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topCar January 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.

Country:
South Africa
Language:
English
Publisher:
Media 24 Ltd
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BUY ISSUE
R35,50

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time3 min.
editor’s welcome

COMPARISONS HAVE ALWAYS been a hallmark of TopCar. Needless to say, gathering an extensive array of vehicles of comparable specification, power and price together on the same day is no mean feat that can often take months of planning. Because we strive to make a definitive choice, every effort is made to elicit the widest range of vehicles possible. We’re thus often at the discretion of manufacturers as to which vehicles they have (or are prepared to make) available for us to evaluate. After all not everyone likes what we have to say. This month we pit everything from the more practical to the ultra-emotive against one another in three giant shootouts. We begin on page 38 by comparing the latest family SUVs to reach our shores – Nissan’s new X-Trail…

access_time4 min.
bmw rips up the formula for next m6 and super-i8s

100, AND OUT WITH THE ECO-BIAS! The i8S will be BMW’s centenary present to itself. It’s a re-engineered i8, with an inflationary approach to the powertrain – today’s three cylinder count will be upped to four or even six. Throw in the front-mounted electric assistance and peak power should climb by almost 150kW IT COULD HAVE BEEN AN M8! Engineers originally proposed a mid-engined M8 supercar with 470kW for the centenary, but chairman Norbert Reithofer decided the enhanced i8 is a more progressive statement NEW M6 IS A FAT-FIGHTER The current M6 weighs a frankly leviathan 1925kg, blunting its agility. A smaller footprint and exotic materials should peg the new coupe closer to the 1700kg mark GRAN TOURER OR 911-CHASER? The 911 is facing competition like never before, with cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GT and Jaguar…

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star trek merc set to stun

EVEN MERCEDES ISN’T immune to the supermini-SUV craze swamping the industry: here comes the G-Code, a 4.1m-long ‘sport utility coupe’ concept said to preview Merc’s future design direction. G-Code was designed by Mercedes’ new advanced design studio and product engineering centre in Beijing – one of five centres dotted around the globe to soak up and respond to local market trends. We can only assume the Chinese are fans of late-2000s Saab design, because the rear light bar, glasshouse and surfacing remind us of some Swedish concepts. But that’s not the mad part. The mad part is that this concept is powered by cow emissions and detailed under the influence of Star Trek. The combustion engine runs on hydrogen derived from methane with supplementary plug-in electric drive. Basically the engine drives the…

access_time3 min.
an american tale: 60 years of ferrari north america

1954: Ferrari’s Mr America, Luigi Chinetti FERRARI’S NORTH American story is down to this man, Luigi Chinetti. An old Alfa Romeo racing buddy of Enzo Ferrari who won Le Mans three times, Chinetti escaped wartime Europe by entering a team in the Indy 500 to craftily secure a US visa. Returning to Europe as a successful car dealer, he convinces Ferrari of America’s massive sales potential. Chinetti’s Manhattan dealership becomes Ferrari’s first overseas importer in 1954, and he remains Maranello’s man stateside until Ferrari North America started in 1978. He dies in 1994, aged 93. 1956: 410 Superamerica THE FOURTH car in the ‘America’ series, but the first with ‘super’ status. Ferrari provided the chassis and powerful V12 engine for these GT cars, which were clothed by coachbuilders. Ghia’s 410 channels the American…

access_time2 min.
will this flying car take off?

HOW IT FLIES The AeroMobil 3.0 is pushed through the air by a Rotax 912 engine driving the rear-mounted prop, and born aloft on carbonfibre wings that unfold to a width of 8.3m. Take-off speed is 145kph, and you need to keep it above 65kph or it’ll fall out of the sky HOW IT DRIVES On the ground the propeller is disconnected and the Rotax 912 engine powers the front wheels. Despite a modest 75kW, the 1352cc four-cylinder will supposedly hit 160kph in this guise – and return 8L/100km IS THIS THE ultimate crossover? The AeroMobil 3.0 is a road-legal car that flies. It might be a prototype but this ‘roadable aircraft’ showed its airborne prowess at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival. For Štefan Klein, chief designer and co-founder of Slovakian firm AeroMobil, this is more…

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mclaren raises the track temperature

› CLAREN IS GRADUALLY M lifting its skirts to reveal more about the track-only 735kW P1 GTR – Woking’s riposte to Maranello’s XX programme. This month’s tease includes an undisguised prototype getting the spanking it so thoroughly deserves, and the first images of the pared-back interior. Front and centre inside is a steering wheel modelled on that of the 2008 championship-winning MP4-023 F1 car, festooned with switches and controls made easy to operate with race gloves on. But note also the total lack of roll cage – the P1’s standard carbonfibre ‘MonoCage’ structure delivers FIA-grade rollover protection without the need for additional reinforcement. Impressive, but we wager these details are not what most P1 GTR punters are spending their hard-earned dosh for. Nor is the reason for purchase going to be boredom with…

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