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Limited Edition Fx4 Ford Ranger in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 has been added to the South African range.

There’s a new version of the Ford Ranger and Ford describe it as “stunning.” Describing your new product as “stunning” is much the same as when a restaurant describes a dessert as being “delicious” on their own menu. I will be the judge of that, thank you very much!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say “stunning” but it is quite nice. And it’s certainly striking. Based on the Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab 4×4, the Fx4 receives a number of visual only enhancements, as well as Ford’s latest SYNC 3 Navigation and infotainment system. The Ranger is arguably the benchmark in its segment with its “car-like” demeanour – its comfortable, refined and really is the kind of bakkie one can drive every day, in comfort.

Apparently the Fx4 nomenclature has something to do with the F-Series pickups in the US, but that’s about as far as the similarities go – Americans would consider this rather large vehicle a bit of a joke if parked up next to an F-250.

More specifically, the Fx4 gets black finishes for the grille, fog lamp surrounds, exterior mirrors, roof rails and door handles. The side steps, rear bumper and sports bar come in Panther black which should all go nicely with the aftermarket “Raptor” look-alike grille the Fx4’s owners will almost certainly fit the moment they take delivery, as most Ranger owners do.

Interesting side note – there have actually been reports of these “Raptor” grilles causing engine cooling issues on Ranger models. Not surprising, however, as these modifications are not OEM items and as such were likely never tested further than fitment, because they look kiff, bru.  

The Ranger Fx4 is available in just four colours – Panther Black, Moondust Silver, Sea Grey and Frozen White and can be had with either an automatic or manual transmission.

Pricing is R593 900 for the manual and R608 900 for the automatic. Both come standard with a 4 year/ 120 00km warranty and 5 year/100 000km service plan with 3 years/ unlimited km roadside assistance.

Stunning? Perhaps not. Relatively good value for money and a stealthy version of the best bakkie you can buy? More likely.

 

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A Seven Year Project: Pagani Huayra Roadster

Give Horacio Pagani a wand and a robe and one could be forgiven for thinking that he is in fact a magical professor – what with his curvaceous silver locks and chiselled visage, he really does fit the role of Snape’s vertically challenged brother. However, with the unveiling of the Huayra Roadster, I am starting to question his muggleness more than ever…

Nothing could have quite prepared anybody for the sheer pornography that is the Huayra Roadster – from its squared off face to swishy bits above the taillights, it is a completely different box of frogs to the Huayra Coupe and that wasn’t exactly a Gremlin either.

Horacio himself recently described this project as having been the most difficult they have ever worked on, a statement which makes complete sense once you delve into what went into this work of art.

The project began in 2010 with the simple idea of creating a Huayra without a roof. Three years later, all the design work was scrapped and they began from scratch with the goal of creating a vehicle lighter than the Coupe still in mind.

Power comes from the M158 Twin Turbo V12 from Mercedes-AMG, built especially for Pagani and producing an immense 592 kW and over 1000 N.m from its 6.0-litres. All that torque is available, too, from just 2 400 RPM. This allows the Roadster to sprint to 100 km/h in under 3 seconds, obviously a relevant figure…

This power is fed through a new single-clutch automated manual transmission developed for the Huayra BC and while not as immediate as its double-clutch counterparts, its lightweight construction offsets the slower shift time allowing a better power-to-weight ratio than if a double-clutch unit were to be used. The gearbox is also mounted transversely which reduces the polar inertia of the vehicle, just in case you were wondering.

Most impressive, however, is that the Roadster is some 25% lighter than the Coupe, yet 50% more rigid. A feat like this is almost unheard of in the automotive sphere, especially when one considers just how wiggly a car becomes when its roof is removed.

Other highlights include special Pirelli tyres with Horacio’s initials on them (how ostentatious) new carbon-ceramic brakes, a new ESP system and two roofs – one a glass and carbon-fibre jobby which only fits into one orifice in the vehicle – the one above your head – and the other a tent which can quickly be erected in the event of sudden moisture.

Only 100 will be made and they have all been sold for a ridiculous outlay of $2.8 million Dollars.  I now urge you to zoom into these images and ogle at the attention to detail that has gone into this vehicle.

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The Latest Porsche 911’S receive the GTS touch.

The first ever Porsche Carrera GTS  was born in 1964, when Baron Antonio Pucci and Colin Davis won the famous Targa Florio race, spending over seven hours driving at the absolute limit. To win a race like this, a car needed to have the performance characteristics to succeed, but also the safety and comfort features for a driver to concentrate under such an environment.

Today, the GTS or Grand Turismo Sport Porsche, now represents a sportier driving experience. The GTS variant provides a more aggressive look and racier trimmings with an increase in power.

A few days ago, Porsche announced the latest GTS models to the 911 range. The Carrera, Carrera 4 Coupe and Cabriolet variants as well as the Targa 4, all have the privilege of the donning GTS badge.

What is the Difference?

All GTS models will feature more power, 355 kW or 450 BHP to be precise. This is 22kW/30BHP more than the 911 Carrera S. Along with the increase in horsepower, the car also has an increase in torque, with the GTS providing an extra 48Nm, bringing the total to 526Nm. This extra power enables GTS models to hit 100kph in under 3.5 seconds with PDK.

Further to this, PASM – Porsche Active Suspension System in standard on all GTS models. Apart from the performance benefits, PASM also lowers the ride height by 10mm to add to the GTS’ extra sportiness.

Exterior

A GTS model would not be complete without the exterior elements. A black front-end spoiler lip, tinted rear taillights, rear grille strips in Satin Black and Gloss Black and different rear exhaust tips, separate a GTS model from the other 911 variants in the range. That’s not all; a GTS model also features 20 inch Black Satin Wheels, Sport Design mirrors and black GTS badges to complete the aesthetic appearance. On Targa models, the Targa bar is also finished Black Satin for the first time. It is also worth noting that the rear spoiler on GTS models now extends further, to provide aerodynamic benefits.

The attention to detail on the new GTS models go way beyond than before. A light or dark trim strip is present between the taillights to differentiate between rear wheel drive or all wheel drive models.  Rear wheel drive variants feature the dark strip and all wheel drive has the light strip.

Interior

On the GTS, sports seats are standard with a combination of Alcantara and leather. This follows through with the rest of the interior, as the steering wheel is also finished in Alcantara, along with the gear lever and armrest. Anodised black brushed aluminium also plays a role in the interior design. Standard on the GTS is the Sport Chrono Package, with the stopwatch present on the middle of dashboard of the GTS’ interior.

Overall

In our opinion, the new 911 GTS variants look fantastic. The additional black elements are subtle, and the vehicle looks very sleek and clean in its appearance. As subtle as these changes may be, they give the model an extra edge over the other 911 models. The same follows through with the changes on the interior, it’s subtle, classy and beautifully finished off with a deep red tachometer. The “average joe” may look at this car and not realise what variant of 911 this is, but this car is not for the “average joe”. It’s understated as most Porche’s are, but for those aficionados who know what this model is about, they will understand what the GTS represents and will be able to pick it out from the rest of the range. Those who own the standard 911 may consider contacting their dealers soon before many models hit the streets, because as the old adage goes “jealousy makes you nasty”.

Pricing on a 911 GTS is as follows:

911 CARRERA GTS: R1.695.000

911CARRERA GTS CABRIOLET: R1.842.000

911 CARRERA 4 GTS: R1.820.000

911 CARRERA 4 GTS CABRIOLET: R1.966.000

911 TARGA 4 GTS: R1.966.000

 

 

All New Mitshubishi Triton.

I only have great memories of the Mitsubishi Triton. A while back, when living in the UK as a 17-year-old motorsport student, my father owned one. In England, the model is known as the L200. Ours was the Raging Bull Edition; it featured bright red paint, lots of chrome and Raging Bull embroidery on the door panels and seats.

My driving progressed quite a bit during the process of my father owning that vehicle. I went from learning to drive, to “ drifting “ it around roundabouts ( traffic Circles) with my college mates in the back during lunch time.  Take “drift” with a pinch of salt, although the rear would come loose when RWD was selected. This shenanigans stopped after the front wheels went sliding with the rear on one occasion, lamp-posts became too close for comfort that day. We came very close to losing it, but never did.

Why am I telling you this story? Well, Mitsubishi has recently released a newly designed Triton, and reading up on the specs threw me back to 2009. The all new Triton features visual changes from all angles and although I like the updated tailgate, the front end of the Triton has yet to appeal to me, maybe this will change with time.

Tech and Interior

The new Triton comes with a nice standard spec list, which includes features such as Touch Screen Infotainment and Keyless Stop/Start system. Further to this, you can accept cruise control, dual-zone air-conditioning, reverse camera and leather interior. These are nice, but for the price of the new Triton, its expected as other manufactures operating in the same market offer the same.

Mitsubishi have aimed to give more space to the interior cabin by extending it by 20mm and improving shoulder room in the front and rear. Further to this they have also incorporated a higher density foam to increase seat comfort on long distance drives.

Drivetrain

The changes don’t stop there; a new 2.4 MIVEC Diesel engine has been introduced, producing 133kw and 430Nm. Mitsubishi states that the engine weights 30kg less thanks to features such as an all aluminium block. It also provides much less vibration due to new mounting points. They also state that an upgraded turbocharger provides faster spooling and in conjunction with a lower compression ratio, aids a more responsive torque delivery.

Power delivery will be provided through either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, with the choice of 4WD or 2WD (Drift mode). For the 4WD, power is delivered as a 40:60 split rather than the conventional 50:50 method. This apparently has many benefits, especially on gravel, which will be interesting to test.

The new Triton also has an improved power steering system, providing 3.8 turns of the wheel lock to lock, compared to the 4.3 turns of the previous model.

 

Models and Price

Fancy one? Four double cab models in 4×2 and 4×4 variants are available immediately, with either a manual or automatic gearbox. Other models will be available at a later date.  Prices are as follows:

Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 Di-D 4×2 (man) – R479 900

Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 Di-D 4×2 (auto) – R499 900

Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 Di-D 4×4 (man) – R539 900

Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 Di-D 4×4 (auto) – R559 900

Good Made Better: Audi’s New A3 Range Updated

Good made better: Audi’s new A3 range updated.

If you stood next to the first generation Audi A3, you would be shocked to know that it was introduced to the market nearly twenty years ago. Yes, it’s been almost two decades, and it’s been an excellent run for the brand. Locally, a total 51 400 units have seen themselves into the homes of new owners. The car has also grown from the simple days of the 90’s to a very refined product. The A3’s refinement has been its major selling point for years now. With competitor brands marketing a more sporty persona and others selling a more “people’s car”, the Audi has always retained a certain level of class. That class though has often made the brand seem a bit blander compared to similar products. For those who have driven Audi’s though, they tend to stick with the brand for a very long time. The question is why?

We had the opportunity to answer that question for ourselves when we were reacquainted with the latest iteration of the A3 hatchback and sedan. Subtle changes make for a more streamlined look,  but the same shape remains. New front headlights and taillights make the car look modern, and its refreshed looks are welcome as this segment is very competitive.

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Internal changes: The most notable changes in the new A3 range are the engines which have been overhauled to produce more power and be more fuel efficient. Naturally, petrol-heads will gravitate toward the 228kW Audi S3 but more on that later in another article. What interested us most was the entry model to the range, which now has a 1.0 TFSI three-cylinder engine powering it. With 85kW and 200Nm, the baby A3 offers enough torque to drive happily. For any city dweller, this configuration makes the world of sense.

On the other hand, if you’re worried that the 1.0 litre is too small you can have the 1.4 TFSI with features 110kW and 250Nm. Again if you feel that configuration is too little power, you can then have the 2.0 TFSI which shares the same power output of the new A4 at 140kW and 320Nm. A personal favourite of ours was the 2.0 TDI variant which only has 103kW but features 340Nm; that surges you wherever you need to go. It also only consumes 4.5 litres/ 100km on average while doing so.

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Comfort throughout: Whatever A3 hatchback, Sportback or sedan you choose, you’ll be happy to know that the entire range feels as solid as Audi’s reputation. There’s a distinct level of silence that you experience while driving the new A3 and it creates a rather soothing feeling. The standard dynamic suspension does well to soak up bumps while not also feeling to “couchy” on the road. The interior may not be the most inspiring to sit in, but it cannot be faulted in terms of quality.

There is a wide array of options to choose from, but many features come as standard on each model.  Things such as Xenon headlights, cruise control and Audi’s MMI plus system are features that you don’t have to pay for.  The most notable new feature in the updated A3 range is the option of Virtual Cockpit, something we have all loved to use in the A4 and Q7. This digital dashboard is probably the most intuitive system out there and it’s a “must have”  for any tech-loving driver. If you want to make your Audi A3 more visually appealing too, you’ll be happy to know that you can still specify your car with the S-Line package which gives it a more aggressive look and some larger wheels.

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To answer why many Audi drivers remain loyal to the brand. We personally believe that it’s about assurance. Yes, excitement is great and it always nice to drive something that sets your hair on fire. The reality though is that our day to day lives are not exciting unless you’re a race car driver. What Audi offers then is the option of excitement in cars like the S3 and RS3, but for the everyday person the updated A3 is a car you would love to wake up to every day and live your life.

 

 

Hyundai Increase Tucson Range with Diesel Models

The Hyundai Tucson has proven to be a very popular car in 2016 and was also recently named a finalist for the SGMJ Car Of The Year 2017. The Tucson may now appeal to an even broader market as Hyundai have introduced a further two models in the Tucson range.

The first of these new diesel models is the Tucson 1.7 executive turbodiesel producing 85kw and 280Nm of torque, which will peak between 1250 – 2750rpm. The 1.7 Executive is fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox and will have a starting price of R439,000.

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The second model is the Tucson R2.0 Elite, featuring a 2L turbodiesel producing 130kw and 400Nm of torque, peaking low in the rev range between 1750-2750rpm.  This model will feature all the standard options which are supplied with the Elite petrol variants, including 18″ alloy wheels. The R2.0 Elite model will feature a six-speed automatic gearbox and will start at R519,000.

Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000 km manufacturer’s warranty, enhanced by the additional new groundbreaking 7-years/200 000 km drivetrain warranty, comes standard with the all-new Hyundai Tucson package, as well as roadside assistance for 5-years or 150 000 km.

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MAXterclass In The Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian GP has always provided a spicy race, so why would the 2016 Grand Prix in Sao Paulo be any different?

The Mercedes pair headed into this race knowing that Nico Rosberg could finish second at this event and in the final event at Abu Dhabi, and still win the world championship. All that Lewis could do is win, and hope for the best. Maybe a Red Bull thrown into the mix would help. It would certainly give the last race a bit more energy.

Because I can be rather stupid at times, I messed up the race start time and before I realised, the race was red flagged at 21 laps, which is when I started watching.  As always, I blamed the wife, a massive Rosberg fan. What I can tell you is that in the first period of racing, Raikkonen spun and ended his race, Along with his Ferrari teammate who luckily avoided the wall, Ricciardo was handed a 5-second penalty and a few others fell victim to the extremely wet racing conditions.   After a red flag, the race started again behind the safety car for a number of laps before it was red flagged, yet again. This was displeasing to not only a number of drivers, but also to the booing grandstands.

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Finally, the race was underway. Hamilton burst away from the start and being such a Ninja when it comes to wet racing, had no issues from the challengers behind. To the delight of Hamilton fans, young Max Verstappen passed Rosberg who seemed to be struggling in the rain, or maybe he was just playing it safe. Max then had a scary moment as he dropped his Redbull on the white line, sending the vehicle into a 90-degree slide, only for him to hold it, avoid the barrier and carry on in second place.Brilliant.  His second place didn’t last long though as Redbull pitted both their drivers onto Intermediate tyres, a brave move which resulted in1 fast lap, more rain, and a legend by the name of Felipa Massa hitting the wall and blocking the pit entrance, him also on the intermediate tyres.

This was Massa’s last ever home race and as the safety car removed the damage, Massa was given a Guard of honour by the Mercedes and Ferrari team as he walked down the pitlane, greeted halfway by his wife and young son resulted in a lot of tears. A touching moment amongst fierce competition.

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The MAXterclass

The safety car unified Hamilton’s advantage and allowed Ricciardo and Max to get back onto full wets, putting them both near the back of the grid, with 10 laps remaining.  This is when the magic happened. Verstappen caught his team mate with tremendous speed and passed him around the outside as he struggled to overtake the vehicle in front. But that was not an issue for Max, as he quickly discarded of him also. Max continued to shed up the track and fellow drivers with some wonderful outside overtaking moves using lines reminiscent of Karting in the wet. He soon approached his arch nemesis Vettel and after gaining the inside line, passing him Also. As always, Vettel was unhappy and claimed he was forced off the track, boohoo. Time was ticking as Max continued to pass with sublime driving. With 3 laps remaining, Max was hunting down Perez in 3rd place, and although Perez fought hard, there was nothing stopping the young man who has really spiced up F1 this season.

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The Red Bull has always been a fantastic car in the wet, but this was a driving masterclass by Verstappen, something which could not be replicated by his teammate. Many are calling it one of the best drives ever in Formula 1. Hamilton finished the race in 1st, winning by 11 seconds from Nico Rosberg.

Conclusion

Hamilton has brought this championship down to the wire, both drivers have now won 9 races each, with the mechanical failure to Lewis being his downfall this season. The last race in two weeks is at THE Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton wins there, he will need Rosberg to finish 4th or lower, a massive ask.  The Brazil GP was defiantly Hamilton’s chance to gain a little more advantage, and with the Redbulls speed and Nicos slide, it nearly happened. If Rosberg wins the championship, I will be happy for him, he probably deserves one after trailing to Lewis his whole career. The fact remains, though, If Hamilton did not have the engine failure after leading the Malaysian GP with 15 laps to go, he would be in the driving seat. Rosberg has been graced with 100% reliability this season, which looks like it could decide the championship, for me, that’s not how it should go.

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Images Courtesy of F1.com