Good Oil: More soft-top SUV weirdness from BMW
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Did you presume, like us, that the oddball convertible iteration of Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque would prove to be something of a creative cul-de-sac in the evolution of lifestyle SUV motoring?
It might be time to reassess. No sooner has BMW launched its all-new X2 crossover, than rumours have surfaced that
a convertible version will go head-to-head (in Europe at least) with the drop-top Evoque in order to snare BMW’s share of ... er ... whoever it is that would buy an Evoque convertible.
BMW is also thought to be developing a two-door coupe version of the X2 (and has apparently trademarked the nameplate “X2 Sport”).
Which is news that shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the Bavarian brand’s love of a niche product.
This is, after all, the same company that gave the world the X4 and X6 SAV coupes; still arguably the strangest SUV advent to date, drop-top baby Range Rovers notwithstanding.
It all sounds weird to us in New Zealand. But in Europe the Evoque cabrio has been a modest success. The base car has been a sales winner for Jaguar Land Rover here and in overseas markets. Either way, the real estate agents of 2020 will be well catered for.
In Japan, your Mazda MX-5 is also a food truck
Photo / Supplied
We’re all used to the sight of a tiny van converted into a coffee cart on wheels. In fact, if you have children who play winter sports, the sight of such a van on a frosty Saturday morning is almost as welcome as a team win.
It’s good for morale, as they used to say during the war.
And, of course, if you live in one of our larger towns, you’ll have noticed the growth of the food truck movement.
Sometimes the food truck operator throws caution to the wind and pins their business hopes on wildly unreliable engineering to get them between food festivals and social gatherings; like a converted Bedford CF Jumbo, or one of those ancient Citroen vans made out of corrugated iron.
In Japan, food truck culture doesn’t even have to involve a truck.
If you’re in Yokohama, for example, and crave a local sweet potato treat (which is totally a thing), you might be surprised to find the most well-known seller drives and dispenses from a Mazda MX-5. He goes by the name of Eroko-san and, thanks to Twitter, has a big following of late-night nibblers who seek out his sweet potato snacks.
Every night he issues cryptic instructions for finding his “Yokohama Rodo Pot” (a shortening of “rodosuta”, or roadster, and “poteto” or potato). And find him, the hipsters of Yokohama do.
Electric supercar maker claims sub-2s 0-100km/h sprint
Staying in Japan — yet somehow on a topic more theoretical than a guy selling tubers out of the boot of his two-seater sports car — oddball electric supercar firm Aspark Owl has been in the news this week.
Aspark Owl? No, not a prog rock band, nor a deleted character from an early Harry Potter draft. Aspark Owl is the latest shed-engineered manufacturer to join the race to play Tesla at its own game with a super-fast, super slippery electric sports car.
The sharp, flat Japanese design debuted at the Frankfurt motor show last year, where its creators were promising acceleration unlike anything seen before. Well okay, acceleration like a next-generation Tesla Roadster, at any rate.
Elon Musk reckons the latter is good for a superbike-worrying 0-100km/h sprint of under two seconds. The plucky boffins at Aspark Owl claimed pretty much the same thing. Which, given the car on show was essentially a 1:1 scale model, generated more scepticism than healthy admiration.
Well, now a couple of videos have surfaced showing what purports to be the Aspark Owl car going through acceleration testing ... in what looks more like a car park behind a Bunnings than a high-tech test facility.
There are two videos showing a rapidly accelerating supercar. The first run delivers a truly impressive 1.87 seconds. The second, an ever-so-slightly longer 1.92 seconds. These both beat what Tesla claims its Roadster will do, although in truth we only have Aspark Owl’s word for it that the car reached 100km/h in each run.
As mentioned above, the location for the videoed run is a strangely short course across shoddy looking tarmac. Whoever is in the driver’s seat is clearly more confident in the prototype’s stopping abilities, than the rest of the world is in its acceleration.
If you give a hoot about Aspark Owl, you’ll find the short videos here on Driven.