2018 - The Brand rivalry is real

The BMW M5 tops out at over 300km/h, so expect this saloon to dominate the roads for some time to come. (Photo: BMW PressClub South Africa)

The BMW M5 tops out at over 300km/h, so expect this saloon to dominate the roads for some time to come. (Photo: BMW PressClub South Africa)

How I look forward to 2018 — the performance car is enjoying upgrades and there are new models galore.

Hyundai i30n

The Hyundai i30n is on its way to South Africa and it’s been touted as THE rival for the establishment, headed by the awesome all-rounder Golf GTI. I doubt anyone saw the i30N coming, I know I didn’t and it looks amazing.

In many ways it takes me back to the 90s, where the Germans would square off with the Japanese at Rainbow Drag strip. A lot of the street rivalry came from brand loyalty. Enthusiasts would stick to a brand when a new hot product was launched, and the brand they were loyal to would trade up. These were also aspirational cars, something to work towards, and the upcoming models may just have the same appeal.

For Hyundai, the i30N is the first performance model for the brand and you get the sense that they mean business; the Koreans have defiantly brought a gun to a gunfight. Powering the front wheels is a six-speed manual gearbox, with rev-matching technology.

What gives this performance car go is a two-litre turbocharged petrol engine available in two versions: a 184kw and a 202kw variant, with torque figures around 353nm and in over boost 378nm. It does 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds in the 202kw version and the 184 kw version in a slightly longer time of 6.4 seconds.

This i30N has been to the infamous Nürburgring, where its chassis was honed over 10 000km of testing.  This tells you just how serious the Koreans are about this new player in the market. I mean if I had told you 10 years ago that you could get a Hyundai with 202kw, a stiffened chassis, low profile 19-inch wheels, lowered suspension, electronically controlled limited slip differential and various driving modes, you’d have asked me if I had read the ad correctly, if I was sure it’s a Hyundai?

The sports seats and steering wheel, among other creature comforts, will no doubt be popular among the racing crowd. Conversations like “I pulled 4G through the last corner with my i30N” will start becoming more frequent.

New VW Polo

Another ever-popular model coming to our shores is the new Polo.

Due in the second half of 2018, first impressions are that it’s put on some weight; it’s a lot bigger looking and wider than the current Polo model. You will be able to get more luggage in with 25% more boot space, plus this Polo is crammed full of tech: automatic cruise control, emergency brake assist, LED headlights and blind-spot detection, as well as a digital instrument display panel and eight-inch infotainment screen — and for the first time in the Polo, you’ve got the option of keyless entry and starting.

The sound system was approved by the producer himself Dr Dre and has 300 watts; there’s a variety of interior and wheel options, and with 11 different seat cover options, personalising your Polo takes on a whole new meaning.

Couple this with outstanding build quality an MBQ Platform which gives the buyer so much more technology and value by cutting engineering costs, you see a lot of features normally available on much higher-end models.

Engine variants include emission-friendly Euro 6-compatible engines ranging from a 1.0-litre petrol to the company’s brand new 1.5-litre petrol with cylinder deactivation. Two 1.6-litre diesel engines are also part of the line-up.

For those of us wanting some “go” behind the new Polo, the GTi is available at launch and comes with a two-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 147kw.

Ford Fiesta ST

The huge Ford following won’t be disappointed in 2018 with the all-new three-cylinder turbocharged Ford Fiesta ST 1.5ltr. It has ST fans flocking to Ford dealerships to try and secure one of the launch batch; although an exact arrival time has not been specified, this hasn’t stopped people from inquiring.

Ford claims the new motor produces 146kw, 12kw up on the the outgoing Fiesta ST. The new ST comes with an “overboost” function. Gains in torque are clear, the figures going from 240Nm to 290Nm. In terms of performance, Ford claims the new ST will do 0-100 in 6.7 seconds, two-tenths of a second faster than the outgoing car. The smaller motor will however be kinder to the environment. Ford says that the CO2 emissions will be down from 138g/km to 114g/km, with improved fuel economy.

Interior styling packs will be available, offering alternative trim and finishes on items in the cockpit. Technology comes in the form of a new Sync 3 infotainment system and appears alongside touchscreen displays up to eight inches in size.

In tune with the car’s hot hatch image, Recaro sports seats with chunky side bolsters appear up front, and a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel makes the cut.

BMW M5

So it seems like 2018 will be the year for the hot hatch, but what if you wanted a car with a bit more punch? What if you the kind of person with deep pockets and a hunger for German perfection? Well, look no further than the incoming BMW M5.

Available early in 2018, the new 441kw M5 is a high-performance car for “every condition”.

It’s fitted with an Active M differential and an all-wheel drive system, with a central transfer case with a multi-plate clutch, which sends power between the front and rear as required.

Listen to this: it tops out at 305km/h! That’s super-car territory in an everyday hot saloon, but this is not just any hot saloon, it has an M badge on the back, and anything wearing this badge is absolutely brilliant. M division go to great lengths to make sure when you drive an M car you drive the best of the best.

Figures for this version are 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds and 0-200km/h in 11.1 seconds. An electronically limited top speed of 250km/h is standard, but for those who want to see the other side of the matrix, there is an M Driver’s Package which takes it to a top speed of 305km/h.

No doubt the Mercedes AMG division will cook up something to rival the M5 but until that happens, expect this fast saloon to dominate the roads for some time to come.

There is always excitement around the launch of a new model. The anticipation: is it going to be better than the last?

These brands have outdone themselves this time around. If there’s a vehicle that you’d like a write-up on, Tweet me @thecarguywarren and I will check the brand out … and if it’s noteworthy I will definitely mention it in an upcoming article.