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Friday, 24 May 2013

Nissan Has Genuinely Launched A GT-R Gentleman Edition

You read that correctly, sir/madam...
It was announced last week that France, which is where the French live, will be receiving the Nissan GT-R Gentleman Edition. Well, not everybody in France. That would be obscenely expensive. In fact, only ten people will be able to buy one, although which ten people they didn't say. They did say that it will cost whichever French gentlemen it may be the princely sum of €97,900 (approximately £83,500). That is most certainly an amount of money. But what does maketh a Gentleman Edition? Let's see:

> The car knows to hold the door(s) open for people getting in or out of it.

> It will never tell anyone whether you've had sex in it recently.

> It is based on the Black Edition, but is only available in Grey Squale with some rather spiffy new hand-stitched red leather seats and interior pieces.

> The sat nav always speaks in calm and polite tones, and will never swear.

> The sun-visor mirror has an alert system if it detects a tie or hair out of line.

> Along with premium interior trim, you also get a luggage set comprising a sunglasses case and leather bag.

> It only emits CO2 when there's nobody around.

> The glove compartment actually contains gloves. White ones.

> The TFT screen only divulges enough information to make it seem mysterious and attractive to women.

> A numbered plaque made of titanium is fitted below the CD slot, and there is a small edition badge under the wing-mounted GT-R logos (see top picture).

> The exhaust note has been tuned to have a distinguished English accent.

Sounds like it's worth the small extra sum to me, even if the 542bhp at 6400rpm, 460lb/ft at 3200rpm, 0-62mph time of 2.7 seconds (!), 196mph claimed top speed and 1730kg kerbweight are exactly the same as the standard 2013 GT-R.

Although, I may have had to make some of those features up to justify it......

Some polite pictures for you, sir/madam:
One of the main complaints about the GT-R is the interior. This is their second addressing of that with an LE.
Well, it wouldn't be a posh version if it didn't have a poncey label...
Why make a two-figure Limited Edition and then give it a three-figure plaque number?
There is even a small purse for the lady to keep her makeup and dish-washing gloves in.
Can you work out from the pictures which featured are real? I trust you can. Because I'm gentlemanly like that.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My First Ever Video Game Is 15 Years Old

A classic scene for many '90s kids: a purple Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33) blasting down Trial Mountain.
The year is 1998. Over the summer, we visit an aunt's house, and one of my cousins is playing a demo for a new racing game on something I didn't have called a PlayStation. In it, he's driving a yellow Subaru Impreza WRX on a night-time street circuit. He lets me have a few goes, and being six I wasn't very good at it, but it didn't matter. I needed this game. On my seventh birthday in November, two presents are left for last, one small square one, and one bigger rectangular one. Up until this point, all my game-playing was done on a PC, primarily Need For Speed (yes kids, the series is that old) and Colin McRae Rally, but a few others too. I was told to open the smaller one first. Some paper tearing revealed a plastic disc case with a big tyre tread on the front, into which GT was embedded. And there were the words in white: GRAN TURISMO: The Real Driving Simulator. The bigger box was, of course, a Sony PlayStation - complete with a twin-analogue-stick-wielding DUALSHOCK controller, no less - which now sits in my dad's study (ran when parked).

That game became the centre around which my life revolved when I wasn't at school or a music lesson. Fifteen years later, the current version often still has a similar draw. I learned more about cars from this game than from TopGear (which was an actual car show back then, would you believe) or my dad, discovering more and more cool-looking digital machines and improving my racing... bit by bit. Gradually. OK it may have taken a few years...

The point is, this game had a similar effect for an entire generation, turning previously little-known Japanese models like the Nissan Skyline GT-R (the inspiration for Kazunori Yamauchi to make the game, hence the sheer number of them), Mazda RX-7, Toyota Supra, Honda NSX and Subaru Impreza into global hero cars for my generation, as well as teaching Americans and the Japanese about the wild ways of TVR. It did so using quality graphics the likes of which people had never seen before, and physics that convinced many that the cars - each with their own discernible performance characteristics - were cornering like they might in reality. Thanks to their ability to do this again and again, at the end of 2012 over 68 million Gran Turismo games of various types had been sold in total. It's become a byword for realistic console racing games. Today, at Silverstone, they celebrate its 15th anniversary by announcing the arrival of GT6 on the dying PlayStation 3 at the end of this year. Assuming they actually meet an initial release date for once, that is.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Video - Porsche 991 GT3: Ich Liebe Rennsport!

23/4/13, 0:53, 57433 views (when posted)

So the Porsche 911 Turbo is out, in case you hadn't noticed. In fact, if you hadn't noticed, then scroll down! It's their tech-fest 911, as is usual, but unusually, the pure and stripped GT3 has gained some big bits of technology as well, and in the process has lost the clutch pedal. Moan. But still, with a race-tuned PDK that lets you engage neutral by hitting both paddles at once - thus initiating a drift if you do it into a corner - it's not all bad. Especially when the new 3.8-litre naturally aspirated DFI engine revs to 9000rpm, which is unprecedented in a 911 road car. It's like a German 458! Press play with the sound up.

And if the wailing flat-six is still being drowned out by your inner car fan moaning about change, let "Mr. GT3", Andreas Preuninger reassure you that it's all for the better. He would know, having developed every 911 GT3.

4/3/13, 18:09, 301975 views (when posted)

Still not convinced? Then your only two options are to drive one or revel in the fact that 997 GT3s will be cheaper very soon. But as the outgoing car is being regarded as the end of an era, chances are they won't be for long...

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Porsche 991 Turbo: Ich Bin Ein GT-R

LED-only lights from the GT3 are a clue that this car is part of the new age
The Porsche 959 supercar of the late 1980s showed what was possible for sports cars with technology of the time. Sequential twin-turbocharging, active all-wheel-drive, adjustable suspension settings, the lot. Plus it could do 198mph, although that was famously beaten by the bare-bones 201mph Ferrari F40. In the years that followed, the 911 Turbo, previously the reserve of suicidal yuppies, has come to be the spiritual successor of that landmark supercar, with the three features I mentioned appearing in the forced-induction variant at a less stratospheric price since the 993 Turbo of the mid-90s. With the Nissan GT-R returning in 2007 to ruffle Weissach's feathers and show the critically acclaimed 997 Turbo the way home, Porsche's subsequent constant battle has just stepped up a gear with the new 991 generation. What's clear is that this is not necessarily a car for purists, but that by no means is to say it's not for fans of driving. In its 40th year, the 911 Turbo just went to the next level.