20 Dec 2012

Speedmonkey 2012 Awards

It's the end of our first year - Speedmonkey first came into existence in June 2012.  Over the past 6 months we've produced 460 articles on everything from news stories, through drive tests to videos of driving dogs.

Huge thanks and Merry Christmas to all outside contributors and to everyone who's read Speedmonkey - that's 3,000 per day at the moment, and growing all the time.

I would like to thank all the manufacturers who have let me drive their cars.  Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and Porsche have all invited me to media days where I got to test their entire range of cars.  You can see all the reviews here, although there aren't any Porsche reviews yet because the media day was only yesterday!

Also thanks to Goodwood Circuit and Top Gear Live for sending Press tickets to their events.

Here are the Speedmonkey 2012 Awards.

Maddest Car of the Year - Jaguar XFR.  The XFR takes Jaguar's great XF saloon and mates it with their 500bhp, supercharged, 5 litre, V8.  It's completely crackers.  Full review here.

Best Sportscar - Porsche 911.  Forget any criticism of electric steering and increasing luxury. The new 911 is the hardest, baddest, most soulful car on the road.  It connects with you and commits to your will.  The ride is smooth, the cornering sharp and the bootspace pitiful.  Find Porsche articles here.  Full 911 review to come soon.

Best Grand Tourer - Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.  I drove an SLS AMG Roadster with charcoal paint and a red interior.  Everybody looked at me, which I normally hate.  But I didn't mind.  The SLS AMG makes you feel good and you could drive it for miles and miles and miles.  But then you'd need to stop for fuel.  Review here.

Best Luxury Car - Jaguar XJ.  Better than an S Class, A8 or 7 Series.  The XJ, long in the doldrums, was reinvented as the luxury car of choice.  Go for the Supersport version and it's engine sounds a bull elephant trumpeting from over your shoulder.  Read the review here.

Best Engine Noise - Jaguar 5 litre, V8, Supercharged.  As fitted to the XFR, XKR-S, XJ Supersport and next years F-Type and XFR-S.  Amazingly awesome sound.  It pips Mercedes 6.2 AMG unit for the crackles on overrun and blips when changing down the gears.  Hear it here.

Most Overpriced Car - Infiniti FX Vettel Edition. The FX costs £50,000.  The Vettel Edition costs £100,000.  For the money you get carbon fibre, Alcantara, a few extra goodies and Sebastian Vettel's name.  And that's it.  Full review here.

Ugliest Car - Ford Ecosport.  How could the ugliest car not be the Ecosport.  Just look at it.

Car Most Likely To Kill You - A Toyota.  Any Toyota.  Brakes breaking, steering sticking,  accelerator accelerating and finally windows causing the car to set on fire.  Weren't Toyota meant to be the most reliable brand in the history of car manufacturing?

The Car So Boring We Couldn't Even Be Bothered Mentioning It's Name - A Car.  Saying anything else about it would give it too much attention.  Find out more here.

Best Event - Goodwood Revival.  Lord March does these things very well.  This years revival meeting was the social, and petrolheads', highlight of the year.  The presence of the Silver Arrows from Audi and Mercedes-Benz caused mass hysteria amongst middle aged men - including Jonathan Palmer who was nearly knocked over by one as it was being wheeled out of the garage.  Photo gallery here.

Most Shocking Video - VW Transporter Crash Test.  It's an old video, see it here, but compare it to the Lamborghini crash test here to see how far things have advanced.

Most Read Blog By An External Contributor - Star In A Reasonably Priced Bra by Sharon Endacotte.  Sharon's writing style is wonderfully witty and this piece typifies her style.  It's was also VERY popular.

Most Insightful Column - The Future Of Driving Passion by David Blue.  David is an American with a unique take on cars and life itself.  This column typifies his style.

Most Read Car Column by Speedmonkey - The Perils of Being a Home Mechanic.  It's not all glitz and glamour being a home mechanic.  Especially when you sever all the tendons on the back of your hand. Read it here.

Most Read Bike Column by Speedmonkey - How We Would Fix MotoGP.  Carl Fogarty retweeted it.  Traffic to the site went crazy.  This remains the highest read article on Speedmonkey to date.  Read it here.

Most Read Bike Article - 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada.  Aside from the Valentino Rossi features this was the most read bike related article of the year.  It was written by Angela Freeman.  Read it here.

Stupidest Amount of Derivatives Based On One Model - The MINI.  The Paceman is the 7th iteration.  Here we have a look at the 2013 MINI/MAXI.

Most Read Car Chooser Column - Hot Hatches.  Our Guide to the Best, On a Budget.  Every now again I set a budget and a style of car and present a list of the best available cars in that budget.  this was the most popular of these articles this year.  Read it here.

Most Anticipated Car of 2013 - Jaguar F-Type.  I was lucky enough to see one in the flesh and took lots of photos.  Full specs are here.  Chris Small says everything we want to say about the F-Type here. It's not even 2013 yet but, if the F-Type lives up the the hype it's almost a shoe-in for Car Of The Year in 2013.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers.  I'm taking a break until after Christmas.