category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels March 2019

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


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in wood

I’LL BEGIN WITH the good news. It no longer looks like the end of the Elephant Man’s nose. While there’s no rule that dictates a racing car has to be beautiful (Nissan GT-R LM, or Tyrrell six-wheeler anyone?), there is an expectation that it will at least be striking. Sadly, Ford’s heavily hyped Mustang Supercar missed on both counts. Awkward, hump-backed and with a bulging glasshouse that protruded from bodywork that was too narrow and too tall, the first prototype looked like an unfortunate mash-up of a Mustang and the old FG X Falcon. Which, of course, is exactly what it was. The fixed hard points dictated by Supercars’ control chassis meant that any hopes of retaining the production Mustang’s muscular stance, swooping roofline, and narrow glasshouse were doomed from the…

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australia how ford is next shaping -gen the ute

FORD AUSTRALIA will help shape the next Volkswagen Amarok, as the popular German mid-sized ute series switches to an evolution of the existing T6 Ranger’s platform. Due out in 2021, design and engineering work for both are currently underway at Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north. It’s all part of the growing global collaboration between the two brands that also includes small and medium-sized vans to replace the VW Caddy and Transporter, plus Ford’s elaborate Transit family from 2022. That’s the good news. As is the prospect of the next Ranger ditching the ageing five-cylinder diesel (at last) for a development of the Amarok’s rousing V6 alternative. While both brands’ utes will most likely share the same T6 ‘Evo’ underpinnings, powertrains and body structure, it’s expected that their design will differ markedly. Just as…

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did you know?

Ford and VW have jumped into bed before, beginning with AutoLatina, a joint venture involving the Argentinian and Brazilian arms of both companies. Created in 1987, it involved a number of models spun off the 1981 Volkswagen B2 Passat, 1980 Ford Mk3 Escort and 1990 Ford Mk5 Escort/Orion platforms, resulting in the lightly-made-over Ford Versailles, Volkswagen Apollo and Volkswagen Pointer respectively. Of wider global import was the European VW Sharan (1995-2010), Seat Alhambra (1996-2010) and Ford Galaxy (1995-2006) people movers (pictured) manufactured in Portugal.…

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5 f1 storylines to watch

1 RED BULL’S FIREWORKS Young gun Pierre Gasly replaces Danny Ricciardo at Red Bull, joining the Dutch wunderkid Max Verstappen. The duo have traded verbal barbs in the media before the season has even begun, with newcomer Gasly refusing to be relegated to support-driver status, and Verstappen attempting to assert dominance within the team. While the two drivers may have a clash of egos, the team’s engineers will be working to ensure their engines don’t explode every third lap. Red Bull has switched from Renault to Honda power for 2019. The gamble could backfire, with uncertainty surrounding Honda’s reliability. 2 THE GRID RESHUFFLE Of the 10 teams on the 2019 F1 grid, just two will have the same driver pairings from last year (Mercedes-AMG and Haas F1) when they line up for the…

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coty: lies, damn lies and manufacturer weight claims

LURKING AT THE far end of Ford’s You Yangs proving ground is an unprepossessing-looking shed. Blink and you’d miss it, but located amongst the hoists and workshop equipment within is a weighbridge, and seeing as it was located en route to many of our COTY test tracks, we figured we’d put every single vehicle onto the scales. All 47 cars at COTY this year had to strip off, suck the gut in and hope for the best. Some results were fairly predictable. The Alpine A110 was lightest at 1094kg, just pipping Volkswagen’s base model Polo 70 TSI at 1111kg. Few, though, would have picked Porsche to front up with the fatty, its Cayenne E-Hybrid creaking onto the weighing gear at a whopping 2364kg. More interesting than absolute numbers, however, was what the…

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evolution of revolutions

THE EAGERLY anticipated 992 911 GT3 RS will come with the largest engine ever fitted to a 911 and produce around 400kW. Speaking to Wheels at the launch of the 992 Carrera S – the car that will provide the basic architecture for the next track-focused GT3 and RS – soon-to-retire 911 product line chief August Achleitner confirmed one of the most desirable Porsches ever created would not mess with a successful formula: rear-wheel drive, lightweight body and a naturally aspirated engine revving to 9000rpm, or beyond. Achleitner said the ‘regular’ GT3 will stick with an evolution of the 3996cc engine in the current car – one developed to incorporate a gasoline particulate filter for European markets – that is expected to yield around 385kW, a minor increase on the 383kW of…