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  • Mercedes-Benz S400L with 3.0L twin-turbo V6 open for booking in Malaysia – RM866k OTR, fully imported

    W222_Mercedes-Benz_S_400_Hybrid_020

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has introduced a new variant to the W222 S-Class line-up in Malaysia – the S 400 L, priced at RM865,888 OTR without insurance, arrives as a CBU import. There has been no official press release so far, but a visit to Cycle & Carriage PJ reveals that the price and equipment list for the new variant is already on display. Don’t get confused now – the S 400 L and S 400 L Hybrid are two different variants.

    Under the S 400 L’s hood is a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 engine, the same one found in the E400. It produces 333 hp and 480 Nm of torque, taking it to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds. That’s faster than the S 400 L Hybrid’s 6.8 seconds. Swap a hybrid system for two turbochargers and what you’ll lose in terms of torque from the electric motor, you’ll gain in terms of torque from forced induction.

    The introduction of the S 400 L is timely, as the waiting list for the locally-assembled S 400 L Hybrid has gone beyond a year at the moment. If you try to book the RM588k S 400 L Hybrid now, your Mercedes-Benz dealership will tell you you can only get your car after December 2015, which is when the NAP 2014’s duty exemption for locally-assembled hybrids will have ended. There’s no official pricelist for the hybrid model with full duties as of now, but unofficially it is RM899,888, making this non-hybrid S 400 L a little cheaper.

    As far as we can tell, specs for the S 400 L are exactly the same as the S 400 L Hybrid, except for the interior wood trim. Where the S 400 L Hybrid uses a fancier designo Sunburst Myrtle wood trim, which has a nice gradient effect on it, the S 400 L uses Burr Walnut wood trim. Another difference is that you’ll save quite a bit in terms of road tax yearly, especially if it happens to be a company purchase, as the turbocharged engine is about 500 cc smaller than the hybrid engine.

    For further info, compare the S 400 L against the S 400 L Hybrid at CarBase.my.

     
     
  • ASEAN NCAP set to move on to routine crash testing

    asean-ncap

    An update on the New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN NCAP). Back in May, the announcement of Phase III results saw the conclusion of the three-phase pilot project, which began in January 2013.

    Following this, the agency – which operates under the aegis of the Malaysian Institure of Road Safety Research (Miros) – has now announced that it is moving towards its next stage as planned. According to its road map, the agency is set to operate like other NCAP organisations around the world, in which testing and the release of results are routinely carried out.

    Bernama reports ASEAN NCAP secretary-general Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim as saying that the organisation would be fully operational next August and would carry out safety testing on new cars periodically. It was however not revealed how often testing would be carried out.

    The three phases of pilot testing saw 30 vehicles, including variants of particular models, being evaluated. The first phase saw eight test results being announced in February last year, followed by Phase II test results for 11 vehicles coming about in August 2013. Phase III testing saw an additional 11 vehicles being rated.

    Evaluation saw the cars being subjected to an offset frontal collision test, which involves striking a deformable barrier with an overlap of 40% at 64 km/h. In Phase III, a UN R95 side impact test was added, consisting of a mobile deformable barrier striking the side of each car at 50 km/h.

    The tests were carried out at two laboratories – Miros’ Provisional Car Crash Centre in Malacca and the Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan, the latter in Phase III testing. The JARI facility is an appointed ASEAN NCAP official test lab, and the programme’s first test lab outside the ASEAN region.

    Read all about our ASEAN NCAP coverage, including Phase I, II and III test results, here.

     
     
  • Three new Citroen models coming to Malaysia – Naza

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    Three new Citroens will be coming soon, but the baby C1 is unlikely to be one of them

    A hat-trick of Citroens will be coming to Malaysia soon. Official distributor Naza Euro Motors (NEM) told The Star that the three new models will be from Citroen’s mainstream C-range of cars, as opposed to the more upscale DS range.

    “From the end of this year into next year, you will see three new models from the C-range. We are hoping to price this more competitively from RM100,000 onwards,” NEM’s COO Datuk Samson Anand George said.

    NEM has been selling the DS4 and DS5 since the Citroen brand was relaunched here in February 2013. The DS3 joined the party in February this year, before NEM opened order books for the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso MPV in June. The 207 hp DS3 Racing is in town, but is not for sale.

    So what’s coming next? Current models starting with a C and available in RHD include the C-Zero (a rebadged Mitsubishi i-MiEV), C1 (city car), C3 (supermini), C3 Picasso (small MPV), C4 (C-segment hatch), C4 Cactus (an odd looking thing), C4 Picasso (smaller version of the one we have now), C5 (sedan) and C5 Tourer (wagon).

    Citroen_C4_Cactus_01
    Want a cactus in your garden? The Citroen C4 Cactus may be too odd for Malaysia

    You can pick three from the above, although we can safely rule out the electric car, and the C1, since the new cars will priced from RM100k. The two small Picassos also don’t make much sense as we already have the Grand. No prizes for guessing correct :)

    NEM aims to sell 600 Citroens this year, and the figure is set to grow with the new models. “We only had two models, the DS4 and the DS5, last year. If all goes well, we are looking at over 10% growth to 700 units next year. We expect sustainable organic growth. When there is a sudden spike, the back-end may not be able to catch up so fast,” Samson said.

    Speaking of back-end, two more sales outlets (Puchong and Ampang) will open by the end of this year, with three more slated for 2015. The French brand now has five sales/service outlets nationwide, two in Klang Valley, two in Penang and one in Johor.

     
     
  • VIDEO: BMW’s The Epic Driftmob video features the BMW M235i smoking and sliding in Cape Town

    As revealed in our exclusive behind the scenes preview, BMW has been busy cooking up a new product feature video showcasing the feisty BMW M235i – no M2 Coupe here, despite what some may have thought from BMW M’s Facebook teaser earlier. The video, called The Epic Driftmob, is now completed and had its online-exclusive debut via BMW’s YouTube channel moments ago.

    It was shot in Cape Town, South Africa slightly over a month ago, and we were privileged to be the only media outlet from Asia to check out the production. The Epic Driftmob features the nimble 326 hp coupe being put through a drift sequence on public roads by some of the world’s best stunt drivers, including Rhys Millen, Rich Rutherford, Samuel Hubinette, Conrad Grunewald and Daijiro Yoshihara.

    These drivers have worked on many Hollywood blockbusters including The Fast and The Furious franchise, Iron Man 2, Transformers 3 and Drive, among other movies. The entire sequence was choreographed by the experienced Riley Harper and Mic Rodgers. By the way, the action is 100% real, without any camera tricks, as witnessed by yours truly on location.

    The objective of this video is to help reinforce the position of the BMW M235i as one of Munich’s best driver’s cars. We’ll just let the video do the talking from here. Trust me, you’ll want to hit the play button, as this is one of the best drift choreographies ever made!

    BMW also released two spin-off videos, including the making of The Epic Driftmob and another clip featuring drift champion Ryhs Millen behind the wheel of the coupe. After viewing them all, check out our behind the scenes report here, from our time at the ground on the production location.

    The hottest 2 Series is not on sale in Malaysia, but the 220i is, available in both base and Sport lines. Check out specs, prices and photos here: BMW 2-Series Coupe at CarBase.my


    Exclusive behind the scenes images from Cape Town

     
     
  • Jaguar XE – ‘Feel XE’ project teaser reveals S variant

    jaguar xe s

    Jaguar has announced the Feel XE campaign, a series of collaborative projects with artists and personalities to usher in the arrival of its new XE sports sedan. British singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé will kick off the project with an audio-video spectacle in London on September 8 ahead of the car’s official debut.

    In announcing this, the automaker has released a teaser image of Sandé together with the XE, showing off its face. The company has already teased the car’s tech and advanced aluminium chassis in recent weeks, and now something else has been uncovered – a little S badge that resides on the corner of the grille in the photo suggests that a XE S variant may premiere alongside the baseline XE.

    No details have yet surfaced on an S variant, but it stands to reason that the F30 BMW 3 Series, B8 Audi A4 and W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class competitor will have a hotter version – likely in six-cylinder guise – to take the fight to the likes of the 335i, S4 and C 400.

    The XE is slated to utilise Jaguar’s new Ingenium family of engines, which will also be shared with Land Rover. The modular mills – in V8, V6 and four-cylinder forms – will share the same bore, stroke, cylinder spacing, 500 cc capacity per cylinder and many common internal components as well as feature turbocharging.

    Jaguar XE spyshots

     
     
  • Driven Web Series Season 2 – The episodes so far

    Driven 2014 Ep3 D-Segment Battle- 3

    Selamat Hari Raya, everyone! Driven Web Series is on a break this week, so if you haven’t already, do catch up on the three episodes we’ve released so far this season. Honda City vs Toyota Vios vs Nissan Almera? MINI Cooper vs Citroen DS3 vs VW Beetle? Nissan Teana vs Honda Accord vs Kia Optima K5? Check, check, check, and then some.

    We have four more exciting episodes lined up for your viewing this season. No, we haven’t forgotten the C-segment, or the premium brands – we’ve got all that and more in store. Next week, we’ll feature close to 1,000 hp between Harve, Hafriz and Jonathan. Trust us, you won’t want to miss that one :)

    Episode 1 – 2014 Honda City 1.5 V vs Toyota Vios 1.5 TRD Sportivo vs Nissan Almera 1.5 VL

    Episode 2 feat. Megan Tan – F56 MINI Cooper Chilli vs Citroen DS3 vs Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI

    Episode 3 – 2014 Nissan Teana 2.0 XL vs Honda Accord 2.0 VTi-L vs Kia Optima K5 2.0 Facelift

     
     
  • Mercedes-AMG GT to get higher powered GTS variant

    Mercedes-Benz-AMG-GT-teaser

    The upcoming Mercedes-AMG GT sports car will have at least two variants – the ‘basic’ GT – if you could ever use such a word for the car – will be accompanied by a more powerful GTS. It turns out that the 510 horsepower (503 hp SAE) and 650 Nm numbers released earlier for the AMG M178 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 represents the GTS tune. The GT variant’s power output is lower at about 456 horses.

    None of these output figures are as highly strung as the motor in the A 45 AMG though – that one does 360 horses and 450 Nm of torque from 2.0 litres of displacement. Since AMG tends to liken the new 4.0 litre V8 to two of the 2.0 litre four cylinder AMG engines joined together, it wouldn’t be wrong to expect at least over 700 horsepower and 900Nm of torque in the engine’s most powerful form? Sounds crazy right? But that’s exactly how much power to displacement ratio the 2.0 litre AMG engine has.

    Could there be room then, for an even more powerful variant of the Mercedes-AMG GT positioned above the GTS? Even with 510 horsepower, the AMG GTS is powerful enough – selected media joined AMG boss Tobias Moers at the Bonneville salt flats and came back with reports of a speedo eventually showing 311 km/h and a 100km/h sprint time that ‘felt’ like under 4 seconds.

    Look after the jump for three new videos of the AMG GT we haven’t featured yet.

     
     
  • 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport to come with 7 seats

    LR Discovery Sport Camo-04

    Land Rover has released pics of the upcoming Land Rover Discovery Sport wearing a new camouflage wrap. Not your usual camo, the wrap covers the SUV, while showing its cabin at the same time! Basically, LR wants us to know that the Disco Sport will come with seven seats as standard.

    Big bro Discovery is a full seven-seater, so this Freelander-replacement is more of a 5+2. The occasional third-row seats will give the Sport an extra versatility point in a segment that includes the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, although the Land Rover will have a smaller footprint.

    “As you would expect from a Discovery, the versatile Discovery Sport will feature 5+2 seating in the UK, offering spacious load space and configurable seating, while still retaining a more compact footprint than traditional five-seat SUVs,” said Gerry McGovern, design director and chief creative officer for Land Rover.

    When announcing the new model in April, McGovern said that the Discovery Sport “will be the most versatile and capable SUV in its segment”. If you’re wondering about its positioning vis-a-vis the Evoque, this is a full-fleged “proper” SUV as opposed to a fashion item.

    Set for a Paris debut in October, the Discovery Sport will go on sale in 2015. For an idea of how it could like without the camo, see pics of the Discovery Vision concept from New York 2014 below.


    Land Rover Discovery Vision concept at the 2014 NYIAS

    Land Rover Discovery Sport spied testing

     
     
  • 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara – more details revealed: new 2.3 litre diesel, multi-link rear suspension

    The Nissan NP300 Navara was unveiled in Thailand early last month, which gave us the bulk of information about what Nissan’s next-generation one-tonne pickup truck is all about. However, it turns out most of the information was related to the Thai market.

    Thanks to information provided at a media test drive that happened in Thailand this week, we now have new details on the Nissan NP300 Navara that could be relevant to our market. Our man Jonathan Lee will be publishing his first impressions of the new Navara very soon, but first here’s what we learned at the event.

    First of all, the YD25 2.5 litre turbodiesel engine that was unveiled at the Thai launch will be the engine that will be used for markets with fuel grades below Euro 4, including Malaysia. The YD25 has been improved over the unit in the outgoing Navara, with an upgraded cylinder head. Fuel economy is said to have been improved by as much as 11%.

    navara-engines

    The YD25 will be available in two states of tune – a low output spec with 160 hp and 403 Nm of torque, as well as the higher output version dispensing the full 188 hp and 450 Nm of torque.

    What we won’t get is a new 2.3 litre YS23 engine, derived from the 2.3 dCi engine in the Renault Master van, that’s reserved for markets where Euro 5 fuel is available. As with the YD25, two versions of the YS23 will be offered – a single turbo version that produces 158 hp and 403 Nm of torque, and a more powerful twin-turbo version that does the same 188 hp and 450 Nm of torque as the top YD25 mill.

    Despite the smaller displacement, the two-stage turbo setup allows for the 450 Nm peak to come in earlier at 1,500-2,000 rpm compared to the 2,000 rpm of the YD25. Fuel consumption for the YS23 engine is said to have improved by 19% over the older YD25 thanks to reduced engine friction, an electrical variable oil pump and a thermo management system.

    navara-dimensions

    The big Renault-sourced 228 hp, 550 Nm 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6 – never available in Malaysia – is now gone as the engine was unable to comply with the stringent emissions regulations in countries where it was previously offered. With 450 Nm being the range-topping torque figure, the Navara won’t be the most powerful pick-up around as it loses out to the larger engines in the Chevrolet Colorado, Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger.

    The good news is the Jatco seven-speed automatic transmission seems to be standard across the board and all markets. The expanded amount of ratios should both improve fuel efficiency as well as acceleration. For those who opt for a manual transmission, you’ll get a six-speeder with wider ratios than before.

    An interesting bit about the chassis – the Navara will be fitted with five-link rear suspension with coil springs instead of the usual leaf springs. Such a setup is more commonly used on truck-based SUVs such as the Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, and should provide for better ride and handling. The only pickup truck with such a design in Malaysia right now is the Ssangyong Actyon – the rest of the segment stick with a leaf spring design.

    navara-suspension

    The Thai-market Navara will continue with a leaf spring setup due to tax reasons – the truck will be classified as a passenger car if it employs coil spring rear suspension, thus raising the taxes that need to be paid on it. As far as we know, there’s no such restriction in Malaysia, thus the availability of the Actyon we mentioned.

    The Navara will also be available with LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, rear air conditioning vents, a a 3D colour multi-info display in the instrument panel, but the availability of these features may be market specific depending on what each individual country specs for the variants they have on sale.

    For more information on the new truck, read our Navara global unveiling story from June 2014, and stay tuned for Jonathan Lee’s test drive impressions. You can also refresh your memory on the outgoing Nissan Navara D40 that’s still sold in Malaysia at CarBase.my.

     
     
  • Jaguar XE fuel economy targets – under 4 litres per 100 km combined thanks to aluminium construction

    jaguar-xe_aluminium_-infographic_29071

    Jaguar has unveiled more information about the upcoming Jaguar XE – it will employ extensive use of aluminium in its chassis, which is said to be the first in its class. Jaguar will use a new highly recycled aluminium alloy called RC5754 that was developed specifically for the XE.

    While the company is known for its aluminium construction, we weren’t too sure at first if the XE would get it. This is because its big brother the XF got a conventional chassis instead of an aluminium chassis like the big XJ. The benefits of using aluminium are obvious – just compare the weight of the XF 2.0 Ti and the long wheelbase XJ 2.0 Ti on CarBase.my – they both weigh 1,660kg despite the massive difference in size!

    Thanks to a body that will use over 75% aluminium content, expect the Jaguar XE to be one of the lightest cars in its segment. Because the engine has to lug less weight around, Jaguar is targeting to deliver a fuel economy of less than 4 litres per 100 km (75 mpg) on the EU combined cycle for the most fuel efficient XE.

    The XE will use Jaguar’s new Ingenium engine family, which will also be shared with Land Rover. Ingenium engines will be modular in nature – they share the same bore, stroke, cylinder spacing, 500 cc capacity per cylinder and many common internal components. All Ingenium engines will be turbocharged and feature central high-pressure direct injection, variable valve timing and stop-start systems, and will also support pairing with an electric motor for hybrid drive.

    The Jaguar XE will get its global unveiling in a little more than a month’s time on September 8 2014. It will join many other other new entries to a market has traditionally been a 3-Series and C-Class game. How will it fare? We can’t wait to see how it looks like and experience how it drives.

     
     
 

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