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  • 2019 Ducati SuperSport to come in Titanium Grey

    DU 2018-05-04 MY19 SUPERSPORT

    Coming in Titanium Grey for the 2019 riding season is the Ducati SuperSport, the Borgo Panigale firm’s take on a sports-tourer, with the emphasis on ‘sports’. Currently retailing in Malaysia at RM76,320 without GST – the SuperSport S with Ohlins suspension and performance parts is priced at RM83,867 – the SuperSport sees the demise of the Ducati Red paintjob from the base model.

    However, the SuperSport S will continue to be available in Ducati Red and Starsilk White. The new Titanium Grey paint comes in a matte coat and is complemented by the frame and wheels finished in red.

    Carrying the Testrastretta 11 V-twin, the SuperSport produces 110 hp at 9,000 rpm and 93 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm from 937 cc. The ride-by-wire engine is fuelled by twin Mikuni throttle bodies, with power getting to the ground via a six-speed gearbox.

    Marzocchi and Sachs provide suspension front and rear, respectively, with 43 mm diameter upside-down forks and adjustable monoshock for the base model, with the ‘S’ getting Ohlins units. Braking is with radially-mounted Brembo M4-32 Monobloc callipers grabbing 320 mm brake discs.

    With fuel carried inside a 16-litre tank, the SuperSport is claimed to weigh 210 kg wet and seat height is 810 mm. Ducati Performance provides a range of performance accessories including Akrapovic exhaust, titanium racing exhaust, Ohlins steering damper and Bluetooth module for the Ducati Multimedia System.

  • Renault will never dominate Mitsubishi, Nissan: Ghosn

    The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance will always remain a partnership, with no one party dominant to the point that it completely owns the others, according to Carlos Ghosn, the chairman and CEO of the alliance.

    Speaking to shareholders of Mitsubishi Motors at their annual meeting in Tokyo earlier today, he reiterated that there was “zero chance” that the French automaker will make the two other companies wholly-owned subsidiaries, The Mainichi reports.

    At the meeting, Mitsubishi shareholders expressed their concern over the company losing its strengths or being taken over by Nissan or Renault, but Ghosn assuaged their fears. “If Nissan wanted to acquire Mitsubishi, Nissan would have bought all of Mitsubishi. We did it because we don’t believe in acquisition, we believe in partnership. And this is the essence of an alliance,” he said.

    “Anybody who will ask for Nissan or Mitsubishi to become a fully-owned subsidiary of Renault has zero chance of getting the result. We do not believe that companies where you have one company dominating the others are sustainable. It doesn’t work,” he told the shareholders.

    The initial alliance was formed in 1999 – Renault came to Nissan’s aid then when the latter was on the verge of bankruptcy, and the French carmaker has since held a 43.4% stake in the Japanese company, with Nissan in turn given a 15% non-voting stake in Renault.

    Since then, however, Nissan has grown to be a more profitable company than its French partner, and now commands a larger market value and better sales figures. In October 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi, forming the three-way alliance.

  • Future Lamborghini supercars to be PHEV – no turbos!

    It looks like Lamborghini is planning to stick with naturally-aspirated engines for its super-sports models, resisting the downsizing and turbocharging trend that its rivals are adopting. According to Autocar, the Italian carmaker’s technical director, Maurizio Reggiani said he intends to resist any pressure to reduce the number of cylinders in its next generation of supercars.

    “Every car has a mission, and based on that mission you have to choose the right engine. For the [Urus SUV] the decision was turbo, but we will continue to choose natural aspiration for the super-sports cars. In the future, we will need to take account of fuel consumption and emissions. I am convinced the naturally aspirated engine coupled with a hybrid system can be the right answer,” explained Reggiani.

    The successor to the Huracán is scheduled to debut in 2022, and there’s a good chance it will be a plug-in hybrid. However, Reggiani hinted that the Aventador, which will be introduced before 2022, will also be employing an electrified powertrain.

    He said: “We need to reinvent this icon without [losing] the characteristics of the current car: carbon-fibre, the V12 naturally aspirated engine and other components. Looking forward, if it is a hybrid, then in what ways can we compensate for its weight?”

    Of course, the issue with electrification is added weight, but Reggiani also said that battery density is as big of a concern, because the battery pack needs to be able to accommodate a significant number of cells. The automaker is currently working on a project – previewed by the Terzo Millennio concept – with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston to develop CF bodywork that can act as a storage battery as well as superconductors.

    Reggiani said an electrical drivetrain may help smoothen out the current Aventador’s ‘sometimes aggressive’ single-clutch transmission. “You could use the electric motor to ensure that you don’t have torque interruption,” he noted.

    The Aventador’s successor will still come with a naturally-aspirated V12, as will the Huracán with a V10. “The reaction you have to a 10-cylinder engine you cannot have from any other kind. This is what our customers love. Why do I need to do something different? If I trust in the NA engine, why downgrade my powertrain to a V8 or V6? I am Lamborghini, I am the top of the pinnacle of super-sports cars. I want to stay where I am,” said Reggiani.

    GALLERY: Lamborghini Aventador S in Malaysia

    GALLERY: Lamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder

  • 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Limited shown at Biarritz

    Unveiled at Biarritz, France, setting for the Wheels and Waves motorcycle event, was the 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Limited. Coming in a limited production run of only 500 numbered units worldwide, the V7 III Limited is the latest iteration of the retro styled V7 “seven-fifty.”

    Taking cues from classic motorcycle design, the V7 III Limited comes with numerous chrome plated components, including a chromium fuel tank, secured by a black leather strap for that vintage look. The Moto Guzzi eagle tank emblem is done up with a burnished finish, off setting the reflective chrome.

    Black is also extensively as a design colour on the allow wheels and saddle with “old school” stitching, and complements the carbon-fibre in the side panels and front and rear mudguards. Machined aluminium is used for the locking fuel cap and handlebar risers, onto which the V7 III Limited’s edition number is inscribed.

    The V7 III series of Moto Guzzi motorcycles is powered by an air-cooled transverse V-twin that displaces 744 cc, with power rated at 52 hp at 6,200 rpm and 60 Nm of torque at 4,900 rpm. Coming with a six-speed gearbox, Brembo does the braking with a single 320 mm disc in front grabbed by quadruple asymmetric calliper pistons with a single disc in the rear.

    Fuel is carried a 21-litre tank and the V7 III has a claimed wet weight of 209 kg. Suspension uses conventional non-adjustable telescopic forks up front with an 18-inch wheel and pre-load adjustable twin shock absorbers in the rear, rolling on a 17-inch hoop.

    In Malaysia, there are four versions of the 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III with prices sans GST and not including road tax, insurance and registration. These are the V7 III Stone (RM63,133), the V7 III Special (67,830), the V7 III Racer (RM77,264) and the V7 II Anniversario (RM76,321).

  • MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line to proceed, but told to reduce costs by CEP – 24% complete

    The MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) line will not suffer the same fate as the MRT3 a.k.a. Circle Line, which has been scrapped by the new government. The second MRT line will proceed, but MRT Corp has been tasked by the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) to find ways to lower the price of the project, Malay Mail reports.

    This was revealed by MRT Corp CEO Datuk Shahril Mokhtar after he met the CEP in KL today. “We are working on something, we will have a chat on how to find ways to reduce the cost further for Line 2 (MRT SSP Line). We exchanged ideas but the key is to reduce the cost so we could save the people’s money,” he said, adding that the line is over 24% complete now.

    The 52.2 km MRT SSP line will consist of 38.7 km of elevated tracks and 13.5 km of underground tunnels. The first phase of the line, which cost RM32 billion, is expected to be operational by the Q3 2021 before its full completion in late 2022. The first MRT Sg Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line was fully opened in July last year.

    Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced on May 30 that the government is cancelling the MRT3 project, which was to be a loop line of the Greater KL/Klang Valley integrated transit system. Originally targeted for completion by 2025, the 40 km MRT3 was to have 26 stations with 32 km of it built underground.

  • AD: PETRONAS and the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team in Formula 1 – pushing forward together for you

    It’s been eight years since PETRONAS was signed on as the title sponsor of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Motorsport team in Formula 1. Since then, the duo have stormed to four consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships, making the team the most successful in the current hybrid era. That’s quite some feat, by any standards.

    But to call PETRONAS as simply a title sponsor would be to do it injustice – for all intents and purposes it really is a technical partner, working closely with the Brackley-based team to extract maximum performance from its 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engine and hybrid electric powertrain.

    Fierce competition and a greater emphasis on fuel saving over the years have put extreme demands on these high-tech power units, increasing the risk of mechanical failure and retirements as engines have to deliver on both performance and fuel economy. PETRONAS has expanded its efforts into making sure that its fuels, lubricants and fluids stay cool in the ultra-high-pressure environment of a Formula 1 engine, protecting vital components and keeping them reliable race after race.

    Last year, Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to finish every race in the season and score points in each one on his way to winning his fourth world title. In fact, the British driver still holds the record for the most consecutive points finishes, having finished no lower than ninth place between the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix and the recent 2018 Monaco Grand Prix – that’s an astonishing 31 races.

    This incredible reliability record underscores PETRONAS’ ability to develop world-class fluids at the pinnacle of motor racing – a true winning formula. All this expertise goes back into producing products that enhance and protect modern passenger car technologies, such as downsized turbocharged engines and advanced hybrid electric powertrains, that bear a striking resemblance to what you’ll find on Formula 1 cars today.

    In short, PETRONAS and the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Motorsport team are pushing forward in Formula 1 together to deliver high-performance products that work for you and your car. The complete range of Primax fuels, Syntium lubricants and Tutela fluids have all been developed in the crucible of intense racing, and you can try them today at the nearest PETRONAS fuel station.

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  • Mercedes-AMG C53 name trademarked – over 400 hp?

    Daimler has applied to reserve the ‘C 53’ nameplate with the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a move that falls in line with Mercedes-Benz’s efforts to replace the existing AMG 43 suffix with AMG 53. This, according to AutoGuide, signals the eventual arrival of the Mercedes-AMG C 53, which may either be introduced soon, or in the next W206 C-Class.

    Currently, the AMG 53 line-up consists of the CLS 53, E 53 Coupe and E 53 Cabriolet, all of which are powered by the tristar’s new M256 3.0 litre inline-six petrol engine. It’s turbocharged to make 435 hp and 520 Nm of torque, and the petrol motor is augmented with an electric compressor. Expect the C 53 to share the same setup, though it may be downtuned as to not show up its bigger brothers (the C 43 has less power than the E 43).

    In the larger 53 models, the engine also features a 48 V mild hybrid system and EQ Boost starter-alternator, the latter offering an additional 22 hp and 250 Nm. Power goes out to all four wheels (4Matic+) through a nine-speed AMG Speedshift TCT 9G automatic.

    The new M256 3.0 litre straight-six as shown in the new CLS 53

    This mild hybrid setup produces more power than the 3.0 twin-turbo V6 found in the C 43 (385 hp/520 Nm in its upgraded facelift form), so it makes sense to think that the C 53 will be positioned between the base C 43 and top-of-the-line C 63. Alternatively, Mercedes could also offer a non-AMG C 450, leaving two AMG-badged variants – C 53 and C 63 – to top the range.

    Which direction would you prefer, dear readers?

    GALLERY: W205 Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic facelift

  • SDAC opens upgraded Ford centre in Kota Kinabalu

    Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC), Ford’s official distribution partner in Malaysia, today announced the opening of its newly upgraded Ford showroom and service centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

    Located at Jalan Limau Manis, the 3,216 square metre Sime Darby Auto Connexion Kota Kinabalu is designed with Ford’s global Brand@Retail standards. It has six additional service bays with vehicle hoists, which make up a total of 13 service bays.

    The facility is equipped with the latest diagnostic equipment and maintains a full supply of spare parts, SDAC says. There’s also a dedicated customer service lounge with free WiFi, hot beverages and snacks.

    “Sime Darby Auto Connexion Kota Kinabalu is designed to offer an unmatched customer experience, with convenience, efficiency and comfort. This upgraded facility is part of Ford and SDAC’s network expansion and customer service enhancement plan aimed to offer the very best sales and aftersales services to better serve growing number of Ford customers in East Malaysia,” said Syed Ahmad Muzri Bin Syed Faiz, MD of SDAC.

    “The quality of the ownership experience we provide is just as important as the quality of our world-class Ford vehicles. The newly upgraded Sime Darby Auto Connexion Kota Kinabalu demonstrates our joint commitment to offer Ford customers an even better experience,” said Truong Kim Phong, MD of Asia Pacific Emerging Markets at Ford.

    Sime Darby Auto Connexion Kota Kinabalu is located at Jalan Limau Manis, off Jalan Lintas. The showroom (contact number 088 425 255) is open from 8:30am to 5.30pm from Monday to Friday, and from 8:30am to 12:30pm on Saturday. The service centre’s (088 427 666) opening hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays and 8:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday.

  • Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance reports cost savings of €5.7 billion from improved cooperation

    The Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance has reported that as a result of closer cooperation between alliance members, annual synergies climbed to €5.7 billion (RM26.5 billion) last year from €5 billion (RM23.2 billion) in 2016, an improvement of 14%. It said that consolidation and convergence resulted in cost savings, incremental revenue gains and cost avoidance.

    “The Alliance has a direct, positive impact on the growth and profit of each member company. In 2017, the Alliance turbo-charged the performance of all three companies including Mitsubishi Motors, which saw its first full-year of synergy gains,” said chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

    “We expect to generate growing synergies in coming years as the Alliance accelerates convergence through increased utilisation of joint plants, common vehicle platforms, technology-sharing and our combined presence in mature and emerging markets. We reaffirm our synergy goal of more than €10 billion by the end of 2022,” he added.

    Engineering-based gains came from shared R&D costs and investments, while in manufacturing, shared platforms such as the Datsun redi-GO and Renault Kwid in vehicle production resulted in lower production costs. Significant cost reductions were also obtained via a more centralised sourcing of parts, equipment/tooling and common utilities for facilities around the world.

    Shared spare parts warehouses between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors in Europe, Japan and Australia also contributed to the cause, as did reduced costs associated with vehicle transportation, an example being Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors combining shipments of finished vehicles from plants in Thailand to their respective dealers.

    The Alliance reported total sales of more than 10.6 million vehicles for 2017, and under its Alliance 2022 strategic plan, combined annual sales are expected to climb to more than 14 million vehicles by the end of the plan. Nine million of these will be built on four common platforms including electric and B-segment vehicles, and the use of common powertrains will be extended from one third to 75% of the total.

  • Volvo XC40 EV confirmed, due 2019; XC90 EV by 2021

    Volvo’s electrification aspirations will soon reach another level. According to Autocar, company design chief Thomas Ingenlath has confirmed that Volvo’s first fully electric car will be a version of the XC40, and it will be introduced next year following the launch of the Polestar 2.

    Ingenlath, when speaking at the reveal of the all-new S60, said the company would only produce electric versions of its current cars, rather than making entirely new EVs, citing the Volkswagen ID range as an example. After launching the XC40 EV in 2019, Volvo will introduce the new XC90 EV in 2021, the latter set to be produced at Volvo’s new factory in Charleston, South Carolina.

    “It’s not a secret anymore that the first full electric Volvo is on its way with the XC40. It will arrive very soon after the Polestar 2. That [XC40] is the first to come that’s not exotic. We’ll start with [the] XC40. The next car will be the next-generation XC90,” explained Ingenlath.

    “That will be the masterplan of how electrification will come to the Volvo product range. We will not establish products beside our hybrids, we will introduce electrification as a powertrain variant within the existing portfolio.

    “You could say that is different to a lot of the mass-production brands. But I have a hard time understanding how their plan will work in the long run. Electrification is the future of the automotive industry, so how do you handle that as soon as you come to the majority of electric cars? How do you handle it in your portfolio? I think it’s much more natural to say it’s a powertrain variant that over time will take up the majority of the sold vehicles,” he added.

    The XC40 and XC90 EVs will utilise lithium ion battery power, just like the Polestar 1 and 2. The former will be offered alongside the XC40 T5 Twin Engine (plug-in hybrid). By 2025, Volvo aims to have 50% of its sales volume contributed by fully electric models.

    While Volvo continues to expand its electrification portfolio by introducing additional variants of its current line-up, Ingenlath said Polestar, a company which he also heads, could be used to develop bolder EVs.

    “We definitely don’t want to bring something that we’ve so successfully just launched like the XC40 to an end just because combustion engines will disappear. To look at new formats, new bodystyles and non-traditional elements, we founded Polestar to take care of that end of the scope. We developed that strategy: full electrification of the Volvo range, making it a natural part of the offer, and at the same time developing new, unconventional elements in the Polestar brand,” he said.

    Volvo, now fully owned by Chinese giant Geely, will launch an electrified version of every model in its line-up from 2019. Every Volvo will eventually be offered with a mild hybrid, hybrid or battery-electric powertrain option. With the launch of the S60, the Swedish carmaker has also ceased to offer diesel variants.

    GALLERY: Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine

    GALLERY: Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription

    GALLERY: Polestar 1


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Last Updated 21 Jun 2018


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