North Shore Times : January 27th 2011
19 NORTH SHORE TIMES, JANUARY 27, 2011 Motoring Advertising Feature 3 Auto Safety Experts STEERING, SUSPENSION & BRAKES MERV STEVE Shock Absorbers, Coil Springs, Bushes, Steering Parts, Wheel Alignment and Balancing FREE!!! SHOCK ABSORBER SAFETY CHECK WAIRAU ALIGNMENT & SUSPENSION 127 Wairau Road, Takapuna Ph 444-4994 or 444-8113 Reversing cameras to Save More Children's Lives Your Success is our Success! Reach 150,000* Readers Delivered to 69,797** Homes Make a Difference What makes your company different? Call Maria Now 486 8858 *Nielsen Q4 09-Q3 10 ** ABC ANC to 31/12/2009 More cars, vans and trucks are likely to be fitted with life-saving reversing cameras thanks to new technolog y now available in New Zealand that meets stringent vehicle design rules. Recent accidents involving cars backing over children in driveways and workers caught by manoeuvring commercial vehicles has raised concern about how to reduce the danger during reversing. Now, a number of car companies are looking to fit a unique replacement rear-view mirror, which links to a reversing camera in vehicles that don't currently have this feature. The mirror displays a 3.5" screen showing what is behind the vehicle when reverse gear is engaged, enabling the driver to see if children, adults, pets or objects are in the 'danger' zone. It works in the same way as similar mirrors/cameras that are available as original equipment on a small number of new cars recently introduced to New Zealand. But it differs from after-market accessory The unique Pantera Command Centre brings together a reversing camera display, GPS, Bluetooth and entertainment in the rear view mirror. reversing cameras/displays because the new mirror display meets the requirements of applicable Australian Design Rules, making it acceptable to new vehicle manufacturers. As a bonus, it looks like an original equipment fitment and incorporates a GPS system, Bluetooth phone connection and a music centre. It is known as the Pantera Command Centre and has been introduced to New Zealand by automotive accessory company Retro Vehicle Enhancements. "In future most vehicles will come equipped with a reversing camera and a dashboard or mirror display as standard to alert the driver during reversing, but it's what happens in the meantime that concerns me," says Craig Wilson, sales manager of Retro Vehicle Enhancements. "As a parent I want this technology in my car now, and so do other people I have spoken to." Mr Wilson and his team searched for more than two years to find the technology that would be suited to a wide range of vehicles in New Zealand, eventually coming up with the Pantera Command Centre. "It's unique," he adds. "It is the only retro-fit system that incorporates a reversing display, a GPS map and Bluetooth phone connector that is acceptable to new car companies because it meets the requirements of ADR Design regulations." Retro Vehicle Enhancements is negotiating with several car companies to supply these units to go into brand new cars, probably fitted at the dealership, before the vehicles are delivered to owners. Some fleets are also very interested, including a national camper van rental company. And plans are in hand for a nationwide installation service for owners of existing vehicles. "Apart from the safety aspect of the reversing camera, the other appealing feature is that car companies can provide a factory-style, in-built GPS map system in a brand new car for a fraction of the cost of an original equipment GPS unit," says Mr Wilson. "An OE GPS system can add $8000 to the price of a brand new car, largely because of the smaller number of units being fitted and the high cost of the mapping licence. "Being housed in the rear view mirror, the Pantera Command Centre fits any car -- all that changes is the bracket that fits onto the original windscreen mount and we have those covered." Mr Wilson says the 3.5" screen display in the mirror is larger than the display in vehicles with OE reversing camera mirrors and is about the same size as many portable GPS units. It works in exactly the same way as other GPS units, with New Zealand and Australian maps already supplied and these will be updated annually free of charge for three years, with a small annual cost after that. The GPS system is fully programmable, with all the latest features, including different voice options, an advanced trip computer, speed camera and over speed alerts. The Bluetooth facility is easy to use, pairing with all modern mobile phones and can direct calls through the vehicle's own audio system speakers. Similarly, it has a music function that can store songs on its SD card to playback through the mirror's own speakers or through the vehicle audio system. Mr Wilson says there are distinct benefits of having the reversing camera and GPS display in the rear view mirror. "The mirror is at natural vision level, without diverting your eyes from the road to look down at a unit in the dashboard," he says. In addition to new vehicle makers and owners of used cars, the Pantera Command Centre is likely to appeal company fleet operators, particularly courier companies and transport operators. Suggested retail price is $1675, including fitting. More information is at the www.pantera.co.nz website. Butch new styling for Benz SLK Mercedes-Benz has revamped its SLK in series III form with styling cues taken from its SL coupe and SLS supercar and a very clever roof, writes DAVE MOORE. The shape and execution of the first two generations of SLK model could be described as being a tad effete if you were to be critical. Just about everywhere else, this power tin-topped roadster was nigh-on perfect, with good solid build-quality, biddable chassis and a quick, snug roof that meant you could take advantage of the slightest suggestion of sun- light at the touch of a button. Truth be known both orig- inal versions sat you low enough and offered good heating, with the current model offering an airscarf neck warmer, so you had less excuse than most other con- vertible owners for putting your roof up, even when the sun wasn't there to enjoy. The latest SLK now comes with a panoramic vario-roof glass that uses what its maker calls Magic Sky Con- trol, which switches to light or dark at the touch of a but- ton. New four and six cylin- der engines now feature with standard start/stop function making them up to 25 per cent more economical than their predecessors. The first thing to observe about the new SLK is its more square-jawed frontal treatment, which works well with the model's long bonnet, compact passenger compart- ment and bobbed tail. The more upright radiator grille has been borrowed styling-wise from the SLS gullwing supercar, and it gives the new roadster a decidedly butch frontal treat- ment compared with its more delicately designed predecessors. The wide radiator grille bears the Mercedes-Benz star in a prominent central pos- ition and displays a power- fully contoured, chromed fin at the front. Benz says it hints of the 190 SL from the 50s, and I can see what they mean. For all its more agressive styling the coefficient of drag value has been cut to just 0.30 from the old car's 0.32. Inside, the SLK does not differ radically from its pre- decessor, though wood can now be selected as an option in high-gloss dark brown walnut or high-gloss black ash. Four round, galvanised air outlets integrated in the dashboard emphasise their shape as also being a homage to those in the SLS. Mercedes-Benz is offering a choice of three variants of the lightweight-construction vario-roof for the new SLK: The standard version is a roof painted in the vehicle colour. There is the option of a dark tinted panoramic vario-roof, while the panoramic vario- roof with Magic Sky Control allows the roof glass to switches from light or dark at the press of a button allowing a virtually transparent, almost open-air experience in cold weather. Darkened, the roof provides shade and prevents the interior from heating up. When the roof is down pivoting transparent plastic layers attached to the reverse of the roll-over bars act as a built in air dam easing turbu- lent air flow. Three engines will be initially used in the new car: A four-cylinder SLK 200 and SLK 250 BlueEfficiency dev- eloping 137kW and 152kW respectively, each from just 1796 cc. With the enhanced 7G-Tronic automatic the 200 model can returns 6.1L per 100km and still get to 100kph in seven seconds. The 250 manages 6.2L per100km and 6.6 seconds. The V6-powered SLK 350 BlueEfficiency makes 228kW from 3498cc and gets to 100kph in 5.6 seconds. It can return a combined 7.1L per100km. Three suspension set-ups will be available. A conven- tional steel suspension comes as standard. Sports suspen- sion with firmer springs and dampers creates sporty driv- ing experience, while a Dynamic Handling package with continuous adjustable damping is offered, with a Direct-Steer system and the Torque Vectoring Brakes. The new SLK will launch in the New Zealand market in the second half of the year, and pricing and specifications will be confirmed closer to that date.
January 25th 2011
January 28th 2011