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  • Aston Martin Vantage Roadster customised by Q celebrates centenary of third Aston Martin ever built

    Aston Martin has been around since 1913, but what you might not know is that due to the outbreak of World War I, production did not begin in earnest until the early 1920s. Before that, the company built five prototypes, with the third, the “A3”, becoming the oldest Aston still in existence.

    That car is now 100 years old, now owned by the Aston Martin Heritage Trust (AMHT) since it was donated back in 2002. To celebrate the milestone, longtime dealer Aston Martin HWM (Aston’s longest-serving dealer, apparently) teamed up with the organisation to commission a bespoke Vantage Roadster through Q by Aston Martin, Gaydon’s customisation arm.

    Just three examples will ever be built, all featuring the same lovingly crafted design cues that hark back to that “A3” prototype. These include a black mesh grille with a bright aluminium surround and a gold badge featuring the original Aston Martin logo, as well as the silver side vents evoking the hand-finished exposed aluminium bonnet. Saddle leather straps and a “No_3” engraving on the vents enhance the association.

    Elsewhere, you’ll find bronze brake callipers hiding behind 20-inch gloss black forged alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll find classy fluted Obsidian Black leather seats with Chestnut Tan highlights, including the stitching and the embroidered Aston Martin script in the same font used on the “A3”. The gorgeous climate control knobs have also been cast from brass to mimic bits and pieces from the prototype, while the heritage logo makes another appearance embossed in the centre console leather.

    Despite winning hillclimbs and lapping the worlds first purpose-built race track, the Brooklands Motor Circuit, at 136 km/h, the “A3” is certainly not fast by modern standards, powered by a 11 hp 1.5 litre four-cylinder side valve engine.

    It’s a good job, then, that the Vantage is a damn sight speedier – under the bonnet sits an M117510 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 from Mercedes-AMG, churning out 510 PS and 685 Nm of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it enables the car to get from zero to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 306 km/h.

    The customised Vantage Roadster will make an appearance this Saturday, June 26, at a centenary celebration hosted by AMHT in Warwickshire, where it will be joined by the “A3” and a host of other historic machinery. All three units will be available to order through Aston Martin HWM, based in Walton on Thames.

  • SPYSHOTS: 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe with less camo

    Following on from its earlier sighting during cold-weather testing, the next-generation BMW 2 Series Coupe has been spotted by our spy photographers once more, this time on two separate occasions at the Nurburgring and near BMW headquarters in Munich, respectively.

    The forthcoming compact coupe will be based on the Cluster Architecture (CLAR) underpinnings which currently form the basis for models like the G20 3 Series, through the G30 5 Series to the G11/G12 7 Series, which means the 2 Series Coupe will continue to be of a RWD, longitudinal engine layout, and likewise suggested by its overall proportions similar to those of the current car.

    While the camouflage foil remains, we now get a better look at the shapes on the front end of the car that will see production, the removal of shrouds atop the brand’s signature kidney grilles indicating that these will be of a relatively normal size on the upcoming 2 Series Coupe.

    More of the front bumper’s shape can be seen, the intakes here wearing similar shapes to those on the M340i for the car sighted on the Nurburgring. This will therefore likely be the M240i or equivalent 3.0 litre inline-six-engined model, as also suggested by the dual trapezoidal exhaust outlets; the B58 engine produces 374 PS and 500 Nm of torque in the G20/21 M340i xDrive sedan and station wagon.

    The unit spotted around Munich appears to be from the regular 2 Series range, with a seemingly less aggressively styled front bumper, and dual round exhaust outlets at the rear end. Here,

    Those hoping for a full-on M car in this relatively compact body will be glad to know that the next-generation M2 is confirmed, replete with the S58 biturbo inline-six from the M3 and M4. This is been rumoured to start in base M2 form with around 426 hp, and is also rumoured to be joined by a four-door for the first time in the form of the M2 Gran Coupe.


  • Honda City Hatchback e:HEV RS now available in Thailand – hybrid joins 1.0L VTEC Turbo, RM110k

    In November last year, Honda Thailand introduced the City Hatchback and the City e:HEV RS. The latter is the hybrid sedan that also tops our Malaysian City range. The hatchback is a five-door hatch version of the latest City, and it replaces the Jazz in ASEAN.

    The Thai-market City Hatchback was launched with the same 122 PS/173 Nm 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo as the sedan there, also with a CVT. No e:HEV hybrid for Thai hatch buyers, until now. According to Headlightmag, which also uploaded the pics you see here, the City Hatchback e:HEV RS is now available in the Land of Smiles.

    No surprises here; it’s basically a combination of the City Hatchback with the hybrid powerplant from the e:HEV sedan, in sporty RS trim. The smallest version of Honda’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system, uses a 109 PS/253 Nm electric motor that drives the wheels. It is juiced by a 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle engine with 98 PS/127 Nm, plus an integrated electric motor acting as a generator and a starter.

    There’s no traditional gearbox driving the front wheels, but the DOHC i-VTEC unit can clutch in through a single-speed transmission to provide direct drive at higher speeds, where it is most efficient. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 9.4 seconds.

    The 1.0T already has an RS variant, so the additions here are mostly hybrid-specific, plus additional kit for the range topper. It stands out with blue-tinged Honda logos, rear disc brakes, auto headlamps and a tyre repair kit (frees up space for the hybrid battery). The e:HEV RS is also the only hatchback to come with Honda Sensing driver assist features and a LaneWatch blind spot camera.

    Also exclusive to the e:HEV RS are an electric parking brake with auto brake hold, remote engine start, walk away auto lock, rear air con vents, and auto high beam. The meter panel is a hybrid-specific 7.0 inch display. This Brilliant Sporty Metallic blue colour is fresh.

    The City Hatchback e:HEV RS is priced at 849,000 baht (RM110,911), which is 100,000 baht costlier than the Turbo RS. Sounds like a reasonable premium considering the long list of extra kit and hardware. In Thailand, Honda hybrids come with an additional five-year warranty for the HEV system and a 10-year warranty for the hybrid battery, unlimited mileage.

    GALLERY: Honda City Hatchback e:HEV RS

    GALLERY: Honda City Hatchback 1.0T

  • With new car sales in Malaysia due to be almost zero in June, industry to lose around RM3.44 bil in revenue

    New car sales may have dipped in May, but the situation is set to get a whole lot bleaker this month, what with showrooms nationwide closed as a result of the full movement control order (FMCO) that began on June 1 and has since been extended to June 28.

    With virtually no new registrations expected this month, save the odd number of units in which car loans have already been approved pre-lockdown and a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) has already been issued, the situation is expected to mirror that of April last year, in which only 141 registrations were recorded.

    The drastic halt will have a definite financial impact, as Berita Harian reports. Based on an average vehicle sales price of RM70,000 per unit, it is estimated that the country’s automotive industry is set to lose around RM3.44 billion in revenue due to the complete slump in sales this month.

    While most manufacturers have introduced online purchasing platforms including e-showrooms, the constraints of the documentation process for loans and registrations will limit the number of sales transactions that will go through. In a research note to clients, Kenanga Research stated that only a few units will be able to be registered through the road transport department’s (JPJ) e-Daftar system for the purchase of vehicles, in which the loan has been agreed through a LOU.

    In a brief statement to the publication, Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad echoed the belief that registrations for June will be severely limited. “If there is stock in the showroom, companies can still register with JPJ online. However, I don’t think it will involve a large amount,” she said.

    Despite the lack of sales in June, Kenanga Research believes that new volume-driven launches can possibly spur sales before the year is out, further boosted by the extension of the SST exemption until the end of the year and seasonal promotions from brands. It projected a total industry volume (TIV) target of 545,000 units for the year.

    This sentiment was shared by CGS-CIMB, which said it still expected that revenue for automotive sector would rebound with a 34% higher net profit growth this year, with TIV performance being stronger in the second half of the year, supported by the tax exemption.

    Meanwhile, TA Securities said the implementation of an effective vaccination program bodes well for vehicle sales. It expects that sales will regain momentum as a result of the economic recovery, an accommodative interest rate environment and the launch of new models, and forecast this year’s TIV to remain at 627,000, which is 18.4% higher than last year. In January, the MAA had forecast an 8% growth in the TIV this year to 570,000 units.

  • Nissan Juke Rally Tribute concept unveiled – a tribute to 50 years of the 240Z’s East African Rally victory

    Nissan has just unveiled the Juke Rally Tribute concept to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its victory at the 1971 East Africa Rally. The winning vehicle was the red and black-themed 240Z, which the Juke tribute concept is modelled upon.

    The second-generation crossover gets all four of its fenders enlarged to accommodate the massive Dunlop Grandtrek AT2 off-road tyres, while the bonnet and roof gets fitted with additional LED lighting modules. There are roof rails as well, and the front skid plate is more aggressively upswept compared to the regular car. Like the 240Z, the doors get the same monochromatic number 11 treatment.

    At the back, you’ll find that the entire glasshouse and rear bench have been removed. This is to make space to store two spare tyres and additional rally gears. The rear bumper design is also more simplistic, featuring an integrated diffuser and twin exhaust exits. Both ends get yellow-accented tow hooks as well.

    To show its commitment to electrification, the Juke Rally Tribute concept is powered by a hybrid petrol engine, although the automaker did not provide the exact output and configuration. It did say the hybrid powertrain offers “additional instant torque to enhance performance” in all conditions, but there’s nothing more to go beyond that.

    The 240Z that won the race 50 years ago was driven by Edgar Hermann, with the assistance of navigator Hans Schuller. Under its bonnet was a 2.4 litre straight-six engine developing 210 PS, all of which are sent to the rear wheels. The car was fully restored in 2013 and is permanently part of part of Nissan’s heritage collection housed in Zama, close to its global headquarters in the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan.

    Nissan Automotive Europe’s vice president of brand and customer experience, Coralie Musy said: “The Juke Rally Tribute concept celebrates an iconic moment in Nissan’s heritage, with the participation and victory of the legendary 240Z in the East African Rally in 1971. As well as celebrating that victory, it reflects Nissan’s pioneering history in crossovers, striking design and electrified powertrains. We’re delighted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the victory of that remarkable achievement with these striking images.”

    “Nissan is currently writing an exciting chapter of its history as we are in the middle of renewing our range of crossovers in Europe. The replacement of the first generation of the pioneering and iconic Juke was introduced in late 2019 and is proving extremely popular with customers. We have also just launched the third-generation of the benchmark and newly electrified Qashqai in Europe, while the rugged X-Trail Crossover will follow next year,” she added.

  • BMW 8 Series Frozen Black Edition models debut in Japan – 20 units only; 5 Coupe and 15 Gran Coupe

    BMW has launched the 8 Series Frozen Black Edition range in Japan, which will be offered in very limited numbers, with just 20 units being made available. From that total, five units are based on the G15 8 Series Coupe, while the remaining 15 cars are built upon the G16 8 Series Gran Coupe.

    The order books for the edition models will open from next Wednesday (June 30), with the two-door carrying a retail price (including consumption tax) of 15 million yen (RM563,326). Meanwhile, the Gran Coupe model will go for a little bit extra at 15.1 million yen (RM567,081).

    Both versions come in 840i specification and are powered by a 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six petrol engine that develops 340 PS (335 hp) at 5,000 rpm and 500 Nm of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the standard pairing for the mill to send drive to the rear wheels.

    If black is your preferred colour, you’ll love what BMW has done to create the Frozen Black Edition cars. For starters, the entire body is finished in a Frozen Black hue taken from the BMW Individual catalogue, while the tailpipes, kidney grille, 20-inch light-alloy style 728M wheels and M Sport brake calipers are also painted black to match.

    This theme continues to the inside, where you’ll find black M Sport seats, a BMW Individual Alcantara roof liner, black extended Merino leather upholstery and BMW Individual piano black trim. A Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System comes standard too, and the Gran Coupe gets a panoramic sunroof.

  • Harley-Davidson new street bike, Revolution Max mill

    Scheduled for July 13 is a new motorcycle from Harley-Davidson (H-D), powered by the new Revolution Max V-twin. Following the launch and market release of the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 adventure-tourer, the new motorcycle from the American maker has yet to be named, but is destined for the street segment, following clues taken from the 2021 Harley-Davidson Custom 1250.

    A very short teaser video shows the upper silhouette of the new H-D motorcycle, revealing a long, low body form somewhat reminiscent of the V-Rod power cruiser. Going by the video, the new H-D model will have the seat under the tank, like the V-Rod, along with upswept flat tracker style pipes exiting on the right.

    News of the new machine from Milwaukee comes as no real surprise as such a machine is needed by H-D to draw in a younger rider demographic with an emphasis on performance. Expectations were high during the tenure of previous H-D CEO Matthew Levatich on the release of the Harley-Davidson Brons street fighter, using a 975 cc version of the Revolution Max engine.

    However, new CEO Jochen Zeitz promptly axed plans to Levatich’s plan to release a series of 120 new H-D models over five years, instead opting to consolidate the model line and concentrate on selling large displacement V-twins in the cruiser and touring segment, a strategy dubbed “Rewire”.

  • Jaguar E-type electric by Electrogenic: 408 PS, 600 Nm

    If there’s another good thing to come from electrification besides zero emissions motoring, it’s the possibility of bringing classic gems back to life. UK-based classic car electrification firm Electrogenic is doing exactly that, and today it announced the fully electric Jaguar E-type.

    The car is based on the 1967 E-type Series 1¼ Coupe, and Electrogenic is offering customers up to three powertrain conversion packages. The most affordable option is the Tourer, offering lower-than-original kerb weight and a top speed of 160 km/h. The original gearbox is used here to retain the feel of ‘classic’ driving.

    Above that is the Sprint conversion option with 470 Nm of torque. This package makes the electric E-type more powerful than factory spec, and it’s also lighter, providing optimal balance between performance, handling and comfort. It also uses the factory gearbox, though Electrogenic encourages owners to upgrade the brakes and suspension to cope with the additional torque.

    The top Grand Tourer conversion package gets the company’s most modern powertrain option, with an electric motor that produces 300 kW (408 PS) and 600 Nm of torque. Like most electric cars today, it uses a single-speed transmission.

    In terms of range, the Tourer and Sprint models offer approximately 241 km of range on a full charge, with one or two optional range extenders that add an additional 80 km of range, each. The top Grand Tourer option comes with a single range extender as standard, and a full charge provides just over 400 km of range.

    All conversions done by Electrogenic will have the car kept in its original state, but stuff like the switches and dials will be repurposed wherever deemed appropriate. For instance, the fuel gauge will now show the battery state of charge. The company will also make no modifications to the bodywork, and the electric powertrain is designed to be bolted onto the existing engine mounts. The conversion is fully reversible.

    Prices for the conversion alone start from £54,000 (RM314k) for the Tourer, £62,000 (RM360k) for the Sprint and £80,000 (RM465k) for the Grand Tourer. Prices are inclusive of the donor car, which the owner must provide. The final price will depend on the customer’s desired specification, as each car is bespoke and tailored to their exact requirements.

    Company director and co-founder Ian Newstead said: “As with every classic that we convert to run on electric power, the E-type presented its own unique challenges – the main on being the weight of expectation. The E-type’s reputation is well-known in the industry, and living up to that is never going to be easy – but this is a wonderfully engaging car to drive.”

    “Our first E-type conversion will be on the stand at the London Classic Car Show and we can’t wait to show it off to the world,” he added. The classic car show runs from June 25 to 27, and it will be displayed alongside a Citroen DS, a Series Two Land Rover, a Karmann Ghia and a Porsche 356 which have all been converted by Electrogenic. So, have you got a classic car in need of some conversion?

  • 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback – Modulo bodykit shown

    With the new 11th-generation Honda Civic now formally revealed for the Japanese market, the obligatory range of dealer-installed accessories must follow. That’s why Honda’s customisation arm, Honda Access, showed off its Modulo dress-up parts alongside the five-door hatch to whet customers’ appetites.

    On the outside, the additions are fairly minor, starting with a front spoiler that looks very similar to the one sold by Honda Performance Development (HPD) in the United States, although the Japanese version is painted in body colour and adds a centre splitter. There’s also a pedestal-type rear spoiler that sits above the rear deck, along with black door mirror caps.

    Complementing the look are a set of spiffy 18-inch Modulo MS-038 two-tone alloy wheels, which were already offered on the previous-generation Civic. Open the door and you’ll notice the Civic logo projection as well as side sill scuff plates with the illuminated Civic script. No other details, including pricing, have been given just yet, but they will likely be revealed when the car goes on sale in Japan in August.

    To recap, the 11th-gen model introduces a new, more mature design language and a classier Audi-like interior with improved material quality and a novel metal mesh covering for the air vents. Available new technologies include a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 10.2 inch instrument display, Qi wireless smartphone charging and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

    Safety-wise, the Civic has been upgraded, with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assists now featuring Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) Level 2 semi-autonomous driving functionality, making for a smoother, more natural experience when adaptive cruise control and lane centring assist are activated. Also new is Honda’s first Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB), which blocks off parts of the high beam to avoid dazzling other motorists.

    In Japan, the sole engine option is an updated 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo four-cylinder engine, now making 182 PS at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm from 1,700 to 4,500 rpm – an increase of six horsepower and 20 Nm. The hatch is now the only model to be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, offered alongside the usual CVT. The lineup will be expanded next year with the e:HEV hybrid and high performance Type R.

  • B20 biodiesel rollout delayed further, now end of 2022

    The nationwide implementation of B20 biodiesel was supposed to happen in June 2021, which is now. In January this year, the target was pushed forward to early 2022. Now, we’re looking at another delay.

    According to plantation industries and commodities minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, reported by Bloomberg, Malaysia expects its B20 biofuel plan to be implemented nationwide by the end of 2022. Compared to the previous “early 2022” target, this would mean a delay of at least another six months.

    According to the report, the world’s second-biggest palm oil producer after Indonesia is delaying the B20 programme as it prioritises economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This matches what was said before.

    In January, when the early 2022 target was announced, ministry secretary-general Ravi Muthayah said that the revision to the timeline was to give priority to the government’s post Covid-19 economic recovery plan, which is more crucial. “We have limited resources and must identify priorities,” he told the Bernama then.

    “We have implemented the B10 biodiesel for the transportation sector and B7 for the industry since 2019. It’s not right to say Malaysia has delayed the implementation of the biodiesel programme,” he said, in response to criticism that the implementation of the biodiesel programme was perpetually delayed.

    “We have implemented the B20 programme in Langkawi and Labuan as well, and next we will proceed to Sarawak and Sabah, once we have upgraded the depots,” the MPIC sec-gen added.

    Launched in February 2020, the new fuel – which consists of 20% palm methyl ester and 80% regular diesel – will eventually replace B10 biodiesel at over 3,400 stations nationwide, except in Cameron and Genting Highlands in Pahang and Kundasang in Sabah, where B7 biodiesel will continue to be used.

    The move to B20 will also shore up the use of domestic palm oil. It is also expected to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by as much as 3.8 million tonnes a year. More on the B20 biodiesel programme here.


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Last Updated 24 Jun 2021