Tag Archive | "Aston Martin"

Experiencing A Supercar

Over the past few years the doubters have been hinting at the demise of the supercar. Fortunately the very best manufacturers are having none of that and continue to produce performance vehicles at the cutting edge.

It is still entirely possible to sample the delights of sporting motoring and be the better for it. There remains a burgeoning market in the finest automotive masterpieces for the discerning driver and there are none better suited for the task of providing those great cars than the UK‘s official supercar hire and experience company.

There can surely be no bigger thrill than climbing into the luxury interior of an Aston Martin, a Lamborghini or even a Bentley and after pressing the button marked ‘Start’ savouring the aural magic of V8 or V10 engines in a high state of tune. Driving a supercar is a visceral thrill that the dedicated driver can feel inside. The acceleration presses the body back in the seat and changes the way the driver feels. In short, there’s nothing quite like it and it is not even necessary to buy such a car to find out.

Everyone can benefit from supercar hire. Supercar Experiences are specialists in renting performance and luxury vehicles. This has got to be the right choice for visiting business people who need a prestigious car and who can be confident that their chosen automobile will be where they want it, when they want it; backed up by support and breakdown cover.

Another plus point is that supercar hire means that access to these special motors is not just the domain of the rich and famous. By hiring for a day, a week, a month anyone with the means to do so can savour the driving experience.

Sometimes though a low-slung sports car isn’t the answer so it will come as good news to find out that it is also possible to enjoy a more practical set of wheels and go for, say, a Range Rover Sport let. Vehicles like this are ideal for holidays or European driving when there’s a need to transport family and luggage without loosing the joy that the enthusiastic driver feels every time he gets behind the wheel.

So despite all the rules and regulations it is still possible to savour the delights and skills of performance driving knowing that the support of experts in the field, like Supercar Experiences are with you all the way. It’s right there at a click of a mouse.

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Aston And AMG – Quite A Team

Buyers know what to expect when they buy a Mercedes. When they specify an AMG Mercedes they also know what to expect only with a portion of additional adrenalin and a touch of madness. When buyers decide on an Aston Martin they are, it is fair to say, buying into a different dream. In the UK there is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to that venerable name which is quintessentially British in origin.

On the other hand, the cars we buy today are really a product of the world car industry rather than some niche brand built in a country corner. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Aston Martin are teaming up with Mercedes-AMG GmbH, the performance arm of the mighty German company.

Both parties have signed a ‘letter of intent’ to this effect whilst working towards a full blown agreement by the end of the year. It isn’t a takeover but rather a collaboration. Both sides are remaining tight-lipped about the deal so there’s a non-disclosure order hanging over the arrangement for the time being. AM cars will continue to be made at Gaydon in Oxfordshire and will remain independent.

The idea is that AM will have access to the development of bespoke V8 power-trains and certain components of electric/electronic architecture. This hints at a future hybrid development. In effect this seems to be an ‘economies of scale’ exercise on the part of AM and Mercedes will get a percentage of non-voting shares. It seems to make sense; although Aston make wonderful cars they are not at the cutting edge of profitability so it does seem like the right thing to do on the face of it. Imagine a world without Aston Martins. Unthinkable.

V Aston And AMG   Quite A Team

So, it looks like, at sometime in the future, our Aston Martins will be powered by Mercedes. Does it matter? If a car looks like an Aston and sounds like an Aston then it must be an Aston. Most buyers won’t care that the car is part Mercedes because that name brings with it a sense of reliability. We’ll draw the line at an AMG badge on the back though. That would be too much. Out of the question. Harrumph.

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Future Fuelled Aston Martin

Fancy an Aston Martin? To be more precise, fancy an Aston Martin Rapide S? Of course you do, but it’s the running costs that are putting you off, isn’t it? Well, Aston Martin have been thinking about that.

The company understands that constantly evolving vehicle emission regulations means that they have got to achieve ever lower CO² output without jeopardising their super car image. One way they have found to do this is by utilising hydrogen power. Imagine that, a sports car powered by a V12 engine that is exempt from car tax under the existing rules.

Motor Blogger first mentioned this back in April and things have now moved on. Aston Martin have successfully run a car powered by a 90% gas and 10% petrol mix in the recent Nürburgring 24 Hour race, managing to go the distance. One lap was completed on hydrogen power alone and was thus emission free. This is a considerable achievement.AMHH2 Future Fuelled Aston Martin

Most hydrogen cars use fuel cells to generate electricity. The Aston however actually burns the hydrogen in a conventional engine. Best of all, the technology – developed by a company called Alset, based in Austria – can be fitted to existing engines. Fuel injectors for the gas are added along with additional software and a couple of small turbochargers but that’s it, although it’s not as simple as that makes it sound. The Rapide was chosen because it has the space to accommodate the pressurised storage tanks. Amazingly though, all this only adds around eighty extra kilos of weight which is considerably less than a massive battery pack.

The real beauty of this system is that when the hydrogen store is depleted the car simply continues to run on petrol. Brilliant. Right now there are only eleven hydrogen fuel stations in the UK but, given the exciting possibilities of this technology, that number is likely to grow very quickly when and if the finished product is rolled out.

When it comes to emissions it is obvious that the authorities mean business. Whether motorists agree with the climate change argument or not ever lower targets will continue to be issued. Car manufacturers are doing a great job with compliance and it would come as no surprise to find that in another twenty or thirty years the world’s automobiles will be virtually emission free. Thanks to the work done by companies like Aston Martin and their partners it seems that we might well be able to have our cake and gorge on it too. An emission free V12 – now you’re talking!

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Aston Martin To Race With Hydrogen

Using the highly desirable Rapide as a donor car Aston Martin have developed the Hybrid-Hydrogen Rapide S, the first hydrogen powered race car to compete in a major sporting event. It is also the first zero emissions car to complete an entire race-pace lap of the Nürburgring emitting only water from the exhaust. The company will be racing the car in the twenty four hour event at the legendary circuit at the end of May.

The power comes from a prototype bi-turbo 6.0L V12 that can run on gasoline, gaseous hydrogen or a combination of both. Apparently the system installed is comprised of a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tanks and an engine management system. Although this might all be Greek to the average layman, this hybrid/hydrogen kit allows some flexibility of control over combustion depending on the driving circumstances: for example, pure hydrogen, pure petrol or a combination of both can be selected to provide maximum performance. The result is a racing car with the carbon footprint of a Fiesta.

Only minimal changes to the car are needed. Fitting to a conventional engine is straightforward – for the experts. The system means that the need for a complex infrastructure for providing hydrogen fuel isn’t needed, which is a major stumbling block to the production of purely hydrogen powered vehicles for public consumption.

The worry – if that’s the right word – is the hydrogen itself. This is not a word we like to hear in the same sentence as combustion. With the Rapide S the company have taken the matter of safety very seriously. The hydrogen is stored in four high strength carbon fibre tanks. The gas totals 3.5kg and is stored at a pressure of 350bar. Two tanks are in the boot but the other two are right next to the intrepid driver. To the untutored motorist, the fear, if it appeared on street versions, is that of explosion. Racing accidents tend to happen at very high speeds and can be devastating. Let us hope that this system has been tested and re-tested for full race conditions. The car is capable of 190mph and does the traffic light sprint in just under five seconds.

Both Aston Martin and the company responsible for developing the system hope to demonstrate clearly the safety and reliability of hydrogen power. The system is designed to be an important step on the road to providing a viable hydrogen automotive economy. It’s clean and it’s green and it is not inconceivable that we may well see hydrogen systems of this type appearing in premium sectors of the industry in the medium term future.

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Aston Martin Centenary 2013

Aston Martin is a name that is dear to the hearts of British car enthusiasts. Even those whose interest in cars stops at them being mere transport will concede that over the years they have made some truly beautiful vehicles and they just go on getting even more desirable.

It was on the 15th January that Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford founded this iconic brand. The company was originally called Bamford & Martin. Bamford had successes at the Aston Clinton Hill Climb (you can see where this is going) in their first cars. Although Gaydon in Warwickshire is now the base the company was first based in Henniker Mews in Chelsea. The two founders first sold Singer cars but soon decided to build their own at which point the company became Aston Martin.

To celebrate this there will be a photo-shoot at Henniker Mews on the founding date featuring the oldest surviving Aston, an A3 (pictured) and the latest ultimate dream machine, the 2013 Vanquish. There will be a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

It’s a surprise to learn that in the first 90 years of production, even during the famous David Brown years, the company built less than 15000 cars! Introducing a note of horror, David Brown – who put his initials on some of the most famous cars – actually used a Jaguar XJ Series 1 as his personal motor! It says something about the more recent transformation of the company that, since 2003, they have built 45000 units.

In the same period the company has supplemented the modern range of the DB9 and the Vantage with other models and variations including the superb Rapide. Now that’s what we call a family car! The expansion has continued worldwide as Aston Martin have become truly international boasting 146 dealerships around the globe.

From the 15th to the 21st July there will be a week-long festival. It’s open house at Gaydon that week and will include factory based events and driving tours. Form an orderly queue. The highpoint is a concours event in central London. It will be a year to remember for Aston Fans.

In the century since the company’s inception, Aston Martin has represented the peak of sporting excellence, stunning design and old-school craftsmanship. Times change and other owners will come along but the name Aston Martin arches over such trivialities to remain resolutely British at heart. Just ask James Bond.

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Aston’s New Vanquish

When it comes to cars you’ll often read or hear hysterical car reviewers asking the question: “Is this the most beautiful car in the world?” All this hyperbole is a bit over the top, to be frank. They are, after all, just motoring tools; things to get us from A to B. Transport. The successor to the horse and cart.

But seriously, is the new Aston Martin Vanquish the most beautiful car in the world? There it is in the picture. Is it not all you have ever wanted? To blokes at least this has got to be the pinnacle of automotive beauty. Let’s say you are walking along when the devil pops up and says: “ Look pal, Angelina wants to be with you, right. She’s going to leave Brad and come over on the next flight. Or you can have this motor now. What’s it to be?” In case you’re still thinking, the answer is: “Where are the keys?”

AM have really done it this time. The Vanquish is the replacement for the almost as desirable DBS. It is the last word in automotive design and engineering. It retains Aston’s styling look but draws on the company’s One-77 supercar for inspiration. Power is provided by an upgrade of the 6.0L V12 engine which offers even more potent performance delivered through a six-speed ZF Touchtronic auto gearbox. 565bhp seems like enough.

It’s promoted as the ultimate grand tourer. As happy on city streets as it is on the motorway the Vanquish is a car that can be used every day and not just brought out for special occasions. In line with current sensibilities the company has made improvements to fuel economy and emission output. The carbon fibre body sits on an aluminium chassis and with a new exhaust system over 40kgs have been shaved from the overall weight.

Yet it’s not just performance that’s been improved over the DBS. The cabin is more spacious and the boot offers a capacious 368 litres of space – that’s a 60% improvement, making the car even more suitable for the long distance tourist. The slight, and it is only slight, drawback is that the car costs the thick end of £200k by the time you add on some goodies.

The Vanquish comes as a two-seater or 2 plus occasional 2 and sits at the top of the range above the DB9, the Vantage and the exquisite Rapide – surely the best family car in the world. Performance, presence, style and great British craftsmanship – the new Vanquish has all these traits in abundance. Order now for the new year.

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Luxury Auto Treats

Great news! Just when life in 2012 can’t get any more depressing, what with the economy and our bank accounts being in tatters, summer floods, washed-out festivals and Jimmy Carr taking the food from children’s mouths, it’s good to know that those kind philanthropic folk at McLaren and Aston Martin are thinking of us poor impoverished motorists. They’ve opened a retail shop!

That’s right. The first UK store dedicated to these world class sporting legends has opened in Westfield Stratford City – London’s latest prime shopping venue. Do you know, you’ll be able to buy a McLaren watch for as little as £9000? They’ll also be happy to sell you Aston Martin lifestyle clothing, luggage, shades and replica toy cars as well as associated up-market brands. You can even buy key rings. Gain the admiration of friends when you chuck your AM branded keys onto the pub table. (Don’t forget to park the 106 around the corner before you go in!). The centrepiece will be examples of Jenson’s and Lewis’s F1 cars for added glamour.

Clearly, this is a marketing ploy ready for the influx of hundreds of thousands of culture starved foreigners over here for the Olympics. This unique business opportunity has been dreamed up by the Prodrive organisation which up until now has only marketed these luxury items to the trade. The Westfield complex, with its aspirational shops and close proximity to the Olympic venues was obviously seen as the ideal location.

Enthusiasts are already well catered for anyway. Car related goods are always available at racing venues and shows, online and from motoring clubs; it’s hard to see how this shop will succeed in the long term once the cash-rich tourists have gone home and we all settle down to bask in the glories of the British winter.

Never mind: there are no sour grapes as it has always been so. With luxury cars come luxury lifestyle goods and there‘s nothing wrong with that. Maserati, Ferrari and Porsche have done it successfully for years but always in a subtle way. The items are there if you want them at the dealers. That way it all becomes part of the package of buying into an expensive auto brand instead of just high street designer chic.

McLaren are one of the biggest names in motor sport and also offer brilliant road cars. Aston Martin are a byword for British elegance and class and their cars have never been better or more desirable. Does opening what is essentially a flash high street shop make their image any better?

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Sports Car Shoot-out

Do Aston Martin make the most desirable, useable, sports cars in the world? The answer, inevitably, is – yes and no. Certainly, their design is unquestionably beautiful but that ’s not really the be all and end all.

AM have just updated the smallest car in the range – the V8 Vantage. Most drivers would probably settle for an old one; it’s only hardened motoring journalists who nitpick about issues that ordinary folk wouldn’t notice but first reviews show that the car has definitely benefited from the changes, notably to its handling. The old car seemed to have a mind of its own on a winding, twisting road but now, thanks to faster steering, better tyres and improved pedal feel, the new car actually lets the driver be in control. The Sportshift transmission has been changed from 6 to 7 speed or there’s still a manual for the purist. So far so good, but there’s still issues regarding the interior layout and the overall driving experience, which is where Porsche come in.

The 911 has been with us for years with only the occasional updating and is a familiar sight on our roads. Because of its ‘yuppie’ history from the 1980s from which it has had a hard time escaping, the 911 hasn’t really had the exclusivity of the Aston, although prices are roughly the same. The Carrera has now been updated and is, as always, the same but different.

It still looks like the old car but this time the curves are more pronounced. It is at last a good looking motor. First reports say that it drives better than any of its predecessors. This may be because the engine has moved from right at the very back and crept inboard a bit to ensure the handling is top notch. Purists have decried the new electric steering as being without feel but, in truth, you’d have to be a serious grouch to really notice any difference and, in any event, if you’ve never previously owned a 911 then it won’t matter anyway. There’s even some concession to green politics with ‘stop-start’ and lower emissions.

Then there’s a third option – the Jaguar XKR. Like the Vantage, this sports car has a V8 engine, great looks and awesome performance. It is very refined on the road but has a small boot and rather poor rear visibility – but these are minor issues for what is a great car with an historic name.

These three cars all offer something special. They are all in the same ball park on price (around 80k or so!), have similar performance and beautiful design so the choice is down to individual preference and a fat wallet. The important thing is that they all make a great noise – the bark of the V8s and the howl of the flat six in the Porsche – and if this isn’t music to your ears then you can’t be a true petrol head and therefore wouldn’t be allowed one anyway.

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How Sportscar And Endurance Racing Could Take F1’s Crown

Sportscar and endurance racing has always been a brilliant breeding ground for road car technology. The cauldron of battle that is round the clock racing breeds performance with the necessity of reliability.

Disc brakes, double-clutch gearboxes, variable turbine turbo geometry, carbon-fibre brake discs and direct injection petrol engines are but a few inventions pioneered through endurance racing.

As manufacturers look to tighten their belts and the outlay for a full calendar of racing in the F1 circus carries on rising unabated, sportscar racing for many looks appealing.

With a direct link from racecar to road car there’s real benefit for the manufacturer, too. And then there’s the fans, the all important fans.

Without fans there’d be no motorsport, so with ticket prices for a Grand Prix almost prohibitively expensive and a full week’s ticket for five days worth of action, including a full 24 hours at the twice-round-the-clock French classic in Le Mans, sportscars really could steal F1’s crown.

It could rival it for on track action too. With BMW, Lamborghini, Corvette, Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Peugeot, Ford and other bespoke racecar manufacturers like Oreca and Zytek confirmed for the new 2012 World Endurance Championship – set up after the settling of a feud between the ACO (the organisers of the Le Mans 24 hours) and the FIA – sonorous sounding automotive exotica lapping within tenths of a second of each other would surely draw crowds. And at a fraction of the cost.

It’s close racing that makes good viewing, not one team with the most money – thanks to backing by a certain Austrian energy drink – waltzing of into the distance unchallenged. With sportscar racing you get that.

After 24 hours of racing at the 2011 24 hours of Le Mans, less than 13 seconds separated the eventual winner and the second place car – now that’s close racing.

Formula 1 is definitely the pinnacle of on-track motorsport – no question. But big-cube V8 Corvettes rumbling by, shaking your chest cavity making it difficult to breathe, and wailing Aston Martin V12s screaming past blurring your vision they’re engine notes are that piercing, proves there is more than one way to skin the proverbial.

The new World Endurance Championship will hopefully bring with it more fans, meaning more money, meaning more manufacturers, creating a self-perpetuating cycle.


With all that high-powered metal on show, we can’t wait to see how the inaugural season pans out.

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