Latest Stories

  • SPYSHOTS: 2019 Perodua Axia Style gets spotted

    Perodua recently began order taking for the new 2019 Axia, which will include a new Style variant that gets crossover-inspired styling in the same light as the Volkswagen CrossPolo, Hyundai i20 Active and Honda WR-V.

    While the national carmaker has yet to provide official photos, we now have a very good idea of just what the variant will look like, thanks to these photos from The Ajerul.

    Based on what we can see, the Style will feature black plastic cladding all around the lower edges of its body, including on the wheel arches to give it a crossover-esque look. This look is further emphasised by the front and rear “skid plates,” a 15 mm taller ride height as well as black rails on the vehicle’s roof.

    The variant also comes with 15-inch five-spoke wheels, and while there are no interior shots here, we do know the variant will get unique “denim” fabric for the seats.

    Beyond these cues, we also spot styling revisions that will be applied to the rest of the Axia range, with the front receiving the most changes. The new grille is reminiscent of that found on the second-generation Myvi facelift, with a black bar running across its entire width – the Style gets a unique dotted insert.

    The projector headlamps appear to be carried over from before, albeit smoked (as seen here), although it isn’t known if these are specific to the Style. Some of the cues mentioned were also seen in a video ad promoting the Big Stage 2019 concert on Astro Gempak over the weekend.

    At launch, the Axia line-up will include the E, G, GXtra (new), Style (new) SE and Advance, all powered by a 1KR-VE VVT-i engine with 67 hp and 91 Nm of torque. Only the base E variant gets a five-speed manual transmission, while the rest are fitted with a four-speed automatic instead.

    By far the biggest update here is the addition of the Advanced Safety Assist 2.0 suite of system on the range-topping Advance, along with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) from the GXtra onwards. The model’s airbag count remains at two as before.

    Estimated pricing for he new Axia is from RM24,090 to RM43,190, with the Style being around RM38,890. We’ll have complete details of the new Axia when it is officially launched but for now, what do you think of the Axia Style’s look?

     
  • Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ – 30 units, RM16 mil

    It’s been a few weeks since Bugatti took a modified Chiron to a record top speed of 490.484 km/h (304.773 mph), becoming the first carmaker to break through the mythical 482.803 km/h (300 mph) barrier. Well, it’s now time to party at the Atelier in Molsheim, and this is the gift to celebrate the record.

    Called the Chiron Super Sport 300+, the special edition model was recently presented to a select group of customers in conjunction with the company’s 110th anniversary celebrations. It won’t come cheap, as the starting price is from 3.5 million euros (just over RM16 million), and there’s just 30 units up for grabs, with first deliveries slated from mid-2021.

    “After the incredible speed record of more than 300 miles per hour, which we were the first series manufacturer to achieve, we’re now offering our customers the Super Sport 300+ – a very special edition model and the fastest Bugatti ever,” said Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti.

    “But the Chiron Super Sport 300+ is more than just the fastest series production sports car in the world. It is a testimony to Bugatti’s technical refinement, masterly workmanship and enormous attention to detail,” he added.

    The car itself looks almost identical to the prototype that performed the top speed run, with a carbon-fibre shell and orange accents. The front end retains the brand’s iconic horseshoe grille, but with more aggressive air intakes and circular vents just above the wheel arches.

    More significant differences from a regular Chiron can be seen at the rear, with a much longer decklid that requires a bespoke engine cover. Besides the longer tail, the new exhaust tailpipe configuration sees the outlets being stacked on top of one another, resulting in a redesign of the rear diffuser that generates a sufficient amount of negative lift by itself.

    Bugatti adds that the wing, which has been brought further forwards, can consequently remain retracted in Top Speed mode. For power, there’s an 8.0 litre quad-turbo W16 engine (nicknamed Thor), which puts out 1,578 hp (1,600 PS), and is paired with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel-drive system.

    On the inside, black carbon, leather and Alcantara in Beluga Black dominates the interior, with Jet Orange highlights to mirror the exterior. In selected areas, you’ll find “Super Sport 300+” lettering to highlight the model’s exclusivity, including on the door sills with LED lighting.

    GALLERY: Bugatti Chiron top speed run

     

  • 2019 Perodua Axia teased in video ad ahead of debut

    The official introduction of the 2019 Perodua Axia is around the corner, and ahead of its debut, the updated hatchback has been partially revealed via a video ad, which was aired during the Big Stage 2019 concert on Astro Gempak over the weekend.

    The video teases the car in quick fashion, and we get to see the face of the new SUV-inspired variant called the Axia Style, albeit through a partial glimpse. The model features SUV-style black plastic cladding around the fenders (which can be seen very very briefly in a frame) and lower body, with silver painted sections at the lower front and rear bumpers that mimic skid plates.

    The Style’s front end is dressed with black carbon-textured stickers, and the model also gets a unique dotted grille insert and an exclusive Style colour, in this case orange. Also finding its way on are decorative black roof rails. The Style sits taller than the rest of the range by 15 mm, as a result of 15-inch alloys (an inch up) and thicker tyres, along with the the aforementioned roof rails.

    Inside, the Style features seats upholstered in a unique “denim” fabric, which has a “fish scale” pattern and contrast stitching. The automaker is expecting the Style to do well, anticipating that 20% to 25% of total Axia sales will come from it.

    The Axia has been around since 2014, and received a midlife facelift in early 2017. Versions up to now have had two unique faces, a normal one and a sportier one for the SE and Advance, but all Axia variants now share a common face with the 2019 update, with trim denoting the differences of each.

    The outgoing Axia range had four trim levels (E, G, SE, Advance), but this will now be expanded to six with the addition of GXtra and Style variants. No changes to the running gear – the 1KR-VE 1.0 litre three-pot VVT-i mill continues on with 67 hp and 91 Nm, and it’s available with either a five-speed manual or four-speed auto transmission.

    Safety-wise, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) makes its debut in the Axia, available from the GXtra up, while the automaker’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 safety suite also finds its way on, although only on the range-topping Advance variant.

     
  • 2019 Honda ADV 150 scooter arrives in Philippines

    Launched at the 2019 GIIAS show in Indonesia, the 2019 Honda ADV 150 adventure scooter is scheduled for its public unveiling in the Philippines this week. This was reported by Top Gear Phillipines via its motorcycle editor Aris Illagan who writes the Moto Sapiens section.

    A photo has appeared on Honda Philippines social media showing the silhouette of the ADV 150 with a teaser tagline that it is being launched soon. Consequently, photos have appeared on various Philippines social media sites showing ADV 150s being unloaded at a dock and inside information obtained by Top Gear Philippines has confirmed this.

    The ADV 150 is powered by a 149.3 cc, single-cylinder SOHC mill, producing 14.5 PS at 8,500 rpm and 13.8 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm with Idling Stop. Taking styling cues from its larger sibling, the Honda X-ADV, the ADV 150 is fed by Honda’s PGM-Fi and power is transmitted via an automatic gearbox and belt drive.

    There are two versions of the ADV 150 in Indonesia, the Combined Braking System (CBS) version and the ABS variant, which are priced at 33.5 million rupiah (RM9,908) and 36.5 million rupiah (RM10,795), respectively. Braking is done with hydraulic discs, the front disc using a two-piston calliper while the rear is stopped with single-piston unit.

    Seat height on the ADV 150 is set at 795 mm while weight is 132 kg for the CBS model and the ABS ADV 150 comes in at 133 kg. Fuel for the ADV is carried in a 8-litre tank and a 28-litre storage space is found under the seat.

    Inside the cockpit is a monochrome LCD meter that closely resembles the units installed on the X-Adv and the CRF1000L Africa Twin. LED lighting is used throughout the ADV 150 and the manually adjustable windshield has a high and low position.

    In Indonesia, the ADV 150 is sold alongside the Honda Vario 150 eSP and PCX 150 scooters, which are priced from 23.6 million rupiah (RM7,002) and 28.9 million rupiah (RM8,574), as well as the SH150i, retailing for 39.9 million rupiah (RM11,838). So, it looks like our ASEAN neighbours Indonesia and Philippines are getting the ADV 150 well before Malaysia, which begs the question, when will it be our turn?

     
  • Boustead Holdings to exit petrol retail business: report

    Boustead Holdings is reportedly looking to dispose of its stake in Boustead Petroleum Marketing (BPM), which operates petrol stations under the BHPetrol brand. The Edge reports that discussions with a potential individual buyer are ongoing, with several other parties interested in the assets waiting on the sidelines.

    “This (waiting on the sidelines) is because the price tag being bandied about is more than RM1 billion, maybe even RM1.5 billion, or more,” a source familiar with the matter told the publication. He said that despite the price, there are quite a few parties looking at a deal, waiting to see the valuation being sought by Boustead Holdings.

    BPM retails petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) products as well as lubricants and operates more than 380 petrol stations across the country. The company is 70% controlled by Boustead Petroleum and 30% by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT).

    The latter has a 59.45% stake in Boustead Holdings. The report adds that considering the shareholding structure of Boustead Holdings and LTAT, it looks unlikely that LTAT will remain in BPM if Boustead Holdings – which also has interests in defence, pharmaceuticals, heavy engineering, plantations and property development – exits the business.

    Shareholders of Boustead Petroleum are Boustead Holdings, which has a 59.82% stake, PE Petroleum (21.11%), Vitol Malaysia (14.07%) and Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin (5%), who previously helmed both Boustead Holdings and LTAT.

    A check by the publication reveals that PE Petroleum is wholly owned by a company called Hesselink Investments, while Vitol Malaysia is wholly owned by Vitol Malaysia BV, a unit of the Dutch oil giant Vitol. A source highlights that Vitol could be interested in the business, but the report says that this is unsubstantiated.

    Other names that have been bandied include Petronas Dagangan, which has more than 1,000 petrol stations nationwide, and Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing, which operates more than 640 petrol stations across the country, but these too remain very much conjecture.

     
  • Audi e-tron Sportback set to debut at LA Auto Show

    It was a busy time for Audi at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, with the reveal of the AI:Trail Quattro Concept and the new RS7. In the midst of all that, the company also took time to tease the e-tron Sportback, which will be making its global debut later this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

    First previewed by the a similarly-named concept in 2017, the e-tron Sportback will follow in the footsteps of regular e-tron SUV but with a more coupe-like appearance. Based on the teaser images, the e-tron Sportback will have an identical front end as the e-tron, with a more dramatic roofline that leads into a small tailgate lip spoiler.

    Although Audi has yet to provide technical specifications of its upcoming electric vehicle, the e-tron Sportback should carry over the same powertrain. On the e-tron, this consists of two electric motors (one on each axle) that provides a total of 355 hp (265 kW) and 561 Nm of torque, with a boost mode that temporarily increases output to 402 hp (300 kW) and 664 Nm.

    In terms of performance, the 0-100 km/h sprint will take 6.6 seconds, or 5.7 seconds when boost mode is engaged. Other details to be expected include a 95-kWh lithium-ion battery powering the e-motors, with charging options including an 11-kW or 22-kW home AC charging with a Type 2 connector, or 150-kW DC fast charging via the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard.

    More information will be provided later on, and the company has also confirmed it will reveal two other EVs by the end of 2020, including production version of the e-tron GT and Q4 e-tron concepts.

    GALLERY: Audi e-tron Sportback concept

     
  • National Automotive Policy 2019 launch soon, to define national car criteria; NxGV definition by 2022

    The National Automotive Policy 2019 is to be launched soon and will be implemented in three phases until 2030, with the first phase to ensure the continuity of NAP 2014 as well as other elements for preparing the country to become a producer of EEVs (energy efficient vehicles), Malaysia Automotive, Robotic and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari was quoted by Bernama as saying.

    “The first phase of NAP 2019 will emphasise on the improvement of policies to infuse with new technologies, including in terms of human capital and its competency,” Madani told the news agency, adding that this first phase would focus on the improvement of policies ‘to infuse with new technologies, including human capital and its competency’, he said.

    The latest National Automotive Policy will also see MARii shift its focus from the energy-efficient vehicle to the ‘next-generation vehicle’ (NxGV), with the first phase focusing on aspects such as battery production, management systems and the establishment of electrified vehicle charging stations. The next two phases are to focus on technological advancements such as 5G connectivity, he said.

    Connectivity will be among the key differences between the NxGV and current EEV directions, where the former will also employ artificial intelligence for the creation mobility-as-a-service as a new sector, the report said. “Mobility-as-a-service is a new sector, therefore we cannot be left behind. Having said (that), it requires a lot of programming, big data analytics, the Internet of things (IoT) and many others,” Madani said.

    National car criteria will be defined in the NAP 2019. Six criteria make up the requirements; it has to be majority-owned by Malaysians, receive its funding from the public sector, be comprised of 75% local supply chain, 98% local workers, have research and development conducted in Malaysia as well as to take steps “to follow NxGV as a service and the adaptation of Industrial Revolution 4.0,” Madani added.

    This criteria is applicable to the current national automakers, Proton and Perodua, as well as a new national car that is being developed; the latter would further boost business among local vendors, the MARii CEO said. Meanwhile, the report adds that the full definition of the NxGV in NAP 2019 is to be ready by early 2022, and implementation to begin in 2025.

    “If we break apart each component in a car, there are more than 30,000 components and 80 per cent of it supplied by vendors. Thus with the new national car, we are not only adding value to our expertise in the field but also open new opportunities for the local firms. Besides that, the business plan for both national cars, Proton and Perodua, is to be marketed overseas, which is good for the country,” he said.

    Technologists see the automotive industry as the ‘mother of all industries’ as it involves the mechanical, electronic, engineering, chemistry sectors and latest technologies, Madani was quoted as saying. “That’s why we understand why the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad insists on having a new national car so that we can ensure that the automotive industry will be able to spin off all of these activities,” he said.

     
  • Volocopter conducts its first urban flight in Europe

    Volocopter has successfully completed the first urban flight of the VoloCity air taxi at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, which was the highlight of the two-day “Vision Smart City” event. The move is part of an initiative of a research project by the Technical University of Stuttgart to examine the social acceptance of air taxis.

    This comes several days after it was reported the privately-owned German aircraft manufacturer managed to raise 50 million euros in the first closing of its Series C funding round, with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group being one of its major investors. Prior to that, in 2017, Volocopter received an investment of 25 milion euros led by Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, along with a few other investors.

    “Our partner Volocopter shows how an air taxi is turning the dream of driving into the dream of flying. At Daimler we work on the mobility of the future too. By 2022 we will have electrified the entire Mercedes-Benz portfolio,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

    “Our Volocopter air taxis open up a completely new dimension in urban mobility. As Stuttgart has seen today, they fly safely, quietly and are fast approching the implementation stage. Volocopter air taxis are able to ease traffic congestion in major cities around the world, also here in Germany,” added Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter GmbH.

    According to the company, the VoloCity is a two-seat aircraft with an operating weight of 700 kg (900 kg maximum take-off mass), which has a payload of 200 kg. The vehicle features nine lithium-ion battery packs that power 18 electric motors driving 18 rotors.

    Capable of vertical take-off and landing, the VoloCity has a range of 35 km, and will travel up to a maximum airspeed of 110 km/h. Those battery packs can also be easily swapped out (within five minutes), minimising downtime for charging the vehicle.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS on test

    The recently launched Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 arrived with the natural progression of more power, torque and consequently performance from an engine that is slightly larger than its predecessors, now up to 4.0 litres from the previous 3.8 litre naturally aspirated, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder.

    More aggressive aerodynamic elements are in place on this ‘RS’ variant. While the front bumper appears to be carried over from the 718 Cayman GT4, the front bonnet on this car sports a pair of NACA ducts, and the rear side window panels have now been replaced by a set of air intake slats.

    The big change at the back is the addition of a much larger rear spoiler, which appears to be of the swan-neck configuration as seen on the 992-generation 911 GT3 development car, while the GT4’s rear decklid, bumper, exhaust and diffuser layout appears unchanged. This should also mean that aero work at the front end is still in progress, as that will have to balance the added downforce from the larger wing used here.

    The development car seen on test here is likely to use a version of the 9A2 Evo 4.0 litre, naturally aspirated flat-six revised to produce more than the 420 PS at 7,600 rpm and 420 Nm of torque from 5,000 rpm to 6,800 rpm in the ‘standard’ 718 Cayman GT4 and its open-topped sibling, the Boxster Spyder.

    It remains to be seen if the more focused GT4 ‘RS’ will retain the six-speed manual of the GT4, or if it will take the 911’s direction of going dual-clutch auto PDK-only for the GT3 RS. The GT4 RS will most likely employ the ceramic composite brakes already featured on the current GT4, while suspension may also be revised to reflect its increased track focus.

     
  • Missed your highway exit? Keep calm and carry on

    It’s another long weekend, and for quite a few, this will be another opportunity to hit the road and visit friends and family. For longer jaunts out of town, this typically means travelling on highways. As always, safety should be paramount, and route planning goes a long way towards a smooth and safe drive.

    It is understandably daunting when you’re faced with a split in the highway and you don’t know for sure which way to go. Overshooting the intended exit is probably something we’ve all done before, and we’ve surely seen what some have done in a bid to save time and get back on the right path – they’ve gone against the flow of traffic, to the unpleasant surprise of everyone else along that stretch.

    It really does not need to be this way. Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, so a reliable navigation app like Google Maps and Waze are just taps and a download away. Make use of one of those apps, add a phone holder (or use a smartphone integration function like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) and you can find your way safely. For motorcyclists, phone-based navigation is a more involved process than it is for car drivers but nevertheless possible – check out Mohan’s review of one such unit here.

    Even then, it is still possible to miss your exit. Maybe you misinterpreted the map or the spoken direction, or you were engrossed in a conversation with a passenger and sailed past. Whatever it is, it is imperative that you carry on forwards anyway – under no circumstances should you attempt to reverse towards it, even on the hard shoulder or the emergency lane.

    You probably already know this, but missing an exit isn’t the end of the world. There will be another exit or intersection further ahead that will still take you to your eventual destination, and the extra time and fuel spent on the detour is a very, very small price to pay compared to a potential collision and the risk of injury or death due to driving against traffic – especially dangerous on highways. And of course, it goes without saying that reversing against the flow of traffic is also against the law.

    Even if near misses don’t result in a direct collision between the offending vehicle and the innocent road user, this could pose serious issues for the latter who will need to take evasive action. Also spare a thought for the motorcyclists, who have at least two fewer contact patches on the road, and have to be far more physically involved when emergency manoeuvres need to be executed.

     
 

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Last Updated 31 Aug 2019



 

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