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  • 2020 Proton X50 versus the X70 and Honda HR-V – we compare servicing costs over five years/100,000 km

    The Proton X50 was recently launched in Malaysia, where it is offered in four variants – Standard, Executive, Premium and Flagship – with pricing from RM79,200 to RM103,300. If you’re curious about the new B-segment SUV, do check out our comprehensive launch report and spec-by-spec variant breakdown posts, which are part of our X50 info hub.

    In this post, we’re discussing service maintenance, an aspect that is sometimes overlooked as compared to the car’s initial purchase price. Here, we’re listing the X50’s maintenance schedule over five years or 100,000 km, and comparing it to the X70 as well as the Honda HR-V – a lot of customers are choosing between the two Proton SUVs, and the HR-V is a direct rival to the X50 and a highly popular model in the compact SUV segment.

    Based on the overall figures, the X50 (service costs are the same between the 1.5T and 1.5TDGi models) is cheaper than X70 to maintain over five years or 100,000 km, although the difference is only by a few hundred ringgits. However, it is the HR-V that is the cheapest to maintain, with a grand total of RM3,874.45 compared to the X50’s RM4,326.95. Mind you, that’s a difference of RM452.50, paid over five years, so don’t be alarmed. See the tables below for the specifics.

    Going into detail, we can see that the cost of engine oil for the X50 (RM162.50/service) falls in between what goes into the X70 (RM190) and HR-V (RM88.49), making up the majority of the difference in the grand totals. Engine oil changes, along with the drain plug gasket, are mandatory changes every 10,000 km for all three – the Protons also requires an oil change at the 1,000 km/1 month-mark, but this comes free. Do note that the X50 and X70 are powered by turbocharged engines, while the HR-V uses a naturally-aspirated mill.

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    In the case of transmission oil, the Proton SUVs feature a seven-speed wet dual-clutch that needs new fluids at the 90,000-km mark for RM237.36. The HR-V uses a CVT, and it sees oil changes every 40,000 km at RM127.17, which over five years, costs similar to the X50 and X70.

    Engine air filter changes on the Proton SUVs are done every 10,000 km, while the HR-V only requires this service every 30,000 km. Despite the frequency difference, the cost of changing engine air filters is still higher with the Honda model over five years. The cabin filter is also more expensive for the HR-V (RM103) compared to the N95 units in the X50 (RM69) and X70 (RM64.17), with five changes required over five years for all three.

    As for the fuel filter, the X50 requires a change every 20,000 km at RM57.07 a pop, or RM285.35 over five years. This is considerably more than the X70 (RM140.85) and just above the HR-V that requires just one replacement at the 80,000-km mark for RM243.24.

    When it comes to spark plugs, the X50 and X70 use normal ones that are less expensive, with the former requiring a set of three for its 1.5 litre turbo three-cylinder engine (every 40,000 km, RM96.84 each time), while the X70’s 1.8 litre turbo-four motor uses four spark plugs (every 20,000 km, RM112.32 each time). Over five years, the cost of X50 spark plugs is cheapest (RM193.68) compared to the X70 (RM561.60), with the HR-V requiring a new set of four iridium spark plugs at the 100,000-km mark (RM438.43).

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    Proton also includes a radiator coolant change at the 60,000-km mark for its SUVs (around RM135), but Honda’s maintenance schedule states this is only needed at 200,000 km (RM111.54). The HR-V also requires one less brake fluid change than the Proton SUVs, bringing down maintenance costs.

    A service item that isn’t listed for the X70 and HR-V is the timing belt, but that’s because both models use a timing chain instead. This isn’t the case for the X50 that uses a timing belt, which requires an inspection at 100,000 km and a replacement at 120,000 km intervals. We are getting the cost for this and will update this article soon.

    On a year-to-year basis, the HR-V is cheaper to maintain from year one to three, although it gets costlier in year four and five as “big” ticket items like fuel filter and iridium spark plug changes are required. Keep in mind that beyond scheduled services, the actual cost of ownership also includes fuel, which is highly dependent on how frequent and far you drive.

    Additionally, wear and tear items like brakes and tyres are not part of this service menu, and they can differ greatly in price. Depending on variant, the X50 and HR-V have wheel sizes ranging from 17 to 18 inches, while the X70’s options go up to 19 inches on the top variants, which are going to be far more expensive to replace.

    All in all, based on official numbers the HR-V is the cheapest to maintain over five years compared to Proton’s SUVs, continuing the trend that we first saw when comparing the service costs of the X70 and CR-V previously. On the same topic, cheaper Proton models are still generally slightly less expensive to run compared to equivalent Perodua models (Saga vs Bezza, Persona vs Bezza, Exora RC vs Alza).

  • Politicians, civil servants should lead by example in seat belt use; demerit points revamp underway: MIROS

    The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) has urged politicians, civil servants and community leaders to be advocates of seat belt use and lead by example, Bernama reported. A study conducted this year by MIROS has found that seat belt usage compliance is at 90% for drivers, 70% for front seat passengers and 11% for rear seat passengers, said MIROS chairman Datuk Suret Singh.

    “[Proper use of seat belts among] both drivers and passengers can reduce the risk of serious injury and death in a crash by 50%, and the correct installation and use of height- and weight-appropriate child restraint systems (CRS) may help to reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children aged one to four years old,” the MIROS chairman said in a statement.

    The institute’s chairman also notes that nearly all passenger cars have been equipped with seat belt from 1993, and parents should also educate their children to use child restraint systems from an early age.

    “Not wearing your seat belt can earn you demerit points. It is not worth having your driver’s licence revoked just because of a simple act – [fastening] your seat belt, which only takes seconds. It is disheartening to see passengers and babies flung out of vehicles in road crashes,” Suret said.

    A revamp of the Demerit Points System for Traffic Offences (Kejara) by the ministry of transport is currently underway, in conjunction with the road transport department (JPJ) and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), once the integration of data between JPJ and PDRM is complete.


  • Harley-Davidson’s Serial 1 electric bicycle due soon

    After showing a trio of prototype electric bicycles (e-bicycles) at the 2019 EICMA show in Milan, American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson (H-D) is teasing the release of the Serial 1 Cycle Company. This sub-brand of H-D will specialise in e-bicycles and its first market offerings are due in the first quarter of 2021.

    Serial 1 is set to release news of its product range in a little under three weeks, according to its website. While no technical specifications or detailed pricing has been released, it is expected Serial 1’s e-bicycles will fall into the USD 2,500 (RM10,386) to USD 5,000 (RM20,772) range, reports Forbes.

    Shown in photographs is a concept e-bicycle from Serial 1 that pays homage to H-D’s first motorcycles, built in 1903. Serial 1 Cycle Company Brand Director Aaron Frank says the concept e-bicycle was “built in a couple of weeks” as a one-off and is not likely to make it into production.

    Frank, who previously headed Motorcyclist magazine along with stints in Indian and Victory Motorcycles under Polaris as well as Nissan and Ferrari, said the concept is to introduce the Serial 1 name to the public. There are plans to partner with a company experienced in the production of e-bicycles but Frank is emphatic Serial 1 “will not be “badge slaps,” where a larger company just puts their name on an existing line of products.”

    The upcoming product launch from Serial 1 is likely to feature models closer to the Milan show prototypes. From photos, the motor is a mid-mounted unit, moving away from the typical rear hub-mounted designs in this class of e-bicycle, with belt drive, integrated battery and built-in lighting.

  • FIRST DRIVE: 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i M’sian review

    Before the X7 was born, the X5 was BMW’s biggest SUV, so much so they called it The Boss. Well, it was certainly big back in the day, but today?

    Still substantial, but not the most imposing SUV on the road these days perhaps. Never mind the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga, but mass market SUVs have grown in size as well, chipping away at the X5’s size advantage. Customers were calling out for an even bigger, more luxurious SUV, one that’s beyond the X5’s brief. Enter the X7, the flagship of the X range billed as “The 7 Series of SUVs”. This beast is meant to fight the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lexus LX and Range Rover, among other giants.

    And big it is. The G07 X7 is 5,151 mm long, 2,000 mm wide and 1,805 mm tall, making it 229 mm longer and 60 mm taller than the latest G05 X5. The X7’s 3,105 mm wheelbase is a substantial 130 mm longer than the X5’s.

    The X7 for Malaysia is in xDrive40i form, which means a 3.0 litre turbocharged inline-six with 340 PS and 450 Nm of torque paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and xDrive AWD. Surely a zero to 100 km/h sprint time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 245 km/h is impressive for a giant that tips the scales at over 2.3 tonnes.

    Balancing that big body is a two-axle air suspension system that offers five different height settings over a range of 80 mm. The standard Executive Drive Pro package with active anti-roll stabilisation – a first for an X model – further aids comfort. It works together with the Dynamic Damper Control system, which is able to process data from the navigation system and front camera.

    BMW Malaysia specified our X7 in Design Pure Excellence trim, so you’ll find generous applications of chrome on sharp exterior, complemented by 21-inch Y-spoke alloys, aluminium running boards and roof rails. Am I the only one to find that grille proportionate with the height of the X7’s front end and overall size?

    The X7 is a three-row SUV, with an option of two individual middle row chairs. We’re not getting that, but two rows of benches that makes it a seven-seater. Goodies include Vernasca leather, Fineline Stripe wood trim, a dashboard covered in Sensatec synthetic leather, head-up display, ventilated front seats, five-zone climate control, electric blinds for the rear side windows and BMW’s illuminated Sky Lounge glass roof.

    Also on are adaptive BMW Laserlight headlamps with high beam assist, LED fog lamps, BMW Display Key, anti-dazzle wing/rear view mirrors, Comfort Access with handsfree tailgate opening, soft-closing doors, BMW Connected Package Professional, BMW Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, and Parking Assistant Plus with Reversing Assist and an around-view monitor.

    For infotainment, there’s the BMW Navigation system Professional with a 12.3-inch central touchscreen, wireless charging and gesture control. This is linked to a Harman Kardon surround sound system with 464 watts and 16 speakers, while the second row is served by two 10.2-inch touchscreens. Fully loaded.

    Also full is the X7’s complement of safety systems. The Driving Assistant Professional package includes active cruise control, lane departure warning, lane change warning, lane keeping assistant with active side collision protection, steering and lane control assistant, lane change assistant, front collision warning with brake intervention, front and rear cross traffic warning, rear collision prevent and crossroads warning with city braking function.

    The American-made BMW X7 xDrive40i is priced at RM861,847 on-the-road without insurance, with the 2020 sales tax exemption factored in (RM888,800 otherwise). Yes, it’s a cut above the X5 in size, features and luxury, but the X7 is also nearly double the price of the CKD locally-assembled RM440,745 X5 xDrive45e M Sport.

    Check out the video review above for what we think. How about you, what do you think?

  • 2020 Isuzu MU-X debuts – seven-seat SUV launched in Thailand with 1.9L and 3.0L turbodiesel engines, AEB

    The third-generation Isuzu MU-X has officially made its debut in Thailand, where it will be offered in six variants, with prices ranging from 1.109 million baht (RM147,884) up to 1.579 million baht (RM210,559).

    Based on the latest D-Max, the MU-X shares the same ladder frame chassis with its pick-up sibling, but with a body that accommodates its three rows of seats. Compared to its predecessor, the new MU-X measures 4,850 mm long (+25 mm), 1,870 mm wide (+10 mm), 1,875 mm tall (+35 mm) and now has a wheelbase spanning 2,855 mm (+10 mm).

    The larger body is also styled to be visibly different from the D-Max, with a slightly “softer” appearance. Up front, the headlamps are slimmer and feature a unique LED DRL signature when compared to the pick-up. Meanwhile, the MU-X’s grille is less aggressive in look and sports smaller “fanged” slats, along with a surround that visibly separates it from the lower intake – a pair of fog lamps occupy the lower apron.

    Down the sides, the MU-X features a distinct character line that runs through the front door handles before gently rising over the rear ones. The creased section near the base of the doors is also noticeably different from what you’ll see on the D-Max.

    Elsewhere, the glasshouse has also been completely redesigned from the second-gen model, and no longer features oversized C-pillars to break the continuous window line. This change sees the D-pillars carrying the main body colour rather than being part of the previous model’s wraparound rear window, complemented by a rising beltline and pronounced haunches.

    At the rear, you’ll still find two-piece taillights – albeit sleeker in shape – and a number plate recess that has been pushed downwards to the base of the tailgate to make room for the large Isuzu script. The rear lower apron mimics what is seen on the front, with well-defined sections for the reflectors and fog lamps.

    The MU-X’s cabin may look very similar to the D-Max, there are some cues that are specific to the seven-seater. For instance, the four-wheel drive mode selector dial on the centre stack has been relocated to the centre console, which itself, is entirely new to allow for an electronic parking brake (with auto brake hold) – the D-Max uses a handbrake instead.

    The buttons beside the gear lever is also of a different design, and there are knee pads to give the SUV a more upmarket feel, along with fancier trim and upholstery. Additionally, the MU-X gains ceiling-mounted air vents for the second and third row, with the vents located at the back of the centre console – seen in the D-Max – being omitted. As before, the second-row seat bench follows a 60:40 split, while the third row is a 50:50 split.

    In terms of equipment, the MU-X is available with wheel sizes ranging from 17 to 20 inches, LED projector headlamps, an electric powered tailgate, a seven- or nine-inch touchscreen head unit, a 4.2-inch TFT multi-info instrument cluster display, eight-way powered driver’s seat, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control with PM2.5 filter and ambient lighting.

    The SUV also gets a rather comprehensive list of safety features, including six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill start assist, hill descent control and traction control. Driver assist systems available with higher-spec variants are a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, a speed limiter, automatic high beam, multi-collision brake, parking assist and a pedal misapplication system.

    As mentioned at the start, the MU-X is offered with a choice of two turbodiesel engines, with the first being a RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre four-cylinder unit making 150 PS at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 2,600 rpm. The other option is a larger 4JJ3-TCX 3.0 litre four-pot that develops 190 PS at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm.

    The smaller-capacity mill is used for four variants, namely the 1.9 Active, 1.9 Luxury, 1.9 Elegant and 1.9 Ultimate, while the 4JJ3-TCX is exclusive to the 3.0 Ultimate and 3.0 Ultimate 4WD. Almost every variant gets a six-speed automatic and two-wheel drive by default, although the 1.9 Luxury can be had with a six-speed manual, and the 3.0 Ultimate 4WD is the only one in the line-up with four-wheel drive.

  • Proton X50 SUV: why no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto?

    One of the big questions asked by you readers about the recently-launched Proton X50 surrounds the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The latest Geely Key User Interface in the car, GKUI 19, is one of the most advanced infotainment systems on the market, yet it doesn’t come with these two features that are becoming commonplace in Malaysia.

    Our Chinese-language colleague Jason Chung wrote a great article to explain why that is. Seeing as Proton’s partner Geely is a Chinese brand, it’s no surprise to find that the decision not to support these in-car operating systems has everything to do with China.

    You see, the Middle Kingdom has blocked Google, Facebook and their respective services as part of a state-wide censorship operation. This has had the knock-on effect of severely curtailing the number of applications you can use in Apple CarPlay in the country, such as Google Maps, Waze and WhatsApp. Android Auto isn’t even available there – then again, it isn’t officially supported in Malaysia, either.

    The restrictions placed on international companies, coupled with the sheer competitiveness of the local technology industry, mean that Chinese users simply prefer their own apps and services. Navigation apps like Alibaba’s AutoNavi (which powers the navigation system in the X50, by the way) and music streaming services like Tencent’s QQ Music take the place of big names that are unavailable in China, such as Spotify.

    These services are usually either natively integrated into the car’s infotainment system or can be used in indigenous screen mirroring services like Baidu CarLife. As such, there’s little incentive for Chinese carmakers to invest in Apple CarPlay or Android Auto-compatible infotainment systems, and while some brands have made the effort, Geely isn’t one of them.

    What does all of that have to do with us, you ask? Well, the answer is cost. Proton may be part of the Geely group, but the fact is that Malaysia is a small market in the grand scheme of things. The national carmaker’s input is limited to translating the GKUI system from Chinese to English (by the way, the system is only capable of a single main language, so stop clamouring for a BM version) and localising certain functions with the help of a local joint venture company, ACO Tech.

    Developing a new version of the GKUI system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto would cost a lot of money, which wouldn’t make sense given the small userbase. At the moment, customers are served by the QDLink smartphone connectivity function, offering MirrorLink functionality for Android users and a rudimentary screen mirroring feature for iOS devices.

    Could Apple CarPlay and Android Auto eventually find their way into future Protons? Perhaps with enough demand, the company could justify spending the extra cash on building a compatible system. Another possibility would be through the European market – Lynk & Co will be bringing GKUI to the continent later this year, and with the greater demand of these features there, Geely may well be forced to add them to the system. The functionality could then trickle down to Proton models – we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • 2021 Jaguar E-Pace – 309 PS 1.5L three-cylinder PHEV, 1.5L and 2.0L MHEVs; revised exterior and interior

    The Jaguar E-Pace has been given a refresh for the 2021 model year, three years on from its global premiere as it entered a segment populated by the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 when it arrived in 2017.

    The 2021 model year update for the E-Pace is distinguished at its front by a revised design for the lower intake which now incorporates a blade element and a new mesh grille design gains diamond detailing and a Noble Chrome finish, along with new side fender vents that feature the marque’s Leaper emblem.

    At the back, the lower section of the rear bumper receives a new design of mesh insert that resides between the exhaust outlets, here standard on the four-cylinder petrol variants. All other powertrain variants are identified here by a new, slim horizontal blade trim.

    These are joined by new all-LED headlamps with a ‘double-J’ daytime running light signature, and which are optionally available with Pixel LED technology that offers improved resolution and brightness, says Jaguar.

    S variants get the base LED headlamp set, while SE and HSE variants receive Premium LED items with auto high beam assist. Tail lamps continue to feature the marque’s signature ‘chicane’ illuminated graphic. Rear ‘animated directional’ indicators are on the S, SE and HSE variants, while front animated directional indicators are installed on the SE and HSE variants.

    The powertrain line-up for the 2021 E-Pace is comprised of five petrols and three diesels, of which four petrols and two diesels are mild hybrids. The headlining petrol powertrain is the plug-in hybrid 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo engine that is mated to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive, combining a 200 PS/280 Nm Ingenium internal combustion petrol unit with belt integrated starter-generator and a 109 PS/260 Nm rear-axle mounted electric drive motor.

    Thus equipped, the P300e PHEV E-Pace does 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, while emissions is rated at 44 g/km combined and fuel consumption of 2.0 l/100 km combined on the WLTP cycle. The electric drive motor is powered by a 15 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located beneath the boot floor, and can provide up to 55 km of electric driving range.

    Charging is done via a 7 kW onboard charger with integrated DC/DC converter, where a Mode 3 (Type 2) will charge the battery to 80% from completely empty in an estimated one hour 24 minutes. Fast charging at a rate of 32 kW of greater will charge the battery over the same 0-80% measure in 30 minutes, says Jaguar.

    This is joined in the 2021 E-Pace powertrain line-up by a 160 PS 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo petrol mild-hybrid, driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and capable of 0-100 km/h in 10.3 seconds. The internal combustion petrol line-up is represented by the 2.0 litre inline-four Ingenium petrol, available in three output levels.

    The base 200 PS/320 Nm version does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 8.5 seconds, while the 249 PS/365 Nm version does it in 7.5 seconds. Most potent of this line is 300 PS/400 Nm variant that goes into the E-Pace 300 Sport, which is rated to do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.9 seconds.

    The petrol 300 Sport variant gains Active Driveline AWD, which, in addition to the standard AWD driveline’s ability to output between the two axles, gains two independent, electronically controlled wet-plate clutches that can send 100% of rear axle drive to either wheel in 100 milliseconds.

    This variant can be identified by its 20-inch five-spoke diamond-turned wheels with black accents, black exterior pack and the availability of the full 2021 E-Pace exterior colour palette. Inside, a Meridian Audio 14-speaker sound system features, while Ebony Suedecloth headlining and R-Dynamic Taurus Sport seats trimmed in Ebony, Cloud or Deep Garnet greets the occupants of the E-Pace 300 Sport.

    Pivi Pro infotainment system. Click to enlarge

    The mild-hybrid diesel range starts with the 2.0 litre inline-four Ingenium diesel in 163 PS/380 Nm guise, capable of 0-100 km/h in 9.8 seconds, rated for fuel consumption at 6.4 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 167 g/km. The 204 PS/430 Nm version does 0-100 km/h in 8.4 seconds, with fuel consumption also rated at 6.4 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 169 g/km.

    These are joined by a 2.0 litre turbodiesel with 163 PS and 380 Nm of torque without electrification, paired to a six-speed manual gearbox and FWD. All mild-hybrid powertrains – both petrol and diesel – are mated with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive.

    Inside, the driver gets a 12.3-inch HD interactive driver display that is configurable to show turn-by-turn navigation, media, contact list in addition to vehicle instrumentation. The new Drive Selector takes after the unit in the 2021 F-Pace, and similarly features an upper section with ‘cricket ball’ stitching with a lower section made of metal. The larger stowage area in front houses a 15-watt wireles device charger.

    As with its bigger sibling the 2021 F-Pace, the infotainment side features a 11.4-inch curved touchscreen that is three times brighter and 48% larger than the previous screen. The simplified menu structure enables the access or viewing of up to 90% of common tasks from the home screen in two taps or less, says Jaguar.

    Inside, the 2021 E-Pace gains the ClearSight Interior Rear View Mirror, where a wide-angle rear view camera feed is transmitted to the frameless interior rearview mirror in high definition, offering the driver an unhindered rearwards view. Interior equipment on the 2021 E-Pace also includes cabin air ionisation, with PM2.5 particulate filtration that is activated by pressing the ‘Purify’ button in the cabin.

    Visibility for the driver is also augmented with a surround camera setup, where a selection of settings includes Junction View, 3D Perspective View and ClearSight Plan View. Drive Condition Monitor also helps determine if the driver is drowsy and should stop for rest, drawing data points from steering and pedal inputs to detect inattention from tiredness.

    The 2021 Jaguar E-Pace is available to order online in the United Kingdom, where prices start from GBP32,575 (RM175,807). In Malaysia, the current, pre-update iteration of the E-Pace is on sale in P200 AWD form at RMRM403,216 excluding road tax and insurance.

  • Mercedes-Benz to increase stake in Aston Martin from 2.6% to 20% – technology, powertrain sharing included

    Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin have announced a new strategic technology agreement and an enhanced partnership, which will see the German automaker supply its hybrid and electric powertrains as well as vehicle components and systems to Aston Martin, in exchange for an increased stake in the British automaker.

    The expansion of the existing cooperation will see new shares being issued to Mercedes-Benz in stages over the next three years, up to a total value of 286 million pounds sterling (around RM1.55 billion). This will increase the German company’s stake in Aston Martin to 20% by 2023 from the current shareholding that stands at 2.6%.

    Both companies first entered into a strategic cooperation in 2013, with Mercedes-Benz supplying AMG V8 engines and other components to Aston Martin, which has been used in models like the DB11, Vantage and DBX. This deal saw the German company receive an equity participation of 5%, which later became 2.6% following Aston Martin’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2018 and various further financing rounds.

    According to an official release, Mercedes-Benz has no plans to go beyond an equity participation of 20%, with the new shares set to be issued in several tranches by 2023. The first tranche is valued at 140 million pounds sterling (around RM760 million) and will bring the German company’s shareholding to 11.%.

    Further tranches will require discussions between the parties, as they will need to agree upon the scope of the technology to be made available to Aston Martin, the respective value (“entry fees”) and the piece prices of components and systems.

    “We already have a successful technology partnership in place with Aston Martin that has benefited both companies. With this new expanded partnership, we will be able to provide Aston Martin with access to new cutting-edge technologies and components, including next generation hybrid and electric drive systems,” said Wolf-Dieter Kurz, head of product strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars.

    “The supply arrangements for these new technologies will be on agreed commercial terms. We look forward to continuing to work together with Aston Martin and we wish the company every success in its next stage of growth,” he added.

  • F60 MINI Countryman Powered by X-raid: more rugged

    The MINI Countryman is not exactly the kind of SUV you’d take on an expedition – the compact crossover’s modest off-roading capabilities means that it trades more on its appearance rather than actual ruggedness. But one company is attempting to inject at least a modicum of toughness with the introduction of the Countryman Powered by X-raid.

    X-raid isn’t just any tuning company. This German motorsports team runs MINI’s official rally raid effort that has taken five victories at the gruelling Dakar Rally – including this year’s edition and four on the trot between 2012 and 2015. While the competition vehicles are purpose-built machines, the team uses modified Countrymans as support vehicles, so there is some pedigree behind the tweaks.

    The extra ability comes from a series of fairly minor changes. A lift kit raises the suspension by a good 20 mm, while the 17-inch beadlock wheels – an unexpectedly hardcore addition – provide added protection and prevent the beefier tyres from separating from the rim. The taller tyre and wheel combo means that the ride height has been increased by a total of 40 mm, which also improves ramp angles and water-wading depth.

    Other accessories include an aluminium roof rack and LED headlights on the grille; orange bonnet, side and tailgate stripes with the X-raid logo complete the look. Customers can either spring for the entire package or purchase each element individually.

  • Volkswagen Malaysia teases the Mk8 Golf GTI on Insta

    Click to enlarge

    After a couple of local sightings, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has teased the Mk8 Golf GTI on Instagram, hinting that the hot hatch is coming soon to our market. “What happens next? Fight or Flight?” Fight, of course – bring it on, we say!

    Earlier this month, a red Mk8 Golf GTI was spotted in Pekan wearing light disguise. Pekan is of course home to Volkswagen’s Malaysian assembly facility, which rolls out the Vento, Passat and Tiguan, with the Tiguan Allspace and Arteon recently joining the list. All variants of the Golf have been CBU fully-imported since day one, but it looks like this will change soon.

    That was actually the second sighting of the hot hatch in our patch – before the red car, a dark blue unit was snapped without any disguise in Putrajaya, and it even had the Hicom plant’s ‘OK’ stickers on it. I think it’s a given that the Mk8 Golf GTI’s local introduction is around the corner – the only question now is how far ahead is that corner.

    Click to enlarge

    The Golf GTI has always been the best example of a classy and understated hot hatch, and the Mk8 is no different. We know it’s a GTI from the twin exhaust pipes – one on each side, they’re sizeable and real. The regular Golf’s pipes aren’t really exhaust tips, but a chrome trim that simulates pipes. Where the central ‘GTI’ emblem is, the regular car has ‘Golf’. Also seen on the red example above are 18-inch ‘Richmond’ alloys.

    The Mk8 Golf GTI is powered by an EA888 2.0L turbo-four with 245 PS and 370 Nm of torque – that’s a jump of 15 PS and 20 Nm from the regular Mk7.5 GTI and on par with the outgoing model’s Performance Pack version. Gearbox options are a six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic, but only the latter will land here, as usual.

    Under the skin are MacPherson struts at the front, multilink suspension at the rear, an XDS electronic differential lock and a sports suspension setup that’s 15 mm lower in ride height compared to the standard Golf. New for the Mk8 is a Vehicle Dynamics Manager control system that coordinates the operation of the XDS and the optional DCC adaptive dampers. As you can see the gallery below, all the GTI visual cues are present, but the interior is very screen heavy. What do you think of the Mk8 Golf GTI versus the outgoing version?


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VPR RM2.67
EURO 2M RM1.74 (0.00)
EURO 5 RM1.84 (0.00)
Last Updated 24 Oct 2020


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