Motortorque's April Fools' Day round-up
Yes, another year, another April Fools' day. What joy. While you were busy keeping on your toes though, members of the car industry - us included - took some time from their busy schedules to invent a few products that they
actually be putting on sale. Though possibly not through lack of want.
So in no particular order, here's what you might have spotted yesterday morning were you not busy constructing ways to give your friend, parent or significant other a heart attack. Enjoy!
BMW's 'Turn your car into a coach'
As you might have noticed - from the numerous campaigns on television, in print, on the web, and in space (possibly) - BMW are quite proud of the fact that they've been chosen to provide transport for the London 2012 Olympic Games. They're all taking it very seriously.
So it's refreshing - well at least semi-refreshing since it gets a mention in the opening sentence - to see a release that's not about July's momentous events.
The 'Driverless Running Coach', as BMW are calling the new technology, is designed with the athlete in mind - allowing your 'ConnectedDrive' equipped car to waft along the road a safe distance behind you as you get your exercise on, so to speak.
The system, brainchild of 'Alvin Alaff' at the Futile Innovation department, can also be set up to speak encouraging words - "SCHNELL, SCHNELL" probably - through an external speaker to help push you along. If that's not enough, the car will also - quite brilliantly - refuse to unlock the doors until you've reached your preset distance goal, meaning you're forced to carry on running if you want a lift home.
We think it's brilliant. Put it on sale tomorrow.
MINI's Caravan and Tent options
While parent company BMW went for the keep-fit, pound the city streets angle, MINI aimed for something a little more... relaxed. The release spoke of two new options - a two birth caravan, thoughtfully named 'Cowley' after the Oxfordshire town where MINI's factory sits; and a two person roof tent, instead named after the location of MINI's metal-stamping operation, which is... well, Swindon.
We can't really see the appeal in spending too many nights in uh, Swindon, but we're sure the more luxurious Cowley option would strike a chord with the perhaps four or even five people in the UK who've always dreamed of owning a tiny caravan to match their retro runabout.
Good effort, but we're ever so lightly glad that the results won't be coming to life.
Peugeot's mood-changing paint
Ever buy one of those mood rings that change colour based on how you're feeling? Nope, us neither. Peugeot seemed to think the technology (read: hokum) was worth up-scaling though, presenting a very similar option on an RC-Z.
Three moods are demonstrated - 'uplifting', where the colour changes to a golden hue; 'serious', swapping to the sort of navy blue that wouldn't look out of place on a posh suit; and finally red, owing to some unexpected blushing on behalf of the driver. Ahem.
We rather like this, it has to be said. Though there are some kinks to be worked out - most prominently with the DVLA, who like to be informed about such changes...
HPI's 'singleton check'
On the surface this one sounds very appealing, if toeing dangerously close to the line of 'obsessive stalker'. HPI, purveyor of vehicle history checks, announced a new service for one day only allowing singletons to do a very similar lookup on their potential partners, to see if they're likely to be, and we quote, 'a write off'.
Unfortunately HPI's usual £30,000 guarantee isn't carried over to the new service (we imagine down to moral and legal complexities), and with no more details given about the checks we'd advise caution. Well we would if they weren't ficticious.
Google's Antonymous NASCAR attempt
NASCAR - despite having a devout following spread across the US - has always been the butt of a few jokes. While the sport undoubtedly requires a great deal of talent, both on the behalf of the drivers and the dedicated teams, people can't help but make a comment about the circuits being one giant left turn. The suggestion seems to be that there might as well not be a driver at all.
Enter Google, claiming to have transplanted some of the DNA from their existing driverless cars - most based on the comparatively tepid Toyota Prii mk2s - into a standard-entry, 800hp NASCAR model. We're not sure which we like more - the 'I'm steering lucky' motif on the back, or the idea of 40-odd drivers screaming round a track with their arms out of the window. Probably the latter, on balance.
Fool's rating: 6/10
And of course, MotorTorque's very own story
We know: shameless self promotion. But we were quite pleased with our handiwork, frankly.
We exclusively revealed details of a previously unheard of British company - Statico Motors - and their plan to beat Google at their own game, producing not a driverless car, but a motionless one.
The model, poetically called the Immotus, was said to be beneficial to the environment, congestion, and the owner's wallet - saving on the unwanted pollution and running costs of a normal car.
"The Immotus will be superb car for getting from A to B", a spokesman suggested. "If A and B are in the same place."
We'd best not be biased, eh?