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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 10:15

subaru-tribeca-jpj-0013

As if seeing a Hyundai Tucson with a manual gearbox wasn’t enough, Anol Alias has served up a bigger shocker from the JPJ car park. Yes, it’s a facelift-model Subaru Tribeca! Is Motor Image really considering this for the Malaysian market?

It appears that this Satin White Pearl car, having left the factory gates at Lafayette, Indiana in the US, got on a boat at Baltimore, Maryland before arriving in Singapore, as a sheet attached to the rear window reveals. The same sheet says it’s a 2014 car – whether that’s production year or model year is not stated.

Considering production of the unloved SUV was reported to have ended at the beginning of this year (although it’s still on sale in the US), the Tribeca’s appearance here in Malaysia is even more of a mystery. Just look at that colour-coded bodykit and concave-convex interior!

subaru-tribeca-jpj-0014 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0009

The Subaru Tribeca started life in 2005 as a Legacy-based SUV. The original model had that controversial triangular grille (said to resemble a jet intake) that was also used on the 2005-2007 Impreza, and R1 and R2 kei cars.

The facelift you see here came in 2008, and along with it a 260 PS 3.6 litre flat-six to replace the original model’s 245 PS 3.0 litre flat-six. The engine drives all four wheels through a five-speed auto. A more lux alternative to the Forester, anyone? It won’t be very cheap to begin with, and now that they’re planning to locally assemble the Forester…

subaru-tribeca-jpj-0011 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0012 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0015 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0003 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0007 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0001 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0002 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0006 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0004 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0014 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0005 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0010 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0008 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0016 subaru-tribeca-jpj-0009

The post Subaru Tribeca facelift – what’s it doing at JPJ? appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan James Tan" Tags: "Cars, Local News, Spyshots, Subaru"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 08:48

2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0008

Volkswagen Malaysia has teased the specs of the soon-to-be-launched locally-assembled (CKD) Jetta on its website and Facebook page.

Features revealed so far are six airbags, an RCD 320 infotainment system (USB, SD, AUX, Bluetooth, six speakers), a 1.4 litre TSI engine, a 510 litre boot volume and dual-zone climate control.

Our spyshots of the CKD Volkswagen Jetta at JPJ Putrajaya show a car that is, externally, virtually identical to the current RM151,888 (nett selling price) CBU model.

Inside however, the head unit has been upgraded to the newer RCD 320 unit from the locally-assembled Polos (previously RCD 310), and the triple-knob air-con controls from the Mk7 Golf replace the dual-knob ones on the current car.

The Jetta is the fourth Volkswagen to be made here after the Passat, Polo sedan and Polo hatch. Read our review of the CBU Jetta 1.4 TSI.

CKD Volkswagen Jetta spyshots

2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0010 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0009 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0008 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0007 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0006 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0005 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0004 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0003 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0002 2014-vw-jetta-ckd-0001

Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI (CBU)

Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 012 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 011 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 010 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 009 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 008 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 007 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 006 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 005 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 004 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 003 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 002 Volkswagen_Jetta_1.4_TSI_ 001 SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

The post Volkswagen Jetta CKD specs teased ahead of launch appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan James Tan" Tags: "Cars, Local News, Volkswagen"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 07:39

BMW_116i_Malaysia_003

Yes, we know these are not (comparatively) new cars, but we saw them while we were at Quill Automobiles PJ taking shots of the just-launched BMW 420i Coupe, and remembered that only the fully-imported (CBU) 125i was present at the launch event.

So here’s a gallery of the most-affordable and second-most affordable variants in the Malaysian F20 BMW 1 Series range – the 116i and 118i, with the latter in Urban trim. Both are locally assembled (CKD).

Available only in standard trim, the 116i’s direct-injected 1.6 litre N13 four-cylinder turbo engine makes 136 hp and 220 Nm of torque, enough to push the vehicle to 100 km/h from rest in 8.7 seconds and onwards to 210 km/h.

BMW_116i_Malaysia_006 BMW_116i_Malaysia_017 BMW_116i_Malaysia_010

It gets 17-inch Y-spoke alloys with 205/50 tyres, satin silver interior trim and cloth upholstery, and is the only 1 Series variant without cruise control, auto air-con or a chrome-trimmed steering wheel.

The 118i has the same engine as the 116i, only here it’s tuned to give 170 hp and 250 Nm of torque. As a result, the 118i does the century sprint in 7.2 seconds before topping out at 222 km/h.

This Urban-spec car features Alpine White grille slats and exterior trim, a lightly-grilled fog lamp housing, white 17-inch V-spoke alloys with 225/45 tyres, a high-gloss black interior with silver accents, and silver cloth/black leather upholstery.

BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_002 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_014 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_007

The F20 BMW 1 Series range in Malaysia is priced as follows (OTR without insurance):

  • BMW 116i – RM170,800 (CKD)
  • BMW 118i Sport – RM190,800 (CKD)
  • BMW 118i Urban – RM190,800 (CKD)
  • BMW 125i Sport – RM238,800 (CBU)
  • BMW 125i M Sport – RM253,800 (CBU)

BMW 116i

BMW_116i_Malaysia_001 BMW_116i_Malaysia_005 BMW_116i_Malaysia_006 BMW_116i_Malaysia_007 BMW_116i_Malaysia_008 BMW_116i_Malaysia_009 BMW_116i_Malaysia_010 BMW_116i_Malaysia_011 BMW_116i_Malaysia_012 BMW_116i_Malaysia_013 BMW_116i_Malaysia_014 BMW_116i_Malaysia_015 BMW_116i_Malaysia_016 BMW_116i_Malaysia_017 BMW_116i_Malaysia_018 BMW_116i_Malaysia_019 BMW_116i_Malaysia_020 BMW_116i_Malaysia_021 BMW_116i_Malaysia_022 BMW_116i_Malaysia_023

BMW 118i Urban

BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_001 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_002 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_003 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_004 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_005 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_006 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_007 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_008 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_009 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_010 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_011 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_012 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_013 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_014 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_015 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_016 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_017 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_018 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_019 BMW_118i_Urban_Malaysia_020

The post GALLERY: F20 BMW 116i and 118i Urban compared appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan James Tan" Tags: "BMW, Cars"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 06:06

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The 2015 Subaru Outback has made its debut at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), using the latest Legacy as its base. Set to appear in US dealerships in the summer, the new Outback is claimed to feature the most cabin space, the most capable chassis and the highest fuel efficiency in the model’s 20-year history.

The new car is only slightly larger than the outgoing model, being just 15 mm longer and 18 mm wider, with the wheelbase grown by 5 mm. Yet Subaru claims that cabin space has grown by as much as 76 litres to 3,061 litres, with boot space now at 1,005 litres (up 34 litres), or 2,076 litres (up 57 litres) with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down.

As expected, the Outback follows the new Legacy’s styling, with the hawk-eye headlights, trapezoidal grille and the more steeply-raked windscreen. In typical Outback fashion, black plastic moulding goes around the car, punctuated by large fog lights at the front corners, while large roof rails with integrated retractable crossbars line the roof. Step-style doorsills enable one to stand firmly whilst securing cargo to the roof.

e_01-day1_bruce_shot01-102

The rear of the Outback should prove to be an accurate preview of the yet-to-be-launched Legacy Wagon, and it will be available with a power-retractable tailgate (standard on the Limited trim) for the first time.

The interior has also been lifted from the new Legacy, with better materials than before. As with the Legacy, the Outback comes in three trim levels – Standard, Premium and Limited. Premium features a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an All-Weather Package (heated seats and exterior mirrors as well as a wiper de-icer) as well as a six-speaker infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, among others.

Limited trim throws in 18-inch alloy wheels, perforated leather upholstery, a memory function for the driver’s seat, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear seats, keyless entry and start and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

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Also shared with the Legacy are its pair of available powertrains – a 2.5 litre flat-four producing 175 hp at 5,800 rpm and 235 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and a 3.6 litre flat-six (only available in Limited trim) developing 256 hp at 6,000 rpm and 334 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. Better aerodynamics and the Active Grille Shutter enable the 2.5 to achieve a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.4 litres per 100 km – which is claimed to beat some front-wheel drive versions of competitor crossovers – while the 3.6 attains 10.7 litres per 100 km.

Both engines are mated as standard to a Lineartronic CVT with six virtual ratios and paddle shifters, as well as Symmetrical AWD with Active Torque Vectoring and X-Mode lifted from the Forester, which provides enhanced off-roading capabilities along with Hill Descent Control.

Another page lifted from the Legacy’s spec sheet concerns the safety features, which includes new front seat cushion airbags that keep occupants in place in a collision, as well as the Rear Vehicle Detection System and EyeSight. The former (standard on Limited, optional on Premium) provides Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, while the latter (optional on Premium and Limited trims) enables Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning.

15TDI_BF4Oas001 15TDI_BF4Oas003 15TDI_BF4Oas004 15TDI_BF4Oas005 15TDI_BF4Oas006 15TDI_BF4Oas007 15TDI_BF4Oas008 15TDI_BF4Oas009 15TDI_BF4Oas010 15TDI_BF4Oas011 15TDI_BF4Oas012 15TDI_BF4Oas017 15TDI_BF4Opr002 e_01-day1_bruce_shot01-019 e_01-day1_bruce_shot01-102 e_02-day1_bruce_shot02_rig-068 e_03-day1_bruce_shot03-008_v1 e_11-day2_ken_shot04_735_v8 e_12-day2_ken_shot05-165 e_13-day2_ken_shot06- 153 e_16-day3_dillon_shot01_running-0079 e_16-day3_dillon_shot01_running-0860_v1 e_16-day3_dillon_shot01_running-0898 e_17-day3_dillon_shot01_lifestyle-0050 e_17-day3_dillon_shot01_lifestyle-5197 e_17-day3_dillon_shot01_lifestyle-5300-3 e_17-day3_dillon_shot01_lifestyle-5415 e_17-day3_dillon_shot01_lifestyle-5421 e_17-day3_dillon_shot01_lifestyle-5431 e_20-day4_ptreyes_shot02_details-3960 e_20-day4_ptreyes_shot02_details-4116 e_20-day4_ptreyes_shot02_details-4123 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The post 2015 Subaru Outback – jacked-up Legacy debuts in NY appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan Lee" Tags: "2014 NY International Auto Show, Cars, I..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 05:37

OK, perhaps “thunder” is taking a bit of poetic liberty where this spy video is concerned; still, we don’t doubt the upcoming four-door W205 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG has quite a soundtrack on offer.

I mean, despite the camera’s distance from the car, you can still hear the carnal V8 rumble from its quad tailpipes. Not to mention the chirp of the tyres as the hot sedan navigates the ‘Ring at considerable speed.

No more 487 hp/600 Nm 6.3 litre V8, but we should be looking at a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 that develops between 450 and 500 hp. Torque should be monumental, too.

This new V8 (M117 engine code) shares a modular architecture with the 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine found in the ’45 AMG’ cars (A, CLA and GLA), so it could be two of those joined in a V.

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG sedan spyshots

Mercedes-C63-AMG-4 Mercedes-C63-AMG-3 Mercedes-C63-AMG-6 Mercedes-C63-AMG-5 Mercedes-C63-AMG-2 Mercedes-C63-AMG-1 MB-C-AMG-4 MB-C-AMG-3 MB-C-AMG-6 MB-C-AMG-5 MB-C-AMG-9 MB-C-AMG-8 MB-C-AMG-7 MB-C-AMG-2 MB-C-AMG-1 Mercedes-C63-AMG-009 Mercedes-C63-AMG-007 Mercedes-C63-AMG-006-1 Mercedes-C63-AMG-005-1 Mercedes-C63-AMG-004-1 Mercedes-C63-AMG-008 Mercedes-C63-AMG-002-1 Mercedes-C63-AMG-003-1 Mercedes-C63-AMG-001-1

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG estate spyshots

AMG-C63-T-1 AMG-C63-T-2 AMG-C63-T-3 AMG-C63-T-5 AMG-C63-T-6 AMG-C63-T-7 AMG-C63-T-8 C63-AMG-wagon-1 C63-AMG-wagon-2 C63-AMG-wagon-3 C63-AMG-wagon-4 C63-AMG-wagon-5 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-001 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-002 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-003 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-004 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-005 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-006 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-008 Mercedes-C63-AMG-Estate-009

The post VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG sounds like thunder appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 04:00

2014 Honda City 4

The 2014 Honda City has collected 10,000 bookings within a month of its official launch on March 20, well surpassing the previous record of 3,000 bookings within a month of launch for the fourth-gen CR-V.

Honda Malaysia says it will be able to complete deliveries for all 10,000 bookings by end-June, thanks to the new No. 2 Line in Pegoh, which has doubled production capacity as well as enabled flexible production scheduling to speed up output.

In addition, sales are up 30% in Q1 2014 over the same period last year. Honda Malaysia aims to sell 76,000 Honda vehicles this year. Revisit our tireless coverage of the 2014 Honda City here: Launch, test drive, old car, new car, grade-by-grade comparison, walk-around video.

The post 2014 Honda City – 10,000 bookings within first month appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan James Tan" Tags: "Cars, Honda, Local News, Honda City 2014"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 03:59

Ford Fiesta ST KLIMS 21

Ford has launched a new flagship version of its Ford Fiesta ST. Appearing one year after the hot hatch’s debut, the range-topping ST-3 trim level builds on the specification of the ST-2 by adding more kit.

New to the Fiesta ST are equipment such as keyless entry, Sony DAB radio/CD with navigation system, cruise control, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, power-fold door mirrors with puddle lamps and electronic automatic temperature control. Rear parking sensors are introduced as an optional extra on the ST-3 and ST-2.

Priced at £19,250 (RM105,472) in the UK, the ST-3 responds to demand for a higher series model in addition to the previous two specification line-up, with the ST-2 accounting for over 90% of sales. In total, over 6,250 units of the hot Fiesta have been sold – 20% more than forecast.

Powered by a 1.6 litre EcoBoost engine with 182 PS/240 Nm, mated to a six-speed manual, the Fiesta ST sprints from 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. Top speed is 220 km/h. Ford has confirmed that the Fiesta ST will reach Malaysia in the second half of this year to battle the Renault Clio RS and Peugeot 208 GTI – will we get the ST-2 or ST-3 spec, and for how much?

Ford Fiesta ST-01 Ford Fiesta ST-07 Ford Fiesta ST-08 Ford Fiesta ST-09 Ford Fiesta ST-10 Ford Fiesta ST-16 Ford Fiesta ST-20 Ford Fiesta ST-18 Ford Fiesta ST-42 Ford Fiesta ST-44

The post Ford Fiesta ST – new range-topping ST-3 trim for UK appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Danny Tan" Tags: "Cars, Ford, International News"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 02:31

MLC-3

Just days after the Mercedes-Benz Coupe SUV Concept was showcased at Auto China 2014, Stuttgart’s engineers have begun testing a prototype of the production car on public roads.

We’ll call this one the ML Coupe for now, as we don’t know what the production car will be called. Current Mercedes-Benz naming schemes are a bit mixed up – it could be a CLM – a four door coupe version of the M-Class, like how the CLA is to the A, or the M-Class Coupe, a coupe version of the M-Class, just like the E-Class Coupe to the E-Class. Or it could be something else altogether!

MLC-8

Although still heavily disguised, we can see that the rear end of this new BMW X6 competitor will have the S-Class Coupe-style design, which will differentiate it further from the ML.

Mercedes-Benz is late to the game with this one – we’re about to see the launch of the second generation of the hugely popular BMW X6 and they’re just testing the first generation of their competitor now. Let the battle of the coupe SUVs begin!

MLC-10 MLC-9 MLC-8 MLC-7 MLC-4 MLC-6 MLC-5 MLC-3 MLC-2 MLC-1 Mercedes-GLC-005 Mercedes-GLC-006 Mercedes-GLC-004 Mercedes-GLC-002 Mercedes-GLC-001

The post SPYSHOTS: Production Mercedes-Benz ML Coupe appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Paul Tan" Tags: "Cars, Mercedes Benz, Spyshots"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 01:40

lotus-beijing-01

Lotus has opened its first 4S Centre in Beijing in an event officiated by Proton advisor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The national car architect was accompanied by Tan Sri Mohd Khamil Jamil, executive chairman of Proton and chairman of Group Lotus, as well as Aslam Farikullah, COO of Group Lotus.

The 4S centre has a footprint of approximately 1,000 square metres over four floors at the capital’s Golden Port Motor Park. It houses a showroom, comprehensive service centre, administrative office, merchandise retail corner, customers lounge and a training centre. There’s also a club house for Lotus owners. The service centre is equipped with three hoists, an engine repair room, plus diagnostic and special tools for Lotus cars.

lotus-beijing-02

“China’s growth has not only opened the eyes of the international business community, but it has also inspired us to open this new Lotus 4S Centre,” Farikullah said, adding that the opening is a form of acknowledgment for a market that has been receptive of the brand since its first venture there towards the end of 2011.

Lotus currently has eight dealerships in China, including in Shanghai, Chengdu and Dalian. Models currently sold in the Middle Kingdom include the Evora S IPS, the Exige S240/S260 and the Elise CR.

In Malaysia, Lotus launched the Exige S Roadster last month. The 345 hp sports car is priced from RM457k.

The post Lotus opens 4S centre in Beijing, its first in the capital appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Danny Tan" Tags: "Cars, International News, Lotus"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 12:17

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 10

It’s a peculiar place, the local B-segment sedan market. The heartland of the automotive scene in Malaysia, these small, ungainly-looking booted hatches regularly stirs the emotions of the buying public in a way no supercar can ever hope to match. It’s a highly competitive segment, with no margin for error, and your lead in the marketplace only lasts until the next time your competitors are refreshed.

That’s the situation in which the Nissan Almera currently finds itself. Once providing unbeatable value – prices start at just RM66,827 for the base E manual variant, topping off at RM79,837 for the VL – at a time when its rivals pushed for greater sophistication at premium prices, it has suddenly seen its share in the market eaten up, with both the new Toyota Vios and Honda City now featuring stripped-out, bargain-basement variants of their own.

To try to make up some of that ground, the company is pushing in the other direction with, ahem, the Nissan Almera Nismo Performance Package, aiming to inject some fun and sporting pedigree to its best-selling model, as well as to maintain its considerable foothold in the market. Is this the perfect shot in the arm for the Almera, or is it just a bridge too far for Nissan’s fledgling performance brand?

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 7

The Nismo Performance Package consists of a bodykit (RM3,600), a set of 16-inch alloy wheels (RM2,800) shod with 205/50 ContiMaxContact MC5 tyres (RM1,600), an exhaust claimed to reduce back pressure (RM2,000) and a series of suspension upgrades (RM3,000).

You can buy the parts separately, the Aero Package only – bodykit, wheels, tyres – at RM8,000, or the whole kit-and-caboodle (Performance Package) at an eye-watering RM13,000. There is no saving to be had in choosing either package, so you might as well just pick out the parts that you want individually.

For what it’s worth, though, it does at least look pretty enticing. The bodykit starts with a jutting front apron, under which sits a large splitter finished in metallic grey with a red pinstripe. This grey and red theme goes around the car, through the fatter side skirts and the large rear diffuser design. Topping it all off is a sizeable grey lip spoiler on the boot lid.

Unlike full-on Nismo cars like the Juke, these parts have been added on, rather than becoming an integral part of the design. Even so, it works well, sharpening up the Almera’s slightly pudgy looks without adding even more visual heft, a pit which other bodykits for B-segment sedans fall into.

Enhancing the look even further are the gunmetal grey 16-inch alloy wheels, which feature a diamond cut finish on the lip and the tops of the spokes. But the real head-turner effect can only be achieved with the suspension kit, which drops the car by a full, juicy 30 mm. One caveat, though – at this ride height, the car will end up scraping its enormous front splitter over larger speed bumps and steep parking ramps, so it pays to be extremely careful.

This particular unit has also been kitted up with additional Nismo accessories, such as the carbon-fibre wing mirror covers, bucket seats, an Alcantara and leather trimmed steering wheel and Nismo-badged front mats and kick plates. The interior upgrades in particular really liven up what was decidedly a cheap-feeling, albeit very spacious and intuitive cabin.

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 40 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 36 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 39

Except they don’t come cheap. Nissan has yet to release individual pricing for these parts, but it is estimated that together they will cost in excess of RM8,000 on top of the already pricey Performance Package. Specifying a VL-spec Almera fully kitted-up as tested – complete with the navigation package, door visors and sporty alloy pedals – would push it north of the RM100k mark.

Out on the move, the Almera makes an immediate statement to bystanders with its exhaust, which emits a nice, throaty roar going up the rev range. That doesn’t get through to the driver’s seat, though – instead, all you get is a bassy boom low down, and as you pin the throttle, the loud, uninspiring thrash of the engine really starts to take over.

Still, at least it’s unintrusive – you quickly learn to tune out the slight drone the exhaust produces at a cruise – but a little more of the exhaust’s character inside wouldn’t go amiss. Wind noise has actually been improved through the wing mirror cover’s odd shape, while tyre noise remains at an acceptable level even with the wider tyres, but it’s still not the most refined car in its class.

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 50 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 20 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 22

Less unintrusive is the ride, which is noticeably firmer than on the regular Almera, thumping into bumps and generally transmitting more of the road’s imperfections into the cabin. Through my experience, it’s just about bearable – it’s still less stiff than some of the full-on hot-hatches out there – but your mileage may differ. Living with this car day in, day out could eventually get tiring.

The 1.5 litre CVTC four-cylinder engine is unchanged, making the same 101 hp at 6,000 rpm and 139 Nm at 4,000 rpm as the standard car. These are the lowest figures in the B-segment sector, and while the car is fairly frugal – driving more sedately I averaged around 8.0 litres per 100 km – it definitely feels slightly asthmatic, struggling to pull itself along with much conviction.

The new exhaust does seem to help with the throttle response, though, and the quick-witted four-speed automatic transmission does make the most of what little the engine has, making overtaking manoeuvres an easier and less heart-stopping affair.

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 1 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 56 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 14

There is more fun to be had hustling the Almera Nismo through a corner – the car feels much more effectively tied down than with the rather wooly standard setup. Body roll has been significantly reduced, and so has the slightly floaty sensation the regular car had at higher speeds. Also shining through is the Almera Nismo’s surprising agility – it resists understeer pretty well, betraying the relatively low weight

Push it harder, though, and a number of things start pouring cold water onto proceedings. The new tyres, while undoubtedly holding on far better than the regular ContiComfortContact 1 tyres of the standard Almera, are still short on grip. Out of slow corners in a low gear, they can get overwhelmed even by the engine’s fairly modest torque.

Some of the previously acceptable regular car’s traits also become painfully apparent in what is now billed as a sporting variant. The gearbox – while quick to kickdown when you put the pedal down – also upshifts far too early when you lift off the throttle, which can impede progress, especially uphill. The gap between second and third gear is also too wide, and you can forget about fourth in spirited driving.

But it’s the steering that is the biggest problem. Not in terms of feel (admittedly not much is on offer) or heft (it’s too light, even though weight is added on the faster you go), but the speed of the rack itself. At nearly three turns lock-to-lock, you find yourself having to put in more steering input than you would expect.

As a result, you are constantly second-guessing yourself, always coming into the corner watching the car seemingly push wide, only to realise you still have oodles of steering lock left to go through. It’s a disconcerting feeling and robs you of the confidence to really commit to a corner.

It has to be said, however, that despite these shortcomings, the Almera Nismo is still a very likeable car and more than a decent steer. It’s a far cry from the insipid handling traits that has come to characterise the segment, all the while retaining much of the standard Almera’s strengths such as the low fuel consumption and the incredible spaciousness.

But is it worth the considerable extra outlay? If you can stomach the fairly stiff ride, maybe. Certainly, if you plump for the less expensive variants like the V, the premium becomes slightly easier to swallow, as you would still be paying B-segment money for a B-segment car.

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 6

Step up to the VL model and it becomes a bit more difficult to justify, but in this writer’s opinion the car is still better value than the all mouth, no trousers Toyota Vios TRD Sportivo that retails for around the same price – although sit inside and you do initially wonder where all your money went.

There is a fly in the Almera Nismo’s ointment, however, in the shape of the Suzuki Swift Sport – a proper hot-hatch that costs just six grand more with a six-speed manual (and if you’re going to buy a hot-hatch you really should skip the CVT option). Yes, it will be considerably less practical and more expensive to run (RON 97 is recommended for better performance and ultimate reliability) but enthusiasts looking for a properly sterling drive would likely be paid back handsomely.

Ultimately, the Nismo Performance Package, while providing buyers a fairly attractive, relatively sporty option in the marketplace, doesn’t quite manage to completely alter the Almera’s characteristics. What it does do, however, is leave the door open for a rather attractive proposition – what about a proper high-performance Almera? Maybe with the Juke’s 1.6 litre DIG-Turbo engine, a manual gearbox, quicker steering, beefier brakes and grippier tyres? Now that could be quite something…

Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 2 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 4 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 5 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 6 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 8 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 9 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 11 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 12 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 13 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 14 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 15 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 16 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 17 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 18 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 19 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 20 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 21 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 22 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 23 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 24 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 25 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 26 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 27 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 29 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 30 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 34 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 35 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 36 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 37 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 38 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 39 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 40 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 41 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 42 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 44 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 45 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 46 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 47 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 48 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 49 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 50 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 51 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 52 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 53 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 54 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 55 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 56 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 57 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 32 Nissan Almera NISMO Performance Package 31

The post DRIVEN: Nissan Almera Nismo Performance Package appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan Lee" Tags: "Car Reviews, Cars, Nissan"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 10:44
Author: "Anthony Lim" Tags: "2014 Beijing International Auto Show, Ca..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 09:57

alivio051

We’ve seen the Suzuki Authentics concept at Shanghai 2013 and its identical twin, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, in Delhi earlier this year. Now the company has returned to China to showcase the Suzuki Concept Alivio – which previews a new SX4-based sedan – at Auto China 2014 in Beijing.

Measuring 4,545 mm long, 1,730 mm wide and 1,475 mm tall, the Alivio has grown to a full C-segment sedan competitor to take on the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, being 45 mm longer and 85 than the old segment-straddling SX4 Sedan (width remains the same). This leaves the Swift-based Dzire as the company’s sole B-segment entry.

Looking a lot more production-ready than the earlier concepts, the Alivio is expected to remain much the same when it reaches the market, losing only the large wheels and some of the chrome trim. It certainly looks more conventional and balanced than the rather ungainly SX4 Sedan, that’s for sure.

alivio091

Powering the Alivio is a 1.6 litre DOHC VVT inline-four engine (likely the SX4′s M16A engine) which Suzuki claims has increased performance and fuel efficiency due to a reduction of weight and frictional resistance. Currently, the engine in the SX4 produces 120 PS at 6,000 rpm and 156 Nm at 4,400 rpm. The engine is mated to a new lightweight and compact six-speed automatic that promises improved efficiency.

The production version of the Suzuki Concept Alivio is set to be unveiled for the Chinese and Indian market sometime later this year. What do you think – should it be brought over here to take on Malaysia’s competitive market?

alivio02 alivio04 alivio07 alivio01 alivio03 alivio06 alivio08 alivio10

The post Suzuki Concept Alivio – the SX4 Sedan grows up appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 07:46

BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_001

Following last week’s local launch of the BMW 428i Convertible, it’s now the turn of the BMW 420i Coupe to hit our shores. The entry-level 4 Series is available here in standard and Sport Line forms.

The 420i Coupe is powered by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine that develops 184 hp from 5,000-6,250 rpm and 270 Nm of torque from 1,250-4,500 rpm. With the help of an eight-speed auto, the vehicle gets to 100 km/h from rest in 7.3 seconds before hitting a 236 km/h top speed.

Of course, there’s stop/start as well as the Driving Experience Control with Eco Pro mode. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.0 litres per 100 km.

BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_006 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_016 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_010

The standard car gets 225/50 R17 star-spoke alloys, xenon headlamps, fog lamps and front and rear parking sensors. Inside, you’ll find auto dual-zone air-con, auto headlamps and wipers, six speakers, Dakota black leather upholstery, 6.5-inch BMW Radio Professional (so no touch-sensitive iDrive), cruise control with braking function, satin silver matt dashboard trim and a sports leather steering wheel.

Upgrade to the Sport Line and you get 225/45 R18 double-spoke alloys, M Sport suspension, an eight-speed sports auto with shift paddles and Launch Control, high-gloss black exterior trim and additional front and rear bumper trim.

Interior additions comprise high-gloss black dashboard trim with Coral Red matt accents, a nine-speaker 205W sound system, sports seats and Anthracite headlining.

BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_022 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_026 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_023

Dual frontal and side airbags, plus head airbags front to rear, DSC, ASC, CBC and DTC are standard. Body colours comprise Alpine White, Midnight Blue, Mineral Grey, Black Sapphire (base car only) and Melbourne Red (Sport Line only).

The fully-imported (CBU) BMW 420i Coupe costs RM299,800, OTR without insurance, while the Sport Line package (pictured here, taken at Quill Automobiles PJ) is a RM20k upgrade.

The BMW 4 Series range in Malaysia is now thus:

BMW 420i Coupe Sport

BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_001 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_002 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_003 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_004 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_005 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_006 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_007 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_008 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_009 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_010 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_011 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_012 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_013 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_014 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_015 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_016 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_017 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_018 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_019 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_020 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_021 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_022 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_023 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_024 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_026 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_027 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_028 BMW_420i_Sport_Malaysia_029 bmw-420i-coupe-msia-pricelist bmw-420i-coupe-msia-specs

The post BMW 420i Coupe launched in Malaysia – from RM300k appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 05:40

Toyota_GT86_2015_update_Europe_01

The Toyota 86 (or the GT86 as it’s called in Europe), has been given a minor update for the 2015 Model Year. You’d hardly describe the reborn hachi roku as lacking in the dynamics department, but that’s precisely what Toyota decided to improve upon.

Toyota claims to have continued to work on the car since it was first launched in 2012. Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said, “there is no reason that development should stop, only because the vehicle has gone on sale. The 86 is all about driver involvement, and we are committed to keep enhancing this aspect of the car.”

Toyota_GT86_2015_update_Europe_02 Toyota_GT86_2015_update_Europe_03

Click to enlarge.

Integral to the running upgrade is a “more rigid fixation of the front suspension and the rear shock absorbers.” Coupled with reworked dampers, the changes provide more stability to deliver a smoother and more communicative handling. Body roll has been reduced too, while the steering is said to be even crisper than before.

Changes that you can physically see are limited to a new shark-fin antenna (which is aero-positive, apparently) and a carbon-fibre-look dashboard trim. Subaru has also announced a very similar update for its near-identical BRZ.

The post Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ updated with better dynamics appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Hafriz Shah" Tags: "Cars, International News, Toyota"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 04:18

The recently-introduced Toyota Camry 2.0 G X is the set piece in this one, in which Patrick Teoh and Kuahjenhan engage in a humourous face-off over the car.

All the car’s novelties are highlighted by the two funnymen in the clip, as is its performance, which has agar-agar thrown in for good measure.

The RM159k Camry ‘X’ (which stands for ‘Exquisite Luxury’, apparently) is based on the 2.0 G variant, and features embellishments such as smoked head/tail lamps, dark silver 17-inch alloys, dark brown leather upholstery and wood trim as well as ‘Camry X’-branded front carpet mats.

It also has an optional seven-inch DVD-AVN touchscreen system with navigation fitted as standard. Also on are a powered rear blind and manual rear side window blinds, items that have previously been exclusive to the Camry 2.5 V. Which all makes the Camry 2.0 G X really “atas” and look very hip-hop…

The post VIDEO: Toyota Camry 2.0 G X – two funnymen face-off appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Anthony Lim" Tags: "Cars, Toyota, Videos, Toyota Camry XV50 ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 03:10

Peugeot-408-03

Peugeot has unveiled the new Peugeot 408 at the ongoing Auto China 2014 show in Beijing. Designed for the Chinese market, the new 408 is based on the new 308, the reigning 2014 European Car of the Year. In the Middle Kingdom, it replaces the 408 that we’re familiar with in Malaysia.

To do battle in the “upper Chinese C-segment”, the new 408 is armed with more space and tech. The wheelbase has grown by 20 mm to make 2,730 mm, the longest in the segment – although WB measurement doesn’t always tell the full story (packaging counts, too), the 408 should offer above par rear legroom.

Like the new 308, this sedan sits on PSA’s new EMP2 platform. The Efficient Modular Platform 2 also underpins the new Citroen C4 Picasso MPV. In the 308, the new underpinnings play a key role in the considerable weight reduction, by an average of 140 kg compared to the outgoing hatch. This should translate to a lighter 408 as well.

Peugeot-408-02

No official pic of the cabin was released, so we’re left wondering if Peugeot carried over the 308′s modern, minimalist dashboard or gave the 408 a more traditional cabin, one that has a more “luxurious” feel befitting its positioning. We’re guessing the former.

Under the hood is a direct-injection 1.6 THP turbocharged engine with Stop & Start technology. Dongfeng Peugeot’s move to push the new 408 upmarket means that the sedan will have full-LED headlamps, a “City Park” system and blind spot sensors, among other kit.

Peugeot says that the 408, together with the Exalt concept car, debuts the brand’s new styling cues. Note that the lion badge on both cars now sit proud in the middle of the grille, as opposed to on the hood. The 308′s distinctive feature line that rises from the front door and ends at the tail lamp are replicated on the 408, which to our eyes, looks unexciting but neat enough.

Peugeot-408-01 Peugeot-408-02 Peugeot-408-03 Peugeot-408-04 Peugeot-408-05

The post New Peugeot 408 Sedan unveiled at Auto China 2014 appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Danny Tan" Tags: "2014 Beijing International Auto Show, Ca..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 01:49

Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0017

It may not look all that special, but this car, the Volvo S60L PPHEV (Petrol Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) concept, absolutely is. Volvo claims that it’s a zero-emission electric vehicle, an efficient hybrid and a high-performance car. Yup, all three in one tidy looking Volvo S60L.

The S60L PPHEV uses the same plug-in hybrid technology showcased in Detroit 2012’s XC60 Plug-in Hybrid concept, and this time it will reach production next year. It will join the existing diesel-powered V60 Plug-in Hybrid in Volvo’s fast-expanding ultra-efficient lineup.

Under the hood is a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 238 hp and 350 Nm of torque on its own. The Drive-E engine powers the front wheels through an eight-speed auto’box, while an electric motor sends another 68 hp and 200 Nm to the rear tyres for instant trough-the-road all-wheel drive.

Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0015

Volvo’s “most technologically advanced powertrain ever” offers three driving modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power. Pure gives a 50 km all-electric range, Hybrid uses as little as 2.0 litres of fuel per 100 km (50 km per litre) and Power offers a 0-100 km/h time of just 5.5 seconds. Now this is a three-in-one cocktail you won’t mind having every day.

Total range is said to be around 1,000 km in the default Hybrid mode, and a full recharge of the boot floor-mounted 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack takes between 4.5 to 4.0 hours, depending on the power outlet’s amperage. There’s no need for a dedicated charging station; a regular power socket will suffice.

Unique to the concept are its matte white crystal pearl colour with contrasting black/blue details, wind-cheating 17-inch wheels and subtle plug-in hybrid badges. Inside, the S60L is further glitzed-up with a hazel-brown leather interior and matching bespoke wood trim pieces. Who says one can’t have it all?

Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0005 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0016 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0017 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0001 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0002 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0003 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0004 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0006 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0007 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0008 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0011 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0012 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0013 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0014 Volvo-S60L-PPHEV-0015

The post Volvo S60L PPHEV concept is the complete package appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Hafriz Shah" Tags: "2014 Beijing International Auto Show, Ca..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 13:27

macan-front

Porsche’s new Macan SUV debuted with a Macan S, a Macan S Diesel and a Macan Turbo, all powered by turbocharged V6 engines. What about the basic Macan? Porsche has finally revealed what will be powering the baseline Macan – a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The base Macan’s 1,984 cc four-cylinder engine produces a peak output of 237 hp from 5,000 to 6,800 rpm and a peak torque of 350 Nm from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm, with a compression ratio of 9.6:1. It sounds like the VW Group’s EA888 engine to us. Mated to a PDK dual-clutch transmission, it hits 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. Combined fuel consumption is about 7.5 litres per 100 km.

Other than the different engine under the hood, there are exterior changes as well. The easiest way to tell between Macan models would be the tail pipes. While the Macan Turbo has quad rhombus tail pipes and the Macan S uses quad circular tail pipes, the Macan uses dual rhombus tail pipes.

macan-rear

If priced well, this car is undoubtedly going to be prowling all over the streets of affluent communities. It’s likely going to be the most affordable point of entry to Porsche ownership after all.

Standard specs (not exhaustive) for the 2.0 litre Macan include 18-inch wheels, an automatic rear tailgate, multifunction steering with paddle shifters, dual-zone climate control, comfort seats with Alcantara centre, and a black interior.

Options include wheels up to 21 inches in diameter, PASM air suspension, a panoramic roof, power steering Plus, cruise control and yes, even front and rear ParkAssist is optional.

Big thanks to sudonano for the tip!

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The post Porsche Macan entry engine revealed, 237 hp 2.0 turbo appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Paul Tan" Tags: "Cars, International News, Porsche"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 12:00

Ni hao from Beijing! Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the first in set of videos focusing on the highlights of one of the biggest and most significant motor shows on the calendar.

Our charming host Aerilynn (whom you knew from our teaser post as ‘Miss Red’) opens our Auto China 2014 adventure with three production sedans that made their debut at the show – the second-gen Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Escort and Kia K4.

She even manages to talk to the Escort’s exterior design manager, Andrew Collinson, on the design concept behind the car and its customer base. Enjoy!

The post VIDEO: Beijing 2014 highlights – production sedans appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 10:01

hyundai-ix25-concept-beijing-2

The B-segment crossover market is underway – we already have the Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, Ford EcoSport, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V/Vezel.

Moreover, the ongoing Auto China 2014 in Beijing has seen the debut of the Citroen C-XR concept, which will very probably one day become a B-SUV China can buy.

Along the same vein is the Hyundai ix25 concept, which has also turned up at the show. Length, width, height and wheelbase are respectively 4,270, 1,780, 1,630 and 2,590 mm – putting it comfortably in the B-SUV ballpark.

hyundai-ix25-concept-beijing-1

The ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0‘-inspired vehicle is motivated by a 2.0 litre Nu engine. Hyundai expects to launch the production ix25 in China in the second half of this year. We do hope most of the concept’s looks are retained.

The road-going Hyundai ix25, which our Euro spies have spotted undergoing testing, is based on the next-gen i20 hatch, and will be built through a joint venture with BAIC.

Hyundai ix25 1 Hyundai ix25 2 Hyundai ix25 4 Hyundai ix25 7 Hyundai ix25 8 Spy-Shots of Cars Spy-Shots of Cars Spy-Shots of Cars Spy-Shots of Cars Spy-Shots of Cars

The post Hyundai ix25 concept previews B-seg SUV for China appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

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Author: "Jonathan James Tan" Tags: "2014 Beijing International Auto Show, Ca..."
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