Tuesday, 30 September 2008

VW Golf GTI Mk6 Concept

The latest images released by Volkswagen of its pinnacle GTI variant from the Mk6 Golf range is the GTI Concept. Looking every bit production ready, the iconic sports hatch successor for 2009 model year adopts a frontal visage not unlike the Golf Mk5 GTI W12 Concept. Yes! The 2009 Mk6 Golf GTI will dump the goateed grille look (ala Audi's Novulari style) for a slim horizontal honey-comb grille, highlighted by twin parallel red stripes flanking the large central VW emblem.

The question mark remains over its uprated power output of 210bhp and (?)350Nm or maintaining 280Nm(?) from the award-winning 2.0TFSI engine. Rumour has it that the Mk6 GTI may even have the option of VAG's new 7-speed DSG twin-clutch automated manual gearbox, not to be confused with the Golf (1.4TSI) GT's simpler, lighter and more compact 7-speed DSG 'box.

The Mk6 GTI is said to have variable damping suspension, much like the new Audi A4 (B8) whereby the driver gets to select between Auto, Comfort and Dynamic (Sport) setting. These variable drive settings will also affect throttle response, gear shifts and steering feel (weight).

Related posts:
Spied: VW Golf Mk6 on Test
2009 Golf GTI Mk6 to have TSI twin charging?

You may want to read these:
Road Test: Audi TT Coupe 2.0TFSI
VW Jetta 1.4TSI and Golf GT coming soon to Malaysia?
Audi TTS Coupe

Monday, 29 September 2008

2009 W212 'real' E-Class picture by Autozeitung

The image that you see above - of the new W212 E-Class by German auto mag Autozeitung - is likely as close to the real thing as possible - for now. Due for debut at Geneva Motor Show in 2009, the all-new E-Class is looking grown-up with more presence, somewhat reminiscent of the 1990s W140 S-Class (check out at the rear door window span!). With adequate rear door access aperture plus a generously thick C-pillar, at least this Merc doesn't have to make do with a 'micro' ala-Hoffmeister kink (think: W204 C-Class) at the C-pillar window frame.

In Europe, the new E-Class will boast of Mercedes' new generation BlueEfficiency turbodiesel engine e.g. the new 2.2L found in the C250 CDI, capable of 204 hp and 500 Nm. For the Malaysian market and most of Asia, this question remains: Will the all-new E-class get a turbocharger intead of the trusty (and clunky) Kompressor for the entry-level 1.8L E200?

Also, will the top-end Advanced/Sport Avantgarde E-Class W212 wear a frontal visage (Big-Star grille et al) as seriously menacing as the ConceptFASCINATION below?

Click on image to enlarge

Related post:
Next Generation W212 E-Class Pictures

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Driven: Hyundai Elantra X20 CVVT

Click on all images to enlarge

Korean automotive brands have alway played the value-card for their competitive existence. The new Elanta 2.0 CVVT - from Kah Bintang - is no exception. Targeted at the Nissan Sylphy, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Lancer GT and Toyota Corolla Altis' C-segment, this CKD Hyundai at RM93,888 is just a few grand more than a B-segment Toyota Vios 1.5S or the Suzuki SX4 Sedan. Contrastingly, under its bonnet beats a 2.0L 4-pot with VVT (not a 1.5L or 1.6L lump) and is claimed to be much frugal than what Korean cars are (or were) notorious for.

The following post would be in a pictorial synopsis presentation, for most of you would have been familiar with the Elantra by now. Here's hoping you'd find this test review still relevant and helpful should you decide to shop for one!

Some said the sideline apts a lumbering dolphin somewhat. I'd say it isn't bad looking if you have been observant of the Elantra/Accent's design language lineage. It's somewhat refreshing in the sea of taller and angular Japanese sedans.

Vestigial remnant of Oriental Assemblers/Kah Motors' "Honda era" radio antenna at the left boot shoulder mounting point. Albeit now replaced by a non-extending-and-non-retractable, fixed length and non-chromed type for the new millenium.

Proof that the E90 3-series can do better at the butt section. Bravo Hyundai!

Further proof that you don't have to be German to make rear lamps with clean-cut lines, neat shape and contours. 'X' prefix not for denoting AWD. Thank goodness no more "200i" or "RX-S" badges of yesteryears!

Errr...kind of reminds you of 'M' alloys...no?

Simple dash is functional and relatively well made. Dash top of soft-touch material. Two-tone trim brightens up interior and creates airier ambience. Beige-coloured seats only leather in the centre section, the rest are of less-supple PVC, including the stitched door trim.

Rear seat pocket and base plate suspiciously Conti in design and execution. VAG-esque perhaps?

Boot capacious enough for most families.

Gated gearshift reminds one of some previous Nissan/Infiniti models. Ditto for A/C switches. Both looked good actually. Korean automakers' proven formula at work here!

Integrated CD-Radio switches tactile and firm to operate. Way better than Mitsubishi Lancer's.

Likewise, on-steering controls firm and tactile as well. Much like Suzuki SX4's.

Engine block large-ish for a 2.0L 4-pot. Lump appears suspiciously an old school Mitsu-design, cam cover with CVVT is likely new though - probably an add-on in course of engineering updates. Engine not to be mistaken with 4B11 from Mitsubishi Lancer GT or even the Hyundai Sonata 2.0.

Typical Kia-Hyundai wing mirror nicked from some common parts bin.

Nice interface of 3 different surfaces of the door, dash and glove box. Pity that the sloping part of door trim (incorporating power window switch) isn't soft in continuation from dsah top.

The Elantra takes corner predictably but not meant to be sporty. Ride comfort level good for its class. Picks up speed quite effortlessly. However, torque and powerband feels more like a Japanese 1.8L sedan.

NVH refinements surprisingly good for its class. Cruising stability likewise.

In conclusion, it will take more pursuasion to get more regular Joes (and Janes?) to park this in their garages, basement or car porch. It's a decent family sedan nevertheless but the ever-bugging resale value question mark hovers over most of those in the market for a Toyota, Honda or Nissan. On the flipside, it is worth remembering this though, the initial outlay to hire-purchase (downpayment, monthly repayment et al) an Elantra is hardly near a Civic, Altis, Lancer or even the new Slyphy. Now, that's some food for thought.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Test Review: Hyundai Elantra X20 CVVT

The Hyundai Elantra X20 CVVT has just been tested recently as part of the ongoing NST-Maybank CBT COTY 2008 judging. It's quite a good drive than most of us would expect it to be. At RM93,888 it's almost the price of a decent-specced Japanese (Thai-sourced) B-segment 1.5L sedan. Read all about it here soon ;)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

New Peugeot 308 GT in Malaysia now

Nasim Sdn Bhd (NSB), franchise holder, importer and sole distributor for Peugeot automobiles in Malaysia has recently introduced the new Peugeot 308 GT THP 175, at an estimated price of RM159,999 (OTR).

Powered by a 1.6 turbo high pressure (THP) engine - shared with the Mini Cooper S - the 308 GT is good for 175bhp at 6000rpm and an easily accessible 240Nm of torque from a low 1600rpm. Such output figures enables a maximum speed of 225kmh and acceleration in 8.3 seconds from 0-100kmh, achieved through the gears of a 6 speed manual transmission. Running on 18inch wheels, the THP engine manages to return a fuel consumption of approximately 7.6 litres/100km in a combined cycle, as claimed by Automobiles Peugeot.

Exterior-wise, the new 308's frontal visage is hard to be mistaken for anything else, especially with the larger emblem of the iconic Peugeot lion sitting higher on the bonnet. The newly swept back automatic Xenon headlights signify the modern yet sporty Pug character of the new Peugeot 308 GT. Its standard full panoramic roof endows the driver and passengers a more airy view of the world outside.

The interior of the Peugeot 308 GT comes fitted with 6 airbags which helps it to achieve full Euro NCAP safety ratings of 5 stars.

This newly arrived Peugeot 308 GT is now available for viewing and booking at all NSB showrooms and authorised NSB dealers. For further information, please contact the Peugeot Careline at 1-800-88-6292.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Prime Edition

Mercedes-Benz is set to launch a completely new diesel engine generation from Q4 2008 onwards. For its world premiere, the Stuttgart-based luxury car manufacturer will unveil a C-Class model with this new four-cylinder oil burner. In the form of C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Prime Edition, this engine produces - from just 2.2 liters of displacement - 204 hp (150kW) and 500 Nm of torque.

Yes, C-ing is believing...this junior exec can go 1094km on a full tank of diesel!

Will this sleeker-looking wing mirror find its way to the other C-Class variants?

The premiere model can accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h in just 7.0 seconds, on the way to its top speed of 250 km/h. Notwithstanding these exceptional performance figures, the Prime Edition only consumes an average of 5.2 litres of fuel per 100 km (NEDC), with CO2 emissions of 138 g/km. The engine impresses with its eager responsiveness and smoothness of operation, which can make it a sensible alternative to the higher-displacement six-cylinder engines in future.

Do not expect to get this excellent CDI model from Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) until the diesel at the local pumps get out of its primitive Euro-1 rut.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Showdown: 2009 Honda City or Toyota Belta (Vios) facelift?

With the all-new Honda City coming to Malaysia before 2008 comes to a wrap, this new B-segment sedan is set to entice present City owners to 'upgrade'. Perhaps some of the previous generation Toyota Vios owners as well?

Have your pick...

Click on all images to enlarge

Dashboards and frontal interiors:

Rear three-quarter angle views: