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  • REVIEW: 2021 Ducati Streetfighter V4S, RM145,900

    Bare knuckled bruisers, a.k.a. naked sports bikes, are perhaps the most bang for buck fun in the motorcycle world, which gives rise to the 2021 Ducati Streetfighter V4S, priced at RM145,900 in Malaysia. Naked sports bikes have a simple philosophy behind them, take your top-of-the-line superbike, in this case the Ducati Panigale V4S, throw away the clothing and what you get is perhaps the essence of a motorcycle.

    I mean, what else do you need? An engine with a ridiculously impractical amount of power, two wheels shod in super sticky rubber, a place for the rider to perch his or her butt and somewhere to carry the fuel. Oh, and suspension with the associated geometry to keep things stable is a definite plus.

    Over the last five years, the author has ridden most every super naked sports bike available in Malaysia, as well as one or two that aren’t along with a couple of specials built for individual (very rich) owners. No names will be mentioned but suffice it to say, even at the top of the naked sports game, you do get what you pay for and if you pay even more, it becomes measurably better.

    Which brings us back to the Streetfighter V4S and its stablemate, the Ducati Streetfighter V4, priced at RM115,900. The Streetfighter V4S enters a very crowded arena, filled with rivals such as the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory, the BMW Motorrad S1000R, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS and the Yamaha MT-10 (not available in Malaysia) amongst others.

    What we wanted to find is, is the Streetfighter V4S what Ducati touts it to be, a good handling naked sports with the latest and greatest motorcycle engineering and technology can provide? Considering what the rest of the market has to offer, there was only two ways this could go, the Streetfighter V4S would fall flat on its face, or kick its opponents out of the ring.

    Read the full review of the 2021 Ducati Streetfighter V4S after the jump.

  • 2022 Honda HR-V with Urban, Casual Style packages

    Honda Access has provided more photos of the Urban Style and Casual Style packages for the all-new Honda HR-V, which recently went on sale in Japan as the Vezel. Both accessory kits are meant to improve the aesthetics of the B-segment crossover and are good alternatives if the Mugen stuff is too sporty for your liking.

    As we’ve reported previously, both packages add on a new front grille with a hexagonal-patterned mesh insert and surround. There’s also a skirt for the front bumper that is more prominent with a wide-width trim piece and fog, along with side lower garnishes, a tailgate spoiler, rear bumper skirt and further garnishes and exhaust finishers.

    2022 Honda HR-V with Urban Style package (top); without (below)

    The difference between the two designs is the finishing applied on the parts, which are either in chrome or copper brown, with the latter also applied on the side mirror caps as an option with the Casual Style.

    Of course, Honda Access’ range of products for the HR-V isn’t just limited to a body kit, as there are also C-pillar decals, a tailgate garnish, painted emblems, fog lamp garnish, aluminium wheels, door handle protective film, door visors, license frames and mudguards.

    2022 Honda HR-V with Casual Style package (top); without (below)

    For the interior, the company offers illumination for the centre console, footwells, door handles, door pockets, cupholders and centre console tray. Customers can also specify Vezel-branded side sills, sports pedals, fabric or all-weather floor mats, seat covers, additional USB ports for the rear, a wireless phone charger and various other items that improve boot practicality.

    The list of accessories doesn’t stop there, as the HR-V can also be fitted with front and rear cameras, a driving video recorder, wheel lock nuts, a navigation system, Kenwood speakers as well as ETC and VICS systems. Child seats and pet-related gear are also available, among many other things.


  • AD: First-ever Recaro Kids outlet in Malaysia launched at 1 Utama with Nur Fazura, Dr Say as special guests

    Recaro is an iconic name that has continuously introduced revolutionary innovations to improve mobile seats since its foundation over a century ago back in 1906. While most people are familiar with the brand’s products in the automotive space, the company also has a presence in the child car seat market, with the Recaro start introduced in 1998 being its first-ever child seat that can be adapted depending on the age of the child.

    In all the year since, the company’s range of child-centric products marketed under the Recaro Kids brand has grown exponentially to meet the different needs of all parents. Besides a comprehensive line-up of child car seats, there are also a variety of infant carriers and strollers available.

    Designed to be stylish and engineered to make sure a child’s safety and comfort are prioritised, Recaro Kids products have won numerous awards in the past, including the Red Dot Award 2020 for the Sadena stroller. More recently, the Tian Elite child seat and Celona stroller were both awarded the “Excellent Product Design” title in the “Baby and Child Care” category at the German Design Award 2021.

    Thankfully, Recaro Kids products are sold in Malaysia, and for parents who want to experience and purchase any of the products on offer, there’s now an all-in-one location to do so. Earlier this month, Recaro Kids Malaysia launched its first-ever outlet in 1 Utama Shopping Centre, which was hosted by Dr Say Shazril and saw actress Nur Fazura attend as a special guest.

    With both famous personalities being parents themselves, they shared their experience of being first-time parents and the benefits of Recaro Kids products. In particular, Fazura said that the Celona is her daughter Fatima’s favourite stroller, as it was not only comfortable and stylish, but also versatile with its 4-in-1 Travel System.

    It’s been said that parents would do anything for their children, and providing them with the best possible is just one of many things. With quality, well-engineered, stylish and practical products on offer, Recaro Kids is certainly worth checking out, so head on over to the Recaro Kids Malaysia outlet at 1 Utama to try them out yourself.

    Alternatively, if you prefer to do some research beforehand, you can also check out the extensive range of Recaro Kids products and services online, along with a list of official retailers.

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  • Pavilion Bukit Jalil 300-metre flyover open; connects Bukit Jalil City to Puchong via Bukit Jalil Highway

    Property developer Malton has opened a one-way, 300 metre-long flyover that connects the Bukit Jalil City development to Puchong via the Bukit Jalil Highway, it said in a statement. Construction of the flyover began in 2018, and has now been completed six months ahead of schedule, it said.

    The flyover links Jalan 13/155C within the Bukit Jalil City development to the highway, and will relieve 25% of peak hour traffic coming from the Bukit Jalil Highway to provide easier passage for its 11,000 daily users once the Bukit Jalil City development is fully completed, the developer added.

    In addition to the new flyover, the broader Bukit Jalil City masterplan includes the widening of selected roads to six lanes, new U-turns, an underpass as well as tunnel access to the basement car park of the upcoming Pavilion Bukit Jalil shopping centre, according to the statement.

    The Pavilion Bukit Jalil complex is set for opening in the fourth quarter of 2021, and pedestrian connectivity between the mall and surrounding areas will consist of four pedestrian link bridges that will link to the Bukit Jalil Recreational Park and to the business centre across the Bukit Jalil Highway.

  • 2021 Maserati F Tributo special edition Ghibli, Levante

    Maserati has once again released another special edition variant of the Ghibli and Levante. Unveiled at the Auto Shanghai 2021, the new F Tributo Special Edition pair was created as a tribute to the automaker’s successful motorsports outings in the past.

    Its first racing debut was exactly 95 years ago on April 25, 1926. The Tipo26 was the first race car to bear the Trident badge on the bonnet, and subsequently won the 1,500 cc class at the Targa Florio with Alfieri Maserati behind the wheel.

    Nearly 28 years later, on January 17, 1954, the Italian automaker made its Formula One debut with Juan Manuel Fangio piloting the 250F. The “F” in F Tributo is a nod to Fangio, by the way.

    Unique to the Ghibli and Levante F Tributo are the special Rosso Tributo and Azzuro Tributo paint colours. The red paint signifies Italian motorsports, and Maserati race cars have always had a red finish. The vibrant blue Azzuro Tributo, on the other hand, is meant to represent the city of Modena – Maserati’s home.

    Other special touches include yellow brake callipers and wheel trims, which pay homage to Fangio’s 250F red and yellow livery. The Levante sits on 21-inch black Anteo wheels, while the Ghibli rides on 21-inch gloss black Titano wheels.

    There’s also a gloss black F Tributo badge on the fenders, plus the Trident logo (finished in body colour) positioned on the C-pillars. The cabin is enhanced slightly with black full-grain “Pieno Fiore” leather, complete with contrast stitching that match the exterior paint colour.

  • Honda targets zero road fatalities involving its vehicles by 2050 – all new cars to get standard ADAS by 2030

    During a recent press conference, Honda president and representative director Toshihiro Mibe revealed that the Japanese carmaker will strive for zero traffic-related fatalities involving its motorcycles and cars globally by 2050. This echoes a similar initiative that Volvo announced previously as part of its Safety Vision plan.

    According to Mibe, the major challenge towards this goal is how to eliminate motorcycle collision fatalities, which is prevalent in emerging countries. “As a company that has both motorcycle and automobile businesses, we will continue to strengthen our research on safety technologies that enable motorcycles and automobiles to safely coexist and lead the way in realising a collision-free society from the standpoint of both hardware and software,” he commented.

    Mibe explained that as most motorcycle collision fatalities involve automobiles (i.e., cars crashing into them), the company will apply its omnidirectional advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) to all its new automobile models introduced in developed markets by 2030.

    Honda has been making big strides with its ADAS technology, as it is the first manufacturer in the world to debut a series production model capable of Level 3 autonomous driving in the form of the Legend sedan. It added that it will further enhance the intelligence of ADAS using the knowledge gained from further development to increase the percentage of collision patterns covered by its system.

    With more emphasis on emerging countries, Mibe said there are many collisions that can be prevented through traffic safety education activities and by approaching the issue from the perspective of infrastructure and government policies. As such, the company will not just focus on technologies, but also strengthen educational programmes and activities with local governments and industry players.

  • New Honda HR-V announced for Europe – e:HEV hybrid is the sole option, launching there in late 2021

    With the second-generation Honda Vezel (or third-generation HR-V if you’re counting with that name) now on sale in its home market of Japan, the HR-V has also been announced for the European market. In the continent, the HR-V will only be available with the e:HEV two-motor hybrid powertrain. There’s no 1.5L NA i-VTEC.

    The HR-V e:HEV combines two electric motors with a 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol engine, with output from the propulsion motor rated at 131 PS and 253 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. Those numbers are identical to the JDM Vezel e:HEV. Compared to our City RS e:HEV, the electric motor here makes 22 PS more. The Atkinson-cycle engine that juices the motor produces 106 PS (8 PS more) and 127 Nm.

    Basically, the engine functions mainly as a generator with the help of an integrated electric motor, which also acts as a starter. There are three interchangeable drive modes, automatically selected for the situation. The HR-V pulls off in electric mode, seamlessly changing to hybrid mode when the engine is under high-torque demand, with the petrol engine going solo when driving at higher, more constant speeds.

    There are also three performance modes – Sport, Normal and Econ – while the B drive mode can be selected through the gear lever for stronger regenerative braking and a more EV-like experience. The level of energy regeneration and the strength of engine braking can be adjusted via the Deceleration Selector behind the steering wheel.

    It’s not mentioned in the European press release, but the JDM version has a larger Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) lithium-ion battery, which now features 60 cells instead of 48, thanks to the repositioning of the Power Control Unit (PCU) in the engine bay. In Japan, Honda claims fuel economy of 25 km/l and as with all cars there, AWD is an option.

    With the new HR-V, Honda wanted to combine “premium SUV styling” with “exceptional spaciousness”, the latter achieved with compact dimensions and easy entry/exit for passengers according to the manufacturer’s “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” principle.

    The design is a big departure from the B-SUV that we’re familiar with. Riding on the same platform as the latest Jazz and City, the new HR-V is a tad shorter (4,330 mm) but 20 mm wider (1,790 mm) and lower (1,590 mm), contributing to the “coupe-inspired exterior”. Ground clearance is higher by 10 mm – combine that with the lower roofline and you’ll get slimmer sides with “noiseless aesthetic” panels.

    Also propping the coupe claims is a heavily-raked rear screen. Honda has also improved outward visibility by pushing the A-pillars rearward, straightening the window line and placing the door mirrors on the doors. In Europe, the enlarged 18-inch wheels are standard. Aero measures include an air curtain slit at the front bumper, rear side sill lip and sleek rear light shape. All these help to reduce turbulence, aided by the rear side spoiler.

    Inside, the dashboard is similarly clean. Honda claims levels of comfort and practicality unrivalled in the sub-compact SUV segment, plus soft-touch materials. There’s a unique “Air Diffusion System” where L-shaped vents are positioned in the top corners of the dashboard. These vents direct a stream of air along the front side windows to the roof, creating a vortex of air beside and above occupants. This should be more comfortable than air blasting directly at occupants.

    The driving position is 10 mm higher than before, and the seats themselves are new – the “body stabilising” front chairs feature mat-structure support, as opposed to the old spring set-up. This helps prevent fatigue on long journeys and increases comfort in everyday use, Honda says. Speaking of seats, Honda’s rear Magic Seat set-up made popular by the Jazz is available here.

    Although the HR-V’s exterior dimensions are more or less similar, Honda claims greater leg room and shoulder space. In addition to the 35 mm increase in rear legroom, there’s an extra two-degree of recline compared to the previous generation SUV, enabled by the car’s centre tank layout and smart packaging of hybrid components. Practicality, already very good, has been further improved by a lower load lip and bigger tailgate aperture.

    Fold the seats and two adult mountain bikes (with the front wheels removed) can be loaded and stowed upright with ease. Convenience is enhanced by a hands-free “Power Tailgate Walk Away Close” function. As its name suggests, the tailgate will auto close as you walk away from the car. Other new features include a wireless charging pad, a premium audio system and external amplifier, and touch-activated cabin lights. Honda Sensing too, of course.

    Now on sale in Japan, the new HR-V e:HEV will reach European showrooms in late 2021. Like what you see?

    GALLERY: 2021 Honda HR-V, Euro-spec

    GALLERY: JDM 2021 Honda Vezel

  • Cycle & Carriage Mercedes-Benz Autohaus in JB upgraded: new CI, only B&P centre in southern region

    Cycle & Carriage has opened the doors to its upgraded Mercedes-Benz Autohaus in Johor Bahru. Featuring the latest Mercedes-Benz Brand Presence corporate identity, the showroom gets revamped sales and service areas to deliver a customer-first experience, the company says.

    The Johor Bahru outlet is the largest Autohaus in the southern region, spanning 142,000 square feet of built-up area over a land area of 224,000 square feet. The facility is said to boast state-of-the-art technology and a contemporary retail experience to address the customer’s individual needs.

    Taking centre stage is a redesigned entrance, where every customer is greeted by a “Star Assistant”. Inside, there are multiple touchpoints that are supported by digital tools, showcasing various media from the brand. The showroom is designed to provide more face-to-face interaction between customers and the service team.

    A showroom is nothing without the cars, so the Autohaus has a large open area that utilises custom daylight-emitting spotlights, allowing visitors to see the display units in their true colour. You’ve also got a number of seating and discussion areas that provide varying amounts of privacy to facilitate individual sales and service consultations. A hospitality lounge and a merchandise area are also incorporated.

    New owners will be able to collect their cars through the vehicle delivery room, which is designed with a “black box” concept in mind. It’s said to provide a personal and memorable handover process as the car is unveiled to the customer.

    On the aftersales side, the Johor Bahru Autohaus houses the only accredited and authorised Mercedes-Benz Certified Body & Paint Centre in the southern region. It’s fitted with the latest automotive technologies and employs experts in structural repairs for Mercedes-Benz vehicles, adhering to global safety standards. With 35 work bays, the service area is able to service 850 cars a month; the centre also provides Drop & Go and Door-to-Door servicing for increased customer convenience, with a quick turnaround time promised.

    “With three upgraded Autohaus and a fourth one by the end of the year, we believe our customers will appreciate the luxurious experience, advancements and services that contribute to our guiding promise of providing an exceptional journey for all current and future Mercedes-Benz owners,” said Cycle & Carriage CEO Wilfrid Foo.

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia president and CEO Claus Weidner added, “The future of automotive retail represented here is a concept that weaves the key elements of our design philosophy – sensual purity and spaciousness; it is more than just architecture. It creates an experience that seamlessly blends simplicity and craftsmanship that are unique to the brand.”

    The revamped Cycle & Carriage Johor Bahru Autohaus is located at No. 102, Batu 5 1/2, Jalan Skudai, Tampoi, 81200 Johor Bahru. Appointments can be made by calling 1-800-22-8000.

  • McLaren Group headquarters sold to property firm for RM968 million, continues operations on 20-year lease

    In a bid to secure more short-term funding, the McLaren Group has sold its headquarters in Woking, Surrey in England to property firm Global Net Lease for GBP170 million (RM968 million).

    This is for the combined 840,000 square-foot campus that consists of the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), McLaren Production Centre (MPC) and the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre. The transaction is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2021, and McLaren has signed a 20-year lease and will continue to operate from the premises.

    Designed by architects Foster and Partners, the campus was opened in 2004, and is home to McLaren Racing, the constructor of the brand’s Formula 1 cars, McLaren Automotive, its road car division, and McLaren Applied, which develops data capture and control systems for automotive, health and fitness as well as other industries.

    McLaren had previously been in talks to sell a share of its Formula 1 team to improve its financial standing, after being hit hard by the pandemic. In May 2020, the group had planned to lay off 1,200 employees from its road car and Formula 1 divisions from a total of 4,000 staff employed at the time.

    In July last year, McLaren received US$184 million (RM788 million) in funding from the National Bank of Bahrain, and later on in September that year, listed its headquarters for sale.

  • Tesla Autopilot continues to operate without anyone in the driver’s seat, Consumer Reports demonstrates

    Tesla fell under renewed scrutiny again when a 2019 Model S struck a tree in Texas on April 17, killing the vehicle’s two occupants. According to authorities, neither of the men were behind the wheel of the car when the accident took place, which led some to believe that they were “testing” out the Autopilot feature that is standard on all Tesla models.

    Since then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have launched an investigation into the crash. On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that data logs recovered from the crashed Model S revealed that the Autopilot was not enabled, refuting claims that the company’s driver-assistance system was involved in the crash.

    He also noted that the crashed car did not have the Full Self-Driving (FSD) suite enabled, which requires a payment to access features such as Navigate on Autopilot, automatic lane changing, Autopark, Summon and others. Furthermore, the standard Autopilot would require clearly visible lane lines to be allowed to function, which the winding road in Spring, the site the accident occurred, did not have.

    Tesla has made it clear that none of its cars are fully autonomous today and still require active driver suspension. This is despite the Autopilot and FSD system being marketed in a way that consumers believe otherwise, which is why you see plenty of videos of customers apparently falling asleep or trying out dangerous (and stupid) stunts with the systems active.

    While the investigation into the fatal accident in Texas is ongoing, Consumer Reports (CR) decided to find out if it was possible to drive on Autopilot without anyone in the driver’s seat. This, in a way, is a recreated scenario where the two men were indeed toying with Autopilot while sitting anywhere else in the vehicle except behind the wheel.

    In their experiment that involved a 2020 Model Y on a closed test track, Jake Fisher, CR’s senior director of auto testing, sat in the driver’s seat on top of a buckled seat belt, while Kelly Funkhouser, CR’s programme manager for vehicle interface testing, sat in the rear seat.

    With the car in motion, Fisher engaged Autopilot and set the speed dial to 0 mph, which brought the car to a complete stop. He then placed a small, weighted chain on the steering wheel to simulate the weight of a driver’s hand, before climbing over to the front passenger seat – opening any doors would disengage Autopilot.

    While in the front passenger seat, Fisher then adjusted the speed dial and was able to accelerate the vehicle before bringing it to a stop again. “The car drove up and down the half-mile lane of our track, repeatedly, never noting that no one was in the driver’s seat, never noting that there was no one touching the steering wheel, never noting there was no weight on the seat,” Fisher said.

    “It was a bit frightening when we realized how easy it was to defeat the safeguards, which we proved were clearly insufficient,” he added. It’s certainly a little unsettling just how easy it is to “trick” the system, and you can watch the entire demonstration here.

    Repeating what Tesla has mentioned before, CR stated that Autopilot is not perfect and truly self-driving cars do not yet exist for consumers to buy. “Autopilot makes mistakes, and when it encounters a situation that it cannot negotiate, it can immediately shut itself off. If the driver isn’t ready to react quickly, it can end in a crash,” he commented.

    Funkhouser added that it might be possible to abuse the active driving assistance systems of other manufacturers’ cars in the same way if they lack technology that monitors whether a driver is present and paying attention. He also suggested that Tesla should use the weight sensor in the vehicle’s driver’s seat to determine if there is a human sitting behind the wheel in order for Autopilot to work.

    Certain brands use camera-based systems that can track the movements of a driver’s eyes and/or head position to ensure that they are paying attention to the road as further safeguards. These driver monitoring systems are required for Europe’s Euro NCAP programme as of 2023.


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Last Updated 22 Apr 2021