Feeds

Vauxhall Ampera extended range e-car

Behind the wheel of GM's green mobile

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

This means that the very subdued engine note stays the same no matter how hard you mash the throttle. It's a bit like driving a CVT automatic with a very quite and very refined engine, and with a huge amount of instant torque - 273lb ft (370Nm) to be exact - on tap.

GM Ampera

A 30-minute spin around Ellesmere Port in a left-hand drive test car that's been well used - he said politely - and with a Vauxhall tech hovering in the back seat to make sure I didn't hit the large red Emergency Stop button - not a feature of the finished car, apparently - is hardly ideal for a road test but I came away impressed.

Even with the petrol engine running, the Ampera was refined, quiet and very spirited. I'm can't confirm Vauxhall's claims of 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, or a top speed of 100mph, but you won't find as much low-speed urgency this side of a very good 2.0 litre turbo diesel. And even the very best diesels still sound like, well, diesels.

I'm not sure if the test car had suspension tuned for European rather than North American tastes, but if not General Motors has done a fine job with the ride and handling. The car showed no signs of the expected American wallow and felt tight, balanced and composed no matter how deliberately ham-fisted I tried to be.

In fact, it handles much like a Chevrolet Cruze with which it shares the same GM Delta II platform, as does the new Astra. The T-shaped battery pack built into the floor plan apparently significantly lowers the Ampera's centre of gravity compared to other cars in the same size class which can only help handling.

GM Ampera

The interior is a pretty decent place to spend time even allowing for the slightly crumby pre-production plastics on display on the doors. The sporty semi-bucket seats hold you firmly in a low-slung driving position, and the trick LED instrument binnacle worked a treat even in strong sunlight. Being an automatic, Ampera gets going when you hit a start/stop button and push the big pedal.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.