel luxuriously special. Press on harder and the growl's edge hardens further; it's a rich treat to use.

It's quick enough, but it needs revving to give its best - those used to the turbodiesels of the competition will be aware of how power builds with revs or gearbox downshifts. The latter is no hardship as the eight-speed auto is responsive and, particularly on upshifts, quite fantastically smooth.




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

No Pants Subway Ride

People from across the world participated in the 13th annual 'No Pants Subway Ride' event on January 13. Started in 2002, the day is now marked in over 60 cities around the world. The idea behind "No Pants" is that passengers board a subway car in the middle of winter, without wearing trousers. Here's a look