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Motoring News

A HAPPY RETURN FOR AN AUDI ICON

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Audi RS 3
The expressive exterior is only a taste of what the Audi RS 3 Sedan has to offer. 
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

A HAPPY RETURN FOR AN AUDI ICON

By DEREK OGDEN

Audi RS 3

Audi RS 3 Sportback, featuring the legendary 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine.

The Audi RS 3 went AWOL more than 18 months ago due to delays that Audi said were brought about by the implementation of new WLTP homologation rules in Europe.

Now the Audi icon, truly a thing of worship to some enthusiasts, is back with its 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine fired up and ready to go. With a heritage that dates back to the legendary Sport quattro S1 Group B rally car of the early 1980s, the RS 3 makes a return as a Sedan and Sportback, the latter, Audi’s take on a performance hatchback.

The RS 3 develops 294 kW and 480 Nm from its 2480 cc capacity engine to offer outstanding performance, sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, while returning a combined fuel consumption of 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres.

Prices start at $83,800 for the Audi RS 3 Sportback, RS 3 Sedan tips the scales at $86,500, both without on-road costs. Capping off the dynamic duo, the RS 3 offers exclusive Carbon editions for $3400, featuring a range of styling elements in gloss black to enhance their sporting characteristics.

STYLING

Based on A3 architecture, the exterior design of the RS 3 Sedan that Audi tells us is  aimed to give an aggressive stance. Up front, bold ‘quattro’ branding takes pride of place beneath a modern single-frame grille, while large intakes feed more air to satisfy cooling demands of the powerful engine.

Thin beams of light projected by LED headlamps and taillights are also there to emphasise the car’s attitude.

Metallic paint comes standard. Also adding further to the RS 3 character are 19-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels in five-arm blade design in matt titanium look, gloss turned finish with 235/35 tyres.

INTERIOR

The RS 3 Sedan cabin puts the enthusiastic driver in the box seat from the start with RS sport front seats, upholstered in Nappa leather, with diamond-patterned stitching, while the flat-bottom sports steering wheel features an Alcantara and leather combination that’s comfortable to grip.

An acoustic windscreen is standard, while further measures to reduce interior noise, even at high speed, include wheel housing shells made of non-woven material.

INFOTAINMENT

Audi took the traditional dial-based instrument panel and replaced it with the virtual cockpit, which allows the driver to control what information, navigation data and infotainment functions are displayed in high-definition.

A selectable sport mode features a central rev counter and performance-oriented secondary displays such as lap timer, power/torque output or charge pressure. This is supplemented by RS-specific functions such as G-Meter, shift light and tyre pressure.

Infotainment is provided through an electronically retractable colour display, including MMI navigation plus and the Audi smartphone interface for easy connection. There’s wireless phone charging, two USB ports and DAB digital radio and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

The transverse five-cylinder engine develops a 294 kW and 480 Nm from its 2480 cc capacity. It has a lot of advanced technology, with an aluminium crankcase, dual injection, the valve-lift system and a high-pressure 1.35 bar turbocharger.

Coupled to an advanced seven-speed S tronic transmission with its virtually instantaneous gear changes and quattro all-wheel drive system are capable of redirecting huge power and torque in milliseconds to the wheels with the most traction for more dynamic, safer and involved handling.

SAFETY

The RS 3 Sedan brings a host of advanced driver assistance safety systems as standard, including side assist, active lane assist, adaptive cruise control (with Stop & Go) and rear cross traffic assist. The range has been awarded a five-star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program.

Audi RS 3

Audi RS 3 Sportback, featuring the legendary 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine.

DRIVING

With an output of 294 kW and peak torque of 480 Nm on tap as low as 1700 rpm and constant all the way to 5850 revs, the new turbocharged engine is capable of spearing the RS 3 Sedan to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and to the top of the class.

Audi claims a combined urban / highway fuel consumption of 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres. On test the RS 3 Sedan recorded 9.6 litres per 100 kilometres on a mix of city work and highway hauling.

The sound of the powerplant, with its 1-2-4-5-3 firing order, is amplified through the standard RS exhaust system, with active baffles in the rear muffler that can be activated via Audi drive select.

The Audi RS 3 Sportback and RS 3 Sedan utilise a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission, delivering speedy shifts. The transmission will operate automatically or with the driver manually shifting gear through steering wheel-mounted paddles.

There are two driving modes in automatic – D mode is optimised for stop / start traffic, while S mode has the vehicle in more agile mood with changes at higher revs. Here launch-control is at optimum traction getting the best out of the car’s acceleration.

The tuning of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is integrated into the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, where the torque delivery is distributed quickly and precisely via an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch, automatically sending more drive to the rear wheels during dynamic driving, to ensure ideal cornering balance.

The RS 3 Sedan features RS sport suspension and Audi magnetic ride as standard. RS 3 Sedan occupants can take advantage of Audi Drive Select which will dial up a range of handling characteristics from comfort, or auto to dynamic or individual, while also working on the accelerator pedal, steering and exhaust flaps.

In dynamic mode, the Audi magnetic ride resists braking and cornering forces on the car’s attitude, heightening agile and responsive handling. It’s strictly for trackwork.

As for ‘comfort’, it’s comfort, Jim, but not as we know it. On anything but a billiard table-top smooth road surface the RS 3 Sedan bumps and bangs its way over even minor blemishes.

Black eight-piston brake calipers clamp (and I mean ‘clamp’) 370 mm ventilated rotors at the front of the RS 3, with 310 mm discs at the rear, providing powerful stopping performance inside 19-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in 235/35 tyres as standard.

The RS 3 Sedan is capable of carrying 315 litres of luggage in the boot, or 770 litres with the rear bench seat back folded.

SUMMARY

Nothing much has changed since the RS 3 Sportback and Sedan first appeared in 2017, which may be quite a comfort to its army of admirers, who will no doubt not be put off with the near $2000 price rise due to currency movements.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP

Audi RS 3 Sportback: $83,800

Audi RS 3 Sedan: $86,500

Audi RS 3 Sportback Carbon Edition: $87,200

Audi RS 3 Sedan Carbon Edition: $89,900

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Audi dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Audi RS 3 2.5L TFSI Turbo 5-cylinder petrol, 7sp automatic Quattro Sedan)

ENGINE:

Capacity: 2.480 litres

Configuration: Five cylinders in line

Maximum Power: 294 kW @ 5850-7000 rpm

Maximum Torque: 480 Nm @ 1950-5850 rpm

Fuel Type: Petrol 98 RON

Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.5 L/100km

CO2 emissions: 194g / km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed automatic, Quattro AWD

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:

Length: 4479 mm

Wheelbase: 2631 mm

Width: 1960 mm

Height: 1399 mm

Turning Circle: 11.0 metres

Kerb Mass: 1510 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres

BRAKES:

Front: Ventilated disc

Rear: Ventilated disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:

Three years / unlimited kilometres

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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

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2024 Lotus Emeya
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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

 

By Jeff Gibbs

The all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, an upcoming electric super-sedan, has set a new benchmark in DC fast-charging technology. With its advanced 402kW peak charging speed, the Emeya can recharge its 102kWh battery from 10% to 80% in just 14 minutes.

Key Highlights:

  • Record-Setting Recharge Speed: The Emeya achieves a 10-80% top-up in just 14 minutes using a 400kW DC charger, maintaining an average charge speed of 331kW.
  • Rapid Range Addition: This translates to approximately 310km of added range in just 10 minutes.
  • Advanced Battery Technology: The Emeya’s cell-to-back battery structure incorporates a cutting-edge cooling system that significantly enhances thermal performance, surpassing many competitors.

Performance and Competition

The Lotus Emeya was tested against several high-profile electric vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS, BMW i7, Tesla Model Y, Genesis G80, XPeng G9, Hyundai IONIQ 6, Nio ET5, and BYD Atto 3. This testing highlights the Emeya’s superior charging capabilities, narrowing the gap between the time required to recharge an electric vehicle and refuel a conventional combustion-engine vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that recharging the Emeya for a 310km range still takes five times longer than refueling a combustion engine car like the Porsche Panamera, which takes about two minutes.

Among its competitors, the XPeng G9 was the closest, achieving a peak charge rate of 320kW but averaging around 233kW as it approached 80% capacity.

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

Power and Speed

Designed to compete with the fastest electric vehicles on the market, particularly the Porsche Taycan, the flagship Lotus Emeya boasts impressive performance specs:

  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in a claimed 2.8 seconds, matching the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
  • Top Speed: 256km/h.
  • Powertrain: Dual-motor setup delivering 675kW and 985Nm.
  • Transmission: Two-speed system for optimised performance.

Official Statements

Lotus Group CEO Qingfeng Feng emphasised the breakthrough in charging technology, stating, “With our industry-leading charging technology available today, Emeya pushes the boundaries for how an EV performs, providing drivers with the confidence to travel anywhere. We’re bringing an unrivalled driving experience in the ultimate grand tourer package, so drivers want to go electric.”

Launch and Availability

Customer deliveries have already begun in China, with the Lotus Emeya set to launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya not only sets a new standard for fast-charging electric vehicles but also promises exceptional performance and driving experience, making it a strong contender in the luxury EV market.

 

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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing and Specifications: Base Price Increases by Nearly $10,000

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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing and Specifications: Base Price Increases by Nearly $10,000

 

By Jeff Gibbs

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seater now comes exclusively as a hybrid and is significantly better equipped, resulting in a base price increase of $9,450 compared to the previous V6 model.

Key Points:

  • Pricing and Specifications for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hybrid-Only Model Available in Three Variants
  • Expanded List of Standard Features
  • Starting Price at $55,500 Before On-Road Costs

The entry-level price for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seat SUV has jumped by nearly $10,000 for this larger, better-equipped, hybrid-only model, set to arrive in showrooms soon.

New Hybrid Powertrain and Design

The 2024 Santa Fe will be available in Australia solely as a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol hybrid, offering both front- and all-wheel drive options. The redesigned model features a larger, boxier body and includes more advanced equipment and technology. While a petrol-only 2.5-litre turbo variant may be added later to replace the previous V6, the diesel option has been completely discontinued for this new generation, according to Hyundai Australia’s latest information.

Price Increase Details

The starting price has risen to $55,500 plus on-road costs from the previous $46,050 plus on-road costs for the base petrol V6 model. The lineup now includes three models: an unnamed base grade, the Elite, and the Calligraphy, which replaces the Highlander.

  • Base Model (AWD): Priced at $58,500, this is $8,950 more than the previous entry-level all-wheel-drive version, which used a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine. It is only $210 more than the entry-level Toyota Kluger Hybrid.
  • Elite Model: The hybrid AWD Elite is now $65,000, marking a $2,000 increase over its predecessor, which was the most affordable hybrid in the previous Santa Fe range.
  • Calligraphy Model: Prices for the Calligraphy variant range from $75,000 for the seven-seat version to $75,500 for the six-seat version, an increase of $5,450 to $5,950 depending on the configuration.
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior

Enhanced Features

The significant price increases are justified by a longer list of standard features. These include 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual 12.3-inch interior screens, dual-zone climate control, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, all standard across the range. Many of these features were previously limited to the higher-priced Active and Elite versions of the Santa Fe.

Advanced Technology and Safety

Top-tier models now come with advanced technology such as semi-autonomous Highway Driving Assist, which can centre the car in its lane and assist with lane changes.

Performance and Efficiency

All variants are powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack, delivering a combined output of 172kW and 376Nm (an increase of 3kW and 26Nm from the previous hybrid). This powertrain is coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, available in both AWD and, for the first time in Australia, FWD configurations.

Hyundai Australia claims a fuel consumption rate of 5.6L/100km, although it is not specified whether this applies to the FWD or AWD models. Despite the new model being approximately 250kg heavier than its predecessor, this figure is more efficient than the 6.0L/100km claimed by the outgoing Santa Fe Hybrid AWD and matches the efficiency of the Kluger Hybrid.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Prices in Australia:

  • Santa Fe Hybrid seven-seat front-wheel drive: $55,500
  • Santa Fe Hybrid seven-seat all-wheel drive: $58,500
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Elite seven-seat all-wheel drive: $65,000
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Calligraphy seven-seat all-wheel drive: $75,000
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Calligraphy six-seat all-wheel drive: $75,500

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a notable advancement in hybrid technology, design, and features, albeit at a higher cost. Potential buyers will need to consider the improved capabilities and efficiency against the significant price increase.

 

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.

 

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