Quick Drive: Mercedes-AMG C63 S ‘Edition1’

October 13th, 2015 by Robert Barry

It was almost an irony that the weekend of the Bathurst 1000 coincided with our review of the latest V8 Supercar from Mercedes-AMG, the C63 S ‘Edition 1’.

Thankfully AMG has moved away from the over the top body kits of the 1980s and 1990s, the new cars are much more discreetly packaged, yet the aero modifications remain purposeful. Continue reading “Quick Drive: Mercedes-AMG C63 S ‘Edition1’” »

Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT review

April 27th, 2015 by Robert Barry

There’s a delicious irony about piloting a high-performance V8-powered Jeep SUV which most self respecting people will never take off road.

The 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT is a long distance cruiser rather than a bush bashing bruiser as witnessed by the availability of a sport and track mode setting on the adaptive damping system. Continue reading “Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT review” »

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” »

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