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  • Cadillac CT6 to feature 34-speaker Bose audio system


    Never mind that the Cadillac CT6 flagship sedan has yet to be revealed in full – information regarding its segment-defining audio system has made its way online with Bose revealing that the new car will arrive with the firm’s most advanced and “highest-performing automotive sound system” ever.

    Specially-developed for the Cadillac CT6, the Bose Panaray system will be the first product to debut as part of the firm’s latest range of “Advanced Technology Series” audio systems. It is said to feature technology carried over from Bose’s home entertainment platform “to deliver unprecedented performance in a car.”

    The Bose Panaray system features a total of 34(!) speakers – nearly all measuring in at less than 100 mm – that are strategically located around the cabin.

    As a result, occupants of the Cadillac CT6 “will be elated by what they hear and feel when they switch on the Bose Panaray system,” says executive chief engineer of the CT6, Travis Hester. The Cadillac CT6 will debut at the 2015 New York International Auto Show this April.

  • Last unit of limited Lotus Exige LF1 sold to Malaysian

    lotus-exige-lf1-last-unit-malaysia 997

    Earlier today, Lotus Cars Malaysia held a hand-over ceremony for the very last unit of the Lotus Exige LF1 – of which only 81 have been made – in Pavilion KL. The event saw Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah and Lotus Cars Malaysia head (also Proton R3 boss) Tengku Djan Ley present the keys to owner Datuk Nik Hamdan and his daughter.

    Why 81? Well, Lotus has had 81 Grand Prix wins, and each of the numbered Exige LF1s celebrate the victories in chronological order – for example, car #1 commemorates the first victory at Monaco in 1960, while #81 marks Kimi Raikkonen’s 2013 Australian GP win. Nik’s is car #52, which represents the 1973 Austrian GP win by Ronnie Peterson. Nik is in fact one of two Malaysian buyers of the car, we’re told.

    Lotus Exige LF1 owners are treated to factory tours for two at Lotus Cars’ Hethel, Norfolk, UK facility and the Lotus F1 Team‘s Enstone headquarters. Also thrown in is a Collector’s Edition Owner’s Pack which includes an Exige LF1 Membership Card that entitles bearers to discounts on Lotus merchandise. Finally, owners get a half-scale replica of Romain Grosjean‘s helmet, a Lotus F1 key fob and a Lotus F1 USB stick.

    The F1-inspired black and gold paint scheme with red accents do make it look good. Peeking through those gold alloys (17s front, 18s rear), wrapped with Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tyres, are AP Racing four-piston callipers and two-piece ventilated and cross-drilled 332 mm discs.

    Other features include an aero package comprising an unmissable front splitter, rear diffuser and rear spoiler, a free-flowing exhaust system with bypass valve, Lotus Dynamic Performance Management (Touring, Sport and DPM off modes) and track-tuned four-channel ABS.

    Inside, the trim is in leather and “technical fabric” with plenty of gold contrast piping and stitching. ‘LF1′ logos are embroidered on the headrests; ‘Lotus F1 Team’ logos on the seat backs. Completing the package are an individually-numbered carbon fibre build plate and CF engine plate.

    The limited-edition is based on the Exige S, so a 3.5 litre DOHC VVT-i V6, fortified with a Harrop HTV 1320 supercharger utilising Eaton TVS technology (how exciting does that sound?), feeds 350 PS at 7,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual ‘box. The car reaches 100 km/h from rest in four seconds before maxing out at 274 km/h.

    Of course, for Malaysia, the Lotus Exige LF1 was offered on a special-order basis. We’re told the starting price was RM438,777, before taxes. In comparison, the regular Exige S Coupe, which is officially part of Lotus Cars Malaysia’s range, will set you back RM405,777, nett before OTR costs.

  • Petronas in Formula One – powering Mercedes AMG Petronas to two world championships in 2014


    The Mercedes AMG Petronas team dominated the 2014 Formula One season, sweeping up both drivers’ and constructors’ championships. With the 2015 F1 circus making its next stop in Malaysia this week after the first race in Australia (where the team made a strong start to the championship by scoring a 1-2 finish), Petronas recently arranged a press conference with the team – including its drivers, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – to discuss the national oil company’s contribution to the team’s success.

    Firstly, executive director of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff, dispelled any myths that the partnership between Petronas and Mercedes-AMG was a simple marketing collaboration, insisting that it brought real benefits to the team.

    “Petronas’ role was hugely important to the success of the team,” Wolff said. “The whole technical and engineering team at Petronas understood what the needs of the new power unit regulations were. I can tell you that from last season onwards, the fuels and oils provided by Petronas provided a real competitive advantage for our team.”

    Petronas Media Forum 2

    With new F1 regulations cutting the number of power units allocated per season to just four, Petronas’ Fluid Technical Solutions (FTS) initiative – providing tailor-made fluids and services to the F1 team – is starting to reveal its benefits. The national oil company has a trackside laboratory that follows the team at every race, and the team elaborated on how the support enabled it to score a near-perfect reliability record last year.

    “We are particularly proud about that lab, because it’s one of a kind,” Wolff said. “The more the rules tighten, and the more complicated things become, the more essential it is to find out early on if you’re running into trouble. These guys play a crucial role in identifying possible reliability issues – in the oils, for example, you can see debris at a very early stage. It enables us to make sure that we finish races and win.”

    “What our lab support does is function like doctors,” added Petronas Lubricants International (PLI) COO Eric Holthusen. “The lubricant in the engine is like the blood in our bodies. When we take samples, we can tell if the engine is healthy or if something is coming. It’s even more important these days with the new regulations – where only four engines per season are allowed – that we can make sure that the engine stays healthy.”

    Petronas Media Forum 5

    With F1 cars being so fast these days, it’s easy to write Formula One off as an irrelevant “rich boys’ sport” that provides little in the way of benefits to the actual consumer. The team was quick to dismiss these claims.

    “This is a proving ground for us and for Petronas,” Wolff said. “It is the fastest mobile lab, and the fuels and oils that we’re using in the Formula One car – and the technologies derived from them – we use in our road cars. We’re very proud to have taken Petronas and Mercedes from a marketing cooperation into such a high-tech development relationship, not only on the race track but also on the road.”

    “If you look at what path engines have taken in Formula One and also on the road, they have been downsized, they have become turbocharged,” Holthusen added. “All that puts heat stress on the lubricant. By working in Formula One, we were already familiar with those conditions, and have developed Petronas Syntium for Formula One with technology that we call CoolTech. Now, the new Petronas Syntium with CoolTech is the lubricant that is in each and every Mercedes-AMG model that comes off the production line.”

    Petronas Media Forum 3

    This synergy also extends to the fuels – both the one that powers the F1 car as well as the one that is available to the regular consumer – explains Petronas fuel expert Chan Ming Yau. “The team that works on fuel technology isn’t limited to Formula One fuel, it also works on all our Petronas Primax range of fuels as well as our Dynamic Diesel.”

    “This season, we launched our new Petronas Primax race fuel that enhances protection on the high-pressure injector system used in Formula One, as well as providing better combustion and drivability. In our Petronas Primax 95 with Advanced Energy Formula, you’ll see the same attributes – it cleans the engine for superior fuel delivery, creates a finer fuel spray for better combustion and energy release, and reduces friction for better drivability.”

    Chan also explained that race and commercial fuels are not as dissimilar as many think. “The FIA already requires that the chemistries we use are compounds normally found in commercial road petrol – it prohibits the use of specific power boosting chemicals, for example. So they have the same chemistries, the same components, just different proportions, different compositions.”

    Petronas Media Forum 6

    Last year, Petronas announced that Lewis Hamilton would take on a role as its technical performance consultant – 12 months on, the 30-year-old Brit gave his insight as to how the arrangement has worked to benefit both sides.

    “It’s been a real privilege to work with a group of people who are so goal-driven, so enthusiastic and determined to be the best – it’s a great thing that we have that in common as a team,” he said. “The engineers rely on the two drivers to give as much input and feedback, as our job is to go out there and push the car to the limit, which ultimately means putting the fuel and lubricants to the limit. We’re always pushing them to extract more, as we always want more power and we always want to go further.

    “And now we’re under pressure as we have only 100 kg of fuel to finish the race, and we can’t always make that. So we’re really pushing them to exceed expectations and bring out new fuel that can go further for the same amount. Hence my job is to lean on them and extract the best out of them.”

    Petronas Media Forum 7

    All throughout the event, the team made one thing clear – Petronas makes the best fuel and lubricants in F1 today. “That helped us so much in winning races and being world champions last year,” said Nico Rosberg. “I’m very grateful for the quality of the products that Petronas has created and are delivering to us.”

    The Mercedes AMG Petronas team will be hoping to do very well at this weekend’s 2015 Malaysia Grand Prix, this being one of its home races. It certainly would be unwise to figure it as a shoe-in for winning the race, but given its incredible form at the start of the season, there’s little doubt it’ll be the team to beat.

  • 2015 Bangkok Motor Show – Part 1 of the lady gallery

    Sawasdee krub! We’re back from Thailand, where the 2015 Bangkok International Motor Show is now happening at its usual Impact Muang Thong Thani home. The cars are relevant to Malaysia, which is why we’re here every year for the sole reason (really!) of bringing you live reports and images from the “Detroit of the East”.

    This year, Bangkok saw the world debut of the facelifted Ford Ranger, which carries more than just a nose job. Along with the fresh bold grille is an all-new dashboard, revised powertrains and chassis, plus a raft of new tech. If you’re into pick-up trucks, this one looks like it’s worth waiting for. Reaching Malaysia this year, along with the new Everest SUV, which made its Thai debut at the show.

    Away from the blue corner, Toyota launched the new Alphard in Thailand and also showed at Nurburgring special edition of the Corolla Altis. Next to it was Mazda, which unveiled a 1.3 litre variant of the Mazda 2 Hatchback and Sedan. We also showed you the Thai-assembled Suzuki Ciaz 1.25L sedan (surely the biggest sized Thai eco car) and the MINI Clubman Concept.

    Sole reason the cars may be, but we just couldn’t pass the opportunity to further delight you, dear reader, by bringing home some souvenir snaps. We’ll let the pictures do the talking now, so click away. If you need a point of reference, here’s the Bangkok Motor Show Class of 2014 and Thai Motor Expo Class of 2014. Enjoy!

  • MINI Clubman Concept shows up at Bangkok 2015

    MINI Clubman Concept BKK 2015 2

    Of course, this isn’t exactly new, but interesting to re-visit nonetheless, since it turned up at the 2015 Bangkok International Motor Show. First shown in Geneva in January, the MINI Clubman Concept is a crystal ball for – obviously – the next F56 MINI-based F54 MINI Clubman, which our carparazzi have spotted testing in Europe.

    The rear barn doors are still there, but the suicide ‘Club’ door on one side is no more. Instead, you have four full side doors and room for five. The new Clubman is set to have the longest body in the current MINI family, as befitting an estate – the concept here measures 4,223 mm in length.

    Show-worthy features include horizontal tail lamps with mirror-effect graphics, a twin-plexiglass roof, Air Breathers and Air Curtains, snazzy cabin gadgetry and electrical door openers – obviously, not all of these are expected to safely cross the production bridge.

    Spyshots indicate that the new Clubman could get a slightly different front end from the Hatch, with a down-turned lower intake. The interior is also different, featuring square side air vents (not one circular vent is to be found), a stockier centre stack and centre console, plus an electronic handbrake.

    MINI Clubman concept at Bangkok 2015

    F54 MINI Clubman spyshots

  • Infiniti QX50 facelift to debut in NYC, longer wheelbase


    Infiniti has announced that it will unveil the 2016 Infiniti QX50 at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, which starts next week at NYC’s Javits Center.

    Nissan’s luxury brand says that the “personal crossover”, formerly known as the EX, gets a wheelbase increase of more than three inches (76 mm) for additional rear legroom and interior volume. The current measurement is 2,799 mm. On sale this fall in the USA, the facelifted QX50 also has new front and rear fascias, wheels, side sills, and a slightly higher ride height.

    Word is that the North American 2016 QX50 is the same car as the China-market updated QX50 LWB, which was first seen at last year’s Guangzhou show. The latter, seen here, boasts an 80 mm longer wheelbase and redesigned front/rear ends. It is powered by a 235 PS 2.5L V6 (RWD or AWD), and a 351 PS 3.7L V6, which is AWD-only.

    The QX50 is for now Infiniti’s smallest crossover, sitting below the curvy QX70 and giant QX80 in the range. For now because the marque is readying a QX30 compact crossover that will target the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3.

  • VIDEO: Hyundai Sonata LF 2.0 Executive walk-around

    Next up on our walk-around video series is the Hyundai Sonata LF 2.0, seen here in its range-topping Executive variant. Launched in December last year, the seventh-generation D-segment competitor will go up against the likes of the Honda Accord, Nissan Teana, Peugeot 508, Mazda 6, Kia Optima K5, Volkswagen Passat and of course, the venerable Toyota Camry – in short, not exactly the easiest segment to stand out in.

    In Malaysia, the CBU Sonata comes in three trim levels. The base-spec Elegance B kicks off the range, which is then followed on by the ‘middle child’ Elegance and finally topping out with the Executive. All three variants are powered by a sole engine choice – the 2.0 litre Nu mill produces 154 PS and 194 Nm of torque and is mated to an in-house six-speed automatic transmission.

    Zeroing in on the Executive-spec Sonata, goodies include 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/45 tyres, bi-xenon HID head lamps, panoramic roof, auto wipers plus many more. For a more detailed rundown of the car, check out – you can also compare it side-by-side against its foes to see which one comes out on top.

    Wanna’ know what it’s like to drive? Spare a few minutes to read our review of the car and find out for yourself! So sit back, relax and allow us to walk you through the all-new Hyundai Sonata. If you like what you see, give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more videos.

    GALLERY: Hyundai Sonata LF 2.0 Executive tested

  • Mercedes-Benz set to introduce luxury pick-up by 2020

    mercedes-benz pickup

    Mercedes-Benz is finally going the pick-up route – the automaker has announced that it is developing a one-tonne mid-sized hauler to compete with the likes of Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen in the segment.

    No timeframe has been mentioned for market deployment of the as-yet-unnamed offering, but reports have indicated that the company says it’s readying to build the vehicle in different markets around the globe within the next five years.

    Previewed in dual-cab clay model form in Germany and also through an artist’s sketch, initial details have it that the truck will feature four- and six-cylinder engine options – the scope will undoubtedly include petrol/diesel configurations, rear- and four-wheel drive layouts and possibly even different cab options.

    It will also cater to different customer bases – the automaker said that a luxury version, complete with leather interior and chrome accents/trim, is on the cards, but there’s also set to be a more utilitarian form (with a washable interior, no less) for traders and workmen big into the three-pointed star.

    When it arrives, the Mercedes pick-up will take the fight to established players such as the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok. The company says that the pick-up will be sold in Europe and South America as well as Australia and South Africa, and added that there were no plans to introduce it in the US or Asian markets, so those of you who fancy the idea of a Benz pick-up will just have to leave it as that.

  • 2016 Kia Optima caught completely undisguised


    Just a day after Kia dropped the first official image online, the next-generation D-segment competitor has already been photographed out and about on a South Korean highway completely undisguised. Thanks to via TheKoreanCarBlog, we are now afforded a near-360-degree view of the 2016 Kia Optima.

    Do note that the shots pictured here are that of the Korean-spec model and not the one destined for the United States market. With only shots of the front end of both cars available, we can conclude that the Korean-spec and American-spec cars will differ only in terms of front bumper layout.


    While the American version sports twin air intakes at each side of the front bumper, the Korean model counters with the inclusion of a tri-circular LED daytime running lights layout. The rear end of the Korean variant features a tail lamp design that’s more evolutionary rather than revolutionary, it has to be said.

    When it debuts at the 2015 New York International Auto Show (2015 NYIAS), the new 2016 Kia Optima will likely be offered with a new hybrid powertrain, first previewed on the Optima T-Hybrid and the Sportspace concept. The latter also strongly hints at the possible inclusion of an estate body style for the first time.

    GALLERY: 2016 Kia Optima spyshots

  • SPYSHOTS: F87 BMW M2 spotted with less camo


    As you might be aware by now, BMW is in the midst of preparing (what we’d like to believe) a true successor to the likes of the original E30 BMW M3 – the F87 BMW M2 Coupe. Initial photos of a test mule first surfaced way back in the middle of 2014 and ever since then, sightings have become more frequent.

    Even rendering whiz, Theophilus Chin, could not contain his excitement for the BMW M2 – leading to the sole rendering you see above. Further adding to the hype are several new photos of the BMW M2 running about the Nurburgring circuit and undergoing winter tests in near-production form.

    A world debut for the new M-derived performance car is scheduled take place at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Production is expected to kick off not long after, possibly in November, for both the European and US markets.

    Under the bonnet, the BMW M2 will most likely be powered by a new S57 engine that shares some of its oily bits with the B57 mill from the G11 BMW 7 Series, as reported by Autocar UK. The new turbocharged, 3.0 litre six-cylinder engine is capable of producing “up to 400 hp” in its highest state of tune.

    Spy-Shots of Cars

    With that said, contrasting reports are stating that the engine of choice will be sourced from the N55 range. The mill will, reportedly, be tuned to produce the most power it possibly can as a form of final send-off before being replaced by the B58 range of engines.

    No matter what the engine choice may be, purists will be glad to know that the BMW M2 will be offered with a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic variant is expected to be present either in the guise of the seven-speed DCT transmission or the eight-speed ZF gearbox – the former might bring the M2 too close to the M3 and M4 in terms of performance, though.

    Power, in true BMW M fashion, will go the rear wheels. A xDrive four-wheel drive system could be included in the lineup some time after the launch. While performance figures have yet to set in stone, various reports are indicating that the BMW M2 will launch from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and power on to 250 km/h.


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