Ferrari Motorsports

P4/5 Competizione to be diesel powered?

P4/5 Competizione

On the weekend the P4/5 Competizione had its second and final race at the Nürburgring before the 24 hour race in June. James Glickenhaus and his team will continue testing, most likely at the Hungaroring, to finalise their N24 preparations.

Mike Frison, respected Nürburgring blogger, and lately Save the Ring activist, caught up with Glickenhaus at the race and had a good chat. Two of the more notable points to emerge from that discussion were plans to race the P4/5 Competizione at Le Mans and Sebring in future.

Makes sense, really, you put all that money into making a racecar, you probably want to tale it around the world.

However, it was the revelation that Glickenhaus would also like to convert the P4/5 Competizione to run a diesel engine to help improve performance. That’s likely to cause a few disturbances of the force down Ferrari-way.

[Source: Mike Frison | Pic: Facebook]


2011 Audi A6

2011 Audi A6

Here are the official pics of the 2011 Audi A6. Following this morning’s leak there’s no surprises in regards to the look, which is straight from the familiar Audi playbook.

Audi say the new model is lighter than the car it replaces. The figure published is 1575kg, but finding a reliable figure for the kerb weight of the previous generation is proving a bit tricky. Around one fifth of the new model is made from aluminium.

At launch, in Europe at least, there will be five engines on offer, with a mix of four and six cylinders. Peak power will range from 130kW (2.0 TDI) to 220kW (supercharged 3.0 V6). There will also be an A6 hybrid model on offer with a total power of 180kW.

The usual electronic gadgets and driver aids are included, of course. These are headlined by the optional MMI navigation plus system featuring Google connectivity and a Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Inside the expected level of finish and quality materials has been delivered once again. The “wrap around” dash also looks quite nice. On some models Audi has used timber veneer which has pushed that look away from the older style walnut look, and towards a stylish speedboat theme. It looks pretty good in the pics, too.

After the break you will find all the images you could hope for along with some intro press material. A detailed press release can also be downloaded for those that really want to sink their teeth into detail of the new A6. Those wanting to see and touch the new A6 for themselves will be able to do so early next year. Local buyers will have to wait a bit longer as usual, but for now, Audi Australia aren’t saying when.


MINI release details of latest model refresh

MINI Cooper S

MINI have just given their model range a bit of a spruce up. Part mid-cycle model refresh and part counter-attack to the Audi A1 and its ilk, the new MINIs probably don’t look terribly different to most punters. Lucky, then, that MINI gave us some really big pictures of the bits that have changed.

Notably the front and rear bumper assemblies have been tarted up. So too the lighting visuals, with de rigueur LED rear tail lights now available. Those chrome trimmed scoops on the lower front grille actually feed air to the brakes to aid cooling. That’s a nice touch.

For the more frugal minded folk out there in MINI land you’ll be pleased to know there’s some new diesel engines on the way too.

The market launch of the model updates is not scheduled until mid-September so we can deduce that a) this early release of information shows MINI is keen to remind buyers not to forget them while they’re busy checking our Audi, Alfa Romeo and Fiat dealerships and b) that we may not be seeing these changes in Australia until early 2011.

Full details in the form of MINI’s press release can be read after the jump. Also included is a brief video and a Cooper S image gallery.

Drive Thru Jaguar Reviews

Drive Thru: Jaguar XF V6 Diesel S

Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF is a beautiful car. From any angle, it doesn’t matter. It’s a good thing, too. Until the XF came along Jags had become a 1960s time capsule, while the rest of the world had moved at broadband speed into the noughties.

Styling cues such as the chrome grille and rounded headlights remind us of Jaguar’s great legacy. Importantly, though, Jaguar has shed tired clichés in favour of a new direction that enables it to compete alongside the established German players.

This would all count for nothing if its beauty was only skin deep. But it’s not. Step inside and, again, the interior is clearly defined by the century in which it was created. A pleasing mix of materials give the XF a New England feel.


MINI diesel due down under in 3rd quarter

MINI Cooper D

The diesel powered MINI Cooper D has finally been confirmed by BMW Australia. Scheduled for a 3rd quarter release the Cooper D shapes as being Australia’s greenest car. Claimed figures from MINI say the 1.6 litre turbo direct-injection four cylinder uses just 3.9l/100km of diesel on the combined cycle and emits a paltry CO2 figure of 104g/km.

Australia’s current green crusader, the smart fortwo mhd, uses an extra 0.5l/100km and emits CO2 at a rate of 105g/km.

These figures are all well and good, but MINI has developed its reputation for go kart handling and driving smiles. According to, the Cooper D doesn’t disappoint, they may not love the diesel Cooper, but they do say, “Overall, this particular Mini is a satisfyingly brisk machine, with impressive ‘legs’ for longer journeys.”

As is to be expected these days there is a raft of technology on board helping the Cooper D achieve its green credentials. Of course, the MINI marketing team haven’t missed their chance to get in on the act either. The Cooper D marks the introduction of “MINIMALISM” to the Australian market (MINI’s version of BMW’s EfficientDynamics). Away from the spin that means the Cooper D will have features such as the Auto Start Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration and a Shift Point Display that prompts the driver to change gears at the optimum time.

That’s the words covered, what about the numbers? The Cooper D offers a moderate 80kW of power, but an impressive 240Nm of torque is available from 1750rpm. There’s also an extra 20Nm torque on tap from MINI’s familiar overboost system. The diesel powerplant weighs in at a smidge over 123kg and the exhaust system is fitted with a particulates filter which helps the car achieve the Euro 4 emissions standard. With a theoretical range of 1025km from its 40 litre tank, the Cooper D could make it from Melbourne to Sydney on a single tank of fuel.

Pretty cool, huh. MINI expects to sell around 220 Cooper Ds in 2009, with a firm release date yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned for more details, in the meantime, you know the drill—more pics and press blurb after the jump.

Motorsports News Volkswagen

Volkswagen Touareg TDI wins 2009 Dakar Rally

Volkswagen wins 2009 Dakar Rally

The Volkswagen Race Touareg claimed a series of firsts in this year’s 2009 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile. Including the first that counts the most, with outright success going to the South African-German pairing of Giniel de Villiers (driver) and Dirk von Zitzewitz (co-driver).

It was the first time the race had been held in South America. It was the first time a diesel powered car won overall honours. And, with American Mark Miller’s second position, it was also Volkswagen’s first quinella at the Dakar. Volkswagen have one previous Dakar win, the 1980 Paris-Dakar won by Sweden’s Freddy Kottulinsky in a Volkswagen Iltis.

The 280bhp TDI Race Touaregs dominated the rally winning 10 out of 13 stages, and it was a sweet taste of victory for the de Villiers-von Zitzewitz combination after the duo piloted a Touareg to second in the 2006 race. Volkswagen also claimed a third position in the top ten with sixth place going to the German duo of Dieter Depping and Timo Gottschalk .

De Villiers was elated with the win, “I’m so happy about having clinched this exploit for Volkswagen. This victory is worth more than any of the titles I won in touring car racing. The Race Touareg was running absolutely like a charm, and at such a tough edition of the Dakar Rally at that. That was the key to success. I want to thank everyone at Volkswagen for this.”

It was a bitter sweet rally for high-profile driver Carlos Sainz who looked set for victory until a nasty accident on the twelfth leg, but he was happy for the team success, “We set the pace for a long time at the Dakar Rally and led it for a long time as well. That’s why it was a particularly bitter pill for my co-driver Michel Périn and me that we were forced to retire after an accident on the twelfth leg. One must never underestimate the Dakar Rally and prevail against it before being able to win. I congratulate my team colleagues Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz on their ‘Dakar’ victory. They deserved winning this tough rally.”


Volkswagen Concept BlueSport picture gallery

Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

The Volkswagen Concept BlueSport made its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last night. It’s a stunning looking car, but perhaps the most notable feature for a car in this segment is it’s mid-mounted efficient diesel engine.

The BlueSport roadster, fitted with six-speed DSG transmission, has a 2.0 TDI with 132kW powering the rear wheels. Being a turbo diesel, there is plenty of torque, too, all 350Nm of it. The BlueSport weighs a relatively light 1200kg and is capable reaching 100km/h in a GTI-beating 6.6 seconds, along to a top speed of 226km/h. When driven more sedately Volkswagen claims fuel consumption as low as 4.3l/100km. Its CO2 emissions are 113g/km.

“The BlueSport proves to be a compact and passionate car with a clear Volkswagen signature. The car offers pure dynamics with a powerful 180 PS Clean Diesel engine that is combined with the characteristic Volkswagen philosophy of efficiency,” confirmed Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board, Prof. Martin Winterkorn in Detroit.

The BlueSport features an Eco mode which uses stop-start technology and an energy regeneration mode to help lower fuel consumption. Although, Volkswagen are claiming a relatively small benefit of just 0.2l/100km in normal city driving.

Some of the technology in this car may new for Volkswagen, but there doesn’t appear to be anything earth shattering under the roadster’s gorgeous metalwork. Although, a mid-engined diesel sports car is kind of cool and very now.

Update: Wallpaper sized images of the Volkswagen Concept BlueSport (click an image to load 2000px super image), along with video footage and the official press release are now available below.

Update 15 January: German Car Blog suggests the BlueSport won’t hit the roads until 2012 (that’s if it goes into production). I’ve also added a small clip below from Car and Driver’s YouTube channel.


BMW confirms 330d sedan for Australia

BMW 330d Sedan

BMW Australia has confirmed news that the 330d will be available here in 2009. While exact dates and pricing are yet to be confirmed, the all new 180kW 6-cylinder diesel will be in showrooms sometime after April.

The use of turbo technology gives the oil burner a massive 550Nm of torque, available from just 1750rpm. The 330d will be available with a 6-speed automatic transmission only and the economic fuel consumption of 6.8l/100km will see the car benefit from a higher $75,000 Luxury Car Tax threshold.

Bugatti Pagani Top Gear

Top Gear – Series 12, Episode 4

Top Gear - Series 12, Episode 4

I love Top Gear, even if that pink and purple striped top of James May’s needs to be retired. This week was another very fine episode.

James May tested the Pagani Zonda F Roadster on the Top Gear test track. His premiere appearance in such a test, and it was grand television indeed. The big news, though, was seeing the Bugatti Veyron setting  a time for the Power Lap board. Despite annihilating the Zonda in a straight out drag, and despite lighting up the inside front wheel on the last corner (see below)…

Avid viewers will remember Harry Enfield‘s debut guest appearance (Series 1, Episode 1) where he set a 2 minute plus lap time. He returned this week to put that right.

There was a challenge, too, and the lads had to drive from Basel to Blackpool on one tank of fuel. Once at Blackpool the winner of the challenge would get to turn on the Blackpool Christmas lights. Jeremy Clarkson made it, amazingly, in a Jaguar V6 diesel.  James May was not so fortunate, with his Subaru Legacy diesel going the distance, but he was too slow and missed the illumination ceremony. That leaves Hammond, who won the race, behind the wheel of a 3-cylinder Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion.


SEAT León Linea R

SEAT Leon Linea R

It’s fresh, it’s funky, it’s fast, and its not available in Australia! This is the SEAT León Linea R. Okay, so the Linea R range is not much more than a fancy body kit, and it’s only fast if you tick the 147kW 2.0 TSI engine option from the three choices available—but it does look the business. The other engines have been raided from the VAG parts bin and include the 125kW 2.0 TDI (as seen in the Golf GT) and the 118kW 1.8 TSI (as seen in the Audi A4).

The León Linea R also gets a bunch of goodies thrown in such as 18″ ‘Supercopa’ alloys, dual zone climate control, TCS (traction control), ESP and, of course, the funky body kit, complete with Linea R badging.

While the exterior of the León Linea R makes you take notice, the inside is not quite up to Golf standards. It looks sporty enough, but the fine detail is just not there and the low placement of the Sat Nav unit is questionable, to say the least. Never mind that, SEAT’s generally drive just as well as their Volkswagen cousins, and normally offer more bang, for less buck. You gotta be happy with that!

Top Gear Australia

Top Gear Australia – Series 1, Episode 4

Top Gear Australia - Series 1, Episode 4

Another great step forward from the local Top Gear crew this week. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say tonight’s episode was comparable to Top Gear UK. Sure, the Australian version is not reaching the consistent highs each week, but they are getting there. As usual, there will be complaints from TV land, but I really enjoyed my hour on the couch in front of the telly.

The outback tracker challenge was well filmed and entertaining. The repartee, or lack thereof, between Warren and his aboriginal tracker ‘Diesel’ was well executed, while Charlie and Steve in the TRD Hilux worked together much better than they have in any of the previous challenges. Yes, Top Gear Australia is still very much a Top Gear by numbers affair, with many production and scripting cues taken from the UK parent, but the level of improvement with each episode so far is to be commended.

Jack Thompson (pictured above) was a breath of fresh air in the guest’s chair. No pandering to the audience with Jack. Mind, The Stig has done a pretty poor job teaching the guests steering wheel technique. Vince Colosimo in Episode 1 has been the worst to date, but Jack’s effort wasn’t too far behind.

Steve’s review of the Holden W427 was perhaps the weakest point in the show, however, as entertainment, his piece was bang on. Perhaps more technical detail could have been offered, but then, the same could be said of almost any recent Top Gear UK car review.

The closing set with the Holden Astra lawn bowls game was classic Top Gear sillyness. Daft, pointless and thoroughly watchable all at the same time. Can’t wait for episode 5. Interestingly, this film was the first one filmed by Warren, Steve and Charlie. SBS Executive Producer for Top Gear Australia, Denise Eriksen said, “The Lawn Bowls story has a bit of a special place in the heart of the presenters. It’s the first shoot they ever did — but it came out of the last of the casting sessions where the remaining Top Gear Australia hopeful presenters had gathered for a brainstorming session.

“Warren Brown was scribbling away — as he does — and then presented his drawing pad to the gobsmacked fellow presenters and the production team asking ‘wonder what it would be like to play lawn bowls with a Mini?’.” Obviously things were tweaked a bit to include the new Astra, but given my grandmother-in-law drives an Astra and is an avid lawn bowls player Top Gear‘s car selection was very apt.

More pics and the SBS press release below.


Audi gives A4 engine range more puff

Audi adds three new engines to A4 range

Audi have just added three new engines to its Australian A4 model range. A 3.0 TDI is now available with 176kW and, crucially, a 6.9l/100km fuel consumption figure, enabling the car to qualify for a lighter hit of Luxury Car Tax. Also joining the A4 range are two versions of the ever versatile 2.0 TFSI, one with 132kW, the other tweaked to produce 155kW. These engines supplement the existing 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TDI engines already in the line up.

For AUSmotive’s first impressions of the new A4, read our Drive Thru report. Full pricing and Audi’s press statement are listed below.