29 April 2012

Blast from the past - Mercedes-Benz A38 AMG

Think the 2013 Mercedes-Benz A250 is the raciest A-Class with its 211PS engine? Think again.  Before the world has gone crazy of creating a concept car with a hybrid engine with a very emotional 30 km/h of top speed,  Mercedes has commissioned a special twin-engined A-Class, and they are called A38 AMG. It was created back in the late nineties when McLaren Mercedes F1 cars driven by Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were the chase rabbit round the F1 track,  So special that only four are only ever made, where two of those went to, guess it right, the two drivers above.

The A38 AMG is based on the normal twin-floor sandwich platform Mercedes A-Class where the 1.9L in-line four cylinder engine producing a meagre 125bhp lies underneath the hood. However, AMG engineers have installed an identical unit at the back of the car, practically between the rear wheel, beneath where the boot lies. Combined, 1.9L makes 3.8L (hence the A38 name) and produced 250bhp  and 360Nm driving all four wheels via 5 speed manual gearbox governed via some electronic clutch trickery. This package is sufficient to drive the Mercedes-Benz A-Class with new dimensions of speed whereby it can reach the 100km/h milestone in 5.9 second and a 230km/h top speed.
To enable the installation of the transverse 1.9L engine at the back, the rear end of the A-Class has been redesigned and utilized a lot of bracing made by carbon fibre. Meanwhile, to cope with the added muscle, AMG parts bin of its larger siblings have been raid and AMG has fitted the front brake of E55 AMG to the A38. Measured 334mm in diameter, the 32mm thick ventilated disc is supported by the solid 258mm disc. With the aid for ABS and EBD, ESP and BAS, braking distance from 100km/h is less than 37m, which is great by the standard at that time. The car rolls on 18" alloy wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza tyres of 225/35 R18.

More photos of the Mercedes-Benz A38 AMG can be found after the jump.

28 April 2012

PG Andersson of Proton - great first day in Rally New Caledonia

PROTON’s PG Andersson enjoyed an inspiring opening day by emerging fastest throughout the first four special stages in Rally New Caledonia.

Andersson won three of the day’s four special stages, stamping his authority from the first 16.8km "Gadji" special stage to finish 1.6 seconds ahead of the two Skoda Fabia S2000s of Chris Atkinson and Gaurav Gill, with PROTON team mate Alister McRae in fourth place.

Andersson was quickest in the Satria Neo S2000 as he swept through the longest special stage of the day, a tricky section with many twisty uphill as well as downhill sections.

In special stage 2, Andersson was a clear three seconds faster than Atkinson, completing the run in a time of 10 minutes and 15.7 seconds.

McRae however, was forced to bow out after special stage 2 as a result of damage. He managed to drive the Satria Neo S2000 out of the stage but with a 25km drive and two special stages to go, the damage on the car was too extensive for him to continue. McRae will restart Leg 2 under the Super Rally format.

"We were flat out and on the attack mode from the start. The stages are incredibly exciting and the car felt unbelievably fast and planted through the twisty stages," said Andersson who in special stage 3 again clocked the fastest time ahead of Atkinson.

The Swedish driver however, missed out on making a clean sweep of the day's four special stages, finishing three seconds adrift of the Skodas of Gill, who was fastest, and Atkinson.

PROTON is looking to establish back to back victory in New Caledonia, having won the rally last year.

Rally New Caledonia runs through beautiful lush vegetation and farming plains, and will be contested over a competitive distance of 252.82km covering 19 special stages.

Leg 2 of the rally continues with nine more special stages while the third and the final day of rallying will involve six special stages including the longest which is a 24.41km charge through Pirogues Almameto.

"Andersson has adapted very well to the rally, considering this is his first appearance in New Caledonia. The competition is definitely intense this time round and with two more days of rallying it will really be down to the individual with the right strategy and the ability to pace himself to the finish," said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports.

"We have a competitive package coming to New Caledonia and we believe we are in good contention for a podium," he added.

Mazda RX-8 gets a new life extension

Last November Mazda Japan has announced the final run-out edition of its RX-8 sports car, called Spirit R. Mazda planned to build 1000 units of these until June 2012, when the RX-8 will officially be retired. At that time, Mazda already pulled the RX-8 from all export markets, leaving it only as JDM model, no thanks to the ever tightening European emission legislation. Today, those 1000 units are sold-out. Hence, Mazda announced an extension to those original allocation by further 1000 units.

For a recap, Mazda RX-8 Spirit R are available with manual and gearbox where both are based on Type RS and Type E model respectively. The car comes with a host of accessories such as all around lighting with black bezels, red brake calipers, piano black floor console trim, sports suspension and gun metallic alloy wheels (19" for the manual version). The cabin is trimmed in black and red theme, signifying the Spirit R sporting intent.

For Malaysian boys, the 4 seater Mazda with rotary-engined sports car can be have from as cheap as RM82,000 for year 2003 model, registered in Malaysia and has run for about 70,000km. The unregistered examples can be have for RM130,000 for 2006 build version. The Spirit R version will take some more years though to arrive here via the grey importer. The delicious-looking interior photo can be found after the jump.

25 April 2012

Proton Preve CFE driven - it is global enough?

It is very easy to get crush on any new national car. Somehow, they just blown your mind away the first time you see them. Same case for Proton Preve here. It makes me thinks that my brain must be dysfunctional to still consider those tong kosong that are priced to the north of RM80k. Furthermore, many people think that they have "graduated" or has some degree of success when they finally can ditched their Proton and gets the entry level foreign sedan. Does it still intelligent to do so when Proton Preve is here? Here it is, a 4.5m sedan that is priced from RM59k, a clear C Segment at the fraction of the foreign B Segment car. The fair comparison for Preve is Naza Forte, which up until today is the most sensible C Segment car in Malaysia.

Styling wise, Preve can be described as a safe and non-adventurous design. Take it as a 2012 Waja and you won't stray far. The front end for example is the evolution of Waja 2D design, rendered in more elongated 3D profile. Side profile and rear fascia are refreshing though. Crisp character line and flared-out arches adorn the side of the car, preventing it from looking slab-sided. However, the height of the car is so obvious. Preve is extremely tall at 1,524mm. For comparison, Perodua Myvi and Honda Stream RSZ both stands at 1,545mm, just 21mm taller than the sedan-bodied Preve. Anyway, the size gives Preve  class leading interior space, including a massive 508L which is as cavernous as it can get.
Proton tries hard to inject some charisma in the Preve exterior outlook. As can be seen in the rear end shot below, the pert notchback is busy with design elements. The swept back trunk lid fascia, the two-piece staggered tail light and a run of character line that dented both the bumper and rear light in one single sweep into the trunk lid upper edge. As can be seen here too, Proton seems to try to give the impression of forging the car out of the solid billet, which very visible edge line surrounding the rear end fascia. 
More after the jump.

Nip and tuck for Audi Q5 for 2012

Audi Q5 is one of the more sought after used-import in Malaysia market. Price are still on the high side for the BMW X3-sized SUV, hovering around RM300,000 for the 2009 unregistered sample. Some four years after the worldwide launch, Audi has updated the Q5 range with some minor nip and tuck for 2012. The changes at the front are mostly the revised inner headlight graphic design, slimmer chromed surround for the radiator grille, which in turn has been made more angular with pronounced hexagonal outline.

The front bumper has been re-profiled with slightly more angular looking, with crisper horizontal line above the the fog lamp housing/lower intake area. It is a very subtle changes, but effective in reducing the bulbous look of the current Q5 front fascia design. The fog lamp is now chromed surround too.
At the back, the inner graphic of the tail light has been revised too. Gone is white strip that run along the upper edge of the light, and replaced with more elegant continuous strip of lighting that mirrors the rear light silhouette. The lower section of the bumper has been sharpened too, and the exhaust are now flat-bottomed. More after the jump. 

24 April 2012

Honda at Beijing Motor Show - new Accord and Stream in disguise?

Honda unveiled two concept study at Beijing Motor Show, and simply called them S Concept and C Concept. The former is the 7 seater people mover, while the latter is the mid-sized sedan. Both model are said to preview the 2013 production model where the S Concept will be made with Dongfeng-Honda, while the C Concept will make it to the mass production with Guangqi Honda, yes you read it right, Honda has more than one partner in China mainland!
Honda C Concept is the Honda Accord-sized sedan, and most probably hinting towards the Asian version of Honda Accord, which essentially a variation of the American unit. According to Honda, C stands for "Cool", "Challenge" and "China". However, the car bears more than passing resemblance to the Honda Accord Coupe Concept which was revealed at 2012 North American International Auto Show. The basic silhouette is almost the same, right down to the rear light basic shape, to the rising character line round the flanks. It is only the front end that has been "Chinesized", which means it get a large, garish chrome unit that is very loud, probably signifying prestige. 

Honda S Concept meanwhile is the hybrid-powered people mover. S stands for "Stylish", "Smart" and "Surprise". However, for MMN, S stands for Stream. The ageing Honda people over was launched back in 2006, and is already long in the tooth. Traditionally, Honda Stream is released to the market within a year of each new Honda Civic, and hence it should be close already.
With both model are destinated to be launch as 2013 model year, we can be very sure that it could be the replacement to the current model. Typically, there are very few Honda that is China spesific, so these duo could actually preview two global model, albeit customized to China taste, just like any car in  their current portfolio. More photo of Honda S Concept and C Concept after the jump.

Hyundai Elantra restyled for China market, called Langdong

Hyundai has restyled the svelte Elantra to suit the conservatism of customer taste in China by giving an all-new front end, as well as giving it a new name, Langdong. Ditching the hexagonal radiator grille outlay as the rest of the world, Hyundai Langdong gets a more conservative looking front end with two-tiered radiator grille where the upper one is a simple pentagonal item, chromed surround and garnished with two chromed horizontal bars. The lower radiator grille is almost similar to the Malaysian Elantra, albeit in less "smiley" shape and gets two horizontal slats.
The car debuted at Beijing Auto Show which is currently on-going. The name Langdong which can be literally translated as dynamics for the young and new generation. The car is aimed to capture mid-range sedan market in China, which together with the Santa Fe, are meant to increase Hyundai presence in China automotive scene. More details after the jump.

23 April 2012

Proton Preve Executive - photo compilation + manual version

Lately, people has been complaining about the lack of Proton Preve in cheaper guise to be seen at the showroom. The author did check this out, and found that the showroom car was indeed the most expensive CFE variant, so is the Test Drive car. There are a few Executive model that can be seen lurking somewhere in the showroom precint, but these car customers car, shut lock, ready for delivery.

For those not in the know, the Executive variant does have some differentiators to the more expensive Premium version. Apart from the equipment level and drivetrain that we all have come to know, the interior trimmings are different too. Gone is the simulated wood on the fascia, and in comes the gold-ish panel that adorns the dashboard and the front door trim. The steering also is not leather wrapped and the panel that housed the Premium's starter button has been simplified with slotted item. The touchscreen ICE is gone too. The CVT gear console lack the manual-slotted item found on the Premium version that comes with ProTronic CVT. The difference are small, but enough to make the interior feels differently.

MMN managed to snap some photos during the launch last week. Here are compilation of them.

General Cabin

More and more photos after the jump.

22 April 2012

First photo of Youngman-Lotus SUV - close enough to Proton MSX?

Youngman is going to showcase its new SUV in forthcoming Beijing Motorshow. Although officially still billed as a concept, but the car looks as production-ready as it can get. Since years ago, public over the net keep saying that this is the production version of the Proton MSX (or Lotus APX depends which one you see first), but this yet to be named Youngman-Lotus SUV merely shares some cues here and there, with none of the dynamics surface tension that littered everywhere on the original Proton's concept. But that is expected, as some MSX cues are impossible to be incorporated into the mass production, such as the triangular rear window. Overhere, Lotus has finetuned the design, right to the borderline of being me-too product, but still sufficient to inject some excitement towards the rear end design.
The front end is not only different to the MSX/APX triangular theme, but if one integrate the blackened part in the middle of the bumper, one can even see some resemblance to Proton Preve frontal fascia design. But the strong hood characterline that runs from the grille all the way up to the A-pillar has been retained. Youngman however adopt a big fender design that wrapped around the headlight. Front bumper is chunky in a bid to give some toughness perception.

The side profile is sleek, although the red lens rear lights do comes as a bit too loud, possibly due to its size and position that makes its reddish become more apparent. While no official information is available yet for the SUV dimension, it does looks suitably low.
The rear end is a combination between the MSX/APX and cues from second generation Toyota Harrier. But Lotus managed to make them all synergized well and present a somewhat very attractive rear end design. Details are scarce at the moment, but the SUV is tipped to be powered by Mitsubishi-sourced engine in 1.8L and 2.0L capacity. However, there are also sources claiming that the crossover is powered by Proton's campro engine, namely in CPS guise and probably in CFE tuned too. This is more convincing as the SUV itself is Proton-based.

Some more photos can be found after the jump, and a Proton MSX photo for comparison.

In Photo - Toyota Prius C at AEON Rawang

Toyota Prius C (or Aqua in its homeland) is Toyota's foray into the hybrid supermini. Thanks to the tax-incentive (meaning tax free) in Malaysia, Prius C can have a competitive price, just like other foreign supermini in Malaysia, making the extra price of hybrid car goes unnoticeable. Prius C was introduced in Malaysia in February 2012, a very quick move by local UMW Toyota judging by the fact that the car was introduced to Japanese market only in December 2011. Below are some galleries of Toyota Prius C, caught in AEON Rawang.

To recap, externally, Prius C is  3,995mm long, 1,695mm wide and 1,445mm tall, and rides on a wheelbase of 2,550mm. The car is powered by 1.5gasoline engine hooked to THS-II, Toyota hybrid drive system. Under the Japanese test cycle of JC08, the Aqua will return 35km/l, while in 10.15 mode, it returns a staggering 40km/l. The new hybrid powertrain is 40kg lighter than the unit in Prius. The petrol lump produced 73PS@4800rpm and 111Nm@4000rpm while the electric motor punched out 61PS and 169Nm. With some algorithm involved, total power output is calculated to be 101PS. Interior photo and the 260L of bootspace photos can be viewed after the jump.

21 April 2012

Double launch for Nissan Malaysia - Elgrand & Murano FL

Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) today revealed Nissan latest offerings to cater the top end of Malaysian buyer today. Pegged more than RM300k apiece, the model in questions are the Nissan Elgrand full size MPV and the updated second generation Nissan Murano. Priced at RM384,863 and RM318,882 respectively, it is clear that these cars are pitched at the higher end, exclusive Japanese car market.
First up is Nissan Elgrand. This gigantic MPV is the rivals to the equally massive Toyota Alphard/Vellfire in their homeland downtown Tokyo. Measuring massive 4,915mm long, the 7-seater MPV offers a truly business-class like seat comfort. Short of offering 5 course meal during the travel, Elgrand however does have the seat facilities equivalent to business class where 3 of the front 2 row are ottoman type, with adjustable foot rest for these seat, saved for the driver! The cabin is contained within the 3,000mm wheelbase, 1,850mm wide and 1,815mm tall. Fully flat floor features also enhanced the cabin usefulness in terms of passenger comfort and manoeuvrability. More details about Nissan Elgrand and Murano after the jump.

Sebastian Vettel snatched his first pole of 2012 in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel has returned to form as he snatched pole position in Bahrain GP qualifying session today. This is his first pole of the 2012 season after being comprehensively outperformed by the Mercedes GP and McLaren team this season. Team mate, Mark Webber completed the top three, while these RBR drivers sandwiching the Lewis Hamilton in McLaren team.

The top-of-the-form Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team however has faded into the Bahrain dust this time around, with Nico Rosberg settling in 5th, some four tenth slower than the pole sitter, and team mate Michael Schumacher was down in 18th, behind the struggling Caterham piloted by Heikki Kovalainen. The former F1 legend was said to be angry at the mistake of not sending his out in soft tyres towards the end of Q1.

Fernando Alonso however managed to scrape into the Q3, the effort which team mate Felipe Massa clearly ran out talent to repeat so. Hence the leading Ferrari will start on 9th, while the backmarker-alike second car will start from 14th place.

Much has been talked about the safety of conducting the F1 race is the unstable country like Bahrain. Thankfully, apart from some unhurt Force India personnel who was caught in the primitive road mishap, the rest are doing fine. It is a pity that this kind of scenario is being caught in F1 scene. 

Full Bahrain GP qualifying results can be found after the jump. 

20 April 2012

VW Polo sedan launched in Malaysia - sub RM100k B-Segment

Volkswagen Malaysia has introduced the booted version of its Volkswagen Polo hatchback. Contrary to the CKD expectation, the Polo sedan actually is assembled in India. Maybe VW Malaysia is adopting a similar approach to VW Passat, where the CKD version follows the CBU version when the firm believe there is a sufficient demand for the product.

In terms of dimension, the sedan-ized version of the Polo is 414mm longer that the 5 door hatchback version at 4,384mm, essentially very similar to Honda City and Toyota Vios in length. Width and height are 1,699mm and  1,466mm, slightly wider and taller than the 5 door stablemate. Following the footstep of VW Jetta evolution from VW Golf, the job is not merely booting-up the hatchback, as the wheelbase has been lengthened too at 2,552mm compared to 2,470mm of the 5 door hatchback. This churns out more rear accommodation and boot space of spacious 454L compared to 280L of the hatchback. More details after the jump.

19 April 2012

Proton Preve - full details & mega gallery

Proton Preve is a C-Segment sedan, conceptualize to shift public perception not only in Malaysia, but also to spearhead Proton more meaningful penetration into the global market. Hence, Proton Preve has been engineered to meet the rising global standard in terms of crashworthiness, emission as well the expected perceived value in the design and engineering. 

However, in Malaysia, the competition is somewhat distorted by the tax structure, whereby Preve will be tasked to fend off the emerging Korean, in the forms of C- Segment best value for money, Kia Forte as well as the svelte-looking newly introduced Hyundai Elantra. Both are locally assembled and has a particularly super-high equipment level and competitive pricing. Other than that, the easy prey would be the B-Segment Japanese stalwart which has been hanging on for a long time based on their brand reputation, namely Toyota Vios and Honda City. None are loaded to the brim and neither are keenly priced. So watch out Japs!

For the introduction model, Proton Preve comes in two specification, Executive and Premium. The cheaper Executive model is powered by the IAFM+ engine paired with either Getrag-sourced 5 speed manual or Punch-supplied CVT with 6 pre-set ratio. Priced for these variants are RM59,990 for the manual and RM62,990 for the CVT. The range topper is powered by the turbocharged CFE engine paired to ProTronic CVT gearbox with 7 speed overrides. This version goes for RM72,990.

Proton has commissioned Italdesign Guigiaro for both exterior and interior design. We are used to see some of the recent Italdesign showcars of the late adopting a simple front and rear fascia graphic, and Preve is no exception. The smooth front end is dominated by the rising headlight with elegant inner graphics and flanks the simple horizontally aligned grille bar, topped by the traditional Proton's wing. Curiously though, the top radiator grille and bottom outer opening are horizontally laid out whereas the middle lower opening adopts the mesh pattern. The hood is of the semi-clamshell type, reminiscent of Waja's hood. Overall it gives a clean in an unadventurous way aesthetically. 

One of the plus point at the front is the headlight that are fully covered by the hood. This could be car-park friendly. Unlike some car that has gigantic wrapped-around headlight, when the car is being pushed in the car park repeatedly, the fixing bracket sometimes can be broken.
The rear end is Germanic looking, with Audi-styled slim rear light, albeit punctuated by the first the character line that run vertically through the rear light, and secondly the smaller inner-section with curiously unmatch color-wise for the clear lens. MMN thinks that the character line that runs through the bumper, uprising into the rear light bound the thin lines between being fussy and distinctive, more towards the former. The body colored horizontal garnish does reduce the visual mass of the tall trunk lid, but it adds the overall fascia fussiness at the rear, giving an impression of unresolved design.
The side profile though is flourished with small details that garnished the body well, preventing it from looking like a heavily booted hatchback thanks to stubby notchback. The window line is virtually lengthened by the blackened front plastic quarter, and the C-pillar garnish that smoothen the rear door glass line. The flared wheelarch lends some mascular look, supported by the very pronounced lower sills and crisp belt line. It is from the side that the rear end appears a bit indented, pressed-in kind of look which take some time to get used to.
Overall, Proton Preve is aesthetically pleasing to look at, with no intense styling elements that can cause tiresome to the eye upon long look-out. It was designed to last long, perhaps incorporating the taste of the intended captured market both domestically and internationally. 

Proton Preve measures 4,543mm long, 1,786mm wide and 1,524mm tall. Wheelbase stands at 2,650mm. For comparison between Preve and the immediate challenger in Malaysian market, refer to previous MMN coverage HERE. Kerb weight is 1,340kg for the CFE version. The car obviously generously-sized, but global  trend for the compact sedan is like this, boundary 4.5m in length.

Proton has taken the leaf out from the European OEM in partitioning the interior plastic quality in a very effective manner. The upper part of the dashboard, upper part of door trim and the horizontal fascia for door arm rest are REAL soft touch plastic with padded feeling. Obviously, Proton strived hard this time around to enhance the perceived quality of the cabin.

However, the fascia is a bit too plainly upright with no surface segregation. The fascia basically just fall down from the centre aircond outlet, falling down flatly all the way to the gear console. It is undoubtedly simple, but can be perceived as bland by some.

The Exora-based steering has been given a new cover with prominent chromed Proton emblem embedded in. The steering wheel switch too has throw away the plasticky item, replaced by sturdier item separated by elegant chrome bars.

While cabin color is predominantly dark, the Executive and Premium version are differentiated by the dashboard fascia trim. While the Premium version gets the premium-looking simulated wood outlook, the Executive has to settle for less appealing golden trim. The trim color extends to the front door inside handle housing as well. All version gets silver floor console garnish, with piano-black-like gear console surround. The Executive version has to make to SAT function for the gear change with neither gated sequential shifter nor the paddle shifter. All version come with water-repellent seat fabric, which is pleasing to touch and to sit on to.  
As can be seen below, the simulated wood finish on the dashboard really gives the interior a much needed ambiance uplift. Space is good, with legroom for the front seat is 930mm while the rear legroom is 815mm, class leading figure. Storage space is littered across the interior where each door trim can fit a tissue box or 3 bottle of 500ml bottled water. A couple of cupholder is located in the floor console, while the other two can be found in the foldable rear armrest.

Boot space is voluminous at  508L, some 2L more than the Honda City which is the class-leader in the B & C Segment. However, wheelarch intrusion is quite significant, where the boot narrows significantly towards the centre of the car inside the tyre arches. However, the volume is regained by the very tall boot. However, Proton has dropped the trunk-lid multi-link hinge like the Persona. This goose-neck hinge applied here is a lot cheaper, but will surely eat some usable space in the boot.

There are two powertrain options, 1.6L IAFM+ and 1.6L CFE. The IAFM+ engine is for the Executive, while Premium version gets the turbocharged power of the CFE engine. Drive is channelled to the option of Getrag 5 speed manual or CVT with 6 preset ratios in the Executive model with IAFM+ powertrain. The CFE version is exclusively paired to the ProTronic CVT gearbox with 7 preset ratios selectable via paddle shift. Otherwise, driver still can access the sequential mode via the gated gear shifter in the Premium model.
The IAFM+ engine produced 108bhp@5750rpm and 150Nm@4000rpm. The drivetrain is sufficient to thrust Preve to 100km/h in 12s (12.5s for CVT) on the way to 180km/h (170km/h for CVT) of top speed.  The Premium version is powered by the CFE engine kicking 138bhp@5000rpm and 205Nm@2000-4000rpm and is enough to punch the Preve from nought to 100 km/h in 9.6 seconds on the way to 190km/h top speed. Fuel consumption at constant 90 km/h is quoted as 6.2L/100km for IAFM+ 5MT, 5.8L/100km for IAFM+CVT and 6.6L/100km for the CFE Premium. For greater detail on CFE engine, refer to MMN previous coverage HERE.
Proton Preve is blessed with Proton R&H which is essentially Lotus trained personnel. The setup consists of McPhersons struts the front, and the rear is taken care by the costly multi-link suspension setup, unlike the cheaper torsion beam of the competitors. 

Proton has resisted from shifting to Electric Power Steering, retaining the trusted Hydraulic setup. Braking power is provided by vented disc up front and solid disc at the back, both 15" in diameter. Proton claimed they have tuned the braking performance to be a class leader, where it can stop the car from 100 km/h to standstill in mere 36.8 meters.

Equipment Level
Unlike any other Proton before, the Preve is equipped to the brim. Safety wise, all version gets ABS+EBD, dual front SRS, front active headrest to reduce whiplash injury and immobilizer while the Premium version gets an added Brake Assist and Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, side airbags, ISOFIX rear seat mount and auto headlamps.

The steering wheel is audio controlled button is leather wrapped in Premium version. The Premium version also gets an electrically folded side mirror, whereby both version are equipped with LED side indicator. Audio systems for both model comes with MP3, Bluetooth, USB and iPOD connectivity but the Premium version gets an additional touch screen feature that has build-in GPS.

The Premium version gets an automatic aircond, a first in Proton cars. Starter button, auto cruise, auto wipers and rear spoiler are included too for the Premium. However, the Executive model still gets Follow Me Home Light and Remote Trunk Release as standard. 4G Wifi is standard feature across the range too. 

Detail gallery
Proton Preve is full with interesting design touch like no Proton of the past. Below is the huge gallery, outlining the general outlook as well as detail part of Proton Preve. Head after the jump for the mega gallery.

17 April 2012

Proton revealed its first global car, the Preve

Proton Preve was launched last night at MIECC by Malaysia's Prime Minister. Touted to be Proton first global car, Preve has a lot of hype to live to. However, if the sheer motivation of the staff and the appreciate from the (departing?) MD to the Protonian is anything to go by, Preve should meet all those expectation.

As expected, three variants are available. The entry level model is the manual-geared 1.6L IAFM+ model at only RM59,990. The same engine but with CVT (with 6 preset ratio option) is next in line at RM62,990. The range topper turbocharged CFE with ProTronic 7 speed CVT is still dirt cheap at RM72,990. Take a look at the price and remember that this car is as big as the Honda Civic.

More news to come later today, including the detail gallery of the new comer. MMN was there last night to cover the event, hence picking up stories too. Among the interesting ones are: DSZ is really leaving, R3 Preve is coming and DRB is contemplating to buy  an engine design entity based somewhere in the nearby postcode.

Stay tune!

15 April 2012

Nico Rosberg stormed to victory as rival screwed up pit stop

That elusive first win for both Nico Rosberg and Mercedes AMG PETRONAS has arrived at 2012 Chinese GP. And it was achieved without weather or safety car intervention. People said Mercedes W03 is hard on tyres and will have difficulties in staying ahead even if started on pole. Eat your word people. Not only Rosberg is unchallenged pace-wise at the front, but W03 managed to make it work and stick only to 2 pitstops.

Speaking of pitstops, Rosberg team mate Michael Schumacher who was running second prior to his first pitstop, retired on lap 13 after the front right tyre was not properly secured during his stop. Jenson Button, who finished distance second was also delayed during his third pitstop. The pursuit ended there. Jenson and Lewis completed the podium, making it all Mercedes powered car on the podium.

To speak in term of Malaysia local content, PETRONAS involvement in F1 finally yield a win. And looking at PETRONAS adverts on TV, it can be seen clearly that they are banking a lot to F1 cars/team to make the advert more exciting. Well....

Full results after the jump.

14 April 2012

Nico Rosberg on maiden pole for Shanghai GP

Nico Rosberg has outqualified his teammate Michael Schumacher for the first time in 2012, as well as the rest of the field by snatching pole position, a maiden first position for him (after 111 attempts) and also for Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team, a first pole as a works team since Monza 1955 with Juan Manuel Fangio.

Lewis Hamilton in Mclaren was second, some 0.505 seconds slower than Rosberg ultimate 1m 35.121s. Nico's teammate, the legendary Schuey is further 0.065s slower than the Mclaren leading driver. However, due to Lewis penalty incurred by the change of gearbox, Mercedes AMG PETRONAS now filled up the front row of the grid.

The shock of the day however was the reigning champion Sebastian Vettel failure to make it to Q3. He has to settle down with 11th place at the end of Q2. However, Vettel denied that his slow pace is due to the old-spec exhaust that he opted to use instead of switching to the newer item as him team mate Webber who managed to cork out more pace in sister car. Other big names that failed to make it further than Q2 was Felipe Massa although it is hardly surprising judging by how underperforming he has been in the Ferrari ever since 2009.

The Sauber duo continues to impressed in their C31 racer by scoring 4th and 8th, each which will be 3rd (!) and 7th on Sunday starting grid. Ferrari road car might be some of the most legendary car ever, however their F1 machine is just like Perodua Viva among the Proton Preve. Even the mighty Alonso just managed some 1.501s slower than pole sitter.

Full Chinese GP qualifying results after the jump.

Toyota Wish facelift launched in Japan

While UMW Toyota busied themselves satisfying the niche clientèle in Malaysia, the more practical but never-arrived-in-Malaysia 2nd generation Toyota Wish has received its first mid-life cycle updates. The most prominent design change is the new front bumper design with distinctive darken central fascia together with a slimmer radiator grille that make do without the drooping central section like the current Toyota Wish. However, the two model model make do with the current Wish front bumper (the X and G grade).
At the back, while the changes are very minimal, they do lend a dramatic shift in the look of the newly updated Wish. The previously clean elegant design of rear light graphic has been replaced with after-market-look-alike item with clear lens with a lot of chromed internals with more visible LED, while the chrome garnish has been widened to cover the whole width of the tailgate instead of residing only at the top of license plate depressed section like the pre-facelifted model. The side mirror has been updated with the new design that incorporated LED repeater.
There are no design change to the interior. However, the color scheme and the panel trimmings have been refreshed to increase the appeal of the cabin as well as to differentiate the grades between models. As common with JDM model, there are a million of grade to choose from. For this particular updates, there are 4 specs of the 1.8L model beginning with the cheapest 1.8X before moving to 1.8A, 1.8S and 1.8G. There is only one variant for the 2.0L version namely the Z trim. The details of each variant is describe after the jump.

13 April 2012

Proton presents Exora to MAC and PEYATIM

As part of its initiative to bring its brand closer to the community, PROTON has handed over its popular Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV), the Exora, as contributions to two prominent local Non-Government Organisations (NGO), the Malaysian AIDS council (MAC) and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim Malaysia (PEYATIM).

The Exoras were presented by Chief Executive Officer of Proton Edar Sdn. Bhd., Encik Ahmad Suhaimi Mohamad Anuar to the President of MAC, YBhg. Tan Sri Mohd Zaman Khan and President of PEYATIM, YM Dato’ Dr. Haji Tengku Mahmud Mansor during a handover ceremony at PROTON Centre of Excellence today.

“PROTON would not be where we are today without the support of Malaysians, and as a national car company, we always want to contribute and give back to society. To be in partnership with both MAC and PEYATIM is an excellent platform for collaboration between our organizations that will surely benefit different sections of our community. They are among the two NGOs that have been working hard to help Malaysians for so many years and PROTON is certainly honoured to be able to lend them a helping hand in reaching out to our community," said Ahmad Suhaimi. Read more after the jump.

12 April 2012

Proton Preve - Distinctive Exterior Outlook

4 more days to the launching. All the details of the Preve is now widely known, from pricing to engine range and even the complete specification, thanks to various leaked, spy shots and not forgetting Proton official release of the teaser to build up the excitement for their most competent model yet.

Priced from mere RM59,040, Preve offers amazing meter cubic per your RM spent. At least that's what deduced from the spec sheet and the indicative price. Can Proton deliver it this time around?

Two more photos of white Preve in the showroom and the Fire Red unit with the interior photos after the jump.

Euromobil launched Audi A4 facelift - from RM235,000

Euromobil has launched the updated range of Audi A4 to Malaysian market. For now, the car is available in two versions, 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI. The car is priced at RM235,000 and RM309,800 respectively. The S Line package is available for both model at 'mere' RM25,000. The facelift job consists of new front headlight that follow the same trend as the new A6 and facelifted A5, a restyled hood, new six-point edge radiator grille, redesigned rear bumper and finally a  revised rear combi graphic.

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

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

The 1.8L TFSI with 170bhp and 320Nm of power and torque respectively. The fuel consumption is quoted as 16.3 km/L. Then 2.0L TFSI meanwhile is more powerful at 211bhp and 350Nm.  The lower displacement model is paired with CVT gearbox while the 2.0L version is hooked to 7 speed S-Tronic  gearbox.

One more photos after the jump.