Latest Stories

  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class facelift in Malaysia – live photos of the E200 Avantgarde and E300 AMG Line

    Last week, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia launched the new W213 E-Class facelift, which is available in two variants, namely the E 200 Avantgarde and E 300 AMG Line. Pricing for the former is RM326,943 on-the-road without insurance, while the latter will set you back RM375,432.

    These prices take into account the ongoing sales tax exemption, which is 100%, as the latest E-Class is locally assembled (CKD) like the pre-facelift model. You also get a four-year, unlimited-mileage warranty with each purchase.

    While we would usually put out comprehensive galleries of the new variants within a few days of a launch, the SOPs currently in place during phase one of the NRP make it difficult to do so. However, thanks to Jason Lai, a sales advisor for Cycle & Carriage Bintang PJ Autohaus, we now have some live photos of the refreshed E-Class for you to check out.

    Styling changes at the front include a new front grille that is now slimmer than before, and on the Avantgarde variant, the grille is hexagonal in shape with two slats running across a black lattice. Meanwhile, the AMG Line gets a trapezoidal-shaped nose with a single slat on top of a sea of chrome pins.

    Another way to tell the two apart is by looking at the bumper design, with the Avantgarde sporting a wide homeycomb mesh in the lower apron compared to the AMG Line’s vertical bars and prominent faux corner inlets. The AMG Line car also gets bold 19-inch AMG five-twin-spoke wheels, while it’s just 18-inch, non-AMG units for the Avantgarde.

    Both come with power domes on the bonnet and two-piece taillights, with the latter replacing the pre-facelift model’s vertical-oriented clusters. Dual exhaust “outlets” are also present, although the accompanying chrome garnish differs slightly between the two styling packages.

    Inside, the E 200 and E 300 variants come with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system as standard, which is part of the facelift, and consists two 12.3-inch displays for the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment.

    The E 300 AMG Line’s cabin comes with black open-pored ash wood trim, an Artico leather dashboard, Nappa leather seats, a Burmester sound system and a sports steering wheel. Moving inside the E 200 Avantgarde, you get a normal steering wheel, light longitudinal-grain aluminium and black open-pored ash wood for the centre console and Artico upholstered seats.

    Under the bonnet, it’s still the familiar M264 engine instead of the newer M254, with both cars powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit. In the E 200, the mill serves up 197 PS (194 hp) and 320 Nm of torque, while the E 300 provides 258 PS (255 hp) and 370 Nm. The standard transmission here is a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic, with drive sent to the rear wheels.

    Naturally, the E 300 is the quicker in a 0-100 km/h sprint, taking just 6.2 seconds to complete the feat, while the E 200 requires 7.4 seconds. The top speed is also higher for the former at 250 km/h instead of 240 km/h.

    GALLERY: 2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 300 AMG Line

    GALLERY: 2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 200 Avantgarde

     
  • 2021 Proton Iriz, Persona facelift official teaser – new SUV-style ‘Iriz Active’, centre console; bigger screen

    This is the official teaser video of the 2021 Proton Iriz and Persona facelifts, which we got an unintended glimpse of last month. Proton’s B-segment hatchback and sedan were last facelifted in 2019.

    What do we see here? First, the Iriz seems to have received an SUV-inspired version, replete with black body cladding and wheelarches, plus roof rails, much like the Axia Style. This “rugged” variant is seen here with new multi-spoke wheels. The red example in the teaser video is matched with a black roof, which helps the silver rails stand out.

    It looks like the interior gets some red trim too – we can see that the frames of the centre console and head unit (both of which are new, more on this later) are in red, matched with part-leather seats with red stitching. Could this new flagship variant be called Iriz Active? Proton did come up with the Iriz Active Concept in 2014 if you remember.

    The Persona also gets new wheels, which are in a twin-six-spoke design. The sedan’s door cards are shown, and we can see perforated brown leather inserts. The big interior news is a larger free-standing central head unit touchscreen (for both cars).

    The screen still shows Joox as the music app – no Spotify yet – but the “Hi, Proton” voice command system is now able to control the windows and air con (previously, it was just the audio). The centre console is also new. Now, there are three cupholders in various shapes next to the handbrake (from two). Also, we noticed that the gear selector has an ‘S’ position in place of ‘L’.

    Both cars get a fresh grille design with Proton’s new round tiger badge and LED headlamps. Proton has opened a registration of interest page for both these facelifted models, which are just around the corner now. Check out our screenshots below.

    @paultancars

    2021 ##Proton ##Iriz & ##Persona facelifts teased! Launching this week! ##paultancars ##paultan ##carsoftiktok ##malaysia ##fyp? ##foryou ##foryoupage

    ? I Can’t Stop (Ekali Tribute) – Flux Pavilion

     

  • Three-in-a-row for Lettenbichler in 2021 Romaniacs

    Stamping his mark on the FIM Hard Enduro championship, Manuel Lettenbichler of Germany took the race win for the third year running in the 2021 Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye. Touted as one of the toughest odd-road events in the Enduro race calendar, this year’s Romaniacs was held in the Carpathian mountains near Sibiu, Romania.

    Race favourite Graham Jarvis, riding for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing started Romaniacs strongly after completing the first day’s prologue in first place, while Lettenbichler finished the 18 km course in fourth. While the race initially shaped up to be a battle between Lettenbichler and Jarvis, a knee injury put paid to Jarvis’ race hopes, dropping him further down the ladder as racing progressed.

    Capitalising on this, Lettenbichler powered his way to the front of the remaining races on his KTM 300 EXC, increasing his race margin with every checkpoint. At the end of the five days of racing, including a marathon overnight stage on day two with no team assistance, Lettenbichler won the 2021 Romaniacs ahead of Wade Young and Mario Roman in second and third place respectively, both riding Shercos.

    Lettenbichler finished the race with a comfortable 27 minute 28 second lead, after close to 20 hours of racing. With the 2021 Romaniacs win, Lettenbichler now tops the Hard Enduro World Championship with 37 points, followed by Billy Bolt of Great Britain in second with 33 points and Wade Young of South Africa with 25 points.

     
  • Volkswagen Cares mobile app for iOS and Android now updated as one-stop sales and aftersales centre

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has now launched the revised Volkswagen Cares mobile app that now includes a host of new features, in addition to the aftersales functions which featured in the app at its original launch in 2019.

    The new app has been developed with feedback from customers, says VPCM, and it now serves as a virtual one-stop centre for customers’ sales and aftersales needs. In addition to the seamless management of customers’ vehicle information and online scheduling of service appointments, users can also connect with the Volkswagen Malaysia and its network of dealerships.

    Here, the Volkswagen Cares app incorporates Volkswagen Insurance Plan reminders, and helps customers manage the use of vouchers received. Future upgrades planned for the app include a rewards system, as well as a payment gateway.

    The aftersales aspect also includes pick-up and drop-off options for vehicle service appointments, an online, complimentary 5 Star Service Check, Service Cam, as well as a range of payment plans and cashless payment options, said Volkswagen Malaysia.

    Volkswagen Malaysia has around 30,000 registered owners to date, and more than 50% of this total are members of the Volkswagen Care Plus (VCP) programme with with vehicles that are five years of age or older, said VPCM managing director Erik Winter in a statement.

    Replacing the previous version with immediate effect, the latest iteration of the Volkswagen Cares mobile app is available on the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and on the Google Play Store for Android devices.

     
  • Puspakom Cheras, Glenmarie, JB and Taman Daya branches closed for sanitisation – auto refunds

    Puspakom has announced the temporary closure of its Glenmarie, Johor Bahru, Cheras and Taman Daya (Johor) branches for the disinfection and sanitisation process. The outlets will remain closed until further notice.

    The Glenmarie and JB branches have been shut since July 30, and the latter’s closure includes all mobile inspection for Johor. The Taman Daya branch closure is from August 1, while Cheras will be closed from today onwards.

    As usual, all payment made in advance for appointments scheduled during the closure will be automatically refunded. One will have to make new appointments when the branches reopen. Should you receive it, ignore the MyPuspakom appointment reminder.

    However, there are some options for those who have appointments at Glenmarie and JB. For Glenmarie customers, you can bring your appointment slip and walk-in at Puspakom branches at PJ and Padang Jawa. JB customers can opt to do the same at branches in Pasir Gudang, Senai and Kluang. If you opt to walk-in at alternative branches, payment must be made there, as your original payment would be auto-refunded.

     
  • Toyota Yaris ECOVan debuts – hatchback converted into light commercial vehicle; 720 litres of boot space

    Converting passenger vehicles into light commercial vehicles is pretty common in Europe, as we’ve seen with the Citroen My Ami Cargo and Renault Zoe Van. Toyota has now done the same for the Yaris, introducing a new ECOVan variant in Spain just over a year after the regular model went on sale in the region.

    From the outside, the Yaris ECOVan looks like any other Yaris, although the automaker does provide the option of vinyl-covered rear windows if you want to personalise the vehicle with a corresponding corporate branding.

    It’s on the inside where things are quite different, as the rear seats have been removed to allow for a lot more cargo space. Toyota quotes 720 litres of capacity, which is more than the 286 litres of the passenger version, and the conversion also adds a wooden boot floor with a rubber overlay, plus tie straps.

    The ECOVan can carry up to 430 kg of cargo and the flat floor has surface area of 0.9 cubic metres, with a maximum length of 1,242.8 mm between the caged divider and the end of the boot. Meanwhile, the minimum width is 866.8 mm and the height, from floor to ceiling, is 694.8 mm, while the height available at the loading area is 670.2 mm.

    The conversion will cost an additional 1,300 euros (RM6,518) on top of the base model and there are two trim levels to choose from: Business Plus and Active Tech. The former starts from 23,373 euros (RM117,214) and comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense, a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, climate control, 15-inch alloy wheels as well as fog lamps or LED headlamps with automatic high beam.

    The Active Tech builds upon this list by adding on LED taillights, a leather steering wheel, keyless entry and engine start, a rear-view camera or an eight-inch touchscreen, all for a starting price of 24,498 euros (RM122,846).

    Regardless of trim level, the ECOVan is powered by a sole hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The total output is 116 PS (114 hp or 85 kW) and 120 Nm, with drive being sent to the front wheels via an e-CVT.

    Toyota notes that the ECOVan is intended mainly for small companies and freelancers like repairers, electricians, distributors, representatives, medical material services and other commercial purposes. For now, it is only available in Spain, but will likely be offered in other European markets in the future.

     
  • Huawei and GAC to develop smart electric SUV with Level 4 autonomous capability, out in market by 2025

    Huawei is working together with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) to develop a smart SUV, which is expected in the market by the end of 2023. The two companies officially announced the project last month at an agreement signing to deepen their strategic cooperation, which was formed in 2017.

    According to GAC, the as-yet-unnamed vehicle will be a medium- to large-size, pure electric SUV equipped with “futuristic, powerful and efficient” technology as well as Level 4 autonomous driving capability. It will sit on the Chinese automaker’s GEP.30 platform and utilise Huawei’s computing and communication architecture (CCA) as well as a full stack of Huawei’s intelligent vehicle solutions.

    The SUV project intensifies the two companies’ collaboration in the field of intelligent connected electric vehicle technology. The electric SUV is the first of a slew of models that GAC and Huawei will produce together, with GAC stating that both companies are aiming to develop eight models and a multiple series of cutting-edge EVs.

    Seres Huawei Smart Selection SF5

    News reports previously indicated that both companies will invest nearly 800 million yuan (RM522.6 million) into the project. Undoubtedly, the collaboration will speed up both parties’ 2025 targets – GAC is aiming to produce an entirely electrified lineup of vehicles by then, and Huawei has also stated its ambition of having fully autonomous vehicle technology developed and in place by 2025.

    The consumer electronics and telecommunications equipment manufacturer has certainly been busy making inroads into the automotive business. In April, it revealed the Seres Huawei Smart Selection SF5, developed in collaboration with California-based company Seres, and in May it was reported that the company was in talks to take a controlling stake of a Chinese automaker’s electric vehicle unit.

    Huawei is also said to be providing its expertise on smart car technology to Avatar Technology, a Changan Automobile subsidiary. Despite having said that it was not looking at making cars, Huawei has reportedly made the change in direction towards developing smart electric vehicles following US sanctions that stifled its global smartphone business.

    GALLERY: Seres Huawei Smart Selection SF5

     
  • 1989 Proton Saga comes out top at Hagerty UK’s Festival of the Unexceptional, becomes best classic

    Opportunities for a Proton Saga to win an international award are fairly rare, especially a Proton Saga that is as old as most millennials. But one in the United Kingdom has done just that over the weekend, beating out 49 other contestants to take the top prize at the Festival of the Unexceptional.

    Jon Coupland’s incredibly mint 1989 Proton 1.5 GL Black Knight Edition (the Saga nameplate was never used in the UK) won the Concours de l’Ordinare at event, held by classic car insurance provider Hagerty at the Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. The 30 year old police officer – yes, he’s younger than his car – from nearby Boston took home a trophy, rather endearingly shaped like a cup of tea, for his efforts.

    We should point out at this juncture that Coupland didn’t miraculously beat some classic Ferrari to take the gong. As you can probably approximate by the name, the Festival of the Unexceptional is a celebration of mundane cars, ones that usually wouldn’t be on the radar of a typical concours. Ironically, the fact that they are unloved means that surviving units are often rarer than even the most exalted supercar.

    The Black Knight Edition is a case in point – according to the website How Many Left, which tracks the amount of vehicles left on UK roads, Coupland’s is the only one of its kind still in existence. To give you a sense of perspective, that’s five fewer than the amount of highly-exclusive Monza SP1s – which retails for around US$3 million (RM12.7 million) a pop – Ferrari has sold in the island nation.

    Proton didn’t sell that many to begin with, as just 201 units left dealer forecourts when new. The Black Knight Edition is quite a bit different from the Saga Knight that we got over here – it’s a sedan rather than an Aeroback, for one, although it is painted in a similar metallic grey (Majorca Black, later used on the Wira 1.8 EXi DOHC Special Edition).

    It also sports the same orange-and-grey colour scheme for the body stripes, but the decals are different, incorporating ornate knight-on-horse logos on the sides and rear. Those logos can also be found on the hubcaps, which are unique to this car along with the rubber bootlid spoiler.

    They add to the standard features found on the GL spec, which include body-coloured (still manually-adjustable) door mirrors, a rev counter, front door and seat pockets and black side rubbing strips. Power comes from a 4G15 1.5 litre eight-valve carburetted Magma four-cylinder engine, which produces 85 hp and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

    Coupland is the third owner of this example, which was garaged just four years and 5,800 km into its life in 1993 as the original owner became ill of health. It stayed there until 2017 before moving onto its second owner and covering nearly another 16,000 km. The car is now sparingly used to be exhibited at events like this, Hagerty said.

    “I have been a car enthusiast from a young age and only acquired the Proton in 2019, so I have never been to [this event] before,” said Coupland. “I was over the moon to be accepted for the concours, so to have impressed the judges enough to have won the overall prize is beyond my wildest dreams!”

    Coupland runs a YouTube channel showing cars like this (amazingly, he owns three Protons, including another limited-run 1.5 SE LE and a later 1.5 GLS based on the Iswara Aeroback body). Unfortunately, he hasn’t filmed a full walk-around video of the Black Knight, but he has done one on his LE. Another channel, IDriveAClassic, has also published a review of the Black Knight. You can watch both videos below.


     
  • Toyota diesel-hybrid powertrains in development?

    The development of diesel powertrains have appeared to be sidelined by that of petrol-electric hybrids and fully electric powertrains in the shift away from reliance on petrol, though now the rumour mill spins with petrol-electric hybrid stalwart Toyota said to be developing diesel hybrids, according to Best Car Web.

    Toyota is aiming to expand its model line-up with hybrid powertrains as soon as possible, with the aim of minimising or eliminating purely internal combustion powertrains where possible, according to the Japanese site. This type of powertrain is expected to see service in “off-road 4WD vehicles” and commercial vehicle-based models, the report added.

    This, in combination with other petrol-electric powertrain combinations, will serve to make all Toyota passenger vehicle models hybrids, followed shortly after by the commercial vehicle models such as vans and light trucks, suggested Best Car Web.

    The new diesel hybrid powertrains are likely to serve in 4WDs – such as the Land Cruiser – and light commercial vehicles

    The most likely candidates which suit the description would be the Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado, the former launched with a 415 PS/650 Nm 3.5 litre turbo petrol V6 and a 309 PS/700 Nm 3.3 litre turbodiesel V6. Heavier vehicles such as 4WDs and commercial vehicles would benefit from the pairing of electric drive with diesels, resulting in greater torque that is accessible at low engine speeds.

    The report is so far unconfirmed by official Toyota sources, and it remains to be seen if the diesel-electric pairing will adopt a configuration similar to that of the petrol-engined Toyota Hybrid System-II layout.

    The report also notes that current passenger vehicle models in the Japanese line-up currently without hybrid powertrains include the Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado, Hiace Wagon, GranAce and others, and development of these models is said to incorporate 2.5 litre and 3.5 litre hybrids in the future.

    Pairing diesel with electric drive has recently been adopted by Jaguar Land Rover, which has the 3.0 litre Ingenium mild-hybrid diesel setup. More alike Toyota’s parallel-hybrid system in diesel form would be the W212 Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTec Hybrid, which went on sale in Malaysia in 2015.

     
  • 2021 Aprilia Tuareg 660 revealed – 80 hp, 70 Nm torque

    Joining the recently released Aprilia RS660 sportsbike and the Aprilia Tuono 660 (RM naked sports is the 2021 Aprilia Tuareg 660. Using the same parallel-twin engine in the RS660 and Tuono 660, the Tuareg 660 is an adventure-touring machine that completes Aprilia’s triumvirate in the middleweight motorcycle arena.

    While the 660 cc twin used in the RS660 puts out 100 hp and Tuono 660 pumps out 95 hp, the Tuareg variant gets 80 hp. However, tuned for more low- and mid-range torque, the Tuareg gets 70 Nm, while the RS660 and Tuono 660 have 67 Nm of torque available.

    Aprilia claims a dry weight of 187 kg for the Tuareg 660 and a seat height of below 860 mm, designed to make its newest twin more accessible to a wider range of riders. 18-litres of fuel is carried in the tank and a full suite of electronic riding aids comes as standard.

    With information displayed on a 5-inch TFT-LCD screen, the Tuareg 660 comes equipped with four ride modes, of which two are customisable with one of the custom modes dedicated for off-road duties. Also standard is traction control, cruise control, selectable engine braking and engine mapping.

    Braking is done with twin Brembo hydraulic callipers on the front wheel, with ABS fully-selectable to be on, front wheel only or full off for off-road use. Front suspension comes with 43 mm diameter upside-down forks with the rear end propped up by a monoshock, both with 240mm of suspension travel.

     
 

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Last Updated 29 Jul 2021