Lexus reveals new 2013 GS sedan

August 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus has just dropped the covers on its third-generation GS luxury sedan at a special event during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

Visually, the new GS features more aggressive and bolder lines that its predecessor with a new ‘spindle’ trapezoidal grille that Lexus says will be a trademark of all future models. Other styling features include recessed headlamps with L-shaped LED daytime running lights and an aerodynamic body that takes cues from the smaller IS.

The new GS rides on a revised platform that is apparently more rigid thanks to the increased number of spot welds and laser weld work.

The GS suspension has been fully reworked with aluminum upper, and lower control arms for reduced unsprung weight and an updated rear subframe that works in with a new multilink set up. Putting on the anchors is ventilated disc brakes all around with four-piston calipers clamping at the front. Continue reading “Lexus reveals new 2013 GS sedan” »

Kia Picanto three-door launched in Europe

August 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The five-door Kia Picanto was launched last month in NZ and now its sportier three-door sibling has just been revealed for the European market.

It’s identical in size with its five-door counterpart, but the three-door Picanto features new front doors, sports-styled bumpers, rear panels and glass aft of the A-pillar, along with a larger front grille that’s available with silver or red trim surrounds, twin exhaust tips and different alloy wheel designs.

Inside, the cabin of the three-door is almost identical to the five-door’s interior, except for the seats which have a sliding and tilting mechanism.

For the European market, the Picanto will be offered in four trim grades: 1, 1 Air, Halo and Equinox. Both Halo and Equinox are unique to the three-door bodystyle. Continue reading “Kia Picanto three-door launched in Europe” »

New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut

August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki has given hot hatch fans a preview of its upcoming 2012 Swift Sport ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

When Suzuki unveiled its S-Concept earlier this year, it was a styling exercise to show what the next Swift Sport may look like. Some of the concepts bold styling has remained and some has been dropped. The pumped out wheel arches are gone, as are the vented quarter panels and giant wing. What has been kept is the striking front bumper and smoked headlights.

Under the bonnet the 2012 Swift Sport will feature a 1.6 litre M16A engine developed exclusively for the sportier model. The four-cylinder petrol unit will produce 100 kW of power and 160 Nm of torque. That’s a 30kW/20Nm increase over the standard new-model Swift and a 8kW/12Nm increase over the previous Swift Sport.

The engine will be connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. Continue reading “New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut” »

BMW’s future i4 and i5 eco vehicles to fill out range

August 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s recently revealed i sub-brand is one of the most exciting and ambitious moves in the automotive world recently (read news) and will expand after the i3 and i8 go on sale in the next three years.

What’s next? Well the following models will be the i4 and i5 which are rumoured to be a smaller coupe and a family focused four-door sedan.

Both the i4 and i5 models will have a carbon fiber reinforced plastic “Life” bodye to keep weight down and use variations of the drivetrains powering the i3 and i8.

Apparently the i4 will use the same underpinnings as the i3, but will drop the rear doors and seats to become a two-seater with a lower roof, wider track and a increased dynamic ability. Power will likely come from a tweaked version of the  i3’s electric motor, with the same optional range-extending engine mounted out back. If the i4 is created in this way BMW will have a more affordable two-door option in its range. Don’t expect to see the i4 roaming streets for about five or six years. Continue reading “BMW’s future i4 and i5 eco vehicles to fill out range” »

Ford Focus 2012 Review

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new 2012 Ford Focus has been unveiled at a media event in Melbourne last week and Car and SUV was there to put the third edition of this popular hatch through its paces.

The Mk 3 Focus will arrive in NZ with two body styles, a five-door hatchback and a sleek four-door sedan. Expect a wagon version to arrive in March next year.

There’s a lot to like with the new Focus, the practical cabin and sharp driving dynamics remain, but it now offers a higher level of features and also ultra modern styling. It’s a powerful example of the ‘One Ford’ approach that will see the Focus sold in 122 markets globally. The Focus’ C-Platform will also underpin at least ten vehicles in the future and account for two million units of production by 2012. The numbers getting thrown around are big, but Ford are justified in having confidence in the new 2012 Focus. Continue reading “Ford Focus 2012 Review” »

Volkswagen NZ lands 60 Golf GTI 35 Edition models for kiwi market

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For 2011, Volkswagen is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its iconic Golf GTI with a special Edition 35 model. The big news is that Volkswagen New Zealand have managed to secure 60 of the limited-edition 4-door Golf GTI Edition 35 models.

Much like the Edition 30 Golf model that we saw here in 2006 this new anniversary machine benefits from an upgraded powerplant and some discreet styling tweaks.

Punching out 173kW of power and 300Nm torque the upgraded Golf produces 18kW more grunt than the standard model. It will reach a top speed of 247km/h and take just 6.6 seconds to sprint from 0 – 100km/h. The engine in the Edition 35 is a turbocharged petrol direct-injection engine of the EA113 engine series, sharing the same engine base as the Golf R. The 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox. Fuel economy is quoted at 8.0 litres per 100km combined.

Keeping its dynamic credentials in check is a XDS electronic differential lock that compensates for the typical understeering of front-wheel drive vehicles during quick driving through bends. The Edition 35 also sits 15mm lower than on a conventional Golf and uses the familiar MacPherson suspension at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Continue reading “Volkswagen NZ lands 60 Golf GTI 35 Edition models for kiwi market” »

Lexus teases new GS 350 before official debut

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus is set to reveal its all-new GS 350 mid-size luxury sport sedan on Thursday, August 18th in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held in the States.

The fourth-generation GS is all new, and will feature the brand’s latest design language, with styling cues such as a distinctive new front grille, that will soon be seen on all future Lexus vehicles.  Apparently, the new GS will also lead the rest of the Lexus lineup in an entirely new direction of driving dynamics.

“Drivers of medium sized luxury vehicles value a complete driving package in their cars and look for an engaging driving experience; they’ll not only get this with the new GS but they’ll also get more aggressive styling and a roomier luxury interior,” said Debbie Pattullo, Lexus New Zealand Manager. Continue reading “Lexus teases new GS 350 before official debut” »

BMW reveals i3 and i8 concept vehicles (+video)

August 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s hotly anticipated i-brand has officially arrived with the first introduction of two concept models.

BMW has given out the first details and images of its i3 and i8 models before the concepts are shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Originally teased as the MegaCity concept, the BMW i3 electric car will be the first vehicle to be produced under the i brand and will arrive in 2013. Built for urban environments this high-tech machine uses an electric motor mounted on the rear axle for an output of 125kW with 250Nm of torque. Power will go through a single speed gearbox and the i3 will accelerate briskly from 0-100km/h in around eight seconds. Top speed is limited to 150 km/h.

BMW claims the i3’s battery pack can be charged to full in six hours and will get to 80% charge in just one hour using a standard socket. Expect details on battery capacity and range to be revealed soon. Continue reading “BMW reveals i3 and i8 concept vehicles (+video)” »