Wheels September 2020

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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3 min

AFTER LITTLE CONSIDERATION and much shallow thinking, I’ve decided I’ve cracked this whole ‘how to make a successful car company malarkey’. The trick, you see, is to create a brand so strong that it transcends your product. Ferrari has this nailed. So do Lamborghini, Jaguar and Aston Martin. How these cars drive is important, obviously, but the greatest vindication for most buyers will come from the fuzzy feeling of asking a doorman at a fancy hotel to “please bring up the Aston”. Which brings me to Maserati. Of all the brands on sale today, it’s rivalled only by Alfa Romeo for association with words like ‘passion’, ‘beauty’ and ‘luxury’. Think Maserati and your mind will fill with slow-motion images of Fangio sliding a scarlet red 250F, of gleaming 3500s, and the…

4 min
new gt3: more aero, more aggro

FRANK-STEFFEN Walliser is on a mission to create the hardest, angriest Porsche 911 GT3 to date. In a conversation with Wheels earlier this year, Walliser, the man at the helm of Porsche’s sports car division, signalled his intention to make the 992 Turbo S a faster and rawer thing. That sentiment is only being amplified with the forthcoming 992 GT3. Originally scheduled to be unveiled at the 2021 Geneva motor show, the cancellation of that event has meant that there’s now a more tentative Q1 launch date pencilled in for the GT3. While Porsche isn’t focused on ladling a whole lot more power at the GT3, with company insiders merely saying it’ll have a slight bump in power to “more than 368kW”, most of the work has been dedicated to cutting…

3 min
maserati breaks free

SOMEWHERE IN an executive’s office at Maserati HQ in Modena, Italy, we imagine a set of speakers are blaring The Vines’ 2002 grunge banger ‘Get Free’, as the company prepares to step out of Maranello’s lengthy shadow. Almost every new Maserati since 2002 has been powered by an engine sourced from Ferrari, but that tradition is coming to an end as Maserati readies its own in-house creation to usher in a new beginning for the trident badge. With no public engine code, the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 project is known simply as Nettuno (Neptune in Italian). It’s claimed this new engine is “100 percent Maserati” and is designed entirely without input from fellow Fiat alliance manufacturers. The car it will debut in, the MC20, is yet to launch but Maserati has revealed…

1 min
the ev suv tidal wave

OF THE 1513 fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles sold locally in the first six months of 2020, 921 were SUVs. Manufacturers are expecting those numbers to grow exponentially and are sending fresh new metal Down Under to take advantage. These three all-new SUVs have their passports packed and boarding passes at the ready to arrive in Australia next year. They’ll face stiff competition from the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X, and COTY-winning Mercedes-Benz EQC. 01 AUDI Q4 E-TRON Technically still a concept, a production version is to be revealed imminently. Built on VW’s MEB platform, the Q4 e-tron will use an 82kWh battery with either twin- or single-motor configurations. Final production figures are yet to be finalised but a claimed range in the region of 500km is expected. 02…

2 min
charged pony

FORD IS taking a big risk with the Mustang Mach-E – and that’s just with its name. So how do you convince heartland enthusiasts to get onboard with a controversial new electric SUV that has piggybacked your most iconic nameplate? Build an unhinged tyre-destroying monster of course. Enter the Mach-E 1400 (pictured), developed by Ford Performance in conjunction with champion drifter Vaugh Gittin Jr (think Ken Block with more facial hair and a healthier trophy cabinet). Built starting with the Mach-E body-in-white, all the hanging panels are carbonfibre, bar the bonnet which is made from an experimental organic composite material. Powering the 2270kg prototype is a 56.8kW battery weighing around 680kg. Small in capacity, the unit is high in power density and made of lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide pouch cells. The…

3 min
road trip ready

AFTER months spent at home social-distancing, it’s almost time to jump back in the car and hit the road for that dream regional or interstate trip. Road trip snacks? Check. Perfect Spotify playlist? Check. Destination? Check. Tyres? Get them checked! To that end, we chatted to Mitchell Golledge, Managing Director at Continental Tyres, to find out everything you need to know about checking your tyres and getting your car ready for your getaway. MOVE IT! Tyre flat-spotting is common after a car has been parked for a prolonged period. This happens when the tyre area in contact with the ground creates a flat spot in the rubber due to lack of movement. There are two types of flat-spotting: temporary and semi-permanent. The severity of the flat spot is determined by things like tyre…