Latest Stories

  • Petronas SRT takes on Crutchlow for three more races

    With Franco Morbidelli sidelined, Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) will be putting Cal Crutchlow in the hot seat for three races. Morbidelli, currently recovering from knee surgery due to an injury suffered during training, will no be returning to MotoGP for the next round in Styria after the summer break.

    Crutchlow, currently tasked as test rider for Yamaha Racing, is slated to race at the next two MotoGP rounds in Austria – the Grand Prix of Styria on August 8 and the Austria Grand Prix on August 15, followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on August 29.

    Starting his MotoGP career in 2011 with Yamaha Tech 3, Crutchlow placed a best championship position of fifth in 2013 on the Yamaha YZR-M1, his final year with the team. A season with Ducati in 2014 with a 13th place in the riders’ championship saw the 35 year old Isle of Man resident move to Honda in 2015, where he raced the Honda RC213V for six seasons before moving to the Yamaha Racing Test Team last year.

     
  • 2021 Subaru BRZ launched in Japan – from RM108k

    The second-generation Subaru BRZ has officially gone on sale in Japan, nearly four months after making its debut. Pre-tax pricing for the rear-wheel drive coupe starts from 2,800,000 yen (RM108k) for the entry-level variant, and goes up to 3,120,000 yen (RM120k) for the range topper.

    There are two trim levels available at launch, each of which is offered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic (with Sport mode) transmission. Motive power comes from the FA24D 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated flat-four petrol engine with Toyota’s D-4S direct and port injection system, producing 235 PS at 7,000 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 3,700 rpm.

    Subaru’s EyeSight advanced driver assist system is standard for automatic variants, which includes autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control with all-speed tracking function. The BRZ will be built at the automaker’s Gunma plant in Japan (alongside the yet-to-be-launched GR86), and Subaru is targeting a monthly sales of 500 units.

    Now, just to recap, the BRZ measures 4,265 mm (+25 mm from before) long, 1,775 mm wide, 1,310 mm (-10 mm) tall, and a wheelbase length of 2,575 mm (+5 mm). The new body is apparently more aerodynamic, thanks to the air ducts in the front bumper and the air curtains.

    Like the first-generation model, the BRZ bears great resemblance to the GR86, though features unique to the Subaru include the C-shaped LED DRLs in the headlights, the hexagonal-shaped grille and chunkier air duct trims. Other than that, the twins are pretty much identical, and they sit on 18-inch wheels.

    Inside, the dashboard layout remains fairly simplistic, but features touchscreen infotainment display beneath the horizontal centre air vents. There’s also a configurable seven-inch TFT LCD digital instrument cluster, piano-key switches and dials for the HVAC system, and a multi-function steering wheel.

    There is also a range of Subaru STI accessories to spice things up, such as a full body kit consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers, LED light guides for the front air ducts, side air outlet garnish, roof garnish, and a boot lid spoiler trim. The optional 18-inch BBS wheels look quite fetching, and you can also specify the carbon-fibre spoiler, a performance muffler and performance strut bars.

     

  • Radford’s Lotus-based ‘Project 62’ will launch on August 7 – iconic Gold Leaf livery trademark acquired

    Radford has announced that its first model, Project 62, will be launching on August 7 at the Lyon Air Museum in California. The event will be streamed online. Radford – which is co-owned by ex-F1 champ Jenson Button, car designer Mark Stubbs and TV star and car builder Ant Anstead – took deposits for the 62-unit limited edition Lotus-based sports car in May.

    Radford, which calls itself a global luxury coachbuilding brand with a British heart and soul, also announced the acquisition of its second US trademark for one of the world’s most iconic race liveries, Gold Leaf. The Gold Leaf livery is now owned by Radford in the US, and will feature on future Radford models.

    The Gold Leaf livery is well-known as the first sponsored Formula 1 livery. The red, white and gold colour scheme was applied after Lotus founder Colin Chapman signed a huge deal with cigarette brand Gold Leaf, and is most well-known on the Type 49B Graham Hill raced in the 1968 season.

    The livery also featured on the famous Lotus 72 F1 car raced by Emerson Fittipaldi and Jochen Rindt in the 1970 season, and is intrinsically linked with the Lotus Type 62, the car to which the modern Radford Project 62 pays homage.

    “The Project 62 is our brand telling the world exactly what a Radford is, which is an exquisite blend of state-of-the-art technology with opulence and traditional craftsmanship, a superlative driving experience and the ultimate in personalisation. We can’t wait to reveal to the world what we’ve been working on for these past months and years. Project 62 is a very special car,” said Radford CEO Dan Burge.

    “It’s going to be an amazing event, and trust me, the car is going to be worth the wait – it’s a car unlike anything you will have seen before,” Button added.

    Previous statements by the company describe the Project 62 as mid-engined two-seat coupe that is a modern-day interpretation of the Lotus Type 62/2 you see above. The car will be “endowed with luxurious appointments befitting a high end bespoke coachmaker” and that “it will be sleek, elegant and cosseting but not at the expense of driver enjoyment”. The drive? “Mechanical, engaging and poised – a true driver’s car,” they say. We’ll see on August 7.

     
  • Audi skysphere concept teased ahead of August 8 reveal; grandsphere and urbansphere to follow

    Audi is planning to make quite a scene over the coming year by debuting not one, not two, but three concepts. All are based around the company’s “spheres” theme and are named as such, with each visualising a different aspect of Ingolstadt’s idea of personal mobility.

    The first show car is the skysphere, which is set to be revealed on August 8 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. As the name suggests, it’s an open-top grand tourer, with the teaser above showing a very long bonnet and cab-backward proportions.

    Another video reveals a reimagined closed-off version of the “singleframe” grille, now taking up the full width of the front end and featuring an illuminated rhombus pattern; the latter can also be found at the back, forming the taillights. Also visible are the cross-shaped headlights and twin cowls on the rear deck. The car is being pitched as a driver’s car while also offering autonomous driving capabilities.

    Following the debut of the skysphere, the grandsphere will make its world premiere at the Munich Motor Show in September. Taking the form of a large luxury fastback, it is the most significant of the trio, as it will preview a production car coming further down the line. According to Autocar, that car will be the result of the Artemis project – an electric flagship to replace the A8.

    Teaser images released a few weeks ago showed the car’s massive wheels, suicide doors and a cabin that emphasises the front occupants, with comfy-looking chairs and a sizeable centre console with drinks holders and even space for a plant. There’s still a steering wheel, mind – one with a flat top and bottom that presumably folds away when not in use, given the car’s expected self-driving ability.

    Head of design Marc Lichte said that with autonomous driving in place, luxury car customers might prefer sitting at the front rather than the back, gaining access to an unobstructed view of the outside and a large infotainment display. He likened the concept to a private jet, a third living space outside the home and office.

    Codenamed “Landjet”, the production version will reportedly be the first car to ride on the Volkswagen’s Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which will also underpin Wolfsburg’s Project Trinity. It will apparently also utilise the group’s unified-cell battery to provide a range of up to 600 km, plus an 800-volt electric architecture to enable up to 350 kW of DC fast charging.

    Aside from the skysphere and grandsphere, Audi will also introduce the urbansphere concept, which looks to be a large MPV/SUV for families. That car is slated to be revealed in the first half of next year.


    GALLERY: Audi grandsphere concept teasers

     
  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class facelift launched in M’sia – E200 Avantgarde and E300 AMG Line; from RM327k

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) has officially launched the new W213 E-Class facelift, which first made its global debut in March last year. For the Malaysian market, we’re getting the refreshed executive sedan in two flavours, namely E 200 Avantgarde and E 300 AMG Line, both locally assembled (CKD) in Pekan, Pahang.

    Prices start at RM326,943 on-the-road without insurance for the E 200, while the range-topping E 300 goes for RM375,432. These figures are inclusive of a four-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and factor in the ongoing sales tax exemption (100% as this is a CKD model) that is set to end on December 31, 2021.

    The facelift brings some notable design changes, including a new front grille that is slimmer than before and is styled differently depending on the trim package. On the Avantgarde variant, the grille is hexagonal in shape and features two chrome slats running across a black lattice.

    Meanwhile, the AMG Line look is identified by a trapezoidal-shaped grille that sports a single chrome slat on top of the brand’s familiar backdrop of chrome pins. The AMG Line also comes with a more aggressive front bumper design featuring an A-wing-like profile and large faux intakes in the corners, while the Avantgarde has a tamer lower apron highlighted by a chrome chin.

    There are some similarities between the two, including the power domes on the bonnet, while at the rear, you’ll find dual exhaust “outlets,” albeit with different chrome garnish designs. Here, you’ll also see another revision that comes with the facelift, as there are now wide, two-piece taillights that replace the outgoing model’s vertical-oriented clusters. MBM also notes that there are two new paint colours – Grey Metallic and High-Tech Silver – as part of the model refresh.

    Under the bonnet, the E-Class retains the M264 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine from before instead of using the newer M254. In the E 200, the mill serves up 197 PS (194 hp) from 5,500 to 6,100 rpm and 320 Nm of torque from 1,650 to 4,000 rpm. As for the E 300, it packs 258 PS (255 hp) from 5,800 to 6,100 rpm and 370 Nm from 1,800 to 4,000 rpm.

    Regardless of outputs, the engine drives the rear wheels via a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, with the E 300 naturally being the quickest of the two, taking 6.2 seconds to complete the 0-100 km/h sprint and capable of hitting 250 km/h. The E 200 does the century sprint in 7.4 seconds and will hit 240 km/h, by comparison. Both variants also get a Dynamic Select drive mode selector and Agility Control suspension with a passive selective damping system.

    In terms of exterior kit, the E 200 comes as standard with LED High Performance headlamps (with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus), 18-inch five-twin-spoke alloy wheels and the aforementioned Avantgarde package. The E 300 AMG Line gets the fancier Multibeam LED headlamps (with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus and larger 19-inch AMG five-twin-spoke wheels.

    Moving inside, you’ll find a familiar dashboard layout as before, but the big change here is the fitment of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system. This is standard on both variants and includes the brand’s Widescreen Cockpit that consists of two 12.3-inch displays – a digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen.

    2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 200 Avantgarde spec sheet; click to enlarge

    The MBUX system offers a wide range of Mercedes me connected services thanks to a built-in LTE communications module, and there’s also a dedicated touchpad on the centre console, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. A wireless charger is also included, but only with the E 300.

    Elsewhere, the E 200 gets a new Nappa leather steering wheel that features capacitive Touch Control buttons, along with light longitudinal-grain aluminium and black open-pored ash wood trimmings, Thermatic dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, powered front seats with memory function, powered sunblind for the rear window, and Artico man-made leather upholstery.

    The E 300 gets its own sports steering wheel that’s part of the AMG Line package, while the rest of its kit list builds upon the E 200 with the inclusion of a panoramic sliding sunroof, Thermotronic three-zone climate control, AMG floor mats and a Burmester sounds system. The E 300’s interior also features Nappa leather seats, black open-pored ash wood trim and certain areas are lined in Artico leather.

    2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 300 AMG Line spec sheet; click to enlarge

    Moving on to safety and assistance systems, the E 200 is equipped with a reverse camera, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Blind Spot Assist, Keyless-Go, Pre-Safe and Active Brake Assist (autonomous emergency braking).

    The more expensive E 300 improves upon the E 200 by adding a 360-degree camera and the Driving Assistance Package, the latter consisting of Active Distance Assist Distronic (adaptive cruise control), Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Pre-Safe Plus.

    Another item for the E-Class is the brand’s Urban Guard system, which works with Mercedes me to provide all-round monitoring of the vehicle. It comprises an anti-theft alarm system, tow-away protection with visual and audible warning in case of a detected change in position, an alarm siren, interior monitoring as well as a pre-installation for theft and parking collision detection.

    2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 200 Avantgarde

    2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 300 AMG Line

     
  • Honda Malaysia assists communities in need, provides RM40k of essential goods to charity homes in Melaka

    Honda Malaysia (HMSB) is continuing its support for local communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In collaboration with Honda Malaysia Suppliers Club (HMSC), the company has contributed nearly RM40,000 worth of essential goods to six charity homes in Melaka to help alleviate the burden brought about by the pandemic and total lockdown.

    On July 26 and 28, the company distributed essential supplies such as rice, flour, eggs and cooking oil, as well as hygiene products comprising disposable diapers, detergent and shower gel to the six homes, which are located in the vicinity of its Melaka assembly plant. Additionally, HMSB also provided clothing for adults and colouring books/small toys for children.

    “This continues to be a challenging year for Malaysia, with the near total closure of the economic sector having resulted in difficulties in sustaining livelihoods. As such, it has become even more difficult for charity homes to get aid from the public. We understand their situation and collaborated with HMSC in an initiative to help the elderly, orphans, people with disabilities and the homeless,” said HMSB MD and CEO Madoka Chujo.

    “We hope the contributions from HMSB, together with the aid from public donations and the social welfare department (JKM), can provide some relief as well as joy and hope to the residents of the homes. We are also hopeful that the ongoing vaccination programme will help to curb the spread of Covid-19 and bring about a safer environment for all of us in Malaysia,” she added.

    The six charity homes are Persatuan Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Dan Warga Emas Alor Gajah, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Warga Emas Dan Anak Yatim Victory, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-Anak Harapan, Persatuan Kebajikan Sri Murni Insan Istimewa, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna and Pusat Jagaan Pertubuhan Villa Harapan.

     
  • 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S in M’sia, RM132k

    Launched in January 2021 and now in Malaysia, priced at RM132,900 excluding road tax, insurance and registration, is the 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S. Now in its second iteration after being first revealed in 2017 (then priced at RM115,000 in Malaysia), the 1290 Super Adventure S features a host of improvements to improve rider ergonomics and riding dynamics.

    Power still comes from KTM’s LC8 75-degree V-twin, producing 160 hp at 9,000 rpm and 138 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, which KTM claims is the best power-to-weight ratio in this adventure bike class. The liquid-cooled, eight-valve mill is now 1.6 kg lighter than before and revised engine internals improve heat dissipation, including the use of two radiators and reworked air ducts that direct heat away from the rider’s legs.

    More improvements come in the form of lighter engine cases, new pistons and revised twin-header exhaust, along with a redesigned airbag that improves maintenance access and directs dirt and dust to the bottom of the airbox. The six-speed gearbox with Pankl clutch gives slip and assist functionality, reducing wheel hop during hard downshifting which can be mated with the optional quckshifter than gives improved and precise gearshifts.

    Rider ergonomics is made accessible with a new, lower 880 mm tall seat and the all-new bodywork now places the fuel tank and low as possible in the frame to improve handling dynamics. The fuel tank itself hold 23-liters and is now a three-part unit, distributing fuel weight around the Super Adventure S, lowering the centre of mass.

    The riding suite also sees a number of enhancements, including a new six-axis inertial measurement unit developed in collaboration with Bosch. This allows for traction control, motor slip regulation, stability control and offroad ABS as well as four ride modes – Rain, Street, Sport and Offroad – plus an optional Rally mode that allows the rider to change throttle response and select from nine diffrent levels of wheelspin.

    Other rider conveniences include a 7-inch TFT-LCD instrument panel that controls and displays all the relevant functions of the 1290 Super Adventure S, activated by keyless ignition. Software management is done through the KTM My Ride app and has turn-by-turn navigation functionality.

     
  • Mansory Rolls-Royce Ghost V12 debuts – carbon-fibre galore, 6.75L V12 boosted to make 720 PS & 1,020 Nm!

    Mansory has announced a new conversion package for owners of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost. In typical Mansory fashion, almost all the custom made body panels are made from carbon-fibre.

    The example here features a glossy carbon-fibre bonnet, a completely new front bumper with larger vents, carbon-fibre front lip, illuminated radiator grille, and four new LED daytime running light strips on the lower front bumper.

    The front fenders are also new, replete with carbon-fibre sills and mandarin-accented badge. The door handles are painted black, and the window surrounds are blacked out as well. At the back, Mansory fitted two spoilers, one on the tailgate and the other at the top of the rear glass. This reduces lift, it says.

    Finishing off the exterior styling are the full carbon-fibre rear diffuser piece with huge quad exhausts, and it sits on massive 22-inch black cast wheels (265/35 profile up front, 295/30 at the back).

    For the interior, Mansory said it only uses the finest materials, such as the exquisite white leather that’s contrasted strongly with mandarin accents. There’s more carbon-fibre, of course, which is laid over the steering wheel and door sills.

    Additional LEDs are installed on the door panels and dashboard to create a soft, diffused lighting effect. A Mansory “Cool Bag” made entirely of leather is available on request. As shown here, the 14-litre bag design is adapted to the theme of the cabin.

    Under the bonnet of the Ghost is the automaker’s longstanding 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 petrol engine that’s taken from the Phantom. In stock guise, it produces 571 PS and 850 Nm of torque, good for a century sprint time of 4.8 seconds.

    Customers wanting more can opt for Mansory’s performance upgrade kit, comprising a new engine control unit, beefier turbochargers and a completely new exhaust system with high-performance catalytic converters. These help raise output to 720 PS and 1,020 Nm of torque, allowing the luxury barge to sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. A carbon-fibre engine cover can be specified as well, if you so desire.

     
  • Toyota suspends pre-orders for 2022 Land Cruiser 300, enforces resale restrictions within 12-month period

    Following an earlier report indicating that Toyota is requiring its customers for the 2022 Land Cruiser to sign an agreement that the newly-purchased vehicles will not be resold to subsequent parties within a period of 12 months, the Japanese automaker has issued a statement on this matter, reports Japanese site Mag-X.

    According to the website, Toyota has suspended pre-orders for the new SUV, and new owners will be required to sign a pledge not to sell the vehicles onwards to export markets. If Toyota determines that a pre-order is highly likely to result in a resale, the pre-order will be cancelled.

    “Toyota dealers and Toyota Motor Corporation share a common understanding that when selling vehicles to customers in Japan, the sale does not end [there], but that each dealership will continue a responsible relationship with the customer including aftersales service, in order to protect the safety and security of the customer,” the manufacturer said in its statement.

    “In addition, the Land Cruiser is particularly popular overseas, and we are concerned about the flow of the vehicles overseas from Japan immediately after their release, including the possibility of them being exported to specific markets where security regulations are in place,” it continued.

    Toyota Motor Corporation has therefore alerted all Toyota dealers in Japan to the possibility of the above situation leading to a violation of foreign exchange and foreign trade law, in order to minimise the risk of legal violations, it added. In Japan, the Land Cruiser 300 Series has amassed 22,000 pre-orders as of earlier this week, according to Japanese site Creative311.

    Toyota’s reputation for vehicles that are reliable in harsh conditions has earned it popularity, including among groups known for organisations known for nefarious activities, and the automaker stated in 2015 that it has cooperated with the United States Treasury Department’s inquiry into how militant groups had acquired large volumes of Toyota vehicles Automotive News reported at the time.

    “Toyota has a strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities, and we have procedures and contractual commitments in place to prevent our products from being diverted for unauthorised military use,” Toyota USA said in response at the time, adding that it is committed to fully complying with the laws and regulations of each country it operates in.

    GALLERY: 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series

     
  • Rapid Penang bus serves as mobile vaccination centre

    Prasarana recently offered its buses in Penang and Pahang as mobile vaccination centres, and it looks like the project is a go. Here’s a Rapid Penang bus converted into a mobile vaccination centre.

    The bus-turned-PPV has the capacity to provide 400 doses a day to the elderly and OKU in selected locations in Penang. SK Tanjung Tokong, SJKC Pai Chai in Batu Ferringhi, Flat Kg Melayu, Estet Ladang Transkrian, Dewan JKKP Sg Sembilang Juru and SJKC Keng Koon have been listed as the “bus stops”.

    These locations are relatively far away from mega PPVs, so the vaccine bus will be good for local residents. However, it’s not for walk-ins, but only for MySejahtera appointments.

    The mobile vaccination centre initiative is combined effort of Rapid Penang, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) and the Penang health department.

    Rapid Penang says that this effort is to help quicken the rate of vaccination in the state in order to achieve herd immunity. Earlier this month, Prasarana opened temporary PPVs at the Putra Heights LRT station and Cheras Selatan bus complex to give out shots to public transport workers, who are of course frontliners as they have never stopped working since the pandemic started.

     
 

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Last Updated 22 Jul 2021