Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bubble Gang - September 8, 2017 #BGDanceAudition

On the September 8, 2017 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Dance audition gags

- LeBrown James returns for another press conference!

- A man who got hooked on sound effects

- A former action star now works as a mascot operator

- Balitang Ina

- A platoon leader ready to give up his life for...something.

- A couple sharing the same goal

- Today's Patikim Ni Kim recipe is steak!

- Basa-basa-pik!

Let's Do The News! (September 9, 2017)

- Senators agree to the proposed suspension and review of the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs. According to Sen. Grace Poe, she condemns the death of 14-year old Reynaldo De Guzman, the latest of the recent controversial killings of minors, who was discovered in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, and covered in multiple stab wounds.

- Hurricane Irma, the historically powerful storm that struck the Caribbean days ago, has became a Category 5 storm again as it made landfall on the Camaguey archipelago of Cuba late Friday night as the storm edged closer to US landfall in the Florida Keys after leaving a trail of devastation and death in much of the Caribbean as it advanced toward South Florida.

- The TVR Griffith has been reborn as the revived British sportscar company's first offering, complete with the iStream architecture designed by Gordon Murray, Cosworth-tuned 5.0L V8, 6-speed manual gearbox, and 400bhp/tonne power-to-weight ratio, capable of reaching over 200mph of top speed and 0-60mph time of less than 4 seconds.

2019 TVR Griffith

- BMW will display the X7 iPerformance Concept at this month's Frankfurt Motor Show, previewing BMW's flagship full-size SUV.

BMW X7 iPerformance Concept

- Your first look at The Current War film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon as rival inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

- Check out the trailer for the upcoming Wake Up, Girls Shin Shou anime series before its October 9 premiere.

- The trailer for the upcoming UQ HOLDER anime series is now up, prepping up for its October 2 premiere.


Renault Alaskan

Renault's first-ever midsize pickup truck, the Alaskan, has enjoyed its notoriety at Latin America, its target market, and now it's ready for showtime at Europe, where it will face stiffer competition against the likes of the VW Amarok, the Fiat Fullback, or even the Toyota Hilux. While this is an all-new model, the Alaskan bears a familiar side everyone knows about and there's a clear reason for that.

2018 Renault Alaskan

The new Renault Alaskan maybe the company's first-ever pickup truck but what's underneath is co-developed by Nissan due to the nature of the Renault-Nissan Alliance so the way the Alaskan behaves puts you into the mind that it's like driving the not-for-Japan Nissan pickup truck that I cannot mention it to you due to search query reasons. But before that, what do you think about the looks? Well, at first glance, this is the first time you saw a pickup truck bearing a Renault badge on it, which is not very fleur by the looks of it but it has some masculine sense on it you would expect from the fruit of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

2018 Renault Alaskan interior
2018 Renault Alaskan interior

Unlike today's Renaults, the interior of the Alaskan is very different compared with the others because this is the same interior as you would expect from a Nissan pickup truck of today, although the steering wheel is different than the Nissan's by the looks of it. For a pickup truck with the sedan-like creature comfort, the Alaskan is pretty impressive in so many levels and rather than using it for work, it can also be used for leisure and with an ample bed space, just think about the endless possibilities you can do with Alaskan, as long as you're not making trouble with the public.

2018 Renault Alaskan
Since the Renault Alaskan is a Nissan underneath, it uses a ladder-frame chassis combined with the super-high-tensile-strength steel which makes it as tough as a Challenger 2 tank blowing a safe and in terms of its off-road ability, the Alaskan is a French car that is not very French indeed, in fact, it's like a French-Thai-Latino fusion cuisine that doesn't have any lactose on it, only tougher and braver when it was served on a wooden platter, which is very unique.

Under the hood, the Alaskan is powered by a 2.3 dCi engine with various configurations. The highest power output offered is 190PS and with 450Nm of torque output, it has a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, which is very strong indeed for a foreign exchange pickup who got transferred from a banana republic to a superpower by chance. It's surprisingly durable as well.

As a pickup truck, the Alaskan offered different driving modes to choose from such as rear-wheel drive if you are driving normally (or if you are planning to slide this car through the road as a show-off), high-ratio 4WD if you're feeling under the weather, or low-ratio 4WD when things get rough. Apart from that, the Alaskan is prepared with a multitude of safety features such as ABS, ESP, EBD, EBA, TCS, that autonomous braking thing, and the one thing Nissan happily lend it to the Renault Alaskan; the Around View Monitor.

Should you buy it? The Renault Alaskan starts at 36,860 Euros, which is less expensive than the VW Amarok by a wide margin, and that makes it a fair value for those who want a pickup truck that can do so much more than 9 to 5. This pickup maybe made for the 9 to 5 stuff but rather than being a workhorse, the Alaskan can do some leisure stuff on the weekends. There's so much you can do with Renault's first-ever pickup truck as long as you're not a magnet of trouble with it.

Photo: Renault

Friday, September 8, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: US seeks toughest sanctions on NK as China's decision unclear

The United States is pushing for the toughest ever sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the sixth nuclear test.

It is still unclear how much cooperation the US could draw from China and Russia in eventually passing its draft resolution currently under discussion but the blacklisting of NK leader Kim Jong-un, which would be the first, would freeze his foreign assets and ban him from traveling abroad.

In addition, it calls for slapping an oil embargo on the North and mobilizing all means necessary to ban and search North Korean ships in international waters, which includes the use of military force. However, an unnamed official says China and Russia has yet to support the draft, which also aims to pull the plug on textile exports and the hiring of North Korean workers overseas, which has been a source of much-needed income for the Korean Peninsula.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (September 8, 2017)

- The Philippine National Police will support the National Bureau of Investigation in their examination of the deaths of Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo De Guzman. President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the NBI to investigate the deaths of Arnaiz and De Guzman since members of the police force are suspects.

- Senator Grace Poe has sought for a Senate investigation regarding the recent spate of killings of minors due to the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs.
- The Commission of Human Rights admitted that it fears the possibility of receiving no budget for the fiscal year 2018 following the Energy Regulatory Commission’s 1,000 peso budget.

- Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson drew attention to herself after her alleged performance at a casino hotel in Pasay City, which violates the virtues of Presidential Decree No. 1067-B (series of 1977), as amended by PD No. 1869 (series of 1983), where government officials and employees are banned from entering, staying, or playing at casinos.

- As Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms in history, ravaged the Caribbean and killed 13 people, a warning is issued on the US state of Florida. Also, in areas ravaged by the most powerful storm in history, danger is looming because of the incoming Hurricane Jose.

- Donald Trump Jr., the son of the US President Donald Trump, is under Senate investigation as reports circulate the President's son wanted dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer during last year's elections.

- 143 million people in the US are could be heavily affected in a massive Equifax data breach.

- Mazda plans to electrify all models by 2035 beginning with mild hybrid and all-electric vehicles by 2019 followed by a PHEV in 2021. In addition, Mazda plans to make autonomous driving tech standard by 2025 with the first phase slated in 2021.

- The same GSi goodness from the all new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, now in the new Sport Tourer variant.

- Jaguar gave the iconic E-Type a modern twist with the Zero Concept, complete with a modern interior and an electric powertrain. It was presented during the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest in London in addition to the Future-Type Concept, which pinpoints the future of driving.

- Jonathan Pryce from Game of Thrones will be starring alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins in the upcoming Netflix biopic film about Pope Francis, titled The Pope.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Moon, Abe denounce N. Korean nuke test

The leaders of Japan and South Korea denounced North Korea's recent nuclear test and pledged to boost their cooperation between them to tackle this international problem.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met up during a bilateral summit on the sidelines of a regional economic meeting Japanese people and the South Korean public have come to be greatly concerned due to North Korea's ongoing threats.

Two agreed to push for new UNSC sanctions against the Korean Peninsula. In response, the Japanese PM noted the two countries are working closely together to fend off North Korea's threats and believes North Korea's repeated provocations pose a very dangerous threat unlike any other.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (September 7, 2017)

- President Rodrigo Duterte met with the parents of the 19-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who was killed by the Caloocan police. The meeting happened at the Malacanang Gold Clubhouse last September 6, pass 3pm, before Pres. Duterte attended the 60th Anniversary of the Social Security System.

- Opposition lawmakers strongly condemn President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement of granting the Marcos family immunity from criminal prosecution in regards to their voluntary turnover of a portion of their alleged ill-gotten wealth.

- Thousands of residents fled their homes in Nueva Vizcaya due to intensified clashes between the AFP and the New People's Army.

- Reports show that numerous lobbyists, contractors, and others who make their living influencing the government pay US President Donald Trump's companies for golf club membership, a status that can put them in close contact with the President.

- Former Californian Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's push for nonpartisan redistricting gained numerous Republican support with Ohio Governor John Kasich signing on to his amicus brief at the Supreme Court and Arizona Sen. John McCain filing a separate friend-of-the-court brief.

- Lamborghini unleashed the Roadster variant of the improved Aventador S, ahead of its Frankfurt premiere.

- Three individuals were arrested for posting One Piece manga scans before publication. According to the police, the suspects scanned manga and earned money from website ads.

- Your first look at the upcoming movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Forza Horizon 3: Toyobaru Revisited - Side BRZ

It's been half a decade since Toyota and Subaru introduced the world their compact front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports coupes sold under their respective names of Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ and as sportscars come and go by, rest assured that these affordable Asian sportscars never gone to waste even though they're not as fast as any European sportscars because what these cars are not just good-looking but also greater to drive which isn't so bad for a four-cylinder car to begin with if you're new into sportscars.

I already talked about the 86 a few moments ago so now it's the turn of its Pleiades relative, the Subaru BRZ.

The BRZ maybe Subaru's first coupe offering since the likes of the Alcyone, the SVX, and the Impreza Retna, but it's known forever as the sacrilege of the breed because of its rear-wheel drive powertrain, a treason to Subaru's four-wheel drive heritage, but I don't care if this car is a treason to Subaru's lineage because like the 86, the BRZ is a fun to drive car that knows no bounds. From its low centre of gravity, boxer-4 engine, and some basic dynamics that makes it easier to live with, the BRZ is all about giving drivers the fun they've been longing for and on weekends, it's a blast to drive.

Of course, while the BRZ and the 86 are the same beings, heritage is what separates them apart because while the Toyota 86 follows the tradition of Toyota's successful sports cars, the BRZ breaks the Subaru tradition like a village idiot in a family of geniuses. Differences aside, I'm starting to admire those Japanese sportscar heroes after being around for half a decade.

So, now that I enjoyed getting to know about the BRZ, how about a little treat for this rear-wheel drive hero?

I know, that design looks familiar to you but in an event a Hachiroku couldn't make it to future installments, the BRZ will provide the backup and with the design I made to love about it, it reflects the BRZ's personality as a machine. Wish I want to drive my special BRZ but Australia's starting to wear me out like an old man so instead...

I'm taking the BRZ at the Hot Wheels Thrilltopia for a rollercoaster drive it will never forget. The cool thing about the Thrilltopia is that with so much obstacles to conquer, it almost feels like the automotive equivalent of Ninja Warrior, the ultimate endurance challenge which tests one man's strength and spandex. The BRZ will be taking part of a challenge I line up for it and see if this car can make it or fall under the sea of disappointment.

Even though I made some improvements to make it competitive, I don't think this BRZ might have a fighting chance to survive Thrilltopia's obstacles but like everyone else, I believe in this machine. Cross your fingers for the ultimate battle of a lifetime...

The Subaru BRZ survived and won the challenge. What a day to be the ultimate Hot Wheels Thrilltopia Ninja Warrior, eh? Good show, and I think the BRZ earned it.

Call it a sacrilege or a treason on Subaru's heritage but the BRZ is all about being an enjoyable rear-wheel drive sportscar with a spritey personality and they did a really good job making a rather satisfying sportscar that caters the driver's desires. Looks like I have to give them a hearty thanks.

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: President Moon leaves for Vladivostok

South Korean president Moon Jae-In arrived in Russia on Wednesday for a two-day visit for a regional economic meetings that will also include series of summit talks between the Russian and Japanese leaders.

Moon and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will later hold a joint press conference on the outcome of their talks, the second of their kind since the new South Korean leader took office in May.

The meeting was widely expected to focus on ways to deal with threats from North Korea in the wake of the sixth nuclear test last weekend.

Meanwhile, Moon is scheduled to hold a bilateral summit with his Mongolian counterpart Khaltmaagiin Battulga later in the day. On Thursday, President Moon will meet up with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for bilateral talks before attending the third Easter Economic Forum, mostly aimed at enhancing economic cooperation in the region that includes the Russian Far East.

In Washington DC, the White House says it is focused on pursuing aggressive, diplomatic, and economic measures against North Korea which do NOT include dialogue, for the time being. White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the priority of the Trump administration was to remove nuclear weapons from North Korea and the protection of American citizens.

Sanders reaffirmed President Trump's stance that all options remain on the table and urged other countries, including China and Russia, to help deter further threats.

However, both the US and Russia clashed at the UN Security Council over new sanctions on North Korea. Speaking to reporters at the UN HQ, the Russian Ambassador for the UN said he knows the US has drafted a new sanctions plan, and said Moscow would study Washington's proposals, but stressed punitive measures along will not resolve the crisis. However, the United States is insisting on the toughest possible economic sanctions to punish the Korean Peninsula as Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador for the UN, will present the new resolution by next week.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (September 6, 2017)

- President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to bring the media with them during their next anti-drug operations. He made the statement during the media briefing.

- Senator Richard Gordon maintained his stance that filing an ethics complaint against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will teach the former soldier a "long due lesson." On Monday, Gordon filed an ethics complaint against Trillanes remarking the “continuous, unabated, unparliamentary acts, language, and conduct” that is causing damage to the Senate and to the people. Then, Trillanes filed a counter complaint against the Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman for allegedly being “unparliamentary and unethical.”

- President Duterte admitted that the Marcos family might seek immunity from possible prosecution before entering into a deal regarding the return of their supposed ill-gotten wealth during the dictatorship of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos.

- The Duterte administration mulls building the country's first subway station which is expected to be fully operational by 2024. Construction of their Mega Manila subway will commence by 2019 and costs to build it has an estimate of over five billion dollars.

- Wildfires spread overnight throughout the Pacific Northwest region of America earlier and Seattle-area residents awoke to ash falling from the sky.

- Former president Barrack Obama says that having the Trump administration axing the DACA, which gives protection to young migrants, is wrong. Earlier, President Donald Trump axed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which badly affect some 800,000 "Dreamers", mostly Latin Americans. The House of Representatives now have half a year to scrap the DACA.

- Nissan unveiled the second-generation LEAF electric vehicle, which features an improved electric powertrain that promises 400km of electric distance based on Japan's JC08 Mode standards, new ProPilot Parking which allows the car to park by itself, and the new e-Pedal which combines acceleration and braking in one smart pedal. Sales in Japan will start in early October.

2018 Nissan Leaf

- Mini will showcase their John Cooper Works GP Concept at this month's Frankfurt Motor Show, previewing an ultra-high performance variant of the Mini hatchback.

Mini JCW GP Concept


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup - Bojangles Southern 500

As Fall Season's fast approaching, Darlington Raceway goes all-out last weekend with the Bojangles Southern 500 race of the Monster Energy NASCAR race series and nothing's more awesome than an endgame duel no one saw it coming.

In Lap 15, the Bayne's car hit the wall and while AJ Allmendinger's car came sliding past the car in question. In Lap 19, Clint Bowyer's car suffered mechanical failures and he was therefore out of the race. In Lap 40, at the exit of the fourth turn. the #17 Ford oversteered and then bumped through the wall. In Lap 100, Martin Truex Jr. nailed a photo finish Stage 1 win. In Lap 124, Daniel Suarez's #19 car caused some sort of firework display from behind and he was therefore out. In Lap 200, Martin Truex Jr. nailed another stage win. In Lap 331, the #11 car of Denny Hamlin missed the pit lane but then on  Lap 364, it's showtime.

The epic duel between Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. happened at Darlington is a battle to remember as these two drivers nosing themselves through the finish line at Lap 367 and after the heat of the battle, Hamlin wins the race at Darlington.

Next race is on Richmond for the Federated Auto Parts 400 on 9th of September.

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: US to propose new sanctions against NK

The United States is urging the United Nations Security Council to impose the toughest sanction possible to North Korea in the wake of the sixth nuclear test.

Following an emergency session of the UNSC, top American envoy Nikki Haley warned that North Korea's spoiling for a fight in one of her toughest remarks yet. She called for new measures to maximize sanction pressures on the North as well as other entities conducting business with the regime.

Washington has the firm backing of its East Asian allies in South Korea and Japan with Seoul's UN envoy Cho Tae-yul, saying new sanctions, must hit North Korea where it hurts. Despite this, China and Russia remained opposed to the adoption of any new sanctions.

Meanwhile, South Korean leader Moon Jae-in spoke with US President Donald Trump to lift the limit on the payload of South Korean ballistic missiles under the allies' missile guideline. This move is aimed at enhancing their own defense capabilities against threats from North Korea.

Increasing the payload will make it possible for Seoul to develop missiles that can destroy the fortified underground bunkers used by the North. During the call, President Moon also said South Korea will complete the temporary deployment of the THAAD missile defense system as soon as possible.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (September 5, 2017)

- Malacanang officials hasn't disregarding the information claiming to assassinate President Rodrigo Duterte in an effort to destabilize his administration. According to a former senatorial candidate, the Liberal Party has been plotting to undermine the Duterte administration and subsequently end the life of the president.

- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has been accused of spending his allocation under the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program to fund a project that was never implemented.

- According to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, the poultry industry suffered an approximately 2.5 billion peso loss due to the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga last month.

- Puerto Princesa City Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III was arrested after being discovered with illegal drugs by the Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group yesterday. The vice mayor has been accused of operating illegal drugs which provoked authorities to conduct a surveillance operation.

- Last weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would seek an end to Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union in an apparent shift of her position during a televised debate weeks before a German election.

- Two people have been killed while seven are wounded in a recent Chicago shooting, adding the overall cases to 42 people shot during the Labor Day weekend. A woman was killed in an apparent homicide-suicide and a 15-year old boy was shot to death Monday evening on the West Side.

- The ultimate SEAT, the Leon Cupra R, has been unleashed. The ultra hot hatch is known as the most powerful SEAT made, with 310PS of power output available. Only 799 units will be made.

- Mercedes-Benz unveiled the S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet range's minor change prior to its Frankfurt debut.

- New Pokemon Sun and Moon toys from Takara Tomy on the radar! There's a miniature Gashapon Machine coming this October for 4,990 Yen plus tax and delivery and this playset not only comes with the Gashapon machine but also five medals, ten coins, ten Poke ball-shaped capsules to fit your Moncolle GET figures, and a bonus Pikachu Moncolle GET figure. For this month, the Pokemon plush toy range gets expanded with the addition of Rowlet with Ash's backpack, Dusk Form Lycanroc, and Cosmog. For MonColle EX collectors, there are new additions to the range coming this October such as Silvally, Mimikyu Battle Pose, and check out the new Ash vs. Gladion Battle Set which comes with four Moncolle EX figures; Umbreon, Rowlet, Midnight Form Lycanroc, and the brand new Dusk Form Lycanroc.

- The Avengers actor Paul Bettany is joining the cast for the yet untitled Han Solo film.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Let's Do The News! (September 4, 2017)

- The Public Attorney's Office reveals evidence of torture on slain 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz by the Caloocan police. Since the 17th of August, Carl Angelo Arnaiz went out with a friend for a midnight snack but never came back home. The same night, he was accused of flagging down a taxi driver with a revolver and allegedly stole the driver's wallet. The driver escaped and sought help from police officers who allegedly exchanged fire with Carl Angelo which led to the teenager’s death.

- President Rodrigo Duterte denied accusations that he has formed any deal with the Marcos family regarding the return of their supposed ‘ill-gotten’ wealth which was accumulated during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos. Last week, President Duterte announced that the Marcos family extended their willingness to return a portion of their amassed wealth.

- The Department of Health announced yesterday that no reports of fowl to human infections occurred amidst the bird flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga, last month.

- President Duterte expressed hopes that they will end the ongoing Marawi Siege by the end of this year.

- Former courtside reporter Laura Lehmann was named Miss World Philippines last night. Following her win, she will represent her country in the upcoming Miss World International contest in China this November.

-Genesis teases their upcoming sedan officially called the G70.

- Mercedes-AMG teases their upcoming "Project One" hypercar with its F1-inspired hybrid technology capable of unleashing a thousand horsepower and over 350kph of top speed.

- Mercedes-Benz previews their new OLED taillights on their upcoming S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet minor change.


- See what happens when Tiff Needell pits both the Nissan GT-R NISMO and an Audi R8 in an evo track test.

- MF Ghost, a new manga series by Initial D's Shuuichi Shigeno, has launched and check out your first look of the first page of the new manga series about an ace driver returns to Japan to take on a new kind of futuristic racing battle. CLICK HERE.

- Former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston will star in an upcoming drama series Come Home.


THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: North Korea detonates its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet

North Korea detonated their sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, according to Japan and South Korea, hours after Pyongyang said it had developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that possesses “great destructive power”.

Meteorological officials said an earthquake detected near the North’s test site – measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at magnitude 6.3 – was around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations.

The move is a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump, who hours earlier had talked by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the “escalating” nuclear crisis in the region.

Source: Reuters

Top Gear America - Outside the Box

The latest episode of BBC America's Top Gear America goes offroading and it's all about getting themselves dirty.

Antron Brown invites Bill Fichtner and Tom "Wookie" Ford for a taste of UTV action and that meant being provided with the best UTVs for sale. Bill drives a Polaris RZR XP 1000, Tom goes for the Yamaha YXZ1000R Special Edition, and Brown goes for the Can-Am Maverick X3 XRS. With the UTVs under the boys' hands, they set off for the ultimate comparo between the best UTVs in the market. Accidents included.

After the UTV adventure, Wookie goes to East LA to investigate the "lowrider" scene that became popular among American classic car owners everywhere.

Rocker Chris Daughtry is this week's celebrity guest and he lapped round the track in 1:26.84.

Then, Bill tries out one of the most extreme track toys ever to come out from Britain, the BAC Mono.

This episode ends with The Stig tries out a 2,000HP Toyota Land Cruiser round the track and he did it 1:32.44 before setting it on fire.

McLaren 720S

Since the beginning of the decade, McLaren is back in business when they first launched their first supercar after the legendary Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, known as the 12C. From the 12C to the 650S, the so-called Super Series combines motorsports knowhow with road-going elements that balances it out to create a supercar built for both roads and tracks, wherever lay ahead. With the advent of the 720S, the Super Series has entered its second chapter and this could mean a whole new beginning for Woking's finest.

2018 McLaren 720S
2018 McLaren 720S
720S, that new name for McLaren's second advent of the Super Series range does ring a bell to any nosy morons but while this name will ring a bell to anyone who wears diamonds on their bodies, the long-awaited replacement to the 650S shows that McLaren's still in a game of thrones dominated by the holy trinity of the sportscar realm such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. McLaren's still an underdog to this battle but with the 720S, they've really progressed themselves to tackle Europe's finest.

2018 McLaren 720S interior

Before I get all nosy about the 720S, let's take a look on how it looks and for the 720S, it pinpoints what will their future sportscars look like while drawing inspiration from past models like the 12C, the 650S, and the now legendary P1 hypercar. While inspiration is pushing this car too far, some conspiracists would think that the 720S looks unbelievably similar to the hypercar that never was. Care to guess what that is? It's the one with the unpronounceable name on it and when bathed in white color, this car will have a slight case of identity loss, if you know what I mean.

Inside, the 720S looks pretty much the same as the other McLarens in the range but the hardware's all new with thanks to JVCKENWOOD. There are special features on the 720S that can be engaged while on track duty, allowing it to check on lap times, telemetry, g-force, speed, and other stuff, making it the perfect track toy to drive on the weekends or holidays. Pretty sweet, huh?

2018 McLaren 720S

Time to see what the 720S can do and let's start with brand new 4.0L V8 twin turbo engine that delivers a titular 720PS power output and 770Nm of torque. Armed with the double clutch gearbox, it does 0-60mph in less than three seconds and onwards to 341km/h (212mph), which is more than you can expect from its chief rival, the Ferrari 488. Of course, Ferrari's going to respond against the 720S with a more powerful 488 later on but for now, all eyes on its dynamics.

Call it challenging and dynamic if you may but for McLaren, they've perfected the 720S' track-honed capabilities with new and exciting mechanical components that makes the 720S a bewildering car to drive for both roads and tracks alike, starting with the newly improved Proactive Chassis Control and because of its new suspension and power-assisted electro-hydraulic steering, you get the same feeling from mastering an expert-level song with everything you got without losing your focus on one beat after another but word of warning, however, that when this car gets twitchy without warning, the 720S can be downright crazy. Apart from the chassis, the 720S utilizes a carbon fiber Monocage II structure enveloped by its lightweight aluminium and composite bodywork, which makes it lighter than the previous Super Series lineup  and because this car is lower than the previous Super Series range, the wing on it generates more downforce than the 650S. It's hydraulically operated as well, giving the 720S improved driver downforce, DRS, and high speed braking. Now that's gut-wrenching aerodynamics done right for this new species of McLaren supercars.

There's one cool feature I haven't mentioned on the 720S and that's the new Static Adaptive Headlight which works like every other cars that turn their lights when they steer but it's different to the ones we're familiar with because while the 720S's headlamps uses 17 LEDs in each headlight, about 12 of them light to the direction the car is heading.

McLaren's all new 720S starts at 218,020 Pounds but that's just the start because when you look at the options list, it gets even more expensive than your monthly mortgage, and if you ever think about driving one at the city center, you'll be nothing more of a public nuisance or a show-off so it's best to leave it on the open roads where you can drive this car anytime you want and nobody will yell at you. But still, with all that mechanical components that makes the new 720S a supercar above, this will leave the likes of the Lamborghini Huracan and the Ferrari 488 in a traumatic headache because in a game of top trumps, the 720S will eat those Axis Powers firebrands alive like piranhas in a volcanic lair. Scary.

Photo: McLaren Automotive

F1 2017 - Italian GP

The grueling Autodromo Nazionale Monza is the battle arena for the Italian Grand Prix of the F1 2017 season and history has been made by Lewis Hamilton following his historic pole position record that exceeds the expectations of F1 racing legends as well as keeping the rivalry between the Silver Arrows and the Prancing Horses burning hotter until the endgame comes between them.

Following his record-breaking 69th pole position record, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton kept his lead going until he claimed his sixth win of the season while Valtteri Bottas placed 2nd, a 1-2 finish for the silver arrows, and Ferrari's firebrand, Sebastian Vettel, placed 3rd. Other finishers include Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen, Force India's Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, and Williams' Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa.

Another unlucky weekend for McLaren-Honda as both Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso's cars faced mechanical failures, prompting them to retire by the team's request. Other drivers who couldn't make it are Marcus Ericsson from Sauber and Renault's Jolyon Palmer.

Thanks to Hamilton making history at Monza, the gap between him and Vettel are now at just three points, 238 vs 235. Next race is at Singapore on the 17th.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Love You to the Stars and Back

As the -Ber months approached like the winds of change, Star Cinema brings you a romantic road trip movie that serves more like the ultimate bucket list for those who are living a YOLO lifestyle and believing in themselves. Think The Fault In Our Stars meets Seeking a Friend At The End of The World if you prefer but this film is all about the things to do before your fate is sealed and this is something.

Love You to the Stars and Back

Love You to the Stars and Back is about a young girl named Mika (played by Julia Barretto) who decides to go on a road trip to look for aliens because she believes aliens are real and she wants to be taken by one. During her trip, her sudden encounter with a boy named Caloy (played by Joshua Garcia) changes everything and when Mika revealed that Caloy has cancer, it became a road trip to remember.

This film is all about having the best day of your lives before sealing your fate on the line and what makes this film so inspiring in real life that in a world where YOLO became a dominant thing, sometimes you need to get out and go, make the ultimate bucket list before you die, and do like there's no tomorrow. Although this film is worth an inspiration for everyone, some might suggest that the Julia-Joshua tandem may only work in this film only like every one-hit wonders known to many and that's it but never mind about that.

With a unique chemistry and a true inspiration for the YOLO lifestyle, that's what this film delivers, seeing the two characters embarking on a road trip to remember while doing some stuff that were never supposed to do, which sounds exciting and scary at the same time and this is definitely a film that will forever change our lives. You would definitely agree where this film will take you, even if its ugly.

My rating: 3.8 out of 5.

Opel Ampera-e

As Europe is pushing towards an electrified future, more and more carmakers are prepping themselves by launching electric vehicles throughout the decade as their decisive ban on petrol and diesel powered vehicles within the next few decades is Europe's idea of a straight path towards a cleaner future. One such example is this car is known as the Ampera-e from Opel, an electric hatchback pinpoints Europe's electric future or is that what I think it is...

2018 Opel Ampera-e
2018 Opel Ampera-e

It maybe Europe's electric future but the way you observe it, the Ampera-e is basically a European version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, meaning what's underneath behind the Opel badge is an American car with an electric powertrain that says "Hey Tesla, I'm your biggest fan?" and what's more about the Euro-American compact car is that while this car is sold in a majority of European markets, Great Britain is not on their list and you probably know why they didn't sell it as a Vauxhall. It's BREXIT to blame this case and it's odd despite the fact that it travelled from Piccadilly to Paris in one charge for a marketing ploy, Opel's reluctant to sell it in Britain as of right now due to worsening post-BREXIT conditions and I understand that. With Opel now owned by Peugeot, I'm sure they'll come up with the strategy in the hopes that Opels and Vauxhalls are sold as one in today's Europe, but right now, time to face reality.

2018 Opel Ampera-e interior

If you're familiar with how the Chevrolet Bolt EV looks on the outside and the inside, the same thing goes to the Ampera-e from Opel, just. The Bolt EV carries the concept car looks from the very beginning while the interior is more tech-savvy indeed for the millennials of the road. This is the same thing goes to the Ampera-e, and apart from the well-sculpted exterior and its high-tech interior, the space and legroom is just right enough to accommodate just about everyone.

2018 Opel Ampera-e

What about performance? Because this is sourced from the "fast food nation" as we know it, the Ampera-e's specifications are almost the same as the Bolt EV's. The electric motor that powers it generates a modest 150kW (204PS) of power output and 360Nm of torque. It does about 0-100kph in 7.3 seconds and top speed of 150kph, about 30kph slower than every known Japanese car on the road. Because being an electric car, you can get away from a set of lights quicker than the next car because there's no wheelspin start to worry about and who says electric cars are dull? Electric cars are smart, electric cars are cool, electric cars are great as long as you're not taking it for granted. Like the Bolt EV, the Ampera-e comes with Regen on Demand, which allows the driver to slow it down without using the actual brake pedal with just a shift of a paddle, and a One-Pedal Driving feature that helps the driver transfer energy to the battery in many ways. With such energy-efficient features, it's no wonder the Ampera-e has an full electric range of around 380km under WLTP regulations or 520km based on NEDC calculations.

Energy-wise, the Ampera-e also comes with a wide variety of safety tech such as  Lane Departure Warning, Rear Camera Mirror, Surround Vision, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, and Forward Collision Alert, among many other features that makes the electric compact ready for the road ahead.

The Opel Ampera-e is priced at 39,330 Euros, which sounds too much for a compact car of that size, but because of such limited availability in Europe, better have one while you still can because when they're out, they're really out.

With the Ampera-e, Opel joins the electric revolution as Europe prepares for a fossil fuel-free continent for years to come and despite its American connection, the Ampera-e is all about being prepared for the not-too-distant future with its future-ready economy, performance, and tech, that will accommodate today's drivers.

Photo: Opel
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