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  • Renault Kadjar SUV – Nissan Qashqai’s French sister makes its debut in Geneva; full live gallery

    Renault Kadjar Geneva Live 1

    Greetings from Geneva! You’ve already seen many of the cars lined up for their world premiere at the Palexpo, so some might be surprised that the show only opens to the press today (11 am now). Such is the world today, but nothing beats live images, so we’ll try our best to provide that from the greatest car show on the calendar.

    We’ll kick off proceedings at the Renault booth, which is decked out in similar fashion to the brand’s Paris 2014 stand – dune style with what looks like floating eggs in the sky. Scattered around the hills and valleys is the main event here – the Renault Kadjar. Renault boss Carlos Ghosn will unveil the C-segment SUV in an hour’s time, but we have for you one of the world’s first full live galleries of the Kadjar here.

    The Kadjar is the French sister to Nissan’s latest Qashqai. Built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-CD platform, the curvy SUV measures 4,450 mm long, 1,840 mm wide and 1,600 mm tall. That means it’s significantly bigger than younger sibling Captur (B-segment Clio based), but is shorter than the Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V, to give you some perspective. No Koleos name too, so that leaves room for another bigger SUV if Renault is interested.

    Renault Kadjar Geneva Live 10

    While the Kadjar, like most crossovers, is expected to spend most of its time in the city, it has decent approach and departure angles of 18 and 25 degrees respectively, with a ground clearance of 190 mm. Good for climbing kerbs then!

    Design-wise, the Kadjar is very clearly a Renault, carrying the French firm’s latest family face as seen on the new Espace, which has morphed into a crossover/MPV hybrid. LED lighting is used at both ends, and branded as such on the edges of the lamp housings, too. The rear end closely resembles the Clio’s – a good thing. Open the hatch and there’s a underfloor storage and levers on the sides to fold the rear seats flat.

    Both front-wheel-drive and 4WD versions are available. The all-wheel-drive model features three modes – Auto, Lock and 2WD – controlled by a rotary dial behind the gear lever. All the display cars here feature an electronic parking brake, which should be standard across the board judging from the centre console design.

    Renault Kadjar Geneva Live 32

    The Kadjar joins a hot SUV market, and Mr Ghosn thinks that the demand for such vehicles will remain strong. “These models offer great versatility, and all our research tells us people really enjoy that. Whether the trend will last 10 or 15 years I can’t say, but for the foreseeable future — which means the next four or five years — we think demand will be strong, not just in Europe but around the world. Cars like these make up one sale in four across the world, and one in three in China,” he told Autocar UK last month.

    Renault will be hoping that the Kadjar follows the path of the Captur, which leads the B-segment SUV class in Europe. Built in Spain, the car will go on sale in Europe this summer. More info soon.

  • Hyundai Tucson hybrid concepts unveiled in Geneva


    As Hyundai drops the cover on the new Tucson (pictured here) and ix20 as well as a slew of other models, the Korean automaker has also chosen to showcase a pair of hybrid concepts based on the Tucson crossover. Dubbed the Hyundai Tucson 48V Hybrid Concept and Tucson Plug-in-Hybrid Concept, the pair will serve as a preview to alternative propulsion methods that could see the light of day in production models in the future.

    First off is the 48V Hybrid, which is based on the 2.0 litre diesel variant with 136 PS and a six-speed manual transmission. The concept features an electric motor that produces the equivalent of 14 PS, resulting in a combined power output of 150 PS and 413 Nm of torque.

    The entire experimental system consists of a Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG), which, effectively, replaces the conventional starter with an electric motor. The setup is comprised of an inverter and a low voltage DC/DC converter. Designed specifically to fit larger vehicles, the system aids the diesel mill with extra power and allows for a restart of said engine with close to no noise or vibrations.

    During deceleration, the HSG system doubles as a generator and works to recharge the 48-volt lithium-ion battery. All in all, the HSG setup adds only 20 kg to the overall weight of the entire vehicle.


    Next up is the Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid Concept which is based on a variant with a 1.7 litre diesel engine and comes equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Coupled to a 10.7 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, the combined power output of the concept is pegged at 183 PS while torque figures are capped off at 474 Nm.

    On pure electric power, the concept is capable of travelling a distance in excess of 50 km while CO2 emissions are tagged at no more than 48 g/km. On the Plug-in Hybrid Concept, the electric motor is nestled at the rear of the car and powers only the rear wheels while the diesel engine sends it powers to the front axle.

    As a result, this particular Tucson is capable of switching between a rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive mode depending on the situation at hand. The concept also features a four-mode drive selection system – Auto, Zero Emission Vehicle, 4WD and Sport mode.

    The Auto mode is self-explanatory as the car will determine the most efficient algorithm while engaging Zero Emission Vehicle mode uses only pure electric power. In 4WD mode, both the engine and motor are brought online to power all four wheels while Sport mode exhausts both power sources to the maximum for a more spirited drive.

    GALLERY: Third-generation Hyundai Tucson SUV

  • Mercedes-Benz Concept V-ision e – a plug-in V-Class

    Mercedes-Benz Concept V-ision e with PLUG-IN HYBRID

    Mercedes is going full force into its plug-in hybrid onslaught. Having already rolled out the S 500 and C 350 plug-in hybrids (now known respectively as S 500 e and C 350 e), and with similar versions of the E-Class, GLC and GLE on the way, Stuttgart has unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Concept V-ision e at the ongoing 2015 Geneva show.

    As its name (loosely) suggests, the study previews a V-Class plug-in hybrid. It employs the C 350 e‘s petrol-hybrid system, but has a more powerful electric motor – the 211 hp/350 Nm 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder joins forces with a 121 hp/340 Nm electric motor here, resulting in a combined output of 333 hp and 600 Nm of torque.

    This makes possible a 0-100 km/h time of 6.1 seconds (quicker than the top V 250 BlueTEC) and a 206 km/h top whack. Other impressive numbers are a rated fuel consumption of under 3.0 litres per 100 km, CO2 emissions of 71 grams per km and an all-electric range of 50 km if the vehicle is driven at a maximum speed of 80 km/h.

    The electric motor is fed by a 13.5 kWh lithium-ion battery that can either be charged through deceleration or an external power source. As with Merc’s plug-in hybrids, Hybrid, E-Mode, E-Save and Charge modes are available.

    Dressed in “designo titanium alubeam paint,” the Mercedes-Benz Concept V-ision e sports side skirts, aero bumpers, a rear spoiler and multi-spoke 20-inch alloys. Inside, you’ll find a massive two-section glass roof with Magic Sky Control (controls the panoramic roof’s transparency), white Nappa leather, Dinamica microfibre and a dark floor made of English walnut.

    The concept is fitted with rear executive seats – these offer integrated calf supports, footrests, heating, massage and ventilation, plus the ability to recline up to 49 degrees at the push of a button. There are also two foldable 35 x 35 cm tables and two iPad holders integrated into the driver and front passenger seat backs.

    The iPad holders feature an integrated charging interface and two USB charging ports, and can be tilted and rotated 90 degrees. The wide centre console offers several cupholders, a large storage compartment, USB ports, an SD card slot, a five-litre cooler as well as a 220V and a 12V socket.

  • 2016 Hyundai ix20 gets nipped and tucked for Geneva


    The updated Hyundai ix20 has been unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show with a raft of changes on and under the surface. Apart from the mandatory aesthetic upgrade, the 2016 Hyundai ix20 will arrive in showrooms with a range of updated petrol and diesel engines as well as a new six-speed automatic transmission.

    Firstly, the new MPV sports a revised front fascia with a revised hexagonal grille that brings it in line with the Korean automaker’s current design theme. The grille itself is available in two formats – a mesh-type layout or a more conventional style with horizontal chrome bars. New bi-function projector head lamps are featured.

    In profile, the new Hyundai ix20 offers customers a choice of 15-inch wheels along with 16- and 17-inch alloy options. At the rear, LED rear combination tail lamps are responsible for rounding off the list of aesthetic enhancements.

    Under the hood, four Euro 6-compliant mills are featured – two ‘Gamma’ petrol and two U-II diesel mills. Starting with the petrol options, the CVVT-equipped 1.4 litre mill pushes out 90 PS and 137 Nm of torque and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The 1.6 litre, on the other hand, generates 125 PS and 156 Nm of torque and is paired to either a six-speed manual or the aforementioned six-speed automatic.


    Oddly enough, the two diesel engines are offered in two separate states of tune on each one. Beginning with the 1.4 litre diesel mill, it pumps out 77 PS in its mildest state while 90 PS is offered should one need more power. Both applications will result in 240 Nm of torque while a six-speed manual is the only gearbox offered.

    The 1.6 litre diesel engine produces 115 PS in entry-level format while 128 PS is available in its highest state of tune. Torque output is rated at 260 Nm in both applications while a six-speed manual transmission remains the sole choice of gearbox. To further improve fuel efficiency, the ix20 Blue Drive model features Integrated Stop & Go, an alternator management system and drag-reducing ‘active air flap’ located in the front grille.

    Inside, the cabin remains largely the same except for the inclusion of an updated entertainment system with iPod, Bluetooth, USB/AUX connectivity as well as a My Music platform with up to 1GB of storage space. Elsewhere, an optional, dual-panel panoramic glass sunroof is offered.

    Cargo space is quoted at 440 litres with the seats up and 1,486 litres with them folded flat. Standard safety kit on the Hyundai ix20 includes the fitment of six airbags, ESP, ABS and EBD.

  • Magna Steyr Mila Plus is a plug-in hybrid sports car

    06_MILA Plus Photo 01

    Set to be unveiled at the 2015 Geneva show very soon is a plug-in hybrid sports car concept from Austrian contract manufacturer Magna Steyr. Dubbed the Mila Plus, the two-seater study is motivated by a three-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors; one for each axle.

    Output figures have not been released yet, but they must be significant, for in hybrid mode, the 1,520 kg vehicle can do the century sprint in just 4.9 seconds. Engage electric mode and it’ll be capable of 0-80 km/h in 3.6 seconds.

    Meanwhile, the range is said to be around 500 km, over 70 of which can be covered in electric mode. CO2 emissions are a quoted 32 grams per km.

    The Mila Plus is built on an aluminium frame with integrated batteries, and parts of the car, including the chassis and interior, are fully recyclable. More details should surface after the car is unveiled.

  • Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce debuts


    Spied on trials last month, the new Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce has made its debut in Geneva. This then is the most powerful and fastest series production Aventador, with 50 being the magic number in more than one aspect.

    Fifty kilos have been shed from its mass through enhanced lightweight engineering – including an increased use of carbon fibre – and 50 ponies added to its naturally-aspirated 6.5 litre V12 engine, the last giving the 750 hp all-wheel drive Superveloce its numerical suffix.

    With a power-to-weight-ratio of 2.03 kg per hp, the car replaces the limited edition 720 hp Aventador LP720-4 50th Anniversary, which debuted at Auto Shanghai 2013, at the top of the heap.

    Performance-wise, the LP750-4 Superveloce manages the 0-100 km/h run in 2.8 seconds before getting to a 350 km/h plus top speed, a slight improvement over the LP 720-4’s 2.9 seconds and 350 km/h top speed.

  • Volkswagen Passat is 2015 European Car of the Year

    Der neue Volkswagen Passat

    The Volkswagen Passat B8 has been voted the 2015 European Car of the Year by a panel of 58 motoring journalists from 22 countries on the Continent, a day before the 2015 Geneva show opened its doors to the press.

    Racking up a total of 340 points, the new D-segmenter overtook nominees such as the Citroen C4 Cactus (248 points), Mercedes C-Class (221), Ford Mondeo (203), Nissan Qashqai (160), BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (154) and Renault Twingo (124), to collect the coveted crown.

    “We are extremely proud of this accolade,” said Volkswagen CEO Prof Martin Winterkorn. “This honour is a tremendous confirmation for the work of our engineers, designers and the entire team. The new Passat shows that the Volkswagen brand has the right answers to the challenges of our time.”

    This is the third VW to bag the European accolade in the recent past – the Golf won it in 2013 (it was also World Car of the same year) and the Polo, in 2010. The new Peugeot 308 – expected to launch in Malaysia next monthwas last year’s winner.

    The eighth-gen Volkswagen Passat made an appearance in Malaysia only five months after its world reveal in July 2014, and will probably be introduced here towards year-end. Excited yet?

    Volkswagen Passat B8 at Das Event in Malaysia

  • 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS unveiled – 500 PS, PDK only


    Here it is, the new 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Moving onto the 991-generation 911, Stuttgart’s latest lightweight track car makes its world debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

    Using the bog-standard GT3 as a base, the RS tacks on a wider body from the Turbo, deeper front splitter, side skirts and rear valence, downforce-inducing front fender vents, extra air outlets on the carbon fibre engine lid and a large adjustable rear wing. Twin creases running down the magnesium roof and carbon fibre bonnet pay homage to similar indent seen on air-cooled 911’s.

    Inside, the RS is fitted with carbon front seats from the 918 Spyder, a six-point driver’s safety harness, a bolt-on rear roll cage, preparation for a battery master switch along with a fire extinguisher. A Sport Chrono Package is optional, and aside from an onboard lap timer, also includes a Porsche Track Precision smartphone app that logs vehicle data and times laps via GPS.


    The use of lighter materials and a stripped-out interior mean that despite the wider body, the GT3 RS weighs just 1,420 kg, 10 kg less than the standard GT3.

    At the rear, the GT3’s direct-injected, naturally-aspirated flat-six engine has been bored out from 3.8 litres to 4.0 litres, enabling it to produce 500 PS at a stratospheric 8,250 rpm and 460 Nm at 6,250 rpm. With power sent to the rear wheels, the RS launches from 0-100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds, passes 200 km/h in 10.9 seconds, and hits a top speed of 310 km/h.

    Like the regular GT3 (and unlike the manual-only Cayman GT4), the RS is fitted exclusively with a specially-developed seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. As on the lesser model, the ‘box comes with a “paddle neutral” function that opens the two clutches when both paddles are pulled, then closes them at “lightning speed” when released to alter the car’s cornering stance.


    Peer beneath the metal and you’ll find electromechanical power steering, active rear-wheel steering and a fully-variable limited-slip differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus as on the GT3, but with a wider front and rear track for better roll stability. The RS is also fitted with the widest tyres fitted on any 911 – 265/30 on 20-inch wheels at the front, and 325/30 on 21-inch wheels at the rear.

    So competent are the tweaks that the new 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is claimed to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 20 seconds, quicker even than the 7 minutes 28 seconds set by the 2003 Carrera GT. It will go on sale in a few months, with prices starting from €181,690 (RM738,200).

  • MINI Countryman gets Park Lane special edition


    One of the indicators of a model approaching the end of a lifecycle when the manufacturer starts to launch special editions. MINI will exhibit this new MINI Countryman Park Lane at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show while prototypes of the next generation F60 Countryman continue to be sighted with increasing frequency.

    That grey paint you see is called Earl Grey metallic, combined with Oak Red for the roof, decorative decals and exterior mirror caps. Those wheels are 18 inch light alloys in Turbo Fan Dark Grey design. The car is also equipped with the MINI ALL4 Exterior visual package including silver body elements for the front and rear apron as well as the side sills.

    Exclusive emblems on the side scuttles and the cockpit surface bear the inscription “Park Lane”, as do the entry sills. The interior surfaces in Oxide Silver for the door bezel and cockpit trim and Cross Stripe Grey for the side surrounds of the centre console are exclusive for the Countryman Park Lane. These go together with the inlay colour Carbon Black for the door trim and centre console.

    The Park Lane name comes from a street in Mayfair, London where MINI has a showroom. This is the third time that MINI is using the Park Lane name for an edition model. The first was a classic Mini in 1987, followed by a MINI Park Lane in 2005 after the BMW relaunch.

    GALLERY: MINI Countryman Park Lane

    GALLERY: F60 MINI Countryman prototype on test

  • Peugeot Petaling Jaya opens – Nasim’s 35th outlet

    Peugeot Petaling Jaya  001

    Nasim launched its latest sales outlet, Peugeot Petaling Jaya along Jalan 222 today. This is the company’s second new outlet in 2015 (Peugeot Taiping opened last month), 16th in Klang Valley and 35th nationwide.

    The new 1S showroom spans over 7,560 sq ft, built at a cost of RM1 million. It’s equipped with customer lounges, a discussion area, Peugeot boutique and free Wi-Fi. It will serve customers from several corners of the Klang Valley and of course, Petaling Jaya itself.

    Nasim is having a busy year in 2015 with major launches planned, including the all-new 308 hatchback, 408 sedan and the facelifted 508 range.


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