Mercedes-Benz: 2014 S 500 sedan

October 13th, 2014 by Robert Barry

The luxury flagship of Mercedes-Benz has always introduced greater levels of comfort, safety and sophistication through each new generation, and the new S Class is no exception.

My first introduction to the S Class occurred when I was a spotty-faced teenager, my athletic coach Kevin Taylor owned a first-generation W116 series 280S sedan as his daily driver, and I was smitten by the build quality and design detail that this car offered.

Even though by todays standards it was relatively sparsely equipped, central locking, a factory stereo, electric steel sliding sunroof and power steering were about the few luxury items. It certainly didn’t have air conditioning or electric windows. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 S 500 sedan” »

Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS V Redline review

May 29th, 2014 by Robert Barry

IMG_0495 It was almost ironic that the day I was due to return the SS V Redline back to the dealership, a recall for a potential seat belt fault was issued by Holden. It didn’t for a moment phase me or take the shine off what is a very competent and capable car. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS V Redline review” »

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 C 63 AMG Edition 507 review

May 22nd, 2014 by Robert Barry

IMG_0439When swapping over from the CLA 45 AMG reviewed on Car and SUV last week, to the new C 63 AMG Edition 507 pictured here, I posted a picture of the two cars side by side on my personal Facebook page, and the caption read, “from the sublime to the ridiculous”.

The reality is, I was wrong, it was actually the other way around. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 C 63 AMG Edition 507 review” »

Holden Commodore SS 2013 Review

November 6th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Three friends and I headed to Hamilton and one of our road trip topics was riddles. You can cover some distance figuring out some serious conundrums and it’s better than playing I spy.

holden-commodore-ss-2013-rear-quarterThe situation the Commodore SS finds itself in is a conundrum, too. To all intents and purposes it’s a dinosaur; a heavy, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive V8 that doesn’t pretend that it will go off-road.

holden-commodore-ss-2013-bootTaking a look at the supposedly more highly evolved competition you see entire genera of vehicles like compact SUVs and crossovers – they’re new and trendy. They’re ‘evolved’. We appear to have moved on from the 1980s and people don’t want big four-door sedans.

People are wrong. The Commodore is every bit as safe as an SUV with its 5-star ANCAP crash rating, it handles better due to its lower centre of gravity, for the performance it has comparable fuel economy with SUVs of similar acceleration, and at $61,490 you can’t get a ‘performance’ SUV. It’s not going to fit as much luggage, but it does come with a large boot that’s enough for four people’s gear (495 litres).

holden-commodore-ss-2013-reversing-cameraThe Holden will park itself in parallel or right angle parks using Automatic Park Assist. You just need to control the throttle, brake and transmission. If you’re reversing out of a right angle park, the Reverse Traffic Alert warns you if a vehicle is approaching in your blind spots. And speaking of blind spots, when you are driving along, the Commodore constantly scans them and warns you using an orange light in each wing mirror if another vehicle might be in a place where you can’t easily see it. Continue reading “Holden Commodore SS 2013 Review” »

BMW 650i 2011 Review

February 14th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The halo coupe in BMW’s range has been reworked. The controversial looks of the 6 Series that was reborn in the mid-2000s have thankfully gone, and have been replaced by a car whose design is beautiful and sleek, finally matching its contemporaries.

If you are flush enough to be in the market for a car that starts at $236,000, there’s not that much choice – only Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati and Mercedes make serious contenders at this price – and you can’t really go wrong anyway. Your purchase is not a practical one. If it was, you wouldn’t buy the BMW 650i, because the boot size is average, the two back seats have no legroom, and you will spend more money at the petrol station than if you buy the almost as sleek diesel Audi A5 for half the price.

But you have elevated yourself above practicality. The aforementioned foibles are irrelevant as this is a sports tourer, and it’s also unlikely to be your only car. You don’t need function, you need aura combined with power and comfort. The BMW emanates that profusely. With the M design pack (20 inch alloys, M leather steering wheel, M aerodynamics package, etc) this car is a stunner. It’s longer than you expect, and that just adds to its presence, making it look lower and more muscular. In fact, the photos don’t do it justice. I found myself more often than not glancing back at the BMW, admiring it when walking away from it. Continue reading “BMW 650i 2011 Review” »

BMW unleashes 6-Series Coupe into NZ market

October 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has released its new 6 Series Coupe in the NZ market with the sports-focused GT car slotting into the German car maker’s expanding model range.

Powering the BMW 650i is a 4.4-litre eight-cylinder engine which develops a maximum 300 kW and peak torque of 600 Nm.  It is partnered with an eight-speed Sports automatic gearbox as standard. Steering wheel paddles are included and M gearshift logic.

“The all-new BMW 6 Series Coupe is the perfect mix of performance and pleasure and over-delivers on all expectations,” said the Managing Director of BMW New Zealand, Mark Gilbert. The design of the Coupe epitomises BMW dynamism, as one only has to note the stance of the new model to understand its potential.  As anticipated, its all-round performance is exhilarating and the aural experience created by the optional M-Sport package featuring unique exhaust tuning has to be heard to be appreciated.

The new 6-Series has extra length and width over its predecessor and a 5-millimetre lower height to produce a low-slung and athletic design. Continue reading “BMW unleashes 6-Series Coupe into NZ market” »

FPV GT Black Limited Edition – 8 units heading to NZ

August 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

FPV’s  black-on-black GT Concept proved a hit at the recent Australian International Motor Show, and FPV has just announced that it will send the model into production. The car will launch as FPV’s most limited edition vehicle to date and be named the 2011 GT Black.

Based on the black-on-black FPV GT Concept this special Falcon will be put into limited production of just 125 units with just 8 coming over the ditch to New Zealand.

The GT Black will make use of the standard supercharged Boss 335kW GT engine, but receives a number of styling tweaks.

“We were totally blown away by the positive feedback received from fans and show-goers on our Concept,” FPV General Manager Rod Barrett said. “We knew we had a winner with the black paintwork and we wanted to action something immediately. The GT Black is the beginning of some exciting times ahead as we continue to work on new product and design enhancements to reflect the needs and wants of the market.”

With all black finished styling, black alloy wheels, black tail pipes and all-new matt black striping decals the GT Black sticks to its theme and creates a menacing figure. It will only be available in one colour – black. Continue reading “FPV GT Black Limited Edition – 8 units heading to NZ” »

Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With many auto makers dropping cylinders off their larger engines Mercedes-Benz was rumoured to be developing a hardcore turbocharged V6. But those rumours have now proved false with news that Mercedes is set to continue with a naturally aspirated V8 engine in the next generation of the SLK AMG.

Details have been released before the new sportscar debuts at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The latest AMG powerplant, labeled M152, is based closely on the M157 engine that already sees use in the new CL63 AMG and its four-door brother – the S63 AMG. But the M152 is different in a few key areas, first of all, is the removal of the twin turbochargers. It also uses a new air intake, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil system, crankcase and, most importantly, a Formula One-derived cylinder deactivation system. This new system allows it to cut back to just four cylinders when required and with only four pistons firing, fuel economy is markedly improved. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine” »

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