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April 21, 2016

Renault releases first details of Koleos II, its most upscale SUV yet

Jack Yan/13.11

We had anticipated this announcement since Salvatore Marti, operations’ manager of Renault New Zealand, told us to wait till April 21 to see photographs of the Koleos II, the company’s latest SUV.
   He never said Renault Maxthon, which was the name bandied about by the media for part of 2016. There’s a logic to having another name with a hard k sound at the start, tying in to Captur and Kadjar, Renault’s other own-brand SUVs.
   We had been concerned that the new Koleos wouldn’t match the Kadjar in looks, since the current model was conceived by Samsung of Korea, one of Renault’s subsidiaries, and never had the flair of some of its rivals.
   Marti assured us that we shouldn’t worry, and he was right: Koleos, which has the same 2,705 mm wheelbase as the Nissan X-Trail, is arguably better looking than the Kadjar. It’s also slightly bigger, in the same way the X-Trail is bigger than its sister car, the Nissan Qashqai, by the same amount. Both sets of Renault’s and Nissan’s SUVs are on Renault’s CMF–C/D platform.
   However, the Koleos will only be a five-seater, with Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker saying that the company was already catering to the seven-seat market with its Scénic IV and Espace V.
   The grille is similar to that of the international (as opposed to the Chinese-market) Renault Talisman, which had been fêted as the Most Beautiful Car of the Year by the Festival Automobile International in Paris. It also ties in to the look of the Renault Mégane IV. It appears that Renault is looking to target more upscale buyers with the Koleos.
   The Koleos II is one of the débutantes at the Beijing Motor Show next week, with CEO Carlos Ghosn officially unveiling it on the 25th. It will be built in Wuhan for the Chinese market, but no announcement has been made on where other countries’ Koleoses will be sourced from. Chinese buyers will get 2·0- and 2·5-litre petrol models, with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
   The Koleos II will be sold in New Zealand, but the Kadjar will not, said Marti.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 20, 2016

New Zealand gets first Renault Zoé glimpse at Leading the Charge event in Wellington

Jack Yan/6.13



New Zealanders got their first look at the Renault Zoé last Friday at the Leading the Charge event in Wellington.
   The electric car, which has been a standard-bearer for the French company’s zero-emissions ambitions alongside its Twizy single-passenger commuter, arrived in the country only that week in right-hand drive form and made its way to the event at the CQ Hotel in Wellington.
   The Zoé posed alongside the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3, which is the subject of an upcoming comprehensive Lucire road test.
   Leading the Charge is a real-world north-to-south road trip from Cape Reinga to Bluff, New Zealand to educate people about zero-carbon motoring, to prove that it is indeed possible, even in a country like New Zealand where major cities are scattered around the landscape, with rural roads linking them.
   Better NZ Trust and EECA are behind the drive, and for Wellingtonians, guest speaker Steve West was on hand to talk about his venture, Charge Net NZ, which aims to have 100 fast-charge stations located nationally.
   Instead of the nightly charge of a car via the mains, which can take all night, these fast chargers pump electricity through in less than half an hour, making the electric car particularly viable. Presently, owners of electric cars pay no road tax.
   In New Zealand, where electricity is in part sourced from hydro sources, electric cars make environmental sense overall.
   Host CQ Hotels had installed eight electric car charging stations in its car park, as part of its social responsibility to the environment.
   The cars have made their way now to the South Island. You can follow @leadingthecharge on Instagram for the latest updates.—Jack Yan, Publisher







April 16, 2016

Kasia Smutniak launches Mya special edition of Lancia’s last car, the Ypsilon, at Spazio Arôme in Milano

Jack Yan/12.09



We might as well enjoy it while it lasts, because this is the last Lancia.
   With the demise of the Delta—one of our favourites—in 2014, there’s a single model line left for the fabled Italian brand: the Ypsilon. After that, Lancias will be no more, the 110-year-old brand being consigned to history as Fiat kills it off.
   The Ypsilon is effectively the successor to the old Autobianchi superminis such as the A112 and Y10, a marque which had also disappeared, after once being the brand where Fiat tried out new concepts such as hatchbacks and front-wheel drive.
   Not even a brand that has had cars such as the Aurelia, Fulvia and Gamma coupés, Stratos and Beta Montecarlo can survive a lack of attention, and the Mya is one of the last editions of Ypsilon that will wear the Lancia badge.
   Fiat’s now busy, of course, with profitable Jeeps and the renaissance of Alfa Romeo, although it still pumped some money into an event in Milano for the Lancia Ypsilon Mya at the Spazio Arôme.
   This special edition sees Polish actress Kasia Smutniak (known to Anglophone audiences for the actioner From Paris with Love) as its spokeswoman, succeeding other Lancia faces such as Carla Bruni.
   The launch used video mapping imaging techniques behind Smutniak, projecting graphics on to real surfaces. Lancia says it sees the Ypsilon Mya as a ‘second home’, with Antonella Bruno, head of Lancia for EMEA even interviewing Debora Conti, a life coach, on the relationship between space and emotion, and Fire Cars’ Annacarla Giusti confirming that the car has style and elegance.
   Admittedly, the tipo 846 Ypsilon, which has been around since 2011, has aged remarkably well, and the shape still has a certain elegance to it. The interior features Alcantara and a denim-look fabric. The exterior sees the addition of two shades—though they are both grey. Ardesia Grey is standard, and a three-layer Lunare Grey comes as an option. Neve White, Vulcano Black and Blu di Blu are also available from the regular Ypsilon line, which sees a palette of 12 colours.
   To give it a subtle lift, there is a satin finish on the front bumper, the lower grille inserts, door mirrors, door handles, the Ypsilon badge on the tailgate, and the Mya logo on the wheel arches.
   The Ypsilon features at the Spazio Arôme this weekend, and that of April 23–4.—Jack Yan, Publisher






March 14, 2016

Jaguar launches XF in style in New Zealand with Murray Crane and Crane Brothers event

Lucire staff/0.56



Arguably, Jaguar launches with more style in New Zealand than in other countries, thanks to its collaboration with its ambassador Murray Crane, and his menswear label Crane Brothers.
   The second-generation XF launch last Thursday saw not just drinks and canapés, but the release of Crane Brothers’ autumn–winter 2016 collection.
   Held at Crane Brothers’ Auckland central store on High Street, the launch event included the release of a limited-edition Jaguar × Crane Brothers tie collection and an XF chauffeur–test drive service for Crane Brothers customers.
   The tie collection features seven styles in wool, silk and cashmere, featuring British tweed and Donegal tweed, tying in to the Britishness and modernity of the Jaguar brand.
   The chauffeur and test drive service will take Crane Brothers customers from their door (limited to Auckland inner-city locations) to the High Street store, running from today (Monday, March 14) to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, where they can get a taste of the new XF.
   Jaguar has enjoyed a record-breaking sales’ month at the beginning of 2016 in New Zealand, and the XF is expected to build on the success the company has found with its new XE, F-type and XJ.
   The new XF X251 series is a departure from its predecessor, using an aluminium-intensive architecture inspired by the larger XJ. As noted in Lucire last year, Jaguar cites carbon dioxide emissions of 104 g/km for its most economical XF in the UK. The weight saving means that the new XF is cleaner, and Jaguar claims it is 80 kg lighter than the competition, using the base model for comparison. In terms of environmental impact, Jaguar Land Rover uses a form of aluminium alloy called RC5754, which is predominantly made from recycled material, for its pressings.







March 2, 2016

Aston Martin shows DB11 at Salon de Genève: the dawn of a new line of exclusive sports cars

Lucire staff/12.34



One of the most exciting débutantes at the 86th Salon de Genève on Tuesday was the Aston Martin DB11, the replacement for the DB9.
   Leaked images had been doing the rounds over the past week, with huge interest: the DB11 is the most significant Aston Martin to make its début since the DB9 in 2003.
   The DB11, the latest in the DB line of cars, begins a new chapter in Aston’s history, with a brand-new platform that will underpin future releases through to the end of the decade.
   Under the bonnet is a new 5·2-litre twin-turbo V12 that delivers an estimated 608 PS and 700 Nm of torque, making the new model the most powerful production DB ever. Aston Martin expects the DB11 will reach 320 km/h and have a 0–100 km/h time of 3·9 s.
   There are also new design features, such as a front-hinging clamshell bonnet, newly shaped LED headlights, a new interpretation of the famous grille, roof strakes that flow from A- to C-pillar, a sloping rear deck (as hinted at on the DB10 from the movie Spectre) that integrates into newly shaped headlights. The DB11 is full of attractive touches, looking lower and longer than its predecessor. For those who felt Aston Martin hadn’t reinvented its design language for a long time, here is proof that head of design Marek Reichman has neither been sitting still as the company readied this all-new model, nor interested in lightly reinterpreting what has gone before.
   There is purpose to the new look, too: Aston Martin notes there is new airflow management that aids stability and reduces front- and rear-end lift. The latter is aided by air intakes at the base of the C-pillar that is ducted through the body, and out through the rear decklid, in a process Aston Martin calls the Aeroblade, a ‘virtual spoiler’ at the rear of the car.
   An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, new electric power steering, and torque vectoring help with the new car’s agility, says Aston Martin.
   In the cabin, Daimler AG’s 5 per cent holding is apparent with the DB11’s new instrument cluster, which appears on a 12-inch TFT LCD, while an 8-inch TFT screen appears in the centre console, featuring the car’s infotainment functions. These address one of the DB9’s greatest shortcomings: its infotainment system had not been adequately updated alongside its rivals over the last decade. Infotainment functions can be reached through a rotary control, with an optional touchpad with character recognition. Parking assist and a 360-degree bird’s eye-view camera are also standard.
   Although the DB11 remains very much a grand tourer, there is more space at the rear. There are two child seats at the rear with Isofix mounting points, and the occasional rear passenger gets more headroom. Boot space is greater, addressing another DB9 issue.
   Pricing is expected to be £154,900 in the UK, €204,900 in Germany, and US$211,995 in the USA. Deliveries commence in the fourth quarter of 2016.—Jack Yan, Publisher, and Lucire staff














Max Earey

Filed under: design, living, London, Lucire, trend

Porsche announces limited-edition 911R: the lightweight and most engaging model in the line

Lucire staff/10.42

Among the débutantes at the Salon de Genève, one of the most important car shows of the year, is the Porsche 911R, a lightweight version of the standard 911, limited to 991 units worldwide.
   The 911R, named for the 1967 homologation special—which was entered in the Targa Florio and other competitions—weighs 1,370 kg, yet its four-litre, flat-six produces 500 PS. Porsche aimed to produce the purest, most engaging member of the 911 family, which is why the R is offered only with a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine is also naturally aspirated: there’s no room for turbocharging here.
   Optional stripes running over the centre of the car and Porsche logos on the side hark back to the 1967 original.
   It shares some components from the already potent 911 GT3 RS, including a carbonfibre bonnet, magnesium roof, and a titanium exhaust system, yet weighs less than the latter by 50 kg thanks to items such as a plastic rear screen and rear windows, the omission of the rear bench, and less interior insulation. Depending on the market, air conditioning and the audio system are optional.
   Despite the weight saving, the R reaches 100 km/h in 3·7 s, 0·4 s behind the RS, but it can hit a maximum of 323 km/h.
   The US launch price is US$184,900, while the UK launch price is £136,901. It reaches US dealers in the late summer.



Filed under: design, living, Lucire
January 23, 2016

Irina Shayk, Lena Gercke, Jason Statham, Ann-Kathrin Brömmel among guests at Audi Night at Kitzbühel

Lucire staff/12.26




Gisela Schober, Lennart Preiss

Audi’s stressing its off-road credentials at the Hahnenkamm, Kitzbühel ski races this winter, sponsoring the Audi FIS Ski World Cup on the Streif. Its Quattro models, which revolutionized the use of four-wheel-drive in a premium line from the launch of the first car in 1980, are a favourite of those seeking luxury and off-road comfort, and celebrities had a chance to sample them at the Hahnenkamm. That evening, they celebrated with some 350 guests during the Audi Night on Friday at the Zur Tenne hotel, which kicked off the 76th Hahnenkamm weekend of racing.
   Irina Shayk, Lena Gercke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jason Statham, Noomi Rapace, Luke Evans and Christina Stürmer were on hand to celebrate with Audi both during the day and celebrate at the evening event, alongside skiers Marco Büchel (as MC), Felix Neureuther, Marcel Hirscher, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Martina Ertl-Renz and Christa Kinshofer, Le Mans winner Benoît Tréluyer, and Audi DTM drivers Timo Scheider and Mathias Ekström. Other guests during Friday included game show host Kai Pflaume, Martina Ertl-Renz and Sven Renz, Jessica Hinterseer, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thuman and Jürgen Thuman, Mario Götze and Ann-Kathrin Brömmel, Patrick Shriver Schwarzenegger, and Patrick Knapp. Gregory Porter sang live at the evening event.
   Along with familiar models such as the R8, TT and all-new A4, Audi showed off its E-tron Quattro concept, an all-electric car that points to the future technology and design language of the brand.




























Gisela Schober, Lennart Preiss

January 11, 2016

Derek Zoolander promotes Fiat 500X in advance of Zoolander 2

Lucire staff/3.46



Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander alter ego, returning to cinemas on February 12 in Zoolander 2, 15 years after the original, advertises the Fiat 500X crossover in a TV campaign that broke during the Golden Globes’ telecast yesterday.
   While the first spots were 60 seconds, 30-second spots break today on US television. The campaign will also reach digital and social media.
   The campaign has been directed by Jeff Mann, who executive-produces Zoolander 2. Background music is Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax (Don’t Do It)’, and Zoolander adopts his ‘Blue Steel’ pose when he sets off a traffic camera. The campaign was created in partnership with Trailer Park.
   The Fiat 500X is Fiat Chrysler’s latest entry in the 500 family, which was revived in 2007. Built on the larger Fiat Punto platform, the 500X is, for the North American market, an all-wheel-drive crossover that adopts the retromodern looks of the 500 supermini, which in turn paid tribute to the 1957, rear-engined nuova 500. Other markets receive a front-wheel-drive 500X model.
   â€˜Joining forces with Paramount Pictures and Zoolander No. 2 allows us to align the Fiat 500X with a pop culture moment through one of this year’s most anticipated films,’ said Olivier François, chief marketing officer and Fiat’s global brand head.
   â€˜We are thrilled for Derek Zoolander fans around the world to finally see the result of our year-long collaboration with the Fiat team on a campaign so perfectly in sync with his character,’ commented LeeAnne Stables, president of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships at Paramount Pictures. ‘These Fiat spots are a hilarious reminder of the fun that audiences will have when the movie releases next month.’
   Last March, Stiller as Zoolander and Owen Wilson, in his Zoolander role as Hansel, walked the Valentino runway during the autumn–winter 2015–16 collections in Paris.
   Zoolander 2 is directed by Stiller, and sees the return of Wilson. Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor, Justin Theroux and Kyle Mooney also star. The film is written by Theroux, Stiller, Nick Stoller and John Hamburg. Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin and Clayton Townsend produce.

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