The Road Ahead : August September 2007
Beast unleashed Honda Australia has delivered the automotive version of Jekyll and Hyde, with the sizzling Civic Type R thrust into an already hyperactive hot hatch market. The Civic Type R arrives direct from the Old Dar t, and dar t it does, especially when the driver realises how the car transforms from placid to highly strung as it surges towards an 8000 rpm redline. IN THE SHOWROOM ... New releases Honda's Type R philosophy includes a yearning for smoothness through naturally aspirated engines. In this car, it delivers a character-altering and howl- inducing cam change from 5400 revs. The engine's upper echelons are a far cr y from the modest low-rev per formance, with just 193 Nm of pulling force to complement 148 kW of power. The six-speed, manual gearbox is a ripper though, and the car's steering, rigidity and braking systems have all been up-rated. Gear levels, especially safety, are excellent in the $39,990 car. The speedo, though, is difficult to see and the spare tyre is a space saver. The R badge has been absent in Australia since adorning Integra up to late 2004. A more sedate five-door Civic hatch could also arrive from Swindon late in 2008. AllatC Mercedes-Benz released its all-new C Class sedan in late July, with a trio of models thrown into the fight for prestige purse strings. 'Early adopters' can choose entr y- level C200 Kompressor or C220 CDI turbo-diesel Classic cars, with Elegance (add $3500) or Avantgarde (add $5700) specifications as options. The C280 MOTORING 56 AUG/SEP 07 petrol V6 is available in Elegance or Avantgarde for the same price. For the first time, Benz has made specification a visual point of difference, with Avantgarde models featuring a three-pointed star in the middle of the grille. C Class owners will find ESC, eight airbags, the 'pre-safe' occupant protection system, parking sensors, parameter steering and new suspension system that tailors shock absorption qualities depending on driver inputs. The V6 has a seven-speed gearbox, while the other cars offer a five-speed automatic, all with sequential function. Prices begin at $56,990 for the C200 Kompressor in Classic guise, rise to Diamond moves Mitsubishi's moves to become more than just the 380 car company are reaping dividends, as its impor ts surge ahead. However, there are hurdles, with the company abandoning plans for a supercharged 380 due to cost blowouts, and looming shor tfalls of the highly successful Lancer ahead of a new model in September. Because all future models will be developed in Japan, Mitsubishi's engineering capabilities have been decimated, with just 20 engineers now in Adelaide for vehicle fettling. Mitsubishi promises more Ralliar t models will arrive in the next year, but for now the Diamond Brand has introduced a 380 Series III range, which it claims will be"the best value model in the segment". A major revamp of the large car is due sometime next year. The only mechanical change for Series III sedans will be traction control on the base ES, which also gains alloy wheels, a new front bumper, front fog lamps, revamped seat trim and chrome instrument highlights. The price of both manual and automatic versions rises $1000 to $28,990 and $30,990 respectively. SX remains largely unchanged but loses its manual gearbox, while the LX model disappears. VRX gets new bumpers and alloy wheels plus a revised rear wing and steering wheel, while the GT can be optioned up with a luxur y pack including leather trim and sunroof. Limited edition ES Spor ts and 380 Fusion Burst models will also be available. All automatic 380 versions can now be fitted with a factor y approved LPG kit for $4050, however electronic stability control (ESC) will not be available on 380 until next year and the next model, after the company missed out on winter testing. Mitsubishi also has enhanced its Triton range with a four-speed automatic transmission for its 4x4 diesel models. The diesel-auto combination will be available in GLX cab chassis, pick-up and double cab styles and in the GLX-R and GLS double cab.
June July 2007
October November 2007