Sunday, 27 June 2010

Volkswagen Golf Mk 7 due in 2012?

If at all that is true, then the current Mk 6 model cycle would be the shortest among all Golf generations. The Mk 5 was after all running from 2003 to 2009 while the preceding Mk 4 Golf production has equal longevity from 1997 to 2003.

Could it be that the current generation of Golf Mk 6 uses a slightly modified platform of the Golf Mk 5? And that the overall dimensions and silhouette shadows much of its predecessor? Perhaps in German automotive application just a major facelift of the Mk 5?

As such, the Golf Mk 7 will be a completely new model. To be built on a new platform known as MQB - which will have a longer wheelbase yet lighter - the all-new 2012 Golf will allow the introduction of hybrid powertrains which include petrol-electric and diesel-electric combos. The Mk 7 Golf will probably sport a full-EV variant rumoured to debut a year later in 2013.

Expect the following pure internal combustion range of 1.2-litre TSI engine (86 and 105 hp), 1.4-litre TSI engine (122 hp and 160 hp), 1.6-litre TDI engine (90 hp and 105 hp), 2.0-litre TDI engine (140 hp, 170 hp and 220 hp). The Mk 7 Golf GTI and Golf R versions are likely still powered by top-range 2.0-litre TSI engine (220 hp and 300 hp).

The all-new Mk 7 Golf is expected to be unveiled by end 2012, with production target for the Mk 6 to be around 1.6 millions units. In contrast, the Mk 5 with its good-and-ripe 6-years production run had clocked up some 2.3 million units.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

2010 Hyundai Sonata (YF) previewed before actual launch date of 2nd July 2010 in Malaysia

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has given the media a preview of its latest Sonata YF 2.0 and 2.4. Plans are afoot to launch it officially on 2nd July 2010. The 2.0-litre version is available in two trims level i.e. Standard Spec and High Spec while the 2.4 is only available in top spec, with prices ranging from RM135,888 to RM163,888 (OTR).

Please click on the chart below for more info on the 2.0 and 2.4 variants to be available soon:

Powered by Hyundai's indigenous new Theta II family of engines, the 2.0 churns out a respectable 164 bhp and maximum torque of 197 Nm. The 2.4 meanwhile, has a combo of 175 bhp/227 Nm. Rather class-leading figures for naturally aspirated powerplants in the Japanese-Korean class of cars. Claimed fuel consumption (combined cycle) are 13.2 km/l for the 2.0L and 12.5 km/l for the 2.4L Sonatas.

Available in White, Silver, Black, Blue and Red, the sleek 4-door coupe is fully imported (CBU) from South Korea. The all-new Sonata is available for pre-viewing now - daily from 2pm to 7pm - until next Tuesday (29th June) at Hyundai’s showroom at Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Lotus Evora now available in Malaysia

Lotus Malaysia today officially launched an all-new Lotus sports car ever since the Elise - spawning the many sporty variants - which debuted in 1995. Being a 2+2 mid-engined coupe, the Evora is unique in that it is one-of-its-kind with a rear bench that fits two, albeit only small kids. Prices range from RM443,480 to RM490,210, excluding insurance - for a 3.5L VVT-i V6 (Toyota's 2GR-FE) powered sports coupe, available with only standard 6-speed manual transmission.

Claimed performance figures are 5.1 seconds to the century dash and a top whack of 261 km/h with a claimed fuel consumption of 11.5 kms/litre.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hyundai Tucson prices hiked in Malaysia

Prices of the new Hyundai Tucson have been hiked by 1% to 2% effective 7th June 2010.
This is the first price increase after its introduction to the Malaysian market sometime April 2010.

The new prices are:
Standard 2.0 - RM129,888
High-Spec 2.0-
Top-of-the-line 2.4 - RM154,888.

Those who have placed their bookings before 7th June will not be subjected to this price increase.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Tried & Tested: Mercedes-Benz C250 CGI

In the blink of an eye it has been 3 years since the W204 C-Class debuted. While the mid-cycle facelift isn't due yet, Mercedes-Benz has chosen to go the way of turbocharging their C-Class along with the introduction of their new W212 E-Class with Charged Gasoline Injection (CGI). In Daimler speak, that's direct fuel injection + turbocharging.

Read all about the test drive of seemingly Golf GTI's power output vehicle with rear-wheel drive plus a boot. Or is it not so? The new C250 CGI after all punches out a maximum of 204hp/310Nm. Scroll down below for a review by someone dubbed recently as "Mr Stuttgart" (think: M-B/Porsche) of the motoring circle :)

Browsing through the Press Information supplied by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) along with the tester you see above, the new C250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY is touted as "the most efficient C-Class ever". With claimed fuel consumption of just 7.2 - 7.9 litres/100km in combined cycle.

As you all know and have experienced before, in the real world these figures are as good as striking it rich in the lottery. However and rather unexpectedly so, the best figure I got from the C250 was 8.2 l/100km while getting boxed-in during northbound traffic of the North-South highway - compulsorily doing speeds of 80 - 90km/h constantly. On the upper end of the scale, the computer was reading out 12.3 l/100km on other occasions of getting 'high' behind the wheel.
In retrospect, my last E200 Kompressor (W211) was returning rather similar range of fuel consumption figures in my 4 years of usage.

So I guess you could call it BlueEFFICIENCY after all, since 204hp/310Nm versus 163hp/240Nm with the same amount of fuel in indeed efficiency at work. That's the beauty of having a triple alphabets "DEH" suffix to M271 (engine code) I guess! But I don't see the need of getting the all 'Blue' over this. There is no AdBlue (ammonia consuming catalyst system) here for this petrol combusting 1.8-litre 4-pot. Hmmm...

Further into the Press Info, M-B claims a sprint timing of 7.4 seconds for their latest C250 CGI. Which is entirely believable, since 310 Nm is at your disposal from a low 2,000 rpm through to 4,000 rpm. It feels especially quick more so in 'SPORT' mode but not that manically rapid as say the 211 ps/280 Nm Mk6 Golf GTI because of its rear-drive configuration and probably 5A/T torque converter 'refining and filtering' things out a tad more. Typical of Mercedes-Benz, there is no lurch even as you slam the throttle aggressively at take-off. One of my "co-tester" even claimed the Toyota Vios is 'more powerful' due to its persistent lunging-forward kick of (initial) acceleration. Gosh! Must be a diehard Toyota fan despite the throttle-gate fiasco which seemed to have evaded Malaysia.

High speed stability wise, the new C250 is indeed better than the outgoing C230 2.5 V6. In 'normal' suspension setting, there is indeed less mushiness of the dampers resulting in less roll around corners. Even in 'Sport' the suspension isn't as hard or jarring as the last 6-potted C230. This is noticeable when I contrasted another C230 back-to-back. M-B engineers along with the Bilstein folks must have done some suspension tweaking over black coffee and some serious test track time.

Having said that, the new C250 is still a tad floaty at speed above 180 km/h despite having adaptive dampers. The steering while being weightier in Sport mode (the older C230's rack doesn't respond to Sport setting at all before) is still a tad numb at speed beyond 200 km/h. With a wee bit more choppiness than desired on poor undulating surfaces of certain highway stretches the C250's chassis can come across as jittery approaching its claimed Vmax of 240 km/h.
I guess M-B might still want to relegate such lofty task to the W212 which is way calmer and felt sturdier - possibly due a longer wheelbase and wider tracks.

Yet above it all, on B-roads the new C250 CGI is nicely agile and tracks corner like a dream with the steering ratio reduced from 14.5 in the C200 versus 13.5 in the C250. I would have preferred the 'Sport' button to be split into two separate level of actuation where the throttle 'Sportier' mapping is decided at the gear lever while the chassis/suspension tautness and steering weight/feel is activated by the regular switch on the centre console. Much like the Mk6 GTI where you can dial in a combo of 'Sport, Normal or Auto' suspension mode with either regular 'D' auto or 'S' auto drive mode.

Priced at RM287,888 the new C250 CGI is indeed a very promising Mercedes that is solid in performance yet retains M-B hallmark of comfort, albeit in a smaller package. The turbocharged C-Class (E-Class in a broader perspective) will be the range that will answer to MBM's profitability for their current financial year since the C250 CGI definitely cost less to make versus the C230 V6 of yore. The C250 CGI (as well as the C200 CGI) also address succinctly to the downsizing-cum-efficiency trend of current times, complying with EU5 emissions standard while being fun to point-and-shoot should you want more zippiness at a moment's notice. The Munich camp meanwhile has no emphatic answer to this with their aging E90 especially in regards to their asthmatic 320i and pricey, yet detuned 323i. However, the E90 320d makes a very compelling case and this shall be the closest competitor to this C250 CGI - in my books at least. Watch out for its review coming up next.

Related posts:

Mercedes-Benz C200 Kompressor (W204) tested in 2007
Parting shots of the W203 C200K Final Edition

2007 Lamborghini Gallardo LP520-4

One look at the Lamborghini above, can you tell that the basic shape has been around since 2003? Not really right? Of course, the LP520-4 above has 520 horses as compared to the 'lower' 500 horses of the 2003 -2005 models of the Gallardo.

Whatever ponies it may be pushing...gawd! the sound it makes - as you swing the tacho towards redline - is unbelievably awesome! It beggars belief the auditory nirvana you experience as the V10 sings, then howl along with the thrust-thumping exhaust note.

The drive was too short - in congested Friday traffic et al - to really feel the depth of the svelte-looking sports coupe. This Gallardo in striking yellow really shouts that you have indeed, arrived.

One thing was glaringly noticeable though, enough with the single robotic-clutch, clunky and jerky, lift-and-shift-in-manual-mode-a-must E-gear, Audi AG. Give the next generation (or facelift/upgrade?) Gallardo S-Tronic/DSG or whatever Lamborghini might wanna dub it in Italian. The Gallardo truly deserves better, to be in the league of Porsche DoppelKupplung (PDK) and Ferrari's DCT.