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Classics, Plastics, and the Fantastics: Simon’s SMMT 2014 Report Part 2

Simon Ford founder of Simonscarspots.co.uk

Hi everyone,

Hope you’ve all had a good week and the sun is still shining! Following on from my blog last week, it’s time to have a look at what else I managed to take a good look at on my SMMT 2014 day out!

Infiniti Qx70 S

Now, Infiniti have been for sale in the UK for a few years now and have been an under-the radar-leftfield choice for those who want a premium SUV but don’t want to be seen in a Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport.

Are they any Good?

Style wise, the QX70 S looks lower than the Porsche and the Range Rover – thanks to some great Lines and curves by the Infiniti Designers – yet it rides on 21″ wheels.

Interior wise, everything is laid out in a logical, easy to use way and despite being full of dark colours, it is not at all oppressive. The seats are very supportive and comfortable; they are also adjustable in every way possible (in fact, I’d even say it was the 2nd best interior of cars I drove that day…the winner being the Rolls Royce Wraith but we’ll see that later).

The Engine is a 3.0 v6, developing 550nm of torque and 238ps; it is mated to a 7 speed gearbox. This model reaches 0-62 in 8.6 seconds (which is quick for a big 3.0 diesel) but the driving experience feels a bit quicker due to its Excellent Rear Active Steer. This means that the rear wheels turn to assist handling,which if I’m honest is brilliant – it made the Infiniti QX70-s very fun and it was my joint 2nd most fun car of the day. Even the view from the drivers seat was excellent (even though it was a bit Porsche-esque due to it’s bonnet humps).

Overall, the Infiniti QX70-S is a fantastic alternative to The Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport and at just over £40,000, it is Reasonably priced too.

SimonsCarSpots Rating 8.7 / 10

Maserati Ghibli Diesel

Appearing at SMMT for the first time was the iconic brand Maserati who have always been one of my boyhood heros with the Bora, the Shamal and the Original Ghibli to name but a few of the cars in their portfolio. The New Ghibli Diesel was the one that I was looking forward to driving the most on the day.

The design of the Ghibli is – dare I say it – a little restrained (sorry!) but still stands out as a GT car, especially from the front with that Iconic ‘M’ on the grille. However, the rest of the Ghibli is a bit “marmite” – you’ll either love it or hate it depending on which angle you look at it from.

It is also a shame that the theme continues on the inside as well; long gone were the days of wood, leather and the amazing oval Breitling Clock that adorned the dash. In their place are now dark colours and a rather subdued design; even though there was no doubting the Ghibli’s use of quality¬†materials, it just felt like something was slightly missing.

There were two good bits I really liked about the new Ghibli diesel and number one was the Fantastic 3.0 v6 diesel engine. Built and designed in house by Maserati and Manufactured by Ferrari for the use in Maserati only, it develops 275hp, has a massive 600Nm of torques and can do up to a claimed 47mpg.

But that’s not the best bit: the best bit for me is the Maserati Active Sound System that is built so Maserati fans can tell which Maserati you’re driving by it’s engine note. This means in practice that it doesn’t sound like a diesel AT ALL and is the only diesel in the world that I’ve ever driven that actually sounds like a petrol. Praise where praise is due to Maserati and Ferrari for that one.

The other thing I liked about the Ghibli was the Chassis – while it can be tail happy, fun, excellent and put a smile on your face, it is a proper driver’s car and if you’re not careful it will kill you if you’re not on top of your game.

Overall, a mixed bag from the Maserati Ghibli Diesel. It’s a good alternative to a Jaguar, Mercedes or a Bmw and costs ¬£48,835,00, it has the most amazing diesel engine you’re ever likely to encounter and the chassis to to let you know your driving a true drivers car. Then, you are let down by the restricted styling and the so-so interior

SimonsCarSpots Rating engine alone 10/10 overall though 7.3

Dacia Sandero Stepway Ambiance

Does anyone remember when Renault built a decent car that everyone brought and liked? I do – it was the 2002 Renault Scenic. You know the one the one without the rubbish keycard start and the good looks?

Well, this Sandero is the modern equivalent, offering a fantastic package, a willing engine and an excellent price for a 5 seat car that offers true economical motoring. What else can I say?

SimonsCarSpots Rating 6.9 / 10

Rolls Royce Wraith

In part one of my SMMT Test day, I drove the Rolls Royce Phantom and stated it was a car to be driven in and not a car to Drive. Now, the Wraith if the newest model from Rolls Royce that’s designed to be driven and not to be driven in and I have to say that the Wraith has achieved this very, very well.

Starting with the interior of the Wraith, as ever with Rolls Royce, it’s very opulent and you and your passengers want for nothing. It even has the most inviting interior of any modern car on sale today; from the gorgeous graining and patterning on the doors to the chrome ashtrays, Rolls Royce have hit a winner on the Wraith.

The styling of the Wraith from the front – three quarters look amazing in the flesh with so much road presence and awe inspiring looks from anyone that sees it. The rear end is reminiscent slightly of the Bentley GT.

On the road, the Wraith belies its size; yes, it’s still a big car but it’s chuck-able round most corners and eats miles up for breakfast with ease. It is powered by a 6.6 litre BMW sourced engine that produces 624bhp – you’d think it would be a complete Tyre Shredder, but that’s not what the Wraith is about.

Granted it is a Drivers Roller, but Rolls Royce don’t want their customers to kill themselves or have too much fun encouraging raucous do-nutting, elevenses, or white knuckle driving, so everything is done calmly and smoothly whilst you are still in the utmost comfort.

Overall, this is Rolls Royce’s best ever driving car and of course, it’s fantastic.

SimonsCarSpots rating 9.1 / 10

I do hope that you have enjoyed my summary of my antics on the 2014 SMMT day – watch this space for more fun blogs every Sunday and join in the chat on Twitter with myself and Motor Mistress daily!

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