Named after a 1969 prototype, the new Range Rover Velar is anything but retro: beautifully proportioned with taut surfaces and ultra-modern detailing, it’s a Range Rover for the 21st Century.
The Velar was unveiled at the Geneva motor show back in March, and is aimed at the small gap between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. Based on the same chassis as the Jaguar F Pace, it’s physically in the middle (look at the wheelbases, for example: Evoque 2660mm, Velar 2874mm, Sport 2923mm); and it’s similarly pitched in the middle in terms of pricing – forget the listed base price, no-one ever orders a base-spec Range Rover on steel wheels.
With the average Evoque costing around ZAR755.62 k and the average Sport around ZAR1,175.41 k, the Velar starts at ZAR752,762.95 and tops out at ZAR1,434,833.68 (for the specced-up-to-the-eyeballs limited ‘First Edition’).
So the Velar makes sense on Land Rover’s market segmentation spreadsheet (yawn) – but is it any good on the road?
Well, it’s certainly a looker
The Velar is a great looking car. Low (for a Range Rover), raked back and with a swept-up tapered tail, it’s also incredibly fuss-free. Gerry McGovern talks about the design being ‘reductive’, and while designers often talk nonsense I look at the Velar and I can see what he means.
One the one hand it’s a simple shape, but just soak up the details for a minute: those slender LED headlights are the slimmest ever found on a Range Rover nose; there’s that continuous shoulder line, which sweeps unbroken around the glasshouse; and of course there are those flush door handles, that pop out when you unlock the car and glide back in as you drive off.
Altogether this could be Team McGovern’s masterpiece, one of the cleanest, tightest, most cohesive designs on the road today. Range Rover’s only problem is it makes everything else in the line-up look dated.
Does it go as well as it looks?
The Velar is launched with three diesel options and three petrol (including a top-of-the-range 375bhp supercharged V6, borrowed from the F Type).
Our test car is fitted with the top turbodiesel, a 3.0-litre V6 that’s good for 297bhp at 4000rpm and a healthy 516lb ft of torque from not much more than tickover.
It makes for an effortless drive – there are paddles for the 8-speed ZF gearbox, and all V6s come with adjustable air suspension as standard. So you could put everything in Dynamic model, tweak the hell out of it till it’s stiff, potent, hair-trigger… but really, that isn’t what the Velar is about.
Equally, you can jack the car up till its on stilts and deploy the raft of intelligent off-road electronics, like Terrain Response 2 and All Terrain Progress Control. We had a brief play off-road up a seriously steep track of broken bedrock and loose boulders, nasty enough to ensure a standard hatchback could not have got up it. The Velar pounded up like a tank. But really, that isn’t what the Velar is about, either.
Okay, enlighten us, what’s the Velar really about?
The Velar is really a long-distance GT dressed as an SUV. What it does brilliantly is track straight and confident, with minimum input from the driver, in the way that would fill you with confidence on an autobahn.
It cruises fast and clean through the air (it’s Land Rover’s most aerodynamically efficient car, ever) with little noise, little effort and loads of style.
Even on a twisting mountain road – it’s no lightweight sportscar, and despite its smaller-than-a-Sport dimensions and a lot of aluminium in its construction, it still feels like a Range Rover – but that doesn’t mean it can’t accelerate, brake and steer accurately when you ask it to. It just doesn’t feel like that’s what it was built for. It’s built for devouring distances.
So the interior is probably an important factor
The interior is as much a treat as the exterior styling. Our car is lit by a panoramic sunroof (a ZAR18,722.52 option) giving it a bright, airy feel. The dashboard has been similarly ‘reduced’, consisting of two large 10-inch colour touchscreens and a couple of camera lens-inspired rotary knobs.
Needless to say, the graphics are cool, the functionality is clear and well thought-out, and the sound system is awesome.
Our car is fitted with leather, but Range Rover is also offering a new textile trim made from a tough wool blend – its natural softness adds to the sense of warm Scandinavian comfort when you climb in.
You probably get the feeling that I like the Velar. But I don’t just like it – I absolutely love it. I love how it combines the adventurous, go-anywhere connotations of the Range Rover brand with the sleek, long-distance confidence of a German supersaloon. If you said to me, ‘Mark, we need you to drive to Naples right now, non-stop, through the night,’ the Velar would be my very first choice.
Lewis Hamilton Seals Fifth F1 World Title
Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton claimed his fifth Formula 1 title at the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday night, with two races to spare.
Despite finishing fourth in Sunday’s race, it was good enough to see the British driver claim the world championship to draw level with Juan Manuel Fangio in the Formula 1 record books, with Max Verstappen victorious.
The 33-year-old Briton’s only remaining championship rival, Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, needed a victory to keep his hopes alive, but could only finish second.
Hamilton’s success also sees him just two titles shy of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.
He added his 2018 crown to his championship wins in 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Volkswagen Arteon (2018): What you need to know about the newcomer
The striking Volkswagen Arteon has landed in South Africa and we have specifications and pricing for this model. Here’s what you need to know about the newcomer.
Volkswagen calls its new Arteon, which replaces the outgoing Passat CC, a 5-door grand tourer, which pitches the newcomer against the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A5 Sportback and a slew of other business class sedans, including the upcoming Kia Stinger.
Built on Volkswagen’s lauded Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform, the Arteon boasts a wheelbase of 2 841 mm, is 1 871 mm wide and 1 427 mm tall. The range comprises 4-cylinder engines only, with one turbodiesel and one turbopetrol motor, both of which are mated with a Volkswagen (DSG) dual-clutch transmission.
The 2.0 TDI DSG is available in Elegance and R-line trim lines. Its 2.0-litre turbodiesel has peak outputs of 130 kW and 350 Nm, with power going to the front wheels via a 6-speed DSG. It’ll be the most frugal of the motors, with a claimed consumption figure of just 5.6 L/100 km.
The petrol engine, meanwhile, is a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit, which delivers 206 kW/350 Nm and is mated with a 7-speed DSG. The motor powers the top-of-the-range all-wheel-driven Arteon derivative that is claimed to complete the 0-100 kph sprint in 5.6 seconds before going on to a limited top speed of 250 kph. It’s a little thirstier than its diesel sibling at 7.3 L/100 km.
- Chrome wing mirror caps
- LED tail lights with dynamic indicator light function
- 18-inch ‘Muscat’ alloy wheels
- Continuous chrome trim strip on lower bodywork
- Heated windscreen washer jets
- Chrome strips on side windows
- LED tail lights
- LED headlights with LED daytime running lights
- Alloy wheels (from 18-inch)
- Keyless Go locking system
- Aluminium pedals
- Instruments, dashboard and door panels with individualised look and trim in brushed aluminium
- Contrast stitching on seat covers and floor mats
- Seat covers in Nappa leather
- Stainless steel door tread plates, front and rear
- Composition Media infotainment system, including eight loudspeakers, AUX-IN and USB (Apple-compatible)
- 3-zone electronically controlled air conditioning system
- Multifunction steering wheel in leather (with shift paddles on DSG models)
- Driver Alert System
- Progressive steering
- ‘C’-signature of the front air intakes in high-gloss black
- 19-inch ‘Montevideo’ alloy wheels
- Heated windscreen washer jets
- Unique R-Line bumpers
- Continuous chrome trim strip on lower-bodywork
- Chrome-plated exhaust system tailpipes
- Black boot lid spoiler
- Privacy glass
- Power folding mirrors
- Leather sports multi-function steering wheel in R-Line design
- Aluminium pedals
- Roof liner in ‘Titanium Black’
- Stainless steel door tread plates front and rear with R-Line logo on front plates
- Nappa Leather/Carbon Style seats with R-Line logo
- Front seat heating
Volkswagen Arteon Price in South Africa
The new Arteon comes standard with a 5-year/90 000 km maintenance plan, 3-year/120 000 km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service Interval is 15 000 km.
2.0 TDI 130 kW Elegance DSG R599 900
2.0 TDI 130 kW R-Line DSG R649 900
2.0 TSI 206 kW R-Line 4MOTION DSG R699 900
FIRST LOOK: Here’s the rundown on the new Audi A6
Stop us if you’ve seen this one before. In case you missed the news on the latest Audi A8 and A7, though, here’s the rundown on the new A6.
As you’ve already guessed, the least expensive of Audi’s medium and large sedan triumvirate borrows, as always, heavily from the long-tail A7 and coddling A8 luxury sedans. At the front, it’s identical to the A7 and mostly the same from the side, save the roofline. The rear end is the A6’s calling card, clearly related to the other two but uniquely executed.
The interior is like the nose, identical to its near-twin, the A7. Its showpiece is the latest Audi MMI touch response system featuring a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the dash and an 8.6-inch touchscreen with haptic feedback below that controls the climate and accepts text inputs drawn with a finger. A fully loaded car with both the optional 10.1-inch screen and navigation also includes the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauges and a full-color head-up display.
Driving-related tech features include everything from active safety systems to driver aides such as adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assistance and Audi’s Parking Pilot/Garage Pilot, which allows you to pull the car into or out of a garage or parking space from outside the car with an app on your phone. As with the A7, the A8’s Level 3 autonomous driving technology is not on offer.
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The theme continues unabated beneath the hood, where again like the A7, the only likely engine for the U.S. market is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 with a 48-volt belt alternator starter mild-hybrid system. Adding an electric motor/generator to the serpentine belt allows for quicker, smoother automatic engine start/stop as well as regenerative braking, torque fill when the engine isn’t making full power, and the ability to coast with the engine off between 34 and 99 mph. When auto-stopped, which can happen when the car drops below 14 mph coasting to a stop, the engine automatically restarts when the car ahead moves.
That engine is connected exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a variant of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive, which decouples the rear axle when not needed to save gas. A rear-wheel steering system is optional and improves both agility and the turning radius.
As the wheels are driven and turned, they’re corralled by independent suspension all around with one of four spring and shock combinations: springs and fixed dampers, springs and electronically adjustable dampers, air suspension and electronically adjustable dampers, and a sport suspension with stiffer springs and fixed dampers.
Slightly larger on the outside, noticeably larger on the inside, and fully revamped, the A6 will go on sale in Europe in June with U.S. sales likely to follow by the end of the year.
|2019 Audi A6|
|BASE PRICE||ZAR587,441.40 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.0L/340-hp/369-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,000 lb (mfr)|
|WHEELBASE||114.7 in (est)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||194.5 x 74.3 x 57.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.3 sec (MT est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Winter 2018|