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topCar June 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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on that bombshell

I REMEMBER THE day I first walked into the TopCar offices in the Kyalami Business Park back in 2003. I had worked with smaller titles before and was the Deputy Motoring Editor at The Citizen up till that point, but I was yet to appreciate the amount of work that goes into producing a world-class motoring magazine each month. The twelve years that followed have been an amazing journey working alongside some of the best people in the industry. I learnt a lot from my editors and valued the relationship with our parent licensee, CAR UK. It has always been a privilege and a dream which has taken me to every corner of the globe to drive and experience some of the world’s greatest cars and motorsport creations. Over the last…

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hybrid theories

THE AUDI PROLOGUE Allroad concept is a plug-in hybrid delivering a combined 540kW of grunt. That’s serious firepower, explained by the 4.0 TFSI V8 twin-turbo, an engine familiar from large Audis and Bentleys. Here, an electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox, beefed-up to cope with a ginormous 900Nm of torque produced by both engines. Lithium-ion battery packs with a 14.1kWh capacity are packaged in the rear. As expected Quattro AWD is standard and performance claims are typically sky-high, as is the habit of conceptual show cars. Audi claims a 0-100kph sprint time of 3.5sec and just 56g/km of CO2. That equates to 2.4L/100km combined economy. We somehow can’t see this delivering in the real world, but the thought pleases us. Visually it’s standard soft-roader fare here: the body rides 77mm higher…

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the long and the short of jaguar’s new xf

“It’s dramatic – not a natural three-box shape” “We kept the front-end graphic after discussing whether to go radical” “The bonnet bulge is from the 68 XJ, a car I love. It’s something we’ll probably continue” “Jaguar’s not always well known around the world, so we need a family look” “I wanted to bring back fluted seats – the good old days” THE ARRIVAL OF the smaller XE has let the XF off the leash. Previously it was Jaguar’s only sports saloon, so had to embody the dynamism inherent in the brand. Now the Mk2 is free to be more grown-up. This all-new car looks longer than the previous XF, but is in fact 3mm shorter, courtesy of cute design (‘the strong shoulder line peaks over the rear wheelarch, then relaxes, giving visual length’) and a…

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Volkswagen C Coupe GTE concept THE VW C Coupe GTE is a vast four-door coupe, very much in the manner of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, and the ‘concept’ is powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Its size is such that it’s even based on the VW Group’s larger MLB architecture – the platform used for the new Audi Q7. Combining a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor buried in the eight-speed automatic gearbox, the C Coupe GTE pushes a maximum of 180kW and 500Nm in the direction of the front wheels. This means 0-100kph in 8.6sec and 232kph flat out. Intersted? You can’t have one anyway. So don’t worry about it. But perhaps for the first time ever, it looks like buyers in China are going to have access to a VW the rest…

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learning curves

FROM THE DBRs and DB4GT of the 1950s to the significantly more recent N430 Vantage, fast, track-ready road cars have always been a part of the marque’s DNA. And with the Vulcan’s outlandish form previewing Aston Martin’s future design direction, albeit turned up to 11, the timing of this ultimate Vantage is immaculate. The final piece in the puzzle is a desire that’s burned within Aston for years – to build a hard-charging V12 Vantage for the trackday driver. So here it is – the tuned, lightened, lowered, widened and aero-enhanced Vantage GT12. At its core the GT12 is based on the venerable aluminium VH chassis clad in carbonfibre bodywork; wings, door casings, front and rear bumpers, bonnet and – should you tick the box – the roof. Although the GT12…

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all hail the glc

THINK OF IT as a shrunken baby brother to the GLE Coupe, already unveiled in production guise. What you see today is Daimler’s X4 to that car’s X6. The mud-plugger that’s donned sportswear is 4 730mm long and rides on a 2 830mm wheelbase. In other words it’s a bit bigger than a BMW X3 or Audi Q5, but tellingly it’s a mite lower too, at just under 1 600mm tall. The GLC Coupe recently unveiled at the Shanghai show featured a pure V6 petrol model with the accent on performance. In this case, there’s an AMG-derived direct-injection bi-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine tuned for 270kW and 520Nm. A switchable exhaust lets drivers choose from a refined engine note or a ‘passionate sound of a high-powered sports car.’ Drive is through Daimler’s nine-speed…