Monday, 25 June 2007
Saturday, 23 June 2007
The new TT features Audi Space Frame (ASF) construction where 69% of the materials used are aluminium with most of it found at and over the front axle. This ensures a more balanced weight distribution for a FF (front engine, front wheel drive) vehicle like the new TT coupe, thereby enabling better on-road dynamism.
“Car enthusiasts would be pleased to note that Audi has lovingly retained and stylishly enhanced the genetic code that makes up the new TT.” said Datuk Syed Wazir Syed Wahid, chairman of Euromobil. “The design concept is compact and embodies the feeling of pure design, pure performance, confidence and strengths that are shared by its owner” he added. “The new TT is utterly uncompromising, and would appeal to a select breed of individuals who want to make a statement” as the Euromobil chairman pointed out the sporty niche of the new TT coupe.
The new TT will initially be available as a 2+2-seater coupé with the superb Audi S-Tronic (Direct Shift Gearbox). It is powered by Audi’s famed and award winning 2.0 Turbo FSI, capable of 200bhp at 5100-6000 rpm and 280Nm of torque from a low 1800rpm through to 5000 rpm. Performance figures are 6.4secs from standstill to 100km/h, on the way to a top speed of 240km/h. A hidden rear spoiler deploys automatically at speed above 120km/h to increase downforce.
Price of the fully-imported new Audi TT Coupé 2.0 TFSI S-Tronic is RM368,000 and is available for viewing and booking at Euromobil and its authorised dealers. All initial 20 units have been snapped up and the response has been encouraging, according to Euromobil Audi Head, Kula Kulendran.
Friday, 22 June 2007
Prices (OTR without insurance):
Latio 1.6 ST (M) - RM79,900
Latio 1.6 ST (A) - RM85,300
Latio 1.6 ST-L (A) - RM90,300
Latio 1.8 Ti (A) - RM97,100
Latio Sport 1.6 ST-L (A) - RM92,900
You may want to check this out: http://www.latio.com.my/
Monday, 18 June 2007
C&C Bintang's retail operations director, Matthew Stuart and Florian Mueller, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of DaimlerChrysler Malaysia, were on hand to present the prize. The company has sold 630 Mercedes-Benz models thus far in 2007, from its five branches located nationwide, which include the Autohaus showrooms in PJ and Mutiara Damansara.
As one of the latest promotion, CCB is offering its customers the opportunity to participate in the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Active Safety Experience 2007 - driver training programme - at Sepang from July 11th -14th, 2007. The one-day training session, valued at RM1,800 per person (existing M-B owner), will be complimentary to all customers who purchase a new Mercedes-Benz from any of its Autohaus showrooms in June.
The 2007 Touareg also feature ABSplus which is claimed to work better with 4WD. Also new is a set of new rollover sensors, called Active Rollover Protection (ARP). Conventional ABS brakes don't work well on loose surfaces of sand or gravel. With ABSplus, in soft and non-grippy surfaces, the system allows the front wheels to lock up briefly and clump pieces of the road surface material to produce a type of braking wedge. It is also claimed to reduce the braking distance on loose surfaces by up to 20%, thereby improving off-roading safety.
However, the drivetrain is pretty much carried cover from the last pre-facelifted unit tested by the writer. The larger displacement (from 3.4 to 3.6L) V6 FSI now churns out 280PS at 6200rpm and 360Nm of torque from 2500-5000rpm, still mated to a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The interior is enhanced with redesigned features such as the cruise control interface, audio buttons on the steering wheel and an improved electronic compass display. Built quality is of course for a VW, as usual, near-vault solid.
While the new Touareg 3.6 V6 has undergone some 2,300 parts changed or updated, the price of RM437,283 (on the road, without insurance) remains untouched.
Saturday, 16 June 2007
Under its bulging hood, a Mercedes-Benz derived 3rd generation common-rail turbodiesel pumps out 141ps of power at 4000rpm and spins a torque of 320Nm from a low 1800rpm through to 2700rpm. The Acyton also features variable geometry turbocharging. Such output figures while not segment-leading (the Ranger TDCi – also with VGT - claims 143ps) but it is undeniably in a class of its own with the most powerful 2.0L oil burner.
To put things in perspective, it even betters the figures of the larger 2.5L powered Mitsubishi Triton (136ps), Toyota Hilux (102ps) Nissan Frontier (133ps) and even the 3.0L Isuzu D-Max (130ps). The gearbox is however, still a 4-speed unit and has a low range transfer case, switchable between high and low ranges via push switches. Apart from a lower annual roadtax, a smaller capacity engine usually translates to overall lower fuel consumption as well, but then again that’s pretty much dependent on style of driving, traffic conditions, tyre pressures et al.
The black leather interior looks like that of a passenger car with the dashboard taking styling cues and features from both the Kyron and Rexton II. Being a CKD model, prices are indicated to be just sub-RM90k. It is available for viewing and booking at all SsangYong showrooms nationwide.
Friday, 15 June 2007
This extraordinary performance represents a good argument for modifications to tyres, suspension and brakes. Depending on the Mercedes 63 AMG model in question BRABUS offers custom-tailored tyre/wheel combinations up to size 11Jx23 with tyres up to 315/25R 23. To further improve the already excellent handling characteristics BRABUS has developed a control module for the ABC suspensions that lowers the ride height by some 20 millimeters. BRABUS sport stabilizers reduce body roll and optimise turn-in.
The BRABUS high-performance brake system offers stopping power and endurance normally only found in pure-bred sports cars. It is available for all Mercedes 63 AMG models, upon customer request even in a special version with ceramic discs. The front axle features 380 x 36 millimeter rotors and 12-piston aluminum fixed calipers. The rear axle is fitted with six-piston fixed calipers and 355 x 28 mm brake rotors. The list of BRABUS exclusive interior accessories ranges from genuine carbon-fibre trim and scuff plates with illuminated BRABUS logo to ergonomically shaped sport steering wheels and a speedometer with 360 km/h dial.
BRABUS model range, from the entry level Premier Line to highest range of high performance vehicles imported from the Brabus factory in Germany and Mercedes-Benz individualization services are available at BRABUS Bangsar Centre, BRABUS Penang Centre and BRABUS PJ Centre in Malaysia.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Side skirts are slapped on as well, wearing an all-telling Modulo emblem to make owners proud and feeling more exclusive. The City Modulo Special Edition is factory-fitted in Melaka and is available only as City VTEC. There are only two colour options - Alabaster Silver and Nighthawk Black.
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
In addition, the engine peripherals are also modified extensively. The modifications include special exhaust manifolds, two larger turbochargers, a high-efficiency intercooler and a high performance exhaust system with metal catalysts plus low back pressure. Extensive bench tests determined the new programming for the engine electronics that not only maximizes horsepower but also ensures that the engine meets stringent Euro IV emission limits.
The BRABUS rocker panels optimize the airflow along the sides and feature integrated entrance lights for safe entering and exiting of the vehicle in the dark. The BRABUS rear apron sports custom-tailored cut-outs for the BRABUS quad-sport exhaust. Three LED lights integrated into the apron are also activated via the keyless fob. An understated rear spoiler rounds out the sophisticated BRABUS aerodynamics concept, and reduces lift on the rearaxle for further improved directional stability at high speeds.
Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Frontal cabin space is generous too, with a dashboard design and layout more akin to say, the 7th generation Accord (being lower-slung and in two-tone presentation), making it airy and inviting, unlike those found in utilitarian trucks of yesteryears. Front seats are however, a tad too flat for snug support and desired body hugging when driving around corners. The rear seat while being claimed to be more passenger car-like, still needs to be a little more laid-back, despite the nicely thought-out foldable centre armrest with cupholders. Materials on the dashboard and door trim are a little too ‘dry’ and hard to touch but I suppose they were meant to weather a truck’s harsh daily routine, when called to duty. However, the gear knobs – for the A/T and the 2WD/4WD transfer case - are nicely leather stitched.
The 314Nm on tap from a low 2000rpm spinning from the 2.5L DI-D common-rail turbodiesel is truly palpable. I had the slightly unsettling experience of inducing power oversteer in the wet when I was powering the ladder-frame chassis on just rear-wheel-drive (2H) mode. In one other rainy episode, the front axle even broke traction a little when I was a wee bit too enthusiastic turning a right-hander crossing a traffic junction. Thankfully, I was alone in the Triton then and both were minor slides; with quick lifts of the throttle the lengthy vehicle corrected itself. For the rest of the test period, I had the gear transfer case in 4x4 mode for hard driving and in the rain. Somehow, these subsequent drives in 4H mode felt torqueier, had better road feel and tighter body control. Overall, the Triton’s Hyper Common Rail DOHC 16V Intercooler Turbodiesel was pretty smooth, adequately punchy while mated to an equally refined 4-speed automatic tranny.
Using the 4x4 over a weekend, my family and I swapped our regular sedan for this ‘bootless’ truck. My wife was particularly worried by the absence of a normal boot for our belongings. Sure enough, after we picked up my mother-in-law from the airport, the sky opened up! Though it swallowed up all the luggages plus extra stuff with ease, we found our belongings to be rather exposed and truly at heaven’s mercy. Thank goodness we had plastic sheathed most of the major non-waterproof baggages and boxes. A rear gas-strut aftermarket flatbed cover is a must if I were to own this truck as a family vehicle, I thought to myself. My young kids got accustomed soon enough to the tall ride height which afforded a near tourist-bus-scenic-view of things. In testament to its pliant ride and non-bouncy nature, my rear passengers were pretty quiet during drives over varying road surfaces. At times, the Triton’s rear leaf-spring suspension can be caught a little hard and unyielding over bigger humps, but that’s about it. NVH refinements were good for a vehicle of this segment. Having heard from a close associate of mine that his previous Toyota Harrier 2.4 had irritating wind and road noises at motorway speed, I was especially on a look out for these little ‘gremlins’. No abnormal whistling wind noises were audible and road rumble at cruising speed was negligible. Even the idling diesel clatter was near absent once you shut the double-lined doors. Truly impressive.
Driving the Triton up hilly B-roads, it behaved more civilised than expected. The pick-up felt a little like a Toyota Innova (similarly ladder-frame truck but turned MPV) except that it has more torque and is 4x4 capable. Slotting the reduction gears to 4H (high range AWD, which can be shifted-on-the-fly at speeds up to 100kph) the car…oops! I meant truck, has lesser tendency to understeer around winding roads hereafter. Its double wishbone independent front suspension allows more faithful tracking into corners. However, the steering – though rack and pinion – had a very lazy demeanour to react to your input. A little slow-witted and dull to turn but the weighting is quite spot on, not overbearing or over-assisted for this two-tonne behemoth. On a minus side, I really disliked the vibrating and ‘oscillating’ gear transfer stalk. Mitsubishi Motors could have used a rotary dial (think facelifted X-Trail or new Ranger A/T) as a 2WD high range(2H)/4WD high range(4H)/ 4WD low range(4L) selector and isolate the driver from such “lack of refinement”. It mars an otherwise saloon-like serene and relaxing cabin.
In the wet, with the Triton in 4H gearings, it was confident wafting over rain-drenched tarmac with ease and conviction. You can feel the improvement in grip at all four corners, more noticeable over the front axle. At night, the instruments panel is plain easy to read in one quick glance. The blue background meters contrasted excellently with its red gauge needles. The onboard computer is placed at the middle of the dash, displaying a digital clock, compass, barometer, average speed as well as fuel consumption and possible range in km for the remaining fuel. It relays these data in both graphic and numerical presentation. The fuel consumption computed for this automatic Triton ranges from best of 9L/100km to 12.5L/100km. While not exactly record-breaking figures for a turbodiesel, these are somewhat admirable and acceptable figures for such healthy power/torque output propelling significantly hefty kerb weight.
Taking the automatic Triton off–road, the dual purpose but road-biased Bridgestone Dueler H/T were up to grips over dirt and mud roads. Uneven, soft ground and rough ridges were ironed over with expected ease. The truck did not require gear reduction to 4L mode since no hardcore off-roading, mud-bath or river crossing were done. Back onto trunk roads, it was a joy to negotiate sweeping bends with body roll well controlled, at sane speeds of course. The rear Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) also contributed to stable composure around corners, especially in 4H drive mode.
Having driven the pick-up over a couple of days, I got acquainted with the tall ride, high vantage-point visibility, body rigidity and nice low-end torque on tap. In fact, the Triton felt like a decent and well-built SUV from Day2 of this test review. With 136bhp tops at 3500rpm, MMC claims a top speed of 175kph for this lifestyle truck. A feat probably not claimed by alternatives from the other camps, even though the Triton is no longer the horsepower king of pick-ups now. Curiosity got the better of me when I attempted 0 – 100kph sprint for this 1.9 tonne vehicle. The average timing acquired was around 15secs, not bad for a diesel double-cab with an auto ‘box, I reckoned.
Strangely, I was a little reluctant to return the Triton to MMM at the end of the loan period. I never thought that I would grow to like a pick-up this much. Swapping back to my regular executive sedan the same evening, I had found myself weirdly seated-low again and clamouring for the affable and addictive low-end torque of a turbodiesel. To be fair, I didn’t miss the labourious parallel parking of this 5.1 meter vehicle due to its enormous rear overhang! Nevertheless, I had suffered from withdrawal syndrome, needing a wash-out period, much like a subject in a cohort study of a pharmaceutical drug trial. Yet in the end, I can’t help feeling this notion of being able to be cool yet tough, and fashionable…in a Mitsubishi Triton!