28th February 2009

First look: Audi Q5

Former Miss World Jennifer Hawkins almost stole the limelight at Audi.

Introducing the new Q5 off-roader, it was clear that showgoers were far happier to cast their eyes over Miss Hawkins’ curves rather than those of the new Q5 off-roader.

The newest Audi joins the Q7 and arrives in March with prices starting at $59,900 for both the 2.0 TDI quattro and 2.0 TFSI quattro models. A powerful V6 3.2 FSI quattro follows at just $69,900 and the mighty $71,900 3.0 TDI aimed squarely at the BMW X3.

Audi’s managing director, Joerg Hofmann, says there is plenty of room in Audi’s model portfolio for the Q5.

“It is priced very competitively, and offers strong performance from each of its four direct injection engines,” he said.

The 2.0 TDI engine also has another ace up its sleeve as it is exempt from Luxury Car Tax due to its low consumption of less than 7.0 litres per 100km.

Hofmann said he expects the Q5 to follow in the footsteps of the Q7, luring buyers from other luxury brands.

The Q5 will come with four engine variants, all with direct injection turbo-charged engines and quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

At launch, both the 2.0 TFSI and 3.0 TDI will be available, closely followed by the 2.0 TDI and 3.2 FSI models in April. All Q5 models are equipped with an economical 7-speed S-tronic gearbox.

This has super-slick gearchanges that take only a few hundredths of a second and deliver virtually uninterrupted power flow.

The Q5 is the first model to feature this innovative dual-clutch transmission mounted to a longitudinal engine layout.

It is matched to Audi’s quattro permanent all wheel drive system with a 40:60 torque split.

The Q5 also boasts a luggage capacity of 540 litres with the rear seats up and 1560 litres with the seats folded.

Innovative driver assistance systems such as a new MMI Plus Navigation system with 7-inch colour monitor and 40 GB hard drive with storage for up to 10,000 music files; blind spot warning system and “lane assist” to detect and prevent wandering out of your lan are among the car’s features.

Also available is adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system that warns the driver and brakes when the car is too close to the car in front and an adjustable suspension system. ,p>


The 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show…


- Herald Sun

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28th February 2009

Ask the Best and Brightest: Your Entire Car Owning History Please

With explanations, justifications, final analysis, etc.

TTAC reader Menno’s rides below. My list to follow.

Yeah, I admit to being a slow learner. Here’s my abysmal record so far (though I’m vastly improving over the past 7 years). Of course, being unwealthy for so many years doesn’t help, either. Thanks a bunch, Jimmah Cartah… OPEC…. Keynesian economists…..

1966 AMC Ambassador  - Well, okay, it wasn’t my choice; I worked hard for my dad and he thanks me with a green 4 door?! At least it had a 327 V8, factory Holley 4 barrel and 270 horsepower…

1968 Pontiac Catalina (ditto)  - Awful POS

1975 Ford Pinto (new) – WHAT was I THINKING?

1973 Fiat 126 (paintshaker with 2 doors) (only kept it a couple of weeks if that)

1971 Volkswagen 411 – Automatic transmission detonated/took taxicabs for the next 10-11 months/still had a car payment, too

1975 AMC Pacer – Absolute total drek; my LAST AMC

1977 Plymouth Volare – Totaled thanks to a woman having a nervous breakdown, going through a stop sign. POS, tho’.

1971 Cadillac DeVille – The only car I could buy for $300 cash I had during a major fuel crisis – not my actual choice. Considering it was nine-year-old and cost me what it did, it did the job as well as could be expected and was actually reliable.

1967 Chrysler Newport Custom – A reasonably good car; Chrysler tricked me by building one good damn car. Saying that, the damn Chrysler starter went out twice in a row over three days, had to be replaced. “Oh no, oh no, oh no” - fail.

1975 Dodge Charger – Absolute total and complete drek.

1977 Plymouth Volare Wagon – Pretty damn poor. Left us stranded a few times. I think I was hoping Chrysler would come through, after the 1967 Newport.

1975 Plymouth Gran Fury (our “first second-car”) – It wasn’t so bad, except that it started out life needing a water pump on the 400-big block.

1984 Pontiac 1000 (new) – Chevette in disguise. It was an “okay” car solely because it was a rush-job and GMNA hadn’t fouled it up; it was a Brazilian engineered Opel, in reality )

1979 Citroen Dyane – Fun but crude, old and worn out

1987 Lada Riva 1200 (new) – Not as bad as you think but it needed five gears.

1981 Talbot Horizon – Yes, a Plymouth Horizon built in France.

1979 Renault 20 – A very good car; didn’t pass an MoT test so had to go away to the scrapyard.

1979 Peugeot 505 – I liked it but it was slow; got clobbered by a massive truck/kaput.

1977 Saab 99 – I liked it at first, then discovered it was an amateurmobile – what a POS – died when the head gasket detonated. While we were on vacation. NOT convenient.

1990 Lada Riva 1300 (5 speeds, new)

1983 Audi 5000 – Expensive to keep up, had multiple issues. Very “needy”

1984 Plymouth K-car Reliant – I  simply cannot tell you bad this car was after having to broom the Audi due to not being able to afford to constantly fix patch & repair with Audi-priced salvage yard parts. I only kept it about two months– if that.

1984 Buick Skylark – Head gasket almost immediately went kerpow. Fixed and ran it since fixing was cheaper than replacing the damn car.

1987 Dodge Spirit – My God, what an awful POS. You’d think I’d have learned from the Reliant K, but NOOOOOOO…. It didn’t break “a lot”–  just enough to keep us poor, not enough to make me want to push it off a cliff. Then the head gasket started to leak….  

1989 Ford Taurus  - Not great but also not awful – did leave a massive hole in my wallet once, subsequent to leaving us stranded

1990 Lincoln Town Car – Oh…. My…. God….. Words cannot express how I wanted to shove this thing off a cliff after having it constantly nickel & dime me near to drink. My LAST Ford product.

1997 Chevrolet Cavalier (new) - Nobody else would take the Lincoln in trade, and they offered 3.9% APR over 5 years… you obviously get what you pay for out okay, but rapidly became a skinking pile of continuous niggling problems which the dealer and by extension, GM, refused to properly fix. My LAST EVER GM product. 

1999 Dodge Neon (new) – Started out fun to drive and surprisingly capable, went completely downhill from there. Head gaskets 2x in under 70k miles

1999 Dodge Neon (new) – Bought during the honeymoon period of Neon #1. Head gasket blew. Our LAST EVER Chrysler product)

1962 ½ Chevrolet Corvair “classic” – What a mistake, overall. Had fun with it for about 10 minutes, then it became a millstone around my neck. Leaky, stinking, troublesome, smokey, half-assed engineering…. GM at its “best.”

2002 Hyundai Sonata – Took a gamble on this one: “Do they build cars even as well as Detroit?” It was better than average and when it had problems, the local dealer bent over backward enough that I gave them and Hyundai a second chance. Overall, better than virtually every car that preceded it, but thank God for that long warranty.

2002 Daewoo Nubira – A COMPLETE gamble, bought it at half price “used” with 25 miles on the clock after Daewoo went bust (”thanks for nothin’ GM.) Actually, one of the better cars I’ve ever bought and I consider it a NEW purchase since nobody owned it/drove it before we did)

We passed one of the Neons on to a college age son, needed something cheap as a second car. Subsequently it was passed on to son #2, still going like the energizer bunny at 80,000 miles with no major failures, only normal maintenance and small problems.

2005 Toyota Prius – One of the best cars I’ve ever had. Traded it after 48k miles in 2.5 years. Virtually TROUBLE FREE. 

2007 Hyundai Sonata- Oone of the best cars I’ve ever had the privilege of owning with different positive attributes to the Prius. Again, trouble-free.

2008 Toyota Prius- As good a car as the 2005


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28th February 2009

D1 Underground, Facebook for drifting

In this day and age people are gravitating towards online communities, they allow you to post pictures, chat with friends and are accessible from almost anywhere. D1underground.com is an online community that gives drifting hopefuls a forum to be seen and heard, and even an opportunity to compete.

More after the jump.

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28th February 2009

Hyundai Genesis Coupe V6 beats out Infiniti G37 in first comparison test

Filed under: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Hyundai, Infiniti

Hyundai Genesis Coupe V6 beats out Infiniti G37 in first comparison test

by Damon Lavrinc on Feb 27th 2009 at 7:59PM

While we’re working on our own shoot-out between the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and a yet-to-be-named contender, the crew at Inside Line put Hyundai’s new rear-wheel-drive two-door against one of its strongest opponents: the Infiniti G37.

IL’s 3.8-liter V6 Genesis Coupe tester came equipped with the Track pack, which includes a stiffer suspension, limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels, along with the standard six-speed manual. The sticker? $30,375, or $6,625 less than a base model Infiniti G37. For the extra scratch, the Infiniti is a more luxurious package and carries a bit of badge snobbery, but performance and driver engagement are the metrics we’re interested in and the Hyundai proved to be a serious contender.

The G is packing more power from less displacement (330 vs. 306 hp), a bit more torque (270 vs. 266 lb-ft) and revs higher (7,600 vs. 6,800 rpm). But it’s also packing the pounds. The Infiniti tips the scales at 3,709 pounds, while the Genesis Coupe comes in just under 3,500 pounds.

IL performed its usual battery of tests, along with a dyno run, and deemed the G37 a better vehicle on the road from both a driving and livability standpoint, but gave props to the Genesis for its competence on the track and predictable handling characteristics. Both cars were remarkably close in the performance department, with the Hyundai taking the win on the skid-pad, while falling short on the sprint to 60, quarter-mile time and slalom run.

IL’s conclusion: For two-thirds the cost of the Infiniti G37, the Genesis Coupe 3.8 gives you more bang for the buck and deserves a place on any enthusiast’s short-list. Look out for our own review – including the 2.0T model – soon, but in the meantime, read IL’s full comparo here.

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27th February 2009

USF1 – What’s Your Take?

Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the notion of a born-in-the-USA Formula One effort, I’d like your opinion on it.

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27th February 2009

Obama team, Ford wrap up week of talks

WASHINGTON — The Obama Administration’s auto team completed a week of intensive meetings with a roughly two-hour session today with Ford Motor Co.

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