category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels May 2018

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.

Bauer Media Pty Ltd
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6 Issues


access_time4 min.
editor’s letter

The BT62 is an unexpected green shoot of hope. An expression of what’s possible in our own backyard IT CAME FIRST AS A BREATHY WHISPER, DELIVERED DOWN THE PHONE LINE FROM THE MOST UNLIKELY OF PLACES. “IT’S BUILT IN AUSTRALIA…”. FOR THE LONGEST TIME I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT. AFTER ALL, IT SEEMED SO UNLIKELY. IF YOU’RE GOING TO DESIGN, ENGINEER AND BUILD A supercar from scratch capable of rivalling the best from Ferrari and McLaren, as the Brabham BT62 claims to do, why would you manufacture it in Australia? We don’t even build Commodores and Falcons anymore, let alone multi-million-dollar high-performance machines targeted at the world stage. Australia is certainly capable of creating such a car – our ability to engineer and innovate is world class – but surely Europe or even…

access_time4 min.
mx-5 muscles up

HIGHER ROTATION Revised air intake, upgraded exhaust, lighter internals, stronger crank and revised cam timing will all contribute to the 2.0-litre’s extra revs and power SHOCK TREATMENT Damper rates will be retuned to improve body control without losing the ride pliancy and contained roll we love IT PLUGS; YOU PLAY Upgraded connectivity, including the addition of CarPlay and Android Auto, a much better infotainment screen plus reversing camera will all feature JUST A TRIM Other interior tweaks will be subtle at best: small trim changes and additional colour choices for seats and roof NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY The high-revving 2.0-litre Skyactiv engine will remain exclusive to the MX-5, despite sharing many of its basics with the engines of the same capacity used in the 3, CX- 3 and CX-5. It’s all about creating an engine with character to suit the sporting, driver-centric…

access_time4 min.
wounded lion

Six months after closing its Elizabeth production line, Holden is facing an intensifying battle for survival. Sales have dived, some dealers are furious and the latest round of departures has reshuffled the executive order – again. The shift from local manufacturer to full importer has been punishing, highlighting the poor health of the brand; Holden sold more imported cars in the early 2000s than it did in 2017, the year when imports became its sole focus. Discounting has been the solution to clear excess stock. The plight of Holden is unlikely to be high on the radar of GM CEO Mary Barra, who is heavily focused on China and America, where almost 80 percent of the automotive giant’s cars are sold. Local boss Mark Bernhard is under intense pressure, prompting meetings with analysts…

access_time5 min.
the other senna

BRUNO Senna was once faster than his triple Formula 1 world champion uncle, Ayrton. It was when he was about eight years old, flat out in a go-kart in his homeland, Brazil. “I was always held to Ayrton’s standards. That’s difficult” Perhaps his child-weight advantage gave him the edge, something that prompted a typically Ayrton response. “He ended up putting loads of ballast in my go-kart … to the point where if I spun and went off the track I couldn’t restart it,” says Bruno. As a broad smile beams, it’s clear the nephew of the triple world champion still has plenty of affection for the man who played a big role in his childhood. There was a 23-year age gap between them; Bruno was just 11 when Aryton was killed at Imola in…

access_time2 min.
mazda’s anechoic chamber

What is it? Part of Mazda’s gruelling development program that takes prototype and pre-production vehicles and subjects them to tortures they might encounter in only the most extreme real-world situations. In the anechoic chambers, almost all reflected and rebounding sound and radio waves can be eliminated, allowing engineers to study exactly how new models perform in a carefully controlled environment devoid of any outside interference from sound or radio waves. How does it work? Specially shaped blocks of absorbent materials line the walls of the chambers and are precisely designed to dissipate the energy from sound and electromagnetic waves as they meet the wall. This prevents reflection of waves back through the space and creates the effect of an infinitely large room, which is also insulated from outside noise or radiation. Mazda’s chambers…

access_time2 min.
market place

HIGHLIGHTS: Yet another record month, this time bolstered by a strong-selling sportscar market. The sub-$80K segment grew 24% month-on-month, helped by the perennially popular Ford Mustang, itself up 44% at 705 sales. Mainstream brands Nissan (up 27%) and Mitsubishi (up 23%) both posted strong results, with ageing SUVs Qashqai and ASX rising by 73% and 159% respectively. Triton also helped Mitsubishi’s cause as sales of 4x4 models leapt to 2788 (up 71%), though it was Subaru that was the big winner, up 33% overall thanks to double-digit growth across Levorg (110), WRX (255), BRZ (91), XV (XX) and Liberty (153). The Kia Picanto (484) crushed the light segment with a 72% share. Medium luxo sedans thrived; the Audi A4 (126, up 13%), BMW 3 Series (275, up 16%) and soon-to-be-replaced…