Toyota Supra leads new-model charge
A summary of recent motoring events, and a look ahead to what’s happening in the rest of July
Here’s a brief overview of some of the motoring highlights we’ve covered in June and July 2019.
We welcomed the return of De Tomaso, the niche sports car maker best known for the Pantera introduced in the 1970s. It’s back with a limited-edition stunner, the P72.
We also reported on the BMW X7-rivalling Mercedes-Benz GLS.
A busy BMW launched the sharper-looking new X6 coupé SAV. The Bavarian marque also previewed an electrified future with its Vision M Next concept car and an electric concept motorcycle with styling mimicking the look of the famous boxer engine.
Audi showed off a new SQ8 performance derivative of its new Q8 coupé has an impressive 900Nm torque. We interviewed head of Audi SA Trevor Hill about the brand’s introduction of an innovative VR (virtual reality) new-car sales experience at its dealers.
Aston Martin finally christened the new hypercar it built with Red Bull as the Valhalla.
In a round of joint ventures, BMW and Mercedes Germany announced that they will collaborate in developing self-driving technologies.
BMW and its other joint venturist, Toyota, also announced they will develop hydrogen fuel cell products together.
This is due to dwindling operating margins as historically competing brands start tying up in bid to save on research and development cost.
New-vehicle launches earlier in July had us travelling to Botswana and driving on the Makgadikgadi Pan to evaluate the newly updated Ford Everest SUV range, which adopts the same powerful 2.0l turbodiesel engines and ten-speed auto transmissions that recently enhanced the Ranger bakkie lineup.
We also covered the arrival of the Isuzu D-Max Arctic AT35 with its monster 35-inch tyres.
There was more bakkie-based action when we attended the launch of Toyota’s new duo of Hilux Legend 50 and the Hilux GR Sports. The latter with its unique Gazoo racing engineering is set to cause a scramble for purchases as only 600 units will be made in SA.
Also making their SA debuts earlier in July were two open-topped Brits: McLaren’s 600LT Spider and 720S Spider, while Scuderia SA welcomed the new 340km/h Ferrari F8 Tributo to its local offering.
We also spent time road testing the Opel Combo, Mahindra XUV300, BMW X2 35i and BMW i3S.
Looking ahead to the rest of July, Lexus SA is introducing the RC F and RC F Track Edition of its luxury sports coupé, both powered by a normally aspirated 5.0l V8 with outputs of 351kW and 535Nm, and good for a 270km/h top speed and a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.3 seconds.
Also look forward to our first driving impressions of the much-anticipated new Toyota GR Supra with a 3.0l straight-six engine shared with the BMW Z4, and Ford’s updated Mustang range, which includes the performance-enhanced Bullitt version.
We will also have our first drives of Mazda’s all-new 3 hatchback, and new Suzuki Swift Sport and Vitara turbo.
Mercedes-Benz’s new VW Golf R challenger, the A35 sports hatch, went on sale earlier in July, and this week we’re attending the world launch of the even more venomous AMG A45 version, which boasts the world’s most powerful series production four-cylinder engine.
Expect first driving impressions from the international launches of the Mini Clubman. We will also give a few cars the road test treatment including the high-flying Ford Ranger Raptor with its bespoke Fox racing shocks, and BMW’s high-powered but (hopefully) still economical X4 M40d diesel.