Friday, December 15, 2017

Bucket Seat: BMW 520d


Earlier this year I got to drive the new BMW 530i for a bit around Johannesburg, it was a car that was made for a busy city, offering the driver a sophisticated business car with a sporty alter-ego. Fast forward a few months and I found myself in another 5 Series but this time in Durban, a city that isn't as frantic as the hustle and bustle like Jozi but this surf city offers it's own little obstacles that the Business Athlete could come against. Also this time I'm driving the range entry diesel engine, which does offer some performance perks compared to the petrol derivative, so I was looking forward to the next seven days with the car. 


STYLE

I don't think I can add anything more than what I've already said in the previous post about this car. It's design is dynamic and progressive, keeping in line with the new design philosophy coming from BMW and something that we will see passed down onto the other models in the years to come. However what I can comment on is that this particular model was pretty basic in terms of what it had on as extras compared to the 530i I had. At the time of the launch, BMW offered customers a few freebies when purchasing the new 5 Series and basically this car had everything that they offered and while when I first jumped into it, it did seem a bit plain, I did come to realise that what it offered was enough. While I'm more of a fan of the Luxury Line, the car came with the M Sport package, taking the aggressive look up a notch with low stance, M kit, large 19" multi-spoke rims and the M badge prominently placed around the car. In white, it really is a looker provided you keep it clean. 


PERFORMANCE

With the BMW 2,0 diesel engine powering this behemoth, I wasn't going to expect mind blowing performance from it but it did surprise me. Given the size and weight of the 5 Series, the TwinPower Turbo engine still manages to produce 140kW and 400Nm of torque, so off the line she is no slouch. Add to that the exceptional economy which BMW claimed and average of 4.7L/100km, I got it close to that but doubt it will be hard to accomplish as this thing sips on the fuel. As per the norm with BMW, there are three driving styles, Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport, usually comfort and sport are the way to go but I found myself driving quite a bit on Eco Pro mode, for one, the digital instrument panel turns to this awesome blue and also most of my time driving was around urban areas and high traffic freeway driving this also saved me a good few litres on fuel. In sports mode on the open road, this thing is a menace. I love having the the sports display on the large 7" display screen on to see how much of the engine I'm using. Also in Sports mode the instrument panel turns red with large numbers displaying your speed. Really awesome feature in this new 5. 


TECHNOLOGY

This car, while not having a lot still was packed with tech. I can go on about the real time traffic on the GPS, the climate control with 3 zones, the M Sport 8 speed auto gear box with paddle shift which is just sublime but I will preach this every single time I get a car with this option, the adaptive LED headlights. Seriously guys, I've driven a few premium luxury cars and BMW's adaptive LED technology still leaves me in awe. Besides bending lights, the ability to sense on coming cars to dim one light and shine the brights on to verge to make sure nothing untowards is there. It's really something you have to experience for yourself and trust me, it will leave you mind blown as well. Sadly what was lacking in this car and while the PDC's are pretty accurate, if you getting a 5 Series, you going to need the reverse camera, the fancy 3 camera system would be better but just the reverse camera is a must as parking this thing isn't the easiest. But if you got a lot of cash you can just opt for the remote park option where the car parks itself. Less headache for you!


VERDICT

I like big cars and I can't deny...okay that sounded better in my head, but I learn't how to drive on a big family sedan so driving big cars like the 5 Series seems natural to me. Hence hatches will never appeal to me at all. Hence this 5 Series, even at first I wasn't too keen seeing how low spec'd it was didn't really appeal to me, I slowly began to love it, love it so much that when it came to returning the car, it hurt a bit. If you looking at buying a 5 Series, personally, this is the best engine variant for it. Given I'm driving it at the cost so performance is a bit better than up country but when it comes to diesel torque it won't differ that much in altitude. This car is everything it says it is, a bit pricey but worth every cent. 


SPECIFICATIONS

 Engine
 2.0 litre Diesel, Twin Turbo 4 cylinder
 Gear Box
 8 speed automatic with paddle shift
 Power
 140kW
 Torque
 400Nm
 Top Speed
 250km/h
 0-100km
 6.2  seconds
 Price
 R782,100*
*Priced without extras and April 1st increase not taken into account.














Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ultra South Africa 2018: Phase 3 Line Up


Phase 3 and the final artist announcement for Ultra 2018 is now out. Click the picture above so can see the full list of names that make up the already stellar lineup for next years event. It's going to be mind blowing with some of the biggest names in Electronic music from the world to South Africa, ready to perform for you! Tickets are selling fast so make sure you get yours now! Ticket information and means to buy them can be found below. 


Ticket information:

Cape Town


 Tier 1
 Tier 2
 General Access
 R700
 R800
 VIP
 R1250
 R1500

Johannesburg


 Tier 1
 Tier 2
 General Access
 R800
 R950
 VIP
 R1500
 R2000
 VVIP
 R4000

*Table booking information to be released soon*

For more information, follow Ultra on TwitterFacebook and Instagram or their website. ultrasouthafrica.com/

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Monday Choon: NWYR - Dragon


After featuring their debut single Voltage not so long ago, the talented duo NWYR have dropped their second single, Dragon. It's been played both at Ultra Miami and at Tomorrowland during their ASOT set. It's one of the many tracks we've been waiting for them to release and now that's its out, we can enjoy it. While W&W have been quiet on their hardstyle music, we're definitely loving whats coming out of the studio's under this alias. Keep it up guys!

Entertainer Durban 2018


I first heard about the Entertainer a while back from a mate of mine, it was this book of coupons that you could use at restaurants and get a buy one, get one free deal on some of the meals. At the time it didn't really seem worth it to me and also the book was kinda big. As with all things, technology tends to take over and with the Entertainer that just made things for it a whole lot better with the app! Now with vouchers at the touch of a button...or screen, it's simple enough to score on these great deals at any time given. The first time I really used the Entertainer was while I was in Dubai on holiday, with our Rand not being the best currency to travel with, eating out did work out to be quite heavy on the pockets, but with the Entertainer we scored big time and saved a lot! 


The second time I've experienced saving with the Entertainer was in Cape Town last year, a friend of mine has the app and whichever restaurant we ate at, she found it on the app and just like that, half the bill was taken cared off. Now with something like this that can save you so much of money, it's almost a no brainer if you a person like me that tends to eat out at least 3 to 4 times a week. 


Last night saw the Durban 2018 launch of the Entertainer app, and with the launch brought some new surprises, with the introduction of fashion and beauty discounts as well as pet grooming and beverages! Along with this, there is also discounts on Hotel bookings, worldwide! while you purchase the app per location, you can select any hotel in the world to book at. Celebrating the Durban 2018 launch, you can now get the Entertainer app at the reduced price of just R295! That amount is minimal compared to the possiblity of saving 100s and 1000s of rands. It really is a great investment to make and a sure way to experience new places and enjoying what the city has to offer all while saving cash at the same time.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Kings & Queens of Comedy - Durban 2018


It's no secret that Durban loves its comedy, with most stand-up comedy shows being sellouts, the people just crave more. With this in mind, organizers of the popular Kings and Queens of Comedy show have got big news for Durban comedy lovers in 2018. With Durban being one the biggest audiences for the comedy brand, they have now extended the line up, with next years being the biggest in six years to ever grace the show! Audiences will be glad to know that most of their favourites will be returning to the stage for this one night only comedy festival along with some popular new ones as well. The show takes place on the 9th of February 2018 and tickets are on sale via Computicket. 


Shining their comical armour and sharpening their witty swords, the stellar line-up includes Darren Maule (MC), Annalakshmi, Arnotte Payne, Celeste Ntuli, Donvan Goliath, Glen Biederman-Pam, Jason Goliath, Joey Rasdien, Khanyisa Banu, Leeandra Reddy, Logie Naidoo, Marc Lottering, Riaad Moosa, Rory Petzer, Sagie Murugan and Safiso Nene, with a guest appreance by Morgan Beatbox. 


"We pride ourselves on bringing world-class South African comedians to stages around the country. You are getting a massive line-up of headliner comedians from start to finsh. We've picked the cream of the crop and we're excited to bring an even bigger and better Kings and Queens of Comedy to Durban in 2018" - comments Osman Osman, MD of Blu Blood.


A name that locals might be excited to see there is former deputy mayor Logie Naidoo, now retired from the world of politics, Naidoo has chosen comedy as a second career. Politicians often provide comics with plenty of material, which means that Durban's socialite politician, Loganathan (Logie) Naidoo, should have no problem with getting the crowd going by adding an interesting colourful twist to the nights hilarities.


With a line-up like that, the show is bound to be one of the best ones yet, so don't miss the Kings and Queens of Comedy, 9 February 2018 at the Durban ICC. Tickets from R185 and are available through Computicket online and the various retail outlets. The show starts at 8pm and is rated PG16. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Choon: Joe Stone - Let's Go Together


Maurice Oude Booyink, better known as Joe Stone is a Dutch DJ and producer who's signed with Spinnin' records. He's music has been around from the early 2015's but not much has been heard from the DJ in the mainstream circles until now. He dropped his track "Let's Go Together" in October and has been receiving airplay from all over, including Tiesto who played the track on his weekly Clublife podcast. The track is a great electro track with an 80's style sample, the music video has that Miami Vice Theme too it as well. It's a great track and certainly one to look out for. 


Friday, December 1, 2017

Bucket Seat: 2017 MINI Countryman JCW


John Cooper Works is an English company which was founded by Michael Cooper, son of the racing car tuner John Cooper. The company was formed in the year 2000 and since been tuning parts for BMW's new Mini's, becoming the brands "M" division for Mini's. Although the car is rich in British Heritage, it's hard to ignore the German influence in the current Mini's so with JCW tuned cars, there adding some of that heritage back, and boy do they do a good job! I spent a week with the all new Mini Countryman JCW, a car which hold's a special place for me as when I first started to review cars on the blog, the very first test car I received was the older generation Countryman JCW and had a blast with it, so I was expecting much of the same from this new model, if not more.


DESIGN

Being a performance version of the regular Countryman, I'm glad that they didn't just stick a kit to the car for the JCW package, they've added a lot bulk which adds that aggressive look to the vehilce. From a low stance, large 19" wheels, flares and stripes, the Countryman JCW really looks menacing, whether it's standing still or on the road tearing up the tarmac and hunting cars down. The trademark JCW logs are prominent all over the car, so there's no mistaking it when you see one. Onto the interior, the first thing that strikes you is the seats, racing style JCW seats with a red outline, in a mixture of suede and leather, the red and black theme continues throughout the cabin as well as full glass electric sunroof. The dash and instrument cluster is much the same as the standard Countryman  with the added JCW badges here and there but the mood lighting on the dash has this awesome streak effect, different from normal. 


PERFORMANCE

The big talking point about this car comes from whats under the hood, while it does have the same 2 liter engine that comes in the Cooper S, this one has been tuned by Michael and his crew at John Cooper Works in Farnborough, Hampshire. They managed to produce 170kW from the motor and produces 350Nm of torque. Apart from that, the entire set-up is tweaked for ultimate driving pleasure. From the suspension, to the dampers and even the exhaust got some treatment with the sounds being enhanced when put into Sport mode. It's hard not to drive the car in sports mode with the pure symphony that comes from those pipes while driving around, gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The snap, crackle and pop just gets your blood going, the acceleration and handling is faultless in the Mini, while it's perfect for road driving, I can only imagine how much fun this would be on a circuit. Now as usual with Mini's, they tend to be a bit thirsty, this one particularly more than the others but I decided to do something I wouldn't normally do, I switched over to the Green Mode, which is basically their equivalent of Eco Pro, I was blown away at how everything changes. The car goes silent, its clam and composed, it even gives you a reading as to how many extra km's you building up in your range! So may be there is some truth in that combined fuel economy figure.


COMFORT

Being a car built for the track in mind, you would expect all this changes and tweaks would make for quite an uncomfortable ride, its quite the opposite. The racing seats are extra cushioned and are a snug fit. The ride quality is just as a good as a normal Countryman and the space is just great. There is plenty of room in the back for the passengers and the luggage area is more than adequate with even an option for more space beneath the trunk floor. The interior has dual climate control which maintains the temperature quite well. The car came with the optional extra of the Harman/Kardon Hi-fi lound speaker system which in local terms "cranks", with the two subs located beneath the driver and front passenger seats. Other extra's that were note worthy are definitely the adaptive LED headlamps. BMW seemed to have perfected this technology and I haven't see anyone that does it better. 


VERDICT

Take all conventional thinking of a Mini and throw it out the window, why? Because this car just kills every cliche there is to it. It is big and spacious, it has immense power, and once you get your foot down, it just keeps going. It is extremely fun to drive, in fact it's addictive to drive, I found myself taking the longer routes home on purpose just so I could spend more time driving it. That doesn't bode well for your bank balance though, I suppose if you could afford one of these you can pay for the fuel as well. It's still can make for a great family car, seeing how spacious it is or for anyone for that matter, also it is has the all4 drive, which means it is capable for some light off roading ...or rally driving. This car gets a big thumbs up from me....almost didn't want to give it back. 


SPECIFICATIONS

 Engine
 2L TwinPower Turbo, supercharged
 Gear Box
 8 Speed Automatic with paddle shift
 Power
 170kW
 Torque
 350Nm
 Fuel Comsumption
 7.4L/100km
 0-100kph
 6.5 Seconds
 Price
 R604,000.00*
*Price excludes extras




















Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Winning Year for Tsogo Sun Suncoast!


2017 has been an award-winning year for us and it’s not over yet!” says Louise Howell, Marketing Manager at SUNCOAST.

The awards range from recognition for contributions in the community to topping popularity-polls by readers of one of Durban’s daily newspapers.

In Women’s Month (August) SUNCOAST scooped the Corporate Citizenship Award, sponsored by British American Tobacco, at the 14th edition of the prestigious Standard Bank Top Women Awards held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

The Corporate Citizenship Award acknowledges the role of business in improving the communities in which they operate and the positive impact on quality of life, economic prosperity or regeneration through direct investment, pro bono work or employee-led initiatives.

The award recognized the ongoing contribution that SUNCOAST makes to the community of Chesterville via its partnership with Vukukhanye (an NPO operating in the area).

Vukukhanye was formed in 2001 and offers essential community services in the form of children’s foster homes, Educare centre, bursary projects, health and welfare services as well as support for community-based organisations and schools. SUNCOAST has been collaborating with the NPO since 2009 providing financial support and regular participation from SUNCOAST staff on various community projects.

“It was extremely gratifying receiving the Corporate Citizenship Award as it validates the culture that the TSOGO Group has instilled in all their properties,” says Howell. “Partnering with Vukukhanye and the CEO, Dr Anthony van der Meulen, allows us to practise the values of Teamwork, Service, Opportunity, Growth and Ownership and make a positive difference in other people’s lives.”

Another award won during the year is the PMR Awards, where SUNCOAST won a Golden Award (4.2 out of 5) in the category of Casino Executive Lifestyle. SUNCOAST also topped a popularity poll from Durban readers when it was recently voted the Best Casino in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in the 2017 Daily News Your Choice Awards for the 14th year running.

“Being voted the Best Casino in KZN for 14 consecutive years is a record that SUNCOAST is extremely proud of,” adds Howell. “It also gives our staff the recognition they deserve. SUNCOAST firmly believes that keeping staff members motivated and happy are the keys to great customer service. The award confirms that our guests notice and appreciate our efforts!”

Individual employees have also been excelling in their departments.  Croupier, Cheszine Muller, was named first runner-up in the 2017 Tsogo Sun National Dealer of the Year Championships at Montecasino, Johannesburg in September.

Muller was one of 18 finalists and was joined in the top five by fellow SUNCOAST colleague, Mbuso Dube (who placed fourth). The table dealers were judged on various criteria in the preliminary rounds of the competition, including knowledge, dealing skills and customer service standards. Once through to the final round they were assessed on technical skills and other aspects of the dealing cycle in American Roulette and Blackjack. The winner was announced after the final five had to answer judges’ questions at the prizewinning dinner.

“Taking part in the Championships was so much fun and not difficult at all because the tasks involved what I do every day,” says 29-year-old Muller, who has been a croupier at SUNCOAST for the past three years.
Meanwhile, finalists Devina Dawkinun and Lebo Mohoko are anxiously awaiting the outcome of their respective competitions.

Dawkinun (founder of the Gemkids Catch-up Programme and manager of SUNCOAST’s Day Care Centre) is one of the top five in the 2017 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a competition for entrepreneurs and alumni benefiting from the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs development programme.

The Day Care manager at SUNCOAST was selected as a finalist from 200 fellow-entrepreneurs and will be attending a National Showcase and Conference at the Southern Sun in Pretoria at the end of October, where the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced.

“I feel proud to be acknowledged by Tsogo Sun,” says Dawkinun. “All too often entrepreneurs go unrecognized. The nomination has meant the world to me and it would be that much more special if I was to win.”

The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur for 2017 will receive R50 000 from Tsogo Sun, a bursary valued at R30 000 from Tsheto Leadership Academy and will be ambassador for Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs for the next year.

Mohoko (barista at Café Vigour and KZN winner of the 2017 Tsogo Sun - Avanti Coffee National Barista Competition) is eagerly anticipating the national battle of the baristas in Gauteng in November. His expert coffee-making skills saw him win the regional round earlier this year.

“Coffee is my passion and, although I am nervous and excited about the Gauteng finals, I hope to make Café Vigour and SUNCOAST proud by bringing the National Barista Champion title home to Durban,” says the popular barista.

“We are eagerly awaiting the judges’ decisions in these two competitions and hope that Devina and Lebo will come out tops,” says Howell. “The accomplishments of the year have made all the hard work worthwhile and motivated everyone to aim for more success in 2018. The public’s support also plays a large part in SUNCOAST’s success for which we are very grateful.”

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Choon: MERCER - Encore


Encore by Mercer is one of those songs you'd hear a bit of in a DJ and set and a bit somewhere else and it will bug you because its really cool and insanely catchy so it will get stuck you your head. I wouldn't call it an ear worm as it's far from being annoying but it really is a great track. The song itself was released in October this year with many remixes following, one of the better ones was by Afrojack and SAYMYNAME, which was a bit of a hard style adaptation of it. The song in its original form is still a power song for me and hence it's this weeks choice of the week. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Bucket Seat: 2017 BMW X3 - First Impressions


The past two days I found myself in the Western Cape, sampling one of BMW's updated offering in their X Line, the all new X3. You couldn't have set the scene any better, blue skies, greenery and mountains around us, all that was left to do was for us to go out and ruin this tranquility with the noise of a burbling 3 liter, straight 6 roaring it's way through the countryside. But before I get to that, lets dabble in a bit of history about the BMW X3, seeing that this is the 3rd generation of this mid-range "SAV" (Suburban Activity Vehicle), seeing how the previous two generations fared in the segment is always handy. Since launching their first X model, the BMW X5 in 1999, the company has so over 5.4 million units world wide, in fact BMW have said that every 1 in 3 model sold globally is an X model. The first BMW X3 rolled off the line in 2003 and to be honest, it wasn't very pretty. The size was perfect for small families who wanted something with a bit more space, the raised ride height had it's advantages but other than that, it wasn't for everyone. The second generation was better to look at, offered a whole lot more and became quite a popular option in the segment, this helped push sales to 1.5 million units sold in the world for the first and second generation models, so from 5 X models on the market, the X3 contributed to 28% of sales, not bad.


Coming back to the new X3, first things first, whats different? Well the short answer would be "everything", no seriously this is entirely a new vehicle. The design language borrows a lot from the current gen 7 and 5 series, from the outside to the inside. The X3 will be offered in 3 packages, xLine, Luxury Line and M Sport, all of which add their own distinct differences to the car but all look great. At launch the X3 is available in 4 engine variants, 2 petrol and 2 diesel. Exterior highlights include the xenon lights being ditched and LED's added as standard with the option of having adaptive LED's for a little bit more, the rear also gets LED lights with a 3D effect. The kidney grille is more larger and prominent, as seen in the new X7 concept, looks like a trend in the X models to come. The X3 also has grown, it is bigger than the previous, not by much but millimeters here and there also the X3 now has bigger wheels ranging from 18" to 21" which BMW say are capable of light off-roading which we put to the test on the launch. Moving inside, BMW have really outdone themselves with this interior. Luxury and premium feel from floor to ceiling, A 10.2 inch screen along with a screen instrument cluster, active lane assist which steers you back into the lane should you veer off. 3 zone climate control, with the front two have their own temperature settings and the rear having their own. There's a lot of other cool things on the inside, like the revised full colour heads up display, the professional SatNav being as accurate to the last meter and the colours and trims available for the X3 will have you astounded. 


On the launch, BMW had 3 variants for us to drive, starting off with the 2.0d Diesel and 3.0 Diesel xDrive and the range topping M40i. Interesting to note that all X3's will come with xDrive with the option of sDrive later next year. Day 1 saw us take a long route through the Western Cape with a mixture of tar and gravel roads, lots of climbing up mountains and for this I opted for the M40i. Plenty of power, lots of grunt and BMW have added a noisy exhaust and boy does it sound good! The power is derived from the M Performance TwinPower turbo technology which has a Twinscroll turbo charger which produces a whopping 265kW and a Max torque of 500Nm. This proved to be awesome while climbing many of the mountain passes. On the gravel the car seemed to be surprisingly at home, in comfort mode the ride was smooth and quiet given the the type of terrain we were on. The xDrive system really works well as I felt it kick in on the loose sections, correcting the car before something bad could happen. It made me look like a rally driving pro. I also got the chance to sample the base level 2.0d, again handled just as well on both road and off road, but with that added beautiful fuel economy. 


The new X3 is a special car for us in South Africa, as from April 2018, plant Rosslyn will start manufacturing the model for local sales as well as exporting majority for Europe. This is a massive feather in the cap for the local industry as it has saw the German manufacturer invest quite a hefty some in upgrades to the plant to transition the assembly of the 3 Series to the X3 and now a further R160 million to increase production capacity by 10%. Rosslyn will be one of three other plants in the world making the X3, with the others being Spartenburg in Germany and Shenyang in China. Selected staff at the Rosslyn plant were sent for training for the new model and a new training center will be opening in Feb of next year for the rest of the plant personnel. Overall the new X3 really seems like the complete package for a mid-sized SUV, it really has moved up a notch in the premium category and offers so much more than the outgoing model and which justifies the price tag. With the base level xD20d starting off at R684,200 and the top of the range M40i coming in at R991,100.