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Baby carriage packs a punch

Guinness record holder makes a stroll around the block a thing of the past by adding a 10hp engine

Here's a round up of automotive news: good, bad and just plain weird.

Then comes the Baby Carriage, at 80 km/h

As a new father, I'm always on the lookout for the latest in baby-related gadgetry. Who knew that something so small could require so much equipment (or for that matter, produce so much poop?)?

You may well imagine how happy I was to learn that mad Englishman Colin Furze - the Guinness world record holder for things like World's Longest Motorcycle and World's Fastest Mobility Scooter - has turned his eye towards the lowly perambulator. Just the thing I need.

This is no Kitsilano jogging stroller for the yummy mummy crowd; Furze has done his usual excellent job of leaving common sense outside the door, and has attached a 10hp engine with a four-speed transmission.

As you might expect, it's not road legal. Yet.

Naturally, to ward off any angry letter-writing campaigns, I should point out that no child will ever ride in this stroller. It would be highly unsafe and completely irresponsible, and doubtless result in the sort of brain damage that usually happens by letting one's child watch a Teletubbies episode.

MINI makes drivers impress the barista

There are few companies as good at the PR stunt as MINI: not surprising considering they've got the spending power of BMW behind them, and a playful nature in the machines they sell.

For their latest wheeze, MINI Netherlands had drivers pop in for a test drive on the promise of a free cup of coffee. The catch? How you drove determined what sort of coffee you got.

Telemetry from the test-drive was recorded onto a smart-card that was removed and placed into a computer-chip-reading coffee maker, which then produced whatever brew was most suitable. Drive around like a lunatic? Get an espresso. Fall asleep at the wheel? Decaf Americano for you.

Cute trick, but the curious mind wants to know: What would it take to get a venti double-shot, non-fat soy latte with whipped cream and caramel topping? You'd probably have to jump the car over a parked bus or something.

Ferrari's Enzo-replace-ent to bow at Detroit auto show

To be perfectly frank, I haven't been interested in a Ferrari supercar since the F40. The 458 Italia? Yes, it's a desperately pretty thing, but it's not a supercar in Ferrari terms - it's a volume seller.

Ferrari's hasn't really produced a true supercar since the Enzo, and while that particular machine was a huge improvement over the just-plain-ugly F50, it never really captured the imagination the way the F40 did. And anyway, the 458 Italia whips the Enzo around Ferrari's own testing racetrack.

Not to worry, as Maranello's been hard at work on a world-beating supercar that will again raise the prancing horse head and shoulders above competitors like McLaren and Porsche. Dubbed the F70 for now, expect V12 power, Formula-one style KERS (an extra boost of electric power) and somewhere in the neighbourhood of 900hp.

It all sounds great, but please let it look like a proper supercar, and not some gill-slashed doorstop.

Tesla's pricey servicing raises ire

Last week I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S and blast on up the Sea-to-Sky, leaving only a trail of exhausted electrons. It's a glorious machine, and faster than half the dull-witted V8 super-sedans out there on the market.

Unfortunately, you have to pay to play, and owning a Tesla isn't going to be cheap. While the basic car prices out in the mid$60K-range, service costs are around $600 per year - and that doesn't include tires.

Now, if you're coming out of a big-block Mercedes-Benz AMG, perhaps this isn't so bad. However, you have to wonder what they're doing for the money - there's no oil to change, nor coolant.

Worse, failure to comply with dealer-servicing means you void your warranty - though I suppose owners weren't going to be doing any backyard maintenance themselves anyway. This stands in stark comparison to Tesla's Supercharger fuelling stations, which will reportedly provide charging for free.

Acura axes ZDX

I may be the only person in the world sad to see the end of Acura's somewhat ungainly truck-crossover-coupe-thingy, the ZDX. Just announced, this will be the final year for the cuttlefish-shaped machine.

Too bad, as it was a pretty interesting vehicle, and the similar BMW X6 always sold well. You know what I think the problem was? Not enough power.

I know, I know. I hear you saying, "Well, that's just your answer to everything." True enough, I suppose, but imagine how good the ZDX could have been if it employed the hybrid all-wheel-drive that's to be featured in the new RL (and re-launch of the supercar-beating NSX).

We bid it a sad farewell, or at least, I do. But stay tuned, as there's some pretty interesting stuff coming down the pipeline from Acura.

Watch this space for all the week's best and worst of automotive news, or submit your own auto oddities to [email protected].

Optimist contributor