The Mercedes S class has arguably been the crème de la crème of luxury vehicles for some time now. This car is Mercedes’ answer to the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ. These vehicles are built to be driven long distances in the utmost of comfort. You might also remember Maybach, a company purchased by Mercedes-Benz back in 1960. They released cars such as the Maybach 57 and 62, ultra luxury vehicles with an ultra-luxury price. To cut a long story short, they hardly sold any cars and produced their last vehicle in December 2012.
Mercedes are now reviving the brand as an ultra-luxury sub-brand of the S class, the same way the Mercedes AMG brand fits in. Mercedes have really pushed the boat out with this one; luxury is of critical importance with Nappa leathers covering almost every conceivable surface inside the vehicle. This is complimented by technology such as the “Cabin fragrance system”, an option which sends a scent into the vehicle at pre-set times. The scent is emitted in a way so as not to hang in the air or stick on clothes.
Along with this is other technologies such as the Ambient Lighting System with over 300 LED’s, silver champagne flutes, hot and cold cup holders, folding tables and of course, power executive rear seats which recline to a 45-degree angle. Rear entertainment systems are also included, you get the idea, everything is pretty top notch.
Powering this first class cabin is a bi-turbo 6-litre V12 engine, kicking out over 500 horses which will get you to 100 km/h in 5 seconds. Keeping everything smooth on your journey is the “Magic Body Control System” which uses the multi-purpose camera of Intelligent Drive to scan the road ahead for variations and bumps in the road. The system then informs the suspension components before the wheels reach them.
I could write all day about the innovations and exciting features on this car, in doing so I would probably crash the site. The S600 Maybach is an S-Class on steroids, luxury steroids that is. It’s hard to improve on what already is a fantastic car, but by giving that extra bit of refinement and quality, it makes a big difference.
KIA South Africa received five awards at the 2015 Product Quality Awards held recently. The awards are based on a “problems per 100 vehicle” basis, so the car with the least amount of problems in each category per 100 vehicles wins. For Kia South Africa, the awards were as follows:
1. Small Hatch Category: Kia Ria with a score of PP100 score of 25.
2. Best new recreational vehicle: Kia Sorento with a PP100 score of 22.
3. Large recreational vehicle: Kia Sorento received a Silver award.
4. Most improved recreational vehicle: Kia Sportage received a Gold award with a PP100 score of 34, compared to a score of 55 the previous year.
5. Best Volume Passenger Brand: The Kia brand won a Gold award in this category with a PP100 score of 31.
Well done to Kia South Africa for the achievement. Ipsos is a company that plays a major role in quality standards and customer feedback in South Africa, so these awards are largely based on what the people have to say regarding owning vehicles from the brand. The people have clearly spoken.
Six interesting facts about the car from Back to the future.
1. The name of the car “DeLorean” is the last name of John DeLorean who owned the company that manufactured the car, DeLorean Motor Company.
2. Although DMC is an American company, the DeLorean DMC-12 was manufactured in Northern Ireland due to the fact that Northern Ireland Development Agency offered the company £100 Million toward the development of the car.
3. The DeLorean DMC-12 uses a 2.85-litre V6 engine by Peugeot-Renault-Volvo but it was originally intended to use a Wankel rotary motor.
4. All DeLorean DMC-12’s use a four wheel drive system and were said to handle very well.
5. The DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt whilst John DeLorean was charged with drug trafficking when the company was already experiencing financial troubles. Even though the charges were dropped, the scandal created bad press for the businessman and it was too late to revive the business’ reputation.
6. After the insolvency of the DeLorean Motor Company, there was an abundance of parts left over from the business, so a Texas-based company acquired the rights to the name DMC and all the parts. The new DMC now sells restored DeLorean DMC 12’s with original vin numbers on them. These cars are available on an order basis to clients.
The Volkswagen Polo sedan has been around for a while now, with its popular baby brother stealing all the lime light, it has been the “ugly duckling” of the range. Well the folks at VW have splashed some water on the face of the car and it looks…like a Jetta. This not a bad thing considering that the Jetta is not a bad looking car, neither is it impractical. The same goes for the Volkswagen Polo sedan, it offers great space for someone who wants a Polo but has many kids, or dogs, or anything that requires a large boot.
The good news is with this update, the Polo sedan now comes with a 3 year/ 45 000kms service plan mahala (free). Also if a diesel VW is your thing (touchy subject), the 1.6 litre TDI is no longer, it is replaced by a 1.5 TDI producing the same power of 77 kW.
Lexus South Africa have added a new model to the IS range, the IS 200t.
The new engine found in the Lexus is a 2.0-litre turbocharged one, producing 180 kW and 350 Nm. This engine is well welcomed considering that your only choice between it is a 3.5 litre V6 normally aspirated engine. A non-boosted 3.5 litre V6 may be quite exciting to drive for many but it’s a bit behind the times in this segment. Practically all the brands in this segment have gone the smaller boosted engine route and Lexus have followed suit.
The characteristics of the new IS 200t E and EX are surely going to change with the new engine, giving the car a more excitable persona. The IS 200t is equipped with an 8 Speed automatic gearbox, not the same ZF unit found in the ISF though. The new engine will bring economy benefits to the car too, Lexus claim a combined cycle of 7.5 litres/ 100km which is optimistically good.
This new engine in the IS is well matched to the likes of the BMW 330i, Jaguar’s 2.0-litre turbo in the XE and Mercedes Benz’s C300 when it comes to output. In terms of specification, Lexus has always thrown in a good amount of equipment as standard which are extras in its rivals. This includes electric seats, which can be heated and ventilated. PDC is also standard as well as a colour infotainment screen in the E model, the EX model adds SatNav and Reverse camera to the list.
Regarding consumer appeal, the IS is the most elusive in the group with the former brands being more popular. This is not a bad thing though because many people long for something a different, so maybe this new addition to Lexus South Africa’s range may be just what some need. The pricing for the new Lexus IS 200t E and EX is as follows.
The new BMW M2 is the successor of the legendary 1M Coupe launched a few years ago by BMW. This car has one aim, the aim to please. The 1M lived up to that aim by offering 250 kW version of the N54 Twin Turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six engine. The new M2 uses the Twin Scroll N55 engine that has been enhanced by M Gmbh to produce more power and torque.
The M2 has new design cues to make it stand out from its little brother the M235i. Large air intakes at the front, new front and rear bumpers, four exhaust pipes and M3/M4 wheels make the car have a stance that is more aggressive and intimidating than any other 2 Series. Inside the interior looks very similar to the M235i but with subtle changes that differentiate the car between the M235i and itself.
The M2 comes just in time to join the fight between the updated Mercedes A45, and Audi’s RS3. Even though the car is not a hatchback, the previous 1M was pitted against the RS3 and it was an interesting fight. The M2 brings an undeniable presence to the playing field, its RWD set up may make it the most fun out of the three. Let the games begin.
The new Peugeot 308 GTI was debuted at the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed and it looks fantastic. Large wheels, sharp lines and an aggressive stance make the vehicle stand out aesthetically. Looks can’t kill though as much as it seems like they can, so the new 308 GTI has to do more than looking good to be able to face up to its competitors. Peugeot promises that this car is not just for staring at, but rather they have labelled the car as “The ultimate hot hatch”. So what’s under the hood?
The 308 GTI will have two power packages to choose from, a 184 kW version and a 200 kW version, all from a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine which packs 330 Nm. Impressive. The former is capable of a 6.2 seconds 0 – 100 km/h time and the latter, a 6.0 second flat time. The car features lightweight construction methods, a limited slip differential as well as firmer and lower suspension. An upgraded braking system and “The Drivers Sport Package” further add to the thrill of the car. A sport button comes as part of the package which gives the car a more aggressive engine map and changes the colours on the dash from white to red. Oh yeah.
The car is styled with subtle changes, but in a way that makes you see that it is different from the normal 308. The large 19-inch wheels are a contributing factor that makes the car look full and muscular. Dual exhaust pipes on each side of the rear bumper also add to the 308 GTI’s sporty appeal. The car is really good looking, it’s not brash or in your face but rather it’s styled like a well-tailored suit, it fits just right.
Since the car features a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine (the most powerful in its segment), fuel economy is claimed at 6.0 litres/ 100km, which is a great achievement from the brand. All the best to the driver trying to achieve that figure as with all performance cars, great restraint is needed to get good economy.
We look forward to getting behind the wheel of the Peugeot 308 GTI because as it stands, it looks promising. Expect to see the car in South Africa mid-2016. It has some big names up against it, we hope it can hold its own because we all love a good underdog story.
The French are a nation known for style and elegance, something that is translated into their clothes and even their cars. Peugeot is an example of this, with designs that are always interesting, bold and different. These designs often times go one way or another, either terribly good or terribly bad. I’m glad to say though that the design found in the new version of the 208 is the former, it’s refreshingly different from all its competitors and as a result makes the car stand out. This is especially the case in the GT Line version of the 208, which features sporty little bits that make the car seem like it would be a bit of fun behind the wheel. Without looking at any figures, it’s safe to say that the outgoing 208 is a car that one doesn’t battle to see on the road, nor are the streets flooded with them. Like any French vehicle in South Africa, it is a car that will be generally bought by those who have a place in their hearts for French cars, most of which have a unique quirkiness to them that make us like them. So what is new in this updated version of the 208?
Exterior and Interior:
The exterior of the car has been changed, with new lights and new bumpers giving the car a new look, which is a good look. Daytime running lights are featured at the top of the headlights and chrome bits add a premium look to the front bumper. The rear looks almost identical to the previous model but slight bumper changes have been done at the vehicles backside too. Again, looks on the GT Line model are the ones that make you say “nice” whereas the Active model is the more plane Jane in appeal. Peugeot offers a selection of twelve different paintwork options on the car, which is a very extensive offer. A cool option that is part of that wide array of colours is the textured paint option which is a matte type of paintwork offered in silver of grey.
The interior is clean and modern with the Touchscreen infotainment unit being well placed for the driver and passenger to fiddle with. That was the idea behind the I-Cockpit design, that of being more driver orientated in terms of ergonomics. The car offers good space for those who will be either driving the car or being driven in it. Visually the car also seems larger than its competitors, although we left our tape measure at home so we couldn’t compare.
The 208’s engines have been updated. The car now features a 1.2 litre normally aspirated engine producing 60 kW and 118 Nm which is moderate but what is impressive is the fuel economy figure of 4.3 litres/100km, which is diesel territory. Of course, it being naturally aspirated, the 1.2 will not have the torque that many types of diesel have, if torque is what you’re looking for, then the engine in the GT Line is what you need. That engine has the same output, that of 1.2 litres but it has a small turbocharger which ups the power to 80 kW and 205 Nm, a significant jump in torque. That being said, both engines should do just fine for city and open road driving while giving you great fuel economy. To top it off, an automatic version is now available for those longing to give their left foot a break.
As mentioned before, the Peugeot 208 offers unique styling cues which are refreshing to look at, especially since many cars are starting to look somewhat similar. The GT Line is a real looker for those looking for something really stylish to drive. The engines are good at what they do and efficient at the same time, and the whole range is competitively priced compared to its rivals. So if you want something well sized and practical to drive that’s not like everybody else, you wouldn’t be making a bad choice if you got yourself a 208. Plus all Active and GT Line models come standard with a full maintenance plan for five years or 60 000kms.
Turning forty is big deal for many, it’s an interesting year because generally at forty years of age, many look back to see if they have done all that they strived to do in their lives. This is the case with BMW’s 3-Series. To begin with, one has to give credit where credit is due. The BMW 3-Series has for a very long time being the favourite of many South Africans in terms of the compact luxury sedan segment. This has been the case locally and to a large extent around the world. Now that forty years have passed, BMW have revitalised the range through a face-lifted version of the car. This update does not only affect the outward appearance of the new BMW 3-Series but the engines have gone under the knife too, and the results are very good.
In our previous article about the new BMW 3-Series, we discussed all the changes, you can read that article here. Now we want to discuss how those changes translate to the driving experience and if the update is something worth riding home about. First of all, let’s discuss aesthetics.
How does it look?
The face-lifted BMW 3-Series dons bright LED taillights and optional full LED head lights that sharpen the lines of the car very well. The new lights have the same impact that a bold frame has on an artwork, it makes the subject stand out and forces you to look. The revised bumpers add to the aesthetic appeal of the car too, giving the car a “fresh face” so to speak. Interior changes on the car are more subtle, with small trim changes added, but the cabin still retains its premium look and feel. Since the main focus on the updated BMW 3-Series was not the outside but rather under the bonnet, the biggest question we should ask ourselves is how the new car feels behind the wheel.
How does it drive?
The engines have all been reworked in this model, more power, more torque and different badges. As we mentioned in the previous article, the 316i, 328i and 335i are now models of the past. Welcome the 318i, 330i and 340i to the stable as their replacements with the 320i still remaining. On the diesel side, the 330d and the 320d badges remain too. We had the pleasure of sampling the top of the range 340i and the more humble 320i model, both of which were interesting cars to drive.
The 340i was fitted with the Sports Package, with all the extras you can think of. The best way to explain the power-train of the 340i fitted with the 8 Speed ZF Automatic (which is standard), is by likening it to double thick cream. You know the kind you get on desserts at very fancy places? The engine is a pleasure to drive on the road, it has a distinct smoothness to it coupled with boat loads of torque seamlessly distributed by the 8 gears onto the road.
What about the 320i?
The 320i on the other hand has a completely different feel to it. Since it’s the smaller 4 cylinder 2.0 litre turbocharged engine, it has a more youthful persona to it. You can grab it by the scruff of its neck and enjoy every bit of power it gives to you, whereas the 340i commands much more respect especially on the public roads we drove the cars on. Dynamically the 340i and 320i are very planted on the road, even at high speed. The setting you have the car in contributes greatly to the responsiveness, damping and steering feel of the car.
The Comfort setting is the one for everyday use, whereas Sport and Sport Plus are for those more rushed days and of course Eco mode is dedicated to making the car as efficient as possible. A very impressive point found in the revised version is how the damping on the car is never back-breaking, even in the “harshest” Sport mode. The steering feel of most modern cars is a topic that has led to many debates in the motoring world. Electric power steering has come a long way since it was first introduced to many cars a few years ago.
In the case of the BMW 3-Series, the weight of the steering in the car changes depending on the mode you’re in. More weight is added as well as more steering feel in the sportier modes, whereas the converse happens in the Eco and Comfort modes. Very enthusiastic drivers may long for the “good old days” of hydraulic steering, since that steering system provided more feedback to the driver. The same goes with manual gearboxes giving one the sense of being “one with the car”, but the reality is that future is here and the future likes automatics and electric power steering. That being said, what we have today still provides excitement on the road and comfort that we could have never experienced in the past.
The BMW 3-Series has matured with those that fell in love with it 40 years ago. The boy-racer mentality has been left behind for its less mature siblings, such as the 1 and 2 Series. This is a good thing considering that a new 3-Series will not cost you chump change, with a starting price R409 000 for the baby 318i and R656 000 for the 340i, any 3-Series client will expect a large measure of luxury and comfort. This is exactly what BMW gives those looking to buy in this segment. The majority of BMW 3-Series buyers are not going to drive these cars to their absolute limit on the road and BMW knows that. That is why the car’s set-up, that of being more comfort orientated makes perfect sense for the range considering the clientèle that will buy it.
A good 40 years indeed.
If the BMW 3-Series was a human being, it would surely have a smile on its face. It has accomplished a lot in forty years, selling over 14 million units since its humble days before features such as ConnectedDrive and Reverse camera were even thought of. The car has had good old days but it has better new days ahead of it too. The BMW 3-Series is the reason why we have such good cars from other brands in that segment, it has pioneered the way for many cars and even though the playing fields have levelled out in many ways, the badge is still part of the cream of the crop.
The A segment is an interesting one when it comes to the offering available. Brands such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Chevrolet, Citroen, Suzuki and more all offer great options in this segment. This particular segment is especially aimed for the “starter-uppers” in life, namely the youth who are buying, or being bought their first car. Interestingly, these cars have a large appeal for those living in large congested cities where size matters and economy more.
The new Toyota Aygo is a car that has been a popular choice amongst many motorists in this target market. With many units sold in South Africa, its successor had to maintain a certain appeal and from what we’ve seen in the new Aygo, the new version will not disappoint its buyers. The youth is a visual generation which wants something visually striking and bold. The new Toyota Aygo gives that market what it wants with its distinctive “X” design, which is prominent in the front grille of the car as well as the rear. The car utilises the popular two tone colour design element, which allows the client to either have a black roof or a silver depending on the model they choose. Motorists have a choice of three models, the standard Aygo 1.0 X, the X Play Black and the X Play Silver.
Engines and Features:
All models use a 1.0 litre 3 cylinder VVTI engine producing 51 kW and 95 Nm. Small cars like these have the advantage of weighing very little, so a small normally aspirated engine such as the one in the Aygo still gives the car enough poke to get around. One large benefit of such a small engine is the decreased fuel economy that comes with it, something the new Toyota Aygo enjoys with a claimed fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km in the combined cycle. The new Aygo features a modern and clean interior with a circular speedometer and a shift light to remind you to drive efficiently. The car also has as standard a touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary inputs, something young people can’t do without nowadays. The new car is also longer, so maybe now you can fit that extra tall friend that you always had to leave behind on nights out.
Safety and Service:
The car is fitted with front and side airbags, ABS braking systems and Brake Assist as standard on the car. A 3 year/ 100 000 km warranty is also included. A 3 year/ 45 000 km service plan is optional but if a client purchases one of the models before 2016, the service plan is added at no charge.
The new Toyota Aygo seems to tick all the boxes for its target market in terms of features, design, convenience and economy. The Aygo’s X design is very unisex, which means that the new car can appeal to both young women and men. The fact that the car has a Toyota badge on it also acts as a huge selling point since South Africans have been won over by the brand for many years now. The car will surely be received well in the concrete jungle.