News: New Citroen C5 in New Zealand showrooms next Saturday


The new Citroen C5, which makes its debut in New Zealand show rooms on Saturday 6 September 2008 will be available only with advanced turbo diesel engines as the French car maker commits itself to using sophisticated technology to cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“The advanced diesel engines offered by Citroen in the new C5 offers all the performance, response and refinement required of car in the prestige category and, at the same time, use significantly less fuel and produces much lower levels of carbon dioxide,” says Lawrie Malatios, General Manager of Citroen in New Zealand. “Given this combination and the wider range of diesel engines in the new Citroen C5, switching to an all-diesel range was an easy choice.”

With the first generation C5, Citroen has been a standard-bearer for advanced diesel engines in New Zealand, with the diesel share of Citroen C5 sales quickly rising to 85 per cent as the new engines became available. The remaining petrol share was largely accounted for by the 3.0 litre V6 petrol engine, which had no diesel counterpart. In the new Citroen C5, Citroen now offers the new 2.7 litre Twin Turbo diesel V6 which, with 150kW and 440Nm of torque, offers the performance and responsiveness commensurate with a range topping model, combined with the fuel economy and emissions of much smaller petrol engines.

The new Citroen C5 is available with two body styles – saloon and Tourer. The range opens with the 2.0 HDi automatic in the Comfort level, priced at $54,990 RRP as saloon and $57,990 as the C5 Tourer. The range topping 2.7 V6 Twin Turbo is available for $66,990 as the Citroen C5 saloon.

Citroen even sent us an enormous press release outlining how special they think their range is. If you have the time, here it is:

In recent years Citroën has created an exceptional range of new models that have been both praised and rewarded for their visual appeal, accomplished design, environmental credentials, innovative technology and reassuring safety features.

The new Citroen C5 is the latest in an acclaimed range of cars renowned for their styling, from the C2 and C3 small cars, via the C4 and its people mover brother, the C4 Picasso, to the range topping Citroen C6. Even Citroen’s commercial vehicles, the Berlingo and Dispatch have a level of styling appeal that is more often absent from their rivals. Added their good looks, Citroen has also provided benchmark performance in safety, with the C6 lauded as the safest car tested by EuroNCAP, not just for occupants but also for pedestrians with its active bonnet safety system. Citroen has also ensured that their products also offer excellent value for money and high levels of standard equipment.

Now Citroën is making prestige motoring even more alluring as it introduces the brand new C5.  Benefiting from a completely new approach by Citroën’s designers, the spacious C5 is the successful combination of French flair with Teutonic-like levels of quality, coupled with the highest standards of comfort, innovation and in-car technology for which Citroen is renowned.

The all-new C5 conveys a real sense of prestige, with its state-of-the-art design in a classic, thoroughbred saloon body. The C5 will strike a chord with drivers looking for a vehicle with status, stylistic individuality and the levels of performance and reliability expected of a hard-working vehicle.

Exceptionally well equipped, it comes with a long list of features that could add thousands of dollars to, or may not even be available on rivals. These include eight way electric front seats with driver’s seat massager, self-levelling suspension, automatic electric parking brake and directional headlights, whilst every model in the range comes with at least seven airbags, ESP with traction control, leather upholstery, automatic air-conditioning, speed limiter, cruise control, Adaptive Front-lighting System and Citroën’s unique fixed hub steering wheel.

With its long, sleek body, sculpted lines and high waist, the C5’s striking styling gives it a true sense of status.  The front of the car is characterised by large air-intakes and long incisive headlamps that flank the prominent chrome chevrons and assert the C5’s identity. From the rear, the distinctive concave window and two-part boomerang lights give it a purposeful, determined impression.

Internally the C5 offers its occupants an environment of quality, comfort and safety. Utilising the Company’s most advanced vehicle technology, the new C5 offers an involved, reassuring and satisfying driving experience, ideally suited to drivers who spend long hours on the road, or for those seeking secure transportation for their families.

Inside the cabin, the same taut, flowing lines seen on the exterior are replicated in the curvy detailing around the doors and dashboard, echoing the pursuit of quality throughout the car. Mood lighting further enhances this feeling, with ambient light glowing from the car’s doors and dashboard in the Exclusive variants.

The attractive styling is exemplified by the instrument panel design, where aviation-inspired annular needles run around each of the dials, allowing an electronic display unit to be integrated in the centre of each, providing the driver with further visual information. The aircraft theme also continues with the overhead warning lights.

The new C5 is offered in a choice of two trim levels – Comfort and Exclusive and, typically for a Citroën, the C5 is extremely well specified.  Cruise control and a speed limiter are fitted as standard, and all versions are equipped with an automatic electric parking-brake and hill-start assist.  For ease of parking and pedestrian safety, the C5 is also available with rear parking sensors in all versions with front sensors standard on the exclusive model and option on Comfort equipped cars.

With the C5 comes the extension of Citroën’s class leading technology, such as the Company’s second generation fixed-hub steering wheel, which puts many of the car’s main functions, including cruise control, audio and telephone, right at the driver’s finger tips. The aesthetic and ergonomic design of the wheel allows for easy access to the tactile, membrane-covered controls, ensuring focus can be maintained on the road ahead, as well as allowing a larger, more effective asymmetric airbag.

The model can also be specified with Citroën’s new-generation NaviDrive system, featuring a 10 cm colour central display screen and voice activation of the built-in telephone, audio system and satellite navigation and it includes a 10 gigabyte hard drive for storing music and podcasts.

Large Citroëns are well known for providing the highest standards of occupant comfort, and the new C5 is no different, with special attention having been paid to the acoustics, suspension and seating.

The C5 features class-leading levels of soundproofing for total onboard comfort. Unlike other cars in the segment, it boasts multiple door seals, an acoustic windscreen for noise reduction and, on the Exclusive variants, laminated side windows, which not only dampen noise, but also make the C5 one of the most secure cars on the market.

To work away the stresses of a busy day at the office and help drivers to relax on their way home, a seat back massage function is standard, and front heated seats ensure that, whatever the weather, the driver and front seat passenger are literally seated in the lap of luxury.

Offering the optimum mix of comfort and dynamics, the C5 has been developed with a choice of two suspension set-ups based on the running gear of the ultra-smooth C6 executive saloon, with double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, with Citroen’s unique Hydractive 3+ suspension ensuring maximum comfort, with in the normal mode of the Sport mode.

Drivers can also rest easy knowing that their car is not only comfortable, but extremely safe too. Citroën is renowned for producing some of the safest vehicles on the road and the new C5 is no exception. Equipped with the very latest Citroën technology, the C5 provides its occupants with reassuring levels of protection in the event of an accident. The stiffened body and cabin structure incorporate both upper and lower absorbers at the front to soak up energy released in the event of impact.

Driver and passengers are fully protected by up to nine front, side and curtain airbags, as well as a specially created torso-shaped bag which is deployed thanks to the unique Citroën-specific fixed hub steering wheel, for ultimate safety. Awarded a five-star Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant protection, the new C5 is one of the safest cars on the road.

Control in difficult conditions is aided by the C5’s advanced braking system – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Braking Assistance, ABS and ESP are all fitted as standard.  Citroën’s much lauded Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) is also available, to warn drivers of unintentionally crossing lane markings without signalling.

As you would expect from an award-winning family car manufacturer, Citroën’s new C5 is a child friendly environment, with four one-touch electric windows with an anti-pinch function and an electric child-safety lock for the rear doors and windows, all fitted as standard.

Improved visibility and safety at night is provided by the C5’s enhanced headlight system.  Not only are xenon dual-function directional headlamps fitted as standard to the Exclusive variants, but also dynamic AFS (Adaptive Front-lighting System) is standard and improves visibility and safety on corners and at junctions. Comfort models are fitted with static AFS.

Load space is abundant, thanks to the split folding rear seats, which lie completely flat, to increase boot space. Access is made even easier by the unique shape of the concave windscreen, which creates a larger boot aperture.

The Citroen C5 is available with two diesel engines, the 2.0 litre 100 kW four cylinder and the 2.7 litre 150 kW V6 Twin Turbo diesel that debuted in the Citroen C6. Both are mated as standard to a sophisticated six speed gearbox.

The new V6 diesel engine combines power and fuel economy. It was developed as part of the cooperation between the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group and Ford Motor Company. Delivering a responsive performance from the lowest engine speeds, it develops 150 kW EEC (208 bhp DIN) at 4,000 rpm and torque of 440 Nm EEC at 1,900 rpm. This is an engine that combines smooth, gradual power with exceptional operating comfort.

With capacity of 2,720 cm3, this engine features four overhead camshafts and 24 valves, with common-rail direct multi-injection and two variable-geometry turbochargers.

The cast-iron cylinder block, aluminium bearing retainer and composite cylinder-head cover make the engine smaller, stiffer and lighter.

It is equipped with a new-generation particulate filter, which now needs replacing only every 180,000 km.

Driving pleasure is enhanced not only by these two engines but also by their new six-speed automatic gearbox. Smooth gear changing ensures a level of driveability that is commensurate with the C5’s ambitions.

“Embodying the many advances Citroën has made in recent years, the new C5 will more than satisfy the requirements of buyers of large cars in terms of both quality and dependability,” says Mr Malatios. “A powerful addition to the Company’s impressive car line-up and a breath of fresh air in a market littered with anodyne rivals, the distinctive C5 ensures Citroën is strongly represented in the large family car sector.”
The Citroen C5 Tourer

Immediately impressive from any angle, the Tourer adds a new dimension – and a lot more space – to the C5 range, as one of the most luxurious ‘wagons’ in its class. Bringing a fresh new approach to a market where good looking design is often passed over for practicality concerns, the Tourer features a highly versatile and spacious interior without compromising the C5’s seductive styling, delivering a car that meets all of the owner’s requirements.

The desirable exterior styling of the C5 Tourer demonstrates an exceptional level of quality and precision together with all the design flair and innovation for which Citroën is so renowned. Just as sophisticated as its Saloon counterpart, the C5 Tourer delivers even greater space and versatility, fulfilling the needs of drivers looking for the functional, load-lugging ability of an estate but clothed within a distinctive design.

With a keen sense of prestige and personality, the C5 Tourer boasts an impressive array of driver comforts and innovative touches along with new features tailored to the vehicle’s functional design philosophy. The unique combination of Citroën’s self-levelling suspension together with a motorised tailgate optimises the car’s ‘estate’ functionality. Loading the Tourer’s generous boot is made simple with the ability to raise or lower the rear suspension and also convenient with the tailgate’s remote controlled access.

Inside, the smart touches continue with a standard driver’s seat-back massage function offering luxurious comfort whilst a dual-function boot light / rechargeable torch provides a convenient portable light source.

Just like its Saloon counterpart the Tourer is based on the sophisticated running gear of the exclusive C6 offering class-beating road manners but with the Tourer’s practical benefit of added volume and generous proportions. Despite its increased dimensions, the Tourer maintains the elegant styling and aerodynamic qualities of its booted stablemate. With a range of proven engines and a choice of suspension settings, comfort and Sport, the Tourer offers an involved driving experience, ideally suited to users who spend hours on the road or seek a secure and spacious transportation for their families and equipment.

Sharing the same Teutonic overtones as the C5 Saloon, the sleek and dynamic physique of the Tourer is characterised by its sculpted rear. The flowing high waist-lines of the side profile converge on the shapely design of the car’s spacious and stylish boot, suggesting width, convenience and road presence. At 4.83m long and 1.48m tall, the Tourer adds an additional 5cm and 3cm respectively over the Saloon.

The stylish external roof bars, which provide another convenient storage solution, are finished in silver and create a visual contrast against the Tourer’s striking body colours.

Dark tinted rear side and tailgate windows give the Tourer an impression of exclusivity. They also reduce solar glare and thermal penetration for improved passenger comfort and help to mask items that are being transported in the rear for increased protection against theft.

Internally, the Tourer shares the refined styling and exemplary comfort of the Saloon model with features like the curved lines of the door armrests and the aviation-inspired dashboard contributing to the prestigious interior.

By taking full advantage of its long roof-line, the Tourer can be fitted with an expansive panoramic glass roof, complete with an electric retractable sunblind, to create an even brighter and more spacious cabin environment.
Rear-loading space and functionality

Load space is abundant, thanks to the Tourer’s cavernous boot (505-litres) and split folding rear seats, which can be laid completely flat to create an extensive capacity of nearly 1500 litres – one of the largest in the segment. Access is made simple and convenient by the Tourer’s large tailgate, which allows bulky items to be loaded or unloaded with ease.

And the car’s signature rear design can be fitted with some smart technology to make loading even more convenient and safe. The Tourer’s sculpted boot door is available with a motorised electric tailgate that opens remotely from the key fob and closes with the press of a button, standard on the Exclusive and optional on the Comfort. The mechanism ensures the smooth ascent or descent of the tailgate and makes accessing the Tourer’s boot convenient and safe. When boot access is restricted, users can even calibrate the required elevation of the tailgate. When placing heavy items into the car, a button located on the rear lowers or raises the car’s suspension, bringing the boot floor to a more convenient height. Driving off automatically returns the rear suspension to the correct level. For accomplished pulling power, the Tourer can be specified with a convenient tow-bar, which can be retracted if not in use.

Within the boot, neat design features optimise the available space and give the Tourer added functionality. A 12V accessory socket is available for charging or powering electrical devices and a clever dual-function flashlight mounted into the wall of the boot operates as a boot light or a convenient rechargeable hand-held torch. Clever storage solutions can include shopping bag hooks on the boot side walls, side storage nets for stowing loose objects and a luggage cover blind. Ceiling hooks located behind the rear seats and the front seats allow a cargo net to be fitted to retain items during transit.

Nowhere is self levelling suspension more appropriate than in a vehicle that may have been purchased for its load lugging capabilities. With the vehicle at a constant height, regardless of load, the C5 Tourer provides the ideal no-compromise solution, offering optimal comfort at the same time as good payload capability, together with exceptional safety and handling.

Additionally, the vehicle can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button in the boot, facilitating effortless coupling of a trailer whilst the self levelling capability comes into its own when towing.
Safety & Security

Drivers can also rest easy knowing that their car is not only comfortable, but extremely safe too. Built on the same platform as the EuroNCAP 5-starred C5 Saloon and equipped with the Company’s very latest innovative safety technology, the C5 Tourer provides occupants with reassuring levels of protection. The stiffened body and cabin structure incorporate both upper and lower absorbers at the front to soak up energy released in the event of frontal impact.

Driver and passengers are fully protected by up to nine front, side and curtain airbags, as well as a specially created torso-shaped bag that is made possible by the design of the unique Citroën-specific fixed hub steering wheel, for ultimate safety.

Helping drivers to control the vehicle in difficult conditions, the Tourer includes an advanced braking system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Braking Assistance, ABS and ESP all fitted as standard. Citroën’s life-saving, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) is also available.

Improved visibility and safety at night is provided by the Tourer’s enhanced headlight system with static AFS.

With four one-touch electric windows with anti-pinch function and electric child-safety locks on the rear door and windows, the Tourer is a child-friendly environment – just as you would expect from one of the leading family car manufacturers.

Safety and security go hand in hand and the C5 Tourer is one of the most secure vehicles on the market today available with an optional advanced alarm system and laminated side windows providing protection against unwanted intruders.
The range

The C5 range is offered in a choice of two trim levels – Comfort and Exclusive – and, just like the Saloon, the Tourer is extremely well specified.

Cruise control and a speed limiter, air-conditioning, external roof bars, an acoustic windscreen and an adaptive front-lighting system (AFS) are all fitted as standard, along with an automatic electric parking-brake and hill-start assist.  For ease of parking and pedestrian safety, the C5 Tourer is also fitted with rear parking sensors.

All models feature the aesthetic and futuristic design of Citroen’s second generation fixed-hub steering wheel allows for easy access to the tactile, membrane-covered controls of many of the car’s main functions, ensuring focus can be maintained on the road ahead.

The Tourer can also be specified with Citroën’s latest NaviDrive system, featuring a 10 cm colour central display screen and voice activation of the built-in telephone, audio system and satellite navigation.

For unrivalled acoustic comfort, just as in the C5 Saloon, the Tourer benefits from class-leading levels of soundproofing. Unlike its rivals, multiple door seals, an acoustic windscreen and optional laminated side windows, all combine to not only dampen noise, but make the Tourer one of the most secure cars on the market.

For truly opulent comfort levels, the Tourer features generous legroom and ergonomically designed front seats. Drivers can specify a seat-back massage function – putting them in the lap of luxury with a first for the segment.

Blogs: Volvo XC90 and fertility

It’s a seven-seat car that comes from a country with one of the lowest fertility rates: it’s a Volvo XC90 and it harks from Sweden. There’s only 1.67 births per 1000 women in Sweden, and considering the amount of darkness and snow, I’m surprised it’s not higher – perhaps all the Swedish guys have cold feet!

Replacement fertility (on a global scale) is around 2.33. This means you need to have 2.33 children to keep the population levels stable, accounting for accidental deaths and people who aren’t capable of multiplying because of gingivitis and/or sexual preference.

So, a conspiracy theorist might postulate that the Swedish government which has (I seem to remember) worried about a declining youth population supporting a growing elderly one, may have incentivised Volvo to make it easy to transport large families around. While China discourages families from having more than one child with fiscal punishment, Volvo is encouraging them. Though, there is certainly some fiscal punishment to be had over the XC70, which is smaller, cheaper, more frugal and better looking. The XC70 only has 5 seats, but it’s quite a bit quicker to 100kph, and manages to drink 0.6l/100km less than the XC90.

China has a burgeoning car industry. Perhaps all it takes for them is to offer a free vasectomy with every Brilliance BS6 purchased. Though, considering the results of the third and fourth crash tests in the video below, accidental mortality might be quite a bit higher than first anticipated.

Check out the third and fourth crash tests in this video. The first two are from Lexus and Fiat and show how it should be done.


News: Smorvette, Smerrari or Smamborghini?


Purporting to be smart cars with a body kit, these sports car ripoffs surely aren’t real! We can’t find any evidence of them being legit and anything other than an elaborate Photoshop exercise, so we present them here with tongue firmly in cheek.

News: Toyota reveals new Avensis, iQ and Urban Cruiser


Due to go on sale in January 2009 in the UK the new Avensis features engines that are both more powerful and emit less CO2. Full details and pricing will be announced later in the year.

Joining new Avensis will be two other new cars due on sale in early next year in Europe. The diminutive iQ and rugged Urban Cruiser, both showcased in design concept form at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, will appear in Paris in final production trim.

Measuring less than three metres long, the iQ is the world’s smallest premium four seater, and has all the dynamic and safety attributes of bigger cars. What is small about iQ is its CO2 emissions, which start at a mere 99g/km.

Importantly for a car of this size, iQ will offer 360° protection to all occupants with high levels of active and passive safety, including the world’s first curtain shield airbags installed behind the rear seats.

Another show highlight is the 1.4-litre D-4D diesel All Wheel Drive (AWD) Urban Cruiser. With its rugged exterior design, high level of safety equipment and CO2 emissions level of only 133g/km for the AWD version, the Urban Cruiser is set to bring a mix of fun and practicality to the growing urban all-roader market.

News: Volvo XC70 and XC90 win awards in the UK


With a shiny new XC90 currently adorning our Car and SUV car park, we’ve had time to get acquainted with its abilities. The XC90 has been around since 2003 but it’s still obviously right near the top of the field with the latest ‘highly commended’ award by the UK’s 4×4 Magazine.

The all-new Volvo XC70 was launched in September last year with improved levels of all-road-all-weather ability and an engaging driving experience combined with class-leading safety features, load-carrying versatility and refined passenger comfort. It won the Best 4×4 Estate category.

We’ll be bringing you a full review of the XC90 in a couple of weeks.

Road Tests / Car Reviews: Toyota Corolla 2.0 Diesel 2008 Review


When the Toyota Corolla was released in the mid-1960s, it was a cheap and cheerful small vehicle that was reliable, frugal and easy to drive. It was a vanilla ice-cream car that while not being the most exciting flavour available, still satisfied the masses.

It appealed to the driving public so much so that since 1966 more than 32 million Corollas have sold worldwide. In fact a Corolla is sold somewhere in the world every 40 seconds.

The base Corolla principles of reliability (a Toyota hallmark) and frugality have never engendered the model with any great styling appeal, which has been fine given that most competitors were until recently just as plain. The thing is now though there are a great many small cars that combine quality engineering and great styling. The Mazda3, Citroen C4 and Honda Civic are just some examples. Toyota has seen this too and added some nuts and a drizzle of caramel topping to make the new Corolla a bit more special.

The latest iteration of the Corolla is a departure from the bland econo-box styling of its predecessor. While the exterior styling of the Corolla is a little sharper than before, the real surprise is the interior.

Toyota has taken a leaf out of the funky Honda Civic’s interior design playbook with a combination of smart looking but practical elements that make the inside of the Corolla very appealing.

Features like the small screens in the middle of the speedometer and tachometer that display the trip computer information help to make the Corolla more enjoyable than before.
The high downward-arching centre console is the main attraction of the interior.

It houses the gearshift and handbrake in a curving column that features space underneath to stash small items — perfect for caramel sundaes.

The gearshift looks high but the shift lever falls to hand very easily. The shift quality is not very mechanically satisfying — it doesn’t invite you into the heart of the driving experience — but it is light and easy to use with six well-spaced ratios.

The seats are adjustable, as is the steering wheel, and it is easy to create a comfortable driving position.

Diesels always confound the expectations of those of us who are used to a petrol diet. When driving the Corolla you only really need to use the power between 1800-3000rpm as, although the car will rev to 5000rpm, those extra revs do little to accelerate progress.

The engine is a 2-litre diesel unit (a 1.4-litre is also available) which, while being a little rattly, is smooth in its delivery.

The fuel economy of a diesel appeals to the miser within us all and we managed a commendable 5.6L/100km on the combined cycle (Toyota claims 5.4L/100km) with 6.8L/100km around town.

With fuel prices being the bane of our lives it is nice to know road-trips have not been consigned to the ‘too expensive’ basket when cars like the Corolla are on offer.

The Toyota Corolla diesel is a good car for commuting, especially for those people who drive on the highways a lot. It is a great feeling knowing that this car costs so little to fuel and can get you a great distance on one tank.

At $38,990 it is not that cheap but with the level of efficiency and power available from the diesel engine and very nice interior styling, the Corolla ain’t ‘plain vanilla’ anymore.

Click through to the next page for full specs on the Toyota Corolla Diesel 2.0.

Price: from $26,150 ($38,990 as tested).

What we like

  • Frugality
  • Interior styling
  • Torque

What we don’t like

  • Rattly engine
    A touch expensive
  • Engine Type: In-line, 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, DOHC
  • Bore 86.0 Stroke 86.0
  • Capacity 1998 cc
  • Compression 16.8 : 1
  • Euro 4 Emission 140 g/km
  • Fuel Tank Capacity 55 litres
  • Fuel Type Diesel Injection Type Common-rail Direct Injection
  • Maximum Power 93 kW@3600 rpm
  • Maximum Torque 300 Nm@2000-2800 rpm
  • 6-Speed Manual transmission with Shift Indicator Light
  • Front Wheel Drive
  • Single Dry Plate with Diaphragm Spring
  • Gear 1 Ratio 3.538
  • Gear 2 Ratio 1.913
  • Gear 3 Ratio 1.218
  • Gear 4 Ratio 0.860
  • Gear 5 Ratio 0.790
  • Gear 6 Ratio 0.673
  • Reverse Ratio 3.831
  • Final Ratio 3.777 / 3.238
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC)
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Driver and passenger front, side, driver’s knee and front/rear curtain shield airbags
  • Front seat belts with pre-tensioners and force limiters
  • Child restraint ISO fixing points with tether anchors
  • 16″ steel wheels
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlights
  • Body coloured front and rear bumpers
  • Body coloured door handles
  • Green tinted side and rear glass
  • Air conditioning
  • Single disc MP3/WMA CD player with 6 speakers
  • 3-spoke leather steering wheel with audio controls
  • Fabric seat material
  • Optional “Exclusive” package includes: Smart entry & start system, climate control air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dipping inside rear view mirror, auto-off headlights, heated exterior mirrors, rear armrest with cup holders, 16″ alloy wheels
  • Flush windscreen moulding for reduced wind resistance
  • Graphite coated wiper blades reduce “chatter”
  • Radiator retractor protects the cooling unit in an accident
  • UV reducing window glass
  • Double sealed door opening create an effective noise barrier

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

News: Audi R8 GT3 for the race track could spawn a road-going version?


For the first time, Audi Sport will offer a racing sports car specifically developed for customer use in the form of the powerful 500 hp plus GT3 version of the Audi R8 which will be available from late 2009.

The release of this car has sparked speculation that Audi could use it as a test for the feasability of a road-going R8 GT3 to compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 GT2/GT3 and Ferrari 430 Scuderia.

“The R8 is the first production Audi bearing the name and genes of a successful racing sportscar and is therefore an excellent base from which to build up our first big customer sport programme,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “Ever since the R8 was unveiled we’ve been inundated with enquiries about a race version. With the Audi R8 we will offer customers a racing sportscar equipped with high-calibre technology and the typical Audi qualities, but which is nevertheless easy to handle.”

The Audi R8 conforms to the production-based GT3 regulations allowing the car to be fielded in numerous national and international race series.

Because the GT3 regulations prohibit the use of four-wheel drive the Audi R8 comes with the typical GT rear-wheel drive. The power is transmitted via a newly developed six-speed sequential sports gearbox.
The suspension uses almost exclusively components from the production line.

A comprehensive list of safety equipment guarantees the highest-level of passive safety. A modified front end and a large rear-wing generate the required downforce for the race track.

The Audi R8, which bears the project name “R16″ within Audi Sport, was developed under the direction of Audi Sport.

Mid August, the first prototype successfully completed a roll-out in the hands of Audi factory driver Frank Biela.

The first test races in various European racing series are scheduled for the 2009 season.

News: Hyundai Genesis earns top U.S crash safety rating


The U.S car safety rating body the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has awarded five-star crash test ratings, the highest government rankings under the agency’s New Car Assessment Program, to the all-new 2009 Hyundai Genesis for both frontal and side-impact crash tests.

“Genesis was engineered with a lightweight but strong body shell, featuring ultra-high tensile steel, laser welding, and advanced adhesive bonding,” said John Krafcik, vice president of Strategic Planning and Product Development, Hyundai Motor America. “Add eight airbags and electronic active head restraints and you can see the focus we placed on designing Genesis for occupant safety. These five-star results are just one indication of the dedication Hyundai engineers place on safety.”

Maintaining Hyundai’s emphasis on delivering leading safety technology, Genesis boasts world-class active and passive safety features that both prevent accidents and maximize the well-being of its occupants in the event of a collision. The Genesis continues the Hyundai tradition of standardizing key life-saving safety technology, with features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), eight airbags and electronic active head restraints.

ESC compares the driver’s intended course with the vehicle’s actual response. It then brakes individual front or rear wheels and/or reduces engine power as needed in certain driving circumstances to help correct understeer or oversteer.

Genesis’ eight airbags include advanced dual front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and roof-mounted side curtain airbags for both front and rear outboard seat occupants.

Hyundai is the first popular brand to offer electronic active front head restraints, a standard feature on the 2009 Genesis, which are an improvement over mechanically-based active head restraint systems. Until now, electronic active head restraints could only be found on select Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus models. Active front head restraints have been proven by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to help prevent whiplash.

Genesis is brought to a halt by large four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD).