The Car Club

The Car Club is the place to find out what's happening in the world of new cars - what's coming up, what we've driven lately and the innovations driving the industry. Join Kyle Cassidy and Peter Louisson, of the NZ Autocar team, in a blog about anything and everything new in the automotive world.

American muscle machine - BMW's X6 M

05:05am 16 Feb 2015


The X6 M was the first all-paw M machine when BMW released it in 2009.

It upset purists by not only being 4WD but turbocharged too.

But it was well suited to the nature of New Zealand roads with plenty of torque, traction and wheel travel. And now the BMW M team has upgraded the formula.

The second-generation X6 M (and its X5 M brethren which launches at the same time) is more of the same but all improved. We were fortunate to attend the international launch of the monster M at the F1 Circuit of the Americas in Texas.   


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New car sales reach dizzy heights in 2014

05:00am 24 Jan 2015


It turned out to be quite a sizzler 2014, and we're not talking about summer holiday weather but new vehicle sales, the highest total since, well, ever.

In total, 127,179 new vehicles were registered last year, up 12 per cent on a strong 2013, thanks mainly to an improving economy and a strong dollar and economy.

Sales eclipsed the previous best year of new vehicle registrations, right back in 1984, when 123,247 new vehicles were registered.

Top of the pile in 2014 was Corolla once again, thanks mainly to being the best selling rental vehicle.


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VW Amarok - When two will do in a double cab ute

10:11am 16 Jan 2015


The high-riding, double cab 2WD market practically doubled last year.

It was those retails primarily that led to Ford's Ranger knocking Toyota's Hilux off the top spot it has held for over three decades, for Toyota has no competitor in that sector. It's a growth area, particularly when paired with the auto gearbox, and especially in urban markets.

VW added a model like this to the Amarok line-up late last year which should see overall sales rise as the 2WD model delivers most of the versatility of the 4WD models at a much lower price.

The 2WD Highline auto sells for $54,990 while the equivalent 4WD model is an extra $11,000. No, that's not a typo. The constant AWD system of the auto Amarok is trick but clearly you pay for that box of tricks. Even stepping up to the lesser specified 4WD Trendline requires another $7000.

Amarok 2wd

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New initiatives may help lower the road toll

08:45am 18 Dec 2014


A recently article penned by Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) boss, Mike Underhill, about the use of energy saving tyres rang true to me.

Evidently you can save as much as 15c a litre by using low rolling resistance rubber, equating to as much as $500 over the life of the tyre. And secondly, the difference between a decent tyre and one purchased on cost alone can be as much as 18m in the wet (emergency stopping from 100 kmh). Moreover, a fuel consumption difference of up to seven per cent is possible between the worst and best performing economy-oriented tyres. EECA has subsequently launched an approval rating service for tyres, a tick awarded if the rubber meets certain criteria for fuel efficiency and braking in the wet.

Such an initiative should be applauded as it gives consumers some independent information on what they're getting for their money where previously they were relying on aspects like cost, brand loyality or a salesperson's recommendation.

Where the rubber meets the road is a key factor in car safety.

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Meet our Bike of the Year

07:00am 06 Dec 2014


This year saw some fabulous new entries into the two-wheeled arena, though because of hype and presales we couldn't always get to ride and review all of them.

Examples include BMW's new S 1000 R, a naked litre fun bike we never threw a leg over, and a host of new Hondas, whisked away on a nationwide roadshow so we got no more than a taste of those.

Pity as the BMW and Honda's CB650F might well have been prime contenders.

BMW S 1000 R

First though, a quick recap of the hot contenders we actually did ride.

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