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THE NEW GODZILLA: INSIDE THE EVOLUTION OF A MONSTER, AND THE MUTANT NT RACE-BRED POWERPLANT POWERPLA UP FRONT


“LIFE’S NOT A RACE” NE BETTER IN THE NEW BMW 1 E ES. The new BMW 1 Series is for drivers who know there’s only one place to stand on the podium. One position to start on the grid. And one way to cross the finish line. Sportier inside and out, the new BMW 1 Series has a new look, and a new attitude. Next-generation BMW TwinPower Turbo engines and eight-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic provide improved acceleration, reduced fuel consumption and a driving experience second to none. Plus with Rear View Camera, Remote Services* and Real Time Traffic Information* now as standard, you will be connected to the road and the world around you like never before. If life is a race, you might as well have a head start. Test-drive the new BMW 1 Series at your preferred BMW dealer today and get ready to go one better.

*BMW ConnectedDrive Terms and Conditions apply. Please refer to bmw.com.au/ConnectedDrive or contact your preferred BMW dealer for further information.


The new BMW 1 Series

133 BMW bmw.com.au


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ISSUE 085  JULY 2015

EDITOR’S RANT TIM KEEN CONVERTIBLES AREN’T HAIRDRESSERS CARS ANYMORE. GOT IT? Mention a convertible version of any fast car, and sooner or later, you’re going to get some blowhard huffing about a “hairdresser’s car.” “It’s not a real driver’s car,” they grumble, cataloguing yet another stand against people enjoying themselves in their shrivelled, joyless hearts. Here’s the thing: they’re wrong. They haven’t always been wrong – but they’re wrong now. We’ve got a brace of drop-tops in this issue, and there’s nary a curling wand or blowdryer to be seen. The days of a convertible being made by oxy-cutting the roof off a coupe are long gone – now you have parallel development programs, where the whole platform has been designed to support a convertible from the get-go… or in the case of the F-Type, the convertible actually coming first. The roof doesn’t have to be a vital element of the car anymore. And when car makers are using ultra-stiff combinations of steel, aluminium, carbon fibre and witchcraft, you’d have to be very sensitive indeed to detect any body flex from cars like the Corvette Stingray or Lamborghini Aventador Roadster (see page 112), or the Ferrari California T and Porsche 911 Turbo S convertible (on page 120), or the new all-wheel-drive version of the Jag F-Type (page 60.) Sensitive, or delusional. And here’s the thing: like blondes, convertibles have more fun. There’s nothing quite like cruising up the coast, or carving up the mountains, with the sound of the engine and the rush of air pouring into the cabin, and the sun on your face and your whoops of delight scaring the cyclists. Look at that photo of the Lambo and the Vette beachside in LA. How could you rather be locked up inside, behind glass, on a day like that? Name one thing that’s bad about it. Okay, besides skin cancer. If you’re in the tin top-or-nothing camp, because once you drove a convertible Firebird and you would have set a personal best getting home from Mitre 10 but the body corkscrewed when you were going through the roundabout at 90… try one of the modern breed of convertibles. On a sunny day, on a beautiful road. We promise you’ll enjoy it. Just remember the sunscreen.

ON THIS MONTH’S iPAD EDITION:

MORE AWESOME VIDEOS

FROM THE TG ARCHIVES

EXTRA PICS AND COOL STUFF

See – and hear – the machines we mercilessly thrash for a living

More bizarre auto history rescued from the warehouse of history

All the awesome shots that we can’t fit onto tree pulp are there in digital glory

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FEATURES

082 082 Mercedes-AMGGTS Son of SLS has arrived. We pit it against some fiendish roads – and take it to a launderette

091 GTSvs911vsi8 The AMG GT S picks a fight with a Porsche 911 Turbo and a BMW i8 – and the result is perhaps surprising

096 Bev and Rex The BMW i3 comes in two forms: the BEV and the REx. So we found a lovely couple called Bev and Rex to test them

104 Thekingisgone He’s been the engineering genius behind some of the greatest cars of the decade. But Piëch has quit…

110 Lambovs CorvetteZ06 Two of the brashest, fastest cabrios on the planet meet up for dinner, a movie and possibly more. GSOH essential

096

120 Galeforcewinds Ferrari’s new California has gone turbo. Porsche’s ultimate roofless 911 lies in wait. Ollie Marriage referees

128 MustangvsTT

110

If Ford’s new Mustang is to be taken seriously in Europe, there’s a talented little Audi it needs to beat...

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STOP! If that’s not enough awesomeness, hop over the digital fence to TopGear.com/au where you’ll find original stories every day, cool car galleries, funny pictures and everything else you’ve come to expect from Australia’s best motoring magazine*. (*As confirmed by an independent team of scientists).


20 Building the next GT-R Nissan insiders reveal what to expect from the next Godzilla. We’re salivating already

32 How TopGear came to be From empty hangars to 350 million viewers: Andy Wilman on the rise and rise of TopGear telly

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NEW CARS YOU ON S YOU OU DON ON T WANT TO BUY… AND NOTHING ABOUT THE ONES

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TOPGEAR.COM



MAY 2015

141

141–161

44 Pub Ammo Our officer in charge of travelling at modest pace, feeds you all the right answers

46 Options:gadgets and gear

The bit with the specs and prices and facts. Find out exactly why your mates’ cars are such lemons.

A carbon fibre skateboard, head-up display goggles goggles, and a mul l and multitool that might save your life

TG GARAGE

136 Goodbye to our RS Q3, hello to our Falcon ute, the 86 goes on a road trip and the SL raises eyebrows

HAMMOND 14

MAY 16


Download the Viewa app and hold your phone over the page to access exclusive videos, galleries and content on your phone or tablet. It’s amazing and it’s free!

Lambo Aventador SV Honda Civic Type R Jaguar F-Type AWD Hyundai Veloster Audi TT Roadster Hyundai i40 Range Rover Sport SVR Jaguar XE Audi A1 Audi RS3 Mitsubishi Triton Audi RS6 Avant Lotus L EExige i S

52 56 60 64 65 66 68 72 73 74 78 80 81

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HOLD your phone or tablet over any page that has the viewa logo on it, then wipe away the dribble

VIEWA

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Lambotakeson Stingray in a mountain tunnel echo chamber

iPhoneisatrademarkofAppleInc., registeredintheU.S. andothercountries. AppStoreisaservicemarkofAppleInc.

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F1 younggunmistakes wall for clear road, causes havoc

viewa is available on Android devices, versions 2.2 – 2.3.7


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INTERWEB, FACEBOOK, T WITTER, LETTER, CARRIER PIGEON. YOU SEND IT, WE PRINT IT TWITTER.COM/TOPGEARAUS FACEBOOK.COM/TOPGEARAUS GPO BOX 4088, SYDNEY, NSW, 2001

T W E E TS & S T U F F

@mdpoitras Apparently, The Stig likes to drive a reasonably priced car in Alberta on his days off

Whenever we get on the Interstate, my three-year-old proclaims from the back “Power!”

@SNOWRECK This guy wants to do the car-boat English Channel challenge from TopGear Season 10

@SCOTT BEHRENS F RO M TO P G E A R .CO M

The teasing is over. Official details of McLaren’s new 419kW, 328km/h 570S are here Car doesn’t look bad, but McLaren really needs to differentiate model to model Gazzed The 650S is a facelifted 12C anyway Michael Fisher And the 570S is a face-lowered 650S KleanupGuy Funny thing, but I like the 570 considerably better than the 650, not sure why Hector Yague I feel it’s a car that will grow on you over time

Ted Nimbé Many people believe it looks too much like a P1... that’s like saying a bloke looks too much like Brad Pitt Joe Gregory

@TweetPetrol Medieval Stig had to race round the @BBC_TopGear test track on a horse

I’ve watched so much TopGear, I’ve developed a British accent

@TYJAMIN Great day off-road today @BBC_TopGear

Too many curved lines, makes it look cute Don Barracuda

@DRIVEJAMES I love it already! E A Phantomas Such a tough sector. I hope it takes it to the Germans Paul Cugnetto

@ScottArhart This looks like something that Mr May would build

G O O N L I N E A N D S U B M I T YO U R P I C T U R E S @Timmy Montoya13 Looks like the ultimate test is about to begin #legospeed

Emergency service challenge? @smithyIain

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For sale in Puerto Rico @Albin Luis

Should my satnav really say this?

@RICHARDTIPPEY


1. Get the TopGear iPad app 2. Have your brain explode But in a good way: with more of everything you love. More video, more photos, more information

R A O F H C SEAR AUSTRALIE H AR TOPGEGAZINE ONRTE MA PP STO A

Awesome video content

Because you want to know how cars sound, and look while sliding around a track.

Glorious display

Photo shoots look even richer on the iPad Retina display.

More stories

Unrestrained by pesky paper, we can ďŹ t in even more content every month.

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IMMEDIATE MEDIA CO CHAIRMAN STEPHEN ALEXANDER DEPUTY CHAIRMAN PETER PHIPPEN CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER TOM BUREAU HEAD OF LICENSING AND SYNDICATION JOANNA MARSHALL INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS MANAGER ALEKSANDRA NOWACKA BBC WORLDWIDE MAGAZINES TOPGEAR UK TEAM DIRECTOR OF PUBLISHING NICHOLAS BRETT MANAGING DIRECTOR TOP GEAR, UK ADAM WADDELL HEAD OF PUBLISHING CHRIS KERWIN PUBLISHER SIMON CARRINGTON HEAD OF EDITORIAL JENNY POTTER EDITOR IN CHIEF CHARLIE TURNER PUBLISHING COORDINATOR EVA ABRAMIK ASSOCIATE EDITOR TOM FORD CREATIVE DIRECTOR IAN STEVENS ART DIRECTOR OWEN NORRIS This issue of TopGear Australia is published by Park Publishing (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 ser vice 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. TopGear is published by Park Publishing, 54 -58 Park Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, a partnership between Bauer Media Pty Limited (ACN 053 273 546) and BBC Worldwide Australia Publishing Pty Limited (ACN 129 527 082), under licence from Immediate Media Company London Limited, Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, Hammersmith, London, W6 7BT. TopGear and the BBC logo are trademarks of the British Broadcasting Corporation and are used under licence. © 2015. All rights reserved. Printed by PMP Print, 31-35 Heathcote Road, Moorebank, NSW 2170.

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SUCH IS THE PACE OF TECHNOLOGY THAT THE BLEEDING EDGE BECOMES THE DINOSAUR IN EVER-SHORTER TIMES. WHERE WILL IT ALL END?

aving sworn never to get rid of my BMW R1200RT I have, inevitably, done just that. The thing had served me well for the regular trek between rural Herefordshire and the miseries of London. I swore eternal allegiance to it, praised its chunky power, defended its looks as “purposeful” and “form following function” rather than the perhaps more commonly held “ugly like a swamp donkey” and learnt to welcome its girth and bulk as one might the embrace of the heftier childhood aunt bearing sweeties and comics. And then I betrayed it. Unable to resist the siren call of another, I dumped it by the roadside, both metaphorically and actually. The new bike is not a massive step away from the old one. It’s another BMW R1200RT, in fact. But the new model is slimmer, better looking, better equipped and faster, and that, as it is for any middle-aged man looking to replace something up until recently close to his heart, was enough for me. It’s better in pretty much every single way. Most particularly how it integrates all the clever little technological doodahs that made the outgoing model such a rising star in its youth. While on board, I can change the suspension settings; change the radio channel; toggle through tracks on my iPod; adjust the traction

H

“RIDE AN OLD BIKE FOR LONG ENOUGH – IE MORE THAN THREE MILES – AND YOU WILL BREAK DOWN” 01 4

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control; answer the phone; set the satnav; lock the panniers; check the tyre pressures, fuel range and temperature; turn up the seat and handlebar heaters and set phasers to stun. That last one is a lie. But the rest can be achieved quickly and easily, mostly through a single thumb wheel that works a bit like the iDrive system in BMW’s cars. The results of each adjustment can be monitored via colour screens in the dash. The last bike did all these things too, but the layout wasn’t as neat, the display wasn’t in colour and it all, suddenly, felt a bit last-week. Given the pace of technological progress, it will be another couple of weeks before I am once again lured away from my new ride by a younger, friskier, faster model. And that, folks, is the way of it, isn’t it? We live, we are told, in the technological age and it is this tight matching between our desires and the abilities of the machine to meet them without even being told that best exemplifies this. My new bike is not my only one. I am a lucky man and have access to a collection of them. Which means as soon as I am not going to London, I reach for the keys to something more characterful. Ride about on an old bike for long enough – ie more than three kays – and several things will happen. You will break down. You will become covered in oil and your trousers will be spoiled. And you will meet and talk with another enthusiast of old, leaky motorcycles. When that happens – and it WILL happen – you will talk about your bike, their bike and old bikes in general. You will then talk about new bikes. They are, you shall conclude, sterile things: too efficient, too clean, too reliable and too damned modern. “Where,” your temporary best friend shall demand, “will it all end? Riderless bikes?” Well, quite possibly, yes. I mean, technology has gotten nearly there already. So when will it end? The answer is probably quite soon. I don’t mean ‘end’ as in, ‘THE END’, I mean that technology will reach a conclusion. There is only so far it can go. Once things have been

miniaturised to an atomic level – and they have – then there isn’t a lot more fiddling and tweaking that mankind can do to stuff to make it work better for us. Otherwise the stuff itself stops being stuff. The technological age has to be a finite thing. Not because we will all go out in one massive bang preceded by a slightly timid, “Oops” from a scientist standing next to a Hadron Collider, but because there is a limit to how far we can go in the business of influencing, making and using. And at that precise moment, the technological age ends and something new replaces it. Probably the social or spiritual age, or the one where we really knuckle down and concentrate on nice clothes or flowers or music or preserving humankind or animals or, oh, I don’t know, someone else will decide what it’s the age of. But before the technological age ends, it shall, as a grand finale, have done something pretty awesome, and it will do it, I suspect, thanks to the car. Driverless cars are hovering just on the horizon, their windscreens unblinking in the rising sun. And when they arrive, they shall bring with them a pretty humongous problem. It’s already been discussed widely and is going to become a hotter topic than, oh, y’know, anything else recently in the news. What happens when a driverless car is heading towards an oncoming truck and, to avoid it, must swerve into a crowd on the pavement? I’m not about to answer that, but someone is going to have to because it is going to happen; nobody is going to want to be liable for the wrong pre-ordained decision by a computer or to be mown down by a driverless car, so answer it they must. And when they do, they shall have pinned down all that it is to be human – they shall have defined us. And we shall, at that moment, understand ourselves better than ever before. And we shall be ready to go forward into whatever the next age is. And that revelation, my friends, that moment of blinding, crystal clarity, shall have been brought to us courtesy of the car.


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SHOULD MAY RIDE HIS MOTORBIKE AGAIN? IS IT SAFE? WHAT ABOUT HIS AEROPLANE? IF ONLY HIS PUSHBIKE HADN’T SNAPPED IN HALF ALL THOSE YEARS AGO...

nce, as a lad, I was riding along on my 10-speed racing bike when it literally snapped in half. One minute, I was riding along on a bike I’d built myself out of bits; the next, I was suspended in space in an absurd cycling attitude, preceded by the front half of a bike and pursued by the back half, like a man exposed by a pantomime horse bursting at the seams. For those of you of a technical persuasion, the problem was caused by a ‘stress raiser’ created where I’d clamped the gear-change levers to the frame downtube. All the forces that would normally be evenly distributed as a bit of light flexing in this piece of cheap Seventies steel tubing were concentrated in this one area, turning it into a sort of metallurgical liquorice. It’s why a piece of fuse wire eventually snaps rather limply if you bend it backwards and forwards, and why you can break a sheet of glass cleanly if you scratch a line on it. Anyway, it wasn’t actually a massive accident, but it did affect me very, very

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deeply. Even today, 40 years on, I’m sometimes struck by the fear that my bicycle will suddenly break in half, especially on a nice downhill left-hander when I’m sticking my knee out and ‘gerrin it reet over’ like Rocket Ron Haslam.* I mean, what if it did? I know it’s highly unlikely but we can’t rule it out entirely, because I can offer confirmation that it’s possible. My bicycle could snap in half. So could yours. Been there, done that, went home on a bus with two halves of bike to prove it. And once that thought has entered my head, cycling pleasure for the day is over, because I can’t shake it off. My bones are old and won’t bounce like they did in 1975. These days, I ride motorcycles as well, which go a lot faster than bicycles. But they don’t make my body any more resistant to impact. So what if the bolts holding one of the front brake calipers on suddenly sheared, and it went into the wheel and stopped it dead? At 130kmh? Can you imagine? Once I’ve had that thought, plus the one about the gearbox seizing up and maybe the one about the handlebars coming off, I have to ride back home, slowly, and put the motorcycle away. I’ve just had another thought. I sometimes fly a light aircraft as well. Now what if, at 3,000 feet, that arrangement of pins and bolts holding the left wing on all came apart, and the wing fell off? I’ve never heard of this sort of thing happening to anyone I’ve met. But it happened on an early test flight of the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 biplane (admittedly in 1916), so it could happen. So what if it did? I wish I hadn’t started writing this down, because next time I fly, this notion will enter

my head, and I’ll have to land somewhere until I’ve forgotten about it. I hate the thought that this wonderful, rather spiritual relationship we have with a machine we know well and love could suddenly be shattered by some temporal material failing. It’s why I hated the last journey in my old Rolls-Royce Corniche. I mean, there I was, bowling along at night, when the left-hand headlights failed. It turned out to be a fuse, and mending the fuse in a Seventies Royce means unwinding a length of wire from a bobbin and binding it to a Bakelite thingy that you push into a board full of copper prongs. Strangely satisfying, but not if you have to do it three times in one trip. And then the fuse box itself, which pivots down from under the steering column, pivoted down from under the steering column and hit me on the shin, and it’s heavy. And then I decided that the steering felt a bit vague. Of course, it feels vague; it’s a Seventies Rolls-Royce. But vaguer than it had been last time I drove it. Or was it? Since then I’ve driven two Ferraris, several Porsches, some modern hatchbacks and a brand-new Transit van. So it was probably just illusory. Or it could have been coming apart. What if it did? The handle came off my old desktop pencil sharpener last week, and the Rolls is twice its age. It’s made from everyday materials, wrought by fallible men, and has been subjected to the forces that nurture decay for almost half a century. When you think of it like this – and I was, as I drove home at 60kmh – it’s a miracle any of us are still alive. *Motorcycle racing legend roughly contemporary with the original snapped-bike incident.


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TOPG E A R EXCLUSIV E!

a monster Nissan is already deep into designing the next generation of the GT-R – here, the insiders explain what we can expect

TG’S ARTISTS IMPRESSION

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here’s a lot riding on the Nissan GT-R – not least the hopes of a million Skyline enthusiasts for whom the arrival of each new generation represents the Second Coming. Only noisier. Which is why Nissan is already furiously working on the next GT-R, on its way in 2018 and featuring a raft of technological updates that’ll probably be sufficient to send it to the moon. TopGear has gleaned a few vital bits of information about the nextgeneration GT-R, and it promises to be something really quite special. Speaking to TopGear, Ben Bowlby - Nissan’s creative genius behind the LMP1 GT-R and the DeltaWing -

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confirmed that the new GT-R would feature an iteration of the twin-turbo V6 powering the company’s Le Mans entrant. “The 3.0-litre V6 [from the LMP1 car] is a sort of god-child of the true, road-going GT-R,” he said, noting that the unit’s direction injection, turbo integration and combustion technology are all “applicable to the road”. “It is truly an early ancestor of what will be a future Nissan GT-R engine,” he added. In its current, Le Mans-spec form, that new 3.0-litre V6 revs to around

The oily bits inside the hybrid, twinturbo V6 LMP1 Le Mans racer

6,500rpm and produces over 410kW. Considering the current Nismo GT-R produces 448kW, and taking into account the GT-R’s rate of improvement, we’d expect the new R36 GT-R to produce at least this much, if not more. The V6 will be slotted up front, just like before, and matched to a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. “Mizuno-san [the father of the GT-R] says the GT-R will always be a front-engined, 2+2-seater coupe,” said Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s chief creative officer.


ILLUSTRATIONS: BRENDON WISE

Expect the next generation to look a little more supercar-ish

“It will be a hybrid.” That’s straight from the mouth of Nakamura-san. So, allied to that twin-turbo V6, we’ll also get some form of electric propulsion and battery pack, too. Nissan’s sports car chief, James Oliver, reckons Nissan’s expertise in electric technology forms a good base for the new Godzilla. “I think a GT-R hybrid is the obvious direction,” he said. “There’s been obsessive development of the GT-R over the years, and at some point we will move onto the next generation car. “We already have great capability in terms of battery production and electric vehicle technology, so I don’t think it’s a great stretch to think a

future performance product would have some of that tech incorporated into it...” So that’s the tech underpinning it. But what about the styling? Well, it’s no secret that it will take some design inspiration from Nissan’s excellent 2020 Vision concept, which started out as a study model for Nissan’s European design lab, then became a one-off concept car for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and is now a playable car in Gran Turismo 6. But the key here is “some” inspiration. Online renderings that show the next Godzilla as a lightly skinned Vision concept are, according to Nakamura-san, “way off the mark.” “Maybe some elements from the front and rear,” Nakamura-san told

“The 3.0L V6 from the Le Mans Prototype is truly an early ancestor of a future GT-R engine.” TopGear. And there are practical concerns that the design has to address. Both in terms of engineering, and – just as crucially to the Nissan bigwigs who sign the cheques – marketing. The GT-R is legendary, of course, amongst petrolheads and speed lovers. But it’s not actually very popular. The brutalist styling, largely driven by practical and mechanical necessity, and the car’s not-quite-luxury interior TO TO PG PG E AE R A .RC. O CO M M

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SPORTY SIBLINGS NEXT-GEN GODZILLA WILL HAVE TO CONTINUE NISMO’S MOTORSPORT PROGRAM

GT-R NISMO GT3 Nismo’s new race car, developed in line with FIA GT3 regulations

SUPER GT TOURING CAR The GT-R modified for the Japanese domestic GT500 series. So successful, all GT-Rs were fiven a weight penalty LMP1 WEC RACER Nissan’s radical World Endurance car. Father of the R36 hybrid powerplant

put off the sort of buyer who’s more interested in a showpiece than actually utilising a sub-three-second sprint time. In the key US market, for example, Nissan sold 1436 GT-Rs in 2014 – that’s tiny. Porsche sold more than 10,000 911s, even though they cost 50 per cent more than the GT-R in the US market. Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn says he’s not interested in cars that don’t sell volume and make money. That means the pressure is on the GT-R team to make the R36 more desirable – not just amongst the Fast&Furious crowd. Which is why you can expect the

next Godzilla to look a little more GT-ish, a little more supercar-ish. For the kind of money the GT-R commands – and for the level of engineering that goes into it, it’s never going to be cheap – it needs to develop a wider client base than track-day fans. It needs to start appealing to the sort of person who buys a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but never goes over 120.

Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer

It needs to look good parked outside a restaurant. Say what you want about it, but those are the commercial realities for developing very expensive cars. But anyone expecting a light, lithe wisp of a thing will be disappointed. It’ll still be a heavy ol’ lump. The GT-R has hovered at, around and sometimes above the 1700kg mark for a while (the current version clocks in at 1740kg, the

“The GT-R needs to be this weight. A car with less weight does not handle”

THE PATH OF GODZILLA HOW THE BEAST HAS EVOLVED

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308 GTB Skyline GT-R (KPGC10) 1969 - 1972 1975 Skyline GT-R (C110) 1972 -1985 1977 328 GTB Skyline GT-R (R32)1989 1989 -348 1994

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2 2020 VISION CONCEPT C

ILLUSTRATIONS: BRENDON WISE

Th eye-popping, almost This Batmobile-like concept Ba started life in Nissan’s sta European design lab without Eu any thought of becoming reality; in fact, when they rea built a (non-working) version bu for Goodwood, it had to be tweaked by engineers. R36 tw will use some elements from wil the front and rear styling.

Nismo GT-R at 1720kg), and it’ll likely stay that heavy, according to the GT-R’s father, Kazutoshi Mizuno. He animatedly told TG that the legendary supercar had to be that heavy. “All journalists say GT-R GT R is heavy, heavy heavy, heavy - it should be lighter, lighter, lighter! I say, journalists need to develop a more professional level of thinking! More study! More thought!” Mizuno-san scolds. “The GT-R needs to be this weight. A car with less weight does not handle. Lighter weight can be dangerous, and it will not be driveable by all customers.” He uses downforce as an example.

Skyline Sk l GT-R GT R (R33) 1995 - 1998

“An F1 car weighs 560kg, more than 600kg with the driver,” he says. “How much downforce does an F1 car generate? Around 1300kg. 1300kg So what is the total weight? 1860kg. A GT1 racing car weighs between 1200kg and 1300kg, plus downforce of 600kg, the actual weight on the car is 1800kg...” With road cars unable to generate such vast downforce figures, that means we’re looking at a hefty kerbweight. “But with performance accessible to all customers. I have a big responsibility to the customer,” he

Skyline GT-R (R34) 1999 - 2002

Ben Bowlby (right), creator of the LMP1 Le Mans car

told us. The final element of the puzzle is that the next Godzilla will absolutely b be the next step in Nissan’s ongoing mot motorsport programme. The current R35 GT3 GT-R has proven race pedigree, with wins in the Blancpain Endurance Series, Super GT, International GT, the FIA GT, British GT, the VLN, Asian Le Mans, Super Taikyu and GT Cup. The R36 GT-R will have to step up – which completes the circle back to the race-bred hybrid powerplant up front. Godzilla is coming. Be afraid.

GT-R (R35) 2007 - Present TOPGEAR.COM

GT-R (R36) 2018 - God knows  DECEMBER 2013

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Red, Cross Citroen’s hybrid Aircross concept hints at a crossover for 2020. The Cactus just got spikier BY PAUL HORRELL

f you spot a bit of C4 Cactus about this Citroen Aircross concept, then the designers have done their job. The Cactus has become the fuel for Citroen’s creative engines. “The Aircross shows what we can do with the spirit of Cactus. That’s the future of Citroen,” boss Linda Jackson tells TopGear. “We have to be different. For Europe, all our cars will fit this strategy. It’s an SUV because that’s such a big segment now.” She lists the new Citroen keywords: it expresses optimism through its design, humanity through its comfort, and smartness through its passenger-focused tech. But it doesn’t look exactly like a big Cactus. Design chief Alexandre Malval explains. “We were worried about repeating ourselves. Each car has to have its own identity. Look at Citroen’s history – the 2CV or DS. They all looked different but were innovative and comfortable. We want to keep our freedom.” So you can find things from the Cactus – and the C4 Picasso, come to that – but re-expressed. The floating roof is there, but with different graphics. The LEDS are

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still above the headlamps but the nose is more detailed because it’s a bigger and, by implication, more expensive car. Airbumps have been reimagined, appearing as aluminium honeycomb sill protection. Inside, the door armrests and pulls use luggage motifs, the seats still owe more to furniture design than cars, but the bench look has given way to deep arms. The wraparound headrests have embedded speakers so everyone can have their own entertainment. The dash is horizontal and spare, the screens mounted above it as per the Cactus, but they’ve a neat new trick: the second screen can slide across to face the passenger. Its overall form is all about boxiness. Well, a softened boxiness. “We wanted it to have volume,” says Malval. “That gives lots of interior space. Others do coupe SUVs, but we wanted to be honest. It’s got a vertical, weighty rear end.” The boxiness is broken up by some strong shapes. The one around the rear-door window funnels air around the tail. Behind the front wheel, another fairing controls air that has passed the wheels, reducing drag.

Lights announce they use ‘full LED technology’. Ooh

Second screen can slide across to face front passenger

The concept was shown at Shanghai. Makes sense. A quarter of Citroen’s sales are in China, and they’re well known there, having started building in 1996. And China is an SUV-hungry place. They also like big cars there, and the Aircross is about as big as Citroen currently plays. Plug-in hybrids and petrol engines are important in China too, so the Aircross obliges. The rear wheels have a 70kW electric motor; the fronts a 162kW, 1.6 turbo petrol. Between is a battery pack with a 30-odd kilometre range. Malval calls this a “true concept”, to distinguish it from the “teaser concept” they showed of the Cactus just months before the production car’s launch. Jackson agrees that big-car buyers are changing into crossovers all over the world, and by implication that a crossover is Citroen’s only hope of selling a biggish vehicle in Europe, and maybe soon in China too. “My aim is to keep customers and find out what they’ll move into.” In all likelihood we’re looking at it. Expect the fully baked version in 2020.


Cabin looks more like designer furniture showroom

FROM CONCEPT TO CACTUS Citroen has form bringing apparently outlandish concepts to production, 2013’s C4 Cactus concept (left) reaching the road all but unchanged. Don’t bet against Airc the Aircross doing the very same

Wraparound headrests = happy media bubble

GLOBAL MODELLING STRATEGY WHAT’S THE FUTURE HOLD FOR CITROEN, THEN?

Citroen announces that it’s to slash its model range. Then shows a concept car in a new part of the market. Apparent contradictions. What gives? Well Citroen’s (and Peugeot’s) ranges are sprawling yet don’t tie together globally. There are cars that sell only in China or South America. Excluding vans and the Toyota-shared C1, Citroen sells 14 silhouettes around the world. It plans to cut that to seven, but sell them worldwide. Conformist dead wood will go – boss Jackson admits that likely includes the C4 hatch – to make way for interesting stuff in booming segments, which includes crossovers of more than one size.

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Visit www.centurybatteries.com.au/experienceofalifetime Terms & conditions apply. VIC Permit No: 15/216, NSW LTPS/15/00756, ACT TP15/00330, SA T15/182. TOPGEAR.COM



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hina will likely be the biggest car market... forever.” So says Mercedes sales chief Ola Källenius, reflecting on a 2014 in which Chinese customers bought over 18 million cars. In Australia, we bought 1.1 million. With growth looking even stronger in 2015, China will this year or next surpass North America as the world’s biggest car-buying country – and then stay there. Consider that: no matter if and when China’s superheated economy cools, the forecasting boffins can’t see it ever being overtaken in terms of car sales. That makes China, in strictly numerical terms, the centre of the automotive world. Such dominance matters to the rest of us, particularly the rest of us who drive on the left side of the road. As China becomes an ever more dominant market, the rest of use become ever less relevant, even to European brands. You

How China C will shape your next car “

As the Chinese market becomes the centre of the car universe, get ready for a whole bunch more SUVs

VW C COUPE GTE CONCEPT Also shown at the Shanghai show, the hybrid GTE concept shows off a sub-Phaeton sedan, to be built in China in 2016. Designed around the back-seat p passenger, not driver


might want mid-engined sports things? Tough. China’s not fussed. China wants two things in particular: long-wheelbase sedans, and SUVs. Which is part of the reason why Bentley brought its upcoming Bentayga 4x4 to production ahead of, say, a smaller two-seater sports car, and why Merc has just unveiled this GLC Coupe concept in Shanghai. It previews Merc’s upcoming BMW X4 rival (a coupe-SUV spun off the C-Class platform) and sounds very much production-ready, a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 sending 270kW to all four wheels through a nine-speed auto ’box. Merc promises the production GLC Coupe – likely to land next year – will be “the sportiest SUV there is”. It’ll face plenty of competition, not least from within: Mercedes alone will soon boast no fewer than seven SUVs in its line-up. BMW already makes five, with more to come. Källenius is keen to stress that Merc’s focus on SUVs isn’t merely a sop to the People’s Republic, noting that the rise

Chinese market a big fan of circular wheels

of crossovers is a worldwide trend. True as that may be, you can be sure that, were it not for China’s voracious appetite, carmakers wouldn’t be pursuing crossovers with quite such fervour. So are we condemned to a future of SUVs, stretched sedans and nothing else? Thankfully not. Even in this era of ‘world cars’, not every country will drive quite the same stuff. Ford doesn’t send its swimming-pool-length F-Series trucks to Europe, but we get its hot hatches. China may offer the biggest returns, but if there’s money to be made elsewhere, carmakers will keep trying to find a way to make it. And sports-car makers will keep making sports cars, because that’s who they are. China’s demand for Europe’s posh brands stems at least in part from the value it places on heritage and history. The 911 might not sell in the same numbers as the Cayenne, but it’s vital to Porsche’s identity. Porsche without the 911 isn’t Porsche at all. China’s influence has definite upsides too. The youthful demographic of its buyers means they’re even more techsavvy than the average buyer in the rest of the world, and won’t stand for last-gen, laggy, poorly designed infotainment in their new car. If that leads to the rest of us finally getting Android/Apple standards of in-car tech we’ve been promised for so long, being an irrelevance on the wrong side of the world might not be so bad...

“So, are we condemned to a future of SUVs, stretched sedans and nothing else?”

GLC Coupe could get similar cabin to bigbrother GLE Coupe

SHANGHAI 2015: HER RE CO OME THE CHINESE CHINA’S BIGGEST AUTO SHOW PROVED THE REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN. SAM PHILIP REPORTS

The strangest thing about this year’s Shanghai motor show was how... unstrange it all felt. A few years ago, Chinese shows were notorious for two things: flagrant copyright-breaching clones and absurd, pod-like concepts with names like the SeaBong Friend Cloud and Great Windy. But the bad photocopies and strange design studies have (sadly) mostly vanished. We went expecting oddballs, and got mainstream. The majority of Chinese manufacturers – the BYDs, the Dongfengs, the Lifans, the Fotons – are now churning out entirely inoffensive, generic, cheap cars, all

managing the neat trick of resembling almost every one of their competitors, yet remaining utterly forgettable. You know what this means: the Chinese are coming. It won’t be long before these bland (and presumably very reasonably priced) offerings find their way to Euro and US motor shows, and from there onto our forecourts. And they won’t be laughably rubbish. Just as Kia and Hyundai (and before them the Japanese makers) moved at pace from joke punchlines, through purveyors of faceless white goods, into credible rivals to Europe’s mainstream manufacturers, so China’s domestic brands will do the same, and quicker than we expect. We’re talking a few years, rather than decades, before Chinese brands begin to out-Hyundai Hyundai in the affordable car wars. Shanghai proved that Chinese manufacturers are no longer a comedy sidenote, but preparing to take over the world...

TOPGEAR.COM



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TG has a go in new Formula 4 car. It’s rather quick

Arm yourself for important bar room arguments

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W O RD S:


She’d watched the show plod on, each series looking more and more dated alongside new and fresh factual shows like Ground Force and that one where Handy Andy did houses up, and no attempt at perking up the dear old car show was having any effect. News of the show’s demise was met with sadness by a few, indifference by many more, but with intense interest from a tall curly-haired man who’d quit that very show a couple of years earlier. When Jeremy rang me and we met in the pub that lunchtime, he was already bouncing off the ceiling with enthusiasm for resuscitating the old corpse. In fact, he’d already mapped out some of the key elements: the new TopGear would be anchored from a central place, with an audience, so that the presenters could talk to each other instead of presenting one item after another in isolation. This studio base would also allow us to do a news section, so that important cars could be discussed without us being forced to shoot a film about them. Jeremy, like most 40-something chaps, had devoured Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, and, if you too have read it, you’ll know how beautifully it illustrates the male brain’s love of lists and Top Fives. From there, it was only a small mental leap to having a lap board, which in turn would require a track, which in turn meant we could film Italian supercars actually giving it what for instead of dithering around Cotswolds corners at 60km/h. And since we had a track and a studio, why not get guests on and make them do a lap? One of us – we’d had a few by now, so I can’t remember who – then had this vision of a black-tie-clad Bryan Ferry hammering round in a small Hyundai or something equally un-Bryan Ferryish, and when we’d finished laughing at that, the Star In a Reasonably Priced Car was born. I contributed bits and bobs as we went along, but, in truth, Jeremy had already built the structure of the new

TopGear by the time he walked through the pub door. And as I sit here now in April 2015, in a completely empty office, I think that faraway lunch absolutely encapsulates the tragedy of what the BBC has lost in getting rid of Jeremy. It hasn’t just lost a man who can hold viewers’ attention in front of a camera, it’s lost a journalist who could use the discipline of print training to focus on what mattered and what didn’t; it’s lost an editorial genius who could look at an existing structure and then smash it up and reshape it in a blaze of light-bulb moments. Just as a small example of that latter point, I remember Jeremy insisting during that lunch that the new TopGear should not worry about being the first to drive a new car, even if it were the Ferrari Enzo. To me, as a producer, this logic was madness, because being first meant being exclusive, but he said: “No, think about it. To be first with a new car, you have to go on the car launch, drive it abroad in left-hand drive, three or four months before it goes on sale, and it means nothing to a punter at home. Let’s wait. Let’s film a car when it’s actually on sale here, posters on the high street, in the showroom window, so that what we’re doing actually means something to viewers.” I still thought he was talking absolute bollocks, but I couldn’t have been more wrong – in the end, we didn’t lose a single viewer because we were two years later than everybody else with our Enzo film. All we needed now was a name for our new TopGear, and, after a few more drinks, we decided on “New TopGear”. With that sorted, we went and pitched our idea to Jane, the BBC2 controller who, after a few minutes suffering our babbling stream of consciousness, told us to get out of her office and get on with making it. It’ll hopefully become apparent as you read on, but there’s no doubt in my mind this show wouldn’t have existed without Jane. She gave us the freedom to cock up and try again,

she pushed us when we were timid, and she had real TV nous. I remember, for instance, sitting in an early meeting with her and some BBC execs, discussing what sort of stories this new TopGear would film, and I mentioned an item Jeremy and I had once made on old TopGear about Siamese Banger Racing, where the drivers race in two cars chained together. Naturally, being a BBC meeting, somebody erupted at me for having said “Siamese”, and as I was trying to work out how we could announce: “Tonight, Conjoined Banger Racing”, Jane called everyone to order and said the point was we should forget about reporting on

Complaints, compliments, awards and mess: the result of 22 series of TopGear

“JEREMY WAS ALREADY BOUNCING OFF THE CEILING WITH ENTHUSIASM” other people’s car events. “Make your own world,” was her advice, which when you think about it, was precisely what we ended up doing – James, Jeremy and Richard lived in their little juvenile bubble, just doing their thing. But I digress. Back then, in 2002, the first job was to find some new presenters, so we rented a small studio in Acton and started to screen test the long list of hopefuls, with the audition involving them standing next to a Renault Avantime and talking about it for a bit, and then doing some news items with Jeremy. Quite early on, a fat bloke with a Shakin’ Stevens quiff called Jason Dawe walked in, cracked us up

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with his wit and bowled us over with his ability to make secondhand car news sound exciting. James May then rocked up. Jeremy and I had known James for years as a motoring journalist, and he’d been hired, briefly, then fired, quickly, from old TopGear. This audition, then, was important if he was to get another shot at the prize. So, James, being James, took one look at the Avantime, dismissed it as marketing bollocks, scanned the news stories he was supposed to go through with Jeremy, threw them to one side and proceeded to tell us how his old Rolls-Royce was costing him so much in fuel he’d had to take up Sainsbury’s offer of cheap petrol with every shop, and consequently he was now a bachelor with a fridge full of rotting lettuce. Then he left, leaving some bemused BBC execs staring into the middle distance. Back in our tiny office at the BBC, the amount of VHS tapes sent in by would-be presenters had now reached the ceiling. We got them from car dealers, students who’d run out of daytime telly to watch, classic-car nerds with real-ale beards, even lingerie models who’d blown their life savings in tanning booths. My favourite, though, was of a spirited chap whose film consisted solely of him trying to do handbrake turns on an industrial estate in his 3-Series. He never said one word, and, from memory, he never actually managed a handbrake turn. Then, on day one thousand and six million, a producer called Kate Shiers walked into the tiny office brandishing yet another VHS tape and said the guy on it was worth a look. He was small, energetic and doing a terrible car review while dressed for some reason as Batman... but Kate was right, there was something about the chap, so Richard Hammond was invited to come in. On the day, he turned up in a bad shirt and waffled some old nonsense about the Avantime, then trotted through the news bits OK, but there was nothing that lived up to the promise of his tape. Then, as the audition wound up, he started to talk about his woefully unsuccessful career as a radio DJ, with the highlight being his late-night spot on Radio Cumbria, reading out the names of lambs that were up for adoption. By the end of this tragic anecdote, Jeremy, and everybody else in the room, was crying with laughter. It takes some balls to come into a hotly contested audition and roll the dice on tales of your failures, but it was the right move because self-deprecation, although we didn’t know it at the time, was going to play a

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big part in TopGear’s humour. With the auditions complete, it was time to choose. All of us were in agreement we wanted the funny little failed radio DJ, but, beyond that, it was a world of arguments. The plump car dealer, Jason, was a front runner, Jeremyy was campaigning for James, but the BBC C grown-ups were adamant a woman should be in the line-up. Now, I’m a big,, big fan of the Beeb, but, my God, do theey stretch your patience when they start “applying their marketing logic”, or to use another word, meddling. Their theory behind a female presenter was that if you want women to watch something, you need women presenting it. I pointed out many times that I waas an avid viewer of What Not to Wear despite Jimmy Nail not featuring in tthe line-up, but my protest fell on deaf eaars. The problem was that most of the grown-ups in the BBC management didn’t care about the car world, and there’s this weird logic whereby the less their interest in the subject, the greater their compulsion becomes to meddle. As it happens, we’d auditioned lots of excellent girls who were more than up to the job of presenting a car show, but Jeremy and I had already started to realise that bloke banter was going to become an important part of the show – not macho, stag-night banter, just ordinary-bloke banter that would involve a journey into that massive black hole that is the male brain. We were never claiming that an all-male line-up would give us a superior dynamic to a boy/girl set-up, it was just what we were after. And so, hearts in mouths, with warnings of the terrible fury that would be visited upon us, Jeremy and I went to see Jane Root to tell her we didn’t want a girl. She looked at us for a moment as we braced ourselves, then said: “Fine, do what you think’s best. I’m not fussed either way.” What we’d just experienced was a classic case of BBC management playing their favourite game of Second Guess The Person In The Bigger Office. With Gendergate sorted, we were then free to finalise the line-up, or so we thought, but the BBC Meddling Dept wasn’t quite finished. Jeremy was campaigning for James to get the gig, but we were told a trio of Jeremy, James and Richard was a bit too “three middle-class public-schoolish type blokes of a similar age”. “And?” we replied. “Well, it’s all a bit cheese and cheese, as opposed to chalk and cheese,” came the response. We then argued Trinny and Susannah were cheese and cheese, the Two Fat Ladies were cheese and cheese, and so

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“WE KNEW BLOKE BANTER WAS GOING TO BECOME AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE SHOW”

James Dawe talks secondhand news to Clarkson in Series One. Harry Enfield was the first ‘proper’ guest on new TopGear. Original Stig

on, but eventually, after much cheeserelated arguing, we lost, and cheesy James was kicked into touch in favour of chalky Jason Dawe, who I recall was fairly middle-class and of a similar age. Our line-up problems were not quite over though. We still needed a real ace driver, with a racing background, and Tiff Needell was not an option because the Beeb wanted a new-look TopGear. And if we had a racing driver, he would, like Tiff, have to present films, but apart from the odd ones such as Tiff and Jason Plato, racing drivers aren’t known for their camera charisma. One evening, I was wrestling with this problem, trying all sorts of permutations on our massive whiteboard until it looked like a scene from The Theory of Everything. Then Jeremy rocked up. “You know what, I can now actually do the slidey tail-out driving like Tiff did on old TopGear,” he said. “But what I can’t do is precise laps, the kiss-the-apex stuff we need to get the lap times for the board. We still need a racing driver for that.” “Yeah, but then we still need a racing driver, who then needs to be able to speak, and we’re back where we started,” I replied. A minute or two later, one of Jeremy’s light bulbs lit up: “Hang on, why does he need to speak?” he said. “He could just be a bloke, in a suit and helmet, and he does the lap times and he never speaks… and we never even have to see him, or know who he is! He’ll be like a thing on the show!” Clarkson was


PLANET / THE STORY OF TGTV

by now very excited. “He could be like The Gimp in Pulp Fiction; we could call him The Gimp!”, he exclaimed. And, thus, The Gimp was born. All we needed now was a racing driver to fill the role, preferably someone who was discreet, a shrinking violet who didn’t like to talk too much, and so, for reasons I still don’t understand, we chose Perry McCarthy, the only man whose mouth works faster than most of the cars he’s driven. Perry also told us exactly where we could stick our notion of calling him The Gimp, so we settled on The Stig. With the line-up now complete, it was time to film a pilot. Full of ambition and good cheer, we had a set built that looked like the core reactor on the Death Star, and and somehow crammed it into the hangar we’d hired. Then, when the lighting tech said, “How many lights would you like?”, we replied, “Er… give us lots,” which he did. Next, we stuffed in an audience of several hundred, shut the doors on our metal hangar, switched on all the lights, and began filming our first show… in the middle of summer. It wasn’t long before people started fainting, and, two hours in, most of the audience was in a coma. Our guest, David Ginola, not an unfit man, just sat glumly in a lake of his own sweat, silently praying for death as we watched Jason, who by now resembled a bucket of water wearing a shirt, go gamely for his 18th stab at recording Used Car News. The recording was supposed to take a few hours but, what felt like three days later, we finally wrapped and edited together the results, which were, well, abysmal. Jane Root watched it silently as we edged nearer the window ledge of her sixth-floor office, and then she said: “Guys, just relax. I expected to see camera cables in shot and people walking about with cups of tea.” Taking her advice very literally, we then shot a second pilot, which was so relaxed the presenters started performing before the cameras were switched on. And when they finally were fired up, the place was in such anarchy they couldn’t actually pick out the presenters among the crowd. I remember Jason demonstrating the build quality on a car and, in his enthusiasm, breaking the centre console off, which we couldn’t film anyway because the camera was blocked by a man in a Subaru T-shirt. At this point, Brian the Director stormed out of his special truck and told me he’d never seen such a shambles in 20 years of making TV. But, in truth, there was no time for tantrums, because October 2002 was fast approaching, and in a matter of days we’d be going on air for real…

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PLANET / THE STORY OF TGTV

These sort of achievements however, weren’t exactly front of mind back in the days of those very first shows. In fact, I distinctly remember the most pressing issue on the morning of show one was not world domination, but how to position the Mazda6 in front of the cameras on account of Jim, one of the researchers, having backed it into a lamp post on his way to the studio. Still, at least the car was there, which was more than could be said for the Saab we’d tried to film the week before, when Hammond and the film crew had been left staring at an empty parking space because Rowland, another researcher, had taken it to go and visit his relatives. We were without doubt back then, completely cock-arsed. Take our genius plan to make lap times for the cars fair and equal. This was Britain – what if it rained? What if it was sunny? How could we create a level playing field each week? I know, let’s wet the track in certain places to make it a bit wet and a bit dry? So we got two massive bowsers to spew their contents onto the track, and were baffled to discover that a) they only managed to cover a tiny portion of Hammerhead, and b) tracks dry quickly on a sunny day. This was before we even remembered that rain, when the real stuff comes, doesn’t drop just in neat sections of one’s choosing. Still, at least Operation Wet Certain Bits of The Track to Match Rainfall That Doesn’t Actually Behave Like That Anyway would have made the studio audience laugh, which wasn’t exactly happening in the studio.

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The missing part of the TG puzzle arrived in the shape of James May

The main problem there was that the audience would turn up at say, 2pm, then stand on their feet, in a hangar that we’d either forgotten to heat up or cool down, for hour after hour while the presenters tried to record their links. We had no autocue so each piece required about 98 takes, and Jason Dawe bore the brunt of it with his lengthy and wordy Used Car News section. Today, a pair of tickets to watch the show can fetch 10 grand at a charity auction but back then, by 8pm, when we still hadn’t finished recording, I used to have to bar the exit door and plead with people to stay: “No, I understand you have to get home to your dinner and families and warmth and a chair, but


SHUTTERSTOCK (2)

“WE SEARCHED AND EVENTUALLY CAME UP WITH JUST THE THIRD MAN: JAMES MAY”

please please stay for another half hour while Jason nails that story about secondhand Citroens.” However, in among all these hamfisted goings-on, something was starting to click. For starters, the new directors had brought in fresh cameramen and editors who raised the quality of the pictures and the music to another level. Then you had people like Jim who, when not backing cars into things, unleashed his weird lateral brain to brilliant effect. “Everyone jumps a motorbike over buses, but let’s see how many bikes a bus can jump,” was one of his early and superbly pointless suggestions. He then got carried away trying to find a bear that could drive an automatic, switching to a monkey when

the bear option didn’t work out, but the TV animal handler lady screamed down the phone at him that she’d prosecute us if we dared put a primate in a car. Whenever she drew breath mid-rant, Jim tried to stress that the monkey wouldn’t have to worry about changing gear and said he was a big fan of the PG Tips adverts, which made her even more angry, so we ditched that and on to more important issues, such as Can a Granny do a Donut and What Toupees Work Best in a Convertible. The combination of high-brow science like this, sexy films and a slowly improving studio started to bring us a decent audience of around three million, but, sadly, Jason wasn’t working out as a presenter, so we decided we’d

THE PRESENTERS When Jason Dawe and his secondhand news left, James May and his questionable shirts and floppy hair arrived

let him go at the end of the first series. For a while, for some reason I cannot fathom, the BBC Management had a wobble about Richard staying, and in their usual, classic HR style said to him in December: “We may not want you back for the second series, but, anyway, have a good Christmas.” There was no doubt though that Richard would stay, so we were looking for a third man. It was about this time we had another visit from the BBC Meddling Department, who told us that market research showed our show was attracting young, lifestyle, trendy viewers to BBC2, so perhaps we should think about getting a young, lifestyle, trendy presenter. Ever keen to assist, we searched high and low and eventually came up with just the man: James May. His hair looked like it had been lowered on by a trainee helicopter pilot and his shirts were clearly styled by toddlers, but since we didn’t have (and from the on-screen evidence clearly never ever had) a wardrobe budget, there was nothing much we could do in the sartorial department. However, like Jeremy, James’s print background had given him a shrewd and witty eye on the car world, and he and

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Hammond bonded well. Their favourite game was eBay Roulette, which involved getting bladdered, going on the said consumer site and putting in a bid for a shockingly cheap old crock, then going to bed and waking up to see if you’d won. The other good thing about James was that on nearly all issues motoring, he agreed with Jeremy on absolutely nothing; and if you think Jeremy can stick with his opinion, he is a mere striplet of corn blowing in the wind compared with the stubbornness of May. With our trio now complete, the growing of the show could begin. In our heads we were making a car show for car dweebs, but as Series Four went to Five went to Six, we realised that the actual growing was sprouting in directions we hadn’t reckoned on. Kids were watching, grannies were watching, and if I’d had a quid for everybody who said “I’m not into cars but I like watching your show,” I could have afforded to stop making the show. At one point, the Meddling Department arrived bearing more news from the outside world. Nearly half of our audience, they now declared, was female. Before they had a chance to follow that up with the inevitable suggestion to get a woman presenter, we shooed them out and carried on. At first, I couldn’t work out why so many girls were watching, because, let’s face it, those three walking down the street are hardly going to be mistaken for Westlife, but then you realise that girls love men who are funny, who are a bit nerdy-passionate about their thing, and who don’t actually try and be attractive. I think they also probably looked at their partner on the sofa, Stella can resting on his beer baby, looked back at the telly and thought “I haven’t done so badly after all.” Obviously the kids were there for the Lamborghinis and the stunts, which had now grown from a bald man with a bad wig in a convertible to playing darts with cars, sending a Mini down a ski jump and trying to launch a Reliant Robin into space. I believe kids also loved the fact that Richard, James and Jeremy, besides having the same mental age as them, are intrinsically unfair and mean to each other, just as kids can be in the playground. As the audience grew in number and type, so did the size of the Complaints Bag, with more and more angry letters landing on my desk demanding that we stop arsing about and get back to doing proper tests of sensible cars for real

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people. We made a Wall of Complaints as a home for the best and most vitriolic ones, and Jeremy’s response was to invent the fictional character Mr Needham, who would write in every week, demanding the said sensible test of a sensible car, and then we’d give him the Fiesta attempting a beach assault with a company of Marines. Every problem, basically, was dealt with in as daft a way as possible. Perry, our lovely black-suited Stig, asked for a massive pay rise so clearly he had to go, and hence he met his demise off the end of an aircraft carrier. Looking back, I wouldn’t say we were clever enough to plan all the good things that happened. Some stuff was just a happy accident. We went to Florida and Alabama to make a 25-minute film about buying your own hire cars, then when we got back found we’d accidentally shot enough stuff for an hour, and that’s how the Specials were born. I think another seminal moment in the Hall of Happy Accidents was the £1,500 Porsches film. That began as a small road trip to see how good a cheap Porsche would be, but when Jeremy’s 928 conked out just over a mile from the start line, his genius editorial brain realised that crap cars breaking down was going to give us more entertaining telly than brand-new ones that worked. Hence we started doing cheap car challenges, with the highlight probably being James’s Lamborghini actually turning up to the start of the film, on an AA loader, having broken down before we’d even started fi lming. Another happy accident was the Cool Wall, which came about simply because we wanted something in style terms to talk to Trinny and Susannah about when they came on the show. Bottom line, we were too thick to think up these things from scratch, but smart enough to recognise something when it worked and then flog it to death.

“WE WEREN’T CLEVER ENOUGH TO PLAN ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPENED

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The Cool Wall, The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and, of course The Stig. Essential TG elements

Some stuff, though, did come as a result of hard brainstorming. It had to because, unlike say, Wife Swap or The Apprentice, the contents of which were shaped by a disciplined format, we would start each series with a blank sheet of paper. We knew there would be cars and bad shirts and a Stig, but beyond that bugger all. Luckily there was enough brilliant brainpower around to keep the new strands coming. It was Series Four, I think, before we did our first big race, the DB9 to Monaco, and it wasn’t until Series Eight that we attempted our first TopGear engineering projects, with the amphibious cars. If some ideas didn’t work out, we’d just ditch them and move on. TopGear Dog for example. Great idea at the time, but it either lay in a coma or ran around being completely mental. I think she’s currently living out her retirement in Hammond’s house somewhere. What I never had to worry about were the words coming out of the presenters’ mouths. Any producer would be blessed to have those three. They would set off on a road trip, no script, just a few bullet points in their heads, and riff away like mates. At some point we gave them control of the On/ Off switch for their in-car cameras, which was a mistake because Christ do they go on, but so much of their drivelly banter was gold. All of this high-end content came wrapped up in a wonderful authenticity that for me was the genuine expression of reality television. When in Bolivia James said to Hammond “You running into the back of me stopped being funny three series ago,” he meant it, and the viewers got that. When Hammond is throwing up on that sinking boat in the race to Oslo, he really is throwing up because the daft sod had had a skinful on the ferry the night before. When they got hurt – Jeremy knackering his shin driving his truck through a brick wall, James smacking his head open in Syria – the blood and pain was for real. Obviously, though, there was one nt when the pain got a bit too real, even an event that began with Hammond walkking into the office one day and saying “I’d like to go really f*****g fast this series,” and ended with him on liife-support in a coma. None of us, for as long as we live, N will forget that day when the tyre on his jet car blew at 463km/h and he hed over into the world’s pitch fasteest-ever car crash. Part of me thinkks that boy survived only because


RELIANT ROBIN TEST

TOPGEAR WINTER OLYMPICS

JEREMY DRIVES THE PEEL P50

TOPGEAR GOES CARAVANNING

RICHARD BEING SICK ON A BOAT

CAR vs TRAIN TO MONACO...

VICTORY TO THE DB9!

JAMES DRIVES UP A VOLCANO

AYGO vs FOX FOOTBALL

£10-GRAND SUPERCARS

TOPGEAR CAR DARTS

TOPGEAR MOTORHOMES

RELIANT ROBIN SPACE SHUTTLE...

WORKED. FOR A BIT...

THE INFAMOUS USA SPECIAL

AMPHIBIOUS CARS PT1

TOPGEAR POLAR CHALLENGE

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THE £1,500 PORSCHES

he is just so tough. He really is a human Honey badger; who else would be riding a dog sleigh to the magnetic North pole just six months after he woke up in a brain injuries unit thinking he was Admiral Nelson? While Hammo was recovering, the accident itself had propelled this pokey little car show onto the world stage, and for a while our audiences in the UK alone were hitting eight million a week, but soon the window shoppers moved on and we settled down to life with the genuine followers. And, by the way, when Hammond crashed, there were three racing drivers who took the trouble to find the number for the office and ring up to send their best wishes. I will appreciate that for ever, so thank you, Eddie Irvine, Jacques Villeneuve and James Toseland. On the subject of surviving, anyone who works on any TV show constantly plays the guessing game of how long the show itself will last, when will the numbers start to drop, how many series will you manage before the bosses pull the plug. In 2002, I estimated we’d be around for five, then a year later I upped my guess to 10 series. In the end, we managed 22, the viewing figures were still strong, and I’d given up the guessing game because in TV terms, we were now in uncharted waters. Sure there are programmes like Have I Got News For You that have been around for longer, but they replenish their stocks by drawing on what’s happening in the news each week. We, on the other hand, had to come up with new stuff all the time, because, with the best will in the world, you can’t survive on road testing the new Golf, and I can’t think of another show that followed that path so well for so long. Partly it’s down to the genius of the presenters, who were ideas men just as much as they were gobs on sticks; partly it’s down to the researchers and producers who came up with many great thoughts and worked so hard their hourly rate was probably the same as a Vietnamese child labourer. Partly it’s down to the arts and crafts boys – the directors, cameramen, soundmen, editors, graders, dubbing mixers – and partly it’s down to all the backroom mob: the mechanics, the runners, the coordinators, the lot. Many brilliant people. As I say, we set out to make a nice little show for car dweebs and ended up somewhere else, somewhere we never dreamed we’d be. And because we never planned it, I don’t think we’ll see the like of it ever again.

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Heart

WORDS: JAMES STANFORD PICTURES: JASON FURNARI

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uck your gut in”, says the race engineer. “I am,” I reply shamefully. He chuckles and pulls the belts so tight I can’t actually breathe. I curse the Mayans or whoever it was who discovered chocolate as I use the last of the oxygen in my lungs to ask for the belts to be loosened, just a little, please. I’m being jammed into the cockpit of a Formula 4 open-wheeler, a car that will be used to develop future racing superstars. It’s been designed for young drivers straight out of go-karts who know how to shave tenths off their lap times, but haven’t actually started shaving their faces. I guess it’s kind of ironic that one of the first people to drive the Formula 4 car in Australia is nudging 40 years and has already seen his dreams of racing stardom smashed into tiny pieces by Captain Reality’s over-sized hammer of despair. But a man can pretend, and today I’m masquerading as a real up and coming racer, driving the purest of all cars: the open-wheeler. Formula 4 is a new global race format designed to replace the Formula Ford class that has been breeding Formula One champions since pretty much just after the invention of motor car. Formula Ford will continue to be used at statebased level, but the FIA felt it was no longer the best feeder class, because it just didn’t have that much in common with next cars the juniors would drive on their path to Formula One glory. Formula Fords have naturally aspirated engines and manual gearboxes, unlike the turbo paddleshifting machines in higher classes. They also have no wings or things to give them any downforce, which does mean the kiddies learn how to slide about like maniacs, but doesn’t give them any experience with the wonders of aero, the higher cornering speeds and

“S

FORMULA 4 IS THE EW FEEDER CLASS ING STARS. TG TAKES AN IG -SPEED TEST LAP

“It’s like trying to fit my legs inside a cigar”

MYGALE FORMULA 4 Engine: 120kW 1.6L turbo 4cyl Transmission: 6sp sequential Weight: 565kg Price: $50k

ability to make slipstream passes. The crew calls and its my turn to hit the track at Victoria’s Winton Raceway. I make a tentative attempt to get in the car, the first Australian specification car made by French outfit Mygale. I have to be careful to not step on the special seat that was poured for Formula Renault 1.6 champion, Anton DePasquale, who is testing the car for the category promoter, CAMS. Earlier, technicians filled giant plastic bag with pliable foam and had him sit on it to mold to his body shape. When it sets, it’s like hardened expander foam and is brittle, so I have to try not to damage it as I get into the cockpit. You have to kind of clamber in, stand up on the floor, put your hands on the sides and swing your legs

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PLANET / FORMULA 4

James is in a feeder class of his own

“The acceleration is stunning. The urge to shoot off into the horizon is overwhelming”

How to fit a ver y round peg in a small, square hole

ANTON DE PASQUALE “THE NEXT DANIEL RICCIARDO”

THE 19-YEAR-OLD Aussie from Werribee, Victoria, is being hailed as a future F1 hero, after winning the Formula Renault 1.6L Northern European Championship. He was chosen by the FIA for their Young Driver Excellence Academy. His hips are narrower than James Stanford’s.

down into the long and narrow nose. It’s like trying to fit your legs into a cigar. Calling my cabin entry anything other than hilariously clumsy would be to suspend disbelief on the same level as the thoughtprovoking Sharknado. I’m strapped in now and, I must admit, am feeling a bit claustrophobic, thanks partly to the HANS (‘head and neck support’) device that is stopping my head from moving (it could also stop me from eating this month, given it cost a whopping $1000). Then the technicians bolt on the cabin extension that wraps around the driver (that’s the bit F1 drivers remove when they get out after a failure and walk back to the pits shaking their heads). It’s pressing down on my shoulders; I’m too tall and I should say something But I keep quiet to avoid jeopardising my something. chance to drive the t car. Finally I’m ta lked through the start process and flick the ignition switch and press the start button. The engine eruptts just inches behind me before settling down to a gruff racecar idle. I can feel it and my ears are alive with its meaty note that’s trumpeted ust. out a short exhau I’m sitting in a carbon-fibre tub, and the lightweight mateerial is also used for a nose cone and a is basically something for the rear ‘crash box’ which w other drivers to hit. The engine is cradled in a from aluminium. sub-frame made m All up, it i weighs just 565kg with a festively plump wr iter wedged in. it can run a relatively small This means m (and cheap) engine. Formula 4s run different engines in different countries, and Australia has choseen the biggest and most powerful bloody oath, mate). It’s 1.6-litre allowed (b turbo four making 120kW. You mayy remember this engine from Ford’s ST Fiesta, a car c that is so much fun we make involuntary ssqueaks of glee whenever we get wheel. behind the w Now it is time to release the clutch and head out on to thee track. All eyeballs are trained on me

and the pressure to not stall is high. Just to be sure, I give it some extra accelerator and move away without failure. The urge to shoot off into the horizon is overwhelming, but the photographer needs me to drive slowly for a lap so he can get some photos as he hangs out of another car. Here I am, in custom-built race car, dribbling along at 40km/h. It’s hideous. I haven’t felt such frustrated temptation since being given a huge box of fundraising hazelnut chocolate bars to sell when I was a Scout. I ate almost all of them. After what seems like a slow-moving eternity, the photographer finally exits stage right and I slam the pedal down to the floor. The acceleration is stunning. As the revs build higher and higher, I think about making a gear-change, and BANG! It happens, just like that. Damn, that is fast. The gearbox is built by a company called Sodemo (which sounds like the name of a naughty superhero) and it is made in France. It is still good though. You have to use the clutch pedal to get it off the line and when you come to a stop, but you can change gears without pressing the clutch. Just like a rental car. It is a pneumatic system, controlled by paddles on the steering wheel, which are so sensitive that they seem to change gears at the moment you start to think it is a good idea. Speed: intoxicating


In fact, the paddles are so sensitive that you must be careful you don’t accidentally press them. I brake at the end of the start-finish straight and get ready for the left-right section that is marked by a marshal’s hut on one side and a dirty great concrete wall that is very, very close to the track. I’m braking, but something doesn’t feel right. The revs are rising and the car starts moving around. I lift off and turn in, making the turn just fine; then I realise I was getting some accelerator with the brake, thanks to pedals designed for the delicate feet of a ballerina, meeting my clumsy Bigfoot extremities. My legs are also too big, because my hands, which are gripping the steering wheel, keep hitting the top of my legs. The steering is wonderfully direct, and it takes very little angle to position the car where you want it. The only issue is that it feels remarkably heavy, despite having power steering. I dismiss it as something a real racer would just suck up, but it does affect my desire to push because I’m not sure how quickly I would be able to make a correction in the event of a slidey moment. I find out later the newly appointed development chief at CAMS and veteran racer, Cam McConville, has two changes to the set up after testing: the brakes don’t have enough feel and… the steering is too heavy. I feed on the power and sling out of the corner and smash through the gears, soaking up every single brutal change. The engine is roaring as it spins to 6300rpm. It’s not the sexiest engine ever heard under acceleration, but sounds fantastic when you back off and it snaps and crackles, burning off extra fuel. In the cabin, the soundtrack is a combo pack of exhaust roar and straight-cut gear whine (which dominates the cabin sounds of many race cars, including V8 Supercars and rally cars). I can hear a disconcerting chirp under braking, and I wonder briefly whether the car’s underside is touching the track (again: too much chocolate); but it’s actually the turbocharger rapidly discharging air it suddenly doesn’t need. I start to get into a groove, but am not brave enough to push the car really hard, especially as every

Will James’ pro racing dreams come true? Spoiler: no

The level of technology and adjustability is huge, and confusing

James attempts to fin enlightenment, aft d finding he’s too he er av y

single driver who has signed up for the 2015 season is due to drive it the next day. But the experience is still sublime. Sitting down in the cockpit with southernmost orifice just 4cm from the tarmac, my view consists of two big fat black tyres, the top of the nose cone, a proper racing steering wheel and my gloved hands guiding the car past red and white ripple strips. I soak it up as the engine roars behind me. It’s a sweet moment that will stay with me until the day I develop dementia. Tearing down the straight, building up speed and vowing to brake later than I have before, my heart is broken as I see hands waving, signaling for me to return to the pits. I must admit I think about ignoring them and driving on and on, past sunset like the racer in Cake’s Going the Distance, but I comply and peel off into the pits. I kill the engine and accept that my open-wheel race career is over before it began. It was great fun, but I must admit feeling a little sad after pulling myself out of the cockpit. Maybe some chocolate will make me feel better.

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M AG I C B U S The Volkswagen Type 2 – more commonly known as the Camper, Kombi or Transporter – was originally conceived by a Dutch businessman by the name of Ben Pon. He’d seen VW’s post-war Plattenwagen shuttling about the Wolfsburg factory and ran the idea of a Beetle-based utility vehicle past the British armed forces, who had taken charge of the company.

A S H O RT D E F I N I T I O N O F I RO N Y

PLANET / PUB AMMO

In 1958 a Dutch rally driver invented a camera that measured and recorded his cornering speeds. Although TopGear approves of his intentions – he was trying to go as fast as possible – the device was later marketed to police forces as a means to catch speeding motorists. His name was Maurice Gatsonides, and he evenn donated half of his name to his product: called “gatso” cameras in Europe.

VOT E O F N O CO N F I D E N C E

A BANDOLIER OF TITBITS TO KEEP FELLOW ELLOW DRINKERS’ HEADS DOWN. NOBODY MOVE

According to a recent poll, 8.1% of motorists would vote for the Greens, despite the party’s pledge to ban almost all cars, or at least those capable of exceeding the motorway speed limit. The party has since reconsidered its policy, due to the fact it “would probably prove unattractive with the electorate”.

arr Ban Ca Polling Station Le eave ro oad

During the Apollo missions, NASA sent a total of three Lunar Rovers to the Moon, all of which were jointly constructed by Boeing and GM. Between them, they racked up 90km and hit a top speed of 18km/h, achieved by Gene Cernan of Apollo 17. However, and despite having a whole Moon to himself, he still managed to damage it, tarnishing the reputation of Rover drivers for ever after.

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IMAGE: THE HENRY FORD MUSEUM

ROV E R S R E T U R N


S L I D E- BY-S L I D E The world record for ‘twin drifting’ – that is, when two cars drift beside each other for as long as possible without crashing – stands at 28km. The world’s longest single-car drift went on for 144.1km, while the fastest drift stands at 214km/h.

T ESTING TIMES

1931 The Highway Code is published

TOPGEAR TOP TIP

How to...

arrange the tools in your garage

1934

Voluntary driving tests introduced

B LO O D H O U N D S SC S TAT O F T H E M O N T H As Bloodhound’s wheels rotate, they throw the air forwards at 1600km/h, a bit like a ball leaving a spin bowler’s hand. This meets air travelling over the car at 1600km/h in the opposite direction, but nobody knows for sure if this 3200km/h clash will create anything nasty until Andy Green actually tries it for real.

1935

Driving tests become compulsory

63% Pass rate during the first year

H I S ROYA L H I G H WAY N E S S The world’s first motorway – or, rather, autostrada – opened in 1924 in northern Italy. It’s believed that King Vittorio Emanuele III and his guests were the first to drive along its 40km length from Milan to Varese, and it still exists today, although it’s gained an extra lane in each direction and goes by the name A8.

Driving tests suspended for WWII

1975 Drivers are no longer examined on arm signals

1996 Theory test is introduced

46% Pass rate in 2009

There’s a lot of scorn heaped on people who keep their tools in order, but there’s a good reason for it. You’ll know where any tool is, instantly, instead of wasting time rooting around for it. And if the 12mm spanner is on its hook, it hasn’t been left inside the engine, waiting to wreck it. So:

1

Spanners on hooks, in size order

2

Sockets on rails, in size order

3

Screwdrivers in a rack. Make one from a simple shelf, with holes in it

4

Pliers, side cutters, circlip pliers, etc on pegs on a board. Draw around them so you know which one lives where

5

Nuts, bolts, washers, fuses, screws, etc in neat trays

6

Group related things in separate toolboxes; eg electrical test stuff in one, drill and bits in another

7

Arranging your tools in order will not, however, stop your ‘friends’ from ‘borrowing’ them. So if your name is Colin and you’re reading this, you swine. I know you have the 10mm because you were the last person in there, and there is a gap at 10mm in the row of spanners. See? It works

HAS JAMES EARNED A PINT FOR THIS TOP TIP?

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OUR CHOICE OF THIS MONTH’S TOP-SPEC STUFF

RECON JET In the old days, head-up displays were only for fighter pilots and RoboCop. Then Saab installed them in cars, which made everyone – or at least the few people driving a Saab – feel a bit like a fighter pilot or RoboCop. And now that we’ve arrived in the future, they have inevitably become wearable. Until now thhough, having an HUD on your face was a) only for special ops, and b) a clunky business, sometimes requirring an entire facemask in which to house it. Not so with the Recon Jet, an American invention that turns a pair of classic, wraparound sunnies into a projection screen for all sorts of useful information. It has a speedo, maps with turn-by-turn nav, weather forecasts and a trip computer. It also displays text messages and caller ID while an earpiece lets you talk on your phone, connected by Bluetooth or via the integrated WiFi. Then there’s an HD camera for recording cycle rides and morning jogs or whatever else you’re doing while it’s attached to your bobbing head. $699; reconinstruments.com

04 6

LEGO SPEED CHAMPIONS

ENGINE COVER CHAIR

LEATHERMAN RAPTOR

The Lego legend continues, this time with bricky versions of the LaFerrari, P1 and 918, plus entire motorsport setups from Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche. Sets feature cars, race trucks, mechanics, pit garages and tiny versions of tool sets. From $19.99; shop.lego.com

Each of the engine covers used to make these seats was attached to a Force India F1 car for at least one race during the 2012 season. Now they’re literally part of the furniture, attaching to a chair frame using the original bolt holes. $8,000; mementoexclusives.com

Developed by EMTs and fire fighters, the Raptor has the most useful bits for saving lives without an overkill of tools to complicate life-threatening situations. Includes medical shears, a seatbelt cutter, oxy-tank wrench and a glass breaker. $150; www.leatherman.com.au

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ALFA 4C SKATEBOARD Made from carbon fibre and aluminium, this lowered downhill longboard racer has been tested by world downhill champion Luca Gianmarco. It’s basically indestructible, which will be small reassurance if you peeds, crash while flying down a mountain pass at ludicrous sp since you’re not indestructable. Still, it’s nice to think thaat you can leave it in your will to someone who’ll appreciate it. $3400; store.alfaromeo.com

Rear view camera installed from $599

Electronic Lumbar Support from $440 per seat

Dropdown DVD from $599

WORLDS SOFTEST AUTOMOTIVE LEATHER. INSTALLED IN 1 DAY FROM $2000

W: www.doylesincar.com.au P: 1300 122 322


WATC H E S

Time travels fast Meet the watch with a speedo BREVA GENIE 03 Usually, clocking your speed on a mechanical watch – one with a tachymeter scale around the bezel – relies on measuring the time it takes to go through a measured mile. Not only does this mean you’ll have to find a neatly marked mile, but even when you do, it’ll only give you an average. For a real-time reading, just like you have on your car’s speedo, you’ll need Breva’s Genie 03. It features a pop-up anemometer, otherwise known as a device for measuring air speed. As the wind rushes through it, it spins a series of tiny cups, which are geared to a needle. The needle then points to the speed you’re doing, so long as it’s between 15 and 200km/h (the model pictured has a readout in knots, but a km/h version is also available). Of course, it only works if your wrist is exposed to the whistling breeze, so it’s no good in a normal, enclosed car. But in a normal car, you’ll have a speedo anyway. The Genie is more useful if you’re on an old motorcycle without proper dials, or on a jet ski or even a bicycle. Or you could just force some air from your body to see how fast it comes out. A human sneeze is supposed to travel at 160km/h, after all... $65,000; breva-watch.com

Master.

The new rally-inspired Polo GTI. Made for the streets with rally performance at heart, the new Polo GTI shares the same bloodline as the reigning champion of the World Rally Championship, the Polo R WRC. Sporting a powerful 141kW TSI engine, riding on 17” alloys and with signature honeycomb grille and iconic red accents, it’s every bit a GTI. Experience the exhilaration of Volkswagen performance and get behind the wheel of the new rally-inspired Polo GTI. Book a test drive today at volkswagen.com.au


WT AUTHOR 1914 The chunky 1914 is British brand WT Author’s second model, inspired by the original wristwatches of the First World War. Hence the exposed wire lugs, which – in the old days – were there to join a traditional fob watch to a rudimentary strap. $800; wtauthor.com

BREMONT JAGUAR MKI Last year Bremont made a limited-edition piece inspired by the Lightweight E-type. The MkI is similar, only it swaps the white gold case for a less pricey stainless steel version, and Bremont will make plenty of them this time, along with a cheaper MkII. From $9900; bremont.com

REBELLION X1 If James May had been victorious in that rallycross race on telly – the one where he was lapped by TG USA’s Tanner Foust – he would have won one of these. For Rebellion is the timing partner for the FIA World RX Championship. $TBC; rebellion-timepieces.com

Protégé.

VGA4737/TG/HPDPS/2505


THE CARS

D THE TOPGEAR WAY

DRIVE OF THE MONTH

AVENTADOR SV Lambo’s maddest is pleasure and pain TURN OVER

p56

p60

p65

p78

HONDA CIVIC TYPER

JAGUAR F-TYPE AWD

AUDI TT ROADSTER

MITSUBISHI TRITON

It’s gone turbo – so is it still as mental as before?

All-paw grip helps tame the wildest of the cats

Do we love topless Germans? Oh boy, we do

The latest tradie fave to get the once-over TOPGEAR.COM



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L A M B O RG H I N I AV E N TA D O R S V

Bring the pain Because the Aventador was clearly too slow, Lambo has made this version just‌ mad BY STEPHEN CORBY 052

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t might be time to pass a law to protect old, overweight and overly rich people from themselves. Because we care about the fatted-cow folk who can afford to spend $882,650 on a Lamborghini Aventador SV, the TopGear’s Law would make it mandatory to undertake a full medical before slapping all that cash down. This completely crazed car, the Superveloce version of the V12 range-topping Lamborghini, is tough on spines, brutal on internal organs

I

and may leave you deaf, particularly if your hearing is on the way out already. The standard Aventador was already alarming to drive, spitting blue flames, filling its lane like a very low LandCruiser (they’re the same width) and smashing 100km/h in 2.9 seconds. For the fully raving loonies at Lamborghini, of course, it was still not mad enough and so the SV version was hatched. As stylish company boss Stephan Winkelmann neatly summed it up: “Superveloce means extremely fast”. This meant more power – 552kW, up from 510kW – and less weight,

through the use of more Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic, the ditching of the carpets and any sound-deadening materials and the infotainment system, which would be a pointless inclusion anyway in a car this loud. The 1575kg weight of the original, with its then radical carbon-fibre construction, was not exactly obese, but the SV has shaved off another 50kg, which equals a power-to-weight ratio of a neat one horsepower for every 2kg of car. In zero to 100km/h terms that equals a mere smidge, shaving the

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“It becomes a grip-to-ground battle, rather than power-to-weight” sprint down to 2.8 seconds (but as an engineer explained to us, once you get under three seconds, you’re really fighting a grip-to-ground battle rather than a power-to-weight one). Where you can see the results is in the all-important 0 to 300km/h time, which is a staggering 24 seconds, a solid two seconds faster than the McLaren 650S. In the real world, or at least on a real race track, where you notice the extra performance is between 100 and 200km/h, two numbers that seem to be separated only by a single gear change and some screaming acceleration. As you might hope, the SV also takes advantages of its lighter weight by pulling up very, very quickly as well

SNAPSHOT

IN DETAIL

The amount of aero is staggering. And hugely effective

The nose has been made even more Aventadorier

No infotainment system. It’s too loud in there, anyway

SPECS

05 4

– from 100km/h to zero in just 30m, and from 300km/h in 290m. Which is still nearly three football fields, but even so. This kind of braking hurts, obviously. But then everything about the SV is physically challenging. It can hurt your eyes if you stare at it too long, for a start. While the Aventador coupe is never going to be accused of subtlety, this more savage version takes the sharp end of design to scalpel levels, with a ridiculously exaggerated nose treatment, new side skirts and a huge, race-car style carbon-fibre rear wing, which you can manually adjust to three different settings. Inside, the carbon has been liberally splashed about, with the whole door skins now made of it, and the seats get wild slashes of colour on them, while the big new TFT screen in front of you looks a lot like the kind you’d find in a Le Mans racer, or a video game. The new sporty buckets might look fantastic, but they’re about as comfortable as a concrete futon. When you’re belting around a track, you’re too busy to care, but there’s a solid

6.5-litre, V12,7spautomated manual, AWD, 552kW, 690Nm

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16.0L/100km

Corby trying to pretend his organs aren’t being squished

possibility that this car would approach being unbearably firm on the road. The Strada (“street”) setting feels almost forgiving, Sport ups the ante, and quickens the shifts of the newly optimised, seven-speed automated manual transmission. Switch into Corsa (“race”), however, and you’ll swear a mule has somehow snuck into the car and is kicking you directly in the ass. At speed, as each shift smacks into place in just 50 milliseconds, the car

0-100km/h in 2.8 secs, 350km/h

1525kg

$882,650


SV at rest: the only time it’s not hurting you

THE RIVAL

FERRARI F12

also bucks, like a Premier League footballer who’s had a fly land on his ankle. Again, this physically hurts, to the point where it’s almost impossible to change cogs at full noise without swearing loudly. The radical looks of the SV aren’t just about selling posters – or screen savers – to teenage boys, either. The wing, new underbody panels and the huge rear diffuser – which makes the back end look like a giant’s beard trimmer – all combine to increase vertical downforce by a whopping 170 per cent, while aerodynamic efficiency is up by 150 per cent. In raw figures, that’s 86kg of downforce over the front wheels,

The only car that could produce the same noise and fury as Lambo; but isn’t as hard core. Easier to live with on the road, but perhaps not as pointy at the track.

VERDICT Reaffirms the Aventador’s place above the Huracan. For those who just need the ultimate in super car silliness; but surely too much for the road.

9/10

compared to 32kg for the basic coupe, and 110kg vs 42kg at the rear. The result is that being “extremely fast” isn’t the super-duper Aventador’s only super power; it’s very much about the way it corners. With that much aero on your side you can attack bends at ridiculous speeds and, as long as you hold your nerve and don’t lift off – which would send you into the gravel for sure – you can lap an F1 track like the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, where the launch was held, at ferocious pace. This kind of downforce is something we can’t speak highly enough of, because it goes beyond the kind of grip that mortal cars produce to make you feel safe while doing things that inherently aren’t. Through the long, constant-throttle corners you genuinely get some idea of what g-forces Ricciardo and Co would be experiencing around here, at least on their warm-up lap (the Aventador SV sounds a lot better than a modern F1 car, too, and each time they flew down the straight, conversation became pointless). G-forces, at this level, are also kind of painful, squeezing your innards and forcing you to tense muscles down each

side of your body that are not normally used for much. It’s no wonder the marketing line for the SV is “Redefining Gravity”. In handling terms, this trackfocused Lambo is absolutely superb, with magneto-rheological dampers and pushrod suspension combined for the first time on a road-legal vehicle and new Dynamic Steering, which needs less input than the standard and yet delivers more feedback, and better weighting, at the same time. The combination of all this power, technology and weight-shaving is a car that assaults your senses and sends your heart-rate soaring; yet somehow it’s not scary to drive, the way something with 552kW should be. It just feels absolutely fantastic, and confidence inspiring, in every way, and with each track session you find yourself getting faster and faster, and exploring limits you didn’t know you could even approach. On public roads, where we weren’t allowed to drive it, it may well be like taking a wolf to your local dog park, but on the track it is supreme. It should, however, come with a health warning. Frankly, the price alone just about stopped our hearts. TOPGEAR.COM



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H O N DA C I V I C T Y P E R

Blow me down New Civic Type R abandons natural aspiration BY OLLIE MARRIAGE

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e’re on the M4, emerging from a set of roadworks as we head west out of town. Ahead, a diesel van. It would be easy to get caught out by his torque lunge away from the final cone, left choking on his sooty exhaust. After all, Type Rs, everyone knows, have no torque. And this feels every inch a Type R: the instruments glow red, there’s a fiddly dash, gorgeous manual gearchange, firm suspension and an exterior design that’s… well, we’ll come to that later. Right now, I’m preoccupied by the van. Will I need fourth? Third even? But then I remember. I have a turbo. And even on what’s only been a brief acquaintance so far, I know sixth will be fine. I had, for a split second, forgotten the seismic shift that’s happened in Honda’s thinking, a sea change that’s

W

seen the days of 8,500rpm rev limits and singing VTEC zones thrust aside in favour of the easy gratification of a turbo. Well, everyone else has, why not Honda? There’s a hiss of turbo pick up; the van is dispatched. No fuss, no drama. It’s probably what most people want in this day and age, and does at last mean the Civic gets to compete on a level playing field against the likes of the Focus ST, Megane RS and Golf R without being slated for its lack of low-rev urge. Honda hasn’t completely abandoned its heritage, though. This is still a VTEC. Where most rivals opt for variable vane turbo geometry to control boost across the rev range, Honda uses a monoscroll unit and depends on its VTEC valve control to manage things. It also electronically controls the wastegate. The end result is an engine with a far healthier mid-range, but it still pays to hang on, because the top end is savage. OK, it only goes to 7,000rpm now and, despite Honda’s engineering nous, is a little more laggy on the throttle than the Golf R, but by gum it’s not slow. Honda claims 0–100km/h in 5.7secs; we plugged in our timing gear and hit 160 in 11.3. That’s outrageous for a FWD hatch. Enough about the engine for a

SNAPSHOT

IN DETAIL

Aluminium lever has same claimed 40mm throw as old NSX-R

Instruments still glow red. Phew. If it ain’t broke...

Vents designed to disrupt airflow down the car’s flanks

moment, because you need to know how deep Honda has plunged in its efforts to sort out the Civic. As far as the bodyshell itself goes, they’ve not added extra steel, but by changing the bracket designs and using the adhesive more cleverly, rigidity has been increased by 18 per cent. Then there’s the suspension. Remember a few years back when the trendy term in hot hatchdom was ‘reduced kingpin offset’? The Focus RS, Astra VXR and Megane all had trick front-suspension systems reducing torque-steer by minimising the camber change on the front wheels during cornering. Vauxhall called it HiPer Strut, Ford RevoKnuckle, and Renault PerfoHub. Now it’s Honda’s turn to shout about its new Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension. DASFS. Catchy. The claim is appealing, though: torque-steer down by 55 per cent. The lower arms, damper forks and bushes have been re-engineered, although at the back Honda has stuck with a torsion-beam set-up. The promise is good – the new design exclusively for the Type R is so stiff (up 177 per cent) that there’s no need for a rear anti-roll bar. Still, it’s not the most promising set-up for dynamic behaviour. That 2.0-litre direct-injection engine

“0–100 in 5.7secs. That’s outrageous for a FWD hatch”

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Torque-steer is down by 55 per cent, apparently

No screamer, but the 2.0-litre woofles well

feeds its power to those poor, hardpressed front wheels via a 6spd manual ’box and mechanical diff. Honda does good manual ’boxes. The best, in fact. And this is a belter: so slick, so fast, so precise. If everybody had a gearbox like this, there’d be no call for doubleclutchers. It’s a total delight. And the gearing is not stupidly long, either. Honda, refreshingly, seems to have decided that real-world drivability means more than fractionally lower fuel economy. The claim here 7.3L/100km – OK, but not great. Over 700km of mixed driving and three carefully measured tankfuls, we got 10.1L per 100. The Civic consumes the lower ratios with zeal. The lights on the dash never seem to stop flashing if you give it the beans. It’s properly quick, properly addictive, makes a real song and dance about going places. But not an especially tuneful one. There is noise, quite a bit of it, but it’s not the top-end singing, snargly yowl emitted by VTECs of old. Instead, you get the feeling that the car’s only intent is to get to the next gear as soon as possible and that it views sounding good as superfluous. It’s a shame, because you get a bit of exhaust woofle on start-up, and on light throttle openings around town the turbo wastegate chatters audibly. It does everyday stuff surprisingly well, too. True, tyre roar on coarsely surfaced motorways is excessive, but the boot is huge. And there’s plenty of headroom. And the view out the back is surprisingly good, entirely unimpeded by that lofty wing. And the ride is… satisfying. The suspension is tremendously well controlled, like it’s underpinned by expensive dampers. It’s fi rm over speed bumps and potholes, but rounds off the edges really well. Considering the tyres are 235/35 ZR19s (Conti CSC6s, rubber fans), that’s a good effort. It never feels less than purposefully sporty, though, the whole car shot through with a motorsport vibe.

VERDICT Provided you can get over the way it looks, forget your concerns. The new Civic Type R is a hell of a thing to drive.

8/10 SPECS

05 8

2.0-litre4cylturbo,228kW,400Nm

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7.3L/100km

0–100km/h in 5.7secs, 270km/h max

The seats, for instance, are fabulous. Tall side bolsters, good rib support, best road-car seats I’ve sat in for a while, actually. Same goes for all the touch points – gearlever, steering wheel, pedals. Just a straightforward car to operate. I struggle with the two-tier dash and fi nd the seating position – despite the hip point having been dropped 30mm – a little high, but build quality is good and it feels purposeful. And now, on some terrific country backroads, I’m discovering what the Civic is actually like – or more accurately, what it isn’t like. It isn’t one of those playful hatches, like the Ford Focus ST or Mini Cooper S. No, it’s serious about speed. Acquiring it, maintaining it, even shedding it (the 350mm cross-drilled front Brembos are lovely to use and super-powerful). Two things strike you immediately – how low the centre of gravity seems and how stiff the shell is. I know, odd ones. But also important, because when you combine this tautness with the controlled damping and LSD, you end up with a wonderfully rapid and effective cross-country device. It doesn’t have great steering feel, if I’m honest, but it does have a very talkative (and deliriously effective) diff. The traction, the speed you can carry out of corners, is outrageous. It feels like a tarmac rally car, appearing to relish the punishment. If you want to get the most out of it, you have to know what you’re doing. Ideally, an ability to left-foot brake is preferable, allowing you to build up boost pressure on the throttle and release the brakes at the apex for a rapid, lag-free corner exit. Yep, all a bit track-day enthusiast, but that’s what the car’s like. The only issue I have is with the +R system. This is the button you press to make the instrument rings glow red. OK, it also loosens the ESC, implements a more aggressive torque map, reduces assistance to the electric power steering and fi rms up the magnetorheological dampers. Trouble is, you can’t select these settings individually – your choice is either to +R or to not +R. And unless you’re on millpond-smooth tarmac, you’re better off not plussing the R. Pity you can’t tone down the bodywork. Honda claims it all serves a purpose – managing airflow, adding downforce – but even if it does actively help, why does it have to look, well, like it doesn’t? Like a Hot4s version of itself? Then the only question is when will it arrive in Australia. It could be at least another year before it’s here. C’mon Honda – we’re desperate here.

1378kg

$45,000 (est)


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LIFE INSIDE

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350mm crossdrilled Brembos are great to use

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Seats are well shaped for longrange comfort and bolstered for strong lateral support We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: why can’t everyone make manual gearboxes like Honda? Pay a bit extra for the GT Pack and you get extras such as a 320W stereo, climate and nav Two-tier dash set-up means you might not be able to have the wheel where you want it A-pillars come a long way forward, creating big blind spots. The only visibility issue

Seats are well bolstered to keep you in place through corners

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JAG UA R F-T Y P E AW D

Top Cat goes all-paw F-Type line-up swells with AWD and manual versions. At last BY JAMES CLE ARY ince its global launch in 2013, Jaguar’s F-Type has had numerous laurels hung around its neck, but none bear the imprint of the famous British maker’s corporate backside, because it hasn’t been resting on them. Not content with rave reviews and solid sales around the world, Jag has

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continued to add tech, spec and new variants to the F-Type range. And that approach continues full-throttle for the 2016 model year. Closer links between brands within the Jaguar Land Rover business has increased opportunities for sharing hardware and engineering expertise, resulting in some interesting performance options. And there are

SNAPSHOT

IN DETAIL

Sport switch makes everything better. And noisier

This badge means you’re rich, and in a hurry

In typical British fashion, subtle hints of red

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The deployable spoiler creates up to 120kg of downforce

three major changes for the upgraded F-Type. First there’s availability of active all-wheel drive (AWD) on V6 S and V8 R models, followed by a six-speed manual option for V6 variants, and finally, the arrival of the 405kW/680Nm V8 R specification in Convertible form. This broadens the F-Type line-up from six to 14 models; 12 of which are offered in Australia. Subtle external changes are limited to a new bonnet profile for AWD models, with a more pronounced ‘power bulge’, and air vents either side of it positioned further apart and further forward. Steering assistance shifts from hydraulic to electric, and the torque vectoring (by braking) system that’s been standard on the R Coupe is now available on V6 models. The instrument cluster includes new dials and gauges, and upgraded ‘InControl Touch’ infotainment features Apple/Android smartphone connectivity, plus improved sat-nav function. The switchable ‘Active Sports Exhaust’ system is now standard across the range, plus V6 S and V8 R models now feature a reverse parking camera and front parking aid as standard. Over a 350km launch drive program,


Red calipers means it’s a top-shelf R variant. Sweet

we had the opportunity to sample the new F-Type in V8 R AWD Convertible, and V6 S RWD six-speed manual Coupe form, with a circuit session focusing on the V8 R AWD Coupe. The original V8 S Convertible’s main party trick was its riotous noise. Switch the active exhaust to sport mode and the 364kW/625Nm blown V8’s glorious howl around the rev counter was more than matched by outrageous pops and bangs on the overrun. It sounded like a fireworks display. But the addition of 41 extra kW and 55 more Nm turns this into an aural assault of shock-and-awe proportions. Unsuspecting fauna around the rural roads we were on must have thought hunting season had opened, with furious tailpipe explosions sounding like hand grenades peppering the countryside. But any claims made by its exhau st, the V8 F-Type is more than able to back up. Jaguar claims 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds, and this beautifully angry machine feels every bit that quick. The switch to electrically-assisted d power steering isn’t 100 per cent convincing, delivering good, rather than great, highway feel. Although t he track session proved the AWD system m

All covered up to stop you tinkering in here

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and parallel changes to the suspension set-up have made a big impact. Past on-track experience with the V8 F-Type Convertible highlighted a Jekyll and Hyde transformation once the level of attack moved beyond eight h Above that point, what had been tenths.

predictable and balanced dynamic behaviour became almost the opposite, with the rear end seemingly making up its mind as to when it would and wouldn’t grip. The in-house-developed AWD w with Mr Hyde, its it system does away

911 CARRERA S Half a second slower 0-100km/h, quieter and $27k dearer than the Jag

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Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) connecting the powertrain, rear diff and electro-mechanical centre coupling with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system to deliver optimum torque distribution. Default setting is 100 per cent drive to the rear, with a proportion sent to the front wheels as needed, up to a real-world maximum of 50/50. Another benefit is the front-rear torque split

controlling yaw angle, to minimise oversteer. Add stiffer springs and dampers, combined with the torque vectoring system, as well as mega brakes (carbon optional) and the AWD F-Type becomes a formidable road and track weapon. Like 007 doffing his wetsuit to reveal an immaculate dinner suit underneath, this Jag switches seamlessly from back road blaster to

Better ways to spend a day than this? There’s not many

The seats adjust to you. But will your eyes adjust to them?

VERDICT Improved dynamics and a manual option make the F-Type even more desirable.

8/10 “The AWD system does away with the F-Type’s Mr Hyde tendencies”

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V8 R

5.0-litre, V8 supercharged, RWD, 8-speed auto, 405kW, 680Nm

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10.7L/100km

0-100km/h in 4.2secs

1,665kg

$245,670


urban cruiser. It’s relaxed, quiet and beautifully finished. Seats that provide excellent lateral support, double up to deliver superb overall comfort. Despite running on 20-inch rims wrapped with hi-performance Pirelli P Zero rubber, ride quality is impressive, the eight-speed auto cycles through its ratios with imperceptible ease, and the new infotainment set-up works well. On the down side, despite a short (45mm) throw between gears the six-speed manual’s shift feels doughy. No game-breaker, but not as precise and positive as its maker claims. Another niggle is the new and improved nav system’s occasional confusion in built up areas. As fi rst world problems go, it’s up there. But hey, this is the quintessential fi rst world car. Entry point for the Aussie range is $119,470, which secures you a V6 manual Coupe, rising to $261,370 for the full-house V8 R AWD auto Convertible; a spread of more than $140k. Equipment levels across all models are suitably fruity. Which is just as well, because the gorgeous F-Type is now sweeter than ever.

JAG UA R F-T Y P E M A N UA L

ThepleasuresofDIY BY JAMES CLE ARY ack in Jaguar’s Le Mans-winning heyday, the idea of building a sports car without a manual gearbox would have been a capital crime, punishable by hanging in The Tower of London. So the inclusion of a six-speed manual ’box in the options list for the MY16 F-Type is big news. On rear-wheel-drive versions of the V6 and V6S, F-Type buyers can ditch the eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ auto in favour of a ZF-sourced six-speed manual. And an open road first drive of a three-pedal V6 S Coupe was a revelation. Weighing close to 140kg less than a V8 AWD equivalent, the manual S immediately feels more nimble, the steering somehow delivering better road feel and response, even during relatively relaxed B-road cruising. The compact alloy ’box uses a semi-dry sump lubrication system, supplying oil only where it’s needed, which allows use of a relatively small amount (1.2-litres) of low viscosity fluid. This reduces mechanical drag, saves weight and improves packaging. A custom-designed bellhousing contains a dual-mass flywheel for best possible NVH performance, and Jaguar claims each of the gearbox’s mounting bushes have been “carefully tuned to strike the perfect balance between shift feel and isolation from unwanted vibration.” Even the centre console armrest has been re-profiled for easier wrist, elbow and shoulder movement. But despite a short (45mm) throw between gears the sixspeed manual’s shift isn’t as precise and positive as its maker claims. By no means bad, just not ‘click-clack’ sharp.

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That aside, zero to 100km/h in 5.5secs isn’t exactly hanging around, the pedals are perfectly positioned for some old school heel-and-toe action (without any computer-aided trickery), and the highoutput supercharged V6 engine delivers a neckhair-raising yowl, strongly reminiscent of BMW’s best atmo in-line sixes. It’s an absolute pleasure to wind the engine up with the roof down, and soak in the noise. Plus it’s around $91k cheaper than the AWD V8 auto Coupe. Hmm… not bad. Not bad at all. JLR Australia is offering the manual V6 in Coupe ($119,470) and Convertible ($138,170), while in V6S guise, the threepedal version is Coupe only ($151,770). VERDICT: An excellent, though not flawless, manual ’box is a brilliant, and overdue, addition.

SPECS

3.0-litre,V6s’charged, RWD, 6spmanual,280kW,460Nm 9.8L/100km 0–1005.5s,275km/hmax 1584kg TOPGEAR.COM



8/10

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HYUNDAI VELOSTER TURBO

Getting warmer If you liked the original Veloster, you'll love the new one. Otherwise... o Hyundai’s updated their quirky asymmetrical hatch (it still has that one big door on the driver’s side, two smaller doors on the passenger side). Some mid-life updates are subtle – the exterior changes on the Veloster Series 2 are so subtle, you might need a microscope and a bloodhound to find them. The more important changes are under the skin – and on the price list. There’s now four versions in the range, including a new entry-level SR Turbo model for $29,990 – the same cash as the entry-level Toyota 86. So you can now have the Veloster for $24,990, or the Veloster + (with more kit inside) for $29,490 – both with the carryover 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, turning out 103kW and 166Nm. Then there’s the SR Turbo, and the SR Turbo + ($33,990), both with the 1.6L turbo 4cyl, producing 150kW and 265Nm. Phew. Got all that? Good. Because we’re basically not going to talk about the non-turbo models any more. Just the SR Turbo, and the SR Turbo plus. Gone is the old auto transmission for the SR Turbo models, replaced ced with a new seven-speed dual-clutch box. T six-speed manual remains th he same. You might well be askingg why anyone would buy a Velosterr Plus when the SR Turbo is just $5500 more. The answer is that Hyundai have de-fruited th entry-level turbo – it lacks th he sat-nav, panoramic sunroof and

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SRTurbo

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Blue leather trim for the Turbo models

Warm hatch, same price, but more conventional looks

climate control of the Veloster Plus (the SR Turbo Plus regains them, plus a bit more.) There’s also a new matte blue paint option, called Blue Sprinter. It looks pretty great. The SR Turbo models get new seats, a new steering wheel, and some interior tweaks. Both of the Turbos are quick enough to warrant the bolstered seats. But it’s not the sports car Hyundai claims it is. It’s a good car; it’s even a fun car. Sporty? Sure. But a sportscar? No. Make no mistake, 150kW, and 265Nm, are not to be sneezed at – the Veloster will never disgrace you at the traffic lights, and would probably surprise some opponents

1591cc4cylturbo,6sp manual, FWD, 150kW, 265Nm TOPGEAR.COM

BY TIM KEEN

New seats, dials, wheel and trim for turbo models

VERDICT VERDI Existing Veeloster fa ill love on’t tthe doubters.

0 6.9L/100km

(it’s around seven seconds from nought to 100kmh, in a non-scientific test.) But it’s not all just about speed and numbers. In everyday driving, the Veloster feels fine – the new seven-speed dual-clutch is smooth and easy, but it refuses to get angry. It won’t hold gears even in manual mode, simply over-riding your paddles, nor will it shift down if it thinks you’re being silly, which is frustrating because you really need to have the engine howling for it to really come to life. The manual box obviously won’t change up on you, but you still need to wring the poor thing’s neck to get real pace out of it – change too soon and you’ll be lost in a hole of sluggishness. The clutch is light and has no particular feel to it – it’s fine for ordinary down-the-shops driving, but it lacks the feel of more engaging cars. And the Veloster doesn’t sound very exciting, even when you’re really belting it; it would benefit from a louder exhaust, and maybe some engine noise piped into the cabin. On the other hand, if you don’t think of it as a sportscar, but just a practical hatch with some spurt when you need it… well, there’s the Veloster’s strengths: it’s comfortable, the new upgraded suspension is well-judged, and it’s a more practical option than a Toyota 86. The Veloster has always been a divisive car, in looks and capabilities. The Veloster Series 2 is even more Velostery. If you liked the first one, you’ll love this one. If you didn’t… well, there’s always an 86.

0-100km/h 7.0secs (est)

1,270kg

$29,990


AU D I T T T D I ROA D S T E R

Roofless efficiency Sensible fun from Ingolstadt BY OLLIE KEW uch as I hate to perpetuate a stereotype, the Audi TT Roadster is not really a sports car. Not in diesel-powered TDI form anyway, using a grunty but hardly goading 135kW 4cyl (a popular engine in Europe, but not planned for Australia.) Yes, the fact that you’re not so hunched and bent-legged in the seat any more means the driving position is superior to the old Roadster’s, and the clever part-plastic new roof is 6dB better insulated and 3kg lighter than before. The looks have also survived the morph to cabrio as intact as the previous model, principally because the new TT’s redrawn exterior isn’t a tenth as radical or gratifying a restyle as its class-leading cockpit. As a box-ticking, empirical device, the TT Roadster is undoubtedly a better car than the one it ousts. More efficient, more refined, more comfortable, better inside. But a front-wheel-drive diesel Audi obviously isn’t on the same page as a Mazda MX-5 or Porsche Boxster as a driver stimulator. Nor, despite its less nose-heavy weight distribution, is it

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Topless looker that aims for fun rather than sportscar bragging rights

VERDICT Thankfully, the 2.0 petrol is far superior – even better in quattro flavour.

7/10

1984cc4cylTD,FWD,135kW,380Nm

4.5L/100km

aiming to be. It’s going for the BMW Z4 market. I’m not sure it’s quite as well balanced as the folding hard-top b B eemer, but it counters with much uperior body control. su The TT’s top-up refinement is ceertainly impressive too, if not as close o the coupe’s noise levels in diesel to form as it is in petrol. It’s a fivenotches problem – you’ll need to crank the bombastic stereo five notches higher to drown out the extra clatter. The wind deflector really ought to be standard-fit for comfortable al-fresco motoring. Top down, there’s no escaping the raucousness of what’s otherwise a really handy diesel car – powerful, flexible, and frugal. All the same, it’s not that much of a shame that this drivetrain isn’t coming to Australia. How many people out there are genuinely hanging out to go hypermiling in a diesel TT Roadster? It’s a clinical, and ever so slightly joyless device, the diesel TT Roadster, but if you must have the most straitlaced, sensible convertible in the place, the roofless TT is a predictably sorted piece of kit. And it does have a very lovely cabin indeed.

0–100km/hin7.1secs,250km/h

1265kg

Top-of-the-class TT cabin makes up for many of its other sins...

$80k(est) TOPGEAR.COM



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HYUNDAI i40

Ready for battle The mid-size segment is a tough place to wage war. Is the updated i40 up to it? BY TIM KEEN he mid-size car segment is under more pressure than Clive Palmer's desk chair these days – buyers being siphoned off by compact SUVs, or finding they can live with ever-roomier compact cars, and at the same time, the competition for a shrinking pool of customers is growing fiercer. The newly updated i40 has to battle Ford’s excellent new Mondeo, the updated Mazda 6, the all-conquering Camry, even Hyundai’s own new Sonata. The i40’s weapons in this battle are price and included spec – and they’re both sharp enough to carve out some space on the battlefield. There’s two body styles, the sedan and the wagon. The sedan is diesel only - a 1.7L 4cyl turbo oiler with 104kW, 340Nm, mated with a new 7-speed dual clutch transmission – while the wagon comes in either diesel or petrol flavour

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New tail lights help sharpen the updated i40's exterior

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– the petrol heart being the 2.0L four-pot with 121kW and 203Nm, via a 6-speed torque converter automatic. The diesel, with its dual-clutcher, comes with flappy paddles, but it’s not really that sort of car – it’s a cheerful little ride and gets along just fine, but you won’t be tempted into any illegal street racing in it. As with every model they launch or revise, Hyundai has tinkered with the ride and handling set-up (get the Hyundai product guys started on suspension combinations, and you could turn it into a drinking game: take a sip every time someone mentions damper testing or sway bars, and you’ll be dead in 20 minutes.) And as always, they’ve found the sweet spot here: it’s not sporty exactly, but it’s firm enough not to roll around in bends, while still soaking up the lumps and bumps. There’s a bit of wind noise and tyre roar when you get on the freeway, but it’s nothing unbearable. To match the two body styles and two engines, there’s two trim levels (it’s like Hyundai has been taken over by Harvey Dent). The diesel-only sedan is $33,090 in entry-level Active guise, and $41,990 in Premium. The petrol Tourer wagon is $32,490 in Active, and $41,390 in Premium; and the diesel Tourer wagon is $35,090 in Active and $43,990 in Premium. That

Active sedan 1685cc, 4cyl turbo diesel, 104kw,  340Nm

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5.1L/100km

i40's well-specced but largely unremarkable interior

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TOYOTA CAMRY Will inevitably outsell everything in the segment again.

VERDICT Sharply priced with generous standard spec; updated exterior looks handsome, new diesel works well with new dual-clutch 'box. A worthy contender

8/10 0-100km/h n/a

1524kg

makes the i40 sedan the cheapest mid-size diesel sedan and the cheapest mid-size diesel wagon on the market, and sharply competitive in petrol wagon guise too. Combine that with the standard spec, and you see how the i40 plans to attack its competitors battlements. As both sedan and wagon, entry-level Active spec comes with nine airbags, a full suite of safety acronyms and electronic helpers, automatic headlights, LED running lights, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera, keyless entry, a 4.3in touchscreen that’s a bit teeny but still a touchscreen), Bluetooth, and rear air-con vents. Premium models also pick up 17in alloys (up from 16in), a bigger 7in touchscreen with sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, heated and electrically adjustable front seats, a panoramic glass sunroof, auto wipers, and a hands-free power tailgate on the wagon. And that’s basically the battleplan. The updated i40 looks handsome in the metal, the wagon has a generous cargo space (1672 litres with the back seats down; that’s 100 litres more than the new Mondeo wagon), it drives sweetly enough, is keenly priced and wellspecced. The battle for the segment just got even more intense.

$33,090


AU D I R S 7 S P O RT B AC K

Pretty, fast A gorgeous speed machine for you and 4000 of your friends BY PE TER MCK AY t seems only last year that Australia welcomed the first-ever RS7 Sportback model. In fact, it WAS last year, and already there’s an upgrade. This doesn’t extend to any awesome performance boost, mind. Audi believes that 412kW/700Nm is more than a sufficiency for a car that already relies heavily on film-star looks to pull the punters, and they may have a point. How quickly do stylemeisters need to blast to 100km/h? TopGear senses that 3.9 seconds is adequate. So the changes are limited to some mild massaging of the styling, and a few other engineering and infotainment tweaks. A drumroll please for a revised front grille and a new LED headlight design (with an impressive vision improvement), side sills, and rear-end. Only the trainspotters will really truly notice. Helped by cylinder-on-demand, greater thermal engine efficiency brings down fuel economy to just 9.5 litres per 100km.

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BMW M6 GRAND COUPE A big, beautiful $237,975 sports sedan with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 of 412kW, 680Nm… via the rear wheels.

VERDICT The RS7 Sportback has the same twinturbo V8 as its RS6 Avant brother, minus the wagon practicality. But you pay more for the more dashing silhouette. It is lovely, though…

7/10

SPECS

3993cc,8c l twin-turbo etrol, AWD,412kW, 700Nm

In the smart cabin, the new Driver Information System (DIS) sits pertly and appropriately in front of the driver, powered by the new-generation MIB2 infotainment system, which in turn is driven by the latest Nvidia Tegra 30 quad-core processor. So owners have the last word in userfriendly music/phone/sat-nav interfacing. Audi did feel that some of its customers need to stay in contact with more people in their network and that the old system’s maximum of 2000 entries in the Contacts section of the Bluetooth-linked in-car phone tech was not nearly enough. So there is now provision for potentially 4000 names and numbers. Makes us feel rather friendless. Emphasis on style along with urge carries over to the sports seats which don’t quite hold the torso and shoulders in place when hurling through a tight turn. Those will skinny backsides may like to choose the no-cost bucket seat option. Be told too that rear seat space is limited and that you should not attempt to squeeze in Bu dy Franklin and Willy Mason. Revisiting the RS7 Sportback R ra med home the message that this is in e ed a damned fast top-line pe former, with the assurance of wheel drive bringing that planted all-w fe ing as you motor along in even the wo st of conditions. At Phillip Island, e weather delivered the usual raft of co trasts, so we got to tackle a greasy, we track. Worried? Not a bit.

.5L/100km,221g/kmCO2

AWD equals confidence on wet track

There is the usual natural inclination to understeer, a characteristic easily nullified by coming off the throttle minimally mid corner. It then quickly gets the nose tucking back towards the apex, the twin turbo V8 barking and bellowing with notable delight at every urgent paddle shift via the standard RS sports exhaust. A top speed of up to 305km/h is possible with the Dynamic Package Plus ($25,840) option… but Top Gear, showing rare caution and responsibility, settled for 260.

0-100km/hin 3.9secs

2005kg

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R A N G E R OV E R S V R

Sport star The schoolrun has just got more interesting BY JAMES CLE ARY he Range Rover Sport SVR makes no sense. Nobody actually needs a 405kW SUV capable of running 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds. But, environmental sensibilities notwithstanding, the fact it exists makes the world a better place. Powered by the same all-alloy

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5.0-litre supercharged V8 found under the bonnet of the Jaguar F-Type R, this beautifully brutal, 2.3-tonne beast is the fastest, most powerful Land Rover ever produced, and the first product of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), an engineering SWAT team assigned to the task of making cats leap further and Rangies rove faster.

SNAPSHOT

IN DETAIL

16-way adjustable seats in leather… and speed stripes

Everyone loves loud quad pipes. Except your neighbours

SVR uses 5.0L V8 from Jag F-Type. Not really in two pieces

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The Range Rover Sport is already available with a 375kW/625Nm version of the Jag V8, running 0-100km/h in 5.3secs, so the SVR is overkill of the most hilarious and desirable kind. It’s even lapped the Nürburgring in 8min 14secs; faster than the BMW 1M Coupe, and Holden’s own Rob Tribiani in the VF Commodore SS Ute. Aside from the hi-po engine, the SVR picks up a swag of suspension, drivetrain and chassis improvements, including a sports exhaust with switchable bypass valve, stiffer rear sub-frame bushes, uprated air springs and revised dampers. The rear eDiff has been recalibrated for on-road performance, and the front Brembo brake set-up features 380mm ventilated rotors and six-piston calipers. Outside, the biggest clue to the SVR’s performance potential is the standard 21-inch rims shod with 275/45 all-season rubber. Giant 22-inch alloys wrapped in more focused 295/40 Continental SportContact tyres are optional. The front bumper also features larger, trapezoidal air intakes feeding the twin-charge air coolers, the bonnet vents are revised and the grille is black.


Big brakes useful for 2.3-tonne RR on Nürburgring

Interior ideal for black and white photography

There are also vents in the front quarter panels, macho side mouldings, a high-level rear spoiler, and unique rear bumpers sitting above a gloss black diffuser. Inside, 16-way electricallyadjustable sports seats are trimmed in ultra-smooth (non-grained) Oxford leather, and the dash is highlighted by classic engine turned alloy panels (carbon fibre optional). The SVR’s launch program took in urban, B-road and freeway sections, as well as a track session, and like its Jaguar F-Type cousin, the Sport SVR announces its arrival with a ground trembling rumble. Drive this Rangie to

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PORSCHE CAYENNE TURBO Lighter, faster, and more frugal, but $12,300 dearer.

“The SVR lapped the Nürburgring faster than a BMW 1M”

the polo and you’ll scare the ponies back into their floats. At around 3,000rpm an electronically-controlled exhaust bypass valve opens and Thor-like thunder starts blasting out of quad exhaust outlets. On the other side of the rpm ledger, the engine is tuned so that when you lift off the throttle, spits of unburnt fuel combust in the exhaust system for a popping and crackling sound show. But this suave utility vehicle puts its watts where its mouth is with fierce acceleration to match the bellowing soundtrack. Keep the throttle pinned and the SVR blazes ahead at supercarrivalling speed. TOPGEAR.COM



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Pied Piper Rangie freed New York of taxis. Next, the kids...

The SVR not only shares its stonking V8 with Jag F-Type, but borrows its ZF eight-speed adaptive auto transmission as well. Relative to the ‘standard’ Range Rover Sport, its shift times have been reduced by a claimed 50 per cent thanks to careful management of fuel cut-offs during up-shifts. And as in the Jag, the transmission’s adaptive shift strategy monitors acceleration, brake inputs, lateral g, kickdown frequency and degree of gradient, in choosing one of 25 programs to align its behaviour with that of the driver and road conditions. Also worth noting the trans uses a torque converter for first gear, which is bypassed by a locking clutch from second onwards. As a result, ratio swaps, especially via the wheel paddles, are super clean and quick. In Dynamic, full manual mode holds gears up to, and on, the rev limiter. On the flip side, it will only downshift to prevent the engine stalling. Nice.

SPECS

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“It’s way better dynamically than any SUV should be” The SVR’s active locking rear diff has also been recalibrated to ensure torque is fed even more rapidly to the rear wheel with most traction in cornering, and the standard torque vectoring (by braking) system does its bit for stability and maximum power down. Peak cornering g-force has increased from 1.1g in the V8 Supercharged to 1.3g in the SVR. The net effect is rapid B-road progress, with impressive body control for such a big bus, powerful brakes, good steering feel thanks to

5.0-litre,V8superchargedpetrol,AWD,8-speedauto,405kW,680Nm

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12.8L/100km

recalibration of the variable ration electronic assistance, and stunning speed out of corners. No, it’s not a Lotus Elise clone, but it’s way better dynamically than any multi-tonne SUV has a right to be. SVO’s suspension engineers already have a solid platform to work with, thanks to the Sport’s light-but-strong aluminium monocoque construction. Then the alloy-rich, double-isolated suspension consists of double wishbones at the front and multi-links at the rear. The SVR also features cross-linked, four-corner air suspension and Adaptive Dynamics with continuously variable magnetorheological dampers (monitoring vehicle movements “at least 500 times a second”, and adjusting damping force in response to road-surface driver inputs). Working in parallel with the uprated air springs and variable shocks, the two-channel Active-Roll Control

0–100km/hin4.7secs

2,335kg

$218,500


1 3

2

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LIFE INSIDE

(ARC) has also been specifically tuned to enhance the SVR’s high-performance capability. But despite all the high-tech suspension tuning, the SVR subtly transforms from stinging like a bee on the backroads, to floating like a butterfly in the city. Even on the optional 22-inch rims the SVR is p smooth, quiet and relaxed around town. (It’s still a Range Rover, after

Muscular, gentlemanly beast that makes no practical sense. We want one.

all.) The standard of fit and finish inside is as you would expect… high. Land Rover also says all claims on off-highway ability made for the Range Rover Sport stand for the SVR; same wading depth (850mm), break-over angle, approach and departure angles… the lot. And to prove it, the launch drive included a brief bush bash, covering steep inclines and descents, rutted muddy trails, as well as broken, rocky trails. We shifted the two-speed central transfer case to low range ‘on the fly’ (possible up to 60km/h) and explored the SVR’s crawling ability using the brilliant hill descent control. An impressive double act. No major black marks overall, but keep the exhaust in (open) sport mode at slower speeds and the engine note will boom and drone around the cabin; helped in no small part by a symposer, “enriching sound quality, and filtering desirable induction noise into the cabin.” Then there’s claimed combined cycle fuel economy of 18.4L/100km.

1 2 3 4 5

Seats made of Windsor leather. Possibly that comes from the tanned hides of lesser royals Seats also get extra side support, useful for peak cornering of 1.3g. Truly Six Terrain Response options, including Mud and Rock Crawl. No Nürburgring setting. Shame Aluminium is standard here, but you can tick carbon fibre trim as an option. Sporty Press here for adjustable ride height: higher for off-roading, lower for fitting in the garage

That’s likely to climb well into the twenties in the real world, especially with this much snorty V8 fun lurking under your right foot. You’ll need $218,500 to park the SVR in your driveway, a cool $36,500 more than the Sport Autobigraphy Dynamic V8. That’s a lot of dosh, but the first Land Rover to wear the SVR badge delivers a truck load of fun and performance. TOPGEAR.COM



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JAG UA R X E

Taste test Hurrah! A decent 3-Series rival from Jag BY JASON BARLOW aguar insists that the slightly grumbly diesel and quality glitches we spotted three months ago during our XE pre-production drive have been eliminated. Now that we’ve driven the real deal, including a first go in the 176kW, 2.0 4cyl turbo, and an extended run in the 132kW diesel, the clouds of doubt have finally parted. The XE is a corker. It’s also that rare thing: a clean-sheet piece of design and engineering. There’s nothing reheated, rebooted or facelifted – there’s an all-new platform that’s 75 per cent aluminium, new engines, and a new multi-link rear suspension that can absorb vertical and lateral loads without getting remotely flustered. It also weighs roughly 20kg less than the equivalent BMW 3-Series. Yes, the XE makes a major case for itself to rational, spreadsheety types, with very impressive fuel economy and other practical concerns. But jaded 3-Series and C-Class owners should know that it’s also the best all-rounder

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SPECS

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XE needed to be good to have a prayer in this sector. At long last Jag has delivered.

9/10

BMW 3-SERIES The 3 has owned this territory for so long, it should have evolved into a higher life form by now. XE runs it close

1999cc, 4cyl turbodiesel, RWD, 132kW, 430Nm

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in the segment based on the criteria TG most values: entertainment. Better still, the 2.0-litre, 176kW turbo could be the pick of the range. It doesn’t sound especially inspiring, and can be a bit vocal when it’s being stretched. But it’s so refined at a steady-state freeway speeds that you’d scarcely know there were any fastmoving bits of metal upfront at all. In passively suspended Comfort or Sport spec, the XE has that oiled, slickly engineered feel that used to be the 3-Series’s principal USP. Jag guys have an unscientific but useful ‘50-metrefeel’ metric (aka the car version of first impressions), and the XE nails it. All the control weights are spot-on. Even the indicator stalk has a slick action. We also tried the 132kW Ingenium diesel, with a manual gearbox, in both Comfort and Sport set-up. Refinement has been improved, and although we admittedly preferred the auto, the

4.2L/100km

0–100km/hin7.8secs,210km/h

manual ’box is perfectly good. You have to work harder to liberate the sports sedan within, but it’s definitely still there. The XE resists understeer, has peerless mid-corner balance, and its electric power steering is the best I’ve tried. It rides well and manages to be nimble, supple but controlled all at the same time. These are all qualities exemplified in the supercharged 251kW 3.0 S, whose braking system incorporates torque-vectoring to disguise the absence of a proper diff. On the road, at least. Problems? Not many. The cabin is arguably the only significant letdown. It’s clean and functional, and real effort has gone into future-proofing the infotainment system. But the nav is horribly glitch-prone, and some of the interior plastics betray the beady eye of the bean-counter. The XE is also notably spec-sensitive, and does not look good in Mars-bar beige chocolate.

1550kg $60,000 (est)


AU D I A 1

First steps Audi’s baby hatch is refreshed to attract newcomers BY JAMES CLE ARY eidi Montag, reality TV celeb and poster girl for cosmetic surgeons the world over, caused a storm in a DD cup by going under the knife regularly from her early twenties. And now Audi has felt the need to nip tuck its A1 Sportback, although it feels like the cute little hatch is still in its first flush of youth (it launched here in mid-2012). And there are even bigger changes under the skin. Kind of like giving Heidi a sneaky heart-lung transplant when she’s just in for a bit of Botox and some fillers. According to Audi, if you’re interested in tech and design, live an ‘urban lifestyle’, and are looking for a way into the Audi brand, this is your first step. It would also help if you have two X chromosomes, because two thirds of A1 Sportback buyers are expected to be women. External tweaks aren’t huge: there’s some small changes to the signature grille, the headlights, and the air intakes and fog lights. The exterior mirrors are now located on the door shoulders, plus there’s a new diffuser and restyled tail lights. The revised A1 Sportback range includes three new turbo petrol engines – a 1.0-litre 70kW/160Nm triple, 1.4-litre 92kW/200Nm four, and a 1.8-litre 141kW/250Nm four. All are available with a seven-speed dual-clutch ’box, with a conventional five-speed manual standard on the 1.0 three cylinder, and a threepedal six-speed on the 1.4. And last but not least, conventional hydraulic steering has been swapped out

A decent amount of fruit in a compact basket

H

SPECS

1.0TFSI

THE RIVAL

MINI ONE This 1.2-litre triple is quicker and cheaper, with personality plus.

VERDICT First step on the Audi staircase is now even more polished.

8/10

for a new electromechanical set-up. We had seat time in each variant (although three-pedal manual versions were notable by their absence), and the star of the show is the base 1.0-litre. A throaty three-cylinder engine sound joins surprisingly willing acceleration: 160Nm is enough to give the lightweight A1 some decent mid-range oomph. The seven-speed ‘S tronic’ dual-clutch gearbox (with paddle shift) is great, the new electric steering is good, and ride comfort, especially for a car with a stubby (2,469mm) wheelbase, is exceptional. The 1.4 Sport and 1.8 S line are a little faster, but no more entertaining. We’d save the cash and stick with the triple. The front seats are comfy and supportive, and the infotainment has been given a boost, with even the base car boasting a radio with three tuners, SD card reader, auxiliary port, Bluetooth connectivity, eight speakers, and a 6.5 inch, fold-out monitor. Optional Bose audio upgrades that with a 465-watt amp and 14 speakers, including a mighty

1.0-litre,3cylturbopetrol,FWD,7-speeddualclutch,70kW,160Nm

4.4L/100km,

sub-woofer under the boot floor. The fit and finish across the line-up is excellent. Road and engine noise are subdued at urban speeds, but despite five-seat capacity, rear room is only passable for full-sized adults. Pricing starts at $26,900 for the five-speed manual 1.0 TFSI (S tronic $28,250), which doesn’t skimp on standard features, including 15-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, 6.5-inch colour display, and cruise. At $27,750 for the six-speed manual (S tronic $30,100), the 1.4 TFSI Sport adds 16-inch rims, the ‘Drive Select’ system (adjusting suspension, steering, throttle response, etc), climate-control air, sports front seats, an aluminium trim package, LED interior lighting, and front fogs. Then at $39,900, the S tronic-only 1.8 TFSI S line slips in 17-inch alloys, an exterior sports package, Sport suspension, and ‘Xenon plus’ headlights with LED running lights. That’s a decent amount of fruit in a compact basket. Even our Heidi would be keen to stitch up a deal.

0-100km/hin11.1secs TOPGEAR.COM

1,165kg 

$28,250

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N I S SA N N AVA R A

Podium finish In the crucial race for tradie affections, Nissan’s new ute does well BY JAMES CLE ARY f you’re often on the road early you’ll know all about it. Numerous sets of headlights ranging up in the mirrors, before flashes of PVC piping, ladders and chequer-plate tool boxes blaze past on all sides. Welcome to the Tradie Grand Prix, where Australia’s hi-vis heroes let off a little pre-dawn steam. The chariot of choice for this impromptu form of motorsport is Toyota’s all-conquering HiLux, with a new model recently unveiled and due on sale locally this October. In fact, after a lengthy fallow period, the light commercial market is suddenly exploding with fresh product. As well as the HiLux, Mitsubishi has coughed up with a new Triton, Ford’s about to update the Ranger, and Nissan’s NP300

I

(D23) Navara is the latest workhouse to hit the TGP grid. The Navara nameplate has been in the Aussie market for close to three decades, and this is the fourth distinct model to wear it. Representing around 30 per cent of Nissan’s local sales volume, it’s a hugely important release, and like other recent arrivals, blurs the line between tool-of-trade and family truckster. After an initial release of selected models, and completion of the range later in the year, the Navara will be offered across no less than 27 variants. Engine choice is between a 122kW, 238Nm 2.5-litre petrol four (also used in X-Trail and Altima), and two versions of the same 2.3-litre diesel: one with a single turbo for 120kW/403Nm, and another with two, delivering 140kW/450Nm.

SNAPSHOT

IN DETAIL

Rear window slides open so you can talk to your kelpie

5in screen on the lower models steps up to 7in in the ST-X

Tub liner sounds like a cruise ship for fat people. Is, in fact, this

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Sadly, ever tightening global emissions regulations have put a stake through the heart of the out-going model’s Renault-sourced 170kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. Engine selection, specification grade (DX, RX, ST and ST-X), cab options (single, dual and king), body types (cab-chassis or ute), transmission choice (six-speed manual or sevenspeed auto), and drive confi guration (4x2 or 4x4) make up the dizzying array of possible variations. The NP (Nissan Pick-Up) 300 Navara replaces a two-tier range, where the long-serving D22 model (introduced in 1997) covered the basic work truck end of the spectrum, and the D40 (launched in 2005) underpinned more premium offerings. This time around the Navara has been designed to respond to increasing demand for a multi-purpose vehicle, retaining the strength and muscle of a pure commercial, and blending it with comfort and features more often found in a full-size SUV. The boxed ladder chassis and front suspension set-up carry over from the D40, but the springs and dampers have been softened off, with dual cab pick-up models featuring a new five-link, coil spring rear end, in place of a standard leaf arrangement. Unfortunately, this is only half a review because the meat-and-potatoes leaf sprung dual cab-chassis, single cab,


Interior boasts plenty of fruit, but not plenty of storage

and king cab models don’t arrive until the third quarter. Add in the fact the petrol engine didn’t make it time for the press launch and we’re a long way from getting to grips with the full line-up. That said, the launch drive covered around 400km across open highway, dirt back-roads and rougher off-highway sections in the Gawler Ranges, around 600km north west of Adelaide on SA’s Eyre Peninsula. And we sampled manual and auto, rear- and four-wheel drive, as well as both versions of the turbo diesel engine. The single turbo diesel has plenty of grunt, and not surprisingly the twin-turbo has even more, with max torque on both units available from just 1,500rpm. Maximum towing weight is 3.5 tonnes. Easy highway cruising and rapid overtaking are the norm, accompanied by a noticeable but acceptable amount of diesel clatter. The manual ’box demands long throws of its lengthy lever between ratios, but is smooth and positive overall. No surprise Nissan calls out the manual as the Navara customer’s preferred option. The auto is slick, with the extra ratio and a slightly higher fi nal drive keeping the engine in its sweet spot for longer. The ST runs on 16-inch alloys shod with 255/70 Toyo Open Country rubber, and coil springs at the rear deliver a closer to car quality ride, although bumps and thumps still make their presence felt. Body roll in even modestly enthusiastic cornering is pronounced, and steering quality isn’t great. With 3.7 turns from lock-to-lock, even gentle bends require a lot of steering input, road feel is lacking and precision is missing in action.

SPECS

THE RIVAL

FORD RANGER Ford has captured the work truck zeitgeist. Upgraded, even more macho edition due in July.

VERDICT Much improved dual purpose workhorse; steering and handling dynamics not quite there though though.

Younger readers may not know what we’re talking about in noting all Navara models run rear drum brakes, but stopping power is more than adequate none the less. The dual cab interior is impressive, with a clean and simple dash design including clearly calibrated instruments and a five-inch audio display screen on the ST, upgraded to a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen on the ST-X. The front seats are supportive and comfortable over long distances, while those in the back are well catered for with generous leg room, acceptable headroom for lengthy adults, and civilised touches like individual air-con vents in the rear of the front console. The 4x4 Navara is also a handy off-road performer, efficiently ironing out dirt road corrugations and potholes. More serious crawling over truly rough terrain is helped by a wading depth of 450mm and a lateral tilt of 50 degrees. The shift-on-the-fly 4WD system also lets the driver switch between 2WD and 4WD (high range) with the twist of a dial, at speeds of up to 100km/h. Add in Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS), Hill Start Assist (in ST-X 4x4) and Hill Descent Control and the work site obstacle course will be a breeze. Unfortunately, the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach and the range for rake is limited. Annoying, and

2.0-litre, four-cyl petrol turbo, 8-speed auto, RWD, 180kW, 350Nm,

7.0L/100km

defi nitely not car-like. Storage around the cabin is passable rather than great. Pricing for the dual cab range starts at $26,490 for the DX RWD petrol manual, and tops out at $54,490 for the ST-X 4WD diesel auto. All models feature a lengthy list of standard features, the highlights for DX being cruise control, a multi-function trip computer, six-speaker audio, Bluetooth, and front and rear mud guards. The step up to RX adds extra fruit including chrome door handles and mirrors, a rear power sliding window, remote keyless entry, carpet floors and an alarm system. Then ST adds electric folding and heated door mirrors, auto dimming rear-view mirror, LED headlights and daytime running lights, front fog-lamps, ‘Advanced Drive-Assist Display’, 5-inch audio display, NissanConnect smartphone connectivity, wide-body over fenders, side steps, diff lock, 16-inch alloys, a rear view camera and an alloy sports bar. And the fruit-laden ST-X adds door mirror LED turning signals, ‘Intelligent Key’ (I-Key) and engine start button, leather-accented seats, power adjust driver seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, dual-zone climate-control, sat-nav with 7-inch touch screen display, Bluetooth audio streaming, tilt and slide electric sunroof, ‘UtiliTrack’ load location system, 18-inch T a lloys, ‘Active Brake Limited Slip’ (4WD), ‘Hill Descent Control’ (4WD), Hill Start Assist’ (4WD), rear parking ‘H sensors, a tub liner and carpet mats. Phew! Not bad. P With this kind of spec on board, the Nissan Navara is set to qualify near the N op of the Tradie Grand Prix grid. to

0-100km/hin 6.0secs

1,535kg

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$68,900

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AU D I Q 3

Urban explorer For the inner-city type with outback daydreams: step right up BY JAMES CLE ARY s much as any global car maker, Audi has been reading the tea leaves, and they spell out SUV. Sooner rather than later, the Audi SUV line-up will match the letter Q with numbers stretching from one to nine. But for the time being, this car is the Q family entry point. Despite its compact dimensions, the Q3 is capable of fulfilling off-road fantasies (and let’s face it, for most SUV owners that’s what they remain); but it’s also comfortably premium in spec and performance. Welcome urban cowboys. In fact, if this car catches your eye, Audi reckons you’re probably part of a citydwelling couple without kids, and that includes ‘Empty Nesters’ who’ve been there and done that, with a little more cash and time on their hands. Headline changes for MY15 are engine upgrades (two turbo petrol, two turbo diesel), minor cosmetic tweaks to the grille, bumper and headlights (with the option of LED), as well as higher equipment levels, including the addition of a rear view camera as standard across the range, to boost the value-for-money factor in an increasingly competitive segment. Driving through Queensland’s Gold Coast hinterlands, we had a lengthy steer across all four grades, from 110kW/250Nm 1.4 TFSI, through 110kW/340Nm 2.0 TDI, 132kW/320Nm 2.0 TFSI Sport, and finally the 135kW/380Nm 2.0 TDI Sport. First impression of the base 1.4 (now with cylinder-on-demand tech) is that it’s no powerhouse. Open road acceleration is best described as adequate, but not in the Rolls-Royce sense.

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SPECS

076

1.4 TFSI

On the up side, the six-speed dualclutch box is smooth, and despite our car’s optional 18-inch rims (up from standard 17s) ride comfort is excellent. In fact, dynamically the drive experience is equivalent to a sedan; the Q3’s alloy-rich chassis providing a stiff and stable platform from which to hang the strut front, multi-link rear suspension. That said, road feel from the electromechanical steering is acceptable rather than exceptional. The 2.0 turbo diesel feels similar, yet stronger in the mid-range, thanks to an extra 90Nm, and an additional ratio in the S tronic ’box, while the 2.0 TDI Sport steps up with appreciably quicker acceleration. Our test example was running on 20-inch alloys shod with high-performance Pirelli P Zero rubber, which didn’t upset the ride, but did make the steering heavier without any appreciable benefit to feel. Quickest of all, running 0-100km/h in a claimed 7.6secs, is the 2.0 TFSI Sport, with steering, transmission and suspension calibration able to be modified via the standard ‘Drive Select’ system. Although some way off the snarling RS Q3’s performance, it’s an entertaining drive. The Q3 is a relaxed and refined urban cruiser. Even the base Q3 cops ‘leatherappointed’ upholstery, while the high-end Sport models pick up ‘Milano’ leather and grippier front seats. Standard five-speaker audio includes a 6.5-inch screen, plus inputs for everything from CD and MP3, to SD card and auxiliary connections. Even though Audi’s guessing you won’t have kids, there’s plenty of room for nieces and nephews in the rear. In fact, full-size friends can live comfortably back there, with plenty of cargo space to boot.

1.4-litre, four cylinder petrol turbo, FWD, 6-speed dual clutch, 110kW, 250Nm

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Q3’s capable of offroad fun, even if it spends its life in town

THE RIVAL

MERC-BENZ GLA 200CDI The petrol Audi’s cheaper, and faster, but can’t match the diesel Merc’s frugality.

VERDICT

Cost-of-entry is $42,900 for the 1.4 TFSI, which along with the 2.0 TDI at $47,900, now includes 17-inch alloys, Xenon headlights with LED DRL’s, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, tyre pressure warning, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and rear-view camera. Step up to the Sport models (2.0 TFSI $52,300, 2.0 TDI $56,900) and you can add 18-inch rims, colour-coded bumpers and wheel arches, front sports seats with electric lumbar support, Milano leather, ‘Audi Drive Select’, convenience key, and a multi-function sports leather steering wheel with paddle shifts. That’s plenty of ammo in the standard features case, supporting a beautifully engineered package. The compact luxury SUV dog fight just got even meaner.

Despite the base car’s need for more speed, this is a great package.

8/10 5.9L/100km

0-100km/h in 8.9secs

1,480kg

$42,900


AU D I R S 3

Boozy Quattro Thirsty five-pot stars in otherwise clinical RS3 BY OLLIE KEW e had an Audi RS3 at our Swedish ice-lake test (issue 83). It did OK there, sliding about happily enough to make us anxious to drive it on dry tarmac. And here we are, in the 270kW RS3 on winding roads and on track – though Ingolstadt needn’t have bothered with the latter. Why? Because despite its seamlessly rapid-fire seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, 55kg diet versus the old RS3, a McLaren-style brake-steer system on the rear axle and the supposed ability of all 465Nm to meet up at the rears for fun ’n’ games, the RS3 is far from a circuit natural. How could it be, when the glorious five-cylinder engine (and it really is glorious) and gearbox are north of the front axle? Understeer only arrives after prodigious grip limits are breached, but even with the wider front tyres and clever Haldex differential

W

THE RIVAL

MERCEDES A45 AMG Less mature than RS3, thanks to laggy turbo, slow ’box and boneshaker ride Red inserts are in danger of making nice cabin rather tacky...

VERDICT Beautifully built speed capsule lacks the finesse and brio of a true hot-hatch great

7/10 SPECS

2480cc5cylturbo,AWD,270kW,465Nm

doing their stuff, the RS3 only does traction or nose-plough. On the road, if you’re approaching understeer, you need your head testing. The RS3 devours roads with point-topoint pace, and gives a sense that the rear tyres aren’t just along for the ride. The world’s only remaining five-pot motor (so Audi claims) refuses to go gently into that good night, warbling a passable impression of an R8. The sports exhaust ups the overrun fireworks, and neither set-up depends on digital augmentation, either. It’s raw induction growl and turbo watooosh. It’s emphasised by how mute the rest of the package is. Make no mistake, the RS3 is hilariously fast and

8.3L/100km

0–100km/h in 4.3 seconds, 280km/h

has made strides in ride comfort (now taut rather than intolerable). I’d no longer call the RS3 a blunt instrument, but its steering is devoid of feedback and interaction, and its chassis remains unresponsive to changes in throttle and brake pressure through corners. The RS3 is so brutally competent, you as the driver are just there to point it where you want it to go, not to be titillated along the way. It’s a bit of a shame, especially since our hopes were high, because it means that in the VW hot-hatch hierarchy, our money would still go on the Golf R. On ice, it was an enigma, but ironically, the RS3 is cold in the real world.

1520kg

$75,000(est)

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M I TS U B I S H I T R I TO N E XC E E D

Diesel and dust Almost all-new Mitsubishi Triton marks the debut of a truly cracking engine BY TIM ROBSON ou have to hand it to Mitsubishi Australia. Saddled with one of the oldest line-ups on average in the Aussie market, it still keeps pumping out vehicles that invariably float up towards the top of their respective segments. The Triton ute is a prime example of the adage ‘age shall not weary them’, because if the Triton was a hound, it would have been ‘taken out the back’ long before now. It’s managed to hang on for so long, in our opinion, by dint of the fact that the MN Triton was pretty out there style-wise when it first lobbed in 2007. Whereas the market leading Toyota HiLux of the time wasn’t a bad looker, the previous generation Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 (to name just two) were… umm… less than handsome. Built for the farm. Had faces that only a mother could love. You get the picture. The Triton’s riot of curves and softer lines not only gave it a point of difference, it also gave it a fighting chance when it came time for the Ministry of Finance to hand down her decision. Since then, of course, the game has

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moved on considerably. There has been year after year of sector and volume growth for all of the 4x4 dual-cab ute category’s main players, as families continue to abandon large and medium sedans. Ford’s Ranger has morphed into a firm competitor for the HiLux, displacing the Triton from a permanent hold on the number two spot behind the HiLux in the process, while the majority of the 4x4 ute field is due for upgrade or wholesale replacement in the next 12 months. While it’s not quite true to say that the Triton is a new vehicle, it’s pretty darn close. More than 80 per cent of the body and 40 per cent of the chassis is completely new, while the leftover stuff – including suspension and steering – has been overhauled. How has Mitsubishi approached things design-wise for the new MQ? Let’s just say it’s straight out of the Porsche 911 playbook of tweaking things around the edges but not moving too far away from a proven thing. Park the previous model next to the new one, and you’ll mark the differences in the bodyside, the bonnet and the tailgate. Place them a hundred metres apart, and it’s hard to spot the difference. The

SNAPSHOT

IN DETAIL

Rear seats are as laid back as Bob Marley. Very comfy, mon.

Exceed gets a 7in touchscreen with digi radio and sat nav.

No digital speedo. Two-mode cruise control is neat.

J-line cabin that helps to give the Triton a more roomy interior than its chief rivals despite being shorter, lower and narrower remains, while the distinctively long tray overhang – itself only mere millimetres larger all round – also connects old and new. Inside, there has been a more thorough do-over, with a chief bugbear of the old Triton – the too-high, too-narrow seats – sorted for this iteration. A new centre console arrangement houses a new infotainment set up, the steering wheel is now reach- and height-adjustable, while the rest of the controls have been simplified and modernised. Don’t expect too much in the way of fun stuff in the mid-level GLS; you need to jump into the top-rung Exceed before you see niceties like keyless entry, auto lights and wipers. Engine-wise, though, there’s a big change under the bonnet, with the addition of a brand new turbo diesel. The 4N15 oiler is a 2.4-litre four-potter that features an ultra-low compression ratio of 15:1, MIVEC valve timing, a lightweight variable geometry turbo and more. It makes 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm – a paltry 2kW more than before, but a healthy torque


boost of 80Nm. Backed by either a five-speed Aisin auto that’s been poached from the Pajero, or a revised six-speed manual ’box, the reborn Triton is a genuinely impressive thing. Though small in capacity – and on paper slightly down in power and torque counts to both HiLux and Ranger – the new diesel is grunty from right down low, linear all the way through its rev range and remains incredibly refined while doing it. Both transmissions work well with the new engine, too, while the revised

TOYOTA HILUX The new HiLux range is due in December, and it’s looking pretty dialled.

VERDICT It may look similar, but the Triton has taken a big step forward, and not a moment too soon.

8/10 SPECS

New comfier seats are a welcome change inside the cabin

THE RIVAL Easy Select 4WD system in the base GLX and the push-button Super Select 4WD II system for GLS and Exceed do their jobs without fuss. The Triton is actually the only 4x4 ute on the market that can be driven on the road in what is essentially all-wheel-drive mode; that is, without the involvement of a centre diff. Our two-day test in an automatic Exceed reveals a ute with an easy-tolive-with personality, a settled yet engaging ride quality even when unladen, and impressively low levels of noise intrusion from either the engine or the tyres. It even steers half all right. An afternoon spent punting around the sands of Fraser Island would have served to expose any flies in the powertrain ointment, but there were none – okay, the stability control that gives the Triton a five-star ANCAP rating gets a little trigger-happy at

2.4-litre, 4cyl turbo diesel, 4WD, 6-speed man, 133kW, 430Nm

7.6L/100km (auto)

times, and there is no high-end electronic 4WD assistance in the form of hill descent or the like. Honestly, though, we didn’t really miss it. As more and more families eye off a dual-cab ute for their next family grocery getter, it’s important that the manufacturers step up to the plate when it comes to safety, and it’s good to see the Triton come equipped with seven airbags, as well as stability and traction control across the range, helping it to net a five-star ANCAP safety rating. Sadly, rear-view cameras aren’t standard across the line, but are available for a $750 uptick on the base models. Even though Mitsubishi will continue to sell the old MN alongside the MQ for the rest of the year, the new rig is definitely a major step up on its successful forebear, and a worthy opponent in the increasingly savage 4x4 wars.

0-100km/hN/A

1965kg

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$47,490 

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AU D I R S 6 AVA N T

Power sleeper The perfect mix of family practicality and deranged speed BY PE TER MCK AY f your desire happens to be an Audi RS6, then there is but one choice: the Avant, aka “wagon”. Audi doesn’t offer an RS6 sedan. The Avant won’t disappoint. Not quite comparable with Bill Shorten’s stunning, globally renowned zingers are the labels attached to a succession of Audi RS Avant road rockets dating from the original Renn Sport model, the RS2 in 1994. Our faves are The World’s Ultimate Wagon, World’s Greatest Q-Car, and The Future is Now. Actually, that last one is a recent doozy from Bill. The various Avant sports wagons in their various forms have attracted a small but dedicated bunch of adherents who love its subtle, almost suburban, streetwear, especially when we know that blasting away underneath is a powerhouse engine of remarkable potency; yet the wagon is devoid of nastiness. Not so much the Bill Shorten of luxury performance cars, but more the Roger Federer. The RS badge simply doesn’t make big promises the toughened-up wagon can’t keep. To celebrate Audi’s 35th anniversary of the quattro and coinciding with the model facelift, we were spirited to the place of motorcycle legends, Phillip Island Raceway, where the RS6 was given the usual TopGear workout. No surprises; certainly no dissatisfaction. We know from previous

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SPECS

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goes that the RS6 Avant is a heck of a package for a family going places. Fast. The twin turbo 4.0-litre V8 of 412kW/700Nm gets everyone aboard looking at the world go by in a serious blur, helped by the obligatory all-wheel grip – aka quattro – managed ably by the sports differential. The technology impresses in many different ways, including fuel efficiency. All that urge and attendant amenity and yet the RS6 Avant now, in this upgraded form, returns 9.6 litres per 100km. Or about the same as an average petrol fourcylinder SUV. But who gives a fig about fuel at a place where the objective is to use as much throttle as possible. The Avant needs some finessing with the loud pedal when racing through tightening turns, where it has a tendency for the front to run a little wide. But it reacts nicely to throttle adjustment making it quite easy to keep the rig pointing where you want it. Along with some minor restyling, the Avant now gets matrix LED

3993cc, 8cyl twin-turbo petrol, 412kW, 700Nm

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MERCEDES CLS 500 SHOOTING BRAKE

Newly upgraded interior gets hi-res Driver Info System

9.6L/100km, 223g/km CO2

With 4.7-litre twinturbo V8 uncorking 300kW/600Nm, can’t quite match the RS6 for muscle or AWD grip, but a stunning looker… and fifty grand cheaper than the RS6.

VERDICT Understated shape contrasts with devilish behaviour. Not as agile as smaller RS models but its king-of-the jungle roar accomp panies outrageous thrust The perfect familyy car.

headlights giving an enhanced level of forward after-dark vision, without dazzling and aggravating oncoming motorists. Dynamic front and rear turning indicators are also available across the range to help road safety. Also part of the upgrade is a new high-resolution Driver Information System plonked between the speedo and tacho readouts. One ergonomic benefit is that clear map-based navigation is displayed in the driver’s natural field of vision. Along with all the expected stuff, standard features extend to adaptiveair sports suspension, digital TV reception with DAB plus, head-up display, 21-inch alloy wheels, Audi parking with front and rear cameras, useless glass sunroof, and RS sports seats of Valcona leather and honeycomb stitching. But heading into turn one at The Island, the seat stitching was the last thing to think about. This may be a luxury car, but it’s all about the acceleration and the glorious attendant noise.

8/1

0-100km/h in 3.9secs

2025kg

From $229,500


LOT U S E X I G E S AU TO

Hear me raw New two-pedal road-racer aimed at speed-loving women BY JAMES CLE ARY ccording to local Lotus boss Glen Sealey, “The Exige S is a lifestyle choice, and not for everyone.” However, in the same breath he concedes the whole idea of an automatic version of this featherweight missile is to broaden its appeal, mainly (and let’s not beat around the bush here) to women. The Exige S is light, raw and uncompromising; the pay-off being blinding speed and intimate dynamic responses. The auto may tip the scales six kegs heavier than the manual, but its greater driveline efficiency means it’s a tenth quicker from 0-100km/h, and able to record the same lap time around the factory test track back at Hethel HQ. On the outside the auto Exige is identical to its three-pedal sibling, but of course the primary addition is the Aisin-supplied U660e, six-speed torque

A

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ALFA 4C More for road than track, but even more engaging

VERDICT The most focused roadracing car this side of an Ariel Atom or KTM Crossbow. Not for everyone.

8/10 Not easy to get in here. Fun once you’re in, though

SPECS

converter auto transmission, shared with the Toyota Camry (!), and some Lexus models, although Lotus has fine-tuned its control systems for this more focused application. Also new is the fact the ‘Race Pack’ option now isn’t one, in that the four-mode ‘Dynamic Performance Management’ (DPM) system, including launch control, exhaust bypass valve override, and suspension calibrated to suit the car’s Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber, is now standard. You know that bit about the Exige S not being for everyone? That is so-o-o right. Lotus claims the majority of its Exige owners tip their machine in to some form of motorsport, adding that the car can be driven to the track, pounded around in anger without much need for attention to brakes or rubber, then trundled home again at the end of the day. Old school. By definition, that means you’re driving a racing car on the road, and it feels like it. Hit the gas, and from around 2000rpm the Toyota-sourced (2GR FE) V6, with twin-screw Harrop blower attached, lights up. Peak torque arrives at 4000rpm, and max power coincides with the 7000rpm rev ceiling. Riding this rocket is a full-on sensory experience, with the engine and exhaust building to a brilliantly harmonious scream. The gearbox isn’t exactly lightning fast, but the car sure as hell is.

3.5-litre, V6 supercharged petrol, RWD,6-speed auto, 258kW, 400Nm

9.6L/100km

The non-assisted steering turns the bitumen into braille, allowing the driver to read every nuance of the road surface through his or her fingertips. Grip, thanks in part to an electronic diff lock, is brilliant and body control is firmly buttoned down. The downside is shock and vibration, with bumpinduced rack rattle loosening your grip on the steering wheel at regular intervals in an enthusiastic session. The AP-Racing brakes (there’s that racing word again) are brilliant, with big vented and cross-drilled rotors clamped by four-piston calipers front and rear. Far from a relaxed commuter, the Exige won’t cut you any slack just because you’ve rolled off the throttle for the trip home. It’s tricky to get in and out of, firm to the point of discomfort, and rear three-quarter vision is compromised. What’s more, you’ll hear every rock and twig rebounding up into the chassis. As Lotus says, “This is a car for people who enjoy rawness, and really want to drive their car at all times.” At $137,990, the Exige S auto (in Coupe or Roadster form) is exactly $5k dearer than the manual equivalent. And the “add lightness” philosophy extends to the standard features list, with a relatively bare bones spec including a few hints of comfort, including remote central locking, air-con, and fourspeaker audio. Like the man said, not for everyone.

0-100km/hin3.9secs

1,182kg

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We’ve driven the Merc-AMG GT S on the smooth surfaces of Germany, but how will it handle the real test of a car – the knackered tarmac of England?

WORDS: TOM FORD / PICTURES: JUSTIN LEIGHTON


AMG GT S


t was in the village of Haltwhistle where an otherwise unremarkable drive took a turn for the surreal. Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything inherently bizarre about small villages in the northern reaches of Northumberland, but as we cruised through in a new Mercedes-AMG GT S, it all got a little unsettling. First, a small troop of patently feral children stopped doing whatever it was they were doing, lined up and saluted, as if on a parade of paramilitary street urchins. Immediately afterwards, a man – who, thanks to a mane and beard of implausibly glossy white hair resembled a geriatric lion or possibly some sort of off-duty wizard– appeared at the front door of an otherwise nondescript grey terraced house and roared something approving and yet entirely unintelligible, his tracksuit trousers vibrating with the effort. We were also being aerially stalked by a small murder of crows, were running out of fuel and had unwittingly parked outside the laundrette at the exact centre of Britain. I know, it sounds like a Douglas Adams novel, but this what actually happened. Yes, the AMG is painted in what appears to be liquid sunshine (actually a paint option called, appropriately enough, Solarbeam, and capable, when the sun hits it, of burning important layers of your eyes off), and yes, the car has the kind of panting, off-kilter chunter that speaks of lavish engine capacity, but that doesn’t explain the crows. Photographer Leighton decided immediately that “this’ll make a nice bit for the story”, though for the life of me I couldn’t think how appearing at a wash house in the epicentre of Britain being shouted at by a job-seeking Gandalf could possibly be of any

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Tom brings some artificial sunshine to the north of England

relevance, unless we wanted everyone to think we’d completely lost it. Fortified by an entire packet of calming shortbread biscuits and arguing furiously about how exactly you measure the middle of Britain, we set out to figure out why we ended up here. The answer, as it turns out, was roads. Some of the best undiscovered roads in the UK. Deserted minor routes with the sort of warp and weft that race-track designers can only dream of. But also, as it turns out, the kind of bumps that race-track designers tend to iron out with a vengeance, lest precious racing cars become carbon-fibre fog. This is not easy country for anything without a bit of subtlety to the suspension, more the kind of B-road that suits something small, chuckable and forgiving. Nirvana for a decent hot hatch, for example. The Merc fits the bill: it’s a surprisingly practical hatchback and equipped with a 375kW bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 driving the rear wheels with enough belligerence to get to 100km/h from rest in under four seconds – not so much hot as searing. It’s also just over two metres wide between the mirrors, snake-belly slung and more than a little stingy with its sightlines. Not sure the 310km/h top speed will be entirely relevant here, either. Ah. What it is, is pretty. Once you’ve got past the visual nuke of the paintwork, there’s a really rather good-looking car here. There’s something innately classic about that long bonnet and bobbed rear end, and who cares that it’s actually a complete terror to parallel park? To rely on an appropriate cliché, it looks fast. There are hints of influences – at

“SOME OF THE BEST UNDISCOVERED ROADS IN THE UK ARE HERE”


Slightly dead in the straight ahead then very speedy rack either side

AMG GT S

Britain’s most central launderette. O-duty wizard just out of shot


“THE GT S, DESPITE HAVING A SETTING CALLED COMFORT, DOESN’T REALLY HAVE ANY”

Fantastic on a track. A bit of a handful on a public road


AMG GT S

least to my eyes – all over it. A touch of Porsche 911 at the back, shades of Jaguar F-Type Coupe in some of the surfaces, at least a nodding relationship to the older Merc SLS. But that’s not to be disparaging: you get the feeling that it won’t date quickly – much like the SLS – and that in a more sober colour it might well be something quite stealthy. It certainly gets plenty of attention.It isn’t quite the pure high-dollar aggression of a supercar but defiantly something special. It certainly made an impression on the regular patrons of the A1 Northbound, which means I’m now an expert in lip-reading various forms of astonished swearing. But despite the sensual aesthetic, it doesn’t bode particularly well that, on the drive up, the ride has been the fi rm side of restless. The GT S, despite having a setting marked Comfort, hasn’t really got any, and still manages to be quite insistent on sniffing out lumps and bumps and making friends with as many as it can find. It doesn’t help that this car is fitted with the Dynamic Plus package, which provides firmer suspension and dynamic engine and transmission mounts (as well as a specific engine application in Race mode), but it’s certainly not going to trouble an S-Class in terms of distance cruising ability, even in its most benign settings. The AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed ’box also requires a solid press of the throttle to engage the clutch and gain any initial forward momentum – leading to slightly irritating bungee-style start-stop behaviour in town – and quickly selecting reverse from first, three-pointturn style, can be irritatingly clunky. In fact, my abiding initial impression is that it feels a lot like that gull-winged SLS of five years ago – with steering ever-so-slightly dead in the very middle, then quite a speedy rack from then on. Chuck in the cab-rearward profile – there

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Moorland roads don’t have a large run-off area. Drive tidy...

Engine is the silver bit. Black plastic is 2ft of crash structure. Really

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AMG GT S really is an acre of sunshiney bonnet ahead of you – and the pivot point of the car feels slightly odd: like you steer the front wheels and then follow them a microsecond later, rather than moving as one. Still, there are worse places to be, what with that V8 gargling away up front and the sun blaring down. We were getting through 10-ish litres per hundred kays (from a quoted 9.3L/100km on the combined cycle) on the quiet, multiple-hour run to the bottom of the Pennines, a hillchain that runs like a spine up the middle of England. That lasted about seven minutes. Seven minutes, because that’s about as long as it took to clear the immediate signs of human occupation, hit Sport+ mode and punch the throttle. Once we got on the country backroads, we were looking at a faintly scary 31L/100km, but by this point, I didn’t really care. Because the GT S had become a sonic avalanche, and my ears were on fi re. Not literally, obviously, but the AMG GT makes the kind of noise that I thought we might be losing from modern cars. It’s not subtle or clever (it might have valves in the exhaust, but they flop open in anything other than Comfort, or if you press the ‘noisy’ button on the centre console), but it does sound hair-raisingly righteous on hard throttle. As in old-school V8 chewing air and fuel like it means it. Back off and it sneezes through the turbo wastegates (which is a little unexpected, given the traditional audio file) and chuckles like a drunk Father Christmas – ahur-ahur-ahur – before spitting a huge whipcrack of a backfire. Then it’s back to that Spitfire soundtrack all the way up through the gears. The gearbox suddenly comes to life, punching the changes with grace and fluency and not upsetting the car one iota.

There’s only one thing for it. Go north, my son, go north

S The suspension gets even firmer in the various ever-more-aggressive modes, but even though it’s too solid for these kind of incessant tarmac hiccups, it’s worth it to feel those dynamic engine and suspension mounts tighten the car up generally. They essentially lock the engine and transmission hard to the chassis (bad for comfortable cruising, good for preventing polar inertia in big, heavy driveline components), removing the dead spot from the steering and making it feel not unlike a proper racecar in its reactions: too hypersensitive for the road but decisive and immediate. Bluntly, this feels like it might be killer on a track. Trouble is, we’re not on a track, and the GT S feels too lively to be unthinkingly fun. Interesting, yes. Exciting, undoubtedly. But real confidence takes a little while to accumulate. Saying that, raw grip is immense. In fact, given that the car stayed true to its line on some weirdly cambered, tightening Cumbrian corners, I was surprised it hadn’t actually grown roots.


AMG GT S

But push past that comfort zone, which is much higher than yours will probably be on a public road, and the GT S becomes a proper handful. Without the physical or psychological comfort of run-off – something these moorland roads are famously ungenerous with – the GT gets snatchy and raucous. If you’re being tidy, you’ll as likely unwittingly unsettle it as accidentally push over a tree stump. But intentionally brutalise it and all that power and torque will unglue the rear tyres pronto and provide you with a touch of understeer and a quick swipe of oversteer. Couple that with the now switchblade sensitivity of the wheel, and the significant sensations are that this intensely yellow coupe feels darty and aggressive: it’s not the kind of progressive transition to oversteer that you get from some cars, the ability to place them even when the rear tyres are trying to overtake the fronts. I’m sure with a bit of space, time and tyre budget you’d get more used to it, but this is not a car I felt comfortable sliding about in without some serious practice somewhere with padded gravel traps. Now, I know that a car that you really have to manhandle is its own kind of fun, but if you decide to give a GT S a bootful on the road with the traction control turned off, you’d better be very sure of yourself and have the oversteer control reactions of a TVR owner. When push comes to shove, the GT S is actually a hot rod. Underneath the tech and golden prettiness, it’s a raw-knuckled, bare-fisted brawler. It took a while to start to understand the AMG, and by this point we’d been all over the Pennines, and back down along Hadrian’s Wall, that great twofingered salute from the Roman emperor Hadrian to the wild and warring Picts of the north. After that, we picked directions at random and simply drove.

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Around the Killhope Lead Mine – stopping briefly to take a picture in the old lead processing plant (now a bus garage) and finding endless little routes across the moors. You can pick pretty much any direction out of Alston and hit a decent road, by the way, but if you head in the direction of Nenthead or Wearhead and cut north, you won’t be disappointed. In every spot, I gained a little bit more perspective. Merc-AMG could easily have aped a 911 in feel and made this car very different. The engineers could have made the GT neutral, forgiving and safe, or even all-wheel drive. They could have made it sound cultured, instead of like someone kicking a drum kit down a flight of stairs, and they could have given it a huge glasshouse and four seats. But they didn’t. They made a car that was indisputably what it is: an AMG. By pretty much any metric, this car does not move the sports-car game on. Its technical competence is hidden behind an immoderate onslaught of combativeness. It’s noisy, hard work and hurts a bit. Like trying to hold an explosion. But I guarantee that if you bought one with heart rather than head, because you like the way it sounds, or looks or makes your heart beat like an overcaffeinated shrew every time you drive it fast, you won’t be disappointed.

“WITH A BIT OF TIME, SPACE AND TYRE BUDGET, YOU’D GET USED TO IT”


THE RIVALS

WORDS: OLLIE MARRIAGE / PICTURES: JOHN WYCHERLEY

THE B R AW N U LT I M AT U M But how does the AMG GT S stack up against the competition? Time to see if the BMW i8 and Porsche 911 Turbo can burst its bubble

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T The handiest thing about the Dynamic Plus package – standard on the GT S in Australia and New Zealand – isn’t the dynamic engine and transmission mounts or the ‘specifically tuned’ suspension. It’s the Alcantara (OK, Dinamica microfibre) steering wheel. Just the thing for soaking up those sweaty-palm moments. Which, as you might already have gathered, the GT S is pretty adept at delivering. It did so in the Pennines, and now it’s pretty busy doing so in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Sometimes you just wish the AMG GT S would settle down a bit, stop being so fractious. Maybe it’s upset by our reception committee, or maybe by the fact it’s not leading right now (you get the impression that the GT likes to be in charge and gets grumpy when it isn’t). Instead it’sat the back of the line, forced to stare at the plump, rounded haunches of the 911 Turbo up front and skinny little tyres of the wingleted i8. That i8 is really not the Merc’s cup of tea. Pretty much the polar opposite, in fact. Where the AMG is all noise and drama, the BMW is glide and sophistication. But as we’ve found on every occasion, you should never underestimate the i8’s ability to amaze you – both as an object of desirability and as a driver’s car. The 911 Turbo is the link pin between the two extremes. It has the twin-turbo impact of the AMG, but the four-seat cabin and four-wheel-drive

Some primary colours in search of simple pleasures

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security of the BMW. That’s probably forcing the issue a bit – the Porsche is more aligned with the Mercedes, a 383kW motor designed specifically to get itself down a road as efficiently and rapidly as physics permits. As far as price, performance and capability go, this is the benchmark Mercedes must have had in mind. At least as far as the metric data goes. It’s not like the chassis templates have much in common: front-engined two-seater plays rear-engined four-seater; the Merc channelling SLS leftovers, the 911 50 years of heritage. The BMW is different

– intoxicatingly so. Carbon-fibre tub chassis, the guts to downsize to a genuinely small engine, radical aero, even an acceptance that cornering speeds don’t need to be so high. And they aren’t. The BMW puts roughly a third less rubber on the road and, if you are pushing on, it’s around 15km/h slower through any given corner. It also has the most over-protective traction control, but drop that back a notch, remind yourself that last-gasp braking efforts followed by abrupt bungs at the apex will only result in quickly overheated discs and unsatisfying understeer, and you’re set for a good time. No, a great time. You have to accept that you can’t do the lead-foot, scruff-of-the-neck stuff with the i8. Some adaptation is required. You have to work to the lower limits, feed, thread and soothe it through corners. Do so and you soon realise you are covering ground at a fair old lick – it conserves momentum so, so well, the i8. And all the time, you have this fascinating powerplant pushing you along, instant electric shove and artificially-enhanced three-cylinder top notes. The noise. It doesn’t offend me so much now. Maybe I’ve got used to its warming thrum, but it’s on a par for volume and aural appeal with the whooshiness of the 911 Turbo, which only


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“YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT YOU CAN’T DO THE LEADFOOT, SCRUFF-OF-THE-NECK STUFF WITH THE i8”

The cars line up for a Le Mans style start; the drivers finish their bacon sandwiches first

Seems all German cars have big satnav screens. This is good


MERCEDES-AMG GT S

PORSCHE 911 TURBO

BMW i8

Price: $295,000 Engine: 3982cc bi-turbo V8, 375kW @ 6250rpm, 650Nm @ 1750–4750rpm Performance: 0–100km/h in 3.8secs, 310km/h vmax Transmission: 7spd AMG Speedshift DCT, RWD Economy: 9.4L/100km Weight: 1645kg

Price: $366,500 Engine: 3800cc bi-turbo flat six, 383kW @ 6500rpm, 660Nm @ 1950rpm Performance: 0–100km/h in 3.2secs, 315km/h vmax Transmission: 7spd PDK, 4WD Economy: 9.7L/100km Weight: 1595kg

Price: $299,000 Engine: 1499cc 3cyl turbo + e-motor, 266kW @ 5800rpm, 570Nm @ 3700rpm Performance: 0–100km/h in 4.4secs, 250km/h vmax Transmission: 8spd auto, 4WD Economy: 2.1L/100km Weight: 1560kg

Sharply designed wheels match the rest of the i8 package

hardens into something more angry right at the far end of the dial. The Merc is on a different level altogether. It’s as if the exhaust somehow bypasses the muffling effect of the turbos completely. This is hedonistic, expansive stuff, a bellowing V8 that hasn’t lost its mojo at all. It’s also fiercely responsive in a way the 911 can’t match. The Porsche takes longer to gird its loins, to summon up the sinews, so, given an overtaking opportunity, the Merc will pull out the hard yards first and do so with more passion and drama, nose lifting up, rear wheels tucking themselves deep into the arches. The Porsche is quicker on paper – of course it is, it’s four-wheel drive – but out here, on real, normal roads, GT and Turbo trade equally savage blows. But here’s the surprise – the i8 isn’t often left behind. That same overtaking opportunity? The BMW will nail the deal first, the revless, gearless e-motor providing an instant zap of peak torque that delivers a snap to your neck better than either rival. OK, given more space – the sort of dead straight, treeless roads we eventually find out in the Fens (if Tron did agriculture…) – the i8 will start to lag. But how fast do you need to go when you’re dealing with 100km/h speed limits?

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However fast it is, the Merc wants to be going faster. This is an angry car. You get the impression that Mercedes could have made it a direct 911 rival and then thought, “No, let’s make it more hardcore.” So the actual feel and tightness of the car, it’s more GT3 than Turbo. But that doesn’t mean it’s better to drive than the Porsche. Because it isn’t. The Porsche is devastating, reassuring, digs itself deep into corners and comes rocketing out the far side. It’s a weapon. A missile. It’s not the last word in tactility and feedback (although it still has the best steering of these three), but it’s so stable and effective and so rarely puts a foot wrong that you can’t help but just nod sagely in admiration and disbelief at what it’s just done to a difficult piece of road. Not the Merc. This is a man’s car – and I do mean that in the full Yorkie bar sense of the word. It would call you a wuss if it could, the AMG GT. I have no doubt it would be utterly blistering around a smooth race track – it was at Dunsfold on the TV show – but on a bumpy road? Not so much. I fiddled endlessly with the plethora of settings, and finally settled on having everything toughened up as much as possible. Slacken the dampers and you introduce

a bit of pitch, heave and jiggle; tighten them and you don’t make the ride any worse, but you do stop all the masses moving about. It’s a snatchy, fighty car. Drive fast and you need to have your wits about you – the margin for error is small. I’m sure some people will like this, will like to boast that they own a car that’ll put hairs on your chest, and I’m equally sure Mercedes engineered it to be like this. But it’s too much, especially when the steering is overly light and insensitive around the straight ahead, and then whips into corners if you put a touch more lock on. It’s unsettling, unrelaxing, hard to trust. Yes, it’s exciting, but not in all the right ways. These are three very disparate cars, and you could construct an argument for any of them to win. But despite that, despite the fact I usually have a deep and abiding love of beefy rear-drive AMGs, the GT finishes last. The other two are harder to separate, but in all honesty, if the god of road tests descended and told me I could drive away in one, it’d be the i8. I can’t tell you how much it surprises me to be putting a petrol-electric ahead of an AMG and a 911, but the BMW is not just a sporty hybrid, it’s a car that’s enthralling and mesmerising on so many levels.


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The 911 speaks, and it says: “I’d like a ‘P’, please Bob”

AMG out in front. Literally, not comparatively

“HOWEVER FAST IT IS, THE MERC WANTS TO BE GOING FASTER. IT’S AN ANGRY CAR”

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

The Jaguar F-Type doesn’t take itself nearly so seriously as the AMG. This is the updated version, complete with electric power steering and 4WD – we tried very hard to incorporate it into the test (likewise a Nissan GT-R), but couldn’t make the dates work. Shame, as it would have done well.

It doesn’t have the same focus and control as the Merc, but it’s a bombastic machine – and 4WD has transformed its B-road abilities. You’ve got traction now, lots of it, so it’s less heart-in-mouth, but with 404kW, still stupendously fast. Plus handsome of line and rowdy of exhaust. I’d have it ahead of the Merc...

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BMW i3


WORDS: JAMES CLEARY / PICTURES: THOMAS WIELECKI

BMW’s revolutionary i3 comes in two forms: the REX and the BEV. So we got Bev and Rex from east Melbourne to test them for us…


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BMW i3

DR .

hat ever happened to normal names? The well-known and respected ones, handed down over generations. Who in their right mind names a kid Hashtag, Turbo or Brick? All real names, attached to unfortunate human beings. Since Frank Zappa called his daughter Moon Unit in the late 1960s (followed by Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen), so called celebrities have carried on this dubious tradition, naming unsuspecting offspring everything from Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson) to Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee). And these acts of cruelty have trickled down to the broader populace, with newborns branded Wolverine, Botox, Vejonica and Ramsjö (thank you IKEA catalogue) popping up all over the place. Thank goodness BMW has brought some sanity back to the world, naming two of its most recent arrivals Bev and Rex. Honest, traditional names. Names you can trust. And who better to drive these versions of the i3 city car than their real life namesakes. You see, this sub-zero cool compact comes in two flavours, Battery Electric Vehicle, or Range Extender; BEV and REX for short. And while the idea of finding real-life versions to drive them sounds great in a ‘blue sky’, ‘no bad ideas’ editorial meeting, it has to be said the actual finding bit is tougher. Hello, Central Casting? I need a loving and contented couple for an editorial job in Australia. They must have big personalities, ideally an interest in cars and travel, plus their names have to be Bev and Rex. A long shot I know, but… what? You do? And they live in Melbourne? That wasn’t quite the process we went through to recruit the stars of this story, but it may as well have been. Trawl the interwebs for anything relating to those names, and you’ll mainly strike references to the i3 and regional airlines. But we eventually struck gold at caravanworld.com.au, with a reference to Bev and Rex Fettell, from Melbourne’s east, “happily retired and roaming the country for four or five months each year.” A couple of calls and emails later we had contact details, then Rex on the other end of the line. Would he and Bev like to drive a couple of brand spanking BMWs


BMW i3

named in their honour? Absolutely, came the firm reply, and suddenly we had a date with low emissions destiny. On arrival at the Fettell residence we’re met at the top of the drive by a beaming Bev, grabbing a first glimpse of the cars. “Oh, I’m glad they’re not red, because I wore pink.” Then, strolling out to complete the welcome, Rex hits us with the first of roughly 10 thousand wry smiles delivered through the day. Before snapper Wielecki and I can make it half way down the driveway we’re offered tea, coffee and cake, already laid out on the rear porch. Then the garage and workshop ranges into view, housing a Mazda 3 and recently acquired Isuzu D-Max ute. That’s for towing the couple’s caravan and a camper trailer Rex designed and built himself. In fact, it soon becomes clear Rex is what you might call, ‘handy.’ The garage has been a focal point for family tinkering, with now adult sons having used it to fettle drag cars of various descriptions, and Rex knocking out the camper. He shows off some nifty cabinetry work in the back of the ute that would do a tradie proud, and casually mentions he’s keen on a spot of sailing. Which translates to a lifelong connection to the ocean, having designed the Minnow Dinghy as a solo trainer for kids, followed by the Sabre, a more grown up single hander of which thousands are now registered around the country. And when he and Bev aren’t travelling, Rex can be found pumping out the kays on his pushie. Not bad for 83. Meanwhile Bev is all over the i3s, and Anne (another solid name) the next door neighbour has dropped in, according to a tongue-in-cheek Bev, “to do my make-up.” Having researched the i3 online before we arrived, the pair is soon logging their first impressions, noting everything from the two-tone paint on the BEV, to the flush-fit LED taillights, narrow rims, delicate all-alloy suspension and featherweight brakes. Which opens up a conversation about the strength of the car’s regenerative braking, negating the need for bigger brakes. But more on that later. The narrow rims comment is interesting because the i3’s wheels, which editor Keen has previously described as, “Angelina Jolie’s-arms skinny”, are designed to reduce aero drag and staggered front to rear. Standard rim, as fitted to the BEV, is the 19-inch ‘Turbine Spoke’ (5.0-inch f / 5.5-inch r) shod with Bridgestone Ecopia low rolling resistance tyres, created

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specifically for the i3 (155/70 f / 175/60 rear). Out test REX sports ($1,000) optional 20-inch ‘Double Spoke’ alloys (same width for rims and rubber). BMW’s determination to make the i3 easy to get in and out of led to a neat clambshell type door design, and they’re soon wide open. Despite claiming to be “normally nervous in new cars”, Bev is checking out the interior and working the angles, declaring we’re actually there to give she and Rex the keys on a permanent basis. There’s a clear emphasis on ‘appropriate’ materials inside the enviro-focused i3. Three ‘Interior Worlds’ are offered, and the standard ‘Lodge’ design incorporates limed eucalyptus wood (certified sustainable forestry timber, endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council) on the dash, as well as woollen cloth and leather (naturally tanned using an extract derived from olive leaves) on the seats and doors. Rex is impressed by exposed sections of the carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) chassis in the door surrounds, and tries fitting his lanky frame in one of the two rear seats. Kind of tight. And Bev’s still on a mission, noting the non-reflective surfaces and large instrument numerals, checking to see if what looks like leather really is, and mentioning there’s plenty of space to store a street directory. But that’s one thing these two won’t need. Standard sat-nav, with voice recognition and cursive function is available through the iDrive infotainment system, and in no time Bev and Rex are entering addresses by scribbling on the central controller’s touch pad or simply calling out location commands. Quick learners. Then comes the pre-flight briefing; foot on the brake, press start, turn the rotary gear controller on the right hand column stalk to D, flick the park brake switch off, and you’re away. Which is exactly what happens next; warm-bodied Bev and Rex boldly steering their mechanical counterparts out into the wilds of Melbourne suburbia. We plot a drive loop replicating a typical city dweller’s journey, including freeway and arterial road sections, as well as the stop light grand prix and a visit to the local shopping centre. It’s unlikely we’ll threaten the BEV’s 130-160km range (in the standard ‘Comfort’ setting). In ‘ECO PRO’ mode, which demands less power, estimated range bumps up by 20 klicks, while ‘ECO PRO+’ limits maximum speed to 90km/h (down from 150km/h), with heating and


THE E E CHA IN EV NG G TA NS AROUND M BOURNE MEL

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BMW i3 Price: $63,990 (BEV), $69,990 (REX) Engine: 125kW, 250Nm eDrive motor (+ 28kW 650cc petrol engine in REX only) Performance: 0–100km/h in 7.2secs, 150km/h max Range: 160km in Comfort mode Weight: 1195kg

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air-con switched to energy-saving, for an extra 40 km of potential range. But if all else fails, with a 647cc twin-cylinder petrol generator and 9.5-litre fuel tank on board, the REX is prepared. Because it’s heavier (1,315kg vs 1,195kg), the REX’s battery range is actually 10km lower than the BEV’s, and it’s slower (0-100km/h in 7.9 vs 7.2secs), but that little engine (adapted from a BMW scooter) powers up the lithium ion battery pack in the floor to keep the 360 volt 125kW/250Nm electric motor powering the rear wheels, increasing range to 240-300km. It’s claimed combined cycle fuel economy is 0.6L/100km. Riding shotgun with Bev (in the BEV) she’s immediately impressed with the little car’s acceleration. “Fast isn’t it?” she declares, as the pedal hits the metal for the first time. In the all-important race from 0-60km/h she has a slight advantage over Rex (in the REX) taking just 3.7secs compared with 3.9. Merging into fast-flowing traffic Bev starts to explore her car’s mid-range performance, and with confidence growing, warms to its point-and-shoot lane changing ability. The mid-point pit-stop is a large shopping complex comprising the usual retail suspects, including Bunnings, which is calling Rex with its irresistible siren call of hardware treachery. But our man resists temptation and sticks with the driving program, commenting on the i3’s tiny turning circle (9.9 metres), light parking speed steering, and clarity of the standard reversing camera. Bev and Rex effortlessly engage in the type of banter only a couple completely at ease with one another can. As photography continues Bev tells Rex to keep his hands out of his pockets, with Rex soon escaping to take a squiz inside the i3 BEV. A delivery truck swings past for a closer look at the i3 twins and Bev warns its driver to, “Watch out. This is a good car.” The next sector brings seat time with Rex, and he’s quick to comment on the size of his car’s full panel glass sunroof. A $2,920 option, the huge electric, tilt/sliding roof runs and rests externally, with a manual blind filtering sunlight and heat with the roof closed. Further commentary relates to the good steering feel, and then comes feedback on the braking, the vast majority of which is done by the i3’s aggressive regenerative function. From 60km/h, lifting off the accelerator feels like someone’s squeezing the brake pedal firmly. Only they’re not, and neither are you. A quick refresh on regen braking. With a single-minded focus on energy efficiency, the system slows the car’s wheels by switching the motor into reverse when you lift off the ‘gas.’ Running backwards, the motor also acts as a generator, feeding electricity into the batteries. Rex is getting used to the lift-off braking effect, and the technology appeals to an engineering brain, but his main focus is on Bev’s whereabouts. With Thomas in the passenger seat, she’s being guided alongside Rex for a tracking shot like a jet fighter gradually nosing up to the boom for aerial refuelling. With pics safely in the can Rex confirms he and Bev will soon be off for ore van touring, but the key travel priorities are a month in France to mo celebrate Bev’s 70th birthday (you sneaky cradle-snatcher Rex), as well as tim me in Indonesia, on a charitable mission, helping to teach English as a second nguage. No problem for former Scotch College Master Rex, but still quite a lan schedule, even for these seasoned travellers. sch With Thomas ‘Just one more shot’ Wielecki knocking over the last of the location photography, Bev and Rex reflect on their BMW i3 experience. Both are fans. They like the way the i3 looks and drives, they appreciate the technology, and even the price doesn’t knock them completely out of the park. At $63,990 for the BEV and $69,990 for the REX, this four seater is roughly three times the price of a similarly sized, conventional hatch. But Bev puts it out there; “I think we’ll buy one”, adding almost immediately, “There goes our next overseas holiday.” To which Rex responds, “Bev, 70 grand is seven overseas holidays”, and the subject is quietly closed. But most of all they love the names. Honest and trustworthy, but at the same time connected with a sense of adventure and fun. Bev and Rex, long may your range extend.

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BEV IN THE BEV. ABOVE: REX IN THE REX


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FERDINAND PIテ気H

THE MAN BEHIND THE RISE OF THE M ACHINES

TopGear delves into the enigma of the man responsible for the quattro, Veyron, XL1 and 917 WORDS: PAUL HORRELL / ILLUSTRATION: PETER STRAIN

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FERDINAND PIËCH

enerally, the departure of car company chairmen is a matter for the ghetto of the business pages. It might slightly move the share price or affect the careers of the management underlings, but it’s of precious little concern to you and me. Ferdinand Piëch’s resignation, though, is something we all need to mark. Oh, sure, he was responsible for growing the Volkswagen Group into an enterprise for which 600,000 employees build 10 million cars a year, and accumulating mainstream and exotic brands likea stamp collection… but mostly it’s about the cars. Ferdinand Piëch has had more effect than pretty well anyone else on the cars of his company. And on his rivals. Why the fuss over Piëch’s departure? He wasn’t even the day-to-day CEO of the Volkswagen Group. Hadn’t been since 2002, though he had been CEO during some transformative years leading up to that. From 2002 until now he has actually been chair of the supervisory board, a German structure that oversees the main management board, but doesn’t directly run the company day-to-day. But you can be sure Piëch has been an extraordinarily powerful back-seat driver all those years. So he’ll be missed. His commitment to engineering excellence, his brutal spirit of competition and his visionary outlook will see to that. Let’s start with the engineering. His grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, designed the Beetle and the Mercedes SSK, and his uncle started the Porsche sports-car company. Bit of a pedigree, then. An early personal project of his was to design the Porsche 917, one of history’s most successful and awesome racecars. But he bickered with his siblings and cousins, so they all agreed to come off the Porsche board. They kept sizeable shareholdings, though. Which wealth meant none of them ever needed to work again. But Piëch immediately started an engineering consultancy. From this came the OM617 fivecylinder diesel engine for Mercedes-Benz. It was Merc’s first premium passenger-car diesel engine. A diesel. And a five-cylinder. Remember those things as we meander further through Piëch’s later career. Before long, he was appointed chief engineer at Audi. This Volkswagen subsidiary was struggling in the shadow of Mercedes and BMW, despite having sprung out of Auto Union, the magnificent pre-war enterprise for which his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, had designed 16-cylinder GP engines. During the 20-year Piëch era – he later became Audi boss – the company introduced the fivecylinder petrol engine, the quattro, galvanised an nd then aluminium bodies, advanced low-drag shapes and world-leading diesels. Audi became a proper high-end player. In 1993, he took on the job of running the whole Volkswagen Group. It was mortally wounded, closse to bankruptcy. He set about using his engineeringg expertise to slash costs and improve the cars, mosst critically by his platform strategy. I once asked him what had mattered most of all the things he’d done at Audi. He said it was movingg the

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IT’S IN THE GENES Ferdinand Porsche, Piëch’s grandfather, designed the original Beetle, among other landmark early German cars

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80, 90, 100 and 200 onto a common platform, hugely increasing parts-purchasing volumes and reducing costs. At VW he immediately moved the Passat onto the same platform, having the same effect. From that thinking came his biggest move, the one thing that should probably be inscribed on his monument stone: the MkIV Volkswagen Golf and the platform strategy that gave us all its relatives. The vast flowering of models, from the first TT to New Beetle to droves of Seats and Skodas. It meant huge cuts in costs and in engineering time. Instead, the money and effort could be poured into making better interiors and an even wider range of cars. It has become standard practice in multi-brand car companies. Sometimes the press grumbled the Golf and its platform-mates were too similar, but Piëch believed he could grow the group overall by having more brands competing with each other. “Many rods catch more fish,” he used to say. Indeed, competition was the fuel for his fire. Not just with other car companies, but within the Volkswagen Group. He delighted in setting engineers from different divisions against each other, needling each into doing their best. His leadership turned the VW Group around. But it wasn’t enough for him. He went on a buying spree, acquiring Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Scania. He wanted others too – Ducati and MAN trucks and Italdesign have been added since he has been chairman, and he had a go at getting Alfa Romeo too. Most dramatically, he pulled the strings that ensured that VW took over Porsche. It was the conclusion of an epic power struggle between automotive names, different groups of managers and different factions of the Porsche dynasty. One result of that takeover is the Porsche Macan. Maybe you don’t think the Macan is ambitious enough. Well, how about the 918?

“HE DELIGHTED SETTING ENGINEERS FROM DIFFERENT DIVISIONS AGAINST EACH OTHER”


Top: pit-lane fashion and the world’s greatest racing car – two of Piëch’s greatest achievements. Above right: MkIV Golf introduced platform sharing and increased cabin quality. Right/ below: carbon-fibre engine bay and gull-wing doors part of the moneyno-issue XL1 hypermiler. Below left: Ur quattro – no explanation needed

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FERDINAND PIËCH

SUBLIME TO RIDICULOUS The Veyron was too well-engineered and too expensive to make, which never mattered; the Up is the same... but it does matter

“VEYRON ENGINEERS WHO FAILED TO REACH HIS TARGETS WERE ABRUPTLY FIRED” But if you really want to see the extent of his ambition as an engineer, look at two cars from the opposite ends of the group’s range: the VW XL1 and the Bugatti Veyron. It was Piëch who laid the template for the Veyron, and stated its power and top-speed numbers before a prototype had ever run. Rival car-company chiefs – and me, before I drove it – thought it a crazy, money-burning vanity project. But he pushed on. Veyron engineers who failed to reach his targets were abruptly fired along the way, but the end result was a triumph. Then came the XL1, another car of amazing audacity, a high-tech design aimed at reaching numbers (in economy not performance, this time) unmatched elsewhere. Piëch

had watched over that project from the days it was a tiny one-seater carbon-fibre cigar-on-wheels. At the time he retired from the CEO’s job to becoming the chair of the supervisory board, he told me that the Porsche 917 and the VW Phaeton were the highlights of his career. Er, the Phaeton? Why move Volkswagen so far upmarket? He smiled that slightly chilling smile of his: “There are not enough good big cars. And the few ones that are there, they earn too much. That’s the reason we are stepping in.” See, his competitive eye couldn’t stand rivals making fat profits. Actually, the Phaeton failed to sell (except now in China), but without it we wouldn’t have the Bentley Continental family. Another example of Piëch playing the longer game than he was credited for at the time. Since he took over in 1993, the VW Group has grown to overtake GM and challenge Toyota as the world’s biggest carmaker. But now, Piëch, hitherto the arch politician, has stumbled. He tried to stab current VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn in the back, and it’s unclear quite why – Winterkorn was always a Piëch protégé. But the rest of the Porsche family, and the state shareholders, and the unions (powerful there) backed Winterkorn. Piëch has been forced out. How VW will change is unclear. Among its immense success, it has sore spots, possibly the result of being run by a tight team of management from

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VW GOLF MkIV

BUGATTI VEYRON


THE MAN BEHIND THE MAN

Top: Piëch (above right) with Martin Winterkorn, the long-time protégé he recently tried to oust. Probably because Piëch wanted to elevate Porsche CEO Matthias Müller into Winterkorn’s position instead. Above: enormous and still-growing brands of VAG. Below: 918 named in honour of Piëch’s great racer

VW W XL1

remote northern Germany. The Up-Citigo-Mii is a good minicar for Europe, but too small and expensive for many huge new markets for which the group needs an entry car. A seven-seat SUV for the US is in development, but it was started too late. However, the current generation of management was appointed by Piëch, and, though those issues are being addressed, there’s no quick fix. The unions and local government probably supported Winterkorn against Piëch because they didn’t like Piëch’s cost-cuts that would have reduced local employment. Perhaps those forces didn’t like the craziness of the XL1 and Veyron. Certainly the institutional shareholders (for whom Piëch had little regard) didn’t either, so we’ll probably see fewer engineering extravagances from the group in future. But let’s not dwell on that. Let’s remember instead the amazing legacy of a true genius, an engineer of extraordinary breadth, and most of all one of the great car nuts. Hon.-Prof. Dr. techn. h. c. Dipl.-Ing. ETH Ferdinand Karl Piëch, TopGear salutes you.

Ferdinand Piëch has an aristocratic bearing, as well as engineering in his genes. But his psychological terrain was surely forged by his dynastic situation: one of six siblings, and sire of 12 (by four different women). Sibling and intergenerational rivalry strengthens the family, at least until it tears it apart. Competition is his driver. He openly said that a bit of friction and needle was needed to get best results. In his years as CEO of the Volkswagen Group, Piëch’s hallmark was to set rival teams of engineers to develop different solutions to the same problem, and to pit his brands one against the other. He would refer to the brands as the “daughter companies”. Looking back on the time he was given Audi to run, when it was a struggling VW subsidiary, he explained his motivation to me like this: “If you start in a poor daughter company, you must earn more than the mother company.” He is, frankly, a pretty scary presence. For a start he has about as much small talk as a sideboard, though he does have a talent for mischievous comedy through understatement. Encounters with him are punctuated by long silences, finally broken by his precise vocal formulations. Ask a stupid question and you get a brief dismissal. Pique his interest, and he talks at length, his electric blue eyes fixed ahead. People called him obsessed with the detail as well as the big picture. He once asked how many different cigarette lighters there were across the group’s cars. The answer came back at well over a dozen. He reduced it to two, and saved a fortune. Imagine what effect that thinking had across whole platforms. It comes back to his family, of course. Engineering is in his genes. Anyone can think of a number. One litre of fuel per 100km? Sure. One thousand horsepower? Heck, yes. Difference was, Piëch could set these targets because he could conceive of them as reachable. He’d expect the company’s engineers to work to his own standards. No doubt that’s why his management style seemed despotic. He and a small cabal of managers ran the company. Anyone who couldn’t give him a fast and intelligent answer to one of his probing questions seldom lasted long in their job.

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Z06 VS AVENTADOR


Sharp and sweet and zesty fresh... Corvette Stingray Z06 Convertible meets Lambo Aventador LP700 Roadster for a helluva road trip WORDS: PAT DEVEREUX / PICTURES: ROWAN HORNCASTLE

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ionne Warwick was wrong. LA isn’t just a great big freeway. It’s a great big freeway surrounded by some of the very best driving roads anywhere in the world. Roads that are wellsurfaced, warmed by the almost permanent sun and with views that make you want to just stop and point stupidly at them. Sure, LA has more than its fair share of traffic problems – the lava-slow freeways being one of the main everyday headaches at any time after 2.30pm. But it also more than makes up for those with its vast network of almost deserted canyon, coast and ridge roads that spin their web across the county, from the shining Pacific Ocean in the west all the way out to the desert in the east. So it’s the perfect place to test the abilities of any fast car, but especially suited to helping us understand the talents – and drawbacks – of a new high-performance convertible like the Corvette Stingray Z06. Apart from the terrain and weather suitability, this is the place where the soft-roof version of the USA’s favourite supercar – and TG award-winner – will mostly be sold and used. If it doesn’t work here, it hasn’t got a hope anywhere else. Just to keep the Chevy honest, and offer a European counterpoint, we’ve brought along a 350km/h Lamborghini Aventador LP700 Roadster. Like you do. We’ve tested this car before, the last of the proper supercars in our view, but never here. So we’re looking forward to seeing how it copes with the new environment – and the Z06. On paper, the 484kW supercharged Chevy is down on power compared with the 515kW Lambo, as they both weigh exactly 1625kg. So you’d think that the Italian exotic with its V12, carbon-everything, Öhlins push-rod suspension, four-wheel drive – and just the fact that it’s a Lamborghini – would give it an edge. But let’s wait and see what happens. This isn’t a head-to-head, but we’ll learn a lot about both cars over the next few days. Typically, we’d start a road trip like this in LA then head for some distant interesting point hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. But this time, we thought we’d stay local. LA residents often boast that there is so much mixed terrain nearby that it’s possible to ski in the morning, surf in the

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Some primary colours in search of simple pleasures

“IF THE CORVETTE DOESN’T WORK HERE, IT HASN’T GOT A HOPE ANYWHERE”

afternoon and have dinner in a desert oasis. Which is all true if you like to get up early and have a helicopter handy. We thought we’d try the motoring equivalent, but take our time about it. Cruise by the ocean, attack the tight twisting canyon roads above Malibu, then sweep over to the San Gabriel mountains and get lost up there for a day before hitting the cruise control back to Santa Monica. You could do it all in a day, but why rush? So we broke it into two days and, to add a bit more colour, we invited a couple of local drivers along for the ride and drive. We have our favourite roads in the area, but we thought they might have some good suggestions, too. We also wanted to get their take on the two cars. The Z06 convertible is an interesting car to us, but it’s part of the American fabric. Does it fulfil the dream or is it overshadowed completely by the lime-green Aventador? With all these questions yet to be answered, we swing the two cars into the beachside car park, drop their roofs – two carbon panels in the Lambo and a fabric foldaway on the Vette – and wait for our first guest driver to arrive. In vanityand novelty-obsessed LA, how you look is almost your most important quality, after the size of your bank balance. So the first test was which car would draw the most attention. To our eyes, the Aventador is now an almost familiar shape, so the bright yellow Z06, also being the newest car here, was our bet. Couldn’t have been more wrong. The moment the pair of cars turn up, all the skaters, cyclists, walkers, vagrants – even the seagulls, weirdly – surround the Aventador and would have stood roughly on the Vette to get a better look at the Lambo. Now the last remaining model in the range that truly captures the complete absence of design restraint that characterised the marque over the past decade, the Aventador draws crowds like the first day of a Boxing Day sale. A few more petrolheaded punters in the car park clock the Z06 and give their grunts of approval, but it is not even close. Just when we think we could start charging people to look at it, Ryan Phinny, our first guest driver, arrives and we decide not to hang around. Ryan has raced in various formulas in Europe and the US, and will be the first new US rookie in IndyCar for three years. Ryan wakes up thinking about cars, spends the day driving them, then likes to end the day with a good chat about, yep, more cars. Perfect, then.


Z06 VS AVENTADOR The Corvette can keep the Lambo honest, whoever’s driving

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Z06 VS AVENTADOR

Watching him fire out of the car park into the streaming traffic, the Z06’s bass exhaust blare – the Lambo’s supersonic note is much more shrill – ricocheting off the crumbling, gullied cliffs, we feel a bit bad about the lack of attention the car had been getting. But it doesn’t take long before we have to revise our opinion. A blonde woman driving a red Golf GTI completely blanks us and makes a beeline for Ryan in the Vette. Unable to tell if she is getting animated about her love for the car, driver or hatred of both – hard to tell from the hand signals – we notch up a point for the Stingray anyway. It’s getting noticed and that’s what matters here. The other revelation on the coast road was just how different the two cars feel. With the Lambo’s roof panels stowed in the front boot, even with the seat on its lowest setting there is still a lot of airflow into the cabin. This gives anyone with more than a lick of hair the full Phil Spector quiff inside five minutes. The Vette by comparison, is a relative ocean of calm with the roof down and the windows up. Neither car has an inbuilt or accessory wind-deflector, but only the Lambo would really need one. Roof up or down, there isn’t the faintest wriggle from the Aventador’s exotic carbon tub chassis over bumps. There are a few tremors in the Vette cabin over the same road, but, at this point, at these low cruising speeds, nothing to worry about. Its standard third-gen Magnetic Ride dampers smooth everything out so well they compensate almost completely. Compensation of a different sort is also very obvious as we pull into Malibu, home of the rich and even richer. There are milliondollar supercars everywhere, a LaFerrari parked on the street as if it were a Ford Focus, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces bulging out of the parking spaces in the market. Kids wearing Rolex Daytonas. That kind of thing. There are a few casual glances at us – they are more interested to see who is driving than the cars – but that’s it, so we press on to the first proper bit of road. As calm and flowing as the coast road had been, as soon as we make a right turn and head up the hill into the canyon, everything gets much, much busier. The road flicks left and right, tight hairpins followed by blind, tightening uphill turns that open out into small straights. On these roads, you’d think the Lambo, with its 4WD and massive atmo motor, would be the faster of the two cars. It certainly feels it at first, the firm suspension and weighty steering tying you closely into the action, letting you feel everything that’s going on while the car rasps, crackles and shrieks its fantastic way up the hill. But a quick look in the rear-view mirror, far from showing Ryan as a receding dot in the past, reveals him casually stroking the Vette up the hill just a few inches off our rear bumper. Part of this ease is clearly due to his professional driving skills, but when we swap cars, it’s immediately obvious that’s not the whole story. The Z06 is just much more fluid and composed, a smooth sine wave to the Aventador’s jagged seismographic progress. The engine starts pulling at 1rpm and doesn’t stop until you hit the rev-limiter. The seven-speed manual gearbox, with its now-genius rev-matching tech, makes up and downshifts foolproof and smooth. And its traction, thanks to the spookily grippy Michelin Cup 2 tyres (we lost count of the number of valets who told us our tyres were bald – they aren’t; they’re born that way) plus the witchcraft-level Performance Traction Management, is nothing short of astonishing. Ryan, and the rest of us, are all majorly impressed. After another 4,607 corners or so, we arrive at a section of the Mulholland Highway known as The Snake. This is where bikers and drivers head at weekends to watch each other slither around one particular tight uphill bend. There are usually a couple of accidents a week there, mostly harmless, which ensures a crowd and The Law is ever present, and today is no different. Even to this seasoned viewership, the Lambo is the one that causes all the cameraphones to come out. We have a new name for it: the Eventador. Just down the hill, we stop for a breather, and a couple of 11-year-old kids cycle up excitedly to look at the cars. They know what they both are, but it’s the Italian that wins their

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It’s the Italian supercar that’s still getting all the attention. Funny that


Time to test that witchcraft traction management...

Corvette has 300kW per tonne. Less than Lambo. But plenty

“IN LA, HOW YOU LOOK IS ALMOST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR BANK BALANCE”

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CORVETTE Z06 STINGRAY CONVERTIBLE Price: US$83,000 ($105,000) Engine: 6162cc V8, 484kW @ 6400rpm, 881Nm @ 3600rpm Performance: 0–100km/h in 2.95secs, 320km/h approx vmax Transmission: 7spd manual, RWD Economy: n/a Weight: 1625kg

+ See and hear the Stingray bellow in the tunnel on Mt Baldy in the San Gabriel mountains...

For info on how to use viewa, turn to page 8


Z06 VS AVENTADOR LAMBORGHINI LP700-4 AVENTADOR ROADSTER Price: $795,000 Engine: 6498cc V12, 515kW @ 8250rpm, 688Nm @ 5,500rpm Performance: 0–100km/h in 3.0secs, 350kmh max Transmission: 7spd ISR, 4WD Economy: 15.9L/100km Weight: 1625kg

+ … and then hear the Lambo in the same brilliant echo chamber: it’s high-revving engine heaven

For info on how to use viewa, turn to page 8


“WE WERE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT THE LAMBO HAS CYLINDER DEACTIVATION”

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Z06 VS AVENTADOR

bedroom-wall-poster vote two–nil. And just as well if you’d spent almost $800k on it. The Z06, even loaded down with the Z07 performance kit, plus all manner of other goodies, struggles to top $100k in the US. You can see where the money goes on the Lambo. There is some proper quality detailing going on here, from the smoothly mirror-polished edge of the side windows, to the quality of the switchgear. But the Z06, other than the dodgy on-screen graphics, is perfectly functional. It also has a number of features that even the exotic Lambo can’t match. Along with the PTM mentioned earlier, there’s also a Performance Data Recorder, a kind of hardwired GoPro with technical overlays. So you can record all your favourite drives and relive them later on the car’s screen or your TV. Clever. But a long way from the end of the technical geek-out on the Z06. Despite being supercharged, its LT4 engine uses the same cylinder deactivation system as the n/a LT1 lump in the regular Stingray, which is impressive. But not, we were genuinely surprised to learn, unique to the Chevy. The Aventador also has cylinder deactivation – it knocks off a bank of six cylinders when they are not needed. It only works when the car is in Strada – the least extreme engine and gearbox map – which might be why we haven’t spotted it before now. But we are still glad it’s there. The Z06 has averaged 28L/100km on the last blast. The Aventador? Er, 70 litres per 100. With Ryan’s canyon knowledge and opinions of the two cars now fully dispensed – he’s a fan of both but cannot believe how fast and generally competent the Z06 has become – we cruise on the freeways over to the higher altitudes and wide open expanses of the San Gabriel mountains. On the way over, we pick up our next local specialist, Hans Schiff. Think of Hans as the real-life version of hard-charging talent agent, Ari Gold from Entourage. Because that’s who he is. He’s animated, has a firm handshake and does multi-million dollar deals from his iPhone like you or I order an Uber. When he’s not pushing deals at CAA, he likes to push his 911 and M5 to their limits as often as possible. He’s blown the engine on his M5 – on the way to work! – and has got to the very edge of the 911’s performance. So he is the perfect target customer for one – or both – of our two cars. And he is also a font of all knowledge about the best routes through the

Corvette: 28L/100km. Lambo: 70L/100km! Expect to visit the pumps often

mountains. So he’s our perfect guide for this bit of the trip. And he doesn’t waste any time getting to know the cars. As we fire up into the wide-open arid scenery – it looks like the backdrop to a thousand Westerns – Hans is clearly having fun wrestling with the Lambo, the car’s bodywork shape-shifting as it sheds heat and adds downforce. I’m just as busy in the Z06. With the PTM set to Sport, the e-diff adapting to everything from throttle position to tyre temperature, I’m having a proper laugh. Brake, turn, bellow, chuckle, brake, turn, bellow, chuckle. It’s shocking how capable this open-topped Z06 has become. It’ll happily cruise along and yank you out of corners with its supercharged grunt. But it will also blaze along keeping a proper supercar honest. On becoming a cabrio, it’s lost virtually nothing, and gained a new level of atmospheric involvement. Hans is also a fan, momentarily lost for words after his first taste of the new Chevy. “This thing is awesome!” he shouts as we stop for a breather. And he’s right, too. It is awesome. Not taking anything away from the Aventador, which is still probably the most striking proper supercar you can buy today, especially in green. But the Z06 convertible is an astonishingly good piece of kit. After spending the best part of a day running with the packs of superbikes that roam these mountains at weekends – and explaining the cars to them – we are all starting to wonder why you would need, or want, anything more than the Z06 convertible to get your open-topped driving pleasures. At least that’s Hans’s verdict as he throws me the Stingray’s keys and leaves us in a cloud of tyre smoke and deal-making. Personally, I’d stick with the regular hard-topped coupe Z06 – still with the Z07 package, though – as they come as standard with removable roof panels. So it’s the perfect mix for me of open and closed motoring. That car is also closer to the Lamborghini’s offer – a massively rapid, anvil-strong supercar with a built-in hair dryer. The new SV will undoubtedly be even faster and more focused. And, with that fixed wing on the back, maybe even a bit more crowd-pleasing too, if that’s possible. But even that, even though it’s for a totally different audience, is unlikely to beat this Z06 convertible for allAmerican driving thrills. If you are about to put down $100k and buy a car, we couldn’t think of anything better to spend it on right now. A bargain at twice the price.


SUPER CABS

England’s not famous for its beaches; and its beaches aren’t known for hosting $400k convertibles. Nevertheless, here we are… WORDS: OLLIE MARRIAGE / PICTURES: MARK FAGELSON


Cali’s black wheels look small in the arches

e were expecting a sunset, one of those soft, ripe ones, all satsuma sun and peach-skin sky. It’s why we made such haste across Exmoor, why we didn’t allow the salty tang of Braunton’s fish and chip shops to divert us, why we risked the tricky slipway down onto the beach at Saunton Sands. It had been a fresh, fragrantly beautiful day up on the moors, perfect weather for convertibles, and we were full of hope that we’d be able to watch God’s bright orange ping-pong ball bob about on a fiery sea, the perfect backdrop for our two seductively potent sports cars. Of course, as soon as twin-turbo engines got a scent of sea air, the cloud rolled in. Not the fluffy-bunny stuff, but the flat high-level kind that sucks out all the colour and warmth. It was like a Dementor had flown over Devon, and only Mark’s special camera filter could dispel the gloom. The Ferrari’s paintwork lost its ping, fading to murky

Crackle red finish? Can only be a Ferrari. V8 sits well back in engine bay

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brown; the Porsche looked like a 911-shaped fog patch. These are cars for beach-front living. Ideally the Costa Brava or Côte d’Azur, somewhere with cocktail bars and hip clubs rather than tea rooms and dog walkers, but if any car can bring a zingy slice of Mediterranean glamour to dour old Britain, it’s one that wears a Prancing Horse. This is the new California T, a thoroughly re-engineered take on the old one, although the basic format, layout and design remains the same: four seats inside, folding hard-top, front engine, rear-wheel drive, seven-speed double-clutch gearbox linking those fore and aft components. It’s the engine that’s got everyone talking, a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8, Ferrari’s first turbo motor since the F40. But this time it’s not been done for power and excitement reasons, more because that’s what legislation demands. And, yes, it uses 15 per cent less fuel (although don’t for a moment believe the 11.7L/100km claim – we burnt 15.2L/100km on the 320km motorway haul down from London, and 22.7L/100km on the tight stuff). But – and this is important, because it’s easily overlooked when you take in the boulevard lines – it’s also a proper turbo nut job. It is, in fact, as fast as the old F40. Almost precisely: both do 0–200km/h in 11-point-something seconds.

Four-wheel-drive traction enables this bonkers 911 to snatch itself off the line even faster, but once moving, there’s barely a cigarette paper in it for pace. So, the 911. It’s a Turbo S Cabrio with PDK gearbox. In white. With a red leather interior. It is everything that 911 purists hate about 911s: the laggy engine response, the muted noise, the corrupted steering, the wobbly chassis, the silly money. It’s so reviled it’s practically a Panamera. I don’t disagree with any of that. There is a bit of structural shake – more than in the Ferrari, certainly – the steering doesn’t dance like a RWDonly car’s, the engine does take a moment to pick itself up, and blows so riotously hard through the mid-range that you never need to go beyond 5,000rpm, or have the brain space to think about the sound it’s emitting. Oh, and have you heard the one about Porsche charging $440k-plus for an option-less 911? Not a joke, sadly. But here’s the thing. The 911 operates at a very high level indeed. Ridiculously high. So even if you chuck in a few dynamic issues, a high price and a, ahem, curious spec, you’re still left with a fearsomely desirable car. The perfect foil to the Ferrari, in fact, given their identical power outputs and that both tread a line that encompasses both roof-down flounce and


SUPER CABS

“THE CALIFORNIA T HAS THE FIRST FERRARI TURBO MOTOR SINCE THE F40”

In search of glamorous nightlife options in deepest Devon


SUPER CABS

You’re looking at two ridiculously fast cars. Cali is as fast as F40

black-top attack. We’re parked up on the beach, greyness has arrived and while Mark rifles through his bags for the Insta-Sunshine filter, we’ve got the opportunity to kick the tyres. The Porsche is a remarkable piece of packaging. Look how small its rear end is compared with the Ferrari’s, then realise that engine, gearbox, driven axle and roof mechanism are all packaged in there. It’s shorter, narrower and lower, but somehow crafts way more space for those confined to the back seats. You sit low, the cabin is unfussy, it hits all the ergonomic metrics and makes you want to drive – if only to avoid having to look at the leather for a moment longer. Nothing smells like a Ferrari. Even with the roof down, the pungent whiff of pampered cow hide gives the California a richness, a luxury,

“WHERE THE CALIFORNIA IS COY, THE PORSCHE WALLOPS IN WITH... TURBO ”

Erecting the Cali’s wind block took five minutes. 911’s took five seconds

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that’s quite beyond the 911. You can also see it in the depth of the paint, the beautifully rendered badge, even the elegant, symmetrical installation of the engine. Think what you like about the way the Ferrari looks, but the detail, the finish, is sublime. Apart from the wind deflector. Clearly this slipped through the quality-control net. In the Porsche, you press a button and it emerges from the rear bulkhead in a way that makes you marvel at the rigour of German engineering, but the Ferrari’s requires assembly. Four pieces of plastic that have to be puzzled over, clipped together, the whole then slotted into place. It’s a pointless faff, and anyway cabin turbulence isn’t that bad with the roof down. You sit higher in the Ferrari, the driving position more GT-ish by dint of the front engine.


THE BORING BUT INTERESTING BITS FERRARI

TURBO S

3855cc twin412 755Nm @

rpm

kW/ton

3.6sec 315km/h

You’ve got a lot of car ahead of you, the A-pillars are thick and wide and the hardcore mounteverything-on-the-steering-wheel approach jars a little. We also have Apple’s CarPlay system. This barely has any more functionality than a standard USB plug-in that you run through your infotainment screen. Apple’s maps are better than Ferrari’s, and it can read out your text messages. For this, Ferrari sees fit to charge $6,790. But then this is the firm that charges an astonishing $20,900 for the Rosso California paint and $12,000 for the black roof, so you pays your money… There’s a new dial between the air vents that has a touch-sensitive ring allowing you to cycle through a whole load of turbo info, from available response to boost pressure. It’s a gimmick, but one that makes clear Ferrari isn’t ashamed it’s

Engine Power Torque Transmission Kerbweight Power-to-weight ratio Economy Performance 0–100km/h Top speed Roof lower/raise time Price

in urbo flat-six 412kW @ 6500 0–6,750rpm 4250rpm 7spd DSG, 4WD

3.1secs 317km/h

gone down the turbo route. It’s not ashamed, because it’s done a tremendous job. This is the right car to start with, of course, a car where the demands and expectations are lower than in, say, the 488 GTB, but all the same, it’s a peachy motor. Ferrari has realised that you don’t need to let the turbos give maximum blow as early as possible, that it’s good to give drivers a reason to hold on for high revs. The Cali is torque-limited in every gear bar seventh, the engineers have played with the delivery, tinkered with the torque, and the car is more exciting as a result. Ferrari is good at engines, and this is a good Ferrari engine. There’s less inertia than in the 911, it’s faster-revving, cleaner-breathing, bettersounding, more exciting. It’s behaviour is more natural than forced induction, the turbos not

allowed to play too much of a role. Earlier, pointing towards the west as the sun fell through the sky, prow framing Exmoor, the V8 was majestic, roiling and wailing across the landscape. It felt good. Bet I looked pleased with myself. The Porsche is more guttural, the flat-six leaning more heavily on the turbos for assistance, but turn everything up to max, engage Sport Plus and it’s a total weapon. Where the Ferrari is content to be coy, to tease a little, the Porsche just wallops right in with… TURBO. It’s exciting alright, a proper unsubtle, gale-force blaze of power and acceleration, but it’s too dominant, more difficult to meter out precisely, whacking great dollops of thrust available anywhere across the rev range. But the Porsche’s chassis? Well, that’s a different matter. You sit low, making you more aware

Under the skin the Ferrari is actually a Transformer

A

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A bit gaudy for Devon? 911 and Cali tackle Countisbury Hill


SUPER CABS

Both cars have ceramic stoppers. Porsche’s are better to use

of the 911’s low centre of gravity. It keys you into the road and never tries to distance you from mechanical goings-on. It’s earthy and connected. The Ferrari meanwhile has light, sharp steering; light, sharp brakes; and a light, sharp throttle. It’s too much – the responses feel false, forced, distancing you from the actual sensations. As a result, the way it gets itself along B-roads is effortless, it gathers speed, sweeps round corners, consumes roads – but you don’t find yourself engaged in proceedings. Instead, you look down and are always, always shocked by how fast you’re travelling. The Ferrari is intent on doing the job for you, but making the responses sharp in an attempt to convince you that you’re doing the work. It feels what it is: slightly artificial. Where the Cali seems to say “Sit back, let me show you how we do this”, the 911 is more “Want to go faster? We can go faster. We can always go faster.” It wants to charge, but leaves the decision with you. That’s part of Porsche’s genetic make-up. The genius of the 911 is that it incorporates this with low-speed manners and long-range comfort. Yes, tyre noise is rowdier than it should be, the short-travel suspension is

abrupt in comparison with the Cali’s, and I reckon the low-slung cockpit is more of a hassle for those in the target age group, but it never fidgets or fights, and any scuttle shake is contained in an instant. Traction? Grip? Both stellar. The

“THE CALI IS SO INTENT ON LOOKING GOOD, IT FORGETS ABOUT THE DRIVER” balance in the chassis, the steering, the oneness of it all, is something the Ferrari can’t emulate. For two days solid, I found myself getting out of the Ferrari nodding in appreciation, admiring the achievement, adoring the engine, but only one handling aspect – the faintly ridiculous turn-in

grip – actually stuck with me. It’s a majestic, aloof car. The ride may be a little brittle, but by and large it succeeds at its principal aim; to tackle every road with style and panache. But the California is so intent on looking good, it forgets about the driver. The Porsche never does. That should be enough to earn it an easy victory here – and it does win, it is the one I’d have, it’s way, way better than the purists give it credit for. But I have to admit a $440k 911 is not the sweet spot of the range, despite the power, speed, physicality and sheer togetherness of the whole package. The Ferrari has the greater sense of occasion. If you’re the type of person who likes driving with one arm resting on the door top, you’ll be happier here, and although massively expensive when optioned up, $410k here feels like money more sensibly deployed. It is a very, very good car, the California, exactly the car it needs to be to appeal to its audience, I suspect (in fact, I’d argue that in this market sector, Ferrari knows its buyer better than Porsche). Trouble is, that’s an audience you’re more likely to find on the Côte d’Azur than in deepest Devon.

Even though this Porsche 911 costs $440k, it’s not The One

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MUSTANG vs TT

The archetypal American coupe, versus the TopGear Coupe Of The Year, the Audi TT. Two very different philosophies. Let the worlds collide. WORDS: PAUL HORRELL / PICTURES: TOM SALT

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MUSTANG vs TT

riving through southern Germany, we spot the perfect place to try out the Mustang’s most American feature. A newly surfaced road, so unsullied they haven’t even removed the hardware that diverts traffic around it. The mulleted gents in orange dungarees load their steamroller onto a truck and head off, then we sneak past the barriers to do our thing. Deep in the Mustang’s menus is an option called ‘line lock’. Huh? It’s designed to heat up the back tyres just before a drag-strip start. I engage first, confirm line lock on the menu, stop, press the brake pedal hard, confirm again, then come off the brake. Automatically, the front brakes clamp themselves tight while the rears release. Bang. I lift the clutch while hitting the gas. The back tyres squeal then light up. The sky goes black, the vents belch smoke into the cabin. This loud violence is juvenile and hilarious and a little scary. After a few seconds, I stop. Sure enough, the tyre surfaces have turned to hot toffee. The acrid-smelling pall gradually disperses through the woods, and I realise I’ve dug two neat contactpatch-shaped divots in this lovely new road. I hope the road builders aren’t still within noseshot. This is where worlds collide. We have two 2+2 coupes, surprisingly similar real performance. Yet utterly different. They each cleave faithfully to their roots and their motherlodes. If you happen to have spent time in both Lower Michigan and Upper Bavaria, then you’ll know just how diverse this test is going to be. Ford, of course, never pretended the Mustang was a world car, even as it makes its first real attempt at worldwide sales. From bumper to bumper, it’s American. To have designed and engineered a Mustang that didn’t satisfy the fanatical home crowd would have been commercial suicide. The passion American owners show towards their Mustangs is borderline pathological. Show the merest flicker of interest in a nice example, and in return you’ll be treated by its owner to such a protracted nut-and-bolt guide to its spec and provenance, I swear summer turns to autumn as your eyes glaze over. So this new Mustang has kept its accent even as it’s acquired a passport – it arrives in Australia later this year. Ford’s pitch is to folk who seek Americana but with world-class competence. You can have it with a 2.3 Ecoboost or a V8, with manual or auto, and soft or hard top. That makes eight possible combinations, but almost everyone orders either a soft-top 4cyl auto or coupe V8 manual. They want the cruiser or the muscle car – always the two most significant Mustang strands. For us today, it’s the muscle car. How does the quintessential American coupe compare with the best out of Europe? In the US, no one likes to be taken for

D

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“FORD, OF COURSE, HAS NEVER PRETENDED THAT THE MUSTANG IS A WORLD CAR”


A Mustang with modern ‘suspension’. Whatever next? European sales...

If you’re in an American car, you have to find a bridge like this. Fact

Thank you, Germany for producing perfect roads for slidey action Audi’s 4cyl 2.0 troubles the Ford’s 5.0 V8 on back roads

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MUSTANG vs TT

AUDI TT 2.0 TFSI

FORD MUSTANG 5.0 V8 GT

Price: $71,950 Engine: 1984cc turbo 4cyl, 169kW @ 4500rpm, 370Nm @ 1600rpm Performance: 0–100kmh in 6.0secs, 250kmh vmax Transmission: 6spd manual, FWD Economy: 5.9L/100km Weight: 1305kg

Price: $54,990 Engine: 4951cc Ti-VCT V8, 309kW @ 6500rpm, 530Nm @ 4250rpm Performance: 0–100kmh in 4.8secs, 250kmh vmax Transmission: 6spd manual, RWD Economy: 13.5L/100km Weight: 1678kg

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Or a Mustang in the lights

the sort of fool who’d pay over the odds. Value is an American, er, value. So here we are, bubbabubbing down a German dual carriageway, impressed by the refined cruise. For $54,990, we’ve a 5.0-litre V8 up front, a limited-slip diff in the back, big Brembo brakes inside the 19in P Zeros, a pretty sophisticated integrated infotainment system and upgraded hi-fi in the cabin. Before you ask, to be ‘world-class’ meant this generation of Mustang has ditched the live rear axle in favour of proper suspension. The V8 isn’t some pushrod job but a four-cam all-aluminium effort with variable timing on all four camshafts. The bonnet and front wings are aluminium. The Audi TT is a whack more, at $71,950. (Things even up a little more if you go for the V8 Mustang with the auto ’box, which is $63,990; but we’re after the classic muscle car

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“THE AUDI’S ENGINE SOUNDS LIKE CREAM AND SPICE”

experience.) The Audi is the base 2.0 turbo manual, with front-drive. The TT’s body is composed in greater part of aluminium, and much of its suspension is lightweight too. The engine’s a 4cyl, but a good one, with a turbo, direct injection, and the valves have variable timing and lift. Still, a front-drive 2.0-litre four is going to have a hard time against a rear-drive 5.0-litre V8. Not so much. The Audi weighs only threequarters as much as the Mustang. Ah. The Mustang is supposed to get to 100km/h in 4.8secs; the TT, in 6.0. But assuming Ford uses line lock and takes advantage of RWD traction, it’s really opening out its advantage as it departs, like a 4 July fi rework display, from the start line. Hardly relevant in the real world. Except – welcome to my world – when creating smoke-choked photos for magazines.


Ford’s real handbrake means real handbrake turns are possible...

Finish in Mustang is much improved, but a long way behind Audi

Once you get past, say, 50km/h, the margin diminishes. On real roads, the Audi takes advantage of a quicker gearshift and whacking mid-range turbo thump, and mostly doesn’t fall far behind. At least not until the Mustang driver really starts using the revs, when the gap opens again. This isn’t quite the stereotypical apple-pie V8. Yes, it’ll rumble quietly along at 2,000rpm, but it thrives on high revs too. And it sounds terrific: a well-oiled mechanism wrapped in a naturally tuneful exhaust. It’s honest music, unlike the slightly cheesy theatricality that’s all the fashion on European forced-induction V8s. The Audi doesn’t just over-deliver on performance for a 169kW four; its noise is better than you’d expect too, a blend of cream and spice, their proportion varied by whether or not you have the intake resonator engaged on the sports button.

The Ford’s official economy and CO 2 numbers are dire, but you might just hit them. The Audi’s are better, but as with all small turbos, less realistic. A new diff (still a limited-slip one) and other tweaks have meant this Mustang suffers less from the crude low-speed transmission snatch and whine than the first one we tested in the US. Even so, there’s a want of sophistication here, and your sense of lurching ham-footedness is heightened by a brake pedal that’s over-servoed at the top of its travel, a clumsy mismatch for the heavy box and clutch. At least you do feel in shifting gears that you’re meshing actual cogs. The Audi’s shift is less mechanical, but quicker and lighter and it’s easier to be smooth. To begin with, we trace quick, sweeping roads just north of the Mosel valley. The Mustang steers pretty urgently and precisely,

but the wheel is too light, and you don’t really feel the car loading up. The Audi’s steering isn’t ideal, either, as it has a sudden kick point just off centre and a trace of torque-steer too. So I don’t feel like driving either of them as hard as I suspect they’d go. In these wide corners or the tighter ones that follow, neutral is the TT’s way. It’s wieldy and accurate, and corners flat and hard. It’s smaller, which makes narrow roads its playground. As it takes the strain in a bend, you can tune it on the throttle, feeling everything as it takes up its very subtle changes of attitude. In the snaky valley-side roads, I’m starting to bed in with the Mustang too. Inevitably the handling is defined by the driven wheels. Sure, in tight bends you’ve got to be careful not to go in too fast and be kidnapped into understeer by its weight. It’ll do neutral too. Of course,

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MUSTANG vs TT

Mustang canters up the road. Whoa, boy!

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TT cabin is one of the best in the business. Supercars included

Fuel pump goes in here. But fortunately not too often at 48mpg

though, it’ll poke the tail out, and pretty suddenly too, when you apply the right toe. A limited-slip diff is standard, and generally a slide will be pretty tidy. But beside the Audi the Ford’s reactions and messages are less exact, making it seem too softly bushed, like you’re wearing thick gloves: only when the material has compressed does the connection properly happen. Its macro moves are good, but on the micro scale they’re fuzzy. Not all Fords suffer that way; I suspect the Focus RS will be a scalpel in comparison. The Mustang’s ride can be a bit percussive and baggy at low speeds, but most of the time it pulls a very clever trick. Give it a brisk run down a lumpy back road, and the springs really start to breathe nicely, so you can get on with the job of driving. On the same bit of road, the Audi is always stiffer and bashes you about. In other ways, the Audi is vastly urbane. The control positions and actions are spot-on; the driving position, immaculately judged. I could probably fill these eight pages just talking about the brilliance of the design, execution and ergonomics of the air vents and their encapsulated climate buttons and displays. Same goes for the high-res screen that serves for the all instruments, navigation, entertainment and connections. It could have been sluggish and overloaded and bewildering, but for the most part they’ve made it a joy to use. All the same, the TT is buttoned down and serious. Immaculate manufacture, perfect quality, low CO 2 , all-round good behaviour. It’s a superb car that manages to achieve almost as much as the Ford on less power and fuss. But it doesn’t set your trousers alight in the short term. Its emotional compass is calibrated for a long relationship. The Mustang really only takes one thing seriously, and that’s being a Mustang. At night it projects a horse logo onto the ground beneath the door mirror. The most lovingly-made component in the cabin is the aluminium plaque engraved MUSTANG SINCE 1964. This car was obviously born to be a V8. It’s full of cheery back-slapping blokey stuff. Line lock for a start, and various other timing and g-force apps in its ‘track’ display menu. It’s got an actual handbrake rather than the Audi’s electric one, presumably so you can do actual handbrake turns. The interior is all bold and sweeping references to Mustang heritage, and slightly tinselly materials. Open the boot and you find cheapo carpet, messy seams, exposed screws and sharp edges. It isn’t normally visible, which is why making an effort here is beyond the Mustang’s purview, and it’s how come the Mustang does what it does for the price it does it. The Audi boot-finishing team (I’ve no doubt whatever that such a group exists) would, of course, be horrified. And in the end, I’m drawn to the Audi’s precision, both in its statics and its dynamics. But in no way does the Ford horrify me. I’m having a bit of a ball. The Mustang has a pretty loud and easygoing attitude to life, and if that’s not to your taste, well, it isn’t any too bothered. Outside America, it will always be an outsider, but these days it’s in no way out of place.

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TOPGEAR’S LONG-TERM CARS. TESTED AND VERIFIED

James has another dirty weekend in a long-termer

HELLO

4.0-litre, in-line 6cyl petrol, RWD, 198kW, 409Nm

$ $33,140

ODO 5,960km Driver James Cleary Why it’s here To work the Falcon hard at the start of its final year

’ve discovered a short-cut to Oni-kyan glory. You know, those ludicrously slammed Nissan Cimas and Toyota Celsiors, running negative camber down the bright lights of Tokyo’s Ginza. Drop half a tonne of gravel on your car. We’d just grabbed the keys to the latest TG Garage addition, as the Cleary back garden required application of 500kg of pale pink gravel. Enter one Falcon XR6 ‘Styleside’ Ute; a striking non-turbo, six-speed auto example, complete with Ford’s EcoLPi fuel system. Base price for ‘our’ car is $33,140, with the EcoLPi adding $2,500, and an XR ‘Luxury Pack’, including leather seat inserts, premium audio, dual-zone climate-control air, 19-inch five-spoke alloys (up from 18s), sat-nav, and sports interior tipping on another $4,350. Finish with prestige paint at $500 and you come to an as-tested price of $40,490. The local landscape supplies outfit would sell me the required amount for just $31 if I take it in bulk. Check the XR6’s maximum payload, and it’s 470kg for the manual, 542 kegs for

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IN DETAIL

It was clear the loader had done his training with NASA, docking with the space station

13.5L/100km

0–100km/h in 8.0secs (est)

the auto. No problem. Especially given the Falcon is fitted as standard with a heavy-duty bedliner: nasty scratches are not an issue. In no time we’ve flicked off the flush-fit soft tonneau as the Volvo loader ranges into view. This is getting scary. Picking up a carefully measured load he snakes the weirdly articulated machine towards the side of the ute, and begins to gently tip the contents in. Like sand through the hourglass, this is the gravel of our lives. The rear alloys creep closer to the top of their wheel wells, until finally the bucket is empty. Not exactly ‘demon camber’, but this ute is definitely dropped on its guts. Despite the 42kg payload margin we take it very carefully on the journey home. The Falcon pulls cleanly, and maintains an even strain as we rumble on. The EcoLPi version of the 4.0-litre six delivers 198kW/409Nm; a handy three kW and 18Nm more than the standard petrol version, with maximum torque arriving at 3,250rpm. Tradies have never had it so good. The car’s ‘SYNC 2’ system, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen, does voice-activated hands-free

1,841kg

calls, text messaging (with compatible phones), and supports digital music players. Back at base, the load is safely transferred then hammered into place, as this ute is firmly embedded in our fleet.

GARAGE LOGBOOK FORD FALCON XR6 UTE

GOOD STUFF

BAD STUFF

 Atmo six is a willing worker

 Despite work for the current X version, the FG Falcon problem of low steering wheel/ high driver’s seat has not gone away

 Cabin layout is well thought through with plenty of storage bins and handy space behind the seats  Six speed auto is silky smooth

 Engine noise is hoarse in classic Falcon fashion  Conspiracy theories

L/100KM THIS MONTH

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J OY R I D E

The X6M is prettier inside than out

M E RC E D E S - B E N Z S L 5 0 0

BMW X6 M

Evolutionist ere’s my confession: I didn’t want to like the X6M. I went into it like a film snob watching an action movie, determined to dislike it right from the start, and missing the point completely: it’s a lot of fun, and what the hell’s wrong with that. At first glance, the X6M is the poster child for the sort of thinking that killed the Falcon and the Commodore: people who want an SUV instead of a car, but they want one that drives like a car, and can only go where a car can go, and can only carry what a car can carry. But after a few days driving it, there’s really no denying: it’s big and luxurious and fast (crazy fast, for a thing this size)… and it’s quite awesome, really, and not at all the Frankenstein’s monster I was expecting. You’re never really made aware of the sheer mass you’re sitting on – it’s effortless and strangely lightfooted. The back seat would probably be a bit cramped, but hey, I never had to sit in it. And even those looks, a bit munted in photos, grew on me, no matter how I fought it. Turns out there’s no fighting evolution, and this is the future.

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4395cc, AWD, 423kW, 750Nm 11.1L/100km 0–100kmh in 4.2secs, 250kmh 2265kg $ $194,700

ODO 3216 Driver Tim Keen Why it’s here It’s the endgame of SUV evolution - we want to know why

The finer things 4.7-litre, V8 biturbo, RWD, 320kW, 700Nm 9.4L/100km 0–100km/h in 4.6secs 1,785kg $ $312,000 ODO 6,432km Driver James Cleary Why it’s here To see how much sport

remains in the Merc Sport Leicht othing like a flash car to spark up spontaneous conversations. The SL is a catalyst for questions and compliments, the most recent being a servo console operator flat out asking how much the car costs. “Including options, it’s around $325,000.” If eyebrows could actually leave a person’s face, this guy’s would have been hovering half a metre above his head. And I couldn’t help adding, “All in, on the road, it’s closer to $340k”, at which point the colour began to drain from his face. You can easily become blasé about steering such a high dollar machine, and episodes like this help snap things back to reality. But there’s no doubt big bucks buy supreme attention to detail. Over time particular SL functions have begun to stand out, here’s a quick précis on half a dozen of them. Rear camera: In the original Star Wars, or is it the fourth one, Luke’s making his do-or-die run to blow up the Death Star, and Obi-wan Kenobi whispers in his ear to forget the targeting tech and use The Force. Well, this is like that, only in reverse (See what I did there?). The combination of curved guide lines on screen and feedback from multiple proximity sensors encourages you to let go and trust the system’s ability when reversing. It’s brilliant. iPod connectivity: A dedicated input cable means as soon as you’ve plugged in your device, full functionality is available through the screen; down to specific playlists, podcasts, the lot. Navigation through menus and options via the ‘Comand’ controller is simple and intuitive. Windscreen wipe/wash: If you’ve ever watched a fellow road user’s windscreen

N

IN DETAIL

Just the right amount of controls on the wheel: not overloaded with buttons like some

washers arc gracefully over the car’s roof, you’ll appreciate the SL’s adaptive wiper system. Washer fluid is delivered to the screen through the wiper blades, which isn’t a new idea. But this set up is so efficient you’re barely aware liquid of any kind is involved. The screen just instantly becomes clean. Maybe calling it ‘Magic Vision Control’ isn’t a wank after all. Seat massage: Our SL’s ‘Designo’ package includes ‘multicontour’ seats with active side bolsters and a massage function. Sounds over the top, but feels really good. Active cruise: Manages speed when you’re caught in a line of freeway traffic. It’s handy, and the nice thing about this system is that, unlike some others, it doesn’t take an age to pick up the throttle when you move out to overtake a slower car. Heated and ventilated seats: Our time in the SL has so far run from early autumn to the beginning of winter, and we’ve made good use of the excellent seat ventilation and heating. So, so civilised…

GARAGE LOGBOOK MERCEDES-BENZ SL500

GOOD STUFF

BAD STUFF

 The air-con is flawless. All ‘climate-control’ systems should be like this

 Approach angle is tight. It pays to take entry to, or exit from, steep driveways carefully

 The twin-turbo V8 just keeps on giving (700Nm from 18003500rpm)

 Having just the two seats can catch you out. But hey, this ain’t no family truckster

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C I T RO E N C AC T U S

Nouvelle vague TOYOTA 8 6 GTS itroen says its terrific new Aircross concept “shows what we can do with the spirit of Cactus”. Yup, the Cactus is such a success they’ll orient the whole brand the same way. Its style may be novel, but it’s no novelty. The surfaces and cut-lines are drawn with enough discipline to counteract the danger of toy-like softness from its rounded corners. Well, that’s my view. Some people told me it’s hideous, especially the airbumps, which turned out useful, actually. The design inside is a great echo of the outside, and just as pleasing. I didn’t mind the simplification of the back half, which cuts weight and cost. My kid didn’t mind the windows not winding down, because that brought huge door pockets for her endless kiddy stuff. The screen-based info system is an OK idea badly executed. I never made peace with its poor latency and graphics. In some ways, the Cactus felt not just light but frankly tinny. It was susceptible to crosswinds, and shimmied over big potholes. Plus it took too much steering to keep it in its motorway lane, making motorway driving more tiring than it needs to be. But I loved the suspension’s soft ride on lumpy B-roads, and it was an urban champion in dealing with speed bumps. Spirit of Cactus? Bring it on. It needed a bit of suspension tuning and much more screen processor power. But the philosophy – light weight, simplicity, comfort, and creative and useful design – was never in doubt.

C

GOODBYE 1582cc, FWD, 94kW, 260Nm 6L/100km 0–100kmh in 11.7secs, 180kmh 1557kg $ $23,000 (est)

ODO 8640 Driver Paul Horrell Why it’s here Is the Cactus more than a quirky novelty?

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Question of taste 2.0-litre, 4cyl, RWD, 147kW, 205Nm 7.8L/100km 0–100km/h in 7.6secs 1,275kg $ $35,990 ODO 1525km Driver Vince Jackson

Why it’s here Have spec and chassis upgrades made the 86 even more brilliant? n 1985, Roberto Goizueta dropped one of the biggest clangers in the history of business. He meddled with a formula that had been commercial gold for 70 years, had earned his company the kind of numbers that end with nine zeros, and made the firm a household name across the globe. ‘New Coke’, invented during Goizueta’s reign as CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, was supposed to replace the world’s most famous fizzy drink, which at the time faced stiff opposition from Pepsi. There was one problem. It tasted like liquefied urinal cakes. The public revolted, taking their rotted teeth to rival products. The original ‘Classic coke’ was reinstated three months later. Only three years into its lifetime, the 86 already feels like a sacred cow that can’t be slaughtered, as untouchable as the 911’s silhouette or Queen Elizabeth’s knees. Even in an era when superlatives are chucked around with abandon, when YouTube cat videos are labelled classic, when mates are called legends for simply getting in their round, you could call the 86 a masterpiece and it’d stick. No other modern rear-wheeler dangles the promise of go-kart fun, St Tropez looks and a premium(ish) sport feel for not much more green than a specced-up Camry. This writer was among the Chosen Ones who got a run at the 86 when it dropped in 2012, and he’s pleased to report a lack of fiddling in the 2015 model – no Coke moments here. And those changes that have been made, may as well have been done on an atomic level, they’re that tiny. (Something about a new reverse-view

IN DETAIL

I

86 now has a reverse camera – good news for pushbikes in tight parking spaces

camera and upgraded touchscreen.) The 86’s back-to-basics interior/ instrument panel still transports you back to 1980s arcades; don’t be surprised if you fi nd yourself trying to insert dollars into the dashboard. There’s still addictive spurts of power once its legs are stretched from second gear onwards. It’s still hopelessly glacial off the line (still, slow starts never stopped Usain Bolt from being a hero). And its feral suspension can only benefi t the nation’s chiropractors, magically transforming smooth roads into cattle grids. The one thing that has changed about the 86 is its perception. Australia is the third-largest market in the world for the sports coupe; one in ten sold finds its way to our driveways. I remember, three years ago, taking it for a sprint around Sydney’s salubrious beach-side suburbs, an area with at least three luxury rides for every tosser, and even parked among Merc and BMW coupes, the 86 still diverted the most eyeballs – the Ryan Gosling among all those George Clooneys. This time, nothing. You’re just another 86. But if losing your wow-factor is the price of greatness, the price of defending the status quo, so be it. The irony is, Toyota already ‘did a Coke’ when they gambled the company’s treasured reputation for safe, boring cars by building an aff ordable rear-wheel-drive sports coupe that shook up the car industry, and still hasn’t left a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

L/100KM THIS MONTH

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LOT U S E L I S E S

Tiny dancer ere’s some things I learned at the wheel of the Lotus Elise S Club Racer for a few days. 1. I’m not as flexible as I used to be. Which matters, trying to origami yourself in and out of this pintsize racer. 2. Quad exhausts are becoming more common. Not on the Elise – that has a single central exhaust – but the Lotus is so low, I became quite the exhaust expert. The Elise S is simply as low as a car can be and still be above ground. 3. The Club Racer isn’t really great as a daily driver. That’s despite the Comfort Pack now coming standard, which includes a manual convertible roof, fourspeaker sound system, central locking, and the sound insulation from the standard Elise S. The Club Racer is brilliant when you get it out of town, but it’s a bit ruthless day to day. But my god, it’s the most unfiltered driving experience: every bump, every nuance is transmitted through your hands, your feet and your bum. And it’s so precise and mechanical: every gearchange is a snickety joy. The closest you’ll get to driving a racecar on the street.

H

1798cc, RWD, 162kW, 250Nm 7.5L/100km 0–100km/h in 4.6secs, 234km/h 924kg $ $84,890

Driver Tim Keen Why it’s here It’s a racecar you can legally drive around town “Honey, I bought a couch! Oh. I’ll return it”

AU D I R S Q 3

So long, little friend GOODBYE

2.5-litre, 5cyl turbo, AWD, 228kW, 420Nm 11.7L/100km (claimed) 0–100km/h in 5.2secs (claimed) 1,655kg $ $81,900 ODO 5994km Driver Tim Keen

Why it’s here Because TopGear votes Family Fast he dreaded day: having to take our peppery little SUV back to Audi. In the six-and-a-bit months we had the RS Q3 in the TG Garage, I went from sceptic – can an RS badge on a compact SUV really be a good thing? – to convert, to having the beastie as my daily driver. In fact, in having to return the RS Q3, I’ve gone through the five stages of grief. Denial: even though Road Test Editor Cleary was pointedly clear about the return date, I hadn’t even cleared out the bag of clothes in the backseat. Anger: “Well, how am I supposed to get to work now? DID YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT THIS?” “You know there’s like four other cars in there. Just drive one of them. Or…” “Or WHAT!” “… you could walk, you live very close…” “GET OUT OF MY OFFICE!” Bargaining: “Tell Audi we’ll give them our art director if we can keep the RS. They can just have Ben.” Depression: “Who cares if the post office won’t deliver Ben to Audi? It’s all meaningless anyway.” Acceptance: “Fine. Go let Ben out of the box, and take the car back. Fine. It’s fine.” Because after six months, we’ve discovered that the RS Q3 is in fact, like the judgment of Solomon, a lesson in the wisdom of compromise. A compact SUV set up like a hot hatch: you get the

IN DETAIL

T

Subtle details in the cabin show the level of care Audi takes throughout the car

practicality of a bigger interior and bigger cargo space, with the thrust and grunt of a weekend troublemaker. All delivered with bucketloads of grip, and a snapping snarling personality that makes other cars seem a little tame in comparison. I also got very used to the TARDISlike dimensions of the RS Q3. Thanks to my apartment block apparently having been designed by motorcyclists, or idiots, or both, the car spaces are tiny and the concrete pylons between them are huge. It makes parking full-size vehicles down there a pain. The small Audi played the excellent trick of being tiny on the outside, but roomy on the inside. It’s clever, and a lot of fun. We’ll miss it.

GARAGE LOGBOOK AUDI RS Q3

GOOD STUFF

BAD STUFF

 Devours takeoffs  Tyre pressure like a drag racer, monitors remained attacks corners dicky to the end like a drunken  Stop-start cornerphobe system is a bit  Comfy interior pants  Solidly specced inside

 More storage in the cabin, please

L/100KM THIS MONTH TOPGEAR.COM



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If you own a Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ there is only one place ƚŚĂƚĐĂŶŽīĞƌLJŽƵĂĐŽŵƉůĞƚĞƌĂŶŐĞŽĨƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ͕ ŵĂŝŶƚĞŶĂŶĐĞĂŶĚƉĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞƵƉŐƌĂĚĞƐ͘

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW A WANT TO BUY… AND NOTHING ABOUT

P149

NowFeaturing JAGUARF-TYPE PRICE

R V8 AWD Coupe

DRIVE

$242,670 Four

WEIGHT

L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATTING

1730

11.3

405

680

4.1

300

9/10

5.0/8

ABARTH

ASTONN MARTIIN

595

RAPIDE

Abarth has a long and proud history of making otherwise sensible Fiats certifiably mental. This is a brilliantly entertaining example.

A beauty of a sedan and a proper poke in the eye for the Panamera Turbo. Yes, it’s $378k, but it has FOUR seats. That’s only $94.5k each.

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

595 Competizione

$36,500

Front

1035

5.4

1.4/4

118

230

7.4

210

7/10

695 Biposto

$65,000

Front

997

5.4

1.4/4

118

230

7.4

210

7/10

Also available: 500 Esse Esse $34,990 595 Turismo $33,500

$378,500

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

410

620

4.9

295

8/10

1990

14.9

5.9/12

The car that took on the 911. And lost. But hey, it’s an Aston. What more do you want?

ALFAA ROMEO MITO

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

V8 Coupe man 6sp 4.7i

$231,000

Rear

1630

13.8

4.7/8

313

470

4.9

290

8/10

V8 Roadster man 6sp 4.7i

$260,000

Rear

1710

13.8

4.7/8

313

470

4.9

290

8/10

V12 S Coupe man 6sp 5.9i

$389,300

Rear

1680

14.7

5.9/12

421

620

3.9

305

8/10

Also available: V8 S Coupe 6sp man $251,700 V8 S Roadster 6sp man $280,600 V12 S Roadster $418,525

Alfa’s small car is actually quite big, except on the inside. Yes, it’s the Mini all over again, albeit better to look at and worse to drive. $22,500

KW

Rear

Also try: Bentley Continental GT, Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte

PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

VANTAGE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta ST, VW Polo GTI

Twin Air 3dr 6sp man 0.9T

PRICE S 4dr SA 6sp 5.9i

Also try: Jaguar XKR, Porsche 911, Mercedes SL

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

1130

4.2

0.9/2

77

145

11.4

184

–/10

Distinctive 3dr 6sp TCT 1.4T

$28,000

Front

1145

5.5

1.4/4

99

230

8.2

207

5/10

QV 3dr 6sp man 1.4T

$30,000

Front

1145

5.5

1.4/4

125

250

7.5

219

5/10

DB9 Overshadowed by the Vanquish and undercut by the Vantage, the DB9 is still the quintessential Aston: graceful, comfortable, yet supremely quick.

Also available: Progression 1.4T man $26,500

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Coupe auto 6sp 5.9i

$349,500

Rear

1785

14.3

5.9/12

381

620

4.6

300

9/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 1 Series, VW Polo

Volante auto 6sp 5.9i

$380,500

Rear

1890

14.3

5.9/12

381

620

4.6

300

8/10

PRICE

Also try: Bentley Continental GT, Porsche Panamera

GIULIETTA

VANQUISH

New Alfa retains the je ne sais quoi of the old 147 and manages to be more reliable and practical. This can only be a good thing. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Distinctive 5dr man 6sp 1.4T

$31,350

Front

1290

6

1.4/4

125

250

7.8

218

6/10

Distinctive 5dr TCT 6sp 2.0DT

$35,250

Front

1320

4.5

2.0/4

125

350

8.0

218

7/10

Best! QV 5dr man 6sp 1.8T

$39,150

Front

1320

7.6

1.8/4

173

340

6.8

242

7/10

PRICE

Thoroughly overhauled DBS is evolutionary, and could struggle to broaden Aston's customer base. We wouldn't say no, though. PRICE Coupe auto 6sp 5.9i

$479,995

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

421

620

4.1

295

8/10

RATING

1739

14.4

5.9/12

Also try: Merc SLS, McLaren 12C

Also available: 1.4 88kW $24,550 Progression 1.4 man $29,450 Progression 2.0 JTD $33,350 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Renault Megane

AUDI

4C An honest-to-god supercar for a fraction of the price. Fast, fabulous and fun, it’s the perfect second car – but a bit demanding as a daily driver. PRICE 4C

$89,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE Rear

1025

6.8

1.75/4

A1

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

177

350

4.5

n/a

9/10

Essentially a really posh Polo, Audi’s A1 is the prince to VW’s pauper. Or maybe it’s the emperor’s new clothes. It’s good, but $39k of good?

Also try: Porsche Cayman, Lotus Elise

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

Best! Sport 5dr SA 7sp 1.4TSC

$39,900

Front

1215

5.9

1.4/4

136

250

7.0

6/10

S1 quattro 5dr 6sp man 2.0T

$49,900

Four

1340

7.1

2.0/4

170

370

5.9

250

–/10

PRICE

Also available: Attraction 5sp man 1.2T $26,500 Attraction 6sp man 1.4T $32,250 Attraction 5sp man 1.6DT $32,250 Attraction 7sp S tronic 1.6DT $32,250 Ambition 6sp man 1.4T $35,800 Ambition 7sp S tronic 1.4T $35,800 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Citroen DS3, Mini Cooper, Fiat 500

TOPGEAR.COM



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AUDI

TOPGEARTOPFIVE

A3 More of the excellent, German luxuxry from ‘Audi’s Not-a-Golf.’ It is a Golf though, just slightly more expensive, with shinier bits inside. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Attraction Sedan 7sp 1.4T

$39,800

Front

1250

4.7

1.4/4

103

250

8.4

217

8/10

Ambition Sportback 7sp 1.8T

$42,800

Front

1380

6.6

1.8/4

132

250

6.8

228

8/10

ROADSTERS

1

PORSCHE BOXSTER

Price $102,800 Specs 195kW, 280Nm, 0-100km/h 5.8secs, VMax 264km/h, 8.4L/100km

Also available: Ambition Sedan 6sp S tronic 2.0DT $45,200 Ambition Sedan 6sp S tronic 1.8T quattro $47,800 Ambition Sportback 6sp S tronic 2.0DT $42,500 S3 Sportback 6sp man 2.0T $59,900 S3 Sedan 6sp man 2.0T $62,200 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, BMW 1 Series, Alfa Giulietta

It’s hard to think of many ways in which the Boxster could be bettered. Wings, maybe? Even in base trim, brilliant doesn’t begin to cover it.

A4 Increasingly the default choice for reps who used to gravitate towards BMWs, this is probably the best mid-size sedan on sale. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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Sedan 4dr 8sp auto 1.8T

$55,500

Front

1545

5.8

1.8/4

125

320

8.3

225

6/10

S4 Sedan 4dr S tronic 7sp 3.0S

$105,000

Four

1685

9.3

3.0/6

245

440

5.3

8/10

Best! RS4 Avant (wagon) 4.2i

$149,900

Four

1795

10.7

4.2/8

331

430

4.7

8/10

PRICE

2

FERRARI 458 SPIDER

Price $588,000 Specs 419kW, 540Nm, 0-100km/h 3.4secs, VMax 320km/h, 11.8L/100km

Also available: Sedan man 6sp quattro 2.0T $63,000 Sedan S tronic 7sp quattro 2.0DT $68,800 Sedan S tronic 7sp quattro 3.0DT $88,000 Avant S tronic 7sp q’tro 2.0T $68,800 Allroad S tronic 7sp q’tro 2.0DT $69,900

Unlike the McLaren, this Spider isn’t as stiff as its coupe counterpart. But in every other area – especially the sound – it’s a divine thing.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class

A5 An artful lesson in understatement, Audi’s A5 Coupe does desirable without the flash. Engines to suit most budgets and the RS5 to suit us. PRICE

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1.8/4

125

320

8.2

6/10

$68,200

Front

1455

Sportback 5dr 7sp 3.0SC

$99,300

Four

1790

8.1

3.0/4

200

400

6.0

250

6/10

Best! RS5 coupe 2dr 7sp 4.2i

$156,400

Four

1715

10.5

4.2/8

331

430

4.5

250

8/10

Sportback 5dr 8sp 1.8T

5.8

3

KW

MCLAREN 650S SPIDER

Price $505,000 Specs 478kW, 678Nm, 0-100km/h 3.1secs, VMax 330km/h, 11.6L/100km No-one could accuse the Mac of being dispassionate. Lunatic speed, with a ride and handling balance to shame the best. Epic.

Also available: Sportback 2.0T quattro man/S tronic $75,400/$77,300 (cabrio $90,500) RS5 cabriolet $176,400 Cabrio 3.0TD $107,200 S5 coupe/cab $119,900/$129,900 Sportback 2.0TD 7sp S tronic quattro $76,300 Also try: BMW 3 Series Coupe, Mercedes CLK

A6

4

A very good exec that continues to keep the BMW 5 Series and Merc EClass on their toes. It’s the safest choice, and that’s not always a bad thing. PRICE

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A6 Sedan 1.8 TFSI

$79,900

Front

1645

5.7

1.8/4

140

320

7.9

233

7/10

A6 Sedan 3.0 TDI quattro

$99,900

Four

1840

5.1

3.0/6

160

500

6.6

244

7/10

A6 Sedan 3.0 TDI Biturbo

$124,900

Four

1910

6.1

3.0/6

235

650

5.0

250

7/10

S6 Sedan 4.0 TFSI quattro

$169,900

Four

1970

9.4

4.0/8

331

550

4.4

250

7/10

JAGUAR F-TYPE V6S

Price $175,470 Specs 280kW, 460Nm, 0-100km/h 4.9secs, VMax 275km/h, 8.6L/100km Do not mistake this for a GT. Voluptuous bodywork and front engine disguise a two-seater that’s poised, precise and fun.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class, Lexus GS

5

A7

MERCEDES SL500

Price $312,000 Specs 430kW, 900Nm, 0-100km/h 4.2secs, VMax 250km/h, 9.9L/100km

Audi’s niche busting continues. The A7 is basically an A8 with a hatch, so it drives safely, has nice engines and interiors, and has a slightly bigger boot. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro

$115,400

Four

1900

5.2

3.0/6

160

500

6.8

239

8/10

A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI Biturbo

$144,900

Four

1970

6.1

3.0/6

235

650

5.2

250

8/10

S7 Sportback 4.0 TFSI quattro

$179,900

Four

2030

9.3

4.0/8

331

550

4.6

250

8/10

PRICE

The consummate professional. Have it in AMG spec for maximum daftness or regular and relax into one of the world’s best all-rounders.

Also try: BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS, Mercedes S-Class

A8

Q5

Two tonne, ludicrously powerful, autobahn bomber. This hot rod looks like a conservative limo ... but isn’t. The 4.2 turbo diesel is mad, and S8 is madder.

Audi’s ‘small’ SUV is only small because the Q7 is the size of sub-Saharan Africa. It’s small inside though, if that helps. Which it doesn’t.

PRICE

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Sedan SA 8sp quattro 3.0DT

$195,000

Four

1955

5.9

3.0/6

190

580

5.9

250

8/10

TFSI 5dr Tiptronic 8sp 2.0T

$63,600

Four

1755

7.9

2.0/4

165

350

7.1

222

5/10

Sedan SA 8sp quattro 4.2DT

$249,900

Four

2115

7.4

4.2/8

283

850

4.7

250

8/10

TDI 5dr S tronic 7sp 2.0DT

$62,600

Four

1770

6.1

2.0/4

130

380

9.0

200

5/10

S8 sedan SA 8sp quattro 4.0TT

$279,000

Four

2065

9.6

4.0/8

382

650

4.1

250

8/10

TDI 5dr S tronic 7sp 3.0DT

$76,100

Four

1860

6.4

3.0/6

180

500

6.5

225

6/10

Also available: A8 Sedan SA 8sp quattro LWB 3.0DT $206,900

PRICE

RATING

Also available: TFSI wagon 5dr Tiptronic 7sp quattro 3.0i $75,000 SQ5 TDI wagon 5dr Tiptronic 8sp quattro 3.0DTT $90,600

Also try: BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS, Mercedes S-Class

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Volvo XC60, BMW X3

R8

Q7

The only supercar on Planet Earth that’s as easy to drive as a Golf. This may not be a good thing on reflection, but we wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

A car that addresses our socio-economic and environmental malaise by ignoring both completely. The Q7 is a bad idea, brilliantly executed.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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Coupe man 6sp quattro 4.2i

$279,500

Four

1560

14.6

4.2/8

316

430

4.6

301

8/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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Coupe S tronic quattro 5.2i

$366,900

Four

1620

14.7

5.2/10

386

530

3.9

316

8/10

TFSI 5dr SA 8sp quattro 3.0SC

$95,700

Four

2250

10.7

3.0/6

245

440

6.9

243

6/10

Spyder S tronic quattro 5.2i

$395,800

Four

1620

14.9

5.2/10

386

530

4.1

313

8/10

TDI 5dr SA 8sp quattro 3.0DT

$90,500

Four

2300

7.8

3.0/6

176

550

7.9

216

6/10

TDI 5dr SA 8sp quattro 4.2DTT

$129,300

Four

2440

9.2

4.2/8

250

800

6.4

242

6/10

PRICE

Also available: Spyder 2dr S tronic quattro 4.2i $308,400 Plus Coupe 2dr S tronic quattro 5.2i $408,200

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Discovery 4, BMW X5, Volvo XC90

Also try: Porsche 911, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati GranTurismo

Q3

TT

Audi’s newer, smaller SUV is perfect for the yummy mummy on the school run. Daddy will still want the Evoque, though...

The third generation is beautiful and fun with a brilliant interior. Not a hardcore sportscar, but doesn’t need to be – it’s just great to drive.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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TDI wagon 5dr quattro 2.0DT

$47,500

Four

1645

5.2

2.0/4

103

320

9.9

202

5/10

Coupe man 6sp 2.0T

$71,950

Front

1230

5.9

2.0/4

169

370

6.0

250

8/10

TDI wagon 5dr quattro 2.0DT

$55,000

Four

1660

5.9

2.0/4

130

380

8.2

212

5/10

Coupe 2.0T S tronic

$74,950

Front

1260

6.3

2.0/4

169

370

5.9

250

8/10

Best! TFSI 5dr quattro 2.0T

$56,500

Four

1640

7.7

2.0/4

155

300

6.9

230

5/10

Coupe 2.0T S tronic quattro

$77,950

Four

1335

6.4

2.0/4

169

370

5.3

250

8/10

PRICE

PRICE

Also available: TFSI wagon 5dr 1.4 $42,300 TFSI 5dr wagon quattro 2.0T 125kW $49,450 RS 2.5T $81,900

Also available: S Line models

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW X1, Evoque

Also try: Porsche Boxster and Cayman, Mercedes SLK

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


A return to form for the 5, with more easily digestible looks, a better ride and BMW’s stock-in-trade quality.

CONTINENTAL

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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520i sedan 4dr 2.0T

$80,400

Rear

1610

6.2

2.0/4

135

270

7.9

223

6/10

535d sedan 4dr 3.0DTT

$122,400

Rear

1725

5.6

3.0/6

230

630

5.5

250

7/10

Best! M5 sedan 4.4TT

$229,930

Rear

1870

9.9

4.4/8

423

680

4.2

250

9/10

PRICE

The definitive posh tourer, and a masterclass in British style. Reputation tarnished somewhat by rappers and UK ‘footballers’. PRICE

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GT coupe SA 6sp 6.0TT

$408,870

Four

2290

16.6

6.0/12

423

700

4.6

318

9/10

Flying Spur sedan SA 6sp 6.0TT

$423,160

Four

2400

14.7

6.0/12

460

800

4.6

9/10

Supersports convertible 6.0TT

$531,630

Four

2485

16.3

6.0/12

463

800

3.9

8/10

Also available: 520d sedan/wagon $82,900/$91,400 528i sedan $97,900 520d/530d GT $94,400/$109,400 535i GT $117,930 535i sedan/wagon $116,930/$122,930 550i sedan $159,930 ActiveHybrid 5 $120,400 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class

6 SERIES

Also available: GT S Coupe 4.0TT $405,600 GT Speed SA 6sp 6.0TT coupe/convertible $461,300/$507,400 GT V8 4.0TT 8 sp coupe/ convertible $381,000/$419,100 GT Convertible 6.0TT $449,500

Fast, direct and super-techy, the 6 Series excels as a grand tourer, but those expecting visceral sports car thrills might want to look at the M3.

Also try: Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes CL

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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640i conv Steptronic 8sp 3.0TT

$192,975

Rear

1840

7.9

3.0/6

235

450

5.5

250

7/10

650i conv Steptronic 8sp 4.4TT

$246,975

Rear

1940

8.8

4.4/8

300

600

5.0

250

7/10

Best! M6 Coupe 4.4TT

$291,675

Rear

1850

9.9

4.4/8

412

680

4.2

250

7/10

MULSANNE

PRICE

The superlative sedan makes a comeback from the 1980s. Live out your Gordon Gekko fantasies, safe in the knowledge that greed is good. PRICE Sedan SA 8sp 6.8TT

$662,858

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

377

1020

5.3

296

8/10

2600

16.9

6.8/8

Also try: Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes CL

Also available: 640i coupe $176,975 650i coupe $230,975 640i Gran Coupe $183,975 640d Gran Coupe $184,400 M6 Convertible/Gran Coupe $307,675/$298,675 Also try: Porsche 911, Maserati GranTurismo, Aston Vantage, Jaguar XKR

7 SERIES Now a more attractive proposition than rival Merc S-Class or Audi A8, the 7 Series is phenomenally good.

BMW

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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Best! 730d sedan 4dr 3.0DT

$206,200

Rear

1865

5.6

3.0/6

190

560

6.1

245

7/10

750i sedan 4dr 4.4TT

$282,930

Rear

1945

8.6

4.4/8

330

650

5.2

250

7/10

PRICE

1 SERIES Sticking doggedly with rear-wheel drive, BMW’s new 1 Series is much better, but certainly no prettier. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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116i hatch 5dr SA 8sp 1.6T

$36,900

Rear

1290

5.7

1.6/4

100

220

8.5

210

7/10

M135i hatch 5dr 3.0T

$64,930

Rear

1520

8.0

3.0/6

235

450

5.1

250

8/10

PRICE

Also available: 118i $43,000 118d $43,000, 125i $48,000, M135i coupe/conv $64,930

Also available: ActiveHybrid 7/ 7L Steptronic 8sp 3.0 $223,100/$238,100 740i/740Li 3.0TT $212,275/$227,275 750Li $299,630 760Li Steptronic 8sp 6.0TT $391,175 Also try: Lexus LS, Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, Jaguar XJ

Z4 Superbly re-styled with a folding hard top, the new Z4 is a more convincing alternative to the Porsche Boxster than before. Which isn’t saying much.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, Audi A3, Mercedes B-Class

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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sDrive20i roadster 2.0T

$79,900

Rear

1420

6.8

2.0/4

135

270

6.9

235

7/10

sDrive28i roadster 2.0T

$89,900

Rear

1420

6.8

2.0/4

180

350

5.5

250

6/10

Best! sDrive35is roadster 3.0TT $119,075

Rear

1525

9.0

3.0/6

250

450

4.8

250

9/10

PRICE

2 SERIES A new number for what used to be the 1 Series coupe. If you’re still in love with the old E36 3 Series, consider upgrading to the M235i. PRICE

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220i Coupe

$51,000

Rear

1365

6.0

2.0/4

135

270

7.0

230

8/10

220d Coupe

$53,000

Rear

1390

4.4

3.0/6

135

380

7.1

230

8/10

Best! M235i

$79,930

Rear

1470

7.6

2.0/4

240

450

4.8

250

8/10

Also available: 228i Coupe SA 8sp 2.0T $64,400

Also try: Audi TT, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Boxster/Cayman

X1 A mock-SUV trading on its badge. Can’t go even slightly offroad (as we proved). Cue much mirth at the staffer who drowned it in a small puddle...

Also try: Audi A3, Mercedes CLA

PRICE

2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER Good value, comfort and function, but it’s for badge wankers and those who’ve given up on life. Sorry. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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218i 5dr SA 6sp 1.5T

$44,400

Front

1360

5.2

1.5/3

100

220

9.2

205

7/10

$50,900

Front

1430

6.1

2.0/4

170

350

6.6

240

7/10

Best! 218d 5dr SA 8sp 2.0DT

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$46,300

Rear

1480

4.9

2.0/4

105

320

9.6

202

6/10

xDrive28i 5dr auto 6sp 2.0T

$59,900

Four

1580

7.8

2.0/4

180

350

3.1

205

6/10

$47,800

Front

1410

4.2

2.0/4

110

330

8.9

210

8/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi Q5, Land Rover Freelander, VW Tiguan, BMW X3

X3 Slightly too-pricey alternative to the Land Rover Freelander, but a cheap alternative to looking like a massive spanner in an X5. As you surely will.

Also try: Audi A3, Mercedes CLA

3 SERIES The benchmark small exec, available both as a small turbocharged fourpot four-door and reaper-baiting V8 über-coupe. And stuff in between.

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$60,765

Four

1705

7.5

2.0/4

135

270

8.6

210

6/10

Best! xDrive30d 5dr 3.0DT

$77,400

Four

1800

6.0

3.6/6

190

560

6.2

210

6/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

RATING

Also available: xDrive20d wagon 5dr Steptronic 8sp 2.0DT$64,400 xDrive 28i 5dr 3.0i $72,930

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

316i sedan 4dr SA 8sp 1.6i

$52,800

Rear

1385

5.9

1.6/4

100

220

9.2

210

7/10

328i sedan 4dr SA 8sp 2.0T

$69,400

Rear

1455

6.3

2.0/4

180

350

6.1

250

7/10

Best! M3 Coupe man 6sp 4.0i

$156,430

Rear

1580

12.4

4.0/8

309

400

4.8

250

8/10

Also available: 320i sedan/wagon, 323i sedan, 325i sedan/coupe/cab 320d sedan/coupe/cab, 335i sedan/cab, 318d sedan/wagon, M3 cab, ActiveHybrid 3, 328i wagon

4 SERIES KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

135

380

7.3

232

7/10

4.6

2.0/4

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

xDrive 20i 5dr SA 6sp 2.0T

$69,430

Four

1735

7.2

2.0/4

135

270

8.1

212

7/10

xDrive 35i 5dr SA 6sp 3.0T

$87,430

Four

1815

8.3

3.0/6

225

400

5.5

247

8/10

xDrive 30d 5dr SA 6sp 3.0DT

$83,900

Rear

1820

5.9

3.0/6

190

560

5.8

234

9/10

Also try: Range Rover Evoque

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE 1465

X4 The ‘Sports Activity Coupe’ (with four doors, mind) is still a pleasingly sporty drive. For an SUV...

Also available: xDrive20d 5dr Steptronic 8sp 2.0DT $73,400

A confident and clever smallish sedan/biggish coupe package. You really want the M4, though. $72,300

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi Q5, Land Rover Freelander, VW Tiguan

PRICE

Also try: Mercedes C-Class, Lexus IS, Audi A4

420d Coupe SA 8sp 2.0DT

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

xDrive20i 5dr 2.0i

PRICE

PRICE 428i Coupe SA 8sp 2.0T

$81,000

Rear

6.4

2.0/4

180

350

5.8

7/10

435i Coupe SA 8sp 3.0T

$108,530

Rear

1470

7.4

2.0/6

225

400

5.1

250

7/10

X5 Second only to the Range Rover for utter road domination, second fiddle to Land Rover for off-road ability. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

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xDrive30d 5dr 3.0DTT

$100,400

Four

2070

6.2

3.0/6

190

560

6.9

230

–/10

xDrive 50i 5dr 4.4TT

$133,900

Four

2175

10.5

4.4/8

330

650

5.0

250

–/10

X5 M

$185,900

Four

2275

11.1

4.4/8

423

750

4.2

250

8/10

PRICE

Also available: Convertible variants Also try: Audi A5, Mercedes E-Class

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

sDrive18d 5dr man 6sp 2.0DT

Also available: xDrive20d wagon 5dr man 6sp 4x4 2.0DT $56,900 sDrive20i 5dr man 6sp 2.0T $48,300

220i 5dr SA 8sp 2.0T

PRICE

RATING

Also available: xDrive 35i 3.0 $106,930 sDrive/xDrive 25d 2.0DT $83,900/$88,900 xDrive 40d 30TDTT $116,400 xDrive M50d $148,400 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes ML, VW Touareg

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 43

BENTLEY-BMW

5 SERIES

BENTLLEY


BMW-FERRARI

X6

C3

BMW teaches niche management 101: a two-tonne 4WD coupe the size of an X5 but with less space inside, and the off-road ability of a Vespa.

The C3 is a bit average when compared to the Fiestas and Polos of this world. And now it’s been rogered from within by the DS3.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

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RATING

xDrive35i

$121,145

Four

2075

10.1

3.0/6

225

400

6.7

210

7/10

Seduction 5dr SA 4sp 1.6i

$22,990

Front

1135

7

1.6/4

88

160

4/10

xDrive50i

$150,545

Four

2190

12.5

4.4/8

300

600

5.4

240

7/10

Seduction 5dr man 5sp 1.6DT

$25,990

Front

1080

3.6

1.6/4

68

230

4/10

X6 M

$194,700

Four

2265

11.1

4.4/8

423

750

4.2

250

8/10

PRICE

Also try: Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport

C4

i3

Getting long in the tooth and never really on a par with the benchmark rivals like the Ford Focus and VW Golf. Shame really, it was always a bit of a looker.

Practical, quirky, clever, great fun to drive, but not cheap. Before you order the Range Extender: there’s a very good chance the BEV is all you need… KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

i3 BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) $63,900

Rear

1195

-

-

125

250

7.2

150

8/10

$69,900

Rear

1315

0.6

.65/2

125

250

7.9

150

8/10

Also try: Hypermiling in a Golf

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$22,990

Front

1270

6.9

1.6/4

88

160

13.9

6/10

Seduction 5dr SA 6sp 1.6DT

$28,990

Front

1290

4.4

1.6/4

82

270

11.3

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, Ford Focus, Renault Megane

C5

i8

The car Citroen made to take the fight to the Germans. A step up in quality if nothing else.

Technically brilliant, utterly eye-catching, hugely fun to drive to hard, quiet and well-mannered around town – the i8 has everything. And costs it. PRICE $299,000

i8

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Attraction 5dr SA 4sp 1.6i

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

i3 REX (Range Extender)

Also available: Seduction hatchback 5dr man 5sp 1.2i $19,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz, VW Polo

Also available: xDrive30d $111,045 XDrive40d $127,545 xDrive M50d $151,145

PRICE

PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

266

570

4.4

250

8/10

1485

2.1

1.5/3

Also try: Tesla Model S, Porsche 911

Exclusive sedan SA 6sp 2.0DT

$45,190

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

2.0/4

120

340

10

6/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

110

370

10.2

207

8/10

1658

6.8

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Mazda6

GRAND C4 PICASSO A people-mover without the dull people-mover looks that make you want to drive into a tree.

CHRYSLEER

PRICE Picasso 7-seat SA 6sp 2.0 TDI

$43,990

1440

4.5

2.0/4

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Odyssey, contraception

GRAND VOYAGER An improvement over its less than amazing predecessor, but no better than offerings from Kia and Toyota. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

LX wagon auto 2.8DT

$57,500

Front

2124

8.4

2.8/4

120

360

6/10

Limited wagon auto 2.8DT

$77,500

Front

2124

8.4

2.8/4

120

360

7/10

PRICE

Also try: Kia Carnival, Toyota Tarago, Honda Odyssey

300 DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

$43,000

Rear

C Sedan 4dr SA 5sp 3.0DT

$51,500

Rear

Best! 300 SRT8 4dr SA 5sp 6.4i

$66,000

Rear

300 Limited 4dr SA 8sp 3.6i

JOURNEY Named after the rubbish rock band? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be illogical: old internals, indifferent style, and performers that are over the hill.

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

210

340

7.0

6/10

9.4

3.6/6

1897

7.1

3.0/6

176

550

7.8

6/10

2012

13.0

6.4/8

347

631

5.0

7/10

1897

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

SXT wagon 7st 5dr SA 6sp 3.6i

$32,500

Front

1942

10.3

3.6/6

206

342

11.6

4/10

R/T wagon 7st 5dr SA 6sp 3.6i

$36,500

Front

1942

10.3

3.6/6

206

342

11.6

4/10

PRICE

New 300 loses ‘gangsta’ pose, drops the ‘C’ off some models and becomes a respectably dressed citizen. New petrol and diesel options through range. PRICE

DODGE

Also available: C Sedan 3.6i $46,500 300 Limited sedan 3.0DT $48,000 C Luxury sedan 3.6i/3.0DT $51,000/$56,000 300 SRT8 Core 4dr SA 5sp 6.4i $56,000 300S 4dr SA 8sp 3.6i $47,500 Also try: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class

Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Mitsubishi Outlander

FERRAARI CALIFORNIA A Maserati in everything but name, the California is a lovely but quite overpriced drop-top tourer.

CITTROEN

PRICE Convertible 2dr SMac 7sp 3.9i

DS3

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

412

755

3.6

315

8/10

1730

10.5

3.9/8

Also try: Maserati GranCabrio, Audi R8 Spyder, Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Charming Gallic looks, a new engine and a simplified line-up, it’s the hottish hatch for those who think the Mini Cooper S is too normal.

458

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DSport hatch

$33,990

Front

1140

5.6

1.6/4

121

240

7.5

218

8/10

Cabrio

$36,590

Front

1165

5.6

1.6/4

115

240

7.5

217

8/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mini Cooper S, Alfa Romeo MiTo

DS4 DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DStyle 5dr SA 6sp 1.6T

$34,990

Front

1284

6.4

1.6/4

115

240

9.9

8/10

DSport 5dr man 6sp 1.6T

$39,490

Front

1316

6.5

1.6/4

147

275

8.5

8/10

PRICE

The finest sports car of the past five years. Utterly mind-blowing. You should want one. Everyone should want one… DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Italia Coupe 2dr DCT 7sp 4.5i

$525,417

Rear

1485

13.3

4.5/8

425

540

3.4

325

9/10

Spider 2dr DCT 7sp 4.5i

$588,451

Rear

1430

13.3

4.5/8

425

540

3.4

320

9/10

Speciale 2dr DCT 7sp 4.5i

$550,000

Rear

1290

11.8

4.5/8

445

540

3.0

325

9/10

PRICE

Also try: Aston V12 Vantage, Porsche Turbo, Lamborghini Gallardo

New big brother to the DS3, another leap forward for Citroen...When will this ever end?

FF A Ferrari grand tourer, but not as we know it. The first-ever 4WD Ferrari, and it’s a wagon. So, it’s the most practical 330km/h family car out there... PRICE

Also available: DStyle man 1.6T $31,990 DSport SA 1.6T $37,490 DStyle 2.0DT $37,990 DSport 2.0DT $40,490

FF coupe DCT 7sp 6.3i

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, BMW 1 Series, Renault Clio

DS5 PRICE $48,990

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

115

240

9.7

202

8/10

Also available: DSport hatchback 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT $51,990 Also try: VW Passat, Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Honda Accord

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

485

683

3.7

335

9/10

2295

15.4

6.3/12

F12

Front

7.3

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

The F12 is bombastic, epic and howlingly fast. The fastest Ferrari road car ever – faster even than the Enzo – there’s nothing else remotely like it.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE 1420

$624,646

Also try: Aston Martin Rapide, Bentley Continental GT

The most avant-garde of all the DSs. The launch of the premium mid-sized five-door hatch completes the local lineup. DSport 5dr SA 6sp 1.6T

$409,888

1.6/4

PRICE F12 Berlinetta DCT 7sp 6.3i

$690,745

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

545

690

3.1

340

9/10

1525

15.1

6.3/12

Also try: Aston Martin DBS, Lamborghini Aventador

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


FIAAT 500 PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Pop 3dr man 5sp 1.2i

$17,000

Front

885

5.1

1.2/4

51

102

12.9

159

6/10

S 3dr man 6sp 1.4i

$20,000

Front

952

6.1

1.4/4

74

131

10.5

182

6/10

Lounge 3dr auto 0.9i

$23,000

Front

940

3.9

0.9/2

63

145

11

173

6/10

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$20,290

Front

1311

6.2

1.6/4

92

159

6/10

Sport hatch 5dr 2.0i

$25,890

Front

1317

7.1

2.0/4

125

202

7/10

Best! ST hatch 5dr 6sp man 2.0T $38,990

Front

1464

7.3

2.0/4

184

360

6.5

8/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mini, VW Polo, Citroen DS3

FREEMONT PRICE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

125

220

180

–/10

9.8

2.4/4

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Ambiente 5dr man 6sp 1.6T

$27,990

Front

6.7

1.6/4

110

240

7/10

Trend 5dr 6sp SA 1.6T

$36,240

Four

8.0

1.6/4

134

240

7/10

Titanium 5dr 6sp SA 2.0DT

$47,740

Four

6.4

2.0/4

120

340

7/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE 1879

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, Renault Megane

Ford’s best medium SUV yet looks good and goes good but faces some serious competition in a tough segment.

Having five kids has exhausted your savings. So Fiat has designed the stimulus package you need in the form of the affordable Freemont. $27,000

Also available: Trend hatchback 2.0i/2.0DT $22,290/$28,090 Sport TDCi hatchback 2.0DT $31,690 Titanium hatchback 2.0i/2.0DT $32,900/$36,490 Sedan variants (Powershift only)

KUGA

Also available: Pop auto $18,500, S auto $21,500, convertible variants

Base 5dr auto 6sp 2.4i

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Ambiente hatch 5dr 1.6i

PRICE

Not quite the Sixties revival Fiat was angling for, but the 500 is a refreshing alternative to Mini-shaped ubiquity.

Also available: Urban 5dr man 6sp 2.0D $33,000 Urban 5dr auto 6sp 2.4i $29,000 Lounge 5dr auto 6sp 2.4i $32,000 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Holden Captiva 7, Kia Grand Carnival

Also available: Trend 5dr 6sp SA 2.0DT $39,240 Titanium 5dr 6sp SA 1.6T $44,740 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V

FALCON

PUNTO

Alas, now officially an endangered species, due for extinction in 2016. Buy one soon or miss out forever. And then buy a second one for spare parts…

The Italians do great food, fashion and scenery to rival the rest of the world. Now they’ve built a car that does that, too. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$37,235

Rear

1704

8.1

2.0/4

179

353

7/10

PRICE

Pop 5dr man 5sp 1.4i

$15,900

Front

1024

5.7

1.4/4

57

115

13.2

165

7/10

XT ecoboost sedan 4dr 2.0i

$19,300

Front

5.4

1.4/4

57

115

13.2

165

7/10

Best! XR6 Turbo sedan 4.0T

$46,235

Rear

1726

12

4.0/6

270

533

7/10

Easy 5dr SA 5sp 1.4i

7/10

G6E Turbo 4dr SA 6sp 4.0T

$56,235

Rear

1745

11.7

4.0/6

270

533

7/10

Lounge 5dr SA 5sp 1.4i

$21,800

Front

5.4

1.4/4

57

115

13.2

165

Also available: XR6 sedan 4.0i $39,990 G6 sedan 4.0i $40,835 G6E sedan 4.0i $46,735 utility 4.0i $27,990 XR6 utility 4.0i $35,190 XR6 Turbo utility 4.0 $39,190

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, Holden Barina, Peugeot 208, VW Polo

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Holden Commodore, Toyota Aurion, Chrysler 300C

PANDA

TERRITORY

Cute and cuddly, just like the beast itself. Also slow and snoozy like the animal, too. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

So popular it caused the demise of the venerable (if ugly) Falcon wagon. A bit of a truck, but not as rolly-poly as you might think.

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Pop 5dr man 5sp 1.2i

$16,500

Front

950

5.2

1.2/4

51

102

7/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Easy 5dr man 5sp 0.9i

$19,000

Front

985

4.2

0.9/2

63

145

7/10

TX wagon 5dr SA 6sp 4.0i

$39,990

Rear

1967

10.6

4.0/6

195

391

7/10

Trekking 5dr man 5sp 1.3DT

$24,000

Front

1040

4.2

1.3/4

55

190

7/10

TS wagon 5dr SA 6sp 4.0i

$47,740

Rear

1976

10.6

4.0/6

195

391

7/10

Titanium 5dr SA 6sp 2.7DT

$58,060

Rear

2011

8.8

2.7/6

140

440

8/10

Also available: Easy 5sp auto 0.9i $20,500 Lounge 5sp auto 0.9 $22,500 Also try: Skoda Fabia, Holden Cruze, Mazda3

PRICE

Also available: Titanium SA 6sp 4.0i $54,990 TX SA 6sp 2.7DT $43,240 TS SA 6sp 2.7DT $50,990 Titanium SA 6sp 2.7DT $58,060 TX SA 6sp 4WD 2.7DT $48,240 TS SA 6sp 4WD 2.7DT $55,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Murano, Toyota Kluger

RANGER

FORD

Another party in the hotly-contested manly utility war that we lost interest in about three meat pies ago.

FIESTA PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING 8/10

Ambiente 5dr man 5sp 1.5i

$15,825

Front

1194

5.8

1.5/4

82

140

Trend 5dr man 5sp 1.5i

$17,825

Front

1221

5.8

1.5/4

82

140

8/10

Sport 5dr man 5sp 1.0T

$20,525

Front

1248

4.9

1.0/3

92

170

–/10

ST 3dr man 6sp 1.6T

$25,990

Front

1197

6.2

1.6/4

134

240

6.9

220

8/10

Also available: Automatic models +$2000

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$30,240

Rear

1789

10.4

2.5/4

122

225

5/10

XLT dual cab 4dr man 6sp 3.2DT

$53,990

Four

2159

9.4

3.2/5

147

470

5/10

Also available: XL Hi-Rider super cab/ dual cab 2.2DT $33,240/$35,990 XL pick-up man 6sp 2.2DT $24,740 XL dual cab/pick-up hi-rider man 6sp 2.2DT $35,990/$34,990 XLS 4x4 $48,090 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Amarok, HiLux, BT-50, Colorado, D-Max, Triton, Navara

FPV

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Citroen C3, Honda Jazz, Nissan Micra, Mini, Fiat 500

ECOSPORT

GS

Yet another player to join the recent tall-hatch invasion. Not quick, but the three-cylinder EcoBoost is a sweet, revvy little unit. PRICE Titanium man 5sp 1.0T

$25,790

Titanium SA 6sp 1.5i

$27,990

Entry-level FPV that is far from entry-level spec. Great performance and, for the price, a real winner. Brakes aren’t as good as the GT though.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

92

170

7/10

Front

1280 1289

5.7 6.5

1.0/3 1.5/4

82

140

7/10

Also available: Ambiente 1.5i $20,790 Trend 1.0i $22,290 Trend 1.5i $24,290

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sedan 4dr man 6sp 5.0S

$57,870

Rear

1840

13.6

5.0/8

315

545

5.2

7/10

Utility 2dr man 6sp 5.0S

$52,990

Rear

1789

14.7

5.0/8

315

545

5.2

7/10

PRICE

Also try: Something from HSV, or a fast German sedan

Also try: Holden Trax, Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke

GT F

MONDEO

It’s here: the last car that will ever wear the FPV badge. A good final effort, but still not as powerful or fast as the HSV GTS.

Ford’s kicked a winner here: dynamics are class-leading, performance is strong, and value-for-money is hard to beat. The new benchmark. PRICE Ambiente 2.0 Ecoboost

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

XL dual cab 4dr man 5sp 2.5i

PRICE

One of the more striking hatchbacks on sale and blessed with a superb chassis. Pace-setter or pacemaker, there’s something for everyone here.

$32,790

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

9/10

1605

8.2

2.0/4

149

345

Trend 2.0 TDCi

$40,490

Front

1683

5.1

2.0/4

132

400

9/10

Titanium 2.0 Ecoboost

$46,990

Front

1690

8.2

2.0/4

177

345

9/10

Sedan 4dr man 6sp 5.0S

$77,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

351

570

4.6

8/10

1840

13.7

5.0/8

Also try: HSV Clubsport / GTS

Also available: Ambiente 2.0 TDCi $36,790; Trend 2.0 EcoBoost $37,290; Titanium 2.0 TDCi $47,490; Ambiente Wagon 2.0 EcoBoost $34,640; Ambiente Wagon 2.0 TDCi $38,640; Trend Wagon 2.0 TDCi $42,340; Titanium Wagon 2.0 TDCi $49,340

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 45

FIAT-FPV

FOCUS The new Focus will win favour worldwide, but is it a little too grown-up and homogenised?


FPV-HOLDEN

GT A trifecta of blokey muscle. Pick the GT if you’re skint, the GT-E if you’re ‘demure’, and the GT-P if you think NASCAR is too subtle. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GT sedan 4dr man 6sp 5.0S

$70,790

Rear

1837

14.2

5.0/8

335

570

4.9

7/10

GT RSPEC sedan man 6sp 5.0S

$76,990

Rear

1844

13.6

5.0/8

335

570

4.5

7/10

GT-P sedan 4dr man 6sp 5.0S

$82,040

Rear

1845

14.2

5.0/8

335

570

4.9

7/10

PRICE

Also available: GT-E sedan 4dr man 6sp 5.0S $82,490

HOLDEN COMMODORE SS SPORTSWAGON

Also try: HSV Senator, E 63 AMG, Chrysler 300C SRT-8

F6 FPV’s original force-fed super sedan doesn’t give anything away to big brother GT. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sedan 4dr man 6sp 4.0T

$64,390

Rear

1771

12.3

4.0/6

310

565

5.0

7/10

E sedan 4dr SA 6sp 4.0T

$76,440

Rear

1778

12.1

4.0/6

310

565

5.0

7/10

PRICE

CAR CLINIC+

Also try: HSV Clubsport / GTS

F6 UTE The quickest way we can think of to get your King Gees and thermos to work and back again. Not as composed as the sedan though. PRICE Utility 2dr man 6sp 4.0T

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

310

565

5.1

6/10

$55,990

1755

12.8

4.0/6

Also try: HSV Maloo, a jet-powered Mighty Boy

VS

GREATT WALLL V SERIES A basic workhorse for those on a budget. Not even close to a compelling drive, but there’s something to be said for a ute this cheap. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Single cab tray 2dr man 5sp 2.4i

$18,990

Rear

2.4/4

100

200

3/10

S’ cab tray 2dr man 6sp 2.0DT

$23,990

Four

1707

8.3

2.0/4

105

310

3/10

Super Luxury 4dr man 5sp 2.4i

$25,990

Rear

2770

10.7

2.4/4

100

200

4/10

PRICE

Also available: Super Luxury dual cab 4dr man 6sp 2.0DT $27,990 Single cab tray 2dr man 5 sp 2.4 i 4wd $21,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado

SKODA OCTAVIA RS WAGON

X SERIES

Dear Car Clinic

Affordable 4WD wagon that isn’t any uglier than any other SUV. It’s not a particularly good off-roader, but how many are? DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

X240 5dr man 5sp 2.4i

$23,990

Four

1830

10.4

2.4/4

100

200

4/10

Best! X200 5dr man 6sp 2.0DT

$27,990

Four

1890

7.6

2.0/4

105

310

4/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: A second-hand Outlander

My wife thinks I need a bigger car. Trying to fit our two newborn babies and all of their many things in my Megane RS is, says she, ‘unrealistic’ and ‘stupid’. So, I need an wagon. Needs to be fast and fun. Ideas?

MIKE BROWNING

HOLDEEN BARINA Not what you’d call a great car. The Daewoo-based Barina is a sore departure from the Opel-sourced models. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

CD Hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.6i

$15,390

Front

1193

6.8

1.6/4

85

155

RATING 4/10

Spark CD hatch 5dr 1.2i

$12,490

Front

967

5.6

1.2/4

59

107

5/10

RS hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.4i

$21,390

Front

1249

6.5

1.4/4

103

200

5/10

Yep - adoption. Or, if you’ve really taken to the little blighters, these two wagons are both practical and a bit of a hoot. The $47k SS Sportwagon has the 260kW 6.0-litre V8, and 895 litres of space in the back to fill with prams and blankies. The $38k Skoda, on the other hand, runs a 2.0L turbo four, which is less powerful at 162kW… but much less thirsty, so more cash for baby formula. The Octavia RS holds a little less, too – 588 litres in the back – but how much stuff can two babies need? Oh. Lots.

Also available: CD Sdn man 5sp 1.6i $15,890 CDX Hatch 5dr SA 6sp 1.6i $20,090 CDX Sedan 5dr SA 6sp 1.6i $20,590

SPECS

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Polo, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra

CRUZE Updated model gets a new front and some new tech. Not bad for the money, but outclassed by its European and Japanese rivals. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Equipe sedan 4dr man 5sp 1.8i

$19,890

Front

1380

7.0

1.8/4

104

176

6/10

Equipe sedan 4dr SA 6sp 1.6T

$22,090

Front

1402

6.4

1.6/4

104

176

7/10

SRi sdn 4dr SA 6sp 1.6T

$25,340

Front

1479

5.6

1.6/4

132

230

6/10

PRICE

Also available: Equipe hatch 5sp man 1.8i $19,890; SRi hatch 6sp man $23,140; SRi-V sedan $27,140

COMMODORE SS SPORTWAGON Price $47,190 Engine 5967cc V8, 260kW, 517Nm Performance 0–100 in 6.0 secs, 250km/h, 11.7L/100km Weight 1850kg

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class, Lexus GS

SKODA OCTAVIA RS 162TSI WAGON Price $38,140 Engine 1984cc turbo 4cyl, 162kW, 350Nm Performance 0–100 in 6.9secs, 244km/h max, 6.4L/100km Weight 1438kg

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


HSV

PRICE Evoke SA 6sp 3.0i

$35,490

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

1622

185

290

8/10

8.3

3.0/6

GEN F The most eagerly awaited HSV range ever has arrived, including the star of the show – the monstrous GTS.

SV6 man 6sp 3.6i

$36,790

Rear

1688

9.0

3.6/6

210

350

8/10

SS man 6sp 6.0i

$42,990

Rear

1729

11.5

6.0/8

270

530

8/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

SS-V Redline man 6sp 6.0i

$52,490

Rear

1766

11.8

6.0/8

270

530

9/10

Clubsport man 6sp 6.2i

$63,190

Rear

1705

12.6

6.2/8

317

550

n/a

8/10

Calais V V8 SA 6sp 6.0i

$53,990

Rear

1778

11.7

6.0/8

260

517

8/10

Maloo R8 man 6sp 6.2i

$68,290

Rear

1737

12.6

6.2/8

325

550

n/a

7/10

Grange man 6sp 6.2i

$85,990

Rear

1788

12.6

6.2/8

340

570

n/a

7/10

GTS man 6sp 6.2S

$96,990

Rear

1881

15.3

6.2/8

430

740

n/a

8/10

Also available: Calais SA 6sp 3.6i $40,790 Calais V V6 SA 6sp 3.6i $47,990 SS-V man 6sp 6.0i $46,490 Sportswagon body style + $2000 (Auto only available) Auto transmission + $2200 Ute variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Falcon, Chrysler 300C

Also available: Maloo $58,990 Clubsport R8 sedan/wagon 6.2i $73,490/$74,490 Senator Signature $83,990

MALIBU

Also try: Something from the FPV stables, 300 SRT8

New mid-size four-cylinder sedan is actually based on its GM namesake. So you’ve got our permission to stick Chevy badges on it. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

CD 4dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$28,890

Front

1583

8.0

2.4/4

123

225

8/10

CD 4dr SA 6sp 2.0DT

$32,890

Front

1659

6.4

2.0/4

117

350

8/10

CDX 4dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$32,390

Front

1610

8.0

2.4/4

123

225

8/10

CDX 4dr SA 6sp 2.0DT

$36,390

Front

1684

6.5

2.0/4

117

350

8/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Hyundai i40, Ford Mondeo, Toyota Camry, Mazda6

CAPRICE

JAZZ DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

VTi hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.5i

$14,990

Front

1048

6.2

1.5/4

88

145

6/10

VTi-S hatch 5dr auto CVT 1.5i

$19,790

Front

1120

5.8

1.5/4

88

145

6/10

VTi-L hatch 5dr auto CVT 1.5i

$22,490

Front

1130

5.8

1.5/4

88

145

6/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Caprice 3.6L LPG V6

$59,490

Rear

1816

12.1

3.6/6

180

320

7/10

Caprice V Gen IV V8

$60,490

Rear

1851

11.7

6.0/8

260

517

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, FPV GT E, Audi A6

Also available: Hybrid hatch 5dr 1.3i CVT $22,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Kia Soul, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta

CIVIC

CAPTIVA

Recently facelifted Civic remains competent and comfortable without ever being outstanding in any way. Bring on the Type R, we say.

Where the Adventra failed, the Daewoo-sourced Captiva succeeds. If the Adventra was cheaper and taller, it probably would have succeeded... PRICE

HONDA Individual and ingenious, the Jazz deserves to be bought by more people under 90 than it is.

Like a Commodore, only longer. It’s the car of choice for hire-car drivers all over the country. Mixing it wth the Euros, now. PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Vi sedan man 5sp 1.8i

$18,490

Front

1205

6.8

1.8/4

104

174

6/10

VTi-L sedan SA 5sp 1.8i

$26,290

Front

1205

6.8

1.8/4

104

174

6/10

VTi-S hatch 6sp man 1.8i

$21,650

Front

1265

6.4

1.8/4

104

174

-

6/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

5 LT wagon 5dr man 6sp 2.4i

$26,490

Front

1732

9.7

2.4/4

123

230

6/10

7 LT wagon 5dr SA 6sp 3.0i

$36,490

Four

1764

11.3

3.0/6

190

288

6/10

7 LTZ wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT

$41,490

Four

8.3

2.2/4

135

400

6/10

Also available: 7 LS wagon 2.4i/2.2DT $30,490/$33,490 7 LT wagon 2.2DT $37,490 5 LT wagon 4WD 2.2DT $32,690 7 LTZ wagon 3.0i $40,490 5 LTZ wagon 2WD/4WD 2.4i/2.2DT $31,690/$35,690

Also available: VTi-S sedan 4dr SA 5sp 1.8i $23,290 Sport sedan 4dr SA 5sp 2.0i $30,290 Hatch variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus, Renault Megane, VW Golf

ACCORD EURO

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander

Better than its badge will ever allow you to believe, the Accord Euro is a secret assassin of the Audi A4 and its Germanic ilk.

COLORADO The latest version of Holden’s rugged tradie is bigger and more powerful than ever before. PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE 1917

7.8

2.5/4

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

132

440

4/10

LX dual cab 2WD man 5sp 2.8DT $34,390

Rear

LT dual cab man 5sp 4x4 2.8DT

$45,990

Four

2007

7.9

2.8/4

132

440

4/10

LT-Z dual cab 4dr SA 6sp 2.8DT

$52,790

Four

2053

9.1

2.8/4

132

470

5/10

Also available: 2WD/4WD single cab models, 2WD/4WD Space cab models, 7-seat models

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$30,340

Front

1525

8.7

2.4/4

148

234

8/10

Luxury sedan 4dr man 6sp 2.4i

$37,840

Front

1570

8.7

2.4/4

148

234

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Mazda6, Subaru Liberty

ACCORD Slightly more spacious, softer version of the Accord Euro. We’re fairly sure it’s one for the RSL carpark.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

VTi sedan SA 5sp 2.4i

$31,490

Front

1510

7.9

2.4/4

129

225

6/10

VTi-L sedan SA 5sp 2.4i

$41,490

Front

1572

8.1

2.4/4

129

225

6/10

V6L sedan SA 6sp 3.5i

$51,990

Front

1667

9.2

3.5/6

206

339

6/10

TRAX

PRICE

Ticks most boxes for its target market of toddler-hauling mums: and whoever pays the bills will be loving the price. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Sedan 4dr man 6sp 2.4i

0-100

MAX

RATING

LS 5dr man 5sp 1.8i

$23,990

Front

1356

7.0

1.8/4

103

175

7/10

Also available: VTi-S sedan 4dr SA 5sp 2.4i $33,990

LTZ 5dr SA 6sp 1.8i

$28,490

Front

1371

7.6

1.8/4

103

175

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Mazda6, Toyota Aurion

LTZ 5dr SA 6sp 1.4i

$29,990

Front

1421

6.9

1.4/4

103

200

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Juke, Ford EcoSport

VOLT PRICE $59,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

111

370

9.0

160

8/10

1721

1.2

1.4/4

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

VTi 5dr man 6sp 2.0i 2WD

$27,490

Front

1460

7.8

2.0/4

114

190

6/10

VTi-S 5dr SA 5sp 2.4i

$36,290

Four

1580

8.8

2.4/4

140

222

6/10

VTi-L 5dr SA 5sp 2.4i

$42,290

Four

1580

8.7

2.4/4

140

222

6/10

PRICE

Holden’s new plug-in petrol-electric hatch is the first of its kind to grace Aussie roads. Easy to live with and doesn’t give you range anxiety. Hatchback 5dr auto 1.4i

CR-V Less pedestrian than the original and hugely popular soft roader with predictably hard to fault execution. Do you really need an SUV though?

Also available: VTi 5dr SA 5sp 2.4i AWD $32,790 Diesel models

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda CR-Z, Civic hybrid

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai ix35

ASTRA

CITY

The VXR is a cracker, while the GTC lacks grunt. All are good looking and practical offerings made more attractive by competitive pricing.

A car definitely named after its purpose, the City is fun and functional motoring on a budget.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GTC 6sp manual 1.6i

$26,990

Front

1485

6.9

1.6/4

147

280

-

-

6/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GTC auto 1.6i

$29,190

Front

1495

7.5

1.6/4

125

260

-

-

6/10

VTi sedan man 5sp 1.5i

$15,990

Front

1082

5.8

1.5/4

88

145

6/10

VTi-L sedan auto CVT 1.5i

$21,390

Front

1103

5.7

1.5/4

88

145

6/10

PRICE

GTC Sport 6sp manual 1.6i

$29,990

Front

1493

6.9

1.6/4

147

280

-

-

6/10

GTC Sport auto 1.6i

$32,190

Front

1503

7.5

1.6/4

125

260

-

-

6/10

VXR 6sp manual 2.0i

$39,990

Front

1543

8.0

2.0/4

206

400

6.0

230

8/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, Nissan Micra

Also try: VW Polo GTI

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

147

HOLDEN-HONDA

COMMODORE The new VF really is a Very Good Car. If there’s any justice in the world, it’ll sell like hotcakes. But will Australians still buy locally made family cars?


HONDA-ISUZU

HR-V

ELANTRA

The smaller, cheaper brother to the CR-V, built on the same platform as the Jazz, this compact SUV is pretty good and competitvely priced.

The first of the progressive Hyundai sedans works as a family hauler, but not much else.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

VTi 5dr CVT 1.8i

$24,990

Front

1328

6.6

1.8/4

105

172

-/10

Active sedan 4dr man 6sp 1.8i

$20,990

Front

1277

6.6

2.0/4

110

178

5/10

VTi-L 5dr CVT 1.8i

$32,990

Front

1366

6.9

1.8/4

105

172

-/10

Elite sedan 4dr SA 6sp 1.8i

$26,840

Front

1277

6.6

1.7/4

110

178

5/10

Premium sedan 4dr SA 6sp 1.8i

$30,490

Front

1289

7.1

1.7/4

110

178

6/10

PRICE

Also available: VTi-S 5dr CVT 1.8i $27,990; VTi-L ADAS 5dr CVT 1.8i $33,990

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus sedan, VW Jetta, Subaru Impreza

ODYSSEY

GENESIS

Probably your only choice for a well made, affordable and not-hideously ugly people mover. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

VTi 5dr SA 5sp auto CVT 2.4i

$37,610

Front

1776

7.6

2.4/4

129

225

6/10

VTi-L 5dr auto CVT 2.4i

$46,040

Front

1819

7.8

2.4/4

129

225

6/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota Tarago, Kia Grand Carnival

CR-Z PRICE

Hyundai shoots straight for the top with the Genesis. Big, comfy, quiet, stacked with kit... it’s worth having a look at. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Genesis sedan SA 8sp 3.8i

$60,000

Rear

1890

11.2

3.8/6

232

397

6.5

240

7/10

Sensory sedan SA 8sp 3.8i

$71,000

Rear

1890

11.2

3.8/6

232

397

6.5

240

7/10

Ultimate sedan SA 8sp 3.8i

$82,000

Rear

1890

11.2

3.8/6

232

397

6.5

240

7/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus sedan, VW Jetta, Subaru Impreza

Honda’s attempt at making a fun-to-drive hybrid. It may be better than an Insight, but it’s still no bona fide sports car.

I40

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Coupe 3dr man 6sp 1.5i

$38,490

Front

1155

5.3

1.5/4

100

190

9.7

6/10

Coupe 3dr CVT 1.5i

$40,790

Front

1155

5.3

1.5/4

100

190

9.7

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Scirocco/Polo GTI, Mini Cooper

Not so long ago, a Hyundai would be as dull as its driver. The stylish i40 changes that, and gives the Japanese/Euro status quo a boot up the backside. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Active wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.0i

$33,990

Front

1574

6.8

2.0/4

130

213

7/10

Elite wagon 5dr SA 6sp 1.7DT

$41,590

Front

1659

6.0

1.7/4

100

330

7/10

Premium wagon 5dr SA 6sp 1.7DT

$47,590

Front

1659

6.0

1.7/4

100

330

7/10

PRICE

Also available: Active wagon 1.7DT $36,590 Elite wagon 2.0i $38,990 Premium wagon 2.0i $44,990, Sedan variants

HYUNDAI

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Citroen C5, Honda Accord

IMAX

IX35

A big ol’ van with some windows and eight seats. Perfect for school run duty, or IVF junkies.

An almost decent-looking compact SUV that follows Hyundai’s general trend towards being a lot less rubbish. No masterpiece, but you could do worse. PRICE Active wagon 5dr man 5sp 2.0i

PRICE

$26,990

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

122

197

6/10

SLX 5dr auto 4sp 2.4i

$38,290

Rear

2128

10.6

2.4/4

129

228

5/10

SLX 5dr man 6sp 2.5DT

$41,490

Rear

2249

8.1

2.5/4

100

343

5/10

1470

8.5

2.0/4

Elite wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.0i

$33,590

Front

1470

8.5

2.0/4

122

197

6/10

Elite wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$35,990

Front

1585

9.2

2.4/4

130

227

6/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Birth control

VELOSTER

Also available: Elite wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT $38,590 Highlander wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.4i $38,590 Highlander wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT $40,990

A quirky coupe/hatch thingy that drives with a modicum of talent. Turbo version now, too.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V

I20

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Veloster 4dr man 6sp 1.6i

$24,490

Front

1180

6.4

1.6/4

103

167

7/10

Veloster + 4dr man 6sp 1.6i

$29,490

Front

1230

6.4

1.6/4

103

167

7/10

Best! SR Turbo+ 4dr man 6sp 1.6T $32,990

Front

1307

6.8

1.6/4

150

265

7/10

PRICE

An interesting so-called replacement for the Getz which can be bought for peanuts and feels surprisingly well glued together. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Active hatch 3dr man 5sp 1.4i

$15,590

Front

1117

6

1.4/4

73

136

5/10

Elite hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.6i

$17,590

Front

1119

6.1

1.6/4

91

156

5/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mini Clubman, BMW 116i

Also available: Active hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.4i $16,490 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo

ISUZZU D-M MAX

I30 Hyundai’s catching up in the design stakes and it’s already there in perceived quality and handling stakes with the new i30. Well done, Hyundai.

D-MAX

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

Active hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.8i

$20,990

Front

1329

6.9

1.8/4

110

178

5/10

Elite hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.6DT

$27,190

Front

1388

4.5

1.6/4

94

260

6/10

SR 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$27,990

Front

1258

7.2

2.0/4

129

209

7.7

7/10

PRICE

RATING

Also available: Active hatchback man 6sp 1.6DT $23,590 Elite hatchback man 6sp 1.8i $24,590 Premium 1.6DT $33,090 Premium hatchback SA 6sp 1.8i $30,490 Tourer wagon variants

The Holden Rodeo’s long-lost brother is a rugged workhorse that’s worth a look. Less pressure to have a Southern Cross sticker on the back, too. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

SX cab chassis 4dr man 5sp 3.0DT

$27,400

Rear

1820

8.0

3.0/4

130

380

5/10

LS crew ute 4dr man 5sp 3.0DT

$38,800

Rear

1835

8.3

3.0/4

130

380

5/10

LS-U crew ute 4dr man 5sp 3.0DT $46,100

Four

1935

8.3

3.0/4

130

380

6/10

PRICE

Also available: LS-U space cab ute 4x4 $44,000 SX crew ute 4x4 $42,800 LS-M crew ute 4x4 $44,900

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus, Renault Megane, VW Golf

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado

SANTA FE

MU-X

Hugely popular and not-that-bad super soft SUV that has benefited from a more Eurocentric facelift. Should the Japanese start worrying?

Seven-seat mud stomper based off the D-MAX. Handy if the school run goes via the Canning Stock Route.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Active 5dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$38,490

Four

1884

9.0

2.4/4

141

242

6/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Elite 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT

$48,490

Four

1912

7.3

2.2/4

145

436

6/10

LS-M 4x2 SA 5sp 3.0TD

$40,500

Rear

1900

8.2

3.0/4

130

380

6/10

Highlander 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT

$53,240

Four

1912

7.3

2.2/4

145

436

6/10

LS-M 4x4 SA 5sp 3.0TD

$47,800

Four

2000

8.4

3.0/4

130

380

7/10

LS-T 4x4 SA 5sp 3.0TD

$54,000

Four

2060

8.4

3.0/4

130

380

7/10

PRICE

Also available: Active wagon 5dr man 6sp 2.2DT $41,490

PRICE

Also available: LS-U 4x2 $42,000 LS-M man 5sp $45,600 LS-U man 5sp $47,100 LS-U SA 5sp $49,300

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Hyundai iX-35, Kia Sportage, Freelander

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Pathfinder, Land Rover Discovery

ACCENT Um. If anyone can explain where the yawning gap between the i20 and i30 is, we’ll gladly recommend the Accent. Probably. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

Active hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.6i

$16,990

Front

1115

6

1.6/4

91

156

5/10

SR hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.6i

$18,490

Front

1115

6

1.6/4

91

156

5/10

Elite sedan 4dr auto 4sp 1.6i

$20,990

Front

1650

5.6

1.6/4

91

156

5/10

PRICE

RATING

Also available: Active sedan 1.6i $16,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


Beautiful to behold, riotous to listen to, joyful to drive, mildly painful to pay for. The new option of AWD makes the V8 less terrifying.

Q50

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

V6 Coupe 3.0S 6sp man

$119,470

Rear

1597

8.4

3.0/6

250

450

5.1

260

8/10

S V6 Coupe 3.0S 6sp man

$151,770

Rear

1597

8.6

3.0/6

280

460

4.9

275

9/10

R V8 AWD Coupe 5.0S 8sp auto

$242,670

Four

1730

11.3

5.0/8

405

680

4.1

300

9/10

PRICE

Chock full of fruit and technology, but dynamic shortcomings mean it doesn’t deliver on the ‘true driver’s car’ promise. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GT 4dr SA 7sp 2.0T

$50,900

Rear

1646

7.3

2.0/4

155

350

7.3

7/10

GT 2.2d 4dr SA 7sp 2.2DT

$51,900

Rear

1729

5.2

2.1/4

125

400

8.5

230

6/10

Also available: S 4dr SA 7sp 2.0T $56,900 S Premium 4dr SA 7sp 2.0T $60,500 S 4dr SA 7sp 2.2DT $57,900 S Premium 4dr SA 7sp 2.2DT $61,500 Hybrid S 4dr SA 7sp 3.5 $67,900 Hybrid S Premium 4dr SA 7sp AWD 3.5 $73,400

Also available: V6 manual convertible $138,170; V6 auto coupe $124,470; V6 auto convertible $143,170; V6 S auto coupe $156,770; V6 S auto convertible $175,470; V6 S AWD auto coupe $172,470; V8 R auto coupe $226,970; V8 R AWD auto convertible $261,370 Also try: Porsche 911, Porsche Boxster

Also try: Audi A5, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Q60

JEEPP

Two-door offering looks the business, and the V6 has real grunt, but this won’t trouble its German rivals very deeply. PRICE GT Premium SA 7sp 3.7 V6

$63,900

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

235

360

5.9

250

-/10

1670

10.5

3.7/6

Also available: S Premium SA 7sp 3.7 V6 $69,900 Convertible variants

COMPASS The ugly ducking of the Jeep range, if such a thing is even possible, and about as popular. And no, it doesn’t blossom into a swan, either.

Also try: BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Refined, classy and quick. But is it as good as a Lexus GS? We will let you know... PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sport wagon 4dr man 5sp 2.0i

$27,000

Front

1490

7.6

2.0/4

115

190

6/10

North wagon 4dr auto 6sp 2.0i

$31,000

Front

1490

7.6

2.0/4

125

220

6/10

Ltd wagon 4dr CVT 2.4i

$35,500

Four

1490

8.6

2.4/4

125

220

6/10

PRICE

Q70 DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GT 3.7 4dr SA 7sp 3.7 V6

$68,900

Rear

1652

10.2

3.7/6

235

360

6.2

250

-/10

GT 3.0d 4dr SA 7sp 3.0 V6 D

$70,900

Rear

1776

7.5

3.0/6

175

550

6.9

250

-/10

Also available: S Premium 4dr SA 7sp 3.7 V6 $78,900 3.0d S Premium 3.0 V6 D $80,900 Hybrid 4dr SA 7sp 3.5 V6 $82,900

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Suzuki Grand Vitara, supermarket trolley

PATRIOT No longer the cheapest Jeep product you can buy, it still feels like the smallest, cheapest Jeep product you can buy. Which is saying something. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sport 5dr man 5sp 2.0i

$25,700

Front

1490

7.6

2.0/4

115

190

-

6/10

Limited 5dr CVT 2.4i

$34,000

Four

1535

8.2

2.4/4

125

220

10.7

6/10

PRICE

Also try: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class

QX70 The swoopiest of the swoopy-design SUVs, loaded with fruit inside and with bags of traction for when you need it. PRICE 3.7 4dr SA 7sp 3.7 V6

$75,900

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE All

1893

12.1

3.7/6

Also try: Kia Sportage, Nissan Dualis, Honda CR-V

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

235

360

6.8

250

-/10

Also try: BMW X5, Audi Q5

WRANGLER Yee and indeed ha. The Wrangler is still pretty basic, but has been around for so long it’s now rugged retro. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$33,000

Four

1745

11.4

3.6/6

209

347

6/10

Rubicon soft top 2dr man 6sp 3.6i $43,000

Four

1745

11.4

3.6/6

209

347

6/10

PRICE Sport soft top 2dr man 6sp 3.6i

JAGUAAR

Also available: Unlimited 4dr variants +$4000 Overland 2dr auto 5sp 3.6i $43,000 Unlimited Overland 4dr auto 5sp 3.6i $47,000 Sport soft top 2dr man 6sp 2.8DT $39,000 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Defender, a tractor

XJ

CHEROKEE

Yet more up and up from Jag. The XJ is rapid, sublimely refined and just plain beautiful. The sat-nav is more than a bit convoluted, though.

Totally redesigned, capable and practical – and that nose is better looking in the metal than it is in photos.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Premium Lux. 4dr SA 6sp 3.0DTT $198,800

Rear

1796

7

3.0/6

202

600

6.4

250

7/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$298,800

Rear

1755

11.3

5.0/8

283

515

5.7

250

7/10

Sport auto 9sp 2.4i

$33,500

Front

1638

8.3

2.4/4

130

229

8/10

Best! Supersport 4dr SA 6sp 5.0S $298,800

Rear

1892

12.1

5.0/8

375

625

4.9

250

7/10

Longitude auto 9sp 3.2 V6

$39,000

All

1795

10.0

3.2/6

200

316

8/10

Limited auto 9sp 3.2 V6

$44,000

All

1806

10.0

3.2/6

200

316

8/10

Trailhawk auto 9sp 3.2 V6

$47,500

Four

2090

10.0

3.2/6

200

316

8/10

PRICE Portfolio sedan 4dr SA 6sp 5.0i

Also available: Premium Luxury sedan 3.0i $198,445 Portfolio sedan 4dr SA 6sp 3.0i $222,245 Long wheelbase models XJR 5.0S $298.800 Also try: BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS, Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Panamera

PRICE

Also available: Limited auto 9sp 2.0DT 4x4 $49,000

XF

Also try: Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail

A blistering return to form for Jaguar and a judo chop to Jerry’s solar plexus. The XF does luxurious dynamics and dares to be different.

GRAND CHEROKEE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Luxury sedan 4dr SA 8sp 2.2D

$69,900

Rear

1745

5.4

2.2/4

140

450

8.5

225

6/10

R sedan 4dr SA 8sp 5.0S

$189,075

Rear

1842

12.5

5.0/8

375

625

4.9

250

8/10

PRICE

Also available: Luxury sedan 2.0i/3.0D $68,075/$95,900 Premium sedan 2.0i/2.2D $74,675/$76,500 Portfolio/Luxury sedan 3.0S $110,430/$93,430 S Luxury 3.0DTT/Portfolio $95,900/$112,900 XFR-S 5.0S $222,075 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$48,000

Four

2084

10.4

3.6/6

210

347

8.3

206

5/10

Limited wagon 4dr SA 8sp 5.7i

$62,000

Four

2302

13.0

5.7/8

259

520

7.3

225

5/10

Overland wagon 4dr SA 8sp 5.7i

$72,000

Four

2329

13.0

5.7/8

259

520

7.3

225

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery 4, Mercedes M-Class

The XK mixes refinement and involvement like nothing else, helped in no small way by improved engines. A gentlemanly ‘up yours’ to the 911. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

XK coupe SA 6sp 5.0i

$188,530

Rear

1660

11.2

5.0/8

283

515

5.7

250

7/10

XKR coupe SA 6sp 5.0S

$209,530

Rear

1753

12.3

5.0/8

375

625

4.8

250

8/10

Best! XKR-S coupe SA 6sp 5.0S

$298,030

Rear

1753

12.3

5.0/8

404

680

4.4

250

8/10

RATING

Also available: XK convertible 5.0i $213,530 XKR convertible 5.0S $233,530 XKR-S convertible SA 6sp 5.0S $298,030 Also try: Porsche 911, BMW 6 Series, Aston Martin Vantage or second-hand DB9

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Laredo wagon 4dr SA 8sp 3.6i

Also available: Laredo SA 8sp 3.6i 4x2 $44,000 Laredo 3.0DT $53,000 Limited 3.6i/3.0DT $57,000/$62,000 Overland 3.6i/3.0DT $67,000/$72,000 SRT8 6.4i $80,000

XK/XKR PRICE

The GC was once the big 4WD that urbanites aspired to own, but ever since SUVs got social syphilis it’s not the obvious choice.

KIAA RIO No longer just cheap, spacious motoring, the new Rio continues Kia’s recent respect-building mission. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

S hatchback 5dr man 5sp 1.4i

$16,990

Front

1143

5.7

1.4/4

79

135

6/10

Si hatchback 5dr man 5sp 1.6i

$19,490

Front

1179

5.6

1.6/4

103

167

7/10

SLi hatchback 5dr man 5sp 1.6i

$20,490

Front

1179

5.6

1.6/4

103

167

7/10

PRICE

Also available: 3 door hatch models and 4-door sedan ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, VW Polo

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 49

INFINITI-KIA

F-TYPE

INFINITTI


KIA-LAND ROVER

SOUL

LAMBORGHHINI

Second gen mini-MPV is a major improvement over its predecessor in terms of design, quality, and practicality. Coolness, 100 per cent intact. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Si Hatchback 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$24,990

Front

1335

7.6

2.0/4

113

191

7/10

Si Hatchback 5dr auto 6sp 2.0i

$26,990

Front

1405

8.4

2.0/4

122

200

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Juke, Toyota Rukus

AVENTADOR The king of the bulls is an orgy of explosive, cackle-inducing ear candy and power. Brilliant and bonkers at the same time. PRICE

SPORTAGE

LP700 coupe man 6sp 6.5i

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

515

690

2.9

350

8/10

1575

17.2

6.5/12

Also try: Aston Martin DBS, Ferrari 599

Another one of Kia’s stand-out cars: the Sportage is an almost handsome, spacious, value-driven SUV. PRICE

$761,500

HURACÁN

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Si 5dr man 5sp 2.0i

$25,990

Front

1482

8.7

2.0/4

122

197

7/10

SLi 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT

$37,990

Four

1588

7.5

2.0/4

135

392

7/10

Platinum 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT

$41,590

Four

1588

7.5

2.0/4

135

392

7/10

Lambo’s new “entry model” is loud, fast and eye-catching, without being as challenging to live with everyday as the Aventador. PRICE LP610-4 dual-clutch 7sp 6.5i

$428,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

449

560

3.2

325

8/10

1422

12.5

5.2/10

Also try: Ferrari 458, crack

Also available: Si Premium 5dr SA 6sp 2.0i $29,990 Platinum 5dr SA 6sp 2.0i $38,590 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Peugeot 3008, Hyundai ix35, Nissan Dualis

SORENTO

LAND ROVEER

A carbon-copy of the Hyundai Santa Fe except that the suspension is tuned for Australian conditions. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Si 5dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$38,990

Front

1831

9.8

3.5/6

204

335

6/10

SLi 5dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$41,490

Front

1831

9.8

3.5/6

204

335

6/10

Platinum 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT

$51,490

Four

1960

7.3

2.2/4

145

426

6/10

RANGE ROVER Possibly the best car in the world. Certainly the best luxury SUV, because it’ll actually go off-road for starters. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

HSE 4dr SA 8sp 3.0DT

$170,400

Four

2160

7.5

3.0/6

190

600

7.9

210

8/10

Vogue SE 4dr SA 8sp 4.4DT

$219,100

Four

2360

8.7

4.4/8

250

700

6.9

217

8/10

Best! Autobiography 4dr 5.0S

$248,900

Four

2330

13.8

5.0/8

375

625

5.4

250

8/10

RATING

PRICE

Also available: Si 5dr man 6sp 4WD 2.2DT $40,490 SLi 5dr SA 6sp 4WD 2.2DT $44,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Land Rover Freelander

OPTIMA Well knock us down with a feather – Kia has made a handsome, decent-to-drive and well-built family sedan. PRICE

Also available: Vogue 4dr SA 8sp 3.0DT $178,900 Vogue 4dr SA 8sp 4.4DT $195,100 Autobiography 4dr SA 8sp 4.4DT $232,800 Vogue SE 4dr SA 8sp 5.0S $224,400

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Si sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$31,490

Front

1551

7.9

2.4/4

148

250

9.0

7/10

Platinum sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$40,990

Front

1551

7.9

2.4/4

148

250

9.0

7/10

SLi sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.4i

$36,490

Front

1551

7.9

2.4/4

148

250

9.0

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes ML, Volvo XC90

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE One for fashionistas, not farmers, this is Range Rover rebooted for a younger, more stylish audience.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Hyundai i45, Mazda6

Small mini MPV-thing that brings some swagger to the typically un-sexy party that is the MPV market. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

eD4 Pure 5dr man 6sp 2.2DT

$51,495

Front

1681

5.0

2.2/4

110

380

11.2

180

7/10

TD4 Dynamic 5dr man 6sp 2.2DT

$68,715

Four

1780

5.7

2.2/4

110

400

10.9

185

6/10

SD4 Prestige 3dr man 6sp 2.2DT

$78,195

Four

1795

5.7

2.2/4

140

420

10

200

7/10

Si4 Prestige 3dr SA 9sp 2.0T

$79,970

Four

1745

8.7

2.0/4

177

340

7.6

217

6/10

PRICE

RONDO DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Si 5dr auto 6sp 2.0i

$30,240

Front

1582

7.9

2.0/4

122

213

10.8

200

–/10

SLi 5dr auto 6sp 2.0i

$34,240

Front

1582

7.9

2.0/4

122

213

10.8

200

–/10

Platinum 5dr auto 6sp 2.0i

$39,740

Front

1582

7.9

2.0/4

122

213

10.8

200

–/10

Also available: Si 5dr auto 6sp 1.7D $32,990 SLi 5dr auto 6sp 1.7D $36,990

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60

RANGE ROVER SPORT A prettier RRS would be a contradiction in terms, but the new one definitely comes with less thuggishness.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Kia Soul, Toyota Rukus

Nothing grand about this show, folks. It’s a lumbering van that’s about as advanced as a blunderbuss. Go get an Odyssey. PRICE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

202

336

5/10

5/10

5/10

Si wagon 5dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$41,490

SLi wagon 5dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$46,990

Front

2086

10.9

3.5/6

202

336

Platinum wagon 5dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$52,990

Front

2086

10.9

3.5/6

202

336

10.9

3.5/6

Also available: S wagon 5dr SA 6sp 3.5i $39,490 SLi wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT $50,990 Si wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT $45,490 Platinum wagon 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT $56,990

CERATO

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

1287

6.6

1.8/4

110

178

9.3

205

8/10

$28,990

Front

1309

7.4

2.0/4

129

209

8.5

210

8/10

$31.990

Front

1309

7.4

2.0/4

129

209

8.5

210

8/10

Si sedan 4dr auto 6sp 2.0i SLi sedan 4dr auto 6sp 2.0i

Also available: S Premium sedan 4dr auto 6sp 1.8i $24,990 Koup GDi Si 6sp man 2.0i $24,190 Koup T-GDi Turbo 6sp man 1.6T $28,190 5-door hatch models ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mazda3, VW Jetta, Ford Focus

PRO_CEE’D

PRICE $29,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

150

265

7.7

230

8/10

1448

RATING

3.0/6

215

600

7.2

210

8/10

HSE 4dr SA 8sp 3.0S

$122,700

Four

2144

11.3

3.0/6

250

450

7.2

210

9/10

7.4

1.6/4

Also try: BMW X6, Audi Q7, Lexus RX450h

DEFENDER Still going. Still a very workhorsey farmer’s 4WD, where practicality outweighs ergonomics, luxury, ride-quality and speed. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

90 wagon 2dr man 6sp 2.2DT

$42,800

Four

1820

10

2.2/4

90

360

15.8

144

6/10

110 wagon 4dr man 6sp 2.2DT

$47,500

Four

1850

11

2.2/4

90

360

15.8

144

6/10

DISCOVERY The best practical SUV on sale. Standard air suspension, seven seats, nicely lux. Only issue? Your Greenpeace neighbours hating you. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

4dr SA 8sp 2.7DT

$69,330

Four

2570

8.5

2.7/6

155

520

10.7

180

7/10

SE 4dr SA 8sp 3.0DTT

$84,430

Four

2570

8.8

3.0/6

180

600

9.3

180

7/10

HSE 4dr SA 8sp 3.0DTT

$95,730

Four

2570

8.8

3.0/6

180

600

9.3

180

7/10

SE SCV6 4dr SA 8sp 3.0S

$84,430

Four

2565

12.0

3.0/6

250

450

8.1

195

8/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW X5, Mercedes ML, Audi Q7

Warm hatch, well worth a closer look if ou can ignore the Stu_pi’d name. A ripper in the bends and a steal for the price.

GT 3dr man 6 sp 1.6T

MAX

7.5

Also try: A tractor

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

PRICE

0-100

2115

Also available: Single cab and crew cab models

New model looks better, has a perky range of engines and heaps of good gear. A solid contender for its Japanese rivals.

$19,990

NM

Four

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Tarago

S sedan 4dr man 6sp 1.8i

KW

$113,200

Also available: SE TDV6 3.0DT $102,800 HSE SDV6 3.0DT $125,800 Autobiography SDV6 3.0DT $145,500 HSE Dynamic 5.0S $161,600 Autobiography Dynamic 5.0S $182,400

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE 2086

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

SE SDV6 4dr SA 8sp 3.0DT

PRICE

GRAND CARNIVAL

Also available: GT-Tech 3dr man 6sp 1.6T $34,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus Sport, Hyundai i30SR

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


GS At last, after 15 years of trying, Lexus has finally made a GS you would consider buying. Good advert there for persistence, then.

HOT HATCHBACKS

1

Price $51,990 Specs 206kW, 380Nm, 0-100km/h 5.2secs, VMax 250km/h, 7.1L/100km

MINI COOPER S

MAX

RATING

9.3

2.5/6

154

253

8.6

8/10

GS350 Sports Luxury SA 6sp 3.5i

$111,130

Rear

1620

9.7

3.5/6

233

378

6

8/10

GS450h F Sport sedan CVT 3.5i

$112,100

Rear

3.5/6

8/10

RATING

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6

IS And lo, there appeared a thorn in the side of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. They gazed upon it and knew it was good. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

IS250 Luxury sedan SA 6sp 2.5i

$56,500

Rear

1645

9.2

2.5/6

153

252

8.1

225

7/10

IS350 F Sport sedan SA 6sp 3.5i

$73,600

Rear

1645

9.4

3.5/6

233

378

5.6

8/10

Best! IS F sedan 4dr SA 8sp 5.0i $125,475

Rear

1700

11.4

5.0/8

311

505

4.9

8/10

Our current ruling Fun Car Of The Year manages to balance the “practical when you need it, fizzy when you want it” equation, without compromising either.

AUDI S3

Sharply priced competitor in the premium muscle market, but its hefty weight and a thirsty donk means the Germans don’t need to panic yet.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4

RC PRICE

A gorgeous daily driver, laden with fruit inside, and an all-wheel joy when you let it off the chain. Also comes as a sedan, but the Sportback is a blast.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

RC 350 Luxury

$66,000

Rear

1740

9.4

3.6/6

233

378

6.3

7/10

RC 350 F Sport

$74,000

Rear

1740

9.4

3.6/6

233

378

6.3

7/10

RC F

$133,500

Rear

1860

10.9

5.0/8

351

530

4.5

270

8/10

Also try: BMW 4 Series, Audi A5

LS Huge limo-like rival to the S-Class and 7 Series. Usefully wafty, if a little soulless in execution, but it does have that cool self-parking gizmo.

FORD FOCUS ST

Price $38,990 Specs 184kW, 360Nm, 0-100km/h 6.5secs, VMax n/a, 7.3L/100km

5

0-100

1720

Also available: IS250 F Sport/Sports Luxury $65,5400/$78,700 IS350 Luxury/Sports Luxury $65,400/$84,800 IS300h Luxury/F Sport $59,500/$68,900

Price $59,900 Specs 206kW, 380Nm, 0-100km/h 5.4secs, VMax 250km/h, 7.0L/100km

4

NM

Rear

PRICE

Price $36,950 Specs 141kW, 280Nm, 0-100km/h 6.8secs, VMax 228km/h, 5.9L/100km

3

KW

$76,530

Also available: GS250 F Sport $84,530 GS350 F Sport $99,430 GS450h Sports Luxury $123,500 GS 300h Luxury/F Sport/Sports Luxury $79,000/$87,000/$102,000

Previous Golf R’s have been a bit leaden. This one isn’t. In fact it’s one of the best hot Golf’s ever: sharp, direct, fast and fun. An Impreza from Germany.

2

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

GS250 Luxury sedan SA 6sp 2.5i

PRICE

VW GOLF R

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

LS460 F Sport sedan SA 8sp 4.6i

$189,030

Rear

1945

10.7

4.6/8

285

493

5.9

6/10

LS600h F Sport sedan CVT 5.0i

$217,230

Four

2375

8.6

5.0/8

290

520

5.7

7/10

PRICE

Also available: LS460 Sports Luxury sedan SA 8sp 4.6i $194,230

The new ST is a snarling hilarious beast that looks tougher, goes harder and will torque-steer you right into a tree if you’re not paying attention. Brilliant.

RX

RENAULTSPORT MEGANE RS265

One of the more agreeable road-biased SUVs, the RX gains in hybridised fuel economy in the 450h. Looks decent enough. One for your Mum perhaps.

Price $43,990 Specs 195kW, 360Nm, 0-100km/h 6.0secs, VMax 250km/h, 7.5L/100km

Also try: BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, Jaguar XJ

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

RX270 4dr 2.7i

$68,575

Front

1950

9.7

2.7/4

138

252

11.0

200

6/10

RX450h Luxury 4dr 3.5i

$82,900

Four

2205

6.3

3.5/6

183

317

7.8

7/10

RX450h Sports Luxury 4dr 3.5i

$100,900

Four

2205

6.3

3.5/6

183

317

7.8

7/10

PRICE

Take your driving seriously? Attend track days? Post on forums? Then buy a Megane, the hatch of choice for hardcore geeks.

Also available: RX350 F Sport/Sports Luxury $84,375/$93,075 RX450h F Sport $89,900 Also try: Range Rover Sport, BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes ML

LX DISCOVERY SPORT

Gigantic Toyota LandCruiser Sahara with more kit and a chintzy gold badge. If you’re not a fan of looking like a complete pillock, steer well clear.

Handsome looks, a range of drivetrains, and inside, you’ll be wondering: is this a Range Rover? A cracking, though not flawless, midsize SUV. PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

TD4 5dr man 6sp 2.2DT

$53,300

Four

1955

6.6

2.2/4

110

400

11.7

180

8/10

SD4 HSE 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT

$61,100

Four

1955

7

2.2/4

140

420

10.4

188

8/10

Also available: TD4 SE 2.2 DT auto $55,800, SD4 SE 2.2 DT auto $59,000, Si4 SE 5dr SA auto 2.0i $59,000, SD4 HSE Luxury 5dr SA 6sp 2.2TD $66,500

LX570 Prestige 4dr SA 6sp 5.7i

$139,575

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

270

530

7.8

7/10

2740

14.8

5.7/8

Also try: Merc-GL, Audi Q7, an ocean liner

NX300H Great if you never leave town, which many SUVs don’t, but no fun at all on the open road.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Luxury CVT 2.5i

$55,000

Front

1740

5.6

2.5/4

147

210

9.2

180

6/10

Luxury CVT 2.5i

$59,500

Four

1740

5.7

2.5/4

147

210

9.2

180

6/10

F Sport CVT 2.5i

$66,000

Four

1740

5.7

2.5/4

147

210

9.2

180

6/10

Sports Luxury CVT 2.5i

$75,000

Four

1895

5.7

2.5/4

147

210

9.2

180

6/10

PRICE

LEXUUS

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60

CT

ES

If you believe the marketing, it’s the world’s first luxury hybrid hatchback. Stuffed full of Prius tech, but less ugly.

Front-wheel-drive luxo sedan built to take on the big boys of Germany. There’s hybrid models, too, for the eco-conscious real estate agent.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

CT 200h Luxury CVT 1.8i

$48,990

Rear

1370

4.1

1.8/4

73

142

10.3

7/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

CT 200h F Sport CVT 1.8i

$49,900

Rear

1370

4.1

1.8/4

73

142

10.3

7/10

300h Luxury CVT 2.5i

$63,400

Front

1685

5.5

2.5/4

151

213

8.5

–/10

CT 200h Sports Luxury CVT 1.8i

$55,900

Rear

1370

4.1

1.8/4

73

142

10.3

7/10

300h Sports Luxury CVT 2.5i

$72,400

Front

1705

5.5

2.5/4

151

213

8.5

–/10

350 Luxury SA 6sp 3.5i

$64,900

Front

1630

9.5

3.5/6

204

346

7.4

–/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Insight, VW Golf BlueMotion, Toyota Prius

PRICE

Also available: 350 Sports Luxury SA 6sp 3.5i $73,900 Also try: BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

151

LAND ROVER-LEXUS

TOPGEARTOPFIVE


LOTUS-MCLAREN

MAZDA6

LOTUUS

Mid-size sedan that takes on the Mondeo and Liberty. Looks different enough, goes well and very reliable.

EVORA PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Coupe 2+2, 2dr man 6sp 3.5i

$130,990

Rear

1382

9.3

3.5/6

206

350

5

262

7/10

S coupe man 6sp 3.5i s’charged

$152,990

Rear

1437

9.9

3.5/6

258

400

4.6

286

7/10

Also try: Porsche Boxster / Cayman, a BMW M3 or Z4 perhaps

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$33,460

Front

1462

6.6

2.5/4

138

250

8.2

7/10

Touring sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.5i

$37,500

Front

1471

6.6

2.5/4

138

250

8.2

7/10

Atenza sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.2DTT $50,060

Front

1503

5.4

2.2/4

129

420

8.4

7/10

MAX

RATING

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord Euro, Subaru Liberty

Sharp pricing, good looks, quality engineering, and impressive dynamics: the CX-3 will undoubtedly shake things up in the compact SUV market.

Still a joy, the Toyota-engined Elise offers visceral driving thrills in a relatively usable package. The very definition of steering feel. PRICE

Also available: Touring sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.2DTT $40,350 Atenza sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.5i $47,210 GT sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.5i $43,220 GT sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.2DTT $46,070 Wagon variants +$1300

CX-3

ELISE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

Neo 2.0L petrol FWD

$19,990

Front

1193

6.3

2.0/4

109

192

10 (est) 180 (est)

Maxx 2.0L petrol AWD

$26,390

All

1294

6.7

2.0/4

109

192

10 (est) 180 (est)

8/10

Akari 2.0L petrol AWD

$35,290

All

1332

6.7

2.0/4

109

192

10 (est) 180 (est)

8/10

sTouring 1.5L diesel AWD

$33,390

All

1356

5.1

1.5/4

77

270

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Roadster man 6sp 1.6i

$69,990

Rear

876

6.3

1.6/4

100

160

6.5

204

7/10

Roadster S man 6sp 1.8iS

$84,990

Rear

880

7.5

1.8/4

220

250

4.6

234

7/10

Also try: Porsche Boxster, motorbike

EXIGE S

n/a

n/a

8/10

8/10

Also available: FWD options for Maxx, sTouring and Akari; 1.5L diesel options for Maxx and Akari; 2.0L petrol sTouring

CX-5

Lotus’s track car has grown up and got heavier. But don’t worry, this just makes it more usable than ever. Deliriously good to drive. PRICE Exige S man 6sp 3.5i

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Sport sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.5i

PRICE

The most useable Lotus on sale, with customary handling and surprisingly good comfort levels.

$126,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

257

400

4.0

274

9/10

1176

10.1

3.5/6

Also try: Porsche Cayman

Replacement for the CX-7, which is much, much better and less lumbering too boot. It’s as slow as a wet week, though. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Maxx 5dr SkyActiv man 6sp 2.0i

$27,880

Front

1443

6.4

2.0/4

114

200

6/10

Maxx Sport 5dr SkyActiv 6sp 2.2DT

$39,470

Four

1482

5.7

2.2/4

129

420

8.0

6/10

PRICE

Also available: Maxx 2.5i AWD $32,880 Maxx Sport 2.0i FWD $33,620 Maxx Sport 2.5i AWD $36,620 Maxx Sport 2.2DT AWD $39,470 Grand Touring 2.5i $44,180 Grand Touring 2.2DT $47,030

MASERATTI

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Murano, Land Rover Freelander, Toyota RAV4

CX-9

GRANTURISMO

Hefty SUV with seating for seven and traditional Mazda staid reliability. Slightly more boring than daytime TV though.

Muscular but pretty coupe that is more GT than sports car, but a damn good GT at that. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

S coupe 2dr SA 6sp 4.7i

$308,000

Rear

1770

15.2

4.7/8

331

510

4.9

295

7/10

S coupe SMac SA 6sp 4.7i

$345,000

Rear

1770

16.6

4.7/8

331

510

4.9

295

7/10

Also available: MC Stradale 2st 4.7i $345,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Luxury 5dr SA 6sp 3.7i

$57,480

Four

2080

11.2

3.7/6

204

367

6/10

Grand Touring SA 6sp 3.7i

$63,003

Four

2097

11.2

3.7/6

204

367

6/10

PRICE

Also available: Classic 5dr SA 6sp 3.7i FWD $44,525 Luxury 5dr SA 6sp 3.7i FWD $52,980 Also try: Nissan Pathfinder. Toyota Kluger, Honda CR-V

Also try: Porsche 911, BMW 6 Series, Mercedes CL

MX-5

QUATTROPORTE

One of the first of the new wave of drop-top tourers, and still one of the best two-seat convertibles on the market.

The thrills of any Maserati coupe, but with a real boot, four doors and room for some kids. Truly the best of both worlds. PRICE Sedan 4dr SA 6sp 3.0i

$240,000

GTS sedan 4dr SA 8sp 3.8TT

$319,800

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

301

550

5.1

285

8/10

Rear

1860 1900

10.4 11.8

3.0/6 3.8/8

390

650

4.7

307

8/10

Also try: Merc S-Class, Jag XJ, BMW 7 Series

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Roadster man 6sp 2.0i

$47,280

Rear

1167

8.1

2.0/4

118

188

7.8

7/10

Roadster Sports man 6sp 2.0i

$49,885

Rear

1167

8.1

2.0/4

118

188

7.8

7/10

RATING

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi A3 Conv, BMW 1 Series Conv, Mini Cooper Cabrio

BT-50

GRANCABRIO

Rugged simplicity in its simplest form. The BT-50 is everything a workman could ask of his workhorse, but we’re not sold on that face.

A twin to the GranTurismo, only topless. An utterly gorgeous grand tourer with a paramount Italian soundtrack. PRICE Cabriolet 2dr SA 4.7i

$328,000

MC Cabriolet 2dr SA 4.7i

$355,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

323

490

5.4

283

8/10

Rear

1980 –

14.5 14.5

4.7/8 4.7/8

338

520

4.9

289

–/10

Also try: Aston DB9 Volante, Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet, Jag XK convertible

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

XT Dual Cab man 6sp 3.2DT

$44,240

Four

2044

8.9

3.2/5

147

470

5/10

XTR Dual Cab man 6sp 3.2DT

$48,890

Four

2086

8.9

3.2/5

147

470

5/10

GT Dual Cab man 6sp 3.2DT

$51,140

Four

2095

8.9

3.2/5

147

470

5/10

PRICE

Also available: 2WD Hi-Rider variants and single cab models ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Phuket, Bali, Hawaii

MAZDA

MCLARENN

MAZDA2 Smart, snappy little lightweight supermini that’s much better than its predecessor. PRICE

650S

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Neo hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.5i

$15,790

Front

1011

6.4

1.5/4

76

135

10.5

5/10

Best! MaXX 5dr man 5sp 1.5i

$16,930

Front

1019

6.4

1.5/4

76

135

10.5

6/10

Also available: Maxx hatch 2.0i $22,990 Touring hatch 2.0i $25,490 SP25 hatch 2.5i $25,890 Sedan variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Honda Jazz

Nose from the P1, carbon tub, howling twin-turbo V8 – the 650S isn’t as properly mental as the P1, but it’s no compromise measure. Superb. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Coupe 2dr 7sp 3.8TT

$441,500

Rear

1330

11.7

3.8/8

478

678

3.0

333

9/10

Spider 2dr 7sp 3.8TT

$486,250

Rear

1360

11.7

3.8/8

478

678

3.0

333

9/10

PRICE

Also try: Ferrari 458 Italia

MAZDA3 The Mazda3 does everything well, if a little anonymously. Mazda in a nutshell then. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Neo hatch 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$20,490

Front

1271

5.9

2.0/4

114

200

8/10

SP25 GT hatch 5dr man 6sp 2.5i

$30,590

Front

1325

6.5

2.0/4

138

250

8/10

SP25 Astina 5dr man 6sp 2.5i

$36,190

Front

1342

6.5

2.0/4

138

250

8/10

PRICE

Also available: Maxx hatch 2.0i $22,990 Touring hatch 2.0i $25,490 SP25 hatch 2.5i $25,890 Sedan variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5dr) Also try: Ford Focus, VW Golf, Renault Megane

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


MERCEDESS-BEENZ SLS

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

CLA 200 SA 7sp 1.6T

$49,900

Front

5.7

1.6/4

115

250

8/10

CLA 250 Sport SA 7sp 2.0T

$64,900

Front

6.1

2.0/4

155

350

6.7

250

8/10

CLA 45 AMG SA 7sp 2.0T

$86,900

Four

6.9

2.0/4

265

450

4.6

270

8/10

PRICE

With the release of the Final Edition, the SLS is tragically almost done – not that you would ever have been able to afford one anyway. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING 8/10

Gullwing 2dr Speedshift 7sp 6.2i

$467,500

Rear

1620

13.3

6.2/8

420

650

3.8

Roadster 2dr Speedshift 7sp 6.2i

$486,175

Rear

1660

13.3

6.2/8

420

650

3.8

8/10

Black 2dr Speedshift 7sp 6.2i

$639,000

Rear

1625

13.7

6.2/8

464

635

3.6

315

9/10

Also try: Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, Bentley Conti GT

Also try: Audi A3 sedan, BMW 1 series

CLS-CLASS Nothing announces to the neighbours “I’ve become a CEO” like parking one of these in your drive. Handsome and kitted out, it’s proof you’ve made it.

SLK-CLASS

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

CLS 250 sedan 4dr SA 7sp 2.1DT $114,900

Rear

1785

5.2

2.1/4

150

500

7.5

210

7/10

CLS 500 sedan SA 7sp 4.7i

$159,430

Rear

1890

9.9

5.5/8

300

600

4.9

210

7/10

CLS 63 AMG S 5.5TT

$262,175

Rear

1870

10.0

5.5/8

430

800

4.1

250

8/10

PRICE

The SLK finally had its well-overdue facelift giving it a much sharper and modern look, meaning you now have our permission to buy one. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

SLK 200 roadster SA 7sp 1.8T

$86,450

Rear

1435

6.9

1.8/4

135

270

7

210

7/10

Also available: Shooting Brake CLS 250 $124,000

SLK 350 roadster SA 7sp 3.5i

$124,308

Rear

1540

8.3

3.5/6

225

370

5.6

210

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Jaguar XF, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series

SLK 55 AMG roadster SA 7sp 5.5i

$161,130

Rear

1610

8.5

5.5/8

310

540

4.6

250

7/10

Also available: SLK 250 roadster SA 7sp 1.8T $95,700

M-CLASS Big SUV that requires hefty investment to option to a decent spec. Decent to drive and live with though.

Also try: BMW Z4, Porsche Boxster, Audi TT, Nissan 370Z

SL-CLASS

PRICE

Perhaps the best all-round, useable hardtop convertible on sale today. Practical, fast, excellent quality and tidy looks. PRICE SL350 roadster SA 7sp 3.5i

$226,530

SL500 roadster SA 7sp 4.6i

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

2175

6.4

2.1/4

150

500

9.0

210

6/10

ML 400 SA 7sp 3.0i

$104,430

Four

2130

8.9

3.0/6

245

480

7.6

210

6/10

Best! ML 63 AMG 4dr 5.5TT

$181,430

Four

2345

11.8

5.5/8

386

700

4.8

250

8/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

3.5/6

225

370

5.9

250

8/10

Also available: ML 350 BlueTEC wagon $101,430 ML 500 wagon $121,430 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Range Rover Sport, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne

1685

8.3

$307,030

Rear

1785

9.4

4.6/8

320

700

4.6

250

8/10

SL63 AMG roadster SA 7sp 5.5TT $384,530

Rear

1785

10.1

5.5/8

395

800

4.3

250

8/10

SL65 AMG roadster SA 7sp 6.0TT $470,530

Rear

1950

11.7

6.0/12

463

1000

4.0

250

8/10

Also try: Maserati GranCabrio, Porsche 911, Jaguar XK

GL-CLASS Basically the bigger, seven-seat version of the ML. As above, but longer – although Merc would rather you see it as a Range Rover alternative...

A-CLASS

PRICE GL 63 AMG SA 7-sp 5.5TT

Merc’s smallest car is actually normal and conventional. A genuine alternative to premium-brand rivals. PRICE A 180 hatch 5dr SA 7sp 1.6i

$35,600

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

1395

4.0

1.6/4

80

260

11.3

190

8/10

Best! A 45 AMG 2.0T

$74,900

Four

1555

6.9

2.0/4

265

450

4.6

9/10

$50,400

Front

1145

6.4

2.0/4

155

350

6.6

240

8/10

B-CLASS The B-Class is a strange one: kind of like a big hatchback with an MPV fetish. A bit of super-niching going on here. 1360

B 200 hatch 5dr SA 7sp 1.6T

$45,900

Front

1345

B 200 hatch 5dr SA 7sp 1.8DT

$46,400

Front

1396

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

1.6/4

90

200

6/10

7.2

2.0/4

100

185

6/10

7.9

2.0/4

142

280

6/10

6.1

5.5/8

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

410

760

4.9

250

6/10

RATING

GLA-CLASS DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

GLA 200 CDI

$47,900

Front

1505

4.6

2.1/4

100

300

9.9

215

7/10

GLA 250 4MATIC

$57,900

Four

1505

7.0

2.0/4

155

350

7.1

215

8/10

GLA 45 AMG 4MATIC

$79,430

Four

1585

7.5

2.0/4

265

450

4.8

215

8/10

S-CLASS Merc’s iconic über-limo just keeps on trucking. Refined, reserved, at ease with technology, it’s still up there with the best of the best. PRICE

Also available: B 250 hatchback 5dr SA 7sp 2.0T $50,400

Best! S 63 AMG SA 7sp 5.5TT

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW X1 we suppose

$384,530

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

430

900

4.8

250

7/10

2045

10.2

5.5/8

Also available: S 300 Hybrid $195,000 S350 BlueTEC sedan SWB/LWB $215,000/$222,500 S 500 BlueTEC sedan SWB/LWB $284,530/$309,530 S600L $414,530

C-CLASS

Also try: Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ, Lexus LS

An excellent, solid effort in the small sedan market from Mercedes. Well-built, effortlessly executive, but could be considered conservative. PRICE

12.3

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi Q3

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE Front

2580

Four

A crossover soft-roader that sits, sizewise, between an A-Class and a B-Class, but makes you look like you go kayaking on weekends. PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Volvo V40, Audi A3, BMW 1 Series

$40,900

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Range Rover Vogue, Toyota LandCruiser, Lexus LX

Also available: A 200 CDI hatch 5dr SA 7sp 1.8DT $41,900 A 200 hatch 5dr SA 7sp 1.6i $41,400

B 180 hatch 5dr SA 7sp 1.6T

$216,930

Also available: GL 350 BlueTEC 3.0DT $129,930 GL 500 4.7TT $155,430

A 250 Sport hatch 5dr SA 7sp 2.0T

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

ML 250 B’TEC 4dr SA 7sp 2.1DTT $83,500

G-CLASS

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

C 200 sedan SA 7sp 2.0T

$60,900

Rear

1505

7.3

2.0/4

135

300

9/10

C 250 sedan SA 7sp 2.0T

$68,900

Rear

1480

6.0

2.0/4

155

350

9/10

Take a leviathan off-roader from the eighties, add some chrome and AMG badges, then sell it to cashed-up celebs. Well done, Mercedes... DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Also available: C 200 BlueTec $62,400 C250 BlueTec $70,400 C300 Hybrid $71,900. Wagon also available

G 350 BlueTEC 4dr 3.0DT

$149,330

Four

2300

11.2

3.0/6

155

540

9.1

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS

G 55 AMG 4dr SA 5sp 5.5S

$231,730

Four

2580

15.9

5.5/8

373

700

5.5

8/10

PRICE

Also try: BMW X6, Range Rover Vogue, Porsche Cayenne

E-CLASS This is the generation in which the big E got its mojo back. No longer chasing the BMW 5 Series, new E-Class is relaxed and refined. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

E 220 CDI sedan SA 5sp 2.1DT

$82,900

Rear

1735

4.9

2.1/4

125

400

8.4

227

8/10

E 63 AMG sedan SA 7sp 5.5i

$249,900

Rear

1870

5.5/8

430

800

4.1

250

8/10

PRICE

Also available: E 250 CDI sedan/wagon $99,400/107,200 E 250 sedan $96,900 E 300 hybrid sedan $109,400 E 400 sedan/wagon $129,430/$137,230 E200 sedan/wagon $80,400/$87,400 Coupe/Cabriolet variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Jaguar XF

MINI HATCH Reliably brilliant little icon with exceptional driving dynamics and a premium pricetag. Can be ruined by the options list however. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

One man 6sp 1.2

$24,500

Front

-

4.9

1.2/3

75

180

9.9

-

7/10

Cooper S man 6sp 2.0T

$36,950

Front

1150

5.9

2.0/4

141

280

6.8

228

7/10

PRICE

Also available: Cooper 1.6 / Cooper D 1.6DT $31,650/$34,800 Cabrio/S cabrio/JCW 1.6T $40,350/$48,800/$58,810 Paceman Cooper/S/JCW $35,900/$44,100/$58,600 Ray man 6sp 1.6i $25,600 Coupe/Roadster variants JCW GP $56,900 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Fiat 500, Citroen DS3, Ford Fiesta

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 53

MERCEDES-MINI

CLA-CLASS Essentially the sedan version of Merc’s new A-Class that’s built for those not rich enough to get in a full-blown C-Class.


MINI-NISSAN

CLUBMAN

TRITON

The wilfully different Mini. Small and impractical with silly doors back and side. Not a complete gimmick, though. Some might find it useful.

The new one gets more fruit inside, more power, better fuel economy and tows more. But despite its name, it still isn’t a moon of Neptune.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Cooper man 6sp 1.6i

$34,900

Front

1145

5.9

1.6/4

90

160

9.8

6/10

GLX single cab man 6sp 2.4DT

$24,490

Rear

1555

7.0

2.4/4

133

430

7/10

Cooper S man 6sp 1.6T

$43,900

Front

1205

6.3

1.6/4

135

240

7.5

6/10

GLX dual cab man 6sp 2.4DT

$36,990

Four

1930

7.2

2.4/4

133

430

7/10

JCW man 6sp 1.6T

$51,800

Front

1205

7.1

1.6/4

155

260

6.8

–/10

Exceed dual cab 5sp auto 2.4DT

$47,490

Four

1965

7.6

2.4/4

133

430

7/10

PRICE

Also try: Audi A3, VW Golf, Ford Fiesta ST

PRICE

Also available: GLX dual cab 2WD auto $35,990; GLX single cab chassis $32,490; GLX Club cab chassis $35,290 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota HiLux, VW Amarok

COUNTRYMAN

PAJERO

The Mini bulks up to become a sort of mild crossover with the option of four-wheel drive. No one is quite sure why. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

$42,250

Front

1310

6.6

1.6/4

135

240

7.6

4/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Cooper SD ALL4 man 6sp 2.0DT $46,990

Four

1395

4.9

2.0/4

105

305

9.4

5/10

GLX wagon 4dr man 5sp 3.2DT

$50,990

Four

2283

8.4

3.2/4

147

441

6/10

$56,800

Four

1405

8.0

1.6/4

160

280

7.0

7/10

GLS wagon 4dr SA 3.2DT

$58,990

Four

2325

9

3.2/4

147

441

6/10

Exceed wagon 4dr SA 5sp 3.2DT

$65,990

Four

2347

9

3.2/4

147

441

6/10

Cooper S man 6sp 1.6T JCW man 6sp 1.6T

RATING

Favourite of the Grey Nomad, the Pajero has slowly evolved to be a pretty fair 4WD. The Land Rover’s still safe though.

Also available: Cooper man 6 sp 1.6i $34,150 Cooper D man 6sp 1.6DT $$36,950 Cooper S ALL4 man 6sp 1.6T $45,500 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi A3, VW Golf, Ford Fiesta ST

PRICE

Also available: ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota LandCruiser, Land Rover Discovery 4, Nissan Patrol

MIRAGE

MITSUUBISHHI

Parsimonious P-platers rejoice – Mitsubishi’s entry-level light car is back with some very sharp pricing. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

ES hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.2i

$11,490

Front

865

4.6

1.2/3

57

100

5/10

ES sedan 4dr man 5sp 1.2i

$14,490

Front

865

4.9

1.2/3

57

100

5/10

LS hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.2i

$12,990

Front

925

4.8

1.2/3

57

100

5/10

PRICE

I-MIEV Diminutive all-electric four-door city car that runs on the same sort of batteries as your mobile phone. Impressive. PRICE Hatchback 5dr EV

$48,800

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

49

180

15.9

5/10

1080

Electric

Also try: VW Up, Nissan Micra, Ford Fiesta

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Switching to green energy - otherwise it’ll come from dirty coal

ASX

NISSSAN

A ‘city-dwelling’ Outlander that covers a lot of bases. It looks pretty good and drives well, but it’s a bit of a beige car. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

LS Hatchback 5dr man 5sp 2.0i

$24,990

Front

1345

7.7

2.0/4

110

197

6/10

LS Hatchback 5dr CVT 6sp 2.0i

$26,990

Front

1440

8.1

2.0/4

110

191

6/10

Also available: LS Hatch 5dr SA 6sp 2.2DT 4x4 $31,990 XLS hatch 5dr CVT 4x2 2.0i $31,490 XLS hatch 5dr CVT 4x4 2.2DT $36,490

LANCER

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

942

5.9

1.2/3

56

100

5/10

ST-L hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.2i

$15,490

Front

962

5.9

1.2/3

56

100

5/10

Ti hatch 5dr auto 4sp 1.2i

$18,990

Front

987

5.9

1.2/3

56

100

5/10

PULSAR

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$18,990

Front

1320

2.0/4

113

198

9.5

6/10

XLS sedan man 5sp 2.4i

$26,490

Front

1309

8.7

2.4/4

125

226

6/10

Evo sedan 5sp 2.0T

$52,990

Four

1625

10.6

2.0/4

217

366

5.1

8/10

7.7

KW

$13,490

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Polo, Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta

Small, ageing sedan without a replacement in sight. Strip away the turbo 4x4 madness and shouting and you’re left with a reasonable run-about. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

ST hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.2i

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Dualis, Peugeot 3008

ES sedan man 5sp 2.0i

MICRA The latest generation Micra has lost the funky frog look and embraced blandness. Thanks Nissan.

Also available: LS sedan man 5sp 2.0i $20,990 Ralliart sedan 2.0T $37,490 Evo sedan MR TC SST MA 6sp 2.0T $58,990 Sportback variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mazda3 / 6, Ford Mondeo, Subaru Impreza

The Pulsar name is back from the dead after its questionable change to Tiida in 2006. Thankfully there’s no Kim Cattrall ads this time. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

ST sedan 4dr man 6sp 1.8i

$19,990

Front

1226

7.2

1.8/4

96

174

6/10

Ti sedan 4dr CVT 1.8i

$29,990

Front

1258

6.7

1.8/4

96

174

9.5

6/10

SSS hatch man 6sp 1.6T

$29,790

Front

1304

7.7

1.6/4

140

240

7/10

PRICE

Also available: ST hatch man 6sp 1.8i $19,290 ST-L hatch man 6sp 1.8i $22,590 ST-S hatch man 6sp 1.6T $25,490

OUTLANDER

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mazda3, Ford Focus, VW Golf, Renault Megane

Good family hauler for the price, though not as refined as some of the competition. Upper spec models come with seven seats: bravo. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

ALTIMA NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

LS man 5sp 2.0i

$28,490

Front

1410

7.0

2.0/4

110

190

7/10

XLS CVT 2.4i

$36,490

Four

1535

7.2

2.4/4

124

220

7/10

Exceed SA 2.2D

$46,490

Four

1630

6.2

2.2/4

110

360

7/10

Also available: LS CVT FWD 2.0i $30,490, XLS FWD CVT 2.0i $33,490, LS 4WD 2.4i $33,490, Exceed 4WD CVT 2.4i $43,490, XLS 4WD 2.2D $39,490

The imposter of V8 Supercars has finally hit the road. Sadly there’s no V8 option for this version, though. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

ST sedan 4dr CVT 2.5i

$29,990

Front

1435

7.5

2.5/4

127

230

6/10

Ti-S sedan 4dr CVT 3.5i

$45,490

Front

1536

9.3

3.5/6

183

312

6/10

PRICE

Also available: ST-L $35,990 Ti $40,490

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Peugeot 4007, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester

Also try: Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda6

CHALLENGER

370Z

What looks to be a Triton with a wagon body, with Challenger Space Shuttle-esque results. Can tow the moon.

Muscular two-seat sportscar with lots of tech-heavy touches (Synchro-Rev for a start) and tail-happy dynamics. Fun.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

4WD 5dr man 5sp 2.5DT

$42,490

Four

1990

8.3

2.5/4

131

400

5/10

Coupe man 6sp 3.7i

$56,930

Rear

1495

10.5

3.7/6

245

363

5.7

8/10

4WD 5dr SA 5sp 2.5DT

$44,990

Four

2000

9.8

2.5/4

131

350

5/10

Roadster 2dr man 6sp 3.7i

$65,930

Rear

1608

11.2

3.7/6

245

363

7/10

LS 4WD 5dr SA 5sp 2.5DT

$49,990

Four

2000

9.8

2.5/4

131

350

5/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Anything else

PRICE

Also try: BMW Z4, Audi TT, Porsche Cayman/Boxster, Mercedes SLK

GT-R A supercar for the PlayStation Generation. Uber-techy and violently capable, it’s a ruthless speed machine. PRICE Coupe 2dr SA 6sp 3.8TT

$172,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

404

628

2.7

9/10

1699

11.7

3.8/6

Also try: Porsche 911, BMW M3, Audi RS5

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

ST 5spd man 1.6i

$22,090

Front

1.6/4

86

158

6/10

ST-S 5spd man 1.6T

$28,490

Front

1.6/4

140

240

6/10

Ti-S CVT 1.6T

$32,490

Four

1.6/4

140

240

6/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax, Peugeot 2008

QASHQAI This replaces the Dualis – and is better than it in every way, save that name, which comes from a nomadic Persian tribe, but looks like cheating at Scrabble. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

ST 5-seat man 6sp 2.0i

$25,850

Front

1372

7.7

2.0/4

106

200

7/10

TS 5-seat CVT 1.6DT

$33,200

Front

1556

4.9

1.6/4

96

320

7/10

RATING

PRICE

Also available: Ti 2.0 petrol 6sp man $32,490 ; TL CVT 1.6 turbodiesel $37,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Kia Sportage, Hyundai ix35

MURANNO The Murano isn’t a bad unit, and not short of fruit inside, but for that price, a Land Rover or Audi starts looking very attractive… DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

ST 4dr CV VT 6sp 3.5i

$48,990

Four

1795

10.9

3.5/6

191

336

7/10

Ti 4dr CV VT 6sp 3.5i

$60,240

Four

1832

10.9

3.5/6

191

336

8/10

PRICE

Also try: Audi Q5, BMW X3, LR Freelander

X-TRAIL Updated d mid-size SUV with plenty of engine and configuration options – five-seat or seven, front- or all-wheel-drive. PRICE

VOLKSWAGEN POLO GTI Basic price $27,490 (6sp manual) Engine 1.8L turbo 4cyl, 141kW, 320Nm, 6.1L/100km Performance 0–100km/h 6.7secs, 220km/h Weight 1234kg Colour Blue Silk Metallic ($500) Wheels 17in Parabolica alloys ($0) Trim Alcantara and sports seats in Luxury Package ($3300) Standard equipment 6.5in touchscreen infotainment, multicollision braking system, climate control, cruise control Options Driver Assistance Package $1700 (Discover Media audio and sat-nav, rear camera, parking sensors), Luxury Package (Alcantara trim, sunroof, LED lights)

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$27,990

Front

1437

8.2

2.0/4

106

200

-/10

ST-L 4dr C CVT 2.5i

$36,190

Front

1487

7.9

2.5/4

126

226

-/10

Ti 4dr CVT 2.5i

$44,680

Four

1574

8.3

2.5/4

126

226

-/10

Also available: ST and ST-L seven-seater FWD 2.5L CVT ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-7

PATHFINDER More models than Leo DiCaprio’s phone book, including hybrid options. But nomads be warned: check the towing capacity before you choose. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

ST 4dr CVT 3.5i

$39,990

Front

1920

9.9

3.5/6

190

325

–/10

Ti 4dr CVT 3.5i

$65,090

Four

2065

10.2

3.5/6

190

325

–/10

RATING

PRICE

Also available: ST-L 2WD/4WD $50,490/$54,490 ST/Ti 4WD $44,490/$60,990 Hybrid models ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota LandCruiser, Mitsubishi Pajero, Mazda CX-9

PATROL Lumbering beast with a sweet-sounding petrol V8... but boy, it loves a drink. No diesel scheduled, ever. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

ST 4dr SA 7sp 5.6i

$82,690

Four

2645

14.5

5.6/8

298

560

4/10

Ti 4dr SA 7sp 5.6i

$93,390

Four

2706

14.5

5.6/8

298

560

5/10

Ti-L 4dr SA 7sp 5.6i

$114,490

Four

2735

14.5

5.6/8

298

560

5/10

PRICE

TOTAL PRICE $32,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

ST 4dr maan 6sp 2.0i

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Defender, Toyota LandCruiser

NAVARA As approved by tradies everywhere, it’s a strong work truck for your work kit and eskies. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

RX dual cab man 6sp 2.5DT

$31,390

Rear

1887

9.1

2.5/4

126

403

4/10

ST-X 550 dual cab SA 7sp 3.0DT

$61,490

Four

2246

9.3

3.0/6

170

550

4/10

PRICE

Also available: ST d/cab man 6sp 2.5DT 4x4 $47,290 ST-X dual cab 4dr V6 auto $56,990 Single cab, King cab models ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado

PEUGEEOT 3008 Pretty funky for a mock-SUV, but that’s like saying your dad is cool because he doesn’t pick you up from school in his slippers any more. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Allure 5dr SA 6sp 1.6T

$35,990

Front

1555

7.7

1.6/4

115

240

9.5

6/10

Allure HDi 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT

$42,990

Front

1614

6.7

2.0/4

120

340

10.2

6/10

PRICE

Also available: XSE HDi 5dr SA 6sp 2.0DT $39,490 XTE 5dr SA 6sp 1.6T $39,490 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Dualis, Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 55

NISSAN-PEUGEOT

HOW TO

JUKE Clever little SUV crossover that looks like...well, looks like nothing else we can think of. Very nice, if a little odd.


PEUGEOT-PROTON

RCZ

PORSCHEE

Peugeot’s stunning small coupe that hopefully marks a renaissance for the brand. Good-looking, but odd interior packaging remains. PRICE Coupe man 6sp 2.0DT

$58,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

120

340

8.2

220

7/10

1445

5.3

2.0/4

Coupe man 6sp 1.6T

$58,990

Front

1372

6.9

1.6/4

147

275

7.5

240

7/10

R Coupe SA 6sp 1.6T

$68,990

Front

1355

6.3

1.6/4

199

330

5.9

250

7/10

Also try: Audi TT, maybe an Alfa Romeo Brera

308 Unexpectedly won European Car Of The Year, but after driving it, you’ll see why. Not perfect, but excellent, and a worthy competitor to the VW Golf. PRICE Access hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.2T

$21,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

5dr tiptronic 8sp 3.0DT

$104,700

Four

2030

10.4

3.0/6

220

400

7.5

230

7/10

S 5dr tiptronic 8sp 4.8i

$139,900

Four

2065

11.1

4.8/8

294

500

5.9

258

7/10

Turbo 5dr tiptronic 8sp 4.8TT

$230,800

Four

2170

12.2

4.8/8

368

700

4.7

278

8/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

1090

4.6

1.2/3

96

230

9.6

207

8/10

$27,340

Front

1090

4.6

1.2/3

96

230

9.6

207

8/10

Allure hatch 5dr auto 6sp 2.0DT

$34,790

Front

1310

4.1

1.6/4

110

370

8.6

211

8/10

Also available: Access hatchback 1.2T auto 6sp $23,990 Allure hatchback 1.2T auto 6sp $30,490 Allure wagon 2.0DT auto 6sp $37,490

Also try: Range Rover Vogue and Sport, BMW X5 and X6, Audi Q7

PANAMERA Four-door, four-seat ‘family’ Porsche. Very fast, very ugly and quite difficult to fall in love with. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Panamera 4dr PDK 7sp 3.6i

$204,600

Rear

1760

9.3

3.6/6

220

400

6.3

259

7/10

GTS 4dr PDK 7sp 4.8i

$320,100

Four

1920

10.9

4.8/8

316

520

4.5

288

7/10

Turbo S 4dr PDK 7sp 4.8TT

$444,600

Four

1930

11.5

4.8/8

405

750

3.8

306

7/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Renault Megane, Citroen C4, Volkswagen Golf

208 Congratulations Peugeot. It’s only taken you 25 years to recapture the 205 magic. The 208 is light, likeable and French. In a good way. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Active hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.2i

$18,490

Front

948

4.7

1.2/3

60

118

13.9

175

5/10

Allure 3dr man 6sp 1.6T

$21,990

Front

1063

5.8

1.6/4

115

240

8.1

215

5/10

GTi 3dr man 6sp 1.6T

$29,990

Front

1133

5.9

1.6/4

147

275

6.8

230

8/10

Also available: Active hatch 1.6i $21,490 Allure Premium hatch 1.6i $26,490

Also available: Diesel PDK 8sp 3.0DT $208,400 4 PDK 7sp 3.6i $216,800 4S PDK 7sp 4.8i $301,100 S PDK 7sp 4.8i $288,900 S Hybrid PDK 8sp 3.0i $285,300 Turbo PDK 7sp 4.8TT $383,400 Also try: Aston Martin Rapide, Bentley Continental, Maserati Quattroporte

BOXSTER One of the greatest sports roadsters on sale today. Just forgo the baseball cap, thanks.

Also try: Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Opel Corsa

Peugeot’s replacement for the 407 is actually quite nice in a fairly average, front-wheel-drive-sedan way. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Active sedan SA 6sp 1.6T

$36,990

Front

1485

7.1

1.6/4

240

240

9.2

220

6/10

GT sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.2DT

$52,990

Front

1540

5.7

2.2/4

150

450

6/10

Also available: Allure sedan 1.6T $39,490 Allure wagon 1.6T $42,490 Allure sedan 2.0DT $42,990 Allure wagon 2.0DT $45,990 GT Luxury sedan 2.2DT $58,590 Active e-HDi sedan SA 6sp 1.6DT $37,490

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$102,800

Rear

1310

8.2

2.7/6

195

280

5.8

264

7/10

S convertible man 6sp 3.4i

$128,900

Rear

1320

8.8

3.4/6

232

360

5.1

279

7/10

GTS convertible man 6sp 3.4i

$145,500

Rear

1320

8.8

3.4/6

232

360

5.1

279

7/10

Also try: Audi TT Roadster, Nissan 370Z Roadster, BMW Z4

CAYMAN Looks like a hardtop Boxster, feels like a small 911. Possibly the most usable fast car on the planet in the real world. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Coupe man 6sp 2.7i

$106,100

Rear

1310

8.2

2.7/6

192

280

5.8

264

10/10

S coupe man 6sp 3.4i

$139,400

Rear

1320

8.8

3.4/6

232

360

5.1

279

10/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, VW Passat, Subaru Liberty

2008

Also try: BMW Z4, Audi TT, Nissan 370Z

High-rise supermini that’s the result of giving a 208 automotive Viagra. It’s a little mashup which just about works. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Convertible man 6sp 2.7i

PRICE

508 PRICE

RATING

Also available: S 3.0DT $143,200 S Hybrid 5dr tip 8sp 3.0S/34kW $139,200 GTS 5dr tip 8sp 4.8i $150,400 Turbo S 5dr tip 8sp 4.8TT $259,600

Active hatch 5dr auto 6sp 1.2T

PRICE

CAYENNE Sporting SUV that’s extremely capable but still insanely hard to look at. The Turbo bends physics into balloon animals.

911

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

1.2 Vti Active Petrol Man

$21,990

Front

1022

4.9

1.2/3

60

118

13.5

169

7/10

1.6 Vti Allure Petrol Man

$27,990

Front

1053

5.9

1.6/4

88

160

9.5

196

7/10

1.6 e-Hdi Outdoor Man

$31,990

Front

1131

4.0

1.6/4

68

230

11.5

181

7/10

The iconic sports car just keeps on getting better. Latest versions combine bombproof reliability, usability and pace that few can match. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Coupe man 7sp 3.4i

$208,600

Rear

1455

9

3.4/6

257

390

4.8

289

9/10

Also available: 1.6 Vti Active Petrol Auto $24,990 1.6 Vti Allure Petrol Auto $29,990

Coupe S man 7sp 3.8i

$245,200

Rear

1470

9.5

3.8/6

294

440

4.5

304

9/10

Also try: Holden Trax, Ford EcoSport, Nissan Juke

Cabrio S man 7sp 3.8i

$267,200

Rear

1540

9.7

3.8/6

294

440

4.7

301

9/10

Also available: Cabrio man 7sp 3.4i $229,900 4WD variants Turbo $366,500 Turbo S $466,900

4008

Also try: Aston Martin Vantage, Jaguar XK, Audi R8

The French version of the Mitsubishi ASX, so it’s another Japanese softroader with Peugeot soft-touches in the cabin. See a pattern here? PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

Active wagon 5dr man 5sp 2.0i

$28,990

Front

1375

7

2.0/4

110

197

9.3

RATING 5/10

Active wagon 5dr man 5sp 2.0i

$30,990

Four

1440

7.9

2.0/4

110

197

9.9

5/10

Allure wagon 5dr CVT 2.0

$38,490

Four

1470

8.1

2.0/4

100

197

10.9

5/10

Also try: Mazda CX-5, VW Tiguan

PROTOON PREVÉ Cheap as chips, but not as good as chips. Far from polished, but the generous warranty and capped servicing is mildly persuasive.

5008 Large seven-seat MPV that looks pretty good and does everything a family might want, although it’s less brilliant to drive. Prefer five seats? Try a 3008. PRICE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$15,490

Front

1325

7.2

1.6/4

80

150

12

180

5/10

GXR sedan 4dr man 5sp 1.6T

$22,990

Front

1356

8.6

1.6/4

103

205

9.6

190

5/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Active 5dr 6sp SA 1.6T

$36,990

Front

1565

7.6

1.6/4

115

240

11.1

195

–/10

Active 5dr 6sp SA 2.0DT

$40,490

Front

1694

6.3

2.0/4

120

340

11.8

190

6/10

Also try: Kia Carnival, Fiat Freemont, Dodge Journey

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

GX sedan 4dr man 5sp 1.6i

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: VW Golf, Honda Civic, Mazda3

EXORA Australia’s cheapest seven-seater? You’d be better off selling a couple of kids and trading up. Still, worth a look for big families with a tight budget. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GX 5dr CVT 1.6T

$25,990

Front

1475

8.3

1.6/4

103

205

11.3

185

5/10

GXR 5dr CVT 1.6T

$27,990

Front

1485

8.3

1.6/4

103

205

11.3

185

5/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Also try: Kia Rondo, Honda Odyssey

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


GHOST A cut-price Rolls? Not really. There’s still luxury here by the decanter-load and $645,000 is not exactly budget for most people.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GX 5dr CVT 1.6T

$20,990

Front

1355

8.8

1.6/4

103

205

9.9

190

6/10

GXR 5dr CVT 1.6T

$25,790

Front

1370

8.8

1.6/4

103

205

9.9

190

6/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Also try: VW Golf, Honda Civic

PRICE Sedan 4dr auto 8sp 6.6TT

$645,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

420

780

4.9

8/10

2470

13.6

6.6/12

Also try: Bentley Mulsanne, errm...

WRAITH Continues the haunting nomenclature of the current Rolls range by being a faster but slightly less-practicable version of the Ghost.

RENAUULTT

PRICE Coupe 2dr auto 8sp 6.6TT

$645,000

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

465

800

4.6

250

9/10

RATING

2360

14.0

6.6/12

Also try: Bentley Continental GT

CLIO Another fresh Euro offering in the hotly contested hatch market. The scorching RS version is the one you want. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Authentique man 5sp 0.9T

$16,790

Front

1019

4.5

0.9/3

66

135

12.2

182

7/10

Dynamique SA 6sp 1.2T

$23,790

Front

1104

5.2

1.2/4

88

190

9.4

199

7/10

RS Cup Trophy 6sp SA 1.6T

$36,790

Front

1218

6.3

1.6/4

147

240

6.7

230

8/10

PRICE

Also available: Expression man 5sp 0.9T $17,790 Expression SA 6sp 1.2T $19,790 RS Sport 1.6T $28,790 RS Cup $31,290 RS Sport Trophy $34,290

SKODA OCTAVIA A car that people should consider when thinking of getting a Golf. Boot is huge, engines are good, prices are low. RS is really impressive. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

Ambition 103TSI 1.4T

$21,690

Front

1302

5.7

1.4/4

103

250

8.4

215

8/10

Ambition Plus 103TSI 1.4T

$24,490

Front

1340

5.7

1.4/4

103

250

8.5

212

8/10

PRICE

Also try: VW Polo, Ford Fiesta

MEGANE It’s lost the fat bum, which is a Good Thing. Better build quality now, with decent engines and ride quality. The RS looks great. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Authentique hatch man 6sp 1.2T $20,990

Front

97

205

10.9

6/10

GT-Line Wagon 2.0T

$34,990

Front

Sport 265 3dr man 6sp 2.0T

$43,990

Front

PRICE

5.6

1.2/4

1499

7.3

2.0/4

162

340

7.6

240

8/10

1374

8.2

2.0/4

195

360

6.0

8/10

Also available: Sport 265 Cup Premium $47,990 Coupe-Cabriolet models GT-Line hatch 2.0i/1.5D $26,490/$28,990 Privilege hatch 2.0i/1.5D $29,990/$32,490 Wagon models

Elegance 110TDI 2.0DT

$35,490

Front

1397

4.9

2.0/4

110

320

8.6

215

8/10

RS 162 TSI 4dr man 6sp 2.0T

$36,490

Front

1397

6.4

2.0/4

162

350

6.8

248

8/10

RS 135 TDI 4dr man DSG 2.0DT

$39,790

Front

1462

5.2

2.0/4

135

380

8.2

230

8/10

Also available: Ambition 103TSI DSG 1.4T $23,990 Ambition Plus 103TSI DSG 1.4T $26,790 Octavia Elegance 103TSI DSG 1.4T $32,190 Octavia Elegance 132TSI DSG 1.8T $34,690 Wagon variants +$1350 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Mazda6

OCTAVIA SCOUT A great way for active, pragmatic family car buyers to get into VW Group tech and quality at a more affordable price point.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5dr) Also try: Ford Focus, Honda Civic

FLUENCE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

110TDI Manual

$32,990

Four

1561

5.3

2.0/4

110

340

9.1

207

8/10

132TSI DSG

$38,590

Four

1557

7.1

1.8/4

132

280

7.8

216

8/10

135TDI DSG

$41,390

Four

1594

5.3

2.0/4

135

380

7.8

219

8/10

RATING

PRICE

It’s a case of hit-and-miss for Renault. Hits include the new Megane Sport. This is more of a miss. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Dynamique sedan man 6sp 2.0i

$23,143

Front

1328

8.2

2.0/4

102

195

6/10

Privilege sedan CVT 2.0i

$30,298

Front

1369

7.9

2.0/4

103

195

6/10

PRICE

Also try: Mazda3, VW Jetta

RATING

Also try: Subaru Outlander, Audi A4 Allroad

SUPERB The fact the name doesn’t sound too ironic on a Skoda tells you what you need to know. Huge rear legroom, good quality, bargain pricing.

LATITUDE Renault’s newest crack at our big car market is stuffed full of tech for a low price. Can this turn around the current funk of big French cars? PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

Ambition sedan DSG 7sp 1.8T

$31,990

Front

1561

7.3

1.8/4

118

250

8.1

220

7/10

PRICE NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Elegance sedan DSG 7sp 2.0DT

$44,990

Front

1605

6.2

2.0/4

125

350

8.8

220

8/10

$33,690

Four

1755

10.3

3.6/6

191

350

6.5

250

7/10

Dynamique 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$38,490

Front

1600

9.7

3.5/6

133

235

6/10

Ambition wagon DSG 7sp 1.8T

Privilege sedan 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$44,490

Front

1600

9.7

3.5/6

133

235

6/10

Also available: Wagon variants ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Mazda6

Also available: Dynamique sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.0DT $37,490 Privilege Sedan 4dr SA 6sp 2.0DT $43,490 Also try: Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Citroen C5

YETI

KOLEOS

It’s not the coolest name for a car. Luckily, the ride quality, price and funky looks more than make up for it.

It’s another soft-roader for the overfull SUV sector. At least you’re spoiled for choice. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

77TSI 5dr man 6sp 1.2T

$23,490

Front

1380

6.6

1.2/4

77

175

11.8

7/10

103TDI 4x4 5dr DSG 2.0DT

$33,590

Four

1615

6.2

2.0/4

103

320

9.9

7/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Expression 4dr man 6sp 2.5i

$27,990

Front

1553

9.6

2.5/4

126

226

5/10

Bose 4dr CVT 2.5i

$35,990

Front

9.6

2.5/4

126

226

5/10

Privilege 4dr CVT 2.5i

$45,240

Four

1613

9.5

2.5/4

126

226

6/10

Also available: Bose 4dr 6sp auto 2.0DT $437,990 Bose 4dr CVT 4x4 2.5i $41,490 Privilege 4dr 6sp auto 2.0DT $47,240

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Qashqai

FABIA Skoda’s bid in the compact city car sector, this retro little hatch which, when specced nicely, is actually pretty funky.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Outlander, Peugeot 4008, Toyota RAV4

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

77TSI hatch manual

$15,990

Front

1130

5.5

1.2/4

77

175

10.1

7/10

77TSI Monte Carlo hatch

$18,290

Front

1140

5.5

1.2/4

77

175

10.1

7/10

RS 132 hatch DSG

$27,190

Front

1253

6.2

1.4/4

132

250

7.3

7/10

PRICE

ROLLSS-ROYYCE

Also available: RS 132 TSI wagon 5dr SA 7sp 1.4TSI $28,190 77 ; TSI wagon 5dr man 5sp 1.2T $16,990

PHANTOM

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Fiat 500, Mini Cooper, Citroen C3

Luxury British land-yacht which manages to drive as well as it soothes. Opulence doesn’t come much better than this. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sedan 4dr auto 6sp 6.7i

$1,075,000

Rear

2485

15.9

6.7/12

338

720

5.9

8/10

LWB sedan auto 6sp 6.7i

$1,250,000

Rear

2660

15.9

6.7/12

338

720

5.9

8/10

Drophead conv. auto 6sp 6.7i

$1,350,000

Rear

2620

15.9

6.7/12

338

720

5.7

9/10

Coupe 2dr auto 6sp 6.7i

$1,260,000

Rear

2590

15.7

6.7/12

338

720

5.8

9/10

PRICE

Also try: Small Caribbean island, ocean liner

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 57

PROTON-SKODA

SUPRIMA S Uninspiring “not too” hatch: not too terrible, not too expensive, not too slow. But for the money, there are much better options available.


SMART-SUBARU

HEROES

SMART FORTWO Choice of street marketers who bank on its striking looks, it’s basically a car designed solely for the city. And hipsters. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Pulse coupe 3dr SMac 5sp 1.0i

$19,990

Rear

750

4.4

1.0/3

52

92

13.3

145

5/10

Pulse cab 3dr SMac 5sp 1.0i

$22,990

Rear

780

4.4

1.0/3

52

92

13.3

145

5/10

PRICE

NISSAN GT-R

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota Yaris, Mitsubishi Colt, a pushbike

SSANGYOONG STAVIC Big, seven-seat SUV that had the chance to cover up its ugly stick scars with new generation, but decided it couldn’t be bothered. PRICE Stavic 4dr auto 5sp 2.0DT

$29,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Rear

114

360

–/10

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

104

310

3/10

1992

7.8

2.0/4

Also try: Fiat Freemont, Hyundai iMax, Kia Grand Carnival

ACTYON

WHY IS IT SPECIAL?

We wonder if designers style cars this hideous to try and imprint them on our memory. It hasn’t worked; the Actyon is still instantly forgettable. PRICE XDi wagon 4dr man 5sp 2.0DT

$26,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE Four

1881

7.8

2.0/4

Also try: Laser eye surgery

SPORTS Recipe: take HiLux. Add ugly. Stir until under-powered. Garnish with ironic name. Hey presto! You have a pile of cheap Korean rubbish. PRICE Utility dual cab man 5sp 2.0DT

$29,490

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

104

310

3/10

1803

8

2.0/4

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota HiLux

KORANDO There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright... Korando. The best we can say is that it’s not as ugly as other Ssangyongs. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Wagon 5dr man 6sp 2.0DT

$27,990

Front

1645

6

2.0/4

129

360

6/10

Wagon 5dr man 6sp 2.0DT

$32,390

Four

1645

7.5

2.0/4

129

360

6/10

PRICE

Because after years of Japanese conservatism, it showed that buried deep in the national pscyhe there’s something... bonkers. Point-to-point it’s the fastest car in the world: twin turbo 3.8-litre straight six, 4wd, double clutch gearbox and an ability to runkle tarmac and rearrange facial features. And those who dismiss the GT-R as all electrickery are Just. Plain. Wrong. It rocks.

WHICH TO HAVE? You can have it standard for $172,000; spend another $5k to get the “Luxury” edition (with fancier seats) or go all out on the hardcore $182k Black Edition. Don’t do it. The one thing the GT-R doesn’t need is even more focus if you’re intending to drive it on the road. None of them ride well, and you sure as heck don’t need it to be any faster or grippier. Save your cash and spend it on the insurance and fuel.

Also try: The usual suspects; i.e. Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai ix35

SUBARU BRZ Subaru’s nearly identical cousin to the Toyota 86 but with a few subtle differences. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

BRZ 2dr man 6sp 2.0i

$37,150

Rear

1256

7.8

2.0/4

147

205

7.6

226

9/10

BRZ 2dr SA 6sp 2.0i

$39,730

Rear

1278

7.1

2.0/4

147

205

8.2

210

9/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota 86

LIBERTY Much improved over the model it replaces, and great value, but the base car’s dynamics should be better. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Liberty 2.5i CVT

$29,990

Four

1502

7.3

2.5/4

129

235

9.6

7/10

Liberty 2.5i Premium CVT

$35,490

Four

1528

7.3

2.5/4

129

235

9.6

7/10

Liberty 3.6R

$41,990

Four

1605

9.9

3.6/6

191

350

7.2

7/10

PRICE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Mazda6

IMPREZA Believe it or not, the Impreza isn’t all about ballistic rally-replicas. It’s also a mundane sedan and hatchback. But forget those… we want rally replicas. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Hatch 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$23,990

Four

1345

7.1

2.0/4

110

196

10.5

6/10

Sedan 4dr man 6sp 2.0i-L

$25,300

Four

1335

7.1

2.0/4

110

196

10.5

6/10

Also available: sedan 2.0i $23,990 (CVT $25,990), hatch 2.0i-L $25,300 (CVT $27,300) hatch/sedan 2.0i $30,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Focus

S ENGINE/GEARBOX 3799cc, V6, 404kW, 628Nm PERFORMANCE 0–100km/h in 2.7 seconds, top speed 315km/h, 11.7L/100km WEIGHT 1740kg PRICE $172,000

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


JIMNY The little 4WD that could recently celebrated its 40th birthday downunder, and was the envy of her friends by not getting fatter over the years.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$38,990

Four

1424

9.2

2.0/4

197

350

6.0

7/10

WRX Premium 4dr man 5sp 2.0T $43,990

Four

1424

9.2

2.0/4

197

350

6.0

7/10

$45,990

Four

1482

8.0

2.0/4

197

350

6.0

7/10

PRICE WRX 4dr man 6sp 2.0T WRX Premium 4dr CVT 2.0T

Also available: WRX sedan CVT 2.0T $40,990

PRICE Sierra hardtop 3dr man 5sp 1.3i

$20,490

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

62.5

110

4/10

1060

7.3

1.3/4

Also try: A quad bike

GRAND VITARA Looks like an off-roader but doesn’t go like one, or feel as well-built as it should. And it feels cheap, which it is.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, Ford Focus ST

OUTBACK

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Hardtop 3dr man 5sp 4x4 2.4i

$24,990

Four

1524

8.8

2.4/4

122

225

4/10

Sport 5dr man 5sp 4x4 2.4i

$30,490

Four

1655

8.9

2.4/4

122

225

4/10

Prestige 5dr auto 4sp 2.4i

$38,990

Four

1670

9.9

2.4/4

122

225

6/10

PRICE

Quieter, more efficient, and dynamically superior to the outgoing model, but the diesel needs more grunt. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Outback 2.5i CVT

$35,990

Four

1597

7.3

2.5/4

129

235

10.2

8/10

Outback 2.0D CVT

$37,490

Four

1684

6.3

2.5/4

110

350

9.7

8/10

Also available: Urban wagon 2WD 5dr man 5sp/auto 5sp 4x4 2.4i $26,490/$28,490 DDiS wagon 5dr auto 5sp 1.9D $34,990

Outback 3.6R

$47,990

Four

1702

9.9

3.6/6

191

350

7.6

8/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V

Also available: 2.5i Premium CVT $41,490; 2.0D manual $35,490; 2.0D Premium manual $41,490

KIZASHI

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Skoda Octavia Scout, Volvo XC60

Apparently translating roughly to ‘omen’, the Kizashi is a warning to ubiquitous Mazda and Toyota that Suzuki is on the up and up.

FORESTER Soft-roader has gone squidgy with age, so it’s no longer a farmer’s secret weapon. Based on an Impreza, but doesn’t go like one. PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Wagon 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$29,990

Four

1458

7.2

2.0/4

110

198

10.6

6/10

Wagon 5dr man 6sp 2.0DT

$35,490

Four

1510

5.9

2.0/4

108

350

10.2

6/10

XT Premium 5dr CVT 2.0T

$50,490

Four

1607

8.5

2.0/4

177

350

7.5

6/10

Also available: 5dr CVT 2.5i $32,990 5dr man 6sp 2.0i-L $33,490 5dr CVT 2.5i-L $35,990 5dr CVT 2.5i-S $43,990 5dr man 6sp 2.0D-L $37,490 5dr man 6sp 2.0D-S $43,990 XT 5dr CVT 2.0T $43,490

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sport Touring sedan man 6sp 2.4i $28,990

Front

1445

7.9

2.4/4

131

230

7/10

Sport Prestige sedan man 6sp 2.4i $37,990

Front

1490

7.9

2.4/4

131

230

7/10

$39,990

Four

1600

8.4

2.4/4

131

230

7/10

Sport AWD sedan CVT 1sp 2.4i

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mazda6, Hyundai i45

TOYOTTA

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4

XV

86

Stick an Impreza on stilts and funk up the exterior, and you’re most of the way here. It is a fine-looking thing, but cricket test matches are faster.

The most important Toyota in the past decade – a pure driver’s car. And hopefully the start of a cool-car revival.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$28,490

Four

1390

7.3

2.0/4

110

196

10.5

6/10

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

L 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$31,990

Four

1405

7.3

2.0/4

110

196

10.5

6/10

GT coupe 2dr man 6sp 2.0i

$29,990

Rear

1222

7.8

2.0/4

147

205

7.6

226

9/10

S 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$34,490

Four

1415

7.3

2.0/4

110

196

10.5

6/10

GTS coupe 2dr man 6sp 2.0i

$36,490

Rear

1222

7.8

2.0/4

147

205

7.6

226

9/10

RATING

PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z, Subaru BRZ

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4

TRIBECA

YARIS

Just what we need: another ugly SUV with off-road promises it can’t keep. What, was there a sale on these things?

Small and simple supermini doesn’t try to be anything else, though we kind of wish it did. Never mind, your nan will love it.

PRICE R Premium 5dr SA 5sp 3.6i

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

$54,990

Four

1950

11.6

3.6/6

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

190

350

8.9

5/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Lexus RX, BMW X3, Audi A6 Allroad, Subaru Outback

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

YR hatch 3dr man 5sp 1.3i

$14,990

Front

1025

5.7

1.3/4

63

121

5/10

ZR hatch 3dr man 5sp 1.5i

$18,990

Front

1045

5.8

1.5/4

80

141

6/10

Best! ZR 5dr auto 4sp 1.5i

$22,690

Front

1055

6.3

1.5/4

80

141

10.8

6/10

RATING

Also available: YRX sedan 4dr auto 4sp 1.5i $21,790 YRS sedan 4dr man 5sp 1.5i $18,190 YRS hatchback 3dr/5dr man 5sp 1.5i $16,890/$17,390 YR hatchback 5dr man 5sp 1.5i $15,690

SUZUKKI

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20

RAV4

CELERIO

The RAV4 has grown up and put some slippers on. It’s comfortable and competent, but nowhere near as funky as it used to be.

Sounds like a root vegetable (make your own mean joke here.) Super-cheap micro-car devoid of excitement, but decent value. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

GX 5dr man 6sp 2.0i

$28,690

Front

1485

7.7

2.0/4

107

187

5/10

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

5dr man 5sp 1.0i

$12,990

Front

830

4.7

1.0/3

50

90

5/10

Cruiser 5dr SA 7sp 2.5i

$47,290

Four

1580

8.6

2.5/4

132

233

6/10

5dr CVT 1.0i

$13,990

Front

860

4.8

1.0/3

50

90

5/10

Best! Cruiser 5dr SA 7sp 2.2DT

$50,790

Four

1630

5.6

2.2/4

110

340

6/10

Also available: GXL 5dr man 6sp 2.0i $32,690 GXL 5dr man 6sp 2.5i $39,190 GX 5dr man 6sp 2.2DT $35,690 GXL 5dr man 6sp 2.2DT $39,190 Auto/CVT +$2500

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Mirage

SWIFT

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Subaru Forester, Volvo XC60

By not trying too hard, this no-nonsense supermini succeeds in being quite good. PRICE

LANDCRUISER 200

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING 5/10

Happy in the hands of both armed militia and farmers from the Hunter Valley. One of the most robust off-roaders in the world.

GL hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.4i

$15,990

Front

1025

5.5

1.4/4

70

130

GL Navigator 5dr man 5sp 1.4i

$17,490

Front

1025

5.5

1.4/4

70

130

5/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GLX hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.4i

$21,990

Front

1025

5.5

1.4/4

70

130

5/10

GX 5st 5dr SA 6sp 4.5DTT

$78,165

Four

2635

10.3

4.5/8

195

650

6/10

Sport hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.6i

$24,490

Front

1060

6.1

1.6/4

100

160

8.7

195

7/10

VX 8st 5dr SA 6sp 4.6i

$95,165

Four

2640

13.6

4.6/8

228

439

6/10

Sahara 8st 5dr auto 6sp 4.5DTT

$119,165

Four

2705

10.3

4.5/8

195

650

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i30, Honda Jazz, Mini

PRICE

Also available: VX wagon 8st 5dr SA 4.5DTT $99,990 Sahara wgn 8st 5dr SA 4.6i $113,990 GXL wagon 8st 5dr SA 6sp 4.5DTT/4.6i $88,990/$83,990 GXL 70-Series wagon 5dr man 5sp 4.5DT $62,940

S-CROSS

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Pajero, Land Rover Discovery 4, Volvo XC90

A jacked-up supermini for people whose only off-roading involves mounting kerbs and parking in the supermarket. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GL 2WD man 5sp 1.6i

$22,990

Front

1085

5.8

1.6/4

86

156

–/10

GLX 2WD CVT 1.6i

$29,990

Front

1125

5.8

1.6/4

86

156

–/10

GLX AWD Prestige 1.6i

$34,990

Four

1125

5.8

1.6/4

86

156

–/10

PRICE

Also available: GL 2WD CVT 1.6i $25,490 GLX AWD CVT 1.6i $32,990 Also try: The Swift

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

1 59

SUBARU-TOYOTA

WRX Big dynamic improvements, impressive standard spec, and sharp price offset by slower acceleration, and brakes that still need work.


TOYOTA-VOLKSWAGEN

PRIUS

FJ CRUISER

The iconic hybrid is now more gadgety than ever. Clever, clean and economical, but about as fun as pneumonia.

Say hello to Toyota’s left hook in its growing brand renaissance: a funky-retro scrub basher, street trawler and beach cruiser.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$33,990

Front

1365

3.9

1.8/4

73

142

10.4

6/10

Liftback 5dr CVT 1.8i/60kW(Navi) $44,990

Front

1365

3.9

1.8/4

73

142

10.4

6/10

i-Tech Liftback 5dr CVT 1.8i/60kW $45,990

Front

1420

3.9

1.8/4

73

142

10.4

6/10

PRICE Liftback 5dr CVT 1.8i/60kW

Also available: Prius C 5dr CVT 1.5i/54kW $23,990 Prius C i-Tech 5dr CVT 1.5i/54kW $26,990 Prius V 5dr CVT 1.8i/100kW $35,990 Prius V-iTech 5dr CVT 1.8i/100kW $46,490

PRICE Wagon 5dr auto 5sp 4.0i

$47,990

The original people hauler (not counting the Euro-only Renault Espace) charges into its third decade of production. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GLi 8st 4dr SA 4sp 2.4i

$48,990

Front

1795

9.5

2.4/4

125

224

5/10

GLX 7st 4dr SA 4sp 2.4i

$51,990

Front

1725

9.5

2.4/4

125

224

5/10

Ultima 7st 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i

$71,665

Front

1930

10.3

3.5/6

202

340

5/10

Also available: GLi wagon 8st 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i $53,990 GLX wagon 7st 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i $59,408

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Sportivo SX6 sedan SA 6sp 3.5i

$40,990

Presara sedan SA 6sp 3.5i

$49,990

RATING

6/10

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Ascent hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.8i

$19,990

Front

1275

7.1

1.8/4

103

173

8/10

Levin SX hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.8i

$23,990

Front

1275

7.1

1.8/4

103

173

8/10

Levin ZR hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.8i

$28,490

Front

1275

7.1

1.8/4

103

173

8/10

Also available: Ascent Sport hatchback /sedan5dr man 6sp 1.8i $20,990 Ascent sedan 4dr man 6sp 1.8i $20,990 Conquest hatch/sedan 4dr man 6sp 1.8i $24,490 Ultima sedan 4dr auto 4sp 2.0i $31,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus, VW Golf, Mazda3

RUKUS DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Build 1 hatch 5dr auto 4sp 2.4i

$27,990

Front

1390

8.8

2.4/4

123

224

6/10

Build 2 hatch 5dr auto 4sp 2.4i

$30,490

Front

1390

8.8

2.4/4

123

224

6/10

Build 3 hatch 5dr auto 4sp 2.4i

$33,490

Front

1390

8.8

2.4/4

123

224

6/10

PRICE

Front

MAX

4.0/6

COROLLA

AURION The Aurion is a large appliance for commuting... and not much else. Definitely a fleet car. $36,490

0-100

380

11.4

The product of a Corolla, Camry, and what appears to be an Electrolux fridge. Polarising looks, but that’s a good thing from play-it-safe Toyota.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Odyssey, Hyundai iMax

AT-X sedan SA 6sp 3.5i

NM

200

2000

Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Jeep Wrangler, Range Rover Evoque

PRICE

TARAGO

PRICE

KW

Four

The new Corolla is cheaper, nicer to drive and possibly the most exciting yet thanks to an injection of 86 DNA.

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Honda Insight

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

1525

9.3

3.5/6

200

336

7.4

6/10

Front

1555

9.3

3.5/6

200

336

7.4

6/10

Front

1550

9.3

3.5/6

200

336

7.4

6/10

Also available: SE sedan 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i $38,990 Sportivo ZR6 sedan 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i $47,990 Prodigy sedan 4dr SA 6sp 3.5i $41,490

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Kia Soul

VOLKSSWAGEN

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon

CAMRY

PASSAT

The ubiquitous point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ car for over 30 years. But it’s so booooooooooooring.

A politician would probably call it ‘fit for purpose’. It’s genuinely good at all the stuff it’s supposed to be good at, especially as a wagon.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Altise sedan auto 6sp 2.5i

$30,490

Front

1465

7.8

2.5/4

133

231

9.3

5/10

118TSI sedan DSG 7sp 1.8T

$38,990

Front

1482

7.2

1.8/4

118

250

8.5

7/10

Atara S sedan auto 6sp 2.5i

$33,490

Front

1505

7.8

2.5/4

135

235

9.3

6/10

130TDI sedan DSG 6sp 2.0DT

$44,490

Front

1580

5.6

2.0/4

120

380

8.6

7/10

Best! Atara SX auto 6sp 2.5i

$36,490

Front

1505

7.8

2.5/4

135

235

9.3

6/10

V6 Highline sedan DSG 6sp 3.2i

$57,490

Four

1679

9.7

3.2/6

220

350

5.5

6/10

PRICE

PRICE

Also available: CC 130TDI coupe 4dr DSG 6sp 2.0DT $55,990 CC V6 FSI coupe 4dr DSG 6sp 4-Motion 3.6i $65,990 Wagon variants +$2000 Alltrack wagon 6sp 2.0DT $48,290

Also available: Atara SL sedan 4dr auto 6sp 2.5i $39,990 Hybrid sedan 4dr CVT 1sp 2.4i/105kW $34,990 Hybrid Lux. sedan 4dr CVT 1sp 2.4i/105kW $41,490

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord Euro, Mazda6

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Valium, a glass of warm milk, NyQuil

HILUX

GOLF

Gruff, tough, unbreakable tradie favourite continues its staid tradition of being the first choice around the world for reliability in the rough stuff.

Probably all the car you’ll ever need in the real world. Plays things straighter than ever, but always with a touch of class.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Workmate man 5sp 2.7i

$18,990

Rear

11

2.7/4

116

240

6/10

90TSI hatch 5dr man 6sp 1.4T

$21,490

Front

1209

5.7

1.4/4

90

200

9.3

7/10

SR Extra Cab man 5sp 3.0DT

$47,490

Four

9.3

3.0/4

126

343

6/10

103TSI Highline 5dr DSG 1.4T

$32,290

Front

1265

5.2

1.4/4

103

250

8.4

7/10

SR5 Extra Cab man 5sp 3.0DT

$51,740

Four

9.3

3.0/4

126

343

6/10

110TDI Highline 5dr DSG 2.0DT

$34,790

Front

1326

4.9

2.0/4

110

320

8.6

8/10

PRICE

Also available: Workmate Single Cab 4WD man 3.0DT $24,490 SR 3.0DT 4x2 Single/Extra Cab $27,990/$33,990 SR Single Cab 4WD auto/man 3.0DT $38,240/35,490 SR Extra Cab 4WD man 3.0DT $40,990 SR Extra Cab 4.0i auto $38,490 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (4x4 models) Also try: Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Ford Focus, Honda Civic

If a large SUV can ever be inoffensive, this is it. Shares much with an Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, except the price... and image.

Slightly larger and more expensive than a RAV4; slightly smaller and less expensive than a Prado. Market saturation? Check. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Also available: 90TSI Comfortline man/auto $25,490/$27,990 GTI 6sp man/6sp DSG $41,990/44,490

TOUAREG

KLUGER PRICE

PRICE

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

150TDI 5dr SA 8sp 3.0DT

$63,990

Four

2154

7.2

3.0/6

150

400

9.0

6/10

V6 TDI 5dr SA 8sp 3.0DTT

$77,990

Four

2159

7.4

3.0/6

180

550

7.8

7/10

GX 5dr SA 5sp 3.5i

$40,990

Front

1935

10.2

3.5/6

201

337

8

6/10

GX 5dr SA 5sp 3.5i

$44,990

AWD

2005

10.6

3.5/6

201

337

8

6/10

Also available: V6TDI 4XMotion wagon 5dr SA 8sp 3.0DTT $82,990 V8 TDI R-Line wagon 5dr SA 8sp 4.2DT $112,990

GXL 5dr 7st SA 5sp 3.5i

$49,990

Front

1950

10.2

3.5/6

201

337

8.2

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mercedes ML, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, BMW X5

GXL 5dr 7st SA 5sp 3.5i

$53,990

AWD

2020

10.6

3.5/6

201

337

8.2

6/10

Grande 5dr 7st SA 5sp 3.5i

$63,520

Front

1990

10.4

3.5/6

201

337

8.2

6/10

Grande 5dr 7st SA 5sp 3.5i

$67,520

AWD

2060

10.6

3.5/6

201

337

8.2

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Challenger, Ford Territory, Kia Sportage/Sorento

TIGUAN A baby SUV that’s more of a family car than a rough ’n’ tough offroader. Destined for the school run, and why not? DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

118TSI 5dr man 6sp 1.4TSI

$28,990

Front

1493

6.9

1.4/4

118

240

8.9

7/10

103TDI 5dr man 6sp 2.0DT

$39,990

Four

1620

6.2

2.0/4

103

320

10.2

7/10

155TSI 5dr DSG 7sp 2.0T

$44,990

Four

1642

8.8

2.0/4

155

280

7.3

7/10

PRICE

PRADO Predictably, it’s bigger than a Kluger but smaller than a LandCruiser. Well then, who saw that coming? PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

GX 5st 5dr man 6sp 3.0DT

$55,990

Four

2195

8.8

3.0/4

127

410

5/10

VX 7st 5dr SA 5sp 4.0i

$77,520

Four

2250

11.5

4.0/6

202

381

5/10

Kakadu 7st 5dr SA 5sp 4.0i

$91,120

Four

2340

11.5

4.0/6

202

381

5/10

Also available: 132TSI Pacific 5dr 2.0TSI man 6sp/SA 6sp $34,490/$36,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail

Also available: GXL man/SA 3.0DT $61,290/$64,290 GXL SA 4.0i $62,720 VX SA 3.0DT $78,520 Kakadu SA 3.0DT $92,120 GX 7 SA 3.0DT man/SA $55,990/$61,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mitsubishi Pajero, Land Rover Discovery

FOR M OR E R E V IE W S , R O A D T E S T S , V ID E O S A ND F IRS T D RIV E S, G O T O T OP GE A R .COM /AU


V40 The Swedes have decided to take on the Germans in the premium hatch market – and it seems they’ve done so quite convincingly.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

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RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$32,590

Rear

1861

7.4

2.0/4

90

340

5/10

D2 Kinetic wagon 6sp 1.6D

$36,990

Front

1402

4.2

1.6/4

84

270

12.1

190

7/10

Trendline dual cab man 6sp 2.0DT $45,990

Four

2020

7.9

2.0/4

120

400

6/10

D4 Kinetic wagon 6sp 2.0D

$42,490

Front

1508

5.3

2.0/5

130

400

8.3

215

7/10

Ultimate dual cab man 6sp 2.0DT $59,990

Four

2098

7.9

2.0/4

120

400

7/10

T4 Kinetic wagon 6sp 2.0T

$41,990

Front

1462

7.6

2.0/5

132

300

7.9

220

7/10

T5 R-Design wagon 6sp 2.5T

$49,990

Front

1468

8.1

2.5/5

187

360

6.1

250

7/10

PRICE Dual cab man 6sp 2.0DT

Also available: Highline dual cab 4dr man 6sp 2.0DT $50,990 Dual cab 4dr man 6sp 4Motion 2.0DT $42,990 Cab chassis models

Also available: D4 Kinetic (M) 5dr 6sp 2.0D $40,490; D4 Luxury 5dr 6sp 2.0D $45,990; T4 Luxury 5dr 6sp 2.0T $45,990

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max, Holden Colorado, Mitusbishi Triton, Nissan Navara

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, VW Golf, Mercedes A-Class

EOS

V40 CROSS COUNTRY

Not long for the world, so if you want topless German fun, you’d better be quick. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

103 TDI conv. 2dr DSG 2.0DT

$49,990

Front

1596

5.9

2.0/4

103

320

10.3

5/10

155 TSI conv. 2dr DSG 2.0TSI

$51,990

Front

1551

7.7

2.4/4

155

280

7.8

5/10

PRICE

RATING

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mazda MX-5

Volvo likes the XC formula so much, it’s applying it to almost every model in the range. This one’s for compact outdoor types. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

D4 Luxury wagon 6sp 2.0D

$47,990

Front

1561

5.3

2.0/5

130

400

5.3

210

7/10

T5 Luxury wagon 6sp 2.5T

$52,990

Four

1588

8.4

2.5/5

187

360

8.4

210

7/10

PRICE

Also available:

POLO

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

It’s the Golf’s Mini-Me – safe and solid, and peppier than you might think. A handy all-rounder for city folk. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

V60

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

$16,290

Front

1033

6.1

1.4/4

63

132

12.1

8/10

81TSI Comfortline man 5sp 1.2T $18,290

Front

1048

5.5

1.2/4

77

175

9.7

8/10

$27,490

Front

1234

6.1

1.8/4

141

320

6.7

220

8/10

Trendline hatch 3dr man 5sp 1.4i

PRICE

Take S60, add wagon rear end. So it’s all the perks of the sedan version with a bit more space in the back. T’riffic! DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

D4 Kinetic wagon 8sp 2.0D

$57,890

Front

1663

4.5

2.0/4

133

400

7.6

225

7/10

Also available:

T5 Kinetic wagon 8p 2.0T

$55,890

Front

1649

6.8

2.0/4

180

350

6.4

230

7/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5dr) Also try: Ford Fiesta

T6 R-Design wagon 6sp 3.0T

$72,990

Four

1747

10.3

3.0/6

242

480

5.8

250

7/10

GTI hatch 5dr 6sp man

Also available: D4 Luxury 5dr 8sp 2.0D $62,890; T5 Luxury/T5 R-Design 5dr 8sp 2.0T $60,890/$64,890

SCIROCCO

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class wagons

Imagine a Golf GTI. Now imagine it has a sexier, more athletic cousin. You’ve imagined the Scirocco. Possibly the most complete car you can buy. PRICE R coupe 3dr man 6sp 2.0T

PRICE

$47,990

S80

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

188

330

6.2

9/10

1351

8.1

2.0/4

A posh sedan for people who don’t want to buy German. It’s comfy and well-finished, but zero fun.

Also try: RenaultSport Megane , VW Golf R

PRICE T6 Luxury sedan 6sp 3.0T

JETTA

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Four

224

440

6.4

250

5/10

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

169

320

8

235

6/10

1786

10.0

3.0/6

C70

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

118 TSI sedan man 6sp 1.4T

$24,990

Front

1317

6.5

1.4/4

118

240

8.3

6/10

118 TSI Highline sedan DSG 2.0T

$33,290

Front

1337

7.9

2.0/4

118

240

8.3

6/10

Also available: 118 TSI Comfortline sedan 4dr DSG 7sp 1.4T $29,240 103 TDI Highline sedan 4dr DSG 6sp 2.0DT $35,790

Coupe-convertible with clever three-piece roof. Optimum speed is ‘going very slowly’, but at least it looks all right. PRICE T5 S convertible 6sp 2.5T

$61,990

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE Front

1679

9.8

2.5/5

Also try: Audi A4 Cabrio, BMW 3 Series convertible

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Suzuki Kizashi, Mazda3

XC60

UP

Small SUV stuffed with health and safety kit. In fact, it should probably come in fluoro yellow, with a loud hailer and whiney voice as standard.

Finally, a city car that you’d want to own. Neat styling, refined engine and packaging to shame IKEA’s finest. The Up is a car we like. A lot. PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

Also try: Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series

Basically a Golf with a boot, so it’s eminently reliable and practical. With the 2.0T from the MkV Golf GTi, it’s plenty quick enough, too. PRICE

$84,990

PRICE

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

D4 Kinetic wagon 8sp 2.0D

$59,890

Front

1748

4.9

2.0/4

133

400

10.3

195

6/10

Hatch 3dr man 5sp 1.0i

$13,990

Front

880

8.8

1.0/3

55

95

13.2

173

8/10

D5 Luxury wagon 6sp 2.5D

$69,990

Four

1819

6.9

2.5/5

158

440

8.3

205

6/10

Hatch 5dr man 5sp 1.0i

$14,990

Front

880

8.8

1.0/3

55

95

13.2

173

8/10

T5 Kinetic wagon 8sp 2.0D

$57,890

Front

1766

8.7

2.0/4

180

350

7

210

6/10

T6 Luxury wagon 6sp 3.0T

$74,990

Four

1846

10.5

3.0/6

224

440

6.9

210

6/10

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Nissan Micra, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz

Also available: D4 Luxury 5dr 8sp 2.0D $64,890; D5 R-Design 5dr 6sp 2.5D $73,990 (D5 R-Design is 169kW/470Nm); T5 Luxury 5dr 8sp 2.0T $62,890; T6 R-Design 5dr 6sp 3.0T $78,990

BEETLE A sportier Beetle? Does that make this a Cockroach? Never mind, the retro VW now has driver appeal to go with its designer bodywork. PRICE Beetle man 6sp 1.4TS

$30,290

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Land Rover Freelander, BMW X3, Audi Q5

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

Front

118

240

8.3

7/10

1292

6.8

1.4/4

ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Mini, Fiat 500, Hyundai Veloster, VW Golf

XC70 Close your eyes and think of a Volvo. This is what pops into your mind – the 21st century incarnation of the classic, practical, big wagon. DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

D5 Kinetic wagon 6sp 2.5D

$59,990

Four

1890

6.9

2.5/5

158

440

6.9

205

5/10

T6 Luxury wagon 6sp 3.0T

$69,990

Four

1870

10.2

3.0/6

224

440

7.4

210

5/10

PRICE

VOLVVO

Also available: D5 Luxury 5dr 6sp 2.5D $64,990 Also try: Subaru Outback, VW Passat Alltrack

S60

XC90

Sleekly-styled sedan loaded with safety features, like a radar that detects wayward pedestrians, then brakes for you.

The new one – which is great – is due to drop in the next few months. But the outgoing model is a good all-rounder as well.

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

DRIVE WEIGHT L/100km ENGINE

KW

NM

0-100

MAX

RATING

T4 Kinetic sedan 6sp 1.6T

$49,990

Front

1495

7.4

1.6/4

132

240

9.0

225

7/10

3.2 R-Design wagon 6sp 3.2

$69,990

Four

2184

11.5

3.2/6

179

320

9.5

6/10

D4 Kinetic sedan 8sp 2.0D

$56,890

Front

1614

4.2

2.0/4

133

400

7.4

230

7/10

D5 R-Design wagon 6sp 2.5D

$73,490

Four

2125

8.8

2.5/5

155

460

9.9

7/10

T5 Luxury sedan 8sp 2.0T

$59,890

Front

1602

6.4

2.0/4

177

320

6.3

230

8/10

Also available: Executive +$3,500. D5 Executive is 147kW/420Nm, 0-100km/h in 10.3secs ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery 4, Mercedes ML

PRICE

T6 R-Design sedan 6sp 3.0T

$71,990

Four

1684

10.2

3.0/6

242

480

5.7

250

8/10

Polestar sedan 6sp 3.0T

$99,950

Four

1684

10.2

3.0/6

257

500

3.9

250

8/10

PRICE

Also available: T4 Luxury 4dr 6sp 1.6T $54,990; D4 Luxury 4dr 6sp 2.0D $60,990; T5 R-Design 4dr 6sp 2.0T $58,990 ANCAP ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Also try: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class

TOPGEAR.COM



J U LY 2 0 1 5

161

VOLKSWAGEN-VOLVO

AMAROK Vee-Dub’s new Amarok delivers a swift and powerful kick to the goolies of the established Japanese ute manufacturers.


PETER J FOXX / GETTY

TV

+ Watch Mad Max Verstappen get up close and a bit too personal with the Monaco barriers

WHO MAX VERSTAPPEN WHERE MONACO WHEN MAY 24, 2015

For info on how to use viewa, turn to page 8

CRASH TV / EXTRAS

Young gun has some fun

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE... 9

HE’S QUICK AND CONFIDENT, BUT F1’S YOUNGEST EVER RACER MADE A BIG MISTAKE IN MONACO pparently young gun Max Verstappen, and his former F1 star dad Jos were camping out on a yacht named ‘Double Dutch’ at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. And the teenage sensation would have been making an early bee-line for it after his frightening shunt on lap 64 of this year’s race around the port. Lining up to pass Lotus driver Romain Grosjean for 10th position on the way into Sainte Devote, Verstappen mistimed his move and clipped the Frenchman’s right rear tyre just after the start-finish line, instantly breaking the left front corner off his Toro Rosso. What followed was a high-speed, brakeless headbutt into the barriers on the outside of the corner. Thankfully he was able to unbuckle himself and walk away uninjured. Several drivers including Grosjean and Felipe Massa have had a crack at Verstappen

A

junior over the incident, with veteran and 2009 champion Jenson Button chipping in after young Max allegedly suggested Grosjean had intentionally ‘brake tested’ him in the lead up to their contact. The race stewards didn’t agree with the 17-year-old’s assessment, sticking two penalty points on his superlicence, and slapping him with a five-place grid penalty for the subsequent Canadian Grand Prix. Speaking about the crash on his website (verstappen.nl) F1’s youngest ever driver said, “Without a doubt it was my biggest crash. The impact was 30g. You just see the barrier come towards you and d you’re thinking ‘I really have to brace myself’. You know you’re re about to crash. But that crash is behind me now. There’s nothing ng I can change and everything iss said and done.”

VERDICT There may never be a Formula One driver younger than this kid, and you’d be ha hard rd pressed to find a more aggressive racer. Score one for teenage exuberance ce

16 2

J U LY 2 0 1 5 

TOPGEAR.COM

9

Red Bull Ring, Austria Jorg Viebahn (Aston) and Rosen sen Daskalov (Sin R1) won’t be exchanging Chrissie cards after their cars touched and slid towards the barriers near the finish of a GT4 Euro round. The subsequent crash is explosive…

8 IIndianapolis, Indiana P Practice and qualifying for this year’s IIndy 500 was more like flight training, with many drivers rotating for take-off. w Three time winner Helio Castroneves, T flew high in his Penske Chevy after a fl miscue and 180-degree slide. m


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