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  • 2018 Ford Mustang facelift – Australian debut mid-year

    Ford Australia has announced that the facelifted S550 Ford Mustang will go on sale Down Under in the second half of the year. The sixth-gen pony car gets a fair number of upgrades and revisions for its mid-cycle action (MCA) makeover.

    Exterior-wise, the update introduces a redesigned grille and lower, remodeled bonnet as well as a new position for the bonnet air intakes. The entire model line-up also comes with all-LED front lighting as standard – besides LED projector main units, the front LED turn signal and foglamp cluster also go the LED route.

    At the back, there are revised LED taillamps, a new bumper and a performance spoiler. The exhaust tip layout has also been reconfigured, with dual tips for the EcoBoost and a quad-tip exhaust for the GT, along with a black rear diffuser.

    The Australian-spec Mustang EcoBoost features a fresh alloy wheel design, with a 19-inch Lustre Nickel wheel available as a factory option. The GT carries over the mesh design from the current model, while also offering an optional five-spoked 19-inch forged alloy.

    The interior gets improved touch points and visual cues for a more premium look and feel. The centre console adds a new hand-stitched wrap with contrast stitching and padded knee bolsters, while door handles, rings and bezels are finished in aluminum. Restyled seating surfaces feature new patterns, and there are also six-way leather-upholstered Recaro sports seats as a factory-fitted option.

    Aside from an 8.0 inch display for the Sync 3 infotainment system, there’s a new 12-inch digital LCD instrument cluster offers customisation of the display for Normal, Sport and Track modes as well as colour and gauge layout settings, and a MyMode function allows favorite drive settings, including suspension and steering preferences, to be stored. Elsewhere, an active valve exhaust system, standard on the GT, allows the exhaust note to be adjusted.

    As before, 2.3 litre EcoBoost and 5.0 litre V8 models will be available in that market, in fastback and convertible body styles. Output is up on the 5.0 litre Coyote, the Oz version offering 454 hp and 556 Nm (pre-facelift, 435 hp and 542 Nm), slightly less than the North American version.

    As for the EcoBoost, listed power output is lower at 300 hp, but reports indicate that this is due to a new measuring system that has come into place, and that on a rolling road the output doesn’t lose out to the pre-facelift. Torque has been marginally increased to 441 Nm (from 434 Nm previously).

    Automatic versions of the Mustang EcoBoost and GT are now equipped with the automaker’s 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, the 10R80 replacing the previous 6R80 six-speeder. Compared to the old unit, the new 10-speed offers quicker shift times, better low-speed tip-in response and significantly reduced friction losses.

    The Getrag MT82 six-speed manual transmission for both engine options has also been upgraded for optimal torque. For the V8, the manual transmission has been totally redesigned to include a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel to increase torque capability and deliver more efficient clutch modulation.

    Upgrades to the chassis offer improved ride and handling. New shock absorbers offer better ride control, while a new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension increases lateral stiffness and new stabiliser bars bring sharper response and handling. The Mustang also gets a new MagneRide damping system as an option.

     
  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • SPYSHOTS: 2019 G07 BMW X7 – flagship SUV on test

    The G07 BMW X7, which is set for a world debut at the end of this year, has been spotted by our spy photographers in the frosty land of Sweden. Although we’ve seen spyshots of the X7 before, this set of pictures marks the first time that we’ve seen the three-rowed flagpship SUV undergo winter testing.

    Here, the X7 is still very much camouflaged, but the overall design is pretty much locked in for production. According to BMW’s sales chief, Ian Robertson, the X7’s visual styling will be different from the X5. Contrary to popular belief, it will not share any parts with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, which will get its own bespoke architecture.

    Performance-wise, a detailed spec sheet that was revealed on Boxing Day last year indicates that the xDrive50i will be powered by a N63M 4.4 litre turbocharged engine that makes 456 hp. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive is standard.

    However, word is that there will be an M Performance version of the SUV as well, possibly bearing the M50i nomenclature. More interestingly, an iPerformance plug-in hybrid variant could also be among the cards.

    Meanwhile, CEO of BMW North America, Ludwig Willisch, said the brand sees a “slowing of sedan sales.” In fact, BMW foresees that SUVs will make up 40% of BMW’s total sales in the US this year, up from 30% last year. Willisch said that the luxurious X7 will be a niche car and will account for about one percent of its sales.

    In terms of pricing, the X7 will carry a sticker price of over US$100k (RM399k), but “it would not be in the US$200k (RM798k) price range,” according to Willisch. BMW also plans to introduce a super luxurious four-seater version of the X7.


    GALLERY: BMW X7 production in Spartanburg

     
  • Haas VF-18 – first 2018 Formula One racer unveiled

    Haas F1 Team is the first Formula One racing team to unveil its race car for the 2018 season, and it did so across its social media platforms. Dubbed the VF-18, the machine features the new halo cockpit protection system, a smaller shark fin and a grey-heavy, white and red livery.

    The VF-18 is basically an evolution of the team’s second car, the VF-17, which carried the Haas F1 Team to an eighth-place finish in the 2017 constructors standings with 47 points. That’s 18 points more than what the team achieved in its debuting year 2016.

    According to the organisation, the “V” stands for vertical, which is an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added “F1” to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.”

    “People see what we can do in Formula One and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools,” said Haas, whose entry in 2016 became the first American racing team to join the Formula One series since 1986. “Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising.”

    With the VF-18, Haas said: “we eliminated a lot of the variables where we knew we were weak. We’ve focused on what it’s going to take to get our car to be consistent and close that gap to the top teams.”

    “The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo. It took quite a bit of study by the aerodynamicists, but the designers had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads. The total minimum weight of the car increased because of the halo, and there’s a higher center of gravity simply because of the halo’s position. But, everyone is in the same boat,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas F1 Team.

    “The regulations stayed pretty stable between 2017 and 2018, so the VF-18 is an evolution of our car from last year. It’s less about reinvention and more about refinement. You see elements we had from last year on the car this year,” added Steiner.

    “Our 2017 car was actually pretty good, but we didn’t always get the best out of it, and that’s what we aimed to change in 2018. We got the car as light as possible to carry more ballast. We were able to do a better job of putting the weight where we wanted it,” he explained.

    Haas F1 Team will be testing the VF-18 at the Circuit de Barcelona–Catalunya on February 26 to March 1, and once more from March 6 to 9 before the opening race in Melbourne, Australia kicks off on March 25.

     
  • Ford Focus RS Heritage Edition – 50-unit goodbye run

    Ford has announced that after a three-year run, production of the third-gen Focus RS is set to end on April 6, and the final right-hand drive units built at the automaker’s Saarlouis plant in Germany will consist of 50 Focus RS Heritage Edition variants. The run-out model will be exclusive to the UK market.

    The limited-edition C346 example features a special Tief Orange exterior colour to mark the 50th anniversary of the Escort nameplate in Britain. Other dress up bits include grey brake calipers, contrasting black finish forged alloy wheels as well as black door mirrors and rear spoiler.

    Standard equipment for the variant included partial leather Recaro seats, sunroof, privacy glass, cruise control with speed limiter and a heated steering wheel.

    Output on the 2.3 litre EcoBoost mill has been bumped up on this one, courtesy of a factory-approved FPM375 Mountune upgrade, previously available as an add-on package. This adds on a high-flow induction kit, uprated turbo recirculating valve and revised calibration to the ECU map, and increases power from 350 PS to 375 PS and torque from 470 Nm to 510 Nm.

    Performance figures weren’t quoted, but there should be very little difference than that listed for a stock RS with the Mountune pack added – a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds and a 266 km/h top whack..

    The car also gets a front mechanical Quaife limited-slip differential (LSD) to redistribute torque more effectively to the wheels, and the unit is integrated with standard Focus RS driving technologies such as dynamic torque vectoring and torque vectoring control.

     
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your car, urges the Bomba

    Like insurance, a fire extinguisher is something you don’t figure you’ll need, until when you actually need it. The Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) has advised vehicle owners to make fire extinguishers “a compulsory accessory” in their car, Bernama reports.

    JBPM operations assistant director Khir Amir Ahmad pointed out that many were still not aware that a fire extinguisher is a crucial facility which could greatly reduce vehicle damage in the event of a fire. “They rather put expensive accessories in their cars compared to a fire extinguisher which costs only RM60 per kg,” he said.

    “When a fire breaks out in a car, the quickest and most effective tool is the fire extinguisher before the fire engine arrives,” he told reporters in Kuala Terengganu yesterday, adding that a fire can spread very fast, in just five to six seconds.

    This is a good reminder, and I will be adding “fire extinguisher” to my to-buy list. Maybe you should also get one for the long drive home this holiday season.

     
  • Malaysian Zulfahmi ready for Moto2 challenge

    As reported earlier, Malaysian racer Zulfahmi Khairuddin will be mounting a challenge in the Moto2 category this year in SIC Racing Team, filling the space left by the departure of Hafizh Syahrin for Monster Tech3 Yamaha in MotoGP. Although this is the first time Zulfahmi has stepped up to the Moto2 category, he feels ready to campaign the season after testing in Valencia, Spain on the Kalex Moto2 race machine.

    Despite a test session shortened by bad weather to 70 minutes, Zulfahmi was able to get a feel for the bike, with another test session scheduled for this week at Sepang International Circuit. “The first test is concluded, and we have succeeded in fitting the bike to Zulfahmi. He is happy with his racing position, and that is a good thing,” said team manager Johan Stigefelt, “but, there is still more work to do.”

    “My first impression of the Moto2 bike is it is very light and the engine has good power. The hardest thing is getting used to the tyres,” said Zulfahmi. “We are adjusting the engine braking so that it feels comfortable under hard braking and entering the corners with good feedback,” he said.

     
  • Three-time MotoGP champ Lorenzo to take pay cut?

    After moving to Ducati for the 2017 MotoGP season, three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo has been overshadowed by team mate Andrea Dovizioso. Spaniard Lorenzo’s past season has been less than spectacular, with Dovizioso posting six victories and coming close to wresting the championship title from Marc Marquez, against Lorenzo’s two third places and one second place.

    While Ducati intends to keep both riders for the 2018 season, Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said Lorenzo will have to accept a reduced salary, reports Autosport.com. Lorenzo was lured to Ducati from Yamaha in 2016, with a reported salary of 12 million euro (RM58.26 million), while Dovizioso, who has been with the team since 2013, is on a 2 million euro (RM9.71 million) annual stipend.

    As sponsor Telecom Italia has left Ducati, the team will have to look at revising rider salaries for this year, facing the fact that Dovizioso has had a much better 2017 season than Lorenzo. “What is evident is that the situation is very different compared to 2016. When we hired Jorge, he had a very important offer from Yamaha for two more years and was the current world champion,” said Ciabatti.

    Ciabatti has gone on record acknowledging Dovizioso’s efforts the previous season, and said the 31-year old racer from Forlimpopoli, Italy, would be rewarded. However, an increased salary offer to Dovizioso will impact what Ducati is able to offer Lorenzo.

     
  • Dyson announces three-pronged electric car strategy

    An update to Dyson’s planned venture into car manufacturing, where the company announced last year it would be introducing three purely electric cars, with the first due by 2020. According to the Financial Times, Dyson’s first car will show the company how to make a vehicle and establish relationships with suppliers, while the second and third cars will enter the market with higher production volumes to further establish the brand among mass-market competition.

    Dyson will inject £2 billion (RM10.9 billion) in funds to develop its first EV car, and the project has received support from the British government. A team of 400 people is working on the project at Dyson’s Wiltshire headquarters.

    However, specific details such as performance and range remain a company secret, but the first model won’t be a mass-market car like the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf. Instead, it will be aimed at a more tech-oriented market, with a production run of under 10,000 units.

    Founder Sir James Dyson also confirmed that the car will carry a premium price tag, but went on to say that it won’t be a sports car. Another source added that the company chose not to use solid-state batteries for its first model as previously planned, instead saving the technology for the second and third models.

    Apparently, Dyson’s solid-state battery executive, Ann Marie Sastry, left the company late last year, but it’s unclear if the two decisions are linked. A spokesman told Autocar that “Ann Marie Sastry is no longer with Dyson” but refrained from explaining why, and added that the company doesn’t “get into specifics on personnel matters.”

    Sastry joined Dyson when it purchased her battery company, Sakti3, for £67.4 million (RM350 million) three years ago. During her tenure, Sastry said the company was close to bringing solid-state batteries to production. If so, the feat could give Dyson an advantage in the global race for more energy efficient EVs.

    Solid-state batteries are known to have a higher energy density and are quicker to charge than liquid cells. Its operating temperature is also cooler and is potentially more powerful as well. Toyota is the only car manufacturer with firm plans to introduce the battery technology in the coming decade.

    Carmakers such as Porsche has already hinted that it will use solid-state batteries in its future EVs, whereas BMW recently partnered up with US-based company Solid Power in its effort to adopt the technology.

     
  • Volvo teases new V60 wagon with heart-warming video

    Volvo for life. That’s not the title of the video above, which is actually “Designed for Generations”, but it might as well be. It’s a heart-warming video on how Volvo has been part of a family, for generations. I may not be a diehard, but I kind of understand why fans of the brand have such deep affection for the Swedish carmaker.

    The appeal of the brand is now wider too, thanks to the handsome design and classy cabins of its latest products. That good looking range is set to welcome a new member in the next-generation V60. The 2019 Volvo V60, a more compact sibling to the current V90 wagon, is the reason of the video.

    “Inspired by our heritage, we’re excited to introduce a classic to a new generation. Our cars have been enjoyed, shared and held fondly in the memories of drivers and passengers for decades. In creating the new Volvo V60, we’re continuing a legacy of estates and moments for a new generation to remember. The new Volvo V60 is coming soon,” Volvo says.

    Very soon. The company’s website mentions a “Facebook Interactive Live Reveal” set for February 21, and the V60 will surely make its motor show debut at Geneva next month. Word is that the new S60 sedan will be revealed later this year and both ’60’ cars will go on sale in 2019. On form and on the up.


    GALLERY: Volvo V60 spyshots

     
  • Vietnam’s Vinfast sedan, SUV to be designed by Pininfarina; targets 500k units by 2025, top in ASEAN

    Vietnam’s national automaker Vinfast has appointed famed Italian car designing company Pininfarina to develop the nation’s first sedan and SUV models. The decision was based on the best design concept, of which 20 submissions were made by various world-famous design houses.

    To exercise transparency, Vinfast asked customers to vote for submissions which they thought were “in line with world trends” and fitting with “Vietnamese tastes and demand.” Nearly 62,000 participants voted in the contest, and the sedan and SUV concepts by Pininfarina received the most votes. It’s clear as day why Pininfarina won the bid, considering the level of originality seen in the admittedly impressive sketches.

    “The direct involvement of Pininfarina, one of the world’s biggest design brands, is expected to bring modern beauty while retaining Vietnamese identity to the first two Vinfast car models,” said Quang Viet Nguyen, vice president of Vingroup, the country’s leading property developer.

    Vinfast hopes to be the top car manufacturer in ASEAN, making 500,000 cars per annum by year 2025. It expects to produce 100,000 to 200,000 vehicles per year in the first phase, with a range that will include a sedan, seven-seater SUV and electric-powered motorcycles. The company aims to launch its first car by September 2019.

    To accelerate growth, Vinfast plans to purchase blueprints of car engines and primary mechanical systems from top European and American designers. Vingroup has also appointed James B. DeLuca, the former executive vice president of General Motors, as its general manager. DeLuca will be in charge of the construction, operation and development of the automaker’s SUV and sedan segments.

    What do you think of this announcement and targets, folks?

     
 

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