category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels April 2017

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

I spent far longer drinking in the QV’s details than watching people on horseback swinging mallets . Italy’s newest sports sedan was on display in front of the Alfa Romeo marquee and it acted like a beacon, with a sizeable crowd drawn to its muscular stance and blood-red hue. One brave punter even climbed inside and hit the ‘Ferrari inspired’ starter button, having just enough time to prod the throttle pedal, which had the audience oohing and ahhing at the 2.9-litre twin-turbo’s pops and crackles, before he was booted out by security. I too couldn’t resist the QV’s charms – I had yet to see one in the metal – and I’ll admit I spent far longer drinking in its juicy details than watching people on horseback swinging wooden mallets. I liked what I…

access_time2 min.
sacre bleu!

HOLDEN is gearing up to embark on a global search to secure the long-term future of the Commodore following the shock A$3.1 billion sale of Opel to PSA, parent company of Peugeot and Citroen. Buick Regal, Chevrolet Malibu or Chevrolet Impala could replace the 2018 Commodore The US, China or South Korea are obvious targets to take over supply of Holden’s iconic large car once the current German-sourced Commodore, to be produced by Opel from early next year, has run its model cycle, expected by about 2024. Potentially Holden could continue to take future Commodores from Opel under PSA ownership. Yet this scenario is unlikely, especially as the focus for that car and its future architecture is likely to be Europe (a post-2024 car would by then almost certainly share its platform with…

access_time3 min.

X-rated approval A road-ready version of the KTM X-Bow sports car has finally launched in Australia after a four-year battle to meet strict Australian Design Rules. The mid-engined, rear-drive and handbuilt X-Bow (pronounced ‘crossbow’) will cost from $169,990, making it more expensive than a Porsche Boxster S and the similarly performance-focused Caterham Seven 485 S ($103,700). The X-Bow, which weighs 790kg and is powered by an Audi-sourced 220kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol, will be brought to Australia under the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle scheme and limited to just 25 units a year. A world of possibility Modular design of McLaren’s Monocage II carbonfibre tub for the 720S has the brand considering additional body styles, including a 2+2 seater to rival the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso and even a single-seat track special. They shoot horses McLaren is also already…

access_time1 min.
why holden’s influence is slipping

The sale of Opel shows how little sway Holden has within the walls of General Motors’ towering Detroit headquarters. It’s startling to learn that the first Holden knew of the Opel sale was when press releases were issued from GM and PSA. Within weeks, the deal to offload the company that became part of GM in 1931 – the same year as Holden – was done, throwing up dozens of internal questions Holden is still desperately trying to answer. Key to Holden’s reduced impact within GM is its loss of manufacturing. For 69 years Holden forged its identity by creating cars Aussies wanted. Now it’s a customer – one of hundreds around the world – of a giant trying to return to glory. The key to any customer getting exactly what they want is…

access_time2 min.
new mac now with hotter sauce

A FEW minutes before McLaren’s 650S successor is unveiled, product development boss Mark Vinnels still won’t tell Wheels how much power it’s packing. The old 3.8-litre V8 has made way for a 4.0-litre with new pistons and crank, new cylinder heads and new turbos with quick-to-spool titanium-aluminide turbines. But Vinnels won’t let up on the suspense. “How much do you think?” he teases. I guess 500-515kW, a chunk more than the 650S and Ferrari 488 GTB; a small stretch beyond the 675LT. Then the new Super Series bursts into the hangar we’re freezing in, driven by test driver Chris Goodwin. You notice that it’s dramatically low-slung, even for a supercar, that someone appears to have forgotten the side intakes, and that the numberplate reads 720S. In McLaren logic, that means this car has 720PS… 530kW! Vinnels…

access_time1 min.
flash point

Lambo’s ’Ring blinder Lamborghini grabbed headlines last month with claims its new Huracan Perfomante lapped the Nurburgring in a Porsche 918 beating 6:52.01. However, shortly after releasing video of the lap, ’Ring experts Bridge to Gantry claimed foul play. Lamborghini returned serve releasing data from the lap. Here’s our take: Alex Inwood Editor “I’ll admit I was a sceptic, until Lambo took the extraordinary step of publishing the GPS data from the controversial lap. Now I’m a believer.” Nathan Ponchard Senior Journalist “I’ll start caring about tit-for-tat Nurburgring times once I have the ownership papers for a manual battleship-grey Murcielago LP640 in my hot little hands.” Tony O’Kane Senior Journalist “Fake news? Alternative facts? I don’t care. The incredibly clever aero tech that Lambo’s boffins have cooked up for the Performante is the real story here.” Cameron Kirby…