Renault Australia Fourth Largest Mégane R.S. 250 Market Globally in 2011

Renault RS 250

Renault Sport has celebrated a sensational 2011 with a global sales increase of 31% world-wide.  This strong growth figure was largely driven by international markets with an 86% sales increase outside of Europe.  2011 marked the expansion of Renault Sport to three new markets – Argentina, Chile and Ukraine.

Australian customers have embraced the multi award-winning Mégane R.S. 250 with open arms; making Australia the fourth largest global market for this striking vehicle in 2011. 

Australia was the 14th largest global market for Renault Sport sales, up 4 places from 2010.

Stunning from every angle, the Mégane R.S. 250 has enjoyed immediate success in Australia.  Several Renault dealerships have traded prestige vehicles – including a Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG, a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and an Audi TT S – for the race-bred, performance orientated Mégane R.S. 250.

In addition, the Mégane R.S. 250 was crowned ‘Drive Car of the Year’ for the second year running in the ‘Best Performance Car under $60,000’ category, after winning the Top Gear Australia Magazine Car of the Year award on debut.

Commenting on this result, Justin Hocevar, Managing Director Renault Australia, said; “I am thrilled at the success of Renault Sport in Australia.  Australians love driver’s cars and clearly the Mégane R.S. 250 has struck accord with driving enthusiasts and Renault fans alike.

“The Mégane R.S. 250 is the ultimate hot hatch.  It has an imposing road presence and never fails to turn heads in traffic.   

“I believe Renault Sport has a huge potential for growth for Renault in Australia.  We are already investigating further product options and studying the opportunity to increase our Renault Sport product offering in the future with the impressive Renault Mégane GT line,” he said

Cars Kill Cities (from progressive transport’s blog)


60 cars 60 bike riders 60 bus pax in munster

OK, I’m finally getting a chance to make another post.  I have temporarily relocated to Mountain View, CA and have been up to my eyeballs in work, both ‘real’ work and research work.  It’s nice to get back to this blog.

Cars do not belong in cities.  A standard American sedan can comfortably hold 4+ adults w/ luggage, can travel in excess of 100 miles per hour, and can travel 300+ miles at a time without stopping to refuel.  These are all great things if you are traveling long distances between cities.  If you are going by yourself to pickup your dry cleaning, then cars are insanely over-engineered for the task.  It’s like hammering in a nail with a diesel-powered pile driver.   To achieve all these feats (high capacity, high speed, and long range driving), cars must be large and powered by fossil fuels.  So when you get a few hundred (or thousand) cars squeezed onto narrow city streets, you are left with snarled traffic and stifling smog.

Even if you ignore the pollution, cars simply take up too much space.   Next time you are stuck in traffic behind what seems like a million cars, try to imagine if all those cars where replaced by pedestrians or bike riders.  Suddenly, the congestion is gone.

60 Cars, 60 Bike Riders, and 60 Bus Passengers in Munster, Germany.

But why am I complaining about traffic?  Traffic only affects those stuck in it, right?  Once all cars go electric, essentially eliminating inter-city air pollution, then there will be no more problems for pedestrians, right?  Wrong!!  Probably the biggest problem with cars in cities is that they require huge amounts of land for storage (a.k.a. parking).  Here is a photo of Midtown Atlanta between 5th street and 12th street.  This is one of the densest and most pedestrian-friendly ares in the entire state of Georgia.  The red blocks indicate parcels of land that are 100% dedicated to car storage.

red marks amount of land taken up by parking in atlanta

Red Squares Indicate Land that is 100% Dedicated to Parking in Midtown Atlanta

Dedicating all this land to car storage basically reduces the density by about half, doubles the average distance between locations, and reduces walkability.  Throw in the 16-lane interstate and the 45+ mph traffic on most of these streets, it becomes exceedingly hard to believe that this is one of the most walkable areas in the entire state.  Such is life for pedestrians in a car-dominated city.

It wasn’t always this way.  Atlanta, like all cities, used to be walkable and people actually lived IN the city instead of commuting 50 miles every day.  But as more people moved away from the city, the more Atlanta had to become like a suburb, being retrofitted to handle all the automobile infrastructure required by a million 40 hour-a-week temporary citizens.  The result of this retrofit is a wasteland of asphalt and isolated neighborhoods, a slow decimation that has rolled along since the innovation of the automobile.

Contrary to how it may sound, I do not want to rid the earth of cars.  I just want to use them smarter.  Do you really need a 2-ton vehicle to pickup your dry-cleaning?  Probably not.  Although I do see the appeal in loading a family of 6 into an SUV and traveling to Florida for vacation.  That is a totally reasonable use of an automobile.  What I really want  is clean, walkable, safe, affordable, and family-friendly cities and towns.  In a strange way, I kind of want to live in Mayberry.

In the next post, I promise to discuss a few ideas that may get us a little closer to this goal

Powerful, Fast, Fuel Efficient and Clean: The Scirocco R – An Impressive Performance Package

Scirocco R  (1)Scirocco R  (2)Scirocco R  (3)Scirocco R  (4)Scirocco R  (8)Scirocco R  (6)

Scirocco R  (9)Scirocco R  (5)Scirocco R  (10)Scirocco R  (7)

Scirocco R  (11)

The wait is over! The Scirocco R has arrived. Power: 188kW. Character: genuine sports car. Performance: at its fullest. Handling: just as it should be. Fun factor: maximum. The four-seat sports car is ideal as both a dynamic performer and economical companion on the roads of everyday life. Always on-board as standard equipment: the XDL Extended Electronic Differential Lock – first introduced on the Golf GTI – providing optimal traction properties and unbeatable driving fun.

The Scirocco R – conceptualised by Volkswagen R GmbH – is an impressive performance package with a brilliant chassis, unique looks, exclusive features and shares a power plant with the impressive Golf R. Its advantages: high power and torque values with minimum fuel consumption. On average, just 8.1 litres* of fuel f lows to the combustion chambers via direct injection per 100 kilometres. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 189 g/km – top values for a fast sports car. And equally as impressive: when driven with the optional Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), these values are 8.2 litres and 192 g/km.

* Combined cycle (ADR) 81/02

R – HISTORY – The Scirocco Story
As the end of the 1960s approached, so did the end of the golden years of the Volkswagen Beetle. As part of the development of the Golf I, no less a designer than Giorgio Giugiaro drew up a nippy and sporty 2+2 coupé that was presented to the world’s public in Geneva in 1973: The Scirocco was born. The Scirocco was the first front-wheel drive coupé from Volkswagen and it appeared in 1974 just ahead of the Golf I. The sports coupé not only offered a sporty alternative to the Golf I, but was also affordable to boot.

Scirocco I (type 53)
• Production from March / April 1974 to April 1981
• 504,153 vehicles
• Design: Giorgio Giugiaro
• Development and production: Karmann, Osnabrück
• Technical basis: Golf I
• Initial engines 50 / 70 / 85 PS (four-cylinder)

Scirocco II (type 53/2)
• Production from April 1981 to September 1992
• 291,497 vehicles
• Design: Herbert Schäfer (Volkswagen)
• Production: Karmann, Osnabrück
• Technical basis: Golf I
• Initial engines 60 / 70 / 85 / 110 PS (four-cylinder)

To attain the very high specific power in the 2.0 TSI (94 kW per litre displacement), Volkswagen decided on a turbocharged petrol direct-injection engine.

More dynamic performance by clever downsizing: Like all TSI engines, the R-version combines the efficiency of direct-injection with the power of turbocharging. The 1,984 cm
16-valve, four-cylinder engine develops a maximum power of 188 kW at 6,000 rpm. Its maximum torque – a hefty 330 Newton meters – is available over an immense range of engine speed: 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. This makes for agile responsiveness of the engine, which is able to summon torque at practically any speed range. The engine’s acoustic output impressively underscores its special kind of power development. The exhaust system itself is designed as a double-flow system. Dual oval chrome tailpipes extend out from the bumper.

Engine of the Year for the Scirocco R: The in-line four-cylinder, which has already earned four “Engine of the Year” awards, builds up its powerful torque via a turbocharger (up to 1.2 bar boost pressure) with intercooling. The engine is controlled by fully electronic engine management with E-gas. The pistons of the four-cylinder have higher strength bolts. The connecting rods were also designed to be stronger to reliably transmit the engine’s high torque to the crankshaft. The cylinder block itself is reinforced due to the tremendous engine forces that are generated.

All of this has a highly dynamic effect: The lightweight 1,351 kilogram (DSG – 1371 kg) Scirocco R offers dynamic performance. It is precisely this type of driving, with the sensation of a build-up to maximum torque that is “felt” right from idling, which distinguishes this sports car. It is an impressive cruiser for every road and day of the year. Yet, those
drivers who downshift and unleash the car’s power at full throttle awaken a second side of the Scirocco R: a car with motor sport DNA that sprints from rest to 100 km/h in just 6.2 seconds.

Also available with an optional dual clutch transmission (DSG) providing an even faster sprinting Scirocco R: the 100 km/h mark drops down to 6.0 seconds.

The Scirocco R is available with a specially tuned sport chassis and XDL (Extended Electronic Differential Lock) as standard equipment. The latter refers to a functional extension of the electronic differential lock (EDL) that is integrated in the ESP system and limits any type of traction loss.

XDL compensates for understeer: As soon as the intelligent electronics detects unloading of the front wheel at the inside of a curve in fast driving, the ESP hydraulics apply braking pressure at the specific wheel to restore optimal traction. So, XDL serves as a transverse differential lock to compensate for the typical understeer of front-wheel drive cars in fast cornering. The driving behaviour of the agile Scirocco R is made significantly more precise and neutral thanks to the sophisticated XDL.

Chassis layout: In front, the Scirocco R has a MacPherson strut type suspension for precise tracking and balanced comfort properties. In the rear, a four-link suspension convincingly meets the challenge of achieving a sporty yet comfortable chassis tuning.

Adaptive Chassis Control optimally resolves the dilemma between comfort and dynamics: The Scirocco R is fitted with Volkswagen’s innovative Adaptive Chassis Control as standard equipment. This system continually adjusts damping of individual wheels to roadway conditions based on signals from three body sensors and displacement sensors at each wheel.

During acceleration, braking and steering processes, chassis damping is stiffened in mere fractions of a second to optimally meet the vehicles dynamic requirements. By making these
automatic adjustments, Adaptive Chassis Control significantly increases driver comfort in situations where dynamics are less challenging, resolving the conf lict in goals between a stiff sporty tuning and a comfortable one. Besides the “Normal” mode, the driver can also choose the “Sport” or “Comfort” mode.

R-wheel styling: Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels (“Talladega” type) with size 235/35 tyres. This wheel/tyre combination supports the maximum attainable lateral vehicle dynamics of this unforgettable sports car.

Advanced braking system for maximum deceleration: The braking system has been specifically designed to handle the Scirocco R’s higher level of driving performance. That is
why a 17-inch system is used; this enables impressive braking performance with ventilated discs and R-specific brake calipers painted in glossy black on all four brakes. In front, the discs are vented and have a diameter of 345 mm x 30mm, in the rear; brakes are measured at 310mm x 22mm. The Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) has also been exclusively designed for this vehicle. A “Sport” mode can be selected by pressing the ESP button located in the centre console. This makes the ESP respond later in very fast driving on roads with lots of curves – e.g. on a race course – for even more agile handling properties. In parallel, Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) is completely deactivated when ESP “Sport” mode is selected.

The electro-mechanical power steering of the Scirocco R was also specifically tuned for this model.

Safety equipment fitted as standard: Six airbags, side impact protection in the door, front safety optimised head restraints, front seat belts with pretentions and belt force limiters, ABS and EBD, Hill Start Assist and ASR.

Front end with LED daytime running lights: The front end design reflects the motto “form follows function”; it integrates three large air inlets with large louvres in the bumper
customised for the Scirocco R, which engineers designed for optimal cooling of the brakes and engine. Integrated to the right and left of the outboard air inlets are the standard LED daytime running lights. The narrow, unique radiator grille is styled in a high-end glossy black. Here (as on the rear gate) the Scirocco R can be identified by the R-logo design in chrome on a black background. Meanwhile, providing for the perfect illumination of the roadway, are standard Bi-Xenon headlights with integrated indicator lights.

Rear end with double-flow exhaust system: The rear image of this car is dominated by a large roof edge spoiler and a prominent glossy black diffuser in the lower bumper
area that shows typical R-styling. Both of these components – diffuser and roof edge spoiler – reduce aerodynamic lift at the rear axle. Stylistically, the oval chrome tailpipes of the doubleflow exhaust system are harmoniously integrated into the overall rear section design. In addition, the rear lights of the Scirocco R are smoke tinted. The Scirocco R also comes with rear parking distance sensor as standard.

Side profile: The side view is characterised by powerfully styled side skirts painted in body colour as well as “Talladega” style alloy R-wheels in 19-inch format. The milled, polished wheels have five sets of three spokes that are visually unique and offer a very attractive look at the large braking system with its glossy black calipers and Rlogo. Like the brake calipers, the outside mirrors of the Scirocco R are always painted a glossy black, independent of the body colour.

The interior of the Scirocco R presents an altogether refined appearance. As is typical of all R-models, special interior accents, sport seats and numerous other dynamic features are
applied, and included as standard equipment. Details of the features of the Scirocco R:

  • Sport seat system with seat covers in “Kyalami” fabric weave (named after the Formula-1 race course in South Africa), with R-Logo on the front head restraints in “Art Grey”. Inner surface of contoured seat side supports has crystal grey “San Remo” microfibres.
  • Unique aluminium decor inserts in the instruments with Rlogo. High-gloss black accents in the centre console area, door handles, gearshift grip, air vents and steering wheel spokes.
  • Hand brake grip and gearshift trim in leather, with “Art Grey” decorative seams.
  • Floor mat inserts “Art Grey”.
  • Aluminium tread plates with R-Logo worked in.
  • Instruments with white backlighting and blue pointers.
  • Three-spoke multi-function leather steering wheel, flatbottomed, in R-design (three spokes, perforated leather in upper and lower third, grip recesses right and left), with “Art Grey” decorative seams, R-logo in the lower steering wheel spoke and multifunctional keys in the steering wheel’s cross spokes. When the Scirocco R is ordered as a DSG version, the steering wheel is equipped with shift paddles.

The Scirocco R sports a very extensive list of features. Standard features include six airbags, ESP with countersteering assist, electro-mechanical power steering, LED daytime running lights, central locking with remote control and electric windows, to name just a few details. The following extra functional features are also included:

  • Bi-Xenon headlights including static curve lighting, dynamic headlight levelling control, headlight cleaning system and warning lamp for low washer f luid level.
  • Automatic climate control (“Climatronic”) with separate left and right controls, plus automatic recirculation switching.
  • “RCD510” Radio-CD touch screen system (4 x 20 Watt) with eight loudspeakers, six disc CD changer, MP3 playback function with title display and AUX-IN multimedia socket in the centre console.
  • Light and Sight package with two lights in the front footwells, automatic running light switching (including “Coming home” and “Leaving home” functions), automatically dimming rearview mirror and rain sensor.
  • Tyre pressure monitoring indicator.
  • LED daytime running lights

The Scirocco R



· Scirocco R 6-Speed Manual $47,490

· Scirocco R 6-Speed DSG with Sport $49,990 Mode and Triptronic Function


· RNS510 Satellite Navigation System $2,500

· Dynaudio Excite premium audio system $1,100

· Panoramic glass roof $1,800

The Glamorous Peugeot RCZ wins the GayCarBoys Gay Car Of The Year


Peugeot RCZ wins GayCarBoys Gay Car Of The Year.

We loved the RCZ. It’s by far Peugeot’s best car. It has follow-me-home-and-F###-me looks with a smooth as silk engine and a sexy growl that’s unmistakably out and proud.

From a short list of finalists which included Holden’s SSV Commodore, Volvo’s S60 Sports-wagon, VW’s Polo GTi and the Honda Type R, the RCZ was selected for its daring mix of looks and performance. Sure there are more exclusive cars that make your heart thump and there are sexier looking cars that turn more heads and there are faster cars to a 100, but none are under $70K. You’ll notice there is a distinctly sporty flavour to the final selection which is just as it it should be.

We have loved the RCZ since the 308 RCZ Concept made its motor show 4 years ago. Since then it has turned heads everywhere it appears.

The decision was made after careful consideration and strenuous on-road testing. Its a tough job but someone has to do it.

View the story here.

VW Polo range gets extra stuff for better value.



The Volkswagen Polo range has redefined its market segment since its introduction to the Australian market. With recent awards such ‘Best City Car’ for Polo 77TSI (Drive Car of the Year) and ‘Best Light Car over $20,000’ for Polo 66TDI (Australia Best Cars) added to its achievements, the Polo has for the second year in a row been credited for its outstanding quality and class leading engine technologies. 

And now with the arrival of the revised Polo range, it is becoming even more attractive with further upgrades and additional standard features.
From February 2012, the entry model to the Polo range – the Polo Trendline – will come with five doors replacing the previous three door. In a market segment dominated by five door models, Volkswagen is able to provide customers with an affordable and more practical entry model.

Standard equipment levels have also been enhanced for the entire Polo range.  With the addition of popular features such as Bluetooth phone connectivity and Media Device Interface (MDI) as well as daytime driving lights, the Polo will continue to outshine its competitors.

The sporty Polo GTI has also received additional standard comfort and convenience equipment befitting the top model in the range. The RCD510 touchscreen audio system, automatic climate control air conditioning, rain sensing wipers and automatically dimming rear-view mirror are all now included, adding even more value to an already well equipped model.

Pricing of the new Polo range will be announced on February 1st, 2012.

SAAB museum saved from the creditors.



We’ve kept across the sad demise of SAAB and it seems now that the last drinks have been called for the Swedish innovator.

Also in Trollhattan is the SAAB museum containing 120 SAAB’s outlining the company since it’s inception. The museum, owned by SAAB and therefore an asset to be sold off to satisfy the creditors, is valued by the people and is something they wanted saved. Since, and perhaps even worse, the collection might have been broken up to maximise profit, the people of Trollhattan, SAAB AB and the Wallenberg Foundations have reportedly paid £2.6 million (3.7 million AUD) for the museum and contents.

The museum includes the first ever SAAB, the UR-SAAB.

Source- autocaruk

CLASS REBEL: the MINI inspired by Goodwood


Mini Goodwood (1)Mini Goodwood (2)Mini Goodwood (3)Mini Goodwood (4)Mini Goodwood (5)Mini Goodwood (6)


“Jeeves, bring the MINI round the front would you – there’s a good fellow!”

Australian automotive aristocracy is in for a shake-up with MINI today announcing that it has secured ten limited-edition MINI Goodwoods for Australia.

Unlike any other MINI, this social-climbing upstart is based on a Cooper S but was built under the guidance of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars designer team and transfers the unmistakable style of one British luxury car manufacturer to another equally original, yet quirky British marque.

Just 1,000 MINI Goodwoods have been crafted for the worldwide market, all of which are emblazoned with the marking: “1 of 1000” on their centre consoles.

Despite being a Cooper S, the bonnet scoop has been removed ensuring the MINI Goodwood’s regal presence when viewed from any angle. The diamond black metallic paint has a rich ‘liquid’ effect which oozes luxury.  And polishing the intricate 17” Multi-Spoke Alloy Wheels in Silver will keep the butler busy well into the night.

The opulent interior sees Goodwood Cornsilk leather adorning the doors, the top of the instrument panel, knee rolls, centre console and rear inside door trim. This blends seamlessly into the headliner, sun visors, parcel shelf and pillars all in Cashmere.

Rolls Royce is renowned for its natural wood finishes and thus, the MINI Goodwood’s interior surfaces inherit a rich walnut veneer.

Cornsilk carpets line the floor and are complemented by Rolls Royce Lambswool floor mats, taken from only the happiest and most handsome lambs.

Chrome switches, a Rolls Royce leather steering wheel, even Rolls Royce lettering throughout the instrument cluster all give the MINI Goodwood an air of superiority.

As one might expect, those noble and distinguished customers wishing to acquire a MINI Goodwood in Australia need not bring their fountain pen as every box on the option list has already been ticked on their behalf. The special edition three-door MINI includes in its specification an automatic transmission, MINI Navigation System, Voice Control (of course) and a harman/kardon Hi-Fi system to name just a few features.

As the combined cycle fuel consumption of the MINI Cooper S with Automatic transmission is less than 7.0 litres/100km, the MINI Goodwood further proves its place among the upper-class by evading the luxury car tax.

While all illustrious MINI Goodwood customers will no-doubt be unconcerned with the small matter of the price, the MINI Goodwood will have a Manufacturers Recommended List Price (MRLP) including GST of $74,500.

Eight of the ten MINI Goodwoods secured for Australia have already been purchased leaving just two of these rare collectors’ items up for sale.

The MINI Goodwood is the latest in a long line of MINI special edition models which includes the recently announced MINI Baker Street and MINI Bayswater, the MINI Soho and the MINI John Cooper Works World Championship 50.