31 December 2011

PETRONAS discontinued its partnership with Yamaha

The three-year relationship between Yamaha and PETRONAS has been brought to the end, as Yamaha MotoGP squad move into the 2012 season. The Malaysia's giant oil and gas company  joined force with the MotoGP team back in 2009, when they enjoy immediate success when Valentino Rossi took his seventh title with the team that year, and due to excellent rides of team mate Jorge Lorenzo, the team was crowned constructor champion too.

PETRONAS became the prominent sponsor in 2011 after FIAT left at the end of 2010 from its position as title sponsor. In 2010, Yamaha once again triumphed the rider championship courtesy of its rider Jorge Lorenzo.

The partnership on MotoGP front started in 2009 when both parties signed a 3-year deal. The strategic partnership was a continuation from their 8 years collaboration in Asia-Pasific motorcyle championship. The new partnership at that time aimed, among others to enable the development of Yamahalube engine oil into South-East Asean region. For PETRONAS, the collaboration will enable it to continue building the position of its international lubrication business with globally successful manufacturer.

Read after the jump for comments from both Yamaha and PETRONAS.

29 December 2011

Honda scrapped 1000 cars after Thai flood

In the move that show utmost commitment in delivering quality product, Honda Thailand has begun scrapping the flood-damaged cars from its Thailand stock yard. Consumer doesn't have to worry that the car submerged in Ayutthaya  will be delivered to them as "new" car, as they are in the process of being crushed.

In total, 1055 cars were damaged in the flood. Out of this sum, 353 units are Honda City, 217 units are Honda Brio, 213 units of Jazz, 150 units of Civic, 91 units of Accord, 30 CR-Vs and single unit of Freed. According to EVP of Honda Thailand, Pitak Pruittisarikorn, the vehicles were scrapped in environmentally friendly way to ensure no harm to the environment. 
Firstly, the cars were dismantled for parts segregation according to base material and fluids were drained. The remaining skeleton were then crushed by the mobile pressing machine into cube of scrapped metal for recycling purposes. The whole activities are expected to last for a month. One more photo after the jump.

28 December 2011

No plagiarism please!

Lately there's been blogs which consistently copied my material, covering text and photos as well. Although it is true that I might not own all the photos in the universe, it does not mean that the photos which I edited and arranged can be blatantly copied. 

Today, my article on Lotus World Vehicle Concept has been published in malay (perhaps using an online  translator) translated version at around 2pm. Bloody hell even the paragraph arrangement is the same! If you don't know how to write, don't bother becoming a blogger!!

The way around this is simple. It is call crediting someone's work in the forms of mentioning the source. It is a form of courtesy which I believed is build in every culture in any civilization.

Lotus World Vehicle Concept - a pointer to Lotus City car?

Lotus Engineering revealed their latest undertaking in the form of efficient compact supermini designed to tackle the vehicle cost-effective design as well as to achieve the reduction in CO2 emission. The project was undertaken by Lotus Engineering of North America under the fund of International Council on Clean Transport.

The World Vehicle Concept represents a fun-to-drive, low-cost and back to basics commuter that provides practical and high volume solution for reducing the green house emission and improving fuel efficiency. The car is uniquely packaged with central driving position, two second row seat slightly behind the driver and the fourth seat is in the "third" row, slightly behind the second row passengers, right in the middle transverse-wise of the car. This solution enable the occasional seating for four, or as a luggage space totalling 255L. The overlapping of passenger and luggage enabled the compact footprint of just 3,100mm in length, 1,420mm in height and 2,240mm of wheelbase. To reduce the frontal area in quest of aerodynamic efficiency (Cd of 0.19), and to eliminate the dead space, tyres (155/80 R13) are mounted outboard. Not only this solution reduced the frontal area, it also improve the tracking stability.
The concept is stipulated to be powered by 600cc with 50bhp on tap. The engine is mounted midship, just ahead of rear axle. The frees up the space up front for crumple zone, a critical design element for compact city car, particularly with such compact dimension. The other advantage is in terms of vehicle dynamics, resulting in low polar moment of inertia, long withstanding advantage of mid engine layout. The inclusion of internal combustion engine is quite a rare proposal these days, especially in the era of EV and hybrid buzzword. However, Lotus Engineering has their own justification for this, which in the end tied up to the overall cost of the project. Fuel economy is projected to be in the region of 103 mpg. More photo and detail after the jump.

27 December 2011

Kia Optima K5 launched in Malaysia - RM143,888

Naza Kia today has launched  the new Optima K5. Tipped to unsettle the establishment of Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, the Optima is priced at "that" level too, RM143,888. The new Optima has been showcased at KLIMS at the end of 2010 by Kia Malaysia, and the model we get here is the 2.0L Theta II Dual CVVT engine producing 165bhp and 198Nm of power and torque respectively. The imposing sedan channelled its drive via the 6 speed automatic transmission. It can sprint to 100 km/h in 10.9 seconds while top speed is 202 km/h.
Side profile of K5 Optima - from Sgcarmart
The car comes with a host of generous equipment level such as HID headlamp together with auto leveling projection lights, DRL, prominent 18 inch sport rims alloy, sunroof, 6 airbags, leather upholstery, dual zone aircond, reverse camera projected to rear view mirror, 8 speakers audio systems, glovebox cooler and powered 8 way driver seat adjustment as well as paddle shifter for manual intervention. 
Driver-centric dashboard - pic from oneshift
The new optima is slightly shorter than the current Honda Accord at 4,845mm long. It is 1,830mm wide and 1,455mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,795mm. The fuel tank capacity is 70L. Read more after the jump.

Michael Schumacher is F1 2011 top overtaker

Based on Autosport, using the data obtained from Mercedes GP PETRONAS team, Michael Schumacher ended the 2011 season as the overall top overtaker with 116 passess. 

In the season where the DRS allow the car shoot pass the car ahead with the aid and benefit of higher straight line speed, Schumacher record was actually aided by tha fact that he made most of his overtaking on the opening lap. This is because he usually qualified lower than what his car is capable of, indicated by his team mate, Nico Rosberg higher grid positioning. 

Mercedes GP PETRONAS team however, is more than aware that Michael race pace is not lacking, when compared to his team mate so that he could recover well on Sunday's race despite his lower qualifying position. Read more after the jump for full 2011 overtaking statistics.

26 December 2011

Honda is the most pothole-proof - WhatCar UK

According to Whatcar UK, Honda is the most pothole-proof car in the UK market. The study was done by Warranty Direct based on the claims done by car owner which were caused by the damaged due to pothole. According to Warranty Direct, only 1.2% of Honda owners submitted such claim. The next best groups are the economy brand such as Toyota et all. The worst performing are Americans as well as the luxury brand. 

In average, there's 6% chance for any car to suffer damage from pothole. However, there are some brands which are very resilient to such road imperfection, while others are vulnerable to more damage. Check out after the jump for full results.

Most resilient brands
1. Honda 
2. Toyota 
3. Hyundai 
4. Nissan 
5. Kia 
6. Mitsubishi 
7. Mini 
8. Suzuki 
9. Ford 
10. Mazda 

Least resilient brands
1. Chrysler 
2. Smart 
3. Mercedes-Benz 
4. Land Rover 
5. Jaguar 
6. Saab 
7. Fiat 
8. BMW 
9. Seat 
10. Vauxhall 

How does your Malaysian Honda City fare? Email me your verdict at malaysiamotoringnews@gmail.com

Source: Whatcar

25 December 2011

Audi Q3 coming to Malaysia - in Q2 2012

Audi smallest soft-roader, the Q3 is coming to Malaysia in quarter 2 of 2012 in the forms of 2.0 TFSI format. However, it will pay a visit to Klang Valley for a short while before touring off to Indonesia. The Q3 will be showcased from 26/12 - 1/1/2012 at Audi Kuala Lumpur, before moving off to Audi Glenmarie  from 2/1 until 8/1.

Audi Q3 is the smallest in Audi SUV range, being 4,385mm long, 1,831mm wide and 1,608mm tall. It rides on 2,603mm wheelbase. For comparison, its bigger brother Q5 is 4,629 x 1,898 x 1,653 mm in its length, width and height respectively. Audi Q3 is based on the PQ35 platform which underpins the likes of Mk5 VW Golf and Seat Tribu. It has transverse drivetrain layout and a simpler Haldex front-biased all wheel drive instead of longitudinal drivetrain and advanced quattro mechanism. Read more after the jump.

23 December 2011

DENSO seat warmer/cooler - no more sweaty back

In the land where car price is exorbitantly high, to get the car with a ventilated seat is even more so more than exorbitant. However, DENSO has the answer for us the cheapo car owner. Enter the portable seat cooler and heater.
The portable unit is compact as be seen in the photo above, and it can work with 12V power supplied by the car power outlet. The unit has been designed to withstand the extreme winter and summer temperature, namely -10 to 40 degC. It will be on sale in Japan from January 2012 onwards. Perhaps we can beg some accessories shop to bring it in?

22 December 2011

Corrected specs for Proton Exora Bold

Seems that in a space of a week the Proton Exora has gained 2 seconds in its century sprint!! Apparently Proton has revised the specification of its newly launched Exora CFE. As can be seen from the excerpt below, the century sprint has been revised to 11.3 seconds instead of 13.3 seconds. This makes the CFE CVT version actually faster than the manual CPS version on "lightweight" basement spec, which stands at 1401kg instead of 1486kg kerb weight!

The compression ratio also has been re-print as 8.9:1, as opposed to 10.0 similar to the CPS. This clear the confusion as it is very rare for a turbo engine to have that high of compression ratio, even with the turbo boost of 0.75 bar like the CFE engine.

Another item revised is the fuel tank capacity, which now quoted as 55 litres instead of 60 litres. 

21 December 2011

Most powerful Audi A1 revealed - Quattro with 256bhp

Audi has released the information of the hottest variant of its supermini A1, dubbed simply Audi A1 Quattro. The car is powered by 2.0 TFSI engine, basically a turbocharged 2.0l with direct injection systems producing 256hp@6000rpm and 350Nm@2500-4500rpm. Channeled its drive via 6 speed manual transmission to all its four tyres, the A1 Quattro can sprint to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds on its way to 245 km/h top speed. The hot hatch return a respectable 8.5 l/100km of average fuel consumption. The A1 Quattro will be produced from second half of 2012, but only limited to 333 units of production.
The car is dressed up in typical hot Audi S model, with prominent bumper scoop, very pronounced sills and skirting. Larger 18" wheel wrapped in 225/35 tyres, rear diffuser and high gloss black lower tailgate completes the exterior makeover which otherwise is typical subtle Audi design execution.
The headlight is highly stylistic with inner "blade" with prominent red insert. This gives the A1 an aggressive snout which shout sheer power with extra large air intake. The exterior is the launch car is finished in Glacier White metallic. 
Audi engineers has modified the chassis to cope with the massive increased in power. The front suspension is an uprated McPherson strut while the rear is four-link type. To enhance the steering response and handling sharpness, the electrohydraulic power steering comes with direct 14.8:1 ratio and the ESP systems can be fully turned off for total fun, while the "mainstream" drive can opted for Sport Mode instead.

As for the exterior, the interior of the hot Audi A1 is trimmed in well-restraint aggressiveness. Nappa black leather with contrasting red stitching upholstered the body hugging sports seat. Steering wheel has flat bottom for racier feel and the aluminium is sprinkled to the gear knob and pedals.  
Enjoy the detail photos of the hot Audi A1 Quattro after the jump.

19 December 2011

McLaren to launch on Feb 1st & Caterham chassis completed

McLaren has announced that they are going to launch their 2012 challenger on February 1st. However, the launch venue of MP4-27 is still untold. The machine that Jenson and Lewis will pilot for their 2012 campaign will also participate in the first official F1 test in Jerez also in February 7th 2012.

Meanwhile, Caterham F1 team said that their CT-01 has passed all the mandatory FIA test. The new regulation for F1 2012 is that all cars must passed the crash test before participating in the first test session. The team which was formerly known at Team Lotus ( or Lotus F1 Racing prior to that, or even 1 Malaysia F1 Team in the Malaysian media) has a high hope this season. Their second season in F1 was,well, nothing like what they said during pre-season. 

Citroen C4 launched in Malaysia

Brooklands Motor has brought in the highly-acclaimed Citroen C4 to Malaysian market, and will make the DS4 available too in February 2012. The C4 is available only in single-spec powered by the familiar (in Peugeot cars) 1.6l THP with 156bhp@5800 rpm and 240Nm@1400 rpm. The high-performance turbocharged gasoline engine returned  a combined 6.4 l/100km. In the C4 application, the engine is paired with EGS automated manual gearbox. Performance claimed are 9.6 seconds century sprint and 212 km/h of top speed.

The C4 is priced at RM126,280 before insurance. However, there is also RM7,000 worth of accessories packaged to be ticked off which include 18" Newport alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres, Mistral Claudia leather heated seats and dynamic bi-Xenon headlights. The alloy wheel and tyre package is an upgrade from the standard 225/45 R17 item.

The C4 is a mid-sized hatchback, similar in VW Golf in size. It is 4,329mm long, 1,789mm wide and 1,489mm tall. The occupants are enclosed within 2,608mm wheelbase. The bootspace available is 380 litres. 

The car is suspended by Independent trailing arm suspension with deformable transverse beam. Coil springs, hydraulic dampers and anti-roll bar.

Meanwhile, the Citroen DS4 will be priced at around RM150,000. This car will get the option of either THP156 like in the C4 or THP200, a 200bhp and 275Nm version of the same 1.6l engine. The higher power engine is tipped to be available with 6 speed manual gearbox.

Some photo from the launch of C4 and DS4 from Paultan can be found after the jump.

18 December 2011

Turbocharged Proton Exora Bold CFE - driving & design impression

The updated Proton Exora MPV has been announced to the public on last Friday, 16th December 2011. The home-grown MPV is very much-awaited, as countless spyshots of the so-called "Exora Turbo" were spied around the Klang Valley and it is, no beat behind the bush here, a known fact that the CPS-powered Exora main Achilles point is, well, its CPS engine. MPV of this size, in any part of the world, is rarely been powered by a small capacity engine. For comparison, Proton Exora is longer than Honda Stream and Toyota Wish. Those Japs stalwart were powered by a minimum 1.8l lump. I am going to start my Proton Exora Bold Premium review with a conclusion. It is worth to note that the Exora is barely 2.5 years old. The significant aesthetic updates and the entirely new drivetrain it received signify Proton intent to improve its product based on increasing customer expectation.

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There isn't a need to scroll down the article to find out how the Exora Bold has been summed up. In a nutshell, in a sense, the updated Exora is what  people (carrier) love the most. It is spacious for 5 adults, plus 2 more can be seated in the 3rd row without major complaints. The storage space is abundance. Practicality is second to none at this price. Driving it is a breeze. It feels very car like, with none of van-like kind of blind spot and cumbersome dynamics. However, it now comes with fangs. No more sluggish mid-range engine speed. It can be easily hustled to merge with faster traffic seamlessly. In a phrase, Proton Exora Bold Premium is now a complete MPV. Period. Check out the driving impression down the articles.

At RM79,998, it is very hard to find a rival worth mentioning. The packaged of spacious interior, full supply of aircond in the cabin, good handling, well-suppressed NVH and a very well-equipped cabin amenities makes the Exora Bold punched well above its price. With the new, more powerful heart, Proton has makes the other competitors (Perodua Alza, Toyota Avanza and Innova, Nissan Grand Livina) appear half-bake. Other than the brand, there's no single aspect of these competitors where the new Exora can't matched.

Exterior Design
This is not the first time the Exora styling was updated. The first one was in July 2010, just 15 months after the lunch where the Exora was given a tweak in its styling. Skirting was added on all model, bar the Base, to enhance the look, reducing the ungainly appearance from certain angle. The light grey of the cabin too has make way for more traditional Tempest Grey based on public feedback on their launch model.

For 2012, the Exora has been given a full styling makeover. The front end has been spiced up with the new front bumper, featuring a very prominent vertically placed air intakes on each outer edge, flanking the slight-smiley lower radiator grille. The headlamps, while continue to be housed in the same casing, has been given a smoked treatment. The previously floating aerofoil upper radiator grille has been ditched, and making an appearance is  the new signature grille for Proton, a formal-looking unit with hard-edge surrounding panel and a chrome garnish mounted close to the leading edge to the hood. The same grille outline was spied in the leaked P3-21A photo, so this is what we can expect in the future after all.

While some manufacturer (local rivaling brand included) sometimes goes crazy with creating "air-intake" with blanked, non-see through, plugged-off panel, the air intakes in the Proton cars has always been functional. Check-out the meshed grille in Proton Satria Neo rear bumper if you don't believe me. In the Exora Bold, the vents fed the radiator behind it. Both sides are not blanked off.

The rear end of the current Exora is a hit and missed affair. While it is tastefully done with nice placing of garnish and squared-off, low loading height bumper, the tail light detailing marred the experience. While there is a need to insist on the presence of LED in there, there's simply too many different arrangement in there, the chrome is loud too. For the Bold range, Proton simply smoked the whole thing, muted the entire "overdone touch" in one go. Great.

While the rear bumper is retained, it has been wrapped with lower skirting fitted with contrasting valance, similar in concept in Inspira, and has been visible in P3-21A spied car too. The squared-off front bumper fascia and rear bumper valence are complemented by the side skirting, and in the case of Premium version of Exora Bold, a new design 16" alloy wheel too.

All in all, the facelifted Exora is less ungainly looking than its forebear. The new front bumper design has actually removed the visual mass associated with the old Exora front styling with its angular bumper edge. The new radiator grille also make it presence felt, making the front end appears more elegant, with slight sporting intention projected by those great looking bumper and smoked headlamp. The rear end meanwhile appears lithe, and less visual mass at the lower section. The tail lamp is no longer distracting as the smoked effect has makes it more seamlessly integrated with the whole rear end design. Commendable effort here is indeed praiseworthy. 

More details after the jump including Interior Design, Drivetrain and Driving Experience.

16 December 2011

Formula 1 2012 : new driver line-up & car launch date

Force India has confirmed their 2012 driver line-up as Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. Toro Rosso team on the other hand dropped both of its driver, in favor of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne for its 2012 line-up. The biggest news after all, is the return of World Champion Kimi Raikonen in the cocpit of LRGP team. The Iceman will be paired by returnee Romain Grosjean. Its quite a pity so see Bruno Senna, who impressed on this late season appearance, was dropped from LRGP list.
The confirmed launch as for now is only for Sauber team. Sauber is due to present its 2012 challenger on 6th February 2012. Ferrari has also stated they are going to debut their car during the first test in Jerez, on 7th February 2012. 

Stay tune for more Formula 1 news.

15 December 2011

Proton Exora Bold and Prime launched

Proton has unveiled their much awaited Exora BOLD and PRIME today. The updated Proton Exora can now be have in 5 versions. The Standard model is essentially the base-line model, which is devoid of the updated styling package (except that it still gets the smoked head and tail lamps) and is manual-geared only. Next-up in the line is the Exora Bold range, which kicks from Executive (5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic). The Exora Bold is the real facelifted model, as it gets the updated styling package consists of new front bumper and full skirting including rear valence. These three models soldiers on with the proven Campro CPS engine as per current Exora. The range starts to get interesting with the Proton Exora Bold Premium, which is powered by the new CFE engine, and drive its new-found power through the now-customary CVT gearbox. The range is topped by Exora Prime, which is a luxuriously-trimmed 6 seater version. 

As for the price, the manual Standard model now costs RM59,998, Bold Executive MT at RM70,998, Bold Executive 4AT at RM74,998, Bold Premium (CFE + CVT) at RM79,998 and finally the Prime at RM88,998. For direct comparison with the current Exora, the Standard model is only RM1,000 dearer. Meanwhile the Bold Executive MT is  RM5,450 more than current M-Line manual, while Bold Executive 4AT is RM4,450 dearer than the M-Line AT it succeeds. It is unfair to draw a comparison between Exora Bold Premium as it gets a host of improvement consisting of new soft-turbo engine, CVT, 4 wheel disc brakes and electrically folding side mirror.
Proton Exora BOLD Premium front end - a complete fascia makeover
The enhanced styling for Bold model onward deserved special mention here. The new front bumper has successfully removed the visual bulk that has long defecting the frontal appearance of the current model. The boxy bumper lines has been punched by the vertical air intakes on the outer edge of the front bumper. The lower radiator grille adopt a wide horizontal opening, which virtually widened the car look. The new grille is more formal looking than the current one, and blends really well with the new front fascia. This new grille is set to be a signature grille for current crops of Proton cars, starting from P3-21A. Smoked headlamp completes the frontal makeover.The Prime model gets a chrome housing for its fog light. 
Proton Exora Prime features additional touch of class over the BOLD model
Since the launch of current Exora, I have always felt that the rear light is overdone. In an effort to signify the presence of LED lighting, and in the midst of creating the so-called character in the constraint of space, the designer was probably fighting among his own ideas and ended up implementing all his ideas! Fortunately, all those tacky detailing has been blurred by the dark smoked effect. The bumper is c/o item, but has been given a new lease of live by the fitment of lower garnish which,due to the contrasting black color, has removed the visual mass from the rear. It appears lighter to the eye.Kudos to Proton for really transforming the look of their MPV in this styling exercise!
Identical rear end for BOLD and Prime. Rear combi drastically better than the overdone item on current Exora

The biggest news that public has eagerly waited all this while is the much lauded turbocharged engine. Dubbed CFE, stands for Charged Fuel Efficiency, the new powertrain started its life some years back as Project Pheonix. The major objective of this project was to create an engine for high-torque application, while at the same time have to be fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. The engine is not merely a turbo-charged Campro, as adding a turbocharger results in higher combustion pressure in the cylinder, thus necessity a total revision to the cranktrain systems, coolant and lubricant circuit, as well as stronger cylinder head, block and bedplate. Even the stroke is 2mm shorter at 86mm, resulting in 36cc less in capacity at 1,561cc while maintaining a high (for turbo engine) compression ratio of 10.0. The engine is rated for Euro 4 and 5 too. The results is 138bhp@5000rpm and 205Nm is available between 2000-4000rpm. As can be seen below, there a fat chunk of maximum torque available between the afore-mentioned engine speed, and this range is precisely what the driving rpm is for most drivers. So one can imagine the CFE-equipped Exora can be more move around more swiftly at around town driving.
The new heart gives the Exora Bold Premium the extra pace to accelerate to 100 km/h in 13.3 seconds, much faster than the CPS 4AT Exora which sprint (or crawl?) to the similar speed in pedestrian-like 15.7 seconds. Top speed for this turbo version is 185 km/h, compared to 165 km/h for the auto-geared CPS. Fuel consumption however has suffered a little bit, at a constant 90 km/h, the claimed figure for CFE CVT is 7.8 l/100km compared to 7.4l/100km achieved for non-turbo engine. Complementing the added performance, the Premium version is equipped with rear disc brake. The Premium version rides on larger 205/55 R16 as opposed to 195/65 R15.
Proton Exora Bold Premium interior. More brightwork than current model
There are some variation in the interior trim among the 5 model on offer. There's not much to talk about regarding the Standard Line, which soldiers on its black door inside handle and platingrau color in its centre console. The Bold like gets a liquid silver door inside handle, while the Executive model centre console is finished in same liquid silver replacing the platingrau scheme found on Standard model. The seats are finished in refreshed fabric scheme too. As for entertainment systems, the Executive version is now equipped with the DVD player which was only found on Hi-Line previously. The Premium version of Exora Bold gets all the bells and whistles in the form of leather upholstery for the seat and door trim, electric folding side mirror, rear camera projected in rear view mirror, cubic motif on centre console, auto-cruise, leather wrapped steering and liquid silver finishing on aircond vent surround. The Premium version meanwhile gets individual captain seat for the second row seat, whole occupants can enjoy the DVD integrated in front seat headrest. The liquid silver centre console finishing on the Premium has been replaced with simulated walnut in the Prime, together with different leather finishing on the seats and door trims. All model, bar the Standard, are equipped with ABS and EBD. The Standard model gets driver airbag, while other model are dual-SRS equipped. Read more after the jump.

14 December 2011

2013 Mercedes Benz SL fully revealed

It was only a couple of days ago that the grainy brochure scan hit the internet, revealing the new Mercedes grand open air motoring, now the new roadster has been revealed in all its aesthetic detailing ahead of its planned Detroit Motorshow in January 2012.

The car exterior surfacing draws heavily from the junior Merc SLK and range-topper SLS AMG with typical modern Mercedes styling cues such as angular headlamp and mascular body panels. The rear end of the car has some current-SL motif in its large, sweeping wraparound taillights, but the detailing is just any other modern Merc. The grille is more upright, with prominent tri-star emblem at dead centre. Strong character lines can be find running from A-pillar base all the way passing the headlight inner tips, before merging with the grille surround in one crisp, uninterrupted sweep of lines. Headlights is big and edgy.
The interior follows the current Mercedes-Benz interior design, that is modernism with a touch of retro-ism, especially in the area of aircond vent which are circular and expensively well-finished. The instrument panel and floor console follow the theme sets by both the SLS AMG and SLK roadster in their flat fascia and console for minimalist appearance. The devil is in the detailing, whereby the switchgear, buttons, rotary knob, ICE systems as well as climate controls are superbly finished in expensive-looking brighwork. The IP, console and door trim are all leather-upholstered, signifying the flagship status of the new SL in Mercedes product range.
The technical detail are scarce at the moment, as Mercedes is still holding back the detail of the drivetrain package for their new roadster. What is clear, and has been recently communicated by Mercedes, for now is the chassis construction of the 2013 SL. Mercedes has gone a great length in videos and image displaying the white body of the SL to emphasize the almost exclusive use of aluminium in its build-up. This results in a massive 140kg weight reduction! The new SL maintains the used of folding aluminium hard-top as per current car.

The body panel is 89% aluminium. The only exception are for the A-pillar which, due to its criticality, is made of high strength steel. The rear panel is made of magnesium, which is even lighter than the aluminium (and more expensive too!). The aluminium for the body shell application adopt the latest technology in their manufacturing method, including chill or vacuum die casting for the nodes and the optimized extrusion for beams. The breakdown of structural aluminium type is 44% cast aluminium, 17% extrusion segments and 28% stamped sheet (with variable thickness).  The result, apart from the aforementioned 140kg weight saving, is 20% increase in rigidity, increased crash worthiness and better NVH management.

The full gallery of the car can be found after the jump.

Proton Saga FLX SE 1.6 - brief driving impression

Proton Saga FLX SE 1.6 has been introduced to expand the range of Saga model by providing customers with a vehicle that has higher engine capacity while at the same time maintaining the mission d'etre of Proton Saga model as an excellent value and affordable car. Powered by the familiar Campro 1.6l with IAFM, the Saga FLX SE comes exclusively paired with the CVT gearbox. To further signify its sporting intention, and to attract the glimpse from the young, the car has been thoroughly fitted with all-around, contrasting skirting, attractive 15" alloy wheels shod in low profile 195/50 tyres. The spacious cabin has been suitably upgraded too. The car has been available from Proton dealer nationwide since 1 December 2011. The price for the new pride is just RM49,449, making it a very propositional value against the fellow national rival, the new Myvi SE/Extreme.

Exterior Styling
The new SAGA FLX SE exterior is as per the Saga FL launched late last year. However, to justify its positioning at the top of the Saga range, and a sporty model at that, the exterior has been suitably beefed up. 

The fog lamp surround and front bumper lip are satin brownish in color. In both Solid White and Fire Red color on offer, the skirting sets a nice contrast with the main body, setting up a unique, lithe appearance. This is accentuates further by the adoption of larger and sportier looking set of alloy wheels, which stands at 15" of diameter.
The rear of the SAGA FLX SE has been added with the duck-tail spoiler, similarly contrasting skirting elements, as well as golden-smoked rear combi. 1.6 SE badging completes the rear makeover. 

The body added-on accessories did light up the dowdy exterior to certain amount. The low-profile 195/50 tyres with thin spoke made the stance more athletic, and the both front and rear lips gave the side profile a light wedge silhouette , lending some air of aggressiveness in its appearance.
Interior Styling
The interior of Proton SAGA FLX SE has been upgraded in typical Proton "SE" fashion, which means leather and in this case, fiery red stitching. The steering wheel rim has been upholstered in leather, with perforated section on the outer edge. Steering button control for audio systems is included too. The accents on steering wheel boss and button panel are satin black in color.More after the jump.

13 December 2011

Proton Exora FL - specs for BOLD and PRIME revealed

The anticipation for the launch of the facelifted Proton Exora range is running high. The soft launch is rumoured to be done on 16th December, with the official launch in January 2012. Perhaps this is to ignite the public interest in the model and holding them back from buying other rivals, which could be heavily discounted during this year end sales promotion.

Proton-Sales website has revealed the full specs of all version for the 2012 Exora. The current Exora shape will stay in the form of Baseline model, essentially the model we have had on our road right now (with material-coloured door handles, moulding, rear garnish and front grille, deviod of fog lamps and rear headrest etc..). The facelifted range starts from Medium-Line onwards, up to the range-topper 6 seater Exora Prime. It remained to be seen if the Exora will adopt the latest Proton trimming systems namely Standard, Executive and Premium Line. Below are the details of the line-up of 2012 Proton Exora.

Proton Exora Baseline
1. No aesthetic change
2. Powered by Campro CPS
3. 5 speed manual gearbox only

Proton Exora BOLD M-Line
Features of Exora BOLD M-Line:
1. Aesthetic enhancement covers new front bumper with Proton's new corporate grille, smoked headlamp, new rear skirting incorporating black lower garnish, smoked rear combi.
2. Powered by Campro CPS, transmission option both 5 speed manual or 4AT

More detail of the the variant,features and Campro CFE specs after the jump.

11 December 2011

BMW revealed 2013 6 Series Gran Coupe

BMW has revealed their challenger to the second generation Mercedes CLS, which has since been joined by a host of other premium car maker namely in shape of Audi A7. The extension to the current 6-Series range originally started its life as the BMW Concept CS in 2007, and subsequently appeared in almost finished form in Beijing Motorshow as BMW Gran Coupe Concept in April 2010.
The new Gran Coupe is described as an addition to the 6 Series Coupe, already a stunningly proportioned car with 4 door and added passenger capacity of up to 4+1 seater. To accommodate the afore-mentioned added capacity, the Gran Coupe is 112mm longer than the 6 Series Coupe at 5,007mm. Width remained at 1,894mm while the height of the car increased by 27mm to 1,392mm. The wheelbase extension is almost similar as the length extension at 113mm, bringing it to 2,968mm, similar to current BMW 5-Series F10. It is no surprise that all these cars, including the current 7-Series do actually share a huge commonality in their platform. The increase in length over the Coupe/Cabriolet sibling also brings an accommodating 460l of boot space.
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is powered by the series of familiar contemporary BMW engines. All powertrain are hooked to the 8 speed automatic transmission. The base model 640i is powered by the updated N55 3.0l  straight-six, Twin-Power turbocharged engine, dubbed N55HP. In this application, the powertrain delivers 315bhp@5800-6000rpm and 447Nm@1300-4500rpm of power and torque respectively. Paired to 8 speed automatic transmission, 640i is capable of 5.4 seconds century sprint and a restricted 250 km/h of top speed. Fuel efficiency is quoted as 7.8l /100km. More detail and photos after the jump.

10 December 2011

Blast from the past - Renault Initiale

Renault Initiale Concept was introduced back in September 1995. At that time, Renault was very well-known for its concept car that adopted controversial but distinctive styling. The avant-garde looking Initiale was more than just a styling exercise. It portrayed Renault quest in entering executive saloon market. Also, it set Renault design language for years to come, especially with the similarly avant-garde looking car such as Renault Avantime and Renault Vel Satis. These two cars similar kind of rear end treatment, with wacky upright rear screen wrapped by big hatchback. To certaint extent, the second generation Laguna did resemble the Initiale rear styling, especially at the C-pillar area and its intersection with the hatch.

Renault Initiale Concept was powered by a detuned Formula 1 engine, in this case it was RS6 3.5l V10 modified by RenaultSport division. In this application, the F1 engine pumped out 392bhp@8000rpm and 360Nm@6200rpm. Channeling the drive via 6 speed sequential gearbox to all wheels, the engine catapult the big saloon to 305 km/h. Very detuned indeed.
To emphasize further its intention in moving upmarket, Renault has assigned Louis Vuitton to design a custom luggage set for the Initiale. As can be seen above, the luggage matched the car even in its color scheme, and typical to the customized luggage, the storage capability was maximized due to deletion of dead space. Read more after the jump.

09 December 2011

Proton Exora BOLD coming on 16th December?

A strong rumor has spread today that the Proton Exora Bold is to be launched on 16th December, much earlier than the previously announced January 2012.

Proton updated MPV model will be topped by a version powered by new CFE engine, basically an enhanced Campro with turbocharger, IAFM and direct injection. Power and torque are reputedly stand at 138bhp and 205Nm (flat between 2000-4000rpm). Drive will be channeled via the CVT gearbox. However, it remains to be seen whether the lower-price model will received an updated Campro or not. Either way, these drivetrain combos should preview what we can expect in their global car P3-21A.

Apart from the advanced powertrain option, the range topping Exora BOLD is sets to have a 16" alloy wheel, rear disc brake, reverse camera, full body skirting, smoked rear light and a refreshed interior. The new front and rear bumpers really lift the aesthetic value of Proton Exora. One can compare the Exora BOLD with the current Exora in the below photo, the re-profiled rear fascia, relocated reflector and introduction of contrasting lower garnish really lightened-up the rear end look, eliminating the sagging look of the old. Dare I say, there's a touch of class here.

The launch date was reportedly brought forward due to the lack of stock for current Exora MC. But what is people perception in buying a year end car, which will be one year old in two week time?

08 December 2011

Proton P3-21A spied at Karak Highway

Paultan reader Bay MH spied Proton P3-21A at Karak highway. Two car were there and the capturer was chasing them with this Toyota Vios, while there's another black Fiesta chasing the pack too. While we have seen the totally uncovered yellow car earlier, there's still no leaked photo on the rear yet.

The front of the car revealed nothing new yet compared to the un-camouflaged yellow car at TGM plant we have seen earlier. The previously covered front grille is now unmasked whereby you can clearly see the upper garnish, and the emblem mounted dead centre, flanked by the simple horizontally bar right to the edge of headlamp.

The photo below shows the tyre gap with the wheel arch is not as huge as Saga, but more like the current Persona. However, from some angle, the tall-body configuration does show, and under-tyred perception could still be get with the wrong perspective.

The rear end is of course, still unseen uncovered yet. However, the similar theme to Saga FLX is noted here, with slim, small rear combi housed in the side structure, with additional light part running across the rear fascia of the trunk lid.
I wouldn't be surprise if the inner graphic of the rear combi does not differ too much from the Saga FLX design. After all, the upper amber and bottom white lens arrangement is already similar to Saga FLX.

The brake light will run across the centre span too. We can see here that under braking, the centre part is illuminated too. This and some more photo below does indicate that the centre lighting is very likely to be LED illuminated too. After all, it will look awkward if the lighting is not consistent. There more photos after the jump.