November 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It was back in 1999, that Mercedes-Benz revealed its first AMG-worked ML SUV – the ML55 AMG. During the following 12 years the performance SUV has sold over 24,000 units worldwide. Now the German brand is ready for the third generation of the series that will be called the 2012 ML63 AMG and will be officially revealed at this week’s 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Powering the family-friendly beast is Mercedes’ 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine that delivers 386kW of power and 700Nm of torque, representing an increase over the 375kW/630Nm output of its predecessor. If you need to do the school run even faster, there’s also an available AMG Performance Package boosts the V8 engine’s output to a crazed 410KW of power and 780Nm of torque.
With the “standard” package, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes just 4.7 seconds while top speed is quoted at 280 km/h. Estimated combined fuel is hardly frugal at 14.7l/100km.
Power is put to the tarmac through a permanent all-wheel drive system that operates at a ratio of 40:60 to the front and rear axle, and a standard AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission featuring three driving modes – Controlled Efficiency (C) for improved fuel economy, Sport (S) and Manual (M). Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz reveals hardcore 2012 ML63 AMG” »
November 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Love it or hate it the Nissan Murano has become a permanent fixture in the medium-sized SUV market and has just been facelifted for the 2012 model year. Nissan has upgraded the Murano with new front styling, new design alloy wheels, and improvements in specification.
On sale now, the 2012 Murano features a new grille, front bumper and headlamp design. New, multi spoke 18 inch alloy wheels are introduced and new design rear taillights, new silver roof rail design and the addition of rear privacy glass. A large, electrically-operated dual-panel glass sunroof is now added, covering almost two-thirds of the roof panel.
Inside, there’s been revisions to the instrument panel and central display screen improving functionality and ease of use. The leather seats are now heated for driver and front passenger and electric adjustment for the steering column has been added.
The BOSE audio system in Murano is now offered with a 2GB music server and USB and iPod input via the Murano’s central display screen controls.
Carried over is the electrically operated tailgate, which can be opened and closed via dash button or the key. There’s also power flip-up rear seats which are lowered by a handle but they now return to their upright position at the push of a button, located in the luggage area or on the dashboard. Continue reading “Nissan Murano facelifted for 2012 – on sale now” »
October 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
New details have just been revealed on the upcoming 2012 Audi A3. The new compact model will come in four variants with different dimensions and wheelbase length.
There’s a 3-door hatch and Cabriolet A3 variants which will measure 4.26 meters long (167.7 inches) with a wheelbase of 2.595 meters (102.2 inches). There’s also a 5-door Sportback version and 4-door sedan that will measure 4.44 meters long (174.8 inches) with a 2.630 m (103.5 inches) wheelbase. The widths of all models will be the same.
Audi design chief Stefan Sielaff says the A3 range will be configured in a very similar fashion to the A4 and A5 line-ups. He also said the next Audi A3’s interior will be influenced by the Audi A3 e-tron concept (pictured above) that was introduced at Auto Shanghai earlier this year. Continue reading “Audi reveals details on next-generation A3” »
October 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
After many rumours and great anticipation BMW has revealed its all-new 2012 3-Series at an event in Munich. Codenamed F30 the new model is the sixth generation of BMW’s luxury sedan. Since 1975 the 3-Series has sold more than 12 million units and has become the benchmark in its segment. So the stakes are high for this new model.
In terms of size the new 3-Series has grown by 93mm in length and the wheelbase (50mm) and track (37mm-47mm) have also seen increases. The design remains familiar and similar to the outgoing model but with noticeable progressions. There’s a sharper and longer character line running from the front wheel guard through to the rear tail-light and there’s a higher, coupe-like rear deck with an upwards flick to the boot lid. Facial changes include a larger twin-kidney grille that meets the headlights for a more continuous appearance.
Inside the larger body allows for 15mm more legroom and 8mm more headroom for rear seat passengers. Cargo capacity in the boot is also increased but despite the larger body, numerous weight saving measures mean the new 3-Series is 40kg lighter (depending on version). Continue reading “2012 BMW 3-Series – Officially Unveiled” »
October 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
In the past decade Audi has become a car-manufacturing powerhouse with entries into almost every motoring category. But for all its new models one of its most important and defining vehicles remains the A6. The executive cruiser now enters its seventh-generation and with lightweight construction, sleeker styling and extensive mechanical upgrades, is ready to resume its long fought battle with BMW’s 5-Series. Does the 2012 Audi A6 have the dynamic ability and first-class luxury appointments to dominate its high-end division? Car and SUV buckled into the driver’s chair of the new A6 TDI Quattro to find the answers.
A glance across the new A6 reveals an understated and smooth aesthetic that’s acutely awareness of its own bloodlines despite being a clean-sheet design. Following on from the A8 flagship and the A7 four-door coupe the new A6 embraces Audi’s corporate design language. The bold Audi gloss black grille sits prominent at the front and is flanked by frowning headlights and recessed fog lamps. Broad shoulders define the sides with chrome trim drawing the eye to an elegantly curved roofline. The rear features a subtle boot spoiler, wide two-piece taillights and twin chrome exhaust tips signaling performance intent. The clean and mean look is finished off with 18-inch V-spoke alloy wheels. There are no radical risks in the A6 exterior design, just a continuation of the conservatively muscular styling that works well for Audi and its legions of brand fans. Continue reading “Audi A6 TDI 2012 Review” »
October 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The all-new BMW 1 Series is set to make waves in the New Zealand luxury compact market when it goes on sale from October 21.
BMW’s newest hatchback comes packing a new eight-speed automatic transmission as standard – the only model in the segment to do so. There are new engines with more power and improved efficiency figures and a fresh range of standard and optional features.
With pricing officially announced the 116i manual is the entry point and features an entirely new 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, it will start from $46,600. With the automatic transmission it’s priced at $49,700.
The 116i uses a new-generation turbo engine that accelerates the hatch from zero to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds – compared to 9.4 seconds for the previous 118i. Torque output is also up from 180Nm to 220Nm while carbon emissions are down from 174g/km to 132g/km. Continue reading “BMW announces 1-Series pricing and specs for NZ” »
October 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
BMW’s current F10 5-Series model range has been a success for the German car maker. It’s received awards in various countries, including NZ and is known as one of the best luxury sedans on the market. Now in order to push it’s economy credentials further, BMW will drop two cylinders of the engine of its entry-model 528i.
For the 2012 model year the petrol-powered 528i will use BMW’s turbocharged N20 four-cylinder unit which will replace the current six-cylinder mill. Power will decrease from 190kW to 180Kw with the new engine but peak torque will be boosted from 310Nm to a healthy 350Nm.
The four-cylinder engine is new for the 5-Series but not new for BMW, it’s already seen duty in the X1 range and, more recently, the Z4 sDrive28i. It’s a highly capable unit and will take the 528i from standing to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds – down from 6.7 seconds on the current model. Continue reading “2012 BMW 528i to receive turbo four-cylinder motor” »