Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hennessey's 2013 Camaro ZL1 HPE700 Dyno'd and Track Tested

As fast as the regular Camaro ZL1 may be (actually, it's the fastest and most powerful series-production Camaro ever built), there's one company that believers there's always room for improvement: Hennessey Performance.
The Texas-based tuner offers four different packages for the 580hp Camaro ZL1 named HPE650, HPE700, HPE800 and HPE1000, with the numbers (approximately) representing the output of the car's 6.2-liter supercharged V8.
In Hennessey Performance's latest video, the founder of the company, John Hennessey, took some time off to show us the 2013 Camaro ZL1 with the HPE700 package that boosts the V8's grunt to 707bhp at 6,300 rpm on the crank in action.
There's also a second clip featuring the same manual gearbox model on the dyno, where it managed to spin the rollers at 678-horses and 601 lb-ft of peak torque at the rear wheels.


BBR Launches New Supercharger Conversions for Mazda MX-5 Mk3 Increasing Output Up To 258HP

Monday, October 08, 2012Categories:BBR,Mazda,Mazda MX-5 / Miata,Tuning |
Mazda aficionados, especially those interested in tuning upgrades, are more than likely aware of BBR (Brodie Britain Racing), which has been tinkering MX-5 roadsters for quite some time now.

The UK-based company has added two new versions for the 2005-onwards MX-5s, aka Mk3/3.5, with 1.8- and 2.0-liter engines.

BBR has been developing its Cosworth-based supercharger for the past 12 months in order to perfect the upgrade kit for all different variants of the third-generation MX-5. In addition, BBR has also replaced the “piggy back” Interceptor engine control unit with a Starchip-developed remap.

The tuner's offerings start with the Stage One kit that includes, among other things, an Eaton 4th generation MP62 Supercharger, an intercooler, StarChip ECU, high flow calibrated injectors and replacement air box.

It brings the 1.8-liter engine's output to 217 bhp and its torque to 176 lb-ft (238 Nm), an increase of 93 bhp and 53 lb-ft (72 Nm) respectively compared to the stock Mazda engine.

The 2.0-liter unit gains 77 bhp in Mk3 and 83 bhp in the higher-revving Mk3.5 models, as well as 51 lb-ft (69 Nm) increase in both models, bringing output to 235 bhp and 241 bhp respectively.

MX-5 owners looking for more performance can opt for the Stage Two conversion, which in addition to the parts mentioned above, includes a new exhaust system, a performance air filter and a more aggressive tune for the ECU.

With the Stage 2 kit, output climbs by an impressive 107 bhp in the 1.8-liter engine, to 231 bhp and by 94 and 100 bhp in the 2.0-liter Mk3 and Mk3.5 versions, to 252 and 258 bhp respectively. Torque increases by 67 and 69 lb-ft (91 and 93 Nm) for the 1.8 and 2.0 engines.

The BBR-Cosworth upgrades are readily available with the Stage One kit priced at £4,995 (US$8,005) excluding VAT and the export DIY kit at £4,295 (US$6,884).

Stage Two costs £6,395 (US$10,250) excluding VAT, when fitted at the tuner's UK factory, while the export kit is more affordable at £5,455 (US$8,743).

By Andrew Tsaousis

Volvo UK Puts a Price Tag on New V40 R-Design and Cross Country Models

Tuesday, October 09, 2012Categories:New Cars,UK,Volvo,Volvo V40 |
Following their recent world premiere at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September, Volvo UK has confirmed pricing and specifications for the new additions to the range of its V40 premium hatchback, the sporty R-Design and tall riding Cross Country models.
Both models are available to order now with first customer deliveries to arrive in Britain in January next year.
Beginning with the V40 Cross Country, on-the-road prices start from £22,595 for the 113bhp (115PS) front wheel drive and diesel-powered D2 SE rising to £33,875 for the 251bhp (254PS) T5 Geartronic Cross Country Lux Nav with All-Wheel Drive (the only AWD model in the range).
All base Cross Country SE models offer autofolding door mirrors with ground lights and black mirror covers, 16-inch alloy wheels, rain sensor, tread plates and silver roof rails as standard.
Moving up to the Cross Country Lux versions adds leather-faced upholstery, active bending xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED day-running lights, rear reading and theatre lighting.
The other new model in the V40's range is the R-Design, which spruces up the hatchback's appearance with a styling package that includes, among other things, re-profiled bumpers, rear diffuser, 17-inch wheels, silver matt door mirrors, unique upholstery and trim.
Volvo also offers a "Lux" version of the R-Design grade that complements the standard specification with leather-faced R-Design embossed seats, active bending xenon headlights with cleaning system, rain sensor, cruise control, keyless start and rear theatre lighting.
Prices for the V40 R-Design start from £22,295 for the 113bhp (115PS) D2 and top out at £31,390 for the petrol engine-powered 251bhp (254PS) T5 Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav.


BMW Group Reports Best Ever September Sales with Close to 180,000 Deliveries

Tuesday, October 09, 2012Categories:BMW,MINI,Reports,Rolls Royce |
On Tuesday, the BMW Group, which includes the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, released details of sales for the month of September.
The German automaker delivered 177,716 vehicles worldwide, an increase of 11.6 percent over the same month last year and a new record for September.
BMW said it was also the best first nine months for the company, with sales up 8.3 per cent compared to the same period last year for a total of 1,335,502 units for the three brands.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing BMW, welcomed the results and said that the company is on course to meet its sales targets for the year.
"We made solid gains in many of our markets last month and were once again able to achieve record sales in September, despite the difficult environment in some European countries," said Robertson. "Our models continue to perform well and we expect to see further healthy growth in worldwide sales in the fourth quarter. We are well on course to achieving a new sales record for the whole year.”
From January through the end of September, the BMW brand sold 1,109,962 units globally, up 8.6 per cent from last year, while the MINI brand delivered 223,314 cars (+7.2 per cent). Rolls Royce was the only car brand in the group to see its sales drop (by 4.7 per cent) in the first nine months of the year to 2,326 cars.


Peugeot Reducing Production of New 208 Supermini as European Sales Slow Down

Tuesday, October 09, 2012Categories:Peugeot,Peugeot 208,Reports |
The Peugeot 208 may be the French firm's newest and hottest product and the second most popular supermini in Europe after the VW Polo, but the economic downturn in the region has put a dent in sales.
A Peugeot spokesperson, who was not named, told Autonews Europe that the brand is cutting output and its sales outlook for the 208 sub-compact hatchback on weak demand in the European market, without providing any specific numbers.
Over the past few days, however, there have been reports from the media saying that Peugeot has reduced its sales target for 2012 from 175,000 to 140,000 units of the 208, while a representative from the CGT union told the news site that the automaker will cut the night shift for production of the supermini at its Poisy plant in November.
"The overall Europe market is weak and the second half of this year will be weaker than what was expected a few months ago," Deutsche Bank analyst Gaetan Toulemonde told the European publication. "It is unfortunate that the car was launched at a time when the market was so weak."
The new 208 was launched in Europe this past April and has sold 74,487 units through the end of August, making it the region's third bestselling model behind the VW Golf and VW Polo, according to data provided by JATO Dynamics.
At the Paris Motor Show, Peugeot revealed the latest addition to the 208's range, the high-performance GTi powered by a 1.6-liter turbo'd engine with 197-horses.

Small Cars Sales on the Rise in the U.S., Could Account for 20 Percent of the Market this Year

Tuesday, October 09, 2012Categories:Chevrolet,Ford,GM,Honda,Reports,Toyota |
Big may be beautiful, but when reality bites, small can prove to be a choice that makes more sense. High fuel prices, along with the fact that subcompact and compact cars are better than ever have resulted in the small car segment being on track to achieve its best-ever market share since 1993 when it held 20.5 percent of the market.

Last month, sales of small cars exploded by 50 percent compared to the same month in 2011 according to Autodata Corp. As a result, the segment accounted for 20.2 percent of September deliveries, the most since July and August 2009, and 19.3 percent of the market year to date.

This trend signals a change in new car buyers’ choice, according TrueCar.com industry analyst Jesse Torpak.

“Traditionally small cars were purchased by people who couldn’t afford anything else”, he told Bloomberg News. “Right now, that’s not the case. We see people choosing them because they find them more appealing”, he added.

Tom Libby, an analyst at R.L. Polk & Co., concurs that current small cars have improved significantly: "Whether it's the Civic or the Focus or the Sonic or whatever, everybody agrees these are much, much better cars with more integrity than their predecessors."

Brands like Toyota or Honda are leading the trend, as they have traditionally been very strong in this segment, but U.S. carmakers are threatening their dominance.

In fact, GM’s Chevrolet was the best-selling small car brand in September thanks to its Sonic and Cruze models leading the subcompact and compact segments respectively.

Moreover, Ford’s small car deliveries were the highest in any September in a decade with the Fiesta selling 24,628 and the Focus 19,736 units.

The Chrysler-Fiat Group also had a very good month: the Fiat 500 mini sold 4,176 units, up 51 percent, and the Dodge Dart that was launched in July sold 72 percent more cars than in August.

"It's cool and hip right now to be frugal", said Tamara Darvish, vice president of Darcars Automotive Group in Silver Spring, which owns seven Toyota and Scion franchises. "Consumers are thinking much more logically than emotionally compared to how they did in the past."

By Andrew Tsaousis

Story References: Bloomberg

New SsangYong Korando Sports Pick-up Truck-SUV Hybrid Priced from £18,295

South Korea's idea of the Chevrolet Avalanche goes by the name SsangYong Korando Sports and it is now available for order in the United Kingdom at on-the-road prices that range from £18,295 to £21,245.
The Korando Sports is an SUV with a flat, pickup truck-like bed providing a 2.04 square meter load area to fit a Euro pallet and comes complete with load deck liner and anchor points.
As an option, SsangYong offers a rigid hard top with a hinged rear window that closes behind the tailgate, color matched to the rest of the vehicle.
As for the target audience, the Korean carmaker says that the Korando Sports will appeal to those who "need a working vehicle, the practicality of 4 wheel drive, the towing capability to haul up to 2.3 tonnes yet also the appointments of a family car".
The Korando Sports is offered in two trim levels. The base SX comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, tinted glass, air conditioning, leather covered steering wheel, remote central locking, Kenwood MP3 CD & RDS radio with a USB & auxiliary port and Bluetooth connectivity.
Moving up to the EX will get you leather upholstery with heated front seats, powered driver’s seat, heated, electrically adjustable and power folding door mirrors and rear parking sensors.
All models are powered by a Euro 5 2.0-liter turbo diesel generating 153hp (155PS) and peak torque of 360Nm (265 lb-ft) delivered between 1,500rpm and 2,800rpm. A manual gearbox comes as standard while the EX can be equipped with an optional 6 speed automatic transmission.
SsangYong says the Korando Sports returns up to 37.7mpg UK on the combined cycle.