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Land Rover’s Virgin Galactic partnership is out of this world

Stephen Goldasz | 16th April 2014 Comments (0)

Land Rover has announced a unique long-term partnership agreement with the commercial spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic.

The Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept with SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise The Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept with SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise

Virgin Galactic is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and is set to become the world’s first commercial spaceline. The company is planning to offer its customers suborbital space flight and, further in the future, orbital human spaceflights in addition.

The collaboration between Land Rover and Virgin Galactic was confirmed during a spectacular display hosted at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. Here Land Rover displayed the new Discovery Vision, its latest SUV concept.

The Discovery Vision is also appearing at this week’s New York Auto Show. The concept previews the new distinct design language from Land Rover and an array of world-first technologies for cars.

Highlights of the Discovery Vision include the use of augmented reality technology to display a ‘see-through’ view of the terrain ahead. This makes the front of the car ‘virtually’ invisible from inside the cabin.

Another intriguing feature onboard is Gesture Control, which allows you to open the doors, operate the indicators or turn on the headlamps simply by moving your hand.

For the announcement of the new partnership, Land Rover also brought to the museum a full-size replica of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise, one of the crafts set to be used by Virgin Atlantic.

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As part of the new partnership, Land Rover vehicles will become part of daily life for the Virgin Galactic team and for all ‘Future Astronauts’.

The space experience will now begin with Land Rover as they arrive in New Mexico for training, and continue to the moment they drive from the space terminal building to the waiting spaceship.

Land Rover will base a fleet of vehicles at the Virgin Galactic test centre in the Mojave Desert, California and at its astounding operational New Mexico base, Spaceport America.

The Group Marketing Director of Jaguar Land Rover, Phil Popham, said: “This is a marriage of two of Britain’s most iconic brands which celebrate shared values, a pioneering spirit and a true sense of adventure. Not only do we both share the same long-term vision to enable mankind to explore, but we also want to develop this partnership to inspire others."

The founder of Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson, commented: “We couldn’t be more delighted to have Land Rover join us on our incredible journey. It is hard to think of a brand which is more synonymous with exploration and adventure."

First Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sold for over £500,000

Stephen Goldasz | 16th April 2014 Comments (0)

The first unit of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has been sold early at an auction in Florida. The American sports car sold for over $1 million, or £597,775.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The Corvette Z06 was made available at the Barret-Jackson Collection Car Auction hosted earlier this month. The winning bid came from NASCAR team owner and Chevrolet enthusiast Rick Hendrick.

The Z06 is a new performance-enhanced version of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, made available to order in the UK earlier this year.

Like the Stingray, the Corvette Z06 uses a 6.2-litre V8 petrol unit but power is increased from 450bhp to an eye-watering 625bhp. The Corvette Z06 is set to become available to customers worldwide between late 2014 and early 2015.

However, the first retail example of this thrilling American sports car has already found an owner willing to spend big to acquire it early.

A similar auction hosted by Barret-Jackson in Arizona last year saw the first retail example of the Corvette Stingray go under the hammer. The winning bid spent $1.1 million (or about £665,000) to get their hands on the standard new Corvette before any other customer.

The Corvette name was first introduced by Chevrolet all the way back in 1953. These recent auction bids just emphasise how highly popular the Corvette name remains to this day.

The current standard Corvette Stingray is available for official import priced from £61,495. The car is available in both coupe and convertible bodystyles.

With its V8 and standard manual transmission the Corvette Stingray can go from a standstill to 60mph in under four seconds.

Standard kit in the Stingray includes an infotainment system with two touchscreens and USB and SD card compatibility.

European buyers also get the Z51 performance package as standard. This upgrade adds the latest magnetic ride control suspension, specifically tuned to suit European roads. The pack also includes an improved aerodynamic package, traction management computer and performance exhaust systems.

The optional equipment list features a £600 metallic paint job, a £1,000 tint coat paint job, a £1,450 navigation device and £550 black aluminium wheels.

It’s also reported that between late 2014 and 2015 the Corvette Stingray will become available with a clever eight-speed automatic gearbox. This particular gearbox is already set to come standard on the incredible new Corvette Z06 sports car.

The benefit of the new gearbox is that it will allow quicker gear changes than the standard manual gearbox and is able to handle a large quantity of torque.

Most disliked driving habits revealed in poll

Stephen Goldasz | 15th April 2014 Comments (0)

A newly published poll result shows that talking or texting while behind the wheel is the driving habit most disliked by UK motorists.

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The related poll covered 2,002 UK adults and was hosted by the automotive repair company, Kwik Fit, and the research company Consumer Intelligence. The aim of the poll was to find out what potential driving habits were despised by motorists on Britain’s roads.

Using a mobile handset to talk or text someone (without using a hands-free kit) is illegal but it’s among the most common distractions for UK motorists.

As many as 47 per cent of the poll’s respondents cited this as their most hated driving habit, making it the most commonly mentioned of all.

Similar polls by Kwik Fit have previously seen tailgating come out as top as the driving habit that annoys people the most. In this particular poll it remains a popular choice but has to settle for second place behind using a mobile handset.

Still, as many as 42 per cent of the latest poll’s respondents cited tailgating as their hated driving habit.

The third most commonly mentioned disliked driving habit in the poll was failing to indicate, mentioned by 35 per cent of the poll respondents. Completing the top five in the poll results is dangerous overtaking (30 per cent) and middle lane cruisers (26 per cent).

Other disliked driving habits mentioned by poll respondents included last minute braking (23 per cent), undertaking (19 per cent) and hesitant driving (12 per cent). Rounding up the top ten is being slow away from traffic lights (also 12 per cent) and jumping the traffic lights (10 per cent).

The director of communications at Kwik Fit, Roger Griggs, said: “These driving habits aren’t just annoying, they are dangerous and some of them against the law.

“You’re four times more likely to have an accident if you use a mobile while driving, in addition to the frustration it causes for fellow motorists. And with on-the-spot penalties for motorists who hog the middle lane, tailgate or cut up other vehicles being introduced last year, it highlights just how serious these anti-social driving behaviours are being taken."

During last summer, new motoring laws were introduced by the Department of Transport (DfT) to deter drivers from committing acts which can annoy and obstruct other motorists on the road.

This includes on-the-spot penalty fines of £100 and three penalty points for offences including tailgating and hogging the middle lane of a motorway road.

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