Friday, 28 August 2009


MITSUBISHI SAYS: It’s quite a bizarre sight watching a six tonne truck driving up the 45 degree incline of a sand dune. And Bob Davidson is paying close attention. Bob is perhaps one of the last of a dying breed of men. Men who can build and fix, just about anything. A trained engineer, he got into plastic injection moulding before ill-health pushed him into an early retirement. These days he tinkers with 4x4s, customising them to his exact needs and then takes extended African safari adventures.

He’s been all over the continent, many times. And now he’s chosen the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter 4x4 as the platform on which to build his new motorhome. And by looking at Bob’s other vehicles, you can guess that the motorhome is going to be an exquisitely engineered masterpiece, custom built and tailor made to offer him every comfort on the road, the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter 4x4 will make sure he can get to every corner of this beautiful continent, and beyond.

That’s why Bob was paying particular attention to the performance of the Mitsubishi FUSO at the Atlantis Dunes recently, as one of the attendees at the Mitsubishi Paarden Eiland and Sandown Commercial Vehicles Belville, Client Day. As the smaller Mitsubishi Triton Double Cab bakkies, short and long wheelbase Pajero’s zoomed all over the soft sand dunes, the FUSO Canter 4x4 more than ably followed them up and over most of the inclines.

There’s no wonder the FUSO is one of the world’s most popular medium sized commercial trucks. And there is no doubt that the FUSO Canter 4x4 is capable to overcome the roughest terrain. That’s why it is the preferred vehicle for most of Africa’s Overland Safari operators.

As Mark Coxon, dealer principal at Sandown Commercial Vehicles Belville, puts it, “we’ve really focussed a lot of energy on the 4x4 FUSO Canter. So it was a great opportunity to give the vehicle as much exposure as possible. Atlantis provides an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to our customers the capabilities of the FUSO Canter, driving all over the sand dunes. With word of mouth, you never know who would be interested in a new all-purpose overlander.

“But the event was about more than that,” he continues. “We took the time to interact with our customers and give them an opportunity to try out the whole of Mitsubishi’s 4x4 range.” Most of the Sandown Commercial’s customers spend their time behind the wheels of Fuso’s and Freightliners, so the client day gave them the chance to hop in a Pajero or a Triton and have some “lightweight” fun.

“It was a great initiative from Sean Kelly at Mitsubishi Paarden Eiland.” Mark continues. “And we’re more than happy to be involved. It gives us an opportunity to introduce Sean to our fleet customers and vice versa. We all benefit from the interaction.”

“It's simple stuff, really,” he says. “Just to get out there with our customers and have fun. And we all left learning something new about 4x4ing. We'll definitely do more of these days. There's another one planned for September.”

So while the rest of the attendees at the Client Day were learning about the finer, low-range capabilities of the Mitsubishi 4x4 range, manoeuvring the Pajeros and Tritons around the shifting sand dunes, the FUSO Canter was more than keeping pace. And because of the re-designed cab, those riding in the FUSO had much more space to kickback, as well as more cross-cab access – providing greater comfort on those long journeys. The FUSO Canter features ABS braking and environmentally friendly non-asbestos brakelinings as standard features.

But all of that technical jargon tends to fall by the wayside when you see how ridiculously capable the FUSO Canter 4x4 is. There was no hiding the smile on Bob Davidson’s face at the end of the day, when clapped his hands together and said, “I think I’ve made the right decision!”


BMW will probably unveil the Vision EfficientDynamics at the Frankfurt Motor Show. That’s the car rumoured to be a sports, no, a super coupe with a twist. While other automakers are busy dabbling with electric drive vehicles BMW is apparently staying hybrid. Check these teaser pictures and decide for yourself if this is a sedan or a coupe.

Information leaking our way is that the Vision EfficientDynamics will be one of the most fuel efficient cars of any class. It will also be one of the more torquey vehicles ever made by BMW, which to us means it’s either a diesel or a twin turbo, or both. To be that torquey would mean it makes over 750Nm, which is what the 760i manages. Are we gonna see an 800Nm BMW super car? Who knows. Such power would enable it to go from 0 – 100km/h in about 4.5 seconds.

We hope this car is unveiled at Frankfurt and that it is all that BMW claims it is, which is: “The BMW EfficientDynamics Vision will demonstrate how efficient a sports car can be. It will also prove that sustainability does not apply to the drive train alone, but to design and materials as well..”


LUMMA Design is one of the first tuners in the world to complete some work on the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Extensive upgrades were done on the W 212 to enhance both looks and performance.

Some of the kit fitted include new side skirts, a rear diffuser, an integrated rear spoiler, a sports fender with integrated vents, a sport exhaust system and optional LED lights. Wheels and tyres are 9x20" and 10.5x20 with sizes 245/30-20 and 285/25-20 Michelins for the front and rear respectively.

But what you ultimately want to know is how much thrust this thing kicks out right? The normal E500 makes a good enough 285kW from its 5.5-litre V8. LUMMA reckons it needed more and so they went and upped power to 316kW and 550Nm of torque.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


SAAB’s Aero X Concept car has inspired the brand spanking new SAAB 9-5 sedan, the company’s top of the range model. Poised for a public debut at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show, the new 9-5 has been described as the most technologically-advanced SAAB ever built.

For now the engines – all turbocharged – that are to accompany this flagship are a 2.0-litre turbo diesel making 118kW. Petrol engines are a 2.0-litre petrol worth 162kW and the well-worked 2.8-litre V6 which now gives out 221kW and 400Nm of torque. Additionally a baseline 1.6-litre will make 132kW. The engines will be mated to a 6-speed gearbox which I am assuming will be automatic. There could be a manual as well.

As for the technology, what we are talking here are things like adaptive Bi-xenon headlights, a head-up display unit, an adaptive chassis that changes the car’s suspension settings automatically and SAAB’s XWD AWD system. SAAB has opted to keep the ignition in the middle between the seats, but it doesn’t need a key anymore just a Start/Stop button.

The interior is savvy with things like USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity for the cell phone, an 8-inch touch screen for the satellite navigation and entertainment system and even a DVD option for the rear.

We await official word to hear if the car will be arriving in Mzansi in 2010 or not. When we know, you’ll know.

*UPDATE: Official word from Des Fenner of GM South Africa..."We are not going to launch the unit in SA at this time. We are confident that the deal with Koenigsegg Group will close in the coming months. When this sale takes place, we are sure that new developments for the future will be advised. GMSA remain committed to looking after those loyal Saab owners driving our cars."


Volkswagen Polo fans across the world will be treated to the sporty new three-door Polo at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It will be launched soon after the show in Germany for the minimum price of €12 150 (R136 000).

When launched in Europe a total of six engines will be available; two petrol, two turbo diesel. The petrols have power outputs of 44kW, 51kW and 63kW while the diesels are 55kW, 66kW and 77kW. Manual gearboxes will be standard and for the first time in the car’s history, the 7-speed DSG is to be made an option.

Some of the features the cars will have are ESP, 15-inch alloy wheels, a three-spoke leather steering wheel, fog lights, air conditioning and a split folding rear seat.