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  • VIDEO: 2017 Nissan March teased, coming Sept 29

    Nissan is using the 2016 Paris Motor Show to debut its new B-segment hatch, the Nissan March. Now in its fifth generation, the car – which will be unveiled in full on September 29 – is set to take more than a few design cues from the Sway concept first seen at Geneva last year, as you can see in the teaser video above.

    Very little can be seen of the car, but it’s clear that the car will get a similar front end treatment as the show car, with sharp headlights featuring arrow-shaped LED daytime running lights, as well as a large V-motion grille. The rear is a bit more conventional, although the C-shaped tail lights look to have been carried over.

    Spyshots have indicated that the new March will keep much of the Sway’s visual drama, including a steeply rising beltline, rear door handles hidden in the C-pillar and a rakish rear windscreen. You can also expect blacked-out C-pillars that give the impression of a floating roof, much like the Murano.

    Under the skin, the March is expected to ride on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s Common Modular Family (CMF-B) platform, shared with the next-generation Juke. Engine options should include a new 1.0 litre turbo three-cylinder petrol, a 1.5 litre diesel and even a 1.6 litre DIG-T turbo petrol from the current Juke pushing out 190 hp. A March Nismo, perhaps?

  • Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R supercharged replacement?


    Patent photos have surfaced supposedly showing Kawasaki’s upcoming supercharged 600 cc four-cylinder, dubbed within the Akashi City, Japan, company as the “R2”. With the current model Ninja ZX-6R due for an update, could this force-fed four be its replacement?

    What can be seen from the patent drawings from website morebikes is that the R2 draws a lot from the current Kawasaki hyperbikes, the H2 and H2R. A trellis frame can be seen in the top-down drawing, with the inlet for the fuel tank perched above the airbox, and extending downwards under the rider seat.

    A flow chart shows the process flow of the intake and exhaust, with the fuel pump feeding what looks to be a multi-point injection system, with an exhaust valve indicated which might function in a similar manner to Yamaha’s EXUP exhaust system.

    Exhaust position has changed, going from the side-mounted can on the current model ZX-6R to an underseat unit. The swing-arm, assuming this makes it into production, seems to be a welded aluminium alloy affair, unlike the massive forged unit on Kawasaki’s current model 600.

    The fairing on the R2 also looks to be a development of the current unit found on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, with a large nostril inlet cutout and rounded headlights, as opposed to the angular half-fairing found on the H2. Brembo brake calipers also look to be present at the front end, based on the side-view illustration

    Certainly the patent drawings look interesting, and might lead to the R2 being the “baby” H2, albeit with significantly more power output than the current model ZX-6R. With Euro 4 looming in January, it comes as no surprise that more manufacturers will be looking to forced induction to conform to emissions testing.

    What do you think? Is the supercharged R2 the way foward for Kawasaki’s inline-four 600 cc supersports bike? Or might this be a “baby” hyperbike, designed to enter the line-up alongside the 400 km/h H2R?

    Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.

    GALLERY: 2016 Kawasaki H2/H2R

  • Stretched Hummer H2 for Johor Southern Tigers


    The Johor royal family is known to be enthusiasts of many things automotive; here’s one more unique addition to the royal fleet – a stretched Hummer H2, a gift from HRH Brigadier General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor to the Johor Darul Ta’zim Football Club (JDT) for their third successive victory as league champions.

    The very long H2 will be used for official management purposes, according to the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page, and is said to be ready in time for the southern state’s football club’s victory parade on Saturday, September 24.

    In addition to the Johor state flag and club crest which adorn the sides of the upsized H2, it appears to be quite the party vehicle on the inside – lounge-style seating with flamboyant application of state colours and lighting make for a celebratory environment inside.

    The Johor royal family have form with one-off, customised trucks, even huge ones like this big rig commissioned for the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, which was the world’s most expensive truck when it was unveiled in Brisbane, Australia last year.

    “This is the most luxurious truck to have been built in Australia and probably the planet,” said Mack Trucks Australia’s VP Dean Bestwick, who met with the Sultan of Johor for the big Mack’s design brief.

    GALLERY: Sultan of Johor’s customised Mack big rig

  • VIDEO: Lotus 3-Eleven tames the Nurburgring, passes slower traffic in never seen before footage

    Lotus has released never seen footage of its fastest and most powerful production car taking on the one and only Nurburgring Nordschleife. The machine is question is of course the Lotus 3-Eleven, piloted by Nordschleife expert and professional racer Marc Basseng during testing and development.

    The two 60-second videos aren’t of the 3-Eleven doing the whole lap of Green Hell, but it provides a car’s eye view of the facinating track. Even from videos, you can see the Lotus’ amazing straight-line speed, and its speed and composure in the corners. You can also see how Basseng had to deal with other cars during the track’s evening public sessions – no room for error there.

    With a lightweight carbon composite bodywork, the 3-Eleven has a dry weight of just 890 kg and maximum power of 460 hp (Race version with sequential gearbox). This translates to a mad power-to-weight ratio of 517 hp per tonne. That’s good enough for 0 to 96 km/h (60 mph) in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 290 km/h. The six-speed manual 925 kg Road version gets 410 hp and is good for 3.3 seconds and 280 km/h.

    This car is fast, but it will stick like a leech too. At 240 km/h the Road version produces 150 kg of downforce, while Race version with its twin front canards and adjustable rear wing produces 215 kg. Since F1 cars are out of most leagues…

    “However, you don’t need to be a professional racing driver in order to tap its potential, and it will embarrass so-called hypercars with six-figure price tags. It remains the perfect template for how we will approach the design of all Lotus sports cars in the future,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus.

    It will surely be a driving experience of a lifetime to have a go in one.

  • DS 5 Commande Speciale – going bespoke for Paris

    ds 5 commande speciale 1

    Here’s some local flavour for the upcoming Paris Motor Show, courtesy of DS Automobiles, the Groupe PSA’s luxury vehicle brand. An exercise in aesthetics, the DS 5 Commande Speciale remains mechanically the same as the standard DS 5, while offering customers a variety of trim options to choose from; in the case of the show car, the hue of choice is a bespoke Stardust Black.

    “Customers can change the whole ambience of their DS, from the choice of leather for the seats and dashboard, through to the exceptional materials used for the protective mats. Working with a designer, customers will also be able to create their own color for the bodywork. We have considerable margin for creative ideas,” said DS Automobiles’ style director, Thierry Metroz.

    “An exceptional plaited finish on Nappa leather” is found on the central armrest, rear shelf, door panels, and instrument binnacle, while interior trim parts gain metallic-effect leather in places such as the door handles, steering wheel and roof.

    The protective mat and the insides of the storage compartments have been specified with Ametryne Green velour, said to be inspired by the DS E-Tense concept. some of the finishing touches for the interior include a 3D-printed titanium gear lever knob. More when the car makes its debut in Paris.

  • Ford employee invents On-The-Go H2O – turns condensation from air-con system into drinking water

    Ford’s prototype On-the-Go H2O system collects, filters and pumps water directly to a faucet hanging over the cupholders.

    Ford’s prototype On-the-Go H2O system collects, filters and pumps water directly to a faucet hanging over the cupholders.

    In an age of energy conservation, the car remains a prime source of innovation. From the increased usage of recyclable materials to the reduction in fuel consumption brought on by more efficient engines and alternative fuels, engineers work day and night to bring the automobile into a more sustainable future. But what if we looked at conservation in different way?

    That’s what Doug Martin did. A powertrain controls engineer at Ford, he was inspired by a billboard in Lima, Peru, which condensed the city’s humid air into drinking water for the local population. Martin saw that the condensation from air-conditioning condensers, which usually drips onto the road below, can be used for the same purpose – and discovered that a car could produce more than 1.9 litres of water every hour.

    “All that water going to waste should be recovered to serve a purpose,” said Martin. “The real vision is that this idea could eventually help people who don’t have easy access to water, in remote locations such as the Australian Outback, for example. I’m trying to make my twin daughters proud, and make the world a better place for them.”

    Martin worked with colleague John Rollinger to produce a working prototype that would convert all this fluid into clean drinking water. The system, dubbed On-The-Go H2O, takes the water from a reservoir and pumps it through an 0.1-micron filter to remove organic impurities, then channels it to a faucet on the centre console cupholder. It can also be used to filter polluted water from other sources.

    On-The-Go H2O would ensure that drivers will need to make fewer stops to buy bottled water, hence reducing the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. However, Ford adds that the benefits of the system could go even further, helping to alleviate the global water crisis – the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that it affects one in 10 people and leaves hundreds of millions without clean drinking water.

    This, of course, isn’t Martin’s first invention – he holds around 70 automotive-related patents, and has been at Ford for a combined 22 years, having joined the company after graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. “I think it would be pretty exciting to actually see this going into production somewhere and make a difference,” he said.

    Martin’s system is one of three innovations highlighted at the Further with Ford trends conference, which also included a passenger-centric Sync Remote Control system that could give ride-sharing passengers control of the infotainment screen, as well as a Carr-E transportable device that can move people and objects short distances where cars aren’t accessible.

  • LDP SS2 interchange – new traffic flow trial from Oct 1


    Litrak, the concessionaire of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), has announced that it will be introducing a temporary traffic scheme at the SS2 interchange on the expressway, beginning from October 1. Set to run for three months, the new flow is aimed at studying the possibility of improving traffic flow in the area.

    Currently, the traffic light junction at the interchange is saturated and is extremely heavy during peak hours, with queues reaching up to almost 600 metres on certain approaches to the junction. Litrak says that at present, the Level of Service (LOS) – a classifiable measure of the quality of traffic service – is rated at F, effectively gridlock due to more demand than capacity.

    The short-term scheme, jointly initiated by Litrak, the Malaysian Highway Authority and Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya, will see access to the LDP towards Kelana Jaya from the slip road coming from Jalan SS2/75 being blocked off to traffic, and reduce the current three-phase signalised system to a two-phase one.


    Motorists heading towards Kelana Jaya from Jalan SS2/75 can turn left into SS2/66, then head right into SS2/55 before turning left into the LDP. During the period, signage, buntings and banners will be posted along the LDP, Jalan SS2/75, SS2/66 and SS2/55 to guide traffic users.

    Litrak adds that it is expecting the measure to reduce the swell of traffic around the area and improve the LOS from F to D during peak periods, with a reduction of around 10-40% in queue length. As with any new traffic flow schemes, the company says it will take some time before road users become familiar with and adjust to the new flow, which it says will benefit more than 55,000 users.

    The concessionaire welcomes feedback from road users regarding the new scheme during the trial period in order to gauge its effectiveness. Aside from the SS2 interchange, the concessionaire is also looking at implementing similar traffic schemes at the Taman Megah interchange (estimated to be carried out in December), Bandar Utama and Jalan Majlis.

  • VIDEO: Lucky 5 test the new Proton Persona on track

    When it comes to mass market cars, especially models from national carmakers, there’s plenty of interest from the general public (not just car enthusiasts), and no short of opinion too. Proton recently gave five lucky persons a test drive experience beyond the normal showroom sampling – they got to experience the new Proton Persona at the carmaker’s Shah Alam test facility.

    The oval, which is Proton’s proving (and play) ground, regularly hosts media preview sessions, and the selected ones were clearly happy to be there. To make things better, instead of a sales advisor as company, they were chaperoned by the very people who developed the car. I recognise some faces in the video – they are the men responsible for the good ride and handling of the new Persona.

    The video shows Proton staff taking the five – Chu Jian Yang, Abdul Muhaimin, Mohd Nazri, Mohd Khairul and Balqis Md Salleh – on a high-speed ride on the banked oval, as well as slalom and ESC tests. All were interviewed later and offered their opinion on the B-segment “Iriz Sedan”.

    “It feels very different, I don’t get the scary feeling from the other cars in the same segment. This car feels very stable, as well as quiet and comfortable, Chu said. Mohd Nazri praised the handling and comfort of the Persona, while Balqis liked the car’s comfort and stability. Both Abdul Muhaimin and Mohd Khairul were impressed by the good NVH – “kita orang borak je,” the latter quipped.

    Having just driven the new Persona, we concur. Good ride and handling, high-speed stability and improved refinement are points in our notebook as well, along with a more responsive and cultured CVT gearbox. More of our findings – from both the driver’s seat and rear seat – in the full review here.

    Launched last month, the Persona has gathered over 8,000 bookings to date. Available solely with a 1.6L engine with a five-speed manual (Standard only) or CVT automatic (Standard, Exec, Premium), it is priced from RM46,350 to RM59,350.

    GALLERY: Proton Persona 1.6 Premium CVT

  • SPIED: W177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class tackles ‘Ring


    Our European spy photographers have caught the next-generation W177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class again, this time on the challenging Nürburgring Nordschleife. The new hatchback is expected to make its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in about a year’s time, and the engineers look to be working at full speed to get the car ready for its reveal.

    It’s still early days, so little can be seen of the actual car, no thanks to the large amount of camouflage on the car. Still, we can at least infer that the car will retain the current W176‘s proportions, with a long bonnet and a low body – although it does look a little longer.

    Other things we can see are the new wing mirrors, which have been moved from the base of the A-pillar to sit on the doors, much like Mercedes’ newer coupés like the C- and S-Class Coupé. The distinctive swage line that runs across the doors looks to have been retained, while the rear end sees the inclusion of a wider tailgate, splitting the tail lights into two parts on each side (à la GLA).


    The new A-Class will ride on a redevelopment of the current car’s Modular Front Architecture (MFA), dubbed MFA2. It’s expected to be lighter than before and be compatible with a greater range of powertrains – apart from the current 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre four-cylinder engines, a three-cylinder engine and a plug-in hybrid could also feature.

    Higher up the range, the AMG-tuned A-Class range is set to be split into two – a new mid-level A 40 model is expected to feature a power output of over 300 hp, while the new A 45 could blow past the 400 hp mark.

    The hatch bodystyle is just the start – there is also rumoured to be a sedan version that will provide more space than the CLA, which, like the BMW 1 Series Sedan, is expected to be offered exclusively in the Chinese market. Elsewhere, the B-Class and CLA are set to live on, but the GLA is reportedly morphing into a more rugged, G-Class inspired SUV called the GLB.

  • BMW Motorrad issues recall for R nineT in the US

    2015 BMW Motorrad RnineT -13

    BMW Motorrad has issued a recall in the United States for all BMW R nineT retro-styled motorcycles over a rear turn-signal issue. According to the recall notice, the rear turn-signals may be obscured to drivers of vehicles following behind the R nineT on the road.

    The recall was issued due to non-compliance with US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, which pertains to “lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment.” According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, under certain road and traffic conditions the obscured signals may increase the risk of collision.

    The recall – which will begin in the US in October – affects 1,792 R nineT bikes manufactured between November 2013 to January 2015. BMW Motorrad will inform owners of affected units and will replace the turn signals with ones that have longer arms, at no charge. Meanwhile, BMW Motorrad Malaysia has confirmed that no R nineT bikes in Malaysia are affected.

    As part of BMW Motorrad’s ‘Heritage’ series, the R nineT currently retails for RM99,888, inclusive of GST. Recently launched was the R nineT Scrambler, which retails for 13,000 euro (RM60,050) including 19% VAT.

    GALLERY: 2015 BMW Motorrad R nineT

    GALLERY: 2016 BMW Motorrad R nineT Scrambler


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