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  • Mitsubishi Xpander uses Evo X suspension parts?

    Comfort is an important consideration in a family car. Handling capabilities? Not so much. But there are some occasions where both characteristics go hand in hand. Case in point – the dampers on the Mitsubishi Xpander are said to have “high-performance valves” inspired by the mighty Lancer Evolution X.

    This bold claim was made by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines during the crossover’s media drive and was notably picked up by publications such as Top Gear Philippines. This claim can also be found in marketing materials in a few markets, including Egypt.

    Interestingly, Mitsubishi never made any mention of damper valves in press releases or marketing materials for the Evolution X. It should be pointed out that the car was available with two different damper options in its lifetime, with the High Performance Package adding Bilstein shock absorbers.

    But what does the chassis of a hardcore rally-ready sports sedan have to do with a comfort-oriented people mover? Well, suspension technology doesn’t just benefit high-power, high-g-force applications – the use of better components also means that a car can provide a stable and supple ride, no matter how rough the terrain below is.

    To understand why, let’s look at the basics of how a shock absorber works. It consists of a tube filled with fluid through which a piston moves – this piston features small orifices and valves that only allow a certain amount of fluid to pass through at any one time, providing the damping force.

    Improvements to the valves can give you finer control over damping, which may not only reduce body roll but also improve the ride quality. These “high-performance valves” could make the Xpander feel more sophisticated on the road – important given that it rides on a more basic torsion beam rear suspension.

    So, do Evolution X components really make a tangible difference to the way the Xpander drives? Well, we’ll just have to drive it when it launches in Malaysia later in the year, to find out.

    GALLERY: 2020 Mitsubishi Xpander in Malaysia

     
  • DRIVEN: Hyundai Kona – styled up, best when boosted

    You get one shot at a first impression, so it has been said, and most times this encounter falls to the sense of sight. On that count, the Hyundai Kona should comfortably have its immediate competition licked, wearing a very distinct face courtesy of its two-tier lighting arrangement and the automaker’s Cascading Grille.

    This being a crossover, the assertive look up front carries on along the profile of the vehicle with the SUV-requisite cladded wheel arches, while the rear end ties in the visual theme set at the front of the Kona, where the plastic cladding encases the lower light assemblies.

    Bright colours make for a cheery disposition, depending on one’s taste, the brightest of which is the Acid Yellow that you’ll be able to sample from our image gallery here. Other bright hues include Pulse Red and Tangerine Comet, while the safer, more conventional grayscale choices are also available – how extroverted do you want your Kona to be? Read on for our sampling of the crossover in New Zealand.

    Things are a bit more restrained in the cabin, although flashes of exterior colour make it through to selected trim pieces inside. Customers who have chosen from the aforementioned brighter colours will get colour-matched punctuations of flair in an otherwise unimposing and friendly-to-use interior. Though most of the interior is grey, there are soft-touch materials to elevate the ambience somewhat.

    It is here where mention must be made of its Japanese rival, the Honda HR-V. While the shapes and curves applied throughout the cabin feel generally well-judged, the HR-V is noticeably more spacious, even despite the Honda’s higher-set centre console that consequently raises the gear lever position.

    Briefly sampling the rear seats also confirm that the HR-V’s (mostly) larger exterior dimensions translate to an airier cabin at the back. The middle seat passenger in the Kona will have more of a central transmission tunnel to contend with, and the B-segment Hyundai’s more style-led design also makes for a more snug-feeling rear quarters with the taller window line towards the rear.

    On the other hand, rear seat passengers will fare better here than in the even more snug Mazda CX-3. Finishing off with luggage capacity, the HR-V wins the space race, as the Hyundai’s 361 litres plays the Honda’s 437 litres. Here, too, the Kona beats the CX-3, which packs just 350 litres.

    Starting out in the 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder variant, the Kona’s outputs of 149 PS and 179 Nm of torque are about par for the course for this segment. The Honda HR-V produces 142 PS and 172 Nm of torque from its 1.8 litre naturally-aspirated engine, while the Mazda CX-3 that matches the Kona on capacity makes 151 hp and 204 Nm of torque.

    In practice, and from separate experience back home closer to Kuala Lumpur, the 2.0L Kona feels closer to the slightly smaller-engined HR-V than it does to the CX-3 of similar displacement. The Kona’s pairing of a 2.0 litre mill with a six-speed torque converter automatic is more obliging than engaging, and while the transmission fares better than the CVT in the HR-V, it hasn’t the measure of the CX-3 powertrain’s alertness and eagerness.

    The Kona chassis continues the theme started by the 2.0 litre engine, which is to do the job well, without truly pandering to the keen driver’s whims. The CX-3 possesses the more tautly controlled body over a challenging stretch of road and has the more engaging – and therefore entertaining – steering. That said, the Kona still acquits itself well with more eager responses than the HR-V, which is paired with a more compliant ride and bump absorption than the CX-3.

    The 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engine is a more enticing prospect. The example we tried was paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel-drive, which – in Hyundai’s way of configuring the Kona – also meant the use of a dual-arm multi-link independent rear suspension layout, instead of the torsion beam setup on the 2.0 litre car.

    With differences in both powertrain and chassis across the two versions sampled, it is the turbo/DCT combination that makes a bigger impression, helped in no small measure by the bump in output to 177 PS and 265 Nm, which is a 28 PS and 86 Nm increase over the NA.

    That additional torque is key to the enjoyment of the 1.6 T-GDI powertrain over the NA 2.0L unit, as it offers meaningful shove just off the bottom of the rev range, making it significantly more sprightly than the NA 2.0L.

    The turbocharged powertrain also delivered near-effortless overtakes, and as the raw numbers indicate, it feels demonstrably stronger in a straight-line than its two naturally-aspirated Japanese rivals.

    Though the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic isn’t likely to elicit too many racer fantasies, it is competent, and makes mostly well-judged decisions when left to its own devices. Parking manoeuvres and low-speed driving are handled well by the dual-clutch unit too, the unit reacting smoothly to part-throttle inputs.

    Here, the 1.6 litre T-GDI version did also seem just slightly more sure-footed than the torsion beam-equipped 2.0 litre, though in practice, the chassis advantage is marginal. With its added punch, the 1.6 litre turbo is the powertrain we’d recommend you stretch to.

    Given that the Malaysian market is likely to receive its selection of both naturally aspirated 2.0 litre and 1.6 litre turbo variants in FWD, the torsion beam rear suspension layout looks like the one we’ll be getting, which, on evidence of our time in the 2.0 litre car, is no bad thing.

    Against its more prolific Japanese brand rivals in Malaysia, the Hyundai Kona will have to forge its own path in offering a unique proposition to customers shopping in the B-segment SUV category, especially given its late entry.

    With the aforementioned Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 having staked out the niches of spaciousness and driver appeal respectively, the Kona forges a third path; one that plays on its strengths of outward visual appeal, and – when specified as a 1.6 T-GDI – straight-line performance as well.

    Generous standard equipment levels that have been confirmed for Malaysia, including infotainment that is comprised of a six-speaker sound system with seven-inch touchscreen, auxiliary audio input, USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    On the safety front, six airbags are standard across the range, while the top 1.6 T-GDI gets the Hyundai SmartSense active safety suite that includes forward collision avoidance assist (AEB), lane keeping assist and Smart Cruise Control (adaptive cruise control).

    Starting from RM115,000 as announced during the commencement of pre-orders in Malaysia last month, the Kona should be priced right in between the HR-V, which starts from RM104,000 to RM118,582 and the CX-3, which is priced at RM126,829.

    Exact specifications are pending the Malaysian market launch of the Kona, though on available information, the Korean brand’s B-segment SUV looks to be joining the fray as a richly appointed offering.

    GALLERY: Hyundai Kona 1.6 Turbo at 2018 KL International Motor Show

     

  • McLaren 765LT M’sian preview – 765 PS, 80 kg lighter than 720S, 0-100 km/h 2.8 secs, RM1.49mil before tax

    Having first broken cover in March, the new McLaren 765LT has now made its way to Malaysia as part of a world tour. Not to be confused with its predecessor, the 675LT, the latest track-focused Super Series model takes the already-potent 720S to the absolute extreme for maximum performance.

    The Longtail moniker – applied to only the third production McLaren, after the 675LT and 600LT – refers not to any lengthened bodywork, but the active rear spoiler nine millimetres longer than stock. Together with the 48 mm longer front overhang, this makes the 765LT 57 mm longer than the “standard” 720S.

    The wing has an upwards flick towards the trailing edge, which helps it generate more downforce even when it isn’t raised. The effect this design has on drag is minimal, so aerodynamic efficiency has increased by 20%. It also has a central cutout to improve rear visibility and ensure that the heat from the titanium exhaust’s high-mounted quad pipes doesn’t singe it after extended track running.

    Plenty of other performance-enhancing addenda can be found throughout the car. The front end has been extensively remodelled, featuring a new front splitter that comes with integrated flics and vertical fins. These fins guide airflow around the front wheels, working in concert with the vents that duct air from the radiators.

    Along the side, small door blades complement the larger main blades, controlling the turbulent air exiting the front wheel arch. This air is then drawn into the expanded air intakes ahead of the rear wheel arch. Over at the top, the expansive all-around glazing now carries thinner, lighter glass and a polycarbonate rear screen – the latter allows for a double-bubble shape that directs air over the rear wing and helps cool the exhaust.

    The rear bumper features a multitude of vents to vent hot air from the engine bay; it has also been drawn further inboard to expose the rear wheels, reducing air pressure in the wheel wells. The changes – plus a redesigned carbon fibre floor – all add up to a 25% increase in downforce over the 720S.

    The 765LT rolls on ten-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels as standard, measuring 19 inches (with 245/35R19 tyres) at the front and 20 inches (with 305/30R20 tyres) at the rear. Together with the titanium bolts, they save 22 kg over the standard 720S’ rollers. The Pirelli Trofeo R rubber is bespoke for this car.

    Further weight-saving measures include the use of carbon fibre in the front splitter, front and rear bumpers, front floor, side skirts, rear wing, the lengthened rear diffuser and even the number plate holder. You can also specify the aluminium bonnet, fenders and doors to be made from the lightweight material instead.

    The cabin is trimmed in lightweight Alcantara and carbon and gets a bespoke carbon composite centre tunnel, no floor mats, manual steering column adjustment and door stowage nets instead of pockets. Even the standard carbon-shelled bucket seats are 18 kg lighter than the regular 720S’ pews, but the ones you really want are these double-skinned carbon shells from the Senna, which weigh just 3.35 kg each.

    There’s also no air-conditioning or speakers as standard (jettisoning the latter saves 1.5 kg), but you can specify both back in at no extra cost – although the top-end Bowers & Wilkins sound system is a cost option. The aforementioned titanium exhaust drops another 3.8 kg and the lithium-ion battery shaves a further three kilograms. All-in-all, the 765LT weighs just 1,339 kg at the kerb in its lightest specification, representing a weight saving of 80 kg over the 720S.

    Having shaved as much fat as it could, McLaren then set about turning the engine up to 11. The familiar M840T 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged flat-plane V8 gets new forged pistons, a three-layer head gasket and carbon-coated cam followers, plus a revised ECU, a tweaked oil pump and an additional fuel pump. So equipped, the mill makes the namesake 765 PS at 7,500 rpm and a heady 800 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm.

    For even more vivid acceleration, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission gets shorter ratios to boost in-gear acceleration by as much as 15%. The performance stats are immense – zero to 100 km/h is dispatched in just 2.8 seconds, and the 765LT will run to 200 km/h in a blistering 7.2 seconds.

    This brutal speed is amped up by the V8’s louder rasp, thanks to stiffer engine mounts and the redesigned exhaust. The increased performance means more work for the chassis, so upgrades have been introduced to rein in the horsepower.

    The front end has a six-millimetre wider track width and sits five millimetres lower, and new helper springs maintain suspension load on full rebound – with the added benefit of reducing weight compared to using just a single dual-rate spring. Roll stiffness has also been increased.

    Other new features include a “limit downshift” function for the gearbox that will perform an early downshift request when possible instead of flat-out rejecting it, as well as the latest carbon-ceramic brake discs clamped by the Senna’s massive callipers. The options list including a track brake upgrade that throws in Senna discs and bespoke pads.

    All these upgrades don’t come cheap, with the 765LT retailing at a starting price of RM1,488,000 – and that’s before excise tax and duties. You can, of course, ramp up the final bill with a startling array of options, such as exposed carbon fibre panels and a striking roof scoop from McLaren Special Operations (MSO). A three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is included, with a coverage of up to 12 years possible through extensions.

     
  • Ferrari SF90 Stradale plug-in hybrid debuts in Malaysia – 1,000 PS, 0-100 km/h in 2.5 secs, from RM1.908 mil

    Naza Italia has officially introduced the Ferrari SF90 Stradale in Malaysia. The automaker’s range-topping model arrives in the country priced from RM1.908 million (before duties, customisation options, taxes and insurance).

    The company’s first series-production plug-in hybrid, which made its debut in May last year, derives its name from the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Scuderia Ferrari and the long-established link between the automaker’s track and road cars.

    The powertrain combines a turbocharged V8 engine integrated with three electric motors, two of which are independent and located on the front axle, with the third – known as the MGUK (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic) – placed at the rear, housed between the engine and the gearbox.

    The petrol engine develops 780 PS (an increase of 60 PS from the F154 unit seen in the 488 Pista and F8 Tributo) and 800 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. The three electric motors offer a total of 220 PS (or 162 kW).

    The battery pack is a lithium-ion 7.9 kWh unit made by SK Innovations, housed behind the seats. This offers the SF90 a 25 km all-electric operating range using just the motors from the front axle, effectively making it the first front-wheel drive Ferrari when it’s in pure electric mode. All-electric operation is possible up to 135 km/h.

    During the international launch of the car, Ferrari technical director Michael Leiters told us that it takes about three hours to get the SF90’s battery charged via the plug-in route. There is of course in-car charging, accomplished through the engine.

    The gearbox is a completely-redesigned eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, which provides the basis for the unit seen on the Roma and just-introduced Portofino M. Compared to the company’s seven-speeder, the unit is 10 kg lighter, three kg of which is the result of the reverse gear being eliminated, with vehicle reversing handled through electric drive.

    Technical highlights include a more compact clutch assembly, which is 20% smaller in exterior diameter than the seven-speed unit. It also sits 15 mm lower. The hybrid system adds around 270 kg in weight, but this has been offset by the use of multi-composite material for the chassis, keeping dry weight down to 1,570 kg.

    The SF90 has four drive modes, selectable via the eManettino controller. The first is all-electric eDrive, and then there’s Hybrid, the default setting when the car is turned on. This autonomously decides whether to keep the internal combustion engine running or switched off.

    The third mode is Performance, which keeps the engine running and prioritises charging the battery than on efficiency. The last mode is Qualify, which provides maximum power output by allowing the electric motors to work at their maximum 162kW, and prioritises performance over battery charging.

    Performance figures include a 0-100km/h time of 2.5 seconds, a 0-200km/h time of 6.7 seconds and a 340 km/h top speed, which is not electronically-governed. In real-world terms, the car is faster than the LaFerrari, as a head-to-head on the automaker’s Fiorano circuit showed – the SF90 was 64 metres ahead of the older car over the course of a lap.

    Among the many firsts for the brand on the car is 4WD, a step the automaker says is necessary in order to be able to put all that generated power fully on to the tarmac. It’s not right throughout the entire speed range though, because as Leiters revealed, the front motors provide performance assist up to speeds of approximately 210 km/h before they are removed from the drivetrain equation to protect them from damage.

    Aside from the plethora of control systems (more than 25 in all, including an electronic Side Slip Control vehicle control system), there’s a new braking system, which features a front brake caliper designed in conjunction with Brembo, improved cooling performance as well as brake-by-wire control.

    Design-wise, the exterior of the SF90 – which measures in at 4,710 mm long, 1,972 mm wide and 1,186 mm tall – features more compact overhangs and a frontward-shift of the cabin, which has also been lowered by 20 mm to create a distinct cab-forward-type architecture.

    Front elements include new narrow aperture matrix LED headlights, which integrate with the brake air intakes to form a C-shape. At the back, you’ll find squarish tail lights as well as a suspended twin wing on the rear end section of the engine cover – one fixed and incorporating the third brake light, and one mobile with a wedge-shaped front area.

    Dubbed a “shut-off Gurney” by the company, the system essentially provides active aero in the form of system that regulates the air flow over the upper body, reducing drag at high speeds with low lateral dynamic loads and increasing downforce in corners, under braking and during directional changes.

    Inside, the SF90 Stradale gets a new 16-inch curved high-definition digital instrument cluster, which at the car’s point of introduction was touted as a world’s first in a series production vehicle. The display can be fully configured and controlled by the steering wheel control buttons.

    There’s also a new steering wheel, which includes a touchpad with haptic controls as well as a new navigation system and a head-up display. Also new, an ignition key personalised with the model’s name and a metal Ferrari shield faceplate.

    Other highlights include redesigned sports seats, which are each 4.5 kg lighter than the current sports seats and a grille-styled gear selector, which pays homage to the brand’s manual gear-shift gates of old.

    The launch example seen here is a left-hand drive Assetto Fiorano version, which differs from the standard car in that it is equipped with upgraded components. These include special GT racing-derived Multimatic shock absorbers, carbon-fibre door panels/underbody and a high-downforce rear spoiler as well as titanium springs and exhaust, and specifically-designed, softer compound Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres.

    It’ll be a while before Malaysian buyers get their SF90. The first European deliveries were supposed to have taken place in the first half of this year, but customers have yet to receive their cars as of August, with shipments having been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On the local front, we’re told that it could be a year and a half to two years before deliveries begin here.

     
  • September 2020 week four fuel price – all down again; RON 95 to RM1.63, RON 97 to RM1.93, diesel to RM1.67

    Today is Friday, which means it’s time for the weekly fuel price update. After last week’s price decline for both petrol and diesel, motorists will be glad to know that the trend will continue for the coming September 19 to 25 week.

    According to the ministry of finance, Euro 4M RON 95 petrol will be priced at RM1.63 per litre, down three sen per litre from RM1.66 last week. Meanwhile, RON 97 petrol also sees a three sen drop to RM1.93 (RM1.96 last week).

    As for Euro 2M diesel, it will be priced at RM1.67 per litre in the coming week, down five sen from the RM1.72 it was at last week. Correspondingly, Euro 5 diesel, which is 10 sen more expensive per litre than Euro 2M diesel, will be priced at RM1.77 (RM1.82 last week).

    These prices will remain in effect until September 25, when the next round of fuel prices will be announced. This is the 37th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format for this year and the 89th in total for the format, running from midnight on Saturday until the following Friday.

     
  • 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross facelift teased ahead of Q1 debut; all new US models to get AEB as standard

    Mitsubishi has released a teaser image of the redesigned Eclipse Cross, which is slated to go on sale in the United States in the first quarter of 2021. The current model made its debut in 2017 and brought a coupe roofline to its compact crossover form, along with the revival of the Eclipse name that graced its compact two-door model in the past.

    The Japanese brand has revealed little else about the refreshed Eclipse Cross, however, only saying that the revisions will bring ‘radically changed’ designs to the front and rear ends, for a more upscale and energetic design to go with its coupe-roofed SUV shape.

    Next-generation Mitsubishi Outlander on test

    In addition to the scheduled debut of the updated Eclipse Cross in the first quarter of 2021, Mitsubishi has also reiterated its product plans for the North American market. The fourth quarter of this year will see the Outlander PHEV receive an upgraded internal combustion engine as well as improved pure-electric range, while Q1 2021 will see the Mirage and Mirage G4 (Attrage) receive exterior and interior styling updates.

    A full model change, next-generation Outlander is due to debut in the second quarter of next year, states Mitsubishi, and every new Mitsubishi will receive Forward Collision Mitigation (autonomous emergency braking, or AEB) with pedestrian detection.

    The forthcoming Outlander will essentially be a productionised version of the Engelberg Tourer/e-Yi concept, wearing much of the concepts’ look with the brand’s latest two-tier headlamp signature and the latest iteration of the Dynamic Shield grille.

    GALLERY: 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander spyshots

     
  • 2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo debuts in the US – 2.5 litre turbo-four with 250 hp, 434 Nm; 6-speed auto, AWD

    The Mazda CX-30 is the next model to benefit from turbocharging in the United States for the 2021 model year, so say hello to the new CX-30 Turbo. With the new variant, nearly the entire Mazda line-up in the US will be offered with a turbocharged variant, save for the CX-3 and MX-5.

    Like the Mazda 3 Turbo before it, the CX-30 Turbo is powered by a SkyActiv-G 2.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which makes 250 hp and 434 Nm when running on premium 93 octane fuel. With regular 87 octane fuel, those figures plummet down to 227 hp and 420 Nm. The crossover also comes with a 2.5 litre NA four-pot in the US, with 186 hp and 252 Nm.

    The rest of the powertrain is the same as well, with the mill being mated to a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission and Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel drive system. Figures relating to performance, efficiency and pricing have yet to be released by the company, but we should get them before the CX-30 2.5 Turbo – as it is known in the country – goes on sale by the end of 2020.

    Key exterior cues that help mark out a CX-30 Turbo include 18-inch black aluminium alloy wheels, larger tailpipes, gloss black door mirrors and a “Turbo” badge on the liftgate. Meanwhile, standard equipment are an 8.8-inch infotainment display, a 12-speaker Bose sound system and a range of i-Activsense safety and driver assistance systems.

    The suite includes Smart City Brake Support Reverse with Rear Cross-Traffic Braking, Traffic Jam Assist, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Active Driving Display, Traffic Sign Recognition, Adaptive Front-lighting System and a 360-degree View Monitor. More details about the packaging will be announced in the coming months.

    Over in Malaysia, we get the CX-30 with a 2.0 litre NA four-cylinder, rated at 162 hp and 213 Nm, with the option of a 1.8 litre turbodiesel that makes 114 hp and 270 Nm. Of the four variants, the petrol engine is fitted to three of them (2.0G 2WD, 2.0G High 2WD and 2.0G High AWD), while only one diesel variant is offered (1.8D High 2WD).

     
  • Fully imported EVs subject to 10% excise duty – MAA

    Speaking to paultan.org on the sidelines of the Malaysian launch of the Porsche Taycan, president of the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) Datuk Aishah Ahmad said that all fully imported (CBU) electric vehicles are subject to excise duty of 10%, regardless of brand.

    The 10% excise duty rate for EVs has been in place from last year, said Aishah. “It’s automatic. [The rate for] CBU electric cars is 10%,” said the MAA president, who also confirmed that car companies in Malaysia do not need to make special arrangements or provisions – such as to invest in charging facilities – in order to qualify for the excise duty rate.

    The 10% excise rate is relatively low, whereas conventional, internal combustion-powered passenger cars are subject to excise duty rates from 60% to 105%. In Malaysia, the just-launched Porsche Taycan range starts from RM725,000 for the Taycan 4S, ranging up to RM1,195,000 for the Taycan Turbo S.

    Aishah also confirmed that road tax for electric vehicles is calculated based on kilowatts of output, also noting that all electric vehicles are subject to the same road tax structure. Regarding our query that some electric cars have followed a different pricing structure for road tax, Aishah said that “previously this was based on cc (displacement), but now [it has been] changed to kilowatts.”

    From our earlier report, the payable road tax rate was initially drafted for calculation based on a kilowatt rate, and for which the table has been in place since 2011. According to JPJ sources, the rates for EVs were previously keyed in by clerks under the cc category during the vehicle registration, as a matter of familiarity.

    As of March last year, the road tax rates for electric vehicles in Malaysia are as follows:

    For private saloon motorcars – individual (code AB) and company registration (AC) – with a rated output of 80 kW and below, the rates are as such:

  • 50 kW and below – RM20
  • Above 50 kW to 60 kW – RM44
  • Above 60 kW to 70 kW – RM56
  • Above 70 kW to 80 kW – RM72
  • Vehicles with a rated motor output of above 80 kW will have a base road tax applied as well as a progressive rate calculated into the final sum. The road tax rate is calculated as follows, starting with a base rate and an additional rate for each kW increase:

  • Above 80 kW to 90 kW – RM160, and RM0.32 sen for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 80 kW
  • Above 90 kW to 100 kW – RM224, and RM0.25 sen for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 90 kW
  • Above 100 kW to 125 kW – RM274, and RM0.50 sen for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 100 kW
  • Above 125 kW to 150 kW – RM524, and RM1.00 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW
  • Above 150 kW – RM1,024, and RM1.35 for every 0.05 kW (50 watt) increase from 125 kW
  • Details on rates for electric vehicles in Malaysia will be updated as developments arise.

     
  • Honda Civic and BR-V now available in Platinum White Pearl – replaces White Orchid Pearl, RM273 extra

    Honda Malaysia has introduced a new colour option for its Honda Civic facelift and BR-V facelift models, adding Platinum White Pearl to the available colour palette for both. The hue, which was first introduced on the Odyssey facelift and the 10th-generation Accord, replaces the previous White Orchid Pearl.

    Honda Malaysia managing director and CEO Toichi Ishiyama said that the decision to switch to the new colour on both models was made following positive customer feedback gained for it on the Accord.

    “White Orchid Pearl is a popular colour among Honda customers, accounting for 38% and 25% of the total sales for the Civic and BR-V respectively. When we introduced the Platinum White Pearl colour in the Accord early this year, we saw good market acceptance with this colour accounting for 33% of the sales of the model. We are extending this colour to the C-segment leader and the refreshed seven-seater crossover in response to customer feedback,” he explained.

    The Platinum White Pearl colour option – which comes with a RM272.73 surcharge on both cars – is now available for the Civic, while the BR-V will start shipping with the new colour option in November.

     
  • Rimac set to acquire Bugatti from VW Group – report

    Croatian carmaker Rimac Automobili is about to take over luxury hypercar marque Bugatti from the Volkswagen Group, according to report by Car Magazine. Bugatti ownership will be handed over to Rimac via Porsche, in exchange for a greater share in the Croatian hypercar maker.

    Porsche acquired a 10% stake in the Croatian firm in June 2018, and a year later increased its share in Rimac to 15.5% in September 2019. Sources told the magazine that Volkswagen executives approved the acqusition deal last week, though it has yet to be signed off by the supervisory board.

    The German sports car maker joins other companies such as Hyundai, Jaguar, Koenigsegg and Magna as investors in the electromobility-focused firm that brought models such as the Concept_One and the C_Two, and Car Magazine notes that founder Mate Rimac has counted up to 15 car companies that are using its tech knowledge.

    Rimac founder Mate Rimac holds a 51% majority interest in the Croatian company

    The Volkswagen Group no longer wants to spend money and other resources on extravagant brands such as Bugatti, which was acquired by former group CEO and supervisory chairman Ferdinand Piech, who during his tenure also took on luxury brands Bentley and Lamborghini, along with motorcycle brand Ducati via Audi. Piech fell out with Volkswagen in 2015, and later passed away in 2019.

    The change in group-wide focus to electrification and autonomous driving is being adapted by most of its brands, including Porsche and in coming years, Bentley as well, though Bugatti’s position at the top of the Volkswagen Group of brands as a top speed-focused halo leaves the French brand little room to manoeuvre, especially in purely internal combustion-engined form with limited sales, Car Magazine notes.

    Volkswagen dropping Bugatti, a brand much beloved by the late Piech, would not have gone down well with the surviving Piech family members, who own 50% of the controlling interest in the Volkswagen Group, though the latter’s concerns would have been allayed by putting Porsche – the company central to the interests of the Piech family – at the heart of the deal, Car Magazine writes.

    Lamborghini is among the next batch of brands reportedly under consideration for offloading

    Rimac is yet to be publicly traded, with founder Mate Rimac holding a 51% majority interest. The largest secondary shareholders are Porsche and Chinese battery manufacturer the Camel Group, and the latest funding round sees Rimac valued at more than 500 million euros (RM2.48 billion). Bugatti is possibly valued around the aforementioned figure, though Rimac’s true value is yet to be determined by an initial public offering, the magazine notes.

    As for Bugatti, current CEO Stephan Winkelmann is unlikely to remain at the brand’s helm should the Volkswagen supervisory board sign off on its offloading to Rimac, report author Georg Kacher notes; Bugatti declined to comment on the rumours when contacted by the magazine.

    Additionally, sources around the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer group repeats that there are other brands within the portfolio that could depart. Under consideration for offloading are, in this order, Lamborghini, Seat (set to merge with Cupra, which will take the lead for the Spanish brand), design studio Ital Design, Bentley and Ducati, Car Magazine said.

     
 

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