VW Golf R Cabriolet concept unleashed at 2011 Wörthersee Tour

June 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The annual Volkswagen Group hot-hatch festival at Lake Wörthersee, Austria is now used as a serious launching pad for some exciting concept machines. Audi kicked it all off earlier this week with its 370kW A1 concept, and now its VW’s turn itself.

VW has just pulled the covers off its Golf R Cabriolet concept and its set to give the fans exactly what they want. Designed to demonstrate the “inexhaustible potential of the Golf,” the concept is very similar to the Golf R hatch and stands out with an aggressive front fascia, aerodynamic side skirts and a center-mounted dual exhaust system.  Other treats include a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance 17-inch brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Under the bonnet is the Golf R’s 197kW, 2.0-litre turbo four engine which can accelerate the drop top from standing to 100km/h in under 6 seconds and hit a top speed of 250kph.

No interior images have been released but VW has confirmed that it is detailed like the Golf R hatch with Nappa leather sports seats, piano black trim and carbon fibre pieces. Continue reading “VW Golf R Cabriolet concept unleashed at 2011 Wörthersee Tour” »

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” »

VW Amarok Highline first ute to score ANCAP 5-star safety

March 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) has awarded its first 5-star safety rating to the Volkswagen Amarok 4WD Highline ute.

The Amarok is now the first double cab ute in the New Zealand market to achieve this rating and is a huge sign of confidence in this new contender to the ute market which was officially launched in New Zealand on 14 February 2011.

Utes often double as both workhorse and family transport and so this 5-star rating of the Amarok Double Cab Highline comes as a boost to VW’s expected sales in the NZ market. For the record, the vehicle scored 16 out of 16 in the side impact crash test and is the first dual-cab utility to ever receive a 5-star rating from ANCAP.

The Amarok is based on an internally developed rugged ladder frame. High-strength steel gives this chassis an exceptionally high level of crash safety,de-coupling the cab from the frame results in optimal torsional resilience which is especially advantageous for the Amarok‟s driving behaviour on rugged roads, providing strength especially in the area behind the passenger compartment.

The Amarok has ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) including off-road ESP as standard across the range. ESP prevents the vehicle from breaking away and also takes into account information on load status. Off-road ESP is activated by the touch of a button and gives more control as well as reducing stopping distances on loose surfaces. Continue reading “VW Amarok Highline first ute to score ANCAP 5-star safety” »

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” »