Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jaguar XF launched in Malaysia

Photographs of the new Jaguar XF look great but, still, they do not really do this big cat justice.
In the flesh, it’s much, much better. It’s positively stunning, a form that merges delicate exquisiteness and dynamic boldness together into a very seamless, flowing whole.

You might even call the new Jaguar XF radical, and why not? This is a car showcasing a very different design direction than that taken previously; if you think it makes its predecessor, the S-Type, look a bit stoic, you’re absolutely right. Revolutionary? Sure, though to the initiated there will be a number of visible retro cues borrowed from its predecessors.

Designer Ian Callum, in making sure the XF was still recognisable as part of the Jaguar family, borrowed not only points from the design language first seen in the current XK, but cleverly incorporated subtle Jag heritage cues such as the mesh grille shape and bonnet profile of the older XJ, the window line from the E-Type, and the proportions of the Mach 2.

Whatever you might choose to call it, the XF – which was unveiled locally last night at Sisma Auto’s Jaguar showcase showroom in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur – is one very cool cat.
The four-door luxury sedan, which will count the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class as its primary opponents here, features coupe style lines and a very lean looking disposition – this despite having the widest body in its class.

It’s also the stiffest structurally, utilising different kinds of steel combined with aluminium, magnesium, and boron steel to optimise weight and performance.
You’ll find lots of cutting edge innovation in the award-winning interior, which, incidentally, features the use of more wood than in any previous Jaguar, but this is done so creatively that it isn’t overpowering or in your face.

A single red start button, which pulses like a heartbeat, brings the beast to life. This activates the all-new JaguarDrive Selector, an industry-first rotary shift interface, which rises smoothly into the palm of your hand in a unique design feature called the Jaguar Handshake.

Other innovations include air-conditioning vents that present a flush dashboard surface until the ignition is switched on, at which point they elegantly rotate to the open position. Elsewhere, JaguarSense introduces touch or proximity-sensing control for overhead console lights and the glovebox release; the last is definitely novel in use.

Justin Weaving, regional business manager for Jaguar Land Rover, who was present at the launch, said that the XF marks the beginning of a new era for Jaguar.

“The reception that we’ve had globally, from the markets, the customers and the media, has been outstanding. We’re not expecting it to be a flash in the pan. It is very much part of our business plan of obtaining sustained growth,” he said.

In Malaysia, the XF will be available in three variant forms – a 3.0L V6 (RM488,888), a 4.2L normally aspirated V8 (RM599,888) and a blisteringly quick 420bhp 4.2L supercharged V8 (RM728,888). Propulsion is channelled through a six-speed automatic transmission.

There have been 15 pre-launch bookings, all made sight unseen and without confirmed pricing, according to Syed Khalil Syed Ibrahim of Sisma Auto.

These will be the lucky ones to get their hands on one quickly. With more than 12,000 pre-launch orders globally for the vehicle, it isn’t surprising to find that Jaguar is struggling to cope with demand.

“Clearly, demand is outstripping supply, but we are looking to see what we can do to rectify that, not just for this year but also going forward,” Weaving said.

Syed Khalil added that, locally, expectations are that after mid-year, production allocation should come up to a more unconstrained supply of vehicles.
“This year will be slow, but we’re aiming to get to about 10 cars a month by the end of this year, effectively around 120 cars a year from then,” he said.
He also added that the XF should help Sisma achieve double the volume sales this year.
“With the S-Type, we were doing about 80 to 100 units in total a year. I think this proposition is a more compelling, more dynamic one, so we’re looking at not only existing Jaguar loyalists as customers, but winning new ones as well.”

Judging by the form, this cat should have be no problem winning lots of new friends.

Luxury meets sporty, Accord-ing to Honda. 8th Generation Honda.

Honda Malaysia today launched its all-new 8th generation Accord. The car, which is a completely new model and shares no similarities in design and technology with its predecessor, is available in three variant forms.
Potential Accord owners will have three engine options to choose from – an enhanced 154bhp 2.0l SOHC and a 177bhp 2.4l DOHC i-VTEC as well as a 271bhp 3.5l V6 i-VTEC version with VCM (Variable Cylinder Management).

The Variable Cylinder Management system switches between six, four or three cylinders based on driving situations. It helps to reduce fuel consumption and maintains performance at any driving speeds, be it hill ascends or city cruising.

The new Accord is a far sharper looking offering than its predecessor, with a forward-thrusting nose the immediate highlight. At once more muscular, the bigger and wider Accord was developed along four concepts - a car that is powerful to drive, provides comfort, meets world safety standards and is able to provide maximum fuel efficiency.
In terms of interior space, this is the most spacious Accord ever. The cabin offers a 3.2% increase in passenger volume over the old, and side to side distance between driver and front passenger has been widened by 40mm; likewise the leg room at the rear, longer by 35mm. The cargo area length has also been increased by 54mm.

The Accord may have grown chunkier, but it’s also stiffer as well - the use of high tensile steel has increased from 39% in the outgoing model to 48% here.

Attention has continued to be paid to handling, of course. The floor height has been lowered by 15mm, and the fuel tank and engine also sit lower; the car also features higher front and rear roll centers.
Elsewhere, an onboard Shift Hold Control system helps to prevent unneeded gear up-shifts during prolonged winding road environments, adding more responsiveness to the engine. There’s a Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering system as well, offering precise and good response to steering input.

Performance would be meaningless without safety assurance on the Accord. The new body design incorporates Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) structure, and extension of the G-Force Control (G-Con) technology.

In a nutshell, the Accord’s body cleverly disperses front, rear and side collision impacts over a larger surface, limiting cabin intrusion effectively, minimising injuries to its occupants.
The protection of the Accord’s body is further enhanced with airbags all around the cabin. The 2.0l and 2.4l models feature dual airbags and four airbags respectively, while the 3.5l version has an advanced six airbag system – two side curtain airbags, two sets of front dual stage airbags and two side airbags with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS).

On the 2.4l and the 3.5l models, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) prevents lateral skidding and promotes stability whilst cornering. These also get a paddle shift gear system as well as a premium audio system.

It's an environmentally-friendly vehicle as well - the Accord is Euro 4 emissions compliant, and materials with reduced Violatile Organic Compounds are used extensively in the Accord’s interior fittings.
The all-new Accord is available in five colours – Polished Metal Metallic, Bold Beige Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Sparkle Gray Pearl, and Alabaster Silver Metallic.

The 2.0 VTi is priced at RM141,800, while the 2.4 VTi-L goes for RM171,800.. The awesome 3.5l V6 option retails for RM249,800 (all prices are on-the-road, with insurance), and all come with a three-year warranty or 100,000km and six months free service or the first 10,000km (whichever comes first for both).

There’s also a Modulo accessories package consisting of front and rear splitters, side skirts and a trunk spoiler, which can be yours for an additional RM5,300.
Honda Malaysia aims to achieve a sales target of 600 units a month for the Accord.

Honda Sub-Brand In China - Li Nian

Honda’s joint venture company in China Guangzhou Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. has announced a new car brand called Li Nian, which is positioned much alike to what Toyota is doing with its Scion brand in the United States. A rough translation or meaning to Li Nian is “idea”, according to Guangzhou Honda.

The company displayed the Li Nian Concept at the 2008 Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, which is set to be one of the Li Nian brand’s first cars. The Li Nian Concept is a compact SUV-like vehicle based on the Honda Jazz / Honda Fit platform.

Unlike the Jazz/Fit’s L-series engines, the Li Nian Concept is powered by a 1.8 liter engine, most likely the R18A1 SOHC i-VTEC engine. It’s styling is decidedly European, with obvious cues taken from the Volkswagen iroc Concept and Ford’s new Kinetic design Fiesta and Kuga SUV.

Li Nian’s first production car will be based on this concept design, and will make its debut in 2010. The Li Nian Concept was designed entirely by Guangzhou Honda Automobile R&D, and while Honda Japan will support the company, most R&D, marketing and sales efforts will be initiated by the Chinese company.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Formula Drift championship - Ken Gushi

Ken Gushi’s car for the Formula Drift championship in the US is an interesting one. The Scion tC is based on a transverse engine front wheel drive platform, but all-wheel drive derivatives are also available.

For drifting, rear wheel drive is necessary of course. The availability of all-wheel drive on the platform makes it relatively easier for a rear wheel drive adaptation. The transverse engine layout has been dumped for a 3S-GE Beams engine mounted longtitudinally. The 3S-GE is turbocharged with a HKS GT3037 turbine, and managed with a Blitz Dual SBC boost controller and an AEM engine management system.

Minimum sound level for US cars

While our motoring-related laws remain relatively stagnant (road tax calculated based on engine displacement in this age of engine downsizing with turbocharging, for example), the US has been actively shaping its laws to suit current automotive trends.

The latest is a new bill requiring the minimum sound level for vehicles sold in the US - yes, minimum and not maximum. Loud cars isn’t the issue here, but more of silent cars in this age of hybrid and electric vehicles that are barely audible.

The concern are blind pedestrians, who depend heavily on the sound of traffic and may not be able to hear these silent vehicles, thus being put into danger. This new bill is expected to come into effect in 2010.

2008 Porsche Cayman Review

When Porsche introduced the Cayman S two years ago, it left some enthusiasts scratching their heads. The bold, midengine sports car was faster than its ragtop counterpart, the Boxster, but lacked the performance of the famed 911. In all likelihood, Porsche could have made the Cayman faster, but it didn't want to cannibalize the market for its race-bred -- and more expensive -- models. The resulting Cayman was precisely tuned to fit in the gap between Porsche's entry level and flagship models.

There are two versions of the Cayman now, the base model and the S. The regular Cayman has a 2.7-liter flat-6 that puts out a respectable 245 horsepower and 201 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.4-liter in the Cayman S delivers 295 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Despite being powered by 50 fewer horses than its S sibling, Porsche claims the base sport coupe's 0-60 time lags only by 0.7 second with manual models. Although the Cayman S comes with bigger brakes, upgraded wheels and a six-speed manual transmission, the base Cayman, which starts nearly $10,000 less than the S version, is still a fantastic drive.

The combination of the Cayman's agile, midengine platform with a stiff body makes for a superbly handling sport coupe. It's more responsive than the Boxster, yet it's more manageable than a 911. What's more, the relatively roomy cargo areas -- both front and back -- make this car almost practical enough to fit into the "daily driver" category.

Options on the Cayman can add up quickly, which throws the notion of good price-to-performance ratio out the (electronically controlled) window. Just going by the numbers, other cars such as the BMW Z4 coupe, Chevrolet Corvette and Nissan 350Z can churn out better performance for less cash. Ditto the superb new BMW 135i, which adds a backseat to the mix. But for the driving enthusiast who prioritizes perfectly balanced responsive handling, the 2008 Porsche Cayman is hard to beat.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Porsche Cayman sports car comes in two trims: base and sportier Cayman S. The Cayman comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, a CD player, cruise control, a trip computer and full power accessories. The S comes with the more powerful engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, larger brakes, metallic-trimmed instrument dials and an upgraded nine-speaker audio system.

The number of options is dizzying, particularly in regards to customizing interior trim and styling selections. Major options, however, include a variety of wheel choices, xenon headlights, power or race-oriented seats, rear parking assist, heated seats and a navigation system. Performance options include race-inspired ceramic composite brake discs and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which slightly lowers the car and lets the driver choose between a sporty but comfortable Normal ride and a full-on Sport mode with the touch of a button. The Sport Chrono package, available on cars equipped with the automatic transmission, reprograms the engine management system and electronic driver aids for even quicker and sharper responses.
Also available for the 2008 Cayman S is the Porsche Design Edition 1. This trim level/package has the same powertrain specs as the Cayman S, but has added design features such as black paint with matte black stripes, 19-inch wheels, a chrome-plated sports tailpipe and a custom interior color scheme. Porsche says it has a limited production run of 777 vehicles worldwide.

Powertrains and Performance
The 2008 Porsche Cayman has a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed ("flat") six-cylinder engine that generates 245 hp and 201 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, with an optional six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift buttons. The Cayman S is powered by a 3.4-liter flat-6 that puts out 295 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and the automatic is again optional.

In instrumented testing, a Cayman S accelerated to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat, hit the quarter-mile mark in 13.2 seconds and was able to chalk up an impressive 60-0-mph braking distance of 106 feet. Predictably, the regular Cayman went from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds, dropped the quarter in 14.2 seconds and came to a stop from 60 in 112 feet. EPA fuel efficiency estimates for a manual-equipped base Cayman are 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway. The Cayman S gets an estimated 18/26 mpg with the six-speed manual.

The Cayman comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control and torso- and head-protecting side-impact airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features
Like other Porsche models, the Cayman's array of interior controls can be initially confusing, especially the audio and climate control systems. (Navigation is just a pain). On the plus side, the gauges are large and easy to read. Seating is comfortable and supportive and the cabin affords a surprising amount of headroom and OK legroom. The new, optional leather sport bucket seats, which Porsche describes as racing seats that recline, are reinforced with lightweight carbon fiber and reduce the car's weight by as much as 20 pounds. The hatchback body style offers more cargo capacity than the Boxster, with 9.1 cubic feet in the rear and a front trunk (or "frunk") that brings total storage capacity to 14.5 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions
The 2008 Porsche Cayman is made for the enthusiast who equates fun to drive with amazing handling. The base and S models take to corners similarly, although the greater engine power in the S version gives it the edge when it comes to acceleration. Braking is solid and firm, without feeling overly grippy. For potential buyers looking for a more versatile ride, we highly recommend the optional PASM suspension package. The Normal mode meets the demands of practical daily driving and handles bumps in the road without sacrificing performance, while the Sport mode takes thrill-seeking weekend drives to a whole new level with a stiff, agile setup that works beautifully, provided the pavement is fairly smooth.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mercedes-Benz OM651 twin turbodiesel

A twin turbocharged inline-4 diesel engine producing 204 horsepower? Sounds familiar but we are not taking another look at the engine powering the BMW 123d again here, instead this is Mercedes-Benz’s new OM651 turbodiesel engine, which is available in 3 stages of tune.

In the 250 CDI state of tune, the 2,143cc turbodiesel produces 204 horsepower at 4,200rpm and 500Nm of torque between 1,600rpm and 1,800rpm. Two lower states of tune are available - a 220 CDI tuning which results in 170 horsepower between 3,200rpm and 4,800rpm and 400Nm of torque between 1,400rpm and 2,800rpm, and another 200 CDI tuning produces 136 horses between 3,000 and 4,600rpm, and 330Nm of torque between 1,600rpm and 2,800rpm. Installed in the W204 C-Class, the 204 horsepower engine pushes it up to 100km/h in a mere 7.7 seconds, with 60 to 120km/h taking 9.4 seconds.

The twin turbochargers are installed in a sequential manner, with one high pressure small turbocharger spooling up quickly for low revs and the other low pressure large turbocharger taking care of the higher engine speeds. The high pressure turbo that serves the low revs has a bypass duct to prevent it from being overloaded, and it ceases work from medium engine speeds onwards.

The engine also has a fourth generation common rail system with 2,000 bar rail pressure, a big up from the previous generation 400 bar pressure. Maximum ignition pressure is 200 bar, and injectors are piezoelectric.

For smoother operation, two Lanchester balancer shafts with low-friction roller bearings help counter the vibration inherent with inline-4 designs. The engine’s forged crankshaft also has eight counterweights turns supported by five bearings. Conrods are made of forged steel, with weight optimised by Mercedes-Benz engineers. The aluminium pistons slide up and down in cast-iron barrels for minimum frictional resistance.

Lastly, the engine uses a two-mass flywheel which connects a primary flywheel to a secondary one by use of springs to isolate the crankshaft’s vibration from the drivetrain.

Shocking Car Crash Video

A shocking car crash video to share with all. Warning !!! This video not for kids, weak heart, pregnant and etc.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Naza World brings in GT-R, Impreza WRX and Dualis

Naza World has brought in 3 new cars - the Nissan GT-R, the latest Subaru Impreza WRX and the Nissan Dualis SUV. These cars are priced at RM728,999, RM302,999 and RM229,999 respectively.

The Nissan GT-R really needs no introduction, with publications all around the world raving about the 911-killing supercar. Under the hood is a twin turbocharged 3.8 liter V6 putting out 450 horsepower and 502Nm of torque, hooked up to a transaxle twin clutch gearbox mounted at the rear for optimum weight distribution. Of course, the GT-R must have the ATTESA E-TS all wheel drive system. 0 to 100km/h takes 3.8 seconds.

The latest generation Subaru Impreza WRX with a hatchback body instead of the previous generation’s sedan body is powered by a 2.5 liter boxer engine. The new boxer is 22.6kg lighter than the previous model and produces more low end torque. Peak horsepower and torque are 224 horsepower and 306Nm.

Price at over RM200K, the Nissan Dualis will be an alternative to those who are jaded with all the Muranos going around. The Nissan Dualis is the Japanese/Australian market name for the Nissan Qashqai. Naza is bringing in the 5-seater version.

The Dualis has a 4WD drivetrain and a 2.0 liter engine producing 137 horsepower and 198Nm of torque. It has 6 airbags and stability control. It has a 200mm ground clearance, 30.2 departure angle and a 19.2 degrees approach angle for those who are concerned about some off-roading related numbers.