Category Archives: Motoring

Belfast Motor Show

Honestly, I was going to the Belfast Motor Show with quite high expectations. It turned out to be not as quite as big as I had hoped although the standard of cars were quite high! The BMS team had gotten Noble Automotive on board and my god did they choose wisely. The Noble M600 was on display and it was just, well, noble! It looks amazing. They had two cars there, an Orange and a Very Dark Blue one.

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Noble is a small British car manufacturer that is based in Leicester. It debuted with its M10 in 1999 but really made a name for itself in 2001 with the M12. It had a 3 litre V6 producing 352bhp. Not bad for a car that only weighed 1,050kg and can be bought second hand today for as little as £22,000. Noble now have only one model on the go, the M600. It has a 4.4 litre Yamaha V8 producing 650 bhp. It only weighs 1198kg.  That gives it a power to weight ratio of 542bhp per tonne. I can only imagine how crazy this car is to drive!

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The next exhibit to impress me were the two cars that Charles Hurst had on display. The Maserati Ghibli Diesel and Quattroporte Diesel.  Unfortunately there wasn’t anyone to talk to about the cars so thats all I have to say about that…

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T
he QP is still quite a looker. It definitely doesn’t appeal to me as much as the first generation one but I wouldn’t say no. What I would say no to though is a diesel one. It just wouldn’t seem right.

Outside in the courtyard there were, what looked like, car club stands. There were a few modified cars, classics and the Rover Club of Northern Ireland even made an appearance with 3 P4’s, 2 SD1’s and a P6.

So overall the Belfast Motor Show wasn’t as spectacular as it set out to be.  Although, with a few more exciting stands there , they could be on to something. It was the first Belfast Motor Show in 12 years so atleast they made an effort. I really do hope that they run it again next year.

I will leave you with a few pictures:
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Please do forgive me for my photography skills.

 

Porsche 911 Turbo S GB Edition

Since it first went on sale in 1974, the Porsche 911 Turbo has become a much sought after model by car enthusiasts and has become a famed high performance sports coupé which many companies try to beat. Since 1986, Porsche has been offer tailored sports cars to customers who want something a little different from their Porsche, including performance and styling.

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As the name suggests, the Porsche 911 Turbo S GB Edition will only be made available to UK customers and are limited to 40 units. It will be powered by a 560bhp flat six-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine with an all-wheel drive chassis. As with the standard Turbo S model, handling is improved by the addition of PDCC, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. The 911 Turbo S can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 317km/h. Of course Porsche hasn’t forgotten, they set a lap time of 7 minutes and 27 seconds around the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.

Th 911 Turbo S GB Edition adds features from previous Porsche models. In particular, the 911 Turbo 930 from ’74. This idea sound familiar? Yes, the Porsche 911 Sport Classic of 2009. Only 250 ever made.

The Porsche 911 Sport Classic - Exclusive For 250 Fans Of The 911

In profile, the 911 Turbo S Exclusive GB Edition shows a clear link to the first 911 Turbo – the black rear upper spoiler, Sport Classic wheels in black, black finished exterior door handles, and the black ‘Porsche’ script along the sills pays tribute to its ancestor. Inside the motif is continued. The black leather upholstery features Guards Red contrasting stitching and unique highlights include an embossed Union flag on the centre storage compartment lid.

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So you want your Turbo S GB edition in red, sir?, no problem. White, sir?, no problem. Blue, sir?, Sorry no can do! The GB Edition comes in three different colours, White, Guards Red and GT Silver metallic. Ah sure who needs the colours of the flag anyway…The wheels are 20″ Sport Classic alloys in Gloss Black. Here is a lost of the special features:

  • Porsche logo script in black along door sills
  • Storage compartment lid with embossed Union flag
  • SportDesign steering wheel with centre marking in Guards Red and rim with Guards Red stitching
  • Black leather interior with Guards Red stitching
  • Privacy glazing
  • Porsche crest embossed on head restraints
  • Seat belts in Guards Red
  • Personalised carbon door sill guards with ‘911 Turbo S – Exclusive GB Edition’ in illuminated lettering
  • Carbon interior trim, including PDK gear lever, with chrome logo on dash insert
  • Bespoke floor mats with leather edging and decorative stitching in Guards Red

Each lucky customer receives a complementary accessory pack including a personalised indoor car cover, a photo book of the build process and a key pouch in leather with decorative Guards Red stitching.

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So you want one? Well you can for as little as £150,237! Just a mere £8,000 more than a standard Turbo S. With places only limited to 40 units you would want to get your hands on one quick! Ah of course, only for UK customers… Dream on I suppose

The XC90 bids you farewell

After 636,143 units and 12 years of fine motoring, the current model of the Volvo XC90 comes to an end. Since its launch in January 2002, the XC90 has changed the way an SUV should be. It combined robust motoring with fine luxury. 110714volvo_ie2 On the 7 January 2002, Volvo Car Corp. launched the Volvo XC90 to the public at the Detroit Motor Show. In its 12 years, the successful SUV won more than 100 international distinctions, even SUV of the Year in 2003. It was also named Sweden’s most valuable export product with a value of SEK 40bn per annum, just over €4.3bn, in its peak years.  Volvo dealers had received 15,000 orders before its production in 2003! After producing 636,143 XC90s, production came to an end today in Volvos plant in Torslanda, Sweden. The last XC90 will be driven straight from the factory to the museum, both located in Gothenburg. The current XC90 production will be moved to the plant in Daging and will be renamed to the XC Classic but will only be sold in China. The all new XC90 will be revealed in August and production will start at the end of January 2015. Here’s a little history of the XC90: “In August 1998, Volvo Cars project director Hans Wikman was commissioned to develop a proposal for a modern, 7-seater SUV that was not too large. The car project was named P28, was to be based on the same platform as the Volvo S80 and should be launched in 2002. The aim was to sell 50,000 cars a year, a goal that would be beaten by a clear margin – during the peak years 2004-2007, around 85,000 cars were sold each year. The USA has been the largest single market for the XC90, with record figures achieved in 2004 (38,800 cars sold) and 2005 (36,200)”. 110714volvo_ie1 Lex Kerssemakers from Volvo Car Corp. hopes that the next generation of the Volvo XC90 will be as successful as the last. I’m sure there are a few anxious customers out there waiting for the new XC90. So until August, the XC90 bids you farewell.


Interested in a first generation XC90? Well you can get one for a fraction of the original price. Here is a well specced 2004 XC90 with the 2.4 diesel engine for only €14,900. http://www.carzone.ie/search/Volvo/XC90/D5-SE-5D/42313967005826680/advert?channel=CARS

Citroën C1 – Preview

For Citroën lovers, French car enthusiasts and general city drivers August cannot come quicker. The new Citroën C1 will arrive in Irish showrooms this August. Its perky and cheerful styling and remarkable efficiency will make it a serious contender amongst its rivals such as the Volkswagen up!, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108.

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First off the new C1 is available in 3 different trims; the Touch, Feel and Flair. The Airscape versions are available in the Feel and Flair trims. This is a fabric retractable roof, sometimes known as a Webasto roof.

So whats new you ask? Well the new C1’s design includes more dynamic lines. The new face looks well and is brought together by bold headlights. The Airscape models can be finished in bi-tone colour schemes and bright interior fabrics. Just to bring out the best in the cars character. The C1 is said to be agile and nippy and I can see this being true as it can be powered by either a petrol VTi 62 or a petrol PureTech 82 engine. This mighn’t sound like a lot but in a car that is less that 3.5m long, 1.7m wide and 1.5m tall this could have some poke. Even with its small dimensions, the C1 can fit up to 4 adults and has a 196 litre boot space. This is on par with its French la concurrence, the Peugeot 108.

Technology is said to be improved. It includes a 7″ Touch Drive interface and Mirror Screen technology. This allows the driver to run certain apps from their smartphone onto the touch screen. To make the C1 even more functional, keyless entry and start and a reversing camera options are available.

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The Touch, Feel and Flair models are all available in both three and five door models. The Airscape body option is available on both the three and five door versions of the Feel and Flair models. The C1 range starts at €10,995 for the Touch VTi 68 manual 3 door model. This then increase to €15,195 Airscape Flair PureTech 82 manual 5 door model.

Customers will be able to choose from eight different body colours including four metallic options. Three different wheel designs and three different upholstery finishes will also be available. The fabric roof for the Airscape models can be either Black, Grey or Sunrise Red.

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Two latest-generation petrol engines will power the new C1 range. The VTi 68, available with either a 5 speed manual or a 5 speed clutchless Efficient Tronic Gearbox (ETG). The 3-cylinder PureTech 82 engine is also available but only with a 5 speed manual transmission.

Model by Model: 

C1 Touch: Standard spec on the Touch trim inlcudes ABS, EBA, ESC, power-steering, central locking, front electric windows, six airbags, MP3 compatible audio system, a USB socket and LED daytime running lights. Quite generous for the base model.

C1 Feel: There is the addition of air con, DAB digital radio, a 7″ Touch Drive interface with mirror Screen technology and steering mount controls on the Feel trim. You also get body colour door mirrors and door handles.

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C1 Flair: The Flair gives you sports 15″ ‘Planet’ alloys, reversing camera, heated seats, adjustable door mirrors, a leather steering wheel AND tinted rear windows. Not bad!

Here I have the full price list of the new Citroën C1:

NEW CITROËN C1 MRRP[i]
C1 Touch VTi 68 manual 3-door €10,995
C1 Touch VTi 68 manual 5 door €11,595
C1 Feel VTi 68 manual 5-door €13,095
C1 Feel VTi 68 ETG 5-door €13,895
C1 Flair PureTech 82 manual 5-door €14,195
NEW CITROËN C1 AIRSCAPE
C1 Airscape Feel VTi 68 manual 5-door €14,095
C1 Airscape Flair Pure Tech 82 manual 5-door €15,195

Donc, Pensez-Vous qu’il est beau? Commentez dessous

(Do you think it sounds nice? Comment below)

Seat Leon Van

This mightn’t sound very exciting but if you think the Leon looks as good as I do you will like the Leon Van. It will come with 2 different specifications, the S and SE. The S will be priced at€15,450 and the SE at €16,285.

Leon VanIt will feature a 1.6 TDi 90bhp engine. Standard equipment on the S model will be; air conditioning, front electric windows, a multi-function steering wheel with an on-board computer, sport seats and a media system. Outside trim will include electric and heated mirrors in body colour. Electric and electronic stability control and a tyre pressure warning light will also feature.

The SE trim will include everything that the S trim has and more! It boasts 16″ alloys and cruise control. A leather multi-functioning steering wheel, leather gear knob and a leather handbrake are also additions to this model along with fog lights with cornering function, driver seat lumbar support and a centre console with an armrest. For those tricky hills you have hill hold control and for the race track you have traction control (XDS).

2013 saw SEAT increase its sales by 62% and enjoy a record market share of 3%. Well done SEAT!

But what I want to know is when the Leon Van Cupra is out…

New Volkswagen Polo

VW’s new model Polo has reached Irish shores and to celebrate Volkswagen retailers are offering very attractive finance offers. The new Polo starts at €14,995 and comes with a whole new range of engines.

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The front and rear of the Polo has been totally redesigned and the equipment that comes as standard has been radically improved. Aswell as changes to the standard Polo, there have been new engines added to the Cross Polo range. These include 90bhp 1.2 TSI and 90bhp 1.4 TDI engines. At the top of the range sits the Polo BlueGT. It features a 1.4 TSI 150bhp engine with a 7 speed DSG gearbox but only has emissions as low as 108g/km. Thats €190 a year! Impressive!

The new Polo is available in Trendline, Bluemotion, Comfortline, Comfortline+, Cross Polo and BlueGT specs. You can get the Polo from as little as €142 per month through Volkswagen Bank and comes with 3 years roadside assistance and 3 years warranty. 142 customers can avail of 0% APR finance or €500 celebration bonus.

Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Limited Edition

The Mazda MX-5, an iconic, stylish, sexy, cute and rather cool sports car. To celebrate the MX-5’s 25th anniversary model, it is at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from the 26th to the 29th of June. To make it even more special they have a whole stand dedicated to the anniversary model right up close to the Goodwood House, a prime location.

Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary editionPhotograph: James Lipman +44 7803 885275Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary editionPhotograph: James Lipman +44 7803 885275

Only 750 examples of the MX-5 roadster coupe will be made available to UK customers. It will feature a 2 litre petrol engine with the on-the-road price of £22,995 and will be made available this August. Unfortunately there is no mention of Ireland in this line up so I would get your hands on one of 750 as quick as you can.

At the 25th anniversary stand will feature the 10th and 20th anniversary, California, Le Mans, Sport Black and Sport Graphite limited/special editions. Along with these models will be sports cars that inspired the MX-5; including the Lotus Elan and MG Midget. The rare MX-5 GT4 race car and the chassis of the all-new MX-5 will also make an appearance. The main focus, however, will be on the 25th Anniversary Limited Edition.

Now the bit you REALLY want to know. The Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Limited Edition model will be powered by a 2 litre petrol injected engine. It will have an output of 160PS (158BHP), 188 Nm of torque and a top speed of 219 km/h. It has a COof 181 g/km which gives it a motor tax bill of €750 and 7.8l/100km.

Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary edition Photograph: James Lipman +44 7803 885275Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary edition Photograph: James Lipman +44 7803 885275

The exterior paint is a metallic Soul Red with a Brilliant Black folding roof. It is complimented by 17″ gunmetal 10 spoke alloy wheels. Chrome tailpipe tips set of the rear nicely and to top it all off “25th Anniversary” badging is placed around the car to remind passersby that you are in one of only 750 cars.

Inside, you are greeted by Stone leather sports seats with red stitching and for those cold winter morning starts, 5 stage seat heaters. While driving this car, 25th Anniversary will always be at the back of your mind. Literally. Stitched into the headrests are those special words; “25th Anniversary”. A Leather sports steering wheel, handbrake lever and gear knob with contrast red stitching. It really sounds like something to behold. The interior sounds quite exclusive and luxurious but just to add a bit quirkiness, Mazda have fitted a hand-painted Dark Red deco panel across the dash. A nice touch in my opinion.

Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary editionPhotograph: James Lipman +44 7803 885275

So far, this MX-5 has ticked the boxes for petrol heads and people who appreciate style. So to try and make this the ultimate cabrio Mazda have fitted a 6.1 inch Sat Nav system with Bluetooth, USB connectivity, CD player with 6 speakers and an auxiliary jack. Tech people, tick!

It also features the usual bits and pieces:

  • Climate Control
  • Power windows
  • Cruise control
  • Alarm and Immobiliser
  • Stability and Traction Control Systems
  • Front and side airbags
  • Limited Slip Diff (LSD)

If you need anymore information on the MX-5, you can visit either http://www.mazda.co.uk/cars/mx-5-25th-anniversary/offers/ or http://www.mazda.ie/cars/mazda-mx-5-roadster/

 

The very practical Volvo XC70 – a virtual drive

Back in 1997, Volvo introduced a whole new model to its line up. The V70 Cross Country. Its intention was to be a robust estate car and that it was. A 2003 V70 Cross Country, also known as an XC70,  can cost you as little as €2000. This is pretty good value seeing as you get four wheel drive, a 2.4 litre diesel engine and, if you go for the right one, a leather interior.

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But, if you’re on the look out for something a bit more fresh you are in luck. Volvo has just announced a brand new XC70 for the Irish market. It continues to to hold the on-road and off-road capabilities. It has a contemporary but rugged look so is prefect for both situations. It is available with both the D4 and D5 diesel engines with AWD.

The XC70 got a facelift in 2013 and these changes are carried over to the 2015 model. These changes include a bolder front grill, LED daytime running lights and matt sliver trim. The XC70 tries to create a luxurious ride but to have a road-hugging stance. It does this by offering up to 18 inch wheels. There skid plates on the XC70 to protect the car from uneven surfaces.

The luxurious feel is to be continued on the inside with new front seats, “jewellery” knobs and a frameless rear view mirror. Sounds interesting.

The XC70 offers luxury surroundings but with practicality. 575 litres of practicality to be exact. The boot space will have 575 litres of load space. The rear seats can be folded down to give a very generous 1,600 litres of boot space. Another handy feature is the electronically operated tailgate. It can be operated either by the key or by a button on the dash. This car screams practicality.

But wait there’s more practicality. The rear seats can act as a child booster seat also. This I really like; With one simple movement, booster cushions pop up from the seat giving a comfortable and safe ride height for children aged three and up.

Volvo offers a luxurious interior pack at an extra cost. The customer can choose from a number of different options giving that personal touch.

Now down to the price:

Model Price CO2 G/km Road Tax per year
D4 FWD SE Geartronic €48,895 129 €270
D4 FWD SE LUX Geartronic €52,845 129 €270
D5 AWD SE Geartronic €56,895 169 €570
D5 AWD SE LUX Geatronic €60,845 169 €570

“The XC70 is a dynamic and flexible vehicle that suits the Volvo customer’s lifestyle. We are confident that the very competitive pricing, the introduction of the new, powerful and highly efficient D4 engine and the addition of luxurious touches to the range will broaden the appeal of the Volvo XC70” says Volvo Car Ireland MD, Adrian Yeates.

The XC70 is available to order from your local Volvo dealership now. If you would like more information on the XC70, just visit www.volvocars.ie. Hopefully I will get to drive the XC70 sometime in the near future and I might be able to give you a more real-life review

2015 Audi RS7

So Audi have revised their CLS AMG beater, the RS7 sportback. Still producing 560bhp and 700nm of torque, the new RS7 is being equipped with new LED lights and even more toys for the on board computer. The 4.0 litre tfsi petrol engine produces just 9.5litres/100km compared to the standard A7 TDI, it produces 6litres/100km.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

The 4.0 litre V8 includes Audis cylinder on-demand technology meaning that it can cope nicely with your daily rush hour traffic commutes but can give you thrills with the push of a pedal. The lines of the RS7 have always been quite special and they have been improved on the updated version. The dramatic slope at the rear continues to play a big role in the dynamic styling of the 7. The iconic honeycomb-like grill seen on all RS models makes an appearance but with more distinctive and sharper corners. the large Quattro lettering on the front bumper lets cars in front of you know what they are about approached by. Audi give three different styling options- matt aluminium, gloss black and carbon. No matter what one you chose, you’ll have made the right choice. After all its an Audi RS, there are no bad decisions.

Upon request, Audi will fit your RS7 with Matrix LED technology. This is a very clever use of the headlights. However, LED technology comes as standard on the RS7. There are new paint options also. They include Floret Sliver, metallic; Glacier White, metallic; Mythos Black, metallic; and Sepang Blue, pearl effect.

Inside, you are greeted by RS sport seats. The instrument panel has been given a discreet make over. The infotainment system has been upgraded to the latest generation system. Its most important feature is the graphics processor by Audi’s Partner, Nvidia.

The beafy 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 producing 560bhp and 700nm of torque between 1750rpm and 5500 rpm plays a large role in the RS7’s status. It gets the five door sports coupe from 0-100kmh in just 3.9 seconds. Thats Vantage V12 territory. Top speeds are between 280kmh and 305kmh with the optional dynamic packages. The RS has a CO2 output of 221 grams. This gives it a hefty €1200 motor tax bill. This 221 grams of CO2 is helped by the cylinder on demand feature which shuts down half of the V8’s cylinders where necessary. An 8 speed tiptronic gearbox works with the bi-turbo V8. On request, Audi will equip the RS with a sports differential on the rear axle.

The adaptive air suspension with adaptive dampening, standard on the RS7, lowers it by 20mm. A further option is dynamic steering giving it that more sportier feel. 20-inch lightweight alloys are fitted as standard but can be replaced by 21-inch ones in three different colours as an option. The ventilated brake disks have a weight-saving wave design but option carbon fibre-ceramic brakes are also available.

So know that you have the whole low-down on the RS7, are you ready to order one? Well you can do so towards the end of 2014 and your car will be ready for delivery in January 2015. Price to be confirmed closer to the launch.

 

Abarth 500 – Review

When the Fiat 500 Abarth was introduced in 1958 it had a 479cc engine producing a mind-boggling 26bhp! It was, as it is now, based on the Fiat 500 but with slight adjustments to the appearance and a huge adjustment to the engine.

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The “new” Abarth 500 began production in 2008 with its turbo charged 1.4 litre engine. It produces 135bhp in the standard model but there is an esseesse (SS) version which produces 160bhp. There are also 595 and 695 versions of the Abarth 500 and they are even more powerful and handsome looking again.

The 135bhp model I drove is definitely more than enough. It mightn’t sound like a lot but 135 horsies in a car that weighs only 1035kg is pretty impressive. It’s certainly quick also, Abarth claims that it does 0-100kmh in 7.9 seconds with the manual box but 8.1 seconds with the Competizione (automatic) transmission. I see the Abarth 500 as a small, ‘nippy’ city car. It has enough boot space for your daily essentials and that’s about it really. So boot space is limited but unlike some city cars its rear seats can fold out flat for that dreaded trip to Ikea.

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That then brings me to the ‘living’ area. As you sit into the 500 you are greeted by a large scorpion emblem on the sports steering wheel and the same quirky dash you find in the Fiat 500. The Abarth has the addition of a turbo gauge on the dash. The interior isn’t of best quality. The plastics feel quite cheap and the turbo gauge looks like it was just thrown up onto the dash as a last minute job. However its not all bad, My car had red and black leather which suited the cabin nicely. On a new Abarth this is a €1000 option! These leather seats are for the driver and front passenger and for the small adults in the rear it is cloth. The leg room in the rear is quite tight. I’m six foot and just about fit in.

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From the outside, the Abarth is certainly a head turner. The colour of my test car was Bianco, which is a form of pearlescent white so it looks well when polished up. The added body kit sets it apart from the standard Fiat 500. The body kit consists of wider arches, a sportier front bumper and a rear spoiler. The look is completed with large red brake calipers. There are Scorpian emblems on each rear wing which you immediately identify with the Abarth brand.

Now, I only got to drive the Abarth for a short amount of time but in that time I had so much fun. As soon as I sat in and turned the key I had a huge smile on my face. The engine noise is just something else! On the 135bhp version of the Abarth you get twin exhausts but on the 595 you get the Record Monza quad exhaust. It may look a bit much with a quad exhaust on this tiny car but it sounds amazing.

Driving the Abarth is like driving a go kart. Its small, quick and nimble. The steering is very responsive and smooth with the help of electronic steering. I took it down a dual carriage way and before I knew it I was doing 80kmh. It mightn’t have a top speed to rival its Italian cousin, Ferrari, but it will get up to the speed limit in the quickest and most fun way possible. The ride really compensates the cheap interior so don’t let that turn you off it. The lack of an all leather interior doesn’t detract from the sensation of power in this small hot hatch.

All in all the Abarth 500 is a drivers car and for the purists the engine note is the only music you’ll need to hear in this car.

I am grateful to Noel and the staff in Tractamotors Blanchardstown for the opportunity to drive this car. However, my student status doesn’t allow me to own such a car at this moment in time. But for those who are in the market for a car that adds fun to performance this is a serious contender so check it out at: http://www.tractamotorsblanchardstown.com/_usedCars/usedCars.shtml . If anyone does decide to purchase this car, do get in touch with me. It is some machine!