Pierce Brosnan: the “Perfect Getaway” in the 2016 Sorento during KIA’s Super Bowl Ad

Sorento PR Composed - The Perfect Getaway - Pierce Brosnan gaycarboys

 

Press release:

IRVINE, California, January 27, 2015 – Pierce Brosnan, known worldwide for his sophisticated movie hero roles, again makes the “Perfect Getaway” in Kia Motors America’s (KMA) 60-second spot for the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento CUV.

The commercial will make its broadcast debut during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLIX.

In the spot, part of KMA’s multifaceted campaign for the 2016 Sorento CUV, Brosnan listens to a Hollywood agent pitching a starring role in an upcoming project.

As the agent describes various scenes, Brosnan confidently interjects one movie cliché after another, wrongly assuming he and the Sorento will encounter danger at every turn.

“Packed with first-class materials and amenities, the all-new Sorento delivers a premium utility experience, and Pierce Brosnan’s persona is the perfect fit for our seventh Super Bowl commercial, which finds the action star and Kia’s most capable CUV ever charging up a snowy mountain road for a very different type of adventure that turns out to be the ‘Perfect Getaway,’” said Michael Sprague, executive vice-president of sales and marketing, KMA.

“Along with the two leading teams, at one of America’s greatest sporting events, the Super Bowl commercials are the centerpiece of the day,” said Brosnan. “I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Kia team, which traditionally has one of the most memorable spots in the game.”

Before and after the Super Bowl, Kia’s “The Perfect Getaway Vehicle” campaign – created by advertising agency of record, David&Goliath – will incorporate multiple components, including TV, cinema, digital and social media.

McLaren-Honda Reveals The New MP4-30

MP4-30 honda mclaren gaycarboys

press release

Woking, United Kingdom – McLaren-Honda revealed its new racing car, MP4-30 for the upcoming 2015 FIA* Formula One (F1) World Championship. This elegant car is fitted with Honda’s 1.6 litre V6 engine, the RA615H.

The MP4-30 is an important first step as McLaren and Honda progress towards a successful future and a strong partnership.

For more information about the McLaren-Honda announcement please visit www.mclaren.com/formula1/car

Mini Countryman Cooper S: Good Enough For Dakar, Good Enough For Me

 

Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (11)

Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (6)Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (7)

Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (2)Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (3)

Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (4)Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (5)

 

Yes Yes Yes oh YES! Pert and cute, comfy, economical, classic

Oh dear me no: Options options options options, firm ride

OK, the Dakar model is enhanced to within an inch of its life, but it’s still a Mini. BMW want you to think of Mini as “young, hip and fun”, and for a change, the marketing matches the marque.

The look isn’t a world away from the Mini of the 60’s but thankfully that’s where it stops. New Minis have air conditioning and electric windows and satellite navigation. They also have much more space inside and the electrics don’t need big hugs after going through puddles deeper than a sheet of A4. The original design was a city car that could take a family of 4 as well as their gear. The new Countryman can certainly do that and in considerably more comfort than her swinging 60’s grandma.

I’m a Mini fan but I’m not blind to her little foibles. To a degree the larger proportions of the Countryman answer these space challenges. The 3door Mini only just passes the “2 bags test”. The Countryman’s boot has more than enough room for a couple of burly footballers to stow those sweaty towels, muddy boots, heavily grassed shorts, and a veritable bevy of balls. As well as a large rear hatch, 4 doors make this city car more practical. The burly footballers up front can even fit a couple of even butcher mates in the back. Just imagine the possibilities.

Countryman also passes the picnic basket/gingham table cloth/small lapdog test for the slightly less butch. Hubby and I headed out of town for the weekend with a large case, picnic basket and pillows stashed in the rear. We stopped for lunch on our way to the NSW Southern Highlands and picnicked on the banks of a creek. I stood back to take in the scene. I expected Miranda to call liltingly from the thicket as if she wasn’t lost on a rock after all.

INSIDE:

Our Mini had a leather-clad interior slightly reminiscent of the luscious Mini Mayfair of my childhood. Those early Mayfairs had lashings of leather upholstery so that posh people could feel they weren’t slumming it in a car the size of a shoe. Mini was the car of choice then for the same reason it is now, ease of use in tights spots.

Smart contrasting piping on the seats and a really cool-looking sports fabric on the dash made the 21st century design look modern without being twee. The last thing any of us would want is a poorly performing pastiche.

Countryman isn’t exactly enormous, but for a mini, it is positively capacious.

Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (8)[4]Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (9)

From the driver’s seat, a few of the quirks become apparent. The key fob has buttons for entry but no actual key. Instead the disc-shaped fob has to be shoved into the dashboard so the start button can be pressed. It only goes in one way but that doesn’t stop you trying the wrong way, often several times. A smart entry/start system should be standard in all models. In fact we should demand it.

If you’re bored, I suggest standing right outside the driver’s door when pressing the unlock button. If you open the door quickly enough you’ll see LED lights secreted within the centre console changing colours. There is no reason for it other than being pretty, and cool. I’m positive Sir Alec would have been giddy with glee.

Mini Cooper S countryman gaycarboys (1)The instruments are spread between the centre console, and the steering column. Once upon a time the speedo was in the centre of the dashboard. It was a daft place then, and it’s a daft place today. Thankfully it’s been relegated to mere auxiliary status by virtue of the digital speedo in the more conventional spot right in front of the driver where it belongs. The only problem is that should you run low on fuel, the warning overrides the speedo. It won’t go away until you’ve paid a visit to a petrol station. In the meanwhile, you have to keep looking over at the middle of the dashboard with an annoyed expression on your face.

Most of us will probably find the hand brake annoying too. The “L” shaped handle is in the way most of the Mini Paceman Dash GAYCARBOYStime. The rail on the console under the handbrake has accessories that clip to it. One of these is a phone holder, and there a seond place inside the armrest for a integrated phone holder just to provide a bit of variety. I’m not sure why there are two options but each comes at additional cost. When stowed, the hand brake obscures the accessory on the rail. When being deployed, your might well break a nail on the rail as you grasp the handle firmly.

The Drive:

What unmitigated joy. The Countryman feels light and tight, like my men. A manual would be a treat but the test car had a super smooth 6 speed auto. When pushed, the 140kw turbo makes a pleasing “blip” between gear changes not unlike a Golf GTi. It gets to 100kph in 7.6 seconds which sounds slower than it feels. Does it need more power? That is a silly question, because all cars always need more power.

I feared the firm but smooth ride might be too girlie to provide the cat-like grip I was expecting, but no, it wasn’t. In fact on anything but a billiard table, the ride is a bit too firm. I like many things to be firm, but ride isn’t one of them. Also, the passenger’s seat buckle rattles against the pillar. The only way to stop it is wrap something round it or plug it in to the clasp.

There is nothing a Cooper S of any kind likes more than being thrown into corners. The more the merrier, and It hardly ever complains. I’m not sure how much you have to test the theory it before it bites back but we never approached that limit. However, bumps make the old girl a bit tetchy. She tends to dance around a bit and the bigger the bump the bigger the dance. Even so, she didn’t let go. In fact a big bump on a straight road elicits an unpleasant thump but it’s all part of the experience.

The Countryman is raised slightly over normal Mini height as crossovers are meant to be. In All Wheel Drive versions I can see the point however unlikely off-roading might be. 2 Wheel Drive crossover vehicles seem a trifle half hearted. It might be fun to try a bit of light mud just to get her nice and dirty, but only with all the wheels doing the work.

Like most posh carmakers, BMW/Mini has a long list of options for its cars and Mini continues the trend. I’ve gone on about that for ages but I like this car far too much to labour the point. I’d suggest being aware of the cost of the extras and only get what you can’t live without. Buying with your heart might quickly empty your purse.

Australians have been slow to take up the Small SUV baton. How many can you name? Yet Mini manages to have just the right mix of heritage and technology so as to make it relevant to this century. For some Mini aficionados, only the 60’s models will do, but I like modern steering and air conditioning. With all the new-fangled computer gear controlling her inner workings, Minis of the 2000’s probably won’t be around in 50 years’ time but perhaps I’m being unkind. The idea behind the many different faces is to give the Mini buyer a car for every mood, and I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with next. You start with the 3 door, graduate through the coupe/roadster, then on to the 5 door. Why then the Countryman Crossover? Well, as the dapper Edmund Hillary said, “because it is there”.

Conclusion:

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Mini is marketed as a lifestyle, and so it is. I parked next to another Countryman at Eastgardens. The girl who returned to the car described it as her baby, and not her first Mini. She upgraded size-wise after her actual baby was born. She wanted more room but couldn’t bear to part with her beloved friend, but getting a bigger Mini was within her operating parameters. This is music to mini’s ears and no surprise whatever to me. For most of us a small car is all we need most of the time. Some say it is far too expensive. But, what other small car do you buy if you don’t want nasty interiors, miserable exteriors, and limp performance? The Cooper ALL4 S is top dog, but if you want to spend less money the 90kw Cooper is $34,150 plus on-roads.

Would I buy one? Yes, there is no such thing as a bad Mini

Engine: 1.6L, 140kw/240Nm, 4cyl turbo petrol, 6.6l/100k(7.5 auto)

Trans: 6sp manual or auto

Performance: 7.5 0-100 (7.8auto)

Price (excluding on-roads)

Cooper Manual: $34,150

Cooper D manual: $36,950

Cooper D Auto: $39,300

COOPER S MANUAL: $42,550 (our test car had the optional 6 speed auto)

Cooper S ALL4 manual: $45,500

Copper SD ALL4: $46,990

New 2 Series Convertible to arrive on Australian shores next month

BMW M Performance Parts for the BMW 2 Series Convertible gaycarboys (1)

BMW M Performance Parts for the BMW 2 Series Convertible gaycarboys (2)BMW M Performance Parts for the BMW 2 Series Convertible gaycarboys (3)

BMW M Performance Parts for the BMW 2 Series Convertible gaycarboys (4)

 

PRESS RELEASE:

 

  • New BMW 2 Series Convertible available from the end of February
  • Pricing starts at $54,900 plus on-road costs
  • Three model variants available – 220i Convertible, 228i Convertible and M235i Convertible
  • M235i Convertible is the first drop-top member of the M Performance Automobiles range
  • Line-up features highly efficient, powerful range of engines featuring TwinPower Turbo and EfficientDynamics technology
  • Up to 20 kW boost in power across the range
  • Optimised body structure further sharpens handling, with 20 per cent increase in torsional rigidity and 10 per cent greater bending strength compared to predecessor
  • Soft-top opens and closes in 20 seconds, even when on the move up to 50 km/h
  • Additional soft-top insulation reduces road noise by up to 7 dB

BMW Group Australia has confirmed Australian pricing ahead of the launch of the new BMW 2 Series Convertible late next month.

Bearing the performance and styling trademarks of its coupe sibling, the new BMW 2 Series Convertible will be available in three variants, with the entry-level BMW 220i Convertible starting at $54,900 plus on-road costs, while the BMW 228i Convertible, featuring a 180 kW, two-litre, four-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo engine, is available from $68,900.

The BMW 220i and 228i Convertibles are equipped with an impressive list of standard features, including eight-speed sport automatic transmission, Driving Experience Control, Rear View Camera, Park Distance Control, light alloy wheels and cruise control with braking function.

The first open-top member of the BMW M Performance Automobile range, the M235i Convertible is priced from $85,800, and enjoys the performance, driving dynamics and technological innovations which are hallmarks of the evocative M nameplate, including Adaptive M Suspension.

Head of Product and Market Planning Shawn Ticehurst is confident the attractive pricing will further enhance the already substantive appeal of the compact soft-top.

“The new BMW 2 Series Convertible is an incredibly exciting addition to our vehicle line-up, and represents a significant evolution from its 1 Series predecessor,” Ticehurst said.

“A classic BMW convertible, the model inhabits a unique place within the market, and presents a compelling lifestyle proposition, with sporty lines and impressive performance which is only reinforced by its accessible entry point pricing.”

Developed in parallel with the BMW 2 Series Coupe, the new BMW 2 Series Convertible nonetheless boasts its own distinct identity, with sweeping lines, athletic proportions and distinctive BMW ‘boat deck’ character setting the soft-top apart.

Drawing upon the BMW’s archetypical design language, the new BMW 2 Series Convertible proudly bears the characteristics of its brand provenance, short overhangs, an elongated bonnet and a long wheelbase presaging the vehicle’s aesthetic elegance and on-road dynamism.

The successor to the BMW 1 Series Convertible, which entered the fray as the first open-top premium model in the compact segment, and achieved over 130,000 sales worldwide, the new BMW 2 Series Convertible is more than an evolution, but still aspires to build on its inherited legacy.

The new BMW 2 Series Convertible possesses an enhanced body structure, optimising rigidity to provide more incisive handling, while improving passive safety, boasting a 20 per cent greater torsional rigidity and a 10 per cent increase in bending strength.

The driving experience is defined by a fastidious balance of sporty performance and comfort, with low-weight components, low centre of gravity and balanced load distribution between the front and rear axle equipping the new BMW 2 Series Convertible to offer excellent agility and incisive handling.

Its track, significantly wider than that of both the BMW 1 Series and its forerunner coupe, is emphasised by the horizontal lines which define the rear view, especially when the roof, which retracts or closes in 20 seconds, is open.

Soundproofing has also been improved through the incorporation of additional insulation for the soft-top skin, cutting interior noise by 5 dB(A) in the front seats and 7 dB(A) in the rear, while extensive range of standard equipment underlines the new BMW 2 Series Convertible’s exclusive, premium sensibility.

Accompanying the fully automatic soft-top mechanism as standard features is the Driving Experience Control, allowing the driver to adjust the car’s drive train set-up as desired in COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO modes, while BMW M235i Convertible drivers can select a SPORT+ setting.

When the roof is open, the standard automatic climate control system activates a convertible mode, which also takes into account the speed at which the car is travelling during its adjustments to onboard temperature and ventilation.

The BMW iDrive operating system, including a freestanding onboard monitor in flatscreen design, available in either 6.5 (standard) or 8.8 inch form (as part of navigation professional), and BMW Professional radio also feature as standard.

Dynamic performance and outstanding efficiency is achieved through the introduction of BMW’s state-of-the-art TwinPower Turbo engines, and a diverse suite of EfficientDynamics technologies, which are allied to the brand’s trademark rear-wheel drive architecture and an advanced chassis.

Producing greater performance than its antecedent, whilst reducing fuel consumption and emissions, the new engine variants offer a power boost up to 20 kW across the range compared to its predecessor.

The base model BMW 220i Convertible focuses on responsive power delivery and high revving ability, its engine generating 135 kW of power between 5,000 and 6,250 rpm, with peak torque of 270 Nm available between 1,250 and 4,500 rpm, registering a 0-100 km/h time of 7.6 seconds.

Aided by BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with twin-scroll turbocharger and High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, the BMW 228i Convertible’s four-cylinder engine boasts a maximum power output of 180 kW between 5,000 and 6,500 rpm, while peak torque of 350Nm can be harnessed from 1,250 to 4,800 rpm.

The flagship BMW M235i Convertible, the latest addition to the M Performance Automobiles line-up, promises to provide an adrenaline raising experience, courtesy of a 240 kW, six-cylinder in-line M Performance TwinPower Turbo Engine.

Spurred by the most powerful petrol engine available for a BMW M Performance automobile, the BMW M235i Convertible has a mandate to elevate open-top driving to new heights, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in just 5.0 seconds in conjunction with the eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission.

Aerodynamically optimised body features and custom chassis components are matched with typical M precision to the engine performance characteristics, ensuring a perfect blend of outstanding agility and precisely controllable handling at all times in the BMW M235i Convertible.

M Sport brakes and variable sport steering are standard specification on the BMW M235i Convertible, as are exclusive 18-inch M alloy wheels with mixed tyres, effectively transmitting all dynamic drive forces to the road.

Striking side sill contouring and a rear apron, are complemented by an M-style front apron and large air-intakes with flaps adapted from racing car design, which bisected by horizontal ribs in Ferric Grey metallic.

Exclusive design features on the BMW M235i Convertible include sports seats for the driver and front passenger, an M leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons, Aluminium Hexagon interior trim with accent strips in matt Estoril Blue or high-gloss black, leather trim for the gearshift lever/selector lever and an M driver’s footrest.

All maintenance requirements for the new BMW 2 Series Convertible will be controlled by BMW’s Condition Based Service (CBS) program, which identifies the condition of a vehicle based on actual use, ensuring each BMW is always in first rate running order, and at the same time, minimising costs.

Under the CBS system, sensors and advanced algorithms monitor and calculate the conditions in which the vehicle is used including mileage, time elapsed since the last service, fuel consumption and how the vehicle is driven. The information captured is used to determine the vehicle’s maintenance requirements, identifying that either an annual vehicle inspection or an oil service is due.

In addition, BMW service and selected maintenance costs can now be covered by a single, one-off advance payment with BMW Service Inclusive (BSI). BSI offers two packages: BMW Service Inclusive Basic provides scheduled servicing cover, while BMW Service Inclusive Plus combines scheduled servicing and selected maintenance items. Based on individual lifestyle needs, a year range and kilometre option is selected, starting from three years/60,000kms. The BSI plan provides a long-term solution enabling cover to be extended and transferred to future vehicle owners before expiry.

BMW 2 Series Convertible Australian Pricing and Standard Features*:

220i Convertible:                               $54,900

  • Eight-speed sport automatic transmission
  • BMW TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder in-line petrol engine
  • Driving Experience Control
  • Auto Start/Stop function and ECO PRO mode
  • Dynamic Stability Control
  • 17-inch light alloy wheels
  • ConnectedDrive and TeleServices
  • Rear View Camera and Park Distance Control (rear)
  • Cruise Control with braking function
  • Navigation system Business

228i Convertible:                               $68,900

  • Eight-speed sport automatic transmission
  • BMW TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder in-line petrol engine
  • Driving Experience Control
  • Auto Start/Stop function and ECO PRO mode
  • Dynamic Stability Control
  • Variable Sport Steering
  • 18-inch light alloy wheels
  • ConnectedDrive and TeleServices
  • Rear View Camera and Park Distance Control (front and rear)
  • Cruise Control with braking function
  • Bi-Xenon headlights
  • Sport and Luxury Lines as no-cost option
  • Leather upholstery
  • BMW Individual High-Gloss Shadow Line or Chrome Line Exterior
  • Navigation system Business

M235i Convertible:                           $85,800

  • Eight-speed sport automatic transmission
  • Adaptive M suspension
  • M Performance TwinPower six-cylinder in-line petrol engine
  • Driving Experience Control
  • Auto Start/Stop function and ECO PRO mode
  • Dynamic Stability Control
  • Variable Sport Steering
  • M Sport Brakes
  • 18-inch BMW M light-alloy wheels
  • M Aerodynamics Package
  • Rear View Camera and Park Distance Control (front and rear)
  • Cruise Control with braking function
  • Bi-Xenon headlights
  • BMW Individual High-Gloss Shadow Line
  • Leather upholstery
  • Interior lights package
  • M leather steering wheel
  • Navigation system Professional

* Manufacturer’s Recommended List Price is shown and includes GST and Luxury Car Tax (LCT) – if applicable, but excludes dealer charges, stamp duty, statutory charges and on-road charges, which are additional and vary between dealers and States/Territories. Customers are advised to contact their nearest MINI dealer for all pricing inquiries.

Volvo P1800s: Sometimes We Do Meet Our Heroes

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FOR Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson

I was at the V8 Supercars the day a terrible storm blew in. It was the worst some of the chaps had ever seen on a racetrack. Luckily all was well above the pits in the private boxes. As I sipped on my second-ish glass of Pommery’s, and sampled my third-ish canapé, I asked the head finance bloke at Volvo Car V8 supercars champersVolvo GAYCARBOYS (1)Australia if they had a spare P1800 lying about the place. You know the car, right? It’s the one a dashing Roger Moore drove in The Saint. I’m talking of course about the real 1960’s series, not that god-awful monstrosity from the nineties. Simon Templar raced from one damsel to another as a quintessential British gent often does. Roger Moore loved the Volvo so much, he bought one. This was a matter of luck for Volvo. Roger Moore was meant to be driving an E Type Jag but the British car maker either declined, or was unable to deliver, depending on who you talk to.

When released, the P1800 was only $1800 less than an Jaguar’s E Type, and nearly double the Statesman from Holden. It was a big deal. There was an estate version with a one piece glass tailgate but it was outsold 4 to one by the coupe, but I love them both.

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the pits, the storm: V8 SUPERCARS OLYMPIC PARK SYDNEY

IMG_0600My request wasn’t as out-there as you might think. Lots of car companies have tasty secrets hidden away in their bowels. Sadly Volvo doesn’t. Helpfully my man suggested a call on the electric telephone to the NSW Volvo car club. I found their details, but only an email contact could be had. They had just the man for me, member number 1, Gerry Lister. What an interesting bloke. Gerry has raced and rallied Volvos and had been involved with the marque since Volvo first came here.

I arranged to meet him at his leafy upper north shore address. As I drove up the hill I could see it through the trees. In the driveway was the 1965 Volvo P1800s of my dreams. It looked like something from one of those classy ads from the 60’s. Picture it: a beautiful house with large manicured grounds, a posh car in the drive, and a glamorous couple in evening wear drinking from a pitcher of chilled cocktails on the front terrace. It was simpler time without computers and mobile phones and everyone looked like Sean Connery and Brit Eckland

I knocked on the front door, and was greeted by the personable member number 1. We strolled back across the lawn towards the Volvo. I remember thinking, “I hope my paint looks that good after 50 years”. Who am I kidding, that boat sailed long ago. After a brief briefing, we jumped in and fired her up. It took a few goes, but she sparked into life just as she had done for last 50 years. That gorgeous engine note seemed to go perfectly with the mid-century-modern looks. We headed up the highway, and to do the old girl justice, we used the old road not the new one.

We cruised along the 110kph section as effortlessly as any other vehicle on it. The gears and steering took a little getting used to but I expected that. I was also mindful that I was driving someone else’s irreplaceable treasure so was being extra vigilant. Haven’t you ever noticed some drivers seem to aim for you when they sense trepidation? I any event, it gave me time to give the cabin a once over. It felt solid, really solid. What looked like metal was actual metal. The dials had chrome surrounds and none of the interior had the flimsy, fluffy feel of modern cars. I struggle to think of a single car sold new today that will still be running like this in 50 years. Their plastic will be as wilted and useless as a yesterdays salad, and the many active computer systems will be long since dead. Volvo still have new parts for this car, but, can you imagine getting an engine management computer for a 2015 Mercedes Benz in the year 2065? Nor can I, and without it the car is a useless shell.

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Remember, my co-driver is an expert one. He urged me to push the coupe to what I thought were well beyond its limits, but push he did. I rather got the impression Gerry thought my driving a trifle tame. Who would have thought a car designed in the era of the Beatles by a young bloke in Sweden would feel so at home in the tight twisty sandstone canyons of Australia? What’s even more amazing is the designer, Pelle Pettersen, was a student at the time. He is now known for yacht design as well as the Volvo P1800.

IMG_0596I won’t lie, at times the P1800s was a bit of a handful. I’m used to driving new cars less than a month old, and rarely do I get the pleasure of shifting gears myself. This example, though not pristine, has been worked on by Gerry over many years as the owner’s finances permitted. Gerry had fitted electric power steering, and air conditioning although the latter struggles a bit on a very hot day. Like old men, classic cars can be a bit moody. They can be hard to get going, argumentative, and prone to throwing fits pique, but, we love them anyway. As each kilometre passed I fell a little more in love. It’s a slippery slope which I have been here before. First the glance, a mere yearn, then desire, and finally deep uncontrollable obsession. My days of owning classic cars are gone. You need much deeper pockets than mine. Don’t think advanced age means you can’t go where you want. A P1800s hold the world record for the number of miles driven. Irv Gordon of East Patchogue, New York, has travelled a staggering 3 million miles, that’s miles mind you. It makes you wonder when he had time to eat.

Considering the model began life in 1961, the car still draws a crowd. We stopped for lunch at Pie in the IMG_0597Sky on the Old Pacific Hwy, a place popular with motor cyclists of all ages. It lies at the top of a sandstone escarpment from which the road threads downward in a succession of exciting twists and bend.

We had to kill the air conditioning for the steeper climbs back up the range but by far the quirkiest quirk was the 5th gear. The overdrive (5th gear) is electric and doesn’t need the clutch. Instead, the stalk on the steering wheel is pulled forward, or up, or down. It felt a bit loose. It felt odd changing gears without pushing a clutch in. Our model had 86kw when it left the factory so we can expect a few of those to have escaped over the years. None the less, she felt capable and willing. One might even say eager.

As the afternoon matured, the time came to return to Sydney, and I felt sad. Peak hour traffic had started to build and I was all too aware that even the slightest touch-up to a 50 year old car could mean disaster. We had spent the day chatting like a couple of old schoolgirls. This beautiful car could easily be used today as a daily driver. The boot is spacious and the ES version even more so with its capacious “estate” rear end. One has to remember that you can’t get parts for old cars as easily as new ones. For those who keep the dreams of such beauties alive, that is a small risk to take.

As we turned into the drive, the sad news came over the radio that a madman had taken hostages at Lindt’s city café. It was even sadder when next day two of the hostages died during a police incursion to end the siege. Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson were remembered by those leaving hundreds of thousands of bouquets metres from the scene of the tragedy. It seems fitting to remember them here too and to pay respects to their bravery.

MINI celebrates its fourth consecutive overall win at the Dakar Rally

 during the Dakar 2015 Argentina Bolivia Chile, Car Marathon Stage 8a / Auto Etape Marathon 8a, Uyuni to Iquique on January 11th 2015 at Uyuni, Bolivia. Photo Eric Vargiolu / DPPI

  • MINI celebrates its fourth consecutive overall win at the Dakar Rally
  • Nasser Al-Attiyah triumphs in the MINI ALL4 Racing
  • Four MINI ALL4 Racing cars among the five fastest cars.

Munich (DE). The MINI brand has achieved further success at the Dakar Rally. After covering more than 9,000 kilometres spanning Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, MINI won the world’s toughest rally for the fourth time in a row. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) crossed the finishing line in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires (AR) as the overall winners, having won five of the 13 legs in their MINI ALL4 Racing.

“I promised last year when I was on the podium that I’d be back to win, and now I’m here,” said Al-Attiyah. “It was very hard to lead the race from the very beginning and to continue keeping this position on the long distance. Also because the race was really hard. I’m very happy about this great result and I want to thank and congratulate all mechanics and the team for the great job they have done during the two weeks. The MINI ALL4 Racing is an incredible car and it was again very nice to drive.”

“Nasser Al-Attiyah winning the 2015 Dakar Rally in the MINI ALL4 Racing is continuing the success story of MINI at one of the toughest races in motorsport,” said Senior Vice President MINI, Jochen Goller. “I would like to congratulate him and his team to this fantastic achievement, which the worldwide MINI community is obviously delighted about.”

“We always knew there would be many unforeseeable challenges on this 9,000+ kilometer adventure across South America and that the final result remains unpredictable till the very last days of the rally,“ said Goller. “On the other hand we also knew that the x-raid team, the MINI ALL4 Racing and of course all MINI drivers entered the competition extremely well-prepared and for this I want to personally thank the x-raid team head Sven Quandt.“

The “Dakar” entrants faced numerous unforeseeable challenges on the demanding route from Buenos Aires in Argentina via Iquique in Chile and Uyuni in Bolivia. From classic gravel rallying in Argentina and winding mountain roads through the Andes at altitudes of up to 4,500 metres in Bolivia to the extremely dry and hot Atacama Desert in Chile with its towering dunes and fine sand, the “Dakar” tested both man and machine to their limits. The drivers and co-drivers had to remain absolutely focused throughout the event.

The MINI ALL4 Racing provided further impressive evidence of its speed and reliability at the 2015 Dakar Rally. Once again, it proved to be a great all-rounder. “With now four Dakar victories in a row to its name from 2012 to 2015, the MINI ALL4 Racing proved once more to be the car to beat confirming its reliability, strength and agility in a convincing manner,” Goller said. “Our goal this year was to achieve another great overall team result and, with five MINI ALL4 Racing finishing the 2015 Dakar Rally in the top ten, nine MINI ALL4 Racing reaching the finish line, eleven stage victories with four different drivers and Nasser winning the world’s toughest marathon rally, we have successfully met all our targets. During the 2015 Dakar Rally, we have certainly seen the best MINI ALL4 Racing ever, and I am already looking forward to seeing it compete in the 2015 long-distance World Cup in preparation for the 2016 Dakar Rally.”

All in all, the MINI ALL4 Racing won eleven of the 13 legs at this year’s “Dakar”. Five of these were double victories for MINI. No fewer than four MINI ALL4 Racing cars ranked among the top five cars in the overall standings.

Al-Attiyah/Baumel were joined at the top of the table by Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) in third place overall, while Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL) came in a strong fourth after entering the “Dakar” in the MINI ALL4 Racing for the first time. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU) – overall winners of the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country-Rallies in the MINI ALL4 Racing – finished fifth. Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KZ/RU) also ranked among the top ten, securing ninth place overall. Nine of the ten MINI ALL4 Racing cars that started the race made it across the finishing line in Buenos Aires.

Results 2015 Dakar Rally.

01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel

MINI ALL4 Racing

40:32:25h

02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz

 

41:07:59h

03 Holowczyc/Panseri

MINI ALL4 Racing

42:04:26h

04 Van Loon/Rosegaar

MINI ALL4 Racing

43:34:17h

05 Vasilyev/Zhiltsov

MINI ALL4 Racing

43:45:06h

09 Rakhimbayev/Nikolaev

MINI ALL4 Racing

44:41:09h

12 Garafulic/Palmeiro

MINI ALL4 Racing

46:00:34h

13 Zhou/Schulz

MINI ALL4 Racing

46:07:49h

17 Terranova/Graue

MINI ALL4 Racing

47:39:19h

21 Schott/Schmidt

MINI ALL4 Racing

49:51:23h

MINI ALL4 Racing 2015 Dakar Rally Lineup.

Monster Energy Rally Raid Team.

#300 Nani Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR)

#305 Orlando Terranova/Bernardo „Ronnie“ Graue (AR/AR)

#306 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR)

X-raid Team.

#310 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU)

#314 Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL)

#319 Boris Garafulic/Filipe Palmeiro (CL/PT)

#329 Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KZ/RU)

#332 Zhou Yong/Andreas Schulz (CN/DE)

#334 Stephan Schott/Holm Schmidt (DE/DE)

Qatar Rally Team.

#301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR)

Alfa’s Uber Yummy 4C is here. I’ll have 3.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

The Italian revolution begins: All-new Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe has arrived in Australia, offering groundbreaking design, F1-inspired technology and supercar performance at an incredible price

  • Jaw-dropping looks, breathtaking performance: 177kW @ 6,000rpm, 350Nm @ 2,200rpm and 0 to 100km/h in a blistering 4.5 seconds
  • Race-inspired performance: 4C offers advanced materials and technological solutions from Formula 1 including carbon-fibre monocoque, aluminum chassis structures and a composite body shell for an ultra-lightweight design with incredible performance
  • State-of-the-art powertrain technology: all-aluminum 1750cc direct-injection turbocharged engine with intercooler, dual variable-valve timing and advanced scavenging technology is paired to a blistering fast Alfa TCT (twin-clutch transmission) with Alfa DNA selector
  • Excellence made in Italy: Alfa Romeo 4C combines the best technical and manufacturing competencies of two brands, Alfa Romeo and Maserati
  • The all-new Alfa Romeo 4C coupe has arrived in Australia with an MSRP of just $89,000
  • Also available as limited-edition, generously specified Launch Edition, with an MSRP of just $109,000

Alfa Romeo’s stunning 4C is set to take Australia’s supercar segment by storm, offering F1-inspired technology, jaw-dropping looks and phenomenal performance at an incredibly attainable price.

“Coupled with our dealers, we are thrilled to be bringing this sensational new Alfa Romeo to Australia,” said FCA Australia President & CEO, Pat Dougherty.

“The 4C marks the dawn of an exciting new era for Alfa Romeo. This is a true Italian supercar offered at a price that is within reach of many Australians.

“The 4C is the first of an outstanding fleet of Alfa Romeo products and all will share the 4C’s focus on style, performance and luxury”.

Alfa Romeo’s halo sportscar has arrived in two distinct variants, the uniquely appointed Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition with a MSRP of $109,000, and the stunning Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe with an MSRP of $89,000. The 4C Launch Edition is limited to 1,300 units worldwide, of which Australia has secured an initial allocation of 75 units.

Both models offer stunning mid-engine proportions, near-perfect weight distribution and each draws inspiration from the brand’s proud racing heritage to combine design and technology for maximum performance. The Alfa Romeo 4C is inspired by the century-old tradition of Alfa Romeo and projects the brand’s values for the future: Italian style, performance and engineering excellence, offering maximum driving satisfaction in total safety. The “4C” name recalls Alfa Romeo’s great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished racing and road cars fitted with powerful eight and six cylinder engines. The Alfa Romeo 4C model’s designation continues this tradition with the latest all-aluminum 1750cc turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder engine.

Designed to be innovative and revolutionary The Alfa Romeo 4C confirms its supercar credentials by offering:

  • Most advanced and innovative engines
  • A unique set of F1-inspired technical solutions
  • Performance-inspired power-to-weight ratios
  • Distinctly Italian design and ground-breaking performance

Supercar performance, compact size

Thanks to Alfa Romeo 4C’s advanced technological solutions and compact size, the coupe demonstrates its precision, agility and performance credentials with:

  • 400cm overall length
  • 186cm overall width
  • 118cm overall height
  • 257km/h top speed
  • 0-to-100km/h acceleration of 4.5secs
  • 0.335 Coefficient of drag (Cd)
  • Lateral acceleration >1.1 g
  • Maximum braking deceleration > 1.25g
  • 1,025kg tare mass

High-tech 1750 Turbo engine and Alfa TCT pair for exceptional performance and drivability

The engine is the beating heart of any Alfa Romeo, and for the 4C, it beats to an all-new 1750cc direct-injection, all-aluminum engine. To ensure exceptional performance and drivability on the racetrack or city streets, this new engine features cutting-edge technical solutions, including direct-injection, intercooler, dual (intake and exhaust) continuous variable-valve timing (VVT), a crankshaft with eight counterweights, and intake and exhaust systems optimized for Alfa Romeo 4C’s mid-engine layout.

A new generation turbocharger features a pulse-converter exhaust manifold to exploit pressure waves and boost torque at low-engine speeds. A waste gate valve adjusts turbo pressure and improves the engine’s efficiency. Advanced scavenging technology enables the Alfa Romeo 4C to maximize torque at low engine speeds and deliver more response to driver input by increasing combustion efficiency and turbine speed, all while eliminating turbo lag. As a result, torque delivery is instantaneous, with a peak of 350Nm; 80 percent of which is available at only 1,700rpm.

Teamed to the all-aluminum engine is a paddle-shifting Alfa TCT twin-clutch transmission, which has been specifically tuned for the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C. With its uniquely calibrated software that adjusts with the Alfa DNA selector system, the Alfa TCT’s gearshifts are designed to become most aggressive in the Dynamic and Race modes. The Alfa TCT system also integrates a “launch control” mode – delivering the utmost acceleration possible as soon as the driver releases the brake.

Innovative Alfa DNA selector

The all-new Alfa Romeo 4C features the brand’s innovative Alfa DNA selector with “Race” mode – enabling the driver to optimize the right level of performance through four modes. With a touch of the Alfa DNA selector, the character of the Alfa Romeo 4C can be changed to (in order of increasing capability):

  • All-weather – designed to ensure maximum control under adverse weather conditions and enables gentler accelerator input and special engine and brake control logic to match road speed and prevent skidding.
  • Natural – enables grand touring comfort and smooth drivability for the Alfa TCT gearbox.
  • Dynamic – enables improved driving performance via a more aggressive powertrain calibration and less intrusive electronic stability control (ESC) setting.
  • Race – is the most extreme performance mode, putting the driver in total control of the car under race conditions. ESC and anti-slip regulation (ASR) are deactivated to allow the driver to control traction through the accelerator pedal. The Alfa Romeo Electronic Q2 differential control system remains active for fast exits out of corners or bends. In Race mode, launch control can be activated, allowing the Alfa Romeo 4C to deliver supercar-level 0-100km/h acceleration blasts of just 4.5 seconds.

For driving convenience in Dynamic, Natural or All-weather modes, the Alfa Romeo TCT gearbox can utilise an “auto” mode.

4C combines the best technical and manufacturing practices of Alfa Romeo and Maserati

The very best technical and industrial expertise of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands were used to develop the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C.

Teamwork between the two brands included the integration of the Alfa Romeo Style Center design with the well-known craftsmanship of the Maserati brand’s Modena production plant. In addition, the Alfa Romeo 4C was boosted by the technological contributions of Italian suppliers, who are international leaders in manufacturing high-performance components.

This is a distinguishing trait of Alfa Romeo, a brand with a century of history that continues to be one of the most famous and popular ambassadors of Italian products around the world.

“The all-new 4C represents the purest formation of the brand’s DNA with its supercar-levels of performance and innovation, all while focusing on making the driver an integral part and completion of the machine,” said Harald Wester, global CEO of Alfa Romeo.

“With its technological solutions derived directly from Formula 1, the Alfa Romeo 4C creates a fusion of body and machine, an extension of its driver’s soul that is ready, capable and willing to respond and deliver.”

Limited to an initial allocation of just 75 units: Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

For true “Alfisti”, a special Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition has been produced. These stunning vehicles include the following appointments above and beyond the generously appointed 4C Coupe.

  • Rosso Alfa, or Madreperla White exterior paint
  • Bi-LED carbon fibre headlamps
  • Front fascia with side air intakes
  • Carbon fibre rear spoiler and mirror caps
  • Race suspension tuning with front- and rear-sway bars and shock absorbers
  • Racing exhaust
  • Staggered 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) forged wheels painted in Matte Black
  • Red lacquered brake calipers
  • Sport seats with black microfibre
  • Red or White interior accent stitching on the instrument panel steering wheel, floor mats and door handles
  • Interior carbon fibre trim plates
  • Carbon fibre cluster bezel
  • Carbon fibre gear shift bezel
  • Carbon fibre passenger side trim plate