GT500 is the best Mustang ever

Pony cars weren’t meant to have this ridiculous power, confidence-inspiring handling, great brakes and mean looks, but we totally dig it! The original Shelby GT500, launched in 1967, is among the most desired nameplates from the golden era of American muscle cars. This time around, Ford wanted a car that would go fast in a straight line, tackle corners, and comfortably cruise down the highway.
The new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the most powerful Ford production ever, with 760 hp, compared to the last Shelby GT350, launched in 2013, with a 662-horsepower and with a claimed 322 kph top speed. Drag racers will be happy to hear that this machine hits 96 kph in just 3.3 seconds.

It’s got the looks

There’s something different about this Mustang, even before opening the door. It has a more wireframe concept with defining lines separated mostly by a fine mesh, to better feed the many coolers, radiators, and ducts guiding air into and around the car. It screams “look at me” in the best way possible with its gaping front fascia, flashy carbon fibre wing, 20-inch wheels, and Skittle-like exterior paint options.

It’s got the heart

The GT500’s supercharged 5.2-litre V8 essentially borrows the same block as the GT350. Though, the GT500 uses a traditional cross-plane crankshaft (and not a flat-plane crank). The crankshaft yields 90 degrees of rotation instead of 180 degrees and an Eaton supercharger with 12-psi handling is nestled down nicely inside the engine’s V.

It’s got ground

An optional Carbon Fiber Track Pack can be added which includes the high-rise rear wing and exposed-weave 20-inch carbon-fibre wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, 305-width up front, 315s at the rear. The super-wide, ultra-sticky rubber stands up to the GT500’s supercharged grunt, turning belt-fed compressed air into speed with minimum fuss.

It’s got the works

Ford released the GT500 with only one gearbox available – a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. In self-shifting mode, the dual-clutch snaps off swift, crisp gear changes. It just blinks into the next gear, as immediate as a hand clap. With a standard MagneRide adaptive suspension, which softens up the ride in any of the three drive modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. The fourth and final mode, Track, is a bit too harsh for everyday driving. The transmission is equipped with line-lock and launch control, so you can heat up the tyres and scorch with minimal effort.

It’s got soul

Looking inside, you may find the optional Recaro seats with their suede upholstery and tall, deep bolsters. With the new bulging hood, visibility doesn’t take a dramatic hit thanks to the big, upright windshield and slim A-pillars. The rear seat is entirely removed to add lightness. This car also ditches navigation as navigation and the 12-speaker audio system is only available as part of the Tech-package.

The GT500 has tremendous power and the car’s reflexes really set it apart in its approachability. It can be a regular car when you need it to be, and it lets even a novice driver have lots of fun. The car doesn’t feel like it’s trying to get away from you like it is bound to run you out of talent and off into the field. It is composed, predictable, and offers infinitely finesse. More than the power figures and acceleration numbers, the new GT500 is Ford’s most significant accomplishment yet.

Hyundai i30N: Hot Hatch hatches on our shores next month.

South Korea is the land known for its love of technology and bringing us an exciting sporty hatchback. The Hyundai i30N should give you pause before buying your next car. You may well want to consider this one first.

Price? Not sure yet. But that’ll probably be announced shortly before its release toward the end of January 2020. The i30N will only be available at 15 selected dealers though and will be sold through what would be known as ‘N-specialists’ – people who were specifically trained to sell the car. All dealerships, however, will be able to service owners’ cars.

It’s important to note that while there are different engine specs that this model comes with, we’re only getting the 202-kW engine config. That’s better than the entry-level 184 kW, though. It’s plenty of sporty power for those who drive the highway economic arteries that make up our biggest cities. The engine produces 353 Newton-meters (Nm) of twisting force, but it can unleash up to 378Nm in short spurts during over boost.

So basically, you’re getting a 2-litre turbo-petrol engine, which is plenty of voooooom! where you need it most on a car. Hopefully, you’re not driving an automatic, because there is no such option with the i30N coming to our country. There is a 6-gear manual and that’s more than enough for us.

When fitted with the 19-inch wheel option, the hot hatch sits 8mm lower to the ground. It has also been kitted with a sport suspension system with adjustable dampers as well as an electronic control limited-slip differential.

If you’re slick with your gear changes, you can easily meet the 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds that the i30N is capable of.

You’ll get a great selection of drive modes for this baby. That being Eco, very useful in rush hour traffic, Normal, and when you want to shoot across town you can opt in Sport. Finally, there’s N and N Custom, which means you get to choose the parameters at which the steering, sound, chassis, and, most importantly, engine function within.

But how cool is this: there’s a G-Force meter as well. So, when you’re Tom Cruising down the highway, you can feel like a Top Gun.

2020: Prominent car introductions

A new year means new cars. And with an interesting direction, crossovers are taking the reign. An assortment of brand-new and fully redesigned passenger cars is hitting the road in 2020, but are they reducing? It seems like buyers are instead choosing sporty vehicles as their rides. Several small cars, such as Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus, are discontinued. Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic are also pulling out at the end of the current model year.

Here’s a look at some all-new models and some iconic models that are making a comeback after an extended period of absence from the markets. These most famous introductions will reach dealers’ showrooms for 2020.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

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This hallmark sports car benefits from significantly different aerodynamics and weight distribution, compared to previous models, which helps it raise its performance curve to new heights. It still resembles the current models but is a next-generation C8 vehicle. It’s the most aggressively styled ‘Vette yet with a wild exotic-car appearance. The removable roof panels can be stored in the forward-situated trunk. Behind the driver sits a 6.2-litre V8 engine with 490 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It’s driver-focused and features electronic displays and no fewer than a dozen selectable driving modes.

Aston Martin DBX

Aston-Martin-DBX

 

 

 

 

 

The British automaker didn’t have a crossover/SUV in their portfolio, up until now. They aim that the all-new DBX become their best-selling model. Production takes place in St Athan, Wales, U.K. and is partially hand-built. This production-ready DBX takes on a conventional, 5-door form like its competitors. It gets a powerful 4.0L twin-turbo V8 engine supplied by Mercedes-Benz and tweaked by AMG. It generates 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Being one of the most luxurious options on the market, it gets standard air suspension with adaptive dampers as well as a full array of advanced driver’s aids.

Tesla Roadster

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The full-electric Tesla Roadster features a decidedly modernistic curvy profile and promises rocket-like performance. This stylish 2+2 Roadster comes with a glass roof that store in the car’s trunk. Tesla claims it will be the fastest car on the planet. Thanks to three electric motors, the Roadster will be able to hit the 97 kph mark from a standing start in just 1.9 seconds while maxing out at around 402 kph. It comes with a large 200 kWh battery pack and should provide as much as 998 km of drive-range if driven relatively lightly.

Mini Cooper SE

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This new full-electric Cooper SE Coupe combines the brand’s famed go-kart-like handling with zero-emissions operation. It produces 181 horsepower with 199 pound-feet of torque which promises lively acceleration with its electric motor. It features 4 driving modes and two regenerative braking selections, with the ability to engage one-pedal driving. It is expected a 0-97 kph time at 7.3 seconds.

Porsche Taycan

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The first all-electric Porsche vehicle is an ultra-sleek battery-driven four-door sports car. This coupe shouldn’t be confused with the Panamera although they have a few common design-wise similarities. The name Taycan is derived from two Turkic terms and can be roughly translated as ‘soul of a spirited young horse’. It’s offered two battery capacity options and three different power outputs. These 9.2-kWh and 93.4-kWh batteries can generate either 522 hp, 563 hp, or 616 hp. The Taycan is capable of propelling 97 kph from a standing start in just 2.6 seconds.

Kia Soul EV

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This version is a redesign of Kia’s funky compact electric hatchback with styling differences that sets it apart from the likewise fuel versions. It has a new independent rear suspension that improves the cars handling. The Soul EV also comes with selectable driving modes, and the driver can choose from four levels of regenerative braking. It features a 64-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack with DC fast charging capability with an output of 201 horsepower and a perky 291 pound-feet of torque. The range has improved from 241 km to 362 km drive range. A long list of amenities is included such as the latest accident-avoidance features.

The future looks bright and you can expect a wide range of vehicles, from family cars to supercars, within the next year. Every one of them will earn a special place in many car enthusiasts’ hearts when they roll out of the production lines in 2020.

The Upcoming Golf GTI Mk8. 8 times the Charm.

Hold onto your hats, everybody. The upcoming Golf GTI Mk8 is threatening to blow them away. This very hotly anticipated car is going to be released here, in sunny South Africa, soon. And as we all know, GTI is one of the most fun ways to “play” Golf. Every Golf GTI generation kept scoring a hole-in-one for us, with its superb value for power ratio.

Now, we’re starting the first year of the new decade with one that has plenty of VW fans salivating in anticipation.

The engine driving the thing.

Firstly, onto the basics: the engine is part of their MQB platform, an engine developed to function in traverse (the crankshaft axis is perpendicular to the direction you’re driving in), with a front-wheel drive.

It has the same version of this engine as is currently being used by the 3rd generation Audi A3, another car we happen to love.

At launch, you’ll be able to get the 1.0-litre turbocharged TSI engine with 65 kW of power. Equivalent to 88 horsepower. A 1.5-litre turbocharged TSI engine with 95 kW of power. 128 horses here. And a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine. This one is a TDI with 110 kW power. There are a bunch of other configurations too, but we went with the three most likely to be released in the South African market.

A stunner.

As you can see from the picture, the Mk8 doesn’t deviate all that much looks-wise from the Mk7. Admittedly, the Mk7 is a stunner, though.

What has changed is what you’ll find on the inside. Like two beautiful people, one just having a much better personality.

VW-Innovative-Cockpit

 

Lights, camera, action!

There are the optional Matrix-LED headlamps – with each lamp containing 22 stunning LEDs. That’s bright enough to make you visible even in the foggiest weather. And certainly, helpful at night, especially in parts of the country without streetlights, including parts of the city without working streetlights.

You’ll also find the cab has a new system, the ‘Innovision Cockpit’ which gives you a complete digital display rather than the traditional needle points for the speedometer, for example.

Showing signs of some autonomy.

For your driving convenience, there’s a semi-autonomous mode which allows for adaptive cruise control, meaning it will sense the speeding up, slowing down, and hard braking of the driver in front of you, and adjust the cruising speed automatically. You’ll just need to be ready to take control at a moment’s notice.

Also, it has lane-assist, normally reserved for more premium vehicles. That’s helpful if you’re the sort whose mind tends to wander off… and you start wandering into someone else’s lane.

Smaller knob.

It will feature shift-by-wire DSG (DSG, of course, being automatic gear-changing). Shift-by-wire tech translates to a smaller knob on the gearchange stick, making for slightly more convenience. Though it’s not that big a deal with a vehicle that isn’t a manual, it will be noticeable with the reversing and driving and reversing again when doing three or more-point turns.

Meet your new assistant.

Oh yeah, you’ll also have “someone” to assist you should you need it – simply by issuing voice instructions like, “Call up Barry”, “Send an SMS to Sally to say I’m nearly there,” “Put on my Ninja Tunes playlist from Spotify,” etc.

Her name is Alexa and she’s established quite the reputation for herself in recent years.

Overall, one could say the Golf Mk8 will be a complete digital rehaul. Very exciting for those into their tech.

This charming and speedy as heck Golf is one of the many things we look forward to in the next decade.

10 Car-checks before a Road Trip

What comes to mind when the words vacation and road trip are mentioned? At that specific moment… nothing, except for bubbling excitement that results in a silly dance and shrieking sounds.

So, apart from planning the route, stops, playlists, snacks for the car, activities etc., it’s important to include your planning for a proper car check too – for peace of mind. We know that it sounds boring compared to the rest of the planning, but it’s critical if you don’t want to get stuck on the side of the road and waste time you could’ve spent at your destination. If your breakdown is serious, this might not be the only things going to waste, you may end up spending money unbudgeted for.

What exactly do you need to check before you embark on your road trip?

1. Fluids

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Start your car-check with under the bonnet first. Check the oil and coolant levels. If they appear to be low, fill them up, and check for possible leakages. Make sure that your car’s brake fluid is efficient. If need be, change the oil and oil filter before the trip.

2. Lights

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Ensure that all your car lights are in working condition, especially when travelling routes at night or in misty or rainy weather conditions. Make sure to keep some extra brake globes in the car for globes that might blow. You may also cover your headlights with a protective sheet to prevent bug clogs and other damage. LLumar headlight protection film can be purchased from selected partners, nationwide.

3. Wipers

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very simple test. Use your windscreen washers to spray your windscreen – do the wipers clear the water from your windscreen? If they’re leaving lines that could impair your vision, it’s better to replace them with new ones. Windscreen rain repellent products are also available at Builder’s Warehouse or Makro starting from R50 and work best in rainy weather conditions – the raindrops run so quick from your windscreen that it’s almost unnecessary to switch on your wipers. It’s also best to keep a towel at hand to wipe dirty windshields, spills etc.

4. Wheels & Tyres

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Your tyres need to be in perfect condition when you’re travelling. This is what connects your car to the road and it’s best to look at tread depth first (some cars may have a tread depth indicator); if the tire is worn out, replace it. You don’t want to go sliding on the road (like a small child without balance in an ice-skating rink without traction – you can just imagine how it ends).

Also, look for signs of strain, bulges and other possible damage. Check your tyre pressure regularly (even when not travelling a long distance). The tyre will wear out in the middle if the tyre is over-inflated and with underinflated tyres, it will wear out on the sides and edges.

5. Brake Pads

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Brake pads have a metal outer part and a composite inner part. The inner part needs to be 5mm thick. If the thickness is below this, we recommend replacing the brake pads. With that goes the handbrake as well. More than four clicks to keep the car from moving, and you would fail a roadworthy test.

6. Drive Belts

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Examine the drive belt for any cracks. If the drive belt is damaged or worn out, you may head for an utter disaster and your engine may shut down completely. The battery won’t charge, and your car will start overheating because the water pump (run by the belt), won’t work.

7. Spare Wheel

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Before any journey, not only long-distance ones, you’ll need to check that your spare tyre, the jack, and wheel spanner are all in your car and in working condition. The spare tyre should also be inflated correctly, you might haven’t used it in a while so make a mental note to always check. We strongly recommend doing this every time you fill up your car with fuel.

8. Steering

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Most of the steering tests can only be done while driving. It’s best to get a technician to test your steering because they can pick up any engine sounds, vibrations or suspension that the normal driver can’t. There may also be a wheel alignment problem when the car pulls in either the left or right direction. The car then needs to be lifted to check the wheel alignment as well as other components, such as the steering rack.

9. Brakes & Clutch

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Evaluate how the car reacts when breaking. When the car can’t be controlled when breaking, it’s not safe (when it pulls to either side). When checking the clutch, any of the following symptoms may indicate a clutch replacement: spongy, sticking, vibrating or lose clutch pedal when pressed; squeaking or grumbling noise when pressed; ability to rev the engine, but poor acceleration; difficulty shifting gear or ‘slipping’ clutch, causing a momentary loss of acceleration.

10. Other Checks

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-Ensure that you’re travelling in a clean car – inside and out. This makes it easier when searching for things inside the car during the trip.
-Keep a small garbage bag inside the car for when the snacks are finished and there’s no trash bin nearby.
-Get a spare key and keep it in your wallet or elsewhere in case you get locked out.
-Ensure your podcasts or playlists are downloaded (in case you lose service).
-Make sure all the other cables are in the car – phone charger, auxiliary cable, USB cable, etc.
-Bring a plastic funnel and water bucket in case of emergencies. Also, pack a fire extinguisher if possible.

With proper preparation before a trip and a good attitude during the journey, you can make sure you not only survive a long trip but also enjoy it!

How Formula 1 has affected your daily life.

Think those jet-looking speed-freak machines are just around for competitive sports? They’ve achieved far more than that! Aside from creating legends like Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, the cutting-edge technology used in the motorsport has found its way into the consumer market.

A backwards glance.

Like, for instance. That rear-view mirror you find handy to tell if traffic behind you is coming too quickly or whatever the situation might be, was first used in F1 Racing. Why? To keep an eye on the competition, of course! That’s probably the most low-tech thing on the list of improvements F1 has made to our lives as consumers – imagine not being able to see who’s speeding up right on your tail!

And there’s a high-tech example. We might not even have electric cars on the roads today if it wasn’t for F1. Basically, the lithium-ion battery is key to powering the engine so they don’t rely on petrol and combustion.

Super-charged!

The initial problem with lithiu-ion batteries was that there wasn’t enough power. It wasn’t a case of energy from the battery being enough – it was a question of power density. Power to the nth? The equivalent of packing all world leaders into one super leader? In other words, it was a question of making use of the space you had allocated to you. In the same was as cellphones today have far more computational power than the super computers in the ‘60s that landed man on the moon.

Well, F1 raised the bar, literally, if you’re talking about the power indicator left in the life of your battery. They managed to squeeze in 100 x the power density into lithium-ion batteries, making it conceivable to not only have vehicles with electric engines… but even high-performance sports cars.

Getting cars back in the race with surgical precision.

You know what else is amazing? How getting tyres with burning rubber off an F1 car in mere moments has the potential to save your life in the surgical theatre. True. See, we all have off-days. Imagine the pressure of being a surgeon, where an off-day can mean someone goes home without a spleen… or not at all.

Well, when it comes to getting a win in a Formula 1 race, every split-second counts. So, the F1 teams developed augmented reality technology that allows them to shave off time and improve their performance in getting their guy back in the race. How it works exactly? They’re able to see what adjusts need to be made in a fraction of the time as previously.

And when applied in the operating theatre, a surgeon is given real-time data as to how they’re performing when it comes to the surgery. This literally can make the difference between life and death. At the very least, the difference between fast recovery time and complications.

Safety at 300 kilometres per hour.

When you’re driving at blindingly fast speeds down the track, a crash is going to be a heck of a lot worse than some fender-bender with an old lady who reversed out the parking bay without doing her checks. It’s going to mean someone has a career-ending injury. Like death. Sadly, there have been numerous infamous fatalities such as that of Ayrton Senna. There were actually two fatalities during that specific event, with Roland Ratzenberger dying in qualifying the day before.

Many of the safety features we find in cars these days, such as ABS braking, have their origins from the safety developments made for Formula 1 drivers racing at speeds of around 300 km/h.

So that’s just some of the ways F1 has improved your life. Grand Prix means grand improvements! And as the sport continues to evolve, there’s no putting the brakes on continued enhancements now.

The KIA Seltos: Up and Coming for the Up-and-Coming.

KIA Motors Corporation is a South Korean company. KIA is a brand we’ve regretfully neglected for far too long and now need to remedy. We aim to fix that by focusing on the KIA Seltos.

This car is aimed at the up-and-coming, buying-their-second-car, younger market who’ve maybe just scored their second big promotion or career move, somewhere in their late 20s to early 30s.

We mentioned the Seltos is aimed at the younger market, and that’s reflected in its tech heaviness, such as a superior sound system by BOSE. More on that later.

If you’re a millennial looking for a car with attitude, you’ll find it here in two main layouts. For those urban warriors, a front-wheel drive. For you more adventurous lot, still doing things like the occasional beach party or bundu bashing for a nice spot to take a little trip to, there’s the all-wheel-drive configuration.

Keen on saving? You’ll get a six-speed manual. If you have more dosh to spend, get the six-speed automatic. But we personally like automatic driving in the major urban centres, what with stop-start traffic, so maybe this is the option for you. There’s even a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to give you the advantages of automatic, but with some optional manual driving on the side.

Some things now about the vehicle itself. It comes with what are fast becoming motor industry standards: LED headlamps. The headlights that emit from them are quite striking and definitely useful in the streets of our cities where often streetlights are on strike. The back ones are also very bright and useful to keep you from being rear-ended unexpectantly. (Travel distances being harder to discern at night and all).

The wheels have crystal cut alloy on them. This certainly adds to the premium feel of the vehicle. You’ll look super stylish as you drive around town with these spinning around.

What’s really cool is you can set the mood with Ambient Mood Lighting – it’s basically lights that come from certain corners of the cabin. We particularly like the neon red. Great if you’re gearing up for a night at a club with your mates.

It has some other awesome tech too, like the Smart Head’s Up Display, which measures in at 8 inches. It’s a great HUD because it’s designed to be easy to glance at while driving – so you don’t get distracted. Most accidents happen because a driver is distracted for a second or more glancing about for info or to change the media input. And then suddenly something unexpected happens and it’s too late to react.

On the topic of media, the infotainment system is full high definition touchscreen and sits at a hefty 10.25 inches. As with all things Korean, it’s fully functional, with plenty of tech to play with, as far as cars go.

And on the topic of safety, the KIA is made of high-strength steel, so you’re kind of encased in armour should you have the bad luck of being in an accident. It’ll be worse for the other guy. Plus six airbags should absorb most of the impact you’d otherwise experience.

Finally, we mentioned BOSE, right? Well, the sound system is like a boss. As we alluded to, they’re a top-quality audio company and the speakers in the Seltos are specially designed to fit snuggly in the vehicle… giving you more reverb, and more pulse-pounding power in your playlist.

We personally think the KIA Seltos is perfect for the up-and-coming, trendsetter, modern-day jet-set. Those who like their weekends and even their day-to-day driving experience to be a party of a ride. So if that’s you, maybe it’s time to go Korean.

 

Faster than a Boeing. Meet the world’s fastest car.*

*Or soon will be, because it’s taking up the challenge of breaking the fastest land speed record, which is faster than most commercial aircraft fly at cruising speed.

Perhaps not the now retired Concorde. That was an absolute classic beauty of a plane and one of the few commercial jetliners than could reach Mach 2.

i.e. Mach is a designation where you break the sound barrier and any speed over that is travelling faster than sound travels – it’s normally calculated locally due to the fact breaking the sound barrier depends on specific conditions in that specific environment – sorry for the science lesson).

Most jetliners travel close to but not quite Mach 1. A Boeing 747 has a cruising speed of around 920 km/h, putting it at about Mach 0.85.

Conditions are generally dry and the air thin where cruising altitudes occur, which is the stratosphere – above the clouds, so normally airliners aren’t affected by bad weather en-route to their destination, just FYI.

In any case, most commercial aircraft are sub-sonic.

So back to the car…

Currently, attempts are being made to build a land car that will break the current land speed record. It’s going to be interesting. A lot of research and development is going into this, so the test is scheduled for next year. Probably around the fourth quarter.

The car to beat is the Thrust SSC, which achieved a speed of no less than 1,227.985 km/h. At that altitude and conditions, it achieved Mach 1.08.  The first car to ever break the sound barrier.

This happened 22 years ago, 15 October 1997. And they didn’t just get any old fancy-schmancy test driver to ride that rocket of a car on what passed for a road in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Nope, they used a bonafide jetfighter pilot. One Andy Green, a wing commander with the British Royal Air Force, pip pip, tally ho, and all that, old fellow.

Maybe because it looked like a plane itself, they were worried it would actually take off, and better a pilot be in it in that event.

But it didn’t leave the ground, despite being powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines. Which, in case you didn’t know, are actually plane engines, used in the F-4 Phantom II fighter jet. The only thing missing from the vehicle were sidewinder missiles.

We suppose in case any unexpected rocks popped up on the route or maybe even a minibus taxi trying to cut him off (those guys seem like they’re everywhere, normally in your lane where you almost were a few moments ago).

Actually, there’s an idea there somewhere…

But leaving aside road wars involving rocket-propelled missiles on the streets of SA, the boom from the sound barrier (on land, nogal!) reverberated to the nearest town.

Bloodhound Gang

Now, going full circle to the beginning of this article, the Bloodhound, a successor of sorts to the Thrust SSC, is set for a 2020 run. The project initially ran into some financial difficulties in 2018, but a very, very wealthy businessman stepped in to save the day (“This looks like a job for Super-Richman!”).

He apparently gets ownership of the finished vehicle once they’ve broken the record, but good luck navigating that thing down your typical highway. That’s such an accident waiting to happen (almost literally, because it won’t be waiting, it’ll be hurtling down the road at a bloodcurdling 1,600 km/h.)

Yes, that bracketed section is correct. They will be aiming to break the record by approximately 400 km/h over the last record. It will need to be done on a very long stretch of desert flat with kilometres of empty space.

Longer than before because it will still take 40 seconds to accelerate to 1,600 km/h, which equals to about 26 kilometres passed in a minute. So the driver won’t be able to maintain that speed for long (we’re struggling to think of many ideal locations that have such a long stretch) so he’ll almost immediately be decelerating. Which includes parachutes.

It will be an incredible event, one that can only contribute to our understanding of the technology of rockets, cars, the effects of g forces, amongst other things.

And if there is a plane flying overhead, they’re going to see something faster than Sonic the Hedgehog racing down there.

We’ll be interested in the effects the distortion of the air on the ground level will be. One thing’s for sure. It’s going to make the fastest commercial car, the Bugatti, look as slow as a drowsy dung beetle.

3rd Gen BMW X6: Body of the Beast.

How does one begin to describe the third-generation BMW X6, which was officially revealed in July 2019? Well, for one thing, if you’re very into masculine features you’ll love the new bodywork.

Aggressive is one way to put it. Its headlamps remind us of a predator’s. Not the kind who turn invisible, fire laser canons at Arnold Schwarzenegger and collect skulls as trophies. The crocodile kind. The shark kind. The lamps are almost slits and boy do they illuminate when they’re on.

The predator metaphor works well because if one of these babies comes down the street while you’re halfway across the road, you’ll feel like a deer caught in the headlights – so to speak.

Another interesting feature of the body is the grill. From a side glance, they look like the gills of a fish… a metallic Great White. The front? The nostrils of dragons. The fire-breathing kind.

The air-intake? Looks like chainmail armour. The overall body? Sturdy and solid, with a stocky but elongated shape. Sporty, but mean.

As is apparent, it is a luxury SUV and coupe, so maybe it will be welcome at places like Durban where even the wealthy businessmen like to surf. It’s able to handle whatever the beach throws at it. That’s because it’ll come with underbody protection (at least the xLine model will). There are two main models: the aforementioned xLine and the M Sport trim.

Tech-wise, you’ll be getting cupholders that can either keep your cappuccino toasty or your cooldrink cold. (Though that’s optional, not standard.) Also optional is an air suspension which is for the more adventurous sort, so if you want to take your BMW X6 off the beaten track – you can configure it to handle snow, sand, gravel, and even rock terrain.

Except, we don’t think there will much use for the snow configuration, unless you often take to Sani Pass and the Drakensberg mountains during wintertime. While global warming has made it unlikely that we’ll have a great snowfall (as has hit that region in the past few decades), you never know. Climate change is unpredictable.

All models come standard with two 12.3-inch displays powered by the iDrive 7.0 operating system, BMW’s newest and best yet. It’ll also come with the BMW personal digital assistant (no, really? We nearly confused with an analogue assistant run on cassette tapes!).

Here are the list of engine types depending on specific models.

 

Petrol.

 

Model Years Engine Power Torque 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)
X6 xDrive40i 2019– B58B30M1
3.0 L I6 turbo
250 kW (335 hp)
at 5,500–6,500 rpm
450 N⋅m (332 lb⋅ft)
at 1,500–5,200 rpm
5.5 s
X6 M50i N63B44T3
4.4 L V8 twin-turbo
395 kW (530 hp)
at 5,500–6,000 rpm
750 N⋅m (553 lb⋅ft)
at 1,800–4,600 rpm
4.3 s
X6 M 2020– S63 4.4 L V8 twin-turbo 447.4 kW (600 hp)
at 6,000 rpm
750 N⋅m (553 lb⋅ft)
at 1,800–5,860 rpm
3.8 s
X6 M Competition 466 kW (625 hp)
at 6,000 rpm
3.7 s

 

Diesel.

 

Model Years Engine Power Torque 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)
X6 xDrive30d 2019– B57D30
3.0 L I6 turbo
195 kW (261 hp)
at 4,000 rpm
620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft)
at 2,000–2,500 rpm
6.5 s
X6 M50d B57D30C
3.0 L I6 quad-turbo
294 kW (394 hp)
at 4,400 rpm
760 N⋅m (561 lb⋅ft)
at 2,000–3,000 rpm

5.2 s

 

 

You just need a glimpse to tell you that this car with its assortments of models is powerful with a variety of engines. And because it’s an SUV, not a sports car, most of those 0 – 100s are impressive indeed. Especially considering the build.

So it’s out overseas this month. Will it be coming here soon? We hope so, and we hope to one day to take one off your hands for a hefty amount (to you)!

Cars that go swimmingly with water.

Who, at least those born in the 1980s and earlier, can forget that moment James Bond drives his kitted-out car off a peer under helicopter gunfire into a harbour… and it transforms into a submarine?

That was pretty awesome and filled many a boy (and a few girls) with heroic fantasies of driving an amphibious car capable of doing fancy driving and diving.

The truth is, fiction is not far from fact. It’s true. The amphibious car exists and have done so for quite some time now.

“Donna mind us. We ah just going for a wee sail, laddie.”

Firstly, that is most definitely a car. And secondly, as you can no doubt tell, they’re not having that sinking feeling.

The idea for the amphibious car isn’t even that new either. It’s almost as old as the first motor-powered vehicle itself. It’s believed someone came up with it around about the turn of the 20th Century, actually.

Oh, they were just as ambitious in those days as we are now where technology is concerned. For absolute centuries, especially during the Medieval period, the pace of tech development was painfully slow. Then we hit the Industrial Era and suddenly everyone became caffeine addicts and worked overtime to come up with the best ideas, the fastest.

Hence the comparison of a couple of centuries where not much happened except jousting tournaments and witch burnings to a period of time where we went from phones you had to literally ring with your fingers, to smartphones thousands of times more powerful than the room-sized computer used to land three men on the moon.

But we digress.

It still took a bit of time before any real development happened with the amphibious car. Then World War II came along, giving most of the planet a really bad day that lasted for years, and saw significant development on the half-automobile-half-boat. The most well-known from this period was the subtly named Schwimmwagen.

We trust that even if you don’t know your German from your Japanese, you can still guess what the name translates to in the English language. (And out of curiosity, and this just popped into our head, anyone heard from David Schwimmer lately?)

The Schwimmwagen was a small military 4×4 modelled on the jeep and was developed in 1942. It saw plenty of action during the war. As an amphibious vehicle, it would give its operators some combat advantage seeing as it was literally all terrain… including “terrain” made of H2O.

But here’s one for the history books. An Aussie adventurer called Ben Carlin decided to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle. He drove and sailed in a modified Ford GPA which was christened the “Half-Safe”.

The journey began in Quebec, Canada and completed an audacious transatlantic crossing. Then onto Europe, travelling overland through the Middle East (also daring considering the 1950s was a bit of an unsettling time). He got to Australia, again sailing the friendly seas (though this time it was transported by steamer).

Next, it was to South-East Asia and the Far East, to the northernmost point of post-war Japan (“just don’t mention the war, mate” we like to imagine him saying to partners he picked up while in Oz). Then the coldest part of his trip… Alaska. Even the polar bears must have been confused.

He took a tour through the US and Canada, finally returning to Quebec.

Journey Over. Final point tally:

Kilometres travelled by sea: 17 000

Kilometres travelled by land: 62 000

Years taken to reach starting point: a decade’s worth.

Final achievement: automobile history legend.

It seems the Half-Safe kept him safe the full time.

Ben Carlin. Yip, our kinda guy.

Right.

Since the 1960s, amphibious cars have become increasingly popular. The Amphicar (fig. 1) is especially so. It is still, to this day, the most successfully produced amphibious car used by ordinary civilians. (Must be an overseas thing, since we don’t see many, or any, here.)

Then there’s the Gibbs Aquada.

Quite a sexy little thing. Look at it alongside that boat.

We’d be gawking too. It’s renowned for the speeds it is capable of – 160 km/h on land and 50 km/h on water, which is about 27 knots (so called because long before speedometers, ships used literal knotted ropes to determine the speed they were travelling at).

It is essentially a true hybrid, in that it isn’t a boat capable of driving on land nor a car capable of sailing in water, but, well, both a boat AND a car. It involved a lot of technological innovations and had 60 (SIXTY!) patents in the course of its development.

It may be a while before we see someone in an amphibious car cruising around in the Vaal or Gariep, but if you happen to be that person, and you’d want to sell, you know that we’ve got an app for that.