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  • VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo meets the Bugatti Chiron

    We’ve already provided you with a (deep) insight into how Bugatti builds its latest hypercar – the Chiron. Now, the company has released a new spot that features not only the 420 km/h speed machine, but also a living football legend – Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Obviously the company must’ve taken interest in the Real Madrid player after he posted a photo of himself seated in his own Veyron, and subsequently invited Ronaldo to try out the new car.

    Andy Wallace, Bugatti’s test driver and the man who set a speed record in a McLaren F1 back in 1998, explains that before a Chiron makes its way to a customer, it needs to be “tested and approved by a champion.” In this case, that would be Ronaldo.

    After what can only be described as a spirited test drive, Ronaldo appears to be totally enthralled with the Chiron, which is bad news for its awaiting “buyer.” This is one video you’ll want to watch till the end.

  • Volvo teases new model for Geneva – XC60, XC40?

    Volvo had previously announced that it will launch the all-new XC60 and XC40 this year, and it appears that one of the two will make its debut really soon. A teaser image was posted on the company’s official Facebook page recently, allowing with the all-important date – March 7, 2017.

    Not a lot to be taken away from the image, as it shows merely a small area of the SUV’s front face. Volvo’s signature “Thor’s hammer” daytime running lights are clearly seen here, along with a grille design that appears to be more contemporary take on the current XC60’s grille.

    Said grille features the Volvo Iron Mark emblem, which should accommodate plenty of sensors linked to the car’s safety and driver assist systems. Even through our best efforts of brightening the image, there’s not a lot more to be seen here (unless you enjoy garage doors).

    Aside from the launch date and image, Volvo is keeping mum on the details of its new model, which we suspect is likely the XC60. Previous spyshots of XC60 prototypes do appear to feature some of the cues seen here.

    Meanwhile, comparing spyshots of the XC40 to this image is a little harder, as the ones supplied to us don’t really provide a good look at some of the exterior details. Both cars are highly-anticipated models and Volvo should create quite a stir in Geneva, regardless of which SUV takes to the stage. Care to guess?

    GALLERY: All-new Volvo XC60 prototype

    GALLERY: All-new Volvo XC40 prototype

  • GALLERY: Bentley Continental GT Black Speed by Mulliner at new Kuala Lumpur flagship showroom

    Is the 642 PS, 840 Nm Bentley Continental GT Speed not quite special enough for you? Perhaps a limited edition, specifically the Black Speed by Mulliner for you, sir. Not to be confused with the Continental GT Speed Black Edition, which, despite the inverting of name, is also based upon the GT Speed, but which has its own cosmetic distinctions.

    Starting with the GT Speed as a base, the aforementioned 642 PS and 840 Nm of torque come from the familiar twin-turbocharged W12 engine, which is channeled to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which propels the four-seater coupe from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, onwards to a top speed of 331 km/h.

    Visual distinguishing elements include the gloss red body kit, along with hand-painted red fine lines along its doors and rear haunches. The marque’s Sports Directional alloy wheel is finished in gloss black, and “Black Speed” badges just behind the front wheel arches denote this limited edition version; just 20 units are to be made, and are exclusively for customers in South East Asia and Australasia.

    At least as much attention has been lavished upon the Black Speed’s interior as its exterior, and the cabin features Bentley’s first ever red finish for its ‘Engine Spin’ machined aluminium fascia panels, which feature on the dashboard, instrument cluster surrounds, and centre console, among others.

    A red 12 o’clock marker band on the leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel adds a sporting flair to the helm, while red leather panel inserts also feature along the dashboard sides and door trim, with quilted leather on the seats and on the door cards; red contrast stitching is a recurring motif, and ‘Black Speed’ is inscribed unto all four headrests.

    The arrival of the GT Black Speed by Mulliner also marks the opening of Bentley Kuala Lumpur’s new flagship showroom along Jalan Pinang in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, under the custody of Wearnes Quest.

    “When we took on the franchise in 2008, our vision was to strengthen the brand presence with the establishment of Bentley Kuala Lumpur as a city centre landmark. We did that with the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur gallery eight years ago, and today marks another milestone for us,” said Jerry Lee, managing director of Wearnes Quest.

    The new flagship retail outlet occupies a 6,400 sq ft space, that includes lounges in which customers can sample the materials and combinations that can be specified when configuring their own Bentley.

    “The new showroom has been designed to give our customers a bold, clear and contemporary vision of the Bentley brand, and is finished with the same level of luxury for which our cars are renowned,” said David Jackson, regional manager of Bentley Motors Asia Pacific.

    Located next to the recently opened Aston Martin showroom which is also under Wearnes’ care, Bentley Kuala Lumpur is located at Lot 1.1, Ground Floor, Etiqa Twins, 11 Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur.

  • Tariffs for comprehensive motor insurance to be lifted in July, full liberalisation in 2019 – PIAM

    The Phased Liberalisation of the Motor and Fire Tariffs announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in June last year is a game changer for the insurance industry, and detariffication will impact almost everyone – those with home loans, vehicle owners and business owners nationwide. It’s a major shift for the insurance industry, as motor and fire classes account for 65% of the general insurance market.

    In the very near future, how much one pays for insurance will no longer be determined by fixed price lists, but by his or her risk profile. This risk-based assessment is already present in many countries, and it “rewards” those who are perceived to be low risk with lower premiums, vice versa. It is hoped that this will incentivise consumers to improve their risk profile. There will also be increased competition among insurance companies, which will be free to adopt market-based pricing.

    The first phase started in July 2016. “In the first phase of liberalisation which started from July last year, insurers have been allowed to introduce new motor and fire products, and price them at market rates. These new products are subject to a review of the policy wordings, definitions and terminologies by PIAM to ensure consistency and avoid confusion among consumers. Subsequent approval from BNM on the pricing is required before the products are launched to the public,” General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) CEO Mark Lim explained.

    From L-R: PIAM deputy chairman Chua Seck Guan, PIAM chairman Antony Lee

    The second stage, which will start from this July, will see rates for Motor Comprehensive and Motor Third Party Fire and Theft products liberalised. BNM opines that current rates for comprehensive motor insurance are close to technical market rates, and there should be no sharp adjustments once the tariffs are removed.

    However, Motor Third Party insurance will continue to be regulated, as this segment is currently “substantially underpriced” and immediate detariffication will result in a sharp price hike. Payouts are higher than premiums collected (for every RM1 of premium received, insurers are paying between RM1.30 to RM3.00 in claims, PIAM says) and current prices are unsustainable in the long term. Expect a gradual increase in prices for third party insurance.

    PIAM has pledged to work closely with BNM to ensure an orderly transition to a liberalised environment. Shopping around and comparing motor insurance products with different prices and features will be alien to consumers, which makes education key.

    Click to enlarge

    PIAM chairman Antony Lee says that a National Consumer Education Campaign will be rolled out soon to raise awareness on the phased liberalisation with focus on its objectives, benefits and expected outcomes.

    Lee, who is also CEO of AIG Malaysia, added that it would be important for consumers to be aware of their insurance needs and risk priorities so that they can make informed decisions given the wide choice of products and covers. Consumer engagement and empowerment will be the key differentiating factors in an open and highly competitive marketplace, he said.

    Speaking to reporters at PIAM’s 2016 industry results media briefing yesterday, Lee said that a possible challenge facing insurers when detariffication happens is if consumers simply opt for the lowest priced product without taking into account the amount of cover. Price driven consumers must remember that “you get what you pay for,” he said, adding that if all goes well, full liberalisation will happen in 2019.

    More details will be needed, especially in the risk assessment part. What’s certain is that it’s interesting times ahead for both the industry and consumers.

  • Ferrari SF70H – Scuderia’s 2017 Formula 1 car debuts

    Scuderia Ferrari has unveiled its 2017 Formula 1 car – the SF70-H – which replaces last year’s SF16-H. According to the team, the new car strikes a right compromise between downforce and aerodynamic resistance, while meeting the new regulations imposed.

    Unlike Mercedes-AMG Petronas’s W08 EQ Power+, the “shark fin” on top of the Ferrari’s engine is by no means discreet in its appearance, similar to other 2017 F1 cars like the Renault R.S. 17, Sauber C-36 Ferrari and Force India VJM 10. Nonetheless, the car is wider, lower and fitted with wider tyres as per 2017 rules.

    Other cues include the complex aero appendages ahead of the air intakes on the unusually shaped sidepods, thumb-tip nose, mini wing on the fin and a redesigned engine air intake roll-hoop just behind the driver. The car’s livery also gets tweaked to accommodate the new engine cover, with the fin being painted white, while the majority of the car is in Rosso Corsa.

    Power will come from a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 that revs to 15,000 rpm, and is mated to an eight-speed semi-automatic sequential and electronically-controlled gearbox with quick shift. The car’s front pushrod and rear pullrod suspension setup also gets an update, while the power-steering and braking systems have been upsized.

    No change in the team’s roster, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen returning to pilot the SF70H for the upcoming season.

  • ABB launches Terra 53 CJG EV fast charger – 43 kW AC and 50 kW DC, supports all charging standards

    Electrical equipment supplier ABB has launched its Terra 53 CJG fast charger in Malaysia today. The 50 kW DC/43 kW AC unit promises to charge electric vehicles from 30% to 80% in as little as 15 minutes, making it suitable for use at petrol stations and highway rest stops.

    The Terra 53 CJG is unique in that it supports the three main charging standards currently in use, including the widely-used Type 2 Mennekes AC plug, the Japanese Type 1 CHAdeMO DC plug used on the Malaysian-market Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Combined Charging System (CCS) DC plug that is a variation of Type 2.

    The first unit, installed at ABB Malaysia’s headquarters on Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Subang Jaya, is free for owners of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to use. It uses solar energy, making it 100% carbon neutral. The Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) counts it as part of its ChargEV charging network of over 150 stations, even though you don’t need the ChargEV card to use it.

    As yet, there are no concrete plans for GreenTech to use ABB’s chargers – it currently utilises lower-powered (up to 22 kW) Type 2 AC units from NewMotion. However, the government arm is currently in discussions to implement the company’s fast chargers along major highways, in order to minimise range anxiety on longer journeys.

    Of course, with more than double the power output and support for different charging standards, the Terra 53 CJG is significantly more expensive than the existing chargers – by “a factor of around 10, maybe,” according to ABB Malaysia’s electric vehicle infrastructure head John Steed.

    However, he contends that the charger provides a service that people would ultimately be willing to pay more for, and as the volume of electric vehicles increases, an operator would be able to recoup the investment more quickly – the shorter charging time would allow them to have more customers.

    The launch of the charger is part of ABB’s vision of encouraging the move towards sustainable mobility, in support of the government’s aim of reducing carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. Malaysia projects that a total of 100,000 electric cars, 100,000 electric scooters and 2,000 electric buses will be on the roads by 2020, supported by 125,000 electric charging stations across the country.

  • BYD introduces biggest e-taxi fleet in Southeast Asia

    Chinese electric vehicle brand BYD has introduced 100 e6 electric taxis in Singapore to form the biggest e-taxi fleet in Southeast Asia. The vehicles are part of an expansion plan after BYD’s initial fleet of e-taxis began operating in the country in 2014, operated by HDT Holdings in partnership with Grab.

    According to the company, the introduction of the 100 e6 taxis is estimated to reduce around 46,400 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, which is roughly equivalent to saving 26,000 trees. “This is only the beginning,as there will be more BYD products and services for Singaporeans in the future. BYD will continue to support Singapore in its noble ambition for sustainable transportation,” said Liu Xueliang, general manager, sales division of BYDAsia Pacific Auto.

    The e6 is a compact MPV that measures 4,560 mm long, 1,822 mm wide and 1,645 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,830 mm. It is propelled by a 121 hp (90 kW)/450 Nm electric motor that draws its power from a 61.4 kWh battery.

    On a full charge, the e6 is capable of delivering a zero emissions range of up to 400 km. Recharging via a VTOG 30 kW AC charging outlet will take about two hours, whereas it is eight to nine hours with SAE Level 2 AC charging stations.

    There are currently e6 taxi fleets operational in China, Colombia, Belgium, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States (New York and Chicago). BYD also supplies electric buses (e-bus), which are currently used for the BRT Sunway Line.


  • Volkswagen Arteon teased again before Geneva debut

    Now wanting to miss out on the Geneva hype, Volkswagen has released new teaser images of its upcoming Arteon, the CC’s successor, which will take its spot above the Passat.

    Unlike the sketch that was revealed near the end of 2016, we actually get to see the Arteon’s front and rear end this time around. Upon first glance, it certainly appears to be a carbon copy of the Sport Coupe Concept GTE that previewed it during the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

    Based on the front angle shot provided, there are a few minor changes from concept to production form. While the LED headlamps (with DRLs) continue to blend into the multi-slat grille, the bonnet has abandoned the aggressive cue seen above the car’s front lighting units.

    As for the rear (don’t say Mercedes C-Class Coupe), we get to see the fastback design that is again, very similar to the Geneva concept, including the two-piece taillights and large rear window. The top of the boot protrudes less in this instance, and it also appears to get a small lip spoiler. A prominent line between the car’s beltline and door handles are clearly seen her as well.

    Despite what should be a stunning shape, Volkswagen says the Arteon’s interior is “exceptionally generously spacious” with plenty of room for heads and legs. It also adds that the premium mid-size sedan will get the latest generation of driver assistance systems.

    No word on what lies under the hood but the usual array of TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines should be offered. The car will utilise the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, opening up the possibility of a hybrid solution.

    On the Sport Coupe Concept GTE, a V6 TSI engine along with two electric motors offered a total system output of 380 hp. In terms of performance, Volkswagen at the time, claimed a range of up to 1,000 km, a 50 km pure electric range and a 0-100 km/h time of 5.2 seconds.

    GALLERY: Volkswagen Arteon prototype

  • Dego Ride motorcycle taxis will be seized, JPJ warns

    The Road Transport Department (JPJ) is sending a stern warning to those that continue to provide motorcycle taxi services, most notably Dego Ride, by saying it will seize any motorcycles involved in providing such a service.

    “I’m issuing a warning that this time, we will not issue summons but will seize their (operators) motorcycles. Now we have identified over 6,000 operators who have registered and I understand they want to resume operations. Two weeks ago we only issued summons, but this time we will seize the motorcycles,” said JPJ enforcement division director Datuk V. Valluvan Veloo in a report by The Sun.

    Valluvan said police are conducting investigations into the operation and a statement had been taken from Dego Ride chief executive officer, Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj. “So far we have issued three summons and we have identified active Dego Ride operations in the Klang Valley and that they get their clients via WhatsApp,” he said.

    The Transport Ministry had previously stated that motorcycle taxi services are illegal in Malaysia due to safety reasons, ordering Dego Ride stop its operations as it did not have the proper operating licence.

  • 2017 KTM 390 and 250 Duke launched in India – priced at RM15,001 for 390 Duke and RM11,534 for 250 Duke

    Updated to Euro 4 and now sporting a TFT LCD dashboard, the 2017 KTM 390 Duke has been launched in India at a price of INR 225,000 (RM15,001). Launched alongside the revamped 390 Duke was the 250 Duke, at a price of INR 173,000 (RM11,534).

    Both single-cylinder machines in the previous generation Duke have proven to be very popular in the Indian market, and deliveries of the new generation models begin in March. Notable difference for the updated Dukes is the exhaust exiting on the right side, replacing the the previous model’s under-belly can.

    The KTM 390 Duke has a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled 373.2 cc engine fed by EFI. There is no change in the engine for 2016, with power remaining at 44 hp, and dry weight at 147 kg. Ride-by-wire is now standard, along with a multi-function TFT LCD.

    As for the KTM 250 Duke – which made it to our top five list of motorcycles in 2016 – the power plant is the same, but the exhaust, like the 390 Duke, exits on the right. An LCD screen and ride-by-wire is also standard equipment.

    The middle-weight and quarter-litre Dukes still use a trellis frame, with the rear sub-frame now a bolt-on unit. The somewhat lacking fuel tank of the previous generation Dukes, at 11-litres, has now been replaced with a more useful 13.4-litre unit.

    A bisected LED headlight now adorns the front of the 390 Duke, complete with LED DRLs, while the 250 Duke makes do with the previous generation headlight for the Indian market, for cost reasons. Also for cost reasons, the 390 Duke gets Bosch ABS, while the 250 goes without.

    Revised graphics and colours are also much in evidence for the 2017 KTM 390 Duke and 250 Duke, which are rather more “aggressive” than previously. A chat with our source in KTM Malaysia revealed that the 2017 KTM 390 Duke and 250 Duke will not arrive in Malaysia “anytime soon.”

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM 390 Duke

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM 250 Duke


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