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  • Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept premieres in China

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    The Volkswagen Golf R has traditionally been the most powerful production version for each generation of Golf. But could Volkswagen be planning to introduce an even more powerful version of the Volkswagen Golf? That’s what this Golf R 400 Concept seem to indicate.

    The Golf R 400 Concept also uses a 2.0 litre TSI engine just like the GTI and R, however this one has its roots from the Polo WRC’s racing engine. Peak power is 400 PS and 450 Nm of torque, transmission to all four wheels via a 6-speed DSG gearbox and Haldex-based 4MOTION permanent all wheel drive. That’s a full 100 PS more than the Golf R.

    It’s not the most powerful version of the 2.0 TSI in a concept that we’ve seen – the TT quattro sport concept from Geneva has 420 PS – but still, it’s a very impressive power to displacement ratio. The 400 PS and 450 Nm takes the Golf R 400 Concept up to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.

    The exterior design of the Golf R 400 Concept – based on the 3-door Golf body – has also been revised, now having flared fenders as a modern interpretation of the Golf G60 rally car from 1988. The front and rear bumpers and many other parts made of visible carbon fibre. The interior is finished with Alcantara and racing seats covered with “carbon leather”. Suspension settings remain the same as the Golf R’s.

     
     
  • BMW Vision Future Luxury – 9 Series imminent?

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    Well, incredulous as the reports may have been, they were right – there will be a BMW 9 Series. Well, officially, the car shown at Auto China in Beijing today is called the BMW Vision Future Luxury, but anyone who says this concept isn’t presaging a production model Munich is working on to take on the extended-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class are kidding themselves.

    The styling treads on familiar BMW ground, but in a more upright and regal way. The bodywork is laid over a very long wheelbase and short overhangs to create classic front-engined, rear wheel drive proportions, accentuated by the powerful rear haunches.

    There are shades of last year’s 7 Series-based Pininfarina Gran Lusso coupé concept in the slim laser headlights, the oversized double kidney grille, the low, sloping roofline, the thin, broad L-shaped tail lights (now featuring a series of L-shaped OLED panels) and the Liquid Platinum Bronze paintwork. Carbon fibre featured on the front air deflectors and the strips on the door sills hint at the car’s lightweight construction.

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    As with the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost, the Vision Future Luxury features coach doors, this time without full B-pillar – just a small, slightly odd top-mounted half-pillar that stops at the waistline. This is possible because the monocoque – which features carbon fibre and aluminium in its construction – utilises the seat frames as load-bearing structures, connected to the door sills and centre console.

    The interior showcases BMW’s vision of its future connectivity and infotainment systems, with three screens surrounding the driver. The left display shows vehicle data, the one ahead of the driver shows the speedometer and rev counter as well as contextual supplementary data, while the right display shows additional infotainment information.

    Also on display is the Vision Head Up Display, which augments the driver’s view with information such as the speed limit as well as traffic light phasing, as well as highlighting certain objects such as buildings, traffic signs and road hazards. The front passenger gets their own display directly ahead of them, controlled by the touch-sensitive iDrive controller, which enables them to use applications such as the Luxury Concierge service without distracting the driver.

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    BMW is clearly trying to make carbon desirable to luxury car buyers – the exposed material shows up everywhere inside, forming the base of the layered interior. Laid on top are the load-bearing aluminium structures and the lime wood and brown aniline leather trim, which were then “pared down to the essentials”, supposedly cutting down on weight. The seats and lower interior have been upholstered in white leather, and the contrast of the darker and lighter materials promote a sense of warmth and spaciousness.

    The rear quarters are particularly luxurious, with a pair of large, sculpted bucket seats, a retractable table and the wood-lined backs of the front seats lending a whiff of private jet about it. Passengers rest their feet in deep-pile pure silk carpet, while their eyes rest on the rear seat displays and the Rear Seat Touch Control Tablet on the rear centre console, which allow them to access BMW’s ConnectedDrive services.

    As mentioned above, the BMW Vision Future Luxury concept will almost certainly lead to a 9 Series flagship, which will sit alongside the statelier Ghost in the BMW Group portfolio and will be built on the company’s new modular architecture utilising steel, aluminium and carbon fibre to shave weight. The platform will first be used on the next-generation 7 Series (codenamed G11) and will then trickle down to the rest of BMW and Rolls-Royce’s rear-biased vehicles.

     
     
  • Beijing 2014: Honda Concept B – destined for China

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    This is the Honda Concept B, one of the two world premieres the Japanese automaker has on call at the 2014 Beijing International Auto Show, which began today.

    The company hasn’t divulged much about the design study, except to say it previews a five-door model developed exclusively for the Chinese market. No tech or powertrain specs, but aside from the expected petrol form, reports indicate that a hybrid variant is also being planned.

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    Honda says the Concept B’s design (which is ‘advanced’ and ‘cool-looking’, so it goes) has been geared to appeal to younger drivers in China, but adds that it will also be a very practical offering.

    The development of a mass-production model based on the concept model – which is curiously tagged as a ‘compact hatchback’ – is in progress, and the company says it plans to introduce the car into the market in two years. The final product should of course be more subdued, looks-wise.

     
     
  • Audi TT offroad concept previews future Q4 ‘TT SUV’

    Audi TT offroad concept

    We earlier showed you sketches of Audi’s Beijing 2014 show car that could preview an Audi Q4 SUV, essentially a coupe-like version of the Q3. Here are official images of the SUV, which is now officially called the Audi TT offroad concept show car.

    The concept measures 4,390mm long by 1,850mm wide by 1,530mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,630mm, dimensions resembling the Q3, although slightly shorter.

    “The Audi TT offroad concept provides a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family. It combines the sporty genes of the TT with the strengths of a compact Audi SUV. Its plug?in hybrid drive with the option of inductive charging is a major step toward the mobility of the future,” said Audi’s Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development.

    Audi TT offroad concept

    The concept car is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system which combines a 292 horsepower 380 Nm 2.0 TFSI engine with two electric motors. A clutch links the tranversely mounted 2.0 TFSI motor to a slim, disc-shaped 40 kW 220 Nm electric motor, which is integrated to a six-speed e-S tronic dual clutch gearbox.

    The other electric motor is in the rear axle, with the ability to produce 85 kW and 270 Nm independently of the front axle drive system. It also allows all wheel drive on hybrid mode. Total system output is 408 horsepower and 650 Nm of torque, while average fuel consumption is an incredibly efficient 1.9 litres per 100 km.

    In front of the rear axle is a liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery comprising eight modules. It contributes to the balanced 54:46 weight distribution between the front and rear axles and to the low centre of gravity. The battery stores up to 12 kWh of energy, enough for a zero emissions electric range of 50km using the rear axle motor alone. EV mode can be active up to 130 km/h. The concept also implements Audi Wireless Charging, which allows the car to be charged on a plate via wireless induction.

    Audi TT offroad concept

    The plate with a coil and an inverter is placed on the parking spot and connected to the power grid. The charging process begins automatically when the car drives onto the plate. The alternating magnetic field of the infrastructure side induces a 3.3 kW alternating current across the air gap in the secondary coil, which is integrated into the vehicle. Charging stops automatically when the battery is fully charged. It takes about as long as charging via a cable, and the driver can interrupt the process at any time.

    The Audi Wireless Charging technology is claimed to be more than 90 percent efficient, and is not affected by weather factors such as rain, snow or ice. The alternating field, which is only generated when a car is on the plate, is said to be not harmful for people or animals.

    Audi TT offroad concept

    Another new feature making its debut in the concept is a new ionizer, which is updated compared to the version of the system available in the A6 and A8. Audi says Ionization significantly improves the quality of the air in the cabin. The plan is for allergens to be neutralized in the future.

    An LED light in the interior of the air vent lights up when the ionizer is turned on.

     
     
  • Updated BMW Concept X5 eDrive shown in New York

    BMW’s world premiere at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) isn’t quite a world premiere – the BMW Concept X5 eDrive was shown in Frankfurt last year, but the company has now provided more details of the plug-in hybrid version of the original Munich SUV (SAV in BMW-speak).

    What we now know is the output of the petrol engine – the TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder (still of unknown capacity, but we believe it is BMW’s current 2.0 litre mill) produces 245 hp and 350 Nm, the same as other models fitted with the “28i” suffix such as the 328i and the 528i. The engine is mated to a 70 kW (95 hp)/250 Nm electric motor to create a combined power output of 302 hp.

    Claimed performance and efficiency figures are unchanged – 0-100 km/h in under 7.0 seconds, an average fuel consumption of under 3.8 litres per 100 km, carbon dioxide emissions of under 90 g per km and a maximum range of 30 km in electric-only mode, operable at speeds under 120 km/h. There is a Save Battery mode that maintains the current battery charge level for later use such as in city traffic.

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    We also now have a look at the interior of the eDrive, complete in Ivory White leather upholstery with light blue stitching, Piano Finish Black trim with blue accent strips, blue ambient lighting, an eDrive button as well as eDrive logos debossed into the headrests. A window built into the boot floor showcases the lithium-ion battery pack underneath, also illuminated in blue.

    That is a lot of blue, and for good reason – blue is the signature colour of the BMW i brand, and the company obviously wants to display the link between its regular hybrids and its dedicated electric vehicles as much as possible. The colour also shows up on the outside on the kidney grille bars, the inserts in the front air intakes, the charging port surround on the front fender as well as the rear bumper insert.

     
     
  • Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe concept is a junior CC

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    Meet the Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe concept, or the NMC in short, which has just made its world debut at Auto China 2014 in Beijing. In essence, it previews a coupe-like sedan positioned between the Jetta and Passat models. A junior CC, if you like.

    At 4,597 mm long and 1,838 mm wide, the NMC is shorter than the C-segment Jetta, yet wider than the D-segment Passat. Its 1,422 mm height is lower than both the standard sedans too, giving it a low visual centre of gravity.

    The NMC sits on Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB platform. It introduces the VW design boss, Klaus Bischoff’s new vision of front end design, with a complex grille, 3D-effect LED headlights and a large but closely detailed lower air intake. The show wheels are huge 22-inchers with body matching ‘Dragon Red’ highlights.

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    Its side profile is said to retain a coupe’s cab-backwards design, using a long bonnet, sweeping C-pillar and a short boot lid to create the effect. Moving back, the strong character lines that run across the sides merge into a neatly integrated boot lid spoiler. Fancy LED rear lights and dual tailpipes in matching shapes enhance the visual width of the NMC.

    Connected to the exhausts is the Golf GTI’s 2.0 litre turbocharged TSI engine. This time paired to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, it can get to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and up to 244 km/h. A promising cD value of 0.299 gives an impressive fuel consumption of just 6.4 litres per 100 km (15.6 km per litre).

    The interior is only shown in design sketches so far, but Volkswagen claims that it’s as practical as it is sporty, with ample space for five and a generous 500 litre boot. A production version should be well under way, so anyone smitten just yet?

     
     
  • GALLERY: Toyota Levin for the Chinese market

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    Auto China 2014 begins today, but ahead of that our team on the ground in Beijing has served up these shots of the latest-gen Chinese-market Toyota Corolla, which we now know is called the Toyota Levin (Australia uses the same name for its Corolla hatch). The car is apparently being displayed at several spots around China; this location is the Kerry Hotel in Beijing.

    Reports out of China suggest that there will be two distinct versions of the Corolla on sale in the Middle Kingdom – the Levin you see here comes from Guangqi-Toyota, while FAW-Toyota (the other Toyota joint-venture in China) will sell a Corolla that’s similar to our Corolla Altis (ASEAN and Europe). It could be that the former will be targeted at younger buyers while the latter will aim for the more conservative set.

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    This Guangqi-Toyota Levin has a different face from the US Corolla and our ASEAN Corolla Altis. There’s a slim front grille with a huge chrome slab that continues over the top of the new-shape headlamps (they appear to be a cross between the US Corolla’s hawk eyes and the ASEAN Corolla Altis’ wide wrap-around units). The lower intake is trapezoidal-shaped like the non-S-grade US Corolla, but features a chrome surround.

    The Levin’s rear is quite similar to the US Corolla’s – boot and rear bumper are the same, down to the shut lines. However, the Toyota logo here has been moved up to make way for the huge chrome slab that bridges the tail lamps, themselves of a very slightly different shape from the US Corolla’s, and with different graphics too. Also, the US Corolla’s tailpipe pokes straight out of the rear bumper; the Levin’s tailpipe curves downwards.

    Length, width, height and wheelbase are respectively 4,630, 1,775, 1,480 and 2,700 mm – 20 mm shorter (horizontally) and 25 mm taller (vertically) than the US Corolla, and 10 mm longer (horizontally) and 20 mm taller (vertically) than our Altis. Interior? Pretty much status quo, although the digital clock sits on the right of the air vents, instead of dead centre as in our Altis, and the car features a twin instrument dial layout like our 2.0 V (two layouts are available globally).

    According to Chinese reports, the Guangqi-Toyota Levin will come with a choice of 1.6 and 1.8 litre engines, plus five-speed manual and CVT gearboxes. The car’s expected to turn up at the show in Beijing, which is just about to open its doors to the press, so sit tight for more details!

    Toyota Corollas around the globe (clockwise from top-left): Chinese Guangqi-Toyota Levin, European/ASEAN Toyota Corolla/Altis, US Toyota Corolla S, US Toyota Corolla LE Eco

    Which Corolla front do you like the best? Answer in our poll below.



     
     
  • Triumph Motorcycles opens first Penang outlet

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    Enthusiast of Triumph motorbikes in the Northern region, need not look further to own one following the launch of Triumph Motorcycles showroom in Penang here on Saturday. It is Triumph Motorcycles first store in the Northern region.

    The showroom is the third facility to be operated by Fast Bikes Sdn Bhd as the Exclusive Official Distributor of Triumph Motorcycles, and comes barely six months after the opening of its Premium Flagship Store and headquarters for Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia in Petaling Jaya.

    At 2,000 square feet, the new showroom will operate as a full-fledged 3S centre for Triumph Motorcycles (sales, service and spare parts) and is located at no 27, Jalan Gottlieb, in Georgetown, Penang. The showroom is integrated with an after-sales service facility featuring service bays and a spare parts inventory.

    Within the next few weeks, Triumph Motorcycles accessories such as safety jackets, gloves, riding boots, riding pants and many more will be available as well.

    In conjunction with the launch of the new showroom in Penang, several members of the motorcycling media also joined the thirty enthusiastic Triumph owners from the Riders Association of Triumph otherwise known as the Rat Pack for a 680++km ride from it’s the Triumph Motorcycles Premium Flagship Store in Petaling Jaya to Penang and back to Petaling Jaya.

    Triumph Motorcycles in Penang can be reached via tel: 04-227 1007 or facsimile: 04-227 3007.

     
     
  • Auto China 2014 – extended coverage from Beijing

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    The 2014 Beijing International Auto Show kicks off with the press day tomorrow, and paultan.org is set to cover the show with the help of a Beijing-based team of Malaysian contributors.

    Moy Yew Meng, Kwek Chai Li, J.J. Chin and a mystery video host known as Miss Red (that’s her in the poster shot) will be our team on the ground for Auto China 2014. So, expect live pix and video clips from Beijing in the coming days ahead.

    The show will have plenty of world premieres – the list of debutants includes the Citroen DS 6WR, production Lexus NX crossover, Hyundai ix25, next-generation Chevrolet Cruze and Peugeot 2008 DKR, among others. Also expected are the Chinese-market Toyota Corolla, Ford Escort and new Peugeot 408.

    No shortage of concepts too, with the likes of the BMW 9 Series concept, Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV, Peugeot Exalt Concept, Volkswagen Golf R 400 and a Nissan sedan concept among the headliners.

     
     
  • Toyota Corolla gets unique face for Chinese market

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    UPDATE: This is the Toyota Levin for the China market. Full details and live gallery from Beijing here.

    This is how the latest-generation Toyota Corolla will look like for the Chinese market. This image was published by Chinese website Xgo.com.cn – will it go public at Auto China 2014 in a few days time?

    The car seen here has got a unique front end with lots of chrome, and a slimmer grille which makes way for a larger, more prominent bumper intake.

    So the Corolla now has three different front end designs compared to the version we get (left image) and the US-market Corolla (right image). Which Corolla front do you like the best? Answer in our poll below.



     
     
 

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