Mazda MX-5 2012 Review

December 17th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Sometimes you have to look for a picture that perfectly describes a car, and in this case, the MX-5 does handle like it’s on rails.

The world’s best selling sports car has returned in slightly more muscular clothing to give you back road thrills on a budget. If the Lotus Elise is a featherweight and the Dodge Viper is a heavyweight, Mazda punches in the lightweight class. Mazda has kept the same formula: keep it light, keep it rear wheel drive and make the handling like it’s your own hands pummeling the tarmac.

So, to that extent, nothing was broken, but there’s only so long you can hold out before Continue reading “Mazda MX-5 2012 Review” »

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 2012 Review

August 10th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Vitamin D: many of us are short of it. So rather than buying vitamin D supplements you can spend some more time in the sun. If you’re one of those unfortunate souls that spends an entire working day every week stuck in your car in rush hour traffic you are missing vital vitamin D absorption time.

With the Golf Cabriolet you can go from shaded to sun-drenched in just 9 seconds. That’s all it takes to drop the top on this convertible and you can do it while Continue reading “Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 2012 Review” »

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible unveiled with 432 kW engine

October 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With its all-new 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible, General Motors has just announced that it has built the world’s most powerful roofless production model ever. The new high-power drop-top will be officially revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

The convertible Camaro shares its underpinnings with the upcoming Camaro ZL1 Coupe and is scheduled to reach showrooms from late 2012. Powering the convertible is GM’s 6.2-litre supercharged LSA V8 engine producing 432 kW and 754 Nm of torque.

General Motors was quick to point out that its drop top Camaro ZL1 has more power output than Euro performance models like the Aston Martin DB9 with 350kW and the Porsche 911 Turbo with 395kW. However models like the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport were conveniently forgotten about.

“The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas.” Continue reading “2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible unveiled with 432 kW engine” »

Jaguar to expand high-power R-S model range

June 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Good news for Jaguar fans with new reports indicating that the 2012 XKR-S is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new high performance offerings. The XKR-S is doing the rounds of auto shows and is expected to reach showrooms later this year but other “R-S” badged Jags will follow.

Next in line is a convertible version of the XKR-S to join its coupe sibling. This high-power drop top will use the same 405kW/680Nm supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Apparently the XK was designed from the start to support a convertible body shape and its rigid aluminum structure won’t require extra reinforcement. Expect a heavier pricetag than the coupe version and all the XKR-S trimmings like wider wheelarches, carbon fibre splitters and enlarged air intakes.

Following development of the XKR-S convertible it’s expected that the powerhouse V8 engine will find its way into the new Jaguar XFR and create a top-spec XFR-S version of the four-door sedan. This will help the XF sedan compete with the next-generation BMW M5 and Audi RS6, both of which are expected to come packing 410kW or more power outputs. Continue reading “Jaguar to expand high-power R-S model range” »

VW Golf R Cabriolet concept unleashed at 2011 Wörthersee Tour

June 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The annual Volkswagen Group hot-hatch festival at Lake Wörthersee, Austria is now used as a serious launching pad for some exciting concept machines. Audi kicked it all off earlier this week with its 370kW A1 concept, and now its VW’s turn itself.

VW has just pulled the covers off its Golf R Cabriolet concept and its set to give the fans exactly what they want. Designed to demonstrate the “inexhaustible potential of the Golf,” the concept is very similar to the Golf R hatch and stands out with an aggressive front fascia, aerodynamic side skirts and a center-mounted dual exhaust system.  Other treats include a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance 17-inch brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Under the bonnet is the Golf R’s 197kW, 2.0-litre turbo four engine which can accelerate the drop top from standing to 100km/h in under 6 seconds and hit a top speed of 250kph.

No interior images have been released but VW has confirmed that it is detailed like the Golf R hatch with Nappa leather sports seats, piano black trim and carbon fibre pieces. Continue reading “VW Golf R Cabriolet concept unleashed at 2011 Wörthersee Tour” »

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster officially unveiled

May 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After much teasing, prompting, rumour and speculation Mercedes-Benz has released full details and images of its new 2012 SLS AMG Roadster. The much anticipated drop-top will receive an official world premiere at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

The gullwing doors of the SLS coupe have had to go but even with conventional doors and body stiffening the convertible only weighs 40kg more than the hard top.

The three-layered fabric soft top will not eat in the roadster model’s boot area as its capacity remains the same with the roof either up or down, and is roughly the same to that of the SLS AMG Coupe. The automated top will come in a choice of three colors – black, beige and a classic red. It opens and closes in eleven seconds, and can be operated at speeds up to 50km/h.

Under the bonnet the roadster shares the coupe’s AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. The naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine produces 425kW and 650 Nm of torque. Apparently, even with the slight weight increase the quoted 0-100kph acceleration time for the roadster is 3.7 seconds, down 0.1 second from the coupe’s sprint time. Continue reading “2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster officially unveiled” »

Audi considering Q5 crossover/cabriolet – seriously

May 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Is there really a market for crossover-cabriolet vehicles or is it just one niche too far? Nissan were the first to try and find out the answer with its Murano CrossCabriolet revealed late last year and now it would seem Audi wants a slice of that action as well.

Reports coming out of Europe are claiming that Audi is already at work on a cabriolet version of the Q5. While details remain scarce the new model will likely be based on the Audi Cross Cabriolet Quattro concept (pictured) which first premiered at the Frankfurt Auto Show back in 2007. The Audi Q5 cabriolet is expected to retain the two-door configuration of the concept, and should feature a soft-top roof. An electric motor will handle opening and closing the roof.

The Audi Q5 cabrio will not be an uncompromising driver’s car by any means, but more a highly styled cruiser with high quality materials and unique styling. Expect it to be priced accordingly. Continue reading “Audi considering Q5 crossover/cabriolet – seriously” »

BMW announces NZ pricing for new 6 Series Convertible

March 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s new 6-Series has been launched with some serious momentum into the NZ market. First we saw the new 6-Series convertible closely followed by the coupe. Now pricing has been announced for the drop-top model and comes in at $248,500.

Open-top motoring isn’t all you get in the new 6-Series convertible it’s also more powerful and has greater torque than its predecessor with improved fuel economy.

Powering the BMW 650i is a 4.4-litre eight-cylinder engine which develops a maximum 300 kW and peak torque of 600 Nm.  It is partnered with an eight-speed Sports automatic gearbox as standard.

“The new BMW 6 Series Convertible is styled to reflect the epitome in design and is the ultimate in luxury top-down performance,” said the Managing Director of BMW Group New Zealand, Mark Gilbert.

“It is a driver orientated executive express which will have particular appeal for enthusiasts and those who demand the ultimate in terms of performance motoring.”

An impressive list of standard features includes adaptive drive, rear-view camera with surround view, Head-Up Display, adaptive headlights, Navigation Professional (featuring a large 10-inch colour screen) and front comfort seats with heating and ventilation functionality.  The roof takes 19 seconds to open and can be operated at speeds of up to 40km/h. Continue reading “BMW announces NZ pricing for new 6 Series Convertible” »

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