Blogs: Pulped Ferrari

The movie Pulp Fiction is responsible for a few pearls of wisdom, and I’m not talking about all that ‘Royale with Cheese’ stupidity. More so when hit man Vincent Vega says “You just don’t f**k with another man’s automobile” something I agree with entirely.

I mean a man’s car is a sacred thing, and to cross the boundary into damaging it is an offence surely worthy of a fiery afterlife. Even if you come home to find another guy banging your wife while kicking your dog and drinking your last beer, you still don’t go outside and smash up his ride, you find another avenue for revenge because it just isn’t right.

Tell that to Aaron Billington, who has been in the news recently on account of smashing up Jamiroquai front man Jay Kay’s Ferrari Enzo, he didn’t listen to Vincent Vega and now he has to face the music. After convicting Billington of the crime, the courts of Ipswich in the UK sentenced the chef to fork over cold hard cash to pay for the $30,000 NZ in damage and spend 20 weeks in the cooler. Young Aaron broke the rules and the code that most decent guys live by and that’s bad, but a part of me feels very sorry for him.

Let’s face it Jay Kay is a bit of a dick, when most short men just become very good at a single sport or brag about the disproportionate size of their wangs Jay Kay resorts to ridiculous hats to trick people into thinking he isn’t just an angry midget. Hang on, midget isn’t P.C anymore, I mean ‘little person’. His dance style is erratic and indefinable and his chirpy jazzy blend of music was only cool around the year 2000 when we were all just glad the world hadn’t ended and more importantly our computers still worked.

Apparently the earlier altercation between Billington and Jay Kay was (surprise surprise) over a young lady. Now, for all Jay Kay’s shortcomings he is still a rock star and still extremely wealthy, and he has more than one Ferrari, so what chance did Billington a 21-year old guy who stutters when he gets nervous have in any type of battle with him? Slim to none.

Tough break for Billington, he lost the girl, lost any cash he had and then some, and ultimately lost his freedom. That everyone is why you don’t f**k with another man’s automobile¦ ever.

Jay Kay Ferrari smashed

The movie Pulp Fiction is responsible for a few pearls of wisdom, and ...

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Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart 2009 Review

mitsubishi-lancer-ralliart-fq2

We all need a bit of back up sometimes, Batman has Robin, Shrek has Donkey, Vogel’s toast has Marmite and the Subaru Impreza STI has the Subaru Impreza WRX.  But where is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s super sidekick? It’s been 10 years since the Lancer GSR hung up its guns leaving the Evo to race the badlands alone.  But now, there’s a new deputy in town with Mitsubishi’s latest recruit — the Ralliart Lancer.

The new Ralliart is assigned to the expansive performance gap that exists between the top spec Lancer Evo and the mid-range Lancer VRX model. While there is no doubt the Ralliart is a performance model it’s not expected to show the raw aggression of the current Evo X, so what’s the difference?

Before specification and performance the most obvious difference is price. The EVO is Mitsubishi’s hero model and is valued accordingly at $67,990 with manual transmission and $72,990 with a twin-clutch auto. The Ralliart is priced at $49,990, around $20k less than the Evo and offers more affordable performance, but with what concessions?

Powering the Ralliart is a diluted version of the Evo mill. Using the same all aluminum block, turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder motor the Ralliart is good for 180kW of grunt and 349Nm of torque. This is a 40kW reduction from the higher spec Evo due to a single-scroll turbocharger (instead of a twin) a smaller intercooler, different intake plumbing and a 6500-rpm redline (7K on the Evo). However this harsh comparison with the kingpin Evo shouldn’t leave the Ralliart with major inadequacy issues for it’s a hard hitter in its own right.

The Ralliart achieves the 0-100k sprint in just under 6 seconds and the acceleration is suitably peaky and exciting. But without any degree of launch mode, off-the-line acceleration can be sluggish until the turbo brings the noise. This lag can take a good second which isn’t much but can still feel like an eternity. Once up to speed the Ralliart offers the kind of heavy mid-range punch usually reserved for David Tua opponents and in the upper power-band the delivery is linear and easily managed.

The Ralliart utilises Mitsubishi’s twin-clutch SST (Sequential Sportshift Transmission) six-speed auto transmission. It’s a very useful and interesting unit that makes a worthy offsider for the Ralliart’s modern engine. Always eager to get busy on the driver’s behalf the TC-SST box shifts at lightning speed and is never afraid to blip the throttle and chop down a gear even at high rpm. The sounds of gears and clutches clicking away are not overly insulated from the driver which adds to the rawness of the Ralliart experience. The TC-SST has an available sport mode that holds the vehicle in lower gears longer and squeezes out every drop of power. Manual shift options are available with steering wheel mounted paddles and through the stubby floor shifter, but with an auto transmission this advanced they are seldom needed.

On the windy roads the Ralliart can’t match the bravado of its Evo big-brother but it still has plenty of on-road bite. Using a no-nonsense all-wheel drive system the Ralliart has front and rear limited slip differentials (LSD) and an active centre differential that regulates torque to where it’s needed most. Three handy settings are available thanks to the centre diff — gravel, snow and tarmac. This 3-diff set-up makes for very good balance and the Ralliart can be pointed into corners easily and then powered out early and with haste. When nearing its limits a very gentle and controllable oversteer is felt giving the driver a shoulder-tap to ease off.

The Ralliart’s steering is very quick and focused – it’s firm to handle and offers a high-level of feedback. This does at times translate into steering wheel movement during cornering but most performance car enthusiasts would appreciate the communication.

Suspension is suitably firm but not even close to the harsh ride dished out by the Evo, giving the Ralliart an alert feel while still retaining a decent level of comfort. Road noise however does intrude into overall ride comfort and although a part of the Ralliart’s road-connected character can become annoying on long journeys.

Visually, the Ralliart isn’t far removed from the Evo, sporting the same air-scooped aluminum bonnet and large gulping front grille. Sharp and distinctive lines run throughout cumulating in a flashy rear spoiler. Multi-spoked 18-inch rims, twin exhaust pipes and chrome touches on the bodywork finish off the look.

Inside the Ralliart shares the same interior as the entire Lancer range: it’s dark with hard plastics and highly functional. The mix of silver and black is effective, if not a touch conservative, and the orange/black illumination on the display screens and instruments is easy to read. Deeply contoured Recaro bucket seats lifted from the EVO come as standard, these offer great bolstered support during spirited driving, but have no vertical adjustment which won’t suit shorter drivers. The tested model came with the brilliant 6-disc changer Rockford-Fosgate stereo with subwoofer. Overall the interior is ok, the materials are adequate but it works as a reminder that underneath the performance still sits an economy car.

If things go bang the Ralliart has its safety bases covered with a gang of seven airbags including front-seat mounted airbags, two-row side airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag. Antilock brakes and electronic stability control are also ready to help out.

There is no doubt that Mitsubishi’s ranks have been strengthened by the introduction of the Ralliart Lancer and it’s an awesome offsider for the Evo. It offers exciting acceleration, Evo-styling and a good equipment list all at a palatable price. In fact, when balancing the books in terms of value for money, specification and performance some potential Evo buyers may be persuaded by its charms and become willing to make the required compromises and favour the Ralliart. This healthy internal competition can only help the dueling Lancers in their continuing showdown with the Subaru Impreza.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: from $49,990

What we like:

  • Fun car to drive
  • Handsome styling
  • Reasonable price
  • Excellent auto transmission
  • Bring on the modifications!

What we don’t like:

  • Slow off the mark
  • Road noise
  • Has to run on 98 octane
  • Will the target market really enjoy the constant beeping while it’s in reverse?

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart – Specifications

Engine – LB6RAE41

Displacement (cc) 1,998
Max power (DIN) kW @ rpm 180 @ 6,000
Max torque (DIN) Nm @ rpm 349 @ 3,000
Bore and stroke (mm) 86.0 x 86.0
Compression ratio 9.0:1
Fuel consumption – l/100km 10.0
CO2 g/km 233
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 55
Fuel type premium unleaded 98

Dimensions / Weights

Overall length (mm) 4,570
Overall width (mm) 1,760
Overall height (mm)  1,490
Wheelbase (mm)  2,635
Track front (mm) 1,530
Track rear (mm) 1,530
Turning circle (m) 10.0
Kerb weight (kg) 1,555
GVW (kg) 2,025
Head room – front (mm) 950
Head room – rear (mm) 895
Trunk volume by VDA (litres) 293
Towing capacity with brakes (kg) 1,000
Towing capacity without brakes (kg) 550

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News: G-Power creates the world’s fastest BMW coupe

G-power Hurricane M6 fq

The crew at tuning company G-Power are constantly striving to produce the most insane BMWs on the planet by combining forced induction with thoroughly revised suspensions and aerodynamics to attain ridiculously unreasonable speeds. It’s latest creation, the M6 Hurricane CS, goes to the level set by its M5-based Hurricane RS, and straps a duo of superchargers onto the 5.0-litre V10, boosting the coupe’s output to 740 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.

Combined with a remapped ECU and a titanium exhaust, along with carbon fibre seats and a few other tweaks to reduce the curb weight by around 40kg, the CS dashes to 100 kph in 4.4 seconds, and on to a claimed top speed of 365 kph — which makes it the fastest road-going BMW coupe on Earth.

In addition to the twin superchargers and unique body-kit, G-Power has decked out the CS with carbon ceramic brakes at all four corners, with the front discs measuring in at a huge 380mm and clamped by six-piston calipers. A coil-over suspension with nine adjustable settings joins front and rear anti-roll bars, and for just 390,000 euros, it could be all yours.

The crew at tuning company G-Power are constantly striving to prod ...

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News: Top Gear may be forced to include a female cast member

Top Gear stunt

Earlier this week, the UK’s Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman, unveiled some new legislation called the “Equity Bill” which requires state-funded organizations (like the BBC) to increase the amount of female, black and gay staff to better reflect the diversified population of the UK. If the reforms go through, everyone’s favorite motoring show might have to add a female cast member.

The Controversial reform is of course going to have consequences beyond Top Gear, but much of the Daily Mail’s reporting on the bill revolves around Clarkson, Hammond and May.

One female academic Dr. Louise Livesey, a tutor in sociology and women’s studies at the Ruskin College in Oxford, said the show is “entrenched, institutional sexism.”

Thankfully, Top Gear’s producer Andy Wilman released a statement in response, calling out the mandate and its supporting egg-heads by saying “our regular viewers know, on account of them normally having more common sense than politicians or academics, Top Gear is a male show, in that it revolves around three males enjoying their love of cars.” Wilman also said, “this sort of claptrap is very patronising to women, because it assumes women can’t enjoy a show’s presenters on merit, but can only appreciate a program if spoken to by one of their own sex.”

Nice work Wilman, way to show them who’s boss, but why not just claim the Stig is infact female?

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News: Chrysler bankrupt – Fiat merger going ahead

Fiat logo

Chrysler is officially bankrupt but there is still hope for the flailing automaker. Chrysler’s bankruptcy process is being pushed forward quickly to eliminate the remaining obstacles between Chrysler’s and Fiat’s planned merger. American President Obama’s made a speech yesterday reflecting this path, confirming both that bankruptcy is the only way forward, and that his task force finds a joined Fiat-Chrysler alliance to be viable.

“Over the past month, seemingly insurmountable obstacles have been overcome,” the President said during his speech. “Chrysler and Fiat have formed a partnership that has a strong chance of success.”

The combination of Fiat’s alliance and a speedy bankruptcy means that sales won’t be interrupted. Warranty service will continue now with a guarantee by the U.S. government. The Treasury will also be lending Chrysler an additional $7.5 billion to help it negotiate the waters of bankruptcy.

Between $3-$3.5 billion will come in the form of ‘debtor-in-possesion’ (DIP) financing, and another $4.5 billion will come as ‘exit financing’ to enable Chrysler to continue operation post-bankruptcy. Fiat will only be able to take control of Chrysler after the $7.5-$8 billion in loans have been repaid.

The Fiat-Chrysler alliance could be worth more than $10 billion for the struggling Detroit company and could potentially save more than 5,000 North American manufacturing jobs.

“This partnership transforms Chrysler into a vibrant new company with a wealth of strategic advantages,” said Chrysler boss Bob Nardelli. “It enables us to better serve our customers and dealers with a broader and more competitive line-up of environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient high-quality vehicles. Benefits to the new company include access to exciting products that complement our current portfolio, technology cooperation and stronger global distribution.”

Fiat will initially hold a 20% ownership stake in Chrysler. Fiat will have the right to increase its ownership stake an additional 15% in three increments as it meets the following criteria: 5% for bringing a 40mpg vehicle platform to Chrysler to be domestically produced 5% for providing a fuel-efficient engine family to be made in the U.S. for use in Chrysler vehicles; and 5% for providing Chrysler access to its vast global distribution network to facilitate the export of Chrysler vehicles.

“To be sure, there will be many changes as we move forward to implement our plans,” said Nardelli. “But today, from many great parts, we begin to build a vibrant new company with less debt, a stronger balance sheet, richer product portfolio, supported by a well-positioned finance company.”

Chrysler is officially bankrupt but there is still hope for the fl ...

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News: Audi R8 Spyder due in 2011

Audi R8

Audi has released a few special spec versions of its R8, but it’s been a while since anything has been said about the upcoming roadster version. Now reports quoting company insiders suggest that the a roofless version of the supercar is scheduled to hit the global market by 2011.

Since Audi likes to stick with traditional soft-tops on its other convertible models, the R8 Spyder is expected to follow suit in order to save on space and added weight. Earlier reports suggested a partial convertible targa-style roof opening, but the drop-top flagship is likely to get a more conventional and complete solution. What isn’t known is whether the convertible variant will be limited to the V8 powertrain or whether it will get the more potent 5.2-litre V10. If Audi can manage to pack the larger motor in behind the seats, a V10 roadster would prove a delectable alternative to the likes of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster and Ferrari California, and the R8’s own relative the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder. Stay tuned for more.

Audi has released a few special spec versions of its R8, but it's ...

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News: New Mazda3 on sale in NZ tomorrow

Mazda3 launch 005

The current model Mazda3 has proved itself as a popular and useful vehicle on Kiwi roads, but from tomorrow (May 1st) the second generation Mazda3 goes on sale.

Following its first full redesign in five years the new Mazda3 offers enhanced safety new performance features and environmental technologies to enhance the Zoom-Zoom driving experience.

Andrew Clearwater, managing director Mazda New Zealand, said the Mazda design team have done a fantastic job in striking a balance between safety and the fun-to-drive personality ingrained in Mazda vehicles. “Passenger safety is very important to us and we are proud to be able to offer a car designed with safety in mind which doesn’t compromise on style or performance.  The new Mazda3 is the complete package with dynamic styling, performance, fuel economy and safety and we expect it to be well received by New Zealand motorists,” said Clearwater.

The car features Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control systems as well as front, side and newly developed curtain SRS airbags standard across all models. Further safety eqipment includes Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and an intrusion-minimising brake and clutch pedal (on manual models).

“The all new Mazda3 once again raises the bar in this segment and sets the benchmark for the market by delivering a vehicle that has outstanding looks, is great to drive and is packed with safety and comfort features,” concluded Clearwater.

There is an improved 2.0L engine delivering 108kW and 182Nm which has a frugal 7.9L/100km and 187g/km of CO2 when combined with the six-speed manual transmission.  The sportier SP25 models are equipped with a 2.5L powerplant delivering 122kW of power and 227Nm of torque.

The launch of the new generation Mazda3 follows the release of the highly-acclaimed 2nd generation Mazda2 and Mazda6.  The previous Mazda3 sold more than 2 million vehicles in over 100 countries since its launch in 2003 and won more than 90 global motoring awards including a number of New Zealand awards.

Available in sedan and 5-door hatch bodystyles with a choice of four specification levels, two transmissions and eight colours, the new generation Mazda3 is on sale from May 1st.  Every new Mazda3 will come with mazdacare genuine servicing for the first three years or 100,000kms (whichever occurs first).

Pricing is from $30,895 for the base 2.0L GLX Hatch with 6-Speed Manual up to $44,285 for the top spec 2.5L SP25 Limited Hatch.

For more information on the new generation Mazda3 visit www.newmazda3.co.nz

The current model Mazda3 has proved itself as a popular and useful ...

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News: Zenvo ST1 Danish supercar (+video)

Zenvo ST1 fq

Does a Danish supercar sound crazy? Well, not really when boutique supercar companies are popping up everywhere. However, Danish company Zenvo Automotive has just brought its project vehicle the ST1 to fruition. With a mid-mounted turbocharged and supercharged 7.0-litre V8 engine, the ST1 puts out an incredible 1,104 horsepower and funnels it through a six-speed manual gearbox. So it demands attention.

The project was first started back in 2004, now the inital cars are being prepared for delivery. The ST1 will reach 100 kph in a traction-limited 3.0 seconds with a top speed reported to be around 375 kph.

The Zenvo ST1 certainly looks unique, with a very geometric appearance, including boomerang-shaped vents adorning the grille, hood and sides. Nothing quite like it is currently rolling on the roads and with decent interior luxuries it’s ready to prove itself as more than just another track car for the road.

Check out the video of the ST1 in testing below.

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