The greenest car in the world has just lapped the ‘Green Hell’ in 07:10.9 minutes – that’s what us motoring scribes would call ‘very fast’ and I’m sure you’re all delighted by this news!
Many a motoring journalist will bang on about how useless Nurburgring times are to the everyday motorist, and yes that is the case for most, but there’s definitely no denying the gruelling test that this track puts cars through. So while Mr Discovery and Mr Vodacom won’t really notice the hundreds of man hours that have gone into the chassis, it’s still there and golly does it show should they decide to stray from the Sandton traffic and onto a circuit. After all, you’re not just paying funny money for a green jobby with an OTT spoiler. It all works, and well at that.
So, thanks to its impressive aero, obsessive weight reduction and a stonking 430kW 4.0l turbo motor complete with dry sump lubrication and turbos nestled within the ‘V’, the AMG GT R has gone straight for the Porsche 911 GT3 RS’s jugular and smashed its Nurburgring time of 07:20.00.
The question needs to be asked, then. Which of Stuttgart’s street-racers would you buy, a thoroughbred, track-tuned Porsche – one of the last properly fast cars with an NA motor – or a rip-snorting brute from the folk who brought you best-sellers such as the A-Class and CLC! Either way, you need neither, but you’ll want both.
Mercedes are pumping out cars like hot cakes at the moment, and I must admit, its hard to keep up. The latest German machine to hit the shelves in the Mercedes GLC Coupe.
By the sounds of it, Mercedes wanted to bring more of a sports coupe element to the mid-sized Suv, The GLC Coupe will feature none optional sports suspension, in the form of DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL which features classic steel springs, or the AIR BODY CONTROL, which features multi-chamber air suspension. Both providing electronically controlled characteristics, for example, In Sports + mode, the vehicle is lowered by 15mm to give a “sports car” feel. A permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard along with Mercedes 9 Speed automatic transmission.
The design is similar to the standard GLC, with headlights that resemble the shape and style found on the latest C and E class vehicles. The GLC Coupe is also 8cm longer and 4cm lower, but features mainly the same design features.
Standard to all GLC Coupe models is 18”wheels, chrome exterior pack, EASY-PACK tailgate, 20 CD multimedia system ( strange one, who uses CD’s anymore?) keyless-go and man-made leather interior. Further to this, Mercedes include a lot of their assistance systems, such as collision prevention and crosswind assist.
Diesel Variants : The Mercedes GLC Coupe will feature six variants, with three diesel engines included. The range will start with the GLC 220 d Coupe, producing 125Kw and 400Nm of torque, with a price of R735 900. From here we go to the GLC 250 d – 150kw and 500Nm for a price of R754 900. Finalising things in the diesel range is the GLC 350 d with 190kw and a hefty 620Nm. The price is also hefty to at R894 900.
Petrol Variants: The GLC 250 will be the baseline petrol model with 155Kw and 350Nm, rising to the GLC 300 with 180kw and 370Nm, priced R739 900 and R794 900 respectively. The final petrol model will come in the form of a Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, 270Kw on tap with 520Nm to back it up.
The Brazilian GP has always provided a spicy race, so why would the 2016 Grand Prix in Sao Paulo be any different?
The Mercedes pair headed into this race knowing that Nico Rosberg could finish second at this event and in the final event at Abu Dhabi, and still win the world championship. All that Lewis could do is win, and hope for the best. Maybe a Red Bull thrown into the mix would help. It would certainly give the last race a bit more energy.
Because I can be rather stupid at times, I messed up the race start time and before I realised, the race was red flagged at 21 laps, which is when I started watching. As always, I blamed the wife, a massive Rosberg fan. What I can tell you is that in the first period of racing, Raikkonen spun and ended his race, Along with his Ferrari teammate who luckily avoided the wall, Ricciardo was handed a 5-second penalty and a few others fell victim to the extremely wet racing conditions. After a red flag, the race started again behind the safety car for a number of laps before it was red flagged, yet again. This was displeasing to not only a number of drivers, but also to the booing grandstands.
Finally, the race was underway. Hamilton burst away from the start and being such a Ninja when it comes to wet racing, had no issues from the challengers behind. To the delight of Hamilton fans, young Max Verstappen passed Rosberg who seemed to be struggling in the rain, or maybe he was just playing it safe. Max then had a scary moment as he dropped his Redbull on the white line, sending the vehicle into a 90-degree slide, only for him to hold it, avoid the barrier and carry on in second place.Brilliant. His second place didn’t last long though as Redbull pitted both their drivers onto Intermediate tyres, a brave move which resulted in1 fast lap, more rain, and a legend by the name of Felipa Massa hitting the wall and blocking the pit entrance, him also on the intermediate tyres.
This was Massa’s last ever home race and as the safety car removed the damage, Massa was given a Guard of honour by the Mercedes and Ferrari team as he walked down the pitlane, greeted halfway by his wife and young son resulted in a lot of tears. A touching moment amongst fierce competition.
The safety car unified Hamilton’s advantage and allowed Ricciardo and Max to get back onto full wets, putting them both near the back of the grid, with 10 laps remaining. This is when the magic happened. Verstappen caught his team mate with tremendous speed and passed him around the outside as he struggled to overtake the vehicle in front. But that was not an issue for Max, as he quickly discarded of him also. Max continued to shed up the track and fellow drivers with some wonderful outside overtaking moves using lines reminiscent of Karting in the wet. He soon approached his arch nemesis Vettel and after gaining the inside line, passing him Also. As always, Vettel was unhappy and claimed he was forced off the track, boohoo. Time was ticking as Max continued to pass with sublime driving. With 3 laps remaining, Max was hunting down Perez in 3rd place, and although Perez fought hard, there was nothing stopping the young man who has really spiced up F1 this season.
The Red Bull has always been a fantastic car in the wet, but this was a driving masterclass by Verstappen, something which could not be replicated by his teammate. Many are calling it one of the best drives ever in Formula 1. Hamilton finished the race in 1st, winning by 11 seconds from Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton has brought this championship down to the wire, both drivers have now won 9 races each, with the mechanical failure to Lewis being his downfall this season. The last race in two weeks is at THE Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton wins there, he will need Rosberg to finish 4th or lower, a massive ask. The Brazil GP was defiantly Hamilton’s chance to gain a little more advantage, and with the Redbulls speed and Nicos slide, it nearly happened. If Rosberg wins the championship, I will be happy for him, he probably deserves one after trailing to Lewis his whole career. The fact remains, though, If Hamilton did not have the engine failure after leading the Malaysian GP with 15 laps to go, he would be in the driving seat. Rosberg has been graced with 100% reliability this season, which looks like it could decide the championship, for me, that’s not how it should go.
The Steve Dlamini award was created in memory of the man himself after the young motoring editor died in 2008 in a motorcycle accident. The award, sponsored by Bridgestone SA represents excellence in the motor journalism field and is awarded to young, upcoming motor journalists who have stood out over the past year.
This year, it was our very own Francisco Nwamba, who deservingly won this award. Francisco has been the face of The Motorist from day one and has played a major role in putting us on the map. So, on behalf of the Motorist team, we congratulate our main man Francisco! A big thank you also goes out to those who have followed and supported us up until now.
If you would like to congratulate Francisco yourself, you can hit him up on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/francisco.nwamba?fref=ts
Suzuki launched its newest model last week, the Baleno. Believe it or not, there are two previous versions of this car that I am too young to remember, so this makes it Baleno number 3.
After a small 4 hour delay in Durban airport, we arrived in PE at 11 pm; this is when I first set my eyes on the Baleno, under the orange evening lights I made out the front end of Suzuki’s new hatch, Interesting, I thought. The next day I grabbed a proper look at the new Baleno, the design is of this vehicle is what Suzuki call ” Optical Flow,” it’s different and I liked the front end design of this car, the rear end not so much. I sometimes feel Suzuki are slightly missing the mark with vehicle design, the Swift Sport has always looked great and is the best looking car Suzuki make, the new Vitara Is also a looker, but some of the other Suzuki models lack in the looks department.
The Baleno is not replacing the Swift; rather it gives another option to customers who find the rear passenger and boot areas in the Swift not spacious enough. It’s a bigger car which can be seen visibility from the inside and out when compared to a Suzuki Swift. Intriguingly,though, it’s also 110kg lighter. The Baleno will feature the 1.4 67kw engine found in other model variants and will come as GL and GLX models, with the option of a 4-speed auto in the GLX.
The GLX features exterior changes over the GL such as HID projector headlights and daytime running lights, chrome accents all around, front fog lamps, indicator signals in the mirrors, a rear spoiler and privacy glass for the rear windows. The GLX also features 16-inch alloy wheels and rear disc brakes, with the GL only featuring rear drums. The main interior changes with the GLX is the 6-inch color screen, and while the instrument cluster remains the same, Suzuki has added another color display, this time only 4-inches, which shows various driving data. Keyless go is also a feature on the GLX, along with fully automatic aircon and rear parking sensors. Safety wise, the GLX features six airbags to the GL’s mere two.
Suzuki has priced this car competitively with the Baleno starting at R199,990 for the GL, R229,000 for the GLX and R244,900 for the GLX Auto. The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan.
I enjoyed the drive in this car, and there are some features I liked, and some that I didn’t like so much, which I will discuss in my in-depth driving review in edition 07 of the TheMotorist digital mag. If you wish, you can subscribe here: TheMotorist Digital Magazine.