Latest Stories

  • Acura ARX-05 prototype racer unveiled in Monterey

    Acura has pulled the wraps off its ARX-05 at The Quail over the weekend, part of the Monterey Car Week in California. The brand new prototype racer from Honda’s luxury marque will be fielded by Team Penske in the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting next year, where it will do battle with the likes of the Mazda RT24-P.

    The ARX-05 (the fifth Acura Racing eXperimental prototype) is based on the Oreca 07 LMP2 chassis, but has been given unique bodywork to better align its design with Acura’s production vehicles, as allowed under DPi rules introduced this year. This includes the distinctive stacked “Jewel Eye” LED headlights that give the racer its aggressive scowl.

    Behind the driver sits an AR35TT 3.5 litre twin-turbo V6, based on the naturally-aspirated production unit seen in the MDX, RDX, TLX and RLX. The same engine fitted to the TLX GT campaigned at the Pirelli World Challenge Series, it should produce around 600 hp, which is the DPi regulations’ target power figure.

    The mill is no rookie to sports car racing, having powered class winners at the 12 Hours of Sebring from 2011 to 2013, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship in 2012. Also under its belt are the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) LMP2 titles in 2012 and 2013, as well as overall victories at the 2016 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

    Orchestrated by Honda Performance Development (HPD), the multi-year racing effort will kick off at next year’s 24 Hours of Daytona in January. Two prototypes will be fielded, one driven by former F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya and sports car champion Dane Cameron; the other pairing will be announced later.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • China’s Great Wall Motors interested in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stake, with Jeep brand in its sights

    After Geely denied that it is buying into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), another Chinese carmaker is now in the picture. Great Wall Motors (GWM) is reported by Reuters as interested in a stake in FCA. Great Wall, China’s biggest producer of SUVs, is reportedly keen on FCA’s Jeep brand.

    A GWM spokesman told the newswire that the firm had “an intention to acquire” FCA. It is not clear if GWM is looking just at Jeep, the entire FCA Group or a stake in the Italian-American carmaker. FCA’s brands include Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati and Ram.

    Ram is a truck brand, but its presence is limited to its home market of North America. Jeep on the other hand has a global footprint and is much more well known internationally, both in name and design. Great Wall’s SUVs are sold in Malaysia under the Haval brand, which has the H1 and H2 crossovers. More are coming this year.

    Are we looking at another Geely acquires Volvo case?

    GALLERY: Haval H6 Coupe

    GALLERY: Haval H9
    GALLERY: Haval H2

  • Ferrari 812 Superfast teased ahead of Malaysian debut

    Naza Italia is poised to introduce the new Ferrari 812 Superfast in Malaysia, based on a posting on its official Facebook page. The most Superfast first made its global debut in February, packing a massive 6.5 litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine.

    The powerplant outputs 800 PS (789 hp) and 718 Nm of torque, which is more than the F12tdf’s 6.3 litre V12 (770 hp and 705 Nm). A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox sends drive to the rear wheels, and results in a zero to 100 km/h time of just 2.9 seconds.

    The Superfast comes equipped with version 5.0 of Side Slip Control (SSC) to ensure powersliding remains enjoyable and not scary, as well as the second generation Virtual Short Wheelbase (PCV), the brand’s four-wheel steering system.

    Along with a totally revamped body that aids in aerodynamic efficiency, the Superfast also comes with a special paint finish called Rosso Settanta (roughly translated to “red 70”). This is meant to correlate with Ferrari’s 70th anniversary since its first V12-powered car, the 125 S, made its debut.

    GALLERY: Ferrari 812 Superfast

  • Bugatti Chiron arrives in the US, from US$2.998 million

    The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is where you’ll find the greatest and most exotic automobiles, and it marks the finale of Monterey Car Week. Held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California, Bugatti chose this year’s event to deliver the first Chiron to a customer in the United States.

    According to the carmaker, North America is its second most important sales market after Europe, with 30% of order originating from this region. This example here is painted with a black and yellow exterior colour scheme, with the “Classique” wheels, horseshoe emblem and certain trim pieces painted in the latter.

    Keen-eyed observers will notice a pair of unsightly protrusions at the rear of this Chiron, which are required to ensure the car meets US requirements. So, even though US customers will need to pay a minimum of US$2.998 million (RM12,855,424) to get their hands on the 420 km/h hypercar (before options), those ugly “bumpers” will still be there (not for Europe).

    Inside, the two-tone theme is continued with yellow leather being applied on the insides of the seats, the armrest on the centre console, the door trims and the dividing line in the passenger compartment. The rest of the interior features “Beluga Black’ leather instead.

    Other standard items on the Chiron include an 8.0 litre quad-turbo W16 engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The powerplant serves up 1,500 PS and 1,600 Nm of torque, which is necessary to ensure it hits it limited top speed.

  • Mazda triple-charged engine patent seen – for MX-5?

    Mazda not only has homogeneous charge compression ignition technology on the horizon for a debut next year, the Japanese manufacturer also has filed a patent application for a triple-charged engine, which was recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

    The diagram and drawing filed with the USPTO reveal a petrol engine with what appears to be a pair of conventional, exhaust-driven turbochargers, which operate in parallel with an electrically-operated supercharger. The electric supercharger would be provide low-end power while the pair of turbos spool up.

    Mazda’s electric supercharger is likely to be run off its own i-ELOOP capacitive storage system, which, in the Mazda 6, recovers energy from braking and converts it to electricity, which it stores in capacitors for use towards equipment such as the air-conditioning, sound system and lighting.

    Interestingly, one of the images in the patent filing reveal the engine configured longitudinally, which means a rear-wheel-drive setup. Currently, the Miata/MX-5 is the only such configured car in Mazda’s line-up. The Hiroshima-based automaker’s Skyactiv-X engine will be equipped with an electric supercharger, though it was not clear if that powerplant adopts the triple-charger setup in this patent filing.

    Mazda says it will continue to perfect the internal combustion engine, which it says will remain the main source of power for vehicles globally for years to come, and hence has the greatest potential for emissions reduction. Its launch plan for future technologies sees Skyactiv-X come to market in 2019, with the second-generation Skyactiv-D (diesel) engines due a year later.

  • McLaren 720S in MSO ‘Fux Fuchsia’ at Pebble Beach

    It’s not a motor show in the traditional sense, but car manufacturers, especially premium and luxury ones, are increasingly flocking to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California.

    This year’s edition saw BMW wheeling out its stunning Z4 Concept and Mercedes revealing the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet. Even Volkswagen chose the Golden State’s coast to announce the rebirth of its Microbus. The reason is simple, Pebble Beach is a big gathering of rich car collectors.

    A perfect example is this McLaren 720S, which was crafted by the bespoke division of McLaren Special Operations (MSO) to the specification of entrepreneur and philanthropist, Michael Fux. McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt presented the car to the self-proclaimed “car freak” in Monterey, ahead of it being displayed on the ‘Concept Lawn’ on Concours Sunday.

    “MSO provides McLaren owners with virtually limitless possibilities to tailor a car exactly to their needs and tastes; unique paint colours and finishes, custom leather and stitching and exotic materials are all available within a bespoke commission, while beyond this there are opportunities all the way up to complete vehicles designed to individual specification,” said Jolyon Nash, McLaren’s executive director of global sales and marketing.

    The unmissable exterior colour immediately identifies the car as being designed to order, a service to all McLaren customers through MSO. Named ‘Fux Fuchsia’, the wild colour was created for Fux by Rolls-Royce and subsequently redeveloped by MSO. The man himself will retain exclusive rights to its use on any other McLaren vehicle.

    The distinctive hue also features as a detail on the wheels, contrasting with the platinum finish of the alloy. Inside, door appliques, a pinstripe on the steering wheel and even the rear-view mirror are all in body colour, providing highlights of fuchsia in a cabin that is otherwise fully covered in MSO white leather with white stitching. The floor mats are from white Alcantara.

    In addition to the bespoke elements of the 720S, the exhaust and window surrounds are in stealth grey finish and carbon fibre components from the MSO Defined range have also been specified. These can be ordered on any McLaren, of any colour.

    Unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the McLaren 720S is a Super Series car that replaces the 650S. It features the brand’s new carbon fibre tub and upper structure, Monocage II, and is powered by a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 with 720 PS and 770 Nm of torque. Zero to 100 km/h is done in 2.9 seconds, and it takes just 7.8 seconds for it to get to 200 km/h. Top speed is 341 km/h.

    A good addition to Fux’s 12C in McLaren Orange, 12C Spider in bespoke purple and P1 in bespoke green, then.

    GALLERY: McLaren 720S

  • Malaysia vehicle sales data for July 2017 by brand

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released new vehicle sales data for the month of July 2017, which saw a total of 48,553 units being shifted, bringing the total industry volume (TIV) up to 333,010 units for the year. However, the number of units sold in July was lower than what was recorded in June (50,275 units) by about 3.4%, or 1,722 units.

    Perodua continues to lead the sales chart, notching up 18,920 units in sales, which is an improvement from 17,821 units the month prior. This brings the national carmaker’s year-to-date (YTD) figure up to 118,595 units.

    In second place, Honda retains its lead in the non-national car segment despite a dip in sales by 232 units to 8,576 units. The big H is followed by Proton, which saw sales figures drop from 7,225 units in June to just 5,954 units in July.

    Meanwhile, Toyota experienced a slight gain in the number of units sold by 213 units, ending July with 5,543 units to take the fourth spot. Other gainers include Ford (651 units) and Lexus (82 units), which saw an improvement of 18.4% and 49.1%, respectively.

    On the other hand, brands that encountered a decline in sales include Mercedes-Benz (-38.8%), Mitsubishi (-26.7%), Volkswagen (-31.9%), Kia (-36.3%), Subaru (-52.2%), Volvo (-65.3%) and Mazda (-12.4%).

    Click on the table below to view an enlarged version.

  • Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet – future luxury

    It’s called the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, and it’s Mercedes-Benz’s latest take on what a luxury convertible of the future might well shape up to be. The two-seater study was showcased at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.

    The automaker says that the electric vehicle is a nod to the glorious “automotive haute couture” of hand-finished, exclusive cabriolets. It’s not a flake of a car, at nearly six metres long, and the generous proportions are reminscent of classic Art Deco design, with a long bonnet and plenty of puristic, flowing lines.

    The rear is especially spectacular, shaped in the vein of a boat tail of a luxury yacht. Helping to lend further allure is a dark blue exterior called Nautical Blue Metallic and newly-designed 24-inch light-alloy wheels, which feature a centre lock finished in rose gold, a shade found on all electric vehicle studies from the automaker.

    The interior, meanwhile, has been conceptualised to merge the exterior and interior, with a 360° open-air luxury lounge experience being offered. The cabin is suitably dressed with lavish, quilted crystal white nappa leather,

    That on the seats and centre console are fashioned in a traditional technique, with the leather put into folds in a diamond pattern and secured to the frame with buttons, in Chesterfield furniture style. The novelty is that each individual button of the quilting depicts a delicate Mercedes star, backlit in blue.

    Elsewhere, open-pore wood flooring, complete with inlaid aluminium, shows up the yachting overtones again, and rose gold makes its way on to trim elements. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet’s custom-made fabric top also features rose gold, in the interwoven tread stitch on the unit.

    The drive system on the EV study is made up of four compact permanent magnet synchronous electric motors. System output is rated at 750 hp (550 kW), and performance figures include a 0?100 km/h time of under four seconds and an electronically-governed 250 km/h top speed.

    A shallow underfloor battery allows the car a range of over 500 km, according to a NEDC cycle, and there’s a quick-charge function for the car – the system allows a charging capacity of up to 350 kW with DC charging based on the CCS standard, and the automaker says that enough power can be charged in just five minutes to achieve an additional range of around 100 km.

  • 2017 Mazda CX-5 appears on – four variants available, pricing from RM155k, order books now open

    It appears dealers can’t wait to show off the new Mazda CX-5, with several postings revealing more details about the Honda CR-V rival before its official launch.

    Apparently, four variants will be offered, two of them being petrol-powered – 2.0L 2WD High Spec and 2.5L 2WD – while diesel options include the 2.2L 2WD and 2.2L AWD. In terms of estimated pricing, the CX-5 is said to start from RM155k for the base 2.0L 2WD High Spec, and topping off at RM184k for the 2.2L AWD diesel.

    Under the bonnet, the petrol-powered CX-5 variants are equipped with either a 2.0 litre (162 hp/210 Nm) or 2.5 litre (192 hp/257 Nm) SkyActiv-G powerplant. The diesel variants on the other hand, employ a sole 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D unit that churns out 173 hp and 420 Nm. All engines will be paired with a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission.

    As with a majority of other models in Mazda Malaysia’s range, the CX-5 will also come with the brand’s SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics vehicle motion control technologies, including the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system detailed here.

    In terms of exterior equipment, the CX-5 will come with either halogen projector (lower variants) or LED headlights. Petrol variants come with Mazda’s Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), while diesel ones get Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) technology. As we’ve seen earlier, two wheel designs will likely be offered – a smaller multi-spoke ones being the 17-inch option, and five twin-spokes the larger 19-inch set.

    Inside, there will be a generous application of soft-touch materials on various parts of the interior, along with faux wood and metal in the design. Other items include leather seats, a multi-function steering wheel, electric hand brake (with a new brake hold function), rear air-con vents, dual-zone climate control, Mazda Connect, powered seats and rear armrests with integrated USB ports.

    Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of safety and driver assistance systems will be also part of the kit list, with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Smart City Brake Support (front) found on all variants. However, the diesel CX-5s are further boosted by the inclusion of Smart City Brake Support (rear), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Driver Attention Alert (DAA).

    The SUV will also come with the latest version of Mazda’s Active Driving Display heads-up display, although it is still the flip-up screen type, and not projected on the windscreen. Based on the posting, the new CX-5 will be locally assembled from the start, unlike the first-generation model currently on sale that arrived fully imported (CBU) first. The giveaway is the lack of a Bose sound system that is sort of synonymous with CBU units.

    Last year, Bermaz revealed it would built a new paint shop at the Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah, which will allow it to paint premium colours like Soul Red Metallic. Therefore, the new CX-5 could be the first locally assembled Mazda that is painted in one of brand’s premium colours. Fun fact, the hero colour for the new CX-5 is an evolution of that Soul Red Metallic, dubbed Soul Red Crystal.

  • Self-driving paid rides starting in Singapore Q2 2018

    The future might be nearer than we think, not just in time but geographically too. Self-driving cars are already undergoing testing on Singapore’s roads, but the public will be able to pay for rides in autonomous cars as soon as the second quarter of 2018, Reuters reports.

    The people behind this “robo taxi” is US self-driving car startup NuTonomy, which currently has a test service in Singapore with ride services partner Grab, although it’s not yet clear if the South-East Asian rival to Uber will be NuTonomy’s partner when paid rides kick off.

    Software company NuTonomy, which works with several car companies including PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault, had previously said it planned to launch commercial service next year, without specifically mentioning timing.

    Last week, NuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma said in an interview that he hoped paid self-driving rides would start in Q2, although it could be the third or fourth quarter. NuTonomy also plans to launch a test service with US ride service firm Lyft in Boston later this year.

    Ride sharing firms are expected to be one of the most important markets for self-driving cars, especially in early years of adoption, when the cost of the technology will likely rule out mass adoption, Reuters points out. Tech giants including Alphabet Inc’s Waymo (Google) and Uber are testing self-driving cars at various locations around the world.

    In the tests, and the upcoming paid service in Singapore, there will still be a human driver ready to take over the wheel, if needed. It won’t be so easy in Malaysia though, with the high number of motorcycles on the road trying to “cilok” and our unpredictable and uncompromising drivers. What are your thoughts on this?


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Last Updated 17 Aug 2017


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