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  • Polestar 1 debuts as 600 hp, 1,000 Nm PHEV coupe; Polestar 2 EV sedan to take on Tesla Model 3 in 2019

    Several months ago, Volvo Cars announced that Polestar will launch a range of electrified high-performance cars, and here is the standalone company’s first product. Meet the Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid GT car that is set to begin its production run in mid-2019.

    The halo car for the brand is equipped with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain, featuring a Drive-E 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, a 46 hp/150 Nm integrated starter generator (ISG), and two electric motors (109 hp each). The last item draws power from three battery packs (totalling 34 kWh) to motivate the rear, as well as provide torque vectoring to ensure maximum road grip while cornering.

    Volvo says the total output of the system is 600 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque, although it didn’t provide any performance figures like the well-known 0-100 km/h sprint. However, it notes the car will travel for up to 150 km on pure electric power alone, which is nice. To ensure the power is properly transmitted, 21-inch wheels with 275/30 front and 295/30 rear tyres are fitted as well.

    The Polestar 1 is based on Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), which is also employed by the Swedish carmaker’s 90 Series models (XC90, S90 and V90), albeit with substantial revisions. With tinkering from Polestar engineers, nearly 50% of the platform is new and bespoke.

    Along with the chassis revision, the performance PHEV also gains several other technologies as well. This includes an Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) system, with the Polestar 1 being claimed as the world’s first car to be fitted with the advanced chassis technology. To cope with the power, there are also six piston aluminium Mono block calipers by Akebono on each front wheel, coupled with 400×38 mm ventilated and drilled discs.

    With the mechanical bits out of the way, let’s talk about the way the car looks. It certainly is an attractive shape, appearing almost like carbon copy of the Volvo Concept Coupe from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. On the mention of carbon, the Polestar 1 is fitted with carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) bodywork to keep the weight low, improve torsional stiffness by 45% and to maintain a lower centre of gravity.

    Up front, the Polestar 1 showcases the well-known Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights, which are part of the LED headlights. A bold grille sits between the two lighting units, while the lower apron plays host to corner “winglets” that appear to be an evolved version of the R-Design styling package for the S90.

    From the side, the coupe shape is emphasised by a rakish roofline, which ends just a little ahead of the boot section, likely a nod to the P1800. The flat rear-end is largely devoid of features, with main highlights being the C-shaped taillights, quad exhaust pipes and a Polestar badge. Look a little closer, and you’ll spot what appears to be a hidden active rear spoiler as well.

    Inside, there’s a sense of déjà vu as the layout is almost identical to the S90, with a portrait-format touchscreen dominating the dashboard. Elsewhere, there’s the familiar three-spoke steering wheel (now with the Polestar badge), Orrefors crystal gear shifter and a gentle application of carbon-fibre trim.

    The hybrid GT accommodates up to four passengers being a 2+2 seater, and based on the images, those in the rear will get to enjoy the craftsmanship on their seats as well as a large panoramic sunroof.

    Polestar will also move away from the traditional ownership model, and will offer the coupe on a two- or three-year subscription basis akin to Care by Volvo. Customers will have to go online to apply, where they’ll need to pay a monthly fee to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range.

    Production of the car will take place at the purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China, set for completion in mid-2018. The facility is part of a RMB 5 billion (about RM 3 billion) investment from Volvo Cars, and its owner Geely Holding, to support the initial phase of Polestar’s product, brand and industrial development.

    Following the Polestar 1 will be the aptly-named Polestar 2, the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. Production of that model will start later in 2019 in China, where it will be exported to other markets to do battle with the Tesla Model 3. Next up, is the Polestar 3 SUV, also a BEV that will have the Model X in its sights. All in all, a total of five fully electric Polestar- or Volvo-branded vehicles will be launched between 2019 and 2021.

     
  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • Toyota announces “Start Your Impossible,” a global initiative to explore mobility beyond traditional lines

    Toyota has announced a new global corporate initiative called Start Your Impossible, which the automaker says seeks to inspire its employees, partners and customers and connect them with the company’s core beliefs, which is the creation of a more inclusive and sustainable society in which mobility isn’t viewed along traditional lines.

    It’s doing so by taking a wider view of mobility beyond cars, approaching it from a broader, more holistic perspective, with the idea being to ultimately provide freedom of mobility for all. The company says that alternative powertrains, automated cars, mobility-as-a-service and robotics should be seen as significant opportunities to move people and transform the company.

    “Today, the automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change and during this time Toyota remains committed to making ever better cars. Just as important, we are developing mobility solutions to help everyone enjoy their lives, and we are doing our part to create an ever better society for the next 100 years and beyond,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said.

    “For this to happen, we have to dream beyond conventional vehicles and create new forms of mobility that overcome the limits of today and solve the problems of tomorrow,” he added.

    As it progresses, Start Your Impossible will explore transportation solutions, next generation mobility and advanced technologies. It will also look to include a variety of programmes focused on employees, dealers and consumers, as well as collaborate with the Toyota Mobility Foundation – which was established to address urban transportation challenges and expand personal mobility for all people – in the hope of inspiring next-generation mobility solutions.

    Toyota is launching a new website called www.MobilityForAll.com with the introduction of the initiative. In consultation with the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) in the United States, the website – which will be rolled out in phases – is built to be accessible for users with various impairments and to allow all users to experience the site and all its content.

     
  • DRIVEN: Mercedes-Benz GLC200 – value for money?

    We Malaysians are generally attracted to things that scream “value for money,” and who can blame us? The ideology is simple – a product that meets all major requirements without any excess, so that you wouldn’t have to pay more than necessary for it.

    Take for instance the automotive landscape, where brands offer all-wheel drive on some of their models, although it may not be the primary criteria for people who regularly patrol the urban jungle. Most often than not, these variants are in the upper echelons of the model range, which can cost a pretty penny or two.

    Therefore, alternative variants are introduced to broaden the model’s appeal, with certain items removed (i.e. all-wheel drive system) to make it more affordable. Of course, this introduces another concern – are these cheaper variants still worth the money or have they been stripped to become a kereta kosong as coined by some of our readers?

    Well, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia recently launched the new GLC 200, a less costly version of its mid-size SUV that slots in below the GLC 250 4Matic and GLC 43 4Matic. At RM288,888, it is RM37,000 less than the AWD-equipped GLC 250 4Matic and you can even own one from just RM2,888 with Agility Financing. It all sounds very tempting, but the question still remains – is it a value for money proposition? Let’s find out.

    Read The Full Story ›

     
  • AmGeneral Insurance launches Auto365 auto coverage

    Insurance provider AmGeneral Insurance has announced its latest product, Auto365 Comprehensive Premier, a comprehensive coverage package introduced following the liberalisation of the motor insurance sector which took place in July this year. Auto365 provides the widest coverage of any motor insurance product in the market, claims AmGeneral Insurance.

    Auto365 Comprehensive Premier includes additional coverage for accidental damage, damaged caused by attempted theft or by additional drivers, provision for 200 km towing assistance, compassionate allowance for loss of vehicle, a three-year warranty for workmanship, plus an optional partial cover for convulsions of nature (otherwise commonly known as “acts of God”, or special perils coverage).

    “We are now perfectly positioned to deliver the best service and value to our customers via our network of 7,000 agents and partners nationwide. Auto365 Comprehensive Premier will spearhead the next phase of our liberalised motor insurance strategy,” said chief executive officer of AmGeneral Insurance Derek Roberts.

    Following the market liberalisation trend on pricing, premiums for Auto365 Comprehensive Premier will be assessed on the individual customer’s risk profile, instead of a more generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ template practiced in the past.

     
  • Mercedes-Benz recalls one million vehicles – airbag fix

    Over one million Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been recalled globally to address a potential accidental airbag deployment, as reported by Reuters. The programme covers passenger cars made between 2012 to 2017, involving the A-Class, B-Class, C-Class (W204 and W205), E-Class (W212 only), CLA, GLA and GLC models.

    The issue, as explained by Daimler AG, is that an electrostatic discharge, coupled with a faulty clock spring and insufficient grounding of steering components, can lead to inadvertent deployment of the driver side front airbag. To mitigate this, the rectification process will include additional grounding to the steering components.

    The safety recall covers 495,000 vehicles in the United States, 400,000 in Britain, 76,000 in Canada and thousands more in Germany. It is presently unknown if the models sold outside of these affected markets will be subject to the same recall. If the problem affects Malaysian models, the owners, who purchased the cars through authorised dealers, will be contacted by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia for the rectification process. Currently, no case has been identified yet.

    Back to the issue at hand: so far, a handful of drivers have been affected by the accidental airbag deployment, suffering “minor abrasions and bruises,” according to a Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman from the United States. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported. The German company also said that the issue is not related to the massive global recall of Takata’s airbag inflator module in any way.

     
  • Jaguar Land Rover wants to build more SVX models, next-gen Defender to receive hardcore 4×4 treatment

    Design honchos at Jaguar and Land Rover have verbalised plans to expand the off-road specific SVX moniker, following the reception its Discovery SVX received when it debuted last month. For the uninitiated, the SVX badge is birthed by the company’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) unit, which signifies the most off-road-focused variants. The Discovery was the first to receive the treatment.

    According to a report by AutoCar UK, the new SVX badge is appropriate for the Discovery model, as well as the new Defender which will be launched in the next few years, but less so for the Range Rovers. Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum also said the badge could work on a Jaguar.

    “We don’t talk a lot about the off-road ability of our cars because they’re road-biased. But they could have that capability as we have the tech in the group. I see the opportunity – if Land Rover can do SVR, we can do SVX,” said Callum, who introduced the brand new Jaguar E-Pace earlier in July.

    Similarly, Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern said the Discovery SVX was designed to be premium, comfortable and durable at the same time, a direction the Defender will very likely follow. “We have to stop thinking about function in a durable way. When you’re buying into the brand, you’re buying a premium product,” said McGovern.

    “It’s common to think of stripping down to basics when it comes to building extreme off-road vehicles, but I don’t think people want that any more. The ultimate capability machine will still be the Defender, but the Discovery SVX is equally capable,” he added. As the off-roading world anticipates the new Defender’s arrival, the Discovery SVX will momentarily help fill that gap.

     
  • Twelve Chinese car brands to include electronic stability control in all their cars from January 2018

    Twelve Chinese car brands have announced their decision to fit all new models with electronic stability control (ESC) from January 2018. They brands are Besturn, Changan, Dongfeng Fengshen, Geely, Haval, Hongqi, Lynk & Co, MG, Trumpchi, Roewe, Senova, and Wey. Collectively, they represent 85% of the domestic brand market.

    The carmakers made the announcement at today’s launch of Stop the Crash China in Shanghai. Stop the Crash is a Global NCAP led partnership which has been campaigning around the world to promote crash avoidance technologies.

    The anti-skid technology, which can help prevent loss of control crashes, has been mandatory in both the European Union and United States since 2012.

    “This is a bold step by Chinese manufacturers, who have shown a real commitment to road safety by fitting this technology as standard ahead of regulatory requirements. CATARC is committed to continuing to promote Stop the Crash technologies and to save lives in China,” said Yu Kai, party secretary of China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC).

    At a Stop the Crash event in November 2016, the Malaysian government announced that all new vehicles in our market will be required to be fitted with ESC by June 2018. “We are proud that the Malaysian government is taking this important step forward in road safety and to be the first ASEAN country to mandate ESC,” transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said then.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: 2018 Alpina XD3 spotted in the open

    If a new BMW model warrants a performance variant – and it appears most do, nowadays – Alpina will almost certainly beat Munich to it with its own interpretation. With the latest BMW X3 having been launched not long ago, the Buchloe-based manufacturer of customised BMWs has been developing its own rendition of the diesel-powered, G01-generation X3, the Alpina XD3.

    Alpina has done an XD3 before, based on the F25 BMW X3. That was powered by a reworked version of BMW’s 3.0 litre biturbo six-cylinder diesel which produced 350 hp and 700 Nm of torque – in standard guise, the X3 xDrive 35d made 313 hp and 630 Nm of torque.

    Changes beyond the factory BMW specification are typically deeper than mere tune-ups. Though the test mule here appears to wear minimal changes on its exterior, the Alpina-specific adornments can be expected on the front and rear bumpers, tailgate lip (otherwise a bootlid lip on the sedans), and a choice of wheels including Alpina’s signature multi-spoke wheel design.

    Under the skin, the eight-speed automatic transmission can be expected to have its own recalibration for this higher-performance application, and the X3’s suspension can also be expected to have bespoke spring and damper tunes, in Alpina guise of course.

    No images of the G01 Alpina XD3’s interior are forthcoming just yet, though prior Alpina form dictates that the cabin layout will remain the same, save for reupholstering of seat leathers and trims, while the steering wheel might also receive Alpina-specific shift buttons in place of paddles.

    Timeline for the G01 Alpina XD3’s debut isn’t clear just yet, though it can be expected to make its debut sometime next year.

    GALLERY: BMW X3 M40i

     
  • Honda Malaysia introduces Ultra Body Coating service

    Honda Malaysia is expanding the care aspect for Honda vehicles beyond that of the usual after-sales service with the introduction of a new Ultra Body Coating. It’s a paint protection application to help maintain the exterior finish of any Honda model, and the neat part about this one is that it can be done without any concerns of voiding the vehicle’s paint warranty, because it’s fully authorised by the company.

    Tested and approved by Honda Access, an authorised brand for Honda accessories in Japan, the Ultra Body Coating is a glass-based coating that has a 9H hardness rating – that’s good enough to protect the paint and colour on car body surfaces from the effects of heat, UV rays, iron dust, bird droppings, tar and even small stones, the company says. For a good while too, because one application of the coating is said to be good enough to provide a shine lasting up to three years.

    Honda Malaysia is offering the Ultra Body Coating at a discounted price of RM2,880, inclusive of labour and GST. The package is covered by a three-year warranty and includes two free maintenance sessions, carried out in six month intervals over the first year. Charges will only apply if any further maintenance is necessary beyond that (terms and conditions apply).

    Honda customers who are interested can bring their cars to the nearest authorised panel for coating or seek out Honda dealers, who will be able to assist in making the necessary arrangements. The Ultra Body Coating is available nationwide, except in Langkawi, Labuan, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu.

     
  • 2018 Benelli Leoncino now in Malaysia – RM29,678

    As promised by Benelli earlier this year, the 2018 Benelli Leoncino – “Leoncino” meaning lion cub in Italian – is now in Malaysia, and priced at RM29,678, including GST and excluding road tax, insurance and registration. Launched alongside the 2018 Keeway K-Light 202, Cafe Racer 152 and Patagonian Eagle 250, the Leoncino takes the power plant from the Benelli TRK 502 adventure bike and puts in a retro scrambler-styled chassis.

    Carrying a two-cylinder, 500 cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled mill with four-valves per cylinder, the Leoncino has a claimed power output of 48 hp at 8,500 rpm and torque figure of 45 Nm at 5,000 rpm. Fed by EFI, the Benelli’s lion cub gets power to the ground via a six-speed gearbox with a cable actuated clutch.

    Sharing much of its running gear with the TRK 502, the Leoncino has the same frame and swingarm as the TRK 502, along with the suspension. An upside-down fork props up the front end, while an adjustable monoshock suspends the rear. In the braking department, a pair of hydraulic four-piston callipers grab 320 mm discs, while a single 260 mm diameter disc does duties at the back.

    ABS braking is standard for the Leoncino, as the bike is Euro 4 compliant, along with LED lighting and digital instrumentation in the cockpit. Rolling on 17-inch rubber, the seat height is set at an accommodating 810 mm, with the Leoncino weighing in at 196 kg and fuel carried in a 12.7-litre tank.

    There are two colour options available for the 2018 Benelli Leoncino – Leoncino Red and Vulcan Black, with the bike set to make an appearance in Malaysian Benelli dealers by the end of 2017. A two-year or 20,000 km manufacturing is offered.

     
 

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