Friday, 26 December 2008


Spy pictures of the next Porsche Cayenne have been snapped by Luxvelocity showing a new interior taken straight out of a Panamera. So it looks like as far as the bigger Porsches of the next generation, this is the interior that will dominate. Spied interior also shows what appears to be a 7-speed PDK gearknob.

More buttons are the order of the day for Cayenne, surprising since baby brand Audi is going MMI (Multi-media Interface) with a simpler, central rolling knob control system. Of course BMW has iDrive and Mercedes-Benz COMAND too.

We expect the next Cayenne, following the highly controversial SUV which was launched in 2002 and facelifted last year, to come to market in 2011. Three engine variants; petrol, diesel and hybrid will form the lineup.

SOURCE: Luxvelocity


BMW has joined other super luxury German saloon-makers in offering 4-wheel-drive for its 7 Series cars. says the 750i xDrive is currently testing in the cold climates under ice and snow to see how it handles itself. This would be the first 4x4 7 Series since 1977 and it’s for customers who live in very icy countries like Russia, Sweden and Finland.

The car has the same engine as the 750i in the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 300kW and 450Nm of torque. xDrive is hailed as one of the fastest-reacting 4x4 systems in the world but will add about 50kg extra fat onto the 7 and increase fuel consumption by up to 4%. xDrive will not drive all four wheels all the time; in normal driving about 70% of power will go rear.

Meanwhile, America has announced prices for the 7 Series at $81 125 for the 750i and $85 025 for the 750iL (long wheel-base). These are 0.7% higher than the outgoing models.

ON THE ROAD: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG

They had to make an AMG version didn’t they?

You say that, I used to wonder if the CLS wasn’t just a glorified E-Class. But this whole four-door coupe thing is really taking off. Actually, the CLS is a pioneer in this field where recently Porsche entered with the Panamera and soon Aston Martin will too with the Rapide and Audi with the A7. So the CLS 63 AMG is in the right spot.

I can guess it goes like pot at a Rasta convention but does it handle?

It certainly handles its business. My previous favourite AMG car was the CLK 55 AMG, first generation, the one with the twin tailpipes and 5-speed automatic. That was basic engineering, as basic as a Mercedes-Benz can be; 5.4-litre V8, naturally aspirated, no mess no fuss. My new favourite AMG is the CLS 63. I like the concept of a four-door, four-seater only car that handles well for its size. The CLS is it, and with a 6.2-litre V8 lurking underneath it gives it that extra air of being special.


Though I can’t say it takes to curves like Obama did to an election campaign, it does feel tauter than most other Mercs, it feels less bulky than an E 63 AMG for example, and has a better aerodynamic response than most. Weight is an issue though, so is the powertrain. The 6.2-litre AMG V8 is not a slimmer’s choice by any means, and the gearbox is at best, loathes keeping up with ever-changing driver input. That said, this combo is only second best to the C 63 AMG in the CLS, better than in the E 63 AMG I say.

Does it bring in good numbers?

Numbers aren’t an entire picture you realise. The 0 – 100 time of 4.9 at sea level and 5.2 at Gauteng altitude is not quite what I’ve experienced with the CLS 55 AMG, but then again, that was a supercharged stonker 700Nm mated to that 5-speed auto I was talking about earlier. It’s only this quick when using the semi-automatic option with peddle-shifts behind the steering wheel. That the CLS 63 AMG cannot match a BMW M6 pound for pound is evident pretty much from the word go. However, maybe it wasn’t trying to do that in the first place. What it wanted to do was to make it easy for people with families of four to travel in style while the driver enjoyed spontaneous moments of laughter as he took out “real” sports cars, light after light.

Getting back to the seating arrangement.

Yeah, I first laid eyes on the CLS in the metal at Auto Africa 2006 where I was quite fascinated by its choice of passenger numbers. Two upfront, and only two at the back. This is ensured by placing something else other than a seat in the back middle area. A real coupe-style concept. But with four doors. Interesting.

The rest of the interior?

Interior though, is less enthralling, with dash details too busy and feel too mid-range for a CLS and AMG to boot. AMG lettering is quite generously placed in strategic areas like the speedometer, gearshift handle, headrests and so on, in case you forgot this was an AMG. Seats are leather with Alcantara touches. I had the option that allows the seats to hug you tighter when cornering, thus keeping driver at a fairly upright position even when g-forces are intense. The exterior is also different from other CLS models; it gets AMG kit that includes four tailpipes, AMG lettering, mashed front grille with a pronounced upside-down V shape, fatter 19-inch wheels standard, chrome finishing, and a boot spoiler.


ENGINE: 6.2-litre V8

POWER: 378kW / 514bhp at 6800rpm; 630Nm at 5200rpm

0 – 100KM/H: 5.2 seconds

GEARBOX: 7-speed semi-automatic

TOP SPEED: 250km/h limited

FUEL AVERAGE: 14.5 l/100km

CO2 e: 331 g/km

PRICE: R1 110 000


PRICE RIVALS: Audi S8, BMW 750iL, BMW M5 Touring, Land Rover Range Rover Vogue V8, Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG, Porsche 911 Carrera



AutoExpress and MotorAuthority have released these rendered images of the Audi A7. Rendered images generally represent what an artist thinks a future car will look like, not necessarily what it actually looks like, since we don’t know until it’s officially released. We expect to see the Audi A7 pretty soon, in fact within a matter of the next 9 months.

The car represents Audi’s interpretation of the 4-door coupe concept where a car is made that only sits four people but has four doors instead of two, like other normal coupes.

Several engines will be offered with the A7, including petrol and diesel options, as well as an RS 7 with over 400kW to boot. For now its main rival is the Mercedes-Benz CLS, although the Porsche Panamera is also a competitor at a higher level.

I think we will see a concept version of the A7 at Detroit 2009, which should represent about 80% of the final product.