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Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels April 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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Are Media Pty Limited
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE motoring stories is the tale of Burma switching from right- to left-hand drive. Instigated overnight in 1970 at the behest of the nation’s totalitarian leader, General Ne Win, the story is one of outrageous propaganda and hopeless mismanagement, though my favourite part is the reasoning behind the switch. Details are murky, but the consensus is old Ne Win, who was a pretty nasty piece of work, was acting on the advice of a wizard. While Burma (now Myanmar) is clearly not a poster child for swapping driving sides – one especially chaotic outcome was buses dropping passengers in the middle of busy streets – that doesn’t mean we should hastily dismiss Ne Win as a crazed megalomaniac (he was, actually, but you get my point). Perhaps he…

7 min.
golf attack

VOLKSWAGEN is out to reclaim its hot hatch crown with a four-pronged assault that could include an electrified 300kW hyper hatch to take on the Mercedes-AMG A45. Facing stiff competition from newer rivals, such as the Hyundai i30 N and Honda Civic Type R, VW is mounting a multi-tier approach for its refreshed performance hatch line-up. Leading the charge is the all-new GTI which is set to arrive in Australia in the second quarter of 2021. VW’s EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre remains the centrepiece under the bonnet of the new GTI, producing 180kW and 370Nm – the same outputs as the outgoing Mk7.5 GTI. The main development for the Mk8 GTI is the introduction of VW’s Vehicle Dynamics Manager system, which controls the adaptive dampers and locking front differential, promising to provide a greater breadth…

3 min.
engage full thrust

ON THE 45th anniversary of the Turbo badge’s introduction, Porsche ripped the covers off its new 992 911 Turbo S. Of the non-GT 911s, the Turbo has long been the biggest, baddest and most fearsome. It’s main drawcard has always been the engine, and this 992-generation is no different. The 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six that sits behind the rear axle is a heavily reworked version of Porsche’s EA9A2 Evo unit. Compared to the Carrera models, there is an extra 800cc, new piezo fuel injectors and a redesigned intake. The variable geometry turbos have grown too: turbine wheels are up 5mm to 55mm, while the compressor wheel has grown 3mm to 61mm. The turbos are now symmetrical, spinning in opposite directions, with electronically adjustable wastegates for even faster response times. As for firepower, the…

1 min.
changing hearts and minds

INTRODUCED in 1975, the original 930 Turbo was conceived as a homologation special, with 400 units destined to be built for the 1976 racing season. The 190kW 3.0 Turbo was the first production Porsche to utilise a blower and was, upon launch, the fastest accelerating production car in the world. Louise Piëch, daughter of automotive pioneer Ferdinand Porsche, was gifted the very first example as a birthday gift – which becomes somewhat perplexing when you consider that the flagship Turbo was a challenging steer. The power band was notoriously peaky and would overpower its 225-section rear treads with ease. The 964 and 993 generations became gradually more refined, but it was the introduction of the 993 GT2 in 1993 that allowed the 911 Turbo to develop as a more cohesive and urbane…

3 min.
breaking the chain

THE TOHOKU earthquake that struck Japan’s east coast in 2011 was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan. A tsunami devastated the mainland, inundating the Fukushima nuclear reactor and causing huge loss of life. Amid those headlines, it was perhaps inevitable that the resultant closure of a nondescript factory manufacturing bismaleimide triazine (BT) would be overlooked. Mitsubishi Gas Chemical manufactures more than half the world’s supply of BT, a resin required for making substrates that connect chips to printed circuit boards. Automotive companies suffered months of delays trying to rebuild the crippled supply chain. A similar scramble is in play today as manufacturers look to effect workarounds of the supply chain havoc wreaked by COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus. Tesla has been forced to supply some Chinese-built Model 3s with Hardware 2.5…

1 min.
recycle to repair

One of the less obvious coronavirus effects is the supply issue around automotive parts for the repair and maintenance industry. It is about to become significantly more expensive, and considerably more difficult, to repair vehicles with new parts. A solution to this looming crisis is to increase the availability and use of recycled original equipment (ROE) parts. The challenge is in converting the Australian public, insurers, mechanics and suppliers of ROE parts to the potential impacts of this surge in demand, such as avoiding the unwitting sale and installation of spare parts that has been recalled due to faulty manufacture.…