McLaren and Mercedes complete SLR production and partnership

December 4th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The SLR Stirling Moss is about to cease being built, bringing overall production of the SLR supercar from Mercedes-Benz and McLaren to an end.

Over the course of its five-year production run, more than 2,000 examples of the SLR were built, making it one of the most prolific supercars in automotive history. Now, the two carmakers are going their seperate ways, Mercedes has sold its stake back to McLaren, acquired its own F1 team, and each has now produced its own successor: the Mercedes SLS AMG and the McLaren MP4-12C.

In 2004, with the swing-wing Coupe, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren jointly set out to continue the story of the legendary SLR racing sports cars of the 1950s. Following that, five different versions in the SLR family have been produced including two coupes, two roadster versions and lastly the extreme SLR Stirling Moss.

In its final iteration, the SLR Stirling Moss, the SLR features a supercharged V-8 with 650 horsepower on tap. Without a roof or a windscreen to separate the driver and front passenger from nature, the supercar is raw and worthy of the name of British motor-racing legend Stirling Moss, who piloted the original Mercedes-Benz SLR racing cars to a succession of victories in the 1950s.

With the last example to be completed by the end of December, the end of SLR production finally marks the dissolution of the manufacturing agreement between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz.

New Bentley Mulsanne yours for $395k

December 3rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Bentley Mulsanne fq1

With a starting price of $285,000 USD ($395,000 NZ), Bentley’s latest flagship model probably won’t be a common sight on kiwi roads. For the money you get a 505-horsepower, 725 lb-ft, petrol-powered 6.75-litre monster V8 engine sitting behind the automaker’s trademark mesh grille and four round lights.

Also included in the hefty price will be an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, 16.54-inch front and 15.5-inch rear carbon ceramic brakes and 20-inch wheels. There’s also loads of modern tech like a 2,200-watt stereo and the brand’s new Driver Dynamics Control system, which comes with “Bentley,” “Sport,” “Comfort” and user-definable “Custom” modes.

If you want to buy one production is set to begin at the Crewe factory in England in the second quarter of 2010, and the first deliveries will go out later next year. Get yours in one of 114 available paint colors, 21 carpet shades, nine wood veneers and 24 interior leather hides. You will need to order quickly as Bentley is reporting that early customer interest has already exceeded 2010 production targets.

Hummer heads back into production

November 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hummer H3

The Hummer sale isn’t officially official just yet which means the Chinese authorities haven’t given Tengzhong the green light. What is official is that GM has restarted production of the 2010 H3 and H3T at its Los Angeles plant. General Motors didn’t want to be stuck with dead models, so it shut down production while its side of the deal with Tengzhong was being finalised. But by the beginning of November, inventory was very low with just 1,183 units on hand and action was required.

Hummer sales remain down more than 50 percent but people are still buying, and the company’s two H3 models are clearly the most popular. According to a Hummer spokesman the 2010 H3s should be arriving in dealerships in December — and they may come in two new colours and with biofuel capability.

Dodge ready to make new Viper

November 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge Viper SRT10 fq

Ralph Gilles, big boss of the Dodge car brand has dropped some big news on the Viper in a very recent interview. After going back and forth for the past 18 months on what to do with Viper, Chrysler has decided that production of the current Viper will end in July 2010. But before that happens, 500 final cars will be built that will apparently be the most special Vipers ever. Gilles stated that the company wanted to preserve the value of existing Vipers by not simply continuing the current generation indefinitely. He talked it up but didn’t give any real details on what would make the final 500 cars so special.

However, Viper fans don’t need to go into mourning just yet. Gilles also revealed that an all-new sports car is being developed with a launch targeted sometime in 2012. It gets better, the replacement Viper will be getting some help from Chrysler’s new Italian brothers Fiat. This may mean that Ferrari could be involved in development of this mysterious new model. Muscle car fans everywhere will be hoping Chrysler retains the Viper’s raw nature in the new generation.

VW Golf Mk1 ends production after 25 years

November 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

VW Golf Mk1 fq

In 1974 the original Volkswagen Golf Mk1 arrived as a replacement to the Volkswagen Beetle. The front-wheel-drive hatchback had a transverse-mounted (water-cooled) 1.5-liter four-cylinder good for just 70 horsepower. While the standard Mk1 Golf offered little in the way of performance, the Mk1 “GTI” kicked off the hot-hatch movement with its 90-horsepower 1.8-litre four-cylinder, slick manual transmission, and upgraded suspension.

In 1984, Volkswagen introduced the Golf Mk2. It was bigger, wider, and more expensive than the original and VW were worried some customers may have been turned-off by the upgrades so it chose to continue the Mk1 production and sell it as the low-cost Econo Golf, or CitiGolf.

Over the past 25 years, more than 500,000 units of the Mk1 Golf have rolled out of a South African assembly plant for sale in markets abroad. Different variations have been fitted with a wide range of engine choices (both gasoline and diesel), from 1.1-liters up to 1.8-liters of displacement. Transmissions have included 4- and 5-speed manuals, plus the 3-speed automatic. Missing most of today’s necessary safety equipment time has finally caught up with the CitiGolf this year and the South African plant has now shut its doors for good

Bugatti Galibier 16C heading for production

October 2nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Bugatti Galibier fq

Bugatti’s Galibier 16C Concept is one amazing sedan, with its 8.0-litre W-16 engine and incredibly opulent interior. The latest reports emerging from within Bugatti’s walls are that the car isn’t just a concept anymore, now, it’s been green-lighted for production.

Bugatti hasn’t confirmed the reports just yet, but the Galibier 16C was being touted as a potential production car, depending on the reaction it got from its potential client base. After just a few public showings, the car’s unique features and design appear to have done the job nicely.

Featuring four seats inside its leather and wood cabin, the Galibier 16C isn’t the hard-out speed machine the Veyron is. Instead of a twin-clutch gearbox, the Galibier gets a refined eight-speed automatic. Instead of 1,000 horsepower from a quad-turbocharged W-16 engine, it ‘only’ gets given 800 ponies from a two-stage supercharging system.

But there is a bevy high-tech elements at work including polished aluminum and carbon fibre bodywork, all the top electronic driving aids and an advanced active suspension system.

To keep a blend of classical and modern technology a custom Swiss clock, called the Reverso Tourbillon serves as the car’s interior clock and can also be removed and worn on the wrist on a custom-designed leather strap.

The Galibier 16C is expected to cost about $1.45 million USD if it does go to production. Cars could start rolling out of the factory as soon as early 2010.

KTM puts brakes on X-Bow production

August 25th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

KTM X-Bow fq

Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM was expecting great demand for its first foray into the world of four-wheeled motoring, but that was before the global economy declined. Now reports are suggesting that the company has had to rethink how many of its X-Bow track cars it can sell and even worse it’s had to halt production as supply has outstripped demand.

KTM originally scheduled building 500 units of the X-Bow each year, but shortly increased their targets to 1000 per year. So far the factory in Graz, Austria, has built the first 500. However, only 80 of those have reportedly been sold so far. The surplus in stock has left KTM with no option but to stop production altogether while it tries to sell the units it has on hand. Production isn’t expected to resume again until January 2010.

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