Tag: Performance

The Performance Car Buyer’s Guide

Audi enters the arena with a whopping 15 new models! We see how they stack up

You’re thinking to yourself times are tough, right? Here we are giving you a buyer’s guide on vehicles that cost the equivalent of houses in upmarket areas. You must be thinking we’ve gone nuts? Well, no. In reality, it’s you that are the ones that have gone nuts!

South Africans have quite a sizeable appetite for performance cars – we often account for large percentages of manufacturers performance brands global sales. We have every M derivative from BMW; the same from Mercedes-AMG and now of course Audi Sport has joined the party.

They are a bit late to the party, to be quite honest. Some models mentioned below have been on sale in global markets for a few years now while others will only arrive later on in the year. Audi South Africa says homologation issues and a supply chain backlog caused by Covid-19 was the reason for this delay.

We are a unique market and other countries around the world don’t have the pleasure of experiencing the breadth of performance cars that we do. Imagine being a petrolhead in Sweden? Shame! So, let’s ignore their tardy entrance and focus on what’s on offer:

Audi RS Q3/ RS Q3 Sportback

Audi RS Q3, Static photo, Color: Tango red Audi RS Q3 Sportback, Static photo, Color: Kyalami green

The most affordable offering here and likely to be a top seller for the Ingolstadt brand. The RS Q3 comes in two body styles, including a Sportback version if less head room is your thing. Powered by the familiar 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine producing 294kW and 480Nm with 100km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds, the new RS Q3 should prove to be ferocious machine.

So, where else can you park your money? Well, Mercedes-AMG are yet to offer the GLA 45 to our market, so like-for-like competitors will be the BMW X2 M35i which serves up 225kW and 450Nm. Although it is down on power, it is also a bit cheaper retailing for R929 400 as opposed to the Audi’s base price R1 094, 000. Add another R30 000 to get into the Sportback version.

On the opposite end of the scale, you have the Porsche Macan S, which comes with a lovely V6 engine producing 260kW and 480Nm. But it does start at R1 250 000 so pound-for-pound, it seems the RS Q3 represents good value for money.

Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster

Static photo Colour: Turbo blue

If you want all of that fire-breathing goodness of the RS Q3 but in a hunkered-down, coupe body style, then TT RS is the one for you!

Utilizing the exact same engine as the RS Q3, the TT RS can sprint to 100km/h in just a mere 3.7 seconds! It’s often referred to as the ‘Supercar Slayer’ and you can see why! Although, the convertible will achieve that same time 0.2 seconds slower.

The TT RS retails for roughly the same amount of money as the RS Q3 and produces identical power and torque figures. It is worth noting that the TT RS makes use of 7-speed-tiptronic gearbox while the RS Q3 gets a S tronic with the same number of gears.

This is a tough segment to be competing in. Enemy number one is the BMW M2 Competition which has a retail sticker of R1 139 464 and produces a whopping 302kW and 550Nm (8kw/70Nm more) and is rear wheel driven. Because of that, it can’t beat the Audi with its all-wheel drive system to 100km/h, coming in 0.5 seconds slower at 4.2 seconds.

You can also consider a Mercedes-AMG A45 S, which retails for R1 156 840 and has a mightily impressive 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Figures are eye-watering at 310kW and 500Nm for such a small powerplant. But if you’re looking for the fastest sprinter, then TT RS is still quicker with the Mercedes getting across the line in a close 3.9 seconds.

Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback

Static photo; Colour: Glacier white

While we’re on the topic of coupes, the updated RS 5 Coupe and Sportback have finally touched down. These models are just mid-life refreshes (likewise for the TT RS), so don’t expect significant changes. You still have the familiar 3.0-litre V6 churning out 331kW and 600Nm with a highly respectable 100km/h dash in 3.9 seconds. Minor exterior changes have made the RS 5 more aggressive while you can also expect some tech updates on the inside.

The Coupe retails for just a smidge under the R1.4 million mark, while the 4-door Sportback is just slightly over that amount.

Audi’s chief rivals from Munich and Stuttgart come in at almost R2 million for their M3/M4 and C63 respectively, so they’re out of the equation. A left-field contender could be the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio which comes with almost the same sticker price but 44kw more power at 375kW and 600Nm. It is a tough sell considering their embattled reputation in the country but take nothing away from an outstanding product!

For another left-field contender, we can look to Porsche again and this time their 718 Cayman GTS 4.0. It is almost R100k more expensive and can’t compete in the power stakes, only offering up 294kW and 430Nm, but it does offer a completely different driving experience and you’re sure to get the same, if not more thrills than the Audi.

Audi RS 4 Avant

Static photo Color: Tango red

Let’s first start with thanking Audi for continuing to bring in these beloved but neglected cars. The steer towards SUVs will always mean that station wagons will remain a niche segment, but one that Audi has full control over.

The RS 4 Avant carries over the same engine as the RS 5, so power and torque figures are identical. The additional weight at the rear means that the sprint time has been cut down by 0.2 seconds to 4.1 seconds.

Again, this is just an updated model so there isn’t much to talk about in terms major changes – just small updates that bring it into line with other Audi models.

So then, where else should you park your R1.3 million? Well, nowhere else really because there are no natural competitors in our market for the RS 4 Avant. So instead, we’ll just amiably ask that you go out and buy one so Audi can make a business case to continue bringing them in. Please!

Audi RS 6 Avant

Static photo, Color: daytonagray matt

This is the big daddy station wagon, and rearing its head over the R2 million mark, it certainly should be. The RS 6 Avant ditches the V6 of its lesser sibling and upgrades to a mighty V8. 441kW and 800Nm is nothing to sneeze at, in fact this all-encompassing family runabout can get you to 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds. While 22-inch rims and the optional carbon ceramic brakes should do a good job in making sure you can stop equally as fast.

There is only one natural competitor to the RS 6 Avant and that’s the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. However, in order to get into the V8 model, you’ll have to opt for the GTS which retails for a hefty R2.4 million and there’s quite a power shortage with 353kW and 620Nm on top. To get near the RS 6 Avant’s power figures, you’ll have to opt Turbo S model which is almost another R1 million on top of the price of the GTS.

Audi seems to win another round of value for money!

Audi RS 7 Sportback

Static photo, Colour: tango red

If you’re not a fan of station wagons, which it seems many of you sadly aren’t, then the swoopier, coupe-like RS 7 Sportback is for you. Identical to the RS 6 Avant in most aspects apart from looks but it will cost you an extra R100k, with a sum total of R2.17 million.

Regardless whether you prefer a sedan or station wagon, both are jaw-droppingly beautiful. This is probably Audi’s best effort yet in the styling department, and that’s a big statement seeming they’ve produced a few lookers in their current stable.

Buyers in this segment do have a few choices, you can look at Porsche again with their Panamera, but I think the RS 7’s biggest rival will be the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. At almost the exact same starting price, the M850i is down on power in comparison to the Audi, with 390kW and 750Nm in comparison to 441kW and 800Nm. The more closely matched competitor in terms of power is the M8 Competition but that sits at a healthy R3.4 million. Ouch!

It’s the same story over at Mercedes-Benz. If you want a V8 model, then you have to opt for AMG GT63 S 4 Door, which has the same price as the BMW M8 Competition but it does produce a lot more power at 470kW and 900Nm. More in line with the RS 7’s pricing is the AMG GT53 4 Door, which utilizes a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder with electric support. Figures of 336kW and 520Nm are well short of the Audi.

In essence, V8 power for V6 money – good job, Audi!

Audi S8

This is Audi’s answer to the perennial Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. The A8 does live in the shadows of the other two but Audi hopes to change that with a suite of systems that should rival the best. Dynamic all-wheel steering, predictive active suspension management and a Quattro system with a sport differential should mean the new S8 will be enjoyable and luxurious. This is another Audi packing V8 power and 420kW and 800Nm should be more than handy!

We mentioned the two chief rivals earlier to the S8 so let’s start with the one everybody seems to love. Mercedes-Benz have yet to officially launch the new S-Class that debuted internationally last year, but we do have some figures. For the time being, we will be getting the S400d and S500 with both models falling between the R2.4 million mark. You only have the choice of a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder producing 336kW and 520Nm for S500 and 243kW and 700Nm for the oil-burner.

BMW has a variety of options in their 7 Series range, from a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder all the way up to a 6.6-litre V12! Best snag one of those before they’re all gone!

The 750Li xDrive would be the Audi’s closest competitor in terms of price with a 4.4-litre V8 and costing R2.5 million, but there is a significant power difference (I sound like I’m stuck on repeat) with outputs of 390kW and 750Nm.

Audi SQ 7

Static photo, Colour:Daytona grey

The Q7 went under the knife last year which saw mild styling tweaks on the exterior and some welcomed goodies on the inside. The Q7 range is only offered in diesel derivatives and the SQ7 is no different – but now with Audi’s most powerful diesel engine! 310kW and 900Nm would’ve done the trick in freeing the Ever Given ship blocking the Suez Canal! And you would’ve had room to fit any stranded sailors with all 7 seats in place.

When it comes to powerful diesel powertrains, Audi has this corner of the market well covered as many manufacturers have opted against bringing in new diesel engines. Mercedes-Benz provides the SQ7 with its sternest challenge in form the GLE 400d but power figures can’t match the Audi with only 243kW and 700Nm available.

There is of course another competitor that I think is massively underrated and an equally brilliant, if not a better choice than the Audi and it comes from their own stable. The Volkswagen Touareg is hugely accomplished vehicle, and yes it can’t compete with the Audi in terms of power (nothing can, to be honest) but it rides on the Volkswagen Groups latest platform that underpins their newer models like the Q8 and even extending into brands like Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. The best bit? You save almost R170k with a retail sticker of R1.5 million.

Audi SQ 8 and RS Q8

Dynamic photo, Color: Florett silver

While the bonkers RS Q8 makes use of a monstrous petrol-powered V8, the SQ 8 follows the same path as the SQ 7 with its diesel engine. Power figures are identical to the latter but like we mentioned earlier, it does benefit from the Volkswagen Groups latest modular platform which comes with a raft of benefits over the previous iteration.

But the big talking point here is the RS Q8 which produces a phenomenal 441kW and 800Nm, while this large lump of metal can achieve 100km/h in just a mere 3.8 seconds. No wonder then that it claimed the title of the fastest SUV around the famed Nürburgring.

While the SQ 8 retails for around R1.8 million you will have to shell out a fair bit more to get into the RS Q8 with a price R2.3 million.

For around R300k more, the Range Rover Sport SVR offers a decent alternative to the RS Q8 with its absolutely raucous supercharged V8 churning out 423kW and 700Nm. Although, it is an ageing product, and the Audi will outperform it in many areas in terms of power, tech and refinement. And if a coupe-SUV is your thing, then the Range Rover doesn’t quite fit the bill.

The Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a more worthy alternative in the segment with figures of 466kW and 850Nm, plus it is provided with some electric assistance to achieve a 100km/h sprint in just 3.8 seconds – matching the Audi. Pricing is well north of the Audi, however, coming it at an extraordinary R2.9 million; and if you’re wondering, the BMW X6 M Competition is priced similarly.

Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder

Static photo, Colour: Ascari Blue metallic

We’ve saved the best for last and with a screaming mid-mounted naturally aspirated V10 and the fastest acceleration time of all with 3.2 seconds, you can see why!

With 449kW and 560Nm readily available, this is Audi’s performance halo car and comes with a price tag to match with the Coupe costing you R3.3 million and the Spyder going for R3.6 million. The latter does weigh slightly more thanks to the retractable roof so it’s 0.1 second down compared to its hardtop sibling.

While the near-identical Lamborghini Huracan would be a natural rival to the R8, its R5 million price tag blows it well out of the water!

So, let’s turn to Britain for an alternative in the form of their Aston Martin Vantage. Power figures from its AMG-sourced V8 are respectable at 375kW and 685Nm and it does cost a healthy sum less at R3 million.

One of the fastest accelerating cars that I have ever had the pleasure of driving is the Porsche 911 Turbo S and even though it’s quite a bit more expensive sitting at R3.8 million, it does break that 3.0 second barrier with 100km/h coming up in just 2.9 seconds. Power figures of 478kW and 800Nm outshine the Audi’s by quite some margin.

What are your favourites? Leave us a comment below!

Alfa Romeo Stelvio – fast, fun but expensive.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Driven Review

If you are familiar with the team here at TheMotorist, you will know it consists of myself, Francisco and Richard. While the latter two happen to be brothers, Francisco and myself are born within a month of each other. Unfortunately for Richard, he has passed the “fun part” of his life already. What I mean by that is, he’s older than us and he has entered a stage of life that consists of nappies and mortgages. More often than not on some of our recent video projects, a good man who goes by the name of Andrew joins us. Andrew is the editor of Top Gear Magazine SA and happens to be the same age as Richard. Together, they share notes on child rearing and finding the best family doctor.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

So I feel it’s no coincidence then that the younger two of the group fell head over heels for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, while the older bunch really didn’t fancy it that much. Maybe bigger issues in life have made them lose their sense of fun? Who knows. I’m not insinuating that the older you get, the more boring you become, I would never do that…never ever…

However, it seems that maybe the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the SUV for the younger person even though you need older person money to afford it. It’s a catch 22 really. The Stelvio throws things at you, that you don’t expect – hot hatch driving dynamics being one of them. It’s quite surprising to be fooled into thinking you’re driving a Golf GTI, when you’re actually in a midsize SUV. Another thrilling factor about the Stelvio, is the fact that it’s rather quick. Put your foot down and you notice the digital speedometer climb rather quickly, much faster than expected – especially since it’s powered by a 2.0l turbocharged engine. Turn a corner and notice the front end turn in quite sharply. Again, more than expected. In the end, you find yourself becoming quite giddy in this vehicle, like when your parents would step out the house for some milk and you could be naughtier than usual. That’s what happens when you’re in a 206kW/400N.m Italian SUV with some heritage behind the brand.

You see, while many ( Richard and Andrew ) see SUV’s as only needing to be large vehicles with lots of space for your children, your friend’s children and the expensive bike you use once in a blue moon – the Stelvio offers more. Yes, it ticks the boxes when it comes to safety, it has a quality interior and offers modern technology. Above that, it’s also quite fast which makes it quite exciting – something other vehicles in the Alfa Romeo Stelvios league don’t offer. They may even be better than the Stelvio in other ways, but the Alfa brings with it a fun personality.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The performance SUV segment is one that often causes debate. Some lament that they “don’t need to be SO sharp, or be THAT fast”, but the question is why not? Why can’t certain SUV’s offer both the practicality and space, whilst also being a little invigorating too? In the age of extensive choice, there’s a place for an SUV such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It’s not a full-blown eye-watering performance SUV (the QV variant will fill the gap). What it is however, is a good middle ground option.  

The thing is, the Stelvio will set you back R834 000, which is not exactly cheap. If you do some scratching around, you’re bound to find more value for money products. That being said, buying into the Alfa brand is never a purchase based on practicality, but rather one based on emotion. So, if you’re an Alfa lover, this SUV is for you because it does evoke emotion and kudos to them for staying true to their brand ethos. For me, the Stelvio is a great SUV. It looks the part, feels the part and drives the part too. As a future young dad, I’d appreciate a good thrill once in a while, when the princes and princesses are tucked away in bed of course. Now it’s just a matter of convincing Richard and Andrew.

 

Meet the McLaren Senna, a 789hp road-legal track car.

McLaren Senna

McLaren Senna – The ultimate road-legal track car

Any automotive vehicle named after one of the most legendary racing drivers to ever live, surely sounds like it’s going to impress. When that racing driver is the late Ayrton Senna, known as one of the fastest men to grace the circuit, it needs to do more than just impress, but rather blow us away. Welcome the McLaren Senna, the second vehicle in McLaren’s Ultimate Series, dubbed the ultimate road-legal track car.

McLaren Senna

You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.” – Ayton Senna

McLaren vehicles are known for their everyday supercar usability, the McLaren Senna is not that type of car. McLaren designed this vehicle to provide the purest connection between driver and vehicle and deliver the most intense circuit experience of any road going McLaren.

The exterior design immediately gives off a sense of speed, seriousness and performance. You may disagree, but the front end strikes me as a combination of a McLaren 720s and the Gumpert Appollo. Its sharp, edgy and features a multitude of scoops, lines and crevasses for aero purposes. In fact, McLaren says you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent. It’s undoubtedly beautiful body is short and features a huge rear wing. HotWheels comes to mind, and we all know from our childhood days how awesome HotWheels cars were.

McLaren Senna

The visual carbon fibre elements are stunning, but what’s even more outstanding is that the lower half of the door side can be specified with glass as a replacement to the carbon fibre panel, increasing the sense of space inside the cabin and amplifying driver connection.

McLaren Senna

Sounds pretty wild, doesn’t it? It is. Over 789 hp (588kW) and 800Nm can be expected from the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged v8, which is the most powerful internal combustion engine produced by McLaren for a road-going vehicle. It also features dry sump lubrication and a flat-plane crankshaft. There’s more, the McLaren Senna Is the lightest McLaren since its rebirth with a dry weight of just 1,198kg, it’s also the strongest thanks to the improved carbon fibre Monocage III chassis. Further, everybody panel bolted to this chassis isalso  made from carbon fibre, resulting in a power to weight ratio of nearly 500 kW per tonne.

McLaren Senna

With this level of power, you can imagine that much grip is required, and this comes in the form of ground-breaking front and rear active aerodynamics. Every part of the vehicle is not just an element of visual design, but rather an aid in an aerodynamic capacity to optimise downforce and balance. Assisting the active aerodynamics and the unmissable double diffuser is the RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension system. This system compromises of double wishbone suspension and hydraulically interconnected two-valve dampers, which allow for bump and compression to be controlled individually. There is a Race Mode of course, which brings into play a lower ride height, lower centre of gravity and much stiffer suspension. This mode is activated by a roof-mounted switch. Comfort, Sport and Track modes are all accessed via the centre console.

McLaren Senna

Along with many elements of this car, the braking system is also the most advanced system ever fitted to a McLaren vehicle. We are not told much, just that it uses Carbon Ceramic discs and motorsport technologies. Bespoke Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres are the choice of rubber, fitted to an ultra-lightweight race inspired alloy wheel.

As much as the McLaren Senna provides ground-breaking performance, McLaren also wanted this vehicle to provide a driving experience like no other. Noise contributes massively to this factor and McLaren engineers decided that the full mechanical symphony of the engine needed to be a sensory experience.  The driver will experience high-frequency sounds caused by rushing air into the roof-mounted intake, all while low-frequency engine sounds are transferred into the cockpit through unique engine mounts, which make it seem as if the V8 is sitting right alongside the driver. We can only imagine the noise provided by gear changes using the dual-clutch, seamless-shift, seven-speed gearbox.

McLaren Senna

Now, all we need to know is how fast it can go around Nurburgring!

McLaren Senna Pricing and availability

The McLaren Senna will be hand-assembled in, Production will be limited to 500 vehicles, each costing from £750,000 or R13.6M (at the time of writing) and all are already allocated.

 

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

 

 

NISSAN GT-R 2017

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

 

Performance

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

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

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

 

Interior

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

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

 

Pricing

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

 

5_w7p4941 8_w7p5193 10_w7p5542 11_w7p5613

At last BMW’s M2 driven.

“The most anticipated BMW this year” is the term thrown around for Bavaria’s latest introduction to the family. As glossy as that phrase is, it’s true, an entry level M model is exactly what BMW has needed since their current offerings in the M stable have been slightly out of reach for many. Leveraging off of the popularity and cult culture around the 1M, BMW’s new M2 has big shoes to fill and new shoes to fill too. Maintaining the excitement of the current M cars whilst trying to create an “affordable” one aimed at new clients is a tough ask indeed. Have they succeeded in doing this? Have they created a future classic?

Frankenstein’s four wheels:

The M2 is basically a hybrid creature made up of majority M235i mixed with stolen body parts from the BMW M3/M4. Items such as the pistons, braking system and most importantly the M-Differential have all been morphed into this car to create a faster and more focused vehicle. To add to this a new exhaust system has been fitted, that adds both power and decibels to the beefy bruiser. The result is a 272kW/465Nm car with an over-boost function that spikes the torque figure to 500Nm when needed. A sonorous in line 3.0 litre six cylinder engine is welcome, especially in a segment that is primarily dominated by four pot’s making the same GTI-esque sound.

p90199694_highres_the-new-bmw-m2-coupe

Bag of chips?

Let it be known that the new BMW M2 is not an M4 rival, it’s disposition is not the same as its older brother. Whilst it shares some components with the M3/M4, it’s a car that you can really enjoy without the fear of being punched in the face by its brutish attitude, something the M4 does. That being said, the new BMW M2 is powerful, exciting and manageable behind the wheel. It’s the right combination of a non-intimidating yet highly intuitive compact sports coupe aimed at a new audience of M car drivers.

This car comes at the right time because the M4 has progressed from a car that could be somewhat “disrespected” to a car that can be lethal in the wrong hands and that’s not necessarily a good thing if you’re a younger buyer lacking experience. Interestingly the M3 (before the confusing name changes happened) was the car aimed at younger to middle-aged executives. Ever since the new generation of M3/M4’s came into production that changed, creating a gap for BMW in that segment, a gap that the Mercedes Benz A45 and Audi RS3 operate in. So to claw those clients back, this new M2 was created and from that perspective, BMW has succeeded in creating a car for that market.

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Purist car or not?

Another big question is if the new M2 is a true successor to the first BMW Frankenstein creation, the 1M? It must be noted that BMW’s focus has shifted between creating these cars. The 1M was a limited edition once off, manual only, enthusiast orientated car. Whereas the M2 is not a limited edition hardcore car, it’s a full production model that gives the buyer much more options than the 1M did. As a result the car may not have the same future appeal that the 1M has due to its limited numbers, but it may be remembered by many as their first M car instead.

If the M2 is remembered in such a manner, those will be good memories indeed. Memories of how exciting the car is to drive and how rev happy the engine is. Memories of how much grip the car has through tight corners and how controllable it is at high speed. Lastly for those really enthusiastic drivers, those memories will be documented through video shot by the GoPro app that allows you to film your lap time and share it with your friends. Yes the M2 may not be as wild as all the current M’s available, but it sure is wild enough for its potential target market. Visually, it forces onlookers to look twice and take in its wide stance, large intakes and quad exhausts, something young successful people will enjoy.

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At a starting price of R791 000 some may complain that this price is still too high, but looking at what you pay for super hatches such as the Mercedes A45 and the Audi RS3, you soon realise that the M2 is priced very similarly. If you are a purist, the manual version of the M2 would be something to consider as it’s the only car in this league to offer a third pedal. For everyday use and for incredibly fast gear changes, the M-DCT gearbox is the best option. Whatever guise you buy an M2 in though, guaranteed will be the smile on your face each time you open the garage and each time you get behind the wheel.