Toyota remains most valuable automotive brand

Toyota is the world's most valuable automotive brand

Earlier this month the annual Brandz Top 100 most valuable brands 2015 report was released. Topping the list, and by some margin, was technology giant Apple with a brand value of US$247b. Valued at US$29b Toyota is rated the most valuable car maker in the world, coming a relatively lowly 30th in the top 100 listing.

Surprisingly, only six auto makers made it into the top 100: Toyota (30), BMW (34), Mercedes-Benz (43), Honda (78), Ford (80) and Nissan (93).

Rounding out the list of top 10 automotive brands are Audi, Volkswagen, Land Rover and Lexus (see more detail in table below).

The Brandz listing has been published 10 times now, with Toyota ranking first for automotive brands eight times and second two times.

For our Australian readers, four of our local brands to make it into the top 100: Commonwealth Bank (48), ANZ (59), Telstra (82) and Woolworths (88).

The full report can be accessed from the WPP website.

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Le Mans: Quick reference guide to 2015 LMP1 cars

Porsche 919 hybrid

The official FIA WEC website brings us a quick reference guide to the class of 2015 LMP1 cars. This year we have representation from Audi, Nissan, Porsche and Toyota. And the best thing about LMP1 is that the cars are all different.

Front-engined, mid-engined; rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, all wheel drive; petrol, diesel and all with varying types of energy recovery systems. It really is a technological masterclass, which will eventually heavily influence the cars we drive on the roads.

In order to try and equalise performance the cars have strict fuel flow limitations they must adhere to. That is, each car has a capped amount of fuel it can use on a single lap, using the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe as the basis.

You can download a full season PDF guide (54mb) from the WEC website, which goes into greater detail. After the break a quick reference guide is all yours.

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on the weekend of 13–14 June, with an official test session to be held this Sunday.

[Source: FIA WEC]

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The wheels are falling off

Jari Ketmoaa, Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Rally Portugal

Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Portugal on the weekend, rounding out a dominant 1-2-3 clean sweep for Volkswagen. We’ll get to that another time. Until then, another Jari made headlines with his spectacular aerial work.

Watch Jari Ketomaa launch his Ford Fiesta high into the sky. That was the good part. It soon turned very bad and very ugly.

Thankfully both Jari and his co-driver, Kaj Lindstrom, emerged without injury.

[Thanks to Julian for the tip]

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An early look at the Golf R400

Volkswagen Golf R400

Here’s an early look at the mighty Golf R400, as seen exiting the Nürburgring. It’s got flared guards. It’s got a beefy oil cooler. It’s got big brakes with drilled rotors. It’s got a big kick arse fixed rear wing. It’s got 400 horsepower. And it’s got out attention!

Follow the link below for more pics.

[Source: VWvortex]

UPDATE: More photos are available at

VIDEO: Aventador LP 750-4 SV smashes Nordschleife

Lamborghini Aventador LP-750-4 SV

Lamborghini has shown with its outrageous Aventador LP 750-4 SV that you don’t need a tricked up über hybrid to break seven minutes at the Ring. You just need a 750hp normally aspirated 6.5 litre V12.

Some pointers to note, the indicated peak speed at Schwedenkreuz was 297km/h, a staggering a 285km/h down the Fuchsröhre and 325km/h into Tiergarten.

You won’t find too many cars able to top those speeds. But with a final lap time of 6:59.73 that should come as no surprise!

[Thanks to Wayne for the tip]

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Mazda Australia slashes MX-5 pricing

2014 ND Mazda MX-5

Mazda Australia really wants you to buy the all-new fourth-generation MX-5. We know this because they’ve slashed over $15,000 from the price of the entry-level model.

The ND Mazda MX-5 will be in local showrooms from August and is priced from $31,990 plus on road costs.

The base model Roadster will feature a 1.5 litre SKYACTIV-G petrol engine producing a modest 96kW/150Nm. Let’s face it, this won’t be a quick car, but outright speed has never been the MX-5’s strength.

It’s what you don’t get with an MX-5 that helps to make it a special driving experience and that’s weight, or lack of it. The new MX-5 will weigh in at a miserly 1009kg, almost 100kg less than the previous NC model.

For those who do want more power a 2.0 litre model will be added to the range later in the year.

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Porsche Australia updates MY16 price list

Porsche 911 Black Edition

Porsche Cars Australia has announced an updated increased price list for its MY16 models. That change also brings the 911 Black Edition (pictured) and Boxster Black Edition to the local market. Deliveries for the Black Editions commence in September.

The Black Edition models bring extra standard equipment and are available in any colour as long as you like black.

The 911 includes an extra $25,000 of standard options such as a full leather interior, 20″ Turbo alloys, LED headlights with PDLS+, front and rear park assist, a Porsche crest embossed on the seats and Black Edition decals on the door sills.

Meanwhile the Boxster gains $15,000 of freebies, including 20″ Carrera Classic alloys, Bi-Xenon headlights with PDLS, a black rollover bar, auto dimming mirrors, upgraded steering wheel, a Porsche crest embossed on the seats and Black Edition decals on the door sills.

Manufacturer’s List Pricing for the Black Edition models starts at $110,800 for the Boxster. The 911 Black Edition is available in both coupé and cabriolet body styles in either Carrera 2 or Carrera 4 specification. Pricing starts at $209,500 for the 911 Carrera 2 Coupe, and goes up to $240,000 for the Carrera 4 Cabriolet.

All models across the line up also gain extra equipment as standard in MY16 spec, which can be viewed below along with full pricing details for the entire Porsche Australia model range.

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VIDEO: F56 MINI JCW reviews

MINI JCW review

Filming and committing a car review to video for the world to see would be much harder than it looks. For one there’s critical people like me willing to cut you down while having no comparable experience.

And so, here’s two video reviews for the new 170kW/320Nm MINI JCW that we’re not too sure about.

The first one is from Xcar and aside from the presenter’s manner of adding, annoying and, unnecessary emphasis, every, two, or three words, is not too bad.

Recombu Cars is responsible for the second clip and if you come away from that feeling like you’ve been trated like an ignorant idiot you probably won’t be the first person to do so.

Actually, the first clip is a bit like that too. Aside from that there’s some good detail on the new JCW’s features.

But, a question for both presenters, is it really necessary to deal in so many clichés?

[Thanks to John for the tip]

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VIDEO: A look at Wörthersee 2015

Worthersee 2015

As well as being a platform for the Volkswagen Group to release some very cool concept metal the annual Wörthersee GTI Treffen is otherwise a very big gathering of petrolheads. In fact, it’s the largest Volkswagen/Audi/etc gathering in Europe.

It’s also a big lake in Austria.

Here’s a video that takes you behind the scenes of 2015 show.

[Thanks to John for the tip]

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2016 Porsche 911 GT3 R revealed

Porsche 911 GT3 R

Porsche has used the eve of the Nürburgring 24 Hour race to unveil its 991-based 911 GT3 R. This is the race going version of the 911 GT3 RS and can be all yours for the small matter of €429,000 plus taxes.

Tipping the scales at 1220kg Porsche’s newest GT3 racecar has 368kW (500hp) on tap from its 4.0 litre flat six engine with direct fuel injection. That power is driven through the rear wheels and controlled by a 6-speed sequential gearbox.

Porsche says it has improved the aero and brakes compared with the old 997-based GT3 R as well as reducing its repair and maintenance costs.

The order book is open now and first deliveries are scheduled for December. Too soon to see a new GT3 R racing at the Bathurst 12 Hour? Let’s hope not.

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