Month: September 2015

Nostalgia rims: Enkei Wheels

Wheel Wednesday: Enkei Performance wheels.

If you’re part of a younger generation you will remember the joy one had when you could customise things in your car in the game Gran-Turismo. The second generation of the game gave users the option to change the wheels on their car, a function that promoted many real brands of that time. One of the brands you could fit on your virtual car, was a brand called Enkei. This has been and still is a world renown brand for after-market performance wheels.

Now that those who played Gran Turismo 2 are at an age to be racing real cars now, it’s good to know that they can fit those rims in their real cars. The Enkei range is diverse but all the wheels have the same objective, being lightweight and strong. The brand supply wheels for many disciplines in racing, including Formula 1 too, as the supplier for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ F1 cars since 1995.

Enkei wheels are made of Aluminium for different types of racing and Magnesium for their F1 wheels. Their wheels can be seen in various colours too such as grey, black and white. Enkei wheels are also available for larger cars such as SUV’s and Bakkie’s, so even if you’re not going to be racing, your car can still look good. Like the game Gran Turismo itself, the brand Enkei has been delivering high quality products for years. Whether you’ve been racing with these wheels in real life or in a game, getting a set of these can make for quite a nostalgic purchase. Happy Wheel Wednesday Motorists.

Enkei

*images courtesy of www.superstreet.com/ www.stancecoalition.com

Not just a pretty face: Jaguar’s new F-Pace

Tech-Tuesday: Jaguar’s new F-Pace.

The Jaguar F-Type is a car that many people love, from its looks, to its appeal and its sweet sounding engines. The problem with a car like the Jaguar F-Type is that it can be a tad limiting if you little creatures called children. These cute creatures tend to not allow many to enjoy certain luxuries such as sports cars. So Jaguar have decided to create a solution to those seeking the class and sophistication of an F-Type but require some rear seats and a raised suspension. Enter the new F-Pace, a beautiful 4×4 by Jaguar. Not only does this car look very good, it has some brains on it too.

How it’s made:

The Jaguar F-Pace is built using Lightweight Aluminium Architecture, this ensures that the car is as light as is can be so it can sting like a bee. How bad is its sting? 280 kW produced by a V6 Supercharged engine makes the F-Pace sprint to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. Not bad for a 4×4 right? The fact that Aluminium is used means that the F-Pace is quite rigid too, making it more dynamic in its handling characteristics.

Technology:

Like most modern day premium cars, the new F-Pace will allow drivers to change the responsiveness of the car and the feel of the steering wheel through the Configurable Dynamics system. Damping is also adjustable, allowing the car to stiffen up or soften up depending of the situation. A notable dynamic feature of the new F-Pace is that it uses the same AWD system found in the F-Type AWD. This system is bias to the rear wheels but will send torque to the front wheels when needed. This is great as it is a fact that rear wheel drive cars feature a distinct driving feel on and off the limit so the F-Pace enjoys the best of both worlds.

Like the Discovery Sport Dynamic featured recently, the F-Pace will make use of All Surface Progress Control (ASPC). This feature basically works as off-road cruise control which allows the car to modulate throttle and breaking on its own from a speed of  3.6 km/h to 30 km/h. The car will also feature a heads up display unit and a great infotainment system similar to that found in current Jaguars. The coolest technology in the new F- Pace will be the Activity Key, a James Bond type of device that allows you to control the car via a wristband. Yes a wristband! Let’s say you’re going mountain biking or surfing, you can lock the normal key in the car and it will disable it allowing the wristband to be the main key. Once you’re back from your activity, simply place the wristband close to the “J” in a Jaguar and voila the car will unlock. If you don’t think that’s cool then you need to watch more science fiction movies.

Verdict:

The new Jaguar F-Pace looks like an F-Type, has the same engine as an F-Type, has a lot of great features and can seat five people comfortably. All this in an AWD 4×4 package. Need we say more? Happy Technology Tuesday Motorists.

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Back To The Future: The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage

Modded Monday: BMW’s 3.0 CSL Hommage.

BMW has an interesting pedigree when it comes to motor racing. In the early 1970’s a car called the 3.0 CSL was created purely for that reason, that of touring car racing. This car featured a bold design, bright colours and light weight construction method suited for racing. The car was fitted first with a 3.0l engine and then a slightly larger 3.1l and finally a very special 3.5l in line six cylinder engine producing over 150 kW. Due to the cars distinct look, it earned the nickname “Batmobile” because of its aero package, a name easy to understand when looking at the large bumpers and spoilers fitted on the car.

The 3.0 CSL won championships such as the European Touring Car Championship and Le Mans, making it a legend of its time. As a result BMW have decided to pay homage to the car by creating a very unique modern day rendition of the car, appropriately named the 3.0 CSL Hommage. The car debuted in May 2015 and recently an “R” version of the concept has been revealed, featuring the legendary racing colours of BMW. Looking at both cars, one can see the design cues from the original car that have been modernised for a new era. The design is a love-hate one, with some loving the distinct looks and some finding the car a bit too retro for their liking. We think the 3.0 CSL’s Hommage’s design is striking and rather beautiful too, especially when kitted in the racing colours. The car is truly something special, with a futuristic interior that works with a helmet visor that populates data to the drivers visor. That alone is why we want BMW to make this car, hopefully we will get see this project come into production.

The engine ticking in the 3.0 CSL is also an inline-six engine paired with an eBoost hybrid system similar to that in BMW’s “I” products. This means that the car produces instant responsiveness and power. The car is obviously a concept but BMW’s seriousness to the project seems like we could see something similar to this in the future. If this were to happen, this would be amazing for BMW lovers and historic racing lovers around the world. Happy Modded Monday Motorists.

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Good things come to those who wait: The new Audi Q7

Thought Thursday: Audi’s new Q7 is finally here.

The Audi Q7 is a car that has run one of the longest life cycles in its segment. With its competitors churning out new products every five years, the Audi Q7 retained its long and wide appearance for a record nine years. Interestingly in all its years, the Q7 has never looked outdated. Obviously a nip and tuck here and there over the nine years has contributed to its ever modern look. As good as the previous Q7 looked, all good things have to come to an end. Now is the time to welcome the successor, a slimmer, boxier looking version of what we’ve known for a very long time. The new Audi Q7 has arrived in South Africa and it comes with a few tricks up its sleeve.

What’s on the inside?

The new Audi Q7 has been put on a diet, losing 325 Kilograms compared to the previous model. This is due to aluminium bits in the car and a lighter chassis. The previous Q7’s formula has not changed, the car is still a seven seater, making it very practical for people with extended families. In fact the new Audi Q7 is the roomiest in its segment too. Features such as navigation, Xenon lights, reverse camera, PDC and electric tailgate are all standard on the car. With cars in this segment though, one would expect such features to be standard, something Audi knows very well. Technology and safety in the new Audi Q7 is something that has been of great importance in the development of the new car.

Features like Attention Assist, Presence Basic (The car braces the occupants through the seat belts when it detects that a collision is about the happen) and Presence City are standard on the car. If you want to take it to the next level, you can get adaptive cruise control which works with other cool features such as Traffic Jam Assist. Other optional features include Rear Cross Traffic Assist which helps when parking and Trailer Manoeuvre Assist, as well as Night Vision Assist. As you can see, depending on your needs the car can be equipped with various different types of technologies and driver assistance programs.

As usual, the new Q7 is fitted with the Quattro suspension system which uses a centre locking differential that can modulate power between the two axles. What is a very nifty option is the Four Wheel Steering option that can be added. This system allows the rear wheels to turn a few degrees whilst the car corners, allowing for a better handling experience around fast and slow corners. Systems such as these have been seen in Audi’s sister company Porsche in cars like the iconic 911 GT3.

What’s on the outside?

The exterior of the new Audi Q7 is very retro and modern. Strong features are implemented, making the car look quite masculine in its appeal. The length of the previous Q7 made it stand out and the same look remains in the new model. The car looks more striking than its predecessor though, with squares and rectangles playing a major role in its design. The car is fitted with 18 inch wheels as standard but a larger rim would do it well, adding to it’s aggressiveness. The interior is clean and well made like every other Audi. If Audi was into architecture, I’m sure their homes would always be of a contemporary design, with clean lines playing a big role, as a modern chic look is something the brand is known for.

What makes it go?

For now, new Audi Q7 buyers have one 3.0 TDI engine to choose from, the unit produces 185 kW and 600 Nm. Power may seem conservative, but the heap of torque is what counts and that’s what any large 4×4 client should worry about. Later on there will be a 2.0 TFSI available too, which is peculiar engine for a car in this segment. Then again the Volvo XC90 uses a small four cylinder engine as well and that is a very good car indeed. I’m sure in the coming few years we will see more large 4×4’s using smaller engines as the refinement of these small turbocharged engines are getting better and better. A smaller engine also means better fuel economy especially when paired off with an 8 speed automatic transmission such as is the case in the new Audi Q7. The diesel engine supplied does a claimed figure of 5.7 l/ 100km’s which is very good for a car of this size. As big as it looks, the car weighs in at just under two tons, a great achievement from Audi’s side indeed.

Verdict.

The new Audi Q7 looks like it’s off to a great start with its features and dynamic attributes. The future looks good for the slimmed out successor. At a starting price of R 924 000, it’s also priced very competitively against the likes of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes ML. Now it’s time to see how the market reacts to this new arrival. For those who have held out and still own a previous Audi Q7, now would be the time to consider upgrading. A nine year wait is a very long one, but they say good things come to those who wait.

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Models and Cars: Jodie Kidd’s obsession with cars.

Women Wednesday: Jodie Kidd.

If you’re not to clued up on the modelling world, Jodie Kidd is a world renown supermodel. Since she was fifteen she has modelled for large brands such as Chanel, Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and many many more. Besides modelling, Jodie Kidd has appeared on shows such Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Masterchef. Like many famous people, Jodie Kidd has things she likes and things she dislikes. Interestingly, one of the things Jodie Kidd really likes is cars.

Her love for cars is so strong,she has participated in events such as the Gumball 3000 and the Mille Miglia. She was even once the fastest celebrity on Top Gear’s Star in a reasonably priced car. It’s safe to say that we at TheMotorist love ladies like Jodie Kidd, this is because she goes breaks the social norms of what people think ladies should like, especially ladies in careers such as modelling. People expect models to always be these “OH EM GEE” glamour girls, little do they know that people like Jodie Kidd like getting their hands dirty under the bonnet and behind the wheel. She personally drives a Maserati, but she has declared her love for the new Jaguar F-Type too, she clearly has good taste. Check out this cool video by GoodWood of her and other celebrities at the Mille Miglia 2014.

 

2016 Wesbank COTY finalists announced.

2016 Wesbank COTY finalists.

The 2016 Wesbank COTY awards are under way and the finalists have been chosen. Next year will make for a very interesting year as there are some diverse cars in the pick. See below the finalists for the Wesbank COTY 2016.

• BMW i3
• CITROEN C4 CACTUS
• FORD FUSION
• HONDA HR-V
• JAGUAR XE
• KIA SORENTO
• LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT
• MAZDA 2 HATCH
• OPEL ADAM
• OPEL CORSA
• PEUGEOT 308
• VOLVO XC90

Apple CarPlay gives a new meaning to “Hands-Free”.

Apple CarPlay: If you can’t beat them, join them.

The amount of people using their phones while driving is ever increasing, weather it’s taking calls, sending a Whatsapp or even recording a Snapchat. This is not good but unfortunately it will never be completely stopped. Since we use our devices all the time, when we step into our cars, it has become second nature to carry on using our phones for whatever reason. Cars have also become easier to drive nowadays and in a sense require less attention from the driver, due to various driver aids. These factors make using a device while driving something more difficult stop.We have all heard the saying,“If you cant beat them, join them”. Apple has adopted this phrase with their new CarPlay feature in IOS 9. Apple say that Car-Play is a smarter and safer way to use your iPhone in the car. How so?

How does Apple CarPlay work?

Apple CarPlay takes the features you want to use while driving and puts them into your car display. Not every app is supported, but things like Maps, Phone, Messages and Music are all available in an IOS Style layout. CarPlay even allows you to use the knobs, dials and buttons in your vehicle for ease of use of the application. Siri is also available to control functions, so you don’t need to take your eyes of the road. You can even have your messages read out aloud, and you can reply using your voice.

Other available apps included in CarPlay are podcasts, audio books, Spotify and other internet radio applications. Social media apps are not currently supported, maybe they will introduce Facebook and Twitter updates through Siri at some point, but we can’t imagine Instagram ever getting compatibility. The whole point here is to help you keep your eyes on the road and since Instagram is an image based app, it’s probably not going to happen (thank goodness).

Well done to Apple for trying to come up with a solution for a problem that causes many unneeded deaths every year. Obviously the best option is to have no phone at all whilst driving but that unlikely for many. This system merges the two worlds between your phone and your infotainment system, which is better than a simple hands-free system because it stops you from looking down and engaging with your cell phone.

How to connect with Apple CarPlay?

Connection is very easy, simply plug in your iPhone to the USB port or connect via Bluetooth. Head over to “settings” – “general” and press the “CarPlay” option and voila, your car and IOS are now one flesh. So how do you know if your car is supported? See the image below to see if your vehicle is part of the supported list.  If it’s not, you may also have support if you use an Alpine, Kenwood or Pioneer after-market System.

Remember guys as handy as these systems are, the best distraction is no distraction. Situations on the road can change in a split second, so keeping your phone off and keeping your eyes where they belong is always the best option. Travel safe and Happy Tech Tuesday.

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Should the Germans be worried? The Alfa Romeo Giulia is flexing on them.

Lap times prove that Alfa Romeo Giulia means business.

For months now we’ve been hearing all sorts of hype about the Alfa Romeo Giulia, especially the crazy version called the Quadrifoglio. This car has one aim and one aim only, to kick some German butt, namely the BMW M3/ M4 and Mercedes C63. Will this be possible? Well so far, with power figures of 380 kW being stated, the car could cause a spot of bother for our German friends. Now to add to that at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Alfa Romeo confirmed that the car did a lap time of 7 mins 39 seconds at the Nürburgring. If this is true and the car Alfa Romeo used was using road tyres, the Giulia will have lapped the ring a full 13 seconds faster than the BMW. Now if you’re not a big car person, you may think “why is the Nürburgring time so important?”

Why is the Nüburgring a big deal?

The Nürburgring is the place where all the manufacturers take their fast cars and test them for various things such as handling and dynamics. The reason for this being that the Nürburgring is an extremely demanding and long circuit which forces any car to utilise its handling setup the best it can. So the “big boys” spend months testing and fine tuning their cars here. The possible fact that the Giulia did the circuit 13 seconds quicker than a car that is known as the benchmark in this segment, is a noteworthy thing and shows that Alfa Romeo aren’t here for a picnic. Should the Germans be worried? We think so. Have a look at the video below to see a short video of the Giulia going around the ring.

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A unique little hatch: The Mazda 2 1.5 DE

The Mazda 2 1.5 DE is a surprising little car.

The Mazda brand is one that has won the hearts of many South Africans over they years. Decades ago, when currently middle aged people were younger, they raved over cars like the 323 and the 626. As a young person now, the brand to me has always been somewhat under the radar from a youth perspective. This is strange as their offering is quite good. Being that as it is, if I think small hatchback of course the first car that comes to mind is a Volkswagen Polo. That is why I was pleasantly surprised when I got behind the wheel of the Mazda 2 1.5 DE, a car with quite an interesting character.

What’s it up against?

First off I found it quite difficult to compare this car to anything in its segment, because there aren’t many small diesel hatchbacks that offer an automatic gearbox. If you don’t believe me, look at Volkswagen, Opel, Renault, Peugeot and Ford’s offerings. Between all of them, the choice of a diesel engine has been replaced by tiny three cylinder petrol engines with turbochargers. Volkswagen and Peugeot do offer diesels in their Polo and 208, but with manual gearboxes not automatics. So this revelation has made the Mazda 2 1.5 DE a unique car to drive and experience.

Does an automatic gearbox make it better than its competitors?

The automatic gearbox is a joy to have in the city. I felt this as I was stuck in traffic in Johannesburg CBD. Usually I would have wanted to scream bloody murder but because I had less work to do, I enjoyed my music. Speaking of music, this particular test unit had the MZD Connect system in it, which is a delight to have in terms of quality and features. Bluetooth and USB are included but the way the system works is what makes it a winner. Even the ergonomics of the system are very well designed, allowing you to navigate through options with minimal distraction.

Whilst on the topic of what’s inside the Mazda 2, I must mention how well built the cabin is too. Leather seats were fitted in this test unit and the seats are comfortable due to good bolstering. The only thing I would do without is the red striping on the seats, since the car I drove was metallic purple. If you buy a Mazda 2 with an exterior colour that would match the red striping, it could work. Space is adequate in the car, but the back seats can feel cramped depending on how tall your friends are.

How does the car drive?

The 1.5 litre turbo diesel engine fitted in the Mazda 2 produces 77 kW and 250 Nm. That torque is definitely what makes the driving experience of the car. The gearbox also works well with the engine, keeping you in the torque band with each shift. The only frustrating thing is that the car does suffer from turbo lag at times, leaving you waiting for the boost to kick in. As annoying as it can be, it doesn’t happen enough for it to ruin the driving experience. When in a rush, I found it best to keep the gearbox in manual mode and control the up shifts and down shifts myself. Overall, the feeling of a boosted diesel engine in a car that weighs very little is always a fun encounter, something I enjoyed about the Mazda 2 1.5 DE.

Is it value for money?

The Mazda 2 1.5 DE is the higher specification version of the Mazda 2 range. As a result, you will look at R259 000 for the car. For that price you do get a lot of car I must be honest. The Mazda’s competitors are similarly priced excluding the automatic gearbox, so one can say that Mazda has priced the vehicle fairly. Is it the car to choose against its competitors? That is totally up to you, all I can tell you is that the Mazda 2 1.5 DE is a good choice in its segment. The fact that in the diesel derivative, you will be looking at an average claimed fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km’s, definitely makes it a car to consider. If a diesel hatchback is what you desire and it must have an automatic gearbox, I guess you have no choice but to choose the Mazda 2 1.5 DE do you?

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Bentley’s new Bentayga: Has the world gone super SUV mad?

Are super SUV’s getting a bit out of hand?

As is, customers looking for a good quality SUV have many choices to choose from. So much so, you don’t have to be a member of a political party to own one, as there are SUV’s priced for people looking for something not too expensive as well. The world of premium SUV’s is one that is the most interesting though. In this segment, there seems to be an internal war going on which I think is rather pointless to be honest. This is the war for power, power and more power. The new Bentlely Bentayga is going to join that war in the very near future. The car will feature a 450 kW, 900 Nm  W12 engine, capable of doing 0-100 km/h in 4.0 seconds.

Isn’t it a little bit strange to know that a large two ton SUV can keep up with super saloons and even beat some sports cars? Don’t get me wrong, power is great and it’s a thrill to drive a super SUV because the concept of it defies physics. Experiencing the power of such a car is something special but living with such a car is a different thing. I can’t help but ask myself, does it really matter if my SUV can beat your sports car?

What’s the point of a super SUV?

Large cars such as the BMW X5, Mercedes GLC, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90 (The list goes on) are all aimed at families. Even the marketing material of these cars shows the cars in picturesque surroundings, Billy and Sandy at the back and maybe even a dog in the mix. Then you get the “hot” versions of these cars, namely the BMW, Porsche and Mercedes. The brochures of these cars are different, the backdrop is something that resembles a circuit and the tag lines are all similar, something alluding to the fact that it’s “The world’s fastest SUV”. Why is that important? I’m really baffled. The new Bentley Bentayga is in the same boat. It’s already one thing that one group makes three of the most popular SUV’s and are adding a fourth in the mix. It’s another thing to market the car as the fastest SUV made, even if it is.

When I think Bentley, I think luxury, comfort and prestige. I don’t think apex, tyre screeches and lap times. I think this whole fast SUV thing is getting taken to a whole new unnecessary level. If I want to go drive on a race track and I have over R1,8 million to spend, I don’t think my first choice will be an SUV. I don’t think many people’s first choice will be a super SUV. It’s all marketing rubbish really. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than driving a meaty diesel SUV with great torque and a decent fuel economy. With the savings I will have for opting for that version instead of the super version, I could even sneak in a quick sports car for weekends.

There is no doubt in my mind that the new Bentley Bentayga will be a great car. It certainly looks striking and sharing the same DNA as the Touareg, Cayenne and Q7, it has a good gene pool too. The interior of the car is exquisite as well, it’s exactly what Bentley represents, opulence. I just find it strange that it seems like Bentley are focusing a great deal on speed. There is more to an SUV than speed, especially for the majority of SUV buyers. Call me crazy but when I’m on a road trip with my family in an SUV, my biggest worry is not how fast I’m going to get there, it’s how comfortable the trip will be. Happy Thought Thursday Motorists.

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