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Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels July 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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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

THE BIGGEST challenge facing electric cars is … let’s stop there for a second. There are so many hurdles to EV ownership that it’s likely your mind has thrown up a reflex response. Range? Weight? Recharging infrastructure? Price? These are all genuine concerns, though anyone who has driven a Mercedes-Benz EQC (our reigning Car of the Year) or a Tesla Model 3 will also know they’re quickly and resolutely being overcome as the EV movement gains momentum. Well, except for price that is. Yet there’s one beachhead where EVs are struggling to gain traction: how they’re perceived by petrol heads. I’m not talking about the ferocious adoration and cult-like intensity shown by the growing hordes of Teslarati. They’re a new (and very welcome) kind of enthusiast. No, I’m talking about the…

3 min.
more than just a grille

YES, IT IS real. No, we can’t stop staring either. Welcome, dear readers, to our first official look at the polarising G22 4 Series which, quite obviously, has a gargantuan grille. But let’s put a pin in that for now because there are more important things at play here than how this car looks. BMW is pitching this second-gen 4er as its mid-sizer for drivers and has given it new engine tech, a stiffer chassis, and subtle dimension changes. Think of it as the 3 Series’ hunkered down, sportier sibling and you’re most of the way there. And if you squint, and imagine a tougher stance and bodywork, you’re looking at the next M4. Compared to the 3 Series, this coupe is 23mm wider and 57mm lower, which helps drop the centre…

2 min.
aston names new boss

IN A BID to prop up a share price that looked to be in a death spiral, Tobias Moers, the former head of AMG, has been appointed CEO of Aston Martin, bringing to an end the six-year tenure of Andy Palmer. Moers won’t formally take up the position until the start of August, with Keith Stanton, Aston’s former head of manufacturing, taking up the reins as an interim Chief Operating Officer, reporting to the Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll. While Moers’ resume is unimpeachable, doubling the size of AMG’s product portfolio while quadrupling its sales, his vision in strategic product planning has cemented his reputation. The company’s move to downsized turbo engines has been exemplary, but industry rumour suggests that Moers was only comfortable going so far along this path, leading to an…

1 min.
five action points for moers

STEP 01 STICK TO THE KNITTING Re-examine what Aston Martin is and what it means to customers and deliver on these values, while intelligently modernising STEP 02 STREAMLINE DBX DELIVERIES Aston’s costly potential saviour has been slow to reach customers. Its moment in the spotlight is undoubtedly finite STEP 03 RATIONALISE MID-ENGINED COSTS Moers needs to wield the red pen here. It’s pointless drowning in debt only to find you’ve become another McLaren STEP 04 LOOK AT VANTAGE/DB11 WALKUP It’s never good business for a premium manufacturer to have its lowest margin model cannibalising sales of a more profitable one STEP 05 REVISIT DESIGN ETHOS The company has lost its focus from creating some of the most beautiful interiors in the business. The current Vantage cabin is, to put it bluntly, a mess…

2 min.
the ev money pit

IT SITS beneath a dust cover in the back of a hangar in Hullavington, UK. James Dyson’s billion-dollar folly is an SUV with seven seats, sleek styling, some beautiful interior design quirks, a claimed range of 965km and no viable business case. “Electric cars are very expensive to make. The battery, battery management, electronics and cooling are much more expensive than an internal combustion engine,” he told the Financial Times, rueing the fact that the car would need to retail at $300,000 in order to break even. At that price point, it would be hopelessly undercut by its rivals. The three-year development project, which employed 500 workers was quietly shelved last October. What went wrong? Others “are making huge losses on every electric car they sell”, said Dyson. “They’re doing it because…

1 min.
dream to reality

YOU MIGHT remember Gabriel from our May issue. He’s the 13-year-old guitar player who wrote to the Wheels Inbox to tell us how much he loved the magazine, and how he especially loved Ferrari. Gabriel is such a passionate Tifoso that when he busks at the local market he has a sign on his guitar case that says “all proceeds to my Ferrari”. We applaud such dedication and entrepreneurship, so with help from Ferrari Australia, we wanted to fast-forward his timeline a little. Which is how we found ourselves at Gabriel’s front door on a chilly autumn morning, the deep bass of a red F8 Tributo doing its best to give away our position. Our arrival was a surprise (Gabriel’s parents were in on the plan) and seeing the unbridled shock and…