Tag: 2016

NISSAN GT-R 2017

Way back in 2007 a car came along which changed everything. Performance wise, this vehicle destroyed almost anything that was put against it, its acceleration was blistering and it’s on track performance was mind blowing. This vehicle was probably one of the most technically advanced cars of that era, many called it “the supercar slayer”. Yes, I’m talking about the Nissan GT-R R35. Recently at the SA Festival of Motoring, the new 2017 Edition was released with some slight adjustments and Refinements.

 

Performance

In the performance area, the hand built 3.8L V6 twin turbo has a power increase from 397 KW to 408 KW and a small torque increase of 4nm, bringing the total to 632 NM. This power increase comes from increased turbo boost and individual timing control on each cylinder, Nissan say these upgrades will also provide more performance in the mid-high rev range.

Along with the performance upgrades, the gearbox and gearshifts have also been improved.  These two factors added with Nissan’s state of the art launch control system gives a 0–100kph time of under 3 seconds, that’s Porsche Turbo S territory. Nissan has also added a new titanium exhaust system which unfortunately is “enhanced” by Nissan’s Active Sound Enhancement System, fake sound does not do it for me.

Handling upgrades have also taken place with a more rigid suspension structure and chassis to further improve track performance, Nissan also claims they have improved the everyday drive and comfort of this 2017 model.

 

Interior

Nissan has also worked on the interior with their aim to make it more  “upmarket” and simplified. The upmarket feel has been introduced with Nappa leather and “real” carbon fibre,  sound dampening and an acoustic glass windshield has also been installed to keep unwanted exterior noises out. I do wonder though if the acoustic glass will improve my wife’s in car singing voice ? after all, it is acoustic.

In their aim to simplify, Nissan has reduced the number of buttons in the cabin from 27 to 11 with most of the functions moving to an 8” touchscreen display. As long as the audio and A/C controls are not digitally controlled then I’m happy, that really gets on my wick.

 

Pricing

The 2017 GT-R will be available from September with the first batch already sold out. The Premium Edition comes in at a price of R1 950 000 and the Black Edition at R2 050 000. The supercar slayer is edging towards supercar prices!

 

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Launch Drive: New Honda Civic.

Stylish and trendy are not two words that comes to mind when you think of a Honda Civic. For different generations the nameplate can mean different things. The more advanced in age may think of the reliable Ballade they loved once upon a time. Whereas the younger folk may picture a sporty hatchback and things like VTEC technology. The new Honda and Civic can be called somewhat stylish and even trendy too.

Upon looking at the lines of the new Honda Civic, one gets the sense that the brand is trying to marry the two generations interests with the new car. On the one hand, you have a sedan that offers great amounts of space and practicality. On the other hand you have a sporty model that features a 1.5 litre VTEC turbocharged engine. How does all this work out?

 

Breakdown:

The new Civic has a choice of four models, Comfort, Elegance, Executive, and Sport. The Comfort and Elegance are softer in appearance and have normally aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines producing 104 kW and 174Nm.  The Sport is more noticeable as it has a stylish rear wing and larger wheels to match the aggressive body styling, whilst the Executive is premium in appearance. Powering the Sport and Executive is a 1.5 litre VTEC Turbocharged four cylinder that makes 127kW and 220Nm. All models in the new Civic range use a CVT gearbox that is surprisingly non-obtrusive and easy to work with.

How does it drive?

Comfortably. The most notable thing about being behind the wheel of the new Honda Civic is just how you never tire of the car. It is a vehicle that can be comfortably taken on a long trip. Even in the Sport model, it is less about performance and more about refinement. Yes, the performance is there but more for usability instead of excitement.

 

Verdict:  

Spending the day in the new Civic left us feeling confident that this 10th generation version will appeal to current Honda owners, as well as attract new customers. The segment this car operates in is one that is quite competitive. With its new design and modern technologies though, the new Civic may be able to hold its own. While it’s pricing for the top of the range Executive model may be a tough pill to swallow, the entry level Comfort model seems much more reachable for average buyers.

*For the full review of the new Honda Civic, catch our latest issue of TheMotorist Digital Magazine next month.

Pricing:

1.8 Comfort CVT – R330 000

1.8 Elegance CVT – R370 000

1.5T Sport CVT – R430 000

1.5T Executive CVT – R460 000

 

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Blind date with the new Opel Astra.

Blind dates aren’t always a bad thing: Driving the new Opel Astra

We’ve all been here before; “She’s great!”, “He’s wonderful”, “You’ll love her” are all the cliché phrases used when you’re being set up with the “perfect” person. Only this time for us, it wasn’t a person we were being set up with, but rather a car. The phrase used to get our attention was “European Car of the Year 2016”, a phrase that almost forced us to like the new Opel Astra. Well before we declared our undying love for the car based on a title, we needed to consider a few things. First of all, we’re not in Europe, we’re in South Africa, a country that has the a different motoring outlook to other parts of the world. We don’t have great public transport here, which means that for us, cars aren’t just about features and options. The way a car makes us feel and the way it makes us appeal to others is a big factor for our consumers. Hence why in the segment that the Astra operates in, Volkswagen has dominated for a very long time.

South Africa’s love affair with VW stems from the early days of the Citi Golf and it has grown stronger over the years, so much so that for many people, driving a Golf is an accomplishment, especially for a young buyer. So the new Astra is up against a car that is more than a car, but rather an item of aspiration. Okay, enough about Volkswagen, let’s talk about the reason why this article has being written, the new Opel Astra.

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Is it really that good?

The long and short of it is yes, the car is not only good, it’s great.  It does more than any other car in its segment from a technology point of view. For instance, where have you heard of a large hatchback that has lane keeping assist? The new Astra has it. Where have you seen a car in this segment that features Matrix headlights that can switch off specific sections of the lights, so as to not blind oncoming cars? The Astra has it. The car is even able to tell you your following distance in seconds between you and the car in front of you. It’s sheer brilliance. The rest of the stuff is pretty cool too but not completely new. Nowadays you can expect a touch screen infotainment system and Bluetooth in cars like these, fortunately the Intellilink system in the Astra has that too. What the new Astra does also have is the very cool Apple CarPlay system, which allows you to operate your cell phone apps via the infotainment system.

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What makes the new Astra good is that it’s new, completely new. As a result, the car is years ahead of its competitors in terms of technology and safety. This is an exciting car because it has birthed a new generation of smarter and more efficient hatchbacks. Speaking of efficiency, the new Astra uses a 1.0litre three-cylinder engine as its entry level model. This engine produces 77kW/170Nm but provides enough poke for city drivers who will spend most of their time stopping and starting again. Next up is a 1.4 turbocharged engine which produces 110kW/230Nm. We’ve sampled the same engine in the Adam S and Corsa Sport. In the Astra, it makes for a balanced power-train for a car of its size. The daddy for now is a new 1.6 turbocharged engine that makes 147kW/300Nm. This engine is great but we honestly think in the real world, the 1.4 is the one to go for as you get good poke at a good price, whereas the R407 000 price tag for the 1.6 turbo may be a bit rich for some.

Well, is it a keeper?

Driving the new Astra is what would determine if the hype is really true and we’re happy to report that the car really is good behind the wheel. A shaving of weight from the old car has helped  create a balanced car that can easily be driven eagerly by anyone whilst still maintaining a comfortable ride. A 400km trek from East London to Port Elizabeth was enjoyable and at times even exciting. Following a fleet of Astra’s for a long period of time was even a pleasing visual experience since the car has some fine lines on it.

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The question is do you take the new Astra to meet your parents? Well, as mentioned, if your folks wanted you to marry a smart, good looking person with a good family history, then the new Opel Astra would make for a good fit. Now it’s a matter of seeing how the competition will respond to this car, especially since consumers now expect more and more from smaller cars. All the best to the manufacturers, for us as consumers though, it’s a good time to be alive.

 

Model Price
1.0T Essentia R 254 000
1.0T Enjoy R 284 300
1.4T Enjoy MT R 328 000
1.4T Enjoy AT R 338 000
1.4T Sport MT R 354 000
1.4T Sport AT R 374 000
1.6T Sport MT R 387 000
1.6T Sport PLUS MT R 407 000

 

 

The low-down on the new Porsche 911

What’s changed with the new Porsche 911?

When you hear the three digits 9-1-1, a few things may come to mind. Sadly it’s the date of one of the worst terrorist attacks the world has ever seen. It’s also a popular emergency services number. For some though, the numbers mean something good, something exciting.

The best thing that I personally relate these three digits to, is the Porsche 911. Interestingly Porsche had originally named the first vehicle the “901” but Peugeot complained because of their numbering system which had a 0 in the middle, so Porsche replaced the 0 with a 1 and a legend was born.

My earliest memories of a Porsche 911 was my father squeezing me into the front boot space and closing the lid to show our neighbour that it could actually hold some kind of capacity. From a young age the 911 was my favourite, I even named my first pet rabbit “Porsche” but sadly it escaped and then got eaten by a fox.

I digress, the 911 have been produced since 1963 and the 911 Turbo since 1975. It is agreed that this range of sports cars is up there as one of the greatest of all time.  Since the start, the core of  the “911” has never changed, a rear engine setup with 6 cylinders. There was a time in history where I lost a little love for the 911, I felt like they could not get the design of the front end right, I didn’t like it. In recent years though, with the return of the classic round headlights, the design stole my heart again.  Now in 2016 Porsche have updated its current 911 range and the changes are as follows:

What’s new?

The new Porsche 911 is as beautiful as ever, and the rear end has an even sharper and more aggressive look. From a design point of view, these vehicles haven’t really changed much over time. They’ve evolved in small ways but as always the 6 cylinder horizontal engine is stuck right in the back where the boot normally is. Besides subtle design changes, the engines are where the biggest changes lie with turbochargers adding extra boost to the car. Many enthusiasts have been in two minds about this move since many loved the razor sharp nature of the normally aspirated car.

Options have not changed with two variants being available in the Carrera range. The normal Carrera is the baby and the S is the upgrade. The standard 911 Carrera will push 272 kW (380 Bhp) and the Carrera S supplies 309 kW (420BHP).  Another change has to do with the drive-train options available in the new 911. A client has the option between rear wheel drive and a four-wheel drive setup. All these updates will definitely change the way the new car handles on the road and more importantly, how the car put’s its power down.

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Wait, there’s more.

Another new option is the Sports Exhaust System which apart from allowing the twin turbo motor to shout a little louder, the two twin tail pipes are replaced by two single pipes located in the centre of the vehicle with a small space in between. One more noteworthy point is that the Porsche Active Suspension Management, (an electronic damping control system called “PASM”) is now fitted as standard on all models. It’s evolved a little, but definitely for the better.

How much will it cost?

A 911 Carrera will set you back at least R1.2 Bar, whereas the Carrera 4S Cab will start to hurt you at a minimum of R1,6 Million. You can double that figure for the top dog 911 Turbo S. It may sound like a lot, but it’s all relative. Some may even say it’s a small price to pay for one of the most iconic sports cars ever built. Long live the Porsche 911.

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