category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels March 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

“If it saves one life, it’s worth it.” Can we please lay that overly simplistic line to rest? Coming so early in the year, Bruce Corben’s pedestrian-focused proposal might have been a response to the increase in fatalities on Victorian roads last year. In 2015, 258 people died, eight more than the year before and 15 more than the 2013 total of 243, the lowest ever recorded in the state. But Dr Corben has worked as a researcher for the Monash University Accident Research Centre, so we have to assume he was aware of the 2015 figures, which include a reduction in pedestrian deaths from 44 in 2014 to 33 last year, a considerable drop by any measure. Dr Corben justified his 30km/h proposal by saying, “It is simply a matter of physics…

access_time5 min.
china the key to avista’s future

Concept has a 298kW twin-turbo V6. Production car could also get a 2.0-litre four, and a diesel Coupe body a long-shot, our source says. Production version likely to have four doors Avista rides on Camaro’s Alpha platform, which can be adapted for right-hand drive THE future of Buick’s gorgeous Avista concept – and a Holden-badged version – lies in two extra doors, according to General Motors insiders Wheels spoke to following the car’s Detroit motor show debut. Sources confirmed that a model of a four-door version exists in the GM styling studio and is under serious consideration following its overwhelmingly positive reaction as the star of the show. GM has started work on making a business case for building the car, and a Holden-badged version – including a higher-output HSV model – could be in…

access_time9 min.

Two pots down, more grunt results A move to turbocharged engines has brought about the biggest performance jump in the Porsche Boxster’s 20-year history. Now known as the 718 Boxster and sporting new four-cylinder engines (a 2.0-litre for the standard car and a 2.5-litre for the S), the facelifted Boxster produces up to 25kW/100Nm more than its predecessor yet sees fuel economy improve by more than 10 percent. Sadly, it’s more expensive than ever, with the Boxster S jumping $12,300 to $143,400. The new 718 Boxster arrives in Australia in mid-2016. “He’s out of his depth and just shouldn’t be there. He’s making the numbers up basically”Mark Webber slams Pastor Maldonado as the worst driver in F1 VW thumbs nose at Silicon Valley Volkswagen has set up a fight with the world’s biggest tech…

access_time2 min.
holden’s secret project

Holden won’t discuss its involvement, but Melbourne skyline in official images is evidence it was built Down Under Red tyres, mounted on roller skate-like rims, are a reference to the Opel Motoclub 500 motorcycle from the 1920s Vauxhall link means RHD – and, therefore, a Holden badge – almost certain if GT makes it to production Rear-drive unlikely to flow through to production; more likely is a Corsabased front-drive platform MEET the top-secret show-stopper that started life in Holden’s Port Melbourne design studios in the middle of 2015. The eye-catching Opel GT Concept, which is shaping up to be one of the stars of the Geneva motor show (March 3-13), was designed in Europe but is a product of Holden’s secret fabrication group, one of only two in the General Motors world that can create…

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sprint to the finish line

XR8 gets black roof and bootlid lip-spoiler; both are body-coloured on the XR6 Unique sprint decals for XR6 and XR8 Staggered black 19-inch alloys, Brembo brakes with gold calipers Revised fog-light surrounds the main visual cue up front Model Falcon XR6 Sprint Engine 4.0-litre turbo 6cyl Max power 325kW Max torque 576Nm Transmission 6-sp auto only Price $54,990 Model Falcon XR8 Sprint Engine 5.0-litre s’chg V8 Max power 345kW Max torque 575Nm Transmission 6-sp man/6-sp auto Price $59,990/$62,190 HERE they are – the last new models to ever wear the Ford Falcon badge in Australia. After 56 years of local production, the famous nameplate is getting a 345kW send-off in the form of the V8-powered XR8 Sprint. The 5.0-litre supercharged engine was a “special project” that involved an extensive development program as part of Ford’s $300 million R&D spend in 2015. The V8’s 345kW/575Nm output gives it a modest…

access_time2 min.
show of style

INFINITI Q60 Riding on the same rear-drive platform as the Q50 sedan, the Q60 replaces the current 370Z-based coupe later this year. It’s longer, wider and lower than that car. A new-gen 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 will be available in two tunes (224kW and 298kW), with only the higher output likely for Australia. We’re also expected to miss out on the six-speed manual, instead making do with the seven-speed auto. Due here? Q3 2016 LEXUS LC500 It’s as close as Lexus has come to a 911 fighter, but the LC500 is closer in size to an S-Class Coupe. It debuts the company’s new Global Architecture Luxury (GA-L) set to underpin all future Lexus front-engine, rear-drive models. A 10-speed auto is mated to the same 5.0-litre atmo V8 in the lesser RC-F. Carbonfibre door structures help…