New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Auto Africa: All the cars

2002-10-22 16:57

John Oxley

Picture: Rob Till, Motorpics.

Click here for our Auto Africa photo gallery

The expo is the most spectacular show seen in South Africa - and in fact on the whole African continent - with 27 motor manufacturers and importers represented.

Alfa Romeo:

The new Alfa Spider has the same quad cam V6 as that found in the GTV and produces 160kW to give a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.8 seconds with top speed of 233km/h.

The Alfa 156 GTA four door sedan and wagon, first launched in February, makes its debut to Auto Africa. The stand features a saloon equipped with the powerful 3.2 V6 24-valve producing 184 kW and torque of 300 Nm.


Two brand-new models were presented by this German manufacturer. The stunning Audi Cabriolet - now a full four-seater - was on show, complete with its 162 kW 3-litre V6 multivalve engine and electrically operated soft top.

Right-hand drive versions should reach South African shores in the first quarter of 2003.

Audi also showed its latest all-aluminium A8 flagship, straight from its Paris debut.

Two powerful V8 engines with 4.2 and 3.7 litres of displacement are available at first (in Germany) with 246 kW and 206 kW respectively. One new feature in the A8 is the 6-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic function, complete with steering wheel paddle operation.

For the first time Adaptive air suspension - four-corner air springing with continuous damper control - is fitted as standard, and this reduces body movements with its continuously adjusting damping and consequently optimises roadholding and comfort.


A majestic black Arnage R graces the Bentley stand. Two Bentley models will be available in South Africa - the Arnage R with a classic 6.75 litre Bentley engine producing 298kW and an incredible 835Nm of torque to give the huge beast a top speed of 250 km/h, while 0-100 km/h can still be achieved in just over 6 seconds.

Its sibling, the 336kw, 270km/h Bentley Arnage T, is not only Bentley's most powerful car in its history, but also the fastest production saloon in the world. Prices start around the R3-million bracket.


Two brand new cars dominated the BMW stand.

The Christopher Bangle designed Z4 sports car, BMW's all-new two-seater, makes its debut as the Z4 3.0i with a 170kW straight-six and six-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed SMG transmission is available as an option.

Top speed is 250 km/h with 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.

The Z4 is the first open-air BMW to feature a folding roof in a Z design. This folding mechanism takes up very little space and allows the forward part of the roof to extend like a cover over the soft top, merging flush with the body of the car. As a result, the Z4 requires neither a tonneau cover nor a roof lid.

The car will be available here next July.

On the same tack, the M3 Convertible combines incredible performance with open air motoring. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h, while zero to 100 km/h comes up in just 5.4 seconds. It will also be available here next July.


This Japanese compact car specialist produced two new cars for Auto Africa - the little 660 cm3 turbocharged Copen sports car, complete with electrically folding aluminium roof, and the Extol, a people carrier which can accommodate as many as six adults, yet takes up the same road space as an ordinary sedan.

The Extol has a 64 kW 1.3-litre engine, similar to that found in the company's YRV and Terios models.


This Italian manufacturer has a very full display, with both current models and new offerings - some of which will come here only if demand dictates.

Most exciting is undoubtedly the Stilo, shown in both 3-door and 5-door, with aggressive styling and two engine options. The Fiat Stilo 1.8 16V develops a maximum power output of 98kW to propel the 3-door car to 202 km/h, while the 1.9 JTD Common Rail diesel in the 5-door delivers a maximum power output of 85 kW to give a top speed of 190 km/h.

Other cars include the ugly little Multipla mini MPV, as well as the gorgeous new Ulysse 2-litre MPV.

Vying with the Multipla for the title ugliest car on the show is the Doblo cargo van.


One of the largest stands at Auto Africa is presented by Ford, with a vast array of cars, all of which, according to marketing director Nigel Harris, have already been approved for South Africa, or are awaiting approval.

These are the brand new Fiesta, Fusion 1.6 Ghia, Mondeo ST220, Focus ST170 and the all-new Bantam.

The new Fiesta is larger than the current model, and continues Ford's New Edge styling.

Fiesta customers have the choice of 1.3-litre, 1.4-litre (petrol or diesel) and 1.6-litre engines (the Auto Africa display unit is fitted with the 1.6-litre motor).

The Ford Fusion bridges conventional vehicle segments and small-car stereotypes, creating its own niche as the first Urban Activity Vehicle (UAV). It offers family-sized interior space ? but is small car sized.

The engine lineup is the same as the new Fiesta's.

The Mondeo ST220 is a performance version of Ford's luxury sedan, with aerodynamic add-ons and a lusty 3-litre V6 engine, while the Focus ST170 offers a similar type of package on the Focus, but with three- and five-door Focus body styles.

Engine is a tuned version of the standard 2-litre Duratec engine, producing 125 kW at 7 000 r/min and 195 Nm of torque from 2 500 r/min.

Most important offerings on the stand, however, are the all-new Bantam bakkies.

Styling is based on the current Fiesta Both 1.3 and 1.6-litre petrol engines are available, and there is also a 1.8-litre diesel.

The 1.3i RoCam delivers 55 kW while the 1.6i RoCam (fitted to the show unit) generates 70 kW. The 1.8-litre indirect injection naturally aspirated diesel engine has 44 kW.


Honda is ready to widen its range from the current Civic models with the Accord, a sports sedan, and the cheeky Jazz small car. Both will be available here in the first half of next year.

The strikingly-shaped Accord has outstanding aerodynamics, and is powered by a 2.4 litre, all-aluminium power plant producing 140kW, coupled with an all-new 6-speed gearbox.

Despite being shorter overall than its key rivals, the Jazz has generous interior space thanks positioning of the fuel tank under the front seats. All Jazz models are powered by a 63 kW 1.4 litre DSI engine.


The Korean market leader presents three new models. The first is a fresh Tiburon Coupe, with Ferrari-style looks and two new engines - a 2-litre four cylinder producing 103 kW, and a lusty 2.7 litre V6 pushing out 130 kW.

Next up is the Getz, a small hatchback people mover powered by a DOHC inline 4-cylinder generating maximum power of 76 kW.

Topping out the new lineup is the latest Sonata, moved upmarket with new looks and additional high tech. features. In addition to the 2-litre motor coupled to manual transmission there's also the 2.7-litre DOHC V6 with automatic transmission (H-Matic).


The UK company launched its new Jaguar XJ in South Africa before it had even been seen in England, and the all-aluminium car features cutting edge technology in an evolutionary design.

With a kerb weight of up to 200kg less than the outgoing XJ, the all-new model enjoys significant performance and fuel economy advantages.

Only the 4.2-litre V8 (supercharged and naturally-aspirated) model will be introduced to the South African market in 2003. Power outputs are 291 kW and 219 kW respectively.


One of the nicest looking 4x4s comes from Kia - the all-new Sorento.

The wheelbase of the Sorento is an impressive 2 710mm and its 1 580mm wheel tread is wider than the Mercedes-Benz M-class and BMW X5. Kia says the Sorento also has more interior space than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan X-Trail.

Power unit is an advanced 2.5-litre common rail turbo diesel producing 104 kW.

Kia also showed new versions of its popular Carnival MPV - now also available with the CRD engine - as well as a new Carens, now with an 83 kW 2-litre CRD turbo diesel.

Land Rover

Only one new model from Land Rover following its recent launch of Range Rover and Discovery models - and that's the Defender 110 Double Cab, complete with carrying capacity of 1080 kg and space for six passengers.

The interior and dashboard have also been upgraded and modernised. Engine is the popular TD5 turbo diesel.


Another company testing the water - this time with the RX300, a crossover 4x4 in the same vein as the BMW X5, and powered by an all-aluminium 148 kW 3-litre VVTi engine.

Luxury and comfort features abound.


Like sister company Ford, Mazda has packed its stand with models that are coming to South Africa soon - and they're all exciting.

Top of the tree is definitely the Mazda6, replacement for the Mazda 626 in world markets, and featuring bold new styling.

Both sedan and estate versions are on display, and power units are Mazda's new I4 2.3 litre DOHC16-valve engine delivering a strong 122 kW.

Mazda also has the Mazda2 on show, an all-new small car for South Africa, equipped with the newly developed MZR 1.5L engine.


One of the most exciting stands on the show, especially if you like very powerful cars, for the Mercedes arm of Daimler Chrysler unveiled a whole new AMG range, including the super-quick 368 kW AMG SL55, the E55, the elegant CL55, super quick SLK 32K, as well as the bi-turbo V12 SL600.

Too much muscle power to handle in one hit, we recommend you got there and gaze at just one car at a time!


The fledgling MG-Rover team unveiled its stunning MG ZT-190 has an upgraded 140 kW version of the 2.5-litre V6 engine as found in the Rover 75.

The MG ZT 190 uses the basic Rover 75 bodywork, but much modified to bring it to the sporting levels required by MG.


Until now known here only as a 4x4 and pickup manufacturer, Mitsubishi has taken the plunge and the first of the Lancer sedan models which will be introduced here.

The Lancer GLX 1.6 is equipped with Mitsubishi's ECI-MULTI 4G18 4-cylinder engine which delivers 77kW and allows the Lancer to accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 10.7 seconds.

Later models could include vehicles such as the high-performance Lancer Evo VII.


The superb Nissan 350Z sports car originally didn't get the nod for this country, but Nissan SA vice president Mike Whitfield says it will now be brought into SA in the second half of next year.

The car has a 224 kW 3.5-litre quad cam V6, a top speed of 250 km/h, and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds.


The Peugeot 206 station wagon is Peugeot's newcomer. When the 206 SW comes to South Africa early next year it will be equipped with the 80 kW 1.6 litre 16-valve TU5JP4 engine.

The wheelbase is unchanged compared to the 206 hatchback, but an extra 190 mm in the rear overhang increases interior space significantly.


Porsche's main focus was on the Cayenne 4x4, with the S, a 4.5-litre normally aspirated V8 pushing out 250 kW and giving a top speed of 242 km/h with 0-100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, and the Turbo, with a staggering 331 kW and 620 Nm of torque to give true Porsche performance - top speed 266 km/h and 0-100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds.

Pricing too is staggering - the Turbo costs more than R1.8-million.


The next generation Renault Megane was unveiled at Auto Africa, just weeks after its launch in Paris.

And it looks a lot better in the metal than it does in photographs, changing our view previous conceptions upside down!

Due to make its South African debut early in 2003; the Megane is shown in both 3-door and 5-door versions.

Also on display is the Vel Satis, a luxury 3.5 litre sedan with adventurous styling and innovative features.

More importantly, Renault showed a 1.9 litre common rail diesel version of the Laguna sedan, the company's first foray into turbo diesel power in South Africa.


The new Rexton 4x4 is equipped with a Borg Warner full-time 4WD system. A stylish newcomer, it comes in three models - all with previous generation Mercedes engines.

These are a 2.9 litre turbo diesel, and 2.3 litre and 3.2 litre petrol versions.


Toyota unveiled its brand-new Prado, with a bold presence, and initially available only with the latest 3-litre KZ-TE turbo diesel engine, although a new 4-litre V6 petrol engine pushing out more than 180 kW will be available soon.

The company also showed its facelifted Land Cruiser LC100 range, with the top-of-the-range V8 model now sporting a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

Also brand-new was the Runex hatchback range, based on the new Toyota Corolla.

Engine options are 1.4-litre, 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre, while the range-topper is a scintillating RSi version equipped with a 141 kW engine and 6-speed gearbox.


The trend-setting Touareg luxury off-road model and the New Polo model range dominated the Volkswagen stand.

Built on the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne, the VW product opts for diesel power, with a 5-litre V10 TDI engine, claimed to be the world's most powerful passenger car diesel engine with a power output of 230 kW and an impressive 750 Nm of torque.

The Touareg will be imported if demand warrants it.


Volvo showed its new XC90 off-roader, available with a choice of 5-cylinder and 6-cylinder petrol engines, or with Volvo's new 5-cylinder diesel unit. All the engines are turbo charged

Entry-level XC90s are fitted with the smooth 122 kW D5 diesel already used across the company's line-up in Europe, while the 200 kW six-cylinder turbo, currently reserved for the S80, will debut in the top-of-the-range model.

Buyers will also be able to choose between five-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

Click here for our Auto Africa photo gallery


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