Top Gayer Awards 2011

 

 

2011 has been quite a year for the automotive industry; we’ve seen some pretty impressive models launched and (super lucky for us) had the pleasure of driving them too!

And so… in true flare we present to you our best of the best in the Top Gayer Awards 2011…

 

HATCHBACK OF THE YEAR – VAUXHUAL ASTRA ECOFLEX

We love a hatchback here at Top Gayer, just the thought of a compact, sporty little run-around takes us all back to our younger days, the cruise, the chase, the car parks… those were the days… and where there were some very strong contenders this year, for us the best in show has to be the Vauxhaul Astra Eco Flex. A pleasure to drive and with more lights on the dash then a nightclub the Astra Eco Flex is a boys wet dream. 

 

 

 

 

CITY CAR OF THE YEAR – KIA PICANTO

Our choice for city car of the year was an easy one, the KIA Picanto. This little super-mini is perfect for city living, 5 door, spacious and still as cute as ever, KIA have impressed and with the top-end model at under 8K the Picanto is an absolute bargain!

 

 

 

 

 

SUPER-MINI OF THE YEAR – TOYOTA YARIS

The Toyota Yaris is a lovely car, that’s the best word to describe it, it’s just lovely. We were very impressed with the 2011 Yaris, it is without doubt not only one of Toyota's best sellers, but also one of the most fun super-mini's on the market, and it’s just become our favourite super-mini to boot. With its new bigger bulkier frame it's not just the Yaris body that's grown, so has its appeal and the audience to which it's aimed at.  The new Yaris on test was amazing! With more acres of airy space inside than Jodie Marsh's head and containing far less plastic - the Yaris is our top choice for 2011.

 

 

 


SALOON CAR OF THE YEAR – VOLVO S60 R-Design

This year’s best Saloon has to be the Volvo S60R, why? I hear you ask, well quite simply because it’s the best. We were very excited about this car coming through – dramatically smooth lines, excellent performance and a pretty impressive interior makes the S60R the best all rounder for us and because it’s a Volvo you know that you could quite happily drive it through a wall and carry on un-scathed… (Please Note: Top Gayer and its partners neither recommend nor condone driving through walls, please don’t do it, its just silly) 

 

 

 

 

ESTATE CAR OF THE YEAR – PEUGEOT 508SW

France… land of fine wines, gourmet food, landmark meccano and this year’s great estate car it would seem. I know, honestly we weren’t expecting it either but the 508 Estate from the clever beans at Peugeot just seems to have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that transforms an estate car from a boring oversized shopping bag to handcrafted Louis Vuitton luggage… we know which you’d prefer you brand aware monsters. Its’ a nice drive, good performance and handling, spacious with a nice interior. Cést Chic… Bravo Peugeot!

 

 

 

 

PERFORMANCE CAR OF THE YEAR – AUDI RS5

We know, we know… what are the chances of ever driving one of these? Let alone owning one… but come on… It’s just beautiful! Fortunately (for us anyway) earlier this year we were given one to test-drive by the wonderful people at Audi (I say test drive, it was more lived-in for a week). This is possibly our favourite Audi of 2011 because it was definitely the most memorable.  The powerhouse that is the RS5 is sheer driving pleasure and with looks to die for our winner this year deservers its title hands down.

 

 

 

 

4X4 OF THE YEAR – CHEVROLET CAPTIVA

They say big is beautiful, and they don’t come much bigger than the cars in this class, fortunately our winner this year is both. In April we were invited by Chevrolet to test drive the new Captivia in the beautiful surroundings of the Austrian Alps, and what a test-drive it turned out to be! Unlike many other 4X4’s the Captiva’s credentials hold out, its handling on surfaces as tough as Snow and Ice, its comfort and overall driving experience make the Chevrolet Captiva our best in show for 4X4 of the year. 

 

 

 

 

LUXURY CAR OF THE YEAR – AUDI A7

If there’s one thing we know all about its luxury, it may be stereotypical but more often than not the desire to own the best of everything is hardwired into us at birth. So as you can imagine this was a tough choice for us, this happens to be one of those categories with a lot of crossovers, e.g. the majority of performance cars are kitted out to the max inside as well as being beasts in the engine department, so how do we judge? Well luckily an acute ability to judge is also something that comes built-in to the average gay man, so in the end we simply decided to choose the model which we could happily live in if needed to. This makes our choice a lot easier as the winner is nothing short of spectacularly gorgeous inside and out, with more gadgets, gizmos and impressive little extras than you can shake a stick at. In 2011 we’ve found the AUDI A7 unbeatable in its class.  

 

 

 

 

ECO CAR OF THE YEAR – VOLVO C30 DRIVe

This Year Top Gayer went all green (in a non-clashy way) for a series of reviews on the latest eco-friendly cars to hit our shores. Now… admittedly some of our test-drives in this category had at best, ‘shaky’ green credentials, that’s not to say that they weren’t nice cars because many were. But, because we at Top Gayer love mother Earth we felt it only fair to pick the car best suited to preserving our planet for the generations of gays to come… So our winner this year has to be the Volvo C30 DRIVe, Ultra low emissions, 74.3MPG on a combined cycle and start-stop as standard.  Most importantly, the C30 DRIVe performs as a normal hatch too, making eco fun with the reliability and safety of Volvo making the C30 DRIVe our favourite Eco of 2011.

 

 

 

 

PULLING POWER AWARD – MERCEDES CLS

The pulling power award goes to the car that we think gives our readers the edge when towing other cars… not really, obviously this award is all about impressing other people, namely those you would like to get to know better… We think that anyone would find it hard to resist you if you were driving this sexy beast, which is no doubt what they’ll call you when you’re spotted cruising around town in the CLS, everything about it just oozes sex appeal, there may be more expensive status symbols out there but honestly… you can keep your Continental and your Phantom, this is the one for us.

 

 

 

 

THE “GRRR” AWARD – INFINITY FX

Another special award from the Top Gayer team is the “GRRR” award, now what exactly is “GRRR” I hear you ask, well, quite simply it’s the feeling of power and control you get when you slip into the driving seat of something special and for us this year it’s the Infinity FX, this beautiful SUV creates the perfect balance of a high performance and luxury SUV with lavish lashings of “GRRR” that only an Infinity can instil. GRRR… just GRRR!

 

 

 

 

 

2011 CAR OF THE YEAR – MERCEDES CLS


Finally we come to our ultimate favourite car of 2011 and the winner needs little introduction, the overall experience of driving the Mercedes CLS is unbeaten by any other car of 2011. It is quite simply the best car we’ve had the pleasure of hosting, an unmatched perfect blend of super-fine luxury, performance and beauty, the CLS has rolled off a German production line and into our hearts. Mercedes really have out done themselves with this excellent example of top-notch craftsmanship and engineering, from the second you glide into the CLS (you must glide into this car, nothing less will do) you feel at home and at one with your car. An extensive and highly impressive extras list makes the CLS something rather special. Visually it’s stunning, each line and curve blends seamlessly, not an awkward angle in sight, it’s sure to impress anyone who sees (or is lucky enough) to ride in this beautiful creation. Now we at Top Gayer would never encourage our readers to make reckless purchase decisions… let’s face it you probably don’t need encouraging anyway, but if you want to go top of the range and have a spare £120,000 knocking about then go… buy it… buy it now! Then call us, because we are at your command you sexy beast!!

“Rugged” Passat Alltrack – For the off-road businessman

Volkswagen has today released the first images of the new Passat Alltrack. Making its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show next week, the new Passat Alltrack is based on the popular and versatile Passat Estate.

But hold on just one minute, this is no ordinary Passat Estate… the Alltrack adds 4MOTION four-wheel drive and a raised ride height that give it greater agility off-road. Now for the adventurous businessman, say the type who consider fields as a genuinely viable route to work, this is excellent work, bravo!

VW have also gone to town on the Alltrack, stylish body enhancements provide some protection from scrapes when covering rough terrain, including stainless steel-look front and rear underbody protection panels and flared side sills, matt chrome roof rails, window surrounds, grille and exterior mirror casings. The suspension is raised to increase ground clearance from 135 to 165 mm, which also improves the ramp breakaway angle, “significant when crossing the crest of a hill” say VW, which is no doubt a constant obstacle on the morning school run.

In the UK, the Passat Alltrack will be available as a 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS with six-speed manual gearbox or a 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS with six-speed DSG transmission. Standard equipment will include Alcantara upholstery, 2 Zone electronic climate control, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, MDI iPod connectivity, Bluetooth telephone preparation, 18-inch alloys, an ice pick, snow boots and the national flag of your choice to plant in your conquered peak. (I might have added those last three)

Retailers in the UK are expected to start taking orders for the new car in April, with first deliveries scheduled for July so should you ever wish to take your Estate mountain climbing, this is definitely the car for you.  

How to make a mid-life crisis more fun - The Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet… ‘With innovative folding roof’

 Ok so you’ve hit 40, you’re wearing red converse with jeans and an open floral shirt (to work) and you’re chasing men a lot younger than you should be. You’re very nearly there. There’s just one thing missing… a Porsche. Now if history has taught us anything it’s that young men love flash cars and if you’re hoping to bag yourself a boyfriend 20 years your junior then you need to up your game.

Fortunately the new 911 Carrera Cabriolet is the answer to your prayers! If the rear-mounted, flat-six engines offering efficient power and outstanding dynamic performance (350 hp 3.4-litre and 400 hp 3.8-litre) wasn’t enough, the classic shape of the 911 has been transformed to include what Porsche are calling “an innovative folding roof” which will most definitely impress the River-Island clad lad your currently chasing.

The 911 Cabriolet naturally shares its new, high tech aluminum-steel body with the Coupe, and the convertible extends this innovation to its all-new, unique hood. When raised, the design of the hood ensures the iconic 911 roof line is retained in its entirety. Intelligent lightweight design, including the use of magnesium in the hood frame, ensures reduced weight for increased responsiveness, lower fuel consumption and greater comfort. As is the case with the Coupe model, the new 911 Cabriolet is significantly lighter overall than its predecessor.

But that’s all just ‘detail’… parading your latest catch through the local town centre with the roof down is a sure way to prove to your friends and family that ‘you’ve still got it’ whatever it is, (Let’s face it you’re no longer sure) but regardless… you… will… look…cool. Hopefully. 

Should you be concerned that one day your new found love will try to flee, then don’t be! Fitted to every 911 Carrera Cabriolet is a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), of which the possible uses are endless.

Anyway… The 911 Carrera Cabriolet models go on sale in the UK on March 3 2012. The 911 Carrera Cabriolet is priced from £79,947, the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet from £89,740. 

Lexus unveils the new GS 250

In an extension of its luxury GS range, Lexus have announced that a V6 version of the new GS450h will be released in the UK next year. The GS 250 is powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine with D-4S direct port injection and Dual VVT-i intelligent valve timing. Maximum output is 206bhp at 6,400rpm and peak torque of 253Nm is delivered at 4,800rpm, giving the car’s 0-62mph time a boost to just 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 142mph. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 31.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 207g/km.

The new model has a more spacious interior with more head and legroom for rear seat passengers.

Offered with a range of new technology features and improved dynamics, including a 12.3-inch multimedia screen – the largest on the market, exciting! It will be available with a new S-flow air conditioning system with nanoe air purifying technology, and a new Mark Levinson audio system with up to 17 speakers.

It’s a GS450 only sexier.

Easy Audi…

Audi have revealed a new Sportback version of the A1 with 5 doors!

And? I hear you cry… well it’s actually quite an achievement. Featuring “Full five-seat capability and a slight increase in head and shoulder room” and all of this despite an “identical exterior footprint” which is essentially like gouging more out of the inside a pumpkin just to cram another candle in there, or in this case two more doors and a little more headroom. It all makes perfect sense if you think about it.

Oh I almost forgot, the roof can be painted a contrasting colour – a Sportback exclusive…

That’s about it really, apart from that it’s an Audi A1. Just £560 more expensive.

Thanks Audi.

 

Bentley Continental GTC Goes for £240,000 to Help Children in Need

This year’s Children in Need fundraising activities got off to a flying start when a 195mph Bentley Continental GTC went under the hammer for £240,000.

At a star-studded evening at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester, hosted by Gary Barlow and supported by Kelly Rowland, Chris Moyles, Sir Terry Wogan, and bigger names like Coleen Rooney and JLS, Bentley’s new convertible immediately caught the eye of several generous bidders. By the time the auctioneer had finished, the car had nearly hit the quarter of a million mark. Gary Barlow added some extra drama (Shock!) to proceedings by putting his own bid in for the Bentley and promising to deliver the car in person to the new owners, after criticizing Louis Walsh and the song choice for the auction, naturally. That’s a joke, he didn’t really, but can’t you just imagine him doing it?)

As well as getting the keys to their new car hand-delivered to them by the X-Factor Judge, the winning bidders have been invited to the Bentley factory and will be able to select the woods and leathers for the interior of their car.

In a further personal touch, Bentley’s famous craftsmen and women will be adding the signatures of several of the celebrities who attended the event to the interior, “creating a car unique in the world and a special memento of a generous evening” or defacing the inside of a quarter of a million pounds worth of luxury car,  either way.

Anyhow, well done Bentley for supporting Children in need, it’s a wonderful cause and we’re all very proud of you, especially Gary Barlow. 

Volkswagen eT! – The Reinvention of The Delivery Vehicle?

For over 60 years now, commercial vehicles from Volkswagen have maintained a visual presence on the world’s streets. “They are helpers in everyday life, which bring us people, goods, services, postal deliveries and occasionally emergency assistance” say Volkswagen Group Research, Deutsche Post AG the University of Art at Braunschweig. Which interestingly is according to VW, responsible for the “world of tomorrow” quite a large task for an automotive manufacturer, a post office and some art students.

Anyway this triumvir of our utopian future decided amongst themselves that the most impending threat to human civilization was medium sized logistics, and thus formed a think tank on transport and mobility issues (we’re thinking VW probably held the pen during this session). Eventually these research activities led to a completely new vehicle concept for the delivery and logistics field: eT!

But is the eT! The reinvention of the delivery vehicle it claims to be? In a word, no.

We can see what happened, basically… after being given a picture of a VW transporter by Volkswagen and whilst on a break from occupying corporate money grabbing wall street (fight the power!), the art students were let loose with crayons, the result being this ‘cool concept van’ which while admittedly having excellent ‘concept’ environmental credentials, and which would probably almost definitely make Postman “Patz” life easier… just isn’t that cool. 

eT! Go home…

Infiniti Getting Charged Up Over New Sports Car Concept

Infinity has announced that their new “highly advanced”, range-extending electric sports car concept is now under development. It will be revealed to all at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2012.

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd and Infiniti said: "At the Geneva show next year, we will present our vision for a totally new kind of inspired premium performance car”

This adds to current Infiniti already has hybrid and clean diesel models on sale. 

Honda Fit EV Makes World Debut at LA Auto Show

The new Honda ‘Fit’ (it’s not that fit) has been unveiled the Los Angeles Auto Show. Honda announced plans to begin leasing the 123 city-mile per charge (76 mile range combined adjusted city/highway) battery electric commuter vehicle in the U.S in summer 2012.

The Fit EV is based on the popular Fit (named Jazz in Europe) and is a part of the company’s diverse portfolio of alternative fuel vehicles that includes petrol-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell-electric and natural gas-powered models.

BMW 3 Series Sedan

The sixth generation of the BMW 3 Series Sedan, the world's best-selling premium car, sets new benchmarks in terms of sporting prowess, elegance and comfort. The pioneering history of the 3 Series serves as inspiration for the new sports sedan, whose powerful styling represents a fresh interpretation and conscientious development of traditional BMW design cues.

The new BMW face, with flat headlights reaching along as far as the BMW kidney grille, emphasises the elegantly dynamic design of the new BMW 3 Series. The sixth generation of the 3 Series has grown in size compared to its predecessor, with its wide track (front + 37 mm, rear + 47 mm) particularly prominent, and the car's increased length (+ 93 mm) and augmented wheelbase (+ 50 mm) also accentuate its sporting silhouette.

Inside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, the noticeable increase in space benefits the rear passengers above all. And the BMW 3 Series range is now also available in a trio of trim and equipment variants - the Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line. Each presents its own individual take on the character of the sports sedan, with exclusive, high-quality material combinations and unbeatable build quality underlining the premium ambience of the new range.

New Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche says “The new Panamera GTS is the purist member of the Porsche Gran Turismo family” and it certainly looks that way, the new Panamera features a powerful V8 engine with even more intense responsiveness. The sporting chassis has been tuned for added dynamism and agility and the distinctive exterior styling clearly signals these focused intentions.

“The heart of the new Panamera GTS is its uprated 4.8-litre naturally-aspirated V8 engine benefiting from numerous modifications to give it even better performance”

The Panamera goes on sale in February 2012, priced from £90,409… We’ve got one on the way soon so expect a full review (TopGayer style) in January. 

Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Joins the Jet Set in LA

The interesting Beetle R Concept has made its American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show following its unveiling in Frankfurt earlier this year. It’s no wonder that this attention-grabbing (seeking?) machine has crossed the Atlantic to try and steal Los Angeles limelight. The US was the biggest market for the previous New Beetle and that’s likely to remain the same this time around, we can imagine an whole new generation of ‘Mean Girls with surf boards’ making this the car of “sweet sixteen” parties everywhere… However on a design level, while the familiar outline of the latest Beetle is still clear, the R Concept adds the kind of muscled enhancements that seem entirely appropriate in California, so much so we expect it may be the choice of A&F models everywhere…

As for the engine… the Beetle R’s production siblings, the Golf R and Scirocco R, use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit providing 270 PS and 265 PS respectively, can we expect the same?

For fans of the old ‘new beetle’ the new ‘new beetle’ concept is certainly something to be excited about and we can see its popularity making waves… surfs up, dudes.

BMW M5 Saloon... Innovation, BMW Style

Much like BMW drivers around the world, BMW themselves are renowned for modesty and subtleness in abundance… So According to BMW, The M5 Saloon which “has defined the high-performance saloon segment for more than 25 years… and in the process has become the most successful car of its type in the world” have announced that the new fifth-generation model “raises the concept of the premium executive saloon combining track-car dynamics and supreme touring comfort to an even higher level.” Naturally…

According to BMW, the new M5 features “the most potent engine ever” devised by BMW's amazingly fantastic high-performance ‘M division’, along with “race-bred chassis technology that includes an Active M differential and electronic damping control”, exciting stuff.

The unique exterior design has been dictated by the technical requirements of the car, while the luxurious sports car-like cockpit offers an extensive range of ‘innovative’ driver assistance systems and mobility services, (In this instance, we expect ‘Innovative’ to be a sat-nav that tells the driver to calm down, or slaps them for undertaking, overtaking, or generally being a BMW driver)

The M5 features all of the usual mod-cons as standard, Heads-up-display, heated seats, DAB etc… and some impressive extras as standard, with Bluetooth connectivity, sat-nav (as discussed) and adaptive xenon headlights.  

Optional equipment including a rear-view camera, High-Beam Assistant, Speed Limit information and… hold on… what’s this…? Lane Change and Lane Departure warnings, Surround View and BMW Night Vision to ensure the driver is aware of anything and everything happening within the vicinity of the car”. Now that’s Innovation! Thanks BMW!

Oh wait… what’s this?

“A Mobile Application preparation allows iPhone owners to receive web radio stations and display Facebook and Twitter posts on the Control Display”

you were so close…

The new M5 Saloon will be available in the UK in November 2011, priced at £73,040 on-the-road.

New Ford Escape (Kuga) Debuts in LA

Ford's newest sport utility vehicle unveiled as the Ford Escape in Los Angeles today, is destined for the US and Europe next year. Its European equivalent, the Ford Kuga, will be shown in Geneva in March and will offer unique powertrains and features.

Ford says “We call our all-new Ford Escape the ‘Smarter Utility Vehicle’ because it offers the strengths that customers today really value – fuel economy, versatility and new technology that makes driving and living with the vehicle easier and more fun – all wrapped in a sleek, more modern design,”

In addition to more cargo volume behind the first and second rows than today’s vehicle, the new Escape delivers Clever technologies including a hands-free power liftgate that allows quick and easy access to cargo with the kick of a foot, better fuel economy, better and more engaging drive dynamics and a new Ford Intelligent 4WD system that provides better traction off-road.

A Sleek new design features better interior materials and finishing touches which may prove the new Escape… sorry, Kuga to be a popular choice when launched in 2012.

Jaguar XKR-S Gets it's Top Off in LA

The pinnacle of the Jaguar sporting range – the XKR-S – is now joined by a convertible which offers the same enticing blend of abilities, while offering driver and passenger a heightened connection with their surroundings.

The XKR-S Convertible is the most powerful and fastest open-topped GT Jaguar has ever built, it features a Supercharged AJ-V8 GENIII petrol engine boasts an impressive top speed of 186mph and reaches 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds.

With the convertible hood stowed away, the interior of the XKR-S will be subject to as many envious glances as the exterior, with both highlighting the car’s high performance intent.

Pricing estimated to start at £103,000. 

Honda Concepts at Tokyo Motor Show 2011

Honda has announced a line-up of concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show, including concept commuter vehicles designed for easy and fun mobility, and a new sports concept, hinting at the design direction of future models. The Small Sports EV Concept (Pictured) would be a next-generation compact EV sports model, which according to Honda would be ‘fun to drive’ while achieving excellent environmental performance.

Staying with the environmental theme, Honda will also be showing a concept AC-X, A plug-in hybrid vehicle offering ‘comfortable and enjoyable driving experience in urban and long-distance motoring’. With the choices of an “engine drive mode” for more spirited driving or an “automatic drive mode” for more relaxed driving. Sounds fun…

As if this isn’t enough we also have the Micro Commuter Concept to look forward to, A micro-sized, futuristic, electric city commuter vehicle which will become a highly accessible form of mobility. It also features a HONDA MOTOR COMPO two-wheel EV slotted inside this vehicle, two for the price of one, bargain! 

VW new Passat CC

The new CC, which will be officially unveiled at the LA Auto Show on November 16, may look very familiar and by all accounts it is, minus a few noticeable changes. Since its launch over 270,000 people across the world have been won over by its predecessor the Passat CC’s blend of four-door practicality and sleek coupé-like styling has proved very popular.

Tweaks to design are something VW do very well and the new CC is no exception, to at the front the new radiator grille has strong horizontal lines that represent Volkswagen’s new design DNA, flanked by new bi-xenon headlights and topped with a reprofiled bonnet. The bumper is different too, with a new extra air intake, and silver-coloured ‘winglets’ that frame the fog lights. Along the side, the frameless doors are carried over from the previous model, but more sculpted sills, revised bumpers and the new bonnet add up to create a subtly updated silhouette.

At the rear the bumper has also been completely redesigned, with more emphasis on horizontal lines and a reworking of the characteristic chrome strip. The tail lights are new as well, not just in their more dramatic design, but in their use of LEDs. As before, the Volkswagen logo doubles as the handle for the boot, and it can now optionally contain a rear-view camera.

However one noticeable difference to the rear stands out above the others… ‘Passat’ has been dropped from the name.

While the name may have changed, a comprehensive list of standard equipment remains and expands to include features such as the standard driver alert system, as found on the Passat, and front head restraints with four-way adjustment to reduce the risk of whiplash. New options include High Beam Assist, which automatically controls dipping of the headlights; Side Assist, which monitors the vehicle’s blind spot; Lane Assist and adaptive cruise control with City Emergency Braking function; front climate seats with massage function; and an electrically deployed towbar.

From launch, the UK engine range will comprise 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS or 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS petrols and a 2.0-litre TDI common rail diesel with either 140 or 170 PS. All models with 170 PS or more also now get a standard XDS differential, an electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved traction and handling.

The CC makes its LA Auto Show debut before going on sale in the US in early 2012. Retailers in the UK will start taking orders for the new car around the same time with first deliveries due in March. More details including pricing will be available nearer the launch date.

 

 

Subaru BRZ Concept to Premiere at LA Show

 

Subaru has announced that the BRZ Concept will make its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto show. The BRZ Concept is a pre-cursor to the eagerly awaited Subaru BRZ which makes it full production debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in December.

Built around Subaru’s core technologies, the BRZ will use a new 2.0 litre Subaru Boxer engine developed specifically for the model and with the latest direct injection technology to improve combustion and efficiency.

The Subaru engineered chassis is built with front engine and rear wheel drive configuration, allowing the engine to sit low and rearward to ensure lowest possible centre of gravity and to maximise the BRZ’s handling prowess.

The new compact coupe has been developed as part of an on-going joint project with Toyota Motor Corporation. All cars will be built at Subaru’s Gunma plant in Japan when production starts in spring 2012.

In a Frendzy

No motorshow would be complete without a number of quirky concepts from Renault.  This year’s Frankfurt is no exception with the debut of Frendzy, a half van/half car creation and the work of Renault design director Laurens van den Acker, and exterior designer, Deyan Denkov.

The interchangeable interior of Frendzy really needs to be seen to be believed.  Think of a car split between driver and passenger sides, one work focused, the other family, and you’ll start to get the picture.

This fully electric, asymmetrically bodied vehicle is kitted out with features such as a BlackBerry® Playbook™ which controls a 37-inch digital screen on a sliding rear door along with some rather ‘alternative’ features such as: a fabric roof which adapts to shape of bulky objects, magnetic fixings to allow loads to be secured to floor, a slate board in rear cabin for children to sketch on, and two colour ambient lighting settings to differentiate family (orange lighting) and work time (green)! 

The Frendzy is powered by a 59bhp, 167lb ft electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack concentrating on zero-emissions in line with the brand’s focus within the ZE range. The concept is truly confused, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing it coming out the Renault closet any time soon.