Jump to content
The Motorists Guide

Steve Q

Administrators
  • Content Count

    67
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    19

Steve Q last won the day on November 24

Steve Q had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

35 Excellent

Recent Profile Visitors

373 profile views
  1. The W212 E class – the successor to the venerable W211 model, but is it better? Steve drives a 2016 facelift model to find out The Mercedes W212 E Class was originally launched in 2009 to replace the well-built W211 version, which itself had helped recover Mercedes reputation at building reliable, long lasting cars after the quality control issues of the late 1990s/early 2000s. There was no doubt that both the car and Mercedes engineers had big shoes to fill but thankfully the gamble paid off as the new model was able to build on the good reputation of its forbearer. The W212 was not only bigger than the previous model it was also more refined. The W212 is available in saloon, estate, coupe and convertible body styles which differed from the previous two E class models as they were only available in saloon or estate. With adding the coupe and convertible to the model lists it meant Mercedes could go back to its routes and provided a link to the original world famous W124 E class which paved the way for Mercedes in building tough, large luxury cars. Another hark back to the past can be seen in the W212 styling as the angular pre-facelift front end not only looked more aggressive, it also brought itself back to the boxy, straight-edged W124. The W212 also gained flared (ponton) rear arches which too were a hint of the past as Mercedes designers took styling cues from 1950s/1960s vehicles. With all the historic touches in the W212 you’d be forgiven to think that the car itself is stuck in the past but nothing could be further from the truth. The W212 was the first model of E class to be fitted with lane departure warning (option), drowsiness detection and road sign recognition. Other safety features include blind spot detection as an option as well as neck pro head restraints which are connected to sensors to the vehicle and can predict a rear end shunt. The head restraints adjust to reduce the risk of a whiplash injury. Furthermore, there are plenty of engine choices available to cater for all needs, whether you’re using the W212 E Class for taxi duty or a performance saloon ideally suited to the autobahn. There are four petrol engines on offer for the E Class comprising of the 4 cylinder E200 (184hp) and E250 (211hp), or the stonking powerhouses of the 5.5 litre AMG or E63 AMG V8 engines which the latter produces 557 hp along with 720Nm of torque. There are also three diesel engines available which include the E220 (170hp) or E250 (204hp) which are both 4 cylinder engines. The biggest diesel engine is the E350 V6 which produces 252hp/620Nm torque and is by far the smoothest diesel engine in the range. The V6 comes equipped with BlueTEC for further efficiency and reduced Co2 emissions. This is achieved by a combination of Adblue technology, and high injection pressure with piezo injectors. Mercedes claim the V6 was the cleanest diesel engine when the W212 facelift was launched and reduces Nitrogen emissions by 90%. Unusually there is also a E300 diesel hybrid which has 204hp combined with 500Nm of torque which is thanks to the electric motor. Like most other hybrid systems the vehicle will run on electric up to 30mph then convert to running on the combustion engine. I feel this variant would be ideally suited for taxi service due to the fuel economy, cheap tax, and manufacture MPG figures of 62 combined. The only drawback for this model is the towing rate as it can only tow 300kg. This brings me neatly onto the topic of the facelifted E Class which debuted in 2012 and benefitted with new LED adaptive headlights, updated front bumper, grill and bonnet along with other subtle cosmetic tweaks and alleged cost Mercedes 1 billion euros in design and development. The facelift brought the E Class into line with other newer models within the Mercedes range and brought to an end the dual headlight setups. The interior also received mini tweaks but otherwise remained unchanged from the preface lift. I personally prefer the facelift W212 but my only criticism is the lacking of the raised 3 pointed star on the bonnet, but I believe this can be easily fitted for those like me who would still want the raised star by replacing the flat Mercedes emblem on the bonnet. Driving the Mercedes W212 E Class The car I have on test a 2016 Night Edition saloon which is one of the last cars built and fitted with the 350 V6 diesel engine and nine-speed 9G-Tronic gearbox. Being a Night Edition this particular special edition is fitted with a black painted roof, door mirrors, and bumper inserts as well as having AMG styling including the front bumpers and wheels. This particular car also has the panoramic sunroof option, black leather interior, parking sensors with reversing camera, Bluetooth, satnav, dual zone climate control, xenon headlights, LED rear lights and a DAB radio. Climbing into the cabin the E Class is equipped with a generous helping of leather on the electric memory seats and door cards and joined by chrome handles, inserts, vents, switches, and a gorgeous chrome edges analogue clock set within the dash. As you’d expect the cabin is of very good quality with soft touch plastics and all switches set with the centre console. The cabin is also fitted with ambient lighting and aluminium dash inserts, but the crown jewel is a well-positioned multimedia screen which controls the DAB radio, Bluetooth, satnav and reverse camera which has all been previously mentioned. I found the seats very comfortable and easily adjusted with the electric functions which are found on the doors. Rear legroom and headroom are very generous too even for those who are 6ft. This excludes the coupe version where even at 5ft 8” my head touched the headlining. Legroom also is a problem on the coupe for those with long legs. The estate version can also have the added practicality of a rear-facing bench seat, which increases the seating capacity to seven. Turning the key the V6 settles to a smooth quiet idle and to set off the column shifter stalk is pressed down. This differs from the W211 as the automatic gearbox was controlled via a lever between the seats or with the paddle shifter behind the steering wheel on sport models. On the open road, the 350 V6 engine and auto gearbox are very refined, the engine being smooth under acceleration and changed effortlessly by the gearbox. It’s also worth noting that the 9-speed box differs very little from the 7 speed which is also offered on certain W212 models. The benefit of the 9 speed include, ever so slightly smoother gear changes and the extra gears help with economy but the only niggle we found was that it would have a tendency to change more often. But I must stress that we are nit-picking really and it is a superb gearbox. I drove the E Class in a mixture of town, country and motorway driving and the V6 diesel achieved between 25-32mpg but I feel this could be increased on very long journeys. Other areas of the driving experience were great too, the steering was light yet responsive and was supported by a sublime suspension set up which ironed out most bumps in the road. Air suspension is an optional extra on the W212 for the rear but I found the coils and dampers are this car gave a ride that felt no real difference compared to the air suspension. If anything its better as it’s less to go wrong, as the air suspension on any car can become notoriously tricky to repair if it breaks. However, in terms of reliability, I feel that the W212 E Class a further improvement on the previous model both in refinement and build quality and to prove Mercedes trust in this model the body shell has a 30-year perforation guarantee which is one of the longest warranties on the market today. Hopefully, Mercedes have finally managed to banish the rust demons of the 1990s, that dogged the company and affected its reputation. But thankfully they have managed to rebound from the dark days and offer products which exceed that of the infamous W124 series. The Motorists Guide View Overall I found the W212 E Class one of the best cars I have tested for AutoEvoke and couldn’t fault it in any area. I found the build quality superb with no rattles or squeaks and the driving characteristics wonderfully balanced, compliant and comfortable. Would I own one? I’d say yes, without a shadow of a doubt and I feel that Mercedes are finally back on form with dependable and robust large luxury cars. Dimensions Length: 4879mm (saloon) Width: 2071mm (including wing mirrors) Height: 1474mm (saloon)
  2. 322 miles in one day. Steve travelled to Las Vegas to take a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible on a short road trip through too glorious states. Las Vegas – a city synonymous for gambling, partying and generally a play ground for the rich and famous. However, what if you want a change from the hustle and bustle of the city and see more of what the silver state has to offer? The answer is to hire a car and I have devised a perfect road trip which allows you enjoy some of the amazing scenery, ghost towns, mining towns and route 66 which all helped make the states of Nevada and Arizona both famous and rich. Below is a picture of the planned route. Tips for driving in Nevada & Arizona · You can turn right onto a road even if your traffic light sequence is on red if it is safe to do so. · We would recommend obeying the speed limits as he had been warned we would see lots of Police cars. We only saw four marked Police vehicles but there were probably plenty of unmarked cars we didn’t see! · Plan your route as phone signal can be limited in certain remote locations. · Fuel stations can be limited when you’re out in the desert and as such we would recommend not letting the fuel tank fall below the ¼ tank mark. · Always where your seatbelt whilst driving · Never pass a school bus with the stop sign out. · Never use your mobile phone whilst driving except through a hands free device. · Children 6 years or younger are required to have a child restraint system. · Do not drink and drive. Speed limits 15mph - School Zones 25mph - residential areas 45mph - Areas going into towns 65mph - Urban freeways, rural highways 70mph - Rural interstate freeways Our recommendations · Don’t stop at fort Mohave unless you require a break · Do visit the Hoover Dam · Consider visiting Chloride ghost town (off route 93) · Take plenty of pictures Have fun! Starting location Most of the car rental companies are situated near to the McCarran Airport, which are a short taxi ride from most of the hotels situated near to the strip and cost approximately $20 for a ride there or back. To get the best deals on hire cars my advice is to book as early as possible and pay in full at the time of booking. Besides getting a cheaper price this also allows you to splash out on a nicer vehicle is desired. For example a similar Ford Mustang to the one I have on test would cost you £111 from Alamo if booked months in advance, whereas on the day it would have cost you more than double the price. The rental charge is for a full 24 hours from the time of booking and we’d recommend collecting your car at around 7am. This sounds early, but believe me the trip is worth it. Rental car location address: McCarran Airport Rental Car Return, 7231 Gilespie St, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA Red Rock Canyon The first point of interest on our road trip is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area and features a 12 mile drive around beautiful scenery. Leaving the rental car lot its approximately a 30 minute drive to Red Rock Canyon along Route 215 & 159. Arriving at red Rock there is a toll booth where you pay the $15 vehicle fee to drive around the site. You will not be disappointed in spending the $15 as the views are breath taking and the following pictures do not do the area justice. Red Rock address: Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA Nelson ghost town After leaving red rock Canyon you have to back track yourself along route 215 and subsequently join the freeway, which becomes route 95 that takes you directly out of Las Vegas and into the wonderful Nevada desert. You need to keep an eye out though for the left turn for route 165 which takes you directly to Nelson. However there are two parts of Nelson, the first part that will come into view is the more modern buildings. Don’t stop here, instead carry on around the corner and you’ll be met by the rustic mining town. Once you’ve parked the car, head over to the visitor centre to check in and be given relevant safety information but to be fair your main danger is rattle snakes. The owners of the ghost town are lovely and they kindly ask if you’re going to take lots of pictures to pay a measly $10. The visitor centre does have cold drinks for sale in the freezer, but be warned you might get a surprise, as the carcases of the rattle snake caught in that year are kept in there! Nelson is lovingly preserved and you cannot be impressed by the town’s charm. From Red Rock Canyon, Nelson is an hour’s drive and approximately 60miles . Nelson address: Nelson, NV 89046, USA Colorado River As you leave Nelson turn right out of the carpark to head through the Eldorado Canyon and drive the 5 miles approx to the majestic Colorado River. You’ll find the road is a dead end but offers great views of the surrounding area. Oatman Arizona Leaving the Colorado River you head back along the 165 and re-join the 95 to head towards Arizona. On our trip we stopped at the town Fort Mohave which was 1 hour 35 minutes from Nelson but other than getting a bite to eat we didn’t find anything else of note at the town. Therefore we’d recommend driving straight through the town to another famous ghost town – Oatman. To get to Oatman you have to come off route 95 and take route 163 through the Mesquite creek to reach the town. On the way you’ll go through, yet more stunning scenery in the Mojave Desert. As you get nearer to Oatman you’ll discover that you have come onto the world famous Route 66 which not only passes through Oatman but will take you to our next destination as well. Oatman is another well preserved ghost town with plenty of shops, bar and hotel. There’s also a small mine you can enter as well as a jail and museum which were both closed on our visit. It’s worth noting that if you intend to visit the town on a weekend, they often do wild west style shoot outs on the main road. Another curiosity for the town are the semi wild Burros that roam the streets. These donkey like creatures were once domesticated in the twos boom years but as they escaped from their owners throughout the decades the breed became more wild. But it has to be said they love to be fed and fussed over! Kingman Arizona Leaving Oatman, you continue along the historic Route 66 for just under an hour to arrive at the town of Kingman. However before I discuss Kingman I want to talk about the fantastic drive to the town via the world’s most famous highway. The drive between Oatman and Kingman is breath-taking but can alos be dangerous if you chose to drive irresponsibly. The stretch of 66 we were on had shear drops, uneven surfaces at the edge of the highway and tight turns. It is truly an amazing experience but as already mentioned it would not suffer fools. On arriving at Kingman there is a fantastic traditional diner where food and drink is served with enthusiasm. The staff were friendly and genuinely interested in talking to us both about our trip but also about the UK. Next to the diner was a second-hand car lot which sold muscle cars and hotrods which stood out. I definitely wanted one or two! Unfortunately because we had arrived at Kingman at 9pm not a lot of places were open and couldn’t get a full flavour of what the town had to offer. After we were finished at the diner we picked up route 93 and headed back towards Las Vegas with a plan to visit the Hoover Dam before it closed at 9pm. unfortunately we arrived 15 minutes late and thus couldn’t visit the Dam. After this setback we decided to return the car to the rental company and which concluded our road trip. The Motorists Guide View: Thanks for reading our Nevada & Arizona road trip, we hope we have inspired you to complete a US road trip of your own and we can assure you that you won't be disappointed! Have you done a road trip that you think we should consider doing? Then don’t hesitate to contact us! Read the Ford Mustang review here
  3. 322 miles in one day. Steve travelled to Las Vegas to take a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible on a short road trip through too glorious states. Las Vegas – a city synonymous for gambling, partying and generally a play ground for the rich and famous. However, what if you want a change from the hustle and bustle of the city and see more of what the silver state has to offer? The answer is to hire a car and I have devised a perfect road trip which allows you enjoy some of the amazing scenery, ghost towns, mining towns and route 66 which all helped make the states of Nevada and Arizona both famous and rich. Below is a picture of the planned route. Tips for driving in Nevada & Arizona · You can turn right onto a road even if your traffic light sequence is on red if it is safe to do so. · We would recommend obeying the speed limits as he had been warned we would see lots of Police cars. We only saw four marked Police vehicles but there were probably plenty of unmarked cars we didn’t see! · Plan your route as phone signal can be limited in certain remote locations. · Fuel stations can be limited when you’re out in the desert and as such we would recommend not letting the fuel tank fall below the ¼ tank mark. · Always where your seatbelt whilst driving · Never pass a school bus with the stop sign out. · Never use your mobile phone whilst driving except through a hands free device. · Children 6 years or younger are required to have a child restraint system. · Do not drink and drive. Speed limits 15mph - School Zones 25mph - residential areas 45mph - Areas going into towns 65mph - Urban freeways, rural highways 70mph - Rural interstate freeways Our recommendations · Don’t stop at fort Mohave unless you require a break · Do visit the Hoover Dam · Consider visiting Chloride ghost town (off route 93) · Take plenty of pictures Have fun! Starting location Most of the car rental companies are situated near to the McCarran Airport, which are a short taxi ride from most of the hotels situated near to the strip and cost approximately $20 for a ride there or back. To get the best deals on hire cars my advice is to book as early as possible and pay in full at the time of booking. Besides getting a cheaper price this also allows you to splash out on a nicer vehicle is desired. For example a similar Ford Mustang to the one I have on test would cost you £111 from Alamo if booked months in advance, whereas on the day it would have cost you more than double the price. The rental charge is for a full 24 hours from the time of booking and we’d recommend collecting your car at around 7am. This sounds early, but believe me the trip is worth it. Rental car location address: McCarran Airport Rental Car Return, 7231 Gilespie St, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA Red Rock Canyon The first point of interest on our road trip is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area and features a 12 mile drive around beautiful scenery. Leaving the rental car lot its approximately a 30 minute drive to Red Rock Canyon along Route 215 & 159. Arriving at red Rock there is a toll booth where you pay the $15 vehicle fee to drive around the site. You will not be disappointed in spending the $15 as the views are breath taking and the following pictures do not do the area justice. Red Rock address: Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA Nelson ghost town After leaving red rock Canyon you have to back track yourself along route 215 and subsequently join the freeway, which becomes route 95 that takes you directly out of Las Vegas and into the wonderful Nevada desert. You need to keep an eye out though for the left turn for route 165 which takes you directly to Nelson. However there are two parts of Nelson, the first part that will come into view is the more modern buildings. Don’t stop here, instead carry on around the corner and you’ll be met by the rustic mining town. Once you’ve parked the car, head over to the visitor centre to check in and be given relevant safety information but to be fair your main danger is rattle snakes. The owners of the ghost town are lovely and they kindly ask if you’re going to take lots of pictures to pay a measly $10. The visitor centre does have cold drinks for sale in the freezer, but be warned you might get a surprise, as the carcases of the rattle snake caught in that year are kept in there! Nelson is lovingly preserved and you cannot be impressed by the town’s charm. From Red Rock Canyon, Nelson is an hour’s drive and approximately 60miles . Nelson address: Nelson, NV 89046, USA Colorado River As you leave Nelson turn right out of the carpark to head through the Eldorado Canyon and drive the 5 miles approx to the majestic Colorado River. You’ll find the road is a dead end but offers great views of the surrounding area. Oatman Arizona Leaving the Colorado River you head back along the 165 and re-join the 95 to head towards Arizona. On our trip we stopped at the town Fort Mohave which was 1 hour 35 minutes from Nelson but other than getting a bite to eat we didn’t find anything else of note at the town. Therefore we’d recommend driving straight through the town to another famous ghost town – Oatman. To get to Oatman you have to come off route 95 and take route 163 through the Mesquite creek to reach the town. On the way you’ll go through, yet more stunning scenery in the Mojave Desert. As you get nearer to Oatman you’ll discover that you have come onto the world famous Route 66 which not only passes through Oatman but will take you to our next destination as well. Oatman is another well preserved ghost town with plenty of shops, bar and hotel. There’s also a small mine you can enter as well as a jail and museum which were both closed on our visit. It’s worth noting that if you intend to visit the town on a weekend, they often do wild west style shoot outs on the main road. Another curiosity for the town are the semi wild Burros that roam the streets. These donkey like creatures were once domesticated in the twos boom years but as they escaped from their owners throughout the decades the breed became more wild. But it has to be said they love to be fed and fussed over! Kingman Arizona Leaving Oatman, you continue along the historic Route 66 for just under an hour to arrive at the town of Kingman. However before I discuss Kingman I want to talk about the fantastic drive to the town via the world’s most famous highway. The drive between Oatman and Kingman is breath-taking but can alos be dangerous if you chose to drive irresponsibly. The stretch of 66 we were on had shear drops, uneven surfaces at the edge of the highway and tight turns. It is truly an amazing experience but as already mentioned it would not suffer fools. On arriving at Kingman there is a fantastic traditional diner where food and drink is served with enthusiasm. The staff were friendly and genuinely interested in talking to us both about our trip but also about the UK. Next to the diner was a second-hand car lot which sold muscle cars and hotrods which stood out. I definitely wanted one or two! Unfortunately because we had arrived at Kingman at 9pm not a lot of places were open and couldn’t get a full flavour of what the town had to offer. After we were finished at the diner we picked up route 93 and headed back towards Las Vegas with a plan to visit the Hoover Dam before it closed at 9pm. unfortunately we arrived 15 minutes late and thus couldn’t visit the Dam. After this setback we decided to return the car to the rental company and which concluded our road trip. The Motorists Guide View: Thanks for reading our Nevada & Arizona road trip, we hope we have inspired you to complete a US road trip of your own and we can assure you that you won't be disappointed! Have you done a road trip that you think we should consider doing? Then don’t hesitate to contact us!
  4. Steve Q

    2018 Ford Mustang Convertible

    Changed GOOD POINTS to Good value for money compared to its competitors Well equipped
  5. The Ford Mustang – an American icon but does the 2018 model make a viable purchase? Steve went to Las Vegas to find out. I start this car review in an unusual fashion, as I have a confession to make. When I landed at the Las Vegas McCarran airport I was expecting to be driving away in the 5.0 V8 version of the Mustang, however, due to a mix up I, in fact, ended up with a turbocharged four-cylinder 2.3 Ecoboost version with the automatic gearbox. However, I must stress that the Ecoboost engine isn’t lacking in performance as it produced 313bhp and 319 of torque. Unperturbed I felt this to be more fitting to our UK readers where the Ecoboost engine makes more financial sense, both in purchase cost and running cost. Walking up to the Mustang it cannot be denied that it has road presence, especially in the eye-popping race red which looked stunning and seemed fitting for this American legend. Since the turn of the millennium, various car manufacturers have tried to mimic their retro-inspired designs of yesteryear with varying success. The Volkswagen Beetle and the Chrysler PT Cruiser immediately spring to mind but even Ford followed suit with the previous Mustang version. However, with the current Mustang, I feel Ford got the look spot on. I liked the front end with its swooping vented bonnet which was nicely matched to the aggressive looking lights and large vents. The side profile was nice too with bulging arches and topped off with a classic Mustang-derived rear end with signature rear light clusters. My only criticism is if found was with the alloy wheels which didn’t fill the arches enough but do give the Mustang a nice ride. Opening the door you are welcomed to mustang horse puddle lights and illuminated Mustang sill plates which invite you to slide into the black leather bucket seat. I found the interior welcoming and well presented with the dials clear and nicely positioned in the instrument cluster. The seat was both comfortable and supportive which would become crucial on the long drive that lay ahead. I also found the seating and steering wheel controls easily adjusted as well as finding the other switches well positioned. However I felt the aircon switches could have been better presented, but this could be more due to my poor eyesight rather than a fault with the design! The interior felt well built with a mixture of plastics used and certainly felt no different to interiors of vehicles found in Europe. It cannot be denied that the Mustang is well equipped and even in this entry-level version you get keyless ignition, DAB radio, Bluetooth technology, and reverse camera as standard. After I located the engine start button I then found the second most important button (in my opinion) on the convertible, the roof switches. Ford has made this an effortless affair by having both a twist handle to unlock/lock the roof into place, and then a button to raise and lower the fabric roof which glides neatly behind the rear seats. Pressing the start button the engine bursts into life and settles to a nice burble but I do admit I missed the V8 soundtrack. Driving in traffic was a doddle, with a good amount of torque to help you pull away at traffic lights and visibility was good on the whole with the roof either up or down. The exception I found to be the door mirrors which I felt were designed more for form rather than function. Moving onto the freeway I found the Ecoboost engine very refined and gave a nice engine note when accelerating but settled down and quiet when cruising. I found the automatic gearbox adequate but some changes were jerky which hampered the experience slightly. As you’d expect there was a lot of wind noise when going over 70mph with the roof down but I didn’t find the wind to be an issue. I was very impressed with how the roof reduced wind noise when up, and found it wasn’t far off what you’d find with a solid roof. There were no squeaks or rattles to note either which certainly impressed me, especially as convertibles can suffer from scuttle shake caused by uneven road surfaces or under acceleration as the chassis flexes. One key concern for UK buyers will be fuel economy, but I found the Mustang on par with vehicles of a similar size and engine setup as I was averaging 22-24mpg but bare in mind this is American gallon, not European gallon. Turning off the Freeway and driving onto the historic Route 66 your thoughts of fuel economy quickly disappear as you’re presented with stunning scenery and various twists and turns. On the bends, the Mustang handles very well, with limited body roll and feels planted to the road, but you soon appreciate the width of the car which will make the car interesting on UK roads. The good handling is matched with sharp brakes which were certainly ideal when we were met with a burro in the middle of the road just outside the Arizona town of Oatman. Heading towards Kingman and with the night closing in the Mustangs automatic headlights kicked in and gave great illumination. Furthermore, the cold set in and as such the roof was put up and heater activated. I found the heater warmed the cabin very efficiently which is aided by having dual climate control. After stopping for a coffee break in Kingman we headed for our return journey back to Las Vegas which the Mustang completed effortlessly. The Motorists Guide view Overall I found the Mustang a joy to drive and despite covering 600 miles in it I didn’t feel tired or uncomfortable afterward. I found it to be well put together as well as being nicely appointed. However, no car is perfect and the Mustang isn’t without issues such as the occasionally jerky automatic gearbox and small wing mirrors to name a couple. If you are in the market for a convertible sports car then I would recommend you consider the Mustang due to its value for money in comparison to its competitors and you’ll certainly exclusivity on UK roads.
  6. Steve gets behind the wheel of a 3rd generation E class to see whether it is a used car gem. The Mercedes W211 E class was launched in 2002 to replace the notoriously rust prone W210 model. There was a lot riding on this new E class and most importantly Mercedes reputation, due to build quality issues affecting various models of Mercedes both in the late 1990s and into the start of the 21st century. This new model E Class was only available in two body styles, either saloon or estate and three spec levels were offered on release which were; Classic, Elegance and Advantgarde. Even the entry level Classic spec was well equipped and benefited from climate air conditioning, cruise control, alloy wheels, heated washer jets and rain sensing wipers. The Elegence trim added interior touches such as wood trim, leather trimmed steering wheel/gear knob and the top spec Advantgade benefited from part leather trim, Xenon headlights, LED rear lights and specific five spoke alloy wheels. Various engine options were available including a good array of diesel engines which reflected the market at the time, as diesels were in favour with buyers and the government. The options were; 220CDI, 270CDI (prefaclift only), 280CDI and 320CDI in diesel form. On the other hand petrol buyers weren’t forgotten about as the E Class was available as a 200, 320 (V6) or a 500 (V8) which was fitted to the AMG and later replaced by the E63 at the end of production. The key to a long engine life for any Mercedes is regular maintenance and this should help reduce some issues. One key issue on CDI engines are injector seal failure and this can be sotted by a rough running engine and a fuel smell in the cabin. As you would expect it is not cheap to repair and you’ll be looking roughly up to £500. Also bearings for the super chargers pulley can fail especially on cars that have covered more than 100,000 miles. Due to the age of most W211 cars, most will have covered more than 100k so it’s worth checking the service history for this work being carried out. Unfortunately the early cars weren’t without faults, but compared to the previous rusty W210 the W211 suffered from electrical and mechanical gremlins. The most important electrical issue to watch out for on early cars, those built up to 2005 are faults with the Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) system. The SBC system was designed to be a form of anti-skid control and was able to make adjustments to brake pressure to help keep the car more stable under braking. However the system has been known to fail and even Mercedes replaced the SBC units when the cars were within warranty. Due to the amount of customer complaints/system issues Mercedes reverted to a hydraulic system for the facelift model. In addition, one key issue with early E class models is with the radiator which has been known to leak into the gearbox oil cooler. This ultimately jams the torque converter and can result in an expensive bill but only affects models built up to 2003 and fitted with a Valeo radiator. Mercedes facelifted the E class for the 2006 model year and thankfully this rectified a lot of the early faults and around 2000 improvements were made, including to the performance and handling. The facelift was graced with new headlights, grill and bumper which helped improve the styling. For the facelift a sport spec was also added which was fitted with 18” wheels, cornering lights, stiffer suspension, gear shift paddles and cost £1,470 as an optional extra on the estate and a whopping £3,570 on the saloon. As you would expect safety wasn’t neglected either and the facelifted E Class was fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system as well as adaptive braking system which flash the brake lights to warn cars behind of sudden braking. If the car behind still fails to stop the E Class is fitted with PRE SAFE occupant protection and neck pro head restraints which both prepare the occupants and vehicle for an imminent impact. Driving the W211 Mercedes E Class The car I have on test is a facelift 2006 280CDI estate model with the optional extra sport trim which has covered 133,000 miles. Sliding into the comfy leather seat it is clear to see that this model of E Class differs greatly from its boxy predecessors. The cabin is light and airy as well as having a dash that curves and gives the E Class a modern, yet sophisticated look and is very well laid out. The front seats are easily adjusted thanks to the electric adjustment and memory feature as well as being heated which is ideal for the up and coming winter. This is also supported with the reach and rake adjusted from the leather steering wheel. Turning the key and the V6 diesel engine fires and quickly settles to a smooth idle. Engaging drive and pulling away it is clear that the V6 diesel has brisk acceleration which is further helped from the 7 speed GTRONIC gearbox, both of which present no drama. The W211 E Class was highly praised for its handling characteristics, with great body control/neutral handling and this particular car is no exception. The ride is very compliant and absorbs bumps well, which is impressive as the sport model has the stiffer suspension but is supported with self-levelling Airmatic air suspension on the rear. Furthermore the steering is precise and gives the driver confidence to push the car into the corners. As you’d expect the braking system is more than adequate to stop this autobahn stormer, and can bring the car to a stop in half the distance of the Highway Codes distances which is impressive for a car of this size and weight. On examining the cabin it is clear that the interior is built well and very electrical item was working and the interior was showing no real signs of wear, other than on the driver seat bolster. There is a generous amount of leg and head room for rear passengers as well as having a carnivorous boot which can also be fitted with optional extra rear facing seats. The Motorists Guide View The W211 E Class was a very expensive car when new but now they can be obtained for as little as £1500 and are exceptional value for money. But be warned there will be a lot of cheap E class cars out there which are suffering from mechanical or electrical issues, and as such a comprehensive service history is a must. Cars that are in good, cared for condition will provide fantastic family transport as well as providing good levels of comfort, equipment and safety and it is a car I would strongly recommend. Dimensions Saloon Length: 4,818mm (15ft 10in) Width: 1,822mm (6ft 0in) Height: 1,452mm (4ft 9in) Luggage capacity: 540 litres (rear seats up) Estate Length: 4,850mm (16’ 0”) Width: 1,822mm (6’ 0”) Height: 1,495mm (4’ 11”) Luggage capacity: (rear seats up): 690 litres. Luggage capacity: (rear seats down): 1,950 litres. Kerb weight: 1,785kg – 1,885kg
  7. In the last week both motoring fans and Hollywood have been mourning the loss of a true filming icon, Burt Reynolds who sadly passed away from a heart attack at the age of 82 in Florida. As a fitting tribute Steve looks through some of the cars that starred alongside him during some his most memorable films. Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Smokey and the bandit One of Burt Reynolds defining films was Smokey and the Bandit which was released in 1977 and featured a 1976/1977 Tans Am which was used as a diversion to keep cops off the trail of the illegal cargo in the back of the truck. After the film sales for the Trans Am rocketed and Reynolds was also also gifted one of the Trans Am promo cars. 1979 Dodge Sportsman Ambulance – Cannonball Run The 1981 film Cannonball run involved a road race and was loosely based on the real 1979 Running the Cannonball race, but not only that the ambulance was used both the actual race and then starred in the film. This was No coincidence as the director for the Cannonball Run had raced the ambulance. 1971 International Scout – Deliverance In this 1974 film Reynolds drives a 1971 International Scout. This 800B model was one of the last of the Mk1 Couts before it was replaced by the Mk2 version. 1968 Chevrolet Camero – Cop and a half Cop and a half was a 1993 comedy which featured Reynolds as a cop who teams up with an 8 year old boy to solve a murder investigation. The film Reynolds drives a 1968 Chevrolet Camero which is fitted with a SS badge. However it is unknown if this car was a real SS as it did not have the SS bonnet. 1974 Citroen SM – Longest Yard This Citroen SM featured in the 1974 film the longest Yard but is only seen in the first few scenes. In the film Reynolds takes the car from his angry girlfriend when intoxicated. She reports the car stolen and a police chase ensues, which ends with the Citroen sinking in water after being pushed off a dock. 1975 Porsche 935 replica – Cannonball Run Compared to the Dodge ambulance mentioned previously this Porsche 935 replica only stars briefly in the film and is based on a 1969 Porsche 911. However those vital scenes gave us too important parts of the film, the first was captain Chaos but also the line “anti radar paint, turbo charged. JJ, nothing can stop us now! Nothing!” As can be suspected this did not go well and the car crashes after encountering a Police roadblock. 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Hooper This 1978 film is about an aging stuntman who wants to prove he’s still got the skills to do this risky line of work. Hooper was realised after Smokey and the Bandit which could partially explain why a Trans Am was used in Reynolds next film. The Pontiac in question was used in the second half of the film and is used for the films climatic ending where its jumps a 323ft gorge. 1978 GMC k10 stepside – Hooper Another noticeable cars used in the film Hooper is this GMC k10. In the first part of the film Reynolds drives this modified GMC pickup and it is featured in one of the films best scenes when he is pulled over by the police doing 55mph in reverse. 1971 Ford 500 – White Lightening White Lightening was released in 1973 and would be Burt Reynolds first car movie. In the film Reynolds, an ex-convict is employed by the Police to catch a corrupt sheriff who killed his brother and runs a moonshining ring. In the film Reynolds used a modified Ford 500 which was fitted with 429cu V8.
  8. Steve Q

    Fitting a sunstrip

    Sunstrips can both be aesthetically pleasing and yet very useful. The concept actually originates to the 1970s, where certain cars would be fitted with a green tint across the top of the windscreen. Then in the 1980s and 1990s it was quite common to see racing cars being fitted with sunstrips to not only block out the sun, but also provide extra sponsorship space on the vehicle. This craze then later filtered onto both the modified car scene for a racey look, and the commercial vehicle sector to provide a space for company sign writing. If you would like to fit a sunstrip either for vehicle modification, company advertising or just to block out the sun on winter days then here’s our fitting guide: Step 1 Wash the windscreen. This might seem obvious but if you don’t then the sunstrip might not stick properly to the windscreen. Step 2 Place the strip on the car (unstuck!) to measure your desired width of the sunstrip, and then mark the point with tape (we used blutak). You may need an assistant to help with this and also remember the sunstrip can NOT be in the wipers sweep or cover more than 25% of the window area. Alternately some sunstrips come pre measured for your car to make them easier to fit. Step 3 Trim to the sunstrip to the desired size. Step 4 Spray the windscreen with a water/washing up liquid mixture to help get the sunstrip in the right place. Step 5 Peel off the backing of the sunstrip and attach the strip to the windscreen to the mark line (we used blutak for the marker). Step 6 Now the sunstrip is fitted, you now need to use the water/washing up liquid mixture with a squeegee to get the air bubbles out. A pin might also come in handy to help with this. Once this is done, you can admire your hard work. Please note we used more than one type of sunstrip for the making of this guide.
  9. As tribute to the King of Pop - Michael Jackson, Steve has a look through some of his more unusual cars on his 60th birthday. 1990 rolls Royce limousine As one would expect limousines are part and parcel of a celebrity life style and Michael had more than one Rolls Royce limo. 1988 GMC Jimmy High Sierra Fire Truck One of the oddities within the collection was a fire truck, painted with Neverland Fire Dept sign writing. However it isn’t quite clear why Michael owned this. 1909 Detamble replica Another unusual purchase by Michael was this Detamble replica, especially when he could have afforded a genuine example. 1997 Neoplan Touring Bus Naturally no pop star is without a tour bus and Michael was no exception. This bus featured cream leather interior, as well as a bathroom made from gold, granite and obviously porcelain. 1988 Lincoln Town Car limousine And here’s another one of Michaels limos. The Lincoln Town car was popular with musicians and even Elvis had one. 1993 Ford Ecoline Day Van The day van was a very popular vehicle in America, and like a lot of Americans Michael owned one. His Ecoline was fitted with Televisions and games consoles. 2001 Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle It wasn’t just cars Michael had in his collection, as he also owned this Police spec Harley Davidson. But I have to admit that it’s a good match for the GMC Fire Truck. 1954 Cadillac Fleetwood Another American icon, and a must have in any car collection is a Cadillac. This car comes from a great time in American car design and this particular car was featured in the filming of Driving Miss Daisy. 1988 GMC Jimmy personality One of the least luxurious vehicles in Michael’s fleet, but non the less practical.
  10. Spark Plugs are a small, yet vital part for the running of your engine and they can also tell you what condition the engine is in. In addition, spark plugs are both cheap and easy to replace as well as being a regular serving item. The most seen types of spark plug conditions are seen below as well as what they could mean you’re your vehicle. Fitting Spark Plugs Step 1 Let the engine cool and make sure the ignition is OFF as you don’t want the vehicles electrical system to potentially run through you! Then you can open the bonnet. Step 2 Remove the engine cover from your vehicle. This step may not be applicable to certain vehicles, particularly classic vehicles. Step 3 Locate the spark plugs. This will depend on the type of engine fitted to your vehicle. Four cylinder engines have four spark plugs on the top or side of the engine in a line. V6, V8, V10 and V12 engines have six, eight, 10 and 12 spark plugs respectively which will be evenly spaced on each side. spark plug layout on a four cylinder engine Step 4 Remove the end of the HT lead attached to the spark plug which should just unclip from the spark plug. It’s worth doing one spark plug at a time so as not to get confused when you’re refitting the leads as incorrect fitment will affect the running of the engine. It’s also worth checking the condition of the HT leads because if they’re damaged then they too will need replacing. Step 5 Remove the spark plug using the correct sized socket or spark plug removal tool. Once the spark plug is removed its worth checking its condition by using the above guide. Then use a feeler gauge to check the gap between the spark plug as you’ll need the same gap between the new plugs so in order to get a good spark. This will usually be between .028 - .060 inch. If you need a spark plug removal tool then you can buy it here Step 6 Screw the new spark plug in by using your hand and then use the correct sized socket or spark plug removal tool to tighten the spark plug. Don’t over tighten the spark plug as it can cause damage to either plug or the head of the engine. Also I recommend to first screw the spark plug by hand as cross threading the spark plug could damage the head of the engine. Step 7 Reattach the end of the HT lead and then repeat step 4 – 6 with each spark plug. Step 8 Start the engine to make sure then engine is running properly. It the engine seems rough then I would advise to switch off the engine immediately and check that you have fitted the HT leads to the correct spark plugs. If you need to buy spark plugs then you can get them Here
  11. Steve Q

    Full-scale, moving Bugatti Chiron made from Lego revealed

    This is truly staggering and all credit to the designers and builders. I'd love a drive!
  12. Steve Q

    Volkswagen deliveries halted by WLTP emissions certification

    Oh dear, oh dear. This doesn't help volkswagen whilst it's still in the mist of the emissions scandal. I wonder how many other manufacturers are facing the same issue?
  13. Steve Q

    Behind the scenes at Britain's ice-cream van HQ

    Wow! I do love to have a look around this factory :)
  14. The language of tyres can seem a complex, and one few drivers understand. When choosing tyres drivers are guided by the tyre shop, and most drivers understand which Brands are premium, mid-range or budget and how to check tread depths. However the tyre sidewall gives you a lot of useful information, you just have to understand the hieroglyphics. Here is a useful tyre chart courtesy of Pearltrees to help you decipher the code:
  15. Having an auxiliary fuse box can be beneficial to those who intend to modify their vehicle, either for work or pleasure and who intend to add additional electrical components such as exterior/interior lighting, stereo upgrades and alarms to name but a few. To fit a battery master switch you’ll need: Auxiliary fuse box with junction box - Examples available from eBay Four gauge wire from an auto accessories/ICE shop Insulated spade connectors Step 1 Disconnect the battery. This might seem obvious but if you forget you run the risk of running the cars electrical system through you! Step 2 Run the four gauge wire from the battery to your chosen fuse box location. This could be in the engine bay or even in the cabin. DON’T connect the four gauge wire to the battery yet. Step 3 Connect the other end of the four gauge wire to the junction box. The other end of the junction box will split the electrical supply between your additional electrical components. Step 4 Those split electrical supplies are then individually connected with insulated spade connectors to the fuse box. Connection point can be seen at the side of this fuse box. Step 5 Mount/attach the junction box and fuse box to the vehicle. Step 6 Fit the correct size fuses to the fuse box. Step 7 Re-join the four gauge wiring to the battery. Then reconnect the leads to the battery and you’re finished. Please note that the items shown in the pictures may differ from the one available in your country, however the fitting process will be the same.
×