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  • Kia Sorento revealed as Wolverine’s new company car

    Kia-X-Car-1

    A one-off Kia Sorento, dubbed the Kia X-Car, has been revealed by the company in the lead up to the 2015 Australia Open. Wait, what? How does that relate to anything at all!? Allow us to explain. Kia is the official sponsor of the 2015 Australian Open, set to take place early next year.

    In a collaboration between Twentieth Century Fox and Kia, the former is working to promote the release of the DVD and Blu-ray edition of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ – leaving the latter to fuse its connections and come up with a X-men-inspired Kia Sorento that will be showcased throughout the tournament.

    We totally understood it on the first try. As a further treat for fans of the car, tennis and/or X-Men, Kia and Fox will release a video in mid-December showing Rafael Nadal (tennis player, not a new mutant in the X-Men universe) joining forces with the X-Men to take on the Sentinels.

    The X-Car is painted in black and features customised X-Men vinyls. Massive wheels and an updated grille with a not-so-subtle ‘X’ motif are further cosmetic additions with Wolverine’s trademark adamantium claws grafted onto the front and back of the car.

    GALLERY: Non-mutant 2015 Kia Sorento

     
     
  • Peugeot 2008 DKR unveiled in full Dakar-ready livery

    Peugeot_2008_DKR_Dakar_Rally_livery_02 copy

    After conquering the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2013 with the 875 hp 208 T16, Peugeot has set its sights on the gruelling Dakar Rally. Cue the purpose-built Peugeot 2008 DKR, seen here in its full Red Bull rally livery for the first time.

    The showcar’s all-carbon-fibre look may have been more menacing, but the final livery’s combo of blue, white and red is both striking and purposeful. The white around the cockpit is especially important to shield the driver and co-driver from the heat.

    Standing out from the crowd, the 2008 DKR has an unconventional two-wheel drive layout and 340 hp/800 Nm mid-mounted 3.0 litre twin-turbo diesel V6 engine. Peugeot has won the Dakar Rally four times in the past, so hopes will be sky high to repeat the success.

    Leaving nothing to chance, behind the wheels of three 2008 DKRs will be 2010 winner and double WRC champion Carlos Sainz, five-time motorcycle winner Cyril Despres and 11-time winner Stéphane Peterhansel. For them and the team, January 4 can’t come soon enough.

     
     
  • Ford Fiesta ST launched in Malaysia – RM149,888

    ford-fiesta-st-previewed-asia-klasika 286

    By now you’d know everything there is to know about the Malaysian-spec Ford Fiesta ST. It was first previewed at KLIMS13, and we then spotted it going through the system at JPJ Putrajaya last October. Following that, its RM149,888 pricetag was announced, a day before the shiny new hot-hatch went on display at Asia Klasika 2014.

    Now, the red-hot B-segmenter has officially gone on sale in Malaysia, arriving at select showrooms nationwide. Just in case you didn’t know, the three-door-bodied Ford Fiesta ST is powered by a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine with 182 PS and 240 Nm of torque (290 Nm on time-limited overboost), and it’ll get to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds through a six-speed manual gearbox.

    Nope, no automatic option here. At a shade under RM150k (OTR with insurance, or RM145,842 without), the tuned-up Fiesta will go up against the RM139,888 Peugeot 208 GTi (200 hp and 275 Nm, six-speed manual, 0-100 km/h in 6.8 secs) and Renault’s RM172,888 Clio RS 200 EDC (200 hp and 240 Nm, six-speed dual-clutch auto, 0-100 km/h in 6.7 secs).

    Other than the obvious difference (two less doors than standard Fiestas) the ST adds on distinctive front and rear bumpers, halogen projector headlamps, plus a tasty set of 17-inch Rado Grey alloys (shod with 205/40 tyres) and red-painted brake calipers. There’s no mistaking it for anything other than an ST, that’s for sure.

    On the kit front, Fiesta ST gets Silverstone grey/charcoal black fabric seats (Recaros in front), leather-wrapped steering wheel (with ST badging) and gearknob, manual air-con, keyless entry and start, auto lights and wipers, as well as a SYNC-based CD audio six-speaker system with multi-function matrix display.

    Standard safety equipment consists of ABS with EBD and brake assist, ESC, hill start assist and seven airbags (driver/front passenger, front side, curtain and driver knee). Fully-imported from Cologne, Germany, the Ford Fiesta ST comes in three colours – Molten Orange, Spirit Blue and Panther Black – is packaged with a three-year/60,000 km free maintenance plan.

     
     
  • Formula E – Putrajaya hosts Round 2 of first-ever electric single-seater racing championship

    Formula E Putrajaya 36

    The first-ever FIA Formula E Championship season has kicked off, and the circus is in town for Round 2, having completed the first race in Beijing last month. That’s right – Malaysia is hosting the second-ever Formula E race tomorrow, and setting the scene is our very own administrative capital, Putrajaya.

    While the picturesque city is used to more serious, governmental happenings day-in and day-out, it lets its hair down here, morphing into a street circuit for the world’s first fully-electric FIA single-seater series.

    Operating as an ‘open championship’, the series gives carmakers and constructors the chance to showcase their electrical energy innovations in a racing environment. All while meeting FIA specs, of course.

    Formula E Putrajaya 13

    A total of 10 teams, each with a pair of drivers, will compete in SRT_01E all-electric single-seater racers. Built by France-based Spark Racing Technology, the car features systems integration by Renault, and powertrain and electronics by McLaren Electronic Systems.

    The lithium-ion batteries come from Williams Advanced Engineering, the carbon-fibre and aluminium chassis from Dallara, and the 18-inch treaded tyres (designed for both wet and dry conditions) from Michelin.

    A ceiling output of 200 kW (270 hp) goes to the rear wheels through a Hewland five-speed sequential gearbox with shift paddles. 0-100 km/h is done in three seconds, and top speed is a respectable 225 km/h.

    Think of Renault as the car’s main contractor; sub-cons include McLaren, Williams, Dallara and Michelin

    Full power is available during qualifying, but in the race proper, power will be limited to 150 kW (202.5 hp). However, you can vote online for your favourite driver and give him/her a FanBoost – the three drivers with the most votes will receive one five-second power boost each, temporarily increasing their car’s output to 180 kW (243 hp).

    The 2.56 km-long ePrix course is located near Perdana Putra, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office, and will use much of the main high street, running along buildings such as the Ministry of Finance. The temporary track will feature 12 corners.

    The circuit, put together by the FIA, Formula E and local promoter Formula E Malaysia (FEM), also plies the Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque. It will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane providing good overtaking opportunities.

    Teams prepping their cars for the big day; practice, qualifying and race all happen tomorrow

    We paid a visit to the Putrajaya Formula E paddock this evening (directly opposite the Ministry of Finance buliding) while the teams were preparing for the big day tomorrow (practice, qualifying and 31-lap race all in one day), and came away impressed by the three-storey temporary structure that housed the pits, media centre, offices and the Emotion Club, Formula E’s version of the F1 Paddock Club.

    Not as busy as the Sepang paddock during F1, but it was still pretty interesting to see the teams prepping their machines and pushing them to the FIA inspection room.

    Motorsport fans will be excited to see famous names such as Andretti (Andretti Formula E Team), Aguri (Amlin Aguri Formula E Team), Prost (Nicolas, e.dams-Renault driver), Piquet (Nelson Jr, China Racing driver) and Senna (Bruno, Mahindra Racing driver). Audi and VW enthusiasts might want to get the signature of Audi Sport ABT driver Daniel Abt, for his father designed your bodykit.

    The Formula E paddock is full of famous racing names; Andretti, Aguri, Prost, Piquet and Senna are all here

    Formula 1 fans will notice that a number of ex-F1 drivers are also competing, from old hands such as Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) and Jarno Trulli (racing for his own team) to relative youngsters like Jaime Alguersuari, Karun Chandhok, Charles Pic and Sebastien Buemi. Interestingly there are two female drivers in the field – Brit Katherine Legge (Amlin Aguri) and Italian Michela Cerruti (Trulli).

    Head down to Putrajaya tomorrow morning (qualifying starts at 10am, driver autograph session noon, race at 2pm) for live action or tune in to RTM for the live telecast of the race.

    GALLERY: Scenes from the Putrajaya Formula E paddock

    BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car

     
     
  • Landwind X7 is China’s carbon copy of the Evoque

    landwind-x7

    American novelist Herman Melville once said that “it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Judging from the Landwind X7, which was unveiled at the 2014 Guangzhou motor show, this writer is convinced that individuals from the company failed to comprehend the saying at all.

    Determined to play the role of the aesthetic parrot, the Landwind X7 is pretty much a Range Rover Evoque with a different badge. Speaking to Autocar magazine, Land Rover CEO Dr. Ralf Speth has stated that “the fact that this kind of copying is ongoing in China is very disappointing.”

    In fact, Speth has gone on to add that the act qualifies as intellectual property theft and that Land Rover officials will be contacting Landwind operatives. “What we have seen today is not correct,” he said. Chris Bryant, president of the joint venture between Jaguar Land Rover and Chery was kinder, only saying that he was “here to speak about our joint-venture Evoque”.

    land-rover-evoque-5

    The Landwind X7 is powered by a Mitsubishi-sourced 4G63T – essentially a detuned Evo mill – 2.0 litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 188 hp and 250 Nm of torque. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic with drive going to the front wheels.

    Scheduled to go on sale in March 2015, the Landwind X7 will be priced at approximately 120,000 yuan (RM65,720) – which is an absolute bargain when a China-assembled Evoque goes for 400,000 yuan (RM219,069). We can only assume you get what you pay for, in this case.

    GALLERY: The actual Range Rover Evoque

     
     
  • 2016 Acura ILX – 2.4L, 8-speed DCT across the board

    2016 Acura ILX-04

    Acura has unveiled the Honda Civic-based 2016 Acura ILX at the 2014 LA Auto Show. Honda’s luxury brand’s smallest car gets revised styling, standard Jewel Eye LED headlights, upgraded interior materials, new kit and improvements to cabin quietness, handling and collision safety.

    But the big news is under the hood, where all ILX variants now get a new 2.4 litre direct injection engine. The DOHC i-VTEC motor – which produces 201 hp at 6,800 rpm and 243 Nm of torque at 3,600 rpm – is paired to an eight-speed DCT, the world’s first dual-clutch transmission with a torque converter.

    Acura promises “incredibly quick, crisp and intuitive gear changes, including rev-matching down shifts” and “smoother, more powerful launches that other DCTs cannot match.”

    2016 Acura ILX-06

    With the 2.4L DCT combo from the bigger 2015 Acura TLX now spread across the board, out goes the old entry-level 2.0 litre four-pot and five-speed auto combo, along with the six-speed manual gearbox paired to the old 2.4L motor. Any death of a Honda manual is to be mourned, even if we didn’t know this particular stick shift in person.

    Acura has added noise-insulating materials, a thicker front-side door glass, noise attenuating wheels and Active Noise Control tech to the FB Civic-based ILX. Steering responsiveness and linearity is also improved via retuned suspension and chassis design enhancements.

    The 2016 ILX has six available grades (double the previous three), including the Premium Package and the range-topping Technology Plus Package.

    2016 Acura ILX-09

    The sporty new A-Spec package, available in conjunction with the above two, adds side sill garnish, trunk spoiler, front fog lights and 18-inch, 10-spoke machined alloys with gloss black insets. Inside the all-black cabin, it has red instrument illumination, grey stitching and aluminum pedals.

    All models can now be equipped with AcuraWatch, a suite of safety and driver assistive technologies that includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation and enhanced Collision Mitigation Braking System with pedestrian sensing capability.

    The Acura ILX goes up against the Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA in the American market.

     
     
  • Mitsuoka Orochi Evangelion – 11 only, sold at 7-Eleven

    Mitsuoka_Orochi_Evangelion_01

    Who can forget the Mitsuoka Orochi, arguably the scariest car ever made? Believe it or not, it’s still in production in Japan, and the last 11 units built will be dressed like this!

    Dubbed the Mitsuoka Orochi Evangelion Edition after the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series (which explains the painfully eye-catching paintjob, at least), the limited run special will be sold through 7-Eleven outlets in Japan. It’s a fittingly eccentric send-off, we suppose.

    In case you’re not familiar with the Mitsuoka Orochi, it’s a mid-engined sportscar that was inspired by the Yamata no Orochi – a Japanese folklore monster with eight heads and eight tails! It’s hand-built, and has a Toyota-sourced 3.3 litre V6 with 233 hp and 328 Nm of torque paired to a five-speed automatic transmission.

    The Orochi was actually on sale in Malaysia (pictures below) and until recently, it was displayed at a showroom in Petaling Jaya. Its pricetag? A cool RM1,025,000 back in 2007. Scared yet?


    Mitsuoka Orochi Premium Gold

    Mitsuoka event in Malaysia, 2007

     
     
  • Last call to win a trip to the Nurburgring and RM40k worth of prizes! The Final Round of BHPetrol’s Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring draws to a close this Sunday!

    That’s right folks – the third and final round of BHPetrol’s Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring Contest comes to a close this Sunday, 23 November! Don’t miss your chance to win an all expense paid, three-day trip for two to the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany!

    Plus, 30 other lucky winners will be taking home prizes equivalent to a year’s usage of fuel worth RM40,000 in total. It’s now or never, so if you have yet to have taken part, head on down to the nearest BHPetrol station and fuel up!

    At the Nurburgring, you and a friend will get to enjoy a full motoring experience for three days! You will be able to spectate a race, get driven around in a BMW M5 and drive a sports car (such as a Nissan GT-R) around the 20 km-long circuit.

    bhpetrol-22

    Nurburgring Experience Grand Prize:

    • Spectate an actual race weekend
    • Take part in the BMW Ring-Taxi experience with Sabine Schmitz
    • Score some laps around the legendary circuit in a sports car such as a Nissan GT-R and more!

    Monthly Prizes worth RM40,000:

    • 1 x First Prize: RM4,800
    • 1 x Second Prize: RM3,600
    • 1 x Third Prize: RM1,500
    • 7 x Consolation Prize: RM500

    To take part, you just need to head to a BHPetrol station with a BHPetromart, spend a minimum of RM20, keep the receipt and then head to the Paul Tan’s Automotive News Facebook page and hit on the Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest tab to answer the questions and submit your entry.

    bhpetrol steps1

    You can take part as many times as you like to help increase your chances of winning! Watch the video above to look for clues that will help you answer the questions. Remember, you have until November 23 to submit your entries for the final round. Both Round 1 and Round 2 have received an overwhelming response, so for those who submitted entries, remember to keep your receipts and stay tuned for the results! Results for each of the monthly contest will be revealed on paultan.org before 31 Dec.

    The BHPetrol Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest is exclusively brought to you by paultan.org and the BHPetrol Infiniti Advanced 2x premium fuel, giving you more mileage, more savings and more power from its 800 ppm double dose of German additives. BHPetrol (marketed under Bousted Petroluem Marketing Sdn Bhd) is a member of the home-grown Boustead Group of Companies.

     
     
  • RON 95 and diesel fuel subsidies to end in December

    Malaysian_Fuel_Prices_Subsidies_November_2014

    Yes folks, the time has finally come. Or will come, to be more precise. Subsidies for RON 95 and diesel fuels will end from December 1 onwards, according to the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Minister Datuk Hasan Malek in a report by The Star.

    When that happens, the pricing structure for unsubsidised RON 95 and diesel fuels will switch to a floating system that is similar to how RON 97 price is currently managed. Just a few days ago, RON 97 dropped 20 sen to RM2.55 per litre.

    Based on the table above (which is displayed at all petrol stations), the prices of RON 95 and diesel, excluding Government subsidies, are RM2.43 and RM2.32 per litre, respectively. But on the other hand, falling crude oil prices – now at a four year low – should lead to lower prices soon.

    UPDATE: How will the new unsubsidised prices be calculated?

    KPDNKK has released an official statement explaining the new “managed float” pricing structure. Essentially, it will monitor the average fuel prices for the first 19 days of each month to see if it warrants a revision. If there’s a marked change, the average price of the last 10/11 days of the month will dictate the pump prices for the following month.

    For example, the average market price of RON 95 from November 1 to 19 is RM2.27, which is lower than the current (subsidised) price of RM2.30. As such, the average market price between November 20 and 30 will then be the pump price for the month of December. This is similar to how RON 97’s market-derived price is managed.

    So the question is, will this lead to cheaper fuel for us all in the long run? And once floated, how often will the prices change? This year alone, RON 97 price has been revised six times, ranging from RM2.55 currently to RM2.90 in March. The changes were more frequent at the start of the year (when prices went up) but tapered off more recently (when the prices went down).

    What do you think of this news – are we ready for floated fuel prices? And what will happen when crude oil prices inevitably go up again? Tell us in the comments below.

     
     
  • BMW to build engines in Thailand from Dec – report

    BMW 320d Gran Turismo 12

    The Bangkok Post and just-auto have reported that BMW is constructing a 600 million baht (RM61.4 million) engine plant in Thailand with its local partner, Powertech Engine Assembly. The engine plant will be the carmaker’s first in ASEAN.

    BMW director Klaus Draeger told local reporters that the facility is expected to start assembling four-cylinder diesel engines in December, and four-cylinder petrol engines towards the end of 2016.

    The Munich-based carmaker already has a vehicle assembly plant in Rayong, where it makes motorcycles as well as the MINI Countryman. An additional nine million euro (RM37.9 million) is planned for investment here to boost capacity to 10,000 cars a year.

     
     
 

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