category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels December 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.

Bauer Media Pty Ltd
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6 Issues


access_time3 min.
editor’s letter

IT’S AMAZING HOW EASY IT IS TO BECOME ENSNARED IN THE DETAIL AND LOSE SIGHT OF THE BIG PICTURE. RIGHT NOW, THE BEST WEEK OF THE ENTIRE YEAR – WHEELS CAR OF THE YEAR – IS ABOUT TO BEGIN, AND AS MUCH AS I’D LIKE TO THINK OF THE ACTIVITY OCCURRING OUTSIDE MY OFFICE AS CONTROLLED CHAOS, REALLY IT’S BEDLAM. Journos are madly dialling car companies, hotels and restaurants as the final touches are made to an event that involves 25 people, 55 cars and runs for seven long days. It’s been this way for more than a week, with varying degrees of intensity, and last night, perhaps sick of me poring over COTY spec sheets in the bedroom or proofing magazine pages at the breakfast table, my wife threw me…

access_time7 min.

WALKINSHAW Performance is readying a 300kW-plus twin-turbo V6 version of the Holden Colorado as a spiritual successor to the V8s that have dominated the local muscle car scene for decades. The top-secret project – known as Wildfire, a name recently registered by the Walkinshaw Group – involves shoehorning the LF3 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 used in the Cadillac CTS V-Sport under the bonnet of the Colorado dual-cab 4x4. It arrives as brands such as Ford, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz look to expand the reach – and performance – of their top-end utes. For the Walkinshaw Group – which also produces HSVs for Holden – the Wildfire is the first step towards a new breed of high- performance road cars. However, the company is tight-lipped about the Wildfire project: “We make a point of not discussing future…

access_time4 min.
vision statement

MAZDA has signalled its future design direction with two stunning concept cars unveiled in Tokyo. The hatchback Kai concept previews the replacement for the current 3 and the sleek Vision Coupe is rumoured to be the shape of the all-new 6. Trade the doorhandles, wheels and mirrors for more practical items and you’re witnessing the look and feel of Hiroshima’s next generation. Mazda clearly isn’t ditching established design cues entirely, with the Kai sporting plenty of 3 DNA in its rear three-quarter view, but the latest evolution of its Kodo design language is one dominated by even sharper lines, with sheetmetal that appears stretched taut. Both cars trade heavily on what Mazda calls traditional Japanese aesthetics, with origami-like tapers and creases of the bodywork. The best view is from inside, however. The…

access_time4 min.
pole repositioned

Twin-’charged Production version will feature ICE via 2 .0 turbo- and upercharged petrol as fitted to T8 variant in the Volvo range Subs edition Cars will be ordered online, delivered via ‘Polestar S aces’ and offered on a two- or three-year subscription basis Keys cut Phone-as-key tech allows owner to share a virtual key with a friend, and brings access to a concierge service THE MOST exciting, dynamic and stylish Volvo to ever come out of Gothenburg – the 450kW, 1000Nm Polestar 1 – won’t be coming to Australia. Instead, the low, long plug-in hybrid four-seat coupe that will spawn from the concept car unveiled in Shanghai in October will only sell in very small numbers in left-hand-drive markets. About 500 a year will be made from 2019 as the Chinese-owned Swedish company learns how to make…

access_time5 min.
garbage in...

GET THE LEAD OUT FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM Australia has already had the experience of weaning itself off a highly polluting fuel; in 2000, the government withdrew leaded fuel from sale in the interests of public and environmental health – the same time as the European Union. THE 160,000KM BARRIER Assessments of how long we can hold out on improving fuel quality standards appear linked to a 160,000km benchmark – the theoretical tipping point before an advanced petrol engine starts to suffer damage to its three-way catalyst caused by a 50ppm sulphur content. AUSTRALIA now has the distinction of having one of the dirtiest fuel standards in the developed world. Amongst signatories to the OECD – an international economic forum of 35 countries – Australia has the worst record on fuel quality. Mexico, once…

access_time2 min.

What is it? The latest evolution of British automotive and aerospace component specialist GKN’s eAxle. The two-speed electric transmission is highly versatile and can be applied to either pure EVs or PHEVs for front-, rear- or all-wheel drive. Expect to see the first concepts rolling on the eTwinsterX axle from late this year followed by early production models in 2018. How does it work? The eTwinsterX axle incorporates a drive motor and two-speed gearbox into a single unit which minimises overall dimensions, while the electric motor’s coaxial construction provides the torque of a larger unit in a smaller package. Power is delivered through the helical twin-speed gearbox, but as an added bonus, the torque vectoring advantages offered by the Twinster differential (see Explained May 2017) adds another level of torque control. A pair…