Supercharged Audi S5 Cabriolet Available for Order in the UK

Audi has opened the UK order books for the range-topping model of its new A5 Cabriolet, the S5. Prices start from £42,245 OTR with first deliveries expected to arrive in October. The rag-top S5 Cabriolet is powered by the same supercharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that's found under the hood of the latest S4 Sedan and Avant models. It produces an output of 333 HP and 440 Nm of torque from 2,500-4,850 rpm.

Equipped with Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system, the S5 is offered exclusively with a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch sports transmission. According to the German automaker, the 3.0 TSI powers the S5 Cabriolet to 62mph (100km/h) in 5.6 seconds and on to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph or 250 km/h.

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Toyota Announces Minor Changes for 2010 Avalon, Yaris, RAV4, Highlander and Tacoma

Along with the 2010 FJ Cruiser that gains a more powerful V6 engine, Toyota has also announced minor upgrades for its 2010MY Avalon full-size sedan, Yaris subcompact hatch, Highlander mid-size SUV, RAV4 compact SUV and the Tacoma pickup truck. With the exception of the Highlander that's expected to arrive at Toyota dealerships in September, the rest of the 2010 model year range will go on sale across the States in early August.

Beginning with the RAV4, the 2010 model receives minor styling enhancements that include chrome-accented interior appointments on the limited model. The MSRP remains unchanged for 2010 RAV4 with prices ranging from $21,500 for the base four-cylinder 2WD model to $27,810 for the 4WD Limited V6.

Toyota's flagship sedan, the Avalon gets rear-passenger auto up/down windows and a new exterior color, Sandy Beach Metallic. The base MSRP for the 2010 Avalon ranges from $27,945 for the XL to $35,285 for the Limited, which translates to an increase of $100, or 0.3 to 0.4 percent over the 2009 model year.

For 2010, the Yaris receives standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) that add $150 to the model's prices that range from $12,355 for the three-door model with manual transmission, to $13,915 for the four-door sedan with an automatic transmission.

The only updates for the 2010 Highlander concern an available backup monitor on the multi-informational display for the Base grade V6, and a power tilt/slide moonroof for the Base grade four-cylinder model. The MSRP for the gas and hybrid models remains unchanged except for the Highlander Sport, which gets a stainless-steel exhaust tip that increases the price by $50. The base MSRP for the 2010 Highlander ranges from $25,705 for the base four-cylinder 2WD to $41,020 for the Limited 4WD hybrid model.

As for the Tacoma pick-up truck, the 2010MY brings an enhancement to the front cup-holder functionality and, well that's about it. Prices carry over unchanged from the 2009MY ranging from $15,170 for the Regular Cab with a five-speed manual transmission to $27,075 for the V6 4x4 Double Cab Long Bed with a five-speed automatic transmission.

Buyers should note that all MSRPs mentioned above do not include a delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $750 for passenger cars and $800 for light trucks.

* Tacoma Aside, All other Vehicles Shown in the Photos are 2009MY

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Mercedes-Benz GL-Class by Carlsson with Performance and Styling Enhancements

The Carlsson crew is constantly striving to develop new tuning packages for every single model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. This time the German tuning house has launched a comprehensive package comprising of styling and mechanical upgrades for the GL-Class range. Starting off with the design kit, Carlsson has developed a full body kit that consists of a kitschy chrome grille (we could certainly do without that), bonnet add-ons, a front apron with integrated LED daytime running lights, side skirts and a new rear skirt attachment that houses the two oval stainless steel tailpipes.

The aerodynamic kit is priced at a hefty €8,499 (excl. VAT) while an extra €4,189 (again without VAT) will get you a set of 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 295/35 R22 high-performance Dunlop tyres.

To match the SUVs looks, Carlsson has developed performance enhancements for both petrol and diesel variants of the GL-Class. More specifically, the CK50 kit (€3,192 excl. VAT) for the GL 500 nudges the V8 petrol's output from 388HP to 435HP and torque from 530 to 600 Nm.

Carlsson also increases the performance of the diesel models, with the GL 420 CDI producing 354 HP instead of 306HP (€1,299 excl. VAT) and the CL 320 CDI 269 HP, up from 224 HP (€1,499 excl. VAT).

To top things off, the tuner has developed the C-Tronic SUSPENSION system that lowers the SUV's ride height by up to 30 mm while the control unit also recognizes the road characteristics and continually adjusts the remaining spring travel. The system that is for the GL-Class models with AIRMATIC-suspension costs €1,099 without VAT.

Via: Worldcarfans

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Citroen C3 Picasso 90th Anniversary: Limited Edition Model with Extra Features

Citroen has launched a special edition version of its new C3 Picasso MPV in the UK to celebrate the brand's 90th anniversary. Available in one of Citroen's signature colors aka white, red or black, the C3 Picasso 90th Anniversary model is based on the Exclusive trim level and is powered by a 1.6-liter HDi turbo diesel with an output of 110-horsepower.

Aside from features such as automatic air-conditioning, automatic headlamps and wipers and 16-inch alloy wheels, the limited edition also boasts free extra equipment like the MyWay color satellite navigation system with Bluetooth connectivity and part-leather upholstery while the '90 Years' Commemorative badge on the centre console completes the looks. The French automaker claims that the special C3 is equipped with over £1,000 of free options.

Prices for the special edition C3 Picasso start at £15,595 (the same as the 1.6HDi 110hp Exclusive) with production limited to 150 units.

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Department of Home Affairs

Tool my afternoon off yesterday to Visit our Friendly and Efficient Home Affairs Department in Alberton to apply for Megan's Unabridged Birth Certificate.

Firstly, I went to the wrong office. I went to the Department of Labour where you register for the UIF - stoopid me - stood in a queue for half an hour to be told this. *sigh*. The Labour Lady directed me to the correct offices, which she explained was only about 200 meters up the road. I decided to leave my car where it was parked (as parking in Alberton Voortrekker Road is always a nightmare) so I thought I’ll keep my secure parking spot and just walk up the road.

Wrong move!!!

By the time I got there (more like 1km down the road), my feet and toes were throbbing all over again after the 702 Discovery WALK THE TALK on Sunday. Urgh! Anyway small price to pay and when I went inside, I was pleased to see that the queues were not that long.

However, I did have to stand in 5 different queues…I went to the Enquiries desk first to be told to go to another queue for the Birth Certificates. When I got to the front of that queue I was told I had to complete another two forms – back to the enquiries queue for those forms and to complete them. One of the forms is an avidavat stating your relationship to the applicant / child – Mother - surely that would be enough? No, then the question they asked made me burst out laughing.

“and you know this because ________________________”

It took me a while to think about how to complete this. So how does a mother know that her daughter is actually her child? Erm, well, firstly I was in labour for 5½ hours and have the episiotomy to show for it? I remember that the pain was slightly worse than a paper cut? Yip, I remember now….I distinctly recall pushing a 2.6kg baby through my fanny, Mr Home Affairs.

So, I finally completed : “because I gave birth to her!”. *shakes head* Don’t you hate idiotic government forms and red tape? I thought to myself is this REALLY necessary?? Probably not, but if I don’t complete all the details, I will probably received a phone call in two months time to tell me my application was rejected because I had failed to complete the forms correctly. When in Rome do as the Romans do.

The other form was every little details about my child, the pregnancy and the birth: whether I smoked, drank or took drugs during my pregnancy. Whether I gave birth to her vaginally or via c-section, whether she needed an assisted birth with forceps or vacuum…. I kid you not!!! So I humoured them - I completed all the various irrelevant information about Megan’s birth weight, what was her apgar scores were and whether she still alive or not. Would I be applying otherwise?

Have you forgotten yet what my application was actually for??

I mean I had my original ID with me, Riaan’s ID and Megan’s original birth certificate and now I have to waste my time completing forms like this – that have NO relevance whatsoever.

Anyway, so back in the queue with idiotic forms fully completed and getting really irritated, I finally get to the front of the queue and the lady - Yvonne Moloi – I am not protecting anyone’s identity here…doesn’t even LOOK at my forms but stacks my three application forms together in a neat little pile and tries to staple them together – no staples! She proceeds to disappear under the counter for 20 seconds *lots of mumbling* looking for staples to fill her stapler. Eventually she immerged with a little bank bag which she slowly and carefully opens, (NO SENSE OF URGENCY HERE!!) removes one string of staples, closes the little Ziploc bank bag and double checks its closed again and disappears under the counter again. The staples finally get put in the stapler and she manages to staple my three sheets of paper together – only to be told to go to the Cashier to pay my R70 for the services.

Another queue!

The cashier was actually reading the YOU magazine between clients! No smiles were exchanged with her. This is a very serious business, you see. I paid my R70, making sure I had the “WRITE AMOUNT OF MONEY” like the sign said. They can’t even spell, avoiding any more delays. I was told by the soopa friendly and enthusiastic Cashier to go back to Yvonne Moloi to process my forms. Do you detect sarcasm in my tone? Hmmmm

What? Are you insane? Do I have to stand in that queue AGAIN?? I just came from there?!?!?. I was obviously thinking this – not saying it out loud. If I had, I’m sure they would’ve shunted me to yet another queue. Perhaps to the shrivelled old little man sitting underneath the sign that read; “Finger Prints Done Here”. He looked like a piece of leather and about 90 (in the shade) and I actually recognised him from when I applied for my new ID when I got married 10 years ago!! Gosh, had that wee man actually moved from that exactly spot since then? Yes, that is his one and only job and he’s probably been doing it since he was about 10 years old. How stimulating can that be? Poor bugger.

So, yes back to the story, I kept my big mouth shut and stood back in Yvonne Moloi’s queue for her to process my forms. When I got to the front of the queue she looked at my receipt, put my forms on a massive pile of applications and said “be sure to check only after 2 months”. So much for processing…

I was gobsmacked! Is this how our country is run? All these unnecessary jobs for people who look for staples, stack papers or take fingers prints as their sole key performance? No wonder our country is in this state…2½ hours later I was out of there and walking the 1km back to my car.

I then stopped off at the Union Hospital as I had promised Megan to drop a card off that she had made for one of her Teachers who was a patient there. Turns out she’d been discharged that morning so I killed to birds with one stone and decided to loose their loos. 2½ hours of queuing will do that to your bladder. I pulled down my jeans and heard “PLOP”. I thought to myself – what was that? - I don’t remember having a No. 2?! My cell phone had been in my jean’s back pocket and had slipped out and dropped into the loo bowl. I whipped around and dug it out, pulled up my jeans at lightning speed and flew off to the hand drier to dry my phone. I immediately took the battery out and held it under there for a while. The phone switched back on and then off again a few seconds later, then on again. I washed my hands and sprayed them with my anti bacterial spray (urgh! Digging in the toilet?!!?) I walked back to the car and my phone switch on and off again. I heard cracking coming from the speaker and though that’s it, its stuffed… I will leave it open to dry out for a few days and then try and switch it back on. In the meantime I’ve lost all my contacts.

So not only did I have an eventful afternoon at Home Affairs, I drowned my cell phone too.

What a great day!

Moral of the Story: Remember when you have kids apply for their Unabridge Birth Certificate upfront and avoid fun and games at the Home Affairs.
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2011 BMW X3 SUV Scooped: Grows in Size, Could get a Hybrid Version

After the presentation of the all-new X1 SUV, BMW's engineers are now busy preparing the second-generation X3 which is due to arrive in international markets in 2011. Based on the next 3-Series platform architecture, the new X3 bears the codename F25 and will come with all-wheel drive or as BMW calls it, xDrive. It is possible though that just like the smaller X1, the Bavarian automaker may also offer rear-wheel drive only variants of its compact SUV.

The introduction of the X1 in BMW's SUV range should result in an increase of the X3's exterior dimensions in order to further differentiate the two models. As it stands now, the Bavarian SUVs are similar in size, with the X1 being just 4.5 inches (114 mm) shorter, 2.2 inches (55 mm) narrower and 5.1 inches (130 mm) lower than the current X3.

While the prototype model's funky disguise does not reveal much about the design, it is expected that the new X3 will do away with the current model's flame-surface styling adopting many design cues from BMW's latest vehicles such as the 7-Series as well as the Concept CS. As for the interior, buyers should look forward to higher quality materials and a more contemporary design for the dashboard.

There'll be a wide engine range to choose from, with gasolines ranging from the 170HP 2.0-litre four-banger to a range-topping 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged straight-six while the diesel line-up will include numerous four- and six-cylinder engines.

It has also been reported that the next-generation X3 will gain a hybrid variant featuring a gasoline engine and a high-performance electric motor that will allow the vehicle to to be driven on electric power only, on the combustion engine alone, or with a combination of both power units.

Whereas the current X3 is built under contract by Magna Steyr in Austria, the new compact SUV will be manufactured at BMW's Spartanburg plant in South Carolina alongside the X5 and X6 models.

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2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser gets Revised 4.0-liter V6 with 258HP

Scheduled to begin arriving at Toyota dealerships in early August, the FJ Cruiser has received several upgrades for the 2010 model year including a tweaked version of the 4.0-liter V6 petrol that gains dual VVT-i and roller rocker arms which add 19 horsepower for an overall output of 258HP along with a one mpg increase in the mid-sized SUV's fuel economy. The current FJ cruiser's 4.0-liter V6 produces 239HP and 278 lb.-ft. of torque while returning 17mpg in the city and 21mpg in the highway for the 2WD version and 16mpg and 20mpg respectively for the 4WD model.

Toyota said that the 2010MY FJ Crusier features minor suspension changes that reduce the turning radius by more than a foot, while there's also a brand a new Army Green exterior color. The base MSRP for the 2010MY FJ Cruiser will range from $23,680 for the 2WD automatic to $25,270 for the 4WD automatic, or an increase of $360 over the 2009MY models.

*All Photos are of the 2009MY FJ Cruiser

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2011 Alfa Romeo Giulia: 159's Successor Illustrated

What you see pictured above is an artist's impression of the Alfa Romeo 159 replacement that is reported to revive the Giulia nameplate as the Italians are swapping their current system of numeric names for more personal ones (e.g. the 147's successor will be named Milano). The CGI, courtesy of Motorionline, is apparently more of a wild guess on the Guilia's styling than anything else, but in any case, we'll let you decide if you like it or not.

The Giulia, which isn't expected to surface on the market before the second half of 2011, will make use of Fiat Group's new versatile C-Evo platform that will also underpins the forthcoming Milano hatchback.

And yes, unfortunately this means that the Giulia will not make the transition to rear-wheel drive. Instead, Alfa's 3-Series challenger will be offered with front-wheel drive with the option of the Italian firm's Q4 four-wheel drive system.

It's too early for any official information on the engine range, but we suspect that the Giulia will most likely be offered with Alfa's 1.75-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol as well as with a V6 petrol and numerous turbo diesels.

And how about a GTA variant? Well, that's a tough one especially since Alfa abandoned its plans for a 'hot' 159, but hopefully the Italian automaker will make it up with the presentation of the Giulia GTA.

Photo: Motorionline - Thanks Maurizio!

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French Tuner Outfits Porsche Cayenne with a Wide Body Kit

Former editor-in-chief of French tuning magazine 'Modify' and now owner of his own tuning firm, Jeremie Paret, has released a new wide body kit for the Porsche Cayenne. The styling package that bears the name 'Balrog' gives the German SUV a new nose complete with Cayenne Turbo side lights and fog lights with angel eyes. There's also chunkier side skirts, a roof spoiler and a new rear bumper with an integrated diffuser while the widened fenders house larger alloy wheels.

For those that want more, Jeremie Paret's homonymous tuning company also offers a custom interior, engine mods and various other individual accessories.

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