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Wheels December 2020

Wheels is Australia’s original motoring magazine. Launched in 1953, we’ve been trusted by generations of Australians to provide entertaining and forthright opinions on the good, the bad and the ugly of new and used cars. A world-class car mag with a formidable international reputation, Wheels covers the full gamut of cars – from sports cars to four-wheel-drives, economy to family cars – but it also covers the people, personalities and the power plays behind one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

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Are Media Pty Limited
R 64,20
R 267,84
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min

THERE WAS AN obvious symbolism to it. Shane Van Gisbergen had just won the Bathurst 1000 when, while cruising the sparsely attended Mount Panorama circuit, he stopped in his Commodore on Conrod to grab a Holden flag from a punter who – in my memory, a faceless, nameless bloke – represented hundreds of thousands of Australians watching at home. As Van Gis cruised the track, roaring-lion flag fluttering (and falling off its stick, at the end, to form a sad lump on the track, also somewhat symbolic but let’s forget that bit), I dare say there was not a single member of the General’s old legions watching who didn’t tell their better half there was some stubborn object stuck in their eye. A bit of a timely moment for us, too. This…

5 min
most powerful amg yet has a dark heart

BUCKING THROUGH the long, fast and lumpy Lausitzring right-hander, the rear tyres shufflestep sideways in time with the bumping beat. Up front, the gravelly flat-plane rasp of the twin-turbo V8 edges towards crescendo as throttle is squeezed on and steering lock wound off. Short straight. Accelerate. Other noises cut through the increasing engine thrash and exhaust blare. The suspension, from which every micron of cushioning rubberiness seems to have been eradicated, contributes some low-pitched thudding. Faint clunks and louder whines come from the transaxle behind the cabin. All this is randomly punctuated by the sharp rapping of track debris on the undertray. Welcome to the intoxicating intensity of the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series… This sixth Black Series is, according to its creators, the most extreme of them all. And it doesn’t just…

3 min
premium compact hybrid is willing and cable

Model Mercedes-Benz A250e sedan Engine 1331cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo Motor single, gearbox integrated Battery 15.6kWh lithium ion Max combined power 160kW @ 5500rpm Max torque 450Nm @ 1600-4000rpm Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch Weight 1605kg 0-100km/h 6.6sec (claimed) Economy 1.6L/100km Price $66,000 On sale Now DEPENDING ON your point of view and intended usage, Merc’s new A250e plug-in hybrid is likely one of two things. Either a wellsorted daily EV providing the option of longer trips with zero range anxiety and the convenience of a quick petrol refill, or a well-sorted daily EV saddled with lugging around a few hundred kilos of internal combustion engine that fires up only a few times a year. Regardless of which camp you’re in, this new arrival into the electrified segment does bring some useful advances not seen from the likes of PHEVs that could be loosely considered…

5 min

Keep it tight (no more than 200 words) and do include your suburb if via email: wheels@wheelsmag.com.au You can also have your say on Facebook (search for Wheels Australia), Instagram or Twitter LETTER OF THE MONTH ‘The premium-model product planning strategy may have worked well before the pandemic, but now?’ NOBODY’S BARGAIN AFTER A CERTAIN amount of anger, grief and denial, I’ve accepted that the time has come to consider a replacement for our 13-year-old Mazda 3 (only one semi-careful owner; 250,000km). We’re looking for a small car or small SUV as a second car, so I‘ve been carefully reading each new edition of Wheels to help us make an informed decision about what to buy. What struck me as I finished reading the October edition of Wheels is that Australia has a premium-model pricing…

4 min
should make no sense, yet somehow…

Model Audi RS Q8 Engine 3993cc V8 (90°), dohc, 32v, twin-turbo Max power 441kW @ 6000rpm Max torque 800Nm @ 2200-4000rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Weight 2240kg 0-100km/h 3.8sec claimed) Economy 12.1L/100km Price $208,500 On sale Now WHEN CAN you mount an argument that a super-sports SUV priced at $208,500 is decent value? Actually, probably never, but that’s not about to stop me trying. Here’s the rationale: Audi’s RS Q8 is the German brand’s flagship, built on a phenomenally well-sorted version of the VW Group’s MLB Evo platform. It packs a corking twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 punching out 441kW/800Nm, and delivers a beautifully crafted and richly specced interior. It is, plenty would agree, all the large hi-po SUV any sane person could desire, if your heart leans in this slightly bonkers direction. Meanwhile, over at Lamborghini, the Urus SUV runs fundamentally the same engine…

1 min
the market

HIGHLIGHTS Talk about an all-time recovery from the Isuzu D-Max. Last month the dual-cab was equal 71st with the BMW X5, but rocketed to just outside the top 10 in September thanks to its allnew model launching. The Ranger has also broken Toyota’s streak of topping monthly sales – the last time Ford claimed pole was September ‘17, and August’05 before that. RAV4 remaining in third, after Toyota cleared its backlog of orders the previous two months, is a job well done. LOWLIGHTS Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown continued to drag down Australia’s national sales, with registrations in the state dropping 50% compared to the same month last year (QLD and NSW were down just 7.9% and 6%). Passenger cars continue to give up ground (26% market share) to SUVs (47%), with light-commercial…