New Volkswagen Polo launched in NZ

September 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

VW Polo 2009 fq1

The new Volkswagen Polo was unveiled in NZ yesterday at a launch event held in Auckland. The new model marks the fifth generation of the Polo which has been a global sales success with more than 10.6 million vehicles sold worldwide.

Offering updated safety, technology and specification the all-new Polo has adopted Volkswagen’s distinctive new corporate face. It’s longer, wider and has space for five people and a larger luggage area than the outgoing model.

The car’s gain in width combined with a reduction in height lends the Polo a more dynamic stance. The design language itself is defined by sharp lines helping maintain an ultra-modern look and assisting VW Polo 2009 safetywith potentially high resale values.

Volkswagen put together a safety package for the new 5th-generation Polo including an optimised body structure, a highly effective belt and airbag combination and driver assist systems. The new Polo has been subjected to the more stringent Euro NCAP crash tests and received the best possible score of five stars.

In addition, the Polo is equipped with ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Program) as standard. This includes Hill Hold Control, ABS, TCS (Traction Control System) and EDL (Electronic Diff Lock).

A network of 6 airbags are also standard, including driver and front passenger airbags, combined head-thorax airbags (integrated in the front seatbacks) and side curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers.

Despite increasing standard equipment and specification, the Polo’s body weight has been reduced by 7.5 percent.  This, combined with innovative engine concepts and the 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG), has resulted in improvement in fuel economy and reduced emissions.

The first engine to be available in New Zealand is a 1.4L fuel injected petrol engine producing 63kW of power and 132Nm of torque.  When combined with the 7-speed DSG transmission, only 5.8L of fuel is required to travel 100km — an improvement of 16% when VW Polo rqcompared to the previous generation.  CO2 emissions are just 135g/km.

By the middle of 2010, a second Polo model will be introduced, the Polo TSI. It will make use of Volkswagen’s new 1.2L TSI, turbo-charged four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine produces 77 kW, while consuming 5.5L of fuel per 100km and producing 129 g/km of CO2. The TSI has 175Nm of torque available from 1500-3500rpm. This low-down accessibility to the torque of the engine should give the Polo TSI some good pace.

Standard specification for the new Polo includes a Climatic air conditioning system, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, a leather covered steering wheel, electric windows front and rear, a CD player and 15″ steel wheels with a full size spare wheel. Security is taken care of by an alarm and immobiliser that includes remote central locking.

Volkswagen NZ is offering a 3 year unlimited kilometre mechanical warranty and roadside assistance programme, including a 12 year anti corrosion warranty on the galvanised body.

Dean Sheed, Volkswagen General Manager for New Zealand, is excited to be launching in New Zealand one of Volkswagen’s most important models: “The new Polo is a great all round package that represents real value for money. Like the new Golf did in its class, the new Polo has redefined the level of refinement available in a small car.” He continued: “Volkswagen’s 7-speed DSG transmission has added a level of technology never before seen in this class and this sophistication will take another step up with the arrival of the Polo TSI next year.”

Pricing for the Polo 63kW 7DSG is $27,990 plus on road costs. Final specification and pricing for the Polo TSI 77kW 7DSG will be confirmed in 2010.

A small number of the new Polo will be visiting dealerships around NZ during October, giving potential owners a chance to check out the new Polo in person. Deliveries are expected to begin shortly after in November.

For further information visit the Volkswagen NZ website by clicking here.

e-Wolf shows off Italian inspired electric car

September 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

e-wolf e2 fq

Shortly after revealing its Lotus Seven like e1 electric sportscar at the Frankfurt Motor Show, e-Wolf has just released images and details of its next model, the e2. Unlike the open-topped e1, the German carmaker’s e2 follow up will feature a shape clearly inspired by any number of supercars from Italy, most noticeably the Lamborghini Reventón and Ferrari Enzo. If you have to copy another car, might as well make it the best.

Currently existing in theory alone the electric supercar will be powered by one 134-horsepower electric motor per wheel for a total of 536 green horsepower and an impressive 1,000 Nm of torque. The run to 100kph is expected to be handled in well under four seconds, though the top speed may be capped at 250 kph.

Energy storage will be taken care of by a lithium ion battery pack composed of 84 flat cells. No details have been released on the pack’s exact capacity, but e-Wolf suggests that range could be as high as 300 kilometers per charge after a recharge of just 30 minutes — to achieve this a extra-strong specialised charger would be required. Production is currently planned for 2011.

Jay Leno’s jet-powered Corvette (+video)

September 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jay Leno EcoJet 1

When you’ve as cashed-up as US talk show host, Jay Leno, you’ve got to do something with all the money. Leno’s choice of spend comes in the form of cars. Recently, wanting something different to the norm, Leno employed the services of the guys at GM to design and produce the EcoJet.

A one-of-a-kind build, the EcoJet is a carbon fibre skin over an aluminium chassis — one that traces its roots to a Chevrolet Corvette.

Like its name says, the EcoJet is powered by nothing but a jet engine — a Honeywell LT101 jet turbine engine that produces 750hp and 700lb/ft of torque at 48,000rpm. However, to bring this back down to road levels, a custom gearbox reduces the engine speed down to 6,000rpm. Add to this, carbon fibre brakes and Brembo 6-pot calipers, a Microsoft-built dash — running Windows Vista and internet capabilities — Leno’s EcoJet is a trick piece of kit.

To see how the EcoJet performs, Leno took the car to the airstrip to run it against a private jet. Watch the video below for a full rundown of the EcoJet and its race against the jet plane.

Hyundai last to jump ship on Tokyo Show

September 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Tokyo Motor Show 2009

Hyundai was literally the last major automaker not based in Japan that planned to attend the Tokyo Motor Show next month. That’s just changed, and now, the final holdout has apparently canceled its appearance at the show. According to a motoring publication Toyokazu Ishida, who administers the international exhibition for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, said, “Hyundai called last week and orally confirmed their intent to cancel… It’s unbelievable.”

Hyundai hasn’t official confirmed the news yet or given any reason why it won’t be making the trek to Tokyo, but the reasons are obvious. Even though Hyundai is doing well right now, it’s certainly not cheap to pack up a ton of cars and trucks and ship them all the way to Japan. Hyundai has already lost a reported 10.9 million yen ($169,000 NZ) in nonrefundable fees for its 4,300-square-foot exhibit, but that sum would pale in comparison to the millions it would cost to actually go through with the event.

BMW M5 to lose V10 for turbo V8

September 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

BMW M5 fq dyn

The straight six-cylinder in the first BMW M5 supersedans was silky smooth and had some power, but it was getting a bit old, so it had to go. It was replaced by the 400 hp V8 in the E39, then later with the fire-breathing V10 in the current M5 that pushed horsepower to a high new level. That engine remains a total powerhouse, but with CO2 concerns, fuel economy standards and the fact that the V10 isn’t available in almost anything else in BMW’s lineup makes it likely that the next-gen M5 will probably come motivated by a V8 instead. If a strong V8 works for the Audi RS6 and Cadillac CTS-V, perhaps it’s good enough for the BMW M5, too.

There has been speculation about a V8 M5 as far back as May, 2008, and more recent rumours that it was going to be a twin-turbo V10 instead, but now reports are leaking from BMW reps that a V8 will be the engine of choice for the next M5 although no one is sure which V8. Most likely, it will be the 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 that first appeared in the X5M and X6M. With 555 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque, it’s consistent with other supersedan outputs. That new powerplant will occupy a new house as well, with the all-new 5-Series just months away. Ultimately six just wasn’t enough, ten was too much and eight is probably just right.

Five-seater to join Holden Captiva range

September 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Captiva fq

Holden will add a new Captiva five-seater to its SUV range in NZ later this year.

The Captiva 5 will be powered by a 2.4 litre four cylinder engine which may appeal to both business fleets and private buyers.

Holden New Zealand Managing Director, Simon Carr, said the introduction of the Captiva 5 will make Holden even more competitive in the SUV market. “It is fantastic to have an additional engine option and seat configuration available as it broadens the range and broadens the choice for our customers.”

Available as a 2WD with manual transmission or an AWD with automatic transmission, Captiva 5 will compete directly against Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson.

Holden Captiva is currently New Zealand’s second highest selling SUV in the medium market. With a market share of 16.4%, Captiva outsells the Ford Territory, with 426 vehicles sold year to date.

The Captiva seven-seater range will continue with the SX, CX and LX models.

Captiva 5 will go on sale in December with the following recommended retail prices:

Captiva 5 2WD (manual) $33,490
Captiva 5 AWD (automatic) $38,990

GT Radial tyres debut new website

September 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

GT Radials Screen Grab

GT Radial tyres has celebrated the arrival of its latest ultra high-performance tyre with the launch of a new website.

The new site — www.gtradialtyres.co.nz – provides specialist information about the full range of GT Radial tyres available via 1600 independent tyre retails nationwide.

GT Radial has a sports-performance heritage, built up over years of involvement in motorsport championships including the NZV8 Touring Car series, which is reflected in the appearance of the site.

The website also contains a dealer locator search function, extensive tyre tips, a tyre selector section and the latest news from GT Radial and Tyres4U.

From November 1, purchasers of GT Radial car, 4WD and light-truck tyres will also be able to complete an online registration form to take advantage of the exclusive ‘DRIVE 5IVE’ full replacement guarantee.

DRIVE 5IVE is a free initiative which covers any manufacturing defect causing loss of service fulfillment over the first full life of the tyre, up to a maximum of five years from date of manufacture.

The guarantee is exclusive to GT Radial approved, local and independent tyre dealers.

Click here to visit the GT Radial website

New Suzuki Alto – cheapest new car in NZ

September 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki Alt fqr

Suzuki’s all-new five-door Alto hatchback has arrived on the twentieth anniversary of the launching of the original version.

The latest seventh generation Alto is a far cry from the 1979 Alto SS80 which was assembled at the Suzuki plant in Wanganui.

The newest rendition is larger, stronger and higher specified, yet uses less fuel and boasts lower emission levels. It is the only car in its class with six air bags as standard. There is clear lineage, however, between the first generation Alto and the European inspired 2009 model.

Both are front wheel driven and are powered by three-cylinder engines, although the new Alto has a larger capacity motor producing more power.

In 5-speed manual gearbox form, the stylish Alto has a recommended retail price of $16,990, including on road costs, while the four-stage automatic transmission version is $18,500.

“Alto will redefine the term ‘value motoring’ with the lowest new car price currently available,” said Gary Collins, Automobile Sales Manager for Suzuki New Zealand Ltd. “Not only is the Suzuki $1,000 less than its nearest rival, it has two more air bags, superior fuel economy and far lower emissions,”

Aerodynamic styling translates into low wind noise and efficient operation while engine noise is well suppressed for enhanced occupant comfort.

The distinctive body shape majors on a smooth front end, large windscreen and bold headlamp design, elements that contribute to a low drag coefficient of 0.30.

New Alto is the fifth and smallest member of the Suzuki world strategic models and, with an overall length of 3,500mm, is only marginally smaller than the top-selling Suzuki Swift.

The concept was to build an eco friendly car with low CO2 emissions, low fuel consumption and lightness through downsizing.

At the same time, the car had to be smartly designed and embody a roomy, comfortable cabin with a good level of appointment.

One specification level is available in New Zealand in a package that includes power steering, electric operation for the front windows, air conditioning with pollen filter, digital clock, six air bags, front seat belt pretensioners, anti lock braking with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) function and brake assist function and full size spare wheel and tyre.

The Alto comes with halogen multi-reflector headlights, two-speed wipers with intermittent action, two trip meters and a rear window wiper and washer. A stereo audio tuner with compact disc/MP3 and auxiliary input socket for MP3 player is also standard.

In manual gearbox form, the car has a curb weight of 855 kg, rising to 880 kg for the automatic. The Alto scored four stars in recent ANCAP safety ratings.

There are twin front air bags, plus side and curtain air bags, energy absorbing trim and a head impact protection pad.  The brake pedal is designed to protect the foot in the event of an accident, and the car also includes ISO FIX child seat restraints, child-proof rear door locks, side impact beams front and rear and an engine immobiliser.

Alto’s new K10B double overhead camshaft engine is the result of three years’ development. This multi-point fuel injected three-cylinder unit has four valves per cylinder with an offset crankshaft offering better volumetric efficiency.

With a piston displacement of 996 cm3, the K10B develops 50 kW of power at 6,000 rpm and 90 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm.

In the official combined fuel cycle test, the Alto manual averages 4.8 litres/100 km (58.85 miles per gallon), while the automatic versions achieves 5.5 litres/100 km (51.36 miles per gallon).

With automatic transmission, the Alto has a top speed of 150 km/h, rising to 154 km/h for the manual gearbox variant. Ventilated disc brakes are fitted up front with rear drums, and the 14-inch diameter steel wheels are fitted with 155/65R tyres. Front suspension is by MacPherson struts and coil springs, with a highly rigid suspension frame complemented by further strengthening in the strut mounting areas for better handling.

The rear suspension comprises Suzuki’s proprietary three-link rigid axle design which has been tuned for optimum handling and stability in extensive testing on European roads.

Alto sits on a 2,360 mm wheelbase, is 1,470 mm high, a trim 1,600 mm wide, and has 150 mm ground clearance.

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