Friday, 3 April 2009


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen comes to Mzansi on 26 June 2009. Besides Shia Le Beouf and Megan Fox, some of the main stars of the series are of course the cars. As in the first movie General Motors has provided the main body of wheels.

New to the scene is Sideswipe who is a Corvette vision concept vehicle. Skids and Mudflap are twin autobots based on the Chevrolet Beat and Trax concept cars. The Beat concept by the way, is the next Spark. Then there’s Jolt who’s an electric autobot based on the Volt.

“Chevrolet is thrilled to again be part of one of the most anticipated movies in years,” said GM North America vice president of Chevrolet Ed Peper. “Transformers gives us a great opportunity to connect with young people on their terms, with a dynamic, environmentally friendly image. The new characters represent the change going on in Chevy showrooms.

From the exciting Camaro, the 21st century sports car, to the game-changing Volt, there’s more than meets the eye at Chevrolet today.”

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Vin Diesel is coming back to our big screens in Fast & Furious, aka The Fast and the Furious 4. The big muscle man plays Dominic Toretto who’s been running from the law. But when tragedy strikes at home he’s forced to come out of the woodwork and pay his revenge.

F&F series has always had hot modified cars, mostly American muscle cars and Japanese samurai 4-wheel jets. They haven’t disappointed again. Dominic’s 1970 Dodge Charger features a 426 HEMI (7.0-litre) with a supercharger. It runs on 255/45R18 front tyres with 18-inch rims and 2850R18 rear tyres. Dom also pushes a 1970 Primer Chevrolet Chevelle. This one has a 502 GM Performance engine with a supercharger and NOS system.

There’s also a sweet green Ford Torino from 1972 which is driven by the big baddie’s right-hand-man. FBI agent Brian O’Conner drives two cars in the movie, a blue 1998 Nissan Skyline GT-R (the original Godzilla) and a 2009 Subaru Impreza STI with mufflers that make it sound like thunder.

Other featured cars include a black & yellow BMW 5 Series, Acura NSX and a Porsche Cayman.

Naturally some of the cars end up in the scrap-heap but while they run they make me for one, glad to be a petrolhead.

Fast & Furious opens at the cinemas not in June as I previously reported (hey, it's not my fault they moved it up) but on the 10th of April 2009.


PEUGEOT SAYS: The coach of the Proteas national cricket team, Mickey Arthur, is excited heading into the last battle with one of South Africa’s main rival teams - Australia. The first of five MTN one-day internationals (ODIs) is to be played in Durban on Friday.

Arthur, who is a former coach of the Border Bears side, drives a sponsored Peugeot supplied by an enterprising Peugeot dealer in the Eastern Cape..

“We have a long-standing relationship with Mickey that goes back to 2004, when he was first appointed the coach of the Border Bears,” says Lindsay Bouchier, dealer principal of Peugeot East London.

“At the time, we were approached to sponsor a vehicle for Mickey, and we agreed. When he became the national coach a year later, the relationship continued, and he’s been behind the wheel of a Peugeot ever since.”

Arthur’s latest steed, courtesy of Peugeot East London, is a state-of-the-art 308 hatchback. “Mickey’s a real gentleman,” Lindsay enthuses. “We’ve become close friends in the six years we’ve sponsored his vehicle, and he’s always willing to assist us when he’s in town.”

It has been confirmed that South Africa will host the 2009 Champions Trophy in Johannesburg and Centurion from September 24 to October 5. Supersport Part and Liberty Life Wanderers have been confirmed as two venues of this tournament. Travelling between the two venues certainly won’t be a problem for Arther driving his Peugeot 308.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Subaru will launch the new Legacy sedan at the 2009 New York Auto Show. The fifth-generation Legacy will be fitted with three engines; a 2.5i with 125kW (170hp), a 2.5GT turbo making 195kW (265hp) and a 3.6R which produces 188kW (256hp) from its 3.6-litre V6. Subaru’s symmetrical AWD system is a given for this car. A new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) comes installed in the naturally aspirated 2.5i for the US market.

The car is larger in every dimension than the one it replaces at 35mm longer, 80mm higher and 90mm wider. In standard form the 2.5i has 16-inch wheels, the 2.5GT comes with 18-inch wheels and the 3.6R has 17-inch alloys.

The interior has optional features like a Harman-Kardon sound system, sunroof and an electronic parking brake.

I’m not yet sure exactly when the 2009 Legacy will be launched in Mzansi but it should be within the next 18 months.


The fastest, most powerful production Audi ever built. Your comments?

The Audi RS 6 proved to be something of a Jerkyl and Hyde for me. The two personalities did not clash at all, they worked well together. By that I mean there were no moments when I mistook the RS 6 for anything other than a spaceship on four wheels.

You’ve lost me.

Here’s an example. During the 0 – 100km/h test we achieved a best time of 4.81 seconds. That was done during temperatures of between 20 and 22 degrees Celcius. What this tells us is that under cooler conditions the car would have certainly dipped below the 4.5 second mark. Therefore a small variation in temperature will achieve big results. RS 6s seem to have this trait. I remember testing the previous generation 331kW car in 2004. It was the Avant (wagon) version which meant more weight. Ultimately I was only able to get 5.4 seconds out of it as opposed to the claimed time of 4.8 seconds. Temperature played a role then but so did the fact that I was testing at 1600m Jozi altitude. Mind you, I was a lot leaner than I am today as well. But the new RS 6’s 0 – 100 time doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell the story of a car whose overtaking ability makes it feel like a Formula One car. It doesn’t tell the story of a behemoth that when you plant your foot down responds with a slight jerk and pushes forward like a Jumbo Jet on takeoff in a matter of milliseconds. Watch it though; too much of that will empty the 80-litre tank in less than 300km.

On the other hand you have a luxurious car with very much everything one would expect out of it.

How can it be so fast?

Three of the most important reasons include: that twin turbo V10 engine that makes so much heat that it takes a minute to cool it down. Basically the RS 6’s biggest enemy is heat. Secondly quattro AWD plays a major role in accepting grip and passing it on to the tarmac so you have a car that handles very well for its two tonne weight. There’s still very little interaction through the steering wheel though, such that I felt a bit isolated from the car as I was driving. A fellow tester said “it’s like driving on auto pilot” and I agree somewhat.

What’s it feel like inside?

Comfortable, if slightly hard. You must remember that the RS 6 is really like Bill Gates; if you didn’t know him you’d never tell that he was the richest guy on earth. The interior is different from other A6s by the use of carbon fiber inserts on the centre console and doors, aluminium finishing on parts like the door handles and gear peddles behind the steering wheel, the flat-bottomed RS steering wheel (no steel on the flat part), RS 6 badges all around including on the door sills and the silver foot pedals with rubber inserts for the best grip. But the most standout feature as far as “feeling” goes are the sporty leather and Alcantara seats with the wings. They can be a bit tight on a “wider-bodied” passenger but adjustments can be made to correct this somewhat. Mostly they are for lateral support when turning into sharp corners or for your neck support when blasting off, and they do this admirably. Our test unit was fitted with pretty much everything from the MMI with CD changer to the powerful BOSE sound system. I have to fault Audi though for going with SD card slots as opposed to USB memory sticks. I mean who buys SD cards for music?

It does look butch though

Well if you know what to look for. Generally these kinds of cars are quite subtle because they are aimed at the more mature market which doesn’t necessarily want wings on the boot and air scoops on the bonnet. The front end is more aggro with the mash grille and the rear sports a small boot spoiler, two RS oval tailpipes and an air diffuser. It has massive 9,5J x 20 '7 double spoke' design alloy wheels wrapped inside 275/35 R20 tyres. Those LED daytime running lights are no longer something special but they are still lovely to see on the road. The sports suspension has three different settings for different driving situations. When set on Sport you can really feel the harshness, all the bumps and road imperfections. This setting is for enthusiasts who truly want to exploit the chassis and the engine to its max.

In the end?

In the end you get a sedan that will be able to chase anything this side of a Nissan GT-R, with five people inside plus a few groceries AND keep up. For the first time in a while we also see a performance Audi that is more expensive than its direct rivals. Audis normally come in priced just under their competitors even if they perform better overall.

Is it worth it?

Yes, I think it is.



ENGINE: 5.0-litre V10 twin turbo

POWER: 426kW / 579hp at 6250rpm; 650Nm at between 1500rpm - 6250rpm

0 – 100KM/H: 4.81 seconds

GEARBOX: 6-speed Tiptronic

TOP SPEED: 262km/h

FUEL AVERAGE: 16.6 l/100km

CO2 e: 331 g/km

PRICE: R1 069 000

NATURAL RIVALS: BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG, Jaguar XF R

*PRICE RIVALS: BMW 750Li, Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe, Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG


*A price rival falls within R20 000 or so of the subject’s price on either side of its price spectrum for cars over R350 000, R10 000 for cars of between R250 000 and R350 000 and R5 000 for cars below R250 000.