Weekly News - April 30 2021

Wild One Max

If you’re hoping for news of a great new family runabout this week, then we’re afraid you’ll be a bit disappointed because it’s all mostly been about performance. That and the big headline-grabbing story of the week, the possible arrival of ‘self-driving’ cars on UK motorways this year. It’s really just an advanced driver assistance system that will only be able to drive at speeds up to 37km/h in a single lane of specific sections of motorway, but you’ll be allowed to take your hands off the wheel while they do so, provided you pay attention so you can take control back again if something happens. So no watching Game of Thrones or other box-sets and certainly no having a nap. We’re not sure what everyone’s getting excited about.

Time to go wild

We do however understand grown adults getting excited about a radio-controlled car that’s making a comeback with a difference. Many people grew up in the 1980s wanting a Tamiya R/C car, be it the Grasshopper, Hornet, Wild Willy or the Lunch Box. Another very popular choice was the Wild One, a great little off-roader that looked every bit like the real thing that took on the famous Baja 1000 in the US.

Now The Little Car Company has recreated it, as a real car that you can actually drive. The company has already made scale versions of the Bugatti Type 35 and Aston Martin DB5, exquisite things, but they’re not cheap. Their new Wild One Max is much more reasonable, if not as pretty, starting at £6000 and with a deposit of just a hundred quid you could be reserving one for 2022. It’s electric, with a range of 25 miles and a top speed of 30 mph but this isn’t really something to go to the shops, it’s to phone your mate who owns a farm and ask if you can go and play. Surely this is one of the coolest electric cars yet.

Sporty but practical 

If you need electrifying performance in something that can fit in 2.4 kids and the dog then Volkswagen has revealed its first production performance electric vehicle (EV), the ID 4 GTX. The irony of VW naming its EV after a famous motor oil is hilarious but expect the badge to adorn other sporty EVs from the brand too. 

It’s the first ID model to have all-wheel drive, with an electric motor on each axle. Together then can generate up to 295hp and take the ID 4 GTX to 62mph in 6.2 seconds. It will go on sale in the UK in the summer.

Now for something that’s not electric, the new Hyundai Kona N. Back in 2013 the Korean brand revealed its performance division to take on famous sporty models like the Golf GTi and Ford Focus ST. Its i30 N was well received and the i20 N has just gone on sale, but now it’s done the same to an SUV. The Kona N has been properly fettled on the Nurburgring and offers 276hp, 392Nm of torque and can hit 62mph in 5.5 seconds. It also gives you lots to talk about to your mates in the pub because you can tell them it has N Track Sense Shift, N Power Shift, N Corner Carving Differential and even something called N Grin Shift, which is designed to make you, grin. Yes it all sounds a bit Playstation but what it should translate into is a really dynamic little SUV that is great to drive, at least that’s what we’re hoping.

Then there’s Lotus which will make it’s last production gasoline-powered car in 2022. Originally codenamed Type 131, the Norfolk sports car maker announced this week that its new model will be called Emira. It will be revealed on 6 July before making its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed two days later. Lotus has also announced that its future models will focus on four new vehicle architectures - Hypercar such as the new Evija, Sportscar (Emira), Premium Electric and Electric Sportscar. Interestingly they have said that Premium Electric means not a sportscar, so it seems likely that Lotus will move into the SUV game to take on the Porsche Macan. Given its new boss is ex-Tesla, perhaps it will also look at an executive saloon to take on the Model S. When we know, you’ll know.

The show must go on

Finally, if you’re anything like us then you’ve really missed shows. We don’t mean the glamour of motor shows, although we’ve missed those, but the real shows, the ones where you walk around all day in the sun or rain looking at great cars and chatting to owners and fellow enthusiasts.

Well they’re gradually coming back, with events like the Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional, Beaulieu’s Hot Rod and Custom Show, Salon Privé and of course Goodwood Festival of Speed all set to return this year. We can’t wait.


Written by Mark Smyth