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  • UMWT introduces Toyota Drive app – book service slot, road assist, outlet locator, Topmark listings

    UMW Toyota Motor has announced a new smartphone app that will boost convenience for its customers. The Toyota Drive app is available for free from Google Play (for Android phones) and the Apple App Store (for iPhones).

    Toyota Drive enables customers to schedule service appointments, request for the 24Seven Road Assist service in the case of a breakdown or accident, locate Toyota outlets and find out more about service packages. One can also check listings and prices of Toyota pre-owned vehicles from Topmark, which has six physical outlets in Peninsular Malaysia.

    Additionally, owners who have registered with Toyota Drive can also access their vehicle’s service history, obtain tips on how to take care of their Toyota and link to the brand’s social media channels via the app. Check out the video above to see how the app works.

  • GALLERY: 1990 Honda NSX – the space-age classic

    Japanese performance machinery have seen somewhat of a resurgence of late, as enthusiasts look wistfully at the golden age of sports cars from the Land of the Rising Sun. The 1990s were an especially good time for those who appreciated the unique way the Far East island nation approached the subject of automotive performance, even as the bubble that took its economy to stratospheric heights in the ’80s collapsed.

    Of course, evocative names like Skyline GT-R, Supra, Impreza WRX and Lancer Evolution were the stuff of boyhood dreams back then, and these cars remain as desirable as they were then, if not even more so. But none of these have had a fabled backstory and a list of technological achievements quite like the only Japanese supercar to take on Ferrari at its own game – the Honda NSX.

    Read more about the Honda NSX here.

  • Margot Robbie is Nissan’s new EV ambassador, drives 190 km/h BladeGlider on Monaco GP circuit

    It’s a partnership that few could have envisioned. Margot Robbie has been revealed as Nissan’s new electric vehicle (EV) ambassador, and the occasion was marked by the Suicide Squad actress racing Nissan’s radical all-electric BladeGlider prototype around the famous Monaco GP circuit.

    Robbie, who also starred in The Wolf of Wall Street, put the 190 km/h three-seater through its paces around the closed Monaco street circuit before racing another BladeGlider. The pair of 272 PS/707 Nm cars raced through the Principality’s iconic tunnel and diced with each other along Massenet before finishing in the glamour of Casino Square.

    In the video above, the 26-year old Aussie beauty is also seen demonstrating the drifting prowess of Nissan BladeGlider around one of the most famous corners in the world of motorsport – the Fairmont Hairpin.

    “There are only two of these in the world, so, perhaps take it easy?” the system asked, to which Robbie replied “No.” in the cutest way possible. Watch it, as we did more than once.

    Click to enlarge

    The prototype, which hits 100 km/h from rest in less than five seconds, exists to challenge the conventional thinking of what an all-electric sports car could look like in the future, Nissan says. It’s part of the company’s Intelligent Mobility vision of how cars should be driven, powered and integrated into society. Nissan is of course the maker of the Leaf, the world’s best-selling EV.

    “The electric revolution is happening. As the global leader in electric vehicles, and with mass adoption just around the corner, it is more important than ever that we showcase all of the benefits of driving an electric car – from energy efficiency, to sustainability, from handling to performance. Having Margot on board will support us in spreading news of the personal and societal benefits of electric vehicles to more people than ever before,” said Gareth Dunsmore, director of EVs for Nissan Europe.

    The latest BladeGlider, a development of the concept we saw at Tokyo 2013, will be on display at the Geneva show next month.

    GALLERY: 2013 Nissan BladeGlider Concept

  • 2017 MotoGP championship: the teams and the bikes

    With the 2017 MotoGP world championship looming large, and the opening round in Qatar on March 26 drawing ever closer, lets have a look at some of the race bike livery and riders for this year. 2016 saw the MotoGP title wrapped up in Motegi, Japan, by Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda, three rounds before the end of the season.

    Coming into 2017, the usual game of rider musical chairs has been played, with some established riders switching teams, and others moving up the ranks from Moto2. Chief among these is Jorge Lorenzo’s move to Ducati, walking away from a nine-year tenure with Yamaha.

    This perhaps comes as no surprise, considering the rumoured acrimonious relationship the Spaniard had with fan favourite Italian Valentino Rossi, who remains at Yamaha. Rossi had, last year, come out to say that he was being team-up against by the Spaniards in MotoGP, notably Lorenzo and Marquez. Lorenzo’s spot is taken by Maverick Vinales, who moves over from Suzuki Ecstar.

    Newcomers to the top flight are Alex Rins, who joins Suzuki, and Sam Lowes, making his MotoGP debut with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. 2016 Moto2 champion Johann Zarco joins Monster Yamaha Tech 3, partnering Jonas Folger, another first-timer in the top rank.

    MotoGP rookie team KTM, with the all-new RC16 race machine, has Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro in the stable, both of whom left Tech 3 Yamaha. Coming back to MotoGP is Karel Abraham, who rejoins Aspar Team after a season in World Superbikes (WSBK).

    Dropping out from MotoGP are Stefan Brad and Eugene Laverty, both of whom move to WSBK for 2017, while Yonny Hernandez is relegated to Moto2, after being left without a ride for this season. Andrea Iannone has moved to Suzuki, leaving Andrea Dovizioso to partner Lorenzo in the Ducati team.

    Ducati remains the prominent presence on the grid, with one factory and three satellite teams. The Ducti Desmosedici GP17 will be used by both the factory team and a single unit by Octo Pramac Yakhnich, ridden by Danilo Petrucci, while Reale Esponsorama Racing and Pull & Bear Aspar Racing use a mix of Desmosedici GP16s and GP15s.

    Honda has three teams in the MotoGP, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS and LCR Honda complementing the Repsol Honda Team. Riding the RC213V, Repsol Honda’s campaign will be driven by Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

    For Yamaha, Rossi will be its superstar for 2017, riding for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP with the YZR-M1, while satellite team Tech 3 Yamaha backs-up the first team. Suzuki and Aprilia each have a single team on this year’s grid, with Team Suzuki Ecstar and the GSX-RR and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini with the RS-GP, respectively.

    Rookie team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will be campaigning the RC16, which we had a close look at during winter testing in Sepang recently. So, there you have it, the key figures and teams for the 2017 MotoGP championship.

    Who do you think will win? Will the Spaniards gang up against Rossi? Will Marquez start whining? Will Pedrosa finally get both feet on the ground? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions, below.

    GALLERY: 2017 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC16

    GALLERY: 2017 Ducati Desmosedici GP17
    GALLERY: 2017 Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1
    GALLERY: 2017 Team Ecstar Suzuki GSX-RR
    2017 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini RS-GP
    GALLERY: 2017 Repsol Honda Racing RC213V

  • SPIED: Mercedes W205 C-Class facelift spotted testing

    The W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan has been spotted again, this time in what appears to be in more traditional, Exclusive trim, and as before, appears very subtle in its test mule camouflaging.

    In this instance, the shrouding conceals some detail along the lower part of the front bumper, suggesting revisions to the air intakes, while higher up in front, the headlamps are due to be updated to optionally include the Multibeam LED setup seen on an earlier test unit.

    Around the back, a revised tail lamp design can also be seen here, with a more stylised ‘C’ graphic replacing the previous design similar to that of the S-Class and the W213 E-Class. The lower section of the rear bumper also appears to wear some darkened foil, possibly hinting at a revision of design here, too.

    Previous sightings also revealed revisions to the interior, chiefly a new steering wheel design with smaller centre boss, while the infotainment controls’ shortcut buttons have been omitted.

    The mid-lifecycle update is typically a good time for the introduction of new drivetrain, namely the latest OM654 2.0 litre turbodiesel engines along with the marque’s latest 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission; new petrol engines could possibly feature later on in the C-Class’ W205 lifecycle, too.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz W205 C-Class facelift

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz W205 C-Class estate facelift (with interior)

  • Acura NSX Insider Experience – one for the owners

    In the United States, the Acura NSX (Honda NSX to the rest of us) retails at a starting price of US$156,000 (RM695,370), and that’s before you tag on a variety of options that can make things really pricey.

    To make sure each NSX customer is made to feel special, Acura has launched the new NSX Insider Experience, a personalised programme designed for NSX owners to experience the making of their bespoke hybrid supercar.

    With the programme, owners get to tour several integral Acura facilities across Ohio, including the Performance Manufacturing Centre (PMC), where they can watch their NSX be built, and can even have the opportunity to place the Acura emblem on their vehicle.

    The tour will also include the NSX engine assembly room at the Anna Engine Plant, where each unit 3.5 litre DOHC twin-turbo V6 in the car is machine balanced, bench tested and broken-in to the equivalent of 241.4 km of service. This is to make sure the engine is track-ready upon delivery to the customer.

    For those who would like a taste of just what the Sport Hybrid Power Unit in the NSX is capable of, they can opt to participate in a track session with the supercar at the Acura Proving Grounds, guided by professional drivers.

    Away from the NSX, guests are also brought on the tour of the famous Honda Heritage Center, which chronicles Honda’s progress in the US, beginning with the 1971 N600 up to the modern-day NSX they have purchased. If that isn’t enough, an Acura NSX concierge will handle all your transportation, restaurant reservations and evening entertainment options.

    Acura has also partnered with Le Meridien’s luxury Joseph Hotel in Columbus, the official hotel of the NSX Insider Experience, where NSX owners can enjoy a one-of-a-kind guest experience in a custom NSX room there. However, there is a price to pay to partake in the NSX Insider Experience, with the cheapest package costing about US$2,787 (RM12,423), while the most expensive is a cool US$6,768 (RM30,168).

    “NSX Insider Experience takes our clients behind-the-scenes to see the precision craftsmanship that goes into each NSX. This is a memorable and deeply personal journey that we hope will convey the sense of pride and passion we have for the NSX,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura.

  • 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback teased for Thailand again

    Honda Thailand has released a second teaser for the upcoming Civic Hatchback, which is set to be launched in the kingdom soon (reports point towards an early March debut).

    As you can see, the teaser prominently shows us one of the main selling points of the Civic hatch – its shape – something that should be pretty familiar to the masses by now. If you need a refresher, the Civic Hatchback’s rear features large faux “outlets”, a tailgate spoiler, C-shaped taillights and centre-mounted exhaust outlets (like on European market models).

    Similarly, the front sports a new bumper with large intakes with fog lamps incorporated within them. The Civic Hatchback’s upper apron as well as the bonnet, remains largely unchanged from the sedan. The hatchback’s interior will be carried over from the sedan wholesale as well.

    The 1.5 VTEC Turbo petrol engine (173 PS/220 Nm) from the sedan will be offered to customers in Thailand, and will likely be joined by the naturally-aspirated 1.8 i-VTEC mill as well. While the CVT is a definite pairing with the engines, a six-speed manual as offered in European models will most likely be given a miss.

    Interested? Unfortunately, Honda Malaysia has stated that the company currently has no plans to offer the Civic Hatchback here, but there’s always the “power of dreams.”

    GALLERY: Honda Civic Hatchback (European market)

  • SPYSHOTS: Volkswagen Touareg winter testing

    The next-generation Volkswagen Touareg has been spotted again, this time undergoing cold weather trials. As before, we know that the upcoming Touareg will be based on the VW Group’s MLB Evo platform, which already underpins the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and the Audi Q7; the next SUV in the Group’s portfolio to use the MLB Evo basis will be the next Porsche Cayenne.

    Here, the Touareg gains VW’s most recent design language, which translates to a wider and slightly more low-slung appearance as demonstrated on the VW Tiguan and to a lesser extent, the seven-seater Atlas for the American market. The new headlight design incorporates the LED DRLs in a strip along the lower edge of the lamp assembly to further emphasise the wider and lower appearance.

    Around the back of the Touareg as with its front, tauter, more squared-off lines are applied to the exterior, though with a rear window that appears to have a steeper rake than that on the Atlas. Tail lamp design is still concealed by the foil, however it could adopt a similar look to those of its recent SUV siblings. As with the headlamps, the tail lights could be LED units as well.

    To recap, the use of the MLB Evo platform allows the upcoming VW Touareg to benefit from recent developments, including significant weight savings which, in the case of the Audi Q7, saw the shedding of up to 325 kg. The platform also caters for new levels of electrification, including a 48V electrical architecture, as well as provisions for a plug-in hybrid powertrain; the new Touareg is expected to debut later this year.

  • Toyota announces recall for all Mirai fuel cell cars

    Toyota has announced a recall for all Mirai hydrogen fuel cell cars sold due to an issue with the output voltage generated by their fuel cell system.

    In the report by Reuters, about 2,840 Mirai cars in Japan, the United States and some markets in Europe, as well as the United Arab Emirates are affected. Thus far, the company has not revealed if any incidents on the road have resulted from the problem.

    The Japanese carmaker said that under specific driving conditions, such as having the accelerator pedal depressed fully after driving on a long descent while using cruise control, there was a possibility the output voltage generated by the fuel cell boost converter could exceed the maximum voltage.

    Thankfully, the fix merely involves an update for the fuel cell system software, a process that takes about half an hour. The company will contact all owners of the Mirai to arrange for an appointment with their respective local authorised dealer for the correction.

    The Mirai went on sale in Japan in December 2014, followed by the United States in August 2015. As of June 2016, the 2016 World Green Car of the Year Award winner is available in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and Norway.

  • Aston Martin V8/V12 Vantage Red Bull Racing Edition

    Aston Martin has unveiled its latest additions to the Vantage range – the V8 and V12 Vantage S Red Bull Racing Editions – in time for the 2017 Formula 1 season that will kick off in a month from now.

    The true collectibles, as AM calls the Vantage special editions, have been created by the Gaydon’s in-house personalisation service – Q by Aston Martin. It celebrates the two brands’ unique ‘Innovation Partnership’ and sports signatures of Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen (choose one) on both sill and inspection plaques. One can also choose between V8 and V12 naturally aspirated engines.

    Taking inspiration from RBR’s race livery, owners will be treated to a deep Mariana Blue paint finish as standard. For those wanting a slight twist, gloss Tungsten Silver or satin Mariana Blue exteriors are optional. Complementing the paint job is a race-inspired carbon fibre splitter, diffuser, grille and side strakes. Red infills on the CF grille and yellow calipers complete the colour scheme.

    Inside, one will find RBR headrest embroidery, carbon fibre trim inlays, diamond-quilting and an alcantara steering wheel complete with 12 o’clock accent stripe.

    “Motorsport is and will always be a key part of Aston Martin’s DNA and both the V8 and V12 Vantage S Red Bull Racing Editions bring that ethos straight to our customers. With the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship set to begin soon, I hope that the purchase of these models will bring the racing season that little bit closer for those lucky few customers who can’t wait for it to begin,” said Aston Martin president and CEO, Dr Andy Palmer.

    Deliveries are set to take place from the second quarter of this year.

    GALLERY: 2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S


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