News: Audi introduces new engine for the A5


A newly developed Turbo FSI petrol engine available for the Audi A5 provides the coupe with a choice blend of pace and efficiency. The new 211PS A5 2.0 TFSI can be ordered in either front-wheel-drive or quattro permanent all-wheel-drive forms.

The new high-tech 2.0-litre unit is derived from the already much praised 1.8 TFSI engine introduced recently in A3, A4 and A5 models, but takes its efficiency a step further still through the use of new Audi valvelift technology. By employing sliding cam units mounted on the intake camshaft that allow for more variation in the degree of valve lift, the engine is able to ‘breathe’ even more effectively, switching to a higher cam profile when strong acceleration is required, or a lower profile that requires less fuel and air compression when throttle usage is more relaxed.

The new 2.0-litre TFSI unit delivers 211PS from 4,300rpm and a very impressive 350Nm torque maximum from just 1,500rpm — more even than the 3.2-litre V6 FSI unit also powering A5 models. It enables the front-wheel-drive A5 2.0 TFSI with six-speed manual transmission to cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.9 seconds, reach a top speed of 260km/h and return up to 6.6 l/100km according to the combined cycle test.  And despite doing full justice in performance terms to the purposeful styling of the A5, it also shows restraint where emissions are concerned, with an output of 154g/km for the front-wheel-drive version.

Standard specification for front-wheel-drive and quattro all-wheel-drive versions of the new A5 2.0 TFSI includes xenon headlamps with trademark LED strip daytime running lamps, 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, 3-zone electronic climate control, a 10-speaker Concert CD audio system, full Milano leather upholstery and rear acoustic parking.

News: Smart Police switch to electric


Smart is helping the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) cut carbon emissions in London as they take part in the market trial of the fully electric, smart ed (electric drive).

Four versions of the low emission, two-seater car will be used in congested urban areas for routine police operations.  Two of the cars have Metropolitan Police livery and will be deployed in Central London and at Heathrow Airport.

The smart ed is powered solely by electricity and is charged using a standard three-pin plug. The car emits no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons or particulate matter. It is economical and can achieve the equivalent of around 300 miles per gallon.

The smart ed has a top speed of 60 mph and has a range of up to 70 miles in between charges. The car has all the safety equipment that customers expect: ABS, ESP, passenger and driver airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners.

Blogs: Fanging the TT-S around Pukekohe

Winter is a bit hit and miss with the weather and consequently, after doing probably more than 200 laps around Pukekohe, this was my first wet session on the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest track. I had a pretty sweet car to ‘circulate’ in as well: Audi’s brand spankers TT-S. 0-100 in 5.2 seconds, four-wheel drive, and a seven-speed DSG (oops, S tronic) gearbox courtesy of parent company Volkswagen sounds pretty appealing, and so it was that I took the passenger seat for a couple of familiarisation laps with racing driver Jody Vincent. Then it was my turn to press the pedal to the metal and challenge the ESP through the corners.

Four laps isn’t enough to get comfortable with fanging $100+k of vehicle in the wet with the barriers so close without being a racing driver myself – the last time I thrashed around Pukekohe in anger was a few years ago. Still, the TT-S hit nearly 220kph by the end of the back straight – not bad. But, driving at 220kph at Pukekohe never seems quick because it’s so wide and open. Driving the winding roads around Bombay and Buckland in the manual TT-S at 100kph was just as much fun, if not more!

News: Maserati Quattroporte gets a design refresh


After five years of success, with more than 15,000 cars delivered and 46 international awards, the Quattroporte is now being presented with a new look and new technical solutions.

The Pininfarina design team in charge of the design, created a fresher, more modern look for the new Quattroporte.

The two new models available are the Quattroporte and the Quattroporte S. The former is fitted with the familiar 4.2 litre 400 hp V8 engine, while the latter adopts the new 4.7 litre 430 hp V8 recently introduced on the GranTurismo S, with a different specification. Both cars feature the 6-speed automatic transmission developed in association with ZF.

The main styling changes are to the most recognisable features. First of all the front, where the new grille, with its vertical slats, is reminiscent of the GranTurismo. The front and rear light units are also updated, featuring LEDs.

On the side, the under-door moulding is more noticeable, with a line that runs into that of the new bumpers, which have a wider protective band and more pronounced rear styling.

The interior has a new centre console and the controls are grouped more closely together for even more convenient operation.

The car’s range of navigation systems is also fully updated, now comprising the New Maserati Multimedia System.

Two new shades of leather, Marrone Corniola (brown) and Sabbia (sand), replacing the beige which was previously in the range, debut on the Quattroporte S and Quattroporte respectively.

News: Students Against Driving Drunk seeking proposals for future direction

Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD), a peer education program which has been promoting awareness in schools of harm caused by drunk driving in New Zealand for over 20 years, is asking for submissions from individuals who would like to contribute to the direction of the organisation.

SADD will be running stakeholder workshops around New Zealand in July. Those interested in contributing to SADD or those who have been involved with SADD in the past are welcome to take part.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP by July 4 to

If you have enquiries, please contact Julie Soper

The dates are:

Auckland – Wednesday July 16, 9.30-11.30am, Rodney District Council, Orewa

Hamilton – Tuesday July 15, 9.30-11.30am, Hamilton City Council Reception lounge, Garden Place

Hawera Wednesday July 16, 11.30-1.30, council chambers, Taranaki District Council, Albion St Hawera

Napier Friday July 18, 11am-1pm, Pettigrew Green Arena Theatre, Gloucester St, Taradale

Wellington Friday July 18, 9am-11am, St John’s Church Hall, Corner of Willis and Dixon St

Christchurch Monday July 14 9am to 11am, Christchurch Community House, Hereford St

Dunedin, Tuesday July 15, 9.30am to 11.30am, Clifford Skeggs Gallery, Municipal Chambers, Octagon

Invercargill, Monday July 14, 10.30am-12.30pm, Council Chambers Committee Meeting Room, corner Forth and Clyde Streets

News: Porsche enters Trans-Siberian Rallye


Porsche Cars Great Britain will enter the gruelling Rallye Trans-Siberia in 2008. This is the second year that a UK team will participate in the event with the Cayenne S ‘Trans-Siberia’. The car will begin this extraordinary journey from Red Square in Moscow on July 11, and drive over 4347 miles, crossing the Ural, the Altai Mountains and passing the Gobi desert to finish in Ulaanbaatar — the capital city of Mongolia — on July 25.

The Porsche Cars Great Britain Cayenne S Trans-Siberia was the first to reach Mongolia in 2007, and to build on this record, the UK will be represented by professional rally driver, Martin Rowe, who will be joined by fellow rally driver and automotive engineer, Richard Tuthill, as co-driver and navigator.

Over the course of the Rallye, teams will drive on both tarmac and gravel surfaces, as well as sand and rugged off-road terrain, while the weather will also present tremendous challenge with every likelihood of flooded river crossings, high-altitude snow blizzards and scorching sand storms.

The sheer variety of terrain and climate that drivers will experience during the Rallye presents a formidable test and, in response to this, Porsche has further developed the special Trans-Siberia version of the Cayenne S. The upgrade for 2008 is mainly concentrated upon improving the off-road capabilities and optimising the suspension set-up. This includes an even stronger sump—guard, and front and rear panel modifications to allow a larger approach and departure angle when driving up and down slopes. The Cayenne S Trans-Siberia is also now fitted with new specification off-road tyres — BFGoodrich 265/65 R18.

Under the skin, the driver-oriented chassis of the Porsche Cayenne has been designed to combine sports car handling on the road with the added versatility of extreme agility off-road. The engine features direct petrol injection to provide more power and performance on less fuel, cutting petrol consumption by up to 15 per cent. Another highlight is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) featuring two active anti-­roll bars to almost completely eliminate body roll when cornering. The PDCC also delivers maximum axle articulation when driving off-road, serving to further improve the already superior traction offered by the electronically-controlled Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive transmission.
The Porsche Cayenne S Trans-Siberia model epitomises this breadth of ability. Built in a small series, each car comes with a variety of modifications including those specific all-terrain tyres, a safety roll cage, a shorter transmission final drive ratio, a transverse differential lock, a larger reinforced under-body protection, and strengthened track control arms on the front axle. At 385bhp (283kW), output of the 4.8-litre eight-cylinder petrol engine re­mains unchanged.

In total, more than 35 teams from 22 nations will be competing for the coveted prize of being the fastest to reach the chequered flag in Mongolia.

News: Citroen to debut new models at British Motorshow


There will be no less than 5 UK show debuts on the Citroën stand at this year’s British International Motorshow including, the C-Cactus – a concept car never before seen in the UK, the luxurious new Citroën C5 Tourer and C5 saloon, the fresh new version of the ever successful Berlingo Multispace, and the new look C2 supermini.

The C-Cactus, Citroën’s award-winning ecological hatchback, designed with minimalist values in mind, will be making its very first UK appearance. The innovative concept car combines affordable hybrid technology with recycled components and stands alongside Citroën’s other production models highlighting the Company’s commitment to designing environmentally friendly vehicles.

Citroën’s just launched, ultra modern C5 range will be making its UK Motorshow debut alongside the all new Berlingo Multispace MPV. Citroën will also be showcasing a selection of congestion-charge beating, low-CO2 vehicles, including the nippy C1 city car, the diesel hot-hatch C2 VTS HDi with a fresh new face and the 5-seat, family-sized C4 1.6HDi EGS.

Blogs: More mirth at the expense of an Australian

I mentioned yesterday that I’d given Assistant Ed Ben (6’3″, and an Australian), the tiny Smart Fortwo to drive around in. Well, the mirth gets better: the Smart has smartnewzealand written all over it, as a nice reminder that we are, perhaps. Though, Ben assures me that in Queensland they also have Smart Queensland license plates, or something like that, and everyone thinks they’re crap.

Anyway, here’s a smart tip. If you’re buying a secondhand older car take along a fridge magnet. Old cars that are prone to rust might be filled with bog, which isn’t magnetic, therefore if the magnet doesn’t stick it’s either plastic trim, or filler to repair rust. You couldn’t use this technique with the Smart Fortwo, though – all the body panels are plastic.