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  • 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE – the hardcore beast

    Looks mean, doesn’t it? This is the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, and behind that beast of a face is the most track-capable Camaro ever and a new performance benchmark, Chevy says.

    It’s the ZL1, the fastest Camaro ever, beefed up using the track-focused 1LE formula. The resulting Camaro ZL1 1LE incorporates racing-based suspension and aero technologies, as well as exclusive Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only tyres. No changes to the 650 hp supercharged LT4 V8 engine and six-speed manual gearbox.

    “The track-focused 1LE package offers progressive levels of performance across the Camaro lineup, from the V6 1LE to the SS 1LE. But with the new ZL1 1LE, the progression takes a quantum leap – this is the ultimate track-day Camaro,” said Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser.

    General Motors says that in preliminary testing, the new Camaro ZL1 1LE was three seconds faster than the standard ZL1 Coupe (there’s also a ZL1 Convertible) around GM’s 4.7 km, 18-turn Milford Road Course test track. The improved track performance is driven by four key elements – aero, adjustable suspension, wheels/tyres and reduced weight.

    New aero features including a carbon fibre rear wing, specific air deflectors and dive planes on the front fascia produce grip-generating downforce to help the car stick harder and drive faster in turns.

    The ZL1 1LE features racing-derived, lightweight Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) dampers. The front ride height is adjustable with the front dampers, which are used with new, adjustable camber plates. The rear stabiliser bar also offers three-way adjustability. All of the components are designed for quick changes at the track and a quick return to street settings when the track day ends.

    New, lightweight forged aluminium wheels are an inch wider but an inch smaller in diameter, front and rear, than standard ZL1 rims. They are used with new Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tyres that deliver max lateral grip of 1.10g and warm up faster. The overall footprint grows by around 10% over the ZL1, but the rim/tyre package weighs about 3.3 kg less per corner.

    The lighter wheels and dampers, along with reduced thickness rear glass and a fixed-back rear seat, contribute to an approximately 27 kg lower kerb weight than a standard ZL1 Coupe. Brembo brakes, including red calipers with the 1LE logo, are also included. Other standard features include dual-zone climate control, Bose audio and heated/ventilated front seats and steering wheel.

    GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

    GALLERY: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe

  • 2017 Yamaha MT-10 Tourer in Europe this March

    When it was confirmed last year that Yamaha would not be producing a Tracer version of the much vaunted MT-10 with taller suspension and softer power delivery, some fans were disappointed, having to make do with the MT-09 Tracer. This situation has now been redressed with the launch of the 2017 Yamaha MT-10 Tourer in Europe, scheduled for March.

    Coming with ABS soft cases as standard, as well as a tall sports screen, the MT-10 Tourer is designed to fit a niche between the MT-10 naked sportsbike and the Yamah Tenere dual-purpose tourer. Other equipment designed to make Yamaha’s range-topping naked bike a sports tourer include hand-guards and a comfort seat for long miles in the saddle.

    Carrying a de-tuned version of the 998 cc Crossplane engine taken from the Yamaha R1, the MT-10 Tourer puts out a claimed 158 hp at 11,500 rpm and 111 Nm of torque at 9,000 rpm. This compares against the R1’s engine, which pumps out a claimed 200 hp at 13,500 rpm and 112 Nm of torque at 11,500 rpm.

    Standard equipment is Yamaha’s D-MODE that offers the rider three ride modes that are adjusted using throttle opening, ignition timing and fuel injection volume. Part of the MT-10 Tourer’s electronic package is traction control, and a quickshifter that allows for clutchless upshifts.

    Also in the MT-10 Tourer’s specifications package is cruise control, and an assist and slipper clutch that lowers lever clutch lever effort and prevents rear wheel hop under shifting down hard through the gearbox. As per the standard MT-1o, the Tourer comes with adjustable suspension front and rear, with the front end being propped up by KYB upside-down forks.

    There are three colour options available for Yamaha’s litre-class tourer – Tech Black, Race Blu and Night FLuo. An extensive range of accessories for the 210 kg MT-10 Tourer is also available from the official Yamaha catalogue.

    No pricing has been released for the 2017 Yamaha MT-10 Tourer as yet, but the base model Yamaha MT-10 retails in the UK for 10,799 pounds sterling (RM59,626). The MT-10 is not officially imported into Malaysia, and sources in Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia tell us Yamaha’s premier naked sportsbike is not likely to make it to our shores, less so the Tourer version.

    What Malaysian riders do get is the 849 cc, three-cylinder Yamaha MT-09 Tracer that produces 113 hp at 10,000 rpm and 93 Nm torque at 8,500 rpm, and retails for RM59,900. What do you think? Should Hong Leong Ymaha Malaysia bring in the MT-10 series bikes and take the fight to the Kawazaki Z1000, Suzuki GSX-R 1000, BMW S1000 R and the rest? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.

  • 2017 Mazda CX-9 2.5T now in Malaysia, from RM317k

    The new Mazda CX-9 was previewed in November last year, but it was only slated to make its proper market launch in June. However, due to popular demand, Bermaz is now offering the seven-seater SUV for sale, albeit in limited units and in Australian specification.

    They won’t be cheap, however, priced at RM316,788 for the two-wheel drive model and RM323,849 for all-wheel drive; prices are on-the-road inclusive of insurance, a new five-year/100,000 km warranty and a three-year free service package. By comparison, the previous-generation model retailed at RM296,646 in two-wheel drive form and RM337,748 with all-wheel drive.

    Those who balk at the decidedly upmarket pricing will take solace in the fact that the CX-9 is offered in GT guise – only the Azami variant is higher-specced – and hence will at least be comprehensively equipped. Standard kit includes bi-LED headlights (with halogen daytime running lights), LED fog lights, LED tail lights, a powered sunroof and 20-inch alloy wheels.

    Other features include keyless entry, push-button start, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, triple-zone auto climate control, leather upholstery, powered seats with driver’s side memory, a full-colour head-up display, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear side window blinds, a powered tailgate, an MZD Connect infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, a reverse camera and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

    Safety-wise, the CX-9 is fitted with six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) and two ISOFIX child seat anchors in the middle row. It also comes with i-ActivSense driver assists, including front and rear Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Assist (RCTA).

    Under the bonnet sits a 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G turbocharged petrol engine with i-stop automatic start/stop and an i-ELOOP capacitor-based energy recovery system, developing 228 hp at 5,000 rpm and 420 Nm at 2,000 rpm. A six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission is standard-fit. Fuel consumption is rated at 8.4 litres per 100 km on the two-wheel drive model and 8.8 litres per 100 km with all-wheel drive.

  • 2018 Volvo XC60 teased – new SUV to debut in Geneva

    Volvo has released more teaser images of its new XC60, which will debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show next month. These latest pics show the SUV’s side profile under a drape and zooms in on the car’s headlamps. They come after a single image from last week previewing the front end.

    The XC60 has been around in current form since 2008. It has been popular, but a replacement is needed. Volvo has said that it will reveal the second-gen XC60 and all-new XC40 SUVs this year, to join the handsome new XC90.

    From what we can see so far, the new XC60 will follow the design template set by its bigger brother, which is no bad thing. All the signature cues are present, including the ‘Thor hammer’ LED daytime running lights, a large rectangular grille and rear vertical LED lamps that trace the angle of the tailgate, which is very Volvo.

    Click to enlarge

    Expect a larger footprint and a longer wheelbase from Volvo’s midsize SUV, which like the XC90, will sit on the firm’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform.

    Should the cabin of the new XC60 also follow the style of the XC90 – large central screen with AC vents as wings, high centre console – it will bring fresh style into a segment that includes the new Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and the soon to be replaced BMW X3.

    Volvo’s downsizing push mean that the largest petrol and diesel engines will be 2.0 litre turbos. There could be a T5 three-cylinder hybrid system, too. Stay tuned.

  • VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo meets the Bugatti Chiron

    We’ve already provided you with a (deep) insight into how Bugatti builds its latest hypercar – the Chiron. Now, the company has released a new spot that features not only the 420 km/h speed machine, but also a living football legend – Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Obviously the company must’ve taken interest in the Real Madrid player after he posted a photo of himself seated in his own Veyron, and subsequently invited Ronaldo to try out the new car.

    Andy Wallace, Bugatti’s test driver and the man who set a speed record in a McLaren F1 back in 1998, explains that before a Chiron makes its way to a customer, it needs to be “tested and approved by a champion.” In this case, that would be Ronaldo.

    After what can only be described as a spirited test drive, Ronaldo appears to be totally enthralled with the Chiron, which is bad news for its awaiting “buyer.” This is one video you’ll want to watch till the end.

  • Volvo teases new model for Geneva – XC60, XC40?

    Volvo had previously announced that it will launch the all-new XC60 and XC40 this year, and it appears that one of the two will make its debut really soon. A teaser image was posted on the company’s official Facebook page recently, allowing with the all-important date – March 7, 2017.

    Not a lot to be taken away from the image, as it shows merely a small area of the SUV’s front face. Volvo’s signature “Thor’s hammer” daytime running lights are clearly seen here, along with a grille design that appears to be more contemporary take on the current XC60’s grille.

    Said grille features the Volvo Iron Mark emblem, which should accommodate plenty of sensors linked to the car’s safety and driver assist systems. Even through our best efforts of brightening the image, there’s not a lot more to be seen here (unless you enjoy garage doors).

    Aside from the launch date and image, Volvo is keeping mum on the details of its new model, which we suspect is likely the XC60. Previous spyshots of XC60 prototypes do appear to feature some of the cues seen here.

    Meanwhile, comparing spyshots of the XC40 to this image is a little harder, as the ones supplied to us don’t really provide a good look at some of the exterior details. Both cars are highly-anticipated models and Volvo should create quite a stir in Geneva, regardless of which SUV takes to the stage. Care to guess?

    GALLERY: All-new Volvo XC60 prototype

    GALLERY: All-new Volvo XC40 prototype

  • GALLERY: Bentley Continental GT Black Speed by Mulliner at new Kuala Lumpur flagship showroom

    Is the 642 PS, 840 Nm Bentley Continental GT Speed not quite special enough for you? Perhaps a limited edition, specifically the Black Speed by Mulliner for you, sir. Not to be confused with the Continental GT Speed Black Edition, which, despite the inverting of name, is also based upon the GT Speed, but which has its own cosmetic distinctions.

    Starting with the GT Speed as a base, the aforementioned 642 PS and 840 Nm of torque come from the familiar twin-turbocharged W12 engine, which is channeled to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which propels the four-seater coupe from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, onwards to a top speed of 331 km/h.

    Visual distinguishing elements include the gloss red body kit, along with hand-painted red fine lines along its doors and rear haunches. The marque’s Sports Directional alloy wheel is finished in gloss black, and “Black Speed” badges just behind the front wheel arches denote this limited edition version; just 20 units are to be made, and are exclusively for customers in South East Asia and Australasia.

    At least as much attention has been lavished upon the Black Speed’s interior as its exterior, and the cabin features Bentley’s first ever red finish for its ‘Engine Spin’ machined aluminium fascia panels, which feature on the dashboard, instrument cluster surrounds, and centre console, among others.

    A red 12 o’clock marker band on the leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel adds a sporting flair to the helm, while red leather panel inserts also feature along the dashboard sides and door trim, with quilted leather on the seats and on the door cards; red contrast stitching is a recurring motif, and ‘Black Speed’ is inscribed unto all four headrests.

    The arrival of the GT Black Speed by Mulliner also marks the opening of Bentley Kuala Lumpur’s new flagship showroom along Jalan Pinang in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, under the custody of Wearnes Quest.

    “When we took on the franchise in 2008, our vision was to strengthen the brand presence with the establishment of Bentley Kuala Lumpur as a city centre landmark. We did that with the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur gallery eight years ago, and today marks another milestone for us,” said Jerry Lee, managing director of Wearnes Quest.

    The new flagship retail outlet occupies a 6,400 sq ft space, that includes lounges in which customers can sample the materials and combinations that can be specified when configuring their own Bentley.

    “The new showroom has been designed to give our customers a bold, clear and contemporary vision of the Bentley brand, and is finished with the same level of luxury for which our cars are renowned,” said David Jackson, regional manager of Bentley Motors Asia Pacific.

    Located next to the recently opened Aston Martin showroom which is also under Wearnes’ care, Bentley Kuala Lumpur is located at Lot 1.1, Ground Floor, Etiqa Twins, 11 Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur.

  • Tariffs for comprehensive motor insurance to be lifted in July, full liberalisation in 2019 – PIAM

    The Phased Liberalisation of the Motor and Fire Tariffs announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in June last year is a game changer for the insurance industry, and detariffication will impact almost everyone – those with home loans, vehicle owners and business owners nationwide. It’s a major shift for the insurance industry, as motor and fire classes account for 65% of the general insurance market.

    In the very near future, how much one pays for insurance will no longer be determined by fixed price lists, but by his or her risk profile. This risk-based assessment is already present in many countries, and it “rewards” those who are perceived to be low risk with lower premiums, vice versa. It is hoped that this will incentivise consumers to improve their risk profile. There will also be increased competition among insurance companies, which will be free to adopt market-based pricing.

    The first phase started in July 2016. “In the first phase of liberalisation which started from July last year, insurers have been allowed to introduce new motor and fire products, and price them at market rates. These new products are subject to a review of the policy wordings, definitions and terminologies by PIAM to ensure consistency and avoid confusion among consumers. Subsequent approval from BNM on the pricing is required before the products are launched to the public,” General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) CEO Mark Lim explained.

    From L-R: PIAM deputy chairman Chua Seck Guan, PIAM chairman Antony Lee

    The second stage, which will start from this July, will see rates for Motor Comprehensive and Motor Third Party Fire and Theft products liberalised. BNM opines that current rates for comprehensive motor insurance are close to technical market rates, and there should be no sharp adjustments once the tariffs are removed.

    However, Motor Third Party insurance will continue to be regulated, as this segment is currently “substantially underpriced” and immediate detariffication will result in a sharp price hike. Payouts are higher than premiums collected (for every RM1 of premium received, insurers are paying between RM1.30 to RM3.00 in claims, PIAM says) and current prices are unsustainable in the long term. Expect a gradual increase in prices for third party insurance.

    PIAM has pledged to work closely with BNM to ensure an orderly transition to a liberalised environment. Shopping around and comparing motor insurance products with different prices and features will be alien to consumers, which makes education key.

    Click to enlarge

    PIAM chairman Antony Lee says that a National Consumer Education Campaign will be rolled out soon to raise awareness on the phased liberalisation with focus on its objectives, benefits and expected outcomes.

    Lee, who is also CEO of AIG Malaysia, added that it would be important for consumers to be aware of their insurance needs and risk priorities so that they can make informed decisions given the wide choice of products and covers. Consumer engagement and empowerment will be the key differentiating factors in an open and highly competitive marketplace, he said.

    Speaking to reporters at PIAM’s 2016 industry results media briefing yesterday, Lee said that a possible challenge facing insurers when detariffication happens is if consumers simply opt for the lowest priced product without taking into account the amount of cover. Price driven consumers must remember that “you get what you pay for,” he said, adding that if all goes well, full liberalisation will happen in 2019.

    More details will be needed, especially in the risk assessment part. What’s certain is that it’s interesting times ahead for both the industry and consumers.

  • Ferrari SF70H – Scuderia’s 2017 Formula 1 car debuts

    Scuderia Ferrari has unveiled its 2017 Formula 1 car – the SF70-H – which replaces last year’s SF16-H. According to the team, the new car strikes a right compromise between downforce and aerodynamic resistance, while meeting the new regulations imposed.

    Unlike Mercedes-AMG Petronas’s W08 EQ Power+, the “shark fin” on top of the Ferrari’s engine is by no means discreet in its appearance, similar to other 2017 F1 cars like the Renault R.S. 17, Sauber C-36 Ferrari and Force India VJM 10. Nonetheless, the car is wider, lower and fitted with wider tyres as per 2017 rules.

    Other cues include the complex aero appendages ahead of the air intakes on the unusually shaped sidepods, thumb-tip nose, mini wing on the fin and a redesigned engine air intake roll-hoop just behind the driver. The car’s livery also gets tweaked to accommodate the new engine cover, with the fin being painted white, while the majority of the car is in Rosso Corsa.

    Power will come from a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 that revs to 15,000 rpm, and is mated to an eight-speed semi-automatic sequential and electronically-controlled gearbox with quick shift. The car’s front pushrod and rear pullrod suspension setup also gets an update, while the power-steering and braking systems have been upsized.

    No change in the team’s roster, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen returning to pilot the SF70H for the upcoming season.

  • ABB launches Terra 53 CJG EV fast charger – 43 kW AC and 50 kW DC, supports all charging standards

    Electrical equipment supplier ABB has launched its Terra 53 CJG fast charger in Malaysia today. The 50 kW DC/43 kW AC unit promises to charge electric vehicles from 30% to 80% in as little as 15 minutes, making it suitable for use at petrol stations and highway rest stops.

    The Terra 53 CJG is unique in that it supports the three main charging standards currently in use, including the widely-used Type 2 Mennekes AC plug, the Japanese Type 1 CHAdeMO DC plug used on the Malaysian-market Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Combined Charging System (CCS) DC plug that is a variation of Type 2.

    The first unit, installed at ABB Malaysia’s headquarters on Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Subang Jaya, is free for owners of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to use. It uses solar energy, making it 100% carbon neutral. The Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) counts it as part of its ChargEV charging network of over 150 stations, even though you don’t need the ChargEV card to use it.

    As yet, there are no concrete plans for GreenTech to use ABB’s chargers – it currently utilises lower-powered (up to 22 kW) Type 2 AC units from NewMotion. However, the government arm is currently in discussions to implement the company’s fast chargers along major highways, in order to minimise range anxiety on longer journeys.

    Of course, with more than double the power output and support for different charging standards, the Terra 53 CJG is significantly more expensive than the existing chargers – by “a factor of around 10, maybe,” according to ABB Malaysia’s electric vehicle infrastructure head John Steed.

    However, he contends that the charger provides a service that people would ultimately be willing to pay more for, and as the volume of electric vehicles increases, an operator would be able to recoup the investment more quickly – the shorter charging time would allow them to have more customers.

    The launch of the charger is part of ABB’s vision of encouraging the move towards sustainable mobility, in support of the government’s aim of reducing carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. Malaysia projects that a total of 100,000 electric cars, 100,000 electric scooters and 2,000 electric buses will be on the roads by 2020, supported by 125,000 electric charging stations across the country.


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