Category: Latest News

The First Hybrid MINI: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Hybrid MINI: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

The Hybrid MINI is here: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

Greener transport, less congestion and autonomous vehicles seem to be high on the priority list of many countries and manufacturers  in 2017. While there are arguments for all three, the former seems to be the one that you can’t  really argue with. Emissions &  increased Diesel tax is the talk of the town in many big cities and this should and is worrying many car manufacturers, such as BMW. A staggeringly high percentage of BMW cars sold in Europe are Diesel and while we love them because they provide good fuel economy, the environment doesn’t seem to have as much love.

One way this can be helped is with Hybrid vehicles, such as the new MINI cooper S E Countryman ALL4 – the first Hybrid MINI. Powering this hybrid car is a 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine and an electric motor which provides a combined power output of 165 kW. With 100 kW coming from the combustion engine and 65 kW from the electric setup which also provides 165 Nm from a standstill!  The combustion and electric system work together, with the combustion power being delivered to the front wheels and electric to the rear. This creates an ALL4 or 4 wheel drive system.

From a standing start the new MINI hybrid relies solely on electric power up to around 80km/h. After this speed the combustion engine is slowly introduced, the driver can however opt to stay on electric power with the eDRIVE switch up to a speed of 124 km/h – pretty impressive. The new MINI Countryman Hybrid has a range of 40 km which is not too bad at all.  A car which relies solely on electricity when stuck in traffic or driving around town or commuting to work sounds pretty good to us. What sounds even better is the average fuel consumption, a mere 2.3 litres per 100km.

The big lithium-ion battery is located under the rear seats to save space and will require around 2 hours 15 minutes or 3 hours 15 minutes to charge, depending on the method used.

Cars that fully rely on electric for power are probably the future but for now, range is holding them back. Hybrids are a great option  in the meantime and more manufacturers should be looking at this option. There is really no need for combustion engines around the city and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of these types of vehicles coming to market.

Is it coming to South Africa? We don’t know yet, but with the BMW i3 and i8 already here, we may have a chance.

Updates to the Ford Focus in South Africa

South African Car News: Ford Focus Updated

South African Car News: Ford Focus Updated

The South African hatch segment is a very competitive place to be for a car manufacturer. We are seeing new and updated vehicles released on a regular basis as manufacturers compete provide the best package for car buyers.

One of these cars to recently receive upgrades is the Ford Focus. These changes include a new Diesel variant and updates to the styling and driver assistance packages.

Trend Styling Package

The updated styling package refers to the Trend styling pack which is only available on the 5-Door models of the Ford Focus. Changes to this pack include a newly styled bodykit, rear wing, 17-inch multi-spoke with lower profile tyres and a tilt and slide sunroof.

The sunroof is not the only electronic accessory in this pack, as the trend styling pack now also includes Bi-Xenon headlights derived from Focus ST3. These headlight incorporate dynamic beam technology and LED running lights. Finally, the Trend pack includes dual-zone climate control, heated and folding mirrors and privacy glass on the rear.

This is a nice pack to give your Ford Focus that little bit extra in styling and comfort and is priced at R19 984.

Driver Assistance Package

Ford’s driver assistance package has been updated to now include their SYNC 3 Infotainment system. The SYNC 3 is a big update over the previous SYNC 2 system, the 8-inch screen is brighter and now allows touch sensitive gestures. It also includes full navigation in multiple languages and supports Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

This package also includes a rearview camera, Active Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid. Costing just R17 089, it could be a worthy upgrade.

New Ford 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel engine

The final upgrade to the Focus range is that Ford have replaced the 1.6 TDCi engine with a new 1.5-litre TDCi engine. Producing 88kW and 270 Nm while delivering power via a six-speed manual gearbox. We’re told this engine is much better than the one it replaces – a test will tell.

 

New Audi R8 Spyder – Now you can hear your V10 scream better.

New Audi R8 Spyder V10

New Audi R8 Spyder V10 released in South Africa

Let’s be honest, as much as pure petrol heads lament the lack of rigidity in a convertible, the look and feel of a drop top is badass. This is especially the case when it comes to supercars. The Audi R8 is already a fantastic vehicle, offering ridiculous performance figures and an amazing soundtrack. This soundtrack will be even more audible now that the New Audi R8 Spyder gives you the choice of driving around without a roof.

The same V10 engine we’ve come to know and love has been used, featuring 397kW and 540N.m. This figure may seem strange because more press has been given to the R8 Plus model, which has 445kW. The Spyder however pushes out the exact same power as the non – Plus variant, but we’re sure Audi will make a Plus available at some point. That being said the car now dashes to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds which is still a monumental time considering that the Spyder variant will be heavier than the coupe. Heavier doesn’t mean heavier though as the new R8 Spyder uses technology called Audi Space Frame. This a multi-material frame that combines aluminium and Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic. The convertible top also only weighs in at 44kgs, so a lot has been done to keep the car light on its feet, ensuring dynamic handling characteristics.

Another thing many people have enjoyed about the R8 is the way the Quattro system works. Unlike other four wheel drive systems, it’s less prone to nose diving provided you give it the respect it deserves coming into corners. In fact the system in the New Audi R8  Spyder can send up to 100 percent of its power to the rear wheels, depending on the situation. Whilst most people won’t exploit their R8’s to this point, it’s good to know that fun can be had for those who’ve watched too much Top Gear.

 

Besides the lack of a roof, the R8 remains mostly the same – just much better looking. The car comes standard with a host of technology such as Navigation, Virtual Cockpit and front and rear LED lights. Although, you do expect those kind of creature comforts if you’re paying approximately R2.9million for a car. We love it’s look, we love how it sounds, now it’s a matter of seeing if we love how it drives. Judging by the coupe, it should be very exciting.

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?

 

 

What we can expect at the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017

Where there is a hill to be climbed, someone at some point will endeavor to climb it. Humans do this, it must be in our nature to choose a thing that’s bigger than us and then scale it, only to poke a flag in it once the summit has been reached. One step further than this, though, is racing another human to the top, conquering not only the hill, but your competitor too!

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

Now in its eighth edition and the fourth to be sponsored by Jaguar South Africa, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017 promises to be the ultimate showcase of people racing up a hill, as we like to do. Considered by many to be the most prestigious motorsport event in South Africa, the Hillclimb has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings back in 2009 to the local equivalent of the iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed, having had over 14 000 motorsport fans grace the hill in 2016.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

The cream of the motorsport crop are to be found at the Hillclimb with legends such as Ian Scheckter, Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert, Leeroy Poulter and Sarel van der Merwe having taken part over the past 7 events. Of course, the cars are important too – nobody would fly all the way to Knysna to bear witness to a running race between Mike Briggs and Franco Scribante…

Porsche 917 and 956, Ariel Atom, various Lotus’, countless Ferraris and the usual brigade of supercars such as the McLaren 650S, Lamborghini Aventador and Jaguar F-Type have all taken part, as well as a handful of Formula 1 cars from a bygone era.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

The 2017 programme sees a slight tweak with the King of the Hill event being split into three categories – SuperCar Shootout, Sports Cars and Single Seaters and Modified Saloons.  This ensures that competition is fair and that each competitor stands a chance against the other hillclimbers. The fastest cars in each category will then go head to head in a shootout to crown the King of the Hill.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

We look forward to seeing all the action from the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb – if the hype and success of the previous years is anything to go by, this year’s event promises to be quite the spectacle!

The New 911 GT3 Sets a very fast lap around Nürburgring

911 GT3 Nürburgring Lap time

The new 911 GT3 Nürburgring lap time.

The Porsche 991.2 911 GT3 may look very similar to its predecessor but under the skin much has changed. This is proven by the official lap time set by the 991.2 GT3 around the legendary Nürburgring. A track which seems to be proving ground for fast cars. “If you can drive fast on the Nordschleife, you can drive fast anywhere in the world”, Frank-Steffen Walliser commented.

The new Porsche GT3 set a lap time of 7 minutes and 12 seconds. That, my friends, is 12.3 seconds faster than the previous generation 991 GT3. That is a very fast time and a big improvement which shows the changes to the GT3 really do make a difference. Read about the changes here: The New Porsche 991.2 GT3 Has Changed More Than You Think.

It’s worth noting this time was set on Michelin Sport Cup 2 N1 tyres which come standard with the  Porsche 991.2 GT3.

There is currently no official time for the GT3 RS, Although some have rumored it set a time of 7 minutes  and 20 seconds, in the wet. The official time set by the GT3  has also sparked rumors suggesting a sub 7 minute lap time from the upcoming Window Maker – the GT2.

This could mean a production car lap record if it beats the claimed time of the time Lamborhini  Huracan Performante – 6 Minutes and 52 seconds, which many are saying never happened…

 

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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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