Mean machines

A round-up of the best technological gadgetry for endeavours on the road, sea and sky

Motoring 5 Jun 2019

Bentley Continental GT Convertible

On the road

Bentley Continental GT Convertible (pictured above)

When the new design Bentley Continental GT arrived last year it was immediately apparent this was a striking grand tourer. And the newish Continental GT convertible is even more built for adventure. It has all the benefits of the GT but with a drop top thrown in for good measure. The roof itself will lower in 19 seconds and at speeds of up to 30mph. Then, there’s the most technically impressive dashboard you’ll find in a car today. Like the coupé, the £175,000 GT has a three-sided console in the centre of the dash that rotates between a 12.3in touchscreen, three analogue gauges (displaying outside air temperature, compass and chronometer) and sleek, minimal plain wood. The entire device seems to have been borrowed from James Bond.

From £159,100;

Off the road

Nikola NZT

Taking you places you’d never dream of driving the Continental GT, the Nikola NZT is a mightily powerful, all-electric o -road machine that, thanks to that motor, is capable of launching from 0-60mph in a jaw-dropping, stomach-churning, 3.5 seconds. You can then drive the machine for up to 150 miles. The 400V AC motor, powered by a 75 kWh, 100 kWh or 125 kWh Lithium Ion Battery Pack, manages an astonishing 590 horsepower. It can recharge in three hours using a 400V high-speed charger or if you have to settle for 240V, then make sure you leave seven hours in the schedule. Traction is provided by 33in Kevlar reinforced tyres (so no punctures to worry about) while 14.5in of ground clearance and a military grade steel roll cage means the NZT should be good for tackling just about any terrain. Want more tech? The vehicle packs in a full colour 12in touchscreen, 4G connection for over-the-air software upgrades, keyless ignition, LED lighting and Bluetooth audio.

From $28,900 (approximately, £22,145);

Nikola NZT

On the waves

2prt modular sufboard

Here’s something for the purist surfer who would prefer to honour tradition and keep electric power completely out of the equation. While there is little to match the feeling of catching the perfect wave, the ordeal of getting boards, especially longboards, to the beach can put a slight dampener on what would otherwise be an exhilarating experience. Industrial designer and master surfboard shaper Thomas Meyerhoffer has come to the rescue by fashioning a modular design that means you pack your board down to a far more manageable size. However, space saving is not even the best feature of this innovative design. Surfers can twin the nose with various tail shapes to create the ideal board for virtually any conditions and the rider’s ability. The first set, on sale for $1,600 (approximately £1,226), will include one nose and two tails, with an optional travel bag sold separately, but undoubtedly essential.

2pt modular surfboard

In flight


The FlyNano is a curious hybrid between a jet-ski and seaplane, and perhaps should be considered as something more akin to an airborne go-cart. At just 70kg, the FlyNano is a super-lightweight, all-electric 32kW personal flying machine that happens to be capable of carrying a pilot weighing up to 100kg for 15 minutes on a single charge of the battery. Thanks to having the highest power-to-weight ratio of any all-electric ultralight around, you will hit speeds of up to 120km/h on the level. Thrill seekers will be delighted to note that this craft with a 4.8m wingspan is designed to fly low (30-150m) across calm water. You don’t even need a pilot’s licence to fly one.



On the water

Fliteboard eFoil

If you aren’t quite suited to the FlyNano, another option for water adventure is the less scary eFoil from Fliteboard, an all-electric surfboard complete with hydrofoil. The result is the sensation of flying over water, and it does so in virtual silence. This, of course, is much better and more considerate than noisy jet-skis. The carbon hydrofoil unibody design doesn’t generate a wake, so you can ride at speed without disrupting other surfers or swimmers. The rest of the board is constructed from paulownia wood, stainless steel and aluminium. A German engineered gearbox delivers a speed of up to 22.4mph with a running time of around one hour before you’ll need to recharge the batteries. As you’re standing tall, you set the speed, using a Bluetooth waterproof controller. Steering will all be down to your own ability, though.


Fliteboard eFoil

In the air

Skydio R1 Drone

Whatever foolhardy adventures you intend on getting involved in, you’re going to want to record the action for posterity, and the best way to do this is with a drone. While most drones are exceedingly hard to fly, the aluminium and carbon fibre R1 represents a marked advance in drone tech, and, in particular, autonomous flying. Some 13 onboard cameras powered by the Nvidia Jetson AI processor let this flyer map the world around it in real-time, independently capturing footage. This means there’s no need for you to take manual control: once you assign a target subject, the R1 locks on and follows it doggedly, avoiding any objects that might come into its path. It is sophisticated enough to navigate its way through thick forest unaided. As well as flying accurately at speed, the R1 can even identify and anticipate how people will move, while looking for the best possible route as it records in 4K.

$1,999 (approximately £1,532); (currently only available from US site)

Skydio R1 Drone

In miniature

Toylander 1

Lastly, if you want to treat the little ones in your life to somewhat safer adventures than open-cockpit flying or lightning acceleration, look no further than the Toylander 1. This electric vehicle is designed as a miniature replica of the 1948 Series 1 Land Rover, complete with two motors and two batteries. If you really can’t resist, the Toylander has enough room for an adult and two children. The ‘model’ car should also provide some useful tuition for future on-road skills, as it has both forward and reverse gears, a handbreak and a footbreak, windscreens, a horn and most importantly, speed controls. Speed controls? Yes, you wouldn’t want your bundles of joy to immediately access the top speed of 8kph unsupervised, would you?



Toylander 1