BMW’s M4 GTS. No More Words Needed. From $295,000

BMW M4 GTS 2016 gaycarboys (1)

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Powered-up, track-focused, limited-edition BMW M4 GTS confirmed for Australia.

  • Classic BMW in-line six-cylinder petrol engine features twin turbochargers and race-inspired water injection to produce 368kW/600Nm.
  • Benchmark 0-100km/h acceleration achieved in 3.8 seconds, 305km/h top speed potential.
  • Nurburgring Nordschleife lap-time set at 7 minutes, 28 seconds.
  • Model-specific adjustable suspension enables owners to set M4 GTS up to individual requirements.
  • Track-ready aerodynamics package includes adjustable carbon-fibre rear wing and two-setting carbon-fibre front splitter.
  • Weight reduction measures include standard M Carbon Ceramic brakes, Recaro carbon bucket seats, rear seat deletion and Alcantara-trimmed central console.
  • M4 GTS introduces tail lights with Organic LED technology.
  • 25-unit Australian allocation (out of 700 examples world-wide) already sold out, with first deliveries due from September.
  • Priced from $295,000 plus on-road costs.

Channelling the spirit of the legendary BMW E46 M3 CSL, the new, limited-edition BMW M4 GTS’s iconic status is assured by the 25-unit (out of 700 global production) Australian allocation being already spoken for. Deliveries for this road-going race car are expected from September.

“The BMW M4 GTS is a sports car radically designed for superior dynamics and breath-taking performance on the race track,” said Frank van Meel, Chief Executive Officer of BMW M GmbH.

“This is our way of demonstrating what is possible with a road-legal vehicle today.”

Priced from $295,000*, the BMW M4 GTS features BMW M’s latest thinking in lightweight construction and racetrack engineering, while simultaneously increasing power output.

BMW M has further honed the remarkable 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged straight-six found in the M3 and M4 via the addition of a water injection system. A world first for a production car, the M4 GTS draws from a five-litre water tank (mounted in the luggage compartment floor) to spray water mist into the engine’s air intake collector. Capable of reducing combustion chamber temperatures by around 25 degrees Celsius, the water injection system allows more efficient combustion, enabling higher charging pressure (from 2.2 to 2.5bar) and an earlier ignition point.

Successfully tested on the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car in 2015, this innovative system contributes to a peak power output of 368kW at 6250rpm and 600Nm from 4000-5500rpm.

Paired exclusively to BMW’s seven-speed M DCT double-clutch transmission, the M4 GTS is capable of hitting 100km/h from standstill in only 3.8 seconds, thanks to an integrated launch control system. Top speed is a rousing 305km/h.

Lightweight construction

Weighing only 1510kg (DIN), the BMW M4 GTS is 30kg lighter than a regular BMW M4 fitted with the seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission.

On approach, these weight saving measures are immediately revealed by the extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the vehicle’s construction. In addition to the CFRP roof (already seen on the M3 and M4), the M4 GTS gains a CFRP bonnet, which is 25 per cent lighter than an aluminium equivalent and contributes to a lower centre of gravity.

The strong, lightweight material is also used for the rear diffuser, front splitter and rear wing (on aluminium mounts).

Contributing further to the weight reduction are a titanium quad-exhaust system, carbon-ceramic brake discs and staggered M light alloy wheels, measuring 19 inches up-front and 20 inches for the rear and sporting Acid Orange highlights.

Recaro M carbon race bucket seats, weighing 50 per cent less than the regular M4 seats, highlight the interior; a rear-seat deletion and minimalist door panels featuring BMW M door pull straps in place of handles reinforce the M4 GTS’s intent.

A specific centre console features Alcantara trim and weighs 30 per cent less than the regular M4 unit. The lightweight fabric is also applied to the steering wheel, which is finished with orange stitching at the 12 o’clock position to further focus the driver.

Racetrack engineering

The BMW M4 GTS’s carbon-fibre front splitter, highlighted in Acid Orange, is manually adjustable. The road setting retracts the splitter for improved cooling and pedestrian protection, while the race track setting provides more airflow underneath the vehicle, providing 105 Newtons of downforce at 200km/h.

A carbon rear spoiler, mounted on aluminium supports, is three-way adjustable with a minimum-drag setting for road use and two options for the track. In full downforce mode, the rear spoiler generates 375 Newtons of downforce at 200km/h.

Owners can also tune the BMW M4 GTS’s suspension to suit the road – or track – that lies ahead.

The M Coilover suspension is three-way mechanically adjustable, allowing up to 16 ‘clicks’ of damper rebound adjustment. High-speed damper compression is adjustable over 14 clicks, while low-speed compression can be set at any one of six clicks.

Additionally, manual ride height adjustment can also be effected via a dial on the suspension struts.

M Carbon Ceramic brakes use six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, offering the latest in fade resistance while significantly reducing unsprung weight.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres have been specifically tuned for the BMW M4 GTS, sized 265/35/ZR19 on the front axle and 285/30/ZR20 on the rear.

Standard specification

Although firmly centred on the driving experience, the BMW M4 GTS offers a comprehensive standard specification to ensure day-to-day driving capability. This includes:

  • Navigation System Professional
  • Front and rear Park distance Control
  • M Head-Up Display
  • Air-conditioning
  • BMW Individual Instrument Panel finished in leather
  • Six-speaker stereo system with DAB+ Digital Radio Tuner
  • Alcantara/Merino leather upholstery
  • BMW Individual High-Gloss Shadowline
  • BMW Individual Headliner Anthracite
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Freedom
  • BMW TeleServices
  • BMW Intelligent Emergency Call
  • M Driver’s Package (increases top speed to 305km/h)
  • Instrument Cluster with extended contents
  • Hands-Free facility with USB interface
  • Rain sensor
  • Cruise control with brake function
  • Alarm system
  • M multi-function steering wheel
  • Servotronic steering
  • Lights Package
  • Adaptive LED Headlights
  • Organic LED tail lights
  • Tyre pressure monitor
  • M Carbon Ceramic brakes
  • M three-way adjustable coilover suspension

Options

For those seeking the ultimate track experience, the BMW M4 GTS can be fitted with a street-legal Race Package as a no-cost option.

This includes a high-strength steel half roll-cage, six-point racing harness seat belts and a fire extinguisher system. For road use, the standard inertia-reel seat belts are also retained.

For the ultimate performance, unique M Carbon Compound wheels are also available (priced at $21,560 including GST and LCT), reducing unsprung weight by a further 7kg (in total). Measuring 9.5 x 19 inches up-front and 10.5 x 20 inches in the rear, the Carbon Compound wheels are formed in a combination of CFRP and aluminium for maximum lightness and durability.

Understated Insignia deserves to be seen and heard

Insignia VXR performance sedan GAYCARBOYS (3)

 

Insignia VXR performance sedan GAYCARBOYS (1)Insignia VXR performance sedan GAYCARBOYS (2)

Insignia VXR performance sedan GAYCARBOYS (4)Insignia VXR performance sedan GAYCARBOYS (5)

Insignia VXR performance sedan GAYCARBOYS (6)

 

Insignia, late of Opel fame, now a Holden

You may all remember the delectable Insignia from her brief 12-month stint as part of the ill-fated Opel nameplate. The classy Euro brand is GM’s continental presence, like Holden GM’s presence in Australia. Both Holden and Opel are GM owned companies. I stress this after reading some viewer comments on reviews over the years. Our commenters appear confused as to who makes what, and what that means to Australia, so let’s dispel a few loony ferfies. All 3 Australian car makers are foreign owned. Ford and Toyota always have been, and Holden was bought by General Motors in the 30’s so enough of this sentimental nonsense. It is incredibly sad that Australia will import all cars by the end of next year, but we have been importing all but a few models for decades. That’s not a reason not to buy. Most Australian manufacturing has been lost to countries where the minimum wage is cents in our dollar, or where robots do almost all of the work. But enough about that, let’s talk about Insignia.

Holden is currently in 4th place in the sales race with 29,229 units finding homes so far this year. This represents 7.8% of the market.

The Epsilon II platform is an extended version of the Epsilon which started life in 2002. Holden’s dreary Malibu is on the same platform as spirited Insignia, and sold a miserable 98 last month and only 377 this year. That sounds bad enough, but Insignia sold just 31 last month and 117 for the year so far. To put it in perspective, Toyota’s 4cyl Camry sold 1,511 and was 1st in that segment. I can only put this down to a lack of advertising support for Insignia, because a test drive would sell the VXR on looks alone. It is streets ahead of Camry in every way measureable.

The exterior is drop-dead gorgeous. It has the same edgy elegance as the last SAAB 9-5, which was also built on the Epsilon II platform.

Insignia was sold previously as an Opel Insignia from 2012, but in 2013 Opel withdrew from the market. After 2 years GM reintroduced Insignia under Australia’s Holden brand, something they should have done in the first instance.

This model is nearing the end of its life and us due for replacement any tick of the clock. On a recent trip to Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground, we were told that the good stuff had been hidden away. Perhaps the new Insignia was tucked snuggly inside a shed? The new Insignia is rumoured to be the replacement for the Commodore after local manufacturing shuts down next year. No one knows whether or not the Commodore name plate will continue, but it has been used for 40 years after replacing the much-loved Kingswood in the late 70’s. If all this is true, one wonders why Holden would bring in Insignia so close to being the new Commodore. The smaller sister, Astra, is also at the end of its model life so watch this space.

The interior is delicious despite its age. It feels crisp, yet modern and high-end. Only the sporty VXR model is sold here so there are a couple of sexy Recaro seats up front. The driver has 2 memory slots for the power adjustments as well as a manually extendable front bolster. This gives longer legged drivers additional support and makes all the difference to a longer trip. It feels rather like the seat in business class, so the only thing missing is a glass of champers.

You get Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning and a Following Distance Indicator with Autonomous Emergency Braking, as well as a fistful of other useful gizmos. The car looks along the road in front and warns the driver of obstacles like cars and trucks. If the driver does nothing, Insignia will through out on the anchors. It may not always avoid a crash, but it should make the incident a bit less lethal. The warning bings, bongs and flashing lights are a distraction at first, but after a week or two you find yourself depending on them. These, and other driver aids, are never meant to replace vigilance in the front seats.

The buttons on the dash feel a bit random in their layout. I personally loathe touch controls that aren’t on an LCD, so the temperature controls are frustrating beyond belief. There is no feedback and they aren’t as sensitive as they could be. Many functions are in the infotainment menu system, but despite the number of buttons still on the dash, there are no direct selects for the radio stations. You can access them via the steering wheel buttons but auxiliary controls are now so complex it is easier to use the original knobs and buttons.

One thing that defies explanation is the easy access driver’s seat. It slides back to let you get out of the car easily, great, it’s brilliant. However, the second you open the door to get in, it slides forward to the preprogrammed spot. Why couldn’t it wait a minute for you to get your bum between it and the steering wheel? That is what it’s for after all.

The drive is brilliant.

The AWD system, along with a bunch of electronics, pushes power from one end to the other, applies brakes, and tweaks engine power all to keep the occupants safe. This is Holden’s first AWD sedan, if you don’t count the 12-month stint as an Opel.

The ride is sensational considering the huge 20” wheels, but it tends to being a bit soft under heavy corning. There is an adjustable ride/steering/performance setting, but even under the VXR setting, it feels more sophisticated saloon than rampant race car. Despite a little body roll, the handling is agile and stays glued to the road.

The 2.8L turbo V6 petrol engine is built in Australia so one assumes we won’t have that after next year either. It puts out a decent 239kw/435Nm to the road through an excellent 6 speed auto via the intelligent AWD system with limited slip differential. There are and Brembo brakes, and the very strangely named HiPerStrut front end designed to give the driver increased control. Although this Insignia was released in 2008 overseas, it has been updated to keep it current.

When reversing, there is a camera to stop you from mowing down errant children, and cross traffic alert to warn you when a tradie’s ute is barreling down on you at warp 5 in the Bunnings carpark.

Sinking the boot in elicits a silky Michael Bublé tone overlaying the urgency of a rocket launch. It’s not neck snapping by any means, but it is definitely quick.

Conclusion:

I like Insignia very much. It has the look and feel of a quality European brand. It handles well and sounds divine. All the mod cons are present and accounted for. Even though a new model will be along any time, it represents good buying. Features like adaptive cruise control and automatic high beam would make road trips a worry-free experience. In traffic the Cruise control will bring the vehicle to a complete stop where others will cut out under 35kph.

It’s a shame the sales don’t reflect what an excellent vehicle this is.

Would I buy one? Yes, despite the steep drive-away price of $57,083

Price drive-away: $57.083

Engine: 2.8 turbo V6 petro, 6.3 0-100, 10.9L/100km

Insignia VXR’s impressive list of safety features includes:

 Auto headlamps

 Daytime running lamps (front and rear)

 Rear Cross Traffic, Side Blind Zone and Forward Collision Alert

 Lane departure warning

 Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

 Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

 Traction Control System (TCS)

 Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist

 Cornering Brake Control

 Hill start assist

 6 airbags (dual front, side and curtain)

 Break away brake pedal

 ISOFIX in three rear seating positions (max. two simultaneous)

 Front and rear parking sensors

 Tyre pressure monitoring system

 Driver set Speed Limiter

 Trailer Sway Control

INFOTAINMENT

Insignia VXR features Holden’s Next Generation MyLink Infotainment system as standard. Features include:

 8-inch colour touch screen

 AM/FM/DAB+ radio with RDS display

 Audio and phone streaming via Bluetooth (compatible devices)

 Voice recognition

 Phone integration

 Phone book support

 Bluetooth audio streaming, USB and auxiliary input jack

 Single CD player with MP3 capability

 Universal hands free with Bluetooth

2017 Nissan GTR

 

2017 Nissan GT-R

2017 Nissan GT-R2017 Nissan GT-R

2017 Nissan GT-R2017 Nissan GT-R

 

2017 Nissan GT-R makes world debut at NYIAS2017 Nissan GT-R gaycarboys (7)

2017 Nissan GT-R gaycarboys (8)

SPA FRANCHORCHAMPS, Belgium (26 May 2016) – Making its global debut at the New York International Auto Show this past March, the 2017 Nissan GT-R has been updated with an exciting new look both inside and out, as well as receiving major driving performance enhancements in key areas, which include a significantly reinforced chassis and more power from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter 24-valve V-6. The new GT-R is also more comfortable than ever before, with a new sense of elegance and civility that one would rarely find in such a high-performance super sports car. In all, these revisions represent the most significant changes made to the model since it was introduced in 2007.

DESIGN
Exterior
The new GT-R boasts a thoroughly refreshed exterior look that adds a high sense of style to what is already considered one of the most distinctive-looking sports cars in the marketplace. Highlighting the front of the car are a redesigned hood, front bumpers, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and a new matte chrome finish “V-motion” grille, which represents one of Nissan’s latest design signatures. This distinctive grille has been enlarged to increase airflow to cool the engine without causing any additional drag, and the refined shape blends smoothly with a new hood, whose structural rigidity has been increased.  By essentially eliminating hood deformation, testing has shown that the new hood design greatly improves aerodynamic performance at the front of the vehicle at high speed (200 km/h or more). 

In fact, nearly all of the visual changes made to the GT-R’s exterior were intended to improve aerodynamic performance; more specifically, enhanced aerodynamic efficiency in three key areas: downforce generation, drag reduction and improved cooling of vital vehicle systems. The goal was to maximize cooling airflow, while at the same time keeping aerodynamic drag in check (i.e. not increase drag in one area of the vehicle as a result of improving cooling performance/airflow in another).

In addition to the new grille and hood, the curving profile of the front under spoiler has been slightly extended and lowered by a few millimeters to improve airflow at the its lower edge. (The ground clearance of the previous model has been maintained.) Also, by reshaping the sill lip along the lower portions of the sides of the car, the amount of air being drawn underneath has been reduced, countering vehicle lift and improving stability. The C-pillars have also been redesigned, with the upper portion now shaped to deliver better airflow management by preventing the generation of a smaller vortex.

The rear of the new GT-R continues to be defined by its iconic round taillights, but look closely and you’ll notice a silver-finish diffuser and new side air vents that have been incorporated next to the quad titanium exhaust tips to improve the car’s aerodynamics. Also, the belt line that separates the lower black section from the body panel has been heightened to make the car look wider and more aggressive. The rear bumper section now incorporates the same design featured on the GT-R NISMO for better routing of air at the lower portion of the rear of the vehicle. This has also led to less interference between the exhaust gases exiting the tailpipes and airflow along the rear side portions of the bumper for improved heat evacuation.

Stylish new Y-spoke forged alloy wheels by RAYS have been redesigned for the 2017 GT-R that offer better wheel balance, lighter weight, and more strength and rigidity.

Interior
Featuring superbly crafted materials, the Nissan GT-R’s new interior delivers an unparalleled degree of comfort, luxury and everyday usability unlike any iteration before it. It’s obvious at first glance that the new cabin is more luxurious and upscale. Seamlessly wrapped in one continuous sheet of the highest quality optional Nappa leather, the new dashboard adopts a “horizontal flow” that delivers a sense of high stability for the car’s front-seat occupants, while the line from the instrument cluster to the centre console provides a distinct driver-oriented environment for those behind the steering wheel. In keeping with the all-out performance benchmarks for the GT-R, the layer of cushioned material found beneath the leather is a new thinner material to help keep overall weight down, while still providing the highest quality of texture. Also, the leather is artfully stitched together throughout the cabin by a master craftsman.

The centre dashboard layout has been improved and simplified, with the number of integrated navigation and audio controls reduced from 27 switches in the previous model to only 11 in the 2017 version. The navigation system controls and display have been placed slightly lower on the instrument panel for easier use and better forward visibility for both the driver and front passenger. Also, the redesigned navigation system layout has been improved, with the dials now machined from real aluminium alloy for better feel and operation. An enlarged 8-inch touch panel monitor features large icons on the display screen that allow the user to easily manage the audio system, navigation system, telephone controls and other infotainment. For the U.S., Canada and China market, a telematics services is also available. The icon layout can be fully customized by the user’s preferences, and a new Display command control on the carbon-fibre centre console allows easy operation without having to touch the monitor; a feature that comes in handy when traveling at high speed. 

Other convenient information features include the popular multi-function meter that allows the driver to customize the layout of important vehicle-specific performance parameters/information (including coolant temperature, engine oil temperature, engine oil pressure, transmission oil temperature, transmission oil pressure, turbocharger boost pressure, etc.).

Also, the paddle shifters have now been mounted directly to the newly designed steering wheel (as opposed to the steering column), which allows the driver to select gears of the 6-speed dual clutch transmission without having to take his hands off the wheel during mid-turn.

Reengineered to provide a more premium ride experience through improved comfort and support, the driver and front passenger seatbacks for the Premium and Pure models now feature reconfigured urethane foam within their bolsters for better torso support. This results in less slippage during spirited driving and reduced fatigue on long commutes. And, by reconfiguring the support wires within the seatback frame, the engineering team was able to reduce the weight of each seatback while simultaneously reducing pressure points upon the torso of both the driver and front passenger for a more relaxed seating position.

TECHNICAL
Twin-Turbocharged Engine
Output for the GT-R’s award-winning 3.8-liter V-6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine has been increased by 20 hp compared to last year’s model. It now delivers 419kW at 6800 rpm, thanks in part to an increase in boost pressure and an ignition-timing system that’s controlled at each individual cylinder—technology previously reserved for the GT-R NISMO. The new changes result in improved acceleration in the mid-range (3200 rpm and above) with maximum torque output available across a wider range of the powerband. Also like the GT-R NISMO, by more precisely controlling ignition-timing at each cylinder, engine knock (imprecise detonation) has been significantly reduced while concurrently enhancing environmental performance through a cleaner, more efficient fuel burn.

Dubbed the “VR38DETT,” the engine features plasma-sprayed bores (versus cast iron liners) for reduced friction, lighter weight, enhanced cooling, superior power output and fuel efficiency. It also boasts a symmetrical independent intake and exhaust manifold system with twin high-performance turbochargers; a secondary air management system for improved cold-start emissions performance; a thermostatically controlled oil-cooling system; an oil scavenger pump to maintain oil flowing to the turbochargers; and a lateral wet and dry sump oiling system. Each engine is hand-assembled from beginning to end in a special clean room by meticulously trained technicians. An aluminium plate is added to the front of each engine showing the name of the TAKUMI engine craftsman.

Also new is a titanium exhaust system that better manages the high temperatures of the exhaust gas from the engine. The system includes a NACA duct on the vehicle’s undertray just forward of the muffler, which guides air into the rear diffuser section to help cool the muffler and evacuate hot air from within this section of the vehicle.

Dual Clutch Transmission
The transmission shift-management control of the sequential 6-speed dual clutch transmission has been updated for better refinement and performance in a variety of driving situations. For example, when the vehicle begins moving from a standstill at a slow rate of acceleration, the gear shift change from 1st to 2nd gear is now much smoother than before.

With the previous GT-R, once the vehicle began moving from a standstill under light throttle, the engine torque would be reduced, which could in turn produce a somewhat sluggish response. For the 2017 GT-R, under similar circumstances, the engine torque is not reduced, helping to improve smoothness upon initial acceleration even under light throttle.

What’s more, the exhaust note is noticeably quieter for a more pleasant experience during normal every day driving. When driving in low-load conditions—such as on city streets or parking lots—the increased preciseness of the shift-actuator allows the transmission to operate more quietly.

ATTESA E-TS All-Wheel Drive
Engine power is transferred to all four wheels of the GT-R via the world’s first independent rear transaxle called the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system. During normal driving, the GT-R behaves like a rear-drive vehicle, with the torque split set at 0:100, but it can be adjusted up to 50:50 depending on speed, lateral acceleration, steering angle, tire slip, road surface and yaw rate. A special GT-R-specific yaw-rate feedback control measures the differences between the target yaw rate calculated from the steering angle and actual yaw rate detected by the yaw-rate sensor and G sensor, and adjusts the torque bias accordingly. The GT-R’s Premium Midship Platform layout places the transmission, transfer case and final drive at the rear of the vehicle, without the use of traditional torque tubes, allowing the suspension to operate independently and optimizing weight distribution and maximizing tire grip at each corner.

Body & Chassis Development
For 2017, the handling capabilities and athletic performance of the new GT-R has been taken to another level, thanks to a refined suspension system and a more rigid body structure that results in improved handling and better overall vehicle stability.

Intensive engineering updates around the windshield frame, which is housed within the A-pillars, have increased the structural rigidity of the GT-R’s front end, resulting in reduced deformation and crisper turn-in response. Reinforcements around the trunk have resulted in an increase in stiffness at the rear of the car. As a result, the rigidity levels at the front and rear of the car are more uniform, resulting in a better balanced chassis.

The GT-R’s special Bilstein® DampTronic driver-adjustable shock-absorber system—which utilizes information from multiple vehicle systems to provide appropriate damping forces and high level of control for a variety of driving situations—has been enhanced by way of a new valve housing that reduces resistance losses. Also, rigid attachment points for the suspension system enhances cornering stability and turning response by allowing all of the wheels to be placed under even a greater load while maintaining optimal contact with the road surface.

Like the previous model, the DampTronic system features three driver selectable settings: Normal; Comfort, for maximum suspension compliance; or R. The same three-stage adjustability is also available for the VDC system and transmission shift operation. For 2017, the “R” and “Comfort” settings now offer the driver enhanced sportiness and a smoother ride quality. Because of the increase in structural rigidity, the “R” mode now enables the vehicle to achieve the same yaw rate with reduced steering angle for a crisper, more communicative steering response, while the “Comfort” suspension setting produces less vertical G-loading in testing when compared to the “Normal” suspension setting.

And, speaking of steering, the GT-R’s system—a speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion design with aluminium steering rack, four-point mounting and stiff insulators—possesses sharper response during spirited driving, with reduced effort for around-the-town commutes and exceptional feedback on the open highway.

At the test track, the new GT-R demonstrated its awesome cornering prowess by going four percent faster through the slalom than the previous model. Also, its straight-line stability at high speed (250 km/h) has been greatly enhanced while requiring less steering correction and inputs; tests revealed a steering correction decrease versus last year’s model.

Stopping power is provided by Brembo® monoblock six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers with 15.35-inch front and 15.0-inch rear Brembo® full-floating, cross-drilled two-piece rotors and low-steel, high-stiffness brake pads that minimize fade and provide intense stopping performance. The calipers utilize race car-style radial mounting to minimise caliper flex during extreme braking.

With its enhanced body/chassis structural rigidity, more efficient suspension system, and fitment of tires with improved lateral stiffness, the 2017 Nissan GT-R rewards the driver with better handling capability, increased vehicle stability and a more comfortable ride than ever before.

Improved Sound Quality with Reduced Noise/Vibration/Harshness (NVH)
By removing unwanted noise while concurrently augmenting the welcome sounds that please the ear—specifically the pulse-quickening sounds coming from the GT-R’s free-flowing quad-exhaust—the new GT-R invigorates the senses like never before, while maintaining a much quieter cabin at cruising speeds.

The Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system identifies and reduces unwanted low-frequency sounds by using strategically placed microphones within the cabin and using a sound wave at the same amplitude through noise cancellation speakers to mask unwanted sounds. Improved sound absorption material behind the instrument panel, an acoustic windshield, a dashboard insulator and noise insulators housed within the rear fenders have been engineered to act as countermeasures to remove undesirable noise from both the engine compartment as well as the rear tires. Additionally, the electronic control valve housed within the new titanium exhaust helps to control muffler resonance, which could otherwise create an unwanted “booming” sound from the exhaust system; ANC and the exhaust’s electronic control valve essentially eliminate this issue by controlling such unwanted low frequency sound.

Also, thanks to the fitment of new titanium mufflers with an electronic control valve, Active Sound Enhancement (ASE) brings the engine’s power directly into the cabin. ASE defines the sound frequency and volume of specific targets (such as the exhaust note) while simultaneously comparing it to pertinent information including engine speed and other key vehicle parameters. It processes the sound signal through the audio system’s amplifier, then releases it into the passenger compartment through the speakers.

The driver can vary the sound control capability through the different vehicle mode settings—Normal, Comfort and R. Also, an exhaust sound control switch allows for a quieter engine start. By pressing the exhaust sound control switch prior to engine start, this will close the electronic valve within the exhaust system for more quiet operation at engine startup and continue for a brief time while the vehicle is driven with the engine running at low rpms. There is a 10 dB difference between having the electronic valve within the exhaust system closed and opened—a substantial difference in volumetric sound quality to the human ear.

SAFETY TECHNOLOGY
Along with the increased structural rigidity of the platform that aids with occupant protection, standard safety items included on every new 2017 Nissan GT-R consist of the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) that features dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensors that can vary the rate of air bag inflation based upon seatbelt usage and crash severity; a pair of side-impact supplemental air bags that are integrated into the front seats so that they move with the driver/front passenger as the seating position is adjusted; roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags; energy-absorbing steering column; and LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) to properly secure LATCH-compatible child restraints without having to use the seatbelts.

Other standard safety technologies include Advanced Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) stability control system with three driver-selectable modes (Normal, R-Mode, Off), Electronic Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), RearView Monitor, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and automatic on/off headlights.  

HERITAGE
Originally ushered into the Japanese auto manufacturer’s model lineup as a flagship vehicle to demonstrate the company’s advanced automotive technologies and performance capabilities, the Nissan Skyline GT-R has become a revered fixture in not only the global automotive enthusiast community but has transcended the car world to become an icon in popular culture through blockbuster motion pictures as well as video games.

First Generation (1969-1972)
After making its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in the fall of 1968, a production version of the all-new GT-R was introduced to the public in February 1969. Beneath the hood of this new model was the S20 powerplant, derived from a high-performance DOHC 24-valve engine of the R380. Capturing its first overall race victory at the 1969 JAF Grand Prix, this first generation GT-R was well known for its 0-400 m time of 16.1 seconds and a top speed of 200 km/h.

Specifications:
Length/width/height:           4395/1610 /1385 mm
Wheelbase:                       2640 mm
Track (front/rear):             1370/1365 mm
Weight:                            1120 kg
Engine:                             S20 (inline 6-cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder)
Maximum power:               118 kW (160 PS) at 7000 rpm
Maximum torque:               177 Nm (18.0 kgm) at 5600 rpm   
Suspension:                      strut/semi-trailing arm
Brakes (front/rear):           disc/drum
Tyres (front/rear):             6.45-14-4PR

Technology Highlights:
•        World’s first mass-produced four-valve DOHC engine.
•        High-performance technology/features include variable ratio steering, MacPherson strut front suspension, semi-trailing arm rear suspension, limited slip differential (LSD), full bucket seats, 100-litrefuel tank.

Motorsports Highlight:
•        Scored 52 career race victories in Japanese touring car competition, including a miraculous 49 consecutive victories.

Second Generation (1973)
Launched in November 1972, the second generation GT-R became available to the public in January of the following year. Powered by a 24-valve DOHC inline 6-cylinder engine (S20), it was one of the first Japanese cars to include disc brakes at all four wheels. Its advanced engineering endowed it with spirited performance, making it very popular with enthusiast drivers. However, production was halted after only approximately 200 units when much stricter exhaust emission regulations were introduced in its home market.
With its excellent performance, beautifully sculpted exterior body lines and ultra-low production volume, the second generation GT-R has become a much sought after and prized collector car.

Specifications:
Length/width/height:           4460/1695/1380 mm
Wheelbase:                       2610 mm
Track (front/rear):             1395/1375 mm
Weight:                            1145 kg
Engine:                             S20 (1,198 cc inline 6-cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder)
Maximum power:               118 kW (160 PS) at 7000 rpm
Maximum torque:               177 Nm (18.0 kgm) at 5600 rpm   
Suspension:                      strut/semi-trailing arm
Brakes (front/rear):           disc/disc
Tyres (front/rear):             175-HR14

Technology Highlights:
•        High-performance technological features include 24-valve DOHC engine, full transistor igniter, double roller-type timing chain, variable ratio steering, MacPherson strut front suspension, semi-trailing arm rear suspension, limited slip differential (LSD), full bucket seats.

Third Generation (1989-1994), R32
The GT-R model was revived after a 16-year absence 1989. Known as the R32, it was powered by a 2.6-liter DOHC inline 6-cylinder engine (RB26DETT) that produced 280 PS, this was the first GT-R model that incorporated the now trademark all-wheel drive (the previous generations were rear-wheel drive vehicles).
With its sophisticated electronically-controlled ATTESA E-TS and multilink suspension, the third generation GT-R holds the envious distinction of winning every single race it entered in the All-Japan Touring Car Championship.

Specifications:
Length/width/height:           4545/1755/1340 mm
Wheelbase:                       2615 mm
Track (front/rear):             1480/1480 mm
Weight:                            1430 kg
Engine:                             RB26DETT (2.6-liter inline 6-cylinder, DOHC)
Maximum power:               206 kW (280 PS) at 6800 rpm
Maximum torque:               353 Nm (36.0 kgm) at 4400 rpm   
Suspension (front/rear):      multilink/multilink
Brakes (front/rear):           ventilated disc/ventilated disc
Tyres (front/rear):             225-50-R16 92V

Technology Highlights:
•        High-performance technology/features include 2.6-liter DOHC engine, ATTESA E-TS/4WD system and front and rear multilink suspension.
Motorsport Highlights:
•        Remained undefeated with 29 consecutive wins from 1990 to 1993 in the All-Japan Touring Car Championship
•        Winner of the 1990 Nürburgring 24 Hours and Spa Franchorchamps 24 Hours
•        Winner of the 1991 Spa Franchorchamps 24 Hours
•        Victorious in the 1991 and 1992 Bathurst 1000

Fourth Generation (1995-1998), R33
Although slightly larger and heavier than the previous generation model, the fourth generation GT-R, dubbed the R33, quickly distinguished itself with improved stability by way of better weight distribution, a much stiffer body structure, improved traction control and outright faster speed. In fact, it set a lap time on the famed Nürburgring Old Course (‘Nordschliefe’) of 7 minutes 59 seconds—a remarkable 21 seconds faster than the R32.

Specifications:
Length/width/height:           4675/1780/1360 mm
Wheelbase:                       2720 mm
Track (front/rear):             1480/1490 mm
Weight:                            1540 kg
Engine:                             RB26DETT (2.6-liter inline 6-cylinder, DOHC)
Maximum power:               206 kW (280 PS) at 6800 rpm
Maximum torque:               368 Nm (37.5 kgm) at 4400 rpm   
Suspension (front/rear):      multilink/multilink
Brakes (front/rear):           ventilated disc/ventilated disc
Tyres (front/rear):             245/45ZR17

Technology Highlights:
•        High-performance technological features include enhanced aerodynamics and a strengthened body with reduced weight for a lower center of gravity/improved weight distribution.

Motorsport Highlights:
•        1998 Japan GT Championship GT 500 title winner
•        Finished 10th overall in the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours
•        Finished fifteenth overall in the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hours

Fifth Generation (1999-2002), R34
The R34 GT-R was the last version of Nissan’s flagship supercar powered by the RB26DETT engine and featuring the ATTESA E-TS 4WD system. Thanks to increased structural rigidity for the platform as well as being dimensionally more compact than its predecessor (the R34’s wheelbase was 55 mm shorter than that of the R33 model), the fifth generation GT-R demonstrated even better handling prowess and performance. Improved aerodynamics, including a new underbody design that generated significantly more downforce, greatly aided this muscular-looking GT-R’s athleticism.

Specifications:
Length/width/height:           4600/1785/1360 mm
Wheelbase:                       2665 mm
Track (front/rear):             1480/1490 mm
Weight:                            1560 kg
Engine:                             RB26DETT (2.6-liter inline 6-cylinder, DOHC)
Maximum power:               206 kW (280 PS) at 6800 rpm
Maximum torque:               392 Nm (37.5 kgm) at 4400 rpm   
Suspension (front/rear):      multilink/multilink
Brakes (front/rear):           ventilated disc/ventilated disc
Tyres (front/rear):             245/40ZR18

Technology Highlights:
•        High-performance technology/features include strengthened body structure, increased engine torque, limited slip differential and the fitment of a 6-speed transmission for the first time.

Motorsport Highlights:
•        2001 Japan GT Championship GT500 title winner
•        Finished 5th overall in the 2002 Nürburgring 24 Hours
•        Finished 5th overall and class champion in the 2004 Nürburgring 24 Hours

Sixth Generation (2007-Present), R35
First unveiled to the public as a GT-R concept car at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show with the production car version making its debut at its home market show exactly two years later, Nissan’s iconic high-performance flagship model remained true to its roots by offering exhilarating handling and performance through the latest high-tech automotive technology. Now accompanying the GT-R’s signature four round taillights were a highly potent twin-turbocharged V-6 engine (in place of the former straight-6) and a technologically advanced road-grabbing all-wheel drive wrapped up in a thoroughly modern exterior design that looked as sleek as it did muscular.

Technology Highlights:
•        High-performance technology/features include twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 engine, plasma-transferred wire arc sprayed cylinder liners, sequential shift 6-speed dual clutch transmission with paddle shifters, highly advanced ATTESA E-TS 4WD/Nissan’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC-R) systems.

Motorsport Highlights:
•        2011 Super GT GT 500 Champion
•        2012 Super GT GT 500 Champion
•        2015 Blancpain Endurance Series Champion
•        2015 Super GT GT 500 / GT300 Series Champion
•        Winner of the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour

NISSAN GT-R (R35)  technical data

MODEL

Body type

2 door Coupe for EUROPE

Available edition

Premium Edition, Black Edition, Track Edition

Seating capacity

persons

4

ENGINE

Engine code

VR38DETT

No. of cylinders, configuration

V6 twin turbo

Valves per cylinder

4

Cam design

DOHC continuously variable valve timing

Engine capacity

cm³

3799

Bore x stroke

mm

95.5×88.4

Max. engine power 1)

kW/min-1

419kW (570ps/565hp) @6800rpm

Max. torque  1)

Nm/min-1

637Nm@3300to5800rpm (467 lb-ft )

Compression ratio

9.0

Fuel type

Recommendation is 100 RON. Performances are reached with RON 100.  98RON may be used but performance is slightly reduced.

Ignition system

Nissan Direct Ignition System

Fuel supply

Multi Point Injection

Emissions Certification Level

Eur6b

Emission control system

3-way catalyst and secondary air injection system

DRIVE TRAIN

Drive configuration

Independent transaxle 4WD

Transmission

GR6 dual clutch transmission

Gear ratio                           1st 

4.056

2nd

2.031

3rd

1.595

4th

1.248

5th

1.001

6th

0.796

Reverse

3.383

Final drive ratio (front / rear)

2.937 / 3.700

Limited slip differential

1.5Way Mechanical LSD

CHASSIS

Suspension  front

Double-wishbone with aluminum (forged) upper links and lower arms

Suspension rear

Multi-link with aluminum (forged) upper links

Shock absorbers front

Bilstein DampTronic

Shock absorbers rear

Bilstein DampTronic

Steering

Electronically controlled rack & pinion with vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist

Steering turns – lock to lock

2.4

Brakes

Ventilated  discs with opposed and cast aluminum caliper (6 pistons for front and 4 pistons for rear)

Front brakes diameter and thickness

mm

390 x 32.6mm

Rear brakes diameter and thickness

mm

380 x 30mm

Wheel and tyre size

255/40 ZRF20 (front), 285/35 ZRF20 (rear) / 20″x9.5″(front), 20″x10.5″(rear)

WEIGHTS & DIMENSIONS

Kerb weight min. 2)

Kg

1752

Weight distribution (front / rear)

%

–/–

Gross Vehicle Weight (PTW)

Kg

2200

Max. axle weight (PAW) front

Kg

1080

Max. axle weight (PAW) rear

Kg

1165

Overall length

mm

4710

Overall width

mm

1895

Overall height

mm

1370

Wheelbase

mm

2780

Track width (front)

mm

1590

Track width (rear)

mm

1600

Turning circle (wall to wall)

m

12.2

Coefficient of drag (cd)

0.26

Minimum ground clearance

mm

105

Luggage space – min. length / max. length

mm

695 / 840

                          – min. width / max. width

mm

795 / 1470

                          – min. height / max. height

mm

430 / 520

Luggage capacity (VDA)

l

315

Fuel tank capacity

l

74

PERFORMANCE

Fuel consumption 3)

      Urban cycle

l/100 km

17

      Extra-urban

l/100 km

9

      Combined

l/100 km

12

      CO2 mass emission

g/km

275

Max. speed

KPH

315

About Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 244,500 employees globally, Nissan sold 5.32 million vehicles and generated revenue of 11.38 trillion yen (USD 103.6 billion) in fiscal 2014. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. Nissan leads the world in zero-emission mobility, dominated by sales of the LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle. It is the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.

Rolls Royce and the Porto Cervo

rolls royce heralds gaycarboys

In the heart of Porto Cervo, a discrete enclave, first envisioned in the 1960s by His Highness the Aga Khan, welcomes the world’s elite. Whilst they are there, patrons of true luxury are invited to a Summer Studio, created by the world’s most celebrated super-luxury house to entertain and delight, as they frequent the enchanting island of Sardinia this summer.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will once again open their Summer Studio this June, a moment that has come to herald the start of the International Summer Season in Porto Cervo. Until September, a hub of society, culture and fine living will centre on the Studio, designed to encapsulate and savour the art of true luxury, which is Rolls-Royce.
Discerning inhabitants of an array of exquisite super yachts will alight onto the shores, looking to absorb and engage in the rich culture offered by the Costa Smeralda. Here they will find a highly contemporary space, secreted into the walls of the Promenade Du Port, where Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will reside for the forthcoming summer months.
By day, guests meander the arresting roads of the tranquil island, able to experience Dawn, the marque’s newest and most social Drophead Coupé ever created. By night, guests return to a social throng of activities and, invigorated by the upbeat atmosphere, they will revel in exclusive gatherings, curated to enlighten and inform, in the company of fellow connoisseurs of true luxury.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented, “Connoisseurs of true luxury are seeking an unforgettable experience in their pursuit of perfection. Rolls-Royce understands this as one of the tenets of true luxury and offers to enrich the lives of our customers and acquaintances by hosting a summer-long Rolls-Royce Studio in one of the most social enclaves in the Mediterranean. The worlds of fashion, art and design collide to create an ambient atmosphere which embodies the spirit of Rolls-Royce.”
The Rolls-Royce Summer Studio in Porto Cervo will be open between June and September 2016.

HSV’s last models with the 340kw LS3 V8

LS3-Limited-Editions_full

 

Australia’s leading performance car manufacturer, HSV, today announced that it will build three limited edition models in 2016 – the very last vehicles ever to feature HSV’s acclaimed 340kW, 6.2 Litre LS3 V8 power-plant.

HSV has not featured its LS3 engine in either of its ClubSport or Maloo models since the release of its MY16 range last October, but its re-introduction will see HSV expand its performance car range even further with limited edition models that offer performance enthusiasts unrivalled value and a “final buy” opportunity.

The first limited edition model to be offered will be “SV Black”, to be available in both ClubSport R8 and Maloo R8 guise.

HSV first offered a limited edition SV Black range back in 2011, and this new model is sure to emulate that success.

Styling is based off the current supercharged ClubSport R8 LSA and Maloo R8 LSA models with unique SV Black features including Satin Black 20” alloy wheels, black AP Racing forged 4-piston brake calipers, black door surrounds and lower door accenting, shadow-chrome exhaust tips and distinctive black badging.

The interior, too, mirrors the supercharged models but with leather-clad sports bucket seats and unique sill and I.D. plates.

With production due to commence in June, Recommended Retail Prices will start at $62,990 for the Maloo R8 SV Black and $65,990 for the ClubSport R8 SV Black.

“These SV Black models represent the very essence of HSV – great value performance cars. They will, quite simply, be the best value limited editions we’ve ever offered”, said HSV’s Managing Director, Tim Jackson.

Two further and final LS3 limited edition models will follow in September with the launch of both “Grange SV” and the race-inspired ClubSport R8 “Track Edition”.

Grange has long been Australia’s ultimate performance limousine and HSV will be building just 50 limited edition Grange SV’s as a final tribute to the nameplate that will cease production at the end of October.

Building on its already impressive list of standard features including its 340kW, LS3 V8 engine, Luxury seats in Onyx leather trim, Magnetic Ride Control suspension and a raft

of driver-focused technologies, Grange SV will also feature 20” SV Rapier Gloss Black forged alloy wheels with black AP Racing forged 4-piston brake calipers, shadow-chrome exhaust tips plus distinctive black accenting on the grille surround, driving light bezels, fender vents, mirror scalps, lower air in-take surround, boot-lid applique’, door mouldings and badges. With unique I.D. and sill plates, and each vehicle individually numbered, the vehicle’s exclusivity is assured.

With Recommended Retail Pricing to remain unchanged at $86,990, Grange SV, too, will represent outstanding value.

“For almost 20 years, Grange has stood proudly as the long-wheel-base flagship of the HSV range; built to order for a very exclusive customer base. It is a fitting tribute that the last 50 Grange’s ever to be built will carry the exclusive “SV” moniker”, Jackson said.

And finally, the last of HSV’s “LS3” limited edition models, the ClubSport R8 Track Edition, is sure to inspire true motor-sport enthusiasts.

As with the ClubSport R8 SV Black, styling of the ClubSport R8 Track Edition will be based off its supercharged counter-part but with limited edition content including 20” “Blade” forged alloy wheels and yellow AP Racing forged 6-piston brake calipers, both, until now, the sole domain of HSV’s iconic GTS.

The vehicle’s track credentials are further enhanced with upgrades to its performance suspension. Spring and damper rates have been stiffened to reduce body-roll and further improve corner-entry response, while a Hyperflow Performance spoiler and suede-covered sports profile steering wheel further accentuate its track bias.

Unique branding on the I.D. plate and the sill plates add to the exclusivity.

With Recommended Retail Pricing to start from just $68,990, and with production to be limited to only 150 vehicles (plus 6 for New Zealand), the Company expects all vehicles to be snapped up well in advance of their build.

“Given the unique track-inspired content, the sharp pricing and the fact that these will be the last LS3 ClubSport R8’s ever built, we’re anticipating strong demand”, Jackson said.

“With all three limited edition models, our focus has been on building vehicles that offer outstanding levels of content, exclusivity and value. We’re confident we’ve delivered on all counts and that our fan base will be eager to capitalise on this last opportunity to buy an LS3-powered HSV, especially at these prices”, he said.

The LS3 V8 engine was first introduced to the HSV range with the E Series in 2008.

Kia gives Cerato a quick nip/tuck: we take it to the Hunter Valley

2017 Kia Cerato

2017 Kia Cerato2017 Kia Cerato

2017 Kia Cerato2017 Kia Cerato

2017 Kia Cerato2017 Kia Cerato

2017 Kia Cerato2017 Kia Cerato

2017 Kia Cerato2017 Kia Cerato

Midlife refreshes are essential in the 6 to 8 year life of the model life of a car. It keeps it relevant to the market where dog-eat-dog is the norm, an auto-maker must keep an eye on the competition because the buyers are ruthless.

The design centre in Irvine, California, was responsible for the styling changes. There are updates to the front end lights and grille, as well as the tail lights on the sedan. Underneath there is steering, suspension and damper changes. In addition to the styling changes there is a new 7” touch screen infotainment system and a host of electronic safety gizmos.

Cerato retains the choice of sedan or hatch in 4 grades (S, S Premium, Si and SLi). Kia’s clever marketing department says, “we want to have vehicles at a drive-away price of $14,990, $16,990, and $19,990”. Since all Kias have 7-year warranty/capped price service/roadside assistance as standard, this is excellent value.

The S is $19,990, S Premium $24,990 (automatic), Si $28,990, and the range-topping SLi is $32,490 and all Kia pricing is Drive Away and all have the same 2.0L petrol engine.

Kia submitted the changes to ANCAP for their evaluation, and since structural changes occurred, Cerato’s 5 star ANCAP safety rating remains intact.

Of course everyone wants the top model of a range, but sometimes the wallet won’t stretch that far. So, depending on the model, you can have lane departure warning, Blind Spot Warning, heated and cooled driver’s seat, collision warning, a reversing camera with the new 7” touch screen infotainment system, and more. Android Auto is included, but Apple Carplay will be available by software update once licensing issues and been resolved. There is no Autonomous Emergency Braking as yet.

The entry level “S” model is the only one in the range not to get the 7” infotainment system as standard. The S manual can’t have the upgrade, but for $500, the auto will get the 7” screen, reverse camera, and auto headlights.

Graham Gambould, Kia’s mechanical whiz, has made changes to steering and suspension. The dampers have fancy new valves, which along with the new springs, improve the handling and ride. I didn’t drive the pre-update model so I’ll have to take Graham’s word for it. He is not given to exaggerating

Steering has a column-mounted electric motor with a new 32bit control unit. This allows greater flexibility for local tuning. This upgrades also brings steering mode selection (in the automatic cars only) of Normal, Eco and Sport, though I’m not sure what Eco steering actually means.

The engine has been changed to a Euro 4 multi-point injection from the direct injection of the pre-update model. The 112kw/192Nm output is modest, but the eager unit does the job happily while getting 7.1L/100k. Surprisingly, the petrol 2.0L engine is the only option for Cerato. Is this a reflection of how price sensitive producing a C segment car can be?

The C segment has a lot of competition from the likes of Ford Focus, VW Golf, Honda Civic to name but a few, and this is a segment where Kia competes well.

On the road, the Cerato feels competent. Road tests have a habit of rattling those minor deficiencies loose, but Cerato did pretty well. The 6 speed auto does a nice job of keeping up a cracking pace without making the zingy little engine scream for mercy. We covered around 500k or thereabouts. It coped well with the bends through Wiseman’s Ferry on route to the Hunter Valley. Launches normally take place where the auto maker thinks the car will be shown in a surrounding befitting its purpose. We are to imagine a buyer sneaking away for a quiet weekend out of town, and I had no trouble seeing the boot packed with bags, blankets and bottles of booze on a winery excursion.

On the highway, the steering had a tendency to like travelling in a straight line, but needed small corrections which had a certain notchiness to it. Although much work had been done with steering calibration, it still doesn’t feel to have the same agile smoothness of some of its competitors.

Conclusion:

I like the looks very much. The lines are smooth and the coupe styling feels modern without being polarising. Some brands make the mistake of being outrageous to catch buyers but only succeed in turning others away. Cerato may not be cutting edge but does make a good value for money argument.

The interior styling has improved with the small changes to door and dash coverings but it doesn’t have the same feel as the fabulous Sorrento and Sportage, or the elegant Optima. No doubt this will come with the brand New Cerato in a couple of years’ time. The product manager is the person in charge of what is included in the various packages of a particular model, and at Kia, that man is Roland Rivaro. He laisses with Korea to get as much as he can in Australian cars at a given price. It’s good to see that the company is genuinely keen to give the best level of tech value for a buyer’s dollar. He is enthusiastic about his brand and that kind of keenness is infectious.

Cerato is currently 6th in the segment with Kia aiming for to 5th. Will they do it with the updated Cersto?

Would I buy one? My favourite Kia is the Fab Sportage.

Holden’s SV6 Commodore Wagon: an SUV alternative.

 

Commodore VF II gaycarboys (2)

Commodore VF II gaycarboys (3)Commodore VF II gaycarboys (1)

Since the government killed off local manufacturing, Holden and Ford have made their final local models sparkle.

Commodore comes loaded with techy gear even in the second bottom model. In wagon guise, the SV6 is handsome, spacious and a great drive.

The aging Australian-built 3.6 Alloytech 210kw V6 also powers other GM models such as Cadillac XTS, Chevy’s Colorado and Impala, and the GMC terrain, as well as a host of previous models. A turbo 2.8 version powers Holden’s Insignia VXR and the last and best SAAB 9-5 Aero. A new Insignia will probably be the new Commodore post 2017. A recent trip to Lang Lang, Holden’s super-dooper-secret-squirrel test facility proved the new models were under evaluation. They secreted all the good stuff and taped up our cameras and phones. They also even canned photos taken just outside the fence in a fit of paranoia. So make of that what you will.

The 6 speed auto feels a cog or two short of expectation and although very smooth, can feel a bit slushy around town. The V8 models have a newer 6 speed auto.

Fuel savings came from the Zeta platform being given a once over. The VF body shell and electrics were made lighter, so it meant such goodies as the auto parking and sensors could be added cheaply. The prices had a dramatic fall from the VE model too. The VFII had a few minor updates including Apple Carplay in the MyLink 2 entertainment system.

The SV6 gets: colour head-up display, auto parking, parking sensors, reversing camera with cross traffic alert, Satnav, blind spot alert, keyless entry/start, Siri Eyes-free and much more all for $38,990 (sedan) on the current special “End Of Financial Year Offer. That’s a stunning price for a full sized 5 seat V6 saloon with a 6 speed auto. Satnav alone was once a ludicrous $4,500 option on some brands. Even the gorgeously ball-rattling SSV-Redline with 302 kw is a mere $62,018 (sedan). There is little point in going into pricing too much because of the huge savings and special offers. The SV6 Wagon costs $45,413 which is quite a bit more than the sedan, so buy the sedan if you can’t find the extra bucks.

Cosmetic changes to the grille and a sexy LED makeover for the tail lights look even more scrumptious.

The sporty types, for whom only rear wheel drives will do, will want to place an order prior to next year. If the new Commodore is the Next Insignia, you’ll find only Front wheel drive on all models except for the VXR which is AWD.

Driving the wagon is an easy low-stress experience. The big lazy V6 just does its own thing while getting about 15/L100k in town. Don’t believe any of that tosh about 9.L/100k because if you only go to the shops and back, the 9L/100k is just a dream. The only drawback is that fact that your prized chariot sounds a little like a taxi.

This is probably the best Commodore range since the nameplate began in 1978. It is certainly the most technically advanced. The exterior is classy but very conservative. The interior is elegant with a top draw feel about it.

The wagon has a soft close tailgate. Just gently push it down and a little motor does the last few millimeters so you don’t need to slam it, ever.

The drive is as elegant as ever. You could comfortably do a road trip of several thousand k’s without batting an eyelid. While on the highway you’ll get about 7L/100k so your 71 litre tank should theoretically get you to Melbourne from Sydney on a single tank, but I’d be slightly skeptical.

The cargo hold is spacious with 895L seats up, and a ball-room-like 2,000L with the rear seats down.

Somehow the humble “wagon” has fallen out of favour even though Holden glued the word “sports” to the front of it. Buyers have been courted by the lure SUVs who seem to be able to park and drive anywhere they like. Suddenly, 5’2” soccer-moms think that a car double their height is just the ticket and that wearing sunglass the size of dinner planes gives them unfettered permission to park over the lines in shopping centres, triple park on highways as long as it is in a school zone, and to use footpaths as another lane when traffic is bad. An SV6 wagon is much more attractive than most SUVs, and is cheaper to buy and cheaper to run.

Perhaps a decent diesel or torquey turbo 4 could have saved Commodore. Maybe an 8 speed auto would have made it seem more up to date, but either way this is the last update before the rear wheel drive bites the dust. No amount of review-reading replaces the feeling of a test drive. Tell the man at the car shop that you want a decent drive. Tell him you’re ready to buy but that you won’t spend 40 grand based on this 300 metres around the block nonsense. There may even be further savings to be had next month, who knows?

If I can leave you with one thought, it is this: Where else can you get a 4 – 5 seater with a powerful auto V6, that drives like a limo and has Euro-style tech? Where else can you get automated parking and keyless entry/start in a package with seats so comfy, you could drive the Pacific Coast just for the hell of it? I might sound misty, but Commodore has been an old mate for 38 years and saying goodbye is hard. Just as it comes of age, it’s gone, but not quite yet.