Mercedes C220 CDi mid term test

YW lives with a C class Merc – is this all the car you ever need? 4000 miles in any car should be enough to get over the initial excitement of its arrival, find little niggles, foibles or failings, even grow to loath the beast. Or conversely, learn to love, find unexpected features, flashes of […]

Mercedes C220 C-Class - 4000 miles around UK

YW lives with a C class Merc – is this all the car you ever need?

4000 miles in any car should be enough to get over the initial excitement of its arrival, find little niggles, foibles or failings, even grow to loath the beast. Or conversely, learn to love, find unexpected features, flashes of brilliance. Will impressions change over time? In our case, a month at the wheel of a Mercedes C Class proved to be equally enjoyable throughout.

Mercedes C220 CDi - scampers through arching Devon lanes

Delivered in Sport trim, this CDi version had an appealing stance, shod with wide rubber on AMG 17 inch rims and subtle cosmetic appendages. Mild disappointment followed when learning that our mount was the 220 diesel version. This is not the lowest engine in the pecking order ( there’s a 200 ) but is overshadowed by 250 and 350 versions with commensurate power and performance advantages. Our time with the Merc took us from cloudiest Cornwall, through deepest Devon, sunniest Somerset…I think you get the idea. All the way to naughty Northumberland and a million other places en route.


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Mini vs Lambo twin test on our desktop

We pit Lambo’s Murcielago against Mini Cooper in this USB giant test! After reading our Motormouse review back last autumn, motor gizmo specialist Auto Regalia were keen for us to try other products. “How about a review of a USB stick” they asked? Seriously underwhelmed by the prospect – I mean, a stick is a […]

Auto Regalia USB Mini & Lamborghini Murcielago

We pit Lambo’s Murcielago against Mini Cooper in this USB giant test!

After reading our Motormouse review back last autumn, motor gizmo specialist Auto Regalia were keen for us to try other products. “How about a review of a USB stick” they asked? Seriously underwhelmed by the prospect – I mean, a stick is a stick, it’s just that some are made larger than others, right? “Hey, these ones are die-cast metal, beautifully detailed miniatures” they retorted. “We can even supply them in yellow!” Well that clinched it, and behold, we have a brace of “HotWheels” with capacities only juggernauts could muster to play with (4 GB in this case ).

Auto Regalia USB Mini Cooper - wheels turn

Whipped out of their packaging, the weight and solidity of the castings were immediately apparent. No flimsy, snap-fit-plastic, 5-second wonder, but finely detailed models of the real thing. Even the Mini’s taillight cluster surrounds are chrome painted. Put the two models together and the major difference is the huge rear protuberance on the 1:72 scale Lambo; like someone bolted a fridge on the back. Unlike the Mini, the USB connector is not retractable and ruins the lines of the car’s backend. Underneath the Mini a press-and-slide catch neatly stows the USB connector when not in use.


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YikeBike electric bike – is this the future of personal mobility?

YW test drives the latest electric bike invented by YikeBike Top gadget or serious last mile commuter electro-cycle? The bulky Segway really put a firecraker in the staid environs of the PMD or Personal Mobile Device. Their electric twin wheeled lean-mobiles are a triumph of lateral thinking made possible by the availability of new battery […]

YikeBike - folded and ready to go


YW test drives the latest electric bike invented by YikeBike

Top gadget or serious last mile commuter electro-cycle? The bulky Segway really put a firecraker in the staid environs of the PMD or Personal Mobile Device. Their electric twin wheeled lean-mobiles are a triumph of lateral thinking made possible by the availability of new battery technology and gyroscopes. Their success spurned inventors to create other revolutionary devices and for the results to be taken seriously by investor and public alike. Electric longboards, trikes and trad-bikes in all shapes have appeared. Most striking one of these was on display and available for test drives at the recent Gadget Show Live exhibition: the YikeBike. Kiwi inventor and entrepreneur Grant Ryan and YikeBike co-founder Peter Higgins flew in with their team all the way from Canterbury New Zealand to show their carbon fibre YikeBike to press and public.

Unable to resist making a fool of himself our valiant scribbler Timtim queued up for a few tentative laps of the test area. Over to you Timtim.

Safety gear donned and disclaimer signed I approached the YikeBike a trifle nervously. I’d just watched a demo of how the “bike” folded from adult sized electro-penny-farthing-for-the-23rd-century to briefcase-sized-carbon-centrifuge with the flick of a few catches and levers. I’d also sampled the minuscule weight. Would 10kgs of carbon and li-po battery form a stable platform from which to navigate the urban roads it’s designed to handle? That’s the weight of a normal bicycle without battery, electric motor, control box, front and backlights, indicators!


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Fancy a Head Up Display, HUD, in your car ? Try this iPhone app iHUDisplay

Fascinated by the possibility of having a head up display, that can be used in any car, we downloaded iHUDisplay lite. This is a simple iPhone app that will work with any GPS equipped iPhone. It displays your speed , course in degrees, altitude and time. Not only that but it has a speed camera […]

iHUDisplay Lite on Golf GTi dashFascinated by the possibility of having a head up display, that can be used in any car, we downloaded iHUDisplay lite. This is a simple iPhone app that will work with any GPS equipped iPhone. It displays your speed , course in degrees, altitude and time. Not only that but it has a speed camera warning system built in, and all for free ! Read on for more info and review: click “continue reading” below movie



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Ultimate Drives – We sample their Alpine driving breaks

Fancy zapping a few Swiss mountain passes in a Ferrari ? That’s what we did. This is the time of year when winter is wearing thin and you hanker for warmer climes and summer adventures. Planning your annual summer holiday is fun and a sure fire way to lose the winter blues, but it’s months […]

blasting through the Urnerboden basin in Ferrari 599GTB


Fancy zapping a few Swiss mountain passes in a Ferrari ? That’s what we did. This is the time of year when winter is wearing thin and you hanker for warmer climes and summer adventures. Planning your annual summer holiday is fun and a sure fire way to lose the winter blues, but it’s months away…. How about a short break, a fillip of sustenance for the soul. Why not take a driving mini-tour in Switzerland, touring the soaring Alpine peaks and passes. Need transport to match the mountainous magnificence: a Porsche 911 Turbo or Cayenne, a Ferrari F430 or F599GTB, Maserati GT? But where to hire? What about insurance? Where to stay? It’s no problem organising all this yourself online, but think about this: you could easily spend as long surfing, checking airlines, filling in forms, researching routes as your actual short break. This is where Ultimate Drives steps in with prepared itineraries including choice of car to match your budget, routes pre-programmed into your satnav, hotels vetted and booked.


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Official Ferrari iPhone App: Genuine Ferrari engine sounds

When we spotted a new iPhone app on Ferrari’s Facebook pages, we instantly had to investigate. It turned out to be a genuine Ferrari factory approved app that brought you real recordings of the current car range. App downloaded and installed we took a 458 for a test drive. Tap on the photo and you […]

When we spotted a new iPhone app on Ferrari’s Facebook pages, we instantly had to investigate. It turned out to be a genuine Ferrari factory approved app that brought you real recordings of the current car range. App downloaded and installed we took a 458 for a test drive. Tap on the photo and you get a dashboard replica and the engine starts automatically. Shame there’s no actual engine start button. You’re in neutral so tap the UP shift button to go through the gears. Tilting your iPhone increases the throttle. You get the full rev range recorded for real at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, allegedly. Just where did they find the room to hit the 320km/h speed we saw in 7th gear ?!

Sounds are rich and raucous, and we found the experience quite evocative. Main instruments are reproduced faithfully and simply, but we yearned for a visual feast. Maybe the experience of too many racing games left us wanting to see a representation of the Maranello test track, as a challenge to match revs and gears to. You could of course, plug your iPhone into your car’s radio system and try to match the driver’s gear and throttle inputs, and thus change your Fiesta into a Ferrari! Avoid the Automatic Speedometer option as you’ll want to change ratios manually for a fulfilling fling. The 430 Scuderia, presented in Race mode suffers slightly from a sort of synthetic stepping in lower rev range on accelerator lift-off, but we can live with that. We also found it difficult to replicate the throttle blipping that you might use in the real world. Put your phone flat on a table to momentarily attend to some other pressing, more meaningful purpose, and you’ll find a full 9,000rpm screaming at you! Quit the app though, and the sound fades graciously. Overall the deeper growling sounds of the 599 GTB or California are more relaxing. To compliment the aural attacks you’ll find some technical spec pages and image galleries, but that’s your lot.

In the UK you have to shell out UKP 1.19 (US$ ) for the privilege of generating a Ferrari fanfare. Whilst cheap, you can’t help wondering when you will ever use it once you’ve proved your geekiness down the local pub. In sum, not an app you’ll keep using for long. If it was free it would be a good PR exercise for the manufacturer, but as a paid app it leaves us with a slightly vacant, is-that-it feeling.


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