27 February 2012

Jaguar XF Sport Brake revealed its rear end

Earlier this year we have been served with the spy shots of the Jaguar XF with estate body, signifying Jaguar's entry into the large estate tapping into the market of BMW 5 Series and BMW E Class Touring. In the UK market, or European for the matter, there is always a demand for large estate with torquey engine  and can be hooked to a caravan for the English gentleman to travel to the cold countryside to sip a tea within the warmth of the campfire. Now those gents have another option, in the shape of stylishly proportioned Jaguar XF Sport Brake, due to be unveiled in Geneva.

Leaked from the brochure perhaps, but we can clearly see that the Sport Brake variant retains the Sedan raising belt line and sloping rear roof, tastefully adorned with chromed accents that trimmed the darkened D-pillar. The darkened pillar trimmed with chrome garnish is a reminiscence of the bigger and never XJ model, which premièred the latest of Jaguar design language.
The car is expected to carry all those improved items from the facelifted XF which include an all-new front end which totally get away from the previous bulbous looks. The lines are now deeply elegant and really shout some English taste to it.

The powertrain option should mirror those on the sedan, which include the four-cylinder 2.2L turbodiesel with 190PS, 3.0L V6 turbodiesel with 240PS and  275PS state of tune, 3.0L V6 gasoline that produced 238PS, 5.0L V8 petrol that kicks out  385PS and perhaps the thundering supercharged 5.0L V8 that punched 510PS. All the diesel version drive the rear wheel via an 8 speed auto transmission while the petrol sticks to the older 6 speed automatic gearbox.

Photo Source: Jokeforblog

The thundering 1 Series - BMW M135i Concept

BMW has released the information about its latest interpretation of the 1 Series range with the introduction of the M135i Concept. The new car is part of the BMW M Performance Automobiles range, which consists of the likes of M550dX launched last month. The M135i Concept is set to be showcased on Media Day of Geneva Motor Show on 6-7 March 2012. The M135i Concept embodied the sporty and youthful looks of the 1 Series into the 3 door body styles, with a dose of aesthetic injection synonymous with BMW M Performance model. 

The car is powered by tuned 3.0L in-line 6 TwinPower engine which BMW described as producing beyond 300bhp. In the standard guise, the N55 unit produced 300bhp@5800rpm and 400Nm of torque spread between 1200 to 5000rpm. Within the industry, there is a whisper that the engine is set to kick out 320bhp in this hot hatch application.
Apart from the beefed-up drivetrain, M135i Concept also has been suitably pumped up aesthetically with new front bumper with gigantic air intakes to supply the fresh air to the engine and ancillaries including the front brakes, which now comes with Blue caliper as per the F30 M Sport. The 3D designed flaps on the air intakes aim to impart the racing pedigree. The rear end has been uprated too to enhance the wide-look of the car with the lower apron finished in Dark Shadow Metalic. The rear apron also housed the double tail pipe outlet.
The uprated brakes are housed within the new 18" alloy wheel, which in turn are suspended by reworked suspension setup to handle all the increased in the power department. Although being labelled as a Concept for the time being, it is no secret that the production model is not far from reality, depicted by the exterior similarities with 1 Series M Sport package, as well as the establishment of BMW M Performance Automobiles division to cater for these kind of specialized product. More photo to satisfy your Bimmer appetite after the jump.

26 February 2012

Proton to revamp management team in March & DSSZ back to Perodua?

According to Malaysianinsider, Proton will retain its current management team until the transfer of 42.7% shares to DRB-Hicom is completed, which is expected to happen next month, said by Tun Dr Mahathir. Tun also said that there is no confirmation upon the return of Tengku Tan Sri Dr Mahaleel to Proton as a chairman, as at 23 February 2012.

DRB-Hicom initiate the purchase of Khazanah's shares in Proton back in mid January where is has offered to take over the 42.7% stakes in Proton, totalling RM 1.291 billion in monetary worth. Since then, there has been a rumours in the new management team displacing current Proton's top management, covered by MMN back in 21st January.

Meanwhile, Tengku Mahaleel left Proton is September 2005 after his contract was not renewed by Proton management at that time. Till that date, Tengku Mahaleel has succeed in, for the first time, establishing Proton's R&D facilities with adequate resources to develop the vehicles from conception to mass production as well as setting up the massive assembly facilities in Tanjung Malim.

On a different note, there is a whisper within the industry that a whole new shock is about to happen, and it mirrors the pre-September 2005 quite closely, albeit in inverse. Think about this date, and think about Tengku Mahaleel and Datuk Seri Syed Zainal. Still couldn't get it? Ok I'll be blunt here, while it has been strongly suggested that Tengku Mahaleel is set to take up a Proton's chairman role, little has been discussed about Syed Zainal movement. The latest MMN heard is that he could be back to lead Perodua!

If this is true, it is a shame that another national talent has been taken by foreign-controlled company, just like some GLC leaders in the past. The visionary Tengku Mahaleel, supported by engineering perfectionist of Syed Zainal could just be what Proton needs these days! But this opinion is, of course, from  a mere car blogger, and people in industry will prefer to label as an 'armchair expert'.

Volvo V40 - details and gallery

Volvo is set to introduce the most stylish car ever to wear a Volvo badge in Geneva Motor Show this year. After a series of scanned brochure, magazines and facebook leak, now we can witness the full resolution of Volvo latest hatchback, including the interior pictures.
Mixing the best of Volvo current design elements such as the S60 front fascia ,latest V60 glass house silhouette and the strong shouldered rear end design from the XC60, the V40 represents the best culmination of Volvo design so far.

The new V40 is 4,369mm long, 2,041mm wide (including mirrors) and 1,445mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,647mm. This puts the car squarely within the road space occupied by its rivals which include the likes of BMW 1 Series.

The engine selection mirrors those on the Volvo S60 which include the turbocharged 1.6L in T3 and T4 state of tune and a 2.5L T5 punching out 251bhp. The diesel range will include 1.6L in D2 state producing 113bhp, 2.0L D3 with 148bhp and topped by the same engine in D4 tune that produced 175bhp.
Also revealed for the first time is the V40 cabin, or to be spesific the Instrument Panel design. Loosely following the same trend as per the S60, the elements from the afore-mentioned model has been further refined with the prominent outlines for the driver upper fascia instrumentation which include the meter binnacle, control screen and dual-outlet aircond duct with chunky surrounding. The thin-panel centre console continues to feature four rotary knob flanking the climate control and audio fascia. The seats appear as comfy as Volvo's seat traditionally always are.
The new V40 adopt some intricate detailing to boost its aerodynamic credentials. The rear spoiler for instance has been optimized to reduce the drag by adopting protruding fins and staggered spans for the spoiler design. The rear fascia of the car is highly curvaceous, highly sensual  in its raked rear screen and swept back rear combi and blackened portion on the tail gate panel. Very Volvo, but very modern indeed. The V40 could replace both S40, V50 and C30 all in one swoop, and there's a rumor within the industry that the car also could spawned a XC40 crossover to battle it out with BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

More glossy photos after the jump, and what a photo they are!

Infiniti Emerg-E eco-supercar revealed

The design of the Infiniti Emerg-E was leaked out from the patent office earlier this month. Now, the real deal has been revealed ahead of its Geneva unveiling. Emerg-E is the concept car by Infiniti, designed to showcase the svelte new Infiniti design cues and the range-extender drivetrain. The drivetrain is mid-mounted in this application. At the moment, details are still scarce, but the wait is just two weeks before the Geneva Motorshow raise its curtain. For now, just enjoy the Japanese concept car that is as stylish as the Italian!

Catch more of the breathtaking view of this gorgeous car after the jump.

Ada apa dengan Proton P3-21A?

Pastinya ramai yang tertunggu-tunggu pelancaran rasmi model terbaru Proton, P3-21A yang dijangkakan akan soft launch pada bulan Mac ini. Adakah akhirnya Proton akan menghasilkan killer product yang akan menjadikan semua pesaingnya tidak lagi relevan? Atau ringkasnya, ada apa dengan Proton P3-21A?

Dari Sudut Saiz.
Pada pertengahan bulan ini kita telah disajikan dengan data paling lengkap tentang model P3-21A ini. Dimensi lengkap pun sudah kita ketahui. Jikalau diperhatikan jadual dibawah, nyata Proton telah mengambil kira semua model-model pesaingnya dari segment B (bagi pesaing di Malaysia) mahu pun C (untuk pasaran global), dan memberikan one-up daripada model-model itu.
Dari segi panjang keseluruhan, P3-21A lebih panjang daripada Civic, Elantra dan Forte. Honda City dan Toyota Vios sememangnya a class below dari segi panjang. Model terlaris Malaysia, Myvi sengaja dimasukkan  untuk perbandingan, supaya rakyat Malaysia dapat membuka mata dan berfikiran rasional menjelang pelancaran P3-21A nanti. Model P3-21A memang besar, umpama model Persona yang discale-upkan 5%. Ini dibuktikan dengan dimensi tingginya, 1,524mm yang lebih menjurus kepada dimensi kereta hatchback. Wheelbase pula 2,650mm, 20mm lebih pendek dari Honda Civic baharu. masih belum diketahui, namun pastinya sekurang-kurangnya 2,700mm. Dari segi but pula, saiznya 2L lebih besar daripada class-leader Honda City, dan 300L lebih besar daripada Myvi. 

Dari Sudut Rupa.
Tidak berapa lama dulu Proton mengatakan mereka mengupah Italdesign untuk merekabentuk model P3-21A ini. Namun sejauh mana penglibatan Italdesign dalam rekabentuk P3-21A tidaklah diketahui sebab rupanya yang agak keMalaysiaan. Namun, rupa P3-21A cukup handsome untuk mengatasi pesaing terdekatnya seperti Honda City, Toyota Vios and Naza Forte yang sudah dimamah usia. Rekabentuk P3-21A didominasi olah bukaan grill depan yang agak besar dan dihiasi dengan evolusi terbaharu sirip krom yang menatahkan lambang Proton di bahagian tengah. Wheel arch pula sedikit kembang, dan di sokong pula dengan garisan badan yang lebih tajam. Lampu belakang pula dihiasi LED dan rekabentuk asasnya sedikit sebanyak mempunyai ciri-ciri Saga BLM. Harapnya tema ini akan menjadi rekabentuk korporat Proton buat masa ini, bukannya sentiasa bertukar setiap kali model baharu diperkenalkan.

Jikalau MMN ditanya dimanakan kelemahan rekabentuk Proton selama ini, pasti jawapan MMN ialah interior. Apa tidaknya, Saga and Exora seolah-olah kereta Korea lewat 90an, bagaikan direkabentuk sekumpulan stylist yang dikurung didalam gua sejak tahun 1995. Namun, imej pertama dalaman P3-21A agak memberangsangkan. Meskipun ciri-ciri Asia masih jelas, sekurang-kurangnya nampaklah ciri-ciri abad ke-21 dalam elemen-element rekabentuknya. Ditambah pula dengan trend rekabentuk dalaman sekarang yang terdedah kepada rasionalisasi kos, dimana hard plastic ialah a new soft, tanya saja Honda Civic baharu.

25 February 2012

2013 Lexus ES250 spied uncovered

If you have never head about the ES-series from Lexus, I don't blame you as it was never been introduced to our market. There are however some examples running on our KL-road, perhaps a grey importer unit for this mid-sized Lexus sedan. For the uninformed, Lexus ES is a front-driver, with much of its running gear taken from Toyota Camry. Perhaps this humble origin makes it unpopular for Malaysia's introduction, as it is too close to Toyota Camry. Anyway, the new 2013 model has recently been spied, and despite its Camry underpinnings, the ES now features a pure Lexus touch, especially the spindled grille and the exotic-oriental cabin.

The front, side and rear profile suggest the latest Lexus design language, with prominent spindle grille, swept-back headlights with LED DRL, sleek side profile and a stretched rear lights. The window line features an up-kink at the C-pillar too like the rest of Lexus sedan.
However, it is the interior that takes the biggest stride. Gone is the Toyota-look alike and in comes a pure Lexus touch. It includes the analog clock, layered fascia design, metal-look for the centre console. It bears some simple resemblance to the newer Lexus GS-series interior. Some the Camry-based interior has been shed for good perhaps!
In the past, Lexus ES is offered in 2.4L and 3.5L engine option, exactly mirroring the Camry drivetrain. The dimension is as per Camry too, where both of outgoing Camry and ES shares a 2,776mm wheelbase. So expect this model to follow the same trend too. More photos after the jump, and some photo of the current Lexus ES is included after the jump for the uninformed. 

23 February 2012

Stylish Volvo V40 fully leak ahead of Geneva

After a series of grainy scanned photo of the stylish new Volvo V40, the striking new Volvo hatchback has leaked again, this time via Facebook. No word is right to describe the current crop of Volvo design, just admire the beauty.

Have Volvo finally shake off the image of old man's car? I think they have!

Source: Autoblog

21 February 2012

Volkswagen Sharan MPV now available in Malaysia

If you think you haven't heard about VW Sharan for long time, it is indeed a long time because the model was last launched in 1995. Sharan was launched at that time as a time twin-model to the Ford Galaxy and a host of other VW group badge-engineering model such as Seat Alhambra. Now VW Malaysia has brought in the second generation model which was launched as a 2011 model in other market a short while back.
For Malaysian market, VW has brought in the 200PS TSI model which packs a powerplant of 2.0L Direct-Injection turbocharged engine kicking out 200PS@5100rpm and a rich 280Nm of torque within a fat rpm range of between 1800-5000rpm. Drive is channelled to the front wheel via 6 speed DSG transmission.
While VW Sharan does not look huge in its first impression, it actually is a (much) bigger than the Touran sub MPV. The dimensions measure 4,854mm in length, 1,904mm in width and 1,720mm in height. Within the lengthy 2,919mm wheelbase, 7 occupants and their luggage can be fitted in comfortably. Typical to VW design standard, the exterior surfacing of Sharan is filled with crisp character-line and a festive of LED lighting. This is the forte of the VW Group in its ability to impart solid appearance of its car with crisply sharp body creases and clean uncluttered body graphic such as bumper fascia design and their customary LED arrangement where other makers settle for straight line LED arrangement. These give it a handsome appearance with can be misinterpreted as sombre by some, but lasting by some others. More information and photo after the jump.

20 February 2012

Toyota Prius C di lancarkan di pasaran Malaysia

UMW Toyota hari ini melancarkan model hibrid terbarunya, Prius C ke pasaran Malaysia. MMN telah mengulas tentang model hibrid terbaru Toyota ini pada November tahun lalu, semasa ianya di lancarkan di pasaran Jepun dengan menggunakan nama Toyota Aqua, klik sini untuk artikel.

Model in di kuasakan oleh enjin 1NZ-FXE 1,497cc Atkinson cycle yang di hubungkan kepada sistem hibrid Toyota THS-II. Enjin petrol 4 silinder dengan mekanisma VVT ini menghasilkan kuasa sebanyak 73PS@4,800 rpm and tork 111Nm@4,000rpm. Motor elektriknya yang dikuasakan oleh sistem bateri Nikel-Metal Hydride mengeluarkan 61PS and 169Nm and kombinasi kedua-dua sumber kuasa ini menghasilkan 101PS. Toyota Prius C menggunakan sistem transmisi CVT. Bagi pasaran Jepun, Toyota telah mengisytiharkan kadar penggunaan minyak sekadar 40 km/L untuk 10.15 mode, manakala bagi cycle Eropah pula, kadar penggunaan minyak 26.5 km/L masih boleh di banggakan. 

Dari segi saiz, Toyota Prius C lebih kecil daripada Honda Insight yang merupakan pencabar terdekatnya dari segi harga. Dengan dimensi panjang keseluruhan 3,995mm, Toyota Prius C jauh lebih pendek berbanding Insight yang berukuran panjang keseluruhan 4,390mm. Lebarnya ialah 1,695mm and tinggi 1,445mm. Wheelbase ialah 2,550mm. Selain dari menyediakan ruang kabin yang mencukupi, Prius C juga praktikal dengan saiz boot 305L yang juga fleksibel dengan seat belakang yang boleh di baringkan dengan nisbah 60:40.

Untuk pasaran Malaysia, UMW Toyota telah melengkapkan model Prius C ini dengan tahap aksesori yang agak komprehensif terutamanya dari segi keselamatan di mana  Prius C dilengkapi dengan 7 beg udara, 3-point tali keledar untuk ketiga-tiga penumpang belakang, ISOFIX di kerusi belakang, sistem traction control, ABS dan juga EBD.

Dari segi kelengkapan dalaman pula, data-data kereta di sampaikan kepada pemandu melalui skrin TFT 3.5". Sistem audio pula adalah bersaiz 2-DIN yang memainkan MP3, USB, iPOD, radio dan CD.

Untuk chassisnya pula, Prius C menggunakan sistem suspensi yang biasa bagi kelas ni, iaitu McPhersons Strut di hadapan and torsion beam di belakang. Sistem kuasanya menggunakan sistem elektrik, manakala breknya pula menggunakan cekera di hadapan dan drum di belakang. Saiz tayar dan rim adalah 185/60 R15 dan tayar simpanan juga turut menggunakan saiz yang sama.

Walaupun jauh lebih pendek daripada model Insight, namun Toyota Prius C ini juga lebih murah sedikit berbanding model laris Honda hibrid itu. UMW Toyota meletakkan harga RM 97,000.

Untuk lebih informasi tentang Toyota Prius C, sila rujuk artikel MMN yang terdahulu di sini.

Sumber gambar: Paultan.

19 February 2012

2013 Lexus RX gains spindle grille & F Sport version

Lexus will updated the its luxury SUV, depicted by the leak brochure here whereby the RX range with the new corporate spindle grille, as well as adding an F Sport version for a sportier ride, handling-wise as well as aesthetic-wise. At the front, the facelifted RX features a spindle grille outline - consistent with the rest of newer Lexus range, an LED DRL in the headlamps and also sporting a new design front bumper.
The changes at the back are more subtle, with the rear bumper retained its service for the second half of the RX life cycle. Meanwhile, the rear light graphic has been updated with more red elements in the lens.It can be seen in the leaked scanned brochure below.
Lexus will also update the interior of the RX, which is one of the first Lexus model to break free from the Toyota corporate parts bin with its distinctive Instrument Panel layout and design. Apart from the new color scheme for the cabin, Lexus also will be offering for the first time a rear seat entertainment systems. 
Not unlike the recently introduced GS model, the RX model also will be offered with the F Sport version. In the same mould as the BMW's M Sport in-house tuning, the F Sport will be offered with a host of chassis and styling tweaks to enhance its sport appeal. This option is offered on RX350 and RX450h, where the entry-level RX270 is left out for the moment. Buying an F Sport trim will give buyers a honeycomb mesh inserts in the front bumper, tinted lighting, all around skirting, larger alloys and an interior enhancement including sports seat, steering wheel and alloy pedal. The interior color also is very likely to be a sport-tuned dark environment for some serious dose of adrenalin.
The official debut of the facelifted RX is expected to happen soon. One more photo after the jump.

18 February 2012

Nissan launched two new commercial vehicles-Navara Single Cab & NV200 Vanette

Edaran Tan Chong Motor has introduced two new commercial vehicles for our market, namely the Nissan Navara single cab 4X2 pick-up truck and the NV200 commercial van. This is to cater the needs of the commercial customers who now has a wider option of vehicles.

First up is the Navara single cab. This pick up is based on the same underpinnings like the double cab Navara, but with the rear body replaced with a host of body styles including Luton, Steel and Wooden type. The single cab version sits on a 3,200mm wheelbase which is the same as the four-seater version. All type of body style mentioned above offers a 2,630mm long of cargo bed length.
The Navara single cab is powered by YD25DDTi 2,488cc turbo-diesel engine in low tune compared to mid and high tune of the rest of Navara range. In this state of tune, the DOHC in-line-4 cylinder engine with Variable Nozzle Turbine produced 144PS@4000rpm and 294Nm@2000rpm. Sole transmission option is 5 speed manual and drive is channelled to the rear wheel only. The Navara single cab is priced from RM68,250 for the steel-bodied version, followed by the wooden-bodied at RM68,500 and the most expensive version is the Luton body style which comes at RM72,800. 
The second vehicle is the NV200 Vanette, dubbed as the successor to the 'pasar malam' Nissan C22 Vanette. NV200 is comparatively compact at just 4,400mm long, shorter than your FD Honda Civic. However, within the body and its 2,725mm wheelbase, the interior can swallow 4.2 cubic metre of cargos, where two standard size Euro-pallets within its 2.04m long, 1.36m tall and 1.5m wide.
Unlike its diesel-sipper pick-up sibling, NV200 is powered by gasoline 1,598cc lump with CVTC systems. Produced 109PS@6000rpm and 152Nm@4400 of power and torque, the engine channelled the drive to the front wheel via 5 speed manual transmission. Price is RM65,250 for Peninsular Malaysia.

For more details, head to Nissan Malaysia website at http://www.nissan.com.my/default.aspx. The gallery of both model can be found after the jump.

17 February 2012

Leaked Volvo V40 photos - design rejuvenation continues

Volvo V40 is due to bow in at Geneva Motor Show in March. The model is rumoured to replace the V50 estate, and if the 3 door version makes its way to production, will replace the C30 too. However, these are yet to be confirmed. Regardless of any variants it may spawned, V40 is set to challenge the establishment of BMW 1-Series and Audi A3.

Volvo V40 is set to continue Volvo's design rejuvenation, which has come a long since the first Volvo S80 was introduced. The shouldered belt line and sharply chopped rear end has evolved into a curvaceous lines, with smoothly contoured rear end blending well into the rear lights. The front end has been softened too with soft radius. This design trend has evolved well since the XC60 SUV where it has been further refined into the S60.

The V40 is about 4,500mm long. This means that it is just slightly smaller than the V50. The rakish rear end however does not seems to be too cargo-friendly, but this applies to the V60 too.

So what say you? Still think Volvo is for old man? Two more photos after the jump including the stylish rear fascia.

14 February 2012

The ultimate BMW 6 Series - M6 Coupe & Cabrio

BMW has unveiled the performance model of  the 6 Series range, the M6. Comes in both Coupe and Cabriolet form, the ultimate 6 Series is powered by the same S53Tu  4.4L V8 twin-turbocharged engine as per the M5. Contrary to the rest of BMW TwinPower engine, the   S53Tu does comes with the real deal twin turbo unit, each one being a twin scroll item. 

The 4,395cc engine kicks out 560bhp@6000-7000rpm of power and the torque is earth-pulling 680Nm produced at a plateau of between 1500 to  5750rpm. Drive is channelled to the rear wheel via the dual clutch transmission M-DCT with 7 speed. Active M Differential system then proportionate the torque sent to each of the rear wheel to optimize the available grip.

For the performance, the M6 Coupe reached 100km/h in 4.2 seconds while the Cabrio is smidgen slower at 4.3 seconds. Top speed for both cars are electronically limited to 250 km/h, with the M Driver Package liberates the limiter to reach a higher top speed of 305 km/h.

The exterior mod for the M6 is rather subtle as the standard 6 Series is rather imposing already with svelte uninterrupted flowing lines. Some aggression has been added via sportier bumper design that sports larger air intake at the front. The wheel arch has been flared out to accommodate the 30mm increased in wheel track. At the back, the diffuser-type lower valence housed the quad tail pipes, long customary of contemporary M cars.

For the chassis, BMW M Division has uprated the suspension with M Spesific servotronic speed sensitive power steering.  All the power is harnessed by the 400mm diameter front disc clamped by 6 pistons and 396mm rear disc with 4 rotors. For the first time, carbon ceramic disc brake is available as an option with 20" wheel.

The standard tyre and wheel combo is 265/40 R19 up front and 295/35 R19 at the back. As mentioned earlier, the larger 20" wheel is an option.

The interior has been trimmed up with M Sport seats, steering wheel, gauge and the aluminium trim.

To increase the power density driven by the new powertrain, BMW engineers has gone extra miles in the weight saving initiatives by incorporating CFRP roof for the Coupe, aluminium door and hood, thermoplastic fender and glass fibre composites material for the trunk lid and roof cover for the Cabrio. All in all, the new M6 still rather hefty 1,850kg for the Coupe and 1,980kg for the open top version.

Both M6 Coupe and Cabrio will make their official debut in Geneva Motorshow in March. The car will be on sale from June onwards for the Cabrio, followed some months later by the Coupe.

Small gallery of both BMW M6 Coupe and Cabrio can be found after the jump.

13 February 2012

Proton CFE Engine - The Engineering Details

Note: Read first till the end before accusing a copy&paste from Lotus Mag.

Proton CFE engine has been introduced to the market at the very end of last year, under the hood of the facelifted Proton Exora MPV. The engine has been long rumoured, and has been long spied tested with the bigger-mouthed Exora for quite some times. Some called it Campro Turbo, while some referred it as Project Pheonix. Thanks to the publicity generated by the buzzy spyshots sites in Malaysia, the arrival of the CFE engine is very much eagerly awaited. 

The Brief.
CFE. It means Charged Fuel Efficiency. The engine was born out of the necessity rather than the desire to soup up the Campro engine to rival the Lamborghini. It was back in 2009, when the Exora MPV was at its final validation stage. It became clear that the Achilles heel of the much lauded Proton's first MPV would be its powertrain, where even the CPS mechanism won't be enough to mask the lack of torque, long plagued the Campro family, and the unsuitability of small capacity NA gasoline to power such as weighty people carrier.

After a series of feasible study, Proton has concluded that it would develop a turbocharged variant of the Campro engine instead of buying-in a 2.0L NA gasoline engine. In terms of the combustion concept, it was decided pretty much from the beginning to stay away from the Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) - although that such a trend at that time and a commoner today - to accommodate the low octane rating and fuel quality of Proton's export market and its home market itself. This is essential as it could raise some durability concerns should some problem occurs later.

The baseline target was to achieve horsepower output and fuel efficiency of the modern 2.0L at that time. However, with the heavy weight application in mind, the torque delivery must be substantial even at low engine rev, something only a turbocharged engine can deliver.  

The Design.
As the CFE is Campro based, there was a necessity to carry over the cylinder block, or else, Proton might as well make an all-new engine if the cylinder block needs to be totally redesigned. Hence an intensive round of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) were performed to assess the limit of the Campro's block without compromising its stress-endurance and jeopardizing its coolant effectiveness. 

The results of the FEA and CFD indicated that the cylinder block could be retained with the improvement to the water jacket to sustain the higher heat duty of the forced-fed engine. Another changes required was the modification to the oil gallery to include the piston cooling jet. The stroke of the crank also has been shortened to 86mm , a 2mm reduction. This is because the height of Campro's block did not provide sufficient space to increase the piston crown strength with the size limitation to withstand the compression ratio which it self is boosted by charged air from the turbo. More and more juicy details after the jump.

Proton wins S-WRC category in Rally of Sweden

PROTON rallied to its first ever victory in the 2012 FIA Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC) with Per Gunnar Andersson claiming a dominant drive in the Satria Neo S2000 to finish more than three minutes clear of his nearest rival in Rally Sweden.

Andersson finished the 24 special stages 3 minutes 35 seconds ahead of Ford’s Craig Breen and 4 minutes 49 seconds in front of Skoda’s Pontus Tideman. He was also placed 12th overall ahead of some of the main World Rally Championship (WRC) competitors en route to clinching his third successive win at his Swedish home event.

Andersson and co-driver Emil Axelsson led the S-WRC class from start to finish, making the most of local knowledge, experience and a competitive package to steer the Satria Neo S2000 to victory in the snowy, icy and cold conditions of the Swedish countryside.

“What a phenomenal weekend it has been and a well deserved victory for PROTON after only two rounds of the S-WRC. We knew that we had a very competitive car at the very start of the season in Monte Carlo and we have proven just that in Sweden. The Satria Neo S2000 was dominant throughout the weekend,” said Andersson, who looks back on what could have possibly been two victories in two rounds (of the Championship) for PROTON had it not been for an engine fire three stages to the finish at the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.

Rally Sweden attracted the participation of 85 entries and covered a competitive distance of 360km over four days. 

“Andersson drove a dominant rally to make an impactful introduction for PROTON in Sweden and the World Rally Championship circuit, underlining both the team and brand’s commitment to excel,” said John D. Chacko, PROTON’s Director of Group Marketing, Branding and Motorsports.

Victory in Sweden promotes PROTON to officially joining not only the ranks of rally’s elite, but is its first in the European hemisphere since the Satria Neo S2000 made its competition debut in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2009. PROTON’s best finish up until now had been second place at the 2009 IRC Rally of Scotland, although the Satria Neo S2000 did go on to dominate and win the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) driver’s and manufacturer’s titles. 

“It has been an incredible journey to get here (victory for PROTON). As we celebrate this moment, I assure you that development work continues to ensure that the Satria Neo S2000 enhances its competitiveness throughout the season. It is still too early in the season and there is still plenty to be done to if Andersson is to make a strong bid for this year’s S-WRC title,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of Proton Motorsports.

With Monte Carlo and Sweden now over, PROTON is due to compete in another three of the seven S-WRC rounds in 2012.

12 February 2012

Perodua Alza SR - In Photos

Perodua Alza SR was introduced in early February 2011 as an effort to expand the Alza range downwards, encroaching a little in the dominating Myvi market. Selling circa 3000 units permonth, Alza sales is not as brisk in Perodua sales standard, judging by the fact that the Myvi and Viva are hammering the market at a rate of 7000 and 5000 units per month. This could also due to the revamped Exora from arch-rival Proton, who priced their base Exora sub RM60k, which managed to win quite significant amount of buyer for the lower end of the MPV market. Combined with the ever tightening legislation in disbursing the HP loan, a lower-priced model could be perceived as an attractive option for the buyer, particularly those who are cash-strapped in putting up a deposit. So there it goes, how much does the Alza SR loses anyway due to the price trimming?

The Equipment.
Not much really, especially if you based your judgement on the Standard Model. Since the Standard Model already loses much of the safety item (ABS, EBD, BA and Airbags), nothing has been further pared down on the SR. However, some of the convenience has been taken away such as the remote-operated side mirror, rear wiper and rear water nozzle. Other exterior addenda missing on the Standard Model like the rear spoiler and fog lamp has been carried over missing too. The projector type headlamp with 15"alloy wheels are retained though. 

The Interior.
A touch unique to the SR model is the split front seat for automatic variant instead of only for the manual with its floor-mounted gear lever. This essentially frees up some deformation space for the lower seat bolster so the lower back of the occupant can be accommodate comfier. With the inclusion of floor console, gone too is the foot operated parking brake, replaced by more conventional hand operated item, which is Alza manual-geared feature from the day one.

The silver painted interior accents ( steering wheel garnish, power window panel) is gone as the SR make do with the Standard Model material colored item. Chromed door inside handle is also absent, replaced by the material colored item as well. The meter binnacle and the audio system are as per the Standard Alza, with their amber lighting and incapable of streaming bluetooth and accepting USB. Seat fabric is of a different tone from the Premium Alza while the steering wheel ( a monotone with total lack of chromed badge) is not leather upholstered.

The floor console is lifted off from the new 2011 Myvi, which itself is a carry over from the 2005 Myvi. The gear lever hole is covered by the storage box like the auto-geared 2011 Myvi. More after the jump.

11 February 2012

Acura ILX - Stylish Acura entry model on Civic platform

Acura has introduced its entry-level model at Chicago Motorshow, called Acura ILX. Based on the 9th generation Honda Civic underpinning, Acura has practically dressed-up the car using an all-new panel exclusive from the one on Civic to attain the premium status of Acura brand positioning in the American market. 

Acura stated the intent of the ILX as being targeted to " Generation Y-successful 20 and 30 somethings moving into luxury car ranks but looking for high value propositions in their purchases". High value propositions probably means cheap, and it this case, an entry level to the premium brand. While the ILX shares Civic platfrom, the exterior and interior styling has been restyled beyond recognition from its donor. Acura ILX retained the 2,670mm wheelbase from the Civic platfrom, however the overall length has grown by around 25mm to 4,550mm. Width too has been increased by 38mm to 1,793mm and height has been dropped by 22mm to 1,412mm for a sportier stance. The front end of Acura ILX bears the latest evolution of Acura corporates' beak and it goes wheel with the rest of crispy character line alongside the side panel. While the latest Civic has dropped its wrapped-around front fender to cheapened the die cost, Acura has done the same too, perhaps its the bodyshell hardpoint that's not interchangeable.
For the profile view, Acura ILX offers more muscular appearance with sculpted body panel instead of being weedy like the 9th Civic. The body panels is voluminous instead of slab flat with proper character line along the waist that kicks up above the rear wheel arch. The reverse rake C-pillar however bears the Civic styling cue.
The rear end adopts familiar Acura signature slim rear lights, The design follows the trend like the front fascia with its crisp line and a well-defined details in the lights graphic and trunk lid and rear bumper curvatures. Due to its higher-price position, pitching at the premium end of the market, Acura has managed to include features such as crisp sharp radius body panel that is usually more expensive to be produced. More details after the jump.