September 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It was just last year that Honda tuner Mugen gave U.K hot hatch fans a limited run of the Honda Civic Type R. It was an exclusive machine with only 20 units produced and just 16 were sold to customers. Sales were low due to its hefty price tag of around NZ$77,000. Only hardcore fans could pay this much for a Civic.
For 2012, Mugen is back with a whole new engine for the Type R Civic and with the new model not due till next year, the tuner is going big on this final edition. The new motor is bored from 2.0 litres to 2.2 litres, with horsepower boosted 30% to 195kW and torque raised to 240Nm. Mugen views this special Civic as a tribute to Honda’s naturally-aspirated K20 engine, which has been at the heart of the company’s tuning efforts for years.
“Environmental pressures mean naturally aspirated engines are rapidly being superseded by other engine architectures and technologies,” Mugen Euro president Hiro Toyota said. “We may never see the like of the K20 in a mainstream production car again, so felt it only fitting we mark the occasion with this special 2.2 version of the Honda Civic Type R.” Continue reading “Euro-market Honda Civic Type R Mugen gets 2.2-litre motor” »
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” »
June 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Both the Cosworth and Subaru brands have some serious cred when it comes to racing history. This year saw the return of Cosworth for Formula 1, and 2012 might be the year Subaru returns to WRC, thanks to a new partnership between the two companies. How is this possible? With a change in the FIA regulations for WRC and WTCC that could see a jointly designed 1.6-litre turbocharged Boxer engine.
It’s an exciting project spawned from the WRC’s plans for next season based on the Super2000 class. The new engine fits in nicely with the Japanese domestic market’s progression toward smaller, greener engines, potentially making a solid case for Subaru to re-enter the sport where it once successfully competed. Due to WTCC and WRC homologation rules, the engine would have to be built in at least some production vehicles. Which is good news for badge fans with cash to burn.
What isn’t clear yet is if the smaller powerplant would slot into a WRX or even an STI for racing and production purposes, or if a smaller car is required like an all-wheel-drive version of the Subaru-branded FT-86. If this new engine does find a home it’s most likely to be in the Impreza platform. Perhaps even the recently-reborn WRX STI sedan.
Power output of such an engine could easily be over 250-horsepower or even more if desired, with the race version pumping out a crazy amount of power. It’s a smart collaboration with Cosworth’s proven engine design abilities and Subaru’s history of developing turbocharged Boxers, together almost anything is possible.
It’s promising news for those who want to see Subarus tearing up the gravel in the WRC once again.
June 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
According to recent reports on the web, the next-generation Vauxhall Astra VXR or HSV VXR as it’s badged here in NZ will receive a power boost to become a true hot hatch heavyweight.
While details are limited, the high performance Astra will feature a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 224 kW on tap. The new engine is significantly stronger than the current unit and will see a 47 kW increase. The VXR will also resist going 4WD and will stay a front driver but ¨GM will likely equip the car with an electronic differential to help minimise torque steer.
Expected to go on sale in Europe late 2011, the hot hatch will be dressed up with an aggressive body kit with revised bumpers, flared wheel arches, and a roof-mounted spoiler. Will HSV bring the new VXR down under? It’s hard to tell, the current model hasn’t been a sales success for the performance brand, but the HSV range may be keen to welcome a new small vehicle.
To read a Car and SUV review of the current HSV VXR, click here.