Just Car Blog
|Alfa 4C vs Porsche Cayman – Chris Harris||
The man is back, and this time around Chris Harris compares two equally lovely yet totally different cars.
Chris Harris takes on the Alfa 4C along with the popular Porsche Cayman. He takes these two beauties for a ride around the UK, bumpy roads and all.
Which one will handle the UK roads better? Well check out the video below and see for yourself:
|All new Range Rover Autobiography: Video||
If ever there was a car that I am pretty sure everyone in the world would want, (regardless if you’re a soccer mom or F1 driver), it would have to be the new Range Rover Autobiography. Sleek and sexy and oh so luxurious – can I place my order, please?
Cars.co.za recently had the opportunity to test drive the Autobiography (queue jealousy) and lucky for us, filmed the whole experience.
From the elegant interior design to the high-tech, self-parking (yes, really) features, this car really seems like anybody’s dream car.
But, alas, this Range Rover is not destined for us mere mortals. With a price tag of nearly R2 million, you would have to have some seriously deep pockets to take it home with you.
Do yourself a favour and check out the video below. Other than making you drool for four minutes, it’s actually quite entertaining, too.
Now, can someone give me R2 million, please?
|A car on rails: Vredestein Tyre Review||
I’m at the World Karting Championships and I’ve just qualified 33rd out of 70 competitors at the Al Ain International Kart Circuit. It’s not going well.
Overnight we make a key change to our setup and the next day I finish on the podium in all three of my knockout heats. I start the pre-final 3rd and eventually land up 6th in the world and 2nd in the Nations Cup – a podium and a trophy.
What was the key change? Tyre pressures. We went from the lowest pressure we had ever tested to a tyre pressure so high that we never even considered it.
The reason we could make such a radical adjustment without batting an eyelid was because when I raced for Kartsport SA I was their official tyre tester. It’s one of my favourite jobs as a racing driver. If you can master tyres then you hold a distinct advantage in motor racing. Just ask Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.
And so we fast forward to 2013 and I am in my Audi S5 rolling off the brakes and tipping it into a sharp left-right switchback. I anticipate the rear to step out a bit followed by some uncomfortable trademark Audi-understeer.
Instead what happens is I nail the lefthand apex and swiftly twitch the steering right to hit another lovely apex.
Three corners later and braking harder for a hairpin I experience the same thing. I’m blown away, my car has transformed from an understeer machine to something liken to being on rails.
I’m experiencing this magic because my car has just been fitted with a brand new set of Vredestein tyres, their top of the range 225/35 19’s.
Once I’d ‘run in’ the tyres during a gentle 25km drive it was time to let them settle overnight and see how they felt the next day.
The first thing that struck me was how much smoother the ride was compared to my previous tyres. The sidewalls are definitely more compliant compared to what I had before.
Another attribute which I think is worth mentioning is that there is very minimal road noise when cruising at highway speeds. Sometimes with a wide set of tyres you will experience a considerable amount of road noise but it seems that the Vredesteins do a decent job of scrubbing that out.
I have owned many cars during my short life span and in that time I have tried tyres from the best manufactures – Bridgestone, Pirelli, Michelin, Dunlop etc. – but none of them have come close to what I have experienced with this set of Vredesteins.
They are just so grippy at high speed and yet so compliant when cruising around town. Audis are notorious for understeer and yet with the Vredesteins fitted to my car I feel like I cannot own another type of tyre again. They are that good.
The only concern that I had with my set, was that when they were brand new there was a bit of movement under heavy acceleration. The movement was a result of the brand new tread flexing. Though it caught me off guard initially I realised that this was a result of them being literally brand new and after the 25km run-in, that movement was gone.
Two days after fitting the tyres there was some torrential rain in Cape Town which gave me the opportunity to test their wet weather ability.
There is a neat little section near my house which includes a long right followed by a sharp left that leads into a traffic circle. I’ve done this section 1000 times in wet and dry. I decided to give it a go with the new tyres and the result was difficult to describe.
Instead of the front washing away as I switched from right to left, I could feel the rear of my car grip and squat, leaning on the right rear heavily, the weight transfer gave me a great sensation through the steering wheel which instilled confidence and confirmed just how good these tyres are.
A great set of tyres that are going to do very well in the South African market.
Read the other Vredenstein review by Minnaar Pieters.
|Review – Vredestein Ultrac Vorti tyres||
Vredestein is a smaller dutch tyre company who recently launched their range of high performance tyres in South Africa. The company has no partnerships with other major tyre companies, and has thus focused their full attention on creating tyres primarily for the high performance market. This means that you will not find Vredestein tyres for your average A to B car. I got offered the chance to try out the new Vredestein Ultrac Vorti – a new ultra high performance tyre which tops the current lineup.
This means that I had to get hold of a car to fully try out this new brand of tyres (none of my cars have 18 inch wheels) – not only in terms of wheel size, but also in terms of performance. I got hold of a 2012 Audi S3 with optional 18 inch RS3 alloys. To get used to the car handling, I used the original Bridgestone Potenza tyres for a few days, and gave them a good workout. The tyres were still reasonably fresh with around 4000km of use.
I then had the new Vredestein tyres fitted (225 / 40R18 to be exact) just as a cold front hit Cape Town – which gave me a great chance to see if these tyres could handle some of the flood worthy wet roads of the past month. I am happy to report that the tyres did not disappoint. While the previous Bridgestone Potenza were by no means soft tyres, the Vredestein’s were noticeably quieter, yet very firm.
The Audi S3 has a very firm suspension setup, so you do feel sudden uneven surfaces in the road. The Vredestein clearly has some very hard shoulders – which is to be expected from a performance tyre. The tyres could not quite save some of the teeth clashing hard bumps you get in some backroads on low speed – but at speed it handles the uneven surfaces brilliantly.
So what about the grip? I took the new tyres out on some of the Durbanville farm backroads, and they did not disappoint. Grip was fantastic – where the previous tyres could get a little less grippy under hard driving and uneven surfaces, the Ultrac Vorti’s was a brilliant compliment to the Quattro system on the S3. Off the line grip was excellent, and hard braking felt like my face would be pulled off. Hard cornering was noticeably improved – you do get the idea that a car of this nature really does become unleashed with proper tyres.
Overall the Vredestein Ultrac Vorti’s do exactly what they set out to do – they offer phenomenal grip with sharply decreased noise levels, and less earth shattering ride which is typically expected from this tyre size. If you have a high performance car, you need to do yourself a favour and try the Vredestein tyres out – they clearly know what they are doing. Highly recommended.
|C-Sick. We Drive The Brand New Citroen C4||
I’m one of those people who’s always liked the French. Their lack of sentimentality, and hence lack of diplomacy has always rubbed me up the right way. I was on the Paris Metro once and being a bit lost, was waiting in line at an info kiosk to ask for some assistance. In front of me was an American Family. The American Family. The American Family with fanny packs and fat where other people from other nations don’t have fat.
AMERICAN FATHER (I won’t say American Dad, because that’s a great show): ”Where’s the Arch of Triumph? Excuse me. Do you know where the Arch of TRY-UMPH is?”
The Frenchman behind the glass just gave a wonderful Gallic shrug. I loved his reaction even more because I had just come from outside and the Arc D’Triomph was literally meters to the left up on the pavement. But he wouldn’t budge, he just shrugged and I loved it.
What irritated me the most was that the American made absolutely no attempt at “hello” in ANY language, never mind French, and just launched a terrible attempt at pronouncing their most important landmark.
I approached the glass after the Americans wandered off muttering, and after a very bad Bon jour asked if I may proceed in English. “Of course,” said the same guy who minutes earlier had been Jean-Pierre Le’Shrug. He gave me directions in perfect English merely because I had made an effort – in his country – to converse with him. Like any nation, the French want you to understand them. To acknowledge them on their own terms.
So I was prepared to love the new Citroen C4 on its own terms. I was ready to be enveloped in its Frenchness. I was ready to be smitten by the utterly daft, peculiar beings they can be. I was ready to love it. And at first I did. Sitting in it, everything worked, but was a bit…off.
The gear lever looks like the top of a wine opener. Fittingly, because the man who made the gearbox was drunk and on leave apparently when he designed it via fax from a vineyard. But more on that in a minute. The level of luxury in here is truly exemplary. There’s a French suaveness about it all. The seats massage you, the display is brilliant and everything seems to work like it should. It’s like learning the Parisien Underground. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
So far so good. I was feeling fully fluent in French. Then I began to drive it, and this car doesn’t speak “DRIVE”. As in the part of the gearbox that makes the car go forwards consistently.
I nudged the wine opener backwards into A for Automatique I assume (you nudge it forward for reverse obviously) and the car really got moving with a hint of wheelspin. Not bad… and then it felt like someone had half pulled the handbrake up as it wheezed its way into second. Satellites don’t have this much delay. It seriously felt like the car had tried to stop. It’s unnerving.
Remembering my French lessons, I automatiquelly assumed it was me making a hash of things. I was quite obviously squeezing mayonnaise out of a tube onto a delicate croissant layered with roast beef from a tin in front of Sarkozy’s wife while explaining why Zidane was shit and always had been.
This sort of thing had happened with my driving style before. How can I put this. I sometimes drive cars wrong. I drive Cadillacs like they’re speedboats at first and then realise how cool they are when you drive them like you’ve had three strokes, for instance. Right, time for a new driving approach. I’ll feather the accelerator, nice and smooth, none of this robot racing right foot and…second gear…clang! I felt like the airbags should’ve deployed. It’s like you’ve driven into a shed. Not one sturdy enough to stop you, but enough to let you know it was there.
It’s appalling this gearbox, truly appaling. I tried and tried and then eventually felt something I’ve never experienced before: Motion Sickness. I’ve eaten left over cold pizza with a hangover on a yacht while people threw up around me from sea sickness and I scoffed at their weakness, but I actually felt ill after driving around in the C4 for a while.
Citroen claim it’s not an automatic and it’s not a manual; it’s something else. Right. All they’ve achieved is making both types of gearbox worse. Infinitely worse. It seems in typical Citroen fashion they’ve blown the R&D budget on things like multi coloured LCD displays (you can choose from 8 hues of blue) and varying sounds made by your indicator instead of on things like the bloody gearbox.
Citroen’s eccentricity used to be reserved for design and that used to make them charming and cultish. The C4 with it’s ESG auto/manual or whatever is not just annoying, it is quite literally the first auto I’ve felt was constantly about to stall, and that’s a real pity because the rest of it is everything a Citroen should be. Thank goodness you can still have a good old manual.
By Gavin Williams – OverdriveTV