Ital­ian driv­ing piz­zazz

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - CRUISE CONTROL | -

EN­THU­SI­ASTS are lin­ing up to test drive the lat­est sports car in Cairns, the Fiat Abarth Spi­der (above).

Ire­land Fiat has had a black two door model on dis­play in its Mul­grave Rd show­room for the past few weeks but due to a mix up with keys no-one has been able to drive it.

How­ever, that has all changed with the ar­rival of a sec­ond model.

“We have a red man­ual that has just ar­rived yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) but we have a list of customers wait­ing to drive, so should sell quickly,” said gen­eral sales man­ager Mark Lel­liott.

The Fiat is the Ital­ian ver­sion of Mazda’s award win­ning MX-5 with dif­fer­ent styling, a stiffer sus­pen­sion and a tur­bocharged en­gine from $43,500 drive away.

In the mean­time ex­cite­ment is mount­ing for an­other hot per­former from Alfa Romeo.

Mr Lel­liott said there had been some in­ter­est in the Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia QV.

The com­pany says Aus­tralians are queu­ing up, months ahead of the Nur­bur­gring record-holder’s ar­rival in show­rooms.

Al­ready more than 100 Aus­tralians have placed an or­der for the sports sedan, which goes on sale in Fe­bru­ary.

Alfa says the 375kW twin­tur­bocharged V6 can ac­cel­er­ate from rest to 100km/h in 3.9 sec­onds and has a top speed of 305km/h.

The Gi­u­lia QV cur­rently holds the Nur­bur­gring pro­duc­tion sedan lap record of 7min 32 sec, set by Alfa Romeo test driver Fabio Fran­cia in Septem­ber. Fran­cia set the lap record in a pro­duc­tion-spec, rear-drive Gi­u­lia QV, which weighs just 1585kg.

It is teamed with an eight­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that can preload down­shifts if the driver flicks the pad­dle be­fore revs have dropped suf­fi­ciently for a lower gear.

The en­gine also fea­tures cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion to save fuel. Fuel use is said to av­er­age 8.2L/100km.

The car fea­tures ac­tive aero­dy­nam­ics with the front split­ter low­er­ing at speed to in­crease down­force.

Pric­ing will be re­leased closer to its Fe­bru­ary ar­rival in Aus­tralia.

The QV will come with 19in forged al­loy wheels, and bixenon head­lamps with Adap­tive Front Light­ing Sys­tem. The NSW Po­lice Force has a new re­cruit – a BMW i8 hy­brid su­per­car ca­pa­ble of sprint­ing from 0-100km/h in 4.4 sec­onds.

The keys to the $300,000 petrol-elec­tric plug-in hy­brid decked-out in po­lice liv­ery were handed over to Rose Bay Lo­cal Area Com­mand.

BMW Sydney dealer prin­ci­pal Si­mon Mace­done said the i8 was ready for duty.

“We’re very ex­cited to part­ner with Rose Bay po­lice com­mand by de­liv­er­ing this ex­cit­ing ve­hi­cle to them,” he said. “It’s the per­fect new mem­ber of their team.”

The BMW i8 (below) is pow­ered by three-cylin­der turbo petrol en­gine and an elec­tric mo­tor, pro­duc­ing a com­bined 266kW of power and 570Nm of torque.

It def­i­nitely won’t be used in a pur­suit with Su­per­in­ten­dent Brad Hod­der say­ing the i8 will be used purely for com­mu­nity re­la­tions over the next six months.

“My crime man­age­ment unit will use the car to go along to open days and events,” he said.

“It pro­vides a tool to break down bar­ri­ers be­tween po­lice and the com­mu­nity. It en­ables the com­mu­nity to come up and start talk­ing about the car.

“That con­ver­sa­tion then leads to them open­ing up and they find out that we’re not such bad peo­ple after all.”

While it’s un­likely a car as im­prac­ti­cal as an i8 could be used for crime fight­ing du­ties, the search is on for a new na­tional high­way pa­trol car to re­place the Holden Com­modore and Ford Fal­con which will both be re­tired from ser­vice by 2020 fol­low­ing the end of lo­cal pro­duc­tion.

Un­der con­sid­er­a­tion are the Subaru WRX, Chrysler 300 SRT and the In­finiti Q50 among sev­eral others. The Ford Mus­tang is also back on the radar as a high­way pa­trol ve­hi­cle fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive test­ing to fix an over­heat­ing is­sue with the car’s gear­box.


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