News: Lotus to launch Evora convertible by 2011

Coming on the back of the full details released on the new Lotus Evora (read news item) are reports of a convertible version to follow within a couple of years.

While a fully retractable hard top may work well with the placement of Lotus’ first automatic transmission in the Evora, it would completely oppose the niche that Lotus has carved out for itself in lightweight construction. Instead, latest reports suggest that the top will simply be opened up with a classic targa-style fabric roof panel like on the smaller Elise, to offer the open-air experience with minimal weight and structural trade-off. But, naturally extra reinforcement of the chassis will be needed to cope with the open roof.

A supercharged version is also in the works with power bumped up from the standard model’s relatively modest 276 hp into the 350 to 400-hp range. In the meantime, the first 450 customers to order the Evora will be treated to the initial “launch edition” that comes packed with all the options: the Tech, Premium and Sport packages, 2+2 seating and either Ardent Red or British Racing Green colour options.

Coming on the back of the full details released on the new Lotus E ...

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News: Bugatti creating Veyron successor

Bugatti bleu fq

Bugatti unveiled the Bleu Centenaire edition of the Veyron that at the Geneva Motor Show this month to celebrate its 100th anniversary, to a mixed reception. Hopes were high that the long-anticipated higher-output version of the Veyron would be unveiled at the Swiss show. But now, Bugatti is said to be preparing an altogether new car that will be unveiled in September.

Details are naturally scarce at this point, but Bugatti is said to be considering several options that would, fit the new vehicle into the same mould as the Veyron. That means another uber expensive, record-beating supercar, likely with an even more powerful version of the Veyron’s thousand-horsepower, quad-turbo W16 engine. With Veyron production coming to an end, a concept version of its successor may show at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, with the next Bugatti hitting the market in 2011 or 2012. Bugatti is hoping is by that time people might actually have the cash to blow on a new supercar.

Bugatti unveiled the Bleu Centenaire edition of the Veyron that at ...

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News: Lotus to launch Evora convertible by 2011

Coming on the back of the full details released on the new Lotus Evora (read news item) are reports of a convertible version to follow within a couple of years.

While a fully retractable hard top may work well with the placement of Lotus’ first automatic transmission in the Evora, it would completely oppose the niche that Lotus has carved out for itself in lightweight construction. Instead, latest reports suggest that the top will simply be opened up with a classic targa-style fabric roof panel like on the smaller Elise, to offer the open-air experience with minimal weight and structural trade-off. But, naturally extra reinforcement of the chassis will be needed to cope with the open roof.

A supercharged version is also in the works with power bumped up from the standard model’s relatively modest 276 hp into the 350 to 400-hp range. In the meantime, the first 450 customers to order the Evora will be treated to the initial “launch edition” that comes packed with all the options: the Tech, Premium and Sport packages, 2+2 seating and either Ardent Red or British Racing Green colour options.

Coming on the back of the full details released on the new Lotus Evora ...

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News: Jaguar XF Wagon in the works

Jaguar XF f

The Jaguar XF is looking fairly strong with its new diesel engine option in Europe and a new “R” performance model, the sport sedan is being asked to really carry the British brand. And if new speculation proves to be true, the XF will soon be able to carry a lot more thanks to a new wagon variant.

Jaguar is apparently preparing to unveil a thinly-disguised XF Estate concept car at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, with a 2011 production model following about six months later. There may also be an XFR estate model to take on BMW’s M5 Touring and Audi’s RS6, and like its sedan counterpart, it is expected to be V8-powered with around 510 supercharged horsepower. More sensible V8 and V6 models will also be available, along with a pair of V6 diesel models.

Other XF variants, including a possible coupe and convertible are reportedly on the table. But most people are looking forward to seeing the new load-lugging super cat.

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News: Mitsubishi Triton becomes safest ute in NZ

Mitsubishi Triton GLS

Mitsubishi Motors’ Triton GLS ute has recently received a model year update and is now the first 4WD ute in New Zealand to have side and curtain airbags as standard. This is in addition to the existing array of safety devices that include ABS brakes, driver and passenger airbags, with an on/off switch for the passenger’s air bag.

“The Triton now has more safety features than any other ute in the 4WD segment and none come with side and curtain airbags as standard,” said Mitsubishi Motors NZ general manager of sales and marketing Peter Wilkins. “It already holds a four-star ANCAP rating, placing it first equal in the class but we anticipate this will make us the outright leader.”

The GLS now also features Super-Select 4WD, cruise control and new 17″ alloy wheels. The Super Select 4WD System allows four driving modes and offers on-the-fly shifts from 2WD to 4WD high range at speeds of up to 100km/h.

2H (2WD high range) provides rear-wheel drive for general motoring on the highway or across town. When the weather turns bad and the road gets rough, 4H (full-time 4WD) has the flexibility of a centre differential with viscous coupling unit, providing better traction in unpredictable road conditions or volatile surfaces.

4HLC (4WD high range with locked centre differential) distributes power equally to all four wheels to meet off-road challenges and help keep the vehicle on track in rugged or slippery conditions, while 4LLC (4WD low range with locked centre differential) maximises low-end torque to cross the most difficult terrain.

“These additions bolster what is a very reliable, hard-working diesel ute,” said Mr Wilkins, Mitsubishi Motors NZ general manager of sales and marketing. “And we’ve managed to deliver it at a very competitive price that will appeal,  $52,990 for the manual and $54,990 for the auto.”

Mitsubishi Motors’ Triton GLS ute has recently received a mo ...

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Blogs: Top Ten Car nicknames

Back when I was a little fella, my Grandmother used to own a 1953 Austin A30 (see picture below for minter condition example). At weekends and school holidays myself and my sister would be ferried around to different places in the comfort of the trusty old A30. I was never that impressed by the vehicle and felt that with a decent tail wind my BMX was probably capable of brisker straight-line acceleration. However I did love riding shotgun, so much so that it was often worth having my nose bloodied in a scrap with my bruiser older sister for the prime position. Not because there were no seatbelts in the back and I was worried about personal safety, but because the Austin A30 had an indicator switch that was mounted in the middle of the dashboard. This meant that as the shotgun passenger I was permitted to turn the indicator switch at the correct time in the correct direction, a responsibility I always took seriously. I only think back to that old Austin because it was the first car I knew to have real character and also to have a nickname ‘Emily’. Not exactly an original or very clever nickname, but it made the A30 a part of the family and a little more than just metal, rubber and an under-powered motor.

A UK survey has recently revealed a few hard facts about car nicknames. British vehicle check company HPI has issued a new study, which notes that 50% of its customers give their cars a nickname, with 40% female names, 27% male names and 33% everything else. In the survey conducted this year, the very tame nickname Bessey came out on top.

There are plenty of semi-predictable names on the list like Speedie, Beauty and the Love Machine, but there were a couple of oddball finalists, as well. Whoever called their vehicle ‘Boomzilla’ deserves a bit of creed because it’s kind of funny. But for enough English lads to use the same name so it appears on a ‘Top 10 List’ is a poor reflection on society.

Top Ten Car Nicknames

1. Bessey
2. Casper
3. Lucky
4. Love Machine
5. Beauty
6. Muscles
7. Buster
8. Speedie
9. Moocher
10. Boomzilla

Austin A30

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News: First view of Lamborghini Murcielago LP 650-4 Roadster

Lamborghini Murcielago fq

Lamborghini has just released the first set of official images showing its latest limited run special, the Murcielago LP 650-4 Roadster, which follows the LP 670-4 SuperVeloce that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. The LP 650-4 Roadster is definitely not for those who are worried about hair loss. With a top speed of 330 kph, anything not firmly connected to the scalp will be blown loose.

The Lamborghini crew have put some extra rage into this bull — the 6.5-litre V12 now produces 650 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque through all four wheels. That’s enough to leave 100 kph behind after just 3.4 seconds. Lamborghini is only planning to put out 50 of these exclusive roadsters at an as yet undisclosed price. But expect it to be ridiculous.

Lamborghini has just released the first set of official images sho ...

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News: Citroen set to launch green sub-brand

According to insider rumours Citroen is considering launching a separate brand just for eco-friendly vehicles. Earlier this year, the French automaker announced a new high-end brand that would bring premium features to its existing vehicle platforms. The first production vehicle under the green brand would borrow greatly from the C-Cactus concept which appeared at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007 but be built atop the automaker’s C4 platform.

Expect some innovative uses of materials, as previewed on the C-Cactus project, along with a fuel-saving powertrain of some sort. Options include going fully electric, using a hybrid system or using a small three-cylinder diesel engine that would put out less than 100 g/km of carbon emissions. It all sounds positive, but let’s just hope Citroen puts a happier face on the new vehicle than what appeared on the C-Cactus concept.

According to insider rumours Citroen is considering launching a separa ...

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