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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Borrill’


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Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 driver Lewis Hamilton takes Topcar senior journalist Aaron Borrill for a brutal drive around Bilster Berg race track in Germany

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Aaron Borrill finds out whether the improvements made to the 2013 Audi RS5 make it a better car

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At last, a Volkswagen one-ton bakkie (pick-up)

At last, Volkswagen aficionados – especially South African ones – have something to cheer about. The Amarok is a one-ton double-cab workhorse set to turn the bakkie segment on its head. Amarok is an Inuit word for ‘wolf’ and is regarded by the Inuit people as the king of the wild – a fitting moniker proving this bakkie means business. It looks good, too; a sturdy silhouette and bold angular lines underscore an indomitable road presence while its front and rear end reflect Volkswagen’s family DNA.
Beneath the Amarok’s burly sheet metal rests a sprightly 2.0-litre turbodiesel lump, and although its displacement may seem a little undersized when compared to its rivals, a couple of turbochargers and a suitably fettled ECU credit it with 120kW and 400Nm at 2 bar boost pressure. Power delivery is very linear and the large amount of low-down torque is perfect for towing up to 2.8 tons.
It’s also fitted with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system and rear differential lock which furnishes the Amarok with an all-round prowess adept for both boulevard cruising and off-road traversing. Although the Amarok still needs to prove itself to local petrolheads, the hallowed Volkswagen badge – rather than the vehicle itself – will certainly draw new customers to the stable.
Not only does the Amarok offer car-like driving dynamics, it also boasts the largest and widest load area in the category, it’s the lightest on fuel, produces the least C02 and can be pimped with a myriad of optional OEM kit like 19-inch wheels and chrome styling pipes. For R390 000 you’re getting a whole lot of car plus a Volkswagen badge to boot.

Did you know: The Amarok is the only mid-sized bakkie in its class that can carry a Euro pallet.

Price: R390 000
Engine: 2-litre turbodiesel120kW and 400Nm
Consumption: 7.9l/100km
Emissions: 208g/km

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Words by Aaron Borrill 

Photographs by Seagram Pearce

No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to wipe the grin off my face. I’ve finally got a grip on one of the most bespoke sports cars in South Africa, but for some reason, every time I slide behind the wheel – no matter how hard I try to focus – my legs turn to jelly and my heart rate doubles. That’s really peculiar because I’ve driven my fair share of supercars – hell, I’ve even been in a Formula One car, but the Lotus Evora has got me feeling all fuzzy inside.The Lotus marque is esteemed for producing compact, lightweight and agile sports cars. Models such as the legendary Lotus Seven immediately spring to mind, as do the subsequent Exige and Elise, but their ageing design has lead to the birth of a newer, more sophisticated car. For the first time in 15 years, the Lotus design team has gone back to the easel and mixed – along with a dollop of refinement – all the telling ingredients of their earlier success. The outcome is the Lotus Evora: it’s the world’s only mid-engine 2+2 sports car and although chunkier and bigger than its predecessors, it’ll properly outperform them… around a track. I took it for a drive through four of the Cape Peninsula’s passes to experience its on-road talents and put its impressive credentials to the test.

Chapman’s Peak Drive, Noordhoek to Hout Bay
Although not a very challenging stretch of road, Chapman’s Peak Drive, is a great way of flaunting a vehicle such as the Lotus Evora. The Evora is an alluring piece of machinery – a definite head turner with dynamic body panels that seamlessly fit together giving an illusion of movement even when its standing still. It looks amazing in any colour but gleams in Aspen white: the Evora’s svelte contours and low-slung, sinuous physique yields a stark contrast to the scarred, rocky face of Chapman’s Peak. Its exotic façade, together with its beefy exhaust note, garnered scores of compliments as I politely trundled around the tourist lookout points and curio market. When I pulled over at a picnic spot leading up to the descent into Hout Bay, I was cocooned by a bevy of curious onlookers. Is that a Ferrari, a Corvette? I just smiled and made sure the Lotus moniker was visible as I drove away.
Franschhoek Pass, Franschhoek to Villiersdorp
The fundamental tenet of a Lotus sports car is its point-and-shoot handling and the clairvoyant Evora fails to disappoint. It’s so tractable that you can confidently toss it into a hairpin corner like a professional racer. The flat-bottomed steering wheel provides enough feedback to feel your way through difficult transitions and the weight distribution of 31 69 in favour of the rear can – with a bit of throttle play – swing the back out until ESP quickly comes to the rescue. The 18-inch/19-inch front/rear gloss-anthracite forged wheels provide so much grip that you’d have to be a complete nincompoop to lose control. The stopping power is phenomenal, too: the brakes comprise 350mm and 332mm rotors at the front and rear respectively, that are clamped by Lotus AP Racing four-piston calipers.
Mitchell’s Pass, Ceres
Lotus has employed Toyota power plants since the days of the Esprit, and sticking with tradition, the Evora comes strapped with a V6 from a Camry. However, the mid-mounted, 3.5-litre has been tweaked together with a tailored Lotus management system to provide more power. The 206kW/350Nm – strong Evora, although weighing a hefty 1 382kg, still manages a high power-to-weight ratio of 150kW per ton, meaning it’s not slow. The six-speed manual drive train is a little notchy and could do with tighter ratios and a shorter throw, but once you build up a flurry of revs, 100km/h arrives in 5.1 seconds and if the road is straight and long enough, you’ll top out at 270km/h. Unfortunately, I never got close to the top speed but the sweeping bends of Mitchell’s Pass provided me with enough space to accelerate rather capriciously.
Bain’skloof Pass, Wellington
The Evora’s suspension, made up of Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs, fosters stability at both low and high-speed. It’s only when travelling on a bumpy surface such as Bain’skloof Pass that your skeleton gets a thorough shake down. The hand-stitched Recaro seats – fashioned from premium, paprika red leather – firmly embrace the body when cornering at pace and the lightweight wishbones help sustain a balance between a comfortable ride and dynamic handling.
Although fitted with what Lotus calls back seats, the rear parcel area of the Evora’s 2+2 seating arrangement appears to have been designed to carry your golf clubs rather than your kids.
The Lotus Evora is the quintessential package for those needing not only a competent daily driver, but a car equipped for track days and outings to the golf course, too.

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Power: 206kW and 352Nm

0-100km/h: 5.1 seconds

Top speed: 264km/h

Price: R899 000

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