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  • SPYSHOTS: Mercedes-AMG GT4 to get E-Class dash?

    The all-new Mercedes-AMG GT4 which premiered as a concept at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show has already been spotted multiple times in its test mule guise, but glimpses of the cabin have been incredibly elusive. That is, until now.

    Sighted for the first time is the upper section of the GT4’s dashboard, bearing great similarities to that of the W213 E-Class, if not a carbon copy of it. Two LCD screens make up for half the length of the dash, built in identical fashion to the E-Class. Both screens, although clearly separate in function, are framed in a singular housing. The thick bezels surrounding them look to stay, though.

    Also for the first time, sequential/dynamic turn indicators may be featured on a Mercedes car

    Beneath the centre screen is a quartet of air vents shaped to look like jet turbines, just like the E-Class Coupe. The design is also very similar to the next-generation CLS.

    Now, as for the car itself, primary propulsion comes in the form of a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8. The engine will be electrically assisted, although exactly how the configuration will be made remains a company secret for now. That said, the combined output is rated to be in the ghastly region of 800 hp, capable of a 0 to 100 km/h sprint in under three seconds. Those numbers eclipse its arch rival’s – the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which is by far the most powerful Panamera ever made – 680 hp and 850 Nm hybrid output.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG GT Concept

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • 2017 KTM Duke 250 and Duke 390 launched in Malaysia – Euro 4, ABS; from RM21,730 – RM28,800

    KTM Malaysia has now launched the latest iterations of its entry-level naked bikes, the Duke 250 and the Duke 390. The new arrivals represent a refreshing of the range, as the Duke 390 has up to this point been in the Malaysian market for nearly four years, and two years in the case of the Duke 250.

    Both bikes retain the trellis frame from before, while perhaps the most apparent change from the 2016 model is the exhaust – the previously underslung unit is now higher mounted, with a right-hand-side mounted muffler. In the case of the Duke 390, the same 373.2 cc single cylinder engine serves here with 44 hp at 9,000 rpm, although peak torque gets a slight bump to 37 Nm at 7,000 rpm, up from 35 Nm previously.

    Updates to the Duke 390 chassis include an 830 mm seat height (30 mm taller than before), 1,357 mm wheelbase (10 mm shorter than before), while weight has increased by 10 kg to 149 kg. Fuel capacity is now 13.4 litres, an increase of 2.4 litres over the previous model.

    Suspension duties are handled by 43 mm WP Suspension upside-down forks and rear monoshock with adjustable preload. Rolling stock comprises 17-inch wheels with a 110/70R17 front tyre and 150/60R17 rear tyre. Brakes are a single 320 mm front disc with a Bybre four-piston caliper and a 230 mm rear disc, slipper clutch and a six-speed transmission.

    The Duke 390’s two-channel ABS comes with three modes – Normal, Off, and Supermoto, which disables ABS for the rear brake only.

    Additional updates to the Duke 390 include a more padded seat, CANBUS system, Metzeler M5 Interact tyres, broader rear-view mirrors, Euro 4 emissions rating and a ride-by-wire throttle. The Duke 390 also gets a multi-function TFT LCD screen with automatic brightness control, and further data can be observed on mobile devices via the KTM My Ride app.

    The Duke 250 receives a more modest spec list by comparison, making do with a monochrome LCD display, while a cable throttle is standard for the 250 instead of the 390’s ride-by-wire, also doing without the Duke 390’s Supermoto ABS mode (ABS itself is still present on the Duke 250). Its 248.8cc single cylinder engine produces 30 hp at 9,000 rpm and 24 Nm of torque at 7,250 rpm.

    Compared with its immediate predecessor, the 2017 Duke 250 also gets a 30 mm hike in seat height to 830 mm, 10 mm shorter wheelbase at 1,357 mm, and an 8 kg weight gain to 147 kg. Fuel capacity grows 2.4 litres to 13.4 litres, and like the Duke 390, is also rated Euro 4 for emissions.

    Running gear on the Duke 250 includes 17-inch wheels with a 110/70R17 front tyre, 150/60R17 rear tyre, 43 mm WP Suspension upside-down fork, rear monoshock suspension with adjustable preload, 320 mm single front brake disc with a four-piston Bybre caliper and 230 mm rear disc brake with switchable two-channel ABS.

    Both bikes are manufactured in Jitra, Kedah; the KTM Duke 250 is priced at RM21,730 while the KTM Duke 390 is listed at RM28,800, including GST but without insurance and registration. Warranty coverage is for two years with unlimited mileage.

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM Duke 250 in Malaysia

    GALLERY: 2017 KTM Duke 390 in Malaysia

  • Thai auto exports rise for the first time in 14 months

    Thai automotive exports increased for the first time in 14 months in August, on the back of a recovering global economy, the Bangkok Post reports.

    Last week, the automotive industry club of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) announced that auto shipments in August jumped 9.26% to 102,907 units due to increased demand in every region it exports to except the Middle East and Africa. The value of the vehicles exported last month rose 6.19% to 54.2 billion baht.

    Club spokesman Surapong Paisitpatanapong said shipments to Oceania grew by 32.6% to 33,086 units, while exports to the rest of Asia increased by 2.11% to 25,406 units. Based on last month’s figures, the car manufacturer’s club sees potential in Europe, North America and Latin America.

    “We predict positive numbers for Thailand’s vehicle shipments in the four remaining months this year. Pick-up truck exports last month rose 7.05% to 62,313 units and this segment is projected to prop up the sector,” he said. Year-to-date exports for cars are down though, by 7.46% to 729,328 units.

    The original projected total export figure for 2017 was 1.2 million, but that was recently revised to 1.1 million, which is 7.5% lower than the 2016 total. The downward revision was because of reduced demand from the Middle East, which used to be a major importer.

    On the domestic front, auto sales grew for the eighth consecutive month in August, up 6.8% year-on-year to 67,962 units. That contributed to a year-to-date sales growth of 10.2% to 543,120 units. The biggest contributor is pick-up trucks with 228,922 units (up 8.6%), closely followed by passenger cars at 215,150 units (up 20.7%). SUV sales rose 0.7% to 33,635 units.

    A main boost to the Thai auto scene is the rejuvenated Eco Car segment, boosted by the recent launches of the Toyota Yaris facelift and new Yaris Ativ sedan. Both 1.2L compact cars have typically low price tags, but now come with seven airbags and VSC as standard.

  • New Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van teased – 2018 debut

    The current second-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been in production for 11 years, and next year there will finally be a new one. A teaser sketch for the new van has been released ahead of its European market launch in the first half of 2018.

    A number of design cues have been shared with last year’s Vision Van concept, including the arrow-shaped headlights and large grille, although it loses out on the show van’s front and rear LED displays that communicates with the surrounding environment. The more rounded and aggressive front end brings it closer in line with the design language of Mercedes’ passenger car range.

    No details have been revealed just yet, but Stuttgart claims that the new Sprinter will introduce key elements of its adVANce initiative that it announced along with the Vision Van. A comprehensive suite of driving assistance systems and connectivity services will be introduced, as will new telematics technology that will improve the efficiency of vehicle and fleet management.

    Expect the new model to launch with Mercedes’ new 2.0 litre four-cylinder and 3.0 litre straight-six diesel engines, and plug-in hybrid and fully electric variants should also be offered by 2020, in order for last-mile deliveries to continue in zero-emissions zones that are becoming more commonplace in city centres.

    Production of the new Sprinter will remain in Dusseldorf and Ludwigsfelde; however, a new plant in North Charleston, South Carolina will now build vehicles for the North America, which has grown to become the model’s second largest market behind Germany. Current US-market Sprinters are shipped in from Germany and assembled there to circumvent high import tariffs.

    GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter spyshots

  • Honda NSX receives new Liberty Walk modifications

    Remember the set of Liberty Walk-ed pictures of the Honda NSX that came out earlier this year? Well, it turns out that the Japanese tuning firm has finally completed the modifications, the bulk of which are cosmetics.

    Those familiar with Liberty Walk’s projects will spot the complete lack of bolt-on fenders, which is a good call. In fact, the rest of the car – minus the large GT wing that underscores the company’s identity – remains close to the factory look, save for tasteful additions such as the carbon front splitter, side skirts and a new rear diffuser.

    Filling the wheel arches are new Forgiato alloys with air suspension. Ride height has also been lowered, giving the illusion of being wider than it actually is. Don’t be fooled, guys. Liberty Walk completely made a pass on the widebody kit – again, very atypical for a company that’s known for such religious exploits.

    Besides the aforementioned mods, the car is mechanically untouched. Propulsion comes from the same bone-stock 3.5 litre twin-turbo petrol V6 with three electric motors that’s good for a total system output of 573 hp and 646 Nm of torque.

  • Next-gen Volvo XC90 to arrive in 2021, S60 in 2018 – production to take place at Charleston, South Carolina

    Volvo has announced production of the next-generation XC90 will begin from 2021, where it will be built at the carmaker’s manufacturing plant in Charleston, South Carolina. The SUV will join the all-new S60, also set to be produced at the facility from 2018.

    The Charleston facility is currently being upgraded as part of efforts to expand manufacturing operations in the United States, which will bring total investments to over US$1.1 billion. Volvo says this will help create up to 4,000 new jobs, of which 1,900 personnel will be recruited for a planned new office campus.

    “The continued expansion of our plant in South Carolina is another significant commitment to the US market. The plant in Charleston will serve both the US and international markets and forms a strong foundation for our future growth in the U.S. and globally,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

    According to the Swedish carmaker, the US is the largest single market for the XC90, hence the business logic behind the move. The decision to choose South Carolina as its first ever manufacturing plant in the US was its easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labour force, an attractive investment environment and experience in the manufacturing sector.

    The expanded Charleston plant will target a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles annually, with a considerable amount of XC90 volume being exported from the Port of Charleston. “We’re excited to add a second car to our first American factory and we continue to be impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit in South Carolina,” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Car USA.

    The announcement on further expansion in South Carolina is part of the company’s ‘build where you sell’ global manufacturing strategy. It currently operates two manufacturing plants in Europe, as well as two factories in China. A third Chinese plant is currently under construction.

  • Malaysia vehicle sales data for August 2017 by brand

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) recently released vehicle sales data for the month of August 2017, which saw 51,720 new vehicles delivered. That’s an increase of 3,167 units or 6.5% from July, but 1% (499 units) lower year-on-year.

    Year-to-date (YTD) total industry volume was 384,730 units, which is 4% higher than the 370,152 units recorded in the same period in 2016. MAA cites promotional campaigns by car companies and the fulfilment of back orders (with the e-daftar system returning to normalcy) for the decent results.

    Here’s a break down of who sold what in August. Some did better than the others, but by and large most brands recorded gains last month. Non-national leader Honda saw 13.5% growth, which should help it pull away from Toyota in the race. Fellow Japanese mass market brands also saw increased sales – Mazda by 14.4% and Subaru by 87.7%.

    Away from the Japanese marques, promos boosted sales at Volkswagen (up 53.7%), Kia (41.9%) and Peugeot (61.4%). Among the few brands not in the gainers list were market leader Perodua (-1.5%) and Ford (-16.9%).

    Over in the premium end of the market, Mercedes-Benz saw deliveries rise by 60.8% (YTD of 8,016 is sixth highest, way above many mass market brands including Mazda and Mitsubishi), with Volvo recording strong growth of 212.2%. However, before you jump to conclusions, Volvo’s YTD of 566 units shares a ballpark with Lexus (578) and Audi (516), not Mercedes and BMW (6,631).

    Click on the chart below to view a larger version.

  • Jaguar F-Type – 2nd-gen to get hybrid tech by 2020

    Jaguar’s commitment to produce environmentally friendly cars is quickly permeating its way throughout the range. The British company is even more serious now, after announcing that production for its all-new, all-electric I-Pace has already begun. There’s even a zero-emissions reinterpretation of the classic E-Type among the cards!

    The bigger news here is that its sports car, the F-Type, will get an electrified successor. According to Automotive News, Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design chief said the company will not discontinue the model, but instead give it a more advanced powertrain. He also said Jaguar won’t abandon its sports car segment because “there is something very emotional about a sports car that conveys the ultimate in the sense of performance and design.”

    The F-Type made its debut in 2013 and has since sold over 45,000 units globally. Earlier in April, the 2.0 litre 300 PS variant joined the range, forming the base of the F-Type line-up which has a tally of 16 variants. However, don’t expect to see the next-gen F-Type until end-2019 or 2020, because that’s the timeline we’re given before every single car in its stable gets electrified.

    Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia introduced the pre-facelift F-Type Coupe here in 2014 in two flavours – the 3.0 litre V6 (F-Type S) and 5.0 litre V8 (F-Type R), both supercharged and cost RM899,888 and RM1,158,888 respectively. The facelifted 2.0 litre four banger hasn’t found its way here (we’re not sure if it will, ever), neither did the 567 hp and 700 Nm F-Type SVR. Instead, the meanest F-Type Project 7 did. Just two out of 250 units found its way here, though.

    Watch how the RM1.2 million F-Type R fares against the similarly-priced BMW i8 and Mercedes-AMG GT S in our review below.

    GALLERY: 2018 Jaguar F-Type facelift

    GALLERY: Jaguar F-Type Project 7

    Jaguar XJ220 in Malaysia

  • SPYSHOTS: Porsche 718 Cayman GTS, Boxster GTS

    The Porsche 718 duo comprising the Cayman and Boxster have been spotted undergoing tests, with the former running road trials and the latter seen testing at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. These here are the GTS variants, which are both expected to make their debuts later this year.

    First, the Cayman. Bearing the GTS badge, the fixed roof two-seater will sit at the top of the mainstream series production Cayman range as is the case with the Boxster and the 911, barring the more specialised, motorsport division-developed models such as the Cayman GT4 and 911 GT3 and GT3 RS.

    The duo’s series production roots mean they will each run an augmented version of the 718 Cayman S/Boxster S powerplant, which means it will be an uprated version of the 2.5 litre turbocharged flat-four unit; output gains are estimated to be an additional 25 to 30 hp, for peak outputs of around 375 hp to 380 hp. If history dictates form, the Cayman will have marginally higher numbers.

    Driveline options could include both a manual and a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, with a limited-slip differential and torque vectoring expected to feature on both cars, either optionally or as standard. Sport Chrono can be expected here too, with the rotary drive mode switch on the steering wheel.

    Chassis upgrades can be expected to include a slightly lower ride height along with uprated springs and/or dampers, with the option for Porsche carbon-ceramic brakes (PCCB) apparently present on the Cayman GTS test mule here. Upsized wheels and tyres could feature here too.

    In terms of styling, the GTS treatment brings a more squared-off look to the front bumper and rear diffuser sections, the former with deeper and larger intakes as well as a chin spoiler. Around the back, the rear bumper similarly has deeper and more squared-off sculpting, while the exhausts exits remaining as before.

    As mentioned earlier, these GTS variants are expected to be the top of the mainstream range, while those craving for a more motorsport flavoured, mid-engined Porsche can wait for what appears to be the upcoming Cayman GT4 RS.

    GALLERY: Porsche 781 Cayman GTS test mules

    GALLERY: Porsche 718 Boxster GTS test mule

    GALLERY: Porsche Cayman GT4 RS spyshots

  • Mercedes-Benz Malaysia together with partner Hap Seng Star unveil new Iskandar Autohaus in Johor

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM), together with Hap Seng Star (HSS), unveiled a new Autohaus in Johor recently, as part of efforts to increase its presence in the southern region. The Mercedes-Benz Hap Seng Star Iskandar Autohaus (HSS Iskandar) is a full-fledged 3S centre, built with an investment of RM5 million.

    “HSS Iskandar is a testament to Mercedes-Benz Malaysia and Hap Seng Star’s long-standing relationship and continuous commitment in delivering the best customer experience to all regions in Malaysia. As the largest premium automotive dealer network, it is natural that we remain steadfast with our core objective, to deliver the best products, best service and most importantly, efficient aftersales to customers,” said Claus Weidner, president and CEO of MBM.

    The facility is managed by 18 personnel, and features a showroom capable if displaying up to seven vehicles. It is supported by a nearby service centre with eight service bays, capable of servicing 528 vehicles per month.

    As with other Autohaus facilities, HSS Iskandar incorporates key aspects of the Mercedes-Benz Presentation System II (MPS II). Customers will also have access to a boutique and accessories area, customer lounge, as well as a café for refreshments. Meanwhile, financial services from Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia is also made available to all customers.

    “As our first Mercedes-Benz Autohaus in Johor, HSS Iskandar represents Hap Seng Star’s entry into the southern region. Driven by our corporate philosophy, ‘Passion for Excellence’, we aim to deliver our unique retail and customer experience to Johoreans, and ultimately to serve our customers an exclusive Mercedes-Benz experience with utmost care and passion,” said Harald Behrend, group chief operating officer of Hap Seng Consolidated and chief executive of Hap Seng Star.

    HSS Iskandar is the latest addition to the company’s portfolio, which also includes facilities in Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kinrara (Puchong), Jalan Ipoh, Balakong and Bukit Tinggi, Kuching, Miri and Kota Kinabalu. The company has invested over RM248 million in these nine locations to date.

    HSS Iskandar is located at No. 1, Ground Floor, Jalan Bestari 8/2, Taman Nusa Bestari, while its service centre is located a mere 15 minutes’ drive away at No. 7, Jalan SILC 1/4, Taman Perindustrian SILC.


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Last Updated 21 Sep 2017


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