THE PISTONHEADS MOTORING WEEK
Hot hatches, muscular Mercs, and leaky Landies in this week's roundup of all that's going on in the world of PH
South-East England might have ground to a halt under a smothering blanket of snow this week, but as you’d expect, PH has soldiered on through it all. So, while we all wait for spring to get its finger out and put in an appearance, why not have a look back through a selection of last week’s biggest PH stories? That’s right, it’s the PH Motoring Week!
The most commonly recurring theme this week has been hot hatches, and we’ve brought you drive stories on two of the sector’s biggest launches within the space of three days. The Ford Fiesta ST will offer simplicity and value, with keen pricing, a manual gearbox and a three-door bodyshell, while the long-awaited Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo will be looking to use technological innovation to build on its predecessors’ strong reputations. Which will win the hearts and minds of the buying public remains to be seen, but our verdict on each is in. Meanwhile, the Clio’s bigger brother, our Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup, was treated to a PH Fleet update this week, in which Scrof found its good side. Kia’s been getting in on the act, too, with news that it might put its rather cool Provo concept car into production.
Road tests on two important new Mercs at very different ends of the range have also been big on the site this week. First, we drove the new CLA and pronounced it to be largely OK. At the other end of the scale, Monkey’s been unleashing the full might of the SLS Black Series – and as you might expect, he finds it to be rather an enjoyable bit of kit. Mercs aren’t the only cars that have had their extremes prodded on the site this week, though; Land Rovers, both very old and very new, have made an appearance. The former came in the shape of Bob Malkowski’s Carpool on his Series III, found at the bottom of an orchard, while the latter came in a rather unexpected (and, we’re pretty confident, unsanctioned) leak of Land Rover’s new Range Rover Sport on Tuesday by, of all things, a window tinter. Oops...
Old in more ways than one, in fact – the Rover Vitesse, we mean. Despite its senior citizen image, our Ad Break this week prompted a wave of happy nostalgia about the 800 Series in general on the PH Forums. That Honda-based V6 up front came in for special praise; indeed, as with many early-90s Rovers, the whole car was developed in conjunction with Honda. That said, if you prefer your Hondas to wear Honda badges, we had just the thing two days later with a Spotted on a generously-headlamped Prelude Motegi.
In the wake of last week’s orgy of new hypercars, this week’s supercar news seems comparatively tame, but we’ve still had some high-class machinery on the site. First up, Nick Gibbs looked at the three big new hypercars’ differing approaches to aerodynamics. Dan, meanwhile, found one of the very few Lamborghinis for sale that could possibly be called ‘subtle’, but also one of the least complex – a black Gallardo 550-2. Meanwhile there was a release from supercar startup Vuhl, promising all sorts of exciting things about its new 05; whether it makes good on those promises will be revealed only in the fullness of time. Ferrari, meanwhile, has been busy unveiling its new exhibition featuring its limited-run and homologation specials over in Maranello.
We’ve had plenty of stories concerning car industry bosses this week. First and foremost, the sad news that Henrik Fisker has resigned from his embattled company after a series of disagreements with its board; in the same story, we also brought you the rumour that some shuffling was afoot at Morgan with Charles Morgan himself the subject, though that was later denied on Twitter by Morgan himself. In happier news, we met top Alpine project manager Jean-Pascal Dauce, who seems just the sort of chap you’d want in charge of the new Alpine sports car. And we also heard from Dr Friedrich Nitschke, who dropped some fairly big hints that the new M4 would be called the M4, and that there’d also be a new 1 M Coupe, possibly badged M2, to match. Exciting!
Monkey’s voiced his concerns about Lamborghini this week, most notably concerning the new Veneno and the lack of a Gallardo replacement. Dan, meanwhile, has wondered aloud whether we’ve all gained too big a chip on our shoulders about modern automotive technology. On that subject, Dan’s also spotted some truck technology hiding in the new Rolls Royce Wraith. Meanwhile, in the absence of any ’ring action, Dale’s been ice driving – and inspecting the consequences when it all goes wrong.
Next week on PH:
- The Ferrari F50 gets the PH Heroes treatment
- Chris Harris talks to Porsche GT head honcho Andreas Preuninger
- We drive the Jaguar XF-S D Sportbrake
- Fast vs Fun: which is best?