Development starts on all-electric DeLorean DMC-12

October 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

From our ‘About Time’ file comes news that the DeLorean DMC-12 will be brought back from the dead and rebuilt in a new EV form. The DMC-12 was made famous by the popular  Back to the Future blockbuster movies and has enjoyed an iconic status ever since. With legions of fans for the vehicle a modern-day rebuild makes plenty of sense and is destined for much publicity.

Planning to build a new DMC-12 in electric form is a collaboration effort between the reborn DeLorean Motor Company and an electric car startup company named Epic EV. DMC is now operating out of Texas, U.S.A and expects to put the new electric vehicle into production by 2013. Epic EV is a firm started by Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony and currently has other electric-powered projects in the pipeline.

Little is known about the car itself at this stage but early reports say it will a power output of around 195kW and a top speed of 200km/h. It will cost around $100,000 USD. In terms of styling expect the gullwing doors from the original to remain, but the engine layout may shift from the rear and who knows where the batteries will go. Continue reading “Development starts on all-electric DeLorean DMC-12” »

VW Amarok 8-speed auto transmission arriving next year

September 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Volkswagen’s Amarok ute launched earlier this year it was heaped with praise and Car and SUV was impressed by its ability on, and off the tarmac. But without an automatic transmission option the Amarok was always going to miss out on some sales in NZ.

Now, VW has announced that the Amarok will be available with an 8-speed automatic transmission from the mid 2012. The new gearbox is expected to be a smooth unit that will assist with overall fuel economy figures for the 1-tonne ute.

The automatic transmission will work with the Amarok’s permanent four-wheel drive and new 132kW/420Nm Twin Turbo TDI engine. Amaroks with the new automatic gearbox will also have an increased towing capacity of 3.2 metric tonnes (up to 12% gradient).

With the auto box the TDI engine will work even more effectively in every rev range, and 8th gear has been configured as a fuel-saving overdrive gear that operates at reduced engine speed.

The new automatic transmission with its maximum torque of 420 Newton metres offers a top speed of 179 km/h and takes just 8.5 seconds to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h. Towing capacity has been increased to 3.2 metric tonnes (up to 12% gradient). Continue reading “VW Amarok 8-speed auto transmission arriving next year” »

Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru revealed its new shape 2012 Impreza earlier this year in standard trim, it looked good but fairly conservative. Despite this, WRX fans everywhere began imagining it with a full wide-body kit and big gold rims. But for the next WRX it’s not going to work like that, according to reports, the next WRX will be built as an entirely separate model line.

Due for release in 2014 the new WRX will apparently become a sports coupe with an entirely different body design to the new Impreza. The two models will continue to share a platform but the upcoming WRX will have a shortened wheelbase for improved handling dynamics, and other extra goodies.

A Subaru source said in a recent interview, “The first thing you must understand about our all-new WRX is that we have developed it from the ground up to win in motorsports events. That’s why we have focused so heavily on weight issues, not to mention a shorter wheelbase that permits faster, more precise turn-in. Marry that to our proven AWD system, and we think we have a winner.”

Subaru is planning a return to WRC rallying so when the hardcore STI variant of the WRX is released a future WRC rally car will be based on it. Continue reading “Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line” »

New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport on track for next year

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new-model Swift in its regular form has been on sale in NZ for a few months now and is proving popular with Suzuki on track to launch its new 2012 Swift Sport early next year.

While official details haven’t been released, there have been leaks revealing that the new model will be a three-door hatch with styling cues borrowed from the S-Concept (pictured).

Power is expected to come from a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing around 100 kW. The standard transmission will be a six-speed manual box but if 100kW is too much power for you to shift through – an automatic transmission will be an available option.

Development and testing of the car is currently taking place at the Nurburgring race track in Germany, mostly centering on a new aerodynamics package, stiffened suspension and uprated Brembo brakes. Continue reading “New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport on track for next year” »

New-generation Honda Beat coming in 2013

June 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Theres been some rumours flying round that Honda was going to revive its diminutive Beat convertible and now according to reports the rumours could be true.

The Beat was originally produced for the Japanese domestic market in its kei class from 1991 to 1996. Only 33,600 Beats were produced in total with a few even making it here to NZ. The orignal Beat used a three-cylinder engine that produced just 47kW but with a kerb weight of 760kg, mid mounted engine and a rear-wheel drive format it was still a bit of fun.

Now it would appear that Honda are at working on a new Beat with the model expected to debut as early as 2013. It will be offered in a roadster form based on the CR-Z platform and feature styling based on Honda’s OSM concept car (pictured). Continue reading “New-generation Honda Beat coming in 2013” »

Mazda releases fresh images of new BT-50 ute

June 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just dropped a couple of images of it’s upcoming BT-50 Freestyle ute. The Freestyle is an extended-cab version of the standard BT-50, offering a smaller cabin and a slightly larger deck than its double cab stablemate. To get crew into the back the BT-50’s cab features two reverse-hinge half-doors in addition to the two standard front doors. There is a pilarless design to make things a whole lot easier for those attempting to squeeze in the rear seat.

Mazda’s new design language has been used extensively on the exterior of the BT-50, but it retains traditional cab proportions giving it a good balance. Like the Ford Ranger, which uses the same chassis, the BT-50 was designed in Australia. It will be exported to numerous countries including NZ with first deliveries expected later this year. Continue reading “Mazda releases fresh images of new BT-50 ute” »

BMW reveals all-new 2012 1-Series range

June 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With leaked images of BMW’s brand new 1-Series hatch circulating online since Friday the Bavarian carmaker has made the call to release a full set of photos and official details.

BMW’s compact car is now larger and sports fresher looks while also introducing a new range of engines. The all-new 2012 1 Series is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year with the code-name F20. It will sit on the same platform that underpins the upcoming new 3 Series and will be larger than its predecessor in every dimension except height. The first variant on show will be the volume-selling five-door hatchback but the range will also include a three-door hatch, coupe, cabriolet and possibly a longer Gran Turismo version.

The new sheetmetal has extensively revised styling with more prominent creases and a dramatic front-end that includes an even larger kidney grille and frowning headlights that push back into the wheel guards.

Inside, higher-grade materials are used and there’s apparently more attention to detail. A larger centre console houses fresh switchgear and there are new steering wheel designs. The latest version of BMW’s iDrive system is an optional extra. Continue reading “BMW reveals all-new 2012 1-Series range” »

Kia Optima goes on sale in NZ at $46,990

March 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Kia Optima has just gone on sale in New Zealand, is certainly a striking looking sedan.

Chief designer Peter Schreyer had a lot to say about the new model, “With the new Optima, we have created a product that people previously would not have expected from Kia and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve!” said Schreyer of the mid-large sedan.

The distinct lines of the new Optima have been well received overseas and Kia Motors is hoping for a similar reception here in New Zealand.

“It is fair to say that there has been more international comment passed on the new Optima than any other Kia model in the past – all of it highly favourable,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand. “In-line with international trends we are expecting a huge demand for the new Optima which may put pressure on our ability to deliver in New Zealand.”

Under the bonnet the new Optima boasts advanced GDI technology in the new 2.4-litre Theta II engine that delivers the power of a V6 with the economy of a four cylinder.

The new 11.3:1 high compression 2.4-litre Theta II GDI unit introduces gasoline direct injection for the first time under the bonnet of a Kia model, power is increased by 11.6% and torque by 8.2% to 148kW @ 6300rpm and 250Nm @ 4250rpm respectively. Continue reading “Kia Optima goes on sale in NZ at $46,990” »

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