category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels March 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_time4 min.
editor’s letter

Imagine having one of the world’s best tracks in your own backyard; one that was open 24 hours I’m sitting in a suite at the pointy end of Pit Straight, and in spite of the room’s air-conditioned coolness, I’m sweating. Today I’m going to achieve something I’ve lusted after for as long as I can remember: I’m going to drive Australia’s fastest track. No speed limits. No lead car. No restrictions. Just a $300,000, 441kW/652Nm Nismo GT-R, and a blessing from Nissan to “go as fast as you dare.” If I’m honest, it’s a level of freedom that’s equal parts exciting and terrifying. You see, I’m a Bathurst boy. I was born here and grew up in a house that, at the right time of day, sat in the shadow of this…

access_time3 min.
holden’s mustang mauler

WHEELS has learnt that a right-hook Chevy Camaro program has been secretly green-lighted as Holden executives firm up model plans through to 2022. “We don’t design a vehicle specifically for the US anymore” Backroom wrangling and Australia’s enduring desire for rear-drive V8 muscle has seen GM tick the box to ensure the iconic American two-door can be sold here – if Aussies want it. The move could see a range of Camaros heading down under to provide a $50K performance alternative in Holden’s rapidly expanding showrooms. But there’s a catch – engineering work for the V8-powered rival to the Ford Mustang won’t happen until the next generation model, due about 2021. While the Camaro delay has caused some internal frustration at Holden – the rival Mustang is attracting some 6000 buyers a year, giving it…

access_time3 min.

Holden’s last Oz Coupe The last time Aussie faithful were given a glimpse of a potential V8 two-door was when Holden ripped the covers off its Coupe 60 concept (to celebrate its 60th anniversary) back in 2008. A hint a what a VE-based coupe could look like, the stunning pillarless concept was built on the Zeta platform, and unveiled at the Melbourne International Motor Show. Coupe 60 ultimately had no hope of reaching production, however, following GM’s bankruptcy in 2009, the death of Pontiac (and any chance to export the VE Coupe as a GTO), and the success of Chevrolet’s conceptually similar fifth-gen Camaro. Swede sensation on the way One of Koenigsegg’s 1100kW/2000Nm, 400km/h+ Regera hypercars is headed for Aussie roads. The car will be built in right-hook by the Swedish manufacturer, and…

access_time2 min.
porsche’s hybrid hi-po future

PORSCHE has announced the start of an ambitious 500kW-plus hybrid assault for its flagship four-door models. The move to utilise electric motors and batteries to boost performance of a mainstream model is the first by a performance car maker, signalling a turning point for the industry as it adapts to tighter emissions regulations and regional requirements for short-range, electric-only driving. Instead of using a modified V8 – as has been the case with Cayennes and Panameras for years – the Panamera Turbo S unveiled at this month’s Geneva motor show utilises a 100kW electric motor to create what will become the most powerful Porsche ever sold in Australia. While the basic shape is identical to any other second-generation Panamera, the Turbo S flagship gets the trademark ‘acid green’ brake calipers and ‘eHybrid’ badges…

access_time3 min.
speed kings

ASTON MARTIN and Red Bull’s hypercar, the AM–RB 001, is racing towards production. With a carbonfibre tub and powered by an atmo, mid-mounted V12, it will produce 1bhp for every kilo of still-unconfirmed kerbweight. A key part of this incredible car’s development is the working relationship between Red Bull’s legendary F1 brainiac Adrian Newey and Aston’s chief engineer Matt Becker. Becker spoke exclusively to Wheels about how the project is progressing: “It’s fascinating to work with Adrian,” he explains. “I’ll say ‘we’d have such and such on a road car’ and he’ll say ‘well, we’d have that on a race car’; we’re approaching it from completely different angles, so finding common ground is important.” Newey and Becker had not met before visiting a supplier for the AM-RB 001, but are currently meeting approximately…

access_time5 min.
leading the pride

MARK Bernhard knows 2017 won’t be easy for Holden. Entering his 31year with General Motors, the chairman and MD of the once-dominant brand is philosophical about what is the manufacturer’s most challenging period since it produced its first car in 1948. He seems almost calm in outlining the months ahead. Come October 20 there will be no more Holden as many remember it: a manufacturing giant, a top-selling car maker and a brand that helped shape Australia with nameplates like Kingswood, Monaro, Sandman, Torana and Commodore. Bernhard has witnessed wild swings in fortunes for Holden, from its near-demise in 1986 to the Monaro-infused revival a decade or so later. Just last year the brand posted its lowest ever market share, finishing outside the top three for the first time. Yet he’s not dwelling on…