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  • BMW G310R to be previewed at showrooms May 27

    Malaysians will be able to clap eyes on the new BMW G 310 R very soon – BMW Motorrad Malaysia has announced that Munich’s first modern small-capacity bike will be making an appearance at selected showrooms from tomorrow until June 12. The full list of dates and locations can be found above.

    The first BMW motorcycle to be built outside of Europe, the G 310 R is manufactured in India in collaboration with the TVS Motor Company, and will be sold globally. At its heart sits a 313 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, open-deck engine with four valves, double overhead cams and electronic fuel injection.

    The backwards-tilted cylinder has been rotated by 180 degrees, so that the intake tract could be positioned in front, and the exhaust at the rear. Outputs are rated at 34 hp at 9,500 rpm and 28 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm. According to BMW, the new engine is designed for the global market – this means that it can run on all grades of petrol and still meet emission standards.

    Holding everything in place is rigid tubular steel frame in grid structure with a bolted-on rear frame, with a solid upside-down front fork and a long aluminium swinging arm rear suspension – the latter uses a directly-mounted spring strut. Brakes consist of a 300 mm single disc with a bolted four-piston fixed calliper at the front, and a 240 mm disc with a two-piston floating calliper at the rear; ABS is fitted as standard.

    The G 310 R’s styling is said to echo that of the S 1000 R, with classic roadster proportions and sharp fuel tank trim design. The single headlight up front is a bit simplistic compared to the striking twin asymmetric design seen on newer Motorrad models, but a multifunction instrument cluster does come as standard, as do 17-inch wheels.

    GALLERY: BMW G 310 R at the 2016 Bangkok International Motor Show

  • Sepang Drag Battle cancelled to avoid track damage, SIC planning purpose-built drag strip on premise

    2016 Sepang International Circuit renovation - 1

    The Sepang Drag Battle series will not be taking place this year, as it has been removed from Sepang International Circuit’s 2016 calendar. Sepang Drag Battle, which made its debut in 2003, is the only drag race held at a racing circuit and sanctioned by the Automobile Association of Malaysia.

    “We have had to take the race, which has a good following, off the 2016 calendar with immediate effect as we cannot afford to damage the newly resurfaced track. The decision was made based on advice from Italian track consultant Dromo, which led the upgrading works. The new track composition is not conducive for high impact events such as drag races, and we do not want to endanger track users,” said Datuk Razlan Razali, CEO of SIC.

    SIC’s resurfacing and upgrading exercise, which cost close to RM15 million, involved the entire 5.543 km track, including improving corner driveability, upgrading the drainage system, the kerbs and the run-off area, as well as upgrading the shortcuts.

    Sepang International Circuit SIC (1)

    “The racetrack comprises elements such as asphalt concrete which is not appropriate for drag racing. Proper drag racing requires surface characteristics that are totally different, more specifically concrete covered with a special type of glue. Based on our inspection of the track prior to the resurfacing, we recognised several oil spills as a result of drag races, and this would cause severe damage if drag racing were to be continued on the newly upgraded track,” explained Jarno Zafelli, Dromo’s head of circuit design.

    In view of this, SIC is studying the possibility of building a new track for drag racing within the circuit grounds, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. “We have contended that racing should be kept off our highways and byways, but we also understand the need for speed. Therefore, just as we have carefully upgraded the current track to meet stringent FIA and FIM international standards, we are looking to provide a purpose-built facility for drag participants to race in,” Razlan said.

    “The Ministry of Youth and Sports is in support of drag race enthusiasts having an outlet that is safe and specially catered for this sport. We subscribe to the need for a race circuit that meets the requirements of a drag race track and the highest measures of safety,” a ministry spokesman said.

    The refreshed SIC track was reopened on May 8 after a nearly three-month closure.

  • Sarawak needs RM28.4 bil for 4,400 km of new roads



    The Sarawak government says it is looking to build 4,402 km of new roads in the state by 2030, but will need funding to the tune of RM24.8 billion to accomplish the task, Bernama reports.

    Deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said that the proposed roads – which aims to connect more than 1,000 existing roads and all 5,000 settlements in the state – would require RM1.9 billion a year to build for every 338 km if they are built within the 14-year period at the projected cost.

    “Whether the government has the money to build those roads or not is another question. But out of interest I am telling you that Sarawak alone collects approximately RM2 billion a year in goods and services tax (GST), while we need RM1.9 billion a year to build the roads until 2030,” Masing told reporters.

    He ventured that GST was a good means for the government to collect funds for infrastructure development to compensate for the low price of oil and gas. “You can see the connection there, that if we keep the money collected from GST we have more than enough to fulfil our dream of connecting the whole of Sarawak. We have the money, but do we have the political will to influence the (federal) government to allow that to happen,” he added.

    He said that a proper discussion will be held on whether some of the GST money could be used to build the roads, adding that he would bring up the matter for discussion with the state government. “The spirit to fight for what is required by Sarawak is important and I am sure the federal government will appreciate that and will understand the need for us to develop,” Masing stated.

  • Toyota Calya small MPV leaked, based on Axia – report


    Looks like Toyota sees room for an even smaller MPV that will slot under the Avanza, seen in these photos leaked on and AutoBild Indonesia. Rumoured to be called the Toyota Calya, the seven-seat people carrier for the Indonesian market is expected to compete with the Datsun GO+, and will be based on the Daihatsu Ayla and Toyota Agya, close cousins of the Perodua Axia.

    Just like the GO+ (sold as the GO+ Panca in Indonesia), the Calya will reportedly be built as part of the country’s Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) programme, which provides tax incentives on fuel efficient vehicles with a maximum engine capacity of 1.2 litres.

    The Calya could very well be the production version of the Daihatsu UFC-3 concept introduced at the 2014 Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) – that one was tipped to presage an MPV that was smaller than the Daihatsu Xenia, a rebadged Avanza.

    There are a number of styling details that are shared between the show car and this, such as the side window shape and some of the surfacing – although things have definitely been toned down.

    What hasn’t been toned down is the ultra-aggressive front fascia, which should be unique to the Toyota. Reminiscent of the one on the facelifted European-market Yaris, it’s one of the more extreme examples of the company’s Keen Look design language, with a lower grille that is so massive that it’s joined to the Toyota badge and the slim upper grille.

    At the rear, there are L-shaped tail lights, much like on the new Innova, although these have much less of a Honda HR-V-esque look to them. There are no photos of the interior, but we’d wager that it would be a world away from the slick, upscale look that was seen on the UFC-3.

    No technical details have been revealed just yet, but the Calya is expected to utilise a 1.2 litre 3NR-FE four-cylinder engine from the Etios, making 80 PS at 5,600 rpm and 104 Nm of torque at 3,100 rpm. Transmission options should include a five-speed manual gearbox and a four-speed automatic, just like on the Axia.

    Could Perodua be working on a version of the Toyota Calya for our market? Malaysians’ hunger for people carriers may not be as voracious as Indonesians, but we can still see a sub-Alza vehicle being a very good fit for lower-income families over here. What do you think? Sound off in the comments section after the jump.

    GALLERY: Daihatsu UFC-3 Concept at IIMS 2014

  • Govt to spend RM92m to improve flood control system


    The government will spend about RM92 million to improve the flash flood mitigation system in Kuala Lumpur, The Star reported. This comes after thousands were affected by flash floods in the capital on May 12.

    The funds will be used to replace old pipes, install water pumps as well as build retention ponds and road div­er­sions, according to Federal Territories deputy min­is­ter Datuk Dr J. Loga Bala Mohan. “This includes RM5 million for an integrated traffic management system to better handle the traffic during flash floods,” he said, answering a question by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar in parliament.

    The deputy FT minister said the May 12 flood was due to “extraordinary rainfall which lasted for two hours” beginning at about 6.45pm. “A total of 106.5 mm of rainfall was recorded in those hours when the usual is 70 mm. The drains were unable to handle that volume of water,” he explained.

    Meanwhile, Loga said that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will not compensate the 105 owners whose vehicles were damaged in the flash flood as it was not responsible for losses suffered due to “an act of god”. This is consistent with the KL mayor’s view. “No, we won’t cover it unless they had included extended coverage in their insurance. Otherwise, no,” Datuk Seri Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying last week. Want to sue DBKL? A lawyer says that you can, but one must have plenty of patience and money.

  • BMW 1, 2, 3 and 4 Series to get 7 Series’ iDrive system

    BMW iDrive 5.0 infotainment-01

    All BMW 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series and 4 Series models will be getting the BMW 7 Series’ iDrive 5.0 infotainment system in a product update set to happen this summer. Wireless charging function for smartphones and WLAN hotspot will both be offered as an option.

    Save for gesture controls, the iDrive 5.0 infotainment unit to be included in said models feature a revamped user interface with a structured menu display and a higher screen resolution for the Control Display. The on-board monitor will no longer show the main menu and control options in lists but in adjacently arranged tile symbols. As usual, users can navigate through these menus by using the iDrive controller.

    Elsewhere, the speech recognition feature of the navigation system Professional has been supplemented by the function, Natural Language. With this function, spoken instructions can be given in both predefined text modules and freely formulated and complete sentences.

    As mentioned, wireless charging for mobile phones will be offered as an option. Apart from the integration of the smartphone into the vehicle’s operating system, the new option also comes with a connection to the exterior antenna and two USB ports as well as WLAN hotspot function.

    On another note, all models will also be available with a wider choice of leather seats in the leather trim Dakota, coloured in black with blue contrast stitching.

    Additionally, the M Sport, Luxury Line and Sport Line variants of the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series will be offered with Dakota Veneto Beige trim, combined with a black interior.

  • Nissan NV300 mid-sized van teased in a new image

    Nissan NV300 teaser-01

    A teaser of the new Nissan NV300 mid-sized van has been released. The vehicle is the successor to the Primastar and will slot in between the NV200 and NV400 light commercial vehicles. It will be available in a wide range of variants, including a Combi passenger vehicle.

    Of note, would be the styling which it carries. The NV300 possesses Nissan’s Emotional Geometry design language, which can be found on the Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail and the brand’s new global compact SUV, the Nissan Kicks. The V-motion grille can be clearly seen as well.

    According to Nissan, a major appeal that the NV300 will have when it officially goes on the market in the UK will be its warranty. Said to be unique in the segment, the van will be available with a transferable five-year/100,000 mile (160,934 km) warranty with five years’ roadside assistance coverage. Said warranty also extends to all Nissan genuine accessories.

    Meanwhile, the NV300 will making its first appearance as the Official Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Partner of the UEFA Champions league. During this time, the van will carry the Official Flag of the Final at the start of its journey, to the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy.

    Official details including the NV300’s Euro 6 diesel engines, its load capacity and pricing for that matter, will be released at the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover, Germany, which is to be held in late September this year.

  • Esemka developing pick-up, collaborating with Proton


    Indonesian carmaker Esemka is reportedly developing a pick-up truck, which will premier in August this year. The company is cooperating with local carmaker, Proton, for the development of the pick-up truck, according to a report by Berita Satu.

    Adiperkasa Citra Esemka Hero (ACEH) is the manufacturer of the Indonesian pick-up truck. According to its MD, Hosea Sanjaya, cooperation between Proton was established as the Malaysian automaker has been around for some time now and has the proper facilities to develop the Esemka vehicle.

    Hosea noted that the cooperation agreement comes in the form of research and development between Esemka and Proton. The cooperation also has strategic benefits as it will be able to streamline Esemka’s export plans into several countries, including Malaysia. Currently, the company has set up an assembly plant in Cileungsi, West Java, which has an annual production capacity of 30,000 vehicles.

    Proton Pick-Up Concept based on Proton Exora

    The managing director noted that the product in development was focused on growing the rural economy. “So at this early stage, we decided to produce a commercial vehicle in the form of a pick-up truck,” Hosea stated. In addition to that, at this current moment, commercial vehicles are currently not the main focus for Malaysian automakers – which represents an opportunity for Esemka.

    Based on a report by the Jakarta Globe, Esemka pick-ups will be available in two models, with engine capacities of 1,000cc and 2,000cc. The company is looking to price the cheapest Esemka model at below 100 million rupiah (RM30k), below the competition. Sales will reportedly be carried out directly from automaker to customers “without having to set up distribution centres or dealer networks,” Hosea said.

  • Proton set to return to Chile market this Saturday?

    Proton LHD Preve to Chile 11

    It appears that Proton is making a return to the Chilean market as soon as this Saturday with the launch of the Proton Prevé and Exora there, according to a report by Bernama. This will mark the first time Proton models are offered for sale in Chile since the Wira was last exported there in 1998.

    Malaysian ambassador to Chile Datuk Dr Mohamad Rameez Yahaya said that the national carmaker will be exporting 1,000 units of the Prevé, Exora and Saga – the latter arriving in November – to the South American country this year, which are expected to generate as much as RM68 million in sales. “This indicates that Malaysia-Chile relations continue to grow stronger,” he said

    Proton will be reentering the Chilean market with Andes Motor as a distributor – the latter is part of the Kaufman Group, said to be the leading car distributor in Latin America. The carmaker will be the first mass market car brand to be represented by Andes, which currently deals with buses, trucks and luxury cars. Proton quoted an estimated price of US$17,000 (RM69,668) for the Preve Premium CVT.

    Rameez also said that Chile is the only country in the region to have signed a free trade agreement with Malaysia, making the country even more important of a trade partner for local companies looking to venture into the continent.

    GALLERY: Proton ships first 50 units to Chile

  • Haval H2 launched – three variants, RM87k to RM98k

    Haval H2 launch-01

    Following earlier previews, the Haval H2 has been officially launched. Haval’s sole Malaysian distributor Go Auto hopes that with the introduction of the H2, it will be able to capture a bigger slice of the SUV market in Malaysia. The company targets to sell 1,000 units of the H2 for 2016, which is classified as an Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV).

    The Haval H2 is available in three variants – the base Standard model starts from RM87,246.01, while the Comfort variant is priced at RM95,997.97. The top-range Premium variant is priced at RM98,915.29. All prices quoted are inclusive of GST and excludes insurance.

    All variants come with a five-year/150,000 km warranty. In addition to that, for limited time only, Go Auto is offering a three-year/60,000 km (whichever comes first) free maintenance package, inclusive of service and labour. Go Auto mentioned that the initial 100 units of the Haval H2 will be CBU models, and it aims to have CKD models by September 2016.

    The M2 measures in at 4,335 mm long, 1,814 mm wide and 1,695 mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,560 mm and ground clearance of 133 mm. All models come equipped with front ventilated disc brakes and rear disc brakes, but the Premium model gets red brake callipers.

    Suspension-wise, the Haval H2 is equipped with a MacPherson strut suspension at the front and a multi-link suspension at the rear. Also standard for all models is electric power steering, electric parking brake and an adjustable telescopic four-way steering column.

    To differentiate the variants, the Standard comes in three different single-tone colours and a Haval Red/Classic Black two-tone colour. The Comfort variant includes all colours but adds on two two-tone colours including Classic Black/Titanium White and Brownish Brown/Titanium White. The Premium variant is only available with the two-tone paint schemes mentioned, but it gets a two-tone interior as standard.

    External equipment on the Standard variant include a shark fin roof antenna and an aluminium alloy roof rack. The Comfort and Premium variants, on the other hand, add on automatic headlamps and wipers, as well as a sunroof. All variants are equipped with manually-adjustable halogen headlamps, LED daytime running lights and front fog lamps.

    Inside, the Standard variant does not get audio and Bluetooth controls on the steering wheel, cruise control or a tonneau cover, a dual-zone automatic air conditioning, ambient lighting or electrically-foldable side mirrors with turn signals.

    Furthermore, it also ditches the leather upholstery, six-way electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, afront active headrest, rear centre armrest with storage case and reverse camera – all these items are only available on the Comfort and Premium variants. Also exclusive to the upper two variants is an eight-speaker sound system, the Standard model making do with just four speakers.

    All other features can be found in all three variants. These features include a 3.5-inch TFT trip computer, secondary instrument panel, gear shift indicator, keyless entry system, button start system, adjustable central armrest and stainless steel threshold and a Bluetooth hands-free system. Other notable items include an anti-glare rearview mirror and outside temperature indicator.

    Safety-wise, both the Comfort and Premium variants come with six airbags (dual front, dual front side and side curtain) and a blind spot monitoring system, while the Standard model only has dual airbags. All three, however, are equipped with electronic stability programme, a tyre pressure monitoring system, a collision-detecting fuel cutoff system, reverse sensors, immobiliser and an anti-theft alarm system.

    Under the hood, all Haval H2 models are front-wheel drive and fitted with the same turbocharged 1.5 litre VVT engine which generates 147 hp at 5,600 rpm and 210 Nm of torque from 2,200 rpm to 4,500 rpm. As for transmission, the Standard variant is mated solely to a six-speed manual, while both the Comfort and Premium models are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.


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