Latest Road Tests and Reviews
Kia New Zealand has announced a deal with iconic Eden Park to have its branding featured on the stadium. The branding will be displayed within the park, as well as an exterior sign facing Sandringham Read More
Auckland is set to become Mustang central tomorrow, ahead of Labour Weekend. The Ford Mustang ‘Drive-Thru Friday’ experience, powered by Ford and Uber, gives Uber customers the opportunity to get a ride in a brand Read More
Swiss electronics company Brusa recently took an electric sportscar called the Spyder to a European motor show. The Spyder has mysterious underpinnings and may be based on either a rear-engined Volkswagen or possibly a Porsche 914. It’s Porsche 550 Spyder styling clues are more obvious.
Powered by two 95 kW electric motors — one for each rear wheel — the Spyder is reportedly capable of reaching 100 kph in under 5 seconds. Power comes from a 16 kWh lithium polymer battery pack providing enough juice for a range of 125 kilometers at 80 kilometers per hour.
A liquid-cooled charger lives under the bonnet, and a full charge reportedly takes four hours when plugged in to a 16-amp, 220-volt outlet. No details on a possible production schedule yet, but for a vehicle this complex it seems unlikely.
Swiss electronics company Brusa recently took an electric sportsca ...
Ferrari has been busy working on a part-time 4WD system designed for both its mid and front-engined models for years now. Ferrari has named the new technology ‘Insertable 4×4’ and it has remained a bit of an enigma till now. A recent search of the European Patent Office revealed that the Italian carmaker applied for a new patent back in February for a 4WD system with hybrid propulsion.
The filing describes the system as being primarily intended to “improve the drivability of a sports car in conditions of poor grip.”
Ferrari’s design eliminates the associated heavy weight of 4WD vehicles by using two powerplants in the car — each to drive a separate pair of wheels — which in turn eliminates the need for heavy and bulky transfer cases and driveshafts. In all the designs, however, the engine is matched to an axle via a locking differential.
The design is similar to Citroen’s hybrid system in that it separates the roles of the engine and electric motor. Furthermore, Ferrari has submitted six different layouts for the patent, with some of them sitting the electric motors within the wheels instead of on a conventional axle.
No launch date has been revealed for the system but it looks like a lot of further work is required so don’t expect to see any 4WD hybrid Ferraris for some time yet.
Ferrari has been busy working on a part-time 4WD system designed f ...
Nissan have announced the release of a new all-electric vehicle next year, but the styling of the car has yet to be finalised. Now, Nissan’s chief designer Shiro Nakamura has come out and provided a rendered speculation of the EV’s styling.
The new Nissan EV will shock viewers with its appearance, Nakamura claims, adding that this is a purposeful design to make sure the public knows that this is an all-electric car and not just a hybrid. The car will be avoiding the wedge-shape adopted by the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight and instead will let bespoke EV features make it distinguishable.
One of the more striking features is the car’s grille-less front, the electric drivetrain doesn’t really need a grille but it still looks weird. Since there is no bulky engine up front, the car will also have a very low bonnet-line to aid aerodynamics and give it a bold appearance. The final ‘subtle’ clue to car’s electric status is a recharging plug that will be visible on its nose, leaving no doubt about the power source.
While the car won’t be as constrained in its design as conventional vehicles, its designers still had to sit it on an existing Nissan platform. Because of this, the designers couldn’t fully exploit the design possibilities presented by the electric car, but this has also helped them keep costs of development down.
This fact will change in the future as Nissan develops specific platforms for electric vehicles and lets its designers work from scratch. For now, Nissan is hoping that its new design will be bold enough to stand out in the upcoming crowd of electric vehicles.
There is little doubt the Nissan EV will stand out but it may not be for the right reasons.
Nissan have announced the release of a new all-electric vehicle ne ...
Controversial lead designer Chris Bangle has left BMW but his brand of car design remains. The latest proof of this comes with the announcement of the production 5 Series Gran Turismo, which is little changed from the concept launched in Geneva, except for a few details like smaller wheels and more conventional interior fabrics.
The undefinable 5 Series GT is, according to BMW, meant to combine “the characteristic features of a prestige saloon, a modern, highly versatile Sports Activity Vehicle, and a classic Gran Turismo” — the styling appears to be consistent with this ethos but the final judgement will be passed in sales figures for the vehicle.
BMW has disclosed so far that the European spec gasoline model range will be composed of the 306 horsepower, 3.0-liter 535i Gran Turismo and the 550i Gran Turismo, which relies on a powerful dual-turbo 4.4-litre V8 good for 407 horsepower. Finally, there’s the 530d Gran Turismo, which offers a 3.0-liter, 245 horsepower I6 diesel powerplant and a tidy C02 rating of 173 grams per km. Regardless of engine choice, the sole gearbox offering will be the eight-speed automatic gearbox lifted from the 760i luxury sedan. The multi-cogged unit will increase overall fuel economy, and help performance for any model in the range. BMW are quoting 0-100 kph times of 6.3 seconds for the 535i GT, 5.5 seconds for the 550i GT, and a thoroughly respectable 6.9 seconds for the 530d GT.
Check out the promotional video of the new BMW 5 Series GT below.
Controversial lead designer Chris Bangle has left BMW but his bran ...
It’s a confusing time in the automotive world, and it has become tough to know who is doing well and who is in trouble. For the past few years, Porsche has looked very strong, selling plenty of cars, and quickly gobbling up shares of German juggernaut Volkswagen. But the tables have turned and dried-up credit markets and slowing sales have conspired to put a big wrench in Porsche’s plans, though.
It was recently revealed that Porsche has ditched its plans to take over VW and instead plans to merge the two companies (read news item). Now, German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting that times have been so tight at Porsche that it actually just escaped bankruptcy for three days in March. The German automaker received a 700 million euro loan from VW to stay out of trouble, but needs another 2.5 billion euros to stay in business. Porsche has tried to convince the German government to offer more loans to help scale down the enormous debt it had incurred in attempting to buy VW.
Amazingly, Porsche which sells fewer than 100,000 vehicles per year, has accrued an astonishing 9 billion euros worth of debt. That’s 50% more debt than Chrysler.
It's a confusing time in the automotive world, and it has become t ...
Using facial recognition as an interface isn’t an entirely new technology form, but it hasn’t been successfully used in a motor vehicle yet. Toshiba looks set to change that, however, with it now showing off a new system that will allow users to control the A/C or radio with the glance of an eye, but also be able to alert you if you happen to take your eyes off the road for too long.
How does it all work? It’s done with the aid of a camera mounted above the steering wheel that’s used to both identify and map out the driver’s face, letting the car detect everything from drivers head movement and eye direction to eyelid blinks, which Toshiba says could eventually be used to alert drowsy drivers.
Although the potential automotive applications are exciting Toshiba doesn’t have any immediate plans to work in with an automaker and commercialise its systems, but is apparently working hard to further develop the technology.
Using facial recognition as an interface isn't an entirely new tec ...
Recent reports stated that GM’s plans for a high-performance Camaro Z28 had been canceled and the Camaro Convertible was stuck in limbo, now fresh info has come to light. The Camaro Z28 isn’t looking likely to ever reach production but the Camaro Convertibe is set for a March 2011 launch.
Cost cutting at GM and fears that the German supplier of the Camaro Convertible’s roof mechanism was about to go under led to last week’s claims that the car was put on hold indefinitely. However, the supplier in question is still in business and has a fresh contract with GM.
GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan recently confirmed that production of the highly anticipated convertible is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2011. He went on to concede that this will be a few months later than the originally planned late 2010 launch. “We always thought it would be one year after the coupe,” he said. “Instead we are going two.”
As for the Z28, GM was planning to add the 550hp (410kW) 6.2L V8 engine from the Cadillac CTS-V to the Camaro’s engine bay in an attempt to out-power the Dodge Challenger SRT8 and Shelby Mustang GT and claim the status of baddest modern muscle car. Sadly, the Z28’s expected $50 million development price tag and potential low sales volume meant it never really had a chance.
Recent reports stated that GM’s plans for a high-performance ...
We write this as the 2009 Indy 500 has just finished – an exciting result, but you won’t be able to buy the Camaro Pace Car this year. The reason Chevrolet cites is that producing too many specials devalues the standard car, and what with the Bumblebee Camaro on the cards to celebrate the new Transformers movie, you’ll just have to purchase a standard Camaro and make the stickers yourself.
Results of the Indy 500 2009 (top 10)
Here’s the full list of Indy 500 pace cars since back in the day
Year Model Driver
2008 Chevrolet Corvette Emerson Fittipaldi
2007 Chevrolet Corvette Patrick Dempsey
2006 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Lance Armstrong
2005 Chevrolet Corvette Gen. Colin Powell
2004 Chevrolet Corvette C5 Morgan Freeman
2003 Chevy SSR Herb Fishel
2002 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Jim Caviezel
2001 Oldsmobile Bravada Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp
2000 Oldsmobile Aurora Anthony Edwards
1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Jay Leno
1998 Chevrolet Corvette Parnelli Jones
1997 Oldsmobile Aurora Johnny Rutherford
1996 Dodge Viper GTS Robert A. Lutz
1995 Chevrolet Corvette Jim Perkins
1994 Ford Mustang Cobra Parnelli Jones
1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 Jim Perkins
1992 Cadillac Allante Bobby Unser
1991 Dodge Viper RT/10 Carroll Shelby
1990 Chevrolet Beretta Jim Perkins
1989 20th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am Bobby Unser
1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Gen. Chuck Yeager
1987 Chrysler LeBaron Carroll Shelby
1986 Chevrolet Corvette Gen. Chuck Yeager
1985 Oldsmobile Calais James Garner
1984 Pontiac Fiero John Callies
1983 Buick Riviera Convertible Duke Nalon
1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Jim Rathmann
1981 Buick Regal V-6 Duke Nalon
1980 Pontiac Turbo-Trans Am Johnnie Parsons
1979 Ford Mustang Jackie Stewart
1978 Chevrolet Corvette Jim Rathmann
1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88 James Garner
1976 Buick Turbocharged V-6 Marty Robbins
1975 Buick Century Custom ‘Free Spirit’ James Garner
1974 Hurst/Olds Cutlass Jim Rathmann
1973 Cadillac Eldorado Jim Rathmann
1972 Hurst/Olds Cutlass Jim Rathmann
1971 Dodge Challenger Eldon Palmer
1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Rodger Ward
1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Jim Rathmann
1968 Ford Torino GT William C. Ford
1967 Chevrolet Camaro Mauri Rose
1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT Benson Ford
1965 Plymouth Sports Fury P.M. Buckminster
1964 Ford Mustang Benson Ford
1963 Chrysler ‘300’ Sam Hanks
1962 Studebaker Sam Hanks
1961 Ford Thunderbird Sam Hanks
1960 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Sam Hanks
1959 Buick Electra 225 Sam Hanks
1958 Pontiac Bonneville Sam Hanks
1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser F.C. Reith
1956 DeSoto Fireflite Pacesetter L.I. Woolson
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air T.H. Keating
1954 Dodge Royal 500 William C. Newburg
1953 Ford Crestline Sunliner William C. Ford
1952 Studebaker Commander P.O. Peterson
1951 Chrysler New Yorker V-8 Dave Wallace
1950 Mercury Benson Ford
1949 Oldsmobile 88 ‘Rocket’ Wilbur Shaw
1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster Six-Series Wilbur Shaw
1947 Nash Ambassador George W. Mason
1946 Lincoln Continental Henry Ford II
1941 Chrysler-Newport (Phaeton) A.B. Couture
1940 Studebaker Champion Harry Hartz
1939 Buick Roadmaster Series 80 Charles Chayne
1938 Hudson ‘112’ Stuart Baits
1937 LaSalle Series 50 Ralph DePalma
1936 Packard One-Twenty Tommy Milton
1935 Ford Model 48 Harry Mack
1934 LaSalle Model 350 ‘Big Boy’ Rader
1933 Chrysler Imperial (Phaeton) Byron Foy
1932 Lincoln Model KB Edsel Ford
1931 Cadillac 370 Twelve ‘Big Boy’ Rader
1930 Cord L-29 Wade Morton
1929 Studebaker Series F-10 President George Hunt
1928 Marmon ‘8’ (Model 78) Joe Dawson
1927 LaSalle V-8 Series 303 ‘Big Boy’ Rader
1926 Chrysler Imperial E-80 Louis Chevrolet
1925 Rickenbacker Eight Eddie Rickenbacker
1924 Cole V-8 Series 890 Lew Pettijohn
1923 Duesenberg Model A Fred S. Duesenberg
1922 National Sextet Barney Oldfield
1921 H.C.S. Series 6 Harry C. Stutz
1920 Marmon Model 34 Barney Oldfield
1919 Packard 335 Col. J. G. Vincent
1916 Premier Model 656 Frank E. Smith
1915 Packard Model 548 Carl G. Fisher
1914 Stoddard-Dayton Carl G. Fisher
1913 Stoddard-Dayton Carl G. Fisher
1912 Stutz Carl G. Fisher
1911 Stoddard-Dayton Model 11-A Carl G. Fisher
We write this as the 2009 Indy 500 has just finished - an exciting ...