Tag: Porsche 911 South Africa

The Porsche 911 GT3 is Simply Sublime!

“The clutch catches in the middle but don’t ride it; it’s either on or off, nothing in-between.” Those were our parting words from Porsche South Africa’s PR Manager as we aimed the nose of a manual Porsche GT3 to the horizon to prove why 3 pedals will always be better than 2. Times like this are few are very far in-between. My brain just couldn’t contain my excitement as my right foot had the pleasure of showing how to best use 375kW of raw power to the tune of a manual gearbox, all at my control. 

We leave the kind people of Porsche Center Cape Town and Francisco does the honours for us. From the passenger seat, the GT3 makes itself known from the get-go that this isn’t a car for the early morning school trips nor ambling around the city. Anyone that has driven an E platform BMW with early run flat tires will know of the harshness that I speak off. You forget on smooth roads but on a bad road, the suspension complains at the same rate as the passenger. The driver? As it quickly became my turn (older brother thing) all I cared for was to see the tachometer needle rush to its red line. Simple. 

We set off from a fuelling station and I’m in full control of this steed. From the first gear change, the action is weighted like what it should, and the whole experience feels like you are the conductor of a very intimate choir. The fast pedal urges you to mash it to the floor, the gear shift ready for its part of the song and the break in power, noise and acceleration is so brief, the throw of the gear knob so direct and short, that as a season driver who cut his teeth on wonky manuals, you thought trails into “surely, I’m doing this as quick as the PDK?” More on that later…

This love affair grows with every gearshift, with every meter that you get to hear that raspy exhaust note. Life couldn’t get any better, and it doesn’t. Smack, boom, bang, we hit Cape traffic on a Friday, near a mountain pass that’s been closed. The “Shark Blue” GT3 is now running bumper to bumper with all of the taxis, Polo’s and the infinite number of Ford Rangers from JHB that are now waiting for their CAA number plates.

It is at this time that you have to pull off your best impersonation of the characters of the Madagascar movies as now you are in the bluest of blue sports cars, in arguably one of the prettiest places on the world, smiling and waving. I have never seen so many motoring enthusiasts at once and since we weren’t going anywhere, we had window conversations about the car with almost everyone who lined up in either side. Could this be, could we be having fun, while the world goes through war, crimes against humans and not forgetting a pandemic?

We get to the bottom of the mountain pass and as we look up at the ribbon of tarmac. We see that it’s sparsely decorated with cars but while we are both in dreamland about this lack of cars, a Metro officer who was manning the intersection makes a beeline for the car. I roll down the window to which he also states that he seen that there is little to no traffic in front of us and that it would be a shame if he didn’t see and hear an enthusiastic launch. Ever the crowd pleaser, I happily obliged and chased the revs in each of the low gears and this set us up for some of the best corners that you can experience without going on a track, while still abiding – albeit closely – to the speed limit. 

The way the car changes direction is something I can’t get over. The part of your brain that monitors safety, being nice to others and importantly, how not to bang other people’s cars, is working overtime, as you come into a very tight hairpin at 65km/h. Yes, that doesn’t sound like much but when it’s a very acute angle and you trailed the brakes in and your mind says that “it’s about to oversteer” at any hint of throttle but then it doesn’t, and simply drives you out at a level of grip that doesn’t make sense, you are left gob-smacked as to the capabilities of this machine. At no time, did we come close to the GT3’s limit and that because its limit is so deep in its chassis that you really have to overdrive the GT3 to try and trip the car up.

We settled into our journey and now had an 80-kilometer drive along the coastline. Unlike its younger siblings, the GT3 Manual gets six ratios instead of seven and yes, this is my only bug bear with this set up. At the speed limit, the car sits at a rev range that has you looking for the next ratio. It’s not the worst of thing but for the five minutes that you have to take a call and not have to worry about something else that steering and changing gears, it pops up but as soon as you flex that right toe and things get moving again, you forget about that. Quick sticks!

Over at our overnight stop, we were greeted by the Porsche staff who were adamant that there was a bike that was Infront of us. There wasn’t…

The night was spent conversing about the new car and how Porsche keep moving the goal posts.  With the 991.2 version of the GT3 in RS guise, in my mind, is the epitome of motoring and just couldn’t figure out how it’s been made so much better but yet, seems so familiar. You look at the details and yes, a “Car Person” will be able to single out all of the differences but to untrained eye, it could be a “facelift” and not a new car. The heart of the beast was taken straight off its racing production line. With motorsport everything, it was the next logical step in the evolution of the GT3. The new suspension set up with helper springs made sure to make us look like heroes ensuring the car did most of the work.

The next day, our steed was changed, and the most important change was the re-introduction to the PDK box. Now let’s get one thing straight. No manufacture makes a double-clutch auto like Porsche. I would delve into what makes their iteration so unique and fast but that’s all you need to know. It will launch all day every day without any need to cool down or driver some 100 kilometers until you can do it again. It’s simply magic that they have put into the car, and it will respond to your every need, 99% of the time. The 1% is just in case something does fail and I’m being quoted in a dealership. 

The PDK changed the whole appeal of the car. I suddenly don’t have to be “on it” all the time. When you don’t have to worry about changing gears, you can spend more time taking in the experience as a whole and not looking at your line, while heal and toeing, while steering.

My summary of the GT3? `I don’t know what to expect with the RS version but a manual one of these with the with its gorgeous Subaru-eating rear wing is just the right stuff. In my mind, I’m quite the eccentric digital millionaire and for my imaginary spec, I’m doing a Manual Touring with retro fit rear seats for the kiddos and the wing, so we have somewhere to put the drinks and ice creams on our Sunday drive. 

Simply sublime.  

What 2022 holds for the South African car market

While 2021 kicked off without much affair, albeit with mild hesitation and looming uncertainty for event planning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it eventually gathered momentum into what many industries would deem as normal. Despite a contagious wave of Omicron ravaging the world in the last quarter, this year has commenced in a confident and assured manner which has us holding thumbs that normality will soon return. Secondary effects from the pandemic are still hampering supply chains with the automotive industry struggling to meet the demand of the semiconductor microchips needed in the increasingly technologically-oriented vehicles but despite this, new vehicles are scheduled to be introduced to our shores with launch events being planned on our local roads. Here is what Mzansi has to look forward to in 2022!

Local favorite Volkswagen will kick the year off by introducing the new Caddy and the facelifted, and locally produced, Polo and Polo GTI models which feature mild updates to a familiar silhouette and a refreshed interior which will share some similarities to the Golf. 

Speaking of the popular hatch which may have already been on sale in our market for a few months now, the all wheel drive giantslayer sibling Golf 8 R will touch down in Q2 alongside the novel Tiguan R and 7-seater Tiguan Allspace facelift.

Other facelifts expected before the midpoint of the year include the T-Roc while the all new Spanish built Taigo will join the lineup and slot between the T-Cross and Tiguan in Volkswagen’s SUV range. The remainder of the year is scheduled to be quiet with the new Polo Sedan expected in Q3 but the all-new Amarok is in the pipeline, we can expect its global launch sometime before the end of the year too. 

Another brand that has grown in popularity and portfolio over the past is that of Renault who have a bustling year ahead. The new Clio 5, which subtly evolves the exterior design language of the Clio 4, is expected as soon as Q1. Since Alpine have absorbed all RS models over the past year, we are awaiting news with bated breath if South Africa can expect a Clio or Megane RS derivative. 

While the Clio and it’s more family-orientated Captur sibling have both experienced delays of over a year due to the Covid-19 related issues. However, Q2 will see the brand new Captur SUV enter our shores.

While we are awaiting confirmed dates for the second half of the year, Renault has committed to launching the refreshed Kwid, Triber and Trafic MY22 models into the range, while anyone eager to see the Duster based Oroch single cab will be dismayed to know we will only be expecting it in 2023. 

A brand that has taken South Africa by storm is Chery after their rebirth into our market late last year. The affordable and well-specced Tiggo 4 Pro arrived in our market and was lauded for improved build quality and comfort. This resounding success has seen the Chinese brand expedite the launch of the highly awarded and much larger flagship Tiggo 8 Pro range which we can expect within Q1. 

DRIVEN Chery Tiggo 4 Pro Turbo CVT

The new Tiggo 8 Pro range will be available in two options for the consumer and both will be fitted with an award-winning 1.6 TGDI petrol-engine delivering a peak of 136kW and 290Nm. No news on whether this engine will also include the impressive 1-million-kilometer mechanical warranty just yet.

The much larger flagship SUV will continue Chery’s trend of interior luxury and technology which we sampled on the Tiggo 4 Pro. This includes an Around View Monitor, an 8-speaker SONY sound system, two high definition TFT displays (with a third in the flagship model) and dual-zone climate control with pharmaceutical grade N95 air filtration. It will also come standard as a 7 seater which should make it appealing to growing families.

2021 was a busy year for the Bavarian-based super-manufacturer but product planning for 2022 seems to be more tranquil. BMW SA will welcome the anticipated 2 Series Coupe range in Q1 which includes the 220i, 220d and M240i xDrive. While styling may divide opinion in this range once again, the M2’s ability will surely silence any critics when it lands sometime in 2023.

On the electric side of things, BMW’s 4 Series based i4 and mainstream crossover iX3 are expected to land in the second half of the year and cement themselves as viable electric models for our market. 

On the other end of the spectrum for premium German brands is Mercedes-Benz who is also hoping to be at the forefront of electrification in our local market and has their whole EQ range ready to be released. While exact dates are yet to be stated, we can expect the EQA, EQB, EQE, EQS and EQC. 

For those that still enjoy the sensation of fossil fuels burning beneath the accelerator pedal, the facelifted A-Class, B-Class, GLC SUV and CUV, S-Class and C-Class will be welcomed locally while two Maybach orientated models will arrive in the form of the S-Class and GLS. 

In terms of South Africa’s preferred form of transportation, two new bakkies will be put on sale in our market this year. Isuzu will usher in their sharper looking flagship D-Max in Q2, a model which shares a platform with the newly released Mazda BT-50 and will attempt to gain market share from the popular Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. 

That being said, the existing and long-serving Ford Ranger will be retired for its modernized successor which is expected to be on showroom floors by Q4. The highly anticipated Ranger which shares a platform with Volkswagen’s Amarok will continue to be built in Ford’s Silverton facility and is expected to continue at the forefront of local bakkie sales. 

In terms of what the Japanese and Koreans have to offer, we can expect a substantial offering in 2022 from Hyundai. The Tucson and the futuristic looking Staria Nautica are expected in Q1 while the Staria Panel Van will arrive in Q2. The refreshed Creta is yet to be confirmed but can be realistically expected to hit sales floors in the second half of the year. 

The performance orientated branch of Hyundai will also welcome the Kona N and the lauded i30 N DCT which are expected before Q2. 

Toyota will be dabbling in performance models too when the brand new GR-86 hits our market in Q3. The souped up versions of the Corolla Cross are expected in Q1, and the Hilux will also enter our markets in Q2, both under the new GR-S guise. Q1 will also see Toyota expand their RAV4 and Corolla Quest model lineup.

Subaru on the other hand have only signalled two new models for their portfolio in 2022, the new WRX, which is steeped in rally lineage is expected in Q2, while the Forester SUV has been revised and has been on sale for the past few days already.

On the performance side of things, amorous Italian brand Alfa Romeo has received a consignment of limited edition Giulia GTA and Giulia GTAm models which feature an uprated V6 engine, Sauber engineered aero bits, roll cages, racing suits and a hefty price tag costing around R4 Million depending on the model. With only 8 of 500 coming to our shores and a handful already sold, the saloon based racecar is fast set to be an appreciating future classic.

Porsche will also be launching their track-oriented model in the form of the 911 GT3. While no dates have been confirmed, what we do know is it comes equipped with the traditional Porsche 4.0 flat-six motor which is capable of redlining at 9000rpm. 

While the GT3 model makes up few sales numbers but excites owners and pedestrians alike, Porsche will also be introducing the updated models that yield the Stuttgart automakers bread and butter; the Cayenne Turbo GT and Panamera Platinum Edition will arrive in Q2. 

Rounding out the list with what many consider the brand that epitomises passion and performance, Q2 will welcome the first ever road going V6 that adorns the Prancing Horse. While it may be the first of its kind for the famed Italian automaker, the Ferrari engine is claimed to produce the specific highest output of any production car engine. Rated at 488kW solely from its 2.9 litre displacement. 

The iconic Ferrari V12 isn’t dead however as we can expect to hear the sonorous 812 Competizione in Q3.

Passion, Paint & Porsche.

911. Three numbers that instantaneously evoke joy and respect in motoring enthusiasts around the world. Since 1963, Porsche’s rear-engine sports car has remained the brand’s iconic model, evolving over eight generations, from only one body type to a variety of different models, including the revered Turbo, as well as the unsurpassed GT models. Today, the 911 range offers a wide selection of models to thrill any passionate driver. 

Picture South Africa back in the 1980s. The form and flow of Porsche’s most iconic model catches the eye of a creatively gifted child from rural Modimolle in the Limpopo Province. Young Nelson Makamo decides there and then that owning a Porsche 911 in his adult life will be one of his goals. Nelson never doubted that he would eventually succeed in realising his dream, on his terms and in his own inimitable way. 

Fast forward to 2021. Nelson Makamo is a world-renowned visual artist with an impressive list of clients, including international celebrities and private collectors. One of his works featured on the cover of TIME Magazine under the banner ‘The art of optimism – 34 people who are changing how we see the world.’ 

After a residency in Franschhoek in the Western Cape Province, a modern day Porsche 911 in the town streets catches his eye, transporting him back to the moment he first saw its earlier evocation. Mesmerised by the evolutionary design of the 911 over the decades and now being in a position to fulfil his childhood dream, Nelson realises that the time has arrived. 

A conversation follows with Porsche South Africa, fuelling the concept of creating his own customised car. Not just through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, but by personally transforming his new vehicle into a moving canvas featuring selected hand painted elements. As a result, Nelson Makamo will become not only the proud owner of a Porsche 911, but literally, the owner of automotive art. Instead of celebrating his milestone alone, Nelson Makamo decided to use his very own 911 as a motivational artwork. 

It is a daunting task at first, but Nelson painstakingly creates the individual elements for his latest art installation, hand-painting selected parts of the car at his studio in the heart of Johannesburg. These parts are then taken back to Porsche Centre Johannesburg to be lacquer coated and assembled, ready for the private unveiling. 

The Porsche 911 – affectionately called “My Life in Motion” by Nelson Makamo – is an eye-catching, Jet Black Metallic Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé, featuring the artist’s signature accents, which include a hand-painted rear bumper panel, as well as side mirror covers, seatbacks and interior trim panels. 

Nelson strongly believes that each person’s success results from a community or collective working together. He attributes his personal success to the various people he has met throughout his life, either through everyday interactions or through his work as an artist and of course, the diverse people he has met through his travels around the world. He says; “Your existence is not only a blessing to your family, but it’s a blessing to a whole lot of communities.” 

This project encouraged Nelson to reflect on his personal journey, recalling the various individuals that had an impact on his life. Doing so, he was able to portray his belief in community through the depictions painted on the vehicle. This community has no race, age, gender or geographical origin, representing an international collective of individuals. “What better way to summarise my journey through life than by putting it in a form of collectives. We are at a point in time in the world where we are slowly moving into one culture because we care about each other as people more than anything. I want you to see yourself on the car” Nelson says looking at the rear bumper panel featuring a large crowd of people. “This 911 is meant to inspire anyone to believe that they can succeed through their passion”. 

The left side door panel insert subtly bears the inscription “Mma”, purposely only visible when the door of the 911 is open. These three letters mean “Mother” in Nelson’s home language of Sepedi and are a dedication to his mother, the first artwork on which he has ever mentioned her. With this subtle, yet deeply meaningful acknowledgement, Nelson pays tribute to his Mother who supported him throughout his life, inspiring him to believe that success through art is possible, despite many challenges. 

From building wire toy cars as a child, to owning a customised Porsche 911, Nelson is humbled by his success. “I always knew I was going to own a Porsche, I just never knew that my relationship with the brand would start this way – and it’s only the beginning.” The project took weeks to complete, and Nelson declared that he enjoyed every moment. There was no brief – it was entirely Nelson’s story to tell; the story of a young man who chose to believe that he can succeed. 

Toby Venter, CEO of Porsche South Africa, says the project has provided great motivation: “Working with Nelson has been inspirational and this commission is on a level we’ve never seen before. This is a truly bespoke art installation worthy of any gallery. In addition, it illustrates the lengths Porsche South Africa will go to; the creativity and flexibility of our team to accommodate a request as personal as this. Porsche customers already have a virtually endless array of options available through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur to make their car completely individual, but then, when a unique customer such as Nelson chooses to do something extraordinary, we are delighted to accommodate his wishes.” 

Nelson also finds artistic inspiration from the wide-eyed innocence of children. He is particularly drawn to children in rural South Africa, believing that they embody peace and harmony we all strive for in life. 

This unique vehicle is both a representation and celebration of what can be achieved when you combine talent, resilience, hard work and the unwavering support from family to reach your goals. Nelson wants his 911 to spark the imagination of the African child, to help each young girl and boy see that it’s possible to find success through their own passion.

The 1 Millionth Porsche 911

1 Millionth Porsche 911

1 Millionth Porsche 911 rolls of the production line

In 1964 the first Porsche 911 was produced at the headquarters in Zuffenhausen. What led in the following years was a sports car which became iconic not only on the road, but also on the racetrack.

On 11th May 2017, 54 years later and in the same location, the 1 millionth Porsche 911 rolled of the production line. This is an impressive achievement for the brand which few have had the opportunity to experience.

When an occasion like this happens, it is only right to make it special and that’s what Porsche did. This 1 millionth Porsche 911 is a one-off piece celebrating 54 years of history.

This specific 911 model is based on the Carrera S with a performance pack, this results in 331 kW or 450 hp. This is nice, but it doesn’t really matter on such a special car like this. For me, it is more about the exquisite details that have gone into making the 1 millionth 911 even more special.

It all starts with the paint: Irish Green. Why Irish Green? Well this was the favourite colour of Porsche’s founder, Ferry Porsche, who owned one of the first ever Porsche 911’s in Irish Green. This colour has been available to order as an individual colour since 1965.

The real special touches can be found on the interior. The seats for example are embraced with hand made covers with the centres featuring the original pepita pattern from 1964. The circular instruments and Sport Chrono clock feature silver surrounds, just as the original. The steering wheel is also a very unique element with a beautiful handmade mahogany rim and the original 1964 Porsche crest settled in the centre. In line with the steering wheel, mahogany and many other unique features have been added to this special 911, such as the bonnet crest, wheel hub covers, painted brake calipers and the beautiful 911 logo in gold on the rear. In fact, there are too many details to cover everything in writing, so I’m going to let the images do the talking.

This is one special Porsche which will be held and kept by Porsche AG. Before it heads to its permanent home at the Porsche Museum, it will be embarking on a world tour. I personally think Porsche should release some limited edition 911 models with the same spec as this very car, it would be awesome to see them grace our local road.