VW Group signs purchase of Italdesign Giugiaro

August 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Volkswagen Group has recently finished its acquisition of Italdesign Giugiaro (IDG) with the purchase of a 90.1 percent stake in the iconic design studio. The German automaker said the shareholding has been purchased by Audi’s Italian subsidiary Lamborghini with the remaining 9.9 percent stake held by present owner family Giugiaro.

The buyout was originally on the cards back in May and the design consultancy is now part of the ever-expanding Volkswagen empire. The top management of the company, including founder/chairman Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son and vice-president Fabrizio, have kept their same jobs.

Volkswagen and IDG have a relationship going back decades, and have together created a great number of vehicles over the years including the first generation of the Golf and many concept models such as the first Volkswagen Passat, Scirocco and the Audi 80. Italdesign was also responsible the design of many Fiat Group vehicles including the Fiat Punto and Grande Punto, and the Alfa Romeo 156 /159 and Brera.

It’s unclear if IDG will continue working with outside clients or will now dedicate itself entirely to VW Group projects.

Lamborghini still considering Estoque production

August 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Lamborghini have recently been left behind by rivals like Porsche and Aston Martin who have moved into the four-door coupe market.  But there is hope yet and Lambo’s stunning Estoque concept vehicle may still be built.

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said last week that “a four-door car would be a very feasible approach” to a third model for the brand.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Estoque which was initially thought to be headed almost directly to production after its concept debut at the 2008 Paris auto show. But shortly afterward Lamborghini stated that the car was not approved for production, and that there were no plans to build it.

Now it looks like the Estoque may get a second lease on life, thanks more sales for luxury vehicles and Lamborghini’s fresh desire to produce a higher-volume vehicle. Winkelmann did say that any new model in the Lamborghini range would have to produce significant sales, and that currently there are still no plans to build the Estoque.

In terms of competitors, Porsche’s Panamera is doing surprisingly well, having already sold over 25,000 units, making it Porsche’s second-hottest-selling model behind the volume-leader Cayenne. So it’s possible that the Estoque could provide a similar bump in figures for Lamborghini. While the Estoque wouldn’t compete directly against the Panamera it would likely take on the Aston Martin Rapide, in terms of both price and performance. The Rapide’s 6.0-litre V-12 engine is bigger and badder, but not as strong, pumping out just 470 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It costs roughly $200,000 USD.

The Estoque concept was powered by a 560-horsepower 5.2-litre V-10 engine under the bonnet and could also be priced in the $200,000 USD range and could enter production as early as 2012.

Get your dad behind the wheel of a supercar this Father’s Day

August 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

An opportunity to drive some of the world’s top exotic supercars should always beat a pair of socks for Father’s day, and FreemanX is offering just that – a unique driving experience.

FreemanX, an online experience company, allows drivers to get behind the wheel of five different supercars including the V12 Lamborghini Murcielago — a first in the Southern Hemisphere.

Eddie Freeman of FreemanX says the ‘Supercar Driving Experience’ gives everyone the chance to drive cars most of us can only dream of and makes for a good gift.

“You would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t want to drive one of these cars. It’s a mind-blowing adrenaline rush,” says Eddie.  “Our mission is to offer these experiences at an affordable price so it’s within reach of the vast majority of New Zealanders.”

A comparable experience in Australia would be driving the Lamborghini Gallardo which costs over NZD$1000, while FreemanX offers the Gallardo drive experience at NZD$299. Completing the line up is the Ferrari 360, a Lotus Exige and the most powerful production Bentley ever, the Continental GT Speed.

“What we are offering is more than a spin around the track in the passenger’s seat,” says Eddie.  “This is a driving experience — the chance to actually sit behind the wheel, smell the leather and feel close to 600 horsepower at your feet.”

The FreemanX — ‘Supercar Driving Experience’ can be purchased online as an open dated voucher so the recipient can book an appropriate date and time.

Visit www.freemanXsupercars.co.nz to find out more.

Ford Fiesta vs. Lamborghini

July 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

We put a Ford Fiesta up against a Lamborghini. The Lamborghini may be faster on the straightaway, but the Fiesta rocks a capless fuel filler, better turning diameter, and a useable hatch.

Lamborghini reveals Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce China Edition

April 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

As if the Lamborghini display wasn’t already going to be popular at the Beijing Auto Show the Italian car maker has used the event to unveil its Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce China Limited Edition.

With on of the longest model names ever the China Edition is designed for “discriminating super sports car enthusiasts,” and features a grey exterior with black and orange accents. The cabin is outfitted with alcantara upholstery, carbon fibre trim, orange accents, and naturally a numbered plaque.

Like the ‘standard’ Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, this special edition weighs 100 kilograms less than the Murcielago LP 640. To achieve this major weight loss, the SV has a high-strength sectional steel framework and different carbon fibre components.

Power comes from a 6.5-litre V12 engine with 493 kW / 661 hp and 660 Nm of torque. With this power source the Lambo will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, before topping at out 342 km/h.

Production numbers are limited to just 10 units which will be available exclusively in China.

Lamborghini ready to phase out manual transmissions

March 31st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Lamborghini has got tongues wagging in the motoring world with a recent report that it will be phasing out manual transmissions from it’s line up, just like Ferrari. The decision is apparently part of the company’s new commitment to following the trend of increasing overall fuel economy in its vehicles. Further to simply scrapping the third pedal, the raging bull says it plans to build even-lighter vehicles, so count on even more carbon fibre in Lambo’s future range.

Turbocharging won’t be on the menu for the next few years, though. While many other automakers are getting busy strapping forced induction to their engines to help curb fuel consumption and maintain power, Lamborghini says it has no interest in boosting up. Instead, it will make use of stop/start tech and cylinder deactivation during the next decade, as well as a possible mild-hybrid vehicle.

Valentino Balboni drifts his namesake Lamborghini (+video)

March 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Valentino Balboni is the man behind the Lamborghini of the same name and a video has just hit the Internet with the famed test driver thrashing his own Lamborghini LP550-2 across a frozen countryside.

Balboni’s shows some Italian charm as he offers up some insight into Lamborghinis past and present, his time with the automaker and the development of the LP550-2, among others.

When questioned about the lack of all-wheel drive, Balboni says simply, “You need to control the car, the car doesn’t control you.” He backs it up with another inch-perfect powerslide and goes about his business. Brilliant.

Check out the video below.

Lamborghini LP640 Crash

February 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

This vid was taken on Cromerstreet in London, England