Wheels January 2021

Wheels is Australia’s original motoring magazine. Launched in 1953, we’ve been trusted by generations of Australians to provide entertaining and forthright opinions on the good, the bad and the ugly of new and used cars. A world-class car mag with a formidable international reputation, Wheels covers the full gamut of cars – from sports cars to four-wheel-drives, economy to family cars – but it also covers the people, personalities and the power plays behind one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

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in this issue

3 min

FOR GENERAL SCHLEPPING about, I love an electric car. Compared to a petrol vehicle, electric vehicles (EVs) are quieter, smoother and nicer to drive. Often they have better packaging with more interior and luggage space; they have lovely torque, good acceleration and great response. With fewer moving parts than a combustion vehicle, there’s also less to go wrong – in theory. They probably will make better tow vehicles. Not that Australian cities are blanketed under smog but they shift the emissions out of the city (to wherever the coal-fired powerplants happen to be). And, beyond cars, and forgetting cost, can you imagine if that noisy bloody garbage truck that does its six-point turn out the front of your bedroom window at 5:30am every Thursday morning was electric? What about city buses? Back…

3 min
aussie corvette names its price

GENERAL MOTORS Special Vehicles, the Walkinshaw-owned brand risen from the ashes of HSV, has locked in Corvette and is eyeing the return of a cheaper Camaro as it looks to protect and grow the American muscle-car pipeline to Australia. Corvette is set to be priced at $149,990 when the mid-engined V8 Ferrari-fighter lands in Australia late 2021. The price has been adjusted up to suit demand, which has been strong since local RHD availability was confirmed. Wheels has learned the mid-engine C8 Corvette will be imported in strictly limited numbers of no more than 200 a year. We believe it was originally pitched at $129,990 when Holden management was in charge, but since the creation of importer GMSV it has been lifted to $149,990. Higher performance versions will follow priced close to $200,000…

4 min
next gt3 a supercar in 911 clothing

PORSCHE’S 992-generation 911 GT3 will be more removed from its base donor car than ever before; part of a radical redesign of the track-focused model within the ever-expanding 911 line-up. Key to the changes is a new double-wishbone front-end from the 991 RS R race car, a radical departure from the MacPherson struts of the standard 911 – all aimed at raising cornering and braking thresholds. The wider footprint of the 911 created a good starting point, allowing engineers to make the steering more direct and working to improve agility. The fourth-generation GT3 also adopts some of the go-fast thinking of the previous GT3 RS, including 21-inch rear wheels and 20-inch fronts with broader Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres – 255/35s up front and 315/30 at the rear. Body-coloured pinstripes on the…

4 min
australia lacking ev leadership, says car industry

REMEMBER BACK in 2019 when Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared the Labor opposition’s aspirational 50 percent EV sales goal by 2030 was going to “end the weekend”? That might have played well on the coal-loving backbenches and in the boardrooms of the fossil-fuel industry, but rhetorical flourishes don’t add up to an actual policy. And that’s hurting Aussies who want to plug in. Limited electrified vehicle production is being allocated to places where incentives are the greatest and/or restrictions on CO2 emissions are the most painful. As the Federal Government’s ideological constraints and contradictions extend its environmental and electric vehicle policy vacuum, Australia is slipping down the shipping list for brands such as electrified evangelist Volkswagen. At one time the new-generation MEB-based ID3 and ID4 BEVs were going to be here around 2022 –…

1 min
ev wasteland

KIA E-NIRO EV SUV was going to be presented at the 2020 Australian Open tennis to launch the company’s local EV assault. But that plan was canned EV anned because of the local regulatory environment. An announcement from Kia is due early in the year. JEEP WRANGLER 4xE Plug-in hybrid go-anywhere 4x4 is on the no-go list for Australia and the local distributor is pretty clear why: “We will be ready to launch our PHEV strategy as soon as consumer appetite, regulations and infrastructure suggests the time is right.” VOLKSWAGEN ID4 The second VW to spin off the EV-only MEB architecture. It’s regarded as being quite significant by top brass: “This is the most important launch for Volkswagen since the Beetle,” said its US boss. No pressure then… and no confirmed Aussie on-sale either.…

3 min
ev tech gives old classics new lease on life

FROM KINGSWOODS and Commodores, to 911s and Corvettes, keeping a classic car running could soon be easier as the aftermarket slowly turns its focus to electric motors. While EV conversions have been more prevalent in recent years – many using battery packs and motors from expired or crashed Teslas – there’s a growing movement for high-quality conversions using bespoke brand-new components. The growing artillery of options is being driven by the United States, where General Motors has flagged its intention to sell an ‘eCrate’ electric motor kit to enthusiasts considering an EV conversion. While details of the production eCrate are yet to be revealed, GM has previously previewed a modular construction that can be tailored to budgets and performance expectations. That modular set-up allowed for up to three electric motor packs to be added,…