Latest Stories

  • SPYSHOTS: Porsche Mission E goes winter testing

    Porsche is taking the all-electric game straight to the Tesla Model S with its upcoming model, the Mission E, which was last seen pounding the miles at the famed Nurburgring Nordscleife circuit. It has been sighted on a few occasions since its first public showing as a concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and is now undergoing cold-weather testing.

    Much of the Mission E’s exterior here appears identical to that at its last sighting, complete with what appears to be non-functional, cosmetic ‘tailpipes’. To recap, the Mission E Concept is said to produce 600 hp in concept form courtesy of two permanent magnet synchronous motors fed by a lithium-ion battery pack located between the two axles.

    The Mission E will have a cruising range of 500 km, according to Porsche, and a 15-minute charge from a 800 V, 350 kW liquid-cooled charging station gives a battery range of 400 km. Performance won’t be lacking; 0-100 km/h is done in a claimed 3.5 seconds and 200 km/h in 12 seconds, along with a Nurburgring lap time of under eight minutes around the fabled North Loop.

    When it comes to market, the Mission E will be made available for sale in numerous variants similar to current Porsche model strategy, Porsche boss Oliver Blume told Car Magazine, similar to the base, S and GTS versions of the 911 and 718 Boxster/Cayman. When it goes on sale, the Porsche Mission E can be expected to be priced from a similar starting point as the Panamera‘s.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • 2019 Jeep Cherokee facelift may get 2.0L hybrid turbo

    The Jeep Cherokee KL, which first made its debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show, is about to go under the knife. The mid-size SUV has been spied making rounds with seemingly no intentions of masking its redesigned headlamps, perhaps for obvious reasons (hint: it’s much better looking than before). It bears a closer resemblance to the second-generation Compass and fourth-generation Grand Cherokee.

    However, the big news here is the possible addition of a new turbocharged engine. According to a report by the Truth About Cars, documents circulating within the automaker have revealed that a new 2.0 four-cylinder turbo, which made its debut in the all-new Wrangler, will make an appearance once again, confirming earlier speculations of the engine introduction.

    The four-pot mill features an eTorque mild hybrid system, pushing out 270 hp and 400 Nm of torque. It’s unclear if this engine will find its way outside of the North American market, seeing that the offering in the Wrangler is currently exclusive to the West. Maybe time will tell.

    Cherokee facelift headlamp design (left) vs pre-facelift Cherokee (right)

    The same report states that the 2.0 litre turbo will be a range-topping offering if the line-up is to be based solely on engine output. Existing mills start from the base 2.4 litre Tigershark MultiAir 2 four-cylinder unit developing 174 hp and 229 Nm of torque. There’s also the larger 271 hp 3.2 litre Pentastar V6, but the new turbo lump packs 76 Nm more twisting force than the six-pot mill.

    In the US, all three engines will be offered concurrently, although details of its drivetrain remains undisclosed. The outgoing Cherokee gets a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard and either Jeep Active Drive I permanent all-wheel drive or an Active Drive Lock system with rear-axle disconnect.

    GALLERY: 2019 Jeep Cherokee facelift spyshots

  • Honda terminates F1 engine chief, role tasks split

    Honda’s recent times in Formula 1 having been trying to say the least, with many an engine failure-related retirement a definite sore point for the Japanese carmaker’s collaboration with McLaren.

    With the Woking-based F1 team leaving the partnership a year early, Honda has called for a change of the engine guard before it switches to supplying engines to Toro Rosso next year, with Yasuke Hasegawa having been in charge until this point.

    Hasegawa has been relieved from his post as Head of Formula 1 Project which oversees two roles: to supervise powertrain development at Honda’s research and development facility in Japan, and to direct track-side operations at races and test sessions globally.

    Honda will be supplying engines to Toro Rosso next year

    The role of technical operations now falls to Toyoharu Tanabe, who is currently senior manager at Honda Performance Development in the United States. Tanabe’s time with Honda started in 1984, having worked in Formula 1 alongside Gerhard Berger at McLaren and Jenson Button during the BAR-Honda era, as well as in the IndyCars series.

    As for leading the powertrain development back at base in Sakura, Japan, a replacement for the role has not been officially named; however, this will apparently go to Yasuaki Asaki, previously chief of N series kei cars at Honda, according to Autosport. The changes are set to take effect on January 1.

    Meanwhile, McLaren will be hoping for better fortunes and ultimately results, with the change to Renault power units next year.

  • Ivan Choo wins MSF Drift Gonzo preview round

    The first ever target-style drifting event in the country, MSF Drift Gonzo, took place on December 2 as part of the MSF Finale 2017 event. Held at the Sepang Circuit Paddock carpark, a total of 26 entries made it to the event and thus being part of Malaysian motorsports history.

    The course this time featured a fast 120 km/h entry into a left turn, for which to score maximum points the drifters were expected to initiate the slide 60 metres earlier. The course then tightened into a right, with a front clipping point, then a flick left for another front clipping point, and then into a figure eight with a rear clipping point exercise and two more front clipping point targets.

    This exited into a “Walkway”, a narrow 15 metre pathway section which the drivers had to hold the car in a slide while going straight, before taking a left for another rear clipping point. Then finally drivers were required to enter the Donut Box and perform a donut, Ken Block style, and pass the timing beams at the exit.

    In a nutshell, here’s how MSF Drift Gonzo was scored:

    • Every drifter had 2 runs for which to score points
    • Each run started with 10,000 points
    • The wall ride had marking cones every 10 metres for a total of 5 cones. Each cone that they drifted past at speed doubled up in score, starting from 500 points for the first cone, then 1000 points for the second, and 2000 points if they passed the next, all the way for a maximum of 8,000 points for all five cones
    • Front clipping points had two targets to hit, one at 1.5 metres and another at one metre. If they hit one they received 2,000 points, if they hit both it was 4,000 points in the bag
    • Rear clipping points had only one target to touch with the rear portion of the vehicle, and this was worth 4,000 points
    • The Walkway was worth 10,000 points
    • The Donut Box was worth 10,000 points
    • Each cone dropped resulted in a deduction of 1,000 points
    • Each time a driver failed to continue the drift or straightened out of drift, further points are deducted
      The baseline time for the course was 50 seconds. Every second below that scored an additional bonus of 1,000 points per second

    Morning was the practice session, and for many of the drifters it was the first time that they had encountered such a technical course. The skill of driving the car forwards but still drifting throughout the course that ebbed and flowed, tightening and opening and twisting left and right, was alien to some.

    However, given that many of the drivers in attendance that day were some of best drifters in the country, it did not take them long to develop a feel and acclimatise. By lunchtime, they were coming into the first turn at full throttle with a short clutch-kick, carrying phenomenal speed through that left sweeper.

    Once the competition proper got underway, all the drivers had a better understanding what was required of them and their machine, and had risen to the challenge of Drift Gonzo.

    The top guys put in some amazing runs that afternoon, their finesse and delicate car control on display for the 2,000-strong crowd that had turned up to witness the drifters doing their dance. No one drift run was the same between any one driver, such was the difference in skill, setup, and driving style.

    The Street category was won by Muhd Zaiham (nicknamed Bullzai) – an international-level drifter who represented Malaysia at the first ever FIA Intercontinental Drift Challenge two months ago – at the wheel of a V8-powered Nissan Cefiro. Bullzai made great use of the big engine’s torque to stomp through the course in 43 seconds and a perfect run, also making the top score of the day with 64,000 points.

    Second was Johari Mat Salleh, in his beautiful diamond red Nissan Cefiro with a high-revving turbocharged RB26 straight-six. Johari put in clean, fast runs but was unable to completely tie it all together in the way Bullzai did. Rounding off the podium was Lim Zee King, one of the fathers of Malaysian drifting – he represented Malaysia back in the 2005 D1GP World Finals together with Tengku Djan.

    “I’m just here to have a good time, as this event sounded different and really interesting,” said Zee earlier in the day. Zee showed off his trademark smooth drifting style, making an almost perfect run – only let down by his time of 46 seconds as his Toyota Chaser is a True Street machine.

    The Super 1600 category was won by Fattah in his TE71 Toyota Corolla. Do not take this lightly, as the Super 1600 category cars would always face a power and torque deficit compared to the turbo or large-capacity machines, and required a very distinct and committed driving style through the course. Fattah was extremely flamboyant in his little machine, flinging it from clipping point to clipping point at full throttle, keeping the revs up and keeping the power flowing. Very entertaining!

    The Pro-Comp category saw the hardcore, full competition drift beasts spectacularly smoke up the Sepang paddock with lurid, high-speed entries and full-throttle slides. Champion of the first ever MSF Drift Gonzo Pro-Comp category was Ivan Choo with his turbocharged Nissan 350Z. Ivan’s first turn entry had to be seen to be believed, as he threw the car completely sideways on the lock stops at over 120 km/h.

    You could tell from the way that that Nissan moved that Ivan was giving it his maximum, scrabbling for grip and gunning it from point to point – it was an amazing display of raw speed and attack-style drifting, and when Ivan cut the timing beam in 41 seconds the spectators lost it. Such an incredible run, no mistakes, and so fast!

    Second in Pro-Comp was Lawrence Lee, who piloted his Nissan 180SX as if it was a cruise missile, Lawrence was quick, attacking all the way, and flamboyant in style. Lee Mun Hong scored well to take 3rd place, visually a very fast and smooth drifter in his Nissan Silvia S14, making it look effortless.

    Mun Hong also took the unofficial award for best buddy of the day, loaning his car to Wilson Chang to play when the latter’s own 180SX hit technical problems halfway around noon.

    With the success of the Preview Round of MSF Drift Gonzo, it is confirmed that it will run three rounds next year as a championship, together with the double-day weekends of Malaysia Speed Festival. The dates are April 7, September 1 and December 1, 2018. Certainly not to be missed!

  • Maker of Budweiser beer orders 40 Tesla Semi trucks

    Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser beer, has ordered a fleet of 40 electric-powered trucks from Tesla, Reuters reports. The Tesla Semi truck will help the brewer reduce fuel costs and vehicle emissions, it said yesterday. Revealed last month, production of the Semi will start in 2019, Tesla says.

    “At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative. This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact,” said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch, the US subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s biggest brewer.

    The company plans to use the Tesla Semi trucks for shipments to wholesalers within the 800 km range promised by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

    According to Reuters, this is one of the largest publicly announced orders Tesla has received for its electric truck. A range of trucking, grocery, and retail companies have reserved at least 117 units of the Semi, including Anheuser-Busch’s 40, the news agency calculates. The actual figure could be higher because fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport Services said it ordered some Semis without providing a specific number.

    Big companies that have also put in orders include Wal-Mart, Germany’s DHL, and Fortigo Freight Services Inc, one of Canada’s largest fleet management companies.

    The Semi is powered by four independent electric motors on the rear axles, and will go from a rest to 96 km/h (0-60 mph) in just five seconds. Of course, this is without a trailer hitched to it, but Tesla says with a full 36,287 kg (80,000 pound) load, its truck will complete the sprint in 20 seconds. Tesla claims that this is three times faster than a regular diesel truck.

    Tesla says that it will introduce Megachargers, a new high-speed DC charging system that is said to provide 644 km (400 miles) of range in just 30 minutes. These will be installed at strategic points and along heavily trafficked routes, enabling recharging during loading, unloading, and driver breaks.

    The Palo Alto-based company, known for its Model S sedan, says the Semi is a more cost-efficient solution for fleet owners, with claimed fuel savings of more than US$200,000 over a million miles. The Semi, which will have Enhanced Autopilot, is claimed to consume less than 2 kWh of energy per mile, and is capable of 500 miles (800 km) of range at highway speed.

  • SPYSHOTS: Mazda RX-9 seen testing in RX-8 clothes

    This looks like a debadged Mazda RX-8, but of course the four-door coupé has been around for more than a decade and ceased production since 2012. So surely something is up when a tatty example appears to be making the rounds at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

    This, therefore, is quite likely the test mule for the powertrain propelling Mazda’s upcoming rotary-engined sports car replacement, possibly called the RX-9. As you can see, the front end is fitted with an aftermarket bumper with larger air intakes and some additional piping, which should feed more air to what is likely to be a significantly more powerful engine.

    What’s more, the car is wearing number plates from the district of Hochtaunuskreis (denoted by the ‘HG’ prefix), something that has been seen on a number of Mazda development mules. That’s not surprising, given that it’s where the town of Oberursel, in which sits Mazda’s European R&D centre, is located.

    Contrary to earlier reports of the rotary engine consigned to range-extender duties in a hybrid powertrain, the upcoming sports car is said to put the novel-but-problematic mill in a rather more centrestage role in its propulsion. Rumour has it that a 1.6 litre twin-rotor turbo unit will be utilised, developing in the region of 400 hp, and there are also reports of electrification that is set to bring total system output up to 450 hp.

    Despite it being early days with technical details consequently scarce at this stage, lightweight construction can be expected to be part of the RX-9’s development programme. The car will likely also feature styling inspired by the RX-Vision Concept shown at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, meant to presage such a model.

    The sighting of this mule should bring enthusiasts relief, as the likelihood of a next-generation rotary sports car has been rather suspect in recent times. This time last year, Mazda president and CEO Masamichi Kogai said that there were no plans for a sports car larger than the MX-5 as yet, something that was repeated by the company’s North American engineers Jay Chen and Yoshiaki Yamane just recently.

  • DRIVEN: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0L 4WD CKD review

    When it comes to purchasing a sport utility vehicle, Malaysian customers have quite a number of models to choose from various manufacturers. However, as the readers’ comments on have revealed, there are quite a number of people that insist on a unibody, mid-size, seven-seat SUV that is priced outside the premium segment.

    As a result, the pool of vehicles is made smaller, as nameplates like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 (five-seaters), plus the Volvo XC90 (premium) no longer fit the bill. Other models like the Toyota Fortuner and Isuzu MU-X aren’t considered either, as they are body-on-frame SUVs, despite being seven-seaters. This leaves us with just a handful of options, namely the Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento, and Hyundai Santa Fe.

    The first on the list was launched in February 2016, where it arrived fully imported (CBU) in a sole 2.4L 4WD variant at the time (Danny Tan had a go in one already). Just a few months ago, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) expanded the line-up with a new, locally-assembled (CKD) 2.0L 2WD option, which among other things, comes with a more tantalising price tag.

    Of course, there are a few items that have to make way in order to facilitate the pricing, which is RM139,988 (on-the-road without insurance) until the end of 2017. So, should you make haste for one before then? We try out the new Outlander variant on a trip to Janda Baik and back to find out.

    Read The Full Story ›

  • Porsche 911 GT3 Touring meant to stop 911 R flipping

    Earlier in September, Porsche introduced the 911 GT3 Touring Package that could only be had with a six-speed manual transmission. Although unclear at the time the motivation behind such a move (especially if the very similar 911 R was as exclusive as it was supposed to be), the boss of the 911 model range, August Achleitner, said there was an ulterior motive after all.

    After all, there’s surely no coincidence that the GT3 Touring is so similarly specced to the ultra-rare, limited-run 911 R. The former, priced over 20% cheaper than the 911 R – which retailed at €189,544 (RM910,300) and was limited to 991 units – isn’t even limited in terms of production numbers.

    According to Road & Track, the GT3 Touring was partially conceived in response (and possibly curtail) to flippers responsible for over-inflating the price of used 911 Rs on the market, reportedly now at multiple times the original asking price. “We did not expect this, let me say, crazy reaction concerning used car prices,” Achleitner told the publication at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

    “Some people are making only money with the car. We don’t like that,” says Achleitner. “If [the GT3 Touring Package] helps keep prices a little bit lower for the average customer of our cars, it’s better. Of course, there are some specific customers who are a little bit disappointed, but it’s okay, we can live with this.”

    Prices for a used Porsche 911 R were reportedly multiple times the original asking price

    It’s worth noting that the GT3 Touring and R aren’t exactly the same car, with minor exterior (the former is basically the facelifted 991 GT3 but without the fixed rear wing, while the R gets a carbon fibre bonnet and doors and a magnesium roof to save weight) and interior differences. The R also uses an older engine from the outgoing GT3 RS, which makes the same 500 hp but doesn’t rev as high (8,600 rpm versus 9,000 rpm).

    Apart from that, however, the two are essentially the same. Even Achleitner himself admits that the R and the Touring Package are “similar,” and to a certain extent the new Carrera T as well, at least in philosophy.

    Earlier in the year, Porsche GT boss, Andreas Preuninger told Car and Driver that the company is keeping an eye on car flippers. If necessary, these individuals may not even be offered limited-edition cars in future. “We are monitoring very closely who is flipping cars,” he said. “We do not build too many cars and we know most of our customers well – we like to have a name for every car before we build it.”

    The Porsche 911 Carrera T follows the same purist recipe as the GT3 Touring

    “I personally like to see my cars being used. That’s what we build them for. They are just too good to be left to stand and collect dust,” he added. “I don’t like this business of people buying our cars to make money on them. That was never our intention. The purpose of limiting a car is not for it to gain value. We don’t want to be laying money on each car’s roof when they run out of the factory.”

    To recap, the GT3 Touring Package is mechanically identical to the “standard” GT3, drawing power from a 4.0 litre naturally-aspirated flat-six that produces 500 hp at 8,250 rpm and 460 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. No seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is available here, only the six-speed manual. It takes about 3.9 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h before hitting a top speed of 316 km/h.

    If that’s still too much power for your liking, perhaps the stripped-out Carrera T (for Touring) with a 370 hp/450 Nm 3.0 litre turbo flat-six and a seven-speed stick shifter may be better suited for your maiden rear-engined, rear-drive, row-your-own-gears venture.

    GALLERY: Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package

    GALLERY: Porsche 911 R

    GALLERY: Porsche 911 Carrera T

  • Harley-Davidson confirms new Malaysian distributor

    As previously reported on, Harley-Davidson (H-D) will be opening a showroom and 3S service centre at The Gasket Alley in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. This was confirmed by Johan Kleinsteuber, H-D’s managing director for Asia Emerging Markets during a visit to check on progress of the new facility.

    While Kleinsteuber was not able to confirm an official opening date for the new H-D showroom, he said it will be soon, and the service centre will be accepting H-D motorcycles for service beginning the end of this week. Technicians in the new official H-D service centre are trained in the H-D training centre in Thailand.

    Aside from the flagship centre in Petaling Jaya, two more showrooms and service facilities will be opening in Malacca and Penang come 2018. These two centres will be operated by official H-D dealers, with support coming from the brand.

    With regards to new H-D models, Kleinstuber said efforts are being made to bring the entire 2018 model range into Malaysia, but this is still in planning. What is confirmed for next year is the Softail and CVO range of H-D cruisers will be in the showroom by early next year.

    Speaking on the cost of H-D’s bikes in Malaysia, Kleinsteuber did not deny that Malaysia is amongst countries with the highest pricing for motorcycles, but this has to be accepted due to the tax and duty structure that has to be adhered to. However, he said that with the opening of the assembly facility in Thailand at the end of 2018, it is hoped that pricing will be brought down to more attractive levels.

  • Malaysian custom Eastern Bobber “Bone X” to enter AMD Custom Bike Building championship in Germany

    In the Malaysian custom motorcycle world, the name Omar Jumiran and his brand, Eastern Bobber, is well known. Starting as a metal welder in a home workshop, Omar started building custom motorcycles in 2009, and his latest creation, “Bone X”, will enter the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Germany next October.

    Taking inspiration from another custom builder, Chicara Nagata from Japan, the Bone X is 90% hand-built, excluding off-the-shelf items such as they tyres and brake pump. Loosely based on a flat tracker design, the Bone X rolls on 21-inch wheels front and rear, mimicking the thin tyre sizes of 1920s racers.

    With the equal tyre sizes, the Bone X looks almost symmetrical, and the chrome finish looks like a mirror splits the two halves of the bike. Motive power is a 350 cc, air-cooled, long-stroke, single-cylinder AJS, which gives Bone X its unique exhaust note, with power getting to the ground via a three-speed dry clutch gear box.

    Unique to the Bone X is its suspension design, which uses multi-link arms actuating shock absorbers located where the fuel would be on a normal motorcycle. Both front and rear suspension arms are single-sided, with steering done by a cast and polished handlebar assembly.

    It should be noted all suspension components are hand-made by Omar, including the springs which went through four variants before he found a suitable spring setting. Omar says the most challenging aspect of designing the suspension was the front, besides needing the front wheel to turn left and right, also needed a certain amount of rake, without which the Bone X would not handle correctly.

    Various custom touches adorn Bone X, including a 9-litre fuel tank carried within the frame, which Omar says is all that is required as it is a show bike more than anything else. Oil for the dry-sump engine is also carried within the frame, with both fuel and oil accessed by bolts in the frame.

    Finish for this Malaysian-built custom is mainly clear coat over bare and polished metal as well as chrome plating. According to Omar, “I do not want the judges to be distracted by any sort of fancy paint work, and I want the engineering on the bike to be judged for what it is.”

    Starting the build for Bone X just after the Aidil Fitri, Omar took a mere six months to build his competition custom, and he aims to win a place at the AMD show, not just participating. His plans after the show will be to strip the bike down again, and improving the build, with an eye to getting sponsors to help defray the cost of building Bone X.


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Last Updated 30 Nov 2017


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