News: Maserati Quattroporte gets a design refresh

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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 katy_sadd@xtra.co.nz

If you have enquiries, please contact Julie Soper julie_sadd@xtra.co.nz

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

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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

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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.

News: Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 released (+video)

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The new Corvette ZR1 can do the 0-100kph dash in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 330 km/h, making it the fastest Corvette ever produced and ranking it among the global super cars of commensurate performance. None of those other super cars, however, equals the ZR1’s performance-per-dollar ratio.

DETROIT — The official Corvette ZR1 numbers are in and they’re good. Very good:

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US$103,300 (NZD$136,000)
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estimated fuel economy of 17 l/100km city and 12 l/100km highway
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0-100kph in 3.4 seconds
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Quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.3 seconds at 210kph

“The ZR1 is an incredible machine by any measure,” said Ed Peper, North American Vice President, Chevrolet. “There’s simply no other vehicle in the world that does a better job of balancing performance, price and fuel economy.”

Performance perspective
The Corvette ZR1’s 0-100 performance is 0.3-second quicker than the already-quick Corvette Z06 and the 0-100-mph performance is nearly a full second quicker — 7 seconds vs. the Z06’s 7.9 seconds. It is performance that is equal to or better than many super cars costing substantially more.

“A favourable power-to-weight ratio gives the ZR1 an advantage over the competition and performance that has to be experienced to fully appreciate,” said Tom Wallace, Corvette chief engineer. “Of course, on a racetrack, drivers of competitors’ cars may appreciate the ZR1 in a whole different manner.”

Under the carbon-fibre hood
A new LS9 6.2L supercharged small-block engine powers the ZR1’s performance capability. Heavy-duty and lightweight reciprocating components support high-rpm performance, while a new, sixth-generation supercharger (and complementing charge-cooling system) helps the LS9 make big power and torque across the rpm range. The engine is hand-assembled at GM’s Performance Build Center, in Wixom, Mich.

In addition to the LS9 engine, the ZR1 is a technology powerhouse, designed with lightweight and unique components that reinforce its performance with a confident feel on either a highway or road course.

Options
The standard ZR1 comes with accoutrements based on the Z06, including lightweight seats and lightweight content. The available uplevel interior package includes power-adjustable, heated and leather-trimmed sport seats (embroidered with the ZR1 logo); side air bags; Bose premium audio system; navigation system; Bluetooth connectivity; power telescoping steering column; custom leather-wrapped interior available in four colours and more. Chrome wheels are the only other available option on the ZR1.

Check out the video of the ZR-1 production line below

News: Autodelta hots up the Alfa Romeo 159

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The Autodelta 159 J4 2.2 C will become the third member of the J-series range, joining the Brera J5 3.2 C and Spider J6 3.2 C in the Autodelta line-up when the high performance sports saloon’s order book opens on July 1st. 18 months of intensive research and development and Autodelta is proud to present this new car. Pushing the dynamic envelope of Alfa Romeo’s to the edge to create sports cars that thrill the driver is our deep seated motivation, and with the J4 2.2 C we believe we have raised the bar even further in every field and created our finest project to date.

Just like the other two now-established members of the J-series range, the integral theme of the Autodelta 159 J4 2.2 C is to continue a long standing tradition of applying forced induction principles to develop nothing less than the very ultimate expression of high performance motoring. The Autodelta 159 J4 2.2 C once again makes strides across the sphere of engineering excellence, and applies the results of an intensive 18 month research and development programme, led by Head of R&D Sergio Truzzi, to Alfa Romeo’s advanced direct injection JTS, making us the only company in the world to develop a forced induction solution for this power unit.

Under the sleek, swaged bonnet of the Autodelta 159 J4 2.2 C beats the muscular heart of this powerhouse: a supercharged version of Alfa Romeo’s impressive 2.2 JTS direct injection petrol engine, the first production application of forced induction to this robust engine. The incorporation of the Rotrex C30-74 supercharger and a specifically-developed bespoke system boosts the 2.2-litre unit’s maximum power from the standard 185bhp up to 245 bhp, an increase of 60 bhp. Meanwhile, peak torque is raised from 230 Nm to 290Nm, giving the vibrant sports saloon an extra 60 Nm of torque.

Supercharging the 2.2 JTS engine and evolving the 159 J4 2.2 C package to perfection has been a long-term project for Autodelta, running alongside the development programmes to realise the J5 and J6. Autodelta’s engineering team was able to build on valuable experience gained when it became the first company in the world to apply forced induction to Alfa Romeo’s 2.0 JTS unit, as used in the 156 and GT models; and although it is an all-new unit in the Alfa 159, many of the important lessons learnt, and technical knowledge gained, were carried forward to the 2.2 JTS project.

News: Land Rover G4 Challenge goes to Mongolia in 2009

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The Finals of Land Rover’s ultimate global adventure, the Land Rover G4 Challenge, will take place during 2009 in the most sparsely populated independent country on the planet – Mongolia.

A blend of terrain offering arid steppes, mountains and the extreme climate of one of the world’s largest deserts, the Gobi, makes Mongolia a natural fit with Land Rover’s G4 Challenge.

The Challenge programme kicked off in September 2007 when the competition was announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Since then the recce teams have been exploring the toughest terrain in Asia to find a suitably demanding environment to stage the culmination of the competition in 2009.

The recce team has been working hard to find routes that will push the vehicles and the competitors to their limits.

Mongolia is a spectacular country which will enable Land Rover to create a truly extraordinary Finals event in 2009. There are also investigations into the possibility of extending the Challenge into another area offering different extremes.

The 18 national teams (each comprising of one man and one woman) will be pushed to their limits in a thrilling competition involving off-road driving, and sports such as kayaking, mountain biking and climbing.

The Australian National Selections will take place in October to decide the two men and two women who will get an all expenses paid trip to the UK for the International Selections, and ultimately the Final in Mongolia.

Anyone can sign up for the Challenge, just visit www.landroverG4Challenge.com or call 1800 789 786, for the chance to represent Australia against 17 other countries in the three-week long Challenge Finals.