Thursday, 31 May 2007

All-New BMW X5

By Dr Long

BMW Malaysia launched the new BMW X5 SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW speak) for sale starting 30th May 2007. The all-new E70 BMW X5 is the second generation of premium, high-performance SUV to come from this Munich automaker, with the predecessor having debuted in 2001. The E53 X5 set the standard for on-road sporty driving dynamics then, yet capable to tackle off-road paths should the need arises.

Continuing this tradition of benchmark handling for a tall-SUV, the new X5 is fitted with BMW’s high tech permanent all-wheel drive system (xDrive), double wishbone front/ multi-link rear suspensions plus Active Steering. Standard on the BMW X5 4.8i is BMW’s AdaptiveDrive featuring active anti-roll bars and constantly variable damper settings. The result is a more composed, stable and ‘flatter’ ride/handling; whatever the road conditions, steering, braking and/or throttle inputs.

The all-new BMW X5 now wears run-flat tyres which allows a punctured rubber to continue rolling safely, up to 150km in fact, at speeds up to 80km/h, enough for any driver to get to his/her nearest or favourite tyre shop to rectify things. Other active safety features include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC+) which is a sum of Brake Drying, Brake Pre-Tensioning, Brake Fade Compensation and Hill Start Assist (think reverse version of Hill Descent Control).

In contrast to the new Audi Q7 launched last week, the new X5 delightfully – and practically – comes standard with a third row of seats which is good for two more passengers. These seats folds away, individually into the floor board, resulting in a larger and flat cargo area.

Three engine options are offered by BMW Malaysia with the BMW X5. The local flagship BMW X5 now beats with a 4.8L V8 petrol engine under its hood. This upgraded powerplant punches out a combo of 355hp/475Nm. The other petrol engine in the BMW X5 3.0si, is a ‘classical’ in-line six cylinder capable of 272hp/315Nm. The modern turbo-diesel X5 3.0d spins out the highest torque of the three siblings i.e. 500Nm starting at 2000rpm through to 2750rpm. Horsepower generated from oil burning is a respectable 218hp.

The retail prices on-the-road without insurance (with BMW Service Inclusive + Repair) for the new X5s are:
3.0si – RM548,000
3.0d – RM558,000
4.8i - RM888,000

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Naza-Brabus Centre Bangsar

The sole distributor and exclusive franchise holder for BRABUS in Malaysia and Singapore, Naza-Brabus Motor Sdn Bhd has officially opened its new Brabus centre at Jalan Ara in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

With almost 18,000 square feet of space, this 3-storey building houses BRABUS operations office, sales showroom, tuning centre, accessories & merchandise showcase, an audio visual showroom and a French lifestyle café. The spanking new outlet was officiated by Minister of Federal Territories, YB Dato’ Zulhasnan Rafique on May 17th 2007.

The opening of the new BRABUS landmark signifies the company’s confidence for the high end market’s growth and its commitment in bringing the full range of BRABUS automotive products and designer accessories, not merely as a distributor but as a complete one-stop centre.

“BRABUS is a symbol of lifestyle, especially for those who aspire and have achieved excellence and distinction in their lives,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Seri SM Nasimuddin SM Amin, Chairman of Naza Group of Companies. “Currently we have about 400 BRABUS owners in Malaysia and we will continue to provide the highest quality of customer service.”

To complement the huge investment of the new complex, Naza-Brabus have sent out staff for an intensive training so that every individual at this centre are well versed with instruments and gadgets in the vehicles. Further training and certification programs with BRABUS for 20 various skills personnel in all aspects of sales, after-sales and customer quality assurance ensure that target objectives are met.

“BRABUS is known for its lavish association with high technology, high performance and luxurious lifestyle,” said Tan Sri Nasimuddin. The luxury brand has been voted as “Best Brand 2007 in Tuning category” by readers of German’s leading automotive publication ‘Auto Motor und Sport’ for two consecutive years apart from holding the world’s fastest car record since 1997 with the latest BRABUS Rocket V12 S biturbo topping speeds of 365.7km/h! The BRABUS Rocket is ‘The World’s Fastest Street-Legal Sedan’ in 2006.

The new Brabus Bangsar Centre is targeted to be a lifestyle centre, a place of social gathering, on top of exploring tuning options and customizing your vehicle. The showroom can display up to 10 of BRABUS models from its Premier Line range to its highest range of high performance vehicles imported from the Brabus factory in Germany.

The BRABUS Premier Line launched early this year, is an entry level to the Brabus lifestyle where standard Mercedes-Benz are customized locally using imported Brabus accessories which are original and warranted. Part of the standard modification includes the BRABUS aerodynamic bodykit, exhaust system and monoblock rims.

Nevertheless, owners can further choose other Brabus range of customization that is both interior and exterior to build his own vehicle that is unique and reflecting of his image. The new centre would feature a wide showcase of imported Brabus accessories that motoring enthusiasts can choose and match to their vehicles (both Premier Line and Imported vehicles from Germany).

For the first time outside of Germany and in Asia, Naza-Brabus now offer enthusiastic owners the opportunity to tune standard Mercedes-Benzes for greater performance using Brabus technology right here in Malaysia. The performance upgrade would increase torque output by up to 15%. The required tuning would be done by trained Brabus specialist with warranty provided up to two years or 100,000 kilometres.

Brabus Centre Bangsar also features the Brabus Collection showcase ranging from clothing to caps to bags that suits men, women and children. The year round collection is in-line with the upmarket shopping haven that is Bangsar.

Further complementing the centre’s luxury and refined automobile lifestyle is an audio visual room, first of its kind for an automotive showroom. The following was developed in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, an internationally renowned luxury audio visual and telecommunication brand with 81 years of history in the making. The audio visual room would feature the latest and most exclusive lifestyle audio visual equipment that would satisfy the most distinctive individuals that appreciates the finer things in life. The room would also provide first time visitors the complete audio and visual experience to the Brabus brand. Another partnership established at the centre, is a little French café that would complement the high society lifestyle of Brabus owners.

The largest world-renowned tuner and specialist vehicle manufacturer that produces stimulating and exciting ultra-performance vehicle based on Mercedes-Benz, smart and Maybach models in now represented in the affluent suburb of Bangsar.

For further information, call 03-2287 3999 or visit

Saturday, 26 May 2007

2008 Kia Picanto

By Dr Long

The cute little Kia Picanto has undergone a mid-cycle facelift to refresh its looks and renew buyers’ interest. Nicking aesthetic cues from the Kia Cee’d, minor updates are made on the interior. Meanwhile, the front now sports a visibly ‘softer’ visage, mostly contributed by a set of rounder headlamps and slimmer-lower-wider grille. Apart from a redesigned rear bumper, the rear light’s elements has been rearranged. The 2008 Picanto is now 40 mm longer - a total length of 3,535 mm – with most of the extra length contributed by the extended frontal fascia and slightly bulkier rear bumper. Engine range and wheelbase however, remain the same.

With NAZA assembling and rebadging the pre-facelift Picanto as the Suria, and likely committed to a certain contracted number of CKD packs from South Korea, it is unlikely that Malaysians will see the facelifted Picanto as the ‘new’ Naza Suria anytime soon.

Friday, 25 May 2007

New Audi Q7 launched in Malaysia

By Dr Long

The New Audi Q7 was launched at Euromobil’s Audi Hangar in Glenmarie, Malaysia on 24th May 2007. In unveiling this new luxury SUV, Euromobil Chairman likened this new Audi to be “a unique combination of sportiness and ruggedness crossed with luxury and comfort”. Datuk Syed Hisham Syed Wazir also quipped that the Q7 will “appeal to a niche group of customers who value exclusive character and class”.

“Q” stands for an entirely new model line; in the same vein as Audi’s A, S and RS nomenclature. The alphabet “Q” also refers to Audi’s famous “quattro” permanent four-wheel-drive. Meanwhile, the suffix “7” indicates that the model lies between the A6 and the A8 in the Audi automobiles range. Above it all, the Audi Q7 embodies sporty on-road character as well as off-road capabilities.

Conceptualized as a functional Audi Pikes Peak Quattro concept, it eventually became the Audi Q7 which debuted at the Frankfurt Motorshow 2005. The Audi Q7 has garnered two international awards in the motoring world. The first is the “Golden Steering Wheel” award for the best new car of the year 2005 from a German Sunday newspaper. The second was awarded through a reader survey by a leading German SUV publication as the “Four-Wheel-Drive Car of the Year 2006”.

The Q7 incorporates the latest-generation Adaptive Air Suspension – a combination of air suspension and electronically controlled damping system – resulting in a perfect synthesis of sporty handling and supple ride comfort. For those who like to vary their drive experience, they can select either ‘Dynamic’ setting for a harder, sportier drive or ‘Comfort’ for a smoother ride. For the less initiated, he or she may just dial-in ‘Auto’ setting via Audi’s MMI interface.

Two variants of the new Audi Q7 are available through Euromobil and its dealers. The 3.0 V6 TDI punches out 233bhp at 4000rpm and 500Nm from 1750 – 2750rpm. The petrol-powered 4.2 V8 FSI is capable of 350bhp at 6800rpm and 440Nm at 3500rpm. Audi Q7 3.0 TDI retails at RM580,200 while the flagship 4.2L V8 FSI is tagged at RM750,200. All prices quoted are for 5-seater versions, on-the-road without insurance.

Full press release below:

Audi Q7: The performance SUV

Sportiness and power
The new Audi Q7 sets new standards in the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. It ingeniously combines sportiness and versatility, sophisticated technology and the luxury of a premium-class vehicle. On the road it excels with sporty driving performance and dynamism; off-road its uncompromising propulsion is dazzling. The Audi Q7 is the performance SUV from the creator of quattro.

The very design epitomises the character of the Audi Q7. The broad, fluent curve of the roof and the distinctive high lateral body surface in relation to the flat window area reflect the characteristic dynamism of the brand. The pronounced tapering of the front section and the powerful rear end with its sharply sloping D-pillars fashioned in a coupe-like silhouette. Other typical elements of the Audi formal idiom are the shoulder line and the dynamic line, which define the side section. The paintwork option of two contrasting colours – Silver, matt and Platinum Grey, matt – creates an elegant look. Eleven basic colours are available.

Body design
The Audi Q7 measures 5,086 millimetres in length and has a wheelbase of 3,002 mm. These dimensions give it the lead in the SUV contest. Some 1,983 mm wide and 1,737 mm high, it provides incomparable spaciousness for its passengers. It also offers a new dimension in versatility: no less than 28 seating and loading configurations are possible in the Audi Q7.

Up to seven people can be accommodated in three rows of seats. The seats in the second row can be individually adjusted for fore/aft movement if desired; here passengers will find the longest legroom in this class. Both rear seat rows can be folded flat to provide a luggage area of 2,035 litres if required, without the seats having to be removed. As a 5-seater version the Audi Q7 boasts a load capacity of 775 litres – the best in its class. The 6-seater is fitted with two luxurious individual seats in the second row.

Engine range

When the Audi Q7 is launched, customers will have the choice of two powerful engines: the new 4.2-litre V8 with FSI petrol direct injection develops 257 kW (350 bhp) and achieves a maximum torque of 440 Newton-metres, available at 3,500 rpm.

The 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engine uses a latest-generation common rail injection system with piezo inline injectors. In this way it combines its high performance of 171 kW (233 bhp) and powerful torque of 500 Nm – available from just 1,750 rpm – with high refinement and excellent economy.
Also new is the 3.6-litre FSI, a V6 petrol engine, developing 206 kW/280 bhp and 360 Nm of torque, the latter remaining constant from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. This engine can be ordered for the Audi Q7 starting from the second half of the year. Power transmission for all three engine versions comes from a 6-speed tiptronic with manual shift option.

For the Audi Q7 to be equipped as standard with quattro permanent four-wheel drive is naturally a matter of honour. Its centre differential conveys power to all four wheels – both on-road and off-road. With its immediate demand-based distribution of torque, quattro technology provides maximum traction and lateral stability – the prerequisites for optimum driving dynamics and motoring safety. This drive concept has proven its qualities for more than 25 years: over two million production Audi models have left the assembly line with this technology and countless victories have been notched up on the racetrack and in rallies by virtue of this system.

Like the Audi RS 4 and the Audi S8, the Audi Q7 features the latest-generation self-locking differential with asymmetric/dynamic torque split. The standard split between front and rear axle is 40 : 60. Also thanks to virtually balanced axle load distribution, this technology engenders slightly sporty, tail-heavy characteristics, even better agility and steering precision that remains practically free of torque steer.


The chassis of the Audi Q7 excels with its sophisticated all-round qualities. All four wheels are suspended independently in an elaborate double wishbone construction. Most of the axle components are made of aluminium. The steel-spring suspension and twin-tube shock absorbers are designed for sporty driving and superior comfort, even off-road. The tilted position of the rear spring and shock absorber unit reduces overall height and creates more room at the rear.

The Audi Q7 is equipped as standard with 235/60 tyres on 18-inch alloy wheels; tyres on the 4.2 FSI are 255/55 in size. All versions of the performance SUV can be fitted optionally with 19-inch or 20-inch wheels.

The electronic stabilisation program ESP includes numerous new functions. One of these is hill descent assist, an additional special off-road mode that optimises brake performance and traction especially on loose ground. Last but not least, if the Audi Q7 is fitted with the optional towing bracket, the trailer stabilisation system reduces the risk of a fishtailing trailer by means of targeted brake intervention.

Available as an option is adaptive air suspension. The combination of air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system represents the perfect synthesis of sporty handling and supreme ride comfort. The standard dynamic roll stabilisation system reduces body sway about the longitudinal axis to a minimum.

With adaptive air suspension ground clearance is variable, starting at 180 millimetres and extending to 240 mm in lift mode. The off-road mode, with 205 mm ground clearance and suitably adapted damper control, allows travel on challenging terrain. The loading sill has a particularly convenient feature: it can be lowered to enable heavy objects to be loaded effortlessly into the luggage area.

Operation and assistance systems

High-tech components in the new Audi Q7 are by no means restricted to drivetrain and suspension – they also feature in the controls. The Audi Q7 is equipped as standard with the innovative MMI operating concept – much praised on the A8 and A6. It can be extended in two stages to include a variety of additional functions.

A number of innovative driver assistance systems, introduced for the first time in standard production, are available on request. These include Audi side assist with radar technology for lane-changing manoeuvres, the Audi parking system advanced with optical and acoustic guidance and rear-view camera and the latest-generation Audi cruise control with braking guard, which decelerates the Audi Q7 and brings it to a standstill if required.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

New Nissan Latio Sport and Sedan

By Dr Long

The much belated 2004/05 Nissan Tiida and Tiida Latio (Versa in the U.S. market) will be officially available in Malaysia by June 2007. With the name shortened to just ‘LATIO’, the car buying public can opt for either Sport (hatchback) or Sedan (saloon) versions. Strangely, the Sport-badged version is only available in 1.6L form. On the other hand, the Latio Sedan will be produced in both 1.6L and 1.8L options.

The HR16DE engine generates 109 PS @ 6,000rpm and 153Nm @ 4,400rpm. Fuel economy is a claimed 13.9km/l. The bigger MR18DE motor meanwhile, is capable of 126 PS @ 5,200rpm and 174Nm @ 4,800rpm. Claimed fuel consumption is 13km/l.
Only the 1.6L sedan will have manual transmission option while the rest are standard 4-speed A/T. Interestingly, Nissan’s famous and efficient CVT ‘box is missing from the Latio line-up by Edaran Tan Chong Motors (ETCM). Also, both these new generation powerplants can be found powering Renault vehicles as well.

Unlike the Nissan Teana and March models, all Latio variants are locally-assembled (CKD) at Tan Chong’s spanking new RM230million automotive manufacturing plant at Serendah, Selangor.

Prices are estimated to range from RM80k to 110k, somewhat pricey for a B-segment hatchback/sedan, with competitors in the form of Honda City and Toyota Vios, albeit ETCM may use the top-end Sedan’s bigger capacity (1.8L engine) as Latio's trump-card. But does this justify a higher asking price that likely breaches the RM100k psychological, as well as class-dividing mark?

More details when the car is available for sale next month. In the meantime, you may want to check this out:

Friday, 18 May 2007

2008 Opel Agila

Also set to be revealed in the coming September at Frankfurt International Motorshow 2007 is Opel’s newest supermini called the Agila. To be sold in Europe for the 2008 model year with two petrol engines of 1.0L and 1.2L producing 65bhp and 86bhp respectively, the Agila is a close cousin of the upcoming Suzuki Splash (think VW Touareg vs Porsche Cayenne).

Notice the near-identical aesthetics as well as dimensional resemblance to the Suzuki A-segment supermini. For the EU market mostly, a new 1.4L common-rail turbodiesel is the tempting variant, offering 75bhp on tap.

New Suzuki Splash

Due for world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show 2007 (in September), the new Suzuki Splash is a refreshing and cute all-new small passenger car hoping to capture a sizeable share of the A-segment growing market in Europe. The new flexible compact car combines the sportiness of Suzuki’s successful model Swift with the technologies and immense know-how of the Japanese world market leader in the mini car segment.

The Splash is not the successor of any specific former Suzuki model, but a brand-new concept to satisfy the needs of motorists for space, compactness, modern design, aerodynamics, quality, driveability, performance and environmental friendliness. The safety equipment encompasses state-of-the-art features such as six airbags and an Electronic Stability Program (ESP). Within the global growth strategy of Suzuki, the Splash is already the fourth entirely new model within three years after the launch of Swift, Grand Vitara and SX4.

Within this market segment, this supermini is a cocoon of a relatively tall body (1.6 metres) based on the chassis from the sporty Swift. With its overall length of 3.7 metres and width of 1.7 metres, it offers an ample vertical space and comfortable roomy cabin with sufficient legroom for adults on all seats. Its modern design leads to excellent aerodynamic efficiency and consequently to low carbon-dioxide emissions.

It will be available with two different petrol engines: a 1.0L, three-cylinder, 12-valve engine with maximum power of 65bhp and a 1.2L, four-cylinder, 16-valve motor with maximum power of 86bhp. With these engines, low friction and useable flat torque delivery at low and mid-range speeds help to ensure good driveability across the rev range while promoting fuel economy and limiting CO2 emissions. European motorists preferring a diesel engine can choose a proven 1.3L, common-rail turbodiesel, 16-valve oil burner with optional particulate filter and a maximum power of 75bhp. The petrol engines were both newly developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation as next-generation powerplants. The diesel engine will be produced at Suzuki’s plant in India under licence from GM Powertrain Europe.

Suzuki aims to sell up to 60,000 units per year of the Splash in Europe. The brand-new model has been developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation and will be produced by its subsidiary company Magyar Suzuki Corporation in Hungary.

VW Golf GTI W12 Concept

Pictured above is a highly modified, super high performance version of VW’s iconic hot-hatch, the Golf GTI Mk5. A 6.0L W12 twin-turbo engine is mid-mounted (just in front of the rear-axle), capable of punching out 660bhp @ 6.000 rpm and wrenching a hyper-twisty 750Nm @ 4.500 rpm.

This Golf GTI W12 rockets from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.7 sec. To put this in perspective, it is as quick as a 911 Turbo Tiptronic (997). From here, it will relentlessly pile on to a Vmax of 325km/h. Extensive bodywork modifications include super-wide body panels plus lowered sills/skirts. Enlarged and side air intakes are seen to cool the monstrous engine.

There are no words from VAG whether this ultra-high performance Golf GTI will make it into VW showrooms for sale.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Nissan 350z Facelift

For the 2007 model year, Nissan engineers have taken the iconic Z-car one step further with the next generation of its award-winning VQ-series 3.5L V6. The new VQ35HR V6 produces 306bhp and 363Nm of torque and features a twin air intake system which boost its power band (read: improved low end torque as well as higher revving) and yet delivers improved fuel economy.

Other new features for the 2007 350Z include a new front hood – central 'power' bulge - contour , three new exterior colors, a new grey coloured convertible top for the Roadster, interior improvements, a Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System for the coupe, and standard front seat-mounted side-impact SRS air bags (Roadsters). Other new features include a retuned speed-sensitive power steering system, LED taillights, an optional recalibrated sat-nav system and RAYS lightweight 18” front/19” rear 5-spoke forged alloy wheels.

New 3.5 V6 VQ35HR Engine:

The fourth-generation VQ-series V6, which has been named one of the "Ten Best Engines" by Ward’s Auto World magazine for 14 consecutive years, has been significantly revised for application in the 2007 350Z, with approximately 80% of major parts (except bolts, O-rings and clips) redesigned.

The engine block features ladder frame construction for greater rigidity. Crank journal and pin diameters have been increased but the block height has been increased by 8.4 mm to reduce piston side force. In tandem, the engine base has been lowered 15 mm. Other powerplant enhancements include variable exhaust cam timing (eCVTCS), a higher redline of 7,500 rpm and higher compression ratio (from 10.3:1 to 10.6:1). Other updates encompass asymmetric piston skirts, twin knock sensors, improved coolant flow and new Iridium-tipped spark plugs.

A new symmetric twin ram air intake system helps reduce airflow resistance and increases horsepower, by up to 3bhp, as more air rush in at speed. As always with the powerful 3.5L V6 engine, the Fairlady-Z produces a guttural sports car growl to match – one without the low frequency booming or rumbling or high-pitched mechanical sounds that can be a bane on your eardrums on long journeys.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) will officially import one for true Z-car enthusiasts in Malaysia. List price is RM465,000.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

2008 Saab 9-3 Facelift

The current Saab 9-3 range will be facelifted for model year 2008, drawing inspiration from the award-winning Aero-X concept car. Frontal visage, especially the grille section is significantly revised and adopts a sharper, more ‘serious’ outlook. The front bumper plus its airdam exerts a more aggressive and sporty profile. Styling themes first seen on the Aero X concept, together with a return of Saab’s classic ‘clamshell’ design refreshes the overall 9-3 silhouette, and yet maintaining the distinctive Saab identity.

The new 9-3 range still maintains the Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible models, each offering a ‘tri-fuel’ engine choice of petrol, diesel or BioPower (E85). Available in three trim levels: Linear, Vector and Aero, the refreshed 9-3 goes on sale in the U.S. starting August 2007.

Related post:

2008 All-New Honda Accord Sedan has reported that the all-new 8th generation Honda Accord will make its U.S. debut sometime August 2007.
Clearer and larger full-sized spy photos can be viewed at:

As compared to the spy pictures above, a lot of the design cues of the sedan can be traced to the Accord coupe as pictured below:

As expected, there are no indications whether this model will replace the current 7th gen Accord in Malaysia. However, from the trends observed for the 6th and 7th gen Accords, it is likely that this US model will be the next successor for the current facelifted Accord locally. The pertinent question now is when...H2 2008 or early 2009?

2008 All-New Audi A4 (B8)

By Dr Long

What is seen here is possibly the all-new Audi A4 due in the UK by September 2007 , as well as making its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2007. Based on the new B8 platform - first used in the new A5/S5 coupe - the key technical features of this new challenger to BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are a radical new drivetrain and front suspension design that promises better (read: more equitable) front:rear weight distribution.

With the B8 platform, the engine still sits longitudinally ahead of the front axle...but Audi engineers have placed the front differential between the engine and the transmission, effectively shifting the weight of the engine rearwards. The front driveshafts are also angled slightly towards the front of the car and supported by a new five link suspension system. As an example seen in the new A5, this new - albeit pricey - front wheel drivetrain solution means the front axle centreline, is some 12cm further forward than the current B7-based A4.

More significantly, the new B8-based A4 in AWD Quattro configuration - as claimed by Audi AG engineers - promises similar handling characteristics to a conventional RWD vehicle.

Speculated engine range of the Audi A4 B8 should include the new 1.8L turbocharged TFSI engine in two different state of tunes (130 and 160bhp), the superb 2.0 TFSI (200bhp), a 2.4 V6 FSI with 177bhp , the 3.2 V6 FSI with 260bhp, a 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel engine in 3 stages of tweaks (115-150-170bhp), a 2.7 V6 TDI that punches out 190bhp and finally the 3.0 V6 TDI boosted to 250bhp (from 233bhp).

In the course of evolution, the replacements S4 and RS4 will be upgraded too: the 4.2L V8 of the S4 will uprate from 344 to 360bhp, while the 4.2L V8 of the RS4 will go manic from 420 to 450bhp! It looks like BMW E92 M3 and Mercedes-Benz W204 C63 AMG will not have it so easy in 2008.

Pictured below is the new Audis S5 and subsequently the A5, from which most of the design cues of the all-new A4 are to be taken from. However, the boring rectangular healights are expected to be ditched in favour of the more shapely ones depicted above.

A reliable source from Euromobil Malaysia have indicated that the all-new Audi A4 2.0TFSI (and likely 1.8TFSI) will be making it into the local Audi showrooms only by Q3/Q4 2008.

Related post:

Friday, 11 May 2007

New Perodua Viva

After much fanfare of spy-shots, scoops and media embargo, this is the final unveiled 'new' product coming from Perodua, Malaysia's second national car manufacturer. In the built up to the launch yesterday, it was much talked and claimed to be THE one-for-all replacemant model for its ultra-bargain basement 660cc, 850cc Kancil AND the 1,000cc Kelisa.

However - and dissapointingly so - Perodua too has taken the route of Proton in maintaining a super-ageing model, the Kancil to soldier as a true entry-level car - citing inablity to keep manufacturing cost low enough (even for a 660cc variant?) for the Viva to be super-affordable. The cheapest Kancil 660cc is about RM22k, last quoted at a dealer showroom. Gosh! That's about RM6k - or roughly 27% - hike for this super-base model! No wonder Perodua has been quick to add that Viva "isn't Kancil's replacement"...and cleverly so.

Truth be told, this is a rebadged model based on the LAST model Daihatsu Mira (read: predecessor) and not the real McCoy currently on sale in Japan.
Prices after the picture below, please judge for yourself whether this is a truly value-for-money national car, despite the seemingly low-ish price tags.

Variants and Prices (OTR with insurance):

Perodua Viva 660cc MT Solid: RM28,400
Perodua Viva 660cc MT Metallic: RM28,800
Perodua Viva 850cc MT Solid: RM32,500
Perodua Viva 850cc MT Metallic: RM32,900
Perodua Viva 1000cc MT Solid: RM36,800
Perodua Viva 1000cc MT Metallic: RM37,200
Perodua Viva 1000cc AT Solid: RM39,800
Perodua Viva 1000cc AT Metallic: RM40,200
Perodua Viva 1000cc Premium MT Solid: RM40,800
Perodua Viva 1000cc Premium MT Metallic: RM41,200
Perodua Viva 1000cc Premium AT Solid: RM43,800
Perodua Viva 1000cc Premium AT Metallic: RM44,200

*For more comprehensive infos, you are better off here:
Or here:

*Many motoring enthusiasts have complained to For Wheels about Perodua's website being inaccesible as of 11th May 2007.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

International Engine of the Year Awards 2007

The International Engine of the Year Awards have become one of the most sought-after automotive accolades and an effective marketing tool for triumphant marques.

For 2007, the award was judged by a panel of 62 renowned motoring journalists from 29 countries encompassing the USA, Japan, China, Russia, New Zealand, India, Korea, Germany, France, South Africa, and the UK, the Awards highlight and acknowledge powerplant engineering excellence.

Judges apply their impressions from driving today's latest cars to help them find the engines that offer the best driveability, performance, economy, and refinement, and reward manufacturers for the successful application of advanced engine technology.

The winners for 2007 are:

Best New Engine of 2007: BMW 3.0L Twin-Turbo (335i)

Best Fuel Economy: Toyota 1.5L Hybrid Synergy Drive (Prius)

Best Performance Engine: BMW 5.0L V10 (M5, M6)

<1.0L: Toyota 1-litre (Toyota Aygo, Yaris, Peugeot 107, Citroën C1)

1.0L to 1.4L: VW 1.4L TSI Twincharger (VW Golf, Polo, Touran, Jetta)

1.4L to 1.8L: BMW-PSA 1.6L Turbo (MINI, Peugeot 207)

1.8L to 2.0L: VW 2.0L Turbo FSI (VW Golf, Passat, Audi A3, A4, A6, SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia)

2.0L to 2.5L: BMW 2.5L (325, 525, X3, Z4)

2.5L to 3.0L: BMW 3.0L Twin-Turbo (335i coupe)

3.0L to 4.0L: Porsche 3.6L Turbo (911 Turbo)

Above 4.0L: BMW 5.0L V10 (M5, M6)

The overall winner is:
International Engine of the Year 2007 - BMW 3.0L Twin-Turbo (335i Coupe)

* The Awards are organised by UKIP Media & Events - Automotive Magazines Division, Britain’s largest group of technical car publications.