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R ACEC A R A ND SED A N , ALL IN ONE.

The all-new Audi RS 3 Sedan. Introducing the latest edition to the Audi Sport range, the all-new RS 3 Sedan. Its 2.5 TFSI engine delivers 294 kW, making it the world’s most powerful series production five-cylinder engine. In fact, it can sprint from 0 – 100km/h in 4.1 seconds. Boasting enormous outputs, striking body styling and impressive performance credentials, we’ve truly compromised on nothing, so you can experience everything. To find out more, visit your preferred Audi dealer or audi.com.au today. Join the League of Performance.

Overseas model with optional equipment shown.


EXT I FIRST DRIVES

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EPTEMBER FEATURES

EVERY ISSUE

14 COMMODORE VXR

58 KIA’S NEW KING

Flagship Commodore previewed as SS badge laid to rest

First Aussie drive of Korea’s cut-price RWD hero

Bow Tie provides SUV solution

16 RISE OF KOREA

46 HONDA CR-V

Korea’s rapid ascent from cut-price player to top-notch alternative

We embed with the dev team that put the rear-drive venom in Stinger

11 Ed’s letter 30 Marketplace 32 Inbox 34 InGear 36 Carey 38 Corby 56 Head-to-head Nissan Qashqai Ti vs Subaru XV 2.0i Premium 128 Our Garage 136 Showroom 158 Classic Wheels Mark Webber’s Benz break 160 Retro Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 162 Wheelstories The buggy magnate soon be Oz’s biggest car manufacturer

40 MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS Self-driven leader

44 HOLDEN EQUINOX

Seven seats with snail’s pace

48 AUDI Q5 Goes quietly; carries big kit

50 PEUGEOT 3008 Flags French revolution

52 RENAULT MEGANE GT WAGON Wagon tail a happy addition

53 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

REDLINE

20 TAKATA TRAGEDY Aussie death sparks renewed call to heed airbag recalls

22 AUDI AUTONOMY Audi previews self-driving A8 as it guns for the lead in the race to autonomy

68 STINGER PRIMED

74 OPERATION PELICAN Australian Berlin Airlift contribution relived in the next Commodore

86 ALL THE SMALL THINGS Incrementally improved Volkswagen Golf 7.5 takes on box-fresh rivals

New tech par for the course

26 COTY RUNDOWN

98 BULL RUN

54 AUDI RS3 SEDAN

Stellar field sees COTY 2018 shaping up as the most open in years

Former Ferrari F1 head Stefano Domenicali on the taming of The Bull

28 EXPLAINED: V2X

108 PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO S E-HYBRID

RS3 booted and rebooted

55 FORD RANGER FX4 FX special does its own stunts

F R RAN ER PA E

How autonomous cars talk to other cars and their surroundings

Panamera packs assault with battery on Porsche’s new hi-po path

115 TYRE TEST 2017 Jumping through 225/55R17 hoops to sort the grippy from the slippy

VW GOLF PAGE 53

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Su scr e t s Fat er’s Da or a c ance o w

BUNNINGS GIFT CARDS!

OUR GARAGE NEW CAR PRICES

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It’s coming. Fast.

Register your interest at kiastinger.com.au 7 year/150,000km warranty for vehicles used for the following: rental vehicles, hire cars, taxis, courier vehicles, driving school vehicles, security vehicles, bus and tour vehicles. Capped Price Servicing: Maximum payable for specified number of manufacturer’s standard scheduled maintenance services up to 7 years or 105,000kms, whichever occurs first. Complimentary Roadside Assistance for the first year. Renewed yearly by completing scheduled maintenance services at Kia Dealerships (up to maximum 7 years). Terms and conditions for Warranty, Capped Price Servicing and Roadside Assistance can be found at www.kia.com.au KMAU4421/FPC/WHEELS


Editor’s letter ALEX INWOOD

IF YOU TOLD ME A DECADE AGO THAT TWO OF THE CARS I’D BE MOST INTRIGUED ABOUT IN 2017 WOULD COME FROM KOREA, I’D HAVE PATTED YOU ON THE SHOULDER AND GENTLY TOLD YOU TO FINISH EATING YOUR KIMCHI. ANYONE WHO DROVE AN ORIGINAL KIA SPORTAGE OR AN X3 EXCEL is likely to have shared the sentiment, especially owners of the latter that had their front-suspension assemblies collapse. And yet, 10 years later, here we are: not only have two Korean cars graced the cover of Wheels in the space of three issues, but our July edition featuring the Hyundai i30 N has been one of our most popular magazines this year. The reaction in the digital sphere has, if anything, been even stronger. The i30 N and particularly the Kia Stinger have been embraced with startling intensity; many billing the rear-drive, twin-turbo Stinger GT as a perfectly timed successor to Australia’s soon-to-depart V8 Commodore. Of course the transformation from brands driven solely by value into well-engineered sales juggernauts (Hyundai is, YTD, ranked #3 for market share in Australia; Kia is #8) has been a long time coming. The hiring of design guru Peter Schreyer

look at, well-equipped and sharply priced, it was also surprisingly sporty and imbued a sense of engineering depth I’d yet to encounter in a Korean car. It felt, in many ways, like a Golf, and praise doesn’t get much higher than that. All of this bodes well for the i30 N and Stinger, and our initial tastes of both show there’s substance to match the hype. That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges when they hit Aussie roads later this year. Pricing the i30 N below its rivals from VW, Honda, and Ford is an obvious strategy for Hyundai to convert keen interest into sales, but the Stinger’s task is harder. Commodore comparisons are inevitable and no matter how good its V6 or rear-drive balance is, I struggle to see how the Stinger can match the emotional appeal of a V8. That may change when I drive it. Then there’s the fact the Stinger is bursting into a segment that, as Ford and Holden will attest,

Stinger and i30 N have caught the attention of an entirely new fan base for both brands and former BMW M boss Albert Biermann are well-reported strokes of genius, and then there’s the sheer scale of Korea’s workforce. Visit the Namyang proving ground outside of Seoul and you’ll discover a mini city built to support a 20,000 strong workforce. Australia’s local chassis tuners play a key role too, with both engineering teams committed to delivering set-ups that satisfy Aussie drivers and can go toe-to-toe with the best dynamic offerings from Europe. ocal progress that Such has been the rate of lo n Corby, a man known former Wheels editor Stephen nt and penchant for all for his scathing car assessmen ught a Hyundai with things European, recently bou his own money (read more on p38). I too had something of an epiphany this month, brought w i30 SR. Smart to on by my first drive in the new

is not the rich hunting ground it once was. And yet, regardless of sales figures or even final dynamic assessments, it’s possible to argue that both the Stinger GT and i30 N are already success stories. As performance-oriented variants, they’ve caught the attention of an entirely new fan base for both brands. An enthusiast market that, until now, has scoffed at the idea that a car wearing a Korean badge can be exciting. Intrigued yet?

Time is ticking It’s been lurking like a dark storm cloud on the horizon for years and yet, as we prepare to send this issue off to the printers, the end of Australian car manufacturing is about to become very real for us here at Wheels. By the time you read this, we’ll be well advanced in creating our October issue, where we’ll focus on Toyota as it prepares to shutter its Altona factory on October 3. Holden will be at the core of our November issue, which will be a 196-page special edition and go on sale on October 19, one day before Australian car manufacturing ends forever.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

@wheelsaustralia 11


WANT MORE? EDITOR DEPUTY EDITOR SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST STAFF JOURNALIST STAFF JOURNALIST STAFF JOURNALIST ART DIRECTOR

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NEWS, VIEWS AND A BRUSH WITH THE LIMITER SEPTEMBER 2017

Holden’s new hero The SS badge is out and VXR is in, but don’t abandon hope. Hotter GM models are coming

HOLDEN’S announcement that the flagship of its next-gen Commodore range will wear a VXR badge signals the end of the line for the much-loved SS moniker. This clean break with the past appears a clear signal of intent, underscoring the change in focus from rear-wheel drive V8s to something very different. In repositioning the Commodore, it also opens the door for ever higher performance models to slot into GM-Holden showrooms. “It was a really natural decision for us,” said Holden

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spokesperson Sean Poppitt of the decision to choose the VXR badge. “This is not a direct V8 or SS replacement. There’s no question of us reusing that name, so we can retire it gracefully. “It’s been an amazing nameplate for us for a number of years, but this is about moving forward. We’ve had Astra VXR and Insignia VXR. What it means is a performance-orientated variant; not the performance halo,” he explained. The much-rumoured hero cars at the top of the Holden range are

coming, though. “Don’t forget, we still have the sports car – or cars – coming to the market, which will really fill that performance halo for us,” confirmed Poppitt. In other words, the 235kW Commodore VXR isn’t going to be the alpha male in the lion pride for too long, fuelling speculation that right-hand drive Camaro and Corvette are certainties. While the Commodore VXR offers a new focus, there remains a continuity in the local tuning of this model. Rob Trubiani, Holden’s chassis guru, is keen to

stress local input. “We’ve got 40 years of experience in developing Commodore, so we have a strong understanding of what the Australian public wants out of our large car,” he said. “The team that is working on next-gen is the team that has worked on previous Commodores.” Development work is still ongoing, with the calibration of the VXR’s three drive modes being a big part of the Aussie tuning process. “There’s a standard or default mode, and then a sports and a track mode,” said Trubiani.


Three at last! Deliveries of Tesla’s highly anticipated Model 3 sedan have finally commenced in the US. CEO Elon Musk handed over the first 30 production cars to customers (largely Tesla and SpaceX employees) in a live-streamed event where he confirmed two Model 3

versions. The first has sub-6.0sec 0-97km/h (60mph) performance, 345km range, and a circa-$55,000 Australian price tag. Then there is a ‘Long Range’ version with a sub-5.0sec 0-97km/h time, 500km range, and estimated local sticker in the upper-$60K bracket.

olden’s Golden Generations While the 1982 VH was the first SS Commodore, the badge’s Aussie origins date back to 1972 and the HQ SS, in effect a four-door Monaro. Or a Belmont with stickers. Four years later came the LX Torana SS hatch and the iconic SS A9X. The e LX remains one of only three SS-branded Holdens sold with a six-pot up front, the others being the VT SS V6 and the vanishingly rare VP SS V6. The SS became a permanent fix xture in the Commodore firmament with the VN V8 in 19 989, creating an unbroken line through to today’s VFII.

Six sells While V8 models fire the pa assion of enthusiasts, over the past 10 years nearly 80 percent of Commodore sales have be een V6s. And of those, the spo ortsy tuned SV6 has been far and away Holden’s biggest seller.

HQ SS

VH SS

Enough to make it feel rear-wheel drive? “You can apply more torque on the outside wheel and get the car to rotate into the corner. The sports mode

allows that aggressive turn-in because the vectoring gives you that freedom in the tuning.” Trubiani’s clearly enthused about the new chassis. Poppitt, meanwhile, is nothing if not realistic about the fact that Holden needs the biggest bang for its buck in terms of breadth of offering. “We’ll have the wagon and the hatchback obviously, in 2.0-litre turbo as well as V6 format,” he said, in effect rubberstamping a forthcoming 3.6-litre VXR wagon.

VN V N SS

2015

“I certainly don’t look to try to get extremes out of them,” he admitted. “I don’t want the first mode to be really soft. It’s still a VXR. It’s got to be a sporty, capable car and I didn’t want to make track mode a boneshattering ride either,” he said. “Torque vectoring has given us some really fun and interesting things we can do with the car.”

A N D Y E N R IG HT

VFII SS V Red dline @wheelsaustralia 15 @wheelsaustralia @


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EV AVENUE

“This project is ambitious, but we want as many people as possible on board the electric vehicle revolution” Queensland’s Acting Roads Minister Steven Miles on a new 1800km electric charger network

SEPTEMBER 2017

The rise of Korea How Hyundai and Kia blindsided the world to form an automotive superpower COULD anyone who bought a Hyundai Excel in 1986 – the first year a model from the Korean brand was offered in Australia – have possibly envisioned the trajectory this automotive juggernaut would be on in 2017? Fact was, the X1-gen Excel was a fairly lamentable offering, yet still a significant achievement for a car company that had really only been building cars for export since the Pony of 1976. To fully grasp the path of the Korean car industry, we need to understand that its rise was

TIMELINE

1967

Hyundai Motor Company founded. Kia built its first Mazda-licensed truck five years earlier

preordained, born partly from ambition, but mostly out of necessity. South Korea is a small, populous country with limited natural resources and was once one of the world’s poorest nations. In the early ’60s, the country’s leaders knew that transitioning into a manufacturing powerhouse was the key to prosperity. Major General Park Chung-hee (1917-1979) came to power via a military coup in 1961 and is the leader credited as a pivotal figure for the Korean automotive industry. That was thanks, in

1976

Hyundai Pony exported to Chile and Argentina, among others

part, to a five-year development plan that was to effectively light a fire under the then-fledgling carbuilding business. The immediate banning of imported cars (see sidebar p.21) would instantly make locally assembled vehicles the default choice for Koreans, while the dropping of import taxes on incoming automotive components gave a clear incentive to Korean companies to become assemblers of semi- and completely knockeddown kits (CKD). Hyundai was founded in 1946, but morphed into the automotive

1986

Hyundai enters the US market with the Pony Excel (left); sells 168,800 cars, a record for first-year sales. Hyundai enters the Australian market via importer Bond Motor Sales

1992

Kia Motors America is incorporated in the US

company we know today in 1967, and quickly moved into a partnership with Ford to assemble Cortinas. Generous government subsidies were available for companies entering into joint ventures with international partners in order to acquire technological expertise. Kia – originally a manufacturer of bicycle parts founded in 1944 – jumped into the cot with Honda, although Kia’s first passenger car was the Mazda Familia-based Brisa of 1974. The foundation stone of Korea the Car Builder had been set.

1995

Third-gen Excel becomes Australia’s top-selling light car

1998

Financially stricken Kia is taken over by Hyundai


PONY EXPRESS

A new 10-speed auto, power hike and a ‘drag-strip mode’ combine to drop the 2018 Mustang GT’s 0-60mph sprint below 4.0sec, says Ford.

2018 Ford Mustang GT – under 4.0 seconds

0-60

2017 Porsche Carrera PDK – 4.2 seconds

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 – 4.3 seconds

2011

2002

The arrival of the Getz (right) sees Hyundai with another light car sales winner

2003

Hyundai sets up its own factory-backed Australian operation

2006

Kia hires ex-Audi gun Peter Schreyer (left) as chief design officer

2007

Hyundai achieves critical acclaim with the European-devised i30 hatch (above); wins numerous Aussie awards

Hyundai Australia hits 87,008 units, capturing 8.6 percent of the h totall loc l cal market

K Korea exports 3 million units, worth US$49billion @wheelsaustralia 17


Redline

A tribute to Ian Glover Wheels, the broader motoring media, and the auto industry were saddened to learn of the passing of Ian Glover, who died in July after a battle with cancer. As a young journalist cutting my teeth in the 4WD publishing game, Ian was a hero figure. It seemed he could write better, dream bigger, go further, know

more than all of his rivals, and I looked up to what he achieved, modelling my fledgling journalistic style on him. Ian made a great contribution to Australian publishing and the business of 4WD journalism. We send our condolences to his wife Sharon, his three sons, and all who knew and loved him. — Ged Bulmer

SEPTEMBER 2017

But it was the heady, turbulent ’80s before Australians were urged via an ad campaign to “say hi to Hyundai”. The brand’s local presence had its beginnings in Western Australia, thanks to Perth motor body builder, Danny Fisher, who saw potential in affordable, well-marketed Korean cars for Aussies. Fisher convinced business tycoon Alan Bond to bankroll the venture. Bond agreed only if hugely successful WA usedcar whizz John Hughes was on board. Enter the 1986 Excel. (John Hughes Hyundai in WA would go on to be the world’s biggestselling Hyundai dealer for seven consecutive years between 1992 and 1999, outselling every Hyundai dealer in the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, and South America.) By 1995, the third-gen X3 Excel had become Australia’s favourite light car, wooing customers with its then-revolutionary ‘drive-away’ pricing and generous warranty, rather than any dynamic genius. It wasn’t until 2003 that

Australia saw the arrival of a full factory operation, which would see initial annual sales of around 34,000 accelerate to 87,000 by 2011, and pass 100,000 in 2014. It hasn’t been one big upswing, of course. Kia was on solid ground in the late ’70s assembling, among other things, the 604 for Peugeot and Fiat’s 132 sedan. But by 1981 the Korean Government had introduced ‘rationalisation measures’ which assigned specific vehicle types to individual companies. The outcome of this, followed much later by the Asian economic crisis, would see Kia on its knees in bankruptcy by 1998. In came Hyundai to the rescue, taking a majority stake. Surely Kia’s most significant directional shift, though, came with the recruiting of Peter Schreyer as design chief in 2006. This was the point when Kia made design one of the real cornerstones of its brand, and set the course it’s now on, with the likes of Optima

and of course, 2017’s Stinger. But it hasn’t just been about the product. Skilful marketing has also played a key part. In the USA, for example, Hyundai’s highconcept incentives – like buying back your car if you lost your job – drew buyers in without costing a fortune. Kia’s marketing in the US has been both perplexing and, to many, annoying (YouTube the brilliant rapping hamsters TV ad for the Soul), but it’s done a great job at getting Kia noticed. Veteran auto executive heavyweight Bob Lutz had this to say: “Japanese executives, in my experience, often get tangled up in history, tradition, and the supposed superiority of their culture, but I’ve found Korean leaders to be bold, tough, gregarious, and open to new ideas. This is in stark contrast to the rows of stone-faced Japanese execs at intercompany meetings, where little was ever said or accomplished. The Koreans are not hung up on their culture: They

hire the best, Korean or not. It’s their strength. They accept risk.” On this latter point, witness the arrival of ex-BMW engineering guru Albert Biermann to Hyundai (with influence at Kia), who is set to transform the Koreans’ dynamic abilities, launch Hyundai’s N Division, and move the motorsport operations up a gear. As for Hyundai’s ambition, well, that’s encapsulated in one word: Genesis. Launching a luxury brand at this turbulent stage of the automotive timeline, as alternative power sources, autonomy, and disruptors like Google and Uber reshape the business entirely, takes massive commitment. Can the Koreans do it? Is the Genesis line-up – with no premium SUV in sight until 2019 – strong enough? Is there enough time before the automotive business as we know it is no longer recognisable? It’s a huge call, but don’t bet against the Koreans. Their pockets are as deep as their determination. ASH WESTERMAN

KIA STINGER AIMS TO BE A GAME-CHANGER FOR THE COMPANY IN TERMS OF ENTHUSIAST APPEAL AND BRAND PERCEPTION

KIA NOW Builds more than 3 million vehicles a year in 13 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries

HYUNDAI NOW Fifth-ranked automotive group in the world, building nearly 5 million vehicles annually


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THIS IS THE FUTURE

Why F Formula E matters Love it or hate it, Formula E is motorsport’s fastest growing discipline in the area that matters most – manufacturer support. Two new car makers recently joined the growing list of fa actory teams (which now stands at 10, F1 F has five), with Mercedes-Benz

SEPTEMBER 2 2017

Time bomb Why you shouldn’t wait to have your recalled Takata airbag replaced

BRANDS AFFECTED 20 wheelsmag.com.au

and Porsche ditching entries in DTM and the World Endurance Championship respectively to join the FE grid. Audi, Renault, Jaguar and Citroen/DS are already racing, with BMW also committing for next season. McLaren will provide the batteries for all cars from 2018.


CHARGED 911

“If we bring a hybrid 911 it will be the best 911 ever.” Porsche global technical communications manager Herman-Josef Stappen discussing the potential for a 911 S E-Hybrid

AUSTRALIA’S lethargy over the largest car-related recall in history has come home to roost. A normally survivable crash in suburban Sydney in July involving a Honda CR-V fitted with a defective Takata airbag has left the driver dead. Police are linking the incident to another 18 known deaths in the US, and hundreds of injuries. The level of violence the crash wrought shocked police: “This type of crash, in normal circumstances, would not have caused this level of injury,” they said.

The scandal was first sparked in 2008 after Honda noticed some Takata-sourced airbags fitted to US versions of the Accord and Civic, up to seven years old, would burst and spray small bits of metal and plastic at the occupants they were supposed to protect. In 2009, the first loss of life linked to the airbags occurred, with a US teenager bleeding to death after the canister housing the airbag’s propellant in her Honda Accord – meant to inflate the airbag – instead blew up, spraying out a deadly cloud of shrapnel. A piece of the canister lodged deep in the teenager’s neck – a similar scenario to the NSW fatality.

more volatile. When they deploy, rather than burn slowly to fill the ’bag, the ammonium nitrate can react violently. A chemical reaction can also weaken parts of the airbag the propellant was in contact with, making them fragile. The recall has now scooped up about 100 million cars worldwide. More than two million of them are in Australia – and the list is growing – affecting brands ranging from Ford to Ferrari, and vehicles aged up to 17 years old. Takata, like its failing airbags, is now in ruins, but has vowed to keep producing replacement devices despite having next to nothing left in the bank to pay for them.

Airbags are meant to last the car’s life, but that is being called into question In Australia, the first sign something was wrong surfaced in 2010. Nissan had identified similar problems with the Takata airbags in decade-old versions of its Pulsar and Y61 Patrol, and had started contacting owners to ask them to have the ’bags replaced. In the US, meanwhile, Honda started to recall even more cars as it discovered even greater numbers of faulty airbags. Soon other brands joined the growing list. The problem was largely down to the way that Japanese airbag maker Takata was cutting corners while packaging its price-driven safety system. The desiccant that was intended to protect the ammonium nitrate propellant from moisture can become ineffective over time, causing the propellant to both deteriorate and become

But are we doing enough to recognise the danger? Honda Australia said it had tried to contact the owner of the CR-V involved in the fatal crash five times over a year and a half, all via mail. Of the cars here hit by the recall, about 1.4 million are yet to have the old Takata device swapped out with another Takatabranded airbag that itself will need replacing in about five years. The thinking that airbags last the life of the car is now being called into question. Steve Cooper, the general manager of APV Tech Centre, an independent crash test lab, thinks regular testing of ageing airbags will become more widespread. “I think that’s the one thing that will come out of this whole debacle,” he said.

BY THE NUMBERS

100 million Cars affected by the Takata recall globally

1 million

Replacement airbags Takata is making each month

2 million

Estimate of cars recalled in Australia

1.4 million

Estimate of Australian cars yet to have airbags replaced

B AR R Y P AR K

@wheelsaustralia 21


Redline e

Vale Australian manufacturing With local vehicle production set to come to an end in October, Wheels is producing an online series celebrating our rich manufacturing history. We’ll chart the rise and fall of Aussie automotive manufacturing in five-year intervals, starting with the release of the first Holden in 1948. Our final

piece will go online in the same week as our onceproud industry shutters its doors. We’ll look at the industry’s highs and lows, the people who shaped it, and the influence it’s had on our culture. Join us at Wheelsmag.com.au as we journey through 69 years of the Australian automotive industry.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Ingolstadt aims a self-guided potshot at BMW with its vision of an autonomous future

DOU BLE - UP THE RACE to autonomy has kicked up a gear, with Audi laying out plans to leapfrog archrival BMW by offering a ‘highly autonomous’ car by next year. Revealed to Wheels recently as part of an Audi Technology Summit in Barcelona, the new, fourth-generation A8 will be the first production vehicle to deploy level-three autonomous driving capability, and it’s set to arrive next year, three years before BMW’s fully autonomous iNext (see Wheels August). Highly autonomous, or levelthree capability, will take the next-gen A8 beyond current level-two cars, with the ability to assume control of safety-critical functions, allowing the car to drive itself, with a human placed to take the wheel when required. Yet it’s Ingolstadt’s next chapter that is truly compelling. According to Audi’s vision, the infant stages of level-four selfdriving production cars will be

22 wheelsmag.com.au

emerging inside four years, with full, level-five autonomy to follow soon after. But while the forthcoming A8 will be the first to provide tangible evidence of progress towards a fully autonomous future, both German brands are fighting to be the first to make another significant breakthrough in the race towards full autonomy. The projected timeline for this is around 2021. To earn its level-three credentials, the Audi AI ‘traffic jam pilot’ system in the A8 must be able to maintain control even if the driver is incapable of taking over, which requires a level of redundancy for all critical safety functions, not unlike those engineered into passenger aircraft. Despite the data-gathering and computing going on in the background of such a system, its operation will be seamless. Two electrical systems – one 48V and one 12V – mitigate

against a complete electrical failure, while hybrid powertrains will allow uninterrupted drive if either combustion or electric power fails. Dual braking circuits are backed up by dual power supplies, and a camera monitors the driver to evaluate if they are capable of regaining control. The company’s zFAS central control system is designed with a main computer and a secondary smaller version, which constantly monitor each other for faults. Audi’s multifaceted view of the future converges in an ambitious project – The 25th Hour. An autonomous car ‘driving’ simulator may seem as useful as a white crayon, but the 25th Hour lab provides a high-definition preview of Audi’s interpretation of a fully autonomous car and the clearest view yet offered of what it will be like to ride without a driver. The 25th Hour project paints fully autonomous vehicles not as recognisable three-box, two-

‘Multi-system redundancy’ features heavily throughout for added safety

OI ! S AW T H AT Ultrasonic sensors and midrange radars keep watch from each corner


Tradies, dust off your tuxes The Mercedes-Benz X-Class dual-cab ute has been officially revealed, ahead of its local launch in April next year. The flagship of the range will be the X350d powered by a 190kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel that deposes the VW Amarok V6 as the most powerful dual-cab on

sale in Australia. Although official numbers are unconfirmed, Wheels also understands the X-Class will also have the largest payload amongst the premium ute offerings, and match the Ford Ranger Wildtrak’s class-leading towing capacity of 3500kg.

NEON HIGHWAY: AUDI IS RACING TOWARDS A FULLY AUTONOMOUS FUTURE – TARGET 2021

SMILE A camera monitors the driver to ensure the human is capable of retaking control

FRICK IN’ L A S ERS Long-range radar works with a laser scanner up front @wheelsaustralia 23


Redline

ACCC takes on Ford over Powershift The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last month launched legal proceedings against Ford Australia over the PowerShift transmission scandal, alleging Ford “engaged in unconscionable and misleading or deceptive conduct, and made false or misleading

representations in its response to customer complaints”. Ford has refuted the ACCC’s allegations and has vowed to challenge them. “As each of these issues has been identified, the Ford team has investigated and worked with customers to implement solutions,” Ford said in a press statement.

SEPTEMBER 2017 WITH THAT NASTY DRIVING BUSINESS TAKEN CARE OF, ALL THAT’S LEFT IS TO SELECT ‘P’ FOR PRO-SHIATSU MASSAGE

row vehicles (minus the steering join Audi’s ranks. With its e-tron wheel), but as an artificially plug-in hybrid brand firmly intelligent cocoon that can sense established, fully electric Audis and adapt to your demands. are next, and they’re just around If that distant concept is hard the corner. to fathom, the Audi RSQ concept’s Next year, the e-tron standalone cameo in the 2004 feature model will silently roll out under film iRobot offered a glimpse. battery power to claim the very According to Audi, the concept is specific mantle of “first highno longer a far-fetched Hollywood performance, fully electric SUV fantasy. “Back then this was by a premium OEM with a 500km science fiction, but fiction will range”. As the first CO2-neutral soon become reality,” Audi AG car to be built by the company, it technology development board will be the most environmentally member Peter Mertens said. friendly Audi to date. Audi’s autonomous fleet will After that, the e-tron Sportback reflect the electric RSQ will arrive in 2019, and a with a growing third, as-yet-unnamed number of EVs all-electric vehicle will that are set to follow in 2020. By 2021, My Audi customer the car maker says at profile service will least one variant in see the A8 show each model range will genuine interest be electric. in your day

HI HONE Y !

A L L SEEING

What the Audi’s rear cam sees, it can’t unsee. Let that be a warning to ye

24 wheelsmag.com.au

The 25th Hour project leader Christian Gunther told Wheels monitoring the brain activity and stress levels of simulator occupants has highlighted critical driverless car features, such as windows that can turn opaque to reduce distraction without causing motion sickness, and the correct colour of ambient light to promote concentration or relaxation. “The car should become a membrane. It should connect you to the city but at the same time it should know when you want to be in a controlled mode, or a productive mode, and help

you to block out this information flood – an intelligent filter,” he said. How will the vehicle ‘know’ your mood? Just as your employer can establish whether you really are sick, or are just at a music festival, by scanning social media. A new My Audi customer profile service will feed the vehicle information about the owner’s day-to-day life. With this insight into a typical day, the car will predict where the customer wants to go, when they want to be there, and the best route to take. But if that’s somewhere other than the office, don’t worry, it won’t tell your boss. DANIEL GARDNER

Access denied The gen-four A8 has been developed to drive by itself under certain freeway conditions, but there is a catch. Until even one global region comes up with the critical legislation to allow the technology’s use on public roads, the groundbreaking features will remain switched off. Audi is confident Germany will be the first to authorise level-three autonomy, but while the various car makers continue to develop autonomous technology, the regulations lag behind.


Redline

EXPLAINED TRICKY TECH IN SIMPLE TERMS

V2X

VEHICLE-TOEVERYTHING COMMUNICATION

SEPTEMBER 2017

What is it? An evolution of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) wireless communication that enables cars to share information with buildings, road signs, and traffic signals, as well as other vehicles.

Why does it matter? A functioning V2X network is one critical element in the infrastructure required to support high-level autonomous driving. Without it, self-driving cars must rely on relatively limited information from their own sensors, but a vehicle-to-X network allows a car’s awareness of its surroundings to be extended with almost unlimited scope. Ahead of the arrival of autonomous cars, V2X systems will start to improve the safety of road users by providing the driver with supplementary

information including warnings of heavy traffic, hazards, and weather updates, before encountering them. Whether it’s the car or the driver that responds to the extra information, established V2X communication has the potential to reduce traffic collisions, congestion, journey times, and fuel consumption. A V2X network is also the technology required to allow vehicles to ‘platoon’ – a convoy that maintains a constant speed and safe gap when using freeways.

How does it work? Participating vehicles are equipped with a dedicated wireless local area network (WLAN) radio transmitter which uses a standardised language to talk to other vehicles and infrastructure within a certain range, regardless of the manufacturer. If there is no connected infrastructure, vehicles can still communicate with one another to convey important messages such as if a vehicle ahead has performed an emergency stop, for example. When in range of V2X infrastructure however, the vehicles benefit from a larger network of communication and extra information. A traffic light might inform vehicles when the next red light is due allowing the car to safely approach a

28 wheelsmag.com.au

signal without jumping the red or having to brake aggressively. Multi-purpose traffic management signs can relay conventional information to road users and also double as message relays, notifying cars in the area of an approaching emergency service vehicle, as another example. Even though an individual vehicle or item of road furniture has a limited range of broadcast, information can be transmitted larger distances by relaying across the network of connected devices, where necessary. The larger the network, the better it works and, theoretically, a vehicle could be warned of a problem anywhere in the world. D AN IE L G AR D N E R

Feeding the machine As more vehicles join the network, future systems will allow cars to ‘learn’ from each other by sharing information from centralised servers. Stored information about how vehicles deal with unusual scenarios can be plugged back into autonomous vehicle control programs, resulting in more selfsufficient cars that rely on the network less.


Redline

Lost iin translation? It was wide ely reported this month that FCA was planning to o electrify half its fleet by 2022. As analysts sccratched their heads wondering how brands like e Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and RAM were going to sw witch to hybrid power, the company issued a clarification that CEO Sergio Marchionne

was, in fact, only referring to the Maserati brand, not the FCA group in general. There was some ambiguity in the wording of his initial statement, but it’ll nevertheless be fascinating to see how Maserati goes about its process of hybridisation, starting with the forthcoming Alfieri coupe.

SEPTEMBER 2017

JULY 2017

MarketPlace That sounds like a broken record

HIGHLIGHTS Australia nudged into record sales numbers for the fourth month running, with July closing a skinny 1.6 percent ahead of the same month last year. The hot spot is the medium-SUV class, where the annual sales tally is now 16.6 percent ahead of the same time last year. Subaru was the brand to watch, jumping three places on the charts thanks to the new-gen XV. Volkswagen’s run-out of the Golf VII was popular with buyers. Oh, and Honda snared its second customer for the $420,000 NSX hybrid sports car. LOWLIGHTS Floundering brands that dredged this month’s despair pit included Nissan (down 22 percent), Jeep (510, down 33 percent), and French brands Citroen (23, down 70 percent) and Peugeot (106, down 61 percent). Admittedly, the PSA pair are in a ‘transitional phase’ as local distribution switches from Sime Darby to Inchcape,, and Renault’s solid 763 sales in July proves there’s still plenty of goodwill for French product. But PSA needs to try much harder, starting with more competitive pricing.

LOSER

WINNER

75%

71% %

DECREASE

IN INCREASE NCREASE

HONDA HON DA CR CR-V

ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA

A wellll-deser d vedd boostt for Hondd s embatt emb attled led CR CR-VV, co court urtesy esy of the vvast astll fifthp from 469 to 801 in its debut mont h furthe rowth likely as supply i o

Following a June high, sharp driveaway pricin i i g hhas f aililledd to keep sales l stitit mullated t d f the for th ItItalia i n br and’ d’s age g ingg A3 riival.l Giulie Giu lietta tta fe fellll to jus justt 15 15 for for the mo month nth, the the lowest sincee the brand’s 2012 reboot.

TOP 20

72,711

Passenger & SUV sales – July 2017 PASSENGER CARS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

SALES

Toyota Corolla Mazda 3 Toyota Camry Mazda CX-5 Volkswagen Golf Hyundai i30 Toyota RAV4 Hyundai Tucson Hyundai Accent Holden Commodore Nissan X-Trail Mazda CX-3 Mitsubishi ASX Nissan Qashqai Toyota Prado Mitsubishi Outlander Kia Cerato Subaru XV Holden Astra Honda Civic

RANK SALES (JUN ’17) (JUL ’16)

3208 2466 2385 2305 2246 2123 1736 1719 1642 1633 1463 1420 1544 1239 1217 1143 1327 1138 1125 1072

1 3 5 6 11 4 7 2 16 13 12 14 10 20 15 9 8 36 19 17

3427 1501 2172 1933 2296 2216 1825 1497 1726 1874 991 1744 1744 1061 1248 855 1111 605 1097

HOLDEN ASTRA Out went the locally made Cruze, and in its place comes the fully imported Astra. This is the BK Astra’s first appearance in the top 20 list since it launched last year, boosted by warranty and price incentives.

TOTAL SALES

92,754 July 2017

BR RANDS

Chinese brand MG reveals its 2017 year-todate sales

TAKING THE LONG ROAD

MG 6 291

MG GS 52 MG 3 29

30 wheelsmag.com.au

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Toyota Mazda Hyundai Holden Ford Mitsubishi Kia Subaru Nissan Volkswagen Honda Mercedes-Benz Cars BMW Audi Isuzu Suzuki Land Rover Renault Lexus Jeep

SALES

17,931 9528 7501 6467 6270 6020 4266 4265 4094 3803 3493 2628 2152 2114 1882 1519 1154 763 669 510

RANK SALES (JUN ’17) (JUL ’16)

1 2 3 4 5 6 9 11 7 8 10 12 14 15 13 16 20 18 19 17

17,465 8460 7603 7071 6894 5412 3555 3356 5304 4193 3198 2771 2049 2271 1849 1417 1203 746 722 765

LAND ROVER An all-new Land Rover Discovery, minus the funky safari roof, we should note, has helped swell the premium off-road brand’s numbers by 341 this month, giving it second place in the premium-SUV segment behind the BMW X5.


Ferrari’s SUV: It’s coming FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne famously claimed you’d need to shoot him before Ferrari built an SUV. That tone has softened drastically in recent months, with Marchionne quoted as saying “There are more people that would buy non-extreme versions of Ferrari than those that

will buy extreme versions,” in a discussion about the potential of a utility vehicle from Maranello. Well-placed sources claim that ‘Project F16X’ is already well advanced, and a high-riding fourseater could lift Ferrari’s sales from their present 9000 vehicles per year closer to 15,000.

Incoming SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER

AUDI A5 and S5 cabriolet; BMW 2 Series/M2 facelift, 5 Series Touring, and M4 CS; CITROEN C3; HONDA Civic Type-R; HYUNDAI Kona and Sonata facelift; KIA Stinger; MERCEDESAMG GT C roadster and GT R coupe; MERCEDES-BENZ E-Class Cabriolet; PEUGEOT 308 facelift; SKODA Octavia RS and Octavia RS245; VOLKSWAGEN Arteon; VOLVO XC60

AUDI RS5 and Q2 2.0TFSI quattro; BMW 3 Series facelift, 6 Series GT, and X3; HOLDEN Astra Sportwagon; HYUNDAI i30 N and Ioniq hybrid; JAGUAR F-Type 2.0 and XF Sportbrake; JEEP Compass and Grand Cherokee Trackhawk; KIA Sorento facelift; LEXUS CT200h facelift; McLAREN 570S Spider; MERCEDESBENZ S-Class facelift; MITSUBISHI Eclipse; PORSCHE 911 GT3; RANGE ROVER Velar; ROLLS-ROYCE Phantom; TOYOTA Camry; VOLKSWAGEN Golf R Wolfsburg Edition

DUE OCTOBER

DOWN TOWN More than half of 2017 is in the rear-view mirror, and the overall market is gunning for a bumper year. But not everyone is in winning form. Here are the segments, models, and marques that, so far, haven’t fared so well.

Small SUVs Demand is cooling, despite an explosion in the variety available. In the first seven months of 2017, the small-SUV segment pegged 65,011 sales across both mainstream and premium brands, 1641 units less than this time last year.

Sports cars Ignore the Mustang’s booming popularity (5967 sales year-to-date, up 91 percent) and the sports car segment isn’t so rosy. There’s plenty of daylight between Mustang, second-placed Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and third-placed Hyundai Veloster. Everyone else, including the fan-favourite Mazda MX-5, is starting to taper off. Is no one interested in fun anymore?

Toyota C-HR VW’s former four-door equipped flagship g to nudge $65K.

You’d expect the eye-catching, dynamically talented Toyota C-HR would be kicking goals. Yet only 2681 C-HRs have shifted since its February launch, while Mazda has sold more than 10,000 CX-3s. Why? Tight supply, apparently.

Jeep T BE

es-AMG GT R ship of Mercedesne-up (and current t production-car lap older) will wear a price tag to go with its 00Nm twin-turbo V8.

The off-road brand’s fortunes dwindled in the first half, with Grand Cherokee sales slipping almost a quarter relative to 2016. Only 5075 Jeeps have been sold so far in 2017 – more than a third down on its year-to-date form in 2016.

Holden Holden has suffered a dramatic slide. With 48,580 sales year-to-date, it is 6500 sales and a full market-share point behind where it was this time last year. If trends continue, Ford could overtake Holden by year’s end.

Hyundai DE EMB Hyundai Ioniq hybrid A petrol-electric fuel mise joins the Korean car make s showroom for the first time. Expect a plug-in hybrid, an possibly a fully electric version, to follow in 2018.

After achieving a half-year sales record in 2016, Hyundai has failed to build on that achievement so far this year. During the first seven months of 2017, the Korean giant moved 57,320 vehicles – 4633 sales less than it managed to this point last year.

@wheelsaustralia 31


Inbox n

Join the Conversation

Keep it short and sweet (no more than 200 words) and please include your suburb if via email. You can also have your say on Facebook (search for Wheels Australia)

LETTER OF THE MONTH

TWITTER: @WHEELSAUSTRALIA FACEBOOK: WHEELS AUSTRALIA

EMAIL: WHEELS@WHEELSMAG.COM.AU

IGNIS TAKES A ‘BOW’ My two boys, aged 11 and 13, and I did a dollars-for-thrills comparo on specs alone of your Top Five Bantamweights (Showroom, July). A point for every $10K under $200K; power scaled one to five with the most powerful getting five; an index that divided value by weight with the lowest getting five; an index which divided value by the 0-100km/h time, with the lowest getting five points; and the 0-100km/h sprint outright, with the fastest getting five points. I think you get the idea by now. The result – two dead heats – was not totally surprising given the stratospheric price of the KTM, but it did get my boys thinking, and it was a bit of fun. We own two Suzuki Swifts, so it was a big grin for the Ignis. Dean, Xavier, and Callum Richardson, Hoddles Creek, Vic

TAINTED POWER

TOSSED ASIDE

Unless the electricity used to charge Australia’s fleet of Teslas is sustainably generated, we’ll all be driving coal-powered cars (Is the car as we know it on borrowed time, Wheelsmag. com.au). This is just shifting the problem from one place to another. The big leap has to stem from how electricity is produced; only then we can all look smug.

A camera in Victoria, 114km/h in a 110km/h zone, $196. Why did I pay that? In Italy I would have torn up the letter and binned it. But in Italy I wouldn’t have received it in the first place. Same in England. We vote and we pay – that’s our collective error. Road safety is our problem, not a collection avenue for ‘taxation.’ I need this Wheels campaign as much as all Australians do.

Inwood’s July editor’s letter was absolutely spot-on. Australian drivers and their attitudes are the most selfish in the world. Just last week a driver gesticulated at me, suggesting that I was a wanker because I dared find a gap in traffic as I merged from an on-ramp. Was it because I was driving a prestige performance car? Would I have received the same response if I was in an old Corolla? I’m in the fortunate position of being able to buy myself another highperformance vehicle designed with beauty and intent, but I must now sadly concede that if I do, I will be subject to further ridicule for choosing to indulge myself. Is this what they call “the politics of envy”? I will also need to be constantly vigilant to avoid the many opportunities for the revenue office to hit me with their traffic infringement taxes.

Simon Inglis, Ballarat, Vic

Alex Coslovich, Balwyn, Vic

Ian Hartley, via Facebook

SPEED UP, COUGH UP

32 wheelsmag.com.au

“Unless the electricity for our Teslas is sustainable, we’ll all be driving coal-powered cars”


Numbers game

Letter of the month prize

Congratulations Dean, Xavier, and Callum. You can now spend the next 12 months working out new ways to divine meaning from Showroom on us.

TAKING THE LEAD It’s very true and such a shame (Australia hates the car enthusiast, Ed’s Letter June). I’m unsure how to change the culture in Australia but you’re right – the authorities and government need to lead the way and support motoring enthusiasts and motorsport. This would require finding revenue from another source but critically admitting publicly that the way they’ve been policing incorrectly all this time and oppressing a culture, passion, industry, and hobby. Luke Truskinger, via Facebook

LITERARY ASSET What a perfect piece of writing, subtly conveying, in a brief summary, a film and the pertinent essence of a person (Bruce Almighty, Redline, July). One of the finest examples of many lovely compositions we’ve had the joy of reading in Wheels since the publication began. Good writing, whether the joyful bull of ‘Quints’, the gentle but passionate work of Robinson, the punching delight of Ponchard, the scything cut of Carey, the humour of Stahl, or those long past writings like the captivating sagas of Jeff Carter and his Porsche, all keep me reading Wheels. Sometimes I’m disappointed when unnecessary profanities creep in, and sometimes the sheer flood of new cars and SUVs becomes boring, but pieces like Ben Oliver’s sweep the negatives away. Peter Shead, Oatlands, NSW

GRAB PITCHFORKS! This year marks 69 years since GM started Holden production, and 50 years since the introduction of the infamous Torana – the first of which had no heater or radio. Now the number-crunchers have figured it’s cheaper to manufacture elsewhere, so they’re off. All too often you hear the redneck rhetoric about unions pricing themselves out of a job, when the truth is the

“Have we gone back to the power output of a Holden engine from the mid-90s?” manufacturer can make the product cheaper elsewhere. I would implore every Australian to place the blame squarely at the feet of these manufacturers and not the government. Global conglomerates are destroying Australia’s motoring heritage and our manufacturing base. John Bain, South Bunbury, WA

GIMME AN ‘N’! You guys have King Kong-sized balls to put a Hyundai i30N on the cover of your magazine. I have a ‘warm’ hatch; a 2014 Veloster Turbo. With coil-overs and some decent tyres, it’s fun and an excellent daily driver, its 150kW making it quite swift with the six-speed manual. Like it or loathe it, Hyundai is here to stay, and the performance market could be a huge success for them. I never in a million years thought I would be driving a Hyundai, but the quality, warranty, and servicing costs had me sold. Bring on the i30N and the ‘N’ in general!

instances of this. It would seem these DRLs provide (just) enough light at night for these drivers to be unaware that they have not switched on their headlights, and are vulnerable to being struck from behind. To me it’s dangerous and a massive Achilles heel. I hope car manufacturers are under pressure to fix it ASAP. Troy Carey, Gosford, NSW

VEXING VXR Wow, a whole 191kW when the current top Holden Commodore puts out 304kW (Commodore VXR gains 191kW 2.0-litre turbo, Wheelsmag.com.au). Have we gone back to the power output of the old Holden 5.0-litre engine from the mid-90s?

“Like it or loathe it, Hyundai is here to stay... bring on the i30N!”

Michael O’Brien, via Facebook

Allan King, Canberra, ACT

BLINDSIDED TECH Recently, I almost ran into a car driving significantly slower than me on a moonless night because the vehicle had no lights illuminated from the rear. I thought they were driving blind, but as I went past, I saw the car had daytime running lights and an electronic dash that must light up day or night. I have noticed several more @wheelsaustralia 33


In SEPTEMBER 2017

It’s said to be bad luck to give an empty wallet or purse as a gift, but after spending $168 on this cool kidney grille cash clip and key ring combo there may not be many notes left to fill it. The clip couple offers BMW drivers a subtle alternative to flashing the traditional propeller badge, yet remains unmistakably on-brand nonetheless. And if funds are short then you can always sell a kidney… BMW kidney grille cash clip and key ring, $89 and $79 respectively bmw.com.au/lifestyle

It takes big back wheels to make a joke at your own spectacular failures, but that’s exactly what Renault has done with this exclusive teapot. The French car maker’s 1977 foray into turbocharged Formula 1 cars did not initially produce fire-breathing trophy winners; rather, a yellow roller-skate that often smoked its way to the start line before blowing up. The embarrassing spectacle prompted ‘the yellow teapot’ nickname. With just 40 pots produced you’ll have to be quick to land one; alternatively you could visit the Atelier Renault restaurant on Paris’ Champs-Elysees where the pretty pots are in use and take a big bag. Renault F1 40th Anniversary teapot, $194 shop.atelier.renault.com

34 wheelsmag.com.au

Filming in one direction is so last decade. Until now, massive Nurburgring crashes and cats terrified by drones were traditionally filmed from one angle, but an emerging range of 360-degree cameras now allow the capturing of your favourite driving road in glorious 360-degree action. The new 4K model from 360FLY features 10-metre water resistance, timelapse, first-person point-of-view, and 64GB internal memory. Doing a 360 on a track day is suddenly a lot more attractive. 360FLY 4K camera, $599.95 shop360fly.com.au

We work hard to bring you the world’s most beautiful and arresting cars within the pages of Wheels each month. But if you think you can do better, then perhaps the second edition of How to Illustrate and Design Concept Cars will help you hone those show-car sketching skills. With more than a decade of magazine illustration under his belt, Adrian Dewey knows a thing or two about getting a car from an idea and on to a page, and now you can too. Just don’t do another Edsel please. How to Illustrate and Design Concept Cars paperback, $47.99 dymocks.com.au


Founded by Butzi Porsche in 1972, Porsche Design is now more closely integrated with the German carmaker and has just issued its first watches directly inspired by Porsche cars: the new Turbo S Exclusive and the GT2 RS. The Turbo S watch will be customised to match your car, and both will feature novel titanium and carbon construction, and a sophisticated ‘flyback’ chronograph movement designed and made in-house by Porsche Design. As with carmakers, the best watchmakers make their own engines. The bad news is that you’ll need to buy the cars to get the watches, but more affordable and less exclusive timepieces will follow. Porsche Design Chronograph 911 Turbo S and GT2 RS, from $12,650 porsche-design.com

As with the car industry, materialporn now extends to the watchmaking world. You can now have a high-end watch with a case made of the same lightweight materials carmakers will also charge you a fortune for, such as titanium, ceramic, or forged carbon. And now Breitling is offering you plastic. It doesn’t call it plastic, of course: it refers to it as ‘Breitlight’, a proprietary material three times lighter than titanium and six times lighter than steel, as well as being scratch- and rustproof, anti-magnetic, and hypoallergenic. The Avenger Hurricane is one of the first models to feature it. It has a huge 50mm case, military styling, and the most macho name in watches, but you won’t need Rambo’s arm to lift it. Breitling Avenger Hurricane, $11,200 (approximate) breitling.com

With prices from $580, Briston watches offer good value but their looks can be polarising: particularly those offered with the brand’s hallmark tortoiseshell case. This new Clubmaster Diver is Briston’s priciest watch yet, but also its best-looking. As well as the cool ’60s ‘supercompressor’ case with its internal dive-time bezel turned by one of two crowns, you get a good-quality Seiko automatic movement and a choice of three case finishes, each with four dial colour options. Our money would be headed to this plain brushed stainless-steel case with the super-soft, period-correct silicon dive strap, maybe in blue or grey. Briston Clubmaster Diver, $610 briston-watches.com


Carey

John

THE HOT AIR OF CLIMATE DENIERS

CARBON DIOXIDE WAS IDENTIFIED BEFORE CAPTAIN JAMES COOK MADE THE FIRST MAP OF THE EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA. HOW MUCH THE GAS CONTRIBUTES TO THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT WAS DISCOVERED WHEN NED KELLY WAS A BOY. And the first rough calculation of how much the temperature of the earth would change if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased, or fell, was done before Federation. So the basics of the science of climate change are truly venerable. Now, more than a century after Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius published the last finding mentioned above, we know even more about the biggest and baddest greenhouse gas of them all. Science is like that. It plods along, year after year, relentlessly adding to our accumulation of reliable knowledge and subtracting anything found to be faulty. The scientific method is,

They’ve never been too concerned about logical consistency. Their starting position was simple: global warming isn’t happening. When that started to look silly, it moved to ‘global warming is happening, but humans aren’t doing it, and in any case it will be very costly to do things a different way than we’re doing now. And by the way, don’t those wind turbines look awful or make you ill or cut rare parrots in half?’ Throughout, they’ve sought to discredit science. “Climate change is a conspiracy dreamed up by thousands of insanely greedy and utterly unethical scientists to gain funding”, is one example I’ve heard first-hand. And you’ll all have heard the one

The work of today’s climate scientists rests on solid foundations laid centuries ago dare I say, humanity’s best idea ever. Why raise this subject now? And here? Because it’s exactly 25 yea mentioned in t between cars, c It was a paragra involving Bathu Fords, and a cou It seemed obv humanity, being planet, would ta was saying and t But I’ve waited century and, whe that time no effe visionary, policy been made by our leaders. Even as t evidence that we are changing Eart climate has grown higher, and other n have reacted to th with varying degre vigour, the prospec Australia ever joini the effort seems re What a victory fo the enemies of reas those shouty zealots who have influence tone and shape of th Climate Change deb in Australia for so lo 36 wheelsmag.c

Forward thinker Scientists used to be more respected in Australia. It was in London in 1859 that the Irishman John Tyndall made the first measurement of carbon dioxide’s contribution to the Greenhouse Effect. Among the many honours he received was having a mountain in the west of Tasmania named after him.

about it being a conspiracy dreamed up by Chinese scientists,

CHILL OUT? NOT POSSIBLE


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Corby

Stephen

ONE HE WON’T HAND BACK

IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN SO EXCITED ABOUT BUYING A HYUNDAI, WHICH MIGHT BE WHY ALL THE DEALERSHIP STAFF WERE SMILING GENTLY AT ME IN AN “OKAY SIR, JUST CALM DOWN” FASHION. Or they might just grin like that all the time; I’m not sure, because I’d never actually spoken to a car dealer before. Yes, that’s right, despite writing about cars for too long to mention, I’ve never bought a new one in my life, so the whole thing was a bit like a wine critic actually buying a bottle of wine. Recently I’d been pondering on these pages about buying a mid-life-crisis on wheels, but I simply can’t afford any of the cars I’d like, which made me look like a sad-face emoticon. But then my constantly cheery accountant told me that a jolly, rotund, cigar-chomping, and hugely generous man called Joe Hockey had decreed that it would be financially beneficial for me to buy a car. I can’t recall much of the conversation other

overpriced things I didn’t need, like Permagard protection and expensive window tinting. “No, please, tell me more about why the paint on the car you’ve just sold me isn’t very good and needs extra protection!” I honestly can’t tell you how novel the whole experience was, nor how jealous I was of people who get to do this more than once. Other than it being an automatic, which younger versions of me swore repeatedly I would NEVER buy, I’m hugely happy with my Elantra, so far, and I was quite taken with what my dealer calls the “Moment of Magic”, when they present you with your car, wrapped in a ribbon. Driving it home, I couldn’t believe just how much retail joy I was experiencing, and it

Denied his shift I can’t tell you how much I wrestled with the automatic versus manual question during my car-buying quest. Both my wife and I wanted a manual, but not only were they hard to find, logic tells me that by the time I come to sell my Elantra, they’ll be even harder to move. And now I feel like a sellout.

The whole car-buying thing was a bit like a wine critic actually buying a bottle of wine than the part where he insisted I buy my (tiny) business a company car. And the bit where he said I could only spend $19,999. This led to an adventure on which suddenly I wasn’t just interested in warranty, trim levels and the resale potential of automatic vs manual gearboxes; I really cared. I also discovered that you can get quite a lot of car for less than $20K, and yet at the same time, nowhere near as much as your wife wants. Because she is more spoiled, in car terms at least, than a Hugh Hefner bunny, my beloved insisted on things like satnav and leather seats... and a Mazda3. I wanted the Mazda too, but such a car at such a price was not achievable, so I ended up seeking an i30 (old model, in run-out mode) with Apple CarPlay and cloth interior. And somehow ended up buying a 2017 model Elantra Active for $19,990 instead; a car that my wife kindly says she “doesn’t hate”. If you ask me how this happened I could only say I was in some sort of bargain-hunting trance, and that every one of the tiny hairs in my wallet was standing on end when the young and toothy Hyundai salesman agreed to the deal. (I also happen to think it’s a more attractive, less commonplace and more practical choice for our small family, but what would I know?) I even enjoyed the post-purchase part, where they put me in a room and tried to sell me

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was only after parking it that I walked past a neighbour’s recently purchased Jaguar F-Type and was boggled by just how fantastic a day it must be when you buy something like that; a car you really want. Such a day is still unlikely to ever happen for me, and I know I shouldn’t complain because I’m lucky enough to drive great cars, and then give them back. But I have to tell you, all you lucky people who’ve bought vehicles that you love, that you dreamed of, I am officially in awe of your good fortune.

DON’T BURST HIS BUBBLE


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Firsttdrives T HI S M ON TH’ S FR E SH M E TAL

Semi-autonomous tech makes this your (big) ticket to ride SUCH is the complexity

FIRST of the range and options OVERSEAS available on this facelifted DRIVE S-Class, that Mercedes-

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S PECS

Benz claims no two cars built will be identical. When the updated version of the classic German luxury sedan goes on sale in Australia in December, it will offer six separate engines across a smorgasbord of models: S350d; S400d LWB; S450 LWB; S560; S560 LWB; AMG S63 LWB and, finally, the S650 Maybach – the only V12 to survive a cull of models at the very top end of the sedan range. Underneath the familiar exterior appearance, refreshed by a prominent chrome grille, modified bumpers, and new LED headlights and tail-light graphics, is a subtly updated version of the previous S-Class’s MRA platform shared with the smaller C- and E-Classes, with unique S-Class structural components at the rear. While the S-Class gets Air Body Control air suspension as standard, unlike the threechamber system unveiled in the latest E-Class, the S-Class

maintains the simpler single chamber air suspension set-up of the old model. Inevitably, the S-Class’ electrical architecture has been significantly upgraded, and predictably, it now supports the widest range of driver assistance systems of any Mercedes. We drove a variety of engines at the international launch, but with the 400d LWB – boasting a 3165mm wheelbase, 130mm more than the standard-bodied version – expected to be the local best seller, we focused on its new 2.9-litre twin-turbo inline six-cylinder diesel that replaces the old 3.0-litre V6. All S-Class models sold in Australia are reardrive, as the 4Matic in this test car is limited to left-hand drive setups (at least until the next-gen model). The new powerplant delivers 250kW (up 10 percent) between 3600-4400rpm and a mighty 700Nm across a range from 12003200rpm. It features a stepped bowl combustion process, multichannel exhaust gas recirculation system, and, for the first time, variable valve lift control.

F IRS T DRIVES

MercedesBenz S-Class

Model Engine Maxx Power Maxx Torque Transsmission Weight 0-1100km/h Fuel economy e Price On sale

Mercedes-Benz S400d LWB 2925cc 6cyl, dohc, 24v, TTD 250kW @ 3600-4400rpm 700Nm @ 1200-3200rpm 9-speed automatic 1950kg 5.4sec (claimed) 5.2L/100km $250,000 (estimated) December


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VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

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FORD RANGER FX4

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The cabin feels utterly isolated from the dramas of the outside world Significant as the performance and economy are (0-100km/h in 5.4sec, 5.2L/100km combined consumption), it’s the new engine’s refinement and smoothness that really impresses. In this respect, it’s a huge step over the old V6. From the wheel, the engine is barely audible at idle, it revs quickly while delivering virtually linear power, changing up at 4500-4600rpm under full tilt, somewhat shy of the 5250rpm redline. It even sounds good. The new 9G-Tronic gearbox works with a 2.47 final drive – seventh to ninth are overdrives – to have the engine wafting along at around 1200rpm at 110km/h. Despite the twin-turbo set up, there is the merest hint of lag at very low rpm before the engine is in the peak-grunt zone. The diesel lacks the 48-volt electric compressor assistance of the also impressive 3.0-litre inline six petrol S500 (see sidebar), yet speed builds quickly with just

a distant hum from the engine. With double-glazing standard on Australian cars, the cabin feels utterly isolated from the plebeian dramas of the outside world. You don’t buy an S-Class for driver involvement. This is a big, especially wide and heavy car that’s utterly at home on the Autobahn. In its default Comfort mode, where the car’s character is all about the exceptional ride comfort, there’s a hint of float and even roll. Selecting Sport cures its composure, with only a marginal impact on ride, though the driver is always aware of its mass in tight corners. The creamy steering is a little vague and light at low speeds in Comfort, but it seamlessly builds effort if you toggle to a more precise sports setting. Mercedes’ engineers have taken the S-Class’s new cruise control a step beyond the functionality of that in the E-Class. It is now able to automatically adjust its speed for curves,

Engine refinement; brilliant cruise control tech; cosseting qualities

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intersections, changes in speed limits, and toll gates, based on its GPS data. The result is a cruise control system that allows the driver to use it – and even its steering-assist function – much more often on secondary roads and not just on motorways. This is the biggest advance in the technology since adaptive cruise allowed its use in heavy traffic. Initially, it’s harder to trust than simple adaptive cruise control systems. In Comfort mode, the system will slow the car for corners – more so than you might do – before quickly accelerating back to the set speed. In Sport, it doesn’t slow as much and carries more momentum through bends. The system also responds to speed limit signs, though occasionally it disregarded the signs and failed to speed up. Learning to trust the car to slow on its own when approaching intersections is more disconcerting as the

PLUS & MINUS

driver must be ready to brake for oncoming traffic at a roundabout or stop sign. If there’s no oncoming traffic and braking is not required, the driver can let the car do it all. Active Lane Changing Assist lets the driver change lanes with a flick of the turn signal; the car checks the road ahead and the traffic behind to ensure the coast is clear, before oozing across the road. All this technology is impossible to operate on Mercedes’ old single cruise control ‘wand’. Because of that, all cruise functions are relocated to the steering wheel spoke. Long-term S-Class owners who are accustomed to the old wand won’t be pleased. Inside, the front seats offer tremendous comfort over longer journeys. The cabin styling has been subtly refined, and in the rear, the long wheelbase provides the exceptional legroom and comfort that is expected of cars at this end of the luxury spectrum. With a clear choice of models, this latest version sets out to meld graceful speed and ultimate comfort with cuttingedge technology. Nobody does that better than Mercedes-Benz. PETER ROBINSON

Feels wide on-road; new cruise control buttons; low-speed steering


Pouring petrol on it

New dash houses the previous pair of 12.3-inch TFT screens together so that they appear as a single unit. The centre screen’s functions are navigated via a console-mounted dial and touchpad, or a tiny touchsensitive nub on the wheel.

S63 has a Track Pace menu in the centre screen that records lap times. A Drag Race page displays acceleration and 400m times, and braking distances. Its Race Start function is easier to access: hold the brake pedal with the left foot while flooring the accelerator with the right.

Legally, the S-Class can’t steer by itself for more than 30 seconds at a time. However, the autonomous accelerating and braking functions of the new cruise control system are a step toward fully automated driving that M-B promises will be part of the next S-Class in 2020.

A BROADER VISION

KEEPING WITH THE TIMES

HANDS FREE

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While we weren’t able to sample the S350 and S400 versions at the international launch, we did drive the 320kW S500 with a new 3.0-litre inline six petrol engine paired to a 48-volt electrical system that runs the starter, water pump, and air-con compressor, thereby eliminating power-sapping pulleys and belts. The engine also uses an electric compressor, which uses 48V juice to add boost before the conventional turbocharger spools up. The engineers claim the system delivers 10 to 15 percent efficiency gains, and enables a smoother auto stop/start system.

OR TRY THESE...

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BMW 730d $217,500 The driver’s choice in this class, though its 6.1 seconds to 100km/h acceleration is slower than the rival S-Class. Engine not quite as refined or – at 195kW/620Nm – as powerful, nor the ride as comfortable.

Audi A8 $215,000 [est] All-new, highly advanced A8 due next year. No outsider has yet driven the car. Evolutionary styling, wide engine range, 210kW V6 turbo-diesel competes with Benz and BMW rivals. Features active suspension and 4WS.

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Holden Equinox Lion wants to tame your urge to buy a CX-5 THERE’S a strange sense of déjà vu about the FIRST launch of the Holden AUSSIE Equinox. Eleven years DRIVE ago, Holden rolled out the Daewoo-sourced Captiva in an effort to woo SUV buyers. Back then we were generally impressed by Holden’s efforts, but time wasn’t kind to the Captiva. Where its rivals evolved rapidly, the Captiva quickly became an also-ran and, latterly, an embarrassing exemplar of Holden’s developmental stasis. Now, here’s Holden again, admitting they’re behind the curve on SUVs, and the answer is to again scour the General’s portfolio for a pret-a-porter solution. The Mexican-built Chevrolet Equinox is this year’s overseas marquee signing, currently undergoing a rapid process of Australianisation at the hands of the engineering team at Lang Lang. The Equinox is a familiar

nameplate in the US, having graced the rear end of Chevy SUVs since 2004. Holden’s importing the third-generation car, downsized after its predecessor never made the fuel figures claimed for it. Stung by that, the American market was compensated with a smaller body and, initially at least, the sole choice of a 127kW 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine. Fortunately, we get a bit more leeway. The engine choice here comprises of that 1.5-litre entry point alongside a 100kW 1.6-litre turbo-diesel and a barrel-chested 188kW 2.0-litre turbo petrol.All will drive through a nine-speed automatic with a Range Select feature that can limit upshifts, primarily for towing. We drove the 2.0-litre turbo, in this instance in front-drive guise. The dynamics seem generally well-sorted, with impressive body control, low effort but accurate steering, and a supple ride. On a coned slalom course it’s

2.0T engine’s pace; sweet handling; interior space; tech inclusions

possible to feel the brake torque vectoring at work, dragging the car back into line. The 18-inch alloys featured 60-series Bridgestone Dueler rubber which helped the secondary ride considerably. The 2.0-litre engine has enough about it to put a grin on your face. Holden expects a 0-100km/h in the mid-7s and it feels every bit that fast. Despite the in-car Bose-engineered noise-cancelling tech, it’s not the quietest car in its class at cruising speeds, as the feature chiefly targets engine frequencies and not external noises. Holden has developed three separate suspension tunes for each Equinox variant. These changes include front and rear anti-roll bars, bushings, as well as damper and steering calibration. Once these variables have been crunched, it all has to work on 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheel and tyre combos. That’s quite a task. “We probably did more work on

PLUS & MINUS

this car than we were expecting,” engineer Tony Metaxas admits. The cabin is where the Equinox could struggle against the best in class. The centre console in particular looks budget, though it doesn’t want for standard equipment with plenty of creature comforts expected to be fitted. Rear seat accommodation impresses, with plenty of space for six-footers in tandem and it’s easy to drop the non-sliding rear seats using a tab in the luggage bay. The rear bench is creaky though and the front seats are a little insubstantial, with rear three-quarter visibility hampered by the big C-pillars. The Equinox is honest, it’s solid, it does a job and fills a hole: all descriptions you could have levelled at the Captiva intially. Much will depend on final specifications and pricing, but the likeable Equinox looks set to have its work cut out. ANDY ENRIGHT

Materials quality in cabin unconvincing; unexciting exterior styling

Model Engine Max Power Max Torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

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Holden Equinox 2.0T FWD 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 188kW @ 5500rpm 353Nm @ 2000rpm 9-speed automatic 1600kg (estimated) 7.5sec (estimated) 8.4L/100km (US-spec) $35,000 (estimated) December


Surfeit of SUVs

One of the more intriguing features of the Equinox is its idle-stop system. There’s no way to switch it off. That could strike the SUV off the shortlist of those with a dislike of such tech. BMW locates the idle-stop kill switch on the starter button for just that reason.

Equinox technical highlights include nifty features such as a decouplable all-wheel-drive system, drag-reducing active shutter tech in the front grille, and a 2000kg towing capacity that Holden insisted was a musthave for the Australian market.

Although details of trim levels have yet to be released, expect to find features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, a hands-free powered tailgate, ventilated and heated front seats as well as heating for the rear seats and the steering wheel.

AMERICAN IDLE

TOW IN THE WATER

LOADED INSIDE

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The Equinox and its bigger Acadia sibling represent the 16th and 17th new vehicles that are part of Holden’s plan to introduce 24 new models by 2020. They’ll join the Trailblazer and Trax to broaden the SUV offering to four, with other AWD choices in the shape of the Colorado ute and the forthcoming Commodore Sports Tourer. The days of relying on Commodore to do the heavy lifting are over. “We’re no longer putting all our eggs in one basket,” said a Holden spokesman.

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Mazda CX-5 Maxx $33,690 Mazda finesses the details and creates the benchmark medium SUV. Carries over the things you loved about the previous generation but now adds better refinement, more space, and a generally slicker feel.

Hyundai Tucson Elite $39,750 You need to fork out to get a Tucson with strong performance, but the turbo-petrol engine at least features all-wheel drive. Five-year warranty a big drawcard as is the handsome styling.

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Model Engine Max Power Max Torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

Honda CR-V VTi-S AWD 1498cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 140kW @ 5600rpm 240Nm @ 2000rpm-5000rpm CVT automatic 1597kg 9.9sec (claimed) 7.4L/100km $35,490 Now

Roomy cabin; strong value; turbo engine; polished suspension

PLUS & MINUS

Top tether intrusion on third row; big spend required for seven seats

Honda CR-V Turbo power and new chassis bring marked improvements COMPACT Recreational Vehicle – that’s what FIRST CR-V stands for. And AUSSIE even though the scourge DRIVE of ‘bracket creep’ has seen cars grow longer, wider and taller in successive generations, the all-new fifth-generation CR-V stays true to its name. At 4596mm long it’s just 66mm longer than the first-generation model that debuted in 1997, and among the key alternatives, it’s shorter than the RAV4, Forester, Koleos, Outlander and X-Trail. This helps the CR-V feel wieldy and manageable, and yet this new model has grown in a vital area – on the inside. A 40mm wheelbase stretch and 35mm wider hips help deliver that, and also makes room for a third row of seats for the first time (VTi-L grade only). A high-mounted gear selector should feel familiar to those currently piloting a fourth-gen CR-V, but the new car’s textures, materials and design impart a

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more premium aura. That said, the base VTi’s bare urethane steering wheel is a letdown. Another negative are the roofmounted – rather than backrestmounted – child seat top tether anchorages. Not a great issue in the five-seater, but in the sevenseat VTi-L grade it potentially renders the third-row seats useless. You can’t put child seats in the rearmost row either, so forget about bringing gran, gramps, and the children along with you on your next family picnic. The seven-seater’s second-row bench is also noticeably firmer, flatter and higher than that of the five-seater CR-V, compromising under-thigh support, headroom, and comfort. It takes some of the sheen off the CR-V’s otherwise spacious and well-arranged cabin. At least there’s plenty of facelevel ventilation and a pair of backseat USB charging points to keep passengers content. On the plus side, Honda has

thoroughly modernised the CR-V’s mechanicals, slotting in the Civic’s boosted 1.5-litre petrol and culling the atmo 2.4. Based on the turbocharged petrol inline four that powers Civics from VTi-L grade and up, the CR-V’s sole powerplant boasts slightly larger muscles. Mechanical tweaks, including a larger turbo, see power rise to 140kW and torque swell to 240Nm, making it the highestoutput version of Honda’s 1.5-litre ‘Earth Dreams’ engine – putting it on even pegging with its predecessor’s 2.4-litre for power and 18Nm ahead for torque. The old-tech five-speed auto has made way for a CVT that meshes well with the 1.5L’s respectable mid-range urge, and is a lot more willing and reactive than the continuously variable tranny in the rival Renault Koleos. There’s also a Sports shift mode for perkier step-off and quicker reactions to

the throttle, should you require. As agreeable as the drivetrain combo is, it’s in the areas of suspension composure and ride comfort that the CR-V shines. Whether on 17-inch or 18-inch alloys, the fifth-gen CR-V delivers a pliant ride. Body control is better than before thanks to increased rebound damping that eliminates the wallowy ride of the outgoing model, and improves the overall sense of agility. A faster steering rack (with only 2.2 turns lockto-lock), an extra centimetre of tyre tread width (now 235mm), and a lower centre of gravity all contribute to the CR-V’s welcome dynamic advancement. The outgoing CR-V was often a backmarker in Wheels tests, but its replacement shows promise. The negatives are few, and the fundamentals have been sharpened to a level where the CR-V now boasts genuine appeal in a very competitive segment. TONY O’KANE


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Safety shortfall Autonomous emergency braking is fast becoming a must-have piece of safety gear in the medium SUV segment, but Honda only equips the $44,290 CR-V VTi-LX flagship with the potentially life-saving tech. Why? AEB is embedded into a suite of electronic driver aids called ‘Honda Sensing’ – it’s a package deal, and one that would add significant cost to lower-grade models. Honda is working on making Honda Sensing standard across the range, but right now AEB is only for top-end buyers.

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SLIDER SNIPPED Honda has dumped touchscreen volume sliders in favour of a conventional knob. Standard 7.0-inch infotainment also runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both pleasing alternatives to Honda’s own interface.

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PILLAR TRIMMED

High-tensile steel allows slimmer A-pillars to aid vision around corners. Thin is a win. Though high-tensile metal usually means lower weight, the new CR-V is, like-for-like, generally heavier than the car it replaces.

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CARGO CARRIER

OR TRY THESE...

Load space is 250mm longer than before when the rear seatbacks are dropped, but seats-up capacity shrinks slightly to 556L in the five-seater. The cavernous centre console can swallow a laptop, though, which is nifty.

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport AWD $37,390 CX-5’s atmo 2.5-litre four makes the same power as CR-V’s 1.5 with more torque, and the Mazda is a dynamic and design star. The CR-V has more cabin space though.

Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Comfortline $36,990 Tiguan oozes class and feels borderline luxurious in its presentation, but you’d hope so given the FWD 110TSI Comfortline costs more than the AWD CR-V.

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Audi Q5 Getting the strong, silent type requires a degree of specificity OTHER than brackish lagoons and miles of arrow-straight roads, there’s not a lot to see in South Australia’s Coorong region. If you’re in the latest Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI, there’s not a lot to hear, either. At an indicated 110km/h it’s eerily quiet. You hear your passenger’s jacket zip clinking as the car sits into the odd dip, a welcome spritz of treble over the blanketed bass tones of tyre and suspension. The car’s computer tells us we’ve been in front-wheel drive mode for 99.8 of the last 100km, the Q5’s ‘quattro ultra’ drive system reading the low-mu gravel exit of a car park and engaging the spring-loaded rear dog clutches silently and imperceptibly. The Q5 isn’t in the business of loudly overpromising and underdelivering. It’s Audi’s quiet achiever, having racked up over 24,500 local sales in the last seven

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

years, forming an integral part of a Q family that now accounts for 42 percent of the company’s Australasian sales. This all-new car has been a long time coming, riding on the nextgen MLB Evo chassis that now distances it from its Porsche Macan cousin. Aussie buyers get the choice of a 140kW/400Nm 2.0 TDI diesel, offered in either Design or Sport trims, or a 185kW/370Nm petrol version sold exclusively in Sport trim. Both drive through seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions, but it won’t take too long behind the wheel to convince anyone that the petrol engine is the smarter choice. The diesel does the job, but lacks zest, getting to 100km/h in a leisurely 7.9 seconds. The petrol engine is usefully quicker, stopping the clock in 6.3 seconds, and with 50kg less in the nose, it tips into a corner more crisply, holds a line more

Depth of engineering; efficiency; feel-good interior; sweet steering petrol

faithfully and takes less effort to bring to a halt. With respective fuel economies of 5.5 and 7.3L/100km, the petrol car will cost an additional $290 per year to fuel. That’s money well spent. The Q5’s fundamentals don’t brook too many surprises. It’s about the same width as before, but 34mm longer, 4mm wider, and with 12mm grafted into the wheelbase. Luggage space is up by 10 litres to 550L, or you can opt for the sliding rear bench to extend that to 610L in exchange for the odd passenger DVT. The interior is a magnificent place to sit, with a broad spar across the dashboard that visually lowers and widens the fascia and there’s a formidable suite of electronics, from Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mirroring to Google Earth, a WiFi hotspot, and, if you opt for Sport trim, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instrument panel and a head-up display.

PLUS & MINUS

The Q5 2.0 TFSI gets solid scores for go, stop and steer, but the one blot on its copybook is ride quality. It’s not trolley jack stiff, but it’s a good deal more interactive than you’d probably appreciate. The fix lies in the options box marked ‘1BK’, which is adaptive air suspension. It’ll set you back $3990 but will transform ride quality and, as an added bonus, increase the car’s ground clearance by 45mm if you should venture off road. You can even drop the rear end by 15mm to load the car. The Audi Q5 rewards a certain specificity. It’s possible to go wrong and land yourself something that will always seem like a lot of money spent. Invest a little more initially in the 2.0 TFSI Sport with air suspension and the value proposition’s really not that hard to grasp. Straight to the top of the class? We wouldn’t bet against it. ANDY ENRIGHT

Diesel could use more go; busy ride with big wheels; big-ticket options

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

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Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 185kW @ 5000rpm 370Nm @ 1600rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1795kg 6.3sec (claimed) 7.3L/100km $73,211 Now


SQ5: Slightly Quicker

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Audi offers Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) wireless inductive charging for your phone. Works great with an Android but you’ll need to buy an accessory case to amp up your iPhone.

New Q5 features a gesture control tailgate, so if you’re staggering around with your arms full of shopping/kids/other, you have the t option of hopping around on one foot like a Sherpa with gout.

The launch cars rode on 20-inch alloys, although an Audi engineer recommended 19s instead. When asked if 18s rode better he claimed nobody will buy the car with 18-inch wheels.

BIG QIS

TENSING UP

SPECIFIC RIM

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As much as we like the Q5 2.0 TFSI, there is a faster option in the shape of the $99,611 SQ5. To that, you’ll need to add $2150 worth of air suspension in order for it to ride acceptably on the standard 21-inch wheels. The SQ5 gets permanent all-wheel drive and a 3.0 V6 petrol engine under the bonnet, in this instance good for 260kW/500Nm, translating to 100km/h in 5.4s, so it’s slower and thirstier than the old diesel SQ5. Couple that with a bit of a meek personality and the SQ5 feels like it could use a bit more mongrel about it.

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Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 $68,705 Its 2.0-litre four-pot cedes a little power and torque to the Q5’s engine, but the price is a bit lower by way of compensation. Like Audi’s new SUV, it needs the optional suspension to deliver a composed, comfortable ride.

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Peugeot 3008 Turning for the high road heralds a French revolution A PERFECT storm might be overselling the sales forecast for Peugeot’s new medium SUV, but it certainly seems to line up enough fundamentals to give the brand a boost in Oz. As the effective replacement for the Mitsubishi Outlander-based 4007, the new 3008 is a conventional SUV rather than a hatch-derived crossover like its predecessor – the French quirks are in the details. The new 3008 is built on the excellent EMP2 platform that underpins the 308 hatch, to please buyers in Australia’s most popular and crowded segment, targeting the likes of the Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan. The fact Peugeot is now handled by the Australian arm of global car retailing giant Inchcape – the operation behind the success of Subaru in Australia – also bodes well for a corresponding upgrade to the delivery of Peugeot service

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

and after-sales support. Seated inside, the avant-garde interior presentation instantly identifies the 3008 as being aimed at buyers with an eye for design who are happy to embrace nonconformity: The sophisticated mum’s family wagon? There’s much to like about the flair and functionality of the cabin, with highlights including neatly cloth/leather trimmed seats – bolstered to suit the slim up front – cocooning high console, cool mood-lit strips, piano key shortcut buttons, and a tabletstyle 8.0-inch colour touchscreen. There’s good legroom in the back, aided by a flat floor, and there are knee-level air vents and USB sockets, though the (optional) panoramic roof intrudes into headroom. The 3008’s big cargo bay, at 520 litres, is about 15 percent bigger than that of a CX-5. A four-tiered range opens with a well-equipped Active

Equipment; athletic chassis; cabin flair and functionality; Gallic charm

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

Peugeot 3008 Allure 1598cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 121kW @ 6000rpm 240Nm @ 1400rpm 6-speed automatic 1371kg 9.9sec (claimed) 7.0L/100km $39,490 Now

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($36,990 plus on-roads, or $39,990 drive-away initially), which progresses to the Allure tested here ($39,490 plus on-roads), and there are GT-Line and GT versions above. A six-speed automatic with front-drive is standard, and a 121kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbopetrol features in all except the GT (which we’re yet to drive), that gets a 133kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel offering 4.8L/100km. The 1.6 turbo gives the 3008 good flexibility, decent mid-range urge and a respectable 9.9sec 0-100km/h claim. It teams well with the auto, and you can always grab one of the paddles, which brings prompt shift action. Headline weight-savers include a plastic tailgate and boot floor, aluminium front suspension arms and guards, and the use of ultra-high-strength steel to see the 3008 100kg lighter than its MPV predecessor – making it trimmer than its key

PLUS & MINUS

classmates. The petrols are in small-hatch territory at 1371kg. More kays and a full test of the line-up awaits, but it’s safe to say from the taut 18-inch-shod Allure that the GT’s 19s will be a bridge too far for comfort. The 3008’s ride is slightly agitated unless the road is glass-smooth, and it’s most noticeable sat out back over the torsion beam. The Active’s 17s may hold part of the solution. The 3008 feels light on its tyres, responds swiftly to the wheel, rolls little, and possesses palpable balance. Steering feel is inert during urban meandering but there’s a glimmer of connection with the addition of lock and load. You can feel that this is a relation of the terrific 308, and the Peugeot 3008’s smart SUV packaging, Gallic point of difference, and reinvigorated distribution chain see it well placed to make the best of it. J A MES WHITBOURN

Ride could be calmer; steep entry price; AEB not standard; small fuel tank


OR TRY THESE...

Subaru Forester 2.5i-S $39,740 A Forester might not be a left-field choice like the Peugeot, but the Subie does things its own way with a boxer engine and standard all-wheel drive. Handling cohesion a high point but absorbent ride is its best feature.

Many of the controls are, erm … a bit French, so their operation may not be obvious if you’ve stepped from a RAV4. The cruise control took some figuring, for example. Air-con adjustment via the touchscreen is not ideal.

The squared-off wheel that comes with the brand’s i-Cockpit layout has the potential to polarise. With the 12.3-inch virtual instrument panel the initial impression is a bit Sega Rally, presumably aimed at Gen-X mums with Timezone form.

‘Claw Effect’ tail-lights with sharply raked and hidden C-pillar gives the look of floating roof. Grille and bonnet edge a bit snouty but the overall proportions appeal. Test car’s copper hue not to all tastes.

FRENCH METHODS

GAME THEORY

STREET APPEAL

01

02

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Escape is a sharp steer and among the alternatives to offer a true basemodel medium-sized SUV for around $10K less than the Peugeot. Or spend similar dough and get a punchy 178kW 2.0 turbo-petrol and AWD.

Pumped up base

02 01

Ford Escape Trend AWD $35,990

The $37K 3008 Active gets driver attention and lanedeparture warning systems, a 12.3-inch virtual instrument panel, 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, an inductive charger for compatible phones, front- and rear-parking sensors with a 180-degree reversing camera, a digital radio tuner, and 3D sat-nav among the fruit. To this amply equipped base, the tested Allure adds keyless entry and start, a terrific 360degree front and rear camera, park assist, 18-inch alloys, and different two-tone fabric for the seats. You need a 3008 GT-Line to get AEB, though it’s in the optional Safety Pack for the Allure, as is active lane-keeping (disconcerting) and adaptive cruise (brilliant).

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Renault Megane GT wagon Lithe load lugger for the Koleosphobic THE WINDING roads south of Albury are as good a FIRST place as any to see how the AUSSIE Renault Megane GT wagon DRIVE compares to its similarly equipped hatch sibling. Like the Megane GT hatch, the wagon is a deceptively quick and agile car with its 4Connect steering system. Its 151kW/280Nm 1.6 turbo engine has performance that borders on hot-hatch territory, and is paired to a sevenspeed dual-clutch transmission that responds well to the revvy turbo’s midrange torque. The transmission does a reasonably good job of predicting and selecting the appropriate gear, but on the wet and winding hilly route it occasionally couldn’t keep up with rapid changes to pedal inputs. Thankfully, the GT’s column-mounted shift paddles allow a manual override for when the road gets truly twisty. That said you need pianists’ fingers to use them given they

don’t move with the steering wheel, and also obscure the light and wiper stalks. The gear lever sits a little too far forward to comfortably use its plus-minus manual shift. Ergonomically, the Megane could still use some work. Road noise on coarse surfaces was surprisingly subdued, helped by the chunky tailgate and narrow D-pillar glass. Its Renault Sport suspension copes well with big hits too, despite its performance slant. Cabin comfort also benefits from more generous dimensions. Both the wagon and sedan are 269mm longer than the hatch with a 11mm longer wheelbase, resulting in 37mm more rear legroom and a more reclined rear-seat backrest. The wagon’s 580L boot space (1504L with the rear seats folded) offers substantially more cargo capacity than the hatch’s 434L/1198L. Its sloping roof line means the rear aperture

Good looks; more space and comfort than hatch; agile handling

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

Renault Megane GT wagon 1618cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 151kW @ 6000rpm 280Nm @ 2400rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1430kg 7.4sec (claimed) 6.0L/100km $39,490 Now

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isn’t overly high, but the tailgate opens beyond 90 degrees to help facilitate easier loading. Its dimensional growth sees a 38kg weight gain over the hatch, contributing to a 0.3sec slower 0-100km/h time of 7.5 seconds, but it manages the same claimed combined fuel economy of 6.0L/100km. From the B-pillars forward, the Megane GT wagon is virtually identical to the hatch with an 8.7-inch portrait-format screen, ambient lighting, heavily bolstered sports seats, and blue metallic door trims. Soft-touch surfaces abound, though the cup holders on the centre console are still ridiculously small. There aren’t many small wagons in Australia, and the Megane GT is the only one that offers the kind of performance and handling that fills the void between hot-hatch enjoyment and small-SUV practicality.

PLUS & MINUS

Family reunion The wagon’s arrival alongside sedan (and hatch) variants marks the first time all three Megane body shapes will be sold together here at the same time. Other wagons include the entry-level Zen, and GT-Line which features most of the GT’s kit but with the standard 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine. There’s no GT sedan, with the line-up comprising Zen and Intens, the latter similarly equipped as GT-Line but with a luxury focus. Like the wagon, the sedan is roomier than the hatch and has a 16 percent bigger (503L) boot space.

D AV ID B ON N IC I

Unintuitive cabin controls; no smartphone mirroring feature


Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

Boosted, zingy engine; winning blend of ride and handling; generous kit

PLUS & MINUS

Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Comfortline 1395cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 110kW @ 5000-6000rpm 250Nm @ 1500-3500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1261kg 8.2sec (claimed) 5.4L/100km $28,990 Now

Excellent infotainment pack pricey; gesture control is gimicky

Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Comprehensive update keeps it ahead of the pack k VOLKSWAGEN’S revered Golf finds itself at a definitive fork in the road. Does this midlife update offer an opportunity to sharpen the price and prime the model to do battle with likeable French, Japanese and South Korean contenders in the affordable small-car arena? Or does its compelling blend of quality, driving dynamics and style place it at the edge of the premium German and European rivals? Which way to turn? Volkswagen has made the deliberate move to the latter with an update that has increased the entry level price a little, but boosted the value proposition by a lot, with new features and options that make it an alternative to lower-level premium offerings. Unlike other brands that lure customers into showrooms with bargain-basement variants that require significant time with the options list to get the spec you

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

actually want, the new base Golf 110TSI is, for many, all you may need or desire. Independent rear suspension, leather steering wheel, 8.0-inch touchscreen, alloy wheels, AEB and reversing camera are not often seen packaged together in a $23,990 small hatch, rarer still one from a German manufacturer. A dual-clutch auto takes the price to $26,490, but the power boost from 92kW to 110kW that forms part of the 7.5 update adds a genuine GTI-lite enjoyment when specced with the standard sixspeed manual gearbox. A Trendline variant ups the stakes with more kit, while a Highline tops the range, but VW forecasts the mid-level Comfortline to attract the majority of sales from $28,990, or $1500 more for the wagon equivalent. Like all sub-GTI petrol variants, the Comfortline has a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has been squeezed to find

another 18kW and 50Nm, and thatt increase has taken performance over the fine line between adequate and involving. From a broader driving dynamics perspective, nothing has changed and that’s a positive, with the excellent handling and ride characteristics of the fouryear-old Golf Mk7 continuing. While many midlife facelifts are headlined by a mild exterior redesign, the Golf’s aesthetic makeover of handsome LED lighting and bumper fettling is of welcome secondary importance to the performance boost and logical tech update. With a proposition as compelling as the Mk7, the Golf could have rested on its laurels until an all-new model was due, but this well-considered update keeps VW’s small car firmly ahead of budget offerings and deserving of recognition with the Mk7.5 nomenclature.

Prem um ttoys P Spend $2300 on the optional infotainment pack and you gain a larger 9.2-inch screen complemented by a fully digital ‘Active Info’ instrument cluster, which was once the reserve of high-end Audis, along with a banging 400W Dynaudio sound system. The new Discover Media includes gesture control, which is more intuitive than BMW’s interpretation, if a little more basic in its functionality.

D AN IE L G AR D N E R

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Audi RS3 sedan Junior RennSport offering, now rebooted IT’S A strange feeling when you give way to an Audi A4 and the driver stops in the middle of an intersection and stares. I’m driving the box-fresh Audi RS3 sedan and the chap obviously has enough Ingolstadt -flavoured octane coursing through his veins to know the significance of the first compact sedan to wear a RennSport badge. The four-door body style stands out from its mainstream A3 and S3 sedan siblings thanks to a bolder stance with wider tracks (20mm front/14mm rear), a 25mm lower ride height, and RS styling headlined by flared wheel arches, and gloss-black honeycomb grille. As well as bringing a conventional boot (which is actually 65 litres smaller than the cargo bay of the RS3 hatch) the sedan boasts an all-new heart in the form of an aluminium-cased 2.5-litre in-line five-cylinder turbo engine. The new donk is

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

26kg lighter than the old cast-iron unit and 24kW more powerful too, producing 294kW/480Nm and a magnificent soundtrack highlighted by a warble that really kicks in around 4000rpm. Audi claims the RS3 sedan will do 0-100km/h in a launch-assisted 4.1sec (0.2 quicker than the old hatch), though this is a car bred for bends as much as straight-line performance, with its quattro drivetrain providing a torque split that can favour the rear axle with around 70 percent in hard driving. The availability of optional tyres wider at the front than the rear suggests that the RS3 prefers directing drive forwards though. With plenty of grip and traction, it lets you attack bends with real vigour while providing a degree of mid-corner adjustability. The steering rack is the variable-ratio type designed to quicken as more lock is wound on, which is an advantage in the tight hairpins. In general driving,

Muscular engine with great note; rockstar interior; forgiving dynamics

the weighting is and sweetly res driver input an On the twisty Tasmania’s Huon Valley the standard four-link rear suspension feels firm but manages to absorb bumps well. It’s the same set-up as before, but with damping retuned to take advantage of the lighter engine. Interior trim is to Audi’s usual high standard with RS-branded diamond-quilted Nappa leather seats and Audi’s excellent 12.3-inch virtual cockpit digital instrument cluster with specific RS functions such as a large rev counter and G-force meter. The sedan will be joined by the updated RS3 hatch later this year with Audi expecting a 50:50 sales split between the two body styles. That sounds about right as the sedan brings enough of its own desirability to be more than just a niche variant.

PLUS & MINUS

not going to be tempte by the options list. RS3 enhancements include a unique staggered wheel fitment that complements the original 235/35 rear tyres with wider 255/30 rubber up front for $1500. An optional $5900 RS ‘Performance Package’ adds the staggered tyres, magnetic adaptive RS sport suspension, and a 14-speaker sound system. Fork out another $9500 and you can get ceramic brakes fitted, though AEB is neither standard nor an option here.

D AV ID B ON N IC I

Key equipment remains on the options list; no AEB; less practical than hatch

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

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Audi RS3 sedan 2480cc 5cyl, dohc, 20v, turbo 294kW @ 5850-7000rpm 480Nm @ 1700-5850rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1515kg 8.4L/100km 4.1sec (claimed) $84,900 Now


Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale

Macho styling; decent ride (for a ute); SYNC3 infotainment system

PLUS & MINUS

Ford Ranger FX4 3198cc 5cyl, dohc, 20v, TD 147kW @ 3000rpm 470Nm @ 1750-2500rpm 6-speed automatic 2250kg 10.7sec (claimed) 8.7L/100km $61,115 Now

Engine vocal when pushed; no tonneau; opportunist pricing

Ford Ranger FX4 Special edition aims to cash in on the cashed-up THAT the Ford Ranger is a better ute than the Toyota Hilux takes some time to get used to. How do you go about beating the unbreakable legend? It turns out that getting the basics right, like offering decent ride quality, a gutsy engine, strong value, and keen utility are enough. It’s like Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson by the simple expedient of stepping to the side. The most obvious solutions are often hidden in plain sight. Ford shifted almost 31,000 4x4 Rangers last year, and almost two-thirds of them were up-spec XLT and Wildtrak versions. The success of similarly high-end versions of the Holden Colorado and Volkswagen Amarok coupled with Mercedes-Benz’s intention to join the fray with its Navara-based X-Class clearly has Ford convinced that the target market has a lot of disposable income looking for a new home. The FX4 special edition

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

builds on the XLT with a black optics pack, 18-inch ‘Stark Grey’ alloys, black roof rails, and leather accented seats monogrammed with the FX4 badge. It’s hard to argue with the aesthetic. The FX4 looks squat and purposeful, the Magnetic Grey paint of our test vehicle (a $550 option) even delivers a degree of subtlety for something that has had most of Ford’s options list plastered to it. Given that the smallest price difference between mechanically identical trims of the Ford Everest is $6000, is the FX4’s $3420 impost over the XLT really that insurmountable an ask? It would appear not, given the rate that the 2200-vehicle allocation is disappearing. Like all premium PXXII Rangers, the FX4 is powered by a Euro5 compliant 3.2-litre turbo-diesel lump good for 147kW and 470Nm. It’s a pretty vocal thing with a weird sound when you roll off the throttle, like Darth Vader with

catarrh. While the five-pot doesn’t have the muscularity of some of its rivals, the Ranger can maintain a decent cross country pace, helped by a ride quality which vies with the Amarok for the current best-in-class. The leaf-suspended Ranger even manages to ride better than a coil-sprung Navara. Other attractions? The SYNC3 infotainment system is a good deal cleverer than anything else in the class, and the Ranger’s safety gear and towing capacity betters even the big-hitting Amarok V6. And there’s the nub of the Ranger FX4’s appeal. The dress drags punters in off the street. What keeps them coming back that under the glitz it still feels an authentic working vehicle; hard plastics, gruff engin ne, and no-nonsense practicality. The moment premium utes lo ose that authenticity, manufacturrers will discover the price ceiling g to this market extremely quickly y.

Wild card Prospective FX4 buyers interested in adding the optional $800 Tech Pack (adaptive cruise control and lane departure assistance) to their purchase would do well to consider the range-topping Wildtrak version. This features those inclusions as standard and comes in at $125 less than a Tech Pack-equipped FX4. Plus you get features like heated seats uddle lam a utter e tray. That sounds like money nt a bit rter to us.

AN D Y E N R I GHT

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Headtohead o A F A ST ’ N ’ FUR IOUS FACE -OFF

ONE FOR THE ROAD

WOR DS

J A MES WHITBOU R N

NISSAN QASHQAI T The top-spec petrol Qashqai is loaded with a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen, reverse camera, sat-nav, six airbags, smart-key entry, auto headlights, dual-zone air-con, a parking assistance system, leather/synthetic trim, heated front seats (powered for the driver) lane-departure and blind spot warnings, 19-inch alloys, and a powered glass roof. 16/20

The Brit-built Qashqai Ti is nicely put together and reasonably classy. The leather is comfy and the glass roof lightens the mood. It’s roomy in the back though not as easy to see out of as the Subie, partly because of the rising window-line. There are no rear air-con vents either, though the Nissan’s boot is usefully bigger at 430L. 16/20

Both these jacked-up hatches weigh around 1450kg and have 2.0-litre petrol fours paired with a CVT auto. The Nissan officially uses less fuel at 6.9L/100km and there may be some saving in only driving the front wheels, but real world urban figures are likely to rise to circa 9L/100km for both. CVT is stepped to erase the usual rev drone. 14/20

The Nissan is reasonably refined in terms of shutting out tyre, wind, and engine noise, unless you’re flat-out uphill. Body movements are well controlled yet the primary ride is supple, though this is spoilt by the 19s with shallow sidewalls, which relay constant jiggle into the cabin on poorly maintained urban surfaces. 14/20

The Qashqai, even without all-wheel drive to fuel the softroading illusion, is essentially a raised hatchback and that’s how it drives (which is a good thing). The Nissan is tautly controlled, reasonably grippy, and steers with accuracy if not feel, and sitting up higher than you would in a normal hatch helps you pick your lines. 15/20

75/100

LIGHT DIRT DUTY

SUBARU XV 2.0I PREMIUM PRICE & EQUIPMENT 20 POINTS

INTERIOR & VERSATILITY 20 POINTS

PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY 20 POINTS

RIDE & REFINEMENT 20 POINTS

STEERING & HANDLING 20 POINTS

POINTS SCORE

The XV 2.0i Premium is a rung down from top billing, and $2350 cheaper than the Nissan. But in lieu of heated-seat luxe and big-wheel bling you get AEB, adaptive cruise, lanekeeping assistance, a tyre pressure monitor, a driver’s knee airbag, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via an 8.0-inch screen. AWD and metallic paint are standard, too. 17/20

The Subie gets tactile cloth and leather trim, and quality plastics and switchgear. Besides being better finished than the outgoing model, it’s roomier, front and back, though the boot is still modest at 310L – you could always put a pod on the roof rails. The view from the back seat forward and out the sides is good, and there are rear air-con vents. 17/20

Subie donk differs with flat layout and stop-start system. Uses 7.5L/100km on the official combined cycle, and draws from a tank two litres smaller than its rival’s at 63L. The CVT also adopts (seven) artificial ratio steps, but drone is the default noise during hard acceleration, sidestepped by shifting manually. The XV is flexible, but not fast. 14/20

Like the fifth-gen Impreza it’s derived from, the Subaru XV is an extremely solid, quiet, and refined machine. Meanwhile, it builds on the donor hatch and sedan’s good ride by bringing a bit more travel and absorbency, while sticking to more sensible 17in boots than its rival to iron out urban lumps and road joins. 17/20

AWD and the X-Mode system, give the XV real slippery road/loose conditions advantage, and the subtle effect of active torque vectoring, which points the nose by braking individual wheels satisfies. But the highlight is the steering – the best in a modern Subaru – with a lovely fluid feel and connection from just off centre. 17/20

82/100

The box-fresh Subaru brings all the gear today’s buyers expect as Yet, on value, the Subaru, with its unlimited-kay warranty, AWD, standard in a car, such as AEB, but its price advantage over the and standard metallic paint, is at least a nose ahead. It’s nicer to higher-spec Nissan might be negated, because there’s not much sit in, though it’s a pity it doesn’t have a bigger boot. On the VERDICT room for discounting. The Qashqai is due for a facelift – we’re powertrain front, neither sparkles, but both do the job with expecting an update late this year – so we’d be surprised if you reasonable economy. Yet the Subaru’s chassis sets it apart from couldn’t get all that Ti-level fruit for less than list price. the Nissan. The refined, fine-riding, sweet-steering XV takes gold.

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g n i n pe r Sha its barb

WO R D S N AT H A N P O N C H A R D P H O T O S T H O M A S W I E L E C K I

It’s the most hyped Kia since, well, ever. A muscular, turbocharged sports sedan touted as a successor to our local rear-drive stalwarts. We take two pre-production Stingers on an exclusive Aussie drive to see if it’s worthy


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ITCHING a handsome, eminently worthy value-branded offering in with the pack of wolves that is the premium European set is going to leave someone bloodied. Kia just hopes it’s the opposition, not its dramatic new Stinger. On paper, this perception-altering rear-drive liftback sedan has all its ducks in a row – strikingly muscular styling, purist drivetrain layout with an allturbo engine line-up, a dedicated sporting focus and enough packaging proficiency to carry some credibility – yet the gamble of entering a declining global sedan market dominated by German brands with a Korean badge glued to your snout and tail can’t be overstated enough. In Europe and the US, Stinger faces an uphill battle overcoming entrenched brand snobbery, but somehow I don’t think that really applies to Australia. If there was a car market born for the Stinger to play in, it’s ours. The uncanny timing of Kia’s reardrive flagship to Australian showrooms just moments after Holden will call it quits on 69 years of domestic rear-drive production is orchestrated perfection. When stocks of the current VFII Commodore/Calais run dry – unlikely before 2018 – the most affordable rear-drive sedan available in this country will be… Kia Stinger. And let’s not discount the Stinger’s X-factor, an (affordable) gran-turismo presence that may well attract some fairly atypical buyers into a Kia showroom. With the Stinger’s original launch date of “late August” pushed out by a month due to delayed supply, the two Stingers you see here are preproduction ‘P1’ cars (see sidebar, right), with all the key engineering pieces in place but lacking full-production

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cabin plastics, as well as fully sorted electronics (check out the video at wheelsmag.com.au). The Stinger line-up will consist of six model variants (see p62) – three four-potters and three V6s. The Stinger 200S, 200Si, and GT-Line feature the Optima GT’s 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four mounted lengthways, while the Stinger 330S, 330Si, and GT turf the fourcylinder for a full-blooded twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6, with each engine mated exclusively to an HMC-developed eight-speed automatic. Our test Stingers aren’t quite to production trim spec but they’re bloody close. Due to a last-minute juggle of suspension componentry, our test V6 is essentially the flagship GT running the fixed-rate dampers from the 330S and 330Si (and non-perforated brake rotors, unlike production V6s) while the Stinger GT-Line four boasts the premium adaptive suspension it will share with the production V6 GT, teamed with the slightly daggy 18-inch wheels and lesser-spec 225/45R18 Continentals worn by the 200S and 200Si. The 330Si and GT V6s wear striking 19s with top-shelf rubber – Continental ContiSportContact 5 tyres measuring 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 at the rear. As it turns out, the 272kW/510Nm V6 needs every fragment of traction it can get because it’s quick. Seriously quick. Issues with the ESC meant our ‘pre-pro’ version refused to be properly primed off the start line (building revs with your right foot while holding it on the brake with your left), yet it still managed a deeply impressive 5.1sec to 100km/h (bang on Kia’s claim). That’s two tenths shy of the Commodore SS-V Redline automatic we tested in August 2016; a margin the Stinger loses in the first 0-20km/h dash. It’s all down to that launch.


GETTING EARLY ACCESS TO PRE-PRODUCTION STINGERS MEANT ACCEPTING A FEW GLITCHES. WE’RE PRIMED FOR MORE TIME IN THE FINISHED ARTICLES

Ones they really did build earlier The two Kias you see here are ‘P1s’ of a different kind – pre-production ‘CK’ Stingers with almost-finished interiors (the lower plastics lacked production materials and textures), non-production paint quality, and their fair share of creaks and rattles. The V6’s slightly breathless braking ability can be put

down to its lack of perforated discs, while the unswitchable ESC, over-cautious collision alert and other maladies (only one working windscreen washer in the 2.0T and just one folding mirror in the V6) can’t be judged until we chuck the production version into a comparo. As for the GT’s adaptive dampers

that fixed themselves to their firmest setting on video day, well, blame the police. Apparently they disconnected the power supply during their testing and completely wiped the P1 GT’s electronic memory. Hence why our test GT had fixed dampers, not the adaptive dampers of the production car.


If there was a car market born for the Stinger to play in, it’s ours Former rear guard Think Stinger is Kia’s first rear-drive vehicle sold in Oz? Wrong! The very first Kia to reach our shores – the Ceres pick-up in 1992 – was rear-drive, but also offered switchable 4WD with high- and low-range. And our first Sportage (1997) was based on a reardrive platform, though ours was 4WD only. Infamously, it scored just one star in ANCAP crash testing and was recalled twice overseas for the rear wheels “dislodging”.

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G

E E T U TH T HE

H

THE AN E, E G ITH H E D G P OF

WAN NT T E EXHAUST,

.

’ T L O GH H

Only beyond 140km/h does the Stinger V6 begin to lose more ground to the Redline. By 150, two tenths behind becomes four, and there’s nearly a full second difference to 200km/h. Highway Patrol coppers might notice but the rest of us shouldn’t worry – the twinturbo V6 Stinger has proper bite. And there’s always its 2.8sec 80-120km/h time as compensation – two tenths faster than an auto SS, though 0.3sec adrift of the searing time we recorded in Ford’s last Falcon Sprints. For those of us who prefer some aural entertainment to accompany a meaty feast, Kia Australia has gone it alone in exclusively offering an optional sports exhaust on the V6. A bi-modal system that opens its flaps once throttle input exceeds 50 percent, it’s the work of Melbourne company Lumex (who also developed the two-stage systems on LSA-engined HSVs) and will command around $2000 more on all three V6 trim grades. In our opinion, it’s a mandatory choice. Without the barky rasp the sports exhaust brings – especially under load from 2500rpm onwards, all the way to the six-five upshift point – Kia’s twin-turbo V6 lacks any discernible character. It serves up less whistle and wastegate commotion than the 2.0-litre four-pot, which is no bad thing, but in unfettled form the Stinger’s boosted V6 gives off major Carnival and Sorento vibes, exposing its working-class gene pool. The 182kW/353Nm four-cylinder (slightly less than it produces in the Optima GT due to a different exhaust system) is a bit of a dark horse too, despite suffering from turbo lag on step-off and, like our GT, zero opportunity to enhance its dragstrip launch ability by winding it up on the brake. Still, 7.2sec to 100km/h and a 15.1sec quarter are solid numbers for the base Stinger’s mid-40-ish starting price. And with the

production car’s electronics sorted to ensure a swifter launch, there’s absolutely no reason why the 2.0-litre four won’t approach Kia’s 6.0sec claim. We tested the red Stinger 2.0T fitted with both fixedrate and adaptive dampers at different stages – each working with the same 18-inch wheels – and given its expected price point, the Stinger four is a sporting bargain. It’s just a shame that the engine doesn’t have even a hint of induction richness to complement the chassis’ obvious talent. Instead, aside from some turbo whoosh, the 2.0-litre is acoustic-free in terms of tuning, though one person’s parts-bin engine transplant is another person’s blank canvas. It’s certainly fit enough to deserve some aftermarket attitude... Where the 2.0T really comes into its own is dynamically. Even the base car is a pretty sweet package, tuned to deliver firm control with enough suspension suppleness to remain composed on rough surfaces. But it can’t match the finesse and sophistication of the adaptive-damped version. Both the 2.0T and V6 have been tuned to produce a near-identical driving experience, but you can tell there’s less weight over the Stinger four’s nose. It feels more on its toes than the V6, with sharper turnin, more nuanced balance and crisper steering feel than our 19-inch-wheeled V6 on fixed-rate dampers. But on narrower 18-inch tyres, spirited cornering sees the superbly balanced four arc its tail out earlier, demonstrating its lack of mid-corner grip and cornerexit power down. The top-spec four-pot GT-Line, which gains stickier 19s, will be noticeably superior – 255/35R19 rear Contis do that to a car – but the 200S and 200Si will continue to offer more power than cornering purchase.

@wheelsaustralia 63


Stingers with adaptive dampers will offer five suspension modes – Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport, and Custom – though we’d stick mostly to Smart (an ‘auto’ setting) and still-comfortable Sport on twistier roads. At a faster pace, Comfort’s greater vertical motion and lesser body control mean that Smart achieves the finest combination of level bump absorbency, pointy steering, tight control, excellent balance, and keenness to change direction. In that set-up, the Stinger’s a real peach. Yet no Stinger is particularly attuned to tight corners. In the 2.0T, if you go in quite hot you notice the car’s mass, but as long as you trail some brake into a corner and are aware that it isn’t a light car (at 1693-1780kg tare weight, she’s a porker), the Stinger can throw its weight around quite capably. The heavier V6 needs to be more consciously trailbraked into tight corners to keep it balanced, but on fast, flowing roads the Stinger range-topper is exceptional, mainly because it has the grip to match its grunt. Adding power throws a lovely, throttle-adjustable weight bias onto its outside rear tyre, working in combination with a mechanical limited-slip diff for plenty of rear-steer antics... until the judicious ESC system decides you’re being a hooligan. The Aussies have done a terrific job tuning the Stinger’s steering. This is by far the most connected Kia we’ve ever driven, with crisp, uncorrupted feel and none of the kickback over bumps that has plagued Korean cars for generations. There’s a degree of numbness at dead-ahead but the moment you start to add lock, the Stinger is on its game. The V6 GT has just 2.2 turns lock-to-lock (2.5 for the 18-inch-wheeled

Line up Kia will field a sixstrong Stinger line-up here, spanning 200S, 200Si and GT-Line with the four-cylinder, and 330S, 330Si and GT V6s. Besides the engine, chief mechanical difference between four and six is a standard LSD and larger brakes (350mm drilled discs with fourpiston Brembo calipers up front, and 340mm drilled discs with twopiston Brembo calipers in the rear). Only the GT-Line four gets 19-inch wheels, whereas 330Si and GT V6s feature (different design) 19s. The GT scores Nappa leather, an excellent Harman/Kardon stereo, adaptive dampers, LED headlamps, head-up display, sunroof and electric steering column.

four), and a meatier feel than its lighter sibling, yet it manages to serve up sharpness without over-reactive nervousness. It feels progressive and natural, as a driver’s car should. And for the first time in a Korean car, all three steering-weight settings work. Comfort isn’t too light, Sport isn’t too heavy, and for all but the most lead-footed of driving, Smart is just right. Kia’s sexy new-generation steering wheel helps (the production GT’s will be flat-bottomed, by the way), backed by a pair of shift paddles for the eight-speed auto. But without a dedicated manual slot in the neatly formed and intuitive transmission selector, the Stinger will automatically shift itself back into drive after several seconds of holding a gear at a steady pace. You can work around it by pre-empting the point it wants to shift, then tweaking the left downshift paddle to maintain a ratio, but that’s unnecessary work. And then there’s the common Korean fault of not allowing you to grab a lower gear early enough. Despite both engines being capable of reaching 6500rpm, the most revs you’ll get in a downshifted gear is just over 5000rpm. On hilly, twisty roads where engine braking is key, that left paddle cops plenty of punishment. The Stinger’s hot seat definitely delivers a gran turismo feel. Its driver seat’s lowest setting is just 180mm above the road – 45mm lower than an Optima’s – which definitely makes you feel part of the car. In the GT, full electric operation (including a driver’s underthigh extender) and both heating and cooling are part of the deal, as well as sumptuous red Nappa leather if you aren’t petrified of colour, but the seats themselves fall a little short. Literally. There isn’t quite enough

OZ WILL BE A KEY STINGER MARKET, SECOND ONLY TO THE US, WITH THE MAJORITY OF LOCAL SALES TIPPED TO BE V6 MODELS


Kia Australia has done a terrific job tuning the steering. It’s the most connected Kia we’ve ever driven

@wheelsaustralia 65


This is an emotional car driven by passion, a truly seductive car that so happens to wear a Kia badge


under-thigh support due to inadequate cushion tilt for the driver. And they could use a bit more side bolstering too – especially given the Stinger’s cornering capability. The dashboard treads a similarly good but not-quite-there path, with a very European aesthetic (including Benz-style ‘eyeball’ air vents that look prettier than their German inspiration) and some great details like the seat-temperature toggles and a pleasant finish to the central brushed-metal strip. But the parts-bin info screen in the Stinger’s instrument pack lowers its aspirational tone and the multimedia screen graphics – while easy to decipher and use – are from another era and design ethos. At least you can substitute them with Apple CarPlay to lift the sophistication. Even with the front passenger’s seat set to its lowest position (via a manual crank-handle adjuster in the base 2.0T), there’s an acceptable amount of toe room for an adult banished to the rear, with leg- and knee-room bordering on generous… for two people. A sizeable transmission tunnel exposes the rear-drive Stinger’s low-slung form, making the centre position a childonly affair, though the outer spots will comfortably seat adults. There’s minimal ‘theatre effect’ though, with the front headrests looming large in your field of vision, and the seat itself mirrors the front buckets in its rather short cushion length and sparse under-thigh support. What rear passengers do enjoy is another pair of ‘eyeball’ air vents with their own temperature-control dial, a 12-volt outlet and a USB port. And you can’t discount the flexibility of the Stinger’s liftback bodystyle, blending a sleek ‘fastback’ appearance with fold-flat rear backrests and greater luggage flexibility than a traditional sedan. That said, an Optima clearly eclipses the Stinger for rear seat room (despite its 100mm-shorter wheelbase) as well as boot space (510 litres versus 406). But the Stinger isn’t meant to make total practical sense. This is an emotional car driven by the passion of Kia’s European design bosses, producing a seductive sedan that just so happens to wear a Kia badge. And we have to applaud the Stinger’s Aussie-tuned chassis, which treads an impressively subtle line between controlled comfort and agile sportiness. Add a value-for-money pricing structure spanning roughly $43,000 to $60,000, give or take a grand or two, and you get plenty of presence for what is essentially chump change compared to what its comparative European rivals cost – the exact cars, in fact, which Kia will be pitching the Stinger against in most other markets. Be that as it may, the four-pot engine’s lack of acoustic personality doesn’t match the Stinger’s sporting panache, and that’s where the disconnect between the styling team, who’ve done a terrific job in nailing the gran turismo brief, and the engineering decision to insert an off-the-shelf engine like this becomes exposed. The Stinger deserves to have its sporting personality and styling charisma enhanced by suitably seductive powertrains, even the four-cylinder version. Thankfully, the optional sports exhaust saves the Aussiemarket Stinger V6 from being a worthy but not-quite-there sporting substitute for our former V8 appetite. In terms of pace and price, it’s bang on the zeitgeist, and there’s also stuff like Kia’s seven-year unlimited-mileage warranty to garnish the deal. The Stinger isn’t perfect, but as an adaptive-damped GT range-topper, or even an entry-level rear-drive alternative to a bunch of far less dynamic front-drivers, Kia’s entertaining flagship brings enough individuality and quality to demand that Euro-focused badge snobs pay serious attention.

KIA STINGER 2.0T

KIA STINGER GT

$43,000 (estimated)

$60,000 (estimated)

Drivetrain Engine Layout Capacity Power Torque Transmission

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (north-south), rear drive 1998cc 182kW @ 6200rpm 353Nm @ 1400-4000rpm 8-speed automatic

V6 (60°), dohc, 24v, twin-turbo front engine (north-south), rear drive 3342cc 272kW @ 6000rpm 510Nm @ 1300-4500rpm 8-speed automatic

Chassis Body L/W/H/W–B Front/rear track Weight Boot capacity Fuel/capacity Fuel consumption Suspension

Steering Turning Circle Front brakes Rear brakes Tyres Tyre size

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4830/1870/1400/2905mm 1596/1647mm 1693kg 406 litres 95 octane/60 litres 11.8L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar Rear: double A-arms, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar electric rack-and-pinion 11.2m (2.5 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (320mm) ventilated discs (315mm) Continental ContiSportContact 5 225/45R18

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4830/1870/1400/2905mm 1596/1619mm 1780kg 406 litres 95 octane/60 litres 12.8L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: double A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar electric rack-and-pinion 11.2m (2.2 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (350mm) ventilated discs (340mm) Continental ContiSportContact 5 225/40R19 (f), 255/35R19 (r)

Safety NCAP rating

not tested

not tested

Performance

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Verdict

Power-to-weight: 108kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6500rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 95 Speed in gears* 55km/h @ 6500rpm 88km/h @ 6500rpm 135km/h @ 6500rpm 184km/h @ 6500rpm 217km/h @ 6500rpm 232km/h @ 5780rpm* 230km/h @ 4500rpm* 213km/h @ 3600rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.2sec 0-40km/h: 2.2sec 0-60km/h: 3.6sec 0-80km/h: 5.1sec 0-100km/h: 7.2sec 0-120km/h: 9.5sec 0-140km/h: 12.5sec 0-160km/h: 16.2sec 0-180km/h: 21.2sec 0-200km/h: – 0-400m: 15.1sec @ 154.3km/h Rolling acceleration (Drive) 80-12Okm/h: 4.2sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 36.1m

Power-to-weight: 153kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6500rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 96 Speed in gears* 62km/h @ 6500rpm 96km/h @ 6500rpm 142km/h @ 6500rpm 192km/h @ 6500rpm 229km/h @ 6500rpm 270km/h @ 6340rpm* 270km/h @ 4925rpm* 253km/h @ 4000rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.0sec 0-40km/h: 1.8sec 0-60km/h: 2.7sec 0-80km/h: 3.7sec 0-100km/h: 5.1sec 0-120km/h: 6.7sec 0-140km/h: 8.6sec 0-160km/h: 11.0sec 0-180km/h: 13.8sec 0-200km/h: 17.6sec 0-400m: 13.2sec @ 176.4km/h Rolling acceleration (Drive) 80-12Okm/h: 2.8sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 37.4m**

7.5/10

8.0/10

Lovely chassis balance; keen steering; decent grunt; sharp value

Strong engine; fruity sports exhaust; excellent grip; styling; equipment Heavier nose than the four; engine a bit dull without the exhaust

Engine has no personality; languid acceleration step-off; bitey ESC Track: Sydney Dragway, dry. Temp: 16ºC. Driver: Nathan Ponchard. Warranty: 7yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/10,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: n/a AAMI Insurance: n/a * Manufacturer’s claim or estimated value.

Track: Sydney Dragway, dry. Temp: 16ºC Driver: Nathan Ponchard. Warranty: 7yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/10,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: n/a AAMI Insurance: n/a * Manufacturer’s claim or estimated value. ** Non-production braking package

@wheelsaustralia 67


WO R D S N AT H A N P O N C H A R D P H O T O S N AT H A N DU F F

Theperfecttune

AUSSIE STINGERS WILL BE THE SHARPEST IN THE WORLD. WHEELS EMBEDS WITH KIA’S CHASSIS TEAM TO TUNE IT FOR OUR ROADS


@wheelsaustralia 69


PART 1

USSIE chassis tuning of Kia’s rear-drive Stinger begins not in the flowing climbs of the Great Dividing Range, but deep inside Kia’s vast testing facility in Namyang, a two-hour bus haul from South Korea’s capital, Seoul. It’s the self-contained functionality of a proving ground that makes them so desirable. Here, you bolt in a new set of components, drive out the door and, a few minutes later, you’re flat out on the ride and handling circuit, unemcumbered by traffic and free of speed limits. And you have unlimited access to a headscrambling number of competitor vehicles. As has been the case since 2010, passionate rally driver and talented automotive engineer Graeme Gambold is Kia’s go-to suspension guy. Gambold and his chassis development crew begin by plugging swathes of design data – front and rear centre-of-gravity height, wheelbase, track widths, roll-centre heights, sprung and unsprung weights – into a VDA (Vehicle Dynamics Analyser) computer simulation program to establish a kinematic baseline. And not just for the Stinger, either. The Koreans have comprehensive data on every European benchmark you care to name, having analysed the competition in painstaking detail. Not the current rear-drive Commodore, however. “We haven’t looked at Commodore”, admits Gambold. “Not because we don’t feel that Commodore is important, but it means nothing to these guys [at Namyang]. If we find an issue, it’s much better to compare it against something that they know. And European stuff is usually the benchmark; in this case the C-Class or 4 Series.” The Aussies are restricted to a small number of tuneable components. In the case of Stinger, it’s four front springs and four rear springs for both the fourcylinder and V6, three front anti-roll bars and three rear anti-roll bars each, as well as a range of damping rates and steering tunes. Gambold simply has to make it work. Six months before on-sale, Stinger is already too far

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KOREA

down its development path for the Koreans to approve any tuning part outside the off-the-shelf stuff available in Namyang’s workshops. Says Gambold: “We don’t play with kinematic geometry – arm lengths, roll-steer coefficients, bump steers – because we trust and work with the data that the car is presented with. That stuff is vehicle design, not vehicle tuning. If there’s a big problem, then we’ll identify it and negotiate it, and there have been a couple of times where we’ve been successful in orchestrating change on kinematic design. But, generally speaking, we work with what we’re given. [The Koreans] do enough benchmarking of other vehicles to know what they’re doing”. Job One is forming a base tune to take back to Australia. In Korea, it’s chiefly springs, anti-roll bars and some damper tuning. Back home, it’ll be dampers and steering, including parameters of the ECS (Electronically Controlled Suspension) adaptive damping system and three levels of steering weight. “We’ll just build maximum/minimum stuff here, and then hopefully by the end of the week, get it into a window where we’re happy that’s our start point back in Australia,” says Gambold. What he’s certain of, however, is that the domestic (Korean) suspension tune of the V6 won’t work for Australian roads. “Before I’ve driven it, I can tell you now I won’t particularly like it. Firstly, it’s going to pitch because the front is too soft. Its roll-couple distribution [the relative roll stiffness between front and rear] for a rear-wheel car is too neutral, so it’s going to lift the inside rear wheel a fair bit so it’ll probably have poor traction,” Gambold says. “Even though they’re happy with it in their country and it suits their driving styles, I know that for Australia it won’t work. We have a lot of focus on pitching because we drive down country roads at 100 kays and if you’ve got a car that’s porpoising, you’ll notice it. Here [in Korea], you won’t. They like it because it gives them a bit of a luxo feel, an undamped feel, a bit of pitch, but we don’t like that.” Indeed, the domestic-market V6 chassis set-up feels a bit wrong. Its back end, in particular, feels like it’s on a


A TOWN LIKE NAMYANG There’s such a vast expanse inside Hyundai-Kia’s Namyang proving ground that it even has its own bus service. With 20,000 people working here every day, it’s like mobilising and feeding the population of an Aussie country town. ‘Benchmarking’ carparks brim with everything from ultracool Suzuki Hustlers (a tiny 660c Kei-car ‘SUV’) to AMGs. There’s loads of stuff I can’t talk about lapping the place, some undisguised except for front and rear car bras. But it’s the lunchtime rush that’s equally fascinating. Massive cafeterias are everywhere, each specialising in different cuisine. At exactly midday, a bell chimes loudly and workers pour from each building. Within minutes the cafeteria lines are almost out the door. An hour later, the food halls resemble ghost towns.

CAPTION

THE DARK ART OF SUSPENSION TUNING. FORTUNATELY GAMBOLD (FOREGROUND) AND HIS TEAM CAN SEE THE LIGHT


PART 2

EXTRA STING It’s no secret that Albert Biermann, Hyundai-Kia’s highperformance development chief, thinks there’s some headroom in the Stinger. “In Detroit he was very keen to say that there is more in this car… he has a vision for where he wants it to go,” says Kia’s Aussie PR boss, Kevin Hepworth. Gambold agrees: “It’s a car that Biermann spoke about. He wants to build to [M3, C63, et al] level, and I would too, but the parts bin isn’t there at the moment.” And what does Gambold think would make the ideal hot Stinger? “My personal view is that they would be best to just hot the V6 up.”

AUSTRALIA


different page to the front, while the rear wheels lack purchase and produce too much wheelspin when you push the car hard on challenging surfaces. In comparison, the initial Aussie tune feels far more cohesive, if still a bit understeery – especially when backto-backed with benchmarking vehicles, which include a BMW 428i xDrive Gran Coupe and an Audi A5 1.8TFSI Sportback, as well as a BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S sedan to experience the other extreme. We deem the 428i the most relevant for comparison, with its softer rear end, pointier steering, and overall dynamic superiority to the (old-gen) A5. Attention then turns to the Stinger four, and Gambold thinks the domestic tune isn’t bad. “Their final tune is the same hard parts as we want… and when we drove it we were really happy with it.” But pushed hard in the lane-change, the Stinger four understeers strongly, unlike the much sharper 428i. Limited by spring choice, Gambold opts for a smaller front anti-roll bar and has asked the on-site engineers from damper supplier Mando to rebuild the 2.0T’s rear dampers with reduced rebound and increased compression to lessen the understeer by “holding the rear end up”. Instead of inertly following the front, Gambold wants the Stinger’s rear end to play a contributing role in pointing the nose into a corner.

IF YOU LIKE HOW YOUR NEW STINGER STEERS, SEND PONCH A THANKYOU NOTE — HE HELPED

GAMBOLD WANTS THE STINGER’S REAR END TO PLAY A CONTRIBUTING ROLE IN POINTING THE NOSE INTO A CORNER Two days of fettling later, Gambold is much happier with the V6. “We’ve increased the rear shock absorber rate quite a bit, so when you turn now it rolls in and you feel the back settle; you know that you’ve got that grip. It doesn’t understeer as much as it did, either.” Back in Sydney, the tuning team’s deadline is just as tight. When I head out to Kia’s head office workshop, they’re determining the control strategy for the ECS dampers. “We’re looking at steering angle, brake pressure, acceleration position, lateral G-force, vehicle speed, the mode switch the driver has selected, body G-force, and wheel G-force,” says Gambold. “And from those inputs, the solenoid valve gets a logic from the map that we build. We’ll extrapolate the European high-speed data, and we can play with a lot of things – roll, pitch, bounce, slow roll, fast roll, hard braking, give it squat to help traction...” I leave the white GT V6 in the pits and head out in the red 2.0T with fixed dampers. It doesn’t have its Aussie steering calibration, meaning it’s a little numb and overlight at the helm, but its chassis feels very keen on the sinuous, challenging roads snaking through Sydney’s Kuringai National Park. For comparative purposes, we bring along a BMW 420i Coupe. The automatic Beemer proves pleasant but colourless – just like the Stinger 2.0T’s engine. Back at Kia HQ, I deliver my feedback on the four’s very sharp turn-in. “I don’t typically like that feel”, says Gambold. “I don’t like a fast rear yaw response, so if it’s doing that then we’ll probably tame it a bit. But then you can tame a lot of that with the power steering tune.” And so the fine-tuning goes right to the wire. At the pointy end, it’s all about finessing. “Hours and hours of driving up and down on the same piece of road, changing numbers,” says Gambold. It’s much more mentally challenging than it sounds. But thanks to the engineers’ unwavering patience, persistence, and passion, our Stinger gets to be the best in the world. @wheelsaustralia 73


you copy, o D “ Commodore?” Nearly 70 years ago, Australian servicemen helped save West Berlin in the biggest humanitarian airlift operation in history. MIKE DUFF revisits the sites of that remarkable event in the German-built Opel that’s headed here to fill the shoes of an Aussie icon

@wheelsaustralia 75


PHOTOS T O M S A LT

LINK at the wrong second on the A20 Autobahn and you’ll completely miss the border that divides the northern German states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. These days there’s no obvious difference on either side, a vista of fields and wind turbines with the boundary nothing more than a blurred signpost. In the Opel Insignia, we don’t even have to lift off, crossing at close proximity to the 130km/h speed limit. Yet it’s not long since this was the edge of the free world, and one of the most heavily defended frontiers in the world. The Inner-German Border separated West Germany from the German Democratic Republic, the communist statelet that was neither democratic or a republic. It had concrete walls, watch towers, attack dogs and even minefields. Not to mention armed guards with standing orders to open fire on anyone entering the ‘death strip’ between both sides, even if it was one of their own comrades. This wasn’t a border to keep people out, rather a prison wall built to prevent the population of the DDR fleeing to the rich, decadent west. This was how mad the Cold War was. SPOT the connection to the Opel Insignia? Perhaps not quite; but the chance to snag an early drive ahead of its transformation into the next Holden Commodore

76 wheelsmag.com.au

had us looking for previous examples of successful German-Australian cooperation, which brings us to Operation Pelican. This was the Aussie contribution to the Berlin Airlift, the biggest airborne logistics operation in history and the one that stopped the former German capital from being starved into submission by the Soviets. The Americans and British started the airlift, but the Australians were involved from the beginning, with several RAAF crews based in England being seconded to flying duties. As the blockade continued towards the winter of 1948, when the need for supplies would increase further, the Australian government volunteered to send ten crews to fly British Douglas C-47 Skytrains as an official RAAF mission, dubbed ‘Operation Pelican’ in apparent reference to the bird whose “beak can hold more than his belly can.” FIRST, the awkward matter of German geography. The Insignia has to be picked up from Opel HQ in Russelsheim, 550km from Lubeck where the RAAF crews flew from. GM’s recent sale of its European operations to PSA adds another complicating factor. The taxi driver who takes me from Frankfurt airport to the vast factory tells me he’s already taken three separate groups of serious-looking French executives to the plant, with locals predicting the merger is set to lead to big cuts soon. “Opels are good cars,” he opines


AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF AUSTRALIA’S PART IN THE MASSIVE EFFORT THAT SAVED WEST BERLIN FROM SOVIET DICTATORSHIP

NOW IMAGINE IT WITH THE WHEEL ON THE OTHER SIDE, A LION LOGO ON THE WHEEL, AND THE HUME THROUGH THE WINDSCREEN


EMUS IN GERMANY? BELIEVE IT. AFTER ESCAPING FROM A ZOO, THIS MOB IS NOW BREEDING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

The new Insignia aces its predecessor on every metric, and looks vastly better too

MUCH OF BERLIN’S COLD WAR HISTORY STILL STANDS TODAY, LOOMING OVER A WORLD THAT HAS LONG SINCE MOVED ON


from the driver’s seat of a battle-scarred E-Class taxi, “but people don’t want to buy them.” Yet the new Insignia could be a hit. The first-gen Insignia wasn’t universally loved in its European homeland, being conspicuously outclassed by most of its rivals throughout its too-long life. It was the sort of car that the rental agency rep apologised for giving you when he ran out of Mondeos. But the new one aces its predecessor on every measurable metric and – just as importantly – it looks vastly better too. Holden is predictably keen to point out that, as we’ve detailed before, much about the Insignia is going to change before it reaches Australia next year; it’s more than knocking off the lightning badge and replacing it with a lion. Australian cars will get a unique suspension tune and the option of the V6 engine denied to Europeans, plus several other spec changes. But much will remain the same, including the drivetrain option fitted to my German test car – the 191kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four, paired with the optional torquevectoring all-wheel-drive system. The Autobahn schlep to Lubeck proves that the basics are all decent. The Insignia feels big and spacious. Cabin design is conservative but feels durable with some nice quality touches. Equipment levels on this range-topping ‘Dynamic’ version are more than healthy, with a part-digital dashboard, LED headlights, switchable dampers, adaptive cruise with lane-keeping intervention, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera

system for low-speed manoeuvring, and even a massage function for the front seats. The lane-keeper proves to be too keen to apply a surprisingly forceful amount of steering torque and is soon switched off, but even with traffic and speed limits denying me the chance to fully extend the Insignia on-road capabilities, it’s obviously an accomplished cruiser. While Lubeck is a beautiful city, its airport definitely isn’t one of the star attractions. As an RAF base, this was where Operation Pelican flights started from – less than 10km from what was then the Soviet sector. It was turned over to civilian use in the 1990s, but even the low-cost airlines that flew from it have abandoned it now. The carparks are filled with nothing more than weeds, although the automatic doors to the terminal still slide open when you approach them. Inside the departures board is completely blank. A small plaque commemorates the fact that the RAAF flew 2062 sorties from here to Berlin during the airlift. A sudden squall of rain cuts the visit short; it’s time to start heading east. The Insignia Grand Sport is a hatchback, but has been styled to look like a sedan, in part because of the known prejudices of Australian buyers, as well as Americans and Chinese customers who will get it as a Buick. Visually its profile works pretty well, but without a rear wiper the shallow angle of the tailgate glass becomes opaque with unswept water. Photographer Salt, who lives nearby, warns there are some wild emus living locally; they escaped from a

A Herculean effort After the Soviets blockaded Berlin in 1948, a divided city that was then hundreds of kilometres inside the DDR, the only alternative available to the West to avoid capitulation, or a full scale war, was a seemingly impossible one – to fly supplies in. Not just beer and sausages, but petrol, milk, consumer goods and even the huge amounts of coal necessary to keep the power stations running. With a population of two million trapped that would mean a minimum of around 3500 tons of supplies would have to be ferried in by air every day. A ludicrous amount: during the war the best efforts of the Luftwaffe had failed to deliver even 300 tons a day to the besieged forces at Stalingrad.

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The Insignia tops out at an indicated 248km/h; flat-out, it gets pretty close to the C-47’s cruising speed


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CABIN IS CONSERVATIVE LOOKING, BUT FEELS DURABLE, AND, IN COMMODORE FORM, WILL RAISE EQUIPMENT LEVELS SIGNIFICANTLY OVER OUTGOING VF


zoo in sufficient numbers to form a breeding colony. A high-speed encounter with one of them would be an unwanted extra Australian connection in this adventure. The weather soon clears, as does most of the Autobahn traffic. Even 27 years after reunification the former DDR is still noticeably poorer and less well populated than the rest of Germany, which – on a derestricted Autobahn – is a positive advantage. Passing the triple striped sign that shows no limits apply with practically nothing in view to the distant horizon gives a chance to find out what it’ll do. While the 2.0-litre donk is clearly tuned to provide low and mid-range torque, it isn’t averse to a bit of hard work. The eight-speed gearbox isn’t the sharpest witted – the Commodore will arrive here with a newer nine-speed unit – as there’s a noticeable pause between upshifts, and the engine gets vocal above 5000rpm. Push it, and the numbers on the digital speedo keeps growing: 200km/h feels pretty easy, by 220km/h the door seals are struggling and wind noise starts to fill the cabin. By 240km/h it’s clear that the limit is near, as several seconds pass between each successive digit. The car tops out at an indicated 248km/h, just shy of the official 250km/h speed limiter; it might have gone faster, but a distant truck seems to be contemplating a lane change. At top speed the Insignia’s body control starts to waver, but switching the dampers into their firmer ‘Sport’ setting calms proceedings down nicely. Four-kays a minute, and not a single law broken. Flat-out, the Insignia gets pretty close to the

Commodore’s commander Flagship of the NG Commodore range will be the VXR, which will boast a 3.6-litre V6 that will deliver 235kW/381Nm through all four wheels via a ninespeed transmission. Brembo front brakes and adaptive dampers will be standard on VXR, as will a comprehensive suite of safety and driver-assistance systems. There will be a Tourer variant (pictured), but for lovers for benteights and manual shifts, sorry; move along; nothing for you here...

cruising speed of a C-47, but the supply flights were anything but a cruise. The huge number of planes that had to be landed, unloaded and then dispatched at the three Berlin airports meant everything was done with the utmost precision, flying on a ‘conveyer belt’ with planes dispatched at threeminute intervals and with different streams ordered to fly at different heights. Each aircraft had only one attempt to land at Berlin; if for any reason they missed their slot they had to turn around and return fully laden. THE INSIGNIA makes it to Berlin without breaking a sweat. It’s a good cruiser, a great gentle-pace car, comfortable and quiet while travelling at a decent clip, pliant and easy to drive in town. We stop off at the remaining bit of the Berlin Wall, put up considerably after the airlift but still the most striking emblem of this once-divided city. It’s a beautiful summer’s evening and the city is crowded with young people enjoying both sun and beer. But then, as we manoeuvre the Insignia for a shot, there’s a blast of frankly terrible German rock music. A Trabant covered in DDR flags and outfitted with a loud sound system pulls up right next to us. It’s being driven by a bloke called Rene who says he restored this former military Trabi to something close to its former glory and drives it around as a rolling celebration of the DDR. Rene was 21 when the wall came down, and says he still mourns the end of the Communist regime. Nice fella, but barking mad.

A Trabant pulls right up; it’s driven by a bloke who was 21 when the wall came down @wheelsaustralia 83


AFTER a night in a hotel with an underground car park that seems to have been designed to accommodate nothing bigger than a Trabant, it’s time to visit Tempelhof. This is the massively overthe-top airport that the Nazis built right in the centre of Berlin, and is one of very few buildings designed by Hitler’s pet architect, Albert Speer, to have survived the war. It’s certainly impressive, the main building being 1.2km long and arranged around a massive quadrant. It closed as an airport in 2008 and there’s the strong sense the city doesn’t really know what to do with it – some of the offices are in use, but most are standing empty, and a male strip club for the ladies called ‘SIXX PAXX’ has set up next to the main departures hall. There’s also a concrete memorial to the pilots who died in the airlift – the number includes one Australian, Flight Lieutenant Mel Quinn, who crashed near Lubeck in March 1949 while serving with the RAF. Our final stop is back in the west of Berlin, and another former airbase. Gatow was in the British sector, and was where most of the Operation Pelican flights landed. Since the Brits left in the late 1990s it has become the Luftwaffe museum, and we’re going to see one of the star exhibits. Looping into the Brandenberg countryside gives the Insignia a chance to show how it copes with tighter and twistier roads. The answer is with a similar degree of competence as on the Autobahn, but with little apparent enthusiasm. Grip levels are high and responses are accurate, but the steering is a feel-free zone and despite featuring the same torque-splitting ‘Twinster’ rear axle as the Ford Focus RS, there’s no sense of any playful nature under harder use; the

Heavy lifter The US-built Douglas C-47 Skytrain (or Dakota) was a military transporter developed from the DC-3 commercial passenger plane first introduced in 1936. The C-47 hit the skies in 1941, and differed from the civilian DC-3 by being fitted with a strengthened floor, a cargo door, a shortened tail cone, and an ‘astrodome’ in the cabin roof. Two Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp 14-cylinder engines displaced nearly 30 litres and were each good for 895kW, giving the C-47 a top speed of 370km/h.

system fights understeer without adding any rear-endy excitement. At Gatow a twin-engined silver plane sits next to the former control tower. A closer look reveals distinctive kangaroo roundel and the legend AL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE’ above its windows. ‘ROYAL It’s a Douglas C-47 that was flown here in 1980 to celebrate Australia’s connection to the Airlift but, as the Soviets didn’t allow Aussie military planes into their airspace, it was repainted into RAF colours for its flight from the UK, and then returned to RAAF livery after it landed. Up close it looks small, but tough, with its riveted aluminium skin giving it a patchwork finish. Even after standing for more than 30 years there’s still the distinctive smell of oil and hydraulic fluid, and a glance under the cowlings reveals its 14-cylinder radial engines are still in place. WE’LL SWERVE the controversy about a predominantly front-drive German-built Commodore for now, but the Insignia offers a fine basis for its Holden offshoot. GM Europe might have saved its best for last, the Insignia certainly feeling much more convincing than any of PSA’s own similarly sized offerings. It’s short on driving thrills, but the basics are all good. As for the Airlift, it ended up as a huge success. After frequently failing to hit the target of 3500 tons a day early on, the operation became much more efficient with a peak of 1400 flights delivering 13,000 tons in a single day; phone DHL Air Freight and ask for a quote to do that. Proof, if we’re taking a moral here, that cooperation in the face of adversity can produce remarkable success.

Insignia copes with tighter and twistier roads with similar competence as on the Autobahn 84 wheelsmag.com.au


Model Opel Insignia Grand Sport Engine 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo Max Power 191kW @ 5300rpm Max Torque 400Nm @ 2500-4000rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Weight 1580kg (estimated) 0-100km/h 7.3sec (claimed) Economy 8.6L/100km Price $40,000 (estimated) On sale Q1, 2018 (as NG Commodore)


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ALL THE SMALL THINGS WO R D S A N DY E N R IG H T P H O T O S N AT H A N J AC O B S

It’s been our hatchback benchmark for more than a decade, but is a significant mid-life update really enough to keep the Volkswagen Golf ahead of its all-new rivals?


O COMPREHENSIVE was the Golf Mk7’s victory in the 2013 edition of Wheels Car of the Year, that there were many mutterers in the office who believed that were it eligible for entry the following year, it would have wiped the floor with the best of 2014’s crop. While this would have denied thousands of online commentators the chance to congratulate us on our choice of the BMW i3 for COTY 2014, the extravagantly talented Golf 7 has remained the benchmark car in its class, before being mildly refreshed this year in 7.5 guise. We’re used to there being barely a chink in the Golf’s armour, but examine the refreshed range and you’ll wonder why there’s such a gaping hole between the 110kW 1.4-litre TSI and the forthcoming 169kW 2.0-litre GTI. So in order to take the box-fresh Golf out of its comfort zone, we’re pitching the 1.4-litre TSI against a trio of talented rivals that ask much the same price that Volkswagen charges but pack significantly more herbs. Holden’s Astra, a Wheels Car of the Year 2017 contender, needs little in the way of introduction. We’re unashamed advocates of the Opel-bred hatch’s dynamics and the 147kW 1.6-litre turbo RS-V rangetopper is, by a margin, the cheapest car here. Blue-tinged of collar it may be, but waging asymmetric warfare against the occasionally haughty

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Volkswagen could well prove Holden’s masterstroke. On paper, the Hyundai i30 SR Premium appears an instant front-runner. With a huge equipment list, a peppy 150kW from its 1.6-litre turbo four, an independent rear end at last, and a newfound confidence in third-gen guise, the i30 has nothing of the underdog about it. Back that up with a five-year warranty and the Korean comes in swinging. Honda’s Civic hatch has divided opinion with its styling, but there aren’t too many dissenting voices on the quality of its chassis or the sheer amount of car on offer, the Civic looking almost half a class bigger than the norm. With 127kW under the bonnet from its 1.5-litre turbo four, driving through a CVT gearbox, is the Honda a little too big for its own good? Running numbers on the cars was instructive, but first a mea culpa. In the bleary-eyed pre-dawn, we fuelled the Golf with the minimum-recommended 95 rather than 98 RON as was used in the others, in the process exacerbating its already hefty power deficit. So it was perhaps no great surprise that it logged the slowest times at the strip, recording 8.3 seconds to 100km/h and a 0-400m time of 16.2 seconds. Still, that’s a mere tenth down on Volkswagen’s claimed numbers which, given the car was loaded to the gunwales with options and was asked to perform on a cold and damp track, was a hugely creditable showing. Exciting, no, the dual-clutch transmission registering not one chirrup of wheelspin, but impressive in its own way.


CIVIC’S CONTROLS ARE EFFECTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE BUT MATERIALS QUALITY TENDS TO DULL THE PERCEPTION OF QUALITY

The skin I’m in One of the neatest things about the Civic’s infotainment system is that there’s a hidden ‘Easter egg’ that allows you to change the skin. Should you want to update the look and feel go to Settings, then System, scroll up when it looks as if you’re at the top of the screen already and, lo, another menu appears. Choose the ‘Change Skin’ option and you can customise the screen, even uploading your own wallpapers if you really want to get creative.


THE i30 SR’S CABIN IS AN OBJECT LESSON IN SIMPLICITY AND INTUITIVE DESIGN. IF YOU EVER NEED TO REFER TO THE MANUAL, YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING VERY WRONG


The Civic and Hyundai were predictably quicker, but the champ in a straight line was the Astra, the Vbox churning out 7.2 seconds to 100km/h and 15.2 seconds to 400m. Round one to Holden, then, despite the fact the Astra’s familiar silhouette and slight dearth of charisma meant that it was always the last set of keys left in the hat. Even in RS-V specification, the car’s fussy wheels and equally over-elaborate three-quarter detailing undersell what’s on offer. At just $31,740 for this automatic model, the RS-V delivers serious value for money, offering almost $2000 worth of headroom to the next most expensive car in this test, the $33,590 Honda Civic VTi-LX. The Astra’s hardly in stripper spec either, with LED front and rear lights, heated seats and steering wheel, and a whole suite of electronic safety functions like AEB, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise, and blind-spot alert. Spring for the Civic and you do get a lot of styling. All of it in fact. In a swage-line-per-dollar comparison, the Honda registers a solid six stars out of five. Beyond that, the lane keep/adaptive cruise combination is the best calibrated of the lot here, giving the car a taste of the old-school meticulous Honda engineering many thought had gone for good. The mapping graphics, on the other hand, look as if the designers had run riot with a jumbo pack of fluoro markers. The i30 would seem to wear its $33,950 sticker price a little self-consciously, but the range-topping SR Premium with the auto ’box packs a lot in. Strip it back to the SR with a manual box (with the added bonus of a

manual handbrake too), and that would run you a mere $25,950. Would you really miss the LED headlights, a panoramic glass sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, chrome body finishes, one-touch windows, and a power outlet in the luggage area? It’s still absolutely rammed with kit including the phone charging induction pad (iPhone users need to buy a special case to power up their handsets). That said, the auto model also bundles in AEB, adaptive cruise, and lane-keep assist, which goes some way to justifying the price. The Golf should retail at $34,490 in Highline trim, but somebody got a bit keen when specifying this test car and added the driver assistance package, infotainment package, R-Line package, and some wholly outre Turmeric Yellow metallic paint to bump its price up to within $50 of an outgoing GTI. Try to ignore the tinsel; the car doesn’t need it. The added 18kW over the old 92TSI doesn’t make as much difference as expected. There’s an extra 50Nm of torque on tap when the turbocharger gets its trousers on from 1500rpm, but the Golf 7’s character and its winning combo of pliant ride and perky handling carry over much as before. Volkswagen claims to have digitised the Golf with this midlife makeover, and with the 12.3-inch Active Info Display in the cowl, you can render yourself digitally surprised and delighted, though the standard Highline doesn’t get this, so it’s as you were. Tailing the Golf through a set of hairpins in the i30 is instructive. There’s a benign malleability to the way

There’s a benign malleability to the way the i30 tackles a road @wheelsaustralia 91


the Hyundai tackles a road. It’s soft-edged, with long strokes to the pedal arcs and a one-pause-two as the body settles into a corner, but it’s certainly quick across country. The steering and gearbox are bang on the money for a warm hatch, responsive but never neurotic. Driven up to about eight-tenths, the i30 is a heck of a package, with only an initial lack of brake pedal response counting against it. Turn the wick up further and it’s clear where Volkswagen spent all that budget on the Golf 7. The Hyundai’s composure deteriorates, the steering rack rattling, the ESP system chopping in unnecessarily, and

of the way through a bend after a clumsy pass at the apex. Marshal the ’box yourself via the wheel-mounted paddles and the engine sounds thrashy as you try to make the most of the meagre 220Nm. It’s all a bit of a shame, as the Civic clearly features a talented chassis, but it’s been comprehensively hobbled by the unhappy engine and gearbox combination. The Astra RS-V has no such issue. It’ll drive clean away from the Golf on any road you care to choose, courtesy of handling that’s at least on par and a manifestly superior powerplant. The Golf’s 1.4-litre TSI unit sounds hollow and somewhat two-dimensional

The Astra will drive clean away from the Golf on any road you care to choose the Hankook Ventus tyres lacking the smooth transition into understeer of the Volkswagen’s Bridgestone Potenza rubber. Rev hang is also evident, the engine having a notably lazy spool-down. The Civic also struggles when given a stern examination, but the problem here isn’t the chassis. It’s the CVT, which, even in Sport mode, never puts enough torque on the table as you engage the front of the car into a corner. It feels akin to entering in neutral and taking up the clutch in a manual car, the 1.5-litre turbo lump delivering enough Newton metres to drag the car into some semblance of composure two-thirds

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when absolutely wrung out in pursuit of the Holden, feeling all of its 37kW and 50Nm deficit. In fact, the Astra just gets better the more abuse you fling at it, signalling the edge of adhesion by a rapid-fire drumming harmonic from the outside front suspension assembly. One suspects you’d find its shortcomings on track, but for a fast road setup, the dynamics represent a sweet set of compromises. Even the Sport mode does a decent job, weighting up the steering by a few degrees without introducing a synthetic stickiness. Hats off to the chassis teams at Russelsheim and Lang Lang. It’s a heck of an achievement.


Circuit judge We didn’t have the chance to put our four contenders around a race track, but sister title Motor included the manual versions of the i30 SR and the Astra RS in their annual Bang For Your Bucks comparison. The results? Pretty much as we’d predict. The Astra ran a lap of Winton in 1:43.9 with the Hyundai trailing in 1:44.6. The Holden held a higher corner speed in the fast turns but the Hyundai was able to claw some back under brakes.

ASTRA RS-V WEARS ITS SPORTING COLOURS DISCREETLY BUT IS THE FASTEST OF THE BUNCH CROSS COUNTRY. LACK OF SHIFT PADDLES MAKES THE WRONG-WAY ROUND SHIFT LEVER INEXCUSABLE.

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The joy of specs The Golf 7.5 is offered in base, Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline trim levels with an optional R-Line optic pack available solely for the Highline. The DSG-only Comfortline looks to be the go, adding $1000 to the price of the equivalent Trendline and netting you 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, the upgraded Discover Media system, a storage drawer under the front passenger seat, a 12V outlet in the boot, better front seats, and a splash more chrome indoors and out.

OUR TEST GOLF HAD RAIDED THE DRESS-UP BOX AND WOUND UP COSTING ALMOST AS MUCH AS A GTI. A SHEEP IN WOLF’S CLOTHING? MAYBE. BUT THAT’S ONE FINE-LOOKING SHEEP


It’s well packaged too, with what feels like the most passenger space in the back, although beyond that it’s a bit mean. There’s no centre armrest, no door grab handles, no rear cup holders, no rear air vents, and a door armrest that seems to have been designed to cater better for baby T. rexes than Homo sapiens. Aside from the glitzy piano black and chrome detailing, there are some notable downsides to the fascia design. The phone holder’s a waste of space, it’s the only car here with no shift paddles, and the door mirrors are set too far back, requiring a turn of the

lines out of the car and silicone-damped feel-good slickness. Accommodation in the rear is good, although passengers won’t be able to get their feet under the electrically adjustable front seats if they’re set low. The i30’s cabin looks clean and fresh, with red anodised-look detailing on the wheel, vent bezels, and air con controls that could have looked really cheesy but instead is just about subtle enough. The rear is the tightest of the bunch with a firm seat cushion, but that aside, it’s a class act. The ride quality is the best here too, the damping being initially soft in its travel

The Golf’s cabin is all expensive touch points and silicone-damped slickness head rather than a flick of the eyeballs. The massive AEB intervention light atop the dash reflects in the windscreen and the starter button is hidden around the back of the wheel where the driver’s watch clasp will inevitably rake the leather rim. And the warning chimes are enough to send you postal. It’s these sorts of errors that Volkswagen tends not to make. The Golf’s cabin feels smart and cohesive, and about the only minor ergonomic complaints are a poorly sited idle-stop kill switch, a fiddly USB input, and a central screen that has a slight look of the aftermarket about it when it powers down. Other than that it’s all expensive touch points, considered sight

and then firming up rapidly. Visibility out of the car is extremely good and the mirror placement is excellent, but the electric seat ought to drop a bit lower for a car with sporting aspirations. No such issues for the Civic. It feels as if your rear end is skimming a few millimetres above the bitumen. It’s wide inside, with at least as much rear legroom as the Astra and a little more than the Golf. The chunky camera that sits on the passenger door mirror is a good idea in concept, but it’s often distracting when its image flicks up on the central display. Yet it’s probably a good thing as the rear three-quarter visibility on the Civic is scandalous. There are, however, some

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thoughtful design touches evident in the execution of the Civic’s packaging. The fabric parcel shelf roller blind is one, and the way the global closure on the key also shuts the sunroof is another. The HDMI port located in the nether regions of the fascia will be a head scratcher for some, but it’s used for smartphone mirroring via HondaLink apps. Sorting these cars into some semblance of order is surprisingly easy. The Honda is the only car here with a glaring shortcoming. No, it’s not the styling. The CVT gearbox does it no favours whatsoever and masks what is a dynamically capable car. Add a decent auto and a lick more power and the Civic would be on the money

robust. The Holden feels bulletproof, Australia-proof even, in a way that none of the others, not even the imperious Volkswagen, can quite pull off. For that, it earns the runner-up spot. It can’t topple the Golf, though, and, truth be told, it wouldn’t have bested Golf 7, let alone iteration 7.5. As a tester, you’re constantly asking whether you’re being gulled by Volkswagen’s polish, seduced by a superficial sheen of glitz, but no. There’s real substance to the Golf, showing the more powerful Hyundai and Honda a clean pair of heels on a challenging road and offering the cleanest ergonomics, the most mature design ethos, the sweetest consistency of control weights and, in almost

If Porsche built a hatch, it would probably feel a lot like the Golf 7.5 or thereabouts. There’s work to be done here for the next refresh. The Hyundai initially looked as if it would give the Golf a stern test and, in many regards, it fits the warm hatch brief best. Our money would go on a manual SR, a car that would have posed us a few more searching questions than this full-fruit auto SR Premium version, but the i30 has earned its spurs in some tough company. The Astra came close. Initially unfancied in comparison to the more overt charms of the Golf and the i30, the RS-V inveigled its way into our affections the longer we drove it. It has a number of annoying detail glitches that ought to have been fixed early in the design process but the fundamentals are just so

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every area, a greater depth of engineering. If Porsche built a hatch, it would probably feel a lot like the Golf 7.5. That’s the result of years of continuity in the car’s development; Volkswagen’s nuanced understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Maybe Hyundai will develop that. Holden and Honda certainly haven’t, successive generations of Astra and Civic succumbing to a sort of developmental amnesia where the best aspects of predecessor models are inexplicably jettisoned in favour of a different look and feel. Volkswagen doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel with each generation of Golf. It just makes it incrementally better. And that’s why it wins.


HOLDEN ASTRA RS-V

HONDA CIVIC VTi-LX

HYUNDAI i30 SR PREMIUM

VW GOLF 110TSI HIGHLINE

$31,740/Tested $31,740

$33,590/Tested $34,165**

$33,950/Tested $34,445**

$34,490/Tested $41,290**

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), front drive 1498cc 127kW @ 5500rpm 220Nm @ 1700-5500rpm CVT automatic (seven ratio steps)

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), front drive 1591cc 150kW @ 6000rpm 265Nm @ 1500-4500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), front drive 1395cc 110kW @ 5000-6000rpm 250Nm @ 1500-3500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4386/1809/1485/2662mm 1574/1581mm 1363kg 360 litres 95 octane/48 litres 7.8L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4515/1799/1421/2700mm 1547/1563mm 1365kg 410 litres 95 octane/47 litres 8.3L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4340/1795/1455/2650mm 1553/1562mm 1436kg 395 litres 95 octane/50 litres 7.8L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4258/1799/1452/2620mm 1543/1514mm 1312kg 380 litres 95 octane/50 litres 8.5L/100km (test average)***

Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: torsion beam, Watts linkage, coil springs, anti-roll bar

Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar

Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar

Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar

electric rack-and-pinion 11.9m (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (276mm) solid discs (264mm) Bridgestone Turanza T001 225/40R18 82W

electric rack-and-pinion 10.6m (2.2 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (282mm) solid discs (260mm) Yokohama Advan db 215/50R17 91V

electric rack-and-pinion 10.6m (2.6 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (305mm) solid discs (262mm) Hankook Ventus Prime2 225/40R18 88V

electric rack-and-pinion 10.9m (2.3 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (288mm) solid discs (272mm) Bridgestone Potenza S001 225/40R18 92Y

 (Aus)

 (Aus)

 (Aus)

Power-to-weight: 108kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/5900rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 96 Speed in gears 44km/h @ 5900rpm 68km/h @ 5900rpm 105km/h @ 5900rpm 138km/h @ 5900rpm 201km/h @ 5900rpm* 225km/h @ 4950rpm*

Power-to-weight: 93kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6200rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 95 Speed in gears 220km/h @ 3500rpm*

Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.1sec 0-40km/h: 2.2sec 0-60km/h: 3.4sec 0-80km/h: 4.9sec 0-100km/h: 7.2sec 0-120km/h: 9.6sec 0-140km/h: 13.0sec

Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.1sec 0-40km/h: 2.4sec 0-60km/h: 3.7sec 0-80km/h: 5.3sec 0-100km/h: 7.6sec 0-120km/h: 10.5sec 0-140km/h: 14.1sec

Power-to-weight: 104kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 7000/6800rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 96 Speed in gears 50km/h @ 6800rpm 84km/h @ 6800rpm 124km/h @ 6800rpm 179km/h @ 6800rpm* 225km/h @ 6800rpm* 225km/h @ 5800rpm* 225km/h @ 4900rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.3sec 0-40km/h: 2.4sec 0-60km/h: 3.6sec 0-80km/h: 5.3sec 0-100km/h: 7.3sec 0-120km/h: 10.0sec 0-140km/h: 13.5sec

Power-to-weight: 84kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6000rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 43km/h @ 6000rpm 72km/h @ 6000rpm 111km/h @ 6000rpm 160km/h @ 6000rpm* 215km/h @ 6000rpm* 215km/h @ 4800rpm* 215km/h @ 4000rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.4sec 0-40km/h: 2.6sec 0-60km/h: 4.0sec 0-80km/h: 5.9sec 0-100km/h: 8.3sec 0-120km/h: 11.6sec 0-140km/h: 15.9sec

0-400m: 15.2sec @ 151.4km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 4.5sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 40.3m

0-400m: 15.6sec @ 146.4km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 5.1sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 38.2m

0-400m: 15.4sec @ 147.3km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 4.6sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 38.6m

0-400m: 16.2sec @ 141.2km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 5.7sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 40.4m

8.0/10

7.0/10

Drivetrain Engine Layout Capacity Power Torque Transmission

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), front drive 1598cc 147kW @ 5500rpm 300Nm @ 1650-3500rpm 6-speed automatic

Chassis Body L/W/H/W–B Front/rear track Weight Boot capacity Fuel/capacity Fuel consumption Suspension

Steering Turning Circle Front brakes Rear brakes Tyres Tyre size

Safety NCAP rating

 (Aus)

Performance

1 2 3 4 5 6

Verdict

Gutsy powerplant; composure at limit; Great chassis; huge boot; equipment levels; smart driver-assist systems great value; space; equipment CVT; styling; materials quality; Some clunky ergo issues; cabin materials; irritating warning chimes torque shortfall; rear blind spot Track: Heathcote dragstrip, damp. Temp: 9.5ºC. Driver: Byron Mathioudakis. Warranty: 3yr/100,000km. Service interval: 9 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 52%. AAMI Insurance: $913 * Estimated.

Track: Heathcote dragstrip, damp. Temp: 10ºC. Driver: Byron Mathioudakis. Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/10,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 56%. AAMI Insurance: $879 * Estimated. ** Includes metallic paint ($495).

7.5/10

8.5/10

Decent ride; eager engine; slick transmission; generous equipment

Beautifully honed; sharp dynamics; clever ergonomics; clean styling

i30 SR manual looks better value; soft edge to dynamics

Power deficit; options get pricey; DCT ’box not as rugged as an auto

Track: Heathcote dragstrip, damp. Temp: 10ºC. Driver: Byron Mathioudakis. Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 56%. AAMI Insurance: $799 * Estimated. ** Includes metallic paint ($495).

Track: Heathcote dragstrip, damp. Temp: 9.5ºC. Driver: Byron Mathioudakis. Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 56%. AAMI Insurance: $886 * Estimated. ** Includes Driver Assistance Package($1300), Infotainment Package ($2300), R-Line Package ($2500) and metallic paint ($500). *** Fuelled on the minimum recommended 95 RON rather than the 98 RON used in the other test cars.

@wheelsaustralia 97


Enter the Matador He’s the passionate former Ferrari man who has the job of leading Lamborghini into a bold new era of hybrids and SUVs. So, does Stefano Domenicali have the chops? Ben Oliver finds out

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@wheelsaustralia 99


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For a moment I wonder if Stefano Domenicali is really the right guy to be leading Lamborghini, one of the world’s most extrovert carmakers. If you have ever daydreamed of returning to your old school in triumph and finally exorcising the long-buried hurt of being passed over for sports teams, ignored by the opposite sex, and told you’ll never amount to much, with a display of your subsequent success (please say it’s not just me) – well, this arrival would do nicely. Stefano arrives at his old school in Imola in a yellow Lamborghini Huracan Performante with a police escort. The school is having a road-safety day and Stefano is the guest of honour. As he follows the police car into the grounds the crowd of kids and parents presses forward, keen to see one of the town’s most famous sons. For seven years he led what is effectively the Italian national Formula 1 team and was a constant presence on their televisions, on the pit wall or in his typically humble, cooperative postrace interviews. He leans towards me in the passenger seat, and touches my knee. “You know, I’m not comfortable with being the centre of attention. I don’t like it when the focus is so much on me. This is really their day. And I don’t want to run over a child’s foot. Especially today.” He starts to relax once we park. And then, to mark his arrival, the town band strikes up. But once he’s out of the car, you see that he’s exactly the right person to be leading Lamborghini. This is not a stiff personal

appearance by a suited CEO obliged to do his bit in the local community. Stefano knows the mayor and the chief of police and some of the parents because he went to school with them. He knows how to talk to these kids because he was one. He is probably the only person other than Enzo to have led both a storied F1 team and a major global car brand without having to move more than 100 kays from where he was born. We do most of our talking back at the Imola circuit, where he is launching the Performante to the world’s motoring media, in a quiet room overlooking the pit lane. “I was born here. I remember as a child coming to see races of bikes and cars here because the circuit is in the centre of town. I had the enthusiasm of all the kids that were born here. I didn’t miss a single race. “In high school on race days I worked here. I was the guy who went between the organisers and the teams, and I was there in the middle of the trucks and I knew everyone. I lived a lot of moments here.

I remember all the racing. I remember incredible times with the 200 mile-anhour motorbikes with Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene. And then I remember all the Formula 1 races. I remember seeing Villeneuve and Pironi, and unfortunately I was here when Ayrton Senna died. All the memories are here. But I would never expect to change side from the passionate guys that were cheering and asking for autographs, to be the guy leading the Ferrari team.” He speaks in accented but rapid English, pivoted towards me and on the edge of his seat. He is fully engaged. One F1 correspondent told me that he jogged the circuits with Domenicali, who never stopped talking and asking questions. But those childhood memories don’t include the extraordinary road cars that have long come from his region, and which he now makes. “Sometimes when you are inside the hurricane – and I don’t mean the Huracan, I mean a real tornado – you don’t think about it. I have to be honest: in


that moment, I was not thinking about it. I thought it was normal. Then the more I was living around the world, the more I had this appreciation, but during my teenage period I was not really perceiving that as something incredible.” His office might have been close to home but he certainly travelled, to every part of the world that F1 attempted to colonise in his 23 years with Ferrari. The last seven were as Team Principal and were not Ferrari’s finest with only one championship win, but he was immensely popular and clearly able. Then in October 2014, Audi put out a smokescreen of a press release saying that they had recruited Domenicali to ‘work in the areas of service and mobility’, as if he

cut to brush the tops of his shoes, in the Italian fashion. He out-Italianed the Italians and was not universally popular, but he left Lamborghini in sensational shape, with record sales, profits and turnover. I first saw Italian Stefano as I disgorged from a bus at the circuit that morning with a bunch of other hacks. A slight figure wearing the staff uniform of white polo shirt, black trousers, and Lamborghini trainers was darting between the Performantes lined up for the drive program, as if checking them. I thought he was one of the valet crew. It turned out to be the CEO. He skipped over, shook us all by the hand and led us up to a track briefing, which he delivered in English and

way of working: Ferrari’s. I might have made the mistake of thinking that everything would have been easy to do, copy and paste. Thank God, I had this experience of working at Audi first. “From an F1 team to super-sports cars, for sure you have to know more elements that were natural in my previous experience. So I need to be humble. I always try to apply my maximum approach in the areas that are out of my comfort zone. To work on things that I already know would be much easier because I can do it with one eye closed and one eye open. That would be wrong. These things I try to delegate even more. I try to focus on the things that I need to learn. You have to

Like Zuckerberg, you sense Domenicali is focused solely on his work and not his personal image was building call centres or driverless pods. He throws up a similar smokescreen when asked about that time now, but of course he was examining an Audi F1 entry, with an engine supply deal for Red Bull as the first step. When it became clear that the cost of winning the championship would be too great and the emissions crisis hit, he was made CEO of Lamborghini. He started in March last year. Italian Stefano replaced German Stephan, and the two couldn’t be more different. Stephan Winkelmann was one of those expatriate German car bosses who go native. He cultivated the look and manner of an Italian business prince like Agnelli or di Montezemolo. His trouser cuffs were always

CARRYING BOTH THE PRIDE OF ITALY AND THE BURDEN OF EXPECTATION FROM LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLO? YES, YOU NEED A DECENT PAIR OF PLUMS FOR THAT

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without notes before clapping his hands and saying, “let’s go and have fun.” His hair has been cut, not styled. He hasn’t been near a sunbed. Like Mark Zuckerberg with his permanent grey T-shirt, you sense that Domenicali’s attention is focused solely on his work and not his personal image. He spent most of his working life in a uniform as part of a team and plainly doesn’t see the need to change that now he’s a CEO. But aren’t running an F1 team and a carmaker utterly different activities? “If I would have jumped immediately from one side to the other, it would have been very difficult. I was really born at Ferrari. I had half of my life knowing one

HAPPIER TIMES: STANDING VICTORIOUS WITH RACE WINNER ALONSO AT THE 2013 SPANISH GP. THIS WOULD BE DOMENICALI’S LAST PODIUM APPEARANCE

remember you are not the king. You do not know everything. That would be the killer.” Audi plainly has faith in his ability to learn on the job. Lamborghini’s turnover will soon exceed a billion euros. Its 3500car output will double with the launch in December of the Urus SUV. Eventually, Stefano thinks it will treble. He hasn’t been asked just to caretake a stable business. He has to guide Lamborghini through a period of steroidal expansion, with all the attendant risks to its image and the quality of its cars. His instinctive connection with his staff will help. “Everyday I’m at the factory, I go down to the shop. I walk around. First, because I want to be seen as one of them.

“NOT THIS TIME, STEF...” WEBBER REVEALED THAT HE NEARLY SIGNED WITH FERRARI FOR 2013, THOUGH BOTH HE AND DOMENICALI WOULD GO ON TO WORK FOR THE SAME PARENT COMPANY


May the fourth be with them Beyond the Urus, it seems likely there will be a fourth Lamborghini model: possibly a 2+2 frontengined GT car of the kind Lamborghini began with, and later reimagined in 2008 with the Estoque concept (right), or a 2+2-crossover mashup of the type Aston Martin has proposed with the DBX. “GT cars, four-seaters; heritage gives us

some ideas,” Domenicali is on record as saying. “But it’s up to us to think and move in some direction. Today we are not ready, but we’re already thinking in terms of what the technical needs will be in around 2025. Will a super SUV cannibalise a 2+2 or GT? We don’t know yet. We need to prepare for different scenarios.”


“Communication is direct. When you know the people, you can judge for yourself what needs to be improved�


An SUV that kicks Urus The Urus isn’t Lamborghini’s first jacked-up model, but it will debut a few firsts for the brand. The most obvious of which is the use of a forced-induction engine; a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (genetically linked to the unit used by Audi and Bentley) tipped to produce 485kW. While it’s unlikely that the Urus line-up will ever include Lamborghini’s ‘signature’ V12,

If there is a problem, there is no filter. We have the privilege of being a small company. Communication is direct. When you have no filter, and when you know the people, you can judge for yourself what needs to be improved.” The first new Lamborghini he could still influence was the Performante we’re driving, and he tells me he did make some changes. But it’s a sideshow compared to the transformative Urus. The first pre-production cars are about to roll out of Sant’Agata. “I wish I could show it to you now. It will be very sporty, very good sound, very great at driving, with a cool design. In a segment where everyone is present, we need to be different, so we have made something with all the values of our super-sports cars. This is fundamental. We are going to give a push to the extreme part of the segment. I’m expecting that our competitors will react to it, and look at how this market can grow. There is a lot of potential there.” There won’t be a Performante version of the Urus: Domenicali says its performance will already be sufficiently extreme for an SUV. And while Urus will debut turbocharging for the Lamborghini brand, Domenicali remains attached to natural aspiration and the V12 engine in particular. There’s life in it yet, he

it will instead be the first to include a plug-in hybrid variant. But CEO Domenicali has stressed that the hybrid drivetrain won’t be used to boost performance, like the range-topping Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid; rather help cut fleet average emissions. Also off the cards is a diesel variant, according to R&D director, Maurizio Reggiani.

believes, and it provides both a reference point for the brand and a key point of difference to its rivals. But hybrids and electrification will come to Lamborghini. The Urus will be the first, with the option of a PHEV drivetrain. Later, Lamborghini will use one-off or limited-run models like the Veneno to introduce new propulsion technology and prepare us for its introduction on its standard cars. By 2025 or 2030, Lamborghini could be making 10,000 cars a year, but growth will come from additional models: first the Urus, then maybe the 2+2 or crossover. Domenicali says the whole portfolio will only grow at the same rate as the segments it is present in, so Huracans and Aventadors (and their replacements) will not suddenly become commonplace. “We need to be different. If we are different, we will be successful. The risk is to be diluted, and we are small. An ant who wants to fight against the elephant, either it’s quick, or it has a problem.” Unprompted, he denies again that his move to Lamborghini indicates that VW still plans to enter F1. The costs just don’t stack up. But Domenicali remains the head of the FIA’s single-seater commission, and if he encourages changes to the formula to make

it more affordable he might yet find himself competing with his old employer on road and track. I wonder how it feels to be back at Imola with a bull rather than a horse over his heart. “I spent half of my life with Ferrari. I have been here just a year and a couple of months. It seems like yesterday, it seems like life, I don’t know. I am very proud of my time with Ferrari. I have a fantastic relationship with the people at Ferrari still, because it’s stupid not to do it like that. It’s not my character. We need to have the inspiration of them, but only to make sure we are different. The biggest mistake would be to copy.” We walk outside and stand behind the pit garages, looking into the paddock. The yellow Huracan Performante is mine now, ready for a drive into the hills. There are clouds to the east and I want to avoid the rain. Then I remember that I’m standing with a guy who loves cars and knows this place. So I ask the CEO for directions. “Actually with this car, it’s super easy. You get out from the circuit at Rivazza. Get straight over there into the hills. Then you go back on the other side to Dozza, a little village, have a coffee. Don’t worry about the clouds. If they are on that side, it will not rain.”

@wheelsaustralia 105


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PORSCHE’S NEW POWER AGE WOR DS DA N I E L GA R DNER

‘HYBRID’ ONCE M PANAMERA TURBEANT ‘ECO ALTERNATIVE’. THAT, AND BEGIN O S PUTS A TWIST ON FLAGSHIP PERFO S A NEW CHAPTER OF RMANCE FOR ST UTTGART

@wheelsaustralia 109


ORSCHE is not alone among revered sports car brands in taking the odd evolutionary turn that initially sits about as comfortably as a sandpaper scarf around a purist’s neck. When the iconic 911 dropped its aircooled engine for the 996 generation, for example, diehards ran around throwing their Nomex undies on bonfires. Then, more recently, when the entire Carrera range went turbo, Stuttgart flags were burned in the streets. Yet the 911 still stands elevated as among the most complete sports cars of them all. (If you think otherwise, there’s still space in next month’s Inbox to air your flameproof undergarments). The Panamera took the converse approach by starting out with weird proportions that polarised Porsche punters right up until its replacement, thankfully, with a second-generation version that looks more like a 911 reared on a diet of

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growth hormones – proportionally lovely, just bigger. This car is the new Panamera flagship; a balls out horizon eater that cements its performance credentials through the addition of an electrically assisted powertrain. While the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid uses much the same electric hardware as this Turbo S E-Hybrid, that model plugs a gap between Panamera 4 and 4S; with its focus on minimal consumption. But with this range-topper, Porsche global communications manager Hermann-Josef Stappen explains that the company sets out to prepare fans for halo models that deliver electrifying performance from a battery. “In the first generation of the Panamera, the hybrid model was purely based on efficiency… now we have a new strategy,” Stappen said. “Now we go even more in the performance direction, but it’s still more efficient than the normal Turbo. The first step was with the 918 Spyder. That showed us that it could work, [now] we have done it with the Panamera. It’s no secret that there are other cars due to be revealed.” But before we get into how convincingly the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid delivers on its high-performance promise, let’s look

at the hardware that sets it apart from the regular Turbo. In the combustion-only car, a 4.0-litre turbo V8 sends 404kW and 770Nm to all four wheels, but the hybrid Turbo S adds to this with a 100kW motor incorporated into the eight-speed dualclutch gearbox, drawing from a 14kWh lithium-ion battery. Cost? An extra $75,600 over the Turbo, and an additional 300kg to lug about, yet the advantages are clear. Official combined cycle consumption drops to 2.9L/100km while the 0-100km/h claim is trimmed by two tenths to 3.4sec. As a plug-in hybrid, the Turbo S can commute up to 50km without using any fuel at all, says Porsche. During our first blast in the hybridised Panamera Turbo S on Canada’s Vancouver Island we managed to temporarily bludgeon the fuel economy figure into the 20s, but in fear of Canada’s speed enforcement – even stricter than Australia’s, would you believe – most of our road driving was sedate, which brought a corresponding drop in thirst. Unlike some PHEVs that have a sewing machine to back up the petrol engine, the Porsche’s 100kW/400Nm of emissions-free electric grunt easily covers normal driving without having to poke the V8 into life.


Not so Spyder The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is said to be related to the manic 918 Spyder, which also uses an electric motor to bolster its engine – an atmo 4.6-litre V8 screamer – but in reality neither share any hybrid system componentry. The Panamera does, however, adopt the same ‘boost strategy’, which is the powertrain map used to determine when electric power assists internal combustion. Where some electrified vehicles favour efficiency, the Panamera system, at least in ‘S’ and ‘S+’ modes, is all about high performance and driver reward.

The E-Hybrid y Panamera integrates g its electric motor into the automatic transmission, meaning power is sent to all four wheels whether in electric, petrol or hybrid mode. In pure electric ‘E’ mode, Vmax is 140km/h, whereas ‘H’ mode uses a blend of petrol/electric for optimum efficiency while still allowing a top speed of 310km/h. Depending on the EV setting, the system can be switched to prioritise battery charging, maximum fuel economy, or battery preservation for later use. Compared with the Turbo, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is saddled with a 150kg battery, a 50kg motor, and about 100kg worth of electrics to operate the cabin heating and cooling units when the V8 is dormant.

MASSIVE TEN-PISTON CALIPERS AND STANDARD CARBON-CERAMICS DO THE STOPPING; GREEN PAINT SHOWS YOU STUMPED UP FOR HYBRIDISATION @wheelsaustralia 111


LOOK MORE SERIOUS DAN. MORE SERIOUS. MORE SER... TOO SERIOUS

Bits for coin The $75,600 price jump to the Turbo S E-Hybrid from the lesser Turbo may seem massive, but the range-topping Panamera gets a host of additional standard equipment. Carbon ceramic brakes, Sport Chrono pack, torque vectoring, and 911 Turbo style 21-inch wheels are all included, which brings the actual cost of hybridisation closer to $30,000. Acid Green gauge needles replace the standard red versions which add a subtle but seriously cool touch.

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Model Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Engine 3996cc V8, dohc, 32v, twin-turbo + electric motor Max system power 500kW @ 5750-6000rpm Max system torque 850Nm @ 1400-5500rpm Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch Weight 2310kg 0-100km/h 3.4sec (claimed) Economy 2.9L/100km Price $460,100 On sale Now

Any advance from the re Unlike the original Panamera that was offered in one polar is shape, the second-generation version adds a Sport Turismo wagon body s e alongside the regular sedan. Five variants of the Sport Turismo are on offer, with Porsche Australia taking orders. We’ll also see a Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid variant, which will be the most expensive Paname

In default ‘E’ driving mode as prescribed by the steering wheel mounted selector, the accelerator has an obvious detent in its travel that politely discourages you from prodding through into its fossil fuel reserves, but turn the switch to ‘H’ and the notch in the throttle’s travel is removed. The Panamera’s transition into combustion power is eerily seamless. At one point, I thought I had detected the distant rumble of the V8 firing to life but it turned out to be a Chevrolet Silverado with a side-exit exhaust pulling alongside for a closer look. The 3996cc Porsche V8’s power is prodigious and the delivery broad, while the assistance of the 400Nm electric motor results in the most wonderfully muscular and willing powertrain. There is little turbo lag thanks to the siting of the two turbos in the V8’s valley, close to the exhaust ports, and any hint of dullness just off idle is erased by the motor. While the 2.3-tonne Panamera isn’t the most obvious track tool – especially on the tight Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, which packs more turns than Phillip Island into about half the distance – the Turbo S has more pleasant surprises in store. Despite its long 2950mm wheelbase and broad 1937mm body, the Panamera carves a surprisingly precise line. In tight turns, the optional four-wheel steering can

be felt providing the effect of a shorter wheelbase, mid-corner grip is bountiful, and the standard-fit carbon ceramic brakes with monstrous ten-piston calipers provide terrific feel and unfading power. Officially, the Panamera is all-wheel drive, but with the selector dialled to Sport Plus the big sedan does a convincing impression of a rear-driver. The nose tips keenly into corners with minimal complaint from the tyres as its torque vectoring subtly and effectively tightens the angle of attack. Under hard braking into the circuit’s steep descents, the tail can be shaken loose, revealing a delightful playfulness, yet it can be gathered up with the chatty steering in a manner that’s uncommon in cars of this weight and size. Acceleration is equally defiant of the Panamera’s weight, and the electric surge from rest would seem to support the 3.2sec 0-100km/h claim. The four test cars had been put through track punishment for more than a week by the time we strapped in, yet were showing no signs of exhaustion – typical Porsche stoicism we’re pleased to see the Panamera imbued with. On Canada’s iconic pine-lined roads, the big four-seat proves to be an accomplished cruiser, which is precisely how most customers will use their Panamera.

Although we didn’t do a back-to-back comparison, the Turbo S E-Hybrid’s ride seems just as polished as the Turbo’s and the comfort of the sports seats is stunning. Three-stage adaptive dampers and air suspension smooth all but the most offensive road imperfections and the cabin ambience is on a par with a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. If you’re a fan of the existing Panamera range then the good news is that, on top of the Hybrid’s startling turn of speed, the regular Turbo’s appealing dynamic package is largely unchanged. From the outside, there are few hints at its super-hybrid status other than the Zombie Squad fluoro green badges and calipers. Quite where the Acid Green flashes will surface next in the Porsche line-up remains unconfirmed, but next year’s 992 911 seems a safe bet. Either way, the decision to begin the rollout of this new, performancefocused hybrid strategy with the Panamera as its ambassador, is a calculated move. If the 911 had led the charge into electrified high-performance Porsches it’s likely to have caused seismic unrest, but thanks to the abilities of the company’s first hybrid range-topper, and its uncompromised teaming of performance and zero-emissions capability, Porsche’s electrified future is starting to make sense. @wheelsaustralia 113


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TYRE TEST

It isn’t easy sorting good passenger-car tyres from the genuinely great ones, but the annual Wheels Tyre Test has it down to a fine, round and black art. Across five disciplines just one brand will demonstrate the gift of the grab, in a contest that’s no dead rubber WO R D S J A M E S W H I T B O U R N P H O T O S A L A S TA I R BRO O K

Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 RE0003

Continental Conti Premium Contact Conntact 5

Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050

Goodyear Efficient Gripp FP

Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01

Kumho Ecsta HS51

Maxxis Premitra HP5

Momo Topp Run M30


The tread mill AUSTRALIA’s voracious appetite for premium and high-performance cars suggests buyers are increasingly willing to spend up big in order to enjoy their motoring. Yet, at the same time, Wheels’ tyre industry sources say there are plenty of people who will cheap-out when it’s time for a new set of rubber, inadvertently removing handling and stopping performance from their car. Those that fork out for a fast car would likely do the same for high-quality new tyres, and we can certainly see the value in spending an extra $10K to step from a WRX to an STI, or from a Golf GTI to an R. But what we just don’t get is how to rationalise increasing your car’s stopping distance and reducing its cornering grip and feel, just to save a couple of hundred bucks on tyres. Without giving too much away, the magnitude of the difference between the best and worst rubber on the 2017 Wheels Tyre Test was 3.2 metres of braking distance in the dry, and 4.6 metres in the wet, which sounds to us like enough of a reason to choose decent tyres. The difference in lap time on the handling circuit was 1.85sec, which seems like plenty even before you consider that the two-lap dash takes less than 60 seconds. And we didn’t even test any truly dud tyres… Rather, the Tyre Test sets out to sort the good from the great, across five test disciplines that represent the full spectrum

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of tyre ability, aside from wear-life, which is tough to measure in two days. The tarmac surrounding the Sydney Dragway scrutineering shed provided the venue, and the stopwatches and Racelogic Performance Box offered up the data. Seasoned Tyre Test steerer Renato Loberto guided the Mazda 6 Touring wagon while cutting to the core of tyre performance with his insightful observations. After taking a tyre noise reading at a 60km/h cruise, Ren ripped into a series of hot laps of our compact handling circuit, which served to scrub the surface of the tyres. This led into a trio of circuit sprints against the stopwatch. Then Ren rolled into the slalom and dry braking test, followed by three stops on a consistently wet surface. Each dynamic test discipline is scored out of 10, and tyre noise is out of five. Scores are assigned relative to the best performer – if one tyre wins all, it would achieve a perfect 100 percent in the final scoring, and our winner got close, at 98.2 percent. A control tyre was deployed at regular intervals as a means of measuring track and car evolution, which could be addressed in the analysis. The results, served up over the next nine pages, reflect the range of ability on offer in OE-replacement tyres across a moderate price range. Each tyre pattern tested is available in a wide range of sizes, and the results apply broadly to each of them, as well as on cars with different chassis and drive layouts.


The field

We assembled eight original equipment (OE) replacement tyres for the 2017 Wheels Tyre Test. Working in the common 17-inch diameter, without excessive width or unduly shallow sidewalls kept the tyres in the ballpark of those fitted to the average car. We used 225/55R17s because that’s the standard fitment on the Mazda 6 test mule. In terms of market positioning and price, major players Bridgestone (Japan), Dunlop and Goodyear (United States) are represented, as is German premium brand Continental; fellow Euros Michelin and Pirelli declined to participate, as did former winner, Japan’s Yokohama. Fleshing out the low- and mid-range are the Korean Kumho and Hankook subbrand Laufenn, the Italian Momo, and Taiwan’s Maxxis.

The car

Arriving at a suitable test car is a straightforward process. We ruled out an SUV or a hatchback to avoid covering old ground, leaving a medium sedan or wagon in the frame. Whichever model we chose had to be a good handler. It’d ideally be a mainstream passenger car rather than a high-performance model, in keeping with the style of tyres on test, and its electronic stability control system had to be one that could be switched fully off, so we could test only the chassis and tyres. The Mazda 6 emerged as the right model, in wagon form because it has a shorter wheelbase and is a bit more agile than the sedan, and it had to be a Sport or Touring on 17-inch wheels and tyres, rather than a 19in-shod GT or Atenza.

The driver

The arrival of his daughter Luna hasn’t slowed Sydney racing driver Renato Loberto one bit, though it has seen him pick up a few new skills. Not that he was lacking in that department, with an enviable set of abilities from automotive engineering to event planning and management, driving instruction and race-car development, all deployed via his MotoKinetic.com.au business. Ren’s precise driving and concise feedback makes him our Tyre Test go-to man, the poor bloke. Depending on the weekend, you’ll find Ren steering either a custom-engineered pram around the Eastern Suburbs, or a Ferrari GT3 car, or tinkering away on his resto-mod Cinquecento, named Enzo.

JAX Tyres and Eagle SMF

The team from JAX Tyres, with equipment and assistance from Eagle SMF Tyre and Automotive Equipment, had the Sydney Dragway scrutineering shed looking like one of their 80-odd East Coast (and Tassie) retail locations before we’d finished our morning coffee. Their organisation and tyre-fitting speed let us conduct our testing with utter ease. Our test demands meant the team fitted and re-fitted sets of tyres in the order of 20 times before inflating each to 33psi as per the Mazda’s placard. Thanks blokes, your assistance is not just greatly appreciated but a must for the successful running of the Wheels Tyre Test. You can find details of your local JAX Tyres store at jaxtyres.com.au.

The ringmaster

Considerable road-testing experience backed by a degree in engineering sees Sydney motoring journalist Jimmy Whitbourn grid up as Tyre Test data analyst, and author, for the third time in as many years. A former Wheels road test editor, Jimmy set off for the freelance wilds in 2013 and now runs CarHelper.com.au while also reviewing and writing for this fine publication and WhichCar.com.au, among others.


Slalom

THE SLALOM, or ‘swerve and recover’ test, is a neat way to gather data on a tyre’s transient grip level – and collision avoidance ability – in the space of six seconds. Ren did upwards of 50 slalom runs, with an entry speed of 65km/h, and rarely clipped a cone marker – it only happened when a tyre let the car slip slightly off line. But here, with masses of run-off area, the consequences of a lose – or a cone collision – are nil. On the road, the obstacle you find yourself desperately trying to avoid might be a jaywalker or another

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Slalom Time (sec) 5.2 Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 5.22 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 5.25 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 5.30 Momo Top Run M30 5.34 Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01 5.48 Maxxis Premitra HP5 5.53 Kumho Ecsta HS51 5.53 Goodyear Efficient Grip FP 5.67

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car. Clearly, a tyre that can respond quickly has the ability to save your bacon. With ESC off, the Mazda 6 was free to express a bit of attitude on some of the tyres – notably, the Continental, which allowed a fair amount of tail-wagging – but the stopwatches and the Performance Box told the full story. The Conti wasn’t slow, but neither was it the quickest. The median time between the series of six cones spaced 17 metres apart was 5.41 seconds, and the best and worst were 5.22sec and 5.67sec respectively, a nine percent spread.

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5.8 Score (10) 10.00 9.94 9.84 9.78 9.53 9.44 9.44 9.21

WINNER Bridgestone RE003 “Really direct steering feel,” read Renato’s initial notes on the Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003. It turned out the Bridgestone was quick through the slalom too, though there was only a tenth covering it and the Dunlop and Continental. This was despite the Continental exhibiting tail-happy tendencies that required constant correction. The Goodyear Efficient Grip was the exact opposite of the Conti in that it was crisply responsive, but not quick between the cones, trailing the Bridgestone by almost half a second. The Maxxis in sixth place was similar in that it felt good, but couldn’t deliver against the stopwatch.


Drybraking Before anti-lock braking became standard in every passenger car, ‘cadence braking’ was the technique used to simultaneously steer and stop. It involves pumping the brake pedal and is essentially the manual version of what ABS does for you in a modern car. Classic car guys still regard the old-school way as a valuable skill, but all most of us need to be capable of is pressing the brake pedal hard. You don’t need to be strong or skilled to carry out an emergency stop, though it does pay to try it out in controlled conditions before you’re faced with a real panic braking scenario. The pulsing pedal feel and the graunching noise of the system can be disconcerting, but only the first couple

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Dry braking Maxxis Premitra HP5 Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01 Momo Top Run M30 Kumho Ecsta HS51 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 Goodyear Efficient Grip FP

Dist (m) 24.93 25.57 26.30 26.80 27.27 27.53 27.67 28.17

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of times. Renato carried out dry-surface emergency stops more than 50 times over the course of the Tyre Test, the discipline conducted over the same dusty coarse-chip section of Sydney Dragway, from 80km/h. Sending the control tyres out at regular intervals gave us a gauge on whether the track conditions were changing with tarmac temperature or dust level. The measure of performance is stopping distance in metres, though we also record peak and average G with the Performance Box. Car and driver handled the test without complaint, and the results put a number on the benefit of a great set of tyres when you need to pull up in a hurry – 3.24 metres.

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28 Score (10) 10.00 9.75 9.48 9.30 9.14 9.05 9.01 8.85

WINNER Maxxis Premitra HP5 Renato noted that the Maxxis “got slightly crossed up,” during the dry brake tests, but the seat of the pants feel didn’t indicate any lack of stopping power. In fact, the Maxxis Premitra HP5 pulled up an average of 0.6m shorter than the next-best stopper, the Bridgestone, which Ren recorded as having “very positive brake pedal modulation”. Comparing the Maxxis with the dry-braking tail-ender saw its advantage increase to more than haalf a car length. The dry brake test saw the Maxxis rubber, erm … bounce bacck, then, from sixth place in the slalom m. Yet this wouldn’t be its only podium, or even its sole gold…

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Take the pressure down The tyre pressure monitor system might seem like a small fish in the active safety pond, but this simple technology helps take care of what Wheels’ tyre industry sources say is still a common car maintenance oversight. The checking of tyre pressures is a task even the most diligent of drivers can neglect to do regularly and, as our tests illustrate, the impact of under-inflation on steering, handling, braking and safety is significant (as is the effect on tyre wear). For normal testing, each tyre was inflated to 33psi cold, which is the pressure recommended on the Mazda’s tyre placard. In the name of science, we systematically dropped the front left tyre to 20psi, then the right rear tyre to 20psi, for a run through the slalom and braking tests. This was immediately obvious from the driver’s seat, with Ren reporting the under-inflated front brought “heavier steering feel and slower steering response.” Looking at the figures, the slalom time increased by seven percent with the low-pressure front and 14 percent with an under-inflated rear, which might not sound a lot, but consider this: The difference between the quickest and slowest tyre on the slalom was nine percent, meaning you gain as much or more swerve and recover ability by inflating your tyres correctly as you do by buying high-quality tyres in the first place. The braking distances weren’t unduly affected, but the fact that Ren experienced “lazy feel” through the left pedal and a front-end that “walked around” and “didn’t brake in a straight line” suggested the right pressures play a key part in braking stability, too.


Handlingcircuit While the slalom and brake test elements are designed to isolate a tyre’s cornering and braking talent, the handling circuit instead puts every aspect of tyre ability together as a compact way of measuring a tyre’s handling and collision-avoidance capability. The fact that it’s a bit of fun certainly doesn’t hurt driver morale considering the repetitious, analytical nature of the rest of the program. A lap starts with an open right hand sweeper, which feeds into right and left hairpins, followed by a short straight. Then there’s a 90-degree right-hander, a left/right chicane, and the start/finish

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Handling circuit Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 Maxxis Premitra HP5 Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01 Momo Top Run M30 Kumho Ecsta HS51 Goodyear Efficient Grip FP Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050

line. We use the circuit to scrub the surface of each new set of tyres too, and it’s startling to see how much grip improves after a handful of laps. Every element from transient and steady cornering to braking is tested, and tyre temperature is added to the equation, the left front copping the worst of it over our trio of two-lap dashes. Time is the measure of performance on the circuit and we record lateral G-force, too. The median two-lap time was 56.73 seconds, with the best and worst times separated by 1.85sec. We saw more than 1.0G a couple of times, against a median of 0.94.

Lap (sec) 55.5 56.0 56.5 57.0 57.5 Score (10) 55.70 10.00 56.37 9.88 56.53 9.85 56.54 9.85 56.92 9.79 57.03 9.77 57.52 9.68 57.55 9.68

WINNER Bridgestone RE003 The handling circuit set the stage for the Potenza Adrenalin RE003 to claw back ground on the Maxxis, which had thus far prevented a Bridgestone one-two by pipping it under braking. A 0.67sec gap between the Bridgestone and the Continental in second established it as clearly the quickest tyre on test, and the one capable of the highest peak G figure, at 1.01. The Continental cornered with less lateral force, at 0.93G, yet proved quick. Not to be left in the dust, the Maxxis trailed by just 0.17sec while pulling a peak of 0.96G, with Ren reporting the “excellent handling” on the Conti and “good feel” on the Maxxis.

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Wetbraking Wet braking is the discipline that means the most, because in these slippery conditions a good tyre can help the average driver avert a crash-course in making insurance claims. Consider the best-to-worst difference in dry braking distance, and increase it by 40 percent. That distance – 4.60 metres – is the difference in the wet. That hypothetical car owner in our introduction – y’know, the bozo that simply wants the cheapest tyres – is still disturbingly common according to our sources. And while we understand that not everyone is into hi-po handling, we’d like to think most people can

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Wet Braking Maxxis Premitra HP5 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 Kumho Ecsta HS51 Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01 Momo Top Run M30 Goodyear Efficient Grip FP Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050

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see the value in tyres that will help them stop quickly in the rain. The wet stop never fails to provide some strange results. Last year, some tyres stopped better in the wet than the dry, which we put down to slightly different types of tarmac for the coarse wet and smooth dry braking zones. This year, both tests were on a coarse surface, yet the phenomenon was even more prevalent, and we still can’t explain it. The braking test protocol stayed the same – Ren accelerated to 80km/h before standing on the left pedal, the Mazda pulling up between 23.2 and 27.8 metres down the road.

Dist (m) 23 24 25 26 27 28 Score (10) 23.20 10.00 24.83 9.34 24.83 9.34 25.23 9.19 25.97 8.93 26.00 8.92 27.33 8.49 27.80 8.35

WINNER Maxxis Premitra HP5 With the taps on, 1.6 metres separated the Maxxis’ average braking distance from that of the secondplaced Continental. At 23.2m, the Maxxis also stopped 2.5m shorter than the average tyre, and 4.6m shorter than the wooden-spooner. It also stopped better in the wet than the dry, and it wasn’t the only tyre to display this unexplained phenomenon. In fact, every tyre bar the Dunlop performed better in the wet than the dry, with the Continental claiming second place and the Kumho rising to score its sole podium. As for the winner, the Maxxis is a sure stopper, whether the road is wet or dry.


Tyrenoise If you take the extremes of road tyres available, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that high-performance tyres are noisy. After all, semi-slicks drone like bastards (as well as throwing lots of road grit loudly into the wheel arches), while one of the ways lowrolling resistance eco-tyres save fuel is by turning comparatively little of their kinetic energy into road roar. Yet these examples don’t necessarily paint the whole picture, as our tyre noise test illustrates. Taking the sound pressure level (SPL) results in decibels (dB) and holding them up against the handling circuit results brings examples of tyres that grip hard and are noisy, a few with modest grip and a hushed volume,

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Tyre Noise SPL (dB) 57 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 57.5 Maxxis Premitra HP5 58.5 Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01 58.5 Goodyear Efficient Grip FP 58.5 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 59.0 Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 59.5 Kumho Ecsta HS51 59.5 Momo Top Run M30 60.0

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and plenty that grip well and deliver shush, too. So, instead of relying on rules of thumb, you really need to noise-test tyres. Fortunately, this is easily done, using an SPL meter to store a peak dB figure over a straight section of coarse chip road – we did this at 60km/h. Given the unpredictable noise/grip relationship, the noise test element provides the opportunity for a hushed tyre that’s fallen down elsewhere to gain some ground. The noise score is weighted at half that of the four dynamic disciplines. Too much? Not enough? Grab your calculator and apply your own weighting to tyre noise – just as you can with any of the disciplines – to arrive at your own winner.

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Score (5) 5.00 4.91 4.91 4.91 4.87 4.83 4.83 4.79

WINNER Conti Prem Contact 5 The Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 finished on the podium in every Tyre Test discipline, but its only gold came in the noise test. Tyre quietness might outweigh all other qualities on a sunny Sunday drive in the country, but is often inversely proportional to grip and performance. That’s not the case with the grippy Conti, though, which at 57.5dB was 2.5dB quieter than the Momo, which Ren noted squealed more than the other tyres on the handling circuit. The Kumho (59.5dB) was vocal when pushed too, and the Bridgestone and Goodyear were notably noisy during wheelspin.

@wheelsaustralia


The skinny on space savers While a space-saver spare wheel can be a step better than a tyre inflator kit or a set of run-flats, it still leaves a wider tread and a smaller sidewall to be desired – a full-size spare wheel and tyre, in other words. However it’s increasingly uncommon for new cars to be equipped with a full-size spare and some of them lack even the space required to stow one. The Mazda 6 test car is among the many fitted as standard with a space-saver, and we couldn’t resist throwing it on to see what happened. That the handling and braking performance suffered didn’t surprise us, however the fact the magnitude of the lost handling performance was only as bad as having one underinflated front or rear tyre certainly did. With the pizza-cutter at the front left, the slalom time increased by seven percent (and peak lateral G was down a corresponding seven percent), with Ren observing

“lighter steering feel and terrible understeer.” With the skinny wheel and tyre at the right rear, Ren experienced his one and only half-spin of the Tyre Test. On a clean run, the time increased further, up by 12 percent compared with a set of full-size rubber. During the brake tests Ren noted “lots of brake-forcedistribution (EBD) kicking in with the ABS.” With the space-saver on the front, the wet braking distance was up by 2.4 metres or 10 percent. Think the space saver was poor during cornering and braking? Imagine asking it to do both at once in a collision avoidance manoeuvre. The lesson, then, is to use your space-saver to get home or to a tyre store; don’t drive around on it for days. Not only will you wear it out, you’ll be carrying a significant safety impediment.


Maxxis Premitra HP5 SOMETIMES a tyre goes about its Tyre Test campaign by beating all comers at every discipline. Other times, it’s via a blend of ability that’s reflected in a series of solid showings, which is how it happened in 2017. The Maxxis Premitra HP5 was a standout when it came to braking, not just out-stopping its rivals, but doing so by a margin that made it clear this tyre has something special under brakes. It was quick enough around the handling circuit to finish third, and it felt good doing it. And the Maxxis was also among a gaggle of tyres in equal second in the noise test. Oddly, given its circuit test performance, the only aspect of performance in which the Maxxis was not on the podium was the slalom. But we’ve observed before that some tyres are not quite as adept at handling the rapid transitions required for a quick slalom as they are with the more progressive lateral loads generated on a hot lap. Like the Maxxis, the Bridgestone topped the score sheets

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in two tests. Its slalom and circuit victories neatly reflect its performance positioning and abilities. With a second and a fourth, respectively, it’s a great stopper in the dry and average-to-good in the wet. The Bridgestone’s least impressive result of second last in the tyre noise test will bother some buyers more than others. If you take only the dry test results, the Bridgestone finishes first, bumping the Maxxis to second and leaving the Conti third, so it might be the tyre for a sunny Sunday machine. Despite claiming just one victory (in the tyre noise test) the Continental was in fact more consistent than the Maxxis and the Bridgestone, standing on the dais at the conclusion of every discipline. Second place in both the circuit and wet braking tests and third in dry braking and the slalom reflect an impressive mix of safety- and performance-focussed characteristics. Yet it’s the decently quiet, impressively agile and exceptionally hard-stopping Maxxis Premitra HP5 that tastes Wheels Tyre Test glory for 2017 – a deserved victory.

Overall Maxxis Premitra HP5 Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 Laufenn S Fit EQ LK01 Kumho Ecsta HS51 Momo Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 Goodyear Efficient Grip FP

Score 98.2% 97.3% 96.8% 94.5% 94.3% 94.28% 93.0% 91.4%

Price $199 $255 $255 $159 $164 $149 $225 $191 @wheelsaustralia 125


THE KINGS S OF THE URBAN JUNGLE.

PREMITRA HP5.

For your nearest stockist, call: 1800 MAXXIS (1800 629 947)


Showroom

T HE C O MP L E T E L I S T I N G OF N E W P ASSE N G E R CAR S IN AUSTR AL IA

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KODIAQ

Skoda

Builds on Tiguan’s virtues in a bigger, seven-seat package

ABBREV. INDEX Data columns explained here

Your shiny y Showroom navigation guide

TICK & CROSS

The things we

Fuel RON included in data love, and bits we don’t columns; ‘issue tested’ dates include First Drives; long-termers park in Our Garage; Incoming NEW and Marketplace live ARRIVALS up front in Redline New models for the month highlighted

ALFA TO VOLVO Pages tagged by marque for easy flip/find


Garage Heads, you lose

Keyless go presents car manufacturers with all manner of quandaries as to what the car should do when the key is no longer detected inside it. One strategy I wasn’t expecting from Mini was to close the Countryman’s electrically

powered tailgate onto my head as I was unloading the car. A quick-fire beep alerts you that something might be happening, and then it’s boot latch to the back of your noggin time. Not an experience I’m keen to repeat.

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ARRIVAL

Ask what your Country can do for you Enright gets paired with a car he’d love to hate A LITTLE of what you don’t fancy does you good. At least, that’s my take on the Mini Countryman that’s now sitting in my garage. Let’s not mince words here. It’s a visually challenged thing, isn’t it? The exterior took a couple of weeks to get used to but the interior, well, it’s brown. Extravagantly, overwhelmingly slurry pit brown. I tried to find the upsides as I was handed the keys to a car that would be my daily for the next three months, but couldn’t look beyond that brown interior. And yet, after a month with the car, I find myself rather maddeningly liking it. Call it automotive Stockholm Syndrome. On the face of it, the Cooper SD All4

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Countryman ought to appeal. It has a zingy 140kW diesel that generates 400Nm and can punt the big-boned BMW X1 in a fancy dress to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds. It’s economical, it’s practical, the all-wheel drive will be good for trips to the snow, and there are a whole host of electronic gewgaws to play with. The first thing I clearly have yet to master are its indicators. I can see what Mini has tried to do here. Tap for a three-blink lane change or fully press the stalk to keep it on. Trouble is, the distance between the two settings seems to be about a micron, and changing lanes won’t cancel it. This creates a ham-fisted display of left, right, left, right, and a subsequent barrage

of swearing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix, Mini. The ride quality is firmer than it really needs to be, but the flipside of this is that it’s a hoot to hustle about. Understeer is well telegraphed and a sharp lift of the throttle sends the back swinging round just enough to feel engaging. The stability control system is smart/slow enough to realise that you’re counter-steering and lets you play along which, when you think about it, is quite remarkable for a diesel demi-SUV. I’ve been determined to test its off-road chops, which has thus far involved driving straight up the wall-like hillside at the end of my road, bouncing over the top and re-joining


MIN MI N COU OUNT NTRY NT RYMA RY MAN MA N COOP PER SD ALL4 Date a acquired: July 2017 Price a as tested: $56,900 This m month: 1295km @ 6.3L/100km Overalll: 1295km @ 6.3L/100km

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Parking violation

I tried the Countrym man’s parallel self-parking system once and it didn’t do too bad a job. I’m not sure I’ll be using it again ough the manual though. Leafing through manual, it says “the the parking assistant can steer the vehicle over or onto kerbs. There is a

WEEK 4 MOTORWAY

risk of property damage.” Kerbed alloys would doubtless result in some pretty serious derision here in the Wheels office office, so II’m m steering well clear of parking assistant and sticking to doing it the old-school way.

BOX, BOX, BOX! Mini easily dealt with aftermath of furnishing a new house from scratch

the blacktop. It’s a heck of a shortcut, but I’m going to curtail it before I’m reported by residents for bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood. It’s just good to spray a bit of mud up the side of the Countryman to make it look a little less milquetoast/suburban. To the Mini’s list price of $51,500, this one’s saddled with $1900 worth of Chester Leather upholstery, a $600 British Oak illuminated dashboard fascia, a $200 leather steering wheel, a $300 luggage compartment net, and the $2400 Multimedia Pro package, which adds a navigation system with 8.8inch monitor, a head-up display, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo. That lot

tots its price up to $56,900, which would easily net you Wheels’ current Car of the Year, a Mazda CX-9 in AWD Touring trim. That’s quite a vehicle, so you’ve really got to buy into Mini’s special sauce if you’re to see value in the Countryman. Still, despite initial minor grievances, the Countryman’s irrepressible personality is winning me over. I can handle its quirks such as having expensive leather upholstery with no seat heating. I can put up with the harebrained indicators and irascible ride quality. The brown interior? That might take a bit longer. AN D Y E N R IG HT

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TOYOTA T OYO YOTA TA PRIUS PRI RIUS US

OurGarag

Date acquired: March 2017 Price as tested: $43,850 This month: 2307km @ 4.8L/100km Overall: 6864km @ 4.8L/100km

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Dashing display

COUNTRY

The Prius’ instrumentation display is at once pleasingly informative and infuriatingly messy. At first all that information is intimidating in its sheer volume (such as the almost unfathomable and ugly energy usage bars), but taking the time to sort out the

SPORTS

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various screens does reveal method behind the madness — like the one with the excellent sat-nav directions and the track listings in the media page. The i-Tech’s head-up display is also helpful. All it takes is some familiarisation to find the favourites.

Greening from ear to ear Digging beneath that divisive skin uncovers real depth of ability FOUR months in and nearly seven thousand kilometres on, it’s time for our Toyota Prius to check out. And, pun aside, what a shock this petrol-electric hybrid has been. Intriguingly, YGJ-73P has had to live alongside an actual electric vehicle, my partner’s 2012 Nissan Leaf – a car with true zero tailpipe emissions. I wanted to ascertain how a petrol-electric series-parallel hybrid would seem against a real EV. Ultimately, regarding the Prius as electric is like expecting an emu to fly. Neither offers much range. The paltry 2km (at under 37km/h) in the Toyota’s case barely registers, except in slow and heavy traffic, and when the internal-combustion engine does flare up, any EV smugness turns to smog.

NOT DRESSED FOR SUCCESS Toyota needs to fix the styling. It must be the only reason Prius sales are down 30% this year

FAREWELL

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Far better then to focus on how the Toyota’s electricity enhances the experience instead. Such as with added acceleration; excellent real-world fuel consumption (4.8L/100km embarrasses most diesels); and regenerative braking that allows the driver to minimise efficiency-destroying and/or jerky braking with just a flick of the transmission lever across from ‘D’ to ‘B’. Brilliant. However, while every Prius has managed all this since the 1997 original, where the boxfresh fourth-gen leaps ahead is in how much more driver orientated it is. While not especially tactile, the steering is now eager and measured in its response; fast tight turns reveal a taut and controlled chassis that points precisely where directed; and the struts and wishbone suspension set-up soaks up bumps big and small like no previous iteration could. Keen drivers will find something here to dig. And finally, there is the comfort and refinement. Larger inside than its

diminutive hatchback dimensions suggest, the latest Prius offers room, practicality and peace akin to a midsizer, complete with a usefully long and deep boot. Except for lower-than-normal rear-door apertures due to the sloping roofline, this is proper family car fare. Disappointments? Few really, like the vision-impeding and filth-collecting bisected rear glass, busy instrument graphics, and fiddly park-brake pedal. But all this pales against the car’s crinkly styling, as though somebody slept on the original paper drawings. Pretty she ain’t. Massively improved nonetheless, the latest Toyota hybrid is an interesting, enjoyable and effective alternative to any number of hatchbacks, sedans or SUVs under $50K. One day soon fuel prices will rocket and the Prius’ time will arrive. When that happens rest assured that the car is finally ready. But why wait until then to enjoy one? B YR ON M ATHIOUDAKIS


SUBARU IMPREZA 2 2.0i-S 0i S Date acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $28,990 This month: 354km @ 8.9L/100km Overall: 354km @ 8.9L/100km

0 0 0 4 9 7 Troubled outlook?

One of the technologies we will be keen to test in our new longtermer is EyeSight, Subaru’s dual-camera system that scans the road ahead and jumps in to slam on the brakes when it thinks the Impreza is about to crash. We’re not off to a good start, though,

WEEK 4

with w heavy fog blinding EyeSight and forcing a warning on the dash that the system was unavailable. We would,, however,, buy t y y shares in Subaru’s windscreen wiper supplier; the wipers work hard to keep the EyeSight cameras clear of any condensation or raindrops.

NEW

ARRIVAL LESS IS MORE, IS LESS

A new work boot

The booted version of the Impreza weighs just 5kg less than the hatch, and is $200 cheaper

Can a sedan version of a COTY finalist carry the load? CURSE the rise of the SUV. Sales of the jacked-up, high-riding hatches and wagons now comfortably dominate Australia’s newcar landscape, and it’s coming at the cost of our once-strong love for traditional passenger vehicles, especially sedans. Down Under is now a marketplace where small cars, such as Subaru’s Impreza, need to make a big noise to stand out. Generation G5 of the Impreza, a 2017 Wheels Car of the Year finalist, has introduced the world to the Subaru Global Platform (SGP): a lighter, stiffer all-new modular chassis that will underpin future models, including plug-in hybrids. COTY testing clearly showed that the SGP is able to reacquaint the driver with something long absent from Subaru’s DNA; a level of dynamic prowess for which the Japanese carmaker was once renowned. A booted version of the Impreza now joins the Wheels garage as a long-termer. Just like

the five-door, the G5 sedan introduces a better-looking design featuring much sharper looks than the dowdy cardigan the previous generation wore. It’s something that will help it stand out in what remains a cut-throat segment in Australia, and one where the Subaru-badged contender snaress only one in every 20 sales. The SGP’s improvements extend to the inside as well, where Holden Commodorerivalling interior space and comfort mark the Impreza as a genuine cross-shopping alternative to the doomed large sedan. We’ve already pegged the fitout of our long-termer, the richly equipped 2.0i-S, as the pick of the Impreza litter. This is largely down to the generous equipment list, which includes heated leather seats, LED headlights, a torque-vectoring diff, and stickier 18-inch Yokohama Advan Sport rubber. It will have a big burden to carry: there’s been a hole in my driveway for a number of

years, a space set aside for the 1990s-era bug geyed Impreza Sportback my wife has always dreamed of, but never owned. That driver’s DNA is something I’m keen to explore over the coming months, and given Subaru’s renewed interest in rallying in Australia, I’m also keen to extend at least a small part of that testing to gravel surfaces. What’s welcome most of all, though, is that generous-sized boot. At 460 litres, the sedan’s 115L advantage in luggage capacity over the hatch is bound to come in handy with four children in the brood. BARRY PARK

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BMW X1 xDrive25i

OurGarage

Date acquired: April 2017 Price as tested: $63,390 This month: 712km @ 10.1L/100km Overall: 1526km @ 11.0L/100km

0 0 1 8 1 6 URBAN

iDrive, therefore it is

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BMW’s original iDrive controller was launched in 2001 on the E65 7 Series, and quickly became the most maligned bit of infotainment tech ever, hated for burying basic commands beneath seemingly endless sub-menus. Interestingly, in its current guise, it now works

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brilliantly — I actually prefer it to a touch screen — and its fundamental design has been copied by loads of other car makers. The hard keys are logical, and there are still buttons for the most-used functions like radio station presets.

Bavarians want baby back X-it strategy leaves a wagon-shaped hole where an SUV lives IN THIS business in which I work, it’s seen as a badge of honour to own a car; one you don’t need, that you rarely drive, and receives none of the love and attention that you originally promised it. It’s why the easiest way to spot me in a crowded room of motoring journos is to look for the rumpled bloke with the pebble-crete complexion and zero badges of honour. The last car I did buy, purely for my own pleasure, was way back when my head of hair was thick, and my Nokia phone even thicker. It was an E30 BMW 323i, a car which did see ample love, at least until I was lovetapped into a stout tree on Sydney’s lower north shore. Anyway, according to research regarding buyer loyalty, that car makes me a prime candidate to purchase another BMW, which is the hypothetical I find myself immersed in here, as the X1 stands cleaned and fuelled, and ready to return to its maker.

So would I? Let’s start with the positives, of which there are plenty. The overall dimensions and packaging were spot-on for me: ample load area with the seats folded, or sufficient room for my leggy teenage daughter behind my driving position. The X1 never feels cramped, yet is still sufficiently compact to feel wieldy in tight spaces. Then there was the feel-good factor, both literally in terms of seating and comfort, as well as that little inner glow when you slide into a well-built, nicely appointed car. I found the driving position, seat support, oddment storage, instrument clarity, and general user friendliness of the thing difficult to fault. More credits in the powertrain department, too. The extra urge of the high-output 2.0-litre turbo was always nice to have. Its refinement and eagerness is superb. Perfect throttle calibration, super smooth, and happy to chase the 6500rpm redline. It’s not overtly sporty sounding, but that was never an issue for me; I

was happy to enjoy the near-lag-free delivery, plucking ratios via the paddles, and surfing along on that generous wedge of torque. The thumpy ride is really the only dynamic demerit, and could be improved by ditching the run-flats. The steering is not perfect in terms of providing a completely natural connection, but it’s still very good – well-weighted, quick-witted, and with a reassuring self-centring action. Likewise the fine body control on the adaptive dampers; chassis essentials which should be standard, but are at least priced right. All this sounds like a no-brainer, right? Apart from the small matter of its SUV-ness, that is. I never went near an unsealed road, and I suspect most buyers never will. Which leaves me still as a committed rear-drive wagon lover, and eyeing the $14,000 more expensive 330i Touring as the current BMW I’d really love, but sadly don’t need. ASH WESTERMAN

MEET YOUR DAD Check the proportion changes between original E84 and current X1. New car 77mm taller, less snouty

FAREWELL 132 wheelsmag.com.au


HOLDEN ASTRA RS Date acquired: March 2017 Price as tested: $26,490 This month: 551km @ 9.1L/100km Overall: 4003km @ 7.7L/100km

3 0 0 8 5 3 5 4 URBAN

Big sipper

I was stunned when a 1.4-litre Astra returned a whopping 10.2L/100km average fuel consumption readout in a recent Wheels megatest. Admittedly that car was subjected to some spirited driving, but I was still expecting my larger capacity long-

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WEEK 16 MOTORWAY

termer to have an even bigger drinking problem. Happily the opposite has been true. At 7.7L/100km it’s appreciably close to the factory claim of 6.5L/100km, and my boost-happy, hoonish driving style likely accounts for much of the difference.

FAREWELL

Perception changer Core competence cancels out the niggles IF YOU’VE been paying attention, my opinion on the Metallic Moss hatchback that is my Astra RS long-termer has oscillated wildly from ‘love’ through to ‘moderate discontent’. So now, after nearly half a year behind the wheel, where do I stand? Am I any less conflicted than I was in the beginning? It’s hard to develop an emotional attachment to something as prosaic as a mainstream small hatchback, and truth be told my eyes won’t be welling up as I hand back the keys to Holden. That being said, I will miss more than a few things. For starters, the engine is undoubtedly the cherry atop the sundae that is the Astra RS. Its 1.6 turbo makes mega torque for a hatchback that isn’t pitched as a performance car, yet it’s refined, makes nice noises, and has the flexibility necessary to lug around town with ease. It also loves to be worked hard, and thrusts forward with vigour when you prod the

‘Sport’ button that is hiding behind the gear lever, unlocking the overboost. And the balance between ride and handling, for me, lands right in the sweet spot. Dynamically capable, the Astra RS also enjoys a ride comfort that is perfectly suited to ironing out even the shonkiest of suburban streets. Though it’s a little too soft and compliant to properly harness its sizeable 147kW/300Nm outputs – not even brake torque vectoring can contain that inside wheelspin if you’re a bit heavy throttling out of a slow corner. The Astra’s interior has also won me over. Its clean surfaces and uncluttered centre console places it somewhere between the charmingly minimalist Peugeot 308 and the ultra-efficient (if a little soulless) Golf 7.5 for aesthetic appeal. Material quality and selection, however, still doesn’t tickle my fancy – especially its dust and fingerprint prone piano black plastics.

FOND FAREWELL Some ho-hum plastics aren’t enough to taint the Astra’s stellar driving experience

That’s a minor concern though, and one that’s balanced out by virtues such as excellent seat comfort, standard smartphone mirroring, and a lovely six-speed manual. And here’s the thing: over the past 16 weeks, there was never a day where I truly didn’t want to drive the Astra home. Sure, there was the occasional overnight tryst in some of the more high-end cars that have rolled through chez Wheels, but I’d always happily return to the comfort of the RS. That’s a ringing endorsement for a do-it-all small hatch that is designed for the average Aussie motorist. Stepping from the likes of a Lexus LC or a Mercedes E43, and straight into the Astra never felt like punishment – it was like slipping back into a pair of high-end sneakers after a day in dress shoes. TONY O’KANE

@wheelsaustralia 133


MAZDA M AZDA CX-9 AZAMI

OurGarag

Date acquired: January 2017 Price as tested: $64,695 This month: 954km @ 11.9L/100km Overall: 4094km @ 11.8L/100km

3 0 0 5 9 1 7 4 URBAN

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Sharp tunes, blunt tuner

The CX-9’s 12-speaker Bose sound system is a source of joy and frustration. Decent bass and crisp high notes are a refreshing change from the cheap items that typically grace mainstream SUVs. Having a d digital tuner also unlocks new stations, from the daggy to the

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WEEK 24 MOTORWAY

informative. But the DAB tuner is not as good as others we’ve sampled. The aerial and/or receiver is prone to dropouts, which makes for frustrating listening. Plus, the tuner can be slow at changing channels, taking up to 10 secs before normal service is resumed.

FAREWELL

‘NATURAL’ AGEING

The People’s champion

‘Natural Stone’ leather prone to discolouration, and shows wear quicker than fabric

Farewell rinse reminds Hagon of the CX-9’s COTY-winning capabilities BATH time in our house usually involves plenty of suds, rubber ducks, and the occasional soapy stoush. But this time around it’s in the driveway and it involves our four-wheeled boarder, otherwise known as a Mazda CX-9. Something of a farewell pressie for a car that has endured plenty. Like carbon-dating rocks, the back seat is a receptacle for all that has gone on over its six months of duty. Sand, crumbs, and the occasional raisin are expertly arranged with a plastic wrapper buried near a seatbelt buckle. All reminders of trips to the country, dozens of beach runs, and months of Saturday sport. Washing the Soul Red exterior reinforces the CX-9’s lofty dimensions. Extra stretching is needed to cover the extremities of the roof and, while it has 10-spoke wheels, their

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simple design makes it easy to sponge off a light coating of brake dust. Its lengthy body was a boon for friends and family who hitched a ride. The ability to put a car seat in the very back row was a big win when employed occasionally, and was some consolation for the CX-9’s lack of air vents way aft. Running on 20-inch rubber means some gribbles over small imperfections, but the inherent suppleness of its MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear made for respectable plushness. Mixed in with some meatiness to the steering, its mannerisms are something appreciated on a final fling up a local set of twisties. It’s quiet, too; for a brand with its fair share of tyre-roaring models, the CX-9 defies

expectations, cementing its position as a seriously relaxed cruiser. While its all-wheel drive was never wholly put to the test, its presence made it easier to utilise the full 420Nm on faster gravel blasts, and all but eliminates the front-wheel chirp of 2WD CX-9s, although firing out of an intersection can occasionally elicit some slip. Alternating between ULP and 98-octane showed there was an edge with the latter. But it was mainly top-end, way out of the engine’s natural habitat. Besides, the chances of bettering its 8.8L/100km official figure on any fuel were slim, short of meandering along a country road. For suburban duties there’s a higher price to be paid, right down to the (now departed) kid droppings. TOBY HAGON


MERCEDES-AMG E43 Date acquired: April 2017 Price as tested: $159,900 This month: 577km @ 12.6L/100km m Overall: 3445km @ 12.9L/100km

0 0 4 9 6 6 4 URBAN

Clean sweep? No, scratch that

Wheels is battling with a local council after the E43 was side-swiped by a rogue street sweeper. The four-wheeled aggressor left gouges across the AMG’s front-right wheel and a scuff on its bumper. Fear of other people’s

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carelessness is a constant pressure point with this car. Parking far from the shopping centre hordes only goes so far. When nobody but you cares, being precious is a stressful business.

Rise of the machine How much driver assistance does a human really need? AFTER sinking my teeth into the E43 over the last few months, I genuinely have little to complain about, but there is a question I’ve been trying to answer: how much is the E43’s far-reaching driver-assistance tech really adding to my ownership experience? The E-Class is one of the most advanced vehicles on the road, and that’s central to its sales pitch, but on a day-to-day basis only some of it has proven useful so far. Benz stops short of using the term ‘selfdriving’ for its Drive Pilot systems because it gives customers the wrong idea about how much of their attention is required when the car is in control, and therein lies the rub: the answer is still ‘all of it’. As a party trick with somebody new in the passenger seat, letting the car steer itself gets eyebrows raised in amazement. Practically, it’s a ‘nice to have’ on motorways where Distronic allows you to dial back your level of focus on surrounding cars and simply monitor the big sled as it follows a lane, but you must always be ready to correct it whether the system asks you to or not.

able to appreciate it more after recalibrating In traffic, the Stop and Go function works my expecations. well, though it is slow to get going again to Other shortcomings are few. The gearbox the point where I’ve copped horn blasts from can be clunky when cold and there’s a tyre drivers behind as the E43 sits watching the scrubbing problem where the front rubber car in front pull away. shudders across the road when at or near full Then there’s the active lane keeping, lock, juddering the steering wheel. It’s known which on a couple of occasions has forcefully to affect other 4Matic models and doesn’t tried tugging the car back into line when I cause damage or wear, but does take a little have been deliberately steering away from an sparkle off the prestige sheen. obstacle. Worse still were two AEB brainfarts Next month will be our last together, and which threw me and a carful of family with my firstborn child due midway through, members against the seatbelts on an empty I expect that ride home from the hospital to bit of road. truly cement the bond. Outside of these gripes the electronics ruly ce are good. Its surround-view cameras and RYAN LEWIS multibeam headlights are amazing, and the car’s knowledge of its environment has opened my mind to the future, but it won’t be until the next generation of Merc’s autonomous tech (starting in the S-Class) that the systems really start to change the way we drive. MIND OF The E43 is a stepping stone to, ITS OWN rather than the arrival of, the Mysterious AEB issue from month two has truly driverless car, and I’ve been reoccurred. Any other owners out there experiencing this?

@wheelsaustralia 135


Eng type

Price

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Giulia

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Italy rebooted

Sweet twin-turbo V6’s atmo-like top end; Italian brio; individual style; loves oversteer Some minor controls feel a bit parts-bin; QV’s brakes difficult to modulate at low speed  The Pick: QV an accomplished left-field alternative to the German muscle establishment $59,895 L4T 2.0 147 330 A8 1394 6.6 — 6.0 95 R $64,195 L4T 2.0 147 330 A8 1394 6.6 — 6.0 95 R $65,895 L 4TD 2.1 132 450 A8 1410 7.1 — 4.2 D R $71,985 L4T 2.0 206 400 A8 1490 5.7 — 6.1 95 R $143,900 V6TT 2.9 375 600 A8 1585 4.4 12.3 8.2 95 04/17 R

Super Super Veloce Quadrifoglio

4C

Alfisti rejoice!

Lightweight carbonfibre body; exciting dynamics; bucketloads of charisma Firm seats; turbo whoosh overpowers exhaust in cabin; unassisted steering won’t suit all  The Pick: The Spider delivers more of an aural return, but both will entertain $89,000 L4T 1.7 177 350 S6 1025 4.5 — 6.8 95 64 R $99,000 L4T 1.7 177 350 S6 1035 4.6 12.8 6.8 95 67 06/15 R

Coupe Spider

3yr/200,000km alpinaautomobiles.com.au

Alpina

B3/B4/B7 For anyone who finds an M badge too common

B3 Sedan B3 Touring B4 Coupe B4 Convertible B7 Sedan

Rarity; persuasive blend of comfort and speed; striking looks M-car pricing; no manual gearbox  The Pick: If you’re going to go rare, go all the way with the Touring $155,900 L6T 3.0 301 600 A8 1560 4.3 — 7.6 $160,900 L6T 3.0 301 600 A8 1615 4.4 — 7.7 $160,900 L6T 3.0 301 600 A8 1537 4.3 — 7.6 $170,900 L6T 3.0 301 600 A8 1790 4.4 — 7.7 $369,720 V8TT 4.4 447 800 A8 2110 4.2 — 9.6

Aston Martin Vantage

V8 Coupe V8 Coupe V8 Roadster V8 Roadster V8 S Coupe V8 S Coupe V8 S Roadster V12 S Coupe V12 S Roadster

Coupe

R R R R R

3yr/unlimited astonmartin.com

Superstar styling, not long for this world

R R R R R R R R R

1.0 TFSI 1.0 TFSI 1.4 TFSI Sport 1.4 TFSI Sport 1.8 TFSI S-Line S1 quattro

wheels

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Join us at facebook.com/WheelsAustralia and Twitter @WheelsAustralia. We’re also on Instagram!

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Baby got ’back

Less conservative than before

F F F A A A F

Practicality and looks

All the highlights of the A3 Sportback, plus elegant three-box styling Chopped rear roofline restricts headroom; added expense over equivalent Sportback  The Pick: 2.0 TFSI is punchy and frugal, and available in front or all-wheel drive 1.4 TFSI CoD $41,500 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1250 8.2 — 4.9 95 F 2.0 TFSI Sport $47,500 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1320 6.9 — 5.8 95 F 2.0 TFSI quattro S’ln $51,100 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1390 6.2 — 6.1 95 A S3 $64,500 L4T 2.0 213 380 M6 1430 5.4 — 7.1 95 A S3 $64,500 L4T 2.0 213 380 S7 1460 4.8 — 6.5 95 A RS3 $84,900 L5T 2.5 294 480 S7 1515 4.1 – 8.4 95 A

A3 Cabriolet

Manscaped sun-seeker

Sedan-based styling much more masculine; strong body; lovely finish; 2.0 engines Adults won’t love the rear seat; Ikea fans may need a bigger boot; price increases  The Pick: The 2.0 TFSI front-driver delivers the best mix of grunt, gear, and value 1.4 TFSI CoD $49,000 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1380 8.9 — 5.1 95 2.0 TFSI Sport $55,000 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1430 7.2 — 6.0 95 2.0 TFSI quattro S’ln $58,600 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1540 6.9 — 6.4 95 S3 $72,000 L4T 2.0 213 380 S7 1620 5.3 — 6.8 95

A4

F F A A

Familiar face hides class-leading tech

Terrific interior; class-leading tech; refinement; plush ride; silky diesel; zingy petrols Conservative styling; dual-clutch ’box better, not brilliant; lots of tech is optional  The Pick: The 2.0 TFSI quattro is smooth and muscular, with a rorty exhaust note 1.4 TFSI $55,500 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1450 8.5 — 5.5 95 59 F 2.0 TFSI $60,900 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1480 7.3 — 5.3 95 59 F 2.0 TFSI Avant $63,900 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1505 7.5 — 5.6 95 60 F 2.0 TDI quattro $66,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1650 7.2 — 4.6 D 60 A 2.0 TFSI quattro $69,900 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1585 6.3 14.4 6.3 95 60 04/16 A 2.0 TFSI q’ttro Avant $72,900 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1610 6.0 — 6.6 95 60 A S4 $104,610 V6T 3.0 260 500 A8 1630 4.7 — 7.7 98 05/17 A S4 Avant $108,110 V6T 3.0 260 500 A8 1675 4.9 — 7.8 98 A

A4 Allroad

2.0 TFSI 2.0 TDI quattro 2.0 TFSI quattro S5

Four-door coupe with five seats

Liftback versatility with still-great styling; nice cabin; slick engines; lusty and lively S5 Not the last word in steering feedback  The Pick: 2.0 TFSI quattro is a sleeper. Turbo S5 stronger than supercharged predecessor $69,900 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1565 7.5 — 5.6 95 64 F $73,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1720 7.4 — 4.8 D 57 A $81,500 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1645 6.0 — 6.5 95 64 A $105,800 V6T 3.0 260 500 S7 1745 4.7 — 7.7 98 56 A

A5 Coupe

2.0 TFSI 2.0 TDI quattro 2.0 TFSI quattro S5

All the SUV you’ll ever need

Terrific drivetrains featuring quattro Ultra; cabin quality and finish; overall usefulness Runs out of grip earlier than A4 wagon; diesel a bit gruff at high revs  The Pick: As above: 2.0 TFSI is livelier, lighter on its feet, and frugal in real-world driving $71,400 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1640 7.8 — 5.2 D 47 A $74,400 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1580 6.1 — 6.7 D 47 A

A5 Sportback

R

Super sedan

0-100 km/h

Five-door practicality; cute styling; slick interior; ballsy S1; thrummy turbo three-pot 1.8 TFSI is more than $10K dearer than a Polo GTI with the same donk  The Pick: A 1.0-litre turbo-triple manual is where it’s at, with charm, spirit and polish $26,900 L3T 1.0 70 160 M5 1060 11.1 — 4.2 95 58 F $28,600 L3T 1.0 70 160 S7 1090 11.6 18.2 4.4 95 58 03/16 F $27,750 L4T 1.4 92 200 M6 1105 8.9 — 5.1 95 59 F $30,500 L4T 1.4 92 200 S7 1140 8.9 — 4.9 95 58 F $40,400 L4T 1.8 141 250 S7 1205 6.9 — 5.6 95 61 F $49,990 L4T 2.0 170 370 M6 1340 5.9 — 7.1 95 59 12/14 A

A3 Sedan

2.0 TDI quattro 2.0 TFSI quattro

Gorgeous Aston ‘sedan’ makes its Porsche Panamera rival look overfed and frumpy It may look sexy but getting any in its cramped rear quarters would be an achievement  The Pick: Good luck securing one – only a handful are coming here and the queue is long $378,500 V12 5.9 411 630 A8 1990 4.9 — 12.9 95 59 R

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Design; dynamics; cabin presentation; safety update Muted steering; new 1.0 TFSI noisy when extended; torsion beam on 1.0  The Pick: Go for the rorty 2.0 TFSI in either FWD or more talented quattro form 1.0 TFSI $35,900 L3T 1.0 85 200 S7 1200 9.9 — 4.8 95 1.4 TFSI CoD $38,500 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1240 8.2 — 5.0 95 2.0 TFSI Sport $43,100 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1315 6.8 — 5.9 95 2.0 TFSI quattro S’ln $46,100 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1385 6.2 — 6.2 95 S3 $62,900 L4T 2.0 213 380 M6 1405 5.4 — 7.1 95 S3 $62,900 L4T 2.0 213 380 S7 1430 4.8 — 6.6 95 e-tron $62,490 L4TH 1.4 150 350 S6 — 7.6 — 1.6 95 49

DBS replacement is a stunner

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Eng type

A3 Sportback

Daimler tie-up boosts interest

Arguably the most beautiful modern Aston; still with tingly V12 and now eight-speed auto Lardy kerb weight; hefty consumption; more a GT than a genuine sports car  The Pick: In white, thanks, with black wheels and a Ben Sherman Union Jack pillow $484,995 V12 5.9 421 620 A8 1739 4.1 — 14.4 95 58 R $521,995 V12 5.9 421 620 A8 1849 4.3 — 14.4 95 55 R

Rapide

S

52 56 56 56

Design as sexy as ever; new V12 twin turbo; sweet chassis set-up; interior fit-out High-speed wind noise; cramped rear seats; small boot due to transaxle; heavy  The Pick: It’s the most convincing Aston Martin in years and a fine grand tourer $395,000 V12TT 5.2 447 700 A8 1770 3.9 — 11.4 95

Vanquish

Coupe Volante

95 95 95 95 95

Stunning looks, spectacular-sounding engines, much rarer than a 911 Cabin dated and pretty tight; purists will prefer its sharper, newer rivals  The Pick: V12 from the Vanquish provides serious shove with little weight penalty $231,000 V8 4.7 313 470 M6 1630 4.9 — 13.8 95 63 08/07 $246,900 V8 4.7 313 470 S7 1630 4.9 — 12.9 95 63 $260,000 V8 4.7 313 470 M6 1690 4.9 — 13.8 95 63 $273,800 V8 4.7 313 470 S7 1690 4.9 — 12.9 95 63 $251,700 V8 4.7 321 490 M6 1610 4.8 — 13.8 95 63 $267,600 V8 4.7 321 490 S7 1610 4.5 — 12.9 95 63 $280,600 V8 4.7 321 490 M6 1690 4.8 — 13.8 95 63 $354,300 V12 5.9 421 620 S7 — 3.9 — 14.7 95 63 $383,525 V12 5.9 421 620 S7 1745 4.1 — 14.7 95 63

DB11

Price

A1 Sportback

F F F

3yr/unlimited audi.com.au

Audi

New names; more gear

Engines; steering; suspension; cabin space; improved value Cabin lacks storage; visual update can’t hide ageing basics; no Veloce manual  The Pick: Top-spec Veloce. Manual Super also promises fun with torquey 1.4 $29,000 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1269 8.2 — 5.5 95 41 $34,900 L4T 1.4 125 250 S6 1284 7.7 — 4.9 95 42 $41,900 L4T 1.7 177 340 S6 1299 6.0 — 6.8 95 47

Super Super TCT Veloce

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

3yr/150,000km alfaromeo.com.au

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Kilograms

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

New models for the month highlighted

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

ALFA RO M EO – B M W

NEW ARRIVALS

Appeal more than skin deep

Typical top-quality Audi interior; strong engine line-up; gutsy S5 performance Pricey options; no manual option; fiddly gear selector  The Pick: S5 takes the stonking performance of the S4 and wraps it up in sportscar looks $69,900 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1420 7.3 — 5.5 95 F $73,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1640 7.2 — 4.6 D A $81,500 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1490 5.8 — 6.5 95 A $105,800 V6T 3.0 260 500 S7 1690 4.7 — 7.5 98 A


POWE RE D

Showroom Price

Eng type

A5 Cabriolet

1.8 TFSI 2.0 TDI 2.0 TFSI quattro 3.0 TDI quattro 3.0 TFSI quattro S5

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Ageing soft top for smooth roads

Usual A5 class and style, mixed with excellent drivetrains and high-quality roof Showing its age until it’s updated to align with the rest of the range  The Pick: Base 1.8 TFSI – the more powerful variants highlight the rigidity issues $81,155 L4T 1.8 125 320 C 1655 8.9 — 6.2 95 55 $83,255 L4TD 2.0 130 380 C 1680 8.3 — 5.0 D 57 $90,955 L4T 2.0 165 350 S7 1735 7.2 — 6.9 95 57 $110,555 V6TD 3.0 180 500 S7 1845 6.3 — 5.9 D 57 $111,010 V6S 3.0 200 400 S7 1850 6.3 — 8.5 95 57 $132,616 V6S 3.0 245 440 S7 1880 5.4 — 8.5 98 64

A6

Drive

3.0 TDI quattro

F F A A A A

Finely crafted, improved value

Q7

A8

A A A A

TT

R8

R8 Spyder

GTC V8 GTC V8 S GTC W12 GT Speed Supersports

— —

Mulliner Mulliner

Drive

A A

Mothership Q7 finally seats seven

3yr/unlimited bentleymotors.com

Successfully fights 2.3-tonne heft with mountains of continent-shifting grunt Suspension tries desperately hard to be dynamic, but it doesn’t quite win that one  The Pick: Arguably the lighter, almost-as-swift V8 S over the monster W12 $381,000 V8TT 4.0 373 660 A8 2320 4.8 — 10.5 98 63 02/13 $405,600 V8TT 4.0 389 680 A8 2320 4.5 — 10.6 98 63 $408,870 W12TT 6.0 423 700 A8 2333 4.6 — 16.5 98 63 07/11 $461,300 W12TT 6.0 467 820 A8 2320 4.2 — 14.5 98 64 09/14 $569,522 W12TT 6.0 522 1017 A8 2280 3.4 15.7 04/17 Pedestrian plebs can see the gorgeous cabin; top-down access to W12 decibels Doesn’t quite handle like a land yacht but does drink like a sailor  The Pick: Less than half the cost of a Phantom Drophead? We’ll take two $419,100 V8TT 4.0 373 660 A8 2485 5.0 — 10.9 98 62 $446,000 V8TT 4.0 389 680 A8 2485 4.7 — 10.9 98 62 10/14 $449,500 W12TT 6.0 423 700 A8 2505 4.7 — 14.9 98 63 07/12 $507,400 W12TT 6.0 460 800 A8 2495 4.4 — 14.9 98 64 $626,474 W12TT 6.0 522 1017 A8 2455 3.7 — 15.9 98

A A A A A

Speed

Upper-crust urgency

Captain capitalism

Fuses contemporary tech with old-world craftsmanship; stonking twin-turbo V8 Ride on optional 21s not quite in keeping with ultra-luxe vibe; weight and fuel use  Pick: This new-age Arnage or a Rolls-Royce Ghost? We prefer the hipster Benters $662,857 V8TT 6.8 377 1020 A8 2711 5.3 — 15.0 98 54 07/10 $733,387 V8TT 6.8 395 1100 A8 4.9 — 15.0 98

Bentayga

Diesel

A

Because you can

3yr/unlimited bmw.com.au The rear drive continues

The last rear-drive hatch, and all the better for it; excellent engines and transmissions Cabin quality and space can’t match Audi’s A3; barely a manual transmission to be seen  The Pick: Punchy 125i is a good match for a Golf GTI. However, the M140i is a cracker $39,990 L3T 1.5 100 220 A8 1320 8.7 — 4.8 95 59 R $43,900 L4TD 2.0 110 320 A8 1375 8.1 — 3.8 D 59 R $45,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1320 7.1 — 5.8 95 60 R $49,900 L4T 2.0 165 310 A8 1375 6.1 — 5.9 95 61 R $59,900 L6T 3.0 250 500 A8 1430 4.6 — 7.1 95 62 R

2 Series

220i 230i

R R

Effortless, serene, powerful, and plush; competent on the road and off it; quick, too We’re still not sold on the looks; the price; at this money, it should have more gear  Pick: Brilliant if you want to stand out, but a Range Rover also does a decent job of that $355,000 V8TTTD 4.0 320 900 A8 2499 4.8 — 8.0 D A $427,300 W12TT 6.0 447 900 A8 2440 4.1 — 13.1 98 A

1 Series Hatch

118i 118d 120i 125i M140i

A A A A A

Exquisite interior; jaw-dropping style, complete with muscle-car hips; high-speed calm All that heft ahead of the front axle line hampers its chances of being a driver’s car  The Pick: Doesn’t handle like a 7 Series, but looks and feels a million bucks $378,197 V8TT 4.0 373 660 A8 2350 5.2 — 10.9 98 58 A $388,715 V8TT 4.0 373 660 A8 2350 5.2 — 10.9 98 58 A $423,160 W12TT 6.0 460 800 A8 2400 4.6 — 14.7 98 58 07/13 A $448,820 W12TT 6.0 460 800 A8 2400 4.6 — 14.7 98 59 A

Mulsanne

Fashionably fetching

First in Q to challenge X1

Issue tested

D 56 95 58 04/14

Style utility vehicle

BMW

Excellent 2.0-litre fours; classy cabin; surprisingly agile dynamics; amusing base model AWD variants are significantly heavier; lumpy ride; small rear doors; compact boot  The Pick: Probably the base 110kW 1.4 turbo-petrol. Or a Q2 1.4 TFSI $42,900 L4T 1.4 110 250 S6 1405 8.9 — 5.9 95 55 F 2.0 TDI quattro $48,500 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S7 1605 9.3 — 5.2 D 56 A 2.0 TFSI Sport qttro $52,900 L4T 2.0 132 320 S7 1540 7.6 — 6.7 95 56 A

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.4 8.8

Sublime ride on optional air suspension; silky 3.0; grunty 4.0 in SQ7; elegant interior Storage up front is light-on; lots of options on base; gearbox not as lag-free as SQ7 grunt  The Pick: The 3.0 TDI is a great engine, though we’d tick the box for air suspension $96,855 V6TD 3.0 160 500 A8 2135 7.3 — 5.8 D 63 A $104,855 V6TD 3.0 200 600 A8 2135 6.5 — 5.9 D 63 02/16 A $153,616 V8TTTD 4.0 320 900 A8 2330 4.9 — 7.2 D A

Flying Spur

Less roof, more exhaust noise!

Interesting styling; well packaged; efficient drivetrains; instantly dates the ageing Q3 Not a big cost saving compared with the larger Q3; tyre noise; the fully optioned price  The Pick: The sweet 1.4 TFSI turbo-petrol with its sharp threads and new-generation donk 1.4 TFSI Design $41,100 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1405 8.5 16.4 10.6 95 55 07/17 F 2.0 TDI Sport quattro $47,900 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S7 1605 9.3 — 5.2 D 56 A

Q3

0-400 metres

Continental GTC An open display of wealth

Lambo on a budget

Takes the R8’s supercar sex appeal and turns it up Additional 100kg and reduced body rigidity affect dynamics, but only slightly $388,500 V10 5.2 395 540 S7 1720 3.6 — 11.7 98 53

Q2

GT V8 GT V8 S GT W12 GT Speed Supersports

TT take three, done better

Sharper, lighter, and better than the excellent original; V10 is a great supercar engine Not as flamboyant inside as rivals; is that evolutionary styling a tad too subtle?  The Pick: If money’s no object go the Plus. If it is, the V10 is all the supercar you need Coupe V10 quattro $354,616 V10 5.2 397 540 S7 1640 3.5 — 11.4 98 53 A Coupe V10 Plus qttro $389,616 V10 5.2 449 560 S7 1580 3.2 — 12.3 98 53 04/16 A

0-100 km/h

1625 7.9 1655 5.2

Continental GT Enough grunt to go Continental drifting

Refining first-class travel

Engine flexibility; sweet six-speed manual; quattro’s all-paw traction; that interior! TT S’s brutal rough-road ride; roof-up rear-three-quarter vision in Roadster  The Pick: The manual Sport is tempting but the traction and pace of the quattro wins out Sport $73,950 L4T 2.0 169 370 M6 1230 6.0 — 5.9 95 56 04/15 F Sport $74,950 L4T 2.0 169 370 S6 1260 5.9 — 6.3 95 56 F Sport quattro $80,355 L4T 2.0 169 370 S6 1335 5.3 — 6.4 95 56 04/15 A Sport quattro Rdster $83,905 L4T 2.0 169 370 S6 1410 5.3 — 6.4 95 56 A S-Line $81,005 L4T 2.0 169 370 M6 1230 6.0 — 5.9 95 56 F S-Line $82,450 L4T 2.0 169 370 S6 1260 5.9 — 6.3 95 56 F S-Line quattro $87,855 L4T 2.0 169 370 S6 1335 5.5 13.8 6.4 95 56 06/15 A S-Line quat. Rdster $91,405 L4T 2.0 169 370 S6 1410 5.3 — 6.4 95 56 02/16 A S quattro $100,855 L4T 2.0 210 380 S6 1385 4.7 — 6.8 98 56 02/16 A S quattro Roadster $104,616 L4T 2.0 210 380 S6 1500 5.0 — 6.9 98 56 A RS quattro $137,900 L5T 2.5 298 480 S7 1440 3.7 — 8.4 98 56 A RS quattro Rdster $141,900 L5T 2.5 298 480 S7 1530 3.9 — 8.6 98 56 A

S7 S7

Bentley

Mix of A6 and A8, plus panache

Beautifully made luxury-sedan interior; S8’s astonishing thrust S-Class and 7 Series make the A8/S8 feel dynamically uninvolving and a bit last-decade  The Pick: Twin-turbo V8 diesel offers a seductive blend of quality, economy and grunt 3.0 TDI quattro $198,855 V6TD 3.0 190 580 A8 1880 5.9 — 5.9 D 47 07/14 A 3.0 TDI quattro LWB $210,855 V6TD 3.0 190 580 A8 1935 6.1 — 6.0 D 47 A 4.2 TDI quattro $252,616 V8TTD 4.1 283 850 A8 2040 4.7 — 7.4 D 47 12/13 A S8 $282,616 V8TT 4.0 382 650 A8 1990 4.1 — 9.6 98 47 12/13 A S8 Plus $330,500 V8TT 4.0 445 750 A8 — 3.8 10.2 98 A

V10 quattro

3.0 TDI quattro 3.0 TDI quattro SQ7

A6 goodness, elevated

Adds hatchback versatility, A8-rivalling space and rakish rear styling over an A6 S7 is all about fast motorways, not tight mountain passes; sizeable premium over A6  The Pick: Twin-turbo diesel delivers on torque and presence, and comes nicely loaded 3.0 TDI quattro $115,855 V6TD 3.0 160 500 S7 1825 6.8 — 5.2 D 47 06/15 3.0 TDI Biturbo qttro $144,855 V6TTD 3.0 235 650 A8 1895 5.2 — 6.1 D 42 06/15 S7 $180,716 V8T 4.0 331 550 S7 1955 4.6 — 9.3 95 51 06/15 RS7 Perf $258,000 V8TT 4.0 445 750 A8 1920 3.7 — 9.7 98 51

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.0 135 380 2.5 228 420

Class and quality with SUV space and versatility; torquey turbo diesel Needs adaptive suspension to ride; doesn’t like getting its skirts wet off-road  The Pick: The petrol 2.0 is sweeter, swifter, and doesn’t drink much more than the oilers 2.0 TDI qttro Design $65,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1845 7.9 — 5.5 D 63 A 2.0 TDI qttro Sport $70,700 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1845 7.9 — 5.4 D 63 A 2.0 TFSI qttro Sport $73,500 L4T 2.0 185 370 A8 1795 6.3 — 7.3 95 63 A SQ5 3.0 TFSI quattro$99,900 V6T 3.0 260 500 A8 1935 5.4 — 8.7 95 63 A

Handsome; gorgeous cabin; lush ride quality; strong and silky turbo-diesel V6 Ride height blunts on-road dynamics; definitely not an off-roader; depreciation  The Pick: Still expensive despite price drop, but A6 Allroad is one of our favourite Audis $112,855 V6TD 3.0 160 500 S7 1890 7.3 — 5.6 D 46 07/15 A

A7 Sportback

L4TD L5T

Q5

Great cabin presentation; strong and efficient engines; thrusty bi-turbo TDI, S6, and RS6 Base wagons deleted; steering still not its strong suit; front-driver is a dynamic dullard  The Pick: Fiery RS6 is tempting but either of the quattro diesels fit the bill 1.8 TFSI $80,355 L4T 1.8 140 320 S7 1570 7.9 — 5.7 95 52 06/15 F 3.0 TDI quattro $102,355 V6TD 3.0 160 500 S7 1765 6.6 — 5.1 D 52 A 3.0 TDI Biturbo qttro $124,855 V6TTD 3.0 235 650 A8 1835 5.0 — 6.1 D 52 06/15 A S6 $170,716 V8T 4.0 331 550 S7 1895 4.4 — 9.4 95 44 06/15 A RS6 Avant Perf $245,116 V8TT 4.0 445 750 A8 1935 3.7 — 9.6 98 44 A

A6 Allroad

Eng type

Price

2.0 TDI Sport qttro $57,500 RS Q3 $84,216

BY

Rear-drive fun machines

Great body control and handling; superb M2 signals a return to form for the M Division Tight rear seats; some cabin plastics not up to the price tag; prices creeping up  The Pick: M2 howls a delicious straight-six wail, and has the grunt to match $51,300 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 7.2 — 5.8 95 R $61,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 5.6 — 5.9 95 R

@wheelsaustralia 137


$74,900 $90,500 $99,500

2 Series Conv

When we drove it

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

— 7.0 13.4 12.1 — 7.9

Issue tested

Drive

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

0-400 metres

Recommended octane rating

0-100 km/h

A8 4.6 M6 1495 5.1 S7 1495 4.3

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

3.0 250 500 3.0 272 465 3.0 272 465

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Eng type

L6T L6T L6T

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Price

M240i M2 Pure M2

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

BMW – FERRA RI

NEW ARRIVALS

95 95 57 SUM 95 57

A fresh breeze

2 Active Tourer Mini in a muumuu One of the more athletic front-drive hatches on sale; BMW cabin quality, fit and finish Late-to-the-party B-Class rival doesn’t feel like a BMW; slightly frumpy looks; lumpy ride  The Pick: The three-pot petrol, for its thrummy elasticity and its best-case-scenario ride $44,400 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1360 9.2 — 5.2 95 58 02/16 F $47,800 L4TD 2.0 110 330 A8 1410 8.9 — 4.2 D 58 10/14 F $54,900 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 1430 6.6 — 6.1 95 59 10/14 F

218i 218d 225i

i3

COTY-winning electric wunderkind

Stunning design; instant torque delivers grunty performance; it was our 2014 COTY winner Only seats four, with a similarly compact boot; road noise; entry price  The Pick: While going full EV is commendable, the Range Extender is worth the extra coin $63,900 E 125 250 A1 1195 7.2 — 53 09/13 R 94Ah $67,100 E 125 250 A1 1245 7.3 — R Range Extender $69,900 L2H 125 250 A1 1315 7.9 — 0.6 95 53 01/15 R 94Ah Range Ext’er $73,100 L2H 125 250 A1 1365 7.9 — 0.6 95 R

3 Series

318i 320i 320i Touring 320d 330i 330e 330i Touring 340i M3 Pure M3 M3 M3 Competition M3 Competition

Now you can have your 3 with a triple

Mid-life update brings new engines with outstanding efficiency and performance Optional ‘Variable Sport’ steering adds cost and confusion, without dynamic gain  The Pick: 330i delivers a fine performance/value blend, but M3 brings proper thrills $56,500 L3T 1.5 100 230 A6 1475 8.9 — 5.4 95 59 04/16 $62,500 L4T 2.0 135 290 A8 1505 7.2 — 5.8 95 60 $66,500 L4T 2.0 135 290 A8 1585 7.5 — 5.9 95 57 $64,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1505 7.3 — 4.4 D 59 $69,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1545 6.1 14.3 5.8 95 60 04/16 $72,900 L4T 2.0 185 420 A8 1636 6.1 — 2.1 95 60 $73,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1615 6.0 — 6.1 95 60 $89,900 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1605 5.2 — 6.8 96 60 $129,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1560 4.0 – 8.8 98 $139,900 L6TT 3.0 317 550 M6 1520 4.3 — 8.8 98 54 $139,900 L6TT 3.0 317 550 S7 1560 4.3 12.2 8.3 98 54 06/16 $144,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 M6 1520 4.2 — 8.8 98 54 $144,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1560 4.2 12.2 8.3 98 54 04/17

OR HIGH-FIVE F-P LOW RICED

5

Series

Price

Eng type

3 Series GT

R R R

Decent punch from M240i’s turbo six; flexible four-pots; clever roof folds neatly Not particularly light; manual gearboxes notably lacking; ride tending towards firm  The Pick: The coupe if you want performance, otherwise be happy in the look-at-moi 220i $58,300 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 7.7 — 6.1 95 R $71,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 5.9 — 6.2 95 R $83,900 L6T 3.0 250 500 A8 4.7 — 7.4 95 R

220i 230i M240i

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

320i 320d 330i

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

The 3 crosses over

Riding on a 3 Series platform but with a higher driving position and a stack more space It’s not what you’d call classically good looking, though at least it isn’t an SUV  The Pick: The top-spec 330i – it’s much faster, yet barely any thirstier than the 320i $68,100 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 — 7.9 — 6.2 95 60 R $70,900 L4TD 2.0 135 380 A8 — 7.9 — 4.9 D 60 R $78,900 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 6.1 — 6.5 95 59 09/13 R

4 Series Coupe Two-door 3 becomes 4

420i 430i 440i M4 Pure M4 M4 M4 Competition M4 Competition

Wide stance and adaptive dampers make 4 Series a proper driver’s car – especially M4 Electric steering doesn’t feel fluent in Sport mode; styling has lost some elegance  The Pick: The excellent 430i is the sweet spot, but the M4 manual is addictively involving $69,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1465 7.3 — 5.8 95 — R $79,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1470 5.8 14.1 5.8 95 — R $99,900 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1525 5.0 — 6.8 95 — R $139,900 L6T 3.0 331 550 S7 1537 4.0 – 8.8 98 — R $149,900 L6TT 3.0 317 550 M6 1497 4.3 — 8.8 98 — 11/14 R $149,900 L6TT 3.0 317 550 S7 1537 4.1 13.0 8.3 98 — 09/14 R $154,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 M6 1497 4.2 — 8.8 98 — R $154,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1537 4.0 — 8.3 98 — R

4 Series Gran Coupe Yet another niche plugged

420i 430i 440i

Liftback practicality; slick drivetrains; frameless doors; Audi A5-smashing dynamics Neither coupe-ish enough to be cool, or elegant enough to be beautiful  The Pick: For the same money as the two-door, a 430i Gran Coupe kinda makes sense $69,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1480 7.6 — 5.8 95 — R $79,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1580 6.0 — 5.8 95 — R $99,900 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1575 5.1 — 6.8 95 — R

4 Series Conv R R R R R R R R R R R R R

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Inherits coupe’s dynamism

Elegant rear deck enhances styling; as quiet as the coupe; velvety petrol drivetrains Much heavier than the coupe, to the detriment of performance; small rear seat  The Pick: 430i has everything most people could ever need, except for the 440i’s six-pot 420i $87,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1660 8.2 — 6.2 95 — R 430i $97,900 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1700 6.4 — 6.3 95 — R 440i $117,900 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1750 5.4 — 7.2 95 — R M4 Convertible $161,900 L6TT 3.0 317 550 M6 1750 4.6 — 9.1 98 — R M4 Convertible $161,900 L6TT 3.0 317 550 S7 1790 4.4 — 8.7 98 — 11/14 R M4 Competition Conv $165,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 M6 1750 4.3 — 9.1 98 — R M4 Competition Conv $165,900 L6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1790 4.1 — 8.7 98 — R

5 Series

520i 520d 530i 530e 530d 540i

Promises lots, mostly delivers

Hard-driven handling poise; superb drivetrains; interior design and quality Remote steering; unsettled ride on big wheels; confusing array of dynamic options  The Pick: Until we try the optional four-wheel steering, a lusty 530d without the M Sport kit $92,900 L4T 2.0 135 290 A8 1540 7.8 — 6.2 95 R $93,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1560 7.5 — 4.3 D R $108,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1540 6.2 — 5.8 95 R $108,900 L4TH 2.0 185 420 A8 1770 6.2 — 2.3 95 R $119,900 L6TD 3.0 195 620 A8 1640 5.7 — 4.7 D R $136,900 L6T 3.0 250 450 A8 1595 5.1 — 6.7 95 R

6 Series Coupe Swings with drivers

640i 650i M6

640i boasts one of the world’s greatest six-cylinder engines; improved styling Not a car for driving enthusiasts, but the bigger boot will fit more drivers  The Pick: Turbo-six is so good it renders the twin-turbo V8 almost irrelevant $179,500 L6T 3.0 235 450 A8 1685 5.3 — 7.4 95 49 $232,900 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1795 4.6 — 8.6 95 49 $292,900 V8TT 4.4 441 700 S7 1850 3.9 — 9.9 98 50

6 Series Conv

640i 650i M6

R R R

Six in drop-top form

Shark-nosed presence, plush cabin, and superb engines to blow your toupee off Dull dynamics will disappoint drivers; zero rear legroom will disappoint passengers  The Pick: More noise in 330kW V8, but peachy six is the default pick $195,500 L6T 3.0 235 450 A8 1820 5.5 — 7.6 98 49 R $248,900 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1930 4.6 — 8.9 98 49 R $308,900 V8TT 4.4 441 700 S7 1980 4.0 — 10.3 95 48 R

6 Series Gran Coupe Six plus two doors

640i 640d 650i M6

Sexier than a 5 Series; better to drive than a 7 Series; can fit five (at a pinch) Still not as dynamic as a BMW should be; poorly packaged rear seat  The Pick: The six is lovely but huge premium over a 540i makes it questionable value $186,500 L6T 3.0 235 450 A8 1750 5.4 — 7.5 98 49 $186,500 L6TTD 3.0 230 630 A8 1810 5.4 — 5.4 D 49 $239,900 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1865 4.6 — 8.6 98 49 $299,900 V8TT 4.4 412 680 A8 1875 4.0 — 9.9 98 46

7 Series

BMW has made its iconic 5 Series more affordable with a new 520i entry-level version joining the line-up as a second sub-$100,000 option. It shares the same

138 wheelsmag.com.au

specification as the previous base 520d diesel but is powered by a turbo fourpot petrol with 135kW and 290Nm. Think detuned 530i for diesel money.

730d 740i 740e 740Li 750i 750Li M760Li AWD

R R R R

All-new 7 is a stunner

Interior space and quality; powerful and economical engines; driving dynamics; ride Semi-autonomous steering is flawed; high prices now higher; gimmicky gesture tech  The Pick: 730d makes plenty of sense for its smooth, torquey diesel, and lowest price $219,000 L6TD 3.0 195 620 A8 1840 6.1 — 4.7 D 41 R $224,900 L6TT 3.0 240 450 A8 1825 5.5 — 7.0 95 41 02/16 R $229,000 L4TH 2.0 240 650 A8 — 5.4 — 2.2 95 R $238,900 L6TT 3.0 240 450 A8 1845 5.6 — 7.0 95 42 R $289,900 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1940 4.7 — 8.1 95 41 R $314,500 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1960 4.7 — 8.3 95 42 R $419,000 V12TT 6.6 448 800 A8 2195 3.7 12.6 A


POWE RE D

Showroom Price

i8

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Hybrid performance hero

X1

sDrive 18d sDrive 20i xDrive 20d xDrive 25i

X3

xDrive 20i xDrive 20d xDrive 30d

xDrive20i xDrive20d xDrive30d xDrive35i xDrive35d

Eng type

DSport

DS3 Cabriolet

DSport

Mum’s SUV goes large

DSport

Seven 275 Seven 355 Seven 485 S

C C Luxury SRT Core SRT

French eccentricity returns!

French fun, warts and all

Part hatch, part SUV, MPV genes

3yr/unlimited ferrari.com

Ferrari Turbo charger

More exciting, more engaging, more Ferrari; modern Ferrari turbo is a ripper Roofless cruising carries a weight penalty; not as sharp as other Ferraris  The Pick: One model fits all, and it now delivers what a Ferrari GT should $409,888 V8TT 3.9 415 755 S7 1730 3.6 — 13.1 98 66 08/14

488 GTB

The thrill of simplicity

R

Join an enormous queue

Staggering acceleration; mountains of torque; brilliant roadholding and handling You’ll be waiting years to get one; new turbo V8 doesn’t quite sound like a Ferrari should  The Pick: Toss a coin between this and a McLaren. Heads buys the Ferrari $469,888 V8TT 3.9 492 760 S7 1475 3.0 — 11.4 98 R

488 Spider

Drop-top motoring at its fastest

Stellar performance and handling; supple ride; standout design; coupe/cabrio versatility Sports seats very firm; slight vibration through steering; less theatre than atmo V8  The Pick: Hard top or drop top – it doesn’t matter – getting hold of one is the challenge $526,888 V8TT 3.9 492 760 S7 1525 3.0 — 11.4 98 02/16 R

3yr/100,000km chrysler.com.au

Bold Yank with extra bling

Raised coupe-esque hatch

Head-turning style; space-age cabin; cracker diesel; sharp dynamics; six-year warranty Essentially a five-plus-two; back row only for adults under 180cm; seven-up boot space  The Pick: This stunning new-generation Citroen MPV over any of the turgid alternatives $44,990 L4TD 2.0 110 370 A6 1440 9.6 16.9 4.5 D 50 10/16 F

2yr/50,000km caterhamcars.com.au

Styling presence; tight chassis; slick instruments; cranking sound system; SRT’s grunt Firm ride on 20s without adaptive dampers; interior not cohesive; 300C deserves a V8  The Pick: Costly as it is, the range-topping SRT with adaptive dampers is the best 300 $55,000 V6 3.6 210 340 A8 1838 — — 9.4 91 40 R $60,000 V6 3.6 210 340 A8 1862 — — 9.7 91 40 R $65,000 V8 6.4 350 637 A8 1946 — — 13.0 98 41 R $75,000 V8 6.4 350 637 A8 1965 — — 13.0 98 45 R

French vanilla

Grand C4 Picasso Pregnant supermodel

Ridiculously fast and fun; unassisted steering a joy at speed; smokes GT3s at track days Quality and reliability doubts; unforgiving ride; no ABS; heavy steering; tight cabin  The Pick: Price reductions increase overall appeal, but the Seven 355 is a blast $64,000 L4 1.6 100 160 M5 590 — — 6.2 95 64 R $76,600 L4 2.0 127 177 M5 615 4.8 — 95 64 R $103,700 L4 2.0 127 206 M6 600 3.9 — 7.7 95 64 R

300

Rooflessly French

Quirky style; functional and elegant interior; impressive fuel efficiency; fine dynamics Fairly pricey for what is effectively a spacious hatchback; will people get it?  The Pick: See below if you want a kid carrier, though this five-seater has Tardis-like room $40,990 L4T 1.6 121 240 A6 1310 9.3 — 5.6 95 59 04/15 F

Decently executed, shame about the idea

Chrysler

Drive

Distinctive design; clever packaging; turbo triple’s brilliance; dares to be different Odd drivetrain combos – manual-only petrol, semi-auto diesel; tilt-only steering adjust  The Pick: Zingy three-pot turbo delivers simple pleasures, with charm and flair $26,990 L3T 1.2 81 205 M5 1020 9.9 — 7.0 95 48 09/16 F $29,990 L4TD 1.6 68 230 S6 1085 11.2 — 3.4 D 48 F

California T

Seven

Issue tested

Design nous; uniqueness and ability to stand out; cabin quality and attention to detail Depressing ride quality; average performance; relatively high price; not special enough  The Pick: Interesting interior let down by sub-standard ride, which is galling in a DS $56,990 L4TD 2.0 133 400 A6 1540 9.2 — 4.5 D 47 F

C4 Picasso

Staggering on-road ability; muscular engines; slightly less repulsive than the old one Big, heavy, and dubious in concept; agitated ride of M50d; hideous steering  The Pick: If you really have to, the beaut-sounding 50i with an M Performance bodykit $120,500 L6TD 3.0 190 560 A8 2065 6.7 — 6.0 D 61 A $122,615 L6T 3.0 225 400 A8 — 6.4 — 8.6 95 63 A $131,900 L6TD 3.0 230 630 A8 — 5.8 — 6.3 D 63 A $153,900 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 2170 4.8 — 9.7 98 56 A $159,900 L6TTTD 3.0 280 740 A8 2185 5.2 — 6.6 D 56 A $195,400 V8TT 4.4 423 750 A8 2265 4.2 — 11.1 95 56 06/15 A

Caterham

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Lifts C4’s presence and ride height; refreshed styling suits DS4’s interesting shape Steering and handling aren’t to DS3 (or Golf) standards; ageing dash same as C4’s  The Pick: You’d really want to love its shape to fork out $47K driveaway, but it’s unique $46,990* L4TD 2.0 133 400 A6 1420 8.6 — 4.3 D 52 F

C4 Cactus

Exclusive Exclusive

0-400 metres

Perky three-pot turbo; elegant and well-equipped interior; decent ride and handling No manual gearbox; bland hatchback shape; we’d prefer a Pug 308 or Golf for this money  The Pick: Freshened C4 is appealing, particularly the Exclusive, but a 308 is better $29,990 L3T 1.2 96 230 A6 1240 10.9 — 4.9 95 42 F $33,990 L3T 1.2 96 230 A6 1240 10.9 — 5.1 95 42 10/15 F

DS5

DSport

0-100 km/h

Citroën finds form

Fold-back roof retains the DS3’s cool lines and retracts at up to 120km/h When folded back the roof blocks the driver’s rear vision  The Pick: Unless you’re utterly obsessed with seeing sky, stick with the DSport hatch $36,590 L4T 1.6 121 240 M6 — — — 5.6 95 51 06/15 F

C4

Seduction Exclusive

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Brilliantly anti-retro styling; peppy turbo four; excellent handling; impressive ride quality Recent price rise, although it does get more gear; road noise; 1.2 turbo auto not here yet  The Pick: DSport is the only choice, but why not a hot DS3 with the Pug 208 GTI’s engine? $33,990 L4T 1.6 121 240 M6 1140 7.5 — 5.6 95 50 06/15 F

DS4

Huge cabin with room for seven; excellent drivetrains and handling; mega M50d Clearly styled for Americans; dead steering; third-row seats unconvincing; feels heavy  The Pick: That’ll be the xDrive30d with its smoother, punchier, more economical diesel six $87,900 L4TD 2.0 168 450 A8 1995 8.2 — 5.8 D 63 06/14 R $91,155 L4TD 2.0 168 450 A8 2040 8.2 — 6 D 63 A $106,500 L6TD 3.0 190 560 A8 2070 6.5 14.7 6.2 D 63 01/15 A $109,615 L6T 3.0 225 400 A8 2030 6.5 — 8.5 95 63 A $122,500 L6TD 3.0 230 630 A8 2110 5.9 — 6.2 D 63 A $122,500 L4T 2.0 230 450 A8 2165 6.8 — 3.3 95 A $136,900 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 2175 5.0 — 10.5 95 61 A $149,900 L6TTTD 3.0 280 740 A8 2190 5.3 — 6.7 D 58 A $186,600 V8TT 4.4 423 750 A8 2275 4.2 — 11.1 95 56 06/15 A

X6

xDrive 30d xDrive 35i xDrive 40d xDrive 50i M50d M

X6’s prettier baby sister

Less bulk than chunky X6 makes X4 a more socially acceptable coupe-SUV thingy Deserves the 180kW turbo-four; cheaper X3 more practical; 4 Series Coupe is sexier  The Pick: Probably the 30d, since it weighs the same as the 35i but is much more frugal $71,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1735 8.1 — 7.2 95 61 A $75,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1745 8.0 — 5.2 D 61 A $84,200 L6TD 3.0 190 560 S8 1820 5.8 — 5.9 D 61 A $89,900 L6T 3.0 225 400 S8 1815 5.5 — 8.3 95 61 09/14 A $89.900 L6TD 3.0 230 630 A8 — 5.2 — 6.0 D 61 A

X5

sDrive 25d xDrive 25d xDrive 30d xDrive 35i xDrive 40d xDrive 40e xDrive 50i M50d M

Quick and crisp SUV ... in the right spec

Superb optional vario-ratio steering and sharp dynamics; 30d a thrifty torque monster Styling as bland as the standard cabin is basic; milkshake ride with standard dampers  The Pick: Newer alternatives such as Audi’s Q5... or wait for the imminent next-gen X3 $62,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1720 8.5 16.2 7.5 95 63 08/15 A $66,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1725 8.1 — 5.2 D 63 A $79.900 L6TD 3.0 190 560 A8 1800 6.2 — 6.0 D 63 A

X4

Price

DS3

Space, style and sports ... shaken

Aussie styling DNA; terrific engines; interior space and quality; keen handling Flat standard seats; agitated and uncomfortable ride; steering kickback on bad roads  The Pick: If you value ride quality, please option adaptive dampers. Or buy something else $49,000 L4TD 2.0 105 320 A8 1495 9.2 — 4.3 D 56 F $52,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1510 7.7 — 5.9 95 56 F $56,500 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1575 7.6 — 4.9 D 56 02/16 A $59,900 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 1595 6.5 — 6.6 95 57 02/16 A

6yr/100,000km citroen.com.au

Citroën

Head-turning styling; scissor doors; throaty three-cylinder sound; potent performance Twice the price of an M4; undignified entry and egress; purists will shit-can the three-pot  The Pick: If you’re in IT, is there any other choice? $299,000 L3TH 1.5 266 570 A6 1485 4.4 — 2.1 95 36 02/16 A

BY

GTC4Lusso

T

Fancier name than the FF it steps in for

FF replacement has great interior; atmo V12 power; noise; steering and handling Price; a little too quiet and refined for some tastes; expensive options  The Pick: Ferrari pace with more space than we’ve come to expect makes it a fantastic GT $503,888 V8TT 3.9 442 760 S7 1840 — 98 R $578,888 V12 6.3 507 697 S7 1920 3.5 — 15.3 95 A

812 Superfast

Maranello’s best-ever Berlinetta

Ferrari flagship integrates tech with emotion to deliver truly stunning speed and ability The infinitely long waiting list (the 812 is already sold out)  The Pick: The Superfast brings a staggeringly broad breadth of ability and is without peer $610,000 V12 6.5 588 718 S7 1630 2.9 — 14.9 95 — 08/17 R

@wheelsaustralia 139


F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

3yr/100,000km fiat.com.au

Fiat Price

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Kilograms

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

FIAT – H O NDA

NEW ARRIVALS

Eng type

500

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Evergreen 500 still a cutie

Updated with new TFT screen; all non-Abarth prices are driveaway; S model’s verve Awkward driving position; ‘Dualogic’ robotised ’box is appalling, cabin lacks storage  The Pick: Feisty 500 S six-speed manual for its combination of sports and comfort Pop $18,000* L4 1.2 51 102 M5 905 14.1 19.2 5.1 95 54 06/15 F Pop $18,500* L4 1.2 51 102 S5 940 12.9 — 5.0 95 54 F S $20,000* L4 1.4 74 131 M6 970 10.5 — 6.1 95 54 10/14 F S $21,500* L4 1.4 74 131 S5 980 10.5 — 5.8 95 54 F Lounge $21,000* L2T 0.9 63 145 S5 980 11.0 — 3.9 98 56 F Abarth 595 $27,500 L4T 1.4 103 206 M5 1042 7.9 — 6.0 98 48 07/16 F Abarth Turismo $34,000 L4T 1.4 118 230 M5 1035 7.4 — 5.4 98 48 F Abarth Turismo $34,000 L4T 1.4 118 230 S5 1070 7.6 — 5.3 98 48 F Abarth Competizione $37,000 L4T 1.4 118 230 M5 1035 7.4 — 5.4 98 50 10/14 F Abarth Competizione$40,000 L4T 1.4 118 230 S5 1070 7.6 — 5.3 98 51 F Abarth Biposto 695 $65,000 L4T 1.4 140 250 M5 997 5.9 — 6.5 98 62 F

500 C

Pop S Lounge Abarth 595 Abarth Compet. Abarth Compet.

500X

Pop Pop Pop Star Lounge Cross Plus

The lid peels off this one

Essentially a 500 with a massive (easy to use) sunroof, and well-priced for a cabriolet Paying nearly $4000 to put the 500’s roof down, and the body flex when you do  The Pick: The new S model, which is now cheaper than the base Cabrio used to be $22,000 L4 1.2 51 102 S6 945 12.9 — 5.0 95 54 F $24,000 L4 1.4 74 131 S5 1010 10.5 — 5.8 95 54 F $25,500 L2T 0.9 63 145 S5 970 11.0 — 3.9 98 58 F $31,500 L4T 1.4 103 206 M5 — — — 5.8 98 48 07/16 F $39,000 L4T 1.4 118 230 M5 1085 7.4 — 5.4 98 50 F $41,000 L4T 1.4 118 230 S5 1085 7.6 — 5.3 98 51 F

Fashionable charge

Stylish exterior; quality interior; nimble dynamics; decent level of optional safety tech Stiff-legged ride; absent-minded nine-speed auto; all that style doesn’t come cheap  The Pick: Mid-level Pop Star treads a good middle ground, although still at a premium $25,000* L4T 1.4 103 230 M6 1295 — — 6.0 91 52 02/16 F $30,000* L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.7 91 52 F $32,000* L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.7 91 52 02/16 F $37,000* L4T 1.4 125 250 A9 1405 — — 6.7 95 53 02/16 A $38,000* L4T 1.4 125 250 A9 1405 — — 6.7 95 53 A

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

Trend hatch Trend TDCi hatch Trend TDCi wagon Titanium hatch Titanium TDCi hatch Titanium TDCi wgn

3yr/100,000km ford.com.au

Ford Fiesta

Ambiente Ambiente Trend Trend Sport Sport ST

Trend hatch Trend hatch Trend sedan Sport hatch Sport hatch Titanium hatch Titanium sedan ST RS

Mondeo

Dynamic and comfort benchmark

140 wheelsmag.com.au

0-400 metres

2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

7.9 8.6 8.7 7.7 8.6 9.1

— — — 15.5 — 16.6

177 132 132 177 132 132

345 400 400 345 400 400

A6 S6 S6 A6 S6 S6

1629 1683 1713 1690 1744 1782

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

8.2 5.1 5.3 8.5 5.1 5.3

95 D D 95 D D

Issue tested

48 06/15 49 50 49 09/16 50 50 07/15

Drive

F F F F F F

Fiesta in a leotard

Brilliant 1.0-litre turbo triple; impressive steering and handling; compact size; Fiesta DNA Low-grade interior plastics; ugly spare wheel placement; gutless 1.5-litre; average tyres  The Pick: The 1.0-litre manual – smooth, characterful, and effortless. Unlike the atmo 1.5 $20,790 L4 1.5 82 140 M5 1242 13.3 — 6.5 95 44 F $22,790 L4 1.5 82 140 S6 1267 14.1 — 6.5 95 44 F $22,290 L3T 1.0 92 170 M5 1275 12.7 — 5.7 95 44 F $24,290 L4 1.5 82 140 S6 1276 14.1 — 6.5 95 45 F $25,790 L3T 1.0 92 170 M5 1280 12.9 18.5 5.7 95 41 01/14 F $27,790 L4 1.5 82 140 S6 1289 14.1 — 6.5 95 41 02/14 F

Ambiente Ambiente Trend Trend Titanium Titanium

Escape

Ambiente FWD Ambiente FWD Ambiente AWD Trend FWD Trend AWD Trend TDCi Titanium Titanium

Kuga does a runner

Handling and steering; room; more sensible line-up; performance from 2.0-litre EcoBoost Not as frugal as some rivals and prefers premium unleaded; average rear seat  The Pick: New FWD Trend 1.5 turbo is great value and one of the better-performing SUVs $28,490 L4T 1.5 110 240 M6 1559 — — 6.3 95 F $29,990 L4T 1.5 134 240 A6 1590 — — 7.2 95 F $33,990 L4T 1.5 134 240 A6 1668 — — 7.5 95 A $32,990 L4T 1.5 134 240 A6 1607 9.6 16.8 10.5 95 56 06/17 F $35,990 L4T 2.0 178 345 A6 1719 — — 8.6 95 A $38,490 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1746 — — 5.5 D A $44,990 L4T 2.0 178 345 A6 1751 — — 8.6 95 A $47,490 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1779 — — 5.5 D A

Everest

Ranger-based SUV chases Prado

Off-road dynamics and braking ability; cabin refinement; clever tech; excellent ESC Utilitarian dash; separate-chassis antiquity, with all its comfort and packaging limitations  The Pick: Titanium too exxy and Ambiente skinnily equipped, so best stick with the Trend $47,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2305 --8.4 D R — 8.5 D 59 02/16 A $54,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2370 — $55,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2305 --8.4 D R $60,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2407 11.6 18.0 8.5 D 59 02/16 A $76,705 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2495 — — 8.5 D 60 09/15 A

Ambiente Ambiente Trend Trend Titanium

Dealer Quick Finder DEALER DIRECTORY

58 Nepean Highway, Mentone 3194 DL:5199 Sales: 03 9581 2525

VIC

5yr/100,000km haval.com.au

Haval H2

Extra class, more character

Superb chassis; vast and quiet interior; plush seats; sweet petrols; diesel frugality; value Top-spec Titanium interior not special enough; cabin plastics below VW levels; weight  The Pick: Mid-level Trend delivers easily the finest combination of dynamism and comfort Ambiente hatch $33,190 L4 2.0 149 345 A6 1605 — — 8.2 95 47 06/15 F Ambiente wagon $35,040 L4 2.0 149 345 A6 1649 — — 8.5 95 48 F Ambiente TDCi hatch $37,190 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1659 8.6 — 5.1 D 48 F Ambiente TDCi wag $39,040 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1703 8.7 — 5.3 D 48 06/15 F

0-100 km/h

America’s ‘Pony car’ muscles in

EcoSport

The driver’s light hatch

Inherent driver appeal; vastly improved cabin; ride quality of Trend and Sport; equipment New 1.5 Ecoboost lacks efficiency when pushed; firm ride on 18s; expensive entry ticket  The Pick: Sport with grippier tyres and extra equipment, manual or auto $23,390 L4T 1.5 132 240 M6 — — — 5.8 95 51 F $24,390 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 1393 8.3 — 6.2 95 51 01/17 F $24,390 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 — — — 6.2 95 51 F $26,490 L4T 1.5 132 240 M6 — — — 5.8 95 52 F $28,190 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 1380 8.8 16.4 6.2 95 52 12/15 F $32,690 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 — — — 6.4 95 53 F $32,690 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 — — — 6.2 95 53 F $38,990 L4T 2.0 184 360 M6 — — — 7.3 98 54 07/15 F $50,990 L4T 2.3 257 440 M6 1524 4.9 13.3 7.7 98 SUM A

L4T L4TD L4TD L4T L4TD L4TD

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Responsive and characterful atmo V8; rear-end purchase; retro-modern styling; price Feels heavy, especially on direction changes; mismatched interior; convertible shake  The Pick: The GT Coupe by a mile. EcoBoost is punchy but the V8 feels the real deal EcoBoost Fastback $44,990 L4T 2.3 233 432 M6 1629 6.0 14.3 8.5 91 63 04/16 R EcoBoost Fastback $47,490 L4T 2.3 233 432 A6 1627 — — 9.3 91 63 R EcoBoost Convert. $53,990 L4T 2.3 233 432 A6 1685 — — 9.4 91 64 R GT Fastback $54,990 V8 5.0 306 530 M6 1701 — — 13.1 98 67 R GT Fastback $57,490 V8 5.0 306 530 A6 1709 5.0 13.2 12.6 98 66 04/16 R GT Convertible $66,205 V8 5.0 306 520 A6 1773 — — 12.7 98 67 R

Superb handling – especially ST; great steering; effervescent three pot; ST is a legend Lacks the space and versatility of Jazz, and the cabin class of just about every rival  The Pick: Rorty-sounding, brilliant-handling ST is sensational – both for ability and value $15,825 L4 1.5 82 140 M5 — — — 5.8 91 48 F $17,825 L4 1.5 82 140 S6 — — — 5.8 91 48 F $17,825 L4 1.5 82 140 M5 — — — 5.8 91 48 F $19,790 L4 1.5 82 140 S6 1128 11.3 18.1 5.8 91 50 03/15 F $20,525 L3T 1.0 92 170 M5 1127 10.3 17.3 4.9 91 50 07/14 F $22,525 L3T 1.0 92 170 S6 — — — 5.3 91 50 F $25,990 L4T 1.6 134 240 M6 1197 7.0 14.9 6.2 95 52 02/14 F

Focus

$37,790 $40,990 $42,840 $44,790 $47,490 $49,840

Mustang

Abarth 124 Spider Much more than a rebadged MX-5 Character; handling; performance; price and equipment; Japanese build quality No steering reach adjustment; not as pure as an MX-5; priced against top-shelf MX-5  The Pick: It’s gotta be the manual, but also visit a Mazda dealer to try the car it’s based on $43,500* L4T 1.4 125 250 M6 1060 6.8 — 6.4 95 01/17 R $43,990 L4T 1.4 125 250 A6 1080 6.9 — 6.6 95 R

Eng type

Price

Premium 2WD Premium 2WD Premium 4WD Luxury 2WD Luxury 2WD Luxury 4WD

H6

Premium Lux

Six and out

Roomy interior; sprightly 2.0 turbo; decent design; Euro feel to elements of interior Choppy ride; laggy dual-clutch auto; flat front seats; wants PULP; no sat-nav  The Pick: Stick to the Premium because there’s less to lose with questionable resale $29,990* L4T 2.0 145 315 A6 1715 10.0 17.2 13.3 95 50 06/17 F $33,990* L4T 2.0 145 315 A6 — — — 9.8 95 52 F

H8

Premium 2WD

Cheap, but is it cheerful?

Entry point for a new Chinese brand doesn’t look too bad on paper, engine included Drinks premium unleaded; AWD models manual-only; same name as a huge Hummer  The Pick: Instinct says stick with Mazda CX-3 or Honda HR-V, and it’s justified $23,990* L4T 1.5 110 210 M6 1529 — — 8.2 95 43 F $23,990* L4T 1.5 110 210 A6 — — — 9.0 95 43 F $25,990* L4T 1.5 110 210 M6 1609 — — 8.5 95 43 A $25,990* L4T 1.5 110 210 M6 1529 — — 8.2 95 43 F $35,990* L4T 1.5 110 210 A6 — — — 9.0 95 44 03/16 F $28,490* L4T 1.5 110 210 M6 1608 — — 8.5 95 44 A

Size and presence

Decent cabin presentation complete with Aussie leather; looks quite handsome Only five seats; heavy and thirsty; patchy track record of other Chinese brands here  The Pick: A lot of money for an unknown – we’d be looking at a Kia Sorento $38,990* L4T 2.0 160 324 A6 2051 — — 12.2 95 49 R


POWE RE D

Showroom Price

Premium 4WD Luxury 4WD

Eng type

$41,990* L4T $44,990* L4T

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.0 160 324 2.0 160 324

H9

Premium Luxury

A6 A6

0-100 km/h

2128 — 2128 —

0-400 metres

— —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

12.2 95 50 12.2 95 50 03/16

Drive

Price

A A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Trax

China’s serious off-roader

ZF gearbox with dual-range transfer case for decent off-road ability; seven seats It looks old-school Chinese, with an old-school separate chassis and sub-par dynamics  The Pick: If you must go there, grab an H9 Premium – it’s cheaper $46,490* L4T 2.0 160 324 A6 2206 — — 12.1 95 52 A $49,990* L4T 2.0 160 324 A6 2236 — — 12.1 95 52 A

Eng type

LS LS LTZ LTZ

Holden Spark

LS LS LT

Fresh interior; punchy engine; classy dynamics; Apple Carplay/Android Auto standard Not as cheap as some, but at least this is offset with features; no manual on top-spec LT  The Pick: A far more polished car than the larger Barina, and surprisingly fun to drive $13,990 L4 1.4 73 124 M5 — — — 5.2 91 44 F $15,690 L4 1.4 73 128 C 990 10.8 17.7 5.5 91 44 07/16 F $18,990 L4 1.4 73 128 C — — — 5.5 91 45 F

Barina

LS LS LT

Much older than it looks

Handsome new nose; standard rear camera; decent handling; torquey LS manual Ancient 1.6L donk way beyond retirement age; uncomfortable seats; scratchy plastics  The Pick: LS manual - it’s the cheapest, best-riding spec with a pleasant gear change $14,990 L4 1.6 85 155 M5 1229 — — — 91 F $17,190 L4 1.6 85 155 A6 1256 — — — 91 F $20,390 L4 1.6 85 155 A6 1256 — — — 91 F

Astra

LS sedan LS sedan R hatch R hatch LS+ sedan LT sedan RS hatch RS hatch LTZ sedan RS-V hatch RS-V hatch

Leads the small Holden fightback

The V8s are bloody great

Fantastic V8 grunt and sound; brilliant body control and balance; practicality and value Evoke still plain; chunky A-pillars; sedans miss out on wagon’s split-fold rear seats  The Pick: SS-V Redline for its superb chassis, arresting performance, and Brembo brakes Evoke $35,490 V6 3.0 185 290 A6 1622 8.1 15.9 8.3 91 39 07/13 R Evoke Sportwagon $37,490 V6 3.0 185 290 A6 1717 — — 8.6 91 40 R SV6 $40,490 V6 3.6 210 350 M6 1688 — — 9.0 91 42 R SV6 $41,490 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1685 6.6 14.7 9.0 91 42 09/16 R SV6 Sportwagon $42,490 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1776 6.9 15.0 9.3 91 42 04/14 R SS $47,490 V8 6.2 304 570 M6 1729 4.9 — 12.6 95 42 R SS $48,490 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1744 5.0 — 12.9 95 42 R SS Sportwagon $51,690 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1849 5.0 — 12.9 95 42 R SS V Redline $54,490 V8 6.2 304 570 M6 1766 4.9 13.0 12.6 95 43 11/15 R SS V Redline $56,190 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1780 5.3 13.4 12.9 95 43 04/16 R SS V Redline S’wgn $59,190 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1851 5.0 — 12.9 95 43 R Calais $41,290 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1702 7.1 15.1 9.0 91 41 02/15 R Calais Sportwagon $43,290 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1798 — — 9.3 91 42 R Calais V $48,750 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1730 — — 9.0 91 42 R Calais V $56,750 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1778 5.0 — 12.9 95 43 R Calais V Sportwagon $50,750 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1808 — — 9.3 91 43 R Calais V Sportwagon $58,750 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1866 5.0 — 12.9 95 44 R

Ute

Evoke SV6 SV6 SS SS SS V SS V SS V Redline SS V Redline

Caprice

V

Aussie two-door muscle

Great dynamics for a car with such a huge boot, especially Redline; mega-strong LS3 V8 No passenger overhead grab handle; V8 noise not as pronounced as in sedan  The Pick: SS for its V8 value, though the superb Redline (even on 20s) is where it’s at $33,490 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1656 — — 9.0 91 39 R $33,990 V6 3.6 210 350 M6 1680 — — 9.0 91 42 R $36,190 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1681 — — 9.0 91 42 R $40,990 V8 6.2 304 570 M6 1720 4.9 — 12.6 95 42 R $43,190 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1733 5.0 — 12.9 95 42 R $44,490 V8 6.2 304 570 M6 1736 4.9 — 12.6 95 42 R $46,690 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1749 5.0 — 12.9 95 43 R $50,490 V8 6.2 304 570 M6 1739 4.9 — 12.6 95 43 11/15 R $52,690 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1753 5.0 — 12.9 95 43 R

The world’s best-value limo

Loads of rear-seat leg room; tough elegance; great value for money; nice ride; grunt Badge snobs won’t like it; exterior unchanged for years despite Commodore updates  The Pick: WN Caprice has always been great and LS3 V8 raises the bar $61,490 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1851 5.0 — 12.9 95 44 R

Issue tested

Drive

Ready for its retirement, not yours

Simplified range uses larger Captiva 7 body; sharp pricing; great standard connectivity Commodore-derived 3.0 thrashy; old basic design, and showing it; average dynamics  The Pick: LT diesel is affordable, torquey, and benefits from AWD, but Captiva is past it $26,490 L4 2.4 123 230 M6 1712 — — 9.5 91 43 F $28,690 L4 2.4 123 230 A6 1737 — — 9.5 91 44 F $30,490 L4 2.4 123 230 A6 1762 — — 9.5 91 46 F $33,490 L4TD 2.2 135 400 A6 1873 — — 8.1 D 46 F $36,490 V6 3.0 190 288 A6 1844 8.9 16.5 10.1 91 44 10/16 A $37,490 L4TD 2.2 135 400 A6 1974 — — 8.1 D 45 A $40,490 V6 3.0 190 288 A6 1934 — — 10.1 91 45 A $41,490 L4TD 2.2 135 400 A6 1984 — — 8.1 D 45 A

Trailblazer

LT LTZ

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Baby rhinoplasty

Facelifted Colorado 7 with a new name

Rugged and capable off-roader; solid value; torquey engine; progressive steering More 4x4 than car; no steering adjustment; middle-row seats don’t slide  The Pick: What a difference a new name makes (and some major engineering updates!) $47,990 L4TD 2.8 147 500 A6 2194 — — 8.6 D A $52,490 L4TD 2.8 147 500 A6 2203 — — 8.6 D A

Getting serious again with small cars

Space and comfort; infotainment interface; quality and refinement; grunt of 1.6 turbo Tall gearing hurts driveability in 1.4; hatch’s small cargo bay; 1.6 could do with an LSD  The Pick: Skip the sedan and head for the RS hatch with the good engine and decent gear $20,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 M6 1275 — — 5.8 95 F $21,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1283 — — 6.1 95 F $21,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 M6 1283 7.8 — 5.5 95 F $22,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1304 8.0 — 5.5 95 01/17 F $22,740 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1283 — — 6.1 95 F $25,790 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1294 — — 6.1 95 F $26,240 L4T 1.6 147 300 M6 1325 6.6 — 6.1 95 F $27,240 L4T 1.6 147 300 A6 1344 6.6 — 6.1 95 F $29,790 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1318 — — 6.1 95 08/17 F $30,740 L4T 1.6 147 300 M6 1344 6.6 — 6.1 95 F $31,740 L4T 1.6 147 300 A6 1363 6.6 — 6.1 95 F

Commodore

LS LS LS 7-seat LS 7-seat LT LT LTZ LTZ

0-400 metres

Fresh nose sharpens looks; steering and handling; excellent auto; value for money Hemmed-in rear seat; 1.8’s raucous manners; LTZ’s vinyl trim; autos drink premium fuel  The Pick: Entry-level LS auto with its torquey boosted engine and capable dynamics $23,990 L4 1.8 103 178 M5 — — 91 F $26,490 L4T 1.4 103 200 A6 — — 6.7 95 F $28,890 L4T 1.4 103 200 A6 — — 6.7 95 F $30,490 L4T 1.4 103 200 A6 1422 — — 9.0 95 05/17 F

Captiva

3yr/100,000km holden.com.au

0-100 km/h

BY

3yr/100,000km hsv.com.au

HSV Gen-F2

Australia’s best muscle car. Ever

Brilliant LS9 in W1 with spot-on gearing and superb brakes; regular GTS-R a great, too Some interior finishes a bit budget at these prices; blown V8’s thirst; finding a W1  The Pick: GTS-R W1 is an instant classic and a superb car. Good luck finding one, though C’Sport R8 30 Years $82,990 V8S 6.2 410 691 M6 1890 — — 15.3 98 44 R C’Sport R8 30 Years $84,490 V8S 6.2 410 691 A6 1907 — — 15.0 98 44 R C’Sprt R8 Tourer 30 $88,990 V8S 6.2 410 691 A6 1974 — — 15.0 98 44 R Senator Sig 30 Years$95,990 V8S 6.2 410 691 M6 1885 — — 15.3 98 45 R Senator Sig 30 Years$95,990 V8S 6.2 410 691 A6 1902 — — 15.0 98 45 R GTS 30 Years $98,990 V8S 6.2 435 740 M6 1886 — — 15.3 98 47 R GTS 30 Years $100,490 V8S 6.2 435 740 A6 1903 — — 15.0 98 47 R GTS-R $109,490 V8S 6.2 435 740 M6 — 4.8 12.8 17.1 98 — 07/17 R GTS-R $111,990 V8S 6.2 435 740 A6 — — — — 98 — R

Maloo

R8 LSA 30 Years R8 LSA 30 Years GTS-R Maloo GTS-R Maloo

Business up front, party out back

Unique take on a two-door sports car; feels premium inside; strong supercharged V8 Hard tonneau cover looks bulky; it’s not particularly good at carrying heavy things  The Pick: First-ever GTS-R Maloo could be a collector’s item. Loads of arse-out fun, too $79,990 V8S 6.2 410 691 M6 1704 — — 15.5 98 49 R $82,490 V8S 6.2 410 691 A6 1721 — — 15.8 98 49 R $96,990 V8S 6.2 435 740 M6 1825 — — 98 R $99,490 V8S 6.2 435 740 A6 1842 — — 98 R

5yr/unlimited honda.com.au

Honda Jazz

VTi VTi VTi-S VTi-L

City

VTi VTi VTi-L

F F F F

Booted Jazz, re-booted

Riding on an all-new platform, new-gen City is far from the putrid drive we expected Not pretty, but it’s better in the flesh; VTi-L’s wheels introduce some ride harshness  The Pick: VTi manual if you have to, though the CVT ain’t too bad if you don’t like cars $15,990 L4 1.5 88 145 M5 1082 — — 5.8 91 48 F $17,990 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1103 10.7 17.7 5.7 91 48 10/14 F $21,590 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1107 — — 5.7 91 50 08/14 F

Civic

VTi hatch VTi sedan VTi-S hatch VTi-S sedan VTi-L hatch VTi-L sedan

Lower price, greater class

Ripper entry price for all-new Jazz; polished interior; superb packaging flexibility Messy styling; vague steering; numb handling; value dissipates at the top end  The Pick: Either the entry-level VTi or possibly the neatly equipped VTi-S CVT $14,990 L4 1.5 88 145 M5 1048 — — 6.2 91 55 $16,990 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1053 10.2 17.3 5.8 91 53 03/15 $19,790 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1095 — — 5.8 91 56 $22,490 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1130 — — 5.8 91 57 10/14

A classic comeback

Sparkling performance from 1.5 turbo; supple ride; refinement; steering; space No manual option; unnecessary growth of exterior proportions; underwhelming 1.8  The Pick: The 1.5 is the better engine option and the VTi-L gets more than enough gear $22,390 L4 1.8 104 174 C 1289 — — 6.4 91 $22,390 L4 1.8 104 174 C 1261 — — 6.4 91 56 07/16 $24,490 L4 1.8 104 174 C 1289 — — 6.4 91 $24,490 L4 1.8 104 174 C 1261 9.2 — 6.4 91 56 01/17 $27,790 L4T 1.5 127 220 C 1364 — — 6.1 91 $27,790 L4T 1.5 127 220 C 1331 — — 6.0 91 56 07/16

@wheelsaustralia 141

F F F F F F


Accord

VTi VTi-L V6L

1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5

127 127 127 127

220 220 220 220

C C C C

1364 1331 1364 1331

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

6.1 6.0 6.1 6.0

91 91 91 91

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

— 15.4 — —

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

0-400 metres

— 7.4 — —

Recommended octane rating

0-100 km/h

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

When we drove it

Eng type

L4T L4T L4T L4T

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

$32,290 $31,790 $33,590 $33,590

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Price

RS hatch RS sedan VTi-LX hatch VTi-LX sedan

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

HONDA – J A GU A R

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

58 12/16 58 07/16

F F F F

HR-V

VTi VTi-S VTi-L

VTi VTi-S VTi-S AWD VTi-L VTi-LX AWD

VTi VTi-L

Now with turbo and seven-seat option

Odyssey becomes a breeder bus

Tall, ungainly body makes Odyssey a true Tarago alternative; improved economy Everything great about the old Odyssey no longer applies – this one’s a van with seats  The Pick: Besides a vasectomy, probably the VTi for its additional seats and lower price $37,610 L4 2.4 129 225 C 1776 10.2 17.5 7.6 91 64 10/16 F $46,490 L4 2.4 129 225 C 1819 — — 7.8 91 65 04/14 F

Hyundai Accent

Sport hatch Sport hatch Sport sedan Sport sedan

5yr/unlimited hyundai.com.au

Picks up where i20 left off

Space, equipment, and pricing; move to Sport-only range boosts appeal Gluggy steering and restless chassis dull the shine for drivers  The Pick: Sport manual for some fun or something else entirely ... like an i30 $15,490 L4 1.6 103 167 M6 1150 — — 6.3 91 45 $17,490 L4 1.6 103 167 A6 1170 — — 6.6 91 45 $15,490 L4 1.6 103 167 M6 1150 — — 6.3 91 46 $17,490 L4 1.6 103 167 A6 1170 — — 6.6 91 46

i30

F F F F

Driving and ownership ease

New chassis is huge fun; 1.6-litre turbo talks the SR language; sweet steering; Euro look Interior quality hasn’t stepped up to meet the other improvements; SR sounds a bit dull  The Pick: Independent rear suspension and fine turbo engine give SR the edge Active 2.0 GDi $20,950 L4 2.0 120 203 M6 1251 — — 7.3 91 F Active 2.0 GDi $23,250 L4 2.0 120 203 S7 1276 — — 7.4 91 F Active 1.6 CRDi $23,450 L4TD 1.6 100 280 M6 1312 — — 4.5 D F Active 1.6 CRDi $25,950 L4TD 1.6 100 300 S7 1339 — — 4.7 D F SR 1.6 T-GDi $25,950 L4T 1.6 150 265 M6 1315 — — 7.5 91 F SR 1.6 T-GDi $28,950 L4T 1.6 150 265 S7 1344 — — 7.5 91 F Elite 1.6 CRDi $28,950 L4TD 1.6 100 300 S7 1339 — — 4.7 D F Premium 1.6 CRDi $33,950 L4TD 1.6 100 300 S7 1339 — — 4.7 D F SR Premium 1.6 T-GDi $33,950 L4T 1.6 150 265 S7 1344 — — 7.5 91 F

Elantra

Active Active Elite SR Turbo SR Turbo

Newfound maturity and appeal

Willing, efficient engine – more so as the turbo; dynamics; refinement; space; value Bland interior; mild suspension boom; auto tranny lacks intuition; no AEB  The Pick: SR Turbo is great value, otherwise be more sensible with the Elite $21,950 L4 2.0 112 192 M6 1255 — — 7.1 91 48 $23,790 L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1275 9.0 — 7.2 91 49 01/17 $26,990 L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1355 — — 7.2 91 50 $28,990 L4T 1.6 150 265 M6 1360 — — 7.7 91 12/16 $31,290 L4T 1.6 150 265 S7 1390 7.0 15.1 7.2 91 12/16

i40

Genesis

F F F F F

Euro-flavoured Korean

Mixes Euro style and space with decent dynamics and effective drivetrains Ultimately not that quick; Premium’s ride quality and price; no petrol sedan  The Pick: An Active Tourer turbo-diesel, with Hyundai’s seven-speed dual-clutch ’box Active sedan CRDi $33,690 L4TD 1.7 104 340 S7 1524 — — 5.1 D 44 Active Tourer $33,090 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 1483 — — 7.5 91 44 Active Tourer CRDi $35,090 L4TD 1.7 104 340 S7 1539 — — 5.1 D 44 Premium sedan CRDi $42,850 L4TD 1.7 104 340 S7 1524 — — 5.1 D 45

F F F F

0-400 metres

— —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

7.5 5.1

91 D

Issue tested

45 46

Drive

F F

Competent, conservative

Hyundai's first true luxury car

Sensory Ultimate

SR Turbo SR Turbo

Active Active Active X Active X Elite Elite Elite CRDi Highlander Highlander CRDi

ix35 replacement steps up

Muscular design looks the business; broad model range with flexible 1.6 turbo-petrol Front-drivers only available with atmo 2.0 engines; Highlander the only Tucson with AEB  The Pick: Elite AWD with new turbo engine, seven-speed dual-clutch, and sharp pricing $28,590 L4 2.0 114 192 M6 — — — 91 52 F $30,490 L4 2.0 114 192 A6 — — — 91 50 F $31,150 L4 2.0 121 203 M6 1484 — — 7.8 91 52 F $32,990 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 — 10.5 17.3 10.7 91 52 06/17 F $36,750 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 1569 — — 7.9 91 52 F $39,750 L4T 1.6 130 265 S7 1575 — — 7.7 91 53 02/16 A $41,750 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1622 — — 6.4 D 52 A $45,450 L4T 1.6 130 265 S7 1690 8.1 16.0 7.7 91 53 11/15 A $47,450 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1744 — — 6.8 D 53 A

Santa Fe

Active Active Active X Active CRDi Active CRDi Elite CRDi Highlander CRDi

Brave two-plus-one-door coupe

Innovative design, keen pricing, individual styling, and Korea’s first-ever dual-clutcher Can’t match the steering and handling excellence of 86/BRZ; atmo 1.6 struggles  The Pick: Kids and fashionistas will love it. Enthusiasts will wish they shopped elsewhere $29,590 L4 1.6 103 167 M6 1180 9.8 — 6.4 91 63 F $32,090 L4 1.6 103 167 S6 1215 — — 6.4 91 62 F $30,650 L4T 1.6 150 265 M6 1265 6.5 — 6.9 91 64 F $33,990 L4T 1.6 150 265 S7 1305 — — 7.1 91 63 F

The value seven-seater

Grunty diesel engine option; more equipment with Series II update; functional interior Petrol four struggles; interior presentation nothing special; firm ride on Highlander  The Pick: Highlander CRDi is expensive but brings lashings of gear and AEB $38,490 L4 2.4 138 241 M6 1720 — — 9.4 91 56 A $40,990 L4 2.4 138 241 A6 1743 — — 9.4 91 56 A $40,990 V6 3.3 199 318 A6 1844 — — 10.5 91 F $41,490 L4TD 2.2 147 440 M6 1828 — — 6.6 D 56 A $43,990 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 1857 — — 7.8 D 57 A $48,490 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 1857 — — 7.8 D 58 A $53,240 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 1857 — — 7.8 D 58 09/15 A

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0-100 km/h

A6 1483 — S7 1539 —

Excellent quality; luxury levels of refinement; impressive ride/handling mix; cabin space Ageing V6 is thirsty and a bit thrashy; expensive option packs undermine its value  The Pick: Either the base Genesis or the $71K Sensory model with premium leather $61,500 V6 3.8 232 397 A8 1890 6.5 — 11.2 91 52 R $71,000 V6 3.8 232 397 A8 1890 6.5 — 11.2 91 51 12/14 R $82,000 V6 3.8 232 397 A8 1890 6.5 — 11.2 91 53 R

Tucson F F A F A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.0 121 203 1.7 104 340

Smart styling; excellent road manners; generous rear seat and boot space Well-built cabin lacks sophistication; doesn’t have the safety kit of some rivals; thirsty  The Pick: Elite, which gets the turbo donk and a decent amount of kit $30,590 L4 2.4 138 241 A6 1500 — — 8.3 91 44 F $38,350 L4T 2.0 180 350 A6 1560 — — 9.2 91 45 04/15 F $45,490 L4T 2.0 180 350 A6 1645 7.0 15.0 9.2 91 46 09/16 F

Veloster

Roomy cabin and luggage bay; new turbo engine brings efficiency and power Price increases for almost all variants; will wait to pass full judgement until we drive it  The Pick: VTi-L brings seven seats but VTi-S appears to offer the best value $30,690 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — — 91 52 $33,290 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — — 91 54 $35,490 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — — 91 54 $38,990 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — — 91 55 $44,290 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — — 91 56

Odyssey

Active Elite Premium

Best small SUV for space

Coupe-esque styling; generous equipment; ‘magic seat’ packaging; okay dynamics Limited range (no 4WD, no manual); flimsy luggage cover; anaesthetised steering  The Pick: Entry-level VTi offers a tempting package for a tasty price $24,990 L4 1.8 105 172 C 1328 — — 6.6 91 50 03/16 F $27,990 L4 1.8 105 172 C 1366 — — 6.9 91 50 F $33,340 L4 1.8 105 172 C 1366 10.2 17.5 6.9 91 52 05/15 F

CR-V

L4 L4TD

Sonata

It’s been a while

Accessible supercar performance and dynamics; intriguing tech; refinement; brakes Can’t choose your own dynamic settings; flat seats; cabin hardware not special enough  The Pick: At this money it’s tempting to go for a Porsche 911 Turbo – with change $420,000 V6TTH 3.5 427 646 S9 1780 — — 9.7 A

Eng type

Price

Premium Tourer $42,250 Premium Tourer CRDi $43,990

The car that can (sort of) steer itself

Freshened nose stands out; very refined; plenty of punch from V6; rear seat space A car for those who begrudgingly drive; dated five-speed auto; hybrid is no longer  The Pick: Keep it cheap and go for the VTi, which at least has the space, if not the pace $32,990 L4 2.4 129 225 A5 1510 — — 8.0 91 53 F $43,990 L4 2.4 129 225 A5 1572 — — 8.2 91 55 F $52,590 V6 3.5 206 339 A6 1667 — — 9.2 91 55 F

NSX

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

F I R S T D R I V E S & G R E AT D R I V E S


POWE RE D

Showroom Price

Eng type

iMax

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Keenly priced; plenty of fruit, including twin sliding side doors and rear parking sensors It’s an LCV with extra seats, so feels basic in some areas; more about seats than driving  The Pick: The diesel is a much better option, although it ramps the price up significantly $40,790 L4 2.4 129 228 A4 2128 — — 10.6 91 52 R $44,290 L4TD 2.5 100 343 M6 2215 — — 8.1 D 59 R $46,490 L4TD 2.5 125 441 A5 2230 — — 9.0 D 59 R

2.4 2.5 CRDi 2.5 CRDi

Dealer Quick Finder DEALER DIRECTORY

41 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong 3175 DL:3415 Sales: 03 9771 9400

VIC

GT GT Premium

2.0 GT 2.0 S 2.0 S Premium 2.2d GT 2.2d S 2.2d S Premium 3.0tt S Premium 3.0tt Red Sport 3.5h S 3.5h S Premium

GT S Premium Red Sport

3.7 GT 3.7 S 3.7 S Premium 3.0d GT 3.0d S 3.0d S Premium 5.0 S Premium

Fine looks, heaps of kit, keen pricing

R R R

Japan’s 5 Series? Not quite

Pacey, efficient hybrid; tail-happy V6; engaging handling; superb cabin quality Super-light and strangely geared steering; Hyundai Genesis is a better luxury sedan  The Pick: GT has punch and class but can’t quite equal the Germans $68,900 V6 3.7 235 360 A7 — 6.2 — 10.2 98 41 R $78,900 V6 3.7 235 360 A7 — 6.2 — 10.8 98 41 R $82,900 V6H 3.5 225 350 A7 — 5.3 — 6.9 98 42 R

QX70

Show-stopping style

Roomy, luxurious, and powerful soft-roader; plenty of grip and grunt; unique appearance Cargo capacity and visibility suffer for its style; intrusive tyre roar drowns out the V8  The Pick: Diesel for torque, V8 for grunt, any of them for QX’s stand-apart styling $75,900 V6 3.7 235 360 A7 1893 6.8 — 12.1 98 50 11/12 A $82,900 V6 3.7 235 360 A7 1893 6.8 — 12.1 98 50 A $85,900 V6 3.7 235 360 A7 1908 6.8 — 12.1 98 52 A $77,900 V6TD 3.0 175 550 A7 2036 8.3 — 9.0 D 50 A $84,900 V6TD 3.0 175 550 A7 2036 8.3 — 9.0 D 50 11/12 A $87,900 V6TD 3.0 175 550 A7 2051 8.3 — 9.0 D 52 A $104,400 V8 5.0 287 500 A7 1992 5.8 — 13.1 98 52 A

QX80

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Ute with a kid-friendly boot

Ready for adventure; big towing capacity; interior kitted out with family in mind Bulletproof Isuzu engine lacks Colorado 7’s grunt; lumbering separate-chassis ride  The Pick: Range-topper adds a roof-mounted DVD player that will mute the kids $42,800 L4TD 3.0 130 430 A6 2000 — — 7.9 D 52 $45,100 L4TD 3.0 130 430 A6 2000 — — 7.9 D 52 $48,000 L4TD 3.0 130 430 M6 2040 – – 7.9 D $48,800 L4TD 3.0 130 430 A6 2000 – – 7.9 D $50,100 L4TD 3.0 130 430 A6 2040 — — 7.9 D 53 $50,300 L4TD 3.0 130 430 M6 2040 – – 7.9 D $52,400 L4TD 3.0 130 430 A6 2040 – – 7.9 D $56,100 L4TD 3.0 130 430 A6 2040 – – 7.9 D

XE

20t Prestige 20d Prestige 25t Prestige 20t R-Sport 20d R-Sport 25t R-Sport 25t Portfolio S

R R A R A A A A

3yr/unlimited jaguar.com.au

Prestige 20d Portfolio 25t Portfolio 35t R-Sport 20d R-Sport 25t R-Sport 35t S 30d S XFR XFR-S

Strong contender in the exec sedan battle

Engaging handling; crisp steering; supple ride; rear-seat space; sweet 2.0-litre diesel Lacks class-leading tech; interior good rather than great; expensive options list  The Pick: New 20d is great to drive and relatively affordable; torquey 30d is tempting, too $82,754 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1556 8.1 — 4.3 D 45 R $97,515 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 1543 7.0 — 7.5 95 45 R $112,515 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1662 5.4 — 8.3 95 45 R $88,754 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1556 8.1 — 4.3 D 45 R $89,515 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 1543 7.0 — 7.5 95 45 R $104,515 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1662 5.4 — 8.3 95 45 R $121,804 V6TTD 3.0 221 700 A8 1712 6.2 — 5.5 D 45 R $129,065 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1662 5.3 — 8.3 95 45 R $189,075 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 1842 4.8 12.9 11.6 95 55 04/12 R $222,075 V8S 5.0 404 680 A8 1987 4.4 – – 98 55 09/13 R

XJ

Flagship from British India

Traffic-stopping presence; sharp dynamics; stunning cabin; not a pipe or slipper in sight LWB models are getting expensive, S/C models can get thirsty; low-speed ride on 20s  The Pick: Price no object? It has to be the long-wheelbase supercharged Supersport 3.0S Premium Lux $201,615 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1755 5.9 — 9.6 95 39 R 3.0S Prem Lux LWB $201,615 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1765 5.9 — 9.6 95 39 R 3.0D Premium Lux $201,854 V6TTD 3.0 202 600 A8 1775 6.4 — 6.1 D 41 R 3.0D Prem Lux LWB $201,854 V6TTD 3.0 202 600 A8 1825 6.4 — 6.1 D 41 R 3.0S Portfolio $228,580 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1755 5.9 — 9.6 95 39 R 5.0 S/C S’sport LWB $299,990 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 1915 4.9 — 11.6 98 41 R 5.0 S/C XJR $299,990 V8S 5.0 404 680 A8 1880 4.6 — 11.6 98 45 R

F-Pace

20d Prestige 20d R-Sport 30d Prestige 30d R-Sport 30d Portfolio 35t Prestige 35t R-Sport 35t Portfolio S S

Coupe Coupe Convertible Convertible

Big cat heads off-road

Styling; fluid handling and steering; comfy and roomy; rasp of supercharged V6 S Front headrests block view from rear seats; some erroneous cabin trims; gear selector  The Pick: It’s difficult to go past the twin-turbo V6 diesel, and the R-Sport trim looks good $75,860 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1775 8.7 — — D 61 A $81,565 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 — 8.7 — — D 61 A $86,325 V6TTD 3.0 221 700 A8 1884 6.2 — — D 61 A $92,085 V6TTD 3.0 221 700 A8 1884 6.2 — — D 61 A $93,085 V6TTD 3.0 221 700 A8 1884 6.2 — — D 61 A $85,605 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1820 5.8 — — 95 61 A $91,365 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1820 5.8 — — 95 61 A $92,375 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1820 5.8 — — 95 61 A $101,675 V6TTD 3.0 220 700 A8 — 6.2 — — D 61 A $104,995 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1861 5.5 — — 95 61 A

F-Type

Patrol V8 hit with a (big) ugly stick

Loaded with gear; willing V8 makes for decent performance; cheaper than its Lexus rival Big, heavy, and thirsty; no diesel option; 22-inch wheels not suited to off-roading  The Pick: Check out a Y62 Patrol. Or a diesel LandCruiser $110,900 V8 5.6 298 560 A7 2770 — — 14.8 98 58 A

Gunning for C-Class and 3 Series

Great steering; well-sorted chassis (especially R-Sport); frugal Ingenium diesel Interior lacks glamour and sparkle; auto not always in sync with the driver; storage space  The Pick: New diesel is a cracker but 25t R-Sport gets our vote for its chassis/performance $60,400 L4T 2.0 147 280 A8 1530 7.7 15.6 7.5 95 59 10/15 R $62,800 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1565 7.8 — 4.2 D 60 R $64,615 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 1530 6.8 — 7.5 95 59 R $64,119 L4T 2.0 147 280 A8 — 7.7 — 7.5 95 59 02/16 R $66,800 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 — 7.8 — 4.2 D 59 R $68,615 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 — 6.8 — 7.5 95 60 10/15 R $70,115 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 — 7.1 15.1 7.5 95 60 04/16 R $105,065 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1665 5.1 — 8.1 95 60 02/16 R

XF

Shoots for Europe, and falls short

Coupe’s driver appeal; standard equipment; terrific seats; great vision Foot-operated parking brake  The Pick: GT Premium coupe delivers BMW-style thrills for considerably less $62,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1698 5.9 — 7.7 95 $70,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1742 6.1 7.7 95 $88,900 V6TT 3.0 298 475 A7 1784 6.4 — 8.9 95

Q70

GT S Premium 3.5h Premium

High-riding Q30, at a premium

Thrusty Red Sport power; slick build quality; plush seats; rarity Ill-conceived electronic systems and fly-by-wire steering spell dynamic confusion  The Pick: Red Sport or one of the new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol fours minus the techno stuff $51,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — 8.5 — 7.3 95 40 R $56,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — 8.5 — 7.3 95 40 R $61,500 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — 8.5 — 7.3 95 40 11/14 R $52,900 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A7 1729 8.5 — 5.2 D 40 R $57,900 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A7 1729 8.5 — 5.2 D 40 R $62,500 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A7 1729 8.5 — 5.2 D 40 R $69,990 V6TT 3.0 224 400 A7 1784 — — 9.2 95 R $79,990 V6TT 3.0 298 475 A7 1784 — — 9.3 95 R $68,900 V6H 3.5 268 546 S7 1775 5.4 13.7 6.8 95 41 12/14 R $74,400 V6H 3.5 268 546 S7 1853 5.4 — 7.2 95 41 R

Q60

LS-M LS-U LS-M 4WD LS-T LS-M 4WD LS-U 4WD LS-U 4WD LS-T 4WD

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Jaguar

More suspension compliance than Q30; punchy Mercedes-sourced turbo four Dynamics slightly mushier than Q30; price premium over Q30; limited range  The Pick: Regular GT model keeps it further away from the price of the GLA it’s based on $48,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — — — 6.9 95 49 05/17 A $56,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — — — 6.9 95 49 A

Q50

Eng type

MU-X

Infiniti look, Mercedes mechanicals

Striking styling; hushed and refined cabin; perky (Benz) petrol engines; decent handling Stilted ride; no reversing camera on GT and Sports; grumbly diesel engine  The Pick: The 2.0 Sports Premium for its engine – and reversing camera 1.6t GT $38,900 L4T 1.6 115 250 A7 1413 8.9 — 6.0 95 48 F 2.0t Sports $44,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1455 7.3 — 6.3 95 49 F 2.2d Sports $46,900 L4TD 2.1 125 350 A7 1521 8.3 — 5.2 D 49 F 2.0t Sports Premium$52,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1455 7.3 — 6.3 95 49 F 2.2d Sports Prem $54,900 L4TD 2.1 125 350 A7 1521 8.2 — 5.2 D 49 F

QX30

Price

4yr/100,000km infiniticars.com.au

Infiniti Q30

5yr/130,000km isuzuute.com.au

Isuzu

Value-packed eight-seater

BY

The E-Type’s true successor

Looks stunning, drives superbly, sounds incredible, and has an addictive feel-good factor All-aluminium construction but a bit tubby compared to a Porsche; small boot  The Pick: The mid-level V6 S has the best balance; only real power junkies need the V8 S $119,545 V6S 3.0 250 450 M6 1577 — 9.8 95 53 R $124,080 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 — 5.3 — 8.8 95 53 R $138,425 V6S 3.0 250 450 M6 — — 9.8 95 53 R $142,780 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1597 5.3 — 9.0 95 53 R

@wheelsaustralia 143


— — 1614 1674 1650 1665 1730 1745 1705 1720

Sport Sport Longitude Limited Trailhawk

Price

R R R A R R A A A A

Soul

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Drive

Small SUV, big price

Tow it to wherever you want to go off-road

Strong outputs of Pentastar V6 and CRD oiler; worthy for off-road enthusiasts... ...but not for driving (or quality) enthusiasts; loose steering and cumbersome handling  The Pick: Sport if you frequent sand dunes; Rubicon if you want to climb Uluru $38,990 V6 3.6 209 347 M6 1913 — — 11.2 91 58 A $42,500 V6 3.6 209 347 A5 1924 — — 11.3 91 58 A $39,000 L4TD 2.8 147 410 M6 1858 — — 8.0 D 49 A $49.990 L4TD 2.8 147 460 A5 2000 — — 8.6 D 49 A $43,000 V6 3.6 209 347 A5 1919 — — 11.3 91 54 A $38,000 V6 3.6 209 347 M6 2073 8.6 — 11.8 91 59 A $39,000 V6 3.6 209 347 A5 2053 — — 11.7 91 59 A $42,990 L4TD 2.8 147 410 M6 1998 11.1 — 8.3 D 60 A $44,000 L4TD 2.8 147 460 A5 1978 — — 9.5 D 59 A $53,990 V6 3.6 209 347 A5 2053 8.6 — 11.9 91 54 A $53,990 V6 3.6 209 347 A5 2053 — — 11.9 91 53 A

Cherokee

Sport Longitude Limited Limited Trailhawk

Issue tested

53 53 53 11/13 53 53 08/14 53 53 53 53 53 02/17

Spacious for a small SUV; design attention-to-detail; decent handling and AWD system Sticker shock; fiddly open-roof system; flawed steering; where’s the 125kW 1.4 turbo?  The Pick: For its price, a Cherokee makes sense. Or a Renegade Longitude if you must $26,000 L4 1.6 81 152 M5 1295 — — 6.0 91 50 F $28,000 L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.9 91 50 02/16 F $32,000 L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.9 91 52 F $35,000 L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.9 91 52 02/16 F $39,000 L4 2.4 129 230 A9 1550 — — 7.5 91 52 02/16 A

Wrangler

Sport 2dr Sport 2dr Sport CRD 2dr Sport CRD 2dr Rubicon 2dr Sport Unlimited 4dr Sport Unlimited 4dr Sport Unlimited 4dr Sport Unlimited 4dr Overland 4dr Rubicon U’ted 4dr

95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95

5yr/100,000km jeep.com.au

Jeep Renegade

Recommended octane rating

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

9.8 8.8 9.1 8.9 11.1 11.1 11.3 11.3 11.3 11.3

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

M6 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8

Kilograms

— — 13.1 — — — — — — —

280 460 280 460 280 460 280 460 404 680 404 680 404 680 404 680 423 700 423 700

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

0-400 metres

— 4.9 4.8 — 4.2 4.2 4.1 4.1 3.7 3.8

Newton metres

0-100 km/h

Kilowatts

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0

When we drove it

V6S V6S V6S V6S V8S V8S V8S V8S V8S V8S

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

$152,165 $156,380 $176,105 $173,065 $228,905 $247,795 $244,765 $263,645 $298,590 $308,470

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Eng type

Price

V6 S Coupe V6 S Coupe V6 S Convertible V6 S AWD Coupe V8 R Coupe V8 R Convertible V8 R AWD Coupe V8 R AWD C’tible V8 SVR AWD Coupe V8 SVR AWD C’tible

Litres

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

JAGUAR – LEXU S

NEW ARRIVALS

Avant-garde Italo-American

Striking appearance; strong drivetrains; off-road ability of Trailhawk; unique appeal Limited rear-seat headroom under full-size sunroof; ninth gear too tall for Australia  The Pick: Limited’s appointments and performance, unless you need Trailhawk’s low range $36,000 L4 2.4 130 229 A9 1738 — — 8.3 91 53 08/14 F $42,000 V6 3.2 200 316 A9 1834 — — 10.0 91 54 A $49,000 V6 3.2 200 316 A9 1834 — — 10.0 91 55 A $49,000 L4TD 2.0 125 350 A9 1854 — — 5.8 D 55 12/14 A $52,000 V6 3.2 200 316 A9 1862 — — 10.0 91 56 08/14 A

Grand Cherokee Split personality

Laredo Laredo Laredo CRD Limited Limited CRD Trailhawk Overland SRT

Solid off-road ability made awesome in Trailhawk; decent on-road; equipment Rear-seat packaging; feels its weight around town; position of foot-operated park brake  The Pick: Trailhawk if you want to go off-road, otherwise grab some Limited leather $47,500 V6 3.6 213 347 A8 — — 9.9 91 R $52,500 V6 3.6 213 347 A8 — — 10.0 91 A $59,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 — — 7.5 D A $62,500 V6 3.6 213 347 A8 — — 10.0 91 A $69,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 — — 7.5 D A $74,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 — — 7.5 D A $80,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 — — 7.5 D A $91,000 V8 6.4 344 624 A8 — — 14.0 98 A

7yr/unlimited kia.com.au

Kia Picanto

S S

S S Si SLi

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

More rhythm, less blues

Second-gen Soul maintains the original’s look; improved handling; individual appeal Engine crying out for a bottom-end; firm ride; uninvolving steering; so-so performance  The Pick: We’d opt for a used Skoda Yeti, though Soul II is way better than it used to be $24,990 L4 2.0 113 191 A6 1405 10.2 — 8.4 91 45 11/14 F

Si

Cerato

S sedan S hatch S sedan S hatch S Premium sedan S Premium hatch Si sedan Si hatch SLi sedan SLi hatch

Anonymous, but plenty to like

Ride and handling; perky engine in most affordable models; long list of tech and gear No auto braking as part of upgraded safety kit; no camera in base S; lacks finesse  The Pick: Go for the base model S, but get $500 option for a bigger screen with camera $19,990* L4 2.0 112 192 M6 1280 — — 7.1 91 49 F $19,990* L4 2.0 112 192 M6 1301 — — 7.1 91 49 F $22,290* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1280 — — 7.1 91 50 F $22,290* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1301 — — 7.1 91 50 F $24,990* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1309 — — 7.1 91 51 F $24,990* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1332 — — 7.1 91 51 F $28,990* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1309 — — 7.1 91 52 F $28,990* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1332 — — 7.1 91 52 F $32,490* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1309 — — 7.1 91 53 F $32,490* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1332 — — 7.1 91 53 F

Optima

Conservatively done (again)

Cabin a huge step up; decent dynamics; rear-seat space; long warranty; equipment Small model range; firm ride on GT; heavy steering; 2.4 engine somewhat knackerless  The Pick: Optima Si still an appliance, so save up and go for the turbocharged GT $34,490 L4 2.4 138 241 A6 1540 — — 8.3 91 44 02/16 F $44,490 L4T 2.0 180 350 A6 1605 6.9 14.9 8.3 91 46 09/16 F

Si GT

Rondo

Big space at a modest price

Sharp price and decent smattering of equipment; ride/handling balance on 16s; spacious Petrol engine lacks torque; third row of seats in the Si best left to the small (or flexible)  The Pick: Base model S brings space and value; shame the diesel engine is no longer here $26,990 L4 2.0 122 213 A6 1520 — — 7.8 91 F $31,490 L4 2.0 122 213 A6 1546 — — 7.9 91 F

S Si

Carnival

S S CRDi Si Si CRDi SLi SLi CRDi Platinum Platinum CRDi

Eight is enough

Vastly more refined and better built than the old heap; eight seats; strong diesel; styling Still drives like a bus; thirsty V6; at 5.1m long, you’ll need a McMansion to park it  The Pick: A diesel Si, which adds sat-nav and a reversing camera over the base S $41,490 V6 3.3 206 336 A6 2048 8.3 16.1 11.6 91 59 10/16 F $43,990 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 2092 — — 7.7 D 59 F $45,490 V6 3.3 206 336 A6 2048 — — 11.6 91 59 F $47,990 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 2092 — — 7.7 D 59 F $49,990 V6 3.3 206 336 A6 2048 — — 11.6 91 60 F $52,490 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 2092 — — 7.7 D 60 F $58,790 V6 3.3 206 336 A6 2048 — — 11.6 91 61 F $61,290 L4TD 2.2 147 440 A6 2092 — — 7.7 D 61 F

Sportage

Added polish, surprisingly good drive

Interior design and equipment; capable dynamics; refinement; potent diesel engine Petrol 2.0 only just enough; auto braking limited to Platinums; upper range not cheap  The Pick: Any of the diesels; the Platinum brings plenty extra but the SLi is better value $28,990 L4 2.0 114 192 A6 1499 — — 7.9 91 52 F $33,990 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1590 — — 6.4 D 54 A $34,690 L4 2.0 114 192 A6 1499 10.4 17.3 11.2 91 54 06/17 F $39,690 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1590 — — 6.4 D 55 A $43,490 L4 2.4 135 237 A6 1590 — — 8.5 91 53 A $45,990 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1590 — — 6.4 D 53 A

Si Si SLi SLi Platinum Platinum

Sorento

Holiday, celebrate

Diesel refinement; equipment; build quality; practicality; safety; handling; warranty Getting pricey for a Kia; badge snobbery means buyers may overlook this excellent SUV  The Pick: SLi diesel gets a decent donk and plenty of kit, including leather and better audio $40,990 V6 3.3 199 318 A6 1921 8.0 15.8 9.9 91 54 10/16 F $44,490 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 — — 7.8 D 54 A $45,990 V6 3.3 199 318 A6 1921 — — 9.9 91 52 F $49,490 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 — — 7.8 D 53 A $56,990 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 9.5 16.8 7.8 D 54 09/15 A $58,490 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 – – 7.8 D 54 A

Si Si SLi SLi Platinum GT Line

Dealer Quick Finder

Simplicity and value, plus fun

Styling; agility; dynamics; seven-year warranty; proper torque converter auto Weight gain for 2017 version harms fuel economy; no AEB  The Pick: Manual shifter is the most fun but auto is probably the sensible choice $14,190 L4 1.2 62 122 M5 976 – – 5.0 91 $15,690* L4 1.2 62 122 A4 995 – – 5.8 91

Rio

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

DEALER DIRECTORY F F

1190 Nepean Hwy Cheltenham VIC 3192 DL: 1715 Sales: 03 9581 8200

VIC

Euro style, but doesn’t beat Euro rivals

Crisp styling; classy and roomy interior; handling poise; fluid steering No 1.0-litre turbo option; dated 1.4 has less power than before; four-speed auto; price  The Pick: Stick with the S manual – the new-gen Rio at its most competitive $16,990 L4 1.4 74 133 M6 1137 — — 5.6 91 F $19,090 L4 1.4 74 133 A4 1162 — — 6.2 91 F $21,490 L4 1.4 74 133 A4 1162 — — 6.2 91 F $22,990 L4 1.4 74 133 A4 1162 — — 6.2 91 F

144 wheelsmag.com.au

KTM X-Bow

3yr/unlimited simplysportscars.com Race track (only) hero

Closest thing to a four-wheeled motorbike; lightweight philosophy boosts performance There’s no windscreen, radio, roof, or boot; it’s a lot of money for a toy  The Pick: Sure, if you’ve got other more sensible wheels. If not, consider a Cayman $169,900 L4T 2.0 220 420 M6 790 3.9 — 8.7 95 5/17 R


POWE RE D

Showroom Lamborghini Price

Huracan

LP 580-2 LP 580-2 Spyder LP 610-4 LP 610-4 Spyder

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Front up to the bull bar

Broad range offers something for everyone More expensive than Gallardo; lack of a manual; rear vision in the coupes  The Pick: Rear-driver is the purist’s choice, and the real embodiment of the brand $390,000 V10 5.2 426 540 S7 1389 3.4 – 11.9 98 57 12/16 $429,000 V10 5.2 426 540 S7 1509 3.6 12.1 98 57 $428,200 V10 5.2 449 560 S7 1422 3.2 — 12.5 98 57 08/14 $470,800 V10 5.2 449 560 S7 1524 3.4 — 12.3 98 57

Aventador

S Roadster

Eng type

R R A A

Italian flagship

4WS, power hike, and suspension overhaul give glorious V12 supercar a new lease on life Not quite as savage as previous Lambo flagships; tall people get ready to duck down  The Pick: Just buy one. Blue flames come out the exhaust. Flames! $789,425 V12 6.5 544 690 S7 1575 2.9 — 16.0 98 57 03/17 A $795,000 V12 6.5 515 690 S7 1575 3.0 — 16.0 98 57 11/12 A

Land Rover

3yr/100,000km landrover.com.au

Discovery Sport Freelander replacement scores

TD4 SE TD4 SE SD4 SE SD4 SE Si4 SE TD4 HSE TD4 HSE SD4 HSE SD4 HSE SD4 HSE Luxury SD4 HSE Luxury

Price

2yr/unlimited lamborghini.com.au

Styling; interior design, space, and flexibility; dynamics and traction; competitive prices Diesel engines now use J-LR’s new Ingenium family; third-row seats’ poor vision  The Pick: Grab an SD4 with the nine-speed and choose between five or seven seats $53,300 L4TD 2.2 110 400 M6 1765 11.7 — 6.1 D 61 A $56,355 L4TD 2.2 110 400 A9 1775 10.3 — 6.1 D 61 02/16 A $56,500 L4TD 2.2 140 420 M6 1765 10.4 — 6.1 D 61 A $59,995 L4TD 2.2 140 420 A9 1775 8.9 — 6.1 D 61 A $59,990 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1744 8.2 — 8.0 95 61 02/16 A $57,900 L4TD 2.2 110 400 M6 1785 11.7 — 6.1 D 61 A $61,000 L4TD 2.2 110 400 A9 1805 10.3 — 6.1 D 61 A $61,100 L4TD 2.2 140 420 M6 1785 10.4 — 6.1 D 61 A $64,635 L4TD 2.2 140 420 A9 1805 8.9 — 6.1 D 61 A $66,500 L4TD 2.2 140 420 M6 1785 10.4 — 6.1 D 61 A $70,690 L4TD 2.2 140 420 A9 1805 9.9 17.1 6.1 D 61 08/15 A

Range Rover Evoque Conv’ Makes a BMW X4 seem sensible

Si4 SE Dynamic TD4 SE Dynamic Si4 HSE Dynamic TD4 HSE Dynamic

Better than expected body rigidity; smooth and refined Ingenium oiler Top-hinged tailgate; porky; polarising; pricey  The Pick: Any other SUV with utility. Or perhaps a cabriolet with style and grace $84,948 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1936 8.6 — 8.6 D 60 $85,343 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1967 10.3 — 5.7 D 61 $93,195 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1936 8.6 — 8.6 D 61 $92,800 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1967 10.3 — 5.7 D 61

Discovery

TD4 S TD4 SE TD4 HSE TD4 HSE Luxury SD4 S SD4 SE SD4 HSE SD4 HSE Luxury TD6 S TD6 SE TD6 HSE TD6 HSE Luxury

Softer on the outside

Clever packaging; stylish interior; price reductions; more efficient four-cylinders Seven-seat interior costs between $3400-6400 extra; V6 weak against new diesels  The Pick: New Disco kills Prado for polish and dynamics. SD4 worth the step up $65,960 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D $77,050 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D $87,150 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D $100,950 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D $71,560 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D $83,450 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D $93,550 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D $107,350 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D $78,271 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D $90,161 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D $100,261 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D $114,061 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D

A A A A A A A A A A A A

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Today, the school run; tomorrow, the world

Weight loss brings real dynamic cohesion; cabin feels special; great off-road Needs Terrain Response to really shine off-road; third row seats tight  The Pick: The V8S if your wallet can handle it; otherwise the swift and accomplished SDV6 S TDV6 $90,900 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2115 7.6 — 7.3 D 61 A SE TDV6 $103,900 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2115 7.6 — 7.3 D 61 01/14 A SE $108,410 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 2144 7.2 — 11.3 95 61 A SE SDV6 $114,800 V6TTD 3.0 215 600 A8 2115 7.4 15.4 7.5 D 61 01/15 A HSE $130,300 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 2144 7.2 — 11.3 95 61 A HSE SDV6 $132,000 V6TTD 3.0 215 600 A8 2115 7.2 — 7.5 D 61 A HSE TDV8 $147,300 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2398 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A HSE Dynamic TDV8 $153,600 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2398 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A HSE SDV6 Hybrid $146,900 V6TTDH3.0 250 700 A8 — 6.7 — 6.4 D 61 A HSE Dynamic $169,100 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2310 5.3 — 13.8 95 61 A Autobiography SDV6$169,800 V6TTD 3.0 215 600 A8 2115 7.2 — 7.5 D 61 A A’biog SDV6 Hybrid $187,900 V6TTDH3.0 250 700 A8 — 6.7 — 6.4 D 61 A Autobiography Dyn’ $196,800 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2310 5.3 — 13.8 95 61 A

Range Rover

The rock star’s 4WD

Hard to beat off-road; brilliant interior; superb engines; sumptuous ride Bloody expensive; petrol still thirsty; big Rangie still a bit cumbersome round corners  The Pick: 4.4-litre SDV8 and eight-speed auto a superb combo, but all are desirable TDV6 HSE $170,400 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2160 7.9 — 6.9 D 61 A 3.0 SC HSE $170,400 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 2330 7.4 — 11.5 95 61 A TDV6 Vogue $181,549 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2160 7.9 — 6.9 D 61 A TDV6 Vogue LWB $189,100 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2301 8.3 — 7.5 D 61 A 3.0 SC Vogue $193,500 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 2330 7.4 — 11.5 95 61 A SDV8 Vogue $202,330 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A SDV8 Vogue LWB $206,400 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 — 7.2 — 8.7 D 61 A SDV8 Vogue SE $224,550 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 05/13 A SDV8 Vogue SE LWB $225,600 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 — 7.2 — 8.7 D 61 05/13 A SDV8 A’biography $242,425 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A SDV8 A’biog LWB $254,345 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 — 7.2 — 8.7 D 61 A 5.0 SC Vogue SE $231,900 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2330 5.4 — 13.8 95 61 A 5.0 SC Vogue SE LWB$238,400 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2413 5.8 — 13.8 95 61 A 5.0 SC A’biography $257,300 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2330 5.4 — 13.8 95 61 A 5.0 SC A’biog LWB $269,200 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2413 5.8 — 13.8 95 61 A

3yr/100,000km ldvautomotive.com.au

LDV G10

7 seater 9 seater

China’s latest budget arrival

More seats than you’ll ever need; decent interior presentation; VW-inspired details Resale question mark on this unknown brand; 2.0-litre turbo drinks premium unleaded  The Pick: The nine-seater has a genuine USP, if carrying people on the cheap is everything $29,990 L4T 2.0 165 345 A6 2057 — — 11.7 95 46 F $32,990 L4T 2.0 165 345 A6 2107 — — 11.7 95 46 F

4yr/100,000km lexus.com.au

Lexus CT200h

Luxury F-Sport Sports Luxury A A A A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Range Rover Sport

Range Rover Evoque Baby of the Range Fantastic looks; premium cabin; lovely ride and refinement – it’s a proper Range Rover Compromised rear seat; pricey options; rear visibility; 150 diesel down on torque  The Pick: TD4 180 SE – best-value spec teamed with the sweetest drivetrain of the range eD4 Pure 5dr $51,995 L4TD 2.0 110 380 M6 1608 11.2 — 4.3 D 60 F TD4 150 Pure 5dr $56,050 L4TD 2.0 110 380 M6 1665 10.8 — 4.8 D 61 A TD4 150 Pure 5dr $57,995 L4TD 2.0 110 380 A9 1674 10.0 — 5.1 D 61 A TD4 150 SE 5dr $63,120 L4TD 2.0 110 380 A9 1674 10.0 — 5.1 D 61 A TD4 180 SE 5dr $67,160 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1674 9.0 — 5.1 D 61 03/16 A Si4 SE 5dr $67,995 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1658 7.6 — 7.8 95 61 A TD4 180 HSE 5dr $74,230 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1674 9.0 — 5.1 D 61 A TD4 180 HSE Coupe $73,495 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1674 9.0 — 5.1 D 61 A Si4 HSE 5dr $77,085 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1658 7.6 — 7.8 95 61 03/16 A Si4 HSE Coupe $77,085 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1658 7.6 — 7.8 95 61 A TD4 HSE Dynamic 5dr $77,719 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1674 9.0 — 5.1 D 61 A TD4 HSE D’mic Coupe$77,719 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1674 9.0 — 5.1 D 61 A Si4 HSE Dynamic 5dr$81,125 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1658 7.6 — 7.8 95 61 03/16 A Si4 HSE D’mic Coupe $81,125 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1658 7.6 — 7.8 95 61 A

Eng type

BY

More appealing than Prius

Lexus quality and efficient hybrid tech in concentrated form Electric steering is disappointing; far from dynamic; clumsy styling; tight back seat  The Pick: Luxury is the best value, if Valium on wheels is your thing $38,750 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1465 10.3 — 4.1 95 51 06/11 $48,440 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1465 10.3 — 4.1 95 53 $56,090 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1465 10.3 — 4.1 95 54

IS

F F F

Takes fight to BMW

Brilliantly balanced; crisp chassis and steering; excellent quality; likeable Hybrid; value Heavier than rivals; tight rear seats; manual mode in autos not manual enough  The Pick: 200t F-Sport is great to drive, but 300h Luxury offers unexpected appeal 200t Luxury $59,340 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 7.0 — 7.5 95 50 R 200t F-Sport $67,480 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 7.0 — 7.5 95 50 R 200t Sports Luxury $78,040 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 8.9 16.4 7.5 95 51 04/16 R 300h Luxury $61,890 L4H 2.5 164 221 C — 8.5 — 4.9 95 50 R 300h F-Sport $70,310 L4H 2.5 164 221 C 1720 8.5 — 4.9 95 51 R 300h Sports Luxury $81,160 L4H 2.5 164 221 C 1720 8.5 — 4.9 95 51 R 350 Luxury $65,390 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 — 5.9 — 9.7 95 51 R 350 F-Sport $73,540 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 — 6.6 14.6 9.7 95 51 09/13 R 350 Sports Luxury $84,160 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1685 5.9 — 9.7 95 51 R

RC

Two-door with punch – and thirst

V8 sounds fantastic when pushed; nice chassis balance; styling has presence Heavy and thirsty for a sporty two-door; on-centre play in steering; interior lacks sparkle  The Pick: 350 F-Sport – much of the F’s performance and appearance without the price tag 200t Luxury $65,090 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1675 7.5 — 7.3 95 56 R 350 Luxury $68,060 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1680 6.1 — 9.4 95 56 R 200t F-Sport $74,180 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1700 7.5 — 7.3 95 56 R 350 F-Sport $77,240 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 — 6.1 — 9.4 95 56 02/16 R 200t Sports Luxury $84,890 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1725 7.5 — 7.3 95 56 R

@wheelsaustralia 145


350 Sports Luxury $87,950 F $135,490 F Carbon $149,770

LC

V6 V8 V8

3.5 233 378 5.0 351 530 5.0 351 530

A8 1740 6.1 A8 1780 4.5 A8 1860 4.5

— — —

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

0-400 metres

Recommended octane rating

0-100 km/h

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Eng type

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Price

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

LEXUS – M A ZDA

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

9.4 95 56 10.9 98 53 02/16 10.9 98 53

R R R

Halo sportscar takes the baton from LFA

Concept car looks conceal a choice of V8 or V6 hybrid performance; V8 noise Weak hybrid soundtrack; droning CVT in 500h  The Pick: Hybrid offers respectable performance but plays second fiddle to red-blooded V8 $190,000 V8 5.0 351 550 A10 1970 4.5 — 10.7 98 R $190,000 V6H 3.5 264 348 C 1970 5.0 — 5.5 95 R

500 500h

ES

Retiree’s Lexus out of mothballs

Typical Lexus build quality combined with golf bag-friendly boot and refined drivetrains Front-drive ES is the antithesis of the sporty IS and GS; hybrid’s smaller boot  The Pick: The IS or GS, or buy Australian-made and go for a Camry/Aurion 300h Luxury $63,750 L4H 2.5 151 213 C 1685 8.5 — 5.5 95 51 01/14 F 300h Sports Luxury $71,910 L4H 2.5 151 213 C 1705 8.5 — 5.5 95 51 F 350 Luxury $64,700 V6 3.5 204 346 A6 1630 7.4 — 9.5 95 51 F 350 Sports Luxury $72,650 V6 3.5 204 346 A6 1665 7.4 — 9.5 95 51 F

GS

Pleasant, but outclassed

Excellent drivetrains and much-improved dynamics; GS-F’s unexpected character Lifeless steering; one-dimensional handling hobbled by intrusive ESC  The Pick: Base 200t F-Sport arguably the sweetest package; GS-F pricey but likeable 200t Luxury $76,220 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 7.3 — 8.0 95 52 200t F-Sport $84,380 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 7.3 — 8.0 95 52 03/16 300h Luxury $79,520 L4H 2.5 164 221 C 1820 — — 5.2 95 46 300h F-Sport $87,680 L4H 2.5 164 221 C 1820 — — 5.2 95 46 350 F-Sport $95,600 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1740 6.3 — 9.7 95 46 350 Sports Luxury $107,330 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1740 6.0 — 9.7 95 46 450h F-Sport $108,080 V6H 3.5 254 — C 1910 5.9 — 6.3 95 46 450h Sports Luxury $119,810 V6H 3.5 254 — C 1910 5.9 — 6.3 95 46 F $151,490 V8 5.0 351 530 A8 1865 4.9 13.1 11.3 95 52 06/16

LS

200t Luxury 300h Luxury

Eng type

Price

200t Luxury 300h Luxury 200t F-Sport 300h F-Sport 200t Sports Luxury 300h Sports Luxury

$58,140 $60,690 $64,390 $67,320 $73,270 $76,500

L4T L4H L4T L4H L4T L4H

RX

R R R R R R R R R

570

2.0 2.5 2.0 2.5 2.0 2.5

7.1 9.1 7.1 8.9 7.1 9.1

— — — 16.4 — —

175 147 175 147 175 147

350 210 350 210 350 210

A6 C A6 C A6 C

1755 1800 1755 1800 1860 1895

Club Racer S S Club Racer

Exige

S S S Roadster S Roadster

S Coupe S Coupe IPS 400 Coupe 400 Coupe IPS 410 Coupe 410 Coupe IPS

W8 W8 W8 AWD W8 AWD

56 56 57 59 08/15 53 59

Drive

A A A A A A

LandCruiser by Lexus

2yr/unlimited lotuscars.com.au Fast and fun, but wildly impractical

Race car for the road

Chassis smarts now with blown brawn

Exotic looks; individual appeal; one of the best chassis on the planet Start ticking options and price can soar past $200K; a Porsche is a smarter bet  The Pick: Brilliant dynamics, but $200K is secondhand Carrera S money $180,600 V6S 3.5 258 400 M6 1375 4.6 — 9.1 95 64 $187,600 V6S 3.5 258 400 A6 1395 4.6 — 9.7 95 64 $184,990 V6S 3.5 298 410 M6 1395 4.2 — 9.7 95 64 $194,990 V6S 3.5 298 410 A6 1410 4.2 — 9.7 95 64 $199,990 V6S 3.5 306 420 M6 1325 4.1 — 9.7 95 64 $209,990 V6S 3.5 306 420 A6 1336 4.1 — 9.7 95 64

Ghibli

Diesel S

R R R R R R

3yr/100,000km mahindra.com.au

It’s all about the price

Simple range with decent gear; seven seats; it’s won rallies in India! Light-on for active safety; questionable resale; average dynamics and ride  The Pick: Go the whole hog and get the AWD. Or push for a seven-seat Nissan X-Trail $29,900 L4TD 2.2 103 330 M6 — — — 6.7 D 46 $31,900 L4TD 2.2 103 330 A6 — — — 7.4 D 46 $32,900 L4TD 2.2 103 330 M6 — — — 6.7 D 46 $33,900 L4TD 2.2 103 330 A6 — — — 7.4 D 46

Maserati

146 wheelsmag.com.au

95 95 95 95 95 95

Blown Toyota V6 gives the Exige the performance to match its brilliant handling Not for claustrophobes, conservatives, or anyone into the tactility of interior plastics  The Pick: Go the Roadster – it’s a proper sports car and getting in with the roof down is easier $132,990 V6S 3.5 258 400 M6 1176 4.0 – 10.1 95 64 R $137,990 V6S 3.5 258 400 A6 1182 3.9 – 10.1 95 64 R $132,990 V6S 3.5 258 400 M6 1166 4.0 – 10.1 95 64 R $137,990 V6S 3.5 258 400 A6 1172 3.9 – 10.1 95 64 R

XUV500

CALL JULIA TODAY ON 0421 234 831

7.9 5.7 7.9 5.7 7.9 5.7

Issue tested

Edge of the wedge

Mahindra

ONE DEALER PER BRAND PER STATE

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Cool looks; telepathic steering (at speed); suspension and brakes a joy (at speed) Cramped and noisy for day-to-day driving; definitely intended as a track-day weapon  The Pick: If you live next to a racetrack, the S. If you want peace and quiet, look elsewhere $74,990 L4 1.6 100 160 M6 876 6.5 — 6.3 91 64 R $74,990 L4 1.6 100 160 M6 852 6.5 — 6.3 91 64 R $84,990 L4S 1.8 163 250 M6 880 4.6 — 7.5 95 64 R $84,990 L4S 1.8 163 250 M6 880 4.6 — 7.5 95 64 R

Evora

ADVERTISE IN THE DEALER QUICK FINDER AD SPOTS

0-400 metres

Clever suspension and crawl-control broaden LX’s skill set; bigger V8 and six-speed auto Massive and truck-like to drive; gauche styling; no diesel option; expensive  The Pick: A LandCruiser Sahara – better value, diesel engine, and same off-road ability $143,030 V8 5.7 270 530 A8 2510 7.7 — 14.4 95 61 A

Elise

Goes better than it looks

Want to stand out in a crowd and connect with new cars buyers?

0-100 km/h

Lotus

Smooth-sailing flagship

Eye-catching (if polarising) design; quality interior; punchy turbo-petrol four-cylinder A 2005 RAV4 in drag, with packaging compromises; smaller than its rivals  The Pick: New 2.0-litre turbo brings better performance, with F-Sport the sharpest $53,550 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1700 7.3 — 7.7 95 53 F $56,100 L4H 2.5 147 210 C 1740 9.1 — 5.6 95 56 F

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Cabin space, particularly in the rear; ambience; presence; quality; sweet turbo four Steering lacks feel; handling lacks excitement; busy ride; part-time AWD; only five seats  The Pick: Eager RX200t makes the most sense, and it’s the most affordable 200t Luxury $74,540 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1890 9.2 — 8.1 95 61 03/16 F 200t F-Sport $86,840 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1890 9.2 — 8.1 95 61 F 200t Sports Luxury $92,990 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1890 9.2 — 8.1 95 61 F 350 Luxury $81,710 V6 3.5 221 370 A8 1980 8.0 — 9.6 95 61 A 350 F-Sport $94,010 V6 3.5 221 370 A8 1980 8.0 — 9.6 95 61 A 350 Sports Luxury $100,160 V6 3.5 221 370 A8 1980 8.0 — 9.6 95 61 A 450h Luxury $90,160 V6H 3.5 230 335 C 2105 7.7 — 5.7 95 61 A 450h F-Sport $102,460 V6H 3.5 230 335 C 2105 7.7 — 5.7 95 61 A 450h Sports Luxury $108,610 V6H 3.5 230 335 C 2105 7.7 — 5.7 95 61 A

LX

Mind-blowing tech; flawless fit and finish; eerily-quiet cabin; silky eight-speed auto Doesn’t sound like a V8 until you get stuck into it; lacks personality  The Pick: 600hL – uninspiring, but a 7 Series with this much kit would cost your first-born 460 F-Sport $185,980 V8 4.6 285 493 A8 2020 5.9 — 10.7 95 39 R 460 Sports Luxury $191,080 V8 4.6 285 493 A8 2080 5.9 — 10.7 95 52 R 600h F-Sport $214,030 V8H 5.0 290 520 A8 2340 5.7 — 8.6 95 41 R 600hL 4-seat $245,140 V8H 5.0 290 520 A8 — — — 8.6 95 41 R 600hL 5-seat $245,140 V8H 5.0 290 520 A8 — — — 8.6 95 41 R

NX

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

F F A A

3yr/unlimited maserati.com.au

Look out, Germany!

Finally, a talented, beautiful, and fast Italian alternative to the default German luxo sedans Heavy; misses out on active safety tech of German rivals; no classic Maser V8 sound  The Pick: Surely the throaty Ghibli S, though the thrifty diesel offers tempting value $138,990 V6TD 3.0 202 600 A8 1835 6.3 — 5.9 D 55 R $143,990 V6TT 3.0 243 500 A8 1810 5.6 — 8.9 98 55 R $179,990 V6TT 3.0 301 550 A8 1810 5.0 — 9.6 98 55 R


POWE RE D

Showroom Price

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Quattroporte

Turbo Diesel S GTS

6

R R R R

Maserati finally heads off-road

The name says it all

Open air Italian V8 symphony

3yr/unlimited mazda.com.au Freshly updated baby

The popular choice

Safety; dynamics; performance; value; smoothness; efficiency; economy; choice Still a bit rowdy with road noise; dour rear-seat ambience; no hot hatch option  The Pick: The SP25 GT manual – a fun, cool, sharp-handling, nicely kitted sporty hatch Neo hatch $20,490 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1262 9.2 16.5 5.9 91 54 Neo hatch $22,490 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1296 — — 5.8 91 52 Neo sedan $20,490 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1258 — — 5.8 91 54 Neo sedan $22,490 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1291 — — 5.7 91 52 Maxx hatch $22,890 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1262 — — 5.9 91 54 Maxx hatch $24,890 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1296 — — 5.8 91 54 Maxx sedan $22,890 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1258 — — 5.8 91 54 Maxx sedan $24,890 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1291 9.1 — 5.7 91 54 01/17 Touring hatch $25,290 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1280 — — 5.9 91 54 Touring hatch $27,290 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1308 — — 5.8 91 54 Touring sedan $25,290 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1276 — — 5.8 91 54 Touring sedan $27,290 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1306 — — 5.7 91 54 SP25 hatch $25,690 L4 2.5 138 250 M6 1302 7.9 15.5 6.5 91 54 SP25 hatch $27,690 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1328 — — 6.1 91 54 SP25 sedan $25,690 L4 2.5 138 250 M6 1294 — — 6.5 91 54 SP25 sedan $27,690 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1324 — — 6.0 91 54 SP25 GT hatch $29,990 L4 2.5 138 250 M6 1302 — — 6.5 91 56 SP25 GT hatch $31,990 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1328 7.9 15.7 6.1 91 54 SP25 GT sedan $29,990 L4 2.5 138 250 M6 1294 — — 6.5 91 56 SP25 GT sedan $31,990 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1324 — — 6.0 91 54 SP25 Astina hatch $33,490 L4 2.5 138 250 M6 1314 — — 6.5 91 56 SP25 Astina hatch $35,490 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1341 — — 6.1 91 56 SP25 Astina sedan $33,490 L4 2.5 138 250 M6 1307 — — 6.5 91 56 SP25 Astina sedan $35,490 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1336 7.7 15.5 6.0 91 56 12/16

MX-5

1.5 Roadster 1.5 Roadster 1.5 Roadster GT 1.5 Roadster GT 2.0 Roadster 2.0 Roadster 2.0 RF 2.0 RF 2.0 Roadster GT 2.0 Roadster GT 2.0 RF GT 2.0 RF GT

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Style and (subdued) sports

Mazda makes them like they used to

All-new MX-5 channels original NA’s simplicity; great steering and grip; zippy 1.5 No steering reach adjust; 2.0-litre engine note not as sweet as 1.5’s and the ride is busier  The Pick: The big block’s punch is tempting but 1.5 is the go, with a manual ’box $31,990 L4 1.5 96 150 M6 1009 8.3 — 6.1 95 64 09/15 R $33,990 L4 1.5 96 150 A6 1032 8.3 — 6.4 95 62 R $37,990 L4 1.5 96 150 M6 1009 8.3 — 6.1 95 65 R $39,990 L4 1.5 96 150 A6 1032 8.3 — 6.4 95 64 02/16 R $34,490 L4 2.0 118 200 M6 1033 7.3 — 6.9 95 64 02/16 R $36,490 L4 2.0 118 200 A6 1057 7.3 — 7.1 95 64 R $38,550 L4 2.0 118 200 M6 1080 — — 7.0 95 R $40,550 L4 2.0 118 200 A6 1106 — — 7.4 95 R $39,550 L4 2.0 118 200 M6 1033 7.3 — 6.9 95 65 09/15 R $41,550 L4 2.0 118 200 A6 1057 7.3 — 7.1 95 65 R $43,890 L4 2.0 118 200 M6 1080 7.3 15.2 7.9 95 05/17 R $45,890 L4 2.0 118 200 A6 1106 — — 7.4 95 R

Big range, with sweet spots

Striking styling; broad range; AWD’s involving chassis; update brings extra safety Front-drive diesel misses the dynamic mark; noisy petrol engine; rear-seat side vision  The Pick: Either an sTouring or Akari petrol manual, or one of the great-handling AWDs Neo $20,490 L4 2.0 109 192 M6 1193 — — 6.3 91 50 F Neo $22,490 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1226 — — 6.1 91 50 F Maxx $22,890 L4 2.0 109 192 M6 1193 — — 6.3 91 52 02/16 F Maxx $24,890 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1226 — — 6.1 91 50 F Maxx Diesel $27,290 L4TD 1.5 77 270 A6 1262 — — 4.8 D 52 05/15 F Maxx AWD $26,890 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1294 — — 6.7 91 52 A sTouring $26,990 L4 2.0 109 192 M6 1193 — — 6.3 91 52 05/15 F sTouring $28,990 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1226 8.9 16.4 6.1 91 52 05/15 F sTouring AWD $30,990 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1294 — — 6.7 91 54 02/16 A sTouring AWD Diesel $33,390 L4TD 1.5 77 270 A6 1356 — — 5.1 D 52 A Akari $31,490 L4 2.0 109 192 M6 1219 — — 6.3 91 54 F Akari $33,490 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1252 — — 8.3 91 52 05/17 F Akari AWD $35,490 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1332 — — 6.7 91 54 05/15 A Akari AWD Diesel $37,890 L4TD 1.5 77 270 A6 1368 — — 5.1 D 54 02/16 A

CX-5

F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F

Eng type

Looks good and handles well; stunning diesel; great economy; vastly improved interior 19s spoil the ride a bit; shallow boot in sedan; dynamically not quite a match for Mondeo  The Pick: A wagon – any of ’em – due to its smarter packaging and athletic style $32,490 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1462 8.2 — 6.6 91 55 03/13 F $33,790 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1484 8.2 — 6.6 91 55 F $37,290 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1471 7.6 15.5 6.6 91 57 02/15 F $40,140 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1541 8.4 — 5.4 D 57 F $38,590 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1494 8.2 15.9 6.6 91 57 04/14 F $41,440 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1561 8.4 — 5.4 D 57 F $42,690 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1501 7.7 15.5 6.6 91 58 09/16 F $45,540 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1571 8.4 — 5.4 D 57 F $43,990 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1524 8.2 — 6.6 91 58 F $46,840 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1591 8.2 16.1 8.4 D 57 07/15 F $45,390 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1503 8.2 — 6.6 91 58 04/15 F $48,240 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1573 8.4 — 5.4 D 58 F $46,690 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1626 8.2 — 6.6 91 58 F $49,540 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1594 8.5 — 6.0 D 58 F

CX-3

Sensational manual gearshift; stunning engine tractability; classy dash; fun handling Laggy infotainment system; noisy engine; firm ride  The Pick: Maxx manual hatch with red trim option and extra safety kit – a superb little car $14,990 L4 1.5 79 139 M6 1025 — — 5.4 91 51 F $16,990 L4 1.5 79 139 A6 1043 10.7 17.5 5.5 91 51 03/15 F $14,990 L4 1.5 79 139 M6 1035 — — 5.4 91 51 F $16,990 L4 1.5 79 139 A6 1059 — — 4.9 91 51 10/15 F $17,690 L4 1.5 81 141 M6 1035 — — 5.4 91 52 F $19,690 L4 1.5 81 141 A6 1047 — — 4.9 91 52 F $17,690 L4 1.5 81 141 M6 1045 — — 5.4 91 52 F $19,690 L4 1.5 81 141 A6 1060 — — 4.9 91 52 F $20,690 L4 1.5 81 141 M6 1035 — — 5.4 91 54 F $22,690 L4 1.5 81 141 A6 1047 — — 4.9 91 53 10/14 F $21,680 L4 1.5 81 141 M6 1035 — — 5.4 91 54 F $23,680 L4 1.5 81 141 A6 1047 — — 5.5 91 54 F $21,680 L4 1.5 81 141 M6 1045 — — 5.4 91 54 F $23,680 L4 1.5 81 141 A6 1060 — — 5.5 91 54 F

3

Sport sedan Sport wagon Touring sedan Touring sedan Touring wagon Touring wagon GT sedan GT sedan GT wagon GT wagon Atenza sedan Atenza sedan Atenza wagon Atenza wagon

R R R

Cloth lid doesn’t add too much extra weight; glorious flood of V8 decibels with roof down Expensive and doesn’t look great roof-up; dynamics still more cruiser than bruiser  The Pick: An Italian supermodel with her top off? Hell, yeah! $338,000 V8 4.7 338 520 S6 1980 5.0 — 14.5 95 50 R $355,000 V8 4.7 338 520 S6 1973 4.9 — 14.5 95 49 R

2

Price

Drive

Luxo style at its finest

Mazda

Neo hatch Neo hatch Neo sedan Neo sedan Maxx hatch Maxx hatch Maxx sedan Maxx sedan Genki hatch Genki hatch GT hatch GT hatch GT sedan GT sedan

Issue tested

Supremely capable grand tourer; useful rear-seat; oozes style and character Base version lacks dynamic resolve beyond eight-tenths and needs more grunt  The Pick: Stradale blends Italian-supermodel flair with a soundtrack to die (or kill) for $295,000 V8 4.7 338 520 A6 1880 4.7 — 15.5 95 48 $319,000 V8 4.7 338 520 A6 1880 4.8 — 14.3 95 48 $345,000 V8 4.7 338 520 S6 1880 4.5 — 15.5 98 48

GranCabrio

Sport MC

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Classy inside and out; smooth diesel; economical and refined Petrol engines not available in Oz; diesel doesn’t deliver Maserati levels of excitement  The Pick: Start lobbying for a V8 turbo $139,990 V6TD 3.0 202 600 A8 2205 6.9 — 7.2 D A $159,990 V6TD 3.0 202 600 A8 2205 6.9 — 7.2 D A $159,990 V6TD 3.0 202 600 A8 2205 6.9 — 7.2 D A

GranTurismo

MC Sportline MC Auto Shift MC Stradale

0-400 metres

Brilliant chassis balance; twin-turbo V6 a decent replacement for the previous V8 New blown engines sound dull compared with old V8; Chrysler cabin bits; ride flaws  The Pick: GTS remains the pinnacle of Italian luxury motoring $210,000 V6TD 3.0 202 600 A8 1885 6.4 — 6.2 D 50 10/14 $215,000 V6TT 3.0 243 500 A8 1860 6.2 — 9.1 95 $240,000 V6TT 3.0 301 550 A8 1860 5.1 — 9.6 95 49 06/14 $331,000 V8TT 3.8 390 650 A8 1900 4.7 — 10.7 98 49 03/14

Levante

Turbo Diesel Sport Luxury

0-100 km/h

BY

Maxx FWD Maxx FWD Maxx Maxx Sport FWD Maxx Sport Maxx Sport Touring Touring GT GT Akera Akera

CX-9

Sport FWD Sport AWD Touring FWD Touring AWD GT FWD GT AWD Azami FWD Azami AWD

New and improved family favourite

Driver appeal carries over; improved comfort, space, refinement, finish. We could go on Extra weight brings fuel consumption increases  The Pick: Maxx Sport turbo-diesel has all the equipment and engine you really need $28,690 L4 2.0 114 200 M6 1511 — — 6.9 91 F $30,690 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1556 — — 6.9 91 F $33,690 L4 2.5 140 251 A6 1633 — — 7.5 91 A $34,390 L4 2.0 114 200 A6 1556 10.4 17.4 10.4 91 06/17 F $37,390 L4 2.5 140 251 A6 1633 — — 7.5 91 A $40,390 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1708 — — 6.0 D A $38,990 L4 2.5 140 251 A6 1633 — — 7.5 91 A $41,990 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1708 — — 6.0 D A $44,390 L4 2.5 140 251 A6 1670 — — 7.5 91 A $47,390 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1744 — — 6.0 D A $46,990 L4 2.5 138 250 A6 1670 — — 7.5 91 A $49,990 L4TTD 2.2 129 420 A6 1744 — — 6.0 D A

Our 2017 COTY winner

Smart looks and classy interior; driveability of new turbo engine; excellent refinement No air vents in the third row; boot packaging compromised by roofline; no diesel option  The Pick: Touring spec makes plenty of sense, as does the all-wheel-drive system $42,490 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 1845 7.7 15.6 8.4 91 54 10/16 F $46,490 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 55 A $48,890 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.4 91 55 F $52,890 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 56 A $57,390 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.4 91 56 F $61,390 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 56 A $59,390 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.4 91 56 F $63,390 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 56 A

@wheelsaustralia 147


Price

540C

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

A McLaren, for less

Cheapest McLaren still scores V8TT, but in a friendlier, more usable package V8 sounds merely functional; no rear camera; manual seats seem cheap  The Pick: Great in isolation but is it better than the cheaper 911 GT3? Stay tuned $325,000 V8TT 3.8 397 540 S7 1350 3.5 — 10.7 98 07/16

570

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

3yr/unlimited cars.mclaren.com

McLaren Eng type

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Kilograms

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

New models for the month highlighted

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

MCLARE N – M ERC EDES

NEW ARRIVALS

R

More than just a baby 650S

Not as terrifyingly rapid as 650S; proper supercar looks; great steering Still doesn’t sound great; interior quality a little hit-and-miss  The Pick: The 570S is genuinely useable everyday, with fantastic cross-country chops $379,000 V8TT 3.8 419 600 S7 1400 3.2 — 10.7 98 R $406,800 V8TT 3.8 419 600 S7 1450 3.4 11.1 10.7 98 R

S GT

650S

Even better than 12C

Same brutal twin-turbo V8 as 12C, with even finer ride, handling, and steering Arguably not as pretty as the 12C  The Pick: Always the coupe, for its purity and greater sporting focus $464,000 V8TT 3.8 478 678 S7 1330 3.0 10.5 11.7 98 61 $511,000 V8TT 3.8 478 678 S7 1370 3.0 10.5 11.7 98 61

S Coupe S Spider

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

A180 A200 A200d A250 Sport A45 AMG

3yr/unlimited mercedes-benz.com.au

Baby Benz goes hipster

Great driver (and youth) appeal; attention to detail; fiery A45 AMG; lots of equipment Tight rear seat; no manuals for Oz; more compliant ride still firm; prices creeping up  The Pick: A250 Sport is terrific, though if you can stretch to the ballistic A45, do it! $38,400 L4T 1.6 90 200 S7 1320 8.6 — 5.8 95 49 F $44,000 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1320 7.8 — 6.1 95 50 F $44,500 L4TD 2.1 100 300 S7 1410 8.8 — 4.0 D 50 F $54,800 L4T 2.0 160 350 S7 1380 6.3 — 6.7 95 51 A $78,315 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1480 4.2 — 6.9 98 53 1/16 A

GLA-Class

GLA180 GLA220d GLA250 GLA45 AMG

R R

City almost meets country

Bigger, comfier, more practical than A-Class Not a proper SUV by any means, with tight rear seat room; turbo-diesel a bit gruff  The Pick: The GLA250 4matic is a superb jacked-up driver’s hatch $43,900 L4T 1.6 90w 200 S7 1435 9.2 — 5.7 95 61 $51,200 L4TD 2.1 130 350 S7 1535 7.7 — 4.5 D 61 $60,700 L4T 2.0 155 350 S7 1505 7.1 — 7.0 95 63 $89,500 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1585 4.8 — 7.5 98 63

F F A A

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au Price

Eng type

CLA-Class

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Frameless doors give it a coupe feel; quality interior; big boot; feisty AMG Tight in the back seats; price premium over A-Class  The Pick: CLA45 is a riot but the all-paw CLA 250 Sport does loads for the money CLA200 $52,500 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1430 7.9 — 5.6 95 59 CLA200 S-Brake $54,000 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1460 8.2 — 6.1 95 59 CLA220d $53,900 L4TD 2.1 130 350 S7 1525 7.7 — 4.2 D 59 CLA220d S-Brake $55,400 L4TD 2.1 130 350 S7 1555 7.8 — 4.4 D 59 CLA250 Sport $67,600 L4T 2.0 160 350 S7 1550 6.4 — 6.9 95 60 CLA250 Sport S-B $68,600 L4T 2.0 160 350 S7 1565 6.7 — 7.0 95 60 CLA45 AMG $92,215 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1585 4.2 — 7.4 98 60 CLA45 AMG S-Brake $92,215 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1615 4.3 — 7.4 98 60

B-Class

B180 B200 B200d B250 4Matic

Still not quite A-grade

S-Class goes compact

Aerodynamic style; punchy petrol engines; superb cabin; fine dynamics; stonking AMG Rear seat comfort not great; coil-sprung models don’t ride like the Airmatic versions  The Pick: C250 with optional Airmatic for practical types; either AMG for petrolheads $61,400 L4T 2.0 135 300 A7 1465 7.7 15.4 6.0 95 59 10/15 R $63,900 L4T 2.0 135 300 A7 1525 7.5 — 6.2 95 56 R $62,900 L4TD 1.6 100 300 A7 1505 10.2 — 4.6 D 60 R $65,400 L4TD 1.6 100 300 A7 1580 10.6 — 4.7 D 56 R $69,400 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1480 6.7 14.8 6.0 95 60 04/16 R $71,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1545 6.8 — 6.9 95 56 10/14 R $70,900 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A7 1595 6.6 — 4.5 D 60 R $73,400 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A7 1660 6.9 — 4.8 D 56 R $75,300 L4TDH 2.1 150 500 A7 1715 6.4 — 4.0 D 57 R $75,300 L4TH 2.0 205 600 A7 1780 5.9 — 2.4 95 60 R $77,800 L4TH 2.0 205 600 A7 1840 6.2 — 2.6 95 60 R $101,900 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1615 4.7 — 8.2 98 57 04/17 A $104,400 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1735 4.8 — 8.3 98 57 A $155,615 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1580 4.2 12.2 8.6 95 60 04/17 R $158,115 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1650 4.1 — 8.7 95 60 10/15 R

C-Class Coupe

C200

F F F F A A A A

Spacious mini-MPV now with quality and class; competitive drivetrains; grippy 4matic Jiggly ride quality on standard run-flat tyres; slightly odd styling; uninspiring dynamics  The Pick: A reasonable effort, but ride quality lets it down. Try a BMW 2 Active Tourer $42,400 L4T 1.6 90 200 S7 1425 9.1 — 5.5 95 50 F $48,900 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1425 8.6 — 5.5 95 51 06/12 F $49,400 L4TD 2.1 100 300 S7 1505 9.8 — 4.2 D 51 06/12 F $55,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 S7 1505 6.7 — 6.8 95 51 A

C-Class

C200 C200 Estate C200d C200d Estate C250 C250 Estate C250d C250d Estate C300h C350e C350e Estate C43 AMG C43 AMG Estate C63 S AMG C63 S AMG Estate

Drive

A-Class with a tail

No longer a two-door sedan

Sharp pricing and equipment; rorty 2.0 turbo for C300; Airmatic suspension ride Steering not as sharp as other dynamics; base drivetrains not particularly sporty  The Pick: C63 coupe is one of the truly great AMGs, but even the C200 is a sweetheart $65,900 L4T 2.0 135 300 A7 1505 7.7 — 6.0 95 57 R

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POWE RE D

Showroom Price

C250d C300 C43 AMG C63 S AMG

$74,900 $83,355 $105,615 $162,115

Eng type

L4TD L4T V6TT V8TT

C-Class Conv

C200 C300 C43 AMG C63 S AMG

4.4 6.6 7.8 8.7

D 95 98 98

57 57 57 55

Price

R R A R

SL

Eng type

SLK gets a name change

Look mum, no hands

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Sports luxury, maybe. Not light

AMG GT R R A R

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

New nine-speed and upgraded engines deliver worthy performance improvements Looks odd from some angles; heavy and thirsty; more cruiser than sporty  The Pick: The V8 AMG is a great way to build pace, but even the base SL400 has loads of go $218,715 V6TT 3.0 270 500 A9 1735 4.9 — 7.8 95 51 R $278,715 V8TT 4.7 335 700 A9 1795 4.3 — 9.1 95 51 R $368,715 V8TT 5.5 430 900 A9 1845 4.1 — 10.2 98 51 R

SL400 SL500 SL63 AMG

The first drop-top C-Class

All grand, more sport than tourer

Brilliant new twin-turbo V8; arresting styling; cohesive chassis; drama; GT R’s polish Some ergonomic issues inside cabin; driver communication at the limit; taut suspension  The Pick: New GT R is hugely entertaining on the track but still highly capable on the road $259,000 V8TT 4.0 340 600 S7 1540 4.0 — 9.4 98 R $294,325 V8TT 4.0 375 650 S7 1570 3.8 — 9.4 98 67 09/15 R $349,000 V8TT 4.0 430 700 S7 1555 3.6 — 11.4 98 R

GT GT S GT R

GLC-Class

50 G

G

Million-dollar baby

Styling; outstanding interior; class-leading space; all-round ability on air suspension... is option t man y in ou on; 250 as swee lazier  The Pick Refined, ed na 220d s it a wi you tic r Body ol L4TD 125 A9 8.3 5.6 61 A $ L4T 155 A9 7.3 7.2 62 2/16 A $70, L4TD 150 A9 7.6 5.7 61 02/1 A $1 V6TT 270 A9 4.9 — A

GLC Coupe

It’s all about the look

and inter esels are  The Pick: Either of L4TD L4T $82, L4TD $1 V6TT

tyling t gruff 50s m 125 155 150 270

p dyna promi sense, A9 A9 A9 A9

decen adroom you u could 8.3 7.6 7.6 4.9

rmance ticality ough w 5.8 7.4 5.8 —

mfort le d visio he reg gula 61 62 61

LC A A A A

Finally based on an E-Class

E-Class’s lid lopped

R R R

most desirable

Credible four-door coupe

Arguably the world’s best sedan

Incredible combination of agility, ride comfort, and silence; superb seats; keen steering Some trim combinations are putrid – money can’t buy taste; expensive  The Pick: The SWB S500 with 20-inch wheels because the brilliant ride still works $199,455 L4TDH 2.1 150 500 A7 2015 7.6 — 4.5 D 48 08/14 R $220,955 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A7 1880 6.8 — 6.0 D 48 02/14 R $228,340 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A7 1900 6.8 — 6.0 D 48 R $234,716 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A7 1920 5.3 — 7.9 95 50 R $294,715 V8TT 4.7 335 700 A7 1920 4.8 — 9.2 95 45 02/14 R $319,715 V8TT 4.7 335 700 A7 1940 4.8 — 9.2 95 45 09/13 R $317,715 V6TH 3.0 325 650 A7 2215 5.2 — 2.8 95 R $419,715 V8TT 6.0 390 830 A7 2110 4.6 — 11.3 98 46 R $448,325 V12TT 6.0 390 830 A7 2260 5.0 — 11.7 98 45 R $392,715 V8TT 5.5 430 900 A7 1970 4.0 — 10.2 98 55 11/13 R $404,715 V8TT 5.5 430 900 A7 2095 4.5 — 10.2 98 45 R $492,715 V12TT 6.0 463 1000 A7 2175 4.3 — 11.9 98 45 R

S-Class Coupe

S500 S63 AMG S65 AMG

— — — —

Drive

Still-pretty looks; lovely cabin; brilliant steering and Airmatic ride (even on CLS63 AMG) Petrol V6 can’t match the oiler; CLS63 AMG will never return 10L/100km; only seats four  The Pick: 350 CDI over an A7 3.0 TDI; storming AMG a coin-toss away from Jaguar XF R $115,355 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A7 1710 7.5 — 5.4 D 44 R $125,355 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A7 1790 7.8 — 5.6 D 44 R $140,115 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A7 1815 5.3 — 7.8 95 46 R $171,115 V8TT 4.7 300 600 A9 1815 4.8 — 6.8 95 46 R $181,115 V8TT 4.7 300 600 A9 1815 4.9 — 8.9 95 46 R $251,115 V8TT 5.5 430 800 A7 1795 4.3 12.2 10.0 98 44 10/14 R

S-Class

S300e S350d S350d L S400 L S500 S500 L S500e S600 L S600 Maybach S63 AMG S63 AMG L S65 AMG L

A9 1645 A7 1565 A9 1660 A7 1800

Airscarf and Aircap-equipped for top-down winter warmth; terrific top-up refineement No rip-snorting V8 in the line-up any more; it’s a Benz for cruisers, not drivers  The Pick: As in the Coupe, the E400 is hard to go past if you like convertibles $90,855 L4T 2.0 135 300 A7 1660 8.2 — 6.5 95 53 $108,855 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1690 7.5 — 6.5 95 53 $145,615 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A7 1770 5.3 — 7.7 95 53

CLS

CLS 250d CLS 250d S-Brake CLS400 CLS500 CLS500 S-Brake CLS63 AMG S

500 370 520 700

Issue tested

Spacious coupe cabin; beautiful interior and attention to detail; supple ride Weight dulls performance; lacks cornering sizzle; semi-autonomous tech overhypedd  The Pick: Go the whole hog and get the E400, which brings AWD. Or wait for the AMG six $96,000 L4TD 2.0 143 400 A9 1735 7.4 — 4.9 D R $110,900 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1685 6.4 — 6.4 95 R $145,900 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A9 1845 5.3 — 8.1 95 A

E-Class Cabrio

E200 E250 E400

6.7 6.0 4.7 3.9

150 180 270 375

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Cutting-edge tech; luxurious interior; oodles of standard kit; pleasing road mannerss Australia misses out on some of the fancy tech; mild wind noise; prices have gone g up  The Pick: The E400 is a ripper; all-paw E43 even better. Ballistic E63 is ferocioussly fast $89,990 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1530 7.7 — 6.4 95 46 R $92,900 L4D 2.0 143 400 A9 1605 7.3 — 4.1 D 46 R $107,900 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 — 6.2 7.1 95 R $134.900 L6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 1725 5.9 — 5.6 D 46 R $131,600 L4TDH 2.1 210 550 A9 1850 6.2 — 2.4 95 R $139,900 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A9 1745 5.2 — 8.4 95 A $159,900 V6TT 3.0 295 520 A9 1765 4.6 — 8.4 98 A $209,900 V8TT 4.0 420 750 A9 1875 3.5 — 9.3 98 A $239,900 V8TT 4.0 450 850 A9 1880 3.3 11.3 15.9 98 0 07/17 A

E-Class Coupe

E220d E300 E400

2.1 2.0 3.0 4.0

0-400 metres

Versatility; SLC is cheaper than SLK it replaces; performance of 43; looks the business 43 can’t match performance or sound of SLK55; ageing interior; more cruiser than sporty  The Pick: The 300 offers plenty in performance and gear, or go for the cruisier 200 to save $70,900 L4T 1.6 115 250 A9 1428 8.1 — 6.2 95 R $83,855 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1509 6.9 — 6.2 95 R $99,855 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1512 5.8 — 6.3 95 R $134,615 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1591 4.7 — 7.9 98 R

E-Class

E200 E220d E300 E350d E350e E400 E43 AMG 4Matic E63 E63 S

0-100 km/h

Styling; body strength; minimal wind noise and buffeting, even at freeway speeds Extra weight dulls handling; price premium over Coupe; boot space is limiting  The Pick: The C300 has decent poke, but the C43 AMG is a significant step up $85,900 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1645 8.2 — 6.8 95 57 $99,900 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1690 6.4 — 7.2 95 57 $119,900 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1870 4.8 — 8.5 98 57 $179,900 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1925 4.1 — 9.4 98 55

SLC

SLC180 SLC200 SLC300 SLC 43 AMG

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

BY

Two-door German powerhaus

New generation gets big lift in interior presentation; nine-speed debut for base V8 Pricing, plus the cost of rear tyres, and probably insurance; and is the V12 worth it?  The Pick: New twin-turbo V8s promise better economy with still-brilliant performance $327,215 V8TT 4.7 335 700 A9 1955 4.6 — 8.6 95 64 02/16 R $414,715 V8TT 5.5 430 900 A7 1995 4.2 — 10.2 98 53 R $502,216 V12TT 6.0 463 1000 A7 2110 4.1 — 12.0 98 48 R

wagons

PORSCHE PANAMERA SPORT TURISMO

With a new ‘shooting brake’ rear end, Porsche’s Panamera has gone from being one of its most polarising to one of its most stunning. Not due here until next year, but demanding of mention.

The most un-Ferrari ever to wear the prancing horse

FERRARI badge is still a true Ferrari with a choice of V8 turbo GTC or atmo V12, blistering performance, room for four 4LUSSO adults, and a 800L boot when rear seats are folded. AUDI RS6

The epitome of hyper wagons. Take a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, send its 445kW to the road through all four wheels and give it 565 litres of load space, and you have one of the most supercar-crushing everyday drivers money can buy.

HSV CLUBSPORT R8 TOURER

HSV’s Clubbie wagon is built around an irresistible combination of supercharged LSA V8 power, rear-wheel drive, and one of the best ESC calibrations on sale. Grab one while you still can.

ALPINA Thanks to the arrival of the Alpina brand here, you can now have a BMW 3 Series with M-car power B3 BITURBO and pace coupled with wagon practicality. Looks TOURING exclusive with 20-spoke wheels and Alpina stripes. @wheelsaustralia 149


GLE-Class

GLE250d GLE350d GLE400 GLE500 GLE500e GLE43 AMG GLE63 S AMG

When we drove it

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

Kilograms

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

V250d

Army truck for the road

S in the name the main change for GL

Budget big Benz

6yr/unlimited mgmotor.com.au

Hatch

Ray Ray Cooper Cooper Cooper D Cooper D Cooper S Cooper S JCW JCW

Ray Ray Cooper Cooper Cooper D Cooper D Cooper S Cooper S

S S JCW

Cooper Cooper S Cooper JCW

Cooper Cooper D Cooper S Cooper SD All4 JCW

Issue tested

Drive

Soft-roading mediocrity

F F F A

3yr/unlimited mini.com.au Best New Mini ever

Mini attempts a high-five

Characterful three-cylinder turbo; functional folding soft-top; accurate steering Decent price premium for the drop-top; rear visibility not helped by fabric top  The Pick: Let’s face it, the convertible is all about the looks, so stick to the base model $37,900 L3T 1.5 100 220 M6 1205 8.8 — 5.1 95 62 $37,900 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1230 8.7 — 5.3 95 63 $45,400 L4T 2.0 141 280 M6 1275 7.2 — 6.2 95 64 $45,400 L4T 2.0 141 280 A6 1295 7.1 — 5.8 95 64 $54,900 L4T 2.0 170 320 A6 — 6.5 — 5.2 95 51

Mini at its best

A large-Mini paradox

Plenty of driving fizz and Mini character in a more practical SUV-ish body Sweet triple loses some sparkle hauling the larger Countryman; styling a little overdone  The Pick: A front-drive Cooper S if you aren’t swayed by the VW Tiguan’s practical sense $39,900 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 9.6 — 6.0 95 F $43,900 L4TD 2.0 110 330 A8 8.8 — 4.8 D F $46,500 L4T 2.0 141 280 A8 7.4 — 6.5 95 F $51,500 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 7.4 — 5.2 D A $56,900 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 6.5 – 7.4 95 A

Mirage

ES ES LS LS

5yr/100,000km mitsubishi-motors.com.au

Cheap, cheerless mini

Better-equipped than you’d expect at the price; long warranty; should be reliable Leisurely pace; bouncy ride; tight rear seat  The Pick: A Holden Spark or Kia Picanto if you want new. Or a secondhand Mazda 2 $12,250 L3 1.2 57 100 M5 865 — — 4.6 91 41 04/13 $13,490 L3 1.2 57 100 C 890 — — 4.6 91 41 $12,990 L3 1.2 57 100 M5 865 — — 4.8 91 41 $15,250 L3 1.2 57 100 C 890 — — 4.9 91 41

Lancer

ES Sport

F F F F F

Quirky styling; spacious interior; zingy engines; still handles like a go-kart; lots of doors Lacks the dartiness of its shorter-wheelbase siblings but that somehow makes it better!  The Pick: If the Clubman will fit in your garage, any of them. It’s the best Mini you can buy $34,900 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1320 9.1 — 5.4 95 53 02/16 F $42,900 L4T 2.0 141 280 A8 1390 7.1 — 5.9 95 54 F $53,900 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 6.3 — 7.2 95 57 A

Mitsubishi

INSURANCE DISCLAIMER

150 wheelsmag.com.au

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Longer wheelbase and additional rear doors broaden the Mini’s family-hatch appeal Betrays the Mini’s DNA; rear doors look piddly; isn’t this what a Countryman is for?  The Pick: A Cooper or Cooper D auto with the smallest wheels. The S doesn’t deserve this $30,500 L3T 1.2 75 180 M6 — — — 5.0 95 50 F $33,000 L3T 1.2 75 180 A6 — — — 5.0 95 50 F $27,750 L3T 1.5 100 220 M6 1145 8.2 — 4.7 95 48 F $30,400 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1175 9.1 16.5 4.8 95 48 03/16 F $32,900 L3TD 1.5 85 270 M6 1190 9.4 — 3.6 D 48 F $35,550 L3TD 1.5 85 270 A6 1205 9.5 — 3.8 D 50 F $38,850 L4T 2.0 141 280 M6 1220 6.9 — 5.9 95 50 F $40,700 L4T 2.0 141 280 A6 1240 6.8 — 5.4 95 50 F

Countryman

PRIVACY NOTICE

Based on a 35-year-old male, location Chatswood 2067, Rating 1 For Life, No Finance, Private Use. All prices are subject to AAMI’s underwriting guidelines and conditions.

0-400 metres

Cooper Convertible Fun and functional drop-top

Mid-sizer returns years after failed start

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0-100 km/h

Brilliant handling and super-sharp turn-in; Cooper S’s great acoustics; improved cabin Bottom-feeder front end; thicker pillars; three-pot should sound fruitier  The Pick: The excellent Cooper S manual on 17s with optional adaptive dampers $29,000 L3T 1.2 75 180 M6 1090 9.9 — 4.9 95 50 F $31,500 L3T 1.2 75 180 A6 1120 10.2 — 5.0 95 50 F $26,650 L3T 1.5 100 220 M6 1085 7.9 — 4.7 95 48 06/14 F $30,100 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1115 7.8 — 4.9 95 48 F $31,800 L3TD 1.5 85 270 M6 1135 9.2 — 3.7 D 48 F $34,150 L3TD 1.5 85 270 A6 1150 9.2 — 3.9 D 48 F $37,750 L4T 2.0 141 280 M6 1160 6.8 — 5.9 95 50 06/14 F $39,300 L4T 2.0 141 280 A6 1175 6.7 — 5.5 95 50 F $47,400 L4T 2.0 170 320 M6 1205 6.3 — 6.7 95 61 F $49,950 L4T 2.0 170 320 A6 1220 6.1 — 5.7 95 61 F

5-door

Chinese, cheap, not so cheerful

Brand cachet; distinctive design; rear air vents; cheap Model doesn’t live up to that cachet; questionable resale; lacklustre turbo engine  The Pick: It didn’t impress years ago and there’s not much to suggest it’s worth a punt $21,990 L4T 1.8 118 215 A6 1534 — — — F $23,990 L4T 1.8 118 215 A6 — — — — F $25,990 L4T 1.8 118 215 A6 — — — — F

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Umm ... decent cabin space, strong warranty, 162kW grunt from 2.0-litre turbo Poor cabin finish; lacklustre steering, handling, flimsy build  The Pick: A Nissan Qashqai, Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V or any other small SUV $23,990 L4T 1.5 119 250 M6 – – – 7.4 91 $25,990 L4T 1.5 119 250 S7 — — — 7.4 91 $27,990 L4T 1.5 119 250 S7 — — — 7.4 91 $34,990 L4T 2.0 162 350 S6 – – – 9.6 91

Clubman

Cheap hatchback that stands out from a design perspective The last thing people expect from a once-storied sports car brand; no auto; unproven  The Pick: There are plenty of hatchbacks likely to do a better job at this end of the market $13,990 L4 1.5 78 137 M5 1103 — — — F $14,990 L4 1.5 78 137 M5 — — — — F $15,990 L4 1.5 78 137 M5 — — — — F

MG6 Plus

Eng type

Mini

Enormously roomy, complete with limo-style face-to-face rear seating; frugal diesel four Sheer size makes it difficult to manoeuvre and park, which kinda defeats its purpose  The Pick: A centre captain’s chair in a fully stocked V250 with Jeeves in the hot seat $85,455 L4TD 2.1 140 440 A7 2145 9.1 — 6.3 D 53 R

MG3

Core Soul Essence

R

New name, new cabin, new engine

MG

Core Soul Essence

Vivid Core Soul Essence

Merc’s answer to the X6

A cheaper way to get into an eight-seat Benz (and out of a VW Multivan or Tarago) Like the new-gen V-Class, it’s essentially a commercial van with seats  The Pick: This over its VW Multivan and Toyota Tarago rivals $58,100 L4TD 2.1 120 360 A7 2155 — — 6.3 D 54

V-Class

Price

GS

Third-row seat actually comfortable and almost roomy; engines; decent off-road ability Gargantuan-Class more like it – it’s big; AMG not as athletic as some through the bends  The Pick: Torquey V6 diesel makes most sense, and new Sport pack adds dynamic helpers $117,950 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 2455 7.8 — 7.7 D 63 A $136,950 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 — — — 7.7 D 63 A $163,950 V8TT 4.7 320 700 A9 2445 5.3 — 11.5 95 63 A $219,950 V8TT 5.5 410 760 A7 2580 4.6 — 12.3 98 63 A

Valente

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

New name, familiar body

Tough-as image; AMG’s ultra-cool side tailpipes and burly new twin-turbo V8 donk G-Class BlueTec name is paradoxical; live front axle; woeful steering; bucking ride  The Pick: The outrageous AMG has perverse appeal, but only the diesel makes any sense $163,615 V6TD 3.0 155 540 A7 2300 9.1 — 11.2 D 50 A $167,510 V8 5.5 285 530 A7 2530 6.1 — 14.9 98 50 A $233,615 V8TT 5.5 400 760 A7 2550 5.4 — 13.8 98 52 05/14 A

GLS-Class

GLS350d GLS350d Sport GLS500 GLS63 AMG

0-400 metres

Vision; excellent cornering grip; refinement; decent room despite lower-than-GLE roof Thousands more than GLE for less space; busy ride; high loading lip for boot  The Pick: AMG-tweaked turbo six in the GLE43 makes a great noise and feels strong $121,615 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 2175 7.0 — 7.2 D 63 A $143,616 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 2145 5.7 — 9.4 95 61 A $198,615 V8TT 5.5 430 760 A7 2275 4.2 — 11.9 98 61 A

G-Class

G350d G500 G63 AMG

0-100 km/h

Superb V6 diesel; premium cabin; decent ride quality; frugal for its size; beefy AMG V8 Can’t escape its sheer size; not particularly well packaged; still far from sexy  The Pick: Feels more expensive than it is, with the GLE400 arguably the sweet spot $86,855 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A9 2075 8.6 — 6.0 D 63 A $104,855 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 2100 7.1 — 6.6 D 63 A $109,615 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A7 2055 6.1 — 9.3 95 63 A $127,615 V8TT 4.7 300 600 A7 2160 5.3 — 11.0 95 63 A $124,900 V6TH 3.0 325 650 A7 2465 5.3 — 3.3 98 63 A $133,616 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 — 5.7 — — 98 A $189,615 V8TT 5.5 430 760 A7 2270 4.2 — 11.8 98 61 A

GLE Coupe

GLE350d GLE43 AMG GLE63 S AMG

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Eng type

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Price

Litres

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

MERCEDES – NI S S A N

NEW ARRIVALS

F F F F

Needs an update

Neat styling; decent value; Um... Lots! Dynamics are rubbish; cheap interior; poor front seats; droning CVT...  The Pick: A competitor – even a Korean one. $19,500 L4 2.0 110 197 M5 1285 9.6 — 6.9 91 47

F


POWE RE D

Showroom Eng type

Price

ES Sport LS sedan GSR Sportback GSR Sportback GSR sedan GSR sedan

$21,000 $23,500 $22,500 $24,000 $22,500 $24,000

L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4

ASX

Outlander

LS LS LS 4WD LS Safety Pack LS Safety 4WD LS Safety 4WD DiD Exceed 4WD Exceed 4WD DiD PHEV PHEV Aspire

2.0 2.0 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4

10.3 10.5 — — 9.1 9.8

110 110 125 125 125 125

197 197 226 226 226 226

C C M5 C M5 C

1315 1355 1370 1400 1345 1375

0-400 metres

— — — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

7.4 7.4 8.8 8.9 8.8 8.5

91 91 91 91 91 91

Issue tested

47 48 48 49 48 49

Drive

F F F F F F

Price

Aero 8

Classic

R4/4 Plus 4 Roadster Plus 8 Plus 8

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

As weird as it gets

One for the road

A synonym for ’old-gen’

Fabulously raw and lightweight roadsters; relatively affordable Forget about cabin ergonomics or ride quality; definitely not practical  The Pick: This or a Caterham if your house backs onto a racetrack $89,900 L4 1.6 82 131 M6 868 8.0 — 6.3 95 $103,500 L4 2.0 115 201 M6 877 7.5 — 7.0 95 $139,775 V6 3.7 209 352 M6 950 5.5 — 9.8 95 $225,000 V8 4.8 270 490 M6 1100 4.5 — 12.1 95 $225,000 V8 4.8 270 490 A6 1100 4.5 — 12.1 95

Leaf

67 61 67 50 50

R R R R R

3yr/100,000km nissan.com.au Driveaway electric

Purpose-built electric, with loads of torque; supremely smooth; classy, techy interior Regenerative braking, steering and handling all a bit weird-burger and/or artificial  The Pick: Um, the Leaf – especially at its $39,990 driveaway price $39,990 E 80 280 A1 1525 11.9 — — 45 09/11 F

370Z

Nissan’s cut-price Cayman ...

Fast and sharp; big-hearted V6; sweetly balanced; trick auto-blip manual on downshifts Engine still coarse; manual shift a tad clunky; ride quality on rough roads  The Pick: It’s no son of Godzilla, but a tyre-fryin’ hoot on smooth hotmix $56,930 V6 3.7 245 363 M6 1471 5.6 13.8 10.5 95 64 06/09 R $59,930 V6 3.7 245 363 A7 1485 5.7 13.8 10.5 95 64 12/09 R

Mitsu’s staple family workhorse

370Z Roadster … and Nissan’s cut-price Boxster Same virtues as the coupe, but the V6 should sound sweeter top-down 137kg extra weight is like having a Biggest Loser contestant on board, all of the time  The Pick: Auto is slick and intuitive, but we’d still opt for the manual $65,930 V6 3.7 245 363 M6 1608 — — 11.2 95 64 01/10 R $68,930 V6 3.7 245 363 A7 1618 — — 11.2 95 64 R

GT-R

Premium Premium Luxury Track Edition Nismo

Dualis takes a back seat with new model

Clever packaging combined with a sharp price; handles like a jumped-up hatchback Performance not its forte, though both engines try hard; no rear-seat air vents  The Pick: Base petrol ST with CVT auto, even if it misses out on the clever boot partitions $25,990 L4 2.0 106 200 M6 1372 9.9 — 7.7 91 50 F $28,490 L4 2.0 106 200 C 1408 10.1 — 6.9 91 50 09/14 F $28,690 L4 2.0 106 200 C 1408 10.1 — 6.9 91 50 F $32,890 L4 2.0 106 200 M6 1421 9.9 — 7.7 91 54 F $34,490 L4 2.0 106 200 C 1457 10.1 — 6.9 91 54 F $33,990 L4TD 1.6 96 320 C 1556 11.1 — 4.9 D 52 F $39.990 L4TD 1.6 96 320 C 1605 11.1 — 4.9 D 53 09/14 F

X-Trail

ST ST ST 7-seat ST 4WD TS 4WD ST-L

Still a head-turner

Brings individuality to small crossovers; punchy 140kW turbo; chirpy new ST manual Busy urban ride; noisy CVT; heavy Ti-S AWD; styling a compilation but no best-of  The Pick: Ti-S with torque-vectoring AWD is a wannabe Godzilla, but go for the 1.2 turbo ST $23,490 L4T 1.2 85 190 M5 1163 — — 5.6 95 52 06/13 F $24,490 L4 1.6 86 158 C 1205 — — 6.3 95 52 F $29,790 L4T 1.6 140 240 M6 1300 — — 6.0 95 50 F $33,490 L4T 1.6 140 240 C 1431 — — 6.5 95 52 A

Qashqai

ST ST ST N-Sport Ti Ti TS TL

Biggest update to Godzilla in a decade

Finally, Nismo is here!; boosted six grunt; improved interior; rear-biased AWD Occasional driveline clunk; turbo lag; higher prices of latest update; cramped back seats  The Pick: Track Edition delivers on cornering without mega price and stiff set-up of Nismo $189,000 V6TT 3.8 419 628 S6 1765 — — 11.7 98 55 A $195,000 V6TT 3.8 419 628 S6 1765 — — 11.7 98 55 A $227,000 V6TT 3.8 419 628 S6 1760 — — 11.7 98 55 A $299,000 V6TT 3.8 441 652 S6 1739 — — 11.7 98 A

Juke

ST ST Ti-S Ti-S

Based on the Qashqai ST 2.0-litre petrol auto, Nissan’s N N-Sport S t special i l adds dd $1800 worth th off aesthetic th ti ttweaks k such h as 18-inch wheels and ‘ice chrome’ (Nissan speak for matte aluminium) trims to the lower front spoiler, side sills, and rear valence. To be the N-vy of the neighbours, you’ll pay a mere $200 over the price of the standard ST.

0-400 metres

Nissan

Tough family transporter is also a proper off-roader; undercuts serious 4WD rivals Feels old (it is) and creaky; noisy diesel; ponderous dynamics; heavy  The Pick: The thrifty diesel, but unless you venture off-road often, think Territory or CX-9 $50,990 L4TD 3.2 147 441 M5 2273 — — 8.4 D 51 A $53,990 L4TD 3.2 147 441 A5 2263 — — 8.6 D 51 A $58,990 L4TD 3.2 147 441 A5 2314 — — 8.6 D 51 A $65,990 L4TD 3.2 147 441 A5 2335 — — 9.2 D 57 A

EXTRA QA

0-100 km/h

As conventional as Morgan gets; distinctive styling blends modern with retro V8 doesn’t make a whole lot of power comparatively; nose looks like it’s been startled  The Pick: It’s a lot of money and there are many fine alternatives for the price $270,000 V8 4.8 270 450 M6 1200 — — — 95 R

From Challenger to challenging

Posh Qashqai

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

It’s a good way to stand out; there’s nothing else like it; character personified It’s a good way to get laughed at; thirsty; lacking useful features like a windscreen  The Pick: Something (anything!) with four wheels, unless you have a really big garage $92,300 V2 2.0 60 140 M5 550 6.0 — 9.3 95 61 R

Clever on-demand 4WD system; eight-speed transmission; rugged Strictly a five-seater; old-school Triton chassis hurts dynamics; gobsmacking styling  The Pick: Base GLX offers plenty for the money, but Toyota Fortuner is much prettier $45,000 L4TD 2.5 133 430 A8 2045 — — 8.0 D 52 A $48,500 L4TD 2.5 133 430 A8 2060 — — 8.0 D 53 A $53,000 L4TD 2.5 133 430 A8 2070 — — 8.0 D 53 03/16 A

Pajero

Eng type

3 Wheeler

You got seven seats in that?

F F A F A A A A A A

2yr/100,000km morgancars.com.au

Morgan

Better (looking) with age

A compact-ish SUV that squeezes in seven seats; quieter and smoother; equipment Crappo infotainment functionality; about as American as a facelift can get  The Pick: Either a base LS manual or an XLS 4WD turbo-diesel with six-speed auto $28,750 L4 2.0 110 190 M5 1410 — — 7.0 91 48 $30,500 L4 2.0 110 190 C 1430 — — 6.7 91 48 $33,500 L4 2.4 124 220 C 1500 10.8 17.8 10.8 91 48 06/17 $32,000 L4 2.0 110 190 C 1430 — — 6.7 91 48 $35,000 L4 2.4 124 220 C 1535 11.0 17.9 7.2 91 50 06/15 $39,500 L4TD 2.3 110 360 A6 1630 — — 6.2 D 50 $44,000 L4 2.4 124 220 C 1535 — — 7.2 91 51 $47,500 L4TD 2.3 110 360 A6 1630 — — 6.2 D 51 $50,490 L4H 2.0 120 332 A1 1810 — — 1.7 91 42 $55,490 L4H 2.0 120 332 A1 1871 — — 1.7 91 42

Pajero Sport

GLX GLX GLS Exceed

0-100 km/h

Increasingly attractive with each facelift; keen pricing; torquey turbo-diesel Interior smaller than SUV rivals; lacks refinement; Peugeot 4008 clone handles better  The Pick: 2WD is appealingly priced, so stay at the bottom end $24,990 L4 2.0 110 197 M5 1335 — — 7.6 91 48 F $26,990 L4 2.0 110 197 C — — — 91 48 F $31,490 L4 2.0 110 197 C 1375 — — 7.4 91 46 F $31,990 L4TD 2.2 110 360 A6 — — — 5.8 D 46 09/13 A $36,490 L4TD 2.2 110 360 A6 1515 — — 5.8 D 48 09/13 A

LS LS XLS LS 4x4 XLS 4x4

GLX GLS Exceed

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

BY

Latest model a huge improvement

Less gawky looks; extra stretch adds third-row option; quiet, luxurious, and roomy Engine and CVT uninspiring; foot-operated park brake; ultimately lacking in finesse  The Pick: Sharp pricing on the front-drive ST auto looks the goods $27,990 L4 2.0 106 200 M6 1425 — — 8.2 91 – $30,490 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1458 — — 7.9 91 – $31,990 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1508 — — 8.1 91 – $32,490 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1514 — — 8.3 91 – $35,490 L4TD 2.0 130 380 C 1614 — — 6.0 D – $36,590 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1493 — — 7.9 91 –

@wheelsaustralia 151

F F F A A F


$38,090 $38,590 $44,290 $47,290

L4 L4 L4 L4TD

Pathfinder

ST 2WD ST 4WD ST Hybrid 2WD ST-L 2WD ST-L 4WD ST-L Hybrid 4WD Ti 2WD Ti 4WD Ti Hybrid 4WD

226 226 226 380

C C C C

1534 1549 1562 1664

— – — —

8.1 8.3 8.3 6.1

91 91 91 D

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Litres

Recommended octane rating

— – — —

126 126 126 130

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.0

Kilograms

0-400 metres

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

0-100 km/h

Newton metres

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Kilowatts

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

ST-L 7-seat ST-L 4WD Ti 4WD TL 4WD

Eng type

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Price

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

NISSAN – S KO DA

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

– – – –

Peugeot 208

Access Access Active Allure GT-Line GTi

1.2 Active 1.6 Active 1.6 Allure 1.6 e-HDi Outdoor

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Finally, it’s more affordable than the drop-top it’s based on; performance of turbo fours Cayman engines now identical tune to Boxsters’; difficult to replace the zing of atmo six  The Pick: Suddenly the Cayman is looking a lot more tempting thanks to new pricing $115,600 F4T 2.0 220 380 M6 1335 5.1 — 7.4 98 57 R $117,172 F4T 2.0 220 380 S7 1365 4.9 — 6.9 98 57 R $145,800 F4T 2.5 257 420 M6 1355 4.6 — 8.1 98 57 R $150,790 F4T 2.5 257 420 S7 1385 4.3 12.4 10.6 98 57 05/17 R

718 Boxster

S S

0-100 km/h

Cayman goes all sensible

Six into four does go

Power, torque and efficiency of new four-pots; clever engineering; usability and styling Six’s acoustic magic gone; personality changed; prices creeping north  The Pick: Plenty of punch and a better sound from the base 2.0 makes it the pick $118,400 F4T 2.0 220 380 M6 1335 5.1 — 7.4 98 61 $119,972 F4T 2.0 220 380 S7 1365 4.9 — 6.9 98 61 $148,600 F4T 2.5 257 420 M6 1355 4.6 — 8.1 98 61 $153,590 F4T 2.5 257 420 S7 1385 4.4 — 7.3 98 61 06/16

911

R R R R

Driver appeal for the ages

Potent performance and dynamic depth; practical as a daily driver; GT3 manual is back! Carrera’s adoption of snails has dulled the flat six mill’s sweet delivery and aural magic  The Pick: The GTS coupe marks the sweet spot between the S and the GT3 Carrera $221,200 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1430 4.6 — 8.3 98 67 R Carrera $227,150 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1450 4.4 — 7.4 98 67 R Carrera S $256,300 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1440 4.3 — 8.7 98 67 R Carrera S $262,250 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1460 4.1 — 7.7 98 67 R Carrera GTS $282,700 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1450 4.1 — 9.4 98 R Carrera GTS $290,090 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1470 3.7 — 8.3 98 R Carrera Cabriolet $242,700 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1500 4.8 — 8.5 98 67 R Carrera Cabriolet $248,650 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1520 4.6 — 7.5 98 67 R Carrera S Cabriolet $277,800 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1510 4.5 — 8.8 98 67 R Carrera S Cabriolet $283,750 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1530 4.3 — 7.8 98 67 R Carrera GTS Cab $304,200 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1520 4.2 — 9.4 98 R Carrera GTS Cab $311,590 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1540 3.8 — 8.4 98 R Carrera 4 $237,300 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1480 4.5 — 8.7 98 57 A Carrera 4 $243,250 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1500 4.3 — 7.7 98 57 A Carrera 4S $272,400 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1490 4.2 — 8.9 98 57 A Carrera 4S $278,350 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1510 4.0 — 7.9 98 57 A Carrera 4 GTS $298,900 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1495 4.0 — 9.5 98 A Carrera 4 GTS $306,290 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1515 3.6 — 8.5 98 A Carrera 4 Cabriolet $258,800 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1550 4.7 — 8.9 98 57 A Carrera 4 Cabriolet $264,750 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1570 4.5 — 7.9 98 57 A Carrera 4S Cabriolet $293,900 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1560 4.4 — 9.0 98 57 A

Classy, Gallic CX-5 alternative

Mid-size for non-conformists

Price and equipment; roomy, quality interior; GT’s punch and capable dynamics Regular models lack the handling of the GT; all lack the serene ride of Peugeots past  The Pick: GT HDi is semi-sporting and a valid premium-Japanese alternative $37,990 L4T 1.6 121 240 A6 1410 8.4 16.1 5.6 95 48 09/16 $45,990 L4TD 2.0 120 340 A6 1520 9.2 — 5.4 D 50 $48,990 L4TD 2.0 120 340 A6 1540 9.5 — 5.5 D 50 $59,990 L4TD 2.0 133 400 A6 1540 8.6 — 4.4 D 51 $62,990 L4TD 2.0 133 400 A6 1676 8.6 — 4.6 D 51

4008

Active FWD Active AWD Active AWD Allure AWD

S S

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Best Pug this century

Now a genuine SUV built on excellent 308 underpinnings; cabin flair; agility; equipment Ride could be calmer; small 53L tank; AEB not standard  The Pick: We’re yet to sample the line-up but Allure feels to strike a nice value equation $36,990 L4T 1.6 121 240 A6 1371 9.9 — 7.0 95 — — F $39,490 L4T 1.6 121 240 A6 1371 9.9 — 7.0 95 — 09/17 F $43,490 L4T 1.6 121 240 A6 1371 9.9 — 7.0 95 — — F $49,490 L4TD 2.0 133 400 A6 1433 8.9 — 4.8 D — — F

508

Active Allure HDi Allure HDi Touring GT HDi GT HDi Touring

Return to French form

Eng type

Smart styling; entry-level triple is a belter; terrific dynamics; well equipped for the money Torsion-beam rear felt at times; ride on big wheels; ventilation controls in touchscreen  The Pick: 1.2 turbo triple is a rip-snorter (although price of entry steep) as is diesel wagon $27,990 L3T 1.2 96 230 A6 1150 8.9 — 5.1 95 52 01/17 F $32,990 L3T 1.2 96 230 A6 — 95 F $36,990 L4TD 2.0 110 370 A6 1310 8.6 — 4.1 D 53 F $39,490 L4TD 2.0 110 370 A6 1420 8.9 — 4.2 D 53 F $42,990 L4TD 2.0 133 400 A6 1320 8.4 — 4.0 D 54 05/15 F $49,990 L4T 1.6 200 330 M6 1205 6.0 — 6.0 95 55 F

3008

Active Allure GT-Line GT

Pretty, well-priced

Terrific three-pot; supple ride; adjustable handling; great packaging; commendably light Auto is an ancient four-speed; diesel is grumbly and expensive; instrument location  The Pick: The lovable three-pot 1.2, or wait for the brilliant turbo version due shortly $22,490 L3T 1.2 81 205 M5 1022 13.5 — 4.9 95 50 12/13 F $25,490 L4 1.6 88 160 A4 1113 11.2 — 6.5 95 50 F $30,990 L4 1.6 88 160 A4 1113 11.2 — 6.5 95 50 F $32,990 L4TD 1.6 68 230 M5 1131 11.5 — 4.0 D 52 F

308

Active Allure Allure HDi Allure Touring HDi GT BlueHDi GTi 270

3yr/100,000km peugeot.com.au

Charming three-pot turbo; sharper value and extra gear; plush seats; GTi great to drive Lacks a 308’s polish and panache; polarising driving position; no turbo-triple manual  The Pick: Three-pot turbo makes plenty of sense below $20K in the Access auto $15,990 L3 1.2 60 118 M5 975 13.9 — 4.5 95 42 F $18,990 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1070 10.9 — 4.5 95 43 F $22,490 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1070 10.9 — 4.5 95 45 F $26,290 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1070 10.9 — 4.5 95 42 F $28,290 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1070 11.0 17.6 4.5 95 43 03/16 F $29,990 L4T 1.6 153 300 M6 1160 6.8 — 5.4 95 47 F

2008

Price

718 Cayman

My dear, how you’ve blossomed

A A

3yr/unlimited porsche.com.au

Porsche

Plays on new tech; chassis tune

Posh V8 Patrol has graduated from uni and is living in the eastern suburbs At 2.8 tonnes, it’s the heaviest ‘car’ on sale in Australia; V8 loves a binge drink  The Pick: Base Ti offers plenty, but is this really necessary? $69,990 V8 5.6 298 560 A7 2800 — — 14.5 95 58 $86,990 V8 5.6 298 560 A7 2829 — — 14.5 95 58

Ti Ti-L

F A A A

Strong V6 engine; in-cabin technology; handling stepped up with 2017 facelift... ...but still off the pace of the class best; safety gear missing in ST variants  The Pick: ST-L V6 with the all-wheel-drive system, which better channels those extra kW $41,990 V6 3.5 202 340 C 1920 — — 9.9 91 F $45,490 V6 3.5 202 340 C 1985 — — 10.1 91 A $44,490 L4SH 2.5 188 330 C 1969 — — 8.6 91 F $53,690 V6 3.5 202 340 C 1960 — — 9.9 91 F $57,690 V6 3.5 202 340 C 2025 — — 10.1 91 A $60,690 L4SH 2.5 188 330 C 2073 — — 8.6 91 A $62,190 V6 3.5 202 340 C 2000 — — 9.9 91 F $66,190 V6 3.5 202 340 C 2065 — — 10.1 91 A $69,190 L4SH 2.5 188 330 C 2073 — — 8.6 91 A

Y62 Patrol

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au

F F F F F

Mitsubishi ASX puts on a beret

Improved styling and suspension damping over the Mitsubishi ASX on which it’s based Steering and handling; refinement; plasticky Mitsu’ interior; not remotely French  The Pick: A better-looking ASX, but lacks the dynamics of a Qashqai or Subaru XV $27,990 L4 2.0 110 197 M5 — — — 7.7 95 54 F $30,990 L4 2.0 110 197 M5 1440 — — 7.9 95 54 08/12 A $33,490 L4 2.0 110 197 C 1470 10.9 — 8.1 95 51 A $38,490 L4 2.0 110 197 C 1470 10.9 — 8.1 95 51 08/12 A

152 wheelsmag.com.au

-Trail marks the t diesel sweet spo

Production constraints delayed the range-topping Nissan X-Trail joining its updated brethren in June, but the bottleneck has cleared and the TL 4WD diesel now takes its place as the halo of the mid-sized SUV line-up. Until now, customers were only offered a diesel X-Trail in the shape of a mid-range TS, but the latest arrival shares all its power and performance, plus kit.


POWE RE D

Showroom Carrera 4S Cabriolet $299,850 Carrera 4 GTS Cab $320,400 Carrera 4 GTS Cab $327,790 Targa 4 $258,800 Targa 4 $264,750 Targa 4S $293,900 Targa 4S $299,850 Targa 4 GTS $320,400 Targa 4 GTS $327,790 GT3 $327,100 GT3 $327,100 Turbo $390,300 Turbo S $461,900 Turbo Cabriolet $411,800 Turbo S Cabriolet $483,400

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Eng type

Price

F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6 F6 F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT

3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8

Panamera

4 4 E-Hybrid 4S 4S Diesel Turbo Turbo S E-Hybrid

S S Diesel S E-Hybrid GTS Turbo Turbo S

S7 M7 S7 M7 S7 M7 S7 M7 S7 M6 S7 S7 S7 S7 S7

1580 1565 1585 1570 1590 1580 1600 1585 1605 1488 1505 1595 1600 1665 1670

4.2 4.1 3.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.2 4.1 3.7 3.9 3.4 3.0 2.9 3.1 3.0

57 57 57 57

57 57 57 57

A A A A A A A A A R R A A A A

Life hatch Life hatch Zen hatch Zen sedan Zen wagon Intens sedan GT-Line hatch GT-Line wagon GT hatch GT wagon

Clio

L4T L4T L4T L4T L4T

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

9.4 9.4 6.7 6.7 6.6

— — 14.9 14.9 —

88 88 147 147 162

190 190 240 240 260

S6 S6 S6 S6 S6

1104 1120 1218 1218 1270

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.2 5.2 6.3 6.3 5.9

95 95 95 95 95

Issue tested

49 49 51 51 51 05/16

Drive

F F F F F

Targeting the mainstream

Très chic

Brings high style to the baby SUV segment; supple dynamics; plush seats; packaging 100kg weight gain takes the shine off Clio’s drivetrains; laggy dual-clutch gearbox  The Pick: Reduced price and weight of charming TCe90 three-pot manual earns our vote Expression TCe90 $23,990* L3T 0.9 66 135 M5 1134 13.0 — 4.9 95 48 F Expression TCe120 $25,990* L4T 1.2 88 190 S6 1215 10.9 — 5.4 95 51 F Dynamique TCe120 $30,000 L4T 1.2 88 190 S6 1215 11.1 18.0 5.4 95 50 05/15 F

Koleos

Life Zen 4x2 Zen 4x4 Intens

Now larger, lighter and less ugly

Nissan genes in French skin

Solid value courtesy of sharp pricing; interior presentation Ancient atmo drivetrain; lacks body control; no diesel option for now  The Pick: Koleos looks smart but there are better alternatives in this busy segment $29,990 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1552 — — 8.1 95 50 $33,990 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1611 9.5 — 8.1 95 51 $36,490 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1608 9.8 — 8.3 95 51 $43,490 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1608 9.8 — 8.3 95 52

Rolls-Royce Ghost

Black Badge EWB

Black Badge

4yr/unlimited rolls-roycemotorcars.com

’Baby’ of the range Rolls on

Silent coupe assassin

Subtly flamboyant styling; super-smooth and effortlessly powerful; rarity; presence At 5.3m long and nearly 2.4 tonnes, there’s a limit to the Wraith’s dynamic credentials  The Pick: Just the one Sir (or Madam), but no coupe on earth will make life so easy $645,000 V12TT 6.6 465 800 A8 2360 4.6 — 14.0 95 53 R $745,000 V12TT 6.6 465 870 A8 — 4.5 — 95 R

Dawn

Last shot at success

F F A A

Presence and grace, without arrogance; stonking V12; suicide (sorry, ‘coach’) rear doors Shares plenty of mechanicals with 7 Series, but who cares when it’s this impressive?  The Pick: You’ve decided on the Roller, so money is no object – go the long wheelbase $595,000 V12TT 6.6 420 780 A8 2360 4.9 — 13.6 95 63 08/10 R $695,000 V12TT 6.6 450 840 A8 — 4.8 — 14.6 95 R $675,000 V12TT 6.6 420 780 A8 — — — 13.7 95 63 R

Wraith

5yr/150,000km proton.com.au

Vintage speedboat on wheels

Unique ambience and serious presence; majestic power; effortless but resolute handling Unwieldy in town; blustery rear cabin; average roof-up vision; a touch pricey  The Pick: The Wraith is sportier, although it’s harder to be seen in $749,000 V12TT 6.6 420 820 A8 2560 4.9 — 14.2 95 R

Phantom

S is for sport, we’re told

F F

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

1.2 1.2 1.6 1.6 1.6

Roadholding and chassis competency; performance of GT; torquey 1.2 Cabin lacks premium finishes; GT’s synthetic engine sound; tyre roar on coarse bitumen  The Pick: GT is the pick for those wanting a sporty drive, but the Zen is good for everyday $22,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 M5 — — — 5.5 95 F $24,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 — — — 5.6 95 F $27,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1265 9.5 — 5.6 95 52 01/17 F $27,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1321 — — 6.1 95 50 F $28,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1337 — — 6.2 95 50 F $31,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1321 — — 6.1 95 50 F $32,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1265 10.3 — 5.6 95 53 F $33,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1337 — — 5.6 95 51 F $38,490 L4T 1.6 151 280 S7 1392 7.1 — 6.0 95 54 F $39,490 L4T 1.6 151 280 S7 1430 — — 6.0 95 51 F

Captur

EWB Coupe Drophead

Perennial land-yacht still magnificent

Powerful, stately engine; jaw-dropping presence; ultra-luxe cabin; suicide doors Sheer size hugely intimidating for all concerned, as is Phantom’s million-dollar pricetag  The Pick: Any; the sedan is as palatial as they come, coupe dials up the sex factor $855,000 V12 6.7 338 720 A8 2649 5.9 — 14.8 95 61 05/04 R $990,000 V12 6.7 338 720 A8 2670 5.9 — 14.9 95 61 R $995,000 V12 6.7 338 720 A8 2629 5.6 — 14.8 95 61 R $1,075,000 V12 6.7 338 720 A8 2630 — — 14.8 95 61 R

Australia’s most affordable 7-seater

Driveaway pricing; solid after-sales service; spacious and flexible interior Four-star ANCAP safety; lacking performance; no cruise control on GX; no curtain airbags  The Pick: Exora GXR gains useful kit including leather, reverse camera and cruise $25,990* L4T 1.6 103 205 C 1475 — — 8.2 91 56 F $27,990* L4T 1.6 103 205 C 1485 — — 8.2 91 56 F

Renault

$22,990 $22,990 $35,990* $38,990* $39,990

Megane

Porsche’s most popular model

Heaps of standard gear; safety gear; better looker than already sharp Preve sedan Preve turbo is slightly faster to 100km/h; manual gearbox option not here yet  The Pick: Wait for the Super Premium before doing anything rash $17,990* L4T 1.6 103 205 C 1355 9.9 — 8.8 95 39 $20,990* L4T 1.6 103 205 C 1370 9.9 — 8.8 95 41

Exora

Life Life Zen

57

Eng type

Price

Intens GT-Line RS200 Sport Prem. RS200 Cup Prem. RS220 Trophy

Smart looks; keen pricing; five-year service package; Lotus-developed suspension Underwhelming engine; poor cabin quality; lack of overall appeal; resale values  The Pick: Proton’s five-star support package has appeal, if you treat cars as appliances $15,490 L4 1.6 80 150 M5 1305 12.0 — 7.2 95 38 F $17,990 L4 1.6 80 150 C 1325 12.5 — 7.4 95 38 F $22,990 L4T 1.6 103 205 C 1356 9.6 — 8.6 95 40 F

Suprima S

GX GXR

98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98

Drive

Drives like a Porsche on road, and decent off road; rousing atmo V6 and stonking TT V8s Hybrid more exxy and thirsty than Diesel (at least it’s quicker), and feels a little artificial  The Pick: Greenies won’t like you anyway, so give ’em good reason with the 382kW Turbo $109,200 V6TD 3.0 193 580 A8 2110 7.2 — 6.6 D 63 A $110,400 V6 3.6 220 400 A8 2040 7.6 — 9.2 95 63 A $144,800 V6TT 3.6 309 550 A8 2085 5.4 — 9.5 95 63 01/15 A $150,600 V8TTD 4.2 283 850 A8 2215 5.3 — 8.0 D 63 A $145,500 V6H 3.6 306 590 A8 2350 5.9 — 3.4 95 63 12/14 A $158,000 V6TT 3.6 324 600 A8 2110 5.1 — 9.8 98 63 A $237,800 V8TT 4.8 382 750 A8 2185 4.4 — 11.2 98 63 A $290,200 V8TT 4.8 419 800 A8 2235 4.1 — 11.5 98 63 A

Preve

GX GXR

8.0 9.7 8.7 8.9 7.9 9.0 8.0 9.7 8.7 12.9 12.7 9.1 9.1 9.3 9.3

Issue tested

Atones for the sins of the original

Proton

GX GX GXR

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Stuttgart’s smallest tractor is also its cheapest; not a clone of its Audi Q5 cousin Hefty twin-turbo V6 power lost on a high-riding SUV; sports pedigree is marketing spin  The Pick: The diesel, as the V6 talks the torquey talk without attempting the sporty walk $80,410 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1770 6.5 — 7.4 95 A $95,300 V6TD 3.0 190 580 S7 1880 6.3 — 6.3 D 63 08/14 A $96,200 V6TT 3.0 250 460 S7 1865 5.4 — 9.0 98 63 A $114,000 V6TT 3.0 265 500 S7 1895 5.0 — 9.2 98 A $133,800 V6TT 3.6 294 550 S7 1925 4.8 — 9.2 98 63 A

Cayenne

Diesel

500 550 550 450 450 500 500 550 550 460 460 710 750 710 750

0-400 metres

Fab interior; improved design; powerful engines, even in the Hybrid; ride and handling Price; big and heavy on the road; understeer at the limit; Hybrid refinement needs work  The Pick: If you’re going to spend this much go the whole hog for the Turbo $215,100 V6T 3.0 243 450 S8 1815 5.5 — 7.6 98 R $225,500 V6T 3.0 243 450 S8 1850 5.3 — 7.8 98 A $248,500 V6TTH 2.9 340 700 S8 2170 4.6 — 2.5 98 A $310,800 V6TT 2.9 324 550 S8 1870 4.2 — 8.2 98 A $318,600 V8TTD 4.0 310 850 S8 2050 4.3 — 6.8 D A $384,800 V8TT 4.0 404 770 S8 1995 3.6 — 9.4 98 A $460,100 V8TTH 4.0 500 850 S8 3.4 — 2.9 98 A

Macan

S Diesel S GTS Turbo

309 331 331 272 272 309 309 331 331 368 368 397 427 397 427

0-100 km/h

BY

5yr/unlimited renault.com.au Fashionable and fun, especially the RS

Charming Clio blends dynamic excellence with terrific new turbocharged engines 1.2 turbo dual-clutch only; some (optional) colour-coding looks cheap; no rear airbags  The Pick: The Expression three-pot manual, or the superb Renaultsport in Sport trim $15,990 L3T 0.9 66 135 M5 1019 12.2 — 4.5 95 43 F $17,990 L3T 0.9 66 135 S6 1019 12.2 — 4.5 95 47 F $19,990 L4T 1.2 88 190 S6 1104 9.4 – 5.2 95 47 F

5yr/unlimited skoda.com.au

Škoda Fabia

66TSI 66TSI wagon 81TSI 81TSI wagon 81TSI Monte Carlo 81TSI M’ Carlo wgn

A Polo with more

More personality than a Polo; classy interior; tractable engines; safety and equipment Cruise not standard; sports suspension lacks suppleness; low-speed steering feel  The Pick: Practicality of the wagon makes it a winner, and stick with the base 66TSI $16,490 L4T 1.2 66 160 M5 1042 10.9 — 4.8 95 48 F $17,640 L4T 1.2 66 160 M5 1066 11.0 — 4.8 95 48 09/15 F $19,490 L4T 1.2 81 175 S7 1087 9.4 — 4.8 95 50 09/15 F $20,640 L4T 1.2 81 175 S7 1111 9.6 — 4.8 95 50 F $23,490 L4T 1.2 81 175 S7 1087 9.4 — 4.8 95 F $24,640 L4T 1.2 81 175 S7 1111 9.6 — 4.8 95 F

@wheelsaustralia 153


F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

0-400 metres

Recommended octane rating

0-100 km/h

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Kilograms

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Eng type

Price

Litres

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

SKODA – T O YO T A

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au Price

Expanded and brilliantly packaged Polo platform; gutsy 92TSI turbo four Dark and dull interior reflects its budget status; not a handling hero; old-gen VW tech  The Pick: The cheaper, the better, because the Rapid is a long way from Skoda’s best $18,190 L4T 1.2 81 175 M6 1155 10.2 — 5.4 95 40 08/14 F $21,190 L4T 1.4 92 200 S7 1210 9.4 — 6.0 95 41 F $23,190 L4T 1.2 81 175 M6 1155 10.2 — 5.4 95 42 F $25,990 L4T 1.4 92 200 S7 1210 9.4 — 6.0 95 42 08/14 F

Yeti

Not at all abominable

Ultra-compact MPV/SUV that prioritises cabin and drivetrain efficiency; fun 81TSI No diesel option; 4x4 is almost Tiguan money; small boot; some NVH issues  The Pick: Light, roomy front-drive 1.2 turbo is great value 81TSI $24,690 L4T 1.2 81 175 M6 1298 10.9 — 5.6 95 43 81TSI $26,990 L4T 1.2 81 175 S7 1318 11.4 — 5.7 95 44 Outdoor 110TSI 4x4 $32,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S6 1449 8.9 — 6.6 95 45

Octavia

Ambition Ambition Ambition wagon Ambition wagon Style Style wagon Style Style wagon RS 162 TSI RS 162 TSI RS 162 TSI wagon RS 162 TSI wagon RS 135 TDI RS 135 TDI wagon

Unbeatable space for your dollar

Bob-a-job week, daily

Jacked-up Octavia is a fine compact SUV alternative; grunty oiler; roomy interior Not as slick or refined as its Golf Mk7 and A3 sisters, though the Scout has a definite USP  The Pick: Unless you travel big distances, or want a manual ’box, the 1.8 turbo-petrol DSG $33,290 L4TD 2.0 110 340 M6 1561 9.1 — 5.3 D 52 A 7.1 95 52 A $38,990 L4T 1.8 132 280 S6 1557 7.8 —

110 TDI 132 TSI

M

perb

Su erb

Kodiaq

132TSI 4x4

Korando

Issue tested

Drive

Tiguan’s engorged cousin

S SX AWD

Stavic

S S SPR

It actually stands for ’Korea can do’

Frankenstein with lipstick

Cheap road to seven seats; standard equipment list from a much higher price bracket A generational leap forward, yet the rear end still looks like unfinished business  The Pick: A vasectomy. Or a secondhand Honda Odyssey. If you must, the base S $29,990 L4TD 2.0 114 360 M6 1968 — — 7.6 D 50 R $31,990 L4TD 2.0 114 360 A5 1992 — — 7.8 D 50 R $36,990 L4TD 2.0 114 360 A5 1992 — — 7.8 D 51 R

Rexton

SX

A rough-and-ready 4x4

Switchable 4WD with high and low range, and a 2.6-tonne braked towing capacity Separate-chassis structure adds weight and kills agility; it’s outdated and ungainly The Pick: A second-hand Toyota 4WD of some description. Or even a Pajero $39,990 L4TD 2.0 115 360 A5 1985 — — 7.8 D 38

Impreza

Premium Premium STi STi Premium STI spec. R

Impreza now impressive again

Quality interior finish; cabin space and refinement; polished chassis Performance of revised flat four only average; base 2.0i misses active safety gear  The Pick: 2.0S with torque vectoring is a lot of car for the money, or be happy in a 2.0L $22,400 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1386 — — 6.6 91 — — $22,600 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1399 — — 6.6 91 — — $24,490 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1409 — — 6.6 91 — — $24,690 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1417 — — 6.6 91 — — $26,290 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1409 — — 6.6 91 — — $26,490 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1417 — — 6.6 91 — — $28,990 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1433 — — 7.2 91 — — $29,190 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1438 — — 7.2 91 — —

A A A A A A A A

Impreza in active wear

Cool colours, black alloys, and extra ground clearance; more fun than an Impreza Firm ride on 18s; deserves the Forester’s 2.5; Small boot  The Pick: 2.0i Premium thanks to plenty of equipment and active safety gear $27,990 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1420 10.7 — 7.5 91 — $30,340 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1435 10.7 — 7.5 91 — $32,140 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1440 10.7 — 7.5 91 — $35,240 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1445 10.7 — 7.5 91 —

A A A A

New-generation icon

Subie icons now with fluid handling and a great cabin; midlife updates add value and appeal WRX misses out on excellent STI seats; defining STI wing is optional  The Pick: Despite WRX’s all-new engine, the sharply focused STI is worth the extra coin $39,240 F4T 2.0 197 350 M6 1469 6.0 — 9.2 95 55 A $42,240 F4T 2.0 197 350 C 1527 6.3 — 8.6 95 55 08/14 A $45,640 F4T 2.0 197 350 M6 1504 6.0 — 9.2 95 55 05/14 A $48,840 F4T 2.0 197 350 C 1562 6.3 — 8.6 95 55 A $50,890 F4T 2.5 221 407 M6 1525 4.9 — 10.4 98 66 A $55,940 F4T 2.5 221 407 M6 1537 5.3 13.6 10.4 98 67 09/14 A $57,690 F4T 2.5 221 407 M6 1537 4.9 — 10.4 98 67 A

Liberty

2.5i

A

3yr/unlimited subaru.com.au

Subaru

2.0i sedan 2.0i hatch 2.0L sedan 2.0L hatch P sedan 2.0P P hatch 2.0P S sedan 2.0S S hatch 2.0S

3yr/100,000km ssangyong.com.au

Equipment for the asking price; inoffensive looks; decent fuel economy Sloppy steering; laggy diesel; anaemic petrol; third-world image  The Pick: Base S is priced too close to other A-grade medium SUVs for us to recommend it $25,990 L4 2.0 110 197 A6 1599 — — 7.9 91 44 F $27,990 L4TD 2.0 129 360 A6 1747 — — 7.5 D 44 A

WRX

154 wheelsmag.com.au

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Suave and quirky

Ssangyong

2.0i 2.0i--L 2.0i Premium 2.0i--S

aptive i dampers, top-shelf Canton sound system, automatic parking assistance, and more front electric seat adjustment. A lurid Dragon Skin metallic yellow is available to set the new variant apart from lesser Superbs.

0-400 metres

Value; space; refinement; primary ride; handling; ‘surprise and delight’ Low-speed ride niggles on 19s; no manual shift paddles  The Pick: The loaded 132TSI, as the only variant available until a turbo-diesel lobs later $42,990 L4T 2.0 132 320 S7 1677 8.2 — 7.6 95 54 07/17 A

XV

As part o Superb update, Skoda has introduced a pair of Sportline variants at the top of the flagship model pack. Available in sedan or wagon forms, the Sportline shares the specification of the 206TSI 4x4 but

0-100 km/h

Proportions; impressive space; quality; sweet turbo petrols; refinement; ride; solidity Not as dynamically poised as Passat; adaptive dampers part of expensive options pack  The Pick: 162TSI’s sharp pricing difficult to look past, otherwise shoot for the 206TSI 162TSI $40,690 L4T 2.0 162 350 A6 1463 6.6 14.7 6.4 95 39 09/16 F 162TSI wagon $42,390 L4T 2.0 162 350 A6 1490 7.1 — 6.4 95 39 F 140TDI $44,690 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A6 1513 7.7 — 4.8 D 39 05/16 F 140TDI wagon $46,390 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A6 1540 7.8 — 4.8 D 39 F 206TSI 4x4 $51,790 L4T 2.0 206 350 A6 1573 5.8 — 7.3 95 40 A 206TSI 4x4 wagon $53,490 L4T 2.0 206 350 A6 1600 5.8 — 7.3 95 40 05/16 A Sportline $56,790 L4T 2.0 206 350 A6 1600 5.8 — 7.3 95 41 A Sportline wagon $58,490 L4T 2.0 206 350 A6 1600 5.8 — 7.3 95 41 A

F F A

Spacious interior; enormous luggage capacity; eager and efficient engines; great value Only upper-spec models get multi-link IRS; restless ride of torsion-beam base models  The Pick: Definitely the Golf GTI’s girthy, value-packed sister, the RS, in vast wagon form $22,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1302 8.4 — 5.7 95 40 02/14 F $25,290 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1317 8.3 — 5.2 95 41 01/17 F $24,690 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1340 8.5 — 5.7 95 42 F $26,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1355 8.6 — 5.2 95 43 F $33,790 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1317 8.5 — 5.2 95 43 F $35,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1355 8.6 — 5.2 95 45 F $36,890 L4TD 2.0 110 320 S6 1397 8.6 — 4.9 D 45 F $38,440 L4TD 2.0 110 320 S6 1435 8.7 — 4.9 D 45 F $37,890 L4T 2.0 162 350 M6 1397 6.8 — 6.4 98 44 F $40,190 L4T 2.0 162 350 S6 1417 6.9 — 6.6 98 44 F $39,590 L4T 2.0 162 350 M6 1438 8.7 — 6.4 98 45 10/14 F $40,140 L4T 2.0 162 350 S6 1458 7.1 — 6.6 98 45 F $41,290 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S6 1462 8.2 — 5.2 D 45 F $42,990 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S6 1503 8.3 — 5.3 D 46 F

Scout

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Superb

Rapid Spaceback Space, the family frontier

81TSI Ambition 92TSI Ambition 81TSI Monte Carlo 92TSI Monte Carlo

Eng type

Ugly no longer

Massive price cuts and a big lift in style; classy interior; smooth refinement; AWD grip Numb steering; unsettled ride; no manuals or GTs; 2.5i doesn’t sound like a flat four  The Pick: Not the driving experience it once was, but if you can stretch to it, the 3.6R $30,290 F4 2.5 129 235 C 1542 9.6 — 7.3 91 55 03/15 A


POWE RE D

Showroom Price

2.5i Premium 3.6R Premium

$36,240 $43,190

Eng type

F4 F6

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.5 129 235 3.6 191 350

Outback

2.5i 2.5i Premium 2.0D 2.0D 2.0D Premium 2.0D Premium 3.6R Premium

0-100 km/h

1568 9.2 1645 7.3

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

16.7 7.3 15.3 9.9

91 91

Issue tested

57 09/16 57 02/15

Drive

Classy SUV alternative RT-S RT-S S-Turbo S-Turbo AWD RT-X Diesel AWD

2.0i-L 2.5i-L 2.5i-S 2.0D-L 2.0D-L 2.0D-S 2.0D-S XT XT Premium

Celerio

Tesla

Swift

Quiet achiever

Trim kerb weights help little engines deliver flexibility and efficiency; refined, roomy cabin Base GL manual misses out on lots of kit; AEB only in top two variants; no manual turbo  The Pick: GL Navigator safety represents decent value GL $15,990 L4 1.2 66 120 M5 870 — — 4.6 91 55 F GL Navigator $17,990 L4 1.2 66 120 C 900 — — 4.8 91 44 F GL Navigator safety $18,990 L4 1.2 66 120 C 900 — — 4.8 91 47 F GLX Turbo $22,990 L3T 1.0 82 160 A6 915 — — 5.1 91 55 F

Baleno

GL GL GLX Turbo

Turbo Turbo Prestige

Crosses over to modernity

Neatly straddles two small-SUV classes; new turbo engine ups torque nicely Reshuffled range ups price; like a Swift inside; AWD model gone; no Android Auto  The Pick: Base Turbo keeps the price down, which is what the S-Cross should be about $27,990 L4T 1.4 103 220 A6 1170 — — 7.9 95 05/17 F $29,990 L4T 1.4 103 220 A6 1170 — — 5.9 95 F

Jimny Sierra

Lives on with stability control

Surprisingly capable off-road; proven mechanicals; cheapest way to go bush bashing Bouncy ride and poor handling; unrefined; gutless engine means you’ll be revving it  The Pick: A pair of live axles ensures this is it, if you want a scaled-down 4x4 $20,990 L4 1.3 63 110 M5 1060 — — 7.1 91 46 A $22,990 L4 1.3 63 110 A4 1075 — — 7.4 91 46 A

Ignis

GL GL GLX

75 75D 90D 100D P100D

Funky styling, funky dynamics

Cool SUV styling and functionality with small-hatch pricing; brilliant packaging Viscous and low-geared steering; abrupt ride; tedious CVT transmission  The Pick: Without doubt, the GL manual. Or the 1.0-litre turbo if it ever gets here $15,990 L4 1.2 66 120 M5 820 — — 4.7 91 $16,990 L4 1.2 66 120 C 865 — — 4.9 91 $18,990 L4 1.2 66 120 C 865 — — 4.9 91

F F F A A

75D 90D 100D P100D

8yr/unlimited teslamotors.com/en_AU Space-age electric celebrity

Model S tech in an SUV body

Off-the-line performance; clever interior with 5, 6 or 7 seats; futuristic design Those doors seem more gimmick than game changer; prices add up with options  The Pick: P100D makes a high-performance statement $135,000 E — 241 525 A1 — 6.2 — 0.0 — $150,300 E — 310 657 A1 — 5.0 — 0.0 — $154,900 E — A1 — 5.0 — 0.0 — $211,200 E — 310 830 A1 — 3.1 — 0.0 —

Yaris

Ascent Ascent SX SX ZR YRS sedan YRS sedan YRX sedan

X-factor on face value

Updated Yaris gains striking new face, refinement improvements, and fresh multimedia Ancient drivetrains; below-average fuel economy; flawed driving position  The Pick: Hatch now 5dr only and best as a manual. Avoid the decade-old Yaris sedan $15,290 L4 1.3 63 121 M5 1025 — — 5.7 91 53 F $16,490 L4 1.3 63 121 A4 1035 13.7 19.3 6.3 91 55 03/15 F $17,330 L4 1.5 80 141 M5 1045 — — 5.8 91 56 F $18,490 L4 1.5 80 141 A4 1055 — — 6.3 91 55 F $22,470 L4 1.5 80 141 A4 1055 — — 6.3 91 57 F $17,490 L4 1.5 80 141 M5 1030 — — 6.1 91 46 F $18,990 L4 1.5 80 141 A4 1045 — — 6.7 91 46 F $20,990 L4 1.5 80 141 A4 1045 10.6 — 6.7 91 47 F

Prius C

i-Tech

A A A A

3yr/100,000km toyota.com.au

Toyota

Hybrid Yaris by another name

Diesel-beating fuel efficiency in a sub-$25K light hatch package Dull dynamics true to Prius tradition; budget plastics; C-grade in more than just name  The Pick: A Polo 81TSI and Mazda 2 Genki are miles better, unless you’re eco-obsessed $23,450 L4H 1.5 74 169 C 1120 — — 3.9 91 57 F $26,510 L4H 1.5 74 169 C 1140 — — 3.9 91 58 F

Corolla

Finally, a Corolla with substance

Roomy and well-built; strong body; decent dynamics; attractive front end; reliability Heavier and slower than the previous model; unexciting drivetrain; snoozy sedan  The Pick: Ascent Sport manual, but both Mazda 3 and Golf are more polished small cars Ascent hatch $20,190 L4 1.8 103 173 M6 1255 — — 6.7 91 56 F Ascent hatch $21,790 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1275 — — 6.1 91 54 F Ascent Sport hatch $21,210 L4 1.8 103 173 M6 1270 — — 6.7 91 56 F Ascent Sport hatch $22,790 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1275 9.5 — 6.1 91 54 01/17 F Ascent sedan $21,240 L4 1.8 103 173 M6 1250 — — 7.0 91 48 F Ascent sedan $23,490 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1280 — — 6.6 91 47 F SX hatch $26,000 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1310 — — 6.1 91 56 F SX sedan $23,820 L4 1.8 103 173 M6 1255 — — 7.0 91 49 F SX sedan $26,070 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1285 — — 6.6 91 45 F ZR hatch $30,020 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1275 10.1 17.3 6.1 91 58 12/15 F ZR sedan $31,920 L4 1.8 103 173 C 1295 — — 6.6 91 50 F Hybrid hatch $27,530 L4H 1.8 73 142 C 1365 — — 4.1 95 56 F

Camry F F F

Drive

Multiple global awards; incredible mega-tablet centre stack; modernity Charging time; some interior finishes a bit hit and miss  The Pick: As a triumphant single-finger salute to the Europeans, any Model S you choose $118,600 E — 235 440 A1 — 5.8 — 0 — 55 R $126,200 E — 245 525 A1 — 5.4 — 0 — 55 A $141,300 E — 311 660 A1 — 4.4 — 0 — 54 A $145,900 E — 311 660 A1 — 4.4 — 0 — 54 A $209,800 E — — — A1 — 2.7 — 0 — A

Model X

Charm on a budget

Performance from turbo triple; fuel economy; packaging; value; ride and handling No manual for the Boosterjet 3cyl; cheesy interior details; remote, low-geared steering  The Pick: GLX Turbo offers the zestiest engine and most kit $15,990 L4 1.4 68 130 M5 — — — 5.1 91 45 F $16,990 L4 1.4 68 130 A4 — — — 5.4 91 44 F $21,990 L3T 1.0 82 160 A6 — — — 5.2 91 46 F

S-Cross

Model S

Cheap seats ain’t so bad

Drive-away pricing; peppy and thrifty three-pot; impressive urban ride; fun handling Looks geeky; steering a bit vague; CVT slippage at full throttle; only seats four  The Pick: Sweet manual gearbox makes Suzuki’s toaster-on-wheels better than it looks $12,990 L3 1.0 50 90 M5 830 12.9 18.6 4.7 91 46 06/15 F $13,990 L3 1.0 50 90 C 860 13.4 19.5 4.8 91 46 07/16 F

Issue tested

33 Lonsdale Street Dandenong VIC 3175 Sales: 03 9794 5455 DL: 8846

VIC

3yr/100,000km suzuki.com.au

Suzuki

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

DEALER DIRECTORY

Brilliantly engineered by Subaru

Subtly satisfying

0-400 metres

Smart packaging; neat styling; competent dynamics; excellent ‘Boosterjet’ 1.4 turbo Econo-car cabin plastics really stand out in more expensive variants; pricey Diesel  The Pick: Front-drive RT-S has value on its side, but we’d go for the punchy S-Turbo $21,990 L4 1.6 86 156 M5 1075 — — 5.8 91 49 02/16 $23,990 L4 1.6 86 156 A6 1120 — — 6.0 91 50 02/16 $28,990 L4T 1.4 103 220 A6 1160 — — 5.9 95 50 $32,990 L4T 1.4 103 220 A6 1235 — — 6.2 95 52 $35,990 L4TD 1.6 88 320 S6 1325 — — 4.9 D 52

The softer side to a WRX

Spacious cabin; fluid handling; impressive ride and refinement; XT’s impressive pack Engines don’t really sound like flat fours any more; full-size spare robs boot space  The Pick: 2.0D-L has enough grunt coupled with excellent efficiency and kit levels $30,240 F4 2.0 110 198 M6 1500 10.6 — 7.2 91 52 A $33,240 F4 2.5 126 235 C 1530 9.9 17.1 11.8 91 54 06/17 A $39,740 F4 2.5 126 235 C 1567 9.9 — 8.1 91 55 A $33,740 F4TD 2.0 108 350 M6 1571 10.2 — 5.9 D 54 06/13 A $35,740 F4TD 2.0 108 350 C 1635 — — 6.3 D 54 A $39,490 F4TD 2.0 108 350 M6 1588 10.2 — 5.9 D 55 A $41,740 F4TD 2.0 108 350 C 1643 — — 6.4 D 55 A $41,240 F4T 2.0 177 350 C 1643 7.5 — 8.1 95 55 A $48,240 F4T 2.0 177 350 C 1657 7.0 15.1 8.1 95 56 11/15 A

0-100 km/h

Iconic nameplate returns

Dealer Quick Finder

Superb steering, balance; engine above 4500rpm; driveaway pricing; free servicing Sounds like a Forester at low revs; not as rapid as a WRX; same wheels as the Toyota  The Pick: Same as Toyota 86, but slightly less oversteery. Your choice $37,150 F4 2.0 147 205 M6 1256 7.8 — 9.0 98 61 05/17 R $39,730 F4 2.0 147 205 A6 1286 8.2 15.5 7.1 98 62 R

Forester

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Vitara

WRX performance and all-paw dynamics; stylish wagon body; big load capacity; value Body roll through corners; low-speed ride; tyre roar; lacks aural excitement; CVT only  The Pick: The GT’s value makes it difficult to overlook. $43,240 F4T 2.0 197 350 C 1538 — — 8.7 95 61 A $49,140 F4T 2.0 197 350 C 1582 — — 8.7 95 61 A

BRZ

Eng type

Price

A A

Better riding than Liberty; neat styling; extensive equipment; impressive CVT tranny No petrol manuals; weirdly weighted steering; flat six is so smooth it lacks character  The Pick: Arguably better than its Liberty stablemate in all drivetrain variations $36,240 F4 2.5 129 235 C 1597 10.2 — 7.3 91 54 03/15 A $42,240 F4 2.5 129 235 C 1628 10.2 — 7.3 91 55 A $35,740 F4TD 2.0 110 350 M6 1630 9.7 — 5.7 D 54 A $38,740 F4TD 2.0 110 350 C 1684 9.9 — 6.3 D 55 A $42,240 F4TD 2.0 110 350 M6 1668 9.7 — 5.7 D 55 A $45,240 F4TD 2.0 110 350 C 1723 9.9 17.0 6.3 D 56 07/15 A $48,740 F6 3.6 191 350 C 1702 7.6 — 9.9 95 56 02/15 A

Levorg

GT GT-S

C C

BY

Altise

New metal, sharp pricing

Space and value; sweet hybrid drivetrain blends grunt and economy; SX’s handling Dull petrol four; six-speed auto not particularly intuitive; low-speed ride issues  The Pick: SX looks decent and handles well, but an Atara S Hybrid makes the most sense $26,490 L4 2.5 133 231 A6 1460 — — 7.8 91 43 F

@wheelsaustralia 155


L4H L4 L4H L4 L4 L4H

Prius hatch

i-Tech

When we drove it

F= Frontdrive,R=Reardrive, A=All-wheeldrive

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

M=manual, A=automatic, S=sequential, C=CVT

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Issue tested

Drive

44 07/15 44 47 44 07/15 45 45 09/16

F F F F F F

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.com.au Price

GX GXL GXL Crusader Crusader

$49,990 $52,990 $54,990 $59,990 $61,990

Avensis Verso painted green

Still a Camry with extra pots

Superb, and not just for a Toyota

The legendary family bus

WorkMate GXL

450 420 450 420 450

A6 M6 A6 M6 A6

2110 2110 2110 2135 2135

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

— — — — —

— — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

8.6 7.8 8.6 7.8 8.6

D D D D D

Issue tested

60 61 60 62 61

Drive

A A A A A

Seven-seater 4WD with real off-road ability

LandCruiser

King of the outback, not the road

Wonderful cruise comfort and exceptional refinement; go-anywhere ruggedness It’s a tank; cabin entry/egress difficult; brakes easily waterlogged; lumbering dynamics  The Pick: Outstanding diesel V8; opt for the VX with the tricky KDSS suspension $76,216 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2635 — — 9.5 D 61 A $83,730 V8 4.6 227 439 A6 2585 — — 13.4 91 61 A $88,830 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2630 — — 9.5 D 69 A $92,216 V8 4.6 227 439 A6 2640 — — 13.4 91 61 A $97,216 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2705 — — 9.5 D 61 A $113,216 V8 4.6 227 439 A6 2640 — — 13.4 91 61 A $118,216 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2705 — — 9.5 D 61 A

GX GXL GXL VX VX Sahara Sahara

Dealer Quick Finder DEALER DIRECTORY

YARRA VALLEY TOYOTA 35 Hewish Road, Croydon 3136 Trust. Value. Excellence. Since 1968 Sales: 03 9725 5555

Volkswagen Polo

Is bigger really better?

Urban Urban Urban+ Urban+ GTI GTI

110TSI 110TSI 110TSI Trendline 110TSI Trendline 110TSI Comfortline 110TSI Highline 110TDI Highline GTI GTI GTI Performance R R

3yr/unlimited volkswagen.com.au

Ageing compact contender

Updated Golf stays above small-car par

Golf Mk7.5 aces the competition; stunning interior and refinement; brilliant GTI All-wheel-drive R not as dynamic as GTI Performance; no manual GTI Performance  The Pick: The all-round excellent 110TSI. Or the fabulous GTI in any specification $23,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1209 9.1 — 5.3 95 54 $26,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1233 9.1 — 5.1 95 54 $24,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1209 9.1 — 5.3 95 54 $27,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1233 9.1 — 5.1 95 54 $28,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1233 9.1 — 5.1 95 54 $34,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1265 8.2 — 5.1 95 58 $36,990 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S7 1326 8.1 — 4.6 D 59 $41,490 L4T 2.0 169 350 M6 1313 6.5 — 6.2 98 60 $43,990 L4T 2.0 169 350 S6 1324 6.4 14.5 6.6 98 60 $47,990 L4T 2.0 180 370 S6 1364 6.4 14.6 6.6 98 60 $52,990 L4T 2.0 213 380 M6 1476 5.2 7.1 98 62 $55,490 L4T 2.0 213 380 S7 1495 5.0 13.2 6.9 98 61

Golf wagon

110TSI Trendline

DL:1541

Polo still a good thing despite coming update; slick 81kW 1.2 turbo; rapid GTI Class-leading active safety kit is optional; rivals have closed in on Polo’s quality lead  The Pick: Providing you tick the (standard for MY16) adaptive dampers, a GTI manual $16,990 L4T 1.2 66 160 M5 1032 10.8 — 4.8 95 47 F $19,490 L4T 1.2 66 160 S7 1064 11.3 18.0 4.8 95 46 F $19,990 L4T 1.2 81 175 M6 1060 9.3 — 4.9 95 47 F $22,490 L4T 1.2 81 175 S7 1088 9.3 — 4.8 95 46 F $27,490 L4T 1.8 141 320 M6 1234 6.4 14.7 6.1 95 55 10/15 F $29,990 L4T 1.8 141 250 S7 1242 6.7 — 5.7 95 55 F

Golf

Hilux spawns an SUV

Genuine off-road ability; rugged and durable; interior space; black steelies on base cars Vague steering; choppy ride; sluggish six-speed auto; lacks equipment of some rivals  The Pick: Grab a GXL with the sinister black wheels, and stick with the manual $47,990 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2110 — — 7.8 D 60 A

130 130 130 130 130

Immensely capable in the rough stuff; borderline unkillable; strong V8 diesel Lacks refinement; ordinary dynamics; spartan interior; missing basic safety gear  The Pick: Forget the frills and go for the WorkMate; just make sure you take it off road! $57,990 V8TD 4.5 151 430 M5 2295 — — 10.7 D 58 A $61,990 V8TD 4.5 151 430 M5 2295 — — 10.7 D 69 A

F F A F A

Tougher looks, better manners

2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8

LandCruiser 70 Hopeless on-road, brilliant off-road

VIC

F F F F A A A A A A A A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

More torque from new diesel; grunty petrol V6; great off-road; massive 150-litre fuel tank Separate chassis and live rear axle hobbles handling; swing-out tailgate  The Pick: Go for the refined diesel; VX with kinetic suspension option offers best handling $54,050 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2150 — — 8.8 D 61 A $54,990 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 — — — 8.8 D 61 A $55,490 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 — — — 8.8 D 61 A $57,490 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 2290 13.5 18.7 8.8 D 61 02/16 A $61,190 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2290 — — 8.8 D 61 A $63,230 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 — — — 8.8 D 59 A $62,210 V6 4.0 207 381 A6 2290 — — 13.0 91 61 A $74,170 V6 4.0 207 381 A6 — — — 13.0 91 61 A $75,190 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 — — — 8.8 D 61 A $84,880 V6 4.0 207 381 A6 2355 — — 13.0 91 57 A $85,900 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 2435 — — 8.8 D 61 A

GX 5-seat GX 5-seat GX GX GXL GXL GXL VX VX Kakadu Kakadu

More than the look

156 wheelsmag.com.au

Eng type

L4TD L4TD L4TD L4TD L4TD

Prado

Finally, a nice driving Prius!

Practical and roomy; quieter and more dynamically polished; strong engine; nice price Lack of a diesel narrows its appeal; average cabin plastics; no longer made in Japan  The Pick: GX front-drive, with its standard seven seats and Australian suspension tune $43,550 V6 3.5 201 337 A6 1935 8.3 — 10.2 91 54 F $47,550 V6 3.5 201 337 A6 2005 7.8 15.7 10.6 91 55 10/16 A $53,550 V6 3.5 201 337 A6 1950 8.3 — 10.2 91 55 F $57,550 V6 3.5 201 337 A6 2020 8.7 — 10.6 91 56 A $65,935 V6 3.5 201 337 A6 1990 8.3 — 10.4 91 56 F $69,906 V6 3.5 201 337 A6 2060 7.9 15.7 10.6 91 57 09/15 A

Fortuner

GX

91 91 91 91 91 91

Lots of room; decent versatility; capable performance; CVT works well with 2.0-litre Bulky dashboard an ergonomic malaise; engine needs revs; not very good off-road  The Pick: A CX-5, X-Trail, Kuga or Forester, though the roomy RAV4 has its appeal $28,550 L4 2.0 107 187 M6 1465 — — 7.7 91 52 $29,990 L4 2.0 107 187 C 1500 — — 7.0 91 52 $31,990 L4 2.0 107 187 M6 1475 — — 7.7 91 54 $35,390 L4 2.0 107 187 C 1510 — — 7.0 91 54 $33,650 L4 2.5 132 233 A6 1590 — — 8.5 91 54 $36,710 L4TD 2.2 110 340 M6 1620 — — 5.7 D 54 $37,490 L4TD 2.2 110 340 A6 1630 — — 6.7 D 55 $38,450 L4 2.5 132 233 A6 1590 11.5 18.2 10.4 91 54 06/17 $39,990 L4TD 2.2 110 340 M6 1630 — — 5.7 D 55 $43,550 L4TD 2.2 110 340 A6 1630 — — 6.7 D 55 $45,400 L4 2.5 132 233 A6 1600 — — 8.5 91 56 $50,500 L4TD 2.2 110 340 A6 1635 — — 6.7 D 56

Kluger

GX GX GXL GXL Grande Grande

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.2 7.8 5.2 7.8 7.8 5.2

Bold design; capable chassis; well specified; generous active safety gear standard Demand likely to outstrip supply; engine could use more pep; Koba is pricey  The Pick: Base C-HR front-driver represents good value and is fun to drive $26,990 L4T 1.2 85 185 M6 1375 — — 91 $28,990 L4T 1.2 85 185 C 1385 — — 91 $30,990 L4T 1.2 85 185 C 1460 — — 91 $33,290 L4T 1.2 85 185 C 1440 — — 8.0 91 05/17 $35,290 L4T 1.2 85 185 C 1510 — — 91

RAV4

GX 2WD GX 2WD GXL 2WD GXL 2WD GX GX GX GXL GXL GXL Cruiser Cruiser

1575 1460 1575 1460 1460 1575

This is the people mover of people movers with a refined and updated interior Won’t do much for your sex appeal; lacks the innovation of the 1990s ‘egg’ Tarago  The Pick: If you can stretch the budget, get the GLi V6 and gain good sprog-hauling torque $45,490 L4 2.4 125 224 C 1795 — — 8.9 91 52 F $47,990 L4 2.4 125 224 C 1795 — — 8.9 91 53 F $50,490 V6 3.5 202 340 A6 1870 — — 10.2 95 53 F $55,990 V6 3.5 202 340 A6 1870 — — 10.3 95 53 F $65,600 V6 3.5 202 340 A6 1930 — — 10.3 95 54 F

C-HR

Koba Koba

15.7 — — 16.4 — 15.8

C A6 C A6 A6 C

Driving purity and overall value; brilliant rear-drive balance; worthy interior updates Auto misses out on minor engine update; price rises across range dilute great value  The Pick: GT manual because it brings all the DIY gearbox fun and more power for less coin $30,790 F4 2.0 152 212 M6 1257 — — 8.4 98 60 R $33,090 F4 2.0 147 205 A6 — 8.2 — 7.1 98 60 R $36,490 F4 2.0 152 212 M6 1275 — — 8.4 98 61 R $38,790 F4 2.0 147 205 A6 — 8.2 — 7.1 98 51 R

Tarago

GLi GLX GLi GLX Ultima

0-400 metres

7.9 — — 8.8 — 8.0

270 235 270 235 235 270

Lovely 3.5-litre V6 delivers superb performance; Sportivo’s sharper chassis and styling Ride quality of Presara and Sportivo; average steering; power-down issues  The Pick: Despite its ride issues, the upgraded Sportivo with its tougher style $36,490 V6 3.5 200 336 A6 1525 6.1 14.2 9.3 91 33 08/12 F $43,990 V6 3.5 200 336 A6 1555 — — 9.3 91 34 06/12 F $50,440 V6 3.5 200 336 A6 1550 — — 9.3 91 34 06/12 F

86

GT GT GTS GTS

0-100 km/h

151 135 151 135 135 151

Voracious breeders will love the wallet-saving hybrid tech, and the extra seats Being part of the Prius family means forfeiting driver enjoyment; zero boot with seats up  The Pick: Be financially frugal and stick with the base $35,400 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1565 — — 4.4 95 55 07/12 F $45,380 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1565 — — 4.4 95 57 F

Aurion

AT-X Sportivo Presara

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

Frugal hybrid drivetrain; classy interior; newfound maturity to driving dynamics Rear headroom; hybrid pioneer still runs old-school Ni-MH batteries  The Pick: Put up with the puny 15-inch tyres and save some money with the base Prius $35,690 L4H 1.8 72 142 C 1775 — — 3.4 95 48 F $43,850 L4H 1.8 72 142 C 1775 — — 3.4 95 50 F

Prius V

i-Tech

0-400m acceleration, in sec s (Wheels tested figures in italics)

$30,490 $29,490 $32,490 $33,490 $37,440 $40,440

0-100km/h acceleration, in secs (Wheels tested figures in italics)

Eng type

Price

Altise Atara S Atara S Atara SX Atara SL Atara SL

Litres

L=in-line, V=vee,F=flat,R=rotary. Numberofcylsorrotors. T=turbo, S= s'charged,D=diesel,H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

Recommended Retail Price at time of publication (* indicates driveaway)

TOYOTA – V O LV O

NEW ARRIVALS

F F F F F F F F F F A A

COTY winner with cargo

Stacks of space plus all of Golf 7.5’s polish and class No manual gearbox or high-performance variant until R arrives  The Pick: 110TSI Trendline wagon packs all the equipment and engine you really need $28,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1312 9.5 — 5.2 95 56 F


POWE RE D

Showroom Eng type

Price

110TSI Comfortline 110TSI Highline 110TDI Highline

$30,490 $35,990 $38,490

L4T L4T L4TD

Golf Alltrack

132TSI 132TSI Premium 135TDI Premium

1.4 110 250 1.4 110 250 2.0 110 340

S7 S7 S6

0-100 km/h

1312 9.5 1312 8.6 1326 8.9

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

0-400 metres

— — —

5.2 5.1 4.6

Issue tested

95 58 95 58 D 59

Drive

Go anywhere Golf

Price

Firmly suspended soft-top

Drives like a (Mk6) Golf; neatly packages four seats into a compact, relatively light body Increased steering vibration over hatch; dated design; won’t be replaced until Golf Mk8  The Pick: For not that much extra coin, Audi’s new-gen A3 Cabriolet is a much better bet $43,990 L4ST 1.4 118 240 S7 1443 8.4 — 6.5 95 50 01/12 F

Jetta

Lots of VW for the money

Twincharger punch for $23K; huge boot; plenty of room; efficient engines; slick cabin Bland styling; Mk 6 Golf platform and interior architecture; folk will think you play bowls  The Pick: A base 118TSI over any Corolla, Lancer, Elantra, Cerato or Cruze sedan 118TSI Trendline $23,990 L4ST 1.4 118 240 M6 1315 8.3 — 6.5 95 46 01/12 F 118TSI Trendline $25,490 L4ST 1.4 118 240 S7 1335 8.3 — 6.2 95 45 12/11 F 118TSI Comfortline $30,290 L4ST 1.4 118 240 S7 1335 7.5 15.1 6.2 95 47 03/12 F 118TSI Highline $34,290 L4ST 1.4 118 240 S7 1335 8.3 — 6.2 95 46 F 103TDI Highline $36,490 L4TD 2.0 103 320 S6 1454 9.5 — 5.5 D 43 F 155TSI Highline Sport$40,290 L4T 2.0 155 280 S6 1446 7.2 — 7.8 95 48 F

Passat

Predictable but pleasing

Suprisingly sporty chassis; slick interior; excellent seats; sweet 1.8 turbo petrol Diesel’s inconsistent response; no performance engine variant to suit R-Line suspension  The Pick: Comfortline wagon, combining space, equipment, class, and driving fun 132TSI $34,990 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1450 7.9 — 6.0 95 48 F 132TSI wagon $36,990 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1483 8.1 — 6.0 95 48 02/16 F 132TSI Comfortline $39,990 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1450 7.7 15.7 6.0 95 49 09/16 F 132TSI C’line wagon $41,990 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1483 8.1 — 6.0 95 49 F 140TDI Highline $45,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S6 1517 7.7 — 4.8 D 50 02/16 F 140TDI H’line wagon $47,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S6 1562 7.9 — 4.8 D 50 F 206TSI R-line $57,990 L4T 2.0 206 350 S6 — 5.5 — — 95 A 206TSI R-line wagon $59,990 L4T 2.0 206 350 S6 — 5.7 — — 95 A Alltrack $49,290 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S6 1671 8.0 — 5.4 D 50 A

Tiguan

On the right track

Refinement and technology; fit and finish; practicality in bigger body; boot space Price increases on some models; metallic paint costs another $700  The Pick: 132TSI hits a nice sweet spot, albeit at a high-ish price. Otherwise the 110TSI 110TSI Trendline $31,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1430 9.2 — 6.0 95 50 110TSI Trendline $34,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S6 1450 9.1 16.7 9.5 95 52 06/17 110TSI Comfortline $36,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S6 1450 7.7 — 6.3 95 53 132TSI Comfortline $41,490 L4T 2.0 132 320 S7 1600 — — 7.5 95 53 110TDI Comfortline $42,990 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S7 1647 9.3 — 5.9 D 56 162TSI Highline $48,490 L4T 2.0 162 350 S7 — — — — 95 140TDI Highline $49,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1691 7.9 — 5.9 D 58

Touareg

150TDI V6 TDI V8 TDI R-Line

Cut-price class

Slick and upmarket interior design; great drivetrains; vice-free handling; burbly R-Line Third row seats would be nice; pricey option packages; fatty-fatty fat kerb weight  The Pick: 150TDI rivals a top-spec Pathfinder on price, V8 R-Line is a cut-price Cayenne $67,990 V6TD 3.0 150 450 A8 2146 8.5 — 7.2 D 63 09/11 A $81,990 V6TD 3.0 180 550 A8 2159 7.6 — 7.4 D 63 09/11 A $114,990 V8TTD 4.1 250 800 A8 2287 5.8 — 9.2 D 63 A

Caddy

Top-class compact people mover

Room, ride quality, and refinement all top-notch; excellent diesel drivetrains Not exactly sexy; primitive leaf-sprung rear suspension; no rear airbags  The Pick: Seven-seat Maxi with torquey 2.0-litre makes for a versatile kiddy hauler 250TDI Trendline $32,890 L4TD 1.6 75 250 M5 1460 — — 5.8 D 48 250TDI Trendline $35,390 L4TD 1.6 75 250 S7 1510 — — 5.8 D 48 250TDI Maxi C’line $38,390 L4TD 1.6 75 250 S7 1541 — — 5.9 D 49 320TDI Maxi C’line $42,290 L4TD 2.0 103 320 S6 1561 — — 6.5 D 50 05/11 320TDI M C’line 4M $45,790 L4TD 2.0 103 320 S6 — — — 6.8 D 50

Caravelle

TDI340 LWB

F F F F A

F

Tarago meets its match

Hugely spacious and well-built cabin; grunty and efficient diesel; great active safety gear Range-topping models are expensive; base models only get single-turbo engine  The Pick: Crank the Rammstein and the eight-seater Highline morphs into the mosh bus C’line TDI340 SWB $52,990 L4TD 2.0 103 340 S7 2174 13.4 19.0 7.7 D 61 10/16 F C’line TDI340 LWB $57,990 L4TD 2.0 103 340 S7 2238 — — 7.7 D 60 F Highline TDI450 $79,890 L4TTD 2.0 150 450 S7 2303 — — 6.5 D 53 03/16 F H’line TDI450 4Mot’ $83,390 L4TTD 2.0 150 450 S7 2413 — — 6.8 D 53 A Executive TDI450 $83,390 L4TTD 2.0 150 450 S7 2332 — — 6.5 D 73 F

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Focus-based and better for it

Focus underpinnings; classy interior; terrific D4 and T4 drivetrains; sweet manual ’box D2 struggles; T5 has terrible ride; big turning circle; cramped back seat; autos expensive  The Pick: D4 Inscription manual offers torque aplenty with sub-5.0L/km economy T3 Momentum $36,500 L4T 1.5 112 250 A6 1536 8.3 — 5.6 95 53 F 4.1 D 53 F D2 Momentum $37,900 L4TD 2.0 88 280 A6 1578 12.1 — 5.6 95 54 F T4 Inscription $43,500 L4T 2.0 140 300 A6 1558 6.9 — — 4.5 D 53 F D4 Inscription $41,990 L4TTD 2.0 147 440 A8 1561 7.1 6.1 95 55 F T5 R-Design $48,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1580 6.3 — CrossCntry T4 Mom $42,990 L4T 2.0 140 320 A8 — 7.4 — 6.5 95 54 A CrossCntry D4 Insc $46,990 L4TTD 2.0 140 400 A8 — 7.5 — 4.5 D 53 F CrossCntry T5 Insc $40,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 6.1 — 6.9 95 55 A

S60

T4 Kinetic D4 Kinetic T4 Luxury D4 Luxury T5 Luxury T5 R-Design T6 R-Design Polestar

New face, and now new fours

Handsome facelift with punchy engines and a plush interior; Polestar is nicely balanced Handling of the rest isn’t 3 Series-grade; all-new fours don’t warble like the old fives did  The Pick: Front-drive T4 is quick, frugal, and terrific value $49,990 L4T 2.0 140 300 S6 1486 — — 5.8 95 — F $51,675 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1744 — — 4.2 D — A $54,990 L4T 2.0 140 300 S6 1486 — — 5.8 95 — F $56,675 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1744 — — 4.2 D — A $58,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1664 — — 6.4 95 — F $62,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1664 — — 6.4 95 — F $69,990 L4ST 2.0 228 430 A8 1687 — — 7.0 95 46 F $89,990 L4ST 2.0 270 470 A8 1686 — — 7.8 95 60 A

V60

Volvo thinks outside the box

Even more stylish than S60 sedan; versatile 40/20/40 split-fold rear seat and 430L boot Won’t swallow packing crates like Volvos of old; lacks composure on rough roads  The Pick: Just as in the S60 range, the T5 is the all-rounder – great value, punchy and thrifty D4 Luxury $57,695 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1744 7.7 — 4.5 D — A T5 Luxury $59,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1714 6.4 – 6.8 95 — F T5 R-Design $61,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1663 6.4 — 6.8 95 49 F C.Ctry D4 Inscription $63,375 L4T 2.0 140 420 A6 1785 7.5 — 4.5 D 47 A T6 R-Design $72,990 L4T 2.0 225 400 A6 1757 6.0 — 7.6 95 48 A Polestar $102,600 L4ST 2.0 270 470 A8 1796 4.8 — 8.1 95 48 A

T5 Momentum D4 Momentum D5 Inscription T6 Inscription

Finally, a credible 5 Series rival

Elegant, functional cabin; fine powertrain refinement; confident dynamics Bundled options that should be standard; keen drivers may want a sharper dynamic edge  The Pick: T6 Inscription has the traction, pace and refinement to satisfy $79,950 L4T 2.0 187 350 A8 1838 6.8 — 6.7 95 61 F 4.7 D 61 F $82,400 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1872 8.2 — 5.1 D 61 A $96,900 L4TTD 2.0 173 480 A8 1945 7.0 — $98,900 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 1915 5.9 — 7.5 95 61 A

V90

Cross-country wagon goes large

Punchy new twin-turbo four; more hauling space than the average big SUV Expensive; would you really take your $100K premo wagon off sealed surfaces?  The Pick: The potent, if pricey D5 Inscription, as the sole offering D5 Inscription C’Ctry $99,990 L4TT 2.0 173 480 A8 1894 — — 5.7 95 47

XC60

D4 Kinetic D4 Luxury T5 Kinetic T5 Luxury D5 Luxury D5 R-Design T6 Luxury T6 R-Design

D5 Kinetic D5 Luxury T6 Luxury

A

The punters’ favourite Volvo

All the traditional Volvo SUV virtues, appealingly executed Ride turns brittle on busted Aussie tarmac; lacks body control and steering feel  The Pick: D4 and T5 hold appeal, but forthcoming new-gen might be worth waiting for $55,765 L5TTD 2.4 140 420 A6 1819 9.7 — 6.3 D 57 $60,765 L5TTD 2.4 140 420 A6 1819 9.7 – 6.3 D 58 $57,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1766 7.2 — 7.0 95 55 $58,765 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1766 7.2 — 7.0 95 60 $69,990 L5TTD 2.4 162 440 A6 1819 8.2 — 6.3 D 56 $71,990 L5TTD 2.4 169 470 A6 1819 8.0 — 6.3 D 56 $72,600 L4ST 2.0 225 400 A8 1862 6.9 — 8.1 95 56 01/14 $75,835 L4ST 2.0 228 480 A8 1846 7.0 — 10.5 95 56

XC70

The workhorse people mover

Brilliantly basic and humble nine-seater; new model sheds some unwanted kilos 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is honest but pretty knackerless when fully laden  The Pick: There aren’t many other options if you need to carry nine people $50,990 L4TD 2.0 103 340 S7 1857 — — 7.7 D 60 03/16

Multivan

V40

S90

F F F A A A A

3yr/unlimited volvocars.com.au

Volvo

F F F

Golf 7.5 updates in an all-paw wagon for more adventure potential Excellent diesel only offered in exxy Premium spec; road noise on coarse chip  The Pick: Diesel is pricey but offers the best economy with more towing-friendly torque $34,490 L4T 1.8 132 280 S7 1479 7.8 — 6.7 95 57 A $38,490 L4T 1.8 132 280 S7 1312 9.5 — 6.7 95 56 A $40,990 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S6 1312 9.5 — 5.2 D 58 A

Golf Cabriolet

118TSI Exclusive

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

BY

A A F F A A A A

Swedish take on a Subaru Outback

Third-gen ‘crossover’ brings a choice of turbo-diesel or petrol six-pack power It’s unlikely ever to leave upper-class suburbs; still with soggy handling  The Pick: Not great on bitumen, but fine for fire trails, farms, and the Snowies. Go the diesel $58,990 L5TD 2.4 158 440 A6 1890 8.3 — 6.9 D 56 A 6.9 D 56 A $60,290 L5TD 2.4 158 440 A6 1890 8.3 — 10.2 95 56 A $69,900 L6T 3.0 224 440 A6 1870 7.4 —

XC90

It’s still about the safety

Faster and more frugal than its predecessor; attention to detail inside; great drivetrains Average dynamics with below-par handling; excessive body roll; German-level price tag  The Pick: T6 engine has plenty of punch and makes the most sense in Momentum trim D5 Momentum $91,900 L4TTD 2.0 173 480 A8 1970 7.8 — 5.9 D 63 A 8.5 95 63 02/16 A T6 Momentum $94,900 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 1965 6.5 — 5.9 D 63 02/16 A D5 Inscription $97,900 L4TTD 2.0 173 480 A8 1970 7.8 — 5.9 D 63 A D5 R-Design $97,910 L4TTD 2.0 173 480 A8 1970 7.8 — 8.5 95 63 A T6 Inscription $100,900 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 1965 6.5 — 8.5 95 63 A T6 R-Design $101,670 L4ST 2.0 246 440 A8 1965 6.5 — 2.1 95 63 A T8 Inscription Hybrid$120,900 L4STH 2.0 235 400 A8 2296 5.6 — T8 R-Design $122,910 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 2296 5.6 — 2.1 95 63 A

@wheelsaustralia 157


Classic

PETER ROBINSON’S

E P I C TA L E S F R O M O U R A R C H I V E S

FIRST PUBLISHED MAY 1998

Mark One SIGNING A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT TO RACE AN MERCEDES-BENZ CLK GTR IN THE FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP, BEGINNING IN 1998, WAS THE BREAK MARK WEBBER NEEDED ON HIS PATH TO FORMULA ONE. Today, reading Todd Hallenbeck’s Mark Webber profile from Wheels May 1998, the AMG deal looked perfect for the then 21-year-old from Queanbeyan. “Webber is more than a talented driver. He is very professional for his age and extremely good off-track,” Hans Werner Aufrecht, the president of AMG, told Wheels. “Those qualities and the fact that he didn’t have a lot of money attracted us to him.” “He’s very approachable and suave and good for our image.” Webber signed into the same AMG junior driver program that helped Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harold Frentzen, Dario Franchitti and Alexander Wurz make it into top-flight racing. With Bernd Schneider, Webber won five of the 10 championship races in 1998 to finish second behind another AMG in the title fight. The relationship with AMG looked beyond happy. “Off track, the professionalism [AMG] show is a long way ahead of anyone else,” said Webber. “The way they look after drivers is unreal. At Jarama [Webber’s first test session in the CLK GTR] in the middle sessions, you get a full massage.” Hallenbeck wrote, “For a kid who remembers the dirt paddocks of Amaroo Park and the shithole that’s Lakeside, all those warm Cokes and cold hotdogs, he’s happy beyond belief.” It didn’t last. With the FIA cancelling the Sportscar race series due to a lack of interest from other manufacturers, Mercedes concentrated on winning the 1999 Le Mans 24-hour

race – the first time Mercedes had returned since the 1955 horror race when over 80 spectators were killed. Instead, the race became a nightmare for Mercedes and its drivers. An aerodynamic issue with the car caused Webber’s CLR to take off at 300km/h over a hump on the circuit and crash massively. Nobody in the team took Webber’s version of the accident seriously. In practice on the morning of the race, unbelievably, exactly the same thing happened. Webber survived, but the team insisted there was no problem. It wasn’t the car, it was the driver. Webber wanted the cars withdrawn, but AMG insisted they start. Five hours into the race Peter Dumbreck’s CLR flipped and went into the trees in one of motor racing’s most horrifying accidents. Somehow, he too, survived. In his terrific book Aussie Grit, Webber writes, “I lost it then. I burst into tears, and then I ran flat out to the pits about a kilometre and a half away. I was ropeable. When was this nightmare going to end?” In the weeks following Le Mans nobody from Mercedes rang Webber. Today, the 1999 Le Mans is almost written out of Mercedes racing history. Webber, of course, did achieve his F1 dream, winning nine races and standing on the podium 42 times in a stellar career. He then went back to sportscars and won the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015. With Porsche. Read this story, written during the honeymoon period with AMG, but remember it didn’t end well.

“FOR A KID WHO REMEMBERS THE DIRT PADDOCKS OF AMAROO PARK AND LAKESIDE, ALL THOSE WARM COKES AND COLD HOTDOGS, WEBBER IS HAPPY BEYOND BELIEF” – TODD HALLENBECK

158 wheelsmag.com.au


issue

The Aussie who built a replica Ferrari GP racer THE WAY IT WAS

Campo’s move: cheque for a mate In 1997, Webber, running out of money fast and heavily in debt to his F3 team, thought his racing career was over. It was Peter Windsor, former Williams team manager and later a respected F1 journalist, who suggested Mark contact David Campese, the great Australian rugby winger. Webber remembers, “At one point, we were so behind on payments that we decided to ask David Campese for help. He played union with Dad for the Queanbeyan Whites, so he knew our family well, and if anyone was going to buy into what I was trying to do, we thought it would be him. In the end, he paid something like £50,000 ($A84,000), which was just unbelievable, and it meant that we could keep going.”

Bad touch Bill Clinton denies he had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, starting the Lewinsky scandal, investigations and backflip.

ALSOIN WHEELS,May1998 We drive the (near) future in the form of the $20 million all-Australian aXcess concept car; preview Holden’s promising fourth-gen Astra; take a first drive of Toyota’s mighty 100 Series Land Cruiser; compare a French, German, and Japanese hatchback, and enjoy a proper flashback with a comparison of four post-war cars.

Ruble tumble The Russian ruble loses 70 percent of its value against the US dollar over a six-month period. Several of Russia’s largest banks collapse, and millions of people lose their savings.

Flood Gates Microsoft becomes the world’s most valuable company, valued at US$261b on the New York Stock Exchange. These days it’s around US$290b, about 40 percent less than Apple.

READ THIS STORY AND HEAPS MORE CLASSICS AT Wheelsmag.com.au/classic

@wheelsaustralia 159


RetroSeries PEUGEOT 205 TURBO 16

1984

94

WOR DS MICHAEL STAHL

Forest thump A Pug-nacious homologation special that ruled rallying in the mid-’80s CONSIDER yourself a certified beanie-wearer if you can name the car that won the 1981 World Rally Championship. This was the year before rallying was re-written by both Group B and the all-wheel drive Audi Quattro … The 1981 drivers’ title was won by Ari Vatanen in the legendary Ford Escort RS – but few remember that the manufacturers’ championship was won by a square-cornered hatchback, the Talbot Sunbeam-Lotus. The Talbot brand had come with PSA-Peugeot’s 1978 purchase of Chrysler Europe; the Sunbeam was a tough, rear-drive hatch. The 2.2-litre Lotus-developed rally variants, driven by Guy Frequelin and Henri Toivonen, scored only one win but several podiums to nab the WRC constructors’ title. Some key elements here – the Talbot’s small size and serviceability, and Frequelin’s co-driver, Jean Todt – would surface again in the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, the car that would out-Quattro the Quattro. In 1981, Todt was appointed to head up Peugeot’s new motorsport division. Project one was to add zest to Peugeot’s forthcoming 205 family with a 4WD rally winner, initially codenamed ‘M-24’. Todt’s 20-strong team, under engineer Bernard Perron, noted the Audi’s shortcomings – overhanging front engine, cumbersome size, heavy body – and designed

Fast & fac

05

1

al tu

160 wheelsmag.com.au

their 205 Turbo 16 with a part-spaceframe chassis and transverse mid-mounted engine and gearbox. Mid-rally servicing access was paramount, with the upper rear half of the bodywork a single, hinged clamshell. The front of the engine was behind a removable panel, ahead of the right-rear wheel. Commonality was the keyword, extending to four interchangeable driveshafts, even the sizes of nuts and bolts used. It was a skunkworks special, certainly, but the silhouette and the XU-series four-cylinder block were at least true to the humble 205 hatch. Crucially, Todt insisted that the T16’s ‘evolution’ competition spec be fully developed prior to production of the 200 road-going homologation cars. The Group B papers were lodged in August 1983 and the 200 road cars built in just eight months. Homologation was granted in April 1984. Being effectively hand-built ‘evolution’ cars themselves, the road cars were expensive – equivalent to the Ferrari 308 GTB and Porsche 911 of the day – though with only a laggy 147kW, not especially quick. But its rallying twin was destined to be the most successful car of Group B, with 16 WRC victories and swooping both drivers’ and constructors’ titles in 1985 and 1986. A total of 241 road-going T16s were built.

Head for the hill

Fuel cushion

With the demise of Group B in 1986, Pug developed the 205 T16 for the 1987 Pike’s Peak (finishing 2-3-4 to Audi) and 1988 Paris-Dakar (1st).

Driver and passenger sit taller in a Turbo 16, thanks to the location of the fuel tank… immediately under the seats.


Unsealed section This manufacturer of off-road buggies is set for a dubious distinction WHO’S AUSTRALIA’S fastest growing car manufacturer? You’re looking at him: expatriate Englishman David Brim, the 40-year-old CEO of Tomcar. The Melbourne-based enterprise has produced only about 200 of its off-road buggies since manufacturing kicked-off in 2012, but Brim intends for Tomcar to be one day producing 5000 to 8000 per year. By the end of this year, of course, he’ll be Australia’s largest car manufacturer. “We’re the fastest growing car company in Australia because everyone else is closing, but I want to hold the flag high and be a vanguard,” Brim says. “I want to see in 15 or 20 years, dozens of companies like Tomcar here in Australia, manufacturing a whole variety of mobility solutions.” Brim, a Londoner whose family has interests in publishing and property, came to Australia 12 years ago with the design rights to an Israeli-developed military vehicle. His main automotive connection previously was a family passion for Lotus Super Sevens. “We were members of the Swiss Lotus Club, and every year we went to St. Moritz where 300 to 400 Super Sevens would gather. We used to go across the Channel and drive around France.

It was an affordable family holiday.” He says he’d never really made the connection between the Lotuses and the Tomcar; the attraction of the latter was purely business. Based in Brisbane for the first six years, Tomcar loaned prototypes to outback cattle farmers for testing and development. “It was a crude military vehicle from Israel,” Brim says. “A fantastic design, but very unfinished and raw, not commercialised in any way. So we completely redesigned the drivetrain, electronics system, and the way the car is put together. There were more than 2000 parts that we had to source.” Surprisingly, that last part wasn’t easy. “More than 70 percent of the content comes from local manufacturers – compared with the Holden Cruze, which was four percent,” Brim says. “But finding people to support the dream was another major challenge. We’ve been told to move along… ‘You can’t build a car in Australia profitably’; ‘You can’t sell a car on the internet.’ We’ve been laughed out of a minister’s office. Literally. Like, giggled out.” Good thing the astute, soft-spoken Brit doesn’t seem the vindictive type. “Not yet. When I win an award I’ll call everyone out.” Australia, Brim says, is probably the best

W H EEL S T O R I E S MI C HA E L S T A HL

CLEVER, IN ISOLATION How does Tomcar buggy maker David Brim feel about becoming the new face of the Australian automotive industry? “It feels sad that the industry’s been left to suffer, because these skill sets are so hard to get back. We couldn’t have set up Tomcar Australia without the supplier base that resulted from 100 years of the car industry. We’re an isolated continent; we need advanced manufacturing in Australia.”

162 wheelsmag.com.au

place in the world to develop and build a vehicle like the Tomcar. “In Australia, we have customers who have 300,000 acres; a million acres. These are huge distances, they’re travelling hours and hours each day… that really has an effect on the cooling system and the moving parts. “If you can tame Australia’s outback, you can go anywhere in the world with it.” Agricultural users constitute about 60 percent of Tomcar’s current customers, though Brim expects mining (currently 30 percent, with military being the remainder) to one day overtake it. Recreational focus can follow later. “We really do try and stay true to those practical, commercial applications of our vehicle,” he says. “The future of manufacturing in Australia is niche. Now, niches can be very large globally. “The problem with Toyota, and these other guys, was that they were building cars that we weren’t really buying. We need to start building products around what we use. So I can see a future in Australia of us leading the way in mining and agricultural equipment. “With the passenger car industry leaving, it’s shaking things up and making people think outside the box.”


www.laufenn.com


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