the Tribe


Peter Neilen, via mail



Our Letter of The Month prize winner scores this official Porsche screen cleaner – a centrelock wheel nut with a soft pad on the bottom – which will have you deliberately covering your tablet with fingerprints just so you can use it. Not available for sale, it is literally priceless. Congrats!




IT SEEMS to me we are now living in the golden age of motoring. Allow me to explain. To illustrate the progress of performance you said in your February 2018 PCOTY edition that the Lamborghini Gallardo of a decade ago, costing half a million dollars, would now be only fifth fastest to 100km/h against the 10 PCOTY contenders for 2018.

I want to demonstrate to your readers how affordable that performance has now become. Let’s take that Gallardo as our first example. It did 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds, which was quick back then. However, the Audi RS3 will now do the same in 3.7sec for $81K. Forget Audi’s claim of 4.1sec, that’s just there to make the TT RS look good. The Mercedes-AMG A45 is not far behind at 4.1sec – and all for $78K. Additionally, the current AMG GT R will better the acceleration time of a six-year-old Mercedes-AMG SLS Black Series (as well as its top speed). The AMG GT R sells for $349K and the AMG SLS Black Series sold for $640K.

How much would you have paid 10 years ago for the world’s best front-wheel drive car? Honda has recently released the Civic Type R for $51K. It currently holds the record at the Nurburgring for production front-wheel drive cars by a margin. In the UK, the Type R sells for £33,000 pounds, which converts to about $59K. And it’s made in England. How long can they hold it at that price? I suspect Honda capped the price to compete on an equal footing with the Ford Focus RS, which is no longer available unless you step up to the Limited Edition. It’s unlikely cars will become any cheaper. For instance, when the BMW M2 Pure was released into Australia more than two years ago, it was just under $91K. The price is now $93,300. The Australian dollar is falling.

Although I, like many of you, grieve for the loss of the great Australian motor industry, we now have no choice but to move on. The tariff on imported new cars currently sits at 5 per cent (it was once 10.5 per cent) the luxury tax sits at 33 per cent. Both these taxes were introduced many years ago to protect our Australian motor industry, so why are we still paying them? This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future due to financial reasons.

So are you one of those people who are still waiting for motoring nirvana to arrive before purchasing you next new or used car?

Newsflash, we’re already there.

Peter Neilen, via mail

Love it! You’re right, Peter, buyers of new performance vehicles have never had it so lucky, no matter their budget. The driving experience you can have for even $30K these days is unbelievable.


As a long time Subaru fan and past WRX owner, I was excited to see that a new WRX STI was featuring in a comparison against the latest breed of hot hatches (Focus RS and Golf R). I was keen to see how fast it is these days, now that the bar has been raised by these aforementioned hatches.

Well, how I was a disappointed by seeing yet another STI record a mid13.0sec quarter mile and return mid fives for the 0-100km/h marker. The numbers are the same with every new STI model for the past decade!

It amazes me that the first Oz-delivered STI was faster in 1999, reaching 100km/h in 4.9sec and recording a flat 13.0sec quarter. They were a Porsche beater. The V8s of the time had no hope. But now the STI is at the back of the pack; middle at best.

I know a lot has changed in 20 years – the STI is now safer, more comfortable, has more convenience gadgets and is probably quicker around a circuit (although maybe not?), but damn it, Subaru needs to step up.

They need to build a savage 270kW-plus A45 beater – low 4.0sec to 100km/h. Low 12.0sec quarter mile. Numbers that will again beat the Porsches and V8s, and bring back the street-legal-weapon reputation that the STI once had.

Lastly, the new-look mag is great!

Will Murphy, via email

We do agree. The STI is still a potent thing, but it drives like it did 10 years ago, which makes us a bit sad. The game has well moved on. We’d love to see the Japanese pick up the all-wheel drive turbo four-cylinder mantle and show the Germans how it’s done. And that pesky Ford Focus RS.


Thanks for your article on speed limits being too low. For me it seems to be one of my pet hates along with drivers not keeping left and general bad driving. Having driven on overseas roads and motorways/freeways, etc, it’s quite obvious to me that the speed limits here are too low, particularly on the open road and our multi-lane roads. And they seem to be getting lower and lower.

The lower speed limits seem to accompany the installation of speed cameras so that if you aren’t glued to your speedo for a second you may wander past a speed camera and cop a nice revenue raiser... sorry, I mean fine.

If, however, you’re just trying to get on with your day and drive at a safe and sensible speed you are more often than not impeded by the right-lane hog who either is oblivious to you, or believes it is their right to be there and possibly stop you from passing at a greater speed than them. But of course, you’re not allowed to speed.

The standard of drivers has also declined more and more over the past 20-or-so years and I think better driver education and training is needed. Less ‘speed kills’ brain washing and more on how to safely overtake on country roads or how to get on a freeway or the importance of keeping left.

Frank Alarcon, via email



I am a massive fan of MOTOR Magazine and I have every copy going back into the early 1970s. It is my ‘go-to bible’ for all things in Aussie motoring. I’m loving the new magazine format, too, especially now that you’ve brought in features on modern classics! (Hint: a WRX story would be great).

Anyhow, I’m writing to tell you that I still find your VBOX performance testing very relevant and 0-100 km/h, 80-120km/h and 0-400m. I have noticed of late you haven’t been providing these stats – an example being the MX5/BRZ/86 test this month.

Please keep providing these figures because it helps compare certain performance models.

Side note: Bang For Your Bucks is simply the best comparison every year anywhere in the world.

Michael Gough, via Facebook

Good to see some love for Bang For Your Bucks! We’d love to hear from any other readers who particularly enjoy BFYB. On the performancetesting front, we’re well aware that the numbers have disappeared. It’s simply because we lost access to our Melbourne test facility, Heathcote, and there isn’t any other option (Calder? Yeah right.) But it seems we’re back online now so the numbers will return in full force from next issue on.


We all understand that the dual-clutch gearboxes are faster than their brethren manuals. However, I’m guessing all times quoted are done using launch control?

How much slower would the 0-100km/h timing be if launch control wasn’t used? If say a manual and a dual clutch were timed from a rolling start of say 20 to 100km/h, how would the times compare?

Gareth Owens, via Facebook

There’s no doubting that some cars would be significantly slower to 100km/h if not for their launch control party trick. Ahem, Mercedes-AMG A45, Audi RS3, Nissan GT-R... when we test these cars we use launch control as generally it’s the easiest and most consistent way to get the fastest possible time. However, some cars are quicker walking them off the line; launch control in an M4, for example, is hopeless, it’s much faster without it. As for your 20-100km/h manual vs twin-clutch question, if the cars are otherwise identical, and provided traction is no issue, something as simple as gearing could determine which car is quickest. Twin-clutches can also change up gears far quicker than a human with a lever and clutch.


Roads are indeed designed much safer and vehicles are certainly the safest they’ve ever been, the problem, however, is that drivers are not.

It’s 2018 and still nowhere in this country (as far as I’m aware) is there any sort of driving education taught in schools, I don’t mean basic road rules I’m referring to the type of education that teaches pre-driving adolescents how to drive.

Further, when obtaining a driver’s licence in this country, there is no prerequisite to actually learn how to drive safely. Yes, there are many courses that people can ‘opt’ to take, but currently anybody ‘learning’ to drive are generally taught how to pass drivers tests rather than learning anything about driving dynamics and vehicle control.

Until this is addressed nationally, this status quo has to remain, ie, catering to the lowest common denominator...

Rob Cutting, via Facebook

All the muppets to whom driving is a chore – the ones on their phones on the freeway – will be taken off the roads by autonomous cars in the next decade or two, so this debate is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Until then, get used to seeing even worse driving as people undervalue the attention needed to drive a car. And depend on semi-autonomous gadgets.