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  • Polestar 1 goes winter testing before Beijing debut

    Polestar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volvo Cars, will bring the Polestar 1 to this year’s Beijing Motor Show, following its successful winter test drive in northern Sweden. The plug-in hybrid coupe was first revealed in October last year, with production set to take place in mid-2019.

    As part of its testing regime, the carmaker subjected its first running prototype to temperatures as low as -28 degrees Celsius. Testing in these extreme conditions allowed engineers to scrutinise the drivetrain and batteries to ensure they performed flawlessly.

    Of interest were the Polestar 1’s torque vectoring system, which is enabled by two rear electric motors with individual planetary gear sets. The car adopts a similar setup to Volvo’s Twin Engine powertrains, where a combustion engine drives the front wheels, and electric motors handle the rear. The total output of the system is claimed to be 600 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque.

    It is also built on the Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), although 50% of the components are bespoke specifically for the model. The winter test drive is also designed to examine and fine-tune traditional automotive aspects like chassis balance and driving dynamics. “Our test drivers have given us some enthusiastic feedback on the handling and dynamics especially,” said Thomas Ingenlath, CEO at Polestar.

    “Besides being very happy with the balance of the chassis, they are particularly excited about the torque vectoring. We are now very confident about how this enhances the Polestar 1’s cornering responsiveness and accuracy. This is a driver’s car. We have now passed a major milestone in the development of the Polestar 1, and prototype testing continues throughout 2018,” he added.

    The Polestar 1 is just the start for the company, with the Polestar 2 and 3 set to follow later on – both featuring a full electric powertrain. The Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized fully-electric car that will compete against the Tesla Model 3, and production of the mass-market model will start before the end of 2019.

    Meanwhile, the Polestar 3 will take the shape of an SUV and will sit between the Polestar 1 and 2 in terms of volume and pricing. “Now we look forward to introducing the car to the Chinese public for the first time, a key market for Polestar,” ended Ingenlath.

    GALLERY: Polestar 1

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • G01 BMW X3 launched in M’sia – 30i Luxury, RM320k

    After some sightings and teasers, BMW Malaysia has officially launched the new BMW X3. The third-generation G01 X3 is available here as a CKD locally-assembled X3 xDrive30i Luxury priced at an estimated RM320,000 on-the-road without insurance. It was revealed globally in June 2017 and we’ve driven Munich’s midsize SUV – click here for a full review.

    The X3’s footprint has not changed by much – sitting on the modular CLAR (Cluster Architecture) platform that also underpins the G30 5 Series, the G01 is 60 mm longer and 10 mm wider than before, with 54 mm of the newfound length going into the wheelbase for more legroom. If it appears larger than before, it’s the bolder design and “optimally balanced body” at work.

    In our exclusive walk-around video with X3 exterior designer Calvin Luk, the man who penned the car talks us through the X3’s bold new face (larger and higher kidney grille, deletion of the X-car signature ‘third eye’ fog lamp), squarish wheel arches, pronounced shoulder crease, sculpturing on the flanks and strong shoulders. Rear-end highlights include 3D sculpted tail lamps, a downward-sloping spoiler and horizontal lines to emphasise width. Also check out the hidden embossed ‘X’ marks when the doors are open.

    For urban adventurers, the new X3’s relatively high ground clearance of 204 mm may be good for speed bumps, while its fording depth of 500 mm may prove useful when confronted with light floods. Decent approach and departure angles too, at 25.7° and 22.6° respectively.

    Also of note is the X3’s best in class aerodynamics of Cd 0.29, which is as efficient as the smaller F48 X1. Overall weight, distributed 50:50, is down by up to 55 kg over the previous-gen F25, thanks to the increased use of aluminium in engine and suspension components. That may not sound like much, but the new X3 is a larger car with more tech onboard.

    The cargo area holds 550 litres, expandable to 1,600 litres with the 40:20:40 rear seats folded. There are some neat compartments under the boot floor, including one specifically for the tonneau cover. The floor is neatly held up by a strut when it’s lifted.

    The X3 xDrive30i is powered by a 2.0 litre twin-scroll turbo engine with 252 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Paired to the standard xDrive AWD and eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, it’s capable of sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds on to a top speed of 240 km/h. Average fuel consumption is 7.6 litres per 100 km. The previous-gen X3 was sold in Malaysia as a 20i, with 184 hp and 270 Nm.

    The Luxury Line car comes with underbody protection in Frozen Grey and high-gloss chrome, 19-inch double-spoke alloys in Ferric Grey, LED headlamps with high beam assistant and Comfort Access with contactless tailgate operation, among other things.

    Inside, the X3 is trimmed with Vernasca leather with contrast stitching on the sports seats, Sensatec-covered instrument panel with contrast stitching and Dark Oak wood trim strips with Pearl Chrome accent strips. Also standard are a rear camera, Park Distance Control, Parking Assistant auto parking, a 10.25-inch central screen, Welcome Light Carpet and BMW Connected Drive.

    The SUV is available in four colours – Terra Brown, Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver and Alpine White. There are two interior interior leather options – Vernasca Black (recommended for Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver and Terra Brown exteriors) and Vernasca Mokka (recommended for Alpine White and Black Sapphire exteriors).

    The BMW X3 xDrive30i is priced at an estimated RM320,000 on-the-road excluding insurance. The car comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled service programme, a two-year tyre warranty, roadside assistance, the BMW Group Loyalty+ Mobile App, BMW White Card membership and BMW Service Online. Demo cars are already in showrooms, with deliveries scheduled to start in July 2018.

  • Toyota Supra “won’t be cheap” – R&D chief Killmann

    The much-awaited Toyota Supra was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in racing form as the GR Supra Racing Concept, which also meant that a road-going, production version has yet to be finalised. In perhaps one of the less surprising revelations about the forthcoming sports car, vice president of research and development at Toyota, Gerald Killmann told Dutch website AutoRAI that the Supra will “not be a cheap car.”

    This is due in part to the Supra’s positioning, which will be markedly above that of the 86. “There will be a clear difference between the (86) and the Supra. The (86) remains the affordable sports car, the Supra is the performance model,” Killmann said. Despite their underlying similarities, the Toyota Supra will have completely different styling as well as a very different set of chassis calibrations, he added.

    So far, we know that the Supra will get an ideal 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, and will be powered by a turbocharged inline-six engine. However, a manual gearbox is off the cards, and the road car will instead employ a dual-clutch transmission. It will also be ‘very different’ from the Z4 replacement it shares a platform and powertrain with, he said.

    In any case, the Supra is mainly developed in Japan, and Toyota’s European R&D centre isn’t quite as involved in the sports car’s development, Killmann noted. “There will be a racing version and if we show the production version, we can tell you more,” the R&D boss quipped. Still a tasty prospect, dear readers?

    GALLERY: Toyota GR Racing Supra Concept

  • Volkswagen T-Roc, Tiguan, Arteon to gain R versions

    Volkswagen will launch develop R versions of its T-Roc, Tiguan and Arteon, which will join the existing Golf R in its model line-up. According to Autobild, the automaker is already hard at work developing these cars, and we’ve even seen prototypes of some of them.

    The source claims the T-Roc R will get the same 2.0 litre TSI engine used in the Golf R, with outputs likely in the 310 PS range. This engine could also be used in the Tiguan R although whether it will be in the same state of tune is not confirmed.

    As for the Arteon R, the sleek fastback will likely be the flagship of the R brand should it ever be revealed. The MQB platform used by the Arteon is capable of receiving Volkswagen’s VR6 engine, and could be the one used for the high-performance model, albeit with turbocharging to develop a lot more power.

    Currently, the only association these three models have with the R badge is an R-Line styling kit that is available for order. With more power and heightened levels of performance, full-on R versions certainly sound like an exciting prospect, don’t you think?

    SPYSHOTS: Volkswagen T-Roc R spyshots

  • DRIVEN: Toyota C-HR 1.8L – about logic vs emotion

    When was the last time a new model from Toyota created so much hype? Sure, car guys like the Toyota 86 and many within the same group are eagerly anticipating the new Supra, but if you haven’t already realised, there’s a real world out there with actual car buyers. And normal people really like SUVs.

    But in a landscape already saturated with SUVs, how does a latecomer stand out? Go for broke, design-wise – that’s what Toyota did with the C-HR.

    UMW Toyota Motor’s long tease of a nationwide pre-launch campaign drew massive interest from Malaysians, who flocked to showrooms and roadshows for a closer look at the Coupe High Rider (Compact High Rider and Cross Hatch Runabout are the alternate names, but I like coupes and we’ll stick to that). Local previews started in May 2017, culminating in a key handover ceremony last month, but appetite has been building since the C-HR’s debut in March 2016. Let’s not forget that a car-based Toyota SUV in our market is already a novelty in itself.

    The bubble deflated somewhat when UMWT announced Malaysian pricing and specs. At RM145,500 for the single spec 1.8L, the C-HR is priced RM28,000 higher the highest spec HR-V 1.8L, and RM14,000 more than the 2.0L Mazda CX-3. The substantial price difference between the C-HR and the incumbent Honda can be explained by the CBU Thailand vs CKD factor, and the fact that the C-HR is a costlier product for the first buyer, which is UMWT. From what we hear, they’ve tried their best.

    Honda salesmen must have let out a collective sigh of relief. At RM145k, a C-HR buyer can opt for a seven-seat Nissan X-Trail and still have change for a family holiday; while the starting price of the new Mazda CX-5, which is also a larger car, is RM10,000 less.

    Priced as such, there’s little chance for the funky Toyota to top the sales charts, but failing as a value proposition says nothing about a car’s abilities and appeal. There’s plenty to like, as we found out over a weekend.

    Read The Full Story ›

  • 2018 Suzuki Ertiga launched in Indonesia with 108 PS 1.5 litre VVT engine, new Swift platform and ESP

    It’s been a long time coming, but the all-new Suzuki Ertiga has finally been launched at the 2018 Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS). The budget seven-seater MPV has been redesigned from the ground up, riding on a new chassis and powered by a new, more powerful engine.

    Moving onto the new Heartect platform introduced on the latest Swift, the new Ertiga’s body is said to be lighter and more rigid than before, improving performance and handling. The MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension has been retained for this model.

    The Euro 4-compliant K15B 1.5 litre VVT naturally-aspirated petrol engine is an enlarged version of the outgoing 1.4 litre unit, making 108 PS at 6,000 rpm and 138 Nm at 4,400 rpm – an increase of 16 PS and 8 Nm. As before, buyers get a choice of either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic, and fuel consumption is rated at 18 km per litre with the manual and 16.7 km per litre with the automatic.

    Measuring 4,395 mm long, 1,735 mm wide and 1,690 mm tall, the new model is 130 mm longer, 40 mm wider and five millimetres taller than its predecessor, but the 2,740 mm wheelbase is unchanged. Boot space is 153 litres (up 18 litres from before) with all seats up, expandable to 550 litres (up 50 litres) with the third-row seats folded and 803 litres (up 68 litres) with all rear seats down.

    Distancing itself from the organic streamlined original, the new Ertiga features a more angular design that incorporates trapezoidal projector headlights and a new six-point grille. The front bumper is also sportier, with more complex sculpting and C-shaped borders that frame the triple air intakes.

    As on the Swift, the blacked-out D-pillars give it a “floating roof” look, emphasised by the L-shaped tail lights. New multi-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels complete the look, and the range-topping GX models receive front fog lights, power-adjustable wing mirrors with integrated indicators and LED combination tail lights.

    Contrary to previous reports, the new Ertiga does not receive the Swift-derived dashboard from the India-only Dzire sedan. Instead, the people-mover gets its own design with horizontal lines and a floating infotainment system. The flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel has been carried over from the Swift, and the front seats feature a two-tone beige and brown design.

    Notable features include 12-volt front and rear power outlets, USB and auxiliary inputs, 60:40 split-folding second-row seats and a 50:50-split third row, tilt-adjustable steering, a new instrument cluster design with a multi-info display, four speakers and rear parking sensors.

    Click to enlarge

    The GX models, meanwhile, adds wood trim, a wood-and-leather multifunction steering wheel, keyless entry, push-button start, a seat height adjuster, ventilated front cupholders and a 6.8-inch touchscreen head unit with Bluetooth connectivity. Unlike a number of other new MPVs on the market, the Ertiga is still only available with dual airbags, although the GX ESP model gains stability control on top of standard-fit ABS.

    The original Suzuki Ertiga was rebadged in Malaysia as the Proton Ertiga, opening up a new, entry-level market segment for the national carmaker. Such a deal is unlikely to happen this time around, however, now that Proton is now part-owned by Geely.

  • Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury teased

    Mercedes-Benz will reveal a new concept at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show and has dropped a new short video as well as sketch to go along with an earlier teaser it released. More importantly, the concept finally gets a name: Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury.

    The company still won’t explicitly say what it is, and merely states the concept “shows how the typical strengths of an exclusive high-end saloon and an SUV can be combined.”

    It has been rumoured that the concept will preview the next-generation GLS, albeit with plenty of luxurious items added befitting a Maybach model. Such a model will look to take on other luxury SUVs like the Bentley Bentayga and the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

    We’ll focus on the video first as it gives us a very clear look at the new Vision concept’s interior. Dimly lit as it may be, we can clearly see a high level of opulence here, with plenty of bright leather surfaces, chrome and rose gold trim, as well as elegant floral motifs scattered around the cabin.

    There’s also plenty of blue lighting accents on show (like on other Vision concepts), including on the steering wheel which has been modified in look for the concept. Based on the attached sketch, a widescreen display will also be present as well. If it isn’t obvious already, there’s only space for four passengers, with a long centre console that runs from the front to the back of the second row.

    We’ll know more about the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury later when it makes its official debut at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show, so stay tuned.

    GALLERY: Next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS spyshots

  • Honda Small RS Concept premieres in Indonesia

    Honda has given its Small RS Concept its world premiere at the Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) 2018, which began today. The small car platform study, designed by Honda’s R&D Asia Pacific centre in Thailand, could well be providing hints of how the next-gen Brio will shape up.

    The bold-looking hatch is identical in size to the Brio and features a front end that borrows cues from the Mobilio facelift, especially the RS version. Similarities continue with the choice of the showcar’s exterior shade – the metallic orange hue is reminiscent of that on the Mobilio RS and Brio RS models.

    As with existing Honda models, the RS moniker means that it features sportier design elements, and these include plenty of blackened bits. Prominent cues abound, from the front hood vent and large rear spoiler to the gloss black five-spoke alloys and a striking rear diffuser. No tech details, with the company simply saying that the vehicle is targeted at young-at-heart customers who value a sense of sporty driving.

    According to PT Honda Prospect Motor president director Takehiro Watanabe, the concept is the company’s vision of what a small sporty car should be. What do you think? Is it sporty enough? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  • Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak to debut on April 22

    Volkswagen may have revealed its all-electric prototype race car a few weeks ago, but we’ve only been shown renders of the I.D. R Pikes Peak so far. However, come April 22, the German automaker will reveal the real-life version that is set to tackle the famous hillclimb.

    As seen in official photos, the futuristic-looking race car features plenty of smooth surfaces which Volkswagen says helps it achieve “aerodynamic perfection.” The car itself will be built using lightweight materials as well, and should be bolted onto the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform that is used by other I.D. concepts.

    There’s still no word on the electric powertrain that will proper it, with the brand merely saying there will be “powerful electric power unit.” A four-wheel drive setup with two electric motors should be the best setup for the hillclimb attempt, with Volkswagen aiming to set a new record for electric racing cars.

    To do so, the I.D. R Pikes Peak will need to complete the “Race to the Clouds” in less than 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, a record set by Rhys Millen in an e0 PP100 in 2016. It won’t be easy as the route stretches 19.96 km, and starts at just above 9,000 feet before reaching 14,115 feet above sea level at the finish line.

    Before the record attempt on June 24, the prototype will make its first public debut at a racetrack in Alés, France, which is the home of Romain Dumas, who will be the person attempting to beat the record.

  • SPYSHOTS: BMW Z4 spotted – top down with interior

    We’ve seen plenty of the next-generation BMW Z4 in the past, but this latest sighting gives us our most comprehensive look at the upcoming two-door convertible. The new Z4 was first previewed by a similarly-named concept in August last year, and was co-developed with Toyota as part of a technical partnership.

    We finally get to see the Z4 with its soft top folded down, allowing us to see the vehicle’s shape without a roof. Also visible are the two rollover hoops that are painted silver with a clear wind deflector between them.

    The mule is also wearing a lot less camouflage than before, with the design of the front bumper, grille and inlets being relatively visible. Meanwhile, the headlamps appear to remain true to that of the concept, although it looks like part of it is still covered up to hide the second angular element within it.

    Around the back, the taillights are again pretty similar to those on the concept, featuring an almost L-shaped design. Further down, the outlets at the corners of the rear bumper are familiar too although the exhaust pipes look a bit more reserved.

    However, the biggest takeaway from these spyshots is a good look at the interior of the Z4. Once again, it is not dissimilar to what was shown in the preview car, specifically the layout.

    Two screens dominate the main dashboard, with one located in the instrument cluster and the other right smack in the middle above the air-con vents. The latter will most likely be part of the next-gen iDrive infotainment system that runs on the brand’s new Operating System 7.0.

    As for the screen in front of the driver, it follows the same style previewed by the Concept 8 Series, Concept X7 and of course, the Z4 Concept. BMW has already highlighted some of functions the digital display instrument cluster will offer, which includes configurable displays.

    Elsewhere, you’ll see switchgear for the climate control system along with controls for the media and quick access functions. The centre console is a mirror copy of the concept’s with an almost unchanged placement for the gear lever, drive mode controls and iDrive interface.

    The Z4 is rumoured to be constructed by Magna Steyr alongside the Supra, and an unveiling is said to take place in Paris later this year. Like what you see so far?

    GALLERY: BMW Z4 Concept


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Last Updated 12 Apr 2018


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