Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

This week on Chasing Cars: major EV incentives, Cupra details plans and RS3 drifts into action


Welcome back to your weekly wrap up of car news where we find the bits that matter and condense them down into one easy read.

Is there anything better than free money? Alright let’s rein that in a bit, how about free money for a brand-spanking new car? The answer is still no.

But in a fleeting moment of evidence-based policymaking that’s exactly what we got this week when the NSW government announced a slew of rebates and other incentives for electric vehicles.

EV Challenge 2021 contenders
The NSW government announces a huge range of incentives for EV buyers

The rolling impact of this was huge and works its way into most of the articles we’ve written this week – but I’ll come back to that, let’s talk about what else happened.

As far as announcements go, we saw a range of cars from very swish wagons like the Peugeot 308 SW and Volkswagen Arteon, smart hatches like the Honda Civic and even the face-ripping Porsche 911 Carrera GTS lined up for our shores – and we’re all the better for it I say.

But in some sad news, we also saw Audi announced it would globally kill off the combustion engine by 2033 (except in China for some reason) – while Hyundai Motor Group decided it likes the look of that Boston Dynamics place that keeps going viral and snapped it up to start building some very cool looking robots.

Nissan Leaf e+ 2021 front 3/4
Buyers purchasing an EV under $78,000 will not have to pay stamp duty in NSW as of September 1

NSW government announces major incentives for EV buyers

The new incentives announced as part of the NSW State Budget will come into effect as of September 1 and include a range of measures to make EVs more affordable and alluring to buyers.

Chief among these is the abolition of stamp duty on EVs costing up to $78,000, in addition to a $3,000 rebate that’s been made available for EVs under $68,750 – and yes you can use both at the same time.

This should wipe around $5,000 off the cost of most cheap EVs and knock the edge off the financial premium involved when going electric – but it won’t get rid of the difference entirely.

The NSW government will also build $131million worth of EV charging stations and allow buyers to use a priority car parks and traffic lanes – this will eventually come at a cost however, with a 2.5c/km electric vehicle road charge set to be introduced in 2027 or when EVs make up 30 per cent of the overall market.

Cupra Formentor 2022-2
Cupra is coming to Australia armed with a slew of performance cars including the Formentor

Cupra details plans for Australia

It’s not everyday that we get a new car brand, and certainly not one like Cupra, that is focused exclusively on performance cars that are priced relatively affordably. 

Cupra will bring a range of cars to Australia next year, including the Leon hot hatch, Ateca small SUV and Formentor midsize SUV.

The underling of the Volkswagen Group will also bring PHEV versions of the Formentor and Leon to Australia with the fully electric Born hatch to follow but timing is not yet confirmed.

Ben Wilks, Cupra Australia Brand Director, made it clear they would not compromise for the masses, insisting “(Cupra) is not a brand that wants to be liked by everybody, but loved by some.”

Audi RS3 2022 hatchback rear end
Audi has given the new RS3 a torque splitter all wheel drive system that is more flexible than ever

Audi RS3 gets seriously sideways

It hasn’t been fully unveiled just yet but Audi has given us some good insight into the new RS3 that sure doesn’t look to disappoint,

For a start, it will retain its ballistic 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine with power holding steady at 294kW but torque has been given a 20Nm bump to 500Nm. 

The end result is the RS3 is now a sub 4-second car with a 0-100km/h time of just 3.8 seconds – which is largely thanks to a tricky new all wheel drive system.

Specifically, this means Audi has ditched the Haldex system in favour of a new Torque Splitter arrangement that has the ability to send 100 per cent of its rear-driven power to either wheel – making drifting and generally better handling a reality. 

Peugeot 308 SW 2021 6
Peugeot announced the gorgeous 308 SW is coming to Australia alongside the regular hatch

Other car and SUV news we covered this week:

  • MG also welcomed the package and pointed out the MG ZS EV – already Australia’s cheapest EV – could be snapped up for as little as $39,670 driveaway.
  • Volkswagen detailed the Golf hatch which is now on sale with prices starting from $29,350 plus on-road costs. The iconic hatch packs loads of safety technology and sleek minimalist new design. 
  • Porsche announced the 911 Carrera GTS is coming back early next year with a price of $314,800 before on-road costs. Pricey yes, but that gets you some 353kW/569Nm from its sweet 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine and handling dynamics like no other.
  • Hyundai also teased the i30 Sedan N this week, which will arrive in Australia later this year and sits on a newer platform than the hatch – meaning it could potentially drive even better.
  • The Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 is now on sale with prices starting from $76,800 (before on-roads) with a more feature-packed ‘First Edition’ also on offer.
  • The Jeep Gladiator got an update with more standard features added to the lineup and even more capability, with the off road yank tank now able to carry 693kg in the bed.

And that’s a wrap, see you all next week!