Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Yamaha MOTIV.e - a terrible name for a promising car

YOU couldn’t make it up. That simplest of ideas – the small, unpretentious car – might be about to be saved by two of the fastest names in motoring.

The first, Yamaha, you’ll be familiar with. Provided you’re not an aficionado of the company’s musical instruments, the name will probably spring to mind most immediately as the makers of mentalist superbikes, although they’ve actually made more of a contribution to the car world than you might expect. 

If you drive a Ford with a Zetec badge on the back, it means your car’s humble engine got flown halfway around the world so the Japanese firm’s boffins could fiddle with it and make it far more rev-happy than it really ought to have been. Well, at least it was until Ford’s marketing boys got in the act and decided ‘Zetec’ was a trim level, rather than a badge of honour to say your hatchback’s humble engine had been tuned by superbike experts.

The second name, Gordon Murray, will either mean absolutely nothing or get your inner car nut immediately excited. He’s a South African car lover who moved to Britain in his early twenties, and having blessed the F1 world with his expertise than turned his technical know-how to making a string of supercars. Put simply, he is the brains behind the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR.

What connects the dots? Well, you might remember reading about Gordon Murray’s efforts to almost single-handedly reinvent the way small cars are made. The end result, the T25, was so small you could fit three ofthem into a parking space, but it wasn’t a production car in the conventional sense.

It was a more a sort of open invitation to the car world, and Yamaha’s the first company to take him up on it.

The end result, the MOTIV.e, might have a terrible name but it looks fantastic, with lithe lines that make it stand out a mile from the blobby superminis which dominate the showrooms today. While there’s no word on it being a production model just yet, the prospect of being able to drive to work every morning in a car designed by an F1 genius and finished off by a group of superbike experts does have a certain appeal to it.

All Yamaha need to do now is whip the MOTIV.e’s electric motor out and drop in the 180bhp screamer from the R1. Now THAT would be a small car worth writing home about…

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