Category: Latest News

Updated Volkswagen Golf R With More Power

Since the Volkswagen Golf’s introduction in 1974, it has undoubtedly been the benchmark in its segment. Now in its 7th generation, it’s better than ever and things are set to improve still with a mid-cycle update having been announced in November last year.

In my mind, the Golf is the Porsche 911 of its segment – with build quality to rival its VW Group counterpart and a breadth of capability few cars can match, does one really need more than a Golf? The answer is probably no. If you’re looking for frugal, there’s a diesel and small capacity turbo-petrols, and if you’re a sporty fellow, there’s the GTI. If none of that is enough and you feel like having more power than you’ll ever need, the Golf R has got you covered with its all-wheel drive traction and quad tailpipes. There really is a Golf for everyone.

Here at TheMotorist, however, we love a good hot hatch (Richard is the only one without one) so what we’ve been chomping at the bit for is the updated Golf R.

vw-golf-r-2017-2

First and foremost, the R sees a boost in power. It makes use of the same EA888 unit as before but where in the past our R’s and Audi S3’s had reduced power to cope with the hot-climate and feeble fuel, we have been given the go-ahead to have all the power. Offering almost identical outputs to the GTI Clubsport S, minus 20 N.m, 228 kW and 400 N.m allow the R to complete the 0-100 km/h dash in just 4.5 seconds… Now consider that the claimed 0-100 km/h time of the V8 M3 (E90) was 4.6 seconds and you start to realise that this a preposterously rapid Golf. Unlike the M3, though, it’ll catapult you just as briskly in the wet or the dry, come rain or shine. This is thanks to the crafty Swedes at Haldex who have been supplying VW AG with AWD systems since 1998.

A similar system to the one you’ll find in the Volvo S60 Polestar, the GenV AWD Coupling was developed especially for Volkswagen with versions of it seeing use in Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini and Bugatti products. What is so remarkable about this system is that it is significantly less complicated than both traditional 4X4 and intelligent AWD systems, yet just as effective. It makes use of an electro-hydraulic clutch actuator which rapidly distributes power between the front and rear axles as the integrated ECU sees fit. Essentially, as the system detects slip on either the front or rear axle, torque is then distributed accordingly to where there is grip in an accurate and Germanic fashion. This isn’t revolutionary in itself but just how compact the system is due to the fact that it requires neither a solenoid valve with filter nor a hydraulic accumulator is. Clever stuff!

vw-golf-r-2017-1

Other changes are as with the rest of the Golf range – redesigned headlights and taillights (both full LED) traffic-jam assist (not yet confirmed for SA) and a vast array of passive and active safety systems. The interior also sees a few upgrades with Active Info Display now making its first appearance in the Golf.

Expect to see the first units on our shores mid-2017.

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for more content like this. 

Sign Up Here

KIA punches back with bold new Picanto design.

No matter what anyone tells you, aesthetics play a major part of consumer behaviour when it comes to buying cars. This may be even more so in the compact A segment vehicles, a segment aimed at the youth. The youth as we know it “like things”, so if something looks great, chances are they will be interested. Manufacturers know this and as a result, they have created hip ways to engage with their target market.

The KIA Picanto is a youthful car and more often than not, drivers of Picanto’s look just as good as the cars they drive. The Koreans have put a tremendous effort to make their cars appeal to all types of people, hence why they’re full of technology and are aesthetically pleasing. Over the years, brands like KIA have proved themselves as not only good looking, but also good quality too. Those who have bought them, have had great experiences with them, so much so that the brand has won awards for this. If you’re one of those clients or you’ll be looking for a nifty small car this year, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a new Picanto coming. Yes the people at KIA have revealed an edgy design of what the car will look like ahead of its official reveal at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

3rd-gen-kia-picanto_gt-line-front-quarter

Sticking to the current cars stylish looks, the new design adds to that with bolder liners and sharper edges. The wheelbase of the new car will be 15mm longer, giving it more a stance. Buyers will have a choice of 11 different colours to choose from and there will be a choice of a GT-Line, such as is displayed in the image. The interior has also been completely redesigned to look more modern and it features a touch screen infotainment system. Based on what we’ve been given below, we think the new Picanto will be a good fit for a segment that is highly competitive. Now we await more details as the car will arrive in South Africa before the end of 2017.

3rd-gen-kia-picanto_gt-line-interior

Lexus LC & IS updated models

20 years ago, Lexus (plural Lexii) were little more than dreary Toyota’s covered in a veneer of luxury which was clearly lost in translation. Very little was wrong with the products bar the fact that they made you feel old and miserable, because you and your grey shoes were not driving around in a German.

Since then, though, Lexus has come a very long way and now the average motorist will be hard pressed to actually find Toyota bits in a Lexus. In more recent times they even decided to have a performance division like the big boys, complete with a letter of the alphabet and shouty noises. The letter they chose was ‘F’ which can mean either fast or something else but regardless, the IS F, LFA, GS F and RC F gave the Germans a proper scare with their left-of-field design and stonking performance.

lexus-is350_051

The grey shoe brigade will no doubt be elated then at the news that not one but two whole new Lexii will be making their way to South Africa! One of them is already here, in fact. It’s the updated IS and it comes with a re-fettled face, now with standard LED headlights, as well as new wheel designs, new colours and interior finishes and a big, fat 10.3 inch multimedia screen. The engine line-ups remains the same which isn’t a bad thing and consists of the IS200t (180kW/350Nm) and the IS350 (233kW/378Nm). Both power plants are silky smooth and while the 3.5l V6 might feel slightly asthmatic on the reef, especially when pitched against its turbocharged rivals, its induction noise will have your hair stand up. This, of course, is incredibly important when on the daily toil…

lexus-is350_027

The second of the two, the LC is due in South Africa in the first half of 2017 and from the looks of things, we’re in for one cracker of a cruiser. Look at it this way – if ever there was a recipe for success, a 351kW N/A V8 motor, Lexus interior and rear wheel drive was that recipe. And if that wasn’t enough to touch you where you wee, just look at it! Hubba hubba. It also has a 10-speed transmission but that’s silly.

hr_2016_lexus_lc500_yellow_static_3

hr_2016_lexus_lc500_yellow_static_2

There will also be a hybrid model with a similar setup to the RX450h but unfortunately/fortunately we will not be afforded the opportunity to save the earth one LC at a time.

Expect prices of around R1 million for Lexus’ SL/6 Series rival, although you can be guaranteed that it will be a lot more exclusive than those two.

Mercedes-AMG GT updated range

We recently posted an article about the new Mercedes-AMG GT R setting a fantastic lap time around the infamous Nurburgring, well you will be pleased to know that the AMG GT R and other new AMG GT models have been added to the South African range.d304452

Apart from the Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupe, which produces a staggering 430Kw ( 576BHP) Mercedes have introduced two roadster models, the first being the AMG GT Roadster, which features the same 4.0 V8 powerplant but power is limited to 350KW(469BHP) which is 10kw more than the entry level Coupe model.

The second addition comes with the title of AMG GT C Roaster, the difference? Another 60kw, bringing the total power output to 410KW(549BHP). This model slips in between the lower powered AMG GT S which has 375kw (502BHP) and the newly released AMG GT R. The Roadster models also features slightly different designs from the Coupe’s, with the AMG GT C even more aggressively styled than its younger brother. Both models come standard with Nappa leather, the AMG performance steering wheel and the extra driving program entitled ” RACE”.16c822_003_d323397

16c820_007_d323391

If your mind is a little flustered with all of the AMG GT variants, there are now five models in the range, listed below.

AMG GT Coupe – 340Kw (455bhp) – R1 776  000

AMG GT S Coupe – 375kw (502bhp) – R 2 142 600

AMG GT Roadster – 350kw (469bhp) – R 2 199 900

AMG GT C Roaster- 410kw (549bhp) – R 2 599 000

AMG GT R Coupe – 430kw (576bhp) – R 2 689 900

The Mercedes-AMG GT R sets a very fast lap

The greenest car in the world has just lapped the ‘Green Hell’ in 07:10.9 minutes – that’s what us motoring scribes would call ‘very fast’ and I’m sure you’re all delighted by this news!

Many a motoring journalist will bang on about how useless Nurburgring times are to the everyday motorist, and yes that is the case for most, but there’s definitely no denying the gruelling test that this track puts cars through. So while Mr Discovery and Mr Vodacom won’t really notice the hundreds of man hours that have gone into the chassis, it’s still there and golly does it show should they decide to stray from the Sandton traffic and onto a circuit. After all, you’re not just paying funny money for a green jobby with an OTT spoiler. It all works, and well at that.

16c1108_01_d336003

So, thanks to its impressive aero, obsessive weight reduction and a stonking 430kW 4.0l turbo motor complete with dry sump lubrication and turbos nestled within the ‘V’, the AMG GT R has gone straight for the Porsche 911 GT3 RS’s jugular and smashed its Nurburgring time of 07:20.00.

The question needs to be asked, then. Which of Stuttgart’s street-racers would you buy, a thoroughbred, track-tuned Porsche – one of the last properly fast cars with an NA motor – or a rip-snorting brute from the folk who brought you best-sellers such as the A-Class and CLC! Either way, you need neither, but you’ll want both.

16c1108_02_d336004 porsche-911_gt3_rs-2016-1600-06

Opel MOKKA X: In tune with it’s siblings.

To be honest, I was not the biggest fan of the previous Opel Mokka. There was nothing particularly wrong with the car; it just felt much older than the current offering by Opel, which is very technology driven. Opel’s recent rebranding has completely changed the face of the brand. Cars which were beginning to become irrelevant have all of a sudden become the some of the smartest and best looking in each segment they operate in. The Adam, for instance, is a car that rivals more premium products and offers even more features than its competitors. That is why when I first drove a Mokka a year ago, I felt underwhelmed because I had already sampled the new Opel’s.

mokka-x-5_1800x1800

Upping the standard:

The updated MOKKA X looks similar to the first model regarding body shape, but the front end has been completely redesigned. The design language used in the current Opel Astra can be clearly seen on the car. Edgy lines make the exterior modern and more in tune with its siblings. The interior has also been revamped, adding optional nifty touch screen infotainment systems that can be integrated with an Apple or Android device with ease.  The seating position in the MOKKA X is perfect for a family orientated car, which it is. It also offers plenty of space bags, groceries and of course, babies. The rear 60/40 split also make it easy to load larger objects in the car, so it makes a great deal of sense from a practicality perspective.  As much as the car looks more like an MPV, Opel claims the car to be a compact SUV. The “X” in MOKKA X will be seen more in the future in other SUV models to be launched by Opel.

mokka-x-10_1800x1800

 

Tech it out:

Opel has become famous for packing premium technology in cars aimed at the masses. Again this was seen in cars like the Opel Adam and Corsa. The MOKKA X now joins the team. Like the current Opel Astra, lighting technology is one of the most prominent changes in the car. The optional system features full LED beams that are adaptive and 30% brighter than the halogen system. The system is similar to that used in premium SUV’s, whereby it can selectively illuminate specific things. It also features eight different modes for whatever driving scenario you’re in. Features such as Tourist Mode, Country light and Town light make for a versatile system for long distance trips and city driving. When it comes to media, the top of the range IntelliLink system, available on the Cosmo derivative features navigation and Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto integration.

mokka-x-92_1800x1800

 

Same engine, different models:

Throughout the entire range, the MOKKA X features the 1.4 turbocharged engine that’s been doing the rounds in some of the newer Opel’s. It features 103kW and 200Nm which can be selected in either manual or automatic for both the Enjoy and Cosmo models. The average claimed combined fuel economy of the range sits around the 5.9l-6.5l range between the manual and automatic. The responsiveness of the engine is more than adequate for the target market of this car. I personally preferred the automatic over the manual, something I didn’t enjoy about the previous Mokka. The power delivery is smooth and gear changes are clean and quick. Comfort levels remain very similar to the lower specification Enjoy with smaller wheels, versus the higher specification Cosmo with its 19-inch wheels. The Cosmo is definitely the more visually appealing model, but the Enjoy can also hold its own.

mokka-x-14_1800x1800

As a whole, the refreshed Opel MOKKA X is a welcome improvement. The car is sharper concerning look and feel, and it offers great features that are functional for drivers and passengers. At a starting price of R317 500, it’s also great value for money. For that price, you get a five year 90 000km service plan as standard throughout the range. Well done Opel, your nose powdering should go a long way to impress current Opel customers, as well as attract new ones.

 

Pricing:  

New Opel Mokka X Retail price incl. VAT
MOKKA X 1.4T Enjoy 6MT R 317, 500.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Enjoy 6AT R 328, 400.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6MT R 357, 400.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT R 368, 100.00

 

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.

16c103_07_1800x1800

16c106_001_1800x1800

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

16c975_38_d331989_1800x1800

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.

16c1032_038_d332422_1800x1800

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?

16c1032_039_d332423_1800x1800

16c1032_036_d332420_1800x1800

16c975_02_d331972_1800x1800

 

 

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.

audi-a3_0004_1800x1800

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.

audi-a3_0043_1800x1800

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.

a161874_large-1_1800x1800

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.

tucson_urban_02

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.

tucson_interior_01-copy