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  • 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R KPGC110 – Kenmeri spotted

    I don’t remember noticing Nissan Crossing – the Japanese carmaker’s brand showcase in Ginza – the previous time I was in Tokyo’s glitzy district, but it was impossible not to this time around. Walking from Tsukiji market towards the Imperial Palace, I passed the crossing where the famous Wako Building sits, and across the big Seiko clock sat a rare, red beast.

    I had to rub my eyes because a Kenmeri GT-R is rare – it’s certainly harder to come by than a Hakosuka, the first Skyline GT-R, and many have only seen the fabled KPGC110 as a die-cast model.

    The first time this writer saw a Kenmeri in the metal was when we visited Nissan’s Zama Heritage Collection in Kanagawa three years ago, but it was just that bit more awesome this time around – maybe because it was in red, or because it was in the city, or perhaps a combination or both.

    The 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R sitting in Nissan Crossing’s “Cylinder” storefront is one of just 197 units of the KPGC110 made and sold in Japan in four months from January 1973, giving it the nickname “the elusive GT-R”. Killed by strict exhaust emission regulations, the wrong time, wrong place Kenmeri GT-R was produced in silver, white and red – the latter is the most rare colour.

    The C110 GT-R is powered by a 2.0 litre engine six-cylinder engine with 160 PS at 7,000 rpm and 177 Nm of torque at 5,600 rpm, and this S20 engine – with DOHC and three racing carbs – is what differentiates the elusive GT-R from lookalikes based on the regular Skyline C110 Coupe.

    Besides this car, the S20 was ever only found in the Hakosuka (1,945 units in four- and two-door form) and 420 units of the Nissan Fairlady Z S30 432. Click on the links to see these S20-powered legends.

    The 1,145 kg C110 GT-R sits on front struts and independent rear semi-trailing arms, while the brakes are all round discs. Visually, the way the coupe body with black overfenders sits on those skinny 14-inch wheels are rather odd (compared to modern cars), but they mark out a GT-R along with a mesh front grille and prominent ducktail rear spoiler. Of course, the GT-R badge in that iconic arrangement sits on both ends, which have four eyes each.

    There would be no more GT-R after the Kenmeri, until the R32 resurrected the famous badge in 1989, starting another chapter of the GT-R story. For those wondering about the name, Kenmeri refers to Ken and Mary, a pair of lovers used by the carmaker in the marketing of the second-generation Nissan Skyline in Japan.

    Working while on holiday? Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I enjoyed it. Also do check out a beautiful video of the Kenmeri (and Hakosuka) by Petrolicious and a cute compilation of Ken and Mary Skyline ads below.

    GALLERY: 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R KPGC110

  • Mercedes-Benz Malaysia launches AMG Owners Community Malaysia, open to all AMG vehicle owners

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) has introduced the AMG Owners Community Malaysia (AOCM), a network for all existing and new owners of Mercedes-AMG automobiles. The initiative, which was officially launched last Friday at Hap Seng Star’s Balakong Autohaus, already has more than 200 members.

    The AOCM is the latest initiative by MBM to elevate the AMG experience to greater heights. Members become a part of a dedicated and exclusive community with access to all things AMG – driving days, product previews, elite motorsport events and unique collectables.

    Benefits include exclusive invitations to preview new AMG automobiles as well as priority seating for motorsport events alongside limited merchandise and apparel. Members will also be invited to the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience, where they will be able to utilise their own AMG vehicles on the track.

    Owners who register their new Mercedes-AMG vehicles as well as existing owners who sign up from now until November 30 will receive a welcome pack which includes a numbered member card, car sticker, custom-designed polo-shirt and a laser-engraved paperweight.

    “It gives us great pleasure to welcome our Mercedes-AMG owners to join ‘The World’s Fastest Family’ via the AOCM, where the cost of membership is nothing more than ownership and enjoyment of your Mercedes-AMG automobile. We look forward to hosting these passionate fans and enthusiasts of our most powerful and dynamically desirable cars with experiences that are exclusive only to them as we uphold the AMG ideal of driving performance in everything that we do,” said MBM’s VP of sales and marketing Mark Raine.

    The company has also announced a promotion for its flexible financing package available for its AMG models – the first few customers to activate Performance Agility Care will receive an exclusive Mercedes-AMG merchandise pack worth RM5,000. The campaign runs until October 31.

  • SPYSHOTS: Renault Clio-based crossover spotted

    Renault is working on a small crossover/SUV based upon the Clio hatchback, as evidenced by images from our spy photographers. Here, it appears that the French manufacturer is taking aim at the likes of the Ford Fiesta Active, adopting the formula of applying a taller stance and associated SUV styling cues to a B-segment hatchback, here with roof rails and – possibly – dark plastic cladding for the off-road look.

    Yet to be bestowed an official name, the Clio-based crossover has been tipped to utilise the CMF-B platform that is set for use with the upcoming Clio, which should include the new 1.3 litre turbo petrol engine which is shared with the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. This offers 115 hp at 4,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,500 rpm in base form, up to 160 hp at 5,500 rpm and 260 Nm from 1,750 Nm in its most potent guise.

    Camouflage on the test mule photographed here means there isn’t very much revealed about how it may differ from the Clio it is based upon, save for its taller ride height. At the front, the crossover test mule appears to omit the Clio’s foglamps, which were seen to be located at the corners of the bumper on the hatchback.

    While the forthcoming Clio is tipped for an October debut at the Paris Motor Show, this crossover version will likely arrive later on. Currently, Renault’s entrant in the B-segment crossover/SUV realm is the Captur, which has been spotted testing in future coupe crossover guise.

    GALLERY: 2019 Renault Clio spyshots

  • SPIED: Land Rover Discovery Sport facelift testing

    And just like that, the L550 Land Rover Discovery Sport has turned four. Originally unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the seven-seater SUV looks set to receive a midlife update, as seen with this heavily-camouflaged unit that was photographed in Spain.

    The changes appear to be rather drastic, going by the chunkier front apron and bulging rear bumper. Also expected to change are the headlights and tail lamps design, complete with new graphics. Inside, it’s rumoured to share the luxurious new cabin of the second-generation Evoque, which is almost similar to what you get with the more premium Velar.

    What’s more surprising are reports suggesting that the refreshed Discovery Sport will ride on the automaker’s Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), a heavily-revised version of its existing aluminium-intensive platform that will underpin the upcoming Evoque. This offers better ride comfort, a stiffer body structure and improved refinement.

    The new platform also allows for electrification – a plug-in hybrid variant of the Evoque will be introduced before 2020, featuring a new 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid powertrain and a lithium-ion battery pack, as well as a 48-volt electrical system.

    The updated Discovery Sport is expected to go on sale till 2024, after which its successor will move onto the new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) platform, Autocar reports. It’s designed for rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts, and allows for petrol and diesel mild-hybrid powertrains, as well as plug-in hybrid and a full EV configurations.

  • Rolls-Royce introduces Privacy Suite for the Extended Wheelbase Phantom – it’s a soundproof rear cabin!

    Rolls-Royce has lifted the veils off its new Privacy Suite, which was showcased in the Extended Wheelbase Phantom at the 2018 Chengdu Motor Show. The space offers rear occupants a completely isolated and soundproof cabin at the touch of a button, and it’s as luxurious as you can imagine.

    Built to serve the world’s most influential and enigmatic individuals (men and women who demand the ‘luxury of privacy’ wherever they travel, according to Rolls-Royce), the luxury automaker created the Privacy Suite that balances function and luxury without compromising the space and comfort of rear passengers.

    Separating the front and rear cabin is a huge piece of electrochromatic glass, allowing both sides to be visually separated by simply adjusting the glass opacity. The rear cabin, while hailed as the quietest in the world, gets even more sound absorption technology to deliver the highest possible levels of acoustic insulation.

    This works via a frequency-specific compound that inhibits the transmission of conversations in the rear cabin to the front cabin. A fully integrated intercom system allows communication between the driver and rear passengers on demand. The rear passenger can use the intercom to open a direct line to the driver at the press of a button, but the driver needs to ‘call’ the rear occupants via a switch, who can choose to either answer or reject the communication.

    Also, a large aperture controlled solely by the rear passenger allows documents or other objects to be passed between the front and rear cabins. This aperture, when open, will discreetly illuminate the object. There’s the Rear Privacy Curtains which allow full closure of the side and rear window, as well as Rear Privacy Glass.

    Lastly, Rolls-Royce has fitted a Bespoke Rear Theatre Entertainment System that includes two high definition 12-inch display units, both of which are linked to the car’s connected software. Each screen comes with an HDMI port that allows synchronisation of personal devices, and can only be controlled and deployed from the centre console. Of course, the Starlight Headliner and Bespoke Clock come as standard.

  • Aston Martin Project 003 – new hypercar to rival Senna

    Aston Martin has confirmed a new mid-engined hypercar codenamed Project 003 (teaser sketch above), which will slot beneath the Valkyrie to take on the McLaren Senna, AutoExpress reports. It will be Aston Martin’s third hypercar project (after the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro), and it will likely go on sale towards the end of 2021 in both right-hand drive and left-hand drive forms.

    Production is said to be limited to 500 units globally (the Valkyrie is limited to 175 units), and the road-legal mid-engined beast will be built around a lightweight structure. Performance-wise, a turbocharged petrol-electric hybrid engine has been earmarked to provide power, although Aston has yet to reveal specific details.

    Word is the electrified system will pack around 900 hp, putting it right between the new DBS Superleggera and Valkyrie. Expect it to feature active aerodynamics and active suspension that is similar to the Valkyrie, but fully homologated for public road use.

    The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro is a 1,100 hp track-only monster

    Company boss Dr Andy Palmer said, “I’m thrilled to announce that this car is the Project ‘003’, and our next step into a dynamic and exacting arena. It was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendent that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialised, limited production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models.”

    Another mid-engined performance model is also said to be in the pipeline – a road-legal supercar that will rival the Ferrari 488 and crown the brand’s core line-up of seven models. Before we forget, there’s also the rare Speedtail that will be revealed later this year.

  • Groupe PSA reveals plan to electrify all models fr 2019

    Starting from 2019, each new model offered under Groupe PSA will have a plug-in hybrid or fully-electric variant. That means every model sold by Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Vauxhall and Opel will get an electrified model as part of the group’s push for clean mobility. The electrified models are said to emit less than 49 g/km of CO2.

    “Today, Groupe PSA is expanding its line-up with new electrified powertrains. It is technologically ready to play its part in the energy transition thanks to a multi-energy offering. Whatever new model they want, customers will be able to buy it in an internal combustion, electric or hybrid version,” the group said in a statement.

    Two platforms will be used for this, which are the Common Modular Platform (CMP) and Efficient Model Platform (EMP2) architectures. PSA says these underpinnings will be able to integrate any of the powertrains, be it internal combustion, electric, or hybrid. The group has also set a target to electrify 100% of its line-up for all five brands by 2025.

    The group will roll out 15 new electrified vehicles in the next two years, which includes eight new plug-in hybrid models, namely the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4×4, Peugeot 3008, 508 and 508 SW, Citroën C5 Aircross, Vauxhall Grandland X and Opel Grandland X. The remaining seven will be pure electric models, spearheaded by the newly-unveiled DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.

    The plug-in hybrid system, as previewed by the C5 Aircross Hybrid concept, features a 180 hp Turbo High Pressure (THP) petrol engine that is married to an electric motor that produces 80 kW (107 hp). Its total system output is rated at 225 hp and 337 Nm, with power routed to the front wheels through an e-EAT8 eight-speed electric automatic gearbox.

    Notable figures include a 50 km pure electric range and a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 2.0 litres per 100 km. Charging the 200-volt, 13.2-kWh lithium-ion battery through a Type 2 connector takes between four to eight hours through a European domestic 14 A socket, but it’ll take just two hours for a full charge through a dedicated 32 A three-phase AC charger. Expect a similar PHEV setup for the Peugeot 3008 and 508.

  • Toyota Supra, BMW Z4 teams “not spoken” since 2014

    With the G29 BMW Z4 unveiled last month, its platform sibling the A90 Toyota Supra won’t be far off. Given the commonalities between the two cars, one may expect a constant flow of data between the two companies regarding the coupe and roadster duo, but, Toyota says that hasn’t been the case.

    In fact, Toyota’s development team for the A90 Supra has not spoken with anyone from BMW since 2014, just two years since the partnership between the two firms began in 2012, according to assistant chief engineer for the Supra, Masayuki Kai.

    “We agreed on the packaging, like where is the hip-point for the driver, what’s the wheelbase, the width, location of the fuel tank, A-pillar, and so forth. This was around the middle of 2014, and after that we completely separated our teams. There was no more communication after that,” said Kai.

    So complete was the communication blackout that the assistant chief engineer for the A90 Supra doesn’t even know exactly how much componentry co-developed for both the Supra and the Z4 will actually be in the German car, the report said. “Basically, the platform is the same, so we assume that we are using the same components, but as I mentioned, we are not sure that they will use the same components,” Kai noted.

    Certainly, however, the team at Toyota is keen to give the Supra its own identity in terms of feel. “Tuning of the the shifting, some of the shift shock, shift speed – all of this is specifically designed for our Supra. For the engine, we have tuned it for throttle response and a little more (sportiness),” Kai said. The fifth-generation Supra has been quite some time in the making; looking forward to its debut, dear readers?

    GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Supra spyshots


  • Audi reveals e-offensive plan – 20 new models by 2025

    The Audi e-tron represents the start of an electrification offensive (e-offensive) for the brand with the four rings, as it plans to launch 20 new models by 2025, with 12 of them featuring all-electric powertrains.

    According to the German automaker, four different platforms will be at its disposal in its multi-model introduction. The first is a heavily-developed version of the MLB Evo, which has been expanded with numerous electronic components (electric motors, floor-mounted modular battery system, e-drive controllers, etc.) and is currently being used for the e-tron and the e-tron Sportback, with the latter slated to arrive in 2019.

    The next platform is more performance-focused and will be featured on the e-tron GT concept, which will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this year. During a talk presented at Audi’s Tech Park event prior to the e-tron’s unveiling, Peter Martens, board member for technical development at Audi AG stated the show car is the work of the company’s Audi Sport division.

    He added that the e-tron GT will be underpinned by the platform used for the upcoming Porsche Taycan, which employs a bespoke architecture codenamed ‘J1’. At the time, we were also treated to a teaser sketch of the concept that shows a rather sleek-looking vehicle.

    For vehicles in the A segment, Audi will develop cars based on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix platform (MEB). Details of potential models are scarce for now, and we’ll only get out first indication on what’s in store in the compact segment next year.

    Lastly, there’s the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture for vehicles covering the high-volume B through D segments of the market. Developed with Porsche, this platform will be applied on SUV and classic body styles (sedans, Avant models, etc.); it was also developed exclusively for electric drive in mind. Audi expects the first few vehicles riding on the PPE to arrive by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

    Despite its e-offensive, Audi states that it expects two thirds of the vehicles it sells to feature an internal combustion engine (ICE), albeit with some form of hybrid technology (mild, full or plug-in). It adds that there will be a push for SUV models given its take on current market trends, with 12 of the 20 models touted being parked under its ‘Q’ SUV range – seven full EVs while the remainder is a mix of different hybrids and conventional ICEs.

    The company also adds that vehicles with all-electric powertrains will go on sale in the most important markets worldwide first. This includes China, which it considers a crucial market that warrants market-specific models to be introduced.

    GALLERY: Audi e-tron world debut in San Francisco

  • Proton launches six new 3S/4S centres in September – automaker’s 109 outlet target by Oct remains on track

    Proton has announced the launch of six new or upgraded 3S/4S centres this month as part of its massive sales and service network revamp. The move also sees dealerships switching to the automaker’s new corporate identity (CI), which incorporates a light blue colour scheme.

    As of the end of August, the automaker said it had achieved 92% of its planned target of upgrading its network to 3S/4S status for the year, with the number of centres in the revamped network now at 100. It added that it remains on track to meet its planned 109 outlet target by October.

    The first of six new centres announced this month is Top Zone Auto Gallery, which is located in Sungai Dua, Butterworth. The 2S facility has been upgraded to a 3S centre at a cost of RM1.5 million. The outlet has five service bays and five hoists as well as a waiting area that can seat 15 people. Facilities include an internet corner and free wifi.

    The second is a 3S centre located in Puchong, Selangor. Operated by Atiara Johan, the new facility replaces a 1S showroom that was previously operating in Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur. The new outlet, which has a built-up area of 1,700 sq metres, has a service centre with 14 bays and 12 hoists.

    Outlet number three is that run by KH Motor. Located in Kota Samarahan in Sarawak, almost RM1 million has been invested into upgrading the 3S outlet to reflect the automaker’s new CI. The dealership, which has six service bays and five hoists, has also expanded its sales and service staff count in anticipation of increased sales and volume throughput in the near future.

    The next facility is a 4S centre in Sungai Petani, Kedah, run by Mercu Usaha Mesra. The renovation to the new CI requirements has added new features and space to the outlet – the 2,869 sq metre facility now has a showroom floor capable of displaying 10 cars, up from seven previously. It has also increased its after-sales service capability, adding two more service bays to 14 and four more hoists to 11 in total with the upgrade.

    Another 3S outlet in the north renovated to meet Proton’s new CI is that of Lee Motors in Alor Setar, Kedah. The facility, which has a built-up area of 1,060 sq metres, includes features such as a coffee area and free Wifi for waiting customers. Its service section currently has four service bays, with additional area for expansion if the need arises.

    The last of the six is new outlets announced this month is the SAG Wira facility in Klang, Selangor. The existing 3S outlet has been fully revamped to new requirements, and adds on extra facilities such as a delivery bay and a discussion room area. The service area is equipped with seven bays and five hoists, and the company also has an existing body and paint centre, situated at Kampung Batu Belah, Klang.


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Last Updated 01 Sep 2018


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