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  • VIDEO: Nissan Magnite ASEAN NCAP crash test – Indonesian-market budget SUV gets 4 stars for safety

    Earlier this month, ASEAN NCAP announced that the Nissan Magnite received a four-star safety rating in a crash test conducted in December. The agency has finally released the full results for the budget SUV, as well as a video of the test which you can watch above.

    Looking at the numbers, the Magnite received a total score of 70.60%, including 28.09 out of 36 points for adult occupant protection (AOP), 31.96 out of 49 points for child occupant protection (COP) and 11 out of 18 points for safety assist technologies (SAT).

    A closer inspection results showed that during a frontal offset crash test, the Nissan provided weak protection for the driver’s chest, although all other areas were marked either good or adequate. The car also received marginal COP and SAT scores, leading to the docking of the final star. The Magnite is sold with dual airbags, ABS and stability control as standard fitment.

    Yes, the Magnite was tested at the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) lab in Melaka, but don’t expect the car to come here anytime soon. The India-made SUV is only sold in Indonesia at the moment and isn’t really suited for a more mature and demanding market like ours. The B-segment Kicks is a more likely alternative – one that Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) has already showed interest in.

    To recap, the Magnite is a sub-four-metre SUV designed for the Indian market. Power comes from a 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine in either naturally-aspirated form with 76 PS and 96 Nm of torque, or a turbocharged variant with 100 PS and 160 Nm. A five-speed manual and front-wheel drive come as standard, with a CVT (and a downgraded torque output of 152 Nm) available for the turbo version.

    Like the facelifted Proton Iriz and Persona (the results of which have yet to be published), the Magnite was tested before 2021, meaning that it was one of the last cars to be assessed under ASEAN NCAP’s 2017-2020 protocol. The new 2021-2025 protocol places greater importance on “head protection technologies” (i.e. curtain airbags) and introduces a Motorcycle Safety category for features like blind spot monitors.

    GALLERY: Nissan Magnite

  • 2021 Subaru BRZ GT300 race car takes to the track

    Subaru has released a promotional video for its new BRZ GT300 race car, which is set to compete in the GT300 class of this year’s Super GT championship.

    The first round of the new season is set to kick off during the April 10-11 weekend at the Okayama International Circuit, followed by round two at the Fuji Speedway from May 1-2. Two more possible rounds in Thailand and Malaysia are also planned, although with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there’s no confirmation on when and if these races will take place.

    Going back to the race car, BRZ GT300’s body is similar to the second-generation BRZ that made its debut last November. However, it gets plenty of modifications for optimum aerodynamic performance, including widened fenders, a large front splitter, plenty of ducts and vents, a massive rear diffuser and a prominent rear wing.

    Subaru has yet to release technical specifications of its new race car, but a boxer engine is a definite. The previous BRZ GT300 that raced from 2012 to 2020 featured a race-tuned EJ20 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder that made 300 PS (the GT300-class power limit) and 450 Nm of torque. By comparison, the road-going, second-gen BRZ’s 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated flat-four outputs 231 PS and 249 Nm.

    Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Subaru will host a shakedown event for the BRZ GT300 on February 22, where we will get to see the livery that the race car will wear, which is likely in blue.


  • AD: New Audi A5 Sportback – sporty and dynamic, new MMI touch, mild-hybrid tech, from RM350,900

    When it comes to fastback cars, few can really match the presence and appeal of the Audi A5 Sportback. The latest 2021 model arrives in Malaysia with a host of aesthetic, mechanical and technological upgrades, making it a whole lot more attractive than before.

    On the design front, the new A5 Sportback is more sporty looking thanks to the brand new Matrix LED headlights design with LED daytime running lights. This high-tech lighting system is standard for all A5 Sportback variants in Malaysia. The signature Singleframe grille has also been made slimmer which, together with the sculpted profile, make the four-door coupe look all the more athletic.

    At the back you’ll find a pair of redesigned LED tail lights with sequential LED turn indicators – fancy stuff! There is also a black diffuser-like insert at the back to go with the integrated trapezoidal exhaust outlets. Completing the sleek exterior design are 18- and 19-inch wheels, the latter looking decidedly ravishing on the quattro variant.

    Inside, the well-built cabin features a new steering wheel design, behind which rests the fully digital, 12.3-inch high-resolution Audi virtual cockpit. A separate 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display rests proudly on the dashboard, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities, as well as voice commands and myAudi app support.

    This is enabled via Audi’s third-generation modular infotainment platform (MIB 3 is driven by a faster central processor unit), making the A5 Sportback the first ever Audi model in Malaysia to be equipped with the advanced MMI navigation plus system.

    At the heart of it all is Audi’s famed EA888 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder. The base front-wheel drive model gets 190 PS from 4,200 to 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque between 1,450 and 4,200 rpm, enough for a zero to 100 km/h sprint in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 241 km/h.


    On the quattro model, output figures are raised to 249 PS from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 370 Nm between 1,600 and 4,500 rpm. It’s also much quicker, doing the century sprint in just 6.0 seconds flat. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

    As standard, both variants get a fast-shifting seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, with assistance from the new 12-volt mild-hybrid system. With this, the new A5 Sportback can coast with the engine switched off between 55 and 160 km/h, which sees fuel consumption improve by up to 0.3 litres per 100 km in the real world.

    Interested in getting yourselves one of the best looking four-door coupes on the market? Well, prices for the Audi A5 Sportback starts from RM350,900, and is available for viewing and test drive at all Audi showrooms nationwide. For those who want to know everything about the car from the comfort of your own home, you may also check out the A5 at the new Audi Online Showroom, here.

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  • Geely and tech giant Tencent working together on digitalisation, intelligent cockpits, autonomous drive

    Another day, another collaboration involving Geely. After recent tie-ups with China’s internet giant Baidu and electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn, this time it’s an agreement between the Geely Auto Group and Tencent. In case you didn’t know, Tencent is the world’s largest games company and also the owner of WeChat, among other things.

    China’s top domestic auto brand‘s agreement with the Shenzhen-based tech giant is to carry out strategic cooperation in the fields of digitalisation, intelligent cockpits, autonomous drive and low carbon development.

    Described as another milestone in automotive and IT cross-industry cooperation, the two parties will work together to fully digitalise all aspects of an automotive product lifecycle from product development, manufacturing, marketing, vehicle utilisation, to after-sales service using joint technologies.

    Geely and Tencent will also work to develop next-generation intelligent vehicle cockpits, integrating both Geely and Tencent ecosystems, opening up new mobile and mobility service applications, and improving user experience.

    In the field of autonomous drive, the two parties will explore simulated testing and validation of self-driving systems. The duo will also promote low carbon development of the automotive industry and carbon neutrality as an industry goal.

    “The global automotive industry is facing profound changes and new technologies are restructuring the industrial ecology. Looking ahead to the future, we must be open to cooperation, joint development, and new innovations. With a cooperative relationship spanning three years, Geely and Tencent is now deepening their partnership and working to digitalise the entire automotive value chain,” said An Conghui, president of both the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Geely Auto Group.

    “Today, the digitalisation of the mobility sector has reached a new level and the time for Geely to digitally transform all aspects of their automotive product lifecycle is upon us. As Geely’s strategic digital partner, Tencent hopes to help the Geely further its digital transformation and promote further sustainable development of the automotive industry,” said Tang Daosheng, senior EVP of Tencent.

    In 2018, Geely and Tencent cooperated for the first time to form a JV with China Railways developing high-speed WiFi, high-speed railway mobility service apps and other digital services. In 2019, ECARX – a strategically invested enterprise under the Geely group – signed a deal with Tencent Auto to work together on intelligent connectivity services, joint user operations, AI and cloud services. Currently, Tencent automotive apps are used in several Geely and Lynk & Co models.

  • Microsoft partners General Motors for self-driving tech

    General Motors has announced that it has partnered with self-driving car service provider Cruise and Microsoft in order to speed up the commercialisation of autonomous vehicles.

    Microsoft joins General Motors, Honda and other institutional investors in a new combined equity investment of more than US$2 billion (RM8.1 billion) in San Fransisco-based Cruise, bringing the start-up’s valuation to US$30 billion (RM121.4 billion), reports Reuters. This is comparable to Waymo, which is valued at just over the same figure as Cruise’s, according to investor website PitchBook.

    Waymo is Google’s autonomous vehicle division, which saw the addition of 100 units of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid MPVs as part of the tech firm’s collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. This was expanded to include work on light commercial vehicles, a role taken on by Ram ProMaster vans.

    The partnership with Microsoft aims to bring from the latter its Azure cloud and edge computing platform in order to commercialise autonomous vehicle solutions at scale, says General Motors. This means that Cruise will use Microsoft’s cloud computing platform for its self-driving vehicle service.

    General Motors’ passenger vehicles have also gained advanced driver assistance systems, dubbed Super Cruise in models such as the 2021 Cadillac Escalade

    The Cruise Origin is also among the more recent efforts in General Motors’ partnership with Honda that has spanned more than two decades, and the Origin will be built at Factory Zero, also known as the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center for electric vehicles, using the Ultium battery platform that is also used for the GMC Hummer EV.

    “Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” said General Motors chairman and CEO Mary Barra, adding that the software giant will help GM realise more benefits of cloud computing as the American automaker aims to launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025, said Barra.

    Autonomous driving systems in General Motors’ passenger vehicles takes the form of Super Cruise, the name given to advanced driver assistance systems in the company’s vehicles such as the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

    Other automakers such as Volkswagen and Toyota have also engaged the services of Microsoft for its Azure cloud computing platform, although the German and Japanese automakers have used the platform for services and operations other than for autonomous driving, Reuters reported.

  • 2021 Renault Kiger gets teased ahead of Jan 28 debut

    The Renault Kiger will make its full debut in India later this month on January 28, and is now being teased for the first time. The French automaker recently dropped a shadowy image of the upcoming model, which it previously said will be 80% similar in terms of design to the concept that previewed it last November.

    For the most part, that certainly seems to be true, as the production version has a front lighting setup not unlike the Kiger show car. This includes a dual-tier layout, with slim LED daytime running lights positioned above the main, triple-element headlamps.

    Unlike the concept, the DRLs feature a less prominent shape and do no extend across the entire width of the winged front grille, which itself has been restyled to have a smaller Renault badge. Other notable differences include conventional roof rails compared to the outlandish structure seen on the concept, although the strong haunches appear to be retained.

    The sub-four-metre compact SUV will be underpinned by the Renault CMF-A+ platform, which is also used by the Nissan Magnite. According to the carmaker, the Kiger will be “powered by an all-new turbo engine,” which is likely the same HRA0 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder (99 hp and 160 Nm) found in its Nissan cousin.

    The Magnite is also offered with a naturally-aspirated version of the engine (B4D) rated at 72 PS (71 hp) and 96 Nm, although it isn’t known if the Kiger will get this mill as well. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the NA and turbo mills, although the latter can be specified with an optional CVT too.

    GALLERY: Renault Kiger concept

  • 2022 Nissan Frontier, Pathfinder to debut February 4

    It’s hard to imagine, but the D40 Nissan Navara continues to be sold in the United States as the Frontier, 17 years after it first made its debut. To give you a sense of perspective, that’s how long it’s been since Usher’s Yeah! topped the charts. Feeling old yet?

    Aside from a mild facelift in 2008 and a new engine last year, the Frontier has soldiered on virtually unchanged. But Nissan is about to right this heinous wrong, as a completely revised 2022 version is set to be revealed in two weeks, on February 4.

    No, the new truck won’t simply be an Americanised version of the recently-revealed facelifted Navara. Instead, it will be built on the same F-Alpha platform as before, albeit heavily revised for the new year. According to Automotive News, that decision is due to size, as the Frontier is available in a longer version with a six-foot (1,862 mm) bed; ours is limited to 1,585 mm.

    Few details have been released so far, but a teaser shown during the Navara facelift’s reveal last year showed a more conventional front end design compared to its international sibling, with a smaller grille and slimmer rectangular headlights.

    Both carry design cues inspired by the larger Titan, including an inverted U-shaped grille and C-shaped daytime running lights. The Frontier should also finally receive active safety features such as autonomous emergency braking – items that are sorely missing from the current model.

    The updated engine will soldier on, a 3.8 litre direct-injected petrol V6 currently producing 310 hp at 6,100 rpm and 381 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox with either rear- or all-wheel drive, the latter with a switchable transfer case and the option of a locking rear differential.

    The February 4 event will also see the introduction of the new Pathfinder. The fullsize SUV will be based on the latest Altima (Teana to you and me) and likely derive some styling cues from the new X-Trail, such as a large V-motion grille, C-shaped headlights and a “floating roof” design. The car could also get the Altima’s novel 2.0 litre variable compression turbo engine, rated at 248 hp and 370 Nm.

    Some surprises could be in store as well – one of the teasers Nissan release includes the front grille pattern of the Z Proto. The production version of the sports car concept is only due to arrive sometime next year, but could we see a glimpse of it beforehand? We’ll just have to wait and see.

    GALLERY: Nissan Z Proto

  • Audi forms new company with FAW to produce PPE-based EVs in China – start of production by 2024

    Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last year, Audi has now announced the formation of the new company with China’s First Automobile Works (FAW), which will see the production of electric vehicles based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture.

    The announcement further strengthens the existing, 30-year-plus partnership between both companies and will see Audi AG and Volkswagen Group China receive a majority 60% share in the new company.

    “With the new Audi-FAW company in Changchun, we are further expanding our presence in the Chinese market and strengthening our position as a manufacturer of fully electric premium vehicles through local production,” said Markus Duesmann, chairman of the board of management of Audi AG.

    “This deepened partnership between Audi and FAW heralds a new era of electrification as the next ‘golden decade’ for Audi on the highly important Chinese market,” added Werner Eichhorn, president of Audi China.

    FAW Audi Sales will continue to be responsible for selling future cars produced by the PPE company as well as imported Audi vehicles and those produced locally by FAW-Volkswagen. On that mention, production of the first PPE-based model by the new joint venture is scheduled to start by 2024.

    The PPE architecture is co-developed with Porsche and is just one of four platforms used to underpin a range of Audi models. Others include the MLB evo used for the e-tron, the J1 for the upcoming e-tron GT, and the MEB for smaller models like the Q4 e-tron.

    For the Chinese market, Audi’s partnership with FAW will see the number of locally produced models increase to 12 by the end of 2021. The German automaker also has dealings with its second partner, SAIC Volkswagen, which will see more models introduced by 2022. Almost seven million Audi vehicles have been sold in China to date, and in 2020 alone, the brand delivered 727,358 units in the country, it’s best-ever result in the market.

  • 2021 WSBK: Kawasaki Racing Team starts shakedown

    Entering 2021 with a six year championship winning streak, World Superbike (WSBK) champion Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) start shakedown testing in Jerez, Spain, this week. Riding a much revised and revamped Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Rea and crew are looking for “performance improvements and new approaches to overall race competitiveness.”

    Also testing with Rea is KRT team mate Sam Lowes, who previously raced in Moto 2. Joining KRT on the track putting the ZX-10R through the paces are Spanish superbike teams Outdo TPR with rider Loris Cresson and Orelac VerdNatura Racing with Isaac Vinales, cousin to Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales.

    The 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR features all-new bodywork, notably in the front cowl which resembles the head unit of the Kawasaki H2R hyperbike. Aerodynamics plays an important part in the new bodywork with integrated winglets providing 17% more downforce at high speed.

    In the engine room is an inline four-cylinder with DOHC and 16-valves, pumping out 204 PS at 14,000 rpm and 111.8 Nm of torque at 11,700 rpm. The power number goes up to 214 PS when ram air is factored in while the standard ZX-10R puts out one PS less ins stock trim.

    Rea is confident of his chances going into the 2021 WSBK season, saying, “the biggest thing we need to understand in these coming tests is engine character. We will have new parts and we will work together with my electronic engineer to give me the feeling that I really like.”

    In Malaysia, the question of the Kawasaki distributorship remains somewhat tenuous, with Malaysian motorcycle maker Modenas and Kawasaki Heavy Industries reportedly teaming up for an assembly joint-venture. No real information coming as to the current status from any of the parties involved, with reports saying KHI will be taking a more active role in Modenas assembly operations.

    Meanwhile, the role of Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMSB), which has distributed Kawasaki motorcycles in Malaysia for over two decades, is still to be determined. Last information received by the previous year indicated KMSB would continue distribution of Kawasaki motorcycles in Malaysia above 650 cc but this is yet to be officially confirmed.

  • Jaguar unveils F-Type Reims Edition – P300 and P450 variants, limited to 150 units for the United Kingdom

    The 2021 Jaguar F-Type is the latest to get the Reims Edition treatment, following its application on the Jaguar XE. Inspired by the Jaguar D-Type’s maiden race win at the 12 Hours of Reims in 1954, the F-Type Reims Edition coupé is limited to a run of 150 units for the United Kingdom in P300 or P450 RWD versions.

    These denote powertrains that are the 300 PS/400 Nm 2.0 litre turbo petrol inline-four and the 450 PS/580 Nm 5.0 litre supercharged petrol V8, driving the rear wheels through an eight-sped automatic transmission. Rolling stock is a set of 20-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels in gloss black, specified with the exterior Black Pack comprised on side vents, Jaguar script and leaper as well as grille surround in gloss black.

    Inside, the interior gets an Ebony/Ebony interior colour scheme pairing and this is complemented by the interior Black Pack, here featuring door switches, door handles, instrument cluster finisher in gloss black, alongside a selection of other options specific to the Reims Edition such as the fixed panoramic roof, heated seats and the Climate Pack with two-zone climate control, heated steering wheel and heated windscreen.

    The Reims Edition limited-run special edition F-Type, following the Heritage 60 Edition that was unveiled in December. That, too was a limited-production variant, with just 60 units made for the global market as a tribute to the marque’s iconic E-Type.

    The optional equipment included in the F-Type Reims Edition coupé amount to savings of up to GBP4,160 (RM22,986), says Jaguar. In the United Kingdom, the Reims Edition is priced at GBP58,950 (RM325,747) for the P300 variant, and GBP71,450 (RM394,820) for the P450 variant.

    GALLERY: 2020 Jaguar F-Type Heritage 60 Edition

    GALLERY: 2020 Jaguar F-Type facelift


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Last Updated 16 Jan 2021


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