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New Citroën C3 available in NZ this month

The new Citroën C3 will be available to New Zealanders this month and models are arriving in the country now, the company says. The arrival of the new supermini comes after the model was released in North America and Europe mid last year.

The new C3 is powered by a 1.2 litre, three-cylinder turbo high pressure petrol engine producing 81kW at 5500rpm and 205Nm of torque made from 1500rpm. The combined fuel consumption of the model is rated at 4.9L/100km.

The new C3.

The model incorporates some innovative new smart features that improve safety and user experience. As an option, the consumer can purchase a “ConnectedCAM system” that features a forward facing, full-HD, wide angle camera with GPS and a 16 GB internal memory. The camera is fitted in front of the rear-view mirror and records while you drive, allowing the driver to safely take photos of the view ahead.

While this feature may seem novel, it can also provide a record of collisions, ensuring transparency between parties involved.

 Other safety features involve a lane departure warning system and cruise control with speed limiting and recommendation features that use the forward facing cameras to assess driving conditions.

The new C3 is longer (L – 3996mm), wider (W- 1749mm) and lower (H – 1474mm) than the previous model, while the wheelbase has increased 82mm to 2540mm. The new model brings increased cabin width and rear seat passenger space, with a boot volume of 300 litres.

Chris Brown, CEO of Auto Distributors NZ, the group responsible for distriibuting Citroën in New Zealand, says that the new C3 is just one of a new generation of products that will change the face of Citroën’s brand  over the coming months. “This new generation product will bring the latest Citroen technology and comfort to the New Zealand [market] and will present viable alternatives for those looking to move away from the mainstream brands,” Brown said.

The C3 begins at a price of $26,990 excluding ORC.

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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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Hyundai unveils new hot hatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Redesigned A8 to tackle saloon market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce available in NZ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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