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CARS, BIKES & EVERYTHING ON WHEELS

JUNE 2011 ISSUE 05

The 508 Peugeot’s new top model

• Croatian 4x4 adventure • General Lee The star of Hazzard County • All the latest news & car concepts

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CARS, BIKES & EVERYTHING ON WHEELS

EDITORIAL

Here we are, mid-June and the hot months of summer are upon us once again and along with the rest of the population of our islands your thoughts are probably pretty much centred upon getting yourself to the coast as quickly as possible. Sadly, along with this annual urge to migrate to the water’s edge comes an intense form of motoring madness which manifests itself in an even greater than usual intolerance of the right to exist of any other motorist. The slightest delay at a changing traffic light will cause two dozen hands to descend upon two dozen car horns creating the amount of noise usually associated with a revolution in any other country. The obsession with parking, as close as possible to where the deckchairs are going to be set also takes on obsessive proportions as cars loaded with every imaginable piece of equipment are wedged side by overloaded side as close to

where water meets sand as can be achieved - thank heavens that the Mediterranean has no tide (or maybe the thought of half of the cars in Malta floating off towards Sicily would be something which fulfills some people’s dreams). Obviously, this exercise to park so close to the beach is accompanied by much dashboard slapping, shouting, fist waving, red faces and not a little colourful and highly graphic Maltese expletives. Driving at any time of the year on our roads can be a trial of nerves, battle of wills and brinkmanship all of which are intensified and magnified in direct proportion to the rising temperature. So I would like to take this opportunity of politely pleading for everyone to concentrate on their c.c. this summer. No, I don’t mean the cubic capacity of your car’s engine, I am referring to courtesy and consideration. Just a little step towards accepting the fact that the roads are there for all of us and we each have the right to be there will make a real difference. It really isn’t such a big thing to ask, just a smile instead of a scowl, courtesy in place of a curse and the whole summer driving experience can change for the better - try it today.

Last issues' competition winners were: Miriam Lia who won a Ferrari RC Car and Troy Calleja who won the Camel Active Shoes and the Segway vouchers . Both winners have been notified.

Editor Mike Dimbleby Technical Advisor Malcom J Naudi Creative Director Mark Portelli Art Director Germán Perujo Design & Production Kevin Barun, Germán Perujo, Alan Cachia, Matthew Debono Photography Matthew Debono Advertising Alberto Serra (Sales Manager) - 7944 7447 Email: a.serra@eslmalta.com Published by Executive Services Ltd. 183/2 Constitution Street, Mosta. Tel: 2142 2171/2/3 Email: autoguide@eslmalta.com Autoguide enjoys a circulation in excess of 40,000 distributed with The Sunday Times. While making every effort to satisfy our clients and readers, Executive Services Ltd. cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in advertising or editorials.

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CHECK OUT SOME SENSATIONALY RE-STYLED CARS

CONTENTS 05 road test Peugeot’s big new model road tested

08 the general lee The Star of Hazzard County

25 offroad A Croatian adventure with Kenneth Coleiro

51 aftermarket Maurice Gruppetta brings us the latest OEM news

This issue we have a Police Topgear X Watch worth €159 from e-Jewels (2124 5999), to give away to one fortunate reader. For your chance to win this prize, answer the question below and send to autoguide@eslmalta. com by June 23rd 2011.The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries received. Question : Where did we take the photograph for the Mercedes SLK road test on page 29 of this issue of Autoguide? a) Mellieħa Bay b) Armier c) Golden Bay

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road test

TESTED

PEUGEOT 508

words by Mike Dimbleby photos by Matthew Debono When Malcom pulled up outside the office in the Peugot 508 I must say that I was impressed. This is a big, imposing and, at the risk of labouring a point, impressive motorcar. I have owned a Peugot (306) in the past and have nothing but good memories of the experience, so getting into the driver’s seat of the 508 I was already positively disposed towards the marque and prepared to enjoy the test drive. But the 508 very quickly outstripped my expectations, as I wasn’t prepared for the outstanding levels of comfort and style on offer in this new Peugot flagship. The interior is spacious to the extreme with enough leg and headroom to satisfy even our huge photographer Matthew and his ever-growing bag of equipment which quite literally got lost in the massive boot. When I say ”massive” I mean enormous; any Hollywood gangster would be happy with all of that ‘body space’. The 508’s interior is stylish and

elegant while fulfilling all the functionality demanded for a totally comfortable driving experience. Even a vertically challenged driver such as myself can very simply find that optimum driving position to put him in control of the car. All round visibility is excellent, especially when taking into account the size of the 508, while the layout of controls and dashboard are designed to give maximum convenience and utility but with the added attribute of being super comfortable. But what about that all-important driving experience? Well the truth is that the 508 delivers what its looks promise. The 508 is a bit of an enigma really because it drives like a big car with all the confidence that a big car gives while simultaneously handling with a sportiness that you would be forgiven for thinking that a car of this size couldn’t deliver. The 1.6 Diesel version which we had on test handled the urban conditions of town driving but opened up and gave a heart-pumping drive when we got

it out onto the more open roads and down to Mistra Bay for our photo shoot. The steering, suspension and brake package, while offering everything good that we have come to associate with Peugot is enhanced by that little extra rakishness in the performance to give truly dynamic road holding and cornering values with great positive feelings of contact with the road, while the size gave, me at least, that extra feeling of solid safety. The Peugot 508 has everything that we all demand as standard by way of in-car gadgets and entertainment, a reliable, safe and trustworthy pedigree and a stylish well balanced drive. It would be incredibly unfair to compare this to the models which it is replacing (the 407 and 607) because this is a vehicle which has a character all of its own, which along with an extremely attractive price tag make it a more than serious contender for anyone looking for a sporty, luxurious saloon car.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 5


road test

The Facts words by Malcolm J. Naudi What do you get when you cross the Peugeot 407 with the Peugeot 607? The all-new Peugeot 508, of course, which is replacing both model ranges in the local market. At 4,792 mm long, the 508 is 100 mm longer that the 407 yet it is 25 kg lighter (its other dimensions are a width of 2,068 mm, a height of 1,456 mm on a 2,817 mm wheelbase). The French manufacturer believes that emotion is at the heart of the 508’s stylish design, with quality, purity and efficiency enabling the new model to embody the marque’s new expression in the grand touring car segment. Among the 508’s features are new-generation e-HDi and HYbrid4 technologies, a streamlined, prestigious and dynamic appearance, high-quality, comfortable interiors, and expertise that extends the Peugeot brand’s longstanding reputation of good driveability and durability. Guided by the search for perfectly

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balanced and streamlined contours, the style of the 508 reflects the aspirations of elegance, robustness and high quality. At the front, the 508 illustrates the development of Peugeot’s latest stylistic codes first unveiled on the SR1 concept car, with a single grille rendered in a ‘floating’ style and piercing headlamps with a particularly marked visual expression, like its ‘LED tubes’ visible both by day and night. Similarly, at the rear, three red ‘claws’ mask three rows of LEDs. The boot is practical and accommodating, with a generous volume of 545 litres. With the seat backs folded (they fold in one easy movement) to form a flat floor, this volume rises to 1,581 litres. There is a choice of petrol and diesel engines with both six-speed manual and six-speed Ecomatique (with selectable paddle shift gearchange). There are two 1.6-litre petrols with power outputs of 120 and 156 bhp and two turbodiesles of 1.6 and 2.0 litres. Power output is 112

bhp and 140 bhp, respectively. It is usually, however, the torque (pulling power) figures that I look out for, with the two petrols producing 156 Nm (at 4,250 rpm) and 240 Nm (at 1,400 rpm), respectively. The figures for the diesel are 240 Nm (at 1,500 rpm) and 320 Nm (at 2,000 rpm), respectively. Consumption is impressive for this size of car with the 1.6-litre HDi turbodiesel returning 4.4 litres/100 km (64.2 mpg) on the combined cycle. CO2 emissions vary from 109 g/km to 149 g/km. There is a new type of suspension, a McPherson type front axle, ensuring a top quality blend of comfort and roadholding, and a multi-arm rear suspension designed to ensure excellent efficiency with maximum accuracy and vibration damping by controlling longitudinal and transverse forces. Standard specification for the entry level Active version includes automatic bi-zone air-conditioning climate control, front fog lamps, Electronic Stability Programme

and Traction Control (ESP and ASR), Dynamic Stability Control (CBC), automatic headlamps and wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric front and rear windows, cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking aid, electric folding door mirrors, RD5 radio/CD player with MP3 playback with Bluetooth, Peugeot connect USB Box, metallic paintwork, new efficiency optic halogen headlamps, anti-lock braking (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBFD), emergency braking assistance (EBA), daytime running lights, ultrasonic alarm, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, curtain airbags for front and rear windows, alarm and deadlocks. Additional features on the Allure version include: quad-zone climate control, front parking aid, automatic electric parking brake with hill assist, Peugeot Open and Go System – Keyless Entry with Start/Stop Button, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, half leather trim and 18-inch alloy wheels. Starting price: €27,300.


autoguide JUNE 2011 | 7


motors in the movies

THE

General Lee!

words by MICHAEL SPITERI

The Dukes of Hazzard; the iconic 1970s television series and subsequent movie, is a delightful blend of Americana, a Robin Hood sort of story set in the deep south, where stock-car racing is a way of life. The Dukes; a close-knit family of noble outlaws (moonshiners), stand against Boss Hogg, a corrupt county commissioner who is constantly exasperated by the heroes’ formidable ally, perhaps the most recognised American muscle car in history – the General Lee. Gy Waldron, the show’s creator, intuited that the fate of his partWestern, part-comedy show depended upon winning quickly the sympathy, if not the admiration, of its target audience, young adults. So, he envisioned a dream car for them. "We talked about six or seven different cars,” executive producer Paul Picard revealed after the show became successful, ”but Gy kept coming back to the Charger. He was the expert on cars, and so we went along." The Dodge Charger R/T (Road and Track) from Chrysler was

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selected. A mean machine with a 440 cubic-inch magnum V-8 engine rated at 375 hp, equipped with an enhanced Holly 780 double-pumper carburetor and a Torqueflite A-727 heavy duty automatic transmission. After a radical customisation, it was baptised the General Lee, in honour of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate military forces general, who won an impressive string of victories during the American Civil War. By the time the pilot episodes aired, it was already the car every American teenager wanted, a fact that in hindsight is not at all surprising. The General Lee’s enduring mystique is the fruit of two distinctive characteristics: its slick, aggressive look and its daring personality, both very appealing to the minds of youths. The general’s skin is bright orange, with loud racing numbers tattooed on doors welded shut, and with a confederate naval flag, intended as a symbol of southern heritage, and rebellion on the roof. Its horn is the first line of the song Dixie, another

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD IS A DELIGHTFUL BLEND OF AMERICANA, A ROBIN HOOD SORT OF STORY SET IN THE DEEP SOUTH, WHERE STOCK-CAR RACING IS A WAY OF LIFE.


motors in the movies rebellions southern emblem. As for the rest, the grill guard protruding up front, the Shelby 10-spoke rims, the B.F. Goodrich T/ A radial tires, the dark interiors, the glass pack exhaust and a tall CB whip antenna at the back, all augment the appearance of a rebel. And, as a true outlaw, the General Lee is renowned for its stunts. It is known that, apart from some first-unit cars kept for close-up shots and still photography with the actors, a small army of second-unit cars were submitted to punishing filming schedules. Highspeed pursuits, vertiginous jumps, two-wheel driving and a multitude of turns destroyed almost 250 Dodge Chargers during the filming of 147 episodes. The second-unit cars were heavily modified. Standard precautions like protective full steel cages to protect the drivers, and NASCAR style fuel cells to minimize the possibility of leaks and explosions, were implemented on all cars. But

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each spectacular act demanded other special implementations. The bootlegger’s turns (180 degree), for instance, were performed by vehicles sporting overinflated tyres and a fortified handbrake. And the most dangerous stunts, the jumps, were executed by cars with heavy duty suspensions and a weight box placed in the boot to keep them from flipping in the air. As a rule, each jump ripped the engine mounts and twisted the chassis beyond repair. The sacrifice did not go unnoticed; the producers received an average of 60,000 letters a month, half of which addressed to the General. Some simply asked ”Could I have an autographed picture of the General Lee?” The producers obliged, the autographs being tyre tread prints made by driving the car over the photograph. The General Lee’s notoriety grew so much; even the cast on the set addressed him by his rank, just as the Dukes did. Paul Picard realised the car’s fame in a rather particular way. As executive producer, he was one of the few to drive an authentic 'General' on official roads. He was spotted and stopped for no reason by the highway patrol. ”I just had to stop you,” the officer said, waving aside Picard's license. ”Now I can go home and be a hero to my kids and tell them I stopped the General Lee.”

Facts • The General Lee was inspired by Traveler, bootlegger Jerry Rushin’s car in the feature film Moonrunners. • Traveler was the name of General Robert E. Lee’s horse. • Moonshining refers to the illegal (by the

light of the moon) distillation of spirits. • NASCAR is the National Association of Stock Car Racing. • Stock-car racing is a form of automobile races that takes place on a traditionally oval track.


news

autoguide update

Autoguide gives you 3 pages of the latest news and views from the motoring world

Ford Focus launched launch and a lottery draw of guests present at the event, who were invited to drive the new Focus for 2 days and review it on a blog on the Gasan Enterprises Facebook page, provides potential Ford Focus buyers with instant local feedback.

Ford Focus at the Malta launch

Ford’s next world car, the European built and designed Focus, has landed in Malta. Two models were driven out of 40-foot containers during the launch ceremony at the Old Power station near the Valletta Waterfront. Addressing the guests, David Gasan, managing director of Gasan Enterprises Ltd, said: “The new Ford Focus is a clear demonstration that the ONE Ford strategy is

providing global consumers with great products that harness the best of Ford Motor Company. The efficiencies generated by this new global C-car (lower medium size) platform will enable us to provide Ford Focus customers with an affordable product offering quality, fuel efficiency, safety and technology beyond their expectations.” Ira Losco performed live at the

The entry level Ford Focus Trend in four or five doors with a 1.6 TiVCT 105 bhp engine costs €24,000. Standard specifications include: trip computer; air-conditioning; ABS (Anti-lock braking system); ESP (Electronic Stability Programme); power adjust, heated door mirrors; alarm and immobiliser; front fog lamps; six-speaker audio system and USB; and leather steering wheel with audio controls. Among the advanced technologies that are being offered in the Focus are a Low Speed Safety System,

Active Park Assist and a Traffic Sign Recognition. An advanced Torque Vectoring Control system, fitted as standard, enhances cornering stability and agility. The innovative suspension concepts from prior models have been retuned and enhanced. There is also a ‘Control Blade’ multilink rear suspension and a semi-isolated front subframe. The Focus is the first Ford model to offer Auto-Start-Stop technology across a significant part of the range. The extensive powertrain range delivers spirited performance and offers outstanding fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The new Focus also incorporates other features from the Ford ECOnetic Technologies programme to help minimise fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

New Toyota Verso S now in Malta Toyota returns to the B-segment (supermini) MPV market with the Verso S, a new model with exceptional space and great flexibility within compact overall dimensions. In terms of size, it may be the smallest competitor in the mini-MPV segment, but clever Toyota design has produced an interior that verges on compact family hatchback levels of passenger and load space. European B-MPV sales have almost tripled since 2002 as more and more motorists look to downsize and take advantage of its inherent convenience, efficiency and user friendliness. Toyota addressed every detail in the quest for the best possible interior packaging,

including using a slimmer front seat design and tailoring the profile of the rear door trims to add extra "foot space” for easy passenger access. The 60:40 rear seats can be folded flat in a one-touch action, and a two-position lightweight deckboard allows for load space depth to be easily adjusted. On T Spirit models a maximum 1,388 litres is available with the rear seats folded down. All versions of the Verso S are powered by Toyota’s 98 bhp 1.33-litre VVT-i petrol engine, delivering the lowest CO2 emissions and best fuel economy in the miniMPV segment. When matched to a six-speed manual transmission, the system delivers emissions

of 127 g/km and combined cycle fuel economy of 5.49 litres/100 km (51.4 mpg). Thanks the higher efficiency of the Multidrive S CVT – the only transmission of its kind in the segment – CO2 figures are lower still at 120 g/km, with an improvement in average fuel consumption to 5.2 l/100 km (54.3 mpg – combined cycle). The Toyota Touch, a new multimedia touchscreen system for controlling audio and communications functions, is fitted as standard on all models, and comes with Bluetooth for hands-free mobile phone use and audio streaming, plus a USB port for connecting personal music players. Toyota Touch also features

a trip information screen, displaying details of journey time, distance and fuel economy, including journeyby-journey comparison records. For more information on Toyota and its model line-up visit the state-of-the-art Toyota showroom in Mdina Road Zebbug, log on to www.toyota.com.mt or the ToyotaMalta Facebook page.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 13


www.peugeot.com.mt

New Peugeot 508. Quality time.

Combined fuel consumption (l/100 km): from 4.4 to 7.3. CO2 emissions (g/km): from 115 to 169.

NEW PEUGEOT

508

Michael Attard Ltd. – National Road, Blata l-Bajda – T: 2123 8854 – M: 79 406 607 – E: sales@michaelattard.com


news

Aston Martin collaboration with Zagato Aston Martin is to start collaborating with renowned Italian design house Zagato in the 50th anniversary year of the iconic DB4GT Zagato. The first product of this renewed working partnership was shown for the first time at the famous Villa D’Este Concours d’Elegance last month, followed shortly after with a racing debut at the Nürburgring. At its world premiere the Aston Martin V12 Zagato has won the Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes on the shores of Lake Como, Italy.

All visitors to the Concorso D’Eleganza were invited to cast their vote for the best concept and prototype. Among ten entries from around the world, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato was voted the best in class. "Based on the reactions of our customers to this race car, we hope to offer a road-homologated V12 Zagato in a small, limited number as soon as possible,” Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, said. "First feedback has been great so far. This makes us confident that this

new Aston Martin V12 Zagato will be a winner of the classic car vote at Villa D’Este in 50 years time.” Aston Martin Design Director, Marek Reichman, added: "Our designers

are able to collaborate with a broad spectrum of organisations and individuals to seek new and exciting ideas and inspiration due to Aston Martin’s independence.”

New compact, stylish Honda scooter Honda, whose range of scooters includes luxury, large-displacement scooters as well as chic runabouts – all with the highest Honda quality, the best technologies for their function and rock-solid dependability – have launched the PCX. Created for riders who desire the

compact, economical advantages of a 125 cc scooter and the modern, fashionable good looks more often associated with larger-displacement machines, the PCX is designed as a practical, fast and fun ride in every aspect, from its low-noise, low-emissions operation to its easy

handling and contemporary image. Its styling is youthful with a long, low and curvaceous shape. Its unique front face and the flowing lines of its bodywork give it a dynamic presence and a luxurious feel. By day, the PCX is a quick and convenient way to get around, for work or play. By night, it easily adapts to the smartest venues in the city. The PCX’s dual headlight design is flanked by sleek, upward-slanting indicators, giving the front an exclusive look. The high-tech instrument panel has a speedometer needle that sweeps the dial at ignition. The cockpit also features an indicator for the engine’s innovative Idle Stop switch, a fuel indicator and other practical readouts. The scooter incorporates a low seat height and long, spacious footrests. The comfortable seat incorporates

back support for the rider and a generous pillion area. Underneath, its lockable storage compartment holds a full-face helmet with room to spare. In addition, a convenient glove box is provided at the front. With a lightweight, compact SOHC configuration, the PCX’s engine is surprisingly powerful, delivering quick starting acceleration that covers the first 50 m in only 5.5 seconds. It also integrates a liquid cooling system with the radiator built into the engine for compact size and light weight. The engine features a Honda PGM-FI fuel injection system that ensures seamless, effortless power delivery via the smooth V-belt transmission, while also reducing emissions and fuel consumption. The PCX delivers 46.0/45.1 km per litre.

Fiat raises Chrysler shareholding, restructures debt Chrysler last month repaid $7.6 billion in outstanding US and Canadian government loans following the completion of new refinancing transactions that will save it an estimated $350 million a year in interest expenses. The original loans were repaid in full, more than six years ahead of schedule, along with the payment of accrued interest

and additional consideration. Concurrently with these transactions, Fiat exercised its option to raise its shareholding in Chrysler by 16% to 46% and is expected to go up to 51% by the end of the year. "Less than two years ago, we made a commitment to repay the US and Canadian taxpayers in full and we made good on that promise,” said

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer, of both Chrysler and Fiat. "The loans gave us a rare second chance to demonstrate what the people of this company can deliver and we owe a debt of gratitude to those whose intervention allowed Chrysler Group to re-establish itself as a strong and viable carmaker. "Paying back the loans, along

with the financial community’s investment in our refinancing packages, marks another step in the company returning as a competitive force in the global automotive industry.” Chrysler Group continues to have more than $10 billion in liquidity after the refinancing and loan payoffs.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 15


news

Mono sports car at RS Academy RS Academy, one of Europe’s most exclusive track-driving car clubs, has taken delivery of the first production Mono sports cars, which will further enhance its existing fleet of mouthwatering supercars. RS Academy’s members will be able to drive the two new cars at selected dates and venues this year. RS Academy managing director Rob Stanbury says: "As soon we saw the Mono concept, we knew we wanted to have them on our fleet and we’ve been involved in the project for many months.”

The Mono is a lightweight, ultra high performance, road legal sports car, designed and manufactured using the latest racing technology. With 528 bhp per ton, the Mono is capable of a top speed is in excess of 275 km/h (170 mph) and 0-96 km/h in 2.8 seconds. RS Academy has track days arranged throughout the year at circuits like Nurburgring, Ascari Race Resort, Paul Ricard and Spa Francorchamps. The two new Monos join a stunning line-up of cars on the RS Academy fleet, including: the Ferrari 430

Challenge, the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Ariel Atom, Caterham Superlight and Noble M600.

www.rs-academy.co.uk, www.bac-mono.com

Mass adoption of electric vehicles still some distance away Despite rising fuel prices, the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is still some distance away, a new study by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has found. According to the survey of 4,760 European consumers, only 16% see themselves as potential first movers to buy or lease an electric vehicle, while 53% say they might be willing to consider it, and 31% say they are not likely to consider purchasing or leasing an EV. David Raistrick, automotive partner and head of manufacturing at Deloitte UK, commented: "There is no doubt that electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry. However, while interest

in electric vehicles is growing, with 69% of respondents willing to consider an EV today, current market offerings generally fall far short of consumers’ expectations for driving range, charging time, and purchase price. More than 80% of European consumers surveyed said that convenience to charge, range, and the cost to charge were all key considerations when buying or leasing an EV. Raistrick added: "Range, price and charging concerns need to be addressed. Our research shows that there are specific design targets that manufacturers must reach to entice car buyers.

"Three-quarters of European consumers surveyed (74%) said that before they would consider purchasing an EV, they would expect it to be able to travel 500 km between charges – much higher than what is currently available – and 67% said the battery must take no longer than two hours to charge.” The majority (57%) of respondents who say they may be willing to consider an electric vehicle expect to pay the same or less for an EV than they do for a regular car. Only 24% of the same group say they would be willing to pay a premium. Currently, hybrids and battery electric vehicles represent a tiny fraction of total cars on the

road. The adoption of all forms of green vehicles will be significantly influenced by government policies. David Raistrick added: "For mass adoption, manufacturers will need to meet the challenge of pricing electric vehicles in line with consumer expectations, while still maximising their margins. Consumers are not likely to want to pay a high price premium for EVs. This means that incentives such as tax reductions and exemptions will be very important to the purchase decision. Just like the Government supported the highly successful car scrappage scheme, they should now be turning their attention to electric vehicles.”

Peugeot 207 tops reliability list Warranty Direct has revealed that the most reliable car made by a European car company is the Peugeot 207. More than 20,000 live policies on three- to seven-year-old cars made by European manufacturers were compared for repair claims. The Warranty Direct survey reveals Peugeot’s top-selling city car is not only popular for its good looks, economy, practicality

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and fun-to-drive nature. It also displays exemplary dependability, with owners experiencing just a 6% repair rate in an average year. The runner up, the Fiat Panda, showed a 14% rate. And the 207’s victory was accompanied by two other Peugeots in the survey’s top ten most reliable European cars: the 206 CC in third and the 107 in ninth. To measure a car’s overall reliability

and running costs, Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index reviews rates of failure, average mileage, age and repair cost to calculate its

rating for the Reliability Index. Michael Attard Limited of National Road, Blata l-Bajda, are the local Peugeot importers.


promotional news

SWISS PRECISION encrusted with Diamonds 202 Jewellery would like to announce the introduction of Christina London Watches to Malta. Christina London Diamond Swiss Watches take their name from the Danish designer Christina. Christina holder of a Master of Arts Degree, from The University of the Arts London, which besides Christina educated such design STARS as Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo. The Christina London watches she creates are masterpieces that have as an inspiration the pulse and heartbeat of the world’s metropolis. Diamond timepieces fit for Royalty as can be vouched by the Queen and Crown Prince of Denmark who

are proud owners of the Christina London watches. All timepieces in the Christina Design London collection are Danish design, Swiss Made, and are embellished by full round cut diamond (in certified Top Wesselton/VVS quality). All timepieces come with a full Swiss Certificate of Origin, ensuring the proud owners of the Christina Diamond Timepieces the very best of traditional Swiss watch making. For complete peace of mind, all timepieces come with an International Manufacturer’s Warranty and a Diamond Certificate, guaranteeing the quality of the Diamonds encrusting the timepieces.

These Masterpieces come in varied price ranges depending on the Quantity of the Diamonds, if the Glass is Sapphire Crystal and if the face is made with Mother of Pearl. The Gents Collection start from €229 and the Ladies Collection can be found starting from €139. A timepiece is the essence of dynamic, character and personality. It tells a unique story of the wearer and is a constant inspiration to the design of Christina watches. Visit www.202Jewellery.com to view the full Christina London Gents & Ladies Collection. Or visit one of the outlets at Merchant Street, Valletta or Bisazza Street., Sliema.

Top honours for Kia at red dot design awards Kia Motors has been awarded top honours in two categories at this year’s red dot product design competition in Germany. The jury of respected design experts bestowed coveted red dot awards on the new Kia Sportage compact SUV and the Optima sedan. The judges also paid a special tribute to the new Optima, giving it the red dot ‘best of

the best’ title, the competition’s highest distinction for rewarding groundbreaking design, for which only the best products in each category are eligible. These latest wins bring the number of Kia models to receive a red dot award to four – with the Kia Venga winning in 2010 and the Kia Soul in 2009. The Kia Optima and the new Sportage also won 2011 iF product design awards last December.

“We are extremely proud of the red dot awards for the Kia Optima and the new Sportage. They are a great acknowledgement of the work our international design teams have done and an endorsement of our design strategy,” says Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer, Kia Motors Corporation. “Naturally, we are particularly thrilled about the ‘best of the best’ award for our new sedan. The

Kia Optima exudes a bold, athletic energy. And its blend of simple and fluid lines and elegant but uncomplicated shapes draw the attention of the eye in much the same fashion as a perfectly tailored, fine Italian suit.” KIA is still the only car brand giving its clients an industry leading seven-year warranty. Models can be viewed at the Easysell-KIA showroom in Qormi.

Skoda Superb Estate scoops another top honour Škoda’s Superb has triumphed in the annual awards from respected magazine Diesel Car, taking the title of Best Estate Car 2011. Proving its remarkable staying power, this is the second year in a row that the popular and versatile Superb Estate has won the award. Ian Robertson, Editor of Diesel Car, commented: “The big Czech is our favourite estate because it shows emphatically just how clever car packaging can be. It superbly marries nimble road manners, robust performance and great value for money with one of the biggest boots

18 | JUNE 2011 autoguide

and largest cargo bays around.” Diesel Car’s awards are decided upon by a distinguished panel of expert judges across 10 categories and are based on road test ratings achieved by magazine staff. Chris Horrell, Product Marketing Manager for Škoda UK said, “For the Superb Estate to win this honour two years in a row is an outstanding achievement. It’s a tribute to the hard work of the engineering and design teams, who have really pushed the boundaries in terms of the drivebility and functionality people expect from an estate car.”


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rmf road safety tips

DRIVING in Europe RMF Technical Director Paul Vella gives his advice on driving abroad

If you love to drive, driving overland has to be done at least once in your lifetime. Driving gives you the freedom to go where you want, whenever you want and the extra mobility of a car versus bus or train travel saves you time in locating accommodation in small towns and away from the train lines. Having your own car is also a blessing for those who don't believe in packing light or for whom stocking up on olive oil, wine and other goodies is what travelling to mainland Europe is all about. Whether motoring from Malta in your own car or renting one at your destination, we offer practical information on driving licences, motor insurance, car hire, safety, speed limits, ferries and tolls. Driving Licence If you hold a driving licence issued in Malta or in any EU member state, you may drive in all EU countries, provided that your licence is valid and that you only drive the category of vehicles that you are entitled to. To drive in a non-EU country that is party to the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, it is advisable that you obtain an International Driving Permit. This permit is issued for

one year, on presentation of a valid licence issued either in Malta or in an EU member state. Motor Insurance Your car insurance policy will automatically provide the minimum cover (third party liability) required by law in the EU. This also applies to Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. If you have comprehensive insurance at home, check that the cover extends to travelling in other countries. You may also want to consider vehicle breakdown assistance such as the European Breakdown Service provided by RMF. Car Ferries You have a choice of ferries from Malta to mainland Europe. Virtu Ferries Fast Ferry for passengers and vehicles sails to Catania and Pozzallo in Sicily. All trips leave and arrive at Malta at the Sea Passenger Terminal, Pinto Wharf, Valletta, alternating destination and operating approximately five days a week low season and daily in summer. Daily crossings are increased from two to three times four days in the week during the high season. The trip takes approximately 90 minutes to Pozzallo and three hours to Catania.

Please check prices on www.virtuferries.com or call on telephone number 2122 8777. Grandi Navi Veloci Conventional Ferry operates a weekly ferry service to Genoa. Call Gollcher Group of Companies on tel: 2569 1550. RMF members get 7% discount if you book through Gollcher. Grimaldi Lines operate a ferry to Catania, Genoa and Civita Vecchia. RMF members get 20% discount with Grimaldi if you book online on www.grimaldi-lines.com. Just quote your RMF membership number. Driving Safely In all EU countries, it is compulsory to wear seatbelts in both the front and back of the car. Child car seats have to be used for children travelling in cars. In some countries, such as Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Portugal, you normally have to give way to traffic coming from your right. Using a mobile phone while driving greatly increases the risk of a fatal accident and it is either explicitly or implicitly forbidden in all EU countries. In some countries, the use of hands-free devices is tolerated. Remember that every other country in Europe, except the UK, Cyprus,

Malta and Ireland, drives on the right-hand side of the road. It's especially easy to forget or get confused when pulling out from a parking spot, at roundabouts or starting off in the morning. In the event of an accident, call for free the European number 112, which covers the whole territory of the European Union. RMF members: If you are involved in a breakdown or accident please phone RMF on our Malta number 2124 2222 and we will send our representatives to take care of you and your vehicle. Warning triangle and reflective vests Motoring law in France and in most other European countries now requires all vehicles to carry a warning triangle and reflective waistcoats. The law in Spain requires two warning triangles. Anybody providing roadside assistance, or leaving a stranded vehicle, should always wear a reflective vest to ensure his own safety. This is becoming a legal requirement in an increasing number of European countries.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 21


rmf road safety tips http://www.rmfmalta.com/pages/ services_era.htm to apply online. The process takes only a few minutes. The European Roadside Assistance consists of two services: RMF Members travelling from Malta to Europe. The European Breakdown Service is available to members whose vehicles qualify after being checked out by our skilled RMF mechanics. However, if your vehicle is not more than 3 years old, you need not go through this check – just apply on the RMF website or office and you’re off travelling to Europe. RMF Members travelling to Malta. (If you are purchasing a vehicle from abroad and decide to drive it to Malta.) The vehicle is not to be older than RMF has a range of safety products which you should seriously consider having in your vehicle, such as a warning triangle, Visibility vest, First Aid kit and blanket. Safe & Legal When travelling on the continent ensure you comply with European motoring requirements by carrying the following essential items of accident, emergency and breakdown equipment. Headlamp Beam Adaptors Failure to adapt your headlamps at any time, day or night, will render your vehicle unfit for use on the road and could invalidate your motor insurance. Warning Triangles Drivers must be able to give prior warning of a hazard on the road. Hazard Warning Lights alone are not sufficient. Two triangles are required for Spain. Spare Bulb Kits Drivers must be in a position to replace any blown exterior light. Fire Extinguisher and First Aid Kit The European Good Samaritan Law requires every driver to stop and provide assistance in the event of an accident.

Reflective Vest Motoring law in an increasing number of European countries now requires all vehicles to carry reflective vests, for drivers and passengers, for use in the event of breakdowns or emergencies. New European Roadside Assistance RMF members can now benefit from the new European Roadside Assistance service when buying a car from abroad and driving it to Malta. Since the introduction of the new legislation of imports for secondhand vehicles, many members are seeking to buy second-hand vehicles, particularly from the UK. RMF has just introduced the service for you to put your mind at rest. The European Roadside Assistance will cover your vehicle if you break down. We will first send you assistance to try and repair your vehicle. If on-the-spot repair is not possible, we will tow your vehicle to the nearest repair centre. The European Roadside Assistance is on a 24-hour basis, so no matter what time of day or night, sunshine or rain, we will be there for you. No more worries about travelling back to Malta with your newly purchased second-hand vehicle. Just go to the RMF website

eight years and is to be accompanied by a valid roadworthy certificate. This certificate may be requested by the company providing roadside assistance. Coverage shall not be activated before the client has informed RMF Ltd. of the make, model, year of manufacture and registration number of the vehicle to be covered. Coverage will commence four hours after client has informed RMF Ltd of the details of the vehicle and will cease to operate after the period of cover selected on the subscription form. For full terms and conditions, prices and to subscribe to the European Breakdown Service, please visit the website http://www.rmfmalta.com/ pages/services_era.htm

Speed limits for cars in EU countries in km/h: In built-up Outside built-up Motorways areas areas Austria 50 100 130 Belgium 50 90 120 Bulgaria 50 90 130 Cyprus 50 80 100 Czech Republic 50 90 130 Denmark 50 80 110/130 Estonia 50 90/100/110 N/A Finland 50 80/100 100/120 France 50 90/110 130 Germany 50 100 130* Greece 50 90/110 130 Hungary 50 90/110 130 Ireland 50 80/100 120 Italy 50 90/110 130 Latvia 50 90/100 110 Lithuania 50 90 110/130 Luxemburg 50 90 130 Malta 50 80 N/A The Netherlands 50 80/100 100/120 Poland 50/60 90/100 130 Portugal 50 90/100 120 Romania 50 90/100 130 Slovakia 60 90 130 Slovenia 50 90/100 130 Spain 50 90/100 120 Sweden 50 70/90 110 United Kingdom 48 96 112 *Recommended maximum speed

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 23


4x4

A Maltese off-road adventure in Croatia

words by Gerald J. Zammit car enthusiast Kenneth Coleiro’s passion for wheels dates back to when he was still a young boy aged nine. His love for cars was instilled in him by his late father Paul, who owned, restored and drove the finest marques. In fact, Kenneth’s infatuation for the Rolls-Royce brand started when his dad owned a RR Silver Cloud I straight-six 1957 model and a 1984 Silver Spirit V8 6,750 cc model. Over the years the Rolls-Royce collection increased to a Silver Wraith 1954 model, which I actually used for my wedding back in 1983 when the car belonged to Mark Micallef; am RR Shadow I and II of 1971 and 1977, respectively, and an XJS V12, which he owned since he was 19 years old. Like myself, Kenneth is a member of the RollsRoyce Enthusiasts’ Club UK. This club provides us with invaluable information through their full colour printed publications. RREC issue a monthly Advertiser publication, a bi-monthly Bulletin and a glorious

850-page hard bound annual, which in my opinion is worth the annual subscription fee on its own. Kenneth is not a Rolls-Royce owner just to pose he is an active motorsport man who thoroughly enjoys driving his cars competitively. He is a regular participant in motorsport events, like the Valletta Grand Prix, and has driven his Cloud 1, Shadow II and Silver Spirit in past events. He has no problem driving his ‘Rollers’ hard and we look forward to seeing him in the next VGP event, now scheduled for October this year. Apart from such events, Kenneth is also an Old Motors Club member and occasionally participates in their static car shows. However, the purpose behind this article is to share a recent experience involving Kenneth’s off-roading and adventurous streak. Kenneth, the 42-year-old Managing Director of Coleiro Group of Companies, has been involved in off-roading since he was 20 years old. He is

a member of the AWDC – All-Wheel Drive Club in Malta and in the early days competed in a fully modified Range Rover V8 petrol. In 1988, he participated in one of Malta’s first ever mainstream off-roading events – the Camel Rally. Two years ago, this energetic, competitive individual embarked on a two-year project to build, almost from scratch, his own off-roader. He also wanted it to be completely different from the traditional Land Rover 4x4 models used by other competing drivers here in Malta. The project started by acquiring a recent Jeep Wrangler Sahara and dismantling it totally. This involved cutting the front and the rear of the chassis, a total rebuild with installation of pipe work to accommodate and strengthen the extreme coilover and the four-link front and rear suspension system. In fact, this vehicle is now running on unusual 16-inch coil-overs. This modification also necessitated nar-

rowing the front end of the chassis to accommodate the massive 40inch Beadlock tyres now fitted and not to restrict the steering angle. The axles are Dynatrac. These have been specifically made to order in the US according to Kenneth’s measurements. They are guaranteed to be unbreakable for this type of vehicle and sport. They incorporate front and rear difflocks and are constructed of high pinion gearing and the differential block has been modified to achieve improved ground clearance. The new Corvette engine is 7.0 litres and develops 510 bhp. It has been reprogrammed through computerisation to handle the requirements for extreme off-roading conditions, such as re-torqueing the ECU parameters to achieve the torque and power, now producing 510 bhp and complete resistance to water and mud. The automatic transmission has also been computer reprogrammed and customised for the driver’s purpose. The transfer case, which is the four-wheel drive selector, has been

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 25


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4x4

replaced and purchased new from the USA. According to Kenneth, it is considered to be the latest and best unit available since it can select various gear ratios in four-wheel drive low and also has a crawler gear. Furthermore, the driver has the flexibility to engage front or rear or four-wheel drive as required. The three winches installed on the vehicle to aid the car to surpass any obstacle in its way are also specific to this vehicle. The rear winch is a twinmotor 24V which is capable of pulling 12 tons and can pull at any angle from the rear. It can also pull the vehicle from the front by means of guides running underneath the chassis. The middle winch is smaller, preventing the vehicle from toppling over or to put the vehicle back on its wheels should it overturn. There is more to tell about this later on in this article. The front winch is a prototype, which has been specifically manufactured in the UK by a leading winch manufacture specialising in off-road winches. This is the first electric winch in the world mounted on a vehicle that has four motors, capable of pulling 24 tons, and can reach pulling speeds of over 29 metres (95 feet) per minute – simply amazing! Other significant modifications incorporated in this vehicle include high power brakes to stop the large wheels, modification in the steering system, two alternators to power the 24V and another for the 12V systems on the vehicle, special wiring which is marine grade and sealed so the engine will still run even if submerged in water, navigation systems that are necessary to participate in international competitions and various marine-approved grade instrumentation. Although the main components have been imported from the USA, the design, planning and specifications required were carried out by Maltese enthusiasts and no consultation was sought beyond these shores. Of course, this was very challenging as this was the first American vehicle with American equipment constructed in Malta, as usually most customised vehicles are Land Rover based and there is much expertise on this type of vehicle here in Malta. The reconstruction and redesign

of the chassis and the roll cage are fundamental for the performance and safety of the vehicle. The roll cage for the safety of driver and navigator were designed in Malta without any existing template or pattern, but through inspiration, experience and sketches created by Maltese enthusiasts and friends. This too was greatly appreciated by local enthusiasts and foreign personalities, such as Ari Vatanen, who was overwhelmed with the design and build quality in general. This vehicle was purposely prepared to participate in local and international foreign events. The first challenge was the Croatia 4x4 Trophy, held last April ,which was an eightday event held on the Croatia/Bosnia border in which races were performed during the day and also at night in the forest and in the River Glina area. This is considered to be Europe’s toughest off-road event in which 63 vehicles participated from all over the world. The Jotun Malta Team consisted of six people. Kenneth was the vehicle driver, Massimo Magri, Navigator; Steve Curmi, Chief Mechanic; Nicholas Borg, Chief Technician; and Kenneth Turner and Conway Cachia the Support Crew. The team left Malta by ship and with a transporter truck sponsored by Coleiro Group, which was accompanied by a Pajero back-up and another support vehicle. The port of arrival was Livorno. From there the off-roader, already boarded on the transporter truck, together with the Maltese convoy, drove straight to Croatia via Trieste, Slovenia and, until they reached the camp site destination called Staro Salo, next to the village of Topusko in Croatia. Prior to this journey the vehicle had only been test-driven a couple of times in Malta for finer tuning, but this was the point of no return Full of enthusiasm prior to the start of the event involving daily competitions, the Jotun Team took their customised off-roader to the tracks. Unfortunately and, despite all prior test-drives and long hours of preparation, during the first day of trials the new performance engine developed mechanical problems beyond repairs, which put them out of action. Unlike most other people, resourceful Kenneth managed to source another engine in Brussels

and agreed to go and pick it up with his Pajero. The vendor agreed at a cost to meet Kenneth and Steve in Frankfurt with the replacement Corvette engine, minimising Kenneth’s driving distance which still involved a 28-hour round trip of straight driving. On arrival in Frankfurt at 5 a.m., Kenneth loaded the engine into the back of his Pajero and headed straight back to arrive next day late at night. On arrival the team, aided by Kamoy’s team, fitted the replacement engine in a few hours and the team were all set to go once again after a very stressful and tiring episode. But this event was not to be, as once again the second engine encountered mechanical problems and at this stage little more could be done. However, during the various competitive runs, when the 4x4 was still working well and in one piece, Kenneth did manage to put his purposely designed winches to use when his off-roader overturned and dropped a number of metres. Luckily both Kenneth and his navigator where unhurt when they landed on top of a tree. The vehicle was hoisted up as the three powerful winches brought the vehicle back onto its wheels. There are many more stories to tell about this adventure and I am sure these will be told in due course. Another quick one was that the transporter still loaded with the off-roader got stuck in the mud and Kevin Mallia of Kamoy Engineering pulled them out of this fix with his 4x4. Three teams from Malta competed in this international offroad event and Kenneth is proud to say that Kevin Mallia from the Kamoy Team placed 14th out of around 63 competitors and completed the race. We should encourage and promote such motorsport initiatives, where the Maltese always do us proud. Kenneth, as you know, I first got a glimpse of your maginificent beast when you kindly exhibited it at a recent Fundraising Rotary Club dinner. It is a super vehicle with amazing technology and engineering, and I take this opportunity in wishing you much success with your next off-roading event. Meanwhile, I look forward to challenging you at the next VGP event.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 27


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road test

TESTED SLK 200CGI AMG

The Feelings words by Mike Dimbleby photos by Matthew Debono There are a few things in life that match the pleasure of driving a genuine sports car on an early summer's day. And driving the new Mercedes SLK is most certainly experiencing a real roadster ride. But the truth is that I fell in love with this car long before I had settled my bottom into the driver's seat... It was love at first sight as my eyes fell upon the sensational looking red SLK 200 which was waiting for me at the front of Kind's Showroom. Forget anything that you think you know about the SLK because this is a radical reworking of the model. From the outside the SLK is more muscular in looks, displaying a beefed up rear end, super sleek lines and a formidable front dominated by the Mercedes badge which is placed aggressively facing forwards from dead centre of the tough looking grille. The interior of the SLK is styled with a traditional retro look while featuring all the modern magic that we could possibly want or need by way of comfort, entertainment and driving pleasure. I was particulary impressed by the super comfortable leather seats which held and hugged my hips and back guaranteeing a comfortable slip and slide-free ride. The dashboard layout and instrumentation in the SLK screams class and elegance combined with effortless ease of use. In this model everything is at your finger tips and

The Facts words by Malcolm J. Naudi

everything is designed to deliver a stress-free driving experience . But the question remained, would the SLK 200 deliver the driving experience that its looks promised ? The answer to that is a definite yes. At the press of a button the roof was stowed away in seconds and I started up to the throaty roar of the engine as I accelerated away from the showroom. The SLK provided unmitigated fun driving, the kind of pleasure only possible, in my opinion, when the roof is down. The actual drive of the SLK is truly sensational. This is a real sports car experience enjoying rapid acceleration, in touch road handling with a real road connected feeling. The brakes and suspension complement the SLK power pack perfectly, allowing this willing motor car to accelerate into the bends and tight corners with no roll but lots of confidence. Despite the fact that this is a genuine sports car the SLK has no buffeting or wind noise due to some excellently designed deflectors - my hair actually looked better at the end of the drive. The SLK on test gave as good a performance as our roads could allow but I know that under the bonnet there is a lot more I just couldn't persuade those nice people at Kind's to let me take it over to Sicily. Should you buy one? Don't even hesitate, put your name on one right now and discover what real driving is.

The SLK 200CGI AMG, powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engine driving the rear wheels, with a seven-speed automatic transmission, boasts a maximum power output of 184 bhp. Torque (pulling power) is an impressive 270 Nm at between 1,800 and 4,600 rpm. The SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY has the lowest CO2 emissions in its segment at 142 g/km. Consumption is 6.1 litres/100 km in the combined cycle. Acceleration to 100 km/h is in 7.0 seconds, and it achieves a top speed of 237 km/h. Overall length is 4,134 mm. It is 1,810 mm wide, 1,301 mm high on a 2,430 mm wheelbase. Standard equipment includes the AMG styling kit, adaptive brake lights, electric parking brake (EPB), headbags in the doors, LED tail lights,

air-conditioning, boot with reversible floor and two elastic straps to secure luggage, tyre pressure loss warning system, integrated aerials, also for GPS, and brushed aluminium trim. Attention Assist, Audio 20 CD with 5.8-inch colour display, Bluetooth hands-free system, central head unit and USB connection, Neck-Pro head restraints, Eco start/stop function Options include folding electric mirrors, panoramic vario-roof, Parktronic, rain sensor, Air Guide draught-stopping system, automatic transmission, Airscarf (heated seats and neck heating), AMG Sport Pack, LED daytime running lamps, leather seats, ambient light and interior light package, rollover bars with anodised trim and remote roof locking. Starting price: â‚Ź49,900.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 29


road test

GREAT FUN ZERO GUILT words by Mike Dimbleby photos by Matthew Debono

Doing the right thing doesn’t always make you feel good but with the Ebretti electric powered scooter you have not only the knowledge that you are doing your bit for the environment and ecology but it feels very, very good indeed. The Ebretti looks are pure retro Italian but its roots are in Holland who always seem to be at the head of the list of eco-aware European countries and their reputation for cutting costs is legendary. So when I was told that a Dutch company had developed a cool looking scooter which would take me twice round our island , well around 45km on a €0.30 charge from the mains, then I wasn’t the least bit surprised. What did take me unawares, however, was the in-built fun of riding the Ebretti. I was invited to Gozo by Fritz and Ben Farrugia, directors of the Ebretti

importers, Longbow Ltd., a couple of Saturdays ago and the truth is that I still have the smile upon my face. We all met up in Victoria and I gave our pictures man Matthew my car keys – little knowing that during the next two to three hours I would be having such a good time that I would forget both him and my car. Turn the key on the Ebretti and the power is instant, clean and silent and surprisingly nippy. I wish that I had been warned that what lay ahead was to be such a smileathon as I could have avoided the next days jaw aching by grinning less. The day was one of those perfect Spring Saturdays which beg to be enjoyed and take my word for it, there can be few ways of enjoying a day than on one of these cool machines. And with the added bonus of the knowledge that you are doing absolutely nothing to screw up the planet. As we whizzed from Victoria to Marsalforn, Zebbug and on to lunch at San Lawrenz, the three of us drew admiring glances (well the scooters did) from tourists and locals alike. It is a bit strange at first to be buzzing along at around 45km/h and making almost no

sound at all – actually I lie, I was making a sound – laughter, especially when (boys will be boys) the three of us decided to race in the most sensible way of course (hahaha) And when the time came to hand back the scooter and get back

Facts

into my car I couldn’t help looking wistfully at the Ebretti and dream of what future fun we could have together if only it was mine, all mine. No emissions, no noise, no fossil fuel, no environmental damage, no guilt, just lots and lots of fun .

Compiled by Malcolm J Naudi

• Despite the retro looks, this scooter boasts electric power and up-to-date technology, including a front disc brake. • There is a choice of three power sources: a lead acid 33 Ah battery, a LifePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) 40 Ah battery and a LifePO4 60Ah battery. • A full charge will set you back around €0.30c and will give you a range of around 55 km if you drive at an average speed of 25 km/h or 30 km if your average speed goes up to 45 km/h. This range could be doubled with a LifePO4 battery. • The Ebretti 518 is 1,740 mm long on a 1,220 mm wheelbase, 880 mm wide and 1,130 mm high. Total weight, including batteries, is 120 kg. The scooter’s spacious seat lifts up to reveal a small storage area where you can keep the bike cover and a pair of gloves.

• There are retractable foot rests for the passenger and two grab handles. • Instrumentation includes a speedo with trip counter, a separate charge meter and another with the indicators. • The Ebretti 518 comes in a choice of 18 colours with 12 different seat cover finishes. The bike has few moving parts and so needs little maintenance. It is covered by a one-year warranty on all parts and six months on the battery and battery charger. • Starting price: €2,495.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 31


road test

TESTED Volkswagen Jetta The Feelings words by Mike Dimbleby You really need to take a second look when introduced to the new Jetta in order to be convinced that this is actually a VW. In particular the front end is distinctly different to what we have come to associate with the brand. Overall the low slung sleekness of line, which this third generation Jetta enjoys is extremely pleasing to the eye. With such a positive introduction, the Jetta had half won my heart before I had even sat in it. The interior didn’t let the Jetta’s exterior down, the 1.6 diesel model which we had on our testdrive had extremely classy cream interior which complemented the grey metallic body perfectly. The Jetta’s interior is more spacious than one could imagine in a car in this segment. The legroom in the rear is quite phenomenal and the comfort level is nothing short of excellent. As we have come to expect from VW, the equipment and gadgetry, that we all demand from our cars today, are there and in a few seconds I had my iPhone hooked up to the first class sound system and headed from Mosta to Golden Sands and Mellieha to see what the Jetta could do. I had no pre-conceptions about the Jetta having never driven its predecessors and I must say that I was more than impressed by the responsive, sportiness of the ride. I did push it on the bends on the back roads between Golden Bay and Mellieha which gave the Jetta the opportunity to prove what an excellent steering and suspension package it has. The drive is super stable and confidence inspiring while the acceleration, even with the AC blasting away, is more than capable of safely getting the Jetta past anything that you might encounter on our roads. The gearbox of the Jetta is smooth and really ‘engages’ the driver, by which I mean that I felt I was making all of

the decisions in the actual driving process as opposed to being a partner with a lot of electronics that I don’t understand – it was refreshing to drive with a regular manual gear shift that responded to my style of driving. As for total impression of the Jetta – I loved this stylish saloon more than I could have predicted, for a car in this price bracket I genuinely doubt that you will find more driving pleasure for your hard earned Euro.

The Facts words by Malcolm Naudi photos by Matthew Debono Success for the Volkswagen Jetta, which has achieved annual sales of 110,000 units in the United States, is now being transferred to Europe where the latest incarnation is set to be given a separate identity to the Golf from which it is derived. No longer will the two models have similar styling – and the change is already evident with a front design that is more reminiscent of the Passat and elongated rear tail lights. The Jetta has built an enviable track record, with over 9.6 million units built so far. The new Jetta is 90 mm longer than the outgoing model at 4,644 mm, apart from being 1,778 mm high and 1,482 mm wide on a 2,651 mm wheelbase. Designers and engineers also came up with an entirely new interior. The five-seat saloon’s rear seating layout is significantly more spacious (67 mm gain in legroom) thanks to the car’s longer wheelbase. Even its smallest engines are up to the job. The 1.2 TSI direct injection turbo petrol engine with BlueMotion Technology used on entry level

models has an output of 105 PS at 5,000 rpm and 175 Nm of torque (pulling power) at between 1,550 and 4,100 rpm. The 1.6 TDI diesel of the model on test, with BlueMotion Technology, also has a maximum output of 105 PS at 4,400 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm with transmission through a five-speed manual gearbox. Combined consumption for both the petrol and diesel is 4.2 l/100 km (equivalent to 109 g/km CO2). Top speed is 190 km/h. Additional power levels of 122 PS, 160 PS and 200 PS are also available. So, the Jetta is being driven exclusively by charged, high-tech, direct-injection engines. All engines except the 105 PS TSI may be combined with a dual-clutch transmission (DSG). Standard equipment on the entry level Trendline includes six airbags (with an optional eight), five crash-optimised head restraints (on front seats with anti-whiplash design), daytime running lights,

belt fastening detection, automatic hazard flasher lights that activate with hard braking, Hill Climb Assist and ABS with braking assistant and ESP with trailer stabilisation. Exterior features include 205 tyres on 16-inch steel wheels, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors with integrated turn signals and green tinted heat-insulating glass. Inside, comfort and convenience are upgraded with details such as climate control (Climatic), dust and pollen filter, radio remote control of central locking, outside temperature indicator with road icing warning, chrome bezels for the air vents, multifunctional display (MFA) and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The top-of-the-range Comfortline model on test included sports suspension, beige leather seats, sunroof, a radio CD MP3 player with eight speakers, leather multifunction steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, park distance control front and rear, heated front seats, flat tyre indicator and automatic headlights. Starting price: €21,900

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 33


regular

LIFE on the road words by Vanessa MacDonald Some things in life are unavoidable wherever you live, like taxes and death. Others are unavoidable if you live in Malta, like potholes and roadworks. Of course, the two are supposed to be linked and you are supposed to have the works to fill the holes. But somehow things got muddled here as the works are digging up roads that were not particularly bad offenders – more like juvenile delinquents than serial murderers – and making them either pedestrianised or petunia-lined, while the potholes are filled with what could be left-over crumbs from Qormi’s largest ever bread, compacted of course. Don’t get me wrong. Both of these are very, very good things. If you want to shop in Bisazza Street and have to do a sudden right-hand turn because you spot something in a shop window across the road,

no longer will you have to walk all the way down to the bottom, wait for cars to notice that you are on a zebra-crossing, stop to chat to people having a latte at the cafe on the corner, and work your way back up, by which time you will have seen another awesome outfit and got completely confused. And it will be a real treat to be able to get from the wharf in Marsa’s Menqa to 13th December Road via a tunnel instead of the current road. Wow. It will solve all that traffic jam that plagues the area every single day between 5.01 p.m. and 5.03 p.m. and will really impress tourists coming from the cruiseliner terminal who take a bus trip around the island instead of going up to Valletta via the lift, which is really, definitely and absolutely going to be constructed. Soon. When they get to the top, people will tell them that the main entrance to Valletta is just past the Triton

Fountain, but they will get hopelessly lost and wander around for hours because the Triton Fountain won’t be there any more. And they will starve – sadly just metres away from all the bread-sellers – because they are looking at the postcards of City Gate and our colourful yellow buses, recognise nothing and go off in the wrong direction, doomed to wander around the maze of fortifications for eternity. Still, when we get absolutely frustrated with leaving one roadworks zone merely to be informed that there is another one just ahead (well, at least they are giving us sufficient warning), you can always escape to Gozo for a bit of relaxation. Last time I was there, I had the most wonderful tour of discovery, seeing all sorts of nooks and crannies, or should that be nannies and crooks? It was a terrific way to spend an hour, if only I hadn’t missed the ferry because it took me so long. After all, how was I to know that turning right where the deviation sign indicated would take me into a maze of one-way streets behind Victoria without ever bothering to indicate where I should turn left again to get back onto the main road. Which was still open then. Apparently even that was

closed the following day. Even more of the countryside to explore. What fun. In the meantime, I have taken to carrying a notebook with me in which I jot down the worst of the potholes and, before I set off on any nighttime journey, I plan my route to avoid them as I only have a very little car and would hate my death certificate to say: ”Body never recovered after her Ford Ka fell into a pothole in the San Gwann industrial estate and was never seen again”. Still, in the past, you did not have any option but to drive, even when the potholes were lurking in the dark or disguised as shallow puddles. At least, now you will be able to take a bus. A new Arriva bus. And we can be absolutely certain that by the time the next election rolls up, City Gate will be City Opening, Bisazza Street will have café tables and chairs all the way down the middle from a restaurant belonging to some minister’s relative, and hundreds of residential roads will have been tarmacked for the first time ever. With something more substantial and long-lasting than breadcrumbs. Shame. Whatever will we have to moan about then?

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 35


commercial

Tailor made Trucks Fulfilling day to day commercial transport demands

words by Mike DImbleby photos by Matthew Debono

The introduction of the new and modern Logistics Centre at Simonds Farsons Cisk plc has brought along the need to invest in a more efficient and economical fleet of trucks for the distribution of its products. With the collaboration of the Sales Manager of United Equipment Co. Ltd of Burmarrad Mr. Marcus Bonnici, the son of UNEC’s founder, a customized solution for Farsons specific distribution needs has been developed over the past couple of years. A fleet of 36 trucks, ranging from eight to twenty-one tons, has been tailor made to meet Malta’s urban distribution challenges. This is not a service confined to large clients alone, as Marcus explained, ”DAF trucks are all built to order, so it is my job to discover the needs

of each client, whether they are as big as Farsons or as small as an independent hauler. Translating the unique requirements of clients into the DAF vehicle ideal to fulfil those challenges is perhaps the most rewarding part of my job.” Working closely with Head of Logistics at Farsons, Christopher Borg Cardona, Marcus is proud to be such a key trading partner of a client as prestigious as Farsons as is apparent as he shows me round the fleet. Each vehicle is matched with its route and payload. The twenty-one ton truck, for example, is fitted with an extra steerable axle to maximise load while still allowing for manoeuvrability in the narrow roads of its regular route where the large loads have to fit tight spaces, plus it

is specially fitted with C02 canister carrying racks. Even the colours vary with the truck’s coachwork, coded to one of Farsons many different products. ”However”, Marcus relates, ”the working partnership is about much more than selling the vehicle to the client. In the case of Farsons Group we at UNEC are very aware of the need for the fleet to be working every day, so our maintenance and backup service is designed to ensure that when each truck should be working it is working. Our technicians work at nights and weekends on the regular service schedules for the Farsons fleet as this is the only time the client can free the vehicle from its purpose, which is to make prompt and efficient product deliveries." "With DAF trucks UNEC's clients get worry-free transport solutions which not only have a low impact on the environment, all new DAF truck emissions are Euro 4 or 5 standards, but also offer a stress free working environment for the driver. Farsons, in particular, placed great emphasis on driver comfort when ordering their trucks. For instance every DAF in their fleet has automatic transmission. With the operational

efficiency combined with in-cab comfort and on/off loading ease we believe that whatever a client’s individual haulage requirements may be, we have the answer. A very short turning circle and an excellent visibility make maneuvering as easy as possible. Maximum vehicle weighs from 7,490 up to 21,000kg. A perfect vehicle for inner-city distribution. We are very aware that every minute that our client's vehicle is on the road is an opportunity for it to be both earning revenue and creating the right positive company image which in today's very demanding business environment are of vital importance.

Mike (left), Marcus Bonnici (centre) and Christopher Borg Cardona

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 37


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concept cars

Shanghai show stoppers compiled by Malcolm J. Naudi

World premier for BMW Concept M5

athletic design and the racinginspired character of a BMW M

A premium class business sedan with the dynamic qualities of a high-performance sports car: this highly traditional concept is being reinterpreted with the world premiere of the BMW Concept M5. The fascinating concept car demonstrates how athletic design and the racing-inspired character of a BMW M automobile can be combined

with the aesthetic and functional features of a sedan of the upper midrange segment. The BMW Concept M5 possesses expressive and unmistakeable design features that hint at the awesomely dynamic potential of the sedan. Under the bonnet, a high-revving V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology generates the power output required for outstanding performance.

Stunning Naimo electric car concept

a premium feel

Kia’s Naimo electric concept car combines Korean heritage with innovative, modern features. Taking its name from the Korean word “Ne-mo” (pronounced ‘Neh-mo’, meaning ‘square shape’), the Naimo electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV) was conceived by Kia’s international design team in Seoul, and is characterised principally by simple lines and a solid, muscular stance. The simple, overall design is accentuated by a number of striking key details, such as the wrap-around windscreen and asymmetric sunroof, and the front and rear dot-style LED head- and positioning-lamps. Kia’s design team used innovative technology to give the car a premium feel and ensure the exterior remained uncluttered. Naimo has no traditional windscreen wiper blade. Instead it employs a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windscreen that performs an ‘air wiper’ function. Conventional door mirrors have also been replaced with miniature cameras installed in the A pillars. Naimo’s interior was designed to evoke a strong sense of tranquillity and features hand-crafted materials throughout. Korean oak is used

for interior door panels and the floor, and “Han-ji” paper for the head lining. Modern features include a transparent organic light emitting diode display instrument panel and full connectivity. The third electric vehicle design to be unveiled by Kia Motors Corporation in a year, the Naimo concept measures 3,890 mm in length and has a generous wheelbase, width and height (2,647, 1,844 and 1,589 mm, respectively) – plus the short overhangs which place a wheel at each corner. The concept car has no B pillars and features rear-hinged rear doors, and a three-way split opening boot-lid, allows versatile access. Power comes from a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor with a maximum output of 109 bhp and maximum torque of 280 Nm, enabling Naimo to reach a top speed of 150 km/h. A twin-pack 27 kWh battery, located under the boot floor, uses innovative Lithium Ion Polymer technology that gives a driving range of 200 km on a single charge. To enhance the range, the show car is fitted with special low-drag 20-inch diameter alloy wheels.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 41


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concept cars

Volvo Concept Universe A masterpiece of Scandinavian design for car buyers with exquisite tastes is how Volvo describes the Concept Universe, a large, luxurious sedan with a new humancentric design language that honours the beautiful lines of classic Volvo models. ”The Concept Universe offers the world a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation. ”Volvo Car Corporation’s long-term strategy is to be a successful, truly global company with products designed around our customers’ needs and lifestyle”. Scandinavian design is about understanding and caring about people. Volvo aims to be the brand that best interprets what buyers of modern luxury cars want. The Concept Universe has been designed to spark a subconscious desire and a feeling of eternal

beauty. It moves towards the future with its coupé-like roofline and contemporary, solid rear, but it also echoes Volvo’s proud heritage by borrowing design cues from classic models of the past. The interior of the Concept Universe is a comfortable, cultivated environment that is also user-focused and refreshingly uncomplicated. It is driver-orientated in the front and comfortably relaxed in the rear. ”The Concept Universe is exceptionally refined, yet with all the simplistic assets that make Volvo champions of the uncomplicated. There is a growing appreciation for this ingenious blend of design and technology among modern luxury car buyers. This trend paves the way for our success. We are convinced that our special brand of luxury has a great future,” Peter Horbury, Vice-President Design at Volvo Car Corporation, concludes.

Subaru XV Concept

A new generation of crossover vehicle, the Subaru XV concept blends traditional SUV practicality in a fashionable form. Specifically designed for customers seeking a vehicle offering the looks, benefits and packaging that stretch beyond the existing choice of crossover models, it also has a ‘playful nature’. The XV integrates authentic functionality with urban, stylish design. The vehicle was engineered to blend the commanding silhouette seen around the lower half of the body with a fashionable image in a single, modern package. Its body exhibits the very solid, dynamic and independent styling so characteristic of all Subarus. The XV features a panoramic type roof of continuous glass that extends from the front windscreen all the way to the rear, resulting in a smooth, sleek profile. Subaru’s designers have also gone

to town on the XV Concept’s interior. The dynamic contours running from the front instrument panel, across the door panels and to the centre console have an engineered look while appearing sumptuous at the same time. A large touch-panel multi-information display has been installed in the centre panel, giving the driver easy control over navigation and audio systems as well as directly displaying vehicle information. Subaru’s advanced EyeSight driver support system features, with an LCD monitor positioned between the two well balanced and highly visible combination meters to allow the driver to check the images captured with the EyeSight’s stereo cameras. Major specifications: overall length, 4,450 mm; width, 1,800 mm; height, 1,620 mm; wheelbase, 2,635 mm; engine, 2.0-litre four cylinder Horizontally-Opposed DOHC engine; transmission, Lineartronic (CVT); tyre size, 245/45 ZR19.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 43


car styling

test

words by Malcolm J. Naudi photos by Matthew Debono

Jason Cini, 29, of Birkirkara, has always been a car lover, ever since his father Charles used to take him to Hal Far as a child. Together with his colleague and friend Kenneth Zammit, they have now turned their energies to professional installation of car tuning kits, sound and alarm systems, vehicle wrapping and performance tuning to vehicle electronics and chassis. To showcase their talent and the extent one can go to personalise a car, Jason and Kenneth have taken their own personal Honda Integras and, apart from a few modifications, have totally customised the cars, taking them to a whole new level. I met them at the car park of the National Stadium, Ta’ Qali, where they explained the extent of their customisation – the third time these cars have been at the centre

of what is a works in progress. Jason’s 1996 black Integra is a European version that first had its rims sprayed and some interior parts and accessories added. The car was resprayed totally. The bonnet and roof received a carbon wrapping and the rims were purple. In the second intervention, the rims were changed to pink, with a matching pink roll cage. In the latest intervention, the biggest so far, the rims were changed to carbon grey with new Buddy Club wheels. A new full Skunk 2 exhaust system was installed, a blue roll cage and 3M matt black wrap applied. On top of that a matt black carbon hood,

roof, tailgate, wing and sideskirts were applied. Underneath the bonnet the B18C VTEC engine was rebuilt with a ported head, phased head, lightened flywheel, paddle clutch, Skunk 2 throttle body, Tegiwa air intake and silicone pipes. There are BC coil-overs, threepointed front strut bars and other Tegiwa and Skunk 2 accessories. Inside there is a Bride Low Max seat with a Tegiwa green fourpointed harness. Although the car is street legal, it can be used in quarter-mile and hill climb races at any time. Kenneth’s white 1996 Integra was a Japanese import that needed a lot of work. The bumper, sideskirts, lips

and wheels were initially resprayed since they were full of scratches. Stickers were applied to give the car a racing look. In the second modification, the stickers were changed to give the car a new style and engine bay accessories similar to Jason’s were installed. Note the true carbonfibre spoiler and front exhaust. The engine is a B18C turbo VTEC boasting 280 bhp with a Brake Stopper. The interior includes a Tegiwa X-brace and OMP four-point seatbelts. “These are cars that keep their value,” Jason observed, noting that a top spec model will sell for around €14,000.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 45


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car styling

Fiat Punto transformed words by Malcolm J. Naudi This metallic pearl Fiat Punto was recently exhibited at the Modified car show at the MFCC. The extensive personalisation work started with the fitting of Lambo doors so that they now open upwards. The handles and rear badge were removed and the wheel arches cut to make way for a full Ibher Design body kit, including bumpers, wheel arches and side skirts. These were smoothened so that they are now an integral part of the body. The original bonnet had meshed ventilation slots inserted and spacers were fitted to enable the wheels to extend beneath the wheel arches. Finichi 19-inch rims were put on with 35-profile tyres. To prevent the car from hitting the road an air suspension system was fitted. There are new front and rear lights, an entry alarm system and extensive work on the interior including white leather seats, a sprayed dashboard and in-car entertainment (ICE) system. An Abarth engine was inserted and the silencer modified and placed in the middle of the rear bumper.

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classifieds road test

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after market technology road test

HONG KONG

In Car Electonics words by Maurice Gruppetta The SEMA (Speciality Equipment Market Association) show and the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) are both held in Las Vegas. The SEMA show, which is not open to the public, is generally considered to be the premiere speciality automotive products trade event in the World. But, on the other side of the planet, another enormous Electronics and Components Exhibtion takes place at the Hong Kong Expo Centre. Like CES, it typically hosts previews of products and new announcements. It also has on display innovation of new magic for the car enthusiast and this is what interests us car fanatics! With all the technology squeezed into new cars, this is the place to get the first glimpse of what may be available for after market wizardy. That heads up display initially developed for military aviation and first seen in colour in the auto industry on the 2001 Corvette will be on show. But, even better, some creations are not even available on new cars!

So what’s new?

As in recent years, GPS in-car navigation is a major player. But aftermarket is now OEM! I’ll explain. The usual method of installing a DVD player with satellite navigation (SAT/NAV) was to install what was called the double din stereo (a stereo double the size of the standard), which had a screen and needed necessary attachments to fit the dash. This included, at the least, a plastic facia adaptor and a wiring harness. Those accessories would make the install as close as possible to OEM; but not exactly. In some cases, in fact almost all, certain

features like steering controls would be lost. Not any more. This is where aftermarket has become OEM; now the replacement aftermarket SAT/NAV looks, feel and functions exactly like an OEM stereo that would be provided by factory. Even steering controls work as normal as well as the car’s Logo is displayed on start up. A reverse camera may also be installed; again just like OEM, no drilling or adjustments. It gets better as the aftermarket has gone a few steps further than what is provided by most car manufacturers. The reverse camera assistance in some models even has a gyroscope built in; this helps the driver manoeuvre into the parking space by adjusting the guidance picture according to the steering angle, giving directions so to speak in which way to turn in. Other models have also introduced 3G internet, maximising online possibilities in the car; a great way to keep up with work on a touch screen in the car without the need to open up your laptop or tablet. To top it all off and amusing for the younger generation, some even have a games console built in. Whip out the controller and fire away while waiting for the last minute touches she has to make; no more complaints why she’s fashionably late! My favourite wizardry at the show was an invincible device. Everybody knows about remote central locking; touch a button and lock or unlock the car; it’s been around for years,

last century’s technology even. But how about, just walk away and the car locks the doors on its own. The vehicle now recognises its master and, on arrival, will unlock automatically as well. No more fumbling for the remote when carrying a large bag of groceries or on a dark, rainy evening. A convenient tool for the commercial van or sales rep jumping in and out of his vehicle a trillion times a day. A small coded electronic chip is kept by the designated driver, this in turn communicates with the vehicle and so understands when the driver has left or come back to lock or unlock accordingly. DRL (daytime running lights) are now compulsory on new European cars. So yes, there is an aftermarket solution for this; LED strips. There were many variations from high power LED lamps to multi-colour

strips that may be cut to size. But, going back to making a result look like factory, cool white is in demand. For the fussy enthusiast, high powered LED lamps replace tired yellow halogen fog lights since they provide a more upmarket feel. Alternatively, LED strips do look spectacular when fitted with passion, especially in the right blend of white to match those tear shedding HID headlamps. Fitted to the front or rear and with a twist of creativity, they can even put OEM lights to shame! HID lights have gone one step further; electronic battery conditioners have also made progress and are now even cheaper to the consumer. Parking sensors have become more interesting and copper wire has taken a new approach to keep the price down... Keep reading future issues of Autoguide to stay up to date.

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 51


classifieds

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Malta’s No.1 Virtual automotive marketplace

Gillette’s new smart deodorant The new deodorant from Gillette stands out in its ability to offer more protection when the body needs it. It’s Patened Betacyclodextrine protection technology responds to varying levels of body heat by providing more protection against perspiration as the heat goes up. Gillette’s deodorant with Smart Technology is now available in two variants, the innovative Gillette Professional Power cream stick available in Cool Wave and Arctic Ice fragrances and the Gillette antipersperant spray, which comes in four fragrances – Storm Force, Power Rush, Cool Wave and Arctic Ice. For local trade enquiries, one may call VJ Salomone (Marketing) on 8007 2387.

Gillette Fusion Cool White A good shaving regime is incredibly important for men with sensitive skin. The razor needs to be sharp enough to remove the hair without cutting into the skin, whilst providing comfort. A poor quality razor will cause further irritation to sensitive skin. Gillette Fusion Cool White is a must have wet shaving system that combines high-tech breakthrough blade technologies on the front and back of a single shaving cartridge. It has 5 blades spaced closer together, forming a shaving surface. This configuration distributes the shaving force across the blades, resulting in reduced pressure and less feeling of irritation and therefore provide a more comfortable shave and great performance on sensitive skin. Fusion Power technology can get in and out of even tight corners, helping men achieve style perfection with extraordinary comfort. The combination of high performance Fusion technology that looks and feels great is one that is sure to appeal to all men, whatever their skin type. For local trade enquiries, one may call VJ Salomone (Marketing) on 8007 2387.

Acheck Garage Towbars Acheck Garage Towbars supplies was created in response to a need to purchase high quality towbars and accessories guaranteed and EC approved according to EU regulation 94/20 EC EC approval = Function, Safe and Legal Functional because the towbar is designed to fit to vehicle’s specific mounting points. Safe because the towbar approval pass is given after successfully pass a 2 million cycle test on bench and Legal because according to EU regulations all towbars have to be approved.

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autoguide JUNE 2011 | 53


driving abroad

Rehearsing for LifeCycle Challenge Most people in Malta know about the LifeCycle challenge but perhaps they don’t appreciate how much planning and preparation has to go into such a complex trip. It’s a long, long way from Mosta Bridge to Mostar Bridge. Just ask Soner Gurelli and Gilbert Vassallo. For the past three years, they have had the arduous task of setting up the logistics for LifeCycle – which means finding accommodation, checkpoints, the route and also hills… ”This is what it is all about,” Soner said, sitting by the side of the road near Mosta Bridge, waiting for the cyclists to go by on their regular Sunday training rides, just a few weeks after coming back from a whirlwind visit to map out this year’s route. ”This is a challenge and not a cycling tour!” The pair leaves nothing to chance. Work starts in September when the route is mapped out with the title sponsor, Betfair. This is now the 13th edition of the challenge and it is becoming harder and harder to find new territory: This year’s challenge will see them go some 2,000 km, crossing seven countries. ”The distance from Prague to Sarajevo is shorter than 2,000km so we need to wind the route east and west to bring up the mileage, putting in plenty of hills,” he smiled. ”We then find towns en route that fit into the daily average mileage… and then the next step is to find accommodation in those towns.” Contact is made with Walter Mallia in the Foreign Ministry, who is given a list of the towns which he sends to the relevant Maltese consulates, who in turn contact the mayors of the towns with a request for accommodation, anything from school halls and leisure centre gymnasiums, to town halls and church halls. Sometimes, the places identified before they leave turn out to be duds – one place had to be replaced as there were simply not enough bathrooms. ”The only things we insist on are hot showers, good parking and a floor to sleep on.”

The kitchen team that accompanies the cyclists wakes up early, preparing food and snacks for the cyclists, who require thousands of calories a day with high carbohydrate intake, lots of fruit and plenty of fluids. These supplies are replenished at the checkpoints every 40 km - 50 km by the back-up team, who wait there to ensure that all the cyclists get through the day. But it takes a while to find the right checkpoints. ”When we get 40 km from the last checkpoint, we start to look for the next one. It is usually just a café in a small village as we tend to avoid the larger touristic towns – we think it is much more valuable to meet the real people of a country and see more than tourist traps with souvenir shops…. We talk to the owner, explain what we are doing and when, and tell him what we need – mostly water, energy drinks and toilets. But, of course, sometimes, we actually get there during the challenge and find the place closed for holidays. You have to be ready to change plans and re-organise constantly,” Soner admitted. ”look for a place where the cyclists can leave their bikes, where there is a bit of shade, good parking and a market where they can buy water and drinks. And, if we can, then we also look for nice scenery,” he said. This year, the cyclists will cycle along the extraordinary Croatian coast and near the renowned Mostar Bridge. ”We try to find minor roads – it is a compromise between the lack of hard shoulder and less traffic. But they offer better scenery!”. Gradually Soner and Gilbert build up all the details of the route, plotting everything into the GPS plotters that are this year being provided by sponsor Garmin. There is also other work to be done. For example, Soner and Gilbert also check with the mayors whether any police permits are required and in some cases have

Croatia coast road the view from the checkpoint

also organised police escorts, again calling on the ministry to help them find the right people to talk to. The ending is split into two phases. They found a place near the river where the cyclists finish the ride itself and get their timings. Once they are all together, they will then cycle as a group into the old town market square for a bit of a celebration, hopefully joined by local cyclists and with the local press there to greet them. But first they actually have to get into Sarajevo, which turned into a nightmare for the pair, as they realised that the cyclists would have to cross two lanes of the highway to get to normal minor roads. “That is clearly impossible for them to do. Gilbert and I spent three hours trying all the side roads, backwards and forwards, to try to find a way in. In the end, we found a pedestrian underpass where the cyclists will have to dismount and carry their bikes through,” he said. With LifeCycle, the aim is to raise as much money as possible for the Renal Unit and, just as expenses are kept to a minimum for the challenge, the same applies for the pre-visit, which is also done on a real shoestring. ”Gilbert and I try to reduce the amount we spend every year! But it is quite a feat to map out all the details in that week. This year, Gilbert used a tape-recorder to take down details as there are so

many things to note which might be useful for the cyclists and backup team. We don’t even have time to eat properly during the day. The first day we were there, we stopped at 10.30 pm in Zilina and could not find anywhere open. We ended up with a petrol station sandwich…” To avoid paying for different pickup and drop-off points for the hire car they use, they drove back to the original departure point – which meant driving 850 km in one day. ”It’s a pretty intense trip. You really need to keep a good sense of humour, no matter how late it gets and how tired you are. It’s always a lot of pressure but it’s good training for the LifeCycle challenge itself… ”.

SMS DONATIONS 5061 7370 €2.33 5061 8920 €6.99 5061 9229 €11.65 LANDLINE DONATIONS 5160 2020 €10 5170 2005 €15 5180 2006 €25 For further information contact Shirley Cefai on tel: 7988 7889 or Alan Curry on 7990 3961 or visit www.lifecyclechallenge.com

autoguide JUNE 2011 | 55


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Autoguide Issue 5 E - Version on www.autotradermalta.com