Category: Comfort

Semi-Autonomous Driving Features We Can Expect in the New Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Semi-autonomous Driving In The New Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Autonomous driving is a technology which is rapidly growing in the automotive industry. On the road today, we have semi-autonomous vehicles which are able to accelerate, brake and steer, for short periods of time, without any human input. One doesn’t even need to turn to the upper echelon of motoring to find this sort of technology as vehicles such as the Volvo S90 and BMW 5 Series are able to tootle along all by themselves.

Even Though fully autonomous driving is still a way off for mainstream car makers, more and more vehicle manufacturers are spending increasing amounts of money and time developing technologies this field, making their cars more intelligent and less dependent on the driver. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always stood at the forefront of automotive technological advancements, so the updated S-Class promises to be a bit of a spaceship, due in South Africa later this year.

Mercedes-Benz claim that the updated S-Class will be able to support its driver considerably better than all systems which have been available to date, but weather this means all systems currently on the market or just Mercedes-Benz’s systems remains a mystery. Anyway, let’s take a look at the details!

 

Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC

This system uses the route ahead to increase or decrease speed. For example, if the vehicle detects a bend, junction, roundabout or toll both in its path, it will slow the vehicle down accordingly.

The S-Class will also use information from the driver’s navigation input. If the route informs the driver to leave a highway and the car is in the slow lane, the vehicle will automatically reduce speed for the off-ramp. This also applies to junctions.

Active Lane Change Assist

Hitting the Indicator stalk when driving at speeds between 80 – 180 km/h actives this system. The vehicle’s sensors use the next 10 seconds to check all the vehicle safety zones and whether or not the relevant lane is clear. It also monitors the speed of other vehicles to see that all is ok, and if so, the S-Class will change lanes.

Active Speed Limit Assist

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class will pick up on road signs and temporary speed limit signs such as one would find when approaching road works. It also knows recorded limits from the navigation system.

Following vehicles in a tailback

This feature is perfect for the road users in Johannesburg. The new S-Class is able to stop and then restart and follow vehicles in traffic if the stops are shorter than 30 seconds. No more on and off the brake and accelerator in stop/start traffic, then!

Active Emergency Stop Assist

One to put your mind at ease if you are an easy sleeper! If the S-Class detects no response from the driver while using Active Steering Assist, the vehicle prompts the driver to take action. If no action is taken ( because you are dreaming peacefully or in a medical emergency) the vehicle will then slowly bring itself to a stop in its current lane. Once stopped, the parking brake is engaged, Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call System is activated and the doors are unlocked.

Active Brake Assist & Evasive Steering Assist

This features aids the driver in avoiding collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. It first starts with warning the driver if there is adequate distance to do so. If not, the vehicle will apply the brakes.

Further to this, Evasive Steering Assist will support the driver and apply extra steering torque when taking evasive action because a pedestrian is in the vehicle danger zone. The vehicle will then stabilize itself after the maneuver has taken place.

Active Keep Lane Assist

Between speeds of 60 and 200 km/h, the S-Class will warn the driver via vibrations if the vehicle drifts out of its lane and can apply vehicle brakes on one side to bring the driver back into its lane. If this happens on a road with broken white lines, the vehicle will only take action if there is a chance of collision with another vehicle (for all you lazy non indicator types).

Active Blind Spot Assist

A system found on many new vehicles today and similar to that above – the Mercedes-Benz S-Class will apply brakes on one side of the vehicle to avoid an impending side collision.

Traffic Sign Assist

This system, which works along with Active Speed Limit Assist using image recognition and information from the road map in the navigation system, displays road signs on the instrument cluster.

It will bring up any overtaking restrictions for the route, such as zebra crossings, and will provide a warning if pedestrians are found in said crossing. “No entry” signs are also recognized and the vehicle will prompt you to check your direction of travel.

Car-to-X Communication

This is basically talking cars! A technology first seen in the form of Volvo’s Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, if a vehicle ahead has detected a hazardous condition, this information is then relayed back to other vehicles to provide an early warning. A voice warning may also be given to the driver depending on the situation.

Developers are currently trying to get this system in use with as many vehicle manufacturers as possible, thus creating a very effective system. A car plus kit will also be available for drivers whose vehicles do not support Car-to-X so they can also benefit from this system.

Active Parking Assist

Cars that park themselves are no longer a big surprise, and this system is very similar to others. The S-Class can also apply braking automatically when parking if it has noticed a hazard or possible collision.

Remote Parking Assist

A system we first witnessed on the new BMW 5 Series, the S-Class can now be parked into spaces or even driven out of spaces when the driver is outside the vehicle. The BMW 5 Series uses the vehicle key for this, whereas the Mercedes system will be controlled using an app on a smartphone.

The major benefit of this is being able to park the vehicle in tight spaces without having the issue of the driver trying to exit the vehicle afterwards. This system also works well if the driver has been parked in. The system will allow maneuverability of the vehicle by up to 15 metres and will also avoid obstacles, for those who were never good at R/C cars as a child or adult.
So there you have it, another step in the right direction for autonomous driving for Mercedes-Benz. No news yet on whether these features will be standard or optional extras, but if you can afford an S-Class, chances are it won’t matter much either way.

Is the Rolls Royce Dawn Worth Its R10 Million Price Tag in South Africa?

The creme de la creme of motor vehicles, you don’t get better than a Rolls-Royce. It falls into the same category as the private jet in air travel or the luxury yacht that parks off at Clifton beach. So when TheMotorist was offered the chance to sample the best that money can buy in the ultra luxury segment, we looked forward to experiencing what it feels like to be part of the one percent.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn was the variant we had the keys to and that said vehicle has an approximate price tag of R10m. Yes, for that kind of money expectations are high. A buyer of such a car demands the best in comfort and quality on the road. That buyer expects unrivaled luxury and prestige, but even then, does all that which comes with owning such a car justify the cost?

For starters, there certainly isn’t anything like this on the road. It’s distinctively long bonnet and large square face, (all centered by the Spirit of Ecstasy) give the Dawn a look that’s hard to miss. When driving this vehicle or even being a passenger, you feel like you own every square cm of tarmac that you grace with your presence. You will have no problem then committing minor road offenses, such as cutting in front of people in traffic. When you do, no one even questions your actions. The rich really do have it good. It’s quite a pleasant experience really, because instead of the usual middle finger protruding from the driver’s side window, many attempt a wave similar to that of the Queen herself. Charming.

The exquisite exterior styling and design of the Dawn is rather elegant yet simple. It doesn’t shout with crazy lines, noises or colors like a supercar, because it doesn’t need to. It’s like a work of art – the epitome of class.

The team discussed the fact that whatever car parks next to the Dawn at a traffic light, be it a Ferrari or even a Maybach, the Rolls-Royce trumps it, every time. It would have to be a very special car to take attention off the Dawn. In terms of luxury, not much comes close.

The interior really is a sight to behold, soft cream leather covers most surfaces and the Rolls we drove had an optional wood finish called “Canadel”. It was designed to give the effect that you were aboard a luxury yacht. The result is a very modern and chic appearance, created by merging metal, leather and wood. The subtle trimmings in the vehicle are sublime, from the glass numbered buttons used for selecting radio stations, to lambswool carpets so thick that you can run your hands through them like a L’oreal shampoo advert.

Our favourite feature on the Dawn however is the doors. They open in the opposite direction to a normal vehicle, meaning that the hinges are behind the passengers, rather than in front of them. Closing the doors happens at the touch of the button, with motors bringing the doors in and closing them for you as you maintain a blasé look as if it’s the norm.

This design of the doors is actually ingenious. We all know that when exiting a vehicle one sometimes knocks the lower door panels or sills with their feet. With this design though, that problem is totally eliminated, thus leaving your perfectly chromed door-sills unscuffed. Entering and exiting the car is a much easier experience.

Driving

From our personal experience, we have never felt road comfort like we did in the Rolls-Royce Dawn. It felt like the suspension had been replaced with large bubbles as we floated merrily on our way. When the throttle was applied, one doesn’t think that powering the vehicle is a 6.6L V12 engine because the throttle response isn’t sharp, it’s not supposed to be. The power is fed in smoothly, allowing the car to comfortably gain speed. If you think the V12 is a loud, gurgling, fuel eating monster, you would be wrong. It’s a silent fuel eating monster. When the taps are opened from standstill, the Dawn will hurry along from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds, which is impressive for a 3 tonne car.  The same goes for the braking system, it feels different to other luxury vehicles. Whatever the speed, it comes to a completely smooth stop, almost as though it is tempering the brakes for you. Performance is not the reason why you buy a Rolls though, you buy a Rolls for luxury, heritage and status.

The transmission has a feature which is definitely worth noting, it uses satellite maps to read the road ahead. For example, If a sharp hill is upcoming, the Dawn recognises this and automatically selects the lower gear just in time. It will then save this information for the next time the car travels on that route. The benefit of this is a seamless ride at all times, with reduced lag in engine and gearbox response.

The transmission has a feature which is definitely worth nothing, it uses satellite maps to read ahead. For example, If a sharp hill is upcoming, the Dawn recognises this and automatically selects the lower gear just in time. The Rolls-Royce Dawn will then save this information for the next time the car travels on that route. The benefit of this is a comfortable and pleasant ride at all times, with no lag in engine or gearbox response.

So, is the Rolls-Royce Dawn worth its price tag?

In short, yes. Don’t get us wrong, the Rolls-Royce Dawn is not perfect. For example, the rear seats of the vehicle. The seating position and seats themselves are not as comfortable as the front seats and are noticeably firmer. Understandably, this is not a Ghost so rear seating is not a priority. The infotainment system is based on the BMW system and it feels a little dated compared to other luxury vehicles. But these minor things won’t deter someone looking for a car like this because from the driver’s perspective, it’s difficult to fault.

A Rolls-Royce client is not just paying for an ultra-luxury car, they are also paying for the brand and the exclusivity that comes with it. Only the wealthiest own Rolls-Royces, and they are priced accordingly.

In recent times with the Mercedes-Maybach revival, those cars may one day step on the toes of the fabled British brand. For now, though, very few cars are at the level of a new Rolls-Royce. The brand stands on its own, a level above everything else.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic Driven Review

Motorist Digital Magazine – Edition 08

There are few things in this world which are more reliable than a Honda. I have often said that not even a playschool teacher could rival Honda’s sterling reputation for trustworthiness, and that is quite a statement to make! In the same breath, though, one may argue that aside from their fast cars, of which there aren’t very many, Honda’s are a bit pedestrian. This is something which has traditionally been mirrored in their buyer base aka the zimmer-frame brigade. Granny and Grandpa love a good Honda and that’s not a bad thing! You see, unless your mum or dad were begotten of a rock and roll legend or drug abusing good for nothing, grandparents tend to be rather sensible people, and we all know that a sensible motorist is a clever motorist. Motoring is not a cheap exercise, so why not buy a car that’s both practical and reliable?

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Sensible and petrolhead are very seldom uttered in the same sentence and that can be attributed to the fact that you’d sooner find a turbocharger or a new intake in my Christmas sock than a Christmas cake or whatever normal people like as sock-fillers. I am, then, the very last person you’d ever expect to see smiling in a sensible Honda so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to see my pearly whites gleaming back at me in the rearview mirror of the all-new Honda Civic.

The new Civic is a very good looking car with its swoopy headlights and sloping roofline – thankfully the drive is as pleasant as it is to look at. The model range is made up of three models, namely Comfort, Sport and Elegance. The Comfort model is powered exclusively by a 1.8 litre NA motor delivering 104Kw and 174Nm. It’s a powerplant with which we’re familiar and while you won’t be winning any post-bowls drag races, it does a god job in the Civic. The Elegance model can be had with the same 1.8-litre motor or Honda’s new and much praised 1.5 litre turbo unit. The Sport model is only available with this motor and what a powerplant it is. 127kW (170bhp) and 220Nm are the figures and when provoked, it’ll hustle the Civic from 0-100km/h in a not too shabby 8.2 seconds, yet return a claimed fuel consumption of just 5.9l/100km. I managed an average of 7l/100km during my week with the car which isn’t terribly far off.

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The only gearbox available is a CVT and while I generally liken CVT’s to a trip to the dentist, the low-down torque and linear power delivery of the 1.5 litre turbo-four lends itself well to the droning CVT’s efficient nature. In fact, you hardly notice that it’s a CVT while pottering around and when you floor it, you’re rewarded with a continuous surge of acceleration without the changing of gears, just like in a Koenigsegg Regera. Sort of.

What I liked most about the new Civic wasn’t its punchy motor, eye-catching looks or technology-laden interior, what got to me was just how easy it is to like. My first car was in fact a Honda. Sold as a Civic overseas and a Ballade in South Africa, the SR4 in code speak, was a real crowd pleaser in Luxline trim with its grey leather and electric windows. The new Civic reminded me of this, as well as why people buy them. My gran bought hers because she said it had “nice lines” and after she shuffled off it was passed down, eventually finding itself in my garage.  I still have it and it’s as good as new, barring a few bumps and dents from when Rosemary went blind and started driving by sound.

What I hope for this new Civic, though, is that not only the elderly and sensible will take to it, but everyone shopping in its segment. It really has come a long way from the previous generation model which was wonderful all on its own. Not only is the new Civic reliable, practical and sensible, it’s now exciting!

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Pricing:

Civic Sedan 1.8 Comfort – R330 000
Civic Sedan 1.8 Elegance – R370 000
Civic Sedan 1.5T Sport – R430 000
Civic Sedan 1.5T Elegance – R460 000

 

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Mercedes GLC Coupe – The Sportier GLC.

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.

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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.

As always, when we get our hands on one, we will provide a full, driven review in our Motorist Digital Magazine.16c106_038_1800x1800

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kia Sportage 2.4 SX

In life, there tend to be good things and bad things. A Thai massage is a good thing. 2007 Britney was not a good thing. It goes even further, though, because stemming from this, you get poor imitations of both the good and the bad. Your decrepit great  aunt mangling her arthritic hands into your back is a poor imitation of a Thai massage and, arguably, Miley’s switch from Albany best of both to the short haired wench straddling wrecking ball she is today is a poor imitation of 2007 Ms Spears.

Years ago, before any of us at TheMotorist roamed the earth, cars were pretty straight forward. You could either have a comfy one, a sporty one or an American one (which was none of those things, just plastic) and that was that. Fast forward to modern times where shoes are called ‘Yeezy’s” and Rihanna feels that an assortment of burps constitute lyrics, and we are just spoilt for choice! Almost every major economy produces a vehicle, and you needn’t choose between comfy and sporty because there are these new things they make called crossovers, the purpose of which is to just be as many things as possible, apart from American, while still getting you from A to B with an odd school-run in between. Think of it like this – Air Maxes look like sporting shoes, but were never intended for anything more sporting than a brisk amble and in the same vain, a crossover looks like a 4X4 but can only really negotiate Sandton City and Saxonwold speed-humps.

Up until recently, KIA’s attempt at the Crossover, the Sportage, was a bit of a Miley. It didn’t look as nice as the Japanese or European offerings and had the sexual appeal of your arthritic great  aunt, and while you could get them with a V6 once upon a time, Air-Maxes doth not a sexy geriatric make…

Enter Peter Schreyer – not familiar? His HB pencil can be thanked for a few Volkswagens and Audis, including the original TT and since his arrival at KIA in 2007, they have been making some snazzy looking cars. Couple this with an engineering department who has finally woken up and we arrive at the new KIA Sportage, and it’s lovely.

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Some say it looks a bit like a Porsche Cayenne but there’s nothing wrong with that and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a nicer crossover to sit in. A comfortable but not wallowy ride coupled to an assortment of engines, ranging from asthmatic to pokey and staid to state-of –the –art, there’s a Sportage for everyone. The model we had on the test was the 2.4 SX AWD AT offering a wholesome 135kW and 237Nm of torque. Standard spec is impressive with rear PDC, Bluetooth connectivity, and auto-headlights making notable appearances. Our well-specced SX model came with nice-to-haves, too, such as power-folding side mirrors and a panoramic sunroof large enough to tan under.

Without sounding ridiculous, though, the action of the gear selector imparted a premium feel, something which many of the Sportage’s competitors could learn from and its ride was neither crashy nor nauseatingly soft. The same can be said for the rest of the vehicle which, bar its plastic door handles, is very rapidly approaching the realm of the premium brands.

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To be concise – for the second time in a row now, the KIA Sportage is no longer an imitation of a good thing, but rather an actual good thing and the new one just cements this sentiment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the German three see some serious competition from the Korean two within the next five years.
Ooh, controversy.

Pricing:

2.0 Ignite – R369 995
2.0CRDi EX – R487 995
2.4GDI SX AWD – R557 995
2.0CRDi SX AWD – R567 995
1.6T GT-Line AWD – R599 995
Warranty: 5-years/unlimited km
Service plan: 5-years/ 90 000 km

Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG go topless for summer

The folks from “Merc” have chosen the right time to reveal their summer bodies with an array of drop-tops now available to the South African market. From Mercedes-Benz, we have the C -Class Cabriolet and the S-Class Cabriolet which have both let their hair down. The C-Class Cabriolet is undoubtedly the most important of the two as it’s more accessible to the general public. As a result, this car should be the volume seller amongst all the cabriolets offered by Mercedes-Benz. It also operates against strong contenders such as the BMW 4 Series Convertible, a car loved by many a South African. The S-Class Cabriolet, on the other hand, is a tastefully luxurious affair, limited to those who have the means to enjoy the lavish offerings it features. As a result, this is a very exclusive car but offers rich brand heritage and a specific grandeur that only be achieved by this type of car.

Simply stunning:
Looking at both the C-Class and the S-Class, there is a noticeable similarity in design language. They have styled the cars to have a father and son appeal, both looking very sophisticated and handsome. The interior keeps to the chic theme of the exterior with modern and clean lines on the fascia and luxurious seats to match. The aim is to keep you driving with the top down, so measures have been taken to ensure a comfortable open-air experience. AIRCAP is one of the systems used to do this. This feature reduces interior turbulence in the car while driving to stop your ears from exploding, a feeling not loved by many. Another handy feature for the colder months is AIRSCARF, a feature known to many Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet drivers. This feature heats up the neck area of the person seated, allowing them to keep the top down even when the weather is frosty. If it does get unbearably cold or hot, you’ll be happy to know that it only takes 20 seconds of the soft-top to open and close on both the S-Class and C-Class. The difference is that you can operate the mechanism up to a speed of 60km/h in the S-Class and only 50km/h in the C-Class.

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They see my floating, they hatin…
Another cool feature about these new Cabriolet’s is the AIRMATIC suspension that is optional on the C-Class and standard on the S-Class. This electronically controlled air suspension can be adjusted depending on which mode you want the car in. An option of ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual is available, with Individual allowing you to customise the setup. The suspension is not the only smart thing in the S-Class though, an all new intelligent climate control system called THERMOTRONIC allows the occupants to have a fully automatic air-conditioning system. By using 12 sensors and 18 actuators, the system can provide optimum air distribution when the top is up or down. As a result, there will no longer be a need for a driver to save a setting for the car, it knows how best to keep you cool, literally and figuratively.

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Mercedes-AMG variants:
If the fancy looks of these new convertibles are not enough for you and you seek a little bit more power, you’ll be happy to know that there’s an answer. On the C-Class side, you have the C43 4MATIC which produces 270kW of power. If that’s still not enough, you can get the full blown C63 and C63 S cabriolets. The C63 produces the same 350kW you’ll find in the sedan and the S version makes a healthy 25kW more, giving it 375kW. The S-Class also has AMG versions with the “entry level” AMG being the S63 which ONLY makes 430kW and 900Nm whereas the S65 produces 463kW and (wait for it) 1000Nm.
So the long and short of all this is that if you want some drop top Mercs, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether you’re a slick executive or an Oligarch, Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG will have something to keep you busy with this summer.

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A Mercedes-Benz Bakkie – Would you buy one?

Over recent years we have seen the Pickup or Bakkie market change, instead of the classic workhorse, Bakkies are used more for commercial and private sectors, simultaneously. Not only have they adapted into vehicles that look and feel great, they also have plenty of space for passengers, especially the double cab models.

Mercedes have cottoned onto this and released the first concept images of their new  X – Class. Mercedes say they will change the segment of mid-size pickups by releasing the world’s first premium Bakkie, fair enough. There are two model variants, the first being entitled “stylish explorer.” As you can see from the designs, this is a more upmarket urban vehicle which maybe gets used for a cross-border family trip once in a while. The interior is true Mercedes style with leathers, woods, and shiny metal. Although being a Bakkie, I can’t imagine this vehicle will be lugging around too much construction/building materials during its life. I feel its more aimed at the owner or big boss of a construction company or architectural firm, maybe once in a while a spanner and screwdriver might slip into the back.

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The second is the X Class “powerful adventurer.” This vehicle, as the name suggests have been aimed at those kinds of people who like to go out, explore and conquer many terrains and lands. This model is my kind of vehicle; it features massive ground clearance, big, chunky off-road tires measuring 35 inches high, by 11 inches wide, the wild offroad styling is finished off by an electric front winch. The interior is still luxurious but has more rugged, out there kind of feel. The Powerful Adventurer is the kind of vehicle which would be loaded up with surfboards and driven over the border into Namibia when the Skeleton Bay surf is firing. Both variants will contain the classic Mercedes tech such as online connected drive systems, lots of sensors, fancy suspension systems and the like. Regarding engines, Mercedes have said top-of-the-line models will be powered by a V6 Diesel, coupled with a very technical four-wheel drive system.

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Mercedes are aiming the X Class at five markets with one of them being the successful adventurer/extreme sports person.( They will need to be successful to afford one of these) Another target market is active families with an “affinity” to premium products( See above, once is a while cross-border holiday). The X class is also aimed at trend-conscious individualists, business owners and landowners in South Africa.

These vehicles are targeting for a late 2017 launch, the question for me is price, the X class is a much more premium vehicle than the R600k Wildtrack, so how much more is it going to cost? Unfortunately for most, I feel this vehicle is going to be out of their league.

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Peugeot 308 GT-Line Automatic

A few months back I was in the driving seat of the Peugeot 308 GT-Line Manual. I really enjoyed that vehicle, it looked great with the GT-Line styling, the interior was simplistic with extremely comfortable massaging seats (Even my wife mentioned them ). My only issue with this car was that infotainment system is finicky. Through this digital screen is also the only way to control A/C, which can be a hack to control when driving. Apart from that and the fact that the Tachometer needle travels in the wrong direction, all was good.

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Last week wasn’t much different, apart from that this time I had the Automatic model, in Ruby Red. Please don’t buy this car in Ruby Red, it looks awful and does not accentuate the exterior styling of the GT-Line at all, which I think looks great on the car. I was intrigued to drive the Automatic model, for one main reason. A few months back I drove the 208 Automatic was deeply disappointed, (you can find that article in 04 of our Digital Mag) The Automatic box was not up to standard in that vehicle, and I had a slight worry I would experience the same in the 308. I acknowledged that the 308 is a much more expensive car and all should be okay. Indeed, it was, the Auto box is pretty decent on this vehicle, its smooth and works well with the 96kw/230Nm 1.2 Turbo, an engine I am very fond of and has also just won International Engine of the Year, for the second year running. Do note that if you opt for the 308 Active line, power in this model is reduced to 81kw/205Nm.

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If I am picky I would say that there needs to be more resistance between Park and Reverse to stop little mishaps happening, it is very easy to push right through. Below the gear lever you will even find a little Sports button, but like all sports buttons on most nonperformance based cars, the difference Is hardly noticeable. John Whittle has a full in-depth review in the November edition of our Digital Magazine.

Peugeot 308 GT-Line
1.2 3 Cylinder PureTech Turbo
96 kw/230Nm
4.8l/100km
Starting from R357,900

 

 

 

 

 

G30 BMW 5 Series leaked.

In days of yore when the likes of Leykor and British Leyland were wreaking havoc on your garage floor, a leaking vehicle wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. Thankfully, for the most part, the only leaking we need to worry about these days is that of images before a car’s actual unveiling. BMW’s next generation ‘G30’ 5 Series has just been leaked a day before it’s official unveiling and apparently the Chinese are to blame. What is very evident is that BMW’s designers have gone the tracing paper rout à la Mercedes-Benz with the new Fiver which is now more in line with the design language of the brutish yet elegant 7 Series. BMW’s new ‘CLAR’ cluster architecture underpins the G30 shedding roughly 100kg’s off F10’s kerb-weight thanks to carbon-fibre and aluminium being such lighties.

Engine-wise one can expect the usual slew of BMW TwinPower power plants with force-fed 2.0-litre fours and 3.0-litre sixes in both petrol and diesel guise being the big-sellers. For those who enjoy a ginger-shot in the morning and think that leaves are a meal there will also be a hybrid version, likely making use of the 2.0-litre unit found in the X5 xDrive40e and your wall-socket. What we’re actually excited for, though, are the V8 motors. Both the 550i and M5 should make use of updated variations of the N63 motor, with the M5’s S63 reportedly churning out over 450kW through, for the first time on an M5, an optional xDrive system. If you’re a heathen, tick that box.One can expect to see the new Five on our roads during the first half of 2017, kidney-grills and all.

 

One can expect to see the new Five on our roads during the first half of 2017, kidney-grills and all.

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2016 Renault Megane

After 20 years, the fourth generation of Megane has arrived in South Africa. The 2016 Megane looks aggressive, I like it.

Four models will be released, the first of these is the Dynamique model featuring a 1.6 litre 84 kW engine with a 5-speed manual box, no option for auto here. Moving up in the range we have two GT-LINE models, both powered by a 97kw 1.2 Litre turbocharged engine. The difference being the choice of a 7-speed dual clutch automatic box or a classic 6-speed manual.

Headlining the Megane act is the GT model producing a meaty 151kw from its 1.6 litre turbocharged engine.  The GT comes with some features exclusive to its model such as the MULTI-SENSE handling feature and full LED headlight technology. Other items include leather seats,18” alloy wheels, an electronic parking brake to take away all the fun and paddle shifts.

High-end technologies on this vehicle include 4CONTROL chassis which is the only vehicle in its segment to feature this. 4CONTROL works by turning the rear wheels slightly when cornering, this small movement has a big effect on road holding and performance. I’m sure this is going to be a fun car to drive.

Another great feature is MULTI-SENSE, this enables individual users to modify many aspects of the vehicle from driving dynamics such as accelerator mapping, gearbox mapping and steering response just to name a few. The classic pre-sets like Comfort, Eco and sport are also available.

The new Megane looks fantastic and has some exciting and personal driver based features. We will soon have our hands on one and will be able to bring you an in-depth review.

 

Pricing is as follows :

Renault Megane Dynamique – R 279 900

Renault Megane GT-LINE :

– Manual: R 339 900

– Auto: R 354 900

Renault Megane GT – R 449 900

 

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