Australia’s first Audi Sport showroom concept opens in Melbourne








Bobby Zagam’s impressive $25 million redevelopment of the Audi Centre Melbourne has finally flung open the doors to reveal a facility that showcases 40 new vehicles across three levels.

The new facility is the first in Australia to feature the new Audi Sport showroom concept. With Australia having been identified as a pilot market worldwide for the concept, the third floor has been turned into a showcase for the brand’s high performance range.

RS and R8 vehicles, special wheel selections, exclusive vehicle accessories and an extensive range of merchandise are on sale in a ‘shop within a shop’ concept. There are two cafes, multiple lounge areas for customers to relax, and also a private lounge where prospective owners can configure their new Audi using a touch screen.


“It is incredible to see that this has taken shape in such a magnificent form. Now we can really offer our Audi customers the very best service in one of the best retail facilities in the country,” said Bobby.

“The overall design clearly separates the showroom and customer spaces making it is easy for people to connect with the vehicles, or to enjoy the surroundings of the café and lounge areas.”

501 Swanston Street also reflects a number of sustainable design features, achieving a 4-star Nabers rating through the use of low energy, high-efficiency LED lighting, automatic daylight harvesting system and special facade glazing.

The official opening event for 650 guests that featured Melbourne’s Hamish & Andy, Megan Washington and Wikid Force, was sponsored by Laurent Perrier, Port Phillip Estate Wines, Asahi Premium Beverages, Capi Mineral Waters and Leica Camera.

Super squeeze-pop from Woolie’s Workshop



Fresh from Woolie’s Workshop is a Tang-Tang’n two-stroke with capabilities of extremely high engine revolutions per minute and enough squeeze-pop to make your head spin.

This 250cc Yamaha 2-Cycle racer looks fast standing still and is a unique personal project of Venice Motorcycle designer Michael Woolaway, who built it to be competitive in the 250 race class. Yamaha TZs are the stuff of legends in the race world, winning international grand prix races throughout the 70′s.

Like all the builds out of Woolie’s Workshop, it has what Michael describes as that ‘final 5%”, which is always the most assiduously earned and separates the great bikes from the good ones.

This race-spec steed is featherweight and fed by twin Mikunis to produce 50bhp @ 10,500rpm. Tuck in, hold on, and safety-wire your bum to the seat, cuz this little two-smoker is a real zinger!


The cars rumbled in bright and early to bask together in the morning sunshine as the guttural ensemble of air cooled internal combustion serenaded the parking lot and echoed off the walls of Deus Ex Machina in Venice, California a couple of weekends ago, as we played host to Luftgekühlt in a celebration of Zuffenhausen’s finest air-cooled cars…CLICK HERE TO VIEW

And quite a celebration it was, thanks to the thoughtful orchestration by Porsche factory racer Patrick Long and Howie Idelson who assembled the all-star cast of some of the rarest icons and familiar Porschephiles in the arena. Needless to say, the sight of these beautiful machines thoughtfully aligned and squeezed into our bite-sized downtown Venice Beach parking lot was glorious to behold. And not soon forgotten!



High-tech tyre helps drivers avoid costs of twice yearly fuel excise indexation


Toyo Tires says its latest high-tech tyre could cut the cost of family motoring through fuel savings of up to 5.5% compared with a conventional car tyre. According to the tyremakers’ technical manager Steven Burke, independent testing had shown the NanoEnergy 3 tyre can deliver fuel savings of up to $130 a year for a typical family six-cylinder sedan, or more than six times the yearly cost of recent fuel-excise increase.

“Considering average weekly fuel costs for a late model six-cylinder family sedan at current fuel prices, NanoEnergy 3 can save families over $130 per annum, for those driving an average of 15,000km a year…about one cent a kilometre. That’s nearly 90 litres of fuel over 800 kilometres of combined driving, per vehicle, or the equivalent of a free trip from Sydney to Melbourne.”

Using a popular current model V6 family sedan and specialised equipment, performance data was captured at Sydney Motor Sport Park by V8 Supercar driver Jonathan Webb and Motor magazine.

By engineering the rubber compound at a molecular level, Toyo has been able to achieve improvements for rolling resistance, grip levels and wear resistance. NanoEnergy 3 is available in sizes that will suit about half of all passenger cars sold in Australia.

An electric E-Type Jag? You’ve got to be kidding



Carmakers do their best to keep future-model plans a secret, but the sprawling bureaucracy of today’s corporate operations can sometimes make that difficult. A part of that work involves protecting intellectual property for potential new models and technologies that may not even be confirmed for production.

The fact that Jaguar recently trademarked the name “EV-Type” brings up some interesting possibilities. The registration was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on October 30 and also with a similar registry in Europe, for use on “motor land vehicles” and other applications, according to Green Car Reports.

Jaguar hasn’t confirmed any plans for an electric car, but the use of the ‘Type’ designation indicates that it’s at least considering a plug-in sports car. While Jaguar used to offer the S-Type and X-Type sedans, as well as an X-Type wagon, very briefly. That style of name is currently used only by the F-Type two-seat sports car. The name EV-Type is also a somewhat playful reference to the car that inspired the F-Type, the classic E-Type.


Much of Jaguar’s recent history with hybrid and plug-in electric powertrains has also involved performance vehicles. The C-X16 Concept (below) which previewed the production F-Type, featured a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 3.0L supercharged V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission, paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.

More audaciously, Jaguar also tinkered with the C-X75, a mid-engined supercar that first appeared at the 2010 Paris Motor Show with a plug-in powertrain that included a pair of gas-turbine engines. Those were replaced by a 1.6L gasoline engine in an ultimately failed attempt to make the C-X75 production-feasible. It was fun while it lasted.

It’s unclear whether the EV-Type has any connection to those previous experiments, or if Jaguar has any serious plans for the name at all at the moment. Yet with global emissions standards getting stricter, Jaguar may have to take a more serious look at electrification in the near future. When it does, at least it’ll have a clever name on hand.

2015 F-Type coupe

2015 F-Type coupe

What’s new pussycat? Chrysler and Audi put on the grunt @ LA and BMW powders it’s cute little nose



image116772_aThe new 2015 Chrysler 300 has gone of display at the LA Auto Show and in the usual auto industry overhyped style is being billed as offering 300 iconic design proportions (whatever that means) inspired materials, plus game-changing innovations. Mind you, it’s not a bad looking unit in a clunky sort of ‘poor man’s Bentley’ kind of way.

The 300C Platinum model features quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, ultra-premium Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, plus platinum-chrome exterior details and 20-inch wheels. There’s a 5.7L Hemi V8 delivers 270kW, 534Nm and 0-100km/h in less than six seconds. The four models in the range are the 300 Limited, 300S, 300C and the 300C Platinum.


Also on display in LA is the Audi prologue show car that the company is billing as a “foretaste of the future”. According head designer Marc Lichte, Audi design is now expressing progressive technology even more powerfully.

“The two‑door coupe has a flowing, elegant shape in a sporty and taut design. Its forms and lines are unmistakable and introduce many new ideas. In the clear and unobstructed interior, the architecture melds with the display and operating concept to create a new type of unit.

“The entire front of the instrument panel is a large touch display, and a portion of the user interface operates with a new type of OLED display made of organic LEDs.”

The 4.0 TFSI produces up to 445kW of power and 750Nm of torque and accelerates the Audi prologue from 0 to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds.


Meanwhile, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has arrived in local showrooms. Said to be built on an entirely new architecture designed to maximise interior space in a compact and stylish package, it’s all a bit Mazda-ish looking, which I suppose is not such a bad thing and you still get the blue and white badge.

All models feature six airbags, dynamic stability control, dynamic traction control, automatic parking assistant, rear view camera, lane departure warning and pedestrian and collision warnings with light city braking function and intelligent emergency call.

Under the bonnet, driving through a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is BMW’s first three-cylinder engine with maximum outputs of 100kW and 220Nm with an EU combined test fuel consumption of 5.2l/100km and CO2 emissions of 122g/km.




Upgrades make for a smoother ride at no extra cost


Upgrades that include the introduction of ‘comfort suspension’, a premium interior scrub up and a new acoustic package, to cut down noise and vibration, should help shift a few units in the 2015 Holden Colorado range, especially at 2014 prices.

According to the company’s Bill Mott, the Colorado has a great reputation for off-road driving that Holden wanted to translate to urban and highway driving.

“The reduction in noise and vibration and the introduction of a tailored comfort suspension makes driving a comfortable and enjoyable experience in any environment.”

The Colorado truck LTZ and 7 LTZ have a revised spring rate and damper tune and a new, stiffer, front stabiliser.  The same models also get heated leather appointed seats (optional on the LTZ Crew cab) and a more premium cabin feel with upgraded Jet Black, soft touch, surface fascias and centre console.

Testing at Monash University’s wind tunnel facility has resulted in some tweaking to the hill descent control (HDC) and hill start assist (HSA) and the new acoustic package that reduces airborne noise and vibration.


Beethoven or The Beatles it’s all possible with Merc’s autonomous car…maybe!



Autonomous cars will change the way people ‘drive,’ including making the interior more like a living room than a cockpit. With plans to put a self-driving car into production in the near future, Mercedes-Benz already has some ideas about what that transformation will look like.

The manufacturer recently unveiled a virtual interior concept for the autonomous car of the future with an interior mirroring a “private area of retreat” in urban traffic. There’s a variable seating arrangement consisting of four lounge chairs with the front chairs able to rotate so that the passengers can face each other while the car is driving itself.

Untitled-2With nothing better to do that stare at each other, passengers will be offered the ultimate in infotainment systems complete with gesture-based controls that can respond to eye, hand, and finger movements. (Picking ones nose can result in either a Daniel Barenboim Beethoven sonata or a Day Tripper video of The Beatles).

The virtual concept also features display screens that show information about the vehicle’s surroundings, because simply looking out the windows is apparently too low tech. Mercedes is merely positing what a future interior will look like, but it has firm plans to put an actual car with autonomous capability into production. It demonstrated the S500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE prototype in 2013 and plans to have a version of that car’s system ready for showrooms by 2020.

Some semi-autonomous functions, such as self-steering and lane change control, are already available on the current S-Class and these systems will likely act as building blocks to future self-driving cars.


If it’s a legendary photographer and the most beautiful women in the world then it must be Christmas



It’s definitely that time of year again. How do I know? No, it’s not the crappy noise that passes for carols in the local shopping centre or the annual ‘thank you’ car-of-the-year awards handed out to almost every vehicle manufacturer on the plant…I know that Christmas is just around the corner because my Pirelli calendar has arrived!

In the 42nd edition of this iconic automotive throwback to a bygone age, so-called legendary photographer …aren’t they all…Steven Meisel captures a list of what are said to be ‘the most beautiful women in the world’ over a five-day shoot last May in New York.

This year’s calendar features supermodels Joan Smalls, Adriana Lima, Natalia Vodianova and newcomer Gigi Hadid (pictured) the daughter of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Foster, just to name a few. The accompanying handout guff includes all the usual rubbish from the man behind the lens trying to turn a completely useless pastime into something on a par with a cure for cancer.

“In my opinion, these are the key aesthetic models of today’s world. They represent the stereotypes that the fashion and star system impose upon us right now.

“I didn’t want to make a conceptual calendar, or link it to some particular location, but rather to create 12 posters in which women, in all their sensuality, are the absolute protagonists of 12 very different images.

“Since I wanted to limit the use of clothes and accessories and since I had absolute creative freedom, I found it very exciting to play with the colours, the makeup, and the materials. It was a very rewarding experience.”

You bet!



New pay-per-view model for online vehicle sales site



Online auto sales site CarsGuide has introduced Australia’s first pay-per-view model that it claims offers a more transparent experience for both car buyers and dealers. Instead of charging for leads, CarsGuide will now only charge dealers for actual vehicle views, which should result in dealers paying a $39.95 capped fee to sell a vehicle using the internet site.

CarsGuide says that the new PPV model is much more transparent as it now provides all the dealer’s contact details up front. The new map-based search and pay-per-view model means that dealers will no longer pay $22.50 for so called leads, which could be consumers simply asking “where are you?”

CarsGuide CEO Lauren William says the new system is easier for car buyers and better value for dealers.

“Finding nearby cars has also been made even easier with new map-based search and consumers can now easily search for cars within the area they are willing to travel.”

According to the company’s research, some buyers are willing to travel interstate, but those with families prefer to travel 20km or less and that buyers are up to ten times more likely to enquire about a vehicle if they know it is within their preferred travel distance.

“We believe the way car sites work today is fundamentally broken. That’s why we’re making this radical change, sacrificing our lead revenue and disrupting the old way of business for a new, digitally driven model that benefits both buyers and sellers of vehicles,” Lauren added.

“With our new pay-per-view model consumers can choose to contact the dealer however they want either by inquiry form, phone or, since they know the location, turn up at the dealership and dealers will still receive email and phone leads, but now they will be free of charge.”


World’s first Bluetooth tyre monitoring system launched in Australia

FOBO_TireFollowing, what is claimed to be, a highly successful crowd sourcing campaign on that raised around $US186, 000, an innovative tyre pressure (TPMS) monitoring system has been launched in Australia.

The Fobo Tyre system uses the latest Bluetooth 4.0 that works directly Android and iOS devices, to monitor tyres and issue a mobile phone alert well in advance of a potential problem turning into a real emergency.

Claimed to be the world’s first all Bluetooth Smart and smartphone based TPMS it also has an intelligent in-car monitoring unit that works simultaneously with a smart phone so that an alert is still received even in the absence of the smart phone.

The system’s app offers round the clock monitoring of the tyres of up to 20 vehicles, even if their ignitions are switched off and up to 100 smart phone users can receive the information from the tyres. Installation of the Fobo Tyre is said to be an easy DIY task, taking less than five minutes, by following the app’s simple on-screen instructions.

The complete unit is made up of four sensors, an in-car unit, an app, four lock nuts, wrench with key chain and a spare wrench. Each Fobo Tyre is locked to a specific owner’s cloud account preventing stolen sensors from being reused.

More info @