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  • 2020 Malaysian Cub Prix calendar released – racing starts this weekend at Sepang International Circuit

    After a several month long hiatus due to the MCO and government restrictions against public gatherings for sporting events, the 2020 Malaysian Cub Prix calendar resumes. The first round will be held at Sepang International Circuit the weekend of 17 and 18 July at the North track.

    This will be followed by rounds at Tangkak, Johor on 22 and 23 August, Sepang South track on 2 and 3 September and Kuala Terengganu on 18 and 19 August. The Cub Prix circus then returns to Tangkak on 10 and 11 October before proceeding to Sepang on 31 October to 1 November for the sixth round.

    The seventh round, scheduled to be held at Sepang, has yet to be determined pending Dorna’s decision to hold the Malaysian MotoGP. The final and eighth round of the 2020 Malaysian Cub Prix will be at Tangkak on the weekend of 12 and 13 December.

    Restrictions to race locations are as per current government regulations on motorsports in events in Malaysia, which can only be held at permanent race circuits. No spectators are allowed, with the number of personnel in the pits and paddock controlled by the organisers.

  • UMW Toyota teases ‘Supra Improvement’ – 2021 GR Supra with 47 hp more, 0-100 in 4.1s coming soon?

    UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has uploaded a teaser video for the Toyota GR Supra. The video, which is pasted above, comes with the caption “Keep your foot on the brakes Toyota fans. The Supra is warming up its engine for a huge surprise.” The video’s title is “Supra Improvement Teaser Video”, which is self-explanatory.

    Revealed in January 2019 after what felt like a lifetime of teasing, the A90 Supra launched with a BMW-sourced 3.0 litre straight-six with 340 PS (335 hp) from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. Paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission sending drive to the rear wheels, it’s good for 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds. The A90 was launched in Malaysia in September 2019.

    In February 2020, Toyota debuted the 2021 Toyota GR Supra in the US, with more power, a new 2.0L four-cylinder engine option, some chassis tweaks, extra equipment and a new special edition model. Power has gone up by 47 hp to 382 hp, now made higher up the rev range from 5,800 to 6,500 rpm, representing a 14% increase.

    These numbers come as a result of a new dual-branch exhaust manifold, and in spite of a reduced compression ratio of 10.2:1 instead of 11:1, the latter due to a new piston design. With the power bump, the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint time is slashed from 4.1 to 3.9 seconds. 0-60 mph in 3.9s should translate to 0-100 km/h in 4.1s, which the teaser video flashes. That would be an 0.2s improvement over the launch A90.

    Power aside, the latest A90 gets a number of revisions to its suspension, including new aluminium front bracing to increase lateral rigidity, uprated front and rear bump stops and retuned dampers. The electric power steering, adaptive damper system, stability control and active rear differential have also been reprogrammed in concert with the hardware changes, making the car more stable through quick transitions, Toyota says.

    The US-market 2021 GR Supra can now be had with the Safety and Technology Package, which adds on all-speed adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors with emergency braking, navigation, a 12-speaker JBL sound system, wireless Apple CarPlay and remote connectivity and emergency services. All models get the larger 8.8-inch centre display, in place of the previous standard-fit 6.5-inch item.

    GALLERY: 2021 Toyota GR Supra, US-market

    GALLERY: 2020 Toyota GR Supra in Malaysia


  • G01 BMW X3 xDrive30e M Sport launched in Thailand – PHEV SUV with 292 PS and 420 Nm; priced at RM493k

    BMW Thailand has expanded its range of plug-in hybrid models with the launch of the new X3 xDrive30e M Sport, which will compete against the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 e and Volvo XC60 T8 in the country.

    The Thailand-built PHEV variant, which joins the X3 xDrive20d xLine and X3 xDrive20d M Sport, debuts with a price tag of 3.629 million baht (RM492,993). That makes it cheaper than the GLC 300 e (also CKD Thailand) that goes for 3.749 million baht (RM509,441), although it is a bit dearer when compared to the XC60 T8 R-Design (CBU Malaysia) that retails for 3.59 million baht (RM487,633).

    For the sum, the X3 xDrive30e is powered by a B48 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 184 PS (181 hp) from 5,000 to 6,000 rpm and 300 Nm of torque from 1,350 to 4,000 rpm. The engine is augmented by an electric motor (109 PS/107 hp and 265 Nm) that is integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, with a total system output of 292 PS (288 hp) and 420 Nm.

    Along with an xDrive all-wheel drive system, the PHEV SUV gets from zero to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h. The claimed combined fuel consumption here is 35.7 km/l (2.8 l/100 km), while CO2 emissions is 64 g/km. The model also comes equipped with a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery positioned under the rear seats that provides an NEDC-rated EV range of 47 km.

    Standard equipment on the X3 xDrive30e includes the M Sport package that consists of sportier, more aerodynamic bumpers, along with 20-inch double-spoke light alloy wheels as well as aluminium satin and black accents from the BMW Individual catalogue. The exterior also sports adaptive LED headlamps with high beam assist, LED fog lamps, a powered tailgate, a panoramic sunroof and M Sport brakes.

    Inside, there are powered front seats with a memory function, a Sensatec leather dash, Vernesca leather seat upholstery, an anthracite headliner, an ambient lighting system, a head-up display, trim in Aluminium Rhombicle and Pearl Chrome, roller blinds for the rear side windows, automatic air-conditioning, Live Cockpit Professional system and a Harman Kardon sound system.

    Three exterior colours are offered here, including Alpine White that comes with a Mocha interior, while the Black Sapphire and Sophisto Grey Brilliant Effect options are paired with a Cognac interior instead.

    In terms of safety and driver assistance, the list includes six airbags, DSC, traction control, ABS, side impact protection, attention assist, Park Distance Control and cruise control with braking function. There’s also the Driving Assistant package that consists of autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert.

  • 2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R launched in Indonesia – two versions, Standard at RM28,427, SE at RM33,431

    After a long wait, accompanied by short video teasers, the 2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R is now launched in Indonesia, which also marks its world debut. There are two versions of the four-cylinder ZX-25R, Standard which comes only in black at 96 million rupiah (RM28,427) and the ZX-25R SE with three colour choices – green, blue or white – at 112.9 million rupiah (RM33,431).

    Aside from the colour choices, the SE version of the ZX-25R comes with a higher equipment specification which includes ABS braking, up-and-down quick shifter and pillion seat cover. Also included is a smoked windshield, frame sliders and wheel graphic stickers.

    From its launch at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, technical specifications were slow to be revealed but we now know the inline four-cylinder, liquid-cooled DOHC mill displaces 249.8 cc and puts out 51 PS at 15,500 rpm (with Ram Air) and 22.9 Nm of torque at 14,500 rpm. Maximum speed of the ZX-25R, as shown in the teaser videos from Kawasaki, is 197 km/h.

    Power gets to the ground via a six-speed transmission and the up-and-down quick shifter is activated above 2,500 rpm. An assist and slipper clutch prevents rear wheel hop during hard downshifting and lowers effort at the clutch lever.

    Despite only displacing 250 cc, the ZX-25R comes with several technological advantages including two ride modes – Full or Low – and traction control as well as electronically-controlled throttle bodies. From a security point of view, the ZX-25R comes standard with an immobiliser.

    The sporty intentions of the full-fairing ZX-25R are clear in the trellis with styling following the cues of bigger sports bikes in the Kawasaki stable like the ZX-6R and ZX-10R. For braking, the ZX-25R uses a single 310 mm diameter disc with monobloc calliper on the front wheel while the rear wheel uses a 220 mm calliper, with wheel sizes being 110/70 for the front and 150/60 at the back, shod in Dunlop GPR300 rubber.

    Suspension on the ZX-25R uses Showa upside-down SFF-BP forks in 37 mm diameter in front, non-adjustable, while the rear Back-Link horizontal monoshock comes with preload adjustment. Overall weight is claimed to be 182 kg, with fuel carried in a 15-litre tank.

    During the online launch of the ZX-25R, Kawasaki Indonesia;s management said orders are currently being taken for deliveries beginning in August. For comparison, the Ninja 250 two-cylinder is sold in Indonesia at starting price of 64.1 million rupiah (RM18,981) while in Malaysia, it is priced at RM23,071.

  • Suzuki XL7 ‘Ertiga SUV’ launched in Thailand, RM106k

    The Suzuki XL7 is now available in Thailand, in a sole GLX trim level for 779,000 baht (RM106,107). The SUV-styled version of the Ertiga MPV undercuts the Honda BR-V and Mitsubishi Xpander Cross, which are priced from 835,000 baht (RM113,590) and 899,000 baht (RM122,296) respectively.

    Launched in Indonesia in February, the XL7 is essentially the XL6 that surfaced in India in August 2019, but without the option of middle row captain chairs – it retains seven seats, hence the XL7 name. It’s the same type of vehicle as our Perodua Aruz and its Daihatsu Terios and Toyota Rush siblings.

    The “multi-dynamic crossover”, as it’s branded in Thailand, is powered by the same 1.5 litre K15B engine as the Ertiga, with 105 PS and 138 Nm of torque. The VVT engine is paired to a four-speed automatic sending power to the 16-inch front wheels (195/60 tyres). According to reports, the 4AT’s final ratio has been tweaked to improve fuel economy, and there’s a larger front anti-roll bar to improve handing.

    Another difference between Ertiga and XL7 is the latter’s 20 mm higher ground clearance, which stands at 200 mm. It looks more rugged too, with a unique front fascia and SUV-inspired gear such as black plastic cladding on the lower edges of the car, silver “skid plates” at both ends, roof rails and a small piece of trim at the base of the A pillars, mimicking vents.

    Highlighted kit include LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, a fancy-looking colour multi-info LCD display with G-force map and real-time power/torque meters, carbon fibre-style trim, flat-bottomed leather steering wheel with audio/call buttons, keyless entry and push start, auto air con, and a cooling vent for the front cupholders.

    The 10-inch touchscreen head unit is Apple CarPlay compatible and there’s an HDMI port. Safety wise, the XL7 comes with ESP, hill-hold control, ABS/EBD, Isofix child seat mounts and reverse camera, but just two airbags. The seven-seater (60:40 split folding second row, 50:50 third row) comes in four colours – black, grey, white and this signature Rising Orange Pearl Metallic. What do you think of the XL7 compared to the Aruz and BR-V?

    GALLERY: Suzuki XL7 in Indonesia

  • Tesla misleading customers with Autopilot claims?

    Tesla’s claims of self-driving functionalities are being scrutinised by German authorities, and a court is scheduled to rule on whether those claims are misleading customers or not.

    According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Tesla’s German website states that its vehicles have full potential for autonomous driving. The US automaker even promoted its cars as being able to perform autonomous driving in cities by the end of 2019, but a legal framework for autonomous inner-city driving doesn’t even exist in Germany.

    The Centre for Protection Against Unfair Competition, a German non-profit organisation, sued Tesla for overpromising and underdelivering its customers. Andreas Ottofuelling, a lawyer representing the firm said many other Autopilot functions “aren’t working yet as advertised.”

    If the Munich court rules in favour of the NGO and Tesla chose not to appeal, then Tesla is required to remove claims pertaining to autonomous driving from its website.

    Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company is “very close” to achieving Level 5 autonomous driving. “I’m extremely confident that Level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly. I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for Level 5 autonomy complete this year,” he said in a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference.

  • LEVC VN5 debuts – EV black cab becomes a delivery van; up to 484 km of range; 5,500 litres of cargo space

    The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has launched the new VN5, an electric light commercial van that joins TX taxi (previously known as the TX5) and shuttle in the company’s line-up of vehicle offerings. The company, which was previously referred to as The London Taxi Corporation, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding that also manages Proton, Volvo, Lotus and others.

    The VN5 is based on the TX, but rebodied to perform blue-collar work. Changes include replacing the rear suicide doors with large sliding doors to allow for easy side-loading of pallets, while the rear doors open in a 60:40 split for quick loading and unloading of cargo.

    According to LEVC, the VN5 has a cargo capacity of 5.5 cubic metres (5,500 litres), which is enough to swallow two Euro-sized pallets or a gross payload of 830 kg. The van also has a class-leading turning circle of just 10.1 metres, making it ideal for navigating within tight urban spaces, which is where most delivery runs take place. Depending on the needs of the business, the spacious cargo area can be configured to fit a variety of roles, from a delivery van to a service vehicle.

    Styling-wise, the VN5 looks pretty much identical to the TX, with the same roundish front-end, dashboard layout and placement of the charging ports on either side of the grille. The VN5 also uses the same powertrain as the taxi, which consists of a rear electric motor (150 PS), a 31-kWh lithium-ion battery and a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

    The front-mounted engine is not linked to the wheels in any way, and only serves as a range extender when the battery is depleted. According to the company, the VN5 offers an electric range of up to 93 km, or 484 km with the eCity range extender and 36-litre fuel tank in play.

    To recharge the battery, the vehicle supports AC charging of up to 11 kW via a Type 2/CCS charging port as well as DC charging of up to 50 kW using a CHAdeMO connection. Both come standard on Business and City variants of the VN5, but the Ultima version is enhanced by support for AC fast charging of up to 22 kW.

    Detailed charging times weren’t provided, but the company says with a 50-kW charging station, a zero to 100% state of charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes to minimise downtime. It adds that based on a real-world delivery scenario from a warehouse near Heathrow Airport to four central London destinations, a fully charged and fuelled VN5 can complete a full day’s work and make the 76-km return trip six times, before requiring a recharge or refuel.

    There’s also cost benefits too, as a full charge is said to cost two British pounds (RM10.79) on a low-cost electric vehicle tariff, plus the VN5 is exempt from the ULEZ charge in London that costs 12.50 British pounds (RM67.45) daily. With national incentive schemes, the VN5 also qualifies for the United Kingdom OLEV plug-in grant, so operators will enjoy a 20% discount off the purchase price, up to a maximum of 8,000 British pounds (RM43,169).

    The company is also confident of the VN5’s durability, as it comes with SMC panel that are resistant to dents and minor impacts. The vehicle also comes with a five-year/241,402-km factory warranty, while the battery is covered for up to eight years/241,402 km. Customers can also choose to extend both warranties to six years/321,869 km for the vehicle and eight years/321,869 km for the battery.

    Pricing for the VN5 starts from 46,500 British pounds (RM250,686) for the Business variant, 48,000 British pounds (RM258,773) for the City and 52,000 British pounds (RM280,232) for the Ultima. Standard equipment on the Business includes dual-zone climate control, a nine-inch touchscreen head unit, keyless entry, DAB digital radio, automatic LED headlamps, three drive modes (Pure EV, Smart and Save) as well as an electronic parking brake.

    The safety equipment for the base variant is also rather impressive for a commercial van, as it includes front airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system, ESC, ABS, autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning.

    The City adds on a heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, road sign information, an intelligent speed limiter, lane departure warning and curtain airbags. The Ultima takes things a step further with powered and heated front seats, satellite navigation, a rearview camera and the aforementioned 22-kW onboard AC charger.

  • Jeep Wrangler teased with 6.4L Hemi 392 V8 engine

    Jeep posted on its Facebook page a partial image of what appears to be its iconic Wrangler, one that boasts of a very prominent scoop on its bonnet with the number ‘392’ displayed on the side of the intake scoop. Significant numerals, as these could well refer to the 392 cubic-inch, or 6.4 litre Hemi V8 engine from further afield in the Chrysler model range.

    Producing 485 hp and 644 Nm of torque in the Dodge Charger Scat Pack as well as the Challenger equivalent, this suggests that the Jeep Wrangler will finally get a factory-standard V8 variant. In its current factory-available forms, the 392 Hemi V8 can be paired with either an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

    This comes as the trickle feed of teasers from its rival Ford continues, which comes before the debut of the all-new 2021 Bronco tomorrow. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford Bronco is based on a ladder-frame chassis, and both are aimed at regular off-roading users.

    The Jeep Wrangler in Malaysia comes in Unlimited Rubicon guise, powered by a 270 hp/400 Nm 2.0 litre inline-four turbo petrol

    Until now, a V8-powered Jeep Wrangler has been the preserve of aftermarket builders, though an OEM effort came in 2016 in the guise of the Jeep Trailcat concept. Here, the Trailcat concept boasted a supercharged 6.2 litre Hemi that powered the Charger SRT Hellcat and Challenger SRT Hellcat. These produced 707 hp and 880 Nm of torque, and sit above the 6.4 litre Hemi V8 392 in the engine hierarchy.

    At present, the Wrangler can be specified with a 270 hp/400 Nm 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol mild-hybrid four-cylinder engine, a 260 hp/600 Nm 3.0 litre EcoDiesel V6 or the existing 285 hp/352 Nm 3.6 litre Pentastar petrol V6 engine, with the choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes.

    In Malaysia, the Jeep Wrangler is priced from RM355,000 in Unlimited Rubicon guise, powered by the 2.0 litre 270 hp/400 Nm inline-four petrol. Here, the eight-speed automatic transmission includes a Rock-Trac 4:1 ratio transfer case, with a crawl ratio of up to 84:1 along with front and rear heavy-duty locking axles.

    2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

  • Coronavirus pandemic grinds car-sharing to a halt

    The rise of urban congestion and generational shift in mindsets when it comes to car ownership have given many companies valid reasons to develop car sharing platforms, but the coronavirus pandemic has effectively stunted developments due to health risk factors.

    At the Financial Times’ Digital Future of the Car webinar, PSA Group UK boss Alison Jones said that car sharing has been put on hold, given the potential health risks involved with more than one person sharing a car. “How do you sanitise a vehicle in car sharing? We will find a way, I’m sure, and we’ll see the emend and address what customers want,” she said.

    On the flip side, Jones noted that the pandemic had accelerated other areas of the brand’s business, such as online car sales. This trend is evident across the family of brands – Citroën, DS, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall.

    “Peugeot has been online since 2017. We sped up a lot of those developments [across the brands] as we went into lockdown, such as offering a virtual walk-around of a car. It’s convenient and safe, but we also know there are customers who want to touch their vehicle before they buy, and that’s where retailers come into their own and really mix that digital and physical presence,” Jones explained.

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    If you’ve had your heart set on an Audi, Euromobil’s private sale event is something you won’t want to miss. Happening this weekend from July 17-19, 2020, you’ll be able to enjoy the best deals on Audi models, both new and from the Audi Approved Plus selection.

    At the event, enjoy savings of up to RM70,000 on selected Audi models thanks to exclusive tax holiday offers from Euromobil, or save as much as RM189,900 should you opt for one of the many models available from Audi’s pre-owned programme. To sweeten the deal further, Euromobil is offering attractive interest rates as low as 0% by its official banking partner.

    The private sale event is by invite only, so if you want an exclusive invite to get acquainted with your favourite Audi model before securing one for yourself, reserve your slot by registering your interest here.

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Last Updated 11 Jul 2020