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  • SPYSHOTS: Bentley Flying Spur Speed to go hybrid?

    With a new generation of Bentley Continental GT and its contemporary Flying Spur four-door sibling, an even higher performance Speed variant follows, and so the case remains with Crewe’s latest iteration of its limousine. This time around, however, it appears that speed won’t be derived from a twin-turbocharged 6.0 litre W12 as before, as there appears to be an additional ‘filler’ flap on the left rear fender.

    A plug-in hybrid powertrain from the wider Volkswagen Group inventory will certainly deliver the goods in terms of performance, as luxury electrification comes in the guise of a 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 mated to a 136 hp electric motor for a total system output of 680 PS and 900 Nm of torque, as delivered in the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. All in, expect the Speed to improve upon the 333 km/h top speed and 3.8-second 0-100 km/h figures of the Flying Spur.

    In the more potent Cayenne state of tune, this engine offers 45 PS more than the W12-powered Bentayga Speed and the ‘regular’ Flying Spur, with an identical peak torque figure. Assuming this powertrain does take over Speed duties from its W12-powered predecessor, this is reflected in the rear bumper as well, where the development car’s quad oval exhaust outlets are located.

    Previous 12-cylinder Speed variants wore one oval outlet on each side, as with the Continental GT Speed test mule sighted in September 2018. The V8 versions have been distinguished with quad tailpipes finishers, be they a Continental GT, Flying Spur or Bentayga. Of course, prior to its offical debut, visual details may yet change.

    Beyond the V8 biturbo plug-in hybrid powertrain and eight-speed automatic transmission, the more potent Flying Spur can be expected to receive its own calibration for its AWD, rear-wheel steering and Bentley Dynamic Ride systems that controls the three-chamber air suspension, as befitting its Speed label.

    The Crewe luxury carmaker may also take the opportunity to give this electrically augmented Flying Spur a host of updates to its interior, possibly with Speed variant-specific trim elements. Overall, the exterior of the Flying Spur Speed appears production-ready, if virtually unchanged from that of the regular car, and should be approaching readiness for a debut later this year.

     
  • Ford to continue producing, selling Police Interceptors despite being told to rethink relationship with police

    The killing of George Floyd by policemen in the US has sparked great outrage and mobilised various anti-racism and anti-police brutality movements. In the wake of this, Ford employees have been inspired to rethink the company’s relationship with the police, and urged top executives to stop producing and selling police vehicles altogether.

    According to Automotive News, Blue Oval bosses including CEO Jim Hackett wrote a letter of over 600 words to senior staff, saying “it’s not controversial that the Ford Police Interceptor helps officers do their job. The issues plaguing police credibility have nothing to do with the vehicles they’re driving.”

    Hacket and executive chairman Bill Ford are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and believe that the police should operate with more transparency and accountability. However, Hacket added that first responders play an “extraordinarily important role in the vitality and safety of our society.”

    “Our world wouldn’t function without the bravery and dedication of the good police officers who protect and serve,” Hackett wrote. Ford will continue to produce and sell Police Interceptor sedans and SUVs, which are souped-up versions of the Fusion and Explorer models.

    Every year, the Interceptors account for a small sliver of the more than two million cars Ford sells in the US. However, the Blue Oval has long dominated that segment, and revealed that Interceptors make for almost two-thirds of US police vehicle sales.

    The blacked-out SUV you see here is the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility, which is available with either a 3.0 litre EcoBoost, 3.3 litre direct-injection V6, or 3.3 litre hybrid powertrain. It’s also the only vehicle in the world that has been engineered to meet a 120 km/h rear-impact crash test.

     

  • AD: Save up to RM31k with 0% sales tax on a new Volvo at Sime Darby Swedish Auto Ara Damansara!

    Slowly but surely, Malaysians are driving again, and there’s nothing better than hitting the road with some new wheels – especially a car that is as stylish and as safe as a Volvo. And there’s no better time to indulge in Sweden’s finest, with a full sales and service tax (SST) rebate ensuring that whichever model you pick, there are fantastic savings in store!

    At Sime Darby Swedish Auto Ara Damansara, you can enjoy discounts of up to RM30,888 on a new Volvo, plus free Volvo Insurance for the first year* and a five-year free Volvo Service Package* for ultimate peace of mind. What’s more, if you book your car online, you will receive a Polestar Optimisation performance upgrade* for your car, worth RM5,250, absolutely free.

    Existing Volvo owners will also be treated to a free health check when they visit. Rest assured that in compliance with the government’s recovery movement control order, Volvo Ara Damansara will adhere to all required standard operating procedures, including sanitisation, health screenings and social distancing.

    So head on over to Sime Darby Swedish Auto Ara Damansara this weekend and drive away with your dream Volvo! For more information, visit the official Facebook page.

    *Terms and conditions apply

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  • July 2020 week two fuel price – prices up; RON 95 to RM1.72, RON 97 to RM2.02, diesel is up to RM1.87

    It’s Friday, so time for the usual weekly fuel price update again. For the coming July 11 to 17 week, fuel is set to become most costly, which is bad news for motorists, as it represents a reversal of last week’s drop in pricing.

    The ministry of finance has announced that starting from tomorrow, Euro 4M RON 95 petrol will be priced at RM1.72 per litre, up seven sen from the RM1.65 it was last week. Similarly, RON 97 is set to be seven sen more expensive at RM2.02 per litre, compared to RM1.95 last week.

    Meanwhile, Euro 2M diesel will be priced at RM1.87 per litre, which is a three sen increase from RM1.84 per litre last week. This means that Euro 5 diesel, which costs 10 sen more than Euro 2M diesel, will be priced at RM1.97 per litre in the coming week.

    These prices will remain in effect until July 17, when the next fuel price update is announced. This is the 27th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format for 2020 and the 79th edition in total for the format, which runs from Saturday until the following Friday.

     
  • New visual identity for Mitsubishi 3S centre in Melaka

    Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) has rolled out a new visual identity (VI) for the brand’s 3S centres, and authorised dealer Sing Kwung Jidosha is the first showroom in Melaka to have the new look. The outlet is located at 2B, Jalan IMJ1, Taman Industri Malim Jaya.

    With Sing Kwung Jidosha’s upgrade, Mitsubishi now has 20 showrooms nationwide with the new VI. To date, the Triton maker has 50 showrooms (45 of these are 3S centres) and 51 service outlets across Malaysia. In East Malaysia, MMM is represented by 14 showrooms, seven in Sarawak and seven in Sabah.

    “With an enhanced brand image, this represents our commitment to put customers as the foremost priority, providing them with a seamless experience when they visit our showrooms, and in a more comfortable ambience,” said Tomoyuki Shinnishi, CEO of MMM.

    “With Triton ranking the number one pick-up truck in Melaka with 38% market share for financial year 2019 (April 2019 to March 2020) and MMM’s achievement of ranking number one in JD Power 2019 Malaysia Customer Service Index (CSI), we are dedicated deliver top-notch service to all our customers,” he added.

    With a built up area of 10,000 sq.ft., Sing Kwung Jidosha’s refreshed 3S centre has a comfortable customer lounge with WiFi and space to display up to four vehicles. Its fully-equipped workshop is capable of servicing up to five cars with a parts storage area, and body and paint facility.

    The brand’s main driver of sales these days is the Triton pick-up truck. Updated late last year with the Dynamic Shield face, five variants are available – the MT, AT, MT Premium, AT Premium and the top Adventure X, priced from RM100,200 to RM137,900. All share the same 181 PS/430 Nm 2.4L MIVEC turbodiesel, paired with six-speed transmissions. There’s also the workhorse Triton Quest for RM79,890.

    GALLERY: 2020 Mitsubishi Triton 2.4L VGT Adventure X

     
  • Nissan GT-R Offroad “Godzilla 2.0” – 600 hp off-roader

    Even though the Nissan GT-R comes with a fancy ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system, the sports car is more suited for use on the track rather than going off tarmac. However, that’s not the case for Classic Youngtimers Consultancy, as they have an off-road version of the GT-R for sale at 95,000 euros (RM457,370).

    This custom-made one-off is billed as a “proper road-going sportscar with serious ambitions to deliver on unpaved paths,” and has the modifications to back up those claims. For starters, the team gave it a bespoke suspension setup with 120 mm of ground clearance compared to a regular GT-R.

    From there, a set of Toyo Proxes ST III tyres – typically used on SUVs and off-roaders – is fitted to the stock 20-inch wheels, along with black fender flares. To complete the look, there is a full-sized spare wheel mounted on a custom roof rack, a LED light bar, additional lights on the front bumper and a camouflage wrap.

    For power, the VR38DETT 3.8 litre twin-turbo V6 in the 2010 model year donor car has been worked upon to deliver around 600 hp, which is more than the 485 hp the car originally came with. The company is calling its creation “Godzilla 2.0,” and it joins two previous off-road creations based on the Lamborghini Gallardo and Bentley Continental GT.

     
  • Aston Martin DBX production commences at St Athan

    The first production Aston Martin DBX has rolled off the manufacturing line at the British carmaker’s St Athan facility, making the DBX the first Aston Martin to be made in Wales. Development for the DBX has been ongoing since 2015, and is crucial to the company as the SUV is expected to comprise around half of its total sales in the coming years, Autocar reports.

    The DBX was officially revealed last November, and features the M177 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged petrol V8 from Mercedes-AMG. This produces more power than in the Vantage and the eight-cylinder version of the DB11, with the SUV packing 550 PS and 700 Nm of torque that propels it from 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds onwards to a top speed of 291 km/h.

    Previously a facility under the United Kingdom’s ministry of defence, the St Athan plant in Wales that now makes the DBX was comprised of three existing ‘super-hangars’ that have been transformed and repurposed for the manufacture of the five-seater Aston Martin.

    There have been more than 2,000 orders for the DBX so far, the automaker claims, which will sustain production into 2021. Annual output at St Athan will be around 4,000 units, according to Autocar, and Aston Martin confirms that the first units will be delivered to customers later this month.

    The 4.0 litre V8 powertrain will be joined by a 3.0 litre inline-six, said senior manager of global product management Neil Hughes last November. Like the V8, the six-cylinder is also from the Mercedes-AMG family of engines, and the latter is the M256 that is shared with the E 53, CLS 53, GLE 53 and GT 53. At the other end of the scale, the DBX could also gain the marque’s 5.2 litre V12.

    The first production DBX to roll of the line was finished in Sterling Green, with interim chief operating officer Keith Stanton at the wheel. The start of production at the St Athan plant was “testament to the resilience and fortitude of everyone at Aston Martin,” said Stanton, who is in charge until former head of Mercedes-AMG Tobias Moers takes the helm as CEO in August.

    The DBX will be pivotal in Aston Martin’s recovery as it has had to cut 500 jobs to help reduce costs. The marque posted a first-quarter loss following a nearly one-third drop in sales as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the restructuring was expected to save the firm about 38 million British pounds annually.

    GALLERY: Aston Martin DBX

     
  • X247 Mercedes-Benz GLB debuts in Thailand – three-row SUV; GLB 200 Progressive variant from RM390k

    The X247 Mercedes-Benz GLB was first revealed in June last year and has now been introduced in Thailand. Available in a sole GLB 200 Progressive variant priced at 2.86 million baht (RM390,168), the SUV comes in a three-row configuration with seating for up to seven people. The GLB is meant to slot in between the GLA and GLC in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, and its pricing certainly fits the bill.

    In Thailand, the GLA is offered in two variants – the GLA 200 Urban (1.999 million baht or RM272,572) and GLA 250 AMG Dynamic (2.41 million baht or RM328,614), while the GLC comes in three offerings – GLC 220 d (3.239 million baht or RM441,623), GLC 220 d AMG Dynamic (3.699 million baht or RM504,342) and GLC 300 e 4Matic AMG Dynamic (3.749 million baht or RM511,159)

    Under the bonnet, the GLB 200 features the same M282 engine used in the W177 A-Class, specifically the A 200, A 180 and A 160. Here, the 1.33 litre turbocharged four-cylinder makes 163 PS (161 hp) at 5,500 rpm and 250 Nm of torque from 1,620 to 4,000 rpm, with drive going to the front wheels via a seven-speed 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. Performance-wise, the GLB 200 will take 9.1 seconds to get from a rest to 100 km/h, while the top speed is 207 km/h.

    Standard equipment includes the Progressive package, along with comfort suspension, 18-inch five double-spoke alloy wheels (with 235/55 profile tyres), LED High Performance headlamps, LED DRLs and taillights, polished aluminium roof rails, side chrome trim, auto-dimming side mirrors, Keyless-Go, a powered tailgate with hands-free access and automatic wipers.

    Moving inside, the variant comes with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface that consists of a dual 10.25-inch displays – one for the digital instrument cluster and a central touchscreen. The latter, along with the touchpad and steering wheel Touch Control, is linked to the infotainment system, which offers connected services, a voice assistant as well as support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

    Elsewhere, black Artico man-made leather upholstery is used for various parts of the cabin, including the seats, with the front two being electrically adjustable and comes with a memory function. The interior also gets spiral-look trim, a 64-colour ambient lighting system, Thermatic dual-zone climate control, Dynamic Select drive mode system and side sills.

    The second-row seats can be folded down following a 40:20:40 configuration, while the third row bench has 50:50 split instead. With both rows folded down, 1,800 litres of luggage space is available, or 630 litres with just the third row folded down.

    In terms of safety, the GLB comes with seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver’s knee), Active Brake Assist, an electronic parking brake with hold function, passive cruise control, a tyre pressure monitoring system, Attention Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, ESP, Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) and ABS.

    Buyers of the GLB will have five colour options to choose from, including a non-metallic Polar White Option, while the rest of the range – Digital White, Cosmo Black, Iridium Silver and Mountain Grey – are metallic finishes.

    We previously reported that the GLB will make its way to Malaysia, although that bit of news was put up in November last year. For now, it isn’t certain when an official launch will take place or what variants will be offered in our market.

    GALLERY: X247 Mercedes-AMG GLB 250 4Matic (European spec)

     
  • 2020 Audi TT RS, RS4 Avant & RS Q8 models launched in Thailand – priced from RM723k to RM1.5 million!

    Meister Technik, the authorised importer of Audi cars in Thailand, has launched three RS models to kick off its high-performance portfolio. The debuting trio are the TT RS at 5.3 million baht (RM723k), RS4 Avant at 5.9 million baht (RM805k), and RS Q8 at an eye-watering 10.9 million baht (RM1.5 million).

    For the price, the TT RS actually undercuts the BMW M2 Competition by a million baht (RM136k), but the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4Matic+ costs 300,000 baht (RM41k) less than the TT RS at 5 million baht.

    Meanwhile, the RS4 Avant has no direct competitor in Thailand when it comes to body styles. It’s also more attractively priced when pitted against the AMG C 63 S Coupé, which costs 10.1 million baht (RM1.4 million). The BMW M4 Competition and M4 CS, on the other hand, are priced at 8.8 million baht (RM1.2 million) and 11.4 million baht (RM1.55 million) respectively.

    The range-topping Audi Sport SUV model sold in Thailand is the flagship RS Q8, which shares the same platform as the Lamborghini Urus. It’s powered by an electrified 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 petrol engine that delivers 600 PS and 800 Nm of torque, which is only 50 PS and 50 Nm less than the Urus. However, the RS Q8 costs half that of its Italian counterpart, which is priced from 23.42 million baht (RM3.2 million).

    More direct rivals such as the BMW X6 M and AMG GLE 63 Coupé have yet to be introduced in Thailand, but note that the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupé is priced from 18.2 million baht (RM2.5 million) in the Land of Smiles.

     
  • Tesla is ‘very close’ to level 5 autonomous tech – Musk

    Tesla is “very close” to achieving Level 5 autonomous driving tech, the electric vehicle specialist’s CEO Elon Musk said yesterday, reported by Reuters.

    “I’m extremely confident that Level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly. I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for Level 5 autonomy complete this year,” he said in a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference.

    Level 5 of autonomous driving technology refers to the capability of the car to navigate roads without any driver input. It’s the most advanced stage of autonomous driving, ranked from 1 to 5. Production cars are now touching Level 3 – more on self-driving levels in our guide here.

    Tesla, recently ranked as the highest-valued automaker due to the rising value of its shares, made strides in autonomous driving with its Autopilot function. But it’s in a crowded race, as traditional carmakers as well as tech companies such as Alphabet’s Waymo (Alphabet is Google’s parent) and Uber are pouring big money and resources in this field.

    Despite the big push, industry insiders have said it would take time for autonomous tech to be accepted by the public, with trust being the main issue. Here’s what Bosch has to say on the matter.

     
 

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Latest Fuel Prices

PETROL
RON 95 RM1.72 (+0.07)
RON 97 RM2.02 (+0.07)
RON 100 RM2.54
VPR RM2.75
DIESEL
EURO 2M RM1.87 (+0.03)
EURO 5 RM1.97 (+0.03)
Last Updated 11 Jul 2020