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  • Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition unveiled – limited to 150 units worldwide, over RM1 million each

    DB9 GT Bond Edition Front

    While we all can’t wait for the release for the 24th film in the Bond franchise, Spectre, Aston Martin has done us a favour by unveiling the strictly limited DB9 GT Bond Edition as a tribute to the aforementioned film.

    Only 150 examples will ever be produced. This highly desirable model will be based on the recently launched DB9 GT, powered by a 6.0 litre V12 engine with 547 PS and 620 Nm of torque. It accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and achieve terminal velocity at 295 km/h.

    The Bond Edition will feature unique Spectre Silver paint, sterling silver Aston Martin badges front and rear and discreet ‘007 Bond Edition’ exterior badging. Ten-spoke gloss black diamond-turned 20-inch wheels, bright aluminium bonnet vents, side strakes and grille, carbon-fibre front splitter and rear diffuser and grey brake calipers complete the exterior enhancements.

    On the inside, unique numbered sill plaques featuring the 007 logo, gun barrel embroidery on the 2+2 rear seat divider and a special Bond Edition start-up screen on the infotainment system are added. The luxurious interior includes unique fluted leather, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a satin carbon-fibre centre console surround. Simply glorious, this is.

    If you’re still not blown away by the sheer detail of this sublimely created vehicle, Aston Martin is also offering a suite of elegant Bond-themed accessories to complement the model. A finely-crafted 21-inch Globe-Trotter trolley case finished with an embossed leather luggage tag, and an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m James Bond Limited Edition timekeeper complete with a unique Aston Martin strap will also be included with the vehicle.

    The Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition is available to order in selected markets around the world, priced at £165,000 (RM1,067,100).

  • Citroen Cactus M Concept – the ultimate beachmobile

    Citroen Cactus M-04

    Citroen’s C4 Cactus, one of the most unusual cars on sale in the world today, is set to get a convertible sister if this Citroen Cactus M Concept comes to fruition. To debut at this month’s Frankfurt show, the Cactus M is an open-top version of the C4 Cactus inspired by the Citroen Méhari of the 70s.

    The SUV looks of the Cactus M feature strong sculpted lines, and the use of tall and narrow tyres made it possible to increase wheel diameter, resulting in an increased body height. This impression is reinforced by the sculpted wheel arches.

    The robust look is further underlined by the 60 degree rake of the windscreen and the thickness of the pillars. The design of the bumpers and the door mirrors was inspired by the Aircross concept from Shanghai 2015.

    Citroen Cactus M-09

    The moulded plastic one-piece doors makes them easy to open and close, while also reducing weight. The doors use the same Airbump concept on the C4 Cactus with their thermoformed TPU coating. This “second skin” (also used on the bumpers) resists knocks and scratches as well as salt water and sand. The M has visible hinges, just like the Méhari, which also had plastic bodywork.

    The overall design of the cabin resembles the hull of a boat and the headrests are designed to resemble boat fenders. The upholstery and dashboard trim were inspired by wetsuits. With the draining foot wells and seats in water/salt-resistant fabric, one can jump right in from the sea. The whole cabin can even be hosed out, making the Cactus M a great beach machine.

    Citroen Cactus M-17

    The rear side panels each have a hollowed-out step to enable passengers to get into the second row seats by stepping over the waist line – no folding the front seats needed, just jump in. The boot is accessed from the outside and two surfboards can be attached using a special lashing system.

    When it rains, a hand-installed roof stretches around the vehicle using an inflation system. Air inflates three tubes that hold the top in the correct position. Inflation is activated by a compressor at the rear of the vehicle. The roof is kept in the double-floor boot.

    There’s more. The Cactus M can be turned into a bivouac for two. An ingenious tilting mechanism can turn the rear seat into an extension of the boot, create a “couch”. With the roof extended, you’re looking at a freestanding tent that enables two 1.8 metre tall folks to to stand upright. You, me and the sea. Magnifique!

  • F45 BMW 225xe Active Tourer Plug-in Hybrid debuts

    BMW 225xe Active Tourer Plug-in Hybrid 17

    BMW’s PHEV compact MPV was unveiled in prototype form last July and now, it’s here in full production guise. The BMW 225xe Active Tourer Plug-in hybrid, as it’s called, will be heading to the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. But here’s some electrifying details of the German brand’s newest hybrid MPV – it has a little bit of a BMW i8 underneath.

    It features BMW’s latest eDrive technology, pairing the same B38 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine found in the 218i Active Tourer and i8 hybrid coupe and an electric motor incorporated into the rear axle. It’s basically the i8’s basic layout, just mirrored.

    The 134 hp/220 Nm petrol engine powers the front wheels through a six-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox, while the 87 hp electric motor is connected to the rear wheels via a two-speed transmission. Both combined, and the MPV has a healthy 221 hp and 385 Nm of torque. The 225xe Active Tourer gets to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, with a top speed of 202 km/h.

    Depending on the driving mode selected, the 225xe Active Tourer can run in front-, rear- of all-wheel drive. The three modes are MAX eDrive, AUTO eDrive and Save Battery. Selecting MAX eDrive mode will have the vehicle running on pure electricity at speeds of up to 125 km/h.

    In AUTO eDrive mode, its top speed is limited to 80 km/h in full EV mode, for a maximum range of 41 km. The car then uses GPS data to determine as to whether to combine both the petrol and electric duo or stay on pure electric energy for optimum efficiency. The Save Battery mode, meanwhile, works to replenish the battery through the deployment of the petrol engine, conserving the power for use later on in the journey.

    Claimed fuel consumption for the 225xe Active Tourer hybrid is rated at 2.0 litres per 100 km on the European NEDC combined cycle, and it emits a very low 46 grammes per kilometre of CO2. Weighing in at 1660 kg, the PHEV is about 150 kg more than the standard 225i.

    The BMW 225xe Active Tourer will be available in Germany by the end of the year, with prices starting from €37,800 (RM179,300).

  • VIDEO: BMW 7 Series Remote Control Parking

    We’re currently at the international press drive event for the BMW 7 Series and were given a demo of how the new Remote Control Parking system works.

    Basically if you have to park in a parking spot where you wouldn’t be able to open the driver door to get out of the vehicle, you can simply get out of the car and use the fancy BMW Display Key to ease the car into the parking bay.

    The control via the BMW Display Key is limited to forward and backward movement. You can see how it works in the video above. The car cannot execute a parallel or perpendicular parking manoeuvre on its own – the first car that will be able to do that will be the W213 E-Class with its Remote Parking Pilot feature.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 6.17.32 AM

    What are the use cases in real life, you might ask. After all, if a parking bay is so tight that you cannot open your doors, surely the person whose car is parked next to you would face the same issue getting into his car later on with your brand new 7 Series parked next to it? And then there’s the risk of scratches and door dings.

    The system was actually designed for tight garage spaces where you can stop right outside your garage and then drive your car in. Perhaps you had your garage built for a smaller car and moving up in life you managed to upgrade to a 7 Series but have to retain the same garage. This is where the Remote Control Parking feature will be useful.

    In Malaysia I’d expect this to be a useful tool if you need to fit two huge cars into a regular porch that has its width limited by the porch’s pillars. There’s be no issue positioning the 7 Series driver door right next to a wall or big pillar with this system.

  • Hyundai Santa Fe facelift, i20 Active and i40 with Android Auto all set for 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show

    New Santa Fe  (1)

    The European-spec Hyundai Santa Fe facelift has been unveiled, and will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Already unveiled in its domestic form in Korea last June, he updated Santa Fe features design enhancements and an advanced range of new active safety features.

    It’s said to be more refined and athletic, while the inside is updated with subtle design improvements and new materials. The host of new active safety and comfort features include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and High Beam Assist.

    Hyundai i20 Active on left, i40 with Android Auto on right.

    Also making its European debut at Frankfurt is the new crossover-styled Hyundai i20 Active, featuring a 1.0 litre turbocharged petrol T-GDI engine. The new engine option will come in two forms: 100 PS and 120 PS. The i20 Active will go on sale in Europe in 2016, joining the standard five-door i20 hatchback and sporty i20 Coupe.

    Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor will now be among the first in Europe to include the Android Auto smartphone-based mirroring technology in its cars by debuting it in the latest i40. Android Auto enables users of Android smartphones to connect their devices to the screen of Hyundai’s infotainment unit, to access native and third-party apps.

  • VIDEO: Volvo XC90 earns five stars from Euro NCAP

    The video above shows the Volvo XC90 undergoing Euro NCAP’s stringent battery of tests, and the latest Swedish SUV passed with flying colours, earning five stars for its solid all round safety results.

    Tests included a frontal impact that takes place at 64 km/h, with 40% of the width of the car striking a deformable barrier. In the full width test, 100% of the width of the car impacts a rigid barrier at 50 km/h. While in terms of the pole test, the car is propelled sideways at 32 km/h into a rigid pole.

    For AEB Inter-Urban systems, Euro NCAP evaluates the automatic braking and forward collision warning functions in three different driving scenarios: driving towards a stationary vehicle (30-80 km/h), closing in at a slower vehicle in front (30-80 km/h) and following a car in front which suddenly starts braking (50 km/h, gentle and harsh braking).

    The Volvo XC90 scored 97% for adult occupant safety, 87% for child occupant safety, 72% for pedestrian safety and 100% for safety assist systems. These scores are slightly higher than those achieved by the Audi Q7, a similar class of vehicle recently tested by Euro NCAP.

    The full Euro NCAP report highlights a certain glaring issue, as a side curtain airbag failed to deploy as its rearmost edge during the side pole test. Volvo subsequently modified the trim panel to allow the airbag to deploy as intended. Another issue the report had was with the lack of protection to pedestrians in the pelvic region. Nonetheless, its bumper, windscreen and overall autonomous emergency braking system that recognises pedestrians and cyclists scored top marks.

  • KL-Singapore high-speed rail – details out by 2017

    Hitachi Super Express

    While it’s known that a KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) will in future connect the two cities, there are few details about the mega project other than the parties interested in developing the line – Japan, France and China have stated their intent.

    Not so soon it seems – details of the contracts for the construction of the HSR will likely be known in two years, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief development officer Dr Prodyut Dutt told The Star.

    “Given that the development takes about five years and we aim to complete it in 2022, working backwards, we should see the details of these contracts by the year 2017,” he said on the sidelines of the Rail Business Asia 2015 exhibition.

    “There is a lot of preliminary work that needs to be done before the tender documents can come out. And these works are currently in progress. While this is a project by both the Malaysian and Singaporean governments, there is always a need to jointly consult Singapore,” Dutt said, adding that the cost-sharing formula has not been fixed.

    The KL-Singapore HSR will run along the same route as KTM’s double-tracking project in the peninsular, but there will be no duplicates or redundancy.

    “Our preliminary studies show that the returns are positive. If you look at the experiences abroad where there is HSR, whether it is China, Japan or France, you will find that the benefits would not just be in the terminus cities, but also the cities in between, as it helps to regenerate those in between as well,” Dutt explained.

    “We think the HSR project is a different mode and targets a different market (compared with the double track). All things considered, we believe the social and economic development will be positive overall,” he added.

    The SPAD man also revealed that KTM’s double-tracking line from Gemas to Padang Besar will be launched in November this year.

  • Mercedes-AMG GT S wide-body kit by Prior-Design

    Mercedes-AMG GT S Prior Design 1

    Bodykit specialist Prior-Design has decided to give the Mercedes-AMG GT S a new look – a wide-body kit that adds more aggressiveness to the sports coupe. No changes have been done to the powertrain, if you’re asking, so it’s purely cosmetic.

    The wide-body appearance is made possible through the addition of extended side fenders for both the front and rear, while the smooth bonnet has been replaced with a ventilated one that features dual scoops on each side. Pretty or OTT? You decide.

    Among the other items added include a black front lip spoiler, air intake surrounds and canards in the rear. Also, a fluidly-designed diffuser and a one-piece spoiler are added onto the coupe’s behind. Down the sides, the it’s fitted with side skirts with aerodynamic fins.

    As said earlier, no engine tuning of suspension tweaks have been added to the GT S to match its street racer look. No matter, as it still churns out 510 hp and 700 Nm of twist through its standard 4.0 litre V8 twin-turbo mill. How does it drive? Read our review of the sports coupe to find out.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG GT S launched in Malaysia

  • Total road closure along Sprint highway this Sunday, in front of Phileo Damansara and Eastin Hotel

    mrt sprint

    Here is a reminder to all motorists who use the Sprint highway. There will be a total road closure at KM3.6 of the highway, in front of Phileo Damansara and Eastin Hotel this Sunday, September 6. It will be closed for 18 hours, from 12 midnight till 6pm.

    MMC Gamuda KVMRT deputy director Adil Putra said the road closure is to facilitate works for the Phileo Damansara MRT Station entrance link bridge. “This total closure is necessary as we need a safe working space to cater for our heavy machineries that are needed for the installation works,” he told Bernama.

    He added that during this closure, motorists from Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and Petaling Jaya heading towards Kuala Lumpur will have to make a U-turn and turn left into Jalan Tan Sew Pow, and then back into Sprint highway before turning into Jalan 17/21.

    Motorists can also choose to turn left into Jalan 17/22 before making their way to Jalan 16/6, or proceed to Jalan Universiti before joining Jalan Dato’ Abu Bakar to head back to Kuala Lumpur. This diversion also applies to motorists from the NKVE heading towards Kuala Lumpur.

    On the other hand, motorists from Kuala Lumpur heading towards Petaling Jaya, TTDI or the NKVE can choose to turn into Jalan Dato’ Abu Bakar, turn right into Jalan 16/16 and right again to Jalan 17/1.

    Besides flagmen and traffic signages, there will be police traffic personnel surrounding the areas during the road closure to guide motorists.


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