News: ABT makes mark on upcoming VW Scirocco

ABT Scirocco Front kl

Car tuning company ABT has done its thing with the upcoming Volkswagen Scirocco and the results are all good. The Scirocco is already a handsome looking car but ABT have created a total head-turner.

The ABT front spoiler makes the face of the coupe even more distinctive. This impression is supported by the lines on its sides, where the ABT Side skirts absorb and continue the sleek design.

The indicated air inlets and edges in the doors underline the movement of the bodywork which rises at the back. The view from behind has also been modified: the ABT Rear skirt set, consisting of a rear skirt and a diagonally attached 4-pipe rear muffler, forms a sporty unit  with the ABT Rear wing and the ABT Rear panel. ABT Sportsline has two wheel options available in 18 to 20 inch and of course with fitting tyres and wheel spacers.

ABT has upgraded the springs making the Scirocco up to 30 millimetres lower. The complete upgrade kit consists of the design pack, the 4-pipe rear muffler, the springs and complete wheel sets (19 inch AR alloys, diamond-machined and black, plus tyres and wheel spacers) is available at the launch of the ABT Scirocco in January 2009.

ABT has developed power refinements for the VW engine. The 1.4 TSI now offers 200 hp (147 kW) on the road with ABT Power instead of 160 hp (118 kW), and the turbo diesel with two litre capacity 170 hp / 125 kW (standard: 140 hp / 103kW). Later on in the year the compact sports coupe will also be available with an increased-power 2.0 TSI. With it the car has 240 hp / 177 kW (standard: 200 hp / 147 kW).

News: Ferrari California makes waves

Ferrari California fq

Ferrari has unveiled a new sportscar, that’s right new. Ferrari models are almost always marketed as a successor to a model that came before, but not this time. The Ferrari California is entirely new, in an attempt by Ferrari to expand its line-up into a new market segment.

Little is known so far about the California, but Ferrari is making promises that it’s a total mean machine and will have a new direct injection version of the company’s 460hp 4.3L V8 motor. Untill we know more, we can only bask in the California’s beauty.

News: New Jaguar XKR-S rocks Paris

Jaguar XKR-S fq

Day one of the Paris Motor Show has seen many manufacturers eagerly roll out their latest offerings and among them was a new Jaguar XK. Easily the hottest XK to date, the XKR-S with a beastly 420-hp 4.2-litre V8 packed under the bonnet, waits for no one. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox equipped with Jaguar’s Sequential Shift system. The XKR-S can sprint to 100km in 5.2 seconds and tops out at 280 Kph, making it the fastest Jag since the XJ220 supercar.

But the XKR-S is not all about grunt. The revised suspension features new springs, dampers, a larger rear anti-roll bar and a recalibrated CATS (Computer Active Technology Suspension), while an active exhaust, revised aerodynamic aids (including one funky but functional spoiler) and massive, 400mm (front) and 350mm (rear) Alcon R Performance brakes balance out the package.

The Jaguar XKR-S will be limited to only 200 cars in both left- and right-hand-drive, the Americans won’t be getting any of them and we will be very lucky to see any here in NZ.

Ford: Ford Mondeo XR5 2008 Review


If the automotive world went ‘Euro’ it wouldn’t necessarily be all that bad.

Looking at it only from an engineering and style perspective there would be no downside at all (except for the occasional weird big-bum Renault).

Given the current price of oil, companies investing heavily in future technologies and general financial stress internationally, rationalisation is now something that car makers will look at even more seriously.

Ford has announced that it will rationalise its global platforms to cut costs, and for those of you like myself who enjoy cars like the Falcon XR6 Turbo that could be bad news.

This also means that the Mondeo XR5 could be the future of sporting Ford saloons world-wide.

The new Mondeo XR5 is not a bad looking car despite the small wheel arches making it look like a shopping trolley which is strange given that the alloys are a decent (18-inch) size. The strongly sculpted front is the feature point of the XR5 and spreads its message all the way around the front fenders and along the side. It is a good-looking front end which won¹t be mistaken of the road.

The waistline is high and it has a small glass area which imbues a sense of security but also a slight sense of claustrophobia.

Inside it is very nice (Ford has really pulled ahead in this area) with a strong feeling of solidity and quality to the interior architecture. The instrument binnacle in particular deserves a mention for the way the screen between the tacho and speedo presents all information in one easy to see place.

It is quite a big car too, feeling not that much smaller than Falcons of two or three generations ago. The Mondeo has European ideas about size. It is a large car in the UK the way a Falcon is a large car here. It won’t be as accommodating as a Falcon but it is big enough for an average family.

I thought that the XR5 would go like a scorched possum given that it shares its turbocharged 5-cylinder engine with both the Focus XR5 and Volvo C30.

The engine produces a decent amount of torque low down but becomes extremely asthmatic above 4500rpm, making it a real chore to stretch it out to the redline. With little enjoyment to be had from using the full rev-range you start to drive the XR5 like a diesel, using the torque and short-shifting your way along every road. This is a disappointment as the Mondeo XR5 is supposed to be a sporting saloon. In the UK the Mondeo is seen as a driver’s car and is known for great handling. While this is true as the XR5 does handle quite well for a biggish front-wheel-drive car, the engine lets the rest of the package down as does the gear shift with throws between gears being long and ponderous.

The lack of performance in the engine department is a real let down as I was expecting a great handling large car that could fill the performance gap between the Focus XR5 and Falcon XR6 Turbo.

The performance isn’t stupendous and it doesn’t really surprise you when going round corners but the Mondeo XR5 really scares me. My fear doesn’t stem from anything that the XR5 does, but more what it represents. In this part of the world the fastest Fords have always been rear wheel-drive, but with the company struggling financially, big cars – like the Falcon – could soon be history.

What this means is that there is the possibility, however slim, that the next Falcon could be front wheel-drive like the Mondeo and that is not good news for enthusiasts.

It does, however, add some much-needed grunt to the Mondeo range ­ not enough compared to the benchmark set by the Focus XR5, though – and is a practical choice for those with a small family.

Click through to the next page to read the full specifications of the Ford Mondeo XR5

Price: from $48,990

What we like

  • Punchy low-end acceleration
  • Interior quality and ergonomics
  • Sporty ride

What we don’t like

  • Future Ford possibilities
  • Asthmatic top-end delivery
  • Vague gearshift

Engine & Transmission


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

2.5L Duratec Turbo Petrol with 6 Speed Manual




Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Engine Type (Automatic)

2.5L Duratec I5 Turbo Petrol

Engine size (cc) (Automatic)


Max. Power (DIN)

162kW @ 5000rpm

Max. Torque (DIN)

320Nm @ 1500-4800rpm

No. of valves


Exterior Features

Dimensions (mm) Exterior


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Overall length


Overall height


Overall width (without mirrors)


Overall width (with mirrors)




Front track


Rear track


Ground clearance (minimum)


Dimensions (mm) Interior


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Front headroom


Front legroom (maximum)


Front shoulder room


Rear headroom


Rear legroom (nominal 95% driver position)


Rear shoulder room


Weights and Measurements


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Kerb weight (kg) (Automatic)


Fuel tank capacity (litres)


Rear seat upright


Rear seat folded


Braked (Automatic)




Transmissions and Ratios


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

1st gear ratio (Automatic)


2nd gear ratio (Automatic)


3rd gear ratio (Automatic)


4th gear ratio (Automatic)


5th gear ratio (Automatic)


6th gear ratio (Automatic)


Reverse ratio (Automatic)


Final drive ratio (Automatic) 4.000

Fuel Consumption Data


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Combined fuel economy (l/100km) (Automatic)*


Combined CO2 emissions (g/km) (Automatic)


Euro IV compliance



91-98 RON (E10 Compatible)



Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution


Dynamic Stability Control (including Traction Assist & Emergency Brake Assist)23


4 wheel disc brakes (ventilated front / solid rear)


Front (mm) ventilated

300 x 28

Rear (mm) solid

302 x 11

Emergency brake light (Hazard warning light)




Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Minimum turning circle (m) (kerb to kerb)


Hydraulic power-assisted steering




Mondeo XR5 Turbo

Front – Independent MacPherson struts with offset coil spring over gas filled damper units and lower L-arms with optimised front rubber bushings and rear hydro-bush mounted on separate reinforced cross-member sub-frame, anti roll bar


Rear – Independent Control Blade multi-link system, isolated subframe, anti-roll bar


Wheels & Tyres


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

18″ x 8″ Y-spoke alloy with R235/40 R18 tyres


Full size spare wheel


Safety & Security


Mondeo XR5 Turbo

5-star Euro NCAP Safety Rating


Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution


Dynamic Stability Control (including Emergency Brake Assist)


Traction Assist


Driver and front passenger airbags


Front row side airbags (x2)


Driver’s knee airbag


Front & rear side curtain airbags


Side impact door beams (front and rear)


4 wheel disc brakes (ventilated front / solid rear)


Remote power central/double locking


Locks – Anti-burst, high-security, shielded with child-locks on rear doors


Emergency brake light (Hazard warning light)


Follow-me-home lighting


Front seatbelt pre-tensioners


Seatbelt reminder system – driver and front passenger seats


Height adjustable mounts on front seatbelts


Decoupling safety pedals


Advanced collapsible steering column


Immobiliser – Passive Anti-Theft Syatem (PATS)


Perimeter Alarm


ISOFIX child seat attachments (rear outboard seats only)


Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

News: BMW unveils new X1 concept

BMW X1 fq

BMW have just unveiled its new X1 concept which may be destined to become its premium compact CUV. The Munich-based car maker has released official info and images of the vehicle but no word yet on the many options that will come under the bonnet.

The front end of the vehicle resembles the swollen nose consistant with most of the model range, squared off wheel surrounds and pinched surfacing finishes the look. BMW’s X line of CUVs and SUVs is really packing out with the X5 the X3 being joined by the X6, and soon the production version of the X1 will kick in.  The Concept X1 and current X3 will be very similar in size, and purpose. So why create another X-model? Well, only the good folk at BMW know that. More will be revealed soon.

News: Lotus unleashes latest Exige Cup car

Lotus Exige Cup fq

Lotus has just released its latest Exige Cup 260 Car for the 2009 Lotus Cup race series. The Bristish automaker is continuing the tradition of going ridiculously light and has shed a further 36kg from last years model thanks to excessive use of carbon fibre.  This is teamed up with a 257-horsepower 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced mill force fed through an intercooler by an Eaton M62 supercharger, meaning a sprint from 0 to 100 in less than 4 seconds. Launch control and a 40kg downforce at 160kph make sure the car stays on the road.

There are many race-ready bits like forged wheels wearing Yokohama A048 LTS tires, Eibach springs over one-way adjustable Bilstein dampers and cross-drilled and ventilated discs at all four corners. Plus, a standard roll over hoop, dealer-installed full front roll cage and FIA compliant electronics are there to keep your track days safe.

The new Exige Cup is a serious machine, it’s road-legal within the European Union, but you might want to check if that’s true here in NZ before you order one over.

News: Renault Be Bop to become a reality

Renault Bebop fq

The Renault Be Bop concept was first seen at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show and it hasn’t got any prettier. But these unique little vehicles will soon be available in Europe. The production Be Bop maintains the two-door van layout of the concept vehicle, and the ceiling is now comprised of two tilting glazed glass panels up front, one fixed glass panel in the middle, and an opaque roof panel in the rear that lifts up and forward to create an open air experience for back seat passengers. This special roof creates a van-vertible, a fresh concept for tradesmen and quirky folk. Letting even more light in are expansive side windows, so despite being tiny in dimension, the Be Bop shouldn’t feel confining to its passengers. The rear seats can also be removed to increase cargo capacity, and Renault says that passengers can even enter the vehicle through the open rear gate and slide between the rear seats. There will be three engines available an 85-hp 1.5L dCi and 105-hp dCi, both of which are paired with a six-speed manual, and a gas-powered 105-hp 1.6L four-cylinder. It’s a crazy looking ride, and definitely has a good helping of French flamboyance. At this stage it’s unclear if the Be Bop will prove too exotic to make it down here, we will have to wait and see.

News: Lamborghini lifts lid on new Estoque concept

Lamborghini Estoque fq

Finally Lamborghini has released full details and images of its exciting new creation, the Estoque concept. It’s officially a mid-engined sedan with four doors and four individual sports seats, it’s a designated sports car and a relaxed Gran Turismo, a multi-faceted vehicle for multi-faceted lifestyles. The car sits very low at just 4.43 feet high, but ample interior space is provided for four passengers due to a long wheelbase at over three metres in length.

No decision has been made by Lambroghini yet over production, but there is speculation that the Estoque will become the third model in their line up. Numerous engine possibilities exist including the V10 powerplant from the Gallardo, or a turbocharged V8, a hybrid V8 or even a high performance diesel. The Estoque is suitably named after the sword used by Matadors during a bull fight, so this is one concept that means business. The Estoque will be unveiled at this weeks Paris Motor Show, so stay tuned for further updates.