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Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels August 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 FACT THEY ‘no longer make them like they used to’ is undoubtedly a good thing. I’ve spent an unexpected amount of time in old cars this month and while they were charming and oozing with nostalgia, I walked away reassured that modern machinery is immeasurably better. This month’s New vs Used feature story (p46) also got me thinking. Usually when I debate these things with friends in bars, I’ll argue fiercely that the used option is the smarter pick as you’ll often get more car (and typically a more interesting one) for your money. But when it came to pulling together the story and I had all of the facts (and costs) in front of me, I found myself leaning towards the new options. It boiled down to a simple…

5 min.
black is back, baby!

BEFORE WE bombard you with the numbers – and there are many large ones – take another look at the image above. Wild looking, isn’t it? Every AMG GT is low, wide and intimidating but this one? This is unhinged. And there’s more to it than just a big wing and some extra vents and ducts. Notice that strip of black carbon beneath the number plate? The one practically kissing the tarmac? That’s a new manually adjustable front splitter. And see that lowered section in the centre of the roof? And the way the swollen sideskirts form one gigantic strip of carbonfibre that runs down the entire length of the car? More than the headline stats, it’s these details that speak to the depth of engineering at play here. But yes, the numbers… This…

1 min.
return of the mach 1

THE FORD Mustang range is set to get a trackfocused halo model in the form of the recently revealed Mach 1. The pseudo-Shelby special edition isn’t yet confirmed for Australia, however our Mustang-crazed market means it shouldn’t be hard to build a business case for its arrival Down Under. If it’s confirmed, the Mach 1 will sit atop the local Mustang range, with the Aussie-assembled R-Spec’s limited run set to come to a close soon. Think of the Mach 1 as the result of what would happen if the Bullitt Mustang raided the undie drawers of the Shelby GT350 and GT500. Outputs from the naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 are identical to the Bullitt at 345kW and 556Nm, thanks to an airbox, intake manifold, and throttle body from the GT350. Automatic Mach 1s are fitted with…

1 min.
teutonic top trumps

ENGINE German power cake recipe: Take two turbos and eight cylinders, mix into a vee at skunkworks, slap into a sedan or wagon body. Enjoy! OUTPUTS BMW’s turbos spool quickest, with smaller peak torque figure arriving lowest in RPM range and spread across most revs. AMG has widest peak kW band WEIGHT Wagon-bodied RS6 is heaviest of the bunch. Complex all-wheel-drive systems bring bulk kegs, but lightweight Competition pack helps BMW shed heft 0-100km/h BMW has a new habit of underquoting acceleration figures, so the difference here could be even larger. Munich easily wins the war of power-to-weight, too TOP SPEED While the ‘slowest’ of the trio, AMG E63 S is the only one capable of reaching 300km/h without aid of an option pack ECONOMY All three like a drink. Audi only car with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to help reduce…

2 min.
who is h2x?

H2X AUSTRALIA is a small tech start-up currently employing 70 staff and based in Port Kembla, NSW. The company’s aim is to bring the vehicle you see here, the Snowy SUV, to market in 2022. That’s right, an Aussie-designed vehicle within a couple of years, assembled locally from an imported chassis. There are some significant hurdles to overcome, not least of which is that the Snowy utilises a hydrogen fuel cell. While that’s H2X’s core piece of intellectual property, it also relies on a fuelling network that currently consists of one station in Canberra. CEO Brendan Norman, who has held executive positions with VW and Audi and has worked on hydrogen start-ups Grove and Riverside in the last decade, is aware of this chicken- and-egg scenario. “We’re already discussing how we lay…

1 min.
hot mazda 3 teased

AT THE TIME of going to press, details were sketchy but Mazda has teased the launch of a turbocharged version of its popular 3 hatch. Model designations for a six-speed auto Mazda 3 turbo hatch were leaked from a US dealer’s intranet last month, and Mazda has now confirmed the rumours by releasing a short teaser video with the strapline ‘Prepare for Launch’. Mazda’s last performance version of the 3 was the 190kW MPS, which shuffled into retirement in 2013. Don’t expect a like-for-like replacement but it’s clear that Mazda needs something punchier than the erstwhile 139kW G25 flagship if the 3’s to thrive at its current near-premium positioning.…