Porsche pulls covers off Panamera Turbo S – NZ bound

March 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche has officially unveiled it’s new top-spec Panamera Turbo S before it’s scheduled reveal at the New York Auto Show. The Turbo S is set to be the most powerful and quickest version of the Panamera to date and features a host of mechanical and styling upgrades.

The 4.8 litre, V8 twin turbocharged engine now delivers 410 kW – an increase of 10 per cent or 37 kW over the already very powerful engine in the Panamera Turbo. At the same time, torque also increases from 700 to 750 Nm. In the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” mode and during kick-down in normal mode a full 800 Nm is available through ‘overboost.’

With Launch Control (part of the standard Sport Chrono Package Turbo) the 0-100 km/h sprint takes just 3.8 seconds and top speed is a reckless 306 km/h. Porsche says that despite the increased performance, fuel consumption remains at a similar level to the Panamera Turbo. Official figures are 11.5 L / 100 kms combined falling to 11.3 L / 100 kms when fitted with the optional 19 inch, all-season Michelin tyres with optimised rolling resistance.

The increased performance compared with the Panamera Turbo is due to two main enhancements:

Improved turbochargers with titanium-aluminium turbine wheels and modified engine control. The use of the innovative titanium-aluminium alloy reduces the weight of the turbine and compressor wheel. This results in a lower moment of inertia and therefore improved engine responsiveness. Continue reading “Porsche pulls covers off Panamera Turbo S – NZ bound” »

Audi builds five-millionth A4 model

March 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

If you like it or you don’t the Audi A4 is still a car that deserves respect especially now that five million of the model have been produced.

Audi built the milestone model at its plant in Ingolstadt, the car was a 2.0 TFSI Quattro variant in Misano Red.

Five million cars is a huge number with the A4 helped by a variety of body shapes including a wagon, sedan and the CUV-styled Allroad model. There is also higher-spec options like the Quattro all-wheel-drive system and sports variants.

The A4 is currently in its fourth generation and is known as the B8, which represents a continuation of the Audi 80 lineage. The first A4 was designated as the B5-series, followed by the B6, B7, and the current B8. Continue reading “Audi builds five-millionth A4 model” »

2012 Nissan GT-R smashes old model’s Nürburgring record (+video)

March 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan has just released a video of its upgraded 2012 GT-R breaking its existing record on the Nürburgring-Nordschliefe track.

The video is in Japanese so it’s a good chance to brush up on your skills and we also get to see the full 7 minutes and 24.22 seconds of the GT-R’s track run from inside the cabin. Porsche, as always have been quick to point out that the GT-R’s new time is still slower than its 911 GT2 RS, which ‘apparently’ comes in at 7m and 18 seconds. It also costs tens of thousands dollars more.

The 2012 Nissan GT-R comes packing a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 engine and produces 395 kW of power and 661 Nm of torque. It can achieve the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 3 seconds flat, but the GT-R’s launch control function is needed to get that figure.

The 2012 GT-R beats the 2011 model’s track time of 7 minutes 26.7 seconds by almost 2.5 seconds and has huge amounts of grip through its all-wheel drive system. The GT-R’s chief designer Kazutoshi Mizuno also makes a cameo in the video so keep an eye out.

Check out the GT-R lapping the Nurburgring in the video below. Continue reading “2012 Nissan GT-R smashes old model’s Nürburgring record (+video)” »

Suzuki to unveil two new models at New York show

March 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Kizashi has been a success in the NZ market with steady sales and various automotive awards, but it hasn’t been as well received in all markets. Now, in a bid to renew interest and give the Kizashi fresh hype, Suzuki has announced it will be taking it “to the next level” at the New York Auto Show.

What does that mean? Well no one really knows yet but Suzuki will take two new concept models to next month’s New York show. No details have been released yet but many suspect Suzuki will reveal a production version of its Kizashi Turbo concept car which was first shown last year.

This special concept featured a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that produced 179kW of power and 330Nm of torque. The concept car got special treatment like a boot-mounted spoiler, a revised suspension set-up and 19-inch Enkei alloy wheels. If the turbo concept does go into production it will be a smooth move for Suzuki because a high-performance Kizashi would help build appeal for the whole range. Continue reading “Suzuki to unveil two new models at New York show” »

Volvo conducts extreme cold testing on C30 EV (+video)

March 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo has decided to address one of the biggest concerns for electric cars – how batteries behave in extreme cold weather.

The Sweedish carmaker is currently testing its C30 EV in Kiruna, Sweden (north of the arctic circle) in temperatures of around minus 20 degrees Celsius to see if the car’s batteries can maintain their power in the cold while the car’s heating systems keeps the passengers warm in the cabin. Sounds simple? Well it’s not really.

“We must ensure that the C30 Electric performs as intended when driving, parking and charging in a variety of conditions, from normal to very cold or hot,” says Volvo Cars’ director of special vehicles, Lennart Stegland.

The Volvo C30 EV is a clever machine and comes equipped with three climate systems. The first system heats or cools the battery pack as required to maintain its performance and the car’s range. The electric motor and electronics use a water-cooling system. But it all gets even smarter in the cabin where Volvo has fitted a bio-ethanol heater with a 14.5 litre tank so that the process of heating the cabin doesn’t drain energy from the battery and affect the C30 EV’s range. If there’s a problem the cabin climate system can also be run off the battery through a driver controlled function.

After the testing Volvo is confident that the C30 EV can maintain a driving range of around 80 km even in extreme cold weather conditions.

Check out a video of the Volvo C30 EV cold weather testing below.

Continue reading “Volvo conducts extreme cold testing on C30 EV (+video)” »

Audi releases R8 Spyder Brazilian road trip video

March 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Audi R8 is a stunning machine in anyone’s book and when it’s in Spyder V10 form it’s the dream car of many. Taking such a machine on a tour of Brazil would be a dream road trip for a lot of adventurous souls. Audi has recognised this and put its R8 Spyder against a Brazilian back-drop for a stylish and relaxed promotional video.

Take two minutes out of your day, sit back, crank up the volume, watch the video below and let yourself do some serious daydreaming. Continue reading “Audi releases R8 Spyder Brazilian road trip video” »

Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda

March 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to reports coming out of Fiat the first examples of its next-generation Panda city car will roll off the production line in Italy this November. The third generation of the Panda is preparing to  make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.

“We are on track in refurbishing Pomigliano, which will become a truly state-of-the-art plant when it begins production in November,” Fiat Group chief manufacturing officer Stefan Ketter said recently.

Originally the new Panda was to be built in the Tychy factory in Poland but last year Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the change. As part of the company’s “Fabbrica Italia” (Italian factory) plan, Panda production was moved to Italy to help boost Fiat productivity from around 650,000 units in 2010 to approximately 1.4 million cars in 2014.

Fiat has invested around €800 million to build the new Panda in Pomigliano. It’s a huge investment for Fiat considering the Italian factory in 2010 only produced around 30,000 units of the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan and sports wagon, plus the final examples of the 147 hatchback and GT sports coupe. Continue reading “Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda” »

What happens to Japan’s tsunami damaged cars?

March 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been impossible to miss the news coverage of the Japan earthquake and you’ve likely seen the damaging tsunami footage showing vehicles being thrown around like Matchbox cars. These written-off waterlogged vehicles number in the thousands, and the Japanese government is currently faced with a huge task in cleaning them all up.

How are they doing it? According to reports, Japanese workers are using construction equipment to lift the vehicles onto trucks, which then take the damaged cars and trucks to auto graveyards. These final resting places are located in the now-dry flooded plains in and around the quake zones. The vehicles are lined up in huge rows, with the license plates all facing the same direction so owners can recognise and locate their wrecked rides. The organised workers use a color-coated spray painting system that indicates whether the vehicle has a body in it that needs to be removed by the authorities. Grim stuff. Continue reading “What happens to Japan’s tsunami damaged cars?” »

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