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  • SPYSHOTS: G22 BMW 4 Series continues to shed skin

    It seems like we’ve been waiting forever for the next BMW 4 Series, but it seems we’re now on the home stretch. Munich has already revealed a concept previewing the coupé earlier this year, and these spyshots show that development is at an advanced stage.

    The prototypes that you see here have also shed some of its hard disguise, giving us a clearer look at what the finalised shape will be. And while BMW still appears to be keen on hiding the massive (and rather controversial) full-height double kidney grille already shown on the Concept 4, the big nostrils are still visible underneath, as is the hexagonal mesh with the raised “dashes”.

    The rest of the front bumper design is still obscured, but we expect it to follow the look seen on the show car, which incorporates a U-shaped air intake underlining the grille, as well as larger inlets on either side. The headlights, which feature quad projectors and U-shaped LED daytime running lights on these mid-range units, are slightly larger than on the Concept 4, but are still fairly slim in design.

    Elsewhere, BMW seems to be adding some distance between the 4 Series and its close relative, the 3 Series, drawing more styling cues from big brother 8 Series. The glasshouse is sleeker and tapers more severely towards the rear of the car, where it has also sprouted a pair of serious hips that give it a more voluptuous appearance. The trademark Hofmeister kink has also been watered down, just like the concept.

    Moving to the rear, there are three-dimensional L-shaped tail lights and a large diffuser-like bumper insert on this M Sport model, and it’s encouraging to see that BMW has stuck with real tail pipes. Previous spyshots has already showed the full interior, the dashboard having been lifted wholesale from the G20 3 Series.

    The engine lineup should closely mirror that of the G20, with a revised range of three-, four- and six-cylinder engines, as well as perhaps a plug-in hybrid variant and the obligatory M4. The company has already confirmed that the car will be offered with a S58 3.0 litre twin-turbo straight-six with either 480 hp or 510 hp.

    The former will be the only model offered with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox (all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission should be standard fit on the more powerful Competition). An all-electric i4 will also go on sale in 2021, based on the four-door Gran Coupé.

     
  • Land Rover Defender to spawn base, luxury versions; pure EV powertrain for range-topping variant – report

    Land Rover is planning to expand the new Defender range with additional versions at both ends of the spectrum, Autocar reports. The company aims for the entry-level five-door model to be priced around £25,000 (RM137,015) in the United Kingdom, which is considerably lower than the £45,240 (RM233,612) starting price for the Defender 110 when it was launched in September.

    The forthcoming base Defender is believed to bear the model code L860, and is expected to make its debut in 2021. It will receive its own name, Autocar indicates, though it remains to be seen what the forthcoming model will be known as. A Defender badge is unlikely given that the model range is now pitched upmarket, and a Discovery badge could see the base model cannibalise sales from the Discovery Sport.

    A distinct badge with something along the lines of ‘Land Rover 80’ could be used, referencing the wheelbase length of the original Series 1 models, the report said, also suggesting that the L860 is the third attempt by Land Rover in recent years to secure the business case for a model to compete against mainstream compact SUVs such as the MINI Countryman, Volkswagen Tiguan, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.

    This is bolstered by the fact that the mid-sized SUV market in Europe is growing, with an annual volume of over 500,000 units; Autocar however also notes that the L860 will also be sold outside Europe. Though parent company Jaguar Land Rover’s 2021 CO2 target that is higher than most others because it sells fewer than 300,000 units across the European Union, it is still a difficult target to achieve as its model line-up is mostly comprised of large, heavy vehicles.

    The L860 is expected to use a platform which Land Rover calls the D10, and which parent firm Tata calls the Omega-Arc, or short for Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced Architecture. This is a cost-reduced, though modernised version of Land Rover’s D8 platform which underpinned the earlier Range Rover Evoque as well as the first Land Rover Discovery Sport.

    The Indian-market Tata Harrier uses this platform, and the previous attempt in bringing the L860 to life was reportedly axed by Land Rover in January 2017 in the wake of the Brexit vote and fears of greater trade protectionism at the time. The L860 has been designed for both Tata and Land Rover applications, where the Harrier uses a a beam rear axle, and the forthcoming Land Rover will use a multi-link arrangement for both front- and all-wheel-drive versions, as well as gain an LR-specific front subframe and front suspension.

    This means that the Land Rover L860 will be substantially new, accommodate PHEV technology and likely to be launched with the forthcoming 1.5 litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engines in both turbo and mild-hybrid forms. The PHEV three-pot option will be beneficial to Land Rover in helping attain the aforementioned group CO2 targets, by offsetting those of its larger siblings.

    At the other end of the Defender scale, the more luxurious version is said to be in early stages of development, and could still be up to four years away from unveiling. This could debut as a pure EV, wear leaner styling and a much more luxurious interior as well as a price tag ‘well into six figures’ (upwards of RM548,137 in the UK), says Autocar.

    To be based on the group’s MLA platform, the range-topper is expected to be the Defender line’s first pure EV spin-off, which will further boost the brand’s efforts in attaining its CO2 targets. The ‘Defender Sport’, as it is rumoured to be called, could further help its off-road abilities thanks to the finer control of output enabled by electric motors, though the upmarket Defender is likely to be more road-focused compared to the standard Defender line, the report noted.

    GALLERY: 2020 Land Rover Defender

     
  • Indonesia pushing for EV battery, chemical investment

    Indonesia is seeking to ride the EV wave by attracting investment from electric vehicle battery producers as well as those involved in the chemicals needed for the batteries, extracted from nickel ore. The target is to churn them out by 2023, according to the minister who oversees the energy and mining ministry, reported by Reuters.

    “We are in coordination with GEM and CATL to build lithium battery plants in Indonesia,” Luhut Pandjaitan said, referring to Chinese battery firm GEM and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. The companies and their partners, which include stainless steel maker Tsingshan, are building Indonesia’s first plant to produce battery chemicals.

    The minister said the republic is looking at Patimban in West Java as a potential area for building EV battery plants. “I asked them to work on this at the same time (with the battery chemical plants). In 2023, everything must be finished,” he said.

    According to the report, GEM expects to start trial production at its Indonesian battery chemicals plant in August next year, with the first phase of operations up and running by the end of 2020. GEM and its partners are currently waiting for environmental approval to proceed further with the development of the plant. Pandjaitan said the government hopes the environmental impact studies can be finished by the end of this year.

    Indonesia moved forward a ban on nickel ore exports by two years to January 2020 to process more of the country’s mining output domestically. German premium brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz recently started making plug-in hybrid batteries in Thailand.

     
  • AD: Petron is now Boosted – get RM5 cashback with min RM50 spend, win RM8,888 and weekly prizes!

    Isn’t it nice to be able to save a little more on daily use like petrol? Now you can! Petron is now Boosted, and you can get RM5 cashback when you spend a minimum of RM50 with Boost App at Petron stations.

    On top of that, you get to enjoy the benefits from your Petron Miles card. Speaking of that, swipe your Petron Miles card and continue to pay minimum RM 40 with Boost App to be one of the lucky ones to win the Grand Prize of RM8,888, plus other amazing weekly prizes.

    The RM5 cashback promo is based on a first come first served basis for each month. From Dec 1-31, there are 44,000 RM5 cashbacks to be given away, and 44,000 cashbacks in January 1-31, 2020.

    So if you don’t get the cashback in December, fret not, there’s still plenty of chance to do so next month, limited to two cashbacks per user throughout the campaign period. And even if you have maxed out your cashbacks, just continue to pay with Boost App at Petron to win the Grand Prize.

    The RM5 cashback will be credited to your Boost App wallet within three working days. For the contest, the names of all winners will be published on Petron’s website (www.petronmiles.com.my) and social media platforms.

    So remember to #GoCashless and #BoostIt every time you’re fuelling up at Petron. Car breakdown? Through Boost, which is Malaysia’s preferred lifestyle e-wallet, you’ll have access to My Car services such as Carput, Serv and Bateriku to rescue you in times of need, all in one app. If you’re not already Boosted, download the Boost App here if you’re on Android, or here if you’re using an iPhone.

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  • 2020 BMW X3, X4 M40i & M550i get huge power bump for the US – M550i’s 4.4L V8 makes 523 hp & 750 Nm!

    BMW US has quietly released revised versions of the M550i, X3 M40i, and X4 M40i models for 2020, with each receiving sizeable gains in performance thanks to several hardware upgrades.

    Let’s start with the G30 M550i. It’s powered by the updated N63 4.4 litre twin-turbo petrol V8 which it shares with the M850i, tuned to produce 523 hp and 750 Nm of torque. That equates to nearly 15% increase compared to the older tune of 456 hp and 650 Nm, and it’s achieved via new intake manifold and ports, higher fuel pressure, a stronger engine block, reinforced pistons, and new ECU, BMW spokesman Oleg Satanovsky told Motor Authority recently.

    It still gets xDrive all-wheel drive system, but it’s worth noting that the outgoing M550i with the less powerful engine sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds flat. The new N63 engine however, could potentially shave as much as 0.3 seconds off the century sprint. Just as a comparison, the M850i with xDrive AWD sprints from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.

    Next, for the SUVs, the X3 M40i and X4 M40i have their outputs raised from 335 hp to 382 hp, or about a 5% increase. Again, this is due to higher boost pressure, revised ECU, and upgraded exhaust components. Because performance matters, both the outgoing SUVs sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds.

    While they both use the same S58 3.0 litre straight-six engine in many other M Performance 40i-badged cars, models like the 540i, X6, 740i, and 840i don’t receive the same power bump for 2020.

    The revisions do come at a cost, but that’s also because of additional equipment. The base price for the M550i has gone up by US$2,200 (RM9.1k), and along with the price hike is the fitment of an active rear differential and heated seats. Prices for the X3 M40i and X4 M40i rose by US$1,250 and US$550 respectively, and both also received minor equipment upgrades.

     
  • VW Malaysia to hold Instagram-exclusive 12.12 sale

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) is having a special 12.12 (that’s December 12) sale, but it will be done in a rather novel way. The sale is what the company calls a first-of-its-kind Instagram-exclusive sale.

    For the 24 hours of 12.12, 12 units of the Polo with the Join accessories package and 12 units of the Beetle with a free spoiler and VW Tint will be sold on Volkswagen Malaysia’s Instagram shop at a special discount of RM12,000.

    To enjoy the deals, one needs to place a booking fee of RM500 for the Polo or RM1,000 for the Beetle on the payment platform via credit card. Once processed, you’ll receive a call from a Volkswagen representative to arrange for your preferred dealership and to complete the registration and delivery of the vehicle.

    Erik Winter, MD of VPCM believes that purchasing a car online is now the new norm with the rise of e-commerce platforms. “Volkswagen Malaysia were pioneers in this when we partnered with Lazada to sell the special edition Beetle and Polo during their 12.12 sale the past two years. Both editions sold out almost immediately, and this year, we continue our trailblazing streak as the very first automotive brand in the country to sell products on Instagram. We look forward to making history.”

    VPCM’s Instagram sale kicks off at 12:01am this December 12, and will end at 11:59pm that day. For more details, click here.

    GALLERY: Volkswagen Polo Join

     
  • Mitsubishi Triton Knight – limited to 120 units; RM138k

    Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia has announced the launch of the limited-edition Triton Knight, of which just 120 units will be available. The Triton Knight is based on the range-topping Adventure X variant, which is also matches on price at RM137,900, though the limited edition Triton gets additional accessories.

    The Triton Knight-specific kit is comprised of a grey coated front bumper garnish, hood protector, side window deflectors and Knight body stickers for its exterior, while on the inside the Knight gets scuff plates and mats with Knight embroidery and red stitching; the Triton Knight comes solely in a White Diamond exterior paint finish.

    That the Triton Knight is based on the Adventure X means that it also includes equipment such as the All Round Monitor (ARM), DVR and seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, as well as the sports bar on its exterior.

    This will also include safety kit such as Forward Collision Mitigation (autonomous emergency braking for vehicles and pedestrians), Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (front and rear), Auto High Beam, Front passenger seatbelt reminder, front and rear parking sensors, ABS, EBD, BA, stability control, traction control and seven airbags.

    Likewise, powertrain in the Triton Knight will also be the 2.4 litre MIVEC turbodiesel engine which produces 181 PS and 430 Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic gearbox and the Super Select 4WD-II driveline; rolling stock is a set of 18-inch wheels with 265/60R18 tyres.

    The Triton Knight is covered by a five-year, 200,000 km warranty, and selected accessories from the Triton Knight kit list will also be available separately from authorised Mitsubishi Motors dealers.

    As part of a year-end promotion, existing customers who purchase selected Triton variants will be entitled to rebates up to RM3,000, on top of ongoing promotions. Additionally, any pick-up truck owner who purchases selected variants of the Triton will be eligible for an additional RM2,000 rebate on top of current promotions.

     
  • Ducati Memorabilia: For the rider who has everything

    If you’re wondering what to get the rider who has everything for Christmas or a year-end gift, Ducati and its racing division Ducati Corse have got you covered with the Ducati Memorabilia Project. What this is means is you can purchase, for yourself or other significant person in your life, a piece of a Ducati racing motorcycle.

    Items include crankshafts, camshafts, pistons and con-rods, all used inside a Desmosedici or Panigale from previous racing seasons. While the cynical might question why such a thing is available for purchase, for the Ducatisti, it represents a piece of racing history.

    Cost, on the other hand, might be another issue but as they say, like motorcycle styles, one man’s meat is another man’s unjustifiable, absolute waste of money. Each piece of Ducati Memorabilia is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Ducati chief executive officer Claudio Domenicali and Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna.

    Encased in a plexiglass box, each Ducati racing component has a serial number and is clearly marked “For Display Only.” Purchase of Ducati Memorabilia items can be made at the Ducati Store in Borgo Panigale, selected Ducati dealerships and via online purchase at the Ducati website from 2020.

    In other news, French MotoGP rider Johann Zarco, who left KTM Red Bull Racing mid-season after dismal results, has signed with Ducati MotoGP satellite team Reale Avintia Racing. Replacing Czech Karel Abraham in the Spanish outfit, Zarco joins Spaniard Tito Rabat.

     
  • Mercedes me connect service introduced in Malaysia – Mercedes me Adapter available for older cars, RM250

    The launch of the X253 Mercedes-Benz GLC facelift and C253 GLC Coupe facelift earlier today also saw Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) officially introducing the Mercedes me connect service – or MMC – in the country. The digital connectivity platform, which will allow Mercedes-Benz owners to stay connected and in sync with their vehicles, makes its debut on the GLC and will be introduced to upcoming models in 2020.

    Available through the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store, the Mercedes me connect app will provide access to a suite of connected services once the vehicle is activated on the Mercedes me portal.

    The MMC-enabled vehicles will carry a SIM card running either a Celcom or Maxis LTE data connection, as well as two physical buttons above the rear-view mirror – SOS E-call for emergency situations and Mercedes me to contact Mercedes-Benz Customer Care Centre.

    Aside from the emergency call system and accident recovery/breakdown management, standard services include access to data related to telediagnostics (which keeps track of diagnostics-capable wear and tear components) and maintenance management as well as over-the-air software updates for the system.

    The system also provides a host of remote services, including remote start, remote door lock/unlock, remote retrieval of vehicle status, Speedfencing (for parents to set a threshold vehicle speed, and receive app notifications if exceeded) and Valet Protect (set a virtual boundary).

    Other connected services include an on-the-move vehicle tracker, park vehicle locator function, vehicle settings personalisation and predictive navigation. Live traffic information for the on-board maps (latest maps now available through the MMC portal) will also be introduced next year.

    Access to standard services such as the emergency call system and telediagnostics will remain free for the lifetime of the vehicle, but remote services (such as remote start and navigation, etc) will not, although MBM is providing a three-year free subscription with the purchase of a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle that is MMC-capable. The company says that a paid option to extend access to remote services is on the cards, but pricing has not been worked out yet.

    Meanwhile, customers with Mercedes-Benz vehicles built after 2002 without connected functionality will still be able to enjoy the experience of connected features through the use of the Mercedes me Adapter.

    The unit is a retrofit telematics solution consisting of an adapter, an application and integration into the central Mercedes-Benz systems. It is inserted into the diagnostics interface – in this case, the OBD2 connector port – of the vehicle.

    While it does not have the entire raft of services available under Mercedes me connect (it doesn’t have an on-board SIM card, hence no live connectivity), the Mercedes me Adapter and its dedicated application – which is different than that for the Mercedes me connect – will still provide owners of older Mercedes models plenty of valuable information.

    These include data about the vehicle’s status such as fuel level, mileage and parking location. Additionally, a Cockpit Mode provides with live vehicle data such as engine load, oil temperature and average speed. A car healthcare monitor function provides relevant info in case of warning lights from the vehicle come up.

    Owners will also be able to access trip and refueling lists, with the ability to export and edit data, and search for and book service appointments. The Mercedes me Adapter is priced at RM250 and will be available from dealerships in the first quarter of 2020.

     
  • McLaren 620R – road-legal version of 570S GT4 racer

    If it seems as though the McLaren 600LT – until now the most potent of McLaren’s Sports Series models – was released just over a year ago, that’s because it was, and now we have an even more track-focused road-going model, the 620R.

    Dubbed by the supercar maker from Woking as a road-legal version of its 570S GT4 racer, the 620R’s outputs are hinted in its name – 620 PS is produced at 7,000 rpm and 620 Nm of torque is made at 3,500 rpm courtesy of its M838TE 3,799 cc biturbo V8 engine, sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed seamless-shift gearbox, otherwise known as a dual-clutch transmission.

    The racer-for-the-road theme continues with its coilover dampers which are manually adjustable for compression and rebound within 32 clicks, and these are also 6 kg lighter than the items on the regular Sports Series models, says McLaren. The aluminium wishbones and uprights are fitted with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars compared to the regular Sports Series models, and rubber top mounts are exchanged for stainless steel items for further improved steering precision and feedback.

    Brakes are carbon-ceramic discs measuring 390 mm in front and 380 mm at the rear, with forged aluminium calipers at all corners. Tyres are Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R as standard, measuring 225/35/R19 in front and 285/35/R20 at the back; the customer can optionally add Pirelli slick tyres for track running. McLaren also says that the 620R has been engineered to run with these slicks without further mechanical adjustment.

    Aerodynamics is paid additional attention on the 620R, which adopts the adjustable carbon-fibre rear wing directly from the 570S GT4 race car. Adjustable within three positions, the rear wing contributes to total downforce of 185 kg overall when set to its most aggressive position.

    In front, the front bumper, splitter and bonnet have been redesigned; the splitter retains its aero blades and cut-out while the carbon-fibre bonnet employs twin ‘nostrils’ to aid downforce and clean up airflow over the top of the car. Dive planes in front also contribute up to 3kg of downforce as part of the 65 kg total from the overall frontal aero package, says McLaren.

    Less is more in track car philosophy, and as such the 620R does without conventional comforts such as floor carpeting and a glovebox. Also removed are air-conditioning, navigation and audio, although these can be added back if the customer so chooses; a lightweight Bowers & Wilkins is also available as a cost option.

    Standard interior equipment includes carbon-fibre racing seats with six-point racing harnesses, a red central marker on the steering wheel and door pull straps, while carbon-fibre is used for the extended gearshift paddles, steering wheel spokes and centre console in the 620R.

    Also aiding track use as standard is the McLaren Track Telemetry (MTT) system, displayed on the centrally mounted seven-inch touchscreen. If the optional MSO Roof Scoop Upgrade Pack is specified, the MTT can be upgraded to include a three-camera system.

    Limited to a run of 350 units, the 620R features an identification plaque on its centre console, and it can be customised with the full array of McLaren Special Operations options such as specific colours, carbon-fibre packs, exterior kits including a titanium exhaust and interior upgrades and personalisation. All will be built at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, and prices start from £250,000 (RM1,368,422) in the United Kingdom.

     
 

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