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July 9, 2014

Opel Corsa E breaks cover, as GM releases official details

Lucire staff/7.37

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GM has released details of its fifth-generation Opel Corsa (Vauxhall Corsa Mk IV in the UK), promising that the new model will set benchmarks for its class.
   It will have to: it joins a talented segment with cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Honda Fit, Toyota Vitz and Peugeot 208.
   The Opel Corsa E is virtually identical in length to the outgoing model, with much of the cabin space cleverly used in its 4 m.
   There is a new platform, dubbed Gamma II in GM-speak, with no carryover components from the Corsa D. The new sheetmetal has greater differentiation between three- and five-door models, with styling by Brit Mark Adams. A panoramic roof is optional. Other options include blind spot alert, lane departure warning, and a rear-view camera.
   The new interior has a redesigned instrument panel and dashboard, including Opel’s Intellilink in-car system, already seen on the Adam subcompact, which is on a shorter version of the Corsa E’s platform. Intellilink features a seven-inch colour touch-screen, which can be controlled via apps on the Apple Iphone and Google Android.
   Appealing to the Corsa’s urban drivers, there is a revised speed-sensitive power steering, with less understeer. Ride and handling have also been improved, says Opel.
   Opel has joined the trend toward three-cylinder petrol engines, with a one-litre Ecotec direct-injection turbo as the smallest unit, developing 90 or 115 PS. It is combined with a stop–start system to lower fuel consumption.
   A 1·3 turbodiesel, a 1·2 and 1·4 petrol engine, and a 1·4 turbo are also on offer, mated to new six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.
   The Corsa will not be sold in Australasia or North America, where the Korean-made Chevrolet Aveo (under various names), also on the Gamma II platform, is GM’s entry in the B-segment.



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Filed under: design, living, Lucire, technology
June 13, 2014

Mini re-creates Goodbye Pork Pie chase scene to launch fourth-generation model

Lucire staff/4.53

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When BMW launched its Mini at the turn of the century, it resisted doing the obvious thing in its marketing: reenacting The Italian Job. Over the years, various retro Mini marketing ideas have, nevertheless, surfaced, such as ‘Minis have feelings, too,’ re-created one Christmas, and for the New Zealand market, BMW is digging in to the Kiwi cultural archives for the fourth-generation version of the car: Goodbye Pork Pie.
   The Geoff Murphy-helmed film, released in 1981, is legendary in New Zealand, and Mini fans around the world know it, too. The chase–road trip film sees a yellow Mini 1000 head from north to south, and BMW has decided to re-create one of the scenes for a new promo débuting on June 17, starring the latest version of the car.
   New Zealanders who wanted to get a role in the film went to a dedicated Mini website to win a place in the passenger seat, with Wellingtonian Vincent Blake Chilton, 23, getting the prize. Matt Murphy, son of Geoff, directed the new scene, and chose Chilton out of 2,000 entries. Stunt driver Mike Eady put the new Mini Cooper S through its paces around Lake Hawea, with stunt coordinator Harry Dakanalis in pursuit.
   Below is a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot.
   The new Mini, unveiled last November in Oxford and at a star-studded London launch a few days later, starts at NZ$36,200.
   In addition to Goodbye Pork Pie, New Zealand has another cinematic Mini connection: it was where The Italian Job remake, Players, was filmed.



Below A still featuring the original Mini 1000 from the original Goodbye Pork Pie.

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June 6, 2014

Lucire’s Instagram round-up, June 6: Natalia Vodianova nude to Lupita Nyong’o’s nails

Lucire staff/23.36

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Model Natalia Vodianova made headlines with her Instagram this week, showing off a nude image with her breastfeeding son, photographed by Paolo Roversi.
   The photograph was dedicated to her husband, Antoine Arnault, for his birthday. It was later revealed by Vodianova on her Instagram that the photographer was Roversi, who ‘was one of the first to photograph me all the way back in 2001’, she wrote.
   Maxim was born on May 2—Vodianova Instagrammed his first photo at the time, noting he weighed in at 4·2 kg (9 lb 4 oz).
   Model of the moment Barbara Palvin had a more casual photo spending time with her sister, Anita, posted cycling, while the actress we have dubbed ‘woman of the year’, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, showed off her aqua-lacquer nails and matching cellphone cover from Maui, Hawai‘i.
   Natasha Poly was also lounging by the pool in shades, a leather jacket and scarf, shot in Paris, from which she departed on Friday, and actress Jessica Chastain has been spending time in Roma, checking out the Colosseo (and noting its restoration) and, in another photo, posing with a Fiat nuova 500 (the 1957–77 variety).
   Liya Kebede notes that the only jewellery she wore to the CFDA awards this year was a tattoo from Stone Paris for Colette. Ralph & Russo was in an awards’ mood, when it posted a composite image of Angelina Jolie wearing its designs, wishing the actress a happy birthday earlier this week.
   Model Nina Agdal, too, kept things casual, sharing her images with Vogue Australia after a trip to Sydney, and posting one of them on her ’Gram.

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May 14, 2014

Jaguar to build six Lightweight E-types, perfect re-creations of the 1960s original

Lucire staff/12.43

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Even though Jaguar is riding a high with ultra-modern, forward-looking models such as the XJ and F-type, it has announced that it will produce six more Lightweight E-types, the first time the company has engaged in building re-creations in its nine-decade history.
   Jaguar originally planned to build 18 ‘Special GT E-type cars’ in 1963, but only ever completed 12. The six will be perfect reproductions of the original, built by hand to the exact specifications of the first twelve cars and using up the remaining chassis numbers allocated in 1963. They will feature the 3·8-litre XK-derived straight-six engine, and an all-aluminium body and engine block.
   The first “new” Lightweights will appear later this summer, with established Jaguar collectors prioritized among potential customers.


Above The original Lightweight E-type as it appeared in the 1960s.

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Filed under: design, history, living, London, Lucire
December 5, 2013

Sponsored video: E is for escape

Lucire staff/12.38

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A Lucire special promotion



Mercedes-Benz is already well known to those of us in fashion circles: its sponsorship of fashion weeks around the world has helped bring models such as the CLS and the E-Klasse coupé to audiences. But what to do about some of its more mainstream models?
   Most people know of the C-, E- and S-Klasse models, and the A-Klasse was voted 2012’s most beautiful car, but it’s sometimes harder capturing the imagination of the public with the more practical Mercedes-Benzes.
   The range that is overlooked the most is the E-Klasse. This is the standard Mercedes, one that can trace its lineage back decades, including the tough-as-boots W114 and W115 models, which often served as taxis around the world. It gets squeezed between the C, which is often the car that introduces people to the Mercedes-Benz brand, and the S, which is the choice of VIPs and, so often, the car that sets the technological standard that others follow.
   So rather than opt for a product placement as Mercedes-Benz did in the 1970s when it put it estate model on Hart to Hart, the E-Klasse T-Modell features in a lifestyle promo film which shows a group of four friends, who have known each other since they were 12 years old, taking a drive from Manhattan to Montauk.
   The film is set to ‘Garden Greys’ by Wildcat! Wildcat! (the exclamation marks are part of the name), and captures authentically what a road trip is like. It is directed by Aaron Platt, a pro surfer and filmmaker. The E-Klasse estate is incidental but the film gives it a more fun image, something that Mercedes-Benz must desire.
   The company has chosen an Avantgarde model, with the large three-pointed star in the grille, one which is meant to be more sporting than the Classic or Elegance. This isn’t a road trip for Mum and Dad and the kids: even the car chosen aims to be more hip.
   Mercedes-Benz also has its Mb! magazine, which covers lifestyle, creativity, fashion, events, travel, sport, art and music, which the film also promotes.


Video sponsored by Mercedes-Benz

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Filed under: film, New York, travel, TV

Ford releases official 2015 Mustang photos and details

Jack Yan/6.45

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’Stangers—diehard fans of the Ford Mustang—will have already seen it due to leaks of the official photographs half a day ago. Lucire ran the leaked photos on our Facebook page. But now, we can officially talk about the unveiling, in six cities around the world—New York, Dearborn, Michigan, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney and Barcelona—of the 2015 Mustang, codenamed S550, which commemorates the model line’s 50th anniversary.
   Executive chairman Bill Ford was present at the Barcelona event, in front of an audience of 2,500 journalists, dealers and Ford employees.
   While the Mustang has officially been on sale in Europe and other markets before since the original model was released in New York on April 17, 1964, the 2015 model is the first which will be sold as a “world car”, as part of Ford’s core range.
   Ford notes that the Mustang is its most iconic range, and that it is the world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook. Nine million have been built since the original’s launch.
   Stephen Odell, executive vice-president for Ford in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a release, ‘The Mustang’s formidable reputation for performance and its iconic status as a symbol of freedom and optimism precedes it even in those parts of the world where the car has never been sold. The new Mustang epitomizes Ford’s aggressive product acceleration; technologically advanced and forward-looking, but without forgetting the heritage that has inspired Ford customers for generations.’
   The new model certainly lives up to the promise. It has the classic Mustang proportions and blends them with Ford’s present design language.
   The design language has been seen on other global products such as the facelifted B299 Ford Fiesta and the CD391 Ford Fusion, which will be sold in Europe and other markets as the Ford Mondeo. It is an evolution of some of Ford’s earlier design principles.
   The grille opening apes that of the Fiesta and Fusion, but appears in a more exaggerated form, with the Mustang horse placed in the centre, as with the original, the Mustang II, and the models dating from the 1994.
   There are also shades of the ItalDesign Ford Mustang concept of 2006, which brought some Italianate touches, such as a tapering cabin.
   The rear lights also reflect the classic Mustang ideas, with the tri-bar design that also harks back to the original.
   Ford has also injected the rear-wheel-drive Mustang with the latest technologies, equipping the pony car for the 2010s and beyond.
   Technologies include Ford’s Sync with voice control and eight-inch touchscreen (in Europe), and drivers can adjust between driving modes.
   The convertible has an insulated cloth top, which has a sleek profile when folded, according to Ford.
   Moray Callum, Ford’s executive director of design for the Americas, said, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression and when you see this car, you immediately see a Mustang strong and true.’
   Inside, the Mustang has an aviation-inspired cockpit, designed for the driver, and there is more space, thanks to a wider cabin and an all-new rear suspension. The cockpit again blends modern and classic: the two large dials hark back to the original, but the look is more geometric and structured.
   The boot can now accommodate two golf bags, thanks to the new platform.
   The suspension brings Mustang bang up to date. The front has double ball-joint Macpherson struts, while the rear gets rid of its agricultural live rear axle in front of an integral-link independent suspension. The Mustang promises to be a far better drive than the models of old, suiting worldwide markets. Ford’s stability control includes torque vectoring.
   Engines are the classic five-litre V8 (with 426 PS and 529 Nm of torque) and a new EcoBoost 2·3-litre four delivering 309 PS and 407 Nm. The automatic model has steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.—Jack Yan, Publisher












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November 20, 2013

Miranda Kerr, Simon Cowell, David Gandy, Andra Day, Jodie Kidd attend Jaguar F-type launch

Lucire staff/10.50

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Neilson Barnard

As with the fourth-generation Mini earlier this week, Jaguar was keen to get the celebrity set seen with its new F-type coupé as it had its launch in Los Angeles.
   On the eve of the Auto Show, Jaguar held a VIP event at Raleigh Studios, Playa Vista, with guests including Miranda Kerr, Simon Cowell, Rufus Sewell, David Gandy, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Manganiello, Kelly Osbourne, Yasmin Mills, Jodie Kidd, singer–songwriter Andra Day and CarCast’s Adam Carolla.
   The F-type R Coupé, with a 550 PS power output from its twin-supercharged V8, was the star of the event, with a Polaris white example zooming toward the audience’s grandstand before passing under it. The R Coupé hits 60 mph in four seconds flat, and has a limited top speed of 186 mph.
   Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director, and to many the man who brought back the brand’s stylistic soul, played host.
   He said, ‘Creating a sports coupé is the purest of design tasks and also the most challenging; get it right and æsthetically the result will be as dynamic as the car should be rewarding to drive. In F-type Coupé, I believe we’ve got it right.
   ‘The dramatic debut of the 550 PS F-type R Coupé in Los Angeles this evening—possibly the most dynamic reveal of a car ever—underlines its performance credentials.’







Neilson Barnard

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Official photos and video: Jaguar launches F-type coupé at Los Angeles Auto Show

Lucire staff/10.18

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Although images of the F-type coupé have already been leaked, Jaguar has now officially released details of one of its most anticipated sports cars.
   The convertible F-type is already on the market and is Lucire’s Car to Be Seen in for 2013 (see Lucire issue 30), but enthusiasts have waited for the hardtop coupé to join the range for some time.
   The new coupé, which has been revealed at the Los Angeles Motor Show today, manages to look purposeful and modern while having a sense of familiarity as a Jaguar—helped in no small part by the haunches over the rear wheels, the existing F-type convertible, and the company’s earlier C-X16 concept car. Audiences have had time to get used to the car’s coming.
   Now that it has arrived, expectations are very high on what the car is like behind the wheel. Jaguar calls it ‘the most dynamically capable, performance-focused, production Jaguar ever,’ with a top model, the R Coupé, having 550 PS under the bonnet, with its five-litre twin-supercharged V8. Other models have familiar power outputs of 340, 380 and 495 PS for the F-type, F-type S, and F-type V8 S.
   Jaguar’s Torque Vectoring by braking sees the car apply braking torque individually to the inner wheels through the ABS system, helping with cornering. The adaptive dynamics help control vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates, says Jaguar.
   The car, made of aluminium, is the most torsionally rigid production Jaguar (at 33,000 Nm per degree), helping with its dynamics, while the hardware consists of an electronic active differential and an optional carbon ceramic braking system.
   Externally, buyers can specify a panoramic glass roof panels that don’t affect the car’s rigidity. There is no B-pillar, but Jaguar’s engineers have used an aluminium alloy beam on each side that runs from the front pillar to the rear one to achieve the strength and rigidity targets. The sides are made from single-piece AC600 aluminium pressings, which have eliminated the need for joints in the panel surface, and mark a first for Jaguar.
   Half the body is made from recycled materials, while the tailgate uses composites. The production process uses 80 per cent less carbon dioxide compared with a standard steel construction, says Jaguar.
   The cabin tapers toward the rear, ending with a sharp edge over the rear lights, in one of the most attractive tail ends of any Jaguar built. A rear spoiler is hidden, rising automatically at 70 mph and lowering as speeds drop below 50 mph.
   Prices begin in the UK at £51,235 for the V6 coupé, rising to a cool £85,000 for the F-type R coupé.







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