Category: Design

The Future Is Electric: Audi E-Tron Sportback Revealed

Audi is starting to take electricity very seriously: Audi E-Tron Sportback revealed.

Manufacturers fascination with electricity was not just a phase, it’s happening and getting better and better. So much so Audi plans to launch five electric cars in the next five years. Yikes. The one everyone is talking about now is the Audi E-Tron Sportback, a sleek looking electric crossover of sorts. We know concept cars rarely look the same when going into production but Audi has surprised us before. The R8 for instance looks a great deal like the concept car it came from. If that’s going to be the case with the E-Tron Sportback, we’ll be in for a visual treat. The car looks very space age, almost like the it came out the movie Tron.

It will be powered by a 95kWh battery with a predicted range of approximately 500km. So imagine being able to make it to Pietermaritzburg in your E-Tron Sportback? The trip won’t be a boring one too as the car will be able to do 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. That’s properly quick for a car that’s going to be silent, or any car for that matter. Of course the main target market for a car like this in China, as electric cars are booming that side. For us South Africans however we may wait a while until this car comes our side. Thankfully the likes of BMW and Nissan have paved the way, so by the time fully electric Audi’s come this side we may have the infrastructure we need.  

 

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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.

The Launch of the New Audi A5 in South Africa

Update: Watch Our LaunchDrive Video of the New Audi S5 Here

Hermanus is a beautiful seaside town with a vast mammal filled ocean on one side and  towering mountains on the other. Between us at Cape Town International Airport and Hermanus, though, was a driving route that involved great sections of tar, with long swooping bends, twists and turns. A fitting location, then, for the launch of the all-new Audi A5 and S5 Coupe.

The original A5 launched back in 2008 and it had a unique look with its tornado line running down the full length of the vehicle. The 2017 Audi A5 is still very recognizable as an A5, but does feature very nice enhancements in the design area. The Tornado line for example, is more defined and the headlights feature a sharper design with the “four eyes” to represent quattro. These headlights sit above a larger, flatter grill and below a bonnet which has large grooves, emphasizing its sportiness.

Audi have a new design philosophy which is inspired by the Audi prologue concept car. We have seen elements of this being introduced in recent models such as the Q2 and now the A5. One nod to this design language is flared wheel arches and larger rear shoulders, and we can see this in the 2017 models.

The interior has also undergone some refinement. I have always enjoyed Audi’s simplistic and uncomplicated style with regards to interior design and this is no different with the new A5.  The dashboard features a horizontal design which gives the cabin a very spacious feel and as always, the centre console features controls for audio, navigation and the like.  This console also features the drive selector, which one can only describe as looking like the thrust control in a jet – its large, bulky and fits in the hand nicely, giving a very commanding feel.

View 360 Images of the interior below. We apologize for the quality, as the light was extremely poor.

Audi S5

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Audi A5

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

In the design area then, the Audi A5 has undergone many refinements resulting in a big improvement. Another area in which the 2017 A5 has improved is in the powertrain department, with the latest engines now producing 17% more power with a 22% reduction in consumption, impressive.

The A5 coupe has four engines on offer with the S5 currently leading the way, producing a healthy 260 kW and 500 N.m. Following this is the 2.0T FSI Quattro producing 185 kW and 370Nm. We then have two 140 kW power plants, coming in the form of a 2.0T FSI which puts out 320N.m and a 2.0 TDI producing 400 N.m.

You would probably expect me to say that the S5 was my favorite variant but actually, the 185 kW A5 quattro was a car that really stood out. This car really shifts and has lots of torque from low down in the RPM range. It was just so enjoyable to drive through the twisty mountain passes but was then also very comfortable and quiet when driving in a relaxed manner.

The S5 is sharper, firmer and faster with 260 kW and 500 N.m but the difference is not night and day. It does give you a little more confidence in all aspects, though, such as high-speed cornering, as the S5’s suspension is firmer which can be felt quite a lot in the rear.

If you want more performance and styling, the S5 is a good option but it is by no means a “monster”  like an RS variant would be. What sold me on the Audi S5 is the song it sings from that beautiful 3.0-litre V6 Twin Turbo motor – wow!  It sounds absolutely fantastic throughout the rev range and this means that the S5 has a driving experience which is hard to match in its segment. It goes from being a car that is a little faster and sharper than the quattro, to a car that really makes you feel warm inside when driven – It’s not always about sheer acceleration and performance and this reason alone could mean the S5 pips the BMW 440i and Mercedes C43 to my top spot out of the three.

The higher powered A5’s are impressive, but we must not forget the smooth cruisers, the 140 kW T FSI and TDI models. These variants are very refined and easy to drive and while both cars were very nice, I feel that out of the two, the TDI is the one to go for. Power delivery is linear and it just feels like a smoother, calmer experience. Although not the most powerful variants, these two models should not be under estimated as they can really hold their own on some of the Cape Town passes against the bigger boys and are by no means boring. You can still have a lot of fun in these models and we can vouch for that.  If your main aim when looking at an A5 is not so much performance based but rather directed towards a quiet, comfortable and smooth vehicle, either of these two are the ones to go for. The  14kW T FSI comes only as FWD, but the TDI variant is available with quattro.

Which model would I personally choose? Well this decision for me is all about which rules first, the head or the heart. My consumer brain tells me that the 185 kW quattro is the vehicle to go for – it gives performance just a little short from the S5, but has the comfortable benefits of the T FSI and TDI Models and is also R170 000 cheaper. However, from a performance enthusiast’s point of view, my heart wants to hear that singing V6 whenever I drive to work in the morning, although I’m sure my wife would have something to say about that!

Its also worth noting that the A5 is available with its new driver assistance system -Traffic Jam Assist. This is Audi’s first step in the direction of autonomous driving. In conjunction with Adaptive Cruise control, the vehicle will accelerate, brake and steer the car up to speeds of 65 km/h.

Pricing

The A5 will comes standard with a range of equipment including  Audi Drive Select, Xenon Plus Headlights and Rear LED lights, 17” Alloy wheels and cruise control.

The A5/S5 Sportback will be following the same model and pricing structure below and will be available from May 2017. In June we can expect the arrival of the A5/S5 Cabriolet – we have no information on pricing as yet.

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 140kW S tronic: R 589,000

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 140kW S tronic Sport: R 623,000

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI 140kW S tronic: R 619,000

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T TDI 140kW S tronic Sport: R 653,000

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI 140kW quattro S tronic: R 652,500

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T TDI 140kW quattro S tronic Sport: R 686,500

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 185kW S tronic: R 723,500

Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 185kW S tronic Sport: R 757,500
Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T FSI 260kW quattro S tronic: R928,000

Will the Volkswagen Citi Vivo Be A Future Classic?

It’s funny how things work. One moment everybody has a Citi Golf, the next moment an enthusiast will battle to find some original examples. By “original example” I don’t mean any random Citi Golf as you can easily locate one on most classified websites. I’m referring to the legendary Citi Golfs that donned the red, yellow and blue paintwork, the same one your parents used to have (probably). Growing up I saw many examples of these but now the one’s you find are generally in remote towns owned by people who won’t let them go. Which brings us to the somewhat reincarnation of this car. Yes Volkswagen want to pull on some South African heart strings by introducing a Citi Vivo, the same concept of the Citi Golf but just in a Vivo.

Like the Citi Golf, the Vivo is a car that is everywhere in South Africa, no matter where you are. So much so, they’ve been sort after cars by “baddies” for a very long time. The Citi Vivo is based on the 1.4 55kW variant and it will have some white wheels to match the white mirrors on the car, similar to how the Golf’s were dolled up decades ago. Again like the Golf, you can get it in red, yellow and blue. The question is then, will this Vivo be a car we’ll battle to find in the next few decades? This may sound silly but with only 2000 units being planned by VWSA, there won’t be too many around to begin with. What most South Africans loved about the Citi Golf was how simple the car was and how easy it is to maintain. The Polo Vivo will be seen in the same light in a few decades, especially considering how complex entry level cars are becoming. Who knows, but maybe one day the Citi Vivo will be the retro hatchback we’ll look at and think “those were good times”, like how people in their 40’s look at Cape Town hipsters who drive Citi Golfs now.

Personally I think the Citi Vivo is a very cool throwback at how awesome South African car culture is. Our buying nature has for a long time forced the likes of VW to make something special for us. It’s cool because we don’t merely see cars as a means of transport, we see them as our identity. How better to show people that you’re young wild and free through a brightly coloured car with white wheels? My advice to potential Citi Vivo owners? Keep the car, you may have something super cool to pass down to your kids one day.

On a roll: Volvo’s new XC60 revealed.

The new era Volvo’s has already managed to revitalise the brand, making them no longer cars that appeal to a specific group of people.  The edgy designs of the XC90 and newly launched S90 both inside and out have proved that Volvo means business. These cars though are not the most important Volvo’s in the stable, rather the smaller XC60 has been the glory child for the brand. With over one million units sold globally since 2008, it’s safe to say the outgoing XC60 was a hit. The new version will hopefully be a worthy follow up. If it’s anything like its siblings, we’re confident that current Volvo owner s will love it, as well as newer and younger audiences.

The new XC60 carries on the simplicity of the new Volvos, with its engine line up. A variety of 2 litre petrol and diesel engines will be on offer. For those looking for a faster XC60, you’ll be happy to know that the T8 twin engine variant will be offered, packing a healthy 300kW of electric and petrol power.

For diesel lovers, the D5 has not been left out, giving you 173kW and PowerPulse technology.  Power aside, a Volvo would not be a Volvo without safety being at the forefront of its design. Technologies we’ve come to know such as City Safety will make their way into the new XC60, only this time there will be an added Steer Assist feature. The awesome Pilot Assist will definitely not be left out, allowing the driver to experience  a semi-autonomous mode until 130km/h.

Aesthetic appeal of the new XC60 is obviously subjective but we think it maintains the modern loveliness of current Volvos of today. It may not be the prettiest as the XC90 is stunning, but it sure is handsome. Seeing  the new XC60 live will be the determining factor as the S90 was a huge surprise because it looks much more stately in the flesh. Stay tuned to hear more developments around this car in the future, as it will be very relevant for its segment.

Audi A3 Facelift Driven Review

Audi recently facelifted the A3 and while the changes are only design based, I was still interested to get behind Audi’s entry level A3 with its 1.0-litre Turbo engine.

The updates to the A3 consist of updated designs for the headlights and taillights, with some slight bumper design adjustments which completes the changes to the exterior elements.

The overall improvements provide a sportier and more dynamic look, this can be improved further with the optional S-line kit, which I must say looked fantastic on the test vehicle I was driving.

In my opinion, the interior on the A3 has always been fairly simple. The dashboard provides a streamlined and clean design with the motorised digital screen as a central element. The controls for the Audi MMI system are all featured on the centre console between the front driver and passenger seats. The buttons and scroll dial which are situated here are very easy to access and also have a simple, non complicated layout.

Interior designs on some vehicles can seem very cluttered with buttons everywhere, and with technology inside cars increasing at a fast rate, it’s good to see that Audi have this all under control.

The cabin is finished with metal, leather and alcantara. It has a very premium and well-built feel, which is a very important factor in a premium hatchback. The sport seats, which are an optional extra, are a great addition in terms of the visual appeal. They are wide and support the body well with good bolstering, but I feel that the only need for them on a 1.0 vehicle is purely for the visual element. I can’t see these cars being thrashed around the racetrack anytime soon.

Earlier, I touched on the fact that technology has become a big part of the automotive industry, and Audi has its fair share. Some buyers may choose one brand over the other, depending on what latest technology is available.

The Audi A3 features the full media system with  7”screen including MMI navigation. Audi’s system works well with many features of the A3 being controlled from the system interface, such as lighting and other vehicle settings.

Carplay/ AndroidAuto also features in this vehicle – simply connecting a phone will enable it automatically, with the mobile styled display popping up on the screen and giving the driver easy access to contacts, maps, music and more. With CarPlay, hitting the voice control button on the steering wheel will activate your best friend, Siri, and as always, you can ask her anything you like. If you are unsure on how Carplay works or what it does, you can read our article on it here:

Audi Pilot Assist has to be my favorite feature.The classic dash and dials are replaced with a full digital display. Speed, rpm, fuel, economy figures, media, navigation and so forth are all displayed in digital format.The driver can change what they see and how they see it.

I enjoyed the map view, with the speed and rpm displays retracting into smaller dials in the corner. The maps/navigation then fills the rest of the display which looks very futuristic, although you can lose track of speed, it happened to me once or twice. Zooming in and out and changing views and menus are all accessed of the steering wheel controls, which becomes natural once you have used it for a short while.

 

Behind the Wheel 

I was surprised by the 1.0l turbocharged motor, the 85kw it produced was used well and at times the car had a nippy kind of feel. The power is delivered through a six-speed manual gearbox and as you can expect from an audi vehicle, it was smooth and focused.

What stood out to me with this setup was the A3’s ability to pick up nicely and gain speed when cruising on the highway in 6th gear.  The small engine did not come across as if it was straining and it made overtaking easy, without changing down to 5th.

There are, however, a few drawbacks with this engine.When pulling off, the A3 needs revs to get going, and if you short change from 1st to 2nd at low rpm or on a slight incline, the car struggles for a few seconds, before picking up again. I had this issue mainly below 1800 rpm before the boost really kicks in.  This was really the only issue I had, and overall the 1.0l TFSI performed well from a driving perspective.

From an economic perspective, though, there is another side to the story. You may have read that some manufacturers are now looking at going back in the direction of higher cc engines. It has come to light that these small turbocharged motors do give really good fuel economy figures, but only in perfect, controlled environments. In day to day life, in environments that are beyond the manufacturer’s control, they are not that great.

During my time with the A3, the figures I produced were around 8.0-9.0 l/100km. I was mainly driving in an urban environment and was at times heavy on the throttle. With perfect economical driving the figure would definitely be lower, but how much lower is the question? Driving on South African roads brings its own challenges which doesn’t often lend to being more economical.

 

The Problem

My biggest issue with the Audi A3 is the price. The starting price for this model is R390,000. For this, one gets a lot of car, a well built, reliable German machine. The list price on the test vehicle I was driving was R520,000.

Thats a big difference, the reason being is this specific vehicle had a range of optional extras fitted.  Now, not all of those optional extras are actually needed. Items such as the sport seats and S-Line suspension are not of paramount importance, especially on a 85 kW car. Some of the other optional extras, though, you might actually want.

Options such as the Premium Audi Sound System, Navigation and CarPlay, Panoramic Sunroof, the S-line exterior kit which gives the car another dimension in terms of styling. Let’s also not forget the 20” alloy wheels and Audi Pilot Assist.
This means that a buyer will be paying around R500k for a 1.0L vehicle. Yes, its turbocharged and has a power output similar to that of a 1400 or 1600 cc Naturally aspirated engine, but it is still a 1.0L engine.

This is definitely a brand orientated car, and that is exactly what you will be paying for, the badge.Saying that, the Audi A3 is a great car and vehicles across the board are becoming more expensive. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, it was lovely to drive and overall a really good experience. If you are happy to spend this kind of money, you will have a great car. Personally, though, it’s just too much for me.





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The New Audi Q2 : It Really Is Untaggable

You have probably seen the advertising campaign for the new Audi Q2 – #untaggable is what they call it and that is exactly what it is. The Audi Q2 is difficult to define, where does one place it? What do you compare it to? These were questions that all ran through my mind during the launch of the Q2 in Cape Town.

So what exactly is it?

Audi define the Q2 as a compact SUV, which fits into the premium A0 section of the market. It could easily be described as a crossover, or even a sporty hatchback. Audi South Africa don’t view this car as having a direct competitor and it’s easy to see why. Over the course of the launch, it started to become clear what this car is and the type of person it is aimed at.

The Audi Q2 has a very youthful feel about it, it’s hip, funky, extremely stylish and very “out there”- you could say.  This car is not aimed at the type of person who would buy a Q3 or Tiguan for example, those cars, although great, come across as vehicles suited for a small family, but more notably, they are not particularly exciting either.

The Q2 is aimed at the younger market, an audience in their twenties who are designers, creators and are starting out in the business world – these are the kind of people who I envision would be interested in being untaggable, or at least sitting in it on the daily commute.  The interesting thing about the Q2 is that it is very similarly priced to the bigger Q3, but appeals to a totally different audience. So in effect, the Q2 is not a lesser car, (albeit a little smaller) when compared with the Q3, it just has a different purpose.

Styling

The Q2 is nothing like you have seen before, it has edgy design and sharp features. Prominent design features which you will notice are the concaving lines along the side – a unique feature to the Q2 which gives it a different look to anything you will currently find on the road. An Edition #1 version of the Audi Q2 is due for release later this year, this model will feature a unique Quantum Grey Colour, which looks very similar to Nardo Grey, with a little bit of sparkle.

The Q2 is the first of new Audi models to feature this design style, and we can expect future models to follow a similar pattern. Audi have a big 2018 planned with a host of new and updated models, including the Q8.

Step inside the new Audi Q2 and it will feel very similar to the interior of the Audi A3 and other Audi models, there is nothing that would strike you as new or majorly different – it looks and feels very Audi-ish with a clean design and classy feel. The optional sports seats are a nice option to have and were comfortable, they also filled the cabin nicely and added to its visual appearance.

The Audi Q2 will also be available with Pilot Assist, which is the fully digital dash display which allows different views for Car Information, Music and Navigation. This is paired with the 12” TFT screen on the Dashboard. For the record, the Pilot Assist is one of my personal favourites. The Q2 is the only vehicle in its segment to offer a TFT binnacle and it’s an option I’d certainly tick.

The interior is let down slightly by the door cards, They look and feel a little cheap as the lower portions are covered in hard, black plastic. It would have been nice to feature some Alcantara or leather like other areas of the interior. I do understand the reasons behind it though, cost being one of them.

In terms of space, the rear seating area was limited in this regard so if you are tall, unlike me, you may find it quite cramped. The boot space is adequate though with 405-litres on offer, which expands to 1050-litres with the rear seats folded.

How Does It Drive?

The Q2’s we had for the day featured Audi’s 1.4 TFSI engine, which produces 110kw and 250Nm. This is a proven engine in other cars, such as the A3 and it performed as expected. Power delivery is smooth through both the 7-Speed S-Tronic Automatic and the 6-Speed manual transmissions. I did feel that it lacked torque at low RPM, especially in second gear, which was something that I also noticed on the 1.0L variant. This could also have something to do with the COD (Cylinder On Demand) technology which is built into the 1.4 Engine. This feature disables Cylinders two and three at loads of up to 100Nm from 1400rpm with the S-Tronic, and from 2000rpm with the manual variant.

The Chassis and the suspension is where everything comes together and the Audi Q2 really impresses, because it has a high design, one may think that handling would not be one of the car’s best assets.

The Q2 was rigid and as we drove along the bumpy Bainskloof Pass, the car did not feel unsettled with the suspension absorbing the rough surface, even under braking and sharp bends, the Q2 performed well. It has a sharp and accurate turn-in and a very neutral feel, only getting out of shape and providing just a little understeer on one heated occasion. You can enter a corner at speed and trust that the little Q2 will handle it well.

The 110kW produced by the 1.4 TFSI coupled with the great handling and chassis of the Q2 makes for a fun car, which suits its overall persona down to the ground. A young buyer will not have to be worried about getting bored with the Audi Q2.

Driver Assists

Audi have given the Q2 some of their driver assist packages as optional extras. The first of these is Pre Sense which uses a front radar system to detect hazardous situations with other vehicles and pedestrians and will apply braking if necessary. Park Assist is also available, which does a little bit more than the name suggests and will basically park your Audi Q2 for you. Further to this, Cross Traffic Rear Assist helps when reversing from parking spaces, by sensing other cars which could potentially cross your path. Audi also offer Side Assist and Adaptive cruise control on the Q2 to finalize the driver assist packages.

Powertrains

The Q2 is currently only available as the 1.4 TFSI variant. The 1.0 TFSI and 2.0TDi will be available from May, producing 85kW and 200Nm and 105kW and 350Nm respectively. Unfortunately, a Quattro option will be not available in South Africa due to market placement and cost of the vehicle, however it will be available overseas.

Price

Here is where things get interesting, with a starting price of R434 500 for the 1.0L base model and rising to R565 000 for the 2.0 TDI model, the Q2 is not a cheap car. Yet, it is aimed at a young market.

Audi plan to solve this issue with attractive finance offers and a special guarantee buy-back specifically for the Q2. Audi have done their research and I am positive that the Q2 will work for them. The price is a big drawback for the younger market, especially with a well- specced vehicle. However, Audi do feel confident that it should not be too much of an issue – only time will tell.

 

  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI manual: R 434,500
  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI S tronic: R 453,000
  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI Sport manual: R 464,500
  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI Sport S tronic: R 483,000
  • Audi Q2 1.4T FSI Sport manual: R 511,000
  • Audi Q2 1.4T FSI Sport S tronic: R 529,500
  • Audi Q2 2.0 TDI Sport S tronic: R 565,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Level Of Luxury: The Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman

As you may know, Mercedes and Maybach has re-joined forces to create cars of extreme luxury and customisation for a special type of customer. Over the past year they have released some exquisite vehicles. Earlier this week, Mercedes-Maybach released the G 650 Landaulet, which you can read about here, and now another model has arrived.

I would like to introduce to you the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman, a longer limousine styled S-Class. The Pullman is not a new vehicle, it has been around for 90 years but of recent times, had disappeared until now.

The Pullman is a very long vehicle. At 6.5 metres it is 125cm longer than the S-Class long wheel base, 105cm longer than a Mercedes-Maybach S600 and is 41cm longer than a Rolls Royce Phantom LWB. This is a car doused in luxury. Many features on this car would be an optional extra on a standard S-Class, but not with the Pullman. For instance, it provides features such as the PartitionWall with Electrochromatic glass, the refrigerated compartment and the centre console featuring four champagne flutes.

Power closing doors are also standard, along with power curtains, a Burmester 3D surround sound system and the panoramic roof with sky control, once again Electrochromatic. The occupants can choose to have the glass transparent or blue. Further to this and as expected, is a full rear entertainment system featuring an 18.5 inch power retracting flat screen. And if it’s not all play and you need to do business during your travels in the Pullman, stow away tables are also included.

The Pullman can also seat four occupants in the rear with two electronic controlled seats becoming available in a conference type rear facing fashion. When these are not needed, they can be electronically reclined to provide even more space.


 Customisation

With almost everything you could image in a luxury car as standard, what is optional? Well for one, you can change the wheels, for £10 000. But that is just scratching the surface, you can request your Mercedes-Maybach Pullman in any exterior colour you like.  For example, you can have the colour of your Maybach to match your spouses eyes, if you wish. Not bad for £5k. On the inside, Mercedes-Maybach do offer a range of different and more expensive leathers, but they also state that virtually any other leather or colour is available.

Your personal family crest or initials are also available to have stitched or embossed into the seats, or other areas by luxury craftsman. Mercedes state that with this vehicle, anything the customer requires they can have, such as an additional fridge, a walk through centre console or even lambskin floor mats.


The Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is clearly an ultra luxury vehicle for a very select person. It reminds me of how we don’t just have super cars now, we have hyper cars. The Pullman is a hyper luxury car and Rolls Royce should be worried.

How’s it’s made?

To order a Pullman, you first need to order a Mercedes-Maybach S600. This is the donor car, many parts such as the engine and other interior components are used. Mercedes don’t state exactly how it is done, but they do say that it’s not cut in half and stretched, but built on an individual platform.

Power train and Performance

The Pullman uses the V12 Twin Turbo, producing 390kw or 530bhp. This is a lower output then other Mercedes vehicles that use the same engine and is probably for safety, due to the size of the vehicle. Torque is also down at 830Nm,but still quite plenty. The Pullman weighs in at just over 3 tonnes, but will still do 0-100km/h in around 6.5 seconds, delivered though an automatic 7G gearbox.

Price

If your wondering if you can stretch the budget this year, here is the price. £522,000. Yes that is in English pounds. So with today’s exchange rate of R16.5, that puts this car at over R8 million. Yikes.

 

Porsche’s acquired taste is back

Let’s be honest, for many a Porsche is on their bucket list of cars to own. As a result this has caused people to work hard in order to reach this goal. Reaching this goal usually takes time, unless you’re one of those IT geniuses who develops an app and sells it for millions after a year. If not and you go through the “usual” route to find monetary success, chances are you’ll be closer to middle aged when you can afford a new Porsche. The problem with that is that by the time you’re financially able to buy the car, you may have little things called children. Those things take up space, so your dream of owning a 911 can quickly be dashed. Do you then settle for a Cayenne? Possibly, but there is another option,  the Panamera.

When the Panamera first launched, people didn’t know what to do with themselves. Their facial expressions resembled those of people who had just eaten caviar for the first time, or Bovril. The majority of people thought the car was hideous. That being said, the cars sold very well around the world. Perhaps the looks grew on us? Personally we feel any large car will look terrible if it’s not specified correctly. A basic Panamera with small wheels is not a thing of beauty. Throw in some large wheels to fill the arches and the GTS package styling, then you’ve got something that looks great. Why are we telling you this though? Well the acquired taste is back, and it’s bigger and better. 30mm longer and 5mm wider to be exact.

Aesthetically the car has the same overall shape as before but it’s become sleeker. There is a kink in the rear that separates the boot from the overall body, making it seem less station wagon-like. The design lines are sharper and more defined and much more modern altogether. The headlights remind us of the the Porsche 918 Spyder, with the rear looking more like the current 911 range. Nine models are available ranging from the base Panamera to the the Panamera Turbo Executive. The entry point Panamera features a 3.0 litre Turbocharged V6 (243kW/450Nm), with the S  variant featuring a 2.9 litre Twin-Turbo V6 (324kW/550Nm). The big boy Turbo Executive will give you a 4.0 litre Twin Turbo engine producing 404kW and a whopping  770Nm. All models have an Executive variant which is 15cm longer, making it the Panamera you get chauffeured in should you feel inclined.

The new Panamera has one of the nicest interiors in its segment. With the correct options ticked, you can have a tech-fest in the car that combines class and sportiness. For instance there is a rear touch-screen that will control the 4-Zone climate control. You have the option of Bose or Burmester sound systems and you can have the sporty 911-esque seats too, as well as rear entertainment. As we mentioned, choosing the right exterior options on your Panamera is a must. Small wheels are no no, whereas the larger wheels are a big yes. The car also has a James Bond like rear wing that presents itself at speed. As it lifts, it has two pieces that become one, instantly making you look cooler than your non Panamera driving friends.

Like caviar, the Panamera will always be that love/hate car. Which is good because you don’t want anyone to feel “meh” about your vehicle, so those who don’t like it can jump. Porsche doesn’t really care we can imagine, as long as people are buying, they’re happy. This new Panamera is bound to be a bigger success than the previous model because it looks much better and it’s a Porsche after all. It’s a bucket list car remember?

Volkswagan Tiguan Extended Review.

Much hype has been made about the new Volkswagen Tiguan. This excitement is warranted though, because the car looks and drives amazingly. So far the car has won the Family Car award from Cars.co.za’ Consumer Awards.  It is also a finalist for the Wesbank SAGMJ South African Car of The Year 2017, so things seem to be going pretty well for the new model.  We’ve spent some time driving the models offered in South Africa during the launch, so we could confirm that the new Tiguan is indeed a revolution compared to the old car. There was nothing wrong with the model preceding it, but there was neither anything outstanding about it as well. A two day launch allowed us the opportunity to get a feel of the car, in order to report if it was good or bad.  A month long test however  helped us to better understand the true consumer experience of the new Tiguan. This is what Volkswagen gave us the opportunity to do during the month of December. As a result, we can highlight the following about the car:

Family friendly:

It may not be enormous, but it sure is comfortable. The new Tiguan has been designed for those looking for space and comfort. Most compact SUV’s are comfortable when occupied by four people, but the new Tiguan seats five in such a way that there will be few complaints in the rear. For those extra long journeys, the foldable trays behind the front seats will come in handy, provided eating is allowed in the car. The leather seats are optional and come highly recommended as they are easier to clean and give the car a much more premium interior look.

Stares come standard:

Because Volkswagen is a favoured brand in South Africa, the new Tiguan is a car that attracts a great deal of attention. Much to our surprise, people from varying backgrounds and ages had questions to ask and looks to give. This is due to the completely redesigned exterior of the car. The added R-Line Package makes matters worse as the car will not go unnoticed. Often compact SUV’s look like knock-offs of their larger siblings, but in the case of the new Tiguan, the radical design changes that recipe.

Automatic is the way to go:

Most people looking to buy a new Tiguan have added space as a priority on their shopping list. This means that you may have a little one or three. This may also mean that traffic is a reality for you. If this is the case, we recommend you spend the extra bucks on the DSG derivative of the car. The problem with the manual is that it firstly requires more effort to operate and secondly, it tends to bog off the line which may cause unnecessary stalling. In all honesty, this somewhat annoying “niggly” is the only fault we can find on the car. Besides that, nothing negative jumped out during our four week test. As small as the engine is, the 1.4 litre TSI has enough power for both city and long distance driving, which is surprising considering the size of the car.

An excuse to road-trip:

An extended test of the Tiguan would not be complete if we didn’t take the car on a road-trip. Like most “vaalies” we did the 1500km+ trip to Cape Town from Johannesburg. This trip allowed us to use features like Adaptive Cruise Control as well as the Head-Up display, both optional in the Tiguan. The biggest highlight of this car on a long trip is the comfort levels. Despite the larger rims from the R-Line package, the long trip was not back breaking at all. The inclusion of the DYNAUDIO  Excite sound system was also able to drown out snores from the passengers to and from Cape Town. It took a total of two tanks of fuel to cover the journey one way, which was very reasonable considering the size of the engine. The boot space was also more than accommodating. Having friends that don’t know what the meaning of “packing light” is, I was worried that my rear view mirror would be blocked by silly items during the drive. This wasn’t the case though as the 615-litre trunk swallowed up all the bags with ease.

Overall:

Again, we cannot find anything to deter someone looking for a compact SUV from buying a new Tiguan. Instead, there is much to encourage a buyer to consider this car. What was once a more feminine car has been redeveloped into something even the most manliest men could drive with pride. The car maintains its premium feel inside and out, making it comparable to brands much more expensive to it. At a starting price of around R380 000 it’s also not financially out of reach for many. Therefore it comes as no surprise then that this car has won the hearts of many of those who have driven it. It’s a very good package, probably one of the best cars Volkswagen has produced in this segment. It drives like a slightly larger Golf but will fit more and do more. What more do you want out of a compact SUV? If it’s more power, but the 2.0-litre TSI. If it’s more efficiency you’re after, the 2.0TDI may do the trick, but overall the entire range has something that will keep you happy.