Lexus CT200h – We drive this latest hybrid only model

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be […]

Lexus CT200h - We drive this latest hybrid

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model

You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be a sports car too. Warm-hatch would be a more accurate description, but with many positive qualities. Our top tester Timtim left the virtual world to taste the little Lexus for us.



I’m in Chantilly, near Paris; capital of the horse according to the local tourist flyer I’ve stumbled on in my hotel room. Outside the Mont Royal Hotel a cluster of new Lexus’s await testers from around the globe. Without a moment’s hesitation I pick a golden yellow sample. Hey, don’t want to disappoint the YW office, although to be honest it looks most exciting in white! All the engine options are identical so there’s no squabble with my scribbling brethren for the horniest lump in the beast. In fact by the sound of it none of them come with engines at all! As journo’s hit the engine start button and saunter off on an exploratory loop there’s a barrage of, err nothing, discreetly interrupted by tyre on tarmac and a few tweeting birds (the real kind). Rather than contemplating the deafening silence (what a stupid, though familiar expression) I’m watching the instruments. I’ve hit the start button and am only convinced that I’m up and running by the “Lexus Hybrid Drive” welcome screen as the instruments light up. I grab the chrome faced, switch sized gear lever. There’s only R, N, D and the more mysterious B to choose from. D will do, B is for user selected regenerative braking, and release the anachronistic foot brake. Shouldn’t the “P” switch below gear lever just double up as an electric foot/handbrake?


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Paris Motor Show – Ford Focus ST

Ford spices up Focus range with tarmac ripping ST No-one knows better than Ford how to turn a cooking mainstream econobox into a rip-roaring tearaway. Some will find the bulging muscles and aggressive stance a tad too hot. Tattoo us if we don’t join the overwhelming majority of car crazy cousins to fall into love […]

Paris Motor Show - Ford Focus ST

Ford spices up Focus range with tarmac ripping ST

No-one knows better than Ford how to turn a cooking mainstream econobox into a rip-roaring tearaway. Some will find the bulging muscles and aggressive stance a tad too hot. Tattoo us if we don’t join the overwhelming majority of car crazy cousins to fall into love at first reveal. Paris haute-couture it ain’t but underneath the “tangerine scream” overalls lurks the mouth of an Aston, the gills of a Mclaren, the tailpipes of a Lambo and the wing blisters of a…Hyundai?! This is Ford’s first true “global” hot hatch, so it might seem appropriate to find world-wide influences. Is that a Korean look to the “stingray” rear light clusters? A Peugeot-like gaping jaw of a bottom feeder up front? Whatever. Our yellow monster rides on mesmerising 19inch rims and loses the body colour grill fins of the lesser Focuses. You might wonder why it’s not a 3 door, until we explain that there’s no plan to produce 3 door Focuses for the US market; so to keep the parts bin global, this ST plays to the family friendly format of 5 doors.
You’ll only get 4 cylinders in this 250PS powered range topper. Dropping a pot, but trumpeting independent variable valve timing, low-inertia turbo and high-pressure direct injection, is planned to compensate, or in fact, increase torque levels whilst reducing emissions by a claimed 20%. As for driving performance, you’ll have to wait ’till 2012 to sample the ST, as the cooking Focus doesn’t hit the showrooms until early next year at an undisclosed price.


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Yellow Colour Concept Golf GTi- The car that launched a website

Yellowwheels.com automotive webzine and how it came about We’ve been asked many times why we started a website called Yellowwheels.com. The answer lies parked on our office drive. Resplendent in a shade of yellow easy to spot in large car parks, our Colour Concept Golf GTi inspired the USP of the site. But before you […]

Yellowwheels Colour Concept Golf GTi MK3

Yellowwheels.com automotive webzine and how it came about

We’ve been asked many times why we started a website called Yellowwheels.com. The answer lies parked on our office drive. Resplendent in a shade of yellow easy to spot in large car parks, our Colour Concept Golf GTi inspired the USP of the site. But before you point out the wheels are not yellow, a domain name search revealed that our first choice Yellowcar had been bagged by a spanish hire car company. No matter, Yellowwheels allows us to aim wider than the narrow confines of automotive yellowdom! Last autumn we featured a JCB loader, and we are not averse to dipping into cycling, trucking or motoring accessories: it’s whatever is special or appeals and if it’s yellow that’s a bonus ;-). Just like our favourite, ultra-popular biking site www.pinkbike.com which is hardly littered with pink bikes, we named it yellowwheels to make it distinct and memorable rather than crazily specialised. Having said that, a yellow Lambo Gallardo is all that’s needed to make us salivate uncontrollably !


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Geneva Motor Show Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo displays its new Giulietta at Geneva Show Like the Honda CR-Z, we were itching to see this car in the flesh too. Once we’d waited for the flesh ( actually leggy models precariously robed in black ) to close the doors and move around to the other side we got a clear view […]

Geneva Motor Show - Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo displays its new Giulietta at Geneva Show

Like the Honda CR-Z, we were itching to see this car in the flesh too. Once we’d waited for the flesh ( actually leggy models precariously robed in black ) to close the doors and move around to the other side we got a clear view of this new Giulietta’s flank. Frankly, the show’s downlighter spots weren’t flattering the cars, especially the red ones on grey flooring. The white Quadrifoglio Verde ( Green Cloverleaf) however, worked better as it was picking up light from the metallic turntable it rotated on. Hard midday sun is a difficult circumstance to photograph cars in, and the stand’s designer effectively reproduced these conditions. They could learn a lesson or two from the Peugeot stand, where the soft overhead light panel would flatter even the ugliest of cars. Note to Manufacturers: get a car photographer as lighting consultant when designing your show stands! Back on subject – The 235 HP Giulietta 1750 TBi Quadrifoglio Verde (Cloverleaf) pictured here did win us over, and if this is the replacement for the 147, then bring it on fast, as although a 4 door hatch, with concealed rear door catches,it is well proportioned, elegant and horny with the optional 18 inch alloys. Alfa have deftly contrived a family face based on it’s heritage without looking corny or retro. This all started with the absolutely gorgeous 8C Competizione, and significantly, came off with the Mito (tricky with a tall narrow shell), and is maturing here in the Giulietta. Inside there’s less to be excited about, but it all looks neat and functional, although everyday use is the only proper test of an interior’s worth.


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Geneva Motor Show Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe

CR-Z Hybrid Coupe at the Geneva Auto Show One of the cars we were eager to see in the flesh at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show was the Honda CR-Z. Would it look as sleek and purposeful as the Honda released press pics. Verdict: yes it’s refreshingly small and light looking. Many new cars have […]

Geneva Motor Show - Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe front view


CR-Z Hybrid Coupe at the Geneva Auto Show

One of the cars we were eager to see in the flesh at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show was the Honda CR-Z. Would it look as sleek and purposeful as the Honda released press pics. Verdict: yes it’s refreshingly small and light looking. Many new cars have tended to bulk up their look, but this Honda flows, tilted from the back window forwards, with grill box low and lights pointing downwards arrow-like. The stance is that of a crouched animal, head down to minimise wind drag. The shape is uncontroversial and easily digested and should appeal immediately. We were drawn to a red CR-Z complete with purchaser spec-cable carbon front chin and door sill addons, and 10 spoke alloys – much more inviting than the standard spec cars. Inside there’s a “carbon” look dash that wouldn’t look out of place on a Klingon starship, especially with the instruments lit up. It’s the sort of car you just want to get in and drive; it’s got enthusiasts DNA written all over it. Just a quick reminder though: it’s a hybrid, but that’s not what’s on your mind when you see it unlike Honda’s old 4 door Civic Hybrid. But you’ll like the claimed 54mpg and low CO2.


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Autemo.com : transform your car … virtually

We heard, via Twitter, about a website that totally transforms your car for just a few dollars. Intrigued as our house mascot Golf GTi was just about to go to the bodyshop to get a couple of panels repaired and a new lick of yellow paint. How could they do it for the money? We […]

We heard, via Twitter, about a website that totally transforms your car for just a few dollars. Intrigued as our house mascot Golf GTi was just about to go to the bodyshop to get a couple of panels repaired and a new lick of yellow paint. How could they do it for the money?

We delved deeper to see how it could be possible. Autemo.com is the site, beautifully laid out yet functional, it’s mission to virtually transform cars. No sheet metal gets cut, no bodykit riveted, no trick paint spayed; it’s all done in Photoshop. Fancy turning that rusty old Nissan into a Tokyo drift dreamcar? That cooking Chevy into chopped chariot? Test drive the mods you are planning for your ride before committing to the bodyshop. When your pimpmobile hits the spot you can convert your car for real reassured your facelift will be more super-car than super-shed.

Go to Autemo, read the intro, take the tour and decide what sort of look you are aiming for. Then simply upload a photo, select an artist, and commit a derisory AUD $30-$90 to get the car of your dreams. You get to watch progress as the artist uploads WIPs (Work In Progress) photos, and you can comment and request changes. It’s a virtual chop but with real interaction with the artist.
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MINI E gets real at home while COP15 woos EVs

As Copenhagen week(s) is still in full swing, car manufacturers are sprinkling a whole load of electric PR across the press. Inevitably some of it rubs off on us. Having just published our electric car timeline feature, we thought we’d hoover up this one as electric Minis sound like a tempting prospect. Of course you […]

Mini E at 10 Downing Street with Gordon Brown

MINI E at 10 Downing Street with Gordon Brown and Lord Mandelson


As Copenhagen week(s) is still in full swing, car manufacturers are sprinkling a whole load of electric PR across the press. Inevitably some of it rubs off on us. Having just published our electric car timeline feature, we thought we’d hoover up this one as electric Minis sound like a tempting prospect. Of course you need more than a cute car and a few batteries to get some headlines, so how about this: Gordon Brown gets one on his ministerial fleet. Strangely, this gets announced on the same day as our Boris (Mayor of London, Boris Johnson) chooses Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV to swan around the COP15 environmental summit in Copenhagen. Cast the net wider and you’ll find a whole host of car companies claiming to be THE green vehicle supplier of choice across in Denmark.
Denmark’s Crown Prince HRH Frederik and Fisker Karma

Denmark’s Crown Prince HRH Frederik and Fisker Karma

Clearly Fisker think a Prime minister is a bit lowly, and enlisted Crown Prince HRH Frederik of Denmark to fly the flag. Norwegian manufacturer THINK claims to have the largest EV fleet there. 60 Citroen EVs piled in from the UK. But maybe this is all a smokescreen to hide the disappointment that there’s only room for two in a MINI E ?! The back seat area, normally reserved for your offspring, is primed with 5088 lithium-ion cells to fuel you for a theoretical 150 miles. But whatever the advantages, when an Electric Smart can squeeze motive power into its diminutive body, you have to wonder what’s up?
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YW chauffeurs Trafalgar “plinther” – episode 3

Episode 3 of 3 of our bizarre Trafalgar Square saga. See Episode 1 , Episode 2 Intro and recap: What do you get if you mix a JCB, a monk, and a vampire? Answer: an hour’s worth of 4th Plinth material. We think an explanation is in order… Location: Trafalgar Square London, UK Date: 21st […]

Glorious weather ruined only by strange going-ons on 4th Plinth

Glorious weather ruined only by strange going-ons on 4th Plinth


Episode 3 of 3 of our bizarre Trafalgar Square saga.

See Episode 1 , Episode 2
Intro and recap:
What do you get if you mix a JCB, a monk, and a vampire? Answer: an hour’s worth of 4th Plinth material. We think an explanation is in order…

Location: Trafalgar Square London, UK
Date: 21st August 2009, 9am
Problem: Three of four plinths in Trafalgar Square have large statues devoted to the great and good of Britain’s past. The fourth has always been empty.
Solution: Artist Anthony Gormely dreams up the idea of letting anyone fill the vacant spot for an hour. One hundred days long, this experiment in free expression, means 2400 people get to expose their talents (and some exposed more than the organisers bargained for!), and they can do almost anything.

Click on thumbnails to get the full glorious story!
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Renault unleashes Megane Renaultsport 250 specs

Renault just spouted out full specs for their forthcoming über-hot-hatch-coupé the Megane Renaultsport 250. This beast threatens to unleash it’s 250 horses with big torque across the powerband. How it hooves the tarmac is up to you, the buyer, as you can choose the Sport chassis, or the more track orientated Cup chassis. When the […]

Megane Renaultsport 250

Megane Renaultsport 250

Renault just spouted out full specs for their forthcoming über-hot-hatch-coupé the Megane Renaultsport 250. This beast threatens to unleash it’s 250 horses with big torque across the powerband. How it hooves the tarmac is up to you, the buyer, as you can choose the Sport chassis, or the more track orientated Cup chassis. When the going is good, 340Nm of torque will muscle the Megane to 60mph from rest in 6.1 seconds. The Cup chassis promises an LSD (Limited Slip Differential) to help you get there without troweling too much turf. Your efforts are more than fleeting though, as the onboard “Renaultsport Monitor” records and displays all sorts of parameters such as g-force, engine power and delivery; even giving you the option to record laptimes. Order yours from November 1st here in the UK from 21,995 UKPounds upwards, with deliveries kicking off in January.

Megane Renaultsport with Trophy racer behind

Megane Renaultsport with Trophy racer behind

There’s been a growing gulf between the 5 door hatches and their 3 door coupe brothers of late. This example taking the breed further: just compare the 250 to a boggo 5 door Megane – They could almost be separate models, with only passing styling addenda to keep the model link. Take this further still and you have the Megane Trophy racer: a spaceframe silhouette mid-engined racecar with barely a Megane standard part.

Megane Trophy racer

Megane Trophy racer

Come back shortly as we will be featuring a fly-on-the-wall docudrool of a Megane Trophy racecar. We followed a “Gentleman” driver strutting his stuff on his raceday at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany. How does a mild-mannered, middle-aged privateer get on in the mad environment of testosterone-adrenaline-motorsport?

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2009 IAA Frankfurt Auto / Motor Show – Mini Coupe and Roadster Concept

Concept is probably a misnomer as these Minis are slated for production at BMW’s mini plant in Oxford. Revealed at the Frankfurt Show, the coupe had been leaked to the press ahead of the show, but the convertible was the promised second surprise. Both are likely to be fitted with the 1.6 litre turbo Cooper […]

Mini Coupe and Roadster Concept

Mini Coupe and Roadster Concept

Concept is probably a misnomer as these Minis are slated for production at BMW’s mini plant in Oxford. Revealed at the Frankfurt Show, the coupe had been leaked to the press ahead of the show, but the convertible was the promised second surprise. Both are likely to be fitted with the 1.6 litre turbo Cooper engine, adding to the 1.5 million Minis that have already rolled off the Oxford production line, in this, Mini’s 50th anniversary year. A small caveat; production versions are likely to include less radical screen and roofline profile’s, and as always, more realistic rubber and wheel clearance.

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