Wheels October 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.

Are Media Pty Limited
6 期号



“EDITING WHEELS HAS BEEN A LIFELONG AMBITION, THOUGH I’M SIMPLY THE TEMPORARY CUSTODIAN OF A GREAT BRAND. MY TRUE TASKMASTERS HAVE BEEN YOU, OUR READERS” SOMETIMES A DEPARTING executive or editor will leave a note on their desk addressed to their successor. Inside, the incumbent can expect some kind words of encouragement, or perhaps a joke, as well as some useful insights gleaned through hard-earned experience. I didn’t get such a note on my first day as the editor of Wheels. Mine was more of an instruction manual. ‘HOW TO BE A GOOD MAGAZINE EDITOR: SOME TIPS’ shouted the thick document resting on my keyboard. Written by former Wheels deputy editor, Mel Nichols, and placed on my desk by the magazine’s then publisher, Ged Bulmer, the 14-page double-sided document is now as…

return of the king

IT’S HARD to be an innovator these days – everyone’s at it. Which makes life difficult for the all-new S-Class. Back in the good old days, the S-Class was a beacon of future thinking and genuine technological advancement. The new S-Class still lives up to this legacy but must compete with a talented host of rival impostors cutting its grass. The seventh generation of Mercedes-Benz’s luxury limo flagship (codenamed W223) does this through incremental advancements in key areas instead of wholesale change. The first is a huge augmented reality head-up display, which Mercedes says is the equivalent of having a 77-inch TV screen placed 10 metres in front of the car. The system projects info such as turn-off arrows “virtually and precisely” onto the road in front of the driver. Powering the new S-Class…

ram’s 523kw trx!

IT’S BILLED AS the ‘most powerful mass-produced truck in the world’ and we’re not about to argue. The Ram 1500 TRX packs much the same maniacal 6.2-litre supercharged V8 hemi lump seen in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which results in 523kW and 881Nm going to all four wheels. Power is deployed via a familiar ZF 8HP95 eight-speed automatic, and Ram claims its big bruiser will hit 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds and run a 12.9sec quarter. In addition to wicking up the grunt, Ram has clearly put a lot of effort into making sure the T-Rex, as it’s known internally, isn’t some malevolent ditch-seeking missile. For a start, its footprint is radically different to the rest of the Ram 1500 line-up. A 150mm widening of both front and rear tracks means…

analogue epilogue

OF COURSE it’s amazing. You knew that already. How could anything that weighs 986kg, that’s powered by a 487kW 3.9-litre atmo V12 that revs to 12,100rpm, yet retains an H-pattern manual gearbox driving the rear wheels be anything but? That the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 also features three seats with a central driving position, intriguing fan-assisted aerodynamics and can carry a decent amount of luggage in a footprint no bigger than a Boxster is testament to the genius of the man who designed the iconic McLaren F1. “For me, car design is packaging,” says Murray. “That’s it. Twenty years in Formula 1 teaches you how to package a car.” Indeed, the T.50 is a lesson in shrink-wrapped space utilisation, the 288-litre luggage capacity being one of the first figures Murray will quote…

the lost holdens

A DESIGN DOCUMENT kept secret by Holden for two decades has been uncovered by Wheels, revealing initial plans for a number of tantalising VE Commodore variants. Top of the pile is a mid-size sedan that would have revived the Torana bodystyle for Holden. Among the other lost VE Commodore variants are a coupe and coupe ute, a cab-chassis ute, a shooting-brake wagon and even a seven-seater. The secret document is believed to be an exploration into the different possibilities of a versatile flex architecture strategy; a result of an early brainstorming session by Holden’s design team held around the turn of the millennium. In total, Holden’s designers envisaged the possibility for nine or more variants to be spun off the VE Commodore and its Zeta platform. Nestled amidst the different ute and wagon body…


HYUNDAI i30 SEDAN N-LINE Using the same 150kW 1.6-litre four-pot as its hatch equivalent, the three-box Hyundai i30 Sedan N-Line adds a third bodystyle to the i30 range. Offered with 18-inch alloys, CarPlay/Android Auto and an Aussie-specific suspension tune, this one will be followed by the larger Sonata N-Line, powered by the company’s new 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four. KIA STINGER The Stinger gets treated to a raft of updates intended to keep it looking fresh. The usual facelift targets – lights, grille, front and rear fascias, wheel designs and colour palette – are addressed, along with improved materials inside, and the fitment of a big 10.25-inch touchscreen. MAZDA BT-50 How good does this look? Mazda brings the style and finish, Isuzu delivers the bulletproof mechanicals. The new BT-50 gets a 3.0-litre 4cyl turbo-diesel that delivers 140kW/450Nm…