Tag: Car Reviews

The Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute – the Australia-American love child.

Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute

Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Driven Review

Fewer things scream “Merrrica” more so than the fabled V8 motor. Large, boisterous and incredibly charismatic, all combined with the warm fuzzy feeling you get inside, knowing that you have very angry and deaf neighbours. This is the stuff of petrolhead dreams, in theory at least. The enormity and thirst of a V8 in a country like South Africa is a rather silly notion to the average person. This primarily due to the underlying fact that at around R12.86 for a litre of 95 unleaded, it’s rather hefty on the pocket. More so if you have the joys of 16l/100 km while driving your noise machine around town. But nonetheless, the V8 is simple, uncomplicated and rather cool.

So what happens when you combine a 6.0-litre V8 shafted from a Corvette and another uncomplicated thing, the ute, or half-ton bakkie to you and I. This sounds like a rather ponderous mess, but GM didn’t think so when they introduced the Chevrolet Lumina SS UTE, as a performance variant that cost far less than the typical German alternatives. Years later, I have finally sampled this machine in its final SSV rendition and have managed to compile some rather interesting thoughts.

Interior

This is by no means the best element of the bruiser, as it does consist of materials found in far cheaper cars, but the list of standard features is comprehensive, like the standard touchscreen radio with iPod/USB/Mp3 and Sav nav. The two power leather buckets are rather well bolstered and the list of safety and convenience features is long and inclusive. Auto-lights and wipers, Cruise control, six-airbags and storage behind the two front seats.

Driving Impressions

The V8 Swansong is where this big-ol’ girl comes to life, even cruising around town, you are constantly reminded by this deep rumbling baritone of whats lurking under the bonnet. A generous 6.0-litres, good for 270 kW and 530 N.m, all of these horses driving just the rear wheels, and after much searching, in the configuration of the test car, a ‘stick shift’, enough for a 6.5 second robot dash and a rather un-bakkie like 240 km/h. When driving spiritedly, the Ute is incredibly accomplished, both as a bakkie and more so as a proper full-cream sports car. The V8 provides very linear and constant power all the way to the red line and doesn’t really feel like you are standing on a bomb that explodes and vomits power at your spine, but instead a sustained machine-gun fire, it’s still rather good at ‘killing you’ so to speak. Silly metaphors aside, It’s quick, period. The steering is good, but feels strangely numb and is not the greatest at communicating the direction of the tyres, but does the job fairly well.  The brake pedal did get a bit soft when really pressing on, even with the 335 mm Brembo vented-discs hidden under the 19-inch chrome drug-dealeresque wheels. Getting this car to behave is the tricky part, turning off the driver aids is like strapping yourself to the tail of an excitable shark, eager to turn around and show its digestive tract. The rear end skids about and powerslides are initiated at the slightest touch of the loud pedal and the sheer brutality of the torque lets you pin its giant haunches way out there in fantastic hero like slides. It’s a complete laugh, and you’ll marvel at the amount of fun you can have and just how quickly it humbles many a 2-seater sports car.

Final Thoughts

The SS Ute could only be a product of a country that really loves beer because simply it makes no sense what so ever. Two seats, a thunderous V8 and all in all, a bakkie that can take corners far too quickly for most and makes rather rubbish drivers like myself look like DK’san himself Keiichi Tsuchiya, in mammoth smokey skids. Realistically, I think this would grow tiring, because the best consumption figure I managed was a rather high 11 l/100 km on the freeway in top gear, and the owner tells me the rear tyres are down to the steel belting after a rather scary 40 000 kms. This is a silly car; it would cost you more money than an aggressive cocaine habit and is just as likely to kill you.

Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Pricing in South Africa

Early 5.7 models start from as little as R140 000 and range all the way up to R550 000 for the later facelifted  6.0 SSV.

 

The MINI Countryman Diesel Arrives in South Africa – We Drive It!

MINI Countryman Diesel Driven Review

The new MINI Countryman launched in South Africa earlier this year and TheMotorist team attended that launch, we even shot a video on it, and we were very impressed with how the Countryman had grown up.

Not just figuratively either, the New Mini Countryman is bigger, smarter and overall, much more family orientated. Historically in South Africa, all MINI variants, Countryman or otherwise, were only available in petrol derivatives. Well now that has all changed, with the introduction of the new MINI Countryman Diesel. There is better news, we managed to get behind the wheel of the Countryman D and find out what it is all about.

MINI Countryman Diesel

Is this a bold step for MINI? Maybe, but from where I was sitting, I think it is a very good step indeed. The MINI Countryman Diesel still possess everything the MINI brand is about, it not only looks ‘cool’ and has a great road presence, it also feels ‘cool’ as well. The interior features that typical MINI style with the large central interface with bold designs and colours, which is further emphasized through lighting effects. The technology is present as well with the MINI Connected system which enables the owner to access the vehicle’s location, its fuel level, how far it has been driven, and even send destinations to the navigation system, all from a mobile app.

This leads me onto one point I love about the MINI brand, whether you are a young singleton looking for a sporty 3-door hatch, or a growing family needing more space and size, you don’t need to compromise on style in exchange for practicability. In essence, the MINI Countryman has those same attractive elements, such as the young and hip feel which draws you to a MINI Hatch, just in a bigger package. Diesels don’t have to be boring, and the Countryman D is everything but.

MINI Countryman Diesel

As one would expect, when behind the wheel there are many similarities to the petrol variants of the Countryman, such as driving dynamics – it handles really well and has minimal body roll, but there is one big difference. The Countryman Diesel is so effortless to drive, it’s wonderfully quiet and quite noticeably smooth. It implores you to take it easy and dwell on the money saved thanks to it’s sipping of fuel – 4.0l/100kms to be exact.

Don’t get me wrong, it many certainly be able to handle itself like its petrol siblings, but this isn’t the MINI for a sporty or performance minded individual. It’s 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel produces 110 kW and 330 N.m and while these figures are decent, it is also a big car. There is a good kick of torque from pull off and in the lower RPM range which enabled decent in gear acceleration when cruising, something this car feels like it was built to do.There is little point of searching the higher RPM range of this car because little will be found, most of the power and torque is found lower down and the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which is a pleasure, makes great use of this.

MINI Countryman Diesel

The MINI Countryman Diesel does feature the various MINI driving modes, Green, Mid and Sport. The latter gives better throttle response, slightly sharper steering and a host of visual elements such as lighting and dials. Personally, I mostly enjoyed the Countryman Diesel in the Green mode, elements such as the throttle and steering are relaxed and even more fuel saving features are introduced such as a coasting feature which drops the transmission into neutral. My personal feeling is that this MINI is better suited for this mode, if we were driving a JCW on the other hand, that would be a different story.

Who best suits this MINI?

As you may know, the Countryman is a good option for young families and also buyers who are already in the MINI brand but are looking to size up for whatever reason, without losing the MINI Appeal.

This still stands with the MINI Countryman Diesel, the difference is that with for example, the Cooper S, there is always the option to have a spirited drive when the kids are not around. The Diesel does not give off that appeal, it’s  kind of sensible all the time. It would be a fantastic choice if you’re adventurous and love long coastal drives to Cape Town, or maybe you travel fair distances to work and want to reduce fuel costs, you could even possibly just prefer a diesel engine over a petrol. You can tick any of those boxes without having to choose the usual ‘boring car’. The MINI Countryman Diesel is your answer.

MINI Countryman Diesel

If, on the other hand, the Countryman makes plenty of sense with what it offers, but you still want to have a spirited weekend drive through the Midlands on the odd occasion, or you take fancy to exploring the higher rev ranges and driving pleasures that a petrol engine can offer, head for the Countryman Cooper S. If you want all of the above and more, the 171 kW Countryman John Cooper Works is also now available.

 

VW Golf R & GTD First Drive.

Golf GTD

Golf GTI’s older brother and new sibling driven

The GTI is and will always be the star of the show. The “Vrrrpah” phenomenon was started by this very vehicle. It’s quite peculiar then the actual flagship of the Golf range doesn’t have as much street cred as its younger sibling, to non-car folk. Heritage comes a long way and that’s something the GTI has as an advantage. Those three letters have been engrained in our hearts and minds from a young age. That being said, everyone respects the Golf R and what it represents – a four wheel drive hatchback that can stick with some interesting cars that are more powerful. The Golf R has been a success locally and South Africans will be happy to know that it too has been face-lifted, giving it a more pronounced look and sharper design. Although subtle, the entire refreshed Golf range makes you forget that the 7th generation has been with us for a while. Making us forget even further is the addition of a new variant, the GTD, a sporty diesel version that is loved overseas. Let’s take a look at what’s changed and most importantly answer the question, “Can a diesel Golf really be exciting?”.

Golf R

Golf R:  The looks and drive.

The Golf R has always looked menacing. The updated model now has a different LED light design in the front and rear, as well as a more “smiley” bumper construction. The added black gloss bits are a big differentiator between the old car and the new one. The overall look is pleasing but falls on the slightly softer side compared to the previous car. The wheel design has also been changed, making keen observers look twice as the vehicle drives by. On the inside we have a stunning optional infotainment system to play with, fitted with Navigation and Apple CarPlay. The mind has to get used to not having a volume knob but rather touch sensitive icons to adjust how loud your music is, something you’ll be doing a lot if your car is fitted with the DynAudio sound system. Another new feature is the Active Info Display which gives us a digital dashboard, something all new cars seem to be coming with recently. The most important feature for Golf R lovers is not the trimming but rather the engine. Power is up to 213kW from 206kW giving the car some added oomph and excitement. As much as the GTI is the star child, the R is in a different league in terms of performance. All its power is exploitable, giving the driver confidence that other cars can’t. Since it uses the 4Mototion system, it has no problem getting up to speed, so much so if you’re not careful, you’ll easily break the law without realising. Being a car that uses all four wheels when needed through a haldex system, the car provides massive amounts of grip. If you respect it around corners and don’t come into bends at ridiculous speeds, you can easily power out of corners aggressively without any drama. Overall the car is properly fast, safe and exciting whilst still maintaining a sense of composure about it.

VW GOLF GTD

Diesel hot-hatch, really?

Experiencing the GTD after the Golf R shocks the system at first. You almost need a palate cleanser to remove any expectations from the mind. When that is done, you can begin to appreciate what the GTD is, a diesel Golf with the GTI chassis. It only produces 130kW and 350N.m, but together the pairing is delightful. There is no DCC mode in the car so I can’t change from Comfort to Sport mode, it’s just a matter of sticking the DSG gearbox into Sport and riding the torque. On long stretches the GTD reacts like any old diesel, but it’s when things tighten up that you enjoy the constant boost. In town the power-train is also very useful, always ready to give you the torque when you want it. I can imagine the GTD being the car that is bought by the percentage of Golf buyers who previously owned a 2.0 TDI but wanted more. The appeal is understandable and the decision to bring it to SA soil is justifiable. A VW crazy country like ours will have a place for this car.

VW GOLF GTD

The recipe that works:   

At the end of the day what makes the Golf so popular is the fact that it’s not small. A young family can easily own a Golf and not feel compromised. The GTI has always fused two worlds together and the Golf R takes that fusion to another level. The GTD is a total spanner in the works as it has such a different appeal yet still manages to pull at the heart strings. The biggest issue people are faced with is the cost of new cars in general of late. With a sticker price of R507 700 for the GTD and R647 000 for the Golf R, these are not small amounts at all. Looking at the competition however, you’ll see similar figures. For many looking at a Golf R, the likes of a BMW M140i may be an option as well but it all boils down to preference in the end. Soon we’ll put the M140i and the Golf R head to head and weigh up what comes out on top. One thing is for sure, the Golf is a worthy rival, a car that punches way above its weight.

VW GOLF GTD

 

Golf R & Golf GTD Pricing in South Africa

VW Golf R: R647 000

VW Golf GTD: R507 700

Nissan Navara Driven Review in South Africa

Nissan Navara

Nissan Navara Driven Review

The South African double cab bakkie market is easily on of the most tightly contested vehicle segments in SA, with South Africans being one of the largest fans of the utilitarian aspects of being able to lug around nearing one tonne of payload and three times that via a tow hitch.  This has allowed the top contenders, in the form of the Ford Ranger and Toyota’s iconic Hilux to constantly shift in the realm of 3 000 units each month, both over 3 times that of the third and fourth placed Nissan Hardbody and Isuzu KB.

This is overall contrasted with tough economic times, that have resulted in the underlying fact that the utilitarian aspects come with the typical bakkie bouncy ride, noisy diesel motors and cramped rear seats that are not ideal traits for the every day, especially since the second daily small car is fast becoming a dream. The packages are improving in line with this shift to more of an everyday usage focused vehicle, but still hindered by the use of load-friendly leaf spring set up, in all but one – enter the new Nissan Navara. Understanding this fluid use of the vehicle that mainly encompasses traffic jams rather than the extreme off-road expedition, Nissan engineers have ditched the traditional bakkie setup for that of a more driver friendly multi-link coil over set-up.

This has set bakkie aficionado’s up in arms, with the general consensus being Nissan ruined the Navara. Admittedly after getting very well acquainted with the bakkie, I must share, that they have indeed ruined the Navara, ruined the choppy ride, ruined the rough engine and ruined the ‘old school’ feel of the bakkie, all gone and replaced with a modern cabin, and a versatile package. The Navara is incredibly good at the everyday ‘leisurely’ activity that is traffic, driving to and from work and even gravel roads. The ride is easily the best in class, better than even the exceedingly German VW Amarok.  

CABIN

The interior of the Navara is incredibly well-appointed with standard features on SE models including a touch screen Sat Nav system with CD player, AM/FM Radio, AUX, USB and Bluetooth connectivity with steering mounted audio controls. Top spec LE models get leather interior, electric & heated seats, keyless entry and start, reverse camera, rear PDC and LED daytime running lights.

Nissan Navara

The interior is upmarket and comfortable. It feels comparable to a premium SUV rather than a bakkie and offers very good space front and rear, the level of standard spec is really impressive and does a good job of helping you forget about the bakkie roots. It’s incredibly refined and cancels out wind noise, vibrations and harshness – easily class leading in this aspect

DRIVETRAIN

Powered by a twin-turbo 2.3-litre engine that has 140 kW and 450 N.m, it’s happiest when cruising along at freeway speeds. Overtaking power is good and the low down torque from 1 500-2 500 RPM offers incredible tractability and in town, builds speed very quickly with little effort. The only complaint is the noise when overtaking as the engine does get a little loud when pressing on, but this is a very small gripe. The claimed fuel consumption figure of 6.5 l/100km is rather optimistic with a best of 9.1 l/100km in the combined cycle being more realistic. The 7-speed Automatic is also smooth and feels like a good match to the engine, although some adjustment must be made when cruising as the gearbox will often gear down when accelerating with anything other than ¾ throttle, even when you don’t intend on such, likely more orientated to accommodate 3.5-ton towing capacity.

Nissan Navara

4X4 TOYS

The new Navara is again class leading in the approach and departure angles offering 33 degrees, on the former and  27.9 degrees the latter. Ground clearance sits at 226 mm, which is impressive but may be hampered by the standard side steps. Low range, diff-lock, and selectable 4WD are standard fair and the electrical goodies like hill ascent and descent control come with the territory.

The New Navara is an incredibly good bakkie and with a starting price for R514 900 for the Double Cab 2.3 SE, offers very good value for money for those not overly focused on the bakkie aspects of the vehicle.  The range will expand later to include other offerings but at this point, the pick of the bunch is the top spec 2.3 LE 4×4 Auto.

ALTERNATIVES

Top sellers in the form of the Ford Ranger in its 3.2TDCI D/Cab XLT 4×4 guise – R588 900 the 2.8GD-6 4×4 Raider AT Toyota Hilux – R576 400, are the most direct competitors, but the most “car like” offering and possibly the most direct comparison would be the VW Amarok D/Cab BiTdi 4Motion Highline Auto – R590 600, as it offers the most comfortable ride and most leisure orientated cabin .

 

Nissan Navara Pricing in South Africa

2.3 SE 4×2 ManualR514 900

2.3 LE 4X4 Manual  – R565 900

2.3 LE 4×4 AutoR584 900

 

More Innovation than an S-Class? All-New Audi A8 Released

Audi A8

New Audi A8 Released

Audi A8

Rewind to the advent of the big, luxury saloon and copious amounts of expensive and shiny or woody materials was the order of the day. With more chrome than Brakpan and more wood than Hot House, you certainly knew who was boss, riding in the back of his supercharged Mercedes-Benz or winged Cadillac. The focus then shifted to turning the back of your mini-limo into a mirror image of your lounge, not the greatest idea in the velour-crazed 70’s where brown was considered to be chic. Sies. Say what you will, however, because despite the questionable taste and thirsty engines required to lug your lounge around, the segment continued to soldier on with executives flocking like sheep to the voluptuous comfort of their S-Classes, 7-Series’, LS’ and later on, Audi A8’s.

The S-Class was always the king of CoriCraft in your car, with a good smattering of safety and innovation to remain current, but it would seem, in recent years, that Audi has now taken the baton from Mercedes-Benz in the innovation race, with the segment now overtaking your living room as a whole, exhibiting more technology than you will ever need in the comfort of your home.

Take the previous generation Audi A8, for example, while it may have looked like an elongated A4, it was one of the first cars to feature a high-speed fibre-optic data network connecting multiple data processors and was also the first vehicle top feature a static adaptive front lighting system – in 2002! It also featured fingerprint recognition, snazzy pop-up B&O speakers in the dash and received adaptive cruise control in 2007. And if that wasn’t enough for you, you could even have it with a Lamborghini derived all-aluminium V10 in the form of the Audi S8.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!

Audi A8
The current generation features noise cancelling in the cabin, which obviously wowed the world, so if that was anything to go by, the all-new Audi A8, unveiled today at the Audi Summit, will take the fight straight to its competitors with some serious tech. We actually know this, already, with Audi saying that this new (D5) generation features artificial intelligence and is the first production car in the world to have been developed for “highly automated driving.” It also has matrix reading lights. Yes, you read that correctly – you can adjust the brightness, size and position of your reading light in the rear seat!

Audi A8

Another first for Audi, the new A8 features Audi AI active suspension which works in a similar way to Mercedes-Benz’s ABC (Active Body Control) making use of a forward facing camera to read the road ahead before increasing or reducing the load individually on all four of the wheels. In the event of a side impact, this system is also able to raise the body on the side of the impact by up to 80 mm within 0.5 seconds, thus exposing an even more resistant part of the body to the impact zone, clever…

Other notable features include Audi’s 48 v electrical system across the range – making all derivatives “mild hybrids”, capable of coasting along without the use of the combustion engine for up to 40 km. – active noise cancellation, 4-wheel steering and one of the most advanced lighting systems ever seen on a motor vehicle.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!
Audi A8

Powering the Audi A8 is a range of 6 powertrains, two 3.0-litre motors, a TDI (210 kW) and TFSI (250 kW), two 4.0-litre units, a TDI (320 kW) and TFSI (338 kW), a twin-turbocharged W12 unit in the A8 L (430 kW) and a plug-in-hybrid featuring the 3.0-litre TFSI unit and an electric motor, integrated into the gearbox with its own clutch, which produce a combined 330 kW and 700 N.m.

Audi A8

Audi A8 Pricing in South Africa


With no word yet on which derivatives we’ll be receiving, expect to see the all-new Audi A8 on South African roads within the next year or so with pricing likely to start just below R2 000 000.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!

A BMW M4 for everybody: Which is best for you?

A BMW M4 for everybody: Which of the many variants is best for you?

BMW M4 GTS INTERIOR

Times have changed in the BMW M stable. Previously, when it came to the M3, things were simple, if you wanted one of these cars, you had three choices – a coupe, a sedan and a convertible. After a few years, there was a facelift and everybody carried on with their lives. Now however, if you want a sedan, you can get still get an M3 but if you want a coupe, this is where things have become rather confusing. It all started with the BMW M4, a deliciously good looking car that feels and sounds like a wild animal with bronchitis. Yes, the M4 is very good and those who don’t like it are strange. In the years since its launch, we’ve been presented with the standard car, a Competiton Package, a GTS, a DTM Champion Edition and launching locally later this year, a CS variant. As much as we like all things M4, the question does come to one’s mind, “are there too many variants of this car?”

Before you say anything, we know both the GTS and the DTM Champion Edition are cars that are technically unavailable because BMW has sold them all. That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy them though, you just need to have more money than brains to purchase one of these at the prices that used car dealers are asking for them. Since we at TheMotorist have driven every variant of this car, bar the upcoming CS, we’re going to give a breakdown of each car, should your mind be frazzled as to which one to get…

 

Standard M4

This is the car that started it all. It somewhat paid homage to the E46 M3 with its Austin Yellow paintwork that looked very similar to the Phoenix Yellow we loved to hate. This car was the first M car in the M3/M4 lineage to feature turbocharging. What a difference it made in performance noise because as fast as it was, it didn’t sing the way the E90/E92 did. Soon, people got over that and focused on the fact that they had 317 kW/550 N.m at their disposal. The M4, however, was unlike the E92 in terms of power delivery.

The previous model allowed you to take chances due to its power band climaxing at higher revs, whereas the F82 gave you everything down low. As a result, you had a razor sharp chassis with an engine that was ready to bite if you didn’t give it the respect it deserves. The “on edge” persona the new BMW M4 has, has caused people to love and respect the car. Put simply, the standard car is enough vehicle for most and can tend to be too much car for the inexperienced.

BMW M4 Engine

 

BMW M4 Competition Package

The “Comp Pack” is essentially the same car as the standard M4, with more power and better-looking wheels. By the time this car was released, the GTS is a car we had come to know. The CP has a wheel design similar to that of the GTS but in a single colour, unlike the GTS which has gold bits on the wheel design. Most importantly, the 331 kW the CP delivers may be a cause for concern for those who had perhaps not gotten used to the standard M’s snappy nature. Surprisingly, driving the CP wasn’t as scary as one imagined. Yes, the added power means you can further irritate Porsche’s but, the larger wheels seem to have lessened the “I’m just going to over-steer now” antics we expected. In fact, the CP’s setup gives you more confidence to explore the performance of the M4 as it feels slightly more sure-footed. This is our personal favourite of the lot.

BMW M4 Competition Package

 

BMW M4 GTS

The “matte grey monster”. Firstly as a 5ft 7 inch person, one feels like an infant in a GTS because the racing bucket seats are at the lowest setting possible. Yes looking at the car may have given you goosebumps or caused you to cringe as feelings on its aesthetics were either hot or cold. Sitting in it, however, was a different experience altogether. The gold roll cage behind you for starters means you can only have one friend drive with you. The seats only go forwards and backwards and the doors open by way of a length of “string” with M colours on it. The car has been stripped to be lighter but thankfully you still have a radio in it. This car does a good job at disappearing into the sunset as it features 368 kW/600 N.m. The way it does that is impressive, but dynamically it’s a different story to a standard M4 or even the CP. The added aero and steering setup makes for a very fast front end so turn in is quicker than expected. Front end grip is also great, but that rear end will light up faster than a chain-smoker in an open area.

The wild nature of the standard M4 is further amplified in this car, which makes it exciting but scary to manhandle. Water injection featured on this car and other performance tweaks make this the wildest M4 you can get. Again, as much as you can’t buy one of these new anymore, there are a few available selling for around R3 million, making this the M4 you want if you have money to burn.BMW M4 GTS

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

The M4 DTM Champion Edition is the M4 you want if the matte and gold combination is not for you. In essence, this car and the GTS are identical in terms of power, with the only difference being the added aero. The DTM features a smaller rear wing and does without the front splitter you get in the M4 GTS. Handling differences are negligible between the two, with only the most highly skilled of drivers able to specifically pinpoint major differences. All in all, the white paintwork with BMW M colours on the body look better than the GTS’s “out there” design in our opinion. In terms of pricing, the DTM is in the same bracket as the GTS, although fewer examples of these came into South Africa, meaning that you should pay slightly more if you really want one.

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

 

BMW M4 CS

The upcoming M4 CS is another limited edition model aimed to fit in between the Competition Package and the GTS. It will feature around 340 kW/600 N.m, slightly less than the GTS and slightly more than the CP. Unlike the GTS which is a car meant for the track, the CS is aimed at the road, with a non-adjustable rear splitter and rear seats, allowing for your little ones to join in on the fun. So this variant is for the buyer who wants the most performance you can get out of an M4, whilst still retaining certain creature comforts like four seats.

BMW M4

All in all, we have to admit that BMW has given us many M4’s to choose from. These choices are good but they do border on being too much. Nothing can take anything away from a standard M4 and its credentials. Bang for buck, we feel the M4 Competition Package offers the most value for money. The CS will probably be great but that extra power and exclusivity will come at a price. The DTM and GTS are for collectors who can’t stand to not have those special editions parked in their garage. For that customer, money is no object, then again anyone who can afford an M4 not exactly on a tight budget.  

 

 

All the car you will ever need? Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross-Country

Volvo V90 Cross-Country Driven Review

As motoring journalists, we occasionally come across vehicles which we like to describe as being “all the car you’ll ever need” but this is a bit silly if you actually stop and ponder for a moment… Sure, if you’re a lifeguard, a flip flop could be all the shoe you ever need, but the same cannot be said if you own a racing school or climb Everest for “fun”. Inversely, should your chosen profession be either scubadiving or bird stalking, those brogues won’t be quite the same fit for you as they would a lawyer. You get the jist of what I’m trying to say – different occasions and different motorists call for different vehicles, despite the wide breadth of capability most modern cars possess, yet none in my recent memory has a set of skills quite as varied as the Volvo V90 Cross Country’s.

Volvo V90 Cross-Country

Dare I say it, it’s all the car you’ll ever need, I promise. From its swanky side profile to sumptuous interior, there is not a single smidgen of the V90 Cross Country that doesn’t ooze Swedish individualism and left-of-field boldness. Its front profile mimics that of it’s S90 and V90 siblings, albeit a bit raised and covered in rugged black plastic for that “I can go off road a bit” look. It’s all very handsome and smart and it isn’t just for show either, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

To test just how well it stands out while fitting in, I decided to take it on a little family roadtrip down to the Natal Midlands for the annual Range Rover, GLS, S-Class and 7-Series get together, otherwise known as the Hilton Michaelhouse rugby match. Here, mere 5 Series’ and E-Classes are way out of their depth and blend in like kitka on the kosher shelf with the odd Ghibli and Quattroporte even disappearing in the crowd. 

Volvo V90 Cross-Country
You can imagine my surprise then, when I became somewhat of a traffic jam spectacle upon arriving at the school gates, flanked by a Range Rover L and a G500. There’s something about Thomas Ingenlath’s pencilwork that just turns heads and makes one realise just how integral this man has been to Volvo’s recent onslaught on the Germans. Luckily, then, the V90 Cross Country is not all good looks and flaccid performance…

On the five and a half hour drive from Johannesburg, Pilot Assist did most of the work, only really requiring my steering input through the twisties of Van Reenen’s Pass. With 171 kW and 480 N.m from its 2.0-litre diesel motor, overtaking was a breeze, even with the added weight of 4 Whittles and their luggage for 5 days (that’s a lot of luggage). With an indicated range of over 1 000 km on a single 60 litre tank, it’s frugal too, managing to return an average of 6.1 l/100km on the trip there. NVH levels are superb to the point where highway speeds feel glacial and wind noise but a myth. The optional Bowers & Wilkins speaker system handled the obligatory roadtrip playlist with aplomb and even elicited praise from mum and dad who insisted on throwing a bit of Cat Stevens into the mix, tasty.

Flashy celeb and superb cruiser, what else is the V90 Cross Country good at? Well, anyone who’s ever been to the Midlands will know that the Midlands Meander does just that, it meanders. The twisty roads make for some exciting driving and again, the V90 just took it in its stride. Wiggle the Driving Mode selector into ‘Performance’ mode and you are presented with firmer damping, slightly heavier steering, but not too heavy like some of its competitors, and sharpened throttle response. Here is where Volvo’s Powerpulse system really shines, eliminating turbo lag and providing punchy torque so very low down on the rev range. Who would have ever thought that a Volvo Cross Country station wagon could bring a smile to a brisk driver’s face? 

Volvo V90 Cross-Country
And so, having wowed us all with its performance, presence, frugality and prowess, the only task left would be to explore the mushy fields of the Natal Midlands. For the high-speed dirt roads with a speed limit of 70 km/h, comfort mode has to be engaged but it does such a sterling job of soaking up vibrations and bumps. One can feel the Haldex AWD system doing its bit too, transferring torque to the relevant places in order to keep the car on the road. 

Once you leave the road, though, ‘off-road’ mode really impresses, raising the ride height as and when necessary and decreasing throttle sensitivity, allowing for precise manoeuvring of this 5-metre long wagon. 

It goes without saying that the V90 Cross Country benefits from Volvo’s vast array of safety features, including pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control as standard features across the range.

Volvo V90 Cross-Country Pricing in South Africa

Pricing is below and considering it currently has no direct competitors in its segment, these numbers sit very nicely between potential competitors, above and below, such as Mercedes-Benz’s GLC (R676 622 – R875 986) and BMW’s X5 (R991 664 – R1 322 256).

 

So, all the car you’ll ever need? Probably…

Volvo V90 Cross Country D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum           R804 752

Volvo V90 Cross Country D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription            R835 152

Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 Geartronic AWD Momentum            R850 066

Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 Geartronic AWD Inscription             R880 466

Volvo V90 Cross Country T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum             R784 186

Volvo V90 Cross Country T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription              R814 586

Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Geartronic AWD Momentum              R906 184

Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription                R936 584

 

 

The Widow Maker has returned: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The Porsche 911 GT2 RS Has Arrived

The most powerful, street-legal Porsche ever – This is a title which has been associated with the Porsche 911 GT2 RS for many years. Its rear wheel drive setup along with the same twin-turbo engine found in the 911 Turbo has earned this car a more infamous title, “the widow maker”.

It has been over six years since Porsche released their last 911 GT2 RS, with many thinking that there would never be another new model. Over the last year there has been more and more evidence towards the idea that Porsche will release another widow maker. Finally, the 991.2 911 GT3’s big brother has arrived.

The Specs

This is the part that most people are interested in, and you will be happy to know that the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS retains its title as the most powerful, street-legal Porsche ever.

It produces a staggering 515 kW (700 bhp) and 750 Nm of Torque, which as you can imagine, delivers a very fast 0 – 100 km/h time of 2.7 seconds. Take this with a pinch of salt, as we all know that Porsche underestimates their performance figures.

As previously mentioned, the 911 GT2 RS uses the same engine found in the 911 Turbo S; the difference being is that the GT2 uses bigger turbochargers, along with an additional cooling system which sprays water on the inter-coolers when the intake air reaches a certain temperature.

Chassis

Along with these accentuated performance figures comes a chassis that can handle it. The GT2 features rear wheel steering, ultra high-performance tyres, aggressive aero as seen with the mighty rear wing and Carbon Ceramic brakes as standard. One will also find many carbon fibre bits and pieces on the exterior and interior of this beast, to keep its weight down.

Even further weight reduction can be introduced with the optional Weissach package, which saves around 30kgs. To achieve this, large elements of the car are replaced with more carbon fibre parts, such as the roof and anti-roll bars. Another big chunk of this weight saving comes from the forged magnesium wheels included in this package, will also improve unsprung weight which comes with its own benefits.

Regarding safety, the 911 GT2 RS does feature a two stage Traction Control system which is tuned for “ spirited driving”. After-all, It doesn’t have the nickname “Widow Maker” for no reason.

The Porsche 911 GT2 RS has always been an extreme, exciting road going race car, and the new 2018 model is no different. Personally, I am a big fan of Porsche, especially the GT range and it is awesome to see the GT2 RS back. A big shout out to them for creating cars like this and keeping the passion in the automotive world strong. If you are lucky enough to own one of these beauties, enjoy it, but just make sure you know how to drive.

Experience the 911 GT2 RS in greater detail here.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS Pricing in South Africa

Pricing for the GT2 RS starts at R4 411 000, with a three-year Porsche Drive plan. Delivery should begin in 2018.

On the road fees – Do you REALLY need to pay them?

VW Polo R Line in South Africa

Buyers Advice: On the road fees

You’re at one of the last stages of your deal. You’ve picked the colour, options and the finance plan. The deal has now been invoiced and the sales person prints out an “Offer To Purchase” document. This document tells you the relevant information about your car and how the deal is structured. It works as an official way for you to commit to the dealership to say “I want to buy your car”. As you look through all the details, you see a section entitled “On The Road” with a figure on it. Generally this figure can vary between R2500.00 up to R5000.00. When you ask the sales person what this is he, gives you a whole shpeel about how it’s an amount all dealerships charge clients when they buy a new car. Is this true? Sadly yes and we’ll explain why.

VW Polo R Line in South Africa

A dealership is made up of different departments. Sales, service and parts. All these departments act as separate business but still work together to give the consumer a one-stop shop for all your vehicle needs. When your new car comes from the factory, it doesn’t work. The car is in what they call “transport mode”. In this mode, there are components on the suspension to make it easy for it to be off-loaded on a truck, there are covers on the seats and the electronics aren’t fully functional. Your car is in the same state your TV is when it’s still in the box. Unlike your TV though, to make the car work, more is needed than a owner’s manual and a screw driver. Trained technicians and expensive software is used to get your car showroom ready. The workshop is the department entrusted to handle this and once their done waking your car up from its slumber, they charge the new car department a fee for this service. This fee is then added to the sale of your car, hence why it’s called “On The Road”, because it ensures that your car is ready to be used.

Hybrid MINI: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Is there a way for the dealership to waive this fee?

It depends on how the deal is structured. If you’ve been given a discount on the deal, chances are that you’ll be paying this fee. If you haven’t been given any discount, the sales person could waive this fee and take it off the profit that will be made from this deal. Remember that dealerships work on margins, so if the car you’re buying is expensive, there is a bigger chance of them opting not to charge you this since there is a profit to work with. If you’re buying a cheapy though and you can see that the poor sales person is banking on this deal to eat, you’ll probably have to pay it.

 

Content originally posted on www.motorbrokers.co.za

The BMW 1M Coupe – Sheer Driving Pleasure personified.

BMW 1M Coupe

The BMW 1M Coupe Driven

BMW 1M Coupe

The Year was 2011 and the M-division boffins with the assistance of their rather expansive parts bin, saw it fit to introduce the most bonkers 1 Series ever, the BMW 1M Coupe. Now keen enthusiasts will note the backwards name, primarily due to the existence of the M1. The M1 was the 1970’s, Lamborghini and BMW collaborative effort at a supercar. It was Genesis and the daddy of the M-car movement.

Although they may not share this sacred name nor function as this is no homologation special, the 1M is more than fitting a candidate to behold the M badge. This entry into ‘Fast BMW’ history books is arguably one of the best yet – a disarray of old M3’s, in the form of a 6-speed manual and Rear end from the E90. A breathed on version of the again defunct N54 Twin-turbo engine and a rather boy-racer wide body kit, courtesy of the 55mm added to the track and a set of huge 19-inch wheels on super sticky rubber that filled the arches. Finished in Alpine White, Black or the rather bright “Sunburst Orange”, It sounded like the modern equivalent of the 2004 BMW M3 CSL – a lightweight, mega fast, mega fun car for attacking mountain passes. Much like the CSL, the 1M came in very limited numbers with only 64 reaching our sunny Republic, but more to the point, it took the then standard benchmark drivers cars and blow them out the water, with a package that left the likes of the Porsche Cayman R with a bloody nose – all with room for the monthly shop and small humans in the back.

BMW 1M Coupe

Numbers

Part of the 1M’s charisma is the significant focus on the basic formula for M car trickery. A sizable engine with numbers to match – 3.0-litres packing 250 kW and 450 N.m, 500 N.m on over-boost. Coupled with a lightweight short wheel base, rear wheel drive, 6-forward ratios, 3 pedals were figures of 4.1 seconds to 100 km/h and 250km/h. Not to mention the 50:50 weight distribution and the trick M Dynamic differential.

Driving the 1M Coupe

The leisurely beginnings to my drive began with the city- stop start traffic and the drooling faces of the many that understand the rarity of the little motor. The car is very compliant and handles our rough roads rather well, dare I say the ride is good. So too is the in-town fuel consumption, managing to sip an indicated 9.0 l/100 when behaving. The cabin is a comfortable place that’s well-appointed and has many of the amenities you’d expect from a luxury car but the only feature that soon grew of importance was the ‘M’ button on the Alcantara steering wheel.

BMW 1M Coupe

This transports you directly into the world of M car power games. The traction control is backed off to allow for some fun and the ride firmed up. The car is immense, and within the first corner it became abundantly clear that this was a seriously quick car, the shove is relentless and the acceleration suggests to a lot more than 250 kW, it’s properly rapid and this rapidness is not something that is lost in the corners with the initial entry into them being direct and precise and a clear understanding of the front wheels being communicated. The car feels so light and neutral no understeer nor oversteer, just pick a line and it pulls you through. The car is extremely confidence inspiring and has a strong sense of surety. The frankly insane corning speed is rather hard to understand, as this car seems to bend the laws of physics. The short wheelbase and big power do mean when you push a bit too hard, the rear can catch you out but it’s very predictable and can be caught rather easily. The fun aspect is huge it’s upsettingly quick, so quick that even the bright green, 2 wheeled playmates I had developed struggled to shake the BMW 1M through the corners. This thing is epic! The MDM rear diff is really rather good and will lock up the rear wheels for huge slides and the cornering balance and smooth power lets you pin the rear end out there like a vestigial limb.

BMW 1M Coupe

The 1M is challenging, sharp and very demanding of the driver, it’s also one of the best cars I’ve ever driven and possibly the hardest to review as it’s so engaging one forgets about consumerism and takes on the façade of a Bruno Spengler wrestling it around a track, it’s rather brilliant! Easily the best driver’s car, and a car that would get you into a lot of trouble. A thought that came over me when I realised how far I had driven away from the city and how quickly I had covered that distance

 

BMW 1M Price in South Africa

Pricing these days still around R800 000, it still demands a R300k premium over the original asking price, for a 6-year-old car, nut as they are few and far between and one of the best cars ever to birthed by the M-division if you have a spare R800k, buy two!

 

Khanye Ngwenya

Junior Writer