AC Schnitzer releases the X6 Falcon

October 31st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

AC Schnitzer X6 fq

It was only a matter of time before AC Schnitzer turned its hand to the X6, and the result has just been released as the BMW X6 Falcon.

Using the X5 Falcon as styling inspiration, the X6 variant gets the same stretched out body work, allowing it a 70mm wider track in the front and an additional 80mm in the rear. According to AC, extensive testing was done on the Nurburgring to refine the Falcon’s high-speed capability, helped by a new front lip, air intakes, repositioned fog lamps, side skirts and rear wing. Black or silver 22-inch Type VII wheels fill the arches.

As for power, the only models to benefit from engine tweaks are the X6 3.0d and 3.5d, boosting power to 272 hp (from 235 hp) and 310 hp (from 286 hp), respectively. AC will also be selling custom chrome tailpipes, aluminum interior trim, pedals and floor mats emblazoned with its logo.

Kia next to raise NZ car prices

October 31st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Kia Picanto

Kia Motors is the next car company to raise prices with an announcement this week. Kia stated that the dramatic fall in the value of the New Zealand dollar will mean the price of its new cars will have to rise.

Todd Mcdonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand says prices will increase in the first week of November and will probably be introduced in small increments, as vehicle shipments progressively arrive from Korea. He says rises will vary from model to model and will be between 4% and 11%.

But the good news is that some Kia models will remain at current prices for a few more weeks, until present stocks are exhausted. Most of these are likely to be sold before Christmas.

Subaru Impreza sedan arrives in NZ

October 31st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru Impreza sedan rq

Subaru is expanding its All Wheel Drive Impreza range with the addition of naturally aspirated sedan versions in November.

The Impreza 2.0R and 2.0R Sport sedans complement the existing hatch variants and share the same safety credentials — a maximum 5-star crashworthiness rating for occupant safety from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) along with the maximum 4-star pedestrian ANCAP safety rating. Electronic stability control and six airbags, including curtain airbags, are standard on all models.

Subaru of New Zealand Managing Director, Graeme Woodlands, said: “Impreza sales have climbed by more than 10% since its launch 12 months ago and that has been without any sedans in the range.”We can only see that improving with the addition of the naturally aspirated sedan versions.We expect the Impreza 2.0R Sport sedan to be the more popular model like its hatch sibling.”

The base model Impreza 2.0R sedan features a good specification list for an entry level vehicle including; fulltime Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, 16-inch alloy wheels, six airbags including curtain airbags, electronic stability control, and ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.

The Impreza 2.0R Sport sedan is differentiated externally by; 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust system with chrome tail piper covers, a mesh sports grille, boot lid spoiler and a sports body kit. Inside, Impreza 2.0R Sport features sports seats, rear privacy glass and different cloth trim. Impreza 2.0R Sport adds six-stack CD player with 10 speakers, climate control air conditioning and leather-bound steering wheel with audio and cruise controls and a leather gearshift.

All naturally aspirated variants offer the choice of five-speed manual or four-speed SPORTSHIFT automatic transmissions. Both models are powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder DOHC Boxer engine developing 110kW at 6,400 RPM and 196Nm of torque at 3,200 RPM.

The turbocharged Impreza WRX sedan is due for launch in December.

Pricing of equivalent Impreza sedans and hatches is identical, giving customers a direct choice between their preferred body style.

The Impreza sedan and hatch pricing is:

Impreza 2.0R manual $26,990
Impreza 2.0R automatic $27,990
Impreza 2.0R Sport manual $31,990
Impreza 2.0R Sport automatic $32,990

Techart boosts up Porsche 911 Turbo

October 31st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Techart 911 fq

Tuning company Techart is at it again on the 997 Porsche 911 Turbo, this time boosting power output of the twin-turbo’d flat-six to a staggering 660 hp and 634 lb.-ft. of torque. Named the Techart GTstreet R this monster Porsche benefits from two new turbos, larger carbon fiber inlet pipes, revised intercoolers and a new cat-back exhaust mated to the a revised manifold which all helps to drop the 997’s 0-60 time to 3.4 seconds when equipped with an auto ‘box and 3.5 seconds with a manual. Top speed is extended to 214 mph.

Keeping the Techart-modified 911 from lifting at speed is a new coil-over kit and 20-inch wheels that work combined with a wind-tunnel-tested body kit and carbon fiber spoiler to add another 22 pounds of down force. If these wild specs weren’t enough to make the vehicle stand out, Techart also offers a replacement hood, carbon fiber headlights, side sills and air ducting for the rear bumper.

Suzuki Swift Sport WR1 Supercharged 2008 — Road Test

October 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


The Suzuki Swift Sport is one of our favourite cars read the review here. It has the right proportion of power, handling and looks, and a sweet five-speed manual gearbox that puts you in control. So how can you improve it? If you changed any one of the ingredients, it might risk spoiling it — like putting too much salt in the stew.

The recipe for change in this case addresses the car holistically: engine modifications to give the Swift more poke, suspension and brake modifications to cope with the extra power, and a body kit to tell the world you’re packing more than just the standard 1.6-litre four-banger.

The Swift Sport has always been a car that’s possible to bling out, with go-faster stripes and bigger alloys; this takes it to a new, official level with a factory warranty.

The extra urge is made available by a discrete supercharger that sits at the back of the engine. You’d barely notice the modifications if it wasn’t for the large Supercharged sticker across the rocker cover and the chrome GReddy pipe that leads to a bright yellow air filter.

The supercharger sucks in the air through an Airinx air cleaner that uses two layers of three-dimensional urethane foam. The whole engine can be tuned to perfection with the GReddy ECU. Power at the flywheel is up from 111PS to 145PS at 6800rpm. Torque is up from 138Nm at 5000rpm to 171Nm at around 3800rpm. The power is all usable, making the Swift more responsive down low. It doesn’t turn it into a screaming, torque-steering ride, though. It’s delivered in an unfussy way, with a helping of supercharger whine.

While we didn’t test a 0-100kph time, my seat-of-the-pants meter reckons it’s in the late seven-second bracket, down about a second from the standard car. To get the most poke out of the car you need to turn ESP (electronic stability control) off because it robs the WR1 of a lot of power. This doesn’t turn it into the tyre-smoking maniac that you’d expect, though.

You may have all this extra power, but it hasn’t affected fuel economy because the Power Extreme II twin exhaust system has less back pressure and improves fuel economy. The Swift Sport has an official figure of 7.5l/100km, whereas this supercharged WR1 has a quoted fuel consumption of 7.2l/100km. It’s also not overly noisy with the modified exhaust. You certainly hear the supercharger while accelerating, but while cruising it’s only marginally louder than a standard Swift Sport.

Brakes can be GReddy four- or six-pot units with aluminium callipers and can be specified as full competition units, but weren’t fitted to our test car. Springs are Tein, and the suspension has 32-level damping, monotube structure and adjustable pillow ball upper mounts. An optional in-car control unit is available separately.

The rest of the Swift Sport is as standard. There’s a perfectly adequate (but not stellar) stereo with WMA/MP3/CD.

If all the extra power is surplus to your abilities, turn the ESP back on. There’s also ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist for the emergency stops. But it’d be a rare occasion you’d need them, because the Swift’s handling is so superb you would have to enter a corner at a fairly ludicrous speed.

Modifications don’t come cheap for the Swift, and you can expect to part with around $40,000, depending on what specification you choose. This makes it a valid alternative to a Mini Cooper or Cooper S read the review here. But it doesn’t have the power of a Mini Cooper S, something I was a little disappointed in. Sure, you get the supercharger whine, it’s definitely quicker and it handles superbly, but I expected it to be much more¦umm¦swift in a straight line. Perhaps to maintain the balance of the recipe it doesn’t need to be.

The Swift Sport as a standard car is brilliant; the WR1 just gives it that little bit extra.

Click through to the next page to read the full specifications of the Suzuki Swift Sport WR1.

Price: Around NZ$40,000

What we like

  • More perky
  • Supercharger whine
  • Excellent stopping power
  • Great handling
  • Better fuel economy

What we don’t like

  • Can start to get expensive with all the options
  • Optional livery won’t be everyone’s cup-o’-chai
  • Limited internal storage

Suzuki Swift Sport WR1 Supercharged (2008) – Specifications

Overall length mm 3765
Overall width mm 1690
Overall height mm 1510
Wheelbase mm 2390
Tread Front mm 1460
Tread Rear mm 1470
Ground Clearance mm 140
Minimum turning radius m 5.2
Curb weight kg 1090
Gross vehicle weight kg 1500
Type M16A
Cylinders 4
Number of valves 16
Displacement cc 1586
Bore X stroke 78.0 x 83.0
Compression ratio 11.0 : 1
Maximum Output (EEC net) PS/rpm 145/6800
Maximum Torque (EEC net) Nm/rpm 171/3800
Fuel distribution Multi-point injection
Fuel type 98 Octane
Fuel consumption (L/100km) Urban – 9.3
Extra urban – 6.4
Combined – 7.2
CO2 emissions (g/km) 179
Type 5-speed Manual – close ratio all synchromesh
Gear ratio 1st 3.250
2nd 1.904
3rd 1.407
4th 1.064
5th 0.885
Reverse 3.250
Final gear ratio 4.388
Power assisted Steering Rack and pinion
Suspension Front Custom
Rear Custom
Brakes Front Custom
Rear Custom
Tyres 195/50R16
Seating 5
Fuel tank (unleaded 91) Litres 43
Capacity Rear seatbacks raised 213
Rear seatbacks folded 562

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Nissan 370Z first official images released

October 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan 370Z fq1

Nissan has just offered the first look at the upcoming 2009 370Z Coupe, which is set to make its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on 19 November.

The all-new 2009 Nissan 370Z, is the first full redesign of the iconic Nissan Z since its reintroduction as a 2003 model. It’s rumored to be packing a new 3.7L V6 and will go on sale from early 2009.

Full details of the vehicle will be released on 19 November.

McLaren looks at new options

October 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mclaren P11 fq

McLaren has many projects on the go, and with its tight links to Mercedes-Benz loosening, it has more time to focus on expanding its range to compete with the big boys from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche.

According to an English car magazine, three new models are being developed, spanning the range from a modern-day F1 to a £60,000 ($167,800 NZ) “entry-level” sports car that takes aim at the Porsche 911. The new coupe will make the most of McLaren’s extensive fabrication and materials experience. Power could be provided by Mercedes, but McLaren isn’t ruling out the development of its own engine.

Filling the rest of the range will be the P11 supercar, reportedly using a 600-hp, AMG-sourced 6.2-liter V8, and a yet-to-be-named third vehicle that will slot in between the two vehicles. The recent appointment of Frank Stephenson — the man who brought us the MINI and Fiat 500 — as design director, could mean that good things are on the way.

Aussie rocker becomes front man for HSV

October 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

HSV SV08 fq

Former Cold Chisel member Ian Moss has joined the ‘high performance club’ as an Ambassador for Holden Special Vehicles.

As part of the arrangement, which will see the Aussie music icon drive and promote a range of Holden’s vehicles, Moss has recorded a special musical tribute to the new seven litre HSV W427 based on the long-standing Cold Chisel hit, Bow River.

Ian Moss said he was delighted to formally become a part of Holden Special Vehicles. “I’ve been a fan of HSV for a long time now — back to the early days when I got behind the wheel of my first Commodore” Moss said. “The company has come a long way in its 20 year history and I am now the driver of a Senator Signature SV08 — the newest HSV on the block and one of only 50 to be made.”

According to HSV’s Marketing Manager Paul McDonnell, Ian Moss is the perfect fit for Holden Special Vehicles. “Ian is a great talent, he’s an iconic figure in the Australian music industry, and has a very down to earth persona, he’s passionate and Australian, so from our point of view, it’s a perfect brand alignment”

“Ian’s re-recorded version of Bow River will be used as the soundtrack for a special limited edition documentary on the engineering, design and production of HSV’s Supercar — the seven litre W427 – and in 2009 we have some fantastic events planned, working with Ian as our brand ambassador.” McDonnell said.

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