Citroen shows off new DS5 hatch in Shanghai

April 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Citroen has given the motoring world its first look at the much anticipated DS5 with its official launch at the Shanghai Auto Show.

The changes from the standard C5 on which the DS5 is based, are substantial. The new model comes with a crossover styled body, dual exhausts and modern LED lights.

The DS5 is a five-door hatchback, with a coupe-like sloping roofline and raised driving position. It’s measurements are 4.52 m long and 1.85 m wide – still fairly compact dimensions but firmly within the mid-sized segment the DS5 will compete in.

But the crossover/coupe body style will separate the DS5 from many competitors in the mid-size segment making its design a key factor in potential success.

In terms of power the DS5 that will debut at the Auto Shanghai comes with the PSA Group’s HYbrid4 technology which featuring a 120 kW 2.0 litre diesel engine matched to a 27 kW electric motor turning the rear wheels. Continue reading “Citroen shows off new DS5 hatch in Shanghai” »

Updated 2011 Honda Accord Euro goes on sale in NZ

April 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Accord Euro has gone on sale in NZ with upgraded styling and is set to continue its run as a highly regarded model in the mid size sedan segment.

Since its original addition to Honda New Zealand’s model line-up in 2003, the Accord Euro has scored points for its premium performance.

The 2011 updates include fresh new styling to the front bumper and grille, headlights, detailing on the boot lid and rear lights, along with new wheel designs.

The 2.4-litre i-VTEC petrol engine continues with a 148kW power rating and peak torque of 234Nm at 4,400 rpm matched to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic transmission, depending on the model. The 5-speed automatic transmission has a straight ‘P R N D S’ gate with steering wheel mounted shift paddles for self-shifting.

Fuel economy is rated at 8.9 L/100km for both the manual and automatic sedan, whilst the Tourer’s is 9.1 L/100km. In Honda’s local real-world driving Optimal NZ Drive Test, the Euro sedan achieved a figure of 6.49 L/100km and 6.53 L/100km for the manual and automatic respectively, whilst the Tourer got down to  6.36L/100km. Both variants also performed well at the recently held AA Energywise Rally with the Sedan achieving 7.54L/100km and the Tourer 7.50L/100km. Continue reading “Updated 2011 Honda Accord Euro goes on sale in NZ” »

BMW 535d M-Sport 2011 Review

April 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Pound for pound BMW 535d is certainly a tough act to beat. For its many highlights one factor stands above the rest, its balance between huge amounts of torque while maintaining frugal fuel economy. A sleek, purposeful design and a lush, luxurious cabin are the cream on the top. But the ability to offer stimulating sports performance while sipping away on just 6.1 litres of diesel for every 100km travelled, that’s what makes the 535d the most progressive model in BMW’s 5-Series range. Car and SUV has been a fan of BMW’s diesel offerings since driving the impressive 335d and was interested to see how the same powerhouse motor worked in the larger 5-Series body.

Like its little brother, the 535d is built with some serious performance DNA. Under the long bonnet lays BMW’s latest 3.0-litre diesel engine, it’s an ultra-modern mill in a traditional in-line 6-cylinder configuration. While its power output of 220kW sounds only mildly exciting it’s the all alloy engine’s 600Nm torque figure that tells the true tale of the tape. Acceleration is effortless and with maximum torque available from 1750rpm, instant and absolute grunt is always waiting beneath the driver’s right foot. Continue reading “BMW 535d M-Sport 2011 Review” »

Peugeot pulls covers on SXC crossover concept

April 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot is out to send a message at next week’s Shanghai Auto Show with its new SXC concept car. That message will be that the French carmaker is committed to developing vehicles for the Chinese market.

The proof is in the pudding with the SCX concept designed right there in Shanghai by Peugeot’s Style Studios of China Tech Centre. The name SXC actually stands for “Shanghai Cross Concept”, with Peugeot making it clear that the crossover study was build to suit the tastes of Chinese buyers.

At 4,870mm long and 1,610mm tall the SCX is a largish, sleek crossover using similar styling to Peugeot’s other concept offerings like the SR1, HR1 and the EX1. The French firm states that the study combines elements from both SUVs and sedan models. In profile the SCX has coupe-like lines, there’s concept car staple suicide doors and a thin glasshouse, while creative tailgate styling dominates the rear.

The concept’s drivetrain comes from Peugeot’s HYbrid4 technology, combining a conventional combustion engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor at the back for an all-wheel-drive set up. The 1.6-litre turbo petrol motor produces 162kW of power while the electric motor adds a further 70kW into the mix. Fuel consumption is suitably impressive with a quoted figure of 5.8 litres per 100km while C02 emissions are 143g/km. There is a fully electric mode available on the SCX but only at low speeds and a range hasn’t been quoted. Continue reading “Peugeot pulls covers on SXC crossover concept” »

Renault stages bold comeback into NZ market

April 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years” is how the famous LL Cool J rap lyrics roll and today they ring true for car brand Renault who has unveiled a bold strategy for increasing sales in the NZ market.

After minimal sales in New Zealand last year, Renault is punching off the ropes and expanding its model range with vehicles positioned in very different core market segments. Renault’s offerings will include the new Fluence sedan, Megane Hatch, Megane Coupe-Cabriolet and the Koleos SUV. The new-to-NZ models were unveiled as part of a press event held in Auckland yesterday.

The models have just gone on sale as Renault adopts “Drive the Change” as its brand positioning statement, a phrase to reflect its new direction into the NZ mainstream motoring environment.

“Drive the Change” expresses the fundamental values of the Renault business culture – enthusiastic, innovative and human,” says Renault Cars General Manager, Stephen Kenchington. “Renault is investing proactively for growth with the all-new European styled and engineered Renault Mégane Hatch, the segment-reshaping Fluence Sedan, and stylish and chic glass-roofed Mégane Coupé-Cabriolet and Koleos SUV.”

“For the ultimate in European enthusiast sports machines, Kiwi drivers will be offered the visually exciting, muscled and toned new Mégane RS 250 Cup or Cup Trophée models. These will re-set the benchmark in terms of performance, equipment, attainability, as well as head-turning good looks that really stand out.” Continue reading “Renault stages bold comeback into NZ market” »

Ford Focus RS Black Racing Edition unleashed on Europe

April 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Ford Focus RS is a brutally uncompromising hot hatch that has unfortunately proved rare and illusive here in NZ. Sure there have been a few private imports but with Ford NZ’s decision not to sell the RS into our market we’ve missed out on another fast Ford.

That’s not the case over in Europe where the RS, now in its twilight years in current form, has proved popular for fans and tuners alike.

Horsepower merchants Anderson Germany is the latest tuner to go to work on the Focus RS and has built a machine to tempt those waiting anxiously for the next-generation Focus RS to be released. This reworked model is called the Ford Focus RS Black Racing Edition.

The Düsseldorf-based tuner takes a standard unit from the current generation Focus RS series and makes it look sinister and sexy. It comes in a matte black exterior finish with contrasting red highlights.

Modifications aren’t limited to the cosmetic and Anderson offers performance tuning on the RS, taking output up to a sketchy 309 kW, far higher than the standard 224 kW output on the turbocharged 2.5 liter 5-cylinder unit. That’s a fair whack of power going exclusively to the front treads. Continue reading “Ford Focus RS Black Racing Edition unleashed on Europe” »

2011 Ford Territory Review

April 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford Australia and NZ has just launched its 2011 Territory at a press event held in Canberra. The 2011 Territory is a result of a $230 million AUS investment by Ford that saw 800,000 kms of testing to extensively update its popular mid-size SUV. Car and SUV was there to experience the mechanical, design and equipment upgrades that feature in the reworked Territory.

At first glance the 2011 Territory may look like little more than a facelift of its long-serving predecessor but under the surface major changes have made the Falcon-based SUV a much more tempting prospect. The big news is the inclusion of a diesel engine for the first time in the Territory range. For use in both all-wheel and rear-wheel-drive variants is Ford’s 2.7-litre Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel motor. It’s a competent unit that produces 140kW of power and 440Nm of peak torque from 1900rpm. It’s also quite smooth and fairly quiet being helped by extensive sound-deadening as part of the upgrades. Fuel economy isn’t bad either with the diesel mill achieving 8.2l/100km combined in rear-wheel drive form and 8.8l/100km in all-wheel drive guise. That figure drops to around 6.5l/100km while motorway cruising and with a 75-litre tank it will be a long time between filling up. Towing capacity for the diesel Territory is 2700kg braked for the all-wheel drive model and 2300kg for the rear driver.

While Car and SUV would certainly prefer the diesel option, some people still love their petrol powered SUVs, for them there is an inline six-cylinder engine shared with the current FG Falcon. This unit pumps out 195kW of power and 391Nm of torque. While it doesn’t feel as well suited to the Territory as the diesel mill it’s a strong free-revving motor and is offered as the standard powertrain. Fuel economy figures for the petrol Territory are 10.6l/100km combined. The petrol model is available in rear-wheel-drive only and has a towing capacity of 2300kg. Continue reading “2011 Ford Territory Review” »

BMW officially reveals production ready 2012 M5 concept

April 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following a series of leaked photos from a press event in Germany, BMW has officially released details of its much anticipated M5 sports sedan. Due for its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2011 in China later this month, official images and details have just become known.

Apparently, the Concept M5 is around 99 percent production ready, so the production model should look almost identical to the vehicle in the official images.

In terms of power the fifth generation of the M5 has a new twin-turbocharged V8 engine waiting under the bonnet. BMW has confirmed that the engine is a development of its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 which outputs 414kW and 680Nm of peak torque, but in M5 guide it will be tweaked to deliver more power. For now, the German company is staying tight-lipped on exact performance numbers.

What BMW has said is that compared to the fourth generation of the M5’s  V10 power unit, the freshly developed V8 turbo has a significantly increased output level. The upcoming M-car also has greater fuel economy and lower emissions than its predecessor. Continue reading “BMW officially reveals production ready 2012 M5 concept” »