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  • SPIED: Mercedes-AMG C43 and C63 Cabriolet testing


    Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet prototype (left), Mercedes-AMG C 63 Cabriolet prototype (right)

    Previously, our spy photographers managed to snap the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Cabriolet as it underwent testing. This time round, they have managed to spot the W205-based convertible on two separate occasions, although both prototypes differ in more ways than one, with the one in black expected to be known as the C 43 Cabriolet.

    Sound familiar? You only need to look as far as back the recently-introduced Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 to get the hint. The “43” nomenclature has nothing to do with the engine under the hood, not since engine downsizing became the name of the game. Instead, the new naming structure could confirm speculation that the Mercedes-Benz AMG Sport models are set to be relegated to the past.

    Taking a cue from the AMG SLC 43, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet seen here gets a diamond grille getup featuring chrome-plated pins and a louvre in gloss black. It also gets an AMG bodykit, complete with the signature quad exhaust tips.


    Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet prototype (left), Mercedes-AMG C 63 Cabriolet prototype (right)

    However, unlike its sibling, the C 43 Cabriolet is not expected to carry the C 63’s brutish 4.0 litre M177 biturbo V8 engine, the very same found on its coupe/four-door sedan equivalent. Instead, it will likely port over the C 450 AMG 4Matic’s (possibly called the AMG C 43 in the future) 3.0 litre biturbo V6. On the four-door sedan, the mill develops 362 hp and 518 Nm of torque, which is plenty meaty, but still shy off the C 63’s tower of power (510 hp and 700 Nm on the S Coupe/Sedan).

    Turning our attention to what will be the top of the C-Class Cabriolet range, the C 63 variant differs from the C 43 version with a two-bar grille sans bling. It also appears to wear larger alloys, and the side mirrors are finished in gloss black, instead of mirroring (pun) its body colour (white). Both the C 63 and C 43 have the same mechanical-folding soft-top setup as well.

    Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet spyshots


    Mercedes-AMG C 63 Cabriolet spyshots

     
  • Police propose raising traffic fines to curb accidents

    Cop-shop

    In view of the rising number of fatal and other road accidents, the police is contemplating raising the quantum of traffic fines. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the proposed increase is in the hopes of detering drivers from breaking the law, especially speeders.

    “It is also to prevent reckless and inconsiderate driving along highways, especially during festive seasons where fatal accidents are high which is seen during the ‘Op Selamat 8/2016’, held in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration,” said Khalid in a report in The Sun.

    Khalid lamented the fact that errant road-users were not deterred by the current compound rate, saying that RM300 was nothing to them. “We might increase the compound but the rate needs to be discussed later,” he said.

    Sarawak-Road-Traffic-01-e1447927708973-850x573

    According to Khalid, last year’s Chinese New Year Ops Selamat saw a 18.8% increase in traffic accidents with 17,632 cases recorded compared to 14,836 cases the year before. The number of fatal accidents rose by 22.4% to 186 cases compared to 152 in 2014.

    “Anyone who breaks the law will face the maximum compound. It’s high time we become strict with motorists. No more advocacy on the road from us,” said Khalid. He added that Ops Selamat would end on Feb 16.

     
  • GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Shooting Brake

    Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Shooting Brake Malaysia  011

    Following its recent Malaysian debut, here’s a clearer look at the new Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4Matic Shooting Brake. On display at selected authorised dealerships, we caught up with this unit to bring you a better look at the compact estate model.

    Now, while Mercedes-Benz Malaysia may have said initially that just 10 units of the model were available, we do understand that interested buyers may still get their hands on one via a special order. An official Mercedes-Benz dealership will be able to make the necessary arrangements.

    Moving along, and what we have here is the same CLA 250 4Matic Shooting Brake we saw at the Pullman Lakeside Resort last October (2015). As its badging suggests, this variant features a 2.0 litre four-pot turbo engine which delivers 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque. The figures move the estate from zero to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, and then on to a top speed of 240 km/h.

    As is the case with other compact Mercedes-Benz models, the engine is mated to a 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. This Shooting Brake variant is also equipped with a 4Matic all-wheel drive system that can split torque between the front and rear wheels for maximum traction, but defaults output just to the front when the all-wheel drive traction isn’t required.

    On the outside, this variant gets full AMG Line appointments topped off with a Night Package kit. For wheels, the car rides on 18-inch AMG multi-spoke light alloy wheels that have a high-sheen finish. There’s also a large panoramic sunroof up top.

    The rear notably features dual exhaust tip finishers in chrome and a powered Easy-Pack Tailgate to easily access the 495 litres of usable boot space. Shifting the rear seats into its “cargo” position creates 595 litres of space, but fold the seats completely and there’s a total of 1,395 litres of space available.

    Inside, the CLA 250 Shooting Brake continues to feature AMG Line appointments in the form of a carbon-fibre dashboard trim. Leather seats and a leather-covered dash are included, with red contrasting topstitching visible throughout.

    A flat-bottomed multi-function sports steering is fitted, and features aluminium shift paddles and 12 control buttons on the wheel itself. An 8.0-inch media display screen takes centre stage on the dash, specified with a COMAND Online infotainment system and a 450-watt Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround system.

    We’ve been told that this particular variant is priced at RM315,888. Sold on an “indent order” basis, your Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake may be further customised to your liking. It is best that you consult an official dealership for more details.

     
  • Henne Revival BMW Landspeeder – a different custom

    Revival Cycles Henne BMW Landspeeder 3

    Motorcycles lend themselves to customisation more easily than most vehicles. The basic premise of a frame, engine, wheels and bodywork just begs for the owner, or a fabrication shop, to create special one-off bikes that can at times seem to be more art than bike.

    The Henne Revival BMW Landspeeder is one of those achingly gorgeous works of art, while being also somewhat functional, and meant to be ridden. Taking its inspiration from the land speed record bikes of the 20s, custom shop Revival Cycles, from Austin, Texas, turns out a series of projects that represent its take on what makes a motorcycle beautiful, of which the BMW Landspeeder is the latest.

    Starting with the form of the BMW R63 from about 1929, Revival has crafted the bike into a replica of Ernst Jakob Henne’s land speed record BMW. Henne began chasing the motorcycle land speed record with a series of supercharged bikes from BMW Motorrad, starting in 1929 at 216.6 km/h with a supercharged 750 cc BMW and culminating in November 1937 with a speed of 279.5 km/h on a fully-faired 500 cc supercharged bike, a record which stood for 14 years.

    Revival’s BMW Landspeeder began life as a custom-built frame, meticulously welded in-house by specialists. The forged links in the leading-link front fork is as simple and effective as engineering design can make, with a sense of purpose many modern bikes can’t match.

    The Landspeeder owes its existance to an anonymous client who wanted a set of four bikes to display at the Handbuilt Motorcycle show in Austin this April, in conjunction with the US MotoGP. According to reports, this will be the bike’s only public appearance.

    Fret not, as Revival isn’t in the habit of making garage queens. It is intended that a second Landspeeder be built, following the template of the first, but this time with the inclusion of a supercharger.

     
  • Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype set to debut in Geneva; Clarity Fuel Cell to make European debut

    Civic Hatchback Prototype

    The 2016 Geneva Motor Show is where the most exciting new machines (production or concept) will make their debut. Adding to the already stellar line-up will be Honda’s new Civic Hatchback Prototype, and they’re kicking things off with this teaser sketch.

    The concept is no doubt a preview of an all-new hatchback Civic model that will replace the current European FK series Civic, of which the current Type R variant is based on. Honda say that the Civic Hatchback Prototype will showcase the exterior design of the model, which will only be launched in Europe in early 2017.

    It adds that the all-new Civic hatch will be produced at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) plant, and the car will be exported to global markets, including the US, where the sedan is already on sale. No further details on the concept was provided with the teaser.

    Spyshots of an unknown five-door hatchback model from Honda were sighted in the past, which carried design elements that seem to align to those seen in the concept’s teaser, suggesting that the prototype is the model in question.

    As for engine details, Honda has at its disposal its all-new 1.0 and 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo engines, the latter of which is offered to the US market in the tenth-generation Civic sedan. Power outputs for both mills are 127 hp/200 Nm and 201 hp/260 Nm, respectively, if you live in Europe. Americans only have access to the 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo at a slightly toned-down 174 hp/220 Nm, and a naturally-aspirated 2.0 litre DOHC motor outputting 158 hp and 187 Nm.

    The European market has yet to receive the tenth-generation (FC) Civic sedan, which will only be launched there in early 2017. With the concept’s announcement, this could mean that both body styles – sedan and hatchback – will be offered to the European market in a timely manner. Fancy a Civic hatchback?

    Joining the Civic Hatchback Prototype on stage will be the Clarity Fuel Cell, which makes its European debut after it was unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. The hydrogen-powered fuel cell car has a range of up to 700 km and offers seating for up to five passengers.

    Additionally, the a unique Jazz concept known as the Keenlight, will make be making its debut as well, meant to highlight the “potential for customising Jazz,” so owners, take note. Honda’s flagship sports car, the NSX, will also make an appearance, along with news that customer deliveries are set to take place this year as well. Bikers meanwhile, will direct their attention to the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin.

    GALLERY: Honda Civic 5-door hatchback spyshots

     
  • 2016 Volvo V90 – 60 years of heritage in the making

    Volvo has confirmed that its new V90 estate will make its global debut on February 18 in Stockholm, Sweden. With that, so begins the brand’s official teasers, starting with this – a look down memory lane at 60 years of Volvo estate heritage.

    An ambassador for the body style, the Swedish car maker first began producing estates in 1953, beginning with the Volvo Duett. Since then, estates have made up for one third of all Volvos ever sold since the company’s founding in 1927. If you must know, that’s around six million Volvo estates.

    “In many people’s minds we are known as the definitive estate brand. While the Volvo brand stands for much more than just estates, we will proudly carry forward this rich heritage with the V90,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo Cars.

    2016-volvo-v90-photo-leak-1

    Unfortunately, leaked images of the new V90 estate (above) have been spilled on to the internet, somewhat spoiling the company’s grand premiere. Officially, we also understand that the estate will share similar underpinnings, powertrain and tech as its sedan sibling, the S90.

    But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Volvo wants us to take a look back at some of its most iconic estate models. It has also shared with us several pictures of its estates that lead all the way to the very first of its kind – so do scroll down to check them out. But first, here’s a brief recap of each model.

    As mentioned, the business started with the Volvo Duett estate in 1953. It was one of the first Volvos to ever be exported to the United States. Its significance was so great to the Swedish government that a postage stamp featuring the Duett was made in 1997. It was a delivery vehicle that could easily transition into an everyday driver when needed.

    The Duett was replaced by the Amazon (221), and ushered in more refinement. The S model was the brand’s most athletic approach to the Amazon, offering 115 hp – not bad at all for a car from the 1960s.

    Then came the brand’s 1800 ES in 1971. Based on the Amazon, this estate had a short production run of just 8,000 units or so, but made a mark for itself with a very stylish look – one that even inspired the Volvo Concept Estate that was shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

    After the short-lived 1800 ES was put out of production, Volvo introduced the 245 in 1974. Unlike the ES, the new 245 enjoy a 20-year-long spell on the production lines, and was even introduced with a special 265 version that had a V6 engine. In the 1980s, Volvo broke tradition by producing the world’s first estate that featured a turbocharged engine, the 245 Turbo.

    And then came the modern 960 in 1990. With a more “aerodynamic” shape and a brand-new six-cylinder engine (at the time), the Volvo 960 was also the last rear-wheel drive estates ever made by the Swedish car maker. Notably, Volvo changed the model’s name to the “V90,” a name that is set to return to use by its coming estate.

    In 1995, Volvo introduced its 850 T5-R — a special edition developed in part with Porsche. The model featured 243 hp/340 Nm 2.3 litre turbocharged engine, and was capable of performing the century sprint in under 6.0 seconds, and had a top speed of 245 km/h. Finished in a striking yellow paint, the 850 T5-R was also known as the first factory-entered racing estate to participate in the British Touring Car Championship.

    Clearly, Volvo’s claims of being “the definitive estate brand” is backed up by a rich heritage in the business. Its latest V90 will be nothing short of impressive, combining typically good functionality, a design language that’s second to none, and a list of powertrain technologies that are at the forefront of the industry. Still think you’ve seen it all? Wait till this beauty comes to Malaysia – if we’re ever so lucky.

    GALLERY: 1953 Volvo Duett


    GALLERY: 1962 Volvo P221 Amazon
    GALLERY: 1971 Volvo 1800 ES
    GALLERY: 1974 Volvo 245
    GALLERY: 1990 Volvo 960
    GALLERY: 1994 Volvo 850 T5-R

     
  • 2016 TVS Akula 310 based on upcoming BMW G310R

    tvs-akula-310

    The impending late 2016 launch of the BMW G310R, its entry into the quarter-litre market has generated a lot of interest, and BMW Motorrad’s Indian partner, TVS, has raised that a notch with the Akula 310, a full-fairing concept bike shown at the New Delhi Auto Show.

    The Akula – which means ‘shark’ in Russian – uses carbon-fibre for its bodywork, but the underlying frame and engine are straight off the G310R. This collaboration between BMW Motorrad and TVS is perhaps an indication of how seriously BMW is taking the small-capacity motorcycle market.

    As reported by website asphaltandrubber, the only real detail about the Akula 310 is its weight, just shy of 136 kg. With its racetrack-ready looks, the 2016 TVS Akula 310 looks set to go straight up against the major competition in this segment such as the KTM 390/250RC and Yamaha R25/R3.

    GALLERY: 2016 BMW G310R

     
  • Volvo Vision 2020 – what’s really important in cars?

    Even since Nils Bohlin abused a few eggs in his quest to invent the three-point seatbelt, a standard safety feature in every single car on the road today, Volvo has been at the forefront of championing vehicle safety. The company’s CEO, Håkan Samuelsson, even made a pledge recently on the company’s behalf – “Our vision is that by 2020, nobody should be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car.”

    To drive that point further, the Swedish automaker has dropped this inspiring video, where a child poses a tough question, why are carmakers focused on creating cars that are aimed more for race tracks instead of city streets? “Is that what’s important, really?”

    Instead, consider a different train of thought for cars in the future. One that considers other things like crowded streets, cyclists, parents with baby strollers, etc. and how a vehicle might navigate safely in such an setting. Focus should also be spared on the environment as well with more efficient powertrains. This paradigm shift in thinking is what Volvo is hoping to instil in others, where 0-100 km/h times won’t be the most important aspect of the car.

    “What if someone made a car for people who’d care for other people?” And that is exactly what Volvo’s Vision 2020 commitment is aimed at doing through three steps – making vehicles as safe as possible in the event of crash, create more innovative applicable safety technologies and lastly, autonomous driving.

    The human element isn’t just limited to the end consumer, but also those involved in building these Volvo cars. Disregarding the juvenile notion of whichever nationality builds the best cars, Volvo considers it a global “people effort” when it comes to their products, so to exclusively say that all Volvo cars are “made by Sweden” is shallow thinking. It is also “made by Malaysia,” especially when you consider Volvo has a production plant in Shah Alam.

    There you have it, Volvo’s bold claim for the future doesn’t appear to be just another marketing tactic but an honest pursuit for safety perfection. Cars that care for other people, and built by people, a wonderful sentiment to say the least.

     
  • BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car unveiled for 2016 season

    BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car 2

    BMW M Division has been providing safety cars to MotoGP since 1999. An essential part of racing safety, Dorna Sports and M Division signed a partnership in 2014 that extends to 2020 for the use of BMW vehicles. As part of the MotoGP Safety Car fleet, M Division is this year putting an M2 MotoGP Safety Car in the fleet for official duties.

    The safety cars are modified at BMW’s M works for use as lead cars during a MotoGP race, along with other vehicles in the safety car fleet. Modifications to the M2 include the installation of a roll cage, fire extinguisher, and Recaro seats. The interior is stripped out and body reinforced to take the stress of hard driving on the track during races.

    BMW’s M2 Coupe is powered by a 3.0 litre closed deck single turbo direct injection six-cylinder engine producing 370 hp and 465 Nm of torque (overboost to 500 Nm available), and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed M DCT dual clutch gearbox.

    Capable of hitting the 100 km/h mark in just 4.3 seconds with the M DCT, the M2 shifts faster than any human ever could and also has a Launch Control feature. Manual shifting gets the M2 there in 4.5 seconds. The car has a top speed of 250 km/h, but an additional 20 km/h is available with the M Driver’s Package. Both figures are electronically limited.

    M Division features like quad tailpipes with electronically-countrolled exhaust flap system and wider fenders are part of the package of the MotoGP safety car. In case anyone forgets what this car is for, an emergency light-bar on the roof and flashing lights are also included.


     
  • Nissan Winter Warrior concepts revealed for Chicago – Pathfinder, Murano and X-Trail toughened for snow

    Nissan Winter Warrior Concepts

    Nissan has revealed a trio of go-anywhere (in the snow) models for the Chicago Auto Show, called the Nissan Winter Warrior concepts – in the same design vein as its previously revealed Rogue Warrior. Based on its Nissan Pathfinder, Murano and X-Trail (also known as the Rogue in the US), these one-offs were made to celebrate Nissan SUVs’ success in the US.

    Not your everyday drivers, for sure, the Winter Warrior concepts are each fitted with heavy-duty Dominator Tracks made by American Track Truck – a team of track converters based in the US. The tracks used on the Winter Warrior concepts here measure 1,220 mm long, 762 mm tall and 381 mm wide, and feature a custom matte-black finish frames.

    “The Rogue (X-Trail), Murano and Pathfinder are proven all-wheel-drive crossovers that are very popular with customers. With the Winter Warriors, we wanted to take that idea to the extreme, enhancing the vehicles’ advanced systems with special snow tracks, Genuine Nissan Accessories, and a custom exterior appearance,” said Christian Meunier, a senior vice president at Nissan North America.

    As such, the SUVs have modified suspension systems and enlarged wheel wells to accommodate the tracks. Engine and performance specs haven’t been disclosed, but Nissan says that all powertrain components remain standard, including the Xtronic CVT automatic transmission.

    Custom-made red-chrome body wrap and decals have been designed just for the Winter Warrior concepts, but genuine Nissan accessories are also featured here. These include the cargo area protectors, all-season floor mats, roof rail crossbars and rear bumper protectors. For the insane winter camper, there’s also a 9×9-foot hatch tent attached to each model.

     
 

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