Tag Archive | "sports cars"

Avoid Buying Sports Cars If You Want Your Teenager Drive It

It takes time, money and planning to buy a new vehicle for families. There are a few things to consider before making the decision. Parents may want to buy a nice car even before their children comes to driving age. Children grow really fast and before you know they have their driving license and want to drive. Having a safe family car for them to practice on would reduce the immediate pressures to buy them a car of their own.

Even though you may be comfortable with your child driving your car this may prove to be problematic for certain models. One of the problems may be adding the newly qualified teen driver onto your existing policy. If you want to avoid such problems you need to think about who will drive the car when you are looking at certain models with high insurance ratings.

Sports cars and teenagers are two high risk combinations for auto insurers. They usually charge high rates for both owning a high performance vehicle and having a teenage driver in the family. When these two combined you may face serious problems. You may have to pay extortionate premiums if you want your teenager drive a sporty looking auto. In some cases, it may actually be impossible to insure the teenage driver.

There are cars that are clearly sporty and there is no argument about it. And there are the ones that have powerful engines but they may not be considered sports car by many people. In some cases, people buy those automobiles for family use and advanced safety and security features they come with.

For example, BMW X3 and Porsche Cayenne are great cars for families. They have spacious and luxuries interior, large boots and generally considered safe cars in terms of protection they provide in accidents. However, they have powerful engines and take off really fast.

You can understand why families buy them. In the same time you can see why insurance companies would consider them to be riskier.  Most companies not only wouldn’t want a teenage driver included in the policy but also they would impose a condition that any driver allowed should be over the age of 25 years old.

Keep this in mind when you are considering a new auto for your family. CheapAutoInsurance.net says “families should look for more modest automobiles when they want their teenage daughters or sons drive it, too”. It is always a good idea to look at insurance ratings of a new car and it is even a better idea to get a few quotes before making the final decision.

Otherwise, your insurer may exclude young drivers from driving the insured automobile. This will force you to buy another auto for your children to drive and improve their skills or you may have to accept that they cannot drive for some time. Understandably, this will result in resentments and disappointments within the family. And it would cost a lot of money to sort it out with another automobile and insurance policy purchase.

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The Need For Speed – USA Style

There are track day specials and there are track day specials but the car featured here is what you call the ultimate track-day special. Posting a fast lap time on a circuit requires a combination of driver skill and a properly balanced high-performance machine.

The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology Team) delivers half that equation with the 2014 SRT Viper TA (Time Attack). You provide the other half along with the brown trousers and the huge bank balance.

The street-legal (Yes, it really is – in the USA, at least) SRT Viper TA is specifically built for the performance enthusiast driver who likes to exercise their machines at the more than 150 road-race courses that are available around North America. Based on the SRT model – the lightest Viper in the line-up – the TA Special Edition Package builds upon the vehicle’s ultra-low centre of gravity, 50:50 weight distribution and largest contact patch in the production car world.

The Viper TA uses chassis parts developed specifically by the SRT chassis dynamics team to attain the most out of the racing car-like chassis and create the most confidence inspiring Viper ever – or so they say as we at Motor Blogger are unlikely to get our hands on one anytime soon.

SRT developed new spring rates, dampers, sway bars and brake components, combined as a system with the Viper’s available Advanced Aerodynamics Package, to create one of the most track-capable production cars in the world. The changes keep the SRT Viper TA glued to the tarmac, while the brake system is enhanced for improved balance and to resist overheating during track work.
This new car has been engineered for the serious speed-freak who needs a car that can be used as a daily driver (ha!) yet has mind-boggling limits on a circuit that would rival many track-only cars.Vip2 The Need For Speed   USA Style

There’s a host of unique features including Bilstein shocks with tuned springs and Brembo brakes. Standard Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres are mounted on ultra-lightweight, multi-spoke Sidewinder II wheels. The list of goodies is very long but suffice to say it all adds up to something very special.

Under the bonnet (and this is where it gets serious) is the handcrafted, all-aluminium 8.4-litre, (yes, you read that right) mid-front V-10 engine. That’s 640bhp and 600lb/ft. of torque fueled performance to light you up. Production began last year and the car is now available to order in the USA. It’s gorgeous, it’s orange, it actually looks like a snake and, sadly, the chances of it coming to the UK are pretty remote. We can imagine it would cause quite a stir.


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BRZ – The Driver’s Drive

21 BRZ   The Driver’s DriveJointly developed by both Toyota and Subaru the BRZ/GT-86 siblings first saw the light of day as concepts in 2007 and finally appeared as fully formed twins in 2012. They look the same and cost the same. The model was conceived by Toyota. Their boss specified the need for a car that was built for pure driving pleasure that transcended current trends and his designers really came up with the goods. As it turned out – thanks to their rally heritage – the joint project was almost entirely designed and engineered by Subaru (although built by Toyota) and it is their version we are concentrating on here.

As stated, there is virtually no difference in these cars although there are a couple of styling tweaks that are virtually unnoticeable. Yet, in driving, which is where Motor Blogger makes the distinction, the BRZ is noticeably less tail happy. Knowing that their loyal customer base is accustomed to the characteristics of their symmetrical all wheel-drive system found in products like the Impreza and Forester, Subaru went and made the front suspension of their version slightly firmer. This increases the car’s tendency to understeer.

Consequently the rear-wheel drive BRZ behaves in a far more neutral manner when driven with anger around oue everyday highways. Pile into a corner and get too enthusiastic on the loud pedal and that nose will just slowly start washing out. It’s all very safe; very Subaru, in fact. The GT-86 is definitely more likely to throw the tail off line – fine if drifting is your style, but for most the more predictable BRZ might be preferable.

The driving experience is fantastically sporty. The BRZ has the lowest centre of gravity of any car on the market which aids such a sweet handling experience, thanks to the low-slung 2.0L Boxer engine which sits as far back and as low as possible in the engine bay for an almost perfect weight distribution of 53% in front and 47% in the rear.

The suspension is quite soft when compared to similarly priced hot hatches, which need rock hard suspension to counter the fact that they are basically regular hatchbacks that have been tuned up. The comfort is helped by the same tyres as used on the Toyota Prius. This is not an expensive car to run especially when you consider an average of 35mpg. Brilliant for a sports car.

The Subaru BRZ is uncomplicated, handles brilliantly and lets you explore the limits of grip without having to worry about sudden death in a hedgerow. It isn’t especially fast, it is priced at a bargain £25k and is the best driving car on the market. Take it out for a spin down Britain’s country roads and your eyes will be opened to what real driving is about.


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Is A Sports Car Right For You?

Sports cars can be fun. They can also be lethal so it’s best not to let your head rule your heart when thinking about a purchase. The crucial thing is that the car is right for you.

As ever, money is the first issue. A sports car can bring a lot of pleasure to your life and is a satisfying buy, especially if you’ve earned it. Why not treat yourself? The trouble is – it isn’t just the price that counts, it’s also the running costs. Generally, they aren’t the cheapest cars in the world to own.

They will often need to be shod with wider, more expensive tyres and they will likely be less fuel efficient, especially if you’ve got a heavy right foot. Insurance companies will also raise a sceptical eyebrow at your purchase. The new Alfa Romeo 4C is hugely desirable and a great drive by all accounts but can you imagine the premium? In other words a buyer has got to take a look at the cold hard world of their finances before they take the big step.

What does the future hold? That’s a question many of us would like answered, but if you are looking ahead then can you see a family on the horizon? If there’s one thing that cramps the style of a sporting driver it is the ankle-biters. If children are on the cards then a sports car’s a no-no.

Power. There are many levels. The Jaguar XKR-S – pictured – is massively powerful (5.0L Supercharged!) and massively expensive but, in truth, there will be very few occasions when a driver could really open the taps. Perhaps it would be better to consider something less powerful that will, on Britain’s narrow roads, be just as much fun without the risks that high performance can bring. If you can’t resist seriously putting your foot down then there is a way to do it legally – a track day at a circuit!

On the other hand, there is no need to go too cheap. Obviously it is your opinion that matters but reviews can be helpful in that they can flag up bad or risky cars. It’s worth reading a few before, like the value of your purchase, taking the plunge.

One last thing. If you think sports cars are desirable then so do others. There are people out there who would like a car like yours. If fact, they would actually like your car. Cars that are popular and that hold their price or are easy to sell are a target for thieves and miscreants. Think about security. Try to keep your pride and joy under lock and key when not in use and think about installing a tracker and/or an immobiliser if one is not already fitted. The last thing you need is a sad empty space outside your house.

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Caterham Driving Thrills On A Budget

Amazingly, the Caterham Seven has been with us for forty years and is as popular, if not even more popular, than it has ever been. The trouble is that with success comes added costs as a variety of models added more power, more sophistication – because the original was anything but – and, inevitably, more money. The Seven has become inordinately expensive for what it was conceived to be.

The car started life in 1957 as the Lotus 7, designed by the late, legendary Colin Chapman whose never-bettered motor sport mantra was “First, add lightness”. The car, ‘a racing car for the road’, was a stripped down bundle of automotive joy; all the better in its simplicity. The car in the photo is a second-generation version from the 1960’s. Production passed to Caterham in 1973 and they have tried to stick to their principles ever since but economic demands meant that they needed to cater for a mixed breed of enthusiast, hence the variety of models.

Caterham have decided that it is time for that back to basics philosophy and will soon release a new entry level version, probably this Autumn. It is understood that the price will be below £17,000 which makes it, sight unseen, a bargain straight out of the box. In their 1970’s advertising Caterham used the expression ‘accessible fun’ and this seems to be the raison d’etre for this new vehicle.

No details of the engine or drive train have been released to date. What is known is that it will be compact, efficient and EU6-compliant. This is forward thinking. EU6 are the future regulations due to arrive on the statute book in September 2014. The whole is being developed in-house.

The original Lotus 7 had a Ford engine and a good relationship has endured with the global car maker. It is strongly suggested that the engine of choice will be the Ford three cylinder, one litre EcoBoost motor, adapted for the essential rear wheel drive. A figure of 125bhp is being bandied around which doesn’t sound much but, in a car that weighs about the same as a sparrow, should produce a classic RWD drive.

All this points the car up as an uncomplicated, easy to run, cheap to maintain funster with old school characteristics. This opens it up to a whole new breed of customer. With cars becoming increasingly heavy and complex this blast from the past will come as a breath of fresh air: and in a Caterham Seven you’ll get plenty of that!

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New Honda NSX – Buy Off Plan!

Over time people have come to learn that it isn’t always a good idea to buy off plan. How many stories have there been about would-be villa owners being suckered into dubious schemes? Not that Honda would be so devious obviously, when it comes to cars; but is it ever a good idea to buy anything sight unseen – apart from some images and a motor show concept? Wouldn’t you want to at least drive the thing first?

That is however what is happening. If you are in the market for a highly desirable sports car then Honda would like to meet with you. At the meeting you can get your order down for a modest five thousand pound deposit. The snag is that nobody seems to know just how much this car will ultimately cost; apart from a lot.

The new NSX is scheduled to come to the UK in 2015. This is the new generation of the famous name first seen in 1990. That original car was designed with the help of one Mr A Senna. That’s the name that Honda have to live up to with this new model. The concept seen at the Detroit show confirmed that the NSX will be powered by a mid-mounted 3.5L V6 petrol engine coupled with two electric motors. The petrol engine drives the rear wheels and the two 27hp motors will drive the front. Thus the NSX becomes a 4×4 described by Honda as a ‘Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive’.

At the time of writing at least twenty buyers have placed their trust and their cash in the hands of Honda. There can be no doubting that the car will be very good – the Japanese company’s reputation hangs on it – but with all the other desirable supercars around that can be looked at, groped and driven, it just seems like a strange thing for moneyed customers to do. Still, their choice.

There are Astons and Ferraris and Lamborghinis and McLarens available now. Sure, they are not hybrids and maybe this is what Honda are banking on. That eco-step forward that will make a supercar acceptable to the Green World Order. It certainly looks the business so let’s hope that Honda have a success on their hands.

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Sports Car Trends

We’ve all seen articles that exhort the thrills to be found on the greatest driving roads…in the world. We’ve seen three ageing men completely fail to inhibit their inner boy (actually that probably applies to all men) and go hurtling off in a variety of supercars to exciting and exotic destinations. Meanwhile, most British motorists are stuck in a jam – in the rain – thinking: if only.

In Britain we do not have access to such roads. Those that are celebrated – like the Cat ‘n’ Fiddle in the Peak District – are now heavily restricted, mostly thanks to our two-wheeled brethren unfortunately killing themselves. Unrestricted it would be a glorious stretch but those days are gone, alas. This country does have some dramatic blacktop but these are well known both to the law and to tourists which means that otherwise spectacular routes like the Pass of Llanberis in North Wales are either choked with holiday traffic or festooned with walkers.

As if through some form of extra-sensory perception, car manufacturers are thankfully beginning to produce cars that are fun to drive but without the high performance and expense. We are all aware of the excellent Mazda MX5 of course. It has been around for years and each new model gets better and better. The latest one is lighter too, giving improvements in both performance and economy and all this for £24k or less, depending on model choice.

Not to be outdone, Toyota and Subaru put their heads together and came up with the GT86/BRZ pairing; more or less identical twins that properly bring back the words ‘old school’. Good, old fashioned front engine / rear wheel drive combination for balance and road holding and all for well less than £30,000. Scroll back through these pages for more information on both these cars.

Not unreasonably BMW felt that Europe should get in on this action and they have appear to have cracked it with a variation on an existing model. The Z4 two-seater roadster has been refreshed and an additional model with a lower powered version of the existing two litre motor has been added to the range. Less horse power maybe but most drivers will be happy with the sheer driveability of the thing and, as a bonus, 40+ mpg. Yours for around twenty eight thousand (pictured).

Let’s not forget the Audi TT. This car has a slightly blemished reputation as a bit of a hairdresser’s car but it can still hold its own with the newer opposition and shouldn‘t be overlooked. The 1.8 TFSI Sport is quicker, more frugal and a bit cheaper than the Z4. Both are out soon.

Thanks to these great cars the pleasure of driving does not have to be completely lost. Even on this small island there’s fun to be had on twisting country roads where balance and handling matter more than hair-raising speed. For enthusiasts there is no better sensation than a car well-driven. So go old school and dig out your Dad’s leather driving gloves (the ones with cooling holes at the knuckles that were once de rigueur for hot car fans) and find your own great driving road. It might be just a round the corner.

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