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  • BMW Choose Your World roadshow from June 21 to 23 – check out the new G02 X4, F39 X2 M35i and G05 X5

    Recently, BMW Group Malaysia introduced a range of new models in its X family of SUVs – the G02 X4, F39 X2 M35i and G05 X5 – and now the company is inviting members of the public to check these cars out for themselves, in the Choose Your World roadshow happening at Plaza Arkadia this weekend.

    The new cars will be on display at the event at the event alongside the X1 and X3; the last two cars will be offered for test drives together with the new X4. Strength and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) games will also be available to test your fitness, with participants receiving a gift upon completion. There will be stunt performances and a merchandise pop-up store, too.

    To recap, the new X4 is offered in a single xDrive30i M Sport trim, powered by a 252 hp/350 Nm 2.0 litre B48 turbo four-cylinder engine. Locally assembled to take on the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupé, it is priced at an estimated RM380,000 without insurance.

    July will see the introduction of the X2 M35i, the first M Performance model to be officially sold in Malaysia. It gets a 306 hp/450 Nm version of the aforementioned engine and will retail at an estimated RM400,000 for this fully-imported model.

    Also fully imported is the new X5, which will arrive in August in xDrive40i M Sport form. That one gets a 3.0 litre straight-six producing 340 hp and 450 Nm of torque, and it will be priced at an estimated RM640,000. The BMW Choose Your World roadshow takes place on June 21 to 23 at Outdoor Carpark 3, Plaza Arkadia from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

    GALLERY: G02 BMW X4 xDrive30i M Sport

    GALLERY: F39 BMW X2 M35i
    GALLERY: G05 BMW X5 xDrive40i M Sport

  • BMW Vision M NEXT – how M will shape up in future

    BMW is due to reveal its vision of how its M cars will shape up in the future through its Vision M NEXT concept, which will be unveiled very soon. Ahead of its arrival, the automaker is teasing the study, but is doing so in a rather unconventional manner – the images here aren’t of the actual car, but generated through paper and cardboard.

    The set is the work of artist Thomas Demand, who picked out various details from the car and designed represented visual cues with the above materials, with the actual colour scheme of the car replicated through the artwork. There’s no suggestion of how the study will shape up, but the M route should suggest a coupe shape with plenty of complex lines. And of course, a grey exterior with black and orange red contrasts.

    According to vice-president of design Adrian van Hooydonk, the automaker has decided on a new approach in teasing a study by utilising the selection of artwork. “The photos are fascinating and tell their own story. They are very close to the BMW Vision vehicle and yet completely abstract, pure art. They will only become tangible when you set eyes on the Vision vehicle itself,” he explained.

    The company says that while the Vision iNEXT shows the ways in which autonomous driving will change life on board our vehicles, the Vision M NEXT will showcase how intelligent technologies can be harnessed to enhance driving pleasure and provide sporty driving dynamics in the new age of mobility.

    GALLERY: BMW Vision iNEXT concept

  • Hyundai, Kia add Aurora autonomous tech investment

    Hyundai and Kia have invested in autonomous driving technologies company, Aurora in order to expedite the development of self-driving vehicle technology, the Korean automaker announced.

    Aurora’s autonomous driving system, Aurora Driver is comprised of lidar, radar and cameras as well as the computers which run its software modules. Hyundai Motor Group plans include the commercialisation of Level 4 autonomous vehicles by 2021, with the pilot launch of an autonomous taxi fleet to take place in smart cities, the company said. This appears to have come forward from its previously stated 2025 target.

    “Aurora is the leading innovator of self-driving technology and we look forward to building a stronger collaborative partnership with them. Working closely with industry leaders around the world will help us develop fully self-driving vehicles that are safe and innovative for our customers,” said Hyundai Motor Group president and chief innovation officer Youngcho Chi.

    Aurora’s earlier partnership with Volkswagen had been terminated, it was announced last week, following the software company’s statement that it would build autonomous platforms with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for commercial vehicles. The VW-Aurora partnership announcement in 2018 was followed shortly thereafter by VW’s start of discussions for commercial vehicle development, Reuters reported.

  • 2019 Proton Saga facelift rendered based on…FLX?

    It’s no secret that Proton is preparing a facelift for the Saga as part of a wholesale rejuvenation of its entire lineup. The national carmaker was caught trialling the car on the road months before it confirmed that an update to the popular budget sedan was on its way.

    True to form, Photoshop expert Theophilus Chin has provided us a glimpse of what the refreshed version will look like, but while the real thing will almost certainly be based on the latest 2016 Saga, he decided to base these renderings off the FLX model from 2011…because he believed that car looked better. To be fair, the man has already served up images of what he thinks the actual facelifted Saga will look like.

    As such, you can clearly see the donor car’s handsome, if rather dated body serving as the basis on which the updates were applied. Even so, you can still see the kind of changes that we can expect to see on the real production car, including the redesigned “Infinite Weave” grille and the reprofiled front bumper – this one sports a neat chrome bar spanning the entire width of the car.

    The headlight graphics have also been revised and feature projectors and classy daytime running lights, although judging by both the facelifted Iriz and Persona receiving reflector headlights, that’s looking less and less likely. At the rear, there are new, larger tail lights plus a new number plate garnish with the “Proton” script instead of the logo, while the bumper insert gets a fake air vent and a gloss black finish.

    Theophilus has also worked on the inside, where this particular FLX receives the usual tweaks. These include a redesigned instrument cluster with a larger central multi-info display, a frameless rear-view mirror, an X70-style gearlever and a new touchscreen infotainment system with a version of Geely’s Global Key User Interface (GKUI). The steering wheel has also been swapped out for one from the Iriz/Persona.

    Proton will likely provide yet more tweaks under the skin to further improve the car’s refinement, although the 94 hp/120 Nm 1.3 litre VVT engine and five-speed manual and CVT transmission options will probably remain unchanged. So what do you think – do you prefer the look of this “facelifted FLX”, and would you be interested in getting a bodykit like this to refresh your own FLX? Answers in the comments after the jump.

  • Tesla Semi launch delayed due to tight battery supply

    Tesla has announced that the production for its Semi has been pushed back to 2020 citing strained battery supply for production of its range of EVs, Autocar reports. Speaking at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Elon Musk said Tesla aims to speed up battery production rates, going as far as to suggest a venture into metal mining.

    Despite the delay, customers are still able to reserve Semis. The full-electric lorry was first unveiled in November 2017, attracting huge fleet buyers such as Walmart, UPS, FedEx, and Budweiser. It’s unclear whether the bottleneck will hamper further investments in the lorry, though.

    For a lorry, its technical specifications are quite astounding. The Semi is powered by four independent electric motors on the rear axles, and will sprint from zero to 97 km/h (0-60 mph) in just five seconds. Of course, this is without a trailer hitched to it, but Tesla says with a full 36,287 kg (or 80,000-pound) load, its truck will complete the sprint in 20 seconds. Regular diesel trucks require at least 40 seconds more to get there.

    The Semi’s battery pack is similar in composition as its other products, and is designed for repeated charging cycles for over a million miles. On a full charge, the lorry is capable of delivering a driving range of over 500 miles (800 km), which some experts claim as “physics defying.”

    For support, Tesla will deploy its new high-speed DC chargers – dubbed Megachargers – that is said to provide 644 km (400 miles) of range in just 30 minutes. These will be installed at strategic points and along heavily trafficked routes, enabling recharging during loading, unloading, and driver breaks.

    In terms of features, the Semi’s cabin is designed to be driver-centric, complete with two touchscreen displays that provide easy access to information. The truck’s systems also sync with a fleet’s management system to support routing and scheduling, as well as remote monitoring.

    Safety-wise, the Semi has reinforced battery, surround cameras, impact-resistant glass, and on-board sensors that detect instability and adjusts torque to each wheel and brake actuation to prevent jackknifing.

    There’s also Enhanced Autopilot, with systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Lane Keeping, Lane Departure Warning and event recording. Several Semi trucks can also form a conga line where all of them autonomously follow a lead Semi. Reservations for the Tesla Semi can be made for US$5,000 (RM21k) per truck.

  • Aston Martin Valkyrie to race in WEC “hypercar” class

    Aston Martin may have had a race to forget at Le Mans, with its GTE Pro polesitter retiring and another car finishing well down the order in 13th – but it wasn’t entirely a waste of time for the British sports car maker. The company also announced ahead of the race that it is making a return to top-flight sports car racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), starting from the 2020-2021 season.

    That’s when the series switches from prototypes to its new road car-based “hypercar” regulations, and Aston Martin has committed to fielding at least two works machines based on the spectacular Valkyrie during the inaugural season. Gaydon will be competing for overall victories – including at Le Mans – alongside Toyota, another company that committed to the new top category ahead of the recent race.

    Aston says that the new race car will “draw on all the radical pillars” of both the road car and the track-only AMR Pro derivative, and that they will feature a race-prepped version of its bespoke 6.5 litre naturally-aspirated V12, along with a lightweight carbon fibre structure and F1-inspired aerodynamics. No word yet on whether hybrid technology – which Toyota will draw on with its entry – will feature here.

    Aston Martin’s new racing “hypercar” will be based on the upcoming Valkyrie road car

    “We have always said that we would bring Aston Martin back to Le Mans with the intention of going for the outright win when the time was right – now is that time,” said CEO Andy Palmer. “The Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the new ‘hypercar’ rule framework. What could be more evocative than the wail of an Aston Martin V12 leading the charge into the night on the Mulsanne straight?”

    These announcements come as the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, firmed up the new rules in the run-up to the event. The cars will feature a power output of 750 hp and weigh 1,100 kg, with an optional hybrid system not exceeding 270 hp.

    There will also be restrictions on the how a four-wheel drive hybrid system is deployed to pare back the traction advantage compared to two-wheel drive entries, while a GTE-style Balance of Performance (BoP) system will also be employed to keep racing close.

  • Mitsubishi to produce Ranger Raptor-rivalling Triton?

    As performance pick-up goes, the Ford Ranger Raptor is in a league of its own. Well, maybe not for long. According to CarAdvice, Mitsubishi has filed trademark applications for two beefed-up Triton models based on the Triton Absolute concept, suggesting that the automaker is considering them for production.

    The Triton Absolute was revealed as a concept at the 2019 Bangkok motor show, featuring a raft of carbon-fibre trims, as well as protective bash plates for the front and rear, a roof-mounted light bar and rail system, black 18-inch wheels with Falken Wildpeak M/T 285/65 off-road tyres, jacked-up suspension (+50 mm!), a sail-plane and bar work in the tray.

    The trademarked pair aren’t identical, though. One is a tamer version with carved-out ‘air inlets’ at the front and body mouldings on the side, whereas the more hardcore version integrates the sail-plane and bar in the tray. While it may not seem like a full-blown Ranger Raptor rival, the move is quite similar to Toyota’s approach with the Hilux Rogue and Hilux Rugged X.

    While the hardcore Triton may not receive the same level of mechanical and chassis revisions as the Ranger Raptor, it may get a suspension lift system, which will improve its off-road abilities by a considerable margin.

    As it is, the Triton is one of the few pick-up trucks in the segment that offers drivers the ability to drive on-road and off-road in both two- or four-wheel drive high (4H) range. It boasts a centre and rear differential lock. Most of the other vehicles in this segment can only enter four-wheel drive on unsealed surfaces.

    Mitsubishi Australia CEO, John Signoriello said a tougher Triton fits the way Australians see and use their pick-up trucks. “The Triton Absolute demonstrates our commitment to exploring a vision of the future Triton that will deliver on our ‘engineered beyond tough’ commitment to the Triton series – bold enough to be taken on even more adventurous treks to explore Australia’s rugged outback, which is one of Mitsubishi’s defining strengths,” he said.

    The company has declined to comment on whether the Triton Absolute is confirmed for production, but it’s worth knowing that the vehicle has been touring Australian dealerships. CarAdvice added that the registration of a local trademark means a version of the pick-up truck will almost certainly go on sale within the next year.

    GALLERY: 2019 Mitsubishi Triton Absolute Concept

  • Mercedes G-Class ‘Stronger Than Time’ Edition debuts

    Mercedes-Benz has announced three unique ‘Stronger Than Time’ editions of the G-Class to celebrate 40 years of the iconic Gelandewagen. It’s available in two engine variants – G 400 d and G 500, the former being the automaker’s newest OM 656 3.0 litre inline-six diesel engine.

    The oil burner makes 330 hp and 700 Nm of torque at 3,400 to 4,600 rpm, featuring stepped-recess combustion process and two-stage exhaust-gas turbocharging. The engine also gets variable valve train Camtronic to optimise fuel efficiency.

    Next, the G 500 is powered by a 4.0 litre V8 petrol engine, delivering 422 hp and a maximum torque of 610 Nm at 2,000 to 4,750 rpm. Both models are dressed in AMG Line trim, so there’s flared wheel arches, AMG design elements, brake calipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering, and a special sports exhaust system for the G 500. Both models also get a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

    The stainless steel package give the side running boards, spare wheel cover, door sills and loading sill protection at the rear a high quality finish. The standard-fit Night Package gives the special model darkened lights as well as outside mirrors, a spare wheel ring and design elements in the bumpers in obsidian black and tinted rear windows.

    Other items fitted to the car include the Driving Assistance Package, suspension with adaptive dampers, 360-degree camera, Multibeam LED headlights, Active Multicontour Seat package, Burmester surround sound system, 64-colour ambient lighting system, powered sunroof with automatic rain-sensor closing function, and obstruction sensor plus Pre-Safe closing function.

    Both models get the ‘Stronger Than Time’ badge on the A-pillar and in the leather-covered grab handle in front of the front seat. The grab handles on the roof lining is wrapped in leather, whereas the instrument panel gets the plusher nappa leather trim.

    A range of colour options are available for the special edition models, which include three matte paint colours, as well as a two-tone cabin in macchiato beige and yacht blue, or macchiato beige with lounge red finish. A set of 20-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, as well as protective grilles on the headlamps, are standard.

    The third ‘Stronger Than Time’ model is the top-of-the-line G 63 to commemorate 20 years of the performance G-Class. It’s powered by a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 that makes 585 hp and 850 Nm of torque, mated with a nine-speed AMG Speedshift TCT automatic and rear-biased all-wheel drive system with three diff locks. It also has AMG Ride Control, AMG-specific drive programmes and a luxurious cabin.

    Visual enhancements come from dark chrome exterior trims, as well as Silvershadow (matte chrome) finish for the running boards, side-exit exhausts, mirror caps, and several other trim elements. The 22-inch AMG cross-spoke forged wheels with 295/40 tyres can be specified for the G 63. All models get the special ‘Stronger Than Time’ LED projection.

  • 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR Ultraman limited, RM12,688

    Ever popular with young riders in Malaysia is the 2019 Yamaha Y15ZR V2 and there is now a limited edition model, dubbed the Yamaha Y15ZR Ultraman Limited Edition, priced at RM12,688 before road tax, insurance and registration. Produced in a limited run of only 100 units, the Y15ZR Ultraman is only available from Welly Assorted in Rawang, Selangor and is an officially licensed product from Malaysian Ultraman licensing agent Taigaco with delivery to begin in July 2019.

    Exclusive to the Malaysia market, the Y15ZR Ultraman comes with airbrushed paintwork on the body in Ultraman’s colours of silver and red in a matte finish. As part of the limited edition package, the Y15ZR Ultraman also comes with alloy Rapida adjustable brake and clutch levers, alloy radiator guard and Yamaha engine cover.

    Also included is a edition number plate located on the left side of the cowl and purchasers of the Y15ZR can select the edition number they desire, subject to availability. Filling up the goodie bag is a certificate of authenticity, limited edition emblem, exclusive Ultraman t-shirt, postcard and behind the scenes photos.

    The Yamaha Y15ZR V2 carries a liquid-cooled, 150 cc, single-cylinder SOHC engine, matched to a five-speed gearbox. Power is claimed to be 15.4 PS at 8,500 rpm with 13.8 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. For the V2 version of the Y15ZR, the instrument panel is a monochrome LCD unit with LED lighting front and rear.

    Weight for the Y15ZR V2 is claimed to be 117 kg and fuel is carried in a 4.2-litre tank under the seat. In Malaysia, the Yamaha Y15ZR V2 retails at a recommended price of RM8,168.

  • Le Mans 2019: Toyota wins again, secures WEC titles

    It was a fairytale ending for the crew that, 12 months ago, picked up the silverware at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing team of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso once again secured victory at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, behind the wheel of their TS050 Hybrid.

    But the 87th running of the premier endurance race was not as straightforward as that, as the trio were gifted the victory after a bizarre software glitch hit the #7 sister car driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José-María Lopéz with just over an hour left in the clock.

    Lopéz suffered a puncture while holding a commanding two-minute lead in the closing stages, but a sensor issue led to the wrong tyre being replaced. The resulting limp back to the pits for a second time gave Nakajima a lead of over 50 seconds, whittled down to 17 seconds by the time the chequered flag fell. It was a heartbreaking moment for the team that clinched pole and looked untroubled throughout most of the race.

    Still, it was a good day in the office for Toyota, which managed to bag a one-two finish despite the last-gasp troubles. The victory also sealed the World Endurance Championship (WEC) title for the #8 team and made it the first (and likely only) team to score two Le Mans victories in a single endurance racing season, as the unusual 2018/2019 “Super Season” recalibrated the WEC calendar to end at this extraordinary race.

    Securing the final podium spot in LMP1 was the #11 SMP Racing team of Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and Stoffel Vandoorne, which ran a largely trouble-free race in their BR Engineering BR1 as a crash, a three-minute penalty and a spin robbed the #3 Rebellion Racing team of Thomas Laurent, Gustavo Menezes and Nathanaël Berthon of a chance of being best of the rest. The latter finished behind the #1 Rebellion of Bruno Senna and former winners André Lotterer and Neel Jani.

    In LMP2, the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut team of Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and André Negrão also managed to defended last year’s victory and collect the WEC class titles in their Alpine A470. They finished ahead of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing team of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stéphane Richelmi and the #28 TDS Racing team of François Perrodo, Loïc Duval and Matthieu Vaxivière.

    As for the GTE classes, the #51 AF Course team of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra celebrated the 70th anniversary of Ferrari’s first Le Mans victory in style by taking the GTE Pro class win in their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, beating the #91 Porsche 911 RSR of Gianmaria Bruni, Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz and the #93 Porsche of Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Patrick Pilet.

    Meanwhile, the #85 Keating Motorsports team of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga survived a late stop-and-go penalty to take the GTE Am victory in the only privateer Ford GT, fending off competition from the #56 Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey and the #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE of Rodrigo Baptista, Jeff Segal and Wei Lu.

    Despite not securing any wins, Porsche took a clean sweep of the GTE class titles at the event, with the 10th place of the #92 team of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor being good enough for them to become the GTE Pro champions, and the #56 Project 1 team clinching it for GTE Am.


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Last Updated 15 Jun 2019


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