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  • Mercedes-AMG C43 assembled in Thailand, priced at RM513k – is Malaysia next to produce CKD AMGs?

    Mercedes-Benz has introduced a locally-assembled (CKD) version of the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupé in Thailand, according to a report by Bangkok Post. The go-faster two-door, said to be the first performance-oriented Mercedes to be built in the Land of Smiles, replaces the fully-imported (CBU, from Germany) version launched last year and carries a significant price cut.

    How significant? Try more than a million baht, dropping the price from 5.19 million baht (RM642,500) to 4.14 million baht (RM512,500). Mind you, that’s barely any cheaper than the CBU model that is sold here, which retails at RM548,888 on-the-road without insurance; there’s also the sedan version over here that costs RM499,888. It is, however, significantly less expensive than the 10 million baht (RM1.2 million) C 63.

    Of course, what powers the car remains unchanged, with the C 43 continuing to utilise a M276 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged V6, punching out 362 hp from 5,500 to 6,000 rpm and 520 Nm of torque between 2,000 and 4,200 rpm. There’s also a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive.

    Could Malaysia follow Thailand in building 43-series (soon to be 53-series) AMG models? Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) already assembles the cooking C- and E-Class sedans in its plant in Pekan, Pahang, as well as the GLC crossover – so turning these into 43 models shouldn’t be too difficult. Full AMG models will likely be out of the question, however, with production remaining overseas.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG C 43 Sedan in Malaysia

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupé in Malaysia

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • Next-gen Porsche 911 revealed before official debut?

    While we have seen plenty of prototypes of the next-generation Porsche 911 (codename 992) in the past, a post by Instagram user ninastegmaier (which has since been deleted) could very well give us our first look at the finished product ahead of its official debut.

    The image depicts the 911’s rear, which certainly appears significantly different from the one on the 991.2 series cars. For instance, the taillights are now joined by a horizontal strip that bears the ‘Porsche’ wording on them, similar to what you’ll find on recent models like the 718 (Cayman and Boxster) and Cayenne.

    Elsewhere, the decklid design and lower section of the bumper are also unlike what you’ll find on the 991.2 cars. The quad exhaust setup you see here could point towards this being the Turbo variant, but nothing is set in stone yet.

    With the sighting of “this” 911, the model certainly appears to be ready for a reveal, and the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March might just be the venue to do so.

    GALLERY: Next-generation Porsche 911 coupé spyshots

    GALLERY: Next-generation Porsche 911 Cabriolet spyshots

  • Fernando Alonso to enter all WEC 2018 rounds: report

    Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso will be competing in all six rounds of the World Endurance Championship with Toyota in 2018, BBC Sport has confirmed, now that the Japanese round of the WEC has been moved to a week earlier than the F1 round taking place in Texas, United States.

    It appears the Spaniard’s influence is such that organisers of the Japanese WEC round at Fuji Speedway requested the date change with the FIA, and will now take place on October 14. Though officially the request originated from Fuji Speedway, the circuit is owned by Toyota, which is contesting the LMP1-class in the WEC, meaning the request effectively came from Alonso’s team.

    Alonso has also committed to a further three races in the WEC next year which count towards the ‘super season’ championship, as long as they do not clash with Formula 1 dates should he remain in the open-wheeler series next year. There are no concerns regarding his F1 commitments, McLaren executive director Zak Brown said.

    “Fernando is very well prepared, knows what it takes to be successful and he wouldn’t have taken on the additional commitment if he didn’t think he could do both at the highest level. “It is no other agenda than he wants to race and he wants to win Le Mans. What would he be doing those weekends otherwise? He wouldn’t be testing an F1 car or on the simulator,” Brown said.

    “We have everything we need out of him on the F1 front so these are weekends he’d either be in a go-kart or golfing or whatever he wants to do. He’ll just be in a WEC car. He wants to spend his spare time in race cars,” Brown added, though with emphasis that F1 remains Alonso’s top priority.

    The date change for the Japanese round of the WEC now means there is a clash of dates with an IMSA series sports car race in the United States, where some WEC drivers are also competing in. The situation is ‘fully understood’ by IMSA, said WEC chief Gerard Neveu. Alonso hopes that IMSA will be able to move the date of the IMSA race, the report added.

    Alonso’s foray outside the Formula 1 realm will see the Spaniard attempt to clinch the Triple Crown – the Monaco Grand Prix in F1, the Indy 500 in the IndyCar Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the World Endurance Championship. Alonso led 27 laps of the 2017 Indy 500 before engine failure saw to his retirement from the Brickyard.

    The two-time F1 champion will get two shots at Le Mans thanks to the WEC’s upcoming ‘super season’ calendar, and a victory in any one of the above will be a crowning jewel in Alonso’s recent motorsport efforts, having being absent from the F1 podium in his most recent tenure with the McLaren F1 team.

    The last full-time F1 driver to win at Le Mans was Nico Hulkenberg for Porsche in 2015, the first to do so since Johnny Herbert in 1991.

  • Volvo XC40 gets new T3 1.5L three-cylinder Drive-E engine, Inscription trim level – PHEV, EV versions later

    Volvo has introduced its first three-cylinder engine in its 91-year history, which will be available first for the XC40. The new T3 1.5 litre petrol unit expands the compact SUV’s engine line-up, along with the addition of Volvo’s current 2.0 litre four-cylinder T4 petrol and D3 diesel engines.

    The 1.5 litre turbocharged mill was developed in-house using the same modular design as Volvo’s four-cylinder Drive-E engines. The engine features direct-injection and utilises aluminium for the cylinder block and head.

    In terms of output, the T3 is rated at 156 hp at 5,000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,850 to 3,850 rpm. For now, the engine is paired with an M76 R6.2 six-speed manual transmission (as found on the V40), but an optional eight-speed automatic transmission will arrive next year.

    Performance-wise, a T3-equipped XC40 will complete the zero to 100 km/h sprint in 9.4 seconds, and hit a top speed of 200 km/h. Following the Worldwide Harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), the fuel consumption is as low as 7.1 litres per 100 km (combined).

    According to Volvo, the new T3 powerplant was deliberately designed to be integrated into Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars, likely referring to an upcoming T5 Twin Engine that was shown to us previously.

    The Swedish carmaker revealed a hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be introduced at a later date. This isn’t much of a surprise as the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) used for the SUV was developed from the start to accommodate hybrid, plug-in hybrid, full-electric and regular petrol/diesel powertrains.

    As for the other engines, the T4 churns out 190 hp at 4,700 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,400 to 4,000 rpm. The engine is mated to an AW TG-81SC eight-speed automatic, and buyers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive. Both will hit a top speed of 210 km/h, but the FWD is one tenths of a second quicker in the century sprint at 8.4 seconds. The FWD also boasts better fuel economy of as low as 7.7 l/100 km compared to the 8.0 l/100 km of the AWD.

    Meanwhile, the oil-burning D3 offers 150 hp at 3,750 rpm and 320 Nm from 1,750 to 3,000 rpm. As with the T4, front- and all-wheel drive options are available with the same AW TG-81SC eight-speed automatic transmission. Those who prefer rowing their own gears will get either a M76 R7.0 or M66F six-speed manual – the latter for the AWD powertrain.

    Aside from all the powertrain talk, Volvo also announced a new Inscription trim level for the XC40, which joins the existing Momentum and R-Design. The Inscription package includes unique skidplates, side window and grill mesh chrome and model-specific car colours. The interior features a crystal gear knob and Driftwood Décor inlay, which Volvo first introduced in the XC60. There’s also various wheels to choose from, ranging from 18 to 20 inches in size.

    If you need even larger wheels, a set of 21-inch Black Diamond Cut alloys are available as an option, along with an accessory styling kit that offers brushed stainless steel skidplates and integrated dual tailpipes.

  • Uber set to sell its Southeast Asian division to Grab

    According to a report by CNBC, Uber is planning to sell its Southeast Asian division to rival Grab. For now, no official deal has been reached yet, and a timeline for such a move has yet to be revealed.

    The move is similar to what has happened in China, where Didi Chuxing agreed to acquire all assets of Uber in the country. Uber also agreed to merge its operations in Russia as part of a joint venture, where 59.3% would be owned by Yandex and 36.6% by Uber.

    The retreat from Southeast Asia is said to assist the company in cleaning up its financials on the road to profitability. In 2017, the ride-hailing company recorded a loss of US$4.5 billion (about RM17 billion) an increase of 60.7% from a US$2.8 billion (about RM11 billion) loss in 2016.

    Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced Travis Kalanick in August, had said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference that competing against local players was very difficult.

    “I think the team ran through an inventory of where we competed, and if we compete on let’s say even on a dollar-for-dollar basis against the local player, paying the same amount to drivers, collecting the same amount from riders, in general where we are now is, if both players are kind of spending equally we tend to win share,” he said.

    “We’ve got a better brand, we’ve got better technology, better network, etc. Whatever it is, we tend to win share. There’s certain markets, China and Russia, where that wasn’t true. And if your only competitive advantage, or the only reason you can be in a market is because you can spend money, that’s not exactly a reasonable proposition,” he added.

    In an official release, Singapore-based Grab proclaimed itself as “the most dominant on-demand transportation platform in the region with a market share of 95% in third-party taxi-hailing and 71% in private vehicle hailing.”

    The company also revealed it had secured up to US$2 billion (about RM8 billion ) in funding from Didi and SoftBank, with the anticipation of another US$500 million (about RM2 billion). This, it claims, is the largest single financing in the history of Southeast Asia.

  • Ford Everest Raptor could be in the pipeline – report

    With the recent debut of the Ford Ranger Raptor, it seems like the Blue Oval could be working on a hardcore version of the Everest SUV. Apparently, Ford Performance head engineer Jamal Hameedi told Australian publication Drive that “there’s no reason [we wouldn’t do an Everest Raptor],” though it does pose some challenges.

    The idea of an Everest Raptor is pretty likely, given that the SUV shares the same ladder frame architecture as the Ranger T6, albeit shorter in wheelbase. In fact, the Everest already features a Watt’s link for the rear suspension.

    “The first F-150 Raptor was way beyond our wildest dreams in terms of success, and that success spawned a Ranger Raptor. So to do an SUV is a little more difficult because you have to figure out how to deal with the rear suspension. In the form of a bodyside outer it’s not just a box outer [and that] poses a unique challenge in how you package that,” said Hameedi.

    Ford Australia also told the publication that it thinks performance SUVs are the future, as exemplified by the recent introduction of the Edge ST. “[In the] long term it would make sense if you look at the fact that passenger vehicles were overtaken by SUVs in 2017. There’s definitely a case for more performance oriented or at least more sports styled SUVs in the future,” said Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy.

    So far, Ford hasn’t given a concrete answer as to whether it will make the Everest Raptor, but Hameedi doesn’t rule out the idea. “Because you have to have a wide track and long travel suspension doing it [a Raptor] in the form of an SUV… is a little more challenging. It would be a lot of money and a lot of development. Not impossible though,” he added.

    Hameedi’s comments also suggests that the highly modified setup of the Ranger Raptor might not be carried over to the Everest Raptor. For now, Ford’s most pressing task is to introduce the Ranger Raptor to the US, possibly fitting it with the 2.7 litre EcoBoost V6 instead of the 2.0 litre bi-turbo EcoBlue diesel.

    To recap, the Ford Ranger Raptor packs 213 PS and 500 Nm of torque from a 2.0 litre bi-turbo diesel, and it’s paired with the Getrag 10R80 10-speed automatic derived from the F-150. A four-wheel drive system with Terrain Management System is standard, as are upgraded brakes, a strengthened chassis and beefed-up suspension with Fox Racing Shox dampers.

    What do you think of this, guys? Do you like the idea of a hardcore Everest? Sound off in the comments section below.

    GALLERY: Ford Everest 3.2

    GALLERY: Ford Ranger Raptor launch in Bangkok

  • Two more deaths recorded at Batu Tiga toll plaza

    A fatal accident occurred at the unused Batu Tiga toll plaza this morning, resulting in the deaths of two road users. This is the second time such an incident was recorded at the location, with the first taking place on January 15.

    In a report by Bernama, Shah Alam district police chief ACP Baharudin Mat Taib said initial investigations revealed the car was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Shah Alam. The vehicle was believed to have been speeding before the driver lost control of the vehicle and rammed into a pillar of the toll plaza.

    Highway users have urged the authorities to accelerate the demolition of the Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau toll plazas. Both toll plazas have ceased operations since the start of 2018, in line with Budget 2018 as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

    Highway concessionaire PLUS has already announced it is in the final stage of awarding the tender to the contractors that will undertake the demolition works. The company noted the works will be completed by the end of March this year, and it would be carried out in stages.

  • 2018 Honda HR-V facelift gets Mugen and Modulo kits

    If the new RS trim on the facelifted Honda HR-V doesn’t tickle your fancy, then Honda has something else in store for you. Enter the Mugen and Modulo styling kits, where we begin with the more elegant of the two.

    The Modulo kit fitted onto the Lunar Silver model comes with a variety of exterior bits and bobs, starting with obvious front, side and rear lips. This can be purchased separately or as a package, the latter priced at 79,488 yen (RM2,905).

    Customers who want a more rugged-looking car can choose to add a silver skid plate on top of the bodykit (that includes the front, side and rear), as well as painted mud guards for 15,120 yen (RM553) to complete the theme. Honda is also offering a chunkier rear spoiler and roof rails for 27,000 yen (RM987) each.

    Those with a penchant for more bling can opt for chrome fog lamp housings with secondary LED DRLs (54,000 yen or RM1,974), chrome fender garnish (21,600 yen or RM789) and a range of alloy wheels with sizes ranging from 16 to 18 inches. The rims, which don’t come with tyres, are priced from 69,120 yen (RM2,526) for the 16-inch items to 207,360 yen (RM7,578) for the top-of-the-line MG-025 18-inch alloys.

    Next up is the Mugen Infinite kit for the Vezel RS, which as you can tell, is a lot more sporty and aggressive than the Modulo kit. It’s comprised of a front, side and rear lip, dual aero spoilers, “aerodynamically optimised” door visors and a set of MD5 two-tone aluminium alloys. As a complete bundle with the wheels, you’re looking at a 369,360 yen (RM13,500) upgrade. This styling kit will only be available by May 2018.

    Besides the look-good bits, Mugen also offers several functional upgrades such as a high-performance air filter (16,200 yen or RM592), sports exhaust system (102,600 yen or RM3,750), low-viscosity 0W20 Motul engine oil (3,024 yen or RM111) and high-performance oil catch can (2,808 yen or RM102).

    Both Mugen and Modulo offer suspension upgrades, but the former will reduce the car’s ride height by 25 mm. Mugen is the only one to also offer performance brake pads (19,440 yen or RM711) and high-performance brake fluid (3,240 yen or RM118).

    With Mugen, there’s not a lot of accessories to choose for the interior, though. The list starts with a carbon-fibre rear-view mirror cover (11,880 yen or RM431), carbon-fibre spherical gear knob and a Mugen-specific engine start-stop button (both costing 19,440 yen or RM711 each). A 24,840 yen (RM907) floor carpet can be specified as well.

    Modulo on the other hand, offers a wider range of interior accessories, such as LED footwell and speaker lighting, illuminated door sills, leather seat covers, leather-wrapped gear shifter, cargo organiser, a Gathers infotainment system with GPS navigation and a sound system upgrade that’s tuned by Diatone Sound.

    So, which of the two styling kits do you prefer? Let us know!

    GALLERY: Honda HR-V “Mugen Infinite” styling kit

    GALLERY: Honda HR-V Modulo accessories

    GALLERY: 2018 Honda HR-V facelift

  • Citroën to revitalise saloon design with next-gen C5


    The traditional saloon is being replaced by the sports utility vehicles (SUV) as the fashionable vehicle of choice, but Citroën’s next saloon design will be an invigorating change. “Our new saloon will be a breath of fresh air – we don’t do traditional anymore,” Citroën CEO Linda Jackson said to Top Gear.

    “You have to adapt the Citroën Cactus mentality to each segment,” Jackson said, suggesting that the rather brave styling approach will be applied across the board, even for typically conservative models such as large sedans. Described thus, the next-generation Citroën C5 could well adopt this design approach.

    “We don’t want to be a niche manufacturer, but we don’t want to be an SUV player only. To be credible, you have to do small cars, large cars and SUVs,” Jackson said, hinting that the model types such as the large sedan won’t be usurped from the company’s attention.

    “With the CXperience concept, we wanted to show we can do a large, comfortable car with none of the traditional markers. No leather, wood or chrome,” she said. The company chief is in favour of a large sedan that will stand out, and as it turns out Citroen’s product director, Xavier Peugeot is in agreement.

    “The classic saloon is nearly dead in Europe. We need to reinvent it and make it as modern and attractive as the SUV segment,” he said, foreseeing that the SUV design code will more than likely expand to other segments or bodystyles. “If your saloon is classical or traditional, I’m afraid you are in trouble,” the product director said.

    Autonomy will also change the overall shape of cars as their requirements for operation evolve in the direction of more self-driving technology, Peugeot said. On that front, self-driving capabilities could find a showcase in sedans of the future whereas SUVs have now established themselves as the family car of choice.

    GALLERY: Citroën CXperience Concept

  • MotoGP Winter Test: Pedrosa fastest, Hafizh 21st

    At the conclusion of the third MotoGP Winter test in Buriram, Thailand, Dani Pedrosa (#26) of Repsol Honda posted the fastest time of 1:29.781. In second was Johann Zarco (#5) of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 who clocked 1:29.867 while team mate Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin (#55) posted a time of 1:31.537, putting him in 21st place for the winter test.

    Coming in third was Cal Crutchlow (#35) of LCR Honda, with a time of 1:30.064 while current MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (#93) of Repsol Honda came in fourth, clocking 1:30.064. Highest placed Ducati rider during winter testing was Andrea Dovizioso (#4) of Ducati who came in seventh, clocking 1:30.192.

    Fan favourite Valentino Rossi (#46), riding for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, was in tenth place with a time of 1:30.511. Dovizioso’s Ducati team mate, multiple world champion Jorge Lorenzo (#99) managed to get 22nd position with a time of 1:31.627.

    The 2018 MotoGP season looks to be a three-way fight between Pedrosa, Zarco and incumbent Marquez, with Dovizioso possibly being the spanner in the works. With Rossi being hit by injury last season, and Lorenzo still fighting to find his form on the Desmosedici GP18, this year’s MotoGP might see a new name making it into the roster.

    As for Malaysian racer Hafizh Syahrin, known to fans as “Pescao 55”, this is his first season in the top-flight, after leaving SIC Racing Team recently. Other Malaysian riders in the MotoGP circus are Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who replaced Hafizh in SIC Racing Team, and Khairul Idham Pawi (#89), also known as “SuperKIP”, riding for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, in Moto2, with Adam Norrodin (#7) of Petronas Sprinta Racing in Moto3.

    Designed by German architect Herman Tilke, Buriram International Circuit opened in 2014 and will see MotoGP making its debut this season. The 4.554 km layout incorporates 12 turns and has seen the Superbike World Championship racing at the venue since 2015, with an audience capacity of 100,000.


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Last Updated 15 Feb 2018


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