Jaguar C-X75 electric supercar concept unveiled in Paris

September 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The new Jaguar C-X75 concept vehicle has been officially unveiled at this year’s Paris Motor Show and it is one special beast. Continuing to commemorate the brand’s 75th anniversary, the Jaguar C-X75 concept is powered by four electric motors, one for each wheel. If that’s not ultra-modern enough, there are micro gas-turbines that generate electricity for the batteries. The two gas-turbines can generate as much as 140kW of power offering the “range-extended electric supercar” a range of up to 900km.

In total the Jaguar C-X75 develops 800 bhp and a stomach-turning 1200 lb-ft of torque. With this massive serve of raw power, the Jaguar C-X75 is able to shift from standing to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds and up to a top speed of 330km/h. Good times. Apparently the concept can run on just its batteries for around 100km before the twin turbines engage and extend the range to it’s full 900km.

Naturally the C-X75 is built with the help of lightweight aluminum construction techniques and features active aerodynamics, including a complex underbody Venturi system.

Inside, the seats are fixed in place, with the steering wheel, instruments and pedals moving to accommodate the driver. Three high-res TFT screens present driver information, with readouts and displays changeable between all of the screens

Jaguar hasn’t announced whether or not it will put the Jaguar C-X75 concept into production, but it’s fairly clear this is a pure concept vehicle with little to no production consideration. However, it may feature some technologies the iconic carmaker will use in its next 75 years.

Check out images of the Jaguar C-X75 in the gallery below. Continue reading “Jaguar C-X75 electric supercar concept unveiled in Paris” »

Lexus NZ to add IS350 to growing model range

September 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus New Zealand will add the IS350 sedan to its IS line here in NZ late next year.

The IS350 features a quad-cam 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine, mated to a six-speed sequential transmission. It produces 233kW of power and 378Nm of torque, and propels the 2011 IS350 from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds.

This new model further expands the IS line which includes the 2.5 litre IS250 sedan, the 5.0 litre V8 IS F and the IS250 convertible which was launched only last year.

Lexus National Manager, Debbie Pattullo said, “The IS350 is a great addition to the IS Line. It is positioned nicely between the IS250 and the performance flagship IS F, further strengthening Lexus’ performance credentials. We have no doubt that the IS350 will be a very popular vehicle and we are very excited about its launch in New Zealand.  IS350, along with CT200h, will continue to grow Lexus’ product range and our appeal to drivers.”

Full specifications and pricing for the New Zealand IS350 will be confirmed closer to the time of launch in 2010.

NZ to drop brainless ‘left turn give way’ rule

September 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Most of us can relate to this scenario – you’re turning left in your car but you must give way to a little old lady in her Honda Jazz turning right, then you sit behind her going 40kph and get all angry and frustrated. Been there? Well that’s going to become a thing of the past with the brainless left turn give way rule to be banished into oblivion.

But before you go cutting nanas off all round town, relax because unfortunately the law isn’t set to change till 2012. Yesterday, Transport Minister Steven Joyce told the masses that the confusing give way rules for turning vehicles are set to be changed.

The way things currently stand the left-turning traffic has to give way to right-turning traffic coming towards it. Under the changes announced today, this would be flipped around so the left turning vehicle would have right of way.

There are also changes planned to the rules at T-intersections, which no one really understands or obeys anyway. With the changes at T-intersections, where two cars are turning right, the car turning off the main road would have right of way – like most of us already do anyway.

Transport main man Mr Joyce had this to say “Our current give way rules for turning vehicles are confusing and out of step with the rest of the world. Research shows changing the rules could reduce relevant intersection crashes by 7 per cent.”

So finally New Zealand’s give way rule which was introduced back in 1977 is going to be ditched. It’s about time considering New Zealand is the only country in the world with this odd priority rule.

In early 2012 the changes should come into effect. Expect a extensive and dull public service advertising campaign telling us all exactly what to do and not to do before then.

Porsche records highest turnover in its history

September 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche announced yesterday that this year it has achieved the highest turnover in the company’s long history. It’s an amazing result and bucks the trend of falling sales on luxury vehicles that many automakers have experienced. According to Porsche’s preliminary figures, the German company had a growth of 17.9 percent to 7.79 billion Euros this year. Porsche’s sales this year have also risen by 8.8 percent to 81,850 (previous year: 75,238) vehicles.

Porsche’s success can be attributed to more than just an expanded model range with significant growth in sales experienced outside the European and North American markets. Other markets accounted for 25.8 percent growth to 25,283 vehicles. With 11,724 units being sold in the growing Chinese market alone.

Porsche’s success was generated in part by the new model Cayenne and Panamera but the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S have also chipped in and boosted sales.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Porsche Panamera (pictured).

Lexus confirms CT200h hybrid hatch for New Zealand

September 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus New Zealand has just confirmed that the all-new CT200h hybrid hatchback will launch into the New Zealand market. Due on sale early next year, the CT200h will become the fourth Lexus hybrid model available in New Zealand.

Lexus National Manager, Debbie Pattullo said, “CT200h is the most significant Lexus vehicle since the introduction of the IS250, and will bring a whole new range of customers to the brand.”

The CT200h will be New Zealand’s only full hybrid luxury hatchback, featuring a 1.8 litre petrol-electric hybrid drive train with a high performance battery. The CT200h is expected to deliver CO2 emissions of just 96g/km.

Preliminary fuel consumption figures are an anticipated 4.1 litres per 100km in combined cycle driving.

The CT200h has four driving modes. Normal mode is for everyday motoring, ensuring a smooth linear throttle response, while Sport mode provides a more responsive throttle, and modifies the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) settings to give a faster response to driver inputs. Continue reading “Lexus confirms CT200h hybrid hatch for New Zealand” »

HSV to use Cruze platform for 4-cylinder high performance model

September 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Special Vehicles over the ditch has recently confirmed that it will be adding a 4-cylinder turbocharged model to join the beefy V8s in its range.

After discontinuing the Astra-based VXR, HSV has no models smaller than the Commodore and has decided to develop the Holden Cruze platform for much greater performance.

HSV’s big cheese Phil Harding confirmed that the company was investigating adding a performance-tuned Cruze to its line-up, but he wouldn’t offer any solid technical details on the forthcoming model.

Rumours are that HSV’s Cruze will be based on the locally-built model that’s set to enter production at Holden’s South Australian plant in 2010.

What isn’t known is if HSV’s small car offering will be based on the sedan or hatchback version of the Cruze (both of which will be built in Australia), but the sedan’s greater structural rigidity may see it go ahead. The hatchback (pictured in Chevrolet form), however, may look sharper and be more direct replacement for the now-discontinued Astra VXR.

In terms of engine and power there’s no official word yet but HSV is likely to draw from one of GM’s new breed of small-displacement direct-injection turbocharged engines, ranging from a 104kW 1.4-litre to a 200kW 2.0-litre. The Delta-platformed Astra VXR utilises a turbocharged 2.0 litre inline four developing 177kW, so there’s plenty of potential for decent power.

Suspension will be modified to improve handling, but HSV could stay with the Cruze’s rear beam axle set-up or shift to the Euro-market Astra’s independent rear suspension.

Styling will naturally be injected with more excitement for HSV’s Cruze, with new bumpers, larger wheels and body kits making it stand out.

A launch date hasn’t been announced, but with Australian production of the Holden Cruze scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2010, HSV’s small car may make an appearance mid to late next year.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the HSV VXR.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Holden Cruze Sedan.

Blow up the balloons – the airbag turns 30

September 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s probably one anniversary you can afford to forget, but that doesn’t make it any less important – the airbag has turned 30. Daimler is officially celebrating the airbag’s 30th anniversary and wants to tell everyone about it.

Three decades ago, the very first production car with the life-saving safety tech rolled off the production line, this began an industry-wide push for ever safer vehicles. That first airbag-equipped car was an S-Class sedan, and Mercedes-Benz claims it put a grand total of 13 years of research and development into the project before it even hit the street.

Thirty years later the airbag has saved over 28,000 lives since the technology was first introduced — and that’s just in U.S.A. These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle without at least some form of airbag, and Mercedes-Benz says that all of its products have featured a standard driver airbag since 1992. Blow up the balloons and pop the champagne.

Suzuki releases Swift SR7 Special Edition into NZ market

September 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki NZ has just announced a new limited edition version of its ever-popular Swift to be introduced into the New Zealand market.

The SR7 Special Edition adaption of the Swift five-door hatchback celebrates an unbroken record of leading sales in the small car category. The Swift was highest selling super-mini for the fourth successive year in 2009 and has continued its number one position on the local market this year.

Based on the 1.5-litre Swift GLX model with six airbags, the new SR7 model includes a number of special features as standard. A black spoiler and skirting kit is included with special wheel arch mouldings, side body skirts, and door mouldings featuring.

Filling the wheel arches are 17-inch diameter MAK7 aluminium alloy road wheels finished with a liquid smoke background. These special wheels are shod with Bridgestone MY01 205/40 low profile R17 tyres.

Available with the choice of a 5-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission, the Swift is also given SR7 body graphics and an optional rear upper spoiler is available to special order.

Suzuki is offering the SR7 in seven colours – Bluish Black, Azure Grey, Pearly White, Shiny Green, Supreme Red, Silky Silver and Kashmir Blue Pearl Metallic.

“The SR7 represents outstanding value, with $4,000 worth of accessories as standard and a retail price similar to the Swift GLX model,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

“With its youthful good looks and responsive handling, the Swift has become something of an icon and the SR7 adds an extra slice of attitude,” he said. “The added enhancements make this latest Swift stand out from the crowd but production numbers will be limited.”

In manual form, the Swift SR7 goes on sale at a recommended on-road price of $22,500, with a $1,490 premium for the automatic variant.

Manual transmission SR7 models are fitted with a Coby sports rear muffler.

The SR7 is additional to the Swift range which also includes XE, GLX, Sport, RS Limited and Limited versions.

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