Mercedes-Benz drops covers on 2012 SLK 55 AMG

August 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes has dropped the covers off its most powerful small hardtop roadster ever – the 2012 SLK 55 AMG. Due for a world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September photos and specification details have just been released.

In terms of styling the new model is distinguished by a reworked front aesthetic, new side skirts and LED daytime running lights. There’s also a larger set of alloy wheels finished in Black. In the cabin there’s leather surfaces everywhere and deeply bolstered sports seats.

Under the bonnet, power for the roadster comes from a new naturally-aspirated AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine. Power is rated at 310kW and there’s 540Nm of torque on tap. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission featuring three modes (sport, manual and efficiency). Additionally, the aluminum V8 engine also features the AMG Cylinder Management system that can shut off four-cylinders from 800 to 3,600 rpm to improve fuel efficiency. With the engine start/stop system engaged the SLK 55 AMG can apparently return economy of 8.5l/10okm. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz drops covers on 2012 SLK 55 AMG” »

Honda updates Jazz for 2012 with styling tweaks

August 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda has released details on its planned updates for the 2012 model Jazz hatchback. While the changes are subtle the Jazz sport receives styling tweaks and all models have interior changes and new standard features.

The 2012 Jazz Sport, will be updated cosmetically with a revised front grille and bumper, black headlight bezels and a darker, machined silver finish for the alloy rims.

In the cabin, a dark metallic dashboard trim replaces the previous gray and black themes, there’s now chrome accents around the instrumentation, plus standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls and new seat fabrics.

The entry-model Jazz gains colour-coded exterior mirror caps and freshly-styled wheel covers. All models in the range get new console-mounted center beverage holders along with new interior lighting, and added sound insulation. Continue reading “Honda updates Jazz for 2012 with styling tweaks” »

First official photos of 2012 Porsche 911 now online

August 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following teaser videos and plenty of spy shots the first press photos of the new 2012 Porsche 911 have been leaked on to the Internet before the model’s official debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

As expected the all-new 911 (code name 991), has a very familiar look and shows only subtle styling changes from the outgoing 997. Porsche purists will be kept happy with the iconic model’s classic lines and proportions being kept intact.

The most obvious cosmetic changes are the LED running lamps and revised air intakes at the front, the door-mounted wing mirrors on the flanks and the thinner LED tail lamps that grace the 991’s sculptured rear end.

Away from the design, the most significant changes come with the new 911’s increased size. The car is about two inches longer than the current model with a four inch longer wheelbase.

In terms of power the new entry-model Carrera will use a 3.4-litre direct-injected flat-six, producing 261kW, the Carrera S will be powered by a 3.8-litre flat-six engine producing around 300kW. Both engines will be mated to either a seven-speed manual or a PDK dual-clutch transmission. Continue reading “First official photos of 2012 Porsche 911 now online” »

Toyota teases 2012 Camry before official reveal

August 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has revealed another teaser image of its upcoming 2012 Camry sedan. The new Camry is expected to be revealed, in its entirety, in the coming weeks.

For now, fans of the sensible sedan will have to make do with the new image showing a hook-shaped tailight and what will be a high rear boot line. The Camry isn’t well known for its dynamic looks and the new model is looking to change this with a more aggressive style.

The first teaser image put the headlight on show with a honeycomb grille and recessed fog lamp. It’s certainly promising, but we will reserve judgement until the Camry’s full sheetmetal is exposed. Continue reading “Toyota teases 2012 Camry before official reveal” »

New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut

August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki has given hot hatch fans a preview of its upcoming 2012 Swift Sport ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

When Suzuki unveiled its S-Concept earlier this year, it was a styling exercise to show what the next Swift Sport may look like. Some of the concepts bold styling has remained and some has been dropped. The pumped out wheel arches are gone, as are the vented quarter panels and giant wing. What has been kept is the striking front bumper and smoked headlights.

Under the bonnet the 2012 Swift Sport will feature a 1.6 litre M16A engine developed exclusively for the sportier model. The four-cylinder petrol unit will produce 100 kW of power and 160 Nm of torque. That’s a 30kW/20Nm increase over the standard new-model Swift and a 8kW/12Nm increase over the previous Swift Sport.

The engine will be connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. Continue reading “New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut” »

Ford Focus 2012 Review

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new 2012 Ford Focus has been unveiled at a media event in Melbourne last week and Car and SUV was there to put the third edition of this popular hatch through its paces.

The Mk 3 Focus will arrive in NZ with two body styles, a five-door hatchback and a sleek four-door sedan. Expect a wagon version to arrive in March next year.

There’s a lot to like with the new Focus, the practical cabin and sharp driving dynamics remain, but it now offers a higher level of features and also ultra modern styling. It’s a powerful example of the ‘One Ford’ approach that will see the Focus sold in 122 markets globally. The Focus’ C-Platform will also underpin at least ten vehicles in the future and account for two million units of production by 2012. The numbers getting thrown around are big, but Ford are justified in having confidence in the new 2012 Focus. Continue reading “Ford Focus 2012 Review” »

Renault Twingo gets facelift for 2012

July 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Renault has just dropped the first image of its new 2012 Twingo micro car before it officially debuts at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

There is more than a hint of Nissan in the new Twingo with styling cues share with the Juke and it rolls on the same platform as the previous-generation Micra.

The new model features refreshed front a rear ends with an enlarged Renault badge on the front fascia and a rounder, wider grill. This limited refresh will need to carry the baby Renault for a few years but its nothing new for the model line. The first generation Twingo was in production for a staggering fifteen years from 1992 to 2007 when the second-gen model was initially introduced. Continue reading “Renault Twingo gets facelift for 2012” »

Honda reveals 2012 CR-V preview concept car

July 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After leaked photos of Honda’s 2012 CR-V concept car reached the online world, Honda has now released official details and an image of its next-generation CR-V.

The new crossover will debut at a California show this September and be on sale in North America by the end of the year and in global markets by mid 2012.

The 2012 CR-V Concept is a pre-production model with flashy details like gloss black mouldings, but gives a clear idea of the upcoming production car.

“The 2012 CR-V Concept introduces the exterior styling for the more sophisticated and dynamic design of the upcoming production model,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

Rear styling is hard to judge, but Honda has said the current CR-V model’s vertical rear taillights will be retained but with a more three-dimensional style. Inside, the CR-V will feature an all-new interior with a more spacious design and lower cargo floor. Continue reading “Honda reveals 2012 CR-V preview concept car” »