Mini officially reveals its 2012 Cooper Coupe

June 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mini has officially released images and specifications for its 2012 Cooper Coupe today and it stacks up as one fun machine. Built to be the quickest and most aggressive Mini in the range the Coupe is the first two-seater ever produced by the brand.

Mini’s Coupe will be available in three variants, the standard Cooper Coupe, Cooper S Coupe and John Cooper Works Coupe (pictured).

Exterior styling is consistent with the numerous spy shots circulating online and is has similarities to the Cooper hatch but some design cues all its own. Steep A-pilars push into a short, sloping rear roofline with an integrated roof spoiler. There’s a unique-for-the-brand speed-activated boot wing at the rear while up front it’s more familiar with the same round headlights and broad blackened grille. The coupe will also get a handful of unique colours.

In the compact cabin Mini’s Coupe keeps with the rounded theme but it’s adapted to fit into the smaller body shape. Replacing the rear seat in the standard hatch is a small cargo shelf with two integrated storage bins. Space in the hatch is understandably limited but longer items can pass through the rear bulkhead into the cabin if required.  Continue reading “Mini officially reveals its 2012 Cooper Coupe” »

Toyota releases first images and details on 2012 Yaris

June 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has dropped the official details and some images of it’s new third generation 2012 Yaris hatch. The new Yaris has been initially shown in European-spec form but expect few changes to the model we ultimately see here in NZ.

Toyota’s newest supermini will be firstly manufactured at the Japanese firm’s Valenciennes factory in France with sales to begin in Europe around September.

For the continent the the 2012 Yaris will be launched with a choice of three engines. Two will be petrol powered, a 1.0-litre VVT-i and a 1.3-litre dual VVT-I, and the third motor will be a 1.4-litre D-4D diesel mill. A hybrid version is also in the works and will be based on the 2011 Yaris concept car that featured at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. More details on the hybrid Yaris are expected in the coming months.

Features on the 2012 Yaris will include a new multimedia connectivity system named Toyota Touch & Go. This unit will  feature a rather large 6.1-inch touch screen display and will be standard kit on almost all Yaris vehicles. Continue reading “Toyota releases first images and details on 2012 Yaris” »

BMW reveals official details and images of 2012 M5

June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With leaked photos doing the rounds online, BMW has decided to drop the official images and details on its fifth generation 2012 M5.

The much-anticipated super saloon comes packing BMW’s a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine behind its double kidney grille. It shares this powerplant with the X5M and X6M high performance SUVs and the V8 replaces the previous M5′s exotic 5.0-litre V10 unit. The new high-revving engine packs a heavyweight punch with power output of 415kW and peak torque of 680Nm. This marks a huge 30kW and 150Nm increase over its predecessor. Fuel consumption has also been improved with a quoted figure of 9.9l/100km combined.

Transferring power to the rear wheels is a seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission linked up to an electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential. A manual transmission is expected to be added at a later date.

Performance figures are impressive with the new M5 sprinting to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, 0-200km/h (124mph) in 13.0 seconds and a limited top speed of 250km/h. If you have to go even faster the optional M Driver’s package raises top speed to 305km/h. Continue reading “BMW reveals official details and images of 2012 M5” »

BMW reveals all-new 2012 1-Series range

June 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With leaked images of BMW’s brand new 1-Series hatch circulating online since Friday the Bavarian carmaker has made the call to release a full set of photos and official details.

BMW’s compact car is now larger and sports fresher looks while also introducing a new range of engines. The all-new 2012 1 Series is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year with the code-name F20. It will sit on the same platform that underpins the upcoming new 3 Series and will be larger than its predecessor in every dimension except height. The first variant on show will be the volume-selling five-door hatchback but the range will also include a three-door hatch, coupe, cabriolet and possibly a longer Gran Turismo version.

The new sheetmetal has extensively revised styling with more prominent creases and a dramatic front-end that includes an even larger kidney grille and frowning headlights that push back into the wheel guards.

Inside, higher-grade materials are used and there’s apparently more attention to detail. A larger centre console houses fresh switchgear and there are new steering wheel designs. The latest version of BMW’s iDrive system is an optional extra. Continue reading “BMW reveals all-new 2012 1-Series range” »

Audi R8 GT Spyder let off its chain – expect 418kW

June 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Audi has let the latest version of its hardcore R8 GT supercar off the chain with details and images released of the new convertible version. It was only two months ago that Audi announced it would build a top tier roadster version of the R8 and already it appears to be completed.

Like the coupe variant, the R8 GT Spyder will use a tweaked version of the regular R8 V10′s 5.2 litre engine, boosting power to 418kW with 540Nm of torque.

The power is sent to all four wheels through Audi’s R tronic sequential automatically-controlled manual transmission and the well-proven quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Performance claims peg the R8 GT Spyder at hitting 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, compared to 3.6 for the hardtop R8 GT and 3.9 seconds for the regular R8 5.2 FSI V10.

A range of weight-saving measures help the R8 GT Spyder achieve its performance figures with the special model weighing 85kg less than the standard version. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic chips in for shedding the kilos and makes up the cover for the soft top, the rear spoiler and the rear bumper. However, the most effective weight-saving measure is the seats, which drop off 32kg. Continue reading “Audi R8 GT Spyder let off its chain – expect 418kW” »

Rumours of go-harder Lexus LFA II supercar development

June 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been a tough few years for Toyota, there was the massive recalls and subsequent court battles and more recently the earthquake disaster in Japan. But despite these problems, Toyota is still pushing forward with development of its supercar the Lexus LFA.

According to reports, an upgraded or updated LFA II is already in development and will most likely appear as a variant of the existing model. The go-harder LFA II will push the supercar’s performance abilities even further, possibly using some of the tweaks from the LFA’s Nürburgring package (pictured). Continue reading “Rumours of go-harder Lexus LFA II supercar development” »

Audi may reveal 2012 A5 facelift at Frankfurt Show

May 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to recent reports, Audi will reveal its 2012 A5 facelift at the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show this September. The updates should be shown in both coupe and convertible body styles, and will include new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades. Visually the new A5 will feature freshly designed headlights, with integrated LED daytime running lights, a new front bumper and a slightly re-styled front grille.

At the rear there will be new LED tail lights and a few other minor modifications. The cabin and switchgear is expected to stay predominately the same as the current A5 model.

Mechanically, a new engine option may be on the cars with a new supercharged V6 unit possibly replacing the V8 from the current S5. The remainder of the engines offered on the current A5 and S5 line-up will stay the same. Continue reading “Audi may reveal 2012 A5 facelift at Frankfurt Show” »

Ford NZ reveals All Blacks-inspired AB35 Fiesta

May 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The teaser ads have been on NZ TV’s for a few weeks now and Ford New Zealand has just revealed it’s All Blacks inspired limited edition AB35 Fiesta.

Binding in with Ford NZ, twenty All Blacks players helped personlise and tune the special Fiesta and the AB35 is now on sale at Ford dealers, with a price of $35,990. Like the name would suggest, Ford NZ has built 35 of the AB35 Fiestas with 34 going on sale today and one being auctioned for charity on Trade Me between 29th May and 8th June. Proceeds from the auction will go to three charities; Ford New Zealand’s official charity Variety – The Children’s Charity and the New Zealand Rugby Union’s official charity partners Plunket and KidsCan.

Chris Masterson from Ford NZ says the AB35 Fiesta project was created to celebrate the company’s 17-year sponsorship of the All Blacks.

“The AB35 project was all about showing our commitment to the All Blacks this year. We had a huge amount of fun designing this car and it is great to be able to finally reveal it to the public. The AB35 Fiesta represents the spirit of our brand. It’s a dynamic, premium car that’s small on price but big on features. People who get behind the wheel of this car will find it a fantastic driving experience, and show their support for the All Blacks,” said Chris Masterson. Continue reading “Ford NZ reveals All Blacks-inspired AB35 Fiesta” »