... step into my garden

Monday, March 25, 2013

Clio Sport 200 ... Automatic

I would like to take a second to ask everyone to hold a moment of silence for one of the most beloved petrolhead wonders to have ever graced us with it's presence, the manual gearbox. Apparently, it's not going to be with us for very long, and to see why that's a very sad thing you need to drive this car:

the new RenaultSport Clio 200 EDC

To get something straight from the beginning, the new 200 is fast. The switch to a turbo solution will not really cause much nostalgia, as the small bugger pulls hard, loves to rev and screams wonderful songs through the cabin and all around. The handling is just beautiful, it corners incredibly well and the chassis balance is just amazing. All tires screeching already mid-corner and you need more turn-in? No problemo, ask for more and you shall have it without wobble, wiggle or hassle.

So ... this means it's great right? Power, balance, what more could you want?? Well ... how about a freaking gearbox? The automatic has quite a few problems ... First of all, despite the Double Clutch thing in EDC, it's not so fast ... I could not really tell a big difference from the Mini and that's a single clutch, which I don't really love to bits either. Fortunately you can switch to "Race" mode (don't bother with the "Sport" one) and you get a manual gearbox feel .... but, you start getting this horribly annoying BEEP BEEP sound every time you need to switch gears ... it just annoyed the hell out of me. Other problems? Well, the interior is not at all to my taste, the steering wheel is sooo thick, the seats are too mushy, the acceleration pedal is very soft and lacks any real feedback and it's very cramped inside (I can barely sit behind myself) ... The design problems continue outside, as the aggressive wide-street-fighter look of the previous generation is completely gone.

And so we come to our conclusion which I would like to draw as an imaginary letter that will never be read by anyone that could do anyting about it...

"Dear RenaultSport,
Manual gearbox, wide-body, Recaro seats.
    Thanks in advance,
    Random Petrolhead"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

North by Northwest

It's March and the wind is blowing on the vast field of empty space called my blogging for this year. It is probably a very relevant indicator of the chaos that has barged into my happy cosy life. But, through all the chaos, and from the ashes, a blog will rise! And it starts now, with Iceland... or, actually, it starts with London ...

Heeeey, hold on a second ... I said London, not China!
Oook, that's better. So, as I was saying, it actually started in London, as we did a quick pit-stop before heading out to our very promising destination. So, things we did in London besides Chinatown: drank a ton of coffee,  went through the parks, visited a very non-cultural museum and saw an (exhausting) movie from a very comfy couch.

Unfortunately, the queen was too busy ... again ... So we decided to pack our things and continue our journey North, where a new dawn was waiting ...

but more on that later ...