Friday, 10 July 2009


US pricing for the BMW X6 M has been set at a base of US$89 725 which is about R740 000 today! Of course I wouldn’t even dream that the X6 M will cost anything close to that in Mzansi. Instead, as I said before, I reckoned at the time that BMW SA will add another R900 000 to that and come up with R1.7 million which will be about the same as its chief rival the 405kW Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

Of course I’m just speculating here but the way things are going I was pretty confident that these numbers are pretty close to reality. I’ve had an about-turn and now think maybe they are a bit on the high side considering the 300kW X6 xDrive50i is about R900 000. And having seen American prices it’s hard to see how the SA division can justify my initial predicted price. So, R1.2 million perhaps for the M? Or R1.3 million tops? We’ll see.

Just to catch up again, the X6 M is built on a 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo basis and it whips out 408kW (555hp) and 678Nm of torque. Its 0 - 100km/h time should be under 5 seconds. Truth is many a man has paid much more for similar performance so there could be some value in there.


June 2009

Model Volume
1. TOYOTA Corolla 1 301

2. MERCEDES-BENZ C-Class 1 132

3. VW Polo 1 105

4. BMW 3 Series 1 028

5. VW CitiGolf 1 020

6. CHEV Aveo 900

7. FORD Fiesta 648

8. TOYOTA Fortuner 599

9. CHEV Spark 546

10. VW Polo Classic 465


June 2009

Model Volume

1. TOYOTA Hilux 2 626

2. OPEL Corsa Utility 1 213

3. ISUZU KB 932

4. TOYOTA Quantum 898

5. FORD Bantam 676

6. NISSAN NP200 623

7. FORD Ranger 622

8. NISSAN NP300 Hardbody 596

9. MAZDA BT-50 289

10. TOYOTA Landcruiser PU 157

Source: Naamsa


Karting’s rising star Naomi Schiff is looking to stamp her authority on the 2009 Rotax Max Challenge karting series at the Zwartkops Kart Raceway on Sunday, July 19.

The 15-year-old Sandton driver is leading the highly-competitive Junior Max category, holding a slender points lead over highly-talented Aston Hare and Raoul Owens. Sunday’s meeting is a vital regional points scoring round that counts towards a place in the Rotax Max World Finals in Egypt in December, and the boys will be going all-out to displace the petite girl-racer from the top of the points standings.

“She’s shown she has undoubted talent,” says father David Schiff. “But the idea is to enjoy her racing as much as possible right now, and I include myself in that, working with my daughter at the circuit.

“The fact that she’s a girl, and a black girl at that, definitely focuses extra attention on her, and my job right now is not to let expectations get too high.”

The Junior Max class is for drivers up to the age of 16 and is an all-important feeder class for the “big league” formula in the Rotax series, the Max Challenge.

South African drivers have always shone in this important world-wide series and in fact six South Africans, Gavin Cronje, Claudio Piazza Musso, Mark Cronje, Chris Morgado, Wesley Orr and Leeroy Poulter have won world titles in Max Challenge, in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 amd 2008.

Heading up the Max Challenge quest for glory in Egypt is Sean Frost, who holds a slender four-point lead over another rising black star in the sport, Shau Mafuna. And chasing these two all the way is Duke Ridgway, just 0,4 points behind Mafuna.

The 2009 season has seen the Rotax classes once again being established as the most competitive series in South African karting. The low maintenance costs of the mechanically-identical water-cooled 125 cc engines has been a key factor in keeping the grids full despite the economic pinch.

“We are looking at grids of 15 karts-and -over in all the major Max Challenge classes on Sunday,” says series co-ordinator Jennifer Verheul. A former kart racer herself, Jennifer (better known under her maiden name of Murray) is proof that karting leads to bigger things for the female drivers in the sport. She parlayed her Rotax karting successes into becoming a top three contender in the South African Formula Ford championship a few seasons back and last year won two rounds in the potent V6-engined Shelby Can Am series.

“The trick to karting success is smoothness, a quality that Naomi definitely has, and Zwartkops rewards a smooth driving style, particularly in the tight hairpins,” says Jennifer.

“The girl drivers initially lack the aggression of the males, but they make up for this with a delicacy of touch, and after a few years in the sport they learn the aggressive side of it too, and can mix it with boys.”

Sunday’s meeting will also host the potent twin-speed Rotax DD2 Challenge, currently headed up by Red Bull-backed Caleb Williams, who will be there to defend his narrow 1,6 point lead in the series from relative karting new-comer Ian Young.

The top-line DD2 class has proven the surprise package in karting over the past two seasons. Despite being more expensive than the basic single-gear Max classes, the two-speed formula has attracted top fields recently, and Sunday’s round, which counts towards a place in the World finals in Egypt, will be no exception.

In the other classes, Raoul Hyman is leading the Mini Max class (for drivers up to 13 years of age), while Harpal Shayur is heading up the tiddler GP junior class, for drivers whose crash helmets seem bigger than their entire bodies!

The 1 km-long Zwartkops International Kart Raceway is situated in the Zwartkops Raceway main racing circuit complex, on the R55, the main road leading from Kyalami to Laudium. Racing starts at 11h30, with practice starting from 8 am. Admission price for spectators is free.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, here it finally is, the brand new Jaguar XJ! Posted here are the official pictures released soon after Jaguar unveiled the car during a star-studded event in London earlier tonight. Not that I was there but I do understand there were a few important celebrities like chat show host Jay Leno and others.

About the car itself. Well not much more than was already said yesterday can be said really, except one or three things. The first is that in addition to the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated and 5.0-litre supercharged V8s, a new version of the 5.0-litre has been added. Remember that the turbo diesel makes 202kW and 600Nm right? And the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated and 5.0-litre supercharged V8 produce 283kW and 375kW (we thought it was 380kW, but the Brits say 510hp...ah well) each right?

Well the new version of the same supercharged 5.0-litre does a detuned 346kW which makes it a mid-range choice. Jaguar claims fuel consumption and C02 emissions are quite low on these cars, but that performance is exceptional. This is partly thanks to a lighter body made mostly from aluminium. The makers say it is at least 150kg lighter when compared to the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. That of course should equate to better performance.

After what I said yesterday about the rear I was pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the interior looks, especially the front end including the dashboard. The marque’s design team led by Ian Callum went to town with the cabin space, making round shapes that blend in so well with each other. Luxurious leather and veneer are used extensively to illustrate the level of car we are dealing with here.

European and other buyers will be able to choose between Luxury, Premium Luxury, Portfolio, Supercharged or the range-topping Supersport models. I have a feeling Jaguar South Africa will severely limit these choices just as they already have with the XF.

An 8-inch touch screen controls all the functions such as the 1200W Bowers & Wilkins music system, satellite navigation, climate control and the DVD player (if chosen). The leather-covered steering also has access to some of these functions.

Both the standard wheelbase and the long wheelbase (125mm longer) are to be available from the same time. Jaguar has begun taking orders, possibly in every country that the XJ will be sold.

First deliveries, including for South Africa, will happen in early 2010. The UK has set a minimum price of £52,500 (R695 000/ US$85 600) for the baseline 3.0-litre turbo diesel. Hopefully the Mzansi team will be able to keep prices around this vicinity too.