Latest Stories

  • Old Nissan March gets Almera-style facelift in Mexico

    Even though the Nissan Micra has long moved on to its fifth generation in Europe, the budget-oriented fourth-gen model remains popular in certain markets. Case in point – the hatchback continues to be built in Mexico, where the car is badged as the March and is Nissan’s third best-selling product behind the Almera (sold as the Versa in Mexico) and Navara (NP300).

    To keep it fresh in its tenth year, the March has been given its second facelift. This comprehensive nip and tuck draws plenty of inspiration from the Almera, with the most striking cue being the large V-motion grille. It’s framed by a fake carbon fibre surround and flanked by arrow-shaped halogen headlights with LED accent light strips. The air intakes are also more aggressive, ditching the old car’s cutesy look.

    This sportier aesthetic is continued at the rear with the fake rear vents, diffuser-style bumper insert and LED taillight guides. Range-topping models get an in-vogue two-tone colour scheme with a black roof, plus 16-inch machined alloy wheels also found on the Almera here.

    Inside, the March receives the Almera’s flat-bottomed steering wheel and a redesigned centre console with a massive tablet-style panel. This houses a 6.7-inch touchscreen linked to the NissanConnect infotainment system, equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also offered is the optional NissanConnect Finder service that allows users to locate and immobilise the car remotely and set speed limits.

    Safety kit has been upgraded, too, with the March now fitted as standard with six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, three-point seat belts for all passengers and seat belt reminders for both front occupants. There’s no mention of stability control, however, let alone autonomous emergency braking.

    The rest of the car remains unchanged, so the March continues to be powered by a 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, producing 106 hp at 5,600 rpm and 142 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. It is mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic.

     
  • GALLERY: Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm in Montreal Green!

    It has been a little over a year since Alfa Romeo unveiled the Giulia GTA and GTAm models. Just 500 units of the models will be made, with prices starting from 176,500 euros (RM884k) for the GTA and and 181,500 euros (RM909k) for the GTAm.

    In case you forgot, the Giulia GTA (short for Gran Turismo Alleggerita) is based on the existing Quadrifoglio model. The GTA is a regular four-seater car, but the GTAm you see here is a more hardcore but road-legal version with two race bucket seats, roll-bar and six-point harness.

    Power comes from the same 2.9 litre biturbo V6 petrol engine as the Quadrifoglio, but has been tuned to make 540 hp. That figure is merely 30 hp more than the Quadrifoglio’s factory tune, but thanks to weight reduction, the GTAm does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 3.6 seconds, or 0.3 seconds quicker than the Quadrifoglio.

    Weight reduction is key to improving the car’s performance here, so the front bumper and front wheel arches are made from carbon-fibre, whereas the side and rear window frames are made from polycarbonate. The seat shell is also made from carbon-fibre.

    The GTAm here is finished in Montreal Green, one of three available colours that represents the Italian flag. The other two are GTA Red and Trofeo White. Customers can opt for a different colour accent to be applied on the brake calipers, interior roll bar, seat belts and upholstery stitching.

    Up front, you’ll find a larger active splitter that works in tandem with the adjustable rear spoiler (its aerodynamic profile was developed by Formula 1 team Sauber Engineering), while the sides get carbon-fibre skirts, carbon-fibre rear overfenders, and new 20-inch wheels with single locking nuts.

    If you’re lucky enough to pick one up, Alfa Romeo will be treating you to a personalised experience package, which comes with a Bell helmet in special GTA livery, a full racing set by Alpinestars (race suit, gloves and shoes) and a personalised Goodwool car cover. Customers can also take part in a specific driving course devised by the Alfa Romeo Driving Academy.

     

  • May 2021 week three fuel price – all prices unchanged

    Here’s the weekly fuel price update. The ministry of finance of Malaysia has announced the weekly retail pricing for fuels in the country for the week of May 13 until May 19, and there are no changes across petrol and diesel fuels for this coming week.

    For petrol fuels, the RON 97 grade remains at RM2.60 per litre, and the RON 95 grade of petrol also remains at RM2.05 per litre. This means that prices for both grades of petrol are unchanged from last week. The latter is as pricey as it will get in Malaysia, as RM2.05 per litre is the price ceiling set by the government in February this year.

    Similarly, the price of Euro 5 B10/B20 grade diesel – which has replaced Euro 2M diesel at all retain pumps in Malaysia – remains unchanged at RM2.15 per litre, and this too is the upper limit for diesel pricing in the country, in line with the price cap. Correspondingly, Euro 5 B7 diesel stays at RM2.25 per litre, being pegged at a 10 sen margin above B10/B20 diesel.

    These prices take effect from midnight tonight until Wednesday, May 19, when the following fuel pricing update is announced. This is the 20th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format this year, and the 123rd in total since the format was introduced in 2019.

     
  • MINI Convertible – next generation confirmed for 2025

    With plans to transition into an electric-only brand by 2030, MINI will be going through quite a sea change with its portfolio, with many new models having already been confirmed. Evidently, this will lead to a number of discontinued products, but it’s now been confirmed the Convertible model will not be one of them.

    That’s right – the fashionable droptop will continue in the lineup at least in the near future, with the next generation due to enter production in 2025. “The MINI Convertible has a large and particularly loyal fan base. This is also shown by the great demand for the latest, freshly updated model,” said MINI boss Bernd Körber. “We are therefore firmly convinced of the success of this vehicle concept for the future.”

    No details have been released so far and as yet, it is unclear what form the new car will take. The car that the Convertible has always been based on, the MINI Hatch, is set to be split into two different models. An all new model, which will be smaller and powered purely by electric power, is due to go on sale in 2023, whereas a petrol-powered Hatch will debut in 2025 and is expected to be based on the current model.

    The company has made no indication on which one of these cars the next Convertible will be based on. However, given the expected release date and the fact that the outgoing F56 already has an F57 soft-top version, it stands to reason that the new one will feature an internal combustion engine. Petrol-powered MINI models will continue to be built at the Oxford plant in the United Kingdom, whereas the electric ones will be produced in China as part of a deal with Great Wall Motors.

    The cabriolet body style appeared relatively recently in MINI’s 62-year history, having debuted in 1993 as a limited edition model late in the lifecycle of the original Alec Issigonis-designed Mini. In turn, the Convertible became the first derivative of the “new” MINI, with the first-generation model going on sale in 2004. The car has been particularly popular in Germany, where one in every five MINI sold is a droptop.

    GALLERY: F57 MINI Convertible facelift

     
  • Genesis G70 Shooting Brake makes its official debut – new wagon to go on sale in Europe later this year

    This is the new Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, which is essentially the wagon version of the brand’s G70 sedan that got a substantial facelift last year. Developed specifically with European customers in mind, the model is expected to on sale in the continent in the second half of this year.

    The G70 Shooting Brake is an important car for the brand if it is to gain traction in Europe, which is a market that still has an affinity for wagons. When it goes on sale, it will have no shortage of rivals, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring.

    In terms of styling, the new Genesis wagon looks pretty much like the G70 sedan from the front to the A-pillars, with the brand’s signature grille, two-tier headlamps and sculpted lower apron. Along the sides, the sedan’s characteristic side vents (aft of the front wheels) and bold character lines are retained as well.

    The differences that are immediately obvious at first glance are undoubtedly the elongated, sloping roofline and reprofiled windows. The latter no longer sports a kink near the rear window, and compared to the sedan, the C-pillars are substantially larger.

    Around the back is where things get more interesting, as the tailgate features a single, wrapround piece of glass and an integrated spoiler that certainly looks impressive when opened. The company notes that the tailgate is hinged further forward to make it easier to access the boot space, which is 40% more than the G70 sedan that has 330 litres available.

    Other highlights of the rear include Genesis’ “two lines” taillights that slightly extends into the tailgate and carry a more expressive light signature, while oval-shaped exhausts and a diffuser-like element are similar to those on the sedan.

    Despite all the model-specific bodywork, Genesis says the G70 Shooting Brake shares the same dimensions with the sedan, measuring in at 4,685 mm long, 1,850 mm wide, 1,400 mm tall, and with a wheelbase that spans 2,835 mm.

    Given the shared roots, it should be no surprise that the wagon has an interior that is identical to the sedan. However, there is a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to loading cargo, as the wagon gets a 40:20:40 split-folding second row instead of the sedan’s 60:40 ratio.

    According to Genesis, the G70 Shooting Brake will be sold in Europe with a choice of two engines, including a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit as well as a 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. Both are already used in the G70 sedan, and should come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Further specifications will be revealed closer to the model’s launch.

     
  • Toyota Raize in Indonesia – 1,269 units sold in a week

    The Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize twins were launched in Indonesia on April 30. The sister cars to our Perodua Ativa are produced by Astra Daihatsu Motor (ADM) in Karawang, West Java, which will export the compact SUV to 50 countries in Toyota Raize form.

    The Raize has got off to a rousing start in the republic. As of May 6, one week after the launch, Toyota Astra Motor (TAM) collected 1,269 SPKs for the new model. SPKs, or Surat Pemesanan Kendaraan, are booking forms. According to local publication Autonetmagz, this number is rather impressive when considering the weak automotive market brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    “We’re thankful that the Toyota Raize has received positive response from customers, as seen from the good SPK numbers after just a week of launch. Thanks for the attention and enthusiasm from the Indonesian public,” said Anton Jimmi Suwandy, marketing director of TAM.

    The company’s monthly target for the Raize is 2,000 units. Unsurprisingly, the majority of bookings were from the main island of Jawa, where capital Jakarta is located. The most popular variant so far is the Type 1.0T GR Sport CVT with 43%, while the same car with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), which is the costliest Raize, accounted for 40% of bookings. With a combined 83% share, the GR Sport is by far the most popular trim.

    It appears then, that the initial trend in Indonesia is similar to the Perodua Ativa in Malaysia, where the top AV dominates sales. However, while Perodua offers its ASA driver assist and safety pack across the Ativa board (Level 2 autonomous drive reserved for AV), it’s only available as a TSS option for the top Raize GR Sport in Indonesia.

    The other bookings are for the 1.0T G CVT (11%) and the current base 1.0T G with a manual gearbox (5%). Besides the 5MT, Indonesia also gets a 1.2 litre naturally aspirated engine (88 PS/113 Nm, CVT and MT) that will only be rolled out later in the year, but some have already put down their names for the NA (1%).

    The Toyota Raize 1.0T is priced from 219.9 million rupiah (RM62,500) to 263.7 million rupiah (RM74,930) for the GR Sport with TSS. So, do you prefer the “keli” face of the Raize or the Ativa’s P2-specific look?

     
  • eRacing GP Global Edition 5: Naquib Azlan takes Gold category title, Stratos Motorsports wins Teams Cup

    The fifth edition of the eRacing GP simulator racing series has concluded, with Naquib Azlan winning the championship in the Gold class.

    Twenty-year-old Naquib scored 142 points in total, with Josh Purwien from Australia following in second place with 135 points, and Muhammad Thasbeeh of Singapore rounding out the top three in third with 109 points. Naquib started the final round from the back of the grid, making his way through the field in order to eventually finish seven points clear of closest rival Purwien by the end of the 10-race season.

    The second race, held in reverse-grid format, initially saw Naquib languishing in eighth position as his closest title rival Purwien jumped into the lead. Naquib nonetheless managed to keep his cool and worked his way through the positions, finished third behind Purwien which was enough for him to clinch the title.

    The Silver class for Edition 5 was won by Nur Shazliezhan from Singapore, followed by compatriots Muhammad Zihni and Ryan Keith in second and third places respectively. The Bronze class for this edition was won by Francis Angelo Gonzales of the Philippines, while Bernard Chan of Malaysia took home second place. Third place for the Bronze class was taken by Axel Mariano Nocom of the Philippines.

    In the Copper class, the top spot was secured by Kelvin Pao of Malaysia, and was joined by Nico Sage of Malaysia and Kenneth Wong of Singapore in second and third places for the class, respectively. Meanwhile in the Teams Cup category, top honours went to Stratos Motorsports with 427 points collected through Ediition 5, followed by Tedco X Project Mu Racing with 328 points. Sim Racing Pilipinas rounded out the class with 268 points.

    Global Edition 5 of the eRacing GP simulator racing series concludes with Malaysia emerging as winners of the Nations Cup with a total haul of 695 points for its second win in a row, followed by Singapore with 487 points and the Philippines in third place with 471 points.

    “It has been a long time coming for Naquib, who has proven to be one of Malaysia’s best drivers, and not only in the simulator world,” said Alex Yoong, founder of Axle Sports which is the organiser for eRacing GP Global Edition. Naquib was recently signed by Toyota for their rookie racer programme, and has won both races in the Rookie class of the Vios Challenge for Season 4 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival.

     
  • 2021 RML Short Wheelbase – modern classic inspired by Ferrari 250 GT SWB with 5.5L NA Ferrari V12 engine

    RML Group, an engineering firm based in the UK, has released a new GT road car that is clearly inspired by the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB. Christened with the name RML Short Wheelbase, the car promises to deliver 21st century comfort and convenience with the driving purity of supercars from the past.

    Power comes from a front-mounted (longitudinally) 5.5 litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine from Ferrari, tuned to produce 485 PS and 568 Nm of torque. All that power is routed exclusively to the rear wheels via an open-gated six-speed manual gearbox that is also sourced from Ferrari. According to RML, the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint is done in 4.1 seconds, with top speed in excess of 300 km/h.

    In terms of the exterior styling, the RML model looks very much like the original Ferrari, but modernised with flush door handles, LED projector headlights housed in the old-school circular enclosure, recessed turn signal indicators with tiny air intakes below them, as well as rounded fog lamps at the lower edges of the grille.

    There’s also the vented bonnet, quad exhaust exits (now more seamlessly integrated into the lower rear bumper), identical vents behind each wheel fender and stacked LED tail lights. Essentially, it’s almost a carbon copy of the original, but modernised slightly.

    Most of the modern creature comforts are found in the cabin. These come in the form of GPS navigation, air conditioning, cubby holes and smartphone pairing functions, all of which have been “discreetly” integrated. RML said the car can even accommodate occupants up to 200 cm tall, and they would sit on exquisitely-trimmed power adjustable seats.

    Company CEO Michael Mallock said: “The Short Wheelbase was never conceived to compete, Top Trumps-style, with a typical supercar’s acceleration or top speed. Our car takes a step back from that, and while it’s certainly rapid, our emphasis has always been on capturing a more organic driving experience, with less intervention and more useable performance, while still making it comfortable and convenient enough for people to enjoy regularly on modern roads.”

    “After almost three years, we are nearing completion of the Short Wheelbase’s development,” Mallock added. While this is the first such car to wear RML’s name, our experience working on a variety of whole vehicle programmes – as a ‘white label’ partner to various OEMs – is extensive, and second to none.”

    “So this car showcases much of the experience we’ve gained from not only designing and building low-volume, high-end motor cars, but also implementing thorough testing procedures to make sure that driving them is an emotional experience for all the right reasons,” he continued. RML is typically commissioned to take on design, build and development projects for motorsport and road car applications.

    The RML Short Wheelbase is nearing the end of its development phase, and it is scheduled to go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Just 30 units will be made, but no pricing have been announced just yet.

     
  • Toyota announces FY2021 results – 9.92 million units delivered; 10.55 million units expected for FY2022

    Toyota has announced its financial year 2021 (FY2021) results, which was from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. During that period, the Japanese carmaker managed to sell 9.087 million vehicles across its Toyota and Lexus brands.

    Compared to its previous financial year (FY2020) that saw 9.466 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles delivered, the latest figure represents a decrease of 4%. However, this result exceeded the eight million units the company projected back in May last year, during Japan’s first state of emergency in response to the spread of Covid-19.

    According to Toyota, 23.7% of the 9.087 million units sold, or 2.155 million units, were electrified vehicles, with hybrids making up the majority (2.087 million) followed by plug-in hybrids (59,000), battery electric vehicles (6,000 units) and fuel cell electric vehicles (3,000 units). This was a greater proportion compared to FY2020, which saw 20.3% of the 9.466 million units, or 1.919 million units, being electrified vehicles.

    Widening the scope to include Toyota’s other subsidiaries – Daihatsu and Hino – the company delivered a total of 9.92 million vehicles, which is less than 10.457 million recorded in FY 2019. The decline in sales is brought on by multiple factors, the company said, including the record-breaking cold wave in the United States, torrential rain resulting in floods in Japan, the Fukushima earthquake, a global semiconductor shortage and fire at a supplier’s plant.

    As a result, Toyota’s operating income fell to 2.2 trillion yen in FY2021 from 2.4 trillion yen in FY2020. In terms of geographic operating income, only North America and Asia saw increases, while Japan, Europe and other markets were in the red.

    For the current financial year (FY2022), which ends on March 31, 2022, the company is forecasting sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles to climb to 9.6 million, or 10.55 million with Daihatsu and Hino factored in. Likewise, it is also expecting operating income to rise to 2.5 trillion yen.

     
  • Harley-Davidson spins Livewire off as EV bike brand

    After the introduction of the Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle, the Milwaukee motorcycle maker is spinning off the name as an all-electric vehicle (EV) motorcycle brand. The first Livewire branded electric motorcycle will be launched July 8, 2021 and will premiere at the International Motorcycle Show 2021 in the US the same month.

    Livewire as a brand will have hubs in Silicon Valley, California and Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a virtual headquarters. Focusing purely on electric motorcycles, Livewire will initially concentrate on the urban electric mobility market, leveraging on Harley-Davidson’s engineering expertise, manufacturing footprint, supply chain infrastructure, and global logistics capabilities.

    Initial plans include working with Harley-Davidson’s established dealer network, with dedicated EV showrooms at selected dealers, beginning with California. “With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond. LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson.

     
 

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Latest Fuel Prices

PETROL
RON 95 RM2.05 (0.00)
RON 97 RM2.60 (0.00)
RON 100 RM3.11
VPR RM3.50
DIESEL
EURO 5 B10 RM2.15 (0.00)
EURO 5 B7 RM2.25 (0.00)
Last Updated 13 May 2021