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The Commodore To Be No More.

December 10th, 2019, will be the day that Australia was told of the passing of an icon. This is the complete PR release from Holden.

Holden is today announcing a modified portfolio dedicated exclusively to SUVs and light commercial vehicles.

Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina, said the focus of the portfolio was consistent with customer preferences, with the Acadia, Trailblazer, Equinox and Trax rounding out a comprehensive SUV portfolio; and the Colorado tackling rivals in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment.

“Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments. So far this year SUVs and Utes have increased to 76 percent of Holden sales, a trend we only see continuing,” he said.

The company has elected to retire the ZB Commodore and the BK Astra in 2020.

At its peak, the large car segment in Australia accounted for 217,882 sales in 1998. This year it is projected to come in at about 8,700 units.

“The SUV segment is approaching half a million units, and LCVs over 200,000 units. That’s where the action is and that’s where we are going to play,” Mr Aquilina said.

The new Holden boss also paid tribute to the Commodore nameplate and its place in the Australian automotive industry over time.

“The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage,” he said.

“The large sedan was the cornerstone of Australian and New Zealand roads for decades. But now with more choice than ever before, customers are displaying a strong preference for the high driving position, functionality and versatility of SUVs and Utes.”

Sales and deliveries of Commodore and Astra will continue through 2020, albeit with diminishing model availability as part of an orderly runout.

Existing Commodore and Astra customers can be assured that Holden will continue to back warranty and roadside assistance commitments, with spare parts supply guaranteed well into the future.

In addition, all MY19 ZB Commodores and MY19 BK Astras ordered or delivered from today onwards will be subject to Holden’s market leading seven-year free scheduled servicing offer.

All arrangements for accessing warranty, servicing and spare parts for Holden’s entire model line-up via the Holden’s national dealer network remain the same.

Holden will be launching the MY20 Equinox in the first quarter of 2020 followed by a significant MY21 upgrade to the highly regarded Colorado to launch in Spring. Holden will also lodge production orders to GM’s Bowling Green factory for the highly anticipated mid-engine right-hand-drive Corvette next year.

These sentences have sparked furious debate between supporters and detractors, with one common theme being “why didn’t they call the Commodore something else” after local manufacturing ceased in 2017. Then there are comments about a lack of relevant marketing for the ZB, indifferent dealership service, lack of support for just-out-of-warranty issues, balanced against “it’s not a real Commodore” due to the lack of V8, ute and wagon, and the shift to front wheel drive. Toss in a mix of “football, meat pies, kangaroos, and Holden cars” as Australian made before the inexorable slide to very little of the VF actually being manufactured in Australia, and the anger and frustration levels of people becomes ever more evident.

What will remain is also divisive. The ZB Commodore was a bloody good car. But it was also never given a real chance at survival for a number of reasons. Ignorance and bias are two, and more’s the pity as it’s fair to presume detractors that decried its front wheel drive layout would not have taken the time to test drive it, and find out it actually drove like a Commodore.

Holden Commodore. Born 1978. Died painfully in 2020.

Tech Torque: What Is An Electric Water Pump?

Life sometimes gives us questions to ponder. Why is the sky blue, are The Rolling Stones a better band than The Beatles, should I have pineapple on a pizza, and what is an electric water pump?
Unlike the others, the answer to what is an electric water pump is surprisingly simple to divine.

An electric water pump, or EWP, is a mechanical device, powered by electricity, and pumps water. There. Sounds simple. But wait, there’s more. One immediate benefit of an EWP is in the name, the electric bit.

Because it utilizes that amazing and invisible power, an EWP isn’t reliant on the spinning of a crankshaft, the rise and fall of conrods, and the pulsing of injectors. They work as long as there is juice in the battery. This means that if a car or truck or bus has been running for a while and the ignition gets switched off, a control device can keep the EWP running afterwards. This is especially crucial in automotive high load areas or in motorsport.Consider a drift car, running a high revving petrol engine and fitted with a turbo. A talented driver can pound a drift car around a circuit and the engine will be constantly working hard. The driver gets to the end of their run and switches off. A mechanical water pump them immediately stops working. This means cooling fluid is no longer pushed through the engine internals and through the radiator. This can lead to severe damage to the engine and potentially the radiator as well.

Another benefit of an EWP is the constant pressure and flow rate. An easy comparison is a child’s toy fan. Blow gently upon the vanes and it’ll spin slowly. Give it a good huff and it’ll spin hard before winding down. That’s a mechanical water pump, rising and falling with engine revolutions.

An EWP suffers not from this, and EWPs from an Australian company called Davies, Craig, with flow rates of up to 150 litres per minute, will CONSTANTLY deliver flow, as they’re not dependent on a crankshaft and belt to spin. And because they’re electrically powered they’re not sapping energy from a mechanical system. This means less strain, better fuel economy, and longer lasting mechanical parts. And they’re a lot smaller, which means less weight, better efficiency, and can be mounted in certain positions to help tidy up an engine bay. Digital controllers can assist here. These allow fine tuning of how an EWP works, including running a pump after a car’s engine has been switched off.Along with moving a cooling fluid through a radiator and engine, moving air across the vanes of a radiator, or heat exchanger, is crucial to keeping an engine as cool as possible.
Cars come with a belt driven fan, and those belts are attached to pulleys which are attached to the engine. Quite a few designs have a mechanically driven fan attached to the nose of the mechanically driven water pump. The fan has a kind of clutch that allows the fan to spin up to speed or spin down to a stop by itself.

In a cooling sense, these fans are only effective if the engine is running. And due to their source of power, they’ll not be as energy or fuel efficient, plus they’ll sometimes not be as aerodynamically efficient due to the design of the fan blade, their location in respect to the radiator, or lacking a shroud to assist in directing airflow. When it comes to electric fans for cars, or thermatic fans, there’s a different range of possibilities to explore. Because they’re powered by the vehicle’s electrical system, they’re far more energy or fuel efficient. A digital controller can be fitted to allow the fan to be on all of the time, only when needed, or to run after an engine is powered off.

A driver can choose to fit one fan or, two fans, and in an upstream (ahead of the radiator) and/or downstream (between the radiator and engine) configuration. If going for a two fan, upstream/downstream configuration, it’s recommended to have one fan on one side of the radiator (left or right) and the other in the opposing side. Let’s say one fan is on the engine’s side and mounted ahead of the driver, therefore the other would be on the headlights’ side and ahead of the passenger.

When it comes to finding and fitting the right electric fan or fans to suit your particular car, there are a couple of areas to look at. The thickness of the radiator is the first point of call. This is due to the amount of airflow required to pull or push air through the vanes. Then there is the shape of the radiator itself. As a rule, one large electric fan will do as good, or a better, job than two smaller ones. However, a wider than taller radiator may negate a single fan fitment, therefore two smaller diameter fans can be mounted side by side. It’s here that the research teams have provided a different solution. Davies, Craig electric fans for cars are built to have reversible blades and hubs.

When it comes to the design of the blades themselves, these are shaped to be both more aerodynamically efficient (reducing drag) and less likely to vibrate and cause supersonic shock. This is literally where the ends of the blades reach a velocity approaching the speed of sound, and therefore, not unlike many WW2 fighter planes that crashed due to the phenomenon not being understood, shake uncontrollably.The blade design A Davies, Craig uses has them straight out from the hub, and by curving the struts that are inside the shroud housing, airflow is increased and airflow noise is decreased. Also, when it comes to the tips of the blades, we’ve looked at the aerospace industry and the work put into the winglets on the ends of the wings on aircraft. Those stubby little winglets decrease air turbulence and balance air pressure as the tips rotate past the shroud. And because not every engine is the same, Davies, Craig offers six different fan diameters, from 8 inches to a whopping 16 inches. This means that there will be one or two electric fans, at least, that will be ideal for your engine and radiator size. Couple these with their extensive range of digital controllers and there is a package that will do a lot to be far better than an existing mechanically driven package.

Hiccups And Glory: Tesla Cybertruck Revealed.

Mid afternoon Friday 22nd November (Sydney time) and Tesla has unveiled a surprise.

Called the Cybertruck it’s fair to say it’s unlike anything seen from any manufacturer, both in looks, and in specification.Tesla says: it will have a range of 500+ miles, and will see a zero to 96kph (60mph) time of around 2.9 seconds. The body is made from a sledgehammer resistant “Ultra-Hard 30x Cold-Rolled Steel”. The window glass is also intended to be shatter and impact resistant as evidenced by a few ball-drop demonstrations. Somewhat embarrassingly, a short range throw of a small steel ball like that used in the drop test broke the supposedly shatterproof glass in the vehicle shown.The cargo section is big enough to house an electric ATV, also shown during the launch, and has a payload capacity of up to 3,500 pounds or 1,587 kilos. There is 6.5 feet of length in the bay and there are extendable ramps and a charging point built in. An estimated 100 cubic feet of storage space is available inside the sci-fi looking wedge shape. There is also room for six adults and a 17 inch touchscreen to access the vehicle’s main controls.The ramp that allows cargo access showed the flexibility of the suspension with up to four inches of travel. The drivetrain will be a rear mounted engine, front and rear, and a triple motor configuration. The exterior is striking, to say the least, with a distinctive wedge shape and eye-catching LED strips front and rear. And in an alloy sheen reminiscent of a De Lorean, it should be an all-weather capable vehicle.
Pricing is slated to start at around $40,000USD.

2020 Nissan Patrol: The Big Machine Gets A Makeover.

Nissan’s long-running competitor to the Land Cruiser, the Patrol, has been given a substantial makeover for the 2020 specification. Available to order through Nissan dealerships now, in a two model range, it’s priced from $75,990 (plus ORC) for the Nissan Patrol Ti, and the Ti-L is from $91,990 (plus ORC).

The exterior has been revised at the front and rear, and the safety levels have also been improved. The suspension has been further tweaked for a better ride, and there are now extra colours to choose from.Safety.
Standard equipment for both the Ti and Ti-L include: Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The Ti now also has: Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.

Outside.
The Ti has been given it’s own sportier looking front end treatment. The Ti-L goes for a premium, upmarket, look. The bonnet, fenders, grilles, LED lights and front bumpers have been modified for a more upright, no-nonsense stance. the headlights have a total of 52 LEDs, and there’s 44 LEDs in the rear. the rear lights are now in a stylish boomerang shaped cluster. The rear bumper has been restyled to match the solid lines of the rear, with a squarer look. Colour choices now have Moonlight White, Galaxy Gold & Hermosa Blue, which are new to the range.Inside.
Australia’s hot weather conditions require better air-conditioning and Nissan have updated the system in the Patrol for a tri-zone setup. Airflow has been improved and the rear seat passengers have been given better flow too. This means cooling will take place quicker and therefore will be more efficient. Access is via an intelligent key with remote keyless entry with push button Start/Stop, cruise control, heated door mirrors, plus 3D mapping for the sat-nav in an eight inch touchscreen.Power and Ride.
Both vehicles will have 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque from Nissan’s 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine. Drive gets to the ground via a seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). There is also an electronic rear diff lock, Hill Descent Control (HDC) with on/off switch, Hill Start Assist (HAS) and an off-road monitor. The suspension tweaks have the dampers retuned for a more positive response for an increase in on-road comfort, and enhanced off-road comfort as well.

Contact your local Nissan dealer for a drive evaluation.

Car Review: 2020 Kia Stinger 200S

This Car Review Is About: The now entry level model to a realigned in 2019 Stinger range. There is the 200S, the same 2.0L engine in GT-Line spec, them two mainstream 3.3L V6 models called 330S and GT, and a limited edition. The 200S features a mildly restyled interior and exterior to differentiate it from the others.

How Much Does It Cost?: Kia’s Website lists the Stinger 200S four location as a not inconsiderable $50,490 driveaway. However that is around $1,250 under the list price plus charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Kia’s well sorted 2.0L turbo petrol four cylinder engine that powers the rear wheels via an eight speed auto. Peak power is 182kW at 6,200rpm, with peak torque of 353Nm available between 1,400rpm and 4,000rpm. There is Launch Control fitted to the smooth eight speeder too. Consumption for the urban cycle is rated as a whopping 12.7L/100km, a big bugbear in the Kia engine range. Combined is rated as a more reasonable 8.8L, and on the highway consumption drops by nearly half to see 6.5L/100km from the 60.0L tank. Our final figure was 9.3L/100km.On The Outside It’s: Subtly restyled in one key area. Kia’s cleverly used the same shape of the headlight cluster and has a main, circular, light to the outside and this dips downwards to where the LED indicators are in the GT-Line versions. The shape of the bumper is subtly restyled as is the shape of the air intake. The wheels are of a lower-spec but have a still nice to look at…look. Size is 225/45/18 and rubber is Continental ContiSportContact.

The body is otherwise identical with quad exhausts, the pair of faux bonnet vents, the Maserati-esque LED tail lights. Kia’s design team really got the exterior right when the car was first released two years ago. Paint was Silky Silver and is listed as a standard colour.On The Inside: The main difference here is the introduction of a smaller touchscreen on the upper dash. It’s a 7.0inch screen, down one inch from the screen available in the rest of the range. Satnav is standard, as is DAB audio through a six speaker, not 15 speaker, audio system. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth streaming are also standard in the 200S. A pair of 12V and USB ports are standard.

The driver faces a simple 3.5 inch monochrome display (same in the 330S), not the better looking 7.0 inch found in the GTs. It’s not un-userfriendly, it just looks…dull. But there is leather pews, electric adjustment, paddle shifters, a drive mode selector in the console, and a pack of driver information options in the touchscreen menus. Drive itself is a shift-by-wire rocker selector.On the Road It’s: Noticeably affected by the 1,700kg dry weight. Although peak torque comes on stream at low revs and is available through a broad rev range, that weight holds back performance and clearly contributes to that pretty average urban consumption. It takes a heavier right foot to get the 200S up to speed, but when on the highway it shows its other side. The Stinger is a superb tourer, and in our previous reviews has shown that the long distances between towns suits the Stinger’s character perfectly.Handling and ride in the 200S are just as good too, with nothing found wanting in these two departments. The steering weight is a tick on the heavy side, with a slight numbness on centre, but these are minor quibbles in an otherwise well sorted and well proven package. Even with the 1,800kgs plus it packs, it’s nimble, rapid in response, and lacks initial feedback only in braking too.
What About Safety?: The only thing the 200S (and 300S) misses out on of note is front parking sensors. A 360 degree camera view isn’t provided but that’s not a biggie. In the exterior stakes Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also deleted. Otherwise it’s on spec with AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) and Lane Keep Assist, plus pedestrian oriented Active Hood Lift Assist on board.What Is The Warranty And Service?: Warranty is 7 years, and unlimited kilometres. For servicing Kia says: we’ve capped the maximum price you will pay for the first seven scheduled services (fourteen for T-GDI petrol turbo models) for up to 7 years or 105,000kms (excluding Kia Stinger and MY 19 and onwards petrol turbo models) and for Kia Stinger and MY 19 and onwards petrol turbo models for up to 7 years or 70,000kms, whichever comes first.At The End Of The Drive: There’s a faint sense of disquiet in driving the turbo four powered Stinger. But it’s the only game in Kia-town now that the underrated Optima has been dropped from the range when it comes to a largish sedan body. That disquiet is knowing the Stinger is aimed at the performance oriented driver yet a fuel consumption of over 12.0L per 100 kilometres in its normal environment will hurt, and that’s due to its bulk. Kia should either find a weight reduction regime of bump the 2.0L up in capacity. Would the increase in size tradeoff work though in providing more performance?

More on the Stinger 200S is here.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The Tesla Model 3’s middle specification car. There is the “entry level” Standard Plus, the car tested called the Performance, and the Long Range AWD to top the range.What Does It Cost?: The Performance has a starting price of $93,900. There are the usual government and delivery charges on top. Our review car came in a lovely multi-layered Pearl White, There are four other metallic colours and they are a $1,500 cost option. It’s also almost completely ready to drive autonomously with the “Autopilot” facility as standard. the full self drive is $8,500. All up, the review car prices out at just under $120,000.

On The Inside It’s:A mix of stark minimalism, hi-tech, and whimsy, with plenty of comfort. The Performance has the Premium Interior which is sumptuous black leather clad seats that are heated and powered for plenty of positioning options. There’s the same wood strip for the dash and the 15 inch landscape oriented touchscreen that has Google well and truly as its heart. This controls everything the car does; from steering wheel and mirror adjustment to tracking vehicles around the Model 3, from providing audio options such as TuneIn and Spotify (with the first year’s subscription free if you don’t already have it) to providing hilarity from the “Gas Emissions” tab in a entertainment submenu, and will even allow a name to be given to the car. The whimsy inside Tesla is highlighted by the “caraoke” option. You read that right. It’s exactly what you suspect and is intended to be used when the car is stationary. We can attest it will provide access when the car is stopped, but will play whilst underway. There is also access to Netflix, YouTube, and Tesla instructional videos.

The touchscreen is, oddly, the weak link in the chain.It’s a solid sheet of glass with a metal surround. As such, it becomes a heat sink and on warmer days readily absorbs heat to the point the bare finger gets singed. Perhaps a vent behind the screen or an embedded loop would do the trick.

When not barbecuing fingers, it’s a high resolution display, with the default being a monochromed look Google maps, with the option of displaying the satellite image, and the graphics that the car’s cameras and ultrasonic sensors read to show surrounding vehicles. The lower section has icons for menus, which then bring up the audio options, the entertainment options, the settings for the vehicles. Compared to the Standard Plus, the entertainment goes up a notch, with Netflix, YouTube, and Tesla instructional videos being made available.The steering wheel is devoid of anything bar two roller dials and the Tesla logo, and the dials manipulate some of the information provided via the touchscreen.One of the small yet user friendly things about Tesla is how the doors are operate. Here there are small tabs on the top of the door grip which are pressed to release the doors. And unlike the pricier Model S and Model X, there is no remote key fob with which to remotely open the doors. Everything is operated via a smartphone app. This remotely opens the charge flap, releases the charge cable, can summon the car, or prestart the air-conditioning system which includes dog mode. This allows those that wish to keep Poochie cool and stay in the car to do so, plus it flashes up on the screen a note to advise of this function being operated. Should the car need to be moved without the owner, a Concierge card is provided.

There is also the sound system. There are 14 speakers spread around the cabin, with the front setup not unlike a soundbar for a TV. It’s loud, punchy, clear as crystal. It’s that attention to detail that really appeals. USB ports? Four, thank you. Embedded information about charge locations? Indeed. Safety features? Lacks for nothing.On The Outside It’s: A condensed version of the larger Model S. Slimmer in all dimensions, and sitting slightly lower than the Standard Plus, it nonetheless has a very strong family look to the other two models, not unexpectedly. The windows, profile, the lines that join front and rear, a line over the hip, are all common for the Model 3, Model S, and Model X. The Model S and X have similar looking headlights, whereas the Model 3 goes its own way with a design that evokes Porsche. At the rear the tail lights are essentially identical. Michelin supply the Pilot Sport tyres and are 235/35/ZR20. Wheels on the car supplied were subtle looking alloys in a ten spoke design. Dry weight is not unexpectedly hefty. It’s 1,847 kilos. Boot capacity is 542L and of course there’s “frunk”. This is the front trunk, also accessed via the smartphone app, and provides extra space up front.Out On The Road It’s: Delightful in many ways. It’s rapid, in both standing start and overtaking. Intoxicating, endearing, stupid grin inducing rapid. But it’s this sheer muscle car power that makes it safer than people expect. Think coming up a merge lane to a freeway and the car that is oncoming behind you has the room to move right but doesn’t. A quick check of available space, a gentle press on the go pedal, and tomorrow is in front of you. Tesla quote 3.4 seconds for the sprint from standstill to 100. There is absolutely no reason to disbelieve that at all.

The starting procedure is simple. Foot on the brake, pull the right side steering column lever downwards and check that D is highlighted on the touchscreen. Floor the pedal. Take a breath because you’ll need it as suddenly your spine is somewhere in the back of the seat’s padding.Energy harvesting can add a bit more to the expected range, as the brakes have two settings. The standard is more than enough and in some situations mitigates needing the foot to hit the brake pedal, such is the power of the system. In some circumstances it’s enough to bring the car to a stop by itself and on a downhill run will grab the brakes and slow the car here solidly.

There’s also little to quibble about when it comes to the ride quality too. It’s up there with some of the better suspension combinations for suppleness, confidence building, and strikes an ideal balance between grip, sportiness, and dialing out intrusive road imperfections.A key selling point is the ability to drive autonomously. Most of our drive was done manually, and more so to fully enjoy the ability of the Model 3. To engage the self-drive, the car must first be able to clearly read the roadside markings and will show a grey steering wheel on the screen. A couple of gentle tugs on the right hand lever and this should then make that icon blue, indicating self-drive is engaged. Under no circumstances should the hands be fully removed from the wheel.

The steering on its own is spot on. It’s beautifully weighted, has only minimal feeling of being artificially being assisted, and is ratioed for two turns lock to lock.

At The End of the Drive. The Performance should be the pick over the Standard Plus for those that like to fully exploit a car’s abilities. The extra urge from the twin motors, the extra range, and perhaps even the extra entertainment features for some, make the Tesla Model 3 Performance a winner. Sure, it’s $120k in price but currently there are no other fully electric cars that come close to delivering what this car can: an all round powerhouse Performance.

 

Japanese Makers Fire Electric Shots.

Both Nissan and Mazda have unveiled electric vehicles. Nissan’s is a test bed design and Mazda their first full production version. Nissan’s car is based on the Leaf e+ with Mazda naming theirs the MX30.

The Nissan has an all wheel drive system, with twin motors. Nissan also factors in their bespoke chassis control technology. The engines provide up to 227kW and a massive 680Nm of peak torque. The test car has a control system that adds regenerative braking to the rear motor as well as the front. Pitch and dive are minimised as a result. In addition to optimising the torque that’s spread between the front and rear, it also applies independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximise the cornering force generated by each tyre.
Mazda’s car is an SUV as well. It’s powered by what Mazda call “e-Skyactiv system” It can be charged using AC power or rapid-charged using DC power. The system involves the battery, motor, an inverter and a DC-DC control unit. The inverter changes the DC to AC for the motors with the converter providing the charge for the onboard systems.

Mazda also engineer in a refrigerant cooling system that cools the battery pack when the temperature rises. By maintaining the best possible battery temperature even on hot days, the system helps protect the battery pack from degrading due to heat. Thin cooling tubes attached to the bottom plane of the battery module make contact with a heat exchanger. This structure contributes to realizing a compact battery pack. A sensor constantly monitors the battery’s temperature and controls the flow of coolant as needed. The result is an effective battery cooling system. There’s a single motor, mounted up front, and it will provide drive to the front or or four paws. The battery pack is rated at 35.5kWh, and has an expected range of around 200km. There is also a acceleration system called Motor Pedal. This adjusts on the fly response to throttle inputs and adjusts acceleration as well, depending on the speed the driver presses the accelerator pedal.

A key identifier for the MX-30 is the design. Not unlike the recently released 3 hatch, it features long and flowing lines, a curvaceous body, and suicide doors. It’s also green oriented, with cork and recycled plastic bottles being used in the interior trim. It’s not yet confirmed for the Australian market but it’s definitely in Mazda Au’s want list.

Mercedes-AMG says GT Up!

Updates have been given to the premium range of two door Mercedes-AMG vehicles. In coupe and convertible forms, the Mercedes-AMG range are positioned as the premium versions of premium cars. Pricing reflects this too. The Mercedes-AMG GT S Coupé starts the range at $311,142 (MRLP, Manufacturers Recommended List price), with the Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé at $329,843, Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster $355,242, and Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupé $361,042.Power is supplied via a 4.0L V8, complete with a pair of turbos, with the GT S delivering 384kW. The GT C and GT R respectively have 410kW and 430kW. Torque runs at 670Nm, 680Nm, and 700Nm, between 1,900rpm (GT S)/2,200rpm to 5,500rpm. Economy is quoted as 9.5L/100km for the GT S, 11.5L/100km and 11.4L/100km for the GT C and GT R respectively. Top speeds max out at 310kmm to 318kmh.

Equipment has been given a wave of the magic wand. Drivers will enjoy a new centre console that has AMG Drive Unit controls placed in a stylised V8 arrangement plus there are display buttons to select the drive programs and control dynamic functions. A bespoke AMG Performance steering wheel now has a rotary controller for quick switching between drive modes, and an additional controller allows the driver to nominate two performance shortcuts. These can be toggled during performance driving without a need for the driver to take their eyes off what lies ahead.The driver faces a fully customisable digital instrument cluster of 12.3 inches in size. There is a 10.25 inch media display, with the leading smartphone apps. Vision is improved up front courtesy of a camera and Traffic Sign Assist pairs with it. Illumination is courtesy of new LED headlights, whilst updated alloy wheels and paint colours add to the on-road presence. The addition of the MercedesMe Connect system allows the driver to control key functions plus view relevant vehicle data and service information via a linked smartphone.Comfort and luxury are standard, with powered and heated Nappa leather seats sat underneath a sunroof. The tiller is clad in Nappa and microfibre, whilst sounds come from a 640W Burrmester system. Drive safety is in the form of the Distronic cruise control whilst sporting drivers can track progress via the AMG Track Pace system. This leads to a drivetrain underpinned by AMG’s Ride Control Suspension and electronic limited slip diff, and AMG’s high-performance composite braking system inside 19 and 20 inch alloys. A retractable aerofoil sits over a hands-free operating system for the boot in the GT S. The GT R coupe has a carbon fibre roof and a static aerofoil. The GT C Roadster goes for a fabric soft-top roof and keeps occupants warm with the bespoke Airscarf system.
The vehicles should be in dealerships in the next few weeks.

Ford Mustang R-Spec.

When it comes to high performance engines, Australia can stand up and be counted. Ford Australia has unveiled its supercharged V8 Mustang R-Spec. The car has been developed in collaboration with Melbourne-based Herrod Motorsport, owned and run by Rob Herrod. His specialist group is the largest Ford Performance parts supplier in the southern hemisphere.

Power is not specified but guesstimates hover around 522kW, with torque somewhere in the region of 830Nm. Those figures are based on the similar American specification. Standard figures are 339kW and 556Nm. It will be sold exclusively as a six-speed manual.

500 cars will be made available, and for those with an eye for colour, there will be two new ones to choose from, Grabber Lime and Twisted Orange. Tradition plays a big part in the presence with Boss Mustang stripes, a gloss black rear spoiler, and bonnet vents.

What will help in a customer service sense is that the Mustang R-Spec will be sold via Ford dealerships and will have the unlimited kilometres, five year Ford warranty. It’ll also be built in Broadmeadows, north-west of Melbourne and close to a Ford factory that built Falcons.

The R-Spec has engine components developed by Ford Performance in the United States as well as upgraded suspension and an active muffler. Herrod’s workshop has ensured that all ADRs have been met too, meaning that if Ford decides to go ahead and build more to meet the expected demand, it won’t have to undergo further testing. Fuel economy testing has shown expected figures of 14.0L/100km as an average figure for the combined cycle. Punt it around town and it’ll see a plus 20.0L/100km, whilst the highway run is circa 9.8L/100km.

The blower is a Ford Performance positive displacement item, has a capacity of 2.65 litres and runs a 12 pound per square inch boost.  The whole package from Herrod has been engineered to deliver a smoother throttle response and driving experience.  The air intake is a bespoke item and feeds into an aluminuim intercooler. Ford Performance also supply the suspension components. Ride height is 20mm lower, the adjustable stabiliser bars are bigger by 5mm and 3mm and the suspension is a magnetically adjustable setup capable of adjusting the damping rate at up to 100 times per second. Rubber is the Michelin Sport at 255/40/19 front and 275/40/19 rear on 9.5 inch and 10 inch width alloys.

Kay Hart, Ford Australia’s President and CEO, said: “Working with Herrod Performance, we’ve been able to bring this special edition Mustang to Australian customers through our extensive dealership network, and with the peace-of-mind of five-year, unlimited kilometre warranties backed by Ford and Herrod.” Service intervals are six months or 10,000 kilometres.

Impact to the hip pocket nerve? Call it $100K plus on roads.

Hybrid News From The Three Pointed Star.

Luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz has provided details of their new hybrid C-Class. There is also a potentially hybrid and/or electric S-Class on its way sometime inside the next decade. The C 300 e Sedan has a motor that can deliver 90 kilowatts of power and 440Nm of torque. Without utilising the petrol engine, there is up to 52 kilometres of electrical driving. Pair in the petrol driven 2.0L four, with a handy 350Nm of torque and 155kW of power, driving the rear wheels via a nine speed auto, peak power is rated as 235kW and torque as 700Nm. M-B says that combined fuel economy can reach as low as 2.1L per 100 kilometres. 0 – 100kmh is 5.4 seconds, the same as the Standard Plus Tesla Model 3.

The standard C-Class has a 2.0L with slightly lesser power and torque at 150kW and 300Nm of twist. 0 – 100kmh is 7.1 seconds.

The battery pack is able to hold 13.5kWh. It can be recharged to full from empty in around two hours using a Type 2 charger, or seven hours on a home circuit. It’s a smart capable battery, which allows both the heater element and cooling system to pre-climatise the interior. Other electronic goodness comes from Live Traffic Updates as standard, the Driver Assistance Package which bundles the Mercedes-Benz Distronic automated cruise control in with a predictive speed adjustment system. This covers off bends, junctions, and roundabouts.

Overall, the range has 19 different variants. There’s petrol power, diesel oomph, hybrid drivelines, and four body shapes. Buyers can choose from Sedan, Estate (wagon), Coupe, and Cabrio. Mercedes also have a limited edition Sport Edition package that buyers can specify as an option for the Sedan, Estate and Coupe. Add it to the Sedan and Estate and that’s $7,700. It’s $7,200 for the Coupe. The range starts at $64,500 and the Sport Edition has driveaway prices starting at $69,900.

When it comes to the S-Class, M-B have previewed a possible version with the unveiling of the EQS concept. EQ is a separate division, a sub-brand, that Mercedes-Benz have created to have an electric car division. By selling the S-Class, which is slated to be available early in 2020, and the EQS a year or so after, M-B then allows their customers to choose which they feel best represents a top level vehicle.

One of the aims of the concept is to assist in getting Level 3 Autonomous Driving classification. The chassis itself will become a modular platform, and will form the basis for a range of vehicles the M-B say will be released in the early 2020s. However, the S-Class, at this stage, is looking to stay as a petrol or hybrid rand range, leaving the EQS series as the separate and complementary arm using electric power. There will be a highly intensive LED look too, for the EQS, to help differentiate visually.