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  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 in Malaysia – driven by Johor Sultan

    Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar is known for his fondness for a variety of automobiles, and the ruler of Johor has recently been sighted arriving at a meeting in a Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric crossover. Having an audience with the ruler of the state was prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

    The Hyundai Ioniq 5 made its global debut in February this year, brining into production reality the sharp lines of the 45 concept from the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Ioniq 5 is the first Hyundai to debut on the automaker’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) dedicated platform for electric vehicles, and here it boasts of a 3,000 mm wheelbase that is even longer than that of the seven-seater Hyundai Palisade.

    Powertrain for the Ioniq 5 comes courtesy of single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive, the latter producing 302 hp and 605 Nm of torque when specified with the 72.6 kWh battery pack, enabling 0-100 km/h run in 5.2 seconds. A 58 kWh battery is also available, though the larger of the two battery specifications yield the maximum range of up to 480 km on the WLTP cycle.

    The Ioniq 5 also features a world first in offering direct support of both 400 V and 800 V charging, through the boosting of the car’s electric motor and inverter instead of using a separate built-in charger. With a 350 kW DC charger, its battery can be replenished from 10% to an 80% state of charge in just 18 minutes, or up to 100 km of range (WLTP) from a five-minute charge.

    The hatchback-like EV crossover made its United States debut in May this year, and has arrived in Australia last week, where it is priced from RM219k.

    GALLERY: Hyundai Ioniq 5

  • Ferrari Portofino M launched in Malaysia – fr. RM998k

    Naza Italia has officially launched the Ferrari Portofino M in Malaysia, exactly a year after the car made its official debut. The F164 BCB, which takes over from the Portofino as the brand’s starting point model, goes on sale here priced from RM998,000 (before duties, customisation options, taxes and insurance). That makes it RM50k more than the Portofino when it went on sale here in 2018.

    Essentially, the M – which stands for ‘Modificata’, a term the company says is used for its cars that have undergone a performance evolution – is very much a facelift, but while exterior changes are subtle, the car features an increase in power output, a new transmission as well as fresh equipment.

    Revisions at the front are made up of a new bumper, which has redesigned side intakes and adds on a new air vent at the wheel arch height to improve aerodynamic efficiency. Elsewhere, there are new aluminium slats on the outer edges of the grille.

    The rear end has also been re-sculptured, with the removal of the silencer assembly as a result of a new exhaust system allowing for a more streamlined bumper assembly, lending to a more visually integrated tail end. There’s a new diffuser as well, and the strikingly pronounced unit can be dressed in carbon-fibre as an option.

    Rounding off the exterior revisions is a new, specific diamond-finish, five-spoke 20-inch wheel design, and these are dressed with 245/35 front and 285/30 rear rubbers.

    As for the car’s powertrain and drivetrain, the combination from the automaker’s Roma finds its way on to the M. The 3.9 litre F154 BB twin-turbo V8 has been reworked to a BE specification, with power going up by 20 PS (19 hp) to 620 PS (611 hp) at 5,750 to 7,500 rpm. Maximum torque continues on at 760 Nm from 3,000 to 5,750 rpm.

    The car also gets a new gearbox, with the previous seven-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission being replaced by an eight-speed F1 dual-clutch unit, as seen on the Roma. The transmission is derived from the SF90 Stradale and Spider’s eight-speeder, but incorporates a mechanical reverse gear and longer gear ratios.

    Performance numbers for the 2+ GT spider include a 0-100 km/h time of 3.45 seconds and a 0-200 km/h time of 9.8 seconds, with top speed rated at 320 km/h. The improvement in 0-100 km/h time from the Portofino is marginal (the previous car managed it in 3.5 seconds), but the M is a full second faster than the old car in hitting the 200 km/h mark.

    The braking system has also been given a performance upgrade; it now has more modulable brake pedal pressure and pedal travel has been reduced by 10%, resulting in a quicker, more precise response to braking input. As for the new exhaust system, a new geometry of the entire exhaust line sees the two rear silencers on the Portofino being omitted, reducing backpressure in the tailpipes and improving tonality.

    No visual revelations inside the cabin – the Portofino’s interior has essentially been carried over to the M, and so you’ll find the same layout as before. The instrument cluster with dual TFT displays arranged around the analogue rev counter, the 10.25-inch central touchscreen, the central console configuration, it’s all as it was. Even the retractable hard top is familiar ground, still opening and closing in 14 seconds.

    New features come in the form of a Race setting on the manettino switch, giving the car a fifth drive mode, as well as ventilation and heating for the seats. The biggest inclusion, however, is tucked away from sight – an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) suite can now be specified for the car.

    This adds an array of safety and driver assist components that were previously unavailable. Items in the pack include adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function, predictive emergency brake system (AEB), blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, automatic high beam and a 3D surround view camera.

    Speaking of ADAS, the entire bag of tricks is to be found on the launch unit, a LHD example finished in a Grigio Alloy exterior shade. It’s also specified with an assortment of cost options, from gloss black brake calipers, a matte black/satin grille and adaptive headlights with static bending light function to a neck warmer system, ventilated full electric seats and Magneride dual-mode suspension.

    Incidentally, the RM998k price is for the base car, which comes with a short list of standard equipment (but includes Xenon headlamps and carbon ceramic brakes), meaning there will be no shortage option boxes for customers to tick. As for deliveries, the first cars will get to Malaysian buyers only next year.


  • 2021 WSBK: Toprak Razgatlioglu leads Rea by 20

    Coming into the 2021 World Superbike Championship round at Jerez with a slender one point lead, Toprak Razgatlioglu of Pata Yamaha strengthened his lead on the WSBK riders’ championship, ending the weekend with a 40 point lead. Winning both the weekend races, Razgatlioglu now has 449 points over incumbent multiple WSBK champion Kawasaki Racing Team Jonathan Rea’s 429, with three rounds left in the season.

    In the first race, Razgatlioglu, starting the race in his first WSBK pole position of the year, beat Rea to the finish after taking the lead on lap 14. It was another flag finale in race 2, with Razgatlioglu this time battling Scott Redding of Racing Ducati, who mounted a strong challenge and briefly took the lead on lap 17 before Razgatlioglu fought back.

    This makes 10 race victories for Razgatlioglu in 2021, and the current championship leader is confident heading into Portimao, Portugal on the weekend of October 1 to 3 for the next race. “I say every time that I am not looking in the Championship side of things; now, I learn that it is 20 points. I am just focused in every race and I try to win. I will try for the win in Portimao, and maybe in the last weekend, I will start to think about the Championship,” said Razgatlioglu.

    However, tragedy struck on the weekend with a racing incident claiming the life of 15-year old Dean Berta Vinales of Vinales Racing Team. Riding in race 1 of the Supersport 300 category, Vinales, cousin to MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales, succumbed to head and thoracic injuries suffered in the collision.

  • Wireless charging for EVs – is it coming soon?

    A few years ago, inductive wireless charging was being touted as the next big thing in juicing up an electric vehicle (EV). With no cables – or plug types – to contend with, the tech was seen as a perfect solution to simplify things for EV drivers.

    However, while technical aspects of wireless power transfer are continuing to evolve, with improving rates and efficiency, market progress hasn’t quite met ambition, with adoption of the nascent tech remaining very much a trickle, like early charging rates. This begs the question – is wireless charging actually viable as a solution for users, and will it eventually become a widespread alternative to conventional charging as intended?

    We took the opportunity to ask Johan Hellsing of China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) about this during a virtual interview held earlier this week. The principal expert, Motion & Energy at the innovation centre for the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group thinks there is a future for wireless charging, but it will take a while more before it really comes into play.

    It’s not because the route isn’t as efficient as that of conventional charging, because, as he points out, the delivery aspects are eminently workable now. “It is viable technology-wise, having been developed to the point that the efficiency is really good – power levels are coming up, with the ability to charge at 10 or 20 kW, and even at 75 kW, as one company can offer,” he told

    However, it would seem that at this juncture, users don’t seem to mind living with cables and plugging in for their charging needs. The market leading the world in EV adoption defines that perfectly. “Norway is a good example. They have the highest penetration of EVs in the world, but no one is requesting for wireless charging,” he pointed out. Cost – and plenty of accessibility to cabled connections – may have much to do with a lack of a business case for it.

    Hellsing himself used to think wireless was the way forward, but has adjusted his views. “A few years ago I thought wireless would be necessary,” he laughs, but states that autonomous vehicles are likely to provide the catalyst for the change in tack. That’s because as the driving becomes automated, so too will charging aspects. “I think with the advent of the autonomous car, where the vehicle can drive itself to charge, we’ll have to look at charging being automatic as well,” he said.

    We also asked for his views on swappable batteries for cars (which Geely said earlier this year was still a long way off), and whether that trend would catch on. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but I cannot say if it will be a success yet,” he replied. He said the additional engineering that is needed (for example, in sealing the battery pack from water and offering it crash protection at the same level as that of an embedded unit) won’t be a stumbling block.

    “What’s happening in China now is really interesting to follow, because from a technology perspective it is solvable. Of course there will be higher requirements – the car will cost more, and also be heavier, but if you find the business, it might happen,” he said.

    That business, he explained, lies beyond having the batteries working not just with cars. “I think probably the key to determining if it will become big scale will be to have those batteries that are not being used in vehicles not simply being stored (to wait for the next car),” he explained. He said that if these units can be used actively in a business elsewhere for a company, then battery swapping could well take off. A defined standard would certainly help the cause too.

  • Malaysian vehicle sales for August 2021 by brand – Perodua up 967%, Toyota widens lead over Honda

    We called the sales data breakdown by brand in previous months collector’s items, because they were unseen before. Well, here’s another one for the album. “August 2021 Malaysian vehicle sales up by 147%” may seem a bit tame in the crazy Covid context, but don’t judge this story by its headline.

    In July, Proton made a one-off appearance at the top of the table, ahead of Toyota and Mitsubishi, with the latter registering more cars than perennial leader Perodua (fourth) and defending non-national leader Honda (fifth). Those who did well had remaining stock; conversely, those who didn’t fare well had no cars to sell as factories were forced to close.

    With plants and showrooms allowed to resume operations in mid-August, sales numbers have shot up fast due to the backlog. Cars are finally being made and registered, giving both car companies and customers a sigh of relief. Is the worst over for the Malaysian car industry? Seems so for the near future.

    After lending its top spot to Proton for a month, Perodua is back with sales of nearly 7k units in August, a 966.9% increase. That’s not a typo, and P2 has passed the 100k mark in the process (year-to-date 104,933 units). Earlier this month, Perodua announced a revised 2021 sales target of 214,000 units, 10.8% less than the original 240k. Proton is up 44% and lies second in both August (2,741) and YTD (60,997) figures.

    Other big jumpers are Toyota (+72.2%), Honda (+140.5%), Mazda (+251.5%), Nissan (+118.7%), Volkswagen (+108.0%) and wait for it, Porsche with +258.1%. Once again, this is all down to stock being available again, and how much of it one has – we can’t read too much into it. Curiously, Toyota sold fewer commercial vehicles in August versus July. Same for Isuzu, which only sells CVs.

    Here’s a YTD update on the individual battles that we’ve been following. Toyota’s lead over Honda has widened and is now above 10k. Barring any unforeseen incidents, the big T would surely achieve its stated mission of regaining the No.1 non-national spot from Honda come year end.

    The surprise package of 2021 so far has been Mitsubishi, which is sitting comfortably in fifth and pulling away from Nissan and Mazda in the “best of the rest” race after Perodua, Proton, Toyota and Honda. Boosted by a wingman in the Xpander seven-seater, the Triton brand has been setting personal bests, and is on track for its strongest year.

    Speaking of Nissan and Mazda, the Yokohama carmaker has traditionally been in fifth and ahead of its Hiroshima-based compatriot. But Nissan was merely eighth in August sales – it’s still sixth in YTD figures, but the lead over Mazda is now razor thin at 86 units (from 356 units in July).

    With four more months of SST exemption to go, there’s still time for a late push. For the state of affairs at half time, check out our 1H 2021 report here.

  • PDRM proposes senior citizens be required to obtain doctor’s approval before being issued driving licences

    According to reports by Berita Harian and NST, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) is proposing special conditions be imposed to limit the issuance of driving licences to senior citizens. This includes requiring senior citizens to undergo a doctor’s examination to ensure they are healthy to drive.

    Bukit Aman traffic investigation and enforcement department (JSPT) director Datuk Azisman Alias said such a move would help protect elderly drivers as well as other road users. He explained that poor health is one of the causes of road accidents, with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and deteriorating eyesight being problems typically faced by the elderly.

    “We see cases of driving against the flow of traffic being a trend, and there are cases involving the elderly aged 60 and 70 years and above. This can indirectly cause accidents on the road,” he said.

    “Some senior citizens aged 70 and above are forgetful and senile, and most cases of driving against the traffic flow involving this group is because of wrongfully entering a road. There was a case previously where an elderly driver entered a motorcycle lane,” he added.

    Azisman suggested that elderly drivers should only be allowed to renew their licences provided they receive a confirmation from a doctor stating that they mentally and physical capable to drive. He added that the licence renewal period for elderly drivers should be shortened. “Currently, driving licenses can be renewed for up to five years. If a 70-year-old senior renews his driving licence for five years, it is not suitable at all due to age,” he commented.

    The idea of requiring elderly drivers to fulfil certain criteria before being allowed to drive isn’t new. For example, in Singapore, drivers who are 65 years of age and above are required to undergo a medical examination with a registered doctor within the two months prior to their birthday to validate their driving licence. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

  • VinFast to grow European market presence from 2023

    Vietnamese automaker VinFast is looking to further expand its European market growth strategy beyond its originally planned debut in Germany, France and the Netherlands next year, Reuters has reported. VinFast will debut a pair of electric SUVs in Europe next year, the VF e35 and the VF e36 seven-seater.

    Following its plans to enter the European and North American markets in 2022, VinFast has opened offices in both regions, with the state of California among the first to open showrooms in the United States.

    The next step in the VinFast European expansion plan will include Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria, said VinFast business sales vice president Emiel Hendriksen. The brand will initially use a direct distribution model in Germany, France and the Netherlands, though it may also consider an agency model for sales operations in other countries, Hendriksen said.

    VinFast VF e35

    The Vietnamese brand has sold around 30,000 vehicles in its home market last year, and has targeted a volume of 15,000 electric vehicles for next year, which has been revised downwards from an initial forecast of 56,000 units because of the global chip shortage.

    News of this European market expansion by VinFast comes after a report that it has trademarked its intellectual property in Indonesia, indicating that it will be setting up operations in the republic soon as well. VinFast has been observed by an Indonesian industry observer to be unlikely to compete directly with the large-volume Japanese brands, namely Toyota and Daihatsu, and will instead push upmarket.

    In April, parent company Vingroup was reported to be considering an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States for VinFast, said to raise USD2 billion (RM8.3 billion), with the aim of getting a valuation of at least USD50 billion (RM206.5 billion) from its listing.

    The Vietnam-market VF e34 electric SUV has a range of 300 km

    Where its influence on its European presence is concerned, any decision pertaining to the IPO is up to the company’s head office in Vietnam, said VinFast Europe CEO Bich Tran. “Our European plans are independent from any IPO. We’re carrying on with our plans, everything in Europe is moving as planned,” she said, according to Reuters.

    On the technology side, VinFast has revealed battery technology that the automaker claims will enable charging of batteries to 80% state of charge in just five minutes, using nanoparticle anodes rather than the more commonly used graphite.

    In addition to its work with ProLogium on the development and production of solid-state batteries, VinFast has also signed an MoU with Gotion High-Tech to develop and produce lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are more stable, cheaper to make and are more sustainable compared to lithium-ion batteries.

  • MIROS studying if heavier penalties introduced last year have been effective at reducing instances of DUI

    In August last year, amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 to increase penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and drugs as well as for reckless driving was read, tabled and passed by the Dewan Rakyat, and came into force in October.

    The amendments to Sections 41 to 45 of the Act introduced heavier penalties for serious driving-related offences. For example, those convicted of causing death due DUI (under Section 44) now face a jail sentence from 10 to 15 years and a fine of between RM50,000 to RM100,000 for the first offence as well as being disqualified from holding a driving licence for at least 10 years. It’s a substantial increase from the previous three to 10 years jail sentence and RM8,000 to RM20,000 fine.

    A year on, the transport ministry is looking at whether these measures have been effective at reducing instances of DUI, The Star reports. According to transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, the ministry has commissioned the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) to find out if the harsher penalties have helped reduce such occurrences.

    “The transport ministry has requested MIROS to conduct a study on the effectiveness on all intervention measures carried out by the ministry and all stakeholders to address the issue of driving under influence, as the (amended) laws have been enforced for almost one year now,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat earlier this week.

    He added that the study would also include recommendations for intervention measures to tackle the DUI issue in the future. At present, Wee said the ministry will continue to work closely with the police and home ministry to strengthen enforcement and conduct advocacy campaigns. The ministry had in June last year conducted a survey on introducing stricter DUI enforcement before the laws were amended.

  • GST reimplementation could reduce Malaysian car prices, says analyst – but is that really the case?

    Here’s an interesting take on a possible return of the goods and services tax (GST) – a recent report by Berita Harian suggests that it could reduce car prices by between one and six per cent if it replaces the sales and service tax (SST), currently charged at a rate of ten per cent.

    The publication quoted RHB Investment Bank analyst Eddy Do Wei Qing, who wrote in an RHB Research article that during the previous changeover to the six-per-cent GST in 2015, the prices of cars went down by between one and three per cent. “When the 6% GST came into effect in April 2015 to replace the 10% SST, overall vehicle prices declined.

    “This was due to the method of calculations of GST and SST. The GST is a value-added tax in which tax is paid in every stage of the business transaction versus SST’s one-time tax paid by the manufacturer/importer. Despite that, the total amount of tax paid is actually lower due to the input tax claim mechanism under the GST regime. In essence, the final GST quantum is borne by the consumer vs the SST, which is paid by the importer/manufacturer in the SST regime,” he wrote.

    Wei Qing also mentioned the slump in the total industry volume (TIV) after the tax’s introduction, as consumers bought cars in droves the previous month due to pricing uncertainty – something he reckoned probably won’t happen again.

    “The high March 2015 TIV of 67,314 units was mainly due to consumers making vehicle purchases ahead of the implementation of the GST, due to the uncertainty of post-GST vehicle pricing. However, it is unlikely that the pre-GST purchase frenzy will re-occur – if we assume that there will be no aggressive pre-GST sales campaigns and promotions held.” he wrote.

    Proton Edar CEO Roslan Abdullah was more cautious in his outlook, telling the publication that any increase or decrease in car prices would depend on the rate of GST that would be charged compared to the current SST rate. He added that there are many aspects that need to be considered, including the list of items or components that are not taxed as well as incentives for companies that conduct research and development (R&D) and manufacturing activities for the domestic market.

    Roslan also said that prices of Proton models fell by between 0.89% and 3.25% when GST was implemented. He stressed that the company will support whichever tax system that brings benefits and advantages and will be supported by Malaysians. “If switching the tax system to GST can ensure the motoring industry is more competitive and give an advantage to buyers, Proton will approve of its implementation,” he said.

    More bullish was Malaysian Automotive Association president Datuk Aishah Ahmad, who said that the 2015 implementation of GST was proven to reduce car prices by as much as six per cent. “It is up to the government whether to reimplement GST or vice versa,” she said.

    It was reported in March that the finance ministry was evaluating the reintroduction of GST as part of major fiscal reforms to strengthen the country’s revenue capacity in times of crisis, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to Bernama, deputy secretary-general Zakiah Jaafar said that while the ministry is studying new tax reforms, the government is also mindful of their impact and timing and will wait until the economy has fully stabilised before making any big changes.

    The aforementioned RHB Research article, as quoted by New Straits Times, said that there was some market talk about a possible reintroduction. “While comments by finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz indicate that GST may not be reintroduced in the upcoming 2022 national budget, we cannot rule out the possibility of its return going forward,” Wei Qing wrote.

    Will car prices actually go down?

    The reality is, the topic of car price adjustments in relation to new tax regimes is far more nuanced than what some observers will lead you to believe. Yes, prices by and large did decrease somewhat when GST superseded SST in 2015, but there were also some increases. And let’s not forget, there were also large-scale price drops when SST was reimplemented in 2018, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

    As mentioned by RHB Research, the differing methods in calculating GST and SST complicates matters a little. We actually have a deep dive into the differences between the two tax regimes, which was even referenced by the RHB Research article – it will give you a better understanding on how GST affects car prices.

    Let’s take Perodua as an example. When GST was introduced in 2015, prices of all models fell by between 0.15% and 1.57%, resulting in decreases ranging from RM95 to RM650. Prices fell again with SST in 2018 by a margin of between 0.32% and 4.07%, with cars seeing discounts of between RM199 and RM1,710, although there was an increase for a couple of Alza variants.

    Again, it’s not possible to make a completely fair comparison, as most models were refreshed in the intervening three years – the then-new Myvi being the most obvious example. Proton, on the other hand, absorbed SST during the changeover, making it impossible to actually make a comparison in the first place.

    This is, of course, only a small sample of the wider market – price adjustments varied greatly across brands during the introduction of both GST and SST, the latter generally leading to increases in fully-imported (CBU) models. Remember that SST is also absorbed for CKD vehicle components, which helps keep prices of locally-assembled vehicles lower.

    Car companies may also tweak how they calculate prices of their models to maximise those price drops, in order to please customers and the government of the day. All this is to say that it’s way too early to say how much car prices will drop (if at all) if and when GST is reimplemented – we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • G28 BMW 3 Series Gran Sedan in Thailand gets a new 320Li Luxury variant – from RM309k; Malaysia next?

    BMW Thailand has introduced a new base variant of the G28 BMW 3 Series Gran Sedan (we know it as the 3 Series LWB in Malaysia), with the 320Li Luxury joining the 330Li M Sport that has been available since February.

    Priced at 2.469 million baht (RM309,420), the 320Li Luxury is considerably cheaper than the 330Li M Sport which goes for 2.899 million baht (RM363,429), with both figures inclusive of the BSI Standard package that includes a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty as well as free maintenance for three years or 60,000 km (whichever comes first).

    In 320Li guise, the engine is a B48 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit that provides 184 PS (181 hp) from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 300 Nm of torque from 1,350 to 4,000 rpm. This is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission that sends drive to the rear wheels, allowing for a 0-100 km/h time of 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 235 km/h.

    The 330Li also uses the same B48 mill, albeit with higher outputs of 258 PS (255 hp) from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 400 Nm from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm. It also gets an eight-speed Steptronic Sport auto gearbox, is quicker in the century sprint (6.2 seconds) and has a higher top speed (250 km/h).

    In terms of equipment, the 320Li comes with the Luxury Line appearance package, which is more subdued compared to the aggressive look of the 330Li’s M Sport kit, and there’s no BMW Individiual high-gloss Shadow Line package as well. The bicolour wheels are the same size as the 330Li at 18 inches, but they now carry a multi-spoke design and the tyres are no longer staggered sizes, with 225/45 profiles all around.

    Other differences include the lack of a head-up display, Harman Kardon sound system (there’s a regular HiFi setup instead) and M Sport steering wheel in the 320Li, while the interior trim finishers are in fine-wood oak grain open-pored rather than Aluminium Tetragon. Most glaring is the absence of the Driving Assistant suite, so no AEB, lane departure warning, lane change warning, front collision warning, cross traffic warning and rear collision prevention.

    Shared items between the two variants include LED headlamps with high-beam assistant, a powered tailgate, Comfort Access keyless entry, a panorama glass roof, black Vernasca leather upholstery, powered front seats with memory function, a Sensatec-lined dashboard, an ambient lighting system, triple-zone climate control, the Live Cockpit Professional system and ConnectedDrive services. It’s also still a passive cruise control system rather than an active one.

    The 320Li in Thailand can be ordered in either Cashmere Silver or Mineral White (no Carbon Black option), with the former available only with Mocha décor stitching; the latter gets two options: Mocha and Cognac.

    We reported previously that the 3 Series Gran Sedan sold in Thailand actually comes fully imported from Malaysia, assembled by BMW Group Malaysia at the Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah. As such, there is a possibility that we could get a lower 320Li variant in the future, although there’s no confirmation if this will happen yet.

    With the ongoing sales tax exemption, the 330Li M Sport in Malaysia is currently priced at RM277,164 OTR without insurance and with a standard two-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Looking at the 3 Series Gran Sedan range in Thailand, the 320Li is about 15% cheaper than the 330Li, and by extrapolation, a 320Li here could be around the RM235k mark.

    This is not by any means definite, but the extrapolated sum is around RM5k more than the 320i Sport that goes for RM230,764. The gulf between the standard-wheelbase 330i M Sport and 330Li M Sport is not that far off at nearly RM6k, for further context. So, is a cheaper long-wheelbase 320Li something that you might be interested in?


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Last Updated 23 Sep 2021