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David vs Goliath: the Ford Puma ST races replica model

It’s David versus Goliath… but not as you know it. The all-new Puma ST – the first Ford Performance SUV in Europe – takes centre stage in an epic clash against a small but mighty version of itself in a thrilling new film released by Ford.

Puma ST vs. Puma RC pits the 200 PS Puma ST high performance compact SUV – driven by rally star Louise Cook – against a 1/10 scale radio-controlled (RC) replica – driven by professional RC racer Lee Martin – in a dramatic race against the clock.

Shot on location at the iconic Brands Hatch motor racing circuit in the UK, the unique face-off is the ultimate test of Puma ST agility. Using cornering abilities sharpened by sophisticated Sports Technologies, the full-size Puma ST can lap the 1.9-kilometre Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in a target time of around 60 seconds.

Meanwhile, the 1/10 scale Puma ST RC model must complete three laps of the 220-metre Brands Hatch kart track; a precise replica of the full-size Indy Circuit that mirrors its six challenging corners. With a target lap time of around 20 seconds for the scaled-down Puma ST, the contest demanded all-out performance from both cars and drivers – setting up a nail-biting finish.

Introducing acclaimed Ford Performance driving dynamics to the innovative Ford Puma SUV, the Puma ST is powered by a 200 PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.

Sports Technologies including a unique-in-segment limited-slip differential option, patented force vectoring springs and unique suspension and steering specifications combine for exceptional cornering responses. Selectable Drive Modes include Track mode that tunes vehicle dynamics features for the fastest possible lap times and the purest driving experience.

Giving the Puma ST the best possible chance of victory, British rally driver Louise Cook is a winner of the FIA Production Car Cup for 2WD as well as the British Rally Championship Ladies’ title.

A one-off, custom-built 1/10 scale model developed by UK-based Designworks specially for the race, the Puma ST RC car is based on an ARC R12FF platform and uses a 402 W electric motor to reach speeds of 80 km/h.

Carefully designed to mirror the full-size vehicle as accurately as possible, the Puma ST RC car is front-wheel drive just like the real thing. Its lightweight bodyshell was made from high impact polystyrene (HIPS) using digital engineering data taken from the real car and a computer-controlled milling machine.

Details including the replica wheels, door mirrors and windscreen wipers were 3D-printed in meticulous detail. Even the Mean Green exterior is identical to the production SUV, using the same acrylic water-based paint.

At the controls, Lee Martin is a professional RC racer with six European and 13 British championship titles to his name.

“This was no ordinary race, but the Puma ST is designed to offer performance and agility in a compact and practical package, whatever the conditions. Even when it is up against a purpose-built racing car and a champion driver, it has the ability to deliver,” said Stefan Muenzinger, manager Ford Performance, Europe.

“Driving the Puma ST for the first time was awesome. I don’t know what I expected but it did not feel like an SUV, it felt like a sporty hatchback and I had so much fun driving it around the Brands Hatch circuit. I am used to rallying Ford rally cars, so it was nice to feel that familiar fast and forgiving feeling in the Puma ST chassis,” added Louise Cook, WRC rally driver.

“This was a great opportunity to see how an RC car went up against a real car. The model was made to look as close to the real car as possible; it was front-wheel drive, it had an SUV body – and like the real thing, it handled really well. The race was brilliant fun. Maybe next time Louise and I can switch cars,” concluded Lee Martin, RC racer.

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Continental Cars Open Week

Continental Cars have launched an open week at their Ta’ Xbiex showroom.

Running from May 3 till May 8, this Open Week is an opportunity for anyone looking to buy a new car, to enjoy unbeatable offers and great financing on VW, Audi, Porsche, SEAT vehicles in stock and the newly launched Cupra. Moreover, 0% deposit and part-exchange are available.

Open all day between 9am and 6pm at Continental Cars, Ta’ Xbiex.

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Lotus Evija honoured in BBC Top Gear Electric Awards

The Lotus Evija has been named as ‘The One to Watch’ in Top Gear’s second ever Electric Awards. The all-electric hypercar was recently tested by Top Gear magazine editor Jack Rix on the test track at Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk, and his article is published over eight pages in the May issue.

Rix calls the Evija not just a halo car for Lotus – “a signpost for the future of the company” – but labels it “a flagbearer for really fast electric vehicles as a whole”.

The Evija, which will go into production later this year, is the world’s most powerful car. It has an output of more than 2,000 PS from its all-electric, all-wheel drive powertrain. Rix notes it can accelerate from 124mph to 186mph (200 km/h to 300 km/h) in just three seconds, half the time it takes a Bugatti Chiron to do the same.

Rix was driving an Evija prototype restricted to 1,600 PS. “It’s light on its feet, playful with the instant mash of acceleration even a naturally aspirated engine could only fantasise about.”

He was also full of praise for the work of the project development team, saying the core Lotus DNA is obvious right from the first corner.

“The steering is superb, light and darty around the dead-ahead, then loading up according to wheel angle and speed.” He concluded that “Lotus is on the brink of something special.”

Matt Windle, managing director, Lotus Cars, said: “Of all the EVs in development around the world, it’s an honour to be recognised by the Top Gear team as ‘The One to Watch’. Validation work on the car continues apace, and we resumed our world tour with the car last month. We look forward to showing it to more people in the physical world in the coming weeks.”

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Back to the future

With its clean retro-futuristic styling and advanced technology, the Honda e demonstrates both the company’s capability to produce top products but also gives us a taste of things to come. With a credible 220km range and beautifully balanced RWD performance, it offers an awesome, unique experience. Tonio Darmanin drives the Honda e.

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Enter: the 2021 Yamaha TMAX 20th Anniversary

The powered two-wheel world changed forever when Yamaha launched the original TMAX back in 2001. By being the very first machine to offer motorcycle performance with scooter comfort and convenience, this dynamic Sport Scooter has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of TMAXers all over Europe.

As the best-selling Sport Scooter in Europe every single year since its launch, the TMAX has been on an incredible journey, and along the way has established a truly iconic status among its legions of fans. Two decades after the introduction of the very first TMAX, Yamaha has created a special edition model that marks the outstanding achievements of one of the most loved and revered designs in the company’s history.

Featuring a range of exclusive equipment and offered in a unique new colour, the TMAX 20th Anniversary celebrates the continuing success of the world’s most successful Sport Scooter, and gives TMAX lovers the opportunity to own the ultimate edition of this truly remarkable Yamaha.

Before TMAX, anyone looking for a fast, comfortable and enjoyable way to get to work had the choice of a smaller capacity scooter or a geared motorcycle. Both of these options were fine for many customers, but neither was the ideal solution for a discerning group of commuters and leisure riders who specifically wanted a machine that offered the simplicity of a “twist and go” automatic scooter together with the thrilling acceleration and high speed stability of a sports motorcycle.

Recognising the gap in the market, Yamaha’s designers embarked upon the project to build the world’s fastest scooter in the late 1990s. Nothing was ruled in or out, and in true Yamaha style the company ignored conventional thinking and created a totally new kind of hybrid two-wheeler that successfully combined the advanced engine and suspension technology from a motorcycle with user-friendly scooter features. Equipped with a step-through chassis and wind-beating bodywork – as well as automatic transmission, luxurious seating and a large underseat storage space – the radical TMAX was a huge gamble for Yamaha, but it was a gamble that was to forever change the face of long distance commuting.

Photos: Yamaha

The rest is history, and in 2001 this innovative and exciting high performance maxi scooter was launched into a vibrant European market that had never seen anything like it before. Its unique blend of motorcycle performance combined with scooter comfort and convenience made long and medium distance commuting quicker, easier and more fun than ever before.

In fact the original TMAX was so far ahead of its time that there wasn’t even a category for it, and so Yamaha created the Sport Scooter class which has since grown to become the most important segment in the scooter business.

TMAX has maintained its immense popularity and has been the best-selling Sport Scooter every year since its introduction 20 years ago. With almost 300,000 units sold to date in Europe, TMAX is by far and away the most successful Sport Scooter ever produced, and is one of the most important models in Yamaha’s line-up.

As a tribute to the outstanding success of the TMAX over the past two decades, Yamaha is introducing the new TMAX 20th Anniversary. Only 560 individually-numbered units will be manufactured, making it one of Yamaha’s most exclusive special editions that is sure to be appreciated by TMAX customers all over Europe.

The key feature on this new model is the forged carbon bodywork that gives every scooter its own “fingerprint”. Unlike traditional carbon fibre which has a uniform weave pattern, each of the forged carbon fibre components used on the TMAX 20th Anniversary has its own individual surface finish that makes every one of the 560 units unique.

The distinctive boomerang body panels as well as the front fender and muffler heat shield are all manufactured from this strong and lightweight carbon material, giving the TMAX 20th Anniversary an even more dynamic look and premium feel – and yellow highlights on the boomerangs and fender are a reminder of the original model’s bright yellow colour scheme.

Manufactured from premium grade materials, the exclusive heated seat features yellow stitching to match the accents on the boomerangs and front fender, and a 20th Anniversary logo confirms the scooter’s exclusive status. Heated grips are also standard, and these feature special end grips that enhance this iconic Sport Scooter’s specification.

Each TMAX 20th Anniversary will be fitted with a numbered badge that confirms its exclusivity as one of just 560 units that have been manufactured as a tribute to the industry’s most successful and iconic Sport Scooter. Together with the unique “fingerprint” of the forged carbon bodywork, the production number gives every individual model its own special identity.

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Mini’s Pacesetter arrives as new Formula E safety car

Mini has pushed its regular Electric hatchback to the extreme to create the Pacesetter – Formula E’s latest safety car.

Powered by the same battery and motor setup as you’ll find in the road-going Mini Electric, the Pacesetter kicks out 181bhp. However, extensive weight-saving measures have shaved the car’s acceleration times down by over half a second, meaning that it’ll now go from 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds.

The most striking changes have been made across the car’s exterior, though. It features extended wheel arches, a deep front splitter and a huge rear wing. Since the electric motor requires far less cooling than a conventional engine, the front end is largely smoothed off to make it as aerodynamically efficient as possible – though the area below the grille and squared-off apertures either side push air through and on to the brakes, cooling them down.

Photos: PA Media


The 18-inch alloy wheels have been finished in orange to match the car’s overall livery, while three-way adjustable racing coilover suspension combines with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport tyres – the same as those fitted to the front wheels of Formula E racing cars – to provide plenty of traction.

Much of the standard car’s weight has been stripped for the Pacesetter, with elements such as the infotainment system and the rear seats ditched in the quest for lightness. In total, the Pacesetter weighs 130kg less than the road-going Mini Electric.

The Pacesetter will make its Formula E debut at the Rome E-Prix which commences on April 10.

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A Ceed with roots

Now in its third generation, the new Kia Ceed – designed, developed, engineered and built in Europe – strengthens Kia’s presence in the European C-segment with a mature and athletic new design, innovative new technologies, and a more engaging drive. Here, Tonio Darmanin drives Kia’s bestseller.

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British music producer remixes Lotus engine note

Lotus is working with a renowned British music producer, inspired by the engine note of the iconic Type 49, to develop a range of sounds for the all-electric Evija hypercar.

Patrick Patrikios has written and produced for Olly Murs, Sia, Britney Spears, Pixie Lott and numerous other world-famous stars. He was Brit Award-nominated in 2018 for his collaboration with Little Mix, and the tracks he’s worked on have been streamed more than a billion times.

“We wanted to create a soundscape for the Evija that was recognisably and distinctively Lotus,” he said. “I sat with the development team at Hethel and discussed what that should be. We wanted something intrinsically connected to Lotus so we could set an audio blueprint for its future electric cars.”

Patrikios loved the idea of using a famous Lotus as a starting point, and what better example than the Type 49 – one of the most iconic race cars of all time. He explained: “There’s a purity to that V8, a raw edge and an emotion that stirs something in your soul, just like the best songs.”

The process began with the recording of a Type 49, which Patrick fed into his computer. In digitally manipulating the sound he and the Lotus team realised that slowing the engine note down created a similar frequency to the natural driving sound produced by the Evija’s advanced all-electric drivetrain.

“I adjusted the replay speeds and digital filtering of the Type 49 to generate a soundscape for the Evija – it was a very organic process,” said Patrick. “We all wanted something to spark an emotional connection between car and driver. Sound is hugely influential when it comes to creating and forming emotions, to enrich that bond that’s such a critical part of the Lotus experience.”

Patrikios concluded: “I love that the sound from one of the most iconic Lotus race cars of all time has been the inspiration for its newest. There’s a symmetry to it which is beautiful.”

Welshman Patrikios has been a Lotus fan since childhood thanks to his car-loving father. An Evora driver, he splits his time between Los Angeles and the UK. His body of work includes Hollywood movie soundtracks as well as songs from internationally renowned recording artists.

His primary task was to craft the Evija’s external noise as it begins to deliver its immense ‘0-186mph (300km/h) in under nine seconds’ acceleration. However, using the Evija soundscape he created, he has also developed chimes and tones for everything from the activation of the indicators to the seatbelt warning.

Few race cars from any motorsport brand are as celebrated as the Lotus Type 49. It won on its first Formula 1 outing, the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, with legendary driver Jim Clark at the wheel, and a Type 49 was on pole position at every race for the rest of the season. The following year Graham Hill won the F1 Drivers’ Championship in a Type 49.

Only 12 examples were ever made, and the car will be forever associated with two world debuts. The Type 49 was the first to use the all-new Lotus-developed Cosworth-Ford DFV engine that would dominate the Formula 1 grid for more than a decade, and it also marked the first appearance of the iconic red, white and gold colours of Lotus sponsor Gold Leaf, one of the most recognisable motorsport liveries of all time.

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Test-drive: Car of the Year

The all-new Toyota Yaris has been named as The Car of the Year 2021. Selected by a jury of 59 automotive journalists from across Europe, the fourth generation Yaris receives the award 21 years after the innovative first generation was named The Car of the Year in 2000, a first for Toyota. The Yaris has also consistently been recognised by The Car of the Year jury with every generation of the model making the award’s shortlist.

Here, Tonio Darmanin test-drives the winner.

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