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  • G29 BMW Z4 leaked ahead of Pebble Beach debut

    The new G29 BMW Z4 is set to make its world premiere at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 23, but the roadster has fully uncovered nearly two weeks in advance, thanks to photos posted on Instagram by user liucunyi. These images correlate with the patent photos leaked a couple of months ago.

    It’s clear that the car retains much of the wedge-shaped design of the concept shown at Pebble Beach last year. As on the show car, the low nose is dominated by trapezoidal double kidney grilles – filled with Y-shaped inserts rather than the usual slats – that are flanked by vertical headlights hexagonal “corona ring” LED daytime running lights.

    Moving over the side, the scalloped flanks flow upwards out of the deep “Air Breather” vents towards the pert rear, where they intersect with the three-dimensional L-shaped tail lights and the ducktail rear spoiler. The car you see here is the M Performance model, the Z4 M40i, so it receives a sportier front air intake design with an exaggerated U-shaped scoop, fake rear vents and a larger rear diffuser with integrated twin exhausts.

    The new Z4 has been jointly developed with Toyota and will share its platform, components and powertrains with the Toyota Supra, although they will each have distinct styling and performance setups. The BMW will also return to a soft-top format after a brief dabble with a folding hardtop on the previous-gen E89 Z4.

    A number of details of the new model have already been revealed, such as the fact that the M40i will feature a straight-six engine (likely the 360 hp/500 Nm 3.0 litre twin-scroll turbo unit found on the X3 and X4 M40i), lowered sports suspension, adaptive dampers, a newly developed front axle, staggered M light alloy wheels, M sports brakes and an electronic limited-slip differential.

    GALLERY: BMW Z4 prototype

  • In China, Geely opens 149 4S dealerships in a day

    Yup, we needed a double take as well. One hundred and forty nine Geely 4S dealerships were opened simultaneously in China in a day, marked by a ceremony at one of the new facilities in Houpu, Jiangxi. Geely says that the eye-catching move is part of an ongoing effort to upgrade its sales and service network across China in line with upgraded products.

    At the ceremony, Geely also unveiled its “Geely Satisfaction” project that aims to “raise customer satisfaction beyond all expectations” throughout the ownership cycle.

    Total investment for the 149 new outlets was over one billion RMB (over RM594 million), and it included 65 newly built dealerships and 84 upgraded ones. Among the new facilities, 39 joined Geely from other brands. All new dealerships must adhere to the brand’s new “3.0 era” standards for sales and service.

    The company points to the JD Power China Dealer Attitude Survey, which saw Geely rise from 21st place in 2016 to 13th place last year, surpassing leading joint-venture brands in China.

    According to Geely, which has a substantial stake in Proton, the implementation of its “Refined Cars Development Strategy” has seen sales grow from 766,000 units in 2016 to 1.247 million in 2017. In the first half of this year, Geely sold 766,000 vehicles, putting it fourth overall in sales and first amongst Chinese brands.

    All this benefits the dealers, too. According to Geely, over 95% of its dealers were profitable last year. They sold an average of 1,314 vehicles per dealership, an increase of 31% year-on-year. Geely says that its products have attracted new dealers – in the past two years, 125 dealers joined Geely from American, European, Japanese and Korean JV brands. As of July 2018, Geely has 965 dealerships in China.

    There’s plenty of fresh metal in Geely’s range. The Bo Rui GE flagship sedan was introduced earlier this year, and the Bin Rui C-segment sedan was revealed last week. Also reaching Chinese showrooms soon is the SX11 SUV, a smaller B-segment sister to the Boyue that we’ll be getting as a Proton later this year.

    GALLERY: Geely Bin Rui

  • FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Subaru Forester sampled in Taiwan

    Anything essential is often out of sight, which is the case with the latest iteration of the Subaru Forester. First revealed in New York earlier this year, a quick glance at the comments section revealed some of you aren’t big fans of the “staid” design of the fifth-generation (SK) model.

    While I admit the new look is more evolutionary rather than revolutionary, this “play safe” approach is a necessity given the fact that the Forester is one of Subaru’s more important global models. In the United States, by far Subaru’s biggest market, the Forester is the brand’s top-selling model, with over 10,000 units sold monthly for 59 months in a row – though it still trails behind other SUVs like the Nissan Rogue (X-Trail to us here) and Honda CR-V in the sales charts.

    Nonetheless, it remains a popular choice among car buyers there, and this writer feels the possibility of driving away returning (and new) customers with something too outlandish from what is familiar is a big risk for Subaru to take.

    However, this isn’t to say that the latest Forester is just a bunch of new styling cues and nothing else. The SUV rides on a new platform and continues to retain or improve upon many of the features that make it a solid option for something versatile with some go-anywhere capability. So, when we were given the chance to try the new SUV out in Taiwan, we had to see what’s what.

    Read The Full Story ›

  • Investor says 99% of Chinese EV firms won’t survive

    While there are many electric vehicle startups in China, many (99%) of them will not make it in the long run, according to NIO Capital. In an interview with Bloomberg, company managing partner Ian Zhu said the survival rates of these ‘Tesla killers’ somewhat low.

    This is largely due to the large investments required for not just technology, but also manpower to build an electric vehicle. “It’s a very complicated system that needs abundant investments and a large group of people to be able to build a car from scratch. Therefore, the survival rate of all these EV startups will be very low,” said Zhu.

    Additionally, most EV startups have yet to manufacture on a large scale or deliver cars in large numbers to consumers. Further complicating matters is the ongoing trade disagreements between the United States and China. Zhu says it “is a real obstruction to the global economy and technology development.”

    “If it continues or escalates, it will delay the commercialization of intelligent electric cars as well as slow down global efforts to improve traffic safety and efficiency,” he added.

    Zhu also feels that joint ventures between startups and traditional automakers is the way forward as innovation and real manufacturing capabilities can be combined. With many of the world’s electric vehicles being sold in China, it isn’t a surprise that many want to involve themselves in the industry. Even familiar automakers have rolled out their own EVs for the market.

    NIO Capital is partly backed by Chinese EV company Nio, which made quite an impact with the EP9 supercar. The company’s ES8 electric SUV looks to take the fight to the Model X in China, with quite a number of orders received already.

  • Third national car will use private sector money – LGE

    Here’s another assurance from finance minister Lim Guan Eng that the third national car project proposed by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not use public funds. Instead, it will be funded by the private sector, Bernama reports.

    “If it comes from private (investments), then there will not be a problem,” he said when winding up the debate on the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2018 at the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday.

    It’s not the first time he had said so. In June, Lim told Channel NewsAsia: “I told the prime minister that we don’t have the money, and he knows it. So it is not from public funds, it’s not like Proton, no. If there are private parties who want to do it in Malaysia using their own money, I think that is something that would be worthwhile looking at – but not from public funds,” he said then.

    The new national car topic was first raised by Mahathir at the Nikkei Conference in Tokyo in June, after the PM felt that his beloved Proton is no longer a national car. Despite the idea not being very well received by the majority of Malaysians, including politicians, Mahathir has pressed on.

    In another trip to Japan earlier this month, the 93-year old leader revealed that Malaysia will be seeking assistance from Japanese carmakers including Nissan, Toyota and Daihatsu. This is despite the fact that Daihatsu already has operations in Malaysia via Perodua, and Toyota is of course the parent company of Daihatsu.

    “Like the first national car, which started with only 18% local content (and cooperation from) Mitsubishi Motor, we were able to master the whole process of building the car, from design to clay-model and test cars. Today, modern technology is based more on sensors and other things. We need to acquire that also. But initially, we want just to build a car first for the Malaysian market, and then for the world market,” Mahathir was quoted as saying earlier.

    The review of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) will be completed by the end of the year and will also take into account the proposed new national car.

  • Benimar Tessoro motorhome launched, from RM556k

    Motorhomes are very much a novelty here in Malaysia, but importer of Benimar motorhomes Luxe Motorhomes & Caravans appears confident in the market’s acceptance of these recreational vehicles, as nine units of the Benimar Mileo have been delivered to customers since the model line’s launch last year.

    Now, the brand has added the Tessoro range of motorhomes to its line-up. There are six motorhome layouts available in the range, priced from RM555,805 to RM590,670 – this is the Tessoro 463 pictured here, at RM583,492; prices are on-the-road without insurance, at 0% GST.

    The Tessoro 463 is a model built upon a Ford Transit chassis, and measures 7.38 metres long, 2.30 metres wide and 2.89 metres tall. Motive power for the vehicle, which weighs in at 3,170 kg unladen, comes from a 2.0 litre turbodiesel with 170 hp, mated to an automatic transmission.

    The Tessoro 463, like the others in the Tessoro range, has four designated passenger seats with four sleeping berths. All models are rated with unladen weights below 3,500 kg, therefore any driver with a valid D license is legally allowed to operate the motorhomes.

    All Tessoro models feature 99% wood-free construction with glass reinforced plastic for the body, with 25 mm XPS insulation on its walls and 53 mm XPS insulation on its floor and roof. Fresh water is contained in an isolated and heated 120-litre tank, supported by a 105-litre waste water tank.

    Built to UK specifications, models in the Tessoro range are equipped with driver and front passenger airbags, ABS, stability control, traction control, hill assist and curve assist, cruise control, remote central locking with immobiliser, a CO2 alarm and a smoke alarm.

  • VIDEO: Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid sets lap records at six different circuits around the world

    Setting lap time records seem to be all the rage these days as automakers unleash their most exciting machinery on circuits around the world. Porsche are among those that have done the same and have recently announced that it has established six new track records.

    The chosen car for this feat is a standard production Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, while the assigned man behind the wheel is Porsche’s development driver, Lars Kern. As for the six circuits in question, they are the Bahrain International Circuit, Yas Marina Circuit, Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, Buddh International Circuit, Dubai Autodrome and Losail International Circuit.

    Unsurprisingly, the fastest luxury four-door hybrid sedan managed to complete its mission partly thanks to its potent powertrain. Highlights include a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 that makes 550 PS and 770 Nm coupled to a 136 PS/400 Nm electric motor. The result is a total system output of 680 PS and 850 Nm, good for a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.4 seconds.

    According to Porsche, the hybridised Panamera lapped the 5.4-km Bahrain International Circuit in 2 minutes 18.96 seconds, the Yas Marina Circuit in 2 minutes 31.79 seconds, the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in 1 minute 59.80 seconds, the Buddh International Circuit in 2 minutes 12.56 seconds, the Dubai Autodrome in 2 minutes 19.15 seconds and the Losail Interantional Circuit in 2 minutes 24.12 seconds.

    GALLERY: Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

  • Honda HR-V facelift revealed in Europe with 1.5L turbo

    Europeans tends to receive Hondas far later than any other region, but in return they get goodies that aren’t available anywhere else. That’s true for the facelifted HR-V as well, which arrives in the Continent nearly six months after it made its debut in Japan, but gets a new engine and a couple of hitherto unseen features.

    The big news is under the bonnet, where Honda has finally shoehorned the Civic‘s 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo engine. That’s coming in 2019 alongside the 1.6 litre i-DTEC turbodiesel; at launch, the HR-V will soldier on with the same 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated i-VTEC petrol as before. It gets friction-reducing plateau honed cylinder walls and timing chains coating, which reduce long-term wear and improve efficiency.

    Outputs remain at 130 PS and 155 Nm of torque, resulting in an identical zero-to-100 km/h sprint time of at 10.7 seconds with the standard six-speed manual gearbox and 11.2 seconds with the optional CVT. Meanwhile, combined fuel consumption has dropped from 5.7 to 5.3 litres per 100 km, as have carbon dioxide emissions from 134 to 121 grams per kilometre.

    The European HR-V will also be equipped with increased sound-deadening material around the car, including around the front bulkhead and wheel arches, the boot structure and both front and rear door panels. Certain models will also receive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) to further reduce noise.

    Elsewhere, it’s the same facelift as elsewhere, with new projector halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights as standard, plus a bolder dark chrome grille graphic, deeper front air intakes with circular fog lights, a dark chrome rear garnish and smoked tail lights. Higher-end trim levels get full-LED headlights, tube-type LED tail lights and new 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels – the latter are unique to Europe.

  • Perodua begins Zero Accident Campaign for its 10,300 staff, aims for zero road/industrial accidents by 2021

    Perodua has begun a zero accident campaign for its 10,300 employees nationwide as the next phase of its five-year road safety campaign launched last October aimed at reducing accidents on the road. Under the Perodua Zero Accident Campaign, the automaker is aiming for zero road accidents involving its staff travelling to and from their respective workplaces as well as zero industrial accidents while on duty by the year 2021.

    Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said the initiative looks to the company’s employees setting an example by being good drivers. He added that Perodua hopes to take learning points from the internal campaign and integrate these into the five-year Perodua Road Safety Campaign.

    “While reduction and even elimination of industry-related accidents has always been the core focus of our Occupational, Health and Safety rules, we are now expanding that focus to include travel outside our premises. We believe the cultivation of good driving habits begins at home and we want to inculcate as much education on safe and responsible driving into our staff so that they would be a good example to all,” he said.

    The Perodua Road Safety Campaign aims to reduce road accidents by educating drivers on the need to understand and obey basic road rules and courtesies, namely not using mobile devices while driving, the importance of wearing seatbelts and using child car seats as well as utilising turn signals.

    “We use education as the approach because we believe most Malaysian drivers are aware of the rules and courtesies but may not understand the reasons behind them. Education will certainly take longer but once they fully understand the reasons behind the rules, the impact will be stronger,” Aminar said.

  • 2019 Honda Civic – FC gets mid-life facelift in the US

    Has it been three years already? Not for us, but the current FC generation Honda Civic was unveiled in the US in September 2015, which makes it a month short of three years ago. Time flies and we’re now looking at the mid-life facelift, the 2019 Honda Civic.

    No big change from the well-received 10th-generation Civic, which is expected. After all, the Civic is targeting its third consecutive year as America’s number one retail-selling car and its eighth straight year as the top retail-selling compact car (excluding fleet sales). The FC is also the most popular car in America with under-35-year-olds for eight of the past nine years, Honda says. Cumulative sales of the current generation Civic will surpass one million units this year.

    The refreshed 2019 Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe boast updated styling, a new Sport trim for both body styles and standard Honda Sensing tech on all trim levels.

    The styling updates are evolutionary, and focuses on further accentuating the Civic’s low and wide stance. In front, there’s a new piano black “wing” on the grille (replaces chrome) and a restyled lower fascia. The look now is one-piece instead of three, and there’s a full-width front splitter and chrome side pod accents, too. It looks the same to us, but Honda says that the LED and halogen headlights have been updated.

    At the back, there’s now a chrome accent on the lower rear bumper of the Sedan and new wheel designs for both two- and four-door models – including larger 18-inch rims on the Touring trim in the US.

    There’s a new Civic Sport trim positioned between the LX and EX, which Honda claims offers the looks and features budget-conscious enthusiasts are looking for. The Sport gets piano black on the lower front fascia and side pod accents, and for the Sedan, an added rear decklid spoiler. A splitter-style rear lower bumper incorporating a Civic Si-style chrome polygonal exhaust tip is included. 18-inch 10-spoke rims round things up. The Coupes seen here are in Sport trim.

    The Sport is powered by a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated DOHC i-VTEC engine mated to either a CVT automatic with G-Shift Control or a six-speed manual for lucky Americans. The new trim also gets an updated seven-inch Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and volume button.

    In the kit department, all 2019 Civics from LX to Touring will come with Honda Sensing as standard. The pack includes Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation incorporating Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System and Adaptive Cruise Control. Honda says that for the 2019 model year, Sensing is either standard or optional on all its models in the US. The company plans to make it standard on all US cars by the 2022 model year.

    This facelift is only for the Civic Sedan and Coupe; with the Hatchback, Civic Si and Civic Type R remaining untouched for now. What do you think of the new look? This or the pre-facelift front fascia for you?

    GALLERY: Honda Civic 1.8S


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Last Updated 09 Aug 2018


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