category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels September 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_time3 min.
editor’s letter

Holden needs a leader willing to blue with Detroit, to argue for better product, and to galvanise the dealers But right now, the 64-year-old is fronting the press, our recorders thrust towards his chin, the dance of hard questions, honest answers and deflected responses about to begin. You’d forgive him for feeling apprehensive. Overwhelmed. Afraid, even. After all, there’s no escaping the reality of the situation he’s willingly walked into, or the magnitude of the (impossible?) task ahead of him. As disastrous years go, Holden’s has been a doozy. In March it recorded its worst monthly sales figure since the company’s inception in 1948, a stinging result only made worse by its July number, which at 3927, was even lower. Falls from grace don’t get much more spectacular. Holden’s market share now…

access_time1 min.
secure investment

One of the great unknowns at the time of Buttner’s appointment was how much patience General Motors has for a foreign outpost with five percent market share. “One of my first questions of GM was “What’s your commitment to Holden?’ said Buttner. “Frankly, I was buoyed by the response.” Seems GM was telling the truth. Three weeks after my meeting with Buttner, Holden announced it will become a development hub for GM’s autonomous and electric vehicles. The deal will see the creation of 150 new jobs (taking Holden’s design and engineering workforce to 500) and boost R&D expenditure to $120m, with the recently upgraded Lang Lang proving ground to play a key role.…

access_time5 min.
return of the king

WITH dwindling global sales and its reputation as the dynamic leader in the class among its junior premium executive sedan rivals no longer unimpeachable, BMW’s 3 Series replacement, codenamed G20, can’t come quickly enough. We’ll see it officially at the Paris Motor Show but we’ve spent some time in a 3 Series prototype in advance of its October unveiling. Utilising BMW’s CLAR (Cluster Architecture) rear-wheel-drive platform, the next generation 3 Series will grow in dimensions, offer a range of revised engines and improved info and entertainment systems inside a larger, more upmarket interior. There’ll be a slight increase in the wheelbase for that more spacious cabin, but it’s the 30mm boost in track width that the engineers are most excited about. Clearly stung by criticism that the existing 3 Series has been…

access_time1 min.
local heroes

If there’s one thing we’ve learned with past 3 Series generations, it’s that something tends to be lost in the translation when export to Australia is considered. We have had to make do with a seriously cut-down subset of what’s on offer in Europe and the US, missing out on xDrive variants and performance diesels. That may well be changing. BMW plans to streamline its product planning to harmonise across world markets. The 3 Series certainly needs all the help it can get in Australia. In 2017 the Mercedes-Benz C-Class more than trebled the local sales of the 3 Series.…

access_time1 min.

1975 E21 The original and purest. Sophisticated successor to the 02 cars, inheriting the rear-drive layout but introducing silky six-pot powerplants that delighted keen drivers. 1991 E36 The E36 was the sales success that proved that a premium alternative to the mid-range sedan could be both aspirational yet cost-effective due to strong residuals. 1998 E46 A technological step-change from the E36, the E46 ushered in the fantastic M3 CSL, paddle shift transmissions and some excellent performance diesels.…

access_time1 min.
aussie m2 competition confirmed

BMW’s 302kW/550Nm M2 Competition is set to arrive in Australian dealers in October. The $104,900 coupe gets a slightly detuned version of the current M3’s S55 twin-turbo lump and is offered with a choice of a manual or DCT transmission. A budget $99,900 Pure version is set to follow in early 2019. The Pure does without the Harman Kardon stereo, electrically adjustable sports seats, adaptive LED headlights and rides on 19-inch wheels. The Competition models replace the regular M2 variant in BMW’s line-up going forward.…