Tag: Sam Ayres

Here’s why you should buy the Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia 

I know what you are all thinking, how does the Italian stallion compare to the ever so popular BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the third German moustache – the Audi A4?. All giants of the same segment.

This article isn’t going to be a long-winded and unnecessary comparison, the seats are like this, the wing mirrors are like that…if that’s what you came for you can copy and paste the above paragraph into the mighty Google search. This article is simply going to give you the reason why one should consider the Giulia- summed it up in one word: Difference.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Let me expand this over a few hundred words.

You see, a BMW 3 series is a great proven product, likewise a C-class, they sell in droves partly because of this, but also because these brands are huge in this fine country of South Africa. Consumers buy BMW/Mercedes/Audi products for the same reason they buy Apple- because of how it interprets them and how they are viewed by their friends. I have happened to fall for this clever marketing ploy, you don’t sell the product, you sell the experience, the lifestyle…

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The first Alfa Romeo Guila I drove happened to be the QV, its fast and nimble front end caught my attention, so did the faulty electronics, and then a day later it ended up in a tyre wall ( through no fault of my own) It’s safe to say I didn’t get to spend much time in that specific vehicle, but after spending a good amount of time in the “standard” model, the Giulia just happens to also be a very good motor vehicle – shock horror.

However, I can’t just leave you with that to break the mould. We can all see its beautiful, but above that, it drives very nicely from both a comfort and performance perspective, it’s darn comfortable, the interior is fairly splendid and features technology which belongs in 2018. The Giulia’s 2.0 Petrol with 147 kW 8-speed automatic transmission offers just a good if not a better driving experience than its direct competitors. So here is what you need to ask yourself, why not be different?

Alfa Romeo Giulia

You see, life isn’t always what your friends think. While on route to test drive the “you know whats”, break the stereotype and pull into your nearest Alfa dealer. You never know unless you try and let’s be honest, if I had a Rand for every 320 M-Sport I passed on the morning commute, I wouldn’t be making a morning commute…

New Volkswagen Polo vs Peugeot 208 GT-Line

Volkswagen Polo

New Volkswagen Polo v Peugeot 208 GT-Line

“Cool”, “eye-catching” and “snazzy” are just a few words than can be used to describe both Volkswagen’s new Polo and the updated Peugeot 208 GT-Line. These hatchbacks play in a competitive market, each manufacturer has their own version of what they perceive that market wants. For those looking in this segment, there needs to be a balance between fun factor, functionality, technology, practically and appearance – a tough ask in my opinion. That being said, a lot of those attributes are on offer in many cars operating in that segment. So, building a hatchback that meets those requirements is easy, but selling it in South Africa is a different story. In a country where the Volkswagen Polo is the bread and butter, how does the “Frenchie” stack up? Let’s get down and dirty.

Peugeot 208

Looks

This reminds me of the common topic of argument among boys and men. Jennifer Anniston or Angela Jolie? They are both beautiful women in different ways. The same rings true with the new Polo and Peugeot 208. The Polo, on the one hand features an edgy design which gives off a “young professional” look. The 208 GT Line on the other hand is curvier and quirkier, creating a fun overall appearance.

Volkswagen Polo

Interior and Technology

While both vehicles boast good quality interiors, the experience is totally different. The new Polo features a typically clean Volkswagen look and the 8” Composition Media display really adds a nice premium touch. It’s also built into the dashboard resulting in a classy, clean look. Opting for the optional Active Info Display further adds to the premium feel of the new Polo cabin, the 11” display replaces conventional dashboard dials and provides a completely different interface for the driver. This option brings features not normally associated with a hatchback in this segment.

Jumping in to the 208 GT Line results in an unusual but sportier environment. The dashboard is high, the steering wheel is small and located particularly low. After a short while pulling leavers and twisting nobs, I found a low seated driving position that I enjoyed. The sporty appeal, supportive seats and small diameter steering wheel offer something different from the Polo and once you’ve settled in, it becomes rather enjoyable.

Both cars offer Apple CarPlay, (Android auto is compatible but still not available in ZA) but in terms of usability and interface responsiveness, the VW Polo comes out on top.

Driving

The 208 produces a nippy 81Kws of power and has a nimble chassis. The front end of this vehicle stood out to me as it was very positive and provides plenty of grip. Combine this with the sporty driving position and driving 208 GT Line is a fun affair. If you are one who enjoys a good twisty road, the 208 might be your weapon of choice. The manual variant in the Peugeot is what we preferred, as the automatic had a mind of its own. On the other hand the DSG gearbox in the Polo is class leading and definitely the one to get, especially if traffic is a reality of your life.

When it comes to the Polo, it produces 85Kw and is slightly calmer in its approach. It’s the more grown up car out of the two and doesn’t have as much of a sporty appeal, but rather a gentleman-like persona (The optional R-Line package may spice things up). I say this a lot, but the Polo has a young professional aura about it, which is excellent for the “up and coming”.

What you choose depends on the type of person you are. Both the Volkswagen Polo and the Peugeot 208 GT Line are good cars, they both look great, drive well and offer unique packages as well as a host of tech. A major factor for consideration is what sells more. The simple rule of thumb is, “if it sells more, it will trade in better” – supply and demand. Looking at Polo sales compared to the Peugeot in that aspect makes it the obvious choice for when you want to sell it. If you’re buying with your heart however, you may be swayed by the appeal of the Peugeot, it is a great looking car after all. That being said, the Polo is rather handsome as well. Choose wisely.

 

Peugeot 208 Pricing in South Africa

208 ACTIVE 1.2 PureTech BVM 60kW MT                  R 224 900

208 ALLURE 1.2 PureTech BVM 60kW MT                 R 239 900

208 GT-LINE 1.2 PureTech BVM 81kW Turbo MT       R 259 900

Pricing includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty and 3 year/ 45 000km service plan.

Ends

 

Volkswagen Polo Pricing in South Africa

1.0 TSI 70kW Trendline                                     R 235 900

1.0 TSI 70kW Comfortline                                 R 264 700

1.0 TSI 70kW Comfortline DSG                         R 280 700

1.0 TSI 85kW Highline                                      R 286 200

1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG                              R 302 200

The new Volkswagen Polo models come standard with a 3 year/45 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.

 

Does the New Polo GTI mean the Golf is now obsolete?

New Polo GTI

Does the new Volkswagen Polo GTI replace the Golf?

So the new Volkswagen Polo GTI has a 2.0 –liter engine bru? It’s bigger man? So why then do I need to buy a Golf GTI?

Polo GTI

These are the types of questions that have been drummed in my ears every time the new Polo GTI comes up in conversation, and while many may think the new Polo GTI makes the Golf obsolete, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the Polo GTI has come along way, it’s more refined, faster, produces more power, even better in the corners and cheaper than the model it replaces. Yet it’s still not a Golf, and that isn’t a chirp either…

You see, after Francisco and I spent the weekend in Cape Town with the GTI siblings, while chopping and changing vehicles and destinations, we really experienced what each model had to offer.

For example, jump from the Golf into the Polo and you will instantly notice a difference in build quality. A Golf feels sturdier, stronger and safer, while the interior trim has a certain solidness to it. However, when reversing the order, the younger brother highlights a sense of fun and nimbleness which isn’t as present in Golf GTI.  Added to this, the XDS differential which is fitted as standard and was originally found on the Clubsport, really does make it a treat in the bends.

So why would you spend the extra R172K on a Golf GTI. Well if you have a family the extra space is a gold mine, you will probably favour the added luxury and features too while knowing you have chosen a vehicle with more presence and solidness. It also produces more power and feels slightly more exhilarating in a straight line while quite frankly being more “grown-up”.

But, if you don’t have a family, are a young professional and looking to fly high on your way to work and fly off Chapman’s peak on the weekends (the XDS might save you), the Polo GTI takes the cake. It’s less of a car because you don’t need more, it’s extremely fun to drive and has a bunch of laka tech.

It’s quite simple really, ask yourself how many kids you have and use this simple formula.

  1. 0 kids = Polo GTI.
  2. 1-3 kids = Golf GTI.
  3. 3+ kids = You are reading the wrong article. Try here: Tiguan Allspace

Yes, if you’re a family man looking for a visceral GTI experience then you most likely already have the answer. For me, I’m rocking the Polo GTI, and my wife and I can roll around looking too cool for the school run.

New VW Polo GTI Pricing in South Africa

Polo GTI: R375,900

As standard, a decent spec is on offer which includes items such as Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel, Front fog lamps, Rest Assist, Composition Media with iPod/iPhone Interface, App-Connect, 2 USB Interfaces, Cruise Control.

For just over R400,000 you can have a very nicely specced Polo GTI.

Get speccing: https://www.vw.co.za/app/configurator/vw-za/en

 

 

 

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Driven

A mid-sized family orientated SUV with 375kW and 700Nm may sound quite preposterous, in fact, it can be likened to those superhuman toddler gymnasts you see on YouTube. At the age of four, their biceps are bigger than their little heads, causing you to ask, “why?”

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

Many may ask the same question when it comes to the new Mercedes AMG GLC 63 S. Personally, I didn’t ask why when learning about this car, because I’m a fan of speed and power in any shape or size. I can imagine many motorists share the same sentiments as me as well. What may seem like just a statement from Merc, is actually more than that, it’s a shift based on consumer behaviour. The reality is that many consumers who drive sedans are now changing their buying behaviour toward SUV’s, such as the GLC. Reasons such as safety, size and presence are all factors leading to this change. Then there are those who drive the performance variants of popular sedans, such as the burbling Mercedes AMG C63 or BMW’s M3. These guys need a replacement for the performance they’re used to, if they decide to do the SUV jump. The new GLC 63 S seems to be an answer, but can it provide the same thrills? Can an SUV provide as much fun, performance and driving experience as a sedan AMG, such as the C63 S? Let’s find out…

An early flight navigated me from Durban to Lanseria, where we jumped into a van and arrived at Zwartkops Raceway, which would be the base for our testing. The first few hours including a high speed “brake and steer” test, a slalom and drag races. While all this is was fun, it also showed us what we could expect from the GLC 63 S, when we would begin our full laps. Not only that, it showed us how much confidence Mercedes-Benz has in their vehicle. For example, our slalom runs started with ESP on, as we progressed we eventually were encouraged to switch of the car’s ESP system, allowing us to feel how the limited slip differential works when the vehicle is unencumbered by the safety systems.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

It’s worth noting, the ESP system on the GLC 63 S is very sensitive, with good reason too – it’s still a family car. One with a lot of power. This vehicle also carries quite a bit of weight. In the wrong hands, it could lead to some not so desirable outcomes should an overenthusiastic overcook it. Back to the story.

So here we are, on the track and ready for some laps. We started with ESP on and gradually went through the modes until everything was off. Not half off, but “off off off” as we call it in the office. As you can imagine, with ESP in full force, throttle output is easily hampered coming out of corners, especially when power was applied sharply. From a safety perspective, it made sense but on a track, it can be annoying. Which sounds like a pointless statement because a track day in a GLC 63 S is more a treat for journalists, as opposed to a reality for an owner. Sport, Sport + and Race modes were also tested, which give you more freedom, more slip and more AMG noise on each mode – which by the way is fantastic. AMG have a whole division focused on exhaust sound – a great division if you ask me. I digress however…After a few laps toggling between various modes and even with ESP off, I became very frustrated with my track experience.  I wasn’t getting what I expected out of the vehicle and quite frankly, I was unhappy with my laps. At each apex, when I wanted to power out of the corner, the car was cutting power quite abruptly – arrghh. This is not what I expected from a car that uses the 4Matic + system, the same one that is in the highly regarded Mercedes AMG E63 S, less the drift mode.

All is not lost.

On our slow down lap, I discussed with Francisco and the AMG Driving instructor. I explained that perhaps my driving style is wrong for this extremely powerful SUV. The instructor agreed and like a good coach during half time in a bag game, he gave me a few pointers to get the most out of a car of this size. So, after pumping myself up, we headed back onto the track. The aim? Turning in later, getting more steering into the corner before the apex, allowing me to unwind the lock before accelerating out of the corner.  This would allow the GLC to not panic, causing the “fail safe” safety systems to activate even when they’re meant to be off off off. Again, a necessary measure for a family SUV.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

The result? Pretty brilliant. The limited-slip diff worked well, sending power to the front when needed and pulling the GLC out of corners. After the little teething issues we began with, due to my driving style, the vehicle became the dynamic, fast and precise track weapon I wanted it to be. Not the words you expect to hear about an SUV – Merc is onto something with this setup.

So can an AMG SUV provide as much fun, performance and driving experience as a sedan variant, such as C63 S? Well, regarding performance,  the head of the AMG driving academy told us that he could probably set similar laps times in the AMG GLC 63 S as he would in an AMG GT S, which is quite the statement to make. The question of fun and driving experience still needs to be answered however. I may be a young journalist, but over the past few years I’ve done my fair share of driving on and off the track. Honestly, driving the AMG GLC 63 S fast around a racetrack was one the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had to date. You may not be able to do tyre smoking drift sessions in the car, but the reality is even most who own C63 S’s can’t either – even though their vehicles can. So there’s not much to miss in that department. That being said, the GLC does allow for a fair bit of a movement, since it sends its power mostly to the rear tyres.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S

I probably enjoyed this track experience as much as I did, because I wasn’t really expecting the car to be as good as they say it is, it is an SUV after all. Or perhaps it was due to the fact that I had to work harder for cleaner laps. Either way, it was exhilarating and a good glimpse of the future of smaller performance SUV’s.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Pricing in South Africa

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S SUV: R1 572 602

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe: R1 689 067

 

 

 

Updates to the 2018 Ford Ranger

2018 Ford Ranger Fx4

Ford Ranger Updated for 2018

The locally produced and very popular Ford Ranger has undergone updates for the fast approaching year of 2018. The updates are as follows:

Front Park Assist

Front Park Assist is now fitted as standard on all Ranger XLT and Fx4 models. This will complement the rear sensors and camera and provide increased safety for tight manoeuvers.

Fx4 Treatment 

The Fx4 kit was previously only available on the Ranger 3.2 Double Cab XLT 4×4, but due to popularity, the Fx4 treatment will now be available in limited quantities on all XLT models, including the 2.2 and 3.2-litre variants – both manual and automatic.

The Ranger Fx4 also sees new styling changes in the form of black finishes across the front grille, fog lamp bezels, exterior mirrors, roof rails, as well as the door and tailgate handles. Ford didn’t hold back with the black touches, as the alloy wheels, side steps, rear bumper and tubular sports bar also receive this effect.

Spay-in Bed Liner

For the first time, customers can spec a spray-in bed liner directly from the factory as a cost option. This is the same product used on the Ford F 150 since 2008 and aligns with Ford’s Ford’s stringent engineering specifications. A benefit to this is that minor and major repairs to the spray-in liner can be done at Ford dealerships and is covered by Ranger’s standard four-year/120 000km warranty.

Ford Ranger 2018

Say Hello to the new AMG-43’S

The 43 series in Mercedes-AMG’s line up has proven to be a popular engine choice for those who want a little more performance than a non AMG variant can provide, but are not yearning for a fire-breathing AMG-63, we can call this the middle ground.

If you didn’t know, the middle ground provides some nice numbers, 270 kW and 520 N.m to be exact from a 3-litre V6. Power is delivered through a Nine-speed gearbox and Mercedes’ four wheel drive system. Jokes, aside, it is a great setup and Mercedes-Benz have now added the AMG-43 variant to a number of models.

The 43 series is now available for the C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, as well as the GLC and GLC Coupe, GLE and GLE Coupe and finally, the SLC Roadster.

All the 43 Series models can expect AMG sports suspension as standard in the shape of Air Body Control. They will all, bar the SLC,  feature a 4MATIC system with 61% percent of the power being delivered to the rear axle. Further to this, the AMG sports braking system,  AMG Dynamic Select and sports exhaust system are all fitted as standard.

The AMG-43 series is a great option for those wanting a taste of the AMG experience. As always, when we get behind the wheel of these machines, we will post a full driven review. For more latest news on cars in South Africa, visit our Latest News section.

 

Pricing is as follows:

           Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic sedan – R858,400

           Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic coupé – R928,100

           Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic cabriolet – R1,050,300

           Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 roadster – R1,037,400

           Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC – R960,400

           Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé – R1,070,900

           Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC – R1,206,700

           Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC Coupé – R1,297,500