25 February 2007

Maserati GranSport Spyder

Maserati GranSport Spyder

Certainly one of the most anticipated Maseratis of all time, Australia was one of the first markets to preview the alluring roadster at last year's Melbourne Motor Show. “The Maserati GranSport has provided a fresh re-interpretation of the Maserati legend and the Spyder adds to this the visceral pleasure of open top motoring,’ says Edward Butler, General Manager for Maserati in Australia and New Zealand. “It shares with the GranSport Coupe the breath taking performance from the racetrack-bred 295 kW V8 engine, the remarkable handling, roadholding and ride comfort offered by the Maserati Skyhook Suspension and the exclusive customisation possibilities of the Officine Alfieri Maserati programme with Maserati’s unique styling and adds open top motoring. What more could be wanted from performance motoring?” The Maserati GranSport Spyder is an open-top version of the GranSport Coupe, the car that has been widely praised for providing the Maserati Coupe with an aggressive new temperament with improved performance, looks and a sharper, more responsive edge. The GranSport Spyder loses nothing with its conversion to soft top motoring, from its 4.2 litre V8 boosted for its application in the GranSport to 400 bhp/294 kW and its emotive howl that can be enhanced at the press of a button, to reworked suspension, wheels and tyres. Roof up or down, the GranSport Spyder dispatched the dash to 100 kmh in just 4.9 seconds and goes on, where the law permits, to a top speed of 285 kmh. As with the GranSport Coupe, there are also visual changes. A pronounced spoiler hugs the bottom of the front bumper and on the sides under-door skirting harmonises the look of the car. This is completed by the 19" wheels inspired by the race cars that compete in the Trofeo Maserati. The interior is a blend of carbon, leather and BrighTex® fabric and endow the cabin with the look and feel of a racing car. This ultra-exclusive Spyder will only be for the patient purist as numbers will always be limited. Expect to wait at least three months if one is available.


ENGINE 32-valve quad-cam 4.2 litre V8

POWER 295 kW @ 7000 rpm.

TORQUE 451 Nm @ 4500 rpm

0-100 KM/H 4.9 secs

TOP SPEED 285 km/h

PRICE $260,000

Preview: Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

Audi RS 4 Cabriolet

New dimensions in driving dynamics combined with innovative ideas - plus exciting styling and a level of equipment that lives up to even luxury-class standards: the new Audi RS 4 combines the latest high-performance product from the highly-specialised sports subsidiary, quattro GmbH in a thoroughbred sports saloon with supreme everyday driving qualities in the premium segment.

The RS 4 features racing technology in plain clothes. While many of its features look similar to the new Audi A4, the RS 4 is far more than just a fast derivative of Audi’s successful mid-size saloon. The car is an almost entirely brand-new development tailored to the highest performance requirements.

The RS 4 Cabriolet puts the brand at the forefront of the four-seater convertible segment. Audi has never before built such a powerful open-top car. The high performance and above all high-torque V8 FSI engine makes the open-top RS 4 ideal for relaxed cruising. As well as sporty performance, the RS 4 Cabriolet treats its passengers to an acoustic experience of the finest caliber. The unmistakable V8 sound is enough to set the pulse of any car enthusiast racing - particularly with the roof open.

The latest generation of Audi’s permanent four-wheel drive is featured for the first time on the RS 4 and offers a 40 (front) to 60 (rear) asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution ratio. Another new feature is the self-locking Torsen centre differential.

Inside, the RS 4 combines the functionality of a sports car with the luxurious ambience typical of all Audi models. Leather, aluminium, and carbon are the predominant materials. The RS 4 also comes with all the additional qualities typical of a genuine sports car.

The RS bucket seats, with high side sections, offer firm hold. By pressing buttons on the seat the side sections can be inflated to mould perfectly to the driver's anatomy. The flat-bottomed RS sports steering wheel and the engine start button on the centre console are clearly reminiscent of motorsport.

The electro-hydraulic hood can be opened entirely automatically in 21 seconds and can be operated at up to speeds of 30 km/h. This makes it possible to open or close the roof when out and about in town, for instance, or before parking the car.


ENGINE 32-valve 4.2 litre V8

POWER 309 kW @ 7800 rpm.

TORQUE 430 Nm @ 5500 rpm

0-100 KM/H 4.8 secs

TOP SPEED 250 km/h (limited)

PRICE $187,500

Jaguar XK Convertible

When released to a salivating public last year, both the Jaguar XK Coupe and Convertible immediately garnered accolades from the fussiest critics. BBC’s Top Gear awarded it “Best Car of 2006”, Which Car voted it “Most Exciting Car of 2007”, MotorWeek dubbed it “Best Dream Car” and. surprisingly, Germany’s Auto Zeitung readers rated Jaguar “First in Quality”.

The XK was designed and engineered above and beyond the high expectations customers rightly have for a Jaguar sports car, a fact made possible because everything from its advanced aluminium chassis to its sophisticated transmission and exquisite interior has been designed in pursuit of a luxurious, advanced and stunning new Jaguar.

"The XK is exactly the sort of sports car that only Jaguar could produce - beautiful to look at and incredible to drive. The XK represents pure automotive desire on four wheels. Everyone who sees it wants to drive it and be seen in it," said Bibiana Boerio, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars at the 2006 launch. "It appeals to customers who do not make compromises in life because like them we have made no compromises in designing it. Whether you go for the drive of a lifetime through the Alps or cruise top-down across America, you will discover these are breathtakingly modern cars that share the heart and soul of every great Jaguar of the past.

The compact, lightweight all-aluminium V8 engine is based on that fitted to the latest generation XJ saloon and has undergone significant development compared with the engine used in the previous XK, including new fuel-injection technology

For the first time in a Jaguar, drivers use steering wheel-mounted paddles to change gear with the new Sequential Shift transmission. In either Drive or Sport Manual modes, very fast gear shifts - as quick as 600 milliseconds - are achieved by combining the use of one-touch paddles with an automatic blip of the throttle from the drive-by-wire engine management system during downshifts.

The interior is very clean and driver-focussed, with simple architectural forms and minimalist detailing. What's in front of the driver essentially defines the feel of the car, which is sporty and functional. The dashboard lines flow from the A pillars to the centre console, whose advanced touch-screen carries the controls for many of the car's features - allowing the number of switches on the instrument panel to be kept to a minimum.

A supercharged version (XKR) is due in May this year.


ENGINE Quad-cam naturally aspirated 4.2 litre AJ-V8
POWER 224 kW @ 6000 rpm. (306 kW supercharged)
TORQUE 420 Nm @ 4100 rpm (560 Nm supercharged)
0-100 KM/H 6.3 secs
TOP SPEED 250 km/h (limited)
PRICE $221,900 (XK) $249,500 (XKR)

Preview: Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

V8 Vantage Roadster

The most recent Los Angeles Auto Show was abuzz with much anticipated unveiling of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster.

Aston Martin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said: “The V8 Vantage Roadster is a pure sports car, a car that heightens the senses and provides a dynamically thrilling driving experience.

“The Vantage Roadster adds to the unbeatable thrill of open air motoring and by combining engineering excellence, technological innovation and physical perfection, will ensure every journey is one to remember.”

Perfectly proportioned, with a low purposeful stance, the Vantage Roadster is uncompromisingly modern yet also incorporates classic Aston Martin design cues. The elegant lines are fused with traditional craftsmanship and striking 21st century style, with an interior hand-trimmed and finished in the finest quality genuine materials.

From the beautifully hand stitched leather seats to the hand-finished bodies, to the ultra-modern Aston Martin V8 engine, hand-assembled at a dedicated, high-technology facility in Cologne, Germany, the Vantage Roadster is an exclusive, advanced and uniquely desirable sports car.

Engine is the Aston Martin all-alloy quad overhead camshaft 32 valve, 4.3 litre V8 with variable inlet camshaft timing and dry sump lubrication system. It’s front mid-mounted and rear-wheel drive.

The new Sportshift automated manual transmission is optional. This ultra-quick system provides the driver with heightened precision via fingertip control of gear changes using paddles to progress smoothly and swiftly through the ratios.

Place a deposit today and your new roadster will be amongst the first deliveries around the middle of this year.


ENGINE All-alloy quad overhead camshaft 32 valve, 4.3 litre V8

POWER 283kW (380 bhp) @ 7000 rpm.

TORQUE 410 Nm (302 lb.ft) @ 5000 rpm

0-100 KM/H 5.0 secs

TOP SPEED 280 km/h

PRICE $269,000 (manual) $277,250 (Sportshift)

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