category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels June 2016

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

Ford’s decision to shutter Broadmeadows during Bathurst shows scant respect for Australia I’m writing this on Anzac Day, so the themes of respect and honour are all around me today. A friend went to a chilly Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance to pay respect to soldiers she never knew, and a grandfather who fought in WWII. Later today I’ll go to the MCG to watch my boys Collingwood battle traditional Anzac Day rivals Essendon. Neither team is setting the 2016 season on fire, but the occasion inevitably affects the players. Their commitment and endeavour lift as they strive to respect the Anzac spirit. Before the on-field battle begins, a lone bugler plays the Last Post while 80,000 fans pay silent respect. It’s an eerie and incredibly moving moment. Anzac Day is one…

access_time4 min.
commodore goes hatchback

HISTORY REPEATS This won’t be the first Commodore hatch. Holden first showed an all-paw hatchback in 2002 – the SSX concept, a VY Commodore-based liftback with a wider track, pumped guards and a clever rear sliding drawer. It again explored the hatch concept in 2004 with the TT36 (pictured), a mid-size five-door considered at the time a spiritual successor to the Torana, but which actually previewed the VE Commodore. The imported Commodore will be the longest ever COMMODORE SPORTS TOURER One thing that will remain a constant in Holden dealerships is the wagon. Opel is readying a Sports Tourer version of the Insignia, giving Holden an entrant into the dwindling – but still strong – wagon segment. To be unveiled in 2017, the new Commodore wagon will also spawn a mild SUV version along the…

access_time6 min.

Nissan culls Micra and Pulsar hatch Nissan Australia has axed the Micra, Pulsar hatch and diesel Patrol due to slow sales and tightening emissions standards. The Micra’s demise is surprising given Nissan launched a new version in April last year and it has since enjoyed strong sales. Yet Nissan says the Micra is not profitable. Slow sales were the final nail in the coffin for the Pulsar hatch, with Nissan ditching the variant to concentrate on the more popular sedan. Also, the November introduction of Euro 5 emissions has killed off the ageing Y61 Patrol, which first went on sale in 1997. Porsche to boost future with fully electric turbocharging Porsche’s Thomas Wasserbaech, development director of boxer engines, is excited about future of electric turbocharging: “Not just pre-fill like Audi. Fully electric turbochargers.”…

access_time2 min.
camaro closer?

AUSSIE ABROAD As the father of the modern Monaro and VE Commodore, Mike Simcoe’s rise to the head of GM Global Design has been punctuated with stunning, emotive vehicles. Turn to page 80 for our exclusive profile and interview. NEWLY appointed boss of General Motors Global Design, Australian Mike Simcoe, has vowed to support a push for affordable V8-powered rear-drive performance for Holden after the locally built Commodore expires at the end of 2017. Simcoe is too political and smart to name names, but GM is clearly considering a right-hand-drive conversion of the Chevrolet Camaro, either later this decade at mid-life facelift time or when the all-new seventh generation arrives next decade. Simcoe confirmed executives from both Holden and regional overseer GM International have approached him for lobbying help on the subject when he…

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maserati to build v8 suv

MASERATI has confirmed it is working on a V8 version of the Levante SUV – launched this month in Europe – with the aim of creating an alternative to high-power rivals such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The problem being, as Maserati acknowledges, that this is a very small market segment. According to Davide Danesin, Maserati’s vehicle line executive, only about 12,000 SUVs producing more than 370kW are sold globally each year, little more than a drop in the ocean of around half a million premium crossover sales. Yet he also acknowledges that, if Maserati wants Levante to be taken seriously against its full-fat rivals, it will need to stomach the engineering costs. Apparently the company has already constructed a prototype that uses the 390kW V8 engine from the Maserati Quattroporte and which…

access_time4 min.
benz’s bold future

“BRANDS LIKE MERCEDES-BENZ HAVE BEEN CAUGHTON THEHOP”“We don’t see BMW and Audi as our main benchmarks anymore” – Dieter Zetsche, M-B chairman THE world’s oldest carmaker could be a very different company as it battles for survival in a fast-changing automotive landscape. Speaking to Wheels, Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche gave an insight into the challenges ahead for a brand riding a sales high. There’s a different demeanour to one of the car industry’s most powerful people. In the short time we have to discuss cars, the future and Benz’s role within in it, he’s serious, almost concerned. “We don’t see BMW and Audi as our main benchmarks anymore, but we see the tech companies as much as our benchmark,” said Zetsche frankly, the most obvious indication that life has changed – and will change…