As the Munich-based brand is quick to tell everyone, the original BMW X5 pioneered a whole new segment. No, not the high-riding, organised-crime mobile as it was in practice, but rather the Sports Activity Vehicle, or SAV as Beemer likes to call it in philosophy. BMW had the foresight back in the hazey days of the late 1990s – when 4x4s were lardy, uncouth conveyances for the farmyard – to acquire Land Rover and grab all the 4×4 gubbins it could lay its hands on before selling it on and heading off into the sunset with the knowhow for a less-agricultural, fun-to-drive, lifestyle-orientated off roader. It worked a trick, as two decades and four generations of X5 later; everyone who builds a passenger vehicle of any description is trying to emulate them with a pseudo sports activity vehicle. BMW has released the new X5 with the widely used inline six-cylinder units: xDrive40i and xDrive30d. While range-topping units offer unsurpassed refinement and performance with the xDrive50i V8, and M50d. The latter is a six-cylinder inline diesel engine with four turbochargers. Yes, four! Where the engineers found space for four turbos and all the requisite cooling is anyone’s guess, and the real world NOX gas figure must be something flabbergasting. But the multi-stage turbo system allegedly delivers zero lag and 750 Nm of low down dirty torque, so that’s a good thing if you love rolling coal. Power is a hearty 294 kW, delivering a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.2 sec. What else is new? Not a whole lot, aside from incorporating loads of tech from the 7 Series, the car has grown 36 mm longer, 66 mm wider and 19 mm taller than the outgoing model, an acceptable level of middle-aged grown-up swell.
2.2 million sold – making it the king of premium SAVs
You see what we mean about everyone trying to emulate the BMW X5? Here’s another German Panzer tank debuting within a few days of the granddaddy X5. It’s the Audi Q8. Okay, so according to the press bumpf, it is Ingolstadt’s new flagship SUV to usurp the Q7, hence the ascent in number to 8, but it’s the sloped-roof, coupe version of the aforementioned so it’s actually a little less practical (66 mm lower, 165-litres-less boot capacity). Not that you’ll care because the production car is such a small departure from the Q8 Sport Concept and represents the next bold step in Audi grille design. In this instance it’s a truly ginormous octagonal single-frame affair with horizontal and vertical slats. It’s like everyone in the design office had their say and all of their suggestions made it onto the end product. Around the rear it’s as if the tacit link to its Lamborghini Urus stablemate was encouraged, with a sloping silhouette carried over directly. Another thing carried over is the A8 limo’s LED lighting technology fore and aft, and stunning, buttons-be-gone, dual-touchscreen interior. It’s such a radical departure from the Q7 cabin, there’s no risk of confusing the two. Air suspension and double glazing on the windows is optional to completely shutout the outside world or any murmur from the choice of V6 petrol and diesel motors, using Audi’s latest mind-twisting naming strategy: 50, 45 TDI and 55 TSI. As you were.
SQ8 – a genuine Lambo Urus fighter is in the works
Honda Civic Type R bakkie
Meet the most unlikely bakkie – or pick-up truck, to use the correct English vernacular – since the infamous BMW M3 bakkie. It’s not even from South Africa, which is totally weird, it’s in fact from the UK where the Japanese hot hatch is manufactured. It has to be the quickest, most fun way to transport a couple of (Honda) lawnmowers since; well, that infamous V8 M3 half-tonner. Unless you’re totally unobservant, the new bulkhead between the passenger compartment and the load area is the only major change on the Type R Project P. The backyard angle grinding has also completely eliminated rear visibility, mind you, but the additional roll bar does allegedly make up for any loss in stiffness. Bonus!
Project P – no plans to put it into production
Finally, the Danish supercar is turning heads for all the right reasons, and not for catching fire. Firstly, its styling looks great; and secondly, as it blasts past with over 800 kW from its twin-turbo 5.8-litre V8 you’ll see its crazy active rear wing in action. Of course this picture won’t show it moving at all because, well, it’s a picture – but trust us… a quick search for Zenvo TSR-S on YouTube will reveal all. The firm’s patent-pending ‘Centripetal’ wing can move in two rotational axes, allowing it to act as an airbrake and aid downforce in corners. Zenvo claims the inside rear wheel gains 30 percent more purchase on the road when the wing is active in corners. More downforce means more grip and more cornering speed. And do you know what else is more? The price. Take your pick from the TSR-S, TS1 GT and TSR but realise you’ll get nothing back from a million Euros. Ouch!
2.8 sec – 0-100 km/h acceleration time
Dieselgate may have been primarily a Volkswagen incident, but players in the broader auto industry have adopted it as a watershed event. Like Swedish manufacturer, Volvo, who with the S60 you see before you has decided to phase out diesel completely. A pity really because its most recent, modular 2.0-litre four-cylinder D4 and D5 turbodiesels were the best they’ve ever been right up to the time of writing this. Nevertheless, the Gothenburg-based firm is all about its electric future, claiming each of its models will have some form of electric or hybrid drivetrain by 2019. The problem is that’s in Europe where there’s recharging infrastructure in place. South Africa is another story entirely. Does this S60 mark the beginning of the end of Volvo in SA? As alarmist as it may sound, it may very well be the case.
50% – Volvo’s predicted split of EV and ICE vehicles by 2025
Volkswagen ID R Pike’s Peak
In light of Volvo’s abandonment of diesel, rather fittingly, our next story is about a Volkswagen EV. But not just any EV, this is Wolfsburg’s ID R Pike’s Peak hillclimb racer that’s supposed to make electric vehicles cool, you know. VW is secretive about what’s lurking under the carbonfibre bodywork, but we’re assured it’s a lot of batteries and electric motors boasting something like 500 kW of instantly available power. So it’s a Formula E racer with a hillclimb aero package thrown on top. Volkswagen says it’s strived to find the perfect relationship between top-speed, acceleration and weight. The ID R weighs around 1100 kg with a driver, which is heavy for a dedicated racer, but speed and acceleration only comes by adding more batteries – and batteries add weight. 24 Hour of Le Mans specialist, Romain Dumas, will pilot the revolutionary EV into the thin Colorado air. Silently.
2.2 sec – 0 – 100 km/h sprint time
Is the traditional motorshow dying?
The Paris and Frankfurt motorshows alternate biannually and between them each is billed as the world’s biggest motorshow – over 1 million visitors and 10 000 media. It’s Paris’ turn in 2018, however, the extortionate multi-million Euro cost to host a stand and the changing nature of marketing in a digital era has led several big-name manufacturers to pull out of this year’s Parisian festivities. At last count: Volvo, Ford, Nissan and Infiniti had all excused themselves from Paris. But now that Volkswagen, Lamborghini and Bentley have pulled the plug as well, it’s thrown the whole concept of a traditional motorshow sharply into reverse. What many of the manufacturers are cottoning onto is the concept of an individualised brand showcase – in essence their own motorshow. Audi is hosting such an event – Audi Summit – later in the year that Motor magazine will be attending. The rationale from the manufactures is why pump millions into a space where you’re sharing media and audience attention with all your competitors. Far better to create a bespoke brand experience, invite existing customers, media and brand loyalists, and reap the benefits from there. We’re seeing it happen even in South Africa. Porsche’s Sportcar Together Day that celebrated 70 years of Porsche with over 1500 owner Porsches in attendance and BMW’s M Festival that brought record numbers of visitors to Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. The world’s changing, people, as are motorshows. One brand, one show.