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Ten things we learned this week: 25 August 2017 edition

Rolls-Royce goes pimp AND pink, and Audi loses the plot. Twice...

  1. Audi has lost its marbles, part one…

    The whole point of stamping a VIN (or vehicle identification number) onto a car is to track its history, so future owners can check the originality of major parts and if their car’s ever been stolen or written off. It’s quite an important detail.

    This week, German prosecutors have alleged that Audi knowingly shipped several thousand A7s and A8s to China with the same VIN. This could be a dodge for import duty, so is strictly illegal. Investigations are continuing…

  2. … and Audi has lost its marbles, part two

    Audi says its customers are no longer interested in engine size to boast of their car’s performance, and that the need to make petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid models comparable on power outputs has forced them to make a sweeping badging change. The results are, to Ten Things’ particularly small mind, spectacularly confusing. Here’s how Audi itself chooses to explain it: 

    “The reference value for the new model designations is the power output of the individual model in kilowatts (kW). Audi is therefore creating sub-classifications within the range based on performance levels, each identified by a two-numeral combination. For example, the numeral combination “30” will appear on the rear of all models with power outputs of between 81 and 96 kW (110PS and 130PS). And “45” represents power outputs of between 169 and 185 kW (230PS and 252PS). In each case the numerals appear along with the engine technology indicator – TFSI, TDI, g-tron or e-tron.

    The number combinations identifying the performance levels in the Audi product range increase in increments of five, and they represent the hierarchy within both the respective model series and the brand’s overall model range. According to the new nomenclature, the spectrum will initially range from the Audi A1 25 TFSI with 70kW (95PS) to the Audi A8 55 TFSI with 250kW (340PS). A special place in the line-up is occupied by the high-end, high-performance S and RS models and the Audi R8. They will retain their classic names in reference to their top position in the model range.”

    If you think that’s nonsensical, baffling and frankly unhelpful, you’re not alone. We will be driving some new Audis soon on TopGear.com. We just have no idea which ones.

  3. Rolls-Royce appears in lots of popular music

    If you’re familiar with the popular music from the hit parade, you’ll be familiar with Rolls-Royce, too. So says this study, which found Rolls – or a reference to its products – features in 11 songs that have been top 20 hits in the Billboard charts from the last years.

    That’s more than any other car brand (Ferrari clocks up nine mentions, Porsche seven), and more than any brand full stop, in fact. So it beats Hennessy (the booze maker, not the maker of Veyron-baiting supercars), Nike Air Jordan shoes and Rolex watches.

    Image: Adam Shorrock

  4. This is a Fux Fuschia Rolls-Royce

    Adding to Rolls’ glamorous image comes this. Last week we showed you a McLaren 720S painted in Fux Fuschia, a paintjob we have “entrepreneur and philanthropist” Michael Fux to thank for. And yes, you can stop sniggering at the back. Well, the paint was actually made to order by Rolls-Royce. So here it is on one of those, the Dawn cabrio owned by Mr Fux.

    Far from painting merely the bodywork, Fux has ensured the wheels and interior are also heavily pinkified. It’ll certainly get him noticed. Question is, do you like it?

  5. Lewis Hamilton has worn a shirt. And a hat

    Ten Things used to be awash with Lewis news. The time he recorded an album, went hoverboarding with his dog and played with a tiger (!) to name just three.

    But he’s been a bit quiet of late. Focused on winning the F1 world championship with particularly tough competition from Ferrari and Seb Vettel, most likely.

    Until this week. Titled merely “Adios Cuba” alongside some of those small pictures Ten Things hears are called ‘emojis’, this tweeted picture shows our Lew leaning against a classic car (20 internet points if you can name it below) wearing clothes that fly in the face of fashion. We couldn’t ignore it.

    It’s good to have him back, right?

    Image: @LewisHamilton

  6. Aston Martin is making money at last

    Thanks to the new DB11 mainly, Aston made a £21.1m profit in the first six months of 2017. In the same period last year, Aston dropped £82.6m further into the red.

    With the new Vantage, an SUV and the Valkyrie all coming soon, hopefully this strange and untested ‘making money’ trend will continue up and up…

  7. Jaguar can make weird art with an F-Type SVR

    There are many ways to visualise the exhaust note of a 542bhp F-Type SVR. Crying children. Disgruntled neighbours. A driver chuckling, laced with embarrassment.

    Jaguar has decided to ignore all of these, and use several million tiny seeds and its anechoic sound chamber. How terribly high-brow…

  8. Look, the BMW i8 Roadster is coming!

    Most drop-top supercars are either for posing, or bathing in the noise of a massive engine. With its supercar looks, the new BMW i8 Roadster certainly has the first bit covered.

    But the second? Well, the i8 is a hybrid, and its 3-cyl turbo engine and electric motors make barely any noise, so this is a drop-top slice of mid-exotica with a difference. Is it still one you’re excited for?

  9. Green man crossings are too fast

    Residents of and visitors to the UK: do you find yourself hurrying across the road? Do you think the green man light extinguishes too quickly while you’re dashing to the other side of the pavement?

    Well, we bring good news. UK councils have received draft guidelines telling them to slow down the process, to give us longer than the four to seven seconds that currently passes before the light starts flashing to urge you to hurry up.

    The guidelines are there for the older among us, those with limited mobility. But given Ten Things gets easily distracted by a particularly cool car at the lights (or a splendidly furry dog crossing the other way), we need all the time we can get.

  10. This is what pure automotive joy looks like

    The world is a troubling place right now, and you really have to swim against a current of horror and scariness to find heart-warming news. We’ve done such swimming for you, though, and found this.

    In the video above, we see a man taking his blind, autistic son out for a spin in his Subaru WRX STI. He’s made a series of videos showing just that, but on this occasion, he let his son be a bigger part in the process: he let him change gear for him.

    Watch it, and prepare for your cockles to be well and truly warmed.

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