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  • Subaru BRZ tS revealed for Japan – 300 units only


    The Subaru BRZ tS (that’s tuned by STI) has been revealed for the JDM crowd and no, it does not boast more power. Slated to go on sale at dealerships in Japan today, the Subaru BRZ tS is a limited edition model (limited to 300 units) that aims to elevate the BRZ’s already impressive handling with the inclusion of several STI performance parts.

    Touted to provide “agile handling performance evoking a racing car”, the Subaru BRZ tS is equipped with STI-designed, black 18-inch aluminium wheels shod with 225/40 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres along with a STI-tuned inverted strut front suspension setup and coil springs. Other modifications include STI-fettled rear dampers and coil springs, STI lateral link with pillow ball bushings and a large-diameter drive shaft.

    Also, the BRZ tS features a remapped Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system. Beneath those aforementioned 18-inch wheels lie ventilated discs clamped by Brembo-sourced, STI-badged four-pot calipers up front and two-pot calipers at the rear.

    In terms of its looks, the Subaru BRZ tS differs from its vanilla siblings by adopting an exclusive STI-designed front splitter and a smattering of STI and tS badges as well as trademark cherry red accents along the frame of the front grille and rear bumper. Also, the powered side mirrors and shark-fin antennae are now finished in a contrasting shade of black.

    As for updates on the inside, the BRZ tS gets a pair of Recaro-designed bucket seats, trimmed in a combination of black leather and Alcantara with cherry red highlights – said accents are mirrored on the door cards, air-con vents and floor mats. A leather-wrapped STI-badged steering wheel and gear shifter boot with contrasting coloured accents are also part of the deal.


    Smaller changes include an exclusive STI-designed speedometer (which, curiously, reads all the way to 260 km/h in a JDM car), bright red STI push-start button, tS-badged side sills and faux carbon-fibre trim on the dashboard whereby a ‘tS Limited Edition 300′ badge resides. As mentioned, the Subaru BRZ tS soldiers on with the same atmospheric 2.0 litre flat-four engine.

    Said mill produces a total of 200 hp at 7,000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque at 6,600 rpm. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. The manual variant is priced at ¥3,990,000 (RM123,462) while the automatic stands at ¥4,071,000 (RM125,968). Colour choices include Sunrise Yellow, WR Blue Pearl, Crystal White Pearl and Crystal Black Silica.

  • No more prior announcement of fuel price changes at the end of month – Hasan Malek


    It’s the last day of the month, but don’t keep checking for updates on fuel prices, because there won’t be any. Yes, there will be no more prior announcements of monthly petrol and diesel prices from now, said Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek.

    “We have decided to stop the previous practice of announcing the new prices on the last day of the month. From now, motorists will only know if the prices are going up or down or maintained on midnight,” he told reporters after attending Umno Youth’s GST Open Day briefing in KL.

    Late last month, the ministry announced the price of fuel for June on its official website. We are currently paying RM2.05 per litre for RON 95 petrol, up from RM1.95 in May. RON 97 fuel is priced at RM2.35 per litre inclusive of GST, up from RM2.25 in May. Diesel went up 10 sen to RM2.05.

    Will the managed float go up or down? We’ll update you with July fuel prices later tonight.

  • SPIED: F90 BMW M5 goes testing, AWD on the cards


    This is it, then. The F90 BMW M5, slated to make its appearance in 2018, has been caught for the first time running about within the vicinity of the German carmaker’s test facility near the Nurburgring Nordschleife. As is the case with early sightings of a completely new model, the prototype here has been sufficiently masked in camouflage – expect layers to be peeled away in the coming months.

    With that said, the F90 BMW M5 will likely adopt the latest design language so expect a more aggressive front fascia, particularly when it comes to the design of the lower air intakes. Elsewhere, a 3D-sculpted kidney grille and thinner LED headlights are expected to make an appearance. At the rear, the M5 will likely possess OLED taillights that were first seen on the BMW M4 Concept Iconic Lights show car.

    The quad tailpipes and high-performance braking system is the dead giveaway, of course. Moving on from the aesthetics, the F90 BMW M5 is expected to carry on with the same twin-turbo 4.4 litre V8 in the current F10 BMW M5, albeit reengineered to produce up to 626 hp and around 750 Nm of torque!


    If upping the power wasn’t enough, the next-gen M5 will weigh a whole lot less than the current car as the F90 sits on the 35up platform that premiered on the G11 BMW 7 Series – reports are indicating a weight loss of around 100 kg. The ‘Carbon Core’ architecture on the M5 will likely include carbon-fibre crossbeams in the construction of the roof as well as liberal applications of aluminium is different parts of the chassis.

    Aside from that, the next big thing to happen on the F90 BMW M5 will be the optional inclusion of xDrive all-wheel drive. Unlike regular systems however, the xDrive setup employed in the F90 BMW M5 will transfer all of its power to the rear wheels, with the front axle receiving a share only when it is deemed necessary.

    In terms of performance, one can expect the all-paw M5 to sprint from nought to 100 km/h in under four seconds and power on to an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. Aside from a sedan variant, the F90 BMW M5 is expected to be offered as a M5 Touring wagon as well to combat the Audi RS6 Avant and upcoming Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate.


  • SPYSHOTS: Next-generation 2016 Kia Sportage on test


    The third-generation Kia Sportage, which still looks pretty trendy in current facelift form, is five years old now. That means it’s time for a new one, and since sister brand Hyundai has already fired its bullet in the form of the third-gen Tucson – unveiled in February this year – the new Sportage should be out before the year ends.

    Our latest set of spyshots show the 2016 Sportage testing in the Swiss Alps. Compared to previous sightings, the mid-size SUV rival to the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5 (and in Europe, the Ford Kuga), shows for the first time its new front end without the previous black bag cover.

    The position of the headlamps versus the grille could hint at a face that resembles the KX3 B-segment SUV that surfaced in China late last year, a departure from the current one-piece headlamp-grille arrangement. Zoom in on the grille and you’ll see Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ outline and ‘diamond studs’ as seen on big brother Sorento. The headlamps extend quite far into the front wings.

    The new Sportage’s front end could look similar to the KX3 B-segment SUV pictured here

    The side profile and greenhouse of this mule appears pretty similar to the current car, but there are some changes at the back. The license plate is now located on the tailgate and not the bumper, while the tail lamps feature triple-stripe U-shaped graphics. Lastly, the mule here is trying on some funky wheels that look a bit like those on the Rio facelift.

    Expect a brand new interior and the regular range of Hyundai-Kia MPI engines for our market, although the Cerato Koup’s Turbo GDI motor or the R diesel engine would make things a lot more interesting.

    Current third-gen Kia Sportage facelift

  • Petronas Raya Treasures – share your fondest Hari Raya memories, it might be made into a short film

    Petronas Hari Raya

    Petronas has kicked-off a campaign to crowd-source and create a Hari Raya Aidilfitri short film, and is inviting Malaysians to be part of it – all you have to do is share your fondest Hari Raya memories in the Raya Treasures campaign, and if your personal Raya story is chosen, it’ll be made into a short film.

    It’s a different take on the company’s traditional festive message route, which has been delivered by shorties celebrating the values, traditions and cultures that make up our nation. According to Liz Kamaruddin, senior general manager, Group Strategic Communications Division, this year’s Raya Treasures campaign adopts a very different approach.

    “We would like to see Malaysians play a more active role in reaching out to each other. At Petronas, we believe that the memories and lessons that we individually experienced yesterday, define who we are today,” she said.

    “Collectively, these stories define us as a community and a nation; these memories are a treasure trove of lessons that possess various ideals, values and practices that has seen us through bad times and good times, and have helped us grow as a community. We believe that the campaign will inspire Malaysians to appreciate and treasure their personal stories and the stories of others,” she added.

    The Raya Treasures campaign invites all Malaysians, regardless of background, to share their memorable Hari Raya stories – from now until July 3, you can submit your story and memories by emailing them to or by hashtagging #RayaTreasures with your submission via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

    From the stories submitted, a winner will be selected, with the winning entry will be produced as the Petronas’ festive short film. To kick off the campaign, Petronas has released a short video clip featuring actor and comedian Afdlin Shauki calling upon Malaysians to share their stories.

  •’s new Estimated Cost of Ownership data


    We have now introduced Estimated Cost of Ownership data on our car research website so you can know how much you’ll have to spend on your car’s upkeep beyond just servicing your monthly hire purchase instalments.

    The numbers are broken down into five parts for five years or up to 100,000 km. The first two you’ll probably be very familiar with – Road Tax and Insurance. There’s also Fuel Costs, Servicing Costs and Consumable Costs. We’ll go into detail on what these numbers mean.

    Road Tax should be self-explanatory. If you click the Calculator icon next to Insurance, you’ll be able to set your starting NCB. We’ll take that NCB number and use it for the first year, and increase the discount over the next five years together with an estimated depreciation of the car’s insured value to estimate how much you’ll have to spend on insurance.

    Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 1.26.26 PM

    For Fuel Costs, we’ve attached an estimated real world combined fuel economy figure to each variant based on data compiled from Fuelly and other sources. By default each variant uses either RON95 or diesel, but for certain cars that require RON97, the calculation will use the more expensive fuel. As mentioned before, these numbers are based on 100,000 km over 5 years or 20,000 km per year.

    Servicing Costs indicate how much you’ll have to spend on servicing your car based on the car’s service schedule. We painstakingly sourced for each car’s service schedule and cost for this. Some car distributors were very cooperative and swift with their reply for this, so thank you for that.

    You’ll notice for brands like Volvo this will show RM0.00 – this is because Volvo offers free service for the first five years as standard. These numbers will also be very useful for you to find out how much a promotional free service package is valued at in terms of cash.

    Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 2.23.31 PM

    For Consumable Costs, it currently consists of tyre replacement costs. Please mouseover the blue (i) icon next to each number to see an explanation on what the numbers mean. We intend to add in wiper, brake disc and brake pad replacement costs in the future.

    Estimated Cost of Ownership Data is currently available for Honda, Toyota, Perodua, Nissan, Volvo and Peugeot. Mazda data is available for certain models only. Data for Volkswagen, BMW and Kia will be uploaded later this week. As for the other models that are still unavailable, we hope to add the data in soon.

    Our Estimated Cost of Ownership data is also available under the Car Comparison tool so you can compare each car’s data side by side to help you make your next car purchase decision. A sample is available here: Compare Toyota Vios 1.5G, Honda City 1.5V and Nissan Almera 1.5VL.

    P/S: For estimated depreciation, please use the Car Market Value Guide.

  • MBPJ to chart public transport needs with new software, system to simulate traffic conditions – report


    The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is all set to adopt a new transport management software in August to help plot PJ’s public transport needs for the coming decade, theSun reports. According to PJ mayor, Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain, the council has been honing a model since April using PTV Visum and Vissim platforms.

    “We have started to create a model to simulate future traffic conditions and incident management system, traffic impact study. This can help us to chart PJ transportation planning,” said Azizi. The move is seen as part of the council’s masterplan to achieve a 40% public transport ridership by 2030. In a nutshell, the system will simulate future traffic conditions and public transport needs in a specific area.

    “The future planning of PJ would work on this. For example, any future development will go through this master software for traffic impact study or traffic condition and can help us chart our public transport plan for a particular area,” said Lee Suet Sen of MBPJ’s Master Traffic and Urban Transportation Plan committee.


    Said platform will also aid the council on matters regarding the use of land in PJ. “The software will help us to decide whether we should have a transportation hub or pedestrian oriented development with the MRT or LRT,” the chairman added.

    It is also understood that a total of five bus routes have been proposed around PJ hotspots including one that runs from Bandar Utama/Damansara Utama to neighbouring townships. Said move has been touted as a key step in the council’s plan to reduce the use of private vehicles, therefore easing up traffic congestion.

  • Proton Aria city car rendered, based on Suzuki Celerio


    A few weeks ago, Proton made the news in a big way through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Licence Agreement to build and sell Suzuki models, with the first car – widely tipped to be an A-segment car to allow Proton to gain traction in a market that’s a Perodua stronghold – expected to see the light of day as early as August 2016.

    Fast forward to today, and rendering whiz Theophilus Chin has whipped up his second vision of what that car could look like. You may remember that soon after the signing event, he Photoshopped a photo of the Indian-market Alto K10 with Proton badges; now, he believes a Celerio would actually be a better fit, and has modified Suzuki’s global city car to suit, dubbing it the Proton Aria.

    Apart from the obligatory Proton emblems on the grille and wheels, Theo also got to work on extending the grille downward (much like Toyota’s Vios-based Yaris), adding a silver skid plate-like appliqué and finishing it off with some neat SUV-like plastic body mouldings.


    Theo also added the Iriz‘s steering wheel to the no-frills interior – equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox! The result, in this writer’s books at least, certainly succeeds in adding some visual flair on what was a slightly bargain-basement car.

    The Celerio is available with either a 67 hp/90 Nm 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engine (which we probably will be getting) or a 47 hp/125 Nm 793 cc two-cylinder turbodiesel (which we probably won’t), mated to either the aforementioned five-speed stick shifter or a CVT.

    If Proton is serious about retaining its safety credentials, the Celerio would be a good fit, as it’s available with stability control and even six airbags in other markets. So, what do you think of Theo’s efforts?

  • Volkswagen to build sub-4 m budget sedan in India?

    volkswagen-malaysia-raya-campaign 2

    Polo Sedan not small enough for you? Volkswagen appears to be coming up with just the thing – if a Reuters report is to be believed – with a well-equipped A-segment sedan slated for launch in India by 2016 to battle a slump in sales.

    Measuring under four metres long, the new India-built car will be eligible for a lower excise duty rate of 12% (versus up to 30% on larger cars). It’ll be a latecomer to the segment for sure, what with the Maruti Suzuki Dzire (Swift sedan), Hyundai Xcent and Honda Amaze long sparring for class honours.

    It will, however, come with a number of high-end features (for India, anyway), like dual airbags and an automatic transmission, often found only on larger cars (or as options on its rivals). “That’s where we see the better future,” said VW director of passenger cars in India Michael Mayer. “Developing a car takes some time but in this particular case we took a rapid decision…to make it come to market as fast as possible.”

    Mayer adds that VW will have to consider an expansion of its production capacity – currently pegged at 130,000 units a year – once the car comes to market, which the new agency said indicates the company’s ambition for export markets. No particular region was pointed out specifically, however.

    He admits that the company will have to build the sedan on the same line as the larger Polo hatch and Vento (Polo Sedan) to cut costs. “We must find smart solutions,” Mayer said.

    Volkswagen A-segment sedan rivals (clockwise): Honda Amaze, Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Hyundai Xcent

    Volkswagen produced around 107,000 vehicles in the year to the end of March, with nearly two-thirds exported to other countries; a spokesperson said it plans to increase the figure to 200,000 by 2018.

    The upcoming sedan had better sell in large numbers – VW has seen sales drop by 14% in the financial year ending March 31 to 45,000 cars. This compares unfavourably to a car market that has jumped 5%, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

    Market researcher IHS has revealed that A-segment sedans and SUVs made up a sixth of the 2.6 million cars sold in India last year, adding that the segment’s sales has the potential to double to nearly one million units by 2020.

    Tiny sedans are unique to India, Mayer said, because of the nations preference of the body style, adding that it makes the addition of high-end features and making the car look attractive – all the while keeping costs low – even more of a challenge.

  • Free 30-point inspection for Proton owners this Raya


    Proton will be offering owners a complimentary 30-point inspection at all authorised service outlets nationwide as part of its Hari Raya campaign. Part of an initiative to help raise awareness on the importance of proper car maintenance, the free inspections will cover checks on vital fluid levels, wiper blade conditions, suspension, steering linkage and ball joint system along with cooling, fuel and brake systems.

    “As a car maker we have a social responsibility to educate and promote safety awareness to users, especially in supporting the government’s call to reduce road accidents during festive seasons and school holidays,” commented Proton CEO, Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah.

    Additionally, customers who bring in their vehicles for said inspection will receive discounts on parts and free consultation on the various aspects of car maintenance including how to differentiate original parts from imitation units.

    Proton will also be conducting the free 30-point checks at selected Petronas stations to cater to those who fail to bring in their cars to the service centres. The participating outlets include the Damansara Petronas station on KM 15.3 on the NKVE from July 9 to 11.

    From July 13 to 15, four Petronas stations will play host to the campaign – Petronas Juru, Penang, Petronas Tok Giring, Terengganu, Petronas R&R East Coast Highway, Gambang, Pahang and Petronas Station Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. Owners who bring in their cars will bring home a goodie bag, as well.

    Proton is also extending its Even More Value campaign with promotions as low as 1.99% interest per annum on Saga and Iriz models. Other goodies include 100% financing schemes for government staff, deals for fresh graduates as well as discounts of up to 26% on service packages for selected models.


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