Month: Aug 2020

2021 Porsche Panamera Range

Almost 11-years after its initial introduction, the Porsche Panamera in its latest form, has to compete with some serious contenders as the ultimate four-seater grand coupe. With the launch of the Taycan EV, the new Panamera gains the latest in tech and performance- see our Taycan review here –

What’s new?

The 2021 model gains slight tweaks to the look of the vehicle with some slightly larger air intakes and newly revised front and rear lights with LED matrix lighting at the front and signature full length LED light bar at the rear. Three new 20 and 21-inch lightweight alloy wheels are available, in addition to the new spec’able colour options.

Internally the range benefits from the updated version of Porsche’s Communication Management (PCM) touch screen command centre, Advanced Cockpit control concept with a heads-up display and the new generation steering wheel lifted from the 911. The PCM unit has been updated to feature the latest in connectivity and has better Online Voice control, Wireless Carplay and AndriodAuto and Risk Radar sign recognition systems.

2021 Porsche Panamera Saftey and Spec 

The updated range now features the latest in Porsche active safety systems including the full range of Lane Keep Assists, InnoDrive adaptive cruise control, with automated braking and acceleration capability, Night Vision Assist, Park Assist and Surround-view 360-degree camera.

2021 Porsche Panamera Drivetrains

The new range is powered by either a 2.9Litre Twin-turbo V6, in the Panamera and Panamera 4 producing 243Kw and 450Nm, capable of a 5.6 and 5.3second acceleration times relatively, with a 268Km/h top speed.
The 4S E Hybrid sees the 2.9litre V6 married to a 17.9kWh battery system that boosts power to 412Kw and 750Nm and will dispatch of the 0-100 sprint in 3.1 Seconds and will top out at 297Km/h.

The Panamera GTS features a V8 Biturbo motor with 353 kW and 620 Nm, which is 15 kW more than the predecessor, and interestingly less than the hybrid and with the 3.9second 0-100 and 299Km/h top speed will be an exciting alternative to the E hybrid as the traditional performance offering.
The range-topping Turbo S will feature the full-fat version of the same V8, this time producing 463kW and 820Nm. The Turbo S will match the E Hyrbid to 0-100 but top out at 315Km/h.

2021 Porsche Panamera in South Africa

With the launch, local specification or announcement unknow at this stage it’s likely the new Panamera will arrive next year, given the German launch in October of 2020. We look forward to sampling the Panamera locally.

A Late Night Snack Run to Remember: Porsche Cayman GT4

Porsche 718 GT4

Its 20:03, the little guy is being put to bed by his Mom, and I’m on my way out to our local garage for sweets, chocolate, and emergency ice creams. The fate of our Marvel Franchise omnibus is at stake. What seems to be a routine trip to the garage is however very complicated on this Covid-19 filled evening, as what is now staring at me were the typical ‘Dad mobile’ lives, is a very low, agile, two-seater cars that Dads surely can’t drive?! It’s a Porsche 718 GT4, and the short run to the local garage will definitely not do, as I need to make sure we exercise the long ratios from the six-speed *glasses mist up* manual gearbox that’s in this vehicle.

Before I get into the meat as to the kind of child I turned into in my short time with this little monster from Stuttgart, we need to start at the beginning. You see, when I learned to drive and in fact, the vehicle that I passed my driver’s license in, was also from a European manufacturer that just like Porsche, has a six-cylinder configuration which has long been the engine of choice for them as well. My little brother, now known to many as the host of Ignition GT, was a mere lad that somehow always found himself in my passenger seat on trips to the shops, ordinarily late in the evening where the air has cooled, and a naturally aspirated motor can sing the song of its people. Those nights, mixed with general male mischief was the foundation of our love for cars and as soon as the vehicle shaped key was slotted into the GT4’s slot and turned clockwise, the familiar chatter of a six-cylinder firing up to its resting idle, albeit in a Porsche flat engine formation, brought me right back to those nights.

Driving at walking speeds, not because I’m a responsible resident in my estate, but as I didn’t want to catch the lip spoiler, you can tell that this is an analogue driving machine. It’s unhappy at low revs, wanting to hold on to its lowest gear possible to make sure that you have some torque at least. You see, this is old school. Here, you have to look for the performance. At normal speeds, the GT4 is happy to cruise along with its soundtrack gently whispering sweet nothings to you while its Racing seat holds you together like a Twinkie. Coming to the main road, nursing the clutch out, and its “GO GO GO” away from a green light, while burying your go faster foot into the carpet and the six comes alive. No, this is not a wave of torque that you ride like in a turbocharged or supercharged vehicle but rather like a snowball that gets quicker, louder, blurrier and more intoxicating with every thousand revolution that passes. I had executed my award-winning gear-changes countless times, but there is still a moment of nervousness about messing this one up. Not this time, as it slots into place and the tachometer begins its race again to the red line, clutch, grabbing a handful of third and you’re now chasing speeds that are above the national limit-Driven by the sheer awesomeness has you thinking that even in prison, I will be as hardcore as this car that under me. At the red line in third, you realise how tall the gearing is as you are now just over the 160kph mark and out of pure shock, you back off and the car slows down because of the compression, it’s on overrun, slowing down and you as you near the next red light. The guy asking for change doesn’t even come near you. He is reasoning with himself that even though his situation is terrible, it’s no worse than a fat man ugly crying in a sports car, at a light, just before curfew. 

What brings about the ugly tears and face, is the heart of the beast, in this case, it is a 4.0l, naturally aspirated motor. Producing 309kW and 420 Nm of torque with a redline sitting at 8 000rpm, the GT4 can get you to from 0-100kph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of a 300kph. What rewires you is the power delivery. From the first time you bury your foot, the millennium in all of us asks, “where is the power?” No young one, you have much to learn. You see, instant gratification, is the norm especially now with every motor either packing a turbo or a supercharger and sometimes, both. This has led to the birth of the “PlayStation Racer” (Patent Pending) You see, this is the type of driver that just holds the steering, his turbocharged motor, at full boost, waiting for the brake to be released as launch control has been activated. The left foot comes off the pedal and the driver, using his unparalleled skill to hold the car straight, goes through the automatic gears and boom, another 1/4 mile done in about eleven seconds, and our man is a hero! Not in the GT4.

This is a vehicle that is so basic but yet so rewarding to drive that in its category, has no real comparison. This is a vehicle that is ten, yes TEN seconds quicker than its predecessor at the “Green Hell”, and if you don’t know where the Green Hell is, then this isn’t the car the for you. It begs you to dig and as you dig deeper and deeper into its skillset and bag of tricks, it’s then where you realise that manufacturers don’t have this sort of offering anymore. This is a vehicle that lets you dictate the speed and the tempo of the drive with all of your inputs. A vehicle that has left the changing of cogs to you and you only. A vehicle that has no assistance in getting more air into its lungs, to the point that you can hear the inlet manifold sucking in air that echoes within the snug cabin, and at the same time, the spent air coming from the standard sports exhaust encouraging you to send it all the way to the red line again, and again and again.

The GT4 is by far the most rewarding drive in this “truck crashing into a train while carrying several tons of fuel, driven by an infant into a parked plane” of a year. A beautiful reminder that some manufactures have stuck to their guns and have made a car that will still, in this everchanging climate, make you childishly grin from ear to ear. Porsche is a brand that feds into the simple pleasures, when their clients requested a manual in the GT3, they looked back and said, “would you like that with six or seven ratios”. A manufacturer that in 2020, has given us a naturally aspirated motor, married to a perfectly weighted gearbox and clutch. Just wow.

For those wondering the fate of the snacks, I should express in fact, the only reason why I remembered that I needed to bring snacks is due to the eventual decision to be on my way home. I stopped to feed that glorious six-cylinder and remembered why I had left home in the first place. That, with full knowledge that you have been gone for at least two hours, the window of movie watching is far out of scope, and you come home to a fire breathing lady that just wanted to have some snacks while watching the God of Thunder. Sorry babe, but so worth it, what a car!!

Silent but violent – New Porsche Taycan driven.

We’ve all experienced this scenario before: you’re sitting with either friends or a loved one and enjoying their company. Perhaps watching a movie or reading before bed, when suddenly, out of the blue – it hits you. At first, you’re shocked as you’re unsure if what you think is happening is really happening. At that point your brain indeed confirms that your suspicions are a reality and the inevitable question arises: “Did you fart?” Depending on who committed this heinous deed, the question is either met with silence and shame, or hysterical laughter. Either way, once you have the confirmation from the perpetrator, the stench often intensifies rapidly, inducing feelings of anger, confusion and sometimes giggles. This whole scenario takes mere seconds to happen. It’s unexpected; it’s jarring to the senses and in some instances, it feels deadly. The age-old saying remains true: “silent but violent”.

The same can be said about the new Porsche Taycan. How so? Well, it too is both silent and with its silence comes extremely violent acceleration. The only difference is that the Taycan will not hurt the environment. Yes, the “full-fat” Taycan Turbo S we recently sampled at the national media launch will reach 100km/h in 2.8 seconds. So, we can truly say that the Taycan can clear a room. Immediately. This figure is not what astounds you the most though, but rather how the vehicle reaches this speed. You see, unlike its most related sibling the Panamera Turbo S – which uses a snarling V8 powerplant – the Taycan is fully electric, meaning that all 1050Nm it produces is instantly dispelled in a way that is more shocking than your grandmother dropping a bomb at dinner. Since the Taycan runs on batteries, this also means that it doesn’t emit the traditional sound you would expect from a vehicle with a combustion engine. In fact, the smart people at Porsche have had to work at creating a spaceship-like engine tone in and out of the car to ensure that pedestrians know you’re coming. Besides that, the Taycan is near silent. Design-wise, the Taycan’s modern look screams at you, though it looks like a Porsche concept car driving on South African streets. People gawk, stare, inquire and of course capture every time you’re spotted in the Taycan. Understandably so as it is quite a fine specimen on the road. 

Under the bonnet. Is that even a thing anymore?

Without going all “sciencey”, the Taycan’s powerplant can be summed up like this. It uses two motors on each axle and an 800-volt Performance Battery with an over-boost function. The total figures are 560kW (100kW over-boost) and the aforementioned 1050Nm. Yes, you read correctly. The Taycan also uses a two-speed transmission with an extremely short first gear ratio which explains the slingshot launch control sensation. Being a Porsche, the Taycan is still every bit a Porsche as you can imagine it to be, with very dynamic handling characteristics. The Performance Battery is located at the bottom of the vehicle, giving it a low centre of gravity. The result is a very planted chassis and nimble front-end turn-in. The latter is due to the rear-axle steering which comes in handy since the size of the Taycan is not small. In fact, the vehicle weighs over two tons, but you wouldn’t know that since it feels very light on its feet. Size-wise, the Taycan can fit four adults comfortably and the whole vehicle begs to be driven for a long time as the 4D chassis control system makes for plush ride quality – perfect for gran touring. Long drives in an electric car? This is usually not the case, but the Taycan actually has good range for an electric car. If you behave, you can get over 400km in one charge, but naturally you can expect a more conservative figure when you take into account driving styles and types of roads such highways and city driving. Whilst we’re talking about being inside the Taycan, you’ll be happy to know that this vehicle keeps to its modern theme on the inside, with a minimalistic approach taken design-wise. Almost all functions can be controlled via the touchscreens, including the air-conditioning vents – a must-see. Like really, Google “Taycan air-vents touchscreen”. 

When you do need to charge your Porsche Taycan, it will take you 4.5 hours to juice it up to the brim at home with the AC charging unit. However, if you use a DC charger you can get 80% charge in 22.5 minutes and 100km of range in 5 mins. Our test unit’s charging station was touch-enabled, with the flap smoothly sliding into the body when opened – another cool feature in the Taycan.

How does it make you feel?

We still feel that there is a perception of a lack of excitement when it comes to electric cars. Time and time again, a vehicle with an electric powerplant proves that thrills can be provided by these silent assassins. The Porsche Taycan Turbo S takes these thrills to another level. Yes, the petrol head in you, wishes for a howling flat-six, but putting that aside, when you lock into the experience you soon realize that this. Is. Still. A. Porsche. Enough said.

The future. Now.

Porsche has proved that brands steeped in driver-focused heritage can play in new spaces without compromising their ethos. The Taycan represents a new dawn for Porsche, whilst still keeping the brand’s identity alive. For those looking to compare the Taycan to something else locally, they’ll realize that it’s a pointless exercise. The Taycan has no competition in South Africa, as Elon Musk has left SA high and dry when it comes Tesla. What this means is that there is no point in asking the question if one should buy this car or not. Those who want it, will get it – despite the price tag (over R4million rand for a Taycan Turbo S). All we know is that it’s a marvel. It’s a whole new experience and a great one at that.

Isuzu’s X-Rider gains the 3Litre TD engine

The Isuzu D-Max in the popular X-Rider trim has gained the larger, more powerful engine and offers a greater sense of value, without compromising on the full-fat benefits of the workhorse motor. As we patiently await the new model, the X-Rider is a valuable reminder of the basics to the bakkie recipe.

2020 Isuzu X-Rider 3.0TD

Now fitted with the 3.0Litre turbo diesel mated to a six-speed automatic, producing 130kW and 380Nm from 1800Rpm, driving the rear wheels only. The X-Rider offers a serious value proposition to the popular mainstream bakkie choices. The X-Rider design package adds 18-Inch diamond cut alloys in either black or silver, blacked-out front bumper cladding, roof rails and running boards. The 3.0TD is capable of a 3.5Ton towing capacity and 1 Ton payload, which is enough to match the likes of the Ranger, Hilux and Amarok. Internally the partial leather seats gain red contrast stitching, and infotainment is handled by a 20.3cm touchscreen with reverse camera, Carplay and Andriod Auto.

2020 Isuzu X-Rider 3.0TD price in South Africa 

Priced from the range-topper 3.0 TD Double Cab is set at R479 217 and in the world of bakkies, that’s not a lot of money for a Bakkie that will run with the best of them.
Prices include a 5year/90 000km service plan and 5year/120 000Km warranty

Mercedes-Benz V300d – The 500Nm minivan

If you old enough to remember the origins of the Mercedes-Benz Viano you’ll understand the all-important 3.0V6 CDI model. Back in the day, 150kW was more than plenty for a van. It made the V6 excellent candidate for the “get out of my way” double flash in the right lane with 440Nm and more mid-range punch than a decently trained boxer. Fast forward to the present day, the V300d aims to return this feeling to the many families and through no fault of its own, tender-entrepreneurs that eat the backwards-facing seats and a mobile business class lounge travel up.

The key change to the V300d is the replacement of the powerplant, with the brilliant but aged 2.1litre Turbodiesel being swapped out for the more modern 2.0Litre Turbodiesel from the E-Class. Offering 176Kw and 500Nm the 2.1Ton van will accelerate from 0-100 in 8.5 seconds and top out at 215Km/h. These are numbers that would scare any Kia Picanto out of the right lane in a hurry.

With seating for 8 in standard guise, the v300d comes standard with LED intelligent lighting, 19-inch alloy wheels two-zone (front and rear ) Climatronic climate control, satellite navigation, Parktronic Park Distance Control, and multi-function steering wheel. The Exclusive model gains additional creature comforts such as Distronic adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera and a full length sliding Panoramic sunroof.

Mercedes-Benz V Class in South Africa

The V Class range consists of the Avantgarde, Avantgarde AMG Line and Exclusive trim levels with the option of V200d, V220d, V250D and the V300d range topper.

Inclusive of PremiumDrive maintenance plan that covers a contribution maintenance plan during the first five years / 100 000 km. V200d – R977 913
V220d – R1 022 382
V200d AMG Line – R1 046 177
V220d AMG Line – R1 090 646
V250d – R1 099 606
V250d AMG Line – R1 167 870
V220d Avantgarde – R1 335 144
V250d Avantgarde – R1 382 928
V220d Avantgarde AMG Line – R1 388 785
V250d Avantgarde AMG Line – R1 436 569
V300d – R1 440 203
V300d Avantgarde AMG Line – R1 515 183
V300d Exclusive – R1 645 880

Toyota’s new Brezza Based Urban Cruiser

The Indian Kiroloskar Motor division of the Japanese automaker supergiant collaboration with Suzuki has created another re-badged version of one of their vehicles. The initial to models being a Berlino based Toyota Glanza and later the Across, Rav4 based Suzuki.

The latest product from this coming together will be the Toyota re-badge of the Brezza Sub-compact which serve as a mini Vitara in other markets. While at this point it’s unclear if Toyota South Africa has intentions of being this vehicle to SA, its somewhat apparent that its peaked their interests.

With the basic design proving to be near-identical, the slight change to the grill inspired by the facelifted version of the Fortuner and likely the new Toytota shared family face. Available with the option of two-tone paint in several colour schemes. It’s critical to mention the South African and Indian road condition similarities and the 198mm ground clearance and 16-inch alloy wheels, which should make the Urban Cruiser a compliant and comfortable, well cruiser, given the poor roads in our countries. Coming in at just under 4meters and 1.8m in width, the Brezza on which the Cruiser has been based, is the same size as vehicles like the Hyundai Creta, see our review here-

Powering the Urban Cruiser is the same 1.5Litre 77kW 138Nm naturally aspirated engine, found in the Ciaz sedan and the Ertiga MPV, linked to the choice of either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The higher-spec model offers a 48V Mild-Hybrid electric system and provides a quoted 5.8L/100 with the auto and 5.3L/100 for the manual.

Toyota Urban Cruiser in South Africa

It’s too early to gauge if the South African market will get the Cruiser, but it would be a handy addition for the brand- pricing willing.

Ford Everest 2020 update

Ford’s full-sized body on frame Everest receives some important spec updates to help it fend off the mighty Toyota Fortuner and the also recently updated Isuza Mu-X. What’s new?

2020 Ford Everest 2.0L Si XLT 

The critical update is the addition of the 132kW of power and 420Nm single-turbo version of the Turbodiesel already found in the range. The 10-speed automatic transmission with Progressive Range Select for terrain dependant drive selection will still handle the shifting duties, and this model is to slot in under neither the 157kW 2.0 Bi-Turbo model. Ford’s Terrain Management System, is standard allowing for various 4×4 modes including Normal, Rock Crawl, Mud and Sand. So too is the rear differential lock.

Now with LED headlights as a standard feature on all XLT models, the Everest features Ford’s 8-inch SYNC 3 infotainment system with Navigation, Carplay and Andriod Auto, front and rear PDC with a rearview camera, and keyless entry and start.
In terms of safety, the Everest features Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control and Trailer Sway Control and Rollover mitigation.

2020 Ford Everest Pricing in South Africa 

2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×2 R552 500
2.0 SiT XLT 10AT 4×2 R637 800
2.0 SiT XLT 10AT 4×4 R679 400
2.0 BiT XLT 10AT 4×2 R693 300
3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4×4 R715 300
2.0 BiT XLT 10AT 4×4 R744 500
2.0 BiT Limited 10AT 4×4 R819 400
All models come standard with four-year/120 000km warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.

KIA’s 2020 Sonet on its way to SA

Based on sister company Hyundai’s Venue platform, the Sonet will slot in underneath the Seltos. The Sonet will be built in the Bangalore Kia factory, like the Seltos and this bodes rather well interestingly for the South African market. If the Venue is anything to go off on, the Sonet will be somewhat surprising, and we cant why here’s why.

KIA Sonet Specification

Much like the Seltos value for money and extensive specification again is clear and its highly likely the EX, EX+ and GT-line trim levels will be offered still. A 10.25-inch infotainment screen, with the obligatory Carplay and AndriodAuto and rather obvious Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The Top-spec models gain a seven-speaker Bose sound system with ambient lighting mirrored from the Seltos range. The UVO 2 app connect system is available in other markets with allowing for full app integration and vehicle diagnostic information with over the air updates.

KIA Sonet Safety

With focus markets of Subcompacts being families a host of safety features including six airbags, Isofix child seat mounting points, and stability control, ABS and EBD. Convenience features such as front and rear PDC, automatic headlamps, hill start and tyre pressure monitoring.

KIA Sonet Drivetrains

Driving the front wheels, the choice of three engines are available, a 1.2Litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder offering 65kW and 115Nm, 1.0Litre turbocharged three-cylinder from the Venue offering 88kW and 172Nm
and a diesel 1.5Litre turbodiesel offering 86kw and 250Nm. The choice of transmissions will be a five and six-speed manual, and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Weirdly Kia has also decided to provide a 6-speed intelligent manual (automated manual) which I must say don’t work as well as one would like and ruin any car fitted’s driving experience. It remains to be seen what this is like, but the Sonet makes sense once again and maybe just as good as its larger brother.

KIA Sonet in South Africa

The Sonet will reach South Africa later this year and will be an exciting addition to the subcompact market. The compact dimensions make the vehicle small and loveable, but we hope the same character that the Venue just so effortlessly exudes effortlessly.