Honda drops images and details on its CR-Z Mugen

May 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda’s promising CR-X successor, the hybrid CR-Z could still be the excitement machine badge fans have been hoping for. Honda’s tuning arm Mugen is preparing to come to the rescue with a high performance version named the CR-Z Mugen and the first official photos of this hot hybrid hatch have been dropped.

Being prepared for a official debutl at the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed this July the hotter CR-Z looks suitably staunch but it’s the performance ability that Honda fans want to know about. While exact details haven’t been released, Honda has revealed that early tests with a prototype car based on a standard CR-Z and a mid-tuned engine has given a 0-100km/h sprint time matching that of the  European market Civic Type R at 6.6 seconds. But that wasn’t enough, and Mugen has pushed on by increasing output a further 15 percent and reducing the chassis’ weight by 50 kilograms, overall performance is now expected to be more rapid than the Type R’s.

That seems a fair result form the CR-Z’s supercharged 1.5-litre i-VTEC four and electric assist motor. The CR-Z Mugen will also get tweaks like upgraded brakes and suspension, a carbon fibre bonnet and forged alloy wheels. For styling, there is a new body kit with a high rear wing and diffuser to improve dynamics. Continue reading “Honda drops images and details on its CR-Z Mugen” »

The Endora SC-1 – another Corvette based Supercar

May 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

German coachbuilder Endora Cars has decided to dip its toe into supercar waters with a striking retro-inspired machine which it has named the SC-1.

Rendered images have just been released and it’s already clear that the SC-1 borrows heavily from American and European sports cars of the 60′s and 70′s. It’s a mix tape of styles and eras but the most telling design features are lifted straight from the Corvette like the Coke-bottle profile and distinctive rear end. That comes as little shock because the Corvette makes up the SC-1′s platform.

Under the bespoke body lies the chassis and mechanical hardware of the sixth generation Corvette. Endora Cars will offer tempted buyers the choice of three configurations. A base model which comes packing GM’s 6.2-litre V8 with a 325kW output, while a second option is a larger 7.0-liter V8 with 381kW and 636Nm of torque. Topping the range is a supercharged version of the 6.2-litre V8 engine that will put a frightening 482kW of grunt and 817Nm of torque to the rear axle. Continue reading “The Endora SC-1 – another Corvette based Supercar” »

Audi officially reveals all-new 2012 A6 Avant

May 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Us Kiwis are suckers for a nice station wagon and Audi has given us all something to admire in its sleek new 2012 A6 Avant. The latest estate model has just been revealed at an event in Berlin, Germany with photos and specs released.

The new A6 Avant is larger with improved interior space but is lighter and more fuel efficient. To achieve the weight-reduction over its predecessor the A6 body is now 20 percent aluminum and also uses a composite construction that integrates high-strength steel for safety. This new lightweight approach to construction means the new A6 wagon is up to 70kg lighter than the model it replaces depending on the powertrain installed. The base model A6 2.0 TDI Avant weighs 1,640kg.

The A6 Avant powertrain options include six engines and four transmissions for various global markets but don’t expect all of them to come to New Zealand. The entry-level engine is a 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel four-cylinder that produces 131kW, and achieves a fuel economy of just 5.0l/100km combined. There is a larger diesel mill on offer with a 3.0-litre displacement and twin-turbocharging, its available in various power outputs ranging from 152kW to 233kW. In its most powerful form the TDI motor will take the A6 Avant from 0-100km/hper hour in a mere 5.4 seconds. Continue reading “Audi officially reveals all-new 2012 A6 Avant” »

First details on McLaren’s “Mega Mac” F1 successor

May 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There’s been rumours and speculation floating around about McLaren’s new top spec F1 successor since the release of its MP4-12C last year. Now, thanks to fresh reports, key details have been divulged and McLaren’s tasty new supercar dubbed the “Mega Mac” sounds like an absolute monster.

Aimed squarely at the world’s top supercars like the Bugatti Veyron and Pagani Huayra the Mega Mac plans to defeat them all and jump straight into number one spot. To achieve this it will use a 595kW (799 hp) 5.0-litre V8 motor which has been developed in collaboration with Ricardo. The huge amounts of power will be put to the ground through a Graziano seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Keeping light is vital and the car will feature a carbon fibre Monocell, similar to that seen on the MP4-12C. Interior appointments will also put function before luxury in pursuit of a low kerb weight.

With the emphasis on total power and light weight, performance will be nothing short of breathtaking. Early indications expect the coupe to match the Lamborghini Aventador in the 0-100kph sprint, hitting three figures in just 2.8 seconds. While that’s a few tenths slower than the Bugatti Veyron, the Mega Mac will generate more momentum as it goes reaching the 200 mph (321kph) mark in just 20 seconds flat, a full 2 seconds quicker than the Veyron. Continue reading “First details on McLaren’s “Mega Mac” F1 successor” »

Toyota’s larger Prius V goes on sale in Japan

May 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Despite severe production and supply issues after the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disaster Toyota has just put its Prius V on sale in its domestic market.

The second model in Toyota’s growing Prius range will be sold in Japan as the Prius Alpha. The new Prius V is based on the current third-generation Prius but is a larger vehicle and will be sold with seven- and five-seating capacities. It also features a much more advanced lithium-ion battery pack. Even in five-seater form, the Prius V offers an impressive 60 percent more luggage capacity than the standard Prius. It also is longer and higher which means extra head and legroom for passengers.

Mechanically the Prius V differs little from the standard model using the same 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine matched with an electric motor. Power output for the petrol engine is rated at 73kW and 142Nm, with the electric motor chipping in another 60kW and 207Nm of torque. Continue reading “Toyota’s larger Prius V goes on sale in Japan” »

VW considering Polo R hot hatch based on WRC car

May 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Polo is seen by many to be the weaker and slightly more girly sibling for the Volkswagen Golf, but now with the smaller hatch’s entry in to the 2013 WRC that perception could change.

The high price of petrol and factors like the popularity of Gymkhana has changed the way the Ford Fiesta is viewed and the same could happen for VW’s Polo. This fact isn’t lost on the German carmaker and its getting busy scheming up a hot R version of the Polo that may be given the ability to embarrass more powerful machines. The Polo R WRC rally car (pictured), has plenty of branding for VW’s R division and some styling cues that could be toned down and included in a production hatchback. So it looks promising.

Ulrich Hackenberg, VW board member said in a recent interview that the WRC entry has made a Polo GTI-topping model “more likely”. “You can see how the World Rally Championship program would increase the probability of an R version of the base model,” said Hackenberg, who said that the launch of the Polo R would coincide with the start rally program in 2013.

If this micro menace does enter into production it will likely use a more powerful version of VW’s 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine currently seeing service in the Polo GTI. To be a true hot hatch the power figure will need to be over 150kW with the Polo GTI at 132kW. What isn’t known is if the Polo R will be offered with an all-wheel-drive system or, like the Scirocco R, be a front driver.

We’ll bring you more details on this Euro hot hatch as they come become available. Click here to read more and view a clip about the Polo R WRC car.

Volvo S60 T6 2011 Review

May 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Recently, to prove Volvo is no longer a maker of safety obsessed, vanilla vehicles, pro race driver Jonny Reid lapped Hampton Downs in the new S60 T6 sedan. Big deal you might say. Well he did do it blindfolded (click here to view video).  Some may see this stunt as little more than a cheap promotional trick, but it illustrates the redefining new direction the Swedish carmaker has taken. An awareness, pride and continuation of Volvo’s safety innovations remain but the new top-spec S60 T6 has been given eye-catching, flowing design, serious power output and sporting dynamics. Car and SUV wasn’t given a blindfold, or time on a racetrack but did get a drive in the very same S60 T6 that lapped Hampton Downs. Here are the results.

Volvo’s solid and boxy design language is now almost fully extinct and the S60 shows more curves than a hip-hop video. A dipping front end with two-piece headlights and a broad signature grille give the S60 a modern and distinctive face. A steeply raked windscreen and coupe-like roofline define its low-slung profile. At the back end, wrap around taillights and a subtle boot lid spoiler are features. Contrasting hard plastic cladding is used to good effect on the S60’s lower edges, this helps give it genuine sporty appeal. It also combines with the widened rear panels and high boot deck to create an athletic stance. Like a sprinter paused in their blocks the S60 looks alert, muscular and dynamic. Other signals of go-fast intent include 7-spoke 18-inch alloys and dual, integrated exhaust tips. Any aesthetic concessions aren’t required in owning a new S60. Particularly in T6 form, it’s a sexy machine and Volvo has achieved it without resorting to more generic styling, it’s distinctive but still clear in its origins.

In the cabin, the coupe theme continues with a cosseting sports-inspired atmosphere. A high centre armrest dissects driver and shotgun passenger with all switchgear placed close to hand. The build quality has a bulletproof feel and the materials are mainly high-grade with the exception of some harder plastics. There is a luxury feel in the S60 cabin and while it can’t quite match pricier European brands it’s a step up from more direct Japanese competitors. The waterfall control stack is a highlight being finished in brushed metal and housing the majority of buttons and dials. A recessed 7-inch screen displays all main information in full colour and is positioned high for easy checking on the fly. The control system interface isn’t immediately intuitive but with regular use drivers will learn its ways. The instrumentation is Spartan but effectively designed with two large dials surrounding digital displays that offer vehicle information. Phone, cruise and audio buttons are housed in a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel. Continue reading “Volvo S60 T6 2011 Review” »

Perena Z-One by Zagato to finally enter production

May 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Zagato has been one busy Italian design house in recent times with new and upcoming models like its smoking hot TZ3 Stradale, and the much anticipated work it’s doing with Aston Martin.

Now, it would appear that another sexy Zagato-bodied sports car can is set to join the party. If the reports are to be believed the Perena Z-One concept is now ready for production and UK delivers will commence later this year.

The Z-One is a dead set stunner and car enthusiasts may recall it debuted back in March 2009 at the Geneva Motor Show. It was a stand out concept at the show, but has since fallen off the radar. Apparently, the custom chassis on the Z-One has been set up by Lee Noble – the man behind a variety of cottage-industry sportscars wearing names like Ultima, Ascari, Rosion, Fenix and, naturally, the Noble brand itself. The Perena Z-One will be powered by a 442-hp GM LS3 V8 and with that sort of motor, performance will be brisk.

Expect more details to be released shortly.