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SA's best-selling cars

Continuing its trend as South Africa’s best-selling passenger car, Volkswagen has sold more than 2300 Polo Vivos in March 2017.

How Porsche will help local youths in SA

Porsche SA has opened its new Training Centre in Cape Town which aims to provide opportunities for 75 youths from disadvantaged backgrounds in the auto industry.

7 four-cylinder cars that'll reach 100km/h in 5 secs

2017-05-16 07:52
  Video

From the AMG GT S to the A45 AMG, Mercedes-Benz lined up all of its AMG models for one insanely cool photo session!

Braam Peens

Cape Town - Whether you’re a walking Wikipedia, a keyboard cowboy or an actual robot-to-robot rebel, few things matter as much as your car’s acceleration.

0-100km/h are what separate men from boys, the Ms from the M316is and the R's from the Polo Vivo GTs. To petrolhead, it’s much more than a measure of your manhood; it is nothing short of your inner being. You know that a 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse tops out at 140 miles per hour (225km/h). If you have to, you overnight your Chevy Spark’s air freshener from Japan. You only eat tuna sandwiches (no crust).

Halcyon era

You have “NOS” tattooed on your chest. And back on planet earth, your desktop PC in the cubicle farm at work has a flashing yellow screensaver that shouts “Danger! Warning to manifold!”

Apart from fantasy films whose name start with Fast and have many sequels, the automotive universe is cresting a halcyon era.

Stopwatch-shattering sprint times are no longer the sole domain of supercars; today, a variety of less expensive candidates can keep pace with a benchmark BMW M3 up to 100km/h: an incredible feat in itself. Or perhaps not, considering that many of them have the same number of cylinders as the pace-setting BMW. 

Rather, the true four-wheeled white knights of this equation are the less well-endowed. After all, who doesn’t love it when the underdog sticks it to the big dawg? Wouldn’t you pay money to see Sergio Perez’s Force India destroy Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at Monaco, drifting around in the rain on slicks while downing a bottle of tequila and brandishing a burning Donald Trump flag?

So take a moment and bow down to a very exclusive club. It’s a league of speed merchants that have the unique ability to simultaneously keep bank managers happy, petrol attendants miserable and traffic cops on full alert. Bringing hope and sanity to a world of overpriced performance cars, they’re the only seven cars you can buy right now – of which each has just four cylinders and can smash to 100km/h from standstill in under five seconds: the Sergio Perez of the speed underworld. We salute you.

 

Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 4Matic 

0-100km/h time: 4.2 seconds

Weight: 1480kg 

Price: R768 100  

Traction, low weight and correct gearing are the ingredients of the 0-100 hero. And of course power; in which the Mercedes easily leads its class. A frankly astonishing 280kW and 475Nm from a two-litre gives the A45 bragging rights as the most powerful production engine of its size in the world – more specific power, even, than a Bugatti Veyron. Add to that launch control, all-wheel drive and a rapid-fire twin-clutch transmission, there’s little wonder why so many BMW drivers look away when one of these pulls up at the traffic lights.

Alfa Romeo 4C 

0-100km/h time: 4.5 seconds

Weight: 895kg

Price: R1 162 900

As a rather rare sight on South African roads, there’s a lot to like about the Alfa, but more to despise. Thumbs up to the carbon-fibre monocoque, which is both light and strong and F1-techy, but it’s all downhill from there. One is the headache-inducing canoe factory smell, another the the awful R799 grey import Hi-Fi Corporation radio which constantly drowned out by the drone and hissing from the non-bespoke and dreary 177kW 1.75-litre Giulietta engine. Conversation with a passenger takes place via telepathy rather than shouting – and your chiropractor is on speed-dial, too. But beauty (and speed) is pain, right? 

Audi TTS 

0-100km/h time: 4.6 seconds

Weight: 1465kg

Price: R750 500

If the fact that hot Quattro-equipped Audis are often a not particularly engaging drive, console yourself to the fact that they are also not slow off the line. To put this into context: you can reach 100km/h in 0.7 of a second faster in an RS7, but that privilege will cost you an extra R1-m. If the second-gen TT was too Golf-like in its manners and mediocrity, the new one will surprise you. Everybody knows TT’s are fast-ish, but the new one takes sleeper status to the next level. 

Audi S3 

0-100km/h time: 4.6 seconds

Weight: 1465kg

Price: R638 500

Say “Awethu” to Pravin-pleasing value. At R638k the S3 is the cheapest on the list, acing the rands-per-tenths-shaved ratio by a country mile. If you’re shopping used, though, note that the pre-2017 car was limited to 206kW/380Nm, whereas the current model gives you the full 228kW and 400Nm. Now that’s the type of affirmative action that deserves a case of Bell’s. Should you tire of the Monster Energy flat-bill cap and white-rimmed Oakley juvenility of hot hatchery, just get the sedan version: it’s just as swift but with a lot less daft. 

Volkswagen Golf R 

0-100km/h time: 4.6 seconds

Weight: TBC

Price: Not yet, due in July

VWSA confirmed to us that the facelifted Golf R, which launches side-by-side with the Golf GTD in July, will finally equal its European sibling’s output by having the maximum 217kW on offer – and reach 100km/h and an Audi S3-matching time. Which does not come as a surprise, as the two are practically identical, save for the class difference: the Audi’s posh, the VW proletariat. Snobbery aside, for the new R to have knocked 0.4 seconds off its forebear’s performance takes some doing. But if it comes in cheaper than the S3, it’ll be a victory for the masses.  

Ford Focus RS 

0-100km/h time: 4.7 seconds

Weight: 1599kg

Price: R699 900

Ford needed 300cc more than Mercedes did in their A45 to extract 23 less kilowatts from its stupidly-named “Ecoboost” engine (since when does performance have a green conscience?). As one of the most-anticipated performance cars of 2016, the Focus’s performance is plagued by excessive weight (it’s the heaviest car here, by more than 100kg) and the absence of a twin-clutch transmission. That means at least one instance where power is temporarily cut in the rush to 100km/h and the possibility of a much faster sprint time. But hey, at least you drift it if you lose. Kind of.  

Porsche Cayman 718  

0-100km/h time: 4.9 seconds

Weight: 1335kg

Price: R854 000

Say hello to the best sportscar you can buy for under R900k. Ultra-lightweight, a turbo boxer four-cylinder (that sadly now sounds like a Subaru) instead of its former iconic flat-six, the Cayman – like the 911 – proves that you don’t need four driven wheels to get off the line quickly. The R31 000 Sport Chrono pack rewards you with another 0.2 seconds. Bear in mind, though, that arriving at a drag race with a Porsche is pure sacrilege. Unless it’s a 911 Turbo S (an official time of 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds, though regularly tested to do it in 2.6), in which case it will just be murder.

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SA's best-selling cars: Polo Vivo tops sales in April 2017

The Volkswagen Polo Vivo held onto its position as South Africa's best-selling passenger car despite a huge drop in overall new vehicle sales during April 2017, reports Naamsa.

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