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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
Best Sports Car Under $80,000 BMW135i Coupe, $75,000 Driveline: 3.0 litre; 6 cyl; 6spd manual transmission Fuel economy: 8.5L/100km; PULP Safety Features: DFSA, CA, ABS, TCS, ESC ANCAP: N/A GVG: After this, its fourth consecutive year as champion, we are running out of superlatives for the BMW 135i Coupe. Yes, it really is that good. And it’s not as if the 135i is w inning year-in, year-out, by default. Far from it – things are in no way stagnant in the Sports Cars Under $80,000 categor y. For example, last year the 135i saw off Volkswagen’s trilogy of hot Golfs – the R, the turbo-diesel GTD and generation VI of its perennial favourite, the GTI – Audi’s then-new 2.0 TDI Quattro TT, Subaru’s revamped WRX and STi, Renault’s Megane and Clio Sports offerings and Peugeot’s sleek RCZ. And as well as the usual suspects, this year the BMW faced bold new challenges from Volkswagen’s Polo GTI, Audi’s A1 TFSI Sport and Renault’s Megane RS 250 Cup, all quality cars. And, yet again, it finished on top. First, the bad news... now costing $2200 more than this time last year, the 135i takes a hit on price, depreciation, running and repair costs, insurance and fuel consumption. And it’s only on the cusp of average for warranty and standard features. This makes the 135i’s ability to win all the more remarkable, for it first had to overcome a considerable deficit in Value for Money, normally the automatic demise of any vehicle that scores poorly in what is a critical objective area. It does this by achieving perfect 10s and nines (and one eight) in all 10 Design and Function and On the Road criteria. Under the bonnet is a 225 kW twin-turbo, direct-injection, 3.0 -litre straight-six, winner of several international design awards going back some years. This is one complete engine, readily w illing to send the tachometer needle racing to redline, or (thanks to a broad expanse of torque between 1300 and 5000 rpm), impress with its mid-range muscle. And when it really goes to work, there’s a stirring soundtrack to match. Best Sports Car Over $80,000 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Coupe, $154,800 Driveline : 6.2 litre; 8 cyl; 7 speed automatic transmission Fuel economy: 12.1L/100km; PULP Safety Features: DFSA, CA, KA , ABS, TCS, ESC ANCAP: N/A GVG: In the classic hot-rod vernacular, there’s no substitute for cubic inches, but in a world of superchargers and turbochargers that pretext has lost a lot of its relevance. That is, unless you’re talking about the massive, naturally aspirated 6.2-litre Mercedes V8 shoehor ned into the mid size C-class coupe. With its AMG technical refinements, this direct fuel injection engine delivers a power output of 336kW with an amazing 600Nm of torque. Option the $14,900 AMG perfor mance package and the kW count grows to 358, accompanied by a competition orientated brake package and 19” wheels. Needless to say, the C63 AMG delivers eye-popping performance, enhanced by the dynamic and direct power delivery of a unique AMG 7-speed automatic transmission. This dual clutch auto shifting gearbox not only features steering wheel shift paddles and a rotary console switch to select one of four different drive programs, but even boasts a race-start function to optimise take off traction and a throttle blipping dow n-shift action. It is not just the engine and power transmission which character ise the C63 AMG coupe’s dynamic quality. Its true brilliance comes from a cleverly integrated engineering package that makes the whole car feel confidently composed in any situation. The AMG sports suspension and high performance composite braking system are also key to the C63’s brilliant capability. In contrast to the series production suspension system, the AMG model has a specially designed three link front suspension, reinforced multi-link rear suspension, a significantly upgraded wheel and tyre package and w ider track all round. Steering feel and feedback are also enhanced and there is a selectable three stage ESP program for var ying the level of intervention. While the C63 is capable of taking its place at club track days it is not a stripped out racer. Australia’s Best Cars 54 December 2011 / January 2012
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012