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  • SPIED: G80 BMW M3 shows skin, hides massive grille

    Slowly but surely, the pieces are coming together for the new G80 BMW M3. The latest version of Munich’s benchmark high-performance compact sedan – based on the regular G20 3 Series – has been caught undergoing testing, and these latest spyshots show the car with its production body panels for the first time.

    As is usual for an M car, it gets a beefier stance than the cooking sedan, with a wider track width hidden by the more muscular fenders. Dual-arm wing mirrors also make an appearance, and one should also expect the trademark gills to sprout up aft of the front wheels of the production model.

    Naturally, most of the changes will be clustered around the front of the car, and just like the current car, the M3 will likely share everything ahead of the A-pillars with the M4 (note the disappearance of the 3 Series’ “fanged” headlights). Now, it’s quite clear that all models of the 4 Series – including the M4 – will receive the massive and highly controversial double kidney grille that was previewed on the Concept 4.

    And while BMW has taken great care to obscure the face of this test mule, the presence of an offset radar sensor for the adaptive cruise control (usually mounted in the middle) is enough evidence to suggest that the M3 will also receive the bucked teeth. The rear end is far less polarising, fitted with a large diffuser and the obligatory quad tailpipes.

    Expect the M3 (and by extension, the M4 coupé/convertible) to be powered by the X3 and X4 M‘s S58 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight-six, producing 480 hp in standard form and 510 hp in the more hardcore Competition. The company has previously hinted that the two models will retain the option of a manual gearbox, but only on purer (i.e. standard) variants.

    This leaves the door open for the Competition model to gain the oft-rumoured eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive – the latter with a rear-wheel drive mode – from the latest F90 M5 and F92 M8.

  • November 2019 week 3 fuel price – RON 97 up 13 sen

    Regular users of RON 97 fuel will see a notable uptick in fuel bills this week, as the premium petrol grade takes a 13 sen hike to RM2.70 per litre from tomorrow, compared to the RM2.57 per litre rate of last week. RON 95 petrol continues to stay at RM2.08 per litre, which is the price ceiling for this fuel grade for Malaysian consumers, regardless of market forces elsewhere.

    As before, Euro 2M diesel maintains position at the same rate of RM2.18 per litre, likewise for Euro 5 diesel at the same 10 sen margin above Euro 2M diesel rates, at RM2.28 per litre.

    The Finance Ministry’s Automatic Price Mechanism (APM) calculations show that RON 95 and diesel fuels would be priced at RM2.40 and RM2.25 per litre respectively if there were no price limits in effect. For the period of November 16 until November 22, 2019, the government will absorb a total of RM120.58 million for fuels subsidised.

    These prices will remain effective until the next set of fuel price adjustments are announced on November 22. Today’s is the 45th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format which is announced every Friday, for taking effect Saturday until the following Friday. This pricing and subsidy system will conclude when the government begins its targeted petrol subsidy programme (PSP) for RON 95 petrol early next year.

  • AD: Great benefits with Agility Star Care when booking a Mercedes-Benz C200 or GLC200 with Hap Seng Star

    There’s no better time to purchase a Mercedes-Benz C 200 or GLC 200, as Hap Seng Star is offering some fantastic deals for both models with its Agility Star Care package for the month of November.

    With financial packages starting from 1.38% per annum, you can take home a C 200 with monthly instalments from as low as RM2,738 a month, or RM3,468 a month if you prefer the GLC 200. On top of that, you’ll also be in the running to win 100 grams of 999.9 fine gold.

    The benefits don’t stop there, as the Agility Star Care package also includes a complimentary four years or 48,000 km maintenance service, comprehensive motor insurance, a set of brake pads and discs as well as three times access to the Plaza Premium lounge.

    With a mild hybrid 1.5 litre turbocharged engine and a 9G-Tronic nine-speed transmission, the C 200 takes 7.7 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h. It also features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display and another 10.25-inch screen linked to an Audio 20 GPS infotainment system.

    Meanwhile, the rugged GLC 200 is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine, also with a nine-speed transmission, but with Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The practical SUV also boasts the Off-Road exterior and Exterior Chrome packages, Audio 20 CD infotainment system and triple-zone Thermotronic climate control.

    So, if you’ve had your heart set on owning a C 200 or GLC 200, and want to reap the benefits of the Agility Star Care package, register your interest with Hap Seng Star here.

  • Aspark Owl – world’s fastest accelerating car debuts; 0-96 km/h in 1.69 seconds; 2,102 PS and 2,000 Nm

    This is the Aspark Owl, and it is Japan’s first all-electric hypercar that recently made its debut at this year’s Dubai Motor Show. While the EV’s name might be a little curious, the performance is nothing to laugh at.

    Touted as the world’s fastest accelerating car, the Owl will accelerate from a dead stop to 96 km/h (0-60 mph) in just 1.69 seconds. For context, the Bugatti Chiron takes 2.4 seconds to complete the same sprint, while Tesla’s upcoming second-generation Roadster needs 1.9 seconds. Meanwhile, getting from zero to 300 km/h takes 10.6 seconds, and the car will max out at 400 km/h.

    To achieve this level of performance – with road-legal tyres – the EV features four electric motors that provide a total output of 2,012 PS (1,985 hp) and 2,000 Nm of torque. The car also comes with an all-wheel torque vectoring system and four drive modes, with an additional setting for when you want maximum acceleration.

    Said motors run on an 800-volt electrical system, and draw power from a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 64 kWh that provides a driving range of up to 450 km following NEDC regulations. When plugged into a charger with a 44 kW output, the battery is fully charged in just 40 minutes.

    These powertrain components are mated to a carbon monocoque structure that weighs just 120 kg, with other aspects being double wishbone hydraulic suspension that allows drivers to adjust the ride height between 80 mm and 160 mm. For stopping power, there are carbon ceramic brake discs on all four corners, with 10-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.

    Carbon-fibre is also used for the car’s body, which weighs in at just 180 kg, and covers a rather large footprint with a length of 4,791 mm and width of 1,935 mm. The wheelbase spans 2,750 mm, and if you think the car looks a little too low, that’s because it is only 993 mm tall.

    Other noteworthy aspects of the exterior include a deployable rear wing and cameras in place of conventional side mirrors. The unique shape is dedicated to minimising drag, and there are various active aerodynamic highlights for efficient air flow.

    Despite the lightweight chassis and body, the dry weight of the Owl is actually 1,900 kg due to the powertrain, battery and some of the creature comforts that are fitted to it. For instance, you get a reverse camera, an infotainment system, a climate control system, four interior display screens, ambient lighting and keyless system.

    There isn’t much practicality to speak of, as the luggage capacity is just 50 litres, but you’ll be able to bring a friend along as there’s two seats available, and the flamboyant butterfly doors should attract plenty of attention.

    The Owl will be produced in Turin, Italy in collaboration with Manifattura Automobili Torino, with just 50 units planned. If you want one, it’ll cost you 2.9 million euro (RM13,275,520), with an initial deposit of 50,000 euro (RM228,919).

  • AD: Continue to enjoy attractive deals on a new BMW at Auto Bavaria Penang this weekend, Nov 16 to 17!

    Attractive deals continue at Auto Bavaria this weekend – make your way to Auto Bavaria Penang to enjoy these year-end deals on a wide range of BMW models. It does not get any better than this!

    Enjoy fantastic rebates on a wide selection of BMW models and financing rates as low as 0.33% per annum* from BMW Financial Services. All new BMW models come with a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, a five-year/100,000 km free scheduled service package** and a two-year tyre warranty* for your complete peace of mind. You will also complimentary BMW lifestyle collection upon your purchase of a new BMW***.

    So you can see, there is no better time than now to drive home your dream BMW. All these and more are available at Auto Bavaria Penang, happening from November 16 to 17, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. For more information, visit the official Auto Bavaria Facebook page.

    *Terms and conditions apply. Offers may vary across BMW models.
    **Free scheduled service is provided in accordance with the Condition Based Service (CBS) system in your BMW vehicle.
    ***Selected items only.

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  • Ford Mustang Mach-E details leaked ahead of launch – from RM182k, up to 480 km range, 0-96 km/h under 4 s

    Not long after the revelation of the Ford Mustang Mach-E name for the Blue Oval’s fully electric crossover, leaked details of the new model have been captured ahead of its November 17 launch in America; these include pricing, specifications and configurations along with images of the vehicle, with the leak found on the Mach E Forum via Electrek.

    Five versions have been listed: the First Edition, Select, Premium, California Route 1 and GT. The United States federal tax credit currently still applies to Ford, and therefore US buyers of the Mustang Mach E will received a US$7,500 (RM31,152) tax rebate on top of the vehicle’s list price.

    Prices for start at US$43,895 (RM182,322) for the Select, on to US$50,600 (RM210,172) for the Premium, US$52,400 (RM217,648) for the California Route 1, US$59,900 (RM248,800) for the First Edition and US$60,500 (RM251,292) for the GT.

    As suggested in the name, the First Edition is a limited-run version to get the model rolling; this has an EPA-estimated range of 432 km and does 0-96 km/h in the mid five-second range, comes with all-wheel-drive and rolls on 19-inch wheels. This will also come finished in the limited-edition Grabber Blue paint colour, red brake calipers and trim stitching unique to the First Edition.

    The base variant for standard-run versions, the Select is rated for an EPA-estimated range of 368 km, available with either all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive layouts, comes with 18-inch wheels and does the 0-96 km/h run in the mid five-second range, the leaked details say. Next up is the Premium with 480 km of range, 0-96 km/h in the mid-five second range, comes as AWD and RWD and rolls on 19-inch wheels.

    Joining the range is California Route 1 Edition with an EPA estimated range of 480 km, 0-96 km/h in the mid six-second range, configured with all-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels. Rounding up the range for the Mach-E’s launch is the GT variant, with an EPA-estimated range of 376 km. This is the most athletic version, boasting a 0-96 km/h time in the mid three-second range, employs an AWD layout and rolls on 20-inch wheels.

    Click to enlarge

    At launch, the information here indicates that all five versions will be equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 suite, as well as LED projector headlamps and LED tail lamps with sequential turn signals across the board. Further standard equipment includes a wireless phone charging pad, FordPass Connect, phone-as-a-key access and a 10.2-inch `digital instrumentation with a 15.5-inch touchscreen.

    The interior image here depicts a portrait-oriented touchscreen, and the accompanying specification list makes no mention of either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, therefore Ford is likely to employ its own user interface here for the Mach-E. As for approximate charging rates, the leaked information states that the Mach-E can be charged to 75 km of battery range in 10 minutes on a 150 kW charger.

    Leading the pack are the First Edition and Premium versions, which are due to be available in late 2020, with all other models set to follow suit in early 2021. This timeframe will be close to the Tesla Model Y’s delivery schedule beginning in fall next year, which will give prospective EV crossover customers two models from competing brands to choose from at around the same time.

  • AD: The Unbeatable Lowest Rates – if you find a lower car loan interest rate, Hong Leong Bank will beat it!

    Now here’s a good deal, a no brainer in fact. Hong Leong Bank is now offering the lowest car loan and financing rates in town, and while anyone can claim that, the bank’s Unbeatable Lowest Rates campaign* is confident enough to beat the lowest rate that customers can find from another bank!

    That’s right, if you find a lower car loan interest rate from another bank, Hong Leong Bank and Hong Leong Islamic Bank will offer you a better rate. This offer is applicable to all passenger car types including new, used, and even reconditioned cars! Now that’s a simple and effective guarantee. Not only that, but if you sign up for their car loan, upon disbursement you can get up to 45% discounts on car care services.

    Their car care services discount package includes up to 36% off on 3M Autofilm window tint packages, up to 45% off on car coating package with Ceramic Pro, 30% off car polishing and 20% off combo car treatment with Cars International.

    The best possible interest rates in town plus car care services discounts as a bonus, what’s not to like? Hong Leong Bank’s Unbeatable Lowest Rates offer is available from now until December 31, 2019, so if you’re shopping for a car, make sure to check them out. Click here for more info.

    *Terms and conditions apply

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  • 2019 MINI John Cooper Works GP set to debut in LA

    With the Los Angeles Auto Show set to take place in just a few days, MINI has announced that it will reveal the production version of the new John Cooper Works GP at the event. The model was first previewed by a similarly-named concept back in 2017 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

    As this is meant to be the fastest road-legal MINI ever, the hot hatch employs a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with around 300 hp. The mill will be paired with an automatic transmission, although it isn’t known if all-wheel drive or a manual option will be offered.

    Earlier this year, the carmaker dropped several photos of the JCW GP as it underwent final development testing, giving us a good look at the car’s styling. While not as flamboyant as the concept that previewed it, the end product isn’t what you would call subtle.

    The front end sports a deep front spoiler and large air intakes, while a wider stance comes courtesy of what appears to be aero extensions on the wheel arches. At the rear, you’ll find a sizeable split wing and pair of centrally-mounted exhaust outlets within a matching rear bumper. As this is based on the latest MINI Hatch, Union Jack taillights are on show as well.

    Like previous iterations of the JCW GP, the latest one will also be a limited edition model, with just 3,000 units planned for production – each one will be hand-built at MINI’s production facility in Oxford.

    GALLERY: 2019 MINI John Cooper Works GP prototype

  • Ford Mustang Mach-E is the name of all-electric SUV

    Ford may have reversed its controversial decision to use its iconic Mach 1 nameplate on an all-electric SUV, but the moniker it settled for is no less bold. The Blue Oval has confirmed that this high-performance, zero-emissions crossover, which will be unveiled this Sunday, November 17 (18 for us) alongside actor Idris Elba, will be a member of the Mustang family and be called the Mustang Mach-E.

    This tallies with the teaser sketch showed last month, exhibiting styling very much inspired by the pony car, with details such as the slim headlights, sweeping lines over the front and rear wheels, a teardrop-shaped glasshouse and triple vertical tail lights.

    The video above also provides a glimpse of the front end with an inset front panel and the galloping horse badge, confirming that last year’s teaser was for the SUV, not a hybrid version of the “regular” Mustang (which is also coming), as previously thought.

    No details have been released just yet, but Ford has previously floated a range figure of around 600 km. We’ll have to wait until the car is unveiled in full to get more details.

    GALLERY: Ford Mustang Mach-E spyshots

  • 2020 Nissan Almera makes ASEAN debut, launched in Thailand: 1.0L turbo CVT, AEB, BSM, AVM, from RM69k

    This is big news. The new 2020 Nissan Almera has been launched in Thailand, and is making its ASEAN debut with a 1.0 litre downsized turbo engine. That’s not all, because Nissan has also included active safety and driver assist tech such as autonomous emergency braking, blind spot assist, RCTA and an around view monitor on its entry level sedan. Not something you’d expect from the brand, but here you go.

    Replacing the 1.2L (the Almera is an eco car in Thailand, hence the 1.2L cap) engine with 79 hp/106 Nm is a 1.0 litre three-cylinder DOHC turbo engine with 100 hp and 152 Nm of torque, the latter available from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm. The HRA0 engine has its compression controlled by a DC motor and features mirror bore coating tech that helps with durability and heat dissipation. It’s mated to an Xtronic CVT gearbox with D-Step Logic mode and power goes to the front wheels.

    Nissan’s decision to go the downsized turbo route isn’t so much to be a tech pioneer, but for the Almera to comply with Thailand’s Phase 2 eco car rules, which require cars to have at least 23.3 km/l fuel economy, 100 g/km of CO2 emissions max, and Euro 5 compatibility (Phase 1 eco car: 20 km/l, 120 g/km, Euro 4). The upcoming next-gen Honda City will also have 1.0L turbo power.

    Given that there’s no such requirement for the rest of ASEAN, and Malaysia, it remains to be seen if we will get this higher tech engine or the tried and tested naturally aspirated 1.5 litre HR four-pot, the 1.6 litre version of which also powers the Versa (same car, different name) in North America.

    Speaking of the Versa, this B-segment sedan was first revealed in April in the US. It’s an all-new car, riding on the Common Modular Family (CMF-B) platform shared with the new March and Renault Clio.

    The new Almera is significantly more dynamic looking than the car it replaces. Nissan’s signature V-Motion front end is flanked by strong LED signatures, which are repeated at the back. Moving to the sides, the new Almera may wear sharper styling than its bulbous predecessor, but the shape is still of a very spacious compact sedan. The design highlight on the profile is the visual connection between the side daylight opening with the rear screen, bisecting the C pillars in the process.

    The sedan is 4,495 mm long and 1,740 mm wide, with a wheelbase of 2,620 mm. For a benchmark, the current Honda City – a very spacious car – is 4,442 mm long, 1,694 mm wide and has a 2,600 mm wheelbase. The Almera is guaranteed to be spacious, continuing the trend.

    The interior has seen big change too; there’s a new “Gliding Wing” dashboard lifted from the Kicks crossover. The interior is modern in design and appointments – there’s a slick-looking part-digital meter panel (seven-inch digital tacho and multi-info display, analogue speedo), an eight-inch touchscreen head unit with Apple CarPlay and synthetic leather front-facing dash panel with contrasting colour and stitching, Mazda 2-style.

    In Thailand, the new Almera comes in five trim levels – S, E, EL, V and VL – priced from 499,000 to 639,000 baht (RM68,603 to RM87,851). The equipment spread is relatively generous. The super basic S – which by the way doesn’t come with a radio or even caps for the steel wheels – is equipped with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and dual airbags.

    Click to enlarge

    Two steps up is the 559,000 baht (RM76,842) EL, which introduces alloy wheels, steering buttons, in-glass antenna and keyless entry/push start. More important is Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Intelligent Emergency Braking (AEB). Next up is the V, which further adds on LED headlamps and DRLs, side mirror turn signals, auto air con, the part-digital meter panel and Intelligent Around View Monitor (360-degree bird’s eye view) with Moving Object Detection.

    The range-leading Almera VL tops it up with LED fog lamps and side plus curtain airbags (total six, rest of the range gets just two, which is strange given the relatively generous specs elsewhere), blind spot warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). It’s available in six colours and there are some cosmetic and utility options – see the brochure scans above.

    There you go, an all-new Almera that looks much better, comes with a modern powertrain and even good safety tech – will we get all of these here? What’s certain is that it’s already been spotted in Malaysia and will be coming in the near future. What do you think of Nissan’s long-awaited B-segment challenger next to the Honda City (soon to be replaced) and Toyota Vios?


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Last Updated 16 Nov 2019


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