Month: November 2016

Mercedes GLC Coupe – The Sportier GLC.

Mercedes are pumping out cars like hot cakes at the moment, and I must admit, its hard to keep up. The latest German machine to hit the shelves in the Mercedes GLC Coupe.

By the sounds of it, Mercedes wanted to bring more of a sports coupe element to the mid-sized Suv, The GLC Coupe will feature none optional sports suspension, in the form of DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL which features classic steel springs, or the AIR BODY CONTROL, which features multi-chamber air suspension. Both providing electronically controlled characteristics, for example, In Sports + mode, the vehicle is lowered by 15mm to give a “sports car” feel.  A permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard along with Mercedes 9 Speed automatic transmission.

The design is similar to the standard GLC, with headlights that resemble the shape and style found on the latest C and E class vehicles. The GLC Coupe is also 8cm longer and 4cm lower, but features mainly the same design features.

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Standard to all GLC Coupe models is 18”wheels, chrome exterior pack, EASY-PACK tailgate, 20 CD multimedia system ( strange one, who uses CD’s anymore?) keyless-go and man-made leather interior. Further to this, Mercedes include a lot of their assistance systems, such as collision prevention and crosswind assist.

Diesel Variants : The Mercedes GLC Coupe will feature six variants, with three diesel engines included. The range will start with the GLC 220 d Coupe, producing 125Kw and 400Nm of torque, with a price of R735 900. From here we go to the GLC 250 d – 150kw and 500Nm for a price of R754 900. Finalising things in the diesel range is the GLC 350 d with 190kw and a hefty 620Nm. The price is also hefty to at R894 900.

Petrol Variants: The GLC 250 will be the baseline petrol model with 155Kw and 350Nm, rising to the GLC 300 with 180kw and 370Nm, priced R739 900 and R794 900 respectively. The final petrol model will come in the form of a Mercedes-AMG  GLC 43, 270Kw on tap with 520Nm to back it up.

As always, when we get our hands on one, we will provide a full, driven review in our Motorist Digital Magazine.16c106_038_1800x1800

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kia Sportage 2.4 SX

In life, there tend to be good things and bad things. A Thai massage is a good thing. 2007 Britney was not a good thing. It goes even further, though, because stemming from this, you get poor imitations of both the good and the bad. Your decrepit great  aunt mangling her arthritic hands into your back is a poor imitation of a Thai massage and, arguably, Miley’s switch from Albany best of both to the short haired wench straddling wrecking ball she is today is a poor imitation of 2007 Ms Spears.

Years ago, before any of us at TheMotorist roamed the earth, cars were pretty straight forward. You could either have a comfy one, a sporty one or an American one (which was none of those things, just plastic) and that was that. Fast forward to modern times where shoes are called ‘Yeezy’s” and Rihanna feels that an assortment of burps constitute lyrics, and we are just spoilt for choice! Almost every major economy produces a vehicle, and you needn’t choose between comfy and sporty because there are these new things they make called crossovers, the purpose of which is to just be as many things as possible, apart from American, while still getting you from A to B with an odd school-run in between. Think of it like this – Air Maxes look like sporting shoes, but were never intended for anything more sporting than a brisk amble and in the same vain, a crossover looks like a 4X4 but can only really negotiate Sandton City and Saxonwold speed-humps.

Up until recently, KIA’s attempt at the Crossover, the Sportage, was a bit of a Miley. It didn’t look as nice as the Japanese or European offerings and had the sexual appeal of your arthritic great  aunt, and while you could get them with a V6 once upon a time, Air-Maxes doth not a sexy geriatric make…

Enter Peter Schreyer – not familiar? His HB pencil can be thanked for a few Volkswagens and Audis, including the original TT and since his arrival at KIA in 2007, they have been making some snazzy looking cars. Couple this with an engineering department who has finally woken up and we arrive at the new KIA Sportage, and it’s lovely.

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Some say it looks a bit like a Porsche Cayenne but there’s nothing wrong with that and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a nicer crossover to sit in. A comfortable but not wallowy ride coupled to an assortment of engines, ranging from asthmatic to pokey and staid to state-of –the –art, there’s a Sportage for everyone. The model we had on the test was the 2.4 SX AWD AT offering a wholesome 135kW and 237Nm of torque. Standard spec is impressive with rear PDC, Bluetooth connectivity, and auto-headlights making notable appearances. Our well-specced SX model came with nice-to-haves, too, such as power-folding side mirrors and a panoramic sunroof large enough to tan under.

Without sounding ridiculous, though, the action of the gear selector imparted a premium feel, something which many of the Sportage’s competitors could learn from and its ride was neither crashy nor nauseatingly soft. The same can be said for the rest of the vehicle which, bar its plastic door handles, is very rapidly approaching the realm of the premium brands.

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To be concise – for the second time in a row now, the KIA Sportage is no longer an imitation of a good thing, but rather an actual good thing and the new one just cements this sentiment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the German three see some serious competition from the Korean two within the next five years.
Ooh, controversy.

Pricing:

2.0 Ignite – R369 995
2.0CRDi EX – R487 995
2.4GDI SX AWD – R557 995
2.0CRDi SX AWD – R567 995
1.6T GT-Line AWD – R599 995
Warranty: 5-years/unlimited km
Service plan: 5-years/ 90 000 km

Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet : Only 300 available.

A Mercedes S-Class is a car limited to a minority of people. It’ one of the most comfortable and luxurious vehicles you can buy, with technology that’s streets ahead. If you have ever owned, driven or being a passenger in one of these cars, you will know what I’m talking about. As you go up in the range and into the AMG Class this luxury increases, along with horsepower and torque.

Ever since Maybach announced that they are back in the game, we have expected very special things, and this is one of them, limited to a minority of people who own an S-Class. Yes, the brand new Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet is available to just 300 humans, as that is the number of models being built.  It’s worth mentioning the Mercedes-Maybach S650 will retail at around 300,000 euros or R4.5 Million.

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What is so special about it?  Firstly the Mercedes-Maybach features its pinnacle engine, a V12 with a twin turbo setup and a displacement of 5980 cc – 6 litres. ( in case you didn’t know) This produces 463kw and a staggering 1000Nm of torque at 2300rpm! Mercedes-Maybach has probably limited the torque as well. As was the case with the SL65 Black. In fairness, though, you can get this engine in a Mercedes-AMG s65.

The exterior features some design changes to identify this as a Maybach, with the main changes coming in the form of a new front bumper, chrome highlights around the vehicle, including the Maybach badge and a set of unique forged Maybach wheels. The Interior is an even higher standard, as expected, with features like diamond quilting, nut brown magnolia and the fact that the trim elements are commissioned individually based on colour and grain. Further to this, every optional extra available on the standard S-Class Cab is a standard feature on this vehicle.

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The small things : Also included in your many Rands is an exclusive travel luggage set, this set is made out of the original leather and coordinated with the interior of the vehicle. A nice touch. Along with this, the owner will also receive a high-quality car cover, in the same colour as the soft top roof of his vehicle.

Mercedes – Maybach says that they”stand for the ultimate in exclusivity and individuality for status-orientated customers”. This is certainly the case with this vehicle, the attention to detail and quality is above and beyond.  For me, even though this vehicle is out of reach for almost everyone, it is nice to see beautiful cars like this being made, stretching the boundaries of luxury and tech. When you look at the images, this car screams class, there are many small changes which make the Mercedes-Maybach stand out, but not over the top. So, Who do I call to place my order?

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Good Made Better: Audi’s New A3 Range Updated

Good made better: Audi’s new A3 range updated.

If you stood next to the first generation Audi A3, you would be shocked to know that it was introduced to the market nearly twenty years ago. Yes, it’s been almost two decades, and it’s been an excellent run for the brand. Locally, a total 51 400 units have seen themselves into the homes of new owners. The car has also grown from the simple days of the 90’s to a very refined product. The A3’s refinement has been its major selling point for years now. With competitor brands marketing a more sporty persona and others selling a more “people’s car”, the Audi has always retained a certain level of class. That class though has often made the brand seem a bit blander compared to similar products. For those who have driven Audi’s though, they tend to stick with the brand for a very long time. The question is why?

We had the opportunity to answer that question for ourselves when we were reacquainted with the latest iteration of the A3 hatchback and sedan. Subtle changes make for a more streamlined look,  but the same shape remains. New front headlights and taillights make the car look modern, and its refreshed looks are welcome as this segment is very competitive.

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Internal changes: The most notable changes in the new A3 range are the engines which have been overhauled to produce more power and be more fuel efficient. Naturally, petrol-heads will gravitate toward the 228kW Audi S3 but more on that later in another article. What interested us most was the entry model to the range, which now has a 1.0 TFSI three-cylinder engine powering it. With 85kW and 200Nm, the baby A3 offers enough torque to drive happily. For any city dweller, this configuration makes the world of sense.

On the other hand, if you’re worried that the 1.0 litre is too small you can have the 1.4 TFSI with features 110kW and 250Nm. Again if you feel that configuration is too little power, you can then have the 2.0 TFSI which shares the same power output of the new A4 at 140kW and 320Nm. A personal favourite of ours was the 2.0 TDI variant which only has 103kW but features 340Nm; that surges you wherever you need to go. It also only consumes 4.5 litres/ 100km on average while doing so.

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Comfort throughout: Whatever A3 hatchback, Sportback or sedan you choose, you’ll be happy to know that the entire range feels as solid as Audi’s reputation. There’s a distinct level of silence that you experience while driving the new A3 and it creates a rather soothing feeling. The standard dynamic suspension does well to soak up bumps while not also feeling to “couchy” on the road. The interior may not be the most inspiring to sit in, but it cannot be faulted in terms of quality.

There is a wide array of options to choose from, but many features come as standard on each model.  Things such as Xenon headlights, cruise control and Audi’s MMI plus system are features that you don’t have to pay for.  The most notable new feature in the updated A3 range is the option of Virtual Cockpit, something we have all loved to use in the A4 and Q7. This digital dashboard is probably the most intuitive system out there and it’s a “must have”  for any tech-loving driver. If you want to make your Audi A3 more visually appealing too, you’ll be happy to know that you can still specify your car with the S-Line package which gives it a more aggressive look and some larger wheels.

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To answer why many Audi drivers remain loyal to the brand. We personally believe that it’s about assurance. Yes, excitement is great and it always nice to drive something that sets your hair on fire. The reality though is that our day to day lives are not exciting unless you’re a race car driver. What Audi offers then is the option of excitement in cars like the S3 and RS3, but for the everyday person the updated A3 is a car you would love to wake up to every day and live your life.

 

 

Hyundai Increase Tucson Range with Diesel Models

The Hyundai Tucson has proven to be a very popular car in 2016 and was also recently named a finalist for the SGMJ Car Of The Year 2017. The Tucson may now appeal to an even broader market as Hyundai have introduced a further two models in the Tucson range.

The first of these new diesel models is the Tucson 1.7 executive turbodiesel producing 85kw and 280Nm of torque, which will peak between 1250 – 2750rpm. The 1.7 Executive is fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox and will have a starting price of R439,000.

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The second model is the Tucson R2.0 Elite, featuring a 2L turbodiesel producing 130kw and 400Nm of torque, peaking low in the rev range between 1750-2750rpm.  This model will feature all the standard options which are supplied with the Elite petrol variants, including 18″ alloy wheels. The R2.0 Elite model will feature a six-speed automatic gearbox and will start at R519,000.

Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000 km manufacturer’s warranty, enhanced by the additional new groundbreaking 7-years/200 000 km drivetrain warranty, comes standard with the all-new Hyundai Tucson package, as well as roadside assistance for 5-years or 150 000 km.

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MAXterclass In The Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian GP has always provided a spicy race, so why would the 2016 Grand Prix in Sao Paulo be any different?

The Mercedes pair headed into this race knowing that Nico Rosberg could finish second at this event and in the final event at Abu Dhabi, and still win the world championship. All that Lewis could do is win, and hope for the best. Maybe a Red Bull thrown into the mix would help. It would certainly give the last race a bit more energy.

Because I can be rather stupid at times, I messed up the race start time and before I realised, the race was red flagged at 21 laps, which is when I started watching.  As always, I blamed the wife, a massive Rosberg fan. What I can tell you is that in the first period of racing, Raikkonen spun and ended his race, Along with his Ferrari teammate who luckily avoided the wall, Ricciardo was handed a 5-second penalty and a few others fell victim to the extremely wet racing conditions.   After a red flag, the race started again behind the safety car for a number of laps before it was red flagged, yet again. This was displeasing to not only a number of drivers, but also to the booing grandstands.

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Finally, the race was underway. Hamilton burst away from the start and being such a Ninja when it comes to wet racing, had no issues from the challengers behind. To the delight of Hamilton fans, young Max Verstappen passed Rosberg who seemed to be struggling in the rain, or maybe he was just playing it safe. Max then had a scary moment as he dropped his Redbull on the white line, sending the vehicle into a 90-degree slide, only for him to hold it, avoid the barrier and carry on in second place.Brilliant.  His second place didn’t last long though as Redbull pitted both their drivers onto Intermediate tyres, a brave move which resulted in1 fast lap, more rain, and a legend by the name of Felipa Massa hitting the wall and blocking the pit entrance, him also on the intermediate tyres.

This was Massa’s last ever home race and as the safety car removed the damage, Massa was given a Guard of honour by the Mercedes and Ferrari team as he walked down the pitlane, greeted halfway by his wife and young son resulted in a lot of tears. A touching moment amongst fierce competition.

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The MAXterclass

The safety car unified Hamilton’s advantage and allowed Ricciardo and Max to get back onto full wets, putting them both near the back of the grid, with 10 laps remaining.  This is when the magic happened. Verstappen caught his team mate with tremendous speed and passed him around the outside as he struggled to overtake the vehicle in front. But that was not an issue for Max, as he quickly discarded of him also. Max continued to shed up the track and fellow drivers with some wonderful outside overtaking moves using lines reminiscent of Karting in the wet. He soon approached his arch nemesis Vettel and after gaining the inside line, passing him Also. As always, Vettel was unhappy and claimed he was forced off the track, boohoo. Time was ticking as Max continued to pass with sublime driving. With 3 laps remaining, Max was hunting down Perez in 3rd place, and although Perez fought hard, there was nothing stopping the young man who has really spiced up F1 this season.

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The Red Bull has always been a fantastic car in the wet, but this was a driving masterclass by Verstappen, something which could not be replicated by his teammate. Many are calling it one of the best drives ever in Formula 1. Hamilton finished the race in 1st, winning by 11 seconds from Nico Rosberg.

Conclusion

Hamilton has brought this championship down to the wire, both drivers have now won 9 races each, with the mechanical failure to Lewis being his downfall this season. The last race in two weeks is at THE Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton wins there, he will need Rosberg to finish 4th or lower, a massive ask.  The Brazil GP was defiantly Hamilton’s chance to gain a little more advantage, and with the Redbulls speed and Nicos slide, it nearly happened. If Rosberg wins the championship, I will be happy for him, he probably deserves one after trailing to Lewis his whole career. The fact remains, though, If Hamilton did not have the engine failure after leading the Malaysian GP with 15 laps to go, he would be in the driving seat. Rosberg has been graced with 100% reliability this season, which looks like it could decide the championship, for me, that’s not how it should go.

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Images Courtesy of F1.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our New Mobile Application & A Free Copy of Edition 06.

There has been much happening in TheMotorist offices recently, our goal is to provide our readers and viewers with great motoring content which can be accessed and viewed easily.  In helping us to do this, we have released our Motorist mobile application! This is exciting times and will allow our readers to get The Motorist digital magazine directly on their mobile device, in an easy to read format.

To celebrate this, we are giving away our latest edition 06 magazine for free, for a limited time. Our featured article this month involves a crazy trip with Isuzu through Namibia, so why not give it a read. Head over to this link ( Get your issue here)  and fill in the details, we will send you over an email with everything you need.

Have an awesome weekend Motorists!

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Our own award winning motor Journalist!

The Steve Dlamini award was created in  memory of the man himself after the young motoring editor died in 2008 in a motorcycle accident. The award, sponsored by Bridgestone SA represents excellence in the motor journalism field and is awarded to young, upcoming motor journalists who have stood out over the past year.

This year, it was our very own Francisco Nwamba, who deservingly won this award. Francisco has been the face of The Motorist from day one and has played a major role in putting us on the map. So, on behalf of the Motorist team, we congratulate our main man Francisco! A big thank you also goes out to those who have followed and supported us up until now.

If you would like to congratulate Francisco yourself, you can hit him up on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/francisco.nwamba?fref=ts14947881_10154511946956071_2273683550005722735_n

Opel Astra Sport – The Safe Man’s Car.

 

I have been driving the Opel Astra for around a week now and have no significant problems with it, its comfortable, somewhat stylish and has lots of features and tech; It even won car of the year.

The Opel Astra Sport features a 1.4 Turbo motor producing 110kw, and once again, it’s a good engine, pretty nippy and 3rd gear especially pulls nicely.  The rear of this vehicle has heated seats for passengers and the cabin is spacious, likewise the boot. The exterior styling has received mixed reviews from the people I have spoken to; it looks better in some colors than others. But once again, it boasts a modern design with sharp edges and lines which seem like the going look nowadays.

A feature I liked on the Astra is the entertainment system,it’s easy to use and even when I’m listening to music from my iPhone, I can change to a radio station by hitting the pre-stored stations which show at the bottom of the screen. Easy and straightforward.

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So, in reality, it’s an excellent vehicle. But, my conclusion is that this is a safe man’s car. A car for people who don’t have any interest in cars, What do I mean? Well, I’m sure you have heard the term “play it safe” and that is exactly what this car feels like. It doesn’t inspire me, it doesn’t have a spark, I wouldn’t say its boring, but its pretty close.

For me, a vehicle needs to have a personality; there must be something about a car which makes you enjoy driving it. It might not be the comfiest car to drive or the car with the most tech, but it has something that you enjoy or connect with, then it doesn’t matter. For me, the Astra lacks that vital feeling, that character.

For others, a car is just a tool to get from A to B, and if you’re a person who looks at it from that perspective, then the Astra is a proven family hatch, it’s one of the best cars you can buy in its class, if not on the road. Your journey will be easier, safer and much more connected in an Astra, and that is a fact, It just depends if you are a car person or not.

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Suzuki Baleno Launch

Suzuki launched its newest model last week, the Baleno. Believe it or not, there are two previous versions of this car that I am too young to remember, so this makes it Baleno number 3.

After a small 4 hour delay in Durban airport, we arrived in PE at 11 pm; this is when I first set my eyes on the Baleno, under the orange evening lights I made out the front end of Suzuki’s new hatch, Interesting, I thought. The next day I grabbed a proper look at the new Baleno, the design is of this vehicle is what Suzuki call ” Optical Flow,” it’s different and I liked the front end design of this car, the rear end not so much. I sometimes feel Suzuki are slightly missing the mark with vehicle design, the Swift Sport has always looked great and is the best looking car Suzuki make, the new Vitara Is also a looker, but some of the other Suzuki models lack in the looks department.

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The Baleno is not replacing the Swift; rather it gives another option to customers who find the rear passenger and boot areas in the Swift not spacious enough. It’s a bigger car which can be seen visibility from the inside and out when compared to a Suzuki Swift. Intriguingly,though, it’s also 110kg lighter. The Baleno will feature the 1.4 67kw engine found in other model variants and will come as GL and GLX models, with the option of a 4-speed auto in the GLX.

The GLX features exterior changes over the GL such as HID projector headlights and daytime running lights, chrome accents all around, front fog lamps, indicator signals in the mirrors, a rear spoiler and privacy glass for the rear windows.  The GLX also features 16-inch alloy wheels and rear disc brakes, with the GL only featuring rear drums.  The main interior changes with the GLX is the 6-inch color screen, and while the instrument cluster remains the same, Suzuki has added another color display, this time only 4-inches, which shows various driving data.  Keyless go is also a feature on the GLX,  along with fully automatic aircon and rear parking sensors. Safety wise, the GLX features six airbags to the GL’s mere two.

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Suzuki has priced this car competitively with the Baleno starting at R199,990 for the GL, R229,000 for the GLX and R244,900 for the GLX Auto. The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan.

I enjoyed the drive in this car, and there are some features I liked, and some that I didn’t like so much, which I will discuss in my in-depth driving review in edition 07 of the TheMotorist digital mag. If you wish, you can subscribe here: TheMotorist Digital Magazine.