Gordon Murray reveals his strange T.25 city car

June 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Famous and respected Formula One race car and supercar designer Gordon Murray has finally revealed his latest creation, the T.25 city car. Murray who gained fame for his involvement in the iconic McLaren F1 project, has spent the last two years working on this interesting project and the result is one unique looking micro machine.

Measuring 2.4 meters length, 1.3 meters in width and 1.5 meters in height, the T.25 is smaller than Smart’s minuscule Fortwo, but that hasn’t stopped Murray from fitting in three seats in a McLaren F1-style 1+2 layout with the driver taking the centre position. If you’re riding solo the two passenger seats can be folded down to create a very usable luggage capacity of 720 litres.

Rather than use traditional doors, Murray opted to make the entire front section of the T.25 pivot forward to allow a ceremonious entry into the car.

Power for the city car comes from a 660cc three-cylinder engine located in the vehicle’s rear. It outputs 51hp at 7,000 rpm and 57Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and is mated to a five-speed semi-automatic transmission.

Tipping the scales at around 575kg, the T.25 doesn’t have much to offer in terms of performance and completes the zero to 100km/h sprint in a leisurely 16.2 seconds and has a limited top speed of 145km/h. Fuel economy however is impressive with the T.25 achieving an estimated 3.8 lt/100km combined consumption.

If everything goes to plan, Murray is aiming to have the T.25 ready for production by 2012.

VW Golf R boosted to 246kW by Sport-Wheels

June 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

You couldn’t exactly describe the performance of the Volkswagen Golf R as sluggish, but that hasn’t stopped brazen German tuning firm “Sport-Wheels” from further enhancing the performance credentials of VW’s hottest hatch.

The tuning shop has taken output from the standard 270-horsepower and 350Nm of peak torque to 330HP and 450Nm. Getting that much more power from the R wasn’t hard and all it took was a recalibrated ECU as well as a custom sport exhaust system for the car’s 2.0-litre TSI engine.

A sport suspension and lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels from O.Z. cloaked in 235/30 R20 tyres are also included in the package. For those who want to go against the subtlety of the Golf R and shout out how badass it really is, then ‘Sport-Wheels’ also offers an optional loud decal set.

To read a Car and SUV review of the VW Golf R, click here.

2011 Renault Wind convertible hits foreign streets

June 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Renault debuted its quirky Wind coupe-convertible at the Geneva Motor Show back in March this year, but now that it’s thenorthern hemisphere Summer it has hit the streets. It’s a stocky little machine at just over 12.5 feet long and in terms of size and purpose its closest competitor is likely to be the upcoming Mini Roadster and Coupe. To cover it up in poor conditions, Renault has gone with a hardtop, but not the complex, multi-piece unit type found in other European vehicles. Similar to a system used by Ferrari, the roof panel simply rotates back 180 degrees and stows flat under the rear deck.

This cleverly simple top design allows the Wind to retain decent boot space, even with the top down. The only real downside is the very high rear deck lid that means over-the-shoulder visibility looks to be all but non-existent.

Motivation to the front wheels comes from a choice of inline-four cylinder engines. The TCe 100 is a 1.15-litre turbocharged unit that delivers 100 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque while the 1.6-litre normally aspirated mill cranks out 133 hp and 118 lb-ft. The two powerplants deliver 6.3 and 7 litres per 100km respectively. With a total weight under 1,200 kg performance could be sharp even with the small engines.

Bing Navigation in Action

June 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Here’s a video of this morning’s Bing for Windows Mobile beta upgrade that adds free text-to-speech voice prompt navigation instructions.

Mini refreshes model range for 2011

June 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The second generation of BMW’s modern Mini has been tearing up the streets for a couple of years now and it has just received a subtle refresh. With the exception of the newly introduced Countryman crossover, the remainder of Mini’s lineup including the hatchback, Clubman and convertible models has received a subtle facelift with fresh styling updates and new diesel engines for the 2011 model year.

All variants of the Mini have been given a new front bumper design to refresh the face and improve pedestrian protection by larger deformation zones, new light elements in the headlamps, redesigned side gill housings with indicators, restyled rear bumpers and LED tail lights now on all models. There are five new paint colors on the Mini pallete and fresh alloy wheel designs to choose from.

Inside, there are redesigned controls for the centre console, steering wheel, air conditioning and audio systems. There are new materials and colours including six new upholstery choices, and two new interior color lines for door cards and side panels.

Sitting under the bonnet, there’s an all-new 1.6-litre diesel engine that shares the same internals and variable turbine geometry as BMW’s 2.0-litre diesel units. When used in the Mini, it will be offered with two output ratings – 90HP in the Mini One D and 112HP in the Cooper D.

The diesel engine will also feature for the first time in the Mini Convertible.

The refreshed 2011 Mini will go on sale globally from September.

Holden to return to full production in November

June 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Things are all going well at Holden where it’s just been announced that employees will return to a full-strength shift pattern at its Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia from the 15 November 2010.

Holden Manufacturing Operations Executive Director Martyn Cray said Holden was pleased to confirm the end of the temporary single shift arrangement. “Our team was relieved to hear the news today. The last 18 months have been very tough for our industry, but bringing back a second shift and returning employees to full time work is an important step in rebuilding our manufacturing business,” he said.

“There is already a huge amount of work going on at the plant including equipment installation and the building of pilot vehicles for our new locally built Cruze. We are also gearing up for the new Series II Commodore which will be launched in the coming months.”

Holden introduced the single shift in April last year to protect jobs during the global financial crisis which saw a reduction in demand for Holden export volume by around 50,000 units. Under the reduced shift pattern employees would alternate work — ranging from one week on, one week off, to one week off in twelve.

“We also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their contribution, flexibility and commitment to Holden during this challenging time. Support from everyone, including
the Unions, our suppliers and the Federal and South Australian Governments has allowed us to rebuild the business and be sustainable for the long term,” Mr Cray said.

The second shift will return all employees who remain on alternating working patterns back to full time employment in November. Holden also anticipates hiring a small number of employees to support the second shift in the short term with the potential to increase employment further when demand significantly increases in the longer term.

To read a Car and SUV review of the Holden Cruze, click here.

Toyota working on new MR2 and Supra models

June 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The rumors are back again that Toyota is getting busy developing a new MR2 and a hybrid Supra. This type of Toyota-based speculation isn’t new but it may have some traction now with hybrid sales on a upswing and the idea of a V6 hybrid sports car seeming more realistic. Apparently the vehicle to mark the grand return of the Supra is being developed alongside the FT-86, a car that appears to be constantly delayed. The most optimistic date for seeing either car will be 2013.

Apparently the MR2 will get a 1.5-litre hybrid set-up, following the lead of the now popular-in-Japan Honda CRZ, which itself was the claimed rebirth of the CR-X. According to the recent reports, the MR2  was the pet project of Hiromu Naruse, Toyota’s chief test driver. Unfortunately, Naruse died last week while testing another one of his projects, the Lexus LFA (read news). With it being only in a planning stage and having lost its leader, the new MR2 will most likely be on hold once again.

Audi R8 Spyder ‘Beauty and the Beasts’

June 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Directed by Sam Brown from Rogue Films it uses 24 precision drivers, 22 heavily modified ‘beast cars’, 2 R8 Spyders (just in case) and two pieces of music.

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