Coventry University’s MA Automotive Journalism Magazine
40 pages of ! NEWS ! VIEWS
! FEATURES ! MOTOR SPORT
! March 2006 ! FREE distribution
Having spent a distressing amount of time Sean grew up in the heart of the Irish rally scene.
working in the insurance industry, James decided He became hooked at a young age and blames
it was time to do something he actually liked the Ulster Automobile Club for his affliction: they
before life lost all meaning. He decided on brought the Circuit of Ireland to his native Kerry
motoring journalism on the grounds that it beat each Easter. A well-known rally co-driver at home
working for a living (and he heard that they and abroad, Sean started as press officer for
served canapés at car launches). When not Kerry Motor Club, progressing into a weekly
writing he spends his time defending his motorsport column in The Kerryman. He
predilection for ageing Citroëns. He is seeking regularly contributes to Irish magazines and
professional help. radio programmes.
Andrew has always loved writing and graduated Matt has always had an unhealthy interest in
with an English degree. Fascinated by cars from cars and all things automotive. According to his
a young age and living in a rural village, he learnt father, he could name all the cars on a street by
to drive as soon as possible. Lucky to have the make and model whilst still in his pushchair.
infamous Pennine B-roads on his doorstep he Having graduated with an English and French
has been hooked on driving ever since. He drives degree, there was no chance of actually earning
a Skoda Fabia Vrs with plenty of torque to pull enough money to fuel his obsession, so
him up the steep hills and a diesel engine, which (hopefully) a career in motoring journalism is a
suits his farming background. neat way around the problem.
Having failed to get his dream job product testing Eric has been a car buff since birth, playing with
for Lego, Oliver has played bit parts in automotive matchbox cars on a New York City living room
circles across the world. From Porsche carpet and passing his licence test at the ripe
mechanic in Hong Kong, test driver and age of 16 in the borough of Brooklyn. After
racetrack instructor in Australia to working on completing university, he spent 6 years across
the old BBC Top Gear show until it broke, he has the country in southern California, a land of
constantly enjoyed the company of cars. He spartan public transportation, and loved every
prefers the company of women, but doesn’t know minute. Now living in the birthplace of so many
how they work or how to steer one. defunct British nameplates, he finds solace in
costly weekend drives.
Cars, driving and motor racing have always A Scotsman with a sense of style. After spending
fascinated Tim. Armed with a History degree, he four years learning to be a car designer,
thought a career in ‘management consultancy’ Graeme’s crayons finally wore down to their nub
beckoned but then realized he didn’t know what and his markers dried out. Leaving him with little
that meant. He enjoys researching subjects and more than an HB pencil and a cheap biro, he
then writing about them so thought he’d try it as decided it was time to get a ‘real job’ but enrolled
a living. Tim is an ardent F1 fan and won’t hear a on an automotive journalism course instead.
word against it even though he admits it could be Now all he has to do is master English. Och aye,
a bit more exciting. see you Jimmy…
A motoring journalist and editor for over 20 Loves writing, loves cars - and combines this with
years. In Israel Ya’acov did almost any task a an alarming obsession with attention to detail, a
journalist could: reporter, photographer and memory that retains all the useless information
editor. He was motoring and transport you’d expect from the holder of a first class
correspondent for Ha’aretz daily, motorsport and degree, and a sense of humour that borders on
F1 commentator for the sports channel (Channel ‘warped.’ A techhead, gearhead and petrolhead -
5) and editor of various magazines and the innovation spiked with adrenalin gets him going
website AutoNews.co.il. Last year he decided to the most. More of his thoughts are online at his
refresh himself and found the MA Automotive regularly updated automotive themed blog:
Journalism program at Coventry University. www.infinityreversed.blogspot.com
Being a motoring writer is not enough for Wei. Rejecting the family inheritance in the wine gum
As the only guy from Asia in the team, he is used factory, Miles has plumped for the poverty and
to participating in car advertising as well as the obscurity of automotive journalism. A hit with the
automotive publishing business. He enjoys the ladies, legend has it he hasn’t slept in 2 years. It’s
challenge of playing two roles by writing about a wonder he finds the time and energy to write
cars from totally different perspectives. As a anything except his phone number on a beer mat.
copywriter, he showed his talent in words, but as Joking apart, Miles has been writing motoring
a motoring writer, distinctive opinion is the key. news and reviews with New Car Net for several
He has a passion for both jobs. years.
Geneva Show preview: what’s new and what’s hot. 4
Autobahn Stormer: details of Porsche’s new 911 Turbo. 4
Euro Fighters: Renault and VW reveal new business plans. 5
Freestream T1: an F1 car for the road. 6
Engineering Excellence: Prodrive’s concept showcase. 7
Techhead: this issue: hybrids, turbines and ‘the future’. 8
Tim Ferguson: beauty is not in the eye of the designer. 11
Shutline: is retro design a retrograde step? 13
Yuppy Destroyers: some alternatives to 80s junior execs. 38
F1 Preview 2006: our form guide to runners and riders. 32
Focus WRC: Ford’s latest rally contender 34
Toyota NASCAR: the Camry goes from beige to beast 35
Plus: Sir Jackie Stewart, A1 GP, historic motorsport in
Coventry, and more. 36
‘Ring Riders: taking part in the Nürburgring 24 hours.
Via Playstation 2. 14
On Test: new V6 for Mercedes’ C-Sport Coupe. 18
Face Off: America and China square up to each
other from across the Pacific. 20
Scrabbling for Acronyms: is our reliance on
safety systems lulling us into a false sense of security? 22
Experience is Everything: we test the Range Rover
Sport’s off-road mettle at the Land Rover Experience. 24
It’s a Mini Adventure: AUTOmotive journalists spread their
wings and try to make a Mini fly 26
Toyota’s Power: how Japanese spiritualism keeps the
Eastern Sun rising. 29
Vive La France: re-enacting the Battle of Hastings.
Sort of. 30
Who Did What:
News Editors: James Disdale, Tim Ferguson, Eric Gallina,
CJ Hubbard, Graeme Lambert, Matt Rigby, Andy Goodwin,
Miles Maynard, Wei Yuan.
Motorsport Editors: Tim ‘F1’ Ferguson, Andy Goodwin,
Sean Moriarty, Ya’acov Zalel.
Sub Editors: Oliver Thomas, James Disdale, Tim Ferguson,
Sean Moriarty, Matt Rigby.
Photography: Eric Gallina, CJ Hubbard, Oliver Thomas.
Sean Moriarty, Graeme Lambert, Andy Goodwin, Ya’acov Zalel.
Advertising: Sean Moriarty, Eric Gallina, Matt Rigby,
Graeme Lambert, Oliver Thomas, John Lister.
Design: Andy Goodwin, CJ Hubbard, Eric ‘Maverick’ Gallina,
Graeme Lambert, Miles Maynard.
Cover photo: Eric Gallina, in University Square.
A special thankyou to all our advertisers, and to our Coventry
University lecturers, John Lister and Fred Mudhai
Final copy date: February 14 2006
Printed by: Scottish County Press, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian
he 76th annual Geneva International unveiled in Frankfurt last year. from Detroit will also make an appearance. Ford
Motor Show held at the beginning of The Z4 coupe from BMW will make its first will unveil a crossover vehicle (they call it a sports
March promises to be the ‘must see’ appearance and there is talk of a revamped X5. activity vehicle or SAV) under the name S-Max,
European show of 2006. Manufacturers from We may also see a facelifted MINI. Mercedes is and also launch the new Galaxy MPV.
across the globe have chosen the venue to show scheduled to launch the reskinned and refined
off their latest models on offer in the upcoming G55 SUV as well as the updated SL65 and SL55 Japan and Korea
year, and innovative concepts will be in full swing. roadsters. Hyundai is jumping on the European SUV
Peugeot will be unveiling its new 207, Skoda bandwagon with the launch of the new Santa Fe,
From Europe will display the Roomster MPV and Volvo will and Fiat and Suzuki have partnered to bring the
We at Automotive are looking forward to show the S80, with the clean burning petrol V8 Sedici and SX-4 to fruition. They are two
seeing the stunning Spider and the 159 from the XC90. diminutive 4X4s built on the same platform. The
Sportwagon from Alfa Romeo, a Saab concept Of the high end sports car builders, Aston Lexus LS460 will make its world debut and the
car intended to evoke the Sonett, and Audi’s Martin will display the V8 Volante alongside the company will continue its hybrid onslaught with
latest TT based on the shooting brake prototype Rapide concept and Ferrari will unveil its latest the GS450h.
coupe, the 599 GTB. Porsche will debut the latest
iteration of the 911 Turbo Concepts
and Maserati will display its From Japanese manufacturer Nissan will
all new GT coupe, with a come two new concepts: the zero emissions Pivo
wheelbase slightly shorter city car and what Nissan calls a “mobile
than the flagship laboratory for explorers”, the Terranaut, designed
Quattroporte. The GT is also in Nissan’s London studios. The compact SUV
expected to spawn a future actually looks like a cross between a 1970s Ford
Spyder variant. Bronco and a Honda Element.
British company Lotus will Renault will be showcasing its Altica, a
unveil the new Lotus Europa futuristic concept car that uses Formula 1
sports car, as well as an APX technology to direct wind through the body,
concept showcasing Lotus reducing resistance and improving the car’s
Engineering’s Versatile coefficient of drag. Also in prototype guise, Honda
Vehicle Architecture. will unveil a new Civic Type-R.
Making their world debut will be two concepts
The Americans from Toyota, the Fine-T fuel-cell hybrid and the
Chevrolet will make its Yaris in sporting form, called the T-sport. It will
debut at the show exhibiting feature a more aggressive design and a larger
its own SUV variation, the 1.8 litre engine to propel its diminutive
Captiva, designed specifically for Europe. The dimensions.
carmaker will also show a midsize four door Mitsubishi will be showing two concepts, the
sedan called the Epica. Also under the General most interesting being the new EZ-MIEV, created
Motors umbrella, Cadillac will unveil the European by Mitsubishi Design Europe. The vehicle is
flavoured BLS, and the Corvette Z06 is travelling powered by electric motors housed within the
across the Atlantic. The Saturn Sky will be making wheel hubs, drastically increasing interior space.
its first appearance as the Opel GT. The Colt CZC and Concept-X will also make a
DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep will ship the Compass public appearance.
and Wrangler over from Detroit and the Dodge
Caliber will be on show. The Imperial concept Eric Gallina
Cheap fuel for the New 911 Turbo. New technology
ipeline.org, the fair fuel price campaign
website, announced last week that it
had now exceeded 100,000 member
registrations. This landmark figure represents
the first real steps toward their goal of
negotiating a discount on fuel prices with a
major petrol retailer.
The level of discount that will be available to
members signing up to the card based
scheme is not yet known. However, when f you see one in the street you will not be able has been applied in a turbo system in a petrol
speaking to the Times newspaper, Pipeline’s to miss it: air intakes in front of the rear engine. However, more significant is the
founder, Ben Scammell, was confident the wheels, a single air intake in the front, above improvement in torque from 435 to 479 lb ft
amount would be worthwhile. each indicator and a most elegant rear aerofoil in and the broader power band, from 1,950 to
“The level of the discount may fluctuate the back. This is the new Porsche 911 Turbo, the 5,000 rpm, instead of 2,700 and 4,600 rpm.
depending on the normal price of petrol but I most powerful road going Porsche ever Its four-wheel drive system allows the car to
am certain it will be at least five pence a litre produced. accelerate to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the
and hopefully, if we get enough people to sign The numbers that Porsche unveiled before the manual gearbox - the tiptronic S version is even
up, it will be more.” Geneva Salon launch are awesome: 480 bhp faster to 60mph, by 0.2 sec. The new 911 Turbo
Should negotiations go well, the organization plus, 60 bhp (14.2%) over its predecessor and is also equipped with unique gadgetry Porsche is
hopes to have the scheme fully up and running 133 bhp per litre from the 3.6 litre engine. The proud of. It will be available in Europe from the
by April or May of this year. engine will be equipped for the first time with the end of June for a base price of £97,840.
James Disdale new TGV system that Porsche showed last year.
It is the first time that variable blade technology Ya’acov Zalel
Saabs fly into Cov
from all over
Two Giants, Europe
he 12th February saw a gathering of
over 60 Saabs from across Europe in
one of the city’s car parks on a social
meet where they visited the Coventry
Transport museum. Nearly all models were
represented including a rare 1960’s Sonett
sports car originally sold in the U.S.A as well
as more modern machinery. The meet was
Renault and VW reveal very different organised using Saab internet forums and
business strategies participants travelled from as far away as
Belgium and the South of France. The next
n February 9 2006, Renault announced its sustainable high performance in the global social event is scheduled to take place in
four-year growth plan. The so-called, automotive industry,” said Carlos Ghosn, France this Summer.
“Renault Commitment 2009,” aims to President and CEO of Renault. Graeme Lambert
make Renault the most profitable European Only a day after Renault’s announcement,
volume carmaker. German rival VW confirmed its restructuring
The core content of this ambitious programme. Unlike the French company, VW
commitment is to hugely expand Renault’s line-up. chose to cut employment instead of expanding
26 new models will be launched over the next the product line-up.
four years. Half of them are new blood to the In order to cope with the fierce competition in
family including SUVs, 4x4s, crossovers and niche Europe and global car market, a thorough
vehicles. The ultimate goal for Renault is to sell an restructuring programme is essential for VW.
additional 800,000 units in 2009 compared to This particular set of proposals focuses precisely
2005. on the key problems VW has identified. The main
Renault is also committed to achieving an measures include the elimination of productivity
operating profit margin of 6% by 2009. But deficits, full capacity deployment at the plants and
employment reduction and plant closure is not more competitive personnel expenses. Under the
Classic Saab Sonett
the plan. “With a clear vision, and prioritized, job cut axe, up to 20,000 employees could be
precise and measurable objectives, I am affected over the next three years.
convinced that Renault will become, in the
framework of the Alliance, a great company with Wei Yuan
Fast forward for
oventry University’s enviable links
with the motoring industry got a
boost recently with accreditation of
its MA Automotive Journalism course by
the Guild of Motoring Writers (GOMW). “I
am very enthusiastic about what you are
offering,” said immediate former GOMW
chairman Peter Burgess following a recent
visit to the department.
The GOMW endorsement comes with
offers of free student membership (card,
handbook and monthly newsletter) plus
associate membership for one year after
Mr Burgess was accompanied by
Autocar magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve
Cropley, another supporter of the course.
Mr Cropley’s endorsement comes on the
basis that “too many applicants for work at
motoring publications lack basic journalism
skills and knowledge of the inner workings
of the car design and retail industry. The
Freestream T1: 1000bhp-per-tonne, programme at Coventry offers students the
3g cornering, and road legal? chance to redress this balance.”
Coventry University, situated in the heart
his is the Freestream T1, expected to rapid acceleration as well as 3g cornering and of the UK’s historic and contemporary car
launch later in the year. Packing a bespoke braking performance.” For extremely rapid, read manufacturing region, is one of the first
480bhp 2.4 litre V8, it’s no coincidence 0-100 in a predicted time of around “5 seconds.” institutions in the country to offer an
that this tallies nicely with contemporary Formula Packing a full compliment of ex-McLaren automotive journalism course. The
1 regulations - the T1 is intended to be the engineers and team members, previously involved university’s long established Transport
closest yet to the performance of a road going F1 with that company’s seminal F1 supercar, the T1 Design programmes offer journalism
car. Target weight is a skinny 465kg, skewering promises spine-shattering agility and the latest students access to practitioners in the
the 1000bhp per tonne figure very nicely; but tech, all for the actually quite reasonable design, engineering and business aspects
even more impressive are claims surrounding the sounding sum of £150,000. Freestream claim of the car industry.
handling parameters, and to a certain extent the the interest of half-a-dozen potential customers The course features a period of work
price. already, and plan to build only 25 cars a year - experience in a relevant area. This year’s
The concept sports a carbon chassis and “a with hardcore trackday goers the most likely students have offers including Haymarket
full aerodynamic performance package which at clientele. Publishing (Autocar and Motorsport News),
present can only be found in a high formula The first prototype is nearly built and they’ve Dennis Publishing (Auto Express and Evo),
racecar,” according to Ben Scott-Geddes, one half just moved into new premises. For more info Emap (CAR), the BBC (Top Gear), and
of the pairing behind the project; fellow co-founder contact them via their website: Octane Media (Octane). Lecturers are
Graham Halstead suggests that as a result practising journalists, complemented by
“driver and passenger will experience extremely www.freestreamcars.co.uk CJ Hubbard visiting industry specialists, and skills
instruction in web design (basic HTML and
Dreamweaver), page layout (QuarkXpress)
Photo:Graeme Lambert and multimedia production (Avid and
The MA Automotive Journalism at
Coventry University runs from September
to September, and is open for applications
right now. For more information, contact
the university at
firstname.lastname@example.org or via its
To celebrate St Valentine’s day - and Coventry’s position as ‘third most romantic city in
Britain’ - Nissan paraded these loved up Micras through the city
New cars are bad
for your health,
s if depreciation wasn’t already
enough to steer you away from
buying a new car, now it seems that
there are also toxic chemicals found in new
vehicle interiors. A report published by The
P2 concept has Ecology Center, a Michigan-based
all angles covered environmental group, has found that the
“new car smell” so many people flock to
dealerships in search of is actually a
combination of dangerous PBDEs and
The chemicals, used as fire retardants
and to make PVC plastic malleable
driving respectively, are known to cause neuro-
developmental damage, birth defects, liver
toxicity, premature birth and other serious
health problems. Toxicity levels rise when
exposed to prolonged heat and UV rays, the
ast month’s Autosport International show at car. The new system can control turbo speed to report states.
the NEC in Birmingham saw the launch of within one percent at any given engine speed, Steps are being taken by various
Prodrive’s P2 sportscar concept. Intended resulting in a far smoother driving experience. manufacturers to reduce the levels of
as a technological and design showcase for the As well as the potential performance gains, these chemicals and phase out their use in
Banbury firm’s engineering prowess, the P2 is there are potentially gains in economy and vehicle manufacturing, a point made in the
Prodrive’s vision of an affordable performance emissions, says Prodrive’s powertrain engineer, report. Volvo is at the forefront of this
car. David Hemming, “With an anti-lag system, you initiative and has tough policies in
Shorter and narrower than a Mazda MX-5, the could in theory replace a normally aspirated two implementing less harmful chemicals in
two-seat P2 is truly a supermini-sized supercar. litre engine with a turbo-charged one litre engine. their car interiors. Parent company Ford
But with four wheel drive and an uprated version This would typically reduce fuel consumption by has low levels of PBDEs in vehicles and
of the Subaru Impreza STI’s turbocharged flat about 25 per cent without any loss in BMW has lower than average levels of both
four giving close to 350 bhp, the P2’s performance.” toxins.
performance is anything but mini. Prodrive claims The second acronym, ATD stands for Active The vehicles with the highest levels were
0-60 mph in less than four seconds and a top Torque Dynamics and is a stability programme those made by Mercedes, Chrysler, Toyota
speed of close to 175 mph. based on managing the engine’s torque as and Subaru. Perhaps another aspect to
What sets the P2 apart from other concepts, opposed to brakes, unlike the ESP system fitted to consider when choosing your next new car.
however, are two simple acronyms: ALS and ATD. most cars with a stability programme. This is
ALS stands for Anti-Lag System and represents great news for the enthusiastic driver who is fed Eric Gallina.
the first serious attempt to bring this technology, up with nannying stability programmes, as
used for some years on the international rally Prodrive’s Chief Dynamic Engineer Damian Harty
stage, to the average motorist. explains, “Because it applies positive torque,
An ALS on a rally car ignites the unburned fuel working with the movement of the car, it also BMW kicked off Google
in the exhaust manifold, increasing manifold feels more natural, particularly to performance-
pressure. This spins the turbo back onto boost, orientated drivers.”
and creates the characteristic pops and bangs.
This would obviously be unacceptable on a road Matt Rigby
Dave Richards and the
P2 at the Autosport
MW’s German website has been
‘blacklisted’ by Google after it was
discovered that the site had
contravened the search engine’s guidelines.
Using doorway pages, the German site
boosted its search rankings when users
entered the search term ‘used cars.’ After
the ploy was exposed in a blog by a Google
software engineer, the California based web
giant downgraded the BMW site’s page
ranking to zero to ensure it would not
appear near the top of any search. Google
guidelines require that websites are
designed for users rather than search
Photos: CJ Hubbard Tim Ferguson
Techhead likes nightvision, head-up displays, and GPS units that sound like 80s TV characters. And the new
Honda Civic. Because it looks like a spaceship.
Today, Techhead names an album:
Hybrid Theory and The Future That Never Was
T here’s no getting away from it - hybrid
vehicles are the next step in
automotive evolution. This is undoubtedly
flighty (groan) solution was espoused. During
the decades following World War II, engineers
at Rover and Chrysler - particularly, though
do not have a very much of a power band.
However, many modern turbines are
multistage, partially negating this difficulty.
A Good Thing. But hybrids are only a step there were others - investigated the possibility More significantly the advent of infinitely
along the way, for they bring inherent of using gas turbines to power automobiles. variable transmission (IVT) could allow a
disadvantages and still rely on fossil fuels. Initial results were extremely pleasing, the turbine to run at optimal speed all of the time,
The holy grail of automotive engineering bespoke turbines proving extremely reliable, eliminating the lag by having the gearbox do
and design is lightweight - and this is where with great power-to-weight ratios, and all the work. This is proven technology that
hybrids lose some of their appeal. A hybrid delivering a very smooth driving experience. has even been tested on Formula One cars.
takes an internal combustion (IC) engine, Rover’s JET1 project took a modified, road Fuel economy should also be taken care of
albeit usually a smallish one, and adds a legal P4 chassis to 152mph…in 1952; by the use of modern electronic fuel
bunch of heavyweight addenda to it, in the Chrysler were so serious they even ran a management systems that can much better
form of batteries, generators and re- public trial of 50 Turbine Cars in the late 60s, control the delivery of fuel into the turbine,
generators, and electric motors. The and were still considering a full production especially in combination with an IVT, as
efficiency comes from using these vehicle in the 80s. There was also fleeting there would no longer be wasted energy
components to boost the economy of the IC; success for turbine powered racing cars - speeding the thing up and slowing it down.
the inefficiency is in carting around all the including a near win first time out at the Fuelling is actually something of a trump
extra heft. Indianapolis 500. card for a turbine, as the really neat thing
Manufacturers can Fuelling is something of a There were, about them is they can run on virtually
potentially do a bunch however, three major anything. This includes the gin in the
of really cool stuff with trump card for a turbine, obstacles that led to the sideboard and the perfume on the dresser,
this technology. The
electric motors could
as they can run on concepts’ collapse: poor
throttle response, with
but also all current derivatives of fossil fuel,
and renewables such as corn and Soya oil -
be mounted inside the virtually anything - lag of up to seven without even flushing the tank. The
driven wheels - though seconds on the early manufacturing issue is also debatable. While
we’d hate to consider including gin and perfume engines; fuel economy, they are expensive to make, this is mostly
the cost if you curbed think Wankel rotary because they are not mass-manufactured in
them - and could even be used for engine bad; cost, in the sense that they were the same way the IC engine has been. They
performance gain instead of economy, but pricey to manufacture, and although highly do require heat resistant materials, but a gas
that rather defeats the point. The real reliable the nature of the design was such turbine, in very basic terms, consists of a
purpose, however, is the future - where that should something go wrong, it would shaft, a compressor, and the turbine proper -
experience with electric drivetrains will make inevitably be expensively wrong. There was a rather small number of parts; with modern
the transition to fully electric cars powered by also a slight issue with the heat of the bearings they don’t even need any significant
hydrogen fuel cells much easier. From this, exhaust. cooling systems.
we can surmise Toyota is once again playing Of these problems, the first two can be This makes for a very smooth power
a long game - but that doesn’t help the planet dispatched in light of other recent delivery (even more so if you factor in the IVT
right now. technological developments. The throttle again), and extremely compact dimensions
Alright, so if hybrids are flawed, what’s the response issue relates to turbines having a for the performance. If you compare the
alternative? Well, once upon a time, a rather preferred rotational velocity, and as such they Bugatti Veyron’s engine to a similarly powerful
Techhead fears lighting systems that switch themselves on, rain sensing
TechDread wipers, and the Mk2 Ford Focus because it looks like blancmange. We
never said he was rational.
The car that drives itself
H onda has begun the process of
eliminating the weakest link from the
driving experience - that is, you. Acronym-
from the vehicle in front, speeding up and
slowing down as appropriate, thus
“reducing the burden of motorway driving
with what Techhead is certain must be a
perfectly annoyance-free beep to remind
them - or the automatic controls
alanche, ahoy! and enhancing driver comfort and safety,” disengage themselves.
Introducing ADAS, the Advanced Driver sings the press release. The trick bit is On the positive side, this could help
Assist System, which combines Adaptive pairing the ACC with LKAS. Using a reduce fatigue on long trips, and Honda
Cruise Control (ACC) with something camera near the rear view mirror, LKAS even claims it improves the driver’s state
called Lane Keeping Assist System locks-on to the lane you’re travelling in of alert. But we can’t help getting all Philip
(predictably, LKAS). In case you haven’t and steers the car to keep you centrally K. Dick, and imagining the possibilities
figured it out, this uses ‘millimetre wave’ positioned, once again “enhancing driver should the technology go wrong. Our
radar in combination with a camera to comfort and safety.” Switch both of these greatest concern is, what happens if the
allow Honda’s upcoming top-spec Accord on and you’ve got a car with autopilot. driver actually falls asleep? We’re
to drive itself on the motorway. Honda does stress that at no point is perfectly capable of hitting the snooze
The ACC is a familiar proposition, the car completely out of the driver’s button on our alarm clock and barely even
common on high-end BMs, Mercs and control. The systems can be overridden at registering it. What exactly is the
Lexi; you set a preferred speed, as with any time. More significantly, even under operational parameter for the computer
conventional cruise, and the radar in the full ADAS implementation, the driver must when the electronic equivalent of “OH
nose of the car maintains a safe distance tap the steering wheel every ten seconds - $#@%! THEY’VE LOST CONSCIOUSNESS”
Bring back th
All speed, no limit?
you’ll find the turbine is not only much lighter
(around 136kg, in comparison to
approximately 390kg) but smaller as well.
The only remaining problem is to deal with
the exhaust heat - but if you make like
Formula One, where the cars direct the o, the government has finally decided carriageway inside of them. I’m pretty sure I
exhaust over the rear wing, you should that boxes on a stick aren’t the be all could accurately guess which of them was
actually be able to harness this to the benefit and end all of road safety; they’re paying greater attention, nine times out of ten.
of roadholding, without even increasing throttling back from the proposed camera Ok, so it’s only my personal estimation
aerodynamic drag. onslaught. Hoo-bloody-rah! The question is: between me and an unwelcome interaction
Admittedly, there are one or two crinkles what’s next? A change to the national with a crash barrier - but I believe we have an
to be sorted out - but the research that’s motorway speed limit, perhaps… acceptable status quo.
currently going on in Japan should fix those No, hold on - this isn’t what you’re thinking. The problem for the government is that this
straight. Still not getting it? Imagine hooking Seriously, it isn’t. I may well have been on an is a status quo where a law is being broken.
a small turbine up to an electric motor, and extremely lightly trafficked M1 the other night, That’s a difficult situation for any government
creating a turbine-electric hybrid. Such a physically restraining my right foot - but I am to be in, even if we do have one of the safest
format would allow the turbine to rotate at its so far from advocating upping the 70mph motorway networks in Europe. They’ve tried to
optimal speed because all it would be doing restriction I may as well face the accusations increase the enforcement, but when the
is providing power to the electrics - the best of Greenpeace membership right now. modus operandi is as aggravating as the
of both worlds, as the turbine would be light, I so wanted to do it - straight-six the road at Gatso it’s hardly surprising that this nearly
able to run on anything, and given flexibility maximum velocity - but I couldn’t. They’ve won. ended in tears. Put too much pressure on the
by the sparky motor. As it happens, we’re Via a process of intimidation and propaganda public as they go about their daily lives and you
cheating: GM tried it already with a variation ‘the message’ has undoubtedly gotten risk your re-election no matter how nasty the
of the EV1 in the late-1990s. Their through, in the form of four distinct thought habit. Imagine trying to outlaw tobacco - self-
conclusion? Too expensive. But Techhead processes to stop me: social responsibility; inflicted death in a tube, but built into the
thinks it might just be the right time to try fear for my license; the cost of petrol/the end routine of millions of people. Impossible.
again. of the planet; and the great big unpredictable Make like the cigarettes then, and anti-
unknown of my fellow road users - I’ve got far illegalise speeding by raising the limit. But
too much imagination to ignore the possibility there is a big, big problem with this. You can’t
of someone pulling out in front of me without just raise the limit - because if the limit was,
having first looked in their mirror. say, 80mph, more people would make the
The intriguing thing about the contemporary decision to do 95 or 100 as that no longer
status of our high-speed road network is that represents as big a leap from the upper
somehow it works. That’s possibly a little bit of boundary as before. Given that some people
a controversial argument, so I should explain will go faster - in order to overtake, to simply
what I mean. Ignoring the congestion, the poor be in front - the speeds get greater, and the
lane discipline and the unnecessary journeys, risks run higher. No matter how good my
consider the speed limit itself. It’s 70mph, guesswork might be, the driver remains the
right - yet everyone knows that it is practical weakest link, and this amplifies the odds of
and safe to travel faster than that, and those anything ending with an ouch.
who feel comfortable with this paradox quite Leaving the limit alone and lessening the
happily do. Assuming the circumstances lens action? Sounds like more of the same,
aren’t absurd or unsafe you’d realistically be doesn’t it - except I’d like to make a
unlucky to get pulled over by a traffic police suggestion. Take all the money currently being
officer at any speed less than about 85 or spent on Polaroid film or whatever and invest
even 90mph. You can’t be sure about this, but in policing instead.
it’s a pretty solid bet. Proper policing by well trained officers in
Push button for au And that’s why the current system is so clearly marked cars, making rational
successful - we have a legal limit, and an judgments, based on actual circumstances
accepted ‘limit’. There is no doubt that the represents an opportunity for safe progress
vast majority of vehicles on our roads today and real life to exist in an ambiguous harmony.
are more than capable of safely travelling at And ambiguity in this instance is great
gets processed by its brain? Can the car
speeds well in excess of 70mph. Driving because it makes the average motorist err on
safely negotiate a path to the hard
quickly demands more of your concentration - the side of caution, rather than aggressively
shoulder? The thing has only got radar
the more you concentrate, the safer you making time between the camera sites they
pointing out the front, after all.
should be. I usually feel much better about the know as their definite antagonists. Give us a
In theory a great, great idea. But,
guy or girl who passes me at 80 plus on the police presence, but not a police state - is that
hmmm. Techhead is not yet convinced.
outside than I do about the individual dozing at kind of balance really so hard to achieve?
less than 60 in the centre lane with empty
The “Honda Accord ADAS” is set for
release in March, based on the 2.4 EX CJ Hubbard
Automatic. Price is expected to be
around £27,000 [Ouch - Eds].