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The best feature stories of 2017, part one

By Tony O'Kane, 23 Dec 2017 Features

Best features cover LONG

What were the most popular Wheels feature articles of 2017?

Features are our bread and butter here at Wheels, and we take great pride in bringing you high-quality stories that go a step further than your typical news-and-reviews website.

Here are five of the most popular features that we've produced in 2017 – clearly you all enjoyed reading them just as much as we enjoyed creating them.

BERLIN AIRLIFT COMMODORE

We gave a tearful farewell to the Australian-made Commodore this year, but while Australian car manufacturing is no longer the Commodore will indeed live on as a rebadged Opel.

To get acquainted with the VF Commo's replacement, we took a factory-fresh Opel Commodore on a roadtrip through Germany to discover a German-Australian partnership of a different sort: the vital role the Royal Australian Air Force played during the Berlin Airlift.


MAZDA ROTARY TURNS 50

2017 marked the 50th brithday of Mazda's rotary engine, which first made its production debut half a century ago in the sleek and dainty Cosmo coupe. Its had a tumultuous history since then, surviving the oil crisis of the 1970s, steadily-tightening emissions laws and declining demand for sports cars – especially those powered by oddball powertrains.

Only one manufacturer has persisted with rotary-engined production cars: Mazda. To celebrate the rotary blowing out fifty candles, we travelled to Mazda's home town of Hiroshima to sample the gamut of Mazda rotaries – and ponder on what the future may hold for Mazda's unique spinning triangles.


GODZILLA FAMILY REUNION: 400R MEETS GT-R NISMO

Two cars separated by two decades, but bonded not just in name but in their spirit as well – this is what we discovered when we took Nissan's head-stomping R35 GT-R Nismo and reunited it with its granddad: the R33 Skyline-based Nismo 400R.

Both are rare (only 20 GT-R Nismos will be sold in Australia per year; only 44 400Rs were ever built), both are ludicrously fast, and both are worth a significant amount of money. As the most extreme examples of Nissan performance cars of their eras, the 400R and GT-R Nismo share plenty of DNA.


HSV GTS-R - New v. Old walkaround vid

Holden Special Vehicles resurrected the GTS-R badge this year as a last-hurrah supercharged swansong special. With a 6.2-litre supercharged bent-eight thumping away under its vented bonnet it's undoubtedly a beast, but how does it compare to its ancestor, the original HSV GTS-R?


TESLA MODEL S P100D VS MERCEDES-AMG E63 VS HSV GTS-R DRAG BATTLE

Each of these cars are high-performance monsters in their own right, but what happens when you line them up against each other on a dragstrip? Data doesn't lie, and our findings on which approach – all-electric torque and all-wheel drive; twin-turbo petrol V8 and all-wheel drive; supercharged V8 and rear-wheel drive – makes for the best sprinter makes for interesting viewing.