30 June 2012

Chevrolet Spin budget MPV revealed

Chevrolet has released the information about its new budget MPV, the Spin, which is slated to be on sale in South America and Asia from July onwards. Conceived by GM Brazil R&D team, Chevrolet Spin is manufactured in Sao Paulo, and will be assembled here in Asia too in West Java.
Spin is build on Chevrolet Cobalt sedan platform, with the wheelbase of 2,620mm long. Overall length is 4,360mm, 1,763mm wide and 1,660mm tall. It comes in two version, LT that seats five, and LTZ with 7 seats and all bell and whistles. Comparatively, Spin is vastly bigger than Asia budget MPV stalwart, the Avanza which measures 2,665mm, 4,140mm, 1,660mm and 1,695mm in wheelbase, length, width and height. Closer in terms of size and apparent technology is the Maruti Ertiga which measures 4,265mm in length, 1,695mm wide and 1,685mm tall and rides on longer 2,745mm of wheelbase. Anyway, with 7 people on board, Chevrolet Spin can still accommodates162L of cargo, and increased to 710L and 1,668L when the third and second row folded respectively.
 In terms of powertrain department, Chevrolet Spin is set to trump the opposition with latest state-of-the-art package. The MPV is powered by 1.8L EconoFlex lump that can chew ethanol. It produces 108bhp. Mated to the class leading 6 speed automatic transmission or 5 speed manual, it is more advanced compared to the Toyota Avanza which channelled the drive via the 4 speed automatic gearbox from the last millenium.
The interior bring a greatly refreshed design concept compared to all its potential Asian rivals. With the design that can only comes from Chevrolet, the Spin comes with chunky looking dashboard that shares Cobalt partial digital instrument binnacles. The interior also certainly looks plusher compared to more spartan looking Avanza and Ertiga, particularly in seats fabric and contour.

The exterior outlook too is distinctive in its own right. Unlike the weedy Asian-born rivals, Spin is adorned with American big-car cues, particularly its massive radiator grille. However, overall, it still looks like a budget MPV, with some awkward angles.

Stay tune for more news, especially when the Indonesian plant starts to produce this MPV. More photos of the Chevrolet Spin after the jump.

27 June 2012

NASA-inspired seat for 2013 Nissan Altima

Nissan has developed a "zero-gravity" seats for the application of the 2013 Nissan Altima. Aimed to reduce the fatigue associated with long driving, the new seat design was conceptualized around the idea of supporting the occupants in weightless environment.

Nissan has been looking at the idea for quite some times, and for those auto-engineering savvy, you can check out the SAE papers about this, Development of New Driving Posture Focused on Biomechanical Loads and Evaluations of Physical Fatigue during Long-term Driving with new New Driving Posture

To reduce the tiredness on the occupants muscle, the muscle need to be relaxed in somewhat relaxed body posture in weightless environment. To achieve this, a patented varying support level in lumbar, midback and shoulder to position the occupant's spine in its natural position. The seat reacts to the occupant's load by holding the occupants in the natural spine position. The so-called natural position was determined based on 14 points along the seatback from the pelvis to the upperback. By doing do, the target loading value to a set of occupant's shape, the seat structure including the foam stiffness and bolster location were designed. 

The 2013 model year Altima is seat to be the first Nissan's production model to receive the technology. It will be eventually rolled out to all Nissan model. It seems that Nissan is one of the manufacturer that is very particular about the interior innovation. Sometimes in mid 90's Nissan introduced some kind of anti-bacterial technology for its Nissan March/Micra.

26 June 2012

Automatic Honda CR-Z now in town

Fancy Honda CR-Z Hybrid coupe but not capable to manually change gear? Or you live massively jammed area that your left leg is shivering on the clutch pedal? Whatever the excuse, the svelte looking Honda CR-Z now comes in automatic gearbox, in the form of CVT.

The CR-Z CVT with 7-Speed Paddle Shift extends the offering option of the sleek hybrid vehicle to a wider audience of car enthusiasts. This new version of the CR-Z will captivate independent young professionals who recognise the value of advanced green technology, yet enjoy fun driving elements that cater to their active lifestyle. This hot-hatch hybrid will also appeal to ladies who are looking for a stylish hybrid car that is easy to handle.

The CR-Z CVT retains the versatile 3-Mode Drive System, which allows the driver to switch the mode to SPORT, NORMAL and ECON depending their driving style and road conditions. This makes the CR-Z CVT an ideal hybrid vehicle for car enthusiasts who not only seek a performance responsive driving experience but would like to be environmental friendly at the same time. 

Powering the CR-Z CVT is a 1.5L i-VTEC engine coupled with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) Hybrid System that gives a combined power of 123 PS. This efficient combination enables drivers to have a responsive and exciting driving experience. The overall engine performance provides exceptional fuel economy and a fun-to-drive performance.

The CR-Z CVT is available in four stylish colours of Premium White Pearl, Storm Silver Metallic, Milano Red, and Crystal Black Pearl. The on-the-road price tag of the latest CR-Z CVT with 7-Speed Paddle Shift is RM 119,000.

25 June 2012

Honda City facelift - refreshed look, ECO function & from RM85,980

Honda has updates its popular B Segment sedan, City with a host of exterior and interior refreshment as well as added "2012 touch" item like the ECO function. Still comes in S and E guise, the new City now costs RM85,980 and RM90,980 respectively. The price increase from the outgoing model during launch time is just nominal RM1,000.

The facelift has been long overdue as other market like Thailand has seen the car since last year,but the introduction to our market was delayed due to the natural calamity that hit Thailand that grind everything to a halt. For this round of update, Honda has updates the aesthetic with the new front bumper, new rear light cluster and the new rear bumper complete the exterior makeover. The rear bumper especially is really distinctive with its lower valence that portrays a much sportier appearance than before.
For the interior, Honda has re-trimmed the centre console with different hue, more elegant-looking aircond dials and the meter binnacle now illuminated in blue. Honda also has include the ECO lighting that came out when you are driving economically. This way, you can know in real time whether you are saving or damaging the earth.

In terms of equipment level, Honda City is equipped with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX seat fixture and the rear centre seat passenger is no longer a third class citizen as it is now equipped with the headrest and three-point seatbelt.

For the powertrain, the enhanced City continues to be powered by 1.5L i-VTEC churning out solid 118bhp@6,600rpm and 145Nm@4,800rpm. Drive is channelled via 5 speed automatic transmission with Shift Hold Control function.

For the standard S model, Honda City rides on 175/65 R15 tyres. Opting for costlier E model, you'll gain 185/55 R16 tyres, Vehicle Stability Assist, fog lamp, retractable side mirror with indicator, paddle shifter, chromed muffler cutter and the interior is further adorned with leather steering wheel with audio switch, rear armrest and rear seat under tray.

In addition to the nominal price increase as mentioned above, Honda Malaysia is also throwing in a class-leading 5 years warranty with unlimited mileage and also six free labour service for up to 100,000km.

Small gallery of the enhanced Honda City can be found after the jump.

New Honda Civic is coming in July - 3 version, priced from circa RM118k

The 9th generation Honda Civic will finally arrived in Malaysia in July. The popular C Segment (current FD that is, the new one remain to be seen if it will still capture our market) will be introduced in 3 variants, namely an entry level 1.8L, mid range 2.0S and topped by the 2.0 Navi. Prices are expected to be increased by around RM3k from the current model.

The Malaysian CKD model is virtually identical to the Thailand version (as depicted above), saved for the interior colouring. According to the Honda's SA, there will be no beige-coloured cabin this time around. . While the 1.8L will be fabric upholstered, both 2.0L version will be leather covered.

Regarding the equipment level, the 1.8L version will shod with 16" alloy wheel and the side mirror will not feature the side repeater. Both of the 2.0L version will shod with 17" alloy (as above) and will featured an integrated repeater. Distinguishably, our version of Honda Civic will also comes with the audio system with the jumbo-sized button. However, opting for 2.0 Navi will get rid of this, and in comes the touch screen system with GPS-enabled.

To recap, the new Honda Civic is 4,525mm long, 1,755mm wide and 1,435mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,670mm.  Objectively, the new Civic is 30mm shorter in wheelbase, 5mm shorter overall and 15mm taller than the current FD Civic. As for the chassis hardware, the new Civic continues to be suspended by McPhersons strut up front, while rears are taken care by the double wishbone geometry. Brakes are disc all round, with the front one ventilated.

Powering the new Civic is the updated R-series engine, R18Z in the 1.8L version and an R20A for the 2.0L one. The 1.8L is 1,798cc in capacity and still producing 142PS@6500rpm and pulled 174Nm@4300rpm. The 2.0L version has shifted from the current K20Z engine to the newer R20A engine, whose 1,997cc lump now produced 155PS@6500rpm and 190Nm@4300rpm. Both are paired to the 5 speed automatic transmission.

For more details on the Honda Civic, please head to MMN previous posting:

24 June 2012

2013 Honda Accord interior fully revealed

After two spyshots of the glimpse of interior for the new 2013 Honda Accord, the interior has been fully revealed in all its glory, credited to the source. For other photos of the new Honda Accord, refer to MMN previous posting.
Similar in trend with the current Honda Accord, the 9th generation has retained the wide centre console theme, but with enlarged secondary screen housing, a la the previous generation of BMW cars. While the photo could be deceptive, but it looks as if Honda has taken the customer grievance from the current Honda Civic and Honda CR-V, and reacts by incorporating various measures of ambience uplifting touch such as the silver lining surrounding the aircond and audio system, fully silvered climate control panel, chromed trim gear console and fenced the centre console with silver panel.

Peugeot expands the 508 range

Peugeot has expanded the 508 model range with the introduction of four new exciting variants covering two powertrain options and similar number of bodystyles option. The four new variants are the 508 GT, 508 SW GT, 508 SW and the 508 Standard. These four variants join the currently on-sale 508 sedan, now re-named 508 Premium, which was introduced to the Malaysian market in October 2011. Both the 508 GT and 508 SW GT are the first diesel-powered Peugeots sold by Nasim since its appointment as the official distributor for the French marque in 2008. The pair are powered by the 2.2L HDi engine. The 508 SW and 508 Standards remains gasoline driven, catapulted by the familiar and excellent 1.6L THP engine.

In this expansion activity, Peugeot has pitched the model at varying market segments, signified by the pricing as well as the tuning. The entry level model is the 508 Standard, priced at RM155,888. The next model in the line-up is the 508 Premium, essentially what Malaysian has seen since October 2011, and continue to be priced at RM169,888. This is where the range start to diversify with the inclusion of Peugeot 508 SW. Similar in specs with the Premium, the 508 SW is priced at slight premium at RM179,888.

Going upwards means opting for the diesel-powered GT variant, which not only comes with the higher performance fuel sipper, but also with sportier suspension setup. The GT pair of sedan and SW weights in at RM199,888 and RM209,888 respectively.

All 508 variants feature sensor-activated headlights and wipers, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a five-star EURO NCAP rating, front and rear fog lights, leather-trimmed steering wheel, an on-board computer and ISOFIX points at the rear seats for child seats. All five variants come with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, an industry-leading warranty package in the Malaysian market. More technical information about the range can be found after the jump.

19 June 2012

Vehicle engineering scene in Malaysia - Part I

There is a wide range of interest regarding this topic surround us, the vehicle engineering scene in Malaysia. University graduate talks about the job prospect, the Joe and Jane wonders if the Malaysia has the facilities to properly design the car, while the Mr Basher thinks Malaysian car are made of thin Milo, assembled by monkeys, tested by the corrupt and sold by the leech. Thus, the objective of this article is to offer an insight on the overall scenario throughout the chain of developing the vehicle, in context of what is available in Malaysia of course. It is not a small scale business, as the total development cost of the new car is more than RM500 million, and some specialized vehicle has even surpassed RM1b mark. This summation excludes the cost of setting up the vendors business and other support item, so the total value involved is even larger than this. In this first instalment of the 6 articles MMN is going to walk you through the high-level overview of stages in vehicle engineering, before breaking out into the details in the next 5 instalment.

Believe it or not, Malaysia has the complete sets of facility to grow the car from the clean sheet of paper. Typically, the definition of the car is derived from the conception stage, which outlines what car the company will build. This is firmed up based on market trend, cost analysis and of course the long range product planning strategy. Malaysia is blessed with some charismatic people like Syed Zainal, who led the development of Perodua Myvi and a host of new-age Proton cars like Persona, Saga, Exora and Preve which is really what the market wants. 

The next stage in the line is the vehicle feasibility study, where the packaging work (the location of man & machine within the car), cost analysis and preliminary engineering design are done. Somewhere around here, the team of stylist will work on the aesthetic of the car, religiously sticking their head to the screen of digital renderer and clay model. 

Once firm, the detail engineering work will take place, where the genius bunch of engineer will let their hair down in front of powerful workstation, scrolling the mouse endlessly to complete the 3D design (which is drawn based on the global best practise, supported by intensive benchmarking tear-down activity) while interactively exchanging design iterations with CAE people who is ensuring the strength, durability, air flow and noise level are well within the global vehicle design standard. These sections are costly, powered-up with a big computer servers running high-end software like Catia for 3D and 2D drafting, Nastran, ABAQUS and LS-DYNA to simulate the structural integrity and crash worthiness as well as Computational Fluid Dynamics software such as Star-CD and Ansys Fluent to study the aircond flow, heat dissipation, dust and water deposition, cooling efficiency and vehicle aerodynamics. Wind tunnel is involved too here, where parameters such as drag and lift force are measured, as well as engine cooling assessment where all are correlated back to the CFD models.

When the first-cut design stage is completed, the manufacturer will move towards the first physical stage,be it straight to intial production (or P0 as some termed it) or pared back to prototype level. This process is applicable to every single components in the car. It could be a simple door locking stub, or it could as well be the newly design engine. The rest of the stage will be the development where exhaustive routine of testing is performed, day in and day out. In-house testing covers accelerated weathering  and abusive loading, preliminary crash testing and many more. Early cars will also start to accumulate mileage outside the factories, giving us the blogger aplenty of chance to catch the first glimpse of the new car under development.

These are lengthy process where no less than two years are consumed. Almost parallel to the vehicle development is the factory preparation where the assembly line is prepared, long lead time tooling (such as stamping die) are ordered and so forth. So despite the lengthy gestation period, the working margin for anybody is small, as the procurement and fabrication of long lead time item need to be done early, imparting an early design freeze of major components.

Don't get freak out with all this complicated items. We will go through one by one, carefully examining the concept, the scene in Malaysia and what each stage means to us as the consumer. So stay tune.

18 June 2012

Kia Sorento facelift fully revealed

The second generation Kia Sorento is approaching its third year in age, and the new facelift is set to transform the whole dowdy look towards more contemporary Kia outlook. Kia's current Sorento was introduced to the market back in 2009, and is more road-biased than its predecessor. Running on a monocoque construction, Kia Sorento sits on a 2,700mm wheelbase while the other vital dimensions measure 4,685mm, 1,885mm and 1,710mm in length, width and height respectively.
For the 2012 update, Kia has given the Sportage face to its bigger SUV. Blending a more stretched-looking headlight is the more dynamic-looking bumper. The grille has been slightly enlarged, with elegant-looking chromed surround. It is simple and effective, with none of the K5 Optima kind of overdone dose of styling elements.

It is the rear end that receives the major makeover. While the outer part of the tail lights housing remain the same in its outline, the inner part (the one that sits on the tail gate) has gone stylo. It receives the same stretched-look like the headlight, with more elegant LED treatment internal graphics. There is a clear surface difference in plane between the upper part of the tailgate, with the one beneath the line that connect the left and right rear light. The slight inwards placement of the panel is a reminiscent of the larger Kia Optima, which is very deliberate in its aesthetic. Consistent with the front fascia, the rear reflector in the redesigned rear bumper is vertical in placement.

According to Kia, the improvement incorporated to the facelifted Sorento include a host of equipment upgrades, "a re-engineered bodyshell" and "a new chassis". Read between the lines and MMN interprets this as a body panel redesign, retuned spring, dampers, bush stiffness and perhaps reinforcement here and there, as well as updated cabin amenities. 

While there is no official release of the interior yet, Kia said it has revised the centre console including the incorporation of 7" touch screen panel, a newly design gear console (with leather shoes even for automatic), new LCD instrument cluster (perhaps like Optima K5) and more application of soft touch plastic.

The drivetrain is set to receive a host of upgrades too, all aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emission level.

Some more photos of the newly released Kia Sorento facelift after the jump.

Scoop - 9th generation Honda Accord with interior shot

Honda is set to introduce the ninth generation of its Accord model as the current model approaching its fifth production year soon. The new Honda Accord will be empowered by Honda's new vision, dubbed Earth Dream technology which aims to increase the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) efficiency to the next level.  The new Honda Accord spied on the other side of the world revealed a much leaner looking body styles, where the excessive flab of the current model has been shed. Consistent with the trend set by the new Civic, don't rule out a slight reduction in the exterior dimension, although the interior volume will be at least on par with the current car.
The front end is visibly adopting a slimmer set of headlamp, unlike the bulging out item in the current model. The new headlamps design is expected to be very close to the Honda Accord Coupe Concept introduced earlier this year. The side profile, despite being less flabby the now, is still adorned by a very pronounced waist line. The rear end however still retain the long rear combi setup, clearly seen in the camouflaged car here.

Also seen for the first time is the glimpse of the redesigned cabin. It retains the current wide centre console setup like the current car, bit it is now silver trimmed. The silver bits run around the top part with housed the aircond duct and central screen (likely to be ditched in Malaysian-spec car), while the second layer part is fully silver finished. This section housed the climate control buttons.

*24/06/12 update
There's also another permutation of the interior settings, as opposed to the big screen as the model above, there's also another version of audio system. It looks as if Honda has taken a leaf out of Audi MMI system with its single large knob at the centre, flanks by four smaller button around it. Honda also has made some  effort to inject the elegance by including many chrome inserts around the audio system. From this angle too we can see how the whole centre cluster in silver-surrounded.

If Mazda has Skyactiv engine series, Honda is poised to set the fire with its new Earth Dream Technology engine. This concept will be adopted across all Honda engine from right down from the K-car class. While the lower capacity variant (less than 2.0L) will adopt the Atkinson cycle, the engine relevant to the Accord class will be enhanced with the direct injection system, Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), high tumble port design, Idle Stop technology and various measures of friction reduction technology. The 2.0L and 2.4L engine will be paired with the CVT gearbox (or 6 speed manual) while the 3.5L V6 will be paired with the new 6 speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L Earth Dream engine was revealed to the motoring journalist sometimes some months back and it is tipped to produce 181bhp and 240Nm. The Hybrid version will be available too, this time paired to the 2.0L petrol engine.

Back to the aesthetic, MMN reckoned the Accord coupe concept previewed accurately the front end design of the new Accord, saved for the flashy bumper detailing. So head after the jump to the American coupe version of the Honda Accord.

17 June 2012

Proton Inspira 2.0 Premium gets upgraded spec

After revealing the re-specified Proton Inspira 2.0 Executive at much cheaper RM86,450, Proton is set to update the range topper Premium version too. The updated Premium model will received an updated aesthetic with the new 17" alloy wheel (wrapped by Conti MaxContact MC5), new audio system with touch screen and rear view camera and a new color option. Best of all, the price is retained at RM92,450. The photos can be found below, courtesy of cforum1.cari.com.my.

 More photos can be found after the jump.

Audi first performance diesel introduced - SQ5, 313PS & 650Nm

Some years back, the Germans were fighting to fool themselves by calling the four door coupe, but it did indeed set the trend that descend right to these days when we have been served by Mercedes CLS, Audi A7 and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. This year, BMW kicks up a new trend in unleashing the sport diesel through its M Performance branch. We've seen the tri-turbo application in the likes of M550d, as well as in the X5 and X6 crossovers. Audi is set to follow the trend. Enter the SQ5 TDI.

Audi "S" badge is usually reserved for the high-performance version of the range, namely S3, S4, S5 and so forth, and they slot just under the "RS" creatures like the RS4. So the first high performance version of the Q5 SUV is this, powered by twin-turbocharged 3.0L kicking out 313PS and even mightier 650Nm of torque between a lowly 1,450rpm to 2,800rpm. Channelling the drive to all four wheels via 8 speed automatic gearbox, SQ5 can sprint to the milestone 100 km/h in 5.1s and can reach 250 km/h top speed.
To justify its positioning as the "S" model, Audi has upgraded the Q5 chassis hardware including the sports suspension that lowered the ride-height by some 30mm. The electromechanical power steering has been retuned too in order to inject that last bite of added responsiveness. Audi dynamic steering system is also available, as optional.

Exterior outlook has been spiced up with new bumper design, platinum-gray front grille surround, aluminium plated finish for the air intake bars, window surround and side mirrors. The stance has been been made beefier by the fitment of 20" alloy wrapped in 255/45 tyres. As if the tyre and rim combo is not big enough, the 21" rim is available as an accessories.
The interior has been adorned with sport seat upholstered with Pearl Nappa leather and Alcantra, brushed aluminium trim for the dashboard, door trim and console, re-styled meter binnacle and S-spec steering wheel and gearknob. All of these are an additional to what already is an exquisite Audi interior finishing.

Despite the storming performance of the twin-turbocharged diesel engine, Audi SQ5 TDI returned 7.2 L/100km in European test cycle. One more things, to eliminate the agricultural sound the diesel, Audi has added a sound actuator to pump the exhaust noise into the cabin using a special sound system. Audi SQ5 TDI is set to enter the European fray in the first quarter of 2013 with a price tag of around 58,500 Euros.

More juicy photos of Audi SQ5 TDI can be found after the jump. Take a close look, especially the interior, MMN reckoned this is how the interior should be designed. Regardless of how cheap the car is, please draw some inspiration from these. Enjoy after the jump.

15 June 2012

New variant of Peugeot 508 coming?

Yes. Nasim is geared to enrich the line-up of the Peugeot 508 family in Malaysia. It will be an all-out effort, with more than one bodystyles and more engine choice. Perhaps this is the venue where the rumors of locally-assembled version will be unravelled. We have been invited to launch event of these multi-variants of Pug 508, so stay tune until Monday.

14 June 2012

Proton Preve records 11,310 bookings within two months

Proton has announced its latest sedan, Preve has accumulated 11,310 bookings since the order book opened last March. Preve, tagged as Proton's first global car was formally launched on 16 April 2012 has garnered 1,000 bookings prior to the official unveiling date, and further 4,893 units were ordered in April. 

Proton Preve comes in 3 variants: Executive MT at RM59,990, Executive CVT at RM62,990 while the Premium CFE CVT weighs in at RM72,990. The Executive version comes with the Campro IAFM+ powertrain matched to either 5 speed manual or hooked to Punch CVT with 6 preset ratios. The range topper is propelled by a turbocharged CFE engine, also displaced 1.6L but kicks out a healthy 205Nm of torque and a reasonable 138bhp.

For those who has fallen asleep since last April and know nothing about Proton Preve, head to our coverage for the past months below:

Alternatively, for circa RM80k one can also buy the re-specified Proton Inspira 2.0 Executive, which comes in at RM86,450. For the price, you'll get a 2007 Mitsu Lancer but it comes with a more polished CVT tranny and MIVEC engine. Read HERE.

Seems that Preve is well received in the domestic market, although it is still very early to say whether the sales figure is a flop or sustainable throughout the intended lifecycle. What do you think about Proton Preve? MMN thinks it is an OK kind of car, but to say that it meets the Global C Segment standard would be a case of over patriotic-ism. 

11 June 2012

Kia sets to facelift the Sorento range (scoop)

Kia is set to update its Sorento model with a host of aesthetic enhancement in-line with the contemporary Kia look. The spyshot of the totally un-camouflaged sample reveals the revised outlook. Among the most prominent one is the front fascia design. While the headlight silhouette is retained, the internals have been totally revised with the inclusion of an "eyebrow" along the upper edge, a thinner but sharper upper grille surrounding that lends a look of a bigger opening and  a totally new bumper design.

While there is no shots of the rear end, we can expect a customary rear light graphic revision too. However, don't expect a very elaborate design direction like the Kia Optima K5 or the forthcoming Forte, as Sorento is pitched as the conservative SUV, so the design language should mirrors those subdued cues on the current Forte.

10 June 2012

McLaren MP4-12C gets increased in power, greater customization detailing and easier livability

McLaren Automotive has announced a package of enhancements that will make its 12C high performance sports car even more invigorating to drive yet even easier to live with. The main upgrades includes a 25PS power increase takes McLaren 12C’s maximum output to 625PS, a drivetrain enhancements make the 12C more rewarding to drive and easier to live with, Innovative Intake Sound Generator (ISG) now allows programmable aural drama inside the 12C cockpit, more colour and leather finish options give extra scope for customer personalisation and better still, the current MP4-12C owner can enjoy the upgrades too.
Headlining the changes is a 25PS power increase.  It takes the maximum output of the mid mounted, twin turbocharged V8 engine to 625PS (616hp) to give yet more vivid acceleration at track speeds with no loss in efficiency.  Modifications have been made by McLaren’s engineers to the 12C’s engine and SSG transmission increasing responsiveness. Results out of these modification is 0.1s cut for 0-200km/h sprint (now 8.8s), 1s faster to 300km/h (now 26.5s) and 333km/h top speed (3 km/h higher).

The 12C’s unique Intake Sound Generator (ISG) system, which controls the amount of engine intake sound heard in the cabin, is now programmable across three levels in all three Powertrain modes allowing the driver to select the amount of aural drama desired.  
Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive Managing Director said: “Given our racing heritage, it is in our nature to continuously seek out improvements. The team at McLaren Automotive recognises that our existing and future customers deserve the very best product and service we can offer, and the launch of the enhanced 12C reaffirms its position as the most powerful luxury sports car among its competitor set.

“We designed and engineered the 12C from a clean sheet of paper, and I am delighted with the innovative technology package created for our first sports car. Our customers love driving a car with technologies and systems that have proved successful in Formula 1 and which create an incredible driving experience in a unique new high performance sports car. New and existing customers will now enjoy an even better experience thanks to the upgrades.” 
Detail upgrade, specs and photos of the MP4-12C can be found after the jump.

08 June 2012

Lotus' Danny Bahar sacked, in comes Aslam Farikullah

Lotus group today has confirmed the dismissal of Danny Bahar from his CEO position with immediate effect. The decision was made by the Board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against him by the company’s penultimate holding company, DRB-HICOM Berhad.

The Company today also announced the appointment of Mr Aslam Farikullah as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. Mr Aslam, aged 51, has over 26 years working experience, most of which was in the automotive industry. He graduated from University of Bath, England with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Engineering. A British permanent resident, Mr Aslam and his English wife of 27 years have three children aged 26, 22 and 16.

Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, Group Managing Director of DRB-HICOM Berhad and also Chairman of Lotus said: “I would like to assure you that we remain committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group as we take the Lotus Group to the next level to remain relevant in the global automotive industry. I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-HICOM and PROTON Holdings Berhad but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry.”

Our comment? Well, no comment.

05 June 2012

Toyota 86 - Malaysian photo gallery

Enough of dwelling of the specs of the Toyota Hachiroku, enough of technical low-down on 475mm c.o.g height, and if you want to know the price, it is good quarter of a million ringgit in Malaysia. So for now, just keep staring at these beauty. For technical details, refer to our previous posting HERE, THERE, OVERHERE & OVERTHERE 

 More photo of the Hachiroku after the jump.

04 June 2012

All-new Toyota Camry now in Malaysia - from RM149,900 for 2.0L 4-speed automatic

UMW Toyota has launched the latest generation of Toyota Camry to Malaysian market at the end of last week. Codenamed XV50, the new Camry wears an all-new outlook both to the interior and exterior, and received one new set of drivetrain too. This time around for the 7th generation, Toyota Camry is assembled locally, as opposed to Thai-CBU for the XV40 generation. Like the previous generation too, Toyota is offering two variants for the 2.0L, namely 2.0E and 2.0G. The range topper is now 2.5V, displacing the previous flagship 2.4V. Prices are RM149,900, RM157,900 and RM180,900 respectively for the variant listed above.

Compared to the current XV40 Toyota Camry, it seems that Toyota has goes for another major shift in styling philosophy again. Some are deemed progression while some are not so. The XV50 Camry has eschewed the current car detailing, instead leaving a spartan-kind of look. The front end is dominated by the angular hood leading edge that is very sharp, lending a strong presence, majestic even. This is accentuates further by the strong edgy headlamp and a prestigious looking radiator grille. Toyota has put some effort is cheering up the grille by incorporating some indenting on the outer edge of the slats, giving it a more chiselled look.
The rear end meanwhile has ditched the current car shapely taillight. In comes a relatively simple item, with simple internals too. At least, the clear lens part is aligned with the trunk lid garnish, unlike our home grown Preve. Anyway, despite the look, it is actually LED item. There is also a faint character line running along the belt line of the door, continues until near the taillight before splitting into two, one that dives down along the taillight housing towards the bumper, while the other one joins the trunk lip edge. The rear end can somehow me summarized as quite simplistic in looks with minimum garnishing to spice up the look. Judging by the target market of the Camry, it is considered as an OK move.
In terms of dimension, the new Camry is 4,825mm long, 1,825mm wide and 1,470mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,775mm. Compared to the old Camry, the new one is 5mm wider while the rest of other exterior dimension is carried over. Despite the similar dimension with its predecessor, the new car is more spacious inside such as 13mm more rear legroom, thanks to repackaged cabin and re-sculpted seat back. Boot volume now stands at 515L, which is 11L more than before. 

In chassis department, the new Camry rides on a rehashed platform, so it continues to ride on McPherson struts up front and dual-link at the back. Braking is assured by the ventilated disc at the front, while the rear wheel is stopped by the solid disc. Power steering is electrically-assisted item for an added economy and efficiency. The 2.0L car is shod with 215/60 R16 while the range topper 2.5V is loaded with 215/55 R17 tyres and rim combo.

In terms powertrain, the new Camry range is a mixture of an outgoing (which already can be said even the XV40) and the new. The range starter is 2.0L 1AZ-FE engine punching out a trusty 148PS@6,000rpm and 190Nm@4,000rpm of power and torque. The drive is channelled via the antique 4 speed automatic gearbox. I honestly think if Toyota really needs to contain the cost, they should reconsider using the older 3 speed auto, drum brakes and material colored bumper! On the brighter side, the range topper is powered by a new 2AR-FE 2,494cc 4 cylinder engine. Kicking out 181PS@6,000rpm of power and healthy 231Nm of torque at 4,100rpm, this version is mated to 2012-spec 6 speed automatic transmission. More details and photo after the jump.

03 June 2012

Proton offers alternative to Preve CFE - Inspira 2.0 Executive

Proton has quietly slips the cheaper alternative of the slow selling Inspira range. Slotted between the Inspira 1.8 Executive MT and 2.0 Premium CVT, the Inspira 2.0 in Executive trim level offers a mid range option not only between those two aforementioned, but also the highest-priced Proton Preve CFE.

Selling at RM86,450, the Inspira 2.0E does loose some of the standard fixture of the Premium version. It is no big deal really as the top range 2.0 Premium is not exactly Lancer GT in its look. What gone missing is the bodykit (skirting and duck tail spoiler), leather seats, chrome trim surrounding the front grille and well, not much else. The chrome trunk lid garnish remains, as more importantly the paddle shifter. This Inspira also gets the updated aircond rotary dials with more chrome features (which undoubtedly will be there too for the rest of the range). 

To recap, Proton Inspira is a rebadged 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer, in its lowly EX/GLS trim level instead of sportier GT version. The 2.0L version is powered by the 16V MIVEC kicking out 110kW@6,000rpm and 197Nm@4,250rpm. The drive is channelled via the CVT gearbox with 6 preset ratios that some journalist deemed is more polished than the Punch-sourced item in Proton grown model. The car is almost identical to Preve in size, which stands at 4,570x1,760x1,490mm in length, width and height. Wheelbase is shorter than Preve at 2,635mm. The 2.0 Executive also comes with space saver spare tyre, which unlike the full-sized spares in the earlier version, this one really deepen the boot floor. Inspira 2.0 Executive also comes with Exora Bold alloy wheel which looks cleaner than the original Inspira item.
So if don't really believe in the global-ness of the Proton Preve, or you can live with the 2007 model year sold in 2012, Inspira 2.0 Executive might be for you. Grab it now while the interest is attractive. I was told that 2.65% is obtainable for 9 years loan for 90% margin.