Volkswagen heats up Transporter van with Sportline special

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For one reason or another, New Zealand is a ute nation. We love our small trucks and what they can do onroad and off. But in the tarmac covered UK, utes aren’t as popular as full-size vans. So in the same way that we get all funny over a dressed up Toyota Hilux, the Brits are right into their sporty limited edition vans.

The Ford Transit Sportvan is the undisputed king of hot vans in Britain but now VW has thrown its hat into the ring with the new Transporter Sportline.

This special edition van comes packing a 135kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor, matched to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG box. Visual excitement is added by a revised front end with a gloss black and chrome grille. There’s also smoked headlights, recessed fog lamps, polished side step bars and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. No surprises at the rear where there’s a roof spoiler. Continue reading “Volkswagen heats up Transporter van with Sportline special” »

VW considering Polo R hot hatch based on WRC car

May 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Polo is seen by many to be the weaker and slightly more girly sibling for the Volkswagen Golf, but now with the smaller hatch’s entry in to the 2013 WRC that perception could change.

The high price of petrol and factors like the popularity of Gymkhana has changed the way the Ford Fiesta is viewed and the same could happen for VW’s Polo. This fact isn’t lost on the German carmaker and its getting busy scheming up a hot R version of the Polo that may be given the ability to embarrass more powerful machines. The Polo R WRC rally car (pictured), has plenty of branding for VW’s R division and some styling cues that could be toned down and included in a production hatchback. So it looks promising.

Ulrich Hackenberg, VW board member said in a recent interview that the WRC entry has made a Polo GTI-topping model “more likely”. “You can see how the World Rally Championship program would increase the probability of an R version of the base model,” said Hackenberg, who said that the launch of the Polo R would coincide with the start rally program in 2013.

If this micro menace does enter into production it will likely use a more powerful version of VW’s 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine currently seeing service in the Polo GTI. To be a true hot hatch the power figure will need to be over 150kW with the Polo GTI at 132kW. What isn’t known is if the Polo R will be offered with an all-wheel-drive system or, like the Scirocco R, be a front driver.

We’ll bring you more details on this Euro hot hatch as they come become available. Click here to read more and view a clip about the Polo R WRC car.

Volkswagen to enter top tier rallying with Polo R WRC (+video)

May 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following on from consistent rumours, VW has announced it’s throwing its hat into the WRC ring with an entry planned for the 2013 season. Volkswagen is pinning its hopes on a purpose built machine called the Polo R WRC based on its small hatch platform.

Extensive details and specs haven’t been disclosed yet but the Polo will be powered by a 1.6-litre TSI engine that develops around 221kW of power. The engine will be mated to a sequential transmission and VW has confirmed that it will use an all-wheel-drive system. The Polo R WRC will also be equipped with direct injection and turbocharging, as stipulated by FIA’s World Rally Championship regulations.

The Polo WRC rally car certainly looks the part with a full widebody aerodynamics package, a new bonnet a gigantic rear wing and a roof air scoop. VW also plans to build a street legal version of the Polo R with the production model uses a slightly less powerful version of the 1.6 TSI engine, and a 7-speed DSG gearbox putting power to the front wheels.

Check out a video showing the new Polo R WRC below. Continue reading “Volkswagen to enter top tier rallying with Polo R WRC (+video)” »

Volkswagen reveals its new-again 2012 Beetle

April 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The original VW Beetle was in production for decades and the new Beetle didn’t do too badly either with a production run of over 12 years. Now, the next-generation Beetle has been revealed in a set of images and promo videos before its official debut at the Auto Shanghai show later this week.

This next-generation 2012 VW Beetle, has now dropped the word ‘new’ from its name and comes out 73 years after the launch of the original Beetle in 1938.

The 2012 VW Beetle differs in styling from the previous generation with a lower-slung more unisex design with a flatter roof and more upright back end. The overall styling is less bulbous and sharper cut when compared to its predecessor. In terms of size th new Beetle is also wider than its predecessor by 8.4 cm and longer by 15.2 cm.

The interior has also been given a complete refit with many cute features like the dashboard vase dropped. There’s highlights like a flat-bottomed steering wheel, an extra top-hinged glovebox and optional navigation systems on a 6.5-inch screen. There’s also talk of a sunroof that has 80% larger glass than on the previous model. Cargo capacity in the hatch has also been increased to 310 litres. Continue reading “Volkswagen reveals its new-again 2012 Beetle” »

Volkswagen revives Kombi spirit with Bulli concept

March 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has just unveiled its latest retro concept the Bulli which represents a modern take on the iconic Kombi.

This isn’t the first time VW has tried to reinvent the Kombi, back in 2001 another retro-inspired concept looked promising but management changes at VW killed the concept before it could be seriously considered for production.

Now, a decade on, VW is positioned very strongly and is trying out the concept again at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. This time around it’s called the Volkswagen Bulli, and like its 2001 predecessor, is designed to look and function like the brand’s famous Kombi. This Geneva concept is powered by an 84kW electric motor drawing charge from a lithium-ion battery pack. When fully charged, the Bulli has a theoretical range of around 300km before needing recharging. When a top up is required, VW says the Bulli can be fully charged in less than an hour.

The Bulli’s metal keeps true to the original Kombi layout and shape, which means a flat load floor and clever use of interior space. There are some modern tricks inside too with VW incorporating an Apple iPad which controls the stereo, navigation, bluetooth and air conditioning from its port on the console. The iPad directly communicates with a Fender USA-designed stereo system, which should pump out some serious beats.

Volkswagen hasn’t released any details on when or if the Bulli will make it into production, but don’t expect anything before 2014 at the earliest. Continue reading “Volkswagen revives Kombi spirit with Bulli concept” »

VW drops covers and top off new Golf Cabriolet

February 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The upcoming 2011 Geneva Motor Show will mark the return of the drop-top Golf Cabriolet after a near decade-long absence.

The new 2012 Golf Cabriolet is based on the platform of the latest generation Golf hatchback and features a soft top with an electro-hydraulic drive that can be raised or lowered in just 9.5 seconds at speeds up to 30 km/h. It’s a two-door but can seat four and has similar styling to the current Mk6 Golf but it features a unique rear section, lower profile roof line and more swept-back angle of its front windscreen frame.

For safety the Golf Cabriolet gets a pop-up rollover protection system similar to the one found on the A3 Convertible. With the exception of the 2+2 seating layout, the Cabriolet’s interior is identical to that of the hatchback.

In comparison to VW’s other convertible model, the Eos hardtop, the Golf Cabriolet is 208mm shorter but the two models share a 2,578mm wheelbase, meaning very similar interior space for all four passengers. With the roof down the Cabriolet still offers 250 litres of boot space.

In Europe, this latest Golf variant will be available with a wide range of six turbocharged direct-injection engines whose power outputs range from 78kW to 156kW. These include four petrols and two diesel options. Continue reading “VW drops covers and top off new Golf Cabriolet” »

Volkswagen unleashes Amarok ute into NZ market

February 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen NZ has officially launched it’s new Amarok ute into the competitive kiwi market and is ready to take on the big boys of the segment.

At a special event held for NZ’s motoring press, VW issued heavy-footed journalists an Amarok to test on a course of paved road, gravel road, beach and difficult off-road sections. The Amarok was impressive on every surface and was unbeaten by any obstacle. So should other ute makers be scared? You bet, the Amarok is competitive in every area and easily class-leading in some.

Amarok is the fifth model series by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and the first ute by a high-volume European producer in New Zealand. Meaning “Wolf” in Inuit this ute is no wolf in sheepŸs clothing — the exterior design is based on the new Volkswagen “design DNA” with design features also found on the latest Golf and the new generations of the Transporter, Multivan, Caravelle and California.

Potent Powertrain

The high performance Twin Turbo TDI 120kW Amarok produces a hefty 400Nm of torque, whereas the 90kW TDI delivers 340Nm of pulling power. All models offer diesel engines with a 6-speed manual transmissions. The optional 4Motion model gives shiftable all-wheel drive with high/ low gear ratio for almost every type of terrain, while the Amarok is equipped with rear wheel drive as standard. With the higher-spec Twin Turbo TDI models, two exhaust turbo chargers provide an impressive vehicle response at low revs and more powerful performance at high revs. Despite the high performance the Amarok has fuel consumption from just 7.3 litres per 100 km. Continue reading “Volkswagen unleashes Amarok ute into NZ market” »

New Volkswagen Passat launched in NZ

February 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen NZ launched its all-new Passat at a special event for the motoring media this week.

With over 15 million Passats sold globally since the model debuted back in 1973 VW’s Passat arrived with great expectations and delivered nicely. In its technology, design and comfort the Passat is squarely aiming at a move to the next class up but without an increase in cost. New technology and further improvements in build and materials are what will separate the 2011 Passat from competitors in a hard-fought market segment. In terms of power the new Passat 2.0-litre diesel models output an impressive 320Nm of torque in the 103kW Trendline specification or 350Nm in the 125kW Comfortline. The newly available 1.8-litre petrol-powered TSI 118kW model includes a 7-speed DSG transmission with Direct Injection and accelerates from 0-100km/h in a brisk 8.5 seconds.

But it’s not just about power with the Passat in fact it is the economy figures which are most impressive. The TDI diesel Passats feature VolkswagenŸs BlueMotion Technologies which include energy recovery (regenerative braking), a Start-Stop system (automatic engine shutoff, such as at red lights) and tyres optimised for low rolling resistance.

The driving range of the new Passat BlueMotion Technology is exceptional. With an average fuel consumption of just 5.2/ 100km combined diesel fuel consumption; and with CO2 combined emissions of 135 (g/km).

When it comes to exterior design the Passat is looking modern and sleek with VW’s now familiar family face and new alloy wheels filling the guards. Available in two trim specifications – the Trendline Passat recieves 16″ Alicante alloy wheels with 205/55 tyres as standard and on Comfortline models  you can expect 17″ Fontana with 235/45 self sealing tyres. Continue reading “New Volkswagen Passat launched in NZ” »