Overdrive: New Audi S3 on a driver’s road; Mazda CX5 touch-up; Fudging odometers; Morgan 3-wheeler

Hello and welcome to Overdrive, where we embrace the glories of motoring and transport.

I’m David Brown

The times each story appears in the program are noted (mm:ss)

News (1:03)

  • Odometer readings
  • Renault suspends operations in plant in Moscow
  • Audi S3 on a driver’s road
  • Audi A3 less powerful sibling but made for purpose

Feature Story (7:44)

  • We reflect on car launches the Audi S3 and the Mazda CX5

Feedback (16:24)

  • Why a viewer of one of our videos, wished he had married our Jaguar restorer’s daughter

 Motoring Minute (17:02)

  • Jeep Gladiator

Quirky news

  • Brian Smith and I discuss the new three-wheeled Morgan

Odometer Fraud

The NSW government through their police department issued a press release saying that with the boom in second-hand car sales, due to supply difficulties with new cars, there has been a fourfold increase in fines issued for odometer fraud.

The numbers are not big – they have risen from 22 to 76 in a year which by our calculation is nearer to a three-fold increase rather than a four-fold jump as claimed, but any fraud is a bad thing.

  • Modern digital odometer systems are very hard, if not impossible to tamper with
  • It is more likely that a fraud could be committed when a system is replaced.
  • Car companies typically have very strong protocols when issuing a replacement part. Kia for example will not send out a new part unless you submit documentation on the existing odometer reading and then they code in the kilometre reading before they send it out
  • Any registered sales organisation such as a dealer or general car yard is under close scrutiny
  •  Private sales are harder to police and a longer-term trend has been the increasing dominance of private sales because of the ease of advertising through e-Bay, gumtree or even specific motoring sites (there is nothing wrong with this as a process but it is more difficult to try and identify if a seller is being fraudulent)
  • On the other hand, many people (particularly adventurers including grey nomads) are very proud of the distance they have travelled
  • If you are looking to buy a second-hand car, the Fair Trading department in each state should have a detailed checklist of what you should do to minimise the chance of being cheated.

Renault Suspends some Russian Activities

The Renault Group has suspended its activities in its manufacturing plant in Moscow In regard to its 2/3 stake in AVTOVAZ, the Renault Group is assessing the available options

AVTOVAZ makes Lada and Dacia vehicles and has about 30% of the Russian market

Avtovaz sold 350,000 vehicles in 2021, making profits before tax of the equivalent of $273 million AUD for Renault – or about 12% of its earnings that year, but it has been reported that the Russian activities accounted for half of Renault’s profit in 2021 after the company made loses in the two previous years.

Renault has 45,000 employees in Russia.

They have revised their 2022 financial outlook lowering the expected operating margin from 4% to around 3%. And lowering its anticipated free cash flow

Renault which is majority-owned by the French Government and some other French businesses were heavily criticised by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and members of his government for not decisively ceasing operations and not acting sooner.

Audi S3

Audi is hoping to reinvigorate its sales in general and its A3 passenger car sales in particular with the release of new models.

The A3 range includes the hot hero car version; the S3

The new S3 comes with the same power train set up for two body shapes: a sedan and a Sportback.

With some features that are now standard rather than being part of option packs and prices starting at $70,700, Audi is pitching at premium features and more performance with less emphasis on optional extras.

The A3 including the S3 is classified in Australia as a small car along with the Mercedes A and B Class, the BMW 1 and 2 series, and the Mini Clubman

The S3 has a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine producing 228 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. This is an additional +15kW of power and +20Nm of torque from its 2019 predecessor and brings the new S3 up to speed with the equivalent performance to that in Europe.

The four-cylinder petrol engine delivers maximum torque across a broad range of between 2,000 and 5,450 rpm, while the rated power output comes in at the high end of 5,500 remaining constant up to 6,500 rpm.

It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds.

Both models have a 7- speed S tronic transmission and are all-wheel-drive

Audi A3

While Audi first showed its S3 sedan and Sportback they also have less energetic siblings the A3. There is a choice of two engines a detuned 2 litre called the 40 TFSI and the smallest engine, the 35 TFSI that has a 1.5 litre turbocharge 4 cylinder with a mild hybrid electric technology running on a 48V system.

With 110 kw the 35 has less than half the power of the S3 and nearly 40% less torque at 250 Nm.

Mild hybrids are hardly noticeable and seem like a lot of effort for the little result but to its credit, the S3 gets 7.4 litres per 100km fuel consumption of 5 litres/100 km.

The dashboard told you when under minimal power it was shifting into two-cylinder mode to enhance it fuel consumption.

Not surprisingly it was a much more sedate car to drive but it still handles very well. But you were less engaged with the vehicle. The A3 felt a bit like driving by numbers compared to the drive-by feel as is the case with the S3. With little exhaust noise, you are much less conscious of the gear you were in and in fairness you left that all up to the vehicle; using the paddles did not produce the perceptive and precise response that made the S3 such a driver’s car.

The 35 is priced at $46,900.

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Originally broadcast on 26 March 2022

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