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ICONS OF MOTORING

TEN OF THE BEST TO CELEBRATE A DECADE OF MOTORING FOR LEADERS

South Africa has a rich automotive culture steeped in a history of iconic cars and brands that have left a lasting impression on enthusiasts and drivers alike. From luxurious sedans to high-performance sports cars, the South African market has seen a diverse range of vehicles synonymous with style, innovation, and driving pleasure. To mark Driven’s tenth anniversary, we gathered ten of the country’s iconic cars for a once-in-a-decade celebration of motoring excellence.

In the ever-evolving automotive industry landscape, certain vehicles stand out as timeless icons, revered for their unparalleled craftsmanship, innovative engineering, and enduring legacy. 

These vehicles transcend mere transportation, embodying the essence of automotive excellence and captivating the hearts of enthusiasts around the world. From luxurious sedans to high-performance sports cars, each of these icons has left an indelible mark on the motoring landscape, earning its place in automotive history.

This month, we embark on a journey to explore some of South Africa’s most iconic cars, each with its own unique charm and appeal. From the sleek sophistication of the BMW 5 Series to the adrenaline-fueled excitement of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, these vehicles represent the pinnacle of automotive achievement, pushing the boundaries of design, performance, and technology.

Join us as we delve into the stories behind these automotive icons, celebrating their heritage, innovation, and enduring legacy in the motoring world. From their humble beginnings to their status as timeless classics, these vehicles continue to inspire and captivate enthusiasts of all ages, embodying the spirit of automotive excellence for generations.

A LEGACY OF ELEGANCE AND PERFORMANCE

BMW 5 SERIES

The BMW 5 Series stands as a testament to German engineering excellence, blending luxurious comfort with dynamic performance. For decades, the 5 Series has been the benchmark for executive sedans, offering a perfect balance of sophistication and driving pleasure. 

In South Africa, the BMW 5 Series has enjoyed immense popularity among discerning drivers who appreciate its combination of refinement, technology, and performance.

The latest generation of the BMW 5 Series continues to uphold the model’s legacy with sleek design elements, advanced technology features, and innovative drivetrains – from the staple 520d to the future-forward i5 M60 xDrive. 

Although rationalised from offering numerous derivatives, the 5 Series line-up no includes two models, with the i5 M60 xDrive introducing all-electric modbility to the iconic saloon line-up. With as much as 442 kW and 820 Nm, the i5 is the most powerful non-M 5 Series ever conceived, and introduces a vast range of new technologies to propel the world’s most desired business saloon to new heights.

Whether cruising along the open road or navigating through city streets, the 5 Series delivers an exhilarating and comfortable driving experience. With its precise handling, responsive steering, and smooth ride quality, the BMW 5 Series remains a top choice for those seeking the ultimate in luxury and performance.

THE EPITOME OF SPORTS CAR EXCELLENCE

Porsche 911 Turbo

Few cars have achieved legendary status quite like the Porsche 911. With its iconic silhouette, breathtaking performance, and timeless design, the 911 is the epitome of sports car excellence. 

In South Africa, this high-performance machine has commanded the attention of enthusiasts for decades – whether on the road or the racetrack – offering drivers an adrenaline-fueled driving experience unlike any other.

In 1974, Porsche introduced the first production turbocharged 911. Although called the 930 Turbo (930 being its internal type number) in Europe, it was marketed as the 930 Turbo Carrera in North America. The body shape incorporated wide wheel arches to accommodate the wide 205/50R15 and 225/50R15 Pirelli P7 tyres, and a large rear spoiler often known as a “whale tail” on the early cars (modified from the original 1974 IROC design). They were initially fitted with a 3.0-litre engine producing 191 kW and a four-speed manual transmission.

As Porsche celebrates this milestone, one of the stars of our show this month is the inimitable Turbo S. Powered by Porsche’s equally iconic turbocharged flat-six engine, the 911 Turbo S delivers blistering acceleration and razor-sharp handling that is sure to thrill even the most seasoned drivers. 

Every aspect of the 911 Turbo S is engineered for maximum performance and precision, from its sculpted bodywork to its advanced aerodynamics. Whether carving through winding mountain roads or tearing up the track, the Porsche 911 Turbo S sets the standard for everyday sports car performance.

Performance Meets Practicality

Porsche Macan GTS

The Porsche Macan GTS is more than just an SUV; it’s a powerhouse of performance and versatility, seamlessly blending the agility of a sports car with the practicality of an SUV. With its commanding presence on South African roads, the Macan GTS exudes confidence and athleticism, making every journey a thrilling adventure. Whether navigating urban streets or conquering rugged terrain, this dynamic SUV delivers an exhilarating driving experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Beneath the sheet metal lies a potent turbocharged engine that packs a 324 kW and 550 Nm punch, delivering impressive power and acceleration at every turn. With its responsive steering and precise handling, the Macan GTS effortlessly manoeuvres through tight corners and winding mountain roads, providing drivers with a sense of control and confidence behind the wheel.

Inside the cabin, the Macan GTS offers a sanctuary of luxury and refinement, with premium materials and meticulous attention to detail throughout. From the supple leather upholstery to the state-of-the-art infotainment system, every aspect of the interior is designed to elevate the driving experience and ensure maximum comfort for all occupants.

But the Macan GTS isn’t just about performance and luxury; it’s also incredibly practical and versatile. With ample cargo space and flexible seating arrangements, this SUV adapts to the needs of modern life, whether it’s hauling groceries or transporting the family on a weekend getaway. Plus, with advanced technology features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, the Macan GTS offers peace of mind on every journey.

The Porsche Macan GTS embodies automotive excellence, combining performance, luxury, and practicality in a single package. With its powerful engine, agile handling, and refined interior, this dynamic SUV sets the standard for what a modern-day compact performance SUV should be. Whether you’re seeking thrills on the open road or comfort on your daily commute, the Macan GTS delivers an unmatched driving experience that will leave you craving more.

A Symbol of Luxury and Exclusivity 

Aston Martin DB12

The Aston Martin DB heritage is as rich as it is iconic, with a lineage that spans decades – from the legendary DB5 immortalised by James Bond, to the sleek and powerful DB12, each model in the DB line-up has left an indelible mark on the world of motoring.

A commitment to craftsmanship, performance, and luxury is at the heart of the Aston Martin DB legacy. Each DB model is meticulously crafted by skilled artisans, with inspiring attention to detail. From the hand-stitched leather upholstery to the precision-engineered components, every aspect of a DB car reflects Aston Martin’s dedication to excellence.

But it’s not just about craftsmanship; it’s also about performance. The Aston Martin DB line-up is renowned for its powerful engines, agile handling, and exhilarating performance. Whether tearing up the racetrack or cruising along the highway, a DB car delivers an unmatched driving experience that will thrill even the most discerning enthusiast.

And, of course, there’s the unmistakable style of the Aston Martin DB12. With its sleek lines, iconic grille, and signature design cues, the DB12 is a work of art on wheels that exudes sophistication and class, commanding attention wherever it goes.

Powered by a voluminous 4.0-litre V8 turbo engine that produces 494 kW and 800 Nm, the Aston Martin DB12 promises to be a future icon that will hold a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts, with its combination of British craftsmanship, performance, and luxury. Whether it’s the timeless elegance of the DB5 or the cutting-edge technology of the DB12, a DB car is a symbol of automotive excellence that is sure to stand the test of time.

THE HOT HATCH SENSATION

Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy 

Renowned for its agile handling and spirited performance, the Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy has carved out a niche in the fiercely competitive hot hatch segment. With its sporty design, potent engine, and track-focused dynamics, the Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy delivers thrills on the road and the racetrack. 

Now in its fifth and (sadly) final iteration, this dynamic hatchback has captured the hearts of driving enthusiasts who appreciate its blend of performance and practicality. Whether tearing up the tarmac on a twisty mountain pass or navigating city streets with agility, the Trophy offers an exhilarating and engaging driving experience.

The Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy boasts a range of performance-enhancing features, including a responsive chassis, upgraded brakes, and a sport-tuned suspension system. These elements work together to deliver precise handling and maximum grip, allowing drivers to confidently push the limits.

In addition to its impressive performance capabilities, the Trophy boasts a stylish and comfortable interior, with supportive seats, premium materials, and intuitive technology features. With its spacious cabin and versatile cargo area, this hot hatch is as practical as it is fun to drive. Whether commuting to work or embarking on a weekend getaway, the Renault Megane 300 Trophy RS delivers a driving experience that is both thrilling and versatile.

ITALIAN FLAIR MEETS SUV PRACTICALITY

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce

Combining Italian flair with SUV practicality, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce stands out in the premium crossover segment. With its striking design and agile handling, the Stelvio Veloce offers an adrenaline-charged yet practical. 

This stylish SUV turns heads in South Africa with its distinctive Alfa Romeo design cues and performance-oriented features. Whether exploring scenic routes in the countryside or navigating urban landscapes with ease, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce is a versatile companion for drivers who demand style and substance.

On paper, the Stelvio’s spec sheet may not immediately inspire, but look again, and you’ll notice that the Veloce will get you from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds, putting it firmly in hot hatch territory. The Veloce is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 206 kW and 400 Nm, backed by a ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission and Alfa’s Q4 all-wheel drive system. Indeed, the way the Stelvio Veloce performs is anything but ordinary, living up to the looks and the badge as it’s a genuinely engaging car to drive.

The Stelvio Veloce features advanced technology and safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. These systems work seamlessly together to enhance driver confidence and safety on the road.

With its spacious and luxurious interior, the Stelvio Veloce provides a comfortable and refined driving environment for both drivers and passengers. Premium materials, ergonomic design, and intuitive controls create a sense of sophistication and ease of use, making every journey a pleasure. 

LUXURY, PERFORMANCE, AND HERITAGE COMBINED 

Mercedes-Amg GT 63 S E Performance

Blending luxury, performance, and practicality in one sleek package, the Mercedes-Benz GT 63 S E Performance is a true masterpiece of automotive engineering. With its elegant design, powerful engine options, and advanced technology, the GT 63 S E Performance offers a driving experience that is second to none. In South Africa, this luxurious grand tourer is the epitome of refinement, commanding attention with its commanding presence and effortless performance. 

Drawing its power from Mercedes’ legendary 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance is the most powerful series model to come out of Affalterbach. Its motorsport genes completely redefine performance: maximum system power and torque of 620 kW and 900 Nm, respectively, and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds.

The GT 63 S E Performance is equipped with the latest Mercedes-Benz technology, including the MBUX infotainment system, voice control, and driver-assistance features. These innovations combine to create a seamless and intuitive driving experience.

Inside the cabin, the GT 63 S E Performance exudes luxury and sophistication, with premium materials and meticulous attention to detail. From the soft-touch leather upholstery to the premium wood veneers and metal finishes, every interior element reflects Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to craftsmanship and quality. Passengers are treated to a wealth of comfort and convenience features, including heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a state-of-the-art entertainment system.

The Mercedes-Benz GT 63 S E Performance sets the standard for high-power luxury sedans with its combination of exquisite craftsmanship, advanced technology, and uncompromising performance. From its iconic design to its refined interior and impressive capabilities, the GT 63 S E Performance represents the pinnacle of automotive luxury, making it the ultimate choice for discerning drivers seeking the very best in high-performance luxury and comfort.

UNMATCHED CAPABILITY AND COMFORT 

Jeep Grand Cherokee

As one of the most iconic SUVs on the market, tracing its roots back four decades to the first unibody chassis Jeep Grand Cherokee from 1983, the modern Grand Cherokee is synonymous with rugged capability and refined comfort. With its bold design, powerful engine, and advanced off-road features, the Grand Cherokee is ready to confidently tackle any adventure. 

Locally, this versatile SUV is a favourite among drivers who demand premium refinement and performance in equal measure. Whether traversing rugged terrain or cruising along the highway, the Jeep Grand Cherokee offers an American muscle car-inspired ride with comfort and capability in an iconic package.

The Grand Cherokee boasts a spacious and luxurious interior, with premium materials and thoughtful design touches throughout. With features like heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, and advanced infotainment options, the Grand Cherokee ensures that every journey is as comfortable as it is exciting.

Under the hood, the Grand Cherokee offers the thrilling 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine across the range, delivering impressive performance and towing capabilities. With its advanced four-wheel-drive system and available off-road packages, this SUV is equally at home on the trail and on the highway.

In addition to its performance capabilities, the Grand Cherokee Limited offers a range of advanced safety features to provide peace of mind on every journey. From adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, the Grand Cherokee Limited is equipped with the latest driver-assistance technologies from Stellantis that enhances safety and confidence behind the wheel.

Overall, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the perfect companion for drivers who seek adventure without sacrificing luxury. With its rugged design, potent drivetrain, renowned off-road capability, and advanced technology features, the Grand Cherokee is ready to take on any challenge with style and confidence.

LUXURY HYBRID EXCELLENCE

Lexus RX450h+

Combining luxury and hybrid technology, the Lexus RX450h+ offers a unique blend of efficiency and refinement. With its sophisticated design, spacious interior, and advanced hybrid powertrain, the RX450h+ delivers a driving experience that is both environmentally responsible and luxurious. 

A firm favourite with local buyers since the first RX was released here in 1998, the Lexus RX 300 was the world’s first-ever luxury crossover utility vehicle (CUV). Combining the best features of a luxury sedan and a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the RX ushered in a new standard of comfort, design, and performance for manufacturers worldwide. 

Today, the RX450h+ features Lexus’ renowned hybrid powertrain, which seamlessly combines a 2.5-litre petrol engine with electric motors to generate 205 kW and 430 Nm while ensuring maximum efficiency. With its regenerative braking system and intelligent energy management, the RX450h+ maximises fuel economy without sacrificing power or performance.

Inside the cabin, the RX450h+ provides a spacious and upscale environment, with premium materials and advanced technology features. From the luxurious leather upholstery to the intuitive infotainment system, every aspect of the interior is designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Its spacious seating and versatile cargo area ensure that the RX450h+ is equally well-suited for daily driving and long-distance travel.

On the road, the RX450h+ delivers a smooth and composed ride with precise steering and responsive handling. Whether cruising on the highway or navigating city streets, this hybrid SUV offers a refined and comfortable driving experience for both driver and passengers.

The Lexus RX450h+ sets the Takumi-inspired standard for luxury hybrid SUVs with its combination of efficiency, refinement, and advanced technology. With its elegant design, spacious interior, and smooth performance, the RX450h+ is the perfect choice for drivers seeking sustainable exclusivity.

THE ULTIMATE LUXURY SUV

Bentley Bentayga Azure

For drivers who demand nothing but the best, the Bentley Bentayga Azure epitomises opulence and unparalleled individuality. With its exquisite craftsmanship, powerful engine options, and unparalleled comfort features, the Bentayga Azure offers a driving experience that is truly unmatched. 

When Bentley first introduced the Bentayga to South Africa in 2016, there had never before been a luxury SUV of its stature. Admired by Bentleaficionadosos across the globe, discerning South Africans could, for the first time, indulge their passion for the Bentley brand in an all-terrain vehicle that remains to this day, one of the world’s most iconic.

This prestigious SUV exudes stature and sophistication in Azure form, commanding attention with its iconic design and refined presence. The Azure elevates the luxury SUV experience, offering new levels of comfort alongside unique styling, and is available in South Africa with Bentley’s silky smooth 4.0-litre V8 turbo engine (404 kW and 770 nm) that sets the standard in SUV luxury.

Whether cruising along the coast or exploring off-road trails, the Bentley Bentayga Azure delivers an indulgent and exhilarating driving experience.

With its advanced adaptive air suspension, the Bentayga Azure glides over any terrain with unparalleled smoothness and composure, ensuring a serene and comfortable ride for all occupants.

In addition to its impressive performance capabilities, the Bentayga Azure offers a range of advanced safety features to provide peace of mind on every journey and is equipped with the latest driver-assistance technologies to enhance safety and confidence behind the wheel.

Inside the cabin, the Bentayga Azure shines as a beacon of sophistication, with handcrafted materials and meticulous attention to detail throughout. From the soft-touch leather upholstery to the premium wood veneers and metal finishes, every element of the interior reflects Bentley’s commitment to craftsmanship and lasting quality. Passengers are treated to a wealth of comfort and convenience features, including heated and ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a state-of-the-art entertainment system.

On the road, the Bentayga Azure delivers a driving experience that is both commanding and refined, with precise steering, responsive handling, and a whisper-quiet cabin. Whether cruising along the highway or navigating city streets, the Bentley Bentayga Azure offers a level of comfort and luxury unmatched in the SUV segment.

From its iconic design to its refined interior and impressive capabilities, the Bentayga Azure represents the pinnacle of automotive luxury, making it the ultimate choice for discerning drivers seeking the best in premium comfort.

LAST WORD

As we celebrate Driven‘s tenth anniversary, these “icons of motoring” stand as testaments to the artistry, innovation, and engineering prowess that define the automotive landscape. From their luxurious interiors to their exhilarating performance capabilities, each car continues to leave an indelible mark on South Africa’s motoring culture. 

Reflecting on their legacy, we’re reminded of the passion and dedication that drive automotive enthusiasts worldwide. With each model representing a chapter in automotive history, we eagerly anticipate the next evolution of motoring excellence, knowing that these iconic vehicles will continue to inspire.

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