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A Lighter Look At The Week In Cars

The world of cars can be a strange one sometimes

Often as the marketing departments of car companies big and small try to come up with ever more eye-catching things. So this week we’ve decided to have a look at the lighter side of things in the world of cars.

Here’s what’s caught our eye this week. If you’re looking for a new car visit www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/new-cars and www.s1cars.com/new-cars


A McLaren for those on a tight budget

If you can’t afford the real thing, this is probably the next best thing. The new McLaren 720S has joined its sibling the P1 in the Lego Speed Champions range of models cars.

The LEGO Speed Champions McLaren 720S, accompanied by a car designer mini-figure and design studio desk, complete with coffee cup, original design sketch and 3D-printed model car, will be available to buy from June 1.

It took a LEGO designer a year to perfect and freeze the design of the new model.

McLaren Automotive chief designer, Rob Melville, said: “The LEGO interpretation of the McLaren 720S reflects the most exciting part of the design process, when a two-dimensional sketch is transformed into a physical, three-dimensional model.

“Building a model like this gives the next generation of McLaren enthusiasts a taste of just how exhilarating that moment is for designers.”

The real McLaren 720S was unveiled on March 7 at the Geneva International Motor Show, introducing the second-generation McLaren Super Series.

Powered by a new, twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine developing 720 horsepower, the new McLaren supercar accelerates from standstill to 200km/h (124mph) in just 7.8 seconds and has a maximum speed of 341km/h (212mph).

The LEGO Speed Champions McLaren 720S will be priced at £12.99. Meanwhile, the new McLaren 720S available starts at £208,600.


Horsepower versus horse power

In the build up to the Grand National Maserati devised a unique ‘car vs horse’ challenge to explore the capabilities of the first ever Maserati SUV, the Levante, in an environment naturally suited to its equine competitor. 

The challenge provided another competitive twist, as it was a race between two brothers; National Hunt trainer and Maserati ambassador Dan Skelton behind the wheel of the new Maserati Levante diesel, while National Hunt jockey Harry Skelton took the reins of point-to-pointer Dinnie O.

Following the rules of historical point-to-point racing, Dan and Harry were tasked with travelling between two set points as fast as possible.

With both competitors taking different routes to the finish line, the power and speed of the Levante eventually told, with Dan just overtaking Harry and Dinnie O on the final straight. 

Dan said: “Understandably the yard is a very busy place at the moment and it was enjoyable to take some time out of the pressures of preparation for Aintree. Racing my brother through the British countryside in the new Maserati Levante was fantastic fun and of course the best man won.” 

Harry added: “We’ve always been ultra-competitive and of course I never like losing to my brother. The challenge was something very different to my usual day job, and I’m hoping Dan will lend me the keys to his Levante soon so I can get behind the wheel for a test drive.” 

In the UK, the Levante diesel starts from £56,250 and can be upgraded to include either a Luxury or Sport pack at £62,380. The Levante can also be equipped with the Luxury Pack Zegna Edition at £63,310, featuring bespoke Zegna Mulberry Silk. 


Super-exclusive Rollers

If your first thought when it comes to your next Rolls-Royce is “they’re just too common”, then this will be right up your luxury street.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled, for the first time, the first in a series of nine remarkable Wraith ‘Inspired by British Music’ cars to a select number of Rolls-Royce customers and music luminaries.

They included Roger Daltrey of The Who, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Giles Martin, Francis Rossi of Status Quo and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason.

Each of the Wraith ‘Inspired by British Music’ cars has been created in collaboration with, and celebrate the legacy of, some of British music’s most revered rock and vocal artists.

The cars were presented at London’s famous Sanderson Hotel by the artists who have created them in partnership with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. A proportion of each of the car’s value will be donated to charities selected by each musician.


The bizarre story of the week that wasn’t an April Fool

When we came across this one we had to check the date, because, forgive us, it does sound like an April Fool’s Day joke.

But Ford announcing that it has developed a new cot that could simulate the motion, engine noise, and even the street lighting of those night‑time drives that send babies to sleep came several days into April.

Ford said: “For many new parents, there is only one guaranteed solution to putting their baby down at the end of the day – a night-time drive that soothes, calms and eventually helps little one nod off.

“But that still means a disrupted night for mum or dad, who research shows can typically expect little more than five hours sleep a night while losing the equivalent of 44 days sleep in just the first year of their child’s life. Help, however, could soon be at hand.”

To all appearances a regular cot, the Max Motor Dreams comes to life using a smartphone app. This enables it to record and then reproduce the comforting movement, lights and sounds of a particular journey.

Max Motor Dreams designer Alejandro López Bravo, of Spanish creative studio Espada y Santa Cruz, which produced the award-winning design, said: “After many years of talking to mums and dads, we know that parents of newborns are often desperate for just one good night’s sleep. But while a quick drive in the family car can work wonders in getting baby off to sleep, the poor old parents still have to be awake and alert at the wheel.

“The Max Motor Dreams could make the everyday lives of a lot of people a little bit better.”

For now, the Max Motor Dreams is a one-off pilot. But, following numerous enquiries, the company says that it is considering putting it into full‑scale production.

And then, of course…

…there were the actual April Fool’s Day jokes. Car manufacturers are notoriously good at these and 2017 was no let down.

Gems included Hyundai’s car delivery by drone service, MG’s voice-controlled emoji windscreens, Skoda’s ‘rent-a-family’ test drive experience for the new Kodiaq and Honda’s in-car dating app.

But hats off to BMW, so often the kinds of the April Fool. The firm ‘launched’ the BMW dDrive dog basket, equipped with an in-built fan so that pets can experience the thrill of the open road from the safety of their basket.

It was billed as the perfect gift for dogs that love the excitement of the head-out-of-the-window moment, but sometimes get too close to the edge for comfort.

BMW said: “The revolutionary carbon fibre, TwinPower Turbo fan sets a new standard in efficiency, whilst three power modes (ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT) to alter speed guarantee a fully customisable experience. Upholstered in luxurious Nappa leather, even the colour and finish of your BMW dDrive model can be personalised to match the unique style of your dog.

And the suspiciously-named Jack Russell, head of ‘product fabrication’, said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the sheer driving pleasure of a BMW and so we have taken our innovations in mobility solutions using carbon fibre and TwinPower Turbo technology to provide a product for a brand-new audience. Owners can also feel safe in the knowledge that their canine friends are enjoying the thrill of driving in a BMW without any potential mishaps or damage to the back seats.” 

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