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  • SPYSHOTS: Volvo XC40 in new, much clearer images

    Spy-Shots of Cars
    This image has been optimized for a calibrated screen with a Gamma of 2.2 and a colour temperature of 6500°K

    The last time we saw spyshots of the Volvo XC40, they were of low resolution and very grainy, limiting the amount of detail. This time, our European spies have returned with much clearer images that give us a better look at Gothenburg’s upcoming compact SUV.

    From the looks of it, the XC40 stays relatively faithful to the 40.1 concept shown last year, with trapezoidal headlights carrying Volvo’s signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED daytime running lights. The front grille also has a reverse rake similar to the show car, giving it a unique look that’s distinct from its larger 90 Series models (XC90, S90 and V90) and the new XC60. The clamshell bonnet has also been retained.

    Meanwhile, the 40.1’s slim side cameras, flush-fitting front door handles and “hidden” rear handles have been replaced by larger door mirrors and more conventional door handles. The tall tail lights are reminiscent of the XC90 and V90, but have a more angular design.

    Spy-Shots of Cars
    This image has been optimized for a calibrated screen with a Gamma of 2.2 and a colour temperature of 6500°K

    Set to debut at the 2017 Auto Shanghai next month, the XC40 will be the first car built on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), developed in conjunction with parent company Geely. Engine choices will include Volvo’s existing Drive-E 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel mills, along with a new 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine.

    The latter will also be paired with an electric motor in the T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid model, with a total system output of around 250 PS and 400 Nm. A fully-electric version is set to follow in 2020 at the earliest, with an expected range of 350 km.

    Volvo’s smallest XC model isn’t reaching the market until 2018, according to former R&D boss Peter Mertens; when it does, however, it’s expected to significantly boost the Swedish automaker’s sales volume, which is reliant on SUV sales. Set to rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1, the XC40 is expected to retail at a starting price of €30,000 (RM143,200).

  • Toyota Sienna facelift unveiled – new looks, safety kit

    Toyota’s Stateside MPV offering, the Sienna, has been facelifted for the 2018 model year, offering revised looks as well as a number of added safety and convenience features.

    The new front fascia looks to have been inspired by the new Camry, and features a slimmer upper grille, a gaping lower grille and vertical fog lamp enclosures for a more assertive look. The sportier SE model’s side skirts are also now fitted on all variants.

    Inside, the Sienna benefits from Toyota’s new Entune 3.0 infotainment system with navigation and App Suite Connect as standard; the LE, SE and XLE gain Entune Audio Plus with Safety Connect and a Wi-Fi Connect hotspot. The Entune 3.0 Premium JBL Audio system on the top-spec Limited adds Dynamic Navigation and Destination Assist, along with nine speakers, a 10.1-inch subwoofer, Sound Staging and Clari-Fi technology.

    Other new features include five USB ports for all three rows, an updated Rear Seat Entertainment with streaming support for Android devices, a Bird’s Eye View monitor on the Limited Premium variant and a 4.3-inch multi-information display. The SE trim also receives a laminated front windscreen, while the Limited variant gets new acoustic front side windows.

    Safety-wise, all Sienna models now come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with full speed range, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist and Automatic High Beam (AHB).

    The Sienna was already given a new engine and transmission last year, with a 3.5 litre naturally-aspirated Dual VVT-i V6 producing 296 hp at 6,600 rpm and 357 Nm at 4,700 rpm. A Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels, with all-wheel drive also available.

  • Proton will announce its strategic partner by May

    Proton will be able to announce its foreign strategic partner (FSP) by May, according to second international trade and industry minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan. He made this announcement following the news that Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely had withdrawn its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Proton, The Star reports.

    Despite Geely having exited the scene, Ong said it was not the end of the road for Proton. He said that there were a few other bidders at the moment, and that the Chinese company wasn’t the only one seeking a partnership with the national carmaker. He added that the government was not going to interfere with the decision-making of which partner DRB-Hicom will go with.

    “They (Proton) are currently trying to finalise the decision. As a private entity now, the Government cannot help Proton make the decision. We are only able to nudge them towards the direction in finding a strategic partner,” he told reporters.

    Ong had earlier said that there could be the possibility that Proton might follow Perodua’s path by allowing its FSP to have a 51% equity stake in the company.

    Yesterday, the South China Morning Post reported that Geely had pulled out of negotiations with the national automaker, the move being confirmed by Geely president An Conghui. An did not elaborate on the reasons for the decision. Earlier this month, the Chinese carmaker’s chairman Li Shufu had indicated that it was planning to pull its bid due to DRB-Hicom’s indecision regarding the partnership.

    The announcement of Geely’s withdrawal from the chase means that Groupe PSA remains as the leading – and thus far, the only publicly known – contender to become Proton’s partner. The French company – which is on a global expansion exercise – confirmed it submitted a bid for a partnership with Proton, announcing last month it was in talks with the Malaysian carmaker for a deal.

  • McLaren BP23 three-seater hyper-GT teased – all sold

    Woking supercar manufacturer McLaren has released a teaser image of its upcoming, three-seater hyper-GT model, for now known as the BP23. From this rear three-quarter perspective, the BP23 appears to flaunt classic mid-engined proportions, with the suggestion of a distinct cabin-forward posture which should allow its occupants (primarily the driver) a clear forward view, bookended by the tops of the front fenders.

    Its rear window slopes down towards the rear end in a manner similar to that of the 720S, with a hint of 458 Italia in the rear haunches as the lines sweep over the rear wheels. Meanwhile, the rear fascia features a much slimmer pair of tail lights, even compared to the slender items on current McLarens.

    Just 106 units of the BP23 will be produced, and all have been sold, according to McLaren. Further details are still scarce, but the three-seater hyper-GT is expected to pair electric drive with the M840T 4.0 litre V8 which currently powers the 720S, for a ballpark output figure somewhere between the Super Series car’s 720 PS/770 Nm and the 913 PS/900 Nm of the P1, which is part of the Ultimate Series range.

    As suggested by the hyper-GT inclinations, the BP23 will take on more of the 570GT‘s flavour rather than the 720S, in being more road-biased for longer range touring comfort, instead of a single-minded focus on performance and lap times. Certain things haven’t changed though: the BP23 stays true to McLaren’s carbon-fibre construction ethos with its Monocage II monocoque tub and structure.

  • Gov’t to consider raising speed limit but not without an in-depth study first, says works minister – report

    Works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has said that the government is open to the proposal to raise the national highway speed limit beyond the current 110 km/h, according to the Malay Mail.

    Before any change can take place, however, an in-depth study needs to be conducted first, which would include discussions with the Road Safety Department (JKJR) and Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS). “In the context of setting the speed limit, it is not up to the Works Department alone but we work with JKJR and MIROS for their perspectives from the aspect of safety.

    “We see it more from the aspect of safety, because our highways have been designed for a maximum speed limit of only 120 km/h, but some people drive up to 200 km/h and in Malaysia the road accident rate is high,” said Fadillah, adding that while several factors contribute to road accident, speed was one of the main causes of fatalities, according to statistics and studies conducted by JKJR and MIROS.

    Fadillah also said that the works ministry, via the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), has instructed all highway concessionaire to upgrade the electronic payment transaction systems at their toll plazas, saying that this was to prevent the disruption of toll payment and avoid congestion.

    He listed necessary actions such as modifying the circuit breakers of electronic payment systems so that only problematic electrical circuits would trip without affecting the systems of other lanes.

  • AD: Peugeot Trade In & Trade Up – enjoy the highest trade-in value for your old car to get a new Peugeot

    Trading in your current vehicle isn’t as simple as it sounds nowadays – there are plenty of hurdles to jump though, and the prices offered may not be up to your expectations. That’s where the Peugeot Trade In & Trade Up campaign comes in.

    If you’re looking to get a new ride, do come over to Peugeot showrooms to get the highest trade in value for your current car, making that brand new Peugeot vehicle that much more affordable. Offer is valid while stocks last, so now’s the time to pounce. Out with the old, save on the new!

    There certainly won’t be better time to trade in your car for a brand new Peugeot 308 THP, the 508 (including the sedan, SW and the 508 GT diesel) and the 5008 MPV. The high trade in values are not to be missed.

    Peugeot’s latest range, including the new 208 and 2008 SUV PureTech, as well as the new 208 GTi hot hatch will be on display as well. Come one and come all – great deals are to be had on all new Peugeot models.

    Interested? Do click here for more information.

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  • TechArt GTStreet R Cabriolet – 340 km/h wind in hair

    The Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is the fastest way to travel in a soft-top 911, at least as far as factory models are concerned. The range-topping, 3.8 litre twin-turbo, flat-six cranks out 580 hp and 750 Nm of torque. German tuner TechArt adds considerably more from the same engine architecture, and manages to squeeze 720 hp and 920 Nm of torque from the powerplant.

    Changes made to the engine include an ECU kit, sport air intake filter, TechArt turbochargers with variable turbine geometry and a sports exhaust system with stepless valve adjustment. Additionally, the transmission also gets TechArt gearbox management calibration.

    On the chassis side, the GTStreet R rolls on a choice of either 20-inch or 21-inch wheels and tyres. TechArt also offers its VarioPlus coilver suspension kit for pairing with Porsche’s PDDC damper control setup, or the TechArt Noselift front axle lift kit for an additional 60 mm of ground clearance at the front.

    The GTStreet R exterior is more aggressive all around, with a deeper front bumper and active front spoiler lip reshaping the airflow around the car. Wheelarch extensions further broaden the already wide 911 variant – with front wheelarch vents fashioned after those on the 911 GT3 RS – while large air scoops reside just ahead of the rear wheels.

    Around the back, a huge rear wing sits atop the decklid, while a new bumper sports deeper sculpting, with cut-outs for the more centrally-located exhausts. These culminate in performance figures of 0-100 km/h in 2.7 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 8.5 seconds, 0-300 km/h in 23.3 seconds, onwards to a top speed of 340 km/h.

  • Lexus LC gains TRD exterior upgrades – wheels, aero

    The Lexus LC is already a looker, but those eyeing an even more aggressive look can turn to Toyota Racing Development (TRD) for their needs. The in-house tuner has released a new line of exterior upgrades for the Japanese luxury coupé, and they look surprisingly subtle and refined compared to their other offerings.

    At the front, there are small spoilers at each corner that help clean up the flow of air, while a rubber lip spoiler under the grille adds a minimal amount of downforce. There are also additional side skirts that improve straight line stability.

    Moving to the rear, a bootlid lip spoiler provides aerodynamic balance to aid stability, while the rear side spoilers and diffuser also increase downforce. The front and rear side spoilers, side skirts and bootlid lip spoiler come in black, and on cars painted in White Nova, Black and Graphite Black are also available in body colour, painted at the dealer.

    Last but not least is a set of 21-inch lightweight forged aluminium alloy wheels measuring 21×8.5J at the front and 21×9.5J at the rear, requiring the use of 245/40RF21 front and 275/35RF21 rear run-flat tyres. The wheels also come with locking nuts.

    The parts are compatible with both the LC 500 and LC 500h. The former is powered by a 5.0 naturally-aspirated, direct-injected Atkinson-cycle VVT-i V8 that produces 471 hp at 7,100 rpm and 540 Nm at 4,800 rpm, sent to the rear wheels via a Direct Shift 10-speed automatic transmission.

    Meanwhile, the LC 500h hybrid uses a 299 PS/356 Nm 3.5 litre direct-injected Dual VVT-i V6 coupled with a 180 PS/300 Nm electric motor, a lithium-ion battery and a four-speed automatic transmission that works with the electric motor to simulate a 10-speed auto. Total system output stands at 354 hp.

  • Hum Rider – extreme lift-kit to “drive through” traffic

    Push a button, and get set to clear the gridlocked traffic ahead of you. It sounds like something that happens in cartoons, but this is a real, functioning Jeep Grand Cherokee that can drive over stopped traffic. It is however, a gimmick for a marketing campaign.

    US telecommunications service provider Verizon commissioned Thinkmodo, a marketing agency to come up with the concept. The extra-tall riding Jeep was built by A2Zfx, a company specialising in the custom fabrication and manufacture of promotional vehicles.

    It’s powered by a single Honda generator in the engine bay, which delivers electricity to the hydraulic pumps that power the steering, braking, drive, and of course, elevation.

    Said to weigh a little under twice as much as the standard Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Hum Rider rolls on truck tyres in place of the standard set in order to support the added weight. At its full extension, the Hum Rider is nine feet tall with its track widths also extended, and in the video it appears to just clear a Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio sedan, and a Mazda 3 sedan.

    The footage cuts away as the Hum Rider approaches the pick-up truck ahead – conveniently, perhaps? According to Mashable, Thinkmodo deployed assistants to stop bystanders from recording their own footage of the Hum Rider’s abilities.

    Dear readers, what do you think of the Hum Rider’s concept?

  • Kia Grand Carnival launched in Malaysia – 2.2 CRDI, three variants, priced from RM154k to RM186k

    Naza Kia has officially launched the Kia Grand Carnival in the country. Previewed last year, the eight-seater MPV – known as the Sedona in other markets – makes its local debut in three variant forms, a 2,2 CRDI KX, 2.2 CRDI EX and a base, low-spec 2.2D.

    All versions of the third-gen Carnival – which measures in at 5,115 mm long, 1,985 mm wide and 1,740 mm tall, with a 3,060 mm-long wheelbase – sold here use the same engine, a R 2.2 litre CRDi turbodiesel four-cylinder unit providing 190 hp at 3,800 rpm and 440 Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,750 rpm. The mill is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

    Exterior features common to all models are projector halogen headlamps (with LED DRLs), front and rear fog lamps, LED-type rear combination lamps, electric-folding side mirrors (with LED indicators) and a shark fin antenna.

    The highest-spec 2.2 CRDI EX adds on a roof rack, and gets a black radiator grill with chrome accents (on the KX and 2.2D, plain black). All variants also come dressed with 18-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/60 profile tyres – the 2.2D and KX’s units are finished in silver, while the EX’s are machined finished.

    The base 2.2D is equipped with manually-operated sliding rear doors and a standard key fob, while the 2.2 CRDI KX brings power sliding doors, keyless operation (entry with push-start) into the equation. The 2.2 CRDI EX adds a smart power tailgate on top of that.

    Inside, standard fit items include a 3.5-inch Supervision TFT-mono OLED instrument cluster, 4.3-inch TFT colour touchscreen entertainment system and a six-speaker audio system with USB and AUX-in connectivity, though Bluetooth isn’t included.

    Other features include a tilt/telescopic steering wheel (leather on the EX), foot parking brake and auto cruise control, and there are manual sunshade blinds for the second and third row windows. Also, the KX and EX get a rear-view camera.

    The 2.2 CRDI KX gets grey two-tone fabric seats, while the 2.2 CRDI EX ups these to beige two-tone leather units. Both the 2.2D and 2.2 CRDI KX come with manual air-conditioning, while the 2.2 CRDI EX gets a triple-zone automatic climate control with cluster ioniser. All three seat rows have their own set of ceiling-mounted air-conditioning vents.

    Space is the selling point with this one – the second-row seats are foldable in a 40:20:40 split, and can be slid forwards for easier access to the third row. The rearmost seats, meanwhile, can be folded flat in a 50:50 split to accommodate bags and other cargo. Boot luggage space with seats up is 359 litres, going up to 2,718 litres with seats folded.

    As for the front seats, the 2.2 CRDI KX (and 2.2D) are of the manual adjustment variety, with powered lumbar support being available for the driver side seat. Meanwhile, the 2.2 CRDI EX gets a powered 12-way front driver’s seat, with the passenger side being a manual unit.

    Safety-wise, all variants of the Grand Carnival come equipped with six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), front and rear parking sensors, electronic stability control, ABS and hill assist control as standard.

    Also fitted are Isofix child seat mounts, with two located at the second row (outer seats) and one more at the third row (driver’s side). A quick note about the grand Carnival’s seat belt configuration – the 2.2D features two lap belts (centre seats on both second and third row), but both the 2.2 CRDI KX and EX have the full raft of three-point seatbelts.

    Three colours are available for the Grand Carnival – Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl and Titanium Brown.

    Finally, pricing. The Kia Grand Carnival is priced at RM153,888 for the entry-level 2.2D, while the 2.2 CRDI KX goes for RM169,888 and the range-topping 2.2 CRDI EX is priced at RM185,888. All prices mentioned here are on-the-road with insurance, and come inclusive of a five-year/unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty and Naza Kia’s ‘Value 5’ smart financing package.

    GALLERY: Kia Grand Carnival 2.2 CRDI EX

    GALLERY: Kia Grand Carnival 2.2 CRDI KX

    GALLERY: Kia Grand Carnival 2.2D


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