banner

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bucket Seat: BMW i3 & i8


Recently BMW South Africa launched their new i range of vehicles in South Africa, its been a long time coming, lots of hard work behind the scenes and finally after all of this we were ready to receive them, thus opening up a new era in motoring. When BMWi began their mission to build electric powered cars, there were loads of research and development with various prototypes and concepts but with every one the method was the same, to build a new vehicle that is purposely meant to be powered by an electric plant not simply putting an electric motor in a car that exists already, hence the term "Born Electric".


The fruits of their labour saw the i3 and i8 come into form and were displayed 3 years ago to the world as concepts. Futuristic and bold designs, made the cars look like they were 20 years ahead of time but little did we know that BMW were very close to production with them. When news broke of production ready cars, we waited to see how much of the outrageousness was discarded seeing that concepts always go heavily under the knife to cut costs for the models that make to the showroom but to everyones surprise, with these two much remained the same. 


This weekend I was invited by BMW to partake in the regional launch of the iSeries vehicles at their pop up store in Gateway. We were given a brief insight by BMWi Manager Deena Ralph Govender, into the reasoning for BMW to introduce electric cars and the complexities that they went into to ensuring that the cars were geared to be environmentally friendly in every aspect. From the carbon fibre plastic shell being 100% recyclable to using eco friendly materials to decorate the cabins of the cars. It was then time to get behind the wheel of the i3, a short route to KZN's only "i ready" dealership, BMW Supertech was planned. The route offered a bit of urban driving, city driving as well as freeway driving so we could put the i3 through its paces. 


The first thing that you realise when you're next to one, besides the futuristic design, is its size. While pictures do make the car look rather small, in actual fact it is quite a respectable size and when you get inside you recognise how spacious and comfortable it is with it being able to accommodate 4 adults with ease and comfort, with the car also having suicide style doors, not having a B pillar makes entering an exiting the car that much easier. The dash follows the BMW philosophy of clean cut and simple design with a modern touch, the conventional speedometer is replaced with a LCD screen and a secondary screen in the centre of the console to display entertainment and navigation along with BMW's Connected Drive. If you haven't heard of Connected Drive, it is basically your very own concierge service at the touch of a button. Its a 24 hour service for your every need, need directions? No need to punch it in manually into the GPS, simply tell the operator the place you need to go to, and in a matter of seconds your GPS will have the route for you to follow. 


Starting the car is an experience on its own, because the electric motor is so silent you don't know if the car is on or not! The car comes with an automatic gear box with the selector finding a new space up next to the steering column, now it's just a single gear system to regulate the speed so it's a smooth ride from the go. Acceleration is instant as you tap the pedal, the propulsion of the car is intense with the torques kicking in at drastic speeds, 0-60kph in 4 seconds, that's faster than some sports cars! and as a top speed of a 150kph. When you release your foot from the accelerator, the car begins to brake on its own to regenerate power to the batteries, this in effect recharges your car as you drive. The i3 comes in two versions, the BEV and the REx, the BEV being full electric which offers the driver a range of 160km from a full charge with the REx having a range extending petrol engine not to power the car but to generate power to the batteries allowing the cars range to be just over 300km on a full charge. 


With SA not being fully equiped for electric cars just as yet, BMW are offering owners of the i3 an option to exchange their car for a combustion variant should they require to go on a long distance trip. This is all factored into the price of the car. The BEV comes in at approximately R525,000 and the REx at R585,000 at base prices. Yes it does seem a bit steep for a city car but if you do the math, you will be saving tons of money in the long run. To fully charge your car using a normal wall socket takes 6 to 7 hours and costs a mere R21, if you get the BMW iWallbox installed at home charging time is reduced to just 2 hours. There is another quicker option but will only be available at BMWi dealerships where a DC charger is on hand to do the job in just 20 minutes. Getting back to the savings, with your average 1.6 hatch, many average 400km on a 45 litre tank which costs you close to R500 now, you can do 400km in the i3 BEV for just R63, that's a good R400+ saving for you. 


Now I've already touched on how futuristic the car looks and the amazing performance and economy but there's still more cool things to the car. BMW have an app available on both Android and iOS platforms for owners to download and use, this makes use of Connected Drive and gives you live data of your car, so for example the amount of charge left in the battery, where you car is parked within a 1,5km radius (for when you can't remember where you parked in the mall?!) and the best feature for me, is pre-conditioning your car from your phone. With our blistering summer temperatures, we often park our cars out in the sun and when we get back in, it feels like we stepped into the sauna, with this app you can tell the car to run the aircon at a specific temp before you get to your car, so by then the car is at the perfect temperature for you to be in, how cool? The app can also lock and unlock your car so if you leave your keys inside by mistake, there's no need to call a locksmith and you can also use the hooter, may sound like a weird feature but when you have a car like the i3 or i8 you will be attracting attention from others so you may want to clear the crowd as you get to your car. 


Later that evening I got the chance to drive the i8, its been little under 24 hours since I've driven the car and I still have this smile on my face. I expected it to be a lot like the i3 but it was nothing like it at all. Being a hybrid, the car makes use of a 1.5 ltr, 3 cylinder petrol engine but unlike most hybrids on the market, the emphasis is on the electric motor with the petrol engine just their to assist. The low stance and tub cabin makes it feel like the ultimate sports car with the dash reminiscent to that of a space ship which is quite fitting as when you flick the car into sports mode, the dash colours change from blue into red and when the pedal is floored it feels like you've hit hyperspeed and about to jump into a new vortex. I still can't put into words what feelings that go through you when driving that car, it really is a piece of art, in fact both cars are in the own right and are real game changers. It will be interesting to see what other manufacturers will do now since they have to play catch up. 


For more info on the i3, you can visit their campaign site at: http://goo.gl/CwkthW
Or if you want to book a test drive, simply fill your details at: http://goo.gl/KqKsRD





Monday Choon: Tiƫsto & KSHMR feat. Vassy - Secrets


Another year and another phenominal Ultra Music Festival in Miami, if you managed to catch any of the streams in the early hours of the morning, you would have witnessed the madness that it was. The best of the best performing to thousands in the rain on Friday night, closing off that day was no one other than the "King" as Damian Pinto calls him, Tiesto. It was an electrufying set which saw him play a very new set compared to his recent tours. One of the songs that featured was todays selected choon, his new song with KSHMR who joined him on staage at Miami, their song called Secrets. It's already on the playlist of some local radio staations and the video was just released the other week. As expected its another epic track by Tiesto, perfect listening to get the working week going. 

                    

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lost Direction


There was wide spread speculation for the past month, news out of the UK seemed grim. With their visit to South African shores confirmed for this year everyone was wondering what would happen to that as well. They're possibly the biggest stars in their segment to come out of England and have a global fan base of millions so if one member of this male outfit was to be taken out, it would surely be an end to a great legacy.


No I'm not talking about Zayn  leaving One Direction, I'm talking about Jeremy Clarkson being fired by the BBC!

Let's face it, he is an ass of the highest order. A pompous idiot with the mentality of a 12 year old that has to have his way or he's on the highway in a very, very expensive car. Regardless of all of this, we still loved him! He and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May became global TV icons for motoring.  People watched BBC Top Gear and treated everything they said as gospel because they would know best right? Well that wasn't always the case as it was quite obvious certain things were bias to their preferences.


No one will ever disagree when I say Jezza made Top Gear, as much as Richard and James contributed, the "fat Orangutan" as Richard fondly  called him was the star of the show. It's a pity his idiot traits proved to be his biggest downfall. Information soon surfaced about what the "fracas" was about.  Apparently while filming for this current season everyone was to eat cold food for dinner which didn't bode well for Jeremy so he attacked the producer!  He punched him in the mouth and continued to attack him for 30 seconds until people had to separate them!


What the fuck Jezza? That's worse than a Madonna complex! It was also learned that this same producer had to put up with verbal abuse from Jeremy for the past 5 years but because he knew what a gold mine he was, he never reported it to the BBC,  in fact he didn't even report the "fracas", Jeremy went and owned up to his misdemeanour. He tried to apologise for his behaviour but let's be honest,  not even physically kissing ass could get you out of this mess. Now no one likes a bully and I don't care who you are but you don't behave like that, as they say "sometimes sorry is not enough".


We all have our downfalls and it's a pity that due to Jeremy's, we all have to suffer because of it. His contract will not be renewed and it's most likely that this current season of Top Gear won't be completed so that means we won't see the greatest hypercar race in the world. It's an end of an era for sure and even if the 3 stooges do come up with their own show, given the millions they have already made,  I somehow doubt it will be as good. With regards to Top Gear Live,  we haven't heard anything as yet from the organisers but I'm sure a statement would be released soon.


It's a sad way to end such a great show, it grew from a boring car show with a handful of people in the crowd into a car entertainment spectacular with the show offering season tickets for the live studio audiences! We're going to miss the fun and shenanigans the show brought to us, not forgetting the speed, power and MOAR POWER! It certainly was the greatest show...in the world. And on that bombshell, farewell Jezza.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Protea Fire


As I sit here, I'm still in pain from what I witnessed today. It's not about being a sore loser or not being able to accept defeat but more the reality of almost crossing that line but being stopped short yet again. I, like many South African's got up at the ungodly hour of 3am, some earlier to catch the start of the first semi-final of the  Cricket World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. South Africa who wear the "chokers" badge in World Cups seemed to have shut critics up by not just winning their first knockout game of the competition but simply annihilating Sri Lanka in the quarter finals. 


After the shaky start in the group stage it was a big surprise to see the squad rally together and produce a memorable effort against a top ranking team, the momentum and confidence from that game wasn't only evident in the players but also us the loyal fans going into the semi-finals. The opponents New Zealand may not be the most feared team in the world but when it comes to World Cups they do tend to have the better track record but even with home advantage, the Proteas were looking to dismiss them and advance to what would have been their first World Cup Final. 


The game itself had everything in it and had us all glued to our seats till the very last over. Both sides gave it their all and whilst New Zealand were in the driving seat for most of the game, the Proteas didn't make them feel very comfortable. At the end, it took a 6 from the second last ball by a Johannesburg born man to send New Zealand to their first World Cup final. It was gutt wrenching to witness another Protea team fall short of expectations. As much as I felt sad for myself, one also had to spare a thought for the players. 

Fair enough, I did tweet that we didn't give it all we had. The bowlers were below par today, especially the paceman apart from Morkel. Our opening batsmen failed again and our fielding was far from great with 3 notable dropped catches and 2 missed runout opportunities. Then again one has to look at the New Zealand tea, they also didn't have the best day on the field, drop catches earlier on which cost them runs. At the end of the day, it came down to which team could handle the pressure more and New Zealand just edged it. 


Many brought up the "chokers" label which quite honestly pissed me off because we didn't choke today, we were just beaten by the better team. Our players showed guts and defiance today. After that mind blowing opening knock by captain Brendon McCullum, everyone thought our chances were gone but we managed to pull back the runrate and took the game down to the very last over. Chokers don't do that, they give up the game when they're in the commanding position, if anything New Zealand almost choked today, not us. 

We've got great bunch of players and whilst I may not agree with the selections of the starting line up at times, they do pull off the odd surprise now and then. Our captain AB continues to set the world alight with his batting arrays, smashing records left, right and centre and long may he continue to do so. So to end it off, yes I am disappointed at our loss but I'm also proud of how hard we fought, many wouldn't have taken the game to such a dramatic conclusion and yes, while we did have missed opportunities, its not like we didn't try. 



Keep the passion burning, Protea Fire!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monday Choon: Tritonal - Ginsu



Tritonal, the music duo of producer/ DJ's Chad Cisneros and David Reed from Austin, Texas are no stranger to our Monday Choon segment with various remixes coming from them that have been featured before, most recently was a remix of their song "Anchor". Falling under the Mainstage Music label of W&W, these guys are pumping out the hits today's featured track is indicative of that. Ginsu has been out for just under 3 weeks now and as already being play listed around the globe in festival and chart shows. You can catch the guys podcast Tritonia on the various media streams as well. 

                    

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bucket Tech: TAG Heuer Smart Watch


A few weeks back, Apple released their "Apple Watch", it was received by much fan fare and excitement from their millions of brainwashed followers. Don't get me wrong, its a great device but its the same as any other smart watch, only thing its made by Apple, which usually means overpriced, over hyped and average. The thing I have to hand to Apple is their marketing, it's brilliant, these guys could have released a sundial on a wrist band and people would still buy it. Also their build quality and user functionality probably the best out there. With the watch there are a few variants but I'm not going to go into detail about that, the one that caught my eye was the "Apple Edition", it is made with 18 karat gold and starts off at $10,000, that's a R120,000 for a watch! Yes, there are many luxury watches that cost way more than that but that's the thing, they're luxury watches made from rare materials not some toy with gold on it!

Apple Watch
I tweeted after the Apple Watch launch that if I had the cash, I'd rather buy a TAG Heuer with that money than spend it on a plain looking piece of jewelry that looks like something out of a Ben 10 cartoon. It seems the guys down at TAG either read my mind or read my tweet because yesterday, at a conference in Baselworld, during a live press conference, Jean-Claude Biver, President of the watch division LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer announced the collaboration with Google and Intel on the joint venture to make this luxury smart watch. 


"Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility. Out collaboration provides a rich host of synergies, forming a win-win partnership, and the potential for our three companies is enormous" said Jean-Claude Biver


David Singleton of Google noted, "By fusing beauty with technology, the Swiss watch has inspired generations of artists and engineers alike- including us at Google. So we're thrilled to be working with TAG Heuer and Intel to bring a unique blend of emotion and innovation to the luxury market. Together, and using the Android Wear Platform, we can imagine a better, beautiful, smarter watch"


"As we work to enable technology experiences that provide greater utility and value to people, Intel is confident that a collective approach will inspire new innovation in wearable technology. The collaboration with TAG Heuer and Google brings us closer to realizing the vision of wearable technology with a distinctive smartwatch that elevates the category" - Michael Bell of Intel


I've always loved TAG Heuer, it isn't the most exclusive luxury watch manufacturer in the world and certainly not the most expensive but their styles and design just look good. I don't think there is a shitty looking TAG Heuer.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bucket Tech: Microsoft Lumia 435


I've had some pretty cool blogger drop off's in the past but this week I got something very different. I was contacted by the good people who handle the marketing and PR of Microsoft SA and was asked if I made any resolutions for the coming year. I thought it was rather strange and enquisitive but none the less, even as boring and common as they seemed, I sent through mine. A week or so later, I got an email revealing why they wanted to know our resolutions, it ties in with the launch of the Microsoft Lumia 435 device. 


Note, that this phone is the second Lumia to hit SA that is branded under the Microsoft label first being the Lumia 535. What makes this phone so special you may think? Well firstly its the price, starting from jusr R1149, the phone while not be classified as a high end "smart phone" but certainly is a great entry level phone for people who want a phone that can perform most tasks such a smart phone but don't want to be burdoned with the cost of paying for one. 


The Lumia 435 could be the device many were waiting for, almost as the bridge between phones of old and smart phones. Even though it's cheap, it still is well made and has impressive specs. 

  • Processor: 1.2Ghz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor
  • 1 Gig on-board Ram
  • Memory: 8GB + 30GB One Drive for online data backup, micro SD up to 128GB
  • Main Camera: 2 megapixel
  • Display: 4" WVGA LCD 800x480
  • Here location services


The Lumia 435 has full access to the Microsoft App store, so you can download all your favourite apps to the device, with a front facing camera, it also makes the phone great for Skype Calls. Now how does this all tie into the resolutions thing? Well Microsft have launched an app called #MakeItHappen, where by you can track your progress on your goals. It's as simple as making a pledge on LumiaLiving.com, then downloading the app to monitor your progress. One of my resoltuions was to live more healthier lifestyle so yesterday I recieved a book from Microsoft to help me with my pledge.


Coming back to this phone, it seems like the ultimate beginners smart phone device, whether you're young or old, its a great way of getting a feel for smart technology at the fraction of the price. I'm yet to test the phone out but I should be recieving one shortly but from what I've seen and read, it really looks like a great device. For the month of March, the phone will be available exclusively to Ackermans on Vodacom prepaid.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Monday Choon: Protoculture - Pegasus


Nate Raubenheimer, doesn't ring a bell? Probably because you better know him as Protoculture. The South African DJ has been blowing up a storm in the local and international trance circuit over the past few years with his music and his last big gig was at Ultra SA in Cape Town. I was disappointed that he didn't make an appearance in the Jhb leg but I'll have to catch him some other time. He's signed up to Armin van Buuren's Armada record label and most of his stuff can be heard on A State Of Trance, just the other week todays featured track 'Pegasus' was voted future favourite by listeners of the show. It's a great track that's been getting airplay from Armin himself during the ASOT700 global parties. Always been a fan of his work and love it when he's on the ultimix on 5fm, makes me proud to see a local doing great things in the world of EDM.

                       

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bucket Babe: Lauren Wallet

Greetings and welcome to yet another one of our favourite monthly features, the Bucket Babe. We've always maintained that the reason for the segment is to showcase the great, beautiful woman that this wonderful country of ours has to offer and today's featured model just proves that. I don't often get to meet most of the girls I feature as they're normally interactions over the web but with this one, I have. It was many a year ago and I remember the night clearly, not sure how because many shots of tequila was had but it was in a club in Durban's Morningside district, she stood out from the crowd, in her little black number with a smile on her face that could stop traffic. Since then she has been doing some great work in the online realm's and even was a finalist in the 2012 Top Billing presenter search. I have persisted her for years to allow me to feature her but it seems she was waiting for the right time and that is now! 

Lauren Wallet


Bio
Laurens first magazine cover was when she was 6 months old - posing with her model mother for 'Living and Loving Magazine'. She modeled throughout childhood and won the first FHM Student of the year, featuring in the magazines for many years after, making the 100 sexiest list for 3 years and voted one of S.A's 50 hottest dates. Lauren quit modeling to focus on starting and selling various businesses.
Currently she runs a marketing company, Malva (www.ilovemalva.com) which specializes in social media. She has written a book "About you, Human doing" in an effort to encourage fellow entrepreneurs to strive, to thrive in life and business (available in April). Her business blog is www.malvablog.com

jj

She details her travel and lifestyle adventures in her personal blog: www.lovelaurenblog.com

In these swimwear shoots, Lauren is wearing Blu Blue Swimwear (www.blublueswimwear.com) by local Durban designer Hayley Firth. Blu Blue is also a Malva client and Lauren built the website.

 Her hobbies include watching theatre, socializing with friends, fine dining, travel, pampering spa sessions and learning new things. After living in Durban and Joburg, she proud to call Cape Town her home!

Links

Twitter: @laurenwallett
Instagram: laurenwallett


Q&A

1. Hot girls and hot cars go hand in hand, what ride would you like to see yourself in?
  • I'm not really a car person, I love my black Rav4 that I drive (tinted windows and automatic-which is a must!) but one day I see myself in a black Jag.
2. What sandwich are you most likely to make for me? and will it be toasted or plain?
  • Toasted double cheese. Delish!
3. Everyone loves popcorn (well I think they do) what is your topping/ sprinkle of choice?
  • Not mad for popcorn, but like the - is it chives? topping at the movies. More a chocolate, cupcake kinda person.
4. Dream cover shoot?
  • So far it was for my book and getting the cover shot (by the talented Fiona Clair Photography). A dream shoot would be one that I had to travel to an island paradise for!
5. What type of music gets your booty shaking?
  • Old skool deep house (like Tilt back in the day) and show tunes on full blast! Obsessed with songs from Wicked the musical. 
6. If given a choice, full time model or full time singer, what would you choose?
  • Full time executive of course!
7. Anyone holding that hand yet? or is it available?
  • No one is holding my hand.
8. Growing up you must have had someone you aspired to be, so who is your role model?
  • I've only ever aspired to become the best version of myself, I'm a work in progress and always striving to improve through learning more about myself and other people.
9. Obviously being a female you would love fashion. Favourite label/ designer?
  • Blu Blu Swimwear! And in Durban, Bianca Warren!
10. Which city is your dream party destination?