Ice-Ready Battle Armor Looks Perfect On This “ICE6” Audi S6

ICE6 rally armor

Winter rallycross requires added robustness. This S6 ditched the plastic bumper cover for a metal creation dubbed ICE6.

Those of us (un)lucky enough to live in the snowy winter climates have one winter refuge when it comes to motorsports. Ice autocross. Conceptually, it is exactly what the name implies. A dash around the cones, but on ice or snow instead of pavement. We discovered this ice autocross car on Facebook, and found it was constructed by two enthusiasts named Artsem Vechar and Mitch Vokaty. The car itself is owned by Jay Bullington, and the “ICE6” concept for this ice racer is very cool.

Much like autocross, drivers in ice autocross have a tendency of taking their build to extremes. And while you may have already noticed this car’s porcupine tires, we’re mostly interested in what’s going on with that new fascia.

ICE6 Audi S6

Snowbanks are filled with ice chunks, despite snow itself being soft. Plus, orange cones are rock hard in frigid temperatures. Plastic bumper covers have a tendency to break in these conditions, but metal sure won’t. Vechar described the build as “unique and challenging.” That’s an understatement considering it is a 4-piece build, that utilizes a new front grille section, the entire front bumper section, a skid plate, and fenders.

Best part of all? This setup installs in factory mounting points, and can revert back to stock.

Materials used include 1.5 inch, 11 gauge DOM tubing for the structure. The bumper itself utilized 7 gauge sheet metal, and the fenders used 16 gauge sheet. We’re most impressed by the precision, the ability to work around existing components within the bumper, and also keep all of the Audi styling cues as part of the build. Speaking of which, the “ICE6” integration into the fender is seriously cool.

What would be even cooler is if this kind of build can be integrated into the latest craze of exo karts. You know, the cars that have all of the body panels removed, with the only part that’s left is a floor and a bit of roll cage. This would fit the theme, and be able to identify what the car once was. It probably would be a bit cold for ice racing though.

Photos: Artsem Vechar

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Six ways to protect your car this winter

Peugeot-208-driving-n-the-snow

Winter is well and truly on its way, and the more the weather becomes unpredictable, the more challenging or even dangerous driving becomes.

In fact, the highest percentage of severe car accidents happen between November and January, with drivers 20% more likely to be in an accident over the winter months.

And that’s if you even make it off the driveway, as your car is 18% less likely to start during the winter months.

However, winter driving doesn’t always have to be hazardous if you make sure you are prepared.

To help you get ready for winter, car finance experts Zuto have pulled together all the best tips and tricks to help you prepare your car for the worst of weather.

Check your tyres
When working well, tyres help to prevent skidding and enable you to stop in an accident. As winter approaches, with both handling and stopping becoming more difficult, it is important to make sure your tyres are in good condition.

Although tyres only need a tread depth of 1.6mm, a 3mm depth is safer in winter. A quick and easy way to check this would be to use a 20p coin. When inserting it into the groove of your tyre, if you see the rim of the coin, you’ll need to get your tyres checked out at your local garage. Make sure to check this around the entire width of the tyre and at several points around the circumference.

It may also be worth investing in winter tyres if you live in an area particularly prone to ice or snow.

Refill your fluid
As temperatures drop, both coolant and washer fluid can freeze, so you’ll need to keep them topped up with anti-freeze. Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze and you should make sure your winter washer fluid also contains antifreeze.

Check your battery
Winter can be hard on your battery as a drop in temperature can cause your car battery to fail if it’s at the end of its shelf life. This is because the cold weather reduces the output of a battery, so it has to work harder to keep running.

If your battery has been reluctant to start in the summer and autumn months, it’s best to get it checked out by your local garage before it completely refuses to start on a cold morning when you’re running late for work.

Check your windscreen
Windscreen chips often get worse in the winter months thanks to hail and ice. If your screen has any chips, it’s best to get them fixed or the windscreen replaced before they impair visibility. This is especially important with the upcoming frosty weather.

Get a winter service
Although nothing can guarantee that your car won’t break down in the winter, getting a winter service and maintenance check can help to prevent problems associated with the cold weather. This often includes a lights assessment, an oil level replenishment, and windscreen wiper check to make sure that your car is ready for the winter weather. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Pack your winter car kit
Having a winter survival kit can make all the difference if you happen to breakdown in the cold and dark months and you can never be too prepared. This should include key items such as jumper cables, mobile and battery pack, and a torch with fully charged batteries. As well as a blanket, a first aid kit and a supply of food with a bottle of water or flask.

“Many motorists dread the arrival of winter, and all the issues they may face with their vehicles,” says Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto.

“However, as long as you prepare your car properly now, take extra precautions in extreme weather conditions, and stock up on your anti-freeze, you’ll be able to take on the winter roads.”

More winter driving tips from Zuto.

Driving peace of mind with all-season tyres

BMW I Series - Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 tyres - wet

We get to grips with a set of Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 tyres

The weather here in the UK is highly changeable. It’s said that we talk about it more than any other nation and we have more words to describe it than any other language. There are even times of the year when we seem to experience four seasons in a day.

So, a car tyre that promises superior grip on summer and winter roads, plus excellent braking and handing in all weather conditions makes absolute sense.

Apparently, the all-season sector is one of the fastest growing in the tyre industry, but can an all-rounder be as good as two sets of tyres – one for the summer and another for the winter?

Tyre test

Unless you have access to state-of-the-art tyre evaluation facilities, there’s no better time to road-test new rubber than a straight swap with an existing set on a car you know well.

Earlier this year I bought my first BMW – a cherished 59-reg 1 Series with just 60,000 miles on the clock.

Even though it had a fresh MOT, the tyres were a disappointment. A mix of two brands I’d never heard of and a new cheapo (presumably to get it through the test), an upgrade was a priority.

What better time to take Goodyear up on a long-standing invitation to try out its acclaimed new Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 tyre, promising “excellent driving performance in all weather conditions, all year long”.

BMW I Series - Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 tyres

The first thing you notice about the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 is the asymmetric tread pattern, complemented with deep and wide grooves, designed to disperse water (preventing aquaplaning) and offer excellent grip in all conditions.

Compared to the Gen-2 tyre, Goodyear says the improved structure aids dry braking by a claimed 5%, while changes to the tread offer better performance in wet and snowy conditions.

The new tread design also has more centre sipes – the narrow gaps that “bite” the snow – again creating a 5% improvement in handling on snow compared with the previous generation.

On the road

Once the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3s had been fitted, I was in for a surprise. The improved comfort level and muffling of road noise was immediately noticeable.

Typically, I had to wait several weeks before I got to drive in the wet, but the dry spell did give me ample opportunity to compare them with my previous summer tyres.

BMW I Series - Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 tyres

Frankly, the difference wasn’t huge, which is a credit to Goodyear, because winter tyres typically have less traction in warm weather and stopping distances are increased.

Nevertheless, the stiffer construction of the Vector 4Seasons Gen-3s definitely improved dry handling and stability when cornering hard.

When the rain finally came, it was biblical, so I couldn’t wait to get out to experience them in wet weather.

Naturally, I was initially cautious (after all, the BMW is rear-wheel drive), but it soon became apparent that the Gen-3 set was working its magic on the soaked tarmac – building confidence, but not overdoing it either.

The lanes around my village, which are often caked in mud left by tractors, can become treacherous during downpours. Again, the all-season tyres seemed to take it in their stride.

I’ll take Goodyear’s word for it when it comes to improved braking performance in the wet. If there was a difference, it was marginal.

Season’s greetings

Despite my ‘four seasons in a day’ comment earlier, it’s still too early for snow and ice here in the South West, so I’ll also have to reserve judgement for now. All I do know is that from the reviews I’ve read (plus comments form actual buyers), the Gen-3 is the next best thing to a hardcore snow tyre.

Rest assured, I’ll be back in the bleak mid winter after I’ve had a chance to test the Vector 4Seasons Gen-3s in sub-zero conditions, putting Goodyear’s claim that they deliver better grip and handling in the snow to the test.

In the meantime, I’m mightily impressed – the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 is a truly versatile premium tyre at a remarkably competitive price.

Right now, it’s not even winter yet and I’m almost looking forward to a frost or a blanket of the white stuff. I must be mad…

RS e-tron GT vs AMG E 63 S in EPIC Electric vs Gas Battle!

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

RS e-tron GT proves its worth against AMG, proves electric vehicles can have style, performance on par or better than ICE machines.

There’s no doubt the New ’20s will likely be the last time ICE machines have the higher ground in all aspects of motoring. As more automakers enter the roadway to electrification, new EVs continue to improve their standing away from egomaniacs and their playthings. Audi is among them with their e-tron family, including its high-performance RS e-tron GT fastback sedan.

How far has the electric road come along over the past few years? Why not see by pitting the RS e-tron GT against one of the old guard. Carwow‘s Mat Watson and Yianni Charalambous (a.k.a. Yiannimize) turned up on the runway for a good battle between the Audi and the gas-powered AMG E 63 S. Can the EV hold its own against a V8?

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

“I’m sitting in a Mercedes E 63 AMG,” said Watson. “Next to me is an Audi RS e-tron GT. This may seem like a bit of an odd match-up, but I’m going to explain why I’m doing it. You see, [the Audi] is now the most powerful RS model you can buy. Yet, every time I’ve raced an RS car against this E 63, the Mercedes has come out on top. So can that new, electric-powered RS car regain some honor for Audi?”

Of course, it’s not just about regaining honor for Audi. It’s a demonstration of how far EVs have come along in just a few short years as being as good, if not better than, their ICE counterparts. Though manufacturers like Toyota and Porsche have either put their weight behind alternatives like hydrogen and synthetic gasoline (the latter which could keep ICE machines on the road for a long time to come, per Donut Media), there’s no doubt the EV is not only here to stay, it’s here to overthrow the old order.

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

“I think this [Audi] looks great,” said Charalambous. “I really, really like this a lot. I’ll be honest with you, when I saw the lineup, I was so surprised you gave me this car. I personally don’t think you got a chance. But, I could be underestimating that vehicle.”

Right off the bat, Charalambous proves the RS e-tron GT is the wave of the future. In the drag race, he uses his perfect launch to leave Watson in dust by around two car lengths. After all, his Audi’s pair of electric motors deliver their combined 620 ft-lb of torque all at once. Meanwhile, the AMG’s torque takes a while to come up, just as the Audi’s 630 ponies have long already gotten the job done.

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

That instant torque shows up even harder on the roll races. On the first with both cars in their respective comfort modes, the RS e-tron GT immediately pulls away, crossing the mile-mark by four car lengths. In their performance modes, though, the duo cross the same line in a dead heat. However, it did take the AMG a while to reach the Audi.

Audi RS e-tron GT vs Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

“For a car that’s so fast,” said Charalambous, “it doesn’t brake well. I assume you got no ceramics on this?”

Despite the AMG winning the brake test, it did so by about a third of a car. Part of this could be due to the RS e-tron GT’s battery pack contributing to the overall 2.3 tons it weighs. It also, as Charalambous believes, could be due to the lack of the right sort of brakes for such a machine.

However, the weight issue could resolve itself once the infrastructure is in place. As Audi CEO Markus Duesmann told Roadshow in February, the long-range packs of today could shrink amid a denser infrastructure. In turn, charging times also shrink, placing EVs finally on par with fueling times for ICE machines. And, of course, shorter stopping distances for brake tests like the ones carwow performs due to less weight overall.

In short, races like these demonstrate where the EV lines up with ICEs. Looks like the latter has finally met its match, and its fate.

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Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.