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” »

Four-paw BMW M5 a strong possibility

May 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Rumours of a all-wheel-drive BMW M5 have been floating around for a few months now, but they have picked up steam with confirmation from an unnamed source within the company.

The move isn’t a huge shock, but it does go against the rear-driving ethos of the M Division. That said, if the M5 is going to continue to progress it needs to embrace new technology. BMW’s AWD system is highly competent and gives the X vehicles in the M range physics-defying handling. The dynamic all-wheel drive system will be a good fit in the M5.

BMW’s AWD system does still allow for some sideways shenanigans, with the added benefit of better performance in low-grip situations. A rear-drive set-up will likely remain an option for those purists that won’t have it any other way.

The production version of the 2012 BMW M5 is set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show stage in September, so expect to see more teasers and information before that time arrives.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the BMW X6 40d.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 revealed – two coming to NZ

May 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche has dropped the covers off its ultimate naturally aspirated 911 – the GT3 RS 4.0. Set to be the grand finale of the current 911 series, codenamed 997 this street-legal track racer will likely be the final special edition before an all-new model is unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

Limited to just 600 vehicles, there is some serious racing pedigree underpinning the GT3 RS 4.0 with the new model’s boxer engine using a crankshaft lifted straight from the 911 GT3 RSR racing car and the forged pistons’ connecting rods fashioned from titanium. It will be available exclusively with a six-speed sports manual gearbox.

The four-litre displacement sports engine, the biggest 911 model line engine ever, is also the most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever built by Porsche. Maximum power is now 368 kW (500
hp) at 8,250 rpm, that’s 92 kW of power per litre. Maximum torque is 460 Nm at 5,750 rpm.

The 911 GT3 RS 4.0 will offer some stunning performance with a recorded lap time of 7m 27s for the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. That’s 1.7 seconds faster than the Carrera GT and 6 seconds faster than the GT3 RS. So it’s a very serious machine.

In as straight line the GT3 RS 4.0 will sprint to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and its racing-inspired gearing takes it to 200 km/h in under 12 seconds. Continue reading “Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 revealed – two coming to NZ” »

Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda

March 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to reports coming out of Fiat the first examples of its next-generation Panda city car will roll off the production line in Italy this November. The third generation of the Panda is preparing to  make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.

“We are on track in refurbishing Pomigliano, which will become a truly state-of-the-art plant when it begins production in November,” Fiat Group chief manufacturing officer Stefan Ketter said recently.

Originally the new Panda was to be built in the Tychy factory in Poland but last year Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the change. As part of the company’s “Fabbrica Italia” (Italian factory) plan, Panda production was moved to Italy to help boost Fiat productivity from around 650,000 units in 2010 to approximately 1.4 million cars in 2014.

Fiat has invested around €800 million to build the new Panda in Pomigliano. It’s a huge investment for Fiat considering the Italian factory in 2010 only produced around 30,000 units of the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan and sports wagon, plus the final examples of the 147 hatchback and GT sports coupe. Continue reading “Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda” »

BMW Vision EfficienDynamics teaser

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The new BMW Vision EfficientDynamics combines superb driving performance with extremely low consumption. A hybrid drive system and a revolutionary design are among the highlights.

The new BMW Vision EfficientDynamics combines superb driving performance with extremely low consumption. A hybrid drive system and a revolutionary design are among the highlights.

Mazda MX-5 superlight concept

December 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Mazda MX-5 has become the biggest selling roadster of all time thanks to a simple, unchanging formula of low weight and fun dynamics.

To celebrate the car’s 20th anniversary, Mazda recently unveiled a special edition model for sale in the Japanese domestic market, but that wasn’t enough. Now Mazda has released images of a speedster-style concept dubbed the MX-5 Superlight. The concept, which is set to be revealed at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, has the front windscreen removed and futuristic-looking roll bars at the rear.

While Mazda is keeping mum about the finer details, it is expected that a number of weight-saving measures have been undertaken on the car. The MX-5 Superlight was designed by Mazda’s in-house team in Germany, and other unique cosmetic and structural changes include the absence of A-pillars and door handles as well as the smooth front and rear decks.

In terms of engines, the concept is expected to be fitted with the standard MX-5’s range-topping 2.0L gasoline engine, and with all the weight-saving measures put in place the Superlight should be very rapid.

Sadly, a production version of the car will most likely never happen, and the MX-5 Superlight will most likely remain a commemorative concept for the 20th birthday of the MX-5.

Lexus releases teaser image of LF-Ch concept

December 2nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

With the days counting down till the Frankfurt Motor Show kicks off, Lexus has cut loose a single teaser image of its hotly anticipated hybrid hatchback concept. The C-Segment model carries the LF-Ch badge and not the rumoured CT nameplate as first thought.

“Think BMW 1 Series, but hybrid.” That’s how Lexus describes the LF-Ch, with the Audi A3 and Volvo C30 also on its competitors list. Under the bonnet will be some form of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, but no actual powertrain details have been released. A more detailed explanation of the car’s finer points will likely be made available in the run up to Frankfurt.

Audi confirms e-tron concept for production

October 7th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Audi e-tron concept fq

Audi’s e-tron concept packs monstrous torque figures and the good looks of the Audi R8 into an environmentally friendly package. Now Audi has green-lighted the e-tron for production.

Powered by a set of four electric motors, the e-tron generates a ridiculous (and possibly inflated) 3,319 pound-feet of torque and 313 horsepower. It will rocket the e-tron from standing o 100kph in just 4.8-seconds and it also does 60-120 kph in just 4.1 seconds, demonstrating excellent in-gear acceleration.

Audi expects to have the car, complete with its 42.4 kilowatt-hour battery pack, in a production prototype stage within 2 years. With the full production e-Tron to come within three years, meaning we could see it in showrooms by the end of 2012.