News: New Kia Cerato goes on sale in NZ

Kia Cerato fq

The new Kia Cerato has arrived in New Zealand recently and it’s on a special mission to leave other small-medium sedans behind.

Starting at $28,990 and featuring a strong 2-litre engine, tiptronic transmission, stability control and a 5-star safety package, Cerato undercuts the Mitsuibishi Lancer 2.0 auto sedan (rrp from $32,500), Toyota’s 1.8 Corolla auto sedans (at $35,090 and $39,990 respectively for the GX and GLX models) and is more than $12,000 better than Honda’s Civic 2.0 auto sedans (rrp from $41,200).

According to Kia Motors NZ General Manager Todd McDonald, new Cerato pricing takes into account the NZ dollar changes, whereas many others have yet to see the full impact of the lower exchange rate.

“We’ve got one of the best looking sedans in this segment of the market, combined with highly competitive pricing — and the new Cerato will look even better as time goes by,” adds Mr McDonald.

The new Cerato is the first Kia to feature a new styling look that will be adopted across the board by the Korean manufacturer — it’s known as the ‘Schreyer Line’. Named after German designer Peter Schreyer, who left Audi/VW to lead the design team at Kia Motors, the ‘Schreyer line’ is based on his philosophy of “the simplicity of a straight line”. Schreyer says that for too long cars in the C-segment, especially sedans, have been too conservative and his task is to create designs for Kia that raise the bar.

Cerato also features the new Tiger-nose front grille that is being adopted on all Kia models to distinguish its cars on the road.

New Cerato is more than just a grand design. It’s built on an all-new platform created for the Kia cee’d in Europe, which has been further refined for Cerato, then equipped with a dynamic independent suspension and steering package.

Equipment levels are among the best in class, with ESP stability control (incorporating ABS braking and traction control) and six airbags (front side and curtain) standard on all models. Also included is a 6-speaker MP3/USB/iPod entertainment system.

The driving force comes from the new Theta II CVVT 2-litre petrol engine, delivering 116kW @ 6200rp and an impressive torque force of 194Nm @ 4300rpm — that’s 15% more power and 7% more torque than the previous Cerato.

A tiptronic-type automatic suspension is standard on the new Cerato range, featuring a new gate shift pattern and a sports mode that enables the driver to select gear changes manually.

Even with the roof height lowered, the new Cerato boasts more room for its occupants than the previous model. Overall legroom is up 5% and shoulder room is up by an average of 17.5%.

New Cerato is available in two models. The LX comes with fabric seating materials, air conditioning, power windows, power/heated door mirror, remote central locking, 16-inch alloy wheels (including full spare), tinted glass and so on, at $28,990.

The upscale Kia Cerato SX model has full leather upholstery (including leather steering wheel and gear knob), trip computer, automatic climate control, 6-cd changer and audio controls on steering wheel, cruise control, rear park assist (which also has a dashboard object indicator to its direction), 17-inch allow wheels with 45 profile tyres (including full spare) and front fog lamps among its equipment level, priced at $33,990.

The new Kia Cerato has arrived in New Zealand recently and it's on ...

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News: Gemballa breaks the ugly stick on Tornado 750 GTS

Gemballa Tornado fq

Aftermarket tuner Gemballa has been responsible for some pretty over-the-top Porsche models in the last few years, but the new Tornado 750 GTS rules supreme for ugly visual impact and unnecessary amounts of horsepower.

Using the Porsche Cayenne Turbo as a base, Gemballa starts by hacking off an incredible 250kg thanks in part to carbon-fibre bodywork that provides increased downforce and vents air to the front brakes as well as away from the engine compartment.

The turbocharged V8 has been upgraded with displacement being increased to 5.0-liters, and upgraded pistons and connecting rods have been added with racing turbocharger providing extra boost. The result is 750 horsepower and 775 lb-ft torque, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.3 seconds, and a top speed of 300 kph. In addition all the power can be given exclusively to the rear wheels if the customer requests it.

With astounding performance but unfortunate looks and a ridiculous €400,000 price tag, Gemballa may have a tough time selling many of the planned production run of fifty cars.

Aftermarket tuner Gemballa has been responsible for some pretty ov ...

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News: Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport returns

Corvette Grand Sport s

Chevrolet is bringing back the Corvette Grand Sport, and it’s very different to the last one offered at the end of the C4’s run in the mid-Nineties. The new Grand Sport has a long list of performance upgrades and rather than treat this revival as a special model with a limited run, Chevy has decided to ditch its Z51 package entirely and offer the Grand Sport that takes the standard cars performance even closer to the range-topping Z06.

While the 430-hp (436-hp with the two-mode exhaust) LS3 V8 remains unchanged, extra width is added to the guards to allow for 18- (front) and 19-inch (rear) wheels that are also wider than before. Larger brakes are included and the special suspension tuning is now even sportier. Other Z06 elements are now included like the front splitter, rear spoiler and functional brake ducts behind the doors. But unlike the Z06, you can order a Grand Sport with a choice of manual transmission or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The manual transmission comes with a dry-sump oil system, differential cooler and rear-mounted battery.

The new Grand Sport was announced at the 12th annual C5/C6 Corvette Birthday Bash at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky, USA yesterday.

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News: Geely GE – knock off Rolls facing legal action

Geeley GE fq

When independent Chinese automaker Geely unveiled its GE luxury model recently (read news item), it was hard not to notice its more than slight resemblance to the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Now with Rolls-Royce threatening legal action about the knock-off vehicle, Geely Automobile is in full denial of the British accusations. Geely actually seem rather unconcerned. “As it were, they are actually different … people may feel they are the same at the first glance, but the details are certainly different,” Geely spokeswoman Zhang Xiaoshu said in an interview.

To most observers in the industry, the production-bound Chinese GE concept clearly borrows the Rolls signature waterfall grill, down-sloping rear deck, and the Flying Lady mascot. Unlike the Phantom, the Chinese variant is set to hit the market at only a fraction of the cost of the exclusive Rolls. While imitation is often considered the most sincere form of flattery, Rolls-Royce isn’t doing much smiling.

When independent Chinese automaker Geely unveiled its GE luxury mo ...

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News: Gullwing-America reinvents the Mercedes 300SL

Gullwing America 300SL fq

They don’t build ’em like they used to, a lot of people say. Gullwing-America fully agrees and the classic focused garage is planning on relaunching the original Mercedes SL’s iconic shape with some modern technology and fabrication in a unique blend of old and new.

The 2009 Gullwing-America 300 SL Panamericana is the brainchild of Arturo Alonso, the same engineer behind the Bentley S3 E concept. With that S3 E now on its way to market, Alonso has shifted his attention to the Gullwing. With a body of fiberglass-reinforced aluminum over a powder-coated steel chassis, the Panamericana will apparently draw its power from a Mercedes M-133-55 engine, the same 5.5-litre V8 that underpins the SLR McLaren’s supercharged unit, but only tuned to produce 370 horsepower. Plans are also in the works to make a V6 available, either mated to a six-speed manual or a seven-ratio Speedtronic automatic transmission.

Riding super low on 17-inch AMG wheels with a customised independent suspension system the 300 SL Panamericana looks the business, but Gullwing-America are waiting on the orders to help get the unique project off the ground.

They don't build 'em like they used to, a lot of people say. Gullw ...

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News: Bugatti to show off more special edition Veyrons

Bugatti veyron special

Bugatti is at it again releasing yet another special edition Veyron. Following up on the one-off Blue Centenaire that was shown in Geneva to celebrate the marque’s 100th anniversary, the latest is actually a posse of four special editions, each has a different color and is dedicated to one of the company’s pre-WWII racing drivers: Sir Malcolm Campbell, Hermann zu Leiningen, Jean-Pierre Wimille and Achille Varzi.

The car gets a two-tone exterior treatment in grand Bugatti style, polished aluminum on the front guards and doors, with the rear section, roof and hood in contrasting colors matching the legendary drivers’ classic machines: Italian racing red, French racing blue, British racing green and an off-white which represents Germany, whose historic racing color was actually silver. Bugatti is preparing to roll out the four vehicles at the exclusive Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este show, which opens its gates this weekend on the shores of Lake Como, Italy.

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News: Opel – whole company worth less than a single car

Opel concept

General Motors wants out of Opel badly, and according to new reports, it’s willing to let the German automaker go without taking any money for it. The only requirement is that the new owner must inject €500 million into Opel for operations. While GM boss man Fritz Henderson has said there are six serious investors in discussions for Opel, and that a deal should be done by early May, the fact that GM has said “if you pay the bills she’s all yours” shows that GM is ready to work with anyone who’s willing to sign up.

Making a deal would not only free GM of Opel’s current and future debts, but also the obligations it would have if Opel shuts down under its watch. Another source is reporting that Opel sold a range of technologies to GM in 2005 for which it’s still owed hundreds of millions of euros. If GM was to return the patents (currently held by the U.S. government), then GM could lower its debt load and Opel would get an asset with which it could secure alternative financing.

General Motors wants out of Opel badly, and according to new repor ...

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News: Ford FG Falcon makes economy and emission improvements

Ford Falcon FG

Two of Ford’s most popular Falcon sedans, the XR6 and G6E have just obtained improvements in fuel economy and C02 emissions.

Effective from April 2009 production, the Falcon XR6 and G6E will now both return a combined fuel economy of 10.1L/100km and a CO2 emissions figure of 239g/km. This is a 0.1L improvement on fuel economy over the FG Falcon released last year and a 4g improvement in CO2 emissions.

Key contributors to the improved fuel efficiency on these two Falcon sedan models include a new, latest generation catalytic converter, a new engine calibration for improved cold start performance and a further optimised transmission calibration.

“The continuous process of ongoing engineering development by Ford of Australia has seen the FG Falcon benefit again,” says Mike Gibbon, Ford New Zealand passenger vehicle brand manager. “Ford is committed to improving fuel efficiency and emissions levels in all their vehicles and not just when we launch a new model. It is something we continue to chip away at to ensure that we continue to help our customers reduce their operating costs.”

These improvements are available on FG Falcon XR6 and G6E sedans produced from 1 April 2009. They will be available in New Zealand from late April.

Two of Ford's most popular Falcon sedans, the XR6 and G6E have jus ...

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