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  • VIDEO: Porsche Macan 2.0 in-depth walk-around tour

    Next on our video walk-around series is the most affordable – though not exactly cheap – Porsche around, the new Macan 2.0. This compact SUV opens up the Porsche brand to a much bigger audience – it being fairly attainable to some, while staying practical enough for everyday/family use.

    Just how practical is it, though? Let Gregory Sze walk you through the base Macan’s interior and exterior, pointing out the good and the bad. Your opinion may vary, but up close and personal, it’s hard not to agree that this Audi Q5-based and VW-engined Porsche SUV is more than the sum of its parts.

    At RM420,000, the 237 hp/350 Nm Porsche Macan 2.0 tees up against the equally new 245 hp/350 Nm BMW X4 xDrive28i at RM438,800 and the evergreen 237 hp/340 Nm Range Rover Evoque Coupe, which goes for RM419,888. But you’d be mistaken to think that that’s all you’d be paying for a Macan, as you’ll learn in the video above.

    Prefer to see static pictures instead? You can check out the accompanying gallery below or a much bigger selection here, which includes photos of a lower-spec Macan, a Macan Diesel S and a Macan S. We also have pics of the range-topping Macan Turbo if you so fancy. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and thanks for watching!

     
     
  • Nissan to receive nine-speed transmission, three-cylinder engine from Daimler in partnership – report

    daimler renault-nissan logo

    According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Nissan, or more specifically Infiniti, is set to receive a nine-speed transmission from Daimler as part of a product-sharing partnership between the German automaker and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

    Apart from a nine-speed gearbox, Nissan is in line to receive a three-cylinder engine, according to Jacques Verdonck, director of said collaboration between Daimler and Nissan. The engine will be making an appearance in the jointly-developed city cars by Renault and smart in the near future.

    However, Nissan has yet to reveal the extent to which it plans to use the provided powertrain. For 2014, Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are engaged in two operations in which Infiniti will open an engine plant in America, producing small-displacement engines for Infiniti and Mercedes for North America.

    An assembly plant in Mexico is also in the pipeline. The facility, co-owned by the two companies, will have a maximum operating capacity of up to 300,000 units a year starting in 2017.

     
     
  • Isuzu supports Borneo Safari event for the eighth year

    isuzu-borneo-safari

    Isuzu Malaysia will be supporting the Borneo Safari 2014, the eighth successive year it is sponsoring “Asia’s Toughest 4X4 Challenge.” The event’s “Diamond Sponsor” will work together with the Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) in its quest to raise the profile of the annual event, the 24th since its inception.

    “This event has been the mainstay for off-road enthusiasts both regionally and globally and we are delighted to be a part of this great event that drives man and machine to its limits. To conquer such an event truly separates the wheat from the chaff,” said Daisuke Ishida, COO of Isuzu Malaysia.

    Isuzu will be providing official media cars for the event, and the D-Max V-Cross 3.0 has been selected for the job. It will be a standard truck with minimal and necessary mods including an air snorkel, off-road tyres, heavy duty side steps and a winch. Isuzu recently launched the D-Max Artic, a dressed-up limited edition of 510 units.

    The 24th Borneo Safari is an eight-day event that will begin in Kota Kinabalu on October 26. This year, participants will go on a challenging loop of central Sabah including a stop at the diversely-challenging highland terrain in the Imbak Canyon Conservation Centre.

     
     
  • Mercedes-Benz GL 400 price announced – RM842,888 for a road tax-friendlier 3.0 litre turbo V6 engine

    12C178_069-e1343842804322

    The Mercedes-Benz GL 400 has been introduced in Malaysia with a price tag of RM842,888 on-the-road without insurance. The luxurious GL is a big seven-seater SUV that plays in a size class above the usual BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML – think of it as a star-badged Range Rover competitor.

    The GL 400 basically replaces the big 4.6 litre twin turbo V8 in the GL 500 introduced last year with a smaller, more road tax-friendly 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 engine. The ‘400’ engine has a similiar tune to the one found in the E 400 – it does 333 hp and 480 Nm of torque, compared to the GL 500’s 430 hp and 700 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 7G-Tronic gearbox.

    The equipment list is vast – it’s got an AMG bodykit and 21 inch AMG wheels, Intelligent Light System headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, a surround view camera system, Active Parking Assist, Distronic Plus active cruise control, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, electric folding for the third row of seats, soft-closing doors, a rear seat entertainment system and four-zone air conditioning.

    There are some changes compared to the GL 500 though, which came in at RM912,888. Aside from the smaller engine, you have to trade the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG sound system for a lower-end Harman Kardon Logic7 system, and the wood steering has been swapped for a sport steering.

    Thanks to reader KF Yeoh for the tip.

    GL400-PRICELIST-OCT20

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz GL 500

     
     
  • BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition marks 2014 title win

    BMW_M4_DTM_Champion_Edition_01

    It’s almost a given lately that German Touring Car Masters (DTM) championship winners will have a commemorative special edition of their road-going models. BMW won both titles in 2012 and made the E92 M3 DTM Champion Edition, while Audi built a run of the A5 DTM Champion edition to mark its victory last year.

    This year, young German hotshot Marco Wittmann has just wrapped up the DTM drivers’ title (the less fancied manufacturers’ title went to Audi) driving a BMW M4 DTM in its debut season, so naturally, there’s some celebrating to do. Say hello, then, to the BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition.

    Only 23 units will be made – matching Wittmann’s car number – and each one will be available in Alpine White only. Bespoke to the 23 are the matte black bonnet and boot lid to match the carbon-fibre roof. Even more eye-catching are the colourful stripe design, side decals and the kidney grille with orange surround.

    Other additions include black-painted 19-inch wheels, front splitter and side skirt blade, plus carbon-fibre front flaps, mirror caps and diffuser insert from the M Performance parts range. Inside you’ll get Alcantara steering wheel and handbrake gaiter, carbon-fibre handbrake grip and gearknob, as well as the new champion’s autograph on the door sills and interior trim.

    Fitted as standard on the BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition are the M DCT transmission, M Carbon ceramic brakes and the M Driver’s Package. The 23 owners will also be invited to take part in an exclusive track training course at the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, overseen by Wittmann himself.

    The F82 BMW M4 Coupe – powered by a 3.0 litre straight-six M TwinPower Turbo engine with 431 hp and 550 Nm of torque – is available in Malaysia in its standard form for RM748,800. The similarly-powered F80 M3 Sedan, meanwhile, goes for RM738,800.


    Malaysian-spec F82 BMW M4 Coupe

     
     
  • Deepavali toll discounts and rebates for road users

    highway

    The Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) has announced that discounts and toll rebates will be offered to motorists in conjunction with Deepavali tomorrow. Road users will be able to enjoy discounts ranging from five and 37.5% and rebates of 20% for the day.

    In addition to rebates and discounted toll rates, three highways will be giving away between 500 to 1,500 free Touch ‘n Go cards to highway users. The highways are the SILK Highway, Grand Saga Highway and LATAR Highway.

    The highways offering toll discounts are the:

    • Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (Akleh)
    • Damansara Puchong Highway (LDP)
    • Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE)
    • East Coast Highway Phase 1 (ECE 1)
    • Guthrie Corridor Expressway
    • Kajang Seremban Highway (LEKAS)
    • Kemuning-Shah Alam Highway (LKSA)
    • KL-Karak Highway (KLK)
    • KL-Putrajaya Highway (MEX)
    • New North Klang Straits Bypass (NNKSB)
    • New Pantai Expressway (NPE)
    • Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas)
    • SMART Motorway Tunnel
    • South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE)
    • SPRINT Highway
    • Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge (JSAHMS)
    • Sungai Besi Highway (Besraya)

    Meanwhile, the highways offering toll rebates are the:

    • Kulim-Butterworth Expressway (KLBK)
    • North-South Expressway (PLUS), except for Bukit Kayu Hitam / Bangunan Sultan Iskandar toll plazas
    • Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (LINKEDUA), except for Tanjung Kupang toll plaza
    • Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH)
     
     
  • Mazda BT-50 Pro Eclipse special edition for Thailand

    Mazda-BT-50-Pro-Eclipse-06

    Mazda has introduced the BT-50 Pro Eclipse for the Thai market. Think of the Eclipse special edition as the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Isuzu D-Max X-Series of the BT-50 range, although the Mazda is dressed up to look sporty instead of macho, in keeping with the standard truck’s flavour.

    The Eclipse brings on a chunkier new front bumper, sporting larger air intakes and a more prominent sump guard. LED daytime running light strips sit above the fog lamps.

    Big difference at the back, where the BT-50’s tail light extensions on the tailgate are gone, replaced by ‘wing-shaped’ detailing around the Mazda logo. There’s also a special Eclipse sports bar and bed liner. The package is completed by unique side steps, dark grey alloys and decals.

    The Eclipse special edition is only available in high-riding Hi-Racer form, in both Freestyle Cab (king cab) and Double Cab body styles. The six-speed manual-only two-door is priced at 791,000 baht (RM80,082), while the passenger-friendly four-door goes from 857,000 baht (6 M/T, RM86,744) to 943,000 baht (6 A/T with leather seats, RM95,449).

    No change in the 150 hp/375 Nm 2.2 litre turbodiesel engine, which is shared with the Ford Ranger.


    Malaysian-spec Mazda BT-50

     
     
  • Volkswagen Polo, Jetta CKD to be exported next year

    CKD_VW_Polo_1.6_review_Malaysia_ 001

    Volkswagen Group Malaysia (VGM) MD Armin Keller also let slip during yesterday’s media briefing that the company is looking to export the Volkswagen Polo 1.6, Polo Sedan and Jetta – all of them locally-assembled at DRB-Hicom’s plant in Pekan – to countries around ASEAN beginning from next year.

    Keller stated that these models now incorporate 40% local or ASEAN content, a requirement for cars assembled in ASEAN to gain import duty exemptions when exported to other countries in the region under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) agreement.

    Because the cars currently being produced in Pekan are right-hand drive, VGM is currently focusing on RHD countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. Keller, however, did not rule out producing left-hand drive cars for countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines if the business case “makes sense.”

    2014 Volkswagen Polo Sedan CKD 29

    Despite reports that Volkswagen has applied to set up an assembly plant in Thailand under the second phase of the country’s Eco Car scheme, Keller insisted that the automaker remains committed to Malaysia as its regional production hub. He added that while VW’s application has indeed been approved by Thailand, it has yet to make a decision on pushing ahead with the plan at this moment.

    Keller maintains that DRB-Hicom remains a close partner for the region, saying that while Volkswagen does not hold ownership over the Pekan plant, it still has control over production levels, and that it has a number of its own personnel in the factory for training and assistance, making sure that the quality of the cars produced are up to par.

    Volkswagen Jetta CKD 4

    These comments add to recent developments that appear to strengthen Malaysia’s presence in the ASEAN region – Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak recently stated that Malaysia and Indonesia will be working on an ASEAN car project, although it is unclear if this is related to DRB-Hicom’s Asian Car project in which VW is involved in.

    Currently, Proton, Perodua (which exports its cars to Indonesia badged as Daihatsu models), Hyundai, Mazda, Peugeot, Volvo and Subaru are exporting cars from Malaysia to other countries in the ASEAN region due to the favourable tax breaks.

     
     
  • Ford delivers best-ever sales record in September

    Ford 3S Centre Klang

    Ford Malaysia has recently announced its best-ever September performance in Malaysia, with sales increasing 52 percent to 1,183 units. The record for quarterly sales has seen an increase of 55 percent to 3,697 units – an all-time record quarter in Malaysia.

    “We’re proud of the increasing appeal of the Ford brand in Malaysia and all the new to Ford customers that we’re able to serve. Our vehicle line-up represents the best of Ford – including a strong focus on safety, performance, fuel efficiency, smart technologies and head-turning style,” said David Westerman, managing director for Malaysia and Asia Pacific Emerging Markets.

    Models like the Ranger, Fiesta – both in 1.5 litre Ti-VCT and 1.0 litre Ecoboost trim, the Kuga and Focus were all equally responsible for the surge in sales which sees the company en route to marking a year-to-date retail sales figure of 10,217 units, an increase of 34 percent.

    Furthermore, the new EcoSport compact SUV is set to further boost sales figures as deliveries have begun since September, with 82 units delivered. “We expect to increase deliveries of EcoSport throughout the fourth quarter,” said Westerman.

     
     
  • Malaysia, Indonesia to collaborate on ASEAN car project, Proton expected to be involved – Najib

    najib-jokowi-malaysia-indonesia-asean-car-1

    Thought the so-called Asian/ASEAN car project had slipped away into the sunset? Apparently not, as according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the auto industries of Malaysia and Indonesia will soon work together to make the ASEAN car a reality, Bernama reports.

    Newly-appointed Indonesian president Joko Widodo (more popularly known as Jokowi) has expressed interest in the idea mooted by Malaysia, and Proton is expected to be involved in the project, Najib said.

    asean car

    “A feasibility study of a possible joint production of the ASEAN car by Malaysia and Indonesia will be undertaken and it (the idea) was welcomed by President Jokowi who wants the idea to be pursued further. This means Proton and Indonesia will launch the ASEAN car as a viable project after in-depth studies,” Bernama quoted him as saying.

    Conversely, DRB-Hicom’s Asian Car Project, announced early last year, was to do with making Malaysia a regional Volkswagen production hub. It later came to light that Proton would also be involved. We don’t know if these two projects are related, or one and the same. Indonesia has a number of national car projects, including the GEA (seen above), a small 640 cc offering made by PT INKA.

     
     
 

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