Porsche 911 leads new-model charge in June
A roundup of recent motoring events and looking ahead to what’s coming your way
Here’s a brief overview of some of the motoring highlights we’ve covered in May 2019.
MOTORING PODCAST | Cargumentative - Coulthard gives us wings
We interviewed SA-born Desirée Wilson, now based in the US, who is the only woman to have won a Formula One race. We were inspired by the pursuits of another South African woman who is breaking the boundaries in motorsport, Tasmin Pepper. Pepper finished eighth at the inaugural round of the all-woman W Series that’s aimed at helping women enter F1.
We carried a comment piece by Vincent Raseroka, chair of Bridge Taxi Finance, about opportunities presented by the electric revolution in the public transport system. The month ended on a sad note with the motorsport world bidding farewell to former three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda, who died on May 20.
The month of May was busy with new-vehicle launches, including the international reveal of the Mercedes-Benz GLS, the largest SUV the company makes.
We drove three of the newest Mercedes-AMG products in SA: the reworked AMG C63 S, and the new AMG CLS 53 and AMG E53 models. The 53 AMG models are powered by a 3.0l six-cylinder engine and also benefit from the new 48V battery system that’s being rolled out by premium brands.
Ford launched the much-awaited and locally-built Ranger Raptor with its rally-bred suspension and gutsy 157kW engine. May also saw the introduction in SA of the enhanced Ford Everest with its new turbodiesel engine and 10-speed auto gearbox.
Renault SA introduced the Sandero Stepway Plus, a variant enhanced with unique styling touches and more features. It goes head to head with the new Mahindra XUV300 crossover, which also made its SA debut.
Toyota Motors SA’s more luxurious new Quantum went on sale during the month.
Motoring Editor Denis Droppa travelled to the Western Cape’s mountain passes for a spot of low-level flying in the Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
May saw the announcement of winners of the annual Engine Awards, with the 3.9l V8 biturbo from the 488 range of Ferraris again taking the engine of the year prize. The Jaguar Land Rover electric platform used in the Jaguar I-Pace won its category and also came second overall.
Sad news was Audi’s announcement that it was axing the TT range, a model it had produced for 20 years in three generations. But there is plenty new from Audi, including the Audi Q8 luxury SUV, launched in SA during the month.
Phuti Mpyane flew to Graz, Austria, to sample the Q8’s cousin, the new Porsche Cayenne Coupe, which is expected in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.
BMW announced the end of production of the 3 Series GT before the SA launch of its all-new X7 SUV while the local BMW X2 line-up was bolstered with the availability of a new range-topping X2 M35i model.
We finished off the month by announcing that French brand Citroën would make a comeback to SA late in 2019 or early in 2020.
We road-tested a mix of new vehicles, some of which were pleasantly thrifty, like the BMW 320d, the Toyota Corolla hatch, the Opel Astra 1.6T and the Mitsubishi Triton. We also put on some mud under the wheels of a Renault Koleos and an Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
We unravelled the performance envelopes of big hitters in the form of Audi’s ballistic RS4 Avant, the Rolls Royce Ghost and got in some last-minute sun-soaking in the BMW Z4 M40i before the winter cold takes a grip.
LOOKING AHEAD – June highlights in Business Day Motor News
The all-new Porsche 911 Carrera (992) will make its SA debut early in June. It boasts enhancements aimed at furthering the indomitable recipe formed from over 70 years ago.
We will sample the new flagship addition to the gorgeous Velar range, the SVAutobiography, at its international launch.
BMW launches new derivatives overseas in the form of the X5 M50i and X7 M50i, both powered by a 4.4l V8 engine with 390kW on tap.
Road tests to look forward to in June include Audi Q8, BMW 850i, BMW X2 M35i, Nissan Navara Stealth, and Opel Corsa 120Y.