Latest Stories

  • Chevrolet’s Active Phone Cooling for your smartphone

    Now here’s a unique solution to a common problem. Does it annoy and/or worry you when your smartphone heats up? Even if it does not blow up in your face, the overheating device could lag and spit out battery juice like phlegm-filled Chinaman. Not good considering how much we rely on the device these days.

    Chevrolet comes to the rescue with a new system called Active Phone Cooling, which will be available in the 2016 Chevy Impala and Malibu equipped with wireless charging.

    An air vent connected directly to the car’s AC system is directed to the charging bin where the phone rests for wireless charging, sending cool air to help lower the phone’s temperature. Active Phone Cooling operates only when the air con is turned on by the driver.

    Active Phone Cooling

    Yup, that’s it. No rocket science, but somehow no one has thought of it before. We now have Qi wireless charging and cupholder cooling vents – APC combines both ideas.

    While testing a smartphone wireless charging feature, Chevy engineers noticed some smartphones would suspend charging or shut off altogether after only a few minutes in high temperatures. Then something clicked. “Innovation doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. Sometimes simplicity offers the most elegant solution to a problem,” said Impala engineer Dan Lascu.

  • Porsche Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS launched in Malaysia – priced from RM660k and RM700k


    The Porsche Boxster GTS has been unveiled for the Malaysian market alongside its coupe sibling, the Cayman GTS. As you would’ve known, the motoring world first got a glimpse of the duo back in early 2014 before hitting international markets. Well, now it’s our turn to get up close with the latest additions to Sime Darby Auto Performance‘s (SDAP) ‘Gran Turismo Sport’ range at its swanky new showroom in Sungai Besi.

    On the outside, the GTS models differ from their lesser counterparts by adopting subtle tweaks and add-ons here and there. Beginning at the front, both models receive a slightly reworked fascia with a more pronounced lip spoiler, painted in black for that added hint of menace. The aforementioned new nose adds another 30 mm to the car’s overall length.

    Elsewhere, smoked bi-xenon headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) come as standard, along with gloss black 20-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 235/35 tyres in front and 265/35 at the rear. Moving on to the rear, both models sport smoked taillights and black-finish exhaust pipes, housed within a diffuser-like element that is also done up in a shade of black.

    porsche-boxster-gts-launch 17

    Both models share the same atmospheric 3.4 litre flat-six engine, albeit with different states of tune. The Boxster GTS is endowed with a total of 330 hp at 6,700 rpm and 370 Nm of torque at 5,800 rpm. Power, on both models, gets directed to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch PDK gearbox with paddle shifters.

    Coupled with the PDK gearbox and standard Sport Chrono package with Sport Plus selected, the Boxster GTS goes from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and soldiers on to its v-max of 279 km/h. With the six-speed manual, the century sprint is completed in five seconds while top speed is slightly higher at 281 km/h.

    In the Porsche Cayman GTS, the same mill pumps out a total of 340 hp at 7,400 rpm and 380 Nm of torque at 5,800 rpm. Paired with the six-speed manual, the Cayman GTS rockets from nought to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and tops out at 285 km/h. The PDK dual-clutch transmission, along with Sport Plus, cuts that time by a two tenths of a second but drops the top speed to 283 km/h.

    porsche-cayman-gts-launch 10

    As mentioned earlier, both GTS models are equipped with the Sport Chrono package as standard. Said package adds on dynamic transmission mounts, allowing the system to alter its stiffness and damping according to the current driving condition. In terms of its handling, the GTS models are equipped with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) adaptive damping system which also lowers the car by 10 mm.

    Other standard performance-related goodies on both models include an uprated sports exhaust system and a braking system comprised of 330 mm front discs and 299 mm rear discs, clamped by four-piston aluminium monobloc fixed calipers. Owners can add on the optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system that features six-piston calipers up front and four-pistons at the rear – painted in yellow as opposed to red.

    Also, owners who wish to pilot their GTS models with added doses of enthusiasm should opt for the fitment of the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) system. PTV works by manipulating both the rear locking differential and targeted braking at each individual rear wheel for increased levels of traction. Said locking differential possesses a locking action of 22% in traction and 27% under acceleration.

    The interior of both the Porsche Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS gets trimmed in black leather upholstery with Alcantara accents scattered on the armrest, the rim of the standard-fit Sport Design steering wheel, the gear shifter, portions of the door card and the dashboard – in the Cayman GTS, Alcantara is to be found on the A-pillar and roof lining. Two interior colour packages are offered as options – Rhodium Silver and Carmine Red.

    Prices for the Porsche Boxster GTS begin at RM660,000 while the Cayman GTS goes for RM700,000, excluding on-the-road costs. As is the case with Sime Darby Auto Performance (SDAP), a four-year warranty and a four-year complimentary service maintenance package is part of the deal.

    Porsche Boxster GTS

    Porsche Cayman GTS

  • LDP to face 400-metre road closure at KM24 on July 4

    ldp puchong lrt

    Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) users, take note. Prasarana has announced that that there will be a one-night road closure with traffic diversions at the Kilometre 24 stretch of the LDP on July 4, which is tomorrow.

    A 400-metre long stretch along the highway adjacent to Bank Rakyat and the Kompleks Rakan Muda will be closed from 11 pm until 6 am (Sunday morning).

    The road closure is to facilitate launching works for the pedestrian bridge at Station 8 of the Ampang LRT Line extension project, and is necessary to safeguard all motorists travelling within the area where the use of heavy machinery and lifting of materials will take place.

    To help ease traffic congestion, two alternative routes for road users will be introduced to guide those who are heading towards Putrajaya, Shah Alam and Bandar Sunway.

    Alternative route for motorists from Bandar Sunway heading towards Putrajaya/Shah Alam

    ldp lrt map a

    Motorists travelling on LDP from Bandar Sunway heading towards Putrajaya/Shah Alam will be redirected to travel along Lebuh Puteri, Jalan Industri PBP1 and converge back on to the LDP near Tractor Malaysia at Jalan Puchong.

    Alternative route for motorists from Shah Alam/Putrajaya heading towards Bandar Sunway

    ldp lrt map b

    Motorists travelling on the LDP from the direction of Shah Alam/Putrajaya will be redirected to travel along Jalan Industri PBP1 (near DHL) before converging back on to the LDP after Lebuh Puteri.

    Road barriers, flagmen and warning signals will be put in place to redirect traffic and to warn motorists of the road closure and diversions.

  • BMW 2 Series Active Tourer eDrive – plug-in hybrid unveiled as prototype, series production in 2016


    It’s all starting to come along quickly now for BMW and its plug-in hybrids – series production of the X5 xDrive 40e kicks off next month, and now Munich has unveiled its next plug-in hybrid in the form of the 2 Series Active Tourer eDrive.

    The new F45 derivative was presented in prototype form at Miramar, France, at the automaker’s Innovation Days 2015 event. The third iteration to feature eDrive plies a slightly different tack, going the front/transverse-mounted combustion engine route for the first time.

    It’s kitted out with the familiar 136 hp and 220 Nm three-cylinder B38 1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol unit (as seen in the F45 218i Active Tourer), which drives the front wheels via a six-speed auto transmission, and this is partnered with a high-voltage generator mounted in the front structure and an 87 hp (65 kW) and 136 Nm electric motor powering the rear wheels via a two-speed transmission.

    The result is road-linked all-wheel drive similar to that of the BMW i8 sports car, but arranged here in a mirror image. Three drive modes are present – Auto eDrive, Max eDrive (electric-only) and Save Battery.

    As expected, the eDrive version is heavier than a regular 2AT – BMW says the plug-in weighs around 150 kg more than a corresponding 225i xDrive variant. Performance specifications include an all-electric operation range of up to 38 km, a 0-100 km/h time of 6.5 seconds and a 205 km/h top whack.

    Fuel consumption is claimed to be approximately two litres per 100 km – which equates to CO2 emissions of under 50 g/km – in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles. According to the grapevine, series production of the 2AT eDrive is set for 2016.

  • Melaka electric buses to start operating early August

    MK11_030715_BAS ELEKTRIK

    Electric buses will start operating in Melaka early August. Two units of the electric buses will serve the UNESCO world heritage site area around Banda Hilir, said State Transportation and Project Rehabilitation committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong.

    The ‘hop on hop off’ buses will ease traffic flow in the tourist belt. Ticket prices have yet to be finalised, reports Bernama.

    “This electric bus is being used for the first time in Malaysia on public roads, and we believe that it will help reduce traffic congestion as well as air and sound pollution. For now, the bus route will be around the UNESCO world heritage site area, and riders can use the service using a day pass ticket at a fixed price,” he told reporters today.

    “We will receive 38 more of these electric buses in stages starting from early next year, and the new buses will help Panorama (the operator) open more routes and ensure that public transport, especially buses, are of the best standard,” Lim added.

    The Klebang MP revealed that the buses, made by China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), have a range of 180 km per full charge, which takes 100 minutes. A charging station has been set up at the Melaka Sentral bus terminal.

    The coaches are fitted with 33 seats including one for the disabled, as well as nine CCTVs. Top speed is 76 km/h, but that’s the least important stat considering its area of service.

  • Watch out, car thieves posing as bank repossessors – know your rights, demand to see authorisation cards

    For whatever reason, carjackers in Malaysia are getting more and more daring recently. It wasn’t too long ago that a car theft case involving a perpetrator acting as a car buyer was reported, and now, a different modus operandi has come to light – car thieves posing as bank repossessors.

    A case such as this went viral on social media a week ago, where a car was asked to pull over to the side of the road by men who claim to be repossessors from a bank. The men went on to claim that the vehicle owner did not pay the car instalment, and that the bank wanted to tow it away.

    Things escalated quickly after. The men blocked the vehicle with their own car, and continued to pressure the victims to step out to talk things through, even threatening to break the windows if they didn’t. Luckily enough, three DBKL officers appeared at the scene to ask what was happening, and the three men quickly backtracked on their claims and left.

    The victims then lodged a police report on the incident, handing over the perpetrators’ car number plate. According to the police, there had been a few reported car theft cases involving the very same number plate (which is originally registered to a motorbike).

    So, while the carjacking attempt failed, apparently it had been successful a few times before, using the very same tactic. We should all be aware that such cases are happening around us, and under broad daylight too! You can read the original Facebook post embedded here, and find out what you need to know to avoid such incidents below.

    Things to be aware of to avoid this happening to you

    To minimise the risk of falling into such traps, there are a few vital information that you need to know.

    First of all, you should be well aware if your vehicle is indeed up for repossession by the bank. A pre-repossession notice from the bank (to inform you that it intends to repossess the vehicle) should have been served on you and your guarantor (if applicable) 21 days ahead of the actual process. A second notice will be issued 14 days after that.

    So if your car is due to be repossessed, the next step is to know who exactly can or are authorised to repossess a car in Malaysia?

    In Malaysia, repossessions of motor vehicles are generally carried out by registered members of the Association of Hire Purchase Companies Malaysia (AHPCM). All legit repossessors have a very specific code of conduct.

    They must first show the car owner an original Repossession Order by the bank, as well as his authority card that is issued by the Kuala Lumpur Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK).

    Authorisation cards issued by KPDNKK have a watermark, which will not be seen if printed. Also, the person named on the card must be the same as that on the Repossession Order issued by the bank. If these terms are not met, they have no right to repossess your vehicle.

    Following that, they will then need to obtain the permission of the owner to enter his or her premises to carry out the repossession process. These “repo-men” are required to appear and act in a professional manner, and not use strong arm tactics to carry out the job. Car owners will also be given enough time to clear out personal belongings that are inside the vehicle in question.

    Lastly, the repossessors are immediately required to make a police report after taking possession of the vehicle, and then bring it to the place indicated by the particular bank. A notice in writing informing you that the bank has taken possession of the vehicle will be sent to you shortly after.

  • Toyota Pixis Mega – kei car with class-leading height


    This is the tall boy of tall boys, the Toyota Pixis Mega. The new kei car to hit Japan is banking on two selling points – excellent driver visibility and a spacious interior.

    To provide that, the Pixis Mega has a class-leading cabin height of 1,455 mm, which will accommodate four adults comfortably. That’s coupled with a door height of 1,700 mm for easy access by young children and the elderly. There are two one-touch electric sliding doors.

    Toyota says that despite the mini car’s lanky height of 1,835 mm, the suspension and body structure have been designed to ensure stable handling. Stiffer suspension as a result of larger shock absorbers coupled with the use of stabilisers are included, while optimised sheet thickness for the roof panel and plastic construction for the back door and front fender reduce weight and lower the Pixis’ center of gravity.


    Aerodynamic fins, which improve stability at high speeds, are built into the door mirrors and rear lamps.

    The eye-point has been set at 1,387 mm, similar to that of a minivan. And to make the Pixis Mega an even easier car to drive, there’s an extra passenger-side mirror below the regular wing mirror for better visibility, especially when parking. Mirrors have also been placed in the upper interior sections of the rear doors, improving visibility behind the vehicle.

    The Pixis Mega, which is Daihatsu-based and supplied to Toyota by Daihatsu Kyushu, is powered by a 660 cc three-cylinder engine in both naturally aspirated (52 PS) and turbocharged (64 PS) forms. As is the norm in Japan, 4WD is also available. Prices start from 1,350,000 yen (RM41,484).

    Do you prefer this or the more oddball Honda N-Box Slash?

  • Ford recalls 433,000 cars over engine software fault


    Ford has issued a recall for nearly 433,000 vehicles in North America over an issue with faulty body control modules – in the affected cars, there’s the possibility the engines will continue to run even after the ignition has been turned off and the key removed or after the engine start/stop button has been pressed.

    The recall covers Focus, C-MAX and Escape models, the former two being those built at the automaker’s Michigan plant. Affected Focus units are were made from June 2014 through June 2015, while for the C-MAX, production covers that from April 2014 through June 2015.


    Meanwhile, affected Escape units are those assembled in Louisville from April 2014 through June this year. The largest part of the recall involves cars in the US, with 374,781 units affected, while 52,180 cars in Canada and 5,135 in Mexico are also involved in the exercise.

    Ford says that there has been no accidents or injuries associated with this issue, and dealers will update the body control module software at no cost to the customer.

  • Lancia Delta Integrale nameplate set to make a return?

    lancia delta hf integrale 16v

    An old – and hallowed – nameplate may be set to make a return. Word is that some quarters of upper management at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are looking to commission an all-new Lancia Delta Integrale before the marque becomes history.

    Autocar says it understands that the push to bring back the revered nameplate in a new model is being made at the highest levels, but adds that there has been nothing to suggest that further attempts to revive Lancia have been heard of.

    It has been said that FCA head honcho Sergio Marchionne doesn’t have a very particularly fond view of Lancia – which is nearly defunct – and is very much focused on the successful reinvention of Alfa Romeo (as seen in the new rear wheel-drive Giulia). The report adds that Marchionne is likely to view any new Lancia model as an unneeded complication.

    lancia delta hf 4wd

    Still, management members at FCA are said to be fervent in their thinking that it would be erroneous to allow the Lancia badge to slip into the night when the Delta Integrale name still holds so much prestige.

    The reverence is of course for the first-gen Tipo 831 Delta, which won 46 individual World Rally Championship races and six consecutive manufacturers’ titles in its rallying heyday.

    Subsequent second- and severely bloated third-gen Deltas and the two decades of attempting to reinvent Lancia as a luxury brand haven’t worked at all, and the marque is languishing towards death. If a new Delta Integrale does come about, it would have to be something very special to gain a dollop of clout the old one had.

  • First Lotus Evora 400 rolls off production line at Hethel


    The first Lotus Evora 400 has rolled off the production line at the British carmaker’s facility in Hethel, Norfolk, England. The event was commemorated with the presence of several senior management officials as well as individuals from the manufacturing and engineering department.

    “Today is a very significant stage in our long term plan, which we set-out more than a year ago. With the first Evora 400 coming off the line, we have achieved a key milestone for Lotus. None of this would be possible, of course, without the confidence and commitment of our workforce who, with great skill and talent, hand build every Lotus car at Hethel,” commented Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales.

    Revealed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March, the Lotus Evora 400 is the marque’s fastest road-going vehicle ever built with two seats – the Lotus 3-Eleven (pictured below) will probably wipe the floor with it but you’ll be flying solo in that one. Under the bonnet is a supercharged 3.5 litre V6 engine with 400 hp and 410 Nm of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.


    Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of only 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 300 km/h. In true Lotus fashion, it is in the twisty stuff that the Evora 400 really shows its potential – it lapped Lotus’ Hethel test circuit a full six seconds quicker than its predecessor, the Evora S.

    The first batch of European customer cars have been slated to be delivered by August this year. Customers based in China and the US will receive theirs in early 2016 as 2017 model year units. The Lotus Evora 400 is priced from £72,000 (RM424,894).


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