31 October 2011

Renault Pulse debut in India

India market is one the most promising playground for global automotive player apart from explosive China market. In a testament to this, Renault has forged their entry is the modern supermini with the launch of the Pulse model. Essentially a rebadged Nissan March (or Micra depending on market), Renault has reworked the front end completely with new sharper headlamp and more aggressive grille arrangement. The version below is the sportier version with much more angular chin thanks to very pronounced skirting.
Typical of a rebadged activity, the front end redesign is fairly simple as retooling for the hood, fender and front fascia are cheaper. The rear however is different story. To modify the rear end, the costly side structure needs a redesigned too. Side structure is the single largest stamped piece for most cars (unlike Dacia Logan though which uses two piece side panel), as other bigger panels such as floor panels are stamped separately between front and rear. Due to this, the rear aesthetic is pure Nissan, except the bumper.
The interior is also wholesomely carried over from the donor Micra/March with its circular design theme. Apart from the Renault emblem, the rest of the interior including the color choice is directly lifted from the Nissan stablemate.
Engine choice mirror those on Nissan as well, with 1.2l 3-cylinder gasoline and 1.5l turbo-diesel lump. The Renault Pulse will be build at Renault-Nissan Chennai plant is expected to carry slightly more premium pricing over Nissan Micra.

Another set of photos after the jump.

Audi A4 range gets a facelift

Audi has update its A4 range for model year 2013. The revised A4 gets a new front headlight that follow the same trend as the new A6 and facelifted A5. The restyled hood was accompanied by the new radiator grille that features six-point edge. The redesigned rear bumper and revised rear combi graphic complete the exterior makeover. The Avant, Allroad and S4 model are part of the complete range makeover.

Inside the car, the revised A4 gets a new steering wheel and new color option. Additional chrome accents and updated infotainment are among the newly added item. Other than that, the interior is finished up to the typical Audi exquisite detailing that can't possibly come from any other makers.

If you think the new A4 look huge compared to its direct rival of BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, this is because it is indeed big. The sedan measures 4,700mm long (the Allroad and S4 is slightly longer at 4,720mm), a healthy 100mm longer than the aforementioned rivals. 2,810mm wheelbase is also longer, but the new BMW F30 has grown to similar magnitude too. Width is 1,830mm and height is 1,410mm. The Allroad is slightly taller at 1,500mm.

Engine choice for the facelifted A4 is the new 1.8l TFSI with 170bhp and 320Nm of power and torque respectively. Another gasoline engine is the 3.0l TFSI in two state of tune, 272bhp in the A4 and 333bhp in the S4.

Fans of diesel will be served with 2.0l TDI in 136bhp, 163bhp and 177bhp. No guess which one is more economical though. The lowest powered version is good for 4.2l/100km of fuel consumption.

The engines are paired with standard 6 speed manual for A4 Sedan and Avant with front wheel drive, and CVT is available too. The quattro version however gets the option of 7 speed S-Tronic double clutch transmission. 

More photos after the jump.

30 October 2011

2013 MINI Roadster launched

MINI has revealed the sixth model in its lineup, the Roadster version of the summer-launched Coupe version. As with the Coupe, the Roadster is differentiated from other mainstream MINI model by the lack of rear set, and in this case, liberates 240l of boot space. 
The car mirrors the Coupe dimension with 3,734mm long, 1,683mm wide and  1,390mm tall. The 20mm reduction is height compared to mainstream MINI is attributed by 13 degrees steeper windscreen. The wheelbase is 2,467mm. The reduced height and repackaged component contributed to what MINI termed as go-kart handling.
The car powertrain choice are 1.6l 122 bhp in Cooper, 143bhp 2.0l turbo-diesel in Cooper SD, 184bhp 1.6l turbocharged in Cooper S and topped by 211bhp 1.6l turbocharged John Cooper Works version which also come a host of aesthetic and chassis tuning. The engine is paired to standard 6 speed manual and optional 6 speed automatic. JCW version is manual-reserved only. More after the jump.

29 October 2011

BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo gets an M-Sport treatment

While the new BMW 3 Series F30 gets its M-Sport package unveiled during the car launch, it took BMW 2 years to offer the same package for its BMW 5 Series GT. The M-Sport package for 5GT comprises a range of aerodynamics, suspension and interior enhancement which were developed specifically for this model.
The exterior part included under M-Sport package consist of new front and rear bumper design together with more pronounced sills skirting. At the back , dark chrome tailpipes made an appearance. The 19" V-spoke M alloy wheels are paired with lowered M-Sport suspension which promised more taut handling. 20" twin-spoke rims are available too.
For the interior, the M-Sport 5GT gets the customary sports seat upholstered in fabric/alcantra, M leather steering wheel, M driver foot rest, M sill plates, Palladium Grey interior trim strips and BMW Individual anthracite roof lining. For 550i GT, the interior is upholstered in Dakota leather.
More after the jump.

28 October 2011

2012 Honda CRV fully uncovered!

First official photo of the 2012 Honda CRV after a series of leaked and spyshots
Honda Japan has revealed the new 2012 Honda CRV SUV, well sort of, by launching the teaser website for their new baby. Limited details are available for now, but for Japan spec at least, the SUV remained to be powered by 2.0l hooked to 4WD drivetrain. Engine choice for America meanwhile was rumoured to be 2.4l and 2.5l.

The circulating spyshots covered in my previous articles are very close to production form. Hence the design of the instrument panel, centre console and the car generally is no longer a surprise. Refer below to my previous posting on China Spyshots, Leaked Interior Spyshots and Leaked Patent.

As demonstrated by the Concept CR-V, the headlamp is well-blend into the front grille, itself is no longer a dual-tiered as the current model. Extensive black cladding is used throughout the exterior.
The rim design
Click for more details and interior and exterior photo after the jump.

27 October 2011

Leaked brochure of Toyota FT86?

While the car is scheduled for Tokyo debut, the brochure has leaked ahead of it. This shows the exterior Modellista option and the interior. No further info available except that it has some 80's feeling to it. Sourced from carspyshots.

Brilliance V5 SUV - a China SUV with Bimmer X1 resemblance?

Fancy the stylish BMW baby-SUV the X1 but can't quite afford it? What about having the Brilliance V5 which look quite close to the real thing, and made by the joint venture of Brilliance-BMW no less? Perhaps, through the joint-venture thing, you are actually getting 'some' of the X1 bits.
The color scheme looks familar, right down the silver bits at the bottom of the bumper and skirting. The side profile also revealed similar story, with more than passing resemblance of X1 silhouette.
But that's where any similarities end. Inside the cabin and under the hood is a different story altogether. The car is powered by Mitsubishi 1.6l engine with 119bhp and 151Nm of power and torque. The SUV is also available with Brilliance-owned 1.5l turbocharged lump that produce 136bhp and  200Nm of power and torque. The SUV is sets for official unveiling in November and will be sold at around 85,000 yuan. The V5 was originally meant to be launched during Shanghai Autoshow, but rumours said that their partner, BMW, is not too pleased to see the car that is so close to the X1 launched before the 'original' X1 itself, hence the  delay in its launching date. Head after the jump for more photos of exterior and interior. Data sourced from Autohome via Carnewschina.

26 October 2011

2013 Lexus GS F-Sport unveiled ahead of SEMA

Lexus will unveiled the F-Sport version of its new GS series at SEMA show in Las Vegas on November 1st. The F-Sport version of Lexus is akin to Bimmer's M-Sport, which offer a host of aesthetic enhancement as well as an improved handling for keener driver.
The GS F-Sport gets new sport front bumper and rear lower valence, rear lip spoiler, unique    F-SPORT mesh grille inserts and F-SPORT badging for external aesthetic enhancement. The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours fully integrates into the deeply sculpted front bumper allowing for efficient airflow. Enlarged air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts as well as lending extra dose of aggressiveness. 
From the side, the GS F-Sport projects the image of a sport sedan with a road-hugging wider stance. The tapered lower rocker panel and the short front overhang give the vehicle a sense of motion. Aggressive character line running along the sills blend perfectly with the visibly ready to pounced-like front bumper and kicked-up rear skirting.
The rear bumper features a distinctive exhaust diffuser and centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. Combined with the L-shaped LED tail lamps, a Lexus design cue, these rear bumper features lend a high-performance appearance. Lip spoiler is featured too at the trailing edge of the trunk lid.
The GS F-Sport exterior looks are completed with 19-inch alloy wheels shod in 235/40 R19 front and 265/35 R19 rear tires. However,the all-wheel drive models will be paired with similarly sized front and rear tyres in 235/40 R19 size. More details and photo after the jump.

2012 Honda Civic Asia - clearer details on China 1.8 VTi

In mid September, we have seen the China version of the 2012 Honda Civic. It was photographed at Chengdu motorshow and the picture variations are quite limited. Almost two month down the road, the car has start to filter out to dealership and more photos are now available. This is the first time we see the new interior in black color. It managed to somewhat hide the cheapness-look to certain extent, but not by much. We can also see that the Navi screen does help a bit to reduce the awkwardness of jumbo button audio system, but again, not by much. For coverage of 2012 Honda Civic at Chengdu Motorshow, refer to my previous post at http://malaysia-motoring-news.blogspot.com/2011/09/honda-civic-sedan-debuted-at-chengdu.html#more . The review of Arab spec 2012 Civic can be read at http://malaysia-motoring-news.blogspot.com/2011/08/honda-civic-arabasia-first-design.html#more

Externally the new 2012 Civic Asia is slightly smaller than before. The length is now stands at 4535mm (5mm shorter), 1755mm wide (no change), 1450mm tall (+15mm) and rides on 2670mm wheelbase (30mm shorter). Despite this the trunk space is 14.15 litres bigger, due to more efficient packaging bringing it to 464 litres now. Weight has been trimmed by a shade too.

The weight reduction and increased in interior space is the indirect results of using High Strength Steel (HSS) in the body structure. As much as 55% of stamped panel is made from this material. The utilization of HSS typically results in lighter structure for a given strength and the reduction is reinforcement panel liberates more  usable space. Lightweight plastic parts are employed in engine bay and fuel tanks too.

Apart from that, the 2012 Honda Civic also employed more aerodynamic drag reduction device. Under bumper air guides, flat under tray and front and rear spats are among the incorporated bits and pieces that contribute to a more slippery aerodynamic profile.

In China, there are 3 variants of 1.8l namely base model 1.8 EXi, 1.8 VTi and 1.8 VTi Luxury. The 2.0l model meanwhile is available in Type S guise and Type S Luxury. The model we are looking into detail here is the 1.8l VTi.

Exterior Design - body panel, engine compartment, lighting and closure design
The new 2012 Civic is one non-adventurous example in design department, with plain styling for pretty much everywhere you look at. This has been debated in many internet media for quite sometimes. This version is however miles better than the USDM version which is plain and lack any garnishing to lift up the looks.
No horizontal bar in lower air intake like the Arab/US model. Foglamp has chrome surround
Rear end is similar to Arab model, except the Chinese lettering

The signal indicator is at the inner end of the headlamp instead of outer edge like USDM model
Good integration of headlamp with fender, hood and grille. But not for the gap between bumper and fender
Chrome garnish on the grille
More after the jump

25 October 2011

Mazda Takeri - a preview of forthcoming Mazda6

Remember Mazda Minagi? That showcar evolved almost seamlessly into the new Mazda CX-5. In a similar fashion, the next generation Mazda6 is previewed by the Takeri Concept, which will be showcased during 42nd Tokyo Motorshow coming up in 30th November 2011.

Mazda Takeri is the latest in-line to adopt the new KODO design language, which revolved around Soul of Motion theme. The front fascia design bears design cue previewed by Minagi Concept, with customary heptagon radiator grille and crisp headlamps punctuated by silvered bars. We can safety assume similar rate of tone down as when Minagi evolved into CX-5.

The body side has several strong character lines, running from the hood to just after front door leading edge, with an almost parallel line on the top of it. The rear flanks is characterised by strong shoulder at rear door belt line, with similarly sweeping upward arch down at the sills. The glass house is similar in shade as current 6, but more rakish, understandably for concept car status.

The rear end is characterized by two main elements, the slim rear combi with bars, and the standalone boot line standing proud from the side structure. It is a neat and stylishly done as far as rear end is concern.

Underneath the showy bodywork lies the latest of Skyactiv technology. This include Mazda's first regenerative braking system that converts kinetic energy to electricity during deceleration, stores it in capacitors and then uses it to power the vehicle's electrical equipment - reducing load on the engine and saving fuel. Combined with the new SKYACTIV-D diesel engine, Mazda i-stop, new lightweight structure, aerodynamic and chassis technologies, regenerative braking - enables the Mazda Takeri Concept to achieve excellent fuel economy together with vigorous performance and a comfortable high-quality ride. The SKYAVTIV-D in question is the 2.2l version that will debut in the new CX-5, capable of producing 173bhp and 420Nm of power and torque. The engine also can rev to 5500rpm, a high figure for diesel engine. 
More details and photo of the interior after the jump.

2012 Toyota Avanza/Daihatsu Xenia leaked presentation

Leaked presentation materials for 2012 Toyota Avanza and 2012 Daihatsu Xenia revealed some vital information such the size of the new budget MPV. Both car will grows by around 30mm, taking them close to 4200mm of length. Please refer to my previous post for exterior and interior spyshots:

24 October 2011

Audi A7 Sportback launched in Malaysia

Euromobil launched the latest of Audi line in Malaysia yesterday, the A7 Sportback. The stylish Mercedes-Benz CLS challenger made it to the Malaysian shore in single version, i.e 3.0 TFSI version in Standard and S-Line guises. The standard model costs RM599,000 OTR without insurance, while opting for S-Line will cost you merely RM30,000 more. That sum of money will buy you a sport suspension and different design of alloy wheel, among other cosmetic enhancement.
Audi A7 Sportback launch - Pic from Motortrader
Audi A7 is based on the A6 platform which means that it utilize the MLB platform which spans the component sharing from even the A4 model. But it has its own bespoke body and interior where the body style of the sedan has been dropped in the favour of pseudo-coupe roofline, with the practicality of hatchback opening. Driving and seating position is lowered for more coupe-like feeling. The interior is a work of art, with the level of modern craftmanship that only be from the Audi.
Audi A7 sloping rear roof line- Pic from Motortrader
In this guise, the car is powered by 3.0l V6 with direct-injection and turbocharging, producing 300bhp of power from 5250-6500 rpm and 440Nm of torque from 2900-4500 rpm. Drive is channeled to all wheels via 7-speed S-tronic transmission. Century sprint can be completed in mere 5.6 seconds while the top speed is limited to 250 km/h. Despite its sheer pace, the car still return 8.2l/100km of fuel consumption under combine cycle test. The tyre and wheel combo are 255/40 R19.

23 October 2011

Mini Coupe 2 seater launched - RM249,888

BMW Malaysia has launched the 2 seater Mini Coupe to Malaysian market. The model introduced to Malaysian market is the Cooper S version, powered by 1.6l turbocharged petrol engine producing 184bhp@5500 rpm and 240Nm between 1600-5000 rpm. Overboost function is available too, raising the maximum torque to 260Nm between 1730-4500 rpm. The Mini Coupe Cooper S can sprint to 100km/h in 7.1 seconds. The top speed is 224 km/h. The drive is channeled to the front wheel via 6 speed automatic transmission.

The car is strictly 2 seater. Roofline is 23mm lower than the hatchback MINI. Although the seating height remain unchanged, the driving position is more intimate due to the A-pillar rake angle that 13 degrees more than the hatch, making it closer to the drivers. Weight distribution has been altered too, giving it more poise with improved traction. The rear end is characterized by stubby notch openable via the hatch. The retractable spoiler is integrated in the rear hatch. The spoiler will pop-up when the speed exceed 60 km/h. The roof is describe as helmet roof with contrasting color and contoured to give better headroom.
Side profile of Mini Coupe - short and stubby deck with expressively styled roof - Pic from Paultan

Trio of Volkswagen cars now in Malaysia - Jetta, Passat and Cross Touran

Volkswagen Malaysia has launched a trio of CBU cars namely Jetta, Passat and Cross Touran to our market. All three are CBU, apparently not the CKD cars we expected to come out from the Pekan plant under the DRB project announced sometimes back However, VW has confirmed that the Jetta and Passat will soon come under CKD form . For now, the Passat and Cross Touran are imported from Germany while the Jetta is imported from Mexico.
Trio of new VW cars, the Jetta, Passat and Cross Touran - pic from Paultan
There are two version of VW Passat globally, what we are getting here is the European Passat instead of the American Passat. The American Passat is slightly bigger while the one we are getting is slightly shorter in length. All three cars are powered by VW TSI engine and paired with 7 speed DSG transmission. Read on for the details of each model.

Volkswagen Jetta Technical Details
Volkswagen Jetta that we are getting in our shore is the 160PS TSI version, powered by 1,390cc 4-cylinder engine with Twincharger and direct injection system. The TSI engine gave a healthy 160PS@5800 rpm and 240Nm from 1500-4500 rpm, and paired to 7 speed DSG gearbox. The combination of powerful engine and efficient gearbox enabled this car to accelerate to 100km/h in 8.3seconds and can achieve 221 km/h of top speed.  

VW Jetta is essentially a booted Golf. However, for this generation, VW has gone a greater length in differentiating the two by enlarging the notchback version by even extending the wheelbase. VW Jetta is 4,644mm long, 1,778mm wide and 1,482mm tall. It rides on 2,651mm wheelbase. There is no trace of booted sedan syndrome here as the car looks cohesively integrated even from the side profile. The Malaysian market car rides on 225/55 R16 tyres.

VW Jetta is priced at RM149,888.

More photos of VW Jetta can be found below:

Photo gallery of VW Jetta

More details and photos about VW Passat and CrossTouran after the jump.

Proton to expand globally & need a lot of workforce

Proton is sets on expand globally and it need a lot of workforce to, well, do the work. They have advertised a whole page advert on today's STAR (22/10/11) outlining their global ambition. Plenty of vacancies are available particularly in engineering design, CAE, Vehicle Cost Reduction, Procurement as well as Manufacturing division among others.

For all car enthusiastic  out there, why wait anymore? Instead of bashing around the internet with the the nonsense people, why don't you join Proton to shape the future of the car which the public and commoners so madly want and keep voicing it through the net. Provided you have proven intelectuality ( i.e minimum degree), you are qualified to join the the workforce.

On a different note:
An old friend recently told the hectic stories in Proton like the project they are currently working on and their future programs and agenda. As a car enthusiastic like me, I gets excited like hell when I heard that. It gets the fire burning again. People said life is about moving forward, but is there such a thing as taking a step back to get to review the whole thing in a bigger picture? Or plainly speaking, should I go back there to re-energize? 

Proton signed MOU with Hawtai Motor

As covered by Chinese media a few month back, Proton has yesterday signed the MOU with Hawtai Motor from China. The ceremony was held in Nanjing, and aimed to strengthened Proton presence in the China market and Left Hand Drive market in general.

Both parties are evaluating the possibility for joint model development including vendor sourcing and component development with Chinese suppliers. According to Datuk Seri Haji Syed Zainal in Buletin Utama on 22 October, Proton is interested to make China a hub to assemble its LHD cars for other LHD market in addition to China market. 

With the competitive cost of manufacturing and labor in China, this is a move that could benefit both parties. Proton can capitalize on cheap manufacturing there and Hawtai can leverage on Proton rich technical capabilities in vehicle development. The move to country with low manufacturing is nothing new lately, with Toyota also switching Avanza production in Malaysia to Indonesia and even Perodua is rumoured to be studying of producing its next Perodua Viva in Indonesia.

22 October 2011

Toyota Innova facelift - from RM96,704

UMW Toyota has launched the Innova facelift to Malaysian market this week. The popular 8-seater gets a host of update to keep it fresh aesthetically. Not to say it need to, as it has no direct competitor in the market, but the styling has start to age a bit, particularly the plain front and rear end.

For the front fascia, the facelifted Innova gets new edgier headlamp, strong central lines on the hood with new hood garnish, more pronounced front grille with Camry overtones and revised bumper fascia design. Overall, it shifted the softie face of current Innova to harder and more solid appearance. The alloy wheel is a new design too.
Other than the hood, there is no further change on the sheet metal. At the back, the sole change item is the rear light with new graphic. The rear bumper is retained though. However, closer inspection revealed slightly different looking license plate garnish, the current garnish has its lower lines swept gradually upwards and has winged-like profile. The garnish we see here has boxier lines. But this wasn't mentioned in the brochure so perhaps it is just angled-illusion.

Peugeot 508 now available in Malaysia

Peugeot 508 has been introduced to Malaysian market earlier this week. The highly captivating French saloon is only available in single guise, 1.6l THP. The car is priced at RM169,888.
The 1.6 THP engine is as per the one powering a host of Peugeot cars right now from 308 to 5008 MPV. The engine produced 156bhp@6000 rpm and 240Nm from 1400 rpm. This torquey engine returned 7.1 l/100km of fuel consumption. 
The car is highly-equipped which include bi-xenon headlamps with washer,height adjuster and SmartBeam function. LED DRL is part of the package too. The pleasing-looking alloys wheel is 18" in size and wrapped by 235/45 tyre size. Safety items included with the car include the customary ABS and EBD, ESP, Hill Assist System and parking assist system to aid the driver in parallel parking.

Peugeot 308 Sedan launched in China

Peugeot 308 Sedan - technical specification and photo gallery
After debuting the car in Chengdu Motorshow, Peugeot today lift the lid of its new compact sedan, the 308 sedan. Derived from the familiar hatchback, the car gain a well-integrated boot (with 565 litres of boot space!) giving it a well balanced proportion unfound in many hatch-derived sedan. For China market, the car is locally manufactured under local joint venture called Dongfeng. The new C-segment sedan complement Peugeot current C-Segment such as 307 and 408. Targeted sales is 60,000 unit per year.
The interior is similarly stylish as the exterior. Check out the garnish on the dashboard and the door trim, surrounded by chrome accents no less. The seat is typical Peugeot, with heavily bolstered profile.

The car comes in 1.6l and 2.0l version, both can be paired with 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic with Tiptronic function. The 1,589cc lump produced 106PS@5750 rpm and 142Nm@4000 rpm capable of catapulting the sedan to 188 km/h (178 km/h for auto) of top speed while returning 7.6 litre/100km of fuel consumption in test cycle.
The more powerful 2.0l engine meanwhile produced 147PS@6000 rpm and 200Nm@4000 rpm of power and torque respectively. This version can achieve a top speed of 205km/h (196km/h for auto) while returning 8.2 litre/100km of fuel consumption under test cycle.

Dimensionally, the 308 sedan measures 4,558mm long, 1,805 wide and 1,505mm tall. The car rides on 2,612mm wheelbase. Kerb weight is 1,431kg for the heaviest variant, i.e 2.0l automatic. For China market, the car comes in 3 trims level, dubbed Excellent, Fashion and Premium.

More details and photos after the jump.

20 October 2011

2012 BMW 3 Series Configurator

Basic configurator for the new F30 is already up on BMW website. But for the moment it is just basic vehicle configuration to view the multiple choice of the new 3 Series Lines (Sport, Luxury, Modern and M-Sport) as well as Standard model, with their respective color and rim choice. The Vehicle Configuration can be found at: http://www.bmw.com/com/en/newvehicles/3series/sedan/2011/showroom/design/visualizer.html

Below is my dream combo. A Black M-Sport with 403M alloys which, like current E90 M-Sport, looks really menacing. What's your pick? Check out the above link to build your own.