Jaguar previews most potent model ever – the XKR-S

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was one year ago that Jaguar dropped the covers on its updated XKR and now it’s ready to go again with the launch of its most potent series production car ever, the all-new XKR-S, at the Geneva Motor Show.

With an uprated supercharged V8 engine, overhauled suspension and a new aerodynamically-driven design, the XKR-S is set to be the ultimate expression of Jaguar’s dual purpose objectives – GT luxury with high performance.

The XKR-S is fitted with modified version of Jaguar’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and produces 405kWs and 680Nm of torque, enough power to offer a top speed of 300km/h. It will do the 0-100kph sprint in just 4.4 seconds.

Alongside the engine upgrades, the British firm’s engineers have also upgraded the suspension and reprogrammed the Adaptive Dynamics system, while the XKR-S rides on a new set of lightweight alloy wheels cloaked in performance tyres.

In terms of styling, the XKR-S is distinguished by a new aerodynamics package with a more aggressive looking front bumper, re-profiled side skirts, additional bonnet vents, a large rear wing and a redesigned rear bumper housing a diffuser and quad tail pipes.

“The XKR-S is a bold and exciting new model for Jaguar,” said Paul Ricketts, Jaguar’s Brand Manager. “We hope to secure allocation of the model in New Zealand for customers who want comfort, opulence and class only a Jaguar can offer, combined with inspirational performance.” Continue reading “Jaguar previews most potent model ever – the XKR-S” »

Smart reveals ForSpeed concept – not that speedy

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Haven’t heard much from Smart recently? Well, no one has but the Daimler’s mini car makers are still alive and kicking. To prove it Smart is taking an all-electric, roofless version of the Smart ForTwo to the Geneva Motor Show – named the Forspeed concept.

Overall, the Forspeed resembles the Smart Crossblade that was made in limited numbers in the early 2000s. Giving the Forspeed its concept car looks are some fancy taillights, no external door handles and since it’s got no roof, there’s a toneau cover that can either cover the entire interior or just the passenger side if drivers get caught in the rain.

It may have speed in its name but the Forspeed is not a rocket ship. It uses a 30kW electric motor to take it from standing to 60kph in 5.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of 120kph if you want to wait that long. If you need a little extra oomph there is a boost button on the dash offers another 5kW. The powertrain also consists of an Electric Drive that is shared with the Fortwo ED.

Range for the Forspeed is estimated to be around 135 kilometers, with an 80-percent charge possible in 45 minutes. Continue reading “Smart reveals ForSpeed concept – not that speedy” »

Aston Martin shows off new Virage Coupe and Volante

February 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Aston Martin has just released the first images and details of its new Virage Coupe and Virage Volante.

Both models are based on the automaker’s VH architecture and are destined to exist between the DB9 and the DBS in the Aston range.

The Virage Coupe and the soft-top Volante are both powered by the company’s well known 6.0-litre V12 engine. This powerplant produces 355kW in the DB9 and 385kW in the DBS, so it’s expected that the Virage’s V12 would fit in between in terms of output delivering around 370kW.

The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic “Touchtronic 2″ gearbox, which will allow the Virage a 0-100kph sprint time in the region of 4.5 seconds and will top out at around 300kph.

The suspension is double-wishbone on all four corners, and the Virage features Aston Martin’s Adaptive Damping System (ADS) with Sport mode as standard equipment.

In terms of exterior design the Virage has a new aluminum front grille inspired by the One-77 and LED lights on the front skirting. Wheels are 20-inch alloys, mounted over carbon ceramic disc brakes at all four corners, with Pirelli P Zero tyres as standard.

Inside, the two Virage models come with a full leather interior complete with colored piping and high-spec standard features such as cruise control, satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephone preparation and a 700W Aston Martin Premium Audio System with full iPod integration Continue reading “Aston Martin shows off new Virage Coupe and Volante” »

VW drops covers and top off new Golf Cabriolet

February 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The upcoming 2011 Geneva Motor Show will mark the return of the drop-top Golf Cabriolet after a near decade-long absence.

The new 2012 Golf Cabriolet is based on the platform of the latest generation Golf hatchback and features a soft top with an electro-hydraulic drive that can be raised or lowered in just 9.5 seconds at speeds up to 30 km/h. It’s a two-door but can seat four and has similar styling to the current Mk6 Golf but it features a unique rear section, lower profile roof line and more swept-back angle of its front windscreen frame.

For safety the Golf Cabriolet gets a pop-up rollover protection system similar to the one found on the A3 Convertible. With the exception of the 2+2 seating layout, the Cabriolet’s interior is identical to that of the hatchback.

In comparison to VW’s other convertible model, the Eos hardtop, the Golf Cabriolet is 208mm shorter but the two models share a 2,578mm wheelbase, meaning very similar interior space for all four passengers. With the roof down the Cabriolet still offers 250 litres of boot space.

In Europe, this latest Golf variant will be available with a wide range of six turbocharged direct-injection engines whose power outputs range from 78kW to 156kW. These include four petrols and two diesel options. Continue reading “VW drops covers and top off new Golf Cabriolet” »

Volvo to debut V60 diesel hybrid at Geneva Show

February 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There’s often serious debate over what’s best in the current automotive climate – diesels or hybrids? But now Volvo may have found an answer to this problem but offering both options in one vehicle. The Swedish automaker is storming into Geneva with what it’s calling “the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid”.

Housed inside the handsome V60 wagon, the diesel hybrid has two distinct drivetrains that can operate separately or in tandem with each another. Sitting under the bonnet is a 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel with 160kW and 438Nm of torque, while a 70-horsepower electric motor with a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack turns the Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD).

Through dashboard-mounted buttons, the V60 hybrid can operate in ‘Pure’ mode as a fully electric vehicle with a 51km range. In Hybrid mode, it emits less than 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer and has an impressive with a 1200km range. If you’re not in a green mood then there is a Power mode that turns the powerplant into a boosted torque monster with and will take the V60 to 100kph in just 6.9-seconds sprint. While that won’t trouble many sports wagons, for a diesel hybrid it’s a rapid figure. Continue reading “Volvo to debut V60 diesel hybrid at Geneva Show” »

Hyundai reveals i40 wagon before Geneva debut

February 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Before it makes an official debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, Hyundai has unveiled its new i40 wagon. Developed at Hyundai’s European facility in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the i40 is to be launched in Europe in wagon form before the sedan follows later in the year. The new car features original design characteristics and will be marketed as a luxury car at an affordable price.

The Hyundai i40 Wagon will come with a range of engine and transmission options to suit the European markets but specific details are yet to be officially announced. But one engine option will be a 1.7-litre diesel unit (codenamed UII), which comes promising very high fuel efficiency and will emit just 113 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

In terms of styling the i40 Estate has a modern appeal and is nicely in sync with the current range of Hyundai vehicles. Hyundai says the car adopts the company’s latest ‘fluidic sculpture’ design philosophy, and includes details such as the hexagonal grille layout, sharp multi-angle headlight clusters, spotlight shards, and an unmistakable grin in the lower section of the front bumper bar.

The equipment level is high with luxury features, including heated seats, heated steering wheel and an auto-demist feature for the windscreen.

There has been no announcement about the i40 Wagon coming to NZ, the car will reach the European market this June.

2012 Kia Rio looking good before Geneva debut

February 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia has just revealed the first photos of its new 2012 Rio before the hatchback officially debuts at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The Korean carmaker has become style focused in recent years and the Rio is one of the last models in the range to fully benefit. Design director Peter Schreyer has made sure the new Rio is a modern and aggressive looking hatch with sharp angles and Kia’s tiger nose front grille. It’s a sharp looker and will be on the radar for many show goers in Geneva.

Under the bonnet, the Rio will be offered with a range of gasoline and diesel powertrains in global markets, including an eco-friendly 1.1-litre diesel that only generates 85 g/km of CO2. But the engine that is receiving the most attention is Kia’s new 1.2-litre turbocharged direct-injected engine which comes with great anticipation for European markets.

The Rio is scheduled to go on sale in the UK from this September, with a three-door variant expected to launch in early 2012. We don’t have any official word as to when we’ll see the new Rio here in NZ yet. Continue reading “2012 Kia Rio looking good before Geneva debut” »

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept showcases latest tech (+video)

February 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has shown off the first images of its Vision ConnectedDrive concept, ahead of a official debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The roadster design concept is a base to showcase BMW’s advanced driver assistance and mobility networking systems to demonstrate what is possible now and what will be possible in the future.

In terms of design it’s a radical machine which uses BMW’s “layering” approach that breaks up large surfaces with lines and detailing to give a more organic appearance. The concept features a wide grille, huge air intakes, frameless windscreen, and a transparent area running down the bonnet that symbolises the “driver’s focus on the road ahead and on the concentration of information that is flowing in the opposite direction, towards him.” The concept also has electro- mechanical retracting doors which give a nod to the Z1.

Inside, the cabin is divided by a flowing center console which houses many of the conventional controls. In front of the driver is a fully programmable instrument cluster which makes use of a heads-up display that shows various vehicle information. But wait, there’s more, smartphones will instantly link to the vehicle as soon as you enter the cabin. This will mean drivers have full access to all of their apps, messages and address books. While all that doesn’t sound so space age, the system also boasts an augmented reality interface which can be shown on the head-up display and used to automatically drive the car without human interaction. That might sound unbelievable but according to BMW, one day you could go to a restaurant, exit the car, and the vehicle would use the internet to locate a parking garage, drive to it, and park itself. The applications for this sort of technology are near limitless, instead of going to the restaurant you could just send the car to pick up your dinner while you sit at home watching TV. Brilliant.

The concept’s drivetrain remains a mystery for now, but it is expected to be all electric. More will be revealed next month, leading up to the Geneva Show till then check out a promo video and some images in the gallery below.  Continue reading “BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept showcases latest tech (+video)” »