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The new McLaren Senna

The McLaren Senna has been designed and built with one single goal: to be the most extreme track-concentrated car on the road.

The new supercar bears the name of legendary Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna, honouring its status as the ultimate McLaren track car.

Legalised for road use, but not sanitised to suit it, the new Ultimate series disrupts McLaren’s trademark breadth of supercar daily usability; instead it provides the purest connection between driver and car.

With its ultra-lightweight construction, carbon fibre chassis and body panels, the Senna’s aggressive appearance epitomises McLaren’s ‘form-follow’s-function’ design philosophy.

The McLaren Senna enjoys a power-to-weight ratio of 668PS per tonne, with its maximum power of 800PS (789bhp). This statistic immediately underlines the performance credentials of the newcomer to the McLaren Ultimate Series, a product family introduced with the McLaren P1™ that is reserved for the rarest and most extreme McLaren cars.

“The McLaren Senna is a car like no other: the personification of McLaren’s motorsport DNA, legalised for road use but designed and developed from the outset to excel on a circuit. Every element of this new Ultimate Series McLaren has an uncompromised performance focus, honed to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and machine and deliver the ultimate track driving experience in the way that only a McLaren can,” says Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.


The carbon fibrechassis that forms the core of the McLaren Senna is a further development of the structure that underpins the McLaren 720S and the strongest monocoque ever built by McLaren for a road-legal vehicle. Every body panel is made from carbon fibre, in line with a relentless focus on the weight of every individual component that has resulted in the McLaren Senna being the lightest road-legal McLaren since the iconic F1 road car, at just 1,198kg.

The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged M840TR V8 engine at the heart of the McLaren Senna is the most powerful road car internal combustion engine ever created by McLaren. 

Lightweight internal components reduce mass in the powertrain and combine with ultra-low inertia, twin-scroll turbochargers and electronically controlled wastegates to deliver lightning-quick throttle responsiveness.

Braking power is delivered by carbon-ceramic disc brakes which McLaren describes as the most advanced ever fitted to any of its road cars. The force delivered through these brakes is prevented from locking the wheels under braking with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, mounted on motorsport-derived, single-lug alloy wheels.

The third model introduced under the McLaren Track22 business plan, the McLaren Senna will be hand-assembled in England at the McLaren Production Centre. Production will be limited to 500 vehicles, each costing from over NZ$1 million.

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Meet the all-new Polo

With more than 14 million models sold to date worldwide, the Polo is one of the world’s most successful compact cars. 

The sixth generation polo has been designed to meet the challenges of the modern world, equipped with a multitude of driver assistance systems that were previously reserved for the Golf and Passat class.

The new Polo is now much more spacious than its predecessor, even more spacious than a Golf in 1997. This has resulted in a significantly increased boot volume, which has grown by 25%, from 280 to 351 litres.

It is also the first Volkswagen model to feature a new generation of the optional Active Info Display. At the same time, it has been given the latest generation of infotainment systems which includes an impressive 8.0-inch glass covered touchscreen.

The highly equipped all-new Polo looks out for drivers on the road with a host of state-of-the-art driver assistance and comfort systems. These include Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Pedestrian monitoring and Blind spot monitoring detection.

Tom Ruddenklau, General Manager of Volkswagen New Zealand, says, “The new Polo personifies what Volkswagen is all about; world class engineering and technology that is accessible to the people. The New Polo is a technological marvel and benefits from the significant R&D investments Volkswagen has placed into its older siblings the Golf, Tiguan, Passat and Touareg.”

“It possesses world class features and safety normally found in cars twice its price. We are fortunate to have many thousand existing customers, many of whom are on their 2nd or 3rd Polo and it is great to be able to offer these loyal customers something quite special with the new sixth Generation Polo”.

The new Polo will arrive in New Zealand in February 2018. More information on specifications and pricing will be released soon. 

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BMW reveal 453-hp M3 CS

Following the decades-long tradition of successful M special editions, BMW presents their new limited-run M3 CS. With its accentuated sporting presence, the four-door high-performance sedan serves up a perfect blend of dynamism and everyday practicality.

The new BMW M3 CS is fitted with the same six-cylinder inline engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology that has proved well in the existing BMW M3 models. It channels the engine’s power through the seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) as standard. 


The output of the new BMW M3 CS has been raised to 338 kW/460 hp, 10 hp more than the BMW M3 with Competition Package, and its peak torque to 600 Nm / 442 lb-ft.

State of the art M TwinPower Turbo technology propels the M3 CS from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds and the top speed of the new special edition is electronically limited to 280 km/h. 

The bonnet, roof, front splitter, Gurney and rear diffuser on the new BMW M3 CS are made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The weight saving over the standard BMW M3 is 50 kilograms. 

The new BMW M3 CS comes as standard with M compound brakes featuring four-piston callipers at the front and two-piston callipers at the rear. The new special-edition model rides on DTM-design light-alloy wheels in Orbit Grey.

Orders for the new BMW M3 CS can be placed from January 2018. The special-edition model – which will be limited to a run of approximately 1,200 units due to production factors – will be built from March 2018. 

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The Honda EV Sports Concept

Honda’s latest concept car is an all-electric, two-seat sports car, combining EV performance and AI in a compact form. (more…)

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New details dropped for E-Class Cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz has announced further details, including manufacturer’s pricing, for the new E-Class Cabriolet.

The four-seater convertible is the fourth member of the E-Class line-up, which has been entirely refreshed over the past 12 months, and features a fully automatic soft-top cover.

The E 300 opens the range, powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque matched to a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission.

The E 400 4MATIC is the first model to contain an all-wheel drive system. A 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine, partnered with the same 9G-TRONIC automatic configuration, produces an increased 245kW of power and 480Nm of torque.  

As well as the bigger engine, the E 400 also contains a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system and virtual image windscreen projection as standard.  

The soft cover, which comes as standard across the range, can be fully opened and closed in 20 seconds when travelling at speeds of up to 50km/hr.

Inside the cabin, two 12.3-inch displays serve as the infotainment and vehicle control system, and can be voice controlled.

The new E-Class Cabriolet has increased its dimensions, and is now 4826mm long, 1860mm wide and 1428mm tall, and Mercedes says the wider footprint particularly benefits passengers in the rear.

So far, only the Manufacturers List Price in Australia has been revealed, at $(AU)123,500 for the E 300 and $(AU)157,500 for the E 400. These prices include GST but exclude dealer delivery and on-road costs.

Final local pricing is yet to be announced and drive-away price information will be available from authorised dealers.

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Tesla delivers first Model 3’s

US car maker Tesla has delivered its first 30 Model 3 EVs on Saturday, all ordered by company employees. Chief executive Elon Musk told journalists at the event that the cut-price electric car had over half a million advance registrations.

Musk said building the car would be “quite a challenge”, adding that Tesla is “going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell.”

The Tesla founder earlier pledged to manufacture 500,000 Model 3 vehicles next year, a sixfold increase in production, meaning that buyers who ordered a car in the US now would likely not see it until the end of 2018.

Deliveries fell short of targets for the first half of this year, which Tesla attributed to production problems for the luxury Model S and Model X vehicles. Musk says the simpler design of the Model 3 will greatly reduce these potential assembly-line problems.

While the company’s share price has jumped 54 per cent since January, placing its market value above both Ford and GM, Tesla is yet to turn a profit. The launch of the Model 3 has cost over $2.7 billion so far, with Tesla twice returning to the capital market to seek funding.

The Model 3 will sell in New Zealand for $66,541, making it one of the cheapest new EVs on the market, with the first deliveries due to arrive in 2019. The car will have a driving range of 355km, with an upgraded 500km-ranged performance option to hit the market next year. 

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Rolls-Royce debuts Phantom VIII

Rolls-Royce have officially unveiled the all-new Phantom VIII at the Great Eight exhibit in London’s Mayfair, which was streamed worldwide.

The new Phantom, released 14 years after the Phantom VII, contains a 6.75-litre V12 engine which generates 421kW of power and 900Nm of torque. The speed has been electronically limited to 259km/h, and 0-100 takes 5.3 seconds. With more than 130kg of sound insulation to shield the engine noise from the cabin, Rolls-Royce claim the new Phantom is the most silent car in the world.

The bones of the new Phantom is constructed from a new all-aluminium space frame, which is 30 per cent more rigid than the previous generation. The frame designed by Rolls-Royce engineers and will feature in every future Rolls-Royce, beginning with the Phantom VIII.

With this new frame, which has been designed and engineered to scale up and down to any model, the car makers says it will only use its own architecture across all vehicles, whatever the sectore.

The next-generation luxury saloon stands at 5762mm long, 2019mm wide and 1646mm high, with an unladen weight of 2560kg. An extended wheelbase Phantom option is available, stretching the vehicle to 5982mm long, 2018mm wide and 1656mm high. The extra dimensions set the unladen weight at 2560kg for the extended variant.

A range of safety features are included in the Phantom VIII for the first time, including an Alertness Assistant, which uses four cameras to survey surroundings, Night Vision and Vision Assist, Active Cruise Control, collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, and lane-departure and lane-change warning.  

Further details on a launch date and pricing are yet to be announced.

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Mazda unveils new CX-8 SUV

Mazda has taken the covers off the next-generation CX-8 crossover SUV, which will debut in Japan later this year.

A 2.2-litre clean diesel engine will power the CX-8, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The new crossover will feature seven seats across three rows, and Mazda promises even adults comfortably can sit in the back.

The CX-8 is the flagship model in the Japanese line-up, the car maker says, with careful consideration taken with colours and materials.

The vehicle is slightly smaller than the CX-9, which is produced for the international market, with a 2.93m wheelbase. Overall the CX-8 stands at 4.9m long, 1.84m wide and 1.73m tall.

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Lexus LC Coupe debuts in New Zealand

The Lexus LC 500 Coupe has launched in New Zealand, with 10 models already snapped up on pre-order.  

Two powertrain options are available on the two-door coupe, which is built in Lexus’ Motomachi factory. A 5.0-litre V8 engine powers the petrol variant and is matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission, producing 351kW of power and 540Nm of torque.

A hybrid option is also available, which contains a 3.5-litre V6 engine partnered with a 310-volt lithium-on battery for a total 264kW of power.  The hybrid engine is matched to a combined CVT gearbox and traditional four-speed automatic transmission.

Since its launch, the Lexus LC 500 has won several design awards, including the 2016 Production Car Design of the Year, and ‘best production car’ design at its launch at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The ergonomically-designed cabin also contains a 10.3-inch infotainment system and Satellite Navigation. Drivers can choose from six driving modes – ECO, Comfort, Normal, Customise, Sport S and Sport S+.

The LC 500 and 500h come with the Lexus Safety System+, which includes pre-crash safety system, autonomous emergency braking, an all-sleep dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist and lane-departure alert, and vehicle sway warning.

Pricing starts at $215,000 for the glass-roof model with either the V8 or hybrid powertrain.

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Honda debuts Accord in Detroit

Honda debuted their tenth-generation Accord in Detroit on Friday in a bid to revitalise the slumping family sedan market in the US.

The car maker promised a suite of cutting-edge technologies, and the new Accord comes with two different powertrain options. The range opens with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, as currently seen in the Civic hatch, which generates 143kW of power and 260Nm of torque matched to a front-wheel drive CVT automatic transmission.

The next-level Accord contains a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine reminiscent of the just-released Civic Type R, producing 188kW of power and 370Nm of torque. This engine is matched to a world-first driving configuration of a ten-speed automatic with front-wheel drive.

A longer wheelbase and lower profile means an extra 7 centimetres of leg room in the cabin, Honda says. Inside the car, a 7.0-inch TFT screen and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen offers Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone mirroring and a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging.

Honda says the new Accord will also be available as a hybrid, with details of the motor to be announced.

Within the US, all models will contain Honda’s suite of driving assistance features, which include autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.

The Accord is due to launch in the US in several months. No announcements have yet been made regarding an international release, but company director of Honda Australia, Stephen Collins, told Drive magazine the team are working to bring the Accord down under in 2018.

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Jaguar’s new SUV packed full of tech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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