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  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross facelift launched in Japan – petrol, PHEV variants available; priced from RM99k

    The newly facelifted Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has now been launched in Japan, where it is offered in both petrol and plug-in hybrid variants. The latter marks the first time the compact SUV gets a PHEV powertrain, which is derived from the setup used in the much larger Outlander PHEV.

    According to Mitsubishi, the system consists of two electric motors, with the one at the front rated at 82 PS (80 hp) and 137 Nm of torque, while another unit at the rear provides 95 PS (94 hp) and 195 Nm. Both provide all-wheel drive, with Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) system ensuring efficient driving force is distributed depending on conditions.

    These e-motors draw power from a 13.8-kWh, 300-volt lithium-ion battery mounted on the vehicle floor, which is recharged by a 4B12 2.4 litre MIVEC naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that churns out 128 PS (126 hp) and 199 Nm at 4,500 rpm

    The engine acts as a generator while in series hybrid mode, keeping the battery charged to ensure the e-motors are fed. However, at higher speeds, the system switches to parallel hybrid mode, with the engine directly driving the wheels through a lock-up clutch. The engine is also governed by the S-AWC, with Active Yaw Control (AYC) – torque vectoring by brake – to further improve handling.

    Apart from the engine, the system also charges the battery via regenerative braking and when the vehicle is plugged into a charging station. The Eclipse Cross PHEV supports both AC charging (Type 1) up to 3.7 kW, with a full charge taking about 4.5 hours when plugged into a wallbox. There’s also DC fast charging (CHAdeMO) up to 22 kW, with a zero to 80% state of charge reached in 25 minutes.

    A feature unique to the PHEV variant is an onboard, 100-volt AC outlet that can deliver up to 1,500 watts to power electronic and appliances. This is useful for powering various appliances and electronics like during camping, or to illuminate a forest as the company demonstrates in one of its promotional videos. In preparation for such situations, owners can enable a battery save mode to maintain the charge level until they reach their location.

    Bi-directional charging also allows for vehicle-to-home (V2H) functionality, allowing owners in Japan to power their homes via the CHAdeMO port in the event of a disaster, where regular power supply is not available. In both uses, the battery will provide power until it reaches a low state of charge, wherein the 4B12 engine comes to life to start recharging it.

    As for the regular petrol engine, it is a 4B40 1.5 litre turbocharged four-pot that provides 150 PS (148 hp) at 5,500 rpm and 240 Nm from 2,000 to 3,500 rpm. The mill is paired with an INVEC-III CVT with eight virtual speeds, and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive – both with AYC: latter also gets S-AWC.

    Comparing the two options, the PHEV variant offers the best fuel consumption with a WLTC-rated 16.4 km/l (6.1 l/100 km), while the petrol version gets 13.4 km/l (7.5 l/100 km) with front-wheel drive and 12.4 km/l (8.1 l/100 km) with all-wheel drive.

    There are also differences in weight, as the 1.5L 2WD comes in at between 1,450 to 1,480 kg, the 1.5L AWD is between 1,520 to 1,550 kg, while the PHEV is the heaviest at between 1,900 to 1,920 kg. You also get the smallest fuel tank with the PHEV (43 litres), followed by the AWD (60 litres) and 2WD (63 litres).

    In terms of styling changes, the Eclipse Cross gets revisions to its front and rear, with the latter being the most significant. The previous full-width taillights and split rear windscreen are now gone, replaced with vertical L-shaped clusters and a single pane of glass. To go along with these revisions, there’s also a reshaped tailgate that helps reduce the stubby look of the pre-facelift model’s tail.

    As for the front, a revamped two-tier lighting arrangement sees a slimmer upper portion that acts as the LED daytime running lights, while the main headlamps have been moved further down, with oval housings with chrome detailing. Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield face remains present as before, but with some tweaks like fine hexagonal perforations for the narrower upper grille, along with a honeycomb mesh insert beneath it.

    Inside, the infotainment system features a new interface and physical volume and tuning knobs. The previous touchpad, which looked a little out of place, has also been ditched, so interfacing with the system is done via a touchscreen that is brought closer to occupants.

    For the Japanese market, the list of equipment varies depending on trim level, of which there are three available for each powertrain variant. Items include halogen and LED headlamps, LED taillights and fog lamps, 16- and 18-inch wheels, analogue gauges with a multi-info display, a drive mode selector on S-AWC-equipped variants, and automatic air-conditioning.

    Other available equipment includes a choice of fabric, combination suede and synthetic leather, or genuine leather upholstery, powered front seats, eight speakers, a head-up display and an optional electric panoramic sunroof.

    Safety-wise, it’s seven airbags across the range, along with the usual string of passive system like Active Stability Control (ASC), traction control, hill start assist, ABS, EBD and brake assist. Mitsubishi’s e-Assist suite of technologies is also standard, and includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beam and false start suppression. Selected trims get active cruise control, a blind spot monitor, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

    Prices start from 2,531,100 yen (RM98,741) for the basic M trim with the 1.5L 2WD powertrain and goes all the way up to 4.477 million yen (RM174,713), before any further options are added in. In Japan, Mitsubishi provides an eight-year/160,000-km warranty and capacity guarantee on the hybrid battery.

  • AD: End the year and reward yourself with a Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-owned car at Hap Seng Star!

    The year 2020 may be one to forget, but it still calls for a celebration that you’ve made it this far. And what better way to cap it all off than to drive home in a Mercedes-Benz? With Hap Seng Star’s “Festive Saleabration” campaign, owning a Mercedes-Benz Certified pre-owned vehicle is now within your reach.

    From now until February 28, enjoy huge savings with attractive prices across all models – whatever your budget, there’s a Mercedes-Benz for you. What’s more, if you purchase a 2019 A-Class, GLA or E-Class, you’ll receive a complimentary front and rear dashcam worth RM2,888, as well as one free service.

    Every Mercedes-Benz Certified pre-owned vehicle comes with verified mileage and a full service history from authorised dealers, with any repairs made using only genuine parts. For peace of mind, all cars get a one-year extension to the remainder of the original four-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, together with access to 24-hour roadside assistance.

    And for greater convenience, MobilityPlus gives you a replacement vehicle whenever your car requires servicing for more than 48 hours. What’s more, you’ll also be able to take advantage of Young Star Agility financing, with lower monthly instalments and guaranteed future values that will make owning a Mercedes-Benz Certified vehicle more affordable than ever.

    These are fantastic advantages, so what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Mercedes-Benz Certified pre-owned centres in Bandar Kinrara and Balakong until February 28, from 9 am to 6 pm, and pick out your dream car today! For more information, visit the official Mercedes-Benz Certified website.

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  • Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli goes rally racing

    Motorcycle race riders taking to four wheel competition is nothing new, it’s been done before by luminaries such as John Surtees and Valentino Rossi. Latest to join the roster is Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) rider Franco Morbidelli, who competes in ACI Rally Monza with a Hyundai i20 R5, reports

    Competing under the Hyundai Rally Team Italia (HRTI) banner, Mobidelli received an invitation from sponsor WITHU to participate in the WRC3 class. The race slot happens under the ‘Riders Meet Rally’ programme, which places two-wheeled competitors in the driver’s seat of a full-fledged rally car in an actual round of the World Rlly Championship (WRC).

    Morbidelli, who finished second in the MotoGP World Championship, is scheduled to compete the weekend of December 3 to 6 in the final round of the WRC. A crash course in rally racing is being given by HRTI driver Umberto Scandola to ensure Morbidelli has the necessary skills to compete against full-time rally professionals.

    “I am electrified by the chance of taking part in a real round of the World Rally Championship,” Morbidelli said. “This is going to be good fun though, I will have to learn quickly a lot of details and it is not going to be easy to adapt to two added wheels in such a short time,” he continued.

    Morbidelli’s VR46 Academy mentor Rossi has previously competed in Rally Monza over the years, winning it seven times. However, this year’s WRC calendar ends in Monza due to the pandemic shorted schedule that has affected racing series worldwide, meaning the race is included in the points total, with the race usually a non-championship round since 1978.

  • Nissan Leaf turns ten years old: over 500,000 EVs sold

    It’s a big milestone for electric vehicles as the Nissan Leaf celebrates its tenth anniversary. The humble zero-emission hatchback pioneered the segment and has since sold more than 500,000 units worldwide, with the landmark car ending up in EV-loving Norway in September.

    Produced over two generations in Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, the Leaf is sold in 59 countries globally. The list includes Malaysia, where we have seen both generations being offered, the latest of which is currently priced at RM181,263. Increases in battery capacity, efficiency and performance over the years have allowed the car to evolve from a city commuter to a more versatile daily driver, Nissan said.

    When it first made its debut, the Leaf had an 80 kW (109 PS) motor and range of 175 km on the NEDC cycle via a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery. In 2016, a product update added a 30 kWh battery to boost range to 250 km, while the 2018 second-generation model ushered in a 110 kW (150 PS) motor and a 40 kWh battery to deliver a 285 km range on the more stringent WLTP cycle. The e+ model, introduced early last year, is capable of a 385 km range thanks to a 62 kWh battery; it also offers more power at 160 kW (217 PS).

    It’s estimated that Leaf owners have driven their cars around 16 billion kilometres worldwide, preventing more than 2.5 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions from being otherwise released into the atmosphere. The batteries have also helped power homes and businesses and providing emergency electricity during natural disasters, Nissan said.

    So successful was the Leaf that it was, until fairly recently, the world’s bestselling electric vehicle, only being overtaken by the Tesla Model 3 earlier this year. Now, with a decade under its belt, the Leaf is handing over the baton of being Nissan’s flagship EV to the Ariya crossover, which will sire a new range of electric cars.

    The Ariya’s spec sheet reads like an embarrassment of riches next to the Leaf’s. It’s available with all-wheel drive and up to 290 kW (394 PS), plus a range of up to 610 km using an 87 kWh battery. Time will tell if the car will rack up the same kind of success that the Leaf did, but the latter will still be remembered as Nissan’s first serious foray into the world of electrification – and the company hasn’t looked back since.

  • 2021 Audi Q3 45 TFSI e debuts – first ever compact PHEV with 1.4L engine; 245 PS, 400 Nm, 50 km e-range

    Audi has taken the veils off the first ever Q3 and Q3 Sportback plug-in hybrid. The debuting pair takes on the 45 TFSI e nomenclature, with power coming from an electrified 1.4 litre four-cylinder TFSI engine. On its own, the engine produces 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque.

    An electric motor that’s integrated into the housing of the six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission (with a declutching mechanism) provides 85 kW of supplementary power, therefore raising the total system output to 245 PS and 400 Nm of torque. That’s good for a century sprint time of 7.3 seconds.

    A 13 kWh battery pack (with 96 high density prismatic cells) is located under the vehicle floor, just in front of the rear axle. Boot space has been sacrificed slightly because of this – the Q3 now offers 380 litres (down from 530 litres) and is expandable to 1,375 litres. On a full charge, it provides up to 50 km of pure electric range. The electric motor is also powerful enough to hit a top speed of 140 km/h. As usual, there are several hybrid drive modes to choose from.

    Interestingly, in Dynamic mode, drivers can access the electric motor’s full 330 Nm of torque reserves for up to 10 seconds, but this requires the shifter to be set in “S” mode. Activating this is as simple as fully depressing the throttle pedal. The electric motor can also recoup up to 0.3 g (or up to 40 kW of power), which is good enough to handle a vast majority of braking situations.

    A full charge via a domestic AC wallbox (using the supplied Type 2 cable) takes three hours and 45 minutes. The SUV should support faster AC and DC charging, but Audi has yet to reveal the figures. Like all other Audi PHEV models, charging can be remotely controlled via the myAudi app.

    In Europe, the Q3 and Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e can be had in several trims, namely Technik (Q3 only), S line and Black Edition versions. Vorsprung models, on the other hand, get adaptive suspension, and wears chunky 20-inch wheels. The Technik variant rides on 17-inch wheels, although this can be upgraded to 18- or 19-inch hoops. Extras include privacy glass, various styling packages, roof rails (Q3 only), and full LED lighting (Vorsprung versions get Matrix LED headlights instead).

    Inside, the cockpit is almost identical to their respective non-hybrid counterparts. Standard models get a 10.25-inch Audi virtual cockpit, while more expensive models get a larger 12.3-inch digital binnacle. Both feature plug-in hybrid-specific functions, which displays driveline status, output and recuperation phases, battery state of charge, and remaining range. A 10.1-inch infotainment display with Audi connect (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well) is standard.

    Safety-wise, all models get Audi pre sense basic, pre sense front, Audi side assist blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning as standard. There’s also adaptive cruise assist with support for acceleration, steering, and braking, all of which are operable within the limits of what is currently legally permissible.

  • December 2020 week one fuel price – all prices up

    Another Friday, and with that, the usual weekly fuel price update. The upward trend in fuel prices continues, meaning motorists will have to pay more for petrol and diesel in the coming December 5 to 11 week.

    The ministry of finance has announced that Euro 4M RON 95 petrol will be priced at RM1.70 per litre, up three sen from the RM1.67 per litre from last week. Likewise, RON 97 petrol sees a three sen hike to RM2.00 per litre this week (RM1.97 last week).

    Diesel fuel users will also be paying more. Euro 2M diesel will be priced at RM1.90 per litre in the coming week, up five sen from the RM1.85 per litre it is at presently. Correspondingly, Euro 5 diesel, which costs 10 sen more than Euro 2M diesel, will be priced at RM2.00 per litre this week.

    These prices remain in effect until December 11, which is when the next round of fuel price updates will be announced. This is the 48th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format this year, and the 100th in total since the format – which runs from midnight on Saturday until the following Friday – was introduced at the beginning of 2019.

  • Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4Motion on sale in Malaysia – fully imported, 280 PS/350 Nm, 7sp DSG; RM269,888

    The Volkswagen Arteon made its Malaysian debut in August this year, arriving on our shores in a sole R-Line trim level and priced at RM221,065 on-the-road excluding insurance.

    Motive power for the sleek four-door comes courtesy of the 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four cylinder petrol engine that also powers the Passat, here producing 190 PS from 4,180 to 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque between 1,500 to 4,180 rpm, transmitted to the front wheels via a seven-speed wet dual-clutch DSG gearbox, with shift paddles.

    What if you want a more potent powertrain to go with that sleek Arteon form? A sole Arteon R-Line 4Motion has arrived in the country in Volkswagen PHS Autohaus in fully imported CBU form – as shown on the dealer’s Facebook page – packing 280 PS and 350 Nm of torque from its 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four petrol, here sent to all four wheels for improved traction.

    Should this all-wheel-drive Arteon be ordered brand-new, it will set its buyer back by around RM330,000, according to PHS Autohaus. This unit has been priced at RM269,888, or about RM60,000 less than its estimated original price.

    You may recall that the show car that was previewed at the Premium Auto Car Expo (PACE) 2018 is very similar, if not identical to this unit for sale at PHS Autohaus, which was also a white 4Motion car with black interior.

    Like the unit at PACE 2018, the car for sale at PHS Autohaus also wears 19-inch Montevideo alloys, while its interior also appears to feature the 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment unit and 12.3-inch Active Info Display driver instrumentation.

    In the time that has passed, the Arteon R-Line has officially gone on sale in Malaysia with its turbocharged 2.0 litre engine in a more modest state of tune and therefore, lower output figures as well, though what the Arteon adds that is not present on the Passat includes the 360-degree camera system and Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive dampers.

    Also included on the CKD Arteon R-Line are seven airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, a tyre pressure monitoring system and ISOFIX child seat anchors at the rear. What do you think, dear readers? Is the uprated powertrain on this CBU Arteon just the ticket to sway your decision?

    GALLERY: Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4Motion previewed at PACE 2018

  • Bentley Mulliner introduces four tweed interior options

    Bentley Mulliner, Crewe’s bespoke commissioning division, is now offering a very British interior option – tweed. The door trim option can be specified on the Flying Spur, Continental GT and Bentayga. The four contemporary tweed patterns have a tactile woven wool finish, and transforms the energy of the cabin into a robust yet tranquil environment, Bentley says.

    Cheltenham, with its countryside greens, offers a more traditional choice for customers whereas Glen Plaid–Tolsta Beach, named after the shores of the rugged Outer Hebrides, makes a confident statement with its bold check pattern. Providing a more subtle, contemporary choice, the Charcoal and Sand Herringbone tweeds complement dark and light interiors respectively on the three Bentley models.

    The new material is sustainable, sourced from the globally reputed Lovat Mill. Located in the picturesque Scottish Borders town of Hawick, the mill goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure that its tweeds are produced in the most ethical and environmentally friendly ways.

    Lovat Mill operates a ‘dry’ production facility with no adverse impact on the local natural environment. There are no hazardous industrial chemicals (such as AZO dye) used on site and they weave on ‘environmentally aware’ versatile rapier looms.

    In addition, with 90% of local electricity consumption coming from renewable sources, negligible emissions and the local highly skilled workforce living mostly within easy walking distance of the facility, the mill is able to minimise its carbon footprint.

    This is however not the first time that tweed has been incorporated into Bentleys. Previous appearances were on the ‘Sportsman’ Bentayga in collaboration with Savile Row tailors, Huntsman; and the Continental GT Equestrian Edition. Last year, Bentley became the first carmaker to offer a tweed effect hood with the Continental GT Convertible. The warm material was also used in the stunning Mulliner Bacalar coachbuilt GT that was revealed in March.

  • G81 BMW M3 Touring teased in new BMW M Town film

    BMW has released a cool new marketing film based in the fictional location of M Town, which is a place where fans of the brand’s M models can salivate and ogle on the daily. The latest episode in the BMW M Town series is titled The Drop and centres around a citizen of M Town making his way to pick up some “hype rims” that are extremely limited in number – only 100 units.

    We’ll talk more about what goes on in The Drop later on, as we first want to jump to something very interesting shown at the 1:20 mark, where we see man leaning on a tailgate while reading the local Lap Times newspaper.

    That man is none other than BMW M CEO Markus Flasch, and the car he is resting on certainly looking like the upcoming G81 BMW M3 Touring. The model is a big deal for the BMW M brand, as it will be the first-ever wagon version of the M3 made in large quantities, unlike the one-off E46 M3 Touring built for testing purposes more than two decades ago.

    The German carmaker gave us a glimpse of the new M3 Touring back in August this year, which was then followed by an Instagram video featuring a camouflaged prototype. The easter egg in the short film shows the M3 Touring completely undisguised, although we don’t get to see the car in full.

    Instead, we are only shown the rear, which sports a different bumper design compared to the current M340i Touring, with slimmer side vents at the corners. This change allows for the M3 Touring’s four exhaust pipes to be shown more prominently, similar to its sedan and M4 coupe siblings.

    While we don’t get to see the front, BMW’s previous teaser has confirmed that the M3 Touring will get the same large, vertical grille as the latest M3 and M4 range, along with a creased bonnet. Expect the same engine line-up too, with a S58 3.0 litre twin-turbo straight-six providing 480 PS (473 hp) and 550 Nm in base form, or 510 PS (503 hp) and 650 Nm in Competition spec. For now, we don’t have an official debut date for the M3 Touring, but it looks like it’s almost ready for its reveal.

    That’s not the only easter egg in The Drop, as we also see the BMW M3 Pickup delivering an M Power charging station, a sign of the brand’s electrified future. In an official release, it is said the first fully-electric M car will be a high-performance variant of the new i4 due in 2021, along with further models, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

    Getting back to The Drop, the film starts with a news announcement that “a drop” is about to take place in town, with many citizens in their M cars queuing up for some snazzy new rims, kind of like sneakerheads lining up for a new pair of Yeezy or Air Jordan sneakers.

    The attention then shifts to an unnamed protagonist waking up to a rev counter alarm clock before hopping onto social media, where Shmee150 makes a cameo. Jumping into his E30 M3, he then drives to the drop location, and we can see plenty of M cars out and about – try and spot them all. Another person making a cameo besides Flasch and Shmee150 is the ironically-named Mr AMG, also known as Raziz Roken Rehan, who is the host of Remove Before Race.

    In the end, the protagonist finally gets his hands on some brightly-coloured M wheels and that’s pretty much it. However, along the way, we see some funny bits like an M2 raring to deliver pizzas, a brass band making revving engine noises, and a driver wearing a helmet with the name “Gercollector” on the side, a reference to a German car collector and Instagrammer who showcases his car collection with giant teddies. Check out the gallery to see all the M cars featured in The Drop and tell us which one is your favourite.

  • 2021 Bentley Pikes Peak Continental GT by Mulliner – all 15 units of the limited edition GT delivered globally

    Remember the Bentley Continental GT that broke the production car record at the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb last year? Well, the automaker has announced that all 15 units of the limited edition Pikes Peak Continental GT by Mulliner have made their way to owners around the world.

    Those destinations include Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, New Zealand, Latvia, and the UK, whereas five units were shipped to the US. A third of the customers opted for the Mountain Decal Event Livery, while three others chose a more subtle gloss black exterior paint finish.

    Unique to the limited edition GT is the exclusive Radium by Mulliner paintwork. This is complemented with a carbon-fibre bodykit, gloss black bumper inserts and wing mirror caps, 22-inch gloss black Mulliner Driving Specification wheels wrapped with grippy Pirelli P Zero Colour Edition tyres, and the optional “100” grille as a reminder of Bentley’s record-setting hill climb during its centenary year.

    Inside, the same Radium colour is tastefully spread across the cabin, and it’s contrasted with Beluga leather trimmings and Alcantara upholstery. Highlights include carbon-fibre and piano black trimmings, a gentle 10:18.488 embossment (a nod to its record hill climb timing), and embroidered seats and door sills. There’s also B&O speaker covers, Bentley Rotating Display, deep pile overmats and comfort seats.

    Powering the Continental GT is a 6.0 litre twin-turbo W12 engine that makes 635 PS and 900 Nm of torque, which is good for a zero to 100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds and top speed of 333 km/h. The car that set the Pikes Peak record in July last year had some minor modifications, and piloting it to the finish line was the talented Rhys Millen, a three-time Pikes Peak champion and former ‘King of the Mountain’. You may relive the glory by watching the video, below.


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Last Updated 05 Dec 2020


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