Honda restarts development of new NSX supercar

February 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Heads up Honda fans, it appears that the once iconic NSX has been lifted from the grave and is now a candidate for production.

Is it for real this time? Well, no one really knows at this stage but Honda president Takashi Ito has come forward and announced that he’s going to begin development on the supercar.

Those are big words especially considering how unceremoniously the next NSX was dropped by Honda when the global economy dumped its oil back in 2008. At that time, the project was called the HSV-010 (pictured), and Honda got as far as prototype vehicles which it went on to race in the Japanese Super GT series.

Since then, the supercar segment has seen a invasion of new machines. Mercedes-Benz is back in the fray with its SLS AMG, Lexus is playing hardball with the high-tech LFA and established models like the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Nissan GT-R are firmly holding a share of the market.

I think the entire performance car world would like to see Honda roll out a new NSX but the Japanese carmaker has been struggling these last couple of years. So it’s a bad idea to hold your breath while waiting. Continue reading “Honda restarts development of new NSX supercar” »

McLaren MP4-12C officially begins production (+video)

February 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following more than five years of development McLaren Automotive’s brand new MP4-12C has officially entered production at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, England.

McLaren has plans to build up to 1,000 examples of the MP4-12Cs this year. While chassis 01 is currently being built at the existing MTC facility, most of the cars will be manufactured in a new £40m McLaren Production Centre, which is due for completion in May on a site adjacent to the MTC facility.

The MP4-12C was initially shown to the public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England in July 2010. After that, it was given a North American debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August of the same year.

The MP4-12C packs a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine with 447 kW and 599 Nm of torque. The powerhouse motor is mated to a seven-speed “Seamless Shift” double-clutch transmission. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is less than 3.8 seconds and top speed exceeds 300 km/h.

To mark the beginning of production McLaren has released a new short film called ‘Best of 2010′, which has appearances from F1 racing aces Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, as well as footage of the car winter testing at Dunsfold Aerodrome. Check it out below. Continue reading “McLaren MP4-12C officially begins production (+video)” »

Noble M600 Supercar begins production run

February 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Noble M600 supercar has been on car enthusiasts radar since roughly 2008. But it wasn’t officially unveiled till 2009 then it disappeared. Now, Noble has resurfaced with the very first M600 coming off the factory production line.

The British-built supercar comes packing a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre Yamaha V8 with three different power levels – Road, Track and Race. A clever ‘Adaptable Performance Control’ switch moves the V8’s output between each level, letting the engine produce 335kW, 410kW or a wild 485kW. That much power in a car with a curb weight of just 1,258kg, and you’ve a formula for terrified passengers and a 0-100kph sprint time of around three seconds or less with an estimated top speed of 360 kilometers per hour.

So far only one model has been built, but Noble plans to build 50 to order. The cost? A cool £200,000 ($414,500 NZ) for this beast so the M600 could make this boutique supercar maker some serious coin. Continue reading “Noble M600 Supercar begins production run” »

VW to put the XL1 economy car into limited production

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When Volkswagen decided to show off the latest version of its ambitious one-litre car at the Qatar Motor Show, many wondered if such a vehicle could be put into production. Those questions have now been answered with confirmation that the concept named Formula XL1 will be produced on a very small scale.

Apparently Volkswagen is ready to back itself with a small run of just 100 XL1s to be built as regular production vehicles. This means they will be offered for public sale. Details are scarce for the moment and there’s no word yet on what powertrain will move the production models. The concept features a two-cylinder TDI engine, electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With that amount of tech on board the XL1 can achieve an amazing 0.9L/100 km fuel economy.

The German domestic market will apparently be allocated the first examples with sales expected in the United States and China as well. Continue reading “VW to put the XL1 economy car into limited production” »

Next-generation Honda Civic ready mid-year

January 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Back in the day, Soichiro Honda decided to build a car for the common man, it was to be Japan’s VW Beetle or Mini Cooper. The car that Soichiro and Honda produced was the first Civic and the next-generation model is all about sticking to that original idea.

The all-new 2012 Civic is expected to launch into international markets in April this year and Honda plans to roll out a whole variety of different body shapes and engine set-ups and within mere weeks of each other, instead of letting months pass between the debut of one model to the next.

Among the different body types, we can expect both a sedan and a coupe, with several conventional petrol engines to be sold and even natural gas and hybrid versions. But it’s the sports focuses Civic Si and ultimately a new Civic Type-R that the go-fast crew will be waiting on.

The new Civic, was first previewed recently at the Detroit Auto Show, was actually scheduled for production back in 2009. But when the word recession started being thrown around, Honda took some time, reviewed the design and gave it a complete overhaul. The end result of what might seem like procrastination will be a more advanced and spacious vehicle, but the exterior design has stayed largely the same.

Honda fans should keep an eye out for the new 2012 Civic round the middle of the year with hot versions to follow shortly after. Till then check out images in the gallery below. Continue reading “Next-generation Honda Civic ready mid-year” »

Toyota and Subaru FT-86 sports car likely launch late 2011

January 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There is little doubt that the FT-86 sports car is the most exciting new model to wear a Toyota badge in nearly ten years. But there has been doubts on when and if the FT-86 will enter production. Those concerns have been addressed in a recent article by a Japanese newspaper which revealed that the FT-86 will make its debut later this year, along with its jointly developed Subaru twin.

Developed in a unique partnership between Toyota and Subaru, the upcoming FT-86 sports car won over audiences and gathered much interest in concept form at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, but its road to production has been broken up by uncertainty and a ‘on-and-off-and-on-again’ battle.

Speaking with the Japanese paper, Fuji Heavy Industries President, Mori Ikuo, reportedly confirmed that both models are nearing the end of testing.

Ikuo claimed that the production FT-86 (which some reports suggest may be called ‘FR-S’ in Toyota form) will be “very comfortable and fuel-efficient”, benefiting from a low centre of gravity for proper sports-car handling.

Exact technical details haven’t been announced, although it is known that both models will be powered by a Subaru-developed 2.0 litre turbo-charged boxer engine. The Toyota version will be a rear-wheel driver while Subaru’s model is likely to receive an AWD system. Some reports claim power figures in the region of 200kW.

Check back for more updates on this new model, till then feel free to drool over the images in the gallery below. Continue reading “Toyota and Subaru FT-86 sports car likely launch late 2011” »

New Ford Focus global production kicks off

December 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2012 Ford Focus has already entered production in the States, but Ford is now stepping up it up and starting production for the rest of the world with the Saarlous Plant in Germany.  The new Focus represents the first example of the automaker’s “One Ford” global product strategy. Ford is now engineering cars that will be exactly the same in all markets, and will be built on three continents and shipped out to around 120 markets.

The Saarlous facility is a true mega factory and is capable of manufacturing up to 1,850 vehicles a day over the course of three shifts. All three of the Focus bodystyles (sedan, hatchback and wagon) will be produced there. The hot hatch Focus ST will also be produced there from 2012.

Next up after the German plant is the Ford factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, which will start turning out new Focus hatches and sedans from mid-2011. The last plants to kick into gear will be the Asian connection in Chongqing, China, and Rayong, Thailand. It’s these plants which will likely supply the pacific region including NZ. In total that makes it a five-plant, three-continent, 120-market roll-out of the Focus, creating a truly global vehicle.

Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus. Continue reading “New Ford Focus global production kicks off” »

Aston Martin’s exclusive One-77 – 60 of 77 sold

December 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The One-77 supercar is the most exclusive of all Aston Martin models, with just 77 units being produced. The sleek body is made with massive amounts of carbon fibre, a 750-horsepower V12 and hand-crafted aluminum panels. With this much technology and effort required the One-77 carries a very hefty price tag of $1.87 million ($2.5m NZ). For most of us that is a ridiculous sum to ever consider spending on any car, but there are those out there that have the means to disagree.

Reports are coming in that 60 of the 77 One-77s are already sold, leaving only 17 copies of the extra rare English exotic up for sale. Further to just buying the One-77 many new owners are apparently opting to spend an extra $30k US to buy the Toyota IQ-based Cygnet mini Aston. While that’s a lot of coin for a flashed-up Toyota, new One-77 owners have got to keep the Mrs happy with something.