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Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels August 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

in this issue

3 min.

CAN YOU IMAGINE the kind of dizzying excitement a car company’s worker bees must feel when they’re finally given the chance to create a new sports car? We’re talking about a seriously rare event, after all; in a world now awash with practical SUVs and fuel-sipping hybrids, a car that has no purpose other than to paint a smile on a driver’s face arrives so infrequently they make a forming stalactite look like it’s getting a wriggle on. So to work on one must be the realisation of a life-long dream; a deserved reward for years, or even decades, spent designing door handles, boot liners or toiling away on the intricacies of a CVT. “Finally!” they’d have to be thinking. “I knew they’d love my HVAC solution!” Creating one from scratch must surely be…

4 min.
attack of the hyper hatch!

IN A WORLD where Mercedes-AMG has engineered a hot hatch with 310kW and 500Nm from just 1991cc, perspective is vital. You’d have to think that the masterminds behind the original VW Golf GTI would struggle to fathom a humble hatchback with the ability to monster supercars. Such is the rate of progress that the original Audi R8 V8 and 996 Porsche GT3 are both outgunned by the upcoming A45 S. Of course, the headline act is the new, hand-built M139 engine. Its 310kW (in S guise, at 6750rpm) makes it the highest specific output of any series-production four-cylinder engine, generating a staggering 155kW per litre. Yes, the numbers beggar belief, with the 0-100km/h dash completed in 3.9 seconds and the hyper-hatch rocketing to an electronically limited Vmax of 270km/h. One of the…

1 min.
the devil in detail

one ANGRIER FACE ‘Jet-like’ external air vents add a muscular stance to the A45 S. The AMG-specific grille features 12 vertical louvres; yes, it’s functional, directing cool air to the turbo. two BABY GOT BACK Aggressive styling continues at the rear with a large wing and diffuser housing big quad tailpipes with internal fluting and AMG lettering. Get used to this sight. three WHEELS ARE TURNING A45 S models gain 19-inch alloy wheels (8.5 inches wide) wrapped in 245/35 tyres. Braking is improved with six-piston calipers and 360mm front discs.…

1 min.
hot-hatch highlights

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI Often referred to as the original hot hatch, the Mk1 GTI ran a 1.6-litre four making 81kW and 137Nm. That doesn’t sound overly enticing, but with a kerb weight of just 810kg, the Golf managed 0-100km/h in around 9.0 seconds – not bad for 1976. Hailed a hero then and now. LANCIA DELTA INTEGRALE While the road-going Evoluzione II is the crowning glory, the story started in the ’80s with a famous Group B rally car. It was based on the Italian Delta HF 4WD and utilised a 121kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a Garrett turbo. Ultimately it transformed into a 600hp forest fighter. HONDA CIVIC TYPE R With its screaming 8200rpm redline, is it any wonder the EK Civic Type R found a cult following? The B16B 1.6-litre four utilised VTEC for…

3 min.
bmw : “we have a vision...”

IF YOU’RE OLD enough to have a beard that’s grown Gandalf long, you might well stroke it fondly as you recall the heady days of the late 1970s, back when BMW’s performance aspirations were spearheaded by the brand’s first-ever mid-engined supercar, the M1. Born in 1978 from the pen of legendary Italian designer Giugiaro, the production M1 elevated BMW to a position of absolute performance superiority over its German rivals. The car was powered by a 3.5-litre inline six, good for a then-impressive 204kW and 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds. But if the above profile fits your description, then you likely went from stroking that beard to tearing it out hair by painful hair when you heard in 2014 that BMW was launching a spiritual successor to the M1 – the plug-in hybrid i8.…

2 min.
30 secs

2 Congratulations to the Honda NSX, which has already equalled its entire 2018 sales figure of... two. Selling a total 6232 cars in June, the Japanese marque also notched its second-best monthly record in Honda Australia’s 50-year history. Who says good things don’t come in twos? GENESIS FTW Also due a hearty clap on the back is Genesis, which aced this year’s JD Power Initial Car Quality survey in the US. This survey logs the number of faults in the first 90 days of new-car ownership, and Genesis topped an all-Korean podium, with Kia and Hyundai rounding out the minor places. Jaguar and Land Rover’s report card wasn’t nearly as rosy, the two Brit brands occupying the wooden spoon positions. The Korean luxury brand also finally launched itself here, with the opening of…