When we were given the chance to sample the Honda Civic Type R last year, we were all completely astounded by how engaging and raw it was. What Honda had created was a sheer masterpiece in front-wheel drive performance and bore little resemblance to Nora, Albert, Rita and the rest of the bridge club’s favourite runabout – the Honda Civic. Sure you could spot a Civic somewhere beneath the garish wing and blacked out wheels, but these two cars really could not have been further apart. Not only did this vehicle find favour with just about everyone who drove it, it also set an astounding lap time around the Nordschleife, beating the previous FWD champion and setting a blistering time of 07:50.63.
Here we are in 2017 and having had its trophy snatched away by the Golf GTI Clubsport S in 2016, the Type R has returned with a vengeance. Featuring the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor found in the previous generation Civic Type R, the unit now produces 236 kW but the same 400 N.m as before, all this thanks to a bit of an ECU tune and a snazzy new exhaust which actually makes it sound a bit like a 5-pot, mmmmm. You can have a listen to that at the end of this video.
The new chassis also means an increase in torsional rigidity of an impressive 38% and the torsional beam rear setup of the old Type R is gone, having now been replaced by an independent, multi-link system. What this brings to the tea party is much improved stability and control at speed, as well as a lower, wider and longer wheelbase.
Having set a record time of 07:43.80, it is clear that all of those little upgrades have done their job – it shaved some 3 seconds off the time of the Clubsport S.
Now all that’s left to do is wait for it to arrive in South Africa which should be during the course of 2018. So, in what colour will you be having yours, then?
Where there is a hill to be climbed, someone at some point will endeavor to climb it. Humans do this, it must be in our nature to choose a thing that’s bigger than us and then scale it, only to poke a flag in it once the summit has been reached. One step further than this, though, is racing another human to the top, conquering not only the hill, but your competitor too!
Now in its eighth edition and the fourth to be sponsored by Jaguar South Africa, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017 promises to be the ultimate showcase of people racing up a hill, as we like to do. Considered by many to be the most prestigious motorsport event in South Africa, the Hillclimb has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings back in 2009 to the local equivalent of the iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed, having had over 14 000 motorsport fans grace the hill in 2016.
The cream of the motorsport crop are to be found at the Hillclimb with legends such as Ian Scheckter, Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert, Leeroy Poulter and Sarel van der Merwe having taken part over the past 7 events. Of course, the cars are important too – nobody would fly all the way to Knysna to bear witness to a running race between Mike Briggs and Franco Scribante…
Porsche 917 and 956, Ariel Atom, various Lotus’, countless Ferraris and the usual brigade of supercars such as the McLaren 650S, Lamborghini Aventador and Jaguar F-Type have all taken part, as well as a handful of Formula 1 cars from a bygone era.
The 2017 programme sees a slight tweak with the King of the Hill event being split into three categories – SuperCar Shootout, Sports Cars and Single Seaters and Modified Saloons. This ensures that competition is fair and that each competitor stands a chance against the other hillclimbers. The fastest cars in each category will then go head to head in a shootout to crown the King of the Hill.
We look forward to seeing all the action from the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb – if the hype and success of the previous years is anything to go by, this year’s event promises to be quite the spectacle!
The Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 may look very similar to its predecessor but under the skin much has changed. This is proven by the official lap time set by the 991.2 GT3 around the legendary Nürburgring. A track which seems to be proving ground for fast cars. “If you can drive fast on the Nordschleife, you can drive fast anywhere in the world”, Frank-Steffen Walliser commented.
The new Porsche GT3 set a lap time of 7 minutes and 12 seconds. That, my friends, is 12.3 seconds faster than the previous generation 991 GT3. That is a very fast time and a big improvement which shows the changes to the GT3 really do make a difference. Read about the changes here: The New Porsche 991.2 GT3 Has Changed More Than You Think.
It’s worth noting this time was set on Michelin Sport Cup 2 N1 tyres which come standard with the Porsche 991.2 GT3.
There is currently no official time for the GT3 RS, Although some have rumored it set a time of 7 minutes and 20 seconds, in the wet. The official time set by the GT3 has also sparked rumors suggesting a sub 7 minute lap time from the upcoming Window Maker – the GT2.
This could mean a production car lap record if it beats the claimed time of the time Lamborhini Huracan Performante – 6 Minutes and 52 seconds, which many are saying never happened…
Besides being one of the coolest people in Hollywood, Idris Elba is also a petrol head. If you don’t believe us, Google it. The fact that he is a car lover gives the makers of James Bond an even better reason to make him the next 007. If I were in the unique position to be considered for that role, I’d have a specific request though, besides being made to look taller – I’d want the lead car to be an Aston Martin DB11. We don’t need to explain why this car would be perfect for the next James Bond movie because Aston’s have long been synonymous with the 007 brand.
Old man gets some work done:
Let’s be honest, the Aston Martin brand was always the car for the “mature”. You know, the expensive cigar smoking, trench coat wearing types that look you up and down as you approach them. With technology and innovation making leaps and bounds, many manufacturers are looking to appeal to a different target audience nowadays. The internet has made many younger people wealthier so a sports car for the refined gentleman won’t appeal to that rich kid who swears by his Adidas sneakers and hoody from college. What that guys wants is something smart and powerful, something the Aston Martin DB11 is.
The new car has learned from its older siblings in terms of style and pizzazz, but its packaged in a different way. The DB9 and Vanquish for instance feel old school with their sonorous naturally aspirated V12 engines. Having driven a Vanquish recently, I can confirm that it’s quite an event-nothing beats the raw nature of the engine. The power delivery is a build up, giving you an exquisite crescendo at the end of the rev range. The only problem with that, is that in everyday traffic, you’ll barely reach that crescendo because of a little thing called traffic.
This is where the Aston Martin DB11 comes in, since it’s turbocharged it has boost very early in the rev range – allowing you to access the power easily. The car is a GT vehicle, meaning that it’s meant to be driven a lot. It’s not meant to be a Sunday car, but for it to be an “everyday car” it needs everyday features. The modes in the DB11 were made specifically for that purpose.
GT mode is the one you’ll use to go to the office, Sport mode will be used by those who still want to go to the office but very loudly. Sport Plus mode will be used by those who still want go to the office but loudly and less comfortably. In whatever mode the Aston Martin DB11 is in, it’s never terrible though. It’s always good. Underneath it all, the car is basically a Mercedes-AMG GT and the people at Merc know a thing or two about comfort. The surprising thing is that the Aston drives better as an everyday car than the AMG GT. The engine is also nicer. A unique 5.2 litre V12 Twin Turbo is the life of the party and with 447kW/700Nm at your disposal, you won’t get bored easily. This engine makes any other Aston seem slow, but it still has soul.
Driving the DB11 teaches you that you don’t have to drive fast for you to enjoy a car with so much power. With your cell phone paired and the engine in its most docile mode, you often forget you have a weapon under your right foot. The 8 speed automatic gearbox adds to this as it can feel non-existent, but in Sport mode it changes quicker than you’d expect. The seating position also doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a long car, as does the Vanquish. Instead you’re surrounded by luxury and technology and you don’t feel like you’re driving “daddy’s car”. The Aston Martin DB11 has done well then to appeal to younger guys.
Sure it’s not as exciting as a super car but it’s not mean to be. It’s meant to offer everyday thrills nestled in luxury and sophistication. If I was a wealthy 35 year old, the DB11 would be a very tempting car to own. Better yet if I were Idris Elba, I think it would add to the James Bond swagger I would already bring to the role. Imagine the scene, Idris driving up to a lavish hotel, pulling up in the Aston Martin DB11 with a gorgeous girl. As the valet approaches he says, “park the old girl won’t you, but keep it running, I won’t be long…”
So by now you would’ve heard that the F-Type will feature an entry level 2.0 litre engine. For those of you who love cars, you may be worried. The thing about a sports car like an F-Type is that the silly things are often what matters most. So yes the car may be lighter and yes it may love the trees a bit more, but will it still sound like you’re a superhero each time you plant your foot down? Let’s hope so. The F-Type was part of the cars that made the “pop and bangs” popular. Some call it “fake noises” but we really don’t care, because a screaming F-Type on overrun is as aurally pleasing as a Jimmy Hendrix solo.
As much as noise counts though, we have to give credit where it’s due. The 2.0 litre F-Type still offers great performance credentials, as it produces 221kW/400Nm. As a result it’s good for a 0-100 time of 5.7 seconds. The fact that the car is lighter also means that it will be more dynamic which generally means more fun. The introduction of this power-plant makes sense, as it makes the vehicle more accessible. By accessible we don’t mean from a monetary aspect, but rather from a drivers perspective. Sometimes less is more and in the case of the F-Type 2.0 litre, this perhaps could be the reality. Not everyone can man-handle a V6 or V8 F-Type with the grace of a Top Gear presenter, in fact majority people aren’t too interested in lap times and going sideways. The sledge hammer performance offered by the top of the range F-Type can be a bit intimidating, especially for someone who simply wants something the stylish and sporty. As a result the 2.0 litre variant may just be the car that client is looking for.
Jaguar insists that vehicle still sounds great and from the small clips we’ve heard, it still has the pops on overrun. Joy. The F-Type’s new Ingenium engine has some smart technology which aids performance and fuel economy. This includes a specialised exhaust manifold, a clever valve system, a twin scroll turbocharger and centrally mounted fuel injectors. The changes don’t stop with the engine, as subtle front and rear end tweaks have been made, giving the F-Type a fresher face.
Overall this new model can be viewed as “the people’s Jag”. One can also expect to pay less for this model but we have yet to receive formal pricing on the car in South Africa. Until we drive it and hear how sounds, we’re holding thumbs. We smell a Porsche 718 Boxter/Cayman dual happening soon with this car. Stay tuned.
For me, Lotus vehicles have always reminded me of mini race cars for the road. As an adolescent, they had always been appealing to me because of their aggressive design and small dimensions – they looked fast! They don’t just look fast though, they are fast. Thanks to their lightweight build and punchy engines, Lotus cars produce supercar figures without supercar price tags. We can’t forget their sharp and nimble handling either – they make for a great track day car.
Lotus’ new addition to the range is built for more than the odd track day, though, it’s a competition race ready vehicle which one can also use on the road. The Lotus Exige Cup 380 is based on the Exige Sport 380, which was the fastest Exige ever made when it was released in late 2016 – but its not the fastest anymore…
The Exige Cup 380 will reach 100 km/h in a mere 3.6 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 282 km/h. This is thanks to its 375 bhp and 410 N.m from the familiar 3.5 – litre supercharged V6. These are impressive figures, but are just a smidgen better than the Sport 380 which will hit 100 km/h 0.1 seconds slower while producing the same power.
The difference between the Sport and Cup models comes down to two things: Weight and Aero. The Exige 380 has a dry weight of 1057 kilograms, meaning it weighs around 9 kilograms less than the Sport 380 and has a power to weight ratio of 355 bhp/ton. Weight saving becomes very difficult with an already light vehicle and drilling large circles in the bodywork just won’t do. The big weight saver is the new one-piece carbon fibre tailgate which sheds 6.5 kg straight off the bat. Further to this, the removal of gas struts save 1kg, new carbon fibre side pods also shed half a kilo and optional carbon fibre interior components will lose another 1 kg.
The biggest difference in terms of performance comes down to aerodynamics. The Cup 380 will produce up to 200 kg of downforce at speed which is a 43% percent increase over the Sport 380 – meaning grip and cornering speeds are greatly increased. This has been achieved with dramatic body changes and great attention to detail. Even the main windscreen wiper now rests in a vertical position to minimise the disruption of airflow.
Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc said “…Unlike some rivals’ cars, this is something that really can drive to a track, set the fastest lap and take the win, before heading home. It’s supremely usable, yet outrageously fast.”
As standard, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 is fitted with a T45 stainless steel roll cage, an expensive choice in return for a reduced weight over other options. Also as standard are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (285/30 ZR18 rear and 215/45 ZR17 front) needed to cope with the extra aerodynamic force, and a close-ratio six speed manual gearbox.
Optional extras are available, such as a full titanium exhaust system (reducing weight behind the rear axle by 10 kg) FIA compliant roll cage (should be standard?) full race harness, fire extinguisher controls and airbag deletion. There are no 100 speaker Bang and Olufsen sound systems and the like here.
In terms of technology, the Lotus features four ESP modes: Drive, Sport, Race and off. Apart from providing reduced traction, Race and Off modes also increase throttle response and utilise an engine exhaust bypass valve which reduces exhaust back pressure at higher engine speeds. Further to this, a variable traction control function has been introduced which only works when the system is in OFF mode. This variable mode is controlled by a six-setting rotary switch and allows different percentages of wheel slip ranging from 1% 0 12% across five modes, with the sixth mode simply being OFF. So thats OFF OFF then, sounds fun…
It’s worth noting that their is only 60 models available and pricing will start at £83,000. That’s just under R1.4M at the current XE rate of 16.7.
Although you can purchase Lotus vehicles in South Africa through Pearl Automotive, they are currently not importing any stock. However, a request can be made. Here is a link to their website and contact details: http://www.lotuscars.com/pearl-automotive-pty-ltd
Anyone with functioning eyes will agree that the Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the prettiest cars on sale at the moment. Its proportions are delicious and its interior finish far better than anyone had expected from an Alfa Romeo. Overall, it’s a good quality product and while the Giulia Quadrifoglio may have been a bit finicky in our recent showdown ft. the BMW M3 Competition Package and Mercedes-AMG C63 S, it’s still a fine piece of engineering, if a bit clinical for a 375 kW Italian super saloon.. But let’s get serious, very few people are actually going to be spending R1.4 million on a QV, so the rest of the range also needs to be sassy and desirable.
Enter the Giulia Veloce – it won’t be taking the fight to the BMW 340i or Mercedes-AMG C43, but it sort of bridges the gap between those and their lesser 330i and C300 siblings. With 208 kW and 400 N.m, it’s no ambling Giusseppe. This comes courtesy of an exclusive 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder motor which is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Apparently unique to the Veloce (but actually the same 2.0-litre unit as the rest of the range) this motor is an all-aluminium unit featuring electo-hydraulic valve activation, direct injection and a “2-in-1” turbocharger which is just “twin-scroll” badly translated from Italian.
Thanks to a snazzy body kit and Misano Blue paintjob exclusive to the Veloce, it looks as tit as it’s likely to drive. Along with the sports bumpers, it gets a rear sports diffuser, dual exhausts, 18-inch Turbine alloy wheels and black brake-callipers, although they seem to be yellow in the pictures…
Standard fitment includes front and rear parking sensors, headlamp washers, upgraded brakes with larger diameter discs at the front and rear, dual-zone climate control, Alfa DNA Driving Mode selector and an 8.8-insch Alfa Connect infotainment system. The usual array of active and passive safety systems can also be found here which all play a part in the Giulia’s five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
There’s no word yet on local pricing so why don’t you just look at it until we know a bit more on that front?
Hermanus is a beautiful seaside town with a vast mammal filled ocean on one side and towering mountains on the other. Between us at Cape Town International Airport and Hermanus, though, was a driving route that involved great sections of tar, with long swooping bends, twists and turns. A fitting location, then, for the launch of the all-new Audi A5 and S5 Coupe.
The original A5 launched back in 2008 and it had a unique look with its tornado line running down the full length of the vehicle. The 2017 Audi A5 is still very recognizable as an A5, but does feature very nice enhancements in the design area. The Tornado line for example, is more defined and the headlights feature a sharper design with the “four eyes” to represent quattro. These headlights sit above a larger, flatter grill and below a bonnet which has large grooves, emphasizing its sportiness.
Audi have a new design philosophy which is inspired by the Audi prologue concept car. We have seen elements of this being introduced in recent models such as the Q2 and now the A5. One nod to this design language is flared wheel arches and larger rear shoulders, and we can see this in the 2017 models.
The interior has also undergone some refinement. I have always enjoyed Audi’s simplistic and uncomplicated style with regards to interior design and this is no different with the new A5. The dashboard features a horizontal design which gives the cabin a very spacious feel and as always, the centre console features controls for audio, navigation and the like. This console also features the drive selector, which one can only describe as looking like the thrust control in a jet – its large, bulky and fits in the hand nicely, giving a very commanding feel.
View 360 Images of the interior below. We apologize for the quality, as the light was extremely poor.
In the design area then, the Audi A5 has undergone many refinements resulting in a big improvement. Another area in which the 2017 A5 has improved is in the powertrain department, with the latest engines now producing 17% more power with a 22% reduction in consumption, impressive.
The A5 coupe has four engines on offer with the S5 currently leading the way, producing a healthy 260 kW and 500 N.m. Following this is the 2.0T FSI Quattro producing 185 kW and 370Nm. We then have two 140 kW power plants, coming in the form of a 2.0T FSI which puts out 320N.m and a 2.0 TDI producing 400 N.m.
You would probably expect me to say that the S5 was my favorite variant but actually, the 185 kW A5 quattro was a car that really stood out. This car really shifts and has lots of torque from low down in the RPM range. It was just so enjoyable to drive through the twisty mountain passes but was then also very comfortable and quiet when driving in a relaxed manner.
The S5 is sharper, firmer and faster with 260 kW and 500 N.m but the difference is not night and day. It does give you a little more confidence in all aspects, though, such as high-speed cornering, as the S5’s suspension is firmer which can be felt quite a lot in the rear.
If you want more performance and styling, the S5 is a good option but it is by no means a “monster” like an RS variant would be. What sold me on the Audi S5 is the song it sings from that beautiful 3.0-litre V6 Twin Turbo motor – wow! It sounds absolutely fantastic throughout the rev range and this means that the S5 has a driving experience which is hard to match in its segment. It goes from being a car that is a little faster and sharper than the quattro, to a car that really makes you feel warm inside when driven – It’s not always about sheer acceleration and performance and this reason alone could mean the S5 pips the BMW 440i and Mercedes C43 to my top spot out of the three.
The higher powered A5’s are impressive, but we must not forget the smooth cruisers, the 140 kW T FSI and TDI models. These variants are very refined and easy to drive and while both cars were very nice, I feel that out of the two, the TDI is the one to go for. Power delivery is linear and it just feels like a smoother, calmer experience. Although not the most powerful variants, these two models should not be under estimated as they can really hold their own on some of the Cape Town passes against the bigger boys and are by no means boring. You can still have a lot of fun in these models and we can vouch for that. If your main aim when looking at an A5 is not so much performance based but rather directed towards a quiet, comfortable and smooth vehicle, either of these two are the ones to go for. The 14kW T FSI comes only as FWD, but the TDI variant is available with quattro.
Which model would I personally choose? Well this decision for me is all about which rules first, the head or the heart. My consumer brain tells me that the 185 kW quattro is the vehicle to go for – it gives performance just a little short from the S5, but has the comfortable benefits of the T FSI and TDI Models and is also R170 000 cheaper. However, from a performance enthusiast’s point of view, my heart wants to hear that singing V6 whenever I drive to work in the morning, although I’m sure my wife would have something to say about that!
Its also worth noting that the A5 is available with its new driver assistance system -Traffic Jam Assist. This is Audi’s first step in the direction of autonomous driving. In conjunction with Adaptive Cruise control, the vehicle will accelerate, brake and steer the car up to speeds of 65 km/h.
The A5 will comes standard with a range of equipment including Audi Drive Select, Xenon Plus Headlights and Rear LED lights, 17” Alloy wheels and cruise control.
The A5/S5 Sportback will be following the same model and pricing structure below and will be available from May 2017. In June we can expect the arrival of the A5/S5 Cabriolet – we have no information on pricing as yet.
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 140kW S tronic: R 589,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 140kW S tronic Sport: R 623,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI 140kW S tronic: R 619,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T TDI 140kW S tronic Sport: R 653,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI 140kW quattro S tronic: R 652,500
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T TDI 140kW quattro S tronic Sport: R 686,500
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 185kW S tronic: R 723,500
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 185kW S tronic Sport: R 757,500 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T FSI 260kW quattro S tronic: R928,000
The 43 series in Mercedes-AMG’s line up has proven to be a popular engine choice for those who want a little more performance than a non AMG variant can provide, but are not yearning for a fire-breathing AMG-63, we can call this the middle ground.
If you didn’t know, the middle ground provides some nice numbers, 270 kW and 520 N.m to be exact from a 3-litre V6. Power is delivered through a Nine-speed gearbox and Mercedes’ four wheel drive system. Jokes, aside, it is a great setup and Mercedes-Benz have now added the AMG-43 variant to a number of models.
The 43 series is now available for the C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, as well as the GLC and GLC Coupe, GLE and GLE Coupe and finally, the SLC Roadster.
All the 43 Series models can expect AMG sports suspension as standard in the shape of Air Body Control. They will all, bar the SLC, feature a 4MATIC system with 61% percent of the power being delivered to the rear axle. Further to this, the AMG sports braking system, AMG Dynamic Select and sports exhaust system are all fitted as standard.
The AMG-43 series is a great option for those wanting a taste of the AMG experience. As always, when we get behind the wheel of these machines, we will post a full driven review. For more latest news on cars in South Africa, visit our Latest News section.
Many moons ago, if you wanted space for your things, you needed a shooting-brake. Designed to cart Archibald, Terence the rest of the yoohoo brigade and all of their guns and dogs to and from their shoots, the shooting break was the epitome of utilitarian coolness with its space and pizazz. Then, for some odd reason, an unfortunate turn in the history books lead to the uprising of the station-wagon. For those of us fortunate enough to have been given the gift of sight, though, the station-wagon was a bit of a conundrum because while it had all the space in the world for hoarders to return from antique fares with things that they didn’t need, they also had an aesthetic appeal somewhat akin to that of a hoarder. Dogs, guns and the idle rich were quickly replaced by Julia Roberts in waist-high denims and 2.4 vomiting children with the appeal of practical motoring just a glimmer on the horizon.
Right through all of this, though, hunting folk still needed to cart their hounds and rounds around so while numbers of shooting-brakes seemed to dwindle, coachbuilders, in the UK in particular, kept the art alive. Fast forward to the 21st century and now we are utterly spoilt for choice!
Station wagons are no longer ugly but, more importantly, the shooting brake is well and alive and Porsche have just pulled the covers of their much anticipated Panamera Sport Turismo.
Essentially a Panamera with a big booty, literally, the Sport Turismo shares its underpinnings with its rakish counterpart but now with added practicality. Not to say that the Panamera wasn’t already an appealing and practical thing, but now with an additional 20-litres of loading space, you can carry up to 1 390-litres of, well, anything really. The first Panamera to offer seating for 5 humans, the Sport Turismo boasts a 4+1 seating configuration which means that 4 adults and 1 smaller adult/child can experience one of the finest interiors ever to be found within a Porsche.
For those unable to manage their luggage compartments, a luggage compartment management system is available which comprises two rails integrated into the loading floor, four lashing points and a luggage compartment partition net.
A segment first, the Sport Turismo’s spoiler is of the adaptive kind and can be extended depending on the driving situation, generating up to 50 kg of additional downforce on the rear axle. Above 90 km/h when in Sport or Sport Plus, the roof spoiler automatically assumes the “performance position” which is a cool way of saying it moves by 1 degree. If not in either of these modes, “performance position” will automatically be assumed above 170 km/h. Cleverly, the roof spoiler is also able to alter its angle by anything up to 26 degrees in order to minimise wind noise when the Panamera’s panoramic sunroof is open – try saying that fast.
Five motors are available at launch with outputs ranging from 243 kW in the Panamera 4 Sport Tursimo to 404 kW in the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo. Aside from the sea of test-units we have recently been spotting all over South Africa, expect to see the first units on our shores towards the end of 2017.