2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible unveiled with 432 kW engine

October 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With its all-new 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible, General Motors has just announced that it has built the world’s most powerful roofless production model ever. The new high-power drop-top will be officially revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

The convertible Camaro shares its underpinnings with the upcoming Camaro ZL1 Coupe and is scheduled to reach showrooms from late 2012. Powering the convertible is GM’s 6.2-litre supercharged LSA V8 engine producing 432 kW and 754 Nm of torque.

General Motors was quick to point out that its drop top Camaro ZL1 has more power output than Euro performance models like the Aston Martin DB9 with 350kW and the Porsche 911 Turbo with 395kW. However models like the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport were conveniently forgotten about.

“The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas.” Continue reading “2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible unveiled with 432 kW engine” »

FPV reveals menacing GT Concept at Melbourne show

July 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

FPV has just revealed its first-ever ‘concept car’ at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne. Named the GT concept this Falcon-based, darkened machine features a number of unique features and design treatments not used by the performance brand previously. The one-off vehicle debuts just in time to combat HSV that used the show to unveil its new SV Black Edition models (read news).

FPV’s GT Concept is given a tough, Mad Max look by a Silhouette Black paint job with a unique matt finish stripe package on the bonnet, rear wing and bodysides. The same paint treatment is also repeated on the rear diffuser.

At the front large brake inlets are cut into a modified front fascia, black framing has been used to enhance the rear light graphics treatment, and the vehicle carries unique GT badging. Packing out the guards are 19-inch lightweight one-piece forged alloy rims, finished in black, and measure 8.0 inches wide at the front and 9.5 inches wide at the rear, and are wrapped in special Dunlop SP Sportmaxx GT tyres. Under the fancy bodywork there’s a track-tuned suspension specification and a full stainless steel high-flow twin exhaust system exhaust finished with quad black exhaust tips. Putting on the skids is a performance braking package consisting of larger six-piston brake calipers up front and four-piston brake calipers at the rear. Continue reading “FPV reveals menacing GT Concept at Melbourne show” »

Mazda’s next-gen SKY rotary heads into development

September 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The rotary engine can, at times, divide car enthusiasts, it has its serious fans who wouldn’t drive anything else but it also has its doubters. But however you look at it, Mazda’s rotary unit is a fascinating piece of engineering, brilliantly simple and compact but very inefficient and currently struggling to keep up with modern piston power.

Mazda knows if its next rotary engine is to have any chance of survival a radical redesign is required for it to achieve better fuel economy and less emissions while still offering what rotary fans really want – performance.

Mazda’s director of R&D, Seita Kanai, held a press conference in Germany this week, and announced that a new rotary engine is being designed or rather redesigned. Kanai said that the redesign was going as deep as the most fundamental elements of the rotary concept. He went on to say that the rotary remains important to Mazda as a point of uniqueness amongst the increasingly generic car market, but if it can’t meet current emissions targets and fuel economy regulations, it’ll have to be dropped.

While Kanai didn’t confirm any technical details, rumours about the new engine centre around a 1.6-liter displacement (up 0.3 liters from the current but soon-to-be-deceased RX-8′s rotary) and a power output of close to 300 horsepower (223kW). Some reports have suggested the boost in power and efficiency would come courtesy of forced induction, including using an electric supercharger.

Continue reading “Mazda’s next-gen SKY rotary heads into development” »

2011 Ford Falcon to receive supercharged 5.0-litre Coyote engine

August 20th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When American Ford announced it was developing a Mustang GT500, there was plenty of rumours about exactly what engine would power it. Many thought the new 5.0-litre Coyote engine would be used with a supercharger strapped on and horsepower suitably increased. Those rumours were squashed when Ford stated that a new aluminum block version of its supercharged 5.4-liter V8 would be used on the 2011 GT500. But speculation that Ford would still find an application for a forced induction Coyote engine remained.

It now seems that a supercharged 5.0-litre Ford engine will first appear in Aussie next year when it powers the new Falcon XR8 and some FPV vehicles.

The only reason given by American Ford for not fitting the recently revealed Mustang Boss 302 (read news) with a supercharger, which it says would have been the easiest way to obtain greater power from the standard 307kW Coyote V8, was because the original 1969 Mustang Boss 302 engine was not force-fed.

For now the American’s have missed out and the first all-supercharged V8 Ford line-up, could be unveiled at the Bathurst 1000 in October. The range is expected to include a 315kW/550Nm XR8 sedan and ute, FPV GT models powered by a 335kW/600Nm V8 and possibly a special edition model to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Allan Moffat winning Bathurst in a Falcon GTHO.

Following the Bathurst reveal, the Aussie-made force-fed 5.0-litre V8 will replace the current 5.4-litre V8 that powers the outgoing XR8 and FPV’s V8 models.

To read a Car and SUV review of the FPV GT-P (pictured) click here.

Jaguar XJ arrives in NZ – pricing announced

July 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar’s range topping sports sedan, the all new XJ, will arrive in New Zealand next month.

Building on the success of the exciting XK and XF models the introduction of the all-new XJ is a landmark for the revitalised Jaguar brand. Clearly positioned as the company’s four-door flagship, it will attempt to extend the appeal of the XJ to a new generation of customers.

“The new XJ is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the quintessential Jaguar. Its visual impact stems from the elongated teardrop shape of the car’s side windows, that powerful stance and its wide track. It is the most emphatic statement yet of Jaguar’s new design direction”, said Ian Callum, Design Director of Jaguar Cars.

Eight different models are available with short and long wheelbase chassis and a choice of a three litre diesel, five litre V8 and supercharged V8 engines.

Pricing begins at $174,990 for the XJ SWB 3.0 Diesel with the performance topping LWB 375 kW supercharged Supersport model at $324,990.

An innovative new panoramic glass roof is an integral part of the all-new XJ’s design concept, enabling the car to have a lower, more streamlined roofline, while increasing the feeling of light and space inside.

Standard and long-wheelbase models are available from launch in New Zealand. The long wheelbase offers an even more refined environment for rear-seat passengers with an additional 125mm of legroom. Whichever the wheelbase, the XJ’s 520-litre boot can swallow two large suitcases side-by-side.

In the all-new XJ’s cabin chrome and piano black detailing provide contrast to the leather and veneer surfaces.

Continue reading “Jaguar XJ arrives in NZ – pricing announced” »

Audi R8 Raptor tested

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
Supercharging could be a better option than purchasing the 5.2-litre V10 Audi R8. It’s certainly cheaper and 40hp more! Let’s see what it does around New Jersey Motorsports Park

Supercharging could be a better option than purchasing the 5.2-litre V10 Audi R8. It’s certainly cheaper and 40hp more! Let’s see what it does around New Jersey Motorsports Park

821rwhp Ford Falcon

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

BA XR8 6-litre Boss Falcon created by Mark Else from Mark’s Workshop. It puts 821 ponies to the floor.


Jaguar officially unveils the 2010 XJ Sedan

July 10th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar XJ sedan fq1

The current Jaguar XJ is around 7 years old which is a fairly typical vehicle lifespan but the body styling is the same basic shape that’s been around since the 1970s. This shouldn’t be an issue but it had caused many to think the car lacked technical sophistication despite its impressive spec sheet. Yesterday, Jaguar released official images and information for its all-new, redesigned 2010 Jaguar XJ.

Liberally taking styling cues from the new Jaguar XF sedan, the 2010 XJ is definitely not stuck in the past. Using long lines and a staunch profile the XJ is unique and handsome.

Using a low, sloping roofline to give the XJ a four-door coupe look, the black D-pillars create a ‘floating roof’ effect from the rear, and a panoramic glass sunroof lets abundant light into the cabin improving the sense of space. The rear is sure to polarise opinion with its vertical tail lights and tall deck.

Inside, their is a much more modern cockpit featuring a pop-up transmission control interface, laser-inlaid wood trim, a leather headliner and a new instrument panel that discards traditional dials in favor of a high-definition screen displaying driver information.

Under the bonnet, the new V8 found in the XF will provide motivation with the European market also getting a 3.0L V6 turbodiesel. The 5.0L V8 engine will be available in a naturally-aspirated base form rated at 385hp, while a supercharged variant will put out 470hp and an even higher-performance 510hp version for the Supersport edition will also be available.

Only one transmission is available at launch – a paddle-shifted six-speed auto this will take the standard XJ to 100kph in 5.4 seconds, and the Supersport version to 100kph in a brief 4.7 seconds. Suspension dynamics are controlled via air springs, with computer-controlled settings of Normal, Dynamic and Winter.

Like the outgoing model, the new XJ makes extensive use of aluminum, weighing in at a mere 1,723kg in its lightest trim. The combination of light weight and a powerful engine will make for a solid performer but also for potentailly very good fuel economy.

Global sales for the new XJ will begin in December for early 2010 delivery. American prices have been announced at $72,500 ($114,800 NZD) for the base 5.0L V8, $87,500 ($138,600) for the XJ Supercharged and from $112,000 ($177,300) for the XJ Supersport.

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