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  • C253 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic Coupe debuts in Malaysia – CKD; estimated price from RM399,888

    The C253 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe line-up in Malaysia has been expanded to include a new GLC 300 4Matic AMG Line variant, which replaces the existing GLC 250 4Matic AMG Line, and slots in below the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic.

    The GLC 300 is one of two models (the other is the all-new GLE 450) being introduced by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) today, in conjunction with the company’s Hungry for Adventure Festival happening this weekend.

    With the GLC 300, you get a M274 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that serves up 245 PS (241 hp) at 5,500 rpm and 370 Nm of torque from 1,300-4,000 rpm. A nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission is standard here, as is a 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

    Performance-wise, you’re looking at a zero to 100 km/h time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 236 km/h. A Dynamic Select system is as per before, offering five operating modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual) to choose from, and you also get sports suspension.

    Standard equipment that comes standard on the GLC 300 include the AMG Line exterior kit, with elements such as a single-louvre diamond radiator grille (with pins finished in chrome), a Night package and rugged aprons at the front and rear.

    There’s also LED Intelligent Light System headlamps complemented by Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, aluminium-look running boards, a rear spoiler and 20-inch multi-spoke light-alloy wheels.

    Meanwhile, the interior features Artico leather upholstery, AMG sports pedals, black piano lacquer or light longitudinal-grain aluminium trim, a flat-bottom AMG sports steering wheel, powered seats (with lumbar support and memory function for front passengers), a panoramic sunroof, COMAND Online, ambient lighting and a Burmester sound system. For convenience, there’s also Hands Free Access.

    In terms of safety and driver assist systems, the GLC 300 follows in the footsteps of its non-coupe, X253 GLC sibling, gaining Lane Tracking Package, which includes Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Other items such as Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Attention Assist are also present.

    According to MBM, the GLC 300 4Matic Coupe is a locally-assembled (CKD) model unlike its predecessor, the GLC 250. It also carries an estimated price tag of RM399,888 on-the-road without insurance. That makes it cheaper than the GLC 250 (RM445,888), although keep in mind that was a fully-imported (CBU) model.

    As with other Mercedes-Benz models, Agility Financing is available, and with a three-year tenure and a 25% downpayment, the monthly instalment for the GLC 300 is RM3,998. The financing plan also includes two complimentary comprehensive service packages, but this offer is only available until April 30, 2019.

  • Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi launches Alliance Intelligent Cloud – first in Renault Clio, Nissan Leaf

    The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has announced the production release of the Alliance Intelligent Cloud, a connectivity platform which will offer seamless internet access providing remote diagnostics, continuous software deployment, firmware updates and access to infotainment services, with cloud computing, artificial intelligence and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies by Microsoft Azure.

    The first models to be equipped with the tech are the forthcoming Renault Clio and selected versions of the Nissan Leaf sold in Japan and Europe. The Alliance Intelligent Cloud is a highly scalable platform, the group says, which will also consolidate multiple legacy connected vehicle solutions with current and future connected car services that will support mobility services.

    Features of the Intelligent Cloud service include remote services, proactive monitoring, connected navigation, connected assistance, over-the-air software updates as well as other customer-tailored services, the group said.

    The Alliance Intelligent Cloud has scope to connect cars of brands within the alliance with the future infrastructure of smart cities as the group develops both on its own and with potential future partners, the group of companies said. Any third-party seeking to connect with all legacy and future alliance models will have a single point of contact with this initiative, it said.

  • Security of 2019 car models – keyless entry has flaws

    Keyless entry is now amongst a convenience in modern cars which is close to – if not already – being taken for granted. That convenience comes at a considerable price, however, and judging by findings in a report by Thatcham Research, one that means the loss of entire vehicles.

    The report covered 11 models, of which four were rated ‘Superior’ and six were rated ‘Poor’; the one remaining, the Suzuki Jimny, was classified as ‘Unacceptable’, despite not coming equipped with a keyless entry or start system. The top-rated quartet were the Audi e-tron, Jaguar XE, Land Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz B-Class, while the ‘Poor’-rated six were the Ford Mondeo, Hyundai Nexo, Kia ProCeed, Lexus UX, Porsche Macan and Toyota Corolla.

    “This initiative focuses on addressing keyless entry/start vulnerability. We’ve seen too many examples of cars being stolen in seconds from driveways. Now, any vehicle that is assessed against the new Thatcham Research Security Rating, and has a vulnerable keyless entry/start system, will automatically not achieve the best rating,” said Thatcham Research CTO Richard Billyeald.

    Even though vehicle security technology has advanced over the years, these ‘count for nothing’ when they can be circumvented easily by criminals with digital devices, Billyeald said, adding that most of the cars rated ‘Poor’ here would have achieved at least a ‘Good’ rating if not for keyless entry and start systems being susceptible to the relay attacks used.

    Billyeald offered some insights. “Our guidance for worried drivers is first and foremost to understand if your vehicle has a keyless entry/start system or not, as it is often an optional extra. If it does, check whether there are solutions available with your key fob – can it be turned off overnight or does it go to sleep when not being used?”

    Recommendations also include the storing of all keys, including spares, away from household entry points to further hamper criminals’ ability to capture and relay signals to and from the key fob. “And finally, it may in some cases be possible to turn the system off entirely, so it’s worth checking with your dealer.”

    Vehicle insurers in the United Kingdom paid out a record £376 million (RM2 billion) for car theft last year, which was partly due to some cars’ vulnerability to keyless system relay theft, according to the Association of British Insurers.

  • Perodua Bezza servicing costs: just 1% or 40% more than the Proton Persona? The numbers explained

    It all started with Proton claiming that the Persona facelift – previewed earlier this month – has on average, 32% lower servicing costs compared to the Perodua Bezza and Honda City, over five years/100,000 km.

    It didn’t take long for Perodua to hit back. “The inaccuracy in cost difference is due to a comparison made not on an apple-to-apple basis. The Persona’s service costs were calculated as scheduled in its service booklet or owner’s manual whilst for the Bezza, the calculation was based on its preventive maintenance costs (which are optional) instead of scheduled costs as recommended in the service booklet,” said Datuk Zahari Husin, MD of Perodua Sales.

    P2’s sales chief added that the difference in maintenance costs between the Persona 1.6 AT and Bezza 1.3 AT is only RM44, or 1.4% in favour of the Proton, and not 32%. It was also pointed out that the Bezza uses 0W-20 motor oil (Persona uses 10W-30) and iridium spark plugs, which are costlier than regular items.

    So, is the difference 40%, 32% or 1%? Now that we have in our hands on the itemised service schedule from the Bezza’s owner’s manual, the picture is clear. Unlike Proton, Perodua has a Pro-Care preventive maintenance package for the Bezza that’s optional. Items on the Pro-Care menu is not strictly required as per the owner’s manual/service booklet, and opting out does not affect the car’s warranty.

    Perodua Bezza 1.3 AT with/without Pro-Care options vs Proton Persona 1.6. Click to enlarge chart

    As shown in the chart above, the difference between opting for all Pro-Care items and strictly going by the (service) book is not insubstantial for a budget car – RM4,287 versus RM3,095 for a difference of RM1,192 over five years. RM3,095 is the apple that P2 wants us to see next to the Persona’s RM3,051, and the difference is indeed a mere RM44, or 1.4%.

    However, if you just nod and say yes to everything (the full Pro-Care preventive maintenance package on top of the mandatory service menu), the difference between the Bezza and Persona becomes RM1,236. That’s 40% more.

    With that said, let’s take a closer look at the optional Pro-Care package and what it entails. Mainly, it’s shorter interval for selected items such as spark plugs, engine air filter and brake fluid.

    For instance, the 100,000 km spark plug change is in the owner’s manual, but there’s a Pro-Care optional change at 50,000 km. Similarly, mandatory brake fluid and air filter changes are set at 40,000 and 80,000 km in the service book, but Pro-Care recommends changes at every 20,000 km (which means these items pop up for your consideration at 20,000 and 60,000 km).

    Perodua Bezza 1.3 AT with/without Pro-Care options vs Proton Persona 1.6, itemised. Click to enlarge chart

    In addition, Perodua also offers tyre alignment, balancing and rotation (every 20,000 km); and a major air con service at 60,000 km as part of the Pro-Care package. If you skip the tyre and AC jobs and just tick the brake fluid, air filter and spark plug options, the difference between Pro-Care and standard is RM823.

    So there you have it, the difference in five-year/100,000 km servicing costs between the Bezza 1.3 AT by the service book, the Bezza 1.3 AT with the Pro-Care optional maintenance package, and the Proton Persona 1.6 AT – itemised. Those who rack up lots of miles (the Bezza is popular with Grab drivers) might want to consider Pro-Care suggestions, but forgoing them will not affect the car’s warranty – the choice is yours.

    Note that the Pro-Care optional items are all listed on Perodua’s website (asterisk marks out the options) and included in the total price for the selected interval – those were the official figures that we used for earlier comparisons (Proton also used the same source, it confirmed). Do look out for these optional items at the service centre, and specify that you want to follow the standard menu (owner’s manual), if you wish. By the way, Proton does not offer any optional service items.

    In any case, there’s more to overall running costs than just servicing costs. There’s road tax and annual insurance, and of course, fuel consumption. The Bezza 1.3 uses a modern Dual VVT-i engine from the NR family, which is used in various current Perodua/Daihatsu/Toyota models. Paired to a four-speed automatic, the top Bezza Advance model’s claimed FC is 22.0 km/l, thanks to the inclusion of Eco Idle automatic start-stop. Read more about the engine and its internals here.

  • Hyundai Tucson N Line gets new mild hybrid diesel

    After teasing the car last month, Hyundai has finally pulled the covers off the Tucson N Line, a look-faster trim level for the midsize SUV. While technically an appearance package, it gets a new engine option as well – and it’s another mild hybrid.

    The 48-volt system, which was introduced on the 185 PS 2.0 litre CRDi diesel with the facelift, has now been fitted to the smaller 136 PS 1.6 litre Smart Stream unit as well, claimed to provide an 11% reduction in fuel consumption. As on the 2.0 litre oil burner, the system consists of a mild hybrid starter generator (MHSG), a low-voltage DC/DC (LDC) converter, an inverter and a 0.44 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery.

    Also offered are the aforementioned 2.0 litre diesel and a 177 PS 1.6 litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol, and all powertrains meet the latest Euro 6d Temp emissions standards. Hyundai has also made some chassis tweaks to the N Line, with the petrol and 2.0 litre diesel mills receiving more linear and direct steering and revised suspension that is eight percent stiffer at the front and five percent at the rear.

    As far as exterior changes go, there’s a redesigned front bumper with squared-off corners, greater use of body colour and distinctive arrow-shaped LED daytime running lights, along with black bezels for the headlights and a darker mesh grille. You’ll also find gloss black door mirror caps and rear spoiler, body-coloured (instead of chrome) door handles, a sportier rear diffuser and black 19-inch alloy wheels.

    Inside, there are N-branded leather-and-suede sport seats and red contrast stitching on the steering wheel and seats. Alloy pedals and a leather-wrapped N-branded gearlever with a red stripe complete the look.

  • No new AWAS cameras installed – transport ministry

    According to transport minister Anthony Loke, the government has not installed any new AWAS (Awareness Automated Safety System) cameras. In a report by The Star, Loke said there are currently 45 cameras in operation. Of the 45 cameras, 29 are used for monitoring speed limit offences, while the remaining 16 for traffic light regulation.

    Loke was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar on whether the government intends to set up more AWAS cameras and how much it would cost to do so. “At this time, the government has not installed any new cameras using government funds,” said Loke.

    “All the AWAS cameras were installed under the previous contract. The cost of installation for the cameras was borne by the two companies. However, the detailed breakdown cost of the installations were not stated,” he added.

    Loke estimated that installing one camera would cost between RM200,000 and RM250,000, which includes the electric cable, infrastructure, camera and ground work costs, but excludes maintenance.

    The minister also reiterated that the purpose of AWAS is not to trap anyone, but to educate motorists to adhere to the road rules especially in accident-prone areas.

    “In areas where AWAS is enforced, there are ample signboards of the system at the distance of three kilometres, two kilometres and one kilometre before the location of the actual camera. These signboards are to inform road users that the system is in force and not to trap or catch drivers off guard,” he explained.

    For now, about 90,000 summonses have been issued under the AWAS system, although the settlement rate remains low.

  • Pan-Borneo Highway: Don’t build new roads, expand existing ones to protect environment – Sabah CM

    The Sabah government is revisiting the project proposals for the Pan-Borneo Highway, and this time it plans to look into expanding and upgrading existing roads instead of building new ones, says chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

    According to The Star, he said there would be new approaches for the projects, and the government could take over the implementation instead of private companies managing them.

    Shafie has had long discussions with finance minister Lim Guan Eng and works minister Baru Bian about different approaches to speed up the Pan-Borneo Highway projects in Sabah without the involvement of private project delivery partners (PDP). Shafie also said the federal government would drop the PDP model in favour of a turnkey approach.

    “Let the government departments like the Public Works Department, the Federal Finance Ministry and the state get involved and make it more transparent,” he told reporters during the recent Heart of Borneo conference.

    Currently, the Pan-Borneo Highway projects are being carried out by Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd (BHP) in Sabah, whereas Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) handles the projects in Sarawak. A total of 35 parcels of projects amounting to RM12.8 billion are being implemented in Sabah, and it’s expected to be completed by 2025.

    Shafie also raised concerns about proposed new roads which would unnecessarily cut through forest reserves. “I hope they take it seriously, I told them not to flatten hills and chop trees, but just expand existing roads that we have,” he said adding that this would result in “new” roads without sacrificing the environment.

    The chief minister explained that expanding existing roads would be considerably faster than creating new roads. Upon completion, the Pan-Borneo Highway would span a collective length of about 2,325 km.

  • Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in Malaysia: RM2.88m

    The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera has arrived in Malaysia to replace the naturally aspirated Vanquish S for the top spot in the British marque’s line-up, boasting an uprated version of the 5.2 litre biturbo V12 which also served in the DB11 and now, the DB11 AMR. Here, the twelve-pot powerplant produces 715 hp at 6,500 rpm and 900 Nm of torque between 1,800 rpm and 5,000 rpm, making it 85 hp and 200 Nm stronger than in the DB11 AMR.

    Driveline for the DBS Superleggera continues to be an eight-speed ZF automatic – a rear-mounted transaxle, for a 51:49 front-to-rear weight distribution – with a limited slip-differential, albeit one that is an uprated unit with higher torque capacity to support this car’s greater outputs. This enables a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.4 seconds, while top speed is rated at 340 km/h, at which 180 kg of downforce is produced by the bodywork.

    An evolution of the DB11’s bonded aluminium structure is used for the DBS Superleggera, clothed in carbon-fibre body panels. Suspension is tasked to forged double wishbones and a multi-link setup for the front and rear, respectively, with adaptive dampers. Three dynamic drive modes – GT, Sport and Sport Plus – can be selected for both powertrain and chassis, the former controlling engine and gearbox responses together.

    Rolling stock comprises 21-inch wheels fitted with tyres measuring 265/35ZR21 in front and 305/30ZR21 at the back, which are home to carbon-ceramic brake discs of 410 mm and 360 mm diameters front and rear, respectively. This Y-spoke design comes in three finishes, with a twin-spoke design in two finishes.

    Inside, the DBS Superleggera features the Bang & Olufsen audio system as part of an infotainment pack which combines iOS mobile device integration, USB playback, digital and FM/AM radio, Bluetooth and satellite navigation, viewed through an eight-inch display and controlled via a centre console touchpad. Naturally, all manner of personalisation is possible, from contrast stitching to paint-to-sample finishes.

    The price for this range-topping, bent-twelve super GT? RM2.88 million including taxes as specified here, or RM1.205 million before duties or options – applicable duties ring the till for RM1.5 million, according to an Aston Martin representative. So far, there have been three confirmed bookings for the DBS Superleggera, which will go towards an estimated overall volume of 20 units for the marque in Malaysia this year.

  • Volvo to introduce Care Key as standard on all its cars

    Following the announcement earlier this month that Volvo will limit the top speed on all its cars to 180 km/h from 2020, the Swedish carmaker has now revealed that the Care Key will come as standard on all 2021 model year Volvo cars onwards.

    With the Care Key, owners will be able to set limitations on the car’s top speed should they have to hand over the keys to family members or friends. This is highly relevant to younger and inexperienced drivers that only just received their driving license.

    Such a feature isn’t exactly new, as Volvo also offers the Red Key that does the same thing. In fact, other manufacturers such as Ford also offer a similar capability with its MyKey (the Ranger sold in Malaysia comes with it), while Chevrolet allows owners to register a key fob as the Teen Driver key.

    “We believe that a carmaker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety. Our recently announced speed limit fits that thinking and the Care Key is another example,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO at Volvo Car Group.

    “Many want to be able to share their car with friends and family, but are unsure about how to make sure they are safe on the road. The Care Key provides one good solution and extra peace of mind,” he added.

    Volvo also stated that with these safety features in place, it is currently inviting insurance companies to discuss on special, favourable insurance to the Volvo community. “If we can encourage and support better behaviour with technology that helps drivers to stay out of trouble, that should logically also have a positive impact on insurance premiums,” said Samuelsson.

  • Lotus cars to get new design language, electrified powertrain, autonomous and connected technologies

    Lotus is on the verge of another major evolution, one that will see the brand cast its nets on a more global scale. In fact, future Lotus models will feature a new design language and incorporate the wide array of autonomous and connected technologies within the Geely family.

    Geely Auto’s vice president of public relations, Victor Young told us that a new design centre has been established in the UK, and the facility will utilise cutting-edge design technologies for upcoming products. “The next-generation of Lotus cars will have very beautiful designs,” said Young.

    A new research and development centre has also been set up in Germany to work on high-end electrified architectures for Lotus. When asked if the move will dilute the purity and essence of Lotus cars, Young said: “No, no. Firstly, we really respect the distinctive values of each brand, like Volvo, Lotus and Proton. But we want to bring something new to the brand.”

    “Lotus is a very famous brand in high-end sporty cars and they are very strong in lightweight technologies, engineering and racing heritage. We all like that and the Chinese consumers actually like that. But of course, in the modern car industry, you must have the economies of scale. If you don’t have bigger scale, you do not have the chance to survive.”

    Speaking of scale, Geely is in the midst of building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in China, with Young stating that it will help the brand achieve economies of scale and enjoy lower manufacturing costs. Plans to expand Lotus’ sales and service network have also been set in motion – the existing range of Lotus cars will be sold in China starting this year, before being exported to the US at a later stage.

    However, Young said despite having a larger scale, the company also has to move fast because the demands from the consumer move fast. “You always have to think from the demands of the consumer,” Young said, adding that “all the young consumers, no matter where they are, have a common trend of enjoying and embracing new technologies, as well as new services.”

    “They want to enjoy the driving dynamics of the car, but they also want to have more environmental responsibilities. That means the cars can be fast, can be fun, but can be green as well,” Young explained. “I think if you see Geneva, you’ll see a lot of hypercars that are either electrified, or pure electric.”

    Besides having new designs and hybrid propulsion tech, Young also said that Lotus may benefit from Geely’s suite of intelligent driving tech. “The intelligent part of driving makes driving more safe and more fun. Autonomous driving technology can be adopted and applied to Lotus cars as well,” he said.

    Lotus Esprit concept

    In fact, Young hinted that Lotus cars could also feature connected technologies. “In five to 10 years from now, the world will be connected in every way, so a car won’t be a single item. It has to be connected to other cars, with other signs on the road, with your home appliance – it all has to be connected, so it has to be a standard offering on the cars,” he added, although it remains to be seen if the sports cars will get them.

    On the product side of things, Young said Lotus’ portfolio will have to be diversified, but did not elaborate on the specifics. In any case, expect models such as an SUV to be offered in the near future.

    To recap, Lotus recently teamed up with Williams to develop a the hypercar, dubbed Project Omega. The car is said to be the most ambitious project Lotus has undertaken in its history, and it’s tipped to be the fastest and most radical model to wear the Lotus badge.

    Lotus, now backed by an automotive stronghold which facilitated Volvo’s impressive record-setting turnaround, is on track to establish a more globalised brand presence. Anyone excited for this?


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Last Updated 16 Mar 2019


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