Good Oil: Kia nail hard out grunt
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Thank goodness for Kia. That's not a statement that appears ready-made, but we mean it wholeheartedly. In a bland world of C4s, E200s and CX-3s, Kia has decided to forgo the vanilla nameplate in favour of something that sticks.
And thus, over at the North American International Auto Show (or simply, the "Detroit show"), it has unveiled the Stinger GT. Hell yeah!
It's a name that should be followed with a fist pump. Black turtle-neck jumper aficionado Peter Schreyer may be manning the drawing boards at Kia, but clearly somewhere in a product marketing silo -- possibly near Nashville or Wichita -- is a dude in a Stars and Stripes baseball cap with a Fender Stratocaster strapped to his back, thinking up new model names.
Incidentally, the new model is a fetching-looking large sedan pundits over the Tasman reckon will give the forthcoming imported Commodore a run for its money. It is believed there will be options on offer in this part of the world when the car goes on sale this year; a 190kW four-cylinder turbo and a 272kW/510Nm twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6.
We're hoping this heralds new things for the Korean manufacturer's naming conventions; expect the Rio to be replaced with the Thrasher and the Cerato to be reborn as the Buzzsaw.
Audi shoots for the moon
The space race used to be waged between superpowers, but these days it's fizzy drink companies, sporting apparel giants and Silicon Valley start-ups fighting to get into orbit.
Oh, and Audi AG, too.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE competition sees teams of egg-headed boffins (backed by hip corporates in expensive sneakers) competing to get a working lunar rover to the Moon. It's no stick-on-sparkles-and-macaroni-elbows school science project: this is real-deal space exploration and the prize money up for grabs is around US$30 million.
In order to take home the cash, the privately funded team must get their rover design to the Moon, drive at least 500m and have a heap of high-res photographic proof of their feat beamed back to Earth (specifically a Google campus boardroom). The competition started out with 30 combatants; now five teams remain.
Perhaps growing bored with making different-sized versions of essentially the same car over and over here on Earth, Audi AG has been looking to the heavens and "supporting" a team from Germany known as the 'Part-Time Scientists'.
Fielding a team of 16 engineers, Audi has been schooling the lab coats on technologies the carmaker has used to its advantage down here -- namely quattro four-wheel drive and its e-tron hybrid power system -- that will also be able to be utilised on the Moon.
The result is the Audi Lunar quattro; a 30kg machine on large wheels that features amazing tech, including high-performance electronic stability controls and parts constructed using aluminium 3D printing processes.
Once on the Moon (the rover is expected to piggyback towards our nearest celestial body later this year), the Audi Lunar quattro will use four cameras to help find its way around, taking 3D and 360 degree images as it travels.
And no doubt it'll be sitting 10cm off the bumper of the lunar rover in front, itching to get past, too.
Game for a laugh
From the "you might have missed it" files comes this little slice of blocky, retro hilariousness.
It's the 2016 season of Formula 1, but retold in vintage 8-bit Nintendo video game style.
Who says Bernie's mob doesn't have a sense of humour?
The YouTube vid (search "F1 2016, 8-bit") recreates the highlights and dramas of the past season as if it were a multi-level arcade game in a suburban fish and chip shop, down to the tinny Casiotone-drenched soundtrack.
What's more, it appears to be an officially sanctioned clip, designed to appeal to open wheel racing fans of a certain age.
No signs of any Mario karts on the tracks, however.