Tag: Car Reviews

First Drive Of The New Honda CR-V

New Honda CR-V

New Honda CR-V: First Drive.

Certain things come to mind when you think of a Honda. Reliability, precision and your grandparents. The Japanese way of making bullet proof cars is something Honda has done right for many years, but certain models in the brand are still perceived as a fit for a more elderly market, and therefore, less exciting. This is a harsh statement to make, especially considering Honda’s effort to make their newer products more exciting. Perhaps we need to give them a break? Well, judging by the new Civic, we’re convinced that the stigma needs to be laid to rest. Following through with fresher products, we now have a new Honda CR-V that we’ve driven. From a styling perspective it looks modern and has some interesting lines. When it was first launched in the 90’s, the CR-V came at a time when SUV’s weren’t all the rage. As a result, it was ahead of its time, causing people to gain interest in the car. Fast forward to 2017, every brand and its dog is releasing an SUV/crossover of sorts, so competition is tough.

New Honda CR-V

Where does it fit in?

At a starting price of R422 900, it comes in competitively considering its size. It is neither a compact SUV, nor is it very large, making it ideal for young families in need of enough space. A large push has been made by Honda to make the brand more premium. This can be seen in the interior of the new CR-V as the use of hard plastics has been replaced by nicer to touch materials. An infotainment system similar to that in the Civic is used as well, giving you Bluetooth audio as well as USB functionality. Being a family orientated car, rear luggage space is a generous 522 litres and the rear seats can be split 60:40. Overall, the interior feels retro, certain things remind you of the Hondas of old but just modernised.

New Honda CR-V

What’s on offer?

Johannesburgers will be happy to know that the 1.5 Turbocharged engine has been made available in the new CR-V. It’s the same one you’d find in a the current Civic, so you get a pleasant 140 kW/240 N.m. Coastal dwellers,however, will be happy to have the 2.0-litre atmospheric engine which develops 113 kW/189 N.m. The 2.0-litre is offered in Comfort and Elegance specification. Both variants come with a decent amount of standard spec such as safety features like ABS, Hill Assist and driver fatigue assist. The Elegance does come with a larger infotainment screen and leather seats. The same goes for the 1.5 Turbo engine, it is offered in two variants – Exclusive and Executive. The 1.5 Turbo CR-V’s are All Wheel Drive, whereas the 2.0-litre models are Front Wheel Drive. All models use a CVT gearbox which still tends to drag its feet but is made better with paddle shifts which mimic a standard automatic transmission.

How does it drive?

The new Honda CR-V is undoubtedly a comfortable car to sit in. One could easily spend hours behind the wheel and not get cabin fever. The NVH levels are low, the sound system is good and the car makes sense ergonomically. As a city commuter or a weekend getaway car, this car makes sense. Again this has a lot to do with the premium push that Honda has made, which has resulted in a good overall package. Dynamically, the car also feels very planted with very little body roll even in sharp corners. A lot has been done in terms of suspension development to create an agile car for its class.

New Honda CR-V

Overall:

The new Honda CR-V comes from a heritage of much-loved vehicles in certain parts of the world. In the US for instance, the car sells tremendously well. South Africans do have their favourites which operate in this segment and the new CR-V may battle to persuade some to jump ship. Those, however, who know the brand and what it stands for will welcome this new CR-V with open arms. It is well accomplished and has a lot to offer to its target market.  

 

Honda CR-V Pricing and in South Africa

CR-V 2.0 Comfort                          R422 900

CR-V 2.0 Elegance                         R477 900

CR-V 1.5T Executive                       R584 900

CR-V 1.5T Exclusive                       R626 900

The range is backed by a comprehensive five-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a five-year/90 000 km service plan.

Also included is a three-year AA Road Assist package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals for the 2.0-litre models, and 10 000 km for the 1,5-litre turbo variants.

40 Years on – bigger, faster and filled with tech – Golf 7.5 GTI

Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI Driven

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has become an icon. Since 1975, the Golf GTI has brought practicality, quality, performance and safety, the latter I know well of after my mother spun a Mk5 Golf on the M6 Motorway some years ago.

The original goal with the Golf GTI was to take a practical, family oriented car and drop in a high performance engine, thus making it not only practical but also sporty. The 1975  GTI was the one that started it all, the original hot hatch.

MK 1 Golf GTI

Shoot forward 40+ years and we are the arrival of the Golf GTI 7.5. It’s bigger, faster and filled with tech. Even so, the same principles still apply, it is still family oriented, it’s still practical and flip, its still fast.

What’s Changed

A keen eye will notice the visual changes immediately. The newly designed front bumper, along with the full LED headlights, give the updated GTI a much more aggressive look.One which I much prefer over the Golf 7 GTI and more resembles the GTI Clubsport. The rear also features full LED lighting with the swishing indicator lights adding a nice touch. The Golf 7.5 retains its dual chrome exhaust tips, but on this model they are bigger, also like the Clubsport. They suit the rear nicely and don’t look lost, like they did on the previous model.

I felt that the Golf 7 GTI looked a little plain but the changes to the updated model, in my opinion, make a massive difference – the Golf 7.5 GTI looks like an aggressive performance hot hatch.

There are two big changes on the inside with one of these being the updated Discover Navigation Pro, which features a new 9.2-inch display. Not only is the display bigger, but it also has a higher resolution and can be controlled by hand gestures. It’s also flush with the dashboard and finished in gloss black, giving it a fantastic premium look. The second is the Digital Cockpit, which seems to becoming more of a common technology in premium vehicles of late. Simply, a full digital display replaces the standard dashboard dials which allows for much more information to be shown, such as navigation, music, car settings and even personal visual preferences. Overall, these subtle changes reflect a comfortable, premium feel.

Golf 7.5 GTI Interior

 

Driving

On paper, the performance enhancements to the Golf GTI 7.5 are minimal, with the same 169 kW output from the 2.0 TSI motor. Even so, l kept asking myself why the GTI felt so fast and why the chassis felt so connected. The front end grip and overall performance this car produces is something that will remain edged into in my mind.  

The steering is weighted nicely, if perhaps a notch too heavy, but this allowed for a fantastic driving feel. Drive the GTI fast in a straight line and you will be impressed, drive the GTI fast through a series of corners and you will really feel the car come alive. The front end provides so much grip that one could say it feels like the car is on rails, a very engaging experience indeed.

The beauty of this is that on another day, a quick switch of driving modes to comfort softens the suspension, relaxes the gearbox, tones down the engine noise and provides a much more easy, everyday experience. The Golf GTI has always provided practically with performance but thanks to technology, this is now ever more present.

With a starting price of R545 000 it may sound pricey, but one needs to consider what they are getting for that price. The Golf GTI is a premium product and this is easily seen through the build quality of the car, the improvements in interior and exterior styling, and the powerful 2.0 TSI Engine.

Our test vehicle was specced to over R600k so if you are budget conscious, you may want to pick your optional extras wisely. For me, the discover navigation pro is a must, along with the Digital Cockpit and Dynaudio system. The Adaptive Chassis Control is also a good option if you wish to adapt the driving comfort to your mood.

VW Golf 7.5 GTI Pricing in South Africa

R545 000

The VW Golf 7.5 GTI comes with 3 year/120 000km Warranty and a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan.

An even sportier S90 has arrived: Volvo S90 R-Design.

Volvo S90 R-Design

Volvo adds a sporty R-Design option to the S90 range

The arrival of the S90 earlier this year brought about an interesting alternative to the typical German offerings in the luxury sedan segment. The S90’s mature and sophisticated look has been given a sporty aesthetic with the addition of the R-Design package. The additions include a gloss R-Design radiator grille with satin chrome accents and larger air dams in the front bumper. The satin theme is continued around the windows and the side mirrors. The rear of the Volvo S90 R-Design features a sportier derriere, with an intergraded rear diffuser and rhomboid tail pipes.  A set of standard 19-inch wheels completes the new sporty look, while the offering of either 20-inch and 21-inch wheels are available as optional equipment.  

Volvo S90 R-Design

The interior receives similar treatment, with the front sports seats being finished in Nappa leather with Nubuck inners. In addition, a perforated leather sports steering wheel with gear selection paddles and R-Design designation comes as part of the R-Design package, along with other changes which include aluminium sports pedals, unique floor mats and an illuminated R-Design logo in the door sills.

Spec Levels

The Volvo S90 R-Design models retain the same high level of standard equipment as the rest of the range, fitting in just below the Inscription model in terms of specification. This includes the distinctive “Thor’s Hammer” LED lights with the active cornering lights and high beam assist. The list of other features includes rear parking sensors, automated wipers, and the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and the brilliant 9-inch Sensus Connect unit which controls the dual-zone climate control and Clean-zone Air quality control system. The infotainment system features USB input, Bluetooth, AUX and a 360-degree camera as well as internet connectivity and a 10-speaker audio system. The Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system also comes as standard on the R-Design models, with the ability to control acceleration, braking and steering up to 130km/h.

Dynamically, the chassis has been firmed up to improve the overall sharpness and cornering ability of the vehicle with stiffer suspension by way of adjustments to the front and rear setupsVolvo S90 R-Design

Engine Options

The choice of either 2 petrol or two diesel motors are on offer in R-Design trim. The T5 petrol R-Design will offer the same engine as in the standard model, offering 187 kW and 350 N.m, driving the front wheels. Volvo claims a combined fuel consumption figure of a rather frugal 6.5 l/100. The top spec petrol T6 AWD offers twin charging technology, making use of both a turbocharger and supercharger, working together to produce 235 kW and 400 N.m of torque, enough to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds while returning 7.2 l/100 on the combined cycle.

Volvo S90 R-Design

Diesel offerings include the same twin-turbo 2.0-litre motor in different states of tune. The D4 offers 140 kW and 400 N.m, giving a claimed consumption of 4.4 l/100. The top of the range diesel model offers 173 kW and 480 N.m, from the same twin-turbo 2.0- litre motor and is claimed to return 4.8 l/100km. All models are mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.

Alternatives

Competing with the likes of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW’s 5 Series and Audi’s A6, the Volvo S90 offers very high levels of standard equipment, safety and high-tech engines and drivetrain options as an interesting prospect with highly competitive pricing, especially when considering the Germans’ love for the odd ‘Optional extra’ here and there.

Volvo S90 R-Design

Volvo S90 R-Design Pricing in South Africa

Pricing is competitive, especially when considering the list of standard equipment. All derivatives come as standard with Volvo’s 5-year/100 000 km full maintenance plan and warranty, Tracker Connect and laminated glass.

Volvo S90 T5 FWD R-Design Geartronic                             R718 300

Volvo S90 D4 FWD R-Design Geartronic                             R742 200

Volvo S90 D5 AWD R-Design Geartronic                            R822 900

Volvo S90 T6 AWD R-Design Geartronic                            R874 600

 

Range Rover Velar Pricing & Spec in South Africa

Range Rover Velar Pricing

Range Rover Velar

The new Range Rover Velar is now available to order and spec in South Africa, with the vehicle launching in the Q4 of 2017. The Velar is actually the most customisable Land Rover to date which a choice of 5 petrol engines, 5 diesel engines, 17 alloy wheel options, 13 exterior paint colors and 15 interior materials.

The Range Rover Velar starts at R947 700 and will be mainly available in Velar and Velar R-Dynamic variants with four spec levels: base, S, SE & HSE respectively. There is a third variant, the Velar First Edition. This limited-edition model is only available in a single, hi-spec trim that features every single optional extra. The only choice First Editions customers have to make is what colour they want, what engine they would like and which alloy wheels pick their fancy. The Velar First edition will only be available for the first year and is an order only vehicle.

The only question left is this, How would you spec yours? Head over to the Land Rover Builder Here and Spec your Range Rover Velar! We chose the R-Dynamic HSE Model in Corris Grey with some very nice optional extras; you can view our full spec here. Scroll down for pricing on the Range Rover Velar. 

Range Rover Velar Pricing South Africa

Velar

2.0 diesel 132kW (D180) – R947 700

2.0 diesel 177kW (D240) – R1 010 400

2.0 petrol 184kW (P250) – R947 700

3.0 diesel 221kW (D300) – R1 089 000

3.0 petrol 280kW (P380) – R1 099 400

Velar R-Dynamic

2.0 diesel 132kW (D180) – R980 500

2.0 diesel 177kW (D240) – R1 043 200

2.0 petrol 184kW (P250) – R980 500

3.0 diesel 221kW (D300) – R1 121 800

3.0 petrol 280kW (P380) – R1 132 200

Velar First Edition

3.0 diesel 221kW (D300) – R1 529 300

3.0 petrol 280kW (P380) – R1 539 800

 

Our First Drive In The New Peugeot 3008

Peugeot 3008 Review

New Peugeot 3008 First Drive

The French. Sophisticated, smelly, and brilliant and doing things differently. The Italians have long been praised for making the most desirable looking vehicles and while I wholly share this sentiment with the rest of the world, I do have more of a penchant for French things. The classic example is the Citroen DS with its then revolutionary design and “boite de vitesses hydraulique” or hydraulic gearbox.

As a result of Citroen’s engineering prowess In the 50’s and 60’s, however, it would seem as though Peugeot receives the short end of the stick whenever a bit of a history lesson is given in Frenchness, despite PSA having been in existence since 1991. I’m sure we can all recall Top Gear’s episode long ode to Peugeot, during which we were reminded of the Peugeot family’s many business ventures, including coffee, bicycles, explosives and sewing machines.

Peugeot 3008 Review

Moving along swiftly, the brand spanking new Peugeot 3008 is not nearly a bicycle, nor is it a sewing machine. A handsome thing with a striking grille, the 3008 is unmistakably Peugeot, but its styling is somehow reserved…in a very unreserved way. Certain elements, such as the floating roof, are accentuated by the obligatory bright work and blacked out C-pillar.

Peugeot 3008 Review

Jump inside and shock horror, yet another premium interior. Literally, premium premium, not pseudo premium. Handsome lashings of leather, or a denim-like fabric called, depending on spec level, are interspersed with metal bits and soft-ish to the touch plastics. Not a single part of the interior feels cheap, even in the lowest spec models, which Peugeot SA specifically specced higher than the competition. *cracks whip*

Peugeot 3008 Review

Big news in the Peugeot 3008 is the standard i-Cockpit which is a 12.3-inch TFT display in the instrument binnacle with very futuristic and clean graphics, if you’d like them, or a handsome set of brown, and you all know how much I love brown, dials. Other equipment includes Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and AndrodAuto all as standard features for enabled markets.

Peugeot 3008 Review

In terms of propulsion, there’s nothing revolutionary but the 1.6-litre THP petrol motor does a good job with 121 kW/240 N.m paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. There will also be a 2.0-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol models joining the rest of the range in due course.

Allure and GT Line Models were available at launch with both making use of the aforementioned 1.6-litre motor. While the ride felt a little firm at times, it was at no point uncomfortable and the very well put together cabin exhibited no rattles, although the cars had barely just been run in. The only major gripe I had would have to be with the side mirrors – why go to such length to create a quiet and refined cabin, only to ruin it with large side mirrors that pick up the wind and make a monstrous racket, even just at highway speeds.

Peugeot 3008 Review

A notable feature was the ‘sport’ button which remaps the throttle and lessens the steering assistance, all while piping noise through the otherwise impressive standard 6-speaker audio system – just like you’ll find in an i8… Under heavy acceleration, I decided to engage sport mode and as the piping was activated at about 3000 rpm, a yelp, somewhat akin to that of a frightened Scooby-Doo, came from the speakers. Yes, I did have a chuckle when that happened…

After a bit of a reshuffle, Citroen’s departure from South Africa and Peugeot’s acquisition of the Opel brand from General Motors, we were glad to hear that dealership standards have been put in place across the board so as to ensure service levels match the products on offer – excellent. There is no doubt in my mind that the 3008 is a solid product that Peugeot can be very proud of. The question is, however, will South African buyers share my sentiments and put their faith, and money, into the Peugeot brand? Only time will tell, but let’s cross fingers so that we get to see more cars like the 3008!

Peugeot 3008 Pricing, Warranties and Service Plan in South Africa

Active 1.6 THP Auto – R399 900
Allure 1.6 THP Auto – R444 900
Allure+ 1.6 THP Auto – R464 900
GT Line 1.6 THP Auto – R499 900
GT Line+ 1.6 THP Auto – R569 900

 

We drive the new Audi Q5 & SQ5

Audi SQ5

New Audi Q5 & SQ5 Driven

I realise that I speak a lot about Sci-fi here but it’s for good reason. In my opinion, Sci-fi and in specific, its movies, give us snippets as to how life will be in the not too distant future. If you have watched the movie iRobot, you will know what I’m talking about. You see, in this movie, the hero (real life hero to yours truly) drives the fanciest Audi that drives itself, has a brain of its own and makes you want to jump thirty years into the future to sample the latest and greatest. The all-new Audi Q5 is a snippet of that future. An evolution rather than revolution in terms of design, this vehicle brings the latest in tech and design to Audi’s midsize SUV.

Audi Q5

When we landed in Cape Town, we were greeted by the typical June weather with a hint of sun here and there. After a short while at Cape Town International Airport, we headed for the picturesque Gansbaai in the Western Cape. The first vehicle we were acquainted with was the Q5 2.0 TFSI, producing 185 kW and 370 N.m from its petrol motor it seemed very eager to show off its new-found muscle from the Vorsprung gym. The cabin is nothing short of “Audi Spec” and showcases Audi’s continued strides in terms of build quality and materials used. Its simply sublime.

Enquire about the new Audi Q5 and book a test drive at Audi Centurion here!

Audi Q5

Carving our way through a grey and drizzle soaked Cape, as passenger, I decided to start playing with all the new toys and gimmicks. The new MMI system, still a bit confusing with the trackpad, makes the iRobot dream come alive-ish. What I keep on going on about is the cabin and the quality thereof. There is no doubt that you feel like you have achieved in life, surrounded by this well-kept launch spec cabin. The extras adorned on the TFSI model were many, but not enough to warrant a second mortgage on your home.

Audi Q5

The navigation system, which is married to the virtual cockpit, makes you fall in love. The directions are shown to you at binnacle height and the LED display is crisp, clear and doesn’t tire the eyes. I would have liked a change in colour scheme to suit the different driving modes, being Eco, Normal, Dynamic and Individual. Yes, I’m that guy!

Audi Q5

Halfway to the overnight destination, I found myself in the driver’s seat of the 2.0 TDI variant with 140 kW and a very healthy wave of torque to the tune of 400 N.m. Pair this to the famous Franschoek Pass and it makes for an entertaining drive. Steering, although too light for my taste, provides good communication as to what inputs the front axle needs when you first start throwing the Audi Q5 from apex to apex. The steering rack does feel very quick but you soon learn to modulate your inputs to place the vehicle where you want. To be very honest, this vehicle will never, with it’s natural driver such as the interior designer from Sandton or the Private Wealth Manager from Investec, throw it from mid S bend to apex like I did, but we needed to see what this new Quattro system is all about. This has changed considerably from the old system. While the old system was configured to be on the whole time, this system goes with the less is more option. What the new system does, called “Quattro on Demand”, is de-couple the rear axle when not in need and within 200 milliseconds, full Quattro can be activated which will give the familiar on rails feeling of yesteryear. Lean on the chassis and yes, it will understeer, as Audi have built this vehicle for the discerning driver and not for the “extract every split second” racing driver. We got to our overnight hotel, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, and the Q5 was well at home on the make shift rally circuit being the odd four kilometers of gravel, stones and mud. The vehicle felt very sure footed at speeds that would make the late Colin McRae proud and my co-driver sick to the stomach.

Audi SQ5

The next morning, nursing a post 30’s red wine headache courtesy of the kind Audi staff, I was let loose in the range topping SQ5. This vehicle is definitely built for the sportier wealth manager and thankfully, this variant sports a mighty 3.0 V6 TFSI Turbo petrol motor. The reason for Audi SA’s decision is simple. There is currently no diesel version of this vehicle so the Petrol will have to do. From start up, the silky-smooth motor, delivering 260 kW and 500 N.m, makes itself known and purrs away beckoning to be let loose through the rev range. The make shift rally track, now done in reverse direction, gave insight to the new dynamic direction that Audi is focused on. An oversteering Audi? Surely that wine wasn’t that good? It wasn’t, and the new steering from the rear was from the reworked Quattro System. See, for the SQ5, the Quattro is not the same but rather has a rear bias under normal driving and when driven enthusiastically, will call in the help of the front axle and even braking the inside wheels due to some clever electronic wizardry. Turn in is crisp, body roll is at a minimum and ride comfort is sublime thanks to the 45 profile tyres. This seems like a car to drop the kids off and take the back routes to work just for the sake of driving those few extra kilometers.

I handed over the SQ5 to my co-driver very reluctantly, and had to play DJ. This wasn’t the worst job to have as this SQ5 had the optional Bang & Olufsen sound system among some of the toys already mentioned.

Overall, the New Audi Q5 is a force to be reckoned with. Yes, its styling might not be wild or as provocative as we would have liked but look at the whole package and you can forgive the “facelift” appearance. The SQ5 left an impression on me though, and I would love to see what it will do against its natural rivals, the Mercedes GLC 43 and the upcoming BMW X3 M40i. The school run King. Who will take the crown? Bring on the Sci-Fi future.

Audi Q5 Pricing in South Africa

Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro S Tronic: R698,000

Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro S Tronic Sport: R748,000

Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro S Tronic: R747,500

Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro S Tronic Sport: R797,500

SQ5 3.0 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: R1,044,000

 

Enquire about the new Audi Q5 and book a test drive at Audi Centurion here!

 

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Facelift

Mercedes-Benz S Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Facelift

The mac daddy of the large, luxury sedan segment has always been the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with its pioneering ways and exceptional comfort. Seatbelt pretensioners, airbags, ABS, EBD, voice recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, night vision cameras etc, were all seen on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class before almost any other vehicle and so it came as no surprise to us, then, when the current W222 generation S-Class blew its competition out of the water with innovations such as Active Body Control, which scans the undulations of the road ahead and adjusts the suspension accordingly, a 50% aluminium construction and seatbelt airbags for the rear seats.

Mercedes-Benz S Class

As with any vehicle, however, there is always room for improvement and as the world advances, so does vehicle technology. While changes to the W222 generations S-Class might not seem too drastic, there are certainly enough changes for us to stand up and take notice, so here are a few of the highlights!

An all-new engine range
Consisting of six and eight-cylinder motors, the new engines have been developed to allow for electrification of the powertrain. Six-cylinder diesel and petrol motors benefit from an in-line arrangement, much like you’ll find in a BMW, with impressive outputs across the board. The S450 produces 270 kW/500 N.m from electrified and turbocharged straight six petrol motor and the S400d will have an impressive 250 kW/700 N.m from its straight-six diesel motor – the most powerful diesel car motor in Mercedes-Benz’s history. The S560 has outputs of 345 kW/700 N.m from its all-new BiTurbo V8 petrol motor, and also makes use of cylinder deactivation to reduce consumption and emissions. A plug-in hybrid with a range of 50 km is on the cards, along with technology which we first saw from Audi in the form of a 48 volt electrical system.

Autonomous Driving
Somewhat of a buzz-word at the moment, autonomous driving is the bowl of pudding that every brand would like a spoonful of. Some are doing it better than others, but we can all rest assured that Mercedes-Benz are undoubtedly one of the brands, along with Volvo, who are at the forefront of this. Top-of-the-range S-Classes will benefit from ‘Intelligent Drive’ which works hand-in-hand with Distronic and Steering Assist to provide further assistance to the driver in maintaining a safe following distance and remaining within their lane. The system also adjusts vehicle speed ahead of intersections, traffic circles and bends.

Mercedes-Benz S Class

Multibeam LED
An update of Mercedes-Benz’s already brilliant adaptive headlight system, this allows for over 1 Lux of light to be transmitted over the road when conditions permit, providing a clear line of sight in low-light conditions for up to 650 metres. Surface Scan also works in conjunction with headlights, recognising road bumps and curve inclination.

Energizing Comfort Control
Perhaps a gimmick, this allows for the smell, climate control, seat massage and ambient lighting functions to be adjusted to suit your mood. I’d be intrigued to find out what angry smells like but alas, it isn’t one of the modes offered…

Mercedes-Benz S Class

Three torches of light
In top-spec models, in conjunction with the Multibeam LED headlight system, three torches of light make up an interesting design element within the headlight cluster. These are what we usually refer to as Daytime Running Lights or “DRL’s”.

Amongst all of these features, one can also expect visual changes such as enhanced bumpers and headlight clusters, a new steering wheel, different trim, wheel and paint options and different pricing. The updated S-Class goes on sale in South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The New KIA Picanto

KIA Picanto

New KIA Picanto Driven Review

To many, the big and burly Range Rover Sport SVR currently in my basement is the ideal “dream car” with its high driving position, head-turning looks and thunderous soundtrack to accompany all 405 of its force fed kilowatts. However, the idea of running around in it on a daily basis is somewhat terrifying when one considers the indicated 42 l/100km fuel consumption figure I managed between my apartment and the highway. That’s not a typo – 42, as in 21 + 21 ….

KIA Picanto

It is at this point then, that I start to hear the murmuring voice of sensible John in the back of my head, reminding me of usable power and practicality and realistic blah blah blah. The fact of the matter is this – YOU DO NOT NEED A RANGE ROVER FOR YOU AND YOUR GYM BAG!

This brings me to the KIA Picanto, the sensible bastion of all things small, frugal and good valuey. “You made that word up” shouts a font of knowledge in the background, and yes, I did, but it’s done as much harm as KIA has by packing sturdy build quality and appealing design into the all-new Picanto – none! From the not too radically different exterior design to the interior consisting of materials bordering on premium, the entire package is a master class in the sub-B Segment and proves that you don’t need to spend silly money on a stylish and “nice” car that will get you and some things from A to B, wherever those A and B might B.

KIA Picanto

Rather cleverly, we were forced (yes forced) to drive the previous generation KIA Picanto to Philadelphia (in the Cape amen) where we would then exchange the old for the new, a back-to-back comparison if you will. Immediately, it was noted that the tactile quality of everything has improved drastically. Add to this the impressive NVH( Noise, Vibration and Harshness Technology), especially for this segment, and mature road manners and what you have is, by far, the best car in its segment. Interestingly, it’s boot is just 1-litre smaller than that of the Hyundai Grand i10 which competes in the segment above, and KIA are hoping that with competitive pricing and the good old “bums in seats” principle, they are going to capture some of that larger B Segment.

The motor lineup remains unchanged with the 1.0-litre (49 kW/95 N.m) and 1.2-litre (61 kW/122 N.m) petrol motors still the only options, although some fettling and tweaking has been done to further improve what are already perfectly suitable motors. South Africa might be lucky enough to see a little turbo motor somewhere in this Picanto’s lifetime, too… The 1.0-litre variant wasn’t available on the launch, but the 1.2-litre 4-cylinder motor was more than capable of hauling the snazzy little KIA Picanto around the streets of Cape Town and around the Cape Countryside.

KIA Picanto

Pricing is hugely competitive (R134 995 – R195 995) and makes one wonder why some of the competitors have similarly priced or more expensive products with worse quality and specification, although KIA’s have always been known for their lovely standard spec offering.

Four models are on offer – Start, Street, Style and Smart, and the cheapest model still comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity and a driver’s airbag. No ABS, however…
Mid-range vehicles receive other wonderful luxuries such as ABS, electric windows and another airbag and those with not so much money but the urge to splurge get foldy mirrors, a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system, leather here and there and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, amongst others. There are also three automatic models, which can be had in Style trim with a 1.2-litre motor or 1.0-litre motor and Start trim with the 1.2-litre motor.

KIA Picanto Pricing in South Africa

Picanto 1.0 START Manual –    R134 995
Picanto 1.0 STREET Manual –  R149 995
Picanto 1.0 STYLE Manual –     R159 995
Picanto 1.0 STYLE Auto –          R172 995
Picanto 1.0 SMART Manual –   R179 995

Picanto 1.2 START Manual –   R150 995
Picanto 1.2 START Auto –        R163 995
Picanto 1.2 STREET Manual – R165 995
Picanto 1.2 STYLE Manual –    R175 995
Picanto 1.2 STYLE Auto –         R188 995
Picanto 1.2 SMART Manual –  R195 995

BMW 7 Series Edition 40 Jahre

BMW 7 Series Edition 40

BMW 7 Series Edition 40 Jahre

The number ‘7’ in the Bible represents perfection and wholeness. I’m sure when BMW first made the 7 Series 40 years ago, they took that into mind due to the fact that the 7 Series is what BMW calls perfection and have never faltered on that principle. Now fast forward 40 years ahead – BMW celebrates their iconic flagship car in making the BMW 7 Series 40 Year Edition and it is dripping with luxury, driving pleasure and innovation.

Let’s start with the innovation part. Over the years, BMW has assumed a pioneering role for technological innovations that ultimately enhance driving pleasure. To give a few examples: the first 12-cylinder engine in a German post war automobile (1987); the first integral navigation system in a European production car (1994); the premier of unrestricted internet usage inside a vehicle (2008) and more. With all these innovations, you would think BMW have a time machine and go back and forth in time stealing future designs to enhance the 7 Series.

“What does this car do differently then?” you might ask.

Well this 7 Series has laser light headlamps, which help increase the range of the headlamps to as far as 600 meters! In plain English, that is roughly 6 soccer fields put next to each other. Amazing!

The 40 Year Edition 7 Series will be available in South Africa exclusively as the M760Li xDrive derivative. It’s a car, then, for the ballers to climb in the back and recline and think about their millions and for the bodyguards to fight over who rides shotgun. 200 units have been made and South Africa is only receiving 5, the M aerodynamics package, high gloss Shadow Line and 20-inch light alloy wheels will come as standard.

BMW 7 Series Edition 40

To top all of this exclusivity off, it only comes in two colors: Petrol Mica metallic and Frozen Silver metallic. With various color combinations on their Full Merino fine-grain leather trim offered, you can only expect that the seats are more comfortable than your bed at 6am on a cold winter’s Monday morning. The fascia finishes are crafted from the finest wood to bring the luxury level to its optimum.

BMW 7 Series Edition 40 pricing in South Africa

Now, there are more options available but these will be released to the brave souls who can stomach the cost of this precious beast. Here in South Africa, the car will set you back some R3 085 900 and should be available in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Jaguar’s XJ Range updated and includes a 300 km/h performance model.

Jaguar XJR575

Jaguar updates its XJ Range in South Africa

The Jaguar XJ has been with us for quite some time now, but not many would notice this due to fact that it was mostly overshadowed by brand conscious consumers seeking the gratification of the Germans and their brands. This by no means meant it was terrible rubbish, in fact quite the opposite, as it took a quintessential British “Jaaag” like approach to the typical Luxury salon. The XJ was a far more than just an interesting prospect for the clean cut suit types that could afford the house-like pricing that it occupies.

After some time on the market, Jaguar has brought about the updated version with changes both to the dynamic elements, technological and safety updates.

Jaguar XJR575

 

The MY2018 model that will arrive later this year will feature changes to the infotainment system with a 10” touchscreen with high definition graphics and user interface, that when specced with the Touch Pro system offers door-to-door navigation, IOS and Android connectivity and 4G Wi-Fi connectivity.  The TFT instrument cluster now offers full-screen navigation and a customizable setup. Externally, the changes include full LED lighting and unique ‘double J-Blade signature’ day time running lights. The optional Black Pack offers enhanced exterior styling cues including blacked out grill and trim pieces. In the interest of luxury and offering the right product for varying consumers, the XJ is available in both Short and long wheel bases.

Jaguar XJR575

The overall safety in both passive and active assistance systems has also undergone some changes, with the addition of Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, Reverse Traffic Detection, Blind Spot Monitoring, 360-degree Camera Systems and semi-automated parking being added to the options. The All-surface Progress Control traction system has to be revised in the interest of keeping in times with technological advances, with the control of traction and throttle in slippery surfaces now becoming automated, requiring only directional inputs from the driver. Further assistance includes Forward Traffic Detection, Lane Keep Assist, and Driver Condition Monitoring, which is able to identify lapses in steering activity followed by sudden or excessive inputs from the driver.

Jaguar XJR575

XJR 575

The flagship performance model will be replaced with the more powerful XJR 575. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8’s power output having been enhanced to 423 kW and 700 N.m. These figures are enough to blast the XJ to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds and all the way to 300 km/h.  Available in just two bespoke SVO or Special Vehicle Operations colours, the XJR will be identifiable by the either blue or grey paint. Performance orientated enhancements include the rear spoiler, black front air intakes and side-skirts. The XJR 575 badging and twin bonnet louvres also help to remove from the image of the standard model and hint as to the vehicle’s sporting prowess. Standard fare are the 20” Farallon gloss-black wheels and red brake callipers with the interior receiving diamond quilted leather buckets, embossed with the 575 logos finished in the choice of either black or white.

Jaguar XJR575

Luxury, Premium Luxury, Portfolio, R-Sport, XJR 575 and Autobiography models will be powered by the same range of petrol supercharged V6 and V8 and engines with varying outputs and displacements. The 3.0-litre V6 will offer 250 kW, with the V8 offering either 375 kW or 423 kW in the XJR. Fans of the oil burner will have the option of a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, with 221 kW 700 N.m.

Alternatives

The XJ faces off with the highest standard in premium luxury sedans with the likes of the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8 providing stiff competition. The other less mainstream alternative is the Lexus LS460

Jaguar XJR575

Jaguar XJ Pricing in South Africa 

Prices start at R1.13 million and climb all the way to above the R2 million mark for LWB top spec models.

  • XJ Luxury – R1,132,300
  • XJ Premium Luxury – R1,627,500
  • XJ Portfolio – R1,925,400
  • XJ R-Sport – R1,854,500
  • XJR575 – R2,524,500
  • XJ Autobiography – R2,713,100