category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels July 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

The officer didn’t reach for his radar gun; he thrust his fist out and gave me a long thumbs up TWO THINGS HAPPENED ON A RECENT TRIP TO ITALY THAT CONFIRMED A SUSPICION I’VE HELD FOR A WHILE: THAT AUSTRALIA HATES THE CAR. OR TO BE MORE PRECISE, IT HATES THE CAR ENTHUSIAST. I WAS IN THE LAND OF HAND GESTURES AND OLIVE OIL TO TEST A new Lamborghini (see p72) and having spent the morning hot-lapping Imola, I pointed the Huracan’s nose towards the twisting tarmac beyond the circuit to see how the car performs on the road. Things were going well – the sun was shining, the roads were challenging – until I robustly rounded a sharpish turn and happened upon a blue Alfa Romeo 156 wagon, its flanks…

access_time4 min.
the widowmaker returns

The ferocious GT2 RS will appeal to a more hedonistic clientele AFTER a seven-year hiatus, the ‘Widowmaker’ is back at the apex of the 911 hierarchy. This latest GT2 RS is the most powerful production 911 ever built, and true to form, it’s still rear-wheel drive, it’s still ferociously turbocharged and, with a kerb weight of less than 1500kg, it’s as focused as ever. Forget the rose-tinted three-pedal and hound’s-tooth nostalgia of the 911R, because the GT2 RS is all business. Porsche has stated that the peak output figures are in excess of 480kW/750Nm, driving through a seven-speed PDK. While the normally aspirated 4.0-litre GT3 RS will continue to attract the purists, the GT2 RS will appeal to a more hedonistic clientele. Powered by a tweaked version of the 911 Turbo’s 3.8-litre…

access_time3 min.
hot xe v8 wings in

“From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new-generation diesel engines” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson puts another nail in diesel’s coffin BILLED by Jaguar as the most extreme performance car in company history, the XE SV Project 8 is a strictly limited numbers special developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). Perhaps the most tantalising fact about the Project 8 is that SVO has plumbed a 441kW 5.0-litre supercharged V8 under the bonnet, which would suggest a longer production run, albeit in a less extreme guise. Jaguar is currently playing coy about that possibility, but development XE models have been spied on test loops in northern Spain, finished with quad exhausts and bulging wheel arches, so perhaps a series production rival to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 isn’t…

access_time1 min.
ford’s big change

IT WAS WIN or bust. And former CEO Mark Fields’ luck ran out. A much-vaunted partnership with Google to develop autonomous vehicles faltered when Fields appeared keener to play to Wall Street than share info with the tech giant, a business practice anathema in conservative Detroit. His replacement, Jim Hackett, has a resume that’s rammed with tech company smarts, inking deals as head of Ford’s Smart Mobility program with a number of ancillary services for autonomous vehicle operations. Bill Ford made it clear at the press conference last month that he expects Hackett to get the automaker operating more quickly. “The speed at which the world is moving really requires us to make decisions at a faster pace,” he said. “If we’re going to win in this new world, we have to…

access_time4 min.
8 series revival

BMW’s decision to revive the 8 Series nameplate will spawn a range of sleek, high-powered variants, including a barnstorming M8 flagship. Don’t get too excited for a V12, though. Despite the abandoned M8 project from 1989 having an orchestral bent-12, the modern iteration – seen here in our artist’s impression – will be sticking to a proven eight-cylinder layout, lifted from the forthcoming M5. The reworked 4.4-litre twin-turbo features new turbochargers and fuel injectors compared to the outgoing F10 M5’s powerplant. While the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 from the BMW 760i (and shared with Rolls-Royce) would fit under the 8 Series’ bonnet, it’s been deemed insufficiently sporty to meet M division’s lofty performance requirements. The M8 is likely to share the same switchable all-wheel-drive system as the 2018 M5. Interestingly, the M8 will make…

access_time1 min.
naked gun

“We have new stand-alone AMG Performance Centres … with some coming soon to Dubai and Sydney” AMG boss Tobias Moers confirms a new AMG-specific dealership for Australia AMG HAS given us our first look at how it plans to shoehorn a Formula 1 drivetrain into its upcoming hypercar, dubbed Project One. Behind the cabin sits the same turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6-litre V6 engine found in Lewis Hamilton’s racecar, tuned for an 11,000rpm limit. The hybrid drivetrain also includes a mechanical and electric turbocharger (MGU-H) with split turbine and compressor housings connected by a long shaft, and an 80kW electric motor. Another 120kW motor attaches to the crankshaft, and two more 120kW motors drive the front wheels. AMG claims system output will be “more than 1000ps (735kW)” and response will be faster than a…