Sweet memories: our drive with the 5 cylinder Audi 80 5E Quattro in Sankt Moritz…

 

 

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When we were telling you the long career of Audi’s 5 cylinder engine, we told you how your servant remembered a drive behind the wheel of the Audi 80 Quattro with this magnificent engine.

Well, we delved in our vast archive, and besides the historic pre-war motor sport photos which we rediscovered, we also found the pictures of the memorable test drive of this Audi 80 5E, on 8 and 9 December 1982.

Here they are…

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The drive is vividly remembered. We were rushed from the Zürich airport by train near to Sankt Moritz. On this train, we had a lavish luncheon, with the cars on the same train in freight wagons. They were nicely unloaded for us, just to enjoy a further mountain drive to St. Moritz.

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Look at how spartan the cars then really were. No light alloy wheels, just steel ones with plastic covers. Only ONE side view mirror…

But how wonderful this car drove. You had to rev it high to deliver its power. What beautiful staccato, and what a superb road holding and accurate handling thanks to the Quattro drive.

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We stormed through the mountains, redlining the engine in second and third gear. It was the sound of pure motorsport, still ringing in our ears until this day, more than 30 years later…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Unique historic moments…

Dear reader, we like to take you back regularly with some rare photos to the earlier days of automobiles, motorsport, and the famous men and women who made history. Just enjoy!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Love on and off the track…

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After a masterful victory in the German Grand Prix in July 26th 1936, Bernd Rosemeyer kisses his young wife Elli Beinhorn. They were married just two weeks earlier, and were a famous couple indeed. She was the famous female aviatrix, and he was the talented Auto Union driver, the first to have mastered truly the rear-engined racing car.

Auto Union had a new car called the C type for the 1936 season. The volume of the V16 engine was increased to 6 litres giving 520 BHP.

There had also been several modifications to better the handling of the cars including a ZF limit slip differential. Dr Karl Feuereissen took over from Willy Walb  as team manager.

The driver line up for 1936 was Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi and Bernd Rosemeyer as senior drivers. , with Rudolf Heydel, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse selected as junior drivers. Pietsch and zu Leiningen had left the team.

These cars were truly fast. The fastest lap of Rosemeyer on the Nürburgring, then not less than 22.810 km long, was 9.56,3. Remember, tires and brakes are a far cry from what we have today.

The race itself was held in rain and fog. Here Rosemeyer showed himself the true master. Bernd proved 40 seconds quicker per lap than everybody else, and won the race by not less than 4 minutes. He was crowned as 1936 European Champion in only his second season as a GP driver. He was nicknamed “Nebelmeister”. For good reason…

Elly Bernhorn flew her husband later in the season to the South African Grand Prix. They used the trip also as a belated honeymoon…

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Tazio Nuvolari and the Auto Union

The Italian was from early on in a family well acquainted with motor racing as Arturo and his brother Giuseppe were both bicycle racers – Giuseppe was a multiple winner of the Italian national championship.

Tazio had raced for Alfa, but in 1938 went to Auto Union, which was in search of talented drivers. Here he is seen pictured at the training of the German Grand Prix 1938. Dick Seaman was to win that race at the wheel of a Mercedes. But Nuvolari that year was to win for Auto Union the Grand Prix at Monza and the Donington Grand Prix in England.

Hans Stuck reaches 313 kmh…

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In 1936 the famous record speed drives were held on the Autobahn Frankfurt-Darmstadt. Hans Stuck here reached 313 kmh for “normal” racing cars. Indeed, the streamlined record cars were another matter. They were faster, but also more dangerous. Bernd Rosemeyer was at the wheel of the Auto Union Typ R (Record car) and after having reached for one kilometer a speed of 429,491 km/h, a wind gust pushed him off the track, and he was killed on January 28, 1938.

 

 

Our cars – and sweet memories

 

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Our faithful Jaguar Mk II 3.4 Type S is still with us, shining proudly next to the present Mercedes E Class 220d test car…

As faithful readers know, we have one classic car in our stable, a proud Jaguar 3.4 Mk II Type S. It has been with your servant since 1974, and has mechanically overhauled, two years later after we bought it, by a British specialist, Forward Engineering.

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We recently rediscovered the photos of this restoration, and we were delighted to have found them again. This was not all. Together with the photos, there was a long letter from Forward Engineering, explaining all the stages of the restoration.

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Back in 1976(!) our Jaguar went through a complete mechanical overhaul at Forward Engineering in Coventry…Just look at the quite massive engine/transmission of the Jaguar…

Of course we will make a series report, telling you all about it, and showing the pictures of course. You see our Jag here, parked next to the beautiful E-class 220 d Mercedes we are presently testing. The Jag is shining proudly after we washed it, and still holds very much its own in terms of style and panache, embodying masterfully what a sporting four seater saloon is all about…

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Besides a broken inlet falve on the fifth cylinder, there was mechanically not much amiss with our Jaguar. The bearings and crankshaft were found to be still in remarkable condition, as this historic picture shows.  They are still like new today, after their restoration… back in 1976.

But there is still more. Delving in my archives, I found many photos, unique and unpublished, about pre-war (Grand Prix) racing… On a regular basis, we will present a photo, together with a captivating story…

For the time being, just look at the photos of our Jag…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Renault launches new Scénic and Grand Scénic with dramatic looks…

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Twenty years after inventing the world’s first compact MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) with the Scénic – which has since sold to the tune of almost five million units and which was named European Car of the Year in 1997 – Renault has completely overhauled its offering in this segment with the fourth generation of its iconic model. It is of course a very important model for Renault, with compact SUV’s gaining ground in the buyer’s hearts and MPV’s becoming less attractive. But designer Laurens Van den Acker gave it a go and endowed the Scénic with stunning looks, and wants the practical people carrier to be a winner – once again.

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The new SCENIC carries over the hallmarks that helped to forge its success, namely versatility, space, user-friendliness and travelling enjoyment.

The new SCENIC is a benchmark in the MPV segment as a vehicle that is  , practical, efficient and high-tech, while also meeting the needs of families.

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It is attractive with its svelte silhouette, its two-tone colour scheme and the fitment of large 20-inch wheels as standard across the range – a global first for the segment.

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It is also practical, thanks to the biggest stowage capacity and boot space in its class, and efficient, with a broad range of powerplants comprising six diesels and two petrol engines. Last but not least, the core range diesel version incorporates Renault’s new Hybrid Assist technology.

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The Scenic is of course also quite high-tech thanks to a raft of driving aids and other features, such as its Active Emergency Braking System (AEBS) with Pedestrian Detection – a standard feature across all equipment levels.

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In both its short and long guises, the fourth-generation SCENIC is of course firmly focused on winning over again loyal owners of its three previous generations who have long been drawn by the innovative features of the model which introduced the first sliding centre console.

We hope to lay our hands on one soon…in the meantime, just look at the photos!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Porsche delights with more E-power: launching the new Panamera 4 E-hybrid

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We told you already about the dramatic style and (mechanical) panache of the new Panamera, now it is time to take a further step into environmental efficiency. It launches the 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, which succeeds the Panamera S E-Hybrid. This hybrid Panamera will make its debut at the Paris auto show, but can now be ordered at Porsche Centres in Belgium.

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The four wheel drive plug-in hybrid delivers system power of not less than 340 kW (462 HP), as the 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-6 making 330 hp/400 Nm couples with a new electric motor pushing out 136 hp and 400 Nm of torque. All this power is sent to all four wheels via Porsche’s velvety eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission.

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Indeed, more smoothness is offered. Besides the new transmission, a new engine decoupler is now actuated using an electric clutch rather than an electro-hydraulic mechanism, as in the last generation. This Electric Clutch Actuator (ECA), enables a smoother transition between electric and engine power.

The Panamera is a true sports car: top speed is 278 kmh, and it catapults you in 4,6 seconds to 100 kmh.

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Electric range is improved up to 50 km. It uses a new liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that’s up to 14.1 kWh from 9.4 kWh, without getting heavier. A full charge takes 5.8 hours using a 230-volt 10 Ampere 230 V plug, , but with the optional 7.2-kW charger with a 230 V 32 Ampere connection, this can be brought down to 3,6 hours.

Through the Mode switch and the PCM, different driving modes can be activated. Besides Sport and Sport Plus modes for top performance, there are various hybrid-specific modes form the 4 E-Hybrid. E-Power is the all-electric mode, while in Hybrid Auto Mode, the car defines the best balance efficiency and performance. E-Hold maintains the current level of electric charge, and last but not least E-Charge helps restore electric charge.

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The Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid canb be ordered now at the official Porsche Centres in our country. The car is priced at 110.957 euro including VAT.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Smart fortwo cabrio: massive open air fun (only) for two…

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Some cars have the clever fun factor written all over it. Indeed, they have grown to become true icons of just simply smart, pleasurable transport. Such a car is of course the Smart.

It has come a long way, and the latest generation has gained in comfort, driveability, road holding. This fortwo is now honed quite close to perfection. We decided in these beautiful late summer days to take the wheel of the open top version of this nimble two seater.  And indeed, what clever fun this car proved to be…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Smart fortwo cabrio: massive open air fun (only) for two…”

40 years of Audi five-cylinder engines: the sound of fury (still) continues…

1983: five-cylinder engine triumphant in rallying: In the 1983 Corsica Rally, Audi competes for the first time with the Audi quattro A2, Group B. Its 2.1-liter turbocharged five-cylinder inline engine produces 265 kW (360 hp) at 6,500 revolutions per minute and delivers 450 newton meters (331.90 lb-ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm. At the end of the season, the Finn Hannu Mikkola wins the drivers’ title in this car. One year later, the Swede Stig Blomqvist replicates this success: he becomes world rally champion, while Audi wins the manufacturers’ world rally championship for the second time after 1982.
1983: five-cylinder engine triumphant in rallying:
In the 1983 Corsica Rally, Audi competes for the first time with the Audi quattro A2, Group B. Its 2.1-liter turbocharged five-cylinder inline engine produces 265 kW (360 hp) at 6,500 revolutions per minute and delivers 450 newton meters (331.90 lb-ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm. At the end of the season, the Finn Hannu Mikkola wins the drivers’ title in this car. One year later, the Swede Stig Blomqvist replicates this success: he becomes world rally champion, while Audi wins the manufacturers’ world rally championship for the second time after 1982.

Every car enthusiast has this sound ringing in its ears. The roaring sound of the high revving rally engine, the raw 5 cylinder staccato when the combustion efficiency bites above 4000 rpm, the growl, the flames in the exhaust, the “pop” explosions on gearchanges, we all know it. It is the symphony of Vorsprung durch Technik, and indeed, it has been going on for decades now.

1978: five-cylinder carbureted engine: In April 1978, the five-cylinder carbureted version with an output of 85 kW (115 hp) replaces the basic twoliter four-cylinder version in the Audi 100 (C2). The new 1.9-liter unit produces maximum power at 5,400 revs and delivers 154 newton meters (113.58 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft at 3,700 rpm. The engine is used in the Audi 100 5 (C2), the Audi 80 CD (B2), the Audi Coupé GT 5S (B2) and in the Audi 100 (C3).
1978: five-cylinder carbureted engine:
In April 1978, the five-cylinder carbureted version with an output of 85 kW (115 hp) replaces the basic twoliter four-cylinder version in the Audi 100 (C2). The new 1.9-liter unit produces maximum power at 5,400 revs and delivers 154 newton meters (113.58 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft at 3,700 rpm. The engine is used in the Audi 100 5 (C2), the Audi 80 CD (B2), the Audi Coupé GT 5S (B2) and in the Audi 100 (C3).

It brings also sweet memories to your servant, when as a young journalist I sat behind the wheel of the 80 Quattro saloon, with this 5 cylinder engine roaring under his right foot. It is all magic. And indeed, here, it calls for a small celebration in these columns.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “40 years of Audi five-cylinder engines: the sound of fury (still) continues…”

A sensational luxury-class coupé: the Mercedes-Maybach 6

Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6: Studie eines extravaganten Coupés der Luxusklasse; 2016 ; Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6: Study of an ultra-stylish luxury-class coupé; 2016;

Sometimes, designers have a vision. Aimed at the future, but rooted in history and glorious tradition. The men and women of Mercedes thus created a 2+2‑seater which is a homage to the glorious age of the aero coupés. This sleek coupé reinterprets classic, emotional design principles in an extreme way, following the Mercedes design philosophy of sensual purity.

This car celebrated its premiere at the latest edition of the Pebble Beach special beauty contest.

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, which measures almost six metres in length, is designed as an electric car. The drive system has an output of 550 kW (750 hp). The shallow underfloor battery allows a range of over 500 kilometres according to the NEDC (over 200 miles according to EPA).

We just show you the stunning pictures here and tell you more about the car…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “A sensational luxury-class coupé: the Mercedes-Maybach 6”

The all-new ŠKODA Kodiaq celebrated its world premiere on 1st September 2016 in Berlin…

 

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Finally, we now have a look at the Kodiaq in the flesh: Indeed, the Kodiaq is a big SUV: It is 4,700 mm long, 1,882 mm wide and 1,676 mm high.  The Kodiaq uses the largest version of the VW Group’s MQB chassis technology built for the European market. The VW Tiguan XL is the only car in the group which will have the same wheelbase.

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The new MQB chassis makes the car also relatively light, thanks to the use oif the latest lightweight construction techniques. It puts 1,452kg on the scale in FWD, with the 4WD only adding 80 kgs.

Frugal power

The Skoda Kodiaq will be available immediately with a range of two diesel engines and three petrol units . The diesel engines are the well proven  2.0-litre four-cylinder units, offered in two versions, – 148bhp with 340Nm and a more powerful 187bhp version with 400Nm or torque. The petrol engines start with the 1.4-litre with 123bhp and 200Nm, a more powerful 1.4 with cylinder deactivation technology and good for 148bhp and 250Nm, and a 2.0 litre with 177bhp and 320Nm.

The most powerful diesel and petrol engines are available only in combination with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox. The more sedate diesel and 1.4-litre engines are available only with the DSG when in front-wheel-drive lay-out, but one can order them also with DSG or six-speed manual coupled with four-wheel drive.

In the interior one finds the new Skoda world with elegant and timeless design, with even vertically placed ventilation openings. One can opt for the Bolero version with a 8.0-inch display, instead of the standard 6,5 inch unit. The phone box incorporates inductive wireless charging for smartphones.

There is always a lot of luggage space in Skoda’s, and this Kodiaq offers will all the seats folded slightly more than 2,065 litres…

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As you can expect, the whole range of Driver Assistance Systems can be had, including surround view cameras, becoming now the class norm in this segment.

We just let you have here a brief look at the exterior of this Kodiaq, which we will be keen to drive soon…

Kodiaq was a city in Alaska…for one day

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The Alaskan city Kodiak renames itself for announcement of ŠKODA’s all-new SUV… indeed, how would you react if a carmaker from another continent came to your city and proposed changing its name? Surprised? Bemused? Or perhaps delighted that, finally, your hometown was getting some long-overdue recognition worldwide? Well, on May 6th, 2016 Kodiak, Alaska became for one day Kodiaq, to coincide with the official announcement of the all-new SUV…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

We drove the Hyundai Grand Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi: a stunning SUV flagship from the orient…

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Impressive. That’s how one can best describe this Hyundai. Earning very high marks in style and engineering, in mechanical refinement and perfection, in roominess, finish and build quality.

We drove this Grand Santa Fe in the top Executive Version, equipped with the Safety Pack, giving you all the electronic assistance you would ever wish for to help you drive safely to your destination.

A very relaxing and rewarding experience, just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Hyundai Grand Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi: a stunning SUV flagship from the orient…”