April Fools Day 2014 Archive

  • Opel Astra Copacabana – in time for World Cup fever


    MINI isn’t the only one trying to cash in on the football fever in the run up to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June – Opel has just released its own special edition model, the Opel Astra Copacabana, which arguably goes even further to commemorate the event.

    Based on the Astra GTC, the Copacabana adds “dancing stripes” in Brazilian colours around the car, together with palm tree and football player decals. A Brazilian flag also adorns the roof.

    Inside, the seats feature real grass obtained from the Maracaña Stadium, the main venue of the World Cup – there’s even a certificate of authenticity that comes with the car. In the footwell, the usual mats are replaced by sand from the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, which gave the Astra special edition its name (no, not the Barry Manilow song).

    The IntelliLink infotainment system on the centre console can be used to stream all live matches during the World Cup or play football video games. The horn can be customisable – playing either Samba or vuvuzela tones – and there’s even a Caipirinha and crushed ice dispenser (alcohol-free, of course).

    The company claims the Opel Astra Copacabana is “as Brazilian as Pelé and as German as Jürgen Klopp”. It is available at all Opel dealers today – April 1 – priced at €24,444.

  • Paw-werful driving in a 180 PS Volkswagen Amarok

    dog tale 2

    Here’s a dogged tale, then. Over in the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has partnered with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to teach rescue dogs to drive.

    Over the past two months, three mixed-breed dogs – Tulip, Jacob and Harry (no idea which is which in the photo) – have been taught to drive a Volkswagen Amarok by the animal welfare charity. The canines, trained at the Southridge RSPCA centre in Hertfordshire, have learned to control the brakes, gears and even the steering wheel.

    The dogs were initially taught to steer using a wooden trolley pulled along with string. Mock car controls were then introduced before the dogs were trained to wear specially-adapted safety harnesses and put behind the wheel of the 180 PS Reflex Silver Amarok, which bears the interesting number plate FR5T APR.

    dog tale 1

    The animals then spent hours practising their driving skills while sitting alongside a human instructor, who has access to separate controls. To allow the dogs to drive the Amarok, their front paws rest on the steering wheel and the gearstick, while their rear paws rest on purpose-built extension levers that are attached to the accelerator and brake pedals.

    In 2012, three dogs called Ginny, Porter and Monty had the honour of being the first to accomplish the deed in New Zealand – Porter holds the title of being the world’s first driving dog, behind the wheel of a MINI. So who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, eh?

  • BMW Force Injection Booster: low-speed exhilaration


    Finding your daily commute dry and boring? Stuck driving at low speeds when all you want to do is tear up the roads at 300 km/h? From today – April 1 – you can order your BMW with what the company calls a Force Injection Booster (FIB), which simulates the effect of spirited driving even at slow speeds.

    Activated under speeds of 20 mph (32 km/h), FIB extracts the kinetic energy created by the engine and converts it into positive g-forces. These forces are then channeled directly to the driver and passengers through the air-conditioning vents.

    A mild electric current running through the front seats accentuates the feeling of exhilaration, while BMW’s AirNet hair protection system ensures that you can enjoy the benefits of FIB without ruining your carefully-coiffed hairstyle.

    Head of BMW innovation Professor Mika Notbetrü described the technology as “mind-blowingly unbelievable”. BMW said that Force Injection Booster will “change the face of motoring”, but smartly added that face alteration caused by the technology is not permanent.

  • Citroen C4 Cactus Arsenal Edition – 11 units only!


    Now that Arsenal has self-ejected itself out of the title race, here’s something to momentarily put a smile back on your face, fellow long-suffering Gooner. Citroen will produce a special Arsenal edition of the forthcoming C4 Cactus. Limited to just 11 units and kitted out in the red, blue and gold shades of the Arsenal crest, the C4 Cactus Arsenal showcases new tech, too.

    The integrated dashboard console will feature Citroen’s new Geo Organised Away-day Location, Information & Entertainment interface, or G.O.A.L.I.E. The touchscreen system is preloaded with all of Arsenal’s away fixtures, including directions to the matches, a database of pie and mash vendors and a music playlist of rousing football anthems to sing along to. Na na na, Na na naaaa, Na na naaaa, Giroud!


    “We think Mr Wenger and the team will be delighted with this new special edition. As Official Automotive Partner to Arsenal, Citroen is always looking for new ways of celebrating our relationship. With the new fan-focused in-car technology, we think this model is pitch-perfect for the dedicated Arsenal supporter,” said Joseph King, head of Citroen UK’s special projects division.

    Avina Jolie from Citroen France added: “On espère que tout le monde a reconnu que c’est une petite blague de notre part. Sinon, et si vous parlez français ou si vous utilisez un service de traduction, il faut dire que cette histoire n’est pas vrai. On ne produira pas cette voiture.” Google Translate that yourself.

    The C4 Cactus Arsenal Edition will be available to order from all Citroen UK showrooms later this year, except Citroen Tottenham. Click here to see more Citroen-Arsenal magic. FA Cup, here we come!

  • BMW ZZZ Series Cot – The Ultimate Sleeping Machine


    Here’s an interesting one from BMW New Zealand – the BMW ZZZ Series Cot. It’s being touted as The Ultimate Sleeping Machine, fusing advanced technology and German engineering so that your baby will sleep better and longer, while in full safety and comfort.

    The premium cot – complete with the brand’s trademark kidney grille – features authentic BMW leather and an illuminated BMW badge to serves as a night light. There’s a smartphone app to work the moisture detection sensor, remote Cot-Cam and integrated climate control.

    BMW even quotes “multi-phase high-tensile steel in a single-joint spring strut axle concealed in the base for agile suspension and directional precision, for superior handling and stability” for this cot, which is also said to be made out of lightweight carbon-fibre moulding.

    More interestingly, BMW New Zealand also offers an M Sport upgrade along with a Customised Colour Match System, so you can have it in the same shade as the BMW vehicle in your garage. Announced today, April 1, the BMW ZZZ Series Cot is currently not available for purchase just yet, but you can take a look at the dedicated microsite for more details.

  • 2015 Honda Fit Kit – build your supermini by hand


    Have you always wanted to build your own fully-functioning car? No, not a Caterham, but a proper, fully-featured family hatchback? Well, Honda – in the US at least – has you covered from today, April 1, with the Fit Kit, part of its Handmade Series.

    The kit – built (hah) specifically for the handcrafted movement – allows experienced tinkerers to build their very own 2015 Honda Fit (known to you and me as the Honda Jazz). With over 180,000 individual mechanical parts, Honda calls this grown-up Tamiya kit “a challenge for the most talented and adroit”.

    According to Honda, those wanting to take on the Fit Kit should be a “tinkerer par excellence“. Known difficult bits include being able to wire up the car’s electronic features such as the Bluetooth connectivity and LaneWatch warning system, as well as building the i-VTEC engine and six-speed manual transmission piece-by-piece. The parts will be delivered to your doorstep within two days, some of them by drones.

    In the video above, Honda have found two testers, Vanessa and Caleb, to complete their first beta kit. As you can see, they are experienced with crafting things with their own hands, and it will be pretty interesting to watch this build come together…

  • MINI Paceman GoalCooper – score big with this one

    goalcooper 01

    Here’s one for the footie fans. MINI has come up with a strictly limited-edition offering called the MINI Paceman GoalCooper, and the car is being officially presented today, April 1.

    Seeing as the World Cup is just around the corner, the car, based on a Paceman JCW, pays homage to that veritable football tournament – the MINI Design Team, captained by Oliviero Weilinho, has chosen to clad the car with a Danielson multi-coloured exterior featuring the colours of the Brazilian flag,

    You won’t go off-side with the interior, which has AstroTurf floor mats in Brasileiro Green and “floodlights” in the shape of a MINI LED interior lighting package, to give the car a stadium-like feel. For relieving pre-match tension or enjoying some half-time downtime, the special Paceman GoalCooper features a miniature table football set, mounted on the centre rail.

    The car is also fully equipped for training between matches. The rear seatbacks can be folded over to turn the boot, which is fully clad in AstroTurf, into a football goal, with the net attached behind the front seats. As soon as the Park Distance Control (PDC) sensors – in conjunction with the interior monitoring sensors of the alarm system – register that a shot is being attempted on goal, the electric tailgate is operated, instantly closing and reflecting the ball, thereby keeping the score sheet clean.

    If a player successfully puts one past the ‘keeper, he can share his success immediately with other MINI drivers. When the final whistle has been blown after 90 minutes, the score is transmitted to an iPad in the car via a dedicated Paceman GoalCooper MINI Connected App – the results can be compared online with other registered users at any time. The table is updated everyday, and at the end of the tournament, the MINI Community World Champion will lift the trophy.

    No mention of when it’ll sign for you, or for that matter, what the transfer fees and how long the contract period is with this one. It’ll probably be undisclosed…


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