Latest Stories

  • Peugeot announces Le Mans return in hypercar class

    Peugeot has announced its return to premier endurance racing in the hypercar class, and the brand will be taking part in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) beginning in 2022. Details of its racing programme will be announced at the start of 2020, the automaker said.

    The introduction of the hypercar class regulations which confirmed the use stipulated use of hybrid powertrains and the associated significant cost savings led the PSA Group’s executive committee’s approval of the Peugeot brand’s proposal for its entry into the 2022/2023 WEC season in full.

    “The changes that the FIA WEC is introducing fit now with the transition we are undergoing ourselves with the electrification of our range and the launch of high-performance products, developed in close association with PSA Motorsport and foreshadowed by the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered,” said Brand Director Jean-Philippe Imparato, adding that these initiatives are “in tune with Peugeot’s ‘Motion and E-motion’ brand signature.”

    The French marque has had success at the headlining 24 Hours of Le Mans race three times, most recently in 2009 with the 908 HDi FAP racer during its last competitive stretch between 2007 and 2011, before pulling the plug on its endurance racing campaign just before the start of the 2012 WEC season.

  • Modded Mitsubishi Triton Quest, low rider possibilities

    Frequent visitors to Thailand would have noticed that low rider trucks are quite a thing in the Land of Smiles. Most are being used as intended, as commercial load lugging mules, but there are some of the modded variety. It’s not so much a thing here as bigfoot style mods, but if the idea of a low riding truck (or a drag machine) with big wheels tickles your fancy…

    At today’s launch of the facelifted Mitsubishi Triton Quest, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) also displayed an accessorised example of their workhorse truck, and it looks good. A lot of it is down to the Quest’s new Dynamic Shield front end – the previous face wouldn’t have been very sporty in any outfit.

    It might look “slammed” but this modded Quest’s suspension is stock. The effect is brought about by the 18-inch Advanti double-five spoke wheels in two tone, wrapped with 235/60 Toyo Open Country AT tyres.

    Elsewhere, there’s a roller shutter-style bed cover, black bumper frames for the tail lamps and a sizeable rear spoiler. Door visors complete the simple makeover. Not much in it, but what a big difference the few mods make, don’t you think?

    Priced at RM79,890 on the road without insurance (and the aftermarket parts here, obviously), the Triton Quest is the most affordable pick-up truck in the market. For that, you won’t be getting the 2.4L MIVEC turbodiesel or a VGT engine, but a simple 2.5 litre commonrail turbodiesel with 110 PS and 200 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. The gearbox is a good old five-speed manual.

    Not quite enough power to light up the rear wheels on demand (the Quest is now the only 2WD Triton variant on sale here, and the only one without the 2.4L MIVEC), but surely there’s a way around that. It’s sort of family friendly as well, with room for five and a very big boot, which might help some escape censure from the spouse!

    GALLERY: The stock Mitsubishi Triton Quest

  • New Maserati sports car teased, to be unveiled in May

    Maserati may have just killed off its gorgeous GranTurismo, but it has also provided a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come. The company has released a teaser video confirming that a brand new sports car is indeed coming, and that it’s set to be unveiled in May.

    Given that it’s still six months away, no details or images have been released just yet, but the rorty eight-cylinder soundtrack that accompanied the video indicates that the car will be powered (at least partly) by an internal combustion engine. This is despite Maserati previously stating that all new models in the future will either be electrified or become fully-electric.

    Despite the conveniently complementary timelines, the new car is unlikely to be the replacement for the GranTurismo, which will instead be arriving in 2021. Rumours and past suggestions from the Bolognese carmaker itself hint that this will be a smaller, sportier model, widely expected to be the long-heralded production version of the Alfieri concept.

    A previous report stated that the car, set to be offered as either a coupé or a convertible, will be built on a new modular aluminium spaceframe and feature active aerodynamics. Plug-in hybrid and pure electric powertrains are said to be in the works, the latter featuring three electric motors to provide all-wheel drive and torque vectoring, plus an 800-volt battery.

    All this will allow it to sprint to 100 km/h in around two seconds before hitting a top speed of 300 km/h. The electric powertrain will reportedly be used in future Maserati electric vehicles, sold under the Maserati Blue brand. Whatever it ends up being, the new model will be built at the Modena factory, which is currently being renovated after the end of GranTurismo production to facilitate the construction of electrified vehicles.

    GALLERY: Maserati Alfieri concept

  • Mercedes-Maybach SUV to debut at Auto Guangzhou

    The 2019 Auto Guangzhou is set to take place next week, and that is where Mercedes-Benz plans to reveal a new SUV parked under its Mercedes-Maybach banner. It’s certainly a fitting venue given the popularity of Maybach models in the country but there’s also some historical significance, as it was five years ago that the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class first made its debut in Guangzhou (as well as in Los Angeles).

    The German carmaker is keeping mum on the details for now, but has stated that the SUV will feature “state-of-the-art technology, exceptional comfort and the Maybach design philosophy.” More importantly, it will be “based on the largest Mercedes-Benz SUV model.”

    That clearly points to the current GLS, and we’ve already seen a development car making its rounds in previous spyshots. The mule retains the GLS’ profile, although there are unique styling cues to mark it out as a Maybach model like a “softer” front end that also sports a signature grille with multiple vertical slats and rounder headlamps.

    The new face also has a less aggressive lower apron compared to the standard GLS, and gets smaller corner vents and a less protruding chin. Meanwhile, the rear doesn’t differ much, although the taillights are expected to get new graphics to create distinction, and the exhaust outlets also see a redesign.

    Aside from the GLS-based Maybach SUV, the Denza X will also be presented at the motor show, which originates from the Denza brand established jointly by Daimler and BYD. The model will be exclusive to the Chinese market, and will be offered as a plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Maybach SUV spyshots

  • Mitsubishi Triton VGT AT Premium with improved specs – dashcam, leather, Apple Carplay, Android Auto

    Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) launched the facelifted Triton Quest at Central i-City Mall today, and the company also brought out the rest of the Triton range for the weekend roadshow. Besides the updated workhorse, the range topping Triton Adventure X and the Triton VGT AT Premium – which sits one rung below – are also on display.

    Both the Triton Adventure X and Triton VGT AT Premium have improved specs at slightly higher prices. When they were launched in January this year, the Adventure X and VGT AT Premium were priced at RM135,200 and RM118,600 respectively – the new prices are RM137,900 and RM121,000 on the road excluding insurance, which is an increase of RM2,700 and RM2,400, respectively.

    Of course, there’s more kit to go along with the new pricing. As shown early last month, the Triton Adventure X gains an all round monitor for bird’s eye view parking, a dashcam, side body stickers, and solar/security tint – a fair bit for the RM2,700 bump.

    Today is the first time we’re seeing the Triton VGT AT Premium, and the new features are the dashcam, leather seats and a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

    Quest aside, the updated Triton range with the Dynamic Shield face is powered by a 2.4 litre MIVEC turbodiesel with 181 PS and 430 Nm of torque at 2,500 rpm. This engine – which has an aluminium alloy block and variable geometry turbo – is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous five speeder. The other gearbox in the range is a six-speed manual.

    The Adventure X gets a new Super Select 4WD II system. It has 2WD (2H) and 4WD (4H, 4HLc) modes with shift-on-the-fly at up to 100 km/h. When the going gets tough, one can lock the center differential by entering the 4HLc, or the low range 4LLc for serious off-roading. The Easy Select 4WD system on the other variants allows for 2H-4H shift-on-the-fly at up to 100 km/h.

    Both Adventure X and VGT AT Premium get the new Off-Road Mode, which has four presets (gravel, mud, sand, rock). Choosing a mode will see the system optimise engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip and maximise off-road performance. There’s also hill descent control, which frees the driver to focus on steering during steep descents. The Off-Road Mode and HDC buttons are behind the 4WD rotary knob.

    The early 2019 update improved the MMC truck in the safety department. Driver assist features such as Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist (BSW with LCA), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), Auto High Beam (AHB) and seven airbags are now available on the Triton Adventure X.

    GALLERY: Updated Mitsubishi Triton VGT AT Premium

    GALLERY: Updated Mitsubishi Triton Adventure X

  • Petronas Auto Expert continues growth in Klang Valley

    Following the launch of Petronas Auto Expert outlets beginning with the first location in Malaysia in April this year, the network of service centres has since grown to seven outlets in full operation within the Klang Valley, as of November 2019. Development of the network continues in its first phase, with expansion plans focused on the Klang Valley.

    “Petronas has been very helpful in our long-term plan in the automotive industry. we have seen sales increases of up to 120% in our Shah Alam branch when we started the Petronas Auto Expert as the main branding on our building facade,” said Muhamad Eezam Masripan, one the entrepreneurs who operates three Auto Expert branches.

    “Feedback from our existing and walk-in customers has been encouraging, and we are determined that the concept can be very successful and financially beneficial,” he continued. In addition to the launch location in Seksyen 15 of Shah Alam, the additional six Auto Expert service centres are located in Seri Kembangan, Sri Manja, Sri Batu Caves, Semenyih, Kajang and Bandar Bukit Raja.

    Petronas has aimed for growth across 30 countries in the coming five years, targeting the introduction of 100 outlets across the globe, in markets such as China, India as well as countries in Latin America and Europe, the company announced at the launch of Auto Expert in April.

    Services offered at Petronas Auto Expert outlets include vehicle inspections, engine diagnostics, oil change services and more with its staff of trained technicians.

  • 2020 Hyundai Grandeur facelift receives big new grille

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since the latest Hyundai Grandeur (also known as the Azera is certain markets) was unveiled, but it has. To keep the full-size sedan fresh, the South Korean carmaker has given it a facelift, and judging by the first images shown here, it’s a pretty drastic one.

    As you can see, the front end has been completely redesigned and features a massive grille that spans the entire width of the fascia. The radical new face makes its production debut on the Grandeur, having first seen the light of day on the front of the Le Fil Rouge concept. It incorporates a diamond pattern that is repeated in the sharp headlights that flank it, making for a nicely integrated look.

    This diamond pattern also hides the car’s daytime running lights which appear to be part of the grille’s metallic “dots” when turned off and, when lit up, form a chevron emanating from each headlight. The surrounding air intakes have also been re-profiled to form an X-shaped graphic on the front end.

    The body side has also been reworked – the shoulder line now stretches all the way to the rear door handles, while the second line going above the rear wheels has been raised. The rear quarter light windows have also been reshaped, appearing more upright and giving the car a more regal look. The rear end is softer and features slimmer full-width tail lights, along with a chrome strip that carries the twin/quad tailpipes.

    The more imposing design betrays the Grandeur’s reworked dimensions, having been stretched some 60 mm to 4,990 mm. In a rare move for a facelift, some 40 mm of that increase goes into the wheelbase, and the car is also 10 mm wider. Hyundai promises one of the most spacious interiors in its class as a result.

    Speaking of which, the wholesale revamp continues on the inside, where the Grandeur receives a revised dashboard design with full-width air vents and larger displays for the infotainment and the configurable instruments – these now measure up to 12.3 inches across. The leather-lined centre console is also new, equipped with a touchscreen for the climate controls and push buttons that replace the usual gearlever.

    Other new features include an air purification system, a blind spot camera, Safe Exit Assist, a BMW-style Remote Parking Assist for slotting into tight spaces and a revised autonomous emergency braking system that now detects oncoming traffic when turning at a junction – and it also now works in reverse. There’s also a thicker rear windscreen for reduced noise, along with a strengthened body structure.

    In Korea, the Grandeur will be available with a choice of four powertrains, including a new 2.5 litre Smartstream G petrol engine and a 290 hp 3.3 litre V6. There’s also a hybrid model that pairs a 2.4 litre MPI engine with a 35 kW electric motor, as well as a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) model with a 3.0 litre engine. The latter receives a circular tank instead of a cylindrical one for improved luggage space.

  • 2019 Mazda CX-8 launched in Thailand – imported from Malaysia, with MRCC and Bose, RM220k-RM285k

    Mazda Thailand has officially launched the CX-8, with four variants of the three-row SUV being made available to customers there. The range starts off with the 2.5 S that is priced at 1.599 million baht (RM220,094), and is followed by the 2.5 SP at 1.699 million baht (RM233,859), the XDL at 1.899 million baht (RM261,388) as well as the range-topping XDL Exclusive at 2.069 million baht (RM284,787).

    This four-variant line-up is similar to what we get in Malaysia, but the difference here is the XDL Exclusive is the only one available with six-seat configuration (including two second-row captain chairs), whereas we have three variants of the sort. Meanwhile, the rest of the range for the Thailand market are all seven-seaters.

    In terms of engines, the 2.5 S and 2.5 SP are powered by a SkyActiv-G 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with 194 PS at 6,000 rpm and 258 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Both XDL variants feature a SkyActiv-D 2.2 litre turbodiesel powerplant instead, which provides 190 PS at 4,500 rpm and 450 Nm at 2,000 rpm. Again, this arrangement differs from Malaysian-spec cars, as there’s only a sole diesel variant available to us.

    All CX-8 variants in Thailand get a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission as standard, with all-wheel drive being reserved to the XDL Exclusive – front-wheel drive is the default for the rest. Other shared features include G-Vectoring Control (GVC) and Mazda’s i-Stop idling technology.

    As for available equipment, 19-inch wheels are fitted to all four variants, with other exterior items being automatic projector LED headlamps, daytime running lights (LED-type for all except for the 2.5 S that gets bulb-type ones), LED signature taillights (except the 2.5 S), keyless entry and front LED fog lamps (only for the XDL Exclusive).

    On the inside, the list of standard equipment for all variants include powered front seats (eight-way driver’s side with memory and six-way passenger), Deep Red Nappa leather upholstery, a windshield-projected head-up display, a 4.6-inch multi-info instrument cluster display, triple-zone climate control with second- and third-row vents, keyless start and a seven-inch Mazda Connect system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

    Compared to the CX-8 we get, the Thailand-spec variants do get a few more goodies, such as a 10-speaker Bose sound system on the XDL Exclusive, with others having a standard six-speaker system – Malaysian cars use this setup. The standard features such as Nappa leather and powered front passenger seat are also available only on selected variants in Malaysia.

    In the safety department, Thailand-spec CX-8s come with six airbags, Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring (ABSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) DSC, traction control, hill assist, ABS, EBD and brake assist. Other features such as a 360-degree view monitor, Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), Smart Brake Support (SBS) and Advanced Smart City Brake Support (Advanced SCBS) are found on all variants save for the base 2.5 S.

    The XDL Exclusive is the most equipped of the bunch, as it adds on Smart City Brake Support-Reverse (SCBS-R), Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Driver Attention Alert (DAA) and Lane-keep Assist System (LAS). These features are also available here in Malaysia, but what’s missing is Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), which can be found on all Thailand-spec variants, with the exception of the 2.5 S.

    The CX-8 is available in Thailand in a choice of six colours – Soul Red Crystal, Machine Grey, Snowflake White Pearl, Jet Black, Deep Crystal Blue and Sonic Silver – which are exactly the same as what customers in Malaysia are offered. For the sake of comparison, the CX-8 in Malaysia is priced at RM179,960.40 for the entry-level 2.5G 2WD Mid, RM185,960.40 for the 2.5G 2WD Mid Plus, 2.5G, RM200,960.40 for the 2WD High, and RM217,722.80 for the top-of-the-line 2.2D 4WD High.

  • McLaren Elva – 6.7 s 0-200 km/h, windscreen optional

    Meet the Elva, McLaren’s lightest-ever road car according to the British sports car maker, which is also the brand’s first open-cockpit road car and the first Ultimate Series roadster. The Elva is built upon a bespoke carbon-fibre chassis and body, says McLaren, doing without a roof, windscreen and windows while protection from the elements is courtesy of some clever airflow management.

    The Elva name comes from the McLaren-Elva M1A which competed in the Canadian Sports Car Grand Prix – forerunner to the Can-Am Challenge Cup – in 1964, which was constructed from a tubular steel spaceframe and reinforced with magnesium-alloy sheeting, resulting in a racer that weighed just 551 kg. The new Elva’s title of lightest-ever McLaren road car likely means it is lighter than even the 1,138 kg F1, though the new car’s final weight figure has yet to be certified, says McLaren.

    The lightweight approach also carries over to the new Elva, which is powered by a version of the 4.0 litre biturbo V8 engine which is also found in the Senna and the track-only Senna GTR. The Elva certainly wears less of the downforce-producing aero aids on its body compared to the Senna, though it features the Active Air Management System (AAMS), a world-first according to McLaren.

    This system channels air through the Elva’s front end to exit at the top of its clamshell at high velocity and directed upwards over the cockpit in order to create a relatively calm ‘bubble’ for the cabin. A carbon-fibre deflector positioned at the bonnet outlet raises and lowers vertically, and rises 150 mm into the airstream to create a low-pressure zone. To aid packaging for the AAMS, radiators are located ahead of the front wheels.

    Alternatively, the Elva can be specified with a fixed windscreen, though McLaren says the Elva is homologated for all major markets. Handy, as the 815 PS and 800 Nm of torque from the biturbo V8 propels through the 0-100 km/h and the 0-200 km/h benchmarks in ‘under three seconds’ and 6.7 seconds respectively, the Elva quicker through this second measure than the road-going Senna.

    As per McLaren form, the flat-plane crank, dry-sumped engine’s outputs are channels to the rear wheels via a seven-speed seamless-shift gearbox, or dual-clutch, in McLaren’s terms. Suspension layout takes after the Super Series and Ultimate Series cars with fully active, hydraulically linked suspension albeit with bespoke software, springs and damper valving for the Elva.

    Braking is taken care of by sintered carbon-ceramic disc brakes measuring 390 mm at all four corners, which take longer to manufacture compared to conventional carbon-ceramic units, though the sintered discs are much stronger and have improve thermal conductivity, allowing a smaller disc to perform to similar performance while reducing unsprung mass and cooling requirements. Steering features electro-hydraulic assistance for the ‘purest feedback’, which is expected of an open-cockpit car, says McLaren.

    Another McLaren first, according to the automaker, is the integration of controls for the Active Dynamics functions into the instrument cluster, placed on either side of the binnacle. The mode switches are located close to the gearshift paddles and therefore do not need to driver to remove their hands from the steering wheels, says McLaren. Three levels of stability control are on offer, in addition to Variable Drift Control (VDC).

    The central, eight-inch touchscreen monitor serves as a hub for all of the vehicle’s functions, while the infotainment has been updated to allow the running of multiple applications at the same time. Functions include sat-nav, track telemetry, rearview camera and climate control.

    In terms of storage, the Elva offers space beneath the rear tonneau cover, which is a single piece of carbon-fibre and manually operated. Interior trim features enhanced full aniline leather which has been developed to suit usage in an open-cockpit car, and there is also a new material termed Ultrafabric that is a breathable synthetic which is durable and resistant to moisture, as well as helping to ‘grip’ occupants in place.

    The price for this windscreen-free experience? The McLaren Elva starts from £1,425,000 (RM7,610,226) before options and local taxes, and production of this Ulimate Series roadster is limited to a run of 399 units.

  • Mazda 2 Sedan facelift shown in Mexico with new look

    The facelifted Mazda 2 was revealed back in July, but only now are we getting a look at the sedan version, which has been launched in Mexico. Just like its five-door hatchback counterpart, the four-door receives a fairly substantial redesign along with some welcome improvements.

    Changes are particularly noticeable at the front of the car, where you’ll find a redesigned Kodo grille with a thicker chrome surround that goes under the headlights, which themselves are slimmer. The air intake under the grille is flanked by chrome strips, mirroring a similar redesign on the Mazda 6.

    The rear of the car continues to feature regular bulb tail lights, but the bumper has been re-profiled with a greater use of body colour and a fake full-width air vent between the reflectors. There’s also a new multi-spoke design for the largest 16-inch alloy wheel option.

    Inside, there are new colour and trim options, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for the Mazda Connect infotainment system, as well as the redesigned seats that incorporate learnings from the new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. No indication as to whether the car gets the improved suspension and increased sound insulation of the Japanese-market hatchback, however.

    Mexican models utilise the existing 1.5 litre Skyactiv-G naturally-aspirated and direct-injected four-cylinder, making 110 PS at 6,000 rpm and 141 Nm at 4,000 rpm. That’s slightly down on the current Malaysian spec, but this could simply be due to market differences. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes continue to be offered, as well as G-Vectoring Control rather than the Japanese model’s Plus system.


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Last Updated 09 Nov 2019


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