Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Volvo V70 2.3 T5...

Ahhh, the Swedes. They've provided us with a lot over the years.

Abba...

"Mama-mia, take a chance dancing queen hurdy gurdy" and so on, and so forth...

...stereotypically beautiful ladies...


...the place where couples go to row with each other...


...and of course, Volvo.


It's the latter that finds itself earning a place on N£2G today though, and it's not going to be what you're thinking. We reckon that when you think of a cheap Volvo you think of some rusty old heap slowly crawling down the A38 while the octogenarian behind the wheel weaves from kerb to cats-eye, terrifying the people driving any oncoming vehicles.

If that's the case, think again. There's plenty more from the Volvo stable that can be had for less than £2000 and we're not talking about kid-carrying shopping-grabbers here. No, we've got something with a bit more bite to show you, something that for the price, simply can't be rivalled on power, speed and practicality. Is this the ultimate dad-wagon? Maybe it is. Maybe you just want a big motor with big power or maybe you just want a car that, should you drive through a building, will protect you and your loved ones. Whatever it is you're looking for in a car, the Volvo V70 2.3 T5 will fit the bill. Well, as long as you're looking for an estate...click this or this if you want a convertible.

This isn't just any Volvo mind, oh no, your £2k will stretch to one of these: a second generation T5...



Hmm. Boxy. Yeah, it looks like it's been made out Lego but that's not what these cars are about, they're built to get you, everything you own, 47 people and the dog to wherever you need to be - and fast. No one buys a Volvo for how they look, they buy them for how they go, and in the case of any Volvo with a T5 badge, they go damn well.

T5 is to Volvo what GTi is to VW, except with this one it really does mean business. Born out of the ever popular line of T5s, starting back in the 90s with the 850 T5 then moving forward to the first generation V70 T5, the second generation car has lot of history behind it. The T5 name exploded when the 850 hit the scene, forcing life into Volvo brand like never before. The advent of the T5 proved that Volvos weren't just safe, they were damn fast too. The T5 soon became just as desirable as the BMws and Audis it was going up against.

Under the bonnet you'll find a five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with upwards of 250bhp and 250lbft of torque - the same engine (in essence) that powers the modern Ford Focus STs and RSs - proof that it's an incredible power-plant. You'll have either a five or six speed 'box and it'll all be connected to one of the best chassis a big car has ever had - chassis that has seen decades of development thanks to its predecessors. Firmer springs, perfect geometry and perfectly tuned suspension ensure that this sucker can be thrown about...



...and with a top-speed of 155mph it's no wonder they were a bit of a hit with these boys.



We were lucky enough to go out in a Police Volvo T5 last year and let us tell you, they're bloody fast! Interestingly they're also really quite comfy too - the Police have to spend up to 8 hours in their patrol cars so comfort is a big deal, you don't want ot have to run after a purse snatching crim while you've got cramp in your thighs! If the V70 T5 is good enough for them it's bound to be good enough for your mother-in-law when you collect her for her monthly visit.



There's another thing about Volvos that also can't be ignored, and that's the safety factor. The Swedes take crashing very seriously (to such a degree that Volvo have gone public in saying that by 2020 no one will die as the result of a collision in a Volvo). The V70 was no different - it's another reason the Police love them so much, they are prone to the odd 'off' in the name of bringing criminals to justice. The Volvo keeps them safe in their pursuits, much as it will do for your kids and loved ones.



In a nutshell, the V70 T5 is all things to all car-lovers. It's fast, safe, a hoot to drive and, as you've learned today, cheap. If you need four seats but you want them to be fast and comfy, this is the car for you. Built to last and cheap to run, the V70 T5 is real family carrying weapon. Shame it's not the prettiest thing, but that's something that can be easily addressed.



Still not convinced?



You want one now, don't you?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Porsche 944...

We've been rubbish, haven't we? Sorry about that, we've been busy with other stuff, thus preventing us from putting finger to keyboard and hitting you with another dose of Not £2 Grand goodness. Forgive us, we love you, we'll never do it again!

So, what automotive treat do we have in store for you in this update? Well, it's the Porsche 944 of course - one of those little gems that often gets overlooked despite being full to the brim with potential. It's not a bad looking little swine either...



...and it was a bit swish on the inside, too.



The problem with the Porsche brand is the 911, mainly because most people forget that the 911 isn't the only bloody thing they have built - they built other cars you know! These other cars were good, too. If anyone tells you a 944 is crap, don't listen to them, they're wrong. Just because something isn't a 911 doesn't mean it's rubbish, far from it in fact. It does, however, mean that should you buy a 944 (and we strongly suggest you do) you'll spend your life trying to convince people that it is actually a Porsche.

Ignore the uneducated - the 944 was treated to just as much time and development as the 911s of the time, it was a car taken very seriously by Porsche.



Introduced in 1982, the 944 was a harder, better, faster and stronger evolution of the 924 (though it's worth nothing that they 924 continued to be produced up to 1988). It was wider, looked better, had more kit and thanks to a 2.5l 150bhp engine, it was quicker too. Once the media got their hands on it the story took an interesting shift: the 944 was better than Porsche themselves claimed it to be! It claimed that the 944 was capable of a (albeit modest) 0-60 time of 9 seconds was actually proven to be more like 8.3 seconds by the motoring press while the 130mph top-speed was raised to 137mph in one instance. It really was an awesome bit of kit. It boasted near 50/50 weight distribution too, and with a slightly wider track and wider tyres than its smaller capacity 924 sibling it was an incredibly capable car - some people still regard it as one of the finest front engine, rear-drive chassis ever built.


Hmmm, nice chassis...ahem.

The 944 was a hit, and throughout the 80s Porsche dealerships were filled with people lining up to get one, just like this dapper fella...



...look at that phone, it's big enough to house a family of three!

Success was at the 944s disposal throughout the 80s, earning the car a facelift in '85. After that though, thanks to a change in the market and the birth of the 968 things soon started to go south for the once popular 944, including its value. The ever increasing popularity for the 911, a brace of 944-rivalling cars from other manufacturers and poor residual values began to paint a bleak outlook for the 944, despite its awesome chassis, great looks and cheap running costs.*



Thankfully, things have picked up for the 944 preventing it from slipping into the annals of forgotten cars. Good 'Turbo' and 'S2' variants can fetch damn good money, but that'sof little consequence to us. What is, however, are the great many surviving 2.5l 944s that can be had for under £2000...



Yup, you can be a Porsche owner for under £2k - who'd have thunk it? It won't be perfect, it'll probably be rusty and it WILL break down. It'll probably also be an early car with brown seats and the electrics will have a tendency to do whatever they want whenever they want, but who cares - it's a Porsche. As long as all the oily bits have been looked after it should be a rewarding and enjoyable machine to drive. They might be old, but trust us, that chassis is still amazing. Show it a winding ribbon of A-road perfection and it will reward you with the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Don't take it off-road though, they don't do that very well...



...and if you feel the need to try and jump your monster truck over it, don't, it won't go well either...



...do buy one though. If you've got £2k to spend and you want a sporty car, this is it. It is a Porsche after all, and that's got to be reason enough to have a punt, even if all your mates will say it's not a Porsche, despite your best attempts to convince them.


*they're not, you'll have to sell your children to fund a service. If something breaks, say goodbye to your house.