Toyota displays reworked FT-86 II concept (+video)

March 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has just pulled the covers of the second iteration of its FT-86 Concept car at the Geneva Motor Show and claims that it is now almost identical to the upcoming production version. Toyota also took the time to release new images and a couple of video clips to get performance car fans excited about the new RWD sports car set to go on sale next year.

The FT-86 II concept comes packing several styling differences over the original concept shown at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

In terms of exterior looks, Toyota’s designers restyled the coupe’s profile by adding a new beltline that starts from the front wheel arch with a slightly odd air vent and finishes off on the tip of the rear window. Toyota also also split the front window and removed the blacked out A-pillar finish that was on the original concept. The rear wheel arches are now more pumped out and there are new side rocker panels.

She’s not particularly sexy at the front end with a new bumper with a larger center grille and droopy eyes that drop down into a thin strip of LED daytime running lights.

At the rear the changes continue, with Toyota revamping the FT-86’s rear end with new pushed out tail lamps and a more pronounced air diffuser flanked by large exhaust pipes on either side. Continue reading “Toyota displays reworked FT-86 II concept (+video)” »

Volkswagen revives Kombi spirit with Bulli concept

March 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has just unveiled its latest retro concept the Bulli which represents a modern take on the iconic Kombi.

This isn’t the first time VW has tried to reinvent the Kombi, back in 2001 another retro-inspired concept looked promising but management changes at VW killed the concept before it could be seriously considered for production.

Now, a decade on, VW is positioned very strongly and is trying out the concept again at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. This time around it’s called the Volkswagen Bulli, and like its 2001 predecessor, is designed to look and function like the brand’s famous Kombi. This Geneva concept is powered by an 84kW electric motor drawing charge from a lithium-ion battery pack. When fully charged, the Bulli has a theoretical range of around 300km before needing recharging. When a top up is required, VW says the Bulli can be fully charged in less than an hour.

The Bulli’s metal keeps true to the original Kombi layout and shape, which means a flat load floor and clever use of interior space. There are some modern tricks inside too with VW incorporating an Apple iPad which controls the stereo, navigation, bluetooth and air conditioning from its port on the console. The iPad directly communicates with a Fender USA-designed stereo system, which should pump out some serious beats.

Volkswagen hasn’t released any details on when or if the Bulli will make it into production, but don’t expect anything before 2014 at the earliest. Continue reading “Volkswagen revives Kombi spirit with Bulli concept” »

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” »

Brabus unleashes 700hp SLS AMG on Geneva crowds

March 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been a while since we’ve heard much from big horsepower mongers Brabus, but it’s now clear that the aftermarket tuner was saving something special for the Geneva Motor Show.

The latest outrageous creation from the German tuner is a new twin-turbocharged version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercar that promises a mad output of 700 horsepower (520kW) and 847Nm of torque.

In addition to the frightening powerplant, the modified Merc also looks tougher with Brabus’ Widestar bodykit and a fully customised interior including some trick ambient lighting.

To achieve the massive dose of power, Brabus engineers developed a new twin-turbocharger system for the AMG’s 6.2-litre V-8, which includes high-performance exhaust manifolds, an oversized intercooling system and a dual-flow intake manifold with high-flow air filters. There’s also forged pistons and a remapped ECU with an electronic boost controller.

The end result is staggering performance and combined with the car’s seven-speed automatic transmission, the o-100kph sprint can be achieved in just 3.7 seconds with a top speed 340kph. Continue reading “Brabus unleashes 700hp SLS AMG on Geneva crowds” »

Subaru displays RWD sports car skeleton at Geneva show

March 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Geneva Motor Show has kicked into gear and among the futuristic concept cars and green technology is a little something for sports car fans.

Toyota and Subaru have been working together on a new rear-driving sports car for a couple of years now, and it is nearing production. While Toyota was soaking up the limelight with its pre-production FT-86 II version of the car, Subaru was all about showing how it’s going to look under the sheet metal. Subaru’s take on the rear-drive, front-engined platform looks very promising indeed.

Subaru’s concept car is non-turbocharged but comes sporting a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine and rear-drive system without Subaru’s trademark AWD. The model is scheduled for production next year and as we already know from its performance models, Subaru can tune a chassis, and with this new car purpose-built for fun, rather than family duties it’s coming with big expectations.

So what makes it any good? Well, the engine is located lower and further back in the engine bay than in Subaru’s all-wheel-drive cars, because it doesn’t need a transfer case for the front wheels. There is also very short front and rear overhangs and the more central engine location means it will change direction swiftly. It does uses MacPherson strut suspension, however, so it may be limited in some respects for those seeking lower ride heights.

This Geneva unveiling is of a skeletal RWD Sports Car which looks cool but gives little away in terms of exterior styling. Performance figures haven’t been released yet, but expect that 2.0-litre boxer engine to be one peaky unit. Continue reading “Subaru displays RWD sports car skeleton at Geneva show” »

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” »

Techart’s Magnum is ready to make babies cry at Geneva Show

March 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Cayenne isn’t known as Porsche’s most beautiful model, but most have become familiar with the shape and the current model has improved aesthetically. But aftermarket tuner TechArt has different plans and continues to stage an assault on the senses of Porsche fans with it’s latest take on the road-focused SUV.

It sure isn’t pretty but it will be up to those attending this week’s Geneva Motor show to reserve judgement on this beast. To turn the Cayenne even uglier, TechArt bolted on a more aggressive front bumper, extended the wheel arches and dropped on a ventilated bonnet. It wasn’t enough to just do over the face either, so TechArt modified the side sills, put on a prominent rear spoiler and added massive alloy wheels. Sounds better than it looks.

Under the bonnet there is much more impressive work. The twin-turbo V8 engine has been outfitted with a TA 058/T1 power kit which helps it produce a whopping 412 kW and 780 Nm of torque – an increase of 44 kW and 80 Nm over the standard Cayenne Turbo. Thanks to the extra gusto, the Magnum can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 15.8 seconds, and hit a top speed of 287 km/h for the brave.

More information will be released at the Geneva Show, till then enjoy the images below. Continue reading “Techart’s Magnum is ready to make babies cry at Geneva Show” »

De Tomaso on comeback trail with SLS luxury sedan

February 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s only hours until the 2011 Geneva Motor Show kicks into gear but De Tomaso has jumped the gun and unleashed a series of images along with a few more details of its new SLS concept car.

SLS is the latest catch phrase for this vehicle segment and apparently stands for ‘Sport Luxury Sedan’. SLS refers to the vehicle type but De Tomaso is planning on giving it’s future production model a more exciting new name that will be announced in Geneva.

DeTomaso’s SLS concept is an interesting proposition, its a high riding luxury sedan much like the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. At launch there is plans for two engines to be offered a 300-horsepower V6 and a 550-horsepower V8. Power is channeled through to all four wheels, and a diesel engine option is planned for the future.

De Tomaso plans to build two more vehicles on the same platform with the ambitious goal of selling a total of 8,000 units per year. The SLS represents a good start for De Tomaso’s comeback it is sensibly styled and well powered. More will be revealed this week in Geneva. Continue reading “De Tomaso on comeback trail with SLS luxury sedan” »