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  • C118 Mercedes-Benz CLA – standard car not likely to be introduced in Malaysia, AMG-only focus for model

    The introduction of the C118 CLA-Class in the country earlier today in the form of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4Matic+ provides a good indicator of the marketing direction Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) is taking with regards to its compact car range, and where the four-door coupe resides in the current scheme of things.

    While it hasn’t been stated outright, the debut of the second-gen CLA in solitary AMG form means that the civilian iteration isn’t likely to be coming our way, unlike before when the previous-gen C117 went on sale here in both standard and AMG forms during its initial introduction in 2014 and subsequent 2016 facelift.

    Given that the new CLA was revealed in January last year, you’d have expected it to be here by now, or at least introduced at this point alongside the AMG version of the type, as it was previously. That it hasn’t means that it won’t, not surprising given that the company already has the V177 A-Class Sedan doing battle in the segment, as previously mentioned.

    This line of thought was further cemented by the answer provided by MBM’s head of sales and marketing Michael Jopp to a related question posed during the online launch of the W177 A 45 S and A 35 hatchbacks and CLA 45 S earlier today. “Currently we are focused on the CLA 45 and typically, we don’t talk about future plans,” Jopp said in reply to a question if there would be more CLA models down the line.

    It would seem that the company is taking a more measured approach in demarcating its line-up, what with its compact car line-up expected to expand in the coming future – we do know that the X247 GLB seven-seat SUV is coming to Malaysia sometime this year, and although not indicated, we expect that the H247 GLA is also in the pipeline for introduction here. So, if it’s a compact Mercedes four-door you’re looking at, the A-Class Sedan looks to be the only pick.

    GALLERY: C118 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

     
  • 2021 Lexus IS – fourth-gen sedan teased, June 9 debut

    Click to enlarge

    The third-generation Lexus IS – which still looks rather sharp, literally and figuratively – has actually been with us since 2013, with a facelift appearing in 2016. Seven years is a long time in today’s car world, and all of the sport sedan’s European rivals have been renewed since then.

    Better late than never, and there will soon be a new Japanese contender in the premium compact scene. Lexus has released a sole teaser image of the 2021 Lexus IS, which will be the fourth generation to wear the badge. The company says that new IS will be revealed online on June 9 in the US and June 10 in Japan.

    “Bringing the thrill of driving to the compact luxury sports car segment, Lexus will pull the cover off the new 2021 IS sports sedan next week,” Lexus’ American caption read, describing the new model as “dressed to thrill”.

    It’s not common that we don’t have a clue on how a car will look like prior to its debut, but Lexus has somehow managed to keep the new IS well wrapped – we don’t recall seeing spyshots of the new RWD rival to the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Volvo S60. The Lexus ES is front-wheel-drive and larger in size.

    There’s actually not much to see here, other than a full width rear LED signature, which would make the IS very distinctive at night. More pieces of the jigsaw to come soon, for sure.

    GALLERY: Current Lexus IS 200t facelift

     

  • 2020 Lexus LC 500 launched in Malaysia – lighter and now with active safety systems; from RM1.25 million

    Lexus Malaysia has launched the new 2020 LC 500, which comes fully imported from Japan with a price tag of RM1.25 million on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. That makes it RM310,000 more than when it was first introduced here back in July 2017, although you do get more kit, as you’ll soon find out.

    The updated flagship grand tourer was first revealed globally in April this year, with the majority of revisions taking place under its beautiful skin. With the goal of enhancing the car’s comfort, safety and handling, Lexus’ engineers managed to trim unsprung weight by a total of 10 kg thanks to new aluminium lower suspension arms, a hollow anti-roll bar with a revised diameter, a new high-strength coil spring material and lighter rear wheels for the 21-inch wheels.

    The car also benefits from a new rear performance damper and the control system for the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) has been revised to match the new hardware. Adding to this is the Active Cornering Assist (ASA) function – a form of torque vectoring by braking – for the stability control system, while the car’s steering systems (including rear-wheel steering) have been tweaked to provide a more tactile response.

    Under the bonnet, the 2UR-GSE 5.0 litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol engine continues to serve up 470 hp at 7,100 rpm and 540 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm, although the ten-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission driving the rear wheels has been tuned to hold onto a gear for longer when the throttle is in the “active zone” (between 50 and 70%) before shifting up, enhancing the feeling of acceleration.

    Styling-wise, the LC 500 retains its delightful shape and cues as before, with two new exterior finishes – Blazing Carnelian Contrast Layering and Terrane Khaki Mica Metallic – joining the mix. As for the interior, customers now have Flare Red, Black and Orange themes as additional options to choose from.

    While we’re on the topic of the LC 500’s cabin, the Remote Touch infotainment system now comes with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which is displayed on a larger 10.3-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 480 pixels. A new Power Easy Access feature has also been introduced, which makes entry and exit easier by sliding away the driver’s seat and retracting the steering column once the ignition is switched off.

    As for standard equipment, the LC 500 sports LED projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, an eight-inch digital instrument cluster display, Alcantara seat upholstery, a carbon-fibre roof, a Torsen limited-slip differential as well as an active rear wing.

    New for 2020 is the inclusion of the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) suite of safety and driver assistance systems, which consists of Front Pre-Collision System (PCS), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Lane Keeping System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), which join the existing eight airbags that the car comes with.

    “The new Lexus LC 500 remains one of the most dynamic and technically-advanced supercars available on the road today. With the updates made to the 2020 model, I believe that this is the car that will provide even greater driving pleasure to anyone with a passion for high-performance motoring whilst appreciating an automobile designed with passion,” said Ravindran Kurusamy, president of Lexus Malaysia.

     
  • 2021 Toyota Hilux facelift – more powerful 2.8L diesel

    The Toyota Hilux is about to be unveiled in its updated form not long from now, suggests this teaser video posted on the Toyota UK Facebook page. The short clip featuring Dakar rally driver and Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso shows both the Dakar Rally Hilux as well as a development unit for the eventual production Hilux facelift, and the latter has fleeting screen presence.

    The video does however indicate that the Hilux will come with an even more powerful 2.8 litre engine. In its current guise, the 1GD-FTV 2.8 litre diesel engine in the Toyota Hilux produces 177 PS and 450 Nm of torque, sent via a six-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive system with rear differential lock. The latest facelift is expected to employ a revised version of the same base engine.

    Updates to the engine will also address issues with the clogging particulate filter for models in markets which have the filter, while Japanese reports suggest the revised engine could also feature in the next-generation Land Cruiser, along with the Fortuner and the Land Cruiser Prado.

    Current market conditions have seen the launch of this second facelift delayed indefinitely, though we now also know that the range-topping versions of the Hilux will get bi-LED projector headlamps in place of the existing units (LED low beam and halogen high beam), with redesigned 18-inch wheels to come as well. At the back, the redesigned tail lamps with B-shaped graphics will also be mostly LEDs.

    The Emotional Red II colour from the latest Prius and Camry will also be part of the exterior colour range. Inside, a newer infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities will feature, along with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced safety systems including AEB with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and more.

    GALLERY: 2021 Toyota Hilux facelift leaked details

     
  • Proton appoints Roslan Abdullah as its new vice president of sales and marketing, Proton Edar CEO

    Proton has announced the appointment of Roslan Abdullah as the company’s new vice president of sales and marketing, effective June 1, 2020. Aside from his new role as VP, Roslan will also be the chief executive officer (CEO) of Proton Edar, which is the national carmaker’s wholly owned subsidiary responsible for the distribution of Proton cars and aftersales service.

    Roslan brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Proton, having spent close to three decades in the automotive industry, including finance, operations and sales roles. Prior to his move, Roslan, who is a finance and accounting degree holder from the University of Brighton, oversaw operations at DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies.

    He has also held the position of president and chief operation officer (COO) of Honda Malaysia as well as chief financial officer (CFO) of Modenas.

    “We are happy to welcome Roslan Abdullah to the Proton family and we look forward to his positive contributions to Proton’s performance during this challenging period,” said Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton.

     
  • 2020 Malaysia MotoGP cancelled due to Covid-19?

    With news emerging of the Japanese round of the 2020 MotoGP being cancelled, with the Australian round at Phillip Island preceding it and the Thailand MotoGP at Buriram postponed, will the Malaysian MotoGP, scheduled for November this year, be cancelled? It appears likely, with lockdowns imposed by governments over the current global Covid-19 pandemic.

    While Dorna, organisers of the MotoGP, are moving ahead with private testing and plans for a double round in Jerez, Spain this coming July and with a provisional revised MotoGP calendar, most countries are still imposing a two-week quarantine period for travellers. This would obviously not be conducive to international travel as no one is likely to want to under a full month of being stuck in a room alone for the sake of a weekend’s racing.

    A source inside Sepang International Circuit (SIC) informed paultan.org that neither the Ministry of Youth and Sport (KBS) nor the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN), which has responsibility for Malaysian immigration, has looked favourably on SIC forwarding any sort of application for holding an international level race. This is inline with the government’s stand to limit mass gatherings of any sort which are not essential.

     
  • 2020 Suzuki Intruder cruiser for India – BS6 compliant

    Following the launch of the Suzuki Gixxer sport bike, riders in India now have the 2020 Suzuki Intruder cruiser available. The two motorcycles are designed to complement each other in the India market, targetted at different rider demographics.

    Carrying a 155 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the Intruder has the same power numbers as the Gixxer – 13.6 PS at 8,000 rpm and 13.8 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. This compares against its rival in the India domestic market, the Bajaj Street 160 with 15 PS at 8,500 rpm and 13.7 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm.

    The Intruder’s power plant is fed by EFI and power is transmitted through a five-speed gearbox and chain final drive. As a 2020 model, the Intruder is now compliant to India’s Bharat Stage VI emissions standard, otherwise known as BS6, which reduces the emission of carbon monoxide by 30% and NOx by 80% from the previous BS4.

    Suspension is done with a telescopic fork in front and monoshock at the back, in keeping with the Intruder’s budget design and market. Braking uses a single hydraulic disc on the front and back wheels, with ABS, while tyre sizes are 100/80 and 140/60 on 17-inch wheels.

    LED lighting is used throughout on the Intruder and inside the cockpit, a monochrome LCD panel displays all the necessary information. Three colour options are available – Metallic Matte Black/Candy Sanoma Red, Glass Sparkle Black/Metallic Matte Titanium Silver and Metallic Matte Titanium Silver.

    Seat height on the Intruder is 740 mm and weight is 152 kg while fuel is carried in an 11-litre tank. Pricing for the 2020 Suzuki Intruder in New Delhi, ex-showroom, is 120,000 rupees (RM6,899).

     
  • 2020 Ford Puma ST-Line X Vignale – new range-topper

    Ford has taken the veils off the new range-topping Puma ST-Line X Vignale, which is essentially a more luxurious version of the Puma ST-Line X. Unique to this flagship variant are the 18-inch dual-tone alloys, satin aluminium radiator grille and surround, black lower grille, and body-coloured lower rear bumper.

    These come on top of the existing LED headlights, Windsor leather seats, wrapped instrument cluster, heated front seats, heated steering wheel and Ford KeyFree system. Granted, it’s not quite the Puma ST that was teased last month, but this will hold the fort for the time being.

    Not much has changed on the inside. Like the Fiesta, the Puma gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a freestanding eight-inch SYNC 3 head unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, a full-length panoramic glass roof, 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, as well as Ford’s MegaBox storage solution. This allows vertical items to be loaded with greater stability, and it’s capable of housing objects up to 115 cm tall.

    Powering the B-segment SUV is the 1.0 litre three-cylinder EcoBoost Hybrid engine, delivering either 125 PS or 155 PS. Both variants of the engine are augmented with Ford’s own 48-volt mild-hybrid system, comprising an 11.5 kW belt-driven integrated starter/generator (BISG, produces an additional 50 Nm), which replaces the standard alternator. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

    Customers can also opt for the rather comprehensive Ford Co-Pilot360 set of safety systems, which include adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition, lane centring functions, 180-degree rear-view camera, evasive steering assist, and a whole lot more.

    Ford Europe’s vice president of marketing, sales and service, Roelant de Waard said: “Customers have told us that they want a range of options to help find a combination of style, equipment, performance and efficiency that’s just right for them. That’s something we committed to delivering with Puma, and with a new Puma ST coming later this year, we’re not finished yet.”

     
  • 2020 Subaru Forester GT Edition launched in Malaysia – 156 PS/196 Nm 2.0L, EyeSight driver assist; RM178k

    The Subaru Forester GT Edition has now been launched in Malaysia at RM177,788, or RM8,000 more than the 2.0i-S EyeSight. This follows its launch in neighbouring Singapore in January. This makes it the second GT Edition model to join the Malaysian market after the XV GT Edition, which arrived in Malaysia last May.

    Based on the top 2.0i-S ES variant, the GT Edition is similarly powered by the FB20 2.0 litre, naturally aspirated boxer-four cylinder petrol engine, which produces 156 PS at 6,000 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, mated to a Lineartronic CVT and the automaker’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

    Also included in the drivetrain feature set is the Special X-Mode selector, to enable easier switching between Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes. Setting the GT Edition apart from its stablemates is its aero kit, which is comprised of a front bumper lip extension, side skirts, a roof spoiler and a rear bumper lip extension.

    The Forester GT Edition also gets its own alloy wheel design measuring 18 inches in diameter, while inside, the all-wheel-drive SUV gets GT Edition-specific leather upholstery.

    The 2.0i-S ES that forms the basis of this GT Edition comes with the EyeSight suite of driver assistance systems, including Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management, Lane Sway and Departure Warning, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lead Vehicle Start Alert. Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, a Side View Monitor and a Blind-Spot Detection system are also included.

    In terms of conveniences inside, the Forester GT Edition receives an eight-inch Display Audio system that enables Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mobile device connectivity, while a Superview Around Recognition 360 (360-degree view monitor system) offers visual help when driving in tight spaces.

    The Subaru Forester GT Edition is offered in a choice of seven colours – Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic and Crystal Black Silica.

    GALLERY: 2020 Subaru Forester GT Edition at the Singapore Motor Show

     
  • W177 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic Edition 1 hatchback launched in Malaysia – 306 PS and 400 Nm, RM379,888

    The W177 Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4Matic+ and the C118 CLA 45 S 4Matic+ weren’t the only AMG compact cars that were launched today by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM), with the company also introducing the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic hatchback. It’s the second 35-badged model of the A-Class family to make its market debut here, the V177 A 35 sedan having made its debut last September.

    The car has certainly taken a while to get here, having made its debut in September 2018. It slots in underneath the A 45 in the model range, and is closer to the pricing of the old A 45, now that the W177 equivalent has gone into the RM460k range in its range-topping S variant form.

    The A 35 is powered by a M260 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger, and output for the unit is 306 PS (or 302 hp) at 5,800 to 6,100 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 3,000 to 4,000 rpm.

    Via an AMG Performance 4Matic fully variable all-wheel drive system, power is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, which has had its gear ratios configured to offer improved acceleration performance.

    Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 4.7 seconds (which is half a second slower than the W176 A 45) and an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed. Comparatively, the A 45 S does the century run from standstill in 3.9 seconds and has a higher top whack, at 270 km/h.

    The Edition 1 make-up adds on an AMG Aerodynamics package, along with a Night package. Exterior design elements at the front include a twin-louvre radiator grille and an AMG Line front apron with flics on the air intakes, a new splitter and silver chrome trim on the louvres in the outer air intakes.

    The sides are dressed with AMG Line sill panels, while at the back, there’s a new rear apron with a new diffuser insert, and a raised spoiler and two round tailpipes complete the look. Like the A 45 S, the A 35 hatchback rides on an AMG Ride Control suspension and sits on 19-inch AMG wheels, but of a different design, being multi-spoke units, and finish, in a gold-tinted shade called Tech Gold.

    As for the braking system, it’s identical to that on the W176 A 45, consisting of four-piston monoblock fixed callipers and 350 millimetre brake discs up front, and single-piston sliding callipers and 330 millimetre discs at the rear.

    Inside the A 35’s cabin, you’ll find AMG Performance seats in black Artico man-made leather, but these don’t come with the high-end seat package as seen on the A 45 S. The AMG Performance flat-bottom steering wheel on this one is dressed in nappa leather (on the A 45 S, Dinamica microfibre). As for interior trim, the local-spec car comes with aluminium AMG Design elements in black/silver.

    Otherwise, the car largely features the same level of equipment as seen on the A 45 S. There’s a dual Widescreen Cockpit, made up of two 10.25-inch widescreen displays (offering three selectable AMG display presentations), and the automaker’s Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface, which replaces the COMAND system seen previously.

    Standard fit items include a head-up display, wireless charging for mobile devices, a control touchpad, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, hard disc-based navigation and an LTE communications module for use with mercedes me connect services. What it omits is the AMG Track Pace monitoring feature, and there’s no Burmester audio here, the car making do with an advanced sound system.

    Only one colour is available for the A 35 Edition 1, and that’s metallic denim blue. The Edition 1 route adds on highlight decals, and these are in the same Tech Gold shade as the wheels. The contrast cues adorn the exterior mirror caps and the lower part of the doors.

    Finally, the price. The fully-imported Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic goes for RM379,888 on-the-road without insurance, which is RM31k more than the sedan version.

    As it is with the A 45 S, two financing package options are available for the car. There’s Agility Financing, which start from RM4,485 per month, and AMGPro Financing, which starts from RM4,688 per month. The latter adds on that seen in Agility Financing with premium comprehensive motor insurance along with unlimited mileage breakdown/accident towing and tyre and rim replacement, among others.

    To view the complete specifications of the A 35 4Matic, or compare it to the A 45 S, visit CarBase.my.

     
 

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Last Updated 30 May 2020



 

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