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Porsche 911 Turbo (997) Review
The 997 Turbo arrived in 2006 to carry on the great tradition of range topping forced induction for the 911. It followed on from the 996 Turbo as the de facto real world supercar, something that has become a bit of a well-worn cliche, but hard to get away from. It’s what makes the Turbo such an enduring icon.
2014 Honda City Compact Sedan Review
While they may not produce headline performance figures, small hatchbacks and sedans are the bread and butter of the automotive world. Laugh and point all you want but when it comes to laying down your own cold, hard cash on a car that simply needs to get you to and from work, costs peanuts to run and will handle the kind of every day abuse you'll fling at it, small cars rock.
2014 Porsche Cayman S Quick Review
Press launches can be a little hurried, giving you very little time to live with a car for a few days and to start picking away at the little niggles that turn into big gripes. A second take always gives you a chance to scan over things you may have missed the first time around and really let things soak in.
Boxster & ‘S’ Porsche Boxster 2.5 986 Review
To suggest that the 986-model Boxster saved Porsche from extinction might today sound melodramatic, when its stock is riding so extraordinarily high, but it is almost certainly true.
Crystal Baller Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe Review
Charged with spinning Mercedes-Benz’s imperial star destroyer, the S-class, into a Bentley Continental fighting flagship coupe, the Stuttgart federation broke character: It asked for a solution from the designers rather than the engineers. The resulting shape is beautiful, sexy, muscular, and extravagant.
2014 Superzoom Lenses Group Test (Part 3)
Extra zoom range is attractive in any superzoom, but there can be trade-offs in image quality. You’re pushing the limits of what’s technically possible, and side effects can include increased barrel distortion at the wide-angle end, and pincushion distortion at telephotosettings. You may also see increased vignetting (corner darkening), especially at larger apertures.
2014 Superzoom Lenses Group Test (Part 1)
For convenience and versatility, a good superzoom lens comes up trumps. It enables everything from wide-angle shooting to telephoto reach with a quick twist of the zoom ring, saving you the chore of changing lenses – and that can be a big bonus when you’re out in dusty conditions and don’t want the inside of your D-SLR getting plastered with grit.
R&D Spending Hike Points To New Products At Apple (Part 2)
With the South Korean company fearing that it could end up joining the likes of HTC, LG and Xiaomi as just another low-margin smartphone vendor, it has already invested significantly into the creation of its own Tizen mobile platform and the use of Android overlays - like Magazine UX. The latter marked unsuccessful Samsung attempts to lessen perceptions that its phones are mere vehicles for Google's ubiquitous mobile OS.
R&D Spending Hike Points To New Products At Apple (Part 1)
In-between the major launches by companies like Apple and Samsung that get us excited so much, there are various established ways of getting a sense of what may be coming as far as new products and software are concerned in the next few months and years.
2014 Volkswagen Scirocco R Review (Part 2)
The Scirocco is a different beast altogether. The noise it makes on full throttle gear- changes is simply superb, and the low-down driving position with the figure-hugging chairs envelops you in quasi-motorsport surroundings. There is absolutely no sign that the Scirocco is inferior to the Golf R in any way.
2014 Volkswagen Scirocco R Review (Part 1)
Europeans love the three-door Golf GTI but they're a difficult sell in the Middle East. You can get one if you really insist and are prepared to wait, but chances are the salesman will direct your attention to the sleek Scirocco which shares everything with the Golf bar the extra height, doors and luggage space.
Alfa Bravo Alfa Romeo 4C Review (Part 2)
If you’ve spent time in a modern Lotus, then the stoop down into the cockpit of the Alfa isn’t anything new. Some more generously proportioned colleagues found it a little squeeze, but once you’re in, finding a comfy seating position is simple.
Alfa Bravo Alfa Romeo 4C Review (Part 1)
Alfa Romeo is a name steeped in automotive and motorsport nostalgia, but the new Alfa 4C is as much a raw driving experience as it is a technical marvel. The car made its Middle East debut at the Dubai Motor Show last November and recently, the first customers in the US began receiving theirs.
Huracán Force Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 (Part 2)
The popular story line holds that the newest bulls mark a monumental shift for Lamborghini and its relationship with Audi; that the Germans have gone down to where the wild things are and tamed one and made it their own. The blown coolant hose is only the first indication that this Lamborghini is still very much Italian.
Huracán Force Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 (Part 1)
You may know the Nardo Ring as the 7.8-mile asphalt track where the world’s automakers take their top-speed vacations. A traffic-free circular autobahn in the heel of Italy’s boot, the Porsche-owned test track is banked such that you can take your hands off any car’s steering wheel at 149 mph in the outer lane.
The BMW M235i – Little Blue Booster (Part 2)
You can get a six-speed manual if you please, but the eight-speed auto is the one everyone will buy. The auto has the full gambit of functions from blink-of-the-eye shifts in Sport Plus mode to a decoupling coasting mode in Eco Pro when you take your foot off the gas above 50km/h. And there’s auto stop-start as well.
The BMW M235i – Little Blue Booster (Part 1)
BMW adds another tempting M Performance machine to its ranks with the invigorating M235i coupe. Think of it as an M4 lite
Musical Fidelity M8 PRE Preamp/M8-500s Power Amp (Part 3)
My vinyl experience largely mirrored the USB DAC one, with the added dimensions that pure analogue brings, but not until overcoming one obstacle – hum harmonics.
Musical Fidelity M8 PRE Preamp/M8-500s Power Amp (Part 2)
The volume control and its LED readout sit above the long row of front mounted input buttons. The large knob controls a laser-trimmed resistive (analogue) attenuator with 0.5dB increments. Rather scarily, the knob must be rotated quite a few times before the display reads around 60 or more and playback reaches a usable level.
Musical Fidelity M8 PRE Preamp/M8-500s Power Amp (Part 1)
I heard this pre-power combination at the 2014 Bristol Sound and Vision Show in the Musical Fidelity Room, fed via a Musical Fidelity V90 DAC and playing through a pair of Spendor D7 loudspeakers. I thought the system sounded pretty darn good, so I made a mental note to review the pre and power amp – and the V90 DAC which was being used with them – after the show.
Spending Time With A Spendor Loudspeaker (Part 3)
In my listening room, where once resided my Spendor BC1s, I noticed especially fine treble dispersion and extension, as well as freedom from any harshness. The treble had a crystalline clarity that put the Spendor D7 among the finest speakers I have heard at any price.
Spending Time With A Spendor Loudspeaker (Part 2)
The D7 benefits from all the things Spencer Hughes couldn’t dream of. Computer-aided design. Computeraided manufacturing (CAM) with computer-numerical control (CNC) machines. The ability to whip up and test prototype drivers within hours rather than weeks or months.
Spending Time With A Spendor Loudspeaker (Part 1)
Hi-fi firms have begun in garages. The English Spendor company was started in a bathtub. Or was it a kitchen sink? By days in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Spencer Hughes worked as part of the BBC’s loudspeaker research team.
2015 Audi S3 Sedan Review (Part 2)
There's no shortage of grip, however. Even on the B581 between Broughton Astley and Stoney Stanton a road with a surface that feels as if it's just been strafed- the S3's Dunlop Sport Maxx RT tires found epoxy-like levels of adhesion.
2015 Audi S3 Sedan Review (Part 1)
The looks are Audi-familiar. Despite carrying its engine sideways and being almost 10 inches shorter than an S4, the S3 looks close enough to its sibling that it could probably use its driver's license as a fake ID. The baby sedan's hatchback origins are only obvious in the relative shortness of its trunk lid.
Blow It 2015 BMW M3 Review
The new F80-generation M3 is drawing its share of cyber hate, mainly because of its engine configuration. Engines are (or should be) holy to a company whose name translates to “Bavarian Engine Factory,” and special powerplants should be part of what you pay for in any M car.
Californication Ferrari California T Review
Five years ago, if you’d asked Ferrari engineers why they didn’t use turbo-chargers, you probably would’ve gotten colorful responses involving a lot of suggestive hand gestures. With very few exceptions (F40), forced induction used to be blasphemous in Maranello- not enough aural emotion.
Consonance Cyber M100 15th Anniversary Integrated Amp (Part 2)
As ever with valves acoustic instruments make the best impression, so Gregorio Paniagua’s ‘La Folia’ sounded beautiful – the original instruments revealing their rich, sonorous tone and the space in the recording opening up to let those instruments express themselves.
Consonance Cyber M100 15th Anniversary Integrated Amp (Part 1)
While many well-known ‘manufacturers’ get their products built in China, there are still not that many Chinese companies that have managed to establish a profile as strong as that of Opera Audio from Beijing. The fact that Opera’s Consonance Cyber-100 amplifier celebrates its 15th anniversary shows just how well established this brand has become.
VoltaBox - Superior Battery Pack Solutions (Part 2)
Production on projects in Cedar Park will begin in September, with series battery systems expected to be delivered from the end of the month onward. In production will be the company’s new modular systems for prismatic cells.
VoltaBox - Superior Battery Pack Solutions (Part 1)
In an age when the demands on lithium-ion battery systems are increasing, the need for flexibility, speed and cost effectiveness cannot be underestimated.
Yamaha MOTIV.e – Factory Fresh
Yamaha has teamed up with Gordon Murray and Zytek to deliver a concept electric vehicle with a difference.
2014 Ultra-wide Lenses Group Test (Part 4) - Tokina AF 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 DX
Think ‘fisheye zoom’ and you’re probably thinking of the much vaunted Canon EF 8-15mm. However, the Canon and this lesser-known Tokina are very different.
2014 Ultra-wide Lenses Group Test (Part 3) - Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II
The largest aperture of f/3.5 therefore remains available throughout the entire zoom range and, indeed, it’s a third of a stop faster than both the Canon EF 17-40mm and Tokina 12-24mm constant-aperture zoom lenses in the group.
2014 Ultra-wide Lenses Group Test (Part 2) - Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM, Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM
Rewriting the rule book on rectilinear ultra-wide lenses for APS-C cameras, the Sigma 8-16mm reigns supreme when it comes to sheer angle of view. At its shortest 8mm focal length this is 114 degrees compared with the 107 degrees of the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens. But with the extra comes compromise.
2014 Ultra-wide Lenses Group Test (Part 1) - Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Once the most expensive lens in the group by some margin, the EF-S 10-22mm used to cost even more than Canon’s L-series (Luxury) EF 17-40mm full-frame offering. Build quality feels pretty solid and robust, but it lacks the usual L-series refinements, like weather-seals and a lens hood.
Cocktail Audio CA-X30 Network Media Player/Amp (Part 2)
Sound in the main is good. It’s essentially a very good music server with an amp, rather than a very good all-rounder; the 50W amplifier on board is good, but will never set the world alight.
Cocktail Audio CA-X30 Network Media Player/Amp (Part 1)
Cocktail Audio is a little gem in the making. The brand currently consists of just two models; the CA-X10, which is a ripping, storing, CD playing, internet-radio chummy, half-size media player, and the CA-X30, which is the X10 with built in FM/RDS tuner, 50W per channel amplifier, and a separate analogue input.
Atoll ST200 Media Player/DAC Review (Part 2)
More important is the Atoll’s timing ability; this is what reels you in and makes you want to listen. It’s the equal to the Cyrus Lyric in this regard, but the Atoll has a rounder tonal balance and a textured, detailed midrange than the Cyrus’ line output, which is a little bright by comparison.
OEM Interview: Ford – Green Oval (Part 4)
As a company, Layden says that Ford is seeing more interest in its small range of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which realize 34km (21 miles) of pure electric driving and then an increased range thanks to the IC Stirling-cycle engine.
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