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topCar March 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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editor’s welcome

WHILE EDITOR ANGUS lay flat on his back resting up after being forced to take some unexpected leave, we got down to the serious business of driving cars. And yes, it is a serious business as the world as we know it – the one where you’re still in control of the car – is under severe threat. Forget the Google car, at CES in Las Vegas, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a fully autonomous lounge (see page 10). We also went to Las Vegas, except we arrived in a 1555kW quartet of tyre-smoking, jaw-dropping modern American muscle cars and new-age European supercars. Our big-power road trip from Los Angeles to Vegas and back epitomises the joy of driving: the exhilaration of a perfectly stitched set of corners, smack-in-the-chest acceleration and controls that…

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star-spangled hammer

The on-sale date is no coincidence: the carbonfibre supercar will mark 50 years since the company pulled off its 1-2-3 at Le Mans with the original GT40. The new GT will head a renewed sports car range; Ford claims it will have a dozen new high-performance vehicles on sale by 2020, including the new Focus RS, F150 Raptor and Shelby GT350. However, the new GT will be very much in tune with its times. No V8 engines here – just a ‘next-generation twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V6 producing more than 441kW.’ No performance figures have been issued yet (we suspect the full story will be drip-fed over the coming 12 months), but those ponies will have their lives made easier by the lightweight spec of the all-new GT. It is made almost entirely from carbonfibre…

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the 2030 merc: a self-driving lounge

IF YOU THOUGHT the M-B S-Class could practically drive itself, wait till you see the new Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car. The title is a bit of a mouthful, we’ll give them that, but it’s an autonomous luxury car that offers a peek into the self-driving future. Appropriately enough, considering the legions of microchips on board, it was not shown at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show but rather the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Forget the futuristic, lozenge-like shape just for a minute; the F 015 is made from carbonfibre and Daimler says its focus ‘shows how the automobile is changing from a means of transportation to a private retreating space.’ So this car is all about turning the vehicle into a private lounge. Four armchairs rotate…

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nsx: ‘i’m back’

TWENTY-SIX YEARS after the original was unveiled at the 1989 Chicago motor show, Honda – or, more accurately Acura – has now revealed the second-generation NSX in production-ready form. It’s taken the development team three years to engineer the 2012 concept car into a road-ready supercar worthy of the NSX name, and it’s not quite finished yet. Further fine-tuning will be lavished on Honda’s new performance halo model ahead of deliveries in 2016, at a price ‘above $150 000’ (R1 750 000). From the outside, remarkably little has changed. This has to be a good thing, given that lovestruck onlookers heavily outnumbered sniffy dissenters when the concept car did the rounds, though the noticeably larger air intake and exhaust vents suggest packaging the car’s hybrid powertrain and its cooling demands into…

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fresh lunacy: an off-road ariel

ARIEL MOTOR COMPANY, purveyor of extreme performance, has added a third model to its range: Nomad. ‘We’ve been thinking about an off-road Ariel since an early Atom customer asked for knobbly tyres and long-travel suspension, and the project gathered momentum when another owner told us he’d love to do the Dakar,’ explains boss Simon Saunders. ‘It’s taken five years to get right. The chassis is Atom-based, but with rollover protection and door apertures. The engine’s a long-stroke 2 354cc version of Honda’s VTEC four; lots more torque than the 1988cc motor.’ The 670kg Nomad can rattle to 100kph in 3.4 seconds, press on to 201kph and, thanks to its Tamiya-buggy-made-real suspension, need only slow down for mountains.…

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detroit motor show highlights

Hyundai Santa Cruz THE SANTA Cruz concept’s power comes courtesy of a 141kW/406Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine matched to an all-wheel drive system called HTRAC. If the Santa Cruz is an exercise in gauging response for a Hyundai bakkie, we hope the response is what the company was hoping for. Hyundai, please don’t tease us, just build it. Merc-AMG GLE 63 THIS NEW coupe-cum-crossover is Merc’s answer to the X6, but also a rolling technology showcase, equipped with everything from all-LED headlights to a bewildering array of driving aids. In this, range-topping AMG guise it’s quicker than the majority of Porsches, too. Top speed may be limited to 250kph, but with 760Nm smeared across a broad torque plateau, 0-100kph takes just 4.2sec. Infiniti Q60 Concept IT’S NISSAN’ upmarket wing’s latest plan to tempt exec buyers away…