Tag: New Car

A baby V10 with a drift mode – the new Audi RS3

Iconic is the appropriate word to describe the in-line 5 cylinder motor that has powered Audis benchmark cars for the better part of the last 40 years. Among its favorable characteristics, one of the more memorable is its deep resonance when the motor is at full throttle, especially when paired with a 1980 WRC archive film of a fire breathing Quattro on a rally special stage. Well, the popular compact sedan/hatch combo from the Ingolstadt manufacturer has undergone a generation change. Fortunately for the power hungry enthusiasts with a limited budget, it is retaining the iconic motor with a slight improvement in power and efficiency and beefed up looks! 

The compact Audi offerings will share many similarities to their trailblazing forefather that forged a legacy in rallying, although somewhat tweaked. Equipped first and foremost with the familiar 2.5-liter TFSI motor which has won the “International Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row, mild performance improvements increase ratings to a maximum of 294 kW and 500Nm. As a bonus to this additional power, the exhaust system features a fully variable flap control system that supports intermediate positions which lets the 5 cylinder sing with less restraint.

This power and torque propels the four door, four ring, four wheel driven machine to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds – worthy of out-accelerating modern day supercars. The new RS3 has a maximum top speed of 290km/h in the RS Dynamic package which means it’s capable of keeping up with the aforementioned supercars too. All of these stats make the new model class leading in terms of top speed and acceleration. 

Transferring the power to all four wheels is a fairly standard 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. However the rear axle differential is replaced with a standard-equipped RS torque splitter which optimally distributes power along the rear axle which improves cornering grip and traction. This also allows the RS3 to engage a rubber destroying drift mode for the hoonigans out there. 

Speaking of tyres, the novel innovation found in the RS performance mode included in the model is created specifically for the racetrack. Changing the engine and transmission characteristics to be tailor suited to semi-slick tyres – a factory option first time. This really is shaping up to be a racecar for the road! 

The exterior aesthetics are expected, continuing the silhouette of the outgoing model and very subtle changes to the styling – this is still easily comparable to its predecessor in other words. What does stand out for this model is the lighting, something Audi always has a pioneering preference for. The most significant are the daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals which are programmed to present the RS3 lettering and a chequered flag as a dynamic leaving and coming home scene. Superior matrix LED headlights are available as an option for greater illuminative clarity.  

The significantly different design feature from the outgoing model is the air outlet element behind the widened front wheel arches – Audi Quattro much?! This is done to help accommodate the 33mm wider front axle track to the previous model. Within those arches are 19-inch wheels while a six piston steel or ceramic brake system is protected within the confines of the spokes. 

Sebastian Grams, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH states that “They represent the entry point into our RS world and are premium sports cars that are suitable for everyday use and equally thrilling to drive on public roads and racetracks” 

While both sedan and sportback are already selling in Europe, Mzanzi will receive both derivatives in the second half of 2022. With a price tag of €60 000 for the Sportback and €62 000 for the sedan, South Africans could be expected to pay anywhere north of R1,2 million to get behind the wheel of one. While Audi may no longer be winning on rally stages, the RS3 should continue to be a winning formula for sales numbers into the RS world. 

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.

Suzuki Baleno Launch

Suzuki launched its newest model last week, the Baleno. Believe it or not, there are two previous versions of this car that I am too young to remember, so this makes it Baleno number 3.

After a small 4 hour delay in Durban airport, we arrived in PE at 11 pm; this is when I first set my eyes on the Baleno, under the orange evening lights I made out the front end of Suzuki’s new hatch, Interesting, I thought. The next day I grabbed a proper look at the new Baleno, the design is of this vehicle is what Suzuki call ” Optical Flow,” it’s different and I liked the front end design of this car, the rear end not so much. I sometimes feel Suzuki are slightly missing the mark with vehicle design, the Swift Sport has always looked great and is the best looking car Suzuki make, the new Vitara Is also a looker, but some of the other Suzuki models lack in the looks department.

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The Baleno is not replacing the Swift; rather it gives another option to customers who find the rear passenger and boot areas in the Swift not spacious enough. It’s a bigger car which can be seen visibility from the inside and out when compared to a Suzuki Swift. Intriguingly,though, it’s also 110kg lighter. The Baleno will feature the 1.4 67kw engine found in other model variants and will come as GL and GLX models, with the option of a 4-speed auto in the GLX.

The GLX features exterior changes over the GL such as HID projector headlights and daytime running lights, chrome accents all around, front fog lamps, indicator signals in the mirrors, a rear spoiler and privacy glass for the rear windows.  The GLX also features 16-inch alloy wheels and rear disc brakes, with the GL only featuring rear drums.  The main interior changes with the GLX is the 6-inch color screen, and while the instrument cluster remains the same, Suzuki has added another color display, this time only 4-inches, which shows various driving data.  Keyless go is also a feature on the GLX,  along with fully automatic aircon and rear parking sensors. Safety wise, the GLX features six airbags to the GL’s mere two.

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Suzuki has priced this car competitively with the Baleno starting at R199,990 for the GL, R229,000 for the GLX and R244,900 for the GLX Auto. The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan.

I enjoyed the drive in this car, and there are some features I liked, and some that I didn’t like so much, which I will discuss in my in-depth driving review in edition 07 of the TheMotorist digital mag. If you wish, you can subscribe here: TheMotorist Digital Magazine.