30 November 2011

Subaru BRZ close-up - the Hachiroku twin

The car that we thought to be a close sibling of the Toyota 86 turn out to be, well, a twin instead of a cousin. The difference apart from different bumpers, is negligible. Even the squared-off rear lights from the LA motorshow concept also did not make it to the final production.

The front end of the Subaru BRZ is differentiated from Toyota 86 by the shape of the front bumper. Where the 86 bumper was characterized by large air intake with scorpion-inspired outlines, the BRZ front bumper is more boxier in appearance, consistent with current Subaru design language on the new Impreza et al. The triangulated fog lamp housing of the 86 is replaced with a squared-off housing. The fender garnish is different from the Toyota 86 with more visible black element with centre bar.

The rear end appeared similar too. The squared off tail lamp of the concept car has been replaced by the Toyota 86 exact item. Even the trunk lind/license plate garnish is carried over too. While this car is far from looking dowdy, but some Subaru-ism would be much welcome. More after the jump.

28 November 2011

JDM Honda CR-V launched - first RHD model

For the first time since the first leaked spyshots of Honda CR-V, finally we can see the Right Hand Drive (RHD) model, courtesy of the Japan market version. Launched today in two guises, 20G and 24G, the new CR-V differs slightly from its it predecessor by the introduction of Front Wheel Drive ( FF) model, as well as the CVT gearbox.

The new Honda CR-V measures 4,535mm long, 1,820mm wide and 1,685mm tall. Wheelbase is 2,620mm and wheel track measure 1,565mm for both front and rear. The weight is 1,460 kg for the 20G and 1,540 kg for the larger-engined 24G. Honda has emphasized that the new CR-V is more efficiently packaged than the outgoing model. The better structural design results in weight reduction of between 11kg to 30kg from model to model. Despite the 30mm shorter overall length, the interior length remained spacious at 2,125mm and Honda has managed to liberated extra 65l of cargo space. Interestingly, the latest CR-V still retained its 2,620mm wheelbase which originates right from the first generation. That model has a wheelbase of 2,620mm wheelbase because it was based on the then-current Honda Civic platform which of course shared the same dimension.
For Japanese market, the new Honda CR-V comes with two engine choice. The first one is the 20G model, powered by the enhanced R20A engine, dubbed R20A7, which in JDM spec produced 150PS@6200rpm and 191Nm@4300rpm. This engine is paired to CVT gearbox (with torque converter) only and channeled the drive to the front wheel. The 24G model on the other hand is powered by the K24Z8 engine producing 190PS@7000rpm and 222Nm@4,400rpm. The larger capacity engine is paired to 5 speed automatic gearbox and get the AWD drivetrain. In 10.15 fuel cycle test, the 20G returned 15.4 km/l while the 24G returned 12.2 km/l. Typical to all latest Honda cars, ECON mode can be activated via a touch of a button. 

The cabin of the new CR-V is similar to the LHD cars launched in the US earlier, saved of course by the steering location. At the moment, there is no indication of the the cheapo looking audio system found elsewhere, where the JDM model gets the option of navigation-equipped system or perhaps as can be seen on the grey-imported car in Malaysia, plenty are fitted with after-market 2DIN unit.

The interior is all-black instead of 2 tone observed on the US CR-V. The accents on the IP is available in either silver trim or wood-grain. Leather upholstery is an option. The cabin gets a dual-zone climate control between driver and passenger. Airbags are plenty, which covers the usual dual front airbags, front seat mounted side bags and 4 curtain bags each window. Honda G-CON body is designed to protect the occupants which also include the detailing in terms of high strength steel which also contribute to the weight reduction. The usual acronym ABS, TCS and VSA are of course on board.
Honda is very keen to stress out that the new CR-V is whole load more practical than the model it replaced. For one, the boot space is 589l with a low 665mm loading height. The rear seats, while fixed unlike fore and aft adjusted predecessor, now feature a single touch folding operable from boot mounted lever.

Storage space within the cabin is abundance too. The elimination of free space between the front seats has been occupied by the large storage compartment. It is capable in holding two cups up front, with A4 paper-depth main storage as well as a couple of 500ml water bottle horizontally in the bottom section. For cars unspecified with the navigation unit, the smaller pod accommodating the MID screen will be a storage space too. I suspect Malaysian version will surely have this additional storage compartment! More detail after the jump.

27 November 2011

Toyota 86 revealed ahead of Tokyo Motorshow

The eagerly waited Toyota 'Hachiroku' has been revealed ahead of the Tokyo Motorshow next week. The front-engined, rear drive sportscar is named differently between the Japan and European market. In Japan, it will simply be called Toyota 86, while in the Europe it will be named Toyota GT 86. The GT moniker denotes the inspiration in developing the 'Hachiroku', starting from the Toyota S800, a boxer two-cylinder with FR layout from 1962.  The line continues with the 2000GT in 1965 which features svelte looking body styles and powered by 2.0l  straight-6 developed in collaboration with Yamaha. The Celica generation arrived in 1971 and then Toyota Supra is also the main actor in Toyota sports car play house where all its four generation is FR-layout and powered by straight-6 engine. The real descendant to the 'Hachiroku'  however, is the Toyota Levin or Corolla GT AE86. The new Toyota 86 lives in the same principle of front-engine, rear-wheel drive package, compact dimensions, light weight, impeccable balance and superior power-to-weight ratio to deliver a superior sheer excitement and capturing the fundamental joy of driving.

Toyota 86 measures 4,240mm long, 1,285mm high and 2,570mm wide,  and rides on 2,570mm wheelbase.Both the powertrain and the driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to achieve the best balance: the car has a near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution. The flat-four engine format and the driver's hip point – the lowest of any current Toyota production model – together give the 86 an ultra-low centre of gravity, at just 475mm height.
The GT 86 makes the most of a light kerb weight, making it easy for drivers to exploit its nimble handling and cornering poise. The suspension features MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear. The car rides on 18" wheels (17" on European model)  and is fitted with ventilated disc brakes all around.
The car is powered by Subaru-sourced 2.0l flat-4 engine whereby Toyota has added their own D-4S system where the cylinder head are designed to feature both direct injection and port injection for the in cylinder combustion. The combustion cylinder is perfect square 86 by 86mm. It has a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, increasing power and torque across a wide range of engine speeds without sacrificing fuel efficiency and environmental performance. The headline figure is 197bhp@6000 rpm and 205Nm@6600rpm. Drive is channeled to the rear wheel via either short-throw 6 speed manual or 6 speed automatic transmission with paddle shift.
The exterior styling of the Toyota 86 was previewed by the Toyota FT86 iteration 2, where it has eschewed the original concept car svelte futuristic lines. The changes were outlined as the results of driving development where the car body configuration does play a big role in driving experience. It features an evocative and expressive lines, especially in expressing the lower part of the car with huge grille.  The lower grille's "scorpion" look gives the 86 a more powerful appearance.

Inside the cabin, every control surface has been arranged to make the driving experience natural, instinctive and rewarding. The 365mm steering wheel diameter is the smallest steering ever fitted to the any car bearing Toyota nameplate. The meter binnacle is 3-item type with large rev-counter dominating the centre item. Elsewhere in the cabin, the 2+2 gets an all-black headlining, aviation-style rocker switches and lightweight, aluminium pedals. The JDM car features red interior detailing too. More detail and galleries after the jump.

26 November 2011

Details on 2012 Honda CR-V & news on Asian Honda CR-V

We have seen the 2012 Honda CR-V in the glossy gallery showcasing the top-of-the-line version, cruising far from the prying eagle-eye photographer, and the studio interior photo with nice lighting, resulting in a very soothing-looking cabin. You can read on previous coverage on 2012 US CR-V <here>. We have here the shot from LA, compiled all over the web to get  a better idea on the detailing. Asian powertrain option also has been discovered. Read on!
The headlamp flanked the grille, which slightly protrude inside the headlamp. Amber light for US car, clear lens for Asian car is expected (last few photos at the end of article). Black cladding is used extensively, dominating the sills and arches. 
Steeply raked and highly raked rear glass and D-pillar. Accentuate further by upward kink glass house profile and rear bumper shutline. Note the character line running along the waist and into the fuel filler door and ends at the meeting point of bumper shut line and rear light.

VOTE for Malaysia Motoring News for Social Media Award 2012. Click HERE to be redirected to the voting page.
This is the Instrument Panel of the likely basic version, which loses out the touch-screen Navi unit. This is consistent with the spyshots from China covered earlier on <here>. It has the jumbo button like the recently launched Honda Civic. But the cheapo appearance of the audio system does downgrade somewhat the previously soothing looking IP. It also has lost a bit of taut, high quality looking of current Honda CR-V cabin. As with any previous CR-V, the gear gate is non-gated.
This is the driver interface. The steering wheel adopt latest Honda design epitome, with jumbo-sized button and silver inserts. The steering is not the same as the one on Honda Civic, with clear difference in centre boss cover and the silvered part is different in design. Only the steering wheel mounted button looks the same. One can see the meter binnacle in this photo too. More detailed illustration of meter binnacle can be found below:
More detail and Asian CRV news after the jump.

24 November 2011

Mighty BMW 5 series diesel coming - 550dX

It has been rumored since mid this year that the M5d is coming in 2012. It is clearer now that the model in question is 550dX, as revealed through a leaked dealer presentation in Holland. The car will be powered by new tri-turbocharged diesel engine with 3.0l inline-6 configuration, producing 381bhp and over 700Nm of power and torque figures. The drive will be channeled only via the AWD systems, as denoted by "X" in the car name. The car is expect to return around 46mpg matching of those on 535d.

The new tri-turbo diesel engine features a new setup consists of  two traditional exhaust blown turbochargers in combination with an electrically driven turbocharger to added low-end response. Due to the massive torque, rear wheel drive is not even an option. BMW insiders hinted the century sprint to be around 5.0 seconds, thanks to gigantic torque and good AWD traction. Top speed will be limited to customary 250 km/h. There is also a performance oriented M550dX which will gets a hots of chassis and styling tweak by the M-division.

Production of the 550dX is expected to begin in March 2012. The new powerplant will also find its way into X5 and X6 model.

23 November 2011

Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE - coming on 25/11?

According to Facebook page of Proton EON Berhad, the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is coming on 25th November 2011. The car is estimated to be priced below RM50,000. For comparison, the Proton Saga FL 1.6 was priced at RM46,549.

The Saga FLX SE is powered by the CAMPRO IAFM 1.6l engine producing 108bhp@5750 rpm and 150Nm@4000rpm. The engine is paired with the CVT gearbox with 6 preset ratios. The car has a healthy 14bhp and 30Nm over its smaller powered siblings. However, the FLX SE is also 15kg heavier than Saga FL Executive CVT.
The FLX SE is differentiated from FLX with the addition of all-around skirting in contrasting color, smoked monotone rear lights, leather upholstery as well as a nicer and bigger 15" alloy wheels and 195/50 tyre. The 1.3l FLX rides on 185/60 R14. The interior ambiance is altered with satin black finishing on door inside handles, aircon vent and centre console panel.

The Saga FLX SE also have some added performance advantage over the smaller-engined FLX, with 12.5 seconds century sprint and 165 km/h of top speed, which is 2 seconds less pedestrian (its all relative terms here) and 10 km/h faster compared to CVT-geared 1.3l Saga FLX. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.7 l/100km, slightly more than the referenced FLX at 6.3.

The car should give an option for those aspiring and can afford a slightly more expensive Saga. For the price of below RM50k, the car is quite close to the baseline Proton Persona. Based on industry spybird, the baseline Persona will continue to soldier on after the P3-21A launch. This is perhaps to give an intermediate segment ranging from RM45k to RM60k. This is conformed when Proton repeatedly mentioned that P3-21A is not Persona replacement so it is speculated the new global sedan will be priced much higher.

Well, RM50k sounds really good value, especially when lined up next to Perodua Myvi SE/Extreme, which is powered by smaller 1.5l engine channeled its drive via conventional torque converter gearbox with only 4 forward ratios, encased in smaller hatchback body and priced at over RM50k. However, the new Myvi is way better in the refinement ( Saga is a bit rough in its drive), has much more modern interior design ( Saga is a bit archaic in comparison even considering is 2008 launched year) and overall, a bit sportier looking. Anyway, lets the market decide.

If you like what you are seeing, please do not hesitate the consult the salesman featured in that page. The brochure from the above Facebook page can be found after the jump.

Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet revealed

The Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet has been revealed ahead of its Detroit Motorshow launching in January 2012. Came is Carrera and Carrera S guise as per the Coupe version. The Carrera Cabriolet is powered by 3.6l flat-6 with direct-injection producing 350bhp, while the Carrera S Cabriolet is powered by 3.8l lump, capable of thrusting 400bhp. Transmission choice is either 7 speed manual or 7 speed PDK.

Smooth roof profile with new innovative & patented design
The new Carrera Cabriolet posses an innovative folding roof system which feature a fabric with magnesium folding structure to give the roof a well-integrated profile in closed configuration. Glass rear screen is glued directly to the outer fabric skin. All these give the folding roof a taut profile and high buffeting resistance. The operation of closing and opening of the roof can be done in staggering 11 seconds, and at a speed of up to 37mph. The technology is patented by Porsche and will be used in the next generation Boxster too. 

The Carrera Cabriolet is due to be on sale starting from March 2012. More photos after the jump.

22 November 2011

Lexus launched the entry level GS250, GS-F to be LFA powered?

Lexus launched the smallest version yet of its mid-sized sedan , the GS250 at Guangzhou Motorshow. Powered by the 2.5l V6 D-4S engine producing 206bhp@6400 rpm and 253Nm@4800 of power and torque figures respectively, sufficient to push the 4,850mm long sedan to century sprint of respectable  8.6 seconds and 230km/h of top speed. The V6 engine is hooked to 6 speed Super ECT-i automatic transmission. Combined fuel consumption is 11.2km/l.

The smaller engine capacity should increase the appeal of the GS series in engine-size sensitive market, such as in UK and also Asian country. BMW and Mercedes also offered the small engine, even in 2.0l guise in their E-Class and 5-Series at some point. This should cater the lower end of the mid-size luxury sedan market, where the previous GS never dipped below 3.0l engine.

However, according to Lexus, there is no plan to equip the GS with four-cylinder diesel to given BMW 520d a run for its money. The hybrid model is already there to cater the market segment which otherwise will opt for a diesel.

In the meantime, there is also a rumours of M5-rivalling version of Lexus GS. There is a possibility of the hot GS-F to be powered by a version of Lexus LFA V10 engine, reduced in capacity to 4.6l and targeted to produce around 450bhp. Lexus is really upping their ante this time around, with comprehensive segment coverage of their model in the territory that is firmly occupied by the German. Interior photos after the jump.

21 November 2011

The shape of things to come from Proton in the near term

There's a continuous stream of leaked uncovered new Proton lately. This sets the precedence in building up public anticipation and eagerness of the much awaited product. Although the leaked is "unofficial", and perhaps is against the law especially those photoed inside the Proton premise, they do create an excitement for the buying market. The keyword such as Proton P3-21A, Proton Exora Turbo and Proton Saga FLX 1.6 are hot stuff nowadays. Thanks to blogsite like funtasticko, the photos are now can be seen online.

The immediately coming up launch is the Proton Saga FLX SE. Aping the Perodua Myvi SE strategy, the SE version of the Saga comes with bigger engine, as experimented a while back in limited edition Saga FL 1.6l. However, this time around, the bigger capacity car comes with a host of aesthetic enhancement such as more pronounced skirting all around, bigger 15" alloy wheel. A ducktail rear spoiler and smoked rear light complete the exterior makeover. In the cabin, the seats are now upholstered in leather trim.

The 1.6l Campro IAFM engine is paired with the CVT transmission, just like the Saga FLX 1.3l. The launch is said to be either end of this month or in December. The price will definitely be cheaper than the smaller-bodied and smaller-engined Perodua Myvi SE/Extreme but the final figure remained to be seen.

Another coming up model is the updated Proton Exora MPV. In less than 3 years in its life-cyle, the not-so popular Proton MPV is sets for its mid-life facelift and will gained a new drivetrain too. There's have been so much talked about the Campro Turbo engine, so this is the first model to receive such powertrain. Drive is expected to be channeled via the CVT gearbox too as the Saga FLX. The drivetrain will preview what we will see in the Proton P3-21A, a global car. Apart from the revised engine, the MPV will received a facelift too. New front bumper is already seen with different air intake arrangement. Rear disc brake will be featured too. Rear bumper will be garnished with blackened lower panel like the Proton Inspira. The revised MPV is rumoured to be called Exora BOLD. If  this is true, perhaps it is the disease infected from Perodua, a trend in calling the car with certain petname behind the main naming system. More after the jump.

20 November 2011

Nissan Juke R - 480bhp cross-crossover!

Remember the unconventional looking Nissan Juke? Basically a crossover segment defiant that blur the boundaries between family hatchback with offroad pretention. Now the crossover has been crossovered again, this time it has commit intra-family matching, with far beastly superior Nissan GTR. You could just imagine the small Nissan Juke shoehorned with the V6 twin-turbocharged engine of the car that could eat Porsche 911 for its breakfast.
The body panel has pumped up with flaring wheel arches, aggressive skirting and two-piece rear spoiler. In case the alloy wheels look familiar, it is because they are from Nissan GTR, a 20" RAYS forged item.
The matt-black car gets a revised front end too. The lower fascia especially gets two additional air intakes and they looks as if they could swallow a newborn baby. Talk about the feisty face here.
The roll-caged cabin borrows some of the GTR switchgear. The gear console and know, the audio interface and of course the steering are from the supercar-eater sibling. According to Nissan, they will build the car in RHD form after this, and both of these will start pounding the test track soon. Nissan is tight-lipped about the intention of this car, but don't rule out a limited production run. Enjoy the gallery from Netcarshow after the jump. 

Live photo of Proton Inspira with R3 kit

Interested in Proton Inspira with R3 kit that was opened for booking earlier this month? Here are real life photos of the Inspira 1.8MT with R3 kits courtesy of Proton salesman website. The kit is only available for the 5 speed manual variant of Proton Inspira, with perceived value exceeding RM9,000 thrown in free for your provided you are among the 100 people that could snapped the model in time. Why only in manual? For your information, the Inspira 1.8MT is the fastest variant of Proton Inspira you can buy. The century sprint of 10.0 seconds flat is even faster than the 2.0l version. The 202 km/h top speed is 4 km/h higher too than the larger capacity version. This fits perfectly with the high performance tagline of R3.

The front end is adorned with the bumper lip that feature heavily protruding skirting with blackened lower section. The side of the lip feature a now-customary outlet that featured on every R3 bodykit. The lip really gives a squared-off face for otherwise a bit weedy looking front end.
The rear end aesthetic is uplifted from the cooking-Inspira by the heavily pronounced skirting attached to the side-lower section of the bumper. The contoured duck-tail spoiler is added too, and it is more visible than the subtle item fitted to the 2.0l version.
The alloy wheel is 18" in size and wrapped around with 225/40 tyres. Brand for the tires and rims are Advanti Racing and Yokohama respectively. More photos after the jump.

19 November 2011

Subaru BRZ Concept STi showcased in LA

Subaru showcased its BRZ sports coupe in the LA motorshow. The car is essentially a thinly disguised production version of Subaru new sports car. The BRZ is co-developed with Toyota FT86 and both cars are expected to bow in at Tokyo Motorshow in mass-production form. 

The main difference with the Toyota FT86 is limited to different bumper design for both front and rear. The headlamp is shared, however, the rear light is different from FT86 as it is more boxy in appearance. The LA showcar also gets a massive rear wing. Both FT86 and BRZ has been tested by several journalist and all are single-voiced in praising the accessible fun handling of both. 

Fourth Generation 2012 Honda CR-V launched in LA

After a long series of spyshots, leaked patent, an a very orange concept study and a teaser in Honda Japan website, the fourth generation of Honda CR-V has finally debuted, albeit for now only in LHD form in LA motorshow. It will be on sale in America from December 15, and will be launched in Japan shortly after. European market will gets in sometimes in 2012, while us in Malaysia might have to wait similarly long.

The latest generation CR-V follows the same silhouette profile of its predecessor, where they both ditched their ancestor angular looks in favour of more crossover kind of sleeker profile. However, the awkward "double-mouth" of third gen has been ditch, replaced by more conventional grille opening.  The front fascia are more sculpted and the bumper's smooth-flowing lines are highlighted by a horizontal three-bar grille and deeply set multi-reflector headlights. The lower front bumper wraps smartly upward to convey SUV capability with a generous approach angle as well as  for an improved aerodynamics.
The rear end still featured a horizontal rear lights, a nod to the tradition sets from the first generation of Honda CR-V. However, the tail lamps now is more intricate in detailing and more 3D in its wraparound  joining the tailgate the side panel. The raked rear screen and reversed-angle rear light bottom made a more than passing resemblance of the Volvo XC60.
The side profile is more distinctive than the current generation. The wheel arches are more flared, the side panel retained both character lines running at the waist and sill level, but they are raised towards the rear, instead of horizontal like current model, giving a wedge-line profile. This is further accentuated with the kinked D-pillar which is parallel with the rear bumper shut-line and rear light housing angle. More details and photos after the jump.

16 November 2011

Toyota Aqua Hybrid - 40km/litre little hatch

Toyota Motor has announced their latest hybrid car, the Toyota Aqua, previously known as Prius C covered in previous posting here. The Aqua name is for JDM only, while the rest of the world will know the car in in its previous name, i.e Prius C to draw a family relationship with Prius and Prius V as the Toyota hybrid-only product line-up. The car will be available from December 2011 in Japanese market. The small hatchback measures only 3,995mm long, 1,695mm wide and 1,445mm tall, and rides on a wheelbase of 2,550mm. 

The 5-seater hatchback is powered by 1.5l gasoline engine hooked to THS-II, Toyota hybrid drive system. Under the Japanese test cycle of JC08, the Aqua will return 35km/l, while in 10.15 mode, it returns a staggering 40km/l. The new hybrid powertrain is 40kg lighter than the unit in Prius.

Despite the compact footprint and Yaris-level if wheelbase, the Aqua hatchback the rear legroom is comparable to Toyota Corolla, while the luggage space is equivalent to the Toyota Auris, basically a Corolla hatchback.

The Aqua hybrid gets an well-honed exterior design cue to optimize aerodynamics. For instance, a spats in fitted in front of the the tyres, fixed to the car floor. This is to prevent a pressure build-up when the fast airstream hits the tyre directly. Spat acts as a flow conditioner in shaping the airflow to smoothly flow around the tyre. 

The side mirror too gets a makeover to further reduce the drag. The side mirror base is sculpted, and has a fin to streamline the air flow. Similar fins are protruding from the rear lights as well, all works in conjunction with the tapered tail and rear spoiler to reduce the flow separation and pressure-induced drag acts on the rear fascia of the car.
Small gallery of Toyota Aqua can be found after the jump.