Category: Car news

Hot hatch alert: The new Peugeot 308 GTI

New hot hatch arriving soon: The Peugeot 308 GTI

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?

Engines:

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.

Looks:

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.

Responsible power:

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.

Verdict:

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.

Fresh and French: The updated Peugeot 208.

What’s new in Peugeot’s 208?

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.

Engines:

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.

Verdict:

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.

Prices:

208 Pop Art                                                                 R159 900

208 Active 1.2 PureTech                                             R209 900

208 GT Line 1.2 PureTech Turbo                               R269 900

208 GT Line 1.2 PureTech Turbo Auto                      R289 900

The new Toyota Aygo: Bulit for the youth.

The new X designed Toyota Aygo.

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.

Design:

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.

Verdict:

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.

BMW M4 GTS: All you need to know.

  BMW M4 GTS: BMW’s fastest production car.

A standard BMW which accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds is something unheard of from the stable, until now. The new BMW M4 GTS is breaking new ground; it’s lighter, better and much faster. This special edition M car is not only the fastest BMW ever made, but it is also the most track based production car BMW has made. The brand makes no apologies that this car is strictly for the enthusiast. Let’s break it down to see what makes a BMW M4 GTS tick.

Power:

The car uses the same engine in the M4 coupe and M3 sedan, but this time, boost is increased resulting in an output of 368 kW and 600 Nm, a massive leap from the standard car. For the engine to handle all that power, BMW has not simply turned up the boost and left it at that. The car uses a water based air cooling system which sprays water into the intake manifold plenum chamber (area where air is about to enter the intake), the water then evaporates and significantly cools the air entering into the combustion chamber. In the world of engines, cold air is always better, and in the case of the BMW M4 GTS, this system allows the car to handle more boost from the turbochargers. This exact engine configuration system was first used in the MotoGP BMW M4.

Looking back from the days of the e30 M3 Sport Evolution, to the e36 M3 Lightweight, to the e46 M3 CSL and then the e92 M3 GTS, BMW have stuck to a particular formula when developing such cars. A strict diet and some force feeding is what is takes to create special edition M car; nothing has changed for the M4 GTS. The only difference being that now there are better technologies available to extract more power and save more weight.

The Diet:

The interior of the BMW M4 GTS has been stripped out, not in a bad way, though. The front seats are made from Carbon Fibre and weigh 50% less than the standard seats. The door handles on the inside have been replaced by pull-loops too. Orange striping, anthracite bits and Alcantara play a significant role in the design element of the cabin, which creates a race ready look inside the car.

The exterior changes add to the weight saving as well, with the bonnet, roof and front splitter being made out of Carbon Fibre reinforced plastic. The result is a car with a kerb weight of just over 1500 kg, which is very light considering all that goes into a car like this. The car still features creature comforts such as air conditioning, navigation and of course a radio. These things were usually removed or limited in previous versions of serious M cars such as these, but this time an M4 GTS client does not have to get heat stroke after many laps on the track.

The track:

Speaking of laps, the M4 GTS has been wonderfully designed for that purpose. A lap timer that records data and helps the driver see vital elements of his/her lap around the track is fitted. This can be shared via social media too. Besides software geared for track driving, the M4 GTS’ rear wing and Coilover suspension are adjustable to suit the driver’s preferences on the track. The M Drive menu is a beefed up version of the system you get in all new BMW’s that allows you to set the car up for Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. This M Drive menu is way more specialised, though, allowing the driving to change and set various details on the M1 or M2 button on the steering wheel. Some of these changes include, the steering (via the Servotronic System button), accelerator characteristics (via the M Motor dynamic Control system) and the damping of the car. All settings can be optimised for track and road use.

The looks:

The BMW M4 GTS is a distinct M car regarding aesthetic appeal. The cars’ front splitter, rear wing, orange rims and special paintwork make you look and look again. Frozen Dark Grey, Sapphire Black and of course Alpine White are three of the colours you can choose from. The M4 GTS’ head lights are also one of a kind, using Organic LED technology that is also a first from BMW. A Clubsport Package adds a role cage to the car and six point harnesses on the seats. The car rides on 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch wheels in the rear, which are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres.

Verdict:

The BMW M4 GTS is an incredible feat from BMW, once again they have produced a car that makes people who can’t afford it, hate those who can. The numbers are limited to 700 units, and the majority of those are going to the USA. Hopefully, we will see a few of the M4 GTS’ seeing their way to South Africa. If not, YouTube and overseas car shows will have to do. (shedding tears)

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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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

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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Isn’t she pretty? The new Discovery Sport Dynamic

New Discovery Sport Dynamic revealed at Frankfurt Motor Show

The Land Rover Discovery Sport already looks twice as nice as it’s predecessor, the Freelander. One can see design cues from the Discovery, the Range Rover Sport and Evoque. The prestigious Frankfurt Motor show gave the people at Land Rover the perfect platform to showcase a new addition to the Discovery Sport family, this new model is called the “Dynamic” version.

What makes it Dynamic?

Most of the changes on the car are aesthetic, giving the car a more aggressive appeal. This has been done by adding stylish black bits to the mirrors, bumpers and wheel arches too. The front bottom grill even looks angrier, with is gaping wide mouth that looks like its telling people in front of it to get out of the way. A new set of 19 inch wheels have been added to, giving the car a more menacing stance. The point of the car is to give customers the choice of something sportier in terms of look. Think of it as Land Rover’s version of a Sports Package.

Anything else?

Yes. From next year the Discovery Sport will offer a feature called “All Terrain Progress Control”, which basically allows you to set and maintain a speed of 2 km/h to 30 km/h when travelling off-road. Why is this useful? Through smart technology, it helps control the car in conditions that are not-so-controllable, like on a gravel road. Thankfully the most amount of gravel that many Discovery Sports see in Johannesburg, is when there’s a bit of construction happening in Sandton. (We joke but it’s true). Anyway, we sure we’re going to see a few of these Dynamic versions of the Discovery Sport on the road soon in SA, as it is quite the looker. Good job Land Rover, good job.

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Facelifted BMW 3 Series in South Africa: What has changed?

What’s different with the facelifted BMW 3 Series now available in South Africa?

A BMW 3 Series is arguably one of the most seen cars on the road in South Africa, especially in Johannesburg. The reason for this is simple, South Africans love BMW’s and the 3 Series is a very good car. The F30 3 Series is on its third year of production, so as always when the car reaches past half way of it’s life cycle, it needs to splash some water on it’s face. Only this time with the facelifted BMW 3 Series, they decided not only to reapply some make up on the car, it decided to take it to the gym too.

New lights and bumpers.

The car’s visible changes are apparent, the headlights in the front and rear have undergone surgery. The new headlamps make use of new LED technology in the rear and front, giving the car a very modern look. New bumpers add to the modern feel of the facelifted BMW 3 Series too. Unlike most updated versions of cars, the biggest change though, is under the bonnet.

New engines for all ranges.

Out with the old and in with the new. BMW has replaced the 316i, 328i and 335i, but the 320i badge remains. The 328i and 335i are a simple change in badges and power. The 328i is now badged 330i and produces 185 kW/350 Nm of power and the 335i is now called the 340i which makes a good amount of 240 kW/450 Nm. The 320i has also had its power figures updated to 134 kW and 290 Nm, more torque has been added to it. What interest us the most though is BMW’s use of a 1.5 litre 3 cylinder petrol engine in the 318i, a first for a BMW 3 Series. Many manufacturers have utilised the fuel savings of a three cylinder motor and BMW have also done so in their “I” products and now in their 3 Series range too. The engine although small, produces 100 kW/ 220 Nm of power which should be enough to get you around town and on long distance  trip comfortably.

Verdict.

We welcome this fresh face facelifted BMW 3 Series and we’re sure South Africa will too. It’s scary that going back one generation of 3 Series, those cars now seem so outdated in terms of technology. One can only imagine what the next five years hold for BMW and every other brand actively embracing new technologies. Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.

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