Kia has unveiled its new K4 Concept at Auto China 2014 – the study previews a China-only sedan the Korean automaker will being into the market sometime in the second half of the year. Assembly is set to take place at Dongfeng Yueda Kia’s plant in Yancheng in Jiansu province.
The company describes the car’s exterior form as ‘simple, distinctive and dignified’, and as for size, the 4.72 metre-long K4 – which reportedly sits on the same platform as the Hyundai Mistra – slots in between the 4.84 metre-long K5 Optima than the 4.56 metre-long K3 (the Cerato here).
Width is 1,815 mm, while wheelbase length is 2,700 mm, the latter identical to the K3, but slightly less than the Mistra’s 2,770 mm. Plenty of interior space in a ‘skilfully packaged’ cabin, so it is claimed.
For Beijing, the concept is equipped with the 201 hp and 265 Nm 1.6 litre turbo GDI mill as seen on the pro_cee’d GT, paired with the company’s new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The show incidentally heralds the engine’s first appearance in the Chinese market.
The glam powertrain won’t be the only engine on call for the car – reports indicate that more sedate 1.8 and 2.0 litre normally-aspirated options will headline the K4 in series production form, with the 1.6 turbo becoming available later.
Standard equipment includes push-button ignition, a Supervision instrument cluster and Kia’s UVO infotainment system, while safety kit includes six airbags, ESP and a rear-view camera.
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The Volkswagen Golf R has traditionally been the most powerful production version for each generation of Golf. But could Volkswagen be planning to introduce an even more powerful version of the Golf? That’s what this Golf R 400 Concept seem to indicate.
The Golf R 400 Concept also uses a 2.0 litre TSI engine just like the Mk7 GTI and R; however this one has its roots from the Polo WRC‘s racing engine. Peak power is 400 PS and 450 Nm of torque, channeled to all four wheels via a six-speed DSG gearbox and Haldex-based 4MOTION permanent all-wheel-drive. That’s a full 100 PS more than the Golf R.
It’s not the most powerful version of the 2.0 TSI in a concept that we’ve seen – the TT quattro sport concept from Geneva has 420 PS – but still, it’s a very impressive power to displacement ratio. The 400 PS/450 Nm takes the Golf R 400 Concept up to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
The exterior design of the Golf R 400 Concept – based on the three-door Golf body – has also been revised, now having flared fenders as a modern interpretation of the Golf G60 rally car from 1988. The front and rear bumpers and many other parts made of visible carbon fibre. The interior is finished with Alcantara and racing seats covered with “carbon leather”. Suspension settings remain the same as the Golf R’s.
Well, incredulous as the reports may have been, they were right – there will be a BMW 9 Series. Well, officially, the car shown at Auto China in Beijing today is called the BMW Vision Future Luxury, but anyone who says this concept isn’t presaging a production model Munich is working on to take on the extended-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class are kidding themselves.
The styling treads on familiar BMW ground, but in a more upright and regal way. The bodywork is laid over a very long wheelbase and short overhangs to create classic front-engined, rear wheel drive proportions, accentuated by the powerful rear haunches.
There are shades of last year’s 7 Series-based Pininfarina Gran Lusso coupé concept in the slim laser headlights, the oversized double kidney grille, the low, sloping roofline, the thin, broad L-shaped tail lights (now featuring a series of L-shaped OLED panels) and the Liquid Platinum Bronze paintwork. Carbon fibre featured on the front air deflectors and the strips on the door sills hint at the car’s lightweight construction.
As with the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost, the Vision Future Luxury features coach doors, this time without full B-pillar – just a small, slightly odd top-mounted half-pillar that stops at the waistline. This is possible because the monocoque – which features carbon fibre and aluminium in its construction – utilises the seat frames as load-bearing structures, connected to the door sills and centre console.
The interior showcases BMW’s vision of its future connectivity and infotainment systems, with three screens surrounding the driver. The left display shows vehicle data, the one ahead of the driver shows the speedometer and rev counter as well as contextual supplementary data, while the right display shows additional infotainment information.
Also on display is the Vision Head Up Display, which augments the driver’s view with information such as the speed limit as well as traffic light phasing, as well as highlighting certain objects such as buildings, traffic signs and road hazards. The front passenger gets their own display directly ahead of them, controlled by the touch-sensitive iDrive controller, which enables them to use applications such as the Luxury Concierge service without distracting the driver.
BMW is clearly trying to make carbon desirable to luxury car buyers – the exposed material shows up everywhere inside, forming the base of the layered interior. Laid on top are the load-bearing aluminium structures and the lime wood and brown aniline leather trim, which were then “pared down to the essentials”, supposedly cutting down on weight. The seats and lower interior have been upholstered in white leather, and the contrast of the darker and lighter materials promote a sense of warmth and spaciousness.
The rear quarters are particularly luxurious, with a pair of large, sculpted bucket seats, a retractable table and the wood-lined backs of the front seats lending a whiff of private jet about it. Passengers rest their feet in deep-pile pure silk carpet, while their eyes rest on the rear seat displays and the Rear Seat Touch Control Tablet on the rear centre console, which allow them to access BMW’s ConnectedDrive services.
As mentioned above, the BMW Vision Future Luxury concept will almost certainly lead to a 9 Series flagship, which will sit alongside the statelier Ghost in the BMW Group portfolio and will be built on the company’s new modular architecture utilising steel, aluminium and carbon fibre to shave weight. The platform will first be used on the next-generation 7 Series (codenamed G11) and will then trickle down to the rest of BMW and Rolls-Royce’s rear-biased vehicles.
The company hasn’t divulged much about the design study, except to say it previews a five-door model developed exclusively for the Chinese market. No tech or powertrain specs, but aside from the expected petrol form, reports indicate that a hybrid variant is also being planned.
Honda says the Concept B’s design (which is ‘advanced’ and ‘cool-looking’, so it goes) has been geared to appeal to younger drivers in China, but adds that it will also be a very practical offering.
The development of a mass-production model based on the concept model – which is curiously tagged as a ‘compact hatchback’ – is in progress, and the company says it plans to introduce the car into the market in two years. The final product should of course be more subdued, looks-wise.
Live pix by Kwek Chai Li
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We earlier showed you sketches of Audi’s Beijing 2014 show car that could preview an Audi Q4 SUV, essentially a coupe-like version of the Q3. Here are official images of the SUV, which is now officially called the Audi TT offroad concept show car.
The concept measures 4,390 mm long by 1,850 mm wide by 1,530 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,630 mm, dimensions resembling the Q3, although slightly shorter.
“The Audi TT offroad concept provides a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family. It combines the sporty genes of the TT with the strengths of a compact Audi SUV. Its plug-in hybrid drive with the option of inductive charging is a major step toward the mobility of the future,” said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of Audi’s Board of Management for technical development.
The concept car is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system which combines a 292 hp/380 Nm 2.0 TFSI engine with two electric motors. A clutch links the tranversely mounted 2.0 TFSI motor to a slim, disc-shaped 40 kW/220 Nm electric motor, which is integrated to a six-speed e-S tronic dual-clutch gearbox.
The other electric motor is in the rear axle, with the ability to produce 85 kW and 270 Nm independently of the front axle drive system. It also allows all-wheel-drive on hybrid mode. Total system output is 408 hp and 650 Nm of torque, while average fuel consumption is an incredibly efficient 1.9 litres per 100 km.
In front of the rear axle is a liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery comprising eight modules. It contributes to the balanced 54:46 weight distribution between the front and rear axles and to the low centre of gravity. The battery stores up to 12 kWh of energy, enough for a zero emissions electric range of 50 km using the rear axle motor alone. EV mode can be active up to 130 km/h. The concept also implements Audi Wireless Charging, which allows the car to be charged on a plate via wireless induction.
The plate with a coil and an inverter is placed on the parking spot and connected to the power grid. The charging process begins automatically when the car drives onto the plate. The alternating magnetic field of the infrastructure side induces a 3.3 kW alternating current across the air gap in the secondary coil, which is integrated into the vehicle. Charging stops automatically when the battery is fully charged. It takes about as long as charging via a cable, and the driver can interrupt the process at any time.
The Audi Wireless Charging technology is claimed to be more than 90% efficient, and is not affected by weather factors such as rain, snow or ice. The alternating field, which is only generated when a car is on the plate, is said to be not harmful for people or animals.
Another new feature making its debut in the concept is a new ioniser, which is updated compared to the version of the system available in the A6 and A8. Audi says ionisation significantly improves the quality of the air in the cabin. The plan is for allergens to be neutralized in the future.
An LED light in the interior of the air vent lights up when the ioniser is turned on.
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BMW’s world premiere at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) isn’t quite a world premiere – the BMW Concept X5 eDrive was shown in Frankfurt last year, but the company has now provided more details of the plug-in hybrid version of the original Munich SUV (SAV in BMW-speak).
What we now know is the output of the petrol engine – the TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder (still of unknown capacity, but we believe it is BMW’s current 2.0 litre mill) produces 245 hp and 350 Nm, the same as other models fitted with the “28i” suffix such as the 328i and the 528i. The engine is mated to a 70 kW (95 hp)/250 Nm electric motor to create a combined power output of 302 hp.
Claimed performance and efficiency figures are unchanged – 0-100 km/h in under 7.0 seconds, an average fuel consumption of under 3.8 litres per 100 km, carbon dioxide emissions of under 90 g per km and a maximum range of 30 km in electric-only mode, operable at speeds under 120 km/h. There is a Save Battery mode that maintains the current battery charge level for later use such as in city traffic.
We also now have a look at the interior of the eDrive, complete in Ivory White leather upholstery with light blue stitching, Piano Finish Black trim with blue accent strips, blue ambient lighting, an eDrive button as well as eDrive logos debossed into the headrests. A window built into the boot floor showcases the lithium-ion battery pack underneath, also illuminated in blue.
That is a lot of blue, and for good reason – blue is the signature colour of the BMW i brand, and the company obviously wants to display the link between its regular hybrids and its dedicated electric vehicles as much as possible. The colour also shows up on the outside on the kidney grille bars, the inserts in the front air intakes, the charging port surround on the front fender as well as the rear bumper insert.
Meet the Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe concept, or the NMC in short, which has just made its world debut at Auto China 2014 in Beijing. In essence, it previews a coupe-like sedan positioned between the Jetta and Passat models. A junior CC, if you like.
At 4,597 mm long and 1,838 mm wide, the NMC is shorter than the C-segment Jetta, yet wider than the D-segment Passat. Its 1,422 mm height is lower than both the standard sedans too, giving it a low visual centre of gravity.
The NMC sits on Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB platform. It introduces the VW design boss, Klaus Bischoff’s new vision of front end design, with a complex grille, 3D-effect LED headlights and a large but closely detailed lower air intake. The show wheels are huge 22-inchers with body matching ‘Dragon Red’ highlights.
Its side profile is said to retain a coupe’s cab-backwards design, using a long bonnet, sweeping C-pillar and a short boot lid to create the effect. Moving back, the strong character lines that run across the sides merge into a neatly integrated boot lid spoiler. Fancy LED rear lights and dual tailpipes in matching shapes enhance the visual width of the NMC.
Connected to the exhausts is the Golf GTI’s 2.0 litre turbocharged TSI engine. This time paired to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, it can get to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and up to 244 km/h. A promising cD value of 0.299 gives an impressive fuel consumption of just 6.4 litres per 100 km (15.6 km per litre).
The interior is only shown in design sketches so far, but Volkswagen claims that it’s as practical as it is sporty, with ample space for five and a generous 500 litre boot. A production version should be well under way, so anyone smitten just yet?
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Auto China 2014 begins today, but ahead of that our team on the ground in Beijing has served up these shots of the latest-gen Chinese-market Toyota Corolla, which we now know is called the Toyota Levin (Australia uses the same name for its Corolla hatch). The car is apparently being displayed at several spots around China; this location is the Kerry Hotel in Beijing.
Reports out of China suggest that there will be two distinct versions of the Corolla on sale in the Middle Kingdom – the Levin you see here comes from Guangqi-Toyota, while FAW-Toyota (the other Toyota joint-venture in China) will sell a Corolla that’s similar to our Corolla Altis (ASEAN and Europe). It could be that the former will be targeted at younger buyers while the latter will aim for the more conservative set.
This Guangqi-Toyota Levin has a different face from the US Corolla and our ASEAN Corolla Altis. There’s a slim front grille with a huge chrome slab that continues over the top of the new-shape headlamps (they appear to be a cross between the US Corolla’s hawk eyes and the ASEAN Corolla Altis’ wide wrap-around units). The lower intake is trapezoidal-shaped like the non-S-grade US Corolla, but features a chrome surround.
The Levin’s rear is quite similar to the US Corolla’s – boot and rear bumper are the same, down to the shut lines. However, the Toyota logo here has been moved up to make way for the huge chrome slab that bridges the tail lamps, themselves of a very slightly different shape from the US Corolla’s, and with different graphics too. Also, the US Corolla’s tailpipe pokes straight out of the rear bumper; the Levin’s tailpipe curves downwards.
Length, width, height and wheelbase are respectively 4,630, 1,775, 1,480 and 2,700 mm – 20 mm shorter (horizontally) and 25 mm taller (vertically) than the US Corolla, and 10 mm longer (horizontally) and 20 mm taller (vertically) than our Altis. Interior? Pretty much status quo, although the digital clock sits on the right of the air vents, instead of dead centre as in our Altis, and the car features a twin instrument dial layout like our 2.0 V (two layouts are available globally).
According to Chinese reports, the Guangqi-Toyota Levin will come with a choice of 1.6 and 1.8 litre engines, plus five-speed manual and CVT gearboxes. The car’s expected to turn up at the show in Beijing, which is just about to open its doors to the press, so sit tight for more details!
Toyota Corollas around the globe (clockwise from top-left): Chinese Guangqi-Toyota Levin, European/ASEAN Toyota Corolla/Altis, US Toyota Corolla S, US Toyota Corolla LE Eco
Which Corolla front do you like the best? Answer in our poll below.
Enthusiast of Triumph motorbikes in the Northern region, need not look further to own one following the launch of Triumph Motorcycles showroom in Penang here on Saturday. It is Triumph Motorcycles first store in the Northern region.
The showroom is the third facility to be operated by Fast Bikes Sdn Bhd as the Exclusive Official Distributor of Triumph Motorcycles, and comes barely six months after the opening of its Premium Flagship Store and headquarters for Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia in Petaling Jaya.
At 2,000 square feet, the new showroom will operate as a full-fledged 3S centre for Triumph Motorcycles (sales, service and spare parts) and is located at no 27, Jalan Gottlieb, in Georgetown, Penang. The showroom is integrated with an after-sales service facility featuring service bays and a spare parts inventory.
Within the next few weeks, Triumph Motorcycles accessories such as safety jackets, gloves, riding boots, riding pants and many more will be available as well.
In conjunction with the launch of the new showroom in Penang, several members of the motorcycling media also joined the thirty enthusiastic Triumph owners from the Riders Association of Triumph otherwise known as the Rat Pack for a 680++km ride from it’s the Triumph Motorcycles Premium Flagship Store in Petaling Jaya to Penang and back to Petaling Jaya.
Triumph Motorcycles in Penang can be reached via tel: 04-227 1007 or facsimile: 04-227 3007.
The 2014 Beijing International Auto Show kicks off with the press day tomorrow, and paultan.org is set to cover the show with the help of a Beijing-based team of Malaysian contributors.
Moy Yew Meng, Kwek Chai Li, J.J. Chin and a mystery video host known as Miss Red (that’s her in the poster shot) will be our team on the ground for Auto China 2014. So, expect live pix and video clips from Beijing in the coming days ahead.
The show will have plenty of world premieres – the list of debutants includes the Citroen DS 6WR, production Lexus NX crossover, Hyundai ix25, next-generation Chevrolet Cruze and Peugeot 2008 DKR, among others. Also expected are the Chinese-market Toyota Corolla, Ford Escort and new Peugeot 408.
UPDATE: This is the Toyota Levin for the China market. Full details and live gallery from Beijing here.
This is how the latest-generation Toyota Corolla will look like for the Chinese market. This image was published by Chinese website Xgo.com.cn – will it go public at Auto China 2014 in a few days time?
The car seen here has got a unique front end with lots of chrome, and a slimmer grille which makes way for a larger, more prominent bumper intake.
So the Corolla now has three different front end designs compared to the version we get (left image) and the US-market Corolla (right image). Which Corolla front do you like the best? Answer in our poll below.
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The new Nissan Sylphy is now open for booking (estimated prices are RM115,300 for the 1.8 E, and RM125,500 for the 1.8 VL, CBU Thailand), but its official Malaysian launch is more than a week away. But fret not, as we’re giving you an exclusive early walk-around tour of the new C-segment contender.
This new Sylphy is quite a bit different than the old one you’re familiar with. The original G11 was launched way back in 2008 after all. So it’s time you get cozy with the new version, starting with our video tour that explains all the changes, both inside and outside.
You can read our full and exclusive review of the new B17 Sylphy to know more about the car’s intricacies and how it is to drive and live with. But even us writers know that words can only do so much, so go ahead and watch the clip above. There will be more videos coming of course, so do subscribe to our YouTube channel when you’re done. Thanks for watching :)
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The Audi A3 has been declared the 2014 World Car of the Year at the ongoing NYIAS. The premium small car was chosen from an initial entry list of 24 vehicles, then a short list of 12, then three finalists, the other two being the BMW 4 Series and Mazda 3.
Of the Audi A3, the jurors said: “It might borrow styling hints from its bigger brothers, but the A3 still offers classic, chiseled contours and even better interior trim levels. With a superb choice of engines and four body styles, the A3 range packs a hefty premium punch in the small luxury segment.
“Audi should be complimented for making this A3 ride like no other A3. All the old shimmer over rough surfaces has gone, replaced by a silky smooth ride that approaches limousine quality.”
Audi is no stranger to the World Car Awards, having in its bag the inaugural 2005 World Car of the Year title (Audi A6), three World Performance Car titles in 2007 (Audi RS 4), 2008 (Audi R8) and 2010 (Audi R8 V10), plus two World Car Design of the Year titles in 2007 (Audi TT) and 2008 (Audi R8).
The Audi A3 Sedan is expected to hit the Malaysian scene sometime in June.
Volkswagen is set to unveil a more hardcore version of the already-hot Golf R Mk7 at the upcoming Beijing motor show. The Golf R 400, as it will be called, will be shown as a concept at first, but there’s a small possibility that it may see light as a production model in the future. It would be a good model to lust after, after all.
As you’d probably have guessed, the Volkswagen Golf R 400 concept will feature an uptuned 400 PS engine, which is a significant bump from the standard Golf R’s 300 PS 2.0 litre turbocharged motor. The four-wheel drive machine promises a 3.9 second 0-100 km/h time and a 278 km/h top speed, compared to the standard R’s 4.9 seconds and 255 km/h.
A visual makeover will accompany the newfound performance too. The teasers suggest more aggressive bumpers, bigger wheels and flared wheelarches, the last of which is modelled after those on the 1988 Rallye Golf G60. The front grille/headlamp signature highlight – red on the GTI, chrome on the R – will be presented in ‘Lemon Yellow’ this time round.
The exterior will be finished in what Volkswagen calls ‘Silver Flake’ metallic, which is played against the contrasting carbon-fibre wing mirror caps and gloss black roof. The latter could possibly be a subtle teaser for a lightweight carbon-fibre roof option for future go-faster Golf models.
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Reports from earlier this month pointed to the HR-V name being used for the US-market Honda Vezel, and it is now confirmed with the first official photos of the US-market Honda HR-V, released at NYIAS 2014.
The HR-V will feature a versatile and spacious interior thanks to a unique centre tank layout. Honda is second to none in packaging, and the HR-V will come with the Jazz’s famous folding Magic Seats. To sit under the CR-V in Honda’s SUV lineup, the HR-V will be launched this winter in the US. No mention of powertrains yet.
In Japan, the Vezel can be had with the new 1.5 litre Sport Hybrid i-DCD system that combines a normally-aspirated 1.5 litre direct-injection DOHC engine with a 29.5 PS/160 Nm lithium-ion-powered electric motor, matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. There’s also a regular 131 PS/155 Nm 1.5L CVT combo.
We’ve covered the Honda Vezel extensively since the Jazz-based crossover made its debut at Tokyo 2013. Since then, sporty and hardcore versions of the B-segment SUV have been rolled out by usual suspects Modulo and Mugen.
The Honda Vezel/HR-V will be coming to Malaysia in the near future, and we’re putting our money on the HR-V name being used here. Which do you prefer? By the way, THIS was the original Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle, a tall box that existed in the noughties.
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We couldn’t really believe our eyes when we saw this. Anol Alias has sent in these shots of a facelifted Hyundai Tucson 2.0 with a six-speed manual gearbox sitting in the JPJ car park.
As it doesn’t have MS Design front and rear skid plates nor LED tail lamps (2.4 Executive Plus only), this should be an Elegance-spec car. The wheels look smaller than the 17s we currently get, and there’s no AWD badge on the tailgate.
A peek inside reveals manual air-con, no keyless start and the basic audio system (AVN system for Executive Plus variants only) – consistent with the Elegance trim. Except the seats here are fabric.
The row of driver’s side buttons (ESP off, hill descent, centre diff lock, instrument panel brightness) are blank. And of course, who could miss the do-it-yourself gear lever and clutch pedal?
Our current 2.0 Elegance six-speed auto doesn’t come with VSM or ESP, and has only two airbags. With a blank ‘ESP button row‘, we have little hope in that field, but would it be too much to wish for more than a pair of airbags in this manual variant?
The golden question is this: is Hyundai-Sime Darby seriously thinking of bringing this manual SUV to market? And if jadi, how much cheaper would it be than the RM133k asked for the 2.0 Elegance auto?
The post Hyundai Tucson facelift 2.0 manual spotted at JPJ! appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.
The 2.56 km-long ePrix course is located near Perdana Putra, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office, and will use much of the main high street, running along buildings such as the Ministry of Finance. The temporary track will feature 12 corners.
The circuit, put together by the FIA, Formula E and local promoter Formula E Malaysia (FEM), also plies the Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque. It will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane providing good overtaking opportunities.
Last month, the circuit design for the season opener of the championship was unveiled – Beijing’s 3.44 km street circuit will run around the grounds of the Olympic ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium. The next circuit, the Formula E Punta del Este ePrix in Uruguay, to be held on December 13, will be revealed six months prior to the race.
Formula E races will be held over a single day in order to minimise disruption to each host city, with a free practice session, qualifying and 60-minute race – followed by a live music concert – taking place on a Saturday.
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For those who have been waiting for the 2014 Range Rover Evoque, the good news is that it’s finally here and Sime Darby Auto Connexion is hosting an exclusive preview of the 2014 model this weekend. Guests will be introduced to three variants of the 2014 Range Rover Evoque, comprising the five-door petrol and diesel as well as the three-door petrol units.
Priced from RM399,888 onwards, the 2014 Range Rover Evoque arrives with some significant updates. It is the first production car to feature a ZF nine-speed automatic transmission promising a smoother drive and better fuel economy.
New to the 2014 Range Rover Evoque are several driver aid features – Perpendicular Parking, Exit Parking and Parallel Parking assistance, which essentially help the driver park the Range Rover Evoque. There’s also a new Surround Camera feature for Malaysian specs, which combines video feeds from five cameras to project an all round view of the car.
For a better understanding of the new 2014 Range Rover Evoque and perhaps a first hand driving impression, visit the exclusive preview hosted by Sime Darby Auto Connexion this weekend at the following locations:
Date: April 19 (Saturday) & April 20 (Sunday)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Venue: Sime Darby Auto Connexion, Jaguar – Land Rover (Petaling Jaya and Jalan Ipoh)
Don’t forget to bring the family along! For more information, please contact the Land Rover Flagship Centre at 03-7946 3800 (Petaling Jaya) or Sime Darby Auto Connexion Jalan Ipoh at 03 6253 6888.
*Every new Range Rover Evoque comes with 5 years or 300,000km of warranty and 5 years or 80,000km of free scheduled maintenance.
Unveiled at the New York International Auto Show is the production version of the 2015 Acura TLX. The new sports sedan from Honda’s North American luxury arm – which replaces both the smaller TSX (a rebadged Euro-market Honda Accord) and the larger TL – was previewed by a concept car in Detroit earlier in the year.
It seems that the car revealed in Detroit was a “concept” in name only, the styling of the production car staying faithful down to the distinctive standard-fit “Jewel Eye” LED headlights. Only the wing mirrors, the rear valance design and some of the fancier chrome trim appear not to have made the cut.
The TLX is 97 mm shorter in length than the TL, sitting at 4,831 mm, while maintaining the same wheelbase (2,775 mm) and distance between the front and rear seats.
Those who step inside will be able to treat themselves to optional Milano leather upholstery as well as alloy and wood-grain trim pieces. A push-button gear selector array, as seen on the NSX concept, replaces the traditional gear lever, while an electronic parking brake with Automatic Brake Hold further simplifies the central tunnel.
Kit available on the TLX include a seven-inch touchscreen with AcuraLink (a version of the HondaLink cloud-based infotainment system with Siri Eyes Free voice activation), Bluetooth hands free, USB connectivity, navigation with 3D view and traffic rerouting, powered front seats with heating and ventilation, keyless entry and push-button start, a GPS-linked climate control system and a 455 watt, ten-speaker Acura/ELS Studio Premium Sound System.
Under the bonnet, the TLX comes with two powertrain options. The first is a 2.4 litre DOHC i-VTEC inline-four producing 206 hp and 247 Nm, mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the world’s first with a torque converter for smoother start-stop driving and “off-the-line torque multiplication” which Acura claims offers superior acceleration over a conventional DCT.
Stepping up to the 3.5 litre SOHC i-VTEC V6 nets you 290 hp and 362 Nm, an increase of 10 hp and 18 Nm over the previous 3.5 litre engine in the TL. The mill features Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which shuts down a bank of cylinders when not needed in order to save fuel, as well as stop/start. The new nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is significantly lighter than the six-speed unit in the TL, is the sole transmission option for the 3.5.
Both models get Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), but only the 3.5 gets the option of the next generation torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which is now 25% lighter. Lightweight construction makes the TLX lighter than before – the two-wheel drive 3.5 litre model with the Technology Package, for example, swings just under the 3,600 lbs (1,633 kg) mark, about 145 lbs (66 kg) lighter than the equivalent TL.
Apart from the usual barrage of safety equipment, the TLX is also the first Acura to feature Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), which scans painted lane lines and cat’s eyes to determine if the driver is straying out of their lane, adding corrective steering input and braking force if necessary.
Say hello to the new Nissan Sylphy, which is now open for booking ahead of an official launch later this month. Those who follow Nissan Malaysia’s Facebook page might not be surprised, and if you’re a paultan.org reader, you should be pretty familiar with the B17 Sylphy.
The Sylphy story started in Malaysia back in June 2008, when the G11 was launched into a class occupied by the Toyota Corolla Altis and Honda Civic. Nissan’s take on the C-segment was a unique one, and the Sylphy became known for its outstanding comfort and refinement. Not the most flashy car in town, but the Sylphy stood out as a silky smooth, soothing family car.
The G11, known as the Bluebird Sylphy in its home market, wasn’t designed as a global car and had a JDM quirky feel about it. But this car is made for the world. The B17 is called Pulsar in Australia, Sentra in America/Middle East and Sylphy in Japan (Bluebird tag dropped), China and ASEAN. Malaysian Sylphys are imported CBU from Thailand, which also ships the car Down Under.
The new Sylphy looks so different from its predecessor that we wouldn’t have guessed the lineage. But will it carry over the unique qualities of the G11, or are we looking at a different animal altogether? This exclusive pre-launch test drive report will answer that question, as well as provide you a fresh perspective from a Sylphy virgin, plus an idea of where the new entrant stands in a class full of talent.
Next to the old car, the new Nissan Sylphy appears big, much larger than the raw figures suggest. At 4,615 mm, the new car is actually 50 mm shorter than before, but crucially, it’s 60 mm wider than the outgoing Sylphy, one of the narrower cars in the segment. The difference is palpable, as you’ll read about later.
Wheelbase remains at a class-best 2,700 mm, which translates to very generous rear legroom. The latest Toyota Corolla Altis, Hyundai Elantra and Kia Cerato also have the same measurement, but the Nissan’s cabin is better packaged and is the class champ in space. There’s also a segment-leading 510-litre boot (with a full-sized spare wheel), to boot.
Under the sloping bonnet is a new MRA8DE 1.8 litre engine with 131 PS and 174 Nm of torque, the latter achieved at a low 3,600 rpm for better drivability. Not to be confused with the older MR18DE design, the new mill features a longer stroke (90.1 vs 81.1), Twin C-VTC and a ‘diamond-like’ carbon coating for smoother operation and fuel efficiency.
If you’re wondering, the MR20DE 2.0 litre engine in the old Sylphy made 133 PS and 191 Nm at 4,400 rpm. We know for a fact that the MRA8DE is 12% more fuel efficient than the MR18DE, so it’s safe to say that the new car’s 1.8 will be at least 12% more economical than the G11′s 2.0. The 16v DOHC engine is paired to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT gearbox, which has been updated since its last tour of duty in the G11.
The suspension, tuned for comfort, consists of MacPherson struts up front and a rear torsion beam. Brakes are all discs, with the front units ventilated. Two trim levels will be available in Malaysia – the high VL spec comes with 17-inch wheels (with 205/50 Conti Premium Contact 2 tyres), an inch bigger than the rims on the standard E spec car (195/60 Bridgestone Ecopia EP150).
Safety is a stand out aspect in the new Sylphy. Malaysia-bound cars are essentially Australian-spec Nissan Pulsars with a Sylphy badge, so we get six airbags and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) in addition to the usual ABS, EBD and Brake Assist – all standard across the board, even for the entry model. To be sold in Australia, the Nissan has to go through ANCAP crash testing, and five stars is the outcome.
It’s crystal clear from the Sylphy’s positioning, styling and priorities that it’s not a sedan for everyone. The design may be a lot more modern and a touch more dynamic than before, but there are no sporting pretensions here, as it should be. If you’re expecting driving fun above all, please look elsewhere if you haven’t already done so; for the majority of family car buyers, you might want to hang on for a bit.
Everyone, even enthusiasts, needs a family car. Whether it’s for the kids or the daily grind, a comfortable and dependable sedan is a valuable ally. For me, none played the role better than the previous Nissan Sylphy.
Where others accelerate, it simply glides away, and that drivetrain is so hushed that you instinctively try to find other sounds, only to find very little wind/road noise. Early cars came with an airy, light-coloured cabin, and that sofa of a rear bench encapsulates the cozy Japanese house on wheels the Sylphy was. It was nothing to look at, but the G11 had endearing qualities.
It’s no longer so quirky, the Sylphy, but much of the good was carried over. The new drivetrain is very smooth and quiet on the move, and insulation from the outside world is better than ever. I’m a heavy user of the NKVE, and the Sylphy (most of my time was in the E spec) is fairly muted on the harsh concrete surface, more quiet than some D-segment cars even.
The comfort agenda is reinforced by the solid ride quality, which absorbs bumps very well, but isn’t too mushy on a cruise. I’ve not tried the new Altis yet, but this is the most comfortable and relaxing C-segment sedan in the market as far as yours truly is concerned.
Something has to give and the Sylphy must be terrible to drive, right? Not really. You’ll learn in time that the Sylphy is smooth if your approach is smooth. Ease your right foot into the throttle (as opposed to standing on it, which elicits lots of noise) and the Nissan gets up to highway speeds fairly quickly. Unspectacular bald figures aside, there’s adequate grunt and drivability is good. The level of mechanical grip is surprisingly decent as well.
The steering is of the light and easy variety, which is apt, but it’s rather low geared. We noticed that the helm of the E spec car had slightly more weight and feel compared to the VL’s, which could be down to the wheels as both cars are mechanically identical.
Another observation is the initial surge on acceleration, compared to the more linear approach of the old CVT. Revs also drop faster now when you back off. This could be Nissan trying to engineer in an impression of responsiveness – it’s subjective, but I prefer the gradual climb of old. Still smooth, though.
There’s no doubt that the new interior is a more pleasant place to be in. The dashboard, while not cutting edge in design, is inoffensive and ergonomic, with a conventional layout. It’s somewhat refreshing to see a local Nissan with not one, but two rows of steering buttons (audio and cruise control, both specs), plus a tower of centre stack lights at night.
A suitable driving position is easy to find, thanks to reach adjustable steering and a pump-style seat height adjuster. The high seating position, soft yet supportive chairs, good forward visibility and small details such as padded surfaces on the door rest (for your elbow) and centre armrest, all combine to make the Sylphy a comfortable place to be in, whether in a jam or on a long distance journey.
The comfy interior works hand in glove with this car’s main draw – comfort and refinement – values that in the Nissan Sylphy’s case, are both enduring and endearing.
Against old odds – Anthony Lim bridges the Sylphy’s past and present
Nissan vehicles and I haven’t crossed paths much in the past decade – there have been the outgoing Teana and the second-gen X-Trail from our shootouts some time ago, but nothing else before, in between or since.
Which definitely makes me a Nissan freshie, and the likes of the Sylphy a virtually unknown entity. I was present at the launch of the outgoing G11’s original launch, but all I can remember about the car is its microfibre-ish seat fabric material.
With that kind of fresh perspective in mind, the rest of the team thought it’d be perfect for me to offer a view of how the outgoing model and the new third-gen B17 shapes up in relation to each other, because we had the old car (a facelifted version) in alongside the new for the review period.
It’d have been nice to start things off in the G11 and progress to the new one, but in the end the test session flow worked out like this – new high-spec, old car and then new low-spec.
Visually, the B17’s exterior design isn’t terribly exciting, but compared to the old one, the lines are definitely tauter in their definition. The front is still a bit soft looking, yes, and the grille sort of disrupts the front-end flow, but there’s nothing to offend and it’s a sight better than the G11’s rounded approach, which I’ve never liked.
A lot of it has to do with the rear of the new Sylphy, which has far better resolved line integration. That back has heft and good visual presence, especially from dead-on centre. To say it’s much neater than that on the old one would be understating it.
If the exterior represents a distinct progression over the old, then the interior is a definite advancement. I like the simplicity of the new car’s cabin and the dashboard layout. Where the G11’s is thoroughly old-school JDM in its outlook, the new one is very contemporary. Clean works, and it works well.
Material for trim is an improvement on the new car compared to the G11. Still, there’s a bit of mishmash in the choice of plastic finishes in the new car; on the whole surfaces feel decent to sight and touch (dashboard, lower surface of the door cards), but some areas could be better served with better grained finishing.
The area in between cupholders and handbrake lever, for example, is rather rough looking and doesn’t match up to that of the other main surfaces in the car. It’s a contact area you’ll be working with a lot if you own the car, so it’s noticeable. Also, the armrest looks a bit of an afterthought in terms of usability.
Moving on, stalk/switchgear operation on the new Sylphy is positive – the feel is still a bit lightweight, but the ergonomics are sound and it doesn’t feel cheap, which is the more pertinent point. Points too for instrumentation legibility – the binnacles of old are gone, and the new layout is much easier on the eye.
Front seat comfort and adjustability levels in the new car are likewise good, and perception of space a standout for a C-segment offering. The old G11’s rear seats feel a bit plusher than that in the new car, however, and are more cossetting, so it evens out things.
In terms of performance, there’s a set of different perspectives offered by both old and new – the new 1.8 litre MRA8DE is peppy and has a more immediate take-up response from standstill, and so will appeal to a large majority of buyers who will think it the more ‘powerful’ car in a side-by-side, but there’s an appeal to the old 2.0’s more progressive delivery.
Both respond well to gentle climbs up the rev range, not so with aggressive shoves of the pedal, where there’s more noise than movement. As for drivetrain, clean and efficient describes the CVT, and that on the new car feels a bit more sophisticated. Surprisingly though, I ended up liking the old car’s linearity that bit more by the end of the test cycle.
The old Sylphy had clocked in a fair amount of mileage as a fleet car, and so it showed in terms of ride and NVH levels. From a comparison basis, there was no question as to the winner of the two, but that takes nothing away from the new Sylphy – its quietness across the entire speed range is downright impressive, and more importantly, it rides well despite being a bit firm. Handles well enough too.
Both high- and low-spec examples of the new cars are effectively Australian-spec Pulsars, which is what our Malaysian Sylphys will be, so I wonder if that has anything to do with the ride levels on call – Oz suspension tunes do tend to be firmer on the whole.
Some thoughts about the low-spec E variant – you’d think that the high-spec VL would be the natural pick of the duo, but I’d take the E over the high-spec, based on what was being presented by the test mules.
Yes, the keyless entry, push-start ignition, auto air-conditioning, power-adjustable side mirrors and colour display (with reverse camera) on the higher specification VL are nice items to have, but the lower-spec version actually felt more organic (and comfortable) of the two, with a nicer steering (both feel and response). The only variable that may account for all this is the E’s smaller wheel and larger tyre combination, because everything else is the same.
In summing up, the new Sylphy is a notable evolution of the old one. It takes the strengths of the old car (cabin space and a comfy ride) and improves on things that matter – there’s more polish in the presentation and new tech, but strong NVH levels, good ride and a spacious interior are undoubtedly its salient points, and there’s no arguing with these as being paramount in a family sedan.
I like the B17 Sylphy’s honesty, because it doesn’t try to be any more than what it is. It’s not the sexiest form, sure, but it’s eminently practical, and that’s what’s going to make it winsome for many.
Renewed rivalry – Hafriz Shah rates the new Sylphy against the competition
Nowhere has rivalry been more intense than in the C-segment car market. Yes, the smaller B- and larger D-segments may be more prominent now, but it’s in the mid-sized sedan class where the buyers are savvier towards each contender’s strength and weaknesses. It’s where the old and boring gets left behind, and the new and exciting absolutely shines.
Let’s go back a few years to understand what I’m getting at. At the turn of the Millennium, the original Toyota Corolla Altis was the clear market leader, with nothing else ever getting close. It was the best car then, and so it sold. In droves. Later in the decade, the FD Honda Civic came into the picture and took over the class lead, leaving the Altis and its disappointing successor for dead.
That was also the time that Nissan Malaysia took a bold move to introduce the left-field Sylphy. Essentially a Japanese Domestic Model, it was full of JDM eccentricities. It looked like no other and crucially, drove and rode like nothing else too. And so it successfully carved its own little niche within the market. Well, actually it wasn’t little at all, as it went on to be the best-selling 2.0 litre C-segment sedan for many years running.
In recent years, while the underwhelming ninth-generation Civic failed to impress, modern, sexier Korean offerings have come to town. Honda’s class domination waned as buyers accepted the likes of the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte and, to a lesser extent, the newer Cerato like never before. While it would have been accurate to call it the Civic-class a few years ago, you and I know that’s not the case anymore.
See my point? Unlike in the B- and D-segment markets, C-segment consumers are less swayed by unproven, subjective deciding aspects such as brand image, whether positive or negative. It’s the car’s actual pros and cons that matter most. More than others, the fight is a fair one here, with no one getting an unfair advantage over others.
With a level playing field, can the all-new Nissan Sylphy prove to be more equal than the competition? Having driven it thoroughly before the local launch, I believe that it has every right to be, and that it possesses some genuinely unique features. A wow factor, even.
It’s no secret that the last Sylphy set no new standard for handling, for its virtues lie elsewhere. For this new one, Nissan has made a valiant effort to ensure it would have no dynamic impediments. And along with improving its driving flair, Nissan also imbued it with a new sense of aesthetics along with build quality that is as good as it gets.
All of which is important because the competition is formidable. You can forget about the woefully outdated Honda Civic, but both the resurgent Toyota Corolla Altis 1.8 and fresh Kia Cerato 2.0 have meticulously moved the game forward.
It’s the face and general appearance that’s critical for any automotive product. Many don’t give a fig about how a car goes, but if it’s modern and well proportioned, it’s all good. The Sylphy’s full makeover is a great one, and it’s now both classically handsome and unique. It treads the middle ground between the Altis’ (perhaps overly) aggressive stance and Cerato’s complex set of curves.
On the move, the Nissan’s Twin C-VTC engine has a well-oiled, free-revving note that’s a contrast to the more muffled hush from the Toyota and the Kia’s rather old-school mechanical boom. It’s the same story with power delivery too, with the Xtronic CVT keeping things calm and collected, and with more immediacy than the Altis’ equally smooth but comparatively lethargic CVT transmission.
The Cerato’s smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox is completely outclassed in comparison, both in terms of response and feel. With its 2.0 litre engine advantage it will edge forward in a drag race, for sure, but its superiority here is limited to outright speed alone. Though ultimately slower, the CVT pair feels more effortless gaining speed, with the Nissan being the more refined operator and the Toyota the quicker of the two.
When the going gets tough, the Sylphy obviously doesn’t have the Ford Focus’ outstanding handling balance or brisk turn-in, but next to its more conventional rivals, it certainly flows better through corners. Where there’s next to no on-centre chatter at the Cerato wheel, there’s more a sense of calm decorum at the Nissan’s, which liven nicely off-centre.
The electric power steering works best in the Nissan, loading up accordingly when it should, where the Kia’s overly light steering stays numb throughout. The Altis is somewhat similar in character to the former, but with its larger helm and slower gearing, it feels more large-car-like than dynamic.
Surprisingly, the Sylphy has the best handling/ride balance of the trio. Just. The Toyota corners with the flattest stance, yet as familiarity increases, the Nissan’s confidence-inspiring grip cajoles you into carrying more corner speed. It’s no Focus still, but it’s now a respectable handler. Not especially enjoyable, yet thoroughly dependable.
It flows so well too that the standard electronic stability control is almost never called into action, while the Kia’s would intervene earlier and is slower to relent. The Toyota, meanwhile, has no electronic safety aids, as that is reserved for the top-spec 2.0 litre model, for which the full suite of seven airbags are a cost option. Both the Nissan and Kia boast six airbags as standard, no matter what variant you pick.
Predominantly, however, all three have comfort-biased suspension. It’s the most obvious in the wallowy Cerato, whose passengers are those most in need of grab handles when the roads tighten up. Despite that, both the Sylphy and Altis offer better, more sophisticated rides, with the Toyota edging just ahead in terms of absolute comfort. The refinement and interior space crowns definitely belong to the Nissan, however.
Boot space is a clear win to the Sylphy – its 510 litre cargo area is the best in the class (matching the Volkswagen Jetta), easily beating the Corolla’s 470 litres and the Cerato’s meagre 421 litres. The catch? The Nissan’s rear seats don’t fold down at all, offering a small hatch for long loads instead.
In this informal comparison, the Nissan Sylphy matches the Toyota Corolla Altis and beats out the Kia Cerato for dynamism, edging both for ease of driving. Its ride comfort is a bonus, but perhaps its greatest coup is interior space and refinement. In short, it’s the whole package.
The new Nissan Sylphy is now open for booking, with estimated prices of RM115,300 for the 1.8 E, and RM125,500 for the range-topping 1.8 VL.
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