HSV W427 ends production with car 137

July 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

HSV W427 final car

Back in April Holden Special Vehicles in Australia put out the call to V8 enthusiasts that if they wanted a W427 April 28 was their last day to cash up.

With that date long gone, HSV has announced that the last order to be filled, W427 number 137, has rolled off the line at the Clayton plant.

Bound for Perth, the Heron White W427 (pictured) was ordered by an HSV dealer.

HSV’s self-proclaimed ‘Aussie Supercar’, the W427 came with a $155,000 AUS price tag and a 375kW V8 powerplant.

Managing Director at HSV Phil Harding sold it well, saying, “Who knows what the market for exotic muscle cars will look like in the future. The purchase of a W427 might represent a savvy investment opportunity — as well as delivering a driving experience that is pure exhilaration and excitement,”

The W427 marked HSV’s most ambitious project to date, only time will tell if the value of the exclusive model increases.

Veritas planning coupe version of RSIII

July 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Veritas RS III fq

Niche automaker Veritas has unveiled the final production version of its open-top RSIII roadster at the Salon Prive in London, but according to the latest reports even bigger plans are afoot.

The retro-styled RSIII roadster is powered by an upgraded V10 pinched from the BMW M5/M6, and is being made in either 500 or 620-horsepower specifications. Only 30 examples are to be produced, but a further 30 coupes are being planned with markets like the Middle East in mind, where air conditioning is a necessity.

Now reports are stating that Veritas is working on a sport-utility vehicle as well. Little is known at this stage on the SUV, but apparently Veritas wants to drop a small aircraft engine into a fully carbon fiber body for a package that promises to be total madness. Wait and see.

Lamborghini to reveal Reventon Roadster

July 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lamborghini Revention

A few months back a rumor surfaced that Lamborghini would be making a convertible version of its most exclusive model, the Reventon. Now, Lambo is setting up to showing off this new roadster to a to a special select few Lamborghini enthusiasts who might be able to afford it. Based on the Murcielago, the original carbon fiber Reventon Coupe was limited to just 20 units (plus one for the museum) and cost just about $1 million USD. You would think that the Reventon was exclusive enough, I mean even if you had the cash chances are you couldn’t get one, but you’re wrong.

This is where the new drop top Reventon helps out. Because it’s limited to just nine examples it’s more than twice as exclusive as the hard top. Accordingly its price is a staggering $1.6 million USD.

Besides losing its roof, the Reventon Roadster will receive more power than its hard-top brothers, as the convertible will get the LP670-4 SV’s frantic 6.5-litre V12 producing 670 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque.

Porsche Cayman S 2009 Review

July 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Back in 2005 Porsche found itself the father to only two sports car sons; its first-born 911 and its baby Boxster. A middle child was required and this came in the form of the Porsche Cayman. For 2009 the Cayman has entered into a second generation receiving cosmetic and mechanical upgrades but remaining based on the platform of its Boxster sibling. To simply view the Cayman as a ‘Boxster Coupe’ is a massive oversight because the Cayman is hell-bent on carving out an identity all its own.

Car and SUV road tested the go-harder Cayman S variant with the optional PDK dual clutch transmission, a desirable combination for showcasing the updated Porsche’s performance credentials. Packed inside the Cayman S is a mid-mounted direct fuel-injected 3.4-litre six cylinder that now kicks out 253kW – an 18kW increase on the outgoing model. It’s an exciting power plant, the flat-cylinder howl that comes from the exhausts and the noise the engine generates behind the driver’s head is spine tingling. It’s a brawny yet flexible unit, responding with haste even from low revs and pulling with absolute gusto all the way to 7,200rpm where peak power is achieved. The new-generation motor benefits from direct-injection which sharpens engine response, improves carbon emissions and increases fuel economy (9.2l/100km).

Porsche’s commended PDK double-clutch gearbox does the cog work; it works seamlessly through the seven available gears providing subtle and smooth shifts. The PDK’s strength comes from its multiple personalities, being capable of economical tip-toeing around town but work the throttle and the speedy shift patterns will push the Porsche to peak performance. Manual shift operation is available on the steering wheel through sliding buttons that are pushed for up shift and pulled for down. While this system functions without issue, some drivers will prefer the more established paddle set up with ‘right paddle up, left paddle down’ operation.

Overall, the Cayman’s power train is pure class and will rocket the car from 0-100kph in 5.1 seconds. Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional Sports Chrono Pack with launch control dropping the 0-100kph sprint time to a blistering 4.9 seconds. At the scary end the Cayman S won’t give up till it tops out at 275kph.

It was clearly important to Porsche that the Cayman S not surpass its flagship 911 for raw pace but no such restrictions were put on its handling capabilities. The handling was already near perfect and now it’s even better with a retuned suspension for the second generation. With a wide stance and fat tyres the grip on offer is staggering and throttle or brake can be applied mid-corner with complete confidence. All drivers can adjust safely and quickly to the Cayman’s agile handling, and its limits are higher than many will dare venture. Steering is direct and highly communicative, there is also genuine weight to the steering system, allowing the driver to muscle the Cayman through sharp bends and switchbacks. The Cayman S simply feels built for the open road it has a level of agility and poise that would be hard to match even by more expensive sports cars.

Ride quality is firm but compliant gobbling up dips and bumps in the road and any jarring doesn’t upset the handling. Some wind noise does enter the cabin and the wide tyres do generate significant road noise on rough surfaces but general comfort never feels compromised. There is nothing to suggest the Cayman S wouldn’t make a good touring vehicle, so long as you pack reasonably light.

Physically, the Cayman S has received light restyling, the 911 derived front end now features new light clusters and fog lamps. Along the flanks, gaping side air intakes and muscular wheel arches look fantastic and 18-inch alloys or optional 19’s boost up bling factor. When viewing the Cayman S from the rear and in profile it does look awkward with its fastback hatch dipping toward the rear bumper. It’s an indulgent styling line that’s only broken when the car hits 120km/h and the automated rear wing raises 80mm. The Cayman’s front end is timeless Porsche design but this elegance doesn’t shift fluidly into the rear aesthetic resulting in a car that’s still handsome and eye-catching but not totally stunning.

Step into the cabin and you’re greeted with a functional and immaculately built interior. Strictly a two-seater the Cayman still rejects any threat of claustrophobia with ample natural light entering and generous leg and headroom for both occupants. There is usable storage space with front and rear boots combining to provide a 410-litre capacity. The driving position is excellent; despite the low seating position front-facing visibility is uncompromised and the Cayman’s raked roofline doesn’t necessitate a sharply reclined seat. Occupants are wrapped up tight in soft perforated-leather sports seats and surrounded by high-quality dark plastics with silver accents. The interior receives some face lifted touches including a larger multifunction display screen that works well but the surrounding switchgear could be better laid out. The only small complaint for the Cayman’s cabin is the cup holders which are an innovative design but look precarious when filled with an open vessel.

When it’s time to throw down the anchors the Cayman is equipped with huge vented disc brakes interacting with four-piston aluminum calipers. A ceramic brake package is offered as optional equipment. Six airbags are standard fare including dual front airbags, side window airbags and side thorax bags. Additionally, the Cayman’s packing an advanced stability control system with traction control and brake assistance.

Priced at $161,000 with the PDK transmission a piece of performance kit like the Cayman S doesn’t come cheap, particularly considering it’s not Porsche’s top range model. While it doesn’t have the history, prestige and raw performance of the 911 the Cayman is a solid step up from the Boxster and an accomplished all rounder. Despite some polarizing exterior design there is a modern European elegance to the Cayman and a fireworks factory of bang for your buck. Clear its lungs and stretch its legs on a windy road with the flat-six engine providing the stereo soundtrack and any romantic notions that you really needed a 911 will be rapidly drowned out.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: from $155,000 as tested $169,860

What we like:

  • Exceptional handling ability
  • Brawny and flexible power plant
  • High quality and practical interior

What we don’t like:

  • Awkward rear styling
  • Cup holders

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Porsche Cayman S – Specifications

Engine
Layout / number of cylinders 6
Displacement 3,436 cm³
Engine layout/Drive Mid-engine
Power 235 Kw (320 hp)
Max. torque (Nm) at rpm 370 Nm at rpm 4,750
Compression ratio 12.5 : 1

Performance
Top speed 275 km/h (171 mph)
Acceleration from 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 62 mph) 5.1 s (4.9 s Sport+)
Acceleration from 0 – 160 km/h (0 – 99 mph) 11.2 s (10.9 s Sport+)
Elasticity 80 – 120 km/h (50 – 75 mph) 6.3 s 5th gear

Dimensions
Body Length 4,347 mm
Width 1,801 mm
Height 1,306 mm
Wheelbase 2,415 mm
Drag coefficient (Cd) 0.30
Unladen weight (DIN) 1,375 kg
Unladen weight (EG) 1,450 kg
Permissible gross weight 1,675 kg

Capacities
Fuel tank 64 litres

Fuel consumption
Urban 14.1 l/km
Non-urban 6.6 l/km

Price: NZ$161.000

BMW working on sustainable sports car concept

July 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Alongside yesterday’s shock announcement that BMW is quitting F1 after the 2009 season, the automaker also announced a new focus on improving its green credentials. This doesn’t mean that BMW’s future model range will be limited to dull economy orientated vehicles. Quite the opposite in fact as the automaker will reportedly showcase a new sustainable sports car concept at Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

Late last year it leaked that BMW was working on a “green” super-sports car based along the lines of the M1 Homage concept (pictured). BMW development board member Dr Klaus Draeger has now revealed to a German motoring magazine that the company is planning to unveil a sustainable sports car concept at the upcoming Frankfurt event.

The concept will be a showcase for the latest in BMW EfficientDynamics technology, but further to that the concept will feature sustainable design and material elements.

According to earlier reports, BMW is looking into the viability of the project, with the ultimate goal to create a two-seater sports car that displays all of firm’s most sophisticated environmental technology. A limited production is predicted for release at the end of 2012.

UK cops use Lexus luxury to chase crims

July 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

LEXUS IS-F POLICE 3

Here in New Zealand, our esteemed officers of the law tend to roll the streets in Australian-built Ford and Holden vehicles. However, in other parts of the world the Police are known for driving vehicles a little more intimidating. One such place to adopt this theory is the UK. Previously piloting Subaru Imprezas around, the Police in the English county of Humberside have switched recently to something a little more sinister.

Plucked flesh from the Lexus range, the Police will be tackling the streets in the new 416hp 5.0-litre V8 IS-F. As far as Sergeant Mike Peck of the Humberside Police is concerned, they couldn’t be happier. “The final product provides a most formidable package and is undoubtedly one of the most advanced police vehicles in the world which in turn enables my officers to deal with the criminals who use the roads for serious and organised crime.”

Brilliant justification Mike, but no ones buying it. Check out some cool images of the performance Police cars in the gallery below.

Toyota to build Prius Coupe

July 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota Prius 2010 fq

Details of the rumoured Toyota Prius Coupe details have emerged on the web this week and it all checks out. The Toyota Prius Coupe is expected to fall into the same new market segment as the previously announced Honda CR-Z model (read news) and apparently it will have a much sportier image than the current four-door. The Japanese company has already confirmed that in the future it’s planning to bring new, sportier, models on the market, based on its current hybrid platform. The Toyota Prius Coupe is shaping up to be one of these sporty new models.

The Prius Coupe will be a four-seat coupe on a shorter wheel base than the current four-door and will be powered by the same hybrid drive system. In terms of design, it’s likely to follow similar lines to the four-door. The Prius Coupe is expected to reach global markets sometime in 2012.

Kia releases first images of new model

July 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Kia VG concept fq

Kia Motors has today released the first images of its new premium saloon due to go on sale in Korea at the end of the year.

The new model, currently known by its code name VG, was shown in concept form at the Seoul Motor Show earlier this year and is set to replace the existing Opirus model in Korean, North American and European markets.

“VG clearly demonstrates the next stage in Kia’s design evolution and showcases our new design principle of ‘sophistication by simplicity’.  The exterior is a seamless blend of powerful front, sleek profile and sophisticated but simple rear lines to create an elegant and luxurious appearance,” commented Hyoung Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and COO of International Business Division at Kia Motors Corporation.

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