Reviews

Ford Fiesta ST Review

– Editor : Jason “The Bok” – Date: 05 Jun 2015

Over the past couple of days I have been exploring the mother city in Ford’s Fiesta ST. From the minute I caught my first glimpse of this smoking hot hatch, I realised that I was in for a pretty unforgettable experience.

Fiesta ST - 9From the outside, you are struck with a vehicle resembling a very practical and responsible hatch back, but gaze a little longer, and you quickly take note of its “honey comb” ST grill, and bold red ST boot badge as well as its racing spoiler. From this point you quickly realise that with Ford’s heritage of motorsport and rally sport racing, the Fiesta ST is way more than another little hatch. For those of you with further memories of the golden Ford days of rallying, you will have recollections of the RS200 Cosworth, and it is when this connection is made, you realise just how special the Fiesta ST really is. This vehicle is light, nimble and a handful of fun.

Fiesta ST - 3When you grab hold of the keys to the Fiesta ST, you virtually forget you have them, as the entire vehicle is operated via full keyless entry and go. Simply leaving the keys in your pocket, allows you to push on the door handle, unlock the vehicle, and once inside proceed to start the engine and take off.

Fiesta ST - JMIn the cabin, you get a full array of media features offered through the vehicles Sony branded front loading CD player, which also features Bluetooth telephony, an auxiliary jack, and even space for your own expandable media thumb drive, this all coupled with the vehicles easy to understand large display, makes toggling through your media a breeze. With enough buttons on the control module to launch a rocket, you quickly learn how easy to operate everything is.

Fiesta ST - 15When you sit back, into what begs to be called a racing cabin, secured snuggly in Recaro racing seats, and which I might add are the most comfortable racing buckets I have ever sat it. Nestled comfortably behind the ST perforated steering wheel you can from this point begin to throw the vehicle around corners.

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With its lively steering, every corner and bump in the road can be felt, and you immediately are aware, that you had better be alert, as all this power in a vehicle which weighs a mere 1100kg curb weight can quickly land you in hot water, if you’re not careful.

Fiesta ST - 8The vehicle features a 1.6 litre turbo Ecoboost engine which chucks out a very capable 134kw of power and 240Nm of torque. Taking off, you are immediately immersed in the euphoria of its throaty engine rumble. Bury your foot slightly further on the pedal, as soon as you stray over the 2500 rev range, you are knocked by a sledge hammer of power, which will propel you from 0 – 100 Km/h in a just 6.9secs.

Fiesta ST - 6With its R275,000 price tag, this hot hatch is considerably cheaper than its competition. Couple the entire package with its stylish looks, boy-racer feel and the big smile it puts on your face, this is one fantastic package.

 

For more, check out my Video review:

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 Mini Cooper S – iStore Instameet2015

– Editor : Jason “The Bok” – Date: 11 June 2015

Having just spent the day behind the wheel of the epic 2015 Mini Cooper S, its safe for me to say, that this spritely English hatch still feels like a go-kart. Coupling this with using Apple’s iPhone 6 made this a very exciting and memorable day.

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Nothing is better than a car that evokes a sense of being a kid again, and few do it better than Mini. I drove all round Cape Town, and loved the way that the Cooper S hugs all the bends, and keeps you well assured, that no matter how hard you push, it will not let go. 
 
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With its automatic gearbox, you have either the option of a relaxed, no effort auto mode, a choice of changing up or down with the shifter, and finally my choice while driving, its paddles! Not only does it shift well, its turbocharged engine is no slouch either, and this found me blasting up past Table Mountain.
 
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Through my journey I also thoroughly enjoyed the packed picnic basket, and loved the relaxed beach vibe of seeing Hout Bay in the exciting hatch.
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The tech within the vehicle is not bad either. It features full-on keyless go, and when holding onto its lovely round key fob, you step into a world of quality materials, and comfort. The central infotainment display is 6.5″ and displays everything form your media selection, to BMW Connected Drive, which allows Facebook, Twitter and other social media to be displayed on-screen. The infotainment display also features the cars service manual, a very nice little touch, and one which is very convenient.
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 The Specs: 
Output 141 kW @ 4,700 – 6,000 rpm
Max. torque/engine speed 280 Nm @ 1250 rpm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h) 6.8 [6.7] s
Top speed 235 [233] km/h
Flexibility 80-120 km/h (4th/5th gear) / 6.4 s
Fuel consumption (combined) 5.9[5.5] l/100 km
CO2 emissions 138[127] g/km
Unladen weight (EU) 1,160 [1,175] / 1,235 [1,250] kg
Gross vehicle mass (GVM, kg) 1,640 [1,655] kg
Permitted roof load 60 kg
Boot space (min.-max.) 211 litres
Tank capacity 44l
Dimensions LxBxH 3,850 / 1,727 / 1,415 mm
 
On the whole, the Mini Cooper S is a serious performer, and one which I look forward to sharing further in my video review to follow. 
 
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 Jeep Renegade

– Editor : Jason “The Bok” – Date: 21 May 2015

The Jeep Renegade launch event has just taken place (18 May 2015). This exciting little vehicle offers a lot considering its affordable price point.

The renegade is something a little different, and I rather like that. It does not have looks that everyone will instantly fall in love with, but with its cute toy like characteristics, this mini off-roader certainly leaves its mark.

In collaboration with Fiat, the Reneagde is powered by a 1.4T engine, and this is easily enough oomph for this agile little body. Everything looks at little different to the previous Jeep hand writing, and I rather like the fact that this vehicle is not afraid to stand out from the crowd.

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The interior is a spacious place to be. It is well appointed and features the optional “My Sky” removeable roof panels, which allow the maximum amount of light into the cabin, and make it appear even more spacious and air filled. With Jeeps traction management system and short wheel base, this little one is an extremely good climber.

Speedometer cluster with its configurable massive 7 inches is another great feature, and sign of modern motoring to come.

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With its 5-6.5″ display, tech is no problem in this vehicle. It offers Bluetooth, optional satelite radio, and of course the option of fully voice guided sat-nav and your full host of media hosting including DVD, Aux and you name it, the list goes on. It also has a very clever and creative instrument binnacle, which displays info about the vehicle and road driving conditions in an easy to read, and understand centre colour display.

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It also features lane departure warning and blind-spot assist “particularly useful on SA’s taxi congested roads.”

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Rear-view backing up camera with trajectory lines, makes backing up a breeze, this coupled with this easy to manage body, makes for the perfect little package.

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Overall I think that this vehicle, will be a big seller, and appeal to both the younger first time SUV market, as well as being a great affordable little people mover with a good overall offering. I am looking forward to bringing you further details of this vehicle soon.

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Spotlight

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New Mégane Renault Sport 275 Trophy powers into SA

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Flagship model of Mégane R.S. range raises the bar in in terms of design, sporty sophistication and premium performance

  • Maximum output upped to 201kW (275bph) and 360Nm with no compromise on fuel and emission efficiencies
  • CUP chassis with limited slip differential (LSD) delivers unfailing performance
  • Standard Intelligent technology includes S. Monitor 2.0 and R.S. Dynamic Management
  • All-round performance car that combines everyday driveability with top performance on track

The New Mégane Renault Sport 275 Trophy is the second Mégane Renault Sport (R.S,) to be introduced to South African shores in 2015. Following in the footsteps of the Mégane R.S. 265 LUX 2.0 Turbo which motored into Mzansi in February, it succeeds the Mégane R.S. 265 Trophy which debuted in SA in May 2012 and takes up the mantle of flagship of the Mégane Renault Sport range.

A powerful, sporty yet sophisticatedly-styled addition to the highly acclaimed and perennially popular R.S. line-up in South Africa, it boasts a multitude of innovative and intelligent technology features and fitments as standard and is sure to meet – and exceed – the expectations.

Since the launch of Mégane Renault Sport in 2004, Mégane R.S. has set the pace for sports cars and amassed a host of accolades locally and internationally. At the heart of the new flagship Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy are well-proven sporting and technical credentials that have been re-worked, up-scaled and taken to the next level according to Brian Smith, vice president of marketing and communications at Renault South Africa.

“This is an all-round performance car that combines everyday driveability with an even sharper track performance. The CUP chassis fully taps the potential of the F1-inspired upgraded Renault Sport 2.0, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. Premiering on the Megane R.S. 275 Trophy, it has undergone significant fine-tuning and been optimised to produce maximum power of 275 bhp,” says Smith.

With 38 years of Formula 1 expertise under its belt, the RSTs engineering team has successfully transferred its technical know-how to Renault’s production cars. Patrice Ratti, CEO of Renault Sport Technologies explains, however, that when a Mégane R.S. undergoes an upgrade, “our objective is not only to improve the technical specs but also to develop a vehicle that is more distinctive both visually and from a performance perspective. A car that performs even better on the track but which is still suited to everyday motoring.

“Reflecting our approach to motorsports, the R.S. Technologies (RST) team seeks to make progress in every area in order to develop innovative solutions that make our car the market reference and, with its moderate fuel consumption and CO² emissions, New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy is also a car that addresses today’s environmental concerns.”

“Continuing in the tradition of exclusive sports performance cars, RST has allied exceptional dynamic qualities with advanced versatility that provide an even more exhilarating and dynamic edge to this class-leading hatchback. New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy is a vehicle that we believe to be the most accomplished sports hatch currently on the market,” adds Smith.

The New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy Turbo has arrived in SA. May the force be with you!

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SOPHISTICATED YET SPORTY DESIGN

A number of definitive features and fitments underscore New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy’s stand-out design inside and out.

Visible lighting features throughout and includes:

  • LED DRL (day time running lights)
  • Halogen bulb headlights with white reflective inserts
  • Follow-me-home headlights
  • Boot light
  • Front floor and foot well lighting

Exterior

In line with Renault’s bold new design identity, the grille incorporates R.S. badging beneath the distinctive and enlarged Renault logo centrepiece. In the rear, the centre-mounted exhaust with its distinctive Akropovič carbon tailpiece, is a fully integrated part of the diffuser. Like the aerodynamic F1-styled splitter with Trophy lettering in the front bumper, the rear diffuser and lip spoiler are also hallmark features across the R.S. line-up serving as reminders of Renault’s F1 heritage.

Sporty and muscular yet refined, the sleek metallic-coated three-door hatch’s visual signature is further enforced by the F1-styled blade insert in the front bumper as well as by the integrated LED daytime running lights and follow-me-home headlights already mentioned. New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy’s mean machine looks are further enhanced with the fitment of halogen bulb headlights with white reflective inserts, 19” black Trophy aluminium alloys with red Brembo brake callipers, gloss black door mirrors and front- and rear-widened wings. Trophy striping on the rear quarter panels and decals on the front doors complete the look.

Interior

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Upon entry, the Trophy’s uniquely numbered door sill guards catch the eye as do the R.S. aluminium gear lever knob, R.S. aluminium-drilled pedals, carbon-look dashboard moulding incorporating R.S. clusters and logo and the leather-trimmed armrest centre console.

Quality and refinement with Renault Sport’s classic twist is clearly evident throughout. Driver and passengers will enjoy slipping into the Recaro bucket seats trimmed in an Alcantara (suede) and leather combo with distinctive red top-stitching on the upholstery. Both the steering wheel (with centre position stitching) and gear lever are suede-covered while the highly visible safety belts serve as a reminder to strap in. The rear passenger seat is a convenient and practical 1/3 – 2/3 split fold combination.

Creature comforts that come standard include:

  • Two-zone regulated air conditioning
  • Electric folding door mirrors with defrost function; aspherical on driver’s side
  • One-touch windows with anti-trap for driver and passenger
  • Tinted windows (rear windows/quarter panel/ rear screen)
  • Fixed glass roof (optional extra)

ENGINE BOOST DELIVERS POWERFUL PERFORMANCE +

By fine-tuning the exceptionally versatile 2.0 litre, 16-valve, 4 cylinder R.S. 2.0 Turbo petrol engine, the RST engineers sought to increase the peak power torque of 5 500 rpm by working on the electronic control parameters. By raising torque to 349 Nm (+ 10 Nm), the engine was boosted to 275 bhp. Available at between 3 000 and 5 000 rpm, maximum torque of 360 Nm remains unchanged.

“Although the power has been boosted, we have reduced the consumption (thanks to stop/start) to 7.5 l/100 km and CO² emissions of (Euro 5-compliant) 174 g/km,” says David Pomonti, RST’s powertrain engineering manager.

 

MORE THRILLS COURTESY OF CUP CHASSIS

A Cup chassis equipped with a limited slip differential (LSD) and designed for unfailing performance delivers dependable efficiency regardless of grip conditions or driving style. The LSD is combined with an independent steering-axis layout allowing the driver to reap the full benefits of the extra traction for more reassuring handling and increased stability on braking.

New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy’s build structure features front MacPherson-type suspension with pressed aluminium lower wishbone, rear torsion-beam axle and an anti-roll bar (24.2mm diameter).

On its flagship R.S. model, Renault Sport partnered with several leading suppliers that have set the standard in their respective fields. With Akrapovič, a Slovenian company renowned for its work with motorcycles and performance cars, a special titanium exhaust system (with carbon tailpipe trim) was fitted as standard giving the New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy a deeper, more penetrating sound signature, guaranteed to thrill engine aficionados.

 

INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGY DELIVERS CONSUMMATE ON-BOARD EXPERIENCE

Super-smart technology is a New Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy standard and features and fitments afford an optimum driving experience at every turn.

These include:

  • Integrated Carminat TomTom® LIVE Navigation – traffic, weather, places
  • S. Monitor 2.0 (full 3-D Race Telemetry with data download functionality)
  • S. Dynamic Management: Multi-mode ESP featuring Normal, Sport and Race modes
  • S. counter with tachometer and analogue rev counter
  • Tilt + height adjustable steering wheel with electric power steering
  • Renault hands-free key card and remote card for central locking/unlocking of the doors, boot and fuel flap
  • Coded electric immobiliser system
  • Automatic lights and windscreen wipers
  • Rear camera parking assist (optional)
  • Manual parking brake
  • Bluetooth® connectivity which enables safe, convenient and hands-free telephony and music streaming from external devices when on the go
  • Cruise control + speed limiter to ensure a more comfortable and safer drive on highways and open roads, the system electronically maintains a steady speed as set by the driver
  • RadioSat Classic, CD MP3 with USB AUX port plus fingertip controls behind the steering wheel

SAFETY – ACTIVE AND PASSIVE

Renault’s safety stance is world renowned and in line with this, comprehensive passive and active safety features and fitments are standard including:

  • ABS braking coupled with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) which, in the event of loss of vehicle control due to excessive speed or slippery road conditions, helps to get the vehicle under control by reducing engine power and braking on independent wheels
  • Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) anti-skid system
  • CSV understeer control
  • Six (6) airbags (front, side and curtain)
  • Front self-adaptive driver and front passenger airbags
  • Manual unlocking of front passenger airbag
  • Tyre pressure monitor

In addition to driver and passenger seat belts, with the fitment of 3-point safety belts for the three rear passengers, safety for all passengers is assured.

 

SERVICE AND WARRANTY

As is the case across Renault’s entire product range, the New Mégane Renault Sport 275 Trophy 2.0 Turbo comes with Renault’s industry-leading 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty plan. Six-year anti-corrosion warranty and 5-year/90 000km service plans also apply. Service intervals are at 10 000km.

 

RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICING

  • New Mégane Renault Sport 275 2.0 Turbo Trophy    R 449 900.00

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Mazda –  Kodo Soul of Motion

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today announced Mazda’s new design theme,‘KODO – Soul of Motion’, and the design concept model, Mazda SHINARI, a pure expression of this new theme.

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Since launching its first passenger car, the Mazda R360 Coupe, exactly 50 years ago, Mazda has spent many years exploring the concept of ‘motion,’ offering customers designs that are exciting both to view and to drive. In particular, since the launch of the Zoom-Zoom brand message, Mazda has pursued the concept of more athletic and sporty motion, and has adopted dynamic designs for all Mazda models starting with the Mazda6 and followed by the RX-8 and the Mazda2. In recent years, this motion-based design has been further extended to incorporate the theme of ‘motion inspired by nature’, embodied in the Mazda NAGARE concept car series and the all-new Mazda5.

Ikuo Maeda, the head of Mazda’s Design Division, explains the new design theme in this way: “In our work to further evolve the expression of motion, Mazda Design has focused on the strength, beauty and tension found in the instantaneous movement seen in animals. This motion that is so full of vitality that it stirs the emotions of those who see it. We have named it ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’, and our aim is to express movement with forceful vitality and speed as the design theme for Mazda’s upcoming models.”

Maeda continues, “Mazda’s four design studios located in Japan (Hiroshima and Yokohama), Europe (Frankfurt, Germany), and North America (Irvine, California) are currently combining to take up the challenge to achieve a breakthrough in the expression of motion in car design, and incorporate this expression into our future products.”

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Mazda SHINARI

Mazda SHINARI is a 4-door, 4-seat, sports coupe and a pure expression of the new design theme, ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’, in its idealized form. Mazda SHINARI showcases several new design elements that will carry forward into production, and represents the first initiative by Mazda Design to express ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’.

The Japanese word shinari describes the powerful yet supple appearance of great resilient force when objects of high tensile strength, such as steel or bamboo, are twisted or bent. It also refers to the appearance of a person or animal as it flexes its body in preparation for a fast movement, and it is these images that form the basis for the name of this concept car.

With images of strength flowing across every panel and part, the Mazda SHINARI looks ready to leap at any second. This form incorporates the expression of a strong backbone running through the body, the sudden release of pent-up energy, and the interplay of beautiful, supple movements. The distinctive front fenders represent the further evolution of the prominent fenders introduced on the RX-8. They highlight the dynamic movement expressed in the sides of SHINARI, in a style that is both sporty and elegant. Together with the further three-dimensional sculpting of the front grille, the design proudly emphasizes the Mazda lineage. There is a powerful line of movement originating at the grille and continuing through the bonnet, fender, front lamp modules and bumper. Finally, an aluminum floating bar linking the grille with the headlights enhances the three-dimensional expression of speed.

In the interior, Mazda Design has created the ‘ultimate athletic space’ focused on linking ergonomics with basic mechanical functions. We have designed the optimum space for both the driver cockpit, to enable the driver to focus on the task of driving, as well as the passenger environment, offering a sense of openness. In this model, Mazda offers new ideas for the human-machine interface in cockpit design, enabling the driver to switch at will between three modes: Business, Pleasure and Sport, to enjoy driving in line with the situation at the time.

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Mazda SHINARI, the first of Mazda’s concept cars to embody the design theme ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’

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Jeep Renegade

Small, inexpensive and toy like characteristics. That about sums this up. Starting from just R375,000

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Audi A1

Great design, stylish cute looks and true European styling and heritage.

 
 
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“The idea behind the A1 is simple. Essentially, it takes the high-quality interior and prestige Audi badge and couples the two beautifully for a great little city slicker.”
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Ford Fusion 

The 2015 Ford Fusion offers an excellent blend of top-notch safety, solid fuel economy, and stunning good looks, It also stays ahead of the game with high-end tech which rivals even the highest end of its competitors.

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VW UP

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The Volkswagen Up is a funky-looking city car, which is economical, spacious and good to drive. Basically a chic and trendy little city mover

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Jaguar XJL

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The smooth and quiet 2015 Jaguar XJL makes driver and passenger comfort its top priority. This luxury sedan and its tech may be aging, but they’re doing so gracefully
 
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BMW i8
 
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The BMW i8 is ready to revolutionise its vehicle class. As the first sports car with the consumption and emission values of a compact car. The strength of the plug-in hybrid lies, among other factors, in the perfect synchronisation of electric motor and combustion engine, which makes itself apparent in maximum efficiency and dynamics on the road. The first sports car that even accelerates the zeitgeist.
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RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR NOW ON SALE IN SOUTH AFRICA

  • Most powerful Range Rover now available in South Africa
  • Revised chassis and high performance tyres for exhilarating dynamics, with active exhaust for sporty V8 soundtrack
  • Retains Range Rover’s class-leading all-terrain capability

 

Pretoria, 25 May 2014 – Range Rover’s fastest and most powerful model yet, the Range Rover Sport SVR, is now available in South African showrooms. The first model to wear the SVR badge – destined for all future high-performance Jaguar and Land Rover models – made its local debut at the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, in May. Its impressive acceleration and thrilling V8 soundtrack wowed crowds, who were some of the first to witness its capabilities.

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The Range Rover Sport SVR accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 4.5 seconds, and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 260km/h. Last year it also lapped the world-famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, in Germany, where it set a lap time of 8 minutes 14 seconds on the 20.8-kilometre-long circuit. This is one of the fastest times ever recorded by a production SUV and underlines its performance credentials.

The SVR’s range-topping 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine has been developed to produce 405kW and 680Nm – substantial 29kW and 56Nm increases over the current range-topping V8 model – without compromising fuel economy. And its advanced ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive chassis have been optimised to complement its astonishing performance, whatever the weather.

In a world first for the brand, the Range Rover Sport SVR is equipped with a two-stage active exhaust featuring electronically controlled valves. The system optimises sound quality, performance and aesthetics and provides a racecar-inspired soundtrack at higher engine revs without adversely affecting refinement during steady-state driving.

Exterior design enhancements ensure the SVR makes a striking visual impact, while simultaneously boosting cooling and aerodynamic efficiencies. As standard, new 21-inch alloy wheels with 275/45 R21 all-season tyres offer unparalleled all-terrain capability. A bespoke interior featuring unique sports seats provides further visual differentiation and ensures occupants are held securely in place.

John Edwards, Managing Director of Land Rover’s Special Operations, said: “The Range Rover Sport SVR is a natural progression beyond the core vehicle’s outstanding on- and off-road capabilities and leading-edge design. Its exhilarating performance will satisfy a particularly demanding customer set.

“A thorough range of revisions specially developed by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations combine to make this premium derivative even more distinctive both inside and out, as well as taking its dynamic capabilities to the next level without impacting on comfort, refinement or all-terrain versatility. The Range Rover Sport SVR is truly the world’s most capable performance SUV.”

The Range Rover Sport SVR builds on the success of the new Range Rover Sport, with its all-aluminium monocoque – a world first in the segment – which reduces weight by 39% compared with its predecessor and provides the ideal strong, stiff and lightweight structure on which to create the Range Rover Sport SVR. The premium sports SUV unleashes the full potential of the lightweight and robust all-aluminium architecture, while retaining the refinement, luxury and off-road capability for which Range Rover is world-renowned.

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SVR is fitted with permanent four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer case, with a low-range option for demanding terrain, and a 50/50 per cent torque split, front-to-rear. The upgraded air suspension system automatically varies between two ride heights, and the next generation of the groundbreaking Terrain Response® 2 system automatically selects the most suitable terrain programme.

The Range Rover Sport SVR’s lightweight aluminium suspension is fully independent, with wide-spaced double-wishbones at the front and an advanced multi-link layout at the rear. Wheel travel is class-leading (260mm front and 272mm rear) and provides exceptional wheel articulation of 546mm to deal with the toughest conditions.

Wade Sensing™, introduced on the Range Rover Sport, also features on the SVR as an option. This innovative technology provides ‘depth’ information when driving through water, and in line with the mainstream Sport, the vehicle can wade up to 850mm.  It also has towing capability up to 3 000kg.

The Range Rover Sport SVR has been created by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team and all SVR models need to meet key performance criteria to wear the SVR badge. Range Rover Sport SVRs will be built alongside their mainstream sibling models in existing production facilities.

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Range Rover Sport SVR – designed, engineered and built in Britain – amplifies the engineering integrity, robustness and attention to detail that are Land Rover hallmarks.

 

Recommended Retail Pricing:

R1 865 200 (incl. VAT; excl. CO2 taxes of R20 725).

CO2 emissions: 322g/km.

Fuel economy: 20.6 litres/100km (urban); 9.9 litres/100km (extra urban); 13.8 litres/100km (combined).

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 The all new Citroën C4 Cactus

Innovation that makes sense

Innovation is at the very core of the new Citroën C4 Cactus. The striking design exudes a purity of purpose with smooth, wind-cheating surfaces, and powerful, graphic lines and elements.

The rounded front, with its high-mounted LED daytime running light strips and deep-set main light clusters, provides a bold introduction to a bold design, while the flanks feature one of the Cactus’ key innovations: the Airbump® – a pliable protective panel that protects while adding compelling visual interest.

The Airbump® is made of supple thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and encompasses air-filled cells that absorb small impacts. The Airbump® panels are fitted in black as standard, but can be optionally ordered in different colours, including Grey, Dune and Chocolate.

The C4 Cactus is also the first to feature a roof-mounted airbag for the front passenger in the interests of creating more space without compromising safety, while intelligent packaging links compact dimensions to expansive interior accommodation.

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Striking design

Prominent roof racks, eye-catching wheel designs, and a short rear overhang anchored to a bold, geometric C-pillar are further core aesthetic elements, while contrasting cladding at the rear adds to the functional appeal of the C4 Cactus.

The newcomer’s proportions reflect the careful design of the new C4 Cactus: at 4,16 m long and 1,73 m, the car is compact and wieldy, but the 2,6 m wheelbase ensures ample interior space, and also places the wheels at the corners of the car.

The one-third glazed area and two-thirds occupied by the side panel expresses the newcomer’s visual muscle, while the relatively low height of 1,48 m suggests keen aerodynamics.

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Spacious, feel-good interior

Practicality and design continue a symbiotic relationship inside the C4 Cactus, where an airy, spacious cabin hosts a fully digital interface that is as intuitive to use as it is attractive. At the core of this arrangement is a large, seven-inch (17,8 cm) full-colour touchscreen, augmented by a digital instrument display ahead of the driver.

The expansive dashboard creates an uncluttered surface that adds to the cabin’s expansive ambience. Uniquely, the front passenger airbag is located in the roof to created more space and storage for front occupants.

Seating in front is via generously proportioned, individually adjustable seats, with a wide rear bench seat further enhancing the C4 Cactus cabin’s overriding sense of space and comfort.

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Generous equipment levels

Specification levels are generous across the entire C4 Cactus range. Two levels of equipment – Feel and Shine – are offered for the South African market, but even the more affordable Feel version benefits from an extensive list of standard equipment.

That list includes air-conditioning, a four-speaker audio system with tuner and MP3 playback, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and audio streaming, cruise control with speed limiter, electrically operated front windows and exterior mirrors, and a multifunction steering wheel.

The Shine versions get even more, including climate control, integrated satellite navigation, a reverse camera, enhanced audio system, auto-activating headlights and windscreen wipers, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, interior mood lighting, and more.

Efficiency in focus

The C4 Cactus continues its theme of innovation under the skin, with efficiency an overriding priority. An optimised platform benefiting from careful weight reduction, and the use of new-generation engines, allowed the C4 Cactus development team to shave off 200 kg from the kerb weight, compared to the C4 hatchback.

As a result, the C4 Cactus boasts a trim kerb weight of just 965 kg for the PureTech 60 kW Feel model. The Feel and Shine versions powered by the PureTech 1.2 e-THP engines are only slightly heavier at just 1 020 kg.

The drivetrain options comprise a choice of two new-generation, high-efficiency PureTech three-cylinder petrol engines. The advanced power units are compact and lightweight, contributing to the C4 Cactus’ reduced mass and impressive efficiency.

Extensive safety

The new C4 Cactus extends its innovation to its comprehensive safety equipment array. Passive measures include six airbags – front driver, roof-mounted front passenger, as well as dual side and dual curtain airbags.

The roof-mounted front passenger airbag is a world first, and allows more space and storage for front occupants without compromising safety.

Active safety systems standard across the C4 Cactus range include ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency braking assistance (EBA), electronic stability control (ESC), while the 81 kW Feel and Shine models add Hill Assist to the list.

Tyre pressure monitoring, a full-size spare wheel, Isofix child seat tethers, electronic child locks, a transponder immobiliser, remote central locking and front seat belt pre-tensioners are all included on all C4 Cactus models.

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A global award winner

The innovation, efficiency, versatility and overall excellence of the new Citroën C4 Cactus has already won the newcomer a raft of wards internationally. These include Car of the Year awards in Croatia, Finland and Denmark, while the two-million members of Austria’s OAMTC automobile club voted the C4 Cactus as their favourite car.

The C4 Cactus was also crowned Car of the Year and MPV of the Year in Spain, while it received the Small Hatchback of the Year title in the UK, and Golden Steering Wheel awards in Bulgaria and Slovakia. Meanwhile, TopGear Magazine in the UK honoured the C4 Cactus with its ‘2014 Hatchback of the Year’ accolade.

To crown it all, the C4 Cactus won the 2015 World Car Design of the Year Award at the recent New York International Motor Show. Each year, the “World Car of the Year” jury awards this prize to the new car with the most innovative design that challenges the conventional codes.

With its daring styling and a design that optimally reconciles the attractive and the functional, the C4 Cactus succeeded in winning the most votes. The coveted international award recognizes the creativity and the courage of Citroën’s designs.

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A landmark product for SA

“The new Citroën C4 Cactus is a landmark product for the brand, both internationally and here in South Africa,” says Francis Harnie, managing director of Peugeot-Citroën SA.

“It’s not only a bold statement in automotive design that breaks the conventional mould, but also a shining example of how innovation and intelligent engineering can produce a vehicle that delivers new and effective solutions.”

Harnie says the C4 Cactus will change the way people consider the normal categorisation of C-segment cars. “It’s a compact hatchback and a spacious SUV rolled into one, but linked to strong design appeal and an overriding sense of innovation.

“Perhaps most importantly, it addresses running costs by delivering exceptional fuel economy, yet remains engaging and fun to drive,” Harnie added. “It allows you to live a unique adventure every day.”

 

Pricing

The recommended retail prices of the new Citroën C4 Cactus range are as follows:

 

Citroën C4 Cactus 1.2l PureTech 60 kW FEEL                                        R224 900

Citroën C4 Cactus 1.2l PureTech Turbo e-THP 81 kW FEEL                    R259 900

Citroën C4 Cactus 1.2l PureTech Turbo e-THP 81 kW SHINE                  R284 900

 

The pricing includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty, a five-year/100 000 km service plan, as well as roadside assistance. There is an option to upgrade to the FreeDrive or five-year/100 000 km warranty extension.  Services are at 15 000 km intervals.

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Volkswagen’s new automated system

improves efficiency and reduces waste

Paint_shop_1 (1)

Volkswagen Group South Africa’s (VWSA) Paint Shop has introduced advanced automated robot technology in the Base Coat Interior painting process which has resulted in a massive reduction in hazardous waste and led to a dramatic improvement in painting efficiency levels.

This fully automated interior painting process has yielded cost savings due to a more controlled paint application process which reduces overspray and waste. Improved quality, consistency and productivity are also beneficial advantages of this new process.

The project was split into two phases, with the first phase taking place during the end of last year. This was really the background support work which was necessary in order to install the robots in the second phase.

“Last year, the maintenance team drastically modified the spray booths by installing steelwork structures needed to support the new robots as well as installing and testing a new high transfer conveyor system,” explained Nico Serfontein, Head of Paint Shop.

The second phase of the project was completed in mid-May and involved the actual installation and testing of the robots in the Base Coat Interior spray booths.

While the new process has only been running for a few weeks, the savings are already evident. Not only is VWSA improving their efficiency and productivity levels but they are also improving their energy efficiency.

Serfontein added: “Since the installation of the new system, we have seen improved paint transfer efficiency and also need less airflow in the Base Coat Interior area, leading to a decrease in waste and energy usage.”

“So far, in the area, we have seen a reduction in energy usage by 8.8 %, a reduction in hazardous waste by 39 % and improved paint transfer efficiency to levels above 65 %.”

These production enhancements are in line with the Volkswagen Group’s Think Blue. Factory strategy which aims to reduce the environmental impact by 25% per car produced.

Since 2010, VWSA has reduced its total annual energy consumption by 19.3% and the energy usage per vehicle produced by 24%.  Also the CO? emissions have been reduced by 21% and other environmental initiatives resulted in a 53% reduction in waste to Landfill, 42% reduction in water usage and 22% improvement in solvent emissions.

The next phase of the project will see the installation of similar robots in the Clear Coat area, which is scheduled to start in 2017.

“We aim to continually improve and enhance our production activities in order to lessen our carbon footprint and improve our energy performance,” concluded Thomas Schaefer, VWSA Managing Director.

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