Friday, 9 October 2009


Porsche’s Cayenne SUV overtook the 911 as the company’s biggest selling vehicle a long time ago, thus spelling the end of Porsche as an exclusive sports car maker. Since then tuners left right and centre have made their own interpretations of what a Cayenne ought to be and ENCO Exklusive is on that list.

Last year ENCO built the ENCO 550 GT which gave out 405kW. They’ve increased that for this ENCO Gladiator 700 GT Biturbo to a massive 515kW and 850Nm which is of course sent to all four wheels through the AWD system. The 0 – 100km/h time is said to be 4.5 seconds while top speed comes in at 290km/h. You’d have to take it to the Karoo to prove that.

Red and black are the chosen theme colours and can be seen outside on the 23-inch wheels. The inside as well is covered in these colours especially the red carbon fibre on the centre console, steering wheel and other areas. Check the four bucket seats from the 911 GT3. And the red roll cage. Ominous it is, even though they might be needed.


Back in 2006 Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier made the Bugatti Type 370 watch which the Veyron owner’s wrist. One of these timepieces will set you back over US$280 000 (R2.07 million). Its movement is designed to sit sideways so that the driver doesn’t have to take his hands off the wheel when looking at the time. Who wants to know what time it is while doing 407km/h?

Never mind. With the four-door Bugatti 16C Galibier is going into production a watch to go with it has been designed. The Tourbillon piece will be found on the dashboard of this car and can be strapped on its owner’s wrist. It can also be docked on a desk stand at the office. Tourbillon is a technology invented in 1795 to counter the effects of gravity on a watch’s hands.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Daihatsu South Africa has begun playing in a league it previously did not partake in. I’m talking about the bakkie (pickup) league which the new Gran Max plans to revolutionise. Measuring 4.2 metres long, 1.7m wide and 1.8m high the utility cannot be described. But it’s also not as large as higher-end bakkies in the market. Where its scores points is in the utility part.

The load box is 36cm deep which is enough to hold some narrow boxes and other goods. Loading and unloading is exceptionally practical thanks to the 3-way drop bay. It’s also only about 70cm off the ground which allows even shorter people good access to the bay.

The Gran Max is pushed forward by a 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 77kW and 134Nm of torque. It’s said to be economical (averaging 7.5 litres/100km unloaded) and highly reliable thanks to its Japanese manufacturing. Taking it around a short route I felt no excitement at all, especially with air conditioning being absent from the cabin. Daihatsu’s research apparently shows that cooled interiors make for slower drivers since they end up enjoying the drive rather than going as fast as possible to get to their destinations. The cabin felt comfortable if somewhat a little rigid. Standard transmission is a 5-speed manual. I love the fact that the gearlever is positioned mid-dashboard and makes changing gears pleasant.

Underpinnings include McPherson struts with coil springs at the front and 5 ply leaf springs at the rear. Having tried several times to get the vehicle out of shape during our drive we eventually gave up, comforted by the fact that it’s quite stable under duress. Small businesses will be happy to know that for emergency stops there is ABS with brake boost.

To demonstrate its claim that the Gran Max can carry a tonne Daihatsu loaded different cars with a variety of goods including vegetables and cement, and invited media to test it for themselves. Not many took up the challenge which to me is a vote of confidence in the car. Either that or the journalists were just not up to taking the risk.

Daihatsu will be looking to its 58 countrywide dealers to push the Gran Max, especially since it’s so well-priced against vehicles with less capability.

Daihatsu Gran Max Pricing
Gran Max – (R119 995)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


A new concept sports car from Toyota has been shown. The car was co-developed by Toyota and Subaru and will be exhibited at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Toyota owns shares in Subaru’s owner Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI).

Called the FT-86 for now the sports car has a 2.0-litre boxer engine making a disappointing 118kW. Hopefully this will be addressed when it launches. That or higher models need to be looked at, perhaps up to 200kW or so.

The FT-86 measures 4.16m long, 1.26m high, 1.76m wide and has a wheelbase of 2.57m. This makes it quite a compact four-seater two-door.

Ever since the return of the Nissan 350 Z, Toyota has made it no secret that it wants its own mid-sized sports car. And this looks just about right for the job. Just give it a proper turbo engine and we are go.


The good guys at Teamspeed have uncovered what appear to be European prices for the new Ferrari 458 Italia. The sheets indicate that a basic 458 will cost £149,246 (R1.77 million) in the UK while a startup unit in the Netherlands will go for €271,122 (R2.97 million).

The 458 replaces the F430. It has a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 engine making 419kW and 540Nm of torque. Mated to a 7-speed gearbox the thing will hurl off from 0 – 100km/h in under 3.4 seconds and top off at 325km/h.

Ferrari will also build a Spyder / Convertible model which will come to market either at the end of 2010 or beginning of 2011. South African pricing for the 458 Italia has not been announced and will not be publicly announced. We guesstimate a basic price of about R4.2 million which is obviously higher than what the F430 costs.

SOURCE: Teamspeed through WCF


Hyundai and Japanese tuner GReddy Performance Parts have teamed up for the 2009 SEMA Show to bring us this GReddy X-Gen Street Genesis Coupe. Based on the Genesis Coupe 2.0T (not sold in South Africa) the car makes more power and features kit – in and out – that can be purchased by any Genesis Coupe owner in any country where the car is available.

Several changes were made which include a turbo kit, an intercooler and a sports exhaust system. Power is now 257kW and maximum torque is pegged at 434Nm. The tuner says it will run from 0 – 100km/h in just over 6 seconds. Amazingly a 368kW tune-up is to be sold after the show. GReddy installed a stiffer suspension to improve handling and match up to the power.

Changes to the exterior include a carbon fibre bonnet, an aero lip spoiler and a more aggressive rear spoiler.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Mitsubishi Motors South Africa is about to take the off-road premium SUV market by the scruff of the neck as it launches the new Pajero Sport 3.2 DI-D GLS.

Mitsubishi builds cars that are tough as nails. How else do you explain the fact that its vehicles have won a record 12 Dakar Rally Championships? No other motor manufacturer can come close to claiming this feat. The company’s 4x4 heritage began in 1936 when it introduced Japan’s first ever all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle called the Mitsubishi PX33. In 1982 the very first lifestyle AWD from Mitsubishi was unveiled and it was called the Pajero. Since then the Pajero name has been synonymous with exceptional off-road capabilities combined with great interior features and comfort. Many consider it the benchmark of 4x4 technology and refinement. Over 2.5 million units have been produced since the 1980s.

“The benchmark of 4x4 technology and refinement”

In Mzansi Pajero is also known as a trendy SUV, one that buyers also purchase to show off. This relationship is even immortalised in a 1990s kwaito song called Pajero by a group of the same name. Such is the strength of the brand. With the introduction of the Pajero Sport 3.2 DI-D GLS that relationship will no doubt be extended further and the car will surely find its way into many homes.

“There is no question about the excellence of Mitsubishi’s products,” says Annette Erasmus, Acting Divisional Manager, Mitsubishi Motors, “all of which personify the progress MMC has made as one of the world's top manufacturers. We are extremely pleased to introduce the Pajero Sport, a vehicle that is set to appeal to persons with an active and engaging lifestyle, those looking for more than just the ordinary.”

Since launch in 2008 over 9 000 units of the Pajero Sport have been sold worldwide. It’s built in Thailand which is known as the bakkie/pickup capital of the world. Sorry Free State. That means it benefits from the very best and latest manufacturing processes to make it the exemplary vehicle in its class.

In designing the Pajero Sport, Mitsubishi designers let go of the normal boxy style that characterises a lot of the premium off-road SUVs in the world. They went for a more founded feel with a muscular stance while its ruggedness was kept intact. The vehicle has a sleek profile that makes it attractive while its awesome ground clearance is ideal for climbing up mountains and other obstacles. The ground clearance is actually 215mm making it a real off-roader.

“7 passengers can be accommodated”

Space is plenty, both for passengers as well as for loading goods. The Pajero Sport measures 4.7m long, 1.8m wide, 1.8m high with the roof rail and has a wheelbase of 2.8m. All this means passenger comfort is not compromised even when there are loads to be considered. Even better is the fact that 7 passengers can be accommodated.

Exterior are listed in a menu stretching as far as Dakar itself so we’ll only mention a few. These include front and rear foglamps, colour-coded bumpers, halogen headlights, sporty chrome side mirrors, tube type side steps, roof rails and an upper hinge tailgate at the rear.

The engine chosen for the South African market is a very torquey one which is also quite powerful. It’s the 3.2-litre common-rail intercooled turbo diesel (DI-D) with a 17:1 compression ratio. Maximum thrust is a heady 120kW (163hp) at 3500rpm and peak torque is 343Nm at a very low 2000rpm. If you ever need it the top speed is 178km/h. Mated with the engine is a smooth 4-speed automatic gearbox that not only performs very well off the road but provides a relaxed driving experience in urban traffic conditions. To help it drive like a sedan on the road is the front double wishbone and rear 3-link suspension with coil springs and stabiliser bar. Plenty of kilometres will be attained thanks to the 70 litre fuel tank and the general frugality of the engine.

“Performs very well off the road but provides a relaxed driving experience in urban traffic”

Driving the four wheels is Mitsubishi’s renowned SuperSelect AWD System with a rear diff lock. It works by sending power to the wheel with the most grip thus ensuring that even in sticky situations there’s nothing to fear. Contact with the surfaces is through 265/70R16112S tyres wrapped around 16 x 7.0J light alloy wheels.

Customers who fully subscribe to the Mitsubishi outdoor lifestyle experience will be pleased to learn that the car comes with a towing capacity of 1 500kg with brake and 750kg without brake.

Safety is top priority at Mitsubishi so the Pajero Sport benefits from features like the standard anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and driver and passenger side SRS (supplemental restraint system) dual stage airbags.

The interior feels like an executive sedan with features like full leather upholstery, power steering, cruise control, satellite audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, power windows all around, central locking, electrically adjustable front seats and an LCD information panel on the dashboard. Entertainment is courtesy of a powerful 6-speaker sound system with radio, CD and MP3 playability. It’s quite clear then that the Pajero Sport, as rugged as it is, does not have keep that same image inside. Actually it’s quite a softy on that front.

“As rugged as it is…it’s quite a softy”

The second row of seats is adjustable and has a 40:60 split function plus sliding ability while the third row of seats features seatbelts, headrests and cup holders.

Attached to the key is an immobiliser system as well as keyless entry functionality.

“The Pajero Sport, with its performance – on and off-road capabilities - ride and handling, comfort and seating versatility, and interior and exterior styling, to name but a few of its superior attributes, will appeal to a variety of lifestyles,” concludes Erasmus.

Mitsubishi South Africa will sell the Pajero Sport 3.2 DID GLS standard with Mitsubishi’s
3-year/100 000km new vehicle warranty and Mitsubishi’s 5-year/100 000km Service Plan. Service intervals are 10 000km and the Mitsubishi’s Diamond Promise Roadside Assistance offers repairs, towing and storage twenty-four hours a day and 365 days a year.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 3.2 DID GLS Pricing: R414 000

*Click here or on the top picture to see the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport in action on YouTube

Monday, 5 October 2009


BMW South Africa has affirmed its dedication to the country by announcing a R2.2 billion (€198 million) investment in its existing Rosslyn plant north of Pretoria. Most of the money will enable the plant to increase its annual production capacity from the current 60 000 units to 87 000 units. The rest will be used to strengthen the company’s own supplier network.

All this of course point to one thing; that BMW is getting ready for something major. The Rosslyn plant has been manufacturing the 3 Series for about ten years now. Markets supplied besides our own are the USA, Japan, Singapore and Australia among others. The next-generation 3 Series is due out in 2011 so logic follows that the country will continue building this iconic car. Interestingly the world markets are currently depressed due to the recession so either BMW knows something we don’t or the 3 won’t be the only car coming out of that plant.

“The BMW Group has never shied away from making decisions for the future in spite of the current tough conditions the motor industry is facing,” explains BMW South Africa Managing Director, Bodo Donauer. “By making an announcement of this magnitude during the worst known crisis the automotive industry has faced in recent times, we not only send a positive message to our staff about the long-term sustainability of BMW South Africa, but also a positive message about the future of South Africa as a whole.”

Another trend-bucking move by Bavaria is that while a number of other major automakers are retrenching, BMW is not. So jobs are protected and growth is envisaged.

The Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, the Premier of Gauteng Nomvula Mokonyane and Tshwane City mayor Dr Gwen Ramokgopa were all praiseworthy of the investment and thanked BMW for its commitment.


YDD SAYS: In the latest available global statistics, South Africa ranked the highest in the road fatality rate per 10 000 vehicles.  A sobering enough thought, but just this week CARS (Committee For More Road Safety) revealed that a new study suggests that our road death toll has been under-estimated by more than half.  While the Department of Transport gives a figure of 10 000 each year, CARS says in reality it is nearer 18 000.

So, if your first experience of handing over the keys to your newly licensed teenager was more one of panic than mere trepidation, know this – you have every right to be concerned.  Grant McCleery, a multiple SA motor sport champion, who heads up Yokohama Driving Dynamics, has been teaching specialised driving skills for nearly two decades and in his opinion, every man, woman and especially teenager, needs more than just basic driver training to ensure their safety on our roads.

He says “The K53 driver training system is a great way to learn the basics but you need more sophisticated skills to deal with the unexpected, like avoiding collisions, regaining control of your vehicle, recovering from aquaplaning, or even just braking properly in an emergency.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking of these skills as the exclusive domain of racing drivers.  You child needs to know this stuff if he or she is going to get around safely on our roads.”

Of course as a parent you know that you can’t tell a teenager anything!  Rather, you need to equip them with the skills and doing so is easier than you may have thought.  Yokohama Driving Dynamics offers a range of one-day courses that will teach your child these essential driving skills. 
A Level 1 Advanced Driving Course makes a novel birthday or graduation present and thereafter, they can build on it with Levels 2 and 3, or courses like 4X4 driving, hijack prevention, self-protection and more.

McCleery concludes, “We can’t eliminate the problem, but we can minimise it, if more people made the effort to become ‘advanced drivers’.  The courses are after all designed for the ordinary person who gets behind the wheel of a car every day and ventures into the general chaos that prevails on our roads.”

Yokohama Driving Dynamics has forged an alliance with General Motors South Africa as it’s preferred vehicle supplier, to ensure that clients get the very best instruction in quality driving and safety. The fleet of cars includes Corsa OPC, Chevrolet Lumina, Aveo’s and Optra’s and the newly launched Cruze.

Yokohama Driving Dynamics is based at Gerotek and also offers its courses at a variety of venues, countrywide. 

Sunday, 4 October 2009


NISSAN SAYS: Nissan Motorsport continued its domination of the Absa Off Road Championship for production vehicles with a seventh successive win in the Toyota Dealer 400 in Lydenburg on Saturday.  Newly crowned champions Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford claimed their fifth win in seven races in the class SP Donaldson Nissan Navara when they completed the penultimate round of the championship in a time of 7 hr 52min 29 sec.

The Nissan pair finished 24 seconds ahead of the Toyota Hilux of Hein Lategan and Chris Birkin.  Nissan team-mates Ivar Tollefsen and Quin Evans were third, 2 min 32 sec further back and 22 seconds ahead of Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton (Toyota Hilux).  Hannes Grobler and Juan Mohr, winners of last year’s event in Mpumalanga, were fifth, 27 seconds behind Taylor and Houghton.  They led the race in the early stages from team-mates Vos/Pitchford and Tollefsen/Evans but dropped back to 11th after a puncture and problems with the jack lost them 3½ minutes.

“It was a really tough race and Ralph and I were under a lot of pressure,” said Vos.  “We couldn’t relax for an instant.” 

Nissan also won class A (Vos and Pitchford) and class E, with Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie bringing their Nissan Motorsport-prepared Ferodo Nissan Hardbody home 16th overall out of 21 finishers and 1,01 sec ahead of the Toyota Hilux of Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux.  For Poulter, a former circuit racing champion, and Howie it was their second class win in their first season of off road racing together and it came despite problems with a broken shock absorber in each of the first two loops of the race.   

Vos/Pitchford, Tollefsen/Evans and Grobler/Mohr combined to give Nissan the manufacturers’ challenge award for the event.

Nissan privateers Alfie Cox and Jurgen Schroder (PS Laser Navara) were seventh overall and seventh in class SP, while Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber (Raysonics Nissan Hardbody), who battled with overheating problems, were 18th overall and third in class D behind winners Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit (Toyota Hilux).

Terence Marsh and Pieter Groenewald were forced to abandon the event in the Regent Racing Nissan Navara after breaking a ball joint 85 km into the third and final loop of Saturday’s race.

With just the RFS Magalies 400 remaining on November 6 and 7, Vos and Pitchford lead the championship with 148 points.  Tollefsen and Evans are second with 82 points and Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen (Toyota Hilux), who were 10th on Saturday, are third with 74 points.  Grobler and Mohr are fourth with 62 points.

“This was one of the closest races we’ve had all season, but Duncan and Ralph withstood the pressure and turned in a faultless performance,” commented Glyn Hall, general manager of Nissan Motorsport.  “Conditions were tough, with dust and rocks making overtaking difficult and the threat of punctures always a factor.  It was a good result for us and we’re thrilled to have won the manufacturers’ challenge for the fifth time in seven races.”