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  • Audi SQ8 unveiled – 435 hp; 900 Nm from 1,000 rpm

    The Audi SQ8 has arrived, adding a performance variant to the mainstream Q8 line. This follows the SQ7 in employing a diesel powertrain for a higher-performance version, here featuring a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 diesel with 435 hp and 900 Nm of torque from 1,000 rpm. In terms of performance, the 0-100 km/h sprint is elapsed in 4.8 seconds while top speed is an electronically governed 250 km/h.

    The diesel V8 powertrain is augmented by a 48V electrical system which feeds an electric-powered compressor to support the two conventional turbochargers, for virtually lag-free performance.

    This also supports pure electric driving, courtesy of a belt alternator starter (BAS) that is connected to the crankshaft, and enables the SQ8 to coast for up to 40 seconds between 55 km/h and 160 km/h. Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, while a sport differential apportions torque between the rear wheels as necessary when cornering.

    Based on the same MLB Evo platform as its SQ7 sibling, the SQ8’s running gear also features adaptive air suspension, which offers adjustment of ride height within a range of 90 mm, and the 48V architecture also supports electromechanical roll stabilisation via electric motors. Rolling stock is comprised of 21-inch wheels as standard, while 22-inch items are optionally available; carbon-ceramic brakes are standard.

    A new front grille distinguishes the SQ8 from the more mainstream variants, where a matte silver finish is applied to the singleframe grille, while the front bumper gains revised inlets. The rear end gets a matte black diffuser alongside quad exhaust outlets; a black styling package will be offered for personalisation.

    The SQ8 interior varies slightly from that of the standard Q8 range, here offering a mix of leather and alcantara with tell-tale ‘S’ logos, featuring on the steering wheel and on the seats. Stainless steel is used for the pedals and footrest, while aluminium inlays along the door sills are part of standard SQ8 fare. Further along, carbon-fibre trim and contrast stitching can also be specified.

    Infotainment in the SQ8, as in the Q8, is taken care of by a dual touchscreen setup along the centre console stack, while driver instrumentation is handled by the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel. Here, the driver’s display gets S model-specific graphics.

    Pricing has yet to be revealed, though the top SQ8 is expected to cost more than the top of the standard range 55 TFSI variant, which is listed at £80,815 (RM422,762) in the UK. In Malaysia, the Audi Q8 comes in petrol 3.0 TFSI guise, where a 3.0 litre turbo V5 petrol produces 340 hp from 5,200-6,400 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,370-4,500 rpm.

     
  • 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS Adventure, R 1250 GS and R 1250 GS Adventure in M’sia – from RM88,500

    In a triple launch at the BMW Motorrad Nightfuel in Sungai Besi Air Force base, BMW Motorrad Malaysia launched the 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS Adventure, R 1250 GS and R 1250 GS Adventure. Pricing for the F 850 GS Adventure is RM88,500, while the R 1250 GS and R 1250 GS Adventure are priced at RM116,500 and RM125,500, respectively.

    Complementing the F 850 GS, the F 850 GS Adventure is a taller version, with an 853 cc parallel-twin engine. Mated to a six-speed gearbox, the F 850 GS Adventure produces 95 hp at 8,250 rpm and 92 Nm of torque at 6,250 rpm.

    Differentiating the F 850 GS Adventure from the F 850 GS are engine guards, fairing from the front cowl to the bottom of the engine, adjustable windshield, textured seat and wider footpegs that fold in case the bike is dropped. The taller suspension gives 230 mm of travel in front and 215 mm at the back and a rear luggage rack is standard.

    The F 850 GS Adventure rolls on 21-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked wheels, with LED lighting and TFT-LCD instrument panel, along with two ride modes, Automatic Stability Control (ASC) and ABS. Braking is done by Brembo, with a two-piston callipers in front and and single-piston calliper in the back with fuel carried in a 23-litre tank.

    Launched at the end of the previous year, the R 1250 GS now comes with a 1,254 cc boxer engine equipped with ShiftCam. AS BMW Motorrad’s version of variable valve actuation applied to the intake valve, BMW claims Shiftcam gives better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

    Other improvements to the R 1250 GS engine include the use of a toothed cam chain, replacing the previous roller chain and twin-jet injectors which allow the boxer mill to produce 136 hp at 7,750 rpm and 143 Nm of torque at 6,250 rpm. The previous 1,170 cc R1200 power plant produced 125 hp and 125 Nm of torque, in comparison.

    Standard equipment on the R 1250 GS is BMW’s Keyless Ride, two riding modes – Road and Rain – and the latest generation Dynamic ESA electronic suspension. Also included are a 6.5-inch TFT-LCD screen, cruise control and a quickshifter.

    As the taller version of the R 1250 GS, the R 1250 GS Adventure comes with additional engine protection bars and side panels, metal luggage rack at the back and a 30-litre fuel tank, against the base version’s 20-litre unit. Suspension travel is similarly increased, with the GS Adventure having 210 mm and 220 mm of travel front and rear, while the base R 1250 GS makes do with 190 mm in front and 200 mm at the back.

    In case this is not enough, the rider of the R 1250 GS and GS Adventure has the option of adding Riding Modes Pro for true off-road riding, Dynamic Traction Control, ABS Pro, hill start control, Dynamic Brake Control and tyre pressure monitoring system. Availability of the 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS Adventure, R 1250 GS and R 1250 Adventure at authorised BMW Motorrad Malaysia dealers is immediate.

    GALLERY: 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS Adventure


    GALLERY: 2019 BMW Motorrad F 1250 GS
    GALLERY: 2019 BMW Motorrad F 1250 GS Adventure

     
  • Honda opens first 3S centre in Bintulu, Sarawak

    There’s a new Honda 3S centre in Bintulu, the first for the brand in the Sarawak city. Operated by Kemena Auto, it is located at Lot 14728, Jalan Tun Hussein Onn.

    Kemena Auto has invested RM11 million in the new outlet, which sits on a 43,560 sq.ft plot of land. It’s equipped with 10 bays – comprising six service bays, three general repair bays and one tyre service bay – that can accommodate up to 40 cars per day. The facility has customer lounges, complimentary WiFi, a kid’s corner, surau and free flow of food and beverages. Customers can also perform road tax and insurance renewal at the 3S centre.

    “East Malaysia is a region with growing potential and great opportunity, which has made it an important market for Honda Malaysia. The East Malaysia expansion started four years ago and currently we have 13 dealerships with seven of them located in Sarawak. As the only dealership in Bintulu, we strongly believe that Kemena Auto will provide outstanding sales and after-sales services to our customers in this area,” said Honda Malaysia MD and CEO Toichi Ishiyama.

    On Honda Malaysia’s sales performance, Ishiyama revealed that 2019 sales up to May was more than 38,800 units. This also means that nearly halfway into the year, Honda maintains its position as the top selling non-national brand, and second overall behind Perodua. The biggest contributor was the City at 33%, followed by the HR-V at 21% and the CR-V at 14%. Honda’s East Malaysia sales contributed 6% to the year-to-date tally. Of this, over 1,300 units were sold in Sarawak, making up 60% of total EM sales.

    Service intake has also risen in tandem with sales growth. For the first five months of 2019, 567,200 units came through dealers’ doors, a 12% increase year-on-year.

    To make an appointment with Kemena Auto, call 086-342899 (sales) or 086-342599 (service).

     
  • Driven Movie Night: Spider-Man: Far From Home tix!

    As Endgame marked the conclusion of an era for some of the Avengers, it was just the beginning for Spider-Man. Step into the life of a student trying to juggle a normal life with a hero’s duty, as an augmented Peter Parker needs to step up against new threats in a changing world.

    Watch Spider-Man: Far From Home with us, ahead of the rest courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment Malaysia. A total of 10 pairs of tickets are up for grabs, which means a total of 20 passes are being given out. Additionally, selected winners will receive exclusive Spider-Man: Far From Home merchandise as well!

    This screening will take place on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at 9pm, at GSC One Utama in Petaling Jaya. All you need to do is watch the trailer below and answer the following questions. Be quick – the contest closes Friday, June 28, 2019.

    *Contest closes on Friday, June 28, 2019. Winners will be announced on paultan.org and notified via email and SMS on Monday, July 1, 2019. The announced results are final and any disputes will not be entertained. The movie screening will be held on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at 9pm at GSC One Utama in Petaling Jaya, and winners must collect their passes at the above venue one hour before the screening time. Due to screening location, the contest is open to Klang Valley residents only.

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  • 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R in Malaysia – RM299,000

    If you feel the run of the mill Ducati Panigale V4 is common or the slightly performance upsized Panigale V4 S – read our ride impression here – is too tame, the 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R is now in Malaysia, at an eye watering price of RM299,000. The price naturally does not include road tax, insurance or registration and we have a feeling most Panigale V4 Rs, worldwide, will become garage queens or race track weapons.

    Differentiating the Panigale V4 R from the base Panigale V4 is the Stradale V-4 engine, which displaces 998 cc against the base model’s 1,103 cc. Despite the engine downsizing because of racing rules, the V4 R produces 221 hp at 15,250 rpm (this is not a typo) and 112 Nm of torque at 11,500 rpm.

    As befits a racing Ducati of this calibre, equipment fit out draws from the top shelf of component manufacturers, including Brembo Monobloc Stylema M4.30 brake callipers in front complemented with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO. Suspension is similarly high quality, with a fully-adjustable Ohlins NPX titanium nitrided front fork and Ohlins TTX36 monoshock.

    A full suite of electronic riding aids comes as standard, including Bosch Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Power Launch (DPL). Also included is Ducati Quick Shift up/down (DQS) EVO, Engine Brake Control EVO (EBC) EVO and three ride modes.

    A STM EVO-SBK dry clutch is also fitted for that authentic WSBK engine sound, as well as a strengthened and lightened frame, manually adjustable Ohlins steering damper and adjustable swingarm. Marchesini aluminium alloy wheels come standard with an Aero Pack body kit that includes a pair of carbon-fibre wings, TFT-LCD colour screen, lap timer and data analyser and GPS module.

     
  • PLUS open to highway concession takeover from gov’t

    Highway concessionaire PLUS says it is willing to review the concession agreements should the government want to take over PLUS-operated tolled highways. According to its MD Datuk Azman Ismail, PLUS is open to a toll concession takeover by the government, as Bernama reports.

    “We are a concession company and we have signed agreements with the government. If the government wants to change (the agreements), we will look at it (proposal), in accordance with the agreement. We just have to wait what the government has to offer,” he said in response to a question posed over the matter.

    The concessionaire is the expressway arm of UEM Group, which is a subsidiary of Khazanah. Both UEM and Khazanah collectively hold a 51% share in PLUS, with the remainder owned by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). Previously, Khazanah said it would leave it to PLUS to handle discussions if there was a proposal by the government to take over its toll expressways, but would advise PLUS from time to time.

    The question about a potential takeover for PLUS comes after last week’s decision by the government to take over four concessions of toll highways, namely the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and the Smart Tunnel, to the tune of RM6.2 billion.

    While not eliminating tolls completely on the four routes, finance minister Lim Guan Eng said commuters using these four highways will save as much as RM180 million annually in the switch to a congestion charge system. He added that the move is also set to save taxpayers RM5.3 billion in compensation to the concessionaires.

     
  • BMW plug-in hybrids to auto-switch to electric mode in emissions-free zones – feature will debut next year

    Here’s another tidbit from BMW’s #NextGen showcase in Munich. The carmaker will launch a new function in its plug-in hybrid models that will automatically detect emissions-free zones switch and auto switch to pure electric driving mode.

    This function, called BMW eDrive Zones, will be standard in BMW PHEVs from 2020. In cities that establish green zones solely for emission-free driving, geofencing technology will be able to recognise these automatically. When the car enters the zone, it will automatically switch to EV mode.

    With BMW eDrive Zones, Munich is hoping that its plug-in hybrids get to receive the same access rights to green zones as full electric vehicles, since they essentially behave the same in these areas and emit nothing. However, what if the PHEV runs out of pure electric range while driving in the green zone?

    BMW says that this strategy significantly boosts the potential of plug-in hybrid vehicles to reduce emissions. Increasing the use of electric driving not only optimises efficiency, but also helps reduce operating costs for customers, especially in city traffic. The BMW Group’s “Electric City Drive” pilot project is a real-life test of eDrive Zones in conjunction with the Dutch city of Rotterdam and the local Erasmus University.

    The premium brand is also planning a BMW Points app, which encourages PHEV customers to “get the most out of their electric drive.” Basically, the more miles you cover in EV mode, the more points and public charging time you will get. Aside from Charge Now charging, BMW is planning more rewards from Share Now and Park Now services. This system has already been tested by 50 volunteer PHEV drivers in Rotterdam over a three-month period last year.

    BMW is boosting its PHEV and electrification drive. The original plan, revealed in 2017, was to have 25 new electrified models out by 2025. Now, Munich has announced that it will achieve that two years earlier, by 2023. More than half of the 25 models are set to be fully-electric.

    Last year, it sold 142,617 electrified BMWs and MINIs. By the end of 2019, the German automaker expects to reach the half a million total electrified units sold milestone.

     
  • DRIVEN: G05 BMW X5 in Atlanta – X-ceed expectations

    Look at the product portfolio of every major premium carmaker out there and you’ll find that they are almost overrun by SUVs. Rugged-looking yet resolutely road-biased, these vehicles appeal to a broader audience and, as such, form a very important part of these brands’ plans to take over the world.

    But it wasn’t always like this – the premium SUV was almost unheard of 20 years ago. Sure, there was Mercedes-Benz with its body-on-frame M-Class and Lexus with its RX, but for the most part premium brands stuck to building traditional sedans, wagons and coupés. That is, until the original X5 arrived in 1999.

    Yes it was big, yes it was heavy, and yes purists hated it (not nearly as much as when they found out BMW was going to make a front-wheel drive car), but it showed that Munich didn’t need to be confined to its traditional clientele of 20-something yuppies and ageing businessmen. Never mind that as an off-road-style vehicle, it couldn’t actually go very far off the road – it was a hit, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    But the X5 is now at a crossroads. It’s a victim of its own success, as the ultra-competitive segment is packed with up and coming rivals that are either quicker, more comfortable or better to drive. To fend off all comers, the new G05 X5 has to be the consummate all-rounder, doing everything just as well, if not better, than the rest. Has it succeeded? We flew all the way to Atlanta to find out.

    Read the review of the G05 BMW X5 here.

     
  • PLUS Malaysia announces partnership with Microsoft

    Highway operator PLUS Malaysia announced its partnership with Microsoft Malaysia for the integration of the Azure cloud computing system into its highway toll network, for the highway operator to be able to support future technologies towards improving highway operations.

    These include the incorporation of big data analytics and artificial intelligence-enhanced operations, while PLUS’ partnership with Microsoft also signifies the first step in the highway operator’s digital transformation journey towards better efficiency and lowered costs.

    This partnership will see PLUS adopt Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform to handle the challenges of server capacity, flexibility and security, the highway operator said. This will help PLUS grow its on-premise resources to improve internal performance and subsequently, the customer experience, without undue worry for server capacity, it said.

    Additionally, PLUS will also be using the Azure Key Vault to secure cloud-stored data with the use of cryptographic keys, and reduce data discrepancy, enhance operations and toll collection reconciliation and improve efficiency by 40% or 600 man-hours each month, as a result. Here, machine learning is being applied to CCTV monitoring in a pilot programme, and will be able to detect on-road incidents and aid in quicker response on the ground.

    The primary point of interaction between the highway operator and the customer remains the PLUS mobile app, from which users will be able to view a video feed of various locations of the highways that is refreshed every 10 seconds. The work towards back-end operations aims to improve traffic predictability for the road user via more precise traffic monitoring, and PLUS is also working to improve the frequency of the visual updates from the current 10-second intervals.

     
  • BMW Power BEV – sub three-second, 710 hp all-electric experimental unit hidden under a 5 Series shell

    The #NextGen showcase in Munich isn’t all about tech placed under fresh, sharp profiles like the Vision M Next. There are also familiar shapes like this 5 Series, although this is no regular G30, not by a country mile.

    This experimental unit is called the Power BEV, and tucked away under the skin are three of the automaker’s fifth-generation electric drive units, the likes of which will make its series production debut on the iX3, although that will only feature one drive unit of the type.

    Here. the trio offers a combined total output of more than 710 hp. It’s all good enough to get the car to 100 km/h from standstill in under three seconds. As the numbers go, that’s fast, but the aim isn’t about outright speed in a straight line, but retaining that ability when the road starts to curve, the magic in this case coming courtesy of the drive layout.

    The drive units – each with its electric motor and associated power electronics placed within a single housing – are configured with one mounted at the front axle and two (a double drive unit) at the rear axle.

    The rear motors are controlled separately, which allows e-torque vectoring to be accomplished, enabling maximum drive power to be put into forward propulsion even when the twists start to arrive.

    According to the automaker, the result is a more effective and precise delivery, with actively targeted inputs being possible in any driving situation compared to a regular limited slip differential, which reacts to a difference in rotation speed between the driven wheels.

    The automaker says that despite the complexity of getting the entire electric drive system on to a production car, it was all managed with no restriction in passenger compartment space. As for the project, it has opened up possibilities of further exploring aspects of e-torque vectoring with two separately-controllable electric motors at the rear axle.

     
 

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Last Updated 22 Jun 2019



 

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