Saturday April 30th, 2011 14:25 Porsche’s new 911 GT3 RS 4.0

Porsche 911 GT3 4.0

Porsche has announced the release of its new limited-edition 911 GT3 RS 4.0. sports car. Available from July, the latest 911 model will be limited to just 600 vehicles worldwide, of which 40 are expected to be available for purchase within the UK.

Whereas previous models have used a 3.8 litre flat-six cylinder engine, the GT3 RS 4.0. boasts a motor sport-derived 4.0 litre engine, and this is the largest motor that has ever been fitted to a 911. With a crankshaft that has been lifted unchanged from the 911 GT3 RSR race car, titanium connecting rods and an engine that uses forged pistons, the GT3 RS 4.0. will be the closest a road-going Porsche ever gets to one of its racing car counterparts.

The 911 GT3 4.0. has a peak power of 493bhp and a maximum torque of 339lb ft. In terms of performance, it races from 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds, and with a top speed of 193mph, the new Porsche can reach 124mph in 12 seconds.

By incorporating air deflection vanes – called ‘flics’ or dive planes – on either side of the car’s redesigned front bumper, Porsche have been able to increase downforce at the front end, giving the 911 GT3 4.0. improved grip through corners and a total downforce of 190kg when at top speed.

In order to emphasize its “proximity to motor racing,” the limited edition 911 is painted Carrara White as standard with grey and red detailing. Among its signature characteristics are a wide track, a low vehicle position, a large rear wing with side plates, a central twin tailpipe, and an aerodynamically optimised body. Its interior matches the white, red and grey colour scheme of the exterior, and features seats made of Alcantara and leather.

With an asking price of £128,466, the Porsche 911 GT3 4.0. will be available in limited numbers from July.

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Thursday April 28th, 2011 10:27 Lamborghini Aventador

Really cool video of the Lamborghini Aventador!

Lamborghini Aventador from Sehsucht™ on Vimeo.

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Wednesday April 27th, 2011 11:15 Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition

Vauxhall have announced the release of the new Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition. Available from late May, the Nurburgring Edition is described by Vauxhall as the “most powerful Corsa ever.”

With a re-worked version of the Corsa VXR’s 1.6 litre turbo-charged engine, the Nurburgring boasts improved horsepower and torque, with horsepower up to 202bhp and torque up to 280Nm. These improvements mean that the Corsa now goes from 0-60mph in just 6.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 143mph.

In order to make the most of the Nurburgring’s increased power, Vauxhall has fitted it with a mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential, and this will give drivers of the Nurburgring greater traction, in addition to reduced understeer.

The Nurburgring has also been fitted with newly developed Brembo brakes that are 30% lighter than before, and this will provide the new model with even more stopping bite. Commissioned by Vauxhall, Bilstein have developed bespoke spring and damper units that will provide drivers with a greater degree of control and involvement. Taking into account the new set-up of the Corsa VXR, its ABS, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control systems have all been recalibrated.

Visually, the Nurburgring Edition has a number of features that will ensure that it is not mistaken for earlier Corsas. In addition to having reduced ride heights both at the front and the rear of the car, the Nurburgring boasts a stainless steel dual exhaust, forged aluminium wheels in high-gloss grey, and ‘Nurburgring’ logos both in the car’s interior and its exterior.

Available in white, black and two new colour options – apple green ‘Grasshopper’ and red ‘Henna’ – the Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition will go on sale in late May, priced at £22,295.

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Tuesday April 26th, 2011 17:36 Porsche Cayenne & Panamera 2012 unveiled

Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

 

Porsche have announced that from June, new versions of both the Cayenne and Panamera, its two most recent models, will be produced. Both models are to receive updated and improved engines, in addition to a number of extra options.

The Cayenne off-roader is to get a revised 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine with an improved horsepower now reaching 245bhp. CO2 emissions have been cut by six grams to 189g/km, and this will mean that it will be eligible for the 30% BIK band for company car taxation. The new Cayenne will also be more fuel efficient, as its fuel economy has risen from 38.2mpg up to 39mpg. As you would expect, these engine improvements have also positively impacted on the Cayenne’s performance, as its top speed is now up to 137mph and its acceleration time from 0-62mph is now just 7.6 seconds.

With regards to the Cayenne S Hybrid, improvements made will allow the car to run on electric power alone at low speeds and, more impressively, from a cold start.

The Turbo version of the Cayenne will now be available with a Powerkit, and this will boost its horsepower by 40hp to 540bhp. Similarly, its maximum torque will be improved by 50Nm to 750Nm and its top speed will now reach 176mph, an improvement of 3mph.

New cosmetic options for the Cayenne include tinted LED rear lights, Bi-Xenon headlights in black and quad sports exhaust tailpipes. It will also be possible to customise the Cayenne’s interior, as Porsche Exclusive will offer decorative stitching, leather packages and wood treatment. Also available are the option of a milled aluminium Tiptronic-S gear selector lever and stainless steel and carbon door sill guards.

As for the Panamera, Porsche will offer wireless internet access, as well as the inclusion of the Lane Change Assist system adapted from the Cayenne. Additionally, the Panamera will have the option of Bi-Xenon headlights in black and a redesigned sports exhaust tailpipe.

It is expected that the prices for these upgrades and new options will be announced ahead of the release of the updated models in June.

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Sunday April 24th, 2011 09:37 MG6 – The New Kid on the Block

MG6

Last Wednesday saw the launch of the MG6 fastback, the first all-new MG to be launched since the MGF back in 1995. The first in a series of new MG models due in the next five years, the five door hardtop, with its 1.8 litre engine, has a top speed of 120mph and takes 8.4 seconds to go from 0-60mph.

The launch of the MG6 marks the first large-scale production at the Longbridge site in Birmingham since MG Rover Group fell into administration in 2005 and was bought by the Chinese carmakers, Nanjing Automobile Corporation (NAC). Now owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), MG Rover are dividing production of the MG6 between China and the UK. Although much of the production of the MG6 will take place in China, the car will be finished off by manufacturing workers in Birmingham.

Despite the Chinese ownership of MG Rover, their PR manager, Doug Wallace, believes that the MG6 has the qualities to be regarded as a true MG, and he points to the fact that the MG6 was designed and engineered by British engineers at Longbridge to support this claim.

He said: “All of the design work for the car, all the styling and all of the actual engineering design work is done here, and all the engineering development and proving of the car is done by that team on site here at MG Birmingham.”
In addition to this, Wallace said: “The driving dynamics of the car are overtly MG: it’s very sporty going through quick corners and bends and we think that’s a particular thing that sets us apart.”

Likened by some people to the Skoda Octavia and the Vauxhall Insignia, it is anticipated that the MG6 will be available from May, with prices expected to start at around £15,000 rising to nearly £19,000.

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Tuesday April 19th, 2011 10:22 Lotus loses out on Regional Growth Fund

Lotus

Lotus has failed in its attempt to secure £27.5 million in funding from the UK government’s Regional Growth Fund. The Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer had hoped to use the loan to expand its production plant in Hethel, and to help build the new range of models that were unveiled last September at the Paris Motor Show. In addition to safeguarding existing jobs, Lotus said that the loan would have resulted in the creation of 1200 “new and sustainable, high-value jobs” at the plant.

In a statement expressing its disappointment at the decision, Lotus said: “Despite the clear synergies between Lotus’s growth plans and the fund’s objectives to enable private sector organisations to invest in projects that would create jobs and secure long-term growth, the bid team decided that the money was better invested elsewhere.”

Prior to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ decision, Lotus had warned that failure to secure the £27.5 million loan from the Regional Growth Fund could lead to production of its new models being shifted overseas. As it stands, Lotus is considering applying to the second round of the Regional Growth Fund’s loan scheme with an updated bid.

While on this occasion Lotus may have been unsuccessful in securing an RGF loan, it was not all bad news for car manufacturers, as Bentley, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan were all successful in their applications for funding. Jaguar Land Rover will receive £70 million in funding from the Regional Growth Fund towards research and development, and this news was welcomed in a statement by Dr Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.

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Thursday April 14th, 2011 15:38 Tesco enter the Used Car Market

Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has entered the used car market with the launch of the website Tesco Cars.

Citing the tens of thousands of consumers who complain every year to the watchdog Consumer Direct about the service they receive in the traditional motor market, Andrew Higginson, CEO of Retailing Services at Tesco, believes that Tesco Cars will be able to provide consumers with a simpler, more reliable and cost effective service than many used-car dealers currently provide.
In a press release announcing the launch of the website, Higginson said: “By supplying directly to customers, there is no middle man, expensive showroom and no sales people on commission. Buyers can be sure they are getting the best value out there – and we will say ‘thank you’ with 2,000 Clubcard points.”

The website promises a selection of up to 3,000 second-hand cars every week, all between six months and three years old, and all independently inspected by the RAC. Additionally, cars listed on the website will be sourced from retail and business stock, and will typically come with a full service history.

Customers can either make an immediate purchase by selecting the ‘Buy it Now’ option, or they can select the ‘Pre-Order’ option to reserve their chosen car. Selecting this option comes at the cost of a £99 handling fee, although this is refundable should customers decide against purchasing the car.

It may seem problematic that the Tesco Cars website doesn’t allow customers to either see in person or drive a car before they buy it, but Tesco Cars aim to get around this by providing buyers with a seven day, no quibble, money-back guarantee if they are unhappy with their purchase. It will be interesting to see if this becomes an issue, but Sir Trevor Chinn, Chairman of Tesco Cars appears confident that Tesco’s move into the used car market will provide “a positive new experience for today’s car buyer.”

 

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Friday April 8th, 2011 15:33 Tesla Motors vs Top Gear

Tesla Roadster

Last week, it emerged that Tesla Motors was taking legal action against the BBC’s Top Gear TV programme over what they felt was an intentionally misleading depiction of the Tesla Roadster in an episode of the show first broadcast in December 2008.

In the episode, presenter Jeremy Clarkson experiences a number of problems while test-driving two Tesla Roadsters. In addition to running out of charge, one model’s motor supposedly overheats and becomes immobilised, while another model develops a problem with its brakes. One scene shows a Roadster being pushed back into the Top Gear hangar, while at another point in the segment, Clarkson says, “although Tesla say it will do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles.” The segment concludes with Clarkson commenting that “in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work.”

Tesla Motors have refuted the show’s claims, and accused Top Gear of intentionally staging these breakdowns. Unhappy that the episode in question has frequently been rebroadcast around the world on television, DVD and the internet, Tesla say they have taken legal action in an attempt to stop any future repeats of the road test. In a statement, the electric vehicle manufacturer said: “Tesla simply wants Top Gear to stop rebroadcasting this malicious episode and to correct the record, but they’ve repeatedly ignored Tesla’s requests.”

A Top Gear spokeswoman initially responded to Tesla’s allegations by saying that “the BBC stands by the programme and will be vigorously defending this claim.” However, any thoughts that this argument would be resolved quietly were dismissed when Top Gear’s Executive Producer, Andy Wilman, took to the show’s Transmission blog on Saturday to address what he saw as Tesla’s “quite noisy” attempts to promote their side of the legal battle in public through the media.

Although Wilman did admit in his post that Top Gear had prepared a rough draft of a script in advance of the road test, he said that this was normal procedure, and any comments about the car’s performance were “added on the day.”

On Monday, Tesla expressed its belief that Wilman’s comments about the script will only help to prove the case of libel and malicious falsehood against Top Gear. In a statement posted on its website, Tesla said: “It seems actual test result don’t matter when the verdict has already been given – even if it means staging tests to meet these predetermined conclusions.”

As of yet, there has been no further response from Top Gear, but it does not look like this very public feud will be resolved any time soon.

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