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a di­rect de­scen­dent that would also set new stan­dards within its own area of the hy­per­car mar­ket, cre­at­ing a blood­line of highly spe­cialised, lim­ited pro­duc­tion ma­chines that can ex­ist in par­al­lel with As­ton Martin’s series pro­duc­tion mod­els. I’m thrilled to an­nounce that this car is the Project ‘003’, and our next step into a dy­namic and ex­act­ing arena.”


Not long ago Mazda re­vealed it was work­ing on new fuel so­lu­tions. Now the Ja­panese brand has pro­vided the first glimpse of the next gen­er­a­tion of Sky­ac­tiv-X petrol en­gines with Ho­mo­ge­neous Charge Com­pres­sion Ig­ni­tion (HCCI) tech­nol­ogy.

Fun­da­men­tally, HCCI com­bines char­ac­ter­is­tics of con­ven­tional gaso­line and diesel en­gines. It’s able to op­er­ate as a petrol en­gine us­ing a spark plug in low-tem­per­a­ture ig­ni­tion, but it’s also able to use high com­pres­sion and a high tem­per­a­ture to ig­nite the air/ fuel mix­ture like a diesel en­gine. This is said to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency while de­creas­ing con­sump­tion and emis­sions. The tech­nol­ogy is ex­pected to be in­tro­duced in the new Mazda 3 to be un­veiled next month.


The launch of Mercedes-AMG’s One hy­per­car has re­port­edly been post­poned to mid to late 2020. That’s the word from AMG boss To­bias Mo­ers.

The Project One, which was re­cently re­named the AMG One, has been in the off­ing since 2017 with a con­firmed launch for 2019. “We have a de­lay; it’s not a se­cret,” Mo­ers said. “There were ad­just­ments to be made on the pow­er­train.”

He went on to ex­plain that there are many is­sues, sin­gling out a sta­ble idle as one that’s par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing.

The For­mula1 One de­rived 1.6l tur­bocharged V6 hy­brid pow­er­train nor­mally idles at a whop­ping 5,000rpm in Mercedes-AMG’s F1 race cars, but for road use AMG needs to get the idle down to 1,200rpm while still meet­ing emis­sions reg­u­la­tions.

Mo­ers fur­ther ex­plained: “At a 1,200rpm idle, you have to meet the emis­sions reg­u­la­tions. You need a sta­ble, proper idle. If it’s un­sta­ble, your emis­sions are un­sta­ble.”

Mo­ers as­sured the me­dia that a so­lu­tion will be found. He also men­tioned that cus­tomers aren’t con­cerned about the de­lay be­cause they want the car to be launched with­out is­sues, as some have ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems with pre­vi­ous hy­brid hy­per­cars they’ve owned.

An­other in­ter­est­ing morsel re­vealed by the AMG boss is that, with an 11,000rpm (4,000rpm short of an F1 car) red­line, the One will sound just like an F1 car and feel like a GT3 race car with a 350km/h limit. At 50,000km a re­build of the en­gine will be nec­es­sary and pos­si­bly the One will be op­tioned with slick tyres for track us­age.


The South African Car of the Year con­test run by the SA Guild of Mo­tor­ing Jour­nal­ists (SAGMJ) has run into prob­lems with seven ve­hi­cle brands de­cid­ing to pull out of next year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

BMW, Volk­swa­gen, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Ford, and Kia have con­firmed their with­drawal and will not hon­our nom­i­na­tions for the 2019 com­pe­ti­tion. They join Mazda, which sev­ered its ties in 2016.

The Na­tional Au­to­mo­tive As­so­ci­a­tion of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers of SA (Naamsa) com­mented that it didn’t have an of­fi­cial stance on the is­sue, and left it up to in­di­vid­ual mo­tor com­pa­nies to de­cide whether to take part in Coty.

Asked to ex­plain their stance, the car com­pa­nies pointed to a va­ri­ety of griev­ances such as dis­agree­ments with cer­tain com­pe­ti­tion rules, or a lack of re­turn on in­vest­ment.

There has been con­tro­versy about Porsche win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion four times in re­cent years with its Boxster, Cay­man, Ma­can and Panam­era (the reign­ing car of the year), though none of the auto com­pa­nies cited this as a rea­son for their with­drawal. Porsche is among the brands that are stay­ing put.

Ac­cord­ing to SAGMJ chair­per­son Ru­bin van Niek­erk, there is noth­ing to worry about. He is pos­i­tive that the guild will hold a suc­cess­ful awards pro­gramme de­spite the exit of key brands that make up a large chunk of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the South African ve­hi­cle pop­u­la­tion.

“Let’s wait un­til af­ter Novem­ber 1, which is the of­fi­cial cut-off date for nom­i­nated brands to make fi­nal de­ci­sions,” says Van Niek­erk.

For brands that choose not to of­fi­cially take part but have ve­hi­cles nom­i­nated as fi­nal­ists, Van Niek­erk said SAGMJ may choose the op­tion of rent­ing those cars to drive dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion’s test days.

The SAGMJ re­cently an­nounced Au­to­trader as the new main Coty spon­sor af­ter a long-term re­la­tion­ship with Wes­bank since the com­pe­ti­tion’s in­cep­tion in 1986.

Pos­si­ble trou­ble looms for 2019 SA Car of the Year com­pe­ti­tion af­ter the exit of a num­ber of brands.

Idling but still on course: Mercedes-AMG One su­per­car bat­tles en­gine idle is­sues.

Mazda’s tech­ni­cal en­gi­neers have never shied away from break­through tech­nol­ogy. HCCI is quite a won­der.

Is it a bird? It’s As­ton Martin’s teaser im­age of an up­com­ing 003 hy­per­car.

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