Aston Martin SUV brings up the rear in charge of new models
A synopsis of recent motoring events and a look ahead to the last weeks of the year
November was somewhat less frenetic than preceding months with their international motor shows but it was far from being in a lull.
The biggest news of the month was the reveal of the much-anticipated eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf, a range so dear to the hearts of VW and millions of fans worldwide. It’s much more sophisticated now and there is even a plug-in hybrid electric version. And it’s coming to SA in 2020.
Ford also revealed the Mustang Mach-e, an all-electric SUV styled like the legendary pony car to mumblings from purists. Aston Martin became the latest luxury marque to enter the SUV arena with its new DBX, and Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Maybach GLS as its ultimate luxury SUV.
On the sports car front, McLaren unveiled the 600kW Elva supercar minus a roof, windscreen or side windows. There will be 399 of McLaren’s first open-cockpit road car built at a price of £1.4m (R27m).
Fresh from unveiling the V8-powered F8 Spider and the V12-engined Superfast, Ferrari was back in the spotlight with the slinky new Roma, a 456kW V8-powered grand tourer said to be capable of 320km/h.
The Tokyo Motor Show, which was held at the end of October, provided a marginal new-model spillover into November. The production version of the new Honda Jazz was revealed as well a first sighting of Mazda’s first electric car, the CX-30, alongside numerous oddball concepts and ideas as expected of the bold Japanese brands.
At the LA Auto Show some pretty tasty metal, such as the new Lexus LC 500 cabriolet, was revealed. We ran a special on some of the debuts from the show, including the 225kW new Mini Cooper JCW GP; the new VW ID Space Vizzion, an electric station wagon said to boast 590km of range and planned for market introduction in 2021; BMW’s new all-electric i4 sedan; and Toyota’s plug-in hybrid Rav4 Prime, the fastest but also most fuel economical Rav4 yet.
Maserati ceased production of the GranTurismo range. To commemorate the occasion, the company created a one-off GranTurismo Zéda that covers the body in a tricolour mix of blue, black and white. The GranTurismo’s replacement next year might be available as a hybrid or electric vehicle.
During the same period Maserati SA confirmed the arrival of the 433kW Levante Trofeo in 2020.
Still on hot models, Hyundai SA announced that the i30N, which takes the fight to German premium hot hatches like the GTI, will go on sale here in 2020.
From a motorsport perspective the month rained championships, starting with Lewis Hamilton clinching his sixth Formula One world title.
Toyota’s Ott Tanak sealed the World Rally Championship drivers’ title, while Hyundai were confirmed winners of the manufacturers’ championship after the season-ending Rally of Australia was cancelled due to bushfires.
Peugeot driver Timmy Hansen from Sweden was crowned the FIA World Rallycross Champion at the season finale in Cape Town, while Bradley Liebenberg was crowned SA’s Falken Polo Cup champion.
Though no official silverware was on offer for the Bloodhound supersonic car, which arrived at SA’s Hakskeen Pan, it managed to clock 1,010km/h in testing before returning home to the UK. It will be back in 12-18 months to try to beat the 1,228km/h world land speed record and hopefully achieve the coveted 1,000mph (1,600km/h) mark.
The Kyalami Nine-Hour international motor race was hosted on November 23, a historic return after 37 years, and Porsche took overall honours. A brand new FIA-grade karting track and business park opened in Benoni.
We saw a number of new cars being launched in the budget end of SA’s car market.
Nissan launched the Datsun Go and Go+ CVT with enhanced spec and the addition of traction control. Its alliance cousin Renault launched the facelifted Kwid hatchback, and Hyundai brought in the all-new Atos as its new entry-level car.
At the opposite end of the spectrum BMW’s new 1 Series hatch made its local debut with two models: a front-wheel drive 118i and top-range all-wheel drive M135i. Lexus also ushered in a refreshed iteration of its RX, an SUV that brims with more luxury and tech such as head-up display, active headlamps and a complimentary 15GB of data in the Wi-Fi-enabled cabin.
Porsche began selling a top line variant of its Macan range featuring a 324kW and 550Nm six-cylinder engine.
A new Tshwane automotive investment zone was created alongside the Ford SA Silverton vehicle assembly plant. The government will spend R3.5bn on infrastructure on this undertaking with a projected 6,700 jobs to be created, and production is expected to begin in January 2021.
Looking ahead to December and January, it will be a closed session for the festive season, but before Santa dusts off his sleigh Hyundai SA will launch the new Venue, a rival to VW’s T-Cross and other alternatives in that competitive segment, while Aston Martin importer Daytona has invited us to see the new DBX in the metal at its Melrose Arch premises.
Road tests to look forward to in last few issues of Motor News include the Peugeot 5008, the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Hyundai’s new Atos and the Citroën C3 Aircross.