Tag: Themotorists

The MINI Countryman Diesel Arrives in South Africa – We Drive It!

MINI Countryman Diesel Driven Review

The new MINI Countryman launched in South Africa earlier this year and TheMotorist team attended that launch, we even shot a video on it, and we were very impressed with how the Countryman had grown up.

Not just figuratively either, the New Mini Countryman is bigger, smarter and overall, much more family orientated. Historically in South Africa, all MINI variants, Countryman or otherwise, were only available in petrol derivatives. Well now that has all changed, with the introduction of the new MINI Countryman Diesel. There is better news, we managed to get behind the wheel of the Countryman D and find out what it is all about.

MINI Countryman Diesel

Is this a bold step for MINI? Maybe, but from where I was sitting, I think it is a very good step indeed. The MINI Countryman Diesel still possess everything the MINI brand is about, it not only looks ‘cool’ and has a great road presence, it also feels ‘cool’ as well. The interior features that typical MINI style with the large central interface with bold designs and colours, which is further emphasized through lighting effects. The technology is present as well with the MINI Connected system which enables the owner to access the vehicle’s location, its fuel level, how far it has been driven, and even send destinations to the navigation system, all from a mobile app.

This leads me onto one point I love about the MINI brand, whether you are a young singleton looking for a sporty 3-door hatch, or a growing family needing more space and size, you don’t need to compromise on style in exchange for practicability. In essence, the MINI Countryman has those same attractive elements, such as the young and hip feel which draws you to a MINI Hatch, just in a bigger package. Diesels don’t have to be boring, and the Countryman D is everything but.

MINI Countryman Diesel

As one would expect, when behind the wheel there are many similarities to the petrol variants of the Countryman, such as driving dynamics – it handles really well and has minimal body roll, but there is one big difference. The Countryman Diesel is so effortless to drive, it’s wonderfully quiet and quite noticeably smooth. It implores you to take it easy and dwell on the money saved thanks to it’s sipping of fuel – 4.0l/100kms to be exact.

Don’t get me wrong, it many certainly be able to handle itself like its petrol siblings, but this isn’t the MINI for a sporty or performance minded individual. It’s 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel produces 110 kW and 330 N.m and while these figures are decent, it is also a big car. There is a good kick of torque from pull off and in the lower RPM range which enabled decent in gear acceleration when cruising, something this car feels like it was built to do.There is little point of searching the higher RPM range of this car because little will be found, most of the power and torque is found lower down and the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which is a pleasure, makes great use of this.

MINI Countryman Diesel

The MINI Countryman Diesel does feature the various MINI driving modes, Green, Mid and Sport. The latter gives better throttle response, slightly sharper steering and a host of visual elements such as lighting and dials. Personally, I mostly enjoyed the Countryman Diesel in the Green mode, elements such as the throttle and steering are relaxed and even more fuel saving features are introduced such as a coasting feature which drops the transmission into neutral. My personal feeling is that this MINI is better suited for this mode, if we were driving a JCW on the other hand, that would be a different story.

Who best suits this MINI?

As you may know, the Countryman is a good option for young families and also buyers who are already in the MINI brand but are looking to size up for whatever reason, without losing the MINI Appeal.

This still stands with the MINI Countryman Diesel, the difference is that with for example, the Cooper S, there is always the option to have a spirited drive when the kids are not around. The Diesel does not give off that appeal, it’s  kind of sensible all the time. It would be a fantastic choice if you’re adventurous and love long coastal drives to Cape Town, or maybe you travel fair distances to work and want to reduce fuel costs, you could even possibly just prefer a diesel engine over a petrol. You can tick any of those boxes without having to choose the usual ‘boring car’. The MINI Countryman Diesel is your answer.

MINI Countryman Diesel

If, on the other hand, the Countryman makes plenty of sense with what it offers, but you still want to have a spirited weekend drive through the Midlands on the odd occasion, or you take fancy to exploring the higher rev ranges and driving pleasures that a petrol engine can offer, head for the Countryman Cooper S. If you want all of the above and more, the 171 kW Countryman John Cooper Works is also now available.

 

The Widow Maker has returned: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The Porsche 911 GT2 RS Has Arrived

The most powerful, street-legal Porsche ever – This is a title which has been associated with the Porsche 911 GT2 RS for many years. Its rear wheel drive setup along with the same twin-turbo engine found in the 911 Turbo has earned this car a more infamous title, “the widow maker”.

It has been over six years since Porsche released their last 911 GT2 RS, with many thinking that there would never be another new model. Over the last year there has been more and more evidence towards the idea that Porsche will release another widow maker. Finally, the 991.2 911 GT3’s big brother has arrived.

The Specs

This is the part that most people are interested in, and you will be happy to know that the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS retains its title as the most powerful, street-legal Porsche ever.

It produces a staggering 515 kW (700 bhp) and 750 Nm of Torque, which as you can imagine, delivers a very fast 0 – 100 km/h time of 2.7 seconds. Take this with a pinch of salt, as we all know that Porsche underestimates their performance figures.

As previously mentioned, the 911 GT2 RS uses the same engine found in the 911 Turbo S; the difference being is that the GT2 uses bigger turbochargers, along with an additional cooling system which sprays water on the inter-coolers when the intake air reaches a certain temperature.

Chassis

Along with these accentuated performance figures comes a chassis that can handle it. The GT2 features rear wheel steering, ultra high-performance tyres, aggressive aero as seen with the mighty rear wing and Carbon Ceramic brakes as standard. One will also find many carbon fibre bits and pieces on the exterior and interior of this beast, to keep its weight down.

Even further weight reduction can be introduced with the optional Weissach package, which saves around 30kgs. To achieve this, large elements of the car are replaced with more carbon fibre parts, such as the roof and anti-roll bars. Another big chunk of this weight saving comes from the forged magnesium wheels included in this package, will also improve unsprung weight which comes with its own benefits.

Regarding safety, the 911 GT2 RS does feature a two stage Traction Control system which is tuned for “ spirited driving”. After-all, It doesn’t have the nickname “Widow Maker” for no reason.

The Porsche 911 GT2 RS has always been an extreme, exciting road going race car, and the new 2018 model is no different. Personally, I am a big fan of Porsche, especially the GT range and it is awesome to see the GT2 RS back. A big shout out to them for creating cars like this and keeping the passion in the automotive world strong. If you are lucky enough to own one of these beauties, enjoy it, but just make sure you know how to drive.

Experience the 911 GT2 RS in greater detail here.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS Pricing in South Africa

Pricing for the GT2 RS starts at R4 411 000, with a three-year Porsche Drive plan. Delivery should begin in 2018.

Hyundai Tucson Sport overview

Tucson Sport South Africa

Hyundai Tucson Sport in South Africa

The Hyundai Tucson seems to be a very popular car in South Africa, it looks good, offers a good range of options and has an industry leading warranty. Those reasons alone maybe why Hyundai have sold over 7500 models in the last 13 months – not too shabby at all.

Tucson Sport South Africa

More and more vehicles nowadays feature a sports model with more aggressive styling and performance as there is a demand for these types of cars. So what if you loved the look and style and Tucson but wanted a little more mmph? Well up until recently Hyundai didn’t have an option, but now they do and it’s called the Tucson Sport – How imaginative.

Tucson Sport South Africa

With the Tucson Sport you get more power, 150 kW and 290 Nm of torque to be exact which are some very nice figures. Additionally, the Tucson Sport comes with a full body kit which doesn’t look great at all; it seems to have been stuck on the original body and comes across as a massive after-thought – the side skirts emphasise this. Matched to this are 19” black alloy wheels, unique to the Tucson Sport with low profiles tyres for better handling characteristics and visual appeal. Finally, Hyundai has added a new exhaust system which features four chrome pipes and an increase in engine noise to finish off the sports appearance.

The Tucson Sport will cost R499 900 which includes standard features such as the 8-inch infotainment system, navigation, Bluetooth, USB and Aux interfaces and a rear view camera. Auto A/C, cruise control and electronically adjusted leather seats are also included in the price along with Hyundai’s 7-year/200 000 km warranty, roadside assistance for 5 years or 150 000 km, and a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.

Personally, parts of the Tucson Sport look a little cheap and it feels like a rushed idea. As always, a full review will come soon.

BMW takes the M240i to the next level with the Performance edition.

BMW M240i Performance edition

BMW M240I Performance Edition

BMW’s introduction of the M240i to replace the already properly good M235i resulted in rather strange squeaks of elation from the BMW fanboys that popularised it. Boasting a brand new B58 motor with rather serious power figures, to the tune of 250kw and 500nm being pumped to the rear wheels.  Mated to a slick 8-speed auto, 0-100 is dispatched in 4.6 seconds and glue the back of your head to the seat as it draws you closer to the horizon until you hit the limiter at 250km/h.

This was combined with the light weight chassis that oozes the proper M car dynamics, much like its more expensive relatives and the straight line clout to keep a list of thoroughbreds humble.  The M240i is an incredible package, with enough driving prowess to make it a worthy of the M badging that litters the cabin and exterior. All of this and a soundtrack that sounds like the smashed dreams of the fallen GTI’s in its wake – It’s damn good.

BMW M240I Performance Edition

In the quest for individualisation, BMW has introduced the Performance edition of the favoured couple. The limited run vehicle will feature an Alpine White paint job with matte black accents, namely the front kidney grill and front spoiler. A set of 19inch Bicolour Orbit Grey wheels with diamond polished sides will replace the 18’s of the standard model. The enhanced aerodynamic front splitter, air guides and rear diffuser are made entirely of carbon fibre and add to the sporty nature. The use of carbon fibre also extends to the door mirrors and the exhaust tail pieces which feature ‘M’ motifs.

BMW M240I Performance Edition

750 Performance editions will leave the Leipzig plant in Germany with availability from July of 2017. Much like the option of Xdrive all-wheel drive, the Performance edition is exclusive to the international market and sadly won’t be reaching our sunny shores, but with the standard models offering a range of M performance bolt on parts as accessories from dealers, the grin on your face will help you forget all about the performance edition and will happily go about setting your pants on fire.

BMW M240I Performance Edition

Khanye Ngwenya

Khanye.ngwenya89@gmail.com

+27

 

Is the BMW 440i Coupe a poor man’s M4?

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Poor mans M4? Our thoughts on the new BMW 440i Coupe

I read somewhere that the BMW 440i Coupe was referred to as the poor man’s M4. This unfortunately highlights the gap in knowledge that this person has regarding the differences between these two variants from BMW.

Look at this example, you have two sons from the same parents who are quite close in age. As they get older, one is built like a rugby player and loves sports, while the other one is leaner takes up piano lessons. The one brother has a taste for Sade, Norah Jones and UB40, while the other is a David Guetta and fan and attends a festival known as “Ultra”. As much as they come from the same family, have the same DNA and a similar disposition, they differ immensely in terms of personality, interests and even appearance.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

That is exactly what happened in Bavaria between these two six-cylinder siblings. The 440i is the all round nice guy, who is a gentleman and still opens the door for his lady.  The M4 on other hand is the rebel. This is the one that will string along a couple of girls and be out until 05:00 but still make it for gym at 06:30. Thereafter, this will be followed by his business presentation in front of the board at 09:00.

That’s who these two cars are aimed at, different people who have wildly different tastes. Having sampled the previous 435i (for two years actually) most things seem quite the same. It was when I got into the BMW 440i Coupe, hit that Start button and fired the new in-line six, that I felt something had changed. A deeper, more throatier noise came from the dual exhausts and it immediately gets the blood flowing smoothly. From take off, as well as driving in traffic, the change is quite apparent, all thanks to the new engine. The new 440i sports what the Bavarian’s call the B58 in-line 6 cylinder. Yes this is similar to the previous engine but features lighter materials and increased power, an extra 15 kW and 50 N.m to be exact. The result is a “smooth as butter” 240kW and 450Nm power-plant. This doesn’t sound like much of an improvement but trust me, it is.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

From just beyond tick over the torque makes itself known and you can ride the wave and drive the vehicle briskly, without having the tachometer even brush the naughty side of 4 500 rpm. This is unlike the M4, which tends to spike in torque, causing fun yet unexpected oversteer. The 440i is sharp when you need it to be and in my opinion pips the M4 on everyday drivability. It is able to put its power down more comfortably and with more confidence than its more muscular brother.

Styling revisions have been made in line with the engine change as well. This can be seen in tweaked front and rear bumpers, more pronounced front and rear LED lights and an array of new colours from BMW’s new colour palette. Inside, the revisions continue with the new iDrive system, similar to the one found in the G30 5 Series. Further to this, the dash has the option of the new Multi-function display which seems to raise cabin standards to spaceship chic. A must if you ask me.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

The drive as mentioned is just superb. Power is delivered through the familiar BMW channels. An Eight speed Sport Auto from ZF which links to the rear axle, leaving the front end with the simple job of steering. This setup seems like it’s going to be a rare thing in the future, with sports cars and sports sedans giving you more power than sense. Communication from the front axle is good, but I would have liked a more communicative steering. Understandably, the setup is orientated more to comfort as the majority of drivers won’t care for the feeling us journalists want. In fairness, the BMW does a good job of letting you know how much grip the front end has in brisk driving scenarios. BMW’s have always been tail-happy and the 440i is no exception. Turn in into some of your favourite corners and you can feel the rear come alive and the traction control light flicker. The driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus change the characteristics of the car, specifically Sport Plus mode. In this mode, the threshold for the DSC has been moved slightly so you can explore the limits of mechanical grip without hurting yourself. 

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Overall, the BMW 440i coupe is a package that is very hard to beat. It’s quick with 0-100km/h done in just  5,2 seconds. It’s balanced and will give you all you need for everyday use in a package that is easy to work with. The car allows you to build your confidence and enjoy it, even if you’re a novice. That is where you start seeing the difference again in personality. The 440i is the car you want to drive to nine tenths everyday, something that you cannot do in the M4 which requires a skill set that the average driver does not possess. If you used the same driving principles from the 440i in the M4, it would end in a spectacularly bad fashion, one that would get a couple hundred thousand views on Youtube. Is it then the poor man’s M4? Not at all! It’s the sensible man’s everyday sports coupe.

 

Our first drive of the Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI

South African Launch: Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

 

Whenever a new Golf is launched, there is excitement beyond belief. First and foremost, it’s been widely regarded as the benchmark in its class and for good reason. Its brilliant! Whether you are starting a new job, transporting kids to and from school, or want a car so that you can have space for your grandkids, it’s the best all-rounder and has remained that way for the last couple of decades. The latest version, or “facelift” in normal terms may be a slight improvement on the current Golf 7, but those small changes make for strides in comfort, luxury and of cause, sportiness.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We flew out to Port Elizabeth to sample the latest version and more specifically, the GTI and my oh my. It’s like your hot friend that was already a looker but decided to go and get a trainer  for a full year, and has come back looking like a model for GQ magazine.

The changes to the new  VW Golf 7.5 GTI are small, but they certainly make you notice it. The “GTI Line” in red now gets broken up and hugs the new LED headlights. Traces of the honeycomb grille finish off the bottom of the LEDs and give the eyes a more aggressive look. The front and rear bumper have also been tweaked for a sportier appeal with the cherry on top being  the new lights with progressive indicators. Small changes as mentioned, but overall, a more svelte athlete.

Updated VW Golf GTI

In the interior, you are immediately greeted by the new LCD electronic display in the instrument binacle which can be adjusted to suit. The examples that we sampled featured  the Discover Pro Navigation, in which the maps and directions sit right in between the rev counter and tachometer for easy viewing. The Discover Pro Navigation also comes with a 9.2-inch screen for vehicle operation with full touch and gesture control. With my basketball player hands, I couldn’t master the system but my driving partner, being a lady with lady like hands, operated the system with ease and I’m sure that with enough practice, I’d soon get the hang of it. The system is iPhone ready with Apple CarPlay and is as easy as 1,2,3 to use. Android Auto has been enabled but South Africans will have to wait until their phones are ready, as the software on android devices has not been enabled yet.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We drove the cars from the airport and stopped over in Jansenville for some lunch. This was a  relatively short drive, thanks to the uprated 169 kW instead of the current 162 kW from the familiar 2.0-litre TFSI motor. Torque has stayed the same at 350 N.m but the vehicle feels more peppy and angrier than what the figures suggest. The GTI 7.5, as it’s locally known, has no problem with bumpier roads, even at more  illegal speeds and turns in like a GTI should. Seats are just the right mix of sporty and let’s-drive-to-Cape-Town-this-weekend comfortable. Even though I have a back that could have come from a 95-year-old war veteran, not once did I reach for the Myprodol.

Updated VW Golf GTI

After reaching the venue and reflecting on the very short drive of 247 kilometers, we settled in and I tried to find fault with the VW Golf 7.5 GTI as there must be at least one black mark and yes, I did find it. It no longer comes with a manual gearbox! The urban warriors having to deal with Sandton traffic have got to VW and convinced them that the manual was redundant and only DSG boxes are on the cards for sunny South Africa. Train smash for a stubborn mule like myself but in the long run, it’s the better decision.

Updated VW Golf GTI

With the whole range being refreshed, it called for some engine changes as well. The 1.2 TSI has been dropped in favour of the new 1.0 TSI in both Trendline and Comfortline packages. This motor should be very nimble at 81 kW and 200 N.m of torque. Next is the 1.4 TSI with the same torque figure but with a bit more juice at 92 kW. This has the option of the DSG gearbox and I’m sure from a comfort, power and pricing perspective, this will be the pick of the bunch. Next would be the GTI and added from July will be the GTD – the 130 kW & 350 N.m diesel 2.0 TDI, as well as the R version. We weren’t given the exact figures for the R but expect more from the flagship Vrrpha!

Once again, the standard has been set and to be honest, many cars will run the Golf close and one or two will be faster, but none can come close to what the Golf and specifically the  VW Golf 7.5 GTI can offer as an everyday package. Expect it to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

The 1 Millionth Porsche 911

1 Millionth Porsche 911

1 Millionth Porsche 911 rolls of the production line

In 1964 the first Porsche 911 was produced at the headquarters in Zuffenhausen. What led in the following years was a sports car which became iconic not only on the road, but also on the racetrack.

On 11th May 2017, 54 years later and in the same location, the 1 millionth Porsche 911 rolled of the production line. This is an impressive achievement for the brand which few have had the opportunity to experience.

When an occasion like this happens, it is only right to make it special and that’s what Porsche did. This 1 millionth Porsche 911 is a one-off piece celebrating 54 years of history.

This specific 911 model is based on the Carrera S with a performance pack, this results in 331 kW or 450 hp. This is nice, but it doesn’t really matter on such a special car like this. For me, it is more about the exquisite details that have gone into making the 1 millionth 911 even more special.

It all starts with the paint: Irish Green. Why Irish Green? Well this was the favourite colour of Porsche’s founder, Ferry Porsche, who owned one of the first ever Porsche 911’s in Irish Green. This colour has been available to order as an individual colour since 1965.

The real special touches can be found on the interior. The seats for example are embraced with hand made covers with the centres featuring the original pepita pattern from 1964. The circular instruments and Sport Chrono clock feature silver surrounds, just as the original. The steering wheel is also a very unique element with a beautiful handmade mahogany rim and the original 1964 Porsche crest settled in the centre. In line with the steering wheel, mahogany and many other unique features have been added to this special 911, such as the bonnet crest, wheel hub covers, painted brake calipers and the beautiful 911 logo in gold on the rear. In fact, there are too many details to cover everything in writing, so I’m going to let the images do the talking.

This is one special Porsche which will be held and kept by Porsche AG. Before it heads to its permanent home at the Porsche Museum, it will be embarking on a world tour. I personally think Porsche should release some limited edition 911 models with the same spec as this very car, it would be awesome to see them grace our local road.

 

South African Launch: 2017 Mazda CX-5

2017 Mazda CX-5

Our First Drive of the New 2017 Mazda CX-5

The automotive space is an interesting one, one in which manufacturers are able to express themselves and the particular traits of their brand which has inevitably been influenced and shaped by the environment in which they were established. Take a look at several vehicles on the market in South Africa and devoid of all branding, one would probably still be able to pin point the origin of a vehicle based purely on elements such as build quality and design. The Italians have their, wait for it….flair and emotion (vomit) and the Germans their no-nonsense and near flawless balance between form and function.

The Japanese, however, have always had an approach which perhaps mirrors their vastly different way of going about life. This is great in that variety and diversity is great, but consumers are unlikely to buy a car painted like a panda bear with a Hello Kitty shaped steering wheel so expression in moderation is a good idea.

New Mazda CX-5

The new Mazda CX-5 is undoubtedly a car with a Japanese design, but it’s certainly more of a geisha than a beckoning cat. Mazda’s KODO: Soul of Motion design language has evolved somewhat from the previous CX-5 and as such, the new model is both distinctly Japanese, yet more mature than the outgoing model. It’s silhouette, a haunchy rear end with a stretched out bonnet, somewhat reminds one of the Maserati Levante and Infiniti FX/QX. Its convex grille, flanked by thin and striking headlights, gives the CX-5 a striking rear-view mirror presence, especially when finished in their new Soul Red Crystal colour which has been fine-tuned to highlight the shadows and curves of the vehicle’s bodywork.

New Mazda CX-5

While Mazda’s have always managed to remain somewhat abreast with advancements in vehicle technology and industry development, their interiors were always a bit of a disappointment. Cheap plastics and the smell of glue come to mind but thankfully, there will be no glue-sniffing in the cabin of the CX-5. Mazda’s long term projection of becoming a viable alternative to the “German three” while ambitious, seems more attainable than ever with this new model really upping the game in terms of perceived quality and finish. The CX-5 really does feel like a premium product and impressive NVH levels also do well to cement this.

As with all things in life, though, it’s not all gentle summer rain and bubble baths as the engine line-up (carried over from the outgoing CX-5) is unchanged. 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol engines and a 2.2-litre diesel are the three engines to choose from and while on paper Mazda’s SKYACTIV Technology works well, in the real world it just feels lacking in certain aspects. This sort of vehicle benefits hugely from the low-down torque on offer from forced induction and while the diesel motor is able to deliver this, the petrols have to be pushed beyond 3 000 rpm to access their not insignificant amounts of torque. Power figures are 121 kW/210 N.m for the 2.0-litre petrol, 143 kW/257 N.m for the 2.5-litre petrol and 129 kW/420 N.m for the diesel and while these seem like decent figures, in practice I couldn’t help but imagine how well a turbo motor would work here. Anyway, Mazda has heard this time and time again, yet they still stick to their N/A ways so rather than complain about it, just get the 2.2-litre diesel – it’s my pick of the bunch anyway.

Active LED headlights, heads-up display, power-lift tailgate and a 10-speaker Bose sound system, lane keep assist, navigation and smart city braking with pedestrian detection all come standard on higher-specced models but standard specification across the board is also impressive featuring self-levelling auto LED headlamps, Bluetooth and a 7-inch full colour touch screen with reverse camera.

MazdaCare comes standard across the range which comprises of a 3 year/unlimted km service plan, warranty and roadside assistance.

A premium product from a brand who are heading in the right direction, the CX-5 is another reminder of how Mazda has benefitted from the Ford split, having come leaps and strides in the past few years. The CX-5 faces tough competition from the likes of Volkswagen’s stellar Tiguan and the Hyundai Tucson, but with bang on pricing and a properly good product, they shouldn’t have much to fear.

Pricing is as follows:

Mazda CX-5 2.0L Active FWD                  R379 900
Mazda CX-5 2.0L Active Auto FWD        R391 900
Mazda CX-5 2.0L Dynamic FWD             R404 900
Mazda CX-5 2.0L Dynamic Auto FWD   R416 900
Mazda CX-5 2.2L DE Active Auto FWD  R459 400
Mazda CX-5 2.5L Individual Auto FWD  R491 900
Mazda CX-5 2.2L DE Akera AWD             R557 500

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!

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.

Enquire about a new or used Audi vehicle at Audi Centurion here!