31 March 2012

The new Toyota Camry - coming in June from RM152,000

The new generation Toyota Camry will be launched in Malaysian market in June Three variants with two engine option will be offered here; 2.0E, 2.0G and 2.5V. The 2.0L version is carried over wholesomely from the current Camry, meaning that it will offer 148PS@6000rpm and 190Nm@4000rpm of power and torque and will be hooked to an "advanced" automatic transmission that comes with amazing four forward ratio. Yes ladies and gent, it is 4 speed auto in the year 2012! What don't they just hook it up with the CVT from current Altis 2.0L. Every car maker should be "like" Proton. In order to get away from the world of competing gear ratios, it is better to just use CVT with its infinitely variable gear. You can specify 21 preset ratios if you want!
The 2.5L version however is more like 2012 car. The car is powered by bigger 4-cylinder lump with 2,494cc kicking 181PS@6000rpm and 231Nm@4100rpm. Drive is channelled via 6 speed automatic gearbox.

Orders for the all-new CKD Toyota Camry is now accepted at all Toyota sales outlet. The price starts from RM152,000 for the 2.0E, rising to RM160,000 for the 2.0G and finally topping the scale at RM183,000 for the 2.5V. There is a hefty price increased over the current model which also is a CBU, so Toyota better has an explanation in terms of better equipment level etc. The carried over of archaic transmission will not help either. But this is only the ramblings on non-Toyota buyer, for those who's buying, a T badge worth the world no matter to what thing it is fixed to! More details including the detail specification after the jump.

30 March 2012

Leaked - test drive unit Proton Preve in Fire Red

After the leaked apps screen grab, and a leaked website named protonpreve.com, now there is the real deal. The test drive unit of CFE version in Fire Red shades. Quite a looker I would say.

29 March 2012

Lexus GS launched in Malaysia - two engines, three trims, from RM366,200

Lexus Malaysia has launched the new GS Series to Malaysia market today. For Malaysian market, we are getting the full range of gasoline engine namely the 2.5L V6 D-4S engine in GS250 and the 3.5L V6 in GS350. The "entry level" is available in Standard Trim, as well as in Luxury and F Sport guise. The last two trims are also available for GS350, giving five variants of Lexus GS in total for our market.
Typical to Lexus standard, equipment level is pretty high, even for an entry level variant. The GS250 Standard comes with Bi-Xenon headlamps with auto levelling and washer, LED DRL, rain sensor, all leather interior with choices of 3 shades (no walnut panelling), 8" display screen that controls the audio systems with 12 speakers and with GPS, dual zone aircond, 10-way electrically adjustment for front seats (with memory for driver) and "only" 17" wheel wrapped in 225/50R17 tyres. This version goes for RM366,200.
Opting for Luxury and F Sport will gives the GS250 an adaptive headlights, 18" alloy with 235/45 R18 tyres, wooden interior trim option, larger 12.3" screen in the console controlling 17 speakers Mark Levinson audio system, 3-zone climate control and upgraded front seats with 18-way electrical adjustment with memory functions for both front seats. The GS350 Luxury is similarly equipped too. GS250 Luxury goes for RM398,660 while the GS350 Luxury is pitched at RM456,800.
Going for F Sport range will gives you a sport-treated bumper design, skirting and lip spoiler. The alloy wheel is different in design too. The F Sports version gets an uprated braking systems with larger disc brake at the front and the suspension is recalibrated too. The GS350 F Sport also gets Dynamics Rear Steering for an added agility. For the interior, the seats are trimmed in F Sport leather and the front ones are the sport seat that offers 16 way of adjustment for the driver. The F Sport versions are priced at RM400,600 for the GS250 F Sport and RM464,800 for the top range GS350 F Sport. More detail after the jump.

28 March 2012

It is called Proton PREVE

As per the title, P3-21a official name is Proton PREVE. Sounds global innit? However, if one look closely in Paultan page, all the entry about P3-21a in Proton Power of 1 events were tagged with Proton Preve already since then. So do you think it's true yet?

Well, a quick call to somewhere did reveal it is indeed a true name. However, all the cars from the production line still does not bare the model name on their trunk lid yet. Saving the best for last?

Apparently, as of today, there are only several hundreds of Preve at Proton's Tanjung Malim plant. Why? As per MMN articles about the production delay, the HPF part is the root cause. But production rate is expected to be stepped-up significantly in April. But I still think that the will be launched anyway on the rumoured date regardless of the production-readiness stock level. Venue of launch? Expect some surprise!!!!

27 March 2012

Suzuki Kizashi launched in Malaysia -from RM147,888

Suzuki Malaysia Automobile (SMA) has launched the D-segment sedan Kizashi to Malaysia market. The model has been rumoured to be launched since last year, but it takes a whole quarter of 2012 to finally debuted here. Unlike many cars with many permutation of drivetrain to select from, the Kizashi is available only with 2.4L gasoline engine .So this is the enginethat we got here. However, some markets are offered with AWD option, and 6 speed manual box, but Malaysia-bound Kizashi will all be FWD and drive a CVT. To create the differentiation between models, and to spruce up the entry pricing, SMA has offered Kizashi in 2 trims, aptly named SDLX and Sport. 
Kizashi SDLX is priced at RM147,888 and generously equipped with six airbags, traction control, ESP, factory fitted leather seats, electrical seat adjustment,  auto cruise, keyless entry, starter button, whole plethora of ABS, EBD, BA and Hill Assist, front & rear parking sensor, auto folding side mirror, auto dimming rear view mirror, auto levelling HID headlamps with washer and 17" alloy wheels shod by 215/55 R17 tyres. 

The Sport version is pitched at RM153,188 and comes with larger 18" alloy wrapped by 235/45 R18 tyres, 10mm lower ride height courtesy of sports suspension, sportier front bumper design encompassing meshed pattern lower radiator intake, fog lamp surround and chrome lining. The package also include more pronounced sills with door garnish and rear duck tail spoiler completes the exterior enhancement. On the inside, Sport version is garnished with silver stitching on leathered trim parts. More after the jump.

25 March 2012

Alonso rides Malaysian storm to claim surprise win

Sepang podium finishers - photo from gpupdate - sutton
Fernando Alonso claimed his first win since Silverstone GP last year when he successfully fend-off the equally surprising Sauber of Sergio Perez, who went on to finish second. Lewis Hamilton finished third for second consecutive times, after also be on pole twice consecutively.

The race itself was quite a dramatic affair. The race was started under the light rain, where all contenders were on inters. As the light went off, both McLaren started cleanly, while the veteran third placement Michael Schumacher suffered a bad start, immediately losing place to the fast starter Romain Grosjean who later punted him off several corner later, which Webber carefully capitalized to seize third. After recovering from their spin, Michael was down to 13th, while Grosjean was running in 18th.

However, shortly afterwards, all runners immediately pitted for the full wet, as rain intensified. FIA then deemed the race was too dangerous to be continued, triggering a red flag in lap 9.

The race restarted at 5.15pm local time, and was conducted behind the safety car. The safety car stayed on for 3 laps. Upon the real restart, many drivers dived in the pit for an inters. However, several front runner decided to stick on the full wet, namely Hamilton and Perez, and both Red Bulls and Ferraris. When they finally pitted, Alonso capitalized on Hamilton slight delay in his release from the box, ironically to give way to Massa who was on his way to pit box. More after the jump.

24 March 2012

Lewis Hamilton on pole for Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has scored this second consecutive pole position of the season in Sepang today, ahead of team mate Jenson Button who also qualified in the same position in Melbourne GP. Third place goes to the rejuvenated Michael Schumacher, who was on pace all the time in his Mercedes GP car. Behind the trio is the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, with Vettel opting for the harder compound tyre, a strategic move for tomorrow's race. Kimi Raikkonen, who topped the timesheet in Q2 session, could only managed fifth, though signalling clearly the front running pace that the Lotus GP cars now have. However, he will be only be starting 10th due to the five-grid penalty because of his changed of gearbox. Full results of Malaysian GP after the jump.

23 March 2012

BMW 3 Series F30 launched in Malaysia

BMW Malaysia has launched the new 3 Series to the Malaysian market, mere month after the car is delivered to the other market globally. Such rapid move is a testament to BMW Malaysia commitment to deliver the best product to Malaysian consumer. Indeed, 500 or so of the initial batches of F30 will be CBU, while the CKD program will commence in around 3 months time. According to Geoff Briscoe, Managing Director of BMWGroup Malaysia, 

“We couldn’t wait till local assembly started as the new 3-Series has been launched in so many other markets. It has always been our policy to introduce new models in Malaysia as soon as possible, so we’re starting off with CBU imports first. Orders have reached about 500 units and I’ve never seen our BMW dealers so happy. I am proud to say that the all-new BMW 3-Series is a testament to what it truly means to be… the car of tomorrow being made available for the world of today." 

BMW Malaysia has brought in 3 models for now, namely 320d, 328i and 335i. The 320d is powered by the familiar 2.0L diesel lump, featuring variable geometry turbine turbocharger and high pressure common rail direct injection systems. The lump kicks out 184bhp@4000rpm and 380Nm of torque between 1750-2750rpm. This version is capable of achieving 4.5L/100km in mixed cycle condition. Not to be put off by the extremely low fuel consumption, the 320d is capable of century sprint in respectable 7.6 seconds and 230km/h of top speed.
BMW 320d is Base Specs (top and bottom)
The 328i meanwhile is powered by the new N20 engine, displacing mere 2.0L but capable of punching out a significant 245bhp between 5000-6500rpm and 350Nm from diesel-like 1250-4800rpm of torque. The impressive figure is the courtesy of the BMW latest application of TwinPower turbo technology comprising of twin-scroll turbocharger, Valvetronic and direct injection systems. Fuel economy figure is quoted as 6.3L/100km in combined cycle. 100km/h sprint can be attained in impressive 6.1 seconds, while top speed is 250 km/h. More details after the jump.

Malaysia Motoring News is now 1-year old

Malaysia Motoring News is now one year old. How times flies. It has been a memorable journey from just 20 visitors a day back in March 2011, to progress up until this stage. I am also very happy to note that on 20th March 2012, I've received my first ever Proton's official Press Statement. Not to be discounted is the test drive invitation from various salesman, as well invitation to the launch of automotive product, and last but not least the request to put some interactive promotional items on Malaysia Motoring News. Thanks for the recognition.

Since the inception of Malaysia Motoring News on 23rd March 2011, the total view has reached 100,000 for the first time on 21st November 2011 and since then the rate of growth has been increased tremendously to the cumulative current total view of almost 340,000 today. Thanks again my dear readers.

For this mid-year, for the first time, there will more than one author for this blog. I am looking for pay-per-article author during the peak time (eg during motorshows, or simply when I am too busy working). I am also looking for the blog designer to revamp the whole appearance of Malaysia Motoring News. So, for those who are interested, email me at malaysiamotoringnews@gmail.com

21 March 2012

I-Race Grand Prize Winners Among the Highlights at the Proton POWER OF 1 Grand Finale

SUBANG JAYA, 20 March 2012 – Two lucky winners of the Lotus F1-Team I-Race grand prizes at the POWER OF 1 will soon be on their way to a once-in-a-lifetime fully paid five-star trip to Europe, to experience a day as an F1 driver and drive a real F1 car on a real F1 track in Europe, courtesy of PROTON. 

Cheong Wai Soon from Rawang and Siti Adzilah Salleh from Balakong, each won the highly coveted prizes on the last day of the mega event held at Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil by the national car company, and will now have an opportunity to undergo training sessions with Lotus F1 Team race engineers, drive and be driven in the Lotus GT4, before finally getting behind the wheel of Formula 1 car for themselves. 

Cheong won the unique prize as a result of putting down a booking for PROTON’s upcoming sedan, the P3-21A, while Siti Adzilah earned her prize after qualifying for the “Buy and Win” contest through purchases of Proton lifestyle merchandise. 

“We at PROTON are very happy to have been able to organize this event as we were able to reach out to the Malaysian public in a very personal way,” said PROTON Group Managing Director Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir. 

“Despite this being the first time we are organizing an event of such a large scale, we feel that we have successfully showcased PROTON as a brand and company, and I’d like to record my sincerest appreciation to those who attended and supported us at the POWER OF 1. The response we received from our track events, in particular, had been extremely encouraging as we were able to demonstrate the ride and handling abilities of our cars on the track. This puts us on a very strong footing as we prepare to launch the new generation of cars, beginning with the P3-21A,” he added. 

Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal added that feedback - received not just from PROTON staff interaction with the public, but also from surveys conducted during the event now provides PROTON with valuable information to help better improve – in terms of the company’s brand image, product and more. “Many visitors to the event found that the activities were not just entertaining but also very educative, revealing the skills and technology behind every Proton car that is produced. We believe that visitors now understand us better, and appreciate the technology we have in our cars, especially in our new sedan.” 

“As we continue to develop and improve the different facets of our company, from point of design and development, to manufacturer, sales and after sales service, we are ready to compete more aggressively on an international scale,” Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal said. 

The POWER OF 1, PROTON’s largest outdoor showcase ever organised to date, was spread over an area of 35,000sqm at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium’s Car Park A, B and C. It was transformed to accommodate a technology exhibition, sales and promotion area, as well as a mini circuit, allowing visitors to experience the many different facets of PROTON, and its progress and development over the last 27 years. 

The five-day event attracted 54,565 visitors, with the major highlights being the drive demonstrations by Lotus F1 driver Tung Ho Pin in the 2012 Lotus Formula 1 car, and Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) winning driver Alister McRae in his Proton Satria Neo S2000. Read more after the jump.

20 March 2012

Proton announced new chairman - Dato' Sri Mohd Khamil Jamil

Proton Holdings has announced the appointment of Dato' Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil as the new Chairman and Executive Director of the Group, starting on 19th March 2012. The appointment is made following the resignation of Khazanah's appointed Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Salleh who resigned last week, as per the terms and condition set upon the take-over bid of the DRB-Hicom Group.

At the moment, Dato' Sri Mohd Khamil is the Group Managing Director of DRB-Hicom Berhad since 1 March 2006. Prior to that he was in the senior position within the group as Deputy MD and Deputy Group Chairman. He started his career in August 1980 with Bank Bumiputera which he stayed until December 1989, before assuming Legal Practitioner until June 2001. Between July 2001 and prior to joining the DRB-Hicom in 2005 as the Deputy Group Chairman, Dato' Sri Mohd Khamil was a businessman.

Academically, Dato' Sri is Law graduate from University of London. He is 56 years old. For the moment, Dato' Sri also holds directorship of several public companies such as DRB-Hicom Berhad, Pos Malaysia Berhad, Bank Muamalat, Edaran Otomobil Nasional, HICOM Berhad, HICOM Holdings Berhad, Horsedale Development Berhad, Uni Asia General Insurance Berhad and Uni Asia Life Assurance Berhad.

Marvels of wing aerodynamics - aircraft & F1 cars

Business Class is at the front, right in the nose of the aircraft. So I can't sit near the wing like I used to do. But that doesn't stop me from seeing other aircraft lurking around the airport, waiting for take-off or just landed. I am always fascinated by the wing geometry alteration during take-off and landing. This is the situation when the slats (leading edge extension) and flaps (trailing edge extension) are fully deployed to increase the Cl (coefficient of lift) to balance the aircraft during this high-lift, low speed situation. In the take-off configuration, drag is still a factor, so the extension deployment is not that extensive, but in landing, where drag is not so important, it is amazing to see the flaps extend so far back. One can literally see the wing cutting through the air, releasing the visible white-ish stream as it cuts through the low clouds.

How the flaps work? In a nutshell, it increased the wing angle of attack. In a simple terms, it means tilting the wing rear edge downwards more and more. By increasing the angle of attack, lift is increase too. Another purpose of  having the flaps and slats are to provide slotted duct to retain the boundary layer on the wing surfaces. Otherwise, such a steep angle of attack will results in stalling, effectively reducing the lift and upped the drag. The alteration to the wing geometry can be seen from the figures below.
Another aerodynamics marvels that can be seen on bi-weekly basis is the F1 car wings. Slotted duct, blown aero surfaces, cascaded wing surface, extreme 3D bending of wing profile and chord are among the marvels analyzed in CFD these days, when each F1 aerodynamicist  are striving to find that last ounce of downforce and cutting of drag. Pictures below are McLaren rear end, superbly sculpted, slotted as it it will cut through the air seamlessly. Read more after the jump.

M Performance part from F30 3 Series

BMW has launched the M Performance Part series during the 2012 Geneva Motorshow. It consists of aesthetic and performance enhancement for the BMW 1 Series (F20), 3 Series (F30) and 5 Series (F10,F11).  The parts are developed in collaboration with BMW's M Division and designed to fit onto or replace the M Sport Package parts installed on the 3 models listed above. In this articles, MMN is going to concentrate on the newest car in BMW family, the F30 which is scheduled to be launched in Malaysian market later this month.

Firstly, the exterior outlook of the F30 M Sport has been further enhanced with M Performance Aerodynamics Package consisting front splitter, rear duck tail spoiler and blades for the side sills. In this white samples of F30 M Sport, the blackened M Performance Parts contrast nicely with the background, accentuated further by the black strips and 20" dark alloy wheels. The front grille too is finished in black. At the back, there is also M Performance exhaust systems offered for 335i. For the diesel model, chromed exhaust pope finisher is offered instead. Menacing innit?
Body-kit aside, the suspension, braking and alloy wheels are also items of improvement, offering a host of enhanced performance compared to the cooking M Sport parts. First-up is the alloy wheels, 20" in size for the F30 in 405M design which is forged alloy that 1kg lighter apiece than the M Sport wheel. Contrasting finish is achieved by painting the wheel is glossy black prior to machine-out the spokes alternately to achieve the contrasting appearance. Lurking behind the alloys is the 18" that is crossed drilled and ventilated to offer much higher thermal resistance than the standard item. The calipers can be ordered in orange, yellow and red. The suspension is uprated too with M Performance chassis parts.
The Performance Kit for the gasoline version is still work-in-progress (for N20 is 25i guise and 335i), the 320d version can now be ordered with M Performance Power Kit which raised the power output of the diesel powerplant from 184bhp to 200bhp. Torque figures meanwhile bumped from 380Nm to 420Nm. The increased in performance has been achieved via electronics recalibration and due to that, larger intercooler has been fitted. More details after the jump.

19 March 2012

Off Topic - Japan: Cars, City, Food, Magazine & Transport

Yours truly was in Japan for the whole of last week for some business purposes (hence my apology for not really updating this blog meaningfully for quite sometimes now due to extreme busyness and also I can't visit Proton's Power of 1 due to the same reason). As outed in my previous two post about the Motoring in Japan and Magazine in Japan, there are many other things that can be seen from where I went : Chiba and Tokyo. 

Here are some photos I managed to snap for sharing with my dear loyal readers.

As outlined in previous post Motoring in Japan , the Japanese market is filled with the K-cars, wagon and MPV. There are quite significant numbers of Toyotas around, with model such as Noah and Voxy MPVs, Passo (the old one, but the new Passo/Passo Hana and Boon are very rare), Porte, wagons especially tons of Probox Wagon and hybrids including Harrier hybrid, Toyota Aqua (or Prius C), Prius V (the MPV). Popular MPVs that usually made their way to Malaysia are plenty too, such as Estimas, Wish and Isis. Honda is popular too with Honda Life,Honda Freed, Honda Fit (Jazz), Stepwagon and N-Box. 
Japanese dominated model in the carpark
Foreigners among the local
There's also foreign cars that can be found from time to time, mostly are Audis and VW. There are plenty of old VW Polo too running along the Chiba's street.

However, there's also old American banger such as an old Cadillac and beefed-up SUV to resemble a big-foot!

Yours truly also visited the Porsche showroom as well Nissan showrooms near the Tokyo-Ginza area. The new Porsche 911 was on display, and the PDK S model is priced at around 15,000,000 milion yen. Nissan Ginza showcased only two models namely the Leaf EV (priced at 3m Yen, expensive reckoned by Japanese counterpart) as well as the funky Juke.

More after the jump.

Button wins F1 season opener ahead of Vettel and Hamilton

Jenson Button has scored the first of the season in the opening round at Melbourne 2.1s ahead of the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton completed the podium in third place, almost 2s further down the road.
When the 5 red lights went out, it was Button that has the best start, ousted his team mate from the lead upon arriving at the 1st corner. 3rd place man Grosjean meanwhile suffered a poor start, dropping to 6th place. Mercedes duo of Schumacher and Rosberg were in 3rd and 4th at that time. 

Positions were changed again at the front in Lap 2, when Vettel took Rosberg and Maldonado accidentally took Grosjean out, an unstabled situation which was capitalized by hard-charging Alonso to steal 6th place from his 12th grid position. By Lap 10, it was all-world champion in top three, with Button leading the pack, followed by Hamilton and Schumacher. Vettel is also just 0.5 seconds behind the Mercedes. However, some gear shift problem left Schumacher out of the race in Lap 11, pity considering that this could be one of his best race upon his comeback tenure.
By mid-race, the 18th place Raikonen is already in 8th. He actually demonstrated some spirited driving, taking Massa and Kobayashi within 2 laps. Had he started higher up the grid, the story could very well be different. More details after the jump.

17 March 2012

McLaren 1-2 in F1 season opener qualifying

McLaren has steal the thunder by locking out Melbourne front row of the grid. Lewis Hamilton is on pole, followed by his team mate Jenson Button. Third place is surprisingly belong to Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who is ahead of Michael Schumacher in 4th place, his best ever grid position since returning to the sport. Nico Rosberg did look fast, and could even put a fight to McLaren in terms of pace, but he committed a mistake in his run. Mercedes's car also debuted an innovative and controversial DRS-activated front wing F-Duct. It is indeed hard to imagine how powerful is CFD now in developing the manipulation of flow on aerodynamics bodies. In 2002, F1 teams said they neglect the effect of exhaust gas speed and temperature in their CFD modeling of the rear end, but the advancement of blown diffuser (still exist this year I suspect, albeit in different form) surely indicated that the flow regime has been analyzed with the temperature and exhaust velocity profile.

Anyway, back to qualifying story, 3rd row is locked by the reigning champion Red Bull Racing, where Mark Webber is ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Where is Ferrari you ask? Well they are 12th with Fernando and 16th with Massa. Fernando Alonso spunned out in Q2, and Massa, well he was kicked out from Q2. Bizarre days for Ferrari, and miserable too for ex-Ferrari Kimi Raikonen, who managed no better than 18th on his first returning race.

Full qualifying results after the jump.

Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi left Proton

Proton has announced the resignation of Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi, the Chairman of Proton. This is interpreted as one of the terms and condition in the DRB-Hicom takeover, as Nadzmi is the chairman appointed by the former owner of Proton. According to Managing Director of DRB-Hicom, Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil, the new management line-up will be announced within two weeks, and set to comprise both old and new faces.

As it stands now, DRB-Hicom owns 50.1% of Proton, not 42.7% as announced during the bid. This is because DRB has bought some 7.27% of Proton's shares from the public market. Due to the amount of shares it owns, DRB-Hicom is obliged to make a mandatory general offer to the other shareholders, in turns will increased the DRB-Hicom shares in Proton by even larger margin. If the remaining open market share falls below 25%, Bursa might even consider to delisted Proton from the board, bringing it to full privatisation. Perhaps it would be good if Proton is privately own, because at the moment every Malaysian (even the insignificant one) thinks they have some rights in Proton and tends to condemn the product as if it was grown in their backyard!

On the other hand, OSK research (from Business Times) quoted as saying that they have observed DRB-Hicom is seriously active in transforming Proton. Cost-cutting initiatives was said to be paramount, together with vendor rationalisation program. However MMN tends to be sceptical with this kind of "general statement- standard to any transformation upon takeover program" because we know that Proton has, in 2008, indeed rationalise the vendor for the car components. Contract were awarded to a few Tier-1 vendor, which in turns will distribute the production contract to smaller supplier. This way, single point of responsibility can be singled out to one vendor, reducing the "pening kepala" in managing all sorts of design and quality issues that may arises throughout the car lifecycle (from development right to the decommissioning).

But, the question is now, who will launch the P3-21A?

16 March 2012

The heaven of Japan's car magazine

Apart from numerous selection of JDM cars, Japan also is unique in terms of car magazine offerings. One that caught my attention is the Motor Fan. In a nutshell, for every new car launch (Japan's car), Motor Fan will produced a magazine spesific to that car only, outlining all the engineering and styling details and evolution, interviews with the engineering team as well as comparison test with the competitors. For this particular months, I managed to find the Subaru BRZ issue, as well as the Toyota Prius C. Despite my total incapability in reading Nihongo, the numbers are easy to understand. Another magazine I bought is the F1 magazine, as well as book on tuning the Honda CR-Z. Total damaged to the wallet : almost 4000 yen!

15 March 2012

Honda Jazz Hybrid landed in Malaysian shore

After being spied a few times at the port and on the truck in striking fluorescent green color, the hybrid version of the Honda Jazz has finally been launched in Malaysia market. In today's event at FRIM, Honda Malaysia has also officially announced the price of the car, RM94,800. This puts the Jazz Hybrid not only as the cheapest Honda's hybrid in Malaysia, but it also undercuts the recently introduced Toyota Prius C, which tipped at RM97,000.

Honda Jazz Hybrid is powered by the LDA-MF6 IMA engine which is shared with the Honda Insight. The 1,339cc with IMA produced a combined 88PS@5800rpm and 121Nm of torque at 4500rpm. The claimed fuel consumption is 21.3 km/L in the European test cycle condition. The drive is channelled via the CVT gearbox with ratios that varies from 4.510 to 1.692.
Despite the added constraint in packaging the battery systems for the hybrid systems, the 3,900mm long Honda Jazz has lost none of its practicality. Boot space remains 300L and the Magic Seat folding mechanism is still there. The only change is the spare tyres, which its housing has been filled with the Intelligent Power Unit. More after the jump.

First petrol BMW X3 debuted in Malaysia

The new generation BMW X3 (F25) was launched in Malaysia back in March 2011, albeit in only single variant, and a diesel at that with the xDrive20d which retailed at RM348,800. Fast forward by a year (almost exact), BMW Malaysia has brought in the petrol version, powered by the 2.0L Twin Power in the "20i" guise. The new SAV is pitched at RM358,800 (including BS+RI, excluding insurance). 

For a recap, the 2.0L Twin Power is equipped with the state-of-the-art BMW technology to maximise the output from the engine downsizing initiative. This include Double VANOS, Valvetronic and High Precision Injection system with twin scroll turbocharger. The engine kicks out 184bhp and 270Nm. In the X3, acceleration to 100 km/h takes 8.6 seconds which fuel efficiency is rated ath 7.5L/100km in combined cycle. The efficiency is further enhanced by BME EfficientDynamics technology which include gadgets such as Auto Start/Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and Electric Power Steering. Drive is channelled to all four wheels to guarantee maximum traction is all driving situations. BMW Dynamic Driving Control is featured too, and it gives the option of several driving modes namely Normal, Sport and Sport+.

Additional equipment for the xDrive20i version include the 2-zone automatic airconditioning, electric seats adjustment, BMW Navigation Systmes with 8.8" screen and 205W 12-speakers Hi-fi systems. Internet and Bluetooth service are catered by the standard BMW ConnectedDrive.

The gasoline powered BMW X3 will be available for viewing from 17th March 2012 at all 15 BMW authorized dealers nationwide.

14 March 2012

Proton P3-21A official teaser - all the features on Malaysia's new pride

As announced earlier today, the Malaysia's new pride and joy is now available for booking. Ranging from RM65k to RM75k, P3-21A is easily the largest sedan you can buy at sub RM100k price. Proton has released a series of teaser video to highlight the unique features and selling point of their latest baby. With this car, I am confident that Proton has finally upped its ante, and will increase its market share. Common people, why bother buying that 3.6m hatchback? Forget about its Japanese heritage, I am in Japan right now and those car are right before my eyes and is very, very hugely different from its so-called blood brothers. Its more like step-brother in fact!!!!
The teaser videos outline the features such start button, Protronic manual override CVT transmission, Smart Info display, touch screen GPS and also the sheer size of the cabin accomodation. Below are some of the screen capture from the videos.
Regarding the specs of the car, the P3-21a is generously sized at 4,543mm long, 1,786mm wide and 1,524mm tall. Wheelbase is a tad shorter than the Exora-platform at 2,650mm (20mm shorter than the new Honda Civic 9th generation). Boot volume is massive at 508L.
The Executive version is powered by the proven Campro IAFM+ powertrain, while the Premium version is powered by the turbo-ed CFE unit. No change in specs though as they are similar to the one in Exora Bold. However, some differentiation has been made in the transmission aspect, as the Premium version gets the Protronic 7 speed manual shifter CVT, with paddle shifter. All P3-21a version rides on McPhersons struts up front and multi-link suspension at the back. Steering is hydraulically assisted instead of electric which is a thing of  norm today. 15" disc provides the stopping power all around, with the front unit being the ventilated item.
Equipment wise, P3-21A is generously equipped. All version gets the ABS+EBD, dual SRS, front active headrest, anti-trap power window (driver), front and rear fog lights and immobilizer. The Premium version gets additional safety features such as Brake Assist and Traction Control, Side airbags, ISOFIX mounting and get the luxury of auto headlamps. Despite the tempting features of the Premium one, for the first time, buying the entry level model won't give you a short-changed feeling.
All model gets the steering wheel with audio switch mounted (Premium is leather upholstered), remote trunk lid release, CD player with Bluetooth, USB and iPOD connectivity, projector headlight and follow me home light. Premium version is further equipped with auto-folding side mirror (with LED indicator for all model), integrated touch screen GPS (Executive gets portable unit),automatic aircond, auto cruise, auto wiper, push start button and rear spoiler. 4G internet is standard in all model.
 The videos can be seen at Proton Interactivehttp://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE2014EE5DF237934

Proton P3-21A now open for booking

The wait for the Proton's global sedan has ended. The car is now open for booking. For those in Shah Alam & Johor Bahru, you can book the car from En. Nazz Abdullah from Proton Glenmarie at 017-3124300 or head to his sales blog HERE. At launch, 3 variants are available, and their tentative pricing is as follow:
1. Executive MT = RM65,500
2. Executive CVT = RM68,500
3. Premium CVT = RM75,500
All price quoted are for the metallic-coloured. Non-metallic is RM450 cheaper.

For your money, you are promised to get the most bang-per-metal for your money. Look at the sheer size of the car above. For your mere sub 80k, you'll get a 4,543mm car (longer even than the Honda Civic, let alone the best-selling 3,660mm hatchback). For further information regarding the sizing of the car, against its competitor in our market, head to MMN previous analysis HERE. For a glimpse of the car's interior and exterior design highlights, you can refer to previous TV3 coverage, which can be seen at Arenakereta.

12 March 2012

Motoring Scene in Japan

Japan is a busy country. Things are moving fast and precise. So are the people, quietly walking at a fast pace, clear with their daily objective to chase, and yet so polite upon stumbling upon anybody. For a car enthusiast like yours truly, MMN author, the sight of motoring in Japan is something I've been waiting to see all my life. There's nothing more amazing than seeing all those JDM's running along the street, be it the K-car supermini with satnav, or the VIP style Toyota Crown scraping the tarmac, all of those are the sights to behold. More importantly, they seems to be governed by a set of rules, which everyone seems to follow obediently. 
Most of the cars the small cars. And the very new one like the new Suzuki Swift and Toyota Yaris are aplenty already. I've seen a lot of Toyota Passo/Daihatsu Boon, but not so much of the Sette/Luminas version. In one of the quiet street, there's also a couple of Mitsu Eterna (Proton Perdana) and Mitsu Asti (Putra). Old VW Polo are quite a lot too. I've seen a Toyopet dealership nearby my stay, but not quite which Toyota model it sells. Definitely the new "Hachiroku" is not there!

I can't promise, but for my loyal reader, I'll try to find some interesting news for you all!

PS:anyway, there were one-hour show last nite reviewing the new BMW 3 Series F30. It is a very thorough car review program, and all athough I understand not a single word they were uttering, I can somehow catch what they've said.

11 March 2012

Nissan Almera/Sunny spied at Bukit Beruntung

The new Nissan Almera/Sunny has been spotted at one of the famous mamak's place in Bukit Beruntung today, just 6km from the Tan Chong Sg Choh assembly plant. Perhaps the tester is having a hearty breakfast with coffee while his test car is being photographed. 

The car is not exactly breakthrough news, as it has been launched in other market such as Singapore since last year. Basically the new Sunny/Almera sits on the V-Platform that underpinned the Nissan Micra/March, which explain it still has some of the tall-body traits of hatchback build-in the longer sedan body. In this region, the car is pitched as a competitor to the establishment of Toyota Vios and Honda City, although how it will be placed in relation to the Nissan Latio is still an unknown.
As the car has been launched elsewhere around the world, the final outlook is no longer a secret. The version spotted here is perhaps the basement spec, with no fog lights and wearing a steel wheel. The Almera measures 4,425mm long, 1,695mm wide and quite tall at 1,500mm height. The car sits on 2,600mm wheelbase. This means that the Almera is slightly bigger than the Latio which is 4,415mm long, 1,695mm wide and taller at 1,535mm tall. Wheelbase is similar at 2,600mm. This has put the Almera as a bigger model not only to Latio, but also to the Honda City and Toyota Vios. Boot volume however is smaller than the Honda's at 490L. For the table of comparison for all mid-sized sedan in Malaysia, refer to MMN posting about P3-21A HERE.
While the Thailand market received the HR12DE 3 cylinder 1,198cc with CVTC valvetrain kicking out puny 79PS and 106Nm for frills-free motoring paired to either CVT or 5 speed manual, out version is likely to be similar in specs with the Singaporean version which is powered by a bigger HR15DE engine which displaced 1,498cc and punching out 99bhp and 134Nm. The downside of this drivetrain package is is paired with the archaic 4 speed automatic transmission. However, expect no problem with this as Malaysian is known to love that transmission in the best-selling Toyota Vios!
Singapore media has concluded that the Almera is vastly spacious inside, with class-leading rear legroom and ample head room for all occupants. The interior is adorned with hard plastic all around, but none of them are flimsy and set to give out a lasting impression. On the drive, the lightweight V-platfrom offers an agile ride and the handling lies a bit on the safe side, with plenty of body roll. However the wind noise insulation is good, coupled with supple suspension setting, the occupants can expect quite a soothing ride. Engine noise, though, is a bit on the high side when pressed hard. Photos of the actual RHD car from the Singapore market can be found after the jump.