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In Focus


The team at Ford are always delivering a great range of vehicles to suit everyone’s needs. The Ford Ranger currently sits at number one in New Zealand, but now it’s time to drop the spotlight on the Ford Focus ST, a hatch with the exhilaration of a Mustang.

 

This is a multi-award winning car in AA New Zealand Car of the Year Awards.

Not only does it have multiple drive modes, it also ticks the aesthetic boxes.

A panoramic sunroof with visor; exceptional lines starting from the bonnet all the way to its hot rear; Porsche-style alloy rims in metallic grey just accentuate the great colour of ruby red. I just had to test drive.

Recaro sport seating was another brilliant feature with the wonderful white stitching on exquisite leather. Even the door panels were that little bit more lush.

Operationally, dial gear change is always a challenge for me as I have a manual as my personal car and I’m a bit of a control freak. Fumbling around to do three point turns on a busy Christchurch street can be a challenge. You can say it makes the interior “cleaner” – but I still love a gear lever!

You can change gears at your fingertips with the paddle shifters, which help when cornering, and it has got some real up and go.

With an eight-speed automatic, 206 kW and 420 Nm it doesn’t feel like a four cylinder, 2.3L – and you certainly need those front ventilated disc brakes!

There’s a heads-up display which makes you feel like a fighter pilot not taking your gaze off the road.

Combine that with all the added sports features and you’ve got a little rocket.

There’s also improved acceleration from the last model, and the very smooth gear changing made for a great test week.

Taking a trip on my favourite test road to the Sign of the Kiwi put it next to the VW Golf GTi as one of my favourite agile performance vehicles.

Hill start assist is also an asset, even though I’m old school on hill starts. And even though I really don’t need the satellite navigation system, I can imagine it’s a great addition for those that do.

The interior is tidy and very sporty with leather trim. There’s a lot of bang for buck with the price at $59,990 plus on road costs.

With the options on this, it would be hard to go past a test drive with Hemi Peek and the team out at Avon City Ford. It’s great hatchback at a great price.


 

Join the Rayvolution


Being an automotive writer, I’ll have a go at anything; especially when it has an element of fun – and wheels.

 

With the advance of technology and capability of new and improved battery life we are seeing a surge of cost-effective electric vehicles.

This of course brings into the limelight the electric bicycle.

I have not ridden one before so when Greg Sneddon from Rayvolt offered me the opportunity to test one for a bit, I did. On a beautiful day in the garden city, I had a run through with the Rayvolt Cruzer.

Rayvolt are based in Spain and produce a wide range of what I would call bespoke, steampunk-style bicycles.

Think gun metal, Clockwork Orange and English racing green, along with leather seating and carrier bags to provide a very “yesteryear” feel.

Download the ELVA app to customise all your settings, from speed right through to effort ratios. It also has music and a GPS.

I decided to just go with the fastest option with the least amount of effort and I was off on a thrill of a ride. Using 13 electric cells with 48V and 10.5 Amp Hours (ah) on the standard battery and 48.21 on the duel – you have quite an amazing range of 120km.

Sailing round North Hagley park was sheer exhilarating fun. Overall, the experience was well worth it; 10 out of 10 and that’s just for fun.

Yesterday’s charm, tomorrow’s technology, today’s fun. If you’re looking at an electric bicycle, you might as well join the Rayvolution.


 

An electrifying ride


When I picked up the Mercedes EQC 4matic from Armstrong Mercedes the only thing that rattled my head was that name, EQC. Something that, when I posted on Instagram, I got a few messages about.

Jack Prebble Media

 

But as this beautiful machine glided out onto the motorway and I placed my foot on the brushed alloy AMG accelerator, all bad reminders were left 5.1 seconds behind me as this beautifully lined, refined electric vehicle took off.

I had Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy pumping through the 13-speaker, nine-channel, 590w Burmester surround sound system with the interior AMG lighting system turning to a cool blue.

Gripping the multi-function Nappa leather sports steering wheel, that gnarly little smile crept onto my face and I knew I was in for a great day on the road.

Being fully electric, the EQC has a range of 354km, with the emergency AC-DC adapter for a backup option.

The electricity on a low output standard house plug just does not have the juice to power the battery fast enough if you are exceeding, like me, 80km a day.

You can recharge at stations around the city, but I highly recommend you install the Wallbox charging system.

This is a stunnin

g electric vehicle: a 300kw duel electric engine 0 to 100km on 5.1 (but it feels much faster than that), 4Matic all-wheel drive, 760Nm torque – all with a base price of $142,000.

 

I was going to write shocking to be funny but that would make it sound bad, and it is not in any way at all.

 

Jack Prebble Media

My model had some up-spec roller sun blinds and 21-inch multi-spoke wheels. The multi-spoke wheels are a total stunner as was the diamond white paint job.

Now it’s not often an up-spec spins my wheels, forgive the pun, but it really does give a bespoke look to an already outstanding vehicle.

Back to back with the standard model there is quite a different look to it and damn it, it is sexier.

I took my friend Lisa out to get a woman’s perspective on it. After a lovely lunch at Botanic we took a leisurely drive. Afterward I asked her what she thought.

The verdict? “Luxurious with impressive lighting and super sexy rose gold air vents, girls love that.”

She went on to wax lyrical: “A gorgeous car, great lines. I absolutely loved it and it’s the first car I’ve been in, in ages, that I would really like to own.”

Believe me, this woman knows what she wants so this is a five-star rating.

It gets a five-star from me with the reminder that you must install the Wallbox home charging system.

If you’re making a choice on electric vehicles this year, please finish with the Mercedes EQC 4matic. It is an electrifying vehicle. Badumdum.

Jack Prebble Media

 

Nick in the City

Nick in the City


I’m fortunate enough to be on the coal face of the development within the city and of course spent some time going over the new Town Hall.

 

Nick in the City
ALI HARPER WILL BE JOINING TIM BEVERIDGE AS PART OF HIS ACCLAIMED THE MUSIC IS BOND SHOW

 

I can’t say that I’m not excited by what will be my first visit for a function. Tim Beveridge is bringing his acclaimed The Music is Bond to the Christchurch Town Hall on 16 March. The sexiness and fun of 50 years of James Bond comes to life in an exceptional show featuring the best in musical talent from Canterbury with a superb cast including Jackie Clarke, Ali Harper, Caitlin Smith and backed by the magnificent sound of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Tim says, “I am very excited to be returning to the Christchurch Town Hall. It’s probably going to be a bit emotional to be back there after having had so many wonderful experiences performing there with the CSO”. “I also first met my wife there!”

I stood amazed the last time I saw Tim belt out a stunning rendition of Tom Jones’ Thunder ball and every piece is stunningly crafted by the Christchurch symphony Orchestra to perfection. Yes, it’s true I’m a BIG James Bond fan but the music here is timeless.

With the talented performers debuting this music in Christchurch’s stunning new performance venue there’s no better excuse to come and check out what the new Town Hall has to offer.

 


Book early at www.ticketek.co.nz and have a few martinis, shaken not stirred, before you go.


 

Bread & Circus

The circus comes to town: In the city with Nick


Having been involved in media for the last thirty years, I’m aware this time of the year is a brilliant time to get into Christchurch and soak up the juice that is events in the city.

 

Bread & Circus

 

The Buskers Festival has always been a top favourite of mine and the re-invention, Bread and Circus, promises more excitement than ever.

Bread & Circus will run from 10 January to 3 February 2019. The festival kicks off with an intensive 10-day programme full of exciting free events, exceptional ticketed shows, a large-scale spectacle and world-famous busking pitches. The ticketed programme and festival hub will then extend into February.

With more than 50 talented performers from around the world, including 22 of New Zealand’s finest, it’s hard to pick favourites.
Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel says she’s delighted that Strut & Fret are bringing their 20 years plus experience to breathe new life into Christchurch’s beloved World Buskers Festival, bringing Bread & Circus, a festival of world-class performances, to the heart of the city.

“The team at Strut & Fret have promised me that Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival will integrate the old and the new, with elements that everyone knows and loves, and a new range of phenomenal features to elevate the festival to a whole new level.”
This summer’s festival is bigger and bolder than ever before, with 527 performances and 90 hours of roving performers, an increase from 344 performances earlier this year. The number of buskers doing free street performances will double from 14 in 2018 to 29, with talent from New Zealand and around the world.

 


Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

New Vibes

New Vibes


As I glanced down the table I got the feeling that I was at some sort of Godfather meeting. The Doms of all the families had gathered at Fiddlesticks for a very special lunch with Pierre Samuel Reyne from Pol Roger Champagne.

 

New Vibes

 

The 2009 Vintage was being accompanied by a long lunch and conversation about the hospitality industry flowed amongst those lucky enough to be invited by David Kininmonth from Hancocks Wines and Spirits.  Conversation turned to new developments, new operators. Each person at the table represented a good slice of hospitality within the four avenues and having been involved with a lot of them for years the thought struck me that town is an ever-evolving beast; that moving forward in post-quake Christchurch is going to be an exciting journey and we should make sure we are aware of what’s going on. So welcome to my endeavour to enlighten you on things that are happening within our beautiful garden city.

The weekend past saw me at the Welles Street, Octoberfest. How wonderful to see a well organised, thoroughly enjoyable event. The environment totally lent itself to a great evening. Divided into two events on the Saturday and one on the Sunday, it gave you the chance to get dressed up in “traditional” German beer drinking apparel, let your hair down and dance, sing, eat and of course, drink great quality beer.

It was the type of event we want to see much more of and Tom and Daniel from Welles Street look likely to provide much more of the same. If you haven’t checked out the venue, do. I went to the opening of Christchurch’s brand-new entertainment hub, EntX, and of course the wonderful new HOYTS seven screen flagship cinema complex and the first large scale cinema complex to return to the central city.
Partnering with a local developer and employing over 60 locals, HOYTS EntX is offering Cantabrians the ultimate movie going experience. Guests will be able to enjoy a range of offerings including HOYTS LUX, a premium in-cinema experience alongside the open candy-bar Treat City and Arties Bar and Café serving delicious hot and cold food.

The Cinema is rich and lush and obviously the next step in entertainment. Such a pleasure to see something like this opening in the inner city to bring life and vibrancy back. “We are extremely proud to be among the first companies to help rebuild entertainment experiences in the heart of Christchurch,” says HOYTS General Manager of Operations NZ, Paul Wood.  “For a city that has experienced so many trials and tribulations, we are certain our investment will bring excitement and fun to audiences in the area.”

“For a city that has experienced so many trials and tribulations, we are certain our investment will bring excitement and fun to audiences in the area.”

EntX is the first HOYTS site in the South Island to offer the premium HOYTS LUX offering. A unique and exclusive cinema offering, HOYTS LUX offers customers a sophisticated bar, in-cinema service at the touch of a button and an extensive wine list as well as a bespoke and exclusive menu designed by celebrity chef and judge on TVNZ 2’s My Kitchen Rules, Manu Feildel.  I will be catching up with Manu for an indepth look at not only how he constructed the menu but also to get a look at what’s happening in his world as a celebrity chef.
Keep an eye out for the interview in an upcoming Metropol.

Catching up with Andrew Trevelyan from Ōtākaro, the company in charge of the anchor projects for the “New” Christchurch, I was greatly enthused with the prospect of what’s coming in the next ten years. With five goals; a green city, compact central core, accessible, stronger built identity and a place to live, work, play, learn and visit, I was surprised by how much I didn’t know about where we are going. This knowledge is easily accessible, but it took an hour chat by Andrew to really get to know how exciting this will all be.

From greenspace engagement, to the CTV site, to the new stadium and library, there is so much to take in. Every Cantabrian should check out the website, www.otakaroltd.co.nz, to get just the tip of the iceberg on what to expect. Exciting times! As I’m going to make this a regular column, I invite you to let me know of any exciting things happening in our wonderful new central city.

 

Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare Contact me on nickinchristchurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infinity

Electrifying Performance: Infinity


Motoring writer Nicholas Henare dishes the automotive dirt on Infinity, a sub-brand of Nissan, and this year’s electrifying range of performance vehicles.

 

Infinity

 

AN INNOVATIVE CORE

 

Following on from a range of electric vehicles rolling out at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Infiniti Prototype 10 recaptures the spirit of early speedsters for an era of electrified performance. The concept represents a physical manifestation of Infiniti’s creative and ambitious plans.  Yet again this year’s range of prototypes have a familiar early 1900s feel to the vehicle, with a flash back to those incredibly well styled vehicles of the 1920s and 30s.
As a brand with technological innovation at its core, electrification is a natural next step for Infiniti. From 2021, every new Infinity model will be electrified, featuring hybrid or battery electric technology to enhance performance. The Prototype 10 provides a window into this desire to deliver driving pleasure, thrilling performance and range confidence. With prototypes built to please the eye as well as the desire to see innovation in driving requirements, Infiniti has produced something to rival even the purest of luxury brands on show at Concours d’Elegance.
“We all feel a certain degree of passion when talking about roadsters and speedsters,” Infiniti President Roland Krueger says. “We are equally passionate about the potential that electrification holds for the future of our cars – a daring speedster is the perfect study for our designers to explore an electrified future and ignite such excitement.”

Infinity

 

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

 

The new concept follows two other design studies revealed by the company in the last 12 months: the Prototype 9 – first revealed in 2017 – and the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept, unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Where Prototype 9 – a sleek, open-wheeled, electric retro-roadster – imagined an alternative history for Infiniti, the Prototype 10 is resolutely focused on what the future holds for the brand. Utterly daring in its bold execution, the new concept is inspired by the spirit of early speedsters, its form and function evoking driving pleasure and thrilling performance.

“The Infinity Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of early speedsters,” Executive Design Director for the brand Karim Habib says.  “This period saw the creation of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterised by the simple love of driving.”

A future vision realised by Infinity designers, Prototype 10 is informed by some of the most iconic car designs of all time. Its cool, clean forward looking design is further complemented by its electrical performance.
It seems that this year’s prototypes have that all familiar feel and it really is, back to the future.

 

 

FORM AND FUNCTION EVOKING DRIVING PLEASURE AND THRILLING PERFORMANCE