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  • Mazda reiterates it has no plans to introduce a MPS 3

    We’ve been waiting a long time for a new Mazda 3 MPS, but it appears the Japanese carmaker has absolutely no desire to pursue such a model at the moment. So, if you’ve been holding your breath for a Mazda rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai i30 N, among many others, sorry to disappoint.

    Speaking to Mazda’s head of vehicle development and product planning Hiroyuki Matsumoto, CarsGuide reports that while Mazda 3 programme manager Kota Beppu has expressed interest in a hotter version of the C-segment model, Matsumoto has other thoughts.

    “We are capable of creating an engine to answer such demands for more power, but at the moment, we have no plan to do it,” he explained. As Matsumoto did not end his sentence with the word “ever,” there’s still a glimmer of hope for those who are still grasping at straws.

    Of course, it’s hard to fault Mazda on this, as the carmaker is busy preparing a bevy of new technologies and models as part of its ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ long-term vision. The new Mazda 3 and CX-30 are the first two models to form its next-generation product line-up, and there’s plenty more in store.

    Referring to the company’s briefing in 2018, the rollout of its SkyActiv-X compression ignition engine has already begun in selected markets. Following this, there’s the push to deliver battery electric vehicles and autonomous driving systems, with the former said to be offered with a rotary engine acting as a range extender.

     
  • F57 MINI Convertible LCI teased, July 19 M’sia launch

    MINI Malaysia has announced the upcoming introduction of a new model, which from the teaser images that have been provided reveal it to be the F57 MINI Convertible facelift. The car, which premiered alongside the hatch in Detroit last year, arrives here a year after the hatchback made its local debut.

    Based on that gleaned from the image set, it looks like the Convertible – which will be officially unveiled on July 19 – should be of a similar specification to the F56 3 Door in its Cooper S form, with no JCW bodykit on. As shown in the photo set, the car will sit on 17-inch Rail spoke alloy wheels.

    As with the 3 Door, motive power is provided by a new 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine, which in its Cooper S guise offers the same 192 hp and 280 Nm of torque as before, but with much improved fuel efficiency. The mill is paired with a seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, which is claimed to provide smoother, faster shifts with zero interruption compared to the six-speed automatic it replaces.

    Along with the teaser, MINI Malaysia also highlighted how it recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the brand with a vehicle-shaped formation outlining ‘MINI 60’. The company gathered a number of MINIacs and Friends of MINI folk to get them to form the number 60 with their MINI vehicles on a tarmac canvas, set against the backdrop of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.

    The facelifted MINI Convertible won’t be the only model launched during the celebrations, as the company also confirmed there will be one more car presented during the festivities. The also-facelifted MINI Clubman, perhaps?

     
  • 2019 Nissan Skyline facelift debuts in Japan – ProPilot 2.0; GT-R-inspired styling; up to 405 PS twin-turbo V6

    The Nissan Skyline (also known to us as the Infiniti Q50) has been given a facelift, and this is it. Aside from a rather noticeable update to the styling, the sedan also debuts the company’s new ProPILOT 2.0 technology, and will go on sale in Japan later this fall.

    Styling-wise, it appears Nissan decided to graft the face of its flagship sports car – the GT-R – onto the Skyline, with the similarities going as far as to include a thick bar that separates the upper V-motion portion from the lower intake. The new nose is now higher than on the pre-facelift car, and is accompanied by revised fog lamp sections at the edges of the bumper.

    With the new front end comes some changes to vehicle dimensions, as the new car is now 20 mm longer (4,810 mm), with everything else remaining as is – width (1,820 mm), height (1,440 to 1,450 mm) and wheelbase (2,850 mm).

    Not a whole lot has changed along the sides, as you’ll still find identical lines as before, including the distinctive kink of the window line near the C-pillar. As for the rear, the wraparound taillights sport circular lighting graphics within them, which is reminiscent of classic Skyline models. Further down, there’s a more dynamic diffuser design for the restyled bumper, along with dual tailpipes.

    As for the interior, it remains similar to the outgoing model, with a familiar dashboard layout that sees two screens placed on top of one another on the centre stack. The flowing centre console, steering wheel and switchgear are all carried over from before.

    New additions include a full-colour head-up display, while cars with the ProPILOT 2.0 system gain a seven-inch Advanced Drive Assist Display in the instrument cluster in place of the standard analogue/digital display combo. There’s also an updated NissanConnect infotainment system that supports over-the-air (OTA) updates and in-car Wi-Fi access.

    We’ve already detailed Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 system in the past, but for a quick recap, the system uses a suite of sensors to allow for hands-off driving while cruising in a single lane. However, drivers will still need to keep their eyes on the road and be prepared to take over when needed, with a driver monitor ensuring as such.

    To enable the system, drivers must first set their destination in the navigation system, and when the car enters the highway, the feature is available for activation. The system will even suggest a lane change if vehicle approaches a road divide, or when passing a slower vehicle is possible.

    For engines, the Skyline comes with a VR30DDTT 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that serves up 304 PS at 6,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 5,200 rpm. This engine is used for the GT, GT Type P and GT Type SP grades in Japan, and drive goes to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.

    A more powerful version of the V6 is exclusive to the 400R grade, whereby the mill is tuned to make 405 PS at 6,400 rpm and 475 Nm from 1,600 to 5,200 rpm. For those who prioritise efficiency, a hybrid powertrain is also offered with rear- and all-wheel drive.

    Following the same grade structure as the 304 PS V6 variant, the hybrid versions of the Skyline use a VQ35HR 3.0 litre naturally-aspirated V6 that is augmented with a HM34 electric motor (68 PS and 290 Nm) for a total system output of 306 PS and 350 Nm. A hybrid-specific seven-speed automatic gearbox is used here.

    Other drive-related items include an updated Intelligent Dynamic Suspension (IDS) system, with Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) remaining present. Pricing for the new Skyline in Japan starts from 4,274,640 yen (RM162,637).

     
  • Ford Mondeo to be revived as a mid-sized crossover

    In a surprising turn of events, it’s been revealed that the next-generation Mondeo could be reinvented as a mid-sized crossover, Autocar reports. The name for the new car has yet to be confirmed, but it apparently will replace the Mondeo, S-Max, and Galaxy in a single crossover-style estate model.

    This marks Ford’s exit from both the classic large hatchback and MPV markets. However, there is still no definitive launch date for the new crossover, but it is expected to arrive in early 2021, with sales focused in North America and beyond. There, the new Ford SUV is being compared by insiders to the Subaru Outback, which in itself is a tall-riding wagon.

    The report adds that while the Outback remains a niche model in Europe, it has received significant success in the US since it debuted 20 years ago, with sales breaching 200,000 units annually.


    The new Ford crossover may take on the Subaru Outback as its direct rival

    What’s more, the new crossover will be built on Ford’s C2 platform, which currently underpins the new Focus. A range of petrol and diesel engines will be available, as will a 48-volt mild-hybrid petrol option. Entry-level models will use the automaker’s 1.5 litre three-cylinder mild-hybrid EcoBoost engine, which features a belt-driven electric motor and small battery.

    As for the diesel mills, the engines are Euro 6d-compliant and are said to be as clean as petrol engines in real-world use. Apparently, sources say the new diesel mills are more economical than mild-hybrid petrol engines, all while being less expensive at the same time.

    Although the new model will go on to replace three very different cars, sources estimate that it will outsell the three models combined. Last year, Ford Europe sold around 50,000 Mondeos, 24,000 S-Max and 12,000 Galaxy models – figures which are too low to be profitable enough.

    Ford also hopes that the decision will appeal to today’s mainstream market of “adventurous families” who are attracted by lower running costs, especially when compared to an SUV. For the same reason, it’s unclear as yet whether the car will get an all-wheel drive derivative, citing fuel economy reasons. However, some version of electronic traction control system for mild off-roading may be available.

    By the time the new midsize crossover is launched, Ford would have discontinued four MPV models, namely the C-Max, Grand C-Max, B-Max compact MPV, a well as the Galaxy and S-Max. The last two models are said to be culled as early as next year.

    In the case of the B-Max, it will effectively be replaced by the new Puma SUV, while existing C-Max owners will be steered into the direction of the new Kuga. Mondeo and S-Max buyers will be targeted by the Fusion, and Galaxy users moved towards the smaller Transit Edge seven-seat SUV. What do you think of the move?

     
  • RFID system to start at all toll plazas nationwide soon

    The government says that the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system for toll collection will be implemented at all toll plazas nationwide soon, The Star reports.

    According to works minister Baru Bian, the system will be running sometime in the next couple of years, but will not take three to five years to implement. “Three to five years is too long. But give us time to ensure that it is properly implemented to benefit road users,” Baru said.

    The initial plan by the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) stated that RFID system were supposed to start operating in the third quarter of last year, but Baru pointed out that toll plazas without booths could only be initiated when the RFID system is widely used throughout all highways nationwide.

    The special lane for SmartTag will only be eliminated after the removal of boom gate barriers and toll booths as part of the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) roll-out, probably in the next two years. Baru added that the government will also need to develop standards and guidelines for the highway industry, particularly in the areas of building information modelling, communication protocol, big data analytics as well as strategic and tactical asset management.

    “Communication protocols will ensure seamless integration for machine-to-machine communication. Big data analytics are to help with future planning, while strategic and tactical asset management is to enable optimum asset management and maintenance. In formulating theses standards, we need not reinvent the wheel. We can adopt and adapt those standards that are already available and modify them to suit our needs,” he said.

     
  • Gov’t lost out on RM4.89 bil in excise duty on locally-assembled vehicles from 2015 to 2017 – AG’s report

    The Auditor-General’s Report 2018 Series 1 has revealed that from 2015 to 2017, the government provided RM4.89 billion worth of excise duty exemptions to locally-assembled (CKD) vehicles, The Edge reports.

    Various excise duty exemption incentives were granted by the government during the period, and included that for state assemblymen, members of Parliament, embassies and the government as well as for the Returning Expert Programme (REP) and Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programmes.

    There were also exemptions given via special approval from the ministry of finance (MoF) and the exemption of excise duties for energy efficient vehicles (EEVs), which was introduced under the National Automotive Policy (NAP) in 2014 to provide incentives for fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric vehicles.

    The report stated that from 2015 to 2017 a total of 73,250 units of CKD vehicles were given excise duty exemptions of up to 100%, amounting to RM4.89 billion. The percentage of exemption listed in the AG’s report was clarified by the MoF in a written response in January this year, in which the ministry explained that while EEVs covered EVs, hybrids and petrol/diesel vehicles, the 100% exemption of import and excise duties were only considered for EVs and hybrids.

    For petrol/diesel vehicles that obtained EEV certification, the level of import/excise duty exemptions were considered based on a cost-benefit analysis and were approved by the ministry after deliberation by the Automotive Business Development Committee (ABDC).

    Three states were sampled in the audit, and these were Pahang, Kedah and Selangor, all of which accomodate vehicle assembly facilities. From that RM4.89 billion worth of total excise duty exemption, the report indicated that the exemption that was approved in these three states amounted to RM4.095 billion, or 83.75% of the total.

    The bulk of the excise duty exemption was for EEVs and fleet management service provider SPANCO’s vehicles, and these totaled RM3.862 billion, or 94.3%, of all approved exemptions during the three-year timeframe.

    It was the opinion of the auditor that the rating system for EEVs by the road transport department (JPJ) – which is based on UN R101 regulations that were not complete, especially in relation to carbon emissions, but which nonetheless allowed a 100% exemption in excise duty to be given – needed to be reviewed.

    Noting that Thailand utilises carbon emission rates as part of regulations for its eco-car programme while also imposing excise duties on eco-car models, the report said that a review will ensure that excise duty exclusions will not affect the collection of state revenue and, concurrently, ensure the success of the NAP.

     
  • Toyota Supra with M3 engine possible, but unlikely

    BMW’s new S58 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol engine that’s currently in use for the X3 M and X4 M may soon find its way into a hotter version of the A90 Toyota GR Supra, Autocar reports. The 510-hp unit will be used across the high-performance M range, starting with the M2 Coupe.

    However, in a break from convention, the publication states that it’s possible for the S58 engine to be featured in the Supra as well, although currently there’s no expression of interest from Toyota, BMW M chief Markus Flasch said. If the deal is seen through, it would be the first BMW M engine to be featured in a third-party car since the McLaren F1‘s S70 V12.

    Flasch told Autocar: “We’ve certainly made no offer to supply the engine to Toyota – and no request has been made, as far as I know. But it’s an interesting idea, if unlikely for now. It would be a lot for us to give away, you might say. But I’d never say never.”

    The top-of-the-line Toyota Supra currently uses the B58 3.0 litre straight six engine from which the S58 was developed, although only 10% of parts are common between the two power units. In the Supra, the B58 makes 340 PS at 5,000 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. By comparison, the S58 makes up to 510 hp and 600 Nm of torque, and is said to be easy to package in the Supra.

    Flasch added: “As a rule, we don’t offer BMW M engines to third parties because we consider them such a strength of our cars. I think it would be a hard decision for a lot of the team to accept – particularly with the S58 being so new. Why would we sell it before we had a chance to use it ourselves in all the places we plan to?” But, as he said himself, never say never.

    GALLERY: BMW M S58 3.0 litre inline-six engine

     
  • Lamborghini Huracan gets the Liberty Walk treatment

    Liberty Walk has been making bodykits for exotic cars for some time now, and it’s latest creation is for those who want their Lamborghini Huracan to look a little more special than others.

    The kit is called the Silhouette Works GT, and it includes a new front bumper and splitter, which together with the optional air suspension, bring the car right down to the ground.

    Flared wheel arches and skirts are also part of the modification, with those at the front featuring exit louvres, while the vented bonnet is akin to those on racing cars. Unlike other kits, the exposed rivets aren’t seen on the Huracan-specific package for a more seamless look.

    However, the most dramatic view is from the rear, where you’ll find a Veneno-esque setup that comprises a large rear wing and accompanying shark fin that originates from the engine cover. Further down, there’s a complex diffuser that helps to showcase the enlarged exhaust pipes.

    The company will present its product as this year’s SEMA Show later in November, and has already begun order taking in Japan. Prices start at 3,942,000 yen (RM150,206) for body-coloured finish using fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), while a mixture of the material with dry carbon-fibre will set you back 4,968,000 yen (RM189,301). The kit in fully dry carbon-fibre costs 5,994,000 yen (RM228,396).

     
  • GoCar Subscription – no downpayment, insurance and maintenance; RM1,600 monthly fee for Nissan Almera

    GoCar Malaysia has announced its new car subscription service, offering vehicular ownership experience without committing to purchases that typically involve hefty downpayment and insurance.

    What’s more, GoCar Subscription gives you the option to cancel your subscription as and when you desire, so one will not be tied to a multi-year car lease. A refundable deposit of RM2,500 will also be charged to your account at the start of your subscription.

    For example, the company is offering vehicles such as the Nissan Almera for RM1,600 a month, and the Renault Captur for RM2,500 a month. Keep in mind that the monthly fee includes the extras, such as insurance, road tax, maintenance, mileage and roadside assistance.

    As part the launch programme, GoCar is offering 50% off your first month (for GoCar members only, comes with a three-month commitment) when you sign up for GoCar Subscription between July 10, 2019 and October 9, 2019.

    Those who want the flexibility to cancel your subscription at any given time, you can opt for the monthly subscription option. Interestingly, GoCar also allows two additional drivers to be bound to a car, but they must be GoCar members and be present during the sign-up process. What do you think of this?

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Next BMW 4 Series coupe seen in public

    The next-generation BMW 4 Series has already been photographed in public, and we know that the open-air version of the two-door model will go back to a fabric folding roof construction. The fixed roof coupe has eluded our attention, until now.

    Both this and the 4 Series convertible spotted earlier will draw heavily from the G20 3 Series which is built from Cluster Architecture (CLAR) underpinnings, and as such will have plenty in common with the famous sedan. The coupe exterior seen here will certain have lots to share with the convertible, which it should just about mirror from the front end up to the A-pillars.

    The rear end of the next 4 Series also reveals a design cue likely for both fixed-roof and convertible versions – the tail lamp cluster on the unit seen here partially reveals a character line that is curved, compared to the straight-lined example on the G20 3 Series.

    Here, the 4 Series coupe roofline also appears to develop from the current model in not being too pronounced with the three-box outline, flowing smoothly from the roof and rear windscreen towards the boot. The rear bumper on this coupe test mule appears similar to that seen on 4 Series convertible development units, where the one-a-side tailpipe arrangement will no longer distinguish four-cylinder models from six-pots.

    Under the skin, the forthcoming 4 Series coupe (and convertible, by extension) is expected to share most, if not all of the powertrain variants on offer with the 3 Series; this could possibly include a plug-in hybrid option as well. Petrol engines should include the 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo in at least two states of tune (184 hp/300 Nm and 258 hp/400 Nm), while a possible ‘M440i’ variant could use the 374 hp/500 Nm straight six, with all-wheel-drive. Certainly, the next-generation M4 will boast of even more potent output figures.

    We’ve also seen the interior of the forthcoming G22 4 Series convertible, which has been photographed to be based on the dashboard architecture of the G20 3 Series; this will most likely be adopted for the coupe in its entirety. Instrumentation, as with most of its latest family members, will be via a dual widescreen digital display setup, with steering wheel designs likely to comprise both standard and M Sport versions. More information will be sure to follow, though for now, its debut is expected to be sometime next year.

    GALLERY: G22 BMW 4 Series Convertible spyshots

     
 

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Last Updated 06 Jul 2019



 

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