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topCar January 2016

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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R35,50

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time2 min.
there’s a place for relics

I IMAGINE IT MUST be hard to ‘steal the show’ in 2015, especially at an event as charged with energy and hype as the Tokyo Motor Show where alternative fuel sources and autonomous technology runs rife (and by itself ), where pet robots are revealed and bodystyles are best measured by how sharp they are. Ultimately, the Tokyo Big Sight (actual name) convention centre turns into a Star Wars set when TMS comes around, but updated with technology to put your average Pod Racer’s Alluvial Dampers (made up futuristic term, all rights reserved LucasArts) to shame, with hybridised drivetrains and cars so good for the environment you’d swear they were actually planting trees themselves as they drove by. I assume that timing must be everything. Because in spite of, or perhaps…

access_time5 min.
new rx-7: mazda’s rotary renaissance

There will be light MX-5 is proof of Mazda’s love of small, lightweight cars made of aluminium. RX-Vision will shrink in its transition to road-ready, Porsche Cayman-baiting RX-7 No distractions Designer Maeda: ‘We reduced the number of elements to the minimum. There is just the saddle leather and a couple of simple dials and controls – no distractions’ Rotary here please Compact rotary engine sits well aft of the front axle, effectively making the RX mid-engined. Remainder of enormous bonnet presumably conceals several spare wheels and a stowaway Manual and RWD No NSX-style fancy all-wheel drive, just driven rear wheels and a manual ’box, though Mazda acknowledges buyers may demand a nice and easy DCT Adjustable aero Rear end dominated by twin exhausts, adjustable rear wing and a prominent diffuser promising downforce, but the body was shaped for style…

access_time1 min.
mazda’s plan to save the rotary

THE PROS: Powerful for a given size, smooth and lightweight. THE CONS: Sealing the rotor unit is notoriously difficult – gases leak past the rotor tips, saddling the car with dirty exhaust emissions and poor fuel economy. THE FIX: Mazda’s developed its own technology to be able to observe the combustion process within the engine, something manufacturers have done for years in order to hone the conventional piston engine to near-perfection. Mazda is feeding this information into computer analysis to yield improvements in exhaust gas quality and fuel economy. It’s also working on those all-important rotor seals, and seeking to boost torque – another rotary weakness – through ignition timing. THE OTHER OPTIONS: Hybrid technology has previously been hailed as the rotary’s saviour (Audi dabbled with the idea on the 2011 A1 E-tron…

access_time1 min.
topcar’s curveballs

Tell us about your first car... ‘It was a Renault 4 L bought when I was a student at the Royal College of Art. The L stood for “lousy”. I had a limit of a few hundred pounds and found it in the Evening Standard newspaper. Which achievement makes you most proud? ‘Having the ambition from the age of six or seven to become a car designer and actually getting there. I remember at my grammar school careers night saying, “I want to be a car designer” and my teacher replying, “Have you thought about insurance? Cars need insurance.” But I went to art school and in 1974 walked into Chrysler’s Whitley studio – now Jaguar’s – and started work on the Horizon model. I did the bumper, grille and lamps.’ What’s…

access_time4 min.
‘copying is over in china. companies have proper design departments now’

DESPITE CONFESSING THAT he’s old enough to qualify for a bus pass, 65-year-old Peter Horbury shows no signs of quitting. After a distinguished career at Ford and two stints as Volvo design boss – including during the influential ’90s when he redefined the ‘boxy’ brand, courtesy of a pronounced shoulder line and strong, smooth lines on the first-generation S80, S60 and C70 – he ended up back in Sweden in 2009 just before Chinese upstart Geely decided to buy the brand. Moving swiftly to design senior vice president for the Geely Group in 2011, he’s spent the last four years putting fire under the brand’s ambitions. ‘It’s a whole new challenge and so much fun,’ he enthuses, ‘because there was no brand identity before, no design department. My job is…

access_time1 min.
we hear

MASERATI’S FUTURE model strategy is a moveable feast. The world fell in love with last year’s Alfieri concept (pictured), and optimists expected it in 2016 with a roadster following a year later. But the Levante SUV is running late, and resource is currently being channelled into an electric SUV for the Chinese market with an unnamed local partner. So the Alfieri pair have been pushed back to 2018 and 2019. They will run the 3.0-litre V6 turbo rated at 305 or 388kW. Today’s GranTurismo/Cabrio must soldier on with a new infotainment system and the odd refresher until late 2019 or early 2020. Then we get a roomier 2+2-seater based on the Ghibli platform, with a bigger boot and a choice of 305kW V6 and 3.8-litre V8 in 395kW Sport and 447kW MC…

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