Latest Stories

  • Mazda MX-5 update detailed – 2.0L jumps from 160 to 184 PS; lower emissions, improved active safety

    Mazda has officially announced details of the improved MX-5 roadster for the 2019 model year. As we’ve previously reported, the product update gives the larger 2.0 litre engine option a significant power bump, and also introduces numerous other revisions and added features.

    The 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine has been completely reworked for improved top-end performance, with Japanese publication CarWatch detailing the changes that include uprated valve springs as well as pistons that are 27 grams lighter. The latter is due to a shaved-down dome as well as valve reliefs repositioned to be closer to the edges of the piston skirt.

    Elsewhere, the connecting rods are more compact and feature shorter and thinner bolts to shave 41 grams, while the positioning of the crankshaft counterweights have been optimised. The throttle body also gets a 28% larger opening for an increased intake of air, and the intake side gets a larger valve diameter and improved tumble flow. There are larger exhaust valves and exhaust manifold runners, too.

    Mazda claims that these changes reduce rotating masses and intake and exhaust losses, and shorten the combustion period. As a result, the company has been able to raise the rev limit from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm – the same as on the smaller 1.5 litre unit. Peak power has also jumped from 160 to 184 PS, now made 1,000 rpm later at 7,000 rpm, while maximum torque has risen from 200 to 205 Nm, still at 4,000 rpm.

    That’s not all, as it’s claimed that torque has been increased across the entire rev range, with top-end torque in particular boosted by as much as 15%. Mazda has also made improvements to the sound of the engine, removing material from the muffler’s internal structure and also tweaking it for less high-frequency noise.

    Changes have also been made for the 1.5 litre version, with updates to the intake ports, pistons, fuel pump and injectors reported. This has again resulted in increased torque throughout the rev range, as well as a minor output increase to 132 PS at 7,000 rpm and 152 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

    The upgrades also mean that both engines now comply to the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test cycles, and meet the latest Euro 6d Temp emission regulations. Improved throttle response has also been claimed for the two engines.

    In other news, the MX-5 finally gets autonomous emergency braking with the inclusion of the Advanced Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system at the front and SCBS at the rear. You can also get Driver Attention Alert (DAA), traffic sign recognition and a reverse camera for the first time on the roadster.

    Other minor tweaks include the addition of telescopic steering adjustment (previously omitted due to the extra weight) in addition to the existing tilt adjustment, along with cruise control and a colour TFT LCD multi-info display. Rounding off the changes are a new tan interior option, a brown roof for soft-top models as well as black instead of gunmetal alloy wheels.

    The 2019 Mazda MX-5 has already gone on sale in Japan in soft-top and RF folding hardtop guises, with first deliveries expected on July 26. European buyers, on the other hand, will have to wait until August to get their hands on one. What do you think of the changes?

     
  • Britain committed to its 2040 new petrol, diesel car ban

    Last July, Britain announced that it was set to halt sales of new diesel and petrol-powered vehicles by 2040, and the British government says it remains steadfast in its aim to achieve that target, despite a recent news report indicating that plans were being watered down from a full policy to a “mission,” Reuters reports.

    The plan remains unchanged and is still on track, according to a government source. “We will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel engine cars by 2040,” the source told the news agency.

    The original outline made last year reportedly did not affect hybrids or plug-in hybrids, but fears have cropped up of late that restrictions may be imposed on these, causing automakers to raise their concerns. However, the source said the ban will not impact hybrids. “It’s not government policy to ban hybrids,” he said.

    More details about the plan – which will be known as “Road to Zero” – are set to emerge, but its final unveiling may not be that soon, the source added. The document’s reveal has already been delayed as the country’s transport, business and environment ministries discuss final proposals.

    Britain says its pledge to go green on this front is needed because of the impact that poor air quality is having on public health, and authorities are determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible, with plans to implement a number of new measures. France also announced a similar course of action last year, with the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars set to be outlawed by 2040.

     
  • RON 97 petrol price down one sen this week – RM2.59

    For the third week of floated RON 97 petrol pricing, motorists will need to pay RM2.59 per litre, which is precisely one sen less from last week’s RM2.60 per litre. The new price will take effect from midnight till June 27 when the next fuel price announcement is made.

    As before, RON 95 petrol and diesel prices remain unchanged as per the government’s decision to keeping it fixed – RON 95 continues to be priced at RM2.20 per litre and Euro 2M diesel at RM2.18 per litre, while Euro 5 diesel is priced at RM2.28 per litre at the pump.

    The finance ministry has previously stated that maintaining the price of RON 95 petrol and diesel for the rest of the year required subsidies that amount to RM3 billion. Reintroducing fuel subsidies was part of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto.

     
  • Porsche acquires a 10% stake in Rimac Automobili

    It appears Mate Rimac’s company has done enough to impress Porsche, as the German automaker has acquired a minority stake of 10% in Rimac Automobili. According to Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of the executive board and member of the executive board for finance and IT at Porsche, the company is hoping to enter a close collaboration with Rimac in the form of a development partnership moving forward.

    Meschke also added that Rimac had impressively demonstrated its credentials in the field of electromobility with the Concept_One and C_Two. The latter is an electric hypercar that boasts 1,914 hp and 2,300 Nm of torque, with a top speed of 412 km/h and 650 km of operating range being on the NEDC cycle.

    The Croatian company (with around 400 employees) also engineers and manufactures its own electric vehicle powertrain and battery systems, as well as digital interfaces (HMI), which can be beneficial in Porsche’s ambitions to develop more electric cars. Recently, Porsche announced that the Taycan will be its first all-electric sports car which was first previewed by the Mission E concept from 2015.

    “This partnership now is an important step for Rimac on our way to become a component and system supplier of choice for the industry in electrification, connectivity and the exciting field of advanced driver assistance systems,” explains Mate Rimac, CEO of Rimac.

     
  • New Suzuki Jimny rendered as a convertible model

    Suzuki revealed its retro (and rather cute) Jimny only recently, but those familiar with Photoshop have already started imagining alternative looks for the rugged machine. This vehicle here is the work of X-Tomi Design and it is essentially the new Jimny made into a convertible.

    Previous generations of the Jimny were available as a convertible, and this render certainly looks very convincing. The design is reminiscent of Jeep Wrangler but as fun as it looks, the design doesn’t look like it’ll meet modern safety requirements.

    The Jimny will make its official launch debut early next month, with preliminary details already released. The off-roader will feature a ladder frame, three-link rigid axle suspension and part time four-wheel drive, with low-range transfer gear.

    The new Jimny will be powered by Suzuki’s 1.0 litre Boosterjet three-cylinder turbo engine, with the option of a 1.2 litre NA unit. A five-speed manual will be offered alongside a torque converter auto option, but both will get an old-school manual low-range gear selector, which can be seen in one of the interior images.

    GALLERY: 2018 Suzuki Jimny

     
  • Audi and Hyundai to cooperate on fuel cell technology

    Audi and Hyundai have agreed to work together in the area of fuel cell technology. The two carmakers plan to cross-license patents and grant access to non-competitive components. Both partners aim to bring the fuel cell to volume production maturity more quickly and more efficiently, and are also exploring deeper collaboration in fuel cell tech.

    “The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in our technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future. On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures,” said Peter Mertens, board member for technical development at Audi.

    “We are confident that our partnership with Audi will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society. This agreement is another example of Hyundai’s strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers’ lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles, the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world,” said Euisun Chung, Hyundai’s vice chairman.

    Long ranges and short refueling times make hydrogen an attractive future source of energy for electric mobility. This is particularly true for bigger vehicles, where the weight advantages of the fuel cell vehicle inherent to its design are particularly pronounced. Besides further advances in fuel cell tech, key aspects for its future market success include the regenerative production of hydrogen and sufficient infrastructure.

    Within the VW Group, Audi has taken on the development responsibility for fuel cell tech and is currently working on its sixth generation, having already been working on fuel cell concepts for almost 20 years.

    At the beginning of the next decade, Audi will introduce the first fuel cell model as a small series production. The “sporty SUV” will combine the premium comfort of the full-size segment with long-range capability, Audi says. The cross-license agreement with Hyundai is focused on the next development stage intended for a broader market offer.

    Hyundai, one of the leaders in fuel cell tech, unveiled the Nexo earlier this year. The SUV, which is set to go on sale later this year, is lighter, faster and roomier compared to the Tucson FCEV, its previous fuel cell model. Range is 595 km, and the Nexo does 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 9.5 seconds.

    GALLERY: Hyundai Nexo FCEV

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan gets caught

    Earlier today you saw spyshots of the next-generation Mercedes-AMG A 45, but the fire-breathing hot hatch won’t be the only AMG version of the new A-Class. You’re looking at the halfway house A 35, which again has been caught by our spy photographers, this time in sedan form. This confirms that there will be at least one AMG variant of the four-door, although the A 45 will likely remain hatch-only.

    Although the mule sports flat, basic-looking wheels, the large front brakes with cross-drilled discs are a telltale sign of an AMG-fettled model. Unlike the A 45, which features bespoke front and rear bumpers and quad exhausts, the car you see here wears a regular AMG Line front bumper and a featureless base model rear bumper, the latter with cutouts for the unfinished pea-shooter exhausts.

    Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers has already confirmed the existence of the A 35, adding that it will have “around 300 hp.” Set to take on the Audi S3, Volkswagen Golf R and Honda Civic Type R, it will be the cheapest AMG model to date, with Moers previously saying, “The price point will be low, and not everything we can do with the 45 we can afford for the 35.”

    Expect the A 35 to contain the same basic ingredients as the A 45 – a 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder engine and a 4Matic all-wheel drive system. However, while the more powerful model is expected to break past the 400 hp barrier in the next generation, this car should be dialled back to somewhere in the region of 340 hp.

     
  • Audi names interim CEO to replace arrested Stadler

    The Volkswagen Group has named Abraham Schot (top left) as interim CEO to replace Rupert Stadler (top right), who has been taken into custody at the request of the Munich public prosecutor’s office on June 18. The long-time Audi CEO was arrested because they saw a risk he could try to suppress evidence in the emissions cheating scandal.

    Stadler, who has yet to be charged with a crime, had requested that the VW supervisory board release him from his position in the boards of Audi and the VW Group. The German car giant says that this release applies temporarily, until the circumstances that led to his arrest have been clarified. VW said on Monday that Stadler was presumed innocent unless proven otherwise.

    Schot has been a member of the board of management of Audi in charge of sales and marketing since September 2017.

    It’s rocky times for the group’s most profitable arm, and Reuters reports that this latest development raises questions about whether VW had done enough to reform in the wake of Dieselgate, while threatening a delicate truce among the group’s stakeholders who had previously clashed about whether Stadler should remain as chief.

    The controlling Porsche and Piech families were backers of Stadler, but VW’s labor representatives – who have half the seats on the carmaker’s supervisory board – were against. The unions have VW’s home state of Lower Saxony on their side, and both camps share the same goal of protecting jobs at VW, which employs over 100,000 people in the northwestern state.

    VW had always maintained that only lower-level managers knew of the emissions cheating, but US authorities have filed criminal charges against former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn and German prosecutors continue to probe.

    Last week, Munich prosecutors said they were investigating Stadler for suspected fraud and false advertising, and for his alleged role in helping to bring cars equipped with the emissions cheat code on to the European market.

    The technique of using software to detect a pollution test procedure, and to increase the effectiveness of emissions filters to mask pollution levels during tests, was first developed at Audi. This was revealed by VW itself.

    “In designing the defeat device, VW engineers borrowed the original concept of the dual-mode, emissions cycle-beating software from Audi,” Volkswagen said in its plea agreement with US authorities in January 2017, where the company agreed to pay a $4.3 billion (RM17.2 billion) fine to reach a settlement with American regulators.

     
  • May 2018 Malaysian vehicle sales goes down by 9%

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released sales and production figures for the month of May 2018, with both being lower compared to what was achieved in April.

    Last month saw 42,983 being registered, which is 4,106 units or 9% less than in April. According to the association, the dip in sales volume was due to the government’s announcement to set the goods and services tax (GST) rate at 0% in mid-May, which resulted in customers holding back on their purchase due to uncertainty.

    Sales for the month of May 2018 were also down compared to the same month last year, a decrease of 7,611 units or 15% from the 50,594 units in May 2017. As for year-to-date figures, that stands at 225,212 units, which is 8,968 units or about 3.8% less than the same period last year.

    For the month of June, the association expects sales to be much higher than in May due to customers taking advantage of the “tax holiday” combined with promotional campaigns and offers in conjunction with the Hari Raya festive season.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Renault Kadjar facelift running road trials

    The Renault Kadjar facelift has been spotted testing on public roads, and as expected the concealed areas on the development vehicle photographed here denote what’s due for revision come facelift time. Starting from the front end, these will be the front bumper and grille.

    The aesthetic changes continue at the Kadjar’s rear end, too, where the rear bumper and possibly the tailgate stand to be updated with a new design. Under the hood, details regarding the facelifted Kadjar’s powerplants have yet to be confirmed; however, it could carry over the Energy TCe 130 combo of a 131 PS/205 Nm 1.2 litre turbo and seven-speed automatic Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) gearbox.

    The 1.3 litre turbo engine co-developed with Daimler could feature here, as the unit is due to be gradually introduced into the Renault range for 2018. Meanwhile, our spy photographer sources noted shrouding over the car’s dashboard, suggesting some revised interior equipment and infotainment unit. Interior upholstery should likewise be updated for the facelift, though most of the interior architecture should remain similar.

    Renault’s sister model to the Nissan Qashqai can be expected to continue offering a range of variants, with a range of engines mated to the options of front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Given the not-too-extensive shrouding of the camouflage here, the facelifted Renault Kadjar could make its debut later this year or early next year.

     
 

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Last Updated 14 Jun 2018



 

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