We drove the Nissan Leaf: turning the page towards E-power…

In today’s mobility, new leaves are turned. The fully E-powered car is coming of age. Just take a look at the second generation Nissan Leaf. Improved range and power, presented in an even better looking package. We were again completely charmed by the completely “zen” mobility which this latest Leaf is offering you day in day out, and tell you here more about it… 

Hans Knol ten Bensel 

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We drove the Dacia Duster TCe 125: your true friend on all roads…

We all love a car which is a faithful companion to all places you want to go in this magnificent world. A car which fulfills your dream of mobility no matter where or what. Without costing you an arm and a leg, giving you rather the freedom to spend your money on those long voyages and travels you always wanted to do, of course with your four wheeled companion.

Well, such a car is the Duster, now in its second generation, aptly named Duster 2. It now comes in a most attractive package, as it has been expertly restyled, undergoing also a state of the art makeover of the mechanics. We took it through its paces for you here. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Mercedes CLS 450 4MATIC Edition 1: the star shines more than ever…

Lovers of elegant, sleek four-door coupés have found since 2003 their superlative mount with the Mercedes CLS. This elegant car is now in its third generation, and the fluent lines are the logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced; the car is indeed more rounded, yet breathes the same sleek elegance of its predecessors. It is brimming with state of the art electronics, driving assistance systems and infotainment. But also it’s heart is rejuvenated: the engine range is completely new. It is available with three six-cylinder engines, 2 diesel engines and a gem of a petrol engine, a 3 liter six, which we drove for you here. The sound and fury of this velvety engine has the unmistakable Mercedes aura and character, and yes, it is a 3 liter, like in the 300 SL Gullwing… but of course, this is a car of another age, and edges marvelously close to absolute perfection. Just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® 2018: Sun, sea and purest car pleasure…

This year’s edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® proved once again magnificent, and not alone because of the truly beautiful weather. There was a lot to see, enjoy and drive during the four days from 4 to 7 October.

As it is becoming a wonderful tradition now, not less than four events were organized, and besides this general (pictorial) review of the 9th edition of the global ZOUTE GP® event here on these pages, we will come back to you soon, dear reader, with separate reports on each of the venues. We also participated ourselves in the ZOUTE GT TOUR® with an Alpine A110…

So stay tuned…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We participate in the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® 2018!

Next weekend, we will participate as a co-driver in the ZOUTE GT TOUR®, in a Renault Alpine A110, with  Anja Van Der Borght behind the wheel.  She is  a celebrated lifestyle journalist @naturalbornwriters.be and co-owner of WOWtrendmag.com.   Needless to say, we are looking forward to it!

The ZOUTE GT TOUR® is one the four main events of the 2018 edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®, taking place from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 October. The ZOUTE GT TOUR® by EY is the traditional final “rolling” event of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® and starts on Sunday from 7 AM onwards on the Albertplein in Knokke. It consists of a tour of some 150 km through the magnificent polders and countryside around Knokke Zoute, and as is reserved for 200 exclusive and modern GT cars (younger than 20 years), where the crisp and beautiful Alpine truly belongs.

On this tour, to which we were kindly invited to participate by Anja Van Der Borght and thanks  to the dynamic PR department of Renault Belgium Luxembourg, four special stages and slalom tests are built in. There is a so-called TRACK 1 in Knokke, TRACK 2 on BRESKENS BEACH, TRACK 3 at BRESKENS PORT and TRACK 4 will be the FASTEST 1/4 MILE® at the Graaf d’Ursellaan in Heist.

Our car will be of more standard livery, and not in this configuration, here seen at Castellet… but it will be breathtaking nonetheless!

We will thus have ample occasion to put this French thoroughbred through its paces, and of course will report on our adventures and the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® soon in these columns!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

The mobility needs of Brussels: a tale of a city in motion

Here follows the second part of the interesting BMW conference held at the BMW Brand Store in Brussels, and here we focus on the presentation of Els Ampe, alderman Public works, Mobility and Dutch speaking matters in Brussels, on the mobility needs of the city of Brussels. She presented here on this photo the pedestrian space project in the centre of Brussels, adding  civic pleasure and wellness to the streets in Brussels…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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How we prepare ourselves (in Belgium) for the mobility of the future: the BMW view…

Recently BMW Group Belux organized a very interesting conference at their Brand Store in Brussels, where Eddy Haesendonck, President & CEO of BMW Belux (here on the right) gave us a status update on the world wide figures and trends of the BMW Group, followed more specifically by the figures and trends in Belgium for BMW Group Belux.

But the focus at this meeting was also on the outlook he presented, namely on how we prepare ourselves for the mobility of the future. This is where we will focus on mostly in this report.

Interesting was also the presentation by Els Ampe, (see first photo)  alderman Public works, Mobility and Dutch speaking matters in Brussels, on the mobility needs of the city of Brussels. More on this in the second part of this report, which we will present soon here too in these columns.

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Quantum leap in Turin: the new generation Fiat 500X gets a new heart…

The redesigned and rejuvenated 500X, Italian’s Crossover bestseller, starts also a new epoch in state-of-the-art petrol engine engineering, with a new generation of so-called “FireFly” engines. This is innovative engine design at its best, and we will very probably see this new generation of engines soon in other models of the FCA group.
The engine was a true revelation for us, but this is not all. The 500X has gained in style and character, has now even more original “Cinquecento” content. It now carries an impressive standard equipment in driving aids and infotainment, and has more style than ever.
Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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We drove the Opel Insignia Grand Sport Exclusive: the fascination of balance

Opel cars have reached a remarkably high level of sheer driving dynamics which make them such a pleasure to drive, and this latest generation of the eye pleasing Insignia range amply proves this point again.

We sat behind the wheel of the 2 liter Diesel version, with not less than 170 HP, coupled to an 8 speed automatic. The perfect combination to make this car a magnificent open road cruiser, with of course ample pulling power in urban situations…

But it is the overall, the well honed balance of this car which impressed us most, its responsiveness, agility and precision, combined with excellent seating comfort, which makes it stand out in its class. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Orotempo 2018: what to watch for… us car enthusiasts!

We visited on September 3rd the Horology and Jewelry fair Orotempo at the hall 3 of Brussels Expo, and it proved a very interesting venue, as this show has become the epicenter of everything and everybody that matters in the Belgian watch- and jewelry sector.

The Orotempo Media Manager Pascal Dewulf walked with us around the show, and commented that they further optimized the layout of the show and the many stands to, put everything more into the spotlight. Orotempo continues to put forward a vertical product mix, which means there is something for every budget. In this edition, the core activity of the jewelry business is put into focus: offer high quality products together with an impeccable service, as well online (webshop) as offline (at the jewelry store).

Indeed, we suggest you get acquainted with the online e-commerce platform Orotempo.be. It is also a welcome asset for the jewelry stores to expand their activity into an omnichannel strategy.

On the show, we ran into some very interesting stands and distributors, such as d-design Denemarken. We were very kindly received on the stand of this Dutch distributor (www.dsigndenemarken.nl) by Mme Annika, who guided us professionally through the range of jewelry brands this well established firm represents: Trollbeads, Rabinovitch, Spirit Icons. All three Danish jewelry firms which have iconic products which appeal to the young at heart. The aim of d-design Denemarken is to work professionally with jewelry stores/sellers and provide an excellent service. Considering the professional approach we enjoyed at our visit we firmly believe they succeed… When Christmas approaches, and you would like to surprise your (female) co-driver, we will present you some interesting items out of their iconic and timeless range…

Bracelets are also very much “en vogue” for the modern man and driver, and therefore a visit on the show to II-Gemini was a must. They offer natural stone bracelets, and we are now proudly wearing one in blue Sodalite. Sodalite is a rather rare mineral, light, relatively hard yet fragile, and is named after its sodium content. Sodalite was first described in 1811 for the occurrence in its type locality in the Ilimaussaq complex, Narsaq, West Greenland. Deposits of fine material are found in Bancroft, Ontario, and Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, in Canada. Further in Litchfield, Maine, and Magnet Cove, Arkansas, in the US. The Ice River complex, near Golden, British Columbia, also contains sodalite. Wearing the stone enhances your self-esteem and confidence… and would protect you from negative energy in today’s world. We gladly wear it now every day!

II Gemini (website www.gemini-bracelets.com) offers bracelets in different ranges and many natural stones. “Modern men are now looking for authenticity, and this is what we offer”, commented regio manager for Belgium and the Netherlands, Michael Lemmens. (See photo above).

As we said, the emphasis on the show is not only on watches, but also on jewelry. We encountered a reputable family firm with a three generation long tradition in the business, Scaldis, which makes (diamond) jewelry of its own design, and which also distributes fine Italian jewelry under the brand name Grace.

We were also attracted by the square design of the David Daper watches, so much that we decided to purchase one for ourselves. We ordered it through the Orotempo.be site, and we are keen to see it delivered soon to our home address.

 

One purely Belgian designed and manufactured brand is KRNS, distributed by Cetronic Benelux & Verbatco, and we liked KRNS very much one of their latest designs, of which we present you here one in gold plated finish.

This firm also distributes amongst others clocks and batteries, and before Christmas, we will certainly come back on this…

Another reputable jewelry firm is the Amsterdam based Buddhatobuddha, and they are about to launch a new range of men’s silver bracelets, of which more in our columns in the month before Christmas, but we were also impressed by the new “Refined” collection, of which we show you here a photo below.

A sporting encounter…

At the stand of Sunrise Watch World we met managing director Giacomo Scudieri, who presented to us a watch brand which will fascinate the sporting driver, named “Scuderia”.

We will tell you more about these watches in a next article, and there you will also read more about this kind man, Giacomo Scudieri, who was… national Italian Rally champion in ’83 and in ’81, on a 3 liter Porsche Group 4 or 3,3 liter Group B respectively. So stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel