Ten Things We Learned This Week

A banned BMW advert and a 900,000km Merc G-Wagen: it’s your weekly car news roundup

A man has taken 26 years to drive 900,000km in a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

In 1988, Gunther Holtorf bought a Mercedes-Benz G Wagen. In the following 26 years, he and his wife travelled the equivalent of 22 times around the earth. 897,000km, to be precise. Why? Because G, that’s why.

“In 1988 when I bought the car, I was a bit sceptical about the promise made by Mercedes-Benz [‘where there’s a G, there’s a way’],” he recalls.

Together with his G – affectionately named ‘Otto’ – and his wife, who has now sadly passed away, Gunther travelled through 215 countries, including North Korea, China, Mount Everest’s base camp, the Australian outback, Siberia and the Dead Sea.

Some more stats: he crossed 410 borders outside Europe, braced temperatures as low as -27 degrees and +50 degrees, and spent an equivalent of 3.5 years in the driving seat.

“The entire drivetrain is still original,” Gunther recalls. “Neither the frame nor the body have shown any signs of fatigue.”

To Gunther and his G, then, may we present a hearty TG salute.

The 2015 Audi RS3 will be really fast and potentially a bit slidey

TG.com got a hotride in the new Audi RS3 earlier this week, set to hit our shores at some point early next year. And the base facts read like this: 360bhp+ five-cylinder turbo engine, seven-speed DSG gearbox, bespoke dampers, sticky tyres and a rejigged 4WD system.

It’s the last thing that’s interesting. Around the Nürburgring, former Porsche Supercup champion Frank Stippler was four-wheel-drifting everywhere. We can’t wait to have a go ourselves.

Flat out in the new Audi RS3

The Toyota Aygo will become an actual Manga cartoon

Here’s a TG Fact for you. The new Toyota Aygo’s chief engineer David Terai enjoyed the classic manga character Robot Boy so much, he incorporated its essence into the design of the new city car.

Now, Toyota has gone full circle and turned the Aygo-inspired-by-a-Manga-cartoon into an actual Manga cartoon.

Sonia Leong, a leading Manga artist, was commissioned by Toyota to produce “an adventure story in which the superhero’s wheels are a truly one-off version of Aygo.” That’s the superhero above.

It’ll be unveiled next week at the London Comic Con. Get your mum and dad to drop you off.

First drive: the new Toyota Aygo

The ASA has banned a BMW M4 advert

The Advertising Standards Agency has upheld a complaint regarding an advert featuring the BMW M4, meaning it cannot be shown again in the UK.

The advert features an M4 convertible on both road and racetrack; the complainant believed the ad encouraged unsafe driving and asked whether it was socially irresponsible.

The ASA’s assessment noted that it was unclear which setting – race track or road driving – was being shown, and therefore told BMW it must not appear in this form again. You can read the full assessment here.

The Toyota GT86 is now £2k cheaper than before

Toyota has slashed the price of a brand new GT86 to a penny under £23k – or £22,495 if you snap one up now – and introduced a new ‘Aero’ pack too, which includes a full body kit, aero spoiler and exclusive yellow metallic paintwork.

Though the Aero version comes in at £27,495, the base version retains the car’s excellent DNA: 2.0-litre boxer engine, six-speed manual ‘box, limited slip differential and rear-wheel-drive.

Audi is lapping Hockenheim with a driverless car and you should be TERRIFIED

This weekend, the final race of Germany’s DTM season will be preceded by a rather special hot lap, as Audi sends an autonomously driven RS7 around the circuit. It’s targeting something close to race pace.

Audi’s not trying to replace racing drivers, rather it’s a high-profile demonstration of how far its self-driving tech has come. And we’ve had a sneak preview. Read what happened when we had a go both behind the wheel and from the passenger seat here. Terrified? You didn’t have to sit in the passenger seat…

TG gets a hot lap in Audi’s self-driving car

Anyone can drive a Jaguar Le Mans car

Well, anyone with a spare £750 knocking around or exceedingly generous friends. Jaguar has launched a new range of driving experiences, with half a day driving some Le Mans vintage C- and D-Types around its Warwickshire test facility the most eye-grabbing on offer.

According to Jaguar’s website, you’ll ‘feel the wind whistle around your helmet’. And if that’s not a good enough endorsement to get saving the pennies, then may we suggest you watch this superbly driven C-Type for inspiration?

If you’re concerned your heel-and-toeing and minute slide corrections aren’t up to scratch, then passenger rides start at a much more palatable £95. Altogether, now, ‘Dear Santa…’

The BMW M3 is FAST

To be fair, with 425bhp on tap, we’ve never accused it of being slow. But quite how successfully this particular M3 transfers its twin turbocharged power to the drag strip to effortlessly lunge towards an 11.66 second quarter mile has taken us a bit by surprise.

Admittedly it’s glugging some posh 103 octane fuel, but the trick twin-clutch transmission and its fancy launch control can probably take a lot of the credit, too.

There can’t be many ways to project four people at the horizon quite so quickly…

Watch the video here

Jay Leno 3D prints his own car parts

Need a new window winder for your 1993 Ford Fiesta? Local scrap yard short of 1986 Nissan Bluebird sun visors? Desperately scouring auction websites for a replacement glovebox lid for your 1997 Toyota Paseo?

There’s only one man to call. And it’s, err, Jay Leno. The king of TV chat shows is famous for his vast collection of cars, and if a part goes kaput that he can’t replace, he now utilises a 3D printer to replace it. Whether he’s actually using it for a side business in parts dealing now he’s not on The Tonight Show remains unconfirmed.

Abarth is now on Streetview

Following last week’s revelation that a camel has been tasked with Streetview filming duties, this week’s Google news concerns Italian maker of fun hatches, Abarth.

Fiat’s sportifying division has let the Streetview cameras tour its factory (presumably not on camelback on this occasion) to capture the place that puts together some of the fizziest hatches on sale. You can even sit behind a recreation of founder Karl Abarth’s desk.

We’re setting aside the afternoon to try and find the long-rumoured Mazda MX-5-based Abarth roadster…

Check it out here

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.