Category: Car news

Celebrating 175 years of Riva yachts with the Abarth 695 Rivale.

Abarth 695 Rivale

The Abarth 695 Rivale.

Abarth 695 Rivale

As a tribute to the relationship between Carlo Abarth and Riva, ironically by the same name, the Abarth boffins – responsible for all the “spirited” Fiats have taken to the 695 to create the devilishly rare Rivale. Resembling the “Beauty Line” Riva yacht it adorns a two-tone Riva Sera Blue and Shark Grey coat with a double aquamarine stripe that runs the length of the body.

A glance at the fact sheet provides evidence that the Rivale draws more from the likes of a racing catamaran, rather than the flamboyant cruiseliners playboy millionaires land their helicopters on. From a tiny 1368cc motor and the aid of an equally sized turbocharger, it’s good for 134 kW and 250 N.m. These are seriously impressive numbers from the little fighter and in turn, make it a 6.7 second 0-100 km/h sprinter with enough gusto to take you all the way to 225 km/h. To reign in all these sea-horses, the addition of Brembo 4-piston brakes up front will ensure more than enough stopping power for the Rivale, but starting up again will be made all the more sweeter through a twin-exit Akrapović exhaust system with carbon tail pipes.

Abarth 695 Rivale

Satin finishes, commemoratory logos and customised elements combined with the new 17” Supersport lightweight wheels enhance the aggression and dynamic prowess that the sporty little motor has, and with a Koni suspension and the FSD – Frequency-selective dampening system – it promises a drive just as good as it looks.
The interior will feature the highest level of standard spec in the Abarth 695 range, featuring a 7” HD touch screen Uconnect Infotainment system, hand-finished blue and black leather front seats, carbon fibre kick plates, and the option of having a dashboard in either carbon fibre or mahogany. A centre console-mounted plaque below the handbrake will indicate build number, and on request can have the name of one’s Yacht inscribed – Nice!

Abarth 695 Rivale

Abarth 695 Rivale in South Africa

Only 175 hatches and 175 cabriolets of the Abarth 695 Rivale will come to being, 20 of which have been allocated to the South African market. No prices have been released at this stage but given it’s a rather rare little motor with tremendous looks and a firecracker of an engine, its price probably won’t be as good looking.

Kanye Ngwenya

Junior Writer

BMW 2 Series Facelift in South Africa

BMW 2 Series Facelift South Africa

South African Car News: BMW 2 Series Facelift

The task of face lifting a vehicle is a tricky one, you see, give the patient a completely new face and you just damn all owners of the current model by throwing their resale value out the proverbial window, but tweak a light and add a paintjob and a rimjob here and there and you’re basically just wasting everyone’s time. So, how has BMW done, then, with the facelifted 2 Series and M2?

Not an ugly car at all, the 2 Series still has quite a bit of longevity in its frisky yet elegant lines, however, in true BMW fashion, while only minor, the updates make quite the difference when all added together. This isn’t to say that the 2 Series was designed with faults or bits that might age more than others, but the LCI (Life-cycle Impulse) which is just BMW speak for facelift, gives the manufacturer a chance to improve aspects of the vehicle which they feel consumers may or may not have asked for. So, without turning this into an essay, the following are changes which one can expect on the 90210ed BMW 2 Series and M2 models.

  •  New headlight and taillight clusters incorporating redesigned LED signatures and varying trim options ie: blacked out surrounds etc. and LED lighting as standard
  • Redesigned, wider kidney grill
  • Larger lower air-intakes on the front bumper
  •  Three new colours, namely: Mediterranean Blue and Seaside Blue, as well as a Beverley Hills appropriate Sunset Orange. Buyers can now choose from 12 colours – what a time to be alive!
  • 16, 17 and 18-inch wheels are now available across the ​range with Jet Black and Bicolour Jet Black wheels now available, bringing the number of rim options to 17.
  • A redesigned and more pronounced instrument cluster which is more driver-focussed (as opposed to passenger focussed?)

  • Upgraded and more premium interior finishes which just further enhance the premium feel within the cabin of the 2 Series and M2, including upgraded materials and chrome bits.
  • The latest version of iDrive can also be found on derivatives specced with the Navigation Professional system, this going hand in hand with the new 8.8-inch touchscreen display.
  • WiFi connectivity for up to 10 devices and a wireless phone charger

The engine line-up is set to remain the same as the current line-up with petrol and diesel engines ranging from 135 kW and 270 N.m in the 220i to 250 kW and 500 N.m in the M240i. The M2, too, remains unchanged, churning out 272 kW and 465 N.m (500 N.m on overboost) from its TwinPower 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six motor.
So then, have BMW succeeded in maintaining resale values while giving the range a worthwhile refresh? Well, the facelifted 2 Series launches overseas in July 2017 so expect local availability towards the second half of 2017 – then we’llbe able to answer that question!

2017 Honda Civic Type R Nürburgring Record

2017 Honda Civic Type R Nurburgring Record

2017 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R SETS NEW FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE LAP RECORD AT NURBURGRING

When we were given the chance to sample the Honda Civic Type R last year, we were all completely astounded by how engaging and raw it was. What Honda had created was a sheer masterpiece in front-wheel drive performance and bore little resemblance to Nora, Albert, Rita and the rest of the bridge club’s favourite runabout – the Honda Civic. Sure you could spot a Civic somewhere beneath the garish wing and blacked out wheels, but these two cars really could not have been further apart. Not only did this vehicle find favour with just about everyone who drove it, it also set an astounding lap time around the Nordschleife, beating the previous FWD champion and setting a blistering time of 07:50.63.

2017 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R SETS NEW FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE LAP RECORD AT NURBURGRING

Here we are in 2017 and having had its trophy snatched away by the Golf GTI Clubsport S in 2016, the Type R has returned with a vengeance. Featuring the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor found in the previous generation Civic Type R, the unit now produces 236 kW but the same 400 N.m as before, all this thanks to a bit of an ECU tune and a snazzy new exhaust which actually makes it sound a bit like a 5-pot, mmmmm. You can have a listen to that at the end of this video.

2017 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R SETS NEW FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE LAP RECORD AT NURBURGRING

The new chassis also means an increase in torsional rigidity of an impressive 38% and the torsional beam rear setup of the old Type R is gone, having now been replaced by an independent, multi-link system. What this brings to the tea party is much improved stability and control at speed, as well as a lower, wider and longer wheelbase.

Having set a record time of 07:43.80, it is clear that all of those little upgrades have done their job – it shaved some 3 seconds off the time of the Clubsport S.

Now all that’s left to do is wait for it to arrive in South Africa which should be during the course of 2018. So, in what colour will you be having yours, then?

 

 

Mercedes-Benz GLA powders its nose.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Facelift South Africa

South African Car News: Mercedes-Benz GLA Facelift

The GLA has been a love/hate car since its launch in 2013. Some didn’t know how to place it, is it an SUV? Or simply a larger A Class? Mercedes can confirm that it is indeed a compact SUV, positioning itself in a competitive market since sedans are “so yesterday”. So what are the notable changes in the new GLA?

Of course exterior changes have been made. However subtle they are, the new look makes the car have a more aggressive presence. Lighting systems have a come a long way and the new GLA is an example of that. There is a choice of what Mercedes calls LED High Performance head lamps. This lighting system replaces the Bi-Xenon headlamps and is meant to replicate daylight in terms of temperature, helping the driver alleviate stress on the eyes at night. The rear taillights are also brightness adjustable, brighter in the day, dimmer at night and dimmest at standstill so as to not fry the eyes of other drivers.

Other technology included in the new GLA is a 360 degree camera and an 8 inch infotainment system. Chrome accents have been added to certain interior items, making things look bolder for those who have a hawk eye. Three lines are available, Style, Urban and AMG. Different packages can also be chosen in the car, making your GLA unique.

Under the bonnet there is the choice two petrol engines, the 200 and 250 4MATIC. As well as two diesels, the 220 d and the 220 d 4MATIC.This obviously excludes the range topping Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC. This variant now features the upgraded 2.0 litre turbocharged engine which produces 280kW/ 475Nm. Adding to the power-plant are options which make the GLA 45 more sporty. For instance, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package comes with a host of features to aid performance and grip. A locking front diff,  AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension and a RACE program ensure that the driver remains thrilled and confident behind the wheel. Aiding convenience, all GLA models can be fitted with a HANDS FREE ACCESS  system. This system gives you keyless access into the car, making it better for those days when you’re hands are full. For the longer drives, a standard feature called Active Brake Assist is equipped. If you’re tired and don’t notice that you’re about to rear end someone, the car will use sensors to do it for you. This of course comes in very handy to avoid accidents and black eyes.

Overall the updated GLA looks good. It was the one of the older cars in the stable, so a facelift is welcome. As previously mentioned this segment continues to boom, so consumers now have another toy to play with. Pricing for the car is as follows:

GLA 200                                                   R485 400

GLA 250 4MATIC                                  R654 700

GLA 200 d                                                R513 000

GLA 220 d 4MATIC                              R592 500

Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC    R856 700

 

 

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Volvo V90 Cross Country released in South Africa

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

 South African Car News: Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

We at The Motorist love a good wagon and the only thing we love more than a wagon is a wagon that can do more than just carry things and look cool. Take the Audi RS6 for instance – not only does it look tit, it’ll also give many super car owners a serious fright, all while carrying a moth eaten lamp and a hound or two – it’s brilliant! Unfortunately for us wagon lovers, South African buyers seem to have a penchant for crossovers and as a result, there are very few wagons on sale here. Motoring journalists left, right and centre can’t praise the station wagon enough, but hey, what do we know?

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

Luckily for us, the king of wagon makers has decided that while there might not be much of a market in South Africa for the V90, the Cross Country variants have always seemed to do quite well here and as such, the V90 Cross Country will be on sale here. Both Mercedes-Benz and Audi make raised versions of their big wagons, namely The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain and Audi A6 Allroad, but the E-Class will not be making its way here and the A6 Allroad is no longer on sale in SA. So what does that mean for the V90 Cross Country?

Well, it doesn’t really have any competition in its own segment…but even if it did, it would have little to worry about. It’s gorgeous. Like, properly good looking and for some reason, the black plastic bits and rugged additions to the 90 Cluster’s sleek and luxurious lines come together really nicely. You get the feeling that rather than jacking up the ride-height and forgetting to paint a few bits, the V90 CC’s designers have thought long and hard about what the buyer wants, and how they can provide them with this in a typically Volvo fashion.

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

The first crossover to be based on Volvo’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, the V90 CC promises a blend of off-road capability, but, in a “most elegant, sophisticated, tailored wagon suit.” The very words of Thomas Ingenlath, the man responsible for the recent spate of automotive pornography coming out of Sweden.

Interior trims differ to those on offer in the rest of the 90 Cluster with trim options such us Black Walnut for that manly and rugged look. Grrr.

A nice option to tick is the unique Adventure Pack which has been created especially for South African Buyers and offers a host of lifestyle-oriented extras, bristling with value. Included in the Adventure Pack are, amongst others, the panoramic 360-degree surround view camera, auto-dimming mirrors all-round, integrated compass, powered folding rear seats, air suspension and the 230V power outlet – all geared towards improving those out-of-town weekend adventures and typical holiday drives through the country.

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

Pricing for the Volvo V90 Cross Country starts at R770 900 for the T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum and stretches to a not too heady R921 300 for the T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription. All models come standard with a 5-year/100 000 km vehicle warranty, full maintenance plan and roadside assistance, as well as ant-smash and grab glass and Tracker connect as standard.

The new Volvo V90 Cross Country range begins at R770 900 for the T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum, and ends with the T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription at R921 300.

Volvo V90 Cross Country in South Africa

Keep an eye out for an in-depth review of the Volvo V90 Cross Country in the coming month.

All models come standard with a 5-year/ 100 000 km full vehicle warranty, full maintenance plan and roadside assistance, as well as laminated glass and Tracker Connect as standard.

Full pricing is as follows:

  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum           R794 800
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription            R825 200
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 Geartronic AWD Momentum            R839 500
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 Geartronic AWD Inscription             R869 900
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum             R770 900
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription              R801 300
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Geartronic AWD Momentum              R890 900
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription                R921 300

 

 

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Updated Kia Soul arrives in South Africa

Kia Soul released in South Africa

South African Car News: Updated Kia Soul

In September 2016 we saw the unveiling of the updated Kia Soul, a unique looking vehicle in the crossover segment. The updated Soul receives some minor updates which include a re-styling of the front and rear bumpers. There are also changes to the front headlights and rear fog lights. The updates to the interior the Soul are also minimal with a few different trim options and designs

The bigger news is that there is a new entry-level variant in the Kia Soul range – the Soul 1.6 CRDi START which  features a turbodiesel engine producing 94 kW and 260 N.m of torque. Deputy Managing Director Gary Scott claims that the new turbodiesel Soul 1.6 START is “probably the best-built, most spacious and well-specced diesel crossover below R400,000”

This a bold statement, but the Kia Soul START does feature a good host of options as standard, such as Bluetooth connectivity, six speakers, central locking, a rear-view camera and electric windows front and rear just to name a few – not bad for R329 000.

Full Kia Soul Range

There are six variants in the KIA Soul range with three petrol and three diesel models on offer. At entry level and accompanying the START diesel is a petrol version, also featuring a 1 600cc motor producing 91 kW and a mere 151 N.m of torque – this model does however come with the option of an automatic gearbox for R13 000.

If you fancy a little more spec for your Soul, then the STREET option could be something to look at. It features such things as glovebox cooling, a Smart Key with push button start, leather upholstery, Electronic Stability Control, Brake Assist, Hill-start Assist Control and Vehicle Stability Management. Further to this, the STREET models are also available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine providing a decent 116 kW and 192 N.m.

If you really want to push the boat out, KIA have the top of the range SMART models on offer. Park Distance Control, HID Headlamps and LED daytime running lights, Cruise Control and electric seats are some of the fancy extras one can have.

An automatic gearbox is also as standard on both the 2.0-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines in the SMART range. The diesel engine also has an increased power output of 100 kW and 300 N.m thanks to a more capable 7-Speed dual clutch gearbox.

With the top of the range petrol Soul SMART coming in at R391 000, it really is good value for money. We feel that the SMART diesel variant is a little too much, though, at R431 995.

Full pricing is as follows:

Soul 1.6 START Manual                                 R 309,995

Soul 1.6 CRDI START Manual                    R 329,995

Soul 2.0 STREET Manual                           R 347,995

Soul 1.6 CRDI STREET Manual                    R 376,995

Soul 2.0 SMART Auto                                    R 391,995

Soul 1.6 CRDI SMART DCT                          R 431,995

 

Is the glorious noise gone? Jaguar F-Type now comes in 2.0 litre variant.

South African Car News: Jaguar F-Type 2.0 

So by now you would’ve heard that the F-Type will feature an entry level 2.0 litre engine. For those of you who love cars, you may be worried. The thing about a sports car like an F-Type is that the silly things are often what matters most. So yes the car may be lighter and yes it may love the trees a bit more, but will it still sound like you’re a superhero each time you plant your foot down? Let’s hope so. The F-Type was part of the cars that made the “pop and bangs” popular. Some call it “fake noises” but we really don’t care, because a screaming F-Type on overrun is as aurally pleasing as a Jimmy Hendrix solo.

Performance Figures

As much as noise counts though, we have to give credit where it’s due. The 2.0 litre F-Type still offers great performance credentials, as it produces 221kW/400Nm. As a result it’s good for a 0-100 time of 5.7 seconds. The fact that the car is lighter also means that it will be more dynamic which generally means more fun. The introduction of this power-plant makes sense, as it makes the vehicle more accessible. By accessible we don’t mean from a monetary aspect, but rather from a drivers perspective. Sometimes less is more and in the case of the F-Type 2.0 litre, this perhaps could be the reality. Not everyone can man-handle a V6 or V8 F-Type with the grace of a Top Gear presenter, in fact majority people aren’t too interested in lap times and going sideways. The sledge hammer performance offered by the top of the range F-Type can be a bit intimidating, especially for someone who simply wants something the stylish and sporty. As a result the 2.0 litre variant may just be the car that client is looking for.

Jaguar insists that vehicle still sounds great and from the small clips we’ve heard, it still has the pops on overrun. Joy. The F-Type’s new Ingenium engine has some smart technology which aids performance and fuel economy. This includes a specialised exhaust manifold, a clever valve system, a twin scroll turbocharger and centrally mounted fuel injectors.  The changes don’t stop with the engine, as subtle front and rear end tweaks have been made, giving the F-Type a fresher face.

Overall this new model can be viewed as “the people’s Jag”. One can also expect to pay less for this model but we  have yet to receive formal pricing on the car in South Africa. Until we drive it and hear how sounds, we’re holding thumbs. We smell a Porsche 718 Boxter/Cayman dual happening soon with this car. Stay tuned.

 

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Released: BMW M550d & M550i X Drive – The Models Which South Africa Won’t Get.

BMW M550i South Africa

South African Car News: BMW M550d & M550i Xdrive

BMW M550i X Drive South Africa
It’s True. BMW have just released both the M550d and M550i – very exciting indeed, or not… As of yet, we have no news on exactly if or when these stinkingly powerful 5 Series variants will be heading to our beautiful country.

BMW M550d

First to be released by BMW was the M550d xDrive, which if you didn’t know has the most powerful 6-cylinder diesel engine ever in the automotive industry. It’s 3-litre displacement is aided by four turbochargers. This is a fairly complicated setup with two low pressure turbochargers helping with low down response and two higher pressure units for power. It is worth noting that both low pressure turbos and one high pressure unit will always be running, with the second high pressure charger kicking in above 2 500 rpm. This makes sure that the M550d xDrive will hit 100 km/h in around 4.5 seconds. Mighty fast for a diesel, but with 294 kW and 760 N.m on tap, what else could one expect?

BMW M550i X Drive South Africa

Handling all this power will be BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system which does not spoil all the fun as BMW say that the front axle only comes into play when needed, meaning this puppy may still be able to get a little sideways. That’s if you can break traction on the 275/35 R19 rear wheel tyres needed to control all that juice.

BMW M550D South Africa

The BMW M550d xDrive will also have some unique visual elements, such as the Exterior mirror housings, radiator grille frame, bumper design elements and side air breathers all in Cerium Grey. A purchaser of this vehicle can expect M Sport Suspension, integral active steering, M aerodynamics package, M Performance exhaust system and M sport brakes finished in blue as standard.

If this isn’t exciting enough, there is also the option of the now ranging topping 5 Series variant -the M550i xDrive.

M550i xDrive

You won’t find 6-cylinders here but instead a 4.4 litre turbocharged V8 Motor producing a blustering 340 kW and 650 N.m. In conjunction with the 8 speed sports auto transmission and rear bias xDrive, the M550i will hit 100 km/h in just 4 seconds. My question is, then, how fast is new BMW M5 going to be?!

BMW M550i South Africa

This model features the same design and styling characteristics as the M550d with the M aero package and Cerium Grey details.

BMW M550i X Drive Interior South Africa

Both models will be available with the connected drive features and technologies available in other 5 Series variants such as the remote parking feature. You can read more on the current 5 Series range from our launch article here.

BMW M550D South Africa

Will these models be coming to South Africa?

Sadly, probably not. This could be for many reasons and in terms of the M550i that reason would be pricing. The M550d on the other hand might not even make it to the UK and will just be a european model. If it’s not going to the UK, it’s definitely not coming to South Africa and they will probably keep it as a left hand drive model only. These models are available from June, so there still may be some time for them to change their mind, but we doubt that’ll happen.

BMW M550i X Drive South Africa
We should however be receiving the new BMW M5 which purportedly also features a rear biased xDrive system – no news on that either, though.

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Limited Edition Fx4 Ford Ranger in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 has been added to the South African range.

There’s a new version of the Ford Ranger and Ford describe it as “stunning.” Describing your new product as “stunning” is much the same as when a restaurant describes a dessert as being “delicious” on their own menu. I will be the judge of that, thank you very much!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say “stunning” but it is quite nice. And it’s certainly striking. Based on the Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab 4×4, the Fx4 receives a number of visual only enhancements, as well as Ford’s latest SYNC 3 Navigation and infotainment system. The Ranger is arguably the benchmark in its segment with its “car-like” demeanour – its comfortable, refined and really is the kind of bakkie one can drive every day, in comfort.

Apparently the Fx4 nomenclature has something to do with the F-Series pickups in the US, but that’s about as far as the similarities go – Americans would consider this rather large vehicle a bit of a joke if parked up next to an F-250.

More specifically, the Fx4 gets black finishes for the grille, fog lamp surrounds, exterior mirrors, roof rails and door handles. The side steps, rear bumper and sports bar come in Panther black which should all go nicely with the aftermarket “Raptor” look-alike grille the Fx4’s owners will almost certainly fit the moment they take delivery, as most Ranger owners do.

Interesting side note – there have actually been reports of these “Raptor” grilles causing engine cooling issues on Ranger models. Not surprising, however, as these modifications are not OEM items and as such were likely never tested further than fitment, because they look kiff, bru.  

The Ranger Fx4 is available in just four colours – Panther Black, Moondust Silver, Sea Grey and Frozen White and can be had with either an automatic or manual transmission.

Pricing is R593 900 for the manual and R608 900 for the automatic. Both come standard with a 4 year/ 120 00km warranty and 5 year/100 000km service plan with 3 years/ unlimited km roadside assistance.

Stunning? Perhaps not. Relatively good value for money and a stealthy version of the best bakkie you can buy? More likely.

 

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A Lotus for race and road: The Lotus Exige CUP 380

South African Car News : Lotus Exige Cup 380

South African Car News: Lotus Exige Cup 380

For me, Lotus vehicles have always reminded me of mini race cars for the road. As an adolescent, they had always been appealing to me because of their aggressive design and small dimensions – they looked fast! They don’t just look fast though, they are fast. Thanks to their lightweight build and punchy engines, Lotus cars produce supercar figures without supercar price tags.  We can’t forget their sharp and nimble handling either – they make for a great track day car.

Lotus’ new addition to the range is built for more than the odd track day, though, it’s a competition race ready vehicle which one can also use on the road.  The Lotus Exige Cup 380 is based on the Exige Sport 380, which was the fastest Exige ever made when it was released in late 2016 – but its not the fastest anymore…

 

The Exige Cup 380 will reach 100 km/h  in a mere 3.6 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 282 km/h. This is thanks to its 375 bhp and 410 N.m  from the familiar 3.5 – litre supercharged V6. These are impressive figures, but are just a smidgen better than the Sport 380 which will hit 100 km/h 0.1 seconds slower while producing the same power.

The difference between the Sport and Cup models comes down to two things: Weight and Aero. The Exige 380 has a dry weight of 1057 kilograms, meaning it weighs around 9 kilograms less than the Sport 380 and has a power to weight ratio of 355 bhp/ton. Weight saving becomes very difficult with an already light vehicle and drilling large circles in the bodywork just won’t do. The big weight saver is the new one-piece carbon fibre tailgate which sheds 6.5 kg straight off the bat. Further to this, the removal of gas struts save 1kg, new carbon fibre side pods also shed half a kilo and optional carbon fibre interior components will lose another 1 kg.

The biggest difference in terms of performance comes down to aerodynamics. The Cup 380 will produce up to 200 kg of downforce at speed which is a 43% percent increase over the Sport 380 – meaning grip and cornering speeds are greatly increased. This has been achieved with dramatic body changes and great attention to detail. Even the main windscreen wiper now rests in a vertical position to minimise the disruption of airflow.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc said “…Unlike some rivals’ cars, this is something that really can drive to a track, set the fastest lap and take the win, before heading home. It’s supremely usable, yet outrageously fast.”

As standard, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 is fitted with a T45 stainless steel roll cage, an expensive choice in return for a reduced weight over other options. Also as standard are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (285/30 ZR18 rear and 215/45 ZR17 front) needed to cope with the extra aerodynamic force, and a close-ratio six speed manual gearbox.

Optional extras are available, such as a full titanium exhaust system (reducing weight behind the rear axle by 10 kg) FIA compliant roll cage (should be standard?) full race harness, fire extinguisher controls and airbag deletion. There are no 100 speaker Bang and Olufsen sound systems and the like here.

In terms of technology, the Lotus features four ESP modes: Drive, Sport, Race and off. Apart from providing reduced traction, Race and Off modes also increase throttle response and utilise an engine exhaust bypass valve which reduces exhaust back pressure at higher engine speeds. Further to this, a variable traction control function has been introduced which only works when the system is in OFF mode. This variable mode is controlled by a six-setting rotary switch and allows different percentages of wheel slip ranging from 1% 0 12% across five modes, with the sixth mode simply being OFF. So thats OFF OFF then, sounds fun…

It’s worth noting that their is only 60 models available and pricing will start at £83,000. That’s just under R1.4M at the current XE rate of 16.7.

Although you can purchase  Lotus vehicles in South Africa through Pearl Automotive, they are currently not importing any stock. However, a request can be made. Here is a link to their website and contact details: http://www.lotuscars.com/pearl-automotive-pty-ltd

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