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Lock them in: Access Locks Specialist Ltd


The way we keep our cars locked up, secure, and still in our driveways, has changed dramatically within the last 20 years. Two men who know this are Roger Barriball and Richard Nind, who established Access Locks Specialists Ltd in 2007.

 

 

At this time, laser cut transponder keys and keyless entry into vehicles were just starting to take off, but so many cars were yet to fully embrace this technology.

Today, not only do most cars come with these keys, most have also moved into proximity (smart key) technology using “push to start” ignitions.

The car simply recognises you have your key or fob with you and allows the car to be unlocked and started without inserting a key.

However, while this technology makes fumbling in our pockets for our car keys a thing of the past, it still cannot prevent keys being lost or stolen.

Roger and Roger know transponder keys and smart key fobs better than anyone and can help if you require a new smart key or spare for your car.

Staff can programme the required key to match your individual car’s on-board computer. The specialists also recommend having two key fobs handy.

Operating from its showroom and workshop at 170 Waterloo Road, Hornby, and its mobile workshop vehicles staff will come to your rescue, not just for automotive keys, but also the home and business locks and safes.

For more information and a full list of services, or to purchase online visit the website.


 

Beaming all the way


If you are a car enthusiast, the BMW M Town is the ultimate in driving experiences; a global event that has BMW devotees fizzing at the opportunity to experience all elements of the new releases. As Metropol’s motoring writers, Ben Selby and I were lucky enough to be invited to Hampton Downs Racetrack near Hamilton last month to try out the best that BMW has to offer.

 

 

The slalom (taking road cones as fast as you can) was an agility test and I had a great time in the convertible Z4. Highly responsive and fun with the roof down, it handled well.

Next was the off-road in the X7 M50i. The all-terrain four-wheel drive featuring X-drive made this all too easy, although incline descent using the automatic decent feature and speed control plus the camera system had me doing things I wouldn’t try at home. Seeing just how much untapped potential there is in a beast like that was great.

The racetrack element was – of course – what we were all most looking forward to. International BMW drive instructor, Mike Eady and his team kept us safe.

The car range included the M5 Competition sedan, a V8 petrol capable of 0 to 100 in 3.3 seconds, with 750 in torque and 430 kW of evil at $234,300.

The M8 Competition coupe has similar specifications but a price point of $342,900 The shape on this is just hotness and the performance and holding were something else.

I was driving all models in a tweaked sport mode, giving me softened steering but acceleration and breaking at top performance.

The M8 stood out as the best performer, but it was the new M3 and M4 Competition models which took my eye and my drive experience.

 

The M xDrive system and Active M differential – complete with M – specific traction control, link up with the dynamic stability control (DSC) system to ensure precisely judged interaction for the driving situation in hand.

The M4 is certainly quick off the mark, and a touch bouncy at speed. Insert big smirk on my face here.

The new larger “kidney” grills and flared rear wheel arches have prompted mixed reaction. But, change is good and I think it is going to grow on everyone.

Coming in at $168,990 for the M3 and $172,990 for the M4, the models sell in a range of colours named after the world’s racetracks.

I love the M4 in Sao Paulo yellow and the M3 in Isle of Man green. It just pops.

With 260 participants taking part in the week-long event, it was great to be a part of a well-organised motoring occasion.

Ben took out the premium award, scoring a wonderful BMW race helmet, but I was the bad boy who drove too fast and hit to many road cones in the slalom. Next year Ben, next year!


 

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.


 

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.


 

Top down, revved up


The Lexus LC500 Coupe caused quite a stir when it was launched. Now Lexus have chopped the roof, resulting in the LC500 Convertible. However, is it any better topless? After being on display at Lexus Urban Polo, Lexus New Zealand gave me the keys for 28 hours to find out.

 

 

The LC500 Convertible’s 5L V8 is shared with the RC F coupe and GS F saloon. It is also naturally aspirated with power rated at 351kW/540Nm.

A 10-speed automatic box with paddles sends drive to the rear wheels. All in all, Lexus have kept it brilliantly simple. No turbos, no AWD, just a tonne of power and V8 thunder.

Inside it is probably one of the most attractive places to sit of any car I’ve seen on sale. Lately, all the toys found in a car of this type can be found, even the epic 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, though the mousepad control is a bit vague at times.

You quickly forget that the second you lower the roof, and press that starter button. The sweet sound of a naturally aspirated V8 engulfs your surroundings before settling to a soft burble at idle.

Pointing the LC500’s nose to Akaroa, it shows itself to be a sublime tourer. In Comfort or Eco mode, you can devour kilometre after kilometre in almost electric quiet, and despite being so low to the ground, ride comfort is pretty much perfect.

Every bump is soaked up and you sit low and far back, resulting in the perfect driving position. Rear visibility is so-so with the roof up, but most of the time you want that roof down, especially as you can raise and lower it at speeds of up to 50km/h.

Zero to 100km/h in five seconds isn’t rapid fire by today’s standards, but the LC500 Convertible isn’t about acceleration and top speed that can re-arrange your fillings. It’s more about big power under control.

Many have made the mistake of regarding the LC500 as an out and out sports car. It isn’t, it’s a sporting tourer, but when you want to have some fun, the LC500 Convertible will still give shots of adrenaline the moment you give it stick. Plant boot and a butterfly valve in the exhaust opens up.

Weighing in at a snip over two-tonnes, the LC500 is no lightweight, but it can still dance the sports car dance really well.

Downshifts at high RPM are accompanied by a crackle and boom from the exhaust like a far-off battlefield and despite not being super sharp, it isn’t long before you are giggling as you blast out of another corner with that V8 on full song.

At $234,000, the LC500 Convertible is considerably less than its nearest rival, the new Aston Martin Vantage Roadster. All in all, the LC500 Convertible gets the blend of long-distance cruiser and back road blaster just right. This one is very good indeed.


 

Tantalising Takami


The Takami grade has been a welcome addition to Mazda’s line-up in recent years, so it was inevitable the flagship CX-9 SUV would get the same treatment. For 2021, the facelift CX-9 Takami gets a new grille, the option of a new Polymetal Grey Metallic colour, and new designed alloys.

 

 

Inside, Mazda’s simplistic Kodo design philosophy is everywhere. CX-9 Takami benefits over the standard Limited spec with niceties like the option of either pure white or walnut brown nappa leather heated and ventilated seats.

These seats also feature a new design with quilting, piping and stitch colour change.

You also get shift paddles, wireless charging, and a larger 10.25-inch multi-information display housing the latest generation MZD touchscreen infotainment system. It is very intuitive and easy to read. Also, the Bose stereo system sounds sweet.

Driving to Balcairn and back, the 2021 CX-9 Takami feels so planted. Plus, a lack of road noise and sumptuous ride comfort was very impressive.

The 2.5L turbo four pot with 170kW and 420Nm of torque was also very quiet. Keep it in the sweet spot between 1600 and 3000rpm, and it pulls quite nicely.

At $70,890 plus ORC, the CX-9 Takami is quite well priced considering the level of refinement you get is usually reserved to high end SUVs costing twice as much. You could do a lot worse than this one.


 

All electric Jag


Jaguar have announced it will become an all-electric brand. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) announced last month its Jaguar arm will cease production of petrol and diesel cars by 2025, producing only electric powered vehicles.

 

The move to go full electric comes after JLR management outlined a zero-emission business plan, named Reimagine, which it hopes to achieve by 2039.

The plan comes after pressure from many countries for mainstream car makers to severely reduce their carbon footprint and emissions.

As a result, Jaguar have announced it will be spending a hefty $4.8 billion NZD a year on electric only platforms and technology for its new car line up.

Jaguar have also announced its XJ saloon will not be renewed as an EV, stating the iconic luxury car will be discontinued after 50-plus years in production.

A statement from JLR says: “Following a thorough technology review against the exponential change in the automotive industry, we concluded that the planned XJ replacement does not fit with our vision for a reimaged Jaguar brand.”

JLR have also announced Land Rover will follow suit by also producing electric only vehicles by 2030.


 

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.


 

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.