The Road Ahead : December 2011
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 48 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2011/JAN 2012 M OTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS sports under $80,000 BMW 135i Coupe 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. 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. Now, the good news ... Under the bonnet is a 225 kW twin-turbo, direct- injection, 3.0-litre straight-six. This is one complete engine, readily willing to send the tachometer needle racing to redline, or impress with its mid-range muscle. And when it goes to work, there's a stirring soundtrack to match. All that would count for nothing if the chassis and rest of the package failed to measure up. But here, BMW has blessed the smart-looking coupe with near- perfect 50/50 weight distribution, rear- wheel-drive, tuned suspension, hi-tech braking system and a comprehensive tyre and wheel combination. Ride quality, while understandably firm, is agreeably compliant for everyday use. The 135i tops the class for comfort, with its front seats providing rib- wrapping support and durability. MLP: $75,000. sports cars over $80,000 mercedes-benz c63 amg coupe IN CLASSIC HOT-ROD vernacular, 'there ain't 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 shoehorned into the mid size C-class coupe. With its AMG technical refinements, this direct fuel-injection engine delivers a power output of 336 kW with an amazing 600 Nm of torque. Option the $14,900 AMG performance 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 seven-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 sports a race-start function to optimise take off traction and a throttle blipping down-shift action. The C63 AMG coupe's true brilliance comes from a cleverly integrated engineering package that makes the whole car feel confidently composed. MLP: $154,800. SCORES TOTAL: 854. 2nd: VW Polo GTi, 844. 3rd: VW Golf R, 840. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 1M, Depreciation 3L, Running costs 4M, Fuel consumption 4M, Warranty 5M, Insurance 3L, Standard features 6H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 8C, Comfort 10H, Ergonomics 9H, Build & finish 9H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 10C, Ride 9M, Handling 9C, Braking 10C, Smoothness & quietness 9L. SCORES TOTAL: 842. 2nd: BMW M3 Coupe, 822. 3rd: BMW 1 Series M Coupe, 816. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 1M, Depreciation 1L, Running costs 4L, Fuel consumption 1M, Warranty 4L, Insurance 4L, Standard features 8H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 7C, Comfort 9H, Ergonomics 8H, Build & finish 9C. ON THE ROAD: Performance 10C, Ride 9M, Handling 9C, Braking 9C, Smoothness & quietness 8M. LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL.
February March 2012