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Jaguar’s new SUV packed full of tech

The new E-PACE SUV has been unveiled by Jaguar, with a New Zealand launch date of April.

The E-PACE debut follows the F-PACE performance SUV and the I-PACE electric concept, and Jaguar promises it will be one of the most connected vehicles in its class, featuring a next-generation touchscreen infotainment system with app functionality, four 12-volt charging points, five USB connections and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.

Five different powertrains feature across the range with both petrol and diesel options. The four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel line-up comes with the choice of 110kW and 380Nm, 132kW and 430Nm and 180kW and 500Nm engines, while the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine comes either with 183kW and 365Nm or 220kW and 400Nm, which is electronically limited to speed of 243km/h.

All engines come with the latest-generation nine-speed automatic transmission as standard, and the 110kW and 132kW diesel options are also available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Various driving assistance system utilise a stereo camera, including the Emergency Braking system, with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive speed limited, driver condition monitor features and front and rear parting aids.

The camera also assists the E-PACE’s blind-spot assist function for multi-lane roads, and a new forward-traffic detection system will warn drivers of approaching vehicles in times of restricted visibility.

Four driving modes which alter vehicle specifications according to conditions and preference are available – Normal, Dynamic, ECO, and Rain Ice and Snow.

The E-PACE is also the first vehicle from Jaguar to be built outside its home market. The compact SUV will be manufactured in Austria and China, with the three British Jaguar Land Rover plants either at or near manufacturing capacity.

New Zealanders can expect an arrival in April, with prices to be confirmed.

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Hyundai unveils new hot hatch

Hyundai has unveiled the i30 N overnight, which will compete against the Golf GTI and Civic Type R in the growing hot hatch market.

The new hatchback is the first car to be manufactured under the N line-up, and while it is based on the recent i30 model, the N model also contains a slew of new high-performance driving features, including electronic slip differential, electronic controlled suspension, rev matching, launch control, high-performance tyres and a lap timer.

Two engine options will be available in the i30 N – a four-cylinder 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo engine generating 184kW of power and 353Nm, and a performance option generating 202kW, with the same 353Nm of torque. Both versions have a top speed of 250kph.

Drivers can adjust the engine, rev-matching, exhaust, suspension and slip differential and stability with five driving modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, N Mode and N Custom.

“The Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package,” says Albert Biermann, executive vice-president of Hyundai’s performance development and high performance vehicle division.

The new i30 N is set to launch in New Zealand at the end of the year, with pricing to be announced.

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Redesigned A8 to tackle saloon market

The new Audi A8 saloon car premiered at the first Audi Summit held in Barcelona.

The 5.2 metre-long car, which compete against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class amd BMW 7 Series near the top of the luxury market, is a complete redesign from earlier models, with a new driving platform and interior.

Five engine options make up the A8 range, which opens with a V6 turbo petrol engine, producing 250kW of power, and a V6 diesel variant, generating 210 kW.

Two 4.0-litre eight-cylinder models are set to follow, producing 230kW and 338kW, and at the top of the range is an exclusive 6.0-litre W12 engine.

These powertrains all operate in conjunction with a belt alternate starter attached to a 48-volt electrical system, making the A8 a ‘mild hybrid electric vehicle.’ The technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to smoothly restart. 

A plug-in hybrid model is set to follow at a later date, containing a 3.0-litre engine and a powerful electric motor for a total 330kW of power and 700Nm of torque.

Autonomous driving features have been upgraded, and the A8 is the first production vehicle to have been developed specifically for highly automated driving, Audi claims.

The Audi AI traffic jam pilot can take charge of driving in slow-moving traffic of up to 60 kph, managing starting, accelerating, steering and braking, and will inform the driver when to take back control of the vehicle.

The Audi AI remote parking and remote garage pilots will steer the A8 in and out of parking spaces and garages independently, with the driver observing via a live display on their smartphone or tablet. 

These autonomous features will be rolled out step-by-step onto Audi vehicles once the technology has been fully approved,  and will need to be cleared for each individual market, Audi says.

Audi’s latest A8 offering will appear on sale in Germany in late spring 2017, with further release dates to be announced. 

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New Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce available in NZ

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce is now available in New Zealand, complementing the recent arrival of the high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio.

With a price tag of $79,990, $55,000 cheaper than the Quadrifoglio, Alfa Romeo New Zealand hopes the vehicle will open the Giulia range to a new market sector.

“The Veloce may provide the Giulia with a new entry point,” said chief executive for Alfa Romeo in New Zealand, David Smitherman, “but it is still very much a performance sedan.”

The Giulia Veloce contains a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which produces 206kW of power and 400Nm of torque matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Alfa’s latest sedan also contains the signature Alfa SDC adjustable suspension and a limited-slip rear differential, and is based on the Giordio’s rear-wheel drive architecture.

A host of safety systems feature on the Veloce, including forward collision warning with autonomous emergency brake and pedestrian recognition, integrated brake system, and lane departure warning.

Other features include alloy wheels, bi-Xenon headlamps, keyless go, stop/start technology, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

The Veloce is available now at registered dealers across New Zealand.

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New Transit comes with auto option

The Ford Transit, one of the most ubiquitous vans in the world, is now available with an automatic transmission in New Zealand. The new Transit models have proved popular, with the first arrivals pre-sold or sold out on arrival, says Ford New Zealand.

The Ford Transit Custom, Transit Tourneo and Transit Cargo now have a six-speed automatic transmission option to match the all-new 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine. The next-generation engine produces 124kW of power, a 10 per cent improvement on the previous model, and 405Nm of torque.

The Transit Cargo will also contain Ford’s new Sync 3 entertainment platform, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, on a 6-inch touchscreen. Drivers can access the climate control and satellite navigation (when fitted) along with their own smart phone.  The new models also contain a larger reversing camera display located in the audio system.

An all-new side wind stabilisation system will feature to help drivers stay on-track and in their lane when a van is hit by a crosswind or a tailwind from a large truck. The new system will apply the brakes on one side of the vehicle to reduce the effect of a wind gust without drive intervention, and at speeds over 80km/hr, the sensor monitors stability 100 times per second.

“No-one likes that feeling when your vehicle gets caught by a wind gust, or you are passing close to a fast-moving truck,” said Marc Suermann, chassis controls supervisor, Ford of Europe. “This new technology will help make highway driving less stressful for Transit drivers.”

Prices start at $53,490 for the Ford Transit Custom, $58,990 for the Transit Custom Tourneo Trend, $61,640 for the Transit Cargo, and $66.890 for the Transit Cargo Bus (new model available from mid-2017). Prices exclude on-road costs.

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McLaren 570S due in late 2017

McLaren’s “most attainable Spider ever” will arrive in New Zealand in the fourth quarter of 2017 and will cost $365,000, a spokesperson for McLaren confirmed.

The Australia-New Zealand division of the car maker announced last week that the new 570S Spider would cost (AUD)$437,750 in Australia, with New Zealand owners snapping up a comparative bargain.

The two-seated convertible features a retractable hard top made of lightweight composite panels and will open and close within 15 seconds at speeds up to 40km/hr.

A 3.8-litre V8 engine powers the 570S Spider, generating 419kW and 600Nm of torque, and going from 0-100 takes 3.2 seconds. A top speed of 328km/hr is achievable with the hard-top roof up, and 315km/hr with the roof down.

The same double-wishbone racing suspension seen in the 570S Coupe keeps the Spider on the road, and can be altered using the active dynamics panel, with Normal, Track and Sport modes available. The electronic stability control system also introduces a ‘Dynamic’ driving mode with reduced intervention.

The new 570S Spider will debut on June 29 in West Sussex, and the first cars are scheduled to be delivered in August.

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BMW 530e hits NZ markets

The BMW 530e iPerformance has been released to the New Zealand market. A hybrid variant of the luxury business sedan, the 530e is available to order from now at registered dealers.

The 530e powertrain contains an electric motor with a power output of 83kW and 250Nm of torque combined with a 2.0-litre four-cylinger engine, which generates 135kW and 320Nm. The overall system output clocks in at 185kW of power and 420Nm of torque.

 The joint powertrain is matched to an eight-speed Streptronic transmission with a rear-wheel drive configuration, and is able to travel up to 48km purely on electric power.

Wireless charging will be possible from next year.

Charging times range from less than three hours with the BMW i wallbox (or a 3.7kW charging equivalent) to five hours from a standard domestic power socket. From 2018, BMW wireless charging will be available as an option, which will allow for fast charging without cables.

The hybrid sedan will come with the same safety features seen on other BMW 530 models, including evasion aid, active cruise control, lane-change assist, lane-change warning and lane-keep assist.

“The BMW 530e Sedan is now the fifth iPerformance plug-in hybrid to be launched, joining the 225xe Active Tourer, 330e Sedan, X5 xDrive40e and 740e Sedan”, says BMW Group New Zealand managing director, Florian Renndorfer. 

“On top of this we also have the BMW i3 and i8 in the market, and in the coming months the first-ever MINI plug-in hybrid will launch with the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4”.

Prices begin from $133,900 plus on-road costs.

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Astra sedan launches in July

The Astra sportwagon, set to launch later this year

The all-new Astra sedan will be released in New Zealand this July, Holden has confirmed, with the sportwagon variant set to go on sale at the end of the year.

The Sportwagon, announced at Fieldays in Hamilton, will be similar in style to the Astra hatch, and will contain the same 1.4-litre engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Safety features will include automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and forward collision alert, and more information on the model range will be released by Holden closer to the launch date.

The Holden Astra line-up has taken models across the GM global portfolio; the sedan, based on the Chevrolet Cruze, uses the same Delta 2 architecture as the Opel-designed hatch variant.

Arriving next month, the sedan will also contain a 1.4-litre engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, which produces 110kW of power and 240Nm of torque, and come with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Holden New Zealand general manager of marketing, Marnie Samphier, said the Astra sedan was a global vehicle, “developed in Europe, manufactured in Korea and finished with design elements and significant engineering input from Holden Australia.”

Samphier added that while the Astra was manufactured and prominently designed overseas, Holden had ensured the car was unique to the Australasian market.

“Holden Australia designers have styled a unique Holden face with exclusive new front fascia and grille, closely aligning with the next generation Commodore,” she said.

Different safety features are available in the Astra sedan line-up. The entry-level LS contains rear-part assist with a rear camera, cruise control, automatic headlights and daytime running light.

One step up, the LT and LTZ variants feature the above technologies as well as lane-keep assist, forward distance indicator, forward-collision alert, front part assist and side blind-spot alert.

Pricing starts at $30,990 plus on-road costs for the LS model, $34,490 plus on-road costs for the LT and $38,490 plus on-road costs for the LTZ.

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New luxury BMW due for NZ launch

One of the five leather options

The BMW 320i Luxury Edition will have a limited run in New Zealand, starting this month. The 320i sedan will be limited to 60 models in the country, with a price of $75,900 plus on-road costs.

The Luxury Edition will contain added features from the BMW Individual programme, which allows buyers to customise their colour and material design. Cosmetic enhancements include chrome accents in the exterior and cabin of the car, including the grille, window surrounds, bumper tri and centre console.

Inside the car, the seats are manufactured from fine-grain Merino leather, and will be available in five different colours. A leather cover for the steering wheel is also included.

The centre console has also had an upgrade, and now contains a BMW Head Up Display with a nine-speaker, 205-watt HiFi loudspeaker system. A Navigation system with an 8.8-inch display is also included, which features the BMW ConnectedDrive technology suite, including Real Time Traffic Information, BMW Online and Concierge Service.

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New Suzuki Swift on sale in NZ

The next-generation Swift has had a makeover

The new Suzuki Swift now on sale in New Zealand following its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March. The new model is lighter and shorter than the outgoing Swift, and features a redesigned exterior.

Two engine options power the Swift line-up – the GL and GLX models contain a 1.2-litre Dualjet engine producing 66kW of power and 160Nm of torque, and the RS features 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine producing 82kW of power and 160Nm.

While the hatch is 10mm shorter overall, it sits on a longer wheelbase and is 40mm wider than the previous model. It’s also 135kg lighter, with kerbweights beginning at 880kg.

Safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, active cruise control and automated high beams.

The Swift is one of the top-selling cars in New Zealand, with 999 models so far this year, according to latest registration figures. Suzuki New Zealand’s general manager of marketing, Gary Collins, told journalists the car maker expects to sell 2800 Suzuki swifts this year for a five per cent share of the total market.

Prices start from $19,990 for the manual GL, $21,990 for the CVT GL, $24,500 for the GLX, and $25,990 for the RS.

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Price, specs released for new Honda range

More specifications, including pricing, have been announced for Honda’s latest 2017 models.

The Civic Hatch

The five-door Civic Hatch, first announced in April, is officially on sale from June 10. Four hatchbacks will join the Honda Civic line-up, including the SX Hatch,  SX Sport Hatch and RS Sport Turbo Hatch, powered by two different drive trains – A 1.5-litre VTEC engine, producing 127kW of power, and a 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine, which produces 104kW. Both engines care paired with a new CVT transmission.

Prices start from $32,900 plus on-road costs for the SX Hatch, $36,500 plus on-road costs for the SX Sport Hatch and $40,900 plus on-road costs for the RS Sport Turbo Hatch.

The Civic Type R is the world’s fastest production front-wheel-drive production car

The high-performance Civic Type R, containing a 2.0-litre i-VTEC turbocharged engine partnered with a six-speed manual transmission, producing 228kW of power, has also been given pricing and a release date. Sales have opened for the Type R, with delivery slated for early September this year. The new Type R will cost $59,900 plus on-road costs.

Finally, Honda has released further details on the release of the fifth-generation CR-V. The SUV is powered by a 1.4-litre VTEC engine, producing 140kW of power, and is matched to a CVT transmission.  Demonstrators will arrive in showrooms at the beginning of August.

The Honda CR-V

Prices for the CR-V start at $37,900 plus on-road costs for the 2WD Touring model, $40,700 plus on-road costs for the AWD Touring, $44,900 for the 2WD Sport 7 and $47,900 for the AWD Sport Sensing.

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