My Drive this week was the Lexus RC F. This is Lexus’ current halo sports coupe and successor to the IS F and boy is it a fun car to take for a spin.

With the RC F, Lexus has essentially taken everything they learned with the IS F and put it into the RC sports coupe. They’ve also refined and enhanced the technology, improving on the drivetrain and ride to produce a racing coupe that perhaps hearkens back to the fast spinning engines of Japanese four cylinder engine yore.

The RC F starts with the same V8 engine from the IS F – it even has the same model number. But refinements have seen power increased by 13 percent to 351 kW, and torque increased five percent to 530 Nm. The best part, in my opinion, is the engine redline. It’s up by 500 rpm, meaning maximum power now comes at 6800 rpm, and the redline itself is 7300 rpm. This means the RC F roars from take-off, heading with anger and then screaming towards redline before demanding a gear upshift.

So what does it sound like? The RC F has the same automatic exhaust flap control as before – the exhaust is quiet under normal driving, but put your foot down and the flaps open up to let a more powerful sound out of the bag. It doesn’t have that savage burble the C 63 AMG did last week, but it makes up for it with a high revving scream that evokes visions of V8 Supercars.

The eight speed torque converter automatic gearbox also returns in the RC F, with extra refinements to handle the higher revving engine here. In manual mode, every gear except first gear operates in converter lock-up mode, simulating a clutched manual gearbox. Upshifts are executed in 0.3 seconds, while downshifts are done even quicker at 0.2 seconds with the gearbox blipping the throttle to match engine speeds to the gear. Drive power goes to the rear wheels only.

Being a sports car, the suspension setup is quite a firm one, and there’s no adaptive suspension to soften it for regular road driving. It’s suited to windy roads and fast circuits, and Lexus has even developed a new, electronically-controlled rear differential to change the car’s handling depending on which kind of road you’re on. The company calls it the Torque Vectoring Differential, and it can electronically control how much torque goes to each rear wheel. You can choose from three profiles – Standard, Slalom and Track, with Slalom making the car “more agile for better handling on windy mountain rallies”, while Track “stabilises the car for better stability on circuits”.

Standard creature comforts in the Lexus RC F include adaptive cruise control, leather accented heated and ventilated front seats, proximity card entry, 17-speaker sound system, sunroof, rear parking camera and sensors, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning.

The RC F retails for $133,500 plus on-road costs.

24 October 2015
Albert Malik

My Drive this week was the Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63 S. When AMG gets its hands dirty producing the sports versions of Mercedes-Benz’s cars, you know they aren’t stuffing around and this car is no exception. The C 63 is based on the standard C Class and comes with a range of sports enhancements across the entire car.

The new C 63 is quite a different beast from the old one. In the previous generation we had a 6.3 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine, but with stricter and stricter exhaust emissions rules coming along, Benz has taken the axe to the engine’s displacement. There’s now a much smaller 4.0 litre V8 doing the rounds, but with twin turbos to boost output, power and torque are actually better than before. There’s 375 kW of power to tap into, while the massive 700Nm of torque comes at just 1750 RPM. The turbos sit inside the engine V area, helping to reduce lag by shortening the path of the exhaust gases to the turbo.

AMG also put a lot of effort into the sound you get from the engine exhaust. The engineers said they wanted to make sure downsizing the engine didn’t change the sound in any way, but they do leave the driver with a choice, the good old exhaust opener button that you can push to open up some flaps to get more of a burble and many, many more decibels.

Power is put to the rear wheels through a seven speed automatic transmission that acts and feels like a dual clutch, but Mercedes points out it’s actually a multi-clutch gearbox. It’s a little complicated, but think of a torque converter automatic that’s had the torque converter removed and a single clutch put in its place, while a number of planetary clutches on the other gears allows for double declutching on downshifts. Putting the C 63 into any of the racier sports modes will bring the gearbox to life.

The suspension is very focused on sports driving, with a tune that’s extremely firm and tight. AMG has equipped the C 63 with adaptive suspension, allowing you to select from Comfort, Regular and Sports profiles, but even in Comfort it’s much firmer than the regular C-Class, making it pretty difficult to stomach for everyday driving. Take the C 63 to a racetrack though and it’s totally in its element.

The braking package is also race spec, with monstrous 390 mm vented discs in the front and 360 mm discs in the back. You can also option ceramic discs if you want to do some serious racing.

Standard features in the C 63 S include adaptive cruise control, climate control air conditioning, a 13 speaker sound system, digital TV tuner, and a head up display with speed, gear position and a bar-shaped tachometer. This head up display goes great with the AMG instrument cluster that displays turbo boost, oil temperature and transmission temperature in the centre LCD. There’s also some beautiful leather, racing-themed seats with loads of electronic adjustment, as well as a leather and Alcantara steering wheel.

The Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63 S can be had in both sedan and wagon body styles, and can be yours from $155,490 plus on-road costs.

17 October 2015
Albert Malik

When we look back at the recent history of drivetrain technology in cars, it’s quite fascinating to see how engines, gearboxes and such have been developed by the different carmakers around the world. In Europe the focus was on downsizing the engine and using turbochargers to make up the gap of lost displacement. This process started with diesel engines and then moved on to petrol, so that in modern cars today, you’ve got petrol engines as small as just one litre coming equipped with a reasonably sized turbo to give it the maximum output of a 1.5 litre engine. Drive it normally though and you get the fuel economy of the one litre engine. Go to the other side of the world – Asia – and you find the Japanese manufacturers have worked on pairing an electric motor with a petrol engine to improve efficiency. Toyota had the most success here, starting with the Prius and then expanding to most of the model range. It shared that love with Lexus too, and you can now have a hybrid drivetrain with almost every single model Lexus offers.

This was the divide in ideology for a few years now, but recently, you could say there’s been a reconciliation of ideals, at least that’s how it appears. The European car manufacturers have begun offering more and more plug-in hybrid vehicles in the last year or two, while Japan’s largest car manufacturer has finally made an attempt at a downsizing turbo engine. It was only a few months ago when we read that Toyota’s engineering team had developed a turbocharged two litre petrol engine, and the Group has wasted no time in rapidly rolling out the engine across the Toyota and Lexus ranges around the world.

This brings me to my Drive this week – the Lexus IS 200t. For several years now, the Lexus IS engine choice was pretty simple – get the smaller 2.5 litre V6 to save fuel, or the bigger 3.5 litre V6 if you wanted power. The company then introduced a hybrid option which gave you power somewhere in-between the two while drastically reducing fuel consumption.
But now, the new turbo engine changes everything – it replaces the smaller V6 to actually become the entry-level drivetrain, making the IS a much better car to step into now.

The current generation IS sedan was introduced only a couple of years ago, so Lexus has decided to drop in the new drivetrain and not change anything else. The two litre turbo engine produces 180 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque; it comes mated to an eight speed automatic transmission powering the rear wheels.

I have to say, for the company’s first attempt at a turbo engine, they’ve done a pretty decent job. Engine response off the mark is admirable – it quickly fires up to the 6100 RPM redline and the wide spread of gears makes sure the revs stay up there under full acceleration, making good use of the engine’s torque band and getting you to 100 km/h in around seven seconds. Unfortunately, acceleration when you’re already moving isn’t so impressive. Plant your foot down and the gearbox will find the right gear almost immediately, but then there’s 1-2 seconds of turbo lag before you get to maximum output and fire away. Lexus says it’s using a twin-scroll turbo charger, so the lag is a bit of a mystery and a shame, but still, it’s the company’s first turbo engine, so I can only imagine the next one will be even better.

The gearbox is one of the smoothest and sophisticated in the business. Under normal driving it will shift up as soon as it can to improve fuel economy. If you hit a hill, the gearbox will notice and downshift to give you enough torque to climb up. Put the car in sports mode and the gearbox becomes more responsive when you drive the car harder. It will stay longer in lower gears, blip the throttle on downshifts and execute those downshifts earlier if you’re braking hard from high speed.

One other change in the IS 200t is the introduction of engine idle stop-start – great for saving fuel in heavy traffic or city conditions with a lot of stopping. It’s also intelligent enough not to stop the engine when you have the air conditioning at full power on those hot days.

A quick summary of the model line-up: the IS 200t is available in three variants – Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury. Standard features include climate control air, radar cruise control, satellite navigation, bi-xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers and electrically-adjustable steering column. The F Sport adds all the sporty stuff, like adaptive suspension, 18 inch alloys, sports pedals, high friction brake pads and a single gauge digital instrument cluster. The Sports Luxury adds a sunroof, 15 speaker sound system, electric rear sunshade and new-age safety features including automatic high beam, lane departure warning and blind spot monitor.

The IS 200t retails from $57,500 and ranges up to $79,000 for the top model before on-road costs.

In summary, the Lexus IS now has turbo power and it’s pretty decent, especially considering it’s the company’s first attempt at one. If you’re after a Lexus IS but don’t want to spend too much on one, you won’t go wrong with this drivetrain. That’s it for me this week.

10 October 2015
Albert Malik

This week I had the opportunity to drive the new Toyota Camry, and what was particularly memorable about this drive was the fact that this Camry is the last generation we’ll see in production in Australia.

Now when factories are producing their final model, you might be lucky if that model gets a few improvements here and there, minor things maybe, but with only two years to go until Toyota’s Altona factory downs tools, the Camry surprises with almost completely overhauled sheet metal. The car is sporting a new design only three and a half years into the previous model’s run, and to top it off, there are huge price reductions across the range. I’ll get into the details of the price reductions shortly but first, let’s take a look at the design.

In my own humble opinion, this is the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, where the Camry has looked sharp enough to have both sporty and refined elements. The front of the car now adopts the trapezoidal grille common in Toyota’s range today, but in the Camry it gives the car a mostly sporty appearance, with curved headlamps, fog-lamps and other areas adding to the flowing, sculpted look. The theme continues around the car and to the back, where the taillights adopt a curved-strip look that again looks both sporty and elegant at the same time.

Jumping inside the Camry, the interior has sadly received much less attention than the exterior. The dashboard design is mostly carryover from the 2012 generation, and what should have been a completely new interior was reserved for the V6-powered Aurion. One exception to this is the instrument cluster, which on the most expensive Camry variant is upgraded to a dual-gauge design with LCD screen in the centre. It’s the same look you can find in competing cars and is not all that revolutionary in 2015, but still, it’s great to find it in the Camry. Cheaper variants resort to a more traditional three-gauge setup with monochrome element LCD display.

In any case, the interior is still as roomy as ever, with large amounts of rear legroom making long family trips comfortable and relaxing. Both cloth and leather seat trims are available, while the boot can take a respectable 515 litres of cargo; down to 421 litres in the hybrid version thanks to the hybrid battery being stored there.

Drivetrains – there’s only two to choose from and they’re the same as before – 2.5 litre four cylinder petrol engine, or the same engine paired with electric motors in a hybrid configuration. The 2.5 litre engine on its own produces between 133 to 135 kW of power and 231 to 235 Nm of torque depending on the variant. In the hybrid package, the engine itself has a slightly lower 118 kW output thanks to its more efficient Atkinson cycle, but the electric motor backs this up to make a final 151 kW when you’ve got your foot down. The petrol engine gets a six speed automatic gearbox, while the hybrid gets Toyota’s usual planetary gear CVT system. Both of them power the front wheels only.

So that’s the numbers out of the way, how does it feel? In a word – right. In two words – just right. For everyday driving, both drivetrains are simply just fine.

The petrol drivetrain reacts quickly off the mark and builds up torque swiftly. The six speed auto is calibrated towards saving fuel and aggressively upshifts as soon as it can, but it will detect if you hit an incline and quickly downshift for the sake of it, so getting up hills isn’t a problem at all. If you need to floor it, the gearbox quickly gets the right gear and has you on your way to motorway speeds very swiftly.

The hybrid is slightly different, and in my experience, slightly more refined. The car will choose between the petrol and electric motors for the situation, turning on the petrol engine when accelerating, but otherwise keeping it off and relying on the electric motor for low to mid speed cruising, deceleration and when you’re stopped. The CVT gearbox means there’s no shift shock, with torque being delivered smoothly and linearly. It also means the engine will hold its revs as speed builds up – it might be a problem for some, but not for me. If you need to floor it, the electric motor power comes on instantly but it’s quite limited. The petrol engine produces the bulk of the power, but it needs around two seconds to get to maximum revs for some reason. Quite a bit slow sadly, so you’ll need to plan ahead for those times where you need to jump ahead of a car quickly. Finally, when slowing down, the electric motor becomes a generator, producing electricity to store in the battery, in return for slowing the car down to a stop.

The biggest comparison to be made between the standard petrol drivetrain and the hybrid one is fuel economy. The standard petrol drivetrain officially scores 7.8 L/100km in combined city / highway driving, while the hybrid gets 5.2 L/100km. So this means the hybrid officially consumes 33 percent less fuel than that petrol drivetrain, which is pretty significant. Real world figures? I averaged 9.5 L/100km with the petrol drivetrain and 6.5 L/100km with the hybrid – slightly more than the official figures but right around the same difference between them. Of course, your driving style makes all the difference and when I made an effort to drive less aggressively for the sake of fuel economy, I got the petrol drivetrain down to 8.6 L/100km. The hybrid? Even better – 5.7 L/100km. Driving style can make all the difference.

In terms of handling, the Camry has a soft, but balanced setup that’s oriented towards comfort. The car rides just fine with supple suspension and a well-weighted steering wheel. It goes around corners with confidence at usual speeds and that’s enough for me, but if you want a little more sportiness, the Camry Atara SX variant has a specially-designed suspension package by Toyota Australia that gives the car a firmer ride as well as more direct steering. It definitely creates even more confidence around the corners, at the cost of slightly more jiggling over the little bumps and corrugations we have on our roads.

The Camry is reasonably well refined, keeping out the noise and vibrations of driving, but the hybrid also gets an acoustic windscreen that noticeably reduced the noise levels in the cabin.

The Camry can be had in four grades – Altise, Atara S, Atara SX and Atara SL. The Altise comes with 16 inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and a six speaker sound system with USB and Bluetooth support. If you get the hybrid drivetrain, you’ll also get climate control air conditioning, proximity keyless entry and the dual gauges with LCD screen instrument cluster. The Atara S adds rear parking sensors, bigger 17 inch alloys, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and the Toyota Link apps system. The top of the range Atara SL also gets satellite navigation, leather seats, 10 speaker sound system and a range of modern safety technologies including automatic high beam, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert.

The Atara SX is a sporty offshoot of the Atara S with the sports suspension I mentioned earlier. It also gets a rear lip spoiler, sports driving pedals and hot 18 inch black alloy wheels.

The Camry starts from $28,990 driveaway for a Petrol Altise, while a hybrid Altise is $32,990. The range tops out at the hybrid Atara SL which is $42,490 driveaway.

This is definitely Toyota’s best Camry ever – it looks very sharp and fashionable, it’s practical and well equipped, it’s now very good value for money and I’m sure it will have Toyota’s legendary reliability as well. Definitely a worthwhile choice in your car shopping.

3 October 2015
Albert Malik

My Drive this week was the Subaru Forester. This car is one of the more popular compact off-road four wheel drives, and for the 2015 model year update Subaru made the drastic change of lowering prices across the range, with some variants dropping by as much as $3,500. The other hallmark addition was an automatic gearbox being added to diesel variants. This was a long time coming and should help boost the Forester diesel’s appeal.

The 4th generation Subaru Forester has been around with us for almost two years now, so the updated version I’m looking at today is the first update in this model’s history.

The exterior gets a single tweak – a shark fin radio antenna, which refines the look of the car just a little bit more. That’s the only exterior update.

Inside, the main change is the new, integrated centre console, which looks far better than the previous slot-in module and allows for a larger 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen. Other minor changes were made to add a more premium effect to the cabin, including the use of piano black and silver highlights. Otherwise you’ve still got the roominess and comfort the Forester previously offered – leg room is decent both front and back, while the load carrying capacity of 422 litres is quite generous.

So, let’s take a look at this new automatic box. Quick rundown first – the Forester’s 2.0 litre turbo diesel engine produces 108 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque. The automatic is a CVT, meaning unlimited ratios, although under strong throttle it will start imitating a stepped gearbox so that you feel like you’re going faster. It’s a trick, but most people like it, so that’s all that matters really. It’s a Subaru, meaning all four wheels are driven at all times, and fuel consumption officially averages 6.3 L/100km in combined driving.

Funnily enough, the Forester driving experience is quite similar to the Outback diesel I tested earlier this year. Off the mark performance is a bit average thanks to some turbo lag, but once you get going the strong torque of the diesel really comes into its own and gets you moving quickly. Kick-down reaction is quite decent, so overtaking manoeuvres on motorways are easy to execute. High speed driving is quite refined, although slightly noisier if you’re sitting in the back, and real-life fuel consumption is also reasonably close to the rated one, with my score being 6.9 L/100km (in combined usage).

The always-on four-wheel drive helps considerably for handling. The Forester is very well composed around corners, hooking admirably and staying pointed where you want it to go. The brakes also work well, pulling the car up quickly when needed.

Diesel Foresters are now available in two variants, the L and S. L model diesel Foresters get the 7.0-inch touchscreen I mentioned earlier as standard, as well as dual zone climate control air conditioning, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, multi-function display in the instrument cluster and USB/Bluetooth audio with Pandora support. The S adds to this with HID headlamps, proximity keyless entry, sunroof, satellite navigation, leather trim and electrically-adjustable front seats.

Pricing for the Forester range now starts from $29,990, although a diesel L starts from $33,490 with a manual gearbox. Throw in another $2,000 for automatic, while a fully-kitted S automatic will set you back $41,490. All prices are before on-road costs.

The Forester makes for a great family car, and it can certainly handle a reasonable amount of off-roading if you want to go camping or just enjoy the great outdoors. It’s on sale now.

19 September 2015
Albert Malik

My Drive this week was the Prius V people mover. Last month I took a look at the compact version of the Prius, the Prius C, but this week I’m moving in the other direction, examining the bigger brother of the hybrid power fuel miser. This car is something you can sort-of compare to the Honda Odyssey and Kia Rondo – it’s a seven seat wagon that lets you cart the family around without the overhanging proportions of a larger, van-based vehicle, and thanks to the hybrid drivetrain, you can keep the fuel spend under control.

Toyota gave the Prius V its mid-life update earlier this year, with changes to the design as well as noise, handling and safety improvements. Let’s take a look.

The Prius V now sports a design you could call more assertive. Angled headlights giving the front face an angry look, flanked by new, vertical LED daytime running lamps down lower in the bumper. The rear combination lamps have also got a new look.

Going inside it’s surprising to see how much room there is in the cabin – the proportions are really deceiving. There’s plenty of room in the first two rows, while the smaller third row is good for children but will be a tight squeeze for adults. The front seats have a lot of bolstering and support, while the second row is still contoured for three people but somewhat flatter than the front. The two rear seats can be folded down flat into the floor to create a fair bit of storage – 485 litres to be exact. With the seats upright it drops to a paltry, but still usable 180 litres.

The main changes in the cabin are the dashboard – the centre console is upgraded with Toyota’s newer infotainment system, which comes with a raft of more modern features and newer satellite navigation but sadly gets the underpowered processor found across the Toyota range, making the experience a sluggish, frustration-inducing affair. The instrument cluster also gets a new multi-information LCD screen, making it easier to see the hybrid powertrain information and fuel consumption readouts.

Speaking of which, the Prius V’s hybrid powertrain remains unchanged in this updated model. The combination of a 1.8 litre, 73 kW petrol engine and a 60 kW electric motor combine for a maximum 100 kW of power, which is provided to the front wheels through a CVT planetary gear-based transmission.

The drivetrain is firmly focused on saving fuel here, so maximum acceleration can feel a bit lacking on motorways, even when you put the car in Power Mode, but fuel consumption is definitely impressive. The official combined rating is 4.4 L/100km, and in my testing of combined city and highway driving, I managed to achieve 4.9 litres. If you follow the car’s suggestions to drive economically, you’ll do better.

Ride and handling have been improved slightly in this update, with Toyota re-engineering dampers and rear trailing arm bushes to improve ride response. In practice, the Prius V is composed and confident around mild corners. It’s no sports car, but for everyday duties it’s more than adequate and instils confidence.

The braking system combines friction brakes with regenerative braking to recharge the battery system, contributing to the fuel economy of the car. It’s smooth, but I did find I needed to increase brake pressure as the car comes to a stop, which is slightly different behaviour compared to normal cars.

The Prius V is available in two grades – base model and i-Tech luxury. The base model gets standard climate control air conditioning, cruise control, automatic power windows on all four doors, alloy wheels and a six inch centre console display with six speakers and USB audio with Bluetooth. The i-Tech adds a load of extra features including panoramic sunroof, satellite navigation, radar cruise control, digital radio, bi-LED headlamps, leather trim and lane departure warning, which is a new addition in this updated model. Both variants also get seven airbags, stability control and a reverse camera.

The Prius V retails from $34,490, while the i-Tech costs another $10,000, starting from $44,490 – both before on-road costs.

All in all, if you put aside the hybrid part of the equation, the Prius V is actually a reasonably good value-for-money proposition for a people mover. It’s well featured, uses little fuel and doesn’t break the bank. I was quite impressed with it. That’s it for me this week.

12 September, 2015
Albert Malik

Volkswagen Australia is pleased to present local specifications and pricing of the latest Transporter from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Boasting key updated features, the new Transporter offers improved levels of safety and comfort, combined with modern design elements, the latest in-car technology and a new TDI engine producing 150kW of power.

In Germany, the T series has been the number one seller in its segment for decades. The new Transporters predecessor, the outgoing T5 series, sold almost 2 million units around the world in 13 years. Across the entire series’ 65 years of production, the vehicle has sold over 12 million vehicles worldwide, offering millions of customer’s Volkswagen’s renowned contemporary transport solutions. As the new Transporter returns to the Commercial Vehicles segment, it is set to continue this success story for generations to come.

With the latest Transporter vehicles, there continues to be two basic categories of the T series – the commercial vehicles (van, crewvan, single cab and dual cab) and the passenger carriers designed for commercial and private use (Multivan and Caravelle). Two different wheelbases and three varied roof heights (available in van and crewvan only) add to the series’ level of flexibility and functionality.

A completely new generation of TDI engines is being launched with the introduction of the new T series. The EA288 engine has been developed specifically for the tough requirements of a commercial vehicle, ensuring the longevity and ruggedness of the engine were placed as top priorities in developing the vehicle. The TDI engines available are transversely mounted and angled forward by eight degrees. They have a cubic capacity of 1,968cm3 and deliver an impressive 103kW @ 3,500rpm and 132kW @ 4000rpm, while the new engine delivers a powerful 150kW @ 4000rpm.

The sixth generation Transporter continues to showcase the unmistakable stylistic traits of its predecessors and combines these into a powerful overall design. Functional and versatile dimensions have always been a crucial element in the light Commercial Vehicles sector and the new Transporter’s dimensions offer maximum load capacity, while at the same time ensuring optimal accessibility to the van.

Volkswagen Commercial vehicles have also integrated a wide array of intelligent assistance systems in the new Transporter. With ABS, ESP and EDL standard across the range, there are also a multitude of electronic aids over and above these that make driving the T series simpler and safer including Front Assist, City Emergency Braking (City EB) and Adaptive Cruise Control (only available in Multivan with TDI450), as well as Driver Fatigue Alert and Multi-Collision Brakes and to name a few. The exterior design of the new Transporter series has been updated to enhance its traditional credentials, while showcasing the vehicles modern design elements.

Inside the new Transporter, the vehicles new interior design inherits many new impressive features. The new Transporter has also been fitted with the latest technology and infotainment systems, while showcasing an impressive range of comfort and convenience systems. With an impressive list of standard features and equipment, the new Transporter series offers customers a range of vehicles that are practical, functional, spacious and enjoyable to drive. However, should customers want to enhance their Transporter, a host of optional packages are available which add great value-for-money and a wide range of convenience, assistance and upgraded luxury inclusions.

Mitsubishi Motors has freshened its Lancer range for 2016 with extra features and a contemporary new look across all models. Mitsubishi Motors Australia Executive Director of Marketing Tony Principe said the Lancer name is synonymous with Mitsubishi in Australia and the 2016 Lancer range had been refined to ensure Lancer continues to deliver on its core attributes of reliability, exceptional value and low cost of ownership.

“Lancer has a fresher new look, additional features for 2016 and revised model line-up to maintain its position within the popular small car market,” he said. “Lancer’s proven track record and unbeatable combination of sporty styling, reliability and standard features remain the foundation of its enduring appeal, particularly with younger buyers. For 2016, we’ve taken this a step further by adding to Lancer’s value and appearance through substantial feature upgrades to ES Sport and LS sedan models, while its new styling is complemented with standard features like reversing camera, front fog lamps, LED daytime running lamps, digital audio broadcast (DAB) with 6 speakers and colour touch screens across the range.”

Mitsubishi’s refined 2016 Lancer sedan line-up now offers three levels : ES Sport and – with 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, 18 inch alloy wheels and sports suspension – a new GSR variant. For the luxury-minded buyer, LS sedan brings together comfort features like leather interior, privacy glass and bright finish 18-inch alloy wheels. The Lancer Sportback model line-up remains unchanged. Lancer’s 5 star ANCAP safety rating is further enhanced with reversing camera and LED daytime running lamps across the range.

Among the exterior and interior visual changes to 2016 Lancer are new front bumper design with integrated chrome upper and lower accent grille, front fog lights, side body skirts and – on the inside – high contrast instrument cluster, a new front centre console with silver and black accents and new colour display DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) audio head unit.

2016 Lancer Model Range And New Features

Two new colours will be available: Starlight (pearl white) and Sterling Silver. Meanwhile, all 2016 Lancer models gain new bumper and grille, LED daytime running lamps with integrated fog lights, side body skirts, a new front centre console, colour display audio unit with reversing camera interface, high contrast instrument cluster, new accent panel and a six speaker audio system with DAB digital audio.

2016 new features:

ES Sport 2.0-litre Sedan (2016 updates, plus):

  • Upgraded CVT auto
  • New upgraded seat fabric with a stronger geometric pattern
  • New design 16-inch bright finish alloy wheels with black inserts
  • Gloss black interior and ornament panel garnish
  • Leather shift knob with boot on manual models
  • Rear spoiler

LS 2.0-litre Sedan (2016 updates, plus):

  • Leather interior trim, including leather steering wheel, leather gear knob
  • New design 18-inch alloy wheel with black inserts
  • Sports tuned suspension with front and rear stabiliser bar
  • Privacy glass
  • Reverse parking sensors
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto headlights
  • Power driver’s seat adjustment
  • Smart key
  • Heated front seats
  • Chrome door handles, belt moulding and rear boot garnish

New GSR 2.4-litre Sedan (2016 updates, plus):

  • 2.4-litre 125kW 226Nm MIVEC engine
  • New design 18-inch alloy wheels with black inserts
  • CVT with sport mode and mounted paddle shifts
  • Front and rear 16-inch ventilated discs
  • Sports seats and pedals

GSR 2.4-litre Sportback (2016 updates, plus):

  • New design 18-inch alloy wheels with black inserts

Recommended Retail Pricing

Manual

Automatic

ES Sport Sedan

$19,500

$21,000

LS Sedan

-

$23,500

GSR Sedan

$22,500

$24,000

GSR Sportback

$22,500

$24,000

Note: Metallic and pearlescent paint $550 extra

On Sale
2016 Lancer ES Sport sedan, LS sedan and GSR Sportback will go on sale around Australia from 16 December.
2016 Lancer GSR sedan will be available separately from January 2016.

Jaguar announced its return to global motorsport. In the autumn of 2016, Jaguar will enter the third season of the exciting FIA Formula E Championship as a manufacturer with its own team. FIA Formula E is the world’s first global single-seater championship for electric powered cars. FIA Formula E offers a unique opportunity for Jaguar Land Rover to further the development of future EV powertrain including motor and battery technology.

Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “I am proud to announce Jaguar's return to racing with an entry into the innovative FIA Formula E championship. Electric vehicles will absolutely play a role in Jaguar Land Rover's future product portfolio and Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies. The Championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions. It is my belief that over the next five years we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last three decades. The future is about being more connected and more sustainable; electrification and lightweight technologies are becoming more important than ever as urbanisation continues to increase. Formula E has recognised and reacted to these trends and the championship's exciting and pioneering approach is the perfect fit for our brand."

Jaguar Land Rover employs over 8,000 engineers and is the UK's largest investor in research and development across any business sector. Jaguar's Formula E team will be able to draw upon this industry leading resource with Jaguar Land Rover engineers working closely with the race operations team. Those engineers will not only be able to apply their knowledge within the race team environment but crucially use the experience to extract data and push the boundaries of electric technology in a performance environment.

Williams Advanced Engineering will be Technical Partner to the Jaguar Formula E Team and provide extensive motorsport knowledge, combined with high performance EV Systems experience and success. Jaguar Land Rover has a long term relationship with Williams, who partnered with Jaguar on the development of the Jaguar C-X75 plug-in hybrid concept car. The team entry has been granted by Formula E and approved by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

Alejandro Agag, Chief Executive Officer for Formula E, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jaguar into Formula E. Jaguar is a brand with a rich sporting heritage and the fact that it is returning to global motorsport with Formula E is a huge endorsement of the championship and its ability to influence the development of electric cars. Jaguar brings with it a passionate fan base that will drive the popularity of the championship across the world and once again shows that Formula E is the future of motorsport.”

Jean Todt, President of the FIA said: “The FIA is pleased to welcome Jaguar as a new manufacturer to enter the FIA Formula E Championship. We built this series to offer an alternative competition for manufacturers to step into the sport and develop road-relevant electric technologies. The choice of Jaguar to come back to motor racing with Formula E is a proof of success. As it forges a path forward for the future of the electric car, Formula E managed to attract one of the most prestigious and historical brand across the automotive industry. I wish them success ahead of their arrival in 2016/2017”.

James Barclay, Jaguar Team Director, said: “We looked in detail at alternative ways of returning to motorsport. This was such an important decision for Jaguar and we wanted to get it right. With our future EV plans, Formula E was the obvious choice and we believe that the benefits are enormous. The FIA and the promoter have exciting plans for the future of the championship and we are proud to be one of the first vehicle manufacturers to commit to the series with our own team. We have a lot of work to do ahead of the first race but it is a challenge we relish. We hope that we can welcome a new generation of fans to Jaguar through this exciting programme.”

More details on Jaguar’s return to racing including team presentation, drivers and partners will be released in the run up to season three.

BMW Group Australia has confirmed pricing and specification for the first ever BMW M2 Coupe ahead of the launch of the eagerly anticipated model next year. The latest offering from BMW’s high-performance M division, the BMW M2 Coupe is powered by a 272kW six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, and features specially tuned M Sport suspension. The BMW M2 Coupe will be available in two variants, with prices starting from $89,900 for the base level M2 Pure, and $98,900 for the range leading M2, and features a broad list of standard specification across the range.

Only available with a six-speed manual transmission featuring new carbon fibre friction lining and speed synchronisation, the BMW M2 Pure introduces the model to a broader audience, while including key features and outstanding performance. Offering a comprehensive list of base equipment, the BMW M2 features a 7-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic, including integrated Launch Control as standard. A six-speed manual transmission is available at no cost. BMW Group Australia Head of Product and Market Planning, Shawn Ticehurst, said the new BMW M2 is the modern day successor to the likes of the BMW 2002 turbo and E30-era BMW M3, available from 1985 until 1992.

“The M2 follows BMW’s long tradition of producing high-performance compact sports cars,” Ticehurst said. “With impressive performance, powerful styling, extensive standard equipment and an attractive price point, the M2 presents a compelling value proposition. Australia is already one of the leading markets per capita for BMW M vehicles, and given dealers are already reporting significant levels of interest, we are confident this status will only be enhanced with the M2.”

The design of the BMW M2 emphasises its place as the leading performance model of the brand’s compact range, with a prominent M double-spoke kidney grille, low-slung front apron with large M air inlets and trapeze-shaped blades and air curtains for optimised aerodynamics. Characteristic M quad exhausts in high-gloss Chrome and an integrated diffuser element in the rear apron emphasise the athletic low centre of gravity, while a spoiler on the rear edge of the tailgate enhances the aerodynamic balance between the front and rear axle. Typically driver orientated, the cockpit is complemented by numerous M features, such as Black Dakota leather sports seats with blue contrast stitching, complete with embossed headrests, adjustable side bolsters, open pored carbon fibre trim and M three-spoke steering wheel.

Laying at the heart of the BMW M2 is a three-litre, six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology. Enabling immediate power delivery, the engine features a TwinScroll turbocharger, High-Precision Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control and Valvetronic variable valve control, generating 272kW and 465Nm. With all components geared towards maximum performance, from the crankcase bearings to the oil supply, which remains reliable even under extreme g-forces, the BMW M2 charges from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds with a 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission or 4.5 seconds as a six-speed manual.

The 7-speed M Double-Clutch transmission optimises acceleration from a standing start while reducing fuel consumption. Featuring Drivelogic and an integrated Launch Control function, the transmission includes Stability Clutch Control, opening the clutch when the vehicle threatens to oversteer in order to stabilise the car, a function enabling slight rear-wheel slip and Creep on Demand. The six-speed manual transmission, with new carbon fibre friction lining and speed synchronisation, blips the throttle on downshifts and reduces engine speeds during upshifts for an even more comfortable shifting experience.

An extensive list of standard specification highlights the BMW M2 as the premier model in the 2 Series Coupe range. Leading the equipment highlights, the BMW M2 Coupe includes an Active M differential, M compound brakes, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Driving Assistant, rear Park Distance Control, Rear View Camera, Carbon fibre interior trim and Dakota leather upholstery. Automatic air conditioning, Bi-Xenon headlights, DAB+ digital radio, navigation system Professional with Real Time Traffic Information, interior and exterior mirrors with anti-dazzle, interior lights package and HiFi sound system are also included on both models.

The BMW M2 receives further equipment, headed by a 7-speed M Double Clutch transmission with Drivelogic, alarm system, Comfort Access System, adaptive headlights, BMW Selective Beam, electric lumbar support and seat adjustment, seat heating and harman/kardon surround sound system. All maintenance requirements for the new BMW M2 Coupe range are controlled by the Condition Based Servicing (CBS) system. With CBS, sensors and advanced algorithms monitor and calculate the conditions in which a vehicle is used, including mileage, time elapsed since its last service, fuel consumption and how a vehicle is driven.

Based on the information captured, maintenance requirements are determined, identifying whether an annual vehicle inspection or oil service is due. Selected BMW service and maintenance costs can be covered by a single, one-off advance payment with BMW Service Inclusive (BSI), which is available in two packages: Basic or Plus.

BMW M2 Australian Pricing and Standard Features*

BMW M2 Pure $89,900*

  • Active M differential
  • M compound brakes
  • 19-inch M light alloy double spoke wheels
  • Tyre Pressure Monitor
  • Connected Drive Services, TeleServices, Intelligent Emergency Call, Remote Services, Internet, Concierge Services and Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI)
  • Cruise control with braking function
  • Driving Assistant, with Approach Control Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Pedestrian Warning, light city braking function and Attentiveness Assistant
  • Park Distance Control (PDC), rear
  • Rear View Camera
  • Bi-Xenon headlights
  • Interior and exterior mirrors with anti-dazzle
  • Interior lights package
  • Carbon fibre interior trim
  • Dakota leather upholstery
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Navigation system Professional
  • HiFi sound system

BMW M2 $98,900*
Specification above M2 Pure

  • 7-speed M Double-Clutch transmission with Drivelogic
  • Alarm System
  • Comfort Access System
  • Adaptive headlights
  • BMW Selective Beam (anti-dazzle High-Beam assist)
  • Lumbar support, electric
  • Seat adjustment, electric
  • Seat heating
  • harman/kardon surround sound system