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  • SPYSHOTS: W213 E-Class prototype loses some camo

    The W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class prototypes that have been going around on test have dropped some of the heavy camo they’ve been wearing.

    Seen here is a “sport grille” unit with most of the side camo gone, with only some tape covering the crease lines on the side of the body.

    Since Mercedes-Benz have already revealed what the headlamp and taillamp of the new E-Class will look like we can pretty much piece how the car will look like together in our mind.

    It’s only a matter of time before some graphic artist like Theophilus Chin whips out a rendering of the car based on the headlamp and taillamp images released.

    Our spy photographers also sent another interior shot together with this latest set. As you can see the interior design is heavily influenced by the W222 S-Class, but the E-Class makes do with just one large COMAND display as the instrument cluster uses physical dials instead of a digital cluster.

    There’s no clock in between the four air cond vents on the centre of the dashboard as it’s been moved lower below the climate control panel. The climate control panel itself appears to be lifted from the C-Class.

     
  • What is Euro 4M? Caltex answers questions regarding new RON 97 petrol grade and Techron

    Caltex Euro 4M RON 97

    With the mandated introduction of Euro 4M RON 97 petrol in stations across the country yesterday, September 1, there are bound to be many questions by the public regarding the new grade, which replaces the current Euro 2M fuel but retailing at RM2.35 per litre – 10 sen cheaper than Euro 2M RON 97 last month – as part of the new September fuel prices.

    Chevron Malaysia Limited, which markets fuel and lubricants under the Caltex brand in Malaysia, recently held a media workshop explaining the finer points behind Euro 4M petrol, roping in product engineering lead Greg Engler to give an insight into the specifications and benefits of the new Caltex Premium 97 with Techron.

    First things first – Euro 4M fuel is a bit of a misnomer. The European emissions standards, as its name suggests, only concern the stuff coming out of your vehicle’s tailpipe, and have nothing to do with the stuff that you put in it.

    Instead, European fuels are regulated through a separate set of standards – EN 228:2004 in the case of “Euro 4” petrol. These allow vehicles equipped with the proper emissions control equipment to meet the emissions standards they were designed for. Among others, EN 228:2004 calls for a sulphur content of 50 parts per million (ppm) – 10 times less than Malaysia’s current “Euro 2” standard of 500 ppm.

    Caltex Euro 4M RON 97 Q&A 3

    Click to enlarge

    The low sulphur content is important, as the combustion of sulphur-rich fuel produces sulphur dioxide, which reacts with water and oxygen in the atmosphere to create sulphuric acid and sulphurous acid, components of acid rain.

    Cars with catalytic converters have issues with sulphur, as well, as it can cause catalyst poisoning. The element tends to coat the precious metals of the catalyst – used to convert harmful carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and unburnt hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and water – compromising the component’s effectiveness over time.

    This is a particular problem with the advent of newer emissions standards, which have strict durability requirements – cars designed for Euro 4 regulations must be still be able to meet the standards for harmful emissions at least 100,000 km or five years from when the vehicle leaves the showroom. It’s clear to see, then, how the right fuel will go a long way towards helping cars achieve these stringent requirements.

    Apart from sulphur content, Euro 4M fuel also calls for the amount of benzene, a carcinogen, to be reduced from 5.0 mass percent to 3.5 mass percent. Reid vapour pressure (RVP) is also down, so fuel volatility is lower too – this reduces the likelihood of the fuel vaporising, particularly in our blazing climate. In turn, this reduces the evaporative emissions that can cause health problems and air pollution.

    Caltex Euro 4M RON 97 Q&A 14

    The massive reduction of sulphur and benzene present a problem, however, as the removal of these components – particularly benzene – affects the octane rating of the fuel. To raise the octane rating back to RON 97, the additives that increase the octane rating in petrol have to be further reformed.

    Why no Euro 4M RON 95? Well, Chevron’s refinery in Singapore – which exports Caltex fuel to Malaysia – doesn’t yet have the capability to produce low sulphur fuels in the volume required for such a big market like us (it can for the Singaporean market, which is a fraction of the size). The conglomerate is investing in the plant to build up its capacity, not just for Malaysia, but for other countries like the Philippines that are also moving towards cleaner fuel.

    And no, Engler assured us that Euro 4M fuel is not in any way inferior to Euro 4 fuel used in Europe and other regions, merely one that has been localised to Malaysian climate and driving conditions, something other countries do as well. Certain nations even have different fuel types for different seasons, as what fuel works in colder climates will not necessarily work so well in warmer ones.

    With that out of the way, Chevron moved to something proprietary to its own fuels. Techron is a patented fuel detergent additive that is exclusive to Caltex – as well as Chevron and Texaco brands also under the Chevron Corporation – and is incorporated in all grades of fuel.

    Caltex Euro 4M RON 97 Q&A 7

    First introduced 20 years ago, Techron consists of polyetheramine that is claimed to prevent deposit formation at a molecular level. Contaminant build-up happens when fuel is caught in places it’s not supposed to be, such as in the tiny fuel injector holes, on top of intake valves (when fuel sprayed onto the valves dries up from the heat of combustion) or in the combustion chamber itself as a byproduct of an explosion.

    Over time, these deposits gradually accumulate and decrease the engine’s efficiency, reducing power, affecting drivability and increasing the risk of knocking. Techron is claimed to clean vital engine parts of these deposits, ensuring that the engine runs at its best.

    To test this, engineers took a borescope and ran it through the fuel injector and spark plug holes to evaluate the cleanliness of the valves, ports and piston tops of over 100 vehicles in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, from both Caltex users and those of competitive fuels.

    Caltex Euro 4M RON 97 Q&A 10

    Engler showed us one car he was particularly proud with: a beat-up 1999 Proton Satria with 440,291 km on the clock, belonging to a proud Caltex user. When the boffins peered into its 1.8 litre engine, they couldn’t believe what they saw – intake valves and piston tops said to be “immaculate,” with a average intake valve deposit rating of 9.6 out of 10. While the engineers took the owner’s word (that it had never been overhauled) for it, the results were said to be par for the course for the Caltex users surveyed.

    A similar assessment was done in the United States, using two Ford Focuses to test three fuel types – one with no detergent additives, one with a lower quality additive and one with Techron. The cars were run 24/7 for 80,000 km, with a borescope inspection conducted every 16,000 km. Again, the petrol with Techron aced the test, scoring intake valve deposit ratings of nearly 10 for the duration of the evaluation.

    So, that’s the new Caltex Euro 4M RON 97 petrol with Techron for you. Have you given the new, cleaner high-octane petrol a try yet? Sound off in the comments section below.

     
  • SPIED: Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe in production form

    Spy-Shots of Cars

    Our European spy photographers have managed to secure a few snaps of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. The coupe SUV in production form looks just as how you’d expect it to, having been previewed by the Concept GLC Coupe earlier this year.

    No surprises here – the production version loses the concept’s tiny wing mirrors, hidden door handles and vertically-stacked quad tailpipes. The rest of it stays true to the “near-production-standard study,” down to the dramatic roofline and slim taillights.

    The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe is based on the X205 GLC, itself built on the W205 C-Class platform. It’s set to take on the BMW X3-based X4 coupe SUV. Based on these pictures, which one would you favour most?


    Mercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupe

     
  • 2016 Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM racer fully sketched out

    2016-mercedes-amg-c-63-dtm-sketch-1

    The 2016 Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM race car has been teased in a series of official sketches prior to its appearance at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. With 2015 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) season still ongoing, it looks like the folks at Stuttgart just couldn’t wait to start scaring the opposition.

    And scare them they certainly will – just look at the drawings! Up front, the brand’s next-gen DTM challenger looks set to sport an intimidating front apron that houses the enlarged air intake – said assembly should complement the widened wheel arches that form part of the aggressive body kit.

    2016-mercedes-amg-c-63-dtm-sketch-5

    Elsewhere, the sketches show deep-set bonnet vents, a monumental rear wing and a diffuser replete with the most extroverted square-shaped air vents that extend from the aforementioned wheel arches. “The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe will again set new standards for driving dynamics and design. So, the vehicle provides the ideal basis for our DTM car,” said head of Mercedes-AMG DTM, Ulrich Fritz.

    For 2016, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM race machine will again be powered by a series-mandated naturally-aspirated 4.0 litre V8 engine with a maximum output of 500 hp. From 2017 onwards, however, DTM will be harmonised with Japanese touring car series Super GT under a new Class One category, which calls for a 2.0 litre turbocharged racing motor with 600 hp.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe

     
  • SPYSHOTS: 2016 B9 Audi S4 snapped undisguised

    2016 Audi S4 Spyshots-12

    The new B9 Audi A4 was revealed in June, and we now have spyshots of a hotter S4 variant undergoing summer testing in the Alps, with no camouflage on the mule. A Frankfurt motor show debut later this month, perhaps?

    The black coloured test mule seen here wears a more aggressive lower bumper than the A4 S line, which is already sportier in appearance than the standard A4. Compared to the S line, the S4’s bumper has larger air intakes, and there appears to be a vent at the outer edges of the intakes. Zoom into the lower edge of the single-frame grille and you’ll see that the lines turn outward. Yup, stuff that you have to squint to see.

    At the back, a diffuser-like element and twin-pipes on each side of the bumper (double that of the standard car) mark it out as a higher-performance variant.

    Click to enlarge

    In the B9 A4’s petrol engine range, there’s a 1.4 TFSI with 150 PS/250 Nm and a pair of 2.0 TFSI units, one with 190 hp and 320 Nm and another with 252 hp and 370 Nm. The more powerful of the duo does 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds in the sedan and 6.0 seconds flat in the A4 Avant, with quattro AWD and the S tronic dual-clutch gearbox.

    That’s the bar the S4 will have to beat with a comfortable margin. With the outgoing B8 S4 pushing out 333 PS, a figure of around 350 PS from a V6 turbo engine would a realistic expectation. Stay tuned.

     
  • MEGA GALLERY: G11 BMW 7 Series in detail

    bmw-730d-onlocation-105

    BMW have released a massive photo gallery of the new 7 Series from their currently on-going international press drive event in Portugal. The photos release are more detailed than what was released during the unveiling so you can have a closer look at the new iDrive and tablet.

    There are four models in the gallery – a short wheelbase 730d as well as long wheelbase 740Le, 750Li xDrive and 750Li Individual models. All four models carry the standard exterior though – we’re trying to get a hold of pix of the M Sport model which was a feature at the North American edition of the same press event.

    In the meanwhile please enjoy the gallery after the jump.
    Read The Full Story ›

     
  • VIDEO: Korean Sonata vs US Sonata in head-on crash; is there a difference between local and export models?

    Ever wondered if your local car manufacturer intentionally produces better quality cars for the export market versus the domestic ones for local consumption? Well, the Koreans certainly do. According to a survey, 74% of the respondent believe that Hyundai’s overseas models are of better quality than the local ones (in Korea).

    Well, the company then held a head-on collision test demonstration recently, pitting a Korean-market Sonata against a US-made Sonata. Essentially, it wanted to prove to local audiences that there is no difference between the stiffness of the Sonata’s domestic and US models.

    Two Sonata 2.0 Turbo models were used in the demonstration – one from the local Korean market and another that was shipped from the US. Apparently, the cars were chosen at random, and the palm prints you see on the cars are there to reassure the audience that no reinforcements or strengthening was performed after it was received.

    Fast forward to the actual collision, both cars were sent hurtling towards each other at 56 km/h, in front of a packed audience that consisted of local Sonata owners and members of the media as well.

    Judging from the pictures, it looks like both cars suffered an equal amount of damage. So kudos to Hyundai for doing something like this to reassure their customers that there is virtually no difference in quality when it comes to its standards on manufacturing for both local and export models.

    But of course, while this test proves that the Sonatas sold in Korea and the US have similar crash safety standards, the same does not apply for all brands and models. The Mitsubishi Triton, for instance, received a full five-star ANCAP and ASEAN NCAP crash safety ratings in its Australian-market guise, while the Malaysian models scored just four stars.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Hyundai AE hybrid captured once more

    Spy-Shots of Cars

    Development work on the Hyundai AE hybrid looks to be gaining momentum, as evident from the latest batch of spyshots you see here. First caught on camera back in early 2015, the Korean carmaker’s dedicated Prius-fighter is now slated for a 2016 debut with sales set commence soon after.

    Annoyingly, the test mules here still feature plenty of camouflage, preventing us from forming a more solid conclusion as to how it might look like when the wraps come off. However, there’s no denying that the Hyundai AE will be styled along the lines of its target, even featuring the same wedge-like silhouette.

    Click to enlarge images.

    Look closer and one might even be able to distinguish the front grille, replete with horizontal bars. Also, this particular prototype appears to be equipped with spiral-themed wheels that are, oddly enough, featured on one of the two mules. The rest of the car, sadly, remains shielded for now.

    The Hyundai AE HEV is slated to ride atop the same platform that will underpin the next-generation Hyundai i30/Elantra. Also, reports are indicating that a different body style might be spawned off the shape you see here – expect a smaller, Prius v-like model.

    Spy-Shots of Cars

    Under the bonnet, the Hyundai AE HEV is understood to be powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that’s coupled to an electric motor juiced up by a lithium-ion battery pack. Aside from said variant, a plug-in hybrid model is also expected to follow – a notion further confirmed by the presence of what looks to be a concealed flap ahead of the driver’s door on of the two mules.

    Comparing this batch of photos to previous ones also reveals a different interior layout. While older shots feature two-toned fabric seats, this particular mule here appears to have been equipped with monotone-schemed leather/fabric combination seats instead. Perhaps said difference in colour scheme would indicate varying trim levels? We’ll know more for sure as its debut date approaches.

    GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

     
  • 2016 Kia Sportage – full details released; 1.6L turbo

    All-New Kia Sportage (1)

    After the exterior of the new 2016 Kia Sportage was revealed last week, Kia has now released full details of its fourth-generation C-segment crossover, refreshed and ready to take on class stalwarts like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson square in the face. It will make its world premiere at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks.

    Even if there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a Sportage – the big blown wheel arches, tall beltline, C-shaped window line and humongous C-pillar see to that – this new one marks quite a departure from the current car. The headlights have been separated from the “tiger nose” grille and moved up high, pod-like in the style of Porsche’s SUVs, while the slim, sharp tail lights are connected via a thin chrome strip.

    The resulting mix of sharp lines and curved surfaces are said to have been inspired by fighter jets, and you can opt to dress it up even further with a GT Line pack, which adds “ice cube” fog lights inside large gloss black inserts in the front bumper, aluminium-look skid plates and dual exhaust mufflers. The new Sportage is available with 16-, 17- and 19-inch alloy wheel options, with a unique 19-inch design exclusive to the GT Line.

    All-New Kia Sportage (2)

    The new looks hide dimensions that are little changed from the outgoing car. Length is longer by 40 mm to 4,480 mm, but the new Sportage’s 1,635 mm height and 1,855 mm width are unchanged. The wheelbase, however, is 30 mm longer at 2,670 mm, with a slight shift in proportions (20 mm longer front overhang, 10 mm shorter rear overhang) claimed to add a more raked look to the car.

    We’ve seen the interior of the car, which we’ve shown you earlier today – it’s certainly a more sophisticated, driver-oriented cabin, with a design that’s reminiscent of the new Carens and Sorento, but with a canted centre console. The dash top stitching and liberal use of brightwork add to the occasion, and Kia promises a far greater proportion of soft touch plastics, as well as added soundproofing for improved refinement.

    The optional 7.0- and 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment systems with navigation sit between the two centre air vents and helps reduce dashboard control clutter. Apart from an all-black cabin, buyers can also opt from a couple of two-tone options, and GT Line customers receive a flat-bottomed steering wheel, piano black fascia and alloy pedals.

    New Sportage Interior 01

    Also on the options list are a suite of connectivity systems, a JBL eight-speaker sound system, a wireless charging system for smartphones, a Hyundai Sonata-esque proximity-activated Smart Power Tailgate and a panoramic sunroof now 104 mm longer.

    Despite dimensions only being mildly rejigged, Kia claims improved head- and legroom for both front and rear passengers; the latter despite an identical overall height. A lower floor and raised rear hip point ensures a more natural seating posture at the rear, and a lowered A-pillar base, thinner pillars, repositioned side mirrors and a taller rear windscreen improved rear visibility. Boot space has also increased to 503 litres.

    Under the bonnet, you get a choice of three engines – the base 132 PS/161 Nm 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated GDI petrol mill is carried over from the current car, but the addition of a start-stop system, combined with the new car’s improved aerodynamics, promises a cut in fuel consumption and emissions. Also ported over is the 115 PS 1.7 litre CRDi turbodiesel.

    All-New Kia Sportage (3)

    Two engines are either new or improved, the most important of which concerns the 1.6 litre turbocharged T-GDI petrol engine. Adapted from the cee’d GT with modifications for improved efficiency, it puts out 177 PS and 265 Nm. The 2.0 R turbodiesel has also seen improvements for improved performance and NVH, as well as reduced nitrous oxide emissions; it’s available with either 136 PS/373 Nm and 184 PS/400 Nm outputs.

    New to the Sportage is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from the facelifted cee’d – it’s only available with the 1.6 litre T-GDI engine, along with a six-speed manual option. Other engines get a choice between manual and regular torque converter automatic ‘boxes, both six-speeders.

    Under the skin, the new Sportage’s increased use of ultra-high-strength (up to 51%) and hot-stamped steel improves torsional rigidity by 39%, while the suspension, steering and brakes have been revised for improved driving dynamics. Safety-wise, its arsenal now includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

     
  • Ford Mustang waiting list extends to 2017 in Australia

    2015_Ford_Mustang_Malaysia_ 009

    When it comes to the Ford Mustang, there’s always a special place for it in the heart of every driving enthusiast. As we reported earlier, nearly 2,000 orders have been registered for the latest Mustang in the UK, and now we have news from the land Down Under too.

    According to Ford Australia’s president and CEO Graeme Whickman, who was speaking to CarAdvice, pre-orders of the car have now stretched to almost a year long.

    “We have quite a long waiting list now,” Whickman said. “At this rate we’re out to October/November of next year in terms of the wait list, which is positive to have a wait list for a Ford product, but it does present a determined effort to make sure we don’t anger anybody by having a waiting list,” he added.

    The publication states that in May, Ford had confirmed that 2,000 Australian customers laid down a deposit for a Mustang, and surprisingly, another 1,000 orders have been chalked up in the past three months, which is truly staggering.

    2015_Ford_Mustang_Malaysia_ 015

    “We’re around the 3,000 mark at the moment. I don’t know where that will go. We haven’t advertised the vehicle, nobody’s driven the vehicle, we are months away from actually having the thing in the market, so who knows where it goes?” said Whickman.

    It seems that in Australia, the 5.0 litre V8 model is more popular than the 2.3 litre four-cylinder EcoBoost, while the automatic transmission is preferred over the manual. Also, Fastback coupe orders outnumber that for the convertible.

    In Australia, the Ford Mustang Fastback EcoBoost six-speed manual starts off at AUD$44,990 (RM133,388), while the V8 starts from AUD$54,990 (RM162,788). The six-speed automatic gearbox adds another AUD$2,500 (RM 7,394) to both variants, while the convertible body style will cost another AUD$6,500 (RM19,240). So basically, The flagship V8 convertible will cost you AUD$63,990 (RM 189,448).

    Here in Malaysia, meanwhile, the Mustang is open for booking, priced between RM435k-RM450k (EcoBoost) and RM550k-RM600k (V8). Makes you just want to ditch everything and move to Australia, right? Well, anyway, Whickman told the publication that demand for the EcoBoost variants should pick up when customers get to drive the car.

    S550 Ford Mustang 5.0L GT Fastback – Premium spec, Performance/Equipment Group 401A pack

     
 

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