Monday, November 23, 2015

Driving the Ultimate Pleasure of Life: Rolls Royce

A gentle tap on the electronic throttle brought to life the massive 6.75 litre-12 cylinder power plant neatly tucked under the bonnet of the world’s most luxurious hand built sedan; the Rolls Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase. In designing the current Phantom, the influence came from Sir Henry Royce himself: “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it doesn’t exist, design it.” From that challenge, Phantom was born. And the result is the definition of automotive design and technological perfection. Nigeria’s only accredited Rolls Royce dealership; Rolls Royce Motor Cars Nigeria organized a Ride and Drive event to enable the media experience first-hand the true thrill and feel of the Rolls Royce Phantom, Ghost II and the Wraith.

The average atmospheric temperature on the humid and hot afternoon within the vicinity of the most expensive residential real estate in Nigeria hovered around 94 degree F. However, such statistics had no bearing on the interior conditions of the luxury sedans creating an illusion in my mind that tomorrow should never come. The cabin of the Phantom boasts of bespoke had stitched leather, carefully selected veneer, fully stocked hidden refrigerator, deep lambswool carpets and a host of luxury perks all add up to create an unmatched presence.

I had to be reminded that other media personnel were ready to eject me if I spent a second extra on the heavenly seats. My intimate and personal experience with Rollers also changed my perception about the adaptability to modern auto trends. The 3D surround camera system ensures that you are in control of your surroundings. The integrated park assist is flawless. Adaptive headlamps, blind spot monitoring, multi-contour seats are just a few of enhanced technology available in the luxury cruiser. Dual WiFi hotspot keeps you connected while you’re on the move. 

The presence of a rotary controller allows you to access music or directions with just a swipe of your finger. To make life even easier, voice control is available and enables you change your destination or call your contacts.

As I eased off on a stretch of road made with interlocking blocks and a few speed breakers, the unparalleled driving comfort created the most unique thrill. Thanks to the state-of-the-art suspension technologies which create the air-cushioned ‘magic carpet-like’ ride unique to RollsRoyce.
The Wraith and the Ghost II both share the ride comfort. While the Ghost brims with innovative technology and unrivalled engineering boosted by a smooth twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine, the Wraith has a timeless elegance and purity, allowing you to forge a graceful path through an ever-changing world at performances rated from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds which is reserved for super sports cars. 

Wraith also features one of the most intelligent drivetrains ever to feature in a RollsRoyce motor car. Satellite-aided transmission uses GPS data and the navigation system to pre-empt whatever’s around the corner. It then chooses the right gear and leaves you to enjoy the drive.

The ultimate in auto luxury, performance and standards are available at the ultra-modern Rolls Royce Motor Cars Nigeria showroom in Lagos. If you value the ultimate in driving pleasure, there is by far no other brand than the Rolls Royce.

Tosan Aduayi is the founder of Trendy Africa Magazine and has been an Auto columnist since 1994

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Range Rover marks 45th anniversary with jaw dropping spectacle

To mark the 45th anniversary of its Range Rover family and to highlight 45 years of Range Rover innovation ahead of the Guangzhou Motor Show in China, Land Rover has driven its flagship Range Rover luxury SUV across a bridge made of paper. The freestanding structure in Suzhou, China, spanned five metres without glue or bolts to hold it in place. The hand-built paper bridge took three days to construct in the ancient water city of Suzhou, which is famous for its bridges and nicknamed ‘Venice of the East’. The unique crossing was made of high quality paper supplied by specialist British manufacturer James Cropper PLC. The high-grade paper provided the consistency and visual quality desired by British artist and bridge designer Steve Messam.

The job of driving the Range Rover was entrusted to Land Rover Experience Chief Instructor, Chris Zhou, and the landmark crossing showcased the innovative lightweight body construction and all-terrain capability of Land Rover’s flagship SUV.  

Range Rover represents the pinnacle of the Land Rover line-up and features a host of advanced technologies designed to deliver class-leading capability. The intelligent four-wheel set-up is controlled by Land Rover’s unique Terrain Response 2 system, which adjusts a range of vehicle settings to optimise all-terrain ability without any input from the driver. Range Rover defined the luxury SUV sector when it debuted in 1970 and the latest model was the first SUV in the world to be constructed from lightweight aluminium when it debuted in 2012.

In addition All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) allows drivers to concentrate purely on steering the vehicle when negotiating difficult or slippery terrain by maintaining set crawl speed ranging from 1.8km/h to 30km/h without any pedal inputs. The innovative technology can be activated on the move or from a standstill, to help when pulling away on tricky surfaces such as wet grass or deep sand. “China is a hugely important market for Range Rover and the birthplace of paper, so we have picked the perfect place to celebrate 45 years of our luxury SUV family,” said Nick Rogers, Director Group Engineering Jaguar Land Rover. “Driving a vehicle across a paper bridge is a simple and engaging way of demonstrating both the lightweight construction and all-terrain composure of our most prestigious model.” Paper was invented in China around 2 000 years ago and stock from famous British supplier James Cropper PLC – itself celebrating 170 years in business in 2015 – was chosen to highlight Range Rover’s British roots. 

Tosan Aduayi is the founder of Trendy Africa Magazine and has been an Auto columnist since 1994

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jaguar XJR and XJ-R9 LM trash the tracks at Silverstone

The new Jaguar XJR and the race inspired XJ-R9 LM had an encounter at Silverstone. Le Mans racing Winner Andy Wallace tried out both Jags. Wallace drove the Jags during the day and at night while experiencing the 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 of the XJR. Wallace expressed his experiences while driving both cars.

Driving at night on the Silverstone circuit gave Wallace the opportunity to test the new LED headlights on the new XJ, the first Jaguar to be fitted with the technology. “Driving at Le Mans back in 1988, it was so hard to see at night,” said Wallace. “We were travelling at around 385km/h and it was too fast to see the road ahead. We used the lights more to catch glimpses of landmarks as they whizzed past, so we knew where we were.

“These days, modern road cars have incredible lights. LED technology allows you to see three times the distance we could back then, while active steer and bend also help target the lights to the places you want to see. “As a driver, whether you’re cruising on the road or pushing for performance on track, that level of vision really helps to give you confidence and that improves safety, performance and precision. I would love to have had the modern lights we have now on the XJ-R9 LM.”

“The XJ is now more dynamic and distinctive than ever, and taking the high-performance XJR to Silverstone gave an excellent demonstration of how the new LED lighting fitted to the car can benefit the driver,” said Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director for the Jaguar XJ. "But the new LED lights are just one of many impressive new features on our flagship sedan. Delivering even greater levels of luxury and performance, it features our new world-class infotainment system and interior materials and finishes that create an even more bespoke feel."

The 2016 XJ has had a thorough exterior design refresh and the full LED headlights with unique double 'J-Blade signature' daytime running lights are one of the key additions. They are unique in the Jaguar range. The LED headlights provide a colour temperature closer to that of daylight than the Bi-Xenon lamps they replace, improving visibility and driver comfort and also delivering a significant improvement in energy efficiency.

The most advanced lights ever seen on a Jaguar or Land Rover product, they also accentuate the 'quad lamp' design feature that Jaguar sporting sedans have made their own – a feature that also appeared on the XJ-R9 LM.

Tosan Aduayi has reported on Motoring since 1994 with trademark columns (Roadrunner, Carliners). He is the Founder and Publisher of Trendy Africa Magazine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Modern Auto Transmissions are suffering from too much technology

I noticed a flaw with the continuous variable transmission (CVT) of my 2008 Nissan Altima not long after it was purchased. As a seasoned enthusiast, I knew something was not quite right. Months later, Nissan sent out a notice requesting owners of that model to come into the workshop for an evaluation. Without hesitating, I dashed to the dealership in Arlington Texas where they replaced the entire unit at no cost. On the contrary, I have been driving my 2000 Mercedes Benz E-class daily for over 2-years and the tranny just responds with no hitch.

Modern Auto transmissions have become a headache to drivers and manufacturers alike with rising complaints and recalls. Since 2010, automakers have recalled 7.2 million vehicles in the United States for dangerous transmission defects. The problems range from software problem to malfunctioning gears or clutches. Some fixes are as easy as taking a vehicle to a dealership and having the software replaced. Other times, it may require an entirely new transmission at the cost of thousands of dollars to carmakers and weeks of headaches for new owners.

Kia recalled more than 400,000 vehicles recently because they would shift out of park when the brake was pressed. Honda had to recall some Civics and its new Fit due to problems with the continuously variable transmission they use.

Twenty years ago, most cars had four or five gear transmissions. Six gears is now the industry norm though some cars have seven, eight and even nine gears as in the Jeep and Chrysler front or all-wheel-drive models. There are also more cars sold today with continuously variable transmissions, which, technically, have an infinite number of gear ratios.

Tosan Aduayi has reported on Motoring since 1994 with trademark columns (Roadrunner, Carliners). He is the Founder and Publisher of Trendy Africa Magazine.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Two millionth Series Land Rover Defender up for Auction in Dubai

Land Rover’s milestone vehicle the ‘Defender 2,000,000’ has landed in Dubai for an exclusive preview ahead of its special auction at Bonhams on 16th December, when car collectors from across the globe are expected to gather in London to bid for the unique car.

The two millionth Series Land Rover and Defender built in Solihull, UK, was displayed in the Al Fahidi district of the city, the historical heart of Dubai. To reflect Land Rover’s rich history and evolution through the decades, the vehicle was presented alongside a Series I Land Rover. The Defender pedal car concept, a hand-built tribute to Defender’s legacy which could be a popular collector’s piece and children’s toy in the region, completed the trio.

Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true ‘breadth of capability’ across the model range. Defender, Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque each define the world's 4x4 sectors, with 80% of this model range exported to over 170 countries.

Communication source: JLR SA and SSA