Wonder Woman drives a Kia Sportage!

Kia have teamed up with DC Comics to build a (thankfully) one-off Kia Sportage inspired by Wonder Woman. The project was unveiled at this week’s New York International Auto Show and was created to raise awareness of DC Entertainment’s “We Can Be Heroes” campaign which is bringing relief and hope to people affected by the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa (www.WeCanBeHeroes.org).

Wonder Woman Kia side

Wonder Woman Kia front

“As one of the most well-known Super Heroes in the world, Wonder Woman portrays an impressive balance of power, agility and confidence, all of which are inherent characteristics of the Kia Sportage crossover,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, KMA.  “Like the rest of the Justice League-inspired vehicles, this customized Sportage signifies a meaningful collaboration between cars and pop-culture.  And for the first time, here in New York, all seven vehicles are standing together in one place to raise awareness for DC Entertainment’s very worthy ‘We Can Be Heroes’ giving campaign.”

Wonder Woman Kia rear

Wonder Woman Kia interior

The Wonder Woman-inspired Sportage features a sleek and stylish look thanks to an aero kit which grants a streamlined but powerful appearance.  The red and blue exterior color scheme, accented with stars, was derived directly from Wonder Woman’s outfit, while the gold trim wrapped around the vehicle represents the heroine’s weapon of choice, “The Lasso of Truth.”  Up front, Wonder Woman’s eagle chest-plate emblem was creatively integrated into the production grille and is flanked by blue headlight beams, which reflect her piercing blue eyes.  The Sportage’s windshield features a banner portraying Wonder Woman’s tiara, and the chrome side panels on the vehicle are graphical interpretations of her invisible jet.  Beneath, the 5-spoke wheel design was chosen to match the stars on the exterior of the vehicle.

Wonder Woman Kia boot

Within, red upholstery and dash pieces combined with blue LED lighting were added to continue the Sportage’s exterior color scheme into the cabin.  The custom seats were inspired by Wonder Woman’s signature garb and embroidered with her logo, while the cargo area of the vehicle is adorned with stars and an eagle and features a see-through panel, which displays Wonder Woman’s tiara, bracelets and glowing Lasso of Truth.

The all new Range Rover Sport

When it came to launching the all-new Range Rover Sport, doing so in New York wasn’t just decided upon for the glam and glitz, it’s also the city where Land Rover sell more of this model than anywhere else globally. The new Range Rover Sport is a hugely impressive 420kg weight saving over the older model and is claimed to be the fastest, most agile and responsive Land Rover ever.

New Range Rover Sport side

The new Range Rover Sport is 62mm longer and 55mm wider than before and grows by 178mm between the wheels to give more room to passengers inside. It also now have the ability to be optionally equipped with two more seats making it one of the shortest of all 7-seater SUVs.

New Range Rover Sport studio

New Range Rover Sport rear studio

To improve driving dynamics a lightweight aluminium fully-independent double-wishbone suspension has been employed at the front while at the rear a multi-link layout is employed. A new generation of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system constantly monitors road and surface conditions allowing it to automatically select the most suitable terrain programme. For those who like to be a bit more adventurous, ground clearance is increased by 51mm to 278mm although the air suspension allows the ride height to vary between two levels. It also now has a new Wade Sensing feature that provides ‘depth’ information when driving through water, which is now up to 850mm deep.

New Range Rover Sport snow

Four different engines will be available with the Range Rover Sport, two petrol and two diesel. The petrol engines will be in the form of a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 producing 510PS and a smaller 3.0-litre supercharged V6 (340PS). It is more likely that the diesel engines will be the popular choice in this market and they will consist of a 258PS 3.0-litre TDV6 and a 292PS SDV6. A high-efficiency diesel Hybrid will be offered in late 2013 for 2014 delivery. Fuel consumption in all engines has been reduced by up to 24% and CO2 levels start at 194g/km which would place it in tax band F (€1,200).

New Range Rover Sport lights

New Range Rover Sport vent

New Range Rover Sport interior

Inside buyers can choose from a wide variety of new technology. The ‘Connected Car’ technology enables the driver to check on the status of their Range Rover Sport via a smartphone app which can include things like Stolen Vehicle Tracking – the luxury SUV equivalent of the Find iPhone app. Buyers can also choose, for the first time, to have a high bandwidth Wi-Fi hotspot installed so passengers can use internet on the go.

New Range Rover Sport city

From the driver’s seat there is an optional Head-Up Display which shows key vehicle and navigation info with needed to look away from the road. A digital camera system keeps a helping eye on things through three driver assistance features: Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic High Beam Assist.

The Range Rover Sport will be offered in four equipment levels; S, SE, HSE and Autobiography. There will also be ‘Dynamic’ variants of the HSE and Autobiography models. It goes on sale during the third quarter 2013.

The Rolls-Royce Wraith launch

Its not everyday that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveil an entirely new model, nor is it everyday that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars invite you to their factory home at Goodwood to witness it. So while the hoards of hacks and photographers were clambering over eachother to get a better view of the new Wraith in Geneva, a select few of us were treated to a much calmer experience deep inside their normally secretive R & D department.

Rolls-Royce Wraith prototype

Rolls-Royce Wraith zero datum

In traditional style the day began at the factory with a full English breakfast followed by a brisk walk through one of the most serene factory environments I’ve ever experienced. The reason for the briskness of our escort through was to get to the new car in time for what would be a synchronised unveiling. As the covers were being pulled off the car on the Geneva show stand, the shutter doors were going to be pulled back here.

Rolls-Royce Wraith unveiled

As the shutter doors pull back, the team of designers explain how they developed the look and shape of the Wraith. It is very much inspired by the nautical world, particular at the rear of the car where the roof slopes down and meets very heavily defined shoulder lines. Unlike the bigger Phantom Coupe, the iconic Rolls-Royce grille is less dominant and, in what designers say is a nod to the jet engine design, it is more deeply recessed. By far the most eye catching feature of the Wraith is its frameless coach doors. Their wide aperture allow for very easy access to the drivers seat upon where one can simply press the door close button allowing the door to silently and smoothly shut automatically.

Rolls-Royce Wraith design

The Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce that has ever been made: 624 bhp is generated by the twin-turbo engine. That power is delivered via an 8-speed auto transmission with the promise of 800 Nm of torque from just 1,500 rpm.

Inside, the Wraith holds nothing back in terms of offering luxury to its potential owners. As standard Rolls-Royce offer 9 different colour leather interiors as well as numerous different wood finishes. If the standard offerings aren’t to your liking their bespoke department can create a leather interior colour matched to you specific taste. Buyers can also choose to have a Starlight Headliner installed into the roof lining. This consists of 1,340 individual fibre optic lights which are hand woven into the leather roof-lining which creates a starry night effect inside the car.

Rolls-Royce Wraith inside

In addition to the usual luxurious trappings one would associate with a Rolls-Royce automobile, the Wraith is also loaded with new technology. The Satellite Aided Transmission processes the real time GPS data to read the road ahead and uses this information to better choose the correct gear to suit the driver. If the road ahead contains a series of bends the system will keep itself in the optimum gear for that stretch of road.

Unlike the car at Geneva, the Wraith unveiled to us was a single colour and in my opinion looks far nicer than the two tone. Granted there will be two tone choices of colour that do make the Wraith look spectacular, and with a clearly defined sharp line running along the rear haunches of the car allows a clean break to separate the colours. The car shown to us was one of the actual finished prototypes rather than a production ready car so there were some minor differences, mainly with the interior which still had all the poppers fitted to allow for covers to be used. The boot was also crammed full of diagnostic testing equipment and not long after the launch this exact car would be destroyed after its use in European crash testing.

Rolls-Royce Wraith interior

Rolls-Royce Wraith testing

Overall the Wraith sets the Rolls-Royce brand in a slightly different direction. The car in some guises will appeal to a more youthful buyer yet Rolls have lost none of the class and finesse many more mature buyers would come to expect. Production of the Wraith is due to begin in late summer. The price? Well, as they say, if you have to ask sir….