Tag Archive | "Citroen DS"

Be Friend-ME in Shanghai


Something happens to executives of motor companies when they give names to their concept cars, falling prey as they do to wild flights of fantasy. When new cars actually come onto the market they regain a modicum of decorum. Nissan for example – the company that brought you the excitingly named Note – have gone especially off their corporate rockers by naming their latest concept the Friend-ME (only teaser images available, sadly) which apparently features a consul described as unique and that allows “Four Seats, One Mind Connectivity – equal information sharing among all on board”. Boggling.

Another company struck by the curse of over-ripe language is Citroen who will be show-casing their concept SUV, the Wild Rubis. The plan is for this to be a new addition to the DS range and very good it looks too (pictured). It has been seen before in a previous concept incarnation, the DSX.

The Wild Rubis is designed to rival the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. Citroen say that the SUV is primarily aimed at the Chinese market but could well make it to the UK where the DS range is proving very popular. It’s a bigger car than the Q5 and Citroen seem confident that a version will appear as this concept is described as the “ forerunner of the future DS SUV”.

The styling of this concept is dramatic. Roof rails that flow into the C-pillars augment the bold crease along the shoulder line. The ruby paint work apparently changes depending on the intensity of the prevailing light. Other details – engines, interior – are scarce but the company state that the Wild Rubis is a full plug-in hybrid.

This car is based, surprisingly, on the older C5 platform and will be built in China. It will be followed by a big saloon (seen in concept form as the Numero 9 shown last year at Beijing) and a smaller saloon; all of which are designed to cash in on the burgeoning Chinese auto market.

Also at Shanghai we can expect to see the new BMW X4, the coupé /SUV design of which is splitting opinion. The X4 will probably go on sale in 2014. Mercedes are expected to launch a new SUV based on the A-Class and Ford will announce a new global concept, about which they are being very secretive. Couple that with the arrival of the exquisite Maserati Ghibli and the revamped Porsche Panamera and we are in for another automotive treat.

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Driving in Europe


Britain is separated from Europe by much more than La Manche. That’s French for sleeve, by the way. Apart from the fact that people on the continent resolutely continue to refuse to speak English as their first language, they also insist on driving on the right. Why, it’s downright perverse.

On the plus side, whilst we may moan and complain about all the motoring legislation designed to thwart our every turn, as it were, the poor old Europeans have it much worse than us. Take France – well we’ve done it before! No, sorry about that. Just a little joke, honest. We don’t do xenophobia here. France is a wonderful country with an interesting culture. It is also the place where the original Citroen DS was designed and that is an enduring thing of beauty.

Sadly, they are also very fond of bureaucracy. The latest wheeze from the French legislature is that it is illegal to carry a device – and this includes sat-navs – that give the locations of speed cameras. Not very sporting, is it? If that isn’t bad enough, the government is installing hundreds of new, unsigned speed cameras and removing signs warning of existing sites. Can you imagine the furore if that happened here?

From the 1st July 2012, drivers, including motorcyclists, must start carrying a breathalyser and this law will be fully enforced from November. It must conform to a standard and be replaced annually. They are not very expensive but it’s another cost to the poor, downtrodden motorist. How long before we all have to carry a full set of car parts?

The rules and regulations change from country to country. Driving in Greece, for example, is not for the faint-hearted and fines, as you might expect in this cash-strapped country, are high and enforced. Across Europe you will be generally expected to carry, variously, one or more high-visibility jackets, warning triangles, fire extinguishers, replacement bulb kits and so on. If you are visiting a specific country then always ensure you check the rules of the road before departure. If you’re touring then take the lot and hope for the best! And keep right! On roundabouts, give way to traffic coming from the left except in Italy where experience has shown that it makes no difference what you do. So the next time you complain about our rules think yourself lucky you don’t live ‘over there’.

Maybe the answer is not to take your car at all. Hiring cars can be a little bit chancy so go for a reputable firm, but at least the steering will be on the right, that is to say, the wrong side and the car will also include the accessories you need to have. Returning to France, if you rent yourself a nice new Citroen DS3, say, you can blend right in with the locals. Baguette optional.

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