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  • Proton partner vital for new tech, larger market – PM

    Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has had his say on Proton’s current situation, where the national carmaker is currently evaluating foreign strategic partner bids from China’s Geely and France’s PSA Group. To no one’s surprise, the “father of Proton” is against the idea of ceding control of the carmaker to foreign parties, even blaming the current PM for Proton’s predicament.

    Now, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has aired his thoughts on the matter, defending the government’s proposal for Proton to have a foreign partner. Proton must look for a strategic partner, but this does not mean the company is being sold to foreigners, he said, reported by The Star.

    “This (finding a partner) is so there will be an injection of new technology and a larger market. When there is a larger volume of sales, there will be more jobs in Pekan and Tanjung Malim. The people are the ones who will benefit from this,” Najib reasoned at the opening of the Negaraku: Komuniti 1Malaysia programme in Pekan over the weekend.

    “We do not play using emotions and fake news. We do what is best for the people,” he added, saying that a former leader had committed many mistakes in the handling of Proton. “I do not want to talk about it, but we want to fix it,” the PM said.

    For a recap of the current situation and Tun M’s views on the matter, click here.

  • Klang Valley Double Track project on track – end 2019

    Rehabilitation work for the Keratapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Klang Valley Double Track project is on course, according to the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD). The 42 km rehabilitation work between the Rawang-Salak Selatan and Sentul-Simpang Batu line is expected to reach completion by the end of 2019, said SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah.

    “Some of the works done includes the upgrading of KTM’s 16 stations, the signalling and electrification system, and the installation of the tetra radio system for the overall KTM network except for Gemas-JB,” he said following a visit to the site of the project.

    The remedial work is much needed in order to alleviate delays and cancellations due to failure and derailment as most of the track is more than 20 years old, he said.

    The RM1.41 billion KVDT project, which started in the third quarter of last year, includes the laying of new tracks that will be easier to maintain, the replacement of 20-year old signalling equipment to reduce metal theft and service disruption, installation of radio systems, upgrading of 16 stations and a new feeder station in Sentul for generation of more electricity to increase train frequencies. The upgrading project is the reason for the longer waits KTM Komuter passengers are facing now.

    Responding to a question on the work schedule, unexpected delays will not be a key matter, as quality of work is of the utmost importance, said Azharuddin. “Having said that, the contractors appointed however, have assured the commission that they would be able to get the job done on time,” he said.

  • 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS Malaysia price confirmed, RM37,189 – Special Edition at RM38,189

    Hot on the heels of the price announcement for the 2017 Kawasaki Z650 ABS is the Malaysia price for the full-fairing Ninja 650 ABS, at RM37,189 including GST. Also released is the price for the Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS Special Edition, which retails for RM38,189, including GST.

    Carrying the same 649 cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin that puts out 67.3 hp at 8,000 rpm and 65.7 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm as the Z650, the Ninja 650 carries Kawasaki’s middleweight supersports mantle, along with an illustrious model name that first appeared back in 1983, with the GPz900R.

    Like its sibling, Bosch 9.1M ABS is now standard for this pair of Kawasaki middle-weights, a welcome inclusion to the spec-sheet, as is an assist and slipper clutch. Both machines also have a low seat height of 790 mm, making them easy to ride and accessible for all rider types.

    Fuel for the Ninja 650 is carried in a 15-litre tank, and wet weight is claimed to be 193 kg. A new trellis frame ties everything together, and wheelbase is stated as 1,410 mm, which should make handling sporty.

    The Special Edition version of the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS- which goes for RM1,000 more – comes with a single-seat cover, smoked windshield, radiator cover and rim pin striping. Colour options for the Ninja 650 are Candy Burnt Orange for the base model, while the Special Edition comes in Kawasaki Green.

    Both the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the Z650 – both of which are only available with ABS – will be in GT World Ninja, Ninja Shops and Kawasaki authorised premium dealers by March 8. The 2017 Kawasaki Z650 naked sportsbike retails for RM35,609.

  • Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 for 2017 season unveiled

    Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 Car from Carlos Sainz is seen during a studio photo shooting in Faenza, Italy on February, 2017 // Guido De Bortoli / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20170226-00506 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //

    Scuderia Toro Rosso has revealed their contender for the 2017 Formula 1 season, the STR12 – this time sporting striking blue-and-red livery, a sea change from the previous design, a derivative of sister team Red Bull Racing. The team returns to Renault engines for power, after the 2016 season with Ferrari powerplants under the skin.

    Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat make up the driver roster at the Faenza, Italy-based team, with the car itself designed by technical director James Key, also sporting the shark fin atop the engine cover as seen on most 2017 F1 cars thus far.

    As with the rest of the 2017-season Formula 1 cars, the STR12 comes in line with this year’s regulations which dictate wider front and rear tyres, while the front wing is now wider and the rear wing now lower. “Nothing has been carried over (from last year’s car), it’s a clean sheet of paper,” Key said.

    “The front half (of the car) is completely new, with a swept front wing and a lot more freedom around the front of the floor, which means you can generate more downforce. There is also more freedom at the rear: you have a wider floor, a higher diffuser, the diffuser starts earlier and the rear wing is wider and lower,” said Toro Rosso head of aerodynamics Brendan Gilhome.

    “The philosophy for some of the car is something that we can take across from last year, but other areas require a complete re-think. The front wing position and shape has changed as well as all of the front floor. There is a lot more opportunity to explore different ideas and explore concepts that you hadn’t been allowed in the past,” Gilhome continued.

    Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives the STR12 in Misano, Italy on February 22, 2017

    With past frustrations on the powerplant side, Toro Rosso is hopeful for a resurgence into better results with the Renault units this year.

    “If you look back at the last three years, through unfortunate circumstances we’ve always had a deficit on the power unit side. That has affected our performance and the number of points we’ve scored. That has been frustrating because the aero guys have done a fantastic job with the chassis and we’ve improved a lot in other areas, operationally and in terms of our understanding of the tyres,” Key explained.

    “With the great turnaround we saw from Renault last year and a different approach and momentum that they’ve got now, hopefully this will be the best power unit we’ve ever hard in the hybrid era. For once we will have something that is much more competitive. We’ve also got driver continuity, which is really important when you go from one set of regs to another,” he added.

    Sainz gets his first stint behind the wheel of the STR12 today, while teammate Kvyat takes his turn in the 2017 car tomorrow. Scuderia Toro Rosso managed a seventh placing in the constructors’ championship for the 2016 season, with Sainz in 12th and Kvyat in 14th in the drivers’ championship.

  • G30 BMW 5 Series in Thailand – 520d, 530i M Sport

    The G30 BMW 5 Series will be launching soon in Thailand and Headlightmag has managed to get local pricing and specs for luxury saloon. The seventh-generation 5er, unveiled in October 2016, will be available there initially in two CBU imported variants – the 520d Luxury and 530i M Sport.

    The 520d is powered by a 2.0 litre turbodiesel with 190 hp at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. The oil burner is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Status quo here. The 530i comes with a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine pumping out 252 hp and 350 Nm from 1,450 to 4,800 rpm, the same motor found in our 330i LCI. An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission sends drive to the rear axle.

    The base CBU variant, priced at 3,899,000 baht (RM496,638) comes standard with 18 inch wheels, adaptive LED headlamps, auto high beam, Dakota leather upholstery, Comfort Access, a 10.25 inch touch screen (iDrive now with gesture control), the cool new digital meter panel and the fancy Display Key that was first seen with the current 7 Series.

    The 4,399,000 baht (RM560,352) 530i is the sportier option, as it’s in M Sport trim. The usual M Sport exterior and interior (sportier steering wheel and seats) goodies apply, along with sportier suspension and brakes, plus 19-inch double-spoke alloys in a staggered setup (245/40 front, 275/35 rear).

    Also included are the panorama glass roof, Parking Assistant, 360 degree camera view, paddle shifters, Harman Kardon surround sound system and a wireless phone charger.

    Like in Malaysia, this is an initial imported batch for early adopters willing to pay higher prices. Thai-assembled G30s will follow. The latest 5 Series should be reaching our shores this year as well. Here’s what’s new compared to the sixth-gen F10, in video form. Full gallery after the jump.

    Read The Full Story ›

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet teased, roof down

    Mercedes-Benz has released a teaser of its upcoming E-Class Cabriolet, demonstrating its retractable fabric roof in movement ahead of its public showing at the Geneva Motor Show. As with the recently-launched coupe, the cabriolet is expected to adopt most of the sedan’s powertrain line-up comprising petrol and diesel variants, as well as a full-blooded AMG model – a first for a two-door E-Class.

    The E-Class Cabriolet’s fabric top is said to take just 20 seconds to fully open or close, and as in Mercedes’ alfresco fashion, will come equipped with the automaker’s own Airscarf neck-heating and Aircap wind deflector systems.

    Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Cabriolet / BR 238 ;* Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 17,0-4,2 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 397-97 g/km
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet / BR 238; * Fuel consumption combined: 17.0-4.2 l/100 km; Combined CO2 emissions: 397- 97 g/km

    When the Cabriolet makes its debut, it will round out the E-Class line-up, with the sedan, long-wheelbase sedan, wagon, All-Terrain and coupe already launched.

    Last year in its native Germany, Mercedes-Benz fell afoul of a patent rights law with the Airscarf system, which saw it ordered to disable the system and have related advertising material withdrawn. This temporary ruling ended last December, which means Airscarf business now proceeds as usual.

    SPYSHOTS: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

  • Bermaz introduces new five-year/100,000 km warranty on all Mazda models except BT-50 pick-up truck

    Alongside the new Mazda CX-9, official distributor Bermaz has quietly introduced a new five-year/100,000 km warranty, up from the previous three-year coverage, although the mileage limit remains the same. This applies to all Mazda models excluding the BT-50 pick-up truck, which retains the same warranty as before.

    This finally puts Mazda on par with most mainstream manufacturers in terms of warranty coverage, although it should be pointed out that its mileage limit is still below the likes of Proton and Perodua, which have a 150,000 km limit. Honda, Toyota and Nissan, on the other hand, all offer unlimited-mileage warranties, with Nissan having a class-leading seven-year coverage.

    Aside from the extended warranty, Bermaz also provides a three-year/60,000 km free service package on all models (again except the BT-50), the same as before.

  • 2017 Ford Fiesta ST debuts – 1.5 three-cylinder, 200 PS

    Following the latest-generation Ford Fiesta‘s debut, the hotter ST variant has been unveiled, this time with a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine. With 200 PS and and 290 Nm of torque, the new car may be one cylinder down on the outgoing model, but it’s no less potent – its output figures are identical to last year’s hardcore ST200 variant.

    This makes the new car 20 PS and 50 Nm stronger than the standard B299 Fiesta ST. Headline figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 6.7 seconds, and with its new engine technologies, carbon dioxide emissions of just 114 grams per kilometre.

    The all-aluminium engine in the new ST features an integrated exhaust manifold for improved efficiency thanks to reduced warm-up times, while also helping improve torque delivery by minimising the distance traveled by exhaust gases between the turbocharger and the cylinders. An exhaust gas particulate filter technology is also fitted to reduce soot emissions.

    In terms of efficiency, the EcoBoost engine features cylinder deactivation, first announced for the new 1.0 litre version. In its operation, fuel delivery and valve operation is paused for one of the engine’s three cylinders when the engine is under partial load conditions, such as when coasting or cruising under part-throttle. The single cylinder can be deactivated and brought back online in just 14 milliseconds.

    The powerplant is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, sending drive to the front wheels. Torque steer is a key challenge with front-wheel drive layouts in charge of considerable torque outputs, and on that front Ford has outfitted the Fiesta ST with brake-applied torque vectoring, where an inside front wheel is slowed in order to reduce understeer when cornering.

    As with the Focus RS, the Fiesta ST now features driver-selectable drive modes, Normal, Sport, and Track – although unlike its big brother, there’s no Drift mode. In the first mode, parameters such as traction control, stability control, electronic sound enhancement (ESE), active exhaust valve and electronic power assisted steering are set up to “deliver natural responsiveness and a connected feel,” says Ford.

    Sport mode sharpens engine and throttle mapping, while the power steering is set up for more feedback and finer control. The ESE, which is said to amplify the “naturally sporty sound” of the 1.5 litre mill, also steps the aural aggression up a notch, while the exhaust valve is opened to pump up the volume.

    Finally in Track mode, the Fiesta ST is “tuned for the fastest possible lap times,” with traction control disabled and ESC set to a ‘wide-slip’ mode for hard driving. The stability control can be set in three levels – fully switched on, wide-slip mode with partial intervention, and complete deactivation.

    Where the previous Fiesta ST was intially available in only the three-door body, with the five-door following much later in its lifecycle, the 2018 Fiesta ST will be available in both three- and five-door guises right out of the block. “Our ST models are designed to make a Ford Performance driving experience accessible to customers regardless of lifestyle,” said chief programme engineer Matthias Tonn.

    Distinguishing the ST from the standard Fiesta is a more aggressive front end with a motorsport-style grille, side skirts and a body-coloured rear diffuser with twin tailpipes; the 18-inch alloy wheels are an inch larger than before. Inside, there are Recaro seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and Ford promises greater customisation options and styling packs.

    On the infotainment front, the Fiesta ST will be offered with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, which includes an eight-inch touchscreen with pinch and swipe gesture support, as well as support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 675 W, 10-speaker B&O Play sound system will be offered as an option.

  • 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE – the hardcore beast

    Looks mean, doesn’t it? This is the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, and behind that beast of a face is the most track-capable Camaro ever and a new performance benchmark, Chevy says.

    It’s the ZL1, the fastest Camaro ever, beefed up using the track-focused 1LE formula. The resulting Camaro ZL1 1LE incorporates racing-based suspension and aero technologies, as well as exclusive Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only tyres. No changes to the 650 hp supercharged LT4 V8 engine and six-speed manual gearbox.

    “The track-focused 1LE package offers progressive levels of performance across the Camaro lineup, from the V6 1LE to the SS 1LE. But with the new ZL1 1LE, the progression takes a quantum leap – this is the ultimate track-day Camaro,” said Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser.

    General Motors says that in preliminary testing, the new Camaro ZL1 1LE was three seconds faster than the standard ZL1 Coupe (there’s also a ZL1 Convertible) around GM’s 4.7 km, 18-turn Milford Road Course test track. The improved track performance is driven by four key elements – aero, adjustable suspension, wheels/tyres and reduced weight.

    New aero features including a carbon fibre rear wing, specific air deflectors and dive planes on the front fascia produce grip-generating downforce to help the car stick harder and drive faster in turns.

    The ZL1 1LE features racing-derived, lightweight Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) dampers. The front ride height is adjustable with the front dampers, which are used with new, adjustable camber plates. The rear stabiliser bar also offers three-way adjustability. All of the components are designed for quick changes at the track and a quick return to street settings when the track day ends.

    New, lightweight forged aluminium wheels are an inch wider but an inch smaller in diameter, front and rear, than standard ZL1 rims. They are used with new Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tyres that deliver max lateral grip of 1.10g and warm up faster. The overall footprint grows by around 10% over the ZL1, but the rim/tyre package weighs about 3.3 kg less per corner.

    The lighter wheels and dampers, along with reduced thickness rear glass and a fixed-back rear seat, contribute to an approximately 27 kg lower kerb weight than a standard ZL1 Coupe. Brembo brakes, including red calipers with the 1LE logo, are also included. Other standard features include dual-zone climate control, Bose audio and heated/ventilated front seats and steering wheel.

    GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

    GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe

  • 2017 Yamaha MT-10 Tourer in Europe this March

    When it was confirmed last year that Yamaha would not be producing a Tracer version of the much vaunted MT-10 with taller suspension and softer power delivery, some fans were disappointed, having to make do with the MT-09 Tracer. This situation has now been redressed with the launch of the 2017 Yamaha MT-10 Tourer in Europe, scheduled for March.

    Coming with ABS soft cases as standard, as well as a tall sports screen, the MT-10 Tourer is designed to fit a niche between the MT-10 naked sportsbike and the Yamah Tenere dual-purpose tourer. Other equipment designed to make Yamaha’s range-topping naked bike a sports tourer include hand-guards and a comfort seat for long miles in the saddle.

    Carrying a de-tuned version of the 998 cc Crossplane engine taken from the Yamaha R1, the MT-10 Tourer puts out a claimed 158 hp at 11,500 rpm and 111 Nm of torque at 9,000 rpm. This compares against the R1’s engine, which pumps out a claimed 200 hp at 13,500 rpm and 112 Nm of torque at 11,500 rpm.

    Standard equipment is Yamaha’s D-MODE that offers the rider three ride modes that are adjusted using throttle opening, ignition timing and fuel injection volume. Part of the MT-10 Tourer’s electronic package is traction control, and a quickshifter that allows for clutchless upshifts.

    Also in the MT-10 Tourer’s specifications package is cruise control, and an assist and slipper clutch that lowers lever clutch lever effort and prevents rear wheel hop under shifting down hard through the gearbox. As per the standard MT-1o, the Tourer comes with adjustable suspension front and rear, with the front end being propped up by KYB upside-down forks.

    There are three colour options available for Yamaha’s litre-class tourer – Tech Black, Race Blu and Night FLuo. An extensive range of accessories for the 210 kg MT-10 Tourer is also available from the official Yamaha catalogue.

    No pricing has been released for the 2017 Yamaha MT-10 Tourer as yet, but the base model Yamaha MT-10 retails in the UK for 10,799 pounds sterling (RM59,626). The MT-10 is not officially imported into Malaysia, and sources in Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia tell us Yamaha’s premier naked sportsbike is not likely to make it to our shores, less so the Tourer version.

    What Malaysian riders do get is the 849 cc, three-cylinder Yamaha MT-09 Tracer that produces 113 hp at 10,000 rpm and 93 Nm torque at 8,500 rpm, and retails for RM59,900. What do you think? Should Hong Leong Ymaha Malaysia bring in the MT-10 series bikes and take the fight to the Kawazaki Z1000, Suzuki GSX-R 1000, BMW S1000 R and the rest? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.


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