Volkswagen Race Touareg takes shape for 2009 Dakar Rally

October 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

VW Touareg Race fq

The ‘Dakar’ Rally 2009 promises to be the most demanding test yet for the Volkswagen Motorsport team, as it prepares to take on some of the harshest and most challenging terrain on the planet with four examples of the Race Touareg 2.

The four factory-fielded Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 models will be piloted by Spaniard Carlos Sainz and his French navigator Michel Perlin; Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Dirk von Zitzewith (Germany); Mark Miller (USA) and Ralph Pitchford (South Africa) and Dieter Depping partnered with fellow German Timo Gottschalk. The racers, powered by a 2.5-litre TDI diesel engine producing 280 PS, are currently under construction at Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover, Germany. From there, working to a tight deadline of November 15, the support and service trucks plus parts and equipment needed to compete in the world’s toughest motorsport event will be transported to Le Havre, France, for scrutineering which takes place on November 26, before being shipped out to South America.

For the first time in the event’s history, the 2009 race takes place across the South American continent. Starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 3 January 2009 and covering more than 9,000 gruelling kilometres (5,625 miles) over 15 stages, the teams will travel through Argentina and Chile from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and back again.

The stages include passage through the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world with the highest dune fields, along with two crossings of the Andes encountering altitudes of up to 4,600 metres. In preparation for these extreme conditions, both man and machine have been specially prepared. The drivers have completed altitude training in the Alps, while the 2.5-litre TDI engines have been subjected to thousands of kilometres of extensive durability testing in an environment chamber, designed to simulate extreme altitudes.

The constantly changing landscapes and varying terrain along the route are not only an extremely demanding test for the vehicles, drivers and co-drivers, but they also provide a new set of challenges for the technicians and engineers in terms of vehicle set-up and maintenance.

New engine size for Volkswagen Scirocco

October 9th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

VW Scirocco fq

Volkswagen has announced a new entry-level specification and two additional engines for the Scirocco coupe. This will open the possibility of Scirocco ownership to a wider audience, and the new base model should become available to us here in NZ.

At launch in September, the Scirocco was only available in range-topping GT trim. The new engines are now available in base trim which still benefits from a good list of standard equipment including a six-CD autochanger, rain and dusk sensor, multifunction computer, air conditioning and 17-inch ‘Donington’ alloy wheels. Safety features also, remain a priority, with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and six airbags as standard.

The 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS engine accelerates the Scirocco from 0 to 62 mph in just 8.0 seconds while returning 42.8 mpg (combined) and emitting 154 g/km of CO2. In addition, the new entry-level and GT models are now available with Volkswagen’s popular 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS common rail diesel engine linked to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic DSG gearbox. Both manual and DSG versions reach 62 mph in 9.3 seconds while achieving a combined figure of 55.4 mpg (51.4 for DSG) and 134 g/km of CO2 (145 for DSG).

The Scirocco is the most advanced production coupe that Volkswagen has produced and all models also benefit from Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) which operates via a set of four electrically adjustable dampers to alter the car’s suspension, steering and throttle response set-up, and allows the driver to choose the most appropriate setting for the journey.

The new Mk VI Golf – best of all time?

September 24th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen MkVI fq

Volkswagen is sending a new Golf out into the world and it is touting it as the ‘best of all time’. Bigger than its predecessors the new Golf will take subtle styling cues from the Scirocco and Touareg, and offer new technologies within its class.

Economy is a strong feature with an average fuel consumption of 4.5 litres per 100 kilometers for a 110 PS TDI. Upon request, the Golf can park itself nearly automatically in the city thanks to “Park Assist”, it can maintain an ideal gap on the freeway by distance control (ACC), and at the push of a button it can transform itself from a cruiser to a sports car when the new “DCC Adaptive Chassis Control” system is on board. A new ESP system, with finer response over its control range, further optimized crash properties, seven airbags including knee airbag, the special head restraints (WOKS) that work to counteract whiplash trauma, a “seatbelt detection” feature debuting on the Golf in the rear seating area and daytime running lights — also standard equipment — provide for a maximum level of safety.

The roof section now rests — similar to the new Scirocco — on a prominently contoured shoulder section. The rear too is characterised by a predominance of horizontal lines. The taillights — now very wide — are marked among other things by an unmistakably unique night design. Overall, the new Golf — in the interplay of all of its design characteristics — gives the appearance of a significantly wider, flatter and higher end car. The car’s high value also applies to the newly designed interior. The appearance and layout of materials — as well as details such as brushed chrome accents and round in­struments and steering wheels derived directly from those of the Passat CC.

Making a significant contribution to the pioneering acoustic properties of the Golf are the exceptionally quiet common rail TDI engines being implemented on the Golf for the first time. Two balancer shafts (from 103 kW / 140 PS) also eliminate undesirable vibrations. Plans call for a TDI power range from 66 kW / 90 PS to 125 kW / 170 PS. Right at its market launch Volkswagen will be offering two 2.0 litre TDI engines on the Golf; they deliver 81 kW / 110 PS and 103 kW / 140 PS. Always there: a diesel particulate filter (DPF).
The new TDIs are exceptionally fuel efficient. The 110 PS strong diesel is satisfied with just 4.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometers (119 g/km CO2). Even the 140-PS version only requires 4.9 litres of diesel (129 g/km CO2). In the launch phase, four variants will define the range of gasoline engines with 59 kW / 80 PS, 75 kW / 102 PS, 90 kW / 122 PS and 118 kW / 160 PS. Starting at 90 kW / 122 PS, TSI engines with supercharging and/or turbocharging are used.

With the exception of the entry-level versions, all gasoline and diesel engines may be paired with Volkswagen’s dual clutch transmission (DSG). Either a 6-speed or 7-speed DSG is used, depending on engine torque. This means that on the Golf the extremely efficient and agile DSG has replaced the classic torque converter automatic.

A New Zealand release date hasn’t been confirmed for the Golf yet, but we’ll bring you news as soon as we know!

VW shows Golf BlueMotion concept

September 9th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion concept fq

Volkswagen has today unveiled the remarkable Golf BlueMotion concept vehicle, a car capable of achieving a combined 3.17l/100km while emitting just 99 g/km of CO2.  This matches the economy of the Polo BlueMotion, itself among the most efficient vehicles currently on sale.

The BlueMotion label was first attributed to the Polo in 2006 (read a road test of the Polo BlueMotion by clicking here) and represents the most efficient model in each of Volkswagen’s passenger car ranges.  Since the Polo made its debut, BlueMotion versions of the Golf Mk V, Golf Estate, Golf Plus, Jetta, Touran, Passat, Passat Estate and Sharan have been launched in various markets worldwide.

The new Golf BlueMotion concept is powered by a highly-efficient and refined 1.6-litre TDI common rail diesel engine developing 105 PS and 249Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.  Despite the focus on economy the Golf BlueMotion concept can reach 100kph from rest in a respectable 11.3 seconds.

As with all BlueMotion models the Golf BlueMotion adopts a series of changes to drivetrain and aerodynamics in order to maximise the vehicle’s efficiency.  A set of low rolling resistance tyres are joined by optimised aerodynamics and revised ratios in the five speed gearbox.  The resulting combination of changes works to reduce loading on the engine to drive up economy and reduce emissions.

In common with every diesel model in the forthcoming new Golf range the BlueMotion concept is fitted with a diesel particulate filter.

The UK gets the new BlueMotion Golf in mid-2009; New Zealand and Australian dates have not been announced yet.

Will VW resurrect the Microbus concept?

September 8th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

VW Microbus concept fq

Back in 2001 VW showed a Microbus concept. People liked it, and it was rumoured to be going into production in 2005, but that didn’t happen. The project got expensive, the US dollar wasn’t doing well, and then-boss Bernd Pischesrieder killed it off.

But aging hippies everywhere have danced around campfires, played djembes and offered gifts of lentils and mung beans to the tree fairies in the hope that VW would bring back their favourite form of transport: the Kombi. Now, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that VW may produce a Microbus at the Chattanooga, Tennessee facility. An unnamed Volkswagen suit told the SMH that the Microbus won’t make it to Europe; another spokesperson hinted that the vehicle may be able to be produced.

What does that mean for NZ? Well, should it be produced and gain enough traction over in the US, right-hand drive markets are sure to want a piece of it. So, within the next 3-4 years we could see the new Microbus touring around our fair country with a new generation of hippies.

Volkswagen takes 3rd place from Ford in world rankings

August 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

The Volkswagen Group has taken its place among the world’s top three automakers thanks to the Wolfsburg-based company’s outstanding delivery figures in the first half of 2008. Rival Ford has to settle for fourth position.

“We are delighted that the Volkswagen Group has made it to the global automobile industry’s top three for the first time. This shows that we are on the right track with our ever-stronger international presence and, above all, our product program. We will systematically push ahead with our growth course even in the present difficult market environment,” Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, commented.

With 3.31 million vehicles delivered in the first half of 2008, the Volkswagen Group increased deliveries in the first six months of this year by 7.2 percent, moving up to third place in the global vehicle sales ranking and overtaking its rival Ford, which announced vehicle sales of 3.22 million for this period.

Volkswagen Passat CC on sale in New Zealand now

August 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

volkswagen-cc-passat-fq2

Volkswagen is extending the model range of the Passat car line by adding a third variation the Passat CC, which is on sale in New Zealand now with deliveries expected to start in October.

Its fully independent body design, an interior that has sporty individual bucket seats in the rear too, an impressive powertrain and technological highlights worthy of the luxury class, meld together to create a unique vehicle in the Passat’s market segment. The Passat CC (Comfort Coupe) is an elegant sedan and a dynamic coupe simultaneously. The concept and design of this Volkswagen are defining fresh, new directions beyond the mainstream.

The coupe philosophy is reflected in the interior with its four seat layout. In both the front and rear, ergonomically designed sport seats of the highest calibre are used. Overall, it can be said that Volkswagen has succeeded in further refining seating comfort and controls on this four-door coupe.

The engine in the Passat CC is a 3.6 litre six cylinder delivering 220 kW at 6,600 rpm.

It develops maximum torque of 350Nm from 2,400 rpm and accelerates the four-door coupe to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds. The Passat CC V6 is offered with the latest generation of 4Motion full-time all wheel drive and is shifted via the automated DSG dual clutch transmission.

The Passat CC has a RRP of $88,990.

Volkswagen Caddy adds interesting roof feature

August 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

volkswagen-caddy-topdeck

Among the display of leisure vehicles and campers on the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stand at Europe’s largest recreational vehicle show that starts in Düsseldorf, Germany this weekend will be an interesting Caddy Topos Sail design concept which takes its nautical theme to the extreme of having a wooden boat deck on its roof.

The Caddy Topos Sail design concept, based on the smallest model in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle van range, uses design cues from classic yachts and has its multi-functional roof covered with wooden decking surrounded by aluminium roof rails.

The wooden sun deck on the roof is accessed via four matching wooden and aluminium steps in the Caddy’s tailgate, and to complete the design theme there are wooden inserts along the side of the vehicle and in the rear bumper.