Tag: Porsche

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 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!

Number crunching with Porsche’s new 911 GT3.

The hallowed proving ground in the automotive industry has always and will continue to be the Nurburgring Nordschleife, better known as the Green Hell for those who can’t correctly pronounce anything German. While the track is steeped in dozens of interesting numbers, competing automotive brands always want to achieve the lowest when it comes to doing a lap in their cars… and Porsche has achieved just that in their new model to sport the GT3 nameplate with a sub 7 minute figure. 

Porsche finally revealed the next generation 992 911 GT3 on February 16th, bringing the wait for the most exciting new 911 derivative to an end. It did so in incredible style as the same car also underwent its development around the Green Hell and managed to trounce the previous generations time. For context, Lars Kern – Porsche’s number 1 test driver completed the 20.8 km lap of the famous circuit in 6:59:927 minutes, beating the previous version by a massive 17 seconds. With its 9000rpm redline, it surely completed this lap to the aural satisfaction of anyone that was close enough to hear it. 

About the car: with the same flat-six four liter boxer engine and drivetrain of that in the seasoned endurance racer, the 911 GT3 R, there is no doubt the 375Kw engine should be able to consistently put down reliable consistent power wherever it goes. Other aspects of the GT racer exist in the form of a double wishbone front axle layout, functional diffusers and a swan neck rear wing. While it may not be as fast off the line as the Turbo S, the GT3 still manages a 0-100 time in 3.4 seconds and will continue up to 318km/h (or 320km/h in the manual box). Remember, this car is all about the downforce and handling. with a four-stage adjustable splitter at the front rear wing with an equal number of adjustments at the back. For the purists, it is also offered in a 6 speed manual gearbox and mechanical diff too, which translates to 17kg lighter than the models with the 7 speed PDK transmission and electronic diff.

South Africa can expect to receive the latest GT3 derivative in Q4 of 2021. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the time of its local release. This is a car that we can’t wait to drive! 

Watch Porsches official onboard footage of Lars Kern piloting an initial sub 7 minute lap in the GT3 around the Green Hell here

We Drive the New Porsche Cayenne in South Africa

New Porsche Cayenne South Africa

New Porsche Cayenne Driven Review

Porsche. It’s a  name that is synonymous with racing, hard-core stripped out road vehicles and daily drivers that many a stockbroker have or are in the process of ordering. It’s a name that carries heritage and a history in motorsport that many manufacturers would love to call their own. For any petrol head, it’s been a brand that most aspire to, but come 2003, Porsche decided to branch out and for good reason. They decided that the clients who already own their sports cars needed something that they could drive daily, with spouse and children in tow. They gave us the Porsche Cayenne.

New Porsche Cayenne South Africa

Porsche Cayenne Side Shot

Yes, at first glance it wasn’t the most handsome sibling but for Porsche clients and anyone who could afford the price tag, it didn’t matter. The Porsche Cayenne was bought by the trendy, wealthy families in your estate. You know the family, the Khumalo’s and the Smiths. The family with the toned, gym focussed mother who can whip up a gourmet meal for her family. The tall and chiselled father who is not only the CEO of his international company but also coaches his daughter’s soccer team. Yes, those families. It’s because of them, that the Cayenne brand has gone from strength to strength and what we have now, in 2018 is the most one of the best looking SUVs in the market, and it’s the Cayenne.

The launch of the new Porsche Cayenne.

We all met up in rainy and very windy Cape Town for the launch of the new Cayenne. At first glance, and from a distance, you see the design team went in for a nip and tuck. In its third rendition, you would be hard pressed to see where improvements could be made as I thought the previous model was a particularly handsome vehicle – that is why I’m writing an article on the new Cayenne and not in Stuttgart, in a Porsche lab coat, submitting design drawings.

From the rear, with its Tron like LED spanning the entire boot length, along with the coupe-like roofline and front end that looks more like 911.2 that a regular SUV, I’m left with much want for this car. Inside you are greeted by a cabin that would be a technophobe’s nightmare. It’s all electric with buttons and switchgear for everything. It’s very much tuned for the iPad generation, something that I will not tire of.

Three engines are available from launch and we first sampled the “baby” Cayenne with its 3.0L V6 petrol motor producing 250kW and 450Nm. It’s crazy to think that some flagship vehicles churn out those kinds of numbers. Out into Capetonian traffic, something that the whole of South Africa could do without, we head out into the wine country. In front, we are led by the flagship Cayenne Turbo variant and I don’t know if it’s my Gauteng aggressiveness in my driving style, but the Turbo wasn’t able to show me up in the corners and sweeping mountain passes, however, he did show me what the rear of the car looked like on the straights.

Tech

The ride on the “entry level” Cayenne was plush, feedback from the front axle and steering was more than adequate and you find yourself pushing much harder than your skill set normally lets you, such is the confidence that the Cayenne gives you. What impressed me was the standard equipment that’s offered on the entry-level model and with a base of R1 142 000, it’s square in line with its counterparts from Germany and the United Kingdom.

New Porsche Cayenne South Africa

New Porsche Cayenne Interior South Africa

After reaching our coffee stop, I was now a passenger and could play with the digital driving display and all the settings that could be personalised. To say that I got lost in the varies menus is an understatement. I just love interiors that I can really make my own and in this vehicle, you can do just that. Very soon, I found myself driving what I would say is the pick of the bunch, the Cayenne S.

New Porsche Cayenne S

Powered by a 2.9 V6 Motor, punching out 324kW, 550Nm and a standing 0-100kph time of 4,9 seconds, you instantly fall in love with this variant. I was commending the normal Cayenne on its power delivery and the fact that you never really lacked for power,  this motor, however, gives you that little extra you didn’t know that you needed. Overtaking is done before you know it and if you find yourself alone, on a familiar stretch of road, the Cayenne S will stop its gallop at 265 kph, 20 kph more than its sibling. Standard options fitted to the Cayenne S are just too many to number, but the major reason for the S is the motor, and at this pricing range, you can justify the R154 000 price jump.

New Porsche Cayenne S South Africa

Porsche Cayenne S Driving

New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Now for the “Maneer”, the General, the Turbo S. We live in an age where Turbo motors are the way to get around emissions issues, while bringing consumption figures and down to reasonable levels. Sadly, the engine note from the exhaust is normally then lost and sacrificed.  You see, turbos swallow up the naughty noise that would make even the sharpest accountant giggle like a five-year-old, but not in the case of the Turbo S. From startup, the mightly 4.0 V8 motor, producing 404kW and 770Nm lets you know that it means business and that you should strap in, tight!

New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

I’ve always maintained that high-performance SUVs are not practical and offer performance that you don’t need as no sane parent would drive “that way” with their kids staring at them in the rear-view mirror. But and this is a big BUT, this is the second SUV that would make me go against my cardinal rule. To say that the Cayenne Turbo is fast is like saying that an NBA player is tall. It’s a fact known by all but there is so much depth to that statement that you would need to be in the vehicle, better yet, the driver’s seat to fully comprehend the thought that I’m trying to get across here.

New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Gone are the days of struggling to keep up with traffic on rural roads. The string of trucks that are blocking the traffic from flowing? Gone. That “special” mountain pass that you are trying to carve and get rid of small cars and delivery vans? Gone. The Turbo S delivers power in waves that would make any sane driver a favourite paying member of the JMPD, and it’s also done without your passengers being hurled from side to side. The Turbo S is so well sorted suspension-wise that you end up feeling that you are in Panamera, rather than an SUV in the clouds.

What would I buy?

So there you have it. The new Porsche Cayenne is a fantastic vehicle. The Khumalo’s and Smiths have already ordered theirs but what about the Nwamba’s?  I have driven a diesel SUV for the last couple of years and have become very fond of driving a tank to 700 km plus between fill-ups. Interestingly, the new Cayenne isn’t available in a diesel, and with petrol being a cleaner burning fuel, you can see the reason for this. Diesel is expected to be phased out in the next decade with emission standards being strict and Porsche has now jumped ahead of everyone with this decision.

New Porsche Cayenne S South Africa

Rear of Porsche Cayenne S

So the only vehicle that would be under my consideration would be my pick of the bunch – the Cayenne S. It’s in the same ballpark in terms of pricing with the Mercedes GLE 350 AMG, the BMW X5 30d M Sport and the Range Rover TdV6 SE and to play devil’s advocate, the Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI. You can see that these are vehicles that have been giving my wife and I a headache and the introduction of the new Cayenne to further complicated this decision, a decision that we’ve decided to park till next year when we will need to play ching Chong cha! If I were to make that decision now though, I would be writing this from the seat of a Cayenne S.

Learn More here: https://www.porsche.com/middle-east/_capetown_/models/cayenne/

Third Generation Porsche Cayenne Released

New Porsche Cayenne

New Porsche Cayenne & Cayenne S Released

Porsche is one brand that I personally love but really will never understand. They make the greatest cars and they are a perfect example of great European engineering, with regards to precision, attention to detail and that fabled thing called German engineering. The latest Cayenne does follow a similar design pattern to that of the previous models, and by similar we mean nearly identical, but as they say, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it and the Cayenne has always been a good looking vehicle.

New Porsche Cayenne

Meet the new third generation Porsche Cayenne SUV. One has to remind themselves of the fact that the Porsche Cayenne is still the most capable SUV’s ON the road, and this newest model is all about being the most dynamic, large SUV. This can be believed due to the sporty prowess the current Cayenne adopts, despite its size. In the third generation, Porsche have used more aluminum and a smaller body frame, meaning the total weight is now just under 2 tonnes at 1985 kg which is around 65 kg less than its predecessor.

The standard variant of the new Cayenne is available with a 3-litre turbocharged engine producing 250 kW and 450 N.m of torque, with performance figures standing at 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds. One up from this, the new Cayenne S model will use the same motor as the Panamera S – a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 kicking out 324 kW and 550 N.m of torque. These figures result in a 100kmh dash of 5.2 seconds, just in case you were interested.

New Porsche Cayenne

Porsche’s new Cayenne needs to be more comfortable than anything else, all while keeping everything tidy when it comes to the twisties. Porsche’s new 4D Chassis Control makes this possible. New adaptive dampers are also standard on the Cayenne S, and an optional extra on the standard Cayenne model. For increased high speed maneuverability, the Cayenne S is now also available with rear-wheel steering-just in case you’re late for your sons soccer game.

New Porsche Cayenne Interior

We mentioned earlier that the new Cayenne follows a very similar design theme to the previous gen models, with the minor differences being new front air intakes and rear taillights.More significant changes can be found in the interior and the new Cayenne takes much from the Panamera with a new 12.3 inch infotainment system, analogue digital dial pack and a touch sensitive center console. The original Cayenne trademark vertical outer vents remain as is. Of course, Porsche build quality is a given with this new interior set to be of an even higher standard than the outgoing model.

Pricing isn’t available at this time but the new Porsche Cayenne is set to drop in South Africa in June 2018.

The Widow Maker has returned: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The Porsche 911 GT2 RS Has Arrived

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

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

The Specs

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

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

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

Chassis

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

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

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

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

Experience the 911 GT2 RS in greater detail here.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS Pricing in South Africa

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

Prettiest Porsche to date? Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

From when I was little, the Porsche 911 has always been one of my favourite cars. I am unsure of where my love came for this brand, but it may have started when I was shoved in the front loading area or “trunk” by my father. This was his way of demonstrating the ample space available. Come to think of it, I’ve been pretty Claustrophobic since then… For a period of time, I did fall out of this love affair as I felt Porsche went through a funny design stage which I didn’t really like.

In recent years though my love affair has been reignited due to some of the drop-dead gorgeous cars coming out of the Porsche Factory. Yesterday this feeling became even more potent with the unveiling the Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. In short, it’s a more powerful, more luxurious and limited production 911 Turbo S. Could this be one of the prettiest Porsches ever?

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

500 models will be produced featuring an exclusive golden yellow metallic finish and various carbon fibre components such as the front trunk lid, roof, and side skirts. Contrasting with the unique golden paint are two exposed Carbon Fibre strips running the length of the vehicle. Other exterior colours are available, but I think you will agree that this specific colour looks very special. My favourite exterior feature is the alloy wheel design, its large central design with thin spokes branching off and featuring a golden edge looks exquisite, possibly one of the prettiest alloy wheel designs out there.

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

The interior follows the same theme with golden yellow accents on interior elements such as the Alcantara roof and seats. Carbon Fibre trims have integrated fine copper thread which emphasises this car’s exclusivity and sheer class. These subtle features make for a fantastic cabin which I would not mind spending many a weekend in. You can’t drive a car like this to work every day, can you? Only if you want your employees to demand a raise.

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

Apart from the Exclusive Series striking design and styling elements, it also features more power than a standard Porsche 911 Turbo S with 447 kW (607 bhp)  and 750 Nm of Torque on tap. An increase of around 20 kW. This results in a 0 – 100 km/h time of 2.8 seconds and a 0 – 200km/h of just 9.8 seconds with a top speed of 330 km/h. Pretty fast.

The Porsche Exclusive Series can also be experienced when away from the vehicle, with the optional five-piece luggage set costing $6000. Further to this, a custom titanium watch can also be ordered which will tie in and match the colour and design of your Porsche, a price for this has yet to be determined.

Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

There is talk of the Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series available to order in South Africa for around R4 Million.

What do you think of the car? Let us know on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Porsche Training and recruitment centre opens in Cape Town.

More than a manufacturer – Porsche Training and recruitment centre opens in Cape Town.

For car brands operating in South Africa, selling vehicles is of course a priority. After the sale is done however, there needs to be a system in place to ensure that the customer will have the correct after sales support. Service and maintenance is key to retain a customer, as any brand will want to create long lasting relationships with clients. South Africa is a country with an immensely active automotive industry. With thousands of vehicles being bought monthly, all these cars need to be maintained. This is where a potential challenge lies. The youth are the future and the automotive sector is not an area many young people are investing their time in. Specifically amongst the service department. Schools strongly encourage young ones to embrace softer skills, with manual labour being sidelined. This creates a conundrum as physical skills are and will be of great need to various industries for decades to come. Plumbers, mechanics and builders are an essential part of the workforce, without them many industries would fail. The high rate of unemployment is another issue being faced in South Africa, with many members of the youth battling to obtain employment. So it was with a warm heart then, that I listened to the team at Porsche South Africa and Don Bosco Salesian Insitute Youth Projects tell us about the initiative they had started in South Africa.

Cape Town is the starting point for the Porsche Training and Recruitment Centre – a programme designed to give disadvantaged youth a chance at succeeding in life. The aim in simple, over three years 75 men and women will be trained as service mechatronic engineers. This training does not limit the students to work for Porsche exclusively, but will allow them to use their skills within the entire Volkswagen Group. The first selection of the candidates has taken place, giving a fantastic opportunity to 24 young men and women to begin training. The facilities offered are world class, providing two seminar rooms and a workshop with vehicles to be used by the trainees.

The stories behind the programme:

An initiative like this sounds is great to hear about, but actually seeing the young people’s appreciation for this is what melts the heart. Coming from various cultures, a unified spirit of determination is seen in all the candidates. The young men and women are not only happy to represent themselves, but they are happiest to be representing their families and communities. It’s as much of an achievement for those around them, than it is for themselves, because their story has the potential to represent hope for those following them. Hard work will be required to succeed and there is no mollycoddling of the candidates as was clearly shown by Uwe Huck. Huck, who is the Chair of the Porsche Group Works Council is a man who sees himself in each of the candidates chosen. Coming from a difficult background, he knows the importance of hard work, perseverance and of course, education.

Uwe had the following to say about this programme – “Education is something that concerns us all and must not be a privilege. Nobody is too stupid to get an education, but you have to put in the hard work. We have to take on those who – for whatever reason – appear to stand no chance. They do: It is our task to unlock the potential hidden inside every person, regardless of ethnic origin, religion or the colour of their skin. Porsche has always fostered a social corporate culture and it is important and part of our duty to lead by example and show the way rather than to turn a blind eye.” Clearly then a man so passionate about the community is the right person to lead these young people to success.

The South African automotive sector needs more programmes like these as this will ensure that “fresh blood” enters into the car game. As new technology is constantly introduced in cars, young people are the best individuals to be trained to work with these cars, as the millennial generation grasp new technology very easily.  Porsche South Africa and the Volkswagen Group are to be commended for not only giving back, but also ensuring brand sustainability. By investing in disadvantaged youth, this programme and others like these, help give those that wouldn’t have a chance to make a difference for themselves and their community. It also ensures that skilled individuals will be around for longer, making a vital industry in our economy thrive. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are welcome to apply for the courses – this is extended to those who possess vocational training already and those who are in need of basic skills. The overall programme ethos is one of providing hope and skills development, something needed by many young ones in South Africa.