Monday, May 17, 2010

Honda Accord Coupe Gallery

With stylish lines and available 18-inch wheels, the Accord Coupe will attract more than a passing glance.

Eagle eyes inspired the shape of the new projector-beam headlights.

Brilliantly finished exhaust, chrome door handles (V-6), jewel-like brakelights and an exquisite attention to fit and finish are proof that the Accord has left no stone unturned.
Options Abound
Accord Coupe offers three engines: a 2.4-liter i-VTEC® 4-cylinder, putting out 190 hp; and two versions of a 271-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (i-VTEC® is offered with automatic transmission and VTEC is offered with the 6-speed manual transmission).
i-VTEC® engines, which come standard in all Accord Coupes (except V-6 6MT), add more power and efficiency at all engine speeds. And the V-6 features the latest generation of Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) technology, which activates the engine’s cylinders as needed, providing both brisk acceleration and fuel savings.

Honda power meets razor-sharp handling, thanks to a low center of gravity and a multi-link rear suspension.

In the 4-cylinder models, choose a quick-shifting 5-speed manual transmission or an available 5-speed automatic. In the Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe, go with the standard 5-speed automatic or opt for the close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission.
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) helps sense oversteer or understeer in an emergency situation; then it adjusts brake pressure at each wheel and/or reduces engine power to help restore driver control and keep you on course. Standard 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), help you maintain control during hard braking. And because properly inflated tires are crucial for safe operation, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)[1] alerts the driver when a tire’s pressure reaches a significantly low level.

Just In Case
Sometimes collisions can’t be avoided, so we designed every Accord to help protect you and your passengers in case of a collision. The 2010 Accord features crashworthy in-floor frame rails. All Accord models also benefit from our Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which disperses frontal crash energy over a wide area, keeping it away from passengers.

Front, front side and side curtain airbags come standard on all Accord models to help reduce the likelihood of injuries in a collision. The front side airbags employ a large dual-chamber design, and the front passenger’s side airbag uses the Occupant Position Detection System to prevent deployment if a child or small-statured passenger is out of position and in the airbag’s path of deployment. And active front head restraints help reduce the likelihood of whiplash injuries in a sufficient rear impact.

Honda's Safety Philosophy
Honda is committed to providing safety for everyone—that means crash protection not only for our own drivers and passengers, but also for other vehicle occupants, and injury mitigation for pedestrians. We are dedicated to identifying and implementing advanced designs and features that help enhance the safety of vehicles on the road.
Fuel Efficient
Of course the Accord looks good. But form follows function, because its streamlined shape was designed to improve aerodynamics, enhance gas mileage and increase efficiency. In fact, the Accord Coupe gets an estimated 31 mpg highway[1](4-cylinder 5-speed manual vehicles). And, as an added bonus, all Accord models run on regular unleaded gasoline.

ULEV Rated
Honda was the first manufacturer to offer Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (ULEV)-rated emission technology[2] on a production vehicle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Honda Freed

We were in Indonesia earlier this year to briefly try out the new Honda Freed around Honda Prospect Motor’s test track. It was a very short drive but it did give us some sufficient first impressions of Honda’s compact “premium” MPV.

The Honda Freed is the first time in a long time that a car manufacturer has attempted to sell a decidedly JDM styled vehicle here in Malaysia. You see, it is quite clear that our taste buds and those of the Japanese domestic market are quite different. There are plenty of little vehicles that look like the Mitsubishi TownBox all over their streets yet when the Proton Juara was introduced here, we couldn’t get used to its styling.

But for some reason when JDM large MPVs are brought into Malaysia they gain “luxury vehicle” status. Let’s face it – the Alphard is not a particularly good looking vehicle. It’s a gigantic box. But its large and it can ferry many people with comfort, from the first row all the way to the third row. For an MPV – the more space, the better. And the vehicle must also be able to transport all that cube inches of interior space safely, efficiently and a bonus would be swiftly.

The Freed looks pretty much like a JDM car and it is not the first time Honda has made a vehicle that looks like that. It actually looks like a smaller version of the StepWGN, which is another JDM-only model, although you can easily buy one through a grey importer here in Malaysia. I was actually quite surprised when Honda announced that it would be making the Freed in Indonesia. That also meant that Honda was definitely going to sell it throughout the ASEAN market. Would we be able to get used to its looks?

But still, the idea of a Honda in the compact MPV segment was appealing to me – Hondas generally drive quite decently and having a more exciting choice in a market full of Nissan Grand Livinas and Toyota Avanzas made me look forward to it. A Grand Livina type of vehicle with the DNA of what typically defines a Honda is something that I was guessing that Malaysians would find quite appealing. But then I heard the indicated price range and I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t going to be an MPV that everyone would be able to consider side by side with its competition, but more of a price level up.

At RM113,980 it isn’t a super big margin over the 1.8 liter Nissan Grand Livina but this was a 1.5 liter MPV so it would be more logical to compare it to the 1.6 liter Nissan Grand Livina instead. And that’s a huge price difference – the 1.6 liter GL is under RM90k. Is the huge mark-up because of the more generous equipment level really worth it when an MPV is essentially a box that’s supposed to bring as many people as you can as comfortably as possible?

The larger 1.8 liter engine in the Nissan may not be a horsepower king with less than a 10 horsepower advantage on top of the Freed’s, but when it comes to normally aspirated engines there’s no replacement for displacement and the 1.8 liter engine has much more torque (174Nm at 4,800rpm) for you to move all your passengers around easier.

So how does it do ferrying people in it? One of the factors we have to look at would be its size. The Honda Freed has a really long wheelbase – it is the longest variant of the Jazz/City platform. And normally a long wheelbase equates to lots of space on the inside. But for the Freed, the extra long wheelbase is because its wheels are tucked seriously to the far reaches of the car’s body. That explains why although the Freed has a longer wheelbase than the Grand Livina, the Grand Livina’s overall length still ends up being longer than the Freed’s – because of the overhangs. As a result, the interior room of the Freed is not that particularly large for its exterior dimensions.

I am a large guy and I can definitely fit into the second and third row but I wouldn’t exactly call it comfortable. In the third row, my knees were touching the rear of the second row. The only consolation is the rear of the seats are soft-ish. The seating position feels a little high in all three rows which is good if you like to have a commanding position of the road and even your passengers are able to enjoy this.

The third row doesn’t fold flat onto the floor. Instead, you hang it from the sides of the vehicle like the old Pajero third row. At least the resulting luggage area has a flat floor. I haven’t tried personally but Honda’s press images have photos of two bicycles being able to be fit in there.

The low-ish floor because there’s no folded down third row taking up space and the tall roof likely makes the rear luggage area of the Freed one of the most flexible in terms of the dimensions of stuff you can fit in. The opening to access the cabin from the rear of the car is also suitably large – that’s why as some of you have commented there is not much of a rear bumper on the Freed. However because the entire interior is one big ‘room’, there’s no option for a luggage cover if you decide to use the third row as a permanent storage area.

Luggage space is quite limited when the rear seats are being used. You’re left with a triangle shaped storage area if your third row is reclined to a comfortable position. So 4 seater + 2 seater + luggage = not a good idea, unless you mount a storage box on top of the Freed.

The Freed has automatic sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle and they can be opened from the remote control. We tested the door for safety functions and etc and yes, they stop opening when they detect an obstruction. The little opening that’s required for the doors to slide rearward into is neatly integrated into the feature line that rises from the front to the rear of the Freed so it’s not unsightly. Opening and closing the doors takes about 5 seconds.

However no matter how “cool” auto sliding doors may be, because the Freed in itself isn’t a very long car compared to larger MPVs which typically employ these sliding doors, the doors and door opening aren’t that wide.

It’s a serious struggle to access the third row by sliding and reclining the second row forward. The walkthrough cabin created by the four captain chairs in the first and second row isn’t just a feature – it’s a necessity in order for you to get into the third row comfortably. It’s the same when exiting the vehicle. I personally consider this a minus point.

How’s the passenger comfort? We drove the Freed around a short test track for a few laps, both as drivers and passengers. The Freed’s suspension is on the softer side – expected as it is an MPV after all. The steering is also pretty light and very easy to control and meneuver, but perhaps a little too light at higher speeds.

It performs well under normal driving but under spirited driving there is alot of understeer and tyre squealing – perhaps better tyres will improve that. We also found it easy to recover from any silly antics.

First and second row comfort is decent and I couldn’t find fault with the seats for the short drive that we had. However the third row ride comfort was quite bouncy and I began to feel a little sick in the stomach, which was disappointing considering the magic that Honda pulled off with the Honda Odyssey. In the third row of the Odyssey you could be in the third row with the driver really gunning the B roads, causing the Odyssey to bank left and right as rapid successions of corner after corner got dealt with, and your tummy would not complain.
In the Freed, the third row is located right above the rear torsion bar suspension thanks to the long wheelbase and short overhangs. The bounciness isn’t harsh but it can get quite rapid in frequency. There are only front air conditioning vents in the Freed but during our short test you could still feel some air flow in the third row.

The engine and transmission are both smooth and responsive to both throttle input and downshifting but as expected the combo has to work hard under the vehicle and passenger’s weight if you are not in the mood for a cruise, and things can start getting a little loud in the cabin at high revs but there’s no vibration. The brakes are pretty good though – we had a brake test area as part of the test track and they were strong and responsive even under a four person load.

And then you have the interior. The design of the double deck dash is quite appealing, and the multi-info display has a real time fuel consumption indicator which we now find a necessary feature in all modern cars. We get the better looking digital air conditioning controls compared to the triple knob manual controls we saw in our Indonesian test drive cars. There are loads of little cubby holes and storage areas here and there, which is something good.

However the moment the dashboard ends, you get door panels which are basically just bare plastic on all doors. Feels hard to accept all of this when you see the word “premium” thrown at you in all the Freed literature. It this what premium is supposed to be?

What the Freed has ended up being is is a high spec compact MPV that also comes with a high price. And it’s still not as high spec as we’d hope it to be – where’s the VSA stability control that doesn’t seem to be an available feature globally on any of the cars (Jazz, City) that spawn from this small car platform?

I wish Honda had took a more conventional approach to making a compact B-segment MPV instead of the “mini Alphard” that the Freed ended up being. The Freed is a very different formula from its competitors but I don’t think this is a better formula as ultimately its still a small vehicle.

Honda used to make a station wagon version of the last generation City/Jazz called the Honda Airwave. Imagine if what they made was a more ‘conventional’ lower riding Honda Airwave with 2-3-2 third row seating (as opposed to the Freed’s 2-2-3), regular doors and a more affordable price tag?
source from

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa race car

This is not a concept car like the Alfa Romeos we saw in Geneva, namely the 2uettottanta roadster by Pininfarina and the outrageous Pandion by Bertone, but a real race car. It was commissioned by Alfa collector Martin Kapp (you can see the German’s name on the car) who owns rare stuff like the SZ coda tonda, SZ coda tronca, TZ and TZ2, Junior Z and S.Z, among others.

Zagato says that the TZ3 Corsa honours 100 years of racing and winning in the 20th century. Alfa and Zagato has a long history together, from the Mille Miglia victories of the 1500 6C, 1750 GS and 8C 2300 Zagato to the Formula 1 championship of Juan Manuel Fangio, aboard his Alfa 159 bodied by Zagato. In the 60s, they conqured the 12 hours of Sebring, Targa Florio, Nurburgring and the 24 hours of Le Mans together.

Powered by the 8C Competizione’s V8, the TZ3 Corsa is based on a monocoque carbon fibre tubular chassis, coupled with a tubular frame and a lightweight aluminium body. It comes with goodies from OMP and Pirelli.

source from

Friday, May 14, 2010

Audi R8 GT

Audi has unveiled the ultimate R8, which is lighter, more powerful and faster. The R8 GT, which is limited to only 333 units, is about 100 kg lighter than the standard R8 V10 and comes with extra 35 bhp and 10 Nm. These combine for a 0-100 km/h time of 3.6 seconds and a 320 km/h top speed.

The standard R8 V10 is not a heavy car at 1,625 kg, thanks to its aluminum space frame body, so Audi has worked hard to shave the grams here. The GT’s windshield is made of thinner glass; the bulkhead between the passenger cell and engine compartment, as well as the rear hatch window are made of polycarbonate. These three items alone saved 9 kg. Other measures include a fixed rear wing (1.2 kg), thinner sheet metal and additional cutouts from the aluminum front hatch (2.6 kg) and a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) rear hatch (6.6 kg). The rear bumpers and sideblades are also made from CFRP.

Technical components weren’t spared. They shaved 1 kg from the power brake system, 4 kg from the aluminum caps of the brake discs and 9.4 kg from the battery. Audi engineers also gained 2.3 kg from the air intake module and 2.8 kg in the insulation materials. Inside, new carpets save 7.9 kg, while bucket seats with a glass-reinforced plastic chassis are a massive 31.5 kg lighter.

Obssesive? Yes, but the €193,000 R8 GT is not a luxury free, bare bones car either. Climate control, stereo and power windows are included, so is a navigation system with MMI. Most of the cabin is covered in Alcantara with contrasting stitching while the R8’s trademark cockpit arch is in matte carbon.

Audi’s 5.2-litre direct injection V10 engine makes 560 bhp and 540 Nm here, thanks to tweaks to the electronics. The hand built engine is paired to a six-speed R-tronic gearbox and power is goes to all wheels via Audi’s quattro AWD. The system sends 15% of power to the front axle and 85% to the rear in normal driving. Audi says that this ratio goes well with the R8 GT’s 43:57 weight distribution.
source from

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors has announced that the new Tucson will be launched next month with prices starting from RM126,888 OTR for the base 2.0 Low Spec. This model features a petrol Theta-II engine with dual continuously variable valve timing and makes 164hp. There is also High Spec version of the 2.0 liter that costs RM136,888 OTR.

Compared to the Low Spec this version comes standard with ESP with HAC and DBC, semi leather seats, panorama sunroof as well as smart key with engine start stop button. Other standard features available on both models includes 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, dual airbags, roof rack and iPod connectivity.

For those of you who are willing to spend more you can opt for the range-topping 2.4 High Spec which comes with a 175hp 2.4 liter Theta-II engine. In addition to the equipment list on the 2.0 High Spec this 2.4 variant has power front seat (driver only), automatic air-conditioning with Cluster Ionizer and a luggage net.

This version costs RM152,888 OTR. All variants are offered standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Body colour options that are available include Vanilla White, Sleek Silver, Hyper Metallic, Grey Titanium, Phantom Black and Blue Ice. The Tucson comes with a 5-year warranty or 300,000 kilometers extended warranty and is now available for booking
source from

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Porsche 918 Spyder may go into production – 900 buyers already secured?

This is Porsche’s latest hybrid concept. Called the 918 Spyder it made its premiere early last month. This 1,409kg concept features a high-revving V8 powerhouse that makes 500 PS and two electric motors, one for each axle. Both motors can crank out 218 PS bringing combined power figure to the 718 PS mark.

It uses a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack and has Porsche’s 7-speed PDK which is responsible for gear changes. There are four driving modes ranging from Hybrid to Race Hybrid. It can also run exclusively on electric power for up to 25 kilometers in E-Drive.
It is able to hit the century mark in under 3.2 seconds and lap the Nurburgring in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds. These are pretty impressive figures but the most interesting fact is that the Spyder can deliver an average fuel consumption of just 3 liters per 100 kilometers which is mind blowing! Now this is after all a concept vehicle and we are not sure if it will ever go into production.

There was a rumor circulating that Porsche will put the 918 Spyder onto the production lines if it can attract enough buyers to justify the production. Bloomberg has reported that 900 people have signed up for the Spyder and this looks like good news for the concept and for the people behind it.

Porsche’s development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer said in an interview, “I’m confident that we will soon reach the threshold of 1,000. We need 1,000 seriously interested people to make a sound business case.”

A similar move was employed on the Porsche Carrera GT and it eventually made it into production. If you ask me, getting another 100 people to sign up for Spyder shouldn’t be all that hard. If it gets the green (I will be surprised if it doesn’t) it should maintain the overall design and drivetrain but with some minor changes of course.
source from

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bentley plans to introduce Mulsanne-based Azure convertible

According to Insideline Bentley will introduce a new Azure convertible that will be based on the rather odd-looking Mulsanne. The top-less Azure is expected to be launched next summer and is likely to be a 2-door with a fabric roof.

When we say the word ‘based’ we also mean that the Azure will carry the Mulsanne’s front end as well and I am not sure if thats the right thing to do. Motivation is expected to come from a 6.75 liter V8 with twin turbos that is capable of producing 505hp and a massive 1020Nm of torque.

The first ever Bentley Azure was launched back in 1995 and the four seater convertible was based on the Continental. Pictured above is the 2009 Bentley Azure T.
source from

Monday, May 10, 2010

Haunting images of the Citroën Metropolis

This is the Citroën Metropolis concept car, which shows off the French brand’s typical wackiness on a long limo body. To make its debut at the World Expo in Shanghai, the Metropolis was created by PSA’s Shanghai design studio as a “homage to China’s extraordinary development” and is meant to convey the country’s “avantgarde status, grandeur and vitality”.

The imposing 5.3 m long/2.0 m wide limo is a plug in hybrid powered by an electric motor and a 2.0-litre V6 petrol engine. Combined, 460 bhp and 430 Nm of torque is channeled to all wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
source from

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Peugeot 3008 in Putrajaya – new Pug launch imminent?

It looks like Peugeot’s 3008 crossover will soon hit the streets of KL, since a unit has already been spotted around Putrajaya by reader Redzallica.
This particular unit has the very same paint that was used by Peugeot in the 3008 launch’s press relase photos – a kind of bronzeish colour.

The 3008 is sort of a cross between a hatch and an SUV. The interior is said to have a sedan-like driving position, and I quite like the design of the cabin, which you can find in a full gallery after the jump. The center dash area features an assist grip much like a hardcore 4WD vehicle, although for now the 3008 is front wheel drive only. However there’s a dial in the interior of the press release car that shows 5 “Grip Control” modes – Standard, Snow, Off Road (Mud/Dirt/Wet Grass), Sand and ESP off.

There is however, an all-wheel drive hybrid version called the 3008 Hybrid4 which uses electric power for the rear wheels said to be coming in the future.
source from

Volkswagen Polo Sedan

These are supposed to be new sketches of the new Volkswagen Polo Sedan, which some people are beginning to refer as the Vento.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen alleged sketches of the new subcompact sedan, but these look more complete compared to the last one we saw. Theophilus has even done an artist rendering of what a new Polo Sedan could look like.
Volkswagen has a history of selling Polo versions of the sedan in a few parts of the world. Even the previous generation Polo had a sedan variant called the Polo Classic, but because of the previous Polo’s more bulbous rounded look, it didn’t really translate into a sedan shape very well. The new Polo has straighter lines and a sedan variant actually looks decent. It doesn’t look stunted because wheelbase and length of the Polo platform has said to be have been increased by about 50mm.
source from

Euromobil to double Audi sales figures, CKD coming soon?

Euromobil Sdn Bhd Malaysia, which recently secured the Audi franchise after years of being a key dealer, is aiming to more than double the sales of Audi cars this year – targetting 1,000 units from 2009’s 465 units. The bulk of these will be the A4 and the high in demand Q5 SUV.

“We obtained full distributorship status in February, so we are now the sole exclusive distributor of Audi cars in Malaysia,” said DRB-HICOM group director for automotive Datuk Nik Hamdan Nik Hassan. “The plan is for us to do the CBUs right to the maximum level before we embark on the CKD business to become No.2 or No.1 in the premium sector,” he added. It’s unknown what the “maximum level” is, however.

Audi owners will be happy to know that Euromobil will open a service centre at Jalan Chan Sow Lin in Kuala Lumpur this month. Nik Hamdan told reporters that the company will continue to expand its 3S centre network. He said this while flagging off the first export batch of locally assembled Suzuki Swifts to Brunei. The 1.5-litre Swift, which is put together in Pekan, will join the 1.3 model and Swift Sport in Brunei and is expected to sell at a rate of 10 units per month.

source from

BMW unveils all-new F10 5-Series – 523i and 535i

After the nice “appetiser” where BMW assembled past 5-Series models from E12 to E60, here’s the main event – the Malaysian launch of the all new 5-Series codenamed F10. Two CBU variants are available at launch – the RM398,800 523i and the RM598,800 535i, with a diesel in the pipeline. As usual, prices are on the road, without insurance, but with BMW Service Inclusive + Repair.

BMW Malaysia personnel were in bullish mood when taking the wraps off the F10, which they say is the new class benchmark. The 523i is powered by a 2.5-litre straight-six (N52) with 204 bhp and 250 Nm of torque, an increase of 14 bhp and 20 Nm over its predecessor, and matching the E60 525i in torque. Paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, this car sprints to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds on its way to a 234 km/h top speed.

For comparison, the similarly priced W212 Mercedes E250 CGI makes the same horsepower but has 60 Nm more torque, which is also produced lower and sustained longer throughout the rev range. The Merc does the century sprint in 7.8 seconds and has a higher top speed as well. At the launch, BMW rubbed in the fact that its rival has only four cylinders and five gear ratios, but they obviously omitted the bare performance figures.

Moving up, the 535i comes with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo (twin-scroll) direct injection engine. There’s 306 bhp and 400 Nm here to propel you to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h. 400 Newton metres is the same amount of twist the M3 makes, and here you’ll get the full blast from a near idle 1,200 rpm!

The auto ‘box also has 8 speeds, but here it’s called “sports automatic” with steering paddles and M gearshift logic.

The new 5 gets Brake Energy Regeneration (BER) and Electromechanical steering as part of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics efforts. The former charges the battery while the car is braking, coasting or decelerating while the latter does not need power assitance when pointed straight or at a constant angle, reducing energy consumption. There’s still an alternator of course, just that it need not work so hard (20% of charging duties taken up by BER).

Other juicy tech bits include Integral Active Steering, a form of four-wheel steering where the rear wheels turn slightly either in the opposite (low speed, more nimble) or same direction (high speed, more stable). Also here is Dynamic Driving Control which has four presets (comfort, normal, sport, sport +) that manipulate the suspension, transmission shift points, accelerator and steering ratio.

With a best in class wheelbase of 2,968 mm, BMW claims the most spacious cabin for the F10, and occupants get to enjoy a 16-speaker sound system in the 535i (12 for the 523i). The costlier car also comes with four-zone climate control, a sunroof, BMW Navigation Professional and multicolour Head-Up Display. It also gets the “largest LCD screen of any car today” (10.2″, 1280 X 480) which contrasts with the tiny one in the 523i. Also, the owner’s handbook and help functions are integrated into iDrive.

source from