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  • Geely Boyue Pro revealed – SUV gets a major styling update; new GKUI 19 infotainment system; 1.5L turbo

    The Geely Boyue – the base for the Proton X70 – looks set to receive another facelift in China, albeit a more major one, according to a post by Autohome. Called the Geely Boyue Pro, the revisions involve not just the exterior and interior styling of the SUV, but also the onboard Geely Smart Ecosystem (GKUI) infotainment system.

    On the outside, the Boyue Pro takes a few cues from Xingyue that was launched earlier in May, with smaller, jewel-eyed headlamps that flank a larger take on the company’s trademark “expanding cosmos” grille. The grille itself has also been pushed further forward, requiring an entirely new bonnet to be fitted with more prominent creases.

    Also of note are the stronger haunches that are a direct result from the above-mentioned change, while the front apron is more angular this time around, and features an “A-wing” that separates the corner fog lamp sections from the wide lower intake.

    Not a whole lot has changed along the sides, as we still say two character lines running through the door handles as well as just above them towards the rear. The top down view reveals a new roof spoiler design that looks to be inspired by the one fitted on the smaller Binyue.

    At the rear, the taillight clusters have been mildly tweaked (for a 3D effect) to better link up with the vehicle’s lines, and they also receive updated lighting graphics within them. Like its newer siblings, the Boyue Pro ditches the company logo on the trim piece linking the clusters, opting instead for a “Geely” script.

    Moving inside, the Boyue Pro’s cabin is immediately distinguished from a regular Boyue, with a more contemporary feel to things. From the driver’s seat, there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel, and the instrument binnacle has been reshaped – with new visuals for the digital instrument cluster nestled within it.

    The dashboard also adopts a two-tone look, where leather upholstery can be found placed beneath stylised trim. Sleeker air vents are also part of the new get-up, and the infotainment widescreen occupies a larger area, framed by silver trim.

    The system linked to the screen is referred to as GKUI 19, which as you can see based on these early photos, offers a new interface that does resemble the home screen on the last iteration of BMW’s iDrive system (prior to it being replaced with BMW Operating System 7).

    Telematics will be one of the features of the new GKUI system, with a dedicated smart watch said to be offered with the vehicle that integrates vehicle, fitness, infotainment, communications and other functions.

    Below the main screen is where you’ll find the switches for the climate control, followed by a revamped centre console. Once again, there’s some BMW-ness to things here, with the vehicle functions placed to the side of the new gear lever that has a button to place the car in park on the top.

    Other items found in this area are the electronic parking brake switch, while that dial isn’t used to navigate through the infotainment system (touch functionality is used instead), but to cycle through the available drive modes. The grab handles and sliding cover for the cupholders are all retained, as per the current Boyue.

    In terms of engines, the 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder will be given an update to meet new emission standards, and it will be joined by a 1.5 litre turbo three-pot (likely from the Binyue and Xingyue) – the latter being co-developed with Volvo. A seven-speed dual-clutch and six-speed manual are the available transmissions.

    From a Malaysian context, it isn’t certain if the locally-assembled (CKD) Proton X70 will be based on the Boyue Pro when it finally gets launched. We were told to expect some local “surprises”, so we’ll have to wait and see what Proton has in store for us.

    For now, what do you think of the new Boyue Pro? Do you prefer the new styling over the current model? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    GALLERY: 2018 Geely Boyue 1.8L TGDi facelift

  • 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 in Malaysia, RM75,900

    Aside from the launch of the 2019 Ducati Scramblers, Ducati Malaysia also launched the 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 for the Malaysian market, priced at RM75,900 excluding road tax, insurance and registration. This is the third generation of the Ducati Hypermotard and several improvements have been made.

    There are two versions of the Hypermotard, the standard and the SP although on the base Hypermotard is being imported while the Hypermotard SP is available by special order at a price of RM117,900. Using the same Testastretta 11 engine as the previous generation Hypermotard 939, the Hypermotard 950 sees power going up by 4 hp to 114 hp at 9,000 rpm and 96 Nm of torque at 7,250 rpm.

    This is achieved through the use of redesigned pistons, new exhaust cam profile, throttle body and revised calibration and fuel mapping. Aside from the engine internals, the Hypermotard 950’s transmission has also been upgraded, now coming with hydraulic clutch actuation and a assist and slipper clutch to reduce effort.

    A full suite of electronic riding aids comes with the Hypermotard 950, controlled by a Bosch six axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), including cornering ABS with Ducati Slide by Brake, traction control EVO by Ducati, wheelie control, and three ride modes, while the SP version adds a quickshifter.

    On the styling side, the Hypermotard 950’s design throws back to the original Hypermotard especially in the tail section with twin exhaust pipes underneath the seat, the trellis frame and the infamous beak in front. In terms of ergonomics, the pillion grab handle is now widerwhile the fuel tank and rider seat is cut narrower to make it easier to get the feet down despite the 870 mm seat height.

    Inside the cockpit, a TFT-LCD instrument panel closely resembles the unit from the Ducati Panigale V4. Displaying all the information the rider needs to know, control for the instrument panel is done with a buttons on the left handlebar pod, a new addition.

    The Hypermotard SP takes things up another level in the suspension stakes, with 48 mm diameter Ohlins forks, fully-adjustable compared to the standard Hypermotard’s fully-adjustable Marzocchi unit, and a fully-adjustable Ohlins monoshock at the back. Other SP version only items include Marchesini forged aluminium alloy wheels, Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP V3 tyres – standard comes with Diablo Rosso III – carbon-fibre mudguard and engine covers as well as an up-and-down quickshifter.

    2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950

    2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP

  • Volkswagen tests Level 4 self-driving in Hamburg

    A while ago, the research arm at Volkswagen Group began testing of its automated vehicles in urban traffic in Hamburg, the first time the automaker has conducted testing of Level 4 autonomous driving in real-life conditions in a German city. Currently, the test fleet comprises five e-Golf test units which are outfitted with laser scanners, cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radars.

    Specifically, each e-Golf for the purpose of this evaluation is set up with 11 laser scanners, seven radars and 14 cameras. Each regular test drive lasts several hours, and up to five gigabytes of data are communicated per minute. Each e-Golf test vehicle packs computing power ‘equivalent to some 15 laptops’ in the luggage compartment, and ensures that data on pedestrians, cyclists, other cars, intersections, rights of way, parked vehicles and lane changes in moving traffic are captured in the shortest distance and time.

    These e-Golf test units will drive a three km section of a digital test bed for automated and connected driving, and the results from these test drives – taking into account all data protection rules – will be incorporated into the Volkswagen group’s automated driving research projects, as well as test customer-centric services and to optimise individual transport, the company said.

    The artificial intelligence employed in the vehicle software has a set of considerable tasks required of it, to say the least. It needs to register all relevant objects and respond to them promptly, without triggering any false alarms, says Volkswagen. To achieve this, several AI approaches are used, including deep learning, neural networks and pattern recognition.

    As these drives are test sessions, all autonomous test drives will have a specially-trained driver behind the wheels of each autonomous-capable e-Golf to constantly monitor all driving functions and if required, intervene in an emergency. Previously, Hamburg was also the location for a more rudimentary test, where Volkswagen tested an autonomous parking function at Hamburg Airport last year.

    The research arm is working with all brands and relevant departments within the group to develop and ensure the functionality of automated driving on public roads al the way to Level 5 autonomous driving. The goal is to be able to offer customers solid products for automated transport of goods and passengers on public roads ‘a few years from now’. The company however notes that fully automated driving in public without a driver to assume manual control will need changes in legislation and infrastructure.

  • Next Land Rover Defender exterior leaked online

    It appears that a digital rendition of the next-generation Land Rover Defender has been revealed within the forthcoming SUV’s instrument display. Posted in various Land Rover discussion boards and picked up by Autocar, it confirms the silhouette of development vehicles observed earlier, as well as the digital display that was part of a mock-up in a since-deleted tweet.

    The forthcoming iteration of the iconic off-roader has covered over 1.2 million km in development mileage as of April, and it has been confirmed by its maker for a debut this year. Along with the digitised instrumentation, the Defender ramps up the sophistication with the adoption of air suspension for what has typically been an off-road workhorse.

    This is made possible with the use of the firm’s MLA architecture, which supports two wheelbase lengths in the case of the Defender; these will likely hark back to the 90-inch and 110-inch measurements adopted by past Defenders, and an even longer 130-inch wheelbase version has been rumoured as well, says Autocar.

    The modern architecture will also likely use the latest version of the company’s Terrain Response systems, in the apparent absence of traditional levers for selecting high- and low-range drives. The gearlever sighted in the aforementioned interior mock-up indicates automatic transmission for the forthcoming Defender.

    The next Defender is being developed for a wide-ranging set of abilities, with on-road dynamics being refined at a Nürburgring facility, and all-terrain capabilities in the muddy paths of Eastnor, UK, harder-packed trails of Moab, Utah and the sand of Dubai. Design and development is conducted at Land Rover’s design, engineering and testing facilities in Gaydon, UK, while production will be at a new plant in Nitra, Slovakia.

    GALLERY: 2019 Land Rover Defender prototype

    GALLERY: 2019 Land Rover Defender 110 spyshots

    GALLERY: 2019 Land Rover Defender 90 spyshots

  • MAM gets FIA approval, says it has been provisionally delegated as the new national motorsports authority

    The limbo following the de-registration of the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) as the governing body for motorsports in the country looks set to end, with the Motorsport Association of Malaysia (MAM) expected to be officially appointed as the national motorsport authority, or ASN, in the future.

    Ahead of that move, MAM released a statement saying that the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) has decided to provisionally delegate the duties from AAM to it as per Articles 5.2 and 16.3 of the FIA statutes.

    In the FIA statement dated June 18, FIA secretary-general for motorsport Peter Bayer hoped that MAM would take “all the necessary steps to allow a favorable exercise of sporting power” in Malaysia. “Any further developments on this subject will be submitted to the members of the World Motor Sport Council at its next meeting in October,” he added.

    According to MAM president Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir, the association will do its best to make sure that Malaysian motorsports will get their best from it. “Our main priority is to ensure that motorsports in Malaysia continues uninterruptedly at both national and international level. It is vital that Malaysian motorsports have a working body to run its activities and also support the development and growth – including sanctioning events related to motorsports,” he said.

    The office of the sports commissioner (PJS) had in November last year de-registered AAM as the national motorsports authority for failing to comply with various administrative regulations – AAM, meanwhile, said that the move was not carried out in a fair manner, without the benefit of a suspension period.

    The removal of AAM as the ASN without an official – and sanctioned – replacement in place resulted in confusion earlier this year, with questions being raised from the motorsports fraternity as to the validity of AAM-issued racing licences and the legality of racing in the country without an ASN in place. At the end of March, the PJS stepped in and said that a special temporary committee would be formed to take over the functions of the AAM.

    In its previous capacity as the recognised motorsports sanctioning body in Malaysia, AAM has been responsible for, among other things, the issuance of race driver licences and insurance for motorsports events in its capacity as the ASN.

    The provisional delegation of ASN duties to MAM may be a first step towards resolution, but many issues still need to be addressed, with organisers, officials and racing license holders continuing to seek clarity during this transition period. For example, will licence holders be able to utilise existing AAM-issued licences, or will there be a need for new ones issued by MAM?

    Also, there has been no green-light from the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) with regards to the matter, so do the AAM-issued racing licences for motorcycles remain valid for use? Given the ambiguity still at large, official statements from all parties with regards to this is much needed.

  • 2019 Honda Genio launched in Indonesia – RM5,039

    Indonesia’s burgeoning two-wheeler market shows no signs of slowing down, the official distributors PT Astra Honda Motor (AHM) launching the 2019 Honda Genio scooter. For those readers who regularly visit Thailand or Indonesia, a resemblance to the Honda Scoopy scooter will be noticed.

    However, several updates and improvements have been made to make the Genio scooter special. For starters, the engine, while still the same as the unit used in the Scoopy, has been worked over to be more efficient and Honda claims a consumption figure of 1.69 litres per 100 km.

    Fed by Hondas PGM-Fi, the Genio puts out a claimed 9.0 PS at 7,500 rpm and 9.3 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Fuel efficiency is further improved with idling stop using Honda’s ACG starter.

    A first for the Indonesia motorcycle market is the Genio’s frame, an all-new unit designed using eSAF technology. Thi involves the use of laser welding and pressing, resulting in a scooter that is more comfortable, lighter and easy to control, a claim borne out by the Genio’s dry weight of 89 kg.

    Other fittings for the genio include LED lighting, digital instrument panel and a 14-litre storage space under the seat. Rolling on 14-inch wheels with 80/90 front tyre and 90/90 rear, the Genio uses a single hydraulic disc brake in front and drum brake at the back, with telescopic fork and monoshock at the back.

    Fuel is carried in a 4.2-litre tank and there are 11 colour options for the 2019 Honda Genio in Indonesia as well as two version. Pricing the Genio is 17.2 million rupiah (RM5,039) for the non-idle stop version and the Genio thus equipped retails at 17.7 million rupiah (RM5,186).

  • VW Malaysia is throwing the Beetle a farewell party

    All good things come to an end, and sadly, it’s the end of the road for the one and only Volkswagen Beetle. Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) will be organizing the “Beetle, An Iconic Gathering” event on July 13. The sendoff party, which welcomes Beetle owners from all walks of life in celebration of the iconic car, will be held at the open-air carpark of the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya.

    VPCM will be attempting to break the Malaysian record of the largest Beetle gathered at one location during the event, and is calling all owners of the classic rear-engined Beetle and modern front-engined version to join in.

    The farewell party will kick-off with a 150-strong Beetle Sunshine Tour convoy that will be flagged off in the heart of KL. The convoy will be making its way through the streets of the Golden Triangle before heading to Putrajaya, where it will join the other Bugs at the Palace of Justice.

    “Volkswagen ends production of the much-loved Beetle this year, and we want to give this global bestseller the send-off it deserves by celebrating its legacy. We would like to invite owners and Beetle enthusiasts to the gathering to help us break the record and celebrate the world’s favourite Bug,” said Erik Winter, MD of VPCM.

    “This is a great opportunity for Beetle enthusiasts to admire classic and current Beetle models in all its incarnations, and with many of them personalised to match their owners’ colourful personalities,” he added.

    The “Beetle: An Iconic Gathering” event is open to all VW Beetle owners in Malaysia, and interested participants can register their cars on Volkswagen Malaysia’s website. Participation is free, and details of the event will be provided during the online registration. A certificate of participation will be given to those who take part.

    Designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1938, the Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic cars ever made. The much-loved, round-eyed, bug-shaped car has enjoyed more than 80 years of success with over 21.5 million units sold across the globe.

    GALLERY: 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Sport

  • Ducati Malaysia launches four Scrambler models – pricing starts from RM52,900 for Scrambler Icon

    For 2019, the Scrambler Ducati range has been rationalised to four models, which are the Icon, Full Throttle, Cafe Racer and Desert Sled. Pricing for the Scrambler Ducati models in Malaysia are RM52,900 for the Icon and RM62,900 for the Full Throttle while the Cafe Racer and Desert Sled are priced identically at RM67,900.

    Updates for the Scrambler range this year include LED headlight and turn signals including DRL and hydraulic clutch. Also updated is the instrument panel which now includes a oil level readout and gear position indicator with a new seat and cornering ABS as standard.

    In the engine room, the Scrambler range is still powered by the same air-cooled, 803 cc V-twin, mated to a six-speed gearbox, which Ducati claims produces 73 hp at 8,250 rpm and 67 Nm of torque at 5,750 rpm. Although the improvements are not huge, Ducati says the updated Scramblers are easier to ride and more comfortable.

    The Scrambler Full Throttle comes with its own set of updates, now clad in black and yellow two-tone graphics, with a white stripe. A rear seat cowl on the Full Full Throttle evokes the image of classic flat track racers, along with lowered handlebars and Termignoni exhaust that is road legal.

    As for the Scrambler Cafe Racer, 2019 sees it come into the market with 17-inch wheels shod in Pirelli Diablo rosso III rubber, along with a radial brake master cylinder that brings braking performance up to date. The blue frame and Silve Ice Matte bodywork on the Cafe Racer is meant to represent road racers of the 60s such as the 125GP Desmo with clip-on handlebars, bar-end mirrors and small fairing.

    In the off-road category, the Scrambler Desert Sled now comes with a nose bleeding 860 mm tall seat and red painted frame. The swingarm on the Desert Sled is also specific to this model and is made out of aluminium alloy, along with 19-inch and 17-inch rear spoked wheels, adjustable suspension and 238 mm of ground clearance.

    GALLERY: 2019 Scrambler Ducati Cafe Racer

    GALLERY: 2019 Scrambler Ducati Desert Sled
    GALLERY: 2019 Scrambler Ducati Full Throttle
    GALLERY: 2019 Scrambler Ducati Icon

  • Thai BMW PHEV battery production starts next month

    BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles assembled in Thailand will soon get PHEV batteries from a local source. The premium carmaker’s supplier Draexlmaier will start high-voltage battery production in July, in a Rayong factory that’s just 14 km away from BMW’s Amata City Industrial Estate plant, the Bangkok Post reports.

    Draexlmaier won Thailand Board of Investment (BoI) privileges in November 2018 with a 540 million baht investment application, including land purchase. According to BMW Group Thailand president Christian Wiedmann, the DTS Draexlmaier Automotive System Thailand plant will run two final processes of lithium-ion battery production – module production and pack assembly.

    “This plant will bring two processes under one roof while other local facilities make just the last process, packing all battery modules before being equipped in plug-in hybrid and battery EVs,” he said, adding that the first two processes – component and cell production – cannot be done locally

    Wiedmann said that finished batteries will power the G30 530e and facelifted G12 740Le LCI plug-in hybrid sedans from 2019 onwards. BMW’s PHEV sales in Thailand is strong and growing – last year, plug-in hybrid sales grew 122% in the kingdom, representing 24% of the brand’s total sales.

    BMW Thailand is also providing charging stations in Thailand under the ChargeNow brand. At present, there are 121 chargers across the country, with the total set to reach 150 units by the end of the year.

  • Mercedes-Benz to recall ’12-’15 GLK 220 CDI – report

    Daimler has been required by the German transport ministry to recall 60,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Germany following the the discovery of ‘software aimed at distorting emissions tests’, Automotive News Europe quoted Bild am Sonntag as having reported. This involves the Mercedes-Benz GLK 220 CDI produced between 2012 and 2015, it said.

    Daimler has confirmed that the recall was ordered on Friday, however it would be appealing against the decision while it continues to cooperate with regulators, Automotive News Europe said. Meanwhile, the German transport ministry said that it is further expanding investigation into other models.

    Mercedes-Benz has emerged relatively unscathed from the Dieselgate emissions testing saga, compared to its compatriot Volkswagen, which has weathered massive fines as well as arrests of its senior personnel. The tristar wasn’t completely off the hook, however, as the German transport ministry had also ordered the Stuttgart marque to recall up to 774,000 vehicles across Europe for unauthorised software.


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Last Updated 22 Jun 2019


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