Good Oil: Honda's $275,000 civic
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The prospect of Honda’s all-new 235kW/400Nm Civic Type R hot hatch is a tasty one. But how much would you pay for the privilege of ownership?
A growing trend among car companies is to auction off, for charity, certain milestone build numbers. The US manufacturers have been at it for some time now; tempting must-have completist collectors with first, last and significant in-between chassis stampings.
Now Honda has joined the growing fray, offering a 2018 Civic Type R with VIN number 01 at an auction in the United States.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo hot hatch was snapped up for US$200,000 ($275,000), with the hefty purchase fee donated to the Paediatric Brain Tumour Foundation by Honda. There is no word on who the Japanese car fan was who placed the winning bid.
Rather than just an interesting story and a chance for some “feelgood” PR though, putting up some extreme auction fodder serves another purpose for Honda. It’s a nice litmus test, providing a taste of how much buzz there is in a new model.
For the Civic Type R — a car with a cult, but hardly rampant, following in the United States — the auction fever to nab the first one at least points to something enthusiast drivers are keen to see in the metal.
Or perhaps the auction winner is just an eccentric millionaire with a habit of buying the first of anything he stumbles across, and with as much desire for the Type R as that first edition Archie and Veronica comic he won last week.
Regardless, Kiwi enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sample the Nurburgring front-wheel drive lap record holder (7:43.8 if you must know) in a couple of months. It’s the first time Honda has brought the car into the country officially and is expected to be a hot seller.
Oh, and don’t worry, it won’t feature a six-digit price tag.
Mercedes will quit F1, says Jordan
Mercedes will quit F1, says Eddie Jordan. Photo / Supplied
Part-Ringo Starr, part-eccentric uncle, former F1 team boss and broadcaster Eddie Jordan has made a name for himself as a paddock oracle over the years, displaying an uncanny ability to predict major team developments.
His latest pronouncement is a biggie: when German media outlet Auto Bild asked the bearded soothsayer whether he thought Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel would seek a spot with the Mercedes F1 team next year, Jordan said no, but that it would become a moot point, as he believed the German team would quit F1 at the end of the 2018 season.
“Mercedes will probably pull the plug at the end of 2018. I think they will go for the titles this and next year, then the board of directors will decide to sell the team and stay only as an engine-maker.
"I would do the same because Mercedes has won everything and can only get worse from now. So, it's better to go back to their old core business in F1, which is developing and delivering high-tech engines.”
But how accurate has Jordan been in the past? Well, he predicted the return of Michael Schumacher and the exit of the Honda team.
But he also reckoned Volkswagen would buy Red Bull a couple of seasons ago and use it as their flagship F1 force.
Electric M? BMW says yes
BMW's M (for motorsport) brand could be plugging into the future. Photo / Supplied
It might sound tantamount to treason for some German performance-car fans, but BMW has signalled it will take its sports car sub-brand in a ’leccy direction in the future.
Hardly earth-shattering, considering that its rivals at Mercedes-Benz and Audi have already essentially said the same thing.
The comments come from Dr Alex Kotouc, who, as head of the BMW i brand, probably has a lot to gain from the melding of i and M. Continued employment being a not insignificant bonus.
In conversation with Aussie auto website Motoring.com.au, Kotouc said the M and i brands weren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.
“It’s not like M and i are at opposite ends.
“Many people say M is the old world and i is the new world, but I don’t look at it like this,” he said.
“I don’t know when it is coming, but it makes complete sense to give M something like electrification as well.”
Kotouc said hydrogen remained on the table for BMW, too.
He also said he believes China’s massive automotive market will help push parity between EVs and conventionally-powered cars.