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Cruise into Mega Motorcycles: Mega Motorcycle Centre


Mega Motorcycle Centre has become a hub for Canterbury motorcyclists and anyone who loves bikes. Formerly known as Budget Motorcycle Spares, it has grown, as the new name suggests, into a biker’s paradise of mega proportions. “Mega Motorcycle Centre is very much a one stop-shop for everything to do with motorcycling,” says Mega Motorcycle Centre’s Sam Davison.

 

What started a shop for spares, accessories, and riding apparel, has grown exponentially into a fully-fledged engineering facility with engine tuning, dyno testing and other mechanical work.

“We can carry out any form of mechanical tuning or upgrades to your bike,” says Sam.

Also, Sam, Dennis and the team of tight-knit mechanics and technicians are some of the most passionate motorcycle enthusiasts around. They know their stuff and can take on everything from a simple service to a full engine rebuild.

Mega Motorcycle Centre also welcomes any brand of bike into the shop. The team knows what unites keen motorcyclists is the love of the ride, regardless of what they are into.

So, whether you get your kicks on your Harley-Davidson Softail Cruiser, or your Ducati 916 Sports Bike, you are more than welcome at Mega Motorcycle Centre, 334 Wilsons Road, Waltham, Christchurch.

 


 

This is no old goat


Prior to Subaru New Zealand’s marketing campaign for the new Outback, I am ashamed to admit I hadn’t realised what the acronym GOAT meant. It does of course mean, ‘Greatest of All Time.’ With the new Outback, Subaru claims it is the GOOAT. So, is this the ‘Greatest Outback of All Time’? Let’s see.

 

 

The new Outback gets a few styling tweaks front and rear. This is probably the best looking Outback for some time.

Under the bonnet is a 2.5L boxer four-cylinder petrol engine like before, but this one is 90 percent all new. Power has risen to 138kW and 245Nm of torque. The SLT gearbox gains a gear, making it now an eight-speed set up. Subaru also claims a combined fuel figure of 7.3L/100km, and towing capacity increases to two tonnes.

Standard kit is generous with Subaru’s fourth generation EyeSight safety system combining lane centring function, speed sign recognition and lane departure warning. There are also directional LED headlights, rear cross traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and reverse automatic braking.

While the interior itself is very similar to before, the first thing you notice when inside is the large tablet-style 11.6 touchscreen infotainment system. This is by far the highlight of the new Outback’s cockpit, as it was very clear and intuitive.

My test car was the flagship Outback Touring which boasts niceties such as heated Napa leather, electric sunroof, heated steering wheel, and a rather good Harman Kardon sound system which gives one the closest experience to hearing Pink Floyd live.

The driving position is more natural this time around and the level of quality materials used for the switchgear and trim is much improved too. This is easily the most refined Outback yet.

On the road, that refinement translates well into the drive itself. Honestly, the new Outback feels a completely different animal to the previous generation.

The nearly all new boxer four-pot is quieter and peak torque comes in low down in the rev range, leaving you seldom exceeding 2500rpm. Tweaks to the suspension and dampers have resulted in less body roll. Ride comfort has been improved too.

Heading on to the gravel trails and dusty inclines behind McLeans Island, it was time to play with X-Mode.

Subaru’s off-road modes deal with all manner of terrain well, with X-Mode sending power and torque to where it is needed most. You also gain the addition of deep snow/mud settings to the mix.

The entry level Outback kicks things off at $49,990, the mid-range Outback X is $54,990, and my flagship Touring tops out the range at $57,990. In summary, the new Outback exceeds all expectations. Honestly, I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. The GOOAT? Absolutely.


 

A luxurious symbol of time


A defining feature of one of the world’s most luxurious cars has celebrated a notable milestone recently. Rolls Royce’s official emblem, the Spirit of Ecstasy, has turned 110.

 

The intellectual property of the design was registered on 6 February 1911, establishing what would go on to become an icon of luxury around the world.

Almost unaltered throughout her long and storied life, the Spirit of Ecstasy graces the bonnet of every Rolls Royce motor car built at the home of Rolls Royce, Goodwood in the UK.

The symbol was born after one of Britain’s motoring pioneers, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, commissioned a bonnet sculpture for his own Rolls Royce. Soon, others began following suit – much to the displeasure of Rolls Royce General Manager at the time Claude Johnson. So, he commissioned artist and illustrator, Charles Robinson Sykes to make an official version.

Originally a statuesque 18cm tall, the Spirit of Ecstasy today stands a more petite 9.5cm high. In 2020, the Spirit of Ecstasy took on a new life and appearance as part of a wider update of the Rolls Royce brand. Known as The Expression, she appears ethereal and regal, yet now with a more contemporary, technological edge that reflects the company’s modern vision.


 

Lavish restoration


Enzo Ferrari described the Jaguar E-type when launched at the Geneva Auto salon in March 1951 as “the most beautiful car in the world.” If you take a look from pretty much any angle, it is easy to see Enzo was right.

 

Now I am an Avengers fan. The 1961 English TV series, not the Marvel version, and that’s where you first see the E-type in the marketplace. Fast at 240km/h and sexy as hell, this isn’t your go to the supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread…or is it?

Jaguar Classic has unveiled its first matched pair of E-type 60 Collection cars and revealed full specification details for the 12 expertly restored and sympathetically uprated 3.8-litre E-types built to celebrate 60 years of the iconic sports car.

The E-type 60 Collection cars are restored and refined by the experts at Jaguar Classic in Coventry, and combine flawless quality and exceptional engineering know-how.

The most significant mechanical upgrade is a specially developed five-speed manual gearbox which features synchromesh on all ratios, helical cut gears and a reinforced cast aluminium casing for enhanced reliability and greater durability as well as closer gear ratios and smoother changes.

The 265bhp 3.8-litre six-cylinder XK engine benefits from an authentic 1961-style alloy radiator, with electric cooling fan and electronic ignition for everyday usability, as well as a polished stainless steel exhaust system.

This new exhaust system is dimensionally identical to the standard mild steel system but produces a slightly deeper tone and offers greater longevity.

In addition to the centre console, the bonnet badge, clock face within the tachometer, fuel cap and chassis plate are all finished with a commemorative E-type 60 logo created by Jaguar Design, featuring the years 1961 to 2021. A light beech-rimmed steering wheel, as fitted to 1961 cars, features a 24-carat gold horn push.

Every car is supplied with a tailor-made E-type 60 car cover, tool roll and jack storage bags to complete the enhancements and exemplify the attention to detail lavished on each vehicle.

In summer 2022, the six customers and their guests will take part in the ultimate E-type pilgrimage, creating their own set of E-type memories in classic English style. Now, if someone could loan me one, there’s a loaf of bread in a supermarket in Timaru I need to go and get.


 

Your carriage awaits: Hammonds


You can’t have a wedding celebration without a wedding car. Surely, the bride and groom don’t want to leave the wedding ceremony in an Uber. However, if Dad’s old 65 Chevy Impala isn’t quite up to scratch in terms of looks, Hammonds Collision centre are able to help.

 

 

“The wedding planning can be a stressful time, so one of the last things couples need to worry about is what the condition the car is going to be in,” says Hammond Collision Centre’s Scott Blackadder.

“At Hammonds we can ensure your wedding car will get ready for your big day. Whether it needs to be buffed up, or a complete restoration, we have the team, and the panel, paint mechanical facilities to do just that,” he says.

Hammonds Collision Centre have managed to build a sterling Christchurch- wide reputation at their 46 Battersea Street base, offering body and mechanical repairs, WOFs, servicing, and insurance repairs.

No job is beyond what Scott and the team are capable of. They are all big petrolheads themselves, so they know exactly just what having your dream car on you biggest day will mean to you. After all, you need to arrive in style.


 

Scratch that! The Wheel Magician


It seems every day is the same story: “You scratched my alloys.” “No, you did it yourself.” Before the bickering of who did what to who turns nasty, these disputes can be resolved quickly and conveniently with the aid of Wheel Magician’s mobile wheel repair service.

 

 

Christchurch is often a minefield of high curbs and traffic islands, which if you are not careful, can instigate the sickening sound of alloys wheels scraping against them. Before you know it, you have parked closer than you thought and your alloys look somewhat worse than they were before.

Rather than giving up your car for the day to have your alloys repaired, The Wheel Magician can come to you. They are able to operate anywhere in the greater Christchurch area, whether it be your place of work, or your front door.

The Wheel Magician removes the damaged wheel and brings it back as close to factory fresh as possible, with all finishing done onsite in a professional manner. All work is carried out with the utmost attention to detail and to the highest quality.

So the next time the sound of metal on concrete makes your stomach churn, the wheel repair specialists from The Wheel Magician are only a phone call away on 022 658 2957 or
0800 537 233.


 

Hybrid Minds


Since 2018, Lexus sales of hybrid vehicles have pretty much doubled. Last year saw close to 70 percent of new Lexus buyers opt for a hybrid over petrol. And it’s no surprise – the gains for going hybrid are considerable.

 

 

Unlike plug-in electric cars, you have the benefit of the battery constantly charging as the petrol and electric motor work in harmony together.

It doesn’t matter whether you are cruising, slowing down, or braking, the system is constantly recovering and storing energy for use later.

You can also remain in silent full electric, or EV mode up to speeds of 50km/h. Delivery of power, thanks to hybrid drive, is more linear thanks to that extra helping of the low-down torque electric drive can provide.

The hybrid system also reduces your carbon footprint by emitting significantly less emissions than a conventional petrol engine. Add all of these features together, and you aren’t dipping into your wallet as much when at the pump.

Lexus have a knack for getting the harmony of petrol and Hybrid power pretty much spot on. This tech has been part of the Lexus SUV family for almost two decades now, debuting with the original RX400h in 2004.

It’s a small wonder sales of Lexus Hybrid vehicles are on the up.


 

As intoxicating as ever


There is an old saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. And this perfectly sums up the Honda Civic Type R.

 

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The current generation has been with us since 2017 and was the first Type R to be sold new in New Zealand. It also quickly set the standard which all would-be hot hatches were judged against.

For 2021, there have been subtle changes, but all of them welcome. A bigger front grille increases cooling for the 228kW/400Nm 2L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which happens to be a real peach. There are also redesigned front and rear carbon splitters to aid with downforce at speed.

Underneath, you get remapped engine software, improved dampers and tweaked suspension bushes, making for a more comfortable ride around town. You can also have your Type R in the new Boost Blue paint scheme, which looks simply epic from all angles.

The driving position is still nigh on perfect and those Recaro sports seats provide racing-car-like support while still being very comfortable.

Also, the interior is awash with added Type R-ness, including red seat belts, a new alcantara wrapped steering wheel, and a new gear lever for the six-speed manual box which harks back to the classic EK9 Civic Type R and DC2 Integra.

In Comfort mode, the Type R actually rides a bit better than before.

Also new is Active Noise Control which increases the turbo four pot engine note through the stereo speakers. In Sport, you can still have serious fun, but where the Type R really shines is in R Plus mode.

Each throw of the six-speed box is like loading a bolt action rifle. Every down change is accompanied with a blip of the throttle to simulate a heel and toe shift.

Honestly, with so many hot hatches deferring to an auto box these days, it’s so refreshing, and so satisfying swapping cogs around yourself.

Build the boost up to around 4500rpm and hang on. While not violent by any means, it still surges forward with enough power to give you the giggles.

The Brembo brakes have also been improved, allowing you to pull up quicker and smoother than before.

While you can devour the twisty stuff at a considerable rate in Comfort mode, naturally Sport and R Plus are best.

The Type R constantly coaxes you to push harder and turn in sharper. Keep it in the sweet spot between 2500 and 5000rpm, work that delightful manual box, and this road going adrenaline pump just flies.

The Type R also comes with a new performance datalogger system. Called LogR, it allows you to monitor your driving in terms of performance, both on track and off, via the LogR App on your smartphone.

The $62,990 Civic Type R is still capable of getting under your skin. Make no bones about this one, it’s just as intoxicating as ever.

 

Civic Type R at a glance

• 5 door hatch
• 2L VTEC turbo
• 6 speed manual
• 20-inch black alloys
• From $62,990 +ORC


 

Crossing the Yaris


The trend of turning small hatchbacks into small SUVs just keeps growing. It was only a matter of time before Toyota did the same thing to the Yaris. This brings us to the Yaris Cross, a Yaris hatch with a difference.

 

 

While sharing the same TNGA-B platform, the Cross is 240mm longer and 90mm taller than the Yaris Hatch. You also get 30mm more ground clearance too.

My test car was the range topping Limited Hybrid. Under the bonnet sits a 1.5-litre three pot petrol engine with 88kW mated to a hybrid electric system with 85kW.

Toyota claim combined fuel consumption figures of 3.8L/100km, although the best I managed to average was around 4.7L/100km.

The interior is pretty much identical to the hatch, and you get a tonne of kit as standard, like a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor, lane tracing assist, radar cruise control, emergency steering assist and crosswind assist.

With the Limited, you also get additional goodies like electric heated front seats, leather steering wheel and extra USB charging ports.

On the move, the Cross is not quite as entertaining as the hatch, but it’s still very comfortable and happiest when cruising. The range starts at $29,990 for the entry level GX petrol, whereas my Limited Hybrid retails for $38,990.

The Yaris Cross is a Yaris SUV we never thought we needed but glad exists.


 

Making art out of machine


As you are cornering the hill section from Akaroa to Christchurch, you are very aware there is something special at play. Perhaps it is the monster M twin turbo V8 engine with M differential and electric power steering, or perhaps it’s the luxury cabin. It’s probably everything.

 

PHOTOS JACK MORGAN @SHOTSBYJACK_

 

I guess that’s why BMW sales have jumped 50 percent in the year to December, and why it’s the only premium car brand to register 2000-plus cars in New Zealand last year.

The BMW X6 has 460kW of power with 750Nm of torque. That is something similar to the top line of any luxury sports cars and wow, you can really feel it. The eight speed M steptronic transmission is smoother than silk.

The luxury cabin has leather merino seating, lumbar support and cooling system meaning your journey is done in pure comfort.

That’s the package you’re getting for $231,900 though. Everything is top of the line.

With high roof rails in high gloss shadowline, the 21-inch bi colour alloy rims and that beautiful downward slope on the tail – you’ve got an SUV which almost overloads the senses.

The team at Christchurch BMW joked about telling the police I was on the road and to keep an eye out for me. But you really do need to keep an eye on your speedometer.

New Zealand is getting a great variety of BMWs hitting our shores, I caught up with Karol Abrasowicz-Madej, Managing Director at BMW Group New Zealand, to chat about it.

“2020 has been an extraordinary year for all of us, but we adapted to the times,” he says. “Our team pivoted our campaigns to boost the spirits of New Zealanders even as we entered lockdown, and further extended our offers to give customers more value.”

The X6 is just one of a plethora of great vehicles heading our way and who can’t get excited by the M3 and M4 heading our way with new kidney grills and flared rear tails.

Love it or hate it (I love it) the new changes are just pushing a great brand forward and when you’re sitting at the top of Sugarloaf watching the sunset behind a beautiful piece of machinery like the X6 M competition, you really are grateful that there is a designer out there making art out of a machine.