category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels April 2016

Wheels is Australia’s original motoring magazine. Launched in 1953, we’ve been trusted by generations of Australians to provide entertaining and forthright opinions on the good, the bad and the ugly of new and used cars. A world-class car mag with a formidable international reputation, Wheels covers the full gamut of cars – from sports cars to four-wheel-drives, economy to family cars – but it also covers the people, personalities and the power plays behind one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

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6 Issues


access_time3 min.
editor’s letter

Frank’s, aah, frankness has done a lot to restore my faith in the M performance brand Many car companies would see only weakness in BMW M2 program chief Frank Isenberg’s admission that the 1 Series M Coupe (also his baby) could have done with more development. But Frank’s, aah, frankness has done a lot to restore my faith in the once-great M performance brand. “We learned a lot from the 1M,” Isenberg told us at the M2 launch. “The tricky behaviour at the limit … that was what we were not really happy with. It just happened. We had a very short development time and it was the first time that we used a turbocharged engine with a lot of torque. Maybe we could have used a year more development.” He also admitted…

access_time2 min.
brock’s director to return

MINOR STYLING CHANGES UNIQUE 20-INCH ‘DIRECTOR’ WHEELS NO POLARIZER 304KW 6.2-LITRE V8 FROM SS-V UNIQUE STITCHING AND BADGING HSV-SOURCED MAGNETIC RIDE CONTROL THE spirit of Peter Brock will live on in an exclusive limited-edition Commodore that will revive one of Holden’s most famous – and controversial – nameplates. For the first time since the infamous VK and VL HDT Directors of the 1980s, Holden will use a name that has previously only been associated with its most famous race driver – and the car that led to the split between Brock and the brand that built him. Holden applied with IP Australia to register the Director name in 2014 and it was accepted in January this year. Wheels sources have confirmed that, as with original Directors, the VFII-based model’s emphasis will be on performance with a healthy dose of…

access_time8 min.

Volvo picks digital locks Losing your phone – or flattening its battery – could take on a whole new level of inconvenience from 2017 if you drive a Volvo. The company is testing smartphone tech that uses an app and the phone’s Bluetooth link to replace a car key, provided the phone is in range. The tech is being tested this year and will be offered on a “limited number” of cars from next year. Volvo says it will make sharing a car easier, allowing people to send a digital key to friends or family. Volvo says it plans to continue offering physical keys while people get used to the digital option. Subaru rallies for a resurgence A decade after ending its all-conquering run, Subaru will return to the Australian Rally Championship –…

access_time3 min.
the first director

Brock’s VL Director was the first Aussie car with independent rear suspension PETER Brock was not pleased. Wheels had compared his HDT Special Vehicles VK Group III Commodore with a BMW 528i, Saab 16S Turbo and Volvo 760 Turbo. A letter to then-editor Peter Robinson – as well as a flurry from readers accusing Wheels of being out to “knock the Brock” – followed. We’d tested a car built from a low-spec Commodore Executive and criticised it for lacking refinement and sophistication against the European cars. Brock objected to us whacking “a sporty Group III up against the Veuve Clicquot set” The car for the task was the VK Director, HDT’s Calais-based ‘Velvet Thunder’, essentially the precursor to today’s HSV Senator. It was the most advanced HDT model, the most sophisticated Commodore of…

access_time4 min.
1103kw, 440km/h

FOR more than a decade the Veyron has been the absolute production car high water mark in terms of power and speed. But no longer. The Chiron – unveiled at the Geneva motor show in early March – boasts 1103kW, which is 25 percent more grunt than even the Veyron Super Sport. And top speed? Bugatti boss Wolfgang Durheimer is keeping that one a surprise until the Chiron’s testing program is completed later this year, but says it will be faster than the 431km/h Veyron Super Sport, and hints at a V-max north of 440km/h. Though it shares the same basic vehicle architecture as the Veyron, Bugatti insiders claim the Chiron is 95 percent new. There’s a new carbonfibre tub, the track has been widened, and the whole lot wrapped in striking new…

access_time6 min.
bond’s next car?

Vital new replacement for the 12-year-old DB9 coupe 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 develops 448kW and 700Nm Benz electrical architecture transforms the interior TIME moves slowly at Aston Martin. It took the tiny British company almost 90 years to build roughly the same number of cars Toyota assembles worldwide in a single afternoon. So the launch of an all-new Aston Martin is a big deal. The unveiling of the DB11 coupe at the Geneva motor show was an even more critically important event than usual, though. The first all-new car designed and developed since the 2007 sale of Aston Martin by Ford, whose benign backing gave the company almost 20 years of relative financial stability, the DB11 debuts components and technologies designed to underpin a whole new generation of Aston Martins through 2020 and beyond. “It’s not very…