Recent motoring launches

There were quite a few announcements about new models during August.

GWM P-Series
GWM which sells the Steed bakkies and Haval SUVs locally has just launched a new bakkie model range on their new P71 platform. It will get an 8-speed ZF automatic box coupled to a two litre VVT turbo-diesel engine putting out 140kW and 360 Nm, smart four-wheel drive with three diff-locks, high-strength body, the latest generation of Bosch version 9.3 ESP (stability control), 360 View, Rear View Camera, Lane Departure Warning, intelligent forward view (adaptive cruise control) and 12 radars.
The body measures 5 425 mm long, 1 972 mm wide and 1 893 mm high. The wheelbase is 3 230 mm.
With this bakkie they intend become number three behind Toyota and Ford. Watch this space.
Interestingly they have aligned themselves with several accessory and equipment suppliers and related players to form a complete ecosystem.
Expect the P-Series in the middle of the year (2020). The slightly more compact Steed will be continued.

Audi Q3 35 TFSI S-tronic
The second generation Audi Q 3 is here.
It now features a digital cockpit and a large MMI screen with touch response, assist systems to support the driver when parking, in town and on long journeys and has more knee room, headroom and elbow room.
There will be only one engine version – a 1.4 petrol engine with front wheel drive and a six-speed S tronic box. The power output delivers 110 kW and 250 Nm of torque from a four-cylinder direct injection unit with turbocharging. Six modes or driving profiles can be selected depending on conditions using the drive select dynamic handling system.
Audi South Africa has introduced a new package concept which will be adopted for all new models to be launched. The packages are: Comfort, Technology, Sport, Parking, S-line and Black. For example, the Comfort package includes storage and luggage; parking aid plus; electric tailgate; electric seats; seat heating and 4 way lumbar support.
The standard equipment list is more comprehensive than in the past and includes the digital cockpit, climate control, electronic stability control, rear parking aid and light / rain sensor.
In my opinion the new Q 3 looks great inside and out. Customers have many options for customizing their car. These include a contrasting paint finish for the lower body section or the S line exterior package which offers more sporty looking bumpers, sill trims and diffuser.
The instrument panel is divided into two levels: the top part includes the air vents; the bottom section incorporates the large octagonal area with its black-panel look. It is a really attractive interior.
The Audi Q3 range gets the Audi Freeway plan (5 year / 100 000 km) and is priced as follows:
Audi Q3 35 TFSI S-tronic at R565000, Advanced is R585 000 and S-line a solid R599 000.

Toyota becomes hotspot
“As of 01 September 2019, all new Toyota and Lexus models sold in South Africa will come standard with in-car Wi-Fi including 15GB free data (which you can top up) as well as a host of connectivity features and benefits courtesy of Toyota Connect, a major extension of the MyToyota App,” says President and CEO of TSAM, Andrew Kirby.
Known as Toyota Connect, the new connectivity hub will be housed within the MyToyota App which was launched in 2014. The technology allows owners access convenience, connectivity and safety benefits. Toyota the only manufacturer to offer a mobile App that is fully integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems, it is also the first organisation to offer the convergence of Wi-Fi and connectivity features in one package across the model range internationally.
The benefits of Toyota Connect can be grouped into three main areas: Connectivity features, Convenience and Safety features.
All the big brands are innovating and taking the present technology to the highest levels yet seen. The next generation will be very different and possibly powered either by hydrogen or batteries or they will be hybrids. They will be more automated and less driver orientated, almost like Ubers without the driver.

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Audi A5 Coupé review

Audi A5 Coupé
The Audi A5 Coupé is a beautiful car, both inside and out.

The signature design element of the body is the wave-shaped shoulder line which starts at the nose and flows along below the windows through to and over the broad hips to a small lip on the rear. The nose has just the right dimensions. Aggressive, but not brutal. The rear is curvy, yet simple and elegant. With a drag coefficient of 0.25, the A5 Coupé is also the segment leader with respect to aerodynamics. It looks the part. This car drew people to look at it appreciatingly.

Audi says: “The new generation of the A5 Coupé is athletic, sporty and elegant, while its design goes hand-in-hand with sophisticated aerodynamics. Under the skin the Audi A5 impresses with an all-new chassis, powerful engines, and innovative infotainment features and driver assistance systems.” That about sums it up.
The interior is… well, a cockpit. As you get to spend time in it, you appreciate the materials, the layout, the dimensions. It is a very satisfying place to spend time at the wheel, whether just going to the mall, or pushing over a mountain pass at a good pace. The A5 easily transforms from luxury conveyance to sporty car at a press of the “Dynamic” button. On a mountain pass with the sport mode selected this car is a load of fun.
Our test car was equipped with the optional Audi virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch TFT display which is highly adjustable to suit the driver’s needs. This is the future of instrumentation for cars.

Audi A5 cabin

Audi is a world leader in car cabin design. In the A5 the interior is exciting and relaxing at the same time. I loved the little details. As with all coupés the doors are a little long, so there is an arm that extends forward and holds your seatbelt for you. Pretty cool hey? Subtle lighting brings up the ambient light in the cabin at night just enough to see what you need to without distracting you.

The comfortable and supportive front seats are electronically adjustable and have two memory settings (extra cost item). Leg room at the back is acceptable, but not for very tall passengers. The boot is large. As a result the car is both a good family car, bearing in mind the two large doors, and an exciting sporty car.

In 2007 Audi introduced the A5 to the world. This year the second generation of A5 and S5 based on the B9 platform which it shares with the A4 is being introduced. The 5 comes as a coupé, sportback and convertible, and with a choice of three engines: two TFSI and one TDI unit. Their power output has been increased and is now between 140 kW and 185 kW. The sportback and coupé are on our roads already but the Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet will only be available later this month.
The TDI we drove has a four-cylinder 2.0 TDI producing 140 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque with a claimed consumption of 4.1 L/ 100 km. We got 5.9L/100km, which is still very good.

Audi A5

These cars have all the driving safety aids, whether passive or active, of a top class car. Fortunately there is a comfortable setting for normal driving, as well as the eco and dynamic settings, which results in a smooth restful ride. If you are feeling a little restless you just select “Dynamic”. It also has an auto mode which switches between the modes as well as a personal setting which allows you to choose how it will behave.

The car we tested was the Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TDI 140 kW Stronic Sport at a base price of R 653,000 excluding extras, which in this case included S-line trim, panoramic sunroof, Navigation with MMI, parking plus, rearview camera, three-zone aircon and special Mythos Blue paint.

The range starts with the A5 Coupé 2.0T FSI 140 kW S tronic at R 589,000. The top model is the S5 Coupé 3.0T FSI 260 kW quattro S tronic at R 928,000. The top Audi S5 Cabriolet 3.0T FSI quattrotiptronic comes in at R 1,028,000. The base A5 Cabriolet 2.0T FSI S tronic is R 689,000 without extras.

To these prices you need to add quite a few thousands to pay for the ‘optional’ equipment.

The cars all have a 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan and a one year unlimited warranty.

Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI S tronic review

A3 Sportback with 2.0 TFSI S tronic 140 kW

A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI S tronic

Damn, but the little A3 hits a sweet spot. Looks, cachet, performance, desirability, quality all neatly intersect like 4 perfect rings to create a gem of a little car.

What’s not to like?

Perhaps two things. The price, once you have added an item or two to the bare bones basic car, and a rather choppy, bumpy ride caused mainly by the very low profile tyres and which Audi says is balanced for sportiness .

Put those two issues behind you and its motoring joy in a small package.

The new Audi A3 is available as a three-door Hatchback, a five-door Sportback, Sedan and as a Cabriolet.
The body is almost perfectly in balance from the redesigned Singleframe grille to the newly contoured rear diffuser. It is really pleasing to the eye.

Audi A3 dash

Inside it is classy and exudes quality. The A3’s dash is functional, uncluttered and simple to use, and yet delivers everything you need and it looks smart.

The main element is the instrument binnacle directly in front of the driver which has a virtual cockpit display adding to the car’s upmarket feel. The display replaces the dials with a digital screen that, in addition to speed and revs, can show everything from fuel economy to satnav maps.

The 7-inch display screen is positioned high in the middle of the dash making it easy to glance at while driving and drops down into dash when not needed. A brilliant solution. The Bluetooth interface works very well, making it oh so easy to couple with your phone and has a rare clarity. The MMI radio, Satnav, vehicle settings, climate control are all managed via the screen either by touch or using the easy to use large round control knob between the seats.

Bi-xenon lights are standard, while LED headlights as well as Matrix LED headlights are also optionally available. Both LED and Matrix LED headlights offer dynamic turn signals which means the lights illuminate to the side which you are turning.


There are three petrol and one diesel engine to choose from and either manual or 7-speed S tronic transmission. I would recommend the Sportback1.4TFSI S tronic at R438 000 as the best buy in the range.
I got a long term average fuel consumption of 8.9L/100km, which is a little more than the 5.9 claimed by Audi and I must add I did not drive the car aggressively.

The A3 Sportback is a driver’s car. It is worth the premium price if you love driving and will reward you with many hours of driving pleasure. If you are more into luxury perhaps the Volvo or baby Merc is a better bet.
The A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI S tronic costs R 525 000 as tested, which included a few extras like a sunroof, S line trim and metallic paint. The standard warranty is 2 years with unlimited mileage and the service plan is the 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.

Also look at the BMW 1 series, Mercedes A-series, Volvo V40, VW Golf and Subaru WRX.

Prices for the A3 Sportback start at R398 500 for the 1.0T FSI to R646 000 for the S3 Sportback quattro S tronic. The base price of the car we tested, without the extras is R 455 000.

Audi A3 Sportback rear

Servicing my car – who is best?

Purchasing & Servicing quality awards

Ipsos, the market research company, measures the Competitive Customer Experience of car owners each year.

Its divided into the buying experience and the quality of servicing. It is split between cars and LCV’s (or bakkies and vans).

Here are the car results for this year.

PURCHASING

Ipsos interviewed more than 23 000 customers about their purchasing and servicing experience in 2015, representing more than 75% of all cars sold, or 15 of the locally available brands. The missing brands include BMW and Hyundai/ Kia.

The biggest changes over the previous survey include a 3.7% improvement in the free of faults result but a 4.7% drop in the handling of queries or faults. So the dealers need a bit of polishing, but the manufacturers are improving.

Over time the quality has been improving and now sits at almost 95% for the industry, up from around 90% in 2004.

The gold medal achievers in the sales department are VW and Audi. GM, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota come next. Ford, Lexus, Renault and Honda also did well.

sales time

“The achievements by the industry overall in our ongoing study over the past four years have been outstanding and are a tribute to staff at the manufacturers’ head offices who are responsible for training and supporting the dealers as well as for the commitment of the dealers themselves. In particular the consistent excellence of Audi, Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen brands must be highlighted for special praise,” said Patrick Busschau, the Ipsos SA Automotive Business Director. “It is amazing how the retail industry manages to lift the bar ever higher each year.”.

SERVICING

The Servicing Experience over Time has improved by 1% a year over the past decade and has now reached 90%.

Customers feel the are more appreciated and  are happy that they are offered transportation to the next destination. They are unhappy about the preparation of the staff and contact about progress.

Interestingly there is no difference between men and women concerning their perception of the servicing experience.

There are big differences between the races.

Servicing Race

Asian, not Indian, customers are the most unhappy while whites are happiest.

And the servicing awards go to:

Servicing winnersAudi received a platinum award for sustained customer satisfaction in both the passenger car purchasing and servicing experience categories, having won gold awards every year from 2012-2015. The Volkswagen brand received a platinum award for the purchasing experience with cars and LCVs from 2012-2015.
Other brands to receive platinum awards were Isuzu for the LCV purchasing experience, while Toyota and Nissan received these prestigious awards for LCV servicing in the period 2012-2015.

It is interesting the BMW withdrew from the research and that Hyundai may be sure of their product quality but not about their customer relations.

 

Sheldon van der Linde scores on debut

Sheldon van der Linde, 17, scored a spectacular double victory on his international race debut in the opening round of the Audi Sport TT Cup at Hockenheim, Germany over the weekend. It was at the Audi Sport TT Cup Round 1, Hockenheim, Germany on 7-8 May 2016.

Double SA Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup champion and Audi Sport Race Academy bursar, Sheldon beat a competitive international field including former F1 driver Scott Speed and WRC star Andreas Mikkelsen en route to victory at his first attempt in the prestigious series.

Sheldon van der Linde races to victory on his Audi TT Cup debut

Sheldon van der Linde races to victory on his Audi TT Cup debut

Sheldon won the first race after qualified second on the grid.

“I’m speechless right now,” a delighted van der Linde admitted on the first race podium. “A win on my international race debut — this is the best day of my life!”

Sheldon started the second race in third, moved into second at the first turn and then consistently added a half a second a lap to take a dominant 7.5 second victory and carry home a healthy early championship advantage.

Audi A4 recall for airbag software issue

Audi South Africa has confirmed that a software issue affects the airbags of some local A4 models, including its A4 Allroad. The manufacturer reports a total of 16 798 vehicles (built from 2013 – 2015) in SA are affected.

According to Audi SA: “Audi South Africa are in possession of all VIN numbers of affected models and have begun personally contacting customers.

“The software update will be available in Audi dealers on 30 October.”

Audi A3 Sportback 1.8 T FSI S tronic review

Audi-A3-tsi-thumb

Audi A3 Sportback 1.8T FSI Stronic

The A3 is a great little sporty car, with just a bit of extra flair, and style and oompf. It is a joy to drive, with one proviso. The tyres are a very low profile and the suspension is stiff.  You will feel every ripple, pebble and bump in the road.

If you are happy to “feel” the road all day and you want a classy smaller car then this could be the one for you.

The Audi brand is still aspirational and this A3 will make many buyers very happy.

General impressions

Audi is very much the upmarket more sporty marque of VW. It shows and feels in every inch. The A3 exudes quality. Fit and finish is excellent. Materials appear to be top class.

This car is at or near the pinnacle of small car engineering and design.

Road holding and handling are above par. The A3 will go where you point it and stop pretty quickly when you ask her to. The actual ride is a little hard and bumpy.

Build quality appears to be very good. The doors close with a satisfying clunk. The switches and controls feel right.

Audi A3 TSi

Audi A3 TSi

Driving impressions

The A3 is a driver’s car. It is fun to handle and does everything effortlessly. You will enjoy driving this car. It is poised and well balanced, almost to the point of perfection.

The 1.8 mill produces 132kW at 5100 – 6200 and 250Nm between 1250 – 5000.  Top speed is 232km/h and the 0 to 100km/h time is a very respectable 7.3 seconds. Audi claims a fuel consumption of 5.6 litres per 100km, but I think you will battle to get that figure. Bank on 6.5l/100km.

Brakes, steering, acceleration, road feel – all come together just right. A great package.

Interior

The interior is almost plain. Having said that, the attention to detail is superb. The cabin feels cosy, safe, smart and has an understated luxury about it. The model I drove came with all the goodies but bear in mind that quite a few essential accessories are optional extras on this car.

Audi_A3_dash

Summary

This new A3 looks a bit like the previous model until you have the two together. It has changed quite considerably and for the better. It is an almost completely new car. The lines are really pleasing.

I enjoyed driving the A3 but accept that many potential owners will be put off by the somewhat choppy ride. It is by no means as hard as a Golf GTi or any of the R range of Audis but tends to the stiffer side of suspension settings.

Audi’s engineers have got it right with this gem of a little car. It does almost everything well.

The A3 1.8 Fsi Stronic as tested is R 339 000, without extras. Leather seats are an extra R17 000.

The Sportback range starts at R283 000 for the 1.2T FSI, and tops out with the 1.8T FSI quattro at R370 000. The best buy is the 1.4T FSI S tronic at R307 500.

The optional equipment pricing looks like this: audi-a3-tsi_rear

B&O sound system R5 540

3G MMI Navigation R22 200

Milano leather seats R17 060

LED headlights  R21 900

Park assist R9 200

A comprehensive one year, unlimited distance warranty included
as standard on all new Audis. A twelve year anti-corrosion
guarantee.