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New Models - Volkswagen Bora

Volkswagen Bora V6 4Motion sedanSurprise packet: The Bora V6 4Motion packs a potent 2.8-litre powerplant, six-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive configuration.

Surprise packet: The Bora V6 4Motion packs a potent 2.8-litre powerplant, six-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive configuration.

Volkswagen spices up the Bora range with the launch of the rapid V6 4Motion flagship

VOLKSWAGEN has launched the quickest car it has ever sold here - the Bora V6 4Motion - and it hopes the new "hero car" will spark greater interest in the compact sedan line-up.

Although the newcomer looks essentially the same as the existing Bora models - barring bigger wheels, twin tailpipes and discreet badging - it packs a mean wallop thanks to a new 2.8-litre V6 engine, close ratio six-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive configuration.

The brutal Bora has been nicknamed the "VWRX" - an allusion to Subaru's Impreza WRX - but company insiders say "it is a moot point whether WRX owners will move into a Bora V6".

The V6 4Motion costs $54,400 in manual form (there is no auto), so it costs just over $10,000 more than the Japanese barnstormer, but VW officials say their car is "more comfortable and better built".

For the record, the V6 4Motion can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.4 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 235km/h - not quite as quick as a WRX but not too shabby either.

VW is using the introduction of the V6 4 Motion to relaunch the existing Bora range, which comprises four-cylinder and V5 models.

Pricing starts at $36,850 for the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder model with manual transmission, rising to $38,950 for the auto. The 2.3-litre V5 manual costs $46,200 while the five-speed Tiptronic (on sale on August 1) will retail for $48,300.

Leather upholstery is standard in the V5 and V6 but adds $2990 to the cost of the four-cylinder model, while metallic paint costs $935 across the range. An electric glass sunroof is standard in the V6 and can be specified as a $1890 option in the V5.

But under the bonnet of the flagship model is where the main point of interest lies.

The narrow-angle, 2.8-litre V6 is based on the unit previously seen in the Golf VR6, but the addition of goodies such as four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing means power is boosted to a substantial 150kW at 6200rpm, while peak torque is a hefty 270Nm at 3200rpm.

Subaru buffs will be aware the Impreza WRX cranks out slightly better numbers - 160kW and 290Nm.

A close-ratio six-speed gearbox relays power to all four wheels via VW's 4Motion "intelligent" all-wheel drive system, which is governed by a Haldex clutch. VW says this system is more user-friendly than some rival all-wheel drive set-ups.

Keeping the car in contact with the road is a quartet of 205/55R16 tyres wrapped around 16x6.5-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels.

The Bora V6 4Motion's standard equipment list is generous: electronic stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, dual front and side airbags, leather upholstery, eight-speaker sound system with six-stack CD player, rain-sensing wipers, trip computer, heated front seats and an electric glass sunroof are all part of the deal.

Also standard are climate control air-conditioning, remote central locking and power windows and mirrors.

A Bora V6 4Motion Sport model is in the pipeline and is due to join the line-up in October.

Developed in conjunction with VW's aftermarket partners Oettinger and Votex, the overtly sporting variant gains a full body kit, 17x7.5-inch alloy wheels and interior enhancements.

The body kit comprises a mesh grille, side skirts and bootlid spoiler with inbuilt brake light. Interior upgrades include black leather upholstery with embossed Sport logo, black myrtle trim in place of woodgrain walnut, alloy pedals and Sport logo floor mats.

Exact pricing is yet to be finalised but a company official said the Sport kit could add around $7500 to the cost - so expect a sticker price just over $60,000.

DRIVE IMPRESSIONS:

THE first impressions one gets of the Bora V6 4Motion is that it looks too understated for a car that offers genuine sports sedan performance.

The visual upgrades - 16-inch alloy wheels, V6 4Motion badging and twin chromed tailpipes - whisper rather than shout out the car's performance potential.

But this impression dwindles slightly once the 2.8-litre V6 is fired up, prompting a pleasing rasp from the tailpipes.

Snick the lever in first, stab the throttle and the Bora surprises with its urge. The VW ad men aren't lying, it is "surprisingly quick".

Row up through the gears and you can reach the highway limit in under eight seconds, but perhaps more impressive than its outright performance is the way the 2.8-litre V6 goes about its business. It is turbine-smooth and has ample reserves of low-down grunt.

The engine's flexibility means it is possible to dawdle through traffic in fourth or fifth gear, but the six-speed transmission's precise, well-weighted shift action makes it a rather pleasurable exercise to change gears just for the hell of it.

Hurling the car through twisty bits is an equally rewarding experience, the chassis responding faithfully to inputs via the communicative rack-and-pinion steering. Turn-in is sharp and grip levels are impressive, with no real trace of understeer.

The car sits nice and flat even when pushed and - happily - ride quality is also beyond reproach.

But there is noticeable tyre roar over coarse surfaces, which mars overall refinement levels.

There was also an assortment of rattles emanating from the interior despite VW adopting the band-aid measure of using tissue paper to line the glovebox of cars used for the media launch.

Overall, the V6 4Motion is an accomplished package that will please enthusiastic drivers. The only real drawback is a lack of rear-seat head and legroom, which limits its practicality as a family sedan.





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