News: McLaren to build successor to F1 supercar

McLaren F1 fq

McLaren is hard at it preparing to launch its new road-car division, and speculation is that the new P11 (targeted at the likes of the Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4) won’t be the only product on offer. Last month, reports surfaced that McLaren is working on a smaller P8 to rival the Porsche 911 and Audi R8, but the latest news sounds even more interesting. Frank Stephenson, the designer McLaren hired to spearhead the styling of its new line of supercars, has revealed that the company is working on a replacement for the legendary McLaren F1 supercar.

The original, powered by a BMW-sourced 6.0-litre V12 with over 600 horsepower, shattered records and quickly seized the mantle of number one supercar in the earlier 90’s, and held it for years. Its future successor promises to be just as revolutionary, with power provided by a retuned version of Mercedes AMG’s 6.2-litre V8 modified by Mahle (formerly part of Cosworth) with an eye on the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX in terms of price and performance. As for what it’ll look like, Stephenson says he’s starting from scratch, so enthusiasts everywhere are left waiting in anticipation.

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News: Ford creates Focus X softroader

Ford Focus X fq

At the 2009 AutoRAI show in Amsterdam, the wraps came off the limited edition Ford Focus X Road, a bifuel Allroad pretender set to go on sale this July in the Netherlands.

Based on the Focus Wagon Titanium, the X Road features a new body kit comprised of updated front and rear bumpers, with a matching black plastic finish on the doors and side panels. The suspension remains unchanged, but a new set of 17-inch wheels are fitted. Power is provided by a 125-hp, 1.8-litre motor that can run on either regular unleaded gas or bio-ethanol. If buyers go for the “Business Pack,” a five-inch display, navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and voice controls are all included. Production is limited to just 300 units which will be gobbled up by european buyers.

At the 2009 AutoRAI show in Amsterdam, the wraps came off the limi ...

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News: Holden Commodore to save General Motors?

Holden Commodore

General Motors is too broke to develop any new rear-drive platforms, but recent reports from our mates in Australia suggest that the existing Zeta platform that underpins such models as the Holden Commodore and now the new Chevrolet Camaro could carry on for at least another decade.

Holden only finished development of the current Zeta platform a couple of years back, and is still admiring its handiwork. However, the next generation Commodore, currently sold in the North American market as the Pontiac G8, is looking likely to downsize when it’s expected to debut in 2013 and carry on through to 2020. This is a common strategy among most car-makers presently to increase economy and reduce emissions. Along with the reduced size and weight, GM could for the domestic American market use more efficient, though still powerful engines, employing direct injection and/or turbocharging like the Cadillac and Saab variants of the V6 already used by Holden.

General Motors will continue to look closely at Holden’s progress in the Australian market as a testing ground for what may save it in North America, so fans of rear-drive American muscle still have some hope to hold on to.

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News: Golf GTI V50 unveiled in Singapore

Volkswagen Golf GTI V50

VW has just launched the Golf GTI V50 in Singapore with the latest model boasting new styling and more power. The Volkswagen Golf GTI V50 uses the same 2.0 litre engine, but it has received a Stage 1 ECU upgrade which boosts the power up to 250hp. This makes a 0-100 km/h sprint possible in just 5.6 seconds.

On the styling front the V50 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 Pirelli P Zero tires and various exterior black accents. The V50 is also equipped with the brake discs and callipers from the Golf GTI R32 for extra stopping power. Unfortunately for us here in NZ the V50 is only for sale in the Singapore market at this stage.

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News: 2010 Subaru Legacy coming to NZ soon

2010 Subaru Legacy fq

North America’s version of the new generation Subaru Legacy will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show next week (April 8).

The refined Legacy version first revealed this week will be exclusively available in the United States and Canada, and will go on sale around June in those markets.Other markets, including New Zealand, will share different versions of the car, based on the Japanese-made version of the vehicle.

The major difference between the U.S. produced Legacy and the Japanese vehicles that will come to New Zealand, is the American cars are slightly wider. However, all new generation versions are wider and longer than the current car, offering significant increases in passenger and cargo area. Japanese-made versions will go on sale in Japan mid-year and the Legacy will be launched here in NZ later this year.

It will be available with a wide variety of technical innovations, including Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic gearbox and six-speed manual transmission options on some variants, plus the choice of a 3.6 litre six-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer engine and four-cylinder variants. The 2010 Legacy is built on an entirely new platform.

Check back as we bring you more updates on the 2010 Legacy arriving here later this year.

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News: MTM builds up Audi TTS

Audi TTS fq

Audi’s TT platform has had a big career, looking fresh but still very familiar from its original debut in 1999. Now it’s showing even more potential remains with the upgraded TTS and TT-RS models. But even that’s not enough for the aftermarket, and MTM has responded with a 283kW go-faster model based on the TTS.

The core of the MTM TTS is a heavily upgraded 2.0 TFSI four-banger with quattro AWD. With turbo boost increased to 22.5psi the engine is working overtime to crank out its 283kW max power rating. Torque is running at 494Nm. The new variant gets its extra power from an upgraded MTM exhaust manifold, new turbocharger and air inlet upgrades.

Another version with a slightly less high-strung tune gets 246kW out of the forced-induction four-pot. That’s just 7kW short of the TT-RS’s turbo 2.5L five-cylinder.

Both cars get quattro AWD and S tronic direct-shift gearboxes, upgraded 8-piston 380x34mm Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires in 245/30 size. Other extras include upgraded MTM 20x9in wheels, lowering springs, and a body-colored rear spoiler.

If you want the extra go you will need some extra cash because MTM upgrades have never come cheap.

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News: Whitianga Festival of Speed kicks off this weekend

Whitianga Festival of Speed

The Whitianga Festival of Speed is on this weekend 4-5 April, coinciding with the NZ Offshore Power Boat race series being held on Saturday April 4 and runs through the entire weekend.

Special events include car shows, aircraft aerobatic displays, helicopters (skills and stunts), and motorcycles (road and off road).

The program is planned to include activities such as freestyle jet ski stunts, thunder cat races, jet sprint races, sky diving, aircraft rally, NZ open Helicopter championship, car and motorcycle club events, go karts, speedway, and a number of novelty events.

Car clubs including Targa NZ, Ferrari Owners Club, and dealerships associated with performance car brands are involved.

There will be a welcome on Friday evening in Whitianga for all those in attendance. The main street will be closed for the weekend. Saturday morning will begin with a dramatic opening and then the program begins.

Saturday evening will see a “Rolling Thunder” parade of cars and motorcycles down Main Street, to a park up and view point. Live bands will be performing at a number of spots. All the bars, cafes and shops will remain open to create a Mardi Gras ambience. Sunday morning with begin with an aerobatic display then a succession of two wheel and four wheel events. The program is planned to conclude early afternoon with helicopter and car events at the airfield.

Three unique events have been specially designed for the weekend.

1. Race between a Subaru WRX STI and a jet helicopter around a prescribed course.

2. Whopper Chopper team race — Combines helicopters, motorcycles and axemen. Two helicopters pick up their axemen and race a side by side slalom course to drop them at one end on to “Chopper motor bike” which races back through course to a tall pole which axeman must fell. The winning team will take the inaugural “Whopper Chopper Trophy”.

3. Asphalt Assault — Unbelievable super bike stunt man Jason Deeming will be performing in a jaw dropping display of speed and skill.

Admission is free to all the activities so pack your sandwiches and togs and head down to Whitianga this weekend.

For more info on the program and accomodation, click here to go to the Festival of Speed website.

The Whitianga Festival of Speed is on this weekend 4-5 April, coin ...

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News: Honda abandons Frankfurt Motor Show like it’s F1

Honda Insight concept fq

It’s looking like all auto shows are going to be feeling the pinch of the diminshing auto market the latest being the mighty Frankfurt Motor Show. Honda has joined Nissan by pulling out of this year’s event in Germany in it’s latest bid to save some coin. Earlier this year, Nissan announced that it would only participate in one auto show on each continent — Geneva, Tokyo and Los Angeles — and although Honda hasn’t made such a sweeping announcement yet, it appears to be taking things one show at a time. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar move with only one North American show presence as well. At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Honda had a stand but didn’t bother with a press conference. Honda’s frugality is quickly becoming legendary, it has already thrown away the F1 team with the quickest car in the competition. What’s next?

It's looking like all auto shows are going to be feeling the pinch ...

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