News: New Suzuki Wagon R released

suzuki-wagon-r-fq

The Suzuki Wagon R has a small and loyal following here in NZ, and fans of the boxy little beast will be pleased to know that Suzuki have just released the latest incarnation in Japan.

The new Wagon R is joined by a new Wagon R Stingray variant, neither vehicle loses its defining boxiness but they have all new bodies and a longer wheelbase. The standard Wagon R gets a new look with larger headlamps, while the meaner Wagon R Stingray gets some teeth with a chrome strip that runs between its more horizontal headlamps.

The Stingray is available in darker more masculine colours, while the Wagon R is more feminine in its approach with an available colour palette that includes lighter shades and pastels. Under the hood normally-aspirated and turbocharged 660cc engines are offered, mated to either 4- or 5-speed automatics or a CVT, depending on trim level. The turbocharged Stingray with the CVT gets paddle shifters to keep the 64 hp under total control.

Suzuki has high hopes for the Wagon R in the Japanese domestic market, and it should only be a short wait before we see the boxy goodness of the Wagon R down here in NZ.

News: Maserati GranTurismo MC Corse concept car

maserati-granturismo-mc-2-fq

Maserati are intensly proud of their racing heritage, and to continue this legacy they have just released details of their latest competition model, the GranTurismo MC Corse Concept.

Based on the GranTurismo S, the MC Corse is much lighter and performance has been significantly enhanced. The engine has a new intake system, competition-spec catalytic converters and a center-exit exhaust to boost output to 330kw.  The suspension has been upgraded with improved weight distribution and single-setting race dampers, with 18×12-inch front and 18×13-inch rear wheels fitted with racing slicks. Enlarged brake discs with monobloc racing calipers provide stopping power and a FIA-approved rollcage is fitted incase it all goes wrong.

Mean looks and killer performance will make the MC Corse one to look out for.

News: Hamann tweaks Aston Martin Vantage

Aston Martin Hamann fq

Hamann has turned the Aston Martin Vantage from a beautiful car into a dead set stunner. The kit is not just about the looks either with an array of aerodynamic, handing and engine mods to push the junior Aston up a level.

Hamann has given the Vantage a new lower front fascia with two-piece spoilers, added a pair of sideskirts, a three-piece rear diffuser and a small rear spoiler. All these bits, or a different lip spoiler, can be purchased in either carbon fiber or fiberglass, along with an unnecessary roof scoop.

The engine receives a retuned ECU that can boost power of the outgoing Aston’s 4.3-liter V8 to 358 hp (23 hp more than standard) or the 2009 model’s 4.7-liter V8 to 426 hp (30 hp more than standard). A stainless steel exhaust is good for another 20 hp, but to achieve those gains may require some tweaking of the Vantage’s computer.

The handling has been tightened up with a set of Hamann’s three-piece 21-inch wheels and new springs that drop the Vantage by 30 mm up front and 20 mm in the rear. The interior receives a new aluminum pedal set, bespoke floor mats and optional custom leather trim.

News: Mercedes celebrates 80 years of protection

Mercedes Pullman fq

If you’re super important and require protection look no further than the new Mercedes S600 Pullman Guard limosine. Mercedes has been in the business of providing mobile protection for 80 years and to celebrate the anniversary they have officially released the latest in luxury vehicle protection.

Based on a stretched version of the standard S600, the Pullman is engineered right off the assembly line to withstand handgun fire, grenades and explosive charges to the stringent B6 and B7 ballistic protection standards. All this extra protection is heavy and a massive power-plant is required to pull the Pullman around, this comes in the form of a 380kw 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12, which is supported by a self-sealing fuel tank and integrated fire suppression system.

All kinds of luxury equpiment is available, and even though for wealthy public figures price should not be a problem, Mercedes also offers an armored E Guard and G Guard as well as the standard-wheelbase S600 Guard.

Blogs: Hybrids are everywhere

It seems like everything with an engine has been made hybrid. Even the humble lawnmower has become a hybrid (and this one is a hybrid, plus being radio-controlled.)

Volvo has just released a hybrid front loader (think enormous digger) which saves 10% fuel over a conventional diesel one. There are even electric dragsters like this motorbike:

News: 9ff has big plans for Porsche Panamera

9ff Panamera s

Not being content with simply turning a regular Porshce 911 GTS into a 400kph capable monster, performance tuning company 9ff are set to try their hand with the new Panamera.

9ff tune all types of Porsches. and they are particulary excited about the new Panamera despite it not even being released yet.  There are no real details or photos but early images show how the modified sedan may look. The new car will be a stong performer without doubt, but 9ff have marked their intentions to push it out far further.  If enough early orders come in 9ff will have set themselves up to develop perhaps the quickest, most dastardly family car ever.

Pre order your 9ff Panamera now at www.9ff.de

News: 9ff has big plans for Porsche Panamera

9ff Panamera s

Not being content with simply turning a regular Porshce 911 GTS into a 400kph capable monster, performance tuning company 9ff are set to try their hand with the new Panamera.

9ff tune all types of Porsches. and they are particulary excited about the new Panamera despite it not even being released yet.  There are no real details or photos but early images show how the modified sedan may look. The new car will be a stong performer without doubt, but 9ff have marked their intentions to push it out far further.  If enough early orders come in 9ff will have set themselves up to develop perhaps the quickest, most dastardly family car ever.

Pre order your 9ff Panamera now at www.9ff.de

News: Falcon set to become less Australian

Ford Falcon XR8 FG fq

The iconic Falcon is set to lose its national identity as Ford look toward a more international stance for their vehicle range.

Ford’s vice president of product development Derrick Kuzak admitted recently to Drive that the next-generation Falcon will likely share components (and possibly design elements) with other Ford vehicles, such as the American Taurus and the entire vehicle could be lended to other models under the Ford umbrella.

“When we work globally and we look at vehicles that are similar in terms of the market segments and the customers we’re trying to serve, you’re absolutely correct that large sedans and large utilities like Falcon and Territory have similar needs and customers to vehicles like Flex and Taurus in North America,” says Kuzak “So when we look to the future that’s exactly what we’re doing — [trying to work out] how do we serve both markets and both sets of vehicles in one way.”

The Falcon has become an Australian icon, with the model being unique to Australia, with the exception of some low-volume export markets including New Zealand). But Ford is now pushing toward globalisation and a “One Ford” world, where complete cars and all components can be shared accross models and countries to reduce research and development costs, and cater to different economies.

Further changes may be iminent for the Falcon with Ford’s global president Alan Mulally saying recently that a decision had not been made on whether the Falcon would switch to a front-wheel drive layout which has advantages with reducing weight and allowing for more interior space — or continue with rear-wheel drive.

We have reviewed the Falcon XR8, G6 and FPV variants. Check the related items below.