Ferrari Enzo replacement to be lighter and quicker

November 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari Enzo

It’s no secret that Ferrari is hard at work on a successor to the Enzo with Ferrari boss Amedeo Felisa confirming a number of future models last month. But, at this early stage, that’s the only info Maranello is willing to give up leaving space for plenty of rumour and speculation.

Recent reports are stating that Ferrari’s new hero car, codenamed F70, will be built with a greater focus on weight loss rather than bigger power.

Taking inspiration from its 2007 concept car named Millechili (Italian for “1000kg”), Ferrari will be looking to make the new F70 significantly lighter than the Enzo at 1365kg.

A new, smaller tub, full carbon-fibre body panels and a spartan interior could help bring the new Ferrari’s kerb weight down to near Lotus Exige levels.

Ferrari reportedly wants to retain a 12-cylinder powerplant in its top car, but with Europe’s emissions laws tightening around it, the supercar company may have no choice but to downsize its engines.

Smaller, lighter and more efficient than the nearly eight-year-old Enzo, the F70 is likely powered by a 520kW twin-turbo V8 offering similar raw power to the legendary F40 – if Ferrari can overcome the issue of turbo lag.

Production of the F70 is expected to begin in 2012.

Audi finds the last built Horch (+video)

November 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Audi Horch final

The world has August Horch to thank for Audi. As a former engineer for Karl Benz, Horch started the second oldest company of the original four companies that merged to form Auto Union (the first was Wanderer). But it was Horch whose name, translated into Latin, became “Audi” and went on to build one of the most respected car companies today.

The last Horch was built in Ingolstadt in 1953, and Audi recently decided to find it. Audi called in the services of their vintage car locator, Ralph Hornung. He got on the case and his search took him to the States and into a field in West Texas. It’s an interesting story and Audi made a very good video to tell it.

Check out the video below explaining the search and how the once mighty V8 found its way to a rusty unloved pasture.

Toyota MR2 ready for a hybrid comeback?

November 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota mr2

There’s a feeling among car fans that hybrid vehicles are going to kill off the driver-oriented sportscar. But many skeptics were silenced when Honda took the wraps off of its CR-Z coup concept recently. After all, anything that could bring back the CRX hatchback with extra power at no extra cost at the fuel pumps has to be pretty good right? Now it seems Toyota wants in on some of that hybrid sports car action.

Recent reports out of Japan are suggesting that Toyota may be working on a reborn hybrid sportscar of its own. The company once known for its sports-coupes recently unveiled the FT-86 concept, and might be ready to follow up with a gasoline-electric resurrection of the cult classic MR2. The budget-friendly mid-engine/rear-drive sportscar had a big following right up until the third-generation model was discontinued two years ago. But if the latest reports are to be believed the old MR2 is set for a hybrid comeback.

While details are scarce it’s likely that we’re looking at a two-seat two-door coupe with a gasoline engine mounted behind the cabin, coupled to an electric motor in a more performance-focused version of the Toyota Synergy Drive popularized by the Prius. Reports suggest it may use the MR-S nameplate in Japan but could come to NZ as the MR2. That’s all that’s known so far, but if it all goes to plan, Japan’s beloved budget mid-engined car could be coming back with a spark.

Ford GT Geiger HP 790 packing serious power

November 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ford Geiger GT fq

Who the hell is GeigerCars? Well it’s a German company based in Munich that specialises mostly on importing good US built cars and making them even better.

The latest example of its handiwork is the Ford GT Geiger HP 790 which has been given a little more juice – 240 extra horsepower. The Ford GT Geiger HP 790 is still powered by the stock 5.4 litre V8 engine but has received a new 4.0 litre compressor, instead of the standard 2.3 litre, increasing pressure to 1.25 bars. The Ford GT Geiger HP 790 also comes with larger throttle valves, a sports air filter, revised engine and gear cooling systems and a re-programmed ECU. Creating overall power figures of 790 hp at 6320 rpm and 863 Nm of torque at 4600 rpm.

The top speed of the Ford GT Geiger HP 790 is a reckless 360 km/h and the car can get to 100 km/h in a scant 3.6 seconds, to 200 km/h in 6 seconds and to 300 km/h in 22.8 seconds.

The Ford GT Geiger HP 790 pricing hasn’t been announced yet but this sort of neck-snapping performance won’t come cheap.

Hyundai NZ launches updated Santa Fe

November 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hyundai Santa Fe Launch fq

Hyundai New Zealand officially launched its facelifted Santa Fe model at a special event yesterday.

The biggest change for the updated Santa Fe is the new R-Series engine and transmission.

“With over 30 percent more power and a 10 percent  reduction in fuel consumption, the R-Series engine now puts out more power than many rugged 4×4 utilities on the market –  the difference on the road is unbelievable’” says Hyundai Santa Fe Launch bothTom Ruddenklau, National Sales Manager Hyundai New Zealand.

Since its launch in 2000, more than two million Santa Fe’s have been sold globally and 4,260 here at home – that says a lot about the success and popularity of the model.  In New Zealand it’s been the number one selling diesel SUV for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 YTYD.  With the new model arriving and being better than ever before, that success is sure to continue.”

This 2010 Santa Fe has already proved itself in terms of fuel economy. It took Hyundai Santa Fe Launch ftop honours in the SUV class at the transcontinental Global Green Challenge recently; delivering less than six litres per 100 kilometres in the Australian outback.

The Santa Fe comes with a choice of three engines; the all-new 2.2 litre R-Series diesel engine which delivers 145 kW of power at 3800 rpm, and 436 Nm of torque at 1800 — 2500 rpm. The 2.4 litre Theta II MPI petrol engine which produces 128 kW at 6000 rpm and 226 Nm of torque at 3750 rpm and the 3.5 litre Lambda II MPI petrol engine producing 206 kW at 6300 rpm and 335 Nm of torque at 5000 rpm.

The R-Series diesel engine in particular is Hyundai’s newest and most advanced engine development. During its development Hyundai built over 500 prototype engines during the 42 month-long development period, encompassing a wide variety of performance and emissions tests and endurance assessments.

“The Santa Fe is the first of Hyundai’s models to have the new R-Series diesel engine fitted and proves Hyundai’s diesel development capabilities really are Hyundai Santa Fe Launch sworld-class. With diesels becoming cleaner and more fuel efficient all the time, there’s a growing demand for diesel power plants which Hyundai is working to meet,” says Ruddenklau.

New features on the 2010 Santa Fe include a proximity key with a push button start. Other new features include a reversing camera and rain sensing wipers, electric seats, and full i-pod connectivity.

Hyundai New Zealand continues its stance on safety standards across its range; the Santa Fe has an advanced Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) as well as Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), which applies the optimum pressure to individual brakes in all braking situations.

Retail pricing for the Santa Fe petrol models start at $52,990 and from $58,490 for the R-Series diesel model.

To find out more, click here to check out the Hyundai NZ website.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI goes auto in NZ

November 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru WRX STI A-Line 2010

Subaru has introduced an automatic version of its performance flagship, the Impreza WRX STI.

The Subaru Impreza WRX STI A-Line still comes with 221 kWs and 350 Nm of torque feeding through the five speed automatic gearbox.

“We’ve had customers asking for this car so we’ve brought in a limited initial run of vehicles and will take customer orders on this model,” said Graeme Woodlands, the Managing Director of Subaru New Zealand.

“It’s an excellent option for someone wanting the complete STI handling and performance package but who prefers a Sportshift Automatic driving experience.”

The transmission is similar to the one used in the Legacy GT, but re-programmed to make the most of the Impreza WRX STI’s added performance.

It can be used as a full automatic or gear changes can be made with the steering column mounted shift “paddles”.

In all other respects the car still provides a complete STI performance package with the low-slung boxer 2.5-litre turbocharged motor.

It will sell for $73,990, while the six-speed manual WRX STI spec.R is $72,990 and $67,990 for the standard WRX STI.

The WRX STI A-Line sits on 18-inch BBS alloy wheels with 245/40R18 tyres.

In the cabin there is full leather upholstery, highlighted with cherry red piping and the STI logo. The driver’s seat has eight-way electrical adjustment and both front seats are heated.

Cruise control, alloy sport’s pedals, electroluminescent instrumentation, trip computer, and remote central locking are all standard. Keyless entry and push button start are also standard.

Other features include Brembo brakes with four piston calipers at the front with ABS and EBD operation.

There are Xenon headlights with washers and an automatic levelling system, rear diffuser and spoiler and side skirts.

The Impreza WRX STI A-Line comes with the DataDot security system, an engine immobilizer and separate alarm system.  These security features have been highly effective in preventing theft of WRX STI models.

To find out more click here to visit the Subaru NZ website.

See Schumacher’s Ferrari F1 car next week

November 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari F2004 F1 car

If you’re a Ferrari Formula 1 fan and you want to see a real ex-Formula 1 Ferrari F2004 in the flesh, now is your chance. Driven by seven-times Formula Champion, Michael Schumacher, this version is the model from the 2004 season that won 15 of 18 Grand Prixs (13 at the hands of Michael Schumacher, and 2 at the hand of Rubens Barrichello).

Since being stationed at Te Papa for a few months, the good folk at Bridgestone have decided to shift the F2004 about before it’s strapped into a container and sent back home.

The final two opportunities to see what a Formula 1 car is made of are as follows:

* Tuesday, December 1 — 10.30am to 2.30pm — Firestone, 111 Wairau Rd, Glenfield
* Friday, December 4 — 10.30am to 2.30pm — Firestone, 26 Subway Rd, Pukekohe

If you’re in these areas, we recommend you swing by and grab a quick glance.

Ford Territory Ghia Turbo 2009 Review

November 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Ford Territory has been around since 2004 and has received a recent facelift for its 2009 model year. The Territory was once a popular benchmark vehicle in its segment and this latest measure is set to extend its lifespan. So is it simply a weathered old gunslinger that’s been given a new hat and holster and sent back out to fight? Or does the updated Territory have some new tricks and shining spurs? Car and SUV headed west in the range-topping Territory Turbo to test its mettle.

With extensive changes and the introduction of a turbo-diesel engine scheduled for next year, this is a modest facelift. In terms of exterior aesthetics, changes include a new front bumper, upper and lower grilles, colour coded exterior mirrors and new head and taillights. The Territory Turbo retains the aggressive bonnet scoop and in Ghia trim receives special 18-inch rims. When compared to the latest 2009 batch of SUVs the Territory is showing its age. However, it remains a smart and purposefully styled vehicle with a distinctive shape.

It’s in the cabin where the Territory turbo boasts some serious new gear. Now included as standard specification is a handy third row of seating, reverse parking camera, rear privacy glass, side steps and an Alpine DVD system for back seat passengers.  The seats have also been updated with quality leather and are wide and very comfortable. Gauges and switchgear are sensibly laid out but the multifunction display screen can look cluttered and difficult to read. The silver and black trim works in well together and while some materials feel a touch cheap it’s all screwed together strongly. Cabin space is superb with decent legroom all round. Overall, the Territory interior is a pleasant place to be, but car styling has shifted forward and although the standard equipment list is impressive the dated dash and instruments aren’t.

When it comes to what’s packed in under the bludging bonnet, the updated Territory has no major mechanical changes. Some small tweaks to the powertrain have resulted in a slight fuel economy improvement but engine specs and performance figures remain unchanged. That said, Ford knows you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and the Territory turbo is still packing some serious firepower. Making use of its turbocharged 4-litre 6-cylinder engine the top-spec Territory puts out a whacking 245kW of power and 480Nm of torque. This brutish unit will take the Territory from standing to 100kmh in around 7 seconds and easily embarrass most other SUV drivers. It’s a motor that has strength through the range but it’s low down torque that gives it real character.

Mated to a smart six-speed auto transmission the Territory works itself competently through the gears and if you want to get hands-on there’s a tiptronic shifting option. Fuel economy is quoted at 14.2L/100km combined, which is fairly high, and if you want to have some fun and wind up the turbo, fuel bills will increase simultaneously.

Like the powertrain there has been no changes to the chassis or suspension set-up for the facelifted Territory but car-like drivability remains a strength for the vehicle. Despite it’s burly 2-tonne weight and high centre of gravity it’s surprisingly agile on twisty roads and easily manoeuvrable around town. But take it off the tarmac and it may struggle, with 235/55 R18 tyres and a clearance of just 179mm the Territory is undoubtedly better suited for sealed roads. In wet conditions the Territory feels sure-footed with ample grip thanks to its full-time 4WD system and wide track.

Ride quality is very good with little in the way of engine or wind noise entering the cabin. The suspension is set on the firm side for an SUV but only the most broken of Kiwi roads will prove uncomfortable for occupants.

Safety credentials check out with a posse of airbags including curtains waiting to shoot. ABS brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control and a dynamic stability control system are also all standard fare on the Territory Turbo.

Overall, the Territory Turbo is still a very good performance orientated SUV with a strong motor, solid safety and keen driving dynamics. The facelift for 2009 is more an exercise in adding value by increasing standard equipment than making any major changes. Some buyers will be tempted by the added gear from the facelift but most will understandably wait for 2010 when the Territory range is fully updated in earnest and styling is properly refreshed. For now, when the cards get shown the Territory Turbo is still holding a full house, it’s just all the other players have moved on to the next saloon.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: $67,990

What we like:

  • Strong Torquey engine
  • Car-like driving dynamics
  • Lengthy equipment list

What we don’t like:

  • Minimal updates
  • Fuel consumption
  • Dated styling inside and out

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Ford Territory Ghia Turbo (2009) – Specifcations


Cylinders 6
Displacement (cc) 3984
Power – maximum (DIN) 245kW @ 5,250rpm
Torque – maximum (DIN ) 480Nm @ 2,000rpm


Adaptive Shift/ Tiptronic 6FA

Towing Capacity

Braked – Standard 1,600
Braked – Heavy duty 2,300
Unbraked 1,000


Front – Virtual Pivot Control Link
Rear – Control blade independent


Power-Assisted Steering
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 11.4
Turns to lock 3.0

Wheels & Tyres

Wheel size 18″
Wheel type 5 spoke alloy
Tyre size 235/55 R18
Spare wheel 17″ alloy

Luggage Capacity

Volume – Luggage behind second row seats (L) 1,153

Vehicle Masses kg

Axle load rating – front maximum 1,290
Axle load rating – rear maximum 1,530
Gross combination mass (GCM) 4,850
Gross vehicle mass (GVM) 2,690
Kerb mass 2,173
Payload – maximum 517

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