VW drops covers off production model Up!

August 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has just given the motoring world the low down on its up! The up! is VW’s new compact city car and will become the brand’s entry-level machine in many global markets.

As you’d expect the up! is a very small machine being just 3.54 metres long, 1.64 m wide and 1.48 m tall with a wheelbase of 2.42 m. There’s 251 litres cargo capacity in the hatch expanding to an impressive 951 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Under the bonnet there will be two variants of VW’s three-cylinder, 1.0 litre petrol engine with BlueMotion technology. Power output will be either 44kW or 55kW respectively. Economy is extremely frugal at just 4.2 litres/100km and 4.3 liters/100 km, depending on power grade.

A special feature of the up! will be optional City Emergency Braking – a safety system that works at speeds under 30 km/h, detects an imminent collision and apply the brakes automatically. Continue reading “VW drops covers off production model Up!” »

Volkswagen NZ lands 60 Golf GTI 35 Edition models for kiwi market

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For 2011, Volkswagen is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its iconic Golf GTI with a special Edition 35 model. The big news is that Volkswagen New Zealand have managed to secure 60 of the limited-edition 4-door Golf GTI Edition 35 models.

Much like the Edition 30 Golf model that we saw here in 2006 this new anniversary machine benefits from an upgraded powerplant and some discreet styling tweaks.

Punching out 173kW of power and 300Nm torque the upgraded Golf produces 18kW more grunt than the standard model. It will reach a top speed of 247km/h and take just 6.6 seconds to sprint from 0 – 100km/h. The engine in the Edition 35 is a turbocharged petrol direct-injection engine of the EA113 engine series, sharing the same engine base as the Golf R. The 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox. Fuel economy is quoted at 8.0 litres per 100km combined.

Keeping its dynamic credentials in check is a XDS electronic differential lock that compensates for the typical understeering of front-wheel drive vehicles during quick driving through bends. The Edition 35 also sits 15mm lower than on a conventional Golf and uses the familiar MacPherson suspension at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Continue reading “Volkswagen NZ lands 60 Golf GTI 35 Edition models for kiwi market” »

German driver breaks record for tightest parallel parking (+video)

August 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Parallel parking is something most of us think we do pretty well, usually we get it right but occasionally it doesn’t go to plan. As good or as bad as any of us are, we can’t lay claim to being the world’s best parallel park master.

The honour of being the world’s best in this automotive discipline belonged to kiwi man Peter Bell who set a new record for the tightest parallel park last year. Bell hand braked a Toyota Corolla into a parking space just 32cm longer than his vehicle. It was a sweet move, but unfortunately his record has now been smashed by the precision of a German driver.

Ronny Wechselberger who also goes by the name C-Rock performed a parallel parking move that put a VW Polo into a space that was 26cm longer than the vehicle. A Guinness World Records adjudicator was on hand to make sure it was legit and Mr C-Rock now has the title. Continue reading “German driver breaks record for tightest parallel parking (+video)” »

Jay Leno test drives 2012 VW Beetle and its oldest ancestor (+video)

July 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Being Jay Leno isn’t always a tough job. Not only does he get to potter round in his garage with one of the most enviable car collections in the world, but auto manufacturers let him cruise around to sample their latest machines.

Volkswagen has gone one step further with Leno and let him take its latest Beetle out for a spin but also thrown him the keys to the oldest Beetle in existence – a 1938 split-window model. Leno does what’s regarded as the first road test of the all- new 2012 Beetle but puts it into context with a spin in the oldest Beetle first. The conclusion? Leno digs both machines but favours the 2012 model as a daily driver. At least he’s honest.

See the video of Jay Leno testing the two Beetles below. Continue reading “Jay Leno test drives 2012 VW Beetle and its oldest ancestor (+video)” »

2012 VW Beetle tuned into the ‘Speedle’ by ABT

July 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2012 VW Beetle hasn’t even reached NZ yet, but European tuners are already working over the new model and showing their skills. One of the first is ABT Sportsline who has created its own take on the new bug, calling its creation the Speedle.

ABT is famous for its work on VW Group offerings and while the Speedle won’t go on sale until September the German firm has released details of its latest offering.

ABT plans to offer performance kits for the entire engine lineup in Europe with the modified 1.2 TSI petrol estimated to deliver around 105KW, up from 78kW, the 1.4 TSI petrol about 157kW, up from 120kW, while the top-spec 2.0 TSI petrol could produce around 178kW, up from the factory model’s 150kW.

The diesel engines wont escape treatment either with the tweaked 1.6 TDI producing 94kW instead of 78kW, and the 2.0 TDI 126kW instead of 105kW.

Other modifications will include lowered sports suspension and a variety of alloy wheel options including the 19-inch rims shown on the pictured car. Continue reading “2012 VW Beetle tuned into the ‘Speedle’ by ABT” »

Volkswagen Amarok Highline 2011 Review

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s never easy being the new kid in class, if you want proof just ask Volkswagen’s new Amarok. As the first European entry into NZ’s hard fought ute segment the road ahead is rocky and steep for the Amarok. With the Volkswagen Group as a parent and some advanced tech in the Amarok’s genes it’s arrived loaded with interest and high expectations. But there are some established names and large egos to measure itself against in the NZ ute playground. So will the other kids like the new Amarok? Probably not. Should the other kids be worried? Absolutely. Car and SUV spent some time in the top spec Amarok Highline to see if this upstart has brought its A-game.

Under the Bonnet
The word Amarok means ‘wolf’ in the Inuit language and this is one wolf not content to just join the pack, it wants to do things its own way. Firstly, it has a smaller engine than its peers and is powered by a 2.0-litre twin turbo diesel unit. But that doesn’t mean its caught short on output figures; there’s 120kW of power on tap and 400Nm of max torque available from 1500rpm. That’s a fair whack of grunt for a ute of any engine size. It nearly matches the torque of the larger displacement mill in the Mitsubishi Triton (407Nm) and beats the Hilux’s 2.5-litre unit (343Nm) but can’t knock the Nissan Navara (450Nm) off its lofty perch.

The Amarok gets its high torque output from a linear twin turbo system that has the turbos engaging at different points in the rev range and overlapping briefly. The advantage of the smaller displacement engine comes with increased diesel economy. Official figures rate the Amarok at using just 7.8 litres per 100km and while that may prove a tough figure to chase down when carrying a heavy load or travelling gravel roads, it stacks up favourably against those same rivals. Continue reading “Volkswagen Amarok Highline 2011 Review” »

Growing Chinese market helps VW break sales records

June 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Volkswagen brand is moving from strength to strength in new car sales with reports that its sales figures are up 12.2 percent to a record-high of 2.09 million units in the first five months of the year. By comparison at this stage in 2010, VW had sold 1.86 million and that was considered excellent for the time.

The strong results can be largely attributed to the Chinese market which has become the Volkswagen brand’s largest single market and accounts for a third of this year’s sales. In the period from January to the end of May, VW sold 714,200 cars in China, recording a 15.3 percent increase.

In North America Volkswagen sold 194,600 vehicles, marking  a 19.7 percent growth in the period. In Central and Eastern Europe, VW’s sales rose 40.2 percent to 71,900 units, while the brand almost doubled deliveries to Russia at 34,400 vehicles. In its domestic market of Germany, the company’s sales reached 248,000, up by 3.6 percent.

Porsche GT3 styling gets blended into new VW Beetle

June 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For all those Porsche haters out there who say the 911 is nothing more than a hotted-up Beetle, this news is for you. The VW enthusiasts at VWvortex were lucky enough to get early access to the new 2012 Beetle for a little visual tuning and came up with the machine pictured.

The upgraded Beetle clearly draws inspiration from the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, including the hot-right-now bright orange 20-inch alloys and matching decals with the words Beetle RS, just like on the Porsche. The look is finished with some blacked-out chrome detailing.

There’s not much in terms of mechanical upgrades except a 14″ brake discs package from Brembo. Apparently VWvortex will be waiting for the new Beetle to begin rolling off the production line before it starts tweaking the engine. But once it does, mods like a turbocharger upgrade, new exhaust and even a locking diff are planned. To cap off the Beetle/911 look a full size GT3 RS-style rear wing is also expected. Continue reading “Porsche GT3 styling gets blended into new VW Beetle” »