The Internet has facilitated mass non-productivity amongst strident young gentleman since, well, its inception. Today, we bring you the latest - and possibly most oversteery - entrant to this esteemed occupation: a digital visit to the Lamborghini museum.
Jaguar has a habit of making a big splash at motor shows, and the C-X17 crossover at Frankfurt a few weeks ago (pictured above) pulled off the same headline-grabbing trick as its C-X75 hypercar and C-X16 sports car. Which is clever for a very small car company. But Jag really hates being a small car company. In numbers sold, it's about 20 times smaller than Mercedes alone.
The C-X75 died (boo hoo). The C-X16 is about to become the F-Type coupe, but that's not a car to be made in big enough numbers to transform Jag's business. So neither of these was ever going to change the size and might of the company.
But the C-X17 certainly could. There's so much to say that this is going to be a long blog. So make a coffee and join us for a journey into the future of Jaguar...
The narrative behind the C-X17 is complex, because from this one car will come a small-ish saloon to tackle the BMW 3-Series. And then the crossover itself. That's two big growth opportunities right there. Then it will give us the basis for the XF replacement.
Rather hilariously, Jaguar is still refusing to acknowledge on the record that the C-X17 will get built. But it will. As I'll explain below, they have agreed why it's near-impossible that it won't get built.
While everyone at Frankfurt was making a huge fuss of the blue crossover concept, the company made another vastly significant announcement. It will build a small saloon, beginning in 2015. And the claims for that saloon are bold. "It will be the most efficient, advanced and refined premium sports sedan ever seen in the C/D segment," say Jag. Well, it's in with a chance, given it's going to have an all-new aluminium body and chassis, and all-new petrol and diesel engines. Memories of the X-Type - a Jaguarised Mondeo that was past its sell-by date the minute it was launched - can safely be put aside.
The C-X17 previews the aluminium architecture that will be under this new saloon. So I asked Ian Callum, Jag's design director, what exactly is the potential of this architecture. "There's a whole range of cars to replace. All Jaguars will be aluminium. That'll give scale economies. This is really the first all-new Jaguar architecture for decades, except the XK [from which is derived the F-Type]. Even the XJ was an 'aluminumised' version of Ford's DEW platform."
I was also talking with Kevin Stride, Jaguar Land Rover's Vehicle Line Director. He explains Callum's comment: "The reason we now have a Jaguar aluminium architecture, different from the Range Rover one although it will share learnings and electronics with that, is that we want to grow Jaguar. And they all have to be Jaguars. This one architecture has to be flexible. We can't do many architectures for a small - if growing - company."
So if all current Jags will be replaced using this new very adaptable set of aluminium structural parts and suspension bits and electronics, the first of those replacements will be the XF. That's probably around 2017. Remember the current one has been given a new lease of life by the addition of the Sportbrake and 4WD versions, plus new engines for the US and China.
But first comes the small saloon, in 2015. "I've finished designing it," says Callum. Jaguar initially thought of making this car a sort of four-door coupe, or even a hatchback. But then it realised that worldwide it's the regular saloons that sell in big numbers, so that's what it'll make. Nothing too outrageous-looking.
The crossover hasn't been confirmed, but why engineer a variable platform that can accept a crossover, plus a show car that proves that fact, and then NOT build it? Especially when all rivals have crossovers that are among the best-selling cars in their ranges? Ask these questions of Callum and he simply smiles, coughs and nods. Anyway, test mules are running around Coventry. Which means it's likely for launch in 2016.
Interestingly when I ask Stride, the engineer, what's so great about the new aluminium architecture, he looks at Callum and says it's design. "It has to give Ian's team specific advantage. In all areas we asked: how would you have Jaguar proportions and design? Where do you put the front wheel versus the occupants? It's a compact double wishbone suspension for front-wing height benefit."
But then Stride swings round to the engineering advantages. "We need technology for how the cars feel. Aluminium allows us to use more sophisticated suspension. It's a light, stiff platform."
We know a fair bit about the engine range. Again, they'll be bang up-to-date. At the top end are the supercharged V6s recently introduced on the F-type, up to 380bhp. After all, Jaguar said a version of the new car will be able to hit 300km/h (186mph).
But it said another will be as low as 100g/km CO2. That one will have the company's brand-new four-cylinder diesel engine, to be built at the all-new Wolverhampton engine plant. There will be related four-cylinder petrols too, with various power outputs thanks to different turbo boost.
Stride confirms that the platform can do four-wheel-drive as well as RWD. Hardly surprising when Jaguar has recently developed a 4WD system for the current XF and XJ (which will eventually be an option in the V8 F-type). We also know that JLR is working on integrated hybrids, as seen on the Range Rover Hybrid at Frankfurt. An electric motor is sandwiched between the engine and the eight-speed autobox.
There is, though, a limit to what this architecture can do. It can go as big as the next XJ, but at the other extreme it won't give a rival to the BMW 1-Series. Callum explains: "We can't make the front end shorter, so the compact saloon is the smallest we would make."
Even so, that's quite a range of Jags before many years. Three sizes of saloons, with estates for the little and medium ones. And a crossover. And the sports cars. All made of aluminium.
Back to the C-X17 concept crossover. Most show cars have unrealistic interiors, and this is no different. But Callum says the outside is realistic. Fair enough: the C-X16 was very close to the F-Type coupe.
Callum says of the C-X17, "We've been through the package checks and the feasibility. We might discover millimetres here and there, but you can say we know the car well." Stride chips in, "We even know its aero, because we can, by computer modelling. It gets to within 1% accuracy."
I'm winding Callum up now. The real car is at least two years away I say, and the Porsche Macan and other new arrivals might make it look a bit old and staid by then. Is the C-X17 actually radical enough for a sporty crossover of the late decade? Callum gives me a dead-serious look, with a bit of table thumping to go with it. "I'll guarantee that if we would put this exact car onto the road, it would have the most exciting profile versus its competitive set at the time of launch."
Indycar racer Dario Franchitti has suffered a fractured spine following a horrific accident at the Grand Prix of Houston over the weekend.
The four-time series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner came into contact with Takuma Sato during the final lap of race 2, causing his car to flip up and into the catch fencing.
"On the last lap I caught the marbles and brushed the wall and lost momentum," said Sato after the accident. "A couple cars passed me as I was offline and in Turn 5. I got very loose and Dario and I came together." EJ Viso was also caught up in the accident, and both he and Sato were evaluated on the scene and later released.
Meanwhile, Franchitti was admitted to hospital awake, and suffered a concussion, a spinal fracture that will not require surgery, and a fracture to his right ankle, according to Indycar medical director Dr Michael Olinger.
Another Indycar official and two spectators were also transported to hospital for further evaluation, while 11 further spectators were treated at the track.
Franchitti's former team-mate Dan Wheldon died in a similar crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300 in October 2011. Will Power - who eventually won in Houston - said the crash brought back memories of that tragic race. "I just saw Dario's car and him sitting in it with a lot of damage," he said, "and yes, that's what it reminded me of.
"I hate seeing that. We try to keep these cars on the ground."
It's difficult to mention ‘GTI' in the same sentence as ‘Peugeot' and not feel a tinge of nostalgia; the 205 GTI is still able to induce an adenoid-filled tirade of excellence from almost everyone of a certain vintage.
£32 million. That's how much you'll need to lay claim to owning the most expensive car... in the world.
Yep, a Ferrari 250 GTO just changed hands for $52 million after being sold by car collector, Paul Pappalardo, who's owned it since 1984. That's a 49 per cent increase on the previous most expensive car in the world - an ex-Stirling Moss Ferrari GTO - which sold for £21.6m last June, and £6000 when new. That's a 533233.33 per cent increase from the original price...
While details of the buyer are a bit murky, they've got themselves a rather tasty car. Chassis #5111 has history galore, having won at the 1963 Tour de France, and it's one of just 33 Series 1 GTOs left in existence. Hardly surprising, because they were homologation cars for Group 3 Grand Touring Car racing, and the going tended to get a bit... crashy in the sixties. They were pretty exclusive, too - Enzo Ferrari himself insisted on vetting every customer.
Under the slightly wonky sheet metal, there's a hand-welded spaceframe chassis, A-arm front suspension setup, live axle rear end, and disc brakes all round. Oh, and a thumping great V12 in the front. The GTO also got a five-speed ‘box designed by Porsche with a metal gate showing the shift pattern - the very same that's still used in Ferraris today.
Which is all very well, but 52 million dollars for one car? Bit pricey?
Want the ultimate bragging rights? You'll need a Belarusian Belaz 75710. It can carry 450 metric tons, it has eight tyres, and two - TWO - 16-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines.
Each 130.0-litre unit churns out 2,300 horsepower - that's 4,600hp in total - and 13,738 lb ft of torque. Admittedly, it'll only hit a vmax of 40mph, but it can carry 450 metric tons. The world's first to do so.
If a 75710 landed on your doormat, where would you drive it?
This is how it usually goes. Boutique manufacturer arrives with car and much TopGear maths. Says it'll make 5,000bhp from a tuned Chevy V8 and hit 350mph. It costs five million pounds. And the website never works properly. We all laugh a bit, then have a nice sit down.
We all suspected it existed to lower Aston's average CO2 emissions. We all knew it was a Toyota iQ underneath. We all knew, at £30,995, it was utterly extortionate. And after spending a few hours in the cultural slum of Park Lane, we all knew that a few people actually bought them. Well, if you've been hesitating about buying one, you'd better make your mind up quick as they're about to disappear.