Suzuki Swift S-Concept paves way for 2012 Swift Sport

March 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With the new generation Suzuki Swift recently reaching our shores many were left asking when we will see the new Swift Sport. That question has been partially answered this week with Suzuki releasing its Swift S-Concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

At this stage the S-Concept is being described as a design study and Suzuki has given very little away in terms of technical details. However expect many of the design cues on the concept to find their way through to the next Swift Sport.

Suzuki added just the right amount of sporty styling under that garish yellow paintwork, such as revised fascias, new lights, a large rear wing and fifteen-spoke 18-inch alloys wrapped around beefy 225/45 R18 tyres. Inside, there’s Recaro sport buckets and seating for four accented by carbon fibre trim. All up, it’s not a bad looking hot hatch, at all.

Nothing official has been released about what will be hiding under the bonnet of the next Swift Sport but power for the concept is provided by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Output for the engine was not revealed, although it is likely a version of the 92kW four-cylinder M16A engine used in the current Swift Sport.

In Japan, the regular 2011 Swift is powered by a choice of 1.2 petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines, producing 70kW and 52kW respectively. But the Swifts we get in NZ are powered by a new 1.4 litre engine, delivering 70kW and 130Nm of torque. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift S-Concept paves way for 2012 Swift Sport” »

Ford unveils new top-spec 2012 Ranger Wildtrak

March 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford has taken the new-generation of it’s weekend warrior Ranger Wildtrak to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show for its global debut.

The range-topping ute comes packed with premium features, including goodies like voice recognition, rear-view camera, satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.

Designed and developed in Australia the Wildtrak sits on 18-inch wheels and comes with a roof rack and sports hoop to beef up its profile. There is also special badging and graphics to set it apart from lesser models.

Inside, there are leather/cloth sports seats and 23 different storage spaces including a glovebox which can fit a laptop computer and a deep centre bin which can keep six cans of drink cool.

It’s not all show and no go either, the Wildtrak can wade through water up to 31.5-inches deep and has just over nine inches of ground clearance. It also has a towing capability of up to 3350kg.

In terms of powerplants the Wildtrak has an option of two engines. A new 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel that delivers peak torque output of 375 Nm and power output of 110kW, or a new 3.2-litre 5-cylinder diesel that produces a powerful 470 Nm of torque and is power rated at 147kW. The Wildtrak is fitted with an 80-litre fuel tank so expect one of the longest ranges in the segment. Continue reading “Ford unveils new top-spec 2012 Ranger Wildtrak” »

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift model – revealed

February 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following on from recently leaked photos, Volkswagen has released official details and photos for the 2012 Tiguan facelift.

The Tiguan is the latest in VW’s range to receive updates after the 2011 Passat and Eos convertible, making it one of the few Volkswagen models to be updated rather than replaced by an all-new model.

In terms of styling the 2012 Tiguan is given the newer VW corporate face with a new headlight design, grille and at the rear new sleeker tail-lights.

In the cabin the Tiguan appears largely unchanged except for a new steering wheel. But the production model could sport more major updates.

Mechanical specifications will be revealed when the updated Tiguan debuts at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Continue reading “2012 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift model – revealed” »

2012 BMW 6-Series Coupe set for Shanghai debut

February 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s new 6-Series coupe is preparing for it’s grand reveal at the upcoming 2011 Shanghai Auto Show this April. Earlier this year BMW used the recent Detroit Auto Show to unveil the new 6-Series Convertible so it makes sense that the automaker will go to China, one of its most lucrative markets, for the debut of the 6-Series Coupe.

It’s no secret what the latest BMW two-door would look like thanks to the unveiling of the 6-Series Coupe in concept form at last year’s Paris Auto Show. When the concept was revealed it was a show car that looked almost production ready. Following from that was the reveal of the 6-Series Convertible, which is simply the Coupe with its roof chopped.

The first variants to be released are expected to be the 640i and the 650i. In terms of power the 650i Coupe should come with a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V-8 packing 407 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, while the 640i will receive 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque from a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder. Continue reading “2012 BMW 6-Series Coupe set for Shanghai debut” »

Nissan risks putting launch control back into 2012 GT-R

January 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A group of Nissan GT-R fans managed to get their hands on the owner’s manual for the upcoming 2012 Nissan GT-R recently and were surprised with what they found out. Apparently Nissan has reinstated the previously ousted Launch Control feature for the 2012 model year. But this time it’s called something totally different.

It’s the same deal but this time it’s called ‘R Mode Start Function’ and it’s a fairly complicated process required to achieve the GT-R’s quoted 0-100kph sprint time in the low three-second range.

It was after numerous reports of transmissions and half-shafts wasting themselves soon after the GT-R was released with launch control that Nissan removed the feature for the 2011 model year. This new system appears to do the exact same thing, except for the 4,000 rpm rev-limit which is significantly higher than the last version and the ECU limits the start function to four consecutive runs before its automatically disabled to protect the GT-R’s twin clutches and the rest of the transmission.

If 2012 GT-R owners use the system with care perhaps they won’t spoil it for everyone this time round. For 2012 it looks like one of the world’s baddest sports cars just got a little bit meaner.

Check out the text image in the gallery below to view the launch control instructions. Continue reading “Nissan risks putting launch control back into 2012 GT-R” »

Next-generation Honda Civic ready mid-year

January 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Back in the day, Soichiro Honda decided to build a car for the common man, it was to be Japan’s VW Beetle or Mini Cooper. The car that Soichiro and Honda produced was the first Civic and the next-generation model is all about sticking to that original idea.

The all-new 2012 Civic is expected to launch into international markets in April this year and Honda plans to roll out a whole variety of different body shapes and engine set-ups and within mere weeks of each other, instead of letting months pass between the debut of one model to the next.

Among the different body types, we can expect both a sedan and a coupe, with several conventional petrol engines to be sold and even natural gas and hybrid versions. But it’s the sports focuses Civic Si and ultimately a new Civic Type-R that the go-fast crew will be waiting on.

The new Civic, was first previewed recently at the Detroit Auto Show, was actually scheduled for production back in 2009. But when the word recession started being thrown around, Honda took some time, reviewed the design and gave it a complete overhaul. The end result of what might seem like procrastination will be a more advanced and spacious vehicle, but the exterior design has stayed largely the same.

Honda fans should keep an eye out for the new 2012 Civic round the middle of the year with hot versions to follow shortly after. Till then check out images in the gallery below. Continue reading “Next-generation Honda Civic ready mid-year” »

New Ford Focus global production kicks off

December 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2012 Ford Focus has already entered production in the States, but Ford is now stepping up it up and starting production for the rest of the world with the Saarlous Plant in Germany.  The new Focus represents the first example of the automaker’s “One Ford” global product strategy. Ford is now engineering cars that will be exactly the same in all markets, and will be built on three continents and shipped out to around 120 markets.

The Saarlous facility is a true mega factory and is capable of manufacturing up to 1,850 vehicles a day over the course of three shifts. All three of the Focus bodystyles (sedan, hatchback and wagon) will be produced there. The hot hatch Focus ST will also be produced there from 2012.

Next up after the German plant is the Ford factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, which will start turning out new Focus hatches and sedans from mid-2011. The last plants to kick into gear will be the Asian connection in Chongqing, China, and Rayong, Thailand. It’s these plants which will likely supply the pacific region including NZ. In total that makes it a five-plant, three-continent, 120-market roll-out of the Focus, creating a truly global vehicle.

Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus. Continue reading “New Ford Focus global production kicks off” »

Updated 2012 Nissan GT-R acceleration time announced

December 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When Nissan announced that its upgraded 2012 GT-R had its power output increased to 395kW, fans didn’t really know exactly what that would mean for performance. Now, Nissan has released official performance figures for the latest and greatest Godzilla and the results are staggering.

Nissan tested the GT-R’s sprint time on the Sendai Hi-land Race Way in Japan a couple of weeks ago in the middle of November and the car returned a very impressive result. Standing start to 100 km/h clocked in at a flat 3.0 seconds.

There was no funny business either with the company using a standard specification model including tyres and wheels. No optional parts were fitted to the test vehicle and the car was set to “R” mode for the suspension and VDC-R (Vehicle Dynamic Control) system.

With the GT-R priced from $172k here in NZ, it would be hard to find another car which offers this much bang for your buck. Continue reading “Updated 2012 Nissan GT-R acceleration time announced” »