Holden Commodore Omega 2010 Review

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Commodore Omega has long been seen as the budget base model brother to the rest of the range. A true fleet special used by sales reps and the Police to help make sales calls or collar crooks. Being used in this capacity probably won’t change for the Omega but what has changed is the addition of a new engine and gearbox for the 2010 model year. Is this update enough to push the Omega further into the consciousness of the private car buyer? Car and SUV spent a week searching for evidence with the upgraded Holden Omega.

The 2010 updates to the Commodore range are all about the new powertrains and the Omega has benefitted from a new six-cylinder engine. Codenamed LF1 the new motor has a 3.0-litre capacity and a 210kW power output with 290Nm of torque. It’s a modern bent-six and is equipped with Holden’s fancy Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) system that directly injects fuel into the combustion chamber. The result is more power from less fuel.

Compared to the outgoing engine there is a power increase of 10kW but a 20Nm drop in torque because of the new units smaller capacity. Anyone who thinks this will make evading the Police easier is mistaken because the new engine has some pace and accelerates the Omega smoothly and with strength. It’s also very flexible, remaining well mannered in stop start traffic but still capable of decent mid-range grunt making for confident overtaking at open road speeds.

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Great Wall X240 2010 Review

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

As a nation China has presented the world with many great gifts. These include the compass, fireworks and Jackie Chan. But when it comes to the automotive realm China’s contributions have been limited, a fact that could be changing. There are currently over one hundred car manufacturers operating in China, a number that should prove too large even for a country of mammoth numbers. As these companies jostle for sales it was inevitable that the keen players would glance toward international markets and ultimately find their way down to NZ. One of the first to travel the waves and attempt to make them here is Great Wall Motors and one of its initial offerings is the X240 SUV. Car and SUV climbed aboard the X240 to see what this new vehicle is all about and just how well it stacks up against Japanese opposition.

The first questions most Kiwis ask about this pioneering Chinese vehicle is: How much does it cost and what do you get? The answers at first seem equally elementary. It costs $28,990, and you get loads of stuff. While that doesn’t tell the whole story, perceived value for money is the key to the Great Wall sales pitch and it’s the X240’s most defining characteristic.

The X240 is a compact 4WD SUV and with sub $30K pricing undercuts smaller 2WD SUV’s and is up to $20,000 cheaper than many rivals offering similar specification levels.

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2011 Porsche Cayenne photos and details released

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Following leaked images onto the internet the all-new 2011 Porsche Cayenne has now been officially revealed ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The second-generation Porsche SUV is set to go on sale in Europe from May and will offer more room, improved technology, and increased performance but most notably significantly less weight and fuel consumption.

Every model in the Cayenne range from the entry-level V-6 to the top-spec Turbo will have improved performance while using less fuel and producing fewer emissions than the previous generation.

The big news is undoubtedly the Cayenne S Hybrid, which features an advanced parallel hybrid drive system that combines a supercharged 333 horsepower 3.0-litre gasoline V-6 engine with a 47 horsepower electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries. The combined result is a V-8 like 380 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque, which is available from a low-down at 1,000 rpm. With correct driving conditions, either the supercharged V-6 or electric motor can operate independently or together. This means that the Cayenne S Hybrid can cover short distances running solely on electric power alone, up to speeds of 70kph.

In terms of the gasoline-only Cayennes, Porsche are claiming that on average they are 23% more fuel-efficient than the current Cayenne range, although no official fuel economy figures have been released yet.

When it comes to power the figures are tidy, the base Cayenne with a 3.6-litre V-6 engine will get 300 horsepower, while the Cayenne S gets 400 horsepower from its 4.8-litre V-8 unit. The king-pin Cayenne Turbo stays with a twin-turbocharged 4.8-litre V-8 engine and 500 horsepower.

All Cayennes will be offered with an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission as standard. A low-speed transfer case has been dropped, making the new Cayenne even more of an on-road vehicle than the outgoing model. A stop-start system and thermal management of the engine and transmission are also set to help improve fuel economy.

While there isn’t a massive power increase for the new Cayenne it does weigh on average 180kg less than its predecessor. The weight saving has come from a new construction processes the increased use of aluminum and the removal of the two-speed transfer case.

In terms of size, the Cayenne is grown slightly in length and wheelbase.

Sales of the Cayenne in New Zealand begin on July 24. Initial models to go on sale will be the Cayenne S, S Hybrid and Turbo. These will be joined later by the V6 Diesel and V6 Petrol models.

New Zealand specification and pricing is still yet to be confirmed and will be announced nearer to the arrival date.

Pagani Zonda Tricolore tribute car revealed

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Pagani is getting all patriotic with its latest special edition Zonda called the Tricolore.

What’s expected to be the final incarnation of the hyper-exotic-car Zonda before the new C9 model reaches production, the Tricolore edition honors the Italian air force aerobatics team, known as the Frecce Tricolori.

Based on the Zonda Cinque, the Tricolore’s body is constructed entirely from a unique carbon-titanium weave which is mixed with a blue lacquer. Red, white and green striping runs from the nose along the top of the car’s surface.

Other exterior mods include LED running lights which are unique to the Tricolore. This special version is set to be very exclusive with only one example being produced and Pagani isn’t going to gift it to the Italian air force, instead it will sell for 1.3 million euros.

The Tricolore is ready to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, till then check out some images in the gallery below.

End of the road for Hummer as sale falls through

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

General Motors has announced that the proposed deal with China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co., Ltd. for the sale of Hummer has collapsed and as a result the brand will be wound down.

The deal with Tengzhong had been on the table for months and was expected to secure more than 3,000 American jobs in manufacturing, engineering and at Hummer dealerships in the States. The proposed transaction also included plans by the Chinese machinery company to fully fund new Hummer products, including a compact H4 model.

The sale required Chinese government approval which put the skids on early. That, combined with poor sales, growing public concern for the environment and the recession all added up to weaken the chances of a successful Hummer sale. Now the once iconic brand is back on death row.

GM will continue to honour Hummer warranties, while providing service support and spare parts to all current owners globally.

Mansory uses ugly stick on Rolls-Royce Ghost

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

German tuners Mansory are hell-bent on proving that no one can destroy the understated charm of the Rolls-Royce Ghost as well as them. Painted in gold and blue, the car is designed to attract the eye of customers in the United Arab Emirates, Middle East, and parts of Eastern Europe.

While the rest of the world is left asking why, they will still take notice of the performance upgrades on offer. Horsepower is pushed up by over 26% to a massive 710 hp from the standard 562 hp, and torque is increased from 780 Nm to 1,020 Nm. These figures are achieved by larger turbos, a sports manifold, new catalysers, and a remapped computer.

The upgrades have lead to a 0-100 km/h sprint time of just 4.4 seconds, shaving a half-second off the same measure for the stock Ghost. The Mansory Ghost can apparently hit a top speed of 310 km/h.

New blinging monoblock wheels measure 9×22 at the front and 10.5×22 in the back. The gold wheels are shod in Dunlop SP SportMaxx tires. If you can ever look further than the paintwork other exterior mods include changes to the front, side, and rear skirting. A new spoiler and exhaust system has also been fitted.

Interior appointments include quilted leather, suede roof liner, and trick LED lighting. There is bamboo trim inside that is matched on the steering wheel.

The Mansory Rolls Royce Ghost is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in the next few days. Get your order in later this year.

Kate Walsh Extended Cadillac CTS Commercial

February 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Both Kate Walsh Cadillac Commercials in onr

McLaren MP4-12C reaches final testing stage (+video)

February 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

McLaren is now in the final phase of development for its upcoming supercar the McLaren MP4-12C . The company with the Kiwi connection are set to announce official performance details on their new prototypes next month, leading to the car’s global launch next year.

McLaren has released a video showing the car in testing and refers to each vehicle as an “experimental prototype,” or XP for short. Shown in the vid are cars named the XP8 and XP10, camouflaged behind matte black vinyls. These vehicles began road testing five weeks ago, according to the video.

In the four-minute long video, the cars can be seen moving freely around roads near Montblanc, Spain, and on the race track.

The MP4-12C is to use an updated version of the McLaren M838T twin-turbo engine, and a gearbox with optimised ratios.¨¨ McLaren claims that not a minute goes by that the XPs prototypes are not tested. The company has a team of about 25 engineers working on the car in shifts 24/7.

It must be a tough job thrashing a Supercar prototype around rural roads in Spain, so all credit to the brave engineers involved.

Check out the video below it’s a good watch.

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