MERCEDES BENZ GLA FACELIFT – PRESS RELEASE

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The GLA was presented for the first time in 2013 and from the word go became a model of success in a segment it has shaped and redefined. The GLA is characterized by its sportily dynamic design idiom, light-footed handling and extensive individualization range. As the first compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz it brought a breath of fresh air to its market segment and established itself there as a major player.

no other competitor offers a larger selection of engines in its segment – from the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 d base model with 100 kW of power and a CO2 value from 115 g/km up to the 280 kW Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC

Spot on: LED light turns night into day

Available on request, the LED High Performance headlamps replace the current bi‑xenon headlamps. Alongside the brilliant illumination they are characterised by a colour temperature similar to daylight and relieve the strain on the eyes during journeys at night. The energy consumption is also lower: around 60 percent less than xenon and approx. 70 percent less than halogen. The low-beam headlamps configured with 34 watts works with LED projector-beam technology, the main beam with LED reflector technology. Indicators, daytime running lamps and position light are designed as multifunctional fibre-optic cables and enable an unmistakeable style through higher degrees of design freedom. Changing a bulb is no longer necessary over the entire lifetime of the car.

About the looks inside out

The GLA has three chassis variants: as standard the GLA features a comfort suspension; the lowered suspension is available on request (in conjunction with the AMG Line or the Dynamic Handling package).

With the off-road comfort suspension (standard) the body is 30 mm higher. This results in improved off-road capability owing to higher ground clearance, a higher seat position and more striking off-roader looks.

Modified bumpers, additional light-alloy wheels and the new attractive colour “canyon beige” characterise the 2017 vintage at first glance. The GLA thus visually underlines its SUV genes to an even greater extent than before. The previous optional bi-xenon headlamps have made way for soft LED headlamps characterised by a colour temperature similar to daylight.

The interior values are a sight for sore eyes too: exclusively available in this market segment, the 360-degree camera records the direct surroundings of the car, which are either shown as a full-image depiction or in seven different split-screen views on the media display. Among them is also a virtual top view of the car – produced from the data of four cameras: front, reversing and one camera in each of the exterior mirrors. This car is really nothing short of exciting.

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The GLA comes with new seat covers and trim parts as well as chromed control panels. The free-standing 20.3 cm (8-inch) media display is familiarly slim and is easily legible, as are the new dials with red needles. The controls for switches on the electric seat adjustment in the doors have been given small yet effective highlight

Safety features

The GLA has the “Active Brake Assist” as standard: it warns the driver if there is not sufficient distance to the vehicle in front and if required, delivers situation-appropriate braking. If the system detects that the driver is reacting too late, it initiates autonomous braking in order to prevent the collision or minimize the consequences. The GLA also has the “ATTENTION ASSIST” as standard: it can detect typical signs of drowsiness via the steering behaviour and warn the driver about an impending micro-sleep. We tested this out and it works quite well, I was scared that it wouldn’t ‘respond” in time but it did.

Dare to be different – The new Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC

Mercedes-AMG is continuing its model initiative with full steam ahead and is enhancing the GLA 45 4MATIC both visually and technically. With intelligent aerodynamic measures like the restyled front apron and the spoiler lip on the roof spoiler it was possible to increase driving dynamics and driving stability.

The front apron was given an even more dynamic shape, new air intake grilles, a front splitter insert in silver chrome plus flics in high-gloss black. These guide the cooling air flows to the vehicle radiators even more effectively. Some earlier optional extras like the LED High Performance headlamps are now part of the standard host of equipment. The twin louvre on the AMG Twin Blade radiator grille is now in silver chrome, as are the inserts in the side sill panels. As an additional option a multi-spoke 20-inch light-alloy wheel is available for selection in two colour variants: painted matt black with high-sheen rim flange or painted titanium grey with a high-sheen finish.

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eye-catching features at the tail end are the new diffuser insert in the rear apron, the trim in silver chrome and the new spoiler lip on the roof spoiler. It helps improve the driving dynamics of the new GLA 45 4MATIC.

The interior has been similarly upgraded. The dashboard is covered as standard with ARTICO man-made leather and has been given exclusive highlights with red contrasting topstitching.

A further highlight is the generously sized trim, extending over virtually the entire width of the car: its fundamental structure is printed matt with a high-gloss surface and it bears AMG lettering. It is available in black/red (standard) or in black/silver (in conjunction with the Exclusive package). The vehicle key and the E-Select lever now bear the AMG emblem as standard.

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The instrument cluster has been given a new number design and the speedometer is divided into 30 km/h stages. New needles with a black needle centre and the chrome frame around the gear display also ensure an autonomous cockpit experience.

With a maximum output of 280 kW and 475 Nm maximum torque the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC is among the most powerful cars in its segment. A speed of 100 km/h is achieved from standstill after just 4.4 seconds. The extremely agile 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine blends its thrilling performance and the exemplary efficiency with a further best: the power-to-swept-volume ratio of 141 kW marks a record for a series engine with four cylinders.

The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. The intensity of the engine note changes according to the currently active AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode.

With the optional AMG performance exhaust system the sound is even sportier through the modified structure of the muffler system and it thus intensifies the emotively appealing sound experience. It can be regulated via selection of the drive program or via a switch. In the interior the impressive sound can be experienced even more intensely at the touch of a button through the more powerful intake noise of the engine

2017-05-04-PHOTO-00009616Shorter ratios: the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission

The agile and dynamic power transfer is assisted by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7‑speed sports transmission. Thanks to the shorter ratios selected in gears three to seven the driver senses an even more emotively appealing acceleration experience in all speed ranges.

How deep are your pockets?

Petrol models:

GLA 200                                             R485 400

GLA 250 4MATIC                            R654 700

Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC  R856 700

Diesel models:

GLA 200 d                                          R513 000

GLA 220 d 4MATIC                         R592 500

Remember you first saw it here and nowhere else. Exciting footage and reviews coming soon for the Dieseld and 4MATIC.

MINI COUNTRYMAN LAUNCH

You’ve got mail

IMG_1831It was just over a week ago when I got an Email from MINI SA. In the mail was an invite to the Media Launch for the new MINI COOPER COUNTRYMAN

We landed in Durban on the first friday of April, looking forward to the the MINI Countryman media launch and press conference.  It was hosted by the BMW SA Communications manager Edward Makana, at the luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel in DBN. At the conference we learned about the History of the Countryman, new features, and all the add ons available for the MINI.

There’s a new MINI in town

Day two started with breakfast and around 9.am we left the hotel and just outside was a convoy of the new MINIs ready to be taken to task. We were given the choice to start with the MINI  Countryman S or just the normal MINI  Countryman. My Co-Driver MissPoshglam decided on a blue Countryman powered by the turbo petrol 1,5 litre  3 cylinder engine and later we would swap it for a black Countryman S. I was very impressed by  how the car has grown in size, both in the inside and outside. You can instantly spot the changes, the headlights have that modern cool-kid look with its LED lights. The tail lights are bigger and have more life compared to the 1st born. I still would’ve preferred the exhaust in the middle for the Countryman S  though. Ground clearance is as expected higher than that of a normal MINI, this makes it perfect for South African conditions- as you know our roads have a whole lot of potholes and humps, makes sense also if you want to just explore the country or drive on different terrains but still want to feel like you’re in a MINI.

As I got in I realised that you could easily fit three adults (my size) at the back with great comfort! I love how the steering wheel is made and how it feels, it allows for a easy grip that comes handy in winding and twisty roads. New features that should impress you are the touchscreen infotainment system. Usually you’d turn the Knob when using the navigator or other functions but the touchscreen really  makes a great impression. Our MINI came with Harman Kadon speakers that ensured I was able to hear the songs playing even at high speeds on rough surfaces.IMG_1868

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MINI Countryman Vs  The Gravel Vs Tar Vs The bends of Clarence.

Talking about surfaces, The whole trip felt like being on an episode of that famous british car show with Edward being the producer. After driving on the tarmac for over 60km we were instructed to challenge the Countryman to a gravel test. So we hit the gravel in the middle of nowhere according to me, I just know we were somewhere in KZN.

It took me a while to determine what mode would be best suited for loose surfaces like gravel. I tried different modes butI finally settled for sport mode. The Countryman proved to have better grip on this mode , also the steering has more feel and feedback than in other modes, that means you’re less likely to turn more than what you’d intend to. The high profile tyres are well suited for such rough terrain and again I could still hear Poshglam’s favourite song play as she sung along to AKA’s “The world is yours”

The gravel test was going according to plan until the MINI in front of us launched a stone from it’s back tyre straight onto our windshield! A big ouch!  Lesson learned here is 1. When driving in gravel keep your distance! and 2 make sure your insurance debit order doesn’t bounce, because that window chip isn’t a pretty sight and these modern windshields don’t come cheap either.

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After playing dirty we decided to take a lunch stop and arrived at the Hartford house hotel  situated in the Natal Midlands. At this point we were instructed to now swop and this meant we now got to take the MINI Countryman S to Clarens where we would put our heads down for day 2.

Day 3 Saw us leave the small town of Clarens and drive back to Gauteng . The convoy of the MINIs really brought a lot of excitement to the people of this small town, you could see as the they waved us goodbye as we were passing by. The Countryman really handles sharp bends so well, you can actually feel it hug the bends and you feel that you are one with the road as you drive, great feedback from steering wheel even under acceleration. The Countryman also comes with standard with cruise control function that will brake for you should the car in front make a sudden stop, it will also automatically resume acceleration once there’s nothing ahead.

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Snack, Crackle and Pop!

The three cylinder turbo engine is dynamite, comes in a small package but it packs one heck of a punch and a whole lot more. One would think that the obvious favourite of the two would be the Countryman S,  I mean 141Kw of power out of a 2.0 Litre engine makes it hard not to like I won’t lie. I still found that the three cylinder is more favourable for the average Joe. There’s a saying that goes: ‘the fun of the kill is in the chase’ I found myself having so much fun ‘chasing’ the kill with just 100 Kw at my disposal, also taking my word for it will cost you a mere R422,000. This doesn’t take away anything from the Countryman S though.

There is one other special thing that the Countryman S has that I loved and only a handful of people have noticed this about it, I’ll give you a clue: The Audi S3, Merc A45 AMG and the Golf 7 GTI are well known for it..

Yes you got it right. It’s that Vvrrrrphaaaa! Nothing sounds so magical to the ears than the Vrrr-Pha as you accelerate and change gears using the shift pedals, those pops and burps are nothing short of exciting!

Below is my guide  on how to Vrrr Pha and leave the competition behind in 3 easy steps

  1. Open your windows slightly
  2. Switch the drive to Sport Mode. (at this point you can take on any GTI if you wish)
  3. Flick the gear into Sport Mode and Step on it.

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    Even the Countryman can VrrrPha!

Now listen to the car burp and pop during gear change, while waving goodbye to the competition on the rearview mirror.

After three days with the Countryman I can safely say that this is the car to take if you feel like taking the road less travelled, if you want to take a short right instead of left, when everyone heads for the beach the Countryman is one car to take so that you may add your own story.

About Music, Art and Two Kings of the Road.

Cars have become more than a means to get from point A to Point B. To some they are hobbies, others use them for entertainment and other people can go as far as saying that cars are part of their culture. This has been expressed time and time again through music. There’s a song I once heard as a kid and it went something like:’Oh Lord wont you buy me a Mercedes Benz’

That’s as much as I can remember about that song. I can tell you though about two cars that have made an impact on the lives of South Africans so much that there are songs were made and those songs were huge hits!


It’s no surprise that the 325is is one of those cars. It’s one car that is appreciated by people of different races; be it Indians, Coloured, white or black south Africans. The car had and still has that appeal and sound that no one can ignore. In the townships we call this sound the Vuur-tututu! That’s exactly What it sounds like when you’ floor’ the accelerator! Being in a 325is is also a different experience all together. This is what drove people like Pro-Kid to write songs like ‘Wozobona’ and who could forget Cassper Nyovest’s Gusheshe. He talks about being invincible while riding in his gushesh.

The second car is also of German origin,With a very good history in the south african market, also loved by all different races and it’s a brand that caters for people of ages, no wonder it’s called the people’s car! Yes it can only be Volkswagen. The one of many cars from its fleet that stole the hearts of many young South Africans is the VR6 well known on the streets as the Voora/ Vuura. It got this name from it’s masculine and ever so desirable exhaust note. This also earned it the honour of being named after Dj Citi Lyts’s hit song ‘Vura’ The song tells about how the car attracts ‘yellow bones’ basically the best of what the opposite has to offer. The video is a must see


The VR6 came as MK3 in availabe as a Golf 3 hatcback or the Jetta 3 sedan. It’s pretty sad that VR6 engine didn’t make a comeback to South Africa as the Golf or Jetta. As for the ‘Gusheshe’ BMW to date has not matched the iconic 325 is, it’s a car in its own league. This could be a good thing however,This way we are be able to admire both these cars as the masterpieces that they are. Artists have their timeless paintings like the Mona Lisa and Whistle’s Mother. Musicians made hits like Gusheshe and Vura to name but a few.

These famous paintings are hung in the worlds most famous and prestigious galleries. Hit songs from the above mentioned are easily found on I-tunes. The question then is where can we find these two kings? The Voora and Gushesh can be found in the streets where they belong, here they earned respect from motorists all over the world, when you see these kings, take a bow.

Specs for the Petrol Heads:

BMW 325is

Engine: 2.7L (Evo II)

Power: 155 kw

Torque: 265 nm@5920

Top Speed: 226

DOB:1985

Golf/ Jetta MK3

Engine: 2.8 L

Power: 128kw

Torque: 235 Nm@4200 rpm

Top Speed: 222 Km/h

DOB: 1995

 

 

 

 

Talking Torque & Kilowatts

I have experienced many awkward situations and one of them involved an interesting topic of which I new nothing about. I remember how everyone’s eyes were on me to comment or say something smart about the topic at hand, I was ‘saved by the bell’ as my phone rang away.

From that day on I decided to do a lot of reading so that I may be that one guy who is informed about almost everything. The same happened to a friend of mine recently and the topic was about how diesel engines are better than petrol engines when it comes to torque, and yes he had no clue what we were on about, so this article is dedicated to my buddy and those who want to know more about cars.

Nearly every industry, sport and most things that you find have their jargon. You might have heard of petrol heads talking about horsepower, torque, kilowatts and so on. Not everyone understands what these terms mean (like the friend I mentioned) so that’s what we will focus on in this article.

First up is Torque. What is torque?

Torque is the amount of force needed to turn, push or pull. In cars and motorbikes we refer to it as the power or force available to turn the wheels. Torque is measured in Newtown Meters hence you will see the symbol N/M when one is talking about the measure of torque.

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What are Kilowatts?

The other term you may hear a lot in motoring is Kilowatts. This is simply a metric unit used to measure the power produced by the engine and is thus measured by Watts. Think of the light bulb you have at your home or at the office, it produces anything from 40 to 100 watts. The higher the number of watts the brighter the light from the globe will be. The same goes for cars and bikes; a car with 150 kW should be faster than one with only 100 kW.

In Conclusion the easiest way to think about it is – if Kilowatts tells you how fast the car can ultimately go, then torque tells you how hard it can push you there. Torque matters as much, if not more so, than power in KW because it’s the force you feel when you accelerate. If you regularly tow a trailer, or frequently carry a fully loaded car, then having plenty of torque is important because it helps you pull your load on-wards.

I really hope this has simplified terms for you, if not let me know and I’ll dig deeper.

Pic: Henny Kilowatt Car

The SUV Take Over!

The South African market has seen a remarkable change over the years in terms of the type of cars you see on the road. I remember growing up in the early 90s it was not an uncommon sight to see a station wagon. From the legendary Volvo to the Toyota Cressida, even Mercedes Benz  had a few units sold in south Africa. Fast forward to today and the only manufacture still fighting the good fight of making station wagons is Volvo.

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One can’t say the same about SUVs though. The market has taken a large interest in these vehicles that are slightly bigger than your normal sized 3 series, or C Class Mercedes for example. It is also worth noting that they appeal to both male and females.

So today we’re going to look at the best three selling SUVs in South Africa in 2016. The list is as follows

  1. Toyota Fortuner @ R438,000
  2. Ford Eco-Sport @R247,900
  3. Toyota Rav4 @R367,000

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I am pretty sure you’re not surprised by the above list as these cars are a common sight on South African roads. At the bottom of the list is one of the most expensive SUV’s and that is the BMW X1. The Ford Kuga is still seeing showing us flames at number 6. The Mazda CX5 is at number 4 and selling very well.

There are cars that are bound to do well in 2017 like the VW Tiguan and the Ford Everest, even though they’re not on the top 10 list, the numbers are still good and very competitive.

With each of these vehicles selling an average of over 2000 units it really seems like the Sports Utility Vehicle is here to stay.

Throw Back Thursday #TBT- Safom

Check out your social media and you’ll notice a lot #TBT’s I hardly post about throwbacks on my personal page but today I thought I’d give a try and  well here goes.

My Throwback is none other than that of the South African Festival of Motoring 2016. I certainly had a great time at the event. What made it great is the fact that it was not like your regular car shows where all you get to do is to check out cars and it features. You actually got the opportunity to experience different makes of cars, by being in the passenger seat or even better the drivers seat!

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In the MINI Race Car

I got to experience being driven in the Mercedes Amg A Class , Vw Passat, and got to ‘Test-Pilot’ the latest MINI John Cooper Works on the new and improved Kyalami Race-track. It was a  pretty awesome experience to say the least.

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GLA 45 AMG

Perhaps you were there too and wish to share your experience? Or even tell us about your TBT? Feel free to leave comments below, Cheers.

In the passenger seat with AON Photography.

MINI COOPER CLUBMAN REVIEW

Hi All,

Welcome to “In the passenger seat with AON Photography”  car review.

So the first car to ever be reviewed by us is a MINI Cooper Clubman. Talk about starting things on a high!

I was not alone at all, In the passenger seat we had the ever so stylish Miss Poshglam. Feel free to visit https://missposhglam.co.za/2016/08/29/finding-mini-paris-with-the-mini-clubman-melrose-arch-auto/ to read on her experience with the MINI. We decided to take the MINI on a Mini road-trip (see what I did there) and after thinking of the many places we could visit we decided to drive to Haartbeesport known to cool people as just Harties. I am glad we chose that destination because the route promises curves, bends and a few bumps here and there. This of course meant that we got to feel how the car handles outside of the normal city-driving environment, technically out of its and our own comfort zone.

The model that was delivered to us was the base model with a 1,5 l turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. It comes with the Step-Tronic Auto Transmission. If you want more bang be prepared to have more buck for the 2.0 l Cooper S. If you’re old school and prefer a manual gearbox is available for both models. I have to say though that upon setting my eyes on the MINI I immediately fell in love with the black 17-inch mag -wheels. They suit the car so well staying true to MINI’s sportiness. The Tyres are not low profile either and this ensures a smooth ride and little cabin noise.IMG_7930.JPG

It’s being said that this is the longest MINI ever; this is easy to see as you look at the rear doors and the boot, it all just looks longer. The rear barn like doors are fun to play with, I know this sounds weird but I just like how the one door opens and the other follows you know like a barn door, All this excitement with just a touch of the key! Anyway the boot is space is enough to fit two cooler bags, a bag of charcoal, a bit of groceries and a couple of camp chairs! In other words it’s enough space to go on a road trip with friends.

Once we had packed all our goodies in the car we got to drive it, well almost, I am always interested in the ICE of the car, that is for: In Car Entertainment. The sound is really good, we played our favourite songs and made a few discoveries, when you get a chance turn the volume up and just see what happens to the lighting around the dash on the Center-display you will see magic! It’s just pure fun even for us adults.

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After playing around we decided to be a bit serious and put the Clubman to the test. One thing for sure the long curves and bumpy surfaces were sure not to make it easy for a small/medium-sized car right? Wrong! The MINI Clubman handled those curves like they were slight turns, there’s sufficient feedback from the steering wheel that allows you avoid any sudden jerks while turning, it’s easier to keep to a line while turning. One would think that now that the car is longer it loses part of its handling capabilities but no, it hugged those curves so well it’s as if the Clubman was assuring me that I am in total control and had little to worry about.

I am a little concerned about the fuel economy though, our average fuel consumption was more than the factory 5,4 L/100 km. We averaged around 7,5 l/100 km and this was in normal city driving. Perhaps the car still has to ‘break in? Or could we have been a bit too hard on the accelerator? Whatever it is one thing for sure is that the 3-cylinder engine is quite responsive; I lowered the windows to hear the ‘hissing sound’ as the turbo kicked in at low revs of about 2000 or so. The exhaust has a lovely note too, Just press on the pedal and listen your ears will not be disappointed.IMG_7947.JPG

Switch the Tip-Tronic gearbox to sport mode and you’ll really feel the Clubman come alive, even with two adults in the back the MINI’s 230 N.M of torque pulls along so well. (Don’t forget the goodies in the boot too)

So the Clubman may be 10 cm longer, with more doors and an improved engine but this however doesn’t take away the fact that it still handles like a go-kart. Think of the Clubman as a car that can cater to what you feel like. It can be your everyday car to the office and handle like a go-kart.t It also can be a car that seats four of your favourite people with enough boot space to pack all the stuff you need for a road trip and still handle like go-kart.

It’s just all round fun no matter how you look at it.IMG_7942.JPG