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  • “V” plates for Kuala Lumpur – the full list of numbers

    V1

    The new “V” prefix number plates for Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur have been released, after going to tender last month. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top “V1” registration plate went to Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, for the winning bid of RM989,780.

    The latest top number plate purchase is the latest in a line of “1” suffixed number plates Sultan Ibrahim has come to own. The Johor ruler paid RM836,660 for the “F1” plate which was then attached to his Proton Perdana.

    Deputy transport minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi was quoted as saying that the public were more comfortable with the traditional number plate sequence of a single prefix, versus a prefix and suffix numbering system (e.g: W xxx A, started in September 2013 and now defunct).

    Notable owners of the new “V” series of plates include Kelantan royal Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Ibni Sultan Ismail with “V9”, “V99” and “V170”, deputy Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani with “V40”, MARA chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa with “V23”, Syabas CEO Tan Sri Rozali Ismail with “V59”, Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim with “V89”, cabinet minister Azalina Binti Othman with “V63”, along with “V6” and “V38” each going to individual, unnamed government officials.

    See the full list of “V” registration numbers, here.

     
  • 2017 SYM Sport Rider 125i Malaysia launch – RM5,450

    2016 SYM Sport Rider 125i -17

    In conjunction with its annual dealers’ dinner, SYM Malaysia held the world debut of the SYM Sport Rider 125i in Penang, at a price of RM5,450, excluding GST. More than just SYM’s first launch of a 123 cc EFI motorcycle in the underbone (kapchai) category, the Sport Rider 125i was produced based on a design from SYM’s Malaysian operation.

    The decision to produce an EFI 125 cc kapchai was taken after considering the needs of riders in the small-bike market, combining the SYM Malaysia’s experience with the SYM Sport Bonus 115 and E Bonus 110. The SYM Sport Rider 125i comes with an air-cooled 123 cc single-cylinder two-valve SOHC engine that pumps out 9.5 PS at 8,000 rpm and 10.8 Nm torque at 5,500 rpm.

    In full compliance with Euro 3 standards, the 125i is fed by EFI, a first in the kapchai-class for SYM. DRLs are also included, as well as LED signals and taillights, which brings the lighting under Euro 4 compliance.

    2016 SYM Sport Rider 125i -4

    There is an under-seat storage space, which means the 4.2-litre fuel tank gets placed in the tail section. An analogue tachometer – something not usually seen in kapchais – and digital LCD speedometer complete the instrument cluster, with the LCD gauge performing multiple duties with gear read-out, odometer and fuel gauge.

    Front suspension is with telescopic forks, while a traditional twin shock absorber setup in the rear features remote reservoir shocks adjustable for pre-load. Braking is done with a hydraulic disc in front grabbed by a twin-piston caliper, and the rear brake is by mechanical drum.

    2016 SYM Sport Rider 125i -20

    Weighing in at 107 kg, the seats of the Sport Rider 125i are separated, designed to enhance the comfort level of both the rider and pillion. SYM Malaysia expects to sell 20,000 units a year, with bikes arriving in SYM dealer showrooms from September.

    The 2017 SYM Sport Rider 125i comes in three colours – Yellow, Blue and Red – and goes for RM5,450 excluding GST, road tax and insurance. A special limited edition Matte-Black version of the 125i is available for RM5,570. A three-year or 30,000 km warranty is provided.

     
  • 2016 Proton Persona – comparison versus competition

    We’ve shown you everything you need to know about the new 2016 Proton Persona, through our comprehensive launch report, walk-around video tour and spec-by-spec comparison gallery. Now, we’ll be comparing the national carmaker’s car of the moment versus its predecessor and the B-segment sedan competition, as well as the one-size-smaller Perodua Bezza and Proton Saga.

    Firstly, the dimensions – at 4,387 mm long, the new Persona is smack in the middle of the pack in terms of length, splitting the larger models like the 4,440 mm Honda City, 4,410 mm Toyota Vios and 4,425 mm Nissan Almera and smaller cars like the 4,320 mm Mazda 2 Sedan and 4,278 mm Saga. The Mitsubishi Attrage and Bezza are downright tiny in comparison, at 4,245 mm and 4,150 mm respectively.

    The new car is also some 90 mm shorter than the old Persona, which was a C-segment-sized car sold at Perodua Myvi prices. However, Proton claims that the new car has a similar amount of interior space as before, and boot space has swelled from 430 litres to 510, making it one of the largest in the segment, just behind the 536 litre cargo bay of the City. At the other end of the spectrum, the Mazda 2 has the smallest boot at 410 litres, while the Saga is nary any bigger at 413 litres.

    Persona-comparison-02

    Other areas where the new Persona takes class gongs is in width and height – the 1,722 mm wide Proton is a little broader than the next widest, the Vios, and is over 100 mm wider than the Bezza; it is a measly 3 mm narrower than the old Persona, however. The new car is also the tallest; its 1,554 mm height shades class stalwarts like the City and Vios, both under 1.5 metres in height.

    Under the bonnet, the new Persona’s 1.6 litre VVT engine is actually slightly less powerful than the IAFM+ engine in the old Persona, at 107 hp versus 110 hp; the new car counters by having 2 Nm more torque at 150 Nm. Although both cars have a five-speed manual as the base gearbox option, the new Persona swaps the old four-speed automatic option for a CVT.

    Against the competition, the new Persona is actually rather impressive – it has more torque than all bar the turbocharged Volkswagen Vento 1.2 TSI’s 175 Nm, although in pure horsepower terms it is down on the 118 hp from the City’s 1.5 litre i-VTEC mill and the 114 hp from the Mazda 2’s 1.5 litre SkyActiv-G engine. Transmission-wise, most of the class are equipped a CVT; the exceptions are the Vios, Almera and Bezza’s four-speed automatic, the Mazda 2’s six-speed automatic and the Vento’s seven-speed DSG dual-clutch unit.

    Persona-comparison-01

    Weight is the Persona’s biggest bugbear – at 1,210 kg in top Premium trim, it’s the heaviest here, at 15 kg more than the old Persona and 32 kg heavier than its next heaviest competitor, the Vento; the rest all weight around the 1,100 kg mark. The Attrage and Bezza are flyweights at 905 kg and 930 kg respectively, so while the Proton is significantly more powerful than either of the two cars, it narrowly beats the Mitsubishi in terms of power-to-weight ratios, and is comprehensively trumped by the Perodua.

    In terms of value-for-money, the Persona is unbeatable – retailing between RM44,831 (OTR without insurance) for the base Standard M/T variant and RM57,472 for the top Premium CVT, it is priced slightly higher than the A-segment Saga and Bezza, but costs way less than the foreign B-segment competition – those are priced between RM74k and RM95k.

    What’s more, it isn’t lacking in kit – all models get 15-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist and Vehicle Stability Control (making them all eligible for a five-star ASEAN NCAP crash test rating), while items such as six airbags, keyless entry, push-button start, twin rear USB charging ports, a touchscreen infotainment system and a reverse camera are available on higher-end variants.

    Browse full specifications and equipment on all 2016 Proton Persona variants, as well as compare between different cars on the market on CarBase.my.

    GALLERY: Proton Persona Premium CVT with bodykit

     
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine CKD already exported to Thailand; Shah Alam is Volvo’s ASEAN production hub

    Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine CKD 1

    Aside from revealing that the Volvo S90 will be coming next year, Volvo Car Malaysia managing director Lennart Stegland also mentioned yesterday that the XC90 T8 Twin Engine – locally-assembled (CKD) at the Swedish Motor Assemblies (SMA) plant in Shah Alam – is already being exported to Thailand, albeit in very small quantities at the moment. Malaysia is Volvo’s production hub in the ASEAN region, he said.

    “One of the important factors for having the production set up [in Shah Alam] is that we are included in ASEAN, which gives us the opportunity to move things in the easiest way,” Stegland said. “We are going to utilise that [by] having Malaysia as a point for our production in South East Asia. So we will see other countries in the future where we will have cars made in Malaysia shipped to the ASEAN region.”

    Stegland also said that only six to seven units of the XC90 have been exported to Thailand so far, out of the 1,500 to 1,700 units VCM exports to the Land of Smiles every year – although that figure is set to increase. “Remember, we are supplying the Malaysian market first, and then we are supplying Thailand later on.”

     
  • Motor Image opens new Subaru 4S centre in Cheras

    Subaru-Cheras-1

    Motor Image (MI), authorised distributor of Subaru vehicles in Malaysia, has officially launched its first 4S centre in Cheras. The opening is in line with MI’s aim to expand its brand presence in key urban centres and provide after-sales services to its growing number of customers.

    The 3,417 square metre 4S centre is located at 4½ mile Jalan Cheras. It replaces the existing 3S centre in Cheras and adds to the 29 Subaru sales and service outlets nationwide.

    Besides the usual sales, service and spare parts, the 4S outlet has a spray and body paint facility. There’s also a customer lounge, all within the same building. The service centre has 12 service bays, which can serve up to 48 cars per day.

     
  • Johor Sultan wins bid for ‘V1’ number plate – RM990k

    V1

    The results for the new Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur number plates with the ‘V’ prefix are out, and it’s not much of a surprise that the coveted ‘V1’ registration number goes to Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar. The ruler put in a winning bid just short of RM1 million to seal the deal.

    The RM989,780 bid tops the RM836,660 Sultan Ibrahim paid for the ‘F1’ plate last month. Then, the ‘F1’ Putrajaya number was the highest sum the Sultan had paid for a number plate, eclipsing the RM748,000 bid for ‘W1N’ in 2014 and RM520,000 for ‘WWW1’ in 2012. These are the highest sums paid for regular series number plates in Malaysia.

    A mysterious rich man paid RM1.308 million to own the special ‘PATRIOT 1‘ plate last year, and there are a couple of new special plate series being hawked now such as VIP (Visit Pahang Year), PERFECT (by the Table Tennis Association of Malaysia) and as reported yesterday, NAAM (New Affirmative Action Movement).

    The number plate system change to ‘F’ for Putrajaya and ‘V’ for KL is for the authorities to earn more money – this is big business. Deputy transport minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi was quoted as saying that the public were more comfortable with the traditional number plate sequence of a single prefix, versus a prefix and suffix numbering system (W XXX A, started in September 2013 and now defunct).

    “This is based on massive decline in bidding for the current KL number plate sequence. So I hope with ‘V’, it will get people excited,” he said.

    Other notable ‘V’ numbers snapped up are ‘V6’ by an unnamed government official (Anggota Pentadbiran Kerajaan), ‘V9’ by Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan (Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Ibni Sultan Ismail), ‘V38’ by another government official and ‘V63’ by one Azalina Binti Othman, which should be the cabinet minister. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani (V40) and Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (V89) are also in the list.

     
  • Volvo Sinnesro: peace of mind safety in every car [AD]

    Volvo sinnesro12

    According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “Global status report on road safety 2015” report, there were 1.25 million road traffic deaths globally in 2013, which amounts to about 3,424 deaths daily.

    Diving deeper into the report, based on the average of the world’s road traffic deaths by type of road user and WHO region, car occupants accounted for 31% of deaths, followed by motorised two/three wheelers (23%), pedestrians (22%), others (21%) and cyclists (4%).

    With these figures, regulators and car manufacturers are faced with an ongoing challenge to reduce such statistics, be it through the implementation of new laws or technology.

    While the former may appear to be all encompassing, what with speed limits and the such, enforcing such laws isn’t a surety that these unwanted deaths can be reduced. And should an accident take place, what use is the law in preventing the victims from meeting their maker?

    Therefore, car manufacturers are the ones who need to step up to ensure that their products not only meet the safety needs of regulators, but also exceed them wherever possible. And when you put “cars” and “safety” in one sentence, Volvo will undoubtedly be the brand that pops into mind.

    The Swedish carmaker’s rich history when it comes to safety is motivated by one thing – people. The words of founders – Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, encapsulate this heritage – “cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is – and must remain – safety.”

    This emphasis on safety is backed by the words of Hakan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars – “our vision is that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.”

    With this target in mind, Volvo has made many technological advancements that not assist in dealing with an accident, but also help to prevent it from happening in the first place. This requires knowledge, which the company has heavily invested in to obtain.

    Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research Team

    In 1970, the company set up the Traffic Accident Research Team to perform in-depth studies of accidents, collect accident statistics and do Field Operational Tests (FOT). The information gathered has been used in improving Volvo vehicles ever since, from side impact protection systems to auto brake technology.

    From all that is gathered, Volvo’s latest models represent the culmination of all its latest developments thus far. The new new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) used for the XC90 for instance, uses over 40% hot-formed steel in its structure, a 33% increase from its predecessor.

    The SUV, with its distinctive Scandanavian design, also boasts some of the latest passive and active safety features as well. The former includes smart belt pre-tension systems that allows the safety belts to be tightened in advance before or during the event of a collission to keep the occupants in place.

    For the latter, Volvo’s Intellisafe suite is comprised of several individual systems that are capable of avoiding or mitigating collisions from happening. Among them includes City Safety – a low speed collision mitigation and avoidance system that is standard on all Volvo cars.

    Integrated Booster Cushion (with child)

    Capable of working at speed of up to 50 km/h, the system is capable of providing autonomous braking should the driver fail to respond the the imminent threat of a collision. Camera, radar and sensor technologies on the vehicle provide all the necessary information for the system to function.

    On the XC90, S60 and XC60, the system is further enhanced to detect not just cars, but pedestrians and cyclists as well. Other systems that are a part of the Intellisafe suite include Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid, which are able to detect and assist in ensuring the vehicle remains within the lane markers should the driver lose his or her concentration.

    Sinnesro is the Swedish word for “peace of mind.” There’s a very good reason why Sweden is a world leader in automotive safety. The best way to deal with an accident is to prevent it from ever happening.

    Volvo’s pioneering safety technologies packed in the new XC90, from City Safety to Lane Departure Warning, support you in your daily driving, help you avoid or mitigate collisions and protect you in the event of an accident.

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  • Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition marks Hethel’s 50th

    Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition-08

    Lotus has unveiled the Elise 250 Special Edition to mark the 50th anniversary of the company’s famous Hethel site. The SE is based on the 200-unit Elise Cup 250 launched earlier this year, but comes with a raft of hand-made carbon fibre bits (front splitter, rear wing, tailgate and front access panel) as standard.

    The Special Edition is available in choice of four colours, each a Lotus favourite over the last 50 years. Classic metallic blue, red, yellow and white finishes are all complemented by light forged wheels in silver, or black if you wish. An optional CF hardtop roof panel is also available.

    Inside, the SE is relatively plush for an Elise. The carbon-fibre sports seats are finished in either dark blue or dark grey leather, and stitched with a choice of contrasting colours. The same hand-stitched finish is found on the doors. An ICE system with iPod and Bluetooth functions can be specified, along with air con, cruise control, auxiliary driving lights, full carpets, floor mats and enhanced sound insulation.

    Like the Elise Cup 250, this car is powered by a supercharged 1.8-litre engine with 246 PS and 250 Nm of torque between 3,500 and 5,500 rpm, paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. With just 899 kg to haul (270 hp/tonne), the 0-100 km/h sprint is done in just 4.3 seconds. It laps the company’s Hethel test circuit in 1 minute 34 seconds, the fastest recorded time for a production road-going Elise.

    Suspension and braking components include Bilstein sports dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs and double wishbone suspension. AP Racing twin-piston front calipers, and Brembo single-piston rear calipers work in conjunction with the track-tuned ABS system.

    There’s also an electronic differential lock as standard to give better traction and faster corner exit speeds. Driver selectable ESP modes include Sport and Race settings – proportionally increase throttle response, lowering traction slip thresholds and removing understeer recognition, it allows enhanced control before the safety net intervenes.

    This “antidote to sterilised and staid modern cars” is limited to 50 units worldwide, priced from £47,900 (RM254,363) in the UK.

     
  • GALLERY: 1975 BMW 2002, ’87 E30 M3 DTM replica on display at BMW Innovation Days 2016, Desa ParkCity

    BMW_2002_M3DTM-1

    The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid may be the subject of the limelight at today’s start to BMW Innovation Days 2016, however BMW certainly has a firm grasp on its heritage, with the display of a 1975 BMW 2002 as well as a BMW E30 M3 DTM replica.

    In fact, electrification goes back as far as the BMW 1602, which was showcased in electric drive form as the BMW 1602 Elektro-Antrieb at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, itself preceding the now-legendary 2002 which was launched in 1975.

    The 2002 is notable for two things: firstly as the forefather of the 3 Series which has been widely regarded through the years as the handling benchmark for the compact executive sedan segment, as well as for introducing the turbocharged powertrain to the mainstream.

    BMW_2002_M3DTM-2

    Also attaining legendary status among BMW M enthusiasts is the E30 M3, which in Sport Evolution road-going trim produced 238 hp from its 2.5 litre inline-four, naturally aspirated engine. In racing form, the E30 M3 went on to win championship titles in numerous campaigns, including the World Touring Car Championship in 1987, the British Touring Car Championship in 1988 and 1991, and its homeground Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft in 1987 and 1989.

    Along with the pair of classics, also on display at the Desa Parkcity showcase are the BMW i8, X6 M, 740Li, and an F10 5 Series retrofitted with M Performance accessories.

    GALLERY: 1975 BMW 2002

    GALLERY: 1992 BMW E30 M3 DTM replica

     
  • Proton Celerio – is the rebadged Axia-fighter on track?

    Proton-Celerio-Front

    With the Persona launch done and dusted, Proton’s three car launch blitz in three months will continue with the Saga in September and Ertiga in October, as announced by Proton CEO Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali at the test drive event of the Perdana, another car launched this year.

    The last of the lot for 2016 will be the Ertiga, a rebadged budget seven-seater Suzuki MPV, with kits imported from Indonesia. We’re not expecting any further launches this year, and the people in Proton will absolutely need a break after a hectic 2016. But what about the compact car that was touted when Proton tied up with Suzuki mid last year?

    That was the takeaway then – Proton would be developing a small compact car with the help of Suzuki, up to 1.0 litre in engine size and in a segment where P1 is currently not present. That points to the A-segment and a rival to the highly-successful Perodua Axia, which has mopped up that end of the market unchallenged.

    Proton-Celerio-Rear

    Suzuki has such a car in its stable, and it’s called the Celerio. Made in India, the compact five-door hatch is available there with a 67 hp/90 Nm 1.0 litre three-cylinder K10B petrol engine, mated to either the a five-speed manual or an “Auto Gear Shift” AMT transmission. An 800 cc two-cylinder turbodiesel with 47 hp/125 Nm is also available.

    Here’s a rendering from Theophilus Chin that we commissioned, and it gives us an idea of how the Celerio would look like as a Proton. Not a straightforward rebadge job, this “Proton Celerio” wears the national carmaker’s familiar face, lifted from the just-launched Persona.

    Neatly done, the signature “Proton wings” on the grille extend into the headlamps (like on the Persona) and are integrated with the hatch’s shoulder line. At the back, the plain Celerio design is spiced up with a chrome garnish that mirror the “wings” in front, and an Iriz-style diffuser. It’s significantly more dynamic in appearance compared to the original, which you can check out below.

    Proton_Aria_interior

    Will something like this work for Proton? The Celerio bombed in Indonesia, where only two units have been sold so far this year, so price is crucial. In any case, Perodua has a strong head start with the Axia and it won’t be an easy task, even with Suzuki onboard.

    We’re also not sure if an “Axia fighter” remains a priority for Proton’s new management – the Proton-Suzuki partnership was inked when Tun Dr Mahathir was chairman (“I will make it happen,” Tun said of the Suzuki partnership) and Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah was CEO. What do you think?

    GALLERY: Suzuki Celerio

     
 

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