Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2009 Audi R8 Vehicle Overview


Passers-by in Los Angeles are as automotively jaded as they come, thanks to the endless stream of exotic sports cars roaring down the city's numerous boulevards. The 2009 Audi R8, however, is the perfect antidote to their indifference. Maybe it's the relative scarcity of these midengine all-wheel-drive supercars, or maybe the distinctive low-slung design is just that sexy. Whatever the case, the R8 attracts more stares from Angelenos than Al Gore at an OPEC meeting.

That kind of curb appeal is exactly what many buyers in this rarefied segment are looking for -- but they'd better be prepared to pay dearly. With a base price well over $100,000, the R8 is tens of thousands of dollars more expensive than such high-performance luminaries as the BMW M3, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911. What's more, while the Audi's sonorous V8 makes it thrillingly quick, the GT-R and Z06 are quicker still, as is the competitively priced 911 GT3. Only when one considers that the R8 is based on the exclusive Lamborghini Gallardo does its price tag seem somewhat reasonable.

Considered on its own merits, though, the R8 is an awesome car. It all starts with that 4.2-liter 420-horsepower V8, which is one of our favorite engines currently in production. Power is sent to all four wheels in typical Audi fashion, and it's supported by communicative steering and brilliant handling. Inside, the R8 is impressively roomy for such a squat car, and the nicely shaped seats afford ride-all-day comfort. Along with its tolerable ride quality, this makes the R8 an exotic sports car you can genuinely live with every day. In fact, we'd venture to say that the R8 is one of the most accommodating supercars ever produced.

The 2009 Audi R8's shortcomings are few. Most glaringly, the optional automated manual R tronic transmission sucks too much joy out of the driving experience, delivering delayed, clunky upshifts. Also, there's an engine under the hatch and not much space in the nose-mounted trunk, so good luck carrying any cargo. And finally, there's that price tag -- for the same price as an R8, you could buy a GT-R or a Z06 and an Audi S5 coupe, which is powered by a lesser version of the R8's V8. But this doesn't change the fact that the R8 is one of the world's most desirable cars. We turn our heads, too, whenever we hear one purring past.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Audi R8 is a two-door midengine AWD exotic sports car. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, a retractable rear spoiler, xenon headlights, LED brake lights and turn signals, leather and Alcantara upholstery, power-adjustable sport seats, aluminum trim, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a seven-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer.

Optional are carbon-fiber "sideblade" exterior styling panels, a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo, a navigation system and upgraded Napa leather upholstery. There's also the Convenience Package, which contains parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview mirrors and a "hill-holder" feature for models equipped with the conventional manual transmission.

Powertrains and Performance

The R8 sports a midmounted 4.2-liter V8 -- clearly visible through the R8's distinctive transparent engine cover -- that churns out 420 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque. Power flows to all four wheels (56 percent to the rears by default) through either a traditional six-speed manual transmission or Audi's six-speed R tronic automated manual. The latter features a computer-controlled clutch and can be shifted using either the console-mounted shift lever or steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The R tronic also offers a fully automatic mode.

In performance testing, we hustled a manual-shift R8 from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, dispatching the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds at nearly 111 mph. In the R tronic model, our times increased to 4.6 seconds and 12.8 seconds at 108.4 mph. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 13 mpg city/20 highway and 15 combined for cars equipped with the conventional manual transmission, while the R tronic lowers the highway estimate to 19 mpg.


Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, seat-mounted side airbags and knee-protecting airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Audi R8 features an attractive interior with high-quality materials, although there are a few cheap-feeling bits, such as the hard plastic on the center console and the substandard emergency brake handle. The center stack swoops elegantly toward the windshield; however, this design requires the driver to lean forward in order to adjust certain controls. Also awkward is the race-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel -- it may not telescope out far enough for those with long legs. The seats are superbly contoured for both hard driving and long-distance cruising.

Unlike in most newer Audis, the R8's Multi Media Interface (MMI) controls are mounted below the LCD screen on the center stack, which is less convenient than their typical location on the center console. Audi claims there's room behind the seats for two golf bags -- your results may vary. There are also 3.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk; in practice, however, this less-than-optimally shaped cargo hold can't swallow much more than a duffel bag and some odds and ends.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Audi R8 won't let you forget that it's an exotic sports car -- you'll feel every bump, and road noise is pronounced relative to most other Audis. But the ride quality is certainly livable, and there's surprisingly good visibility in all directions. On back roads, the R8's prodigious power, razor-sharp reflexes and heroic grip make this AWD exotic feel almost as tossable as a lightweight roadster, albeit one with handling limits beyond the reach of all but the most skilled (or foolhardy) drivers.

We can't recommend the outdated single-clutch R tronic gearbox, though, because its automatic throttle blips on downshifts can't compensate for its cranky upshifts, which manage to be at once sluggish and neck-snapping. The conventional manual transmission, on the other hand, is a joy to operate, featuring an excellent mechanical feel augmented by an audible clink-clink as you row through the exposed metal gates.

Monday, September 29, 2008

2009 Alfa Romeo 8c

After finally seeing the 2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione in the flesh, we can confirm that the production model is an Italian knockout. And with a 90 degree 4.7-liter V8 engine cramming 450 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque through a paddle shifter-controlled six-speed transaxle to the rear wheels, Alfa's claim of a 0-100 kph (0 to 62 mph) acceleration time under 4.2 seconds is utterly believable. But the even bigger news, delivered by Alfa Romeo Executive Vice President Antonio Baravalle himself, was confirmation that the 8C will in fact be coming to the United States. Unfortunately, we'll only get 84 of them, and they're already sold according to Alfa Romeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

2009 Pontiac G8 GXP

What it is: The Australian-built G8 already comes with a 361-hp V-8. Not enough? Then hold out for the G8 GXP, as it will get a version of the Corvette's 6.2-liter V-8 with 402 horses. Better yet, the GXP will be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Why it's important: Pontiac's relatively affordable rear-drive performance sedan gets more power and a manual transmission, two big pluses in our book. A claimed 0-to-60 time of 4.7 seconds sounds pretty important, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Open the windows after you enter your car

In brief, the above article says: According to research done by a U.C., the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener will emit Benzene, a cancer causing toxin (carcinogen). In addition to causing cancer, it poisons your bones, causes anemia, and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. May also cause miscarriage.
Acceptable Benezene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft. A car parked indoors with the windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benezene. If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benezene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level. The people inside the car will inevitably inhale an excess amount of the toxin.
It is recommended that you open the windows and door to give time for the interior to air out before you enter. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver, and is difficult for your body to expel.

2010 Nissan 370Z |

What it is: A revamped Z-car that is lighter and more powerful.

Why it's important: Nissan's relatively affordable sports car secures its future below the GT-R supercar.

Estimated arrival and cost: The 370Z will invade the L.A. show this fall and go on sale in early 2009.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2009 Mazda 6

Time to say bye-bye to the original Mazda 6, born as a 2003 model and, frankly, showing hair loss and plenty of wrinkles as it winds up its sixth year. In retrospect, it was hardly a contender, too undersized and roughly mannered to hold its place in the growing segment of family-size imported sedans as the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, and the Nissan Altima zoom-zoomed in sales.

So Mazda aimed higher with the new 6, way higher. If buyers want size, and surveys show they do, the 2009 model leapfrogs Camry dimensions to land a shade behind the bulked-up Accord, largest of the import group. North America now gets a unique body that is distinctly larger than Europe’s and Japan’s, up 6.9 inches in length, 2.3 in width from before.

If the customers want features, then the new 6 puts check marks in the right boxes there, too, with side and curtain airbags, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and tire-pressure monitoring on all models.

Gone is the wagon, leaving only the four-door sedan. Suffix i models have a much-revised four of 2.5 liters and 170 horsepower, standard with a six-speed manual, although most will be optioned up to the five-speed automatic. Suffix s versions pack the 60-degree, 3.7-liter V-6 of 272 horsepower that was all-new last year in the slick CX-9 crossover and is available only with a six-speed automatic.

Automatic i models cover 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway by EPA reckoning, 17 and 25 for the s, a bit behind the class leaders, but the Mazdas are happy on regular gas.

As this mid-size class matures along with its customers—Mazda looks hopefully toward the 50-to-54-year-olds now—the machinery drifts inevitably toward practiced competence instead of passion, appliances for the road. The Camry has been there for years. The latest Accord comes close. The Altima, alone, still fits in sports clothes. Now comes a new Mazda 6 promising the most difficult of all straddles—refined manners and appointments overlaid on high-spirited reflexes.

After a few hours of driving early preproduction samples around Southern California, we think mission accomplished. Steering is light and alive, yet it grooves in on straight-ahead when the path calls for it. Slack has been zeroed out of brake-pedal motion. Ride is well controlled without being harsh, and noises, both road and wind, are dialed way back. Bottom line: The Mazda 6 was never like this. Think Mazda 7.

Monday, September 22, 2008

2010 Honda CR-Z Hybrid


What it is: The spiritual successor to the CRX we loved so much when Reagan and George the First were in the Oval Office.

Why it's important: Honda brings back an affordable, sporty two-seater to its lineup. Although it's not an overt sports car, the front-drive CR-Z will offer hatchback practicality, sports-car thrills, and a hybrid system to boost fuel efficiency.

Estimated arrival and cost: Expect it in 2010


Honda plans to sell half a million hybrids per year globally with three new vehicles supplementing the Honda Civic hybrid in its lineup.

The automaker’s hybrid strategy includes a hybrid version of the Honda Fit, production of the CR-Z hybrid sports car concept, and an all-new, small five-door hatchback hybrid, CEO Takeo Fukui announced during his mid-year address in Tokyo.

First up will be the five-door hatch, which will use a completely new small-car platform dedicated to hybrid propulsion that won’t compromise utility or space for five passengers and their gear. The nameless car, sized smaller than a Civic, will be introduced in early 2009, with about half the anticipated 200,000 global sales earmarked for North America. It takes direct aim at the segment-leading Toyota Prius.

Lithium Ion Batteries Not Ready for Prime Time

Honda is billing the new hybrid as a lightweight and low-cost car, saying a “significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist components will result in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date.” Smaller packaging of the nickel-metal-hydride battery (lithium ion battery technology is not quite ready for this car) and processing unit make it possible to position them below the rear cargo area so as to not infringe on cargo space in a hatchback, the automaker says. Also promised are technologies to assist more fuel-efficient driving, a vague description presumably to address criticism that some customers are disappointed with real-world mileage figures from their hybrids.

The hatchback will be built on a new line at Honda’s Suzaka, Japan, plant, which already builds the Civic hybrid. Capacity at the plant will grow from 70,000 to 250,000, with room to expand even further—which tells us this is but the first of many hybrid announcements to come.

Design-wise, the smaller five-door will look similar to the Accord-sized FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle that converts hydrogen to electricity, with water as the only emission.

The CR-Z concept was first shown at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. CR-Z stands for “Compact Renaissance Zero” to denote Honda’s attempt to create a fun and sexy sports car that is also a fuel-efficient hybrid. Looking like the cult favorite, 1980s CRX compact, especially in the vertical glass section at the rear, the concept has a low-slung grille, aggressive LED headlights, and dual exhaust tips exiting through the rear bumper.

Honda to Keep Fit Hybrid Cost Reasonable

Adding a hybrid version of the popular and 10Best-winning Fit seems much like putting a second layer of icing on an already tasty cake. But in his press conference, Fukai is quoted as saying the premium for the hybrid over the conventional Fit cannot exceed $2000. The current price of a Fit ranges from $14,585 to $16,705. The hybrid reportedly would go on sale by 2015 with the third-generation of the B-segment car.

While Toyota gets most of the credit for the burgeoning hybrid market, Honda was actually first on the scene in the U.S. with the Insight in 1999. But consumers have not snapped up its subsequent hybrids, forcing the automaker to drop its Accord hybrid from the 2008 model line due to slow sales.

Up to 200 Can Lease FCX Clarity Fuel-Cell Vehicle

Meanwhile, Honda finally provides volume figures for the next-generation FCX Clarity four-passenger sedan, which customers will begin leasing for $600 a month in the U.S. in July and in Japan later in the year. Honda says it will lease up to 200 Claritys over the next three years.

Honda has been winnowing down potential customers for month. They must live in California near Santa Monica, Torrance, or Irvine for public access to hydrogen stations. The first Clarity, with a driving range of 270 miles, is scheduled to roll off an assembly line June 16 in Japan.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No Surprise: Lincoln green-lights the MKT

As reported earlier, Lincoln has given the MKT crossover the green-light, with the production version set to debut in Detroit this January and sales beginning sometime next year.

The MKT is built atop the same platform as the Ford Flex, but Lincoln insists that the two models won't share a single body panel. Power will be provided by either a 3.7-liter V6 or a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, equipped with direct-injection and a turbocharger, however a hybrid drivetrain will not be offered. A six-speed automatic gearbox, complete with paddle shifters, will be standard, along with seven-passenger seating, a power-folding third-row seat, heated and cooled, first- and second-row thrones and the SYNC in-car entertainment system. Options will include a new sat-nav, Sirius Travel Link, an auto-park feature (similar to that found on the Lexus LS460) and a Cross Traffic Alert system that alerts drivers to obstacles when backing out of a parking space.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Formula One night race

SINGAPORE: Singapore is hoping that the Formula One night race next weekend will help the country position itself as a premier lifestyle destination and the Monaco of the East.

It is all systems go for the world’s first F1 night race and about 50,000 tourists are expected to be here for the event, along with 500 million television viewers worldwide.

Tickets are almost sold out. The only ones left are those that cost US$1,800 and there are only less than 100 of them left.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, S.Iswaran, believes the event will help boost future tourism arrivals and also sees it as an excellent networking platform for local businessmen.

They can host their clients in these corporate suites which cost US$3,100 to US$4,800 per person, promising excellent views and immaculate service.

The current financial meltdown may be affecting tourism spending worldwide. But Mr Iswaran said the F1 fanbase has a healthy appetite for retail.

Mr Iswaran added that affordable tickets have also been made available for heartlanders. Besides, many people are also participating as volunteer marshalls and F1 ambassadors.

He also said that besides the actual race, there are fringe events like the Singapore River Festival and Singapore Biennale which all Singaporeans can enjoy.

Singapore is expected to make about US$77 million from tourism receipts during the night race. It costs Singapore US$115 million to host the race. — CNA/vm

Volvo C30 (2008)

The Volvo C30 is the company's first venture into a new segment of young consumers. This affordable sporty hatchback is designed to provide an exciting drive for a great price.

The C30 seats up to four passengers within its hatchback design. It is front-wheel drive and has a sporty front MacPherson strut/rear multilink suspension. It is powered by a 227 hp turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic. The safety features remain up to Volvo's excellent standards with front-, side-, side-curtain airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, whiplash protection, side-impact protection, and stability traction control.

The Volvo C30 is a brand new model for 2008.

Discuss Volvo C30 at www.singaporedrift.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Renault-Nissan Alliance’s new TCe 130

The Renault-Nissan Alliance’s new TCe 130 engine is said to combine the best parts of both the European and Japanese halves of the partnership - Nissan’s petrol engine expertise and Renault’s turbocharging and combustion experience.

The new TCe 130 engine is a 1,397cc engine derived from the HR family of engines, which currently consist of the HR15DE and the HR16DE. The HR16DE is no stranger as it is found in both the Nissan Latio and Nissan Grand Livina found in our local market. In Renault nomenclature it is called the H4Jt (Nissan HR14DET?) and joins its Renault-derived TCe 100 1.2 liter turbocharged D4F engine as part of a family of new downsized and force inducted engines for better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The 1.4 liter engine has an aluminium sump and a quick-spooling turbocharger. Its head has been redesigned to feature ports that create a swirling effect in the airflow which mixes the air-fuel mixture more evenly, improving combustion and as a result, torque at low revs. The head also has a continuously variable camshaft angle for the intake. The use of a low-noise timing chain increases durability.

The Euro 5 compliant engine produces 130 horsepower at 5,500rpm and 190Nm of torque at 2,250rpm. It will be used in C-segment Renault cars such as the new Renault Megane III and upcoming MPVs based on the new Megane III platform. No news yet on which Nissans will use this engine.

2008 BMW 1 Series Vehicle Overview


Few brands have grown more than BMW in the past 25 years. That growth can be seen in their sales figures and the vehicles themselves. Today's 335i is larger than 1986's 535i, for instance, and it certainly sells in much greater volumes. This trend toward bigger and heavier has altered the brand's lineup to the point that there's now room for a cheaper, smaller entry-level car. Stepping boldly into the gap is the 2008 BMW 1 Series.

The 1 Series already debuted in Europe earlier this decade as a four-door hatchback, but that body style's limited appeal to American shoppers prevented its journey across the pond. With the introduction of new coupe and convertible body styles, however, BMW believes the timing is right for a small car revival.

With their compact two-door bodies, high-performance engines and scalpel-sharp handling, the 2008 BMW 128i and 135i are arguably the spiritual successors to BMW's classic 2002 coupe. Yet the 1 Series features many of the modern high-tech and luxury features that have become just as much a part of BMW during this decade as the raw driving experience. Some features like active steering and navigation with iDrive are dubious in terms of value, while others like keyless ignition/entry, premium hi-fi stereo and the convertible's heat-reflective leather seating are welcome niceties in a small car.

The 1 Series coupe is 8.7 inches shorter than a 3 Series coupe and a bit narrower as well. Though its front engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration is pretty unpopular in this size category because of its lack of space efficiency, BMW reckons its layout has unique appeal to people who care more about driving than carrying passengers. As such, the 1 Series comes with the same engines as the 3 Series: a 3.0-liter, 230-horsepower straight-6 for the 128i and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six good for 300 hp in the 135i.

Paying between $29,000 and $38,000 for a small coupe may seem shocking, but it's important to remember that this is a car without any real apples-to-apples competitors. Compared to this finely tuned sport coupe/convertible, potential rivals are either too big (Infiniti G37), have front-wheel drive (VW Eos), are too mechanically different (Mazda RX-8), are more an unrefined muscle car (Ford Mustang GT and even Shelby GT500) or don't offer the same high-quality interior (all of the above). The 135i can even hold its own against more expensive cars like the Porsche Cayman or BMW's own Z4 Coupe, meaning that as a pseudo sports car, the 1 Series can actually be seen as a value buy with a pinch of practicality and under-the-radar performance.

Therefore, the 2008 BMW 1 Series is a car like no other that may have a limited audience, considering its size and price. But for that money, it's hard to think of a car that brings as much performance, handling and refinement in a package that's still fairly user-friendly -- except for maybe all those BMWs of yore.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 BMW 1 Series is available as a compact coupe and soft-top convertible. Both come in 128i and 135i trim levels. Standard equipment on the 128i includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a sunroof (coupe), cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 10-speaker stereo with CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The 128i convertible adds a power-operated soft top and an upgraded climate control system.

The 135i trim level comes with a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, xenon adaptive headlights and automatic climate control. To make the 128i similar, there's that model's Sport Package, which features different 17-inch wheels, performance tires, the 135i's sport suspension and sport seats. The 135i Sport Package includes the sport seats and an M sport steering wheel. The Premium Package adds auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, upgraded interior trim, mood lighting, BMW Assist, Bluetooth, leather upholstery and power front seats with driver memory. Popular stand-alone options include active steering, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system with iDrive controller, rear parking assist, HD radio, an iPod interface, satellite radio and a premium audio system. Heated front seats are also available by themselves or in a Cold Weather Package.

The 1 Series convertible's options list includes the Moonlight Black soft top, which includes shiny metallic fibers that produce a metallic silver appearance in sun- and moonlight. The convertible's optional leather upholstery also features BMW's exclusive sun-reflective pigments, which the company claims can lower the seat surface temperature by up to 20 degrees.

Powertrains and Performance

All 1 Series send their power to the rear wheels. The 128i is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 230 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 135i features a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 making 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, while a six-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional. Expect 0-60-mph times in the low 6s for the 128i and in the low 5s for the 135i. Fuel economy estimates are 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the 128i coupe and 17/25 mpg for the 135i coupe. Opting for the convertible and/or an automatic transmission decreases fuel economy only by a mpg or two.


The 2008 BMW 1 Series comes standard with antilock disc brakes (with brake drying and standby feature), traction and stability control and start-off assist for manual-equipped cars. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on the coupe, while the convertible features front seat side airbags that extend higher to protect the occupants' heads. The convertible also features pop-up rollover hoops.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 1 Series features four seatbelts, but how many get used depends on how large the front passengers are and/or how forgiving potential rear passengers are. There's not much legroom in back -- especially the convertible -- but most small coupes suffer from less-than-welcoming rear quarters, so the 1 Series is certainly not damned in this regard. In fact, the 3 Series coupe doesn't really offer much more head- or legroom.

Despite being the cheapest BMW sold, the vehicle's interior materials are consistent with its larger and more lavish siblings. This little car may be expensive, but you pay for quality to match. The 1 Series convertible, for instance, offers optional sun-reflective leather seating. Also like those siblings, the overall design is a little bland, but certainly functional and unfettered. Ordering the navigation system also brings BMW's infamous iDrive control interface, which many people find exasperating to use.

Driving Impressions

Whether in coupe or convertible guise, the 2008 1 Series is a pure BMW, feeling just as confident and adept at carving a serpentine strip of pavement as its larger siblings. Body roll is minimal, and overall grip on models fitted with the sport package is superb. This isn't a mini M3, however, as BMW engineers tuned the 1 to be comfortable enough for daily use and built in some understeer to prevent rear-wheel-drive neophytes from spinning their highly powerful first BMW off a cliff. As such, the 1 Series (135i especially) is the perfect "training Bimmer" for aspiring driving enthusiasts -- it's docile enough for just about anyone to drive, yet still has the excellent suspension tuning and telepathic steering to please even the most ardent track-ready pilots. And with 300 hp going to the rear wheels, it's still possible to hang the tail out for a little muscle car hooliganism.

Having said that, it's a safe bet that most owners will find the less-powerful 2008 BMW 128i plenty quick for their daily drive. With an estimated 0-60-mph time in the low 6-second range, the 128i is certainly no slouch, even if the 135i gets all the headlines. And with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, those headlines will be filled with exclamation marks. The car's twin-turbo straight-6 engine is incredibly flexible, delivering strong power in any situation with no discernible turbo lag. (The torque peak is maintained from 1,300 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm.) Yet whichever 1 Series you choose, you're assured of a fun time.

Discuss at www.singaporedrift.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hyundai Elantra X20 2.0 CVVT Test Drive

The new Hyundai Elantra was launched some time ago and it has the distinction of being one of the few 2.0 liter C-segment sedans priced under RM100,000 which is sure to attract a few customers in this increasingly price sensitive market. We have just finished testing this Korean car. Here is what we found out.


The new Elantra looks much more refined and mature now compared to the boxy old model. The first thing you will notice is the beautiful lines the car has along its sides that remind you of the Audi A5, as under the right time of the day, these lines will really stand out. It gives the car more character.

The front headlights seem to look at you more aggressively this time, and I would also say that the rear lamps compliment them very nicely. You will also notice that there is strangely no Elantra insignia anywhere on the car, instead there is only the “X20” emblem, which generally means the car has a 2.0 liter unit under the hood.


The interior of this new Elantra is rather decent actually, since it did make me feel like I was sitting a luxury B segment sedan. It also has very good leg and head clearance for the driver, as well as for front left and rear passengers.

I was quite happy with the seating position as I didn’t get any back ache as result of a long drive. The car however does have huge looking centre dash, but I was pleased with it since it is fitted with lots of compartments, which is very practical. Another neat feature is a cabin luggage hook (located at front left passage area) which can carry items up to 3kg which very good news for us Malaysians since we can use it to hang our “teh tarik” (Malaysian Tea) packets, safely and in a more proper manner.

The Elantra is also fitted with a decent in-car entertainment system which can play CDs, MP3s, WMAs and is also equipped with an aux-in jack for your iPod or any other mobile music player.

The only thing I didn’t like was the way the climate controls were illuminated at night. I was taken back a little when I first noticed the “extremely blue” lights. Thank goodness it was connected to the rheostat. It was just too bright and I really thought I was going to lose my eyesight.

In fact the climate control buttons are made out of transparent white rubber, which to be honest, does not deserve to be associated with anything “Luxury”. They may just go yellow over time just like your old Nokia 5110 mobile phone from the late 1990s.


Here’s the part when I tell how I was disappointed by this new Hyundai Elantra. In my first few kilometers of the test drive, I straight away noticed how bad the car really handles, and I noticed this in a housing area at first, which is not good news at all.

Against my first impression, I took it to a more appropriate location so I can step the gas a little harder. After doing that, I had no choice but to follow my first impression. It was just going all over the place when I put the car under more pressure; and on top of that, I also learned that the brakes were shoddy as well.

The suspension is tuned heavily towards comfort and as a result the ride may get a little floaty at high speeds.

The 2.0 liter 16 Valve DOHC CVVT engine (143 PS at 6,000rpm and 186Nm of torque at 4,600rpm) seemed a little heavy on acceleration but at higher speeds it was more responsive. The gear change of the 4 speed automatic transmission with VFS and Grade Logic is rather smooth, but more gear ratios is preferred. If volkswagen can put 6-speed units in all of their automatic cars and are now even phasing out autos for the 7-speed dry clutch DSG, I don’t see why 4-speed autos are still around.

In city driving, I’ve also noticed that this Elantra, which is fitted with an electric power steering system, has a good turning radius of up to 5.17 meters curve to curve. Safety wise, the car comes with standard dual SRS airbags, ABS (Electronic Anti-Lock Brake system) and EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution).

Another cool feature the car has is a reverse warning sensor with voice, and distance display (fitted above the rear windscreen, from the inside). So basically, when put it into reverse and look at your rear view mirror, you can clearly see the distance in feet, and as you get closer to the object behind you, the car “talks” to you, alerting you on the distance.


The Elantra looks great, with a decent interior and a respectable amount of equipment. It, however drives like a cow, and has bad brakes. The engine and drive train performs reasonably well. We also found that the noise was a little on the loud side at highway speeds - more padding and soundproofing needed perhaps?

Another thing we forgot to mention is the Elantra’s very good fuel economy as it gives you about 12 kilometers per litre of petrol. In fact, Kah Bintang is also claims that this new Elantra can take you from Johore to Butterworth in a full tank of petrol (53 liters). Hyundai also added that the electric power steering feature saves you up to 1 mpg.

So, here’s the big question; would I buy it? Well for me personally, I won’t as it is not a driver’s car, but as a daily A to B driver it deserves serious consideration given the large interior space it offers and its low price point of RM93,888.

discuss about Hyundai Elantra at www.singaporedrift.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nissan GTR Nismo Package

NISMO has released a Club Sports package for the Nissan GT-R which consists of shocks, springs, wheels, a new undertray, and other weight reduction measures.

The NISMO GT-R shocks and spring combination consists of 18.5kg/mm front springs and 9.6kg/mm rear springs paired with Bilstein Damptronic adjustable dampers.

The wheels included in the pack are Rays forged aluminium wheels in 20×9.5 +45mm offset size at the front and 20×10.5 +25mm offset size at the rear, wrapped with Bridgestone RE070R run-flat tyres in 225/40ZR20 and 285/35ZR20 sizes respectively. There are no upgrades to the brake system in the pack so NISMO must have found them more than adequate for a “Club Sports” car.

The use of lightweight materials in the NISMO exhaust system drops 5kg from the overall weight. The included undertray that reduces drag is made from carbon fiber, and so are the seat backs of the leather bucket seats included in the package. These NISMO seats retain the car’s side airbags but removes electronic adjustment. The seats shave 6kg off the overall weight.

The kit is rather pricey at ¥5,460,000 or nearly RM175,000. This means a NISMO GT-R Club Sports could cost you over RM900,000 in total. Truly a big boy’s toy.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Second Generation Honda Insight Concept unveiled!

This is Honda’s second take on a hybrid-only car, to be shown in concept form first at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The production version of the second generation “Cadillac of hybrids” (as John Travolta’s character called it in the movie Be Cool ) the Honda Insight will on sale in April 2009.

Honda UK’s environmental manager John Kingston said earlier this week that this car will change customer’s perception of hybrids thanks to real economical savings compared to just that mostly “green” feeling that other hybrids give.

The 5-door, 5-seater hatchback car will locate the battery and control unit beneath the cargo space. Like Honda’s previous IMA system it will feature an internal combustion engine and an electric motor for assistance. Honda also claims significant cost and weight reduction with the new car, allowing the hybrid to reach more customers.

The new Insight Concept will be displayed alongside Honda’s two other alternative fuel/hybrid cars - the Honda CR-Z lightweight Sports Car concept and the Honda FCX Clarity.

source: paultan.org

Sunday, September 14, 2008

2009 Honda Legend ; 3.7 liter V6 AWD

This revised model for 2009 gives a new edge to the top of the range Honda and responds to customer feedback on the current model. The most noticeable change is to the exterior style of the Legend, with new lights, bonnet, front wings, boot lid, bumpers and the adoption of standard 18" wheels.

source: terato.com

Early Look: £1million Aston Martin One-77

Aston Martin has released the first image of its newest flagship – the limited edition One-77. Details are scarce, but the One-77 will be powered by a hand-built 7.0-liter V12 nestled inside an aluminum and carbon fiber chassis. 0-60 times are estimated at 3.5-seconds, with a top speed cresting 200 mph.

77 examples of the £1 million coupe will be produced and customers will be able to customize the bespoke supercar to meet their individual tastes. The One-77 will be revealed later this year (Paris?) and will go on sale shortly afterwards.

This will be the first all-new vehicle from Aston Martin produced after the brand was sold by Ford to a group of investors spearheaded by Prodrive's David Richards. We're also curious to know if the One-77 will play a part in Project Alligator, the rumored collaboration between Aston and Mercedes-Benz. All details will be revealed in due time. Until then let your eyes feast on the only image we have of the upcoming One-77 supercar.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Honda Civic facelift unveiled in Japan

The Honda Civic facelift or minor model change in Honda speak has been unveiled in its home market of Japan so we now have an idea how our own facelifted Honda Civic will look like. This comes shortly after Honda revealed its American market Honda Civic. Next will be the European Civic hatch I suppose.

True to its namesake, the changes are indeed minor which include a new front grille design which has a thicker chrome bar at the top and reshaped with sharper edges thus giving the grille a wider appearance, a new front bumper with wider air intakes to appear sportier, and new tail lamps with a larger internal lense (no longer round now). That’s about it for the exterior. Thankfully our model does not get the chrome bar between the tail lamps that the USDM version gets.

The interior does not get much changes except for updates to the in-car entertainment system to support the latest inputs like USB as well as new fabric for the seats. The high grade MXST Civic Hybrid also gets an Alcantara interior.

The engines under the hood of the facelifted Civic remain largely the same as the pre-facelift version - a 2.0 liter i-VTEC DOHC engine putting out 155 PS at 6,000rpm (a quick check shows pre-facelift version put out the same 155 PS at a higher 6,500rpm) and 188Nm of torque at 4,500rpm, and a 1.8 liter i-VTEC SOHC engine producing 140 PS at 6,300rpm and 174Nm of torque at 4,300rpm. It’s not known if the engines have any other tweaks or not while remaining with the same power output levels.

source: paultan.org

2008 Bentley Continental GTC Vehicle Overview


Few things can compare in elegance to a stately Bentley convertible. Maybe Princess Diana in a couture gown emerging from a stately Bentley convertible. Yet in the early days of Britain's second most prestigious marque, Bentleys were also considered to be among the world's best high-performance machines. In fact, James Bond author Ian Fleming could think of no better car for his rugged secret agent to drive than a 1933 Bentley supercharged convertible.

The 2008 Bentley Continental GTC combines these two historical brand facets perfectly. It's certainly got the elegance thing down. Imposingly graceful styling brings together a modern shape with classical Bentley design cues like the dominant grille and squared-off rear fenders. The sumptuous interior is similarly old-meets-new-world in design, with 17 available leather colors and multiple veneers. Buttons and switches are made of real metal, vent controls feature push-pull chrome knobs and the central clock is made by world-famous timepiece-maker Breitling. The soft-top roof (or "hood" in Brit-speak) is available in seven colors and beautifully hushes the cabin even at the highest speeds.

The performance part of the equation is in no short supply, either. A 6.0-liter twin-turbo 12-cylinder pulses from underneath the chiseled hood, arranged in the unique W formation parent company Volkswagen turns to for its most powerful, prestigious products. The Continental's W12 delivers 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Tipping the scales at 5,500, the GTC needs every horse available, yet still manages to sprint up to 60 mph in a neck-snapping 4.8 seconds. The Continental's bulk and less-than-communicative steering don't make for exceptional handling, but its well-sorted adjustable suspension lends a keen ability to thunder down a lightly winding country road or Monte Carlo boulevard with immense confidence, certainly in keeping with the historic Bentleys that so enticed Mr. Fleming.

Few vehicles live in the vaunted price stratosphere occupied by the 2008 Bentley Continental GTC. Fellow Brit Aston Martin DB9 Volante is of particular note, offering stunning styling and a more sporting driving experience, while lacking some of the Bentley's stately elegance. The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG is also worth noting, as is the future Maserati GranTurismo convertible. Yet vehicles like these are more about passion than spreadsheet comparisons. Because if rolling like Lady Di or the original 007 is your cup of first-class Darjeeling tea, then the Bentley Continental GTC is the one and only choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Bentley Continental GTC is a four-seat convertible available in one feature-laden trim level. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, an adjustable suspension with four settings, a power convertible roof, bi-xenon headlights with high-pressure washers, dual-zone automatic climate control, 14-way power heated front seats, full leather interior in 17 off-the-shelf colors, a removable windblocker, keyless ignition/entry, power latching doors, a navigation system, Bluetooth and a 12-speaker stereo with satellite radio and a glovebox-mounted six-CD changer.

Optional features include 20-inch wheels, a rearview camera, massaging front seats, a three-spoke sport steering wheel and power-opening trunk. There are also a variety of special-order options known as Mulliner Features that range from upgraded veneers and deep-pile carpet to specialized exterior paint colors.

Powertrains and Performance

Underneath the Bentley Continental GT's hood is a 6.0-liter twin-turbo 12-cylinder engine arranged in Volkswagen's unique W formation. Paired to a six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive, this engine produces 552 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Bentley estimates a 0-60-mph time of 4.8 seconds -- not bad for a vehicle that weighs 5,500 pounds.


Standard safety features on the Bentley Continental GTC include stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, side airbags and a pop-up rollover hoop system.

Interior Design and Special Features

Open the door to the 2008 Bentley Continental GTC and you'll find a cabin drenched in real metal accents, classy veneer and supple leather. The interior has an old-world feel, with push-pull vent controls, a Breitling timepiece and lots of switches and levers made of real metal. This being a Bentley, there is tremendous attention to detail. You'll find that even the car's exterior mirrors are circled with chrome bezel, and seatbacks are graced with sleek, brushed aluminum release levers. Plus with its 17 available interior choices and the customizable nature of ordering a Bentley, a Continental buyer can make their cabin a truly special place.

Despite being a soft-top convertible, cabin noise remains hushed with the roof raised. When it's lowered, the cabin remains placid even at speeds of up to 50 mph with the windows down. Raised, things can remain quiet up to 80 mph. To hush things even further, the standard chrome-and-aluminum windblocker can be installed across the rear seats. Speaking of the aft quarters, there's an OK amount of room for two passengers, but don't count on any four-person cross-country treks. The trunk is equally small (8.3 cubic feet), although it is at least larger than the DB9 Volante's luggage area.

Driving Impressions

The Continental GTC handles with a confidence that allows it to feel buttoned-down during even the boldest of driving maneuvers. By choosing the stiffest of the car's four suspension settings, body roll can be all but eliminated, even around tortuous turns. Despite the car's 5,500-pound curb weight, acceleration is never less than bracing, though the Continental GTC's heft prevents it from offering the outright sporting feel of a DB9 Volante. Instead, the 2008 Bentley Continental GTC woos drivers with the kind of serene, well-planted ride Bentley buyers expect.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chicago 2008: Reskinned 2009 Mitsubishi Galant seen with new nose

Mitsubishi just unveiled its freshened-for-2009 Galant sedan at the Chicago Auto Show, and unlike our favorable response to the changes made to its Eclipse sibling, we think Mitsu might need to do a hard refresh on the Galant a couple of more times before it looks as handsome as it could. The new uninterrupted grille might look better than the prior split version, but it still doesn't seem to work as well as the nose on the EVO or new Eclipse. Out back, however, the new Lancer-inspired taillights and slightly reshaped fenders are a big improvement.

As we recently reported when the info was dropped in our laps a few days ago, the 2009 Mitsubish Galant will be offered in four versions: the top-shelf Ralliart model (red car in pics), V6 Sport, four-cylinder Sport edition and the four-cylinder ES (gray). The Ralliart is still powered by a 3.8L MIVEC V6 producing 258 horsepower and uses a 5-speed Sportronic automatic transmission.

The Galant V6 Sport gets a 230-hp 3.8L V6, while the two remaining models are powered by a 160-hp 2.4L MIVEC four-cylinder. The V6 models get a 5-speed Sportronic automatic, while the four-cylinders make do with four-speeds. The two Sport models (both V6 and four-cylinder versions) also feature a power glass sunroof and heated cloth front seats as standard equipment. A ho-hum enhancement for a model that never caught on after its last redesign, we think Mitsubishi missed the target on this one.

discuss further at www.singaporedrift.com

2010 Ford Mustang

We've gotten our hands on five new pics of the 2010 Ford Mustang GT and, although the tweaks are subtle and the images obscured, these shots give us a few hints about what to expect when the new 'Stang arrives at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show.

The teaser above shows a more steeply raked hood accompanied by a new headlamp and bumper design, while the profile shot of the convertible previews a slight upkick in the beltline aft of the B-pillar. The Ford GT badge has undergone a slight revision, along with the new five-spoke wheels and a new steering wheel fitted with tweaked buttons for the cruise control.

We're only a couple months away from the 2010 Mustang's official unveiling, but more teasers and spy shots are inevitably on the way. Thanks to Brad for the heads-up.

discuss further at www.singaporedrift.com

Petrol, diesel prices reduced from Saturday

Here's some cheery news. The price of petrol and diesel at the pump will be reduced from Sat, Aug 23.

The price of RON97 petrol will be reduced by 15 sen to RM2.55 a litre from RM2.70, while RON92 will be 22 sen less at RM2.40, from RM2.62.

The premium Shell V-Power Racing will cost 10 sen less per litre, at RM3.05 from RM3.15.

The retail price of diesel will be eight sen less at RM2.50 a litre.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the new prices in a statement after Friday's Cabinet meeting.

He said the prices were determined by taking into account the actual price from Aug 1 to 21 and the 30 sen per litre subsidy borne by the government, while the subsidy for diesel, based on the new price, was 50 sen a litre.

"The cabinet decided to bring forward the enforcement date for adjustment of the new petrol price," he said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Citroen Hypnos Coupe-SUV Concept

A French take on the BMW X6 will be displayed at the 2008 Paris Motor Show called the Citroën Hypnos. Citroën says the Hypnos combines the “dynamism of a coupe”, the “elegance of a sedan”, and the space of an SUV. The interior which you will find after the jump is even funkier, done up in all the colours of the rainbow. The concept is powered by a 200 horsepower engine (likely turbocharged) with 60+mpg and 120g/km of CO2.

Mitsubishi Racing Lancer MRX09

Mitsubishi has unveiled proper photos of the Mitsubishi Racing Lancer MRX09 in action, after previously releasing an artist’s rendering of it back in July. The Mitsubishi Racing Lancer replaces the Pajero Evolution in the Dakar rally. It has covered more than 8,000km in testing and competition in order for engineers to develop new suspension geometry to suit different weight distributions and torque characteristics.

It isn’t really based on a Lancer, instead it is built on a tubular steel frame with a Lancer sportsback-based carbon fiber “skin” put over it. It measures 4,475mm long, 1,990mm wide and has a 2,900mm wheelbase.

Powering it is a 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel putting out over 260 horsepower and 650Nm of torque. “The diesel version is overwhelmingly easy to drive thanks to its tremendous torque which is available over an even broader rev-band. It outperforms the petrol-powered car in terms of controllability over challenging terrain, as well as when accelerating out of corners and along high-speed straights. With the right set-up it would be comfortably faster,” said Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Hiroshi Masuoka.

discuss further at http://www.singaporedrift.com

source: paultan.org

Chevrolet Volt

Official photos of the Chevrolet Volt have been revealed but somehow the team behind it have gone all narcissistic with the product photography, at least for these initial set of images that have found its way onto the internet.

The production version of the Chevrolet Volt looks like a more futuristic and aerodynamic version of the Chevrolet Cruze and although you can see many design cues carried over from the Chevrolet Volt Concept, the final version looks curiously more like a muscular buffed up version of the Kia Forte.

The Volt reverses the whole concept of a hybrid car that we know today where an electric motor assists an internal combustion engine when needed. Certain hybrids also have an electric-only mode but what is common is there are times where the internal combustion engine also drives the wheels.

Things work differently in the Volt - the car is driven by the electric motor, which draws its power from batteries. The internal combustion engine (a 1.4 liter normally aspirated inline-4 gasoline engine) is only used to generate electricity to recharge the batteries when needed. The battery is also charged via methods like brake energy regeneration as well as plug-in charging.

This is the fuel efficient car that is supposed to save General Motors from a deep, deep sea of red in the near future. Will it? Look at more photos after the jump.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Perodua introduces facelifted Myvi

Perodua today introduced its facelifted Myvi, and the freshened up hatchback features a decent number of revisions and refinements, all of which should help to keep the quarter-million volume seller a winner.

Exterior-wise, the car gets a minor style reworking - at the front, there's a new, beefier looking nose section courtesy of a new hood, with corresponding grille, logo and front bumper in tow.

At the rear, there's a new, wider bumper and the styling of the two reflectors on it have been revised. Also, the rear lamp assembly now features the use of LEDs. The car also features the use of new glass, which offer improved ultraviolet rejection, with up to 91% reduction.

Inside, while the cabin layout remains pretty much unchanged, the updated vehicle features a new interior colour as well as new seat fabric upholstery, and a new colour Optitron instrument cluster, which features three instrument meters as opposed to the two on the previous version.

Oh, and there's a new entertaiment system to boot - this one is M3/WMA-capable, has a USB port and offers Bluetooth connectability.

What else? Well, on the Premium version, you get a shopping hook on the backrest of the front passenger seat, perfect for carrying takeaways, as well as a seat height adjuster.

The choice of 1.3l and 1.0l twin-cam DVVT powertrains and auto/manual drivetrains continue as before, but two new body colours have been added, these being Medallion Grey and Caribbean Blue, and join Glittering Silver, Klasik Gold, Ebony Black, Pearl White, Mistik Red and Ivory White in the entire 1.3L variant lineup (the 1.0SR model has all but the special metallic Pearl White as a colour choice).

2009 Honda Civic Facelift for US market

Official details of the facelifted Honda Civic range in America has surfaced, which should lead to an announcement pretty soon on an updated Civic for our market. Though essentially the same car under the sheet metal, our Civic and the American Civic has a few styling differences especially on the rear end where the Civic has a totally different rear lamp shape compared to ours.

In the US, the base non-Si Civic is only available with the 1.8 liter inline-4 SOHC i-VTEC engine, while we have both the 1.8 liter SOHC and the 2.0 liter DOHC i-VTEC. The only 2.0 liter Civic there is the Civic Si with a high-revving 197 horsepower DOHC i-VTEC engine. For the 2009 model year facelift, the power output for the 1.8 liter motor remains unchanged at 140hp, mated to a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic with dual overdrive ratios.

There are also not much changes to the interior except that the integrated head unit now features USB input as well as a built-in Bluetooth hands-free system. As for the exterior, the front gets a new grille and bumper while the rear gets a new tail lamp lense design as well as a large chrome panel between the headlamps.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Proton launches something special

There’s certainly something special for car buyers this coming festive season, what with Proton announcing that a new Persona variant is to grace the streets. It’s called the Persona SE (Special Edition), and the car was unveiled on Tuesday night at Cineleisure in Petaling Jaya, exactly a year after the Persona made its debut.

The numerous enhancements should have the young and young at heart drooling, because the Special Edition now packs a more premium and sportier outlook, both interior and exterior-wise.

The interior is now dressed in black leather on all seats, extending to the steering wheel, gear knob, arm rest and door panels. The car also gets a newer meter panel, which was first seen in the facelifted GEN2.

An extra-large GPS system is also included in the SE for the driver’s convenience, and is mounted on the windscreen. There’s also cruise control as standard issue on this one.

On the outside, the Persona SE is a head-turner, and the styling of the car has been refined with a matching body kit that not only offers better aerodynamics but lends the car a unique fashion statement as well.

The door handles are finished with silver matte paint, and the same hue can be found on the front grille of the car, which is flanked by new stylish head lamps with black bezels.

As with other Persona variants, the car is equipped with a 1.6l Campro IAFM engine, and you get ABS with EBD, as well as dual front airbags.

Two new colours are being offered on the SE, and they’re called Brilliant Red and Blue Haze.

The premium treatment on the Persona SE, however, does not come at a premium price – for RM59,800 (on-the-road, with insurance) you get a car equipped with a high level of luxury and enhancements.

Proton is targeting sales of the Persona SE at 500 units monthly. To date, Persona bookings have totaled 52,112 units since its launch in August 2007, and the car recently won the Frost and Sullivan 2008 Best Model of the Year award.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Citroën C6 and Grand C4 Picasso launched in Malaysia

Local Citroën importer and distributor, Brooklands Motors, unveiled the Citroën C6 luxury sedan and the Grand C4 Picasso MPV at its Brooklands Centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The launch of both vehicles marks the return of Citroën vehicles into the Malaysian market after an absence of three years.

The C6 Exclusive, which is powered by a 3.0l V6 engine offering 215bhp at 6,000 rpm and 290Nm of torque at 3,752rpm, is certainly striking, with design lines that blends elements of coupé and saloon.

A long wheelbase and flowing, aerodynamic profile lends the RM398,000 vehicle massive presence; the windows hug the curve of the roof arch, which in turn blends smoothly into the rear pillars in a subtle nod to coupé styling, an effect that is taken one step further by the frameless doors.

The interior of the C6 creates an immediate impression of space and comfort. The pure lines of the dashboard, the choice of premium materials and comfortable, sculpted seats round up a thoroughly inviting cabin.

In terms of equipment levels, the list includes ESP, ABS and EBA systems, Xenon headlamps, 18-inch alloys with 245/45 series rubbers, active suspension, a host of airbags (driver and front passenger, driver's knee protection, lateral thorax airbags and front/rear curtain airbags), an automatically-controlled three-position rear deflector that deploys dependent on vehicle speed, as well as a heads-up display.

As for the Grand C4 Picasso seven-seater MPV, this five-star Euro NCAP rated vehicle is powered by a 2.0l 16-valve VVT engine putting out 143bhp and 200Nm, with a four-speed auto tranny in tow.

Plenty of glass - and light - on this one, with large windows and panoramic windscreen and sunroof helping to make things bright and spacious. Lots of usable configurations behind as well, from the three individual second row seats and the two individual third row seats, all of which are retractable.

Storage aplenty too, from the four large enclosed compartments in the dash to the tables/storage pockets on the rear of the second row seats. Other features and aids include an automatic parking brake, dual zone climate control with air vents for all three seating rows, ESP, cruise control with speed limiter and multiple airbags, all of which come as standard. Ten body colour choices abound.

The Grand C4 Picasso is priced at RM168,000, and is also the case with the C6 Exclusive, comes with a two-year or 100,000km warranty.

Citroën fans are invited to The Brooklands Centre KL's Open House on Aug 23-24, which is of course tomorrow and Sun, rfrom 10am-6pm to view and test drive the C6 Exclusive and Grand C4 Picasso. Both models are also available for viewing at Brooklands Motors’ Citroën showrooms in Juru, Penang and Plentong, Johor Bahru.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Audi A8 in The Transporter 3 Movie Trailer

According to Wikipedia, The Transporter writer Luc Besson was originally inspired by BMW's The Hire series of short films. The movie featured luxury German cars like the E38 BMW 7-Series and the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class.

The Transporter 2 featured another German luxury saloon - the Audi A8. You got to seeridiculous unbelievably timed stunts such as the A8 swirling around mid-air to knock off a bomb. The movie also featured a girl that somehow prefers to fight wearing the bare minimum of clothes. Cars and babes, a perfect formula?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

W212 E-Class

This week’s Autobild magazine carries the W212 Mercedes-Benz E-Class on its over. The W211 that it replaces was rather curvy when it first came out but with the facelift you could already have a preview of the route Mercedes-Benz was taking its E-Class - it started having sharper edges and was more in your face rather than subtle and classy.

The new W212 E-Class has a very large and prominent angular 4-louvre grille up front. The twin headlamp design remains but instead of the classic round eyed design they are now square, much like the Lexus GS300.

source from: http://paultan.org

Friday, September 05, 2008

2009 Second Generation Toyota Wish.

The current generation Toyota Wish is a key bread-butter model for most parallel importers in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Though the model have been available quite sometime in Thailand and Malaysia, it was only recently launched in Singapore in June 2008, sold under the name Wish Aero Tourer. The official distributor of Toyota models in Singapore, Borneo Motors Singapore have publically announced that the next generation Wish is due "soon" and that Borneo Motors went ahead with the late introduction of the current model to drum up interest for the next generation Wish model change.

source: terato.com

2008 HKS Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Hyundai has announced that HKS USA, Inc. will create a high-performance Genesis Coupe for the 2008 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. The all-new, rear-wheel drive Hyundai model will make its SEMA debut at the Las Vegas Convention Center Nov. 4 – Nov. 7, 2008. HKS, the leading manufacturer of premium performance parts, is the second company to join Hyundai for this year's SEMA show.

source: terato.com

Merdeka Millennium Endurance Will Remain As a 12-Hour Race

The annual Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER), organized and promoted by Sepang International Circuit (SIC) as part of Malaysia’s National Day celebrations, will remain as a 12-hour contest.

Announcing this today, SIC Chairman Datuk Mokhzani Tun Dr Mahathir said that maintaining its current 12-hour format was in the interest of the local teams competing in the lower classes and with smaller budgets; and in the overall promotion of domestic motor sports.

source: terato.com

Honda City 2009 in China

The same car that we saw on test in India and was presumed to be the new Honda City has now been spotted in China. These photos from sohu show the same car finished in a nice white paint. Unlike the previous shots, we can now see the tail lamps in full glory.

What is this mysterious car? If it is truly the new Honda City it will definitely sell like hot cakes, it looks really good! It will have a winning formula of good looks, above average fuel economy, a price of under RM100k (under 70K is a dream but maybe possible with 1.3 manual?), and a Honda badge!

If you look closely at the ceiling of the interior through the windows, there is something that looks roughly like a sunroof, but oddly shaped as its not very clear. I could be mistaken. Can you see what I am seeing? The City may be an economical model to us but in countries like India where it is high-end, it is available with a sunroof.

The current generation Honda City one of the Honda cars available in China and have also been used as Chinese police cars in the past.

source from: http://paultan.org