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  • GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz X-Class X220d and X250d

    The huge Mercedes-Benz showcase at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show last week included displays of the X-Class, which had its own little area outside Hall 2 in addition to the usual fare inside the pavilion. The automaker had both launch variants of the pick-up – the X 220 d and X 250 d – on call in manual and automatic forms respectively.

    The visual similarities to the Nissan NP300 Navara, especially around the centre cab section, is inescapably evident, but the X-Class – which measures in at 5,340 mm long, 2,113 mm wide and 1,819 mm tall – is Mercedes through and through from the front.

    Distinct styling elements include C-shaped headlights and an unmistakable twin slat grille, complete with a huge tristar. The rear end has been kept simple, with flat C-shaped tail lamps (and a Mercedes logo) the pointers to its identity.

    The interior is also very much Mercedes, though there are giveaways to its shared underpinnings – the Navara’s console-mounted gearshift lever is one, as are switchgear controls. Nonetheless, elements such as round air-conditioning vents, three-spoke steering wheel, instrument cluster, the COMAND infotainment screen and controller on the centre console give the X-Class enough brand-related character.

    Standard equipment for the pick-up – in its domestic market – includes a comfort suspension, seven airbags as well as Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist, with cruise control and Mercedes me connect services also to be found.

    Power comes from a Renault-sourced 2.3 litre four-cylinder engine that equips the Navara in certain markets, the X 220 d featuring a single turbo while the X 250 d’s mill comes equipped with sequential twin turbos.

    Output numbers for the X 220 d are 160 hp (or 163 PS) and 400 Nm, and paired with a six-speed manual transmission (the standard gearbox for the pick-up), performance figures for the variant include a 0-100 km/h time of 12.9 seconds and a 170 km/h top speed.

    The motor on the X 250 d, meanwhile, offers 188 hp (or 190 PS) and 450 Nm, and even with the optional seven-speed automatic transmission, the variant is expectedly quicker off the mark, doing the century sprint in 11.8 seconds. With a 176 km/h top speed, it’s also marginally faster. The show cars were 4Matic examples, equipped with switchable four-wheel drive.

    The diamond silver metallic X 220 d display unit in Frankfurt featured two-tone black Posadas fabric seats, a standard 5.4-inch COMAND screen and an Audio 20 infotaiment system along with manual air-conditioning. The show car came kitted out with a Progressive equipment line, which adds on an eight-speaker system and a load securing rail system. It was also fitted with an optional Style package, and as shown was priced at 51,230 euros (RM256,200).

    As for the X 250 d, the cavansite blue metallic example came dressed with black leather seats and a COMAND Online navigation system with a larger 8.4-inch centre display. A Power equipment line package adds on LED high performance headlamps, Keyless Go, Thermotronic auto climate control and an Artico faux leather dashboard.

    The show car also came equipped with a parking package, complete with a 360-degree camera, a roll cover and a winter package. Specified as such, the variant had a 63,900 euros (RM319,570) price tag.

    The X-Class will begin going on sale in Europe this November, followed by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in 2018 and in Argentina and Brazil in 2019. What do you think of Mercedes’ first pick-up? Would it be a commercially viable proposition here? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz X-Class X 250 d 4Matic

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz X-Class X 220 d 4Matic

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • MSF Finale 2017 on Dec 2 and 3 – car show plus bike track day and drifting event to preview full 2018 series

    The Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) has now become Malaysia’s biggest local car racing event with over 170 cars racing in 11 categories. Ever since it started in 2010, MSF (previously known as Saturday Night Fever, or SNF) has aimed to promote affordable and exciting motor racing to further develop the grassroots scene with track days and door-to-door racing for cars.

    Today, MSF not only caters to the entry-level scene, but also features categories filled with experienced drivers including Karamjit Singh, Tengku Djan Ley, Keifli Othman, Boy Wong, Farique Hairuman and more.

    Now, two additional motoring activities will be introduced at the MSF Finale 2017 event happening on December 2 and 3. These new events include a track day for superbikes as well as a target drift challenge. MSF will also reintroduce its four-wheeled time attack session known as MSF MegaLAP Time Attack as well as a car show competition by Mcclubz, featuring over 150 cars.

    The MSF Superbikes event will kick off with an open track day session, previewing a superbike racing series in 2018 with multiple categories. Similarly, the drift event, MSF Drift Gonzo, will preview a full challenge series in 2018. The 2017 finale will run with three drift categories including Super 1600, Street and Pro-Comp.

    Click to enlarge

    The MSF Drift Gonzo is not your usual drift challenge, also known as Tsuiso – instead, drifters will be scored by hitting certain targets on a car park such as clipping point markers, dragging long, fast drifts and even drifting in a ‘tightrope’ section. The MSF Superbikes and MSF Drift Gonzo series will be featured in three two-day rounds in 2018, including a night endurance race in August called the MSF Merdeka Night Enduro.

    As mentioned earlier, apart from being able to watch all the driving and riding action up close at MSF Finale 2017, spectators will also be able to catch over 150 interesting cars on display. There will also be a WaterPark for kids as well as a number of F&B outlets, plus a BBQ Year-End Party in the works, too. Tickets will be up for grabs from as low as RM20.

    The MSF Finale 2017 will take place after MSF Round 5 on October 15, which will feature the MSF Track Day and MSF Racing Series for four-wheelers, so pencil in the dates December 2 and 3 to witness one of Malaysia’s most exciting motorsport events. For more information, visit the official MSF Racing website or its Facebook page.

  • GALLERY: Ferrari Portofino, Maranello’s new drop-top

    Ferrari gave its Portofino its world debut last week at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, and the replacement for the California every bit the looker in the metal, the form especially striking in silver at the event.

    The car is powered by a 3.9 litre Ferrari F154 BB twin-turbo V8, the same mill found on the California T, but now with a revised output of 600 hp at 7,500 rpm and 760 Nm from 3,000 to 5,250 rpm courtesy of a rework that sees new pistons and conrods as well as a redesigned intake and exhaust system making their way on.

    A lighter kerb weight also aids performance, of which relevant figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 3.5 seconds (and a 0-200 km/h time of 10.8 seconds). Fuel consumption has also improved – the Portofino consumes just 10.5 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle.

    The Portofino features a third-generation electronic differential (E-Diff3), which is integrated into the F1-Trac system to improve mechanical grip and control at the limit, and electric power steering is now to be found, offering a seven percent faster steering ratio.

    Elsewhere, the SCM-E magnetorheological dampers have been uprated with the use of dual-coil technology, enhancing performance while improving bump absorption.

    Inside, the cabin largely mirrors the interior styling of the GTC4Lusso – there’s a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system display as well as a secondary info screen on the dashboard console for the front passenger. Other fresh bits include a new three-spoke steering wheel as well as a new air-conditioning system, and the backrests of the front seats have been redesigned to offer more legroom for rear occupants.

  • Volvo XC40 officially revealed – CMA platform, Drive-E engines, first model offered in ‘Care by Volvo’ service

    This is it, meet the new Volvo XC40, which celebrates its launch debut today in Milan. The compact SUV is the smallest XC model offered by the Swedish carmaker, positioned below the XC60 and XC90.

    The XC40 rides on the company’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series including fully electrified vehicles. It measures 4,425 mm long, 1,851 mm, 1,658 mm tall and has a wheelbase measuring 2,702 mm. The sporty stance you see is courtesy of a wider rear track (1,626 mm) compared to the one at the front (1,601 mm).

    Previewed by the 40.1 concept from last year, the XC40 carries over many of the cues found on the show car. The bold Volvo grille at the front can be had in different designs depending on trim line (i.e. R-Design, Momentum, etc.), and they are flanked by the brand’s well-known LED headlights (with ‘Thor’s hammer’ LED daytime running lights).

    Along the sides, simple lines create scalloped sections near the hood and rearmost pillar, as well as the lower section of the doors. Another highlight is the black-painted roof, which is part of a two-tone theme that sees the shoulder line act as a separator between roof and body. If black isn’t to your liking, other colour schemes are available as well, along with a variety of wheels (from 18 to 21 inches in size).

    As for the rear, vertical taillights wrap around the pillars, and are clearly independent of the rear hatch. On R-Design variants, there’s dual exhaust outlets, whereas Momentum cars have theirs tucked away. A roof spoiler is standard, and follows the same colour as the one chosen for the roof.

    Moving inside, you’ll find elements from the XC40’s larger stablemates, most notably with the portrait-format, nine-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen infotainment system and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. A decorative inlay splits the upper and lower sections of the dashboard, available in either Urban Grid Aluminium or Cutting Edge Aluminium designs. The trim is also applied on the door cards, and for an even more premium feel, ambient lighting is installed here.

    Volvo says the XC40 is well suited to city living, and offers a bevy of suitable and functional storage spaces as a result. For instance, the bass speaker commonly found in the doors have been moved to the dashboard, allowing for a larger door pocket to store laptop, iPads, water bottles, etc.

    Elsewhere, the storage beneath the armrest is large enough to contain a tissue box, and just ahead of it is a removable waste bin. You still get conventional cupholders here, and at the front of the centre tunnel, there’s a storage space for your smartphone with wireless charging capability. For items that are meant to go into the boot, there’s 432 litres of cargo space available.

    The kit list includes a dual-zone climate system with a CleanZone air filtration system and rear air-con vents, leather upholstery, powered seats, high performance audio system (Harman Kardon Premium Sound is optional) and Volvo On Call mobile app service.

    Under the bonnet, the XC40 will first be offered with 2.0 litre four-cylinder engines. The first is a D4 turbodiesel unit that serves up 190 hp and 400 Nm of torque, while the other option is a T5 Drive-E petrol powerplant with 247 hp and 350 Nm of torque. These engines are paired with an AW TG-81SC eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system (front-wheel drive comes later on).

    Further powertrain options, including ahybridised and pure electric version will be introduced later on. The former is likely the T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain shown to us in Sweden two years ago. Volvo also adds the XC40 will be available with a new three-cylinder engine in the future, likely the 1.5 litre unit used in the T5 Twin Engine.

    Safety and driver assistance features on the XC40 include Volvo Cars’ Pilot Assist system, City Safety, Run-off Road protection and mitigation, Cross Traffic alert with brake support and a 360-degree camera.

    Volvo also introduced the new ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription service, a service that makes “having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a phone.” With the service, customers will only need to order online, and drive away in a new Volvo without having to worry about down payments, insurances, taxes, service fees and geographical or customer age related differences.

    All that is needed is to pay a standard (unified price in Eurozone countries), ready-negotiated monthly fee like you would with most subscription services (i.e. Spotify). After 24 months, customers can even opt for a new Volvo vehicle of their choice. The service is also backed by digital concierge services, such as fuelling, cleaning, service pick-up and e-commerce delivery to the car., depending on regional availability.

    The XC40 will be the first model to be offered with the new service, which will be made available to customers in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Poland and the United States, with other markets set to follow at a later stage.

  • McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo gets revealed

    This is the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo, the carmaker’s entry in the Vision Gran Turismo project organised by game creator, Kazunori Yamauchi. You’ll get to take the virtual race car out for a spin in the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport, but don’t expect it to be prototype for a future McLaren model.

    The futuristic design you see here has some function to it, with McLaren claiming every single line and detail has a purpose. This approach works with advanced active aerodynamic technology called ‘Integrated Active Aero’, which opens tiny aperture covers around air inlets on key surfaces during cornering to create drag and generate downforce, rather than moving the surfaces altogether.

    The company says this reduces the number of moving parts (like motors to work an active rear wing), making the approach less complex and cumbersome. In fact, the car has a virtual kerb weight of just 1,000 kg, thanks to a structure and body made out of carbon-fibre.

    Since the car exists in a world where anything is possible, the teardrop cabin features an innovative approach to seating – the driver is positioned forward and centrally in the chassis, but also lying on their front, almost like a motorcycle riding position.

    Propulsion is provided by a hybrid powertrain, which is made up of a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 and electric motors on each of the front wheels. This provides all-wheel drive and more notably, a system output of 1,150 PS and 1,275 Nm of torque. To slow down, centrally mounted carbon-ceramic disc brakes allow the driver to monitor brake temperatures during racing, and helps reduce unsprung mass.

    The McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo is a stunning looking car. The design form communicates exactly what the car’s mission is and what its intentions are: it’s the ultimate expression of the McLaren design pillars and principles we have already established, futured into the 2030s,” said Rob Melville, design director at McLaren Automotive.

  • Infiniti standalone electric vehicle to debut in 2019

    Infiniti, Nissan’s premium brand, has plans to launch a standalone electric model in 2019, Autocar reports. The car will be previewed in concept form at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show.

    According to the report, Nissan’s senior VP for global design Alfonsa Albaisa confirmed that the upcoming full EV will not be a variant of an existing model and would instead be an all-new model. It was also revealed that the planned EV would not share a platform with the Nissan Leaf, and will instead sit on a new platform.

    He said that at the Monterey car week, the annual event where Infiniti showed its Prototype 9, a classic race car-styled machine powered by an electric motor. The former Infiniti design boss said that we would see “parts of the car in a difference context” on the electric concept planned for Detroit 2018.

    The UK mag added that earlier this year, Infiniti boss Roland Krueger told the publication that an electric model was coming and that he had already driven an early prototype that was “very good”. Krueger said that it was important that an EV maintained Infiniti’s values of performance and handling. “We want it to have a unique Infiniti driving experience,” he said.

    At the same time, Krueger acknowledged that parent company Nissan has experience in making EVs, and there are things to learn from. “There are lots of engineering competencies we can tap into and utilise,” he said.

    The fascinating Prototype 9 comes with a 30 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which Infiniti says offers up to 20 minutes of EV range under heavy track use. The motor itself is described as a prototype, and it provides 120 kW (161 hp) and 320 Nm of torque. The sleek sports car you see above is the Infiniti EMERG-E Concept that was shown at Geneva 2012.

  • VIDEO: 2017 BMW Motorrad G 310 R – RM26,900

    Malaysian riders waited a while for the 2017 BMW Motorrad G 310 R to appear, and when it did, it was priced at RM26,900, including GST, which made many sit up and take notice. As the collaboration between BMW Motorrad and TVS of India, the G 310 R is BMW’s foray back into the sub-500 cc market after a break of nearly four decades.

    When we took the G 310 R out on review, we found it to be a fairly competent all-rounder, with good handling and reasonable rider comfort. Braking, with Brembo’s Bybre brand, was also fuss-free and good.

    Coming as it does with a 313 cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder power that puts out a claimed 34 hp at 9,500 rpm and 28 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm. Riding the G 310 R on the highway, power delivery was good, and there was enough speed to break the speed limit for an almost continuous four-hour run.

    The reversed cylinder orientation on the G 310 R has the intake facing forward, letting the engine be tilted a little further backward to place weight over the rear wheel, while giving the exhaust a straight path to the rear. This allows for a better centre of gravity, and is claimed by BMW to improve the bike’s handling.

    Wet weight for the G 310 R is said to be 158 kg, and fuel is carried in an 11-litre tank. Braking is done with a four-piston caliper and single 300 mm disc in front, while the rear disc is a 240 mm diameter unit, and two-channel ABS is standard.

  • Mercedes’ new F1 motor hits 50% thermal efficiency

    Mercedes-AMG has achieved yet another breakthrough in furthering development of the internal combustion engine, this time achieving a 50% thermal efficiency rating for its Formula One engine. The figure was achieved during a dyno test and not on a racetrack.

    For the layman, this essentially means the new engine has a better power-to-waste ratio. That’s right, waste. The thermal efficiency of an engine is determined by the amount of energy it can extract from fuel. The average thermal efficiency for a regular internal combustion engine is between 20% to 30%, with Toyota and Hyundai boasting a 40% figure for its engines in the Prius and Ioniq respectively.

    This Mercedes F1 engine – which is a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 – was commissioned for duty in 2014 and has proven itself to be a reliable and competent performer since then. It is now the most efficient engine of them all.

    The Mercedes-AMG Project One which recently made its grand debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show also uses a broadly similar 1.6 litre W06 Hybrid unit with a thermal efficiency rating of 43%. The engine makes over 1,000 hp, propelling the car from 0 to 100 km/h in under six seconds and reportedly maxes out over 350 km/h.

  • Proterra Catalyst E2 max electric bus achieves a new world record – travels 1772.2 km on a single charge

    Proterra, a company that produces heavy-duty electric vehicles, has announced it has set a world record for driving the longest distance ever travelled by an electric vehicle on a single charge. Its 40-foot Catalyst E2 max managed to travel 1772.2 km on a single charge at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana.

    This isn’t the first time Proterra demonstrated the range and performance of its electric powertrain and battery systems. Last September, Proterra drove 970 km with 440 kWh of energy storage, and in 2015, Proterra drove 415 km with 257 kWh of energy storage on a single charge. The vehicle used in its latest attempt features a 660 kWh battery.

    “For our heavy-duty electric bus to break the previous world record of 1,013.76 miles (about 1631.5 km) – which was set by a light-duty passenger EV 46 times lighter than the Catalyst E2 max — is a major feat,” said Matt Horton, chief commercial officer at Proterra.

    The Catalyst bus is available in 35- and 40-foot lengths, each with three main electric configurations – FC, XR and E2 – with energy capacities ranging from 79-660 kWh. According to the company, their vehicles cost much less to maintain than conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines.

  • Proton leaves Iran, dissolves its dormant subsidiary

    Proton has dissolved Proton Motor Pars (PMP), its indirect, wholly-owned Iranian subsidiary that was set up in August 2011 but has not been active since its incorporation, The Star reports. The announcement of the dissolution – which took place on Monday – was made by DRB-Hicom to Bursa Malaysia.

    The company was to have engaged in car assembly or the building of vehicles as well as business of marketing relevant accessories and spare parts in the country, but operations never took off.

    In January this year, DRB-Hicom announced that it had no intention of activating the dormant company to carry on business or undertake operations in the future. It added that the dissolution of PMP is part of the streamlining exercise undertaken by the group to close down companies that are dormant or have ceased operations.

    The national automaker had previously told the publication that Iran was identified as a core market for long-term business, as it offered sizable potential with substantial future growth.

    Nearly a decade ago, it was reported that sales of Proton vehicles in Iran were encouraging – local distributor Zagross Khodro announced that it was selling around 17,000 units annually but had ambitions to shift 100,000 units a year by 2013.


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Last Updated 21 Sep 2017


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