Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Never Give Up

We all still remember the second leg semi-final against Barcelona FC at Anfield. It has been written into folklore as the biggest European night that Europe, let alone Anfield has ever seen. That night before the match, with Mo Salah, watching from the stands, he wore a shirt that said "never give up" and while the task seemed ominous, the team never gave up. Needed 4 goals and a clean sheet to go through, they achieved the impossible and did it. A match which both legs would be worthy of a final in itself but it setup Liverpool FC to win their 6th European title and then went on to conquer the world. Tonight, the task is very similar and while the team has every chance to turn over Madrid as they have done in the past, the task at hand is different and lacking one very special thing, the crowd. 


It was pretty evident since the restart of the league last year, Anfield without a crowd doesn't hold no fear to opponents. Liverpool are coming off their first win at home after 6 straight defeats, something that was practically unfathomable last year before Covid. While this Real Madrid team might not be of the same caliber that dismantled Liverpool in the Final of 2018, they are still worthy opponents, waiting to strike when we are most vulnerable as shown in the first leg. We didn't play all that badly, sure the first half was dire but the mistakes that led to the goals were school boy to say the least. When we did up the tempo in the second half, we had them on the ropes, so there is enough in our team to do the impossible again. 


While Anfield lacks their 12th man, the stadium is full of history and under the lights, it has its own charm. We need the players to pick their heads up tonight, look at where they are playing, who they are playing for. Channel their inner self to prove to the world, the fans and more importantly, themselves that they can accomplish the impossible. With Klopp there, I don't think it will be difficult to achieve this, Madrid will no doubt have this in mind but the team need to realise that they have the backing off not only the fans in Liverpool tonight but around the world and we will be watching every second hoping for the best, and hope that they NEVER GIVE UP. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Monday Choon: The Weeknd Vs Alesso & One Republic - Save Your Tears Vs If I Lose Myself (Djs From Mars Bootleg)


Mash-up's are great but what many don't realise the technical aspect behind them, listening to beats, waiting for drops, allowing for the perfect transitions of fusions takes skill and not many have this. It's quite different from remixes as the point of the remix is to alter the original sound of the song while mash-ups are taking two completely different tracks, merging them together and allowing for both of the tracks to play in harmony, not making it sound off or weird. DJ's from Mars have been doing Bootleg mash-ups for a while now and recently dropped todays featured track which includes the hit track "If I Lose Myself" Alesso and One Republic along with the Weeknd's "Save Your Tears". I heard it on Tiesto's Clublife podcast the other week and loved it so much that I just had to feature it on the blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Bucket Seat: Audi Q7 45 TDI


When it comes to large premium family SUV's, there are quite a few to options available on the market but in terms of practicality, and pricing there tends to be tight competition especially when it comes to the 7-seater variety. One of the "OG's" in the segment is Audi's Q7 and they have a new one which I got to sample not too long ago. It came in the perfect time as I planned a long distance weekend away with family and if you know Indian families, this was going to be the ultimate test for a vehicle like this. While I've seen many Q7s on the road, from the first generation to the current. this was the first time I would be driving one, to say I was looking forward to getting behind the wheel of it is an understatement. The first thing that captivates you is the size of it, you know its big but Audi have done so well with the design that not until you're standing right next to one do you realise the sheer size of this thing. Anyway, lets dive into the review. 


DESIGN

As mentioned above, Audi's design is one that actually masks the size of the car while most of the other manufactures highlight it in theirs. Personally I think this is a good thing on Audi's part as while the car does look smaller it isn't small at all, there's tons of space as I will digress on later. As always with Audi's revised models, the design changes aren't drastic but noticeable. Keeping in with the latest design language, the cars standout feature in the new headlamps which feature Audi's LED matrix light system which have the welcome and goodbye sequence which you can stand and watch all day long. The focal point being the large grille has all design element evolve from this point to all around the car. The large air intakes either side of the grille enhance the cars sporty kit, of which this model was in the S Line guise. So with this there is added elements of black coming through strong in the design with trimmings along the side and on the front and rear bumpers. The rear lights also have been redesigned and feature a sold chrome bar that runs horizontally along the back. The dual exhaust pipes have openings on either side of the rear difusser. With the S Line kit, the car comes kitted with a rear spoiler which follows the roof line and mimics the shape. The S Line package also comes with large 21" multispoke alloy wheels which even make a subtle colour like white look sporty. 


PERFORMANCE

Powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, the Q7 is no slouch even when carrying a full load. The motor produces 183kW with a max torque figure of 600Nm so there's plenty of propulsion power when needed. This is all fused to the 8-speed tiptronic gearbox which is effortless in search for the right gear to give you the optimal power required. The Quattro system works like a dream too by it delivery power to each wheel, no matter the terrain. Even with a full load and four passengers, I managed to get a decent average of 9.1-litres per 100km on my trip. This is with long distance drive from Durban to Joburg as well as mixed driving in urban surroundings. The Q7 performed sublimely on the open road, making use of the active cruise control on the longer distances, this is where the fuel saving came into effect as the car will judge on its own when to coast and when to brake or speed up. Given that there was a lot road works which meant the cruise control was working overtime with the lanes closing down to one at many occasions, it still did it without a fuss but this did play a big roll in the consumption aspect of it. While this is a big car, its performance figures are still reasonable with a 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 225km/h. 

COMFORT

Where do I begin? The cabin is basically a carbon copy of the Q8 with the new MMI interface and dash layout but everything just feels a lot more roomy. This particular model came with the S Line interior which had the honeycomb styed stitched leather seats with the S Logo in the headrests. Piano black finish on the dash with that uber cool ambient lighting that just get better when the sun sets. The seats are super comfy with the front passenger and driver getting seat heating, dual climate control which is controlled by the touch screen below the infotainment screen. The instrument cluster featured Audi's virtual cockpit which should be a ticked option in my books for any of the new Audi models, I will always maintain that if you have the virtual cockpit there is no need for the heads-up display but in any case, this model had that too. The second row had sporty style seats as well but not bucket type which meant you can get 3 adults to sit comfortably in the back. They also get dual climate control aircons in the back along with twin USB ports to charge phones. There is an option for a third row of seats which are electronically controlled from the interior or the boot. We never made use of these but I did test them out, which it is a bit tricky getting in, when seated its not terrible for short distances but perfect for kids. 


TECHNOLOGY

The Q7 is packed with tech, as mentioned it features Audi's latest MMI user interface, while the model still doesn't have Audi Connect, I think it will be introduced soon. The active cruise control was a winner for me, you can set the distance of the braking and there after reduce it which came essential in cases where the lanes were reduced to one. You don't want to have it set to too close especially when doing high speeds as the car will brake in time but your passengers wont appreciate it. The Q7 also came with a 19-speaker Bose sound system which included a large subwoofer in the boot floor.  With the size of the Q7 being rather big, it came with auto-park assist which means it parks itself. I tested this out in the busy street of Florida Rd in Durban and it worked like a charm, not only finding a spot quickly but also getting itself in perfectly without making the traffic agitated for waiting too long. I guess people thought I was a natural at this but all along it was the car that did it for me. The car also has an automatic tailgate which is standard with models like this, it also came with an automatic tow hitch which folds in when not in use. The MMI interface has Android Auto and Car Play built in to make an easy plug and play setup. There is only USB C inputs for the driver to make sure you have the right cable. Wireless charging mat is also in the hand rest compartment. 


VERDICT

Overall, the Q7 over delivered on my expectations, to say I was spoilt when driving up was an understatement. While road works did put a spanner in the works to my consumption figures, at least I got to sit in comfort along the entire duration. With the luggage capacity being in excess of 2000 litres, you best believe my mom was happy with this, even after I loaded my golf bag in the back! While this is the only engine offered in the Q7 model, with the SQ7 being the next alternative, I think this is perfect for what it delivers. Definitely a perfect family SUV that offers premium benefits for the price you're paying. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Engine
3.0L V6 Quattro
Gear Box
8-Speed TipTronic
Torque
600Nm
Power
183kW
Economy
8.0L per 100km
Price
R1,388,500*
*base price



 



 

 




 


 


 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Bucket Tech: Hisense H50 Zoom

Premium phones at stellar prices. That’s what you can expect from Hisense’s new Infinity H50 and H50 Zoom smartphones, now available in South Africa, and the H50 Lite, which will be in stores from May.

Hisense, China’s unsung hero, has quietly slipped into the playing field with its Infinity H50 range. The phones have been designed to satisfy different consumer needs with boosted-up or stripped-down derivatives, but the fundamental engine room across the range remains the same.


With its 91.26% screen-to-body ratio, the H50 base model, aptly named Infinity, seems like it wraps around the device. The H50 houses four separate cameras – a 64 MP HD main camera, an 8MP wide-angle camera, and an impressive multifunctional 2MP depth and macro-lens. 

The H50 also has a 32MP front camera, with a new Beauty Mode feature that identifies the light conditions and adjusts the aperture automatically so there are no substandard blurry images. 


The H50 Zoom has a first-of-its-kind party trick with a 16MP pop-up camera with flash. This signature piece allows you to capture impeccable selfies in portrait mode.

The power unit on the H50 and H50 Zoom comprises an Octa-Core processor supported by 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage to create a very smooth user interface on the Android II operating system. The H50 Lite is slightly smaller with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage space, yet still packs a punch, performing just as well as the rest of the H50 family in all departments. 


Hisense has also factored security features in the H50 series. The side-mounted fingerprint sensor and facial recognition technology mean these phones are basically impenetrable.

The H50 comes in Pine Green and Black Jade, while a carved 3D gradient that creates a colour-changing effect from different angles.

Overall this is an extremely great value for money offering from Hisense. All 3 devices are available in the country and you can go through the features, specs and pricing below. 






Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Monday Choon: Farius - Wait


The progressive trance world is getting into gear with new releases flying out the studios, we have another one from Enhanced and this time from UK based DJ Farius. Wait is his latest track and it continues his form from 2020 which saw him release his debut album "From The Start". The track packs a punch with bold, boisterous bass, airy synth pads and transcendent melodies, all bound together with the signature exhilarating production which really sets Farius apart from others. 


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Bucket Seat: Lexus LF-Z Electrified


There's no doubt, the end of the fuel powered combustion engine is numbered, with a number of brands already announcing their switch to electric, with some even putting down markers on when their entire line-up will be completely electric. Bold? Yes but not surprising, we've always been dabbling with the technology and in all honestly its been too long to adapt to it. When new comers like Tesla can come in and blow the industry doors wide open with affordable, long lasting EV's, what was stopping other major manufacturers? Problem is, they were too fixated with the process they were in that not much was poured into alternative energy vehicles. 

While we got hybrids and other forms of cars from various brands, there wasn't much on offer in terms of giving the end user a variety of pure EV cars to drive. At one stage a certain manufacturer was engrossed in hydrogen fuel cell cars as they were convinced it was the future, that didn't end very well for them as we now know but one brand that took a long time to come to the party was Lexus, with them announcing the LF-Z  Electrified concept yesterday, I was rather disappointed with them for taking so long but then I remembered, with Lexus, nothing is ever a rushed job. They pour in man hours perfecting products before they show the world. Case-in-point the LFA, which took over 10 years to make but my God, they've left us with a car that will be remembered for decades to come, so it could be the same with their swap over to Electric. 


While we all know the efficiency of batteries is a major talking point with only a few brands getting it right so far, Tesla being up there and with many other manufacturers borrowing their footprint can achieve the same sort of range for their vehicles from it. Lexus however have made their own battery for the LF-Z which uses a dedicated BEV platform that has an advanced lithium-ion battery which has a maximum cruise range of 600km on a single charge. Power output from the electric motor equates to 400kW and 700Nm of torque with a 0-100km/h time of just 3.0 seconds. Mighty impressive but then again we all know how quick pure electric cars are. The impressive state for me is the range on single charge and with Lexus having able to achieve this now, it can only spell good things from future BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) from them. The LF-Z has a new four-wheel drive control technology known as DIRECT4, it uses instant responsiveness of the motors driving force to individually control each wheel for superior and highly flexible driving performance. 


The LF-Z looks stunning, while only a concept, the study model suggests the evolutionary direction of the Lexus styling, which aims for a simple and captivating shape. With sharp lines and acute angles, not to mention all the familiar creases and folds we've come to expect from Lexus design, the car certainly looks the part. Also with Lexus, we've come to expect what we've seen in concept to be very close to the production model, which I am hoping for this as well. The interior is nothing less that what we expected from Lexus, it is equipped with a Tazuna cockpit and features an open minimalist design. It embodies an elevated level of the human-centered Lexus approach, an ethos that has been a foundation of the Lexus brand since 1989. 


The car is obviously in concept form and no word on when we can see a production ready model but hopefully it won't take another 10 years. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Monday Choon: Nicky Romero - You Used To


We got everybody's favourite Nicky Romero on the blog this week with his latest track "You Used To". If you, like me have been listening to podcast after podcast this lockdown, you'd know that Nicky's Protocol Radio has been one of the most streamed over the past year and with good reason too. The podcast is streamed live every week from his Protocol Studios and he keeps the hits coming but its lovely to hear his new work coming through. This track harks back to some of the early stuff Nicky used to make but on a much more mellow vibe. It has that great electronic beat to the track with a steady bassline which is assisted by the vocals. Overall, a very cool track to get the week going. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Bucket Tech: Oppo Reno5 5G

Wednesday saw the launch of Oppo's latest flagship device in the country, the Reno5 5G. While the brand has been around in the country for some time now we've only had the options of the lower end A Series models, the Reno5 however ushers in the big dogs of the brand. While Oppo remains to be one of the bigger brands in Europe and the Sub-Continent, it has yet to make waves locally and with the introduction of the Reno5, that could change things for the brand very quickly. 

A quick look at the Reno5, it has an AI Quad camera which is made up of a 64MP wide lens, an 8MP ultra wide lens, 2MP macro and 2MP depth senor camera. The front facing camera is a 32MP wide lens and features HDR with video recording capabilities of up to 1080p. Highlights of the camera is the smart AI system which auto detects light settings as well as subject, the camera is able to differentiate race, skin tone and background light to adjust to give you the best picture all the time. The beauty AI also has various settings depending on the subjects face and memorizes this for future selfies, now that is really intelligent AI. It also adjusts for stunning night shots as well as videos with natural brightness in low light conditions. The camera also has stabilizers for both the rear and the front facing camera, now you must be asking why the front too? Well that is because the Reno5 has dual view mode which allows to take videos with using both cameras at the same time. 

The design is sleek, full metal unibody which is ultra slim and very light. It's width is just 7.9mm and weights 180g. Screen on the Reno5 is 6.4 inch HD with 90Hz refresh rate that equates to a super immersive experience. The Reno5 has a 4300mAh battery with SuperVooc 2.0 charging technology which has 65W fast charging that charges the device from 0-100% in about 35 minutes. It has super intelligent battery saving technology allows the phone to go into power save mode at 5% but still allow you to use WhatsApp for 1.4 hours.  The device is Neflix and Amazon Prime certified and has Dolby Atmos sound. Reno5 5G has the latest Snapdragon 756G chipset with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage which allows you smooth, fast and innovative usage.

The Reno5 5G is available now in SA from Vodacom and MTN with a recommended retail price of R14,999



Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Bucket Seat: Audi RS Q8


The most powerful SUV Coupe from Audi has touched down in South Africa, while that opening line may have been copied straight from the press release, its no word of lie and boy is this thing something. The Audi RS Q8 is a beast of an SUV, its blistering fast, so much so it's holds the fastest time around the holy grail of race tracks the Nurburgring lapping it at 7 minutes, 42.253 seconds. That is faster than a Renault Megane Trophy R which I had on test last year and thought it was ballistic! Powered by a 4.0L V8 engine with mild hybrid tech, punching out 441kW and 800Nm, it punishes the tarmac wherever it goes. The turbocharged petrol engine has direct injection which propels the massive SUV from a stand still to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, then pushes on to 200km/h in 13.7 seconds. The RS Q8 tops out at 250km/h which is the electronically governed limit but can be extended to 280km/h should you want at an extra cost. 

For me, personally the Q8 is the most visually pleasing SUV Coupes on the market, while it shares many similarities to the Lamborghini Urus, for me this car just does more at a less price. Being an RS model, it comes kitted out in the complete sports trimmings from the dual exhaust system with oval tailpipes on each side, to the lowered body and extended skirts and bumpers with large air-intakes, not forgetting the huge 23-inch aluminum 5 Y-spoke wheels which shield the massive brake discs. The car is unmistakably sporty, and if you see one coming up in your rearview mirror, chances are it will be there and gone before you can move into the next lane. It's imposing and brash, which makes it more better to love. With Audi's theatric light display on lock and unlocking the car, it provides entertainment while its standing still too.

With all-wheel drive and an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox, coupled with a pure mechanical center differential, ensures power delivery in a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles, provides the necessary power to drive the RS Q8 at the limits. It has five-link construction at the front and rear axels which handle longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The linkages and the sub frames are made largely of aluminum. The optimal electromechanical active roll stabilization EAWS minimizes body roll during fast cornering. This gives the driver the confidence and ability to tackle bends are higher speeds while exiting. It's one thing having the power to do these things but when the car doesn't make you feel comfortable doing it, it automatically deters the driver, but you will have no such worries with the RS Q8. 


The Audi RS Q8 launches this week along with a whole range of other performance models such as the RS6, RS7, TT RS and not forgetting the R8 and R8 Spyder. We were meant to go sample these beauties in Sandton today but alas, it wasn't in the stars but hopefully they will make their way to the shores of KZN where we can put them through their paces on the coast. The RS Q8 is available from 1 April and is priced at R2,354,500 and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan. 




Monday Choon: MK ft. Raphaella - Lies

 


It's been a while since we've heard from Marc Kinchen, the US House Music DJ and Producer has been busy working on some new music and has released this new track featuring the vocals of Raphaella and if this is anything to go on, his new stuff is going to be absolute fire as usual. With most of the world not rolling out their vaccine programs, parties and festivals are tentatively looking at a return after July 2021 so most DJ's will be hard at work getting their summer anthems ready. Coming back to todays featured track "Lies", its very much similar to what we've come to learn and love from MK, that house music vibe with catchy bass line which has your swaying from the time the track starts. Like most of his tracks the build-up and drop is very close but there's also a gradual build again within the drop like an ongoing loop. It's another great track from Marc and has us excited to see what else he has in store for us.