Mercedes-Benz unleashes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series

July 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes-Benz has revealed details of the most potent C-Class ever built, the new C63 AMG Coupe Black Series.

The hardcore version of Mercedes’ C63 AMG Coupe shares the models same naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 engine but with plenty of mods. There’s forged pistons, conrods and crankshaft a larger oil cooler and a new ECU.  The end result is 380kw of peak power, 22kW more than the C63 AMG with Performance Package and max torque of 620Nm. Acceleration from 0-100km/h is crossed off in 4.2 seconds.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch AMG Speedshift transmission. The gearbox has four modes and a gear change time of just 100 milliseconds.

Mercedes has equipped the C63 AMG Coupe with an adjustable AMG coil-over sports suspension and upgraded AMG brakes. Filling the guards are  titanium grey forged 19-inch light-alloy wheels. An available option is the AMG Track Package which includes sports tyres and active rear-axle transmission cooling, plus the AMG Aerodynamics package that includes a specially tuned front splitter and an adjustable carbon-fibre rear aerofoil. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz unleashes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series” »

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” »

Mitsubishi i-MiEV becomes NZ’s first electric car

July 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Today marks a landmark day for Mitsubishi Motors NZ as it becomes the first automotive distributor to sell mass-produced electric cars in New Zealand.

“This is a proud day for our company,” said head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook. “It is not often you have the opportunity to make a significant impact on history, but Mitsubishi Motors is now in the book for delivering the first mass-produced fully electric car to New Zealanders.

On sale from selected Mitsubishi dealers, the four-seat Mitsubishi i-MiEV has a range of up to 150 km per charge and is designed for urban commuters. A full recharge, from a standard 15 amp wall socket, takes approximately seven hours and costs around $5.

“While the i-MiEV primarily suits the urban commuter, it also represents a turning point in automotive history,” said Mr Cook. “It sets the foundation from which to launch the next-generation of electric-based hybrid vehicles, instead of the petrol and diesel-based hybrids we see today. The next decade in the automotive industry will be remarkable and Mitsubishi is the electric technology leader.”    Continue reading “Mitsubishi i-MiEV becomes NZ’s first electric car” »

Holden Captiva 7 Series II 2011 Review

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In the tough economic climate of 2011 carmakers need a full and strong repertoire of models to succeed. Holden knows this fact and has spent the last five years establishing itself as a brand with more to offer than just its Commodore flagship. The Captiva crossover has been key in helping Holden broaden its appeal since its debut in 2006. For 2011, it’s been updated with an extensive facelift and a new engine range, but will these changes tempt buyers away from competition like the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Territory? Recently, Car and SUV was surprised by the improvements and advancements Holden has made to its Series II Cruze small sedan, and was keen to see if it could repeat that success with the Captiva. After a week driving the new 2011 Captiva 7 LX we found the answers.

The 2011 Captiva is again built in two models (five-seat and seven-seat), with the larger Captiva 7 available in three trim levels – SX, CX and LX. Our test subject was the top dog of the pack, a Captiva 7 in highest-spec LX grade.

Visually the new Captiva has been worked over with some major cosmetic changes, particularly at the front. The LX model has a modern and aggressive appeal lead out by a new front grille, projector-style headlamps, wide blackened-out lower air dam and a more sculptured bonnet. The rear end changes are subtler and include new clear taillights and chrome trim with a low silver diffuser and twin tail pipes adding a sporty touch. Completing the top-spec look on the LX are chunky 5-spoke 19-inch alloys, plenty of chrome work and recessed front fog lamps. Overall, the styling updates are very effective in giving the Captiva a purposeful, contemporary look and offering buyers visual reasons to opt for the 2011 model. Continue reading “Holden Captiva 7 Series II 2011 Review” »

2011 Kia Picanto Review

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s all new 2011 Picanto was launched at a press event in Auckland yesterday and Car and SUV was given a first drive in this much-improved micro machine.

With a tagline of “Clever Around Town” the new Kia Picanto is designed for city/suburban use and comes with eco credentials, more standard equipment and sharper driving dynamics.

The Picanto’s price tag is also very tempting with the base model available from $18,590. So what do you get for the money?

The Picanto is being sold in NZ in two trim specifications LX and the higher grade EX. The entry model is the LX with a manual transmission, this features a clever ISG (Idle Stop & Go) technology which switches off the engine when idling and instantly re-starts as the clutch is depressed. It’s an impressive feature to offer in a sub $20k vehicle and while it takes some getting used to, it functions well. With this tech and a small 1.2-litre petrol engine the manual Picanto returns a thrifty fuel economy figure of 4.3L/100km. This makes it the most economical petrol dedicated car in the NZ market – so running costs are extremely low. The automatic LX and EX model Picantos return a fuel economy of 5.3l/100km and 5.6l/100km respectively. Continue reading “2011 Kia Picanto Review” »

2012 Porsche 911 teased in video before Frankfurt debut

July 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche fans can begin counting down to the release of the next-gen 911 which is scheduled for a September debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Porsche is in the final stages of testing its new sports car and has released the first official video of the new 911 shot during hot weather testing in South Africa.

Although the 911 is still partially disguised in the clip, its obvious that this new model will look like the many before it. The 911’s evolution looks set to continue without major disappointment or radical new design cues.

That said, the next 911 will be slightly bigger, roomier and on a longer wheel base than the current version. The engine will also continue to slowly creep forward. The new 911 will be made available with more fuel efficient and greener engines which include a smaller displacement 3.4-litre flat-six producing around 260kW for the Carrera /4, and a larger 3.8-litre flat-six producing around 300kW for the Carrera S/4S. Continue reading “2012 Porsche 911 teased in video before Frankfurt debut” »

New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport on track for next year

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new-model Swift in its regular form has been on sale in NZ for a few months now and is proving popular with Suzuki on track to launch its new 2012 Swift Sport early next year.

While official details haven’t been released, there have been leaks revealing that the new model will be a three-door hatch with styling cues borrowed from the S-Concept (pictured).

Power is expected to come from a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing around 100 kW. The standard transmission will be a six-speed manual box but if 100kW is too much power for you to shift through – an automatic transmission will be an available option.

Development and testing of the car is currently taking place at the Nurburgring race track in Germany, mostly centering on a new aerodynamics package, stiffened suspension and uprated Brembo brakes. Continue reading “New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport on track for next year” »

Toyota reveals facelifted 2012 Hilux ute

July 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has officially unveiled its facelifted 2012 Hilux ute. The 2012 Hilux has a number of styling updates and safety upgrades across the range.

Cosmetic changes include a completely new front end on the 2012 Hilux, this means new guards, headlights, bumper, bonnet and three-bar grille. At the rear, there’s new tailights and a replaced rear bumper. There’s also new mirrors and alloy wheel designs.

Inside, changes are subtle and centre around new seat and door trims, there’s also an available 6.1-inch touchscreen multimedia system. Toyota is also claiming that the 2012 Hilux will offer “greater colour consistency throughout the interior.”

Anti-lock braking has now been adopted across the Hilux range as a standard feature, previously it was only available as an option for models except the top-spec SR5. Continue reading “Toyota reveals facelifted 2012 Hilux ute” »