Porsche 911 on all fours
Porsche has a very particular way of rolling out new variants. Following the launch of the all-new 911 late last year comes the announcement of the four-wheel drive versions. As always, the 911 Carrera 4 models have wider rear guards (by 44mm) than the two-wheel drive versions and more substantial tyres. Additions to the Carrera 4 include a menu in the instrument display that shows the driver exactly how torque is being distributed and an adaptive cruise control system that automatically keeps the car the correct distance from the vehicle in front. The cruise control also features a function called Porsche Active safe (PAS), which can take extreme measures to prevent an impending collision.
The 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models will be launched in New Zealand in early 2013.
Range Rover’s Australian reveal
Land Rover’s all-new Range Rover will make its second public appearance at the Australian International Motor Show in October, straight after its big debut at the Paris Motor Show next month. Aside from Evoque-like styling detail, the biggest change for the legendary off-roader is a massive weight-loss programme. Land Rover said it had removed a staggering 420kg from the vehicle compared with the outgoing model, thanks mainly to an all-aluminium body and chassis structures.
TomTom’s square deal
TomTom has launched a new version of its satellite navigation application for the iPhone and iPad. The application allows users to navigate to addresses found on the internet and search with Foursquare. For the social network-savvy, this will need no introduction. For the rest: the TomTom application is already integrated with Facebook but Foursquare is yet another social media service (for portable devices only) that allows members to “check in” at a multitude of member locations. With the new TomTom application, users can now navigate using the Foursquare service. [TomTom has also previewed an Android version of its mobile app, due later this year - Editor]
SsangYong’s sweet-looking Korando crossover has gained the option of a 2.0-litre petrol engine. It was previously only available with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel. The Korando could never be described as a class-leader but it does deliver on styling and value, so a $3000-cheaper version for $26,990 surely makes sense.
SsangYong New Zealand argues the Korando petrol could be a rival for some second-hand vehicles and will appeal to fleets. True enough and the Korando is a thoroughly modern vehicle, although there are some compromises with this entry version: the six-speed transmission is manual only and the car has anti-lock braking but not stability control.
Driverless Honda launched
The driverless car is not far away. The completely independent lawn mower has been around for ages, apparently. The “robotic lawn mower” market is growing in Europe and the latest entrant is Miimo, by Honda. Miimo is completely automated and works within a boundary set by border wires, which can be installed underground. It cuts little and often, several times a week and will return to its docking station when the battery charge gets low.
Honda has worked on robotics since 1986 and continues to do so with its famous Asimo robots. However, Miimo is the first robotic product offered by the company for public use.