category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels May 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


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editor’s letter

Honda certainly needs a good plan because it is lost at sea in a country flooded with brands This 148kW, $40K hot hatch was underpowered and unrefined, overpriced and overhyped but it was also a cracking car to drive on the right road; raw, raucous and mind-blowingly quick. Unfortunately for the Civic Type R, its timing was terrible. Smart turbocharging was becoming an effective way to achieve performance and economy, with a low-rpm torque surge that made the Type R’s naturally aspirated engine feel flat by comparison. But most fatal to its sales potential was Honda Oz’s impending plummet off the sales cliff. In 2007 Honda sold 60,000 cars in Australia. The company’s boss at the time, Lindsay Smalley, told me Honda would hit 100,000 sales and 10 percent market share by the…

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target: f1

“What we conceived is a car that is as fast if not faster than an F1 car around a track”– Andy Palmer IT’S all about the details with Aston Martin’s first hypercar, the AM-RB 001. With a target of lapping a race circuits like Silverstone faster than a Formula One car, the mid-engined hypercar will team a twin-turbocharged V12 with electric motors for La Ferrari-beating performance. With the first of just 99 global deliveries slated for late 2018, the upcoming flagship Aston Martin’s drawcard will be impeccable aerodynamics courtesy of Red Bull F1 design guru Adrian Newey. “What we conceived is a car that is as fast, if not faster than an F1 car around a track,” says Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer. “When you imagine that, you start to think about who you’d…

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Trailblazer is go Holden is set to introduce the Trailblazer name for its upcoming seven-seat SUV. To replace the Colorado7 nameplate that some thought linked the car too much to the Colorado ute it’s based on, the Trailblazer was previewed as a thinly disguised concept at the recent Bangkok motor show. As well as the styling tweaks that bring the new Holden/Chevrolet corporate grille, the car will get extensive updates to refinement and dynamics, with Holden engineers playing a lead role. POCKET ROCKET “Luxury doesn’t know any limits … people go crazy about it” Power war D-Day Audi’s technical development boss, Stefan Knirsch, has admitted the power war may be coming to an end. He says that, while there is still room to “increase power still a little bit”, he believes more cars will reduce…

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faster than an f1 car...

The F1 lap record around the 5.9km Silverstone GP Circuit (which was modified in 2010) is 1min 30.874sec, set by Fernando Alonso in 2010 driving a Ferrari. That’s an average speed of 233km/h. Aston Martin and Red Bull say the AM-RB 001 will be even faster – yet it will have headlights, airbags, a passenger seat and numberplates. By way of comparison, the La Ferrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 hypercars lapped the shorter Silverstone National Circuit in a little over 58 seconds for a magazine test. It doesn’t have the GP circuit’s long straights, but the 163km/h average speed is a long way off the F1 car’s 233km/h. Aero is a big part of AM-RB 001’s plan for dominance, and it’ll need big power to achieve F1 speeds; something like 1000kW.…

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waiting bull, hidden hybrid

Lamborghini is playing a waiting game with electrification, but accepts that hybrids are the way of the future. Recently departed CEO Stephen Winkelmann said it’s inevitable, but that “electrification has to offer an added intensity” to performance. “Lamborghini can at best be a fast follower – we are too small and lack the funds to set trends,” he told sister magazine Motor. “Do we believe in PHEV? Absolutely. Can we afford it? Absolutely not.” The Italian carmaker previewed a hybrid drivetrain in the concept-only Asterion at the 2014 Paris motor show and will go turbo and/or hybrid for the upcoming Urus SUV, but remains committed to large atmo engines for its supercars – at least until batteries improve considerably, especially in terms of weight. “The situation may change once the right technology…

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assault and battery

ELECTRICITY is shaping as the next battlefield for supercars from Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren. Details about the high-voltage future for the world’s top supercar makers came out at the Geneva motor show in March. Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne revealed that “it’s inevitable” future Ferraris will ditch conventional drivetrains for hybrid power to improve efficiency and performance. Currently Ferrari has only one hybrid model in its stable – the La Ferrari, which combines a 6.3-litre V12 with a 120kW electric motor for a combined 708kW and 900Nm. “I think it’s inevitable that Ferrari will have to go hybrid at some stage,” Marchionne told Wheels. “Apart from the fact that it’s going to continue to be a mainstay of Formula One, it’s something that both Mercedes and ourselves consider to be crucial to the development…