BMW ConnectedDrive at the IFA 2015 consumer electronics show in Berlin

BMW ConnectedDrive at the IFA 2015 consumer electronics show in Berlin GAYCARBOYS (3)

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Teaming up with capable partners to implement new solutions for “connected cars”.

Munich. BMW is indisputably one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers when it comes to linking up drivers, their vehicles and the outside world. The company groups together its range of intelligent services under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner. And at the IFA 2015 show in Berlin (4–9 September 2015), one of the world’s leading consumer electronics and homeappliance fairs, BMW is showcasing new solutions for the “connected car”.

  • Premiere: Using apps from Deutsche Telekom and Samsung to operate functions inside connected houses from the BMW i3
  • Integration of Apple iOS and Android smartphone apps
  • BMW i Remote app for the new Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 smartwatch
  • New n-tv app already available in-car
  • New attachment points on BMW vehicles for GoPro cameras

One of the company’s focal points at the IFA are a pair of apps designed for operating functions inside connected houses. The Smart Home app from Deutsche Telekom is an Apple iOS-based application which can be integrated into a BMW i3 or any other BMW vehicle with BMW ConnectedDrive Services – as can the Samsung SmartThings app developed for Android devices, on display at the IFA 2015 as a research application. BMW is giving both apps their in-car world premiere, underlining its flexibility in linking applications for the two leading mobile operating systems seamlessly with its cars. Both Smart Home apps allow users to control in-building functions, such as heating, from a car. Users can check whether windows and doors are locked or the burglar alarm is activated while on the move. Users get notified on their car’s dashboard about water leaks or intruder alerts via the integration. Like the extended news app from n-tv – another new arrival – these apps for connected houses can be operated using the iDrive Controller and viewed on the Control Display.

New accessories and high-speed innovation.
The GoPro app for operating the brand’s small and robust cameras can also be operated from inside a BMW and is on show at the GoPro Stand (Hall 3.2/201).

Holders and attachment systems designed specially for BMW vehicles are available for GoPro cameras from the Original BMW Accessories range, and enable perfect shots and videos even in extreme driving situations, e.g. on race tracks.

The impressive speed with which BMW creates intelligent solutions in response to innovations in the entertainment industry is also accentuated by the use of the new Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 smartwatch to operate BMW i3 functions. Users can monitor their car’s battery charge or view its operating range from their wrist. The innovative BMW i3 and BMW i8 can be driven virtually at the Samsung Stand (CityCube, Hall B/101). The Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition for S6 data glasses provides astonishingly realistic driving impressions with the premium electric model and innovative plug-in hybrid sports car.

BMW interface opens up access to a huge range of apps.
BMW has been ahead of the game in enabling new and innovative third-party apps to be integrated into cars via an intelligent interface. To this end, BMW ConnectedDrive offers its own A4A (Apps for Automotive) interface, an in-house development which allows both current and future models to be upgraded with the latest applications at any time. This gives all BMW models a high degree of flexibility and ensures they keep pace with future developments. Underpinning this capability is ConnectedDrive Services, which provides extensive vehicle connectivity and enables access to services such as Online Entertainment, the internet and Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI).

Smart Home apps, operated from a BMW i3.
At last year’s IFA show, BMW used a research application to demonstrate how functions inside a building can be operated form a vehicle. And this year at the Deutsche Telekom stand (Hall 21a/101), BMW is presenting the integration of the customer-ready Smart Home app now available from the Apple app Store for devices running the Apple iOS operating system. Once an Apple iPhone with the app installed is connected to the car via a USB interface or snap-in adapter, the iDrive Controller can be used to activate electrical devices in connected houses or to switch on lights. These functions can also be automated.

For example, certain settings inside the house – such as room temperature – can be activated automatically when the address is entered into the navigation system. This is not only convenient, it also helps to restrict energy use to those times when it is actually required. Users can check on the Control Display if the house doors are locked or the burglar alarm is activated.

At the Samsung stand, another Smart Home application – the SmartThings app research application – is integrated into the BMW i3. It also allows functions in connected houses, such as automatically ensuring your doors are locked and temperature is adjusted as you drive away from the house. The depth of BMW ConnectDrive app and the ease of integrating it into the SmartThings platform deliver the connected car experience to both Android and iOS users. The ability to integrate smartphones running the two major operating systems for mobile devices into cars quickly and seamlessly underlines the depth of capability behind BMW ConnectedDrive.

BMW i Remote app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 celebrates its premiere.
The BMW i3 and BMW i8 use an integrated SIM card to provide extensive connectivity between drivers, their vehicles and the outside world. This SIM card allows users to request and operate remote functions first revealed with the presentation of the BMW i3 using the BMW i Remote smartphone app. At the IFA 2014, BMW presented the BMW i Remote app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch as a world first. This allows the charge level of the batteries to be checked and the car’s operating range to be displayed for the first time in this way. The car’s navigation function could also be operated using the Samsung Galaxy Gear for the first time. Intermodal route guidance for BMW i cars – which incorporates public transport such as buses or trains into efficient route guidance, e.g. during stop-start traffic – is also supported.

A research application presented at Samsung’s IFA 2015 stand sees a BMW i3 linked up to the latest generation of Samsung smartwatches via the BMW i Remote app. The Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 runs the latest version of the Android operating system. Users wearing the smartwatch on their wrist can access important vehicle functions such as battery charge or the car’s operating range without having to take out a synced mobile phone. In so doing, the new samsung smartwatch establishes itself as an additional medium for real-time information sharing between the driver and vehicle. And users don’t have to take their smartphone out of their pocket, unlock a screen or enter a code to make it happen.

The new n-tv app: quick, well-informed and comprehensive news.
n-tv is Germany’s first news channel and specialises in delivering round-the- clock reports from the worlds of politics, business, sport and society. Up-to-the- minute stock market updates are a recognised focal point of n-tv- reporting. The n-tv editors already offered a special compact news service via the channel’s smartphone app (available free of charge from the Apple App Store) in the form of audio files. The news items are read by a professional newsreader and provide a summary of the most important developments at any given time. But now the new n-tv app gives users access to the news in full. The app is integrated into a BMW i3 at the n-tv stand in Hall 6.2 B, and the news is played back through the car’s audio system.

Like all other smartphone apps available in BMW cars, the n-tv app is a BMW- certified application developed for the integration of smartphone apps as part of the BMW partnership programme. It can be accessed as soon as the user’s smartphone is connected to their car via snap-in adapter or USB cable. The app can be selected from the BMW ConnectedDrive menu, viewed on the Control Display and operated using the iDrive Controller.

Attachment systems for GoPro cameras.
GoPro cameras are compact, robust make it very easy to capture immersive photo and video content. The rugged cameras have become a widely adopted solution for people to capture themselves engaged in their interests, whatever they may be. With the free GoPro app for the iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones, users can control their GoPro cameras intuitively from a smartphone. For example, options such as video, recording mode or photo burst can be selected. BMW ConnectedDrive and the GoPro app also allow the cameras to be operated using the iDrive Controller in a BMW and images to be viewed on the Control Display. At the GoPro stand at the IFA 2015, a BMW M6 MotoGP Safety Car is used to present solutions for mounting cameras to a BMW to best possible effect with the help of Original BMW Accessories. The M Performance Track Fix holds the camera to the outside of the body, while interior mountings from the Travel & Comfort System ensure flawless shots even when the car is being driven at its dynamic limits – e.g. on the race track.

Note: International press release. This is a 1:1 copy of the original issued by BMW Group headquarters in Germany. No adaptations have been made to cater for the Australian market.

Kia joins fight against Motor Neurone Disease

 

  • Support for Daniher’s Drive – Victoria to support MND research

Kia Motors Australia has thrown its support behind Essendon legend Neale Daniher and the Cure For MND Foundation through the fund-raising Daniher’s Drive event from October 15-18.

Daniher was diagnosed with MND _ also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame star who was the first high-profile diagnosis in the 1930s _ in 2013 and has since dedicated his life to finding a prevention, treatment and cure for the disease.

“As patron for the Cure For MND Foundation, I am devoted to the task of raising awareness about Motor Neurone Disease and funds for research within Australia, with the aim of discovering treatments that can grapple with the disease, and ultimately help find a cure,” Daniher said.

The Daniher’s Drive event is a four-day road trip around Victoria with fund-raising and fun the key elements of the event.

Kia has joined the party as a Silver supporter of the Foundation with a $40,000 donation and the supply of seven cars for the organisers and support team.

Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith, said the support for the Daniher Drive event and the MND Foundation was an easy decision to reach.

“This is a dreadful disease that can strike anyone of any age without warning,” Mr Meredith said. “Through our association with Essendon it was a simple step to extend support to an Essendon legend in Neale Daniher and to his personal fight to best this awful disease.”

The Daniher’s Drive starts in Melbourne on October 15 and finishes back in Melbourne on October 18.

For donations to the Foundation, please visit www.curemnd.org.au

Bling Bling, Bling Bling. Hello, Lexus Calling

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RCF and LFA Sydney City Toyota GAYCARBOYS

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I just found this video of this very car a few months ago when we gave it the once over at Lexus’ secret  HQ bunker. What do you think?

 

On my home from my jog (walk) around the park (boozer) I discovered this little titbit in the Lexus dealership next door. Hubba HUbba!

This is the LFA which Lexus Australia has kept for itself at their secret bunker (in the shire) and very tasty it is too. You’ll remember we told you all about it a few months back. Well, now it has a little friend. Is this the Orange RCF we tested? Who knows but I’ll be ringing my mates at Lexus tomorrow.

I’ll pay one billion dollars drive this through Sydney CBD in peak hour. Who is with me?

Isn’t it pretty? Who wants one?

CITROËN reveals CACTUS M ahead of Frankfurt

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At the Frankfurt International Motor Show, CITROËN will premier a concept car inspired by the iconic 1960s Citroen Méhari: the CITROËN CACTUS M. An ‘outdoor’ take on the C4 Cactus, this new concept car has a bright, upbeat personality. Looking beyond design, CITROËN is expressing a lifestyle approach with the CACTUS M, placing leisure at the heart of the automotive experience. At ease on all types of terrain and in all situations, the CACTUS M concept inspires a sense of well-being, freedom and escape.

  • An open-air crossover. Further developing the approach suggested by the CITROËN C4 Cactus, the CACTUS M has ‘go-anywhere’ looks, clearly stating its family ties with the CITROËN Aircross concept presented in Shanghai last April. The wings are sculpted around the wheels for a more compact, muscular look. The straighter windscreen, raised body and wheel diameter underline its personality as a leisure vehicle.  On the body sides, the large plastic doors add a lightweight, protective touch, giving the vehicle its signature. This design brings to mind the renowned Méhari, a vehicle with the same ‘go-anywhere’ mindset. The cabin is completely open. Passengers access the seats in row 2 by climbing over the body side, using an insert provided at the rear for support. Nothing separates the passengers from their surrounding environment.
  • Ingenious and with a strong leisure focus. Through its design, the CITROËN CACTUS M turns leisure into a lifestyle, placing it at the heart of the automotive experience. The interior illustrates this approach, with technical materials used in open-air activities. For full and uncompromising use, the cabin can be hosed out thanks to the drainage outlets integrated in the foot wells. Inspired by the world of surfing, the seats are designed to resemble wetsuits, and are upholstered in a brightly coloured neoprene fabric for comfort and waterproofing. The CITROËN CACTUS M is also a modular vehicle, with a roof extension that enables passengers to store all their equipment (wakeboard, windsurf board, etc.). Everything is designed for comfort and peace of mind.
  • At ease on all types of terrain. The CITROËN CACTUS M was also designed to head off the beaten path, to explore and open up new horizons. Whatever the activity, the weather or the road conditions, everything is designed to ensure a relaxing ride for the occupants. On all types of terrain, the Grip Control function optimises traction for a relaxed ride anywhere. The CACTUS M also inspires a sense of extreme freedom with a modular cabin that turns into a couchette and a top that can be made into a tent.  This top, which features an innovative system of inflation, also provides protection in the event of rain. The CITROËN CACTUS M also features onboard technologies for everyday use with all the useful equipment found on the C4 Cactus (touch drive interface, Easy Push system, etc.).

The CACTUS M concept is a modern take on the values that led to the development of the Méhari. Values relating to comfort, well-being and leisure, which have always been part of CITROËN. DIsplayed alongside the C4 Cactus and the Aircross concept, the CACTUS M concept illustrates the vitality of the brand and the coherence of its approach.

  • AN OPEN-AIR CROSSOVER

One year on from launch, CITROËN is displaying a new take on the C4 Cactus at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, with a concept of muscular lines, totally open to the outside world.

  • A new ‘go-anywhere’ take on the C4 Cactus

The SUV looks of the CACTUS M, already suggested by the C4  Cactus, are underlined by its styling and specific features.

At front and rear, the strong, sculpted side lines convey a sense of power. The use of Tall & Narrow tyres made it possible to increase wheel diameter while reducing width, thus increasing body height. This impression is reinforced by the specific wheel arches. The strong compact build of the CACTUS M is underlined by the 60° rake of the windscreen and the thickness of the pillar, which conveys a sense of strength.
The design of the lower front and rear bumpers and door mirrors was inspired by the CITROËN Aircross concept. The solid metal tow hooks and door mirrors convey a sense of protection and quality. These styling attributes position the CITROËN CACTUS M in the world of SUVs and reflect the ties between the two concepts.

  • A car focused on the outside world and inspired by Méhari

Like the Méhari in its time, the CACTUS M concept was designed as an open-air vehicle. It seeks in every way to bring passengers closer to their surrounding environment and to make life easier.

The CITROËN CACTUS M has two long doors, further underlining the impression of compact lines. The design of these one-piece parts in moulded plastic makes them particularly easy to use while also reducing overall vehicle weight. These doors are designed like Airbump® and use the same concept with their thermoformed TPU coating. This second skin, which is also used on the bumper protection, resists knocks and scratches as well as salt water, sand and anything else that could create a barrier between leisure and mobility. The opening panels are designed with visible hinges just like the renowned Méhari, which also had ABS plastic bodywork.

Inspired by the surfing spirit, the CITROËN CACTUS M has no roof or front pillar. It is completely open to the outside. The wood plating over the boot arch and on the windscreen pillars, brings to mind the way surfboard manufacturers customise their boards.  The cheerful wheel pattern resembles the floral pattern of wetsuits. The logo, visible on the boot arch, may be perceived as a signature for what could be a “Freestyle” collection by CITROËN.

  • INGENIOUS AND WITH A STRONG LEISURE FOCUS

The beach, sand, salt and water are all considered as incompatible with cars. However, the CACTUS M was designed for this environment, to let users enjoy an intense, uncompromising leisure experience. The choice of shapes, materials, technologies and colours was guided by a desire to enable users to pursue the leisure experience inside the car while freeing them from all practical concerns.

The overall design of the cabin resembles the hull of a boat. The flowing lines are a continuation of the exterior design. This impression of an object moulded in a single piece is emphasised by the use of the same colour — Jaws blue — for both the bodywork and cabin. A bright, optimistic colour, it points to the cheery character of this concept and encourages users to head for the open road.

Looking beyond appearance, the functional qualities of a boat hull are also reflected in the overall design. The CITROËN CACTUS M is the ideal partner for all expeditions. All materials were selected or treated for their ability to adapt or resist. With the perforated foot wells and the seats in salt-resistant fabric designed to drain off water, occupants can get into the car without even drying or rinsing themselves. The whole cabin can even be hosed out.

The CACTUS M has an attractive, functional interior. The upholstery and dashboard trim were designed to resemble wetsuits. The brightly coloured neoprene fabric adds warmth to the cabin and underlines the vehicle’s “alive” side. It also increases the waterproof qualities of the seats and reduces the time required for them to dry.

The CITROËN CACTUS M concept is also practical: the rear sides are hollowed out to enable passengers to get into the seats in row 2 by stepping over the waist line. This solution makes for easier access while also creating a sense of freedom for passengers in the rear who do not need to open the door or fold the driver’s backrest.  Inside the vehicle, a range of functional stowage compartments are available. The front doors have large bins closed by a net. The boot is accessed from the outside and two surfboards can be attached to the roof using specific lashing systems. To mark this event, CITROËN’s styling teams created two surfboards in the colours of the concept car.

The character and strong personality of the CACTUS M concept car are inspired by the1968 Méhari and the seaside world associated with this legendary model. A number of styling features, such as the door opening straps and single central windscreen wiper bring to mind this design. At the same time, the headrests are designed to resemble boat fenders, bringing to mind the marine environment associated with open-air vehicles.

  • AT EASE ON ALL TYPES OF TERRAIN

Designed for people looking for wide open spaces, the CACTUS M concept is the ideal partner for an adventure. Through its technologies and innovations, it overcomes any obstacles to exploration relating to the weather, logistics or bumpy terrain.

The CITROËN CACTUS M combines Grip Control with Tall & Narrow tyres. This makes it more agile, enabling it to cope with the toughest terrain and gradients.  Grip control adapts to all situations to optimise traction in any circumstances.

The CACTUS M concept was designed as an open-air vehicle but is able to adapt to any type of weather with its innovative top. Located in the double boot floor, this top can be installed by hand and stretched around the vehicle using an innovation inflation system. An air flow air inflates three tubes that hold the top in the correct position. The air is activated by a compressor at the rear of the vehicle.

With its modular interior and this innovative top, the CITROËN CACTUS M overcomes logistics issues to leave more room for improvisation and freedom. For example, the CACTUS M can be turned into a bivouac for two people, making it possible to extend the outdoor experience. By means of an ingenious tilting mechanism, the rear seat becomes an extension of the boot, which opens downwards to create a couchette for two people. Users can either sleep in the open or under cover, using the inflation function to turn the top into a freestanding tent. This tent folds out at the rear of the vehicle, enabling two people measuring 1.80m in height to stand upright.  No more limits stand in the way of the quest for discovery.

For the top and the tent, CITROËN has worked with the two companies very famous of the sector. For the structure and safety of the tent, the brand called upon ATIC, an expert in inflatable structures for extreme conditions. To make the fabric, it worked with Jonathan & Fletcher, an expert in technical textiles for extreme sports.

Looking beyond its innovations, the CITROËN CACTUS M is also enjoyable to drive every day since it has all the driving comfort and technologies present on the production C4 Cactus. One year on from the launch of the production model, this concept car illustrates the potential of the C4 Cactus as the basis for new models, as well as the extraordinary possibilities for deploying brand positioning through different body styles.

Citroen confirms Australian Cactus line-up

Citroen Australia has confirmed preliminary specification for its C4 Cactus  GayCarBoys (1)Citroen Australia has confirmed preliminary specification for its C4 Cactus  GayCarBoys (2)

 

Citroen Australia has announced it will introduce two drivetrains for Cactus; a turbocharged petrol manual and turbo-diesel semi-automatic.

Due for local launch during the first quarter of 2016, the Cactus will bring with a range of innovative technologies paired to unparalleled customisation and Citroen’s leading 6 year warranty, service and support program.

General Manager for Citroen Australia, John Startari, said the addition of C4 Cactus to the local line-up signals the rebirth of Citroen in Australia.

“The C4 Cactus is the best example of products coming from Citroen in the future; fun, vibrant, customisable, efficient, practical and absolutely unique,” said Startari

“In a market full of same-same styling the C4 Cactus makes a statement and it is one we believe will resonate with Australians.

“Paired with Citroen’s leading 6 year warranty, capped-price servicing and roadside assist program, the Cactus is a vehicle that will appeal to the heart and the head,” said Startari.

Locally, C4 cactus will be offered with two drivetrains, featuring stop-start technology as well as:

  • PSA’s highly awarded PureTech 81kW, 205Nm 1.2L turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine paired to a five speed manual transmission or,
  • A 68kW, 230Nm 1.6L turbo-diesel paired to a 6 speed semi-automatic transmission.

Drivetrains aside Citroen designers and engineers aimed to develop a vehicle that turns convention on its head, delivering unique solutions to issues surrounding modern motoring.

The response to the brief is captured in five key developments:

  • Airbump®, an innovation by CITROËN. Useful, attractive and customisable, this graphic feature enhances vehicle design while protecting the bodywork;
  • A fully digital, intuitive interface and airy, connected driving position with controls grouped around a 7-inch touch screen, fitted as standard;
  • Wide sofa-style seats at the front;
  • Front passenger airbag transferred to the roof (Airbag In Roof technology), an exclusive that creates more room and storage space for the front passenger;
  • An optional panoramic glazed roof with advanced heat protection;

While final specification is to be confirmed for Australia, the C4 Cactus is expected to highly specified.

As standard Exclusive petrol models are expected to feature:

  • 81kW, 205Nm 1.2 litre turbo petrol PureTech drivetrain with manual transmission;
  • 7” Touch Screen with eMyWay Satellite Navigation;
  • Reverse camera with rear parking sonar;
  • DAB+ Digital Radio with 6 Speakers and ARKAMYS Digital Amplifier;
  • Bluetooth connectivity and USB input;
  • Automatic Lights & Wipers with Magic Wash;
  • Climate control air conditioning;
  • Cruise Control & Speed Limiter with Favourite Speed Memory;
  • Cornering Fog Lights;
  • 17” Bi-tone Cross alloy wheels with 15” Steel spare tyre;
  • Tyre pressure monitors;
  • Electronic assistants (ABS/EBD/EBA/ESC/HSA);
  • Six airbags (front driver, roof passenger, front sides & two curtain);
  • Bi-tone leather steering wheel with chrome insert & controls;
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat;
  • Electric front windows and pop out (6cm) rear windows;
  • Electronically adjustable mirrors;
  • PLIP with central locking;
  • Seatbelt unfastening warning on all seats;
  • Piano black roof bars, mirrors, blank rear insert & rear spoiler surround;
  • Centre console and armrest with storage;
  • Ventilated disc brakes front and drum brakes rear;
  • Top box 8.5L storage compartment;
  • Black Airbump;
  • 12 volt socket and cup holder in cabin;
  • Front sun-visors with driver’s courtesy mirror;
  • 60/40 split rear seats;
  • Guide-me-home lighting, selective unlocking and auto rear wiper in reverse;
  • LED Courtesy and Map Lights.

Exclusive diesel models are expected to feature the following over the Exclusive petrol:

  • A 68kW, 230Nm 1.6 litre turbo-diesel drivetrain with six-speed semi-automatic;
  • “Easy Push” Gear Selector and paddle shifters on steering wheel;
  • Aircraft-style manual handbrake;
  • Bench seat with armrest.

A variety of optional equipment will be available across both models including; exterior colour, interior trim, panoramic sunroof, coloured bumps (includes front and rear highlights), roof rails, side mirror caps, C-Pillar highlights and wheels.

Final pricing and specification will be available following completion of local evaluation and closer to the models first quarter 2016 introduction.

Citroën: The Comfy, Calm, Cosy and Cute DS3

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We drove Citroën’s DS3 convertible a while back and liked it. We didn’t “get it” but we liked it.

This story is about how the Citroën DS3 made me feel and not just about tech facts and dull-as-dishwater figures. I may decide to throw in a few figures but they are for presentation of a point, and besides “it’s my story and I’ll try if I want to” (sing it and it will make more sense).

There are people who ask me if Citroën is still sold in Australia, can you believe it. “The French can be an uppity bunch, perhaps they no longer make cars for peasants”, people cry.

Yes, Citroën still make cars and yes they still bring them here. It’s a shame the marque has lost so much of its brand awareness, but with a gentle push from head office the new models should help sort that out.

So, back to the story:

This time a new mindset was needed. To facilitate the reset I kept the “Deux Chevaux” in mind (translates to “two steam horses” apparently). If you’re not familiar with the term perhaps you’ll know the name “2CV” better. It was a Citroën that could transport a haughty French farmer in a silly hat and his boozy baguette munching wife carrying a basket of fresh eggs. They could across a newly ploughed field without a single omelette ensuing. It is not completely clear why that objective was so important.  Why would they want to do that.

Come forward a decade or 5 and we arrive smack in the middle of the 2nd decade of the 21stcentury where clip_image020the DS3 takes up the 2CV challenge. There is much to celebrate. The DS3 cabriolet is a little bit retro and has a rag top just like the 2CV. The roof slides back leaving the sides of the car in place, also just like the 2CV. However unlike the 2CV, the DS3 is chockers full of tech and comfort those farmers could only have even imagined after de nombreaux vins rouges.

“Funky” is my word du jour.

For a start, the roof is electric and has a 3 position setting and it comes in a bunch of colours including some with a really cool DS monogram. It isn’t obvious at first but anything that has a wavy motif when talking about DS is probably the letters D and S worked into an abstract pattern. You can decide whether you want a little air, a lot of air, or oodles of air. If it chucks it down you can close the roof and switch on the automatic climate control with the set and forget function. Even when lashed with the foulest weather, the roof simply will not leak and believe me I tested that part. The rain beating against the roof is remarkably calming.

You have electric windows, and instead of puny 2CV engines ranging in power from 6.7kw to 21.6 kw, the DS3 has a sensible 121kw. It can transport all your egg baskets at once, but not over ploughed fields. The only way the DS3 will cross a ploughed field is if a French farmer tries driving it after lunch, if you get my meaning.

The best thing about the 2CV was that it could go anywhere in style, and in that respect the DS3 well and truly modern and up to date. Of course this sounds like a cheesy post-modern American commercial but that doesn’t make it any less apropos.

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The tiny boot opening make grocery shopping a chore but who cares?

Once I made this connection with Citroën’s past I totally got it. Every time I jumped in and pumped the roof back, I came over all Gallic. I felt a distinct air of awesomeness coming on. Instead of fighting the unique Frenchness, I embraced it so even the postage slit masquerading as a boot opening didn’t worry me.

The DS3 is not a race car, or an SUV, or a mum’s taxi, or a limo, it is a lifestyle choice. For 40 grand you can get something faster or sportier or bigger, but none of those is going to be as individual or quirky.

The headlights look fabulous and the retro exterior is stylish and classy. There is a sculptured whisk of LEDs as daytime running lights and Xenon projector lamp thingies with swishing blinkers. The rear tail lights have the unique 3D effect I’ve really come to love. Citroën don’t make a big deal about their many patents and world firsts but maybe they should. Sales worldwide have been up this year and Australia is no exception. It’s as if the young management team have injected a dose of enthusiasm and vigour which had drained away these past few years. Things seem to be going swimmingly now that siblings Citroën and Peugeot are under the same banner here.

Because there is only a shift-em-yourself gear option, the ease of driving is important. I’ve driven cars, quite recently in fact, whose clutches were only slightly less difficult to use than building a cathedral was in the 14th century. Added to the heavy clutch was a gearbox that built up your upper body strength to that of which Atlas would be proud of. It was a thoroughly miserable experience. The Citroën however, is light and breezy. In fact it is so easy to use that people used to driving automatics found it a delight. You may think a “no auto option” might be a big hurdle to leap but not so. In fact everyone should be able use a clutch even though most cars sold are self-shifters. It is a scientifically proven fact that manuals are driven be real men (cue howls from all quarters). The old auto was a 4 speed affair and sold the excellent chassis short.

Having said that, for those for whom automatic is the only option take heart. I heard a whisper that there is a 6 speed auto mated to the 3 cylinder turbo now available in Europe. We liked this engine very much in the 308 and according to the whisperer we can expect it to filter through to us in the antipodes in due course.

Lots of folk have weekend cars but fellow flamers have fewer family, so no kids to toss in the back. So why get a huge gas guzzling V8, unless you fancy a throbber of course. Speed is nice but this car isn’t about the how fast you get there, it is about how much you enjoy the journey.

Perhaps it is because I am getting older that I now prefer comfort to cornering. I know I’m always going on about how a car corners because it is part of a reviewing process. But if I was to spend my own money on my own car I’d want an all-rounder. I’d want a stylish accessory. I’d want my car to say something about who I am and what I like. That’s vein I know but surely that’s why we don’t all drive 30 year old bangers right?

clip_image028The engine is nippy if not actually fast and the steering feels direct with just enough assistance to let you know you’re boss. Nothing is overdone but rather “just done enough”.

The only fault I could really pick apart from the small boot opening is the infotainment system. It is a bit last week. PSA has some really good systems such as the one in the fabulous looking Cactus which arrives next year. The touch-screen interface is brilliant and is almost an industry standard these days. A central floor mounted control centre like BMW, Mercedes and Mazda would be an advantage too. As it is the DS3 is a trifle fiddly and the Satnav input is difficult. Similarly the auxiliary controls are mounted old-PSA-style on stalks behind the steering wheel. Again, not a favourite and are hard to navigate unless you use them all the time. There is some talk of the PSA touch screen being available in the DS3 as an update so that would be well worth waiting for. In fact it would make the Citroën very hard to beat.

None of those things dampened my enjoyment and I found a longer drive thoroughly engaging. I fancy a clip_image026buyer doing a 15 minute dealership evaluation might not fully appreciate the full experience and that’s a shame. If there is anyone contemplating new wheels and like to be different, give the convertible DS3 a look. 

Finally, there is a 6 year warranty, capped service price and roadside assistance which is second only to Kia at 7 years. Take that BMW and Audi!

Highlights:

Active city safe (autonomous emergency braking), auto lights and wipers, rear camera

Engine: 121kw/240Nm, euro6, 1.6 turbo petrol, 4 cyl, stop/start, 5.6L/100k

6 yr warranty, 6 yr capped price service, 6 yr roadside assist (all transferrable)

Price: DS 3 121kw petrol manual $38,090

DS 3 Cab 121kw Petrol Manual $40,768

88kw petrol Auto $35,000 (runout old stock)

208 GTi and GTi 30th. Peugeot’s secret weapon?

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I could go on and on about the facts and figures and “turn in” and “braking force” and make the whole thing a dull-as-dishwater car review, but I won’t. Instead I’m going to tell you about having these two on a track.

You’ve probably seen a few of these GTi’s around the place. They look brilliant don’t they? Peugeot threw us the keys, and as were standing beside a race track……

And here we have it, the successor to the magnificent Peugeot 205GTi.

Cool V8 bloke Andrew Jones and dirt racer Cody Crocker were on hand to make sure we didn’t bin the goods. Crashing would otherwise cause much embarrassment and not just a little cost.

After taking a couple of moments of instruction we were thrown in at the deep end. “Drive it like you stole it” came to mind. We drove the GTi first, then the GTI 30th to get a proper feel for subtle nuances.

A track day is the reason most scallies ache for a GTi badged anything. Sometimes they even consider paying for them. They want nothing more than to hear the tyres screaming for mercy and to smell the sweet scent of brakes cooking at the limit of their endurance. They love the sound of an engine with the life being wrung out of it as a tiny hatchback is taken by the scruff of the neck. Most however will never savour the delights and the thrill that racing into a corner at terminal velocity brings. Try this in a car park and men dressed in blue will come. It is also the reason that P platers so often come to grief. This kind of driving must never be done on an open public road.

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Peugeot love and trust us implicitly and it is because of the deep sense of paternal caring that they asked Cody and Andrew to hold our hands for the day. I for one was very glad of a hand to hold. As thrilling as a race track is, there is nothing worse than ending a pleasant run in the kitty litter.

We had a quick drive of the GTi some while ago but the 30th has always eluded us. The differences between the two cars is more obvious from the outside, most notably the striking (optional at 5 grand) paint job. It is stunning with bright shiny fire engine red and dark brooding matte black looking like a menacing Black Widow spider. I love the look very much. As PHAB as it is, explaining at dinner parties that the black is not a vinyl wrap would become tiresome. There has been much care taken to dissect the scheme precisely. Rather astonishingly, one colour is not painted over another. They are both THE colour.

The 18” wheels (17” on the standard GTi) and chrome exhausts really look the business and I can see this being someone’s pride and joy collector’s item. It is a limited run too with only 30 examples released this time with no more to follow.

The changes are not just skin deep. The engine scores an extra few horses with 153kw,,, and an even more impressive 300Nm of torque to get you off the mark fast. You can have any transmission you like as long as it’s the 6 speed manual. Don’t start your whining, it’s as light as a feather and is thoroughly delightful to use.

208 GTi 30TH 012The 30Th has something called a Torsen limited slip differential and some specially designed “car-to-ground” connecting components, including special shockies. I don’t know what all that means but it’s forcing me to believe it! Unless you drive mindlessly you can expect 5.3 L/100k emitting only 125g/km and considering you get from 0-100 in 6.5 seconds that is somewhat remarkable. It means it sticks to the road and get uses as little fuel as possible.

The build quality has been given a boost over the last few years too. The quality checks and improved design has knocked the rough edges off what was once might have been rocky owner’s experience. There is a short film which is a take on the famous 205 GTi ad 30 years ago. I particularly like the way the aspect ratio changes as the 208GTi swings into view:

The interior of all new Peugeot’s is delicious, the 208 GTi 30th particularly. The tiny steering wheel allows the instruments to be over the top rather than through it. Once used to it you start to imagine it very much like a heads-up display. If the seat isn’t adjusted properly some will think it awkward. Once in the right spot, view is excellent. I asked why not just have a normal heads-up display but there was no clear answer. Someone suggested a cost thing, someone else said design so we may never really get to the bottom of the new cockpit thought processes.

The tablet-style infotainment system controls the Satnav and entertainment as well as some vehicle functions. There is no Apple CarPlay which is slightly disappointing. The screen responds to touch and although it isn’t as fast as some systems I’ve used, is easy to use. The sound is a bit of alright too.

Just as we were getting to getting to grips with the features, our rally and track drivers whipped us out on to the into the pits. This is where the true enjoyment is fully realised. The safety gear was left on for obvious reasons (and should always be left “on” on a public road) and it soon became abundantly clear that Andrew Jones’ job was completely safe as far as I was concerned. I drive like a nana and despite being told to let it run wide, turn in here, and brake now, my times were an embarrassment. Even in these amateur hands the GTi 30th was a treasure. On the rare occasion when entering a corner too fast the brakes were able to wash off there excess with no trouble. I only glanced at the speedo sparingly but 160kph felt like there was plenty left in the tank. Importantly the electronic nannies gave a load of leeway before trying to curb the fun. This car is a product of Peugeot Racing, and it shows.

In the afternoon Cody Crocker bravely volunteered to take me out but I wanted to see what the 208 could do in competent hands so he played captain. Even with the racing seats holding firm the ride was like a roller coaster and I felt like a rag doll, if a very large portly one. There was much screeching with some of it coming from the tyres. With the raucous note from the engine signaling max effort, the Peugeot was graceful and very fast. There was a touch of understeer here and there under the control of someone who knew what they were doing but on my rounds it was much less pronounced. It was frantic and frenzied but it is the sort of trip money can’t buy.

Cody is more used to a WRX on a rally track so tarmac at Eastern Creek was a doddle. What a wonderful experience and one everyone should share.

It was a brilliant day with two brilliant cars. The $35,990 price tag for the 30th is a big ask but totally justified. They are as rare as hen’s teeth and are a joy to behold. Its relative scarcity will make this a must have for those wanting something a bit different and remember, could well be a collector’s car in time.

The big brother 308 will soon be joining us and will have the delicious 200kw power plant.

Peugeot is back.

For full pricing and features you’ll need to see a dealer because blink and they’ll be gone.