Page 1

BAHN STORM! RS5 v M4 Pure v C63 S Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 7

facebook.com/WheelsAustralia Available On The App Store & Google Play

$10.50(inc GST) NZ $10.95 (inc GST)

THE EDIT ION

H a ow pe T rf es or la m ’s an R ce oa re dst vo er lu po ti in on t s

FUTU RE

to

400km/h 1.9sec 0-100

ELEC AND TRIFI C W A H (it’s AT TION exc C O , A itin M U T g, w E S O N e pr N omi EX O M Y se) T !

SHOCK!

Electric F-Type! Next-gen coupe ditches petrol power!


Contents

N E X T I S S U E O N S A L E 2 5 JA N UA RY FIRST DRIVES 36 MERC-AMG GLC 63 S Sports. Utility. Velocity

40 JAGUAR E-PACE

Our feline? Definitely no dog

42 BMW X3

Third time’s a charm?

44 KIA SORENTO

Sweet Sorento tune

45 VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON Big ’Dub remix

46 HYUNDAI SONATA

Much to like; little to love

47 MERCEDES-AMG GT S

Panache: short for pants-ache

48 MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS CABRIOLET

Is choosing the finest droptop an open and shut case?

REDLINE

FEATURES

10 TESLA ROADSTER 2

52 PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS

14 JAGUAR F-TYPE

60 AUDI RS5 vs BMW M4 vs MERCEDES-AMG C63 S

World’s most impressive performance claims Waves bye-bye to suck, squeeze, bang, blow

18 ASTON MARTIN

Stops killing innocent men to swing a haymaker at rivals

Establishing a new order in German super-coupes

All-new Vantage helps itself to AMG turbo V8 grunt

75 THE FUTURE ISSUE

20 ICE, ICE BABY How NZ helps autonomous cars handle winter’s worst

76 MERCEDES-BENZ F 015

22 COTY CLASS OF 2018

78 A CURRENT AFFAIR

24 EXPLAINED: TUNGSTEN-COATED BRAKE DISCS

84 AUTONOMY

Backstage with the cast

New cast-iron/carbonceramic middle ground

49 ABARTH 595 COMPETIZIONE

Plots the roadmap to 2040 Stuttgart’s vision of the future lands in Australia Zapping the obstacles to electric car ownership

Hands off down the Hume

90 INFRASTRUCTURE

Clever cars are going to need a smarter road network

94 SUPERPOWER SUMMIT

Better, cheaper, still angry

Discover what keeps auto executives awake at night

100 FORMULA E MERC AMG MERC-AMG GLC 63 S PAGE 36

VW ARTEON PAGE 45

We drive motorsport’s quiet revolution, quickly

110 MEDIUM SUV COMPARISON

Rounding up six of the best high-rise family wagons

ABARTH 59 95 COMPETIZIO ONE O NE PAGE 49

4 wheelsmag.com.au

EVERY ISSUE 7 Ed’s letter 26 Marketplace 28 Inbox 30 InGear 32 Stahl 34 Carey 50 Head-to-head Renault Megane GT wagon vs Subaru Levorg GT 124 Our Garage 136 Showroom 158 Classic Wheels Caddy cool 160 Retro Dino soars; swoops on 911 162 Wheelstories Scaling the ranks to F1


WE HAVE TWO COVERS THIS MONTH:

RED FOR RETAIL, WHILE SUBS SCORE AN ART-DRIVEN, PARED BACK DESIGN

Subscribe to Wheels for your chance to win

$10,000!

Page 60

52

100

75

@wheelsaustralia 5


Experience the exhilaration of V6 Twin Turbo RWD performance for yourself. Book a test drive 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 KMAU4498/WHEELS


Editor’s letter ALEX INWOOD

IT CAN BE A DARK AND CONFUSING PLACE, THE FUTURE. ONE FULL OF UNCERTAINTY, UNKNOWNS AND IF YOU’RE A PETROLHEAD, A SOURCE OF CONSIDERABLE APPREHENSION, PROVIDING YOU’VE TAKEN THE TIME TO PROPERLY CONSIDER WHAT OUR ROADS AND CARS COULD LOOK LIKE IN 10, 20 OR 30 YEARS’ TIME. IF YOU HAVEN’T, DO IT NOW. I’LL WAIT. Do you feel it? That twinge of worry, that pinch of concern deep in your gut, the slow realisation that if you’re one of the diminishing few that care about cars and driving, our future is bleak. Feeling this way is justifiable when you consider the facts. Righteous, environmentally conscious governments the world over are judiciously banning internal combustion. Naturally aspirated engines and manual gearboxes are nosediving to extinction. Electrification and autonomy are the new altars of devotion as car companies desert the pursuit of analogue pleasures and instead plunge unreservedly into a tech-infused future that asks not how the driver can be more involved, but how they can be removed altogether. It mightn’t have the drama or violence of a mutiny, but whether you realise it or not, we’re

Frank’s vision of the future is one where hybrids boom, combustion-only performance cars carve their own fiercely protected niche and where electrification reigns supreme. Ask about the possibility of an electric 911 and he doesn’t blink. “I think it’s not so far away that we will see the first full electric sportscar,” he grins. “It will challenge the idea of the sportscar, yes, but an electric car does not mean it has to be autonomous and all these things. You can make an electric car feel like a proper sportscar, why not? You have more options with weight and power and we don’t have to give up the connection to the road, the grip feeling, the proper handling.” While he admits things are changing at a rapid rate, Frank insists the driver is still the top priority. “I’m not worried or nervous at all,” he says.

Quiz engineers on the future and their faces fill not with despair, but excitement and possibility in the midst of a transport revolution. It’s enough to have you considering a career as a swivel-eyed doomsayer, but don’t start fashioning your ‘The end is nigh!’ sandwich-board just yet. Quiz the men and women making the decisions about future performance car product and their faces fill not with despair, but excitement and possibility. They’re astute businessmen, of course, but typically the people at the pointy end of these companies are enthusiasts like us. AMG’s fuel-gargling, tyre-hating Tobias Moers is a prime example, as is Frank Walliser. He’s the VC of Porsche’s GT division and charged with implementing the vision of his boss, Andreas Preuninger, another petrolhead, turbo sceptic and the man responsible for ‘purist cars’ like the 911 R.

“I believe we’ll still have internal combustion for a very long time, especially in motorsport ... but I truly believe electric cars will be exciting.” It pays not to underestimate the challenge. Not only do car companies need to nail the timing and build product that doesn’t alienate existing customers, but more crucially, they need to excite and engage a younger generation more interested in the latest iPhone than a new Porsche or AMG. Just how they plan to do that is at the core of this magazine. It’s our first Future Issue; designed to cut through the noise and the marketing hype about the change we’ll soon face and clarify what’s realistic and what isn’t. It’s a multifaceted topic and the core message is this: if you care about driving, don’t panic. Change can be good.

Sound off One of the biggest hurdles facing electric performance cars is noise. A spine-tingling exhaust sound isn’t only a primary vein of engagement, as you revel in the timbre and vibration, but key to helping a driver judge engine speed and gear selection. Pumping fake engine noise into the cabin is a flawed solution, and happily, one Porsche is avoiding. “An electric car with the sound of a V8 … that is not the Porsche way,” says Frank. “Humans have a relationship between speed and sound, so when you cut this and the car is silent, it feels way quicker. I would not say that without the sound the sportscar feeling is gone. It will be different, but lots of things are changing.”

WE DON’T HAVE TO GO BACK

@wheelsaustralia 7


EDITOR DEPUTY EDITOR SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST SENIOR JOURNALIST STAFF JOURNALIST STAFF JOURNALIST STAFF JOURNALIST ART DIRECTOR

Alex Inwood Andy Enright Nathan Ponchard Ash Westerman Tony O’Kane Barry Park Daniel Gardner David Bonnici Ryan Lewis Cameron Kirby Felipe Ubilla

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ellen Dewar . Nathan Jacobs . Alastair Brook CONTRIBUTORS

Stephen Corby . Byron Mathioudakis Toby Hagon . Peter Robinson . Michael Stahl . James Whitbourn . John Carey .

WANT MORE?

wheelsmag.com.au Updated daily | Breaking news Even more reviews | Great videos …and more! FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER @WHEELSAUSTRALIA

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Thomas Wielecki . Cristian Brunelli Alex Tapley GROUP SALES MANAGER

Matt Rice (02) 9263 9706 BRAND SALES MANAGER

Liam Quirk (02) 9282 8348 NSW AGENCY SALES

Max Kolomiiets (02) 8275 6486 Aaron Whiteman (02) 9288 9123 VIC AGENCY SALES

Stephen Hughes (03) 9567 4320

CONTACT THE TEAM WHEELS@WHEELSMAG.COM.AU

SNAIL MAIL

WHEELS, LOCKED BAG 12 OAKLEIGH, VIC 3166

QLD ADVERTISING

Todd Anderson (07) 3245 5049 SA ADVERTISING

Nick Lenthall (08) 8212 6256 WA ADVERTISING

Emily Thompson 0408 516 176 ADVERTISING PRODUCTION

Joanna Garretto MARKETING ENQUIRIES

Charlotte Brunton (03) 9567 4316 SYNDICATION ENQUIRIES

Email: syndication@bauer-media.com.au SUBSCRIPTION & SALES ENQUIRIES

Web: wheels.magshop.com.au Email: magshop @magshop.com.au Phone: 136 116 – 8am to 6pm (EST) Monday to Friday Mail: Magshop, GPO Box 5252 Sydney NSW 2000 PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Trent Rice OPERATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER Richard Wein CIRCULATION MANAGER Stuart Jones CREATIVE CONSULTANT Glen Smith ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Ged Bulmer CEO, BAUER TRADER MEDIA Terry Williams King CEO, BAUER MEDIA GROUP Paul Dykzeul

Published by Bauer Trader Media, part of the Bauer Media Group, ABN 18 053 273 546, 54-58 Park Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2001. © 2016. The trademark WHEELS is the property of Bauer Consumer Media Limited and is used under licence. All rights reserved. ISSN: 0043-4779. Printed by PMP PRINT, 31-35 Heathcote Road, Moorebank, NSW 2170. (02) 9828 1350

8 wheelsmag.com.au

SUBSCRIBE NOW! MAGSHOP.COM.AU


Insurance is arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (ABN 61 003 617 909, AFSL 241411), acting as an agent of the insurer Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (ABN 42 111 586 353). Read PDS available from us to decide if products suit you. Subject to rating/underwriting criteria. Car insurance not available in NT. Home & Contents insurance not available in Northern Qld, NT or Northern WA. Budget Direct, winner of Money magazine’s Insurer Of The Year, 2010, 2015 & 2017.


Redline

Blame game The US Consumer Watchdog has written to General Motors in protest over what it claims is the car maker’s bid to blame an autonomous cars’ owners for a crash, not the company which built it. Under a proposed legal framework presented to the US Department

of Transport, GM has suggested that the vehicle must be “maintained in compliance with manufacturers’ specifications”. That has the watchdog worried owners could be held responsible if, say, mud was splashed on a vital sensor, disabling it and causing a crash.

YEARBOOK 2017

“Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine...” Roadster – the Roadster 2 is claimed to cover the quarter mile in 8.8 seconds and run on to a top speed in excess of 400km/h. In order to do this, the car not only requires excellent aerodynamics and a small frontal area, both of which look a given, but it should also mark a return to the multispeed transmission setup of the 2008 Tesla Roadster, subsequent models being fitted with a one-speed direct drive. The weight of the battery pack will also be an issue, given that the Model S P100D’s cells tip the scales at 540kg. Nevertheless, doubling the capacity of the

previous flagship should make that 620-mile (992km) range feasible in steady-state driving. A sophisticated torquevectoring system also looks likely, given that the Roadster utilises not two but three electric motors; one for the front axle and one for each of the rear wheels. With characteristic restraint, Musk claimed that “driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” The two-door, four-seat targa’s styling appears a welcome return to form after the divisive Model X and, given the massive

CHIRON 2.4s 9.4s 417km/h 658km from US$2.85m

mag.com.au 12 wheelsmag.com.au

oversubscription for Model 3, demand is sure to be strong for the 1000-unit batch of Founders Series models which demand a full US$250,000 deposit. After that, regular production cars will start at US$200,000, with a US$50,000 deposit required to reserve one. Given that Tesla recorded a US$619m loss in its previous quarterly earnings report, a US$250m cash windfall for the Founders Series plus subsequent Roadster deposits should certainly bolster shortterm cashflow, even if those monies accrue as additional debt. It’ll also raise more than

ROADSTER 2 0-97km/h (60mph) 0-400m Top Speed Range Price

1.9s 8.8s 400km/h 998km from US$200,000


One law to rule them all State and territory roads ministers have agreed to fast-track the changes needed to roll out highly and fully autonomous vehicles in Australia – by 2020. “Australia is one of the first countries to make this bold commitment to 2020,” National Transport Commission chief executive Paul Retter

Tesla’s 2010 IPO but will do little to silence grumblings that Tesla is effectively crowdfunding the vehicle’s development. Nevertheless, Musk is confident that the tech behind the Roadster 2 will prove the tipping point where electric cars finally gain ascendancy over the internal combustion engine. “The point of doing this is to give a smackdown to gasoline cars,” he said. In recent times, Tesla has been long on claims but painfully short on delivery. Back in 2011, Musk confirmed that the second-gen Roadster would appear in 2014. With numbers like those generated by the Tesla Roadster 2, devotees of the brand don’t care that it’s at least six years behind the curve. But the fastest performance car ever made? At present ‘the fastest performance car if made’ would appear to be a more accurate claim.

said. “We want to give certainty to manufacturers by ensuring our regulatory system is flexible and responsive to encourage innovation.” The changes will clarify who, or what, is in control of a self-driving vehicle, and remove the need to show proper control by having a hand on the wheel.

MAXIMUM PLAID What’s beyond ludicrous speed? If you’re a fan of 1987 nerdcore movie Spaceballs, you’ll know that the answer is Plaid speed. You’ll need to switch the Roadster 2 into Plaid Mode to deliver its fiercest acceleration – and most savage power draw – whereupon the huge nav screen assumes the colour scheme of a pair of golfer’s slacks.

AN DY E N R IGH T

PRODUCTION UCTION HELL Of the 450,000 punters ters who have stumped up Model 3 deposits, few yet have their cars. October’s deliveries amounted to 145 cars, a number “less than anticipated due to production bottlenecks” and significantly down on the 10,000 cars-per-month target. The Fremont production line is operating at one-tenth of its potential speed, with a Wall Street Times report claiming that a number of processes such as spot welding are having to be completed by hand. Having been seen camping on the roof of his troubled Gigafactory, Musk is acutely aware that while Tesla’s market capitalisation is stratospheric, its cash flow is worryingly

low. Over the past year, Tesla has been burning cash at the rate of US$8000 per minute, with current reserves set to dry up by August 6th. What’s more, markets are getting antsy about any further stock dilution to free up cash. With interest debt currently standing at $4500 per car, the company needs to build meaningful supplies of Model 3. Tesla’s chief attraction as a stock has been its lack of legacy costs, but debt is emerging as Tesla’s own take on the same issue. A downgrade from its current S&P B- credit rating to CCC status could be the catalyst to spark a dumping of stocks by nervy investors. @wheelsaustralia 13


Redline

57

The number of Uber accounts that recently had personal data hacked. Uber later paid a $132,000 ransom in exchange for the hackers’ silence

MILLION

YEARBOOK 2017

EXCLUSIVE!

Engine-free F-Type

Petrol power to be ditched for an all-electric line-up IN A RADICAL move, Jaguar’s iconic two-door sports car will soon do without an engine. A top-secret project currently underway at the brand’s design and engineering centre in Gaydon will see petrol engines dropped altogether for the radical allelectric F-Type replacement due as early as 2021 or 2022. Despite the lack of internal combustion, the futuristic Jaguar two-door sports car will be the

14 wheelsmag.com.au

fastest car ever to wear the leaper badge courtesy of electric motors and a bespoke new architecture tailored to take advantage of the design freedoms offered when a traditional drivetrain is not part of the equation. The bold decision to drop petrol engines is in line with Jaguar Land Rover’s promise of ensuring every model features some form of electrification by 2020. It’s that promise that also

prompted the board-level decision to scrap traditional drivetrains altogether for a next-gen sports car, in the process sidestepping the halfway-house trend towards hybrid propulsion. While JLR chief Ralf Speth has admitted internal combustion engines will be around for a long time yet, it’s understood he saw too many compromises in designing a compact sports car to accommodate bulky internal

combustion engines as well as electric motors and batteries. The move to target the heartland of Jaguar – sports cars – is also a bold step to separate Jaguar from its predominantly German competition by taking a leading position with a flagship EV performance car. Jaguar already flagged its sports car intentions with a classic E-Type engineered with electric motors and batteries.


Zed’s not dead Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa has thrown his weight behind an all-new Z car in the brand’s model range to replace the ageing 370Z. While conceding there are challenges in the sports car market, he nevertheless claimed to be “personally

advocating” a new Z car. “We haven’t given up on it,” he was reported as saying. With the 370Z having enjoyed almost a decade on sale, a replacement’s costs would appear easy to amortise, especially with development costs shared by Renault.

MARKET T RESEARCH

WHEELS S IMAGE

Combined with the early-2017 17 announcement of the i-Pace electric SUV, it was that electric c E-Type that prompted a monthshslong Wheels investigation that unearthed the top-secret project. ct. Sources closely aligned with h the program have confirmed the he company is deep in development ent of the all-electric F-Type replacement, which could get a different name to signify its leap ap from tradition to cutting-edge EV technology. The all-electric sports car is being developed alongside the i-Pace (right), Jaguar’s all-electric ric SUV due on sale in 2018. It uses two electric motors and a 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack ack that can reach 80 percent charge ge in 90 minutes. As with Teslas, acceleration will be a big part of

ELIMINATING ELIMIN ELIMINAT ELI MINATI ATING NG THE PETROL PETRO PE TROL L POWERTRAIN POWERT POW ERTRAI ERT RAIN RAI N MAY FREE FREE UP SPACE TO PACKAGE NEXT-GEN F-TYPE F-TYPE AS A TWO TWO-PL TWO-PLUS-TWO. -PLUSUS-TWO TWO. II-PACE I-P PACE ACE (B (BELO (BELOW) ELOW) W) PAV PAVES ES THE WA WAY Y FOR FF-TYP F-TYPE TYPE E MARK M MARKET ARKET ET ENT ENTRY RY

The i-Pace is, in many regards, the test bed and learning experience for an allelectric Jaguar sports car. The F-Type will piggyback its development with Jaguar’s first dedicated electric SUV, due in 2018. But engineers will also keenly watch its acceptance in the market, in turn tweaking and tuning the formula. The unique requirements of a sports car – especially its low-slung stance – also mean it will employ a different structure to the i-Pace. It’s all about ensuring the flagship of the line-up lives up to its sporting expectations.

@wheelsaustralia 15 @wheelsaustralia @


Redline

FRONTIER JUSTICE

“It’s like the Wild West. The regulatory system is not being used” Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Joan Claybrook on the need for autonomous vehicle standards

YEARBOOK 2017

The batteries promise almost double the energy density of current automotive cells RANGE ON BATTERY Jaguar’s sister brand, Land Rover, is also looking to jump on board the electric push. The SUV brand has begun selling plug-in hybrid versions of its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. But there are all-electric models to come. The most radical pure electric car is set to be a version of the upcoming new Defender family. Though the Defender was recently killed off, the company is developing a family of utilitarian off-road models with hybrid and full electric power.

16 wheelsmag.com.au

the i-Pace sales pitch, with the SUV claimed to be able to hit 100km/h in four seconds. But the new F-Type will boost that performance further, with a line-up likely to include rear-drive and all-paw variants. Entry-level cars will stick with a rear-drive setup, while more expensive models will run electric motors at both ends, delivering drive to front and rear wheels. It’s the AWD version that aims to reset the two-seater performance benchmark for Jaguar, with early internal targets nominating a sub-3.0 second 0-100km/h time. While engineers are excited by the relatively easy performance

promised by electric motors, developing the personality of the car will rely heavily on the design team, led by former Aston Martin and HSV styling chief Ian Callum. While there will be lessons learned from the i-Pace, the allnew electric sports coupe will sit on a unique architecture tailored to a sports car featuring a low seating position. Those sporty requirements have so far challenged Callum and his team – especially with the inherent focus on light weight – and mean the car will be a vast visual leap from the F-Type, the XK and the E-Type, each of which had a prodigious bonnet to house V8 and/or V12 engines.

Key to the design will be new generation lithium-ion batteries, currently under development in conjunction with the University of Warwick. The batteries promise almost double the energy density of current automotive cells, so as well as a 500km-plus range and fast charging capability, they will be significantly smaller and lighter than the batteries we know today. However, the battery pack will still be one of the heaviest components of the 2021 F-Type, running into hundreds of kilograms. It will therefore be incorporated low in the body, possibly utilising the centre tunnel that would have previously


Mercedes brings its A-game The interior of the all-new A-Class looks set to challenge design leadership in the premium small-car segment. Due to arrive here in June 2018, the baby Benz features a freestanding widescreen display for instruments and infotainment, and a flat-topped two-layer

been used for the transmission. As a result, the long snout will disappear; expect more of a midengined flavour, with a stubby bonnet and elongated tail and a car that is closer to a 50/50 weight distribution. While there are challenges in revolutionising the classic Jaguar sports car shape, starting from a clean-sheet design means Jaguar does not have to compromise the packaging or structure of the 2021 F-Type. The lack of a traditional drivetrain also allows for more interior space and some innovative packaging – check out the interior of the Range Rover Velar to see how far JLR is pushing cabin design – raising the possibility of the return of a 2+2 seating configuration, something that is yet to be decided at Gaydon.

design. The familiar Comand infotainment system’s rotary controller has been replaced with a touchpad and wrist rest. Even the base car will come with a pair of 7-inch displays. All models benefit from greater luggage capacity, larger rear doors and slimmer pillars.

SINGER PERFECTS PORSCHE 964

T O BY H A GO N

WHEELS IMAGE

RETRO Porsche rebuilder Singer Vehicle Design has surpassed all of its previous hardware by revealing a Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS) Porsche – the ultimate interpretation of the iconic Porsche 964. Singer will produce just 75 of the moneyno-object vehicles for its most well-heeled customers, who will get an example of arguably one of the most potent, desirable and collectable air-cooled 911s. Internal combustion wizard Williams Advanced Engineering was enlisted to help develop the DLS, including the powerplant. Two years of toil has produced an atmo 4.0-litre flat six that pumps out 373kW. The body is widened and lowered, and the shell hides a significant re-engineering assault including extensive use of titanium, magnesium and carbonfibre to slash weight to 990kg. BBS supplies a set of 18-inch

magnesium centre-lock wheels, Brembo provides massive monoblock calipers with carbon composite discs, Hewland bolts a lightweight magnesium six-speed manual to the engine, and EXE-TC provides a bespoke damper set-up. The build process will be completed at the Williams headquarters in the UK, not Singer’s base in California. The Blood Orange interior pays only the merest nod to the original and customer cars are likely to be individually specced with a virtually unlimited number of colour, material and detail options on offer. Performance figures have not been released but with more power than a Chrysler 300 SRT and only half its weight, you can expect the latest machine from Singer to be blindingly fast. Think Mazda MX-5 with four times the power. Want one? Yup? So do we.

@wheelsaustralia 17


Redline

Aston back in black Aston Martin is set to post its first annual profit since 2010 as DB11 demand has buoyed pre-tax profit to A$38.5m in the first three quarters of 2017, reversing a loss of A$217m in the same period in 2016. The company is expecting that figure to

rise with the forthcoming launches of DB11 Volante and Vantage. Since 2014, Aston has pursued a turnaround plan, the first fruits of which are volumes that have risen by 65 percent to 3330 cars in the first nine months of the year.

YEARBOOK 2017

Advantage Aston

All-new Vantage brings a 375kW punch courtesy of AMG ASTON MARTIN has tossed its cookie cutter in the bin. The unapologetically styled Vantage you see here is a dramatic departure from the previousgen model and not only slashes another tether to the fading Ford ownership era but silences sceptics who predicted the new version would simply downscale the DB11 design language. But, as important as the aesthetics of an Aston are, this Vantage has the performance credentials to match. With 375kW on tap it has the most potent V8 yet slotted under the bonnet of an Aston, but when combined with a crash diet and new platform underpinnings, the next-gen Vantage takes a

quantum step up in athleticism too. Compared with the outgoing 321kW 4.7-litre V8 Vantage, the new version is nearly a full second quicker to 100km/h, doing the dash in a blistering 3.6 seconds, and even knocks the more powerful V12 into a cocked hat too. Top speed is 314km/h. Its heroic performance rmance is partly thanks to Mercedes-AMG, which provides some of the magic that lends similar performance to its GT two-seater range, starting with the engine. The Aston’s front-midmounted 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is effectively a crate engine fresh off the Affalterbach hand-built production line, which is then ‘Aston Martinised’ for the Vantage

through a completely revised engine management map. The Vantage’s peak power sits somewhere between the entry 350kW GT and the 384kW GT S, but Aston’s engineers focused on torque for its purposes, resulting in a mountainous 685Nm – just 15Nm shy of the AMG GT R flagship. Like the Merc, power is sent exclusively to the rear via a transaxle but for the Aston, the unit is a torque-converter type with eight ratios compared with the AMG’s seven-speed dual-clutch. Supplementing the transmission is a torque tube and electronically controlled differential with torque vectoring – the first of its kind for an Aston.

LIV LIVE CAR CARCASS

Pirelli P Zero boots were developed specially for develope the Vantage. Vant It runs 295/35 rrubber at the back and 255/40 rollers on the front fr axle.

AERO

Functional aerodynamics a feature far f more than in the previous prev Vantage with front splitter, side gills, boot duck-tail and underbody all contributing to downforce downfor and highspeed stability. sp

wheelsmag.com.au whee heels lsmag.com.au 18 wh


Boxster Spyder to score a six-pot There are some who have never quite come to terms with Porsche’s 718 series switching to turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Thankfully for these lead-footed Luddites, Weissach has decided to squeeze a six-cylinder engine into the bowels of the

latest Boxster Spyder. The flagship Boxster is expected to share the same 4.0-litre atmo six – mooted to be a detuned version of the 911 GT3’s powerplant – with the forthcoming Cayman GT4. It’s also believed that the car will be offered only as a six-speed manual.

SALE MODEL CARBON REDUCTION Brake discs are iron in all corners (400mm front, 360mm rear) with no carbon-ceramic option yet announced.

Some panel work is traditional steel but an extruded and bonded aluminium structure is state-of-the-art, says Aston and shared with the Vantage’s DB11 bigger sibling. Carbonfibre forms many of the exterior and aero components, and more alloy is used for the 20-inch wheels, which are available in standard cast form or a choice of optional, lighter, forged-alloy designs. On the inside, there are more clues to the AMG relationship, with switchgear and the unmistakable infotainment

While the British car maker has no grand designs to transition into a volume brand overnight, Aston Martin Australia and New Zealand regional manager Kevin Wall told Wheels the new Vantage is expected to conquest sales from rival premium brands. “With our focus now broadening to a large number of volume competitors, we’ll see significant volume increase for the brand overall with this car,” he said. During a recent Vantage preview event held in Melbourne, Wall revealed that a substantial number of orders had already been placed. “At the end of the program we’ve shown it to 120 clients and we have a whisker less than 20 percent of our next annual volume covered. We’re doing okay,” he said.

controls and screen lifted directly from the GT, but plenty of unique Aston touches to make you forget it too, including typical Aston customisation options. A 350-litre boot adds a touch of practicality. There may be a little German DNA woven into the fabric of the new Vantage, but alongside its progressive DB11 sister, the manic Vulcan track star and forthcoming Valkyrie hypercar, the Vantage is continuing to inject new energy and identity into a 100-year-old Brit brand. D A N IE L G AR D N E R

@wheelsaustralia 19


Redline

Shuttle cock-up A self-driving shuttle similar to ones being trialled in Melbourne and Perth has been involved in an accident in Las Vegas less than an hour after it hit the streets. The shuttle was struck by a reversing truck; no one was hurt. A City of Las Vegas representative claimed the

shuttle “did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident.” The statement went on to point out that “had the truck had the same sensing equipment that the shuttle has, the accident would have been avoided.”

YEARBOOK 2017

A slippery slope How does an autonomous car cope in a blizzard? It’s enough to give car companies the chills, but our choice Kiwi bros are here to help

THE MARCH towards an autonomous future isn’t just speeding up, it’s set to start slipping sideways and possibly spinning out of control with the world’s first winter-testing facility for self-driving cars to be built just across the ditch. Steve Gould, a manager at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground, just outside Queenstown in New Zealand, told Wheels that planning is well advanced for the facility, and hints that several companies have already approached them about starting autonomous winter testing. The reason, Gould says, is that the idea of self-driving cars, which use cameras to read lane markings and road signs, having to deal with total white-out conditions doesn’t just worry the world’s car makers, “they’re scared shitless of it.” “You can also imagine what it does to one of these cars when its radar gets covered in snow.

20 wheelsmag.com.au

Then you also have the road signs obscured by snow, and you can’t see the lines on the edge of the road, or the middle of the road, and all you have are the tyre tracks from the car in front of you, and suddenly the cameras can’t read the speed limits,” Gould says, speaking during a recent drive day with Mazdas on ice. “Autonomous cars rely on GPS as well, of course, but they check what the radar is reading against that GPS reading, so once the radars are gone, what does the car do then? “Meanwhile the cameras are looking for a line down the side of the road and one in the middle, but they’re both covered in snow and

ice. It’s going to be a challenge.” To help automotive companies face that challenge, the SHPG is already working on plans to build a “fully autonomous testing facility”. “You know Mcity in Detroit, which has been built purely for autonomous testing? Well, this will be basically a winter version of that, which will be the first in the world,” Gould says. DETROIT does, of course, have plenty of snow on its own, and the people at Ford claim they are already having significant successes with autonomous tech taking on those conditions. Faced with limited visibility,

snow and ice, humans tend to take a best-guess approach, and Ford says it is doing the same, but with more accuracy. Ford uses high-res 3D maps of roads, which include detail about where curbs, lane lines, trees and signs are, so the car knows where it is, even if it can’t ‘see’ them. Effectively, with the perfect map, the car will know, within a centimetre, where it is on the road at any given moment. “We’re able to drive perfectly well in snow,” Jim McBride, Ford’s head of autonomous research, claimed to Wired magazine recently. “We see everything above the ground plane, which we match to our map, and

The New Zealand proving ground is already working on plans to build a “fully autonomous testing facility”


BMW M5: now on special BMW has raised a few eyebrows ws by offering its all-new, all-wheel-drive -drive M5 with a price tag of less than $200K. Okay, so your $100 change isn’t going ing to top up the tank, but with the HSV V GTS-R W1 departing, it clears the way for or the M5

to offer the most power of any Aussiemarket vehicle at this price or below. That’s for the 50-unit Launch Edition, which packs a burly 441kW/750Nm wallop and is good for a 3.4sec sprint to 100km/h. Over to you, Mercedes and Audi.

RIME & ON REASON

Chips with that slider?

In its current form, SHPG is already being used by most of the world’s big car companies to teach our vehicles’ electronic brains how best to cope with hitting black ice, for example, because they know humans aren’t very good at it. Among the proving grounds’ 400 hectares of facilities (which run 24 hours a day and can host as many as 16 different manufacturers secretly and separately) are circular ice rinks, which allow cars’ traction and stability systems to be tested to the full, including having two tyres on ice and the other two on packed snow.

our map contains the information about where all the lanes are and all the rules of the road.” Elsewhere, Mercedes-Benz’s new E-Class has heated radar covers, coated in a special film that provides protection from ice and sleet, which means it should still work well enough in bad weather to spot things like guard rails, or to follow other vehicles. Despite those claims, Gould believes what we’ll probably see first are some autonomous vehicles being signed off to work in clear and dry conditions, and the next stage will be teaching them to drive in winter’s worst. “We might see a situation where you can only use the autopilot when the weather is right. When the car knows the temperature has dropped below zero or it’s snowing, it will tell you to take over control,” he adds. STEPH EN CO RB Y

@wheelsaustralia 21


Redline

Prius V still charging Despite being yanked from US dealerships, the family-sized Prius V will continue to feature in Toyota Australia’s plans, for the foreseeable future at least. Launched here in 2012 as a $35,990 range-topper of a petrol-electric hybrid line-up that also

included the previous-generation Prius, as well as the Yaris-sized Prius C, the V has fared well here, despite an overall slowdown in Toyota’s hybrid sales. Year to date, the wagon-shaped V has outsold the regular Prius by 92 registrations (334 v 242).

YEARBOOK 2017

The class of 2018 A tough pre-cull pares down the field for Wheels Car of the Year

Volvo XC60 Kia Stinger nger Coke-bottle hips, a rear-drive chassis ssis and a thrusty twin-turbo turbo V6 give Stinger a heart eart vote. But can it also convince hard-bitten judges dges that it does enough to move the game on? wheelsmag.com.au w ee e els sma ag. g co com. m.au m. a au 22 2 wh

Fifty percent like the XC90, and 50 percent better too. And more rewarding to drive. Here’s hoping the Swedes have also nailed XC60’s finesse.


Hyundai Kona EV set for Geneva debut Rumours have abounded for some time of an electric version of the Kona compact SUV, but a source from Hyundai’s European arm has confirmed the EV is set for a debut at the Geneva Show in March. The car will be engineered for right-hand drive markets

GIVEN the intensity of Wheels Car of the Year testing at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground, there was zero chance that all 40-odd new models launched in Australia during 2017 would make the COTY grid. That long list needed whittling to eliminate any marginals from contention. First to go were cars too closely related to existing models, despite styling differences. That meant Audi’s A5/S5 Coupe, Sportback and Convertible, and MercedesBenz’s E-Class Coupe, Cabriolet and All Terrain Wagon – each blessed with the same DNA as last year’s A4 and E-Class sedan COTY finalists – had their invites respectfully withheld. Same with the Audi TT RS (too close to 2015’s donor car), the red hot Honda Civic Type-R (not fundamentally altered enough to qualify), and the refreshed Volkswagen Golf Mk7.5. In the Golf’s case, being g closely y

Mazda CX-5 A complete refresh for Australia’s best-selling SUV carries the weight of two consecutive COTY wins for Mazda on its shoulders. And no manufacturer has ever three on the won th h trot.

and, if the sums work out, it’s likely to be offered for sale in Australia. This would give Hyundai a two-pronged EV offensive – the Ioniq sedan targeting business users and the Kona EV marketed as a second car for urban private buyers.

based on 2013’s superb COTY winner is great for its competitive advantage, but not its chances of being eligible this time around. And while Holden’s Astra sedan is a respectable thing, it doesn’t bring enough advancement or freshness in any particular area to be nominated. Ditto Kia’s likeable but unadventurous Picanto and Rio hatches, despite the Picanto being a cut above its compatriots for entertainment and appeal. The Cross Country-only Volvo V90 wagon doesn’t have the ride quality we expect of a COTYnominated vehicle of its type, while the Maserati Levante SUV lacks any real USP beyond being a chunky wagon with a Trident badge. More controversially, we vetoed both the Mini Countryman and Audi Q2 – direct rivals in the premium ium small SUV category – because use neither truly stood out given their 40-something price tags and a elevated aspirations. aspirations And

Alfa Rom eo Giul ia Aud i Q5 BMW 5 Seri es BMW X3 Hold en Equi nox Hon da CR-V HSV GTS -R W1 Hyu nda i i30 Hyu nda i Kon a Kia Stin ger Lan d Rov er Disc overy Lexu s LC Maz da CX-5 Peu geo t 300 8 Pors che Pan ame ra Ran ge Rov R er Vela Vl r Sko da Kod iaq Suz uki Swif t Tesl a Mod el X Toyo ta C-HR Volk swa gen Arte on Volv o XC6 0

we left the interesting Renault Zoe electric hatchback on the shelf because, despite its gutsy 41kWh battery and 400km range, it’s a five-year-old car with a carryover Clio interior. The ultra-low volume KTM X-Bow lacks ESC so is ineligible, and McLaren’s stunning 720S was sadly unavailabile. Which brings us to what’s in. We extended a wildcard grid position to both the late-arriving Hyundai Kona and the Holden Equinox simply because we lacked enough experience behind their respective steering wheels to make a judgment. And even though judges expressed concern about the HSV GTS-R W1’s eligibility inclusion, the ballistic V8’s imminent extinction gifted it a ‘Captain’s Pick’ guernsey. here’s So here s the 22-strong field for Car of the Year 2018. Good luck picking the winner. We reckon it’s anyone’s game. NATHA N P PO O NCH NCHA AR RD

Alfa Romeo Giulia Pas Passion ssion and panache have ve been be een propping up Italian n cars ca ars for decades, but this s one e is actually good. Really bloody good. But are we talking COTY good? @wheelsaustralia 23


EXPLAINED TRICKY TECH IN SIMPLE TERMS

GKN

TUNGSTEN-CARBIDE COATED BRAKES

YEARBOOK OOK 2017

What is it? A regular cast-iron brake disc that has undergone a complex plating process to coat the surface with an ultra-hard layer of tungsten-carbide. The technology has debuted on Porsche’s thirdgeneration Cayenne SUV but will soon appear on other models and is likely to spread to other brands as well.

White 10-pot calipers differentiate this set-up from the yellow units used for Porsche’s carbonceramics

How does it work? A layer of tungsten-carbide, 100-microns thick, is applied to the friction surfaces of a regular cast-iron brake rotor in a powder form through a thermal spray process. On contact, the very high temperature and velocity forces the ultra-hard compound to bond to the disc, creating a coating many times harder than the surface of a regular rotor. A special brake pad has been formulated to interact optimally with the tungsten surface and is similar in composition to the pads used for carbon-ceramic discs, which are also extremely hard. Other than the exotic materials, the brake system functions as any other disc-brake set-up does, although in the Cayenne’s case, it employs massive 10-piston calipers for maximum clamping force.

Discs measure 415mm 15mm on the Cayenne’s enne’s front axle but can theoretically be e sized for any application

Stop, then charge

Why does it matter? Tungsten rotors resist wear longer than conventional iron versions and can last up to 40 percent longer, says Porsche. That offers a cost benefit that can offset the higher price of production. Importantly, the highly heat resistant coating maintains a more constant temperature and has a higher friction coefficient for more predictable braking performance

24 wheelsmag.com.au

under hard and frequent use. Further, the re reduced reduc duced ed rot rotor or wear also keeps wheels free from dust for longer. Not only are cleaner wheels more attractive but after a few kilometres of use, the discs polish to a mirror finish to further improve aesthetics. And if left for extended periods will not rust like conventional uncoated iron. DA N IE L G AR D N E R

oping the tungsten In return for Porsche’s participation in devel sive rights to the brakes, the German car maker has exclu one year. In that time proprietary technology for approximately ng a higherofferi discs l specia the adopt other models will conventional iron and performance option somewhere between Aft that b th efficiency and price. After carbon-ceramic in terms off both h any brand with the cash. for grabs for up is tech new the h, thoug


if you love it,

Uniquely You

you should name it.

Plates shown are not necessarily available. Plate images may vary from final product. Authorised and published by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.


Redline

Closing the Opel ’Dore The Holden ZB Commodore’s parent company, French giant Groupe PSA, has hinted the new mid-sizer will have a shorterthan-expected life. It announced recently it would bring forward plans to wean its newly acquired Opel products off GM platforms

and instead consolidate them on just two platforms shared with Citroen and Peugeotbadged products, but much earlier than anticipated. Opel’s new owner also said the number of engines it stocked had to fall, from the current 16 to just four.

YEARBOOK 2017

OCT 2017

MarketPlace Monthly and YTD records reset

HIGHLIGHTS Australia’s new-car market rose into record territory in October, besting the previous monthly record set in 2012, and pushing the 984K yearto-date sales 0.5 percent ahead of last year’s record pace. Nissan shot back into the top 10 marques after September’s hiccup. A surprise was the Volvo S60: the premium mid-sizer found 77 buyers in October, its best result since Scott McLaughlin gave it some jandal at Sydney Motorsport Park in August 2015 to take pole position in one. And at 470 sales, the Holden Ute had its best month since June 2016’s 608 units, even as Commodore production ended. LOWLIGHTS Rental sales were down sharply for the month, hurting in particular the Toyota Corolla, which ended October flat. SUV sales faltered, with fewer than 500 sales separating them from being overtaken by passenger cars. Wade deeper through the numbers, and if it wasn’t for light commercial sales holding steady compared with August, we wouldn’t be looking at a record.

LOSER

WINNER

43%

73%

DECREASE

INCREASE

HYUNDAI HYUNDA HYU NDAII ii30 NDA 30

MAZDA MAZ DA 2

Hyundai’s H Hyu yu y nda ndai’s d ii’i’ss third-generation dai’ t ird third th i d-ge gener gge nerati ner attion i30 ati ation 30 shot shott to sh to the top top of of the the chart chart in October Octobe Oct oberr as as dealers dealers deal ers rs cleare cle cleared l aredd showrooms shhowroo show sh owrooms rooms ms off ddem demo emoo st sstock. stoc ttock ockk. It even outsold outs t old ld the the Ford Fordd Ranger Ranger (3074 (30744 (307 salles)) andd the sales) thhe Toyota Toyota Hilux Hillux (3812). Hi (3812 (3 812)) .

Despitee Apri Despite Despit AApril’s pril’s l s significant makeover – the first fir st the range range has had since 2014 – the smallest smalle sma llest st Mazda’s Mazdd mediocre 749 sales have Ma l f t itit struggling left lef stru struggl gglin liinng in a shrinking shrink shr inking ing segment segme se gment nt dominated byy the Hyun Hyundai y dai Accent.

TOP 20

73,267

Passenger & SUV sales – October 2017 PASSENGER CARS

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

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

SALES

RANK SALES (SEP ’17) (OCT ’16)

3983 3088 2418 2173 2057 1962 1808 1762 1700 1542 1420 1306 1238 1203 1182 1138 1120 1106 1031 1008

4 1 3 8 5 2 11 16 15 13 6 12 14 9 19 18 21 10 26 20

2718 3210 2101 1612 2135 2191 1417 1655 1502 1650 1845 1250 811 2009 819 564 833 1176 31 920

NISSAN X-TRAIL

One thing Nissan’s mid-size SUV range lacked until recently is a diesel variant. The X-Trail’s new 130kW/380Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel (which displaces the old model’s 1.6-litre oiler) has helped kick sales along.

TOTAL SALES

95,763 October 2017

BRANDS

Which brand has the biggest share of the passenger car market?

STICKING WITH TRADITION SUBARU 4.2

BMW 2.5

AUDI 2.4

FORD 4.6

TOYOTA 18.3

HONDA 5.4 VOLKSWAGEN 6.6 HOLDEN 8.8

26 wheelsmag.com.au

HYUNDAI 13.0 MAZDA 11.2

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

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

SALES

17,836 8800 8054 7726 5785 5550 4941 4667 4565 4255 3870 2519 2124 2003 1783 1559 1149 926 870 621

RANK SALES (SEP ’17) (OCT ’16)

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

16,438 8704 7921 7521 6508 5227 4869 4140 5543 3543 3404 3061 1806 1826 1802 1486 920 1139 923 926

MERCEDESBENZ

Don’t let its lack of movement on the Top 20 chart fool you; Benz slammed on the brakes in October, posting its lowest sales tally since August 2014. The MercedesAMG GT was the only model that increased sales.


Electric 911 on Porsche radar Porsche chief executive Oliver Blume has confirmed that the company’s lynchpin model will go EV but an internal combustion engine will be available for at least a decade. “With the 911, for the next 10 to 15 years, we will still have a combustion engine. We have combustion

engines, then hybrids, then full EV later on,” he has stated. “When customers want it to be electric, we can be ready,” Blume said. With Mission E drive technology already well advanced, Porsche finds itself waiting for the 911 market to catch up with its technical ability.

Incoming DECEMBER-JANUARY

FEBRUARY-MARCH

AUDI RS5 and Q2 2.0TFSI quattro; BMW 3 Series facelift, 6 Series GT, and X3; CITROEN C3; FORD Focus RS Limited Edition; JAGUAR F-Type 2.0 and XF Sportbrake; JEEP Compass and Grand Cherokee Trackhawk; LAND ROVER Discovery Sport update and Range Rover Evoque update; MASERATI Levante S; MERCEDES-BENZ S-Class facelift; MITSUBISHI Eclipse Cross; NISSAN Qashqai; SKODA Octavia RS245; SUZUKI Swift Sport; TOYOTA Camry

ALFA ROMEO Stelvio; GENESIS G70; HOLDEN ZB Commodore; HYUNDAI i30 N and Ioniq hybrid; JAGUAR E-Pace, XJ update and XJR 575; LAND ROVER Range Rover Sport facelift and Range Rover facelift; MAZDA MX-5 update and MX-5 Limited Edition; SUBARU Forester; VOLKSWAGEN Mk6 Polo and Golf GTI Original

DUE DECEMBER Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross The final car off the GS platform that’s been spawning offspring since Howard was member for o Bennelong e e o g – think t such suc automotive auto ot e gems ge s as the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Caliber and the second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander – also marks the first application of Mitsubishi’s promising 1.5-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol four ... with yet another CVT. Features include Apple CarPlay, a touchpad controller in the console, and a head-up display across a three-tier range that starts at $30,500.

Mazda MX-5 RF limited edition The forthcoming special edition MX-5 RF was initially only offered in Japan to customers who are partt of the ‘Kizuna’ loyalty scheme and existing MX-5 owners, but now w buyers in Oz can express their interest in one of the 110 units headed d our way. Among the tasty inclusions are Brembo brakes, Bilstein n dampers, a front strut brace and a pair p of Recaro seats. Visually, y, there are side skirts and front and rear spoilers from the Mazda Kuroi Kurroi sports pack, and BBS alloy wheels. The drive-away price in your choice from five colou colour colours urs (with a contrasting black roof) is $55,790, with w deliveries in March. h

DUE MARCH

DUE MARCH

Volkswagen Polo Mk6 Vo The forthcoming sixth-gen Polo is a bigger small car boasting Th more tech than the model it replaces. Built on the MQB component m set, the Mk6 has a roomier cabin and a 25 percent bigger boot (now se 35 351 litres). The five-door-only hatch also sits on a 100mm-longer w wheelbase to deliver greater rear legroom. Engines will run from 1. 1.0-litre triples to 1.5- and 2.0-litre fours (the latter in the GTI, he here Q2), backed by both manuals and seven-speed DSGs. @wheelsaustralia 27


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

A CLOSED ARGUMENT Peter Robinson’s “Cultural Vacuum” arguably best describes what we have really lost with the demise of automotive manufacturing in Australia. The job losses will prove to be far more extensive than simply the workers who were employed by Ford, Toyota and Holden. It will extend to all the suppliers, from raw materials including aluminium and steel, to foundry workers producing wheels, manufacturers of carpets, seats, light assemblies and an endless list of components. And then there are the logistics-chain workers who transport all those items and then transport finished products. How long before our highly skilled engineers will have nowhere to get their basic grounding if they are not picked up by overseas companies? And what happens if overseas supply costs increase significantly or if

TWITTER: @WHEELSAUSTRALIA FACEBOOK: WHEELS AUSTRALIA

EMAIL: WHEELS@WHEELSMAG.COM.AU

there is a conflict that impacts on our ability to source things from overseas? The excuse that our labour costs are too high ignores the success of other manufacturing countries with high living standards. How do they do it in Norway, Germany or Great Britain? Maybe they have tariffs on imports, or maybe they have grants to local manufacturers and Australia is too stupid to realise that there are benefits that flow from that. Although we seem willing to ‘lend’ $1 billion to create less than 1500 short-term jobs to an overseas coal magnate. It makes you wonder why, in today’s political environment, a car industry could not be supported but a coal industry can. I suspect that there are many who will regret the short-sighted decisions that have led to Holden’s demise. Vern Veitch, Townsville, Qld

OK COMPUTER While cruising on a rural road recently I spotted what looked like roadworks in the distance. It was, so I and the cars following me slowed and glided to a stop while contraflow traffic cleared the available single lane. This is something that happens often on rural roads. I wondered, though, what would have happened if that lead vehicle was an autonomous car – how would it have been able to not only figure out what it was looking at while travelling at 100km/h, but slowing and stopping where needed? Right up there with the muchvaunted paperless office of the 28 wheelsmag.com.au

“When two of these juggernauts park together, try opening the doors”

early 1990s, self-driving cars in the real world just won’t happen. Jim Thorn, Southport, Qld

OPEN WIDE: ARRGH Vale Holden, Ford and Toyota’s large local sedans. Their replacements seem to be large SUVs and trucks, which leaves me pondering about parking space proportions. For years, developers have been screwing down the size of parking spaces. When two of these juggernauts park together, try opening the doors without hitting the car beside it. How often do you see women in their Range Rovers or Prados and now Hiluxes and Navaras trying to get kids out of the safety seat,


Finding closure

Letter of the month winner

Your sentiments align with what plenty of well-informed observers say regarding the end of manufacturing in this country, Vern. As a thank-you for sharing your thoughts, enjoy a year’s worth of Wheels on us.

banging the door of the car they are parked beside? Ramps are a joke if the amount of paint on the walls and tyre marks on the kerbs are any indication. Will future parking facilities have wider spaces and ramps? Unlikely, so get used to your pride and joy covered in dents. David Hughes, Parkes, NSW

MAR-VELAR-OUS I don’t, and likely will never, own a Range Rover, but I appreciate great design. Whoever was responsible for the exterior of the new Range Rover Velar should be applauded. To be able to retain the current DNA whilst simultaneously making the rest of the range look a decade old is, I’m sure, no mean feat. Outstanding. Sam Johnson, via email

LAST DRINKS

I bought my first copy of Wheels in March 1965. I still have it. In fact, I have every issue from May 1953 so you could say I’m a fan. There have been many outstanding issues/stories over these last 60-plus years and your November tribute to Holden and the end of vehicle manufacturing in Australia was one of those. A hugely emotional and evocative subject – the closing down of an Australian icon – had to be handled with gravitas and respect. Your coverage was absolutely outstanding. Glenn Flinkenberg, Kohimarama, NZ

It’s mighty sad to not have a Holden factory anymore. I believe GM will likely axe the Holden name in the next five years from GM vehicles as none of what is sold here is built in a Holden factory. What will it be? Buick or Chevrolet? Make your choice, people. Sandy Guy, Wynnum, Qld

We have just returned from our annual trip from the Sunshine Coast to Wagga Wagga for the second time in our VF Calais V

“None match the Calais for comfort and standard equipment” a trip we’ve done for the last nine years in Mazdas, Subarus and Toyotas. None match the Calais for comfort and standard equipment. What can the Australian public expect now that Ford and Holden are no longer manufacturing in Australia? Cars that are overpriced, underequipped and far too expensive to maintain? Darryl Armstrong, Coolum Beach, Qld

I’ve been reading Wheels for over 40 years and never miss an issue. The November 2017 edition was an obvious highlight, chronicling the history of Holden in Australia. Whilst I admire the writing skills of all the staff currently on board at this terrific magazine it was a real highlight to read Phil Scott’s article ‘The General’s Generation’. He is fair dinkum the best story teller the magazine has ever had. Thank

you for including him in this special collector’s edition. Glenn Fraser, Waterfall, NSW

BRING ON IMPORTS The October edition asked whether the German invader is worthy of the Commodore badge. My first Holden, the VK, was one of the best cars I’ve ever owned, costing me virtually nothing for four years. Then, because I’d just got a job that paid me an untaxed car allowance, my accountant told me I needed to get a new car or I’d be paying back-tax. What was on offer? The new Holden VN, the worst car I’ve ever owned. So let’s wipe up the crocodile tears and hope that the imports can do a bit better. Geoff Stevenson, via email

CRASH COURSE Speed in and of itself doesn’t kill; impacts kill.(‘Australians paid $1.1bn in speeding fines last financial year,’ Wheelsmag. com.au.) Surely the focus of any road safety policy is to reduce the number of impacts, which

any highway policeman will tell you are mostly caused by distractions or fatigue. Speed is a factor in a tiny number of crashes, but it’s the one thing that is easy to police, and thereby derive revenue. It’s time for the lies, and revenue raising, to stop. Jeff Williams, via Facebook

PLEASE EXPLAIN I just don’t understand the fast SUV thing (2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S first drive, Wheelsmag. com.au). Can someone explain to me the appeal of experiencing all the SUV handling problems at a higher speed? Marco Spaccavento, via Facebook

AUTOMATIC CHOICE Unfortunately Renault has made the same howler as Alfa Romeo did with the 4C by specifying only an automatic transmission (Alpine A110 confirmed for 2018 Aussie arrival, Wheelsmag. com.au). The majority of buyers of these pure sports cars overwhelmingly desire a threepedal manual. Guy Oakes, via Facebook

“Your coverage of the Holden closure was absolutely outstanding”


Ing gear YEARBOOK 2017

If the devil really does find work for idle hands then this miniature 51-gram rotary engine trinket might just keep you from doing something demonic. See how many revs you can chase with the tiny rotor, or bore others into submission with a protracted explanation of how brilliantly the divisive Wankel engine works. The manufacturer does not guarantee apex seal integrity or fuel consumption figures. Rotary engine key ring $14.24 aliexpress.com

The only way this Porsche 911 Turbo b wheel h l clock l k could ld b be any cooler is if there were ten hours in the day. As the price suggests, it’s made from the genuine 20-inch Porsche article and owners can expect to read only the highest quality time from its red hands. Porsche 911 Turbo wheel clock $2226.85 shop4.porsche.com/Australia

You’ve got the Xbox, you’ve got go the full and f ll racing i seat simulator i l d VR headset; the only thing missing from your otherwise perfect set-up is head-to-toe Nomex, but even the most devoted Forza gamer knows they would look a complete tool in a fire-resistant racing suit. So here’s the solution: to celebrate the launch of Forza Motorsport 7, The Performance Edition Xbox Onesie has extra-large pockets, seat padding, a built-in hydration pouch and is constructed from comfortable plush fabric, but it’s certainly not no rated for a fiery crash. Forza Motorsport 7 Performance Moto Edition Xbox Xbo Onesie $300 facebook.com/XboxANZ facebook.co

wheelsmag.com.au wh he ee els lsm ma a ag. g.co g. .c m. m.a au 30 w 30

Do you lament the passing of naturally aspirated AMG power and shed a tear each time you hear the unobstructed bellow of the iconic 6.2-litre Affalterbach atmo V8? Guests will ask why you chose to hang a picture of the W204 instrument cluster on your wall instead of something actually useful like a clock but only the initiated will understand. Keep the dream alive with this vast, five-piece wall hanging in glorious 2489mm x 1372mm style. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG instrument wall hanging $436.11 etsy.com/au


Lamborghini Squadra Corse has flicked affiliated watchmaker Blancpain and inked a five-year deal with Roger Dubuis instead. The Excalibur Aventador S timepiece is the new partnership’s first fruit, and draws inspiration from its thoroughbred Italian namesake. Its 45mm case is made from lightweight carbonfibre, with a transparent dial and case back mimicking the Aventador’s open-view V12. The skeletonised self-winding mechanical movement features an X-shaped bridge holding it in place, resembling a top-down view of the Lamborghini’s engine bay. Dubuis claims it is the first mechanism to use 90-degree double sprung balances linked with a differential. Just 88 units will be made. Dubuis founded his watch company in 1995 having worked for many years creating complications for other brands including Patek Philippe & Co. Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S $266,000 monards.com.au

A different kind of smartwatch, the motorsport-inspired EQB800 from Casio features ‘Time Attack Recording’, which registers lap times and displays target splits when used at a racetrack. It was developed with input from Toro Rosso Formula 1 team, the To and can be b paired with Casio’s smartphone app via Bluetooth. smartph watch can then adjust itself to The watc show the correct local time in up worldwide, and stays to 300 cities ci charged for up to five months using a solar panel system within dial. the dia EQB800 $749 Casio Edifice E casio-watches.com casio-

New York-based watch brand Autodromo draws heavily on the automotive world for its inspiration, and has collaborated with Ford to release an officially licensed GT timepiece. The Ford GT Endurance Chronograph celebrates the brand’s racing history at Le Mans, and features one of its most iconic liveries as seen on Mustangs, Cobras and GT40s. Sized at 40mm, this model references racing watches of the 60s, and houses a Japanese-made Seiko quartz movement. Four alternative dial designs recognise other significant milestones, including the Heritage 66 – Autodromo’s homage to the first GT40 to win at Le Mans. Ford GT Endurance $900 autodromo.com

@wheelsaustralia 31


Stahl

Michael

CHEATS? WHO? WHERE?

SOMETIMES A MAN FINDS HIMSELF STANDING AT A TURNING POINT IN HISTORY. SOMETIMES THAT MAN GRASPS THE ENORMITY OF HIS SITUATION AND, DRAWING ON A STRENGTH NOT ENTIRELY HIS OWN, STEPS FORTH TO DO WHAT MUST BE DONE. Other times, a man stands at a turning point in history and, being thick as mince, has no idea where he is. I’ve just learned that, 30 years ago, I was completely oblivious to my part in the downfall of Rudi Eggenberger’s Ford Texaco Racing team at the 1987 Bathurst 1000, the controversy that handed Peter Brock his ninth and final win on The Mountain. So, a couple of months ago I was queuing at a car club concours when a big, boofy bloke wheeled around and said: “You don’t remember me, do you?” I didn’t. But when he introduced himself as Greg Read, I immediately remembered. We’d first met in the mid-1980s, when I did a story on his Rover SD1 with a Chev 350 V8. Greg was and is an engineer

was that this team was storing octane-boosting toluene in the roll cage. This would not be the undoing of the 1-2 finishing Eggenberger team, which was excluded from the results several months after the race and the victory handed to Peter Brock. What got them was illegally enlarged front wheel arches that enabled them to run bigger front wheels and tyres. According to Read, that’s where I came in. Read was shepherding the cars one-by-one into a marshalling or scrutineering area. As one car moved forward, he’d lean on the next one. He was standing there, engrossed in conversation, leaning on, say, Johnson’s Sierra. Then came, say, Andrew Miedecke’s Sierra. Then one of the Eggenberger

I was completely oblivious to my part in the 1987 downfall of the Ford Texaco Racing team with a successful air-conditioning business. He’s also a motor racing nut, and after that initial meeting, I’d sometimes see him at races, where he served as a scrutineer and pit-lane marshal. And so we were both at Bathurst in 1987. That year’s race was a round of the World Touring Car Championship, an FIA series that collapsed after only one year. With Australia’s tin-tops running to international Group A, it was a golden chance to measure our local stars and cars – Dick Johnson’s Ford Sierras, Frank Gardner’s BMW E30 M3s – against the top European teams. Of course, there was also Brock and a number of VL ‘plastic pig’ and older VK Commodores, here hopelessly confronted by technology from the 20th century. The fastest Commodore (Allan Grice) qualified in seventh – more than six and a half seconds off the electrifying 2m16.96s pole lap of Klaus Ludwig’s Texaco Sierra. I was running around the pits, writing for a glossy yearbook. Everywhere in the paddock was the odour of rodent. The feeling – and the fact – was that the Europeans had been pick-pocketing and paritycheating on the continent all year; then they lobbed in Australia, where our Sierras and BMWs had only the Group A rule book to guide them. As I remember it, one of the visiting BMW team’s cars was found to have a “mysterious liquid” sloshing about the footwells. The official story was that it must have been trapped during the body’s acid-dipping process. What everybody believed

32 wheelsmag.com.au

Sierras rolled under his elbow. And he nearly stumbled. The roof was a good palm-width lower. He broke off his conversation and turned to one of the senior scrutineers and started explaining what was happening. As the authority figure remained unmoved, Read’s frustration grew. Until he finally growled: “Look, if you don’t do something about this, I’m going to spill the whole story to my mate, who’s been standing there the whole time – and he’s a very influential journalist!” Cut to Stahly, momentarily distracted by a butterfly. Looks at the two men. Mouth half-open. Tilts head slightly, like Scooby Doo (“roo-ree?”) Sound of crickets.

Brock’s naughty ninth Nineteen-eighty-seven was hardly a red-letter year in the career of Peter Brock; at Bathurst, he was right in the midst of a collapsing relationship with Holden. His hero 05 car went out of the race with an engine failure, forcing Peter Perfect to take over the less-than-perfect number 10 car and splash heroically through late-race showers (as, famously, did Glenn Seton in the Skyline DR30) to cross the line in third place.

KLAUS ON THE DOWN LOW


There is A SPECIAL BREED of people that walk this earth. To those special few we introduce the all new KITTEN ULTRA - a complete collection of car care products.

CONNECT WITH US VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

WASH

INTERIOR

REPAIR

/KITTENULTRA

WAX & POLISH

/KITTENULTRA

TYRES

FORASPECIALBREED

WWW.KITTENULTRA.COM


Carey

John

M IS FOR MEMORIES

THIS WAILING TIME MACHINE IS BLURRING ME BACKWARDS THROUGH THE DECADES. IT WAS IN 1990 THAT I FIRST DROVE A BMW M CAR AND NOW, ALMOST 30 YEARS LATER, I’M BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL OF AN E34 M5. The Daytona Violet example is part of the BMW Classic collection. With a bunch of other pre-M Motorsport and old-time M cars, it’s been delivered to the Kempinski Hotel at Berchtesgaden for a group of Australian journalists to drive back from the Bavarian Alps to Munich. For nostalgic reasons the E34 is the one I’m yearning to drive, so Ponchard and I lay claim to it. The vivid impression that my first M car made has endured. Mainly because of a drive at often hugely illegal speeds (I’m counting on the statute of limitations applying here) from Bathurst to the outskirts of Sydney and back. It was very late on a frosty mid-week night. The roads were mostly

The most recent memory is from 2017. I half spun a prototype of the forthcoming F90, the first allwheel-drive M5, on BMW’s Miramas proving ground in the south of France. In my defence, I was in the car’s ESC-off rear-drive mode and chasing BMW works driver Timo Glock in an M4 GTS at the time. He saw it all in his rear-view mirror. “You almost caught it,” he told me, laughing. Driving BMW Classic’s E34 M5 is not a disappointment. It’s a car with more charisma than some of the later models to wear the badge, like the charmless F10. The old car’s exhaust makes real music, the manual gearbox is a well-oiled pleasure to use, the interior is plain but purposeful.

The E34 has more charisma than some of the later M5 models, like the charmless F10 empty and the M5 was unforgettably brilliant on the legendary Bells Line of Road. It was, as I remember it, awesomely powerful, fearsomely fast and wonderfully precise. There have been plenty more memorable M5 moments between then and now. The powersteering pump of a 4.9-litre V8 E39 failing while I was doing performance testing at Eastern Creek in the late ’90s. Doing repeated launch-control runs in a 5.0-litre V10 E60 on an airstrip in Germany at that great car’s international launch in 2005. Seeing the traction control light flashing at north of 160km/h on a lumpy Spanish road in a twinturbo 4.4-litre V8 F10 back in 2011.

34 wheelsmag.com.au

But the E34 does feel awfully slow, even though this is a 1992 car with the later 250kW 3.8-litre version of the BMW Motorsport-derived in-line six, not the 232kW 3.5-litre engine I remember. The steering feels slow, too. The suspension is relatively soft by modern standards, and I’m acutely aware that there’s no chassis stability system safety net. I’d climbed into the E34 expecting a heartwarming encounter with an old, fondly remembered acquaintance, and I got it. What I hadn’t anticipated was a coldhearted reminder of how much progress has happened in the last three decades. I’m starting to think that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Local beat-down My first M5 was the car Wheels used for a comparison with a Commodore SS Group A, the low-volume, HSVengineered homologation special that was the most powerful VN of all. ‘One of them is the world’s best sedan!’ teased the kicker line on the cover of the September 1990 issue. No, not the one closest to the camera…

SUPER SIX APPEAL


hankooktire.com/au

Ultimate performance for street and circuit driving applications.

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/hankook.au


Firsttdrives T HI S M O N TH’ S FR E SH M E TAL

36 wheelsmag.com.au


40

JAGUAR E-PACE

42

BMW X3

47

MERCEDES-AMG GT S

F IRS T DRIVE S

Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S Affalterbach eyes the medium-size hi-po SUV opposition, and flicks them a big V. Eight, that is IT’LL make you a straightline hero, the GLC63 S. And then, just moments later, it’ll turn you into a cornering coward. SUVs are like that. It may be true that Mercedes’ development budgets are measured in cubic Euros and that AMG can probably afford the very best chassis engineers that money can buy, but the laws of good, old-fashioned Newtonian physics remain stubbornly inflexible. It takes serious chutzpah to install an engine like AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 in an SUV weighing around two tonnes, but this is a quality that’s not in short supply at Affalterbach. The brand’s twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 has already featured in a bunch of bigger and weightier SUVs; the GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS and, nuttiest of all, the ancient G-Class. The new GLC63 S, due to arrive in Australia around June 2018, will be quicker than all of them. The 0-100km/h time claimed by AMG for its newest SUV is 3.8 seconds. That’s a second swifter than the company’s own twin-turbo V6 GLC43. It’s also significantly quicker than any other six-cylinder performance SUV, including BMW’s new X3 M40i, due

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4matic+ 3982cc V8, dohc, 32v, twin-turbo 375kW @ 5500-6250rpm 700Nm @ 1750-4500rpm 9-speed automatic 1935kg 3.8 sec (claimed) 10.7L/100km $165,000 (estimated) June 2018

S PE CS

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

early next year, the Audi SQ5 and the Jaguar F-Pace S. It also beats the new Volvo XC60 T8, with its potent plug-in hybrid petrol-electric drivetrain combining power from a four-cylinder engine up front and a volt-sucking motor in the rear axle. Mercedes-Benz Australia will import only the GLC63 S, equipped with the 375kW/700Nm version of the twinturbo 4.0-litre V8 instead of the non-S’s 350kW/650Nm engine. This is the same engine used in the C-Class family of 63 S models, and it’s been chosen for the GLC for exactly the same reason; when it comes to V8s from AMG, Australian customers prefer to buy the more powerful version. Although official prices for the GLC63 S (and the GLC63 S Coupe; see sidebar) were announced last July, Mercedes-Benz Australia is rethinking some aspects of specification and equipment. But there will be little change from the $164,900, before dealer delivery and on-road costs. In round figures it will be $5000 more than the C63 S Estate. The extra money buys all-wheel drive, something none of the AMG V8-powered C-Classes have. The GLC63 S’s 4matic+ system was given

@wheelsaustralia 37


The GLC63 S has the pace to excite, but lacks the grace to involve a workout at the international launch. The intro was staged in south-west Germany, on a day featuring non-stop grey skies and wet roads. The AMG-tuned permanent allwheel-drive system is effective. Despite the slippery bitumen, the ferocious thrust of the V8 was readily accessible. At least on straight roads. An electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential is standard in the S model. It’s quicker and cleverer than the mechanical limitedslipper in the basic GLC63. Mercedes-AMG provided only very highly specified S versions for the drive program. These were equipped with 21-inch wheels and tyres, plus a Performance exhaust system which allows the driver to open sound-quelling flaps in the mufflers at any time, regardless of which Dynamic Select driving mode is in play.

Both these are optional in Europe (but the situation could be different in Australia). With its mufflers uncorked, the GLC63 S can sound like a visit to the zoo. The engine growls, roars, bellows, cackles and spits. Mercedes-AMG obviously understands how to make the right noises to satisfy lovers of V8 exhaust notes. If there’s a weakness in the drivetrain, it’s the transmission. AMG replaces the torque converter of Mercedes’ standard nine-speeder with a wet clutch to create the Speedshift MCT. It’s a snappy shifter, especially in Dynamic Select’s racier modes, but it can sometimes be jerky and clumsy at low speeds on light throttle openings. Three-chamber air springs and adaptive dampers are standard across the GLC63 range. The ride in Comfort

Stonking pace no ‘rival’ can match; traction; soundtrack; comfort

38 wheelsmag.com.au

mode is, well, comfy. Surprisingly so, in fact. Sport, Sport+ and Race modes dial up suspension stiffness in stages. At the same time the drivetrain becomes more and more eager to please. Despite AMG’s carefully graduated calibration work, the GLC63 S feels heavy and high when it comes to corners. The sporty drive modes never manage to eradicate the impression of ponderousness that’s amplified by steering that seems slow in comparison with the speed of response always available from the drivetrain. It’s no sports car, and was never going to be. But the GLC63 does import some sports car glamour that works, more or less. The SUV borrows the Panamericana grille previously reserved for the GT family. The toothy look of the vertical chrome bars works better on

PLUS & MINUS

the SUV than you would expect, and the look-at-me bling makes the GLC63 S stand apart visually from its lesser relatives. Interior upgrades include sports front seats and steering wheel, AMG instrument cluster and aluminium cabin trimmings. It’s a classy environment that is also usefully spacious. There can be little doubt that the GLC63 S will be a hit. Australia is a market that loves SUVs and likes AMGs – they currently account for around 20 percent of the local MercedesBenz model mix. But for anyone who believes driving satisfaction must be measured by more than simple speed, the GLC63 S will inevitably disappoint. Its height and heft dull the precision of its responses to steering inputs and make the braking system work hard. It has the pace to excite, but lacks the grace to involve. There’s an old song titled ‘I Fought the Law’, memorably covered by The Clash in 1979. The lyric continues: “and the law won”. It always does… JO HN CAR EY

Fundamental dynamic compromises blunt the experience


Trim that turret

01

It’s official: in hi-po SUV land, 21-inch wheels are the new 19s. However it seems likely Australian cars will roll on 20s, with 21s optional. The switchable Performance exhaust should be standard.

Final specification of Australian cars has not yet been set, but carbonfibre trim will need to be selected from the options list, while the premium Burmester audio, as fitted here, will be standard.

Anyone want a non-S version, with the puny 350kW/650Nm tune of the 4.0-litre twin turbo V8? No, Mercedes-Benz Australia didn’t think so, which is why power-hungry Aussies will only get the big bopper.

01

02

03

HIGH ROLLERS

TURN IT UP

DON’T PLAY THAT DE-TUNE

Also headed for Australia is the GLC63 S Coupe (shown above). Weighing only 10kg more than the SUV version, performance is an exact match. The Coupe accelerates from standstill to 100km/h in the same time, 3.8 seconds. It also slurps fuel at the same high rate, 10.7L/100km in the European combined cycle test. Both versions are scheduled for the same June 2018 launch date, but Mercedes expects the $172,000 Coupe to sell at a much slower rate than the less costly SUV.

OR TRY THESE...

02 BMW X3 M40i xDrive $100,000 (estimated) All-new X3 borrows heavily from 5 Series; brings much improved cabin and equipment. M40i arrives in June with a 265kW/500Nm 3.0-litre six, and performance in a bracket below the mighty AMG.

Porsche Macan Turbo $133,500

03

Prior to the AMG’s arrival, the outputs of Macan’s twin-turbo V6 – 294kW/550Nm – seemed ample, as did its 0-100km/h speed (4.8sec.) Console yourself with a $30K saving and sharper dynamics.

@wheelsaustralia 39


Jaguar E-Pace Absolutely no puns about baby cats here, folks. Ah, just kitten THE Jaguar E-Pace has it

FIRST easy. Jag’s new ‘compact OVERSEAS performance SUV’ comes DRIVE with none of the heavy baggage that weighed on the larger F-Pace’s haunches – the idea of a Jaguar SUV back in 2016 seemed like Cayenne-gate all over again. Now we’re all used to the idea, in strolls E-Pace, safe in the knowledge that F-Pace is comfortably Jaguar’s biggest seller. It’s even been able to dust off existing Range Rover Evoque underpinnings, though the longserving D8 platform does get a significant makeover. The wheelbase stretches 21mm, the front subframe is solidly mounted at the rear, and there’s the new Integral Link rear axle among many other detail suspension changes. Hanging panels as well as the roof are aluminium, but the bodyshell is steel and the kerbweight heavy

at around 1800kg – a like-for-like F-Pace actually weighs less. Nonetheless, Ian Callum’s design is pert and purposeful and riffs on the F-Type sports car, a theme that’s carried into the interior with its signature features and comparatively low-slung – for an SUV – driving position. The showroom appeal that propelled Evoque to stardom is definitely in evidence here. Four-cylinder petrol and diesel Ingenium engines are available, but we’re testing the top-spec petrol on UK roads, an early taste before Australian deliveries commence in April. In this trim, the E-Pace makes 221kW with 400Nm and gets the Active Driveline all-wheel-drive system, the more advanced of two available all-paw set-ups. Jaguar says E-Pace is its second stiffest structure after the F-Type coupe, and there’s definitely a chunky, flex-free rigidity

Design; dynamics; performance; supple at speed; packaging; connectivity

to the way it drives. The steering feels relatively firm from topdead centre, and carries that weight as you wind it on, adding confidence-inspiring precision and detail without wilting muscles. It’s also quick-witted, the front end responding swiftly to your inputs, aided and abetted by expert-level body control. Our test car rode on 20-inch rims with fixed dampers, though 21s and adaptive dampers are incoming. The low-speed ride is very firm, so much so that I’d fear for young ’uns tums in a package that’s otherwise family-friendly. Thankfully the suspension calms with speed, introducing longer, more supple movements for comfort with unruffled control. Shod with Pirelli P Zero rubber, the E-Pace is sure-footed if far from lacking in humour: whip it at an apex and you’ll feel the front bite hard and the rear adopt a frisky few degrees of angle.

PLUS & MINUS

BEN B AR RY

Firm low-speed ride; some trim a little flimsy; ain’t no lightweight

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

40 wheelsmag.com.au

Even lower-spec models have this feel, but it’s Active Driveline that lets you really exploit it, as it can switch between front- and all-wheel drive, and proactively channels torque across the rear axle (see sidebar, right). Mash the throttle during spirited driving and you’ll feel the rear wheels hook up and power you out of a bend with an extremely rear-biased feel. Having generous performance helps you exploit the E-Pace’s balance too, and the 2.0-litre turbo/9-speed auto combo is impressively punchy – flexible and smooth low-down, responsive when you gun it, eager when you hold out for the high notes. It’s just that for a little more coin, the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 weighs far less and punches much harder. For some, that could be the decider, but there’s little doubt that the E-Pace drives as sweetly as it looks.

Jaguar E-Pace P300 HSE R-Dynamic 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 221kW @ 5500rpm 400Nm @ 1500-4500rpm 9-speed automatic 1819kg 6.4sec (claimed) 8.0L/100km $83,733 April


01

Really does torque the torque

Starting from $47,750 (before on-roads), the E-Pace undercuts the BMW X1 (from $50,600), though is a little pricier than the Mercedes-Benz GLA ($43,600). Meanwhile, the related Range Rover Evoque starts at $56,050.

01 PONY UP

Interior design riffs off F-Type; special ‘First Edition’ gets 20-inch wheels, exterior Black Pack, panoramic sunroof, configurable ambient interior lighting, ebony Windsor leather trim and head-up display.

02

SPECIAL SOURCE

Like choice? Great, because Aussies will be offered 38 variants, based around five engines – a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel offered in 110kW/132kW/177kW outputs, and a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in 183kW and 221kW guises.

Active Driveline all-wheel drive is available on top-spec models and developed by GKN Driveline. The system decouples drive to the rear wheels to save fuel during steady-state driving, but adds clutch packs either side of the rear diff to proactively channel torque to individual rear wheels and ramp up driving engagement when you’re on it. It can direct up to 100 percent of the torque at the rear axle to one rear wheel in 0.1sec. It’s the same kind of hardware you’ll find on the Ford Focus RS, which Jaguar benchmarked during development.

OR TRY THESE...

03

CHOICE BRO

Mercedes-AMG GLA45 $89,211

More costly than an up-spec E-Pace with the angry engine, and a bit less roomy, but counters by being much lighter, and way more potent: over 1.5sec faster to 100km/h. More focused, less comfy.

02

03

Range Rover Evoque Si4 177 HSE Dynamic $82,781

To secure the top-output engine in the baby Rangie takes $93K, so in this spec it’s comprehensively clobbered by the Jaguar. Also has a shorter wheelbase and less sophisticated underpinnings than the E-Pace.

@wheelsaustralia 41


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

Powertrain refinement and efficiency, interior comfort and packaging

PLUS & MINUS

BMW X3 xDrive 30i 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 185kW @ 5200-6500rpm 350Nm @ 1450-4800rpm 8-speed automatic 1790kg 6.3sec (claimed) 7.6L/100km $75,900 Now

Never feels truly fluid in terms of ride or steering; some cheap plastics

BMW X3 Much-needed new-product pipeline opens; out pops an SUV SAVIOURS can come in many forms, but could one really emerge packaged as a premium mid-sized SUV? BMW Australia sure hopes so, as the company could use a heavy lifter right now. The 2017 year has not been kind, with sales down around 16 percent on this time last year. But BMW is playing it cool, assuring anyone listening that the “new product onslaught!” will slam the downward trend into reverse, starting right here with the all-new X3. The need-to-know is this: X3 launches with three models, all featuring all-wheel drive – a base 20d diesel ($68,900), 30i petrol ($75,900) and 30d oiler ($83,900). Those are rises of between $2000 and $4000, but each variant is claimed to be better value due to plumper equipment levels. The rest of the script follows the newmodel playbook: bigger, betterlooking body, more sophisticated

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

42 wheelsmag.com.au

construction and architecture, more driver assistance systems, a better presented interior, and, if you look in the right direction, gains in outputs, efficiency and emissions cleanliness. Underneath (and inside) it’s very much a raiding of the 5 Series component sets. Wheelbase increases by 54mm over the old model, and while this growth spurt only brings a 6mm increase in rear legroom, it’s enough that a pair of six-footers can comfortably inhabit the rear seats. Even better, everyone will be at least momentarily distracted by the improved design, materials and overall cabin ambiance. Model-specific equipment levels and options packs are too involved to dissect here, but the bottom line is: if you want it and can afford it, chances are you can have it. Only the lower plastics – kickpanels, doorbins, etc – look a bit utilitarian; elsewhere the sense

of premium is mostly persuasive. The iDrive 6 system now features a touchscreen, while the centre stack, with its aluminium-finished buttons and glossy touches, is both elegant and functional. It’s the 30i that’s likely to gain the most showroom attention, as buyers continue to drift from diesel. It’s powered by the highoutput version (185kW/350Nm) of BMW’s ubiquitous 2.0-litre turbo four, bringing appreciably better refinement than the same-size diesel with 140kW/400Nm. The petrol engine, in this installation, almost does a disappearing act. Even in enthusiastic driving, it’s barely audible, especially given the road noise of the 20-inch Pirelli rubber on coarse-chip and the wind noise from around the mirrors. Even on the rev limiter it remains little more than a distant, insistent fizz. As for a critique of steering and general dynamics, that involves a

complex algorithm that crunches suspension choice (adaptive dampers are optional, either as part of the M Sport package, or as a standalone extra for $1900) as well as wheels and run-flat tyres (which span 19s, 20s, and optional 21s) and whether you’re in the Sport or Comfort mode. In other words, it’s impossible to hand down a catch-all verdict, only to say that the steering never delivers a totally seamless, fluid connection, and on big rubber the chassis is easily agitated by surfaces with which it can pick an argument. So the X3 doesn’t feel as if it leaps to class leadership in terms of dynamics. But buyers in all SUV segments are willing to overlook a multitude of on-road compromises in the quest for an elevated driving position, packaging, and here, the perception of a premium interior promised by the badge. On this level, the X3 delivers. AS H WES TERMA N


01 Range finder

02

01

A BETTER BOOT The boot is not bigger than the outgoing model, but it does improve functionality, with remote releases for the seat backs and a plastic-lined underfloor compartment for wet gear or storing the cargo blind.

02

VIRTUALLY THERE

The standard instrument panel on the two upper-spec models is now of the ‘virtual’ variety, but features raised aluminium semi-circles that frame the main dials to give a sense of threedimensional depth.

03

GROWTH STRATEGY

For a proper slug-fest of torque, look no further than the X3 30d. Power from the 3.0-litre straight six oiler is only up by 5kW (now 195kW) over the old X3 30d, but torque jumps to 620Nm (up 60Nm) and both sprinting ability and shove on the move feel seriously swift. Just as impressive is the refinement and revability. It’s a brilliant engine, no question. But if diesel performance is not your thing, wait until June 2018 for the 3.0-litre petrol six in the X3 M40i delivering 265kW/500Nm. Or for the price-sensitive buyer, BMW will introduce a base rear-drive petrol, the X3 sDrive 20i, also in Q2 of 2018. Expect outputs of around 135kW/270Nm, and a pricetag in the $63,000 zone.

OR TRY THESE...

Proof you’re not just imagining it: this third-generation (G01) X3 is now larger than the firstgen X5. Exterior design is the work of Aussie Calvin Luk, who designed the current 1 Series and recent Z4 concept.

Volvo XC60 $60,000 – $93,000

Delivers an understated yet premiumfeeling interior, and backs it up with refined powertrains, including the super-strong plug-in hybrid T8. Spec it right and XC60 has a dynamic edge over the X3.

03

Mercedes-Benz GLC $67,000 – 102,000

Another premium contender that keeps air suspension on the options list, but demands you tick it to get the best blend of ride and handling. The petrol four is a little underdone, making the diesel four or V6 (diesel or petrol) the preferred choice.

@wheelsaustralia 43


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

Improved ride, handling and performance; standard kit; plush interior

PLUS & MINUS

Kia Sorento Si 3470cc V6 (60°), dohc, 24v 206kW @ 6300rpm 336Nm @ 5000rpm 8-speed automatic 1932kg 10.0sec (estimated) 10L/100km $42,990 Now

No AWD petrol option; road noise on GT-Line’s 19-inch wheels

Kia Sorento

Big Korean irons out the bugs ... and bumps LIKE a farmer’s grandkids who grow up as prissy townies, many SUVs have lost touch with their rural roots. The third-generation Kia Sorento was one such city-slicker, which excelled in its urban comfort zone, but flinched at the prospect of negotiating corrugations or spoon drains. But Sorento has been to boot camp, bringing upgrades that usher in new capabilities on unsealed surfaces, as evidenced on the rugged roads hugging the foothills of the NSW Blue Mountains. Kia’s Australian engineers have taken advantage of the Sorento’s new suspension set-up, which features numerous changes to the rear subframe and bushings, resulting in markedly upgraded handling and stability, including reduced bodyroll. Ride comfort is noticeably improved on rougher surfaces. Sorento now absorbs bumps well, which is great news,

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

44 wheelsmag.com.au

especially for anyone sitting in the third row. Not surprisingly it rides better on the entry-level Si’s 17-inch wheels than on the 19s on the range-topping GT-Line, whose 235/55 rubber produces more road noise on coarse surfaces. The electric power steering has been revised by attaching the motor directly to the rack instead of the column. The result is a little more precision and weight, particularly when switched to the Sport driving mode. The powertrain has also been significantly enhanced. An eightspeed auto replaces the six-speed unit across the range, coupling with the Sorento’s existing 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four and a revised 3.5-litre petrol V6. The extra gears bring swifter stepoff and quicker, smoother shifts, which are noticed most in the muscular diesel. Kia claims the new transmission slightly aids fuel

economy. my. The diesel’s combined consumption mption is now 7.2L/100km, down from 7 7.8, 8 though driving from Katoomba to Sydney saw the trip computer claim a wholly virtuous 5.4L/100km. The oil burner carries over from the previous model, while the 3.5-litre petrol V6 is a modified version of the 3.3-litre Lambda II donk in the previous version with a longer stroke, resulting in an extra 7kW and 18Nm to 206kW/336Nm. The diesel is still the better choice and worth the extra $2500 given it adds the benefit of all-wheel drive. Standard kit includes auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist and active cruise control on all models, plus Kia’s latest infotainment package with DAB radio, sat-nav and Apple Car Play/ Android Auto. All this, combined with improved road manners and efficiency, make Sorento an even more attractive family hauler. D AV ID B ON N IC I

Soft touches A greater use of soft-touch materials has resulted in a more premium feel inside, even in the base-spec Si. The dashboard layout is essentially the same as the previous model but now includes a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen. Main differences as you go up the range are more brightwork, more electric adjustments and significantly more cowhide.


Volkswagen Arteon

A style statement out to silence badge snobss VOLKSWAGEN’S ‘Premium for the People’ marketing mantra certainly makes for an ambitious mission statement. Almost as ambitious as the crisp, sleek and undeniably attractive Arteon that it’s attached to. Priced at $65,490 and offered in a single, highly specified configuration that throws VW’s cutting-edge infotainment and safety tech together with the 206kW 2.0-litre turbo and AWD driveline of the Mk7 Golf R, the Arteon definitely exudes a premium aura. But badge cachet matters when you’re selling a mid-size sedan for luxury money. Is the Arteon good enough to justify a premium price of entry? Is it good enough that you’d overlook a base model 3 Series, C-Class or A4? It’s certainly got the visual presence to make you forget about entry-grade luxo-sedans. With sharp bodylines, a broad

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

chrome grille that blends into the headlamp jewellery and clamshell bonnet, the Arteon’s snout is imposing and distinctive – traits few VWs have boasted before. It’s a looker, but hopping into the driver’s seat puts you within an interior that’s much less adventurous. At least it’s comfortable, sizeable and has 45mm more rear-seat legroom than the current Passat sedan. The tech story continues under the sharply-lined skin. The Arteon rides on electronically adjustable dampers that can be toggled between conventional Normal, Comfort and Sport presets, but also have the ability to be fine-tuned to one of 14 individual settings. At the softer end of its suspension spectrum, the Arteon irons out poor-quality roads with ease without feeling excessively floaty over longer undulations. There’s plenty of suspension travel, yet body control is good.

Striking styling; high-end infotainment; extensive safety equipment

Bump it up to Sport and the ride becomes more brittle ttle while the steering is heavier and the throttle more sensitive. e. Yes, it feels sporty, but that’s not exactly in keeping with its grand-tourer nature. The steering lacks feel or feedback, but is hooked up to a grippy and responsive front end that goes where you point it. The variable ratio steering rack is also especially fast just off centre, which adds to the Arteon’s alert and agile feel. The punchy 206kW/350Nm engine and all-wheel drive saw us achieve 0-100km/h in a quicker than claimed 5.4sec: swift for a car this of size. You won’t be sprinting that quickly in a BMW 320i, or even the V6-powered Lexus IS350. There are few real drawbacks, although we’d appreciate more aural excitement from the exhaust and less road noise. Otherwise, Arteon has got everything you need and little you don’t.

PLUS & MINUS

Conservation zone Inside, Arteon packs ample technological wow factor to offset the conservative interior design. A 9.2-inch infotainment display is the tech centrepiece, backed up by an all-electronic instrument panel and a head-up display. A 360-degree camera view, gesture control, tri-zone climate control, and heated seats front and rear are among the Arteon’s tech and equipment highlights.

TON Y O’ K AN E

Classy but conservative interior; little aural drama; lack of badge cachet

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

Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 206kW @ 5700-6500rpm 350Nm @ 1800-5600rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1716kg 5.6sec (claimed) 7.5L/100km $65,490 Now @wheelsaustralia 45


Hyundai Sonata

Raises its game without changing its tune ne THE LAST time Wheels reviewed the Hyundai Sonata we delivered a rather blunt verdict: “As a work in progress, Sonata is on the right track”, we wrote, before handing it eighth place in our 10-car family sedan megatest back in 2016. Our review, which praised the Sonata’s space, equipment and fluid handling, finished hopefully, suggesting an imminent replacement could address its lack of dynamic verve and all-round appeal. Well, fast-forward 12 months and the updated Sonata has arrived. Now boasting overhauled styling that ditches the old car’s restrained and slightly dour look for a sportier and sleeker appearance with a cascading front grille, the 2018 Sonata also brings important tech and safety upgrades and a rationalised, twotier model line-up. The mid-spec Elite variant is no more, with the range now starting at $30,990

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

for the entry-level Active and, as before, tops out at $45,490 for the flagship Premium variant we’re testing here. Both cars use carryover engines: a 138kW/241Nm aspirated four-cylinder petrol in the Active, and a gutsier 180kW/353Nm turbo four in the Premium, which is now paired to a smooth and intuitive eightspeed automatic (replacing the old car’s six-speeder) for a 0.7L/100km improvement in fuel economy. Inside, a revised centre stack with piano-key buttons houses an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. Disappointingly, AEB isn’t available on either Sonata variant. The Sonata’s cabin remains spacious and comfortable with ample knee, shoulder and headroom in both rows, plus excellent vision and an airy, light-filled ambience helped by the Premium’s standard

Boosted equipment and safety tech; practical and spacious; gutsy 2.0 turbo

panoramic sunroof. unroof. Rear-seat passengers are re well catered for too, with centre tre air vents, wellpadded seats and window blinds. Dynamically, ly, little has changed despite the inclusion clusion of higher quality tyres – 17-inch Continental Contact 5 on the Active and 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 3 on the Premium. Both variants use the same locally tuned chassis and suspension settings as before to deliver handling that’s fluid, predictable and easy to place. Yet there are flaws. Despite the better rubber, wheel spin and torque steer are apparent in the Premium under heavy throttle inputs. And on poor surfaces the ride is consistently busy. They’re niggles that take the edge off what is a well-judged dynamic package and mean that despite its improvements, the 2018 Sonata falls largely into the same trap as before: much to like and little to offend, but also little to excite.

PLUS & MINUS

Thicker kit list The Sonata Premium gains the most bells and whistles, whistles with additions to an already extensive list of standard equipment including a flat-bottom steering wheel, a wireless phone charging pad (Android only, for now) and an updated safety pack that brings blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and radar cruise control.

ALE X IN WOOD

AEB unavailable; torque steer and axle tramp; uninspiring dynamics

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

46 wheelsmag.com.au

Hyundai Sonata Premium 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 180kW @ 6000rpm 353Nm @ 1350-4000rpm 8-speed automatic 1560kg 7.0sec (estimated) 8.5L/100km $45,490 Now


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

Thunderous performance; almighty grip; spectacular styling; character

PLUS & MINUS

Mercedes-AMG GT S 3982cc V8(90°), dohc, 32v, twin-turbo 384kW @ 6250rpm 670Nm @ 1800-5000rpm 7-speed automatic 1570kg 3.8sec (claimed) 9.5L/100km $298,711 Now

Road noise; no o genuine Comfort mode; last-gen infotainment system

Mercedes-AMG GT S

Fresher, faster ... and definitely not softer YES, you read that right; Mercedes-AMG has updated its theatrical hot rod, the GT S. No, you probably didn’t notice because the differences are minimal, and Affalterbach’s intramural twoseater felt as fresh beforehand as the day it launched, which – remarkably – was almost three years ago. But since debuting the GT S to establish the range in Oz in 2015, Mercedes has expanded the local GT family to include another five variants, leaving the GT S Coupe in need of a mild refresher to bring it up to speed. It now sports AMG’s signature Panamericana grille and a lightly restyled front apron with active cooling vents. Elsewhere it’s the same dramatic beast as before; cab-rearward silhouette, low roofline and a road presence that oozes menace. Lurking beneath its long, low

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

bonnet is AMG’s riotous, handbuilt twin-turbo V8. A slight performance bump gains the dry-sump lump another 9kW/ 20Nm, not that you’ll notice in the context of 384kW/670Nm totals. At $298,711 the GT S draws an obvious comparison with the brilliant Porsche 911. The AMG lacks the 911’s ultimate steering precision and tactility, but it will slap a wicked grin across your face whether you’re absolutely nailing an apex or not. It does this firstly with the completely antisocial and wholly addictive exhaust bellow that fractures the air at a ‘can that really be legal?’ volume. Then there’s the cabin experience that sits driver and passenger closer to the rear wheels than the fronts, which provides the sensation of the chassis pivoting around the occupants’ hip point. The hugely grippy front-end and inherently balanced chassis hunker down

through corners while rocketing through with monstrous nstrous speed. There’s a hardened ned attitude to the way this GT T demolishes a road. It’s forever eyeing off any twisty bit of tarmac ahead. Adaptive dampers feature in the GT S (a point of difference to the sub-S GT) with three modes, though the softest of those is Comfort in name only. A resolute ride is part of its demeanour, but that lack of compliance grows tiring over long distances. Same goes for the loud tyre roar. The GT S is a sports car to the core. Mercedes-AMG has nailed the emotional criteria here. The GT S looks spectacular, sounds ferocious and is made to be seen in. There’s a sense of occasion with this car that’s arguably greater than in an equivalent 911, and it always feels special – whether you’ve found a road to fully let the animal off the leash or you’re simply Sunday cruising.

Beef injection In its initial configuration the GT S was criticised for overly light and remote steering, and excessive ride harshness. There are no on-paper changes there for 2018, but insiders suggest AMG took the feedback and adjusted calibrations. The stocky coupe is still spooked by mid-corner bumps and the steering remains quick, but there’s more weight and its once spikey off-centre response has been toned down. Colleagues who have driven both agree the changes are noticeable.

R YAN LE WIS

@wheelsaustralia 47


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

Mercedes-Benz E400 4matic cabriolet 2996cc V6 (60°), dohc, 24v, twin-turbo 245kW @ 5250-6000rpm 480Nm @ 1400-4000rpm 9-speed automatic 1935kg 5.5sec (claimed) 8.7L/100km $157,500 Now

Retains much of the coupe’s dynamic ability; overall refinement

PLUS & MINUS

It’s pricey; wind diffuser aerofoil interrupts the body’s clean lines

Mercedes E400 cabrio

Stuttgart takes top-down approach to touring A CAN opener is often all it takes to turn an accomplished coupe into a floppy, drop-top dud. But fortunately that’s not the case with the Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic cabriolet, which joins the new E-Class range alongside its sedan, coupe, wagon and All-Terrain brethren. We struggled to see the relevance of the 4Matic all-wheeldrive system beneath the coupe. It’s clear from other models that the new E’s rear end is capable of dealing with the 245kW/480Nm from Mercedes-Benz’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and besides, coupe drivers may occasionally aspire to a little tail-out action. But it makes more sense when handling the footwork of the convertible. Top-down motoring is all about grace and composure, and that’s precisely what this rag-top E400 offers. The nine-speed auto is eerily intuitive, the claimed 0-100km/h

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

48 wheelsmag.com.au

dash of 5.5 seconds is entirely believable, the cabriolet’s steering has lost little of the precision of the coupe, and the traction of allwheel drive makes every kilowatt easily accessible. Barely perceptible column shake over uneven surfaces is about the only dynamic side-effect of the decapitation. Otherwise, the cabriolet is a fun and lively companion for a classic Australian cross-country road trip. The E-Class cabrio also scores highly for cosseting its occupants. Mercedes-Benz’s Airscarf front occupant neck warmers are as comforting as a cuddle, complemented by hardcore seat heaters that can actually sting on the toastiest setting. With the roof stowed the E-Class cabriolet offers a surprisingly calm cabin but that serenity can be further enhanced with an electrically folding wind diffuser. The device is very effective in reducing

cabin turbulence but cannot be raised without an aerofoil that simultaneously extends from the top of the windscreen. The secondary wing dramatically increases wind noise and detracts from the cabriolet’s good looks. The extensive selection of comfort kit allows roof-down fun to continue even when the weather has other ideas, but when the fabric top is closed, the cabin offers impressive insulation from the elements and noise. Neat features such as rear-seat interior lighting sewn into the roof remind passengers that they’re riding in something special. We even managed to get the roof to operate at nearly 70km/h, which is impressively useful. Cost of cabriolet ownership for the E400 4matic carries a $12,000 premium over the equivalent coupe, and while that’s a relatively small proportion of the total outlay, it’s still a lot of spray tans. D AN IE L G AR D N E R

Cab charge If the E400 is too pricey you can opt for the $123,500 E300 cabriolet instead. It ditches a pair i off cylinders, li d one turbocharger and two driven wheels to save you $34K; the 1991cc four applying its 180kW/370Nm through the nine-speed auto to the rears only. Performance off the mark is surprisingly zesty for a 2.0-litre turbo in a relatively porky machine but its shorter legs become apparent at higher speeds and when overtaking.


Abarth 595 Competizione

Angry baby you’ll want to cuddle. Then spank LET’S cut straight to the chase. Even with a recent $8000 price chop, there is still only one car in the sub-compact hatchback segment that costs more than the Abarth 595 Competizione, so you’d expect to feel quality and value at virtually every touchpoint in the little Italian, right? Hop aboard, though, and you’re met with a cabin not far removed from the $17,990 entry Fiat 500. Some hard plastics, a tiny touchscreen and only oneway steering adjustment forces a seating position not unlike that of a Land Rover Defender. At least the utterly fantastic Sabelt carbonfibre racing seats redeem the situation to a degree. But wait, they’re a $2000 option. Then there’s the practicality; or lack of it. Technically, there are four seats but the full capacity is only possible when the front row is occupied by Rhesus monkeys; the 185-litre boot is large enough

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

for perhaps a swimming costume, and the only cabin storage is sufficient for a phone. But you shouldn’t attempt that because it will fall out at the first corner and get lost under the seat. Then there is the 35-litre fuel tank which is fine when feeding the smallest 900cc Fiat engine, but here, feeding a 1.4-turbo fourpot with 132kW, you’ll be visiting the pump frequently. But wait – 132kW in a car that weighs 1045kg and has the same wheelbase as a Lancia Stratos? Now it all starts to make sense. Click the notchy five-speed manual gearbox into first, give the 595 everything and it’s like you’ve stamped on its tail. With a bantam kerb weight and bags of front-drive traction, acceleration is lively in all lower gears and accompanied with a manic exhaust note from the standard Monza sport system. The Competizione gets adaptive suspension on all four

Unmistakable looks; serious performance; brilliant exhaust note

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

corners that allows you to select from a very hard, vision-blurring g setting, or one even firmer. But you can forgive it a few slipped discs for its manner on smoother twisty roads. Bodyroll is virtually nonexistent, handling is joyously playful and while there is plenty of torque-steer, the front end is easily managed and involving. The brakes won’t let you down either thanks to four-piston front calipers courtesy of Brembo, which translate to a firm pedal feel and tireless performance. Yes, the 595 Competizione is pricey, and yes it has quirky Italian flaws you might not forgive another brand, but the result is a hugely likeable, almost human quality. Whether you are piloting the Abarth through your favourite roads or simply admiring its unique looks, the 595 Competizione will never fail to make you laugh out loud in delight and disbelief.

PLUS & MINUS

No competition Save yourself $5000 and you could put the entrylevel 595 on your driveway, but with just 107kW to its name, a muted exhaust note, sloppy manual gear-shift, more brake pedal travel and adaptive suspension on only the front axle, the more affordable Abarth feels like a close relative to the Fiat 500 donor. The Competizione, on the other hand, feels like a distant, athletic cousin.

D AN IE L G AR D N E R

Crippling ride; tiny fuel tank; weird driving position; poor cabin storage

Abarth 595 Competizione 1368cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 132kW @ 5500rpm 250Nm @ 3000rpm 5-speed manual 1045kg 6.7sec (claimed) 6.0L/100km $31,990 Now

@wheelsaustralia 49


H

d head

A FA ST S T ’ N ’ FU FUR R IOUS FACE -OF -OFF F

FRENCH FLAIR

W OR DS

RENAULT MEGANE GT WAGON WAGO ON The $39,990 1.6 turbo Megane GT looks like a good deal on face value and makes a better match for the base Levorg than the 1.2 GT-line. Sat-nav, front, rear and side parking sensors, tyre pressure monitor, and active safety such as AEB, a lane-departure warning and adaptive speed limited cruise are standard. You also get heated front seats and premium audio. 17/20 It’s no surprise it’s sportier and nicer in the top-spec Megane than the entry Subie, with sports seats and Alcantara trim. There’s ample legroom in the back and a bigger cargo bay than the Levorg’s, at 580 litres in spite of the Renault being 64mm shorter than the Subaru (on a 20mm-longer wheelbase). The rear seatbacks have a one-touch fold function and you get a tyre repair kit. 16/20 The Megane feels fizzier, in part because its direct-injected 1.6-litre turbo is 26kW and 30Nm up, at 151kW/280Nm, and in part because its seven-speed dual-clutch auto lets you fully harness the engine’s grunt, but you need to dial up the R.S. Drive system, or paddle shift to bring it to life. A 20 percent smaller tank (50 litres) is offset by better official economy – an excellent 6.0L/100km. 17/20 The Megane, as the tailgate badge suggests, rides on Renault Sport tuned suspension – and it wears 225/40R18s. Despite this, the highway/country ride is nicely absorbent, though the tyres create a bit of roar. At city speed and over the sharper bumps typically experienced in this sort of driving, it’s a bit jiggly, but we’re good with the compromise. 15/20 It’s safe to say the Megane GT is the dynamic pick of the small-wagon niche. With the chassis honed by the renowned RS division, a four-wheel-steering system and well-weighted turn-in that actually delivers feel, it’s a revelation. Here’s a compact family car that turns in keenly, keeps its composure over lumpy backroads and has a lovely fluid feel to the way it corners. 18/20

83/100

J A MES WHITBOU R N

V PRICE & EQUIPMENT 20 POINTS

INTERIOR & VERSATILITY 20 POINTS

PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY 20 POINTS

RIDE & REFINEMENT 20 POINTS

STEERING & HANDLING 20 POINTS

POINTS SCORE

QUIET ACHIEVER

SUBARU LEVORG LEV VORG GT Though the Premium might have been a closer match, the 1.6 turbo GT seemed the pick because it brings the Subie wagon’s price to a tasty $35,990. Cloth trim and 17s betray the base status, but just as in the Megane you get a rear camera, dual-zone climate control, heated mirrors and rain-sensing wipers. There are also dusk sensing, steering-responsive LED headlights and Subaru’s Eyesight safety suite. 16/20 The cloth trim in the Levorg, like the rest of the cabin, feels of high quality and is well finished, and you get a seventh airbag here, for the driver’s knees. There’s similar rear legroom to the Renault and the handy 40/20/40 one-touch folding backrest presents multiple ways to expand the 489L bay while still carrying two rear occupants. A temporary spare provides the fix for a flat. 15/20 Subaru’s first 1.6-litre flat-four grabbed our interest – could this be a gem? The direct-injected, 1599c FB15 DIT mill has 125kW/250Nm and hits peak torque early, at 1800rpm. But the CVT doesn’t let you find out how keen it is because there’s little linearity between right-foot movement and rate of acceleration. And the Subie is hefty at 1539kg, which might explain the 7.4L/100km figure. 13/20 The base 1.6 is the only Levorg that doesn’t get Bilstein dampers, and it also gets smaller wheels than the others – mere 215/50R17s. Both are plusses, because it rides with greater absorbency than its siblings as well as its rival. The Subaru is quiet and especially good at rounding off urban bumps, but the lack of absolute body control at higher speeds detracts from overall comfort. 15/20 An inert electric steering system and a lack of body control that introduces itself quickly when you have a go ensure you can draw conclusions on the entry Levorg nearly as fast. It’s not as good as we’d hoped, or as it could be. It’s not a patch on its rival for entertainment, but the ride/handling compromise stacks up well in the Levorg line-up. 14/20

73/100

The 2.0-litre Levorg doesn’t aim to be – and isn’t – a hot wagon. As it is, the doors shut with a nice thud, the cabin is well put together We wondered: would the new 1.6-litre Levorg GT version let the and it’s well equipped for the money. However, for $40K – and only model work better as a warm one? In a way, it does. The softer $4K more than its rival – the Megane GT wagon gives you plenty: VERDICT suspension and bigger tyre sidewalls smooth out the ride and the equipment, cargo space and a five-year warranty. You also get more 1.6 goes okay. With a bit more handling polish and steering feel and performance, greater character, and way more engaging steering a normal auto or, even better, a manual, it would be cool. and handling than in the Subaru. The Renault is a ripper all-rounder.

50 wheelsmag.com.au


RED ALCANTARA HIGHLIGHTS ARE OPTIONAL, THANKFULLY, AS ARE THE CARBON WHEEL SPOKES AND SHIFT PADDLES, WHICH SAVE 0.2KG COMPARED TO METAL ONES. HYDRAULIC LIFT KIT ALSO AVAILABLE TO AVOID NOSE SCRAPES, THOUGH ADDS 4.0KG.

54 wheelsmag.com.au


WO R D S A L E X I N WO O D

T’S NOT quite a gasp, more a sharp, involuntary hiss th h th h my tteeth th as I hit th k pedal d l thatt rushes through the b brake at 290km/h and watch, wide-eyed, as the shimmying silver rump of a 918 Spyder grows ever larger through the windscreen. Porsche’s reborn 911 GT2 RS is fractionally better under brakes than its four-year-old hypercar (thank a lighter 1440kg kerb weight), but for a heartbeat I panic, worried I’ve left it too late to hammer the left pedal. A finger of white hot fear flashes up my spine as I quickly calculate the cost of this potentially monumental cock-up ($1,500,000 + $645,700 = $2,145,700) but then the GT2’s Michelins bite, the moment passes, and we’re off again: me in the GT2 chasing Porsche’s test driver as we climb and turn around Portugal’s Portimao circuit. It’s a demanding track this, made more so by the GT2’s prodigious performance. Forget for a moment that this is a car infamously known as the ‘Widow Maker’ and consider the numbers: 515kW/750Nm, two swollen turbos, rear-wheel drive and a Nurburgring lap time of 6m47s, which incidentally, makes it the fastest production car ever to lap the Green Hell. If the naturally aspirated GT3 RS is the scalpel-sharp, trackhoned member of the 911 family, the GT2 is the slightly unhinged one. The scary one. Porsche proudly admits it wanted the GT2 to be wild, to command respect, and even Mark Webber, a man capable of extracting the maximum from an F1 car and who helped develop the GT2, says it needs to be driven with a degree of caution. It’s enough to make you think Porsche’s 911 flagship will be boosty, edgy, unforgiving, unpredictable. Yet strangely, it’s not. Well, not intimidatingly so. Yes this is a car that demands your full attention when driven quickly, but it’s no window-licking, straitjacket-wearing lunatic. It’s easier to explore the outer limits of grip than I expected, to hold small slides on corner exit

and revel in the sheer power and tsunami of torque d li db i t b six. i It’ i delivered by th the ttwin-turbo It’s th the same b basic 3.8-litre unit used in the Turbo, only tweaked to produce 118kW more in a body weighing 155kg less. Larger turbos deliver most of the leap in grunt, helped by bespoke pistons, a modified crankcase, a reshaped carbonfibre air intake and a free-flowing titanium exhaust, the latter saving 7.5kg over the rear axle. There’s a water-spray cooling system too, fed by a 5-litre tank housed in the boot, that shoots water onto the larger, redesigned intercoolers to help reduce charge air temperature. Deploy all this at the track and the results are remarkable. I can’t think of a stronger factory-spec turbocharged engine on sale and it’s a unit that oozes its own unique personality. Truly engaging turbo engines are rare, and while it mightn’t have the spinetingling howl or stratospheric top-end of the GT3’s free-breathing 4.0 (max engine speed here is 7200rpm), the GT2 is angrier, with a blunter, beefier soundtrack that seems to come from deep within. And the way it accelerates is ferocious. Porsche claims 0-100km/h in 2.8sec but it’s how the GT2 piles on speed beyond three figures that’s most impressive. Even at 290km/h at the end of Portimao’s long straight it’s pulling just as hard; no fuss, no unnerving wobbles or hiccups, just pure, unrelenting speed. This makes it wildly addictive on track, but point the GT2’s jutting front splitter at the public road and it demands a slight recalibration. Suddenly, even gentle squeezes of the throttle, or swift prods to execute an overtake, result in velocities that will have the authorities scrambling for their infringement pads. The strengthened seven-speed PDK gearbox, which uses shorter ratios and elements from the 918 Spyder, plays a part here too, delivering swift upshifts to make the torrent of acceleration feel virtually seamless. @wheelsaustralia 55


RAKE ADJUSTMENT Rear-wing angle can be altered for optimal drag/downforce mix. In ‘Track’ setting 271kg of downforce is generated over the rear axle at 340km/h Vmax

IF THE GT3 IS THE SCALPEL-SHARP, TRACK-HONED 911, THE GT2 RS IS THE SLIGHTLY UNHINGED ONE The real magic, however, lies not in this insatiable appetite for speed, but in how the GT2 drives. Suspension changes include stiffer springs and softer anti-roll bars than the GT3 for a set-up that’s closer to Porsche’s Cup car, and the results are rock-solid body control and unerring grip during steady state cornering. Rear-wheel steering does its bit to aid stability, as does a unique calibration for the chassis electronics tasked with containing the forces sent through the specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s (265/35R20 front and 325/30R21 out back) – the rears claiming the crown 911 of the widest tyres ever fitted to a 911. There’s aero trickery afoot too. Like the GT3, the GT2 uses the wide body from the Turbo but the aero package is more aggressive, with wider intakes at the front and on the bulging haunches, taller carbon fins over the 56 wheelsmag.com.au

CAGED ANIMAL

Titanium rollcage included in $70K Weissach pack saves 9kg, but isn’t FIA approved. Porsche will revert to regular car’s steel cage, if asked.

front wheel arches and a huge, adjustable rear-wing. Those seeking an even more hostile appearance and performance bent can tick the optional Weissach pack that, for $69,990, adds a titanium rollcage, carbon anti-roll bars and suspension couplings, magnesium wheels, and a carbon roof in place of the standard magnesium one. You also get carbon spokes on the steering wheel and carbon shift paddles, a six-point racing harness, plus bonnet stripes and PORSCHE emblazoned across the rear wing. All up the pack saves 30kg, bringing the GT2’s kerb weight down to 1440kg (just 20kg more than the GT3 RS, despite the extra hardware), and Porsche expects 80 to 90 percent of owners to go for it. “When you’re spending this kind of money you don’t care,” says Frank Walliser, vice president of Porsche motorsport and GT cars. “When you can get something that makes your car more special, you just do it.” The risk with being so heavily turbocharged is that the GT2 will feel boosty and lethargic, especially at low rpm, yet it’s surprisingly responsive. And I’m stunned at how the power builds as the tacho sweeps through the rev range. There are no engine modes to play with, just a PDK Sport setting for the gearbox, a button for the dampers and another for the exhaust, and while there is some lag low in the rev range (peak torque


SIZE ADVANTAGE

Carbon fins over front wheel arches even larger than GT3 RS to reduce wheel well pressure. Hip-mounted vents bigger than on Turbo S to aid cooling.

DUCTED AIR-CON Bonnet nostrils called ‘NACA ducts’ feed air to carbon-ceramic brakes that measure 410mm up front with six pistons, and 390mm at the rear.

COOL IT, SQUIRT

Frank Walliser admits Porsche sets power targets for all its engines, except for the GT2’s. It was simply, “As much as possible. No matter what!” Higher output turbos with 67mm compressor wheels (up 9mm compared to Turbo S) and 55mm turbines (up 7mm) account for the extra mumbo, with a lift in boost to 22.5psi. To aid cooling, larger intercoolers swallow 27 percent more air and are repositioned for greater efficiency. Charge air is further controlled under extreme conditions by a water-spray system that squirts onto the intercooler when intake temps exceed 50 degrees, 90 percent throttle is applied and engine speed is above 3000rpm.

@wheelsaustralia 57


993 MEET THE ANCESTORS

A mere 57 cars built between 1993-’98, so massively collectible. Started with 316kW from the 3.6-litre air-cooled six; ended with 331kW. No driver aids, hence the nickname and reputation.

58 wheelsmag.com.au

996

Arrived two years after the debut of the regular 996 range, initially packing 340kW from the nowwater-coooled, four-valve 3.6-litre six. Copped a power hike later in its life to 355kW; trim at 1430kg.

997

Saw the introduction of variable geometry turbines for the twin turbos, ramping power to 390kW, but also fattening the torque curve. Pulled 0-100km/h in 3.9sec and on to a 328km/h top speed.


arrives between 2500 and 4500rpm), the base engine is strong enough that it never really feels off boost. And because the power delivery is so immediate, with slight adjustments of the throttle altering the car’s attitude, it’s easy to attack in the GT2. But it’s the stream of feedback that defines the experience. Information fed through your hands, feet and bum provides an uncommon connection to the road; enough to sense, in detail, when the Michelins are approaching the limits of adhesion. The standard carbon-ceramic brakes are a highlight too, not only for their sheer 918 Spyder-avoiding stopping force, but for the feel through the pedal and their unwavering performance. Yet despite the obvious highs, the GT2 isn’t as intuitive or as forgiving to drive on the limit as a GT3. Perhaps it’s the weight of the turbos, but you’re more aware that the GT2 is rear-engined; that a significant portion of the car’s mass is positioned behind the rear axle. And despite the immediacy of its controls, if you orner lift fractionally mid-corner or get too greedy on corner ace exit, there’s an edginess lurking beneath the surface that harks back to GT2s of old. g are surprisingly p g y civilised. There’s here’s On the road,, things

no escaping that the track-focused suspension is taut, but it never crashes through. And while you do notice the lack of travel over big bumps, the body is tightly controlled, at least on Portuguese back roads. It feels as agreeable as a GT3, only arguably takes less effort to drive quickly. Where the GT3 comes alive high in the rev range, the GT2’s huge reserves of torque make it an instantly gratifying experience, as the PDK quickly and intuitively cycles through the ratios to keep the engine in its fat mid-range. Only a high degree of road and tyre noise, and a booming exhaust drone under light load (if you leave the exhaust button switched on) detract from what is an otherwise perfectly liveable experience on the road. So is the GT2 RS the ultimate 911? If your measuring sticks are pure speed and excitement then yes, absolutely. Nothing in the current range comes close for white-knuckle exhilaration or delivers such an adrenaline hit. Whether it’s as rewarding, or as pure, as a GT3, which costs significantly less, is debatable, but the GT2 RS feels analogue, special and while not as scary as its forebears, remains a car that demands a certain level of respect. It is, quite simply, the alpha male in the 911 range. g

BALLS BUSTED

Just how hardcore your GT2 is, is up to you. If lightness is everything, delete luxuries like the reversing camera, radio and even the air conditioning. The latter saves 19kg, but Porsche says “if you want to use the car, keep the a/c. We keep it in our race cars.” All pivot points and suspension bushings are replaced by motorsport-derived rose joints, which aren’t great for refinement, but provide greater precision and a stiffer connection to the chassis.

Model Porsche 911 GT2 RS Engine 3800cc flat-six, dohc, 24v, twin turbo Max power 515kW @ 7000rpm Max torque 750Nm @ 2500-4500rpm Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch Weight 1470kg 0-100km/h 2.8sec (claimed) Economy 11.8L/100km Price $645,700 On sale Q1 2018 @wheelsaustralia 59


S

C63

Bahn finds Audi lobs a 331kW grenade into the ubercoupe sector in the chiselled form of its latest RS5. Should BMW and Mercedes-AMG be worried?

AUDI

RS5

|

BM W

M4

PUR E

|

MERCEDES-A MG

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

60 wheelsmag.com.au


@wheelsaustralia 61


On a gnarly cross-country route, the

CARBON ROOF AND GREEN PAINT OPTIONAL. IN TRUTH, RS5 DOESN’T NEED THE ADDED BLING TO STAND OUT

62 wheelsmag.com.au


UDI can’t build a sports car. Everybody knows that. Everyone apart from the engineers who built the revolutionary ur-Quattro, the borderline genius B7 RS4, the disruptive R8 coupe and the astonishing R10 TDI racer – a diesel that dominated at Le Mans even when Ingolstadt voluntarily used the same engines in the 24-hour race as it used in practice and qualifying. So it ought to be obvious that there’s a pool of hugely talented chassis and powertrain people at Audi. What’s truly frustrating is that this rich vein of dynamic know-how has all too often been neutered by the might of marketing and design, the power of the brand going rogue and often bringing us some strangely compromised road cars. The premise of this test, therefore, is to discover whether the latest RS5 comes from the ‘good Audi’ that brought us those aforementioned gems or the other bunch, the crew who gave us the 2010 RS5 V8, a true collector’s piece for the connoisseur of ploughon understeer. Even if it’s from the former camp, it’ll have its work cut out against the BMW M4 Pure and the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe. The M4 doesn’t brook too many surprises, the M3 Coupe/M4 bloodline

representing a durable class benchmark. The Pure trim is an Australia-only model that strips out big-ticket items like adaptive LED lights, leather and premium audio system. Mechanically, it only differs from the M4 Competition by switching from 20- to 19-inch alloys. The Pure shares the Competition’s 331kW/550Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo six and has an identical suspension tune, though our test car featured the 20s optioned back in (for $2500 more). With a $139,000 base price, the M4 Pure is comfortably the most affordable car here. The AMG has clearly been on the juice, now sporting muscular wheelarch bulges, fat rubber and an aggression that’s entirely absent from its comparatively snake-hipped C43 sibling. The pugnacious stance works well, this remedial work fixing the standard coupe’s rather apologetic rear end. The only V8 of the trio, the 375kW/700Nm 4.0-litre Merc fronts up with the most grunt and the heftiest sticker price of $163,612. Add $9900 to that to get the car as tested here, complete with AMG ceramic front stoppers. Slotting neatly between these two bookends comes the 331kW/600Nm 2.9-litre V6 Audi RS5 which has been sensibly pitched at $156,600. The eye-catching Sonoma green paintwork, an extended carbon package (including the roof and engine cover) and a Technik package, which includes colour head-up display, Matrix LED lights and a Qi wireless charger, bumps that up to $179,346 as-tested.

others wouldn’t see which way the RS5 had gone On the straight and narrow One issue that arose several times during the course of this test was the mystery of the Audi’s recurring lane keep assist. Halfway through a drive route, and without consciously switching it on, the Audi would tug at the steering, having switched into this mode. It was later revealed that the LKAS engagement button, located on a wedge at the end of the indicator stalk, is very easy to depress when casually flicking the wand down for a left turn.

@wheelsaustralia 63


There’s real bite and character to the M4. It’s the FIRING UP more than 1000kW of aggro at 6am is going to make you unpopular, even in a town as octane-addled as Bathurst. The Merc’s bent-eight emits exactly the correct frequency to turn motel windows into giant drum skins, bleary-eyed curtain twitchers unable to figure out at which miscreant to direct their stink eye. It’s a fat, meaty wub-wub with an old-school appeal that sounds anything but turbo-neutered. The M4 is the midrange, with the RS5 adding some tinnitus treble to really round out the sonic barrage. Received wisdom has it that the C63 S is going to be cast as the hooligan here, the point-and-squirt hot rod that’s long on drama but light on subtlety. It plays up to that casting, initially at any rate, with a wilful determination to bend the coding of its traction control software to breaking point and inflicting a ride quality around town that’s marginally better than setting off down the Dipper after zipping yourself into a hard-shell Samsonite roller. Race mode has your foot bouncing on the throttle pedal like a Tullamarine taxi driver with St Vitus’s dance. By contrast, the M4 feels as if Munich has commissioned Tempur for the damper tune. By most normal measures it’s still firm, but there is a degree of suppleness that’s missing from the Benz. The bandwidth between the M4’s Comfort and Sport+ settings isn’t huge, certainly less than the C63’s arc between acceptable and vertebra-clacking, while the Audi effectively has two damper settings. Comfort is where you’ll stay almost all the time, giving the RS5 a genuinely plush GT car ride, with Sport being reserved for smoothly surfaced twisties. On typically scabby country roads the latter will have your head coming into contact with the roof lining a little too often for comfort. Kiss goodbye to your sunnies if you occasionally prop them atop your noggin. Snapper Wielecki has identified a suitably scenic 64 wheelsmag.com.au

corner for us to play on (33°33’18.22”S, 150° 8’36.31”E, if you’re interested), which requires a fair degree of commitment to make the cars look lively for his Canon. It’s here that the Mercedes shines, with just enough reassuring bodyroll and a beautiful, buttery transition into power oversteer. Even with the ESC switched on, you can feel the electronic limited-slip diff smearing in and out, allowing just a spritz of rear end movement. In ESP Sport, it’s a whole lot more lenient, responding well to a gentle roll of the wrists. The weight of the engine makes itself felt if you’re lazy with your braking or ambitious with corner entry speeds but greater negative camber, stiffer bushings and a model-specific rear-axle carrier combine to give the C63 S a sweetly textural, benign feel at the limits of grip, belying its somewhat one-dimensional image. Rolling from throttle to brake reveals a slightly clunky pedal positioning, Mercedes – like many manufacturers – retaining a higher brake pedal than accelerator; a legacy of manual car heel-and-toe requirements. Out of the corner, the Mercedes feels the strongest, with a comical slab of torque arriving at 3000rpm and persisting with no let up to 5000rpm. The AMG-Speedshift 7 lets you hold a gear if the requisite button is engaged, but despite its surfeit of cubic centimetres, the AMG engine operates best in that 2000rpm band and the gearbox software has a better feel for this than you or I. The optional ceramic front stoppers help shrug off the car’s 1725kg heft and, unusually for carbon picks, are easy to modulate, representing a key point of difference between Affalterbach and Munich. The M4’s four-piston front brakes are the weakest aspect of its dynamic palette. It’s a perennial M-car complaint but BMW doesn’t seem to be listening, deeming them sufficient for fast road driving. That’s also open to question, the pedal going long after a


Buttoned Down Key driving functions should always be within easy reach and both BMW and MercedesAMG feature an array of buttons to instantly tailor suspension, steering, transmission and stability control settings. In the Audi, many of those crucial functions are relegated to the MMI screen. The M4 goes one stage better than the AMG by ensuring all of these controls are located on the driver’s side of the gear selector.

GREATEST WHEELBASE TO LENGTH PROPORTIONING GIVES M4 A PURPOSEFUL, LITHE PROFILE

only one you could grow to love

@wheelsaustralia 65


Belt and Braces Both the RS5 and the C63 S are fitted with ‘belt butlers’, the robotic arm that feeds you your seatbelt. The M4 isn’t and its long doors mean that it’s quite a stretch to reach over your shoulder for the buckle. The BMW also delivers quite a squeeze when the seatbelts are engaged, tensioning them firmly. This feature seems to be universally hated by most passengers I’ve carried in modern BMWs, with females finding the tensioner’s hug particularly unwelcome.

If we totted up scores, the RS5 would

66 wheelsmag.com.au


IN THE SHOWROOM BATTLE, THE AUDI’S CABIN SCORES AN OVERWHELMING PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE

few committed applications on a downhill stretch. The M4 also suffers from oversteer. Perhaps that needs qualification. Unexpected oversteer has given more than a few drivers a case of the frights and much of that may well be caused by the Active Sound symposer. Between 2500 and 3000rpm, the sound piped into the cabin is a muted, deep rumble. It doesn’t sound particularly potent, yet at this point in the rev range, the engine’s making its full slug of 550Nm; more than enough to light up the rears. BMW claims the symposer makes up 2-3 percent of the sound with the rest natural, but the careful wording of its claim is disingenuous. Listen to a car with the symposer disabled and it’s markedly different. This is what’s spooked so many, the weird disconnect between what’s happening at their ears and what the rear contact patches are having to contend with. In short, oversteer arrives before you expect it and it’s spikier than the AMG, the BMW’s Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber being less forgiving than the more malleable ContiSportContact 5P boots on the Benz, which exhibit a more manageably ramped transition from grip to slip. The M4 also has the loosest body control of the trio and requires a little more consideration when flicking from corner to corner. Get into the RS5 after a committed blat in either of the other two and it feels as if you’re wearing noisecancelling headphones. The Porsche-developed V6 (you’ll find similar ironmongery under the bonnet of the Panamera 4S) sounds a little too mannered, even when given a merciless prodding. I found myself clicking my jaw because I thought the altitude drop on the road had caused my ears to need popping. No, it’s just a lot quieter. Quieter and quicker. The numbers against the stopwatch tell a compelling story and there’s little doubt that on a gnarly cross-country route, the other two wouldn’t see where the RS5 had gone. It gives so much and asks for so little in return, which is both its greatest talent and most significant shortcoming. The steering, even in Dynamic mode, is a bottle of

undoubtedly emerge with the biggest number

@wheelsaustralia 67


Received wisdom has it that the C63 S is going to Pure Blonde to the AMG and M4’s steins of Warsteiner. The front end of the RS5 is predictably mighty, with huge grip aided by the widest tyres of the trio, 275/30ZR20 ContiSportContact 6s. Try to get the car to misbehave and it all gets a bit reluctant, the 40:60 rear bias seeming to promise a level of throttle adjustability that the Audi isn’t keen on indulging. It’s undeniably effective at demolishing a string of corners, the new five-link rear end replacing the trapezoidal-link arrangement that underpinned the old car. It should be noted that Aussie cars feature the quattro rear sport differential – an option on Euro models – which delivers a greater percentage of fun to the outside rear wheel. The V6 is freakish in its sheer relentlessness, with instant go from 2500rpm right through to the redline. There’s next to no let-up. The only automatic gearbox of the trio makes a solid partner, slurring up and down ratios almost imperceptibly, holding gears to the limiter if you prod the lever to the left and being way slicker in its operation than the stalk-mounted Benz shifter or the maddeningly over-complex BMW contrivance. Audi scores a minus point for getting the shift action the wrong way round though. And on an RS model too. Tut. The RS5 delivers the most refined cabin of the trio at cruising speeds, although loose chip surfaces set up some extravagant tyre rumble. The Mercedes is all exhaust boom, with or without the extra noise button engaged, while the BMW is largely civilised below 4000rpm, whereupon it all starts getting a bit exciting. While the Audi boosts its GT credentials with impressive driveline civility, it scores a few surprising ergonomic demerits. The cabin is undeniably gorgeous, with hexagon68 wheelsmag.com.au

stitched leather seats, beautifully judged materials quality and that showstopper wall-to-wall TFT virtual cockpit. Spend a little time with the RS5, however, and its compromises become apparent. The drive select button, a function you’ll use fairly frequently, is tiny and a long stretch away, evidence of lazy right-hand drive conversion. After fumbling for that, you then have a few seconds to grab at the MMI controller dial before the screen reverts to its previous setting. What’s more, the buttons are all but impossible to see in bright light, nestling beneath a line of angled silver toggle switches that reflect the sun. The seating position is also too high for a coupe, robbing headroom and exacerbating the shortcomings of the RS5’s ride quality in Dynamic mode. The manual steering adjustment feels a bit cheapjack after the other two’s slick electric rake and reach settings. Access to the rear is slightly better than the AMG and a good way worse than the M4, although once in, it feels snug and far from claustrophobic. The rear also has the best array of storage options, and it’s the only back seat of the three to get its own dedicated temperature control for the air-con. The buttons to slide the front seat back and forth are considerately located on the upper side of the chair, unlike the M4 which positions them in plain sight on the back of the seat, which is always going to be too much of a temptation for evil offspring or drunken mates. Visibility out of the RS5 isn’t bad, with the slimmest A-pillars but the fattest B-pillars. Styling? You’ll need to be the ultimate arbiter of that, but the Audi attracted a lot of interest. That complex, hue-shifting optional paintwork was a factor, but the RS5 is a striking car. It’s not as pretty as the original A5


Light is right

EASING THE TRACKS OUT BY 64 AND 66MM FRONT AND REAR GIVES THE C63 S THE VISUAL AGGRESSION TO MATCH THAT SLEDGEHAMMER V8 POWERPLANT

Fuel usage on our test route corresponded fairly closely to the kerb weight of each of our vehicles. The lightweight (1580kg) M4 CS was the most parsimonious at 12.9L/100km, despite probably being driven the hardest. Next up at 13.0L/100km was the 1585kg M4 Pure, followed at 13.9L/100km by the 1655kg Audi RS5. The portly eight-pot AMG hefted 1725kg to a 14.8L/100km result, this figure made a little more palatable by the biggest fuel tank of the bunch.

be cast as the hooligan here

@wheelsaustralia 69


shape, Walter de Silva’s finest moment, but it’s a confident and assured piece of vehicular sculpture. The AMG’s glitzy shtick will, for many, justify its elevated price tag. Great seats and showy alloys aside, the M4 looks slightly dull. This alone ought to be enough to guarantee the RS5’s success, from a sales perspective at least. We don’t count registrations as the fairest way of keeping score. We never have and never will, so it’s time to crown a winner of these three cars. The M4 is undoubtedly the most flawed of the trio, yet it’s a car that rewards an extended period of acclimatisation. What’s more, there’s real bite and character to it. Yes, it’s finishing this test third, but of the three, it’s the only one I reckon you’d grow to love, and it’s the only one that’s also offered with three pedals. The Pure model probably ought to be a simpler, rawer thing, and that car doesn’t exist as yet. The M4 CS (see sidebar, below) shows what can be done but, to put it bluntly, its price is a joke. Model by model, BMW continues to just miss with the M4, like a sniper repeatedly overcompensating the adjustment on a scope. The RS5 is an interesting one. It excels on so many objective counts that were we totting up scores, it’d undoubtedly emerge with the biggest number. It’s the newest, slickest, most economical, and quickest on a challenging road, but it never connects with the driver on any significant emotional plane. It’s more ‘good Audi’ than bad, but it emerges as a bit of a curate’s egg: it’s a melange of overpolish in some areas and somewhat underdone in others. Its optimum ride/handling setting is, frustratingly, somewhere smack between the binary Comfort and Dynamic modes and that engine needs more attitude and flintiness to it. Which leaves the Mercedes-AMG as last man standing as the other two manage to count themselves out. Yes, the ride could be better and the shouty design will dissuade some but, unlike both of the others, this is a car that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. This impishness is infectious and encourages you to have a little fun. It’s less one-dimensional than you expect which, admittedly, is not saying much, but it nails a brief that AMG seems to understand better than the others. It’s about an experience removed from the ordinary and the C63 S drenches you in just that from the first prod of the starter button. Notch another one up for Affalterbach.

The C63 S is a car that doesn’t seem to take itself

70 wheelsmag.com.au


AUDI RS5

BMW M4 PURE

MERCEDES-AMG C63 S

$156,600/As tested $179,346**

$139,000/As tested $142,123**

$163,612/As tested $173,512**

in-line 6, dohc, 24v, twin-turbo front engine (north-south), rear drive 2979cc 331kW @ 7000rpm 550Nm @ 1850-5500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch

V8 (90°), dohc, 32v, twin-turbo front engine (north-south), rear drive 3982cc 375kW @ 5500-6250rpm 700Nm @ 1750-4500rpm 7-speed automatic

steel, 2 doors, 4 seats 4671/1877/1431/2812mm 1579/1604mm 1585kg 480 litres 98 octane/60 litres 13.0L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar electric rack-and-pinion 12.2m (2.3 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (380mm) ventilated discs (370mm) Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/30ZR20 (f), 285/30ZR20 (r)

steel, 2 doors, 4 seats 4750/1877/1402/2840mm 1613/1642mm 1725kg 450 litres 98 octane/66 litres 14.8L/100km (test average) Front: double A-arms, coil springs, adaptive dampers, ant-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar electric rack-and-pinion 11.3m (2.3 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (402mm) ventilated discs (360mm) Continental ContiSportContact 5P 255/35ZR19 (f), 285/30ZR20 (r)

 (Euro)

 (Euro)

Drivetrain Engine Layout Capacity Power Torque Transmission

V6 (90°), dohc, 24v, twin-turbo front engine (north-south), all drive 2894cc 331kW @ 5700-6700rpm 600Nm @ 1900-5000rpm 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, 2 doors, 4 seats 4723/1861/1360/2766mm 1598/1588mm 1655kg 465 litres 98 octane/58 litres 13.9L/100km (test average) Front: multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar Rear: multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar electric rack-and-pinion 11.7m (2.8 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (375mm) ventilated discs (330mm) Continental ContiSportContact 6 275/30ZR20 97Y

Safety NCAP rating

 (Euro)

Performance

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

too seriously BMW M4 CS When BMW offered us an M4 CS for review, we thought it would be instructive to bring it along in order to provide some sort of contextual counterpoint. At $211,610, it’s a heck of an impost for 7kW and a tenth off your 0-100. Leaving the price aside, the car is mechanically very similar to the M4 Competition, with minor tweaks to springs and damper settings. The biggest material change is the fitment of staggered Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, which dial out a lot of unwanted oversteer and improve dry braking massively. Remarkably, carbon ceramic brakes remain on the options list. The interior gets the stripped out treatment of the M4 GTS track special, with fabric door cards and pulls, no door bins or central storage, simple single-zone air con and Alcantara everywhere. Given that $160K would net you an M4 Pure with carbon stoppers and Cup tyres, it’s hard to recommend the CS, as much fun as it is. BMW could end all this nonsense by delivering us a manual M4 with carbon brakes and sticky tyres along with a metal roof, cloth seats and CS suspension. That car, priced at $150K, could well have won this comparison.

Verdict

Power-to-weight: 200kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6000/6600rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 98 Speed in gears 55km/h @ 6900rpm 85km/h @ 6900rpm 127km/h @ 6900rpm 159km/h @ 6900rpm 208km/h @ 6900rpm 250km/h @ 6350rpm* 250km/h @ 5200rpm* 250km/h @ 4050rpm* Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 0.5sec 0-40km/h: 1.1sec 0-60km/h: 1.8sec 0-80km/h: 2.7sec 0-100km/h: 3.7sec 0-120km/h: 5.0sec 0-140km/h: 6.5sec 0-160km/h: 8.5sec 0-180km/h: 10.6sec 0-200km/h: 13.3sec 0-400m: 11.9sec @ 190.0km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 2.4sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 34.3m

Power-to-weight: 209kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 7500/7700rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 59km/h @ 7700rpm 107km/h @ 7700rpm 163km/h @ 7700rpm 219km/h @ 7700rpm 250km/h @ 6900rpm* 250km/h @ 5800rpm* 250km/h @ 4600rpm*

Power-to-weight: 217kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 7000/7000rpm Speed at indicated 100km/h: 97 Speed in gears 71km/h @ 7000rpm 109km/h @ 7000rpm 163km/h @ 7000rpm 228km/h @ 7000rpm 250km/h @ 5600rpm* 250km/h @ 4600rpm* 250km/h @ 4100rpm*

Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.0sec 0-40km/h: 1.9sec 0-60km/h: 2.8sec 0-80km/h: 3.5sec 0-100km/h: 4.6sec 0-120km/h: 5.8sec 0-140km/h: 7.2sec 0-160km/h: 8.9sec 0-180km/h: 11.0sec 0-200km/h: 13.5sec 0-400m: 12.5sec @ 193.0km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 2.2sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 34.1m

Standing-start acceleration 0-20km/h: 1.0sec 0-40km/h: 1.8sec 0-60km/h: 2.6sec 0-80km/h: 3.4sec 0-100km/h: 4.4sec 0-120km/h: 5.5sec 0-140km/h: 6.9sec 0-160km/h: 8.6sec 0-180km/h: 10.5sec 0-200km/h: 12.9sec 0-400m: 12.3sec @ 195.3km/h Rolling acceleration: Drive 80-12Okm/h: 2.2sec Braking distance 10Okm/h-0: 36.0m

Pace and grip everywhere; big budget interior; ride in Comfort

Addictive power delivery; keen price; manual availability; circuit ability

Gutsy V8; beefy controls; macho stance; ESC tuning; sheer fun factor

Lack of involvement; B-road ride in Dynamic; mean fuel tank; headroom

Clunky twin-clutch; sharp oversteer; dated cabin; brakes

Harsh ride in most modes; rear access; needs the carbon brakes

Track: Sydney Dragway, dry, slippery. Temp: 20ºC. Driver: Nathan Ponchard. Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: n/a. AAMI Insurance: n/a * Speed limited ** Includes premium paint ($1846), Carbon engine cover ($1200), Carbon roof ($4900), Carbon and black styling package ($10,900) and Technik Package ($3900)

Track: Sydney Dragway, dry, slippery. Temp: 20ºC. Driver: Nathatn Ponchard. Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km. Service interval: condition based. Glass’s 3-year resale: 51%. AAMI Insurance: $3580 * Speed limited ** Includes Apple CarPlay ($623) and 20-inch wheels ($2500)

Track: Sydney Dragway, dry, slippery. Temp: 20ºC. Driver: Nathan Ponchard. Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 55%. AAMI Insurance: n/a * Speed limited ** Includes AMG ceramic front brakes ($9900)

8.5/10

8.0/10

9.0/10

@wheelsaustralia 71


’S

CASH GIVEAWAY! CHOOSE FROM ANY OF THESE GREAT MAGAZINES TO WIN FESTIVE DECORATING SPECIAL

MATT MORAN’S CHRISTMAS LUNCH MENU

10 steps

TO A FAB, FUSS-FREE CELEBRATION

Di Morrissey HOME AT LAST

158 GIFT IDEAS from S10

SAVE 41%

SAVE 46%

SAVE 34%

SAVE

All 31% AGorgeous entertaining ideas from expat families... ABROAD AH HEA HEAVENLY EEA AVENLY ENLY L HINTERLAND HINT HIN INT NTERLAND NT TERL TERL ERLAND LLA AND GAR GARD GA ARDEN ARDE RDEN RDE DEN N GARDEN

Sri Lanka, Los Angeles, Dubai, Singapore & Mozambique

12 ISSUES: $69 $69.99

SAVE 34% 13 ISSUES: $89.95

SAVE 24% 12 ISSUES: $8 $89.95

26 ISSUES: $69.99

SAVE 35% 11 ISSUES: $ $59.99 59 99

13 ISSUES: $ $89.95 89 95

12 ISSUES: $ $69.99 69 99

SAVE 30%

SAVE 33% 10 IISSUES: SSUE SS UES S: $ $59.99 59 9 99

12 ISSUES: $59.99

Order online at MAGSHOP.COM.AU/XMAS26 Competition starts on 23/10/2017 and closes 31/01/2018 at 11:59pm. The competition is open to all residents of Australia aged 18 years or over, who subscribe or renew their subscription to one or more magazine titles or purchase any product available on Magshop (www.magshop.com.au). Competition draw will take place 12/02/2018 at 11:00am.


WIN $10, 0 5 cas 00 prizeh s!

SUBSCRIBE TODAY FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

This Christmas at Magshop, there’s $50,000 cash to be won just by ordering a subscription to Wheels or any of our fabulous magazines. That’s whether you’re Magshopping for yourself, renewing or buying a gift for a loved one! In our massive Christmas Cash Giveaway, 5 lucky customers will WIN $10,000 each in cold hard cash. Plus, for every subscription you order you increase your chances to win. A subscription truly is the perfect gift and Magshop has something for everyone. So order online now to cash in this Christmas!

OR VISIT MAGSHOP.COM.AU/XMAS26 FOR MORE OPTIONS

NOVEMBER 20, 2017. AUST $4.50

Casey’s proudest moment!

Australia’s

o.1 N weekly mag

Exclusive

SNEAK PEEK!!

Noo ! surgery

HOW I LOST 36KG

(AND 5 DRESS RESSS SIZES!) SIZE I ESS!)

SAVE 18%

SAVE 21%

SAVE 16%

SAVE 41%

FIRST BUMP PICS!

Karl’s bombshell

PREGNANT ALREADY! PLUS

EEX-WIFE EX-W CASS CA ASS ‘‘I’vee kknown for week weeks’

12 ISSUES: $69.99

SAVE 54% 12 ISSUES: $59 $59.99

6 ISSUES: $ $69.99 69 99

SAVE 16% 12 ISSUES: $ $32.00 32 00

4 ISSUES: $39.95

SAVE 26% 13 3 ISSUES: ISS SSUES S: $ $39.99 3 99 39

12 ISSUES: $ $59.99 59 99

SAVE 26% 8 ISSUES: $64.99

MEGHAN HAN MOVESS IN! IN! Inside their London love lov llo ov ovvee HO H HOTO O OTTTO OTO O PROOF PR P RO R ROO OOF OO nest... & PHOTO y’ss on on the thhee way! th w waay ayy!! a baby’s

Brave Mike Willesee I STARED DEATH IN THE FACE... CE... AND WON! N!

SAVE 40%

DINN DIN DINNER D DI IN INNER NN NNER N N NER NE ER R FOR FFO OR O R UNDE UNDER UN NDER N ND NDE DE D R $$3 DER 3 SSave avee you your yyo ouur $$$ $$$$ for foorr Christmas! Chr Christma Christm hris hristma ristma stm tm maas! m

26 ISSUES: $6 $69.99

SAVE 23% $54.99 12 ISSUES: $ 54 99

SAVE 16% 12 ISSUES: $89.95

SAVE 37% 11 ISSUES: $54.99

or phone 136 116 and quote LX17WHE Please see www.bauer-media.com.au/privacy for location of our privacy policy. For full terms and conditions of entry, visit www.magshop.com.au/christmas-tc. The Promoter is Bauer Media Pty Ltd (ABN 18 053 273 546) Authorised under permit numbers: NSW: LTPS/17/17468; SA: T17/1653; ACT:TP 17/01762


Italy, France & Germany Includes the Monaco Historic Grand Prix May 10 to 29, 2018

Italy, France, Germany & England Includes the Goodwood Revival Festival Sep 1 to 21, 2018


SPECIAL FEATURE

FORWARD VISION Your guide to the future of motoring starts here

78 84 90 94

Electrification Why the electron, not petrol, is the future of propulsion

Autonomy Your next car will drive itself. Embrace it.

Infrastructure How our roads and cities are poised to change for the better

What’s next The minds that decide what happens after the revolution

@wheelsaustralia 75


UT FIRST, SOME CONTEXT... As the pace of automotive change inexorably accelerates, logic would dictate that our ability to predict the future would occupy ever shorter horizons. Instead the opposite is true. We’re more certain of what motoring will look like in thirty years than we’ve ever been before. The autonomous electric pod is an endpoint that’s long been a goal of many industry visionaries. It’s accepted as an inevitability, but is that really the case? If there’s one truth regarding disruptive technologies, such as driverless vehicles or electricity as a power source, it’s that they are just as prone to being disrupted as the status quo they usurped. Yet that is the future to which billions of dollars are being invested, with traditional car companies scrapping in a new gold rush of tech acquisitions and vertical integrations. So how far away is a future where we’ll ride in driverless cars like this Mercedes F 015? What are the impediments that stand in the way of achieving this end and, most importantly, is this where we should even be going? This special report on the future of driving asks the tough questions and some of the answers make for uncomfortable reading. Others indicate that passion, beauty and excitement aren’t about to be ironed out of future driving. Here’s the road map for the next three decades.

76 wheelsmag.com.au


WHEELS PHOTOGRAPHED THE STUNNING F 015 DURING ITS BRIEF VISIT TO MELBOURNE IN LATE 2017 @wheelsaustralia 77


78 wheelsmag.com.au


THE FUTURE OF

ELECTRIFICATION PREPARING THE WORLD FOR

A CURRENT AFFAIR GREATER RANGE. FASTER CHARGING. MORE COMPETITIVE PRICING. STEADILY, THE BARRIERS TO ELECTRIC-CAR OWNERSHIP ARE BEING DISMANTLED

@wheelsaustralia 79


WOR DS

JOHN C AREY

IND-WHISKED IN NDD-WH WHIS ISKE KED D rain falls from grey clo clouds lo ouds hurrying across the sky near Gundag gai. This Gundagai. day is not one to linger for a look att the e Dog on the Tuckerbox. The modest monu numen nt to monument Australia’s pioneering spirit was on nc the he chief h once reason to st dney stop at this place between Sydney and Melbourne, but a small bronze dog isn’t eks. It’s what the driver of the white Model S seeks. the row of six Tesla Superchargers, all of them d then, vacant, he needs. He connects his car and o the hunched against the weather, hurries into nearby Oliver’s Real Food. tine Except for one detail, it’s an utterly routine ps at scene. Countless drivers make comfort stops very places like this all across rural Australia every day. But how many top up with electricity while ping stretching legs, emptying bladders and sipping n? second-rate country coffee? One in a million? ’ not Tesla drivers today are true pioneers, but iit’s going to stay this way forever. We’re about to see the beginning of what you could call a Volt Rush… Right now only Tesla can offer the kind of driving range and recharging infrastructure that makes driving from A to B via places like Gundagai

80 8 0 wheelsmag.com.au

possible. Tesla’s cars can cover 300km-plus on a full battery and the company’s Supercharger network makes driving Adelaide ide to Brisbane, B via Melbourne and Sydney, fea feasible. But, as Tesla founder Elon Musk always intended, established car makers are preparing to follow his company’s lead with equally able and in many cases less costly EVs. Over the next three years Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Porsche and VW all plan to introduce EVs able to meet the everyday needs of many drivers. Most, maybe all, will come to Australia. Technological advances explain mainstream manufacturers’ imminent move to large-scale EV production. The breakthroughs will make EVs less costly and more convenient. Leading lithium-ion battery manufacturers like LG Chem and Samsung SDI have next-generation cells ready i than h existing i i to go. Th These h have b better energy d density lithium-ion technology. This means they store much more energy, with an equivalent increase in driving range, without any change in battery-pack volume. They’re building massive, multi-million Euro factories – LG Chem in Poland and Samsung SDI in Hungary – to


NEXT-GENERATION CELLS STORE MORE ENERGY WITHOUT ANY CHANGE IN BATTERY-PACK VOLUME supply the new and improved cells. It’s no coincidence that Europe’s forthcoming flood of EVs, with predicted driving ranges typically between 400 and 600km, are all scheduled to launch soon after the Korean battery makers’ ramp up production at their brand-new plants. Meanwhile, Tesla’s Gigafactory in the USA is being built, in partnership with Japanese battery supplier Panasonic. Now more than 30 percent complete, this facility outside Reno in Nevada will cover a greater area than any other building on the planet when finished in 2020. According to Tesla, the Gi f ill cut the h cost off b k ffor iits Gigafactory will battery packs cars by around 30 percent. This strategy is key to the success of the new Model 3, the medium-size hatchback that Tesla believes will vastly increase its sales. Largescale production should bring similar economies of scale for other battery manufacturers.

inve estments mean lithium-ion is sure to These big investments remain the dominant domin nant EV battery chemistry for at least Li the next decade. Lithium-sulphur is one promising potential replacement replacemen ent in the EV energy storage role. ithium-ion is being driven Though the cost of llithium-ion steadily down, the time e when EVs can compete on af small conventional price against the most affordable cars remains distant. any of the new-wave It’s for this reason that m many EVs on the way from Europe pe are aimed at segments dema and for highly profitable where there’s sustained demand i d Thi mainly i l means top-end d SUV premium products. This SUVs like the Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQ, both due in Australia in 2019, the EV version of the new BMW X3 that will follow, and even Jaguar’s hard-to-classify I-Pace. The production version of Porsche’s Mission E, due early next decade, stands out in this simply @wheelsaustralia 81 @wheelsaustralia @


UN

L

W R ORLD O F G U

P A QUICK

O

E HYBRIDS H T F

ADVANC

E

If a plug-in hybrid is the gateway drug that can lead to full-blown EV ownership, it’s about to become more potent. Plug-ins will benefit from some of the upcoming advances in battery and recharging tech that will boost the appeal of future EVs. Electric-only driving ranges will increase significantly with improved battery energy density, though the small packs used in plug-in hybrids mean cost savings will also be small. Inductive charging will make life easier for owners, but DC fast charging capability clearly isn’t needed for plug-in hybrids.

82 wheelsmag.com.au

ITY

There are currently four different plugs used around the globe to connect EVs to rechargers. Tesla has its own, Japan has CHAdeMO, Europe has CCS Combined and China, where home-grown EVs are selling strongly, has developed another. Australia has a combination of networks, but there is a chance one of these standards will eventually be used the world over. Manufacturer support seems to be coalescing around CCS Combined, with Tesla quietly joining up to work on an updated plug capable of handling next-gen DC fast charging.


because it’s not an SUV. What unites these brands is that they can afford the luxury of lower profit margins to make their EVs price-competitive with conventional models. For non-premium car makers it’s tougher. The Nissan Leaf is the world’s most popular EV ever, with around 250,000 sales since 2010. The second-generation Leaf unveiled in Japan last September, and headed for Australia in 2018, has a greater range – its battery can store 67 percent more energy than the 2010 original, Nissan claims – has more power, a much larger boot and is much more attractive. But the price will be close to the $40,000 of the car it replaces. Hyundai’s Ioniq EV will possibly cost even more. But non-premium brand EVs will benefit most from the falling price of lithium-ion energy storage, simply because the battery pack represents a higher proportion of their total cost. VW aims to price the first EV based on its new electric-only MEB platform – the ID hatch – similarly to a mid-grade Golf. Mainly, according to company experts, because it expects the price of lithium-ion to halve between now and 2020 when production begins. And the prices should go on falling. Less costly lithium-ion energy storage will, in the meantime, power an explosion in EV diversity. Today, in

Inductive charging will make the overnight or workinghours battery top-up much easier. Simply park over the charging pad and walk away. Another pad must be installed on the bottom of the car to enable inductive charging, but BMW has a system ready for market and component maker Continental is developing an off-the-shelf inductive charger any car maker will be able to buy. Both systems provide aids to parking in exactly the right position above the charging pad. But inductive charging can’t deliver the big power for a really quick recharge. There are practical limits to the amount of electricity that can be safely and efficiently pushed across the air gap between charge pad and the vehicle above it. Around 20kW is what engineers say is possible. Still, this is enough to greatly reduce the frequency with which an EV driver has to connect a cable. Really fast DC charging, which does require plugging in, is about to make a great leap forward. The Tesla Supercharger delivers a 120kW maximum charge rate, but this will soon seem sluggish. A consortium that includes BMW, Daimler (owner of Mercedes-Benz and Smart), Ford and the VW Group, along with European power and

THE CHANGES WON’T BE SUDDEN, BUT THE BARRIERS TO EV ACCEPTANCE ARE BEING DEMOLISHED Australia, EVs are either short-range city cars like the BMW i3 and first-gen Nissan Leaf or potent long-range luxury models like Tesla’s Model S and Model X SUV. The coming wave of EVs will bring, essentially, more of the same. But, over time, EVs will arrive to fill a much broader variety of roles. The Renault-Nissan Alliance already makes electric vans like the e-NV200 and Kangoo Z.E. Daimler-owned Thomas Built Buses has an electric version of America’s classic yellow school bus ready for production. Tesla has signalled its intention to add an electric pickup to its range, a choice that makes sense for an American manufacturer. Smaller outfits in the USA and Canada may beat them to it. The proto pick-ups being developed by Bollinger, Havelaar and Workhorse are butch-looking, bigbattery trucks that are also able to power electric tools. It’s not hard to imagine Australian tradesmen making the switch from Hilux to high voltage once the price is right. While lower lithium-ion costs make EVs easier to buy, advances in recharging technology will at the same time make them more convenient to use.

electrical engineering companies, has developed a 350kW DC fast charger, which will cut recharge times – for EVs equipped with the hardware to handle so much power – to mere minutes. The first 350kW chargers have already been installed, and the consortium’s plan is to create a network of 400 that spans Europe. At around $300,000 each they’re costly, but carefully sited DC fast chargers have the potential to make EVs a go (almost) anywhere proposition. None of the coming changes will be sudden. But, brick-bybrick, the barriers to EV acceptance are being demolished. It’s impossible to predict the precise moment when a driver stopping near Gundagai to recharge an EV while taking a coffee break ceases to be remarkable. There are simply too many variables. How quickly will EV prices come down? How fast will the recharging network grow? Will governments in Australia introduce policies to speed the adoption of EVs, or not? It could take as little as a decade. Or, more realistically, two. But the time is surely coming when an EV will be able to do everything you want at a price you can afford.

FROM LEFT: SECOND-GEN NISSA NISSAN S N LEAF MORE THAN DOUBLES THE RANGE OF THE ORIGINAL; VW’S I.D CONCEPT, DUE FOR PRODUCTION IN 2020; MERCEDESBENZ EQ CONCEPT, SLATED AS A 2019 PRODUCTION MODEL @wheelsaustralia 83


HANDS OFF DOWN

THE HUME

INTERSTATE CRUISING IN A PROTOTYPE S-CLASS PROVES AUSTRALIA’S FIRMLY ON THE MAP FOR SELF-DRIVING CARS

84 wheelsmag.com.au


THE FUTURE OF

AUTONOMY

@wheelsaustralia 85


OCHEN Haab sees like a car. Having spent years poring over radar and camera data, Mercedes’ driver assistance guru seems to instinctively know what his car can and can’t see. “The radar knows that trees are a certain percentage water, a certain percentage cellulose. They have a predictable radar return. The camera doesn’t know what a tree is, they all look different,” he says. Spend any time with him and you start to see like a car too. He’s not touching the steering wheel. The new Mercedes S560 seems as happy taking instructions from its own bank of sensors than from the lump of gristle behind the wheel. Three years ago, this technology seemed like black magic in a Tesla Model S. Now we get a similar suite of technology fitted as standard to a Honda Civic, albeit dumbed down for mass consumption. We’re here today to help Mercedes in its validation program, riding shotgun in a car packed with computers on the home leg of a drive from Sydney to Melbourne. We’re tracking a part of the Hume Highway that Mel Nichols immortalised for Wheels in his classic ‘HO Down the Hume’ yarn, albeit at a more sedate pace. Haab’s brief is to see how the car copes with Aussie conditions, improving the mapping data along the way. Whenever there’s a glitch in the system, such as the car’s cameras picking up the speed limit sign from an adjacent slip road or running out of reliable road markings, Haab flags it, the data goes back to Merc’s nerve centre at Sindelfingen and, after a validation process, the improved mapping data appears in customer’s cars. “Australia is a pretty easy place to work with autonomous cars. The roads are open and the speed differentials between cars are not great,” he explains. “There are some anomalies, like cyclists on the major highways, digital speed limit signs that change shape and as for Melbourne’s hook turns…” He trails off and shakes his head. “The hook turn alone will probably mean Melbourne won’t be in the first phase of autonomous car

S-CLASS RADAR ALTERNATES BETWEEN A SHORT/WIDE BEAM AND LONG/NARROW COVERAGE 50 TIMES PER SECOND. IT’S LOOKING 40M TO THE SIDE AND 250M IN FRONT OF THE CAR

86 wheelsmag.com.au

trials. It’s complicated, but describable, so we can solve it. It’s just that it takes resources to do that.” As impressive as the Benz is, driving down a well-marked highway in bright sunlight is, technically speaking, easy. It’s like firing tennis balls from a machine while full autonomy, known as Level 5, is expecting that ball machine to beat Rafa Nadal over three sets on clay. The current state of the art is represented by the forthcoming Audi A8 that boasts Level 3 autonomy, that is, it can drive itself on highways and traffic jams at up to 60km/h. Level 4 trials, where fully autonomous vehicles can conduct themselves in strictly geofenced areas, are under way with the first retail products likely to go on sale by 2022. But Level 5, where the car is fully autonomous anywhere and the driver is optional, is still presenting huge challenges to software engineers, hook turns notwithstanding. The sheer pace of change is the market dynamic that’s shaking out the hindmost. The autonomous market leader at present appears to be Waymo – now a sister company of Google under holding group Alphabet – which is determined to tackle the complexities of Level 5 autonomy head on. Despite public records in California showing that Waymo performed 600,000 miles of testing in the state last year – more than 30 times as much as all the other testers combined – a technological step-change has meant the company, and, indeed, Mercedes-Benz, is faced with merging two divergent design philosophies. The current approach for self-driving start-ups is an artificial neural network, used to emulate the way a human brain functions. ‘Deep learning’ accelerates the way an autonomous car takes on new information, ingesting vast amounts of data to create more sophisticated algorithms than the more traditional rules-based approach that Waymo spent years developing. Engineers have discovered that it’s virtually impossible to hand-code the number of scenarios the car could conceivably encounter. But where the latter requires a virtually infinite number of coders, deep learning theoretically requires an almost infinite input of data to train the system. Melding the two approaches is both a risk and an opportunity for Waymo. In short, it can’t afford to fail.


ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF LEVEL 3 AUTONOMY IS MANAGING THE SWITCH FROM AUTOMATED TO OLDSCHOOL HANDS-ON

“AUTOMATED DRIVING IS THE ULTIMATE FORM OF COMFORTABLE DRIVING” JOCHEN HAAB, MERCEDES-BENZ AUTONOMY EXPERT

Has Tesla held back autonomy? Joshua Brown inadvertently became a milestone e in the development of autonomous vehicles when, in 2016, he suffered a fatal accident while at the wheel of a Tesla Model S, ploughing through a crossing semi-trailer iler after the car’s Autopilot system had issued several eral warnings for him to resume control. The NHTSA A exonerated Tesla, blaming operator error, but early semi-autonomous systems often found it difficult to distinguish between an overpass emerging over a hill crest (keep accelerator on) and a crossing truck (brake). The higher frequency radars of today’s systems can easily differentiate between the two. The Tesla crash prompted a slew of added legislation, such as the he maximum 15 seconds hands-off rules in Europe, e, and has caused some manufacturers to believe that Tesla’s a’s dive into semi-autonomous driving came before the market, infrastructure and legislative framework was ready. eady.

@wheelsaustralia 87


Upping the stakes to this extent has stretched both software and hardware developers. Handling the deluge of sensor data from cameras, radar, lidar, and ultrasonic units has seen new power partnerships such as that between Intel and Mobileye emerge. Processor giant Nvidia has been the computing power behind Tesla’s Autopilot system but its latest AI computer, codenamed Pegasus and due in late 2018, has been designed specifically for Level 5 vehicles and can number crunch roughly 10 times quicker than the company’s current boards. This allows the Pegasus’ four deep learning processors to handle a terabyte of bandwidth each second. That still may not be enough. Level 5 autonomy requires multiple levels of redundancy in order to ensure safety and Nvidia estimates that this level of computational power is 50 to 100 times more than the capabilities of today’s autonomous cars. Bridging the gap between where we are now and where we need to be for Level 5 has led to a latter-day gold rush as cash-rich car companies desperately try to buy their way out of stasis. General Motors has created a car-sharing business in Maven and bought into Cruise Automation and Lyft. Volvo has partnered with Uber in a deal that will see it supplying 24,000 self-driving cars to the ride-hailing service. Volkswagen has invested in mobility service provider Gett and has established mobility service provider MOIA. Google has hoovered up microsensor business Lumedyne, crowdsource traffic app Waze and a stack of other mapping/ sensing businesses: Keyhole, Endoxon, Image America, Digisfera, Where2, Zipdash, the list goes on. Integrating these businesses while defending intellectual property is a huge issue for Google, as is litigation over purportedly stolen IP with Uber. The German car manufacturers are developing ways of cutting Google out of the loop, while recognising the difficulty of doing just this. “They have some advantages because they’re a software company and we’re coming from hardware,” admits Haab. The Germans are quick learners, though. Audi has established Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) GmbH, a division that has opened its doors to cooperation artners in the automotive and IT sectors. In art n effect, it’s with partners

plotting a similar pathway to how digital map company HERE has evolved. Audi, BMW, and Daimler bought the former Nokia unit for $2.9 billion in a bid to reduce any possible dependence on Google and Apple; the latter’s VoxelNet system promising to revolutionise the effectiveness of lidar. Going head-on with these tech giants is a high-risk strategy, but if successful, will also be likely to head off challenges from upstarts like Baidu, the Chinese search engine juggernaut, which has also announced a US$1.5bn investment in its Apollo autonomous vehicle software. It’s a brave new world that’s due a huge shakeout and when it comes, some very big names will be casualties. It’s also one that is yet to overcome significant user resistance. A survey by Pew has revealed that 56 percent of Americans say they will not ride in a driverless vehicle, 81 percent believe the technology will destroy jobs and 30 percent fear that driverless cars will make roads more dangerous. Yet the true driverless car is still some way off. “I’d estimate Level 5 will come in western cities at some point late in the next decade,” Haab says. “This car has the feel of Level 3, but in order to build a genuine Level 3 car, you need redundancy of systems. You currently have two braking systems. With Level 3 you need redundancy of parts like steering,” he says before admitting he’s not certain how Audi has cracked this issue with its forthcoming A8. With Benz’s fleet comprising 175 test vehicles that have, so far, covered 9.5 million kilometres and made 1.2 million ‘improvements’, it’s hard to underestimate the scale of Haab’s task. The data logger in the boot of our car records 70,000 data channels, storing 6GB of data every 30 seconds. “At higher automation, the map is a basic sensor,” says Haab. His brow furrows as he scans his incoming data while the S-Class blitzes past a logging truck, noticing when the monitor eventually fuses radar and camera signatures. It’s fascinating to see the car think, but it’s also sobering to understand the current limitations of this tech. So yes, the future’s coming. Just don’t expect it tomorrow. ANDY ENRIGHT

How will autonomous cars look? Asked whether autonomy will see the car reduced to a commodity form of transport in the next few years, Michael Mauer, design head of the VW Group, has some firm views. “Precisely the opposite will happen. Because three terms will never lose their importance: beauty, innovation and, perhaps most important, emotion.” As a designer, he’s fascinated by the freedoms that the new vehicular forms will bring. “To date, we have been very limited by conventional technology. An internal combustion engine is a massive block, whether it is located in the front, the centre or the rear of a vehicle. If we can simply remove this block, we gain tremendous freedom. m. If we can also throw out the transmission, the tank and the exhaust system, the possibilities are tremendous. We will not have uniform autonomous vehicles – on the e contrary, the scene on the roads of the future will become even more varied, even more re colourful, even more emotional.”

88 wheelsmag.com.au


“MORE TRAFFIC MAKES IT EASIER. THE CAR ADOPTS A SWARM LOGIC” JOCHEN HAAB

ACCORDING TO CALIFORNIAN DMV DATA, WAYMO’S AUTONOMOUS CARS HAVE AN INDUSTRY-LEADING 0.2 DRIVER INTERVENTIONS PER 1000KM

@wheelsaustralia 89


THE FUTURE OF

INFRASTRUCTURE PROFESSOR HUSSEIN DIA, FUTURE MOBILITY EXPERT

CITY SMARTS

HOW DO WE DESIGN THE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE FOR FUTURE AUSTRALIAN MEGACITIES? MEET THE MAN WHO’S ASKING QUESTIONS MANY HAVEN’T EVEN THOUGHT OF HIS is the transport revolution. It’s going to disrupt things beyond the way we travel. Industries might cease to exist, others will be born. This is where innovation will breed real value and add to our society.” Professor Hussein Dia paints vividly with his words, his gentle deportment energised by a vision of the autonomous future. He speaks from a depth of knowledge gained over 25 years as a civil engineer and academic. Dia leads the Future Urban Mobility program at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne and is a member of the Smart Cities Research Institute. His primary interest is intelligent transport systems, or, how technology enhances the way we use our infrastructure, and he is considered one of Australia’s foremost authorities on autonomous vehicles (AVs). In his mind, there’s no alternative. “The main reason is to cut the number of fatalities. Around the world we lose 1.2 million people to road traffic crashes every year. That’s about 15 aircraft carrying 200 passengers falling out of the sky every single day. We don’t accept this in air travel. It’s shocking that we accept it [on our roads]. The human driver is responsible for 90 percent of these accidents.” In Dia’s broader picture, electric AVs are the environmental saviours we need. They address issues beyond our immediate concerns like the road toll and air pollution, including the reactive road

90 wheelsmag.com.au

building that’s choking our cityscapes. “Over the past 50 years the mentality has been that if you have congestion you build out of it, you add more capacity. That might actually be a nightmare scenario when freeways are already 11 lanes wide. That’s not sustainable. When we do surveys people tell us they want low carbon mobility; they want sustainable transport solutions. They want things that won’t make climate change worse. “Vehicles are going to be autonomous and they’re going to be on-demand. One of the striking things for a city like Melbourne is we can achieve the same mobility needs during peak hours and over the duration of the day using only 20 percent of the current vehicle fleet. “You can reduce the number of vehicles on the road substantially if people are willing to share. They need to be shared, otherwise we’re doing exactly what we do now – 1.1 passengers per vehicle, and that’s not going to cut it. “Some people might not want to share, but the research is showing this is a minority. Younger people are not getting their licences, they identify more with a smartphone than a vehicle and they prefer to be driven while doing other things. Owning a vehicle is an expense that’s parked for 90 percent of the day. If the surveys we’re doing translate to reality, people are no longer interested in owning a vehicle.” Dia believes his utopian vision is achievable by 2040. By then, the shape of our cities will have begun transforming.

“Fewer vehicles on the roads would reduce the need for parking by 90 percent. Jungles of parking spaces would disappear. To me, that’s exciting because one lane of the existing road can also be removed and made for active transport [cycling/running/ walking], or turned into public spaces.” This idealistic vision is easier to comprehend when looking at the multipurpose, high-density developments happening in Australia’s largest cities. “We’re seeing more densification – people in apartments near the city rather than outer suburbs. A good example is Melbourne Central where you have a train station at the base, then retail, offices, and residences. A lot of people living in these areas don’t need a car. “Melbourne and Sydney are going to reach the 8 million [people] mark in time. Imagine if everybody decided to bring a car with them.” Dia believes ride sharing AVs will play a major role in relieving pressure on infrastructure, but says investment in the mass public transport systems pioneering autonomous technology, like buses, will be important for easing people into a new way of travelling. “Melbourne is trialling autonomous minibuses in Carlton and other places. These are perfect initial rollouts of these systems. When you have a fixed route you can easily map it. You can train the artificial neural network program with thousands and millions of examples. The suburban bus even has its own lane so it’s not interacting with other traffic.


@wheelsaustralia 91


“THE EXPECTATION IS THAT THE NUMBER OF VEHICLES OVER THE NEXT 40 YEARS WILL REDUCE”

THE NEXT STOP TRANSPORT UTOPIA OR A PETROLHEAD’S WORST NIGHTMARE? YOU DECIDE 92 wheelsmag.com.au

NOW

“WE’LL SEE MORE PILOT STUDIES SO THAT PEOPLE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO [AVS] AND SEE WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN’T DO”


“We need to have more pilot studies on the road. We’ve done a lot of theoretical work but now it’s time to take it to the field. How are we going to feel comfortable in the future ordering one of these in the morning and asking our primary school children to hop into it? How are we going to achieve that level of trust?” One building block is CBD exclusion zones for vehicles without autonomous functionality, ring-fencing areas of high pedestrian activity where autonomous infrastructure is more easily integrated. This is a good intermediate step toward the wider introduction and acceptance of AVs, according to Dia. Outside of the city centres, and for car enthusiasts, the future of mobility looks a little different. “Instead of owning a car, or a second car, you subscribe to a mobility service provider. There, you specify your needs and set a budget per month. Families can keep one vehicle and sell the rest. The expectation is that the number of vehicles over the next 40 years will reduce.” Today, car ownership is cheaper than ride sharing. Dia believes change will come with the reduced expense of EV maintenance and driverless AVs. “We need to bring the price to the level of owning a car, and without a driver in the front seat that could become a reality. Uber in its latest report said 70 percent of a ride cost is for the driver. Even if you eliminate 50 percent it would bring it down to parity with owning a vehicle.” Forward thinkers are only beginning to understand the wider practical implications associated with the envisioned transport revolution, and progress is set to

20 20

come at some cost to the community. “A lot of people are going to be out of work. In Germany they predict losing 600,000 jobs by 2040. Those are immediate people working in the industry. This is going to have massive impacts, but it’s going to create new types of jobs for people to consider. The cars will travel maybe three times the normal distance per year, up to 100,000kms depending on how many vehicles fleet companies put on the road. You will need to replace them every three to five years for battery wear.” Supporting infrastructure faces imminent stress given the predicted influx of energy-hungry EVs. “It is going to be an issue for utilities to balance the supply and demand. One positive is EVs as mobile chargers. If you drive and park one somewhere, it can be plugged in to supply battery electricity to the grid. It’s a complex problem because you need very smart algorithms and infrastructure for metering, but it is possible to instruct the vehicle to charge itself during off-peak hours and monetise your asset during peak hours. “But we need to look at how we diversify energy sources. What’s the point of having a vehicle plugged to a wire that stretches all the way to a coal mine? That’s useless.” Data-hungry AVs also threaten to swamp connectivity systems with their huge bandwidth requirements for live mapping and Vehicle-to-Everything communication. “There’s a lot of hope now on 5G data because that’s mobile. These vehicles of the future generate unbelievably huge amounts of data, gigabytes per second sometimes, and if this needs to be transferred to the cloud, current

“THIS PERIOD WILL BE THE TIPPING POINT. WE’RE GOING TO SEE A GRADUAL INCREASE AND THEN A LARGE UPTICK WILL START”

20 30

connectivity isn’t going to be sufficient. “Governments need to be convinced the demand is coming and invest to expedite the rollout of infrastructure. We need public/private partnerships. It impacts all our lives and it’s too big for one entity to take ownership.” How the revolution will be supported by government is a question looming large considering revenue from the sale of fuel has a finite timeline. “At the moment the government gets $11bn each year from the fuel excise. If 80 percent of the vehicle fleet is EVs by 2040, that’s under threat. “Economists have started to look at what’s called road pricing, or congestion charging. We’ve tried before to suggest it, but no politician wants to come near it. What I like about it is; instead of paying a registration fee, stamp duty and fuel excise, the charge would be user pays per kilometre. There’s going to be more EVs and they will travel more. So even though there’s no fuel tax, the government still makes money. “It’s government policy that’s going to have the big impact. In China the incentive for the government is to be a world leader in the EV space, and they’re responding to citizen pressure. The pollution is overwhelming. In Europe and India the regulations are due to communities voting. “In Australia our cities are not as polluted, but we can’t wait until they are. Things are only going to get worse. I’m not a fan of bans, I think that we should leave some choice for people, but it’s those sorts of interventions that might encourage change.” RYAN LEWIS

20 40

“THIS IS WHERE WE’RE GOING TO SEE BIG ADOPTION. HUMAN DRIVEN, UNCONNECTED VEHICLES DRIVING ALONGSIDE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT AND SOPHISTICATED VEHICLES”

“80% OF VEHICLES ARE EVS AND AVS. REAL BENEFITS FROM THE CONVERGENCE OF BLOCK CHAIN TECHNOLOGIES, ON DEMAND MOBILITY AND A SHARING ECONOMY”

20 50

“FULL PENETRATION INTO THE MARKET OF ALL AVS AND ALL EVS. SOME PEOPLE ARE MORE BULLISH ON THIS. I TAKE A CONSERVATIVE APPROACH” @wheelsaustralia 93


SUPERPOW THE SECRET MEETING WHERE TECH GIANTS AND 94 wheelsmag.com.au


THE FUTURE OF

THE INDUSTRY

ER SUMMIT CAR COMPANIES SHAPE THE AUTOMOTIVE FUTURE @wheelsaustralia 95


WO R D S BE N O L I V E R

VERY year for the last three years, the leaders of the global car industry and the most senior figures from the biggest technology companies have met for a one-day automotive version of the Davos summit in which they try to predict the future of the car. They’re not obliged to keep the meeting secret but nobody seems to talk about it publicly; perhaps because the discussion is so searingly honest and revealing that if word got out, everyone would want in. The conversation itself is secret, though. To encourage the CEOs to talk freely about their fears for the future, the meeting is held under the Chatham House rule, which allows those attending to act upon what they learn but never to reveal the source of an individual idea or comment. I’m fortunate enough to have attended all three meetings, so I can’t tell you who said what, but I can tell you what they really think. Firstly, electric and autonomous vehicles are old news to these guys (and it is almost all guys). They all accept that they’re happening and will change the car utterly: one delegate said we will see as much change in the next 15 years as in the last hundred. The shift to EVs is already obvious but the consensus is that we’ll see high levels of autonomy by the early 2020s in ‘pioneer’ cities like Pittsburgh and in command economies – mainly China – which can just decide to implement the required infrastructure. These issues are old news in the sense that any sensible CEO of a mainstream car maker is now totally committed to them, and progress is now largely down to their engineers and (in the case of higher levels of autonomy) the lawmakers. But there’s clearly a long way to go, so there’s still risk. There’s general acceptance that the mass-market brands which don’t get this right will pay with their existence, and that there will be casualties. When asked what he thought of the car bosses present at the meeting, one young tech pioneer said they were “dead men walking”. What the bosses don’t yet know is what happens once EVs and autonomy are sufficiently widespread to begin changing the fundamentals of their industry. The growth of smartphones and fast mobile data networks make a perfect analogy. Like EVs and autonomy, they were an engineering challenge and continue to generate huge profits for the companies which got them right. But their real value lies in what we do with them. They’re the host for previously unthinkable phenomena like social media. Smartphones changed phones, but social media has changed the world. The CEOs know that something similar will happen with cars. British technologist Kevin Ashton, who both coined the phrase and helped create ‘the Internet of Things’ spoke at one of the meetings. (I know he doesn’t mind me reporting what he said because I’ve known him for 20 years and I’ve just asked him.) He urged those attending to try to spot the unexpected consequences of the coming revolution, because that’s where the real value and danger of such disruption lies. The trouble for the car industry is that men in suits in late middle-age are ill-equipped to spot these opportunities. They’re doing their best, but they know they’ll have retired long before this stuff really becomes a problem. Disruption requires something to disrupt, and that generally means

96 wheelsmag.com.au


“CAR MAKERS NEED TO SPOT THE ‘UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES’ OF

THE COMING REVOLUTION”

KEVIN ASHTON, VISIONARY TECHNOLOGIST & PIONEER OF ‘THE INTERNET OF THINGS’ @wheelsaustralia 97


L I W

E H T E LB

NEW GO

A D AT

WHY

U

N COMPAN B 5 1 Y S$

Y

OU

Mobileye encapsulates in one start-up pretty much everything that terrifies the carmakers. It is a pure, ‘blue-sky’ new venture, established in Israel in 1999 and based on the doctoral research of its founder Amnon Shashua. Its EyeQ chipset and controlling algorithm read the road via cameras and make the decisions essential for autonomy. The system is so good that the carmakers are obliged to buy it and fit it to their cars: 15 million of them so far, around 80 percent of cars with advanced driver assistance systems. The company has now been bought by Intel in a deal which values it at US$15bn; not much less than Ferrari. But crucially, Intel has bought itself the lead in the data race. Mobileye’s value isn’t in its systems, good as they are. It’s in the data they generate, which can be used for everything from optimizing traffic flows, to speeding the adoption of full autonomy by capturing and sharing every pothole. Morgan Stanley reckons the market for automotive data will be worth US$750bn annually by 2030, while Intel estimates autonomy in general will be worth US$7tn by 2050. Mobileye has done deals with BMW and VW to share the revenue it generates from systems fitted to their cars. But like passengers in an autonomous car, the carmakers aren’t in control.

’VE

THE

LD

In the brave new world of autonomy, it’s far easier to predict what may get destroyed than what will spring up in its place. Silicon Valley already has a whole Petri dish of automotive start-ups, but we’re still so far from a functioning system of driverless, on-demand motoring that trying to pick the next Google is futile. But it will come, and when it does, start-ups not yet started-up will make billions from the sensors and software that control our cars, the apps with which we summon and pay for them, the finance and insurance that we users no longer have to bother with, and above all from data. The information that cars generate as they move about is likely to become the single biggest revenue stream in motoring. Autonomous cars need information to make decisions, and those who can capture, understand and share it the best will make fortunes. What we learn about how we choose to move, how we choose to spend our time as we ‘drive’ and what we choose to buy will also have value, and the creators of the next generation of autonomous vehicles will capture data and use it in ways we can’t even begin to predict.

NEVER HEARD OF

98 wheelsmag.com.au


THE CEOs CAN PEER A LITTLE WAY

big, hidebound organisations which have done things the same way for generations. The big car companies have countless billions of capital investment tied up in plants which cast engines and stamp out steel bodies and which no bugger wants to take over. So they have to keep their production lines running: they can’t afford to disrupt themselves. Their shareholders expect them to generate a return on this invested capital so they can’t take wild risks on new ideas like a start-up would. Such risks almost always end in failure, but they’re necessary to truly disrupt. And if a car maker is lucky enough to have a clever twenty-something who does have the big idea, they’re more likely to start up on their own or decamp to Google than surrender the idea to their employer for a five percent pay rise and promotion to manager status. The CEOs can peer a little way into the future, and they really don’t like what they see. Once a car can be summoned, drive you to your destination and then be dismissed, the argument for buying your own starts to look thin. So bang goes your vast dealer network and the very profitable model of selling cars to individuals or businesses which then leave most of them standing idle for most of the time. As one delegate said, Uber is just an autonomous car with a meatbased control algorithm, and in the cities where ride-hailing services are most established they are already demonstrably replacing not just conventional taxis, but car ownership in general. Nor do you really care who makes your Uber, or your train or your plane, so long as it’s safe, comfortable and reliable. So the ability of premium brands like MercedesBenz and BMW to charge more for what emerges from their factories also starts to diminish.

INTO THE FUTURE AND THEY DON’T LIKE WHAT THEY SEE Of course, all this requires some caveats. EVs are advancing rapidly: France and the UK plan to end sales of conventional combustion-powered cars by 2040, and Norway in just seven years, and there’s little disagreement that the tech will be ready by that later date. But the advance of autonomy is far less certain. The shift to a world where the data our cars generate and the software that controls them are worth more than the industry that builds them will be governed by how quickly true autonomy can be implemented. We might see it at work by the early 2020s, but it will be a lot longer before it’s widespread in even the best-regulated cities, and a really long time before it’s good enough to cope with downtown Delhi. And the carmakers are hardly ignorant of all this. They point out that they have been around for more than a century and weathered a few shocks in that time. They’re already software companies too, generating millions of lines of code each year. And if they have to, they’ll just buy the start-ups that have the best ideas: provided they can afford them. But it’s still worrying that only a handful of the current crop of automotive start-ups show the slightest interest in actually making cars. What the industry fears most is that it will lose control of all that is new in this brave new world, even the brains of its own cars, and that it will be reduced to assembling white-label mobility boxes at commodity prices, probably using other firms’ batteries and motors. Who actually makes the iPhone? Not Apple. They’re mainly assembled by two Chinese companies called Foxconn and Pegatron. They do very nicely out of it, but they’re not Apple. Have you heard of them? Probably not.

@wheelsaustralia 99


WE DRIVE THE FUTURE OF WO R D S BE N B A R RY PHOTOS ALEX TA P L E Y

MOTORSPORT

It’s the race category manufacturers are flocking to in order to fast-track their EV development. But with road-related rubber and no shrieking engine note, what is a Formula E car actually like at the limit?


@wheelsaustralia 101


102 wheelsmag.com.au


INUTES earlier, DS Performance technical director Thomas Chevaucher had leaned into the Formula E car’s cockpit and asked me not to crash. This, we agreed, was a great plan. DS Performance had brought just one of its DSV-02 allelectric single seaters to Circuit Dreux near Paris, I was about to be the first journalist to drive it, and we were interrupting DS driver Sam Bird’s test. Crashing would be expensive, inconvenient and embarrassing. It seemed like a really bad idea. But now I’m heading down the back straight, closing rapidly on a hairpin, and as I go from full acceleration to full braking I see the top of the treaded tyre stop rotating before I actually feel that I’ve locked the brakes, and sense the back of the car stepping out of line. Things are not playing in slow motion like people always say they do; in fact, I’m pretty sure they’re speeding up – the grass and barriers certainly are. There’s a noise like a US police car siren behind me as the electric motors whir, I come off the brake pedal before climbing back on it, add a little twist of steering, and just about make the corner, driving back through my own tyre smoke. I don’t think Chevaucher will be pleased. But come on, I can’t just trickle round for photography and tell you I’ve ‘driven’ a Formula E car; we’re here to feel what it’s like to drive an electric race car as fast as we can. While definitely not crashing. Formula E is the all-electric, FIA-sanctioned championship that races 12 times a year on temporary street circuits globally. It’s about to enter its fourth season, and it’s on a roll. A roster of ex-F1 drivers adds TV-friendly stardust, and manufacturers are taking the series increasingly seriously. Next year, Audi ups its involvement, Jaguar enters its second season and McLaren batteries will power the entire grid. Nissan also replaces Renault, BMW and Porsche join the series and rumours swirl around Mercedes-Benz. As manufacturers clamour to embrace e-mobility, Formula E looks very well placed indeed. Of all the major manufacturers, DS is the least familiar name, but it’s no less significant. DS Automobiles is the luxury arm of Peugeot-Citroen, DS Performance its high-performance division. In under 18 months, there’ll be an electric DS road car, as previewed by 2016’s E-Tense concept. The engineers are adamant that lessons from Formula E are filtering down into the production car’s development. To control costs, the Dallara carbonfibre chassis, front suspension and aero package is common to all Formula E

ABOVE: “BEST NOT TO TOUCH THAT BUTTON MARKED ‘EJECT’.” BELOW: GROOVED MICHELINS ARE A LONG WAY FROM F1’S MONSTER SLICKS

@wheelsaustralia 103


ABOVE LEFT: CONTROL FRONT AERO PACKAGE MEANS YOU WON’T FIND ANY EXTRA TENTHS HIDING HERE. ABOVE RIGHT: THE HUNT TO LOCATE THE SPARK PLUGS WENT ON FOR HOURS

The fizzy bass of the electric motor rises competitors. The grooved 18-inch tyres are also universal and used for both wet and dry races. They’re much more comparable to road cars than the steamroller 13s seen in F1 and with thinner sidewalls the suspension has more work to do on bumpy street circuits. The rear suspension design is the only component of the chassis that offers scope for the team to adjust, but the powertrain is a different story. The 700-volt lithium-ion battery is common, but the electric motor, three-speed gearbox and inverter are to DS Performance’s design. Unusually – but logically – teams are also free to calibrate software. It’s here that they glean deeper insights into energy consumption and conservation, underlining the race-to-road relevance. For now, the batteries take 50 minutes to charge and last half a race – the drivers pit for a different, fully charged car – but from season five they’ll do a race distance. ‘We are two years in advance of road cars,’ says Chevaucher. ‘We don’t share technology directly, but it’s the understanding that’s important.’ 104 wheelsmag.com.au

Driver Sam Bird finished fourth overall last season. He explains that while a Formula E car might feel quite alien to drive in some respects, fundamentally it’s a single-seater with four wheels, two pedals and a steering wheel. Driving one fast isn’t really the hard part if you’re a professional race driver. The strategy of conserving the electric battery and harvesting energy while racing rivals wheel-to-wheel is the challenge. “We have 28kWh of energy, and you have to use it wisely,” he says. “We don’t drive flat out, but we’re within one second per lap of that and saving around 20 percent of the energy – down from 1.4kW to 1kW. But then we don’t get full re-gen until the battery is at 80 percent charge, then you have to remember to put the brake-bias further forwards to compensate for the extra braking that re-gen puts through the electric motor at the back. “I’ve done GP2, World Endurance, and this is the most difficult by far. We’ve got drivers like Buemi, da Costa, Lopez, Vergne, and they’re all world class, 20 of us within an inch of each other. I think that’s exciting for the fans,


WHO’S DIM IN THE SIM?

Practice, qualifying and the race itself take place on the same day, so Formula E drivers have to be up to speed immediately. It means simulator training is essential, and it’s where I got my first Formula E experience the day before. It gave me a sense for the acceleration, for the weight of the steering and solid feeling of the brake pedal – all of which are perfectly replicated – and I get an idea of how pulling the lower right-hand paddle significantly slows you down as it puts negative torque into the electric motor to charge the battery. But I spin frequently and actually drive the real Formula E car better the day after. It happens to some race drivers too, but most can set a time that’s within 0.3sec of their best lap come race-day. It’s back to Gran Turismo for me.

and falls like a synthesiser’s pitch bender as well as relevant to where we are on the planet today.” I climb in the carbonfibre chassis, backside low, feet straight ahead, legs bent a little more than I’d like, head rest clipped in afterwards and only just clearing my shoulders. Chevaucher attaches the steering wheel, explaining that the middle paddles control the gears, while the top right paddle is for Fanboost. Fans can vote on social media, providing the most popular driver – usually di Grassi – with an extra burst of energy. With just a few engineers looking on anxiously, there’s little chance of that today. The bottom right paddle is for re-gen. Mysteriously, the purpose of the top and bottom left paddles remains secret. Formula E cars produce 170kW and weigh around 800kg, which doesn’t suggest outlandish performance. But as I accelerate from a standstill, the torque kicks instantly, the rear rubber bites hard despite being way past its best thanks to Bird’s earlier outing, and I’m pushed back in my seat, flung down the straight, hitting 100km/h in three seconds or so.

The sensation of light-switch thrust is similar to a Tesla in Ludicrous mode, but your backside is almost skimming the asphalt, and the vacuum of conventional engine noise is filled by a barrage of wind noise like you’ve jumped from a plane in a wing suit. The car is far from completely silent, though: there’s transmission whine and the fizzy bass of the electric motor, which rises and falls in line with acceleration and deceleration like a synthesiser’s pitch bender. It’s a very alien soundtrack, but one that isn’t without appeal. The torque means you can stay in one gear the whole time, and Chevaucher says the gears are really there to help energy conservation, but it also feels natural to use them for performance. There’s a clunk as you pull back the paddleshifter, the familiarity of mechanical engagement amid all the strange whizzing and whirring. The steering, too, is resolutely analogue. Arriving at the first corner, it feels light and communicative, the turn-in super-direct. I reckon a go-kart would be harder on your arms over a race distance, and Bird confirms @wheelsaustralia 105


ABOVE RIGHT: BECAUSE THERE’S NO FUEL BURN, A FORMULA E’S CHASSIS BALANCE NEVER CHANGES. IF YOUR SET-UP IS RUBBISH, DON’T EXPECT IT TO COME GOOD LATE IN THE RACE

Get greedy on the throttle and it’ll over

Wheels 18-INCH WHEELS ARE FITTED

WITH GROOVED, ROAD-CAR STYLE MICHELIN TYRES, INFLATED TO 23PSI, AS PART OF THE PUSH FOR ROADRELEVANCE. MUST WORK IN BOTH WET AND DRY

Brakes BRAKES PLAY NO ROLE

IN REGENERATING THE BATTERY, BUT THE DRIVER CAN PULL A PADDLE ON THE STEERING WHEEL TO ADD NEGATIVE TORQUE THROUGH THE ELECTRIC MOTOR

Chassis

CONTROL DALLARA CHASSIS WITH SHARED AERODYNAMIC PACKAGE AND IDENTICAL FRONT SUSPENSION. MINIMUM WEIGHT IS 880KG, WITH DRIVER – A REAL CHALLENGE FOR ENGINEERS


that, really, the g-forces aren’t that high, the cars not especially physically demanding. The brakes, in comparison, are incredibly firm, and you have to press deep into them to kill speed. The tight cockpit bisected by the steering column means you have to left-foot brake. Wary of destroying the car and of its worn-out tyres, I’m perhaps a little over-cautious in the faster corners, but I’m never really aware of an aero effect, and the DSV-02 is quite car-like in the way it shifts around slightly beneath you. Feed in throttle as the corner straightens and the electric racer gathers speed with the kind of runaway intensity that makes you tense and smile all at the same time. Exiting slower corners, the front tyres start to scrub slightly. A Formula E car does have a higher percentage of its weight at the rear than a typical single seater, and maintains that balance because it doesn’t burn fuel; perhaps that contributes some understeer. Yet if you’re just a little greedy on the throttle, it’ll oversteer eagerly, especially in second gear. You need to be quick with corrections, but it’s a lot of fun. Familiarity with car and circuit increasing, I start to take more kerb and cut corners more heavily, following Bird’s advice. Diving into a fast left-hander, I cut the left wheel slightly into a dusty compression and tense

up, expecting a large thwack through the chassis, but it softens it all off like the wheel never left the circuit. The compliance is unreal, and essential on street circuits. Earlier, Bird had told me to hold out for the brake board at the end of the long back straight, and I swear he’s shifted it 50 metres upstream as a prank. It feels very, very late, especially as the speed is escalating so quickly as you hold out for the marker. Towards the end of the stint, I steel myself to brake maybe just very slightly earlier as the hairpin zooms up. I feel the brake pressure build up hard, and it’s then that I have my lock-up. Bird says the grooved tyres are easy to lock, but are more resistant to flat-spotting than a slick. I’m already getting mentally overloaded, but in races, Bird will blend his braking with a pull on the re-gen paddle to feed more energy back into the battery, and sometimes brake even later because he’s going just a little slower to conserve energy. Understanding what he’s doing is relatively simple, but how he strings it all together during a race as a pack of world-class drivers bear down on him is incredibly impressive. Me? After about eight laps, I’m about five seconds off Bird’s pace. During a race, I’d be running around like a stray safety car. But I’m happy enough with that, and even happier to bring it home in one piece.

steer eagerly, especially in second gear

Battery

BATTERY IS A STRUCTURAL COMPONENT, WEIGHS 250KG AND PRODUCES 28kWh. WITH TWO CARS PER RACE AND 56kWh CONSUMED, THAT’S COMPARABLE TO SIX LITRES OF PETROL

Gearbox THREE-SPEED GEARBOX

MUST USE THE SAME RATIOS ALL SEASON; ENGINEERS HAVE TO COMPROMISE. FOR NOW, CARS ARE REAR-DRIVE; EXPECT ALL-WHEEL DRIVE IN THE FUTURE

Rear end TEAMS CAN DESIGN THEIR

OWN REAR SUSPENSION AND POWERTRAIN PACKAGING SOLUTIONS. ELECTRIC MOTOR PRODUCES UP TO 200kW IN QUALI TRIM; 170kW FOR RACES

@wheelsaustralia 107


Looking for a new car? Find which car is right for you. Visit whichcar.com.au At WhichCar our team of motoring experts know that buying a new car can be daunting, so we’ve made it easy. From finding a car that suits your lifestyle, to comparing different models and booking a test drive, we’ll help you at every step.


110 wheelsmag.com.au


Rise of the machines WO W O R D S N AT H A N P O N C H A R D P H O T O S E L L E N D E W A R & A L A S TA A I R BRO B RO O K

Has the jacked-up wagon finally risen above its utilitarian roots? The latest additions to the mid-size SUV segment are finally out to dismantle the perception of mediocrity, and put the premium Europeans on notice

@wheelsaustralia 111


T LAST, the medium SUV tide appears to be turning. What was once a motley collection of automotive mediocrity, populating the periphery of mainstream transport taste, has become a new-wave charge towards becoming the total family-car package. Don’t want your SUV to look like a shed? Check out Peugeot’s sleek new 3008, with a designer interior that’s polished enough to back up its concept car-inspired exterior – a look that utterly rejects its bloated and boring MPV predecessor. And if it’s imposing real estate you’re after, then Honda, Nissan and Holden still know how to dress-up a contemporary four-wheeled McMansion with all the mod-cons that bring families to the yard. Indeed, it’s those four SUVs that prompted this shootout, six months after an exhaustive nine-car Megatest, simply because none of them had reached Aussie turf back in June. So we’ve pitched the new-generation Honda CR-V, radically reimagined Peugeot 3008, facelifted Nissan X-Trail and fresher-than-Fabulon Holden Equinox up against our medium SUV Megatest’s two finest campaigners – Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5 – to see if the landscape has shifted.

112 wheelsmag.com.au

In one crucial aspect, it definitely has. Instead of ‘front-drive, early $30s’, here we have a $45K price point, mid-to-top trim levels, petrol engines and allwheel drive on everything except the front-drive-only Peugeot. That sees Honda’s flagship CR-V VTi-LX ($44,290) and Nissan’s primo X-Trail Ti ($44,790) competing alongside the not-quite-pinnacle Mazda CX-5 GT ($44,290), Volkswagen Tiguan 132TSI Adventure ($43,990), Peugeot 3008 GT-Line ($43,490) and Holden’s second-from-top Equinox LTZ AWD, wearing the same $44,290 sticker as its Honda and Mazda rivals. In its home market (the USA), the Chevrolet-badged Equinox is a sizeable hit, with a sales record of close to 300,000 units expected this year. Holden’s ambitions for its Australian-tuned version of GM’s Mexican-built SUV are much more modest, but you can rightfully expect the Equinox to occupy the upper echelon of Holden’s sales charts, providing the stigma of the decrepit Captiva doesn’t undermine its talents. And there are many, despite what the Equinox’s gauche American exterior might suggest. Especially its performance. Packing the next-gen Commodore’s strong and silky 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four with a class-belting 188kW/353Nm and nine-speed automatic transmission, there’s fat chance in hell of any other non-sporting medium SUV keeping pace with the rapid Equinox, with the possible exception of Ford’s thrusty 178kW Escape. A last-minute issue with our testing venue meant we had to abandon performance testing but it’s safe to say that Holden’s 7.3sec 0-100km/h claim for the 2.0-litre Equinox might actually be a little on the conservative


EQUINOX (TOP) BRINGS SIZE AND CHROME TO THE CLASS, AS WELL AS IMPRESSIVELY ADEPT DYNAMICS, WITH THE BESTDAMPED RIDE AND STRONGEST PERFORMANCE. CX-5 (LEFT) IS THE GROUP’S BEST HANDLER IN PRESS-ON DRIVING, WHILE 3008 (FAR LEFT) HAS THE FUNKIEST CABIN

@wheelsaustralia 113


Save me Every SUV here gets pretty much a full suite of active safety kit. The 3008’s AEB (in all bar the base Active) operates from 5-140km/h if a moving vehicle is detected, while the X-Trail’s pedestrian detection will brake between 10-60km/h, and lane-keep assist will intervene up to 60km/h. CR-V gets ‘lane watch’, which displays a blind spot view on its centre screen when indicating left, but only VTi-LX gets AEB. CX-5 and Tiguan democratise active safety kit, though not lanedeparture warning and lane-keep assist. Equinox offers either an audible collision warning or a pulsation through the driver’s seat. Both are overzealous, and the beeping is too loud.

114 wheelsmag.com.au

UNLIKE ITS DOUR RENAULT KOLEOS COMPATRIOT, PEUGEOT’S STRIKING 3008 DELIVERS BOTH STREET CHIC AND DRIVING FLAIR


side. Yep, she’s a bolter, as the excellent 109kW per tonne power-to-weight figure suggests. The Tiguan is no slug either. Despite its punier 132kW/320Nm outputs, this high-torque iteration of VW’s EA888-series 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four has no trouble hauling the 132kg-lighter Tiguan to 100km/h in less than 8.0sec, though in this instance, VW’s dualclutch DSG ’box lacks the rapid upshift slickness of GM’s nine-speeder, as well as its urban effortlessness. Frustratingly, the DSG still has that characteristic hesitation in low-speed manoeuvres, though if you need to shift gears manually (for spirited cornering or when driving in hilly terrain), the Tiguan turns the tables in a dramatic fashion. Despite Volkswagen’s tip-shift gate being arse-about (in our opinion), any arrangement is preferable to the Equinox’s appallingly unintuitive +/– switch mounted on top of its gearlever. Not only does your elbow fight for room with the overly tall centre console armrest, but the lever needs to be in ‘L’ for the tip-shift to work, and then it holds gears at the 7000rpm rev cut-out, despite the nine-speed ’box packing ratios tighter than a flea’s intestines. And what may feel like hidden shift paddles on the back of the Equinox’s tactile steeringwheel spokes are actually volume and audio controls. The straightforward CX-5 ignores all that finicky nonsense by nailing the basics – great steering wheel with shift paddles, a traditional six-speed auto with a highly effective (though sometimes over-eager) Sport mode, and a tip-shift configured in our preferred direction (forward for a downshift, back for an upshift). Its enthusiastic 140kW/251Nm 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four is a strong performer, too, especially when wound out beyond 6000rpm, and while the Mazda’s drivetrain lacks the overall effortlessness of, say, the turbocharged, CVT-equipped CR-V, there’s sporting depth in the CX-5. The harder you drive it, the brighter its sparkle, with a newfound sweetness that rounds out the latest SkyActiv-G 2.5.

The new-gen CR-V takes a very different approach to achieving a similar end. Flat stick, there isn’t much between them, but the Honda is at its best when serenely surfing its vast torque band (240Nm from 2000-5000rpm), not raucously pinning its tacho needle at 6000rpm. Despite the 1.5 turbo’s stout performance (0-100km/h in 8.0sec) and a clear economy victory (10.8L/100km on test), this is a drivetrain that delivers its best when readily hauling bodies and cargo. What the engine brings in outright grunt, the CVT does diminish in dissatisfaction somewhat. Peugeot’s impressively lithe 3008 almost matches the CR-V for economy, and while the French SUV’s performance claim (9.9sec to 100km/h) may appear slightly insipid, the reality is significantly more than that. The 3008 GT-Line features by far the sweetest iteration of Peugeot’s ageing ‘Prince’ 1.6-litre turbopetrol four, and in unison with a superb Aisin six-speed automatic and sizeable fixed shift paddles, there’s a verve to the 3008’s demeanour that sits perfectly with its shapely form and sharp, yet supple dynamics. Wish we could say the same about the X-Trail. This is by far the oldest SUV here, having launched in Japan in late-2013 (though recently facelifted), and while the X-Trail’s CMF platform architecture is relatively fresh, its drivetrain dates back almost two decades. And in this high-ranking company, it shows. The 126kW/226Nm 2.5-litre four needs at least 4500rpm on board to get moving with any kind of zest, while the rest of the time it feels rather flat-footed and, alongside its more polished rivals, depressingly ordinary. There’s also an economy price to pay for the X-Trail’s ageing drivetrain, with its 12.9L/100km test average proving even thirstier than the considerably gutsier (and heavier) Holden Equinox. Dynamically, the Nissan is closer to the mark, proving sharper at the helm than the last X-Trail we drove (in 2014) and less cumbersome than its under-theskin Renault Koleos relative. But there’s a disconnect

CR-V is at its best serenely surfing its vast torque band, hauling bodies and cargo @wheelsaustralia 115


Equinox Equal parts excellent and not-so-special, Equinox mostly nails the brief for space and seat comfort, with a flat rear floor, a threeperson bench and fold-flat backrests. But where it really scores is kit – inductive phone charging, heated rear seat with two USB ports, a 12V outlet and a 230V socket, plus an adjustable-height electric tailgate. Lovely steering wheel too. But some of its plastics scream 2001 Barina and its gargantuan centre console is pointlessly intrusive.

CR-V Middle ground for quality of finish and overall luxury but nicely cohesive in its look and feel, unlike the Equinox. Generous front seats with funky ribbed facings, though backrest trim looks cheap. Rear seat solidly supportive besides the under-thigh area, with a great view, while rear floor is near-flat and provides vast legroom. Rear doors open to 90 degrees, just like CX-5, but CR-V uniquely stuffs a full-size alloy spare under its rear floor. Pity its luggage cover is so flimsy.

CX-5 Consistent, wellconfigured interior defines Mazda as a brand, but CX-5 isn’t as polished as 3008 or Tiguan. Or a CX-9. Seats a bit short under thigh, while rear lacks contouring. Dash impresses for detail and finish but upper section is weirdly oversized. Superb wheel, padded rear door tops (unlike hardplastic rivals), four auto up/down windows, plus two USB ports in rear armrest. Classy carpeted boot with luggage cover neatly clipped to tailgate.

116 wheelsmag.com.au


X-Trail With a sporty steering wheel that belongs in a latter-day 200SX and lovely instruments, X-Trail initially impresses. But look closer and cracks begin to show. Mismatched, inexpensive plastics, scattered switchgear, a lack of front seat adjustment, a lingering rental-car ambience and an unusual aroma taint the range-topping Nissan. Huge rear seat offers a terrific view but has no lateral support. Centre-rear armrest opens a hole to the boot, allowing road noise to intrude.

3008 Is this the best French interior ever? Striking BMW i3-esque design and ambience lift 3008 into the premium segment, headlined by neat control fingers in centre stack, vastly improved ‘i-cockpit’ touchscreen and dial layout, and intriguingly architectural dash shape. Optional $3700 quilted Nappa leather (with electric driver’s seat) and cloth dash inserts look and feel superb. Cosy rear gets flat floor. Torsion beam suspension means no arches eating into cargo space.

Tiguan Manual front seats get height adjust, infinite backrest angle adjustment and cushy headrests. Virtual cockpit dials and VW’s new multimedia add high-quality sparkle to a utilitarian cabin. Surprise-and-delight features abound, including 1.5L door bottle holders, fully lined bins, roof storage, fore-aft rear seat adjustment and three-zone climate control. Microfleece trim inserts lovely; seat comfort superb. Boot is flexible, easily configurable and vast. @wheelsaustralia 117


to the X-Trail Ti that doesn’t quite sit right. While its 225/55R19 tyres prove advantageous for turn-in response and mid-corner grip, they’re perhaps a step too far in terms of where the X-Trail’s essence is, and what it’s trying to be. Even then, the 19-inch-wheeled X-Trail understeers a bit, squeals its tyres a bit, trips up and will kiss its bump stops over protrusions that don’t faze its rivals. The Nissan is no complete numpty, but it never feels like it’s enjoying itself. For handling, ride and driver enjoyment, the CR-V is a big step up from the X-Trail. It’s neither as precise as the CX-5 or as supple as the 3008, yet it manages to blend elements of both, most satisfyingly in the way its multi-link rear end plays a significant part in pointing its nose into a corner. But the Honda’s steering isn’t in the same league as its chassis smarts. It’s slow to turn in, feels reluctant and detached, and fails to channel the keenness of a Civic, even in CR-V’s preferred fast sweepers. And while the ride is generally quite pliant, it could be better controlled over rippled surfaces, and there’s more tyre and wind noise than expected. The CX-5, on the other hand, is a proper driver’s SUV. In fact, its hard-driven handling is one of its greatest strengths, sending drive to the rear and really booting it out of corners. But in less demanding situations, you don’t get the feeling of instant poise that you do in the Tiguan and, to a lesser extent, the Equinox. Much like its predecessor, at a moderate pace its balance feels biased towards the front end, leading to a suspicion that it might understeer if you push harder. The reality, of course, is the opposite, but it all depends on how capable you are as a driver and how hard you’re willing to push your CX-5. The Peugeot also loves a challenge. As soon as you start to enthusiastically change direction in the 3008, or lift the throttle in tightening-radius corners, it responds with traditional front-drive French adjustability. It feels

118 wheelsmag.com.au

lower, more agile and sportier to drive than how you sit in it, because you do sit quite high. But in terms of working with its driver, adding some involvement and getting its power down, which it does impressively well, the 3008 is this group’s entertainer. Its miniature two-spoke steering wheel implies sportiness, and its response complements the 3008’s driving fluency beautifully. Once there’s more than a quarter turn of lock on, the 3008’s chassis comes alive, bringing its rear end into play with nuanced poise. And it’s supple too. Mid-corner bumps are mostly absorbed with aplomb, and while the 3008 doesn’t feel as allround excellent as a 308 hatch, in this company its panache harmonises with its design and feel. The Equinox is essentially the polar opposite of the 3008, yet it too feels balanced, grippy and adjustable. Holden’s chassis engineers have done some serious work to this car’s underpinnings and the result is quite remarkable given its size and its 300kg-plus weight penalty over the sprightly Pug. Given the Equinox’s considerable power, you do need to have the small ‘AWD’ button depressed (sited towards the front of the centre console), but when all four wheels are working, it punches out of bends with authority. Or slightly wayward torque steer if you’re in front-drive mode. Guided by a beautifully tactile wheel, the Equinox’s steering is consistently weighted and pointy, making it a confidence-inspiring car to drive on any kind of road. Backed by a sound driving position, good vision, the best-judged ride quality and the tautest body control here, you can trace a line in the Holden that you have no hope of connecting with in the Nissan, making it something of a driver’s SUV. Yet the Equinox’s hugely flawed central control interface detracts from the experience, and should simply be burnt at the stake. If only it had the world’s greatest centre armrest design, as per the Volkswagen Tiguan.


Tiguan blends elements of greatness, making it a consummate all-rounder

Pretty kitty Seemingly leading the equipment charge is the Equinox LTZ, bringing 19s, LED lights, Bose audio, Apple CarPlay, front and rear heated seats, and button-operated keyless entry, but its mirrors don’t auto-fold, its front passenger seat is manual (though height adjustable) and only its driver’s window is auto up/down. The X-Trail Ti also gets a Bose stereo with two subwoofers, as well as directional LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, and a rather rudimentary cargo dividing system. The CX-5 GT gains a (small) electric sunroof, a head-up display and a decent 10-speaker 249-watt Bose stereo, but doesn’t get Apple CarPlay, unlike the CR-V VTi-LX. The Honda wears smaller 18s, but it brings a full panoramic sunroof and LED front fog lights. The Tiguan Adventure and 3008 GT-Line also wear 18s, but each boasts full TFT instrument displays (part of a $2000 Driver Assistance package in the VW, with active cruise, lane assist and rear cross-traffic alert). The Adventure also scores an offroad-style kit, including roof racks (removed for this test).

BELOW LEFT: WHEELS CREW LEFT NO CARGO BAY UNTURNED IN SEARCH FOR PONCH’S MODESTY

@wheelsaustralia 119


HOLDEN EQUINOX LTZ

HONDA CR-V VTi-LX

MAZDA CX-5 GT

NISSAN X-TRAIL Ti

PEUGEOT 3008 GT-LINE

$44,290/As tested $44,840**

$44,290/As tested $44,290

$44,390/As tested $44,570**

$44,790/As tested $45,285**

$43,490/As tested $48,580**

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), all drive 1998cc 188kW @ 5500rpm 353Nm @ 2500-4500rpm 9-speed automatic

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), all drive 1498cc 140kW @ 5600rpm 240Nm @ 2000-5000rpm CVT automatic

in-line 4, dohc, 16v front engine (east-west), all drive 2488cc 140kW @ 6000rpm 251Nm @ 4000rpm 6-speed automatic

in-line 4, dohc, 16v front engine (east-west), all drive 2488cc 126kW @ 6000rpm 226Nm @ 4400rpm CVT automatic

in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), front drive 1598cc 121kW @ 6000rpm 240Nm @ 1400rpm 6-speed automatic

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4652/1843/1697/2725mm 1568/1570mm 1732kg 846 litres* 95 octane/59 litres 12.6L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4596/1855/1689/2660mm 1598/1613mm 1630kg 522 litres 91 octane/57 litres 10.8L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4550/1840/1675/2700mm 1595/1595mm 1670kg 442 litres 91 octane/58 litres 11.5L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4690/1820/1740/2705mm 1585/1585mm 1562kg 565 litres 91 octane/60 litres 12.9L/100km (test average)

steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4447/1826/1624/2675mm 1579/1587mm 1375kg 520 litres 95 octane/53 litres 11.2L/100km (test average)

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

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

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

electric rack-and-pinion 12.7m (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (321mm) solid discs (288mm) Hankook Ventus Prime 2 235/50R19 99V

electric rack-and-pinion 11.4m (2.4 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (315mm) solid discs (310mm) Michelin Primacy 3 235/60R18 103H

electric rack-and-pinion 11.0m (2.8 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (297mm) solid discs (303mm) Toyo Proxes R46 225/55R19 99V

electric rack-and-pinion 11.3m (3.0 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (320mm) ventilated discs (292mm) Bridgestone Ecopia HL422 225/55R19 99H

electric rack-and-pinion 10.7m (3.0 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (304mm) solid discs (290mm) Continental ContiCrossContact 225/55R18 98V









Power-to-weight: 109kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: none/7000rpm Standing-start acceleration 0-100km/h: 7.3sec (claimed)

Power-to-weight: 86kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6500rpm Standing-start acceleration 0-100km/h: 8.0sec (estimated)

Power-to-weight: 84kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6200/6400rpm Standing-start acceleration 0-100km/h: 8.5sec (estimated)

Power-to-weight: 81kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6400/6000rpm Standing-start acceleration 0-100km/h: 10.3sec (tested)

Power-to-weight: 88kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6200/6200rpm Standing-start acceleration 0-100km/h: 9.9sec (claimed)

Superb performance; space and comfort; slick dynamics; features

Effortless drivetrain; mostly supple chassis; roomy; nicely finished

Hard-driven dynamic entertainment; perky drivetrain; quality; resale value

Space; elevated rear seat; great steering wheel; styling presence

Involving handling; striking exterior; concept-car cabin; ride; driveability

Patchy cabin quality; Yank styling; ergonomic flaws; turning circle

Slow, detached steering; rubbery CVT; raucous engine under load

Neither as supple as the Pug, or as spacey as the VW; no digital speedo

Dated engine; intrusive ride; cabin plastics; foot-operated park brake

Cosy rear seat; front-drive only; not as dynamic as a 308 hatch

Warranty: 7yr/175,000km (until December 31). Service interval: 9 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: n/a AAMI Insurance: not available * Measured to ceiling. ** Includes premium paint ($550).

Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/10,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 55%. AAMI Insurance: $1010. * Manufacturer’s claim.

Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/10,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 59%. AAMI Insurance: $967. ** Includes carpet floor mats ($180)

Warranty: 3yr/100,000km. Service interval: 12 months/10,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 47%. AAMI Insurance: $1176. ** Includes metallic paint ($495)

Warranty: 3yr/100,000km. Service interval: 12 months/20,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 49%. AAMI Insurance: $1259. ** Includes metallic paint ($690), quilted Nappa leather with electric driver’s seat ($3700) and electric tailgate/grip control ($700).

Drivetrain

Engine Layout Capacity Power Torque Transmission

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

not tested

Performance

Verdict

6.5/10

120 wheelsmag.com.au

7.0/10

7.5/10

5.5/10

8.0/10


VW TIGUAN ADVENTURE $43,990/As tested $46,690** in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo front engine (east-west), all drive 1984cc 132kW @ 3900-6000rpm 320Nm @ 1500-3940rpm 7-speed dual-clutch steel, 5 doors, 5 seats 4486/1839/1658/2681mm 1582/1572mm 1600kg 615 litres* 95 octane/60 litres 11.5L/100km (test average) Front: struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar Rear: multi links, coil springs, anti-roll bar electric rack-and-pinion 11.5m (2.8 turns lock-to-lock) ventilated discs (340mm) solid discs (300mm) Continental ContiSport Contact 5 235/55R18 100V  Power-to-weight: 83kW per tonne Redline/cut-out: 6500/6900rpm Standing-start acceleration 0-100km/h: 7.7sec (claimed)

8.0/10

Flexible interior; seat comfort; detail delights; excellent quality; poise Tardy gearbox response; Tonkaesque dash design; Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km. Service interval: 12 months/15,000km. Glass’s 3-year resale: 53%. AAMI Insurance: $1003. * Rear seat in forward position. ** Includes metallic paint ($700) and driver assistance package ($2000)

Indeed, there are so many things the Tiguan does well, and dynamics are definitely right up there. Its strong, almost raspy engine is a pleasant companion, and its all-wheel-drive handling is faithfully exploitable. It isn’t chuckable in the same fashion as the 3008 but it’s a more wellrounded car than the Mazda, providing greater driver connection more of the time. In terms of ride, Tiguan brings fine body control, if a little too much fidget and head toss compared to the more loping and absorbent 3008. Much like the Golf VII it’s based on, the Tiguan does tend to lose some dynamic interest the harder you push it but that’s entirely in keeping with the medium SUV zeitgeist. While it fails to hit the highs of some of its rivals, the VW blends elements of greatness together, making it a consummate all-rounder. Same goes for its interior. The Tiguan feels like it was designed from the inside out, such is the consistency of its attention to detail, and the supreme utility of its packaging. About the only aesthetic aspect we can fault is the Tonka-esque heavy handedness of its dash and door detailing. It’s the other Euro here that exposes the underlying conservatism of the Tiguan. The 3008’s haute-couture interior is a revelation compared to every other medium SUV, and yet it isn’t just about looking pretty. It houses a huge centre bin without intruding on occupant space and Peugeot’s revamped touchscreen interface now works really well thanks to a row of little aluminium fingers protruding underneath it. Great front seats too, with lovely (optional) trim, and a cracking stereo. The Bose-kitted Equinox LTZ also sounds the business, though the Holden stumbles when you start to look beyond the basics. Its driving position, seat comfort, equipment and space are unquestioned, but when you peer below the cabin’s tide line, you could be inside a Chevy truck. The X-Trail doesn’t fare too well under the interior microscope either. Unlike its Japanese rivals – each of which have a unity to their look, their packaging comfort and their quality of finish – the Nissan feels bitsy. All the room and theatrestyle rear seat vision in the world can’t save the X-Trail from feeling rather second-rate. Despite the X-Trail Ti’s obvious kerb appeal – with sexy 19s, vibrant paint and sparkly lights, it definitely cuts some sort of dash – it is rapidly

losing touch with the medium-SUV big-hitters. It offers space to burn, utility to live by, equipment garnish in spades, and the promise of decent reliability. But it’s also rather ordinary in areas that count, leaving it to stand out only in relation to its mechanical relation, the Renault Koleos. A step up to the Equinox LTZ AWD brings vastly more performance, far superior dynamic ability, and greater interior comfort than the X-Trail, making it a potential winner. But there’s something oddly indifferent about the Equinox. Inside, it’s equal parts excellent and eyebrow-raising. Styling wise, it probably leans more towards the latter, but for so many families, the Equinox’s persuasive equipment content will be what tips them over the line. Aesthetes and badge snobs, however, are better off in a CR-V. It can’t match the Holden’s grunt, its five-seat comfort or its dynamic polish, but the Honda’s design consistency, its superior build quality, its greater cohesiveness and its classleading efficiency make it the medium SUV we’d prefer to see in our driveway. That said, the CR-V still lacks the all-round appeal of Mazda’s likeable CX-5. The second generation of Australia’s best-selling SUV is a clear step up in almost all areas, making it an easy SUV to recommend to almost anybody. Well built, fun to drive, reliable, comfortable and great to own, about the only thing it doesn’t do well is stand out. That’s where the Peugeot 3008 steps in. Not only does it look brilliant, inside and out, it drives with a vitality that grows on you the more time you spend with it. Brisk, frugal, beautifully trimmed and impressively comfortable, where the 3008 ultimately loses out is in terms of all-round utility. Alongside the voluminous Tiguan, the Pug is more of an expanded hatch than a true wagon-oid. Which leaves the Volkswagen Tiguan as the $45K medium-SUV king. It’s a more convincing package in 132TSI 4motion form, with a seemingly more settled ride, than the base front-drive 110TSI. And it’s terrifically comfortable inside, with a superb use of space. It also involves its driver in proceedings, which is something we like very much. And while it may not deliver the design delights of the Peugeot, the Tiguan serves as concrete proof that, finally, the mainstream medium-SUV class has what it takes to make pricier European alternatives appear excessively indulgent.

@wheelsaustralia 121


AIR FEEDS THE HORSES

THE LAST AIR FILTER THAT YOUR CAR WILL EVER NEED.

WE ALL WANT MORE PERFORMANCE. And now you can get it with a K&N ® high-flow air filter, designed to increase horsepower with up to 50% more airflow. Whether your car is brand new or has some kilometers on it, get a K&N filter today, spend five minutes under the hood and you’re good to go. KNFILTERS.COM.AU

SUPERIOR AIRFLOW. SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE.®


Showroom

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

OUR GARAGE

124

C L A SSIC WHE E L S

158

R E TR O

160

WHE E L STOR IE S

162

Kona HYUNDAI

Plenty of style and equipment, but what about substance?

ABBREV. INDEX

Data columns explained here

Your shiny y Showroom navigation guide

ALFA TO VOLVO

Pages tagged by marque for easy flip/find

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

@wheelsaustralia 123


OurGarage He’s a lumberjack

If a North Face puffer vest isn’t delivering the wilderness-cred you crave, you can always butch-up your CR-V with one of two accessories packs designed to emphasise your inner wild man. For $1998 the Adventure pack adds side steps, roof racks, rubber

or carpet floor mats and a roof attachment for a bike, kayak, surfboard or snowboard. For another $380 the Adventure Plus pack delivers all of this plus a roof pod in lieu of the roof-rack attachment, to keep your adventure gear safe and dry.

Comfortable Runabout Vehicle More space and more seats equates to more family appeal for Honda’s enduring softie WHEN Honda executives first revealed the company’s Civic-based compact SUV concept at the Tokyo motor show in 1995, they couldn’t possibly have imagined that their so-called ‘Compact Recreational Vehicle’ would go on to become a worldwide best seller and one of the company’s most important models globally. The arrival in Australia earlier this year of the fifth-generation Honda CR-V coincided with the model surpassing 8.7 million sales in more than 130 countries including this one, where the soft-roader has been a consistent strong seller and category standard-setter since launch in October 1997. Ten years and four generations on from the arrival of that first model, the versatile Honda has become a familiar mainstay of our Aussie motoring landscape, and a trusted favourite of drivers won over by its versatility, affordability, reliability and efficiency. The new model builds on that legacy of roominess and flexibility by introducing, for the first time, a third-row of seats in one version, a move which has corresponded with increased dimensions and a subtle positioning shift from ‘compact’ to ‘mid-size’ SUV. The extra space and third row is designed, in part at least, to attract families left pondering the bewildering array of models on offer in this ultra-competitive segment, which is precisely why we find ourselves introducing CRV-03 as the latest Bulmer family long-termer. Honda’s PR man seemed a little nervous handing over the keys, noting with no sense of irony whatsoever that our last long-termer, the Audi Q7 was “significantly bigger than the CR-V so the third row could be an issue if your kids are over the age of six or seven.”

While there’s no denying the dimensional differences between the gargantuan Audi and the mid-size Honda, nor the limitations of the CR-V’s tightly packaged third row, we are nonetheless happy to adopt this newly enlarged Honda as part of the family. Fact is, with the Bulmer girls having notched up their 14th and ninth birthdays respectively, the third row doesn’t see a lot of action anyway, and is really only needed for occasional use, so that’s definitely not a deal breaker. What may be, however, as we get further into our time with the CR-V, is the fact the third row doesn’t fold flat with the floor, instead sitting several inches proud of the luggage bay. This will no doubt have a deleterious impact on our ability to cram ridiculous amounts of unnecessary luggage into the boot on our next family road trip. On the plus side, beneath the seat is a full-size 18-inch alloy, so all will be forgiven if we get a flat. As it stands, CRV-03 is designated a VTi-L, which means it’s the only seven seater in the four-tiered range, costs a reasonable $38,990, and sits above the base VTi and mid-spec VTi-S, but beneath the range-topping $44,290 VTi-LX. The latter comes standard with AWD, while all-paw traction is a reasonable $2200 option on top of the VTi-S’s $33,290 base. However, if you must have seven seats then the VTi-L is your only option, and it in turn is only available with front-wheel drive. We won’t know if that’s a problem until we’re bogged somewhere, but for most people, AWD is a nice to have, not a

NEW

ARRIVAL 124 wheelsmag.com.au

must have – and $2200 buys a lot of fuel … or perhaps one vehicle recovery. All variants in the new range are powered by a 140kW 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder mated to a CVT and even the base VTi comes equipped with such niceties as keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, a 7.0inch display screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tyre pressure monitoring and trailer stability assist. The VTi-S adds 18-inch alloys, a power tailgate, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and a lanewatch driver alert function. Stepping up to the VTi-L brings all of this plus the third row of seats, a panoramic sunroof, part-leather trim, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and an eight-way adjustable driver’s pew. Sadly, the latter has already been the source of some minor family discord, with the wife and children having discovered to their horror that they have to adjust the front passenger seat manually. Oh the shame. G E D B U L ME R


HONDA HO OND NDA A CR-V CR-V VV VTi-L Ti-L L

Date ate acquired: September 2017 Price ice as tested: $38,990 This his month: 1089km @ 8.7L/100km Overall: verall: 1089km @ 8.7L/100km

3 0 0 2 3 2 3 4 URBAN

Inflation, deflation, or stagflation?

If you ever had any doubts about the impact of the reduction in vehicle tariffs on the cost of cars imported to Australia, combined with the sheer competitiveness of the new-car market here, consider the price of this fifth-generation CR-V

COUNTRY

SPORTS SPORT S

FAMILY

WEEK 4 MOTORWAY

versus ersus the 1997 original. Back then, a CR-V with auto was 31,950, while today’s base VTi auto – a safer car that’s $31,950, uperior in practically every way – costs $30,690. If only superior Australia’s struggling first home buyers could live in CR-Vs..

IN A FLAP

Shift paddles on the VTi-L and VTi-LX grades allow you to operate the CVT in a pseudo sevenspeed manual mode

@wheelsaustralia 125


RENAULT MEGANE GT WAGON R

OurGarage

Date acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $41,580 This month: 971km @ 7.8L/100km Overall: 2959km @ 7.8L/100km

3 0 0 4 2 0 5 4 URBAN

A walk in the (auto) park

COUNTRY

In the decade or so since automatic parking systems started popping up, it’s a surprise to experience the Megane’s as the best, both for placement accuracy and consistency. To date, not a botched angle nor scratched rim to report. Fingers crossed.

SPORTS

FAMILY

WEEK 8 MOTORWAY

And still on unexpected pleasures, once in park, the stop/start activates so you don’t have to press the ignition off. You simply get out and then the car automatically locks (via audible as well as visual alerts). Minor but very convenient.

This dog’s life A death in the family sees the Megane doing more than it was born for CARS, of course, are much more than transport. Unexpectedly, during month two, our Megane GT also became an instrument of change, reflection and even solace. Up until then, the French wagon’s combination of performance, handling and sophistication had surprised and delighted. Still does. A happy and charming addition to family life. It still is. Sadly, however, our beloved Labrador Retriever Romy died early one September morning, in my partner’s arms from agerelated illness. She was 13. I was in Europe on a work assignment when I received the dreaded Skype call. Her tail wagged feebly in acknowledgement as distraught words sobbed out of my mouth from across the world. And then, in an instant, she slipped away. Our sense of loss is profound. Qantas ensured I was home as soon as

possible, and the following weeks were a blur of tears and heartache. I don’t know how we would have managed but for the love and support of family and friends. That’s life I guess. We eventually decided to clear a lifetime’s worth of Romy’s gear, which led to a spring clean that was a decade in the making. Nothing like starting afresh. As this is a long-term car report and not a therapist’s couch, I should report here the Megane shone as a wagon, carting loads of clothing, small furniture, kitchenware, books and other items like it was designed to. A wide aperture, low flat floor with the rear seats folded (via a handy quick-release lever) and an uncomplicated luggage cover helped. We thought a van would be necessary for the many trips to the Pet Rescue op shop or tip, but only a pair of drawers wouldn’t fit. The Renault also stepped up in another

way, when being at home alone during the daytime (as a freelancer) proved too sad. Feeling snugly located in the heavily bolstered driver’s seat and with the volume turned up, I welcomed the GT’s kick-ass sound system with its simple song selection set-up, finding random, lovely, wistful comfort in tunes from Luluc, Arcade Fire, Alex the Astronaut and LCD Soundsystem. It was a soothing, cocooning world in which to grieve, and provided a fresh appreciation for my sporty Euro wagon. And more importantly a reminder of what really matters. RIP, our little hairy daughter. B YR O N M ATHIOUDAKIS

NOT CRUISIN’

Centre console switch placement means elbows are prone to turning the cruise control off. Why put it there?

126 wheelsmag.com.au


LEXUS LC 500

Date acquired: September 2017 Price as tested: $190,000 This month: 1101km @ 13.2L/100km Overall: 1667km @ 13.4L/100km

3 0 0 8 1 8 2 4 URBAN

LFA legacy

Lexus has been beating the LFA marketing drum incessantly for years, often claiming new cars take inspiration from the brand’s 2010 halo supercar. That claim actually holds true with the LC, which is built in the same Motomachi plant where the hand-built

COUNTRY

FAMILY

MOTORWAY

LFA was put together. There are other influences too, including the same digital dash with a single sliding dial and the knobs mounted high on either side of the instrument cluster used to cycle through drive modes or turn the traction control off.

It’s got soul, mate The LC is proof Lexus can do sizzle and sensible SOMETHING good is happening at Lexus. After years of building cars designed to appeal to the rational side of our brains, or to people who enjoy golf and lawn bowls, the company is steadily shaking free of its snoozer shackles. My first encounter with this shift in philosophy came a few years ago at the launch of the then-new RC F in America. Lexus had taken the bold step of holding the event at a circuit, and while the RC F wasn’t quite as sharp as a BMW M4 or AMG C63 (blame a circa 2000kg kerb weight), its revhungry V8 and desire to blaze its rear rubber to smithereens left an indelible mark. It wasn’t just exciting; it was fun too. Then came an entire day at Sandown with a Lexus LFA, which didn’t just vaporise any preconceptions I had about the brand, but forever etched the howl of ten screaming cylinders into my brain as the digital tacho crested 9000rpm. My bright yellow LC is further proof that the foundations are shifting, if gradually,

SPORTS

WEEK 8

at Lexus HQ. While last month was spent in Comfort mode, where I marvelled at the hushed cabin and surprisingly supple and controlled ride on those huge, concept-car wheels, month two has seen me explore the LC’s angrier side by toggling the drive-mode selector to Sport+. The change it brings is dramatic and unexpectedly shouty. Suddenly the big 5.0-litre V8, which had been happy to quietly rustle into life and slip effortlessly through city traffic, feels razor sharp and, with your right foot planted, verges on manic. Even the 10-speed automatic gearbox comes to the party, with upshifts hammered home with an authority and speed that isn’t far off a dual-clutch. The real highlight, however, comes when you pull the left shift paddle and discover downshifts aren’t just as fast, but are surprisingly crisp. The noise is brilliant too: I’ve found myself cycling through the gears just to hear the big V8 roar and then crackle and gargle on the overrun.

LIT FUSE

Strategically placed mirrors in the tail-lights create an infinite ‘afterburner’ effect. It looks incredible at night

It has soul this engine. Lexus could have followed the downsizing trend and fitted the LC with the twin-turbo V6 found in the new LS, but I’m glad it didn’t. The V8 gives the LC the personality it needs to match its futuristic styling. It feels like a muscle car which, given its hefty 1920kg kerb weight, wide 275-section rear tyres and healthy thirst, it kind of is. And who’d have thought that about a Lexus? ALEX INWOOD

@wheelsaustralia 127


KIA PICANTO

OurGarage

Date acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $14,710 This month: 1211km @ 6.7L/100km Overall: 3725km @ 6.8L/100km

3 0 0 5 5 7 8 4 URBAN

It’s a fob off

COUNTRY

One of the contenders for Car of the Year is Kia’s new halo model, the Stinger. It arrived as one of 2017’s most hotly anticipated cars, and while it shares little with the Picanto, other than family heritage, there was one feature during

SPORTS

FAMILY

WEEK 16 MOTORWAY

COTY testing that caught my eye – the key fob. The one for the Stinger looks more like a remote missile launcher than a car key and is so cool that it has made me look at my run-ofthe-mill Picanto key with disdain.

A screaming halt Proof the stoppers know how to put the brakes on bingles WHILE it’s still a month until the 2018 Wheels Car of the Year winner is announced, we recently completed testing at the Lang Lang proving ground, and its surrounding areas, in what was a brilliant week. I was part of the support team, which meant the Picanto was left at the office while I absconded for seven long days of motoring nirvana. But come the end of it all, with hundreds of gigabytes of photographs and video shot and the voting tally complete, it was still soothing to return to my Picanto. Nestled inside the cabin, I let out a deep sigh, relaxed back into the seat, slotted the shifter into first, and eased out the clutch to begin the trip home. I creeped out of the carpark … and then damn near put my head through the windshield. You see, during my soiree with the COTY

128 wheelsmag.com.au

Emergency Braking due to the system not contenders, I had forgotten about the lightbeing homologated at the time of launch. switch sensitivity of the Picanto’s middle However, full credit to Kia’s local arm for pedal. A mere stern look in the brake pedal’s ensuring a properly calibrated system is now direction is enough to have the Kia stand on ready for Australia, and having it fitted as its nose. It caught me by surprise during the standard on all models built since June. The early stages of our time together, and once system operates at city speeds and includes a more at the end of COTY, but otherwise hasn’t forward collision warning. been an issue. I’d rather a strong reaction It’s a nice safety net to have, but you can from the brake pedal than sponginess and also take comfort in the fact the Picanto’s lethargy. It’s easy to adapt, and revised pedal brakes will stop you on a dime if need be. pressure becomes second nature. Now, I’m off to get my nose straightened There have been two instances recently after cracking it on the steering wheel. where I’ve found myself stomping the middle pedal, both times to avoid drivers CA MERON KIRBY who have sailed into roundabouts and not given right of way. I can attest my orange micro machine can come to a standstill FOUR pretty darn quick. SCORE ANCAP gives Which brings us neatly to another Picanto four stars, point: our Picanto lacks Autonomous noting its lack of lane assist tech and poor whiplash protection


HYUNDAI HYU HY UNDA UN U DAII i3 DA i30 SR P i30 PREMIUM REMI RE MIUM MI UM Date acquired: August 2017 Price as tested: $34,445 This month: 927km @ 7.2L/100km Overall: 3602km @ 7.5L/100km

3 0 0 4 0 0 2 4 URBAN

On the pipe, it’s a sipper

This month’s average fuel consumption has fallen to a new frugal low which is a surprise given how many lead-footed petrol-heads have had a spin in the i30. That figure could be even smaller however, had Hyundai equipped the i30 SR

COUNTRY

SPORTS

FAMILY

WEEK 12 MOTORWAY

with idle-stop technology. Finding a small car without this fuel-saving trickery is becoming increasingly uncommon. Yet those who find the tech annoying might figure that its absence is worth the extra sip.

WELL FURNISHED

An Ikea run enlisted the full folded-seat boot space of 1301L. Nothing was left behind

Team player i30 SR on winning friends and influencing people SINCE the i30 SR joined the long-term Wheels fleet in August, it has been unanimously winning fans. Every time the keys are returned to me after the Hyundai has had a stint on someone else’s driveway, they are accompanied by compliments and praise. The feedback ranges from a mention of its eager and efficient engine, the compliant but involving ride and the pointy handling and obedient front end, but the general consensus seems to focus on its sense of familiarity. Right from the first steer, the Hyundai feels like a car you have been driving for months. But it’s not just occupants of the driver’s seat that the Hyundai has been impressing. Three other seats have recently been filled on a more regular basis and the praise keeps coming. In the front passenger spot, companions have loved the range of comfort features including the cooled seats and vast sunroof, while second-row occupants have remarked on the generous space and comfortable ride thanks in part to the

independent rear suspension. My gripe of the month, however, predictably concerns the dual-clutch transmission. While the snappy ’box has been a strong performer while hunting perfect back-roads with slick, fast cog swaps, smoothly applying power to creep at low speed is virtually impossible. The result is an awkward stop-start performance that makes me want to get out and push. I’ve had a driver’s licence for nearly 20 years but slowly reversing into a parking spot in the i30 makes me look like I should still have P-plates. The Hyundai gearbox is by no means the only dual-clutch guilty of low speed problems, but the all-or-nothing power delivery remains frustrating irrespective of the boot badge. The navigation has also been a source of annoyance. While most systems predict the place name as you are typing in an address, the Hyundai wants the full spelling and insists on a street name and number before

searching for your destination. The option to simply navigate to a general suburb or town would be a welcome feature but doesn’t appear to be possible. A small matter, though, in a generally intuitive and functional system that all occupants seem to be enjoying. And despite the positive reviews from other Wheels writers and a warm reception from whoever hops behind its leatherwrapped steering wheel, I’m still the i30’s biggest fan and already lamenting the day I have to hand back the keys. DA NIEL GARDNER

@wheelsaustralia 129


OurGarage Should fairness be optional?

Am I alone in finding the option-bundling strategy of the premium Europeans confounding, and in many instances, utterly nonconsumer focused? What happened to giving customers what they want, for a fair price? Take Volvo’s $6K bundling of rear air

Time to hand the Ikeas back A final road trip and concert before the Swedes reclaim their high-riding wagon. Let’s rock

FAREWELL

130 wheelsmag.com.au

suspension with the premium B&W audio system. Why, exactly? What do they have to do with each other? Can you imagine a restaurant only allowing you to order a bottle of wine if you pay for a dessert at the same time? Not a Swede strategy, Volvo.

THOSE of you with sharp memories may recall that, before he was appointed Labor’s Minister for Voter Dissatisfaction and CockUps, lanky chrome-dome Peter Garrett was the frontman for a little Aussie pub band called Midnight Oil. Despite them having delivered precisely zero new music in 16 years, it turns out I was not alone in being quite keen to see Midnight Oil on their Great Circle reformation tour. A few hundred thousand Aussies felt the same way, leaving both Sydney shows – and one in the Hunter Valley – sold out. Only one course of action, then: load the Volvo for a final roadtrip, and point north to the Oils’ Coffs Harbour gig about six hours away on the NSW mid-north coast. This, I figured, was the sort of role the big V90 wagon was created for: loping expressway and country driving, loaded up with everything we’d need for a long weekend away.

Well, everything we’d need, plus all the extra crap I insist on taking any time we leave Sydney. After all, I learned the art of over-packing from the master, Ged Bulmer, and given the Volvo’s 1526 litres of load space with seats folded, it seemed foolish to risk leaving anything (remotely) useful at home. So with the boot brimmed with overnight bags, beach furniture, fishing gear, esky, picnic kit, portable barbecue and the trusty piano accordion (hey, you never know…) my partner and I rolled gently out into the pre-dawn darkness. And still woke the neighbours. No question Volvo’s NVH team can do better on the lowrev acoustics of this engine, but once in its stride, it’s muscular and refined. A 115km/h expressway cruise speed also plays to its efficiency strengths – you can watch the consumption falling from the around-town circa-10L/100km, steadily dropping to midsixes as the engine purrs away in eighth gear.


VOLVO VOLV VO LVO LV O V90 V90 CR CROS CROSS OSS OS S CO COUN COUNTRY UNTR UN TRY TR Y Date acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $111,500 This month: 1678km @ 6.7L/100km Overall: 2752km @ 8.1L/100km

3 0 0 4 1 2 3 4 URBAN

Throttle that rider

The vast power-operated panorama roof (part of the optional Lifestyle Pack that also includes dark tinted rear glass) was welcomed by anyone sitting in the rear seats, as it does make the cabin feel extra spacious and light-filled. No qualms about

I know the target market may not care, but I still would have liked shift paddles for greater control of the auto, as chasing lower ratios via kickdown feels a little primitive in this age. There’s also the sense that given the price and segment, there simply shouldn’t be fairly fundamental things like paddles missing. On the M1 expressway towards Newcastle, I often found myself wedged in the ‘traffic scrum’, due to every other driver’s (justifiable) speeding paranoia, so when the chance came to accelerate into clear air, there was that slight lag that comes with having to kick down, rather than pre-loading a lower ratio. Yes, I could have just pushed the lever over into the manual mode, but the shift pattern is arse-about, and that irks me, and weekends away should be irk-free zones. Those 20-inch Pirellis do challenge that theory, however. Freeway driving highlights just how surface-sensitive they are. On glassy

COUNTRY

SPORTS

FAMILY

WEEK 18 MOTORWAY

its operation, nor the effectiveness of the blind. Just one caveat: I’m fairly sure it’s the source of ambient noise entering the cabin. A truck, or an unmuffled Harley blatting alongside makes you feel like you’re at a screening of Easy Rider.

hotmix, the sound from them slips away to a background hiss, like analogue tape, but the moment you hit coarse-chip, they roar like a Marshall amp with an open circuit. We attempted to drown them out with some very loud ’90s Oz rock, which seemed in the spirit of the trip and worked pretty well. It’s in this mode – cruising on a mostly good surface, music cranking – that you can appreciate the accommodation virtues of the V90. You sit in supreme comfort with seats that fully support your under-thigh zone, and waft cool air into your back via the three-speed ventilation system. The climate control works brilliantly, while the active cruise, if you are inclined, is well calibrated and responsive. Driven like this, it’s effortless to reel off big distances. The tank’s cruising range of over 800km feels entirely useable, provided, of course, you have a bladder made of aircraft aluminium. As we rolled into Coffs Harbour, I parked

and reflected on the last four months with the V90. Firstly, I hope the Aussie SUV obsession never stops Volvo and the premium Euros from offering wagons in their line-ups. Secondly, this car is very spec sensitive. If you’re considering one, I’d say avoid the 20-inch wheel option and put that $2850 towards the $6000 Premium pack that includes rear air suspension. The potential is there for an excellent, versatile touring wagon, especially if you can make off-road use of the Cross Country spec. (Er, anyone?) And yes, the Oils really did make the trip worthwhile. As a still, star-filled night fell over Coffs, the original five members emerged on stage as fit, fired-up fellas in their mid-60s, and proceeded to rip it up in a blistering sonic assault worthy of men half their age. Please don’t ever go back to politics, Peter. Stick with the night job. ASH WES TERMA N

WE’RE TRIPPIN’

Left: “Nana na nah” at roadside fruit stop. Right: more “Nana na nah” as Midnight Oil deliver power and passion @wheelsaustralia 131 @wheelsaustralia @


OurGarage Turn for the worse

Given that the Mini’s infotainment system is spun off BMW’s iDrive, you’d expect a whole lot of similarities. While much of the functionality beneath the MINI software skin is the same, there’s a maddening point of difference. Whereas in most

Escape from the Country Aesthetic excesses, vaporised roadkill, a torched perineum ... but Mini’s junior SUV emerges victorious

FAREWELL

132 wheelsmag.com.au

BMWs you turn the iDrive dial clockwise to scroll down a menu – which feels entirely logical – the Countryman insists you go anti-clockwise. You get used to it after a while, but it feels intrinsically wrong at first.

THUS far, I’ve largely avoided driving into Australian wildlife. Yes, I’ve clouted a few birds, and have had a couple of close squeaks with myopic marsupials, but I have yet to flatten something that could inflict the sort of panel damage that would require one of those ‘unpleasantness’ phone calls to a press office. I nearly broke my duck on a recent drive to Wangaratta in the Countryman. I’d committed to take part in a 50km cycling event called the Ned Kelly Chase but had neglected to do any training beforehand. Crippling undercarriage destruction set in at about the 40km mark and a protracted waddle back to the Countryman only exacerbated my discomfort. Fortunately the Mini’s seats

almost seem designed for a 110kg man with an acutely contused coight, but half way through the 15km drive back to the guest house, a swamp wallaby hopped out in front of the car. I slammed on the picks as hard as they’d go and gave the little fella a 5km/h boop, which he looked a bit disgruntled about. As my heart rate returned to normal, he happily hopped off, straight into the path of an oncoming Kenworth, which unfortunately atomised him. Hosing a fine mist of gore off the side of the Mini that evening while sitting on a bag of frozen peas, I mentally totted up the good points of the Countryman that I’d soon be handing back. Good brakes were a given. It also handled well for what is ostensibly a diesel SUV. It’s genuinely good fun to punt around a hilly B-road, the eight-speed ZF transmission sharp enough in Sport mode to rarely have you flicking a paddle. That it’s also creditably


MINI MI NI COUNTRYMAN COU OUNT NTRY NT RYMA RY MAN MA N COOPER COOP PER SD ALL4

Date ac acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $56,900 This month: m 2209km @ 5.8L/100km Overall: O Ove rall 7598km @ 6.2L/100km

3 0 1 2 6 4 8 4 URBAN

Grip’n’Go

The All4 drive system remains in front-wheel drive most of the time, only sending torque rearwards when deemed necessary. Rather than waiting for the fronts to light up, the ECU assesses steering angle, throttle position, road speed and engine torque,

economical (I averaged 6.2L/100km, even with a fair amount of enthusiastic pedalling) ought to seal the deal for many. It’s practical too. The two dismantled mountain bikes that represent a bit of a Tetris puzzle in my Golf VII are swallowed up by the Countryman’s cargo bay with plenty of room to spare. Returning to the Countryman after a few days in a Volvo XC60 also reminded me just how much heft there is to this car’s steering. If you bemoan the over-assistance of modern electric steering systems, you’ll adore the way you can strongarm the Mini through a corner. It’s not a car that’s long on handling subtlety, but it loves being treated to a bit of clog. As always with the Countryman, so much comes back to its price. While it’s positioned as a boutique choice, you’ll need to be the judge regarding how much you buy into that particular marketing decision. Given that we

COUNTRY

SPORTS

FAMILY

WEEK 20 MOTORWAY

in effect predicting when front end grip will be relinquished and pre-empting that accordingly. It marks an obvious departure from the old rear-drive-biased xDrive architecture but frequent dirt-road driving never once found it out.

can’t compare it directly to similarly priced mainstream SUVs, such as the Mazda CX-9, you have to look at what else your $52K buys. And it buys a lot in the ‘something cool and fun that the kids can get in the back of’ sector. A Volkswagen Golf R, a Peugeot 3008, a Subaru WRX or, if you’re a handy negotiator, you might well land an Alfa Giulia for a lot less than its $59K list. Would I recommend a Countryman Cooper SD All4 to a friend? Yes, as long as they had deepish pockets and a fairly liberal aesthetic palate. I’ll miss its weird blend of kitschy overstyling and honest-to-goodness backroads substance. It never failed to raise a smile. Unless you’d just lowered the driver’s window to check on a dazed swamp wallaby. AN D Y E N R IG HT

VICIOUS CYCLE Left: Mini swallowed two partly disassembled bikes, but Enright was ready to set fire to one after 50km of bum torture

@wheelsaustralia 133


SUBARU SUBA SU BARU BA RU IMPREZA IMP MPRE REZA RE ZA 2 2.0i-S .0i 0i-S S

Date acquired: July 2017 Price as tested: $28,990 This month: 2340km @ 9.3L/100km Overall: 10,865km @ 8.9L/100km

Garage

3 0 1 1 5 0 5 4 URBAN

COUNTRY

Improved match fitness

Subaru has made a few running changes to the Impreza 2.0i-S line-up since our blue one joined the long-termer garage. The first is the addition of reverse automatic braking, which can step in and tap the brakes to stop you reversing out into oncoming

SPORTS

FAMILY

WEEK 20 MOTORWAY

traffic. And the Eyesight system that performed so well the other month now includes a lane-keep assist system upgrade. But these richer features come at a cost; the list price for our test car has sneaked up to $29,240, a $250 rise.

CHILL PILL

They shoot; it scores

Even cranked to a lofty 23.5 degrees, the breeze sent forth by the Impreza’s air-con is always deceptively cooler than you expect

Winter sports are enough to test anyone’s mettle SOCCER season has ended. After waking up most Sunday mornings for the last four months wondering which far-flung corner of Gippsland we would need to be in for the 1:15pm kick-off, there’s a sense of relief that we can now sit back and enjoy Sunday brunch rather than bolting down breakfast. Throughout it all, our true blue Subaru Impreza relished the chance to stretch its legs to visit remote, windswept grounds at Rhyll, or rain-lashed, mud-plugged pitches in places as exotic as Wonthaggi and Mirboo North. Sometimes two-up, sometimes with three and even at times four on board, the Impreza knuckled down and got on with the job of delivering its occupants on time and match-fit. The ride in the Impreza, already quite supple with just one body onboard, settled down even more as the seats filled with extra spectators and teammates.

134 wheelsmag.com.au

Once there, our Impreza proved its worth at the soccer pitch. The boot was big enough to swallow two large plastic tubs; one for the wet, muddy stuff cast off from players and spectators alike, and the other for the important bits we needed to keep clean and dry. From a spectator’s point of view, the wide, swept area of the windscreen wipers provided a panoramic view of proceedings, the heated front seats cut through the icy single-digit chill brought on by excursions to the sidelines (although on its higher setting, the seats do tend to get uncomfortably hot making the low setting the preferred option), the horn sounded a cheery ‘beep-beep’ each time a goal was scored, and the sure-footed all-wheel-drive traction allowed the Impreza to park on waterlogged, grassy patches where front-drive SUVs, wearing those borrowed off-road looks but carrying none of the

ability, feared to go. abilit But it wouldn’t be soccer without twiceweekly soccer practice. This was a trip I always looked forward to, the Impreza feeling its way through the darkness along the twisty back roads that I used as an alternative to the freeway. The LED headlights easily picked out the road ahead, even bending themselves around the tighter corners. It was a near-perfect season, apart from my daughter’s team failing to make the grand final play-off. That, and the need to reach down to your feet to release the bootlid each time another load of wet gear arrived. BARRY PARK


KEEP UP WITH WHEELS ON THE GO

SIGN UP

LIKE

FOLLOW

WATCH

FOLLOW

WheelsMag.com.au Get the best stories sent to your inbox when you sign up to our newsletter

@WheelsAustralia on Facebook for the latest motoring news

@wheelsaustralia on Instagram for epic car snaps from the world’s best photographers

@wheelsaustralia on YouTube for the latest car reviews

@WheelsAustralia on Twitter for up to date commentary from the expert Wheels team

wheelsmag.com.au


Eng type

Price

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

Giulia

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

0-400 metres

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 effervescent 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 7.1 15.1 9.8 95 10/17 R $65,895 L4TD 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 S Sedan B3 S Touring B4 S Coupe B4 S 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 $142,900 L6T 3.0 324 660 A8 1560 4.2 — 7.6 $149,900 L6T 3.0 324 660 A8 1615 4.3 — 7.7 $149,900 L6T 3.0 324 660 A8 1537 4.2 — 7.6 $159,900 L6T 3.0 324 660 A8 1790 4.3 — 7.7 $369,720 V8TT 4.4 447 800 A8 2110 4.2 — 9.6

Aston Martin Vantage

V8 S Coupe V8 S Coupe V8 S Roadster 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

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

R R R R R R

R

Super sedan

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 $382,110 V12 5.9 411 630 A8 1990 4.9 — 12.9 95 59 R

wheels

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

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Baby got ’back

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

Less conservative than before

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 56 1.4 TFSI CoD $39,900 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1240 8.2 — 5.0 95 52 2.0 TFSI Sport $45,900 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1315 6.8 — 5.9 95 58 2.0 TFSI quattro S’ln $49,500 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1385 6.2 — 6.2 95 58 S3 $62,900 L4T 2.0 213 380 M6 1405 5.4 — 7.1 95 56 S3 $62,900 L4T 2.0 213 380 S7 1430 4.8 — 6.6 95 56 e-tron $62,490 L4TH 1.4 150 350 S6 — 7.6 — 1.6 95 48

A3 Sedan

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 57 F 2.0 TFSI Sport $47,500 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1320 6.9 — 5.8 95 58 F 2.0 TFSI quattro S’ln $51,100 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1390 6.2 — 6.1 95 58 A S3 $64,500 L4T 2.0 213 380 M6 1430 5.4 — 7.1 95 60 A S3 $64,500 L4T 2.0 213 380 S7 1460 4.8 — 6.5 95 60 A RS3 $84,611 L5T 2.5 294 480 S7 1515 4.1 – 8.4 95 67 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 52 2.0 TFSI Sport $55,000 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1430 7.2 — 6.0 95 53 2.0 TFSI quattro S’ln $58,600 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1540 6.9 — 6.4 95 53 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 7.5 15.5 7.6 95 59 10/17 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 $99,611 V6T 3.0 260 500 A8 1630 4.7 — 7.7 98 05/17 A S4 Avant $102,611 V6T 3.0 260 500 A8 1675 4.9 — 7.8 98 A

A4 Allroad

2.0 TDI quattro 2.0 TFSI quattro

2.0 TFSI 2.0 TDI quattro 2.0 TFSI quattro S5

Appeal more than skin deep

Typical top-quality Audi interior; strong engine line-up; gutsy S5 performance Pricey options; no manual version; 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 $105,511 V6T 3.0 260 500 S7 1690 4.7 — 7.5 98 A

A5 Cabriolet

1.8 TFSI

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 $105,511 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

WE’RE SOCIAL!

136 wheelsmag.com.au

Eng type

A3 Sportback

DBS replacement is a stunner

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

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

Daimler tie-up boosts interest

Vanquish

Coupe Volante

98 98 98 98 98

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 $223,744 V8 4.7 321 490 M6 1610 4.8 — 13.8 95 63 $239,644 V8 4.7 321 490 S7 1610 4.5 — 12.9 95 63 $252,744 V8 4.7 321 490 M6 1690 4.8 — 13.8 95 63 $268,644 V8 4.7 321 490 S7 1630 — — 12.9 95 63 $360,410 V12 5.9 421 620 S7 1665 3.9 — 14.7 95 63 $389,410 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

Good fun but feels dated now

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

ALFA R O M EO – B M W

NEW ARRIVALS

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: Unless you’re getting a deal, wait. The replacement is due $81,155 L4T 1.8 125 320 C 1655 8.9 — 6.2 95 55

F


Showroom Price

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

$83,255 $90,955 $110,555 $111,010 $132,616

Eng type

L4TD L4T V6TD V6S V6S

A6

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

2.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 3.0

8.3 7.2 6.3 6.3 5.4

130 380 165 350 180 500 200 400 245 440

C S7 S7 S7 S7

1680 1735 1845 1850 1880

0-400 metres

— — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.0 6.9 5.9 8.5 8.5

D 95 D 95 98

Issue tested

57 57 57 57 64

Drive

Price

F A A A A

Q5

Finely crafted, improved value

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 46 06/15 F 2.0 TDI S Line $82,855 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1800 8.2 — 4.2 D 46 F 2.0 TFSI quattro $97,855 L4T 2.0 185 370 S7 1660 6.5 — 6.8 95 46 A 3.0 TDI quattro $102,355 V6TD 3.0 160 500 S7 1765 6.6 — 5.1 D 46 A 3.0 TDI Biturbo qttro $124,855 V6TTD 3.0 235 650 A8 1835 5.0 — 6.1 D 46 06/15 A S6 $170,427 V8T 4.0 331 550 S7 1895 4.4 — 9.4 95 42 06/15 A RS6 Avant Perf $244,827 V8TT 4.0 445 750 A8 1935 3.7 — 9.6 98 42 A

A6 Allroad

3.0 TDI quattro

A A A A

3.0 TDI quattro 3.0 TDI quattro SQ7

R8

R8 Spyder

Q2

GTC V8 GTC V8 S GTC W12 GT Speed Supersports

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 $402,600 V8TT 4.0 373 660 A8 2320 4.8 — 10.5 98 63 02/13 $427,900 V8TT 4.0 389 680 A8 2320 4.5 — 10.6 98 63 $431,300 W12TT 6.0 423 700 A8 2333 4.6 — 16.5 98 63 07/11 $485,200 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 $443,700 V8TT 4.0 373 660 A8 2485 5.0 — 10.9 98 62 $443,700 V8TT 4.0 389 680 A8 2485 4.7 — 10.9 98 62 10/14 $474,600 W12TT 6.0 423 700 A8 2505 4.7 — 14.9 98 63 07/12 $534,400 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

Flying Spur

Mulliner Mulliner

First in Q to challenge X1

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 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

R R

Because you can

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 $335,000 V8TTD 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

A

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 2.0 TDI Sport qttro $57,500 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S7 1625 7.9 — 5.4 D 56 A RS Q3 $83,927 L5T 2.5 228 420 S7 1655 5.2 — 8.8 95 58 04/14 A

Drive

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 $153,327 V8TTD 4.0 320 900 A8 2330 4.9 — 7.2 D A

3yr/unlimited bmw.com.au

BMW

Fashionably fetching

Issue tested

Continental GTC An open display of wealth

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 $41,800 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1405 8.5 16.4 10.6 95 55 07/17 F 2.0 TDI Sport quattro $48,500 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S7 1605 9.3 — 5.2 D 56 A 2.0 TFSI Sport quatt. $49,100 L4T 2.0 140 320 S7 1430 6.5 — 6.5 95 56 A

Q3

GT V8 GT V8 S GT W12 GT Speed Supersports

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 • The Pick: There’s only one, for now, so focus on which hat to wear instead $388,500 V10 5.2 397 540 S7 1720 3.6 — 11.7 98 53

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Continental GT Enough grunt to go Continental drifting

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 $354,325 V10 5.2 397 540 S7 1640 3.5 — 11.4 98 53 A Coupe V10 Plus qttro $389,325 V10 5.2 449 560 S7 1580 3.2 — 12.3 98 53 04/16 A

0-400 metres

Style utility vehicle

Bentley

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 $101,200 L4T 2.0 210 380 S6 1500 5.0 — 6.9 98 56 A RS quattro $137,611 L5T 2.5 298 480 S7 1440 3.7 — 8.4 98 56 A RS quattro Rdster $141,611 L5T 2.5 298 480 S7 1530 3.9 — 8.6 98 56 A

V10 quattro

Q7

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: Wait for the new model, or push for a hard bargain on the current model 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 $257,426 V8TTD 4.1 283 850 A8 2040 4.7 — 7.4 D 47 12/13 A S8 $282,327 V8TT 4.0 382 650 A8 1990 4.1 — 9.6 98 47 12/13 A S8 Plus $329,927 V8TT 4.0 445 750 A8 — 3.8 10.2 98 A

TT

0-100 km/h

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 $180,427 V8T 4.0 331 550 S7 1955 4.6 — 9.3 95 51 06/15 RS7 Perf $257,426 V8TT 4.0 445 750 A8 1920 3.7 — 9.7 98 51

A8

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

BY

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 $73,211 L4T 2.0 185 370 A8 1795 6.3 — 7.3 95 63 A SQ5 3.0 TFSI quattro $99,611 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

Eng type

POW E RE D

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 118i $39,990 L3T 1.5 100 220 A8 1320 8.7 — 4.8 95 59 R 118d $43,900 L4TD 2.0 110 320 A8 1375 8.1 — 3.8 D 59 R 120i $45,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1320 7.1 — 5.8 95 60 R 125i $49,900 L4T 2.0 165 310 A8 1375 6.1 — 5.9 95 61 R M140i $59,900 L6T 3.0 250 500 A8 1475 4.6 — 7.1 95 62 R M140i Performance $71,900 L6T 3.0 250 500 A8 1475 4.6 — 7.1 95 R

2 Series

220i 230i M240i

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 $52,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 7.2 — 5.8 95 R $63,000 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 5.6 — 5.9 95 R $76,800 L6T 3.0 250 500 A8 1485 4.6 — 7.0 95 R

@wheelsaustralia 137


M2 Pure M2

$93,300 $99,900

L6T L6T

2 Series Conv

220i 230i M240i

3.0 272 465 3.0 272 465

M6 1495 5.1 S7 1495 4.3

13.4 12.1 — 7.9

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

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. Number of cyls or rotors. 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 – FI A T

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

95 57 13/16 95 57

R R

A fresh breeze

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 $59,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1540 7.7 — 6.1 95 61 R $73,000 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1570 5.9 — 6.2 95 67 R $85,800 L6T 3.0 250 500 A8 1630 4.7 — 7.4 95 67 R

2 Active Tourer Mini in a muumuu

218i 218d 220i

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 $51,600 L4T 2.0 141 280 A8 1430 7.4 — 5.9 95 59 F

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 94Ah $68,100 E 125 250 A1 1245 7.3 — R 94Ah Range Ext’er $74,100 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

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 $57,300 L3T 1.5 100 230 A6 1475 8.9 — 5.4 95 59 04/16 $63,400 L4T 2.0 135 290 A8 1505 7.2 — 5.8 95 60 $67,500 L4T 2.0 135 290 A8 1585 7.5 — 5.9 95 57 $65,800 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1505 7.3 — 4.4 D 59 $70,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1545 6.1 14.3 5.8 95 60 04/16 $73,900 L4T 2.0 185 420 A8 1636 6.1 — 2.1 95 60 $75,000 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1615 6.0 — 6.1 95 60 $91,200 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

3 Series GT

320d 330i

Now you can have your 3 with a triple

R R R R R R R R R R R R R

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 $74,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1465 7.3 — 5.8 95 50 R $79,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1470 5.8 14.1 5.8 95 51 R $99,900 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1525 5.0 — 6.8 95 51 R $139,900 L6T 3.0 331 550 S7 1537 4.0 – 8.8 98 51 R $151,610 L6TT 3.0 317 550 M6 1497 4.3 — 8.8 98 51 11/14 R $151,610 L6TT 3.0 317 550 S7 1537 4.1 13.0 8.3 98 51 09/14 R $156,710 L6TT 3.0 331 550 M6 1497 4.2 — 8.8 98 51 R $156,710 L6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1537 4.0 — 8.3 98 51 R $211,610 L6TT 3.3 338 600 S7 1580 3.9 — 8.4 98 R 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 $74,900 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1480 8.3 16.0 8.9 95 54 10/17 R $79,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1580 6.0 — 5.8 95 54 R $99,900 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1575 5.1 — 6.8 95 54 R

4 Series Conv

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 61 R 430i $97,900 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1700 6.4 — 6.3 95 61 R 440i $117,610 L6T 3.0 240 450 A8 1750 5.4 — 7.2 95 51 R M4 Convertible $163,910 L6TT 3.0 317 550 M6 1750 4.6 — 9.1 98 51 R M4 Convertible $163,910 L6TT 3.0 317 550 S7 1790 4.4 — 8.7 98 51 11/14 R M4 Competition Conv $168,010 L6TT 3.0 331 550 M6 1750 4.3 — 9.1 98 51 R M4 Competition Conv $168,010 L6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1790 4.1 — 8.7 98 51 R

5 Series

520i 520d

$110,500 $110,500 $121,600 $138,610

L4T L4TH L6TD L6T

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

2.0 2.0 3.0 3.0

6.2 6.2 5.7 5.1

185 185 195 250

350 420 620 450

A8 A8 A8 A8

1540 1770 1640 1595

0-400 metres

— — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.8 2.3 4.7 6.7

Issue tested

Drive

95 47 95 D 47 95 47

R R R R

5 Series Touring Promises lots, delivers more 570-litre boot can grow to whopping 1700L; uncompromised 5 Series dynamics No outright performance hero • The Pick: 2.0L diesel has lots of grunt for load-lugging and attractive sub $100k price $99,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 7.8 — 4.9 D $115,500 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 6.5 — 6.5 95

520d 530i

R R

6 Series Coupe Swings with drivers 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 $181,810 L6T 3.0 235 450 A8 1685 5.3 — 7.4 95 49 $235,910 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1795 4.6 — 8.6 95 49 $296,810 V8TT 4.4 441 700 S7 1850 3.9 — 9.9 98 50

640i 650i M6

6 Series Conv

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 $198,010 L6T 3.0 235 450 A8 1820 5.5 — 7.6 98 49 R $252,210 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1930 4.6 — 8.9 98 49 R $313,010 V8TT 4.4 441 700 S7 1980 4.0 — 10.3 95 48 R

640i 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 $188,910 L6T 3.0 235 450 A8 1750 5.4 — 7.5 98 49 $189,200 L6TTD 3.0 230 630 A8 1810 5.4 — 5.4 D 49 $243,010 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1865 4.6 — 8.6 98 49 $303,910 V8TT 4.4 441 680 A8 1875 4.0 — 9.9 98 46

640i 640d 650i M6

R R R R

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 is swifter, sweeter, and worth the extra spend over the 320d $71,900 L4TD 2.0 135 380 A8 1575 7.9 — 4.9 D 60 R $80,000 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1620 6.1 — 6.5 95 59 09/13 R

4 Series Gran Coupe Yet another niche plugged

420i 430i 440i

Eng type

Price

530i 530e 530d 540i

6 Series Gran Coupe Six plus two doors

4 Series Coupe Two-door 3 becomes 4

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

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

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 $95,200 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1560 7.5 — 4.3 D 47 R

138 wheelsmag.com.au

T TOP

1 2 3 4

FERRARI 812 SUPERFAST

fastest

355km/h-plus Takes the title as the fastest car available to buy in Oz with an V-max of beyond 355km/h and, with 588kW, a second title as most powerful naturally aspirated production car. 354km/h Has the same 6.5-litre atmo V12

LAMBORGHINI engine configuration as the Ferrari but AVENTADOR S manages a mere 544kW, fed to all four

wheels, and cloaked in a body built for Satan.

FERRARI GTC4LUSSO V12

345km/h Not only is the GTC4Lusso the thirdfastest road machine in Australia, it’s also the fastest that can accommodate four people, has AWD, and a decent boot for those trips to the snow.

341km/h Takes a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

McLAREN and pumps 530kW to the back wheels for blistering speed and acceleration. At $489,900, 720S it’s also the most ‘affordable’ of our top five.

336km/h Sends the current generation BENTLEY coupe out with a bang, wringing CONTINENTAL Bentley from its unorthodox W12 twin-turbo SUPERSPORTS 522kW engine. Also available as a convertible.


Showroom Price

Eng type

6 Series GT

630i 640i xDrive

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Price

R A

i8

X1

sDrive 18d sDrive 20i xDrive 25i

xDrive 20d xDrive 30i xDrive 30d

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

xDrive 30d xDrive 40d xDrive 50i M50d M

Seduction Exclusive

Exclusive Exclusive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Bold Yank with extra bling

3yr/100,000km citroen.com.au French vanilla

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

C4 Cactus

French fun, warts and all

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 $29,690 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 — — — — 95 — F

C4 Picasso

Quick and crisp SUV ... in the right spec

Part hatch, part SUV, MPV genes

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

Grand C4 Picasso Pregnant supermodel Head-turning style; space-age cabin; cracker diesel; sharp dynamics 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

X6’s prettier baby sister

3yr/unlimited ferrari.com

Ferrari California T

Mum’s SUV goes large

Turbo charger

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 $89,200 L4TD 2.0 168 450 A8 1995 8.2 — 5.8 D 63 06/14 R $108,000 L6TD 3.0 190 560 A8 2070 6.5 14.7 6.2 D 63 01/15 A $124,200 L6TD 3.0 230 630 A8 2110 5.9 — 6.2 D 63 A $124,200 L4T 2.0 230 450 A8 2165 6.8 — 3.3 95 A $138,610 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 2175 5.0 — 10.5 95 61 A $152,000 L6TTTD 3.0 280 740 A8 2190 5.3 — 6.7 D 58 A $189,010 V8TT 4.4 423 750 A8 2275 4.2 — 11.1 95 56 06/15 A

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: Wait. Cali T now superseded by stunning Portofino, due here soon $409,888 V8TT 3.9 415 755 S7 1730 3.6 — 13.1 98 66 08/14

X6

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

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 $122,200 L6TD 3.0 190 560 A8 2065 6.7 — 6.0 D 61 A $133,800 L6TD 3.0 230 630 A8 — 5.8 — 6.3 D 63 A $155,810 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 2170 4.8 — 9.7 98 56 A $162,200 L6TTTD 3.0 280 740 A8 2185 5.2 — 6.6 D 56 A $197,910 V8TT 4.4 423 750 A8 2265 4.2 — 11.1 95 56 06/15 A

Seven

488 GTB

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

Decently executed, shame about the idea

Caterham

Seven 275 Seven 355 Seven 485 S

0-400 metres

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

C4

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: Not a vehicle for pragmatists, so go for the non-pragmatic engine in the 35i $72,610 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1735 8.1 — 7.2 95 61 A $77,000 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1745 8.0 — 5.2 D 61 A $90,910 L6T 3.0 225 400 S8 1815 5.5 — 8.3 95 61 09/14 A $91,200 L6TD 3.0 230 630 A8 — 5.2 — 6.0 D 61 A

X5

0-100 km/h

Citroen

Massive space, styling and comfort gains; 30d a thrifty torque monster Ride and steerng could be more fluid; wind and road noise; expensive options • The Pick: Go the flagship and most of the kit you’ll add in from the options list is standard $68,900 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1745 8.0 — 5.7 D 63 A $75,900 L4T 2.0 185 350 A8 1720 6.3 — 7.6 95 63 A $83,900 L6TD 3.0 190 620 A8 1800 5.8 — 6.0 D 63 A

X4

xDrive20i xDrive20d xDrive35i xDrive35d

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 $50,600 L4TD 2.0 105 320 A8 1495 9.2 — 4.3 D 56 F $53,600 L4T 2.0 135 270 A8 1510 7.7 — 5.9 95 56 F $60,700 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 1595 6.5 — 6.6 95 57 02/16 A

X3

C C Luxury SRT Core SRT

Hybrid performance hero

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? $303,300 L3TH 1.5 266 570 A6 1485 4.4 — 2.1 95 36 02/16 A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

300

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 $222,100 L6TD 3.0 195 620 A8 1840 6.1 — 4.7 D 41 R $228,100 L6TT 3.0 240 450 A8 1825 5.5 — 7.0 95 41 02/16 R $232,300 L4TH 2.0 240 650 A8 — 5.4 — 2.2 95 R $242,300 L6TT 3.0 240 450 A8 1845 5.6 — 7.0 95 42 R $293,710 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1940 4.7 — 8.1 95 41 R $318,710 V8TT 4.4 330 650 A8 1960 4.7 — 8.3 95 42 R $424,710 V12TT 6.6 448 800 A8 2195 3.7 — 12.6 A

Eng type

BY

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

Chrysler

Prettier than the 5 Series GT

Boot boosted by 110 litres; more aesthetically pleasing attempt than 5 Series GT Proximity to 6 Series and 6 Series Gran Coupe makes choosing a model harder • The Pick: Only a little more cash gets you into the quicker, smoother six-cylinder $123,500 L4T 2.0 190 400 A8 6.3 — 7.0 98 49 $148,900 L6T 3.0 250 450 A8 5.3 — 8.5 98

7 Series

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

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

POW E RE D

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

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

Drop-top motoring at its most exhilarating

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

The thrill of simplicity

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

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

Fiat 500

Pop Pop Lounge

Evergreen 500 still a cutie

Updated with new TFT screen, Abarth models recieved even more power Awkward driving position; ‘Dualogic’ robotised ’box is appalling, cabin lacks storage • The Pick: Lounge with six-speed manual makes sense; manual Abarth 595 more fun $17,990 L4 1.2 51 102 M5 905 14.1 19.2 5.1 95 54 06/15 F $19,490 L4 1.2 51 102 S5 940 12.9 — 5.0 95 54 F $21,000 L4 1.4 74 131 M6 970 10.5 — 6.1 95 54 10/14 F

@wheelsaustralia 139


L4 L4T L4T L4T L4T

500 C

S5 M5 S5 M5 S5

980 1042 1050 1035 1070

— — — — —

95 98 98 98 98

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.8 5.8 5.7 5.4 5.3

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

0-400 metres

10.5 7.9 8.1 6.7 6.9

131 206 206 230 230

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

0-100 km/h

74 107 107 132 132

Newton metres

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4

Kilowatts

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

$22,500 $26,990 $28,990 $31,990 $33,990

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

Eng type

Price

Lounge Abarth 595 Abarth 595 Abarth 595 Comp. Abarth 595 Comp.

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

FIAT – H S V

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

54 48 07/16 48 50 51

F F F F F

Pop Pop Pop Star Lounge Cross Plus

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 $26,000* L4T 1.4 103 230 M6 1295 — — 6.0 91 52 02/16 F $28,000* 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

Fiesta

Ambiente Ambiente Trend Trend Titanium

Escape

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

Ambiente Ambiente Trend Trend Sport Sport ST

Focus

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

Sweet-handling, no nonsense perennial

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 1321 — — 5.8 95 51 F $24,390 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 1360 8.3 — 6.2 95 51 01/17 F $24,390 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 1366 — — 6.2 95 51 F $26,490 L4T 1.5 132 240 M6 1341 — — 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 1431 — — 6.4 95 53 F $32,690 L4T 1.5 132 240 A6 1403 — — 6.2 95 53 F $38,990 L4T 2.0 184 360 M6 1464 — — 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

Mondeo

Dynamic and comfort benchmark

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 Trend hatch $37,790 L4T 2.0 177 345 A6 1629 7.9 — 8.2 95 48 06/15 F Trend TDCi hatch $40,990 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1683 8.6 — 5.1 D 49 F Trend TDCi wagon $42,840 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1713 8.7 — 5.3 D 50 F Titanium hatch $44,790 L4T 2.0 177 345 A6 1690 7.7 15.5 8.5 95 49 09/16 F Titanium TDCi hatch $47,990 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1744 8.6 — 5.1 D 50 F Titanium TDCi wgn $49,840 L4TD 2.0 132 400 S6 1782 9.1 16.6 5.3 D 50 07/15 F

Mustang

America’s ‘Pony car’ muscles in

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 $45,990 L4T 2.3 233 432 M6 1629 6.0 14.3 8.5 91 63 04/16 R EcoBoost Fastback $48,490 L4T 2.3 233 432 A6 1627 — — 9.3 91 63 R

140 wheelsmag.com.au

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

2.3 5.0 5.0 5.0

— — 5.0 —

— — 13.2 —

233 306 306 306

432 530 530 520

A6 M6 A6 A6

1685 1701 1709 1773

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

9.4 13.1 12.6 12.7

91 98 98 98

Issue tested

64 67 66 04/16 67

Drive

R R R R

Fiesta in a leotard

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 $32,990 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 $52,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2370 — — 8.5 D 59 02/16 A $53,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2305 --8.4 D R $58,990 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2407 11.6 18.0 8.5 D 59 02/16 A $74,701 L5TD 3.2 143 470 A6 2495 — — 8.5 D 60 09/15 A

Ambiente Ambiente Trend Trend Titanium

Dealer Quick Finder

The driver’s light hatch

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 $27,490 L4T 1.6 134 240 M6 1197 7.0 14.9 6.2 95 52 02/14 F

L4T V8 V8 V8

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 $27,790 L4 1.5 82 140 S6 1289 14.1 — 6.5 95 41 02/14 F

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

Ford

$54,990 $57,490 $59,990 $65,916

EcoSport

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 $41,990* 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

EcoBoost Convert. GT Fastback GT Fastback GT Convertible

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 Pop’s as much 500C as you need Pop $21,990 L4 1.2 51 102 M5 980 14.1 — 5.1 95 54 F Pop $23,490 L4 1.2 51 102 S5 945 12.9 — 5.0 95 54 F Lounge $25,000 L4 1.4 74 131 M5 1000 11.0 — 6.0 95 54 F Lounge $26,550 L4 1.4 74 131 S5 1010 10.5 — 5.8 95 54 F Lounge $25,500 L2T 0.9 63 145 S5 970 11.0 — 3.9 98 58 F Abarth 595C $32,500 L4T 1.4 107 206 M5 — — — 5.8 98 48 07/16 F Abarth 595C $33,500 L4T 1.4 107 206 S5 — — — 5.7 98 48 F Abarth Competizione $35,990 L4T 1.4 132 230 M5 — — — 5.4 98 48 F Abarth Competizione $37,990 L4T 1.4 132 230 S5 — — — 5.5 98

500X

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

DEALER DIRECTORY

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

VIC

The history of Wheels now at your fingertips

FOR FREE!

Access the Wheels archive for FREE! Register today for your free access at WheelsMag.com.au/archive

wheelsarchive R E V I E W S , N E W S , I N T E RV I E W S

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


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

Haval Price

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

H2

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

Size and presence

Barina

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

Much older than it looks

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 50 F $21,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1283 — — 6.1 95 50 F $21,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 M6 1283 7.8 — 5.5 95 50 F $22,490 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1304 8.0 — 5.5 95 50 01/17 F $22,740 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1283 — — 6.1 95 50 F $25,740 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 — — 5.9 95 50 F $25,790 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1294 — — 6.1 95 52 F $26,240 L4T 1.6 147 300 M6 1325 6.6 — 6.1 95 52 F $27,240 L4T 1.6 147 300 A6 1344 6.6 — 6.1 95 52 09/17 F $29,790 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 1318 — — 6.1 95 52 08/17 F $29,940 L4T 1.4 110 240 A6 — — 5.9 95 50 F $30,740 L4T 1.6 147 300 M6 1344 6.6 — 6.1 95 52 F $31,740 L4T 1.6 147 300 A6 1363 6.6 — 6.1 95 52 F

Commodore

Evoke Evoke Sportwagon SV6 SV6 SV6 Sportwagon SS SS SS Sportwagon

Leads the small Holden fightback

Handsome 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 42 F $17,190 L4 1.6 85 155 A6 1256 — — — 91 42 F $20,390 L4 1.6 85 155 A6 1256 — — — 91 44 F

Astra

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

V

The V8s are bloody great

Fantastic V8 grunt and sound; brilliant body control and balance; practicality and value Evoke still plain; chunky A-pillars; they’ve stopped making it! • The Pick: SS-V Redline for its superb chassis and performance, but you’ll have to be quick $35,490 V6 3.0 185 290 A6 1622 8.1 15.9 8.3 91 39 07/13 R $37,490 V6 3.0 185 290 A6 1717 — — 8.6 91 40 R $40,490 V6 3.6 210 350 M6 1688 — — 9.0 91 42 R $41,490 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1685 6.6 14.7 9.0 91 42 09/16 R $42,490 V6 3.6 210 350 A6 1776 6.9 15.0 9.3 91 42 04/14 R $47,490 V8 6.2 304 570 M6 1729 4.9 — 12.6 95 42 R $48,490 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1744 5.0 — 12.9 95 42 R $51,690 V8 6.2 304 570 A6 1849 5.0 — 12.9 95 42 R

13.0 13.4 — 15.1 — — — — —

M6 A6 A6 A6 A6 A6 A6 A6 A6

1766 1780 1851 1702 1798 1730 1778 1808 1866

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

12.6 12.9 12.9 9.0 9.3 9.0 12.9 9.3 12.9

95 95 95 91 91 91 95 91 95

Issue tested

43 11/15 43 04/16 43 41 02/15 42 42 43 43 44

Drive

R R R R R R R R R

Aussie two-door muscle

The world’s best-value limo

Baby rhinoplasty

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: None. Wait for Holden’s next-gen Equinox and Acadia SUVs and then decide $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 $31,690 L4TD 2.2 135 400 A6 1873 — — 7.9 D F $31,690 L4 2.4 123 230 A6 1763 — — 9.7 91 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 $33,490 L4 2.4 123 230 A6 1776 — — 9.7 91 F $37,490 V6 3.0 190 288 A6 1844 8.9 16.5 10.1 91 44 10/16 A $38,490 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

0-400 metres

4.9 5.3 5.0 7.1 — — 5.0 — 5.0

570 570 570 350 350 350 570 350 570

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

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

0-100 km/h

304 304 304 210 210 210 304 210 304

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

Trax

LS LS LTZ LTZ

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

6.2 6.2 6.2 3.6 3.6 3.6 6.2 3.6 6.2

BY

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

Caprice

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

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

Eng type

V8 V8 V8 V6 V6 V6 V8 V6 V8

Ute

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

Spark

LS LS LT

Drive

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 $41,990* L4T 2.0 160 324 A6 2128 — — 12.2 95 50 A $44,990* L4T 2.0 160 324 A6 2128 — — 12.2 95 50 03/16 A

Holden

LS LS LT

Issue tested

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

H9

Premium Luxury

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Six and out

H8

Premium 2WD Premium 4WD Luxury 4WD

0-400 metres

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 $26,490* 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

H6

Premium Lux

0-100 km/h

Cheap, but is it cheerful?

Price

SS V Redline $54,490 SS V Redline $56,190 SS V Redline S’wgn $59,190 Calais $41,290 Calais Sportwagon $43,290 Calais V $48,750 Calais V $56,750 Calais V Sportwagon $50,750 Calais V Sportwagon $58,750

POW E RE D

Tough as old boots

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: The LT delivers strong off-road ability for less than $50k $47,990 L4TD 2.8 147 500 A6 2194 — — 8.6 D $52,490 L4TD 2.8 147 500 A6 2203 — — 8.6 D

HSV Gen-F2

A A

3yr/100,000km hsv.com.au 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 sold out. GTS-R still sublime, but running out C’Sport R8 30 Years $82,990 V8S 6.2 410 691 M6 1890 — — 15.3 98 44 R C’Sport R8 30 Years $82,490 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

@wheelsaustralia 141


Price

Jazz

VTi VTi VTi-S VTi-L

0-400 metres

When we drove it

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Lower price, greater class

F F F F

A classic comeback

VTi VTi-S VTi-L

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

Odyssey

VTi VTi-L

Odyssey becomes a breeder bus

Hyundai 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

142 wheelsmag.com.au

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Driving and ownership ease

Newfound maturity and appeal

Active Premium

Genesis

Ultimate

Euro-flavoured Korean

Active Active X

Hyundai's first true luxury car

Brave two-plus-one-door coupe

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 2.0 121 203 M6 1569 — — 7.8 91 F $31,090 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 1584 — — 7.9 91 F $35,090 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1744 — — 6.4 D 54 F $31,150 L4 2.0 121 203 M6 1484 — — 7.8 91 52 F $33,650 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 — 10.5 17.3 10.7 91 52 06/17 F $36,250 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 1569 — — 7.9 91 52 F $39,250 L4T 1.6 130 265 S7 1575 — — 7.7 91 53 02/16 A $41,250 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

Kona

Active Active Elite Elite Highlander Highlander

Competent, conservative

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

Tucson

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

F F F F F F

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: Go the base Genesis, for its equipment and value-driven price tag $61,500 V6 3.8 232 397 A8 1890 6.5 — 11.2 91 52 R $82,000 V6 3.8 232 397 A8 1890 6.5 — 11.2 91 53 R

Veloster

SR Turbo SR Turbo

F F F F F

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: The Premium for its active safety and strong engine $30,990 L4 2.4 138 241 A6 1500 — — 8.3 91 44 F $45,490 L4T 2.0 180 353 A8 1560 — — 8.5 91 46 F

Hyundai finally has a baby SUV

Standout looks with punchy petrol 1.6 turbo; customisable colour combinations 2.0-litre dull and not available with AWD; Active safety pack is an optional extra • The Pick: Mid-range Elite turbo has generous kit plus performance and economy $24,500 L4 2.0 110 180 A6 1290 — — 7.2 91 $28,000 L4T 1.6 130 265 S7 1414 10.0 — 6.7 91 $28,500 L4 2.0 110 180 A6 1290 — — 7.2 91 $32,000 L4T 1.6 130 265 S7 1414 10.0 — 6.7 91 $33,000 L4 2.0 110 180 A6 1290 — — 7.2 91 $36,000 L4T 1.6 130 265 S7 1414 10.0 — 6.7 91

Santa Fe F F F F

0-100 km/h

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

Sonata

Now with turbo and seven-seat option

F F A F A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

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 $35,690 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 Premium Tourer $42,250 L4 2.0 121 203 A6 1483 — — 7.5 91 45 Premium Tourer CRDi $44,850 L4TD 1.7 104 340 S7 1539 — — 5.1 D 46

Best small SUV for space

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

Accent

Active Active Elite SR Turbo SR Turbo

It’s been a while

Roomy cabin and luggage bay; new turbo engine brings efficiency and power Price increases for almost all variants; some cheap plastics; CVT not a standout • The Pick: VTi-L brings seven seats but VTi-S appears to offer the best value $30,690 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — 7.0 91 52 $33,290 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — 7.3 91 54 $35,490 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — 9..9 — 7.4 91 54 $38,990 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — — — 7.3 91 55 $44,290 L4T 1.5 140 240 C — 9.9 — 7.4 91 56

Eng type

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 52 F Active 2.0 GDi $23,250 L4 2.0 120 203 A6 1276 — — 7.4 91 54 F Active 1.6 CRDi $23,450 L4TD 1.6 100 280 M6 1312 — — 4.5 D 54 F Active 1.6 CRDi $25,950 L4TD 1.6 100 300 S7 1339 — — 4.7 D 54 F SR 1.6 T-GDi $25,950 L4T 1.6 150 265 M6 1315 — — 7.5 91 54 F SR 1.6 T-GDi $28,950 L4T 1.6 150 265 S7 1344 7.3 — 7.8 91 55 09/17 F Elite 1.6 CRDi $28,950 L4TD 1.6 100 300 S7 1339 — — 4.7 D 55 F Premium 1.6 CRDi $33,950 L4TD 1.6 100 300 S7 1339 — — 4.7 D 56 F SR Premium 1.6 T-GDi $33,950 L4T 1.6 150 265 S7 1344 — — 7.5 91 56 F

The car that can (sort of) steer itself

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

i30

i40 F F F F F F F F F F F

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

HR-V

Price

Elantra

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

Booted Jazz, re-booted

Sparkling performance from 1.5 turbo; supple ride; refinement; steering; space Dullard CVT; 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 $32,290 L4T 1.5 127 220 C 1364 — — 6.1 91 $31,790 L4T 1.5 127 220 C 1331 7.4 15.4 6.0 91 58 12/16 $33,590 L4T 1.5 127 220 C 1364 — — 6.1 91 $33,590 L4T 1.5 127 220 C 1331 — — 6.0 91 58 07/16 $50,990 L4T 2.0 228 400 M6 1393 5.8 13.9 11.5 95 11/17

Accord

VTi VTi-L V6L

0-100 km/h

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 RS hatch RS sedan VTi-LX hatch VTi-LX sedan Type R

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Ripper entry price for 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 $19,990 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1095 — — 5.8 91 56 $22,990 L4 1.5 88 145 C 1130 — — 5.8 91 57 10/14

City

VTi VTi VTi-L

Recommended octane rating

5yr/unlimited honda.com.au

Honda 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

L=in-line, V=vee, F=flat, R=rotary. Number of cyls or rotors. 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

F A F A F A

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 $39,350 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


Showroom Price

Active CRDi Elite CRDi Highlander CRDi

$42,350 $50,990 $57,090

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Eng type

L4TD L4TD L4TD

2.2 147 440 2.2 147 440 2.2 147 440

iMax

A6 A6 A6

0-100 km/h

1857 — 1857 — 1857 —

0-400 metres

— — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

7.8 7.8 7.8

D D D

Issue tested

57 58 58 09/15

Drive

Price

Value-packed eight-seater

Dealer Quick Finder DEALER DIRECTORY

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

VIC

Q30

GT GT Premium

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

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 1652 6.2 — 10.2 98 41 R $78,900 V6 3.7 235 360 A7 1702 6.2 — 10.8 98 41 R $82,900 V6H 3.5 225 350 A7 1785 5.3 — 6.9 98 42 R

QX70

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

R R R

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

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

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

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

Drive

R R A R A A A A

3yr/unlimited jaguar.com.au Gunning for C-Class and 3 Series

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 2.0 184 365 A8 1543 7.0 — 7.5 95 45 R $112,227 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 $89,227 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1543 7.0 — 7.5 95 45 R $104,227 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 $128,777 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

XF Sportbrake

R-Sport 20d R-Sport 25t S 30d S First Edition 30d

Issue tested

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 $64,504 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 $68,327 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 — 6.7 15.2 10.8 95 60 10/17 R $69,827 L4T 2.0 177 340 A8 — 7.1 15.1 7.5 95 60 04/16 R $104,777 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1665 5.1 — 8.1 95 60 02/16 R

XF

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

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Ute with a kid-friendly boot

Jaguar

Fine looks, heaps of kit, keen pricing

Coupe’s driver appeal; standard equipment; terrific seats; great vision Foot-operated parking brake • The Pick: S Premium coupe delivers BMW-style thrills for considerably less $62,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1698 5.9 — 7.7 95 48 $70,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1742 6.1 7.7 95 53 $88,900 V6TT 3.0 298 475 A7 1784 6.4 — 8.9 95 53

Q70

GT S Premium 3.5h Premium

Shoots for Europe, and falls short

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 $53,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — 8.5 — 7.3 95 40 R $61,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 — 8.5 — 7.3 95 40 11/14 R $54,900 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 $72,900 V6TT 3.0 224 400 A7 1784 — — 9.2 95 R $79,990 V6TT 3.0 298 475 A7 1784 — — 9.3 95 R $74,400 V6H 3.5 268 546 S7 1853 5.4 — 7.2 95 41 R

Q60

GT S Premium Red Sport

High-riding Q30, at a premium

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Ready for adventure; big towing capacity; interior kitted out with family in mind Bulletproof Isuzu engine lacks Trailblazer’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

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 1505 — — 6.9 95 49 05/17 A $56,900 L4T 2.0 155 350 A7 1505 — — 6.9 95 49 A

Q50

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

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

MU-X

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

Infiniti

Eng type

BY

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

Isuzu

A A A

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 high-output diesel with auto is really the only choice given the role iMax fills $44,290 L4TD 2.5 100 343 M6 2215 — — 8.1 D 59 R $47,290 L4TD 2.5 125 441 A5 2230 — — 9.0 D 59 R

2.5 CRDi 2.5 CRDi

POW E RE D

Practical and pretty 5 Series Touring rival

Engaging handling; fine steering; generous 565L boot balloons to 1700L Expensive options list; no XFR performance halo • The Pick: Torquey 3.0-litre diesel manages loads best coupled with respectable economy $90,400 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1720 8.8 — 4.8 D R $91,400 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1705 7.1 — 7.1 95 R $123,450 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1855 6.6 — 5.9 D R $137,300 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1860 6.6 — 5.9 D 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: The 3.0D Premium Luxury is an agreeable blend of efficiency, price and pace 3.0S Premium Lux $201,326 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1755 5.9 — 9.6 95 39 R 3.0S Prem Lux LWB $201,326 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 3.0 R-Sport $229,306 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1765 6.2 5.7 95 R 3.0S Portfolio LWB $228,296 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1755 5.9 — 9.6 95 39 R 5.0 Autobio’ LWB $299,706 V8 5.0 375 625 A8 1885 4.9 — 11.1 95 R 5.0 S/C XJR $299,706 V8S 5.0 404 680 A8 1880 4.6 — 11.6 98 45 R

F-Pace

20d Prestige 20t Prestige 20t Prestige 20d Prestige 20d R-Sport 20t R-Sport 20d R-Sport 20t R-Sport 25d R-Sport 25d Portfolio 30d Prestige

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 gauche cabin trims; gear selector • The Pick: It’s difficult to go past the twin-turbo V6 diesel, and the R-Sport trim looks good $72,510 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1775 8.5 — 5.1 D 61 R $73,252 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1760 6.8 — 7.1 95 61 R $76,027 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1760 6.8 — 7.4 95 61 A $75,935 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1775 8.7 — 5.3 D 61 A $81,695 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1775 8.5 — 5.1 D 61 R $78,997 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1710 6.8 — 7.1 95 61 R $81,565 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1760 8.7 — 5.3 D 61 A $81,787 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1820 6.8 — 7.4 95 61 A $87,925 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1720 8.5 — 5.1 D R $88,935 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 1810 7.2 — 5.8 D A $86,445 V6TTD 3.0 221 700 A8 1884 6.2 — — D 61 A

@wheelsaustralia 143


V6TTD V6TTD V6S V6S V6S V6TTD V6S

F-Type

A8 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8

1884 1884 1820 1820 1820 — 1861

— — — — — — —

D D 95 95 95 D 95

61 61 61 61 61 61 61

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

— — — — — — —

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

Recommended octane rating

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

0-400 metres

6.2 6.2 5.8 5.8 5.8 6.2 5.5

700 700 450 450 450 700 450

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

0-100 km/h

221 221 250 250 250 220 280

Newton metres

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0

Kilowatts

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

$92,205 $93,215 $85,437 $91,197 $92,207 $101,795 $104,827

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

Eng type

Price

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

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

JAGUAR – LA ND RO V ER

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

A A A A A A A

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: Rear-drive V6 has the best balance; only real power junkies need the V8 Coupe $107,012 L4T 2.0 221 400 A8 1525 5.7 — 7.2 95 R R-Dynamic Coupe $114,812 L4T 2.0 221 400 A8 1525 5.7 — 7.2 95 R Convertible $125,712 L4T 2.0 221 400 A8 1545 5.7 — 7.2 95 R R-Dynamic C’tible $133,512 L4T 2.0 221 400 A8 1545 5.7 — 7.2 95 R V6 Coupe $121,212 V6S 3.0 250 450 M6 1577 5.7 — 9.8 95 53 R V6 Coupe $126,212 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1577 5.3 — 8.8 95 53 R V6 R-Dynamic Coupe$129,012 V6S 3.0 250 450 M6 1577 5.7 — 9.8 95 R V6 R-Dynamic Coupe $134,012 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1577 5.3 — 8.4 95 R V6 Convertible $139,912 V6S 3.0 250 450 M6 1587 5.7 — 9.8 95 53 R V6 Convertible $144,912 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1597 5.3 — 9.0 95 53 R V6 R-Dynamic C’tible$147,712 V6S 3.0 250 450 M6 1587 5.7 — 9.8 95 R V6 R-Dynamic C’tible$152,712 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 1597 5.3 — 8.4 95 R V6 280 Coupe $148,712 V6S 3.0 280 460 M6 1584 5.5 — 9.8 95 53 R V6 280 Coupe $153,712 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1594 4.9 — 8.6 95 53 R V6 280 AWD Coupe $169,512 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1674 5.1 — 8.9 95 53 A V6 280 R-Dyn. $156,512 V6S 3.0 280 460 M6 1584 5.5 — 9.8 95 R V6 280 R-Dyn. $161,512 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1594 4.9 — 8.6 95 R V6 280 AWD R-Dyn $177,312 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1674 5.1 — 8.9 95 A V6 280 Convertible $167,412 V6S 3.0 280 460 M6 1604 5.5 — 9.8 95 R V6 280 Convertible $172,412 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1614 4.8 13.1 9.1 95 53 11/13 R V6 280 AWD C’tible $188,212 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1694 5.1 — 8.9 95 A V6 280 R-Dyn C’tible $175,212 V6S 3.0 280 460 M6 1604 5.5 — 9.8 95 R V6 280 R-Dyn C’tible $180,212 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1614 4.9 — 8.6 95 R V6 280 AWD R C’tible $196,012 V6S 3.0 280 460 A8 1694 5.1 — 8.9 95 A V6 400 Sport Coupe $183,512 V6S 3.0 294 460 A8 1594 4.9 — 8.6 95 R V6 400 AWD Coupe $199,312 V6S 3.0 294 460 A8 1674 5.1 — 8.9 95 A V6 400 Sport C’tible $202,212 V6S 3.0 294 460 A8 1614 4.9 — 8.6 95 R V6 400 AWD C’tible $218,012 V6S 3.0 294 460 A8 1694 5.1 — 8.9 95 A V8 R AWD Coupe $246,012 V8S 5.0 404 680 A8 1730 4.1 — 11.3 95 53 A V8 R AWD C’tible $264,712 V8S 5.0 404 680 A8 1745 4.1 — 11.3 95 53 A V8 SVR AWD Coupe $246,012 V8S 5.0 423 700 A8 1705 3.7 — 11.3 95 53 A V8 SVR AWD C’tible $309,212 V8S 5.0 423 700 A8 1720 3.8 — 11.3 95 53 02/17 A

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

Jeep Renegade

Sport Sport Longitude Limited Trailhawk

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

Price

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 $35,950 L4 2.4 130 229 A9 1738 — — 8.3 91 53 08/14 F $41,450 V6 3.2 200 316 A9 1834 — — 10.0 91 54 A $45,950 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 $49,950 V6 3.2 200 316 A9 1862 — — 10.0 91 56 08/14 A

144 wheelsmag.com.au

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

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 1998 — 9.9 91 54 R $52,500 V6 3.6 213 347 A8 2084 — 10.0 91 55 A $59,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 2267 — 7.5 D 56 A $62,500 V6 3.6 213 347 A8 2169 — 10.0 91 56 A $69,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 2281 — 7.5 D 56 A $74,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 2340 — 7.5 D 56 A $80,000 V6TD 3.0 184 570 A8 2327 — 7.5 D 56 A $91,000 V8 6.4 344 624 A8 2289 — 14.0 98 58 A

7yr/unlimited kia.com.au

Kia Picanto

S S

S S Si SLi

The new sting in Kia’s tale

R R R R R R

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

Carnival

S S CRDi Si Si CRDi SLi SLi CRDi

Conservatively done (again)

Huge step up in performance for the brand; impressive styling, punch and dynamics Muted note without sport exhaust • The Pick: We’d plump for the bargain steel-sprung 330S $45,990 L4T 2.0 182 353 A8 1693 7.2 15.1 11.8 95 09/17 $52,990 L4T 2.0 182 353 A8 1693 6.0 8.8 95 $55,990 L4T 2.0 182 535 A8 1693 6.0 8.8 95 $48,990 V6TT 3.3 272 510 A8 1780 5.1 10.2 95 $55,990 V6TT 3.3 272 510 A8 1780 4.9 13.1 11.6 95 12/17 $59,990 V6TT 3.3 272 510 A8 1780 5.1 13.2 12.8 95 09/17

Rondo

S Si

Anonymous, but plenty to like

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

Stinger

200S 200Si GT-Line V6 330S V6 330Si V6 GT

More rhythm, less blues

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 48 F $19,990* L4 2.0 112 192 M6 1301 — — 7.1 91 47 F $22,290* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1280 — — 7.1 91 48 F $22,290* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1301 — — 7.1 91 47 F $24,790* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1309 — — 7.1 91 49 F $24,790* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1332 — — 7.1 91 49 F $28,990* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1309 — — 7.1 91 48 F $28,990* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1332 — — 7.1 91 49 F $32,490* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1309 — — 7.1 91 50 F $32,490* L4 2.0 112 192 A6 1332 — — 7.1 91 50 F

Optima

Si GT

Euro style, but doesn’t beat Euro rivals

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

Cerato

S sedan S hatch S sedan S hatch Sport sedan Sport hatch Si sedan Si hatch SLi sedan SLi hatch

F F

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

Soul

Si

Simplicity and value, plus fun

Styling; agility; dynamics; seven-year warranty; proper torque converter auto Weight gain for 2017 version harms fuel economy; cabin short on useful storage • 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 11.7 – 6.9 91 08/17

Rio

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 for sand; Rubicon for rocks $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

Small SUV, big price

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 $26,290 L4 1.6 81 152 M5 1295 — — 6.0 91 50 F $28,990 L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.9 91 50 02/16 F $32,390 L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.9 91 52 F $36,290 L4T 1.4 103 230 S6 1295 — — 5.9 91 52 02/16 F $40,290 L4 2.4 129 230 A9 1550 — — 7.5 91 52 02/16 A

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

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


Showroom Eng type

Price

Platinum Platinum CRDi

$58,790 $61,290

V6 L4TD

Sportage

Si Si Si Premium SLi SLi GT Line GT Line

A6 A6

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

2048 — 2092 —

— —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

11.6 7.7

91 D

Issue tested

61 61

Drive

F F

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 1559 — — 7.9 91 52 F $33,990 L4TD 2.0 136 400 A6 1590 — — 6.4 D 54 A $30,990 L4 2.0 114 192 A6 1559 — — 7.9 91 52 F $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

Sorento

Si Sport Si SLi SLi Sport GT Line

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

3.3 206 336 2.2 147 440

3yr/unlimited simplysportscars.com

KTM X-Bow

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

Lamborghini Huracan

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

S Roadster

Front up to the bull bar

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! $788,914 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 110 SE TD4 132 SE SD4 SE Si4 177 SE Si4 213 SE TD4 110 HSE TD4 132 HSE TD4 HSE Luxury SD4 HSE SD4 HSE Luxury

Styling; interior design, space, and flexibility; dynamics and traction; competitive prices Diesel engines now use JLR’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 $56,595 L4TD 2.0 110 400 A9 1775 10.3 — 6.1 D 61 02/16 A $60,290 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1785 8.9 — 5.3 D A $66,455 L4TD 2.0 140 420 A9 1775 8.9 — 6.1 D 61 A $60,255 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1744 8.2 — 8.0 95 61 02/16 A $70,858 L4T 2.0 213 400 A9 1884 6.7 — 8.2 95 A $61,495 L4TD 2.0 110 400 A9 1805 10.3 — 6.1 D 61 A $65,155 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1785 8.9 — 5.3 D A $71,195 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1896 8.9 — 6.3 D A $71,355 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A9 1896 7.5 — 6.4 D 61 A $77,955 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A9 1805 7.5 — 6.4 D 61 A

Range Rover Evoque Baby of the Range

TD4 110 Pure TD4 110 SE TD4 132 SE TD4 110 SE Dyna TD4 132 SE Dyna TD4 Landmark

Fantastic looks; premium cabin; lovely ride and refinement – it’s a proper Range Rover Compromised rear seat; pricey options; rear visibility; 110kW diesel down on torque • The Pick: TD4 132 SE – best-value spec teamed with the sweetest drivetrain of the range $56,050 L4TD 2.0 110 380 M6 1665 10.8 — 4.8 D 61 A $63,120 L4TD 2.0 110 380 A9 1674 10.0 — 5.1 D 61 A $67,551 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1674 9.0 — 5.1 D 61 03/16 A $65,415 L4TD 2.0 110 380 A9 1746 10 — 5.1 D A $69,846 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1746 9.0 2.0 5.1 D A $74,351 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1746 9.0 2.0 5.1 D A

L4T L4T L4TD L4TD L4TD L4TD L4TD L4TD L4T L4T

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

177 177 132 132 177 177 177 177 177 213

340 340 430 430 500 500 500 500 340 400

A9 A9 A9 A9 A9 A9 A9 A9 A9 A9

1752 1752 1674 1674 — — 1825 1825 1658 1883

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

7.3 7.3 9.0 9.0 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.3 7.6 6.3

— — — — — — — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

7.3 7.3 5.1 5.1 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.8 7.8 7.6

95 95 D D D D D D 95 95

BY

Issue tested

61 61 61

61 03/16

Drive

A A A A A A A A A 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 $85,203 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1936 8.6 — 8.6 D 60 $85,598 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A9 1967 10.3 — 5.7 D 61 $93,100 L4T 2.0 177 340 A9 1936 8.6 — 8.6 D 61 $93,450 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

D180 D180 R-Dynamic D180 S D180 R-Dynamic S D180 SE D180 R-Dynamic SE D180 HSE D180 R-Dyn. HSE D240 D240 R-Dynamic D240 S D240 R-Dynamic S D240 SE D240 R-Dynamic SE D240 HSE D240 R-Dyn. HSE D300 D300 R-Dynamic D300 S D300 R-Dynamic S D300 SE D300 R-Dynamic SE D300 HSE D300 R-Dyn. HSE D300 First Ed. P250 P250 R-Dynamic P250 S P250 R-Dynamic S P250 SE P250 R-Dynamic SE P250 HSE P250 R-Dyn. HSE P380 P380 R-Dynamic P380 S P380 R-Dynamic S P380 SE P380 R-Dynamic SE P380 HSE P380 R-Dyn. HSE P380 First Ed.

A A A A

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 $64,300 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D 61 $77,050 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D 61 $87,150 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D 61 $100,950 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 2174 10.5 – 6.2 D 61 $69,900 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D 61 $83,450 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D 61 $93,550 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D 61 $107,350 L4TTD 2.0 177 500 A8 2184 8.3 – 6.4 D 61 $76,611 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D 61 $90,161 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D 61 $100,261 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D 61 $114,061 V6TD 3.0 190 600 A8 2298 8.1 – 7.2 D 61

Velar

2yr/unlimited lamborghini.com.au

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 $378,900 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 $428,000 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

Si4 SE $68,788 Si4 SE Dynamic $71,083 TD4 132 HSE $75,344 TD4 132 HSE Dynamic $79,136 SD4 SE $72,351 SD4 SE Dynamic $74,646 SD4 HSE $81,574 SD4 HSE Dynamic $86,432 Si4 177 HSE Dyn. $82,781 Si4 213 HSE Dyn. $93,568

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 $42,990 V6 3.5 206 336 A6 1921 — — 10.0 91 54 F $44,990 V6 3.5 206 336 A6 1921 — — 10.0 91 54 F $45,490 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 — — 7.8 D 54 A $46,990 V6 3.5 206 336 A6 1921 — — 10.0 91 52 F $50,490 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 — — 7.8 D 53 A $48,490 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 9.5 16.8 7.8 D 54 09/15 A $58,990 L4TD 2.2 147 441 A6 2036 – – 7.8 D 54 A

Eng type

Price

POW E RE D

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

Sets new record for number of variants

More choice than you can shake a stick at; handsome, true Range Rover looks Meaningful performance versions with good kit getting on the expensive side • The Pick: D300 offers best balance of performance sub $100K $71,550 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $77,550 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $82,650 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $88,650 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $91,550 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $97,550 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $107,850 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $113,850 L4TD 2.0 132 430 A8 1829 8.9 – 5.4 D $80,950 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $86,950 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $92,050 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $98,050 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $100,950 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $106,950 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $117,250 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $123,250 L4TD 2.0 177 500 A8 1841 7.3 – 5.8 D $92,850 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $98,850 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $103,950 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $109,950 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $112,850 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $118,850 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $129,150 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $135,150 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $168,250 V6TD 3.0 221 700 A8 1959 6.5 – 6.4 D $70,950 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $76,950 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $82,050 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $88,050 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $90,950 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $96,950 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $107,250 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $113,250 L4T 2.0 184 365 A8 1804 6.7 – 7.6 95 $93,750 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $99,750 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $104,850 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $110,850 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $113,750 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $119,750 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $130,050 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $136,050 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95 $169,150 V6S 3.0 280 450 A8 1884 5.7 – 9.4 95

@wheelsaustralia 145

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


Range Rover Sport

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

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

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

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

LAND R O V ER – M A ZDA

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

TDV6 Vogue TDV6 Vogue LWB 3.0 SC Vogue SDV6 Hy Vogue SE SDV8 Vogue SDV8 Vogue SE SDV8 A’biography SDV8 A’biog LWB 4.4 SVA’biog LWB 5.0 A’biography 5.0 A’biog LWB 5.0 SVA’biography 5.0 SVA’biog LWB

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 $183,300 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2160 7.9 — 6.9 D 61 A $192,700 V6TTD 3.0 190 600 A8 2301 8.3 — 7.5 D 61 A $193,211 V6S 3.0 250 450 A8 2330 7.4 — 11.5 95 61 A $230,900 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.4 D A $204,011 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A $226,211 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 05/13 A $244,111 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2360 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A $255,811 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 — 7.2 — 8.7 D 61 A $347,611 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 — — — — D A $257,011 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2330 5.4 — 13.8 95 61 A $268,911 V8S 5.0 405 680 A8 2413 5.5 — 13.8 95 61 A $315,711 V8S 5.0 405 680 A8 2413 5.5 — 12.8 95 A $373,611 V8S 5.0 405 680 A8 2413 5.5 — 12.8 95 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

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 $40,900 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1465 10.3 — 4.1 95 51 06/11 $50,400 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1465 10.3 — 4.1 95 53 $56,900 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 $67,191 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 7.0 — 7.5 95 50 R 200t Sports Luxury $77,751 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 $65,101 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 — 5.9 — 9.7 95 51 R 350 F-Sport $73,251 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 — 6.6 14.6 9.7 95 51 09/13 R 350 Sports Luxury $83,871 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1685 5.9 — 9.7 95 51 R

RC

Price

500 500h

146 wheelsmag.com.au

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

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

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 $64,569 V6 3.5 204 346 A6 1630 7.4 — 9.5 95 51 F 350 Sports Luxury $72,361 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 $75,931 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 7.3 — 8.0 95 52 200t F-Sport $84,091 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 $95,311 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1740 6.3 — 9.7 95 46 350 Sports Luxury $107,041 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 $153,251 V8 5.0 351 530 A8 1865 4.9 13.1 11.3 95 52 06/16

LS

R R R R R R R R R

Smooth-sailing flagship

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 $185,691 V8 4.6 285 493 A8 2020 5.9 — 10.7 95 39 R 460 Sports Luxury $190,791 V8 4.6 285 493 A8 2080 5.9 — 10.7 95 52 R 600h F-Sport $213,741 V8H 5.0 290 520 A8 2340 5.7 — 8.6 95 41 R

NX

Goes better than it looks

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 300 Luxury $54,800 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1700 7.3 — 7.7 95 53 F 300h Luxury $57,300 L4H 2.5 147 210 C 1740 9.1 — 5.6 95 56 F 300 Luxury $59,300 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1755 7.1 — 7.9 95 56 A 300h Luxury $61,800 L4H 2.5 147 210 C 1800 9.1 — 5.7 95 56 A 300 F-Sport $60,800 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1755 7.1 — 7.9 95 57 F 300h F-Sport $63,300 L4H 2.5 147 210 C 1800 8.9 16.4 5.7 95 59 08/15 F 300 F-Sport $65,300 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1860 7.1 — 7.9 95 53 A 300h F-Sport $67,800 L4H 2.5 147 210 C 1895 9.1 — 5.7 95 56 A 300 Sports Luxury $73,800 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1860 7.1 — 7.9 95 53 A 300h Sports Luxury $76,300 L4H 2.5 147 210 C 1895 9.1 — 5.7 95 59 A

RX

Edge of the wedge

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 $74,251 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1890 9.2 — 8.1 95 61 03/16 F 200t F-Sport $86,551 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1890 9.2 — 8.1 95 61 F 200t Sports Luxury $92,701 L4T 2.0 175 350 A6 1890 9.2 — 8.1 95 61 F 350 Luxury $81,421 V6 3.5 221 370 A8 1980 8.0 — 9.6 95 61 A 350 F-Sport $93,721 V6 3.5 221 370 A8 1980 8.0 — 9.6 95 61 A 350 Sports Luxury $99,871 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

570

LandCruiser by Lexus

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 $142,741 V8 5.7 270 530 A8 2510 7.7 — 14.4 95 61 A

2yr/unlimited lotuscars.com.au

Lotus

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 $64,869 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1675 7.5 — 7.3 95 56 R 350 Luxury $68,101 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1680 6.1 — 9.4 95 56 R 200t F-Sport $73,891 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1700 7.5 — 7.3 95 56 R 350 F-Sport $76,951 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 — 6.1 — 9.4 95 56 02/16 R 200t Sports Luxury $84,601 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1725 7.5 — 7.3 95 56 R 350 Sports Luxury $87,991 V6 3.5 233 378 A8 1740 6.1 — 9.4 95 56 R F $137,951 V8 5.0 351 530 A8 1780 4.5 — 10.9 98 53 02/16 R F Carbon $158,548 V8 5.0 351 530 A8 1860 4.5 — 10.9 98 53 R

Eng type

LC

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 $130,011 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 SDV8 $147,011 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2398 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A HSE Dynamic SDV8 $153,311 V8TTD 4.4 250 740 A8 2398 6.9 — 8.7 D 61 A HSE Dynamic $168,811 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2310 5.3 — 13.8 95 61 A HSE Dynamic SDV6 $138,600 V6TTD 3.0 225 700 A8 — 7.2 — 7.0 D 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 V6TTDH 3.0 250 700 A8 — 6.7 — 6.4 D 61 A Autobiography Dyn. $196,511 V8S 5.0 375 625 A8 2310 5.3 — 13.8 95 61 A SVR $233,211 V8S 5.0 405 680 A8 2350 4.7 — 12.8 95 A

Range Rover

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

Elise

Sport 220

Exige

Sport Sport

Fast and fun, but wildly impractical

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, this is it. If you want peace and quiet, look elsewhere $84,990 L4S 1.8 163 250 M6 880 4.6 — 7.5 95 64 R

Race car for the road

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 $134,500 V6S 3.5 258 400 M6 1176 4.0 – 10.1 95 64 R $139,990 V6S 3.5 258 400 A6 1182 3.9 – 10.1 95 64 R


Showroom Eng type

Price

Sport Roadster Sport Roadster

$134,500 $139,990

V6S V6S

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

3.5 258 400 3.5 258 400

Evora

400 Coupe 400 Coupe IPS 410 Coupe 410 Coupe IPS

M6 1166 A6 1172

0-100 km/h

4.0 3.9

XUV500

GranSport GranLusso S S GranSport S GranLusso GTS GTS GranSport GTS GranLusso

It’s all about the price

Look out, Germany!

Luxo style at its finest

R R R R R R R R R R

Maserati finally heads off-road

The name says it all

2

Price

Neo sedan Maxx hatch Maxx hatch Maxx sedan Maxx sedan Genki hatch Genki hatch GT hatch GT hatch GT sedan GT sedan

$16,990 $17,690 $19,690 $17,690 $19,690 $20,690 $22,690 $21,680 $23,680 $21,680 $23,680

3

R R R

Open air Italian V8 symphony

3yr/unlimited mazda.com.au

6

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

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

L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4 L4

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5

— — — — — — — — — — —

79 81 81 81 81 81 81 81 81 81 81

139 141 141 141 141 141 141 141 141 141 141

A6 M6 A6 M6 A6 M6 A6 M6 A6 M6 A6

1059 1035 1047 1045 1060 1035 1047 1035 1047 1045 1060

0-400 metres

— — — — — — — — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

4.9 5.4 4.9 5.4 4.9 5.4 4.9 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.5

91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91 91

Issue tested

51 10/15 52 52 52 52 54 53 10/14 54 54 54 54

Neo Neo Maxx Maxx Maxx Diesel Maxx AWD

Drive

F F F F F F F F F F F

The popular choice

F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F

Style and (subdued) sports

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

Mazda makes them like they used to

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 $33,340 L4 1.5 96 150 M6 1009 8.3 — 6.1 95 64 09/15 R $35,340 L4 1.5 96 150 A6 1032 8.3 — 6.4 95 62 R $38,340 L4 1.5 96 150 M6 1009 8.3 — 6.1 95 65 R $40,340 L4 1.5 96 150 A6 1032 8.3 — 6.4 95 64 02/16 R $34,850 L4 2.0 118 200 M6 1033 7.3 — 6.9 95 64 02/16 R $36,850 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 $39,890 L4 2.0 118 200 M6 1033 7.3 — 6.9 95 65 09/15 R $41,890 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

CX-3

Underrated baby

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

Eng type

BY

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

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

Mazda

Neo hatch Neo hatch Neo sedan

F F A A

3yr/unlimited maserati.com.au

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

R R R R

Classy inside and out; smooth diesel; economical and refined Petrol engines not yet available in Oz; diesel doesn’t deliver Maserati levels of excitement • The Pick: We’d sit on our money until the V8 GTS arrived $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

R R

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

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 $234,990 V6TT 3.0 243 500 A8 1860 6.2 — 9.1 95 $239,990 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 $274,990 V6TT 3.0 301 550 A8 1860 5.1 — 95 $279,990 V6TT 3.0 301 550 A8 1860 5.1 — 95 $331,000 V8TT 3.8 390 650 A8 1900 4.7 — 10.7 98 49 $345,990 V8TT 3.8 390 650 A8 1900 4.7 — 10.7 98 $349,990 V8TT 3.8 390 650 A8 1900 4.7 — 10.7 98

Levante

Turbo Diesel Sport Luxury

Drive

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

Quattroporte

Turbo Diesel

95 64 95 64

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

Ghibli

S

10.1 10.1

Issue tested

Chassis smarts now with blown brawn

Maserati

Diesel

– –

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

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 $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

Mahindra

W8 W8 W8 AWD W8 AWD

0-400 metres

POW E RE D

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 $20,490 L4 2.0 109 192 M6 1193 — — 6.3 91 50 F $22,490 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1226 — — 6.1 91 50 F $22,890 L4 2.0 109 192 M6 1193 — — 6.3 91 52 02/16 F $24,890 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1226 — — 6.1 91 50 F $27,290 L4TD 1.5 77 270 A6 1262 — — 4.8 D 52 05/15 F $26,890 L4 2.0 109 192 A6 1294 — — 6.7 91 52 A

@wheelsaustralia 147


L4 L4 L4 L4TD L4 L4 L4 L4TD

CX-5

Maxx FWD Maxx FWD Maxx Maxx Sport FWD Maxx Sport Maxx Sport Touring Touring GT GT Akera Akera

109 109 109 77 109 109 109 77

192 192 192 270 192 192 192 270

M6 A6 A6 A6 M6 A6 A6 A6

6.3 6.1 6.7 5.1 6.3 8.3 6.7 5.1

91 91 91 D 91 91 91 D

52 52 54 52 54 52 54 54

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

When we drove it

— 16.4 — — — — — —

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

— 8.9 — — — — — —

1193 1226 1294 1356 1219 1252 1332 1368

Recommended octane rating

0-400 metres

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

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

Newton metres

Kilowatts

Litres

2.0 2.0 2.0 1.5 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.5

0-100 km/h

Issue tested

Drive

05/15 05/15 02/16

05/17 05/15 02/16

F F A A F F A A

New and improved family favourite

Driver appeal carries over; improved comfort, space, refinement, finish. We could go on Extra weight brings fuel consumption increases; clumsy auto transmission calibration • 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

CX-9

Sport FWD Sport AWD Touring FWD Touring AWD GT FWD GT AWD Azami FWD Azami AWD

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

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

sTouring $26,990 sTouring $28,990 sTouring AWD $30,990 sTouring AWD Diesel $33,390 Akari $31,490 Akari $33,490 Akari AWD $35,490 Akari AWD Diesel $37,890

Eng type

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

Price

L=in-line, V=vee, F=flat, R=rotary. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

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

MAZDA – M ERC EDES - B ENZ

NEW ARRIVALS

Our 2017 COTY winner

Smart looks and classy interior; driveability of 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 $43,890 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 1845 7.7 15.6 8.4 91 54 10/16 F $47,890 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 55 A $50,290 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.4 91 55 F $54,290 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 56 A $58,790 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.4 91 56 F $62,790 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 56 A $60,790 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.4 91 56 F $64,790 L4T 2.5 170 420 A6 — — — 8.8 91 56 A

3yr/unlimited cars.mclaren.com

McLaren 540C

R

Nails the baby supercar brief

Not as terrifyingly rapid as 720S; 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

720S

Coupe

Harder, faster, better, stronger

Huge performance almost in a league of its own; superb steering; cabin ergonomics Sound not as engaging as performance; laggy touchscreen; gimmicky drift control • The Pick: This, if you want to stand out from the Ferrari 488 GTB crowd $489,900 V8TT 4.0 537 770 S7 1419 2.9 – 10.7 98 R

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

A180 A200 A200d A250 Sport A45 AMG

GLA180 GLA220d GLA250 GLA45 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! $38,700 L4T 1.6 90 200 S7 1320 8.6 — 5.8 95 49 F $44,300 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1320 7.8 — 6.1 95 50 F $44,800 L4TD 2.1 100 300 S7 1410 8.8 — 4.0 D 50 F $55,200 L4T 2.0 160 350 S7 1380 6.3 — 6.7 95 51 A $78,611 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1480 4.2 — 6.9 98 53 1/16 A

GLA-Class

Price

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 90 200 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 $89,211 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1585 4.8 — 7.5 98 63

F F A A

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

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: C300 with optional Airmatic for practical types; either AMG for petrolheads $61,900 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1465 7.2 — 6.5 95 59 R $64,400 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1525 7.3 — 6.6 95 56 R $63,400 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A9 1570 7.5 — 4.7 D — R $65,900 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A9 1615 7.5 — 4.9 D — R $69,900 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1530 5.9 — 6.5 95 — R $72,400 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1615 6.1 — 6.7 95 — R $71,400 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A9 1595 6.6 — 4.7 D 60 R $73,900 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A9 1660 6.9 — 4.8 D 56 R $75,300 L4TDH 2.1 150 500 A7 1715 6.4 — 4.0 D 57 R $75,814 L4TH 2.0 205 600 A7 1780 5.9 — 2.4 95 60 R $78,400 L4TH 2.0 205 600 A7 1840 6.2 — 2.6 95 60 R $102,611 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1615 4.7 — 8.2 98 57 04/17 A $105,112 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1735 4.8 — 8.3 98 57 A $157,211 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1580 4.2 12.2 8.6 95 60 04/17 R $159,711 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1650 4.1 — 8.7 95 60 10/15 R

C-Class Coupe

C200 C250d C300 C43 AMG C63 S AMG

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 $42,700 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 $49,700 L4TD 2.1 100 300 S7 1505 9.8 — 4.2 D 51 06/12 F $56,300 L4T 2.0 155 350 S7 1505 6.7 — 6.8 95 51 A

C-Class

C200 C200 Estate C220d C220d Estate C300 C300 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

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 $52,900 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1430 7.9 — 5.6 95 59 CLA200 S-Brake $54,400 L4T 1.6 115 250 S7 1460 8.2 — 6.1 95 59 CLA220d $54,300 L4TD 2.1 130 350 S7 1525 7.7 — 4.2 D 59 CLA220d S-Brake $55,800 L4TD 2.1 130 350 S7 1555 7.8 — 4.4 D 59 CLA250 Sport $68,000 L4T 2.0 160 350 S7 1550 6.4 — 6.9 95 60 CLA250 Sport S-B $69,000 L4T 2.0 160 350 S7 1565 6.7 — 7.0 95 60 CLA45 AMG $92,611 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1585 4.2 — 7.4 98 60 CLA45 AMG S-Brake $92,611 L4T 2.0 280 475 S7 1615 4.3 — 7.4 98 60

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 S coupe is one of the truly great AMGs, but even the C200 is a sweetheart $66,400 L4T 2.0 135 300 A7 1505 7.7 — 6.0 95 57 R $75,400 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A9 1645 6.7 — 4.4 D 57 R $83,900 L4T 2.0 180 370 A7 1565 6.0 — 6.6 95 57 R $106,211 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1660 4.7 — 7.8 98 57 A $163,611 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1800 3.9 — 8.7 98 55 R

C-Class Cabriolet The first drop-top C-Class

C200 C300 C43 AMG C63 S AMG

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 $86,900 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1645 8.2 — 6.8 95 57 $100,611 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1690 6.4 — 7.2 95 57 $120,611 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1870 4.8 — 8.5 98 57 $181,611 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A7 1925 4.1 — 9.4 98 55

SLC

SLC180 SLC200 SLC300 SLC 43 AMG

E200 E220d E300 E350d E350e E400 E43 AMG 4Matic E63 E63 S

R R A R

SLK gets a name change

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 $71,500 L4T 1.6 115 250 A9 1428 8.1 — 6.2 95 R $84,500 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1509 6.9 — 6.2 95 R $100,900 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1512 5.8 — 6.3 95 R $135,900 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 1591 4.7 — 7.9 98 R

E-Class

Look mum, no hands

Cutting-edge tech; luxurious interior; oodles of standard kit; pleasing road manners Australia misses out on some of the fancy tech; mild wind noise; prices have gone up • The Pick: The E400 is a ripper; all-paw E43 even better. Ballistic E63 is ferociously fast $91,100 L4T 2.0 135 300 A9 1530 7.7 — 6.4 95 46 R $94,100 L4D 2.0 143 400 A9 1605 7.3 — 4.1 D 46 R $109,611 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 $139,611 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A9 1745 5.2 — 8.4 95 A $159,611 V6TT 3.0 295 520 A9 1765 4.6 — 8.4 98 A $209,611 V8TT 4.0 420 750 A9 1875 3.5 — 9.3 98 A $239,611 V8TT 4.0 450 850 A9 1880 3.3 11.3 15.9 98 07/17 A

E-Class Coupe

E220d

148 wheelsmag.com.au

Eng type

CLA-Class

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

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

Finally based on an E-Class

Spacious coupe cabin; beautiful interior and attention to detail; supple ride Weight dulls performance; lacks cornering sizzle; semi-autonomous tech overhyped • 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


Showroom Price

E300 E400 4Matic

$110,611 $145,611

Eng type

L4T V6TT

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.0 180 370 3.0 245 480

E-Class Cabrio E-Class Cabriolet

E300 E400

GT GT Roadster GT S GT C Edition 50 GT C Roadster GT R

R A

E-Class with go-anywhere guts

GLC220d GLC250 GLC250d GLC350d GLC43 AMG GLC63 S AMG

GLC220d GLC250 GLC250d GLC350d GLC43 AMG GLC63 S AMG

Sports luxury, maybe. Not light

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 $258,711 V8TT 4.0 350 630 S7 1540 4.0 — 9.4 98 R $283,711 V8TT 4.0 350 630 S7 — 4.0 — — 98 R $298,711 V8TT 4.0 384 670 S7 1570 3.8 — 9.4 98 67 09/15 R $335,211 V8TT 4.0 410 680 S7 — — — 98 R $338,711 V8TT 4.0 410 680 S7 1660 4.0 11.6 14.3 98 10/17 R $348,711 V8TT 4.0 430 700 S7 1555 3.6 — 11.4 98 R

GLE250d GLE350d GLE500e GLE43 AMG GLE63 S AMG

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

Million-dollar baby

It’s all about the look

New name, familiar body

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: GLE500e if you’re set up for easy recharging; 43AMG if you can’t be bothered $92,900 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A9 2075 8.6 — 6.0 D 63 A $108,900 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 2100 7.1 — 6.6 D 63 A $129,500 V6TH 3.0 325 650 A7 2465 5.3 — 3.3 98 63 A $134,411 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 — 5.7 — — 98 A $193,211 V8TT 5.5 430 760 A7 2270 4.2 — 11.8 98 61 A

GLE Coupe

GLE350d GLE43 AMG GLE63 S AMG

0-100 km/h

Exterior and interior styling; sharp dynamics; decent performance; comfortable Turbo-diesels are a bit gruff; compromised headroom, practicality, and vision • The Pick: Either of the 250s makes sense, or you could save dough with the regular GLC $78,500 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A9 1845 8.3 — 5.8 D 61 A $81,211 L4T 2.0 155 350 A9 1785 7.6 — 7.4 95 62 A $83,500 L4TD 2.1 150 500 A9 1845 7.6 — 5.8 D 61 A $99,900 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 — — — 6.3 D A $109,611 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 — 4.9 — — 98 A $171,900 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A9 — — — — 98 A

GLE-Class

Arguably the world’s best sedan

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

BY

Styling; outstanding interior; class-leading space; all-round ability on air suspension... ...which is optional but mandatory in our opinion; 250d not as sweet as lazier 220d • The Pick: Refined, relaxed nature of 220d makes it a winner, if you tick Air Body Control $67,500 L4TD 2.1 125 400 A9 1845 8.3 — 5.6 D 61 02/16 A $70,611 L4T 2.0 155 350 A9 1735 7.3 — 7.2 95 62 02/16 A $73,200 L4TD 2.2 150 500 A9 1845 7.6 — 5.7 D 61 02/16 A $89,900 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 — — — 6.3 D A $102,111 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 — 4.9 — — 98 A $164,900 V8TT 4.0 375 700 A9 — — — — 98 A

GLC Coupe

Credible four-door coupe

Two-door German powerhaus

Eng type

GLC-Class

E-Class’s lid lopped

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 $220,900 V6TT 3.0 270 500 A9 1735 4.9 — 7.8 95 51 R $280,900 V8TT 4.7 335 700 A9 1795 4.3 — 9.1 95 51 R $370,900 V8TT 5.5 430 900 A9 1845 4.1 — 10.2 98 51 R

AMG GT

Price

R A

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: Twin-turbo V8s promise better economy with still-brilliant performance $326,926 V8TT 4.7 335 700 A9 1955 4.6 — 8.6 95 64 02/16 R $414,426 V8TT 5.5 430 900 A7 1995 4.2 — 10.2 98 53 R $501,426 V12TT 6.0 463 1000 A7 2110 4.1 — 12.0 98 48 R

SL

SL400 SL500 SL63 AMG

95 95

Drive

New range of powerful but efficient engines; regal comfort; next-level autonomous tech New cruise control might irk traditional owners; finding a wide enough parking spot • The Pick: S350d has a sweet straight-six and exceptional ride comfort for under $200k $192,900 L6TD 3.0 210 600 A9 1970 6.8 — 5.5 D R $222,500 L6TD 3.0 250 700 A9 2025 5.4 — 5.5 D R $227,500 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 TBA 5.1 — 6.6 95 R $270,000 V8TT 4.0 345 700 A9 2055 4.7 — 8.5 98 R $295,000 V8TT 4.0 345 700 A9 2075 4.7 — 8.5 98 R $375,000 V8TT 4.0 450 900 A9 1970 4.3 — 9.0 98 R $425,000 V12TT 6.0 463 1000 A7 2360 4.7 — 12.7 98 R

S-Class Coupe

S500 S63 AMG S65 AMG

6.4 8.1

Issue tested

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: CLS400 has ample twin-turbo punch; but a new model is coming $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 $139,826 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A7 1815 5.3 — 7.8 95 46 R $170,826 V8TT 4.7 300 600 A9 1815 4.8 — 6.8 95 46 R $180,826 V8TT 4.7 300 600 A9 1815 4.9 — 8.9 95 46 R $250,826 V8TT 5.5 430 800 A7 1795 4.3 12.2 10.0 98 44 10/14 R

S-Class

S350d S400d L S450 L S560 S560 L S63 L AMG S650 L Maybach

— —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

All-wheel drive versatility; refined, comfortable package; typical Merc safety standard Just one variant for now, which could use a little more grunt; petrol version would suit Aus • The Pick: The wait for a second variant might be long but the initial diesel is an all-rounder $109,900 L4T 2.0 143 400 A9 1920 8.0 — 5.2 D — A

CLS

CLS 250d CLS 250d S-Brake CLS400 CLS500 CLS500 S-Brake CLS63 AMG S

1685 6.4 1845 5.3

0-400 metres

Airscarf and Aircap-equipped for top-down winter warmth; terrific top-up refinement No rip-snorting V8 in the line-up anymore; it’s a Benz for cruisers, not drivers • The Pick: As with the Coupe, the E400 is hard to go past if you like convertibles $123,500 L4T 2.0 180 370 A9 1780 6.6 — 6.8 95 53 $157,500 V6TT 3.0 245 480 A9 1935 5.5 — 8.3 95 53

E-Class All-Terrain

E220

A9 A9

0-100 km/h

POW E RE D

Merc’s answer to the X6

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 $125,211 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 2175 7.0 — 7.2 D 63 A $144,511 V6TT 3.0 270 520 A9 2145 5.7 — 9.4 95 61 A $201,911 V8TT 5.5 430 760 A7 2275 4.2 — 11.9 98 61 A

G-Class

Army truck for the road

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 G300 CDI Pro Wagon $109,900 V6TD 3.0 135 400 A5 — — — — D A G300 CDI Pro Cab $119,900 V6TD 3.0 135 400 A5 — — — — D A G350d $163,615 V6TD 3.0 155 540 A7 2300 9.1 — 11.2 D 50 A G63 AMG $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

S in the name the main change for GL

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 $117,661 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 2455 7.8 — 7.7 D 63 A $136,661 V6TD 3.0 190 620 A9 — — — 7.7 D 63 A $163,661 V8TT 4.7 320 700 A9 2445 5.3 — 11.5 95 63 A $219,661 V8TT 5.5 410 760 A7 2580 4.6 — 12.3 98 63 A

Valente

Budget big Benz

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

wheels ON FACEBOOK

Join the conversation at facebook/wheelsaustralia @wheelsaustralia 149

R


V-Class

V220d V250d

Cooper Cooper D Cooper S Cooper SD All4 JCW

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Mid-sizer returns years after failed start

Soft-roading mediocrity

Hatch

F F F A

3yr/unlimited mini.com.au Best New Mini ever

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 $27,400 L3T 1.5 100 220 M6 1085 7.9 — 4.7 95 48 06/14 F $29,750 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1115 7.8 — 4.9 95 48 F $32,700 L3TD 1.5 85 270 M6 1135 9.2 — 3.7 D 48 F $35,050 L3TD 1.5 85 270 A6 1150 9.2 — 3.9 D 48 F $38,700 L4T 2.0 141 280 M6 1160 6.8 — 5.9 95 50 06/14 F $41,350 L4T 2.0 141 280 A6 1175 6.7 — 5.5 95 50 F $48,100 L4T 2.0 170 320 M6 1205 6.3 — 6.7 95 61 F $50,650 L4T 2.0 170 320 A6 1220 6.1 — 5.7 95 61 F

5-door

Mini attempts a high-five

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 $28,600 L3T 1.5 100 220 M6 1145 8.2 — 4.7 95 48 F $30,950 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1175 9.1 16.5 4.8 95 48 03/16 F $33,800 L3TD 1.5 85 270 M6 1190 9.4 — 3.6 D 48 F $36,150 L3TD 1.5 85 270 A6 1205 9.5 — 3.8 D 50 F $39,800 L4T 2.0 141 280 M6 1220 6.9 — 5.9 95 50 F $42,450 L4T 2.0 141 280 A6 1240 6.8 — 5.4 95 50 F

ES ES LS

S S JCW

Clubman

Cooper Cooper S Cooper JCW

F F F F F

Mini at its best

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 $35,800 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1320 9.1 — 5.4 95 53 02/16 F $43,900 L4T 2.0 141 280 A8 1390 7.1 — 5.9 95 54 F $54,900 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 6.3 — 7.2 95 57 A

150 wheelsmag.com.au

5yr/100,000km mitsubishi-motors.com.au

Cheap, cheerless mini

F F F

Needs an update

F F F F F F F

Better (looking) with age

You got seven seats in that?

F F A F A A A A A A

From Challenger to challenging

Clever on-demand 4WD system; eight-speed transmission; rugged 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 $48,500 L4TD 2.5 133 430 A8 2060 — — 8.0 D 53 $53,000 L4TD 2.5 133 430 A8 2070 — — 8.0 D 53 03/16

Pajero

GLX GLS Exceed

Drive

A large-Mini paradox

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 GLS Exceed

Issue tested

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 $25,000 L4 2.0 110 197 M5 1335 — — 7.6 91 48 F $27,000 L4 2.0 110 197 C — — — 91 48 F $32,000 L4 2.0 110 197 C 1375 — — 7.4 91 46 F $32,500 L4TD 2.2 110 360 A6 — — — 5.8 D 46 09/13 A $37,500 L4TD 2.2 110 360 A6 1515 — — 5.8 D 48 09/13 A

Outlander

LS LS LS 4WD LS Safety Pack LS Safety 4WD LS Safety 4WD DiD Exceed 4WD Exceed 4WD DiD PHEV LS PHEV Exceed

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

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 $21,000 L4 2.0 110 197 C 1315 10.3 — 7.4 91 47 $23,500 L4 2.0 110 197 C 1355 10.5 — 7.4 91 48 $22,500 L4 2.4 125 226 M5 1370 — — 8.8 91 48 $24,000 L4 2.4 125 226 C 1400 — — 8.9 91 49 $22,500 L4 2.4 125 226 M5 1345 9.1 — 8.8 91 48 $24,000 L4 2.4 125 226 C 1375 9.8 — 8.5 91 49

ASX

LS LS XLS LS 4x4 XLS 4x4

0-400 metres

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 $14,250 L3 1.2 57 100 C 890 — — 4.6 91 41 $15,250 L3 1.2 57 100 C 890 — — 4.9 91 41

Lancer

ES Sport ES Sport LS sedan GSR Sportback GSR Sportback GSR sedan GSR sedan

0-100 km/h

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 $40,500 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 9.6 — 6.0 95 F $44,500 L4TD 2.0 110 330 A8 8.8 — 4.8 D F $47,200 L4T 2.0 141 280 A8 7.4 — 6.5 95 F $52,300 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 7.4 — 5.2 D A $57,900 L4T 2.0 170 350 A8 6.5 – 7.4 95 A

Mirage

Cooper Convertible Fun and functional drop-top 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 $38,900 L3T 1.5 100 220 M6 1205 8.8 — 5.1 95 62 $38,900 L3T 1.5 100 220 A6 1230 8.7 — 5.3 95 63 $46,500 L4T 2.0 141 280 M6 1275 7.2 — 6.2 95 64 $46,500 L4T 2.0 141 280 A6 1295 7.1 — 5.8 95 64 $55,700 L4T 2.0 170 320 A6 — 6.5 — 5.2 95 51

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Mitsubishi

Chinese, cheap, not so cheerful

Mini

Ray Ray Cooper Cooper Cooper D Cooper D Cooper S Cooper S

When we drove it

6yr/unlimited mgmotor.com.au

Umm ... decent cabin space, strong warranty, 162kW grunt from 2.0-litre turbo Poor cabin finish; lacklustre steering, savage ride, 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 1432 – – 7.4 91 56 $25,990 L4T 1.5 119 250 S7 1432 — — 7.4 91 56 $27,990 L4T 1.5 119 250 S7 1420 — — 7.4 91 56 $34,990 L4T 2.0 162 350 S6 1614 – – 9.6 91 57

Eng type

Countryman

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 — — 7.8 48 F $23,990 L4T 1.8 118 215 A6 1534 — — 7.8 48 F $25,990 L4T 1.8 118 215 A6 1534 — — 7.8 49 F

GS

Ray Ray Cooper Cooper Cooper D Cooper D Cooper S Cooper S JCW JCW

Price

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 that do a better job at this end of the market $13,990 L4 1.5 78 137 M5 1103 — — 5.8 48 F $14,990 L4 1.5 78 137 M5 1103 — — 5.8 48 F $15,990 L4 1.5 78 137 M5 1103 — — 5.8 49 F

MG6 Plus

Vivid Core Soul Essence

Drive

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 V250d with Jeeves in the hot seat $74,990 L4TD 2.1 120 380 A7 2145 — — 6.3 D R $87,155 L4TD 2.1 140 440 A7 2145 9.1 — 6.3 D 53 R

MG3

Core Soul Essence

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

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

New name, new cabin, new engine

MG

Core Soul Essence

Issue tested

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

0-400 metres

Recommended octane rating

0-100 km/h

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

Kilograms

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

Newton metres

Kilowatts

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

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

MERCED ES - B ENZ – PEU GEO T

NEW ARRIVALS

A A A

Mitsu’s staple family workhorse

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 Sorento or CX-9 $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

Morgan 3 Wheeler

2yr/100,000km morgancars.com.au

As weird as it gets

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


Showroom Price

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Aero 8

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

One for the road

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

Classic

R4/4 Plus 4 Roadster Plus 8 Plus 8

A synonym for ’old-gen’

Fabulously raw and lightweight roadsters; relatively affordable Forget about cabin ergonomics or ride quality; definitely not practical • The Pick: It has to be the Plus8 if you really want to carry off the inbred eccentric look $89,900 L4 1.6 82 131 M6 868 8.0 — 6.3 95 67 $103,500 L4 2.0 115 201 M6 877 7.5 — 7.0 95 61 $139,775 V6 3.7 209 352 M6 950 5.5 — 9.8 95 67 $225,000 V8 4.8 270 490 M6 1100 4.5 — 12.1 95 50 $225,000 V8 4.8 270 490 A6 1100 4.5 — 12.1 95 50

R R R R R

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

Nissan Leaf

Price

ST 2WD ST 4WD ST Hybrid 2WD ST-L 2WD ST-L 4WD ST-L Hybrid 4WD Ti 2WD Ti 4WD Ti Hybrid 4WD

Nismo Nismo

Ti Ti-L

Juke

ST ST Ti-S Ti-S

ST ST ST 7-seat ST 4WD TS 4WD ST-L ST-L 7-seat ST-L 4WD Ti 4WD TL 4WD

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

Issue tested

208

Active Allure GT-Line GTi

Pretty, well-priced

Return to French form

Terrific three-pot; supple ride; adjustable handling; great packaging; commendably light Outshone by slick 3008 sibling; instrument location • The Pick: Go for the mid-spec Allure and gain AEB as standard $26,490 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1188 11.3 — 4.8 95 F $30,990 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1188 11.3 — 4.8 95 F $32,990 L3T 1.2 81 205 A6 1188 11.3 — 4.8 95 F

TIME FOR T Because 36 models aren’t enough, Porsche has introduced yet another 911 variant, this one based on the Carrera. The new 911 T is a driver-focused newcomer at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Priced from $238,400, the T is the second-cheapest option in the line-up but boosts driving

enjoyment with a number of weight-reduction features that save 20kg. A limitedslip diff, close-ratio manual gearbox, lowered suspension and sports interior enhance the driving experience, while Porsche Communication Management and real door handles have gone in the bin in favour of pull loops.

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 – $38,090 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1534 — — 8.1 91 – $38,590 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1549 – – 8.3 91 – $44,290 L4 2.5 126 226 C 1562 — — 8.3 91 – $47,290 L4TD 2.0 130 380 C 1664 — — 6.1 D –

A A

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: Base Active makes a value case; stretch to GT-Line if you need its extra kit $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

Active Allure GT Line

Drive

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

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 2.7 — 11.7 98 03/17 A

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

My dear, how you’ve blossomed

Peugeot

Feels old but in a good way

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 $60,990 V6 3.7 245 363 M6 1608 — — 11.2 95 64 01/10 R $63,490 V6 3.7 245 363 A7 1618 — — 11.2 95 64 R

0-400 metres

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? $71,990 V8 5.6 298 560 A7 2800 — — 14.5 95 58 $88,990 V8 5.6 298 560 A7 2829 — — 14.5 95 58

370Z Roadster Plus-sized model with GSOH

Premium Premium Luxury Track Edition Nismo

0-100 km/h

Plays on new tech; chassis tune

Driveaway electric

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 $49,990 V6 3.7 245 363 M6 1471 5.6 13.8 10.5 95 51 06/09 R $52,490 V6 3.7 245 363 A7 1485 5.7 13.8 10.5 95 52 12/09 R $61,490 V6 3.7 253 374 M6 1480 — — 10.6 95 — R $63,990 V6 3.7 253 374 A7 1490 — — 10.4 95 — R

GT-R

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

BY

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

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 – but wait till late 2018 for the all new one with 400km range $39,990 E 80 280 A1 1525 11.9 — — 45 09/11 F

370Z

Eng type

Pathfinder

POW E RE D

F F F A A F F A A A

@wheelsaustralia 151


308

Active Allure Allure HDi Allure Touring HDi GTi

When we drove it

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

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

Litres

Drive

Classy, Gallic CX-5 alternative

Mid-size for non-conformists

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 $29,990 L4 2.0 110 197 M5 — — — 7.7 95 54 F

718 Cayman

3yr/unlimited porsche.com.au

Cayman goes all sensible

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 $115,300 F4T 2.0 220 380 M6 1335 5.1 — 7.4 98 57 R $117,160 F4T 2.0 220 380 S7 1365 4.9 — 6.9 98 57 R $145,500 F4T 2.5 257 420 M6 1355 4.6 — 8.1 98 57 R $150,490 F4T 2.5 257 420 S7 1385 4.3 12.4 10.6 98 57 05/17 R

718 Boxster

S S

Issue tested

Best Pug this century

Porsche

S S

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Price and equipment; roomy, quality interior; GT’s punch and capable dynamics Ride quality not quite up to snuff; replacement due in not-too distant future • 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

0-400 metres

Now a genuine SUV built on excellent 308 underpinnings; cabin flair; agility; equipment Ride could be calmer; small 53L tank; AEB not standard; no AWD option • The Pick: Sweet-handling charmer with Allure striking 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

0-100 km/h

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 $26,990 L3T 1.2 96 230 A6 1150 8.9 — 5.1 95 52 01/17 F $31,990 L3T 1.2 96 230 A6 — 95 F $35,990 L4TD 2.0 110 370 A6 1310 8.6 — 4.1 D 53 F $37,990 L4TD 2.0 110 370 A6 1420 8.9 — 4.2 D 53 F $45,990 L4T 1.6 200 330 M6 1205 6.0 — 6.0 95 55 F

3008

Active Allure GT-Line GT

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

New models for the month highlighted

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

PEUGEO T – S KO DA

NEW ARRIVALS

Eng type

Price

Targa 4S Targa 4S Targa 4 GTS Targa 4 GTS GT3 GT3 Turbo Turbo S Turbo Cabriolet Turbo S Cabriolet

$293,600 $299,550 $320,100 $327,490 $326,800 $326,800 $390,000 $461,600 $411,500 $483,100

F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT F6 F6 F6TT F6TT F6TT F6TT

Panamera

4 4 E-Hybrid 4S 4S Diesel Turbo Turbo S E-Hybrid

S S Diesel S E-Hybrid GTS Turbo Turbo S

0-400 metres

4.4 4.2 4.1 3.4 3.9 3.4 3.0 2.9 3.1 3.0

— — — 11.4 — — — — — —

500 500 550 550 460 460 710 750 710 750

M7 S7 M7 S7 M6 S7 S7 S7 S7 S7

1580 1600 1585 1605 1488 1505 1595 1600 1665 1670

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

9.0 8.0 9.7 8.7 12.9 12.7 9.1 9.1 9.3 9.3

98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98

Issue tested

Drive

57 57 10/17

57 57 57 57 04/17

Atones for the sins of the original

Porsche’s most popular model

Now larger, lighter and less ugly

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 $110,100 V6 3.6 220 400 A8 2040 7.6 — 9.2 95 63 A $144,500 V6TT 3.6 309 550 A8 2085 5.4 — 9.5 95 63 01/15 A $150,300 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 $157,700 V6TT 3.6 324 600 A8 2110 5.1 — 9.8 98 63 A $237,500 V8TT 4.8 382 750 A8 2185 4.4 — 11.2 98 63 A $289,900 V8TT 4.8 419 800 A8 2235 4.1 — 11.5 98 63 A

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 $220,900 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1430 4.6 — 8.3 98 67 R Carrera $226,850 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1450 4.4 — 7.4 98 67 R Carrera S $256,000 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1440 4.3 — 8.7 98 67 R Carrera S $261,950 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1460 4.1 — 7.7 98 67 R Carrera GTS $282,400 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1450 4.1 — 9.4 98 R Carrera GTS $289,790 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1470 3.7 — 8.3 98 R Carrera Cabriolet $242,400 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1500 4.8 — 8.5 98 67 R Carrera Cabriolet $248,350 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1520 4.6 — 7.5 98 67 R Carrera S Cabriolet $277,500 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1510 4.5 — 8.8 98 67 R Carrera S Cabriolet $283,450 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1530 4.3 — 7.8 98 67 R Carrera GTS Cab $303,900 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1520 4.2 — 9.4 98 R Carrera GTS Cab $311,290 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1540 3.8 — 8.4 98 R Carrera 4 $237,000 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1480 4.5 — 8.7 98 57 A Carrera 4 $242,950 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1500 4.3 — 7.7 98 57 A Carrera 4S $272,100 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1490 4.2 — 8.9 98 57 A Carrera 4S $278,050 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1510 4.0 — 7.9 98 57 A Carrera 4 GTS $298,600 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1495 4.0 — 9.5 98 A Carrera 4 GTS $305,990 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1515 3.6 — 8.5 98 A Carrera 4 Cabriolet $258,500 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1550 4.7 — 8.9 98 57 A Carrera 4 Cabriolet $264,450 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1570 4.5 — 7.9 98 57 A Carrera 4S Cabriolet $293,600 F6TT 3.0 309 500 M7 1560 4.4 — 9.0 98 57 A Carrera 4S Cabriolet $299,550 F6TT 3.0 309 500 S7 1580 4.2 — 8.0 98 57 A Carrera 4 GTS Cab $320,100 F6TT 3.0 331 550 M7 1565 4.1 — 9.7 98 A Carrera 4 GTS Cab $327,490 F6TT 3.0 331 550 S7 1585 3.7 — 8.7 98 A Targa 4 $258,500 F6TT 3.0 272 450 M7 1570 4.7 — 8.9 98 57 A Targa 4 $264,450 F6TT 3.0 272 450 S7 1590 4.5 — 7.9 98 57 A

152 wheelsmag.com.au

A A A A R R A A A A

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 $80,110 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 $95,900 V6TT 3.0 250 460 S7 1865 5.4 — 9.0 98 63 A $113,700 V6TT 3.0 265 500 S7 1895 5.0 — 9.2 98 A $133,500 V6TT 3.6 294 550 S7 1925 4.8 — 9.2 98 63 A

Cayenne

Diesel

0-100 km/h

309 309 331 331 368 368 397 427 397 427

Fab interior; improved design; powerful engines, even in the Hybrid; ride and handling Price; sheer bulk; scratchy brakes; 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 $214,800 V6T 3.0 243 450 S8 1815 5.5 — 7.6 98 57 R $225,200 V6T 3.0 243 450 S8 1850 5.3 — 7.8 98 57 A $248,500 V6TTH 2.9 340 700 S8 2170 4.6 — 2.5 98 57 A $310,500 V6TT 2.9 324 550 S8 1870 4.2 — 8.2 98 57 A $318,600 V8TTD 4.0 310 850 S8 2050 4.3 — 6.8 D 57 A $384,500 V8TT 4.0 404 770 S8 1995 3.6 — 9.4 98 57 A $460,100 V8TTH 4.0 500 850 S8 2310 3.4 — 2.9 98 57 A

Macan

S Diesel S GTS Turbo

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8

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 $118,100 F4T 2.0 220 380 M6 1335 5.1 — 7.4 98 61 $119,960 F4T 2.0 220 380 S7 1365 4.9 — 6.9 98 61 $148,300 F4T 2.5 257 420 M6 1355 4.6 — 8.1 98 61 $153,290 F4T 2.5 257 420 S7 1385 4.4 — 7.3 98 61 06/16

911

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

GT-yes, but not yet

True to Porsche’s typical model lifecycle, the Boxster and Cayman twins will soon be available as new w GTS performance flagships. Until March next year, the 257kW Boxster S and Cayman S remain the most potent versions, but the arrival of the new brace of bristling

variants will bring an even more highly strung version of the t turbocharged flat-four fla engine, with 269kW. Pricing will start st at $173,100 for the Cayman or $175,900 for its soft-topped sibling, and both add a dusting of GTS goodness including extra kit and sinister satin black touches.


Showroom Proton Price

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Preve

GX GX GXR

0-400 metres

Issue tested

Drive

F F

Australia’s most affordable 7-seater

5yr/unlimited renault.com.au Fashionable and fun, especially the RS

Targeting the mainstream

Life hatch Life hatch Zen hatch Zen sedan Zen wagon Intens sedan GT-Line hatch GT-Line wagon GT hatch GT wagon

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 $22,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 M5 — — — 5.5 95 F $24,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 — — — 5.6 95 F $28,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1265 9.5 — 5.6 95 52 01/17 F $29,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1321 — — 6.1 95 50 F $30,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1337 — — 6.2 95 50 F $35,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1321 — — 6.1 95 50 F $34,990 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1265 10.3 — 5.6 95 53 F $36,490 L4T 1.2 97 205 S7 1337 — — 5.6 95 51 F $40,990 L4T 1.6 151 280 S7 1392 7.1 — 6.0 95 54 F $42,490 L4T 1.6 151 280 S7 1430 — — 6.0 95 51 F

Latitude La Lat L attiit a itu ttu ud de e

Captur

Zen Zen Intens

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 $23,990* L3T 0.9 66 135 M5 1134 13.0 — 4.9 95 48 F $26,990* L4T 1.2 88 190 S6 1215 10.9 — 5.4 95 51 F $30,990* 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 Diesel

Très chic

Nissan genes in French skin

Solid value courtesy of sharp pricing; interior presentation; diesel adds choice Ancient atmo drivetrain; slow steering; lacks body control • 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 $46,990 L4TD 2.0 130 380 C — — — 6.1 D 52

Rolls-Royce Ghost

Black Badge EWB

F F A A A

4yr/unlimited rolls-roycemotorcars.com

’Baby’ of the range Rolls on

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

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

BY

Issue tested

Drive

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

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

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 Life 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 $22,990 L4T 1.2 88 190 S6 1104 9.4 — 5.2 95 49 F $22,990 L4T 1.2 88 190 S6 1120 9.4 — 5.2 95 49 F $30,990 L4T 1.6 147 240 S6 1218 6.7 14.9 6.3 95 51 F $32,490 L4T 1.6 147 240 S6 1218 6.7 14.9 6.3 95 51 F $42,990 L4T 1.6 162 260 S6 1270 6.6 — 5.9 95 51 F

Megane

Black Badge

S is for sport, we’re told

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

Clio

Eng type

Wraith

Last shot at success

Renault

Life Life Zen Intens GT-Line RS200 Sport RS200 Cup RS220 Trophy

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

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

GX GXR

0-100 km/h

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

Price

5yr/150,000km proton.com.au

POW E RE D

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

5yr/unlimited skoda.com.au

Škoda Fabia

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 70TSI 70TSI $16,890 L3T 1.0 70 160 M5 1043 10.6 — 4.5 95 F 70TSI wagon $18,040 L3T 1.0 70 160 M5 1107 10.8 — 4.5 95 F 81TSI $19,890 L3T 1.0 81 200 S7 1097 9.8 — 4.7 95 F 81TSI wagon $21,040 L3T 1.0 81 200 S7 1161 9.9 — 4.7 95 F 81TSI Monte Carlo $23,990 L3T 1.0 81 200 S7 1097 9.8 — 4.7 95 F 81TSI M’ Carlo wgn $25,140 L3T 1.0 81 200 S7 1087 9.4 — 4.7 95 F

Rapid Spaceback Space, the family frontier

92TSI

Brilliantly packaged Polo platform; gutsy turbo four Dark and dull interior reflects its budget status; not a handling hero; old-gen VW tech • The Pick: Rationalised range reduced to just one $23,990 L4T 1.4 92 200 S7 1210 9.4 — 6.0 95 41 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

F F A

Unbeatable space for your dollar

Spacious interior; enormous luggage capacity; eager and efficient engines; great value Only upper-spec models get multi-link IRS; restless ride of torsion-beam lesser models • The Pick: Definitely the Golf GTI’s girthy, value-packed sister, the RS, in vast wagon form 110 TSI $23,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1219 8.1 — 5.4 95 40 F 110 TSI $25,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1234 8.2 — 5.2 95 41 F 110 TSI wagon $24,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 M6 1251 8.2 — 5.5 95 41 F 110 TSI wagon $27,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1266 8.3 — 5.2 95 42 F Sport 110 TSI $29,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1234 8.2 — 5.2 95 44 F Sport 110 TSI wagon $31,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1266 8.3 — 5.2 95 45 F RS 169 TSI $38,890 L4T 2.0 169 350 M6 1397 6.7 — 6.4 98 44 F RS 169 TSI $41,390 L4T 2.0 169 350 S6 1417 6.8 — 6.6 98 44 F RS 169 TSI wagon $40,390 L4T 2.0 169 350 M6 1438 6.8 — 6.4 98 45 F RS 169 TSI wagon $42,890 L4T 2.0 169 350 S6 1458 7.0 — 6.6 98 45 F RS 135 TDI $42,490 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S6 1462 8.2 — 5.2 D 45 F RS 135 TDI wagon $43,990 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S6 1503 8.3 — 5.3 D 46 F RS 245 $43,390 L4T 2.0 180 370 M6 — 6.6 — 6.6 98 F RS 245 wagon $44,890 L4T 2.0 180 370 S7 — 6.6 — 6.4 98 F RS 245 $45,890 L4T 2.0 180 370 M6 — 6.6 — 6.6 98 F RS245 wagon $47,390 L4T 2.0 180 370 S7 — 6.6 — 6.4 98 F

Superb

Suave and quirky

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

@wheelsaustralia 153


Kodiaq

132TSI 4x4 140TDI 4x4

When we drove it

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Issue tested

Drive

Value; space; refinement; primary ride; handling; ‘surprise and delight’ Low-speed ride niggles on 19s; no manual shift paddles • The Pick: The loaded 132TSI offers a stack of ability for not a lot of moolah $42,990 L4T 2.0 132 320 S7 1677 8.2 — 7.6 95 54 07/17 $48,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1761 8.6 — 5.9 D 55

Korando

Impreza

XV

A rough-and-ready 4x4

2.5i 2.5i Premium 3.6R Premium

2.5i 2.5i Premium 2.0D 2.0D

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

— 5.7 17.0 6.3 — 9.9

Issue tested

D 55 D 56 07/15 95 56 02/15

Drive

A A A

The softer side to a WRX

Brilliantly engineered by Subaru

2.0i-L 2.5i-L 2.5i-S 2.0D-L 2.0D-L 2.0D-S 2.0D-S XT XT Premium

Subtly satisfying

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 $39,740 F4TD 2.0 108 350 M6 1588 10.2 — 5.9 D 55 A $42,740 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

Impreza in active wear

Baleno

GL GL GLX Turbo

Turbo Turbo Prestige

New-generation icon

Ugly no longer

Classy SUV alternative

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

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 $16,990 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

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 $22,990 L3T 1.0 82 160 A6 — — — 5.2 91 46 F

S-Cross A A A A

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

Suzuki Swift

Impreza now impressive again

154 wheelsmag.com.au

0-400 metres

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: If you’re buying something this late in its product cycle, go for the cheap one $35,990 F4T 1.6 125 250 C 1579 8.9 — 7.4 95 A $42,890 F4T 1.6 125 250 C 1620 8.9 — 7.4 95 A $49,140 F4T 2.0 197 350 C 1622 6.6 — 8.7 95 A $51,990 F4T 2.0 197 350 C 1631 6.6 — 8.7 95 A

Forester

3yr/unlimited subaru.com.au

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 $30,240 F4 2.5 129 235 C 1542 9.6 — 7.3 91 55 03/15 A $36,240 F4 2.5 129 235 C 1568 9.2 16.7 7.3 91 57 09/16 A $42,740 F6 3.6 191 350 C 1645 7.3 15.3 9.9 91 57 02/15 A

Outback

0-100 km/h

M6 1668 9.7 C 1723 9.9 C 1702 7.6

A

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 $55,640 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

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

2.0 110 350 2.0 110 350 3.6 191 350

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 $32,990 F4 2.0 147 205 M6 1256 7.8 — 9.0 98 61 05/17 R $34,990 F4 2.0 147 205 A6 1286 8.2 15.5 7.1 98 62 R

Frankenstein with lipstick

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 —

WRX

Eng type

F4TD F4TD F6

BRZ

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: 2.0i-S with torque vectoring is a lot of car for the money, or be happy in a 2.0i-L 2.0i sedan $22,400 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1386 10.1 — 6.6 91 — — A 2.0i hatch $22,600 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1399 10.1 — 6.6 91 — — A 2.0i-L sedan $24,490 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1409 10.1 — 6.6 91 — — A 2.0i-L hatch $24,690 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1417 10.1 — 6.6 91 — — A 2.0i Premium sedan $26,290 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1409 10.1 — 6.6 91 — — A 2.0i Premium hatch $26,490 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1417 10.1 — 6.6 91 — — A 2.0i-S sedan $28,990 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1433 10.1 — 7.2 91 — — A 2.0i-S hatch $29,190 F4 2.0 115 196 C 1438 10.1 — 7.2 91 — — A

Premium Premium STi STi Premium STI spec. R

1.6 GT 1.6 GT Premium 2.0 GT-S 2.0 STI Sport

It actually stands for ’Korea can do’

Subaru

$42,240 $45,240 $48,740

Levorg A A

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

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

2.0i 2.0i-L 2.0i Premium 2.0i-S

Price

2.0D Premium 2.0D Premium 3.6R Premium

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

Get new car advice from the experts. whichcar.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 $21,990 L4 2.0 110 197 A6 1599 — — 7.9 91 44 F $27,990 L4 2.0 110 197 A6 1599 — — 7.9 91 44 F $32,990 L4TD 2.0 129 360 A6 1747 — — 7.5 D 44 A

Stavic

S S SPR

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Tiguan’s engorged cousin

Ssangyong

S SX SX AWD

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. Number of cyls or rotors. 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

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 $21,990 L4 1.3 63 110 M5 1060 — — 7.1 91 46 A $23,990 L4 1.3 63 110 A4 1075 — — 7.4 91 46 A

Ignis

GL GL GLX

Vitara

RT-S RT-S S-Turbo S-Turbo AWD RT-X Diesel AWD

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

Iconic nameplate returns

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 $22,990 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 $29,990 L4T 1.4 103 220 A6 1160 — — 5.9 95 50 $34,990 L4T 1.4 103 220 A6 1235 — — 6.2 95 52 $35,990 L4TD 1.6 88 320 S6 1325 — — 4.9 D 52

F F F A A


Showroom Tesla Price

Eng type

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

Model S

75 75D 100D P100D

0-100 km/h

Issue tested

Drive

Model S tech in an SUV body

Off-the-line performance; clever interior with 5, 6 or 7 seats; futuristic design Gimmicky doors; yawning panel gaps; prices add up with options • The Pick: P100D makes a high-performance statement $119,000 E — 241 525 A1 — 6.2 — 0.0 — $142,900 E — A1 — 5.0 — 0.0 — $203,600 E — 310 830 A1 — 3.1 — 0.0 —

Yaris

3yr/100,000km toyota.com.au X-factor on face value

SAFER PRADO

A mild update has brought a selection of new safety gear to Toyota’s consistently popular Landcruiser Prado, accompanied by some pricing reductions and a subtle facelift. The entry GX manual is now $600 more affordable at $53,490 despite gaining navigation and greater connectivity applications. All versions now benefit from autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, lane departure warning and auto highbeam headlights. The suggestively named Kakadu range-topper is now $1121 cheaper at $84,490.

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

BY

Issue tested

Drive

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

Altise Altise Atara S Atara S Atara SX Atara SL Atara SL

i-Tech

The legendary family bus

More than the look

Bold design; capable chassis; well specified; generous active safety gear standard Supply issues; engine could use more pep; claustrophobic rear; 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 GX

Superb, and not just for a Toyota

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 $65,311 V6 3.5 202 340 A6 1930 — — 10.3 95 54 F

C-HR

Koba Koba

Still a Camry with extra pots

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

F F

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

Avensis Verso painted green

Voracious breeders will love the wallet-saving hybrid tech, and the extra seats Youll forfeit any driving 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 $45,380 L4H 1.8 100 142 C 1565 — — 4.4 95 57

Aurion

AT-X Sportivo Presara

Finally, a nice driving Prius!

Frugal hybrid drivetrain; classy interior; newfound maturity in 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

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 $30,490 L4H 2.5 151 270 C 1575 7.9 15.7 5.2 91 44 07/15 F $30,190 L4 2.5 135 235 A6 1460 — — 7.8 91 44 F $33,190 L4H 2.5 151 270 C 1575 — — 5.2 91 47 F $33,490 L4 2.5 135 235 A6 1460 8.8 16.4 7.8 91 44 07/15 F $37,440 L4 2.5 135 235 A6 1460 — — 7.8 91 45 F $40,440 L4H 2.5 151 270 C 1575 8.0 15.8 5.2 91 45 09/16 F

Prius hatch

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 Urban+ 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

Eng type

Corolla

A A A

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 $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

Prius C

i-Tech

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Space-age electric celebrity

Toyota

Ascent Ascent SX SX ZR

0-400 metres

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 $105,150 E — 235 440 A1 — 5.8 — 0 — 55 R $112,050 E — 245 525 A1 — 5.4 — 0 — 55 A $139,500 E — 311 660 A1 — 4.4 — 0 — 54 A $196,200 E — — — A1 — 2.7 — 0 — A

Model X

75D 100D P100D

Price

8yr/unlimited teslamotors.com/en_AU

POW E RE D

F F A F A

Is bigger really better?

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, Escape or Forester, though the roomy RAV4 has its appeal $29,450 L4 2.0 107 187 M6 1465 — — 7.7 91 52 $31,490 L4 2.0 107 187 C 1500 — — 7.0 91 52 $35,490 L4 2.0 107 187 C 1510 — — 7.0 91 54 $34,490 L4 2.5 132 233 A6 1590 — — 8.5 91 54

@wheelsaustralia 155

F F F A


$39,060 $41,100 $38,490 $45,125 $44,490 $50,500

L4TD L4TD L4 L4TD L4 L4TD

Kluger

M6 A6 A6 A6 A6 A6

1620 1630 1590 1630 1600 1635

5.7 6.7 10.4 6.7 8.5 6.7

D D 91 D 91 D

F= Front drive, R=Rear drive, A=All-wheel drive

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

When we drove it

Glass's predicted resale rating, retained after 3 years

— — 18.2 — — —

340 340 233 340 233 340

Recommended octane rating

— — 11.5 — — —

110 110 132 110 132 110

Fuel consumption in Litres/100km

2.2 2.2 2.5 2.2 2.5 2.2

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)

GX GX GXL GXL Cruiser Cruiser

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

Eng type

Price

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. Number of cyls or rotors. T= turbo, S= s'charged, D=diesel, H=hybrid

TOYOTA – V O LV O

NEW ARRIVALS

Issue tested

Drive

54 55 54 06/17 55 56 56

A A A A A A

Tougher looks, better manners

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 3.5 218 350 A8 1980 8.3 — 9.1 91 54 F $47,550 V6 3.5 218 350 A8 2045 7.8 — 9.5 91 55 A $53,550 V6 3.5 218 350 A8 1980 8.3 — 9.1 91 55 F $57,550 V6 3.5 218 350 A8 2045 8.7 — 9.5 91 56 A $65,646 V6 3.5 218 350 A8 2025 8.3 — 9.3 91 56 F $69,617 V6 3.5 218 350 A8 2100 7.9 — 9.5 91 57 A

GX GX GXL GXL Grande Grande

Fortuner

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 $49,990 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 2110 — — 8.6 D 60 A $52,990 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2110 — — 7.8 D 61 A $54,990 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 2110 — — 8.6 D 60 A $59,990 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2135 — — 7.8 D 62 A $61,990 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 2135 — — 8.6 D 61 A

GX GX GXL GXL Crusader Crusader

Prado

Seven-seater 4WD with real off-road ability

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 $53,490 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2150 — — 8.8 D 61 A $56,490 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 — — — 8.8 D 61 A $59,990 L4TD 2.8 130 420 M6 2290 — — 8.8 D 61 A $62,990 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 — — — 8.8 D 59 A $73,990 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 — — — 8.8 D 61 A $84,490 L4TD 2.8 130 450 A6 2435 — — 8.8 D 61 A

GX GX GXL GXL VX Kakadu

LandCruiser 70 Hopeless on-road, brilliant off-road 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! $60,990 V8TD 4.5 151 430 M5 2295 — — 10.7 D 58 A $64,990 V8TD 4.5 151 430 M5 2295 — — 10.7 D 69 A

WorkMate GXL

LandCruiser

Eng type

Price

110TSI Trendline 110TSI Trendline 110TSI Comfortline 110TSI Highline 110TDI Highline GTI Original GTI Original GTI GTI GTI Performance R R

$24,990 $27,490 $28,990 $34,490 $36,990 $37,490 $39,990 $41,490 $43,990 $47,990 $52,990 $55,490

L4T L4T L4T L4T L4TD L4T L4T L4T L4T L4T L4T L4T

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

9.1 9.1 9.1 8.2 8.3 — — 6.5 6.4 6.4 5.2 5.0

— — — — — — — — 14.5 14.6

95 95 95 95 D 98 98 98 98 98 98 98

Golf wagon

110TSI Trendline 110TSI Comfortline 110TSI Highline 110TDI Highline

Golf Alltrack

132TSI 132TSI Premium 135TDI Premium

Dealer Quick Finder

250 250 250 250 340 350 350 350 350 370 380 380

M6 S7 S7 S7 S7 M6 S6 M6 S6 S6 M6 S7

1209 1233 1233 1265 1326 — — 1313 1324 1364 1476 1495

5.3 5.1 5.1 5.1 8.5 — — 6.2 6.6 6.6 7.1 13.2 6.9

54 54 54 58 59 09/17 59 59 60 60 60 62 61

YARRA VALLEY TOYOTA 35 Hewish Road, Croydon 3136 Trust. Value. Excellence. Since 1968 Sales: 03 9725 5555

Volkswagen Polo

Urban Urban Urban+ Urban+ GTI GTI

Golf

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 or Cerato 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

7.5

Threeo int

goes

110TSI 110TSI

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

156 wheelsmag.com.au

F F

F F F F

Go anywhere Golf

DL:1541

Slick and fresh with recent update; lively 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

F F F F F F F F F F A A

COTY winner with cargo

DEALER DIRECTORY

VIC

Drive

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 1491 7.8 — 6.8 95 57 A $38,490 L4T 1.8 132 280 S7 1491 7.8 — 6.8 95 56 A $40,990 L4TD 2.0 135 380 S6 1526 7.8 — 5.4 D 58 A

Golf Cabriolet

118TSI Exclusive

110 110 110 110 110 169 169 169 169 180 213 213

Issue tested

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 $30,490 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1312 9.5 — 5.2 95 58 $35,990 L4T 1.4 110 250 S7 1312 8.6 — 5.1 95 58 $38,490 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S6 1326 8.9 — 4.6 D 59

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 $77,461 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2635 — — 9.5 D 61 A $83,441 V8 4.6 227 439 A6 2585 — — 13.4 91 61 A $88,541 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2630 — — 9.5 D 69 A $93,781 V8 4.6 227 439 A6 2640 — — 13.4 91 61 A $98,881 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2705 — — 9.5 D 61 A $115,201 V8 4.6 227 439 A6 2640 — — 13.4 91 61 A $120,301 V8TTD 4.5 200 650 A6 2705 — — 9.5 D 61 A

GX GXL GXL VX VX Sahara Sahara

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

As a nod to the original 1970s Golf GTI and aimed at driving enthusiasts who have not yet reproduced, Volkswagen has reintroduced a threedoor version of its iconic hot hatch. Priced from $37,490, the new version joins the freshly

updated Golf 7.5 range, $4000 more affordable than the fivedoor equivalent. A three-door Golf 7 was previously available in the form of 150 Performance Edition 1 vehicles but the returning three-door will not be a limited run this time around.


Showroom Price

Eng type

Passat

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

0-400 metres

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

Issue tested

Drive

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 $35,490 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1450 7.9 — 6.0 95 48 F 132TSI wagon $37,490 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1483 8.1 — 6.0 95 48 02/16 F 132TSI Comfortline $41,490 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1450 7.7 15.7 6.0 95 49 09/16 F 132TSI C’line wagon $43,490 L4T 1.8 132 250 S7 1483 8.1 — 6.0 95 49 F 140TDI Highline $47,490 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S6 1517 7.7 — 4.8 D 50 02/16 F 140TDI H’line wagon $49,490 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 $50,790 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S6 1671 8.0 — 5.4 D 50 A

Arteon

206TSI R-Line

A new Wolfsburg force

Sophisticated looks; generous kit; extensive safety equipment; spicy performance Badge cachet handicap; less inspiring interior; muted exhaust note • The Pick: Just one choice for now but the sole offering is a compelling start $65,490 L4T 2.0 206 350 S6 1716 5.4 13.7 10.1 95 12/17 A

Tiguan

150TDI V6 TDI V8 TDI R-Line

TDI340 LWB

Top-class compact people mover

F F F

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

Volvo V40

3yr/unlimited volvocars.com.au

T4 Kinetic D4 Kinetic

Kerb Eng size Power Torque Trans. weight

0-100 km/h

2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

— — — — — —

140 140 180 180 228 270

300 400 350 350 430 470

S6 A8 A8 A8 A8 A8

1486 1744 1664 1664 1687 1686

0-400 metres

— — — — — —

Fuel Resale cons. RON %

5.8 4.2 6.4 6.4 7.0 7.8

95 D 95 95 95 95

Issue tested

— — — — 46 60

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 $79,900 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 — 7.5 95 61 A $98,612 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 1915 5.9 — $100,612 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 1843 5.8 — 7.5 95 61 A

V90

Cross-country wagon goes large

A

XC60 v2.0 knocks it out of the park

Beautiful cabin and purposeful exterior; thrifty downsized engines; safety gear Steel-sprung ride not as good as we’d hoped for; driver-assist tech unconvincing • The Pick: T5 Inscription the sweet spot but T8 PHEV also makes a persuasive case $59,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 — 8.4 — 5.4 D $62,990 L4T 2.0 187 350 A8 — 6.8 – 7.8 95 $66,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 — 8.4 — 5.4 D $69,990 L4T 2.0 187 350 A8 — 6.8 — 7.8 95 $73,990 L4TTD 2.0 173 480 A8 — 7.2 — 5.6 D $76,990 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 — 5.9 — 8.0 95 $92,990 L4ST 2.0 300 640 A8 — 5.3 — 2.1 95

XC70

D5 Kinetic D5 Luxury T6 Luxury

F A F F F A

Volvo thinks outside the box

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

D4 Momentum T5 Momentum D4 Inscription T5 Inscription D5 R-Design T6 R-Design T8 PHEV

Drive

A A A 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 $94,612 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 $99,900 L4TTD 2.0 173 480 A8 1970 7.8 — 8.5 95 63 A T6 Inscription $100,612 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 1965 6.5 — 8.5 95 63 A T6 R-Design $102,612 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 $122,900 L4ST 2.0 235 400 A8 2296 5.6 — 2.1 95 63 A

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 D2 Momentum $37,800 L4TD 2.0 88 280 A6 1578 12.1 — 4.1 D 53 F T4 Inscription $43,500 L4T 2.0 140 300 A6 1558 6.9 — 5.6 95 54 F D4 Inscription $44,990 L4TTD 2.0 147 440 A8 1561 7.1 — 4.5 D 53 F T5 R-Design $48,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1580 6.3 — 6.1 95 55 F 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 $50,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 — 6.1 — 6.9 95 55 A

S60

S90

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 $51,490 L4TD 2.0 103 340 S7 1857 — — 7.7 D 60 03/16

Multivan

S90

T5 Momentum D4 Momentum D5 Inscription T6 Inscription T6 R-Design

Eng type

L4T L4TD L4T L4T L4ST L4ST

BY

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 $57,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1744 7.7 — 4.5 D — A $59,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1714 6.4 – 6.8 95 — F $61,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1663 6.4 — 6.8 95 49 F $60,990 L4T 2.0 140 420 A6 1785 — D A $60,990 L4T 2.0 180 350 A8 1747 — 7.5 95 A $72,702 L4T 2.0 225 400 A6 1757 6.0 — 7.6 95 48 A $92,702 L4ST 2.0 270 470 A8 1796 4.8 — 8.1 95 48 A

XC60

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 $32,890 L4T 1.4 92 220 A7 1148 — — 6.0 91 $35,390 L4T 1.4 92 220 A7 1555 — — 6.0 91 $38,390 L4T 1.4 92 220 A7 1586 — — 6.0 91

Caravelle

D4 Luxury T5 Luxury T5 R-Design C.Ctry D4 Luxury C.Ctry T5 Luxury T6 R-Design Polestar

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 $68,990 V6TD 3.0 150 450 A8 2146 8.5 — 7.2 D 63 09/11 A $85,490 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

TSI220 Trendline TSI220 Maxi T’line TSI220 Maxi C’line

F F F A A A A A A

$54,990 $56,990 $58,990 $60,990 $69,990 $89,702

V60

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 132TSI Adventure $43,990 L4T 2.0 132 320 S7 1600 — — 7.5 95 57 110TDI Adventure $45,490 L4TD 2.0 110 340 S7 1647 9.3 — 5.9 D 57 162TSI Highline $48,490 L4T 2.0 162 350 S7 — — — — 95 58 140TDI Highline $49,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 S7 1691 7.9 — 5.9 D 58

Touareg

Price

T4 Luxury D4 Luxury T5 Luxury T5 R-Design T6 R-Design Polestar

POW E RE D

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 $51,990 L4TD 2.0 140 400 A8 1744 — — 4.2 D — A

PRIVACY NOTICE

This issue of Wheels is published by Bauer Media Pty Ltd (Bauer). Bauer may use and disclose your information in accordance with our Privacy Policy, including to provide you with your requested products or services and to keep you informed of other Bauer publications, products, services and events. Our Privacy Policy is located at www. bauer-media.com.au/privacy/ It also sets out on how you can access or correct your personal information and lodge a complaint. Bauer may disclose your personal information offshore to its owners, joint venture partners, service providers and agents located throughout the world, including in New Zealand, USA, the Philippines and the European Union. In addition, this issue may contain Reader Offers, being offers, competitions or surveys. Reader Offers may require you to provide personal information to enter or to take part. Personal information collected for Reader Offers may be disclosed by us to service providers assisting Bauer in the conduct of the Reader Offer and to other organisations providing special prizes or offers that are part of the Reader Offer. An opt-out choice is provided with a Reader Offer. Unless you exercise that opt-out choice, personal information collected for Reader Offers may also be disclosed by us to other organisations for use by them to inform you about other products, services or events or to give to other organisations that may use this information for this purpose. If you require further information, please contact Bauer's Privacy Officer either by email at privacyofficer@bauer-media.com.au or mail at Privacy Officer Bauer Media Pty Ltd, 54 Park Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

INSURANCE DISCLAIMER

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.

@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 MARCH 1995

Caddy Cool ROAD TRIPS, A WHEELS STAPLE, ARE PERHAPS THE MOST EVOCATIVE MEANS OF TELLING A CAR STORY. COMBINE THIS WITH FASCINATING TRAVEL AND IT’S NO SURPRISE THEY REMAIN SO POPULAR.

Most of all, the best of these stories demonstrate the continuing fascination of a long journey by car. America, home of the road trip in popular culture, has often been the location for such tales that, mostly, involve the latest and greatest models. ‘Caddy Cool’ was different. Author Col Menzies, a wonderfully talented, former Wheels assistant editor, and his mate, fellow journalist Frank Robson (two Walkley awards for feature writing) simultaneously suffered a mid-life crisis. They believed their predicament could only be solved by flying to America, buying a proper, big yank tank – budget $1000 – and spending four weeks playing Kerouac, O’Rourke and Hunter S. Mostly, it went to plan though they ended up way over budget and paying $1500 for a 14-year-old 1981 Cadillac Eldorado coupe; two tonnes, 5.2-metres, 368 cubic inch (6.3-litres) V8, power everything, crimson leather seats, and elsewhere on the interior, red velour upholstery. Perfect, then, for the coast-to-coast task. It was to be, in Menzies’ words, “hedonism on a grand scale”. Menzies discovered one of the great truths about America: cars look different in the land of the free. Even the Lincoln Town Car, “which 95 percent of the world’s non-American citizenry rightly consider hideous, suddenly appears much

more subtle and stylish within the United States. I won’t admit, even now, to thinking of our Caddy as ugly.” Their journey took them east from Los Angeles to Las Vegas where, worried about the possibility of the prized Cadillac being stolen, they asked the hotel proprietor about car park security, only to be told, “No-one’s gonna steal that old junker.” They almost hit the bloke. As they travelled through Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas, their adventures mostly seemed to involve other bar patrons. They came to appreciate that “nothing is more deadening” than rural American Interstate driving, but also that “nothing is better aside from air travel to cover ground quickly.” Even with the cruise set to 70mph, (113km/h) the dominant traffic of huge semi-trailers, many driven by women, streamed past. The other travellers were mostly holidaying families in outrageously proportioned mobile homes towing the family car behind them. They returned to Los Angeles in plenty of time to sell the Caddy, managing to find a buyer prepared to pay them $1000 for their (by then) “beautiful” Eldorado. In Wheels road trip tradition, Caddy Cool is a lovely piece of writing. Makes me, and I’m sure you too, want to replicate the idea. Why not?

“EVEN WITH THE CADILLAC ELDORADO’S CRUISE SET TO 70MPH, THE DOMINANT TRAFFIC OF HUGE SEMI-TRAILERS, MANY DRIVEN BY WOMEN, STREAMED PAST”

158 wheelsmag.com.au


Next issue

Wizard Smith’s attempt on the world land speed record THE WAY IT WAS

Nothing ‘sub’ about him

Col Menzies (below left) joined Wheels as assistant editor to Phil Scott with the June 1988 issue. He returned to his first love of newspapers around July the following year. He later died of cancer in 2011 at just 61. Scotty remembers Col as one of the great sub-editors, producing some of Wheels’ best headlines and intros: Phil’s favourite was on a road test of an underpowered Peugeot. It simply read: Gallic Bred; No Herbs.

’95 Aussie GP hijacked

In May 1995, Adelaide learns that Melbourne has pinched the rights to hold the Australian F1 Grand Prix. Not everyone is happy: protesters rally to prevent Albert Park from closing for the six-day event.

ALSO IN WHEELS, March 1995 We dig around under the skin of the R35 Nissan GT-R; Brockie joins us to help find Australia’s fastest car – it turns out to be a Porsche 928 GTS that pulls 262km/h; oversized journo Russell Bulgin squeezes himself into the cockpit of the Simtek F1 car; Carey gives a spanking to the 5.0-litre V8 in the TVR Griffith 500.

Whole lotta glove W

Despite overwhelming evidence, American hero O.J. Simpson is found not guilty of murdering his estranged wife and her partner. Simpson would be found ‘responsible’ in a civil suit in 1997.

The nerve of it all

READ THIS STORY AND HEAPS MORE CLASSICS AT wheelsmag.com.au/classic

Members of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo launch an attack with sarin nerve gas on Tokyo’s subway. Twelve people are killed; thousands more injured. @wheelsaustralia 159


RetroSeries FERRARI DINO

1969

98

WOR DS MICHAEL STAHL

When the son rises Enzo’s first-born was the inspiration behind Ferrari’s agile, mid-engined gem ON 19 January 1932, in a hospital in Modena, Italy, a 33-year-old Italian racing driver became a father for the first time. The birth of Alfredo Ferrari, later to be nicknamed ‘Alfredino’ (little Alfred), would be the catalyst for Enzo Ferrari to hang up his driving gloves and focus on managing the Alfa Romeo grand prix team. In 1947, as we all know, he began making cars under his own name. Enzo’s business was good enough for young ’Dino to study mechanical engineering in Switzerland. However, after only two years an elusive illness forced him to cut short his studies and return to Modena. There, he joined his father’s company and was involved in the design of the four-cylinder 750 Monza of 1954. Dino also proposed a V6 engine – Ferrari’s first – for the 1.5-litre Formula 2. Designed by Vittorio Jano, it was introduced in 1957 and would spawn the ‘Dino’ engine series of dohc, 65-degree V6s for race and road applications. Dino himself did not live to see it: diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he died from related kidney disease in 1956, aged just 24. A decade later, Enzo Ferrari was in talks with Fiat about buying his company; his racing efforts were focused on its Le Mans battles with

Fast & fac

05

1

al tu

160 wheelsmag.com.au

Spare heir

By the time Dino Ferrari died in 1956, Enzo already had a second son: Piero (right), born in 1945 to Lina Lardi, Ferrari’s mistress since 1930.

spurned suitor Ford; and on the road, waiting lists for Porsche’s new 911 told of a lucrative, six-cylinder sub-supercar market. Under the sub-brand Dino – there was no exterior Ferrari badge on the car – Ferrari launched the Dino 206 GT in 1968, powered by a 120kW, 2.0-litre alloy-block engine – mid-mounted, another first for a road-going Ferrari – and clothed in an aluminium body. And oh, what a body: designed by Pininfarina, the Dino is still hailed as one of the most beautiful cars of all time. If the Dino’s beauty and handling raised the bar for Ferrari, its performance did not. And so in 1969 came the 2.4-litre 246 GT, bringing 145kW and a significant increase in torque. The Dino’s price was comparable with the Porsche 911S, which looked dull alongside it. According to dinoregister.com, Ferrari built a total of 3911 Dinos (including 152 of the 206 GT). The later 246 series included (from 1971) a GTS with removable roof panel. The two-seaters were joined in 1973 by the awkward, angular 2+2 Dino 308 GT4, with a 3.0-litre V8. Production of the Dino 246 ended in July 1974. Its replacement, the 308, arrived just over a year later – opening a chapter of mid-engined V8s that continues to this day.

2

Brotherly shove ve

The 2.4-litre Dino V6 engine was destined for more greatness, seeing out its days in the legendaryy Lancia Stratos.


Next issue Porsche 550 Spyderr

In detail Paid in recline P D Dino drivers might have felt six cylinders sh short, but they didn’t sacrifice style within the u unusually spacious, two-seat cockpit. From the h hammock-like, vented leather seat, the driver gr grasps an unmistakably Italian three-spoke w wheel ahead of a gorgeous suede-covered dash w with its cluster of Veglia (aka “vague liar”) gauges. To hand is the signature, open-gated five-speed ge gearshift. Cockpit ergonomics were praised; not so the noise, heat and heavy gearbox.

Tiny dancer The Dino wasn’t just gorgeous – it was agile and sophisticated. Built on a spaceframe of round and square steel tube, it was not only Ferrari’s first mid-engined road model, but the first to feature double-wishbone suspension front and rear. The early 206 GTs had an all-alloy body; the 246 GT’s was in steel, and slightly stretched over a 60mm longer (2340mm) wheelbase. The 246 was about 180kg heavier, at 1080kg.

Mixed metals The 65-degree, quad-cam Dino V6 engine switched from 1987cc with alloy block, to an iron-block 2417cc. Fiat produced both and shared them with the front-engined Fiat Dino coupe/spider, to help Ferrari meet F2 homologation. The 2.4s breathed through triple Weber carbs and made 145kW at 7600rpm and 226Nm at 5500rpm, via a fivespeed manual. Zero to 100km/h took 7.1 seconds.

3 4 Top tin worm

The Scaglietti-built steel bodies were underprotected in hard-to-reach areas, so 246s were notorious for rusting.

Lines by Leo

The Dino 206/246 was the first Ferrari designed by the brilliant Leonardo Fioravanti – see also later Daytona, Boxer, 308 and F40.

5

Surging Dino dollars s Dino values are again reaching record levels. In late-2016, an Australian RHD-converted 1971 246 GT blew through the halfmillion barrier, fetching $546,250.

stralia 161 @wheelsaustralia


Off the scale

The ‘F1 in Schools’ program may fast-track these kids to the real deal MOTORSPORT nerd alert: how many times has an Australian F1 team won the drivers and constructors world championships? If you answered “twice” – thinking Brabham-Repco, 1966 and ’67 – you’re sort-of right. But step down to the 20cm-long, CO2 cartridge-powered cars of the brilliant F1 in Schools program, and Australian teams have won no fewer than five of the 13 world championships since the series’ inception in 2004. “Australia is the most successful country in the world at this,” says 17-year-old Kyle Winkler – one of the four members of the Hyperdrive team from Trinity Grammar School, Kew (Vic) that beat nine million other students, from 20,000 schools, to claim the 2017 title at the world finals in Malaysia in September. Hyperdrive also won Best Engineered Car. The F1 in Schools competition – a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education program – replicates the F1 world. Teams must not only conceive, design, develop and produce their own car within F1-type design parameters, but develop a business plan, raise sponsorship and apply management principles. Hyperdrive, the second world-champion team from Trinity Grammar (under the

guidance of Design and Technology teacher, Peter Clifton), comprised schoolmates Hugh Bowman as Team and Marketing Manager, David Greig as Aerodynamics Engineer, Alec Alder as Social Media Manager, and Winkler as Head Engineer. “We approached real companies and raised upwards of $20,000”, Winkler says, “and we had one of the smallest budgets … The Austrian team raised 160,000 Euros!” They’re not playing with toys. “We used CATIA for our CAD program and ANSYS for our tool in tunnel testing,” Winkler says. “These are real industry programs, I believe the same ones used by McLaren, Boeing, Airbus and Toyota.” The 1000-1500 hours’ development, engineering, machining and assembling came down to a 25-metre dragstrip track at the world finals in Kuala Lumpur. Along with the points awarded for the team’s efforts thus far, the driver’s reaction time is a factor as, of course, is the car’s performance. “They hit 80 kilometres an hour in about 0.3 seconds – you blink and you miss it,” Kyle says. “We actually had the sixth-fastest car – 1.109 seconds at the 20-metre mark, which was 0.02sec off the fastest car. Yeah, watching the car run is always really exciting.””

That wasn’t the only source of stress for Kyle at the World Finals. On offer to the winning team were fully-paid mechanical engineering scholarships at University College London. And Kyle was one of just 25 applicants being put through assessment for the Williams F1 team’s Randstad Engineering Academy. “We were split into teams of five and given engineering tasks to solve. The first one was to suspend an F1 wheel nut horizontally from a table using only paper and tape ... You have to brainstorm all this as a team.” Kyle was one of just eight selected for the seven-year, competitive RAE internship, a process that will begin early next year. It could deliver him right to the door of a top-line F1 engineering career. “It’s online, we’re given a mentor from within the [Williams] team and we’re given tasks to complete. It’s competitive, though – they’ll cut one or two kids each year. “I want to work in Formula 1. I’m looking at taking up the UCL scholarship in London, as a more concrete path to Formula 1 with Williams. I just have to get the grades in school and I’m there. Before Formula 1 in Schools, I always wanted to work in motor sport, but I didn’t quite know how. It’s a lot more focused now.”

W H EEL S TOR I ES MI C HA E L S T A HL

ALL IN THE FAMILY Kyle Winkler, 17 (middle, below), is on the fast track to an F1 engineering career. Cars are in his blood: his dad, Michael Winkler, headed Porsche in Australia for 18 years and more recently, Bentley in the US. “My earliest memories are of dad bringing home all these exotic Porsches, and weekend drives in his classic 911 … My favourite car? Totally not a Porsche! I’d go a 427 AC Cobra. Big engine in a little car.”

TEAM HYPERDRIVE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ALEC ALDER, KYLE WINKLER AND DAVID GREIG

162 wheelsmag.com.au


Designed for reliable performance. No matter what the season, no matter what the road brings, Laufenn will Fit your everyday driving needs.

www.laufenn.com

jaxtyres.com.au


3dfvdv  
3dfvdv  
Advertisement