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topCar December 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.
we’ve gone a bit mad

WE KNOW. THERE’S a lot happening on our cover this month. A plethora of performers, sporty types of every description from humble roadsters to blistering hot hatchbacks, super saloons and coupes before we really dial the lunacy up to eleven with a collection of speed machines all vying for the honour of being crowned 2015’s Best Sports Car. Of course we’ve offset all this with an element of consumer advice – a quick comparison of four, seven-seater SUVs ranging from the all-new Ford Everest, via the familiar Toyota Prado and more-premium-than-ever Audi Q7 to the frankly ridiculous Infiniti QX80. However, what I find most compelling are the two stars of our local road tests: Mazda’s svelte new MX-5 and Honda’s turbocharged Civic Type R. It’s all about perspective. Sure they’re…

access_time6 min.
m2: bmw’s 272kw go-kart

IT’S A VERY EXCITING time to be alive. Well, if you’re a petrolhead. Downsizing has meant smaller-capacity engines now make massive power without compromising fuel economy and emissions. Just look at the four-wheel drive, 280kW, 2.0-litre turbo-four A45, now upgraded with a front limited-slip diff and capable of 0-100kph in 4.2sec. It follows (very) hot on the heels of the second-generation Audi RS3 Sportback, another all-wheel-drive family-sized monster, this one with a 270kW 2.5-litre turbo-five capable of propelling it from zero to 100kph in 4.3sec. Confident statements of significant intent, both. But look closely and you’ll see signs of nerves: a shivering door mirror here, a tiny unanticipated dribble of fluid there. And the reason is staring you in the face – this is the new BMW M2. Having already slapped the…

access_time5 min.

THE DIESEL EMISSIONS scandal is pitting the people vs the People’s Car-maker. Social media is buzzing with opinions on the Volkswagen brand’s toxicity: who wouldn’t be outraged by the contempt of VW engineers flouting laws designed to protect people’s health, for commercial advantage? And the fallout is spreading beyond VW, putting the gutless European emissions test under the spotlight, and even bringing the diesel engine’s future into question. VW will pay an exorbitant price for its deception: manufacturing and installing software that ran two distinct diesel operating cycles, one for the laboratory to ‘defeat’ emissions tests, and one for the road. The on-road programme reduced the effectiveness of the exhaust emissions control system, increasing NOx pollution to 10-40 times the permissible US limit. In the first few days of the crisis, $22…

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grosjean grabs keys to ferrari’s back door

AT THE PRECISE moment his current Lotus F1 team passes back into the hands of his Renault countrymen, French driver Romain Grosjean has jumped ship and signed for the new Haas F1 Team in 2016. His signature is undoubtedly a coup for the American outfit, but why should Grosjean – a 10-time podium finisher and one of the sport’s pre-eminent drivers – have opted for a rookie team? The answer lies in the car’s power unit. Haas have struck up a technical partnership with Ferrari that will see them buy the entire rear end of their car – the engine, ERS and gearbox – from the Scuderia, including suspension parts and brake ducts. By committing to Haas, Grosjean has aligned himself with the Scuderia, and that’s significant because the team will…

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america and f1: not star-spangled!

AMERICAN TEAMS haven’t enjoyed much success in F1. Many have tried their hand at the top echelon, only to fail, and just two teams have succeeded in winning races. Eagle won the 1967 Belgian GP with Dan Gurney behind the wheel and John Watson took the spoils for Penske at the ’76 Austrian GP. The US-European business model being pursued by Haas isn’t new. In 2010 the US F1 Team planned to base itself at Charlotte, North Carolina, and have a logistics hub in Europe. But the team never got off the ground and Haas is the first American team on the grid since Carl Haas (no relation) founded the unsuccessful Lola-Haas team in 1985. TEAM ANGLO AMERICAN RACERS Car Eagle T1G Key drivers Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther Raced 1966-68 (32 races) Wins 1 Points 17 TEAM…

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tokyo toy show

Suzuki Mighty Deck Japan has a long tradition of endearingly bewildering car names. Who could fail to love the Mazda Bongo Friendee, Nissan Cedric or Honda That’s (yes, really), to name but a few? Prepare to add to that illustrious roster the Suzuki Mighty Deck making its debut at the 2015 Tokyo motor show. Substitute ‘mighty’ for ‘small’, as this is perhaps the tiniest, cutest pickup truck you’ll see this year. Suzuki describes the Mighty Deck as a ‘fun-oriented minicar’, with a retractable canvas roof section and repositionable load deck, which can be raised and lowered electrically. With a tiny sub-1.0-litre engine and titchy dimensions, officially it’s a ‘Kei’ class car. Toyota Kikai concept Ahh, Tokyo. Land of neon, gadgets and crazy concept cars. Take this Toyota Kikai, for example – which appears to have…