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topCar August 2015

Topcar provides unmissable coverage of the wide world of cars in a monthly magazine loaded with beautiful images, in-depth analysis and unbiased opinion by a passionate team of experts.

South Africa
Media 24 Ltd
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access_time2 min.
once more, with feeling

THERE’S A LOT to be excited about. Right now, I mean. This book in your hands, just look at it, filled with evocative machinery such as the new Honda Civic Type R – a mechanical animal poised to bloody the nose of its rivals, of which we’ve already assembled two of the finest. There’s more of course, a menagerie of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Jaguars, spliced between more sensible metal such as the Renault Kadjar, Toyota Auris and Jeep Renegade. We’ve also road tested two interesting hatchbacks this month that couldn’t be less similar – a German one that thinks it’s from the future, and a French one that thinks it’s from Germany. But then we’ve even sent a man to Le Mans to witness Porsche’s monumental victory in the second year…

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what’s the future of the hot golf?

FANCY A FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE super-Golf capable of 280kph? Or an anniversary GTI with more power and track-honed aerodynamics? How about a carbonfibre-bodied, performance hybrid Golf capable of 0-100kph in 4.3sec? Volkswagen’s creative juices are working overtime on hot hatches, as it gears up for the GTI’s 40th birthday celebrations beginning this autumn. The first Golf GTI was unveiled in September 1975. Installing a fuel-injected, 80kW 1.6-litre engine into a humble hatchback was pioneering, and its 9.1sec sprint from standstill to 100kph rapid for the times. The hot hatch was born. Over the next five years, Golf performance and dynamic ability will reach unprecedented heights. It starts with the GTI Clubsport ‘concept’, unveiled at last month’s Wörthersee festival, the world’s largest gathering of Volkswagen fans. 2016: Clubsport and R400 The Clubsport, on sale in early 2016…

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military convoy in a hostile environment

01 ‘Humvees are bigger, Land Rovers better’ The perception is that the Americans have the better equipment but I believe the 110 series TUM (Truck Utility Medium) Land Rover is every bit as effective as the lumbering Humvee. The Hummer has the armour and firepower but loses out in agility and general mobility. 02 ‘In communication and fully briefed’ Control is the responsibility of the convoy commander. He has radio contact with every vehicle and intel is shared up and down the line. ‘Actions on’ are discussed before you hit the ground, and cover responses to everything from a flat tyre to an airstrike. 03 ‘Eyes open and question everything’ You have to assume that everyone you can see (and those you can’t) wants you dead, and could be a threat. I’m constantly scanning for…

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new car debrief

1 Muscle car wars – is the new Ford Mustang about to get pasted with a supersized can of whup-ass? Chevrolet’s all-new, sixth-generation Camaro is not only lighter, stronger and better looking than the previous version, you can also have one with the Corvette Stingray’s 340kW 6.2-litre V8. Yee, and indeed, haw. 2 Engage stealth mode – a 205kW 2.0 turbo and 250kW 3.6 V6 with cylinder deactivation are the other choices. Personalisable exhaust sound options include ‘stealth’ and ‘track’. 3 Brains over brawn – modern multi-link rear suspension, at least 90kg shaved off the kerbweight, a 28% stiffer structure, 350 hours in the wind tunnel and optional MagneRide suspension should make the new Camaro much, much better to drive. 4 Interior ambience – the inside also takes a step forward, with 24-colour…

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bmw x1: serious this time

BMW’S ORIGINAL X1 was a marriage of convenience. It spliced an SUV bodystyle with previous 3 Series Touring underpinnings. The result: decent driving dynamics but awkward proportions on the outside, and compromised interior packaging. This, the sequel gets a better start in life. The 2 Series Active Tourer MPV provides the building blocks, so the X1 now takes its engines transversely and couples their power primarily to the front wheels – yes, it’s another front-drive BMW. All-wheel-drive xDrive versions will still feature, however, with an electro-hydraulic clutch directing up to 100% of torque to either axle if needed. Swivelling the engines has allowed far greater interior space and made for a much more useful boot too, with a whopping 85-litre increase taking seats-up baggage room to 505 litres. With rear seat…

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goodwood: zero to legend in 22 years

1993 Lord March holds the first Goodwood Festival of Speed on Sunday 13 June. But it’s actually the second time the driveway has been alive to the sound of squealing tyres, as his grandfather held a semi-formal event for a bunch of mates in 1936. In 1994 FoS expands to Saturday; Friday is added in 1996. 1996 Goodwood Motor Racing circuit reopens after 30 years. It becomes the venue for the Goodwood Revival. 1999 22-year-old Nick Heidfeld sets the course record that still stands today: 41.6sec in a McLaren MP4-13, the 1998 F1 car – an average over 1.86km of 161.550kph. 2000 Soapbox racers join the fray, charging down the hillclimb’s 95m elevation at up to 113kph, powered by gravity alone. There are strict rules – £1000 (R20k) budget, 170x27cm size, 165kg max including driver – but…