Mazda MX-5 2012 Review

December 17th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Sometimes you have to look for a picture that perfectly describes a car, and in this case, the MX-5 does handle like it’s on rails.

The world’s best selling sports car has returned in slightly more muscular clothing to give you back road thrills on a budget. If the Lotus Elise is a featherweight and the Dodge Viper is a heavyweight, Mazda punches in the lightweight class. Mazda has kept the same formula: keep it light, keep it rear wheel drive and make the handling like it’s your own hands pummeling the tarmac.

So, to that extent, nothing was broken, but there’s only so long you can hold out before Continue reading “Mazda MX-5 2012 Review” »

BRZ – Going, Going, Almost Gone

April 19th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Subaru’s all new BRZ sports car is selling out fast. The first shipment of the much anticipated BRZ two door coupe which is due to arrive here in December is rapidly being snapped up by buyers.

Before going public, Subaru of New Zealand offered these cars to Subaru customers via the internet. Subaru customers had the chance to secure one of the 12 cars prior to public release. Wallis Dumper, Managing Director of Subaru of New Zealand said “The response took us by surprise as 8 units were snapped up within 6 hours”

Those outside Subaru’s customer base will have to move quickly to secure the final 4.

To secure a BRZ customers simply visit www.brz.co.nz where they can choose their colour and personalised euro plate preference, and pay a $1200 deposit to secure one of the twelve units due in December.

The final price has not been established between Subaru of New Zealand and Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) the maker of Subaru vehicles, but Subaru of New Zealand has indicated that it would be below $60,000.

The first twelve BRZ’s also come with a bonus three year service plan, personalised Euro style number plate and an exclusive track day experience.

Features include 17 inch alloy wheels, limited slip differential, dusk sensing Xenon headlights, an engine immobilizer, ventilated disc brakes on all wheels, Vehicle Dynamics Control, cruise control and dual zone climate air conditioning.

The front midships mounted Boxer engine develops 147 kWs and the car has been a sellout success in Japan. International motoring magazines have described the BRZ as the best Japanese sports car since the NSX.

Further shipments of the BRZ will be available in 2013.

Porsche Cayenne GTS 2012 revealed in Beijing

April 11th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The SUV with the driving fun of a sports car is entering its second generation. In Beijing, at the Auto China 2012, Porsche will reveal the new Cayenne GTS. Its notion: a concentration of sporty performance. Its recipe: a more powerful engine with more dynamic response, a tauter chassis with lower ride height and more sporty features.

The new Cayenne GTS doesn’t just fill the gap between the Cayenne S and the Cayenne Turbo but also differentiates itself clearly from the other models with its own unique character.

The Cayenne GTS’s bonnet conceals a 309 kW (420 hp) upgraded V8 engine, based on the 4.8-litre Cayenne S power unit. Power is transferred via an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission with integrated auto start/stop function. The engine and transmission have been specially calibrated to provide instant bursts of speed.

The Cayenne GTS sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, reaching 160 km/h in 13.3 seconds. Top speed is 261 km/h and the NEDC fuel consumption is 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

The specially tuned chassis ensures thrilling driving dynamics. It is more tautly tuned, equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and lowers the body by 24 mm relative to the Cayenne S. As a result, the new Cayenne GTS is even closer to the road and moves with extra composure and agility.

The Cayenne GTS’s bold external design declares its sportier intensions with eye-catching features such as the powerful front styling of the Cayenne Turbo, door frames and trims in high-gloss black, prominent side skirts and wider wheel arches, as well as a distinctive twin deck roof spoiler. The sporting theme carries through to the GTS’s interior with extensive use of leather and Alcantara. Front sports seats with eight-way adjustment are also standard.

Customer deliveries of the Cayenne GTS in New Zealand will commence during August / September with local pricing and specification to be announced shortly.

F-TYPE Sports Car Due Next Year

April 9th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Jaguar’s all new sportscar – the F-TYPE – based on the C-X16 concept, will go into production and be on sale in the northern hemisphere summer of 2013.

“We showed the C-X16 concept in September last year,” said Adrian Hallmark, the Global Brand Director for Jaguar Cars. “The reaction to it has been so positive that we’ve accelerated our development of an all-new Jaguar sports car.

“That car will be called the F-TYPE, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year. The core appeal of Jaguar’s cars is their sporting heart, and that heart will beat stronger than ever before in the F-TYPE. Its development is a vivid representation of the confidence and ambition of the Jaguar brand, and the desire amongst our engineers and design team to produce a world-leader in a market segment that we have been absent from for too long. But no longer – the F-TYPE is coming.”

Utilising Jaguar’s industry-leading knowledge of all-aluminium construction, the F-TYPE will launch as a convertible, and a strict two-seater with the focus uncompromisingly on delivering driver reward. A range of petrol engines will be available – including a new power plant family – and all will deliver stunning sports car performance.

Today also marks the point that the F-TYPE’s rigorous development schedule moves to final on-road testing, with engineering prototypes now leaving Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant – the same plant at which the production cars will be built.

Ian Hoban, Jaguar’s Vehicle Line Director said: “The engineering development of the F-TYPE has focused on delivering a heightened level of dynamic driving reward. We are excited about our progress to date and are looking forward to soon being able to demonstrate what we have achieved.”

Ian Callum, Director of Design, said: “A true sports car needs to be pure in both its purpose and its form; to have the opportunity to produce such a car for Jaguar has been a privilege both for me and for my team. The C-type, D-type and E-type Jaguars were all sports cars that held true to this principle in their era, and the F-TYPE will hold true to that same principle in its time, a time that is soon to arrive.”

The F-TYPE will join Jaguar’s existing range of cars – the XF saloon and Sportbrake, XJ saloon and XK coupe/convertible. Full F-TYPE technical and range details will be announced later in 2012. It will go on sale in mid 2013.

Iconic RX-8 Limited Edition SPIRIT R in NZ

February 28th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Mazda has announced that the RX-8 ‘SPIRIT R’ Special Edition is now available in New Zealand.

In advance of Mazda RX-8 production ending in June 2012, SPIRIT R will be the final special edition model, offering a striking commemoration for Mazda’s iconic four door, four seater rotary engine sports car.

SPIRIT R is named after the final limited edition Mazda RX-7 and this pedigree is reflected in stylish features that include an exclusive Recaro seat design and custom 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Mazda RX-8 SPIRIT R has a 6-speed manual transmission with exclusive features such as Bilstein sports suspension, distinctive red front and rear brake callipers.

Exterior features include 225/40 R19 89W tyres and 19-inch alloy wheels finished in stunning bronze with black centre cap. Front, side and rear spoilers improve aerodynamics and add street appeal. Black bezels within front and rear combination lamps and front fog lamps bring the race car to the fore and a SPIRIT R badge on C-pillar seals it in the Mazda history books.

The SPIRIT R is a sports car that means business with custom designed interior fittings. Distinctive SPIRIT R Recaro bucket seats are trimmed with black and red leather for effect. In addition, contrast red stitching on the steering wheel, gear shift, parking brake and door trim, set this RX-8 apart from the rest.

The limited edition RX-8 is available in three exterior colour options, Aluminium Metallic, Sparkling Black Mica and Crystal White Pearl Mica.

This vehicle is available in very limited numbers and for the same price as the standard model at $56,695 plus on-road costs. Every new RX-8 Spirit R comes with mazdacare as standard, including 3-years/100,000km (whichever occurs first) Mazda Scheduled Servicing, 3-years unlimited kilometre Mazda Factory Warranty and Mazda On Call Roadside Assistance.

Jaguar unveils stunning C-X16 sports car concept (+video)

September 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar has revealed its latest concept car, the C-X16 before it makes an official debut at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept is already touted as being a likely future production model that will sit below the XK in Jaguar’s current line up. The concept may eventually spawn Jag’s affordable two-seater sports car that will fight Porsche’s Cayman and 911.

Built to be a true driver’s sports car, the C-X16 is the smallest Jaguar in terms of length since the 1954 XK120. The concept rolls on a shortened platform of the next generation XK’s aluminium chassis structure and has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution between its axles.

Under its traditionally long bonnet the C-X16 packs a hybrid powertrain that includes a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with 280kW of power and 450 Nm of torque. The conventional engine works in with an electric motor generator integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox that transfers power to the rear wheels. Continue reading “Jaguar unveils stunning C-X16 sports car concept (+video)” »

Nissan developing all-new sports car to challenge MX-5

August 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to recent reports coming out of Europe, Nissan has entered into full development of a new budget sports car that will challenge the Mazda MX-5’s dominance in this market.

Apparently the sporting model will use a completely new platform that may be sourced from Daimler. This is the same platform pegged for the next-gen Nissan 370Z. Nissan is also in discussions with Lotus to collaborate on the car’s handling.

Engine options and power outputs remain a mystery for now but there are rumours Nissan may use either hybrid power or a fully electric system for this new machine. Continue reading “Nissan developing all-new sports car to challenge MX-5” »

Subaru displays RWD sports car skeleton at Geneva show

March 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Geneva Motor Show has kicked into gear and among the futuristic concept cars and green technology is a little something for sports car fans.

Toyota and Subaru have been working together on a new rear-driving sports car for a couple of years now, and it is nearing production. While Toyota was soaking up the limelight with its pre-production FT-86 II version of the car, Subaru was all about showing how it’s going to look under the sheet metal. Subaru’s take on the rear-drive, front-engined platform looks very promising indeed.

Subaru’s concept car is non-turbocharged but comes sporting a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine and rear-drive system without Subaru’s trademark AWD. The model is scheduled for production next year and as we already know from its performance models, Subaru can tune a chassis, and with this new car purpose-built for fun, rather than family duties it’s coming with big expectations.

So what makes it any good? Well, the engine is located lower and further back in the engine bay than in Subaru’s all-wheel-drive cars, because it doesn’t need a transfer case for the front wheels. There is also very short front and rear overhangs and the more central engine location means it will change direction swiftly. It does uses MacPherson strut suspension, however, so it may be limited in some respects for those seeking lower ride heights.

This Geneva unveiling is of a skeletal RWD Sports Car which looks cool but gives little away in terms of exterior styling. Performance figures haven’t been released yet, but expect that 2.0-litre boxer engine to be one peaky unit. Continue reading “Subaru displays RWD sports car skeleton at Geneva show” »

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