Wheels June 2021

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 Issues

in this issue

3 min

IGNITION. RACE MODE. GUN IT. Lockdown life might be fading quickly in our collective rear-view mirrors but even now, months since our last round of hard restrictions, the view of an empty twisting stretch of tarmac gets my pulse racing. Throw in the chance to reacquaint myself with some snorting Italian brio, in the form of an Alfa Romeo Giulia Q, and the freedom to explore and dissect both the road and machine feels just about perfect. It’s been years since I’ve driven a Giulia Q. My last taste was at COTY 2018, when the then box-fresh Alfa – riding on its much-hailed and eye-wateringly expensive Giorgio architecture – delivered a driving experience akin to a shot of straight grappa. And it’s no different now; good grief, this is a brilliant…

5 min
mazda rolls the dice

IT’S NO SECRET Mazda is moving upmarket, kicking off with the all-new CX-5 replacement, featuring a newly developed rear-drive platform dubbed FR Large Architecture, increased electrification and a level of sophisticated engineering excellence to match or exceed BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But what might surprise you is how soon all this is happening. To be unveiled late this year – probably to have been simultaneously at the now-cancelled Tokyo Motor Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show in November – the hugely anticipated CX-50 will be released globally during the first half of 2022. It showcases what we’ve all been expecting – and hoping for – including an inline six-cylinder engine in 3.0-litre petrol (possibly in turbo and eventually twin-turbo guises, we hear) and 3.3L turbo-diesel sizes, with 48-volt battery and mild-hybrid technology. All…

1 min
what about the cx-5?

DOES THE ARRIVAL of a larger, swoopier and newer CX-50 mean a fundamental change is also in store for the venerable CX-5? No, is the simple answer. Just as Mazda continues to sell the CX-3 alongside the newer CX-30, the CX-5’s positioning will remain unchanged, with the CX-50 sold as a complementary offering. That means CX-5 will retain its current dimensions and platform, so it will miss out on the CX-50’s new engines and tech. Nevertheless, while CX-5 will be half a step behind in development terms, a heavily updated version of the current car is expected to arrive sometime next year.…

1 min
kissing cousins?

WILL THE NEXT Mazda 6 and Lexus IS replacement become closely related under the skin? With Toyota and Mazda transitioning to a shared electrification skateboard architecture starting from 2025, one scenario doing the rounds is that the next-generation rear-drive Mazda 6’s FR Large Architecture might be adopted by Lexus for its medium-sized sports sedan series. Sounds far-fetched? With Mazda’s move upmarket, all-new inline-six mild-hybrid engines, rumoured plug-in compatible 2.5-litre four-cylinder SkyActiv-X powertrain and cutting-edge engineering tech, the 2023 6’s component set is shaping up to be blue-ribbon material. Lexus might struggle to make it look as good, though, if the 2017 Mazda Vision Coupe concept is anything to go by.…

2 min
gotcha! bmw m4 cs caught testing

IT WAS ALWAYS going to be a case of ‘what, exactly?’ rather than ‘when’ or ‘if’ for more-hardcore variants of BMW’s G80 M3 and G82 M4. This prototype, caught testing in Munich, gives an indiction of what we can expect when the CS version goes on sale around the middle of next year, built in limited numbers and featuring a modest power hike, more aero-optimised body parts and a weight cut via lighter carbonfibre components. But with the current Competition variant already offered with hi-po options like carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin Cup rubber (see our big Aussie drive on p92), BMW’s M Division has had to work harder to deliver clear differentiation for the more hardcore, limited-run variants. It’s understood ECU so. ware tweaks will push power clear of the 375kW of the…

3 min
future n-deavour

HYUNDAI N IS beginning to reveal its plans to become one of the true big dogs in the performance car world. Electrification and even hydrogen fuel cells are on the horizon, but before then the engineers at N are doubling down on what they do best: injecting well-sorted dynamics and punchy performance into cars that are genuinely affordable. Here’s how N is planning to succeed, in four simple steps. 01 KONA N IT MIGHT SHARE the same powertrain as the i30 N hatch – a 2.0-litre turbo four producing 206kW and 392Nm paired with an eight-speed DCT – but the Kona N is reportedly even faster around a racetrack than its hatch sibling. Aussie testing around Wakefield Park has shown the Kona is the quickest car yet to wear the N badge, with…