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SPECIAL REPORT: MOTORING 2008

ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM

If, like me, you’re a motoring enthusiast (some say fanatic), then you can only imagine my sheer delight when a pristine 6m long white Rolls Royce pulled into my driveway to take me on what can only be described as a royal ride of a lifetime.

Now, while I could bore you with the technical info any enthusiast is keen to get to grips with, but instead, I want you to sit back and experience, through this article, the sheer opulence you experience on first sight and touch of this incredible machine.

When you first lay eyes on the Rolls, you cannot help but notice that this car has an incredible presence, and to the lesser man, it could feel very intimidating.

BMW, which took over the Rolls Royce brand in 1998, has definitely kept up, if not improved, the overall image of this vehicle. The car stands 1,6 metres high and almost 2 metres wide, so you will definitely notice this vehicle on the road. The huge rear doors open towards the rear of the vehicle, which makes access incredibly easy. The leather interior of the seats and headliner are luxurious and the ivory-coloured thick pile carpeting is so lush that you may want to remove your shoes when you enter the car.

Once you’ve gotten over the sheer extravagance of the leather seats and flooring, you realise that the space in the rear is as impressive as two first class seats on a top aircraft. Each passenger has their own fold-away table mounted to the rear of the front seats and, conveniently the table top flips to reveal a huge TV screen.

From the centre console, the passengers can control the sound system (which is amazing), DVD or TV. The console push out section also has a keypad to make telephone calls.

The rear seats are electronically controlled with tilt and high adjustability, so during that long trip you can sit back and relax in total luxury. The centre armrest has a bar fridge, which can accommodate a bevy of drinks, and, the upper section of the armrest reveals champagne glasses to toast your fabulous life as you ride in this spectacular car.

While travelling, being the rich and famous person you are, you may not want the prying eyes of the press on you so, unlike common roller blinds, it is fitted with soft curtains that close at the touch of a button. Without doubt, this car has been designed to cater for every possible need the passenger may have, such as the foot rests, and the fitted umbrella found in the huge rear doors.

Up front, the driver and passenger enjoy the same opulence, with extra indulgences such as the cigar case in the glove box, and genuine wood trimming, silver air vents and classical clock on the dashboard. And if you depress one of the buttons next to the clock, the clock panel is swung back to reveal another TV screen which doubles as the car’s information screen.

Now, after all of these interior delights, let me tell you about the actual ride.

You could be forgiven if you thought that this 1,6m high, 2m wide vehicle, powered by a V12 engine, would make a bit of noise. But the Rolls is incredibly silent and extremely smooth on take off. The V12 engine also ensures that the Rolls catapults to ridiculous speeds, which is very unassuming considering the size of this grand, but definitely not old, dame.

During my couple of hours being driven around in the Rolls Royce, I can definitely say that you are bound to feel decidedly posh. Indeed moneyed. Even stately. Especially when pedestrians and bus passengers alike cannot help but admire the car, and envy the backseat passenger. So, if you have R5 million to spare, I humbly recommend the Rolls Royce Phantom as your next vehicle purchase.

Azim Omar CA(SA) is a Project Director: Small Practices, SAICA.

 

Rolls Royce Specifications

 

Overall length 5834mm 
Engine cylinders/valves V12/48 
Fuel DIRECT INJECTION 
Maximum Output 338 Kw / 5350 rpm 
Maximum Torque 720Nm/3500rpm 
Top speed 240km/h 
Acceleration 0-60mph 5.7sec 
Acceleration 0 – 100km/h 5.9sec 
Fuel consumption  urban 23.2l/100km 
Fuel consumption extra urban 11.3l/100km 
Fuel tank 100l 

 

MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

 

This is the next generation Outlander from Mitsubishi, and I have to admit that a pretty good job has been done giving this vehicle a
fresh look.

The white vehicle I was given was a real eye catcher even though it has already been around for over a year. Mitsubishi says that this is an all new vehicle. On first glance you wouldn’t easily agree, but on further inspection, I have to agree that this model is very different to the original Outlander.

The new fresh look is particularly enhanced by the modern rear lights, which are LEDs instead of the normal light clusters.

This car is what many people call a soft roader or a Sandton pavement climber, but having the legendary four wheel drive system from the Mitsubishi Pajero, it can do a lot more then climb pavements. It has an electronic switch control for you to change from two wheel drive to four wheel drive or to a four wheel drive with diff lock.

The interior is very well proportioned. All passengers have sufficient head and leg room and the boot is adequate enough to take along the kitchen sink. This is achieved very cleverly by Mitsubishi opting to put the spare wheel under the car instead of in the boot.

On the road this vehicle drives like any other car, except that it is a big vehicle. The 2.4 litre produces enough power to get moving at a relatively quick pace, but it is no boy racer. The test vehicle I had was fitted with a CVT (constantly variable transmission) gear box, which in layman’s terms means that the vehicle does not change from 1st to 2nd etc, instead it goes from 1st to 2nd gear via 1 and a half, keeping the vehicle at its optimum power and giving superb comfort between changes. For those drivers that are like me, and would prefer to be in control, there is also a manual selection as well for those off road trips.

The vehicle comes with a large range of standard creature comforts, without being exhaustive the comforts that I was surprised by were the electronically controlled glass sunroof, a Rockford Fosgate sound system with a subwoofer in the boot, heated leather seats and 18 inch alloy wheels.  These are all standard on this vehicle.

Overall my time with this car was impressive. The one qualm I had was the fuel consumption but I guess being a 2,4 litre and  driving mainly in the city it has to be heavy. One of the more impressive points was the keyless entry, which works through a transponder that you keep in your pocket, upon touching the door handle the doors unlock. To lock the vehicle you simply have to depress the button on the door. Also the split rear tail gates is a very nice touch, on first glance the tailgate looks like a single piece, but when you need to load, the rear bumper folds down to reveal a split tailgate and easy access to the boot.

I believe that this vehicle has many competitors in its category, but if you are looking for a well built vehicle that comes standard with all the comforts that you may need, and good off- road capability, this is the one that you should definitely consider.

Azim Omar CA(SA) is a Project Director: Small Practices, SAICA.

 

Mitsubishi Specifications

 

Maximum output 125KW/6.000 rpm 
Maximum torque 222Nm /4.100rpm 
Fuel tank capacity 60l 
Overall height 1.680mm 
Overall length 4,640mm 
Overall width 1,800mm 

 

LAMBHORGHINI GALLARDO LP560

With the new Gallardo LP560-4, Lamborghini once again sets a higher standard for super sports cars. With its new engine, permanent four-wheel drive transmission and new suspension, it delivers clearly improved performance and dynamics. In parallel, its innovative design takes the classic lines unique to the Lamborghini brand one step further. Powerful elegance has never been so defined before.

The Gallardo LP560-4 is the successor of the most successful Lamborghini model of all time. The powerful heart of the Gallardo LP560-4 is the new 5.2 litre V10 engine with an output of 560 PS (412 kW) at 8000 rpm. The increase of 40 PS compared with that of the previous Gallardo, and the approximate 20 kilogram reduction in weight, improves the power weight ratio to 2.5 kilograms per PS (hp) and thus enhances performance. The LP560-4 accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, its speed at 11.8 seconds is 200 km/h and its top speed lies at 325 km/h.

At the same time the new, highly efficient engine enthrals its driver with its direct fuel injection system – “Iniezione Diretta Stratificata”. Despite its clearly increased power, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been reduced by a staggering 18 percent.

The body

Weight is undesirable in a sports car and a lightweight model encourages the dynamics of such a vehicle. Aluminium is much lighter than sheet steel and this is why the Gallardo LP560-4 is produced with a body in a much lighter but nevertheless more stiff structure: the two-seater car measures 4.34 metres in length, 1.90 metres in width and a mere 1.16 metres in height. It weighs in dry at 1410 kilograms – which is, effectively, 20 kilograms less that that of the previous Gallardo.

The Interior: Luxurious individuality

Despite its low exterior height, the Gallardo LP560-4 welcomes its passengers with a spacious interior. The sports seats are covered with either fine leather or Alcantara® (upon request) and provide secure adherence and support. The position of the seats is very low, typical for sportscars. There is space behind the seats for luggage which complements the 110 litre front trunk.

The wide middle console is one of the elements which characterises the impression of sporty dynamism in the interior. It accommodates the standard Lamborghini multimedia system as well as the air conditioning which can be regulated on both the driver’s and passenger’s sides.

Characteristic LED – Daytime running light

The new headlights have a characteristic ‘daytime’ running light integrated beneath the Bi-Xenon lamps: 15 diodes (LED) have been positioned in a Y structure. The same motif appears again in the rear tail-lights. The stop and brake lights have been inspired by the Miura Concept, the Murciélago LP640 and the Reventón and display the Y form three times over.

The Engine: Extreme power in every situation

The engine is a completely new development. All that remains of the original V10 is the number of cylinders which, in this performance category, create a perfect and unique synthesis of torque, force of movement, sporty nimbleness, compact size and low weight.

The engine has a 5204 cm3 volumetric displacement which, with 8.000 rpm creates the extreme 560 PS (412 kW). This results in the excellent performance per litre of 107.6 PS/lt. At maximum torque output, the engine yields 540 Newtonmeter at 6.500 rpm. The ample torque curve guarantees outstanding thrust from every engine speed. With an acceleration of 3.7 seconds from 0-100 km/h and a maximum speed of 325 km/h, the Gallardo LP560-4 shoots into the orbit of the most extreme and powerful sports cars.

Direct fuel injection improves efficient combustion

The new V10 uses the direct fuel-injection system “Iniezione Diretta Stratificata” as an innovative way to optimize performance results in part-load conditions. Here, the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber through the laterally positioned injector. The direct injection boosts the extremely efficient ‘full load’ performance of the V10, reduces its knock sensitivity and thus enables the very high compression ratio of 12.5:1. The cylinder heads have been optimised to deliver a very quick gas exchange and the variable valve control system on all four camshafts improves the charge efficiency across the entire engine speed range.

Transmission: Superior control four-wheel drive

Such extreme power must be brought onto the streets with extreme reliability. The driver of a Gallardo LP560-4 can thus rely on the four-wheel drive Viscous Traction (VT) system, with the ‘4’ in the model name a reminder of this. Lamborghini already introduced this system with the Diablo VT in 1993 – and for good reason: four actuated wheels achieve more grip than two and permit acceleration earlier in the curve exit.

Gear change time reduced by 40 percent

The automated e-gear transmission has been completely redesigned and improved in all aspects. The complete system has not only been reduced in weight, but the time employed to change gears has also been reduced by 40 per cent in “CORSA” mode. The driver may choose between five different driving and changing programs: in addition to the ‘normal’ mode, the Gallardo LP560-4 offers a SPORT program with its even more rapid gear changing times and increased number of revolutions.

The Suspension: High-tech parts with Lamborghini know-how

Even the Gallardo LP560-4’s predecessor was one of the world’s best super sports cars with regard to handling, precision and driving stability. However, the latest model provides an even more intense driving experience: the new suspension improves the car’s handling, its driving comfort and its directional stability at high speeds.

Optional Carbon Ceramic Brake system

The new braking system acts with brute force. At the front, eight ‘Brembo specialist’ cylinder callipers grasp the 365 mm diameter brake discs. At the rear, four cylinder callipers act on the 356 mm brake discs. In addition, the new disc ventilation system improves the stability in extreme situations. Optionally, discs made out of Carbon Ceramic are offered. At the front the CCB (Carbon Ceramic Brakes) discs measure 380mm in diameter and at the rear 356mm. They deliver much improved performance at a reduced weight. In total, the CCB braking system is lighter in weight that, at the wheel, improves driving dynamics and comfort.

Car courtesy of Marius Malherbe, MD Lamborghini Johannesburg.