Monday, 23 May 2011

An Evo update

It's been a couple of weeks now since I picked up the Evo. The miles have gone on and it's running well. The gearbox is slowly loosening up and the car is nearly due for its initial 1,000 mile oil change.

In the words of Charlie Sheen 'What's not to love'?

Well not a lot actually. Now the car has been run in you can certainly feel those 354 horses under the bonnet. The power delivery is immense and the car just wants to keep on going! Driving sensibly the MPG will easily hit the mid 20's but having fun I've seen it drop to around 12. The car has an unhealthy thirst for high octane petrol.

Dropping by my local Tesco today I went to fill up with their Momentum which at 99 octane is the Amstel of unleaded. Unfortunately they only had 2000 litres left so had to switch off the pumps. Yes at 2000 litres! So, knowing that there is a Shell garage down the road the back up plan of V-Power came to mind. It turns out this Shell garage must be one of the only few in the country that don't do V-Power petrol. So the Evo had to endure a regular dose of unleaded which is a bit like putting Carling into the petrol tank. The car is not going to like it as it's only supposed to run on 98+ octane but it will have to do. Lesson learnt I will keep it topped up on the good stuff.

I have also discovered that the Tracker works. I had two calls, two text messages and two voicemails from the company that track the car to tell me my car was on the move. Luckily I was driving the car both times. I'm grateful they are doing their job.

Put this aside I love the car. It has incredible grip, so easy to drive and will happily poodle around town in 5th gear.

The car also attracts a lot of attention. Not sure if I like it but it goes hand in hand with having it. Wherever I seem to go someone is staring at me, whether or not they think I'm a complete tosser or they have a genuine affection for the car only time will tell. All I know is I'm the one with the smile on my face driving down the road!

The journey continues...

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Evo has landed

Last weekend I picked up my new car. The Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-360. I have been very lucky in the past to drive a lot of different generation Evo's but this is the first time I have driven the X with a manual gearbox.

I know from driving the SST versions of the X (both FQ-300 & FQ-330) how solid the cars are and what they are capable of in terms of performance and handling. 

Jump inside the car, the Recaro seats and door cards have been decked out in leather and 'techno' suede. Very grippy and a nice finish, your bum is not going to move an inch. The gear knob and handbrake lever are carbon fibre and the pedals a high gloss aluminium. All in all the car looks the dogs danglies from the inside.

Leather / Suede Recaros

So start her up and the twin HKS exhausts jump into life. The car had 20 miles on the clock when I picked it up and you can certainly tell it has only been driven around the factory and docks. Pulling away you notice just how tight the 5 speed manual box is. It certainly needs loosening up.

I have been told to run the car in properly and take it easy on the clutch and brakes. So on the journey home I join the motorway. I have one eye fixed on the speedo and one on the road because the throttle is so sensitive it feels like it just wants to take off.
Brembos provide huge stopping power

Running the FQ-360 in for the first few hundred miles is probably a bit like being in bed with a naked Cheryl Cole but being told you can't touch her. I have no doubt in my mind what this car can do but it will be a case of good things come to those who wait.

The car has so much torque that driving up a steep hill in fifth gear felt effortless. No need to put my foot down. The car pulls like a steam train.
HKS goodies provide almost 360bhp and 363 lb.ft torque

The best bit about the 50 or so mile journey was the 26mpg I achieved which I was more than chuffed about.

Once home I parked the car up and had a good look around. The front carbon fibre spoiler and rear sharks tooth vortex generator certainly make the car stand out and it gives the car a lot or presence on the road.
Front Carbon Fibre Spoiler

Rear Carbon Fibre Vortex Generator

Will have to wait and see how I get on over the coming months but so far so good for the FQ-360.

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Evolution of the Mobile Phone

Another really cool 3D projection mapping video, this time the evolution of the mobile phone.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Can Google Circles cut the mustard as the leading social network?

There have been many social networks over the past 10 years or so. Only a few still remain big players in the game. I remember creating a Friends Reunited account shortly after leaving school. Think I used it a few times before getting bored.

Then came along Bebo, seemed good, you could upload your photos and tell your friends what you were up to, but it was full of school kids. Bebo soon got ousted by Myspace.

Myspace was a revolution. You could interact with your favourite music artists and easily keep up to date with new releases. It could be customised to however you wanted but was very fidly with writing HTML coding.

When Facebook arrived many like myself were unsure. Seemed very simplistic, but it was this simple approach to interact, upload photos and stay in touch with your friends that made it so popular. Now over half the population on the UK are on Facebook and many like myself use it daily. Facebook has over 600 million users.

Twitter was launched and is great for keeping up with the latest news but less than 20% of registered users actually use it regularly. There are over 200 million registered accounts.

Google launched Buzz last year but it was flawed with horrendous privacy settings that would link you to all your gmail contacts no matter who they were. Sounds like they were a bit desperate to try and kick start the project. Needless to say it failed miserably. Google also have a fairly unknown social network called Orkut but it is only used in a few Countries.

2011 sees Google's new attempt at a social network and it's called Circles. Google are keeping very coy about what Circles will offer but I will be very surprised if it comes anywhere near as popular as Facebook.

Watch this space.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

How cool is this?! 3D projection at its best

You may have seen some brands using projection on advertising campaigns. Stately homes being lit up has been done and dusted but this is the first time I've seen indoor projection really work. Imagine going out to a department store and seeing the living area look like this! This whole technique only involved 2 projectors. Now I need a couple of these!

Living Room from Mr.Beam on Vimeo.

Survival is key for West Ham

With a surpising run in form at Upton Park the team have managed some good results over the last few weeks.

We have Stoke away this weekend in the FA Cup and I'm worried that Avram Grant will do another Portsmouth. Get us to the FA Cup final but relegated at the same time!

Stoke will be hard to beat at the Britannia, Tony Pulis will have the Potters fired up after their defeat to us last weekend. If we get knocked out then I would be more than happy to focus on our premiership survival. We have some tough games remaining including Spurs at White Hart Lane, home to Man Utd, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Man City at Eastlands.

It's so tight at the bottom of the table I wouldn't be surprised if a team were to get relegated on goal difference this season.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Scott Parker, West Ham's Hero!

Since I've supported West Ham I have had many heroes at the club. With the likes of Julian Dicks, Paolo Di Canio, Joe Cole & Carlos Tevez to name a few. Not forgetting Sir Trevor Brooking for doing his best to save the club from relegation back in 2003.

This season Scott Parker goes in my history books for being one of the few players to give 110% in every game. Every challenge, every run, every pass he's instrumental. His performances against Liverpool which included a cheeky lob in the corner of the net and Stoke were outstanding. The man is a legend, I just hope he's playing in the claret and blue next season!


Dicksy getting booked - standard!

The legend Paolo Di Canio
Joey Cole
Sir Trev
King Carlos

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

ASBO-lutely Brilliant

 The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-330 SST, an impressive name for an impressive car.

Make no mistake; with a name like this the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-330 SST is no ordinary Evolution. Yes it has been refined and designed to cope with everyday life but you know deep down it's still a hooligan with an ASBO waiting to be unleashed. The Evo X has been down the gym, its bulked up and meaner than the previous 9 generations of Evolution. It's also graduated with a master’s degree and has more technology packed inside than NASA HQ (well almost)!

Equipment levels are impressive with a hard disk drive (HDD) Satellite navigation system, Rockford Fosgate audio system / music server and Bluetooth telephone connection. Gone are the days of a basic cabin with a couple of bucket seats and an aftermarket audio system.

The Evo X is as solid on the inside as it looks on the outside.
The famous rear spoiler is still there, extra vents on the bonnet and wheel arches to allow cooling of the engine and brakes. The styling certainly isn't there for show, they really do the business.

When you start up the Evo X the engine has a lovely burble, the twin exhaust pipes sing away, even Pavarotti would be proud.

The engine is new, the 4B11 turbocharged unit is still oozing with testosterone but provides so much more torque lower down the range making cruising so much easier compared to the legendary 4G63 monster.

This particular Evo X is fitted with a TC-SST gearbox (Twin Clutch-Sports Shift Transmission) and uses two clutches, one to engage the gear in use and the other to pre-select the next gear required, which in short results in rapid gear changes. The car can be driven using the magnesium paddles on the steering wheel (so your hands don't have to leave the steering wheel - perfect for a track day), using the manual shift gear lever (+ / -) or as a full automatic. In automatic you can select between normal, sport and super sport modes. Normal would be for everyday use, sport lets the engine rev higher between shift points and changes gear even quicker. Super sport would be used for a track, the gear changes are ridiculously quick and the revs never drop below 4,500 rpm meaning you are bang on the power no matter what gear you are in. The TC-SST even has launch control, ideal for that start line launch at the track.

So the engine and gearbox are fantastic but what's the car really like to drive? Well it's exactly as you would imagine. Treat it with respect and drive sensibly it can be used for everyday family use. It's big, it's spacious, it feels so planted on the road, very safe. Now drive it like you stole it, it's a very different car! The acceleration is rapid, mountains of torque low down and the turbo power delivery is exceptional. It's scary how fast those numbers on the speedometer shoot up. You need a track or a private road to get the best out of this car.

Then there is the handling. Oh my god, this thing has more grip than a rock climber up Mount Everest.

So what makes the handling so good? The Evo X has a super stiff body with lightweight panels including the roof, bonnet and wings which make the centre of gravity lower. The car has a wider track than previous evolutions along with a stiffer and lower suspension setup. The Evo X has Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC). S-AWC comprises of an Active Centre Differential (ACD), Active Yaw Control (AYC), Active Stability Control (ASC) and Anti Lock Braking system (ABS). All these electronic and mechanical devices keep the car glued to the road under the most extreme conditions. You would be crazy to push the car to its limits on the public road; it really has that much grip. I would only turn off the S-AWC on a track for when you want some serious sideways action!

The Evo X is absolutely brilliant. It exceeds everything a car should be capable of and impresses every time. You will struggle to have more fun with your clothes on. The Evo X really is FQ.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-330 SST is now only £32,699.

Monday, 28 February 2011

A day with the ASX

Here's a review of the Mitsubishi ASX I wrote in May 2010.

So this weekend I was given the keys to the new ASX. The car I drove was a pre production version complete with German number plates and dead flies on the bonnet! Power came from the new Mitsubishi 1.8 MIVEC diesel engine with a six speed manual gearbox and two wheel drive.

So first impressions, step inside the car and you can tell some time has been spent on the quality of the interior. You hear a nice firm thud when you close the door and you feel you are in safe hands. This version was based on the entry level ASX2 so did not feature the keyless entry and start / stop engine button.

We left our Head Office in Cirencester and went to the local supermarket. It was surprisingly spacious in the boot with plenty of room for the weekend shop. With the shopping out the way we went to make the most of the sunshine and what turned out to be the hottest day of the year.

Heading off to some lakes around the area we noticed how surprisingly quiet the diesel engine is. It is not until you open the windows can you hear the sound of the turbo whistling away. Through the mid range there is plenty of torque so it’s quite easy to cruise around in the higher gears and the steering was very easy and light. We then arrived at some packed lakes and had plenty of staring eyes from the onlookers. Struggling to find somewhere to park we eventually found a quiet spot near the Cotswold village of Cerney Wick.

Parked up we had many people asking us about the ASX. The starting price of £14,999 had generated lots of interest. The usual questions such as ‘what is the fuel consumption like?’ which averaged around 45mpg. Pretty impressive, the Auto Stop & Go system definitely helped out there. ‘How much room is there in the back?’ was soon answered when I opened the rear doors and the passers by sat inside with a smile on their faces!

On the drive back to Cirencester I couldn’t help but think if the full production version is equal to or better than this one then it will be a great car.

We had a great day cruising in the ASX with a bit of sunbathing thrown in too. To sum up the ASX, I’ve already made up my mind and I know what my next company car will be! The hardest decision I will have to make is what colour to order. Roll on July!