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  • Ferrari confirms Purosangue SUV, LaFerrari replacement, hybrid powertrains, V6 engine family

    Ferrari unveiled its latest five-year plan on its Capital Markets Day this week, together with the new Monza SP1 and SP2 speedsters. Maranello has big plans this time around, with a slew of high-profile announcements confirming many things that have long been rumoured and suggested.

    By far the biggest news is that Ferrari has finally, definitively confirmed that it is building an SUV. Only it insists it’s not an SUV, but a whole new breed of Ferrari, called Purosangue. This translates to “thoroughbred”, suggesting that, despite how blasphemous a Ferrari SUV would be, it is truly deserving of the Prancing Horse shield – we’ll just have to wait and see.

    The Purosangue will ride on a new front-engined, rear-wheel drive platform, which will have a rear transaxle and the option of all-wheel drive – likely a similar system to the GTC4Lusso‘s, with a separate front gearbox. This is one of two modular platforms the company will use moving forward, the other being a mid-engined platform that will be used by the successor to the 488 GTB/Spider.

    The latter platform will also underpin a new, more powerful supercar that will sit atop Ferrari’s mainstream range. Both mid-engined models – as well as the current front-engined 812 Superfast – will form the sports car side of Ferrari’s four-pronged product line, which will also include gran turismos (Portofino, GTC4Lusso), Special Series models (488 Pista) and the new, limited edition Icona models (Monza SP1, SP2).

    The gran turismo lineup will also feature a new model with more classical styling referencing Ferrari’s vast and illustrious back catalogue, while at the sharp end of the range, a replacement for the LaFerrari has also been confirmed – although that’s only coming in the company’s next mid-term plan. All in all, as many as 15 new vehicles will be introduced by 2022, with the Purosangue slated to arrive closer to the end of this period.

    Also outlined is Ferrari’s powertrain strategy, which will continue to utilise a naturally-aspirated V12 – the “pinnacle of Ferrari,” said the company – and a turbocharged V8, both of which will be continuously improved and upgraded with new technologies. There will also be an all-new V6 family that will be “based on a particular innovative architecture.”

    These engines will, for the most part, be augmented with hybrid electric technology, derived from the world of Formula 1. This technology will be used to increase specific output without adding turbo lag, and Ferrari said that up to 60% of its lineup will be electrified by 2022 – including all of its sports cars and a new range of plug-in hybrid gran turismos. To keep weight down, multi-material construction will be used for its cars.

    Last but not least, Ferrari will introduce its first active safety systems in the near future, and while it will not commit to building autonomous vehicles for now, it will incorporate new sensors, artificial intelligence and electronic architecture to provide customers some form of Ferrari-specific autonomy.

    According to the company, all these measures will allow it to enhance the capabilities of its cars in all directions, being faster, more comfortable, more versatile and more fun to drive.

  • New Celica or MR2 is next after Supra, says Toyota

    More sports car news coming from Toyota, which is hosting journalists at its Supra first drive event. It’s inevitable that someone from the media would ask about the “Three Brothers”, and this is what Masayuki Kai, assistant chief engineer of the A90 Supra had to say.

    But before that, Three Brothers refers to Toyota’s 90s trio of sports cars – the Supra, Celica and MR2. Yup, there was a time when one could walk into a Toyota showroom to be greeted by the A80 Supra, T180 Celica and SW20 MR2 on the same floor – just imagine that!

    Over the past few years, there has been much talk about the revival of the sports car family, and there’s no smoke without fire, especially when the president of the company is a car nut and racing kaki as well. Also, with the resurrection of the Supra, Toyota would already have two out of three in the current range.

    The next one to complete the trio could be a new Celica or new MR2, according to Kai san. “We want to have Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back. The biggest was Supra. Supra was number one, the biggest demand from the market. Now that we’ve brought Supra back, what will come next depends on the market needs,” he told Road & Track.

    Click to enlarge

    According to the US magazine, the engineer hinted that the Celica – a rally hero in its past life – could come back as an AWD compact performance coupe to compliment the rear-wheel-drive Toyota 86 and A90 Supra. The missing piece could also be a Mid-engine, Rear-wheel drive, 2-seater – if a business case can be made. “Or maybe it could be a completely different model. We’ll have to wait and see,” Kai said.

    But aren’t sports cars low volume products that aren’t in demand in today’s SUV-driven market? Kai agrees. “Sports car are becoming more and more expensive to develop. So a single company cannot afford to invest in all the tooling for parts and components, because the volume of sports car is quite small.

    “A sports car requires a lot of specific components that you cannot share with other cars. The suspension components we’re using on the Supra, you can’t use on a sedan like Camry or Corolla. And as you know, all the homologation issues are also getting more and more complex and difficult,” he told R&T.

    The upcoming A90 Supra will be the flagship, the 86 will be the middle child

    The new Supra, due to hit showrooms next year, got around that cost/volume hurdle thanks to Toyota partnering with BMW – the A90 and third-generation BMW Z4 that was revealed last month share the same bones.

    “I’m quite sure if we did not make this cooperation, they could not have brought the Z4 back on the market alone. And without their cooperation, we would never have been able to bring back the Supra. So it’s clear for us, we needed this partnership,” Kai added.

    That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Mazda though, which has continuously given us the MX-5 since the first-generation NA came out in the late 80s. The current fourth-generation ND from Hiroshima is rather brilliant, too. “Maybe if you’re developing sports cars over a very, very long time, like Mazda, you have to know how to make it cheaper. I believe they have a lot of know-how, gathered throughout the development of the MX-5,” Kai conceded.

    In contrast, Toyota had quit sports cars for a long period, only recently returning to the market with the 86. “I believe there are a lot of things we need to learn from Mazda. They never stopped developing the MX-5. They continuously developed that car. If you don’t do this — like Toyota, stopping the Supra for 16 years — it’s extremely difficult to bring it back,” he told the US rag’s Bob Sorokanich. By the way, this is the same engineer who told the press that a manual transmission A90 Supra is ready and awaiting the green light.

    But when there’s a will, there’s a way, more so when the will comes from company president Akio Toyoda. “Akio has always said that as a company he would like to have Three Brothers, with the GT86 in the middle and Supra as the big brother,” Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer of the new Supra and 86, said last month.

    So, with the Supra and 86 in place, which Toyota sports car do you want as the final brother – FWD/4WD Celica or a compact new MR2 with open-air possibilities? The latter seems like the more difficult project to pull off, but I’ll be rooting for it.

    In the meantime, check out Toyota’s tiny S-FR concept from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show below. Would you rather have this instead? Such a tease you are, Toyota.

    GALLERY: Toyota S-FR Concept from Tokyo 2015

  • Lexus RX300 Special Edition in Malaysia – RM434k

    Lexus Malaysia has introduced the RX300 Special Edition, a model that’s based on the RX300 Luxury but with additional accessories. It’s priced at RM434,000, making it RM10,000 more expensive than the RX300 Luxury.

    Fitted to the ravishing SUV is a set of Lexus-genuine accessories, starting with the lower front lip for additional protection and side mouldings. There’s also an integrated one-piece side step to help ease ingress and egress, particularly for children or elderly individuals.

    There are also custom door visors with chrome accents, as well as a step guard that’s installed at the rear bumper. This prevents scuffing when loading or unloading goods. Other accessories include the Welcome Door Lamp (with Lexus logo and wording projection), Touch ‘n Go reader/transmitter (not RFID compatible) and Digital Video Recorder (DVR, dashcam).

    No changes to the powertrain, so the standard 8AR-FTS 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine continues propulsion duties here. It’s turbocharged to produce 235 PS and 350 Nm of torque, with power sent to all four corners through a six-speed ECT automatic transmission.

    As usual, the RX300 Special Edition comes with a five-year unlimited mileage factory warranty. All accessories fitted to the CBU Japan SUV were installed by trained personnels at UMW Toyota Motor’s own Accessories Centre in Bukit Raja, Selangor.

  • Jaguar F-Type 2.0L Ingenium now in Malaysia, RM576k

    Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia has given the 2018 model year Jaguar F-Type Coupe its official debut in the country. The refresh brings about a minor set of exterior and interior updates and also introduces to the local market the 2.0 litre turbocharged Ingenium engine variant that was unveiled last year.

    Exterior revisions include new LED headlights and a redesigned bumper at the front, while the rear now features revised tail lights and a new single exhaust tailpipe finisher. Completing the update is a new 18-inch wheel design and a new exterior colour called Silicon Silver.

    As for the interior, the F-Type now comes equipped with lightweight slim-line seats, with the use of pressure-cast die-cast magnesium alloy for the seat frames resulting in a weight saving of around eight kg from before.

    New trim also finds its way on to the two-seater in the form of chrome and aluminium accent finishers, and the interior colour schemes for the F-Type have also been enhanced and now includes Siena Tan leather as an option across the range.

    Standard fit equipment now includes a Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen. The system features a powerful quad-core processor, a high-speed 60 GB solid-state drive (SSD) and an ultra-fast Ethernet network, among other things

    In this application, the direct-injection 2.0 litre petrol engine offers 300 PS at 5,500 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 1,500 – 4,500 pm, and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.7 seconds and an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.

    The introduction of the engine makes for a lighter car, and as such there’s a change in the spring rates, which has been reduced by four percent in front and three percent at the back to compensate for the reduction in corner weights. Incorporating lessons and information gleaned from the F-Type SVR programme, the valving of the monotube dampers has also been reworked to improve the balance of ride comfort and handling.

    Finally, the price – the 2018 F-Type 2.0L Ingenium goes for RM575,800 (excluding road tax, registration and insurance), and comes with a ‘Jaguar Care’ programme incorporating a five-year/150,000 km warranty and five-year/65,000 km servicing (whichever comes first) as well as a three-year roadside assistance programme.

  • J.D. Power 2018 Malaysia Customer Service Index: Mitsubishi ranks highest, Mazda, VW & Nissan behind

    Mitsubishi has come out on top in the 2018 J.D. Power Malaysia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, finishing ahead of Mazda, Volkswagen and Nissan. Based on a 1,000-point scale, Mitsubishi scored 814 points, Mazda netted 786, whereas VW and Nissan are tied at 776. Toyota, which was the top car brand in the 2017 study, slipped four spots to finish fifth, with a score of 772 points.

    Three other brands were ranked in the study, with Honda finishing in sixth with a score of 752, Perodua with 742 points and Proton with 739 points. All three automakers fell below the industry average score of 754 points – other brands such as Ford, Kia, Subaru and Hyundai were not ranked due to small or insufficient sample size.

    The study found several key findings. Satisfaction is higher among customers who used express service than those who didn’t (784 vs 733 respectively), and the average time used for an express service is 125 minutes compared to 150 minutes for regular service.

    Similarly, service provided in under three hours is also crucial. Customers are more satisfied when the time taken to service the vehicle is within three hours (767 points). The score drops considerably when it takes longer (726 points).

    Communication between technician and customer also seems to boost satisfaction levels. The score for those who spoke with their technicians (56%) and agreed to additional work recommended by their service advisor is 801 points, versus 729 points for those who did not speak to their technicians but still proceeded with the recommendations.

    Other factors influencing customer satisfaction is personal interaction with the service advisor and use of digital technology, such as making a service appointment online or via a digital app. J.D. Power country manager for Malaysia, Muhammad Asyraf said “the use of electronic devices in the vehicle owner interaction processes at the dealership are primarily targeted at improving owner convenience and enhancing dealer efficiency. However, it is important to also recognise the value of human interaction.”

    “The availability and accessibility of well-trained and professional staff at the dealership go a long way toward building customer relationships and engagement, with technology also acting as a key enabler in the process,” he added.

    Fast access to the service advisor during a vehicle drop off also contributes to the scoring process. Satisfaction is higher among owners who were first greeted by a service advisor upon arrival (82%) than when greeted by someone else (769 vs 698 respectively). Satisfaction is also higher among owners who waited to speak to their service advisor for five minutes or less than among those who had to wait for more than 5 minutes (772 vs 734 respectively).

    The results are based on responses from 2,957 new-vehicle owners who received delivery of their new cars between March 2015 and July 2017 and took their vehicle for service to an authorised dealer or service centre between March 2017 and July 2018. The study was fielded from March through July 2018. The study measures overall satisfaction based on five factors (in order of importance): service quality (25%), vehicle pick-up (21%), service initiation (20%), service facility (17%) and service advisor (16%).

  • Mystery Fuel Test for Nissan X-Trail 2.0 owners (2015 onwards) – enjoy a free holiday on us!

    Dear readers, we are looking for owners of the Nissan X-Trail 2.0 (T32, MY2015 onwards) for our Mystery Fuel Test. If you drive one, join us for the fuel test this September 29-30 weekend and you’ll get to enjoy a free drive convoy and a night’s stay at a hotel for you and your partner in Johor, all on us.

    The Mystery Fuel Test will be a simple convoy drive of similar cars, with the participants required to provide feedback on the fuel’s performance, driving feel and consumption at the end of each day’s drive. To achieve consistency, we’re looking for stock or unmodified examples of the T32 X-Trail 2.0 only.

    If you own a suitable Nissan X-Trail 2.0, and you’re interested in joining the Mystery Fuel Test, please fill up the simple form below. We will contact you very soon with the details. Thank you!

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  • Driven Movie Night – win Venom premiere passes!

    It’s time for another Driven Movie Night! To celebrate the release of Venom in the cinemas on October 4, we’re offering you the chance to watch it with us first, courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Malaysia! Our lucky winners will get to join us for the premiere on Tuesday, October 2 at 8.30pm at GSC One Utama, Petaling Jaya.

    Ten pairs of tickets are up for grabs, which means we’re giving out 20 passes. All you need to do is watch the trailer below and answer two simple questions. Since we’re feeling extra generous, we’ll be giving out exclusive #Venom merchandise to selected lucky winners too! You have to be quick though, as the contest closes on Friday, September 28.

    One of Marvel’s greatest and most complex characters takes centre stage as Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) becomes the host for the alien symbiote Venom. As a journalist, Eddie has been trying to take down the notorious founder of the Life Foundation, genius Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) – and that obsession ruined his career and his relationship with his girlfriend, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Upon investigating one of Drake’s experiments, the alien Venom merges with Eddie’s body, and he suddenly has incredible new superpowers, as well as the chance to do just about whatever he wants.

    Twisted, dark, unpredictable and fuelled by rage, Venom leaves Eddie wrestling to control dangerous abilities that he also finds empowering and intoxicating. As Eddie and Venom need each other to get what they’re looking for, they become more and more intertwined — where does Eddie end and Venom begin? To see how things turn out, take part in the contest now.

    *Contest closes on Friday, September 28, 2018. Winners will be announced on and notified via email and SMS on Monday, October 1, 2018. The announced results are final and any disputes will not be entertained. The movie screening will be held on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 8.30pm at GSC One Utama in Petaling Jaya, and winners must collect their passes at the above venue one hour before the screening time. Due to screening location, the contest is open to Klang Valley residents only.

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  • Toyota Yaris, 86 GR trademarks filed for use in Europe

    With Toyota’s GRMN and GR Sport models having made their way from Japan to Europe, it’s only a matter of time before the mid-range GR brand to take flight on the Continent. Autocar reported that the company has trademarked the Yaris and 86 GR names for use in markets there, hinting of an impending launch.

    Taking its name from Toyota’s racing division, Gazoo Racing, the GR brand confers a number of tuning parts that go beyond the GR Sport’s basic bodykit and suspension upgrades. In Japan, the Yaris GR (badged as the Vitz GR there) gets 17-inch alloy wheels, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres, smaller-diameter steering wheel from the 86 and a 10-speed transmission mode for the CVT models.

    Meanwhile, the 86 GR receives 17-inch Rays alloys, Recaro seats, a Torsen limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers. All these go on top of the GR Sport’s offerings, which consist of a bodykit, Sachs dampers and a few other aesthetic and mechanical tweaks. These GR and GR Sport models don’t come with any extra power – that’s reserved for the GRMN versions.

    In Europe, the Yaris GR Sport is only available as a five-door hybrid, which utilises the Prius c’s 74 PS/111 Nm 1NZ-FXE 1.5 litre VVT-i engine and 61 PS/169 Nm electric motor to produce a total system output of 100 PS. Expect the GR version to also be equipped with the same bodystyle and powertrain.

    As for the 86 GR, that will almost certainly be equipped with the standard model’s 205 PS 2.0 litre flat-four, with six-speed manual and automatic transmission options.

    GALLERY: Toyota Yaris, 86 GR in Japan

  • Standing in parking box illegal, RM2,000 fine – PDRM

    Sometimes, finding a parking spot can be a real chore, but nothing beats driving up to a vacant spot, only to find that it’s “taken” by someone else who’s nonchalantly standing there waiting for his/her friend to park. We all know that feeling too well.

    Now, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has just stated that such a move is not permissible, and doing so would be committing an offence under Section 50 (3) of the Road Transport Act 1987.

    The rule states: “If any person, otherwise than with lawful authority, remains on any road or at any parking place for the purpose of importuning any other person in respect of the watching or cleaning of a motor vehicle, or for the purpose of directing any driver of a motor vehicle in respect of parking on such road or at such place, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    Anyone who is guilty of said offence will be liable to a maximum fine of RM2,000 or imprisonment up to six months. A second conviction doubles that – RM4,000 fine or 12 months jail term.

    PDRM added that the behaviour is irresponsible and inconveniences others, and it could potentially put the violator (for the lack of a better word) in harm’s way. The problem, while not exclusive to Malaysia, has to be nipped in the bud. Let’s all be a little more considerate, alright? What say you?

  • Toyota Hilux, Fortuner, Innova get kit, safety updates

    Click to enlarge

    UMW Toyota Motor has announced upgrades and enhancements for the IMV trio – the Toyota Fortuner SUV, Innova MPV and Hilux pick-up truck.

    The Hilux, Fortuner and Innova get a new colour option, Phantom Brown, taking exterior colour choices to six for the SUV and seven for the MPV. More importantly, the Fortuner now gets Vehicle Stability Control, Brake Assist, Hill-start Assist Control and Active Traction Control (A-TRC) standard on all four variants.

    A-TRC provides more effective traction control in slippery conditions, and is helpful off-road when one encounters muddy terrain. The system detects wheel spin and distributes torque between front and rear wheels, braking the spinning wheel and sending drive to corners with more traction.

    Click to enlarge

    Available equipment on the Fortuner and Innova include keyless entry and push start, LED headlamps and eight-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat. The touchscreen infotainment systems include connectivity to compatible smartphones and the Internet while on the move. The Fortuner can also be had with a powered tailgate and cruise control.

    No changes for the Hilux other than the new colour option and the discontinuation of the 2.8G variant. Those looking for a high-spec Hilux 2.8L can now go straight to the L-Edition that was introduced earlier this year.

    The Fortuner is priced from RM170,500 to RM195,600, while the Innova goes for RM107,280 to RM132,400. The Hilux now comes in five double-cab variants from RM100,000 to RM138,000. All prices are OTR inclusive of SST, without insurance.


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Last Updated 01 Sep 2018


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