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A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti – by Stas

Just to warn you, this was my first ever experience at Goodwood Festival of Speed so there will be a lot of excitement and emotions in this blog post. Reader discretion is advised J

Since the day our attendance to Goodwood was confirmed, I was like a kid before Christmas. Walking around, with my head in the clouds, imagining what it is going to be like. Will tell you honestly, it exceeded all expectations.

When we arrived on site and passed ticket gates I was all over the place. My other half, yes she took part in this too, had to literally drag me between the stands. Bentley, McLaren, sports cars, classic cars… you name it. However, the most memorable moment during the first half an hour at the festival was when we were crossing the foot bridge over the Hill Climb straight. As we were climbing to the top of the bridge I heard a ‘roar’ approaching. It was coming from the left and getting louder by the second. Then it blasted beneath us. It reminded me scenes from Jurassic World, which we went to watch a few days ago.

However, there was little time to try and chase that ‘roar’ to discover what it was. We were in a bit of a rush. Once we made it to the stand, which was tucked away in one of the Goodwood House courtyards, first thing that caught my attention was Infiniti Q60 Concept.

car1 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas


It was mesmerizing. Its shapes, angles and those headlamps… They reminded me of bats or maybe panther’s eyes.

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Before I got too carried away, guys from Infiniti told they have a surprise for us, a helicopter ride to see the festival grounds from a bird’s eye view.

car3 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The flight was unbelievable, the views stunning. It took my breath away.

car4 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

When we landed, we headed straight to the Goodwood House for a tour and some Pimm’s on the balcony. On the way, we got ‘stuck’ in a crowd admiring huge line up of cars, preparing to enter the Hill Climb. Not really stuck though, the line-up was simply awesome – it would have been almost a sin to just walk past it.

car5 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Completely unexpectedly, we heard a loud bang overhead. It was the Red Arrows. They flew over in a formation with blue, red and white smoke shooting out of their tails. Few others and myself were somewhat gutted jets appeared out of nowhere. None of us had our cameras ready.

Not to worry though, Red Arrows were to return shortly and we were ready this time.

car6 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

After a quick tour of the house we headed straight for the balcony to enjoy what is arguably the best view on the Hill Climb action.

car7 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The view from here also gave me a full appreciation of the scale of the festival and, most importantly, a better understanding of how significant this festival is. Goodwood Festival of Speed has something to offer to every type of petrol head.

Filled with Pimm’s and positive emotions, it was time for lunch. Needless to say, the dining area was located perfectly to catch the tyre squealing action of the Hill Climb, up close.

car8 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

After lunch came another surprise. We would get an exclusive access to see the inside of Q60 Concept and QX30 Concept,

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and meet Simon Cox – the design director behind Infiniti’s all new Q30 model, due to be revealed later this year at Frankfurt Motor Show.

car10 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

The interior of Q60 and QX30 is as gorgeous as façade. Everyone, from driver to passengers and onlookers, is thought of and looked after.

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The new Infiniti range is to be “rare and desired”. To turn your head and make you want one. And it is not about style and looks, alone.

car12 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Three words kept coming up in our conversation with Simon Cox: “Performance, craftsmanship and tailoring”. These represent Infiniti inside out. Mirrors, seats, central console, air vents, engine. Everything is created with performance, craftsmanship and tailoring in mind.

car13 A Day at Goodwood with Infiniti   by Stas

Consistency in attention to detail is seen across all Infiniti models. For example, such mundane aspect of a car as door handles. On QX30 there are none, in a conventional sense of the word. Instead, the car has touch/gesture sensitive panels fulfilling the role.

Tour on the insides of soon to be launched Infiniti models concluded our day with them, but it was only 3pm. What shall we do? Go enjoy the rest of the festival, of course. However, that deserves a separate blog post in itself. For now, this is it on my first visit to Goodwood Festival of Speed.

If you fancy seeing more photos from the festival or dropping me a comment, join me on

To find out more aboout these amazing concept cars, head over to Infiniti.

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Viva Vauxhall!

A very long time ago, in days when men wore hats and jackets with leather patches on the elbows, Vauxhall motors made a car called the Viva. That’s a version of the 1963 original in our image. It was designed to compete against the Ford Anglia and the Minor from Morris Motors and very popular it was too, right from the word go.

New car buyers were struck by its modern (for the time) looks which made the competition look dowdy and old fashioned. It was to mature in two new versions over the following sixteen years, following the design fashions of the time and influenced by the upstart imports from Japan.

Those who remember the car look back with fondness whilst viewing their memories through rose-tinted glasses. More down-to-earth folk don’t recall it being that good. It has to be remembered that the British car industry was in freefall at the time and nothing special was being produced anywhere so buyers took what they could get.

Vauxhall have clearly been thinking about this car from another age and have decided that enough time has passed to resurrect the name so let’s hear a hearty ‘viva!’ for the new Vauxhall Viva. After all, other companies have brought back iconic names like Mini or Fiat 500, so why not?

Vauxhall has long since been a part of the mighty General motors empire and the emphasis now is on the idea of ‘world cars’. Vehicles that can sell around the globe with little or no revision. The plan then is to make the new Viva a city car; an automotive  sector that is booming just now.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be a new car from the ground up but rather a rebadged version of something already in the company’s range – the Chevrolet Spark, perhaps. This is interesting because GM have already said they are withdrawing the Chevrolet brand from Europe owing to poor sales. So it would appear to be a plan to keep selling cars – in the UK at least – by revisiting an old British name.

GM/Vauxhall believe that the Viva name will work because it was a long time ago and ‘nobody will remember it’. Well, here’s the news – we do remember it and not especially fondly. This rebadged relaunch might not be as popular as they think.

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Nissan LEAF drivers racing towards one billion kilometres

The LEAF is Nissan’s first fully electric car and the owners of the LEAF are quickly approaching the one billion kilometres driven milestone.

As part of this accomplishment Nissan have created a number of animated stories, the first one being made around a Spanish taxi driver called Roberto San Jose. Roberto bought his LEAF in October 2011 and has covered 62,000 miles (100,000 km) making a large contribution to the aim of one billion LEAF miles. There are a number of other LEAF owners who have had these animations designed around them. Vito Mondelli, who resides in Bari in Italy decided to make a 100km trip to a charming town called Taranto. He was mocked by his friends as they didn’t believe he would make it in one charge of the LEAF’s electric engine, he proved them wrong. Nissan have also announced that they are making further animations based around Laura Farina, the first ever Nissan LEAF owner from Italy, and Sue Terry and Darren Golder from the United Kingdom. These animations describe how making the transition to an electric car has changed their lives for the better.

The LEAF being 100% electric leaves no trail of CO2 behind it when driving; you don’t have to pay congestion charges (London), road tax, of benefit-in-kind for businesses. With sat nav, rear view camera and climate control the LEAF is also not compromised of gadgets. The Carwings telematics SatNav system cleverly tells you the exact amount of energy that will be required to get to your desired destination, on top of this it also tells you where the nearest charging point it for increased ease of use. If its peace and comfort you are after look no further than the Nissan LEAF, at 21 decibels because the LEAF is 100% electric it statistically makes less noise than a crying baby (95db) and a ceiling fan (26db), ensuring you travel in comfort and silence.

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Lexus RC Coupé Roars In For 2014


Wow! Lexus have certainly pulled out all the stops with their brilliant new four-seat RC Coupé, based on the IS saloon. Shown recently at the Geneva Motor Show it has captured the imagination of car enthusiasts everywhere.

Initially the car will be available with a choice of two engines – a 3.5 litre V6 engine and a 2.5-litre petrol-hybrid. It is understood that further options are in the pipeline. For the UK, buyers should expect to see the hybrid first.

The V6 petrol engine is paired with an eight-speed sports direct shift transmission, with paddle shift controls whilst the hybrid version uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine working in conjunction with a 141PS electric motor. The hybrid is driven through an electronic continuously variable transmission with six step-gears.

In addition to the above, the Japanese manufacturer will also release a fire breathing version called the RC-F which is featured in this video. It’s the most powerful Lexus yet, developing an awesome 450hp from its five litre V8 power plant. This version will have the added handling benefit of an active, speed sensitive rear spoiler.

Lexus have long been known for their quality and exclusivity. Now they have added sporting flair as well.

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I Want a Car!


If every there was a sentence to strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere it is that one. Children grow into young adults and the bank of Mum and Dad is expected to front up the hard cash needed to put their beloved offspring on the road. What’s worse is that it isn’t just the financial burden that’s the worry for the old folks, they also have to think about safety and running costs – possibly on a student budget.

There’s a lot to think about. Selecting the right car at the right price; one that has manageable expenses, is safe and reliable and crucially is the right price. Parents will, inevitably, especially worry about how a daughter might get on. They know what the boys want – that’s a no-brainer – but finding the right car that suit’s a female buyer may have an entirely different set of parameters.

And so the search commences. Virtually everyone trawls the ‘net these days. Even if it isn’t first choice for the parents, the kids will know their way around but it still remains a bit of a chore. That’s why it is great to know that there’s a new app on the market and it sums up the situation perfectly – I Want A Car.

This exciting new step into the world of cars is a buyers dream. No more having to go to this website or that website, no more trawling the reputations of the country’s sellers; all the facts are now in one place. It’s simple and intuitive to use and any first timer will have no problem using all the search options and the voice search functionality. Those more knowledgeable potential buyers can however cut straight to the point.

 I Want A Car gives the user the complete low-down. Even if the buyer hasn’t the first idea where to start or, indeed, what their ideal car is then this app has the answers, taking the old ways of searching for cars and consigning them to the dusty annals of internet history.

Once that ideal vehicle has been located it is time to contact the dealer. With this new app it’s the buyer that’s in the driving seat. He or she can choose when to contact the seller and whether, in the first instance, they want to remain anonymous. It’s just like sending a friend a text. With hassle-free communication and all the knowledge needed to make an informed decision this is the 21st Century solution to the age old problem of choosing the best car to buy – for all the family. All of a sudden the cry of ‘I want a car!’ isn’t such a problem after all.


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More People Are Choosing Greener Journeys (allegedly)

Have you ever had your views consulted by any Government Department? The answer to that question from virtually everybody is ‘No’. Yet according to the Department for Transport (DfT) efforts to make it easier for people to choose greener ways of travelling to and from public transport hubs are working, at least according to a new report. Wonder who they are asking?

The so-called ’door to door action plan’ published today by the DfT identifies the good work being ‘taken forward’ that will help make door-to-door journeys by public transport, cycling or walking the norm. Real life journeys on public transport tend to be more complicated than just a single trip on a train or three stops on the local bus. The Government say they want to make it as easy as possible for people to choose greener ways of getting between each mode of transport.

Since they launched this ’door to door strategy’ eight months ago, there have apparently already been significant improvements to integrate public transport. This action plan highlights where progress has been made but there is still more to be done.

Quoted examples of successes include a £14 million investment in two new state-of-the-art bus interchanges at Rochdale and Mansfield improving integration with rail as well as making it easier and safer for people to use sustainable transport. Additionally, a £14.5 million investment in cycle facilities at railway stations has been the major enabler in doubling the amount of cycle parking spaces at stations in the lifetime of this Parliament. This has contributed to the number of cycle-rail journeys increasing from 14 million in 2009 to an all time high of 39 million a year.

Last summer the Prime Minister announced plans for ‘cycle-proofing’ roads so that all new trunk roads and improvement schemes will be designed with cyclists as well as motorists in mind. As part of that, the Highways Agency is also spending £20 million to improve existing infrastructure for cyclists on the strategic roads network.

All these plans are all well and good but how many non-car users are truly receiving any form of benefit out of these grandiose pronouncements. Certainly nobody in rural areas that’s for sure. Until this country has a root and branch look at its transport infrastructure there will always be winners and losers. Statistics can say anything.

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The Future of Sports Cars

“The pursuit of high performance is over, Grasshopper. Accept that the seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past. The truth lies at your local Mazda dealer.” These being the wise words of Master Po – (look it up if you are a non-believer).

The facts are these: Our roads are full to the brim with traffic and regulated beyond imagining by many laws. The cost of motoring is such that most drivers are seeking new answers to be able to stay on the roads at all. If you cannot afford a powerful sports car it doesn’t matter so much but even if you can, in the UK at least, you won’t be able to use much of that performance in any meaningful way.

It didn’t use to be like this. There was a time when driving was a simple pleasure and boy-racers everywhere strove to get their 0-60 time below a pedestrian ten seconds. In short, cars weren’t especially fast and yet motoring was fun. Owning a useable sports car (and discounting the fragile supercars of the time) meant driving a Triumph Spitfire or an MGB and savouring the open road. No doubt those good chaps at Mazda at some point noticed the demise of the small affordable roadster and came up with the wonderful MX5. In various iterations this great car has been with us since 1989 and yet it has never been bettered in its class.

With sales approaching one million, Mazda have re-worked the car and the latest version is the best yet, although some say it has become a bit soft as it nods towards modern requirements. There it is in the picture. As before it’s the usual front engine, rear-wheel drive layout and the oily bits remain pretty much the same. There’s a 1.8L developing 124bhp, ideal for cruising, or a more powerful 2.0L with 158bhp – which is more than enough in a small, light car – for those whose right foot gets twitchy at the sight of a snaking black-top. The MX5 does have some new additions, though, the most important being a new pedestrian protection system of the pop-up bonnet type. All this and approaching 40mpg as well – as long as you are not too heavy footed.

In an interesting new development Mazda has gone and got itself engaged to that Italian floozy, Alfa Romeo. It seems that Alfa want to sell a version of the next generation MX5 but dress it in in one of their floaty frocks. Hairdressers should rejoice. Italian styling with Japanese reliability – it has just got to be a winner.

So, the MX5 – not especially quick then, but today it doesn’t really matter, does it? This car is about good old down-to-earth driving pleasure. In these days of self-driving Euro-boxes that’s got to worth something to any driver with blood in their veins; and it should cost less than £25k for a new one depending on the model. Driving enjoyment in 21st Century Britain.

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Could Ultimate Car Control Be Taken From You?

A few days ago Motor Blogger queried the intentions behind technology whereby your car could be controlled by others. You can refresh your knowledge here. Now there’s a new, or additional, threat – depending on your point of view. It is called Intelligent Speed Adaptation.

It seems that seventy five percent of European drivers are concerned that the use of Intelligent Speed Adaptations (ISAs) will compromise safety, according to new research. Last month, the European Union announced that they were considering rules for new cars to be fitted with ISA technology. This would be capable of detecting speed limits through cameras or satellites and automatically applying the brakes of your car without so much as a by-your-leave. Even existing vehicles could be forced to have the technology fitted, no doubt at the owners expense.

Seventy-eight per cent of motorists don’t want to see the retro fitting of ISA technology onto older vehicles. The research also shows that fifty-seven per cent of drivers feel that ISAs would not have a positive impact on road safety – avoiding crashes, deaths and injuries and so on.

However, there is overwhelming support for the science when car control remains with the driver. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents would prefer ISAs to operate with warning messages with no control of the vehicle. That does make sense.

Respondents do feel that there are some benefits to ISAs. Fifty-two per cent see a reduced likelihood of speeding convictions and less money spent on traffic calming measures such as road humps. Thirty-one per cent of respondents – presumably older, more experienced ones – feel that, if enforced, ISAs should be restricted to younger drivers, newly qualified drivers and drivers with previous road-related convictions.

Certainly this high-tech stuff could help to save lives but it’s clear that drivers remain dubious about the benefits of the technology. More research into the benefits would help to reassure the public that this will improve road safety.

In short – we don’t trust it. We suspect – with good reason – it is yet another way to control drivers. The real answer is of course to ensure that drivers are trained properly in the first place.

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Citroen C4 Cactus – Are We Ready For This?

At Motor Blogger we’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Citroen cars. They may follow the mainstream field mechanically but there is always a certain flair with design that is appealing. They could never be accused of being Euro-boxes.

C4A Citroen C4 Cactus   Are We Ready For This?At some point though designers can get a bit above themselves so it will be interesting to see how the new Citroen C4 ‘Cactus’ will be received when it is launched in the middle of next year. This new model will have protective body cladding and sofa-style front seating as can be seen in the images.

The C4 Cactus will be the first car in Citroen’s new C-Line range, which positions the brand’s mainstream cars as affordable vehicles and emphasizing practicality, fuel efficiency and low ownership costs. The protective cladding, which Citroen calls Airbumps, appeared on the doors of the Cactus concept vehicle unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September.

The Airbumps have air capsules inside and are designed to resist scratches and reduce damage caused by small impacts. They will be a practical feature that will save owners the cost of expensive bodywork repairs. We’re not so sure. If the air bumps get damaged then there will still be damage repair needed, surely? Maybe replacing the ‘bumps’ will be cheaper than fixing metal. Also you have to wonder what this cladding will look like after a season or two of British weather.

Before the company gets too prickly (!) we should allow them their say: “The material used for the Airbumps is very resistant and durable. It is similar to what you find in the sole of a Nike Air shoe. The Airbumps will protect the bodywork from small impacts, such as a shopping trolley hitting it in a supermarket parking lot,” a spokesperson said. Apparently these Airbumps can be personalised by ordering black and white or multicolour variations.

The sofa-style seating of the Cactus concept will also appear in the production model. “Putting in a sofa instead of two standard front seats is more expensive but it will create a feeling of comfort,” it was explained.

Citroen’s C-line cars will have simple shapes and plain surfaces unlike many cars currently on the road that have aggressive styling. Citroen believe that customers are looking for simplicity and comfort in their cars. This kind of reinforces the point that our vehicles are becoming more like lifestyle trinkets.

The next C1 city car, the C3 sub-compact and the C5 large saloon will follow the C4 Cactus styling. Every car will have its own design but simplicity will be at the core of the range. We’re really quite looking forward to this although we remain to be convinced. Let us hope that Citroen have not shot themselves in the foot with this design.

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Keep Your Virtual Eye On The Road

Most drivers by now will be well aware of the ‘crash for cash’ scams that are rife in some parts of the country. To combat this, thanks to modern technology, motorists are installing video cameras in their cars to combat these fraudulent and dangerous claims. The cameras, popularly known as ‘dash-cams‘, record the view through the windscreen and capture events before, during and after a collision.

The recorded footage can also be used by defendants against accusations of lane-hogging or tailgating on motorways following new fixed penalty legislation which came into force a couple of months ago.‎

Increasingly, retail outlets are beginning to stock these devices as demand increases. This sort of technology has been found for years in police cars and other emergency vehicles. Thanks to the crooks it now seems almost essential that drivers record their journeys for their own protection.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau reckons that some 30,000 ‘crash for cash’ incidents take place every year. That’s an incredible number. The scam costs insurers around £350 million and inflates premiums for honest, innocent drivers by around £44 each.

To counter this, the bandits have a new and even more dangerous tactic that all drivers need to be aware of. They flash their headlights to give victims the impression they are being allowed to join a main road but then accelerate in order to hit the unsuspecting driver side-on. They then claim that the poor victim had pulled out in front of them and it is almost impossible to prove otherwise.

Thanks to the range of devices now on offer, motorists have the means to produce hard, irrefutable evidence as to how an incident occurred and who in truth was to blame.

There is a very wide range of cameras on offer ranging in price from around fifty pounds up to a couple of hundred. Buyers need to inspect the merits of each and decide what is best. A wide angle view would seem best, for example. Also, these days apps are available for smartphones which can be rigged in cradles and can do a similar job for very little money. They won’t be quite as good as a device made for the job but it is better than being held responsible for something that isn’t your fault.

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