London Taxis en route to Melbourne

London Taxi TX4

Following a successful trial in Perth the next city to see London Taxis working its streets will be Melbourne.

Perth was chosen as a test city due to its high temperatures. For the most part the cabs have worked well, but some minor revisions will be made to the Perth fleet and incorporated into the cabs destined for Melbourne.

“Customer feedback indicated that the air conditioning could be a bit cooler,” said Evan Simeon, London Taxi Copmany CEO. “We’ve made the changes necessary and have upgraded the vehicles in Perth, which will be the same as the ones we will now bring to Melbourne.

“We also improved the cooling system for the engine, and increased the insulation.”

It’s hoped the iconic London Taxis will be in Melbourne before the end of the year. As with Perth, the initial fleet will be relatively small and will be seen in the traditional black colour as well as white and silver.

“We’d like to see the 100 out there by the end of the year but that all depends on bureaucratic processes,” Simeon added.

[Source: The Guardian | Pic: The London Taxi Corporation Limited]

2015 Dodge Hellcat: The fastest sedan in the world!

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat brings with it a totally awesome name, Hellcat, and the mine’s better than yours claim that it’s the fastest and most powerful sedan [Clarkson] in the woooorld [/Clarkson].

To back up that claim the SRT Hellcat’s 6.2 litre supercharged V8 snorts out a mammoth 707hp (527kW). At 880Nm torque is hardly lightweight either. Coupled to an 8-speed auto the Hellcat does the standing quarter mile in 11 seconds flat and has a top speed of 204mph (328km/h).

Conspicuously, a 0–100km/h time, or even a 0–60mph time, has not been nominated in the text below from Dodge. A bit of research comes up with a 3.7 second answer to the 0–60mph question. Yeah that is pretty fast. Although the Porsche Panamera Turbo S reaches the mark in 3.2 seconds, but is 0.5s slower over the quarter mile.

As well as its fastest and most powerful claims the Hellcat proves the adage that the red one is faster. Next year, when the “sinister” looking Hellcat goes on sale, it will be supplied with two key fobs. One black, the other red. It’s only the red key fob which will provide full access to the car’s peak power and torque. It’s not clear how much the black fob limits power but it’s an interesting approach nonetheless.

We’re unlikely to see the Hellcat on the prowl in Australia, but that 6.2 litre Hemi engine will no doubt find its way into a Chrysler 300C SRT. The question is, will it have all 707hp?

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A stop animation look at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

Porsche 919 Hybrid, 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

Here’s a short and sweet photographic essay from the the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. There’s a lot of behind the scenes off-track imagery which somehow brings you closer to the action. The black and white images add to the documentary-like feel and the stop animation technique brings it all alive for those of us unable to be there.

The video has been published by Drive and the images are from Camden Thrasher.

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Jaguar Lightweight E-Type revealed

Jaguar Lightweight E-Type

Truth be told we’re not huge fans of the Jaguar E-Type here at AUSmotive. We appreciate the landmark car that it is, but it’s just that, well, its design is terribly overrated, we think.

That said, this Lightweight E-Type project, which Jaguar has commissioned the newly formed Jaguar Heritage division of its Special Operations to create, is one of the most admirable moves any automotive manufacturer will make all year.

Back in 1963 Jaguar signed off a run of 18 Special GT E-Types to be built at the company’s Browns Lane factory in Coventry. The Special GT E-Type was designed to be a competition only model built with an all-aluminium body. For reasons not made clear only 12 of the 18 were made. Until now.

Using the remaining chassis numbers assigned 41 years ago Jaguar will now build the “missing six” as they are calling them. Production will take place at a refurbished Browns Lane facility allowing Jaguar’s craftsmen to pore over every detail as they hand build each car one by one.

The car you’re looking at here is known as “Car Zero” and is essentially the sales brochure for the final cars which will be built and sold to six lucky customers.

Further adding to this car’s cachet is the 3.8 litre straight six engine which lies beneath that evocative bonnet. With its roots dating back to the XK from 1948 the Lightweight E-Type engine is based on the D-Type motor which took Jaguar to victory at Le Mans in 1957. The customer can choose to have mechanical fuel injection as fitted to Car Zero or proper old skool carburettors, three Weber 45DCO3s to be precise. Power is nominated at 340hp complemented by 380Nm of torque.

Pricing hasn’t been mentioned in any official text from Jaguar and we suspect if sir or madam has to ask, then sir or madam can probably not afford it. If you can splash the cash to get yourself one of these truly collectable E-Types then clear your diary for a date with Jag’s design guru Ian Callum so you can sit down with him and personally discuss your preferences, paint colour and so on.

Really, this is just such an incredibly cool project and Jaguar cannot be applauded enough for making it happen.

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Range Rover Sport SVR revealed

Range Rover Sport SVR

As the irrepressible march of SUV demand continues racetracks have become the new offroad. That much is evidenced by this angry face, photographed at Silverstone, screaming “get out of my f@#king way!”

That face belongs to the Range Rover Sport SVR and behind that snarl you’ll find a 405kW/680Nm 5.0 litre supercharged V8 designed not to save you from the depths of sinking sand, but rather to take it up to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG on the world’s most fearsome racetrack.

With its permanent four-wheel drive capabilities and a specially-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission the Rangie Sport SVR can fire you to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 260km/h. Despite its show pony pretensions the SVR is fitted with a hard working two-speed transfer case with a low-range function. Although, this is rather undone by the fact the car rides standard on 21″ alloys, with 22″ rims ready to be optioned by the likely suburban buyers.

Go fast SUVs are a quandary that whether we like it or not are here to stay. Like the excess of development in Dubai, such vehicles remain a constant reminder of what modern engineering can do, while simultaneously making you feel dirty for even daring to admire such achievements.

We do kind of like this Range Rover Sport SVR and would like to have a go behind the wheel. And that makes us feel bad.

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Seven seconds away

EH Valiant Charger by Faraone Engines

Here’s a story of some old fashioned Aussie persistence from the 2013 Drag Week event held in the United States. John Faraone and his crew from Perth shipped over their mega crazy 9.4 litre V8 turbocharged Valiant Charger to compete in the busy schedule and what must be one of the ultimate run what you brung street car events.

When you watch the video after the break you’ll see Faraone had his share of issues to overcome but by the end of the week he was all smiles.

[Thanks to John for the tip]

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A day in the Swiss Alps with a Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40

There’s a little bit too much talking in this video from Evo, but seeing as the subject matter is the truly awesome Ferrari F40 it’s worth listening to.

Henry Catchpole was asked by the Secret Supercar Owner to drive the F40 from Switzerland to the UK and naturally he jumped at the chance. Photographer Dean Smith tagged along and took some stunning pictures, too.

The roads covered look amazing and included the Susten Pass, the Furka Pass and the Grimsel Pass. Even with the F40 being a tough gig to drive this still would have been a remarkable day out.

[Thanks to Tiaan for the tip]

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Holden HSV GTS Maloo ute: The best show pony ever?

HSV Gen F GTS

The Holden ute is an Aussie icon, and while its passing will be a sad day, HSV is going to send off the ute by creating the greatest and fastest show pony it has ever made. The exact model name is yet to be confirmed but the working title of HSV GTS Maloo seems to make sense.

We’ve known about this you beaut ute for some time but have been sworn to secrecy. Thanks to news.com.au who have broken the ice we can now share news of the GTS Maloo and perhaps a little bit more.

The GTS Maloo will be limited to 150 units and despite the expected mid-80s price tag it’s likely to become one of the most collectable HSVs of all time. Only 120 of those may be sold in Australia with up to 30 being allocated for New Zealand buyers.

It’s an HSV ute, right, so its closing party trick has to be big power. Big, big power! Essentially the ute will simply knock-off the drivetrain from the GTS sedan, including its 6.2 litre supercharged V8. That means it will bring a mighty 430kW/740Nm to the table. For the old skool readers among you that’s 576hp!

Predictions for the GTS ute’s 0–100km/h time are in the mid-4 second bracket, but it’s the in-gear acceleration that 740Nm of torque will bring which should bag the biggest smiles this ute has to offer. Oh, aside from the silly sideways stuff that is.

HSV’s Magnetic Ride Control will be fitted standard and will help ensure all that power can get to the ground with some degree of decorum, while massive racing-inspired AP brakes will help to slow things down.

There will be a choice of manual and automatic transmissions and if you want the slushbox you’ll be getting flappy paddles for the first time in an HSV.

We assume Torque Vectoring and Launch Control (manual transmission only) will also carry over from the GTS sedan, although our source has not been able to confirm this.

Cosmetic enhancements for the GTS Maloo will also follow the lead from its four-door counterpart, both inside and out.

We’ve been told that the HSV dealership network has already been notified of their allocations, colour choices and options. So even though there has been no official announcement, if you just want one, we suggest you act now.

In other VF ute related news it’s understood the end of Commodore ute production will be brought forward to 2015, rather than 2016 as previously reported. This is due in part to fact the ute is one of the most expensive products in the Commodore model range to manufacture.

[Source: news.com.au | Thanks to Shaz for the tip]

For the Love of Cars

Mini Cooper Mk1

Awww, look at that Mk1 Mini. Even in that battered state it’s just delightful! It’s a Cooper, too. How can you not love that car. Imagine if it was restored into a condition that was even better that the day it rolled off the factory floor.

Thanks to the UK television series For the Love of Cars, produced by Channel 4, we don’t have to imagine what that Mk1 Cooper would look like in mint condition, because they’ve already done it for us!

There’s seven episodes in full and the series is currently airing here in Australia on the ABC. Six cars in total get some quality love and attention from Ant Anstead and his team, while Life on Mars star Philip Glenister breaks down the barrier between Gene Hunt and real life as the show’s host.

It’s a format we’ve seen before, most notably with Wheeler Dealers, but For the Love of Cars is more about the quality of the restoration than it is about making a quick buck. Sadly we don’t get an in-depth look at the restorations, but we do get a great reminder of what made these (mostly) British cars so great.

The list of cars restored is listed below and the seventh episode shows the results of all the cars when sold at auction:

Of course, thanks to the wonder of the internetz you can see these episodes whenever you so choose (see below). We recommend you find the time to do so.

The best thing this show does is put a smile on your face; for the love of cars!

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Turbo dramas for Volkswagen Group EA888 engine?

Volkswagen Mk7 Golf R

The current trend from Euro car makers to create big power out of 2.0 litre turbocharged four cylinder engines could be showing the first real signs of stress. Last week we brought you news of a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG on fire in Sydney and now there’s reports of turbo dramas affecting the latest range of Volkswagen Group hot hatches.

While the cause of the fire in that A45 AMG is yet to be established, getting 265kW from a 2.0 litre with such high boost has raised many eyebrows for those considering long-term reliability. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but a quick look at relevant forums will show there’s plenty of A45 owners with issues of varying types.

Similarly, the latest EA888 engine from the Volkswagen Group which is tuned to produce up to 221kW and used in the Audi S3, Seat Lean Cupra 280 and Volkswagen Golf R is attracting a number of complaints, mostly to do with turbo failure.

According to an article published by Motor Authority the part number of the faulty turbo is 06K 145 702 N which they report is made by IHI Turbo. The relevant engine codes are CJXB and CJXC.

Motor Authority’s investigations point to a production fault for turbos made between April and May 2014, where there is a fault with the manifold sealing surface. Outside of this date range some owners of 2013 S3s are also reporting similar problems.

It’s been suggested Audi will be fitting a new turbo design for future S3s and has in turn delayed the launch of the TTS until the problem has been satisfactorily resolved.

Which begs the question, is the Mercedes v Volkswagen four-cylinder war one that is really worth winning?

[Source: Motor Authority | Thanks to Wayne for the tip]

Bugatti Veyron successor too fast to test?

Bugatti Veyron Mk2 rendering

According to new information from Autocar the successor to the almighty Bugatti Veyron could be so fast it could be almost impossible to test its full potential.

The Mk2 Veyron—it’s actual name is not known at this stage—is expected to be powered by a hybrid powertrain. The heavy lifting will be done by a derivative of the current Veyron’s 8.0 litre W16 engine, with extra spice added by an electric motor mounted in the housing of the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Peak power could be as high as 1479hp (1100kW), that’s a staggering 300hp more than the Veyron Super Sport. Torque could be capped at 1100ft-lb (1491Nm) in order to preserve the transmission. Put all that together and the Super Sport’s 2.5 second 0-100km/h record could be broken, with 2.3 seconds the suggested target.

Which brings us to guesses about the Mk2 Veyron’s top speed. The current best for a Veyron is 268mph (431km/h), which was controversially set by the Super Sport. An increased use of lightweight materials is hoped to bring the car well under the 184okg weight of the Super Sport which means, in theory, that its 431km/h v-max can be comfortably bettered.

However, the trick will be finding a stretch of road long enough and a set of tyres robust enough to withstand such speed. We expect that will all be achievable and won’t be at all surprised to see a street-legal production car go beyond 450km/h. Which is just mind blowing, really.

There’s still around 15 build slots left (out of 450) for the current Veyron, as such concrete plans for its replacement are yet to be announced, but it seems as though the development program is well underway.

“Five developmental prototypes with differing powertrain combinations have been constructed up to now,” one source confirmed. “They are based on the existing car 
but use various solutions 
that are being considered for the new model.”

Also of note is talk that Bugatti could fit the new car with electric turbochargers. This would be done in order to improve low-end torque and could bring the added benefit of lower thermal temperatures.

Styling isn’t expected to stray too far from the Mk1 Veyron and we thank Autocar for making this rendering available in 2000px super sizing.

[Source: Autocar]

2014 Rally Finland in pictures

2014 WRC Rally Finland

It seems to be the year of winning your home event. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg won their home grands prix in Formula 1. Now it’s Jari-Matti Latvala’s turn and he got to spray the champagne first after he won Rally Finland.

Sebastien Ogier will be hoping he can do the same when Rally France rolls around in October. He might just need to as well. Ogier is still very much the man to catch, with a 44 point lead over Latvala, but there’s still five rallies up for grabs.

After the break there’s over 70 images from the Finnish forests and, of course, plenty of spectacular “yumps”!

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Everybody loves Daniel

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Here’s a Formula 1 story we can all enjoy, the ever increasing love being shown for Daniel Ricciardo! Here’s a selection of quotes said about our Dan in the wake of his Hungarian Grand Prix win.

Luke Smith, NBC: When speaking to Daniel in the paddock, it’s quite clear that he is two things. Firstly: highly determined and gunning to win (as is any racing driver). Secondly: a genuinely friendly person. It’s very rare to leave a press briefing with Daniel without a smile nearly as big as his own.

This is all very good news for Formula 1. Bernie Ecclestone has said in the past that the sport needs a superstar, and Daniel could be exactly that, but not in the conventional sense. He is someone who the fans can connect to.

Kevin Eason, The Times: No one—not even Horner and his Red Bull team—believed the Australian would be so good. Actually, he has not been good, he has been spectacular. This is a champ in the making.

Sky Sports F1: In a season of such dominance by one team which isn’t your own, Ricciardo’s pair of victories in Canada and especially Hungary are all the more commendable and the qualities shown on both of those occasions as he charged to unexpected wins—consistent pace, impressive tyre management and, most notably of all, bold and incisive overtaking moves when it mattered—have made the paddock sit up and take notice and mark the ever-smiley 25-year-old out as surely a future World Champion in the making. The surprise star of the season without question.

Jim Peltz, LA Times: Two months ago the idea would have been laughable: Red Bull Racing’s rookie Daniel Ricciardo winning the Formula One championship. Now, the notion still remains highly unlikely but not nearly so ludicrous. Overtaking both Mercedes drivers would be a very tall order. But there are eight races left in the season. And there’s a season-ending quirk this year. Formula One will award double points to drivers in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

And if Ricciardo closes the gap significantly by then, Abu Dhabi could prove highly entertaining.

Edd Straw, Autosport+: Half a season in a top car and a couple of victories does not automatically mean a driver has earned his place among the elite, but Ricciardo has been so convincing that it’s difficult to imagine he won’t consolidate his status over the seasons to come. At 25, he looks like he will be a real force to be reckoned with for the next decade.

Let’s hope we do see Daniel continue on his upwards trajectory and one day claiming a world championship. It’s great for Aussie F1 fans to see him take the mantle as Australia’s unofficial ambassador from Mark Webber with such good humour and, of course, blinding pace.

[Source: Fox Sports | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

BMW M4: M Performance exhaust preview

BMW M4 with M Performance Exhaust

As good as BMW is at extracting performance from the engines it makes it is better at extracting money from its customers. So when you make yourself a new hero car, aka the F82 M4, it doesn’t make economic sense to put the best exhaust you have in your parts bin on the car at the factory.

No, it’s much better to ship the car with a crumby exhaust and then offer up a better one through your dealership network where customers have the privilege of paying you another several thousand dollars for the equipment that should have been on the car right from the start.

All that brings us to this amateur video footage of an M4 being driven by Chris Forsberg during a television commercial in the States. It was reportedly part of a new marketing campaign called M Initiation, which we will no doubt hear more about in good time.

Right now, though, you can hear the M4 with what is alleged to be BMW’s own aftermarket M Performance Exhaust system. Full technical details are yet to be confirmed and there’s talk the exhaust on this car may not match the final production parts. Speculation suggests the system will be made from titanium and be a full turbo-back with catalytic converters in the downpipes. Pricing is expected to be around the US$5000 region.

Whatever, it does sound pretty good.

[Source: Bimmerpost]

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