Month: February 2019

BMW X3M & X4M – They’ve Arrived.

BMW X3M & X4M South Africa

BMW X3M & X4M

After years of having to make do with warm versions of X3’s instead of a full-blown M Car, the BMW X3M andf X4M are finally here!

BMW X4M South Africa

The X4’s looks will always be polarizing, but one thing that everyone can agree on is that it’s hardly a sedate-looking thing. The X3M is handsome and well-proportioned and features all of the M goodies that you’d expect to find on a M-fettled version of the X3.

BMW X3M South Africa

Initially, both are being launched in Competition guise, something which makes marketing sense more than common sense, but what that means is that would-be buyers are going to have to make do with the full-blown 375 kW until the lesser, non-Competition cars make their appearance featuring 353 kW.

The source of all of this power is a newly-developed in-line six-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine. A peak torque figure of 600 Nm is available from just 2 600 RPM with maximum power generated at 6 250 RPM. The redline is at 7 200 RPM. The motor also features a forged crankshaft capable of withstanding extremely high torque levels. 0-100 km/h is done in just 4.1 seconds for the Competition and 4.2 seconds for the standard vehicle and top speeds of 285 km/h for the Competition and 280 km/h for the standard X3/X4 M.

BMW X3M Interior

The cylinder head core of the engine is manufactured using 3D printing, a process which allows the core to be much lighter while allowing coolant ducts to be routed in such a way so as to optimize temperature management. Again, focusing on temperature management, the indirect intercooler forms part of a low-temperature circuit, along with upgraded compressors and an electronically controlled, servo-actuated wastegate. The turbochargers feed compressed air into cylinders 1, 3, 4 and 6 and are both monoscroll units.

BMW X4M Rear

The engine features a central radiator, as well as another two radiators positioned either side of that. An additional engine oil cooler, as well as a transmission oil cooler also do duty in the advanced powerplant with elements such as oil supply being optimized for high-performance driving. As such, the weigh-minimised oil sumo features two chambers and an integrated suction channel. This ensures that the engine is sufficiently lubricated, regardless of the lateral forces experienced during enthusiastic/track driving.

BMW X4M Interior

Of course, an active-type sports exhaust features and also plays its part in reducing emissions. Power is fed to BMW’s M xDrive system which we first saw in the F90 M5, through an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission with Drivelogic and three shift modes.

BMW M Adaptive damping features as standard on both Competition and non-competition models which will allow for that dual-character nature BMW M Cars have come to represent.

BMW X3M & X4M in South Africa

The BMW X3/X4 M Competition will both arrive within the fourth quarter of 2019 with non-Competition models to follow at a later date. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.

Watch our review videos on our YouTube channel.

Meet the 2019 Audi TT RS

2019 Audi TT RS

The Audi TT RS was one of my favourite vehicles of 2018. A statement I didn’t think I’d be typing before I’d got behind the wheel. I mean, It’s just a fast Audi TT, right?

Maybe, but still. We drive many cars that can reach 100km/h as fast as some supercars, also cars that have grippy, unbelievable chassis’. There’s also some that have wonderfully focused driving positions and cockpits, as well as the ones that produce many many kW’s and make fantastic sounds. However, the TT RS covers all of these points pretty well, summed up with 1-2-4-5-3.  Yes, the quickly becoming iconic 5-cylinder 2.5 TFSI motor.

So, then, you can imagine how excited we were when we heard that a “ new” 2019 Audi TT RS model has been released. Sadly, The biggest changes to the 2019 model are simply cosmetic, but then again, why fix was isn’t broken.

While the changes aren’t huge, they do make a difference. From the front, you’ll notice wider air intakes either side which are integrated into a new front spoiler which rounds up at the sides. You’ll also notice vertical strips on the insides of each air vent, on the previous model, these were situated on the outside. The vents are bigger and wider, giving a more aggressive and wide stance, and I also like how these vents run almost to the end of the car with the bolstered edges running into the wheel arches.

Here’s a comparison image between the new and previous model.

Audi TT RS

LED Headlights are standard on the 2019 Audi TT RS, with matrix LED units available as an option. If you fancy, Matix OLED reversing lights are also an option, which are, well, better.  Apparently, they also give a great light show with the ignition turned on as well.

Talking about the rear, there have been changes here as well. A newly designed rear wing catches the eye, it’s more prominent and features side winglets. On top of this, there’s a new diffuser with vertical design elements on either side, finished off by the typically large, oval exhausts.

Included in the eight colour choices are Pulse orange and Turbo blue, which join the RS-Specific Kyalami green as new options. Performance from the 2019 Audi TT RS remains the same, with 294kW’s and 480Nm with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds. We look forward to seeing the new model sometime later in the year!

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography

Even Stevie Wonder can see that the Range Rover Velar is an exceptionally good looking vehicle, so much so, in fact, that it was the World Car Design 2018 winner. There’s been an engine for most sorts of people, too, from a flaccid and frugal 2.0-litre turbodiesel to the throaty and howling supercharged V6 that we are all rather fond of.

The question that has been on the tip of many a petrosexual’s tongue, however, has something to do with JLR’s rip-snorting 5.0-litre supercharged V8…

Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations is clearly patched into Siri and Google’s ever prickly-eared spyware – the covers have just been pulled off the (long name incoming) Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition.

There really isn’t much to say here, other than that it’ll only be available to purchase for a year. It features uprated brakes and suspension, a transmission tunnel undertray, and a strengthened transfer box in order to deal with the lovely 5.0-litre Supercharged V8’s 405 kW and 680 N.m of torque. Speaking of the transfer case, it’s able to send 100% of drive to the rear-wheels, interesting… The Velar SVAutobiography is capable of hurtling to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and will tap out at just under 280 km/h.

Aside from looking at the badges, you’ll be able to differentiate between the SVAutobigraphy and other Velars by small details such as the integrated quad-exhaust tips, redesigned bumpers, red brake calipers and different wheel options. It’ll also sound rather different thanks to its engine, obviously, and the SV Variable Active exhaust which is 7.1 Kg lighter than that of the standard Velar.

All models feature a contrast Narvik Black roof as standard with the colour palette for the SVAutobiography featuring Firenze Red, Santorini Black, Corris Grey, Fuji White, Indus Silver and, by special order, Satin Byron Blue, a sort of fancy satin metallic colour which is unique to the Velar SVAutobiography.

Land Rover claim a range of 483 km from the 82-litre fuel tank which isn’t particularly good as far as manufacturer claims go, but if that really concerns you, then you should probably consider one of the diesel variants.

The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition Pricing in South Africa

The Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography should arrive in South Africa during the second half of 2019 with pricing starting from R1 714 000.

228kW Golf R now available in South Africa

Ok’salayo, new Golf R has more PAH!

If you drive a first generation Volkswagen Golf 7 R, by now you should be over the fact that your colleague that drives a 7.5 R has nicer looking lights and slightly different bumpers. That colleague also has slightly more power, 15kW to be exact. That colleague probably rubs it in your face, reminding you that they drive a facelift and you drive an old car.

What comes around goes around.

If you’ve had to endure the smugness of a Golf 7.5 R driver, you’ll be happy to know that a new, more powerful update has been made to the car. Now, Golf 7.5 owners will have to deal with having the “slower” old car, as their colleagues drive the “new” 228kW version. A further 15kW has been added on top of the 213kW you got before.

Yes, finally VW has given us a Golf R that produces the same power as our friends overseas. For a long time we’ve had detuned versions of the Golf R, due to our apparent low fuel quality. As journalists, we always questioned this because the Audi S3 which is the same car, produced “full” power in SA. Anyways, that’s an argument for another day.

For now, all we know is that the 228kW Golf R will differentiate itself with black badges and a new titanium exhaust system, also in black. Yum. The Golf R also come standard with Active Info Display – meaning you have a digital dashboard. Overall, on the outside the Golf R doesn’t look much different from the current model, so 7.5 owners won’t have too much to worry about. But we all know how it goes, a 228kW Golf R driver will stay say ok’salayo (but still).

 228kW Golf R Pricing in South Africa

2.0 TSI R 228kW DSG                                            R676 000

The Golf R comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan,
3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service interval is 15 000km.

Driving Test Amendments South Africa

Proposed amendments to the Driving Test in South Africa

To anybody that has spent a moment behind the wheel of a vehicle in South Africa, it is alarmingly clear that there are a number of drivers on our roads who really shouldn’t be…

While that in itself is an article for another day, it is rather clear that the methods by which drivers are tested in South Africa are very out of date. The much-maligned K53 driving test is very similar to the system used in Britain in the 1980’s, so it goes without saying that our system needs an extensive revamp.

The Proposed Changes

The Road Traffic Management Corporation believes that it can make a difference to the increasing road-deaths on South African roads, with road accidents this festive season claiming over 1 600 lives, nearly 100 up from the previous festive season.

  • Upon renewing a license every 5 years, drivers will have to retake their driving test.
  • Road trips of more than 150 km will not be permitted for newly licensed drivers.
  • For the first 6 months, it will be mandatory for newly-licensed drivers to be accompanied by an experienced driver.
  • Truck, bus and taxi drivers will need to undergo additional testing.
  • In order to apply for a heavy-truck license, a driver must also possess a car license.

The Issues

On paper, much of this seems like a good idea, but the efficiency of the licensing department as it stands is, well, questionable. Factor in all of the additional tests that will need to be done once the 5-year retest is implemented and you have a recipe for disaster…

It is also a common occurrence for learner drivers, for whom it is mandatory to have a licensed driver in the car already, to drive around on their lonesome. If the police force struggles to enforce this as it is, it’s unlikely that they will be able to enforce laws such as not driving further than 150 km and having a licensed driver in the car with you for the first six months…

There’s no doubt that our road rules and regulations are in serious need of a revamp, what is finalized and how it is implemented will be tantamount to actually decreasing road deaths.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The concept of a performance SUV is, in itself, a rather absurd one. Who would have thought that a vehicle designed predominantly for going off-road, in luxury, would prove to be such a great basis for a performance vehicle. The things sell like hotcakes and nowadays, if you make cars and you haven’t a fast SUV in your arsenal, then you’re just square.

2018 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Jeep’s Grand Cherokee was one of the originals and the much loved American automaker has now made a habit of throwing far too much power at the Grand Cherokee, resulting in a true automotive masterpiece each and every time.

Previously the Grand Cherokee SRT-8, the newly named Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the newest monster to join the likes of the BMW X5 M, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S e-Hybrid and Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S.

The Powerplant

In true ‘murcan fashion, however, hairdryer-like turbochargers have made way for one humongous supercharger. How big you might ask? Well, each revolution of the twin-screw supercharger moves nearly 2.4-litres of air. Yes, that’s more than the cubic capacity of a Golf GTI’s motor… This is then mated to a meaty 6.2-litre V8, culminating in a whopping 522 kW and 875 N.m of torque, pushed through a strengthened 8-speed TorquFlite automatic gearbox with adaptive modes.

The engine itself features water jackets between the cylinders for optimal cooling, a forged steel crankshaft and a crankshaft damper which has been burst tested to 13 000 rpm. As you can imagine, the Trackhawk’s acceleration is blistering with 0-100 km/h taking just 3.5 seconds.

Straight line speed is great, and all, and one can only imagine what a dream it’ll be towing a caravan with the Trackhawk, but serious driver’s demand a little talent in the corners now, too.

2018 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

With a strengthened rear driveshaft, stronger new axle and a revised differential, as well as short and long arm independent front suspension with coil springs all round, Bilstein adaptive damping suspension and multi-link rear suspension, the Trackhawk really can corner so make sure all goods are secured in the caravan!

As far as the interior is concerned, one can expect niceties such as Active Noise Cancellation, a leather stitched instrument panel and a standard premium metal package, featuring real metal interior elements.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Pricing in South Africa

Fuel consumption is irrelevant and the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will be available in South Africa from the first quarter of 2019 at a price of R2.2 million.