Friday, 30 April 2010
Hyundai has got all its bases covered as far as its new range of saloon/sedans for 2011 model year is concerned - from the entry-level B-segment Verna/Accent right up to the D-segment Sonata. With of course, the newly unveiled C-segment Elantra/Avante being the most balanced of the lot - at least aesthetically and proportion wise. Boasting Hyundai's latest "fluidic design", the Accent is very much akin to a junior Sonata.
The 2011 Accent/Verna measures 4,340mm in length, 1,700mm in width, 1,460mm in height, and has a relatively generous wheelbase of 2,570mm - for a B-segment budget sedan.
The base Verna/Accent will beat with a 1.4-litre 4-pot capable of 106 hp and 135 Nm of torque - with the choice of a five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic.
However, the larger displacement 1.6-litre that pushes out 121 hp and 155Nm of peak torque will be paired only with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Not ever since the 'iconic' E34 5-series - at least in my books - and the slim and sleek E38 7-series that I have been this moved by an all-new BMW saloon or lately-fashionable 4-door coupe for that matter.
Watch out 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS and Porsche Panamera...could this be a revival of the 8-series nameplate from the boys over at Munich camp?
Thursday, 29 April 2010
A pictures tells a thousand stories, so they say. Judge for yourself how handsome Hyundai's latest "fluidic design" is and you'd be awed by how far this Korean automaker has come of age.
To be sold by Q2 in South Korea and perhaps up to six months later in other markets, the all-new Avante/Elantra will be sporting a 6-speed auto transmission mediating power to the front wheels - from a 1.6-litre (Gamma) GDI engine capable of 140 hp and 166 Nm - while claiming to be 10 percent more fuel efficient than its immediate predecessor.
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors Sdn Bhd (HSDM) today released the pricing of the new Tucson. The new Tucson, which is scheduled to be launched officially next month, will be priced at RM 126,888 (OTR) for the standard 2.0 model, RM136,888 (OTR) for the 2.0 (High Spec), and RM 152,888 (OTR) for the 2.4 the top-of-the-line model.
The new Tucson 2-litre and 2.4-litre engine come with the all-new gasoline Theta-II and are fitted with Hyundai’s new six-speed automatic transmission. The gasoline engine delivers a 12.2 percent gain in fuel economy (10.1km/l versus 9.0km/l) and is 2.5 percent quicker in zero to 100km/h acceleration times (7.8sec versus 8.0 sec). It also delivers an 11 percent improvement in 60km/h to 100km/h overtaking performance (4.0 sec versus 4.5 sec).
Furthermore the unit is maintenance-free: the gearbox is not equipped with a dipstick as it is filled with an automatic transmission fluid that is good for the life of the vehicle thereby reducing maintenance costs.
Named after a city in the U.S. state of Arizona, Tucson has been one of the most popular Hyundai models with more than 1 million units sold worldwide since its launch in 2004.
Some of the notable features of Tucson are as follows:
- 6 Speed Automatic Transmission is Hyundai developed and maintenance free for the life of the vehicle.
- Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing allows the engine to produce 166 PS (122kW) for the 2.0l and 177 PS (130 kW) for the 2.4l Theta II engine.
- Panoramic Sunroof (for the top-of-the-line 2.0 and 2.4 version)
- Smart Key allows for driver convenience when locking or unlocking the vehicle without needing to take out the key from pocket or handbag.
- Engine Start Stop Button allows driver convenience when starting the vehicle without needing to take out the key from pocket or handbag with just a push of a button.
The new Tucson is now available for test drive and viewing at major Hyundai showrooms.
For further enquiries or to place a booking, please call the Customer Careline at 1-300-13-2000.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
This is an 'official' JPEG image in my inbox from Honda Malaysia.
Strange how all of a sudden it becomes a 4-seater PREMIUM minivan.
In which case, it makes better sense to just get that Perodua Alza since it seats five, unless you're a diehard for Toyota Aphard-esque powered sliding doors!
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Interested in an Asean MPV that's way smaller than say, the Toyota Innova in all departments? Then head on over to your favorite Honda dealer and make 'em smile!
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Click on all images to enlarge
How often have you noticed a burnt-out third brake light of the car in front of you? Or a pair or even all brake lights not functioning at all? More often than can be imagined right? So imagine the gall of the parliamentary lawmakers wanting to amend the Malaysian Road Transport Act 1987 to slap a maximum fine of RM1000 for road traffic offences currently capped at RM300. How often do you see people with malfunctioning brakes lights get pulled over? Not as often as for alleged speeding offences (speed trap) I bet.
Back to the subject of third brake lights, the all-new E-Class from Mercedes-Benz has had it migrating from the rear boot lip to the rear parcel shelf again...and in a very slim form. Neat. However, the rear end appears to be a rehashed W123's arse (think: white diesel taxis in the 70s) with angular theme and larger, horizontal tailamps. Altogether with an up-curved blistered arch that looks fussy and very much an after-thought. With such a disastrous looking butt - more so in solid-white - I seriously do not think the W212 leaves the W211 design for dead - unlike what the W211 did to the W210. It awed many - with its sleek n fluid design - in its movie debut "Men In Black 2". Remember that?
Aesthetic wise, the corner of the front headlamps where it meets the fender, bonnet and bumper is quite a disaster too - with surfacing and meeting of dissection lines grossly incongruent.
Cost cutting are abound almost everywhere in the new E200 CGI. Dash top material is B-class-esque rather than S-class aping. Of course, there are Artico-leather wrapping for the dashboard (Porsche's option style!) in the loftier E350, E500, E63 etc models in other markets but the base material is plain disappointing. So is the inner door rubber strip which is naked now. The premium fibred-fabric wrapping is gone: now a pale grained surface imprint serving to mimic the former. Rear seat are also disappointingly smaller with too much rounded edges, while the front seats bottom rounded sides translates to a noticeable lack of thigh support around the corners. What happened Mercedes-Benz?
For the base model E200 CGI too, there is now measly one-sided muffler at the rear, whereas the last E200K from the onset had a pair of mufflers - regardless of whether the exhaust tips are downturned or not. While the last W211 clearly had better differentiation at the steering wheel from the W203 C-Class, the new W212 compels you to steer gripping an item from a common parts bin. Does not convey a higher premium feel I must say. Not when you are asked to part with some RM366k in hard cash or hire-purchase for that matter.
Also, what's with this 3-zone Thermotronic (or is it called the lower-spec Thermatic) climate A/C now? It used to be twin-zone independent temperature control for the rear passengers, plus silent operation even at full cooling capacity. Now the centre console box mounted rear A/C blower just whirr and whine at its highest or near-maximum fan setting. No good.
While the A/C main control looked decidedly classier now, the cabin air-conditioner fiter(s) has lost its 'iconic' odour filtration finesse. Yes, you can smell diesel fumes and other noxious traffic odour(s) - albeit not excessively - once the A/C goes into fresh air intake mode. For the record, it's almost never insulting to your olfactory (nasal) bulbs in any of the previous W211 variants, unless you are in a diesel trucks and buses stationary convoy e.g. basement parked in KL's Puduraya bus complex.
Now, the good side of the new E200 CGI. The modified (read: recycled with turbocharger and direct injection cam-heads for the new dacade) M271 powerplant - 4-pot displacing 1.8L is now way more refined, NVH-wise than the clunky-cluttery Kompressor. So is the throttle response and engine pulling power, noting the 270Nm advantage over 250Nm previously for the final edition E200K. The 5 A/T 'box also seem better with the extra torque but a 6th cog (or 7-G Tronic?) would have been welcomed for calmer high-speed cruising at possible lower engine revs.
Steering feel, weight and feedback in the E200 CGI is way ahead the the "first gen" W211 E200K and felt like a superbly retuned and recalibrated version of the FL (new generation W211) E200K's rack - launched in 2007. It is very close to the E60 5-series in agility and hydraulic-resistance-feel now, minus the parking-speed "dead weight feel" of a typical BMW M-Sport rack.
Ride wise, it is undeniably firmer now in the E200 CGI. More so when you push the car harder and harder into corners. I reckoned it has got to do with some mumbo-jumbo regarding reactive dampers which closes some valves in the struts, thereby firming up damping rates, non-pneumatic nor electrical nor magnetic in execution of course. After all, this is the entry level W212. Tracking corners are sharper and quicker now, thus inspiring more confidence and smiles as you string up the bends, palpably better than the W211.
Rear passenger calm ride composure are still maintained mostly, even on busily winding B-roads, a classic, affable trait of M-B midsized execs accompanied by excellent incisive rebound damping i.e. no wallows whatsoever. The comfort "Benz" hallmark is not lost in the new E200 CGI, even in the pursuit of better handling and overall sportier drive here. High speed blasting stability still leaves the W204 C200K in the dust. An engineering input (or rather slightly lacking thereoff in the junior sibling) being intentional on M-B engineers part, as evident in W203 versus W211 of the previous decade.
With so much to love under the skin (drivetrain,chassis and suspension) and solid comfort of the new E200 CGI - the fronts seats are okay as you acclimatise to it (rear seats still have room for improvements) - it is sad that the external metal sheets of the new E-Class from C- pillar onwards right up to the butt lost its plot somewhat, somehow. Pity.
You might want to read this:
Mercedes-Benz E200K (FL) versus E200K (first gen)
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Human beings, being consumers, can be a funny lot. When it comes to the obsession of automobiles, they can be very discerning and critical. Take for instance the subject of headroom in a car. A case in point would be the Proton Gen.2 which has the rear headroom much like an under-the-staircase storeroom of a double-storey link-terrace house. The Persona has a slightly better headroom - due to lowered rear seats' bottom et al - but sadly that didn't come before the Gen.2.
Other automakers are craftier. Take Mercedes-Benz for example: their W211 E-Class vs their other 'clone' the CLS-Class, allegedly the world's first 4-door coupe. BMW with their X5 vs their very own X6 SAV Coupe. Volkswagen with their Passat sedan versus their latest Passat CC. Do you hear people complaining about seating only two at the rear and the accompanying sloping roofline that shaves off a significant amount of rear headroom? With rear ingress & egress may be an orthopaedic nightmare for those having Osteoarthritis of hips. No?
Well, that's because it's by choice that these paying motorists are buying a 'coupe' over the mundane regular-sedan version of the same thing. Pity then the folks at Proton didn't name their Gen.2 as Gen.2 coupe or GT (ala 5-series GT?) and the Persona as the Gen.2 sedan, launching time-line of both these vehicles notwithstanding. But we are not here to discuss about that.
I am now writing about a squashed Camry - especially its frontal visage. Yes, that was my initial visual impression when I spotted one of the first new Passat CC running on the road months ago. However, the actual car when parked right before your very eyes instantaneously play tricks on your visual cortex. You'd get a barrage of endorphins shooting a high in your brain - depicting something very handsome, sleek, classy and cutting edge in design - in short: very desirable. So much so, you'd find that the rear double individual seating isn't an issue. So is the smaller shoulder room for bigger sized rear occupants due to the shapely tapering rear flanks. Or that the CC's dashboard may be a tad old-school having been nicked form the sedan sibling. Even the moon-roof for its namesake doesn't open beyond a minute tilt but hell, I didn't care.
Truth be told, I was initially doubting how could a front-wheel driven (FWD) saloon like the Passat CC be selling at a price hovering near to stalwarts like the BMW 320i, Mercedes-Benz C200 Kompressor and to a certain extent, the Audi A4 1.8 TFSI. I couldn't possibly explain the multiple "Wow" factors - not just aesthetic brilliance - in words here. Go to the nearest VW showroom, see the car in the flesh and ask for the keys to a Passat CC tester yourself.
For one, the DCC - adjustable dampers rate in regular speak - in this Volkswagen works solidly well. The chassis doesn't hop and jump as in many of M-Sport spec BMW E90 - not even in 'Sport' mode. Though FWD, its steering rack has better weighting and feel than M-B's hot-selling W204 C200K/C230 V6. Credit also goes out to the VW engineers for their extra-edge over their counterparts in Audi AG e.g. with their quattro A4 (B7) - in both the steering and rear passengers' (calmer) ride composure department.
In all, the Passat CC may be 'soft' compared to the other iconic GTI in the same stable or any BMW 3-series so to speak. Yet the Passat CC is very convincing in its whole package. The CLS-esque looks is simply miles better than the very car it seeks to mimic. With a DSG 'box now standard issue for all 2010 Passat CC and a rear three-seater version coming soon - perhaps by Q3/Q4 this year - it will make a stronger case for this fluidly sleek and avantgarde (no pun intended) 4-door coupe. Oh! Did I forget to mention that the EA888 engine in the 2010 Passat CC has a boosted power ratings that matches the Mk6 Golf GTI's 210 ps/280 Nm (previously capped at 200ps)?
For those who could get pass their blue-propeller and three-pointed star 'inertia', the Passat CC is all a knowledgeable and tasteful buyer's choice that'll keep him/her serene and unruffled on long highway journeys, yet at the same time still able to adrenalise the owner should he/she wants to hurry things up a bit.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Porsche Asia Pacific Pte Ltd today announced the official appointment of Sime Darby Auto Imports Sdn Bhd (Auto Imports), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sime Darby, as the sole and exclusive importer of Porsche cars in Malaysia.
The appointment, which follows a Letter of Intent signed between the two companies in January this year, was formalised in a signing ceremony that took place on Thursday, April 1, 2010.
Sime Darby takes over the responsibility from Jaseri Automotive Group Sdn Bhd, who had up till the first quarter of 2010 been handling the distribution and sales of Porsche cars in Malaysia.
With the agreement sealed, Auto Imports has appointed its related company, Sime Darby Auto Performance Sdn Bhd (Auto Performance) as the distributor of Porsche in Malaysia. Auto Performance is also a dealer and will have service centres that comply with Porsche’s stringent standards and undertake the sales, marketing and publicity functions as well as provide after-sales service for Porsche cars in Malaysia.
From L to R: Christopher Hunter, Lawrence Lee, Christer Ekberg, Arnt Bayer
Auto Performance will be headed by Chief Executive Officer, Arnt Bayer and After-Sales Manager, Christopher Hunter. Both Mr. Bayer and Mr. Hunter were previously from Porsche Asia Pacific, as Regional Sales Manager and Technical Manager, respectively, based in Singapore. The newly established company is also retaining staff members from the Jaseri Group who resume their full responsibilities operating at the current Porsche Centre Glenmarie.
Dato’ Mokhzani Mahathir, Chairman of Jaseri Automotive Group will remain a shareholder of Auto Performance, providing continuity for Porsche’s existing customer base.
According to Arnt Bayer, “We are confident that Sime Darby is the right partner to take the Porsche brand to new heights in this key market. The company’s long standing experience, coupled with the solid team, will ensure a solid growth for Porsche in Malaysia. Improving customer satisfaction is high priority and one of the key projects will be the establishment of a state of the art After Sales facility in the Porsche Center Glenmarie that will offer first class service to all Porsche customers in Malaysia.”
Dato’ Lawrence Lee (above: seated 2nd from left), Sime Darby’s Executive Vice President, Motors Division said, “We are honoured to add Porsche to our portfolio, and believe that the brand is well-placed for great expansion in this market. We already have some great plans for Porsche in Malaysia, including the establishment of a new dealership and a quick service centre for our customers, and will announce these in due course.”
Thursday, 1 April 2010
The Korean automakers are really on a roll now. Hyundai has unveiled - at the New York Auto Show - its latest 2011 Sonata 2.0T with their latest Theta-II GDI Turbo engine. It is capable of standard maximum output of 274 hp - no need remap or any of those after-market tuning mumbo-jumbo - and get this, maximum torque of...365Nm!
Eat your heart out Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Heck! Even VW's famed 2.0TSI (EA888) of the Mk6 Golf GTI/Scirocco/Passat CC takes a back seat with 'only' 210ps and 280Nm. At this rating, only Audi's version of TFSI nearly matches such torque level at 350Nm in their Q5 SUV and the A4 (B8) 2.0 TFSI quattro...but that's power and technology at a premium for you.
Read the full press-release after these pictures:
*denotes Gasoline Direct Injection + turbocharging (twin-scroll compressor) = high output + high low end torque!
SHAH ALAM (
The new Sonata is the first Hyundai vehicle to have both GDI technology and a turbocharger. By the end of Hyundai’s 24/7 version 2.0 product initiative (seven new models in the next 24 months), four nameplates will be available with GDI or the combination of GDI and a turbocharger. Turbocharging and GDI are part of “
“The Sonata 2.0T is a great example of what our
The 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine in the 2011 Sonata produces 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque from 1800-4500 rpm with regular fuel. The Sonata 2.0T will deliver 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway (preliminary estimates). Hyundai’s turbocharged engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger that when combined with the GDI system results in instantaneous power delivery. Twin-scroll turbochargers have traditionally been used on more expensive high performance engines, but as with GDI, Hyundai has chosen once again to apply this efficient technology in high volume to its most popular model.
The 2.0T engine will be available on the SE and Limited trim level, with the 2.0T Limited getting additional upgrades, including:
· Panoramic sunroof
· 18-inch hyper silver alloy wheels
· Dual exhaust system
· Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
TWIN-SCROLL TURBOCHARGER AND GDI TECHNOLOGY
Twin-scroll turbocharger designs have two exhaust gas inlets divided by split walls inside the turbine housing, with both gas passages controlled by a waste-gate. A twin-scroll turbo recovers even more energy from the exhaust than a single-scroll turbocharger thanks to a divided manifold. The twin-scroll design separates the cylinders whose exhaust gas pulses interfere with each other resulting in improved pressure distribution in the exhaust ports and a more efficient delivery of exhaust gas energy to the turbocharger’s turbine.
For example, at the start of the intake stroke of cylinder one, and when both the intake and exhaust valves of cylinder one are open (valve overlap period), cylinder three already starts its exhaust stroke with the exhaust valve open. If the exhaust passages of cylinder one and three were connected, the exhaust gas pulse from cylinder three would increase the back pressure of cylinder one. This would reduce the induction of the fresh air and increase the amount of hot residual gases inside the cylinder. However, with the twin-scroll turbocharger setup, this interference is minimized.
The twin-scroll turbocharger design has several other advantages over traditional, single-scroll turbocharging systems, including:
· Improved combustion efficiency
· Low engine-speed efficiency
· Kinetic exhaust gas energy is not wasted or trapped
· Cooler cylinder temperatures
· Lower exhaust temperatures
· Leaner air/fuel ratio
Essentially, Sonata’s twin-scroll turbo directs even more air into the engine while a compressor increases the pressure entering the cylinder. This allows the air entering the cylinder to be even more densely packed for higher compression and better performance, contributing to a more-efficient burn and fuel efficiency.
Two key features of Hyundai’s twin-scroll turbocharger setup are:
• The stainless steel exhaust manifold and the twin-scroll turbine housing are cast in a patent pending one-piece design
• The waste-gate for the turbocharger uses a motor-driven electrical controller instead of being mechanically controlled
Thanks to the integrated stainless-steel turbine housing with the exhaust manifold, not only is the weight and cost of the casting dramatically reduced, the durability of the turbine housing is also improved.
By adapting the motor-driven electrical waste-gate, the boost pressure is precisely controlled. The back pressure is reduced when turbo boost is not necessary by opening the waste-gate, which improves fuel efficiency. In addition, during cold starts, the waste-gate remains open which results in faster catalyst light-off for reduced exhaust emissions.
A GDI fuel delivery system contributes to improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions. This shorter, more direct path of fuel delivery allows for greater control of the fuel mixture at the optimum moment, thus improving efficiency. The fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at pressures up to 2175 psi. Direct injection also utilizes a higher-than-normal 9.5:1 compression ratio while achieving a remarkable 137 horsepower-per-liter. The piston heads are “dished” to increase combustion efficiency in the cylinder.
WORLD-CLASS POWER-TO-WEIGHT RATIO, RIGIDITY AND SPACE
One of the program targets for the 2011 Sonata engineering team was world-class power-to-weight ratio. This philosophy was also applied to the Sonata 2.0T, with the result of a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 12.2 horsepower per pound, significantly better than any mid-size sedan competitor, and even better than the performance-focused Chevrolet Camaro V6. Power-to-weight ratio pays dividends in both performance and fuel economy, and is the key to Sonata’s superior performance in both of these areas.
Additionally, all Sonatas are rich in ultra-high-strength steel, leading to world-class body rigidity. The 2011 Sonata is 25 percent stiffer in torsion and 19 percent stiffer in bending rigidity than its predecessor, yet it is lighter than most midsize sedans, also offering more interior room.
SIX-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Hyundai’s commitment to making the Sonata 2.0T extremely fuel efficient continues with a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control.
Hyundai's all-new six-speed automatic A6LF2 transaxle is another way the company is meeting its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. Shifts are silky smooth with an option of manual control through the SHIFTRONIC feature.
Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. Turbocharged Sonatas will also feature steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear being used.
Designed for transverse engine applications in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact transmission puts Hyundai into an elite class of auto manufacturers who have designed their own proprietary six-speed automatic transmissions. The strength of the design is its unique layout which makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed transmission on the market today.
For the customer, the new six-speed delivers a performance edge. The gearbox has no dipstick because it is filled with automatic transmission fluid that is good for the life of the vehicle under normal usage conditions, thereby reducing maintenance costs.
Developed over a four-year period, this new six-speed automatic is 26.4 pounds lighter than the five-speed it replaces. It is also 1.6 inches shorter and considerably simpler, having 62 fewer parts, which is key to increased durability, lighter weight and lower cost.
When it comes to transmissions, more gears are definitely better. The addition of a sixth gear enables closer spacing between gear ratios providing a better balance of performance and fuel economy while the wide overall gear ratio helps deliver strong acceleration.
The gearbox has three planetary gearsets and a unique flat torque converter that shortens the unit's overall length by 0.47 inches. Four pinion differentials improve durability and further minimize size.
Another example of engineering ingenuity is found in the design of the hydraulic pressure control unit. Slight manufacturing deviations from one solenoid valve to the next often cause fluctuation in the hydraulic pressure and affect shift precision and quality. The transmission featured in the Sonata cleverly integrates adjustment screws in the valves that enable each of the eight valves to be calibrated at the factory. This feature ensures stable hydraulic pressure at any shift point which facilitates a high degree of precision and control needed to deliver fast, smooth and precise shifts throughout the rpm range.