Chevrolet Corvette updated for 2012 (+video)

April 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2012 Chevrolet Corvette has been revealed for keen badge fans with some subtle tweaks and updates to the hard-serving C6 platform. The enhancements are aimed at improving the Corvettes on-track performance and on-road comfort levels.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tyres are now optional on both top spec variants – the Z06 and Zr1. Chevrolet claims that the new rubber should be good for an eight-percent gain in lateral acceleration (more than 1.1g) and will make for shorter braking distances.

The Z06 also gets some fresh optional gear like performance traction control, a full-width rear spoiler and a carbon fibre bonnet. The top dog ZR1 receives taller gearing in the fifth and sixth ratios to maximize fuel economy and possibly push out the top-end as well.

The entire 2012 Chevrolet Corvette line now benefits from a slightly reworked interior that includes a new steering wheel and new seats. The racing pews have more supportive bolstering along the sides and microfibre inserts are now available for the first time as well. The new steering wheel features leather-wrapped spokes and all models receive contrasting coloured stitching and more padded centre console and armrests. Interior appointments have been considered a weakness of the C6 Corvette and this changes should go some way to change that opinion. Continue reading “Chevrolet Corvette updated for 2012 (+video)” »

Mazda3 updated with SkyActiv-G engine and exterior tweaks

April 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mazda3 has been long criticised for its heavy fuel use but all that is now set to change with Mazda’s new SkyActiv-G petrol engine.

The 2012 Mazda3 has just made its debut at the 2011 New York Auto Show and is the first production use for the all-new 2.0 litre four-cylinder SkyActiv-G petrol engine.

The new motor will combine with the Skyactiv-MT six-speed manual transmission and the SkyActiv-Drive six-speed auto to chase down better fuel economy.

To achieve greater efficiency the SkyActiv-G engine uses multi-hole injectors and a higher compression ratio of 12.0:1. Power hasn’t decreased but has been bumped up to 115kW from 108kW for its predecessor, and torque has increased from 182Nm to a round 200Nm.

The new fuel consumption figures when paired with the SkyActiv-MT manual transmission is listed at 8.7 l/100km for urban driving and 6.0 l/100km on the motorway. The current MZR 2.0 litre petrol engine is quoted at 10.8 and 6.2 l/100km respectively, when combined with a six-speed manual transmission. Continue reading “Mazda3 updated with SkyActiv-G engine and exterior tweaks” »

Volkswagen reveals its new-again 2012 Beetle

April 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The original VW Beetle was in production for decades and the new Beetle didn’t do too badly either with a production run of over 12 years. Now, the next-generation Beetle has been revealed in a set of images and promo videos before its official debut at the Auto Shanghai show later this week.

This next-generation 2012 VW Beetle, has now dropped the word ‘new’ from its name and comes out 73 years after the launch of the original Beetle in 1938.

The 2012 VW Beetle differs in styling from the previous generation with a lower-slung more unisex design with a flatter roof and more upright back end. The overall styling is less bulbous and sharper cut when compared to its predecessor. In terms of size th new Beetle is also wider than its predecessor by 8.4 cm and longer by 15.2 cm.

The interior has also been given a complete refit with many cute features like the dashboard vase dropped. There’s highlights like a flat-bottomed steering wheel, an extra top-hinged glovebox and optional navigation systems on a 6.5-inch screen. There’s also talk of a sunroof that has 80% larger glass than on the previous model. Cargo capacity in the hatch has also been increased to 310 litres. Continue reading “Volkswagen reveals its new-again 2012 Beetle” »

Subaru shows good side of new 2012 Impreza

April 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru’s new generation Impreza is preparing for its grand reveal at the upcoming New York International Auto Show where it debuts in the early hours of April 21 (NZ time). A teaser image has been released showing the 2012 Impreza in profile.

Little is known about the new Impreza at the moment but Subaru is claiming it has impressive fuel efficiency and the all-wheel drive sedan and hatch are totally new designs, featuring greater cabin space, major gains in interior design and refinement, plus new technologies.

Here in NZ, Wallis Dumper, Managing Director, Subaru New Zealand said, “We are very excited about the amazing stylish new Impreza, which will not only broaden Subaru’s appeal significantly, but offer a new level of interior quality, technology and the safety for which we’re famed.” Continue reading “Subaru shows good side of new 2012 Impreza” »

Kia Rio sedan ready for New York debut

April 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia is gearing up to unveil its 2012 Rio sedan at the 2011 New York Auto Show. The booted Rio will sit in the Kia range beside its hatchback sibling (pictured) that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in early March.

Four powertrains will be available on the Rio in some markets with two gas and two diesel mills in the works. A likely high volume seller is a 1.4-litre gasoline four-cylinder unit, this mill produces 80kW of power and 135Nm of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

Check back for more info on the new Kia Rio and the upcoming New York Auto Show. Continue reading “Kia Rio sedan ready for New York debut” »

New 2012 Ford Ranger Wildtrack stars in promo video

March 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With Volkswagen recently releasing its new Amarok (read news) and the Mitsubishi Triton constantly chasing higher torque figures the NZ ute market has become more competitive than ever. Ford aren’t just going to stand around and watch while it waits for its new 2012 Ranger to reach showrooms so the blue oval has released a new promo clip for its upcoming high-spec Wildtrack model.

At its debut at last month’s Geneva Motor Show (read news) it was announced that the Wildtrack will be offered in Europe with a choice of two engines. There’s a 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel producing 110kW and 375Nm of torque, or a 3.2 litre five-cylinder diesel making 147kW and 470Nm of torque.

Details for the NZ-spec Wildtrack utes are yet to be announced but expect more info closer to the vehicle’s launch later this year. Check out the promotional video below and images in the gallery. Continue reading “New 2012 Ford Ranger Wildtrack stars in promo video” »

First sketch of next-gen Mercedes A-Class leaked out

March 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The first sketch shot of the future generation 2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has just been leaked out over the web. This sketch represents the first chance to see the major design changes in Merc’s next-gen A Class, before its official debut at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. The new A-Class is expected to be revealed next month and will likely go on sale before the end of 2011.

The 2012 Mercedes A-Class seems to borrow quite a few styling elements from the F800 concept, revealed in February 2010 (read news). The new A Class will be given a more dynamic and fluid exterior design, that will place it much closer to a hatchback body style. Initial expectations are that the upcoming A-Class will go on sale with a choice of both petrol and diesel engines. An AMG version is not expected at first, but never rule one out of showing up later especially with this type of sports styling. Continue reading “First sketch of next-gen Mercedes A-Class leaked out” »

BMW reveals new shark-faced 2012 6-Series Coupe (+video)

March 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Images and info on BMW’s 2012 6-Series Coupe has been revealed ahead of its official debut at the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2011 show.

Looking more purposeful and with tighter lines than previous model the new 6-Series is designed to be the ultimate dream car. The coupe features a “shark nose” front-end with bi-xenon headlights and a large BMW signature grille. Along the flanks, the 6-Series profile boasts frameless windows, chrome accents, and a low roofline. At the rear, there’s dual exhausts, LED taillights, and a trunk lid with an integrated spoiler.

At 4,894mm long, 1894mm wide and 1,369mm tall, the 2+2 coupe is 75mm longer, 39mm wider and 5mm lower than its predecessor. It also rides on a 75mm longer wheelbase at 2,855mm, which should improve space for the rear passengers. Boot capacity stands at 460 litres.

Inside, the design is the same as on the soft-top model, with a more driver-orientated cockpit and the large display on the center console standing out. Other highlights include Dakota leather seats and a freestanding 7-inch iDrive display. Goodies on the options list include heated/ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and GPS navigation with an upgraded 10.2-inch display.

In the safety equipment department the new 6 is advanced with a heads-up display, rear-view camera, night vision assist (with pedestrian recognition), parking assist, and a lane departure warning system all included as standard.

When the new 6-Series coupe arrives in New Zealand it will be sold with BMW’s stonking V8 engine. This twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine outputs a healthy 300 kW and produces 600 Nm of torque. It allows the coupe to run from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Fuel economy is impressive as well with the 6-Series achieving 10.4 L/100km combined and emissions are 243 g/km. Continue reading “BMW reveals new shark-faced 2012 6-Series Coupe (+video)” »