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  • International Engine of the Year 2019 – Ferrari for four

    Ferrari has again taken the International Engine of the Year award with its F154 CB/CD, making it four titles in a row for the 3.9 litre twin-turbo V8. The 2019 gong makes it the engine with the most IEOTY wins in the awards’ 21 year history – it previously shared the triple crown honour with Ford’s 1.0 litre EcoBoost, the 2012-2014 winner.

    The Ferrari mill, as seen on the 488 GTB and 488 Spider in CB guise and on the 488 Pista and F8 Tributo in CD form, amassed 425 points to finish comfortably ahead of Jaguar Land Rover’s full-electric powertrain (328 points) from the award-winning I-Pace and Mercedes-AMG’s M178 4.0 litre V8 (280 points).

    The Italian engine also won the Best Performance Engine and the Above 650 PS category awards, essentially mirroring the three titles it managed last year. This year’s awards saw revisions to the competing categories – previously, these were grouped under displacement or capacity (Sub 1-Litre, 1-Litre to 1.4-Litre), but the classes have now been altered to reflect output, with 12 categories in all being contested.

    In the Sub 150 PS category, the Ford 1.0 litre EcoBoost emerged as champion ahead of BMW’s 1.5 litre B38 three-cylinder turbo and PSA Peugeot Citroen’s 1.2 litre three-pot turbo. In the 150 PS to 250 PS segment, Audi secured top spot with its 2.0 litre TFSI, which is seen on a variety of applications across the VW Group brands.

    The winner in the 250 PS to 350 PS category was Porsche’s 2.5 litre turbo unit as seen on the 718 Boxster S and Cayman S, while the 350 PS to 450 PS winner was the JLR full-electric powertrain, which also ended up taking the Best New Engine and Best Electric Powertrain awards.

    The Mercedes-AMG M178 secured the title in the 450 PS to 550 PS class ahead of rival offerings from Porsche and BMW, and in the 550 PS to 650 PS segment Ferrari took another award, this time with another variation of its F154, the BB as seen on the Portofino and GTC4Lusso T.

    Finally, the Best Hybrid Powertrain award went to the system found on the BMW i8, where the B38 1.5 litre three-pot again features, but in its K15 guise.

  • BMW announces update measures for summer 2019

    BMW has announced a whole slew of revisions for several models in its line-up, which either involve the list of available equipment or powertrains, as part of the company’s update measures for summer 2019.

    Starting with the G20 3 Series, three new all-wheel drive powertrains will join the range that currently features the M340i xDrive and 330e. They include the 320i xDrive (184 PS or 181 hp), 330i xDrive (258 PS or 255 hp) and 330d xDrive (265 PS or 261 hp). An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for these variants.

    Also, from July this year, the M Sport and Adaptive M suspension systems will be available as an option for non-M Sport models, with both setups combined with Variable Sport Steering (variable ratio steering).

    The G30 5 Series will also receive a new engine for the M550i xDrive, which is essentially the same one found on the current M850i. The 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 makes 530 PS (523 hp) and 750 Nm of torque, with an eight-speed automatic paired to it.

    BMW has yet to provide new performance figures resulting from the use of the more powerful V8. It did note that BMW Laserlight (with BMW Selective Beam) will be added to the list of options for both the M550i xDrive and its diesel sibling, the M550d xDrive.

    Meanwhile, the 530e will benefit from the latest-generation high-voltage battery, which is claimed to provide a longer all-electric operating range, along with an all-wheel drive version.

    Moving on to the 8 Series, both the Coupe and Convertible models can now be ordered in 840i and 840i xDrive guises. These variants come with a B58 3.0 litre turbocharged inline-six petrol engine that outputs 340 PS (335 hp) and 450 Nm – this engine is also used in the 540i.

    Another coupe and convertible pairing, the M4, also sees are minor update, with the M Competition package now being a standard fitment. The package consists of Adaptive M suspension, an extra-sporty configuration for the Dynamic Stability Control system, Active M Differential, M Sport exhaust system, 20-inch M light-alloy wheels, BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim and M seats.

    Enthusiasts will also be glad to know that the entry-level Z4 variant, the sDrive20i, will be available with a six-speed manual transmission. Given the Z4’s association to the A90 Toyota GR Supra, will we see a manual version of the reborn Japanese sports car soon?

    Turning our attention to BMW’s range of SUVs, the F39 X2 will now come with adaptive LED headlamps as standard from July. The options list also includes five new light-alloy wheels in 18- and 19-inch sizes, two new upholstery variants, and the M Sport braking system from the X2 M35i.

    The Navigation option for the X2 will also include an 8.8-inch Control Display with touchscreen functionality, replacing the previous 6.5-inch version. Should the Navigation Plus option be specified, a 10.25-inch display will be fitted instead.

    Not a lot new for the G01 X3 and G02 X4, as the M Sport models – X3 M40i, X3 M40d, X4 M40i and X4 M40d – can be optioned with distinctive M Sport seats. A new M Sport Individual version will also be available from August this year boasting unique touches from BMW Individual.

    The G05 X5 will also receive an expanded list of powertrains that includes the X5 xDrive25d, which packs a B47 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel with 231 PS (228 hp) and 450 Nm. Aside from the new entry-level engine, the X5 also gains a wider choice of option – the same can be said of the larger G07 X7 as well.

    Lastly, the BMW Drive Recorder is available option available for customers, and can be ordered in conjunction with Parking Assistant Plus. The digital video recorder can be ordered for the 3 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, X5 and X7.

  • LRT stations on Sri Petaling line to close for works

    Three Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations along the Sri Petaling line – the Bandaraya, Sultan Ismail and Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) stations – will be closed temporarily on June 9, 16 and 23 from 6am to 9am for platform upgrading works, Bernama reports.

    Trains from Ampang and from Putra Heights will terminate at the Bandaraya LRT station on those work periods, while trains from Sentul East will terminate at the PWTC LRT station at the aforementioned times, Prasarana said in a statement. Free feeder buses will serve the Bandaraya and PWTC LRT stations at 15-minute intervals, although this will be subject to traffic conditions, it added.

    The feeder buses are recommended for travellers intending to reach the Sultan Ismail station from the Bandaraya or PWTC stations. At the same time, Prasarana has also advised that parts of Jalan Merpati located close to the Sultan Ismail LRT station will be closed from 12am to 5am on those work dates as a precautionary measure as there will be heavy machinery in use for the upgrading works.

    Residents in the Jalan Merpati area are advised to park their vehicles in the public parking space opposite Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Chung Kwok, Prasarana added.

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    The typical hire purchase application process takes a few days. An application form has to be filled, and the applicant is required to furnish a copy of his or her Identification Card (IC/MyKad), three months’ salary slip, EA/BE forms and an EPF (KWSP) statement. To do all this, the applicant typically has to take time out of their work day to provide the required details to the bank, not to mention the time needed to gather the documents in the first place.

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    In addition to the convenience of this paperless process, the digital platform employed here offers better security of the applicant’s details as well. Not only that, the applicant will have the relief of near-instant confirmation of their application’s status, which goes towards easing the process of what normally is the second largest financial commitment for any individual.

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  • Genesis keen to build Essentia, Mint concepts – report

    Hyundai’s upmarket brand Genesis is driving its future direction on design and engineering teams which bank strongly on European backgrounds, and according to Genesis CEO Manfred Fitzgerald, the brand is keen to see its concepts such as the Essentia and the Mint come to life.

    The sad reality for many concept cars is that no matter how appealing they look, most will be consigned to the company’s archives and storage facilities, not to see the light of day again, let alone production. Fitzgerald’s team is working to turn that around, GT Spirit reports.

    “That is exactly what we don’t want to happen. There are so many beautiful concept cars that have a very short lifespan – they are shown and then never seen again. We are trying not to follow that road. The short answer for the Essentia is that we are still working on it, and it is still alive,” he explained.

    The Essentia has yet to be finalised to become a project for series production, but work on the car is ongoing and it will be an electric vehicle, Fitzgerald said, adding that its exact means of electrification has yet to be confirmed, though hydrogen is a possibility. Meanwhile, the Mint appears to have a fighting chance at seeing the daylight as well.

    Genesis Essentia concept.

    “I certainly hope (the Mint has a chance at series production), and we are currently reviewing the reactions to the launch. Our takeaway is that first, it was clearly a surprise; most people were clearly expecting something else. Secondly, the Mint has the potential to redefine the segment. I am one who will fight the very end for this car to be exactly that, and actually come to the streets,” Fitzgerald said.

    The Mint Concept will be built from a new basis, the CEO notes. “It is not based on an existing platform. Once we are ready for that car, there will be technical discussions,” he said. The first test was to gauge public reaction, which was to see whether it was something that ‘resonates with them and something they can relate to’. The firm has already found the answer, Fitzgerald says.

    The Essentia Concept will be the pacesetter for future Genesis direction, in more ways than one. A high-density battery pack and multiple electric motors will propel the Essentia from standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h) in three seconds. Meanwhile, the also-electric Mint Concept is touted with an estimated range of 320 km, and is compatible with a 350 kW fast-charging station, Genesis says.

    GALLERY: Genesis Mint Concept

  • Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is now On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – 50-unit 007 limited edition

    James Bond has driven quite a few cars over the decades serving Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but none are as synonymous with 007 as Aston Martin. This association is set to continue, thanks to the most recent collaboration between the British carmaker and EON Productions, the company that produces James Bond films with MGM Studios.

    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 50 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service DBS Superleggera special edition cars will be sold. Painted Olive Green to match the original 1969 Aston Martin DBS driven by James Bond in the classic spy flick, this limited edition lifts the Super GT’s looks to another level.

    The OHMSS DBS Superleggera sports a carbon fibre splitter, CF aero blade and unique diamond turned and forged wheels. A bespoke metal grille featuring six bright horizontal vanes adorns the front to replicate the distinctive feature of the old movie’s DBS. The exterior paint surface is enhanced with body coloured cantrails and roof, and there are commemorative side strakes.

    Inside, the flagship Aston is trimmed in black leather, accented by grey blend Alcantara. The cockpit is accented in red, inspired by the red trimmed glovebox in the original car, which held 007’s telescopic-sight rifle.

    The car’s 50 owners will have the option to select a bespoke designed drinks case which fits perfectly in the boot. The black case opens via a bright metal clasp to reveal the matching red felt lined interior, with space for two bottles of champagne (not supplied, please negotiate with your sales advisor) and four champagne flutes.

    The DBS Superleggera is powered by an uprated version of the firm’s 5.2 litre biturbo V12 that also served in the DB11. Here, the twelve-cylinder heart produces 725 PS and 900 Nm of torque between 1,800 rpm and 5,000 rpm. Set low and as far back as possible to optimise centre-of-gravity and weight distribution, the V12 is paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic. The 0-100 km/h sprint is despatched in 3.4 seconds, and top speed is 340 km/h. Shown here in March, it’s yours for RM2.88 million.

    “Creating a James Bond special edition is always an exciting challenge as we work to create a car that embodies the legend of James Bond, and the original movie car. The DBS Superleggera is a muscular car that commands attention, but the Olive Green gives it a subtlety that belies the beast beneath,” said Aston Martin VP and chief creative officer Marek Reichman.

    The price to play Bond is £300,007 (RM1.59 million before our taxes), with first deliveries commencing in Q4 2019. Those wheels though.

    GALLERY: Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in Malaysia

  • Toyota to restart parts production for A70, A80 Supra

    With demand for sports cars of past generations ever growing, Toyota is joining the ranks of automakers resuming manufacture of components for the restoration and preservation of such models, in this case the A70 and A80-generation Supras, according to Japanese Nostalgic Car.

    Parts production for the two models will be restarted, revealed Toyota Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama, himself an owner of the A80-generation model.

    “We cannot answer about specific parts at this time, but we will make every effort to meet the expectations of owners,” said Tomoyama. Called the GR Heritage Parts Project, the renewed supply of parts will mean that owners of said third- and fourth-generation cars will eventually be able to access original Toyota parts for their cars from official channels, handy for restoring cars that have been ravaged by time.

    The JZA80 has been a firm tuner favourite, giving rise to heavily modified creations, sometimes with four-figure horsepower outputs. It was no slouch in factory standard form either, producing 326 hp in twin-turbo RZ guise. The latest A90 Supra – sharing its basis with the G29 BMW Z4 – continues the march of progress, bringing a turbocharged inline six-cylinder powerplant with 340 PS and 500 Nm of torque.

    A four-cylinder version of the A90 comes alongside the iconic straight-six layout as well, with the 2.0 litre unit producing 258 PS and 400 Nm of torque. The A90 Supra is slated for a Malaysia debut later this year, although variants and pricing have yet to be announced.

    Prior to Toyota’s announcement for the JZA80, Nissan has resumed production of parts for its own performance icon, the Skyline GT-R under the Nismo Heritage Programme starting with the R32 GT-R. A year later, Nissan expanded its retrospective parts support to include its successors, the R33 and R34 GT-R. More modest in performance stats but no less significant is the Mazda NA MX-5, which has also been treated to the availability of a full restoration programme.

    GALLERY: A90 Toyota GR Supra

  • 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport unveiled – old looks hide new platform, technologies, mild hybrid engines

    The Land Rover Discovery Sport is Solihull’s sleeper hit. Despite not drawing the crowds the same way the Range Rover family does – especially its closely-related Evoque sibling – the entry-level seven-seater SUV has consistently been the brand’s breadwinner, with nearly half a million units sold worldwide over the past five years. Now, there’s a new one and it promises to be just as capable while playing just as incognito a role.

    Like the new Evoque, the new Disco Sport rides on the latest Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), a modular mixed-material platform that is designed with new technologies and electrified powertrains, such as mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids (the latter available by the end of the year), from the outset.

    Not that you’d know that from looking at it, however, because the body looks pretty much identical to the one before, right down to the trademark body-coloured C-pillar. In fact, the dimensions have been largely carried over – measuring 4,597 mm long, 2,069 mm wide and 1,727 mm tall, the new car is just two millimetres shorter and three millimetres higher, and crucially, it retains the same 2,741 mm wheelbase.

    Even so, there are a number of aesthetic tweaks, including new LED headlights with double U-shaped daytime running lights that also function as sequential indicators; a similar graphic can be found at the rear. You also get a redesigned grille and a subtly reprofiled front bumper with slimmer air intakes, while the rear bumper design has also been given a revamp.

    There’s also a sportier R-Dynamic trim that adds the prerequisite aggressive front and rear bumpers, integrated exhaust exits and body-coloured cladding, plus a range of new wheel options that now measure up to a massive 21 inches in diameter.

    If the exterior revisions leave you wanting, then the interior promises a bigger step forward, borrowing cues from the Evoque and Velar. There’s a sleeker, more modern dashboard with greater use of gloss black surfaces and a pistol-type electronic gearlever that replaces the old rotary dial. Strangely, the Disco Sport doesn’t get the dual-screen Touch Pro Duo infotainment system found on its more fashionable brethren.

    The upper 10.25-inch screen is still here as part of the Touch Pro interface, but there’s now just a simple array of touch-sensitive buttons below it, although a physical volume knob and a pair of rotary controllers remain. These are used to control the air-conditioning, but they can also manipulate the car’s new Terrain Response 2 system at the push of a button. A 12.3-inch digital instrument display is available as an option.

    Plenty of new features have borrowed from the Evoque, including wireless smartphone charging, a 4G WiFi hotspot, a digital ClearSight rear view mirror and a ClearSight Ground View system that gives you a view of the terrain under the bonnet. Massage seats are also offered and they can be upholstered in a sustainable, non-leather Luxtec material made of a recycled polyester microfibre.

    Other changes are more practical in nature, such as the fitment of a 40:20:40 (previously 60:40) split-folding and sliding second row and a 25% increase in small item storage space to 48 litres. There are also optional Click & Go tablet holders at the rear, the rugged Activity Key from the Jaguar F-Pace that lets you store your regular key safely in the car, and an Advanced Tow Assist that makes reversing with a trailer easier and safer.

    From launch, the new Disco Sport will be available with a choice of petrol and diesel Ingenium engines, all 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder mills. There are 200 PS and 249 PS petrol options and 150 PS, 180 PS and 240 PS diesels, and only the base 150 PS diesel is available with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox – all others get all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic.

    The all-wheel drive models also get a 48-volt mild hybrid system that adds a belt-integrated starter generator to recapture kinetic energy when decelerating, provide assistance under acceleration and shut the engine off under braking and at speeds below 17 km/h. The PTA platform allows the 200 Wh lithium-ion battery to be stored under the floor without compromising interior or luggage space.

    Another benefit of PTA is a 13% increase in structural rigidity, with rigidly-mounted subframes that reduce noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin. All-wheel drive models get an Active Driveline torque-vectoring rear axle and Driveline Disconnect that disengages the rear axle when not needed to improve efficiency. Buyers can also specify Adaptive Dynamics dampers, controlled using the Configurable Dynamics menu.

    Off-roading is part and parcel of Land Rover’s DNA, and to that end the Terrain Response 2 system debuts a new Auto mode that adapts the vehicle settings to any given terrain, although you can still choose from the usual Comfort, Sand, Grass-Gravel-Snow, and Mud and Ruts modes. As for safety, the Disco Sport comes with the usual driver assists, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and a Driver Condition Monitor.

  • Toyota Granvia eight-seater MPV announced for Australia – Estima replacement goes on sale Q4 2019

    Toyota has announced that it will begin selling the new Granvia in Australia later this year. The MPV, which is based on the sixth-generation H300 HiAce that made its debut in the Philippines in February, will replace the Tarago – known in other markets as the Estima – in the local line-up. There will be a slight overlap period in which both vehicles will be sold together, until the Tarago is discontinued at the end of 2019.

    The underpinnings may be van-based, but the Grandia will go on sale as an upmarket eight-seater people mover, complete with a premium seating configuration and an Alphard-esque front, which has a rather sedate-looking grille compared to that on the Lexus LM.

    Aimed at hospitality, corporate and family buyers, the Granvia will be available in two model grades in Australia. Both will be powered by the sole engine option for that market, a 1GD-FTV 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. There’s no mention of transmission, but the mill should be paired with a six-speed automatic.

    Ditching the leaf-spring setup on the HiAce, the Granvia will ride on a four-link coil-sprung rear suspension, which the automaker says will deliver superlative ride comfort and stable handling. The cabin gets a more premium outlook, courtesy of faux-wood trim, leather uplhostery and second-row captain’s seats, which are electrically-adjustable.

    Specifications include power-sliding rear side doors, a 12-speaker advanced multimedia system and a host of connectivity options, including four USB ports.

    The MPV will come with a full suite of Toyota Safety Sense features, active cruise control and pre-collision safety system (PCS) with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection being among the driver-assistance features. Both model grades will also be equipped with nine airbags.

    GALLERY: 2019 Toyota HiAce H300

  • V167 Mercedes-Benz GLE580 4Matic revealed with electrified 4.0 litre biturbo V8 – 483 hp and 700 Nm

    Mercedes-Benz has introduced another variant of the GLE dubbed the GLE 580 4Matic, which joins others in the range like the performance-focused GLE 53 4Matic+ and GLE 450 4Matic. The new addition comes with an electrified V8 powertrain that is also offered with the larger GLS in the form of the GLS 580 4Matic.

    Under the bonnet, there’s a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 engine that produces 483 hp and 700 Nm of torque, paired to a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive system. While it may not be an AMG model, the V8 makes more power than the GLE 53’s electrified 3.0 litre turbo inline-six (429 hp and 520 Nm).

    The company’s EQ Boost 48-volt mild hybrid system is the electrified aspect of the GLE 580’s powertrain, and features an integrated starter generator (ISG). The ISG is responsible for functions such as EQ Boost, whereby an extra 21 hp and 249 Nm is made available to the driver, as well as energy recuperation. The 48-volt architecture also serves other ancillary systems such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor.

    Additionally, there’s also the E-Active Body Control system, which can individually control the spring and damper rates on each wheel for better comfort and off-road performance. For now, the company has not released performance or fuel economy figures.

    The GLE 580 4Matic will go on sale in the United States later this year, and will be priced from USD76,800. Standard equipment includes Airmatic air suspension with adaptive damping, leather upholstery and an AMG Line exterior package. There’s also the dual 12.3-inch displays on the dashboard, which are linked to the Mercedes-Benz User Experience system.


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Last Updated 18 May 2019


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