2017 was a big news year but mainly for the wrong reasons. The closure of local manufacturing dominated the news agenda, we had the lingering rumblings of Dieselgate casting a shadow over the industry and Tesla discovered that selling a dream was far easier than teaching a robot to spot weld.
In amongst the doom and gloom were a number of big stories that got us interested. Here are our top five for the year.
1. Walkinshaw Wildfire
Who doesn’t like the idea of a 300kW+ mega-ute? We certainly do, and if we can no longer buy a Maloo, a LF3-engined Colorado sounds a pretty exciting Plan B. Any news on Walkinshaw or HSV certainly got the attention of Wheels readers, with this news story almost melting down our social media pages.
Read more about the Walkinshaw here.
2. HSV GTS-R W1 revealed
It takes something pretty spectacular to relegate Wheels Car of the Year to second place on our February issue, but the W1 more than justified the big billing. Sending the Aussie-built Commodore body out with a 475kW bang guaranteed it a place in the hearts of every petrolhead. Speculators dived in straight away, but to stash one of these away in a garage is a bit of a crime.
Read about the HSV GTS-R W1 reveal here.
3. Mazda SkyActiv-X tech
Without doubt the tech story of the year (next to Infiniti’s VC-T engine), Mazda’s SkyActiv-X petrol engine is almost a work of genius. While diesel engines burn their fuel by squashing it until it spontaneously combusts (compression ignition), a petrol engine uses a spark plug to kick off the combustion process (spark ignition). The SkyActiv-X engine is, in effect, a fusion of those two techniques, and promises the economy of a diesel and the refinement and performance of a petrol unit. You’ll have to read the story for the low-down on how it works. Needless to say, it’s brain-bendingly clever.
Read more about Skyactiv-X tech
4. Jaguar goes all electric for the F-TYPE
Toby Hagon might be the best-networked man in Australian motor journalism and his feelers extended all the way to the UK, where he managed to tease out this great story. An existing petrol-engined range going all-electric would be big news anywhere, but the F-Type Jag? That’s one heck of a big call. Revealed in Wheels’ current issue, Hagon highlights how the coupe/roadster could become a drastically different but concussively rapid 2+2.
5. JLR-s three-pot Ingenium engine
This was another world exclusive for Wheels, with plans for a three-cylinder crank spotted on the side of a milling machine in JLR’s engine factory in Wolverhampton. There’s been some speculation as to which model this engine will appear in. The best guess at present is a three-pot Range Rover Evoque PHEV.
Read more about the Ingenium engine