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Leading Edge Automotive

At the Automotive forefront: Leading Edge Automotive

Leading Edge Automotive needs no introduction. With years of experience, the latest in diagnostic equipment and hundreds of satisfied customers, it’s your quintessential European service and repair agent, based at 480 Selwyn Street in the heart of Christchurch.

Leading Edge Automotive

Whether you own a BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes or Porsche, the latest diagnostic equipment and the expert hands that operate it, are able to pin point the problem and give you a full run down on the work required. Plus, work will not begin until you are satisfied.
The company is also embracing the future, with the addition of electric vehicle servicing. With a charging point on site and the fleet of 10 free courtesy vehicles now including a popular electric Nissan Leaf to encourage the electric experience, Leading Edge is at the forefront of emergent automotive technology.

Its experienced team of technicians are always acquiring new skills and attend advanced training seminars, such as specialised electric vehicle training, to build on their already vast knowledge of technology and how complex components work and interact.
At the recent Auto Super Shoppe Conference, Leading Edge Automotive was the selected winner from workshops all over New Zealand of the MTA’s Best Practice Award for 2018, proof its reputation for excellence and quality customer service is second to none.
For more information visit their website www.leadingedgeautomotive.co.nz or phone 03-366 3384.

E-Class Cabriolet

‘E’ for Exceptional

When Mercedes New Zealand offers you the chance to experience the new revamped E-Class Cabriolet, you don’t hesitate in saying yes – I certainly wasn’t going to!

E-Class Cabriolet

Sitting squarely between the smaller C-Class Cabriolet and new flagship S-Class Cabriolet, the E Cabriolet line-up consists of two models, the E300 and E400. The E300 tested here, retailing at $133,500, comes with a variety of options and trim levels, just like its coupe counterpart. These include adaptive cruise control, 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloys, Air Body Control Air Suspension, Mercedes Comand Infotainment System.
Inside, there is room for four full-sized adults in unparalleled comfort and under the bonnet is a turbocharged 2-litre four pot producing 180kW/370Nm. While the E400 has more grunt (245kW/480Nm), the E300 still feels pretty brisk. Zero to 100km/h takes a respectable 6.4 seconds and the power delivery itself, is refined and very linear. Also, in Sport Plus mode, the steering and throttle response is communicative and direct, while gearchanges on the 9-speed G-Tronic box are also pretty darn quick.

If things get chilly when the roof is down, simply turn on the heated seats and AIRSCARF fan mounted in the headrest, which blows hot air on the back of your neck. The E300’s trump card though, is that it makes for a sublime grand tourer. I would happily pootle down to Wanaka and back, just for the experience.
After spending a few days in its company, it’s difficult to think of any car in this class which offers the same level of comfort, equipment and quality as the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.

M-Class

An Automotive Blueprint: Mercedes-Benz M-Class

It was in 1998 that Mercedes-Benz New Zealand first offered a new vehicle that helped to redefine the brand and significantly grow its appeal. The M-Class (now known as the GLE) marked the brand’s entry into the emerging SUV category and set a blueprint for a family of high-riding vehicles.

M-Class

The M-Class and the GLE, have become firm favourites all over the world. A combined total of more than 2.4 million have been built over 20 years and the two ranges jointly became the best-selling SUV in the Mercedes-Benz range in New Zealand.
Last year I got my hands on it to do a tour to Queenstown and get a handle on its performance in some of the worst winter driving conditions you can get. Sitting quite high with a reasonable clearance, it handled like it was a summer day.
Now there’s a new variant of the GLE 250 d 4MATIC and GLE 350 d 4MATIC, known as the ‘Edition 20’. In addition to standard equipment, the Edition 20 adds the AMG Line interior package, the Night Package featuring black exterior accents, 21-inch AMG twin-spoke alloy wheels, AIRMATIC air suspension, sports seats and a three-spoke AMG multifunction steering wheel.
The GLE 250 d model utilises a 2.1-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine producing 150 kW and 500 Nm, while the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbo diesel engine in the GLE 350 d model outputs 190 kW and 620 Nm. Both engines are paired to a 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and drive all four wheels – great for handling that Lindis Pass ice rink.

2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus

Automotive Superpowers: 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus

If you are prepared to work hard, be prepared to reap the rewards. Such is the case for local company director Marty, the proud owner of this stunning 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus.

2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus
Powered by a monstrous mid mounted 5.2-litre V10 engine

“I had a good year in business and decided I wanted to buy a modern supercar,” Marty says.
“I tried various models but the Audi R8 V10 Plus had everything that I wanted in a fast car.”
Powered by a monstrous mid mounted 5.2-litre V10 engine with 449kW of Germanic grunt and mated to Audi’s legendary quattro four-wheel drive system, Marty’s R8 is no slouch.

“The R8’s power and noise are so addictive. Plus, when you pop it through the gears, it doesn’t miss a beat, never gives you the impression it doesn’t like it and when my wife and I do long trips, it also can be quiet, comfortable and refined.”
Naturally when on the road or parked up, Marty’s bright blue R8 grabs attention. “I love being able to share it with people. Many people who wander past my driveway start staring and pointing. When that happens, I invite them in to see it up close or take photos. I love it when they get as excited as I do.”
With no plans to ever sell, expect to see Marty in his Audi R8 V10 Plus devouring bitumen for some time yet.

Volvo XC40 VS Jaguar E Pace

Volvo XC40 VS Jaguar E Pace

Straight off the bat, the all new Volvo XC40 and Jaguar E Pace are exquisite cars. Both are their respective firm’s first foray into the uber competitive small luxury SUV market, and I was given the opportunity to put them both to the test.

Volvo XC40 VS Jaguar E Pace

 

Volvo XC40

Following the flagship XC90 and mid -range XC60, the all-new smaller XC40 carries Volvo’s fluidic design philosophy to great effect. Styling cues like the LED headlights with Thor’s Hammer-like detailing and reverse L-shaped rear light cluster are totally unique and its square-jawed stance definitely looks the business.
The range is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine with 140kW/300Nm, though the range topping T5’s power is boosted to 180kW/350Nm. The XC40 T5 R-Design featured here comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, a unique R-Design grille, LED headlights, sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, leather and nubuck upholstery, R-Design treatment on steering wheel, pedals and gear selector as well as heated front seats, Harman Kardon premium sound system and a nine-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, digital radio and navigation.
Select Dynamic mode and everything tightens up, which means you have greater throttle response and shaper turn in.
Many cars have a ‘sport’ mode feature of some sort, but with the XC40, it completely transforms the driving experience. In fact, it feels more like a hot hatchback than small SUV, quite an accomplishment in itself. The only trade-off is, thanks to the R-Design package, the ride is not as smooth as it ought to be.

 

Jaguar E Pace

The Jaguar E-Pace is the baby SUV of Jaguar’s pride, shown brilliantly by the Jaguar cub door mirror courtesy light at night. Its bigger and extremely capable F-Pace sibling has been selling like hotcakes and the new E-Pace could easily repeat this trend on looks alone.
The planted stance and mesh front grille are iconic Jaguar and the rear three quarter mirrors its larger F-Pace counterpart; you would seldom find a better-looking car in this segment. Choose from a range of ‘Ingenium’ 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engines, with two petrol and two diesels available.
Inside, Jaguar design attributes have been carried over to great effect. The layout is simple and intuitive, though the use of hard plastics is a tad disappointing. Standard features include Lane Keep Assist, 10-way electric seats, Sat Nav and Bluetooth connectivity, of course.
To drive the E-Pace is very much what you would expect from a Jaguar; comfortable, smooth and intuitive. Steering lacks in feel but still manages to be direct and responsive. Despite the sublime ride, the E-Pace does get a bit roly poly in the bends and feels heavy despite the size. The nine-speed automatic complements the power train well, offering crisp changes from gear to gear, and power delivery as a whole is refined and silky smooth.

Verdict

In summary, if you choose the Jaguar E-Pace over the Volvo XC40 – bravo. It rides better and is even slightly better looking, but the Volvo would be my pick thanks to marginally better dynamics and a more involved drive. They are marginal differences though, so whichever you pick, you won’t be disappointed.

Mercedes A180

A sporty little number: Mercedes A180

I drove up to the film set of ‘Monster Man’ in the Mercedes A180, a film I play a pretty rough Maori fella in. Not quite the picture you get of a driver of this refined, elegant little vehicle is it?

Mercedes A180
Mercedes A180

Gumboots, unshaven with a Swanndri and beanie: quite the contrast to this 90kW, 200Nm 0-100 in 8.6 seconds, 5.8 litre athletic performer. However, I got the chance to drop gumboot on the accelerator all the way to the Hurunui and found it a pleasure to drive.
It’s a looker – like me, right! – with all the style you expect from Mercedes. A relatively affordable price, with entry level at $47,900. It’s a hatchback, but you wouldn’t know that from the front with its sleek grille. It was great on fuel consumption and even though I’m not a great fan of column shift, most other features make it a good all-rounder.
There’s room for school bags, groceries – and real estate signs! The sunroof gives an open cabin feeling and the black and silver interior creates a nice clean feel. Exterior lines and profile are nice too.
Things that get the tick? Sunroof, automatic tension adjusting seatbelts, interior, dash interaction, steering and acceleration controls, refined interior and iPad style display. It has its place in the Mercedes fleet: it’s a sporty number for around town and I liked the open road performance. Talk to the team at Armstrong Prestige about a test drive. If you’re after comfort, sportiness and safety features, you’re not wasting your time.

Mitsubishi 2018 ASX

Bang for your buck: Mitsubishi 2018 ASX review

This year’s new model Mitsubishi 2018 ASX was a real surprise to review. It’s a small SUV but what I discovered was the only small thing about it was the price, with a cost of only $26,000.

Mitsubishi 2018 ASX
Mitsubishi 2018 ASX: HOW THEY DO IT AT THAT PRICE I’LL NEVER KNOW!

For that price, one might expect low end features; the ASX was anything but. At 112 kW it had plenty of power to zip around in. It’s a 2L and seemed to be really good on the petrol too. It was a smooth all-wheel drive and plenty of room in the cabin for the kids and all their gear.
Interior seating has changed from a fabric version in last years to a funky stitching and leather trim. The rear has been upgraded too taking it from a rather ‘normal’ look to something a little bit more special. A nice set of alloys too, so overall the whole package was a pleasant surprise. iPhone integration on an easy to use 7” touch screen with two USB connection charger/audio ports left me thinking that the ASX has everything that the modern driver looks for. How they do it at that price I’ll never know!
Cargo room was enough for anything my family can throw at it. Yes, it doesn’t have the auto rear opening door like its more expensive competitors, but it would tick a lot of boxes on someone looking for an SUV and I still can’t get over the bang for buck you get from this vehicle. Good on you Mitsubishi ASX, go you good thing.