Latest Stories

  • New Mercedes-Benz GLA shows off its practical seats

    Mercedes-Benz is continuing to tease the second-generation GLA, which is set to make its debut on December 11. This time, we’re introduced to the compact crossover’s new rear seat layout, and it looks to offer better practicality than the outgoing model.

    For starters, the new GLA will adopt a 40:20:40 rear seat layout instead of the previous 60:40 arrangement, providing owners with more configurability when it comes to boot space.

    This setup is similar to the one you get in the larger GLB, and just like the SUV, the second-row seats in the GLA will also have sliding and reclining capabilities. The added flexibility is certainly welcomed, and should bring the Mercedes-Benz crossover closer to rivals SUVs like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

    As revealed previously, the new GLA will be 100 mm taller than its predecessor, and this should translate to more room for occupants’ heads and possibly cargo.

    The rest of the cabin should be similar to other Mercedes-Benz compact models like the A-Class and CLA, with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system being the main highlight of the dashboard, as another teaser suggests.

    We’ll only see exactly what’s new with the GLA when it makes its global debut on December 11, so stay tuned.

  • FIRST DRIVE: 2020 A90 Toyota GR Supra – RM568,000

    We finally get to grips with the A90 Toyota GR Supra, the car that has made for plenty of discussion among staffers at, with no shortage of opinion about it. As is already known, the Supra and the G29 BMW Z4 were developed as part of a sports car collaboration involving both companies, and although the fundamentals of both vehicles are common, each supposedly has its own identity, in line with the different philosophies of each parent.

    That’s the intent, of course, but the question begs, is it a BMW dressed as a Toyota, or has the Japanese automaker done enough to give the car its own character? No better way than to find out by driving it, which is what Jonathan Lee did. Watch the video to find out what the call on this one is.

    The fifth-gen Supra made its Malaysian debut in September, and is available only in a single variant form for our market, a 3.0 litre GTS. The mill is the same BMW unit as seen on the G29 Z4 in its M40i guise, the B58B30 turbocharged straight-six developing 340 PS (335 hp) from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm on the Supra. Paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the Supra does the 0-100 km/h run in 4.3 seconds and gets to an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.

    Standard fit items include an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Brembo brakes, an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential and 19-inch five twin-spoke two-tone wheels shod with 255/35 front and 275/35 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

    Kit includes black leather upholstery, carbon-fibre trim, eight-way powered seats with driver’s side memory, a dual-zone climate control system and a Toyota Supra Connect infotainment system with an 8.8-inch touchscreen, iDrive-style controller and a 12-speaker JBL sound system.

  • McLaren to debut all-new platform, V6 hybrid in 2020

    McLaren will officially announce its next-generation platform in spring next year, according to company CEO Mike Flewitt in a report by Car and Driver. The new platform will be used to underpin a range of new models from the company, with the first set to be revealed before the end of 2020.

    One of the models planned is said to feature an all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain, which the new architecture will support, and should be significantly quicker in a sprint than the current, rear-wheel drive Senna.

    Flewitt added that the platform can also accommodate plug-in hybrid systems with an EV range of up to 32 km, and that the brand’s entire line-up will be hybridised within three to four years. Of course, there will be some weight penalties given the need for an electric motor and battery pack, with hybridised models said to be 32 kg heavier than the current-generation cars.

    The hybrid system will be compatible with turbocharged V8 engines, which will used for high-end models in its Ultimate Series, while a new, lighter turbo hybrid V6 could make its way into lesser models in the Sports Series and Super Series.

    As for battery electric vehicles, McLaren isn’t convinced that today’s lithium-ion battery technology meets its performance values, given that they are heavy, expensive and not energy-dense enough. Flewitt considers solid-state batteries to be the way forward, although he doesn’t expect the technology to be commercialised until at least 2023. Even then, the McLaren CEO believes a fully-electric McLaren model might not arrive for another 30 years.

    Given that other brands have dabbled in SUVs, Flewitt stated that McLaren has no plans to make its own, especially with its existing mid-engine architecture. He added that even if the company wanted to make an SUV, it would require an investment of up to USD1 billion for an all-new architecture to do so. “We’d never get a return on it,” Flewitt says.

  • Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign – deliveries from end 2020

    Deliveries of the limited-run Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign to customers will commence in late 2020, with the fist customer vehicle to be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March next year. Prior to that, prototype versions of the car will be on display at various locations in Japan, including the 2019 Nismo festival taking place on Sunday.

    As its name suggests, there will be just 50 units of this Italdesign-penned car which is based on the GT-R Nismo facelift model. The GT-R50 builds further upon the powertrain from that car, where the VR38DETT biturbo V6 engine gains larger GT3-specification turbochargers, larger intercoolers, higher-flow injectors and optimised ignition, intakes and exhaust.

    The resulting 720 PS at 7,100 rpm and 780 nm of torque from 3,600 rpm to 5,600 rpm is 120 PS and 128 Nm more than the Nismo’s outputs, and these are sent through a strengthened, rear-mounted six-speed dual-clutch transmission to the GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system with reinforced differentials and driveshafts.

    Chassis tweaks included a Bilstein DampTronic I continuously adjustable damping system, new Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear disc brakes and 21-inch wheels in 255/35 R21 and 285/30 R21 tyres front and rear, respectively.

    The GT-R50 Italdesign first emerged in June last year as a concept, before the production model was revealed in the December that followed with a price tag starting from 990,000 euros (RM4.7 million) at the time. Customer demand for the car has been strong, says Nissan, with ‘a significant number of deposits already taken’, adding that a limited number of reservations are still available, though without specifying how many exactly are remaining.

    “Our customers have relished the personalised experience provided by Italdesign, who have a long tradition in the exclusive field of ultra-rare, bespoke high-performance vehicles,” said Nissan global sports car programme director Bob Laishley.

    GALLERY: Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign

  • Bentley named as Britain’s most admired car company

    Bentley Motors has been named Britain’s most admired car company, and the automaker also bagged the coveted top spot in the category for Best Quality of Products. These feats were the results of a peer-reviewed survey conducted by prominent UK business magazine, Management Today.

    According to the survey, Bentley ranked 13th in the overall standings, which comprised 250 leading British companies across 25 sectors. The country’s largest public companies and leading employers were asked to evaluate their peers across a dozen key criteria, making it the ultimate peer-review of corporate reputation.

    In light of the achievement, Bentley Motors chairman and CEO, Adrian Hallmark said: “Bentley is already the most sought-after luxury car brand in the world, so, we are delighted to receive further, independent recognition of our achievements, especially in the company’s centenary year.” Bentley celebrated its 100th year with a world tour, which culminated in the launch of the EXP 100 GT.

    The judges from Management Today said: “To be held in the highest esteem by your peers – and fiercest critics – is one of the highest accolades a business can receive. A century after it was founded, Bentley continues to be a driving force in the industry.”

    Moving forward, Bentley plans to offer more electrified vehicles, with plans to make hybrid or full electric versions of all its models by 2023. The pipeline also includes battery-powered electric solutions by 2025.

  • 2020 Vauxhall Insignia facelift – better tech and safety

    Vauxhall has revealed the first batch of photos for its facelifted flagship sedan, the Insignia. The full-sized premium car competes against the likes of the Volkswagen Passat and Peugeot 508, and the 2020 refresh offers a new look with considerable tech upgrades.

    To start, the sedan now features the automaker’s next-generation IntelliLux LED headlights, with 84 LED elements in each side (up from the previous 16). It’s linked to a camera which automatically dips the beam throw when an oncoming vehicle is detected. Vauxhall says the adjustment is done in milliseconds, and the headlights can even be used as LED DRLs (to go with the flipped DRLs) under certain conditions.

    For design, the front and rear are new, with the former getting a new chrome-edged radiator grille with more prominent slats. The revised lower bumper also gives the sedan a lower and wider stance, while the fog lamps are now integrated into the air inlets. More expensive models get additional chrome accents around the car for a more upmarket look.

    In terms of powertrain, the most potent Insignia gets a 2.0 litre turbo-four with 260 hp and 400 Nm, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. With the transmission shifting automatically, the driver can preselect the shift points in Standard and Sport modes. A diesel option is available, too.

    Inside, the infotainment system starts from the basic seven-inch touchscreen Multimedia Radio to the range-topping eight-inch head unit with Connected Navigation. The latter offers real-time traffic information, online map updates and predictive navigation for route planning. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, as well as a wireless smartphone charging tray.

    There’s also the addition of a new rear-view camera, which works together with the optional rear-cross traffic alert (detects objects up to 20 metres away). Other driver assistance systems include forward collision with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, side-blind spot alert, adaptive cruise control with emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, advanced park assist, and head-up display.

    An optional E-Call system can be specified for Insignia owners. This automatically sends an emergency call when the seatbelt tensioners or airbags are deployed. The red E-Call button, on the other hand, summons emergency aids. Alternatively, help can be summoned in seconds by pressing the red E-Call button.

    Innovative tech features are not limited to the running features or infotainment unit as ergonomically certified AGR sears are available as an option for the driver and passenger, while compatible smartphones can be charged wirelessly.

  • 2020 Volkswagen Nivus teased – first debut in Brazil

    Volkswagen has teased the upcoming Nivus in a teaser video, with the “Urban Coupe” set to make its debut in 2020. The crossover will ride on the MQB platform, and will first be produced and launched in Brazil before it arrives in Europe later in 2021.

    Based on the video, the crossover adopts a coupe-like roofline, with a rakish windscreen that leads to a tailgate-mounted spoiler and rather prominent shoulders. Other highlighted include being triangular fog lamps flanking a large lower intake, sweptback headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lights, as well as wraparound taillights.

    The German carmaker has previously said that development of the model was completely done in Brazil, and will combine “sportiness with a high driving position.” Additionally, the Nivus is meant to be a more affordable offering for customers who are looking to buy into the popularity of crossover coupes.

    Though there are no specifics, the Nivus for the Brazilian market is said to come with a 1.0 litre TSI engine and front-wheel drive. The mill will reportedly provide 128 PS (126 hp) when paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, with the option of a six-speed manual, albeit with a lower output of 116 PS (114 hp).

  • FIRST DRIVE: 2019 G12 BMW 740Le LCI – RM594,800

    The new G12 BMW 7 Series facelift is currently available in the sole 740Le xDrive Design Pure Excellence trim in Malaysia, with the plug-in hybrid priced at RM594,800. That figure is identical to the pre-LCI model, but you do get more for your money this time around.

    For a start, the 740Le comes with a B58B30 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six engine, replacing the previous B48B20 2.0 litre turbo four-pot. The inline-six delivers 286 PS from 5000-6,000 rpm and 450 Nm of torque from 1,500-3,500 rpm, and it’s married to a slightly more powerful electric motor that makes 113 PS at 3,170 rpm and 265 Nm from 0-2,700 rpm.

    The e-motor is integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox, and together with the standard xDrive all-wheel drive system, the total system output is rated at 394 PS and 600 Nm. That’s quite a leap over the older 740Le’s 326 PS and 500 Nm mark. In terms of performance, the 740Le will hit 100 km/h from a standstill in 5.1 seconds and hit 250 km/h.

    Besides the obvious exterior and interior revisions, the cabin adds on the new Live Cockpit Professional system, comprising two displays – one 10.25-inch unit acting as a digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch primary touchscreen. It is linked to the BMW Operating System 7.0, which includes BMW Connected Package Professional and BMW Navigation system Professional.

  • FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Mazda CX-8 CKD – from RM180k

    The locally-assembled Mazda CX-8 was just recently launched in Malaysia, and it’s available in four flavours. Kicking off the range is the 2.5G 2WD Mid (RM180k), followed by the 2.5G 2WD Mid Plus (RM186k), 2.5G 2WD High (RM201k), and 2.2D 4WD High (RM218k).

    Included in the price list are add-ons such as window tinting (RM2,000), illuminated sill plates (RM400), optional leather seat upholstery for the Mid and Mid Plus variants (RM4,500), as well as a RM3,000 option for premium metallic colours such as Soul Red Crystal, Machine Grey, and Snowflake Pearl White. Also standard is a five-year or 100,000 km manufacturer’s warranty with five-years free maintenance.

    Just two powertrain options are available, starting with the 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine whici makes 192 hp at 6,000 rpm and 258 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The top variant gets a 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D turbo, making 188 hp at 4,500 rpm and 450 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. Petrol-powered models are strictly front-wheel drive, whereas the diesel is only available with all-wheel drive. A six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission is standard across the line-up.

    For equipment, all variants get auto-levelling LED headlights with LED daytime running lights (only the base model gets bulb-type DRLs), LED tail lights, keyless entry, powered tailgate, and 19-inch alloys wrapped with 225/55 profile tyres.

    The cabin gets a seven-inch Mazda Connect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, three-zone automatic climate control with rear air vents, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and electronic parking brake. Only the most expensive pair benefits from a 360-degree surround view camera and windshield-projected colour heads-up display.

    Safety-wise, there’s the usual three-lettered acronyms, six airbags, and Mazda’s i-ActivSense (level of features depend on variant). Items such as Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC, active cruise control) remain unavailable, though it’s worth noting that the CX-8 was awarded five stars in the ANCAP crash safety test. So, watch the video, and let us know what you think!

    GALLERY: 2019 Mazda CX-8 CKD at the Inokom plant in Kulim

  • Ford turns McDonald’s coffee waste into headlights

    Many automakers are looking to incorporate sustainable materials in vehicle production, and Ford is not excluded from this. The company recently announced that it will collaborate with McDonald’s to use coffee beans in vehicle parts such as headlights, as part of efforts to reach its goal of using recycled and renewable plastics in vehicles globally.

    According to an official release, millions of kilograms of coffee chaff – the dried skin of the bean – naturally comes off during the roasting process every year. Both companies discovered that chaff can be converted into a durable material to reinforce certain vehicle parts by heating the chaff to high temperatures under low oxygen, mixing it with plastic and other additives and turning it into pellets, which can then be formed into various shapes.

    The resulting composite material meets Ford’s quality specifications for parts such as headlight housings as well as other interior and under bonnet components, while being about 20% lighter. Additionally, the heat properties of the chaff component are better than what is used currently, while requiring 25% less energy during the moulding process.

    “McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability. This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years, and this is an example of jump starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team.

    The successful experiment isn’t just for theatrics either, as McDonald’s is expected to send a significant portion of its coffee chaff in North America to Ford to be incorporated into vehicle parts. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy,” commented Ian Olson, McDonald’s senior director, global sustainability.


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Last Updated 23 Nov 2019


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