Audi RS3 promo video

Audi RS3

The Audi voiceover man is back; as lifeless as ever too. This time he is talking about the RS3 hyper hatch. There’s lots of facts and fugures, but, sadly, no driving footage. No 2.5 litre barking its way through a scenic European mountain pass. A bit of a let down, really. Hopefully there is more to come.


More poke for Porsche Panamera Turbo

Porsche Panamera

Porsche have announced a number of new upgrades available across the Panamera range. Like it or not, the big four door saloon has been selling at a rapid rate of knots with well over 20,000 sales in the last 12 months.

The headline enhancements include a 40bhp “Powerkit” for the Panamera Turbo and a new “Sport Design Package” which you can see on the Panamera 4S above.

The Turbo’s Powerkit brings total power up to a pretty handy 540bhp, while also dragging peak torque to a new high of 750Nm. All that extra power hasn’t done much for the on-paper specs, with a very modest reduction of 0.1 seconds for the 0-100 time (now 3.9 seconds) and a minor increase in top speed, now published as 305km/h, up from the old mark of 303km/h. Oh, UK pricing for this upgrade is a shade over £11K. Best hope there is a marked improvement in the mid-range, then.

Included with the Sport Design Package are a new multispoke 20″ alloy wheel design. The Panamera Sport wheel is a staggered arrangement, 9.5″ at the front and 11.5″ at the rear.

There’s more after the break, including a brief run down of the inner-wheel braking capabilities of the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system.


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.

Mazda Motor Shows

Mazda3 MPS marching towards Melbourne

2009 Mazda3 MPS

The all new Mazda3 MPS will be on show at the Melbourne International Motor Show from Wednesday 4 March.

Mazda Australia is rushing the 3 MPS down under for display just hours after the car’s worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The newly scooped pocket rocket will be in Australian showrooms some time after October this year.

For more on the Mazda3 MPS, read this earlier AUSmotive article.


2009 Mazda3 MPS teaser video

Not much else to say other than, here is a 30 second teaser video for the new Mazda3 MPS.


Mazda3 MPS scoops Geneva

2009 Mazda3 MPS

The all new Mazda3 MPS, and its massive WRX-inspired bonnet scoop, will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

After recently being spotted at the Nürburgring, in full auto disguise, Mazda has unwrapped the new pocket rocket to reveal the wild new look. The new car will feature the same 2.3 DISI turbo powerplant from the current 3 MPS. We just have to hope Mazda has done a better job of harnessing every one of those 190kW that are fed through the front wheels.

The regular Mazda3 looks a bit quirky and ungainly with its big open mouth smile, the addition of the extroverted scoop seems to give the Mazda3 face more purpose.

Also making its first appearance in Geneva will be the Mazda3 i-Stop, the next car to have fuel saving stop-start technology.

Brief presser and more pics after the jump.


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.

Audi MINI Reviews

AUSmotive – Best Reviews 2008

From somewhat humble beginnings this blog started in March 2008. In that time I have enjoyed maintaining the site and keeping the information ticking over. Of course, the best parts to date have been the test drives. While I may not have been able to complete as many reviews as I would like, I have had a great time testing the cars I have been granted access to. Thanks to all who have assisted in this regard and special mentions must go to Jonathon from Audi Centre Canberra and Brad from Rolfe Classic MINI Garage for their generous cooperation and support.

So, with that preamble in mind, the three cars I have enjoyed testing most in 2008 are the Audi R8, the Audi RS6 Avant and the MINI John Cooper Works.

Audi R8 – “Mash your right foot to the floor and you’ll be creating smiles on a demographic far broader than Audi ever planned. While putting a grin on your face that has you giggling like a mischievous school boy.”

Audi RS6 Avant – “No car I have ever driven has given me the thrill the RS6 delivered. I’m loathe to make the cliched comparisons to sex, but, after handing back the keys yesterday afternoon, I had a smile on my face that lasted well into the night.”

MINI John Cooper Works – “The MINI John Cooper Works is a fantastic point to point weapon that keeps MINI at the forefront of the hot hatch category. There may be cheaper alternatives out there, but few can match the MINI’s cachet, and fewer still can match the John Cooper Works for driving thrills.”

MINI Challenge

2009 MINI CHALLENGE – Speculative calendar

2009 MINI CHALLENGE calender

I was just checking out the MINI CHALLENGE website and was interested to see this calendar listed on the site. To the best of my knowledge nothing official has been announced, but if these dates come to fruition then the second year of the Aussie MINI CHALLENGE is in for a very big year.

As you can see the first date pencilled in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. A great way to kick off the year! The series will continue to support the V8 Supercars at most rounds, and while new events like Townsville and Homebush Bay have been added, it looks as though the iconic Bathurst round has been dropped. The MINI CHALLENGE also looks set to make a mark on the Gold Coast during the A1GP round. Wakefield Park in Goulburn also looks to have missed out on a repeat appearance for the single make series.

As with the 2008 season, expect some good television coverage courtesy of Channel 7.

AUSmotive expects changes to this calendar are likely and if you don’t see them here first, keep an eye on the official website.

MINI Challenge

2008 MINI CHALLENGE climbs the Mountain

A case of better late than never with these two clips of the Australian MINI CHALLENGE at Bathurst. Of course, Mount Panorama circuit is probbaly the best in the country, and rates pretty highly as one of the best circuits anywhere in the world. It was fitting then that the racing here was some of the best the we saw in the first year of the MINI CHALLENGE.

Held over the V8 Supercar weekend 10-12 October, these two clips contain a few highlights from the Round 6 action, including full coverage of Race 2. Just watch as Jason Bargwanna strikes to claim one of the most opportunistic wins you’re likely to see.

The second clip can be seen after the jump.

Audi Drive Thru Reviews

Drive Thru: Audi RS6 Avant

Audi RS6 Avant

With 426kW on tap from the twin turbo 5.0 litre V10, this is comfortably the most powerful car I have ever driven. My previous personal best, also courtesy of Audi, was the relatively feeble 309kW 4.2 litre V8 found in both the RS4 and the R8.

Last year, I was lucky enough to be thrown the keys to an RS4 for a 24 hour test drive. Despite my eagerness at accepting this offer, I was initially underwhelmed. I expected so much, you see. However, after a day with the car, I was pleased to discover it fulfilled all my preconceptions. That said, it still took time. The R8, too, is another car that doesn’t really push you in the back of the seat once you floor the warp speed pedal. The speed is there, don’t get me wrong, but again, it takes time.

The RS6 doesn’t bother with inconveniences such as time and physics. Plant your right foot and you’ll soon find yourself in a parallel universe. The RS6 clearly has a warp speed pedal that works, and it works with devastating effect. As soon as the rush is over you immediately return to planet earth so you can experience that thrill all over again. The power and the subsequent hit of adrenalin are insanely addictive in this car.

MINI MINI Challenge

Classic training debut for Trivett apprentices

MINI CHALLENGE - Bargwanna Motorsport

Motorsport categories are a great way to sharpen the skills of all who take part. Drivers, team management and mechanics are all put under the microscope during the intense competition of door-to-door racing. A relatively new racing category such as the MINI CHALLENGE is always going to provide new opportunities to those eager to learn. Two apprentices from Trivett Classic MINI Garage in Sydney were recently granted a chance to join the Bargwanna Motorsport pit for last weekend’s final round, held at Oran Park.

According to Jason Bargwanna his team’s two new charges Russell Hueffel and Anthony Wilcockson took to being a part of a professional race team like ducks to water, “We set them a few interesting tasks throughout the weekend and they handled them well,” he said.

“Nothing was too much trouble and they fitted in seamlessly with our team. It was a great weekend for them to experience motorsport for the first time. It’s not normal that someone is on a winning team in their first experience! This is something that we’re keen to continue next year with Trivett Classic MINI Garage and expand upon throughout the entire MINI Challenge season.”