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Drive Life : February 4th 2011
1HERSA1 F005 *Of fer applies to new vehicles ordered and delivered bet ween 26th December 2010 and 14th February 2011. Offer excludes Dealer Delivery which may vary between dealers. Cannot be combined with any other offer. BMW11872_X1_SMH_A Only a BMW drives like a BMW and the BMW Summer Sales Drive is your opportunity to secure substantial savings across the entire new vehicle range. With incentives also available on 2010 demonstrators, now is the time to get a better deal on an Ultimate Driving Machine. Visit your BMW Dealer today. WHAT MAKES BMW FREE ON-ROADS BETTER THAN OTHER FREE ON-ROADS? THE CAR YOU PUT ON THE ROAD. LAST DAYS OF THE BMW SUMMER SALES DRIVE. ENDS FEBRUARY 14. COMPLIMENTARY STAMP DUTY REGISTRATION AND CTP* . EXCLUDES DEALER DELIVERY. BMW 133 BMW bmw.com.au BMW Sydney 65 Craigend Street, Rushcutters Bay. Ph: (02) 9334 4855 bmwsydney.com.au DL 14639 North Shore BMW 676 Pacific Highway, Chatswood. Ph: (02) 9406 0888 northshorebmw.com.au DL 26386 Canterbury BMW 376-384 Canterbury Road, Canterbury. Ph: (02) 9784 8856 canterburybmw.com.au DL 8726 Col Crawford Motors 497 Pittwater Road, Brookvale. Ph: (02) 9941 1291 colcrawford.bmw.com.au DL 6342 Sylvania BMW 101-107 Prince s H ighway, Sylvania. Ph: (02) 8543 5459 sylvaniabmw.com.au DL 14727 Trivett Classic 40-52 Church Street, Parramatta. Ph: (02) 9841 9003 trivettclassicbmw.com.au DL 579 The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, February 4, 2011 5 DriveLIFE What is it with green sports cars? Green light . . . Ferrari unveiled a hybrid last year. TONY DAVIS Frequently Unasked Questions Good question. Well worth un-asking. The evidence is all around us: Porsche and Ferrari hybrids, diesel Audi TTs and Peugeot RCZs, even fully electric roadsters such as the Tesla. Everyone seems to want to show us we can have our cake and eat it, or at least drive it very quickly. The Tesla uses 6831 lithium-ion cells -- count them -- to propel it from rest to 100km/h in less than four seconds. That makes it a full-on sports car, at least in a straight line. But what, exactly, is the point? The quandary isn't new. In a sense, all super-quick road cars are largely irrelevant for anything other than a track day and we all know most buyers will never participate in a track day. Marketers therefore have to come up with a line that owners can use to explain why they bought a 300km/h-plus car in a country where they'll rarely do much more than a third of that speed. Porsche has boasted that the latest 911 has the same official fuel figures as a Camry, giving buyers an excuse right up there with ''I only read it for the articles''. The technology in the Tesla was always going to be achingly expensive, even if the car's performance was modest. By making it dazzlingly -- and perhaps irrelevantly -- quick, it saved buyers apologising for having spent $200,000-plus on a four-wheeled electrical appliance with a similar spec sheet to an eight-slice toaster. The only potential problem is that by making it so quick, Tesla may have scared away even the municipal council, the sole organisation guaranteed to pay through the nose for anything claimed as green. A couple of historic examples of pre-arming buyers with post-purchase justification: When the gull- winged Bricklin coupe was launched in the US, the production delays ensured it arrived in the midst of the early 1970s fuel crisis. This gave Bricklin a double problem: (a) selling an alleged sports car that, as it turned out, was lard-arsed and not very quick; and (b) trying to gloss over the fact it had an ultra-thirsty 5.9-litre Rambler V8. The hastily wrought solution was to designate the car the SV-1, with the letters standing for ''Safety Vehicle''. The slogan was ''The Bricklin Safety Vehicle: You'll think it's ahead of its time. We think it's about time.'' In the pantheon of tall claims, labelling the Bricklin a safety vehicle was right up there. It steered like a hovercraft with a slashed skirt, you could scarcely see out, it fell apart around you and was fitted with brakes that were largely ornamental. The Bricklin's major innovation was a passive safety feature: it often didn't start. Fortunately, the public didn't buy the safety vehicle slogan. Or the car. When the surprisingly similar DeLorean DMC-12 was launched in the early 1980s, it too was planned as something quick and sporty but it ended up heavy and its none-too-flash V6 was choked by anti-pollution gear. What's more, between conception and production, the world had endured the second oil shock. The solution was to call it an ''ethical sports car'', implying it was somehow removed from the loathsome and unconscionable behaviour of the US's Big Three. This laughable catchphrase was thought up by the vain old crook who ran the company, John Zachary DeLorean -- probably while pocketing the silverware. So anyway, green or fast? Do you want an efficient sports car that would be more efficient if it wasn't so quick? Or a bahn- stormer that would be even bahn-stormier if less bother was paid to frugality and clean burning? There's a slogan: ''The new Lamborghini Hybrid: For those who appreciate compromise.'' OK, may need some work.
January 28th 2011
February 11th 2011