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  • 03/28/2015 - 18:00

    Fifth Gear: Series 3 - Episode 10


    Fifth Gear: Series 3 - Episode 10

    In Series 3 Episode 10 of Fifth Gear (Air Date 28th May 2003) We look into the world of car chases in film! Featuring The Matrix, the BMW series "The Hire" and the ultimate British TV classic...
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    Fifth Gear
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    2034

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    Time:
    23:09
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  • 03/26/2015 - 18:00

    Nissan 350Z Review - Fifth Gear


    Nissan 350Z Review - Fifth Gear

    It's #ThrowbackThursday! Tiff is over in the US testing out the Nissan 350Z, giving his views on how it compares to Nissan's previous cars. For more fantastic car reviews, shoot-outs and all...
    From:
    Fifth Gear
    Views:
    3559

    40
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    Time:
    05:05
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  • 03/24/2015 - 18:19

    Ferrari F12 vs. Aston Martin Vanquish - Fifth Gear


    Ferrari F12 vs. Aston Martin Vanquish - Fifth Gear

    From our brand new series, watch Tiff Needell go against Karun Chandhok in this GT Drift off! Both drivers have three attempts to drift the best line, and will get marked 1-10. For more fantastic...
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    Fifth Gear
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    19842

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    Time:
    06:15
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  • 04/04/2022 - 16:01

    New York show: BMW M6

    The

  • 03/29/2015 - 01:01

    Bentley plots extreme rear-drive sports car for 2016


    This Autocar image shows how the new sports car could look

    A new sports car, even more extreme than last year's GT3-R, is in the offering and should go on sale next year for around £300,000
    Bentley seems certain to build its first rear-wheel-drive sports car of the modern era and put it on sale next year. The car will be based on the current Continental GT and will be a far more extreme offering than the four-wheel-drive GT3-R, which was launched last year.“A lot of people expected the GT3-R to be a proper rear-wheel-drive sports car,” Bentley engineering boss Rolf Frech told Autocar, “but the problem was timing. We needed the car at the end of the first season of our GT3 racing car, and to do a proper change of the complete powertrain needed longer than we had. But we have the concept in our mind, so why not?”The new car will have a version of the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 used by both road and race Continentals, but it is likely to be boosted beyond even the 572bhp of the £237,500 GT3-R.However, the main focus will be on weight reduction. The aim is to make this the first sub-2000kg Bentley in a generation, a 200kg saving over the GT3-R of which less than half will come from the conversion to rear drive.Expect fairly sparse levels of standard equipment, therefore, and unprecedented use of lightweight materials for the brand. There is no word on how much the car will cost or how many will be built, but the run is likely to be limited to even fewer than the 300 GT3-Rs that are to be made, and at a price sure to be close to £300,000.Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

  • 03/28/2015 - 01:01

    Rover 2000 versus European Car of the Year finalists


    The Rover 2000 was named European Car of the Year in 1964

    The first European Car of the Year was the Rover 2000. Today, 51 years on, can it still teach the current crop a thing or two?
    Mortefontaine, just north of Paris, 17 February. It’s the annual European Car of the Year (COTY) test event, with nearly every member of the 58-strong jury, representing 22 countries, gathered at the CERAM motor industry test facility to try out this year’s seven-car ranges shortlisted for COTY 2015 and pick a winner.This year, however, there’s an eighth model, a car that doesn’t have to beat any rivals, because it already has. It’s a Rover 2000, the first car to be crowned Car of the Year, and it has returned to demonstrate just how much has changed – and how little – since the award began in 1964.In the 11 October 1963 issue, Autocar in its road test rated the Rover 2000 as “one of the outstanding cars of the decade”. There were many reasons for this, mostly centred around technical innovation, plentiful safety features (including four-wheel disc brakes), a feeling of quality, tenacious roadholding and a remarkable ride.Such attributes are just as important today, although the new-century emphasis on fuel economy and emissions didn’t worry the judges so much back in 1964. Nor did panel gaps as wide as your little finger, the result of cladding a rigid base unit with entirely bolt-on skin panels.The idea was to drive a Rover 2000 to CERAM, get several judges from several countries to make some sage observations about the state of half a century’s progress, remind myself of the attributes of this year’s crop (I, like Messrs Prior and Frankel, am among the UK’s six judges) and drive it home again. With luck, the Rover would continue to function for the full 750-mile round trip.First, though, I needed a Rover, preferably a Series One, single-carburettor, manual-transmission version as per the 1964 winner. P6-model Rovers in this primordial form are scarce nowadays. The obvious thing would be to find a keen owners’ club member, but where’s the commitment in that? So I found myself buying one, taking the view that at least one British COTY judge should own the first winner, given that it was British.I found it in Leyland, Lancashire, which seemed a good omen. It was bought new in April 1967 by a retired aeronautical engineer in Gerrard’s Cross, Bucks, and he sold it 15 years later to his Lancs-based nephew. Sadly, the nephew died last year, so the family, with heavy hearts, put the Rover up for sale.It has had paint but has seemingly never been restored, nor even welded, during its 76,000 miles, and it came with an impressive stash of spares. After a few weekends’ pleasurable fettling, it was ready for its cross-Channel adventure. Via P&O ferry, of course. The tunnel would have been quite wrong for the 1960s vibe.You daren’t cruise beyond the legal 81mph limit in France nowadays, a speed at which the 48-year-old Rover seems quite happy. The Autocar test said the engine becomes busy if pressed hard above 4000rpm, and nothing has changed there, but “on the high top gear it hums along easily and contentedly at anything up to 90mph or so”.Top whack was 102.5mph, with 60mph arriving 15.1sec after a standing start. By today’s standards, the acceleration is very gentle despite the overhead-camshaft engine’s healthy 90bhp.At the test event, 52 judges (six couldn’t make it) have 51 cars to test, including the Rover. First to take the backward time travel is Tony Verhelle from AutoGids magazine in Belgium. I’ll luxuriate in one of the Rover’s two individual, leather-trimmed rear seats while Verhelle drives the track and photographer Matt snaps from the front passenger seat. We’re heading for the first chicane of several.“This is a big steering wheel,” he observes. “It makes it feel like an old car, but the gearchange is good and so are the brakes.” More bends. “Yes, the handling is good. It inspires confidence.” And how does it cope with the cobblestoned section? “What cobblestones? I didn’t feel them.”Back at base, Verhelle considers what 50 years of development have achieved. “There’s much less in the way of assistance and driver aids here, but this car drives more comfortably than most modern cars. I have a 1954 Citroën 2CV and today I’m angry with Citroën. They have lost their big attribute: a comfortable ride.”Next up, Zsolt Csikos from Hungarian website Totalcar.hu. “It has a good turning circle,” he remarks as we thread our way past a sea of shortlisters. Into the first bend, with enthusiasm. “There’s a lot of body roll, but the steering is nice and fluid and it weights up the right amount. I love the gearbox with its very short movements, and there’s lots of torque.”A few corners later, we’re at the cobbles again. “There are no rattles at all. This suspension is incredible, and the seats are comfortable in the way French ones used to be. I’m really overwhelmed.”There’s a theme developing here: somewhere along the way, car makers have forgotten about true comfort while chasing ‘sportier’ handling. Yet the Rover, for all its body roll, is beautifully damped and very grippy. Now it’s the turn of Hakan Matson from Sweden. He writes for Dagens Industri and is the COTY president.“It’s amazing how they fit the airbag into that small space,” he observes, pointing at the centre of the slender, almost skeletal steering wheel. “I love this wheel, andthere’s plenty of room. I’m sitting very comfortably.“So much has happened since this car, but the new ones are still just a box on four wheels, still recognisably the same idea. Look at the wide, open dashboard on the Citroën Cactus, and the rectangular design motifs. It’s the same as in this Rover, really. I like the comfort of this car, and the details such as the markers on the sidelights, illuminated at night, so you can see the corners of the car.”Peter Ruch from Switzerland is next. He masterminds Automobil Revue, that indispensable catalogue of all the world’s cars published at every Geneva motor show. He knows the Rover P6 a little, having driven a 3500 V8 version, and he takes to this 2000 straight away with impressive smoothness and flow. A BMW 2-series Active Tourer passes us. “So now we’re going to chase him,” says Ruch with a worrying grin.“This steering is more like a ship’s, and there’s a little bit of body roll and lots of understeer, but it’s comfortable and a good cruiser. It doesn’t feel 50 years old. This dashboard is much more charismatic than a modern car’s. There was much more creativity back then.“Today you are driven. In this you are driving, so you concentrate much more.”Finally, it’s Jaco Bijlsma from Auto Visie in the Netherlands, the magazine that came up with the original COTY idea. “It has proper steering feel, and it’s less loose than I expected. And it’s a very nice design visually. Obviously, the safety, refinement and ergonomics aren’t as good as they are now, but this was very technically advanced for its time and the visibility is much better than in a new car. I like it.”Comfort, driving involvement, the view out… not all progress over the past 50 years has been in a forward direction, it seems. And if history had taken a slightly different course, maybe Rover would still be in the top league of premium car makers.Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. 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