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topCar January 2017

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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IN THIS ISSUE

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you’ll find the mainstream off the beaten track

Sahara from the Atlas foothills - ‘Will they ever find my car keys?’HAPPY NEW YEAR! While other publications are focused on testing performance cars we’ve already featured in earlier issues of TopCar, we’re concentrating on higher things, a slew of fresh metal with loftier vantage points and long-travel suspensions. SUVs after all have emerged as the most desirable form of people mover, unseating the hatchback with plastic underwear, otherwise known as the high hatch, or crossover. Where a marque previously covered the off-road ‘niche’ with one model, it has now saturated it with three, four, five, take your pick. Bundubility? Not necessarily so – if the market demands a less practical version with the outward visibility of a World War II pillbox and a roofline that can only accommodate rear…

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bruiser alert

Based on the Nissan Navara, Mercedes’ rabbit-out-the-hat X-Class bakkie has a year and a half to go before full reveal in South Africa but details are leaking like the proverbial sieve. Nicknamed ‘Andrew’ in Stuttgart boardrooms (really?), the monster ute will be built by Nissan in Barcelona, alongside Navara and its French twin, the Renault Alaskan. News in the wind is that the final production product will be pretty close to the official concept you see here, while interiors will likely be borrowed from the crossover GLE to add ‘lifestyle’ cred to the loadlugger. Expect an automatic rear window, a coil-sprung live rear axle or optional independent rear suspension. And no Amarok baby engine nonsense here – a six-cylinder V6 diesel and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory kit a la…

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mercedes pick-ups

Amarok, it’s all over now 2016 Mercedes-Benz Concept X-ClassIgnore the concept tag – the X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara and will be appearing 5mm off your rear bumper in March 2018. Top-spec models will get the GLE’s 3.0-litre V6 and enough torque to power a dinner party. Bad ideas come in fours 1995 Mercedes-Benz Vario Research CarEver wished you could transform your saloon into, say, an estate or a convertible or a pick-up without recourse to a can opener? No? Oh. Well that probably explains why this Vario Car concept never took off. Do cry for me, Argentina 1972-1976 Mercedes-Benz 220 D ‘La pick-up’This might look like a cut-down W115 saloon – because it is – but the Argentine-built 220 D ‘La pick-up’ is one of…

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the only thing that’s mini is the name

Friends, Romans, Countryman, lend me your BMW X1, which is the same but with a bigger boot and fewer interior quirks…LOOK, NO HANDSElectric tailgate is an option, with touch-free opening and closing. Also an option: the ‘Mini Picnic Bench’ foldout sill cushion COUNTRY TIMER?Mini hatches get a ‘go-kart’ cartoon; SUV gets a terrain data-logger, gradually growing into a monster truck with kilometres as you reach, erm, ‘Cliff Champ’ status ‘MINI FIND MATE’Sounds like a dating app, actually a way of keeping track of Bluetooth-tagged luggage. Forget a bag and the car’s nav can guide you to it MY, HOW YOU’VE GROWNLonger by 20cm and wider by 3cm than its predecessor, Countryman Mk2 cuts a more angular styling jib than any New Mini yet YOU’RE LOOKING AT the biggest Mini production…

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stadium super trucks

What’s this all about?The pet project of former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, it’s a one-make series for identical pick-up-style buggies with giant wheels, giant horsepower (450kW+) and, most spectacularly, some giant jumps. Imagine a radio-controlled truck made real, minus the aerial. Type it into YouTube and prepare to lose an afternoon. Where do they race?Originally in American football stadiums (hence the name), but these days on practically any surface, from dirt arenas to city street circuits supporting IndyCar and Australian V8 Touring Car championships. The latter add a little spice with metal ramps on the straights firing the trucks 6m-plus into the air. What makes the trucks tick?Chevy LS V8 engines with three-speed gearboxes, shoehorned into a steel spaceframe chassis teetering on XL suspension. Top speed is around 225kph, and…

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mercedes-amg e63 4matic+

1 Since when have AMG cars been all-wheel-drive?Since now. The fastest new E-Class of all sends its considerable power to both ends, with torque-managing tech shuffling twist from AMG’s now-familiar 4.0 twin-turbo V8 between the front and rear axles to practically any degree. 2 How much power are we talking about?In the base E63 model, 420kW and 750Nm; in the top-shelf S version, 450kW and 850Nm. Both are capable of 0-100kph in 3.5sec or less, and can exceed 300kph. Never has the term ‘supersaloon’ been more appropriate. 3 All-wheel-drive means an end to sideways tomfoolery, then?Perish the thought. Activate the standard-fit ‘Drift Mode’ (been reading any Ford brochures recently, Merc?) and the E63 becomes purely rear-wheel-drive. BMW’s new M5, due 2017, will also be all-wheel-drive. 4 When can I buy…

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