RUMOUR HAS IT...
Kia coupe: Prepare to feel a sting
Kia has finally decided to bring its Stinger sports coupe to SA
Kia SA has finally decided that SA can have its Stinger model. The company says that the Peter Schreyer-designed sports coupe will arrive here later in the year in limited numbers.
It will only bring the Stinger in GT trim, powered by a 3.3l twin-turbo V6 developing 272kW and 510Nm of torque pushed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed gearbox. The company is claiming a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 270km/h. No word on price yet, which could sting a little.
Lexus reveals its ES
Last week we showed you the grille of the new Lexus ES. No sooner had we gone to print than Lexus revealed the rest of the car, so here it is. The new ES is being revealed in the metal this week in Beijing and Lexus SA says it will be here later this year.
A few weeks ago Tesla proudly announced that it had produced 2,020 Model 3s in one week. It was the only week during the troubled Model 3s production that the company had managed to produce anywhere near its predicted weekly target, but a few weeks later production came to a complete halt.
Production stopped to deal with safety concerns, particularly after a former senior employee said that CEO Elon Musk had been ignoring safety issues on the production line. Bizarrely, this included the removal of all yellow safety lines because Musk allegedly does not like the colour yellow.
Employees were forced to take five days’ unpaid leave during the shutdown without any warning. Are the wheels coming off at Tesla? Actually, in some cases they really are.
Aston revives name
Aston Martin has announced that it will resurrect the Superleggera name for its new DBS model due to be unveiled in the next couple of months.
The company says the DBS Superleggera "completes the brand’s ambitions to replace each of its existing two-door sports car models as part of its Second Century Plan. Sitting at the pinnacle of the sports car line-up, DBS Superleggera will feature the highest levels of performance, craftmanship and design."
Porsche does it again
The battle for supremacy at the Nurburgring continues with Porsche claiming yet another top time. The 911 GT3 RS set a lap time of 6:56.4 minutes, 24 seconds faster than the best time achieved with the previous GT3 RS model.
Following the 918 Spyder and the 911 GT2 RS, the new GT3 RS is the third production Porsche sports car with a notarised lap time of less than seven minutes on the world’s most demanding race track, known as the "Green Hell".
Ambassador speaks out
In the same week Porsche was raided by police over Dieselgate and one of its board members was arrested, its famous brand ambassador Walter Röhrl has raised eyebrows at the Stuttgart sports car maker.
Former World Rally champion Röhrl slammed electric cars during a German television interview. The 1980 and 1982 WRC champion blasted current moves towards electric cars and electrification as a "disaster" in an interview with Germany’s MotorsportMagazin.com.
Röhrl has been a Porsche ambassador and a key member of its development team for nearly two decades, but told the interviewer he specifically wanted no part of developing the Mission E or any other electric Porsche because he hated them.
Asked the question: "I suppose Porsche’s Mission E is not your cup of tea either, is it?" Röhrl responded: "No, I don’t need that. I’m convinced by the time that car hits the ground I’ll have an arrangement whereby I’ll either be retired or have nothing to do with that."
The interview set off alarm bells at Porsche, which has yet to respond to requests for comment. Insiders insist the interview, and any repercussions from it, are still being discussed among the Porsche family and the supervisory board and they have yet to decide how to treat Röhrl, who they have long treated as family.
Yet the Volkswagen Group recently swapped out ex-Porsche man Matthias Mueller as management board chairman and CEO because they felt he wasn’t pushing electrification fast or hard enough, and Porsche is said to be under pressure from his replacement, Herbert Diess, about dealing with Röhrl.
And finally …
You would expect the global PR boss of an electrified car company would be all about electric vehicles, but Duncan Forrester, global PR director for Volvo’s electrified Polestar performance brand, slotted in with the stereotype at the weekend when he announced that he has made a midlife crisis purchase. What is it? A Porsche 911. Seems that no matter how progressive you are, a 911 is always the one to have when you need to splash out on a midlife crisis sports car.