Anderson Germany tunes sinister Maserati Gran Turismo S ‘Black Edition’

August 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The standard Maserati GranTurismo S is one mean-looking machine and most mere mortals would take it straight from the factory. But that hasn’t stopped tuning firm Anderson Germany from offering owners the chance to go a little meaner again.

The German workshop has created a line of performance and styling upgrades for the Italian car and called the complete package the Superior Black Edition.

The Maserati gets a carbon-fibre body kit that includes a new bonnet, side mirrors and tailgate as well as the side air intakes. The lights have been smoked out and the entire body is wrapped in a silky matt black coating. Filling the wheel guards are new 21-inch alloy wheels finished in gloss black and wrapped in low profile tyres. The suspension has also been lowered.

In the cabin the black theme continues with plenty of carbon-fibre trim along with a mix of black leather and alcantara trim with red stitching. There’s also an upgraded infotainment system. Continue reading “Anderson Germany tunes sinister Maserati Gran Turismo S ‘Black Edition’” »

2011 Kia Picanto Review

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s all new 2011 Picanto was launched at a press event in Auckland yesterday and Car and SUV was given a first drive in this much-improved micro machine.

With a tagline of “Clever Around Town” the new Kia Picanto is designed for city/suburban use and comes with eco credentials, more standard equipment and sharper driving dynamics.

The Picanto’s price tag is also very tempting with the base model available from $18,590. So what do you get for the money?

The Picanto is being sold in NZ in two trim specifications LX and the higher grade EX. The entry model is the LX with a manual transmission, this features a clever ISG (Idle Stop & Go) technology which switches off the engine when idling and instantly re-starts as the clutch is depressed. It’s an impressive feature to offer in a sub $20k vehicle and while it takes some getting used to, it functions well. With this tech and a small 1.2-litre petrol engine the manual Picanto returns a thrifty fuel economy figure of 4.3L/100km. This makes it the most economical petrol dedicated car in the NZ market – so running costs are extremely low. The automatic LX and EX model Picantos return a fuel economy of 5.3l/100km and 5.6l/100km respectively. Continue reading “2011 Kia Picanto Review” »

Audi updates A5 and S5 for 2012

July 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Audi has revealed extensive 2012 updates for its sporty A5 and S5 coupe range.

A more aggressive front end is the most obvious change with redesigned headlight clusters along with a new front bumper and subtle changes to the grille. Updates to the rear a more subtle and include revised tail lights with optional LEDs. The models clean and sharp profile remains unchanged, but 17-inch alloys are now standard on International models (NZ spec may differ).

Inside, there’s a new steering wheel and tweaks to the instrument panel and centre control stack. The gear stick on auto models has been changed and the MMI infotainment system upgraded. There’s also a new ignition key and air-con controls.

Mechanically, the 2012 A5 gets a new rear suspension setup along with a revised electromechanical power steering system.

Engines options include the base model 125 kW 1.8 litre TFSI unit which has  been revised to deliver improved fuel-economy at 5.7 l/100 km. Step up to the 2.0 litre TFSI engine and output remains unchanged at 157kW, while a new 200kW 3.0 litre TFSI V6 has joined the range. Continue reading “Audi updates A5 and S5 for 2012” »

Range Rover Evoque production begins – in NZ this November

July 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Production of the Range Rover Evoque at Land Rover’s Halewood manufacturing plant in Liverpool, England has begun this week.

The first shipment of Evoques for New Zealand will go on sale here in November.

Jaguar Land Rover’s CEO, Ralf Speth together with JLR executive officers, union representatives and employees, gathered to celebrate the start of Evoque production. The first car to roll off the production line was donated to the British Motor Industry Heritage trust.

“The Evoque is an incredibly exciting vehicle that joins a product range which across both of our brands is the strongest we have ever had – and it fits in perfectly,” commented Dr Speth. “The teams that have designed, engineered and built the new Evoque, working together with our research and supplier partners, can be immensely proud of their achievement. Worldwide interest in our new car has been exceptional.” Continue reading “Range Rover Evoque production begins – in NZ this November” »

HSV unveils SV Black Edition for Clubsport and Maloo

July 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

HSV has just revealed the details and pricing of its new limited model range – the SV Black Edition.

Using the E Series 3 range as a base, the SV Black Edition will be available in ClubSport R8 and Maloo R8 models. The package will see some serious cosmetic upgrades at a price of just a few thousand dollars more than the standard models.

The special upgrades of the SV Black Edition starts with the exterior, where matte black paintouts on the front and sides combine with the “Vector” bonnet scoops. The Clubsport R8 also receives a bootlid spoiler.

All SV Black Edition vehicles will have their guards filled with twenty inch forged and staggered SV Performance alloy wheel finished in gloss black. The limited edition Clubsport R8 also get HSV’s performance suspension, as well as HSV’s Bi-Modal exhaust. Under the bonnet it’s business as usual with HSV’s 317 kilowatt, 6.2 litre, LS3, Generation 4 V8 engine.

Interior tweaking includes a unique finish on the console, instrument panel and steering wheel while special edition sill plates, Onyx leather trim, matte black badging and a subtle lip spoiler on the ClubSport R8 complete the package. A unique build plate is also fitted to every vehicle. Continue reading “HSV unveils SV Black Edition for Clubsport and Maloo” »

Range Rover Evoque – NZ pricing and specs annouced

June 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Pricing and local specification has just been announced for Range Rover’s all new Evoque. The compact SUV is expected to arrive in New Zealand before the end of the year will be available from $79,990

The Evoque will be available with a choice of three engines, two body styles, three design themes and a range of customization options and accessories.

It will be available in two body shapes a 5-door and a 2-door Coupe with initial deliveries starting from November.

The Evoque will touch down in three design themes: Pure, Dynamic and Prestige and there will be optional equipment and styling packs. Options available include three contrasting roof treatments, seven alloy wheel designs, 16 contrasting interiors and a full sized, fixed, panoramic glass roof. Standard features will include push button start, electric park brake, rear parking aid, colour TFT information screen, 6/4 way adjustable electric seats.

All Evoques will come with a six speed automatic 4WD transmission. Manual gearbox models will only be available to specific customer order. Continue reading “Range Rover Evoque – NZ pricing and specs annouced” »

Honda Accord V6 2011 Review

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Since the late 1970s the Honda Accord has been a bit of an institution on New Zealand roads. We have seen various numbers and variations of all eight generations of the Accord with the fifth instalment even being assembled locally in Nelson. But things have changed for the Accord over the years; it got larger, more powerful and is no longer the cost-conscious option it once was. Honda also doubled down with the Accord and split the model line into the more American market focused Accord V6 and the smaller, sharply packaged Accord Euro. So where does that leave NZ’s long serving Honda? Well it’s in good shape, sure it’s become a higher-priced mid/large luxury cruiser but it’s got loads of kit, an intelligent powertrain and for 2011 – an enhancing facelift. Car and SUV got reacquainted with the 2011 Accord V6 VL Sport to see exactly how far this mainstay has come.

Visually, the Accord’s athletic design has received a modest refresh. Changes include a new thickly chromed grille, restyled front bumper and modernised headlights. At the rear the two-piece taillights are also new and there’s some fresh detailing around the boot. Design and packaging are strengths of the Accord V6, and in tested Sport form it is one handsome devil. The Sport upgrade includes deeper front, rear and side skirting which really brings out the Accord’s aggressive, sleek lines and renders it long and low. The chrome work around the window line and through the grille is just enough bling to draw the eye, but not enough to spoil the low-key aesthetic. Finishing the look is chrome-tipped twin exhaust outlets and new 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels shod in 225/50 rubber. Continue reading “Honda Accord V6 2011 Review” »

Volkswagen Amarok Highline 2011 Review

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s never easy being the new kid in class, if you want proof just ask Volkswagen’s new Amarok. As the first European entry into NZ’s hard fought ute segment the road ahead is rocky and steep for the Amarok. With the Volkswagen Group as a parent and some advanced tech in the Amarok’s genes it’s arrived loaded with interest and high expectations. But there are some established names and large egos to measure itself against in the NZ ute playground. So will the other kids like the new Amarok? Probably not. Should the other kids be worried? Absolutely. Car and SUV spent some time in the top spec Amarok Highline to see if this upstart has brought its A-game.

Under the Bonnet
The word Amarok means ‘wolf’ in the Inuit language and this is one wolf not content to just join the pack, it wants to do things its own way. Firstly, it has a smaller engine than its peers and is powered by a 2.0-litre twin turbo diesel unit. But that doesn’t mean its caught short on output figures; there’s 120kW of power on tap and 400Nm of max torque available from 1500rpm. That’s a fair whack of grunt for a ute of any engine size. It nearly matches the torque of the larger displacement mill in the Mitsubishi Triton (407Nm) and beats the Hilux’s 2.5-litre unit (343Nm) but can’t knock the Nissan Navara (450Nm) off its lofty perch.

The Amarok gets its high torque output from a linear twin turbo system that has the turbos engaging at different points in the rev range and overlapping briefly. The advantage of the smaller displacement engine comes with increased diesel economy. Official figures rate the Amarok at using just 7.8 litres per 100km and while that may prove a tough figure to chase down when carrying a heavy load or travelling gravel roads, it stacks up favourably against those same rivals. Continue reading “Volkswagen Amarok Highline 2011 Review” »