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  • Ducati Malaysia triple launch – 2019 Ducati Panigale V4, Multistrada 1260 S, Monster 821, from RM69k

    It was a triple launch for Ducati Malaysia at the Ducati Malaysia Premiere 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, with the public showing of the 2019 Ducati Panigale V4, Multistrada 1260 S and Monster 821. Pricing for the Panigale V4 is RM129,900 for the base version, while the Panigale V4 S – had a ride on it here – goes for RM169,900, a drop from the post-GST prices of RM133,900 and RM173,900.

    Meanwhile, the update for the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S, the Bologna firm’s take on the adventure-tourer, is priced at RM129,900 in Ducati Red and RM130,900 in Grey. Famously known as the bike that saved Ducati, back in the 1990s, the Monster 821 is currently Ducati’s middleweight naked sports bike comes in two flavours, Ducati Red and Classic Yellow, priced at RM69,900 and RM70,900 respectively.

    The Panigale V4 is Ducati’s first superbike to use its production V-four engine, the 1,103 cc Stradale which produces 214 hp at 13,000 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 10,000 rpm. Fed by four oval throttle bodies with an equivalent diameter of 52 mm, coupled to variable length intake manifolds, the Stradale V-four’s valve movement uses Ducati’s Desmodromic mechanical valve actuation.

    Updating the 2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S is the Multistrada 1260 S, with 158 hp at 9,500 rpm and 129.5 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm coming from its 1,262 cc Testastretta DVT V-twin. Equipped with a Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) that allows for clutchless up- and down-shifts, the Multistrada 1260 S comes with Ducati’s Skyhook Sachs electronic suspension.

    The new 1260 Testastretta mill is claimed to give more low- to mid-range torque, especially at 4,000 rpm where Ducati says the engine spends most of its time. Rider conveniences include a Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) which controls Cornering ABS, Ducati Cornering Lights and Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC), along with Vehicle Hold Control for uphill starts.

    Freshly updated is the Ducati Monster 821, which now comes with LED lighting all-round, a full-colour TFT-LCD screen coupled with three riding modes, power modes and Ducati Safety Pack which provides Bosch ABS and traction control. Producing 1090 hp at 9,250 rpm and 86 Nm of torque at 7,750 rpm, the 821 carries on the Monster tradition of the original hooligan bike.

    All three Ducati machines – the Panigale V4, the Multistrada 1260 S and Monster 821 – are on display at authorised Ducati dealers. Every Ducati sold via authorised Malaysian distributor Next Bike and its dealers comes with the DucatiSmart Service Program, a two-year free service for parts and lubricants, or up to 30,000km, including Desmodromic service.

  • SPIED: 2019 BMW 8 Series Cabriolet reveals more skin

    The new BMW 8 Series is one of the automotive industry’s most celebrated comebacks, and the Bavarian giant is wasting no time in capitalising that sentiment. Besides adding a four-door Gran Coupe to the line-up, it also has the 8 Series Cabriolet in store, which will likely be launched soon.

    This is the cleanest example of the ragtop grand tourer we’ve seen to date, and it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. The prototype unit was spotted in Munich with minimal camouflaging – only the top section of the rump is masked. In true cabriolet style, the camo-ed top is flat, which hides the mechanised soft-top system.

    The blue unit is quite likely the M850i Cabrio, featuring Cerium Grey exterior highlights and dark blue M brake calipers. Under the bonnet is a monstrous 4.4 litre biturbo petrol V8 that makes 530 hp from 5,500 to 6,000 rpm and a whopping 750 Nm between 1,800 and 4,600 rpm. The same engine in the 8 Series Coupé sends it blitzing to the 100 km/h mark in just 3.7 seconds, so expect the cabriolet to be just a tenth of a second slower, if not two-tenths.

    The more striking red model features a meaner look, starting with the blacked-out kidney grille, sportier front and rear apron complete with carbon-fibre inserts. Just like the coupé, expect mechanical components such as rear-biased xDrive all-wheel drive system, electronic rear differential lock and active anti-roll bars to be featured as well.

    Other variants include the 840d xDrive and a full-blown M8. The former employs a 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight-six that makes 320 hp and 680 Nm, and it’s paired to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission. It’s fast, too, taking just 4.9 seconds in the century sprint.

  • Perodua gives RM1.1 mil to Tabung Harapan Malaysia

    Perodua, along with its group of companies and staff, have contributed RM1.1 million to Tabung Harapan Malaysia to support the government’s efforts to reduce the country’s debts.

    “The contribution demonstrates that Perodua and our staff want a better Malaysia, and that we are more than happy to show our support for that cause,” said Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin, chairman of Perodua during a handover ceremony at finance minister Lim Guan Eng’s office today. Also present was Perodua’s president and CEO, Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh.

    “We understand that the effort to reduce the country’s debt levels will take some time, and we will support the government of the day in improving the country’s economy through the Malaysian automotive eco-system,” Tan Sri Asmat noted.

    For 2018, Perodua will acquire RM5 billion worth of automotive components through its vendors, many of which are local companies. The national carmaker also aims to sell 209,000 vehicles this year, and has hit half that target in the first half of the year.

  • Skoda Kodiaq RS cabin shown, Paris debut next week

    Click to enlarge

    This is the interior of the Skoda Kodiaq RS that will make its debut next week at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. It will be the sporty flagship of Skoda’s large SUV that first surfaced in September 2016. There’s already a rugged Scout variant.

    Unsurprisingly, the sporty Kodiaq’s interior is a dark place. The sports seats have integrated headrests, and feature seat cushions and backrests wrapped in Alcantara. There’s also contrasting stitching and red detailing with perforated Alcantara, along with carbon leather on the side bolsters and RS logos. The red threads also appear on the central and door armrests.

    Click to enlarge

    Another highlight is the sports steering wheel with a new RS logo and once again, contrasting red stitching. The door cards are covered in black Alcantara; but here, the diamond cross pattern gets black stitching. A carbon-look instrument panel, black roof liner and stainless steel pedal covers round off the interior sporting cues. Not mentioned, but we see RS logos on the DSG gear lever and infotainment screen.

    We’ll have to wait till next week to learn more about the technical details of the RS. The standard seven-seater SUV sits on the VW Group’s MQB platform, and is capable of carrying 720 litres of cargo, expandable to 2,065 litres with the rear seats folded. An optional folding front passenger seat allows the Skoda to swallow items up to 2.8 metres long. The most powerful non-RS Kodiaqs have 180 PS/320 Nm from a 2.0 TSI petrol and 190 PS/400 Nm from a 2.0 TDI diesel.

    GALLERY: Skoda Kodiaq

  • Honda Malaysia collaborates with Education Ministry to enhance technical and vocational training

    Honda Malaysia (HM) today signed a certificate of collaboration (CoC) with the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (DPCCE), Ministry of Education (MoE), paving the way for Honda’s training modules to be incorporated into selected automotive syllabi.

    The CoC recognises HM’s strategic collaboration with polytechnics and colleges for students to be equipped with industry-ready technical and soft skills. The company will be collaborating with 17 community colleges from nine states in Malaysia with more polytechnics and colleges expected to be added into the list in the near future.

    This initiative also supports the government’s focus on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) towards developing more skilled and certified technicians in Malaysia through high quality training.

    “Honda Malaysia has recorded outstanding sales increase by 112% in the past five years and this concurrently increases our service intake by 51% over the same period. This leads us to expand our dealership network nationwide, which now stands at 97 outlets to provide easier access for all our customers. Hence, this initiative is very timely as we are able to have more skilled technicians to cater to our increasing customers,” said Honda Malaysia MD and CEO Toichi Ishiyama.

    HM will be incorporating the Maintenance Technician and Repair Technician modules based on Honda’s internal global training programme into selected automotive courses. Students will receive comprehensive training which includes a six-month attachment at Honda dealerships. The training will boost students’ after-sales knowledge and provide them with industry experience and a foundation for future employment.

    Students also stand a chance to be official Honda technicians or service personnel upon training and assessment. HM is targeting to receive 120 graduates per year from participating polytechnics and colleges through this collaboration.

  • Rezvani Tank X revealed with a 707 hp Hellcat V8

    Do you like the Rezvani Tank but wished it had more power? Well, the company behind the ‘extreme utility vehicle’ has introduced the new Tank X, which features the potent 6.2 litre supercharged V8 from a Dodge Hellcat tuned to make 707 hp and 963 Nm of torque.

    That is more power than the standard 6.4 litre V8 that was initially available, which made just 500 hp, and is identical to what you’ll find with the Tank Military Edition that was purchased by musician Chris Brown.

    Unlike the Tank Military Edition, the Tank X does without features meant to protect you in case of all out war, including bullet proof glass and body armour, ballistics protection, electrified door handles, gas masks, reinforced suspension, an electronic scan detection system, hypothermia kit and etc.

    Instead, the Tank X is for more “casual” customers who desire a bit more under the bonnet than a “normal” Tank, while retaining some core equipment. This includes the same rugged body that is placed upon a steel frame with a more sports-oriented suspension, along with a bevy of LED lighting.

    The company has made concessions for those who do plan to take their Tank X on more demanding terrain by offering an optional Off-Road Package for US$5,600, which comes with a six-inch lift kit, 37-inch tyres and Fox 2.5-inch remote reservoir dampers.

    Splurge on the Off-Road Extreme Package (US$12,500) and you’ll get wider tyres, a Dynatrac ProRock XD60/80 axle set with air lockers and an air compressor, Dynatrac ProGrip front and rear brakes, front 1350 and rear 1410 driveshafts, and Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with DSC.

    Just for kicks, a FLIR thermal night vision system is also available for US$5,500, a tow package for US$5,500, and a convenience package for US$5,500. The last bit tacks on automatic side steps that deploy and retract so entering your Tank X is less of a burden.

    While it may look like all rugged and intimidating on the inside, the interior can be described as rather luxurious with hand-stitched red leather upholstery and a suede headliner that is available with the Leather Package (US$3,500). You’ll also get a 7.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with plenty of connected services as well as a head-up display.

    The Tank X starts from US$259,000, and buyers will need to put a US$2,000 fee to kickstart the ordering process. The company says it will take about 12 weeks to built a Tank but that time could be extended depending on the options selected.

  • Mercedes-Benz CLA to coexist with A-Class Sedan

    Some of you might be thinking, with the V177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan now sold globally (the Z177 A-Class L Sedan with a longer wheelbase is sold in China only), what’s going to happen to the CLA? Well, good news, because the two models will coexist on showroom floors and be sold separately, CNET reports.

    During a recent A-Class media event in Seattle, a Mercedes-Benz representative told the publication that the outgoing CLA will continue to be sold until its successor arrives in early 2019. It will be quickly followed by the new GLA as well.

    But how will the A-Class Sedan and CLA get along side by side? Apparently, Mercedes-Benz likens the relationship to the E-Class and CLS, in that the CLA will be the more stylish and upscale sibling despite sharing similar powertrains and equipment.

    As goes without saying, that inherently makes the CLA the more expensive model. Expect the model range to mirror the A-Class – CLA 200, CLA 220 4Matic, CLA 250, CLAA 250 4Matic as well as the CLA 35 and CLA 45. The luxurious-looking cabin of the A-Class should also be carried over to the CLA.

    So, which would you pick, the A-Class Sedan or the CLA?

  • Audi plans to resurrect iconic Horch brand with the A8

    Audi has revealed plans to revive the iconic Horch brand for the range-topping A8 sedan, company insiders say. According to Automotive News, the Horch-badged A8 will be the most powerful version of the luxury sedan, and it will be introduced in two or three years.

    To the uninitiated, Horch was a successful luxury German brand in the 1920s and 1930s, and represents one of the four rings during Audi’s formative years. Audi has toyed with the idea of resurrecting the brand for the past two decades and has gone as far as to create design mock-ups, but the projects never really saw the light of day.

    Well, considering the successes Mercedes-Benz has had with Maybach, perhaps it’s time for Audi to give it a go. The special A8 will likely be differentiated with new wheels, Horch badging and a more luxurious cabin. Its dimensions will probably be preserved, unlike the stretched Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

    The big news lies on the mechanical side of things – the special Horch A8 could be available with a twin-turbo W12 engine. Apparently, the W12 A8 is market-ready, but it’s being put on hold for reasons unknown. “The Horch line would also work with a V8,” a source said.

    As of now, it’s unclear what Audi plans to do with the Horch brand in the long run, but there won’t be an offshoot model, a lesson learned from Daimler’s experience with the Maybach 57 and 62 models. Also, it does not plan to expand the name beyond the A8, however the thought has yet to be ruled out.

    What are your thoughts on the matter, dear readers? Would you care for some top-end rivalry between two very historically rich automotive brands? Comment, below.

  • Peugeot 508, 508 SW Hybrid and 3008 GT Hybrid4 debuts – 1.6L PHEV, up to 300 hp, 60 km e-range!

    Immediately after announcing its electrification plans, Peugeot has revealed three new plug-in hybrid models – the Peugeot 508 and 508 SW Hybrid, as well as the 3008 GT Hybrid4. The trio will go on sale in selected markets by the second quarter of 2019.

    Let’s start with the 508. Primary propulsion comes from a 1.6 litre PureTech petrol four-cylinder engine that develops 180 hp, and it’s mated to an 80 kW (110 hp) electric motor for a combined output of 225 hp. It’s fitted with a 300 volt 11.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for an all-electric range of 50 km (NEDC cycle).

    Its battery is located under the floor of the rear passenger seat, therefore the boot space – 487 litres for the 508, 530 litres for the 508 SW – for both models remain unaffected. No combined fuel consumption figure was given, but Peugeot targets 2.0 litres per 100 km. That said, its CO2 emissions is rated at 49g/km.

    The engine is married to an e-EAT8 eight-speed automatic transmission which channels drive to the front wheels. There is no longer a torque converter unit, instead it gets replaced with a hybrid-specific multi-disc clutch, which Peugeot says offers a torque increase of 60 Nm and improves reactivity.

    Next, the 3008 GT Hybrid4 gets a more advanced plug-in hybrid system, featuring the same electrical architecture as the 508 but gains a second electric motor (also 80 kW) that’s mounted on the rear axle. The petrol engine has also been tuned to make 200 hp. Combined, this system puts out 300 hp, propelling it from zero to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. The standard petrol-only 3008 gets there in 8.9 seconds.

    Under the rear passenger seat rests a larger-capacity 13.2 kWh lithium-ion battery (also 300 volt), offering a pure electric range of 60 km (NEDC cycle). Peugeot says the four-wheel drive mode improves grip on wet, muddy, snowy or winding roads, and this is achieved by evenly distributing power to each individual wheel. CO2 emissions is the same at 49 grams per kilometre.

    Now, for more numbers. Both the Hybrid and Hybrid4 systems enable a pure electric cruise of up to 135 km/h, and the battery can be fully charged (using a Type 2 connector) in seven hours via the European domestic socket.

    Charging through a dedicated 3.3 kW 14 A socket helps reduce charge time to four hours, while the optional 6.6 kW 32 A three-phase AC Wallbox charger brings that even lower with a charge time of under one hour 45 minutes. The charging hatch is located on the rear left wing of the vehicle.

    All plug-in hybrid variants feature the i-Booster braking system that recovers energy during braking or deceleration. It gets an electric pump in place of the vacuum pump on non-hybrid models.

    Inside, the cabin gets updated instrumentation to feature a power meter, which replaces the tachometer and displays key hybrid drive readings. The central infotainment display is also updated to incorporate a specific hybrid menu for more detailed driving data. Meanwhile, the MyPeugeot mobile app can now activate remote charging, display charging status, pre-thermal conditioning or even assess fuel consumption.

    The 508 Hybrid and 508 SW Hybrid can be had in four trims – Allure, Allure Business, GT Line and GT. The top GT variant offers ample enhancements, including the exclusive Greval Grey Alcantara upholstery.

    The 3008 GT Hybrid4, on the other hand, is only available in GT trim with the same Greval Grey Alcantara material, complemented with real aged grey oak trim. It’s also equipped with adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, as well as lane keeping assist. A lower-tuned 3008 Hybrid (front-drive, 225 hp) will join the line-up at a later date. What do you think?

  • Shell Malaysia launches Made For Malaysia label for Helix lube range – QR code for product authentication

    Shell Malaysia has launched its Made for Malaysia range of engine lubricants today with a new label denoting ‘Untuk Pasaran Malaysia‘ (for the Malaysian market), which applies to five of its best-selling Shell Helix products and which will reveal a QR code for product authentication.

    These are Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 fully synthetic (4L), Shell Helix HX7 10W-40 semi-synthetic (4L), Shell Helix HX7 5W-30 semi-synthetic (4L), Shell Helix HX5 10W-30 semi-synthetic (3L) and Shell Helix HX5 15W-40 semi-synthetic (4L). The five Shell Helix products here are blended and packed at Shell’s Lubricant Oil Blending Plant in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

    The challenge faced by oil companies is the proliferation of unofficial lubricant products meant for other markets – in a way similar to grey import vehicles – which may be sold in supermarkets and some workshops, as well as outright counterfeit products; Shell’s latest product move aims to mitigate the situation.

    Formulation of the Made for Malaysia range of Shell Helix engine lubricants is unchanged, says Shell Malaysia, and the ongoing transition for all Shell Helix products in the country to adopt the ‘Made for Malaysia’ labels is expected to be complete by January 2019, the company says. Official genuine products with old labels will still be on sale, and the can be authenticated through the product code on the label.

    Official, genuine Shell Helix products for the Malaysian market can be purchased from Shell Helix-branded workshops, workshops served by authorised Shell distributors and Shell retail stations, as well as Lazada Malaysia, 11street and Shopee via Shell Malaysia’s offical online stores.

    The new form of genuine product identification is located behind the oil pack’s front label, which can be peeled back to reveal a QR code which customers can scan on their mobile devices for authentication, as well as registration for the Shell Advantage Rewards (SHARE) programme which includes a sign-up bonus, the Shell Helix Engine Warranty (SHEW) and free Shell Helix products. The label at the back of the pack includes information in English and Bahasa Malaysia.

    To do so, scanning the QR code will lead the customer to the SHARE product verification page. Upon submission of one’s mobile number, vehicle ID, product code and shop code, the authentication result will be shown on the page and sent to the customer via SMS.

    “The presence of counterfeit and unauthorised products in the market is affecting customer confidence and negatively impacting our trade partners’ businesses. The decision to commence local production of official genuine Shell Helix products meant exclusively for the Malaysian market and clearly identify them with the new ‘Made for Malaysia’ labels is a key step to address this issue,” said Shell Malaysia managing director Shairan Huzani Husain.


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Last Updated 01 Sep 2018


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