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Performance coupe with "four-wheel-drive" to lead resurrection of 8 Series line

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czwartek, 28 czerwca 2018

McLaren’s 600LT is a low-production ‘entry-level’ supercar

McLaren pulled the covers off of its 600LT late June, a new limited-production version of its entry-level supercar with more horsepower, less weight but, contrary to its name, no long tail.

Yes, the carbon-fibre bodywork on the car does see it gain close to three inches in length over its Sports Series siblings.

But outside of an extended rear diffuser and fixed wing, this LT – the fourth-ever McLaren to wear the “Longtail” name – has a rear end that looks a lot like a 570S‘. And it’s not all that long.

However, like its namesake F1 GTR Longtail (and the newer 675LT), the 600LT is built to be an even better track-attacker than the 570S while still being road-happy. The performance ante is upped via the shedding of some 211 lbs (to a dry weight of 2,749 lbs); the addition of power, to the tune of 592 hp total; and the employment of bespoke track-focused Pirelli P Zero tires.

Nearly one-in-four parts on the 600LT are different than the 570S, and a number of them are exhaust system pieces: the 600LT sees the pipes exit the top of the car to help reduce weight. Also doing double-duty working the cool and functional angles are the carbon-fibre racing seats inside. The regular buckets are sourced from the P1 but optional are the seats from the Senna.

First Look: 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

 Somebody call Sergio Marchionne. Somebody needs to urgently let the CEO of FCA know the people in charge of Dodge have gotten hold of the keys to the high-performance lockers and are running completely wild. How else to explain the newest Challenger, the 2019 SRT Hellcat Redye with an eye-popping 797 horsepower?

That is no typo. At 797 horsepower, the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye becomes the most powerful mass produced V8 in the world now that the 840-horsepower atom splitter known as the Demon has finished its production run of 3,300 cars. With 707 lb.-ft. of torque, the new Redeye launches to 98 km/h in 3.4 seconds, eclipses the quarter mile 10.8 seconds and maxes out at 326 km/h. Perhaps NASA should be notified, too.

Regular Hellcats — if the car can be even called “regular” — also get a power boost to 717 from 707 horsepower. Torque inches up 656 lb.-ft. from 650. But all Hellcats now get a functional, dual-snorkel hood that pays homage to the 1970 Dart Swinger and 1971 Demon, an era that seemed like the pinnacle of horsepower, but now, in retrospect, seems like pre-school to today’s staggering power.

The Challenger R/T Scat Pack can now be optioned with the widebody formerly limited to Hellcat cars. The kit adds 8.8 centimetres to the overall width, which should help improve handling and braking to the naturally aspirated muscle car. At the track, larger six-piston Brembo front brakes, wider wheels and tires, and suspension upgrades featured on the Scat Pack 392 Widebody equate to 2 second faster lap times, or approximately 12 car lengths at a 3.3-kilometre road course, compared with the non-Widebody Challenger Scat Pack.

niedziela, 3 czerwca 2018

Fiat to focus on 500 and Panda family

FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has confirmed plans to realign the Fiat brand to focus on money makers like the fashionable 500 and practical Panda city cars. The news was revealed at the company’s five-year Capital Market Day presentation in Balocco, Italy. 

“Fiat in Europe is going to get redefined in a more exclusive area,” Marchionne said. “It is difficult for the mass markets to be profitable, and in our plan we have identified areas where Fiat works best.” 

• Best city cars to buy in 2018

As such, Mr Marchionne announced his plans to focus the Fiat brand around models that can “recoup the cost of electric development” – phasing out slow-sellers like the ageing Punto supermini. He highlighted a total revamp of the 500 model range, with an all-new 500e due in 2020. 

It comes as part of a €9bn investment in electrification over the next five years. Marchionne expects 60 per cent of European FCA sales to be of electrified models by 2022. 

piątek, 18 maja 2018

Hyundai Creta facelift spied undisguised ahead of the official launch

Hyundai is set to launch the Creta facelift in India soon. The crossover has been spotted on many occasions and a product presentation was leaked online as well a few days ago. The Korean crossover has started arriving at the dealership already. These are images of the undisguised Creta facelift spied at a dealer’s yard prior to the official launch.

The facelift primarily involves visual updates to make the Creta appear more upmarket. This includes tweaked projector headlamps with LED DRLs and a front grille that gets Hyundai’s signature ‘Cascading’ style finished in chrome. The dual-tone bumpers get contrasting skid plates as well. The car will ride on dual-tone 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels which look very attractive in the pictures. Apart from that, new LED lights around the fog lamps add to the crossover's style appeal. A new bumper design  at the rear with revised tailgate, newly designed taillights and reflectors is also to be expected. 

On the inside, the fabric upholstery is all new and the air-con vents will now get a contrasting metallic finish. In the dual-tone models, the contrasting interiors will be colour coordinated. Hyundai will also offer a “Smart Key Band” which was revealed in the leaked presentation. Other features include a six-way electric driver’s seat, electric sunroof in addition to cruise control and wireless charging system. However, the newly added features will be limited to the top-spec SX (O) trim. The updated Creta will be available in five trims – E, E+, S, SX and SX (O). The exterior paint scheme will get seven colour options – Polar White, Sleek Silver, Phantom Black, Stardust, Fiery Red, Passion Orange and Marina Blue. It will also be offered in two dual-tone schemes as well. 

piątek, 11 maja 2018

Bentley Flying Spur PHEV to use Panamera hybrid powertrain

Insurance database information shows that a recently spotted development car, caught on camera in London by Autocar reader Chris Thomson, is using the 2.9-litre V6 engine that’s also used by the Porsche saloon, rather than the 3.0-litre unit used in other hybrid models from the Volkswagen Group, such as the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid.

The test car's hybrid system is evident due to the fitment of two fuel filler caps, one of which has been taped over.

Bentley refrained from commenting on the car when asked why a lower-capacity engine is to be used in the Flying Spur PHEV, but Autocar understands the 2.9-litre version has been chosen because it can provide a higher maximum power output.

This is because it features a larger crankshaft (which shortens the engine’s stroke) than the 3.0-litre engine. The Flying Spur PHEV is therefore expected to be launched with at least 456bhp and 516lb ft – the outputs of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The Porsche is due in a higher state of tune at a later date, suggesting the pricier Flying Spur might be offered from the off with more power.

The Flying Spur PHEV is expected to have an all-electric range of around 30 miles. This will be an essential feature if it is to comply with ever-stricter global emissions regulations, particularly in China.

The plug-in hybrid will be part of the next-generation Flying Spur range, which, as scooped by Autocar recently, will be launched next year with a more distinctive design to more clearly carve out its own identity among its range-mates.

piątek, 27 kwietnia 2018

Performance coupe with "four-wheel-drive" to lead resurrection of 8 Series line

Will kick off its resurrected 8 Series line with the performance model, the M850i, a coupe churning out a furious 530 horsepower from a “completely redeveloped” V8 making its debut in the car.

The engine will route that power – along with 554 lb-ft of torque, developed at a low 1,800 RPM – through an eight-speed automatic to all four wheels, after its handled out back by an active locking rear differential.

The rear-focused system being able to lock the diff should make for some pretty impressive straight-line launches and fantastic traction out of corners, but handling as a whole is an almost bigger focus for this new M. Flick the switch to Sport or Sport+ modes and the quiet cruiser tweaks the dampers and Dynamic Stability Control to become a track attacker.

bmw m850i 2 BMWs new M850i will boast a 530 horsepower V8
The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive.
Wheels and tires of staggered sizes front and rear are key to this handling prowess, BMW engineers note, with “higher camber values” offering “exceptionally high cornering speeds prior to the intervention of the electronics.”

The car is currently being put through final testing before it goes on sale later in 2018. 

poniedziałek, 23 kwietnia 2018

Volvo S90 Ambience Concept is All About the Experience

The S90 Ambience Concept is making its debut at the Beijing Auto Show this week. It is based on the three-seat S90 Excellence executive car and is designed to make the atmosphere of that S90 even more luxurious for the passengers being chauffeured around.

The car’s ceiling transforms based on which of seven themes are selected using the smartphone app. Choices include Northern Lights, Scandinavian Fores, Swan Lake, Archipelago, Rain, Nocturnal, and Freedom. A related image is projected on the ceiling for the car. For example, pick Northern Lights, and watch the aurora borealis dance across the headliner.

Each theme also plays synchronized audio through the Bowers and Wilkins audio system and uses one of four scents created for the car by Byredo. The scents are deployed from a port in the center console to further soothe or energize the passengers, depending on which mode is chosen.

The Ambience Concept was created for China and, unlike most concepts, Volvo is hoping to bring the car to production for that market. It will make its official debut at Auto China 2018 in Beijing this week.

poniedziałek, 9 kwietnia 2018

Mercedes planning S-Class-grade electric sedan for as early as 2020

Mercedes-Benz plans on launching an electric equivalent of its full-size S-Class sedan, an executive with the company revealed early April, due out some time between 2020 and 2022.

The German automaker is choosing not to adapt its current S-Class chassis to work with electric power, according to reports from Autocar, but will instead build an all-new electric sedan on top of a new modular chassis dubbed the MEA.

According to large-car boss Michael Kelz, the car itself will be called the “EQ S,” and it could arrive as soon as 2020. Kelz adds that 2022 is the longest we can expect to wait for a production version.

Mercedes chose to create a new platform for the electric sedan because the brand believes EVs should have short front and rear overhangs and long wheelbases, something more easily done in a vehicle that doesn’t have a bulky engine or driveshafts to contend with.

Kelz says the EQ S will be a range-topping product from Mercedes. “We will have an electric vehicle at the level of the S-Class, no doubt, but it will not be the S-Class,” Kelz said. Details have not been revealed, but a battery range of around 480 km or more is expected.

The EQ S will join the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s previously announced electric EQ lineup, including the EQ C electric SUV; and the EQ A electric hatchback. The former will be powered by a 70-kilowatt-hour battery pack and driven by two electric motors, delivering about 400 horsepower and at least 480 km of range.

First Look: 2019 Chevrolet Camaro

As with the Spark, Cruze and Malibu, Chevrolet has given the Camaro bolder front- and rear-end styling, and put a marked differences between the various models for 2019.

The RS appearance package, for example, adds a polished black grille with chrome inserts, new headlamps with an LED signature light bar and a rear fascia with a built-in diffuser. Conversely, the blacked-out central bar running through the grille differentiates the SS model; it is the better take on the new face. Other upgrades include Chevrolet’s new Infotainment 3 system with available GPS navigation, plus an available forward collision alert system and a 10-speed automatic transmission for SS models. The changes are subtle, but noticeable.

Since introducing the sixth-generation Camaro in 2016, Chevy has focused on ramping up the performance side of the portfolio. In 2017, the first V6-powered Camaro with the track-oriented 1LE package landed along with the formidable ZL1. For the 2018 model year, the 1LE treatment was added to the ZL1. And now, 2019 sees the first Camaro 1LE powered by the 2.0L turbo-four.

środa, 28 marca 2018

New Subaru Forester unveiled in New York

Like the new Impreza and XV crossover, the Forester is based on Subaru's tough new Global Platform, but it retains the unique appearance of its predecessor with only slight design changes. This comes as little surprise; the outgoing car has consistently been a strong-seller in certain parts of the US, so Subaru won't want to change the recipe too much.

The Forester will at first come with a new-generation 2.5-litre flat four developing around 182bhp and 176lb ft of torque, with start/stop technology included to offer improvements to economy. Drive is sent to all corners via symmetrical all-wheel drive and a Lineartronic CVT gearbox is fitted as standard.

There's no word as to what the main UK engine will be, although we know diesel options will be dropped. Today’s 2.0-litre flat-four is regarded as anaemic, and the 1.6-litre petrol turbo fitted to the Levorg estate might be too thirsty in the heavier and less aerodynamic Forester.

The UK looks set to follow suit of the US and be offered only a CVT gearbox for the Forester. This seems likely given that Subaru’s semi-autonomous driving system, EyeSight, which needs to be combined with an automatic transmission, is expected as standard on UK Foresters.

Inside, there's a 6.5in or 8.0ijn touchscreen with Subaru's latest Starlink infotainment system.

Subaru's corporate boss ​Takeshi Tachimori said: "The key with this car is that it is designed for its market, which is families. We know the opposition - the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and so on - and we stand out for not chasing car enthusiasts, but for giving these families what they want, from safety to space and practicality to comfort and more, all built to an affordable price.

"Our product is entirely rational, and that is the right way. Our brand, though, is more emotional - we have underdog appeal, being smaller than most car making giants, and earning respect with our approach. That separation between product and brand is proving very popular."

Next month, Subaru will reveal its long-awaited hybrid variant of the Forester at the Beijing motor show. Subaru’s new hybrid system is expected to either be an electric motor incorporated into the brand’s signature longitudinal transmission (a set-up used in the short-lived XV Hybrid), or a more radical system replacing the rear differential with an electric motor. Hybrid technology from Toyota - which owns 16% of Subaru - has been utilised for the new Forester.

A successful launch for the new Forester in the UK is essential for the brand after a significant drop in sales in 2017. The Forester sells around 300,000 units globally, accounting for 25% of Subaru's overall production. In the UK the current model is priced from £26,495.

poniedziałek, 26 marca 2018

Nissan targets one million electric vehicle sales a year by 2022

The Japenese car maker, which is already the producer of the world’s best-selling EV, the Leaf, expects EVs to account for 40% of its total demand by 2022. Nissan intends to grow that figure to 50% by 2025 with a bolstered range of plug-in models.

The first expected car in the electric offensive will be a crossover version of the Leaf that's previewed by the IMx concept of 2017 and due in 2019. The concept offered a 380-mile range on a single charge with a dual-motor, four-wheel drive powertrain that produced 429bhp and 516lb ft of torque.

Nissan Europe design boss Mamoru Aoki described the production car it inspires as “a breakthrough model” that will crack the mainstream – a key achievement for the brand to reach its new targets.

Along with new models for the main brand, Nissan said it would fully electrify its Infiniti line-up from 2021. EVs are expected to account for half of the luxury division’s sales by 2025.

Pininfarina car brand to launch with electric Bugatti Chiron rival and three SUVs

Nissan is also plotting to sell one million ProPilot-equipped models per year by 2022. The brand’s autonomous technology is already progressing to enable multi-lane autonomous driving and Nissan said the first pilot tests of vehicles equipped with this new tech are due on Japanese roads “within one year”.

Additionally, the 'Move to 2022' strategy will also see the introduction of connected technology for all of Nissan's cars. Using the Alliance Connected Cloud that’s split across its alliance siblings, Renault and Mitsubishi, Nissan will link its vehicles to the internet to enable over-the-air updates and mobility services.

Nissan chief planning officer Philippe Klein said: “Our product and technology strategy is dedicated to positioning Nissan to lead the automotive, technology and business evolution.

“Our efforts are focused on delivering Nissan intelligent mobility, encompassing the three core elements of electrification, autonomous drive, connectivity and new mobility services.”

piątek, 23 marca 2018

MSO has sent the McLaren 570GT to the dark side

The Macan may be the best-selling Porsche, having sold 97,000 units in 2017, but the new third generation Cayenne, which will be available in Singapore from 28th March 2018, promises further growth.

It, too, is a successful model and the latest iteration combines even more of the typical Porsche performance with excellent everyday practicality. As Porsche calls it, it is the epitome of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).

All of the core components of the new Cayenne are new developments. Through specially curated activities such as handling exercises, slalom stations and braking challenges, as well as an off-road circuit, we experienced how these technologies in the new Cayenne redefine the SUV segment.

Big car, tight slalom? Not a problem for the rear-axle steering-equipped Cayenne1. Rear-axle steering

The Cayenne is available for the first time with rear-axle steering, which is as an optional feature on the base and S models, and standard on the Turbo.

With this, the rear axles steer in opposite directions under 80km/h and in the same direction at higher speeds. This affords significantly higher agility and improved steering precision, easier manoeuvring around tight spaces, and also greater stability when you're driving around corners quickly.

The Cayenne's turning radius is reduced from 12.1m to 11.5m and while that may not seem like much, the difference is immediately noticeable around a slalom or a U-turn.

The massive PSCB setup isn't just for good looks, they help stop the sub two-tonne car safely and have longer service life2. Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB)

A world-first in the new Cayenne and standard on the Turbo, PSCB is available as on option for all other Cayenne models. Like the higher-end Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake, PSCB employs 10-piston calipers up front and four-pistons at the rear.

But the core of PSCB technology are discs with an exceptionally hard tungsten-carbide coating, combined with specially developed brake pads that boast 30 percent longer service life, for example.

It also generates less brake dust and more importantly delivers improved responsiveness and stable braking even under extreme stress. A side effect of PSCB is a unique appearance of the discs that have a polished, gleaming shine after about 600km of day-to-day driving.

It may look like a mere little tilt but the adaptive roof spoiler does much to improve rear downforce3. Adaptive roof spoiler

Nothing shouts sports car more than an active spoiler and the new Cayenne Turbo is the first SUV in the world to feature one on its roof, like with the 911 Turbo.

Above speeds of 160km/h, it tilts by six degrees, increasing downforce. In Sport Plus mode, the angle changes as much as to 12.6 degrees. To compensate air turbulence for when the panoramic roof is open, it'll tilt to a maximum of 19.9 degrees.

Likewise, it'll adjust accordingly, up to 28.2 degrees, when you're braking rapidly at speeds between 170km/h and 270km/h. Think of it acting as an airbrake, which can reduce the braking distance by up to 2m.

Need a boost? Simply hit that little button on the steering wheel for 20 seconds of maximum performance4. Sport Chrono Package (with Sport Response and PSM Sport)

Like in the 911, the optional Sport Chrono Package allows for various driving modes via a switch on the steering wheel. In addition to Normal, Sport and Sport Plus modes, there's also an Individual mode.

A first for the new Cayenne is the Sport Response button, which enables optimised performance and ultra-high response for 20 seconds.

Think of it as 'NOS' in Need For Speed but unlike the game, the Cayenne's boosted performance can be used as often as required and can be ended manually whenever. At the same time, PSM Sport mode allows one to take the car closer to its limits when tuned for maximum sporty performance.

It may be a pretty half a million-dollar car but the Cayenne can comfortably go off the beaten track5. Five programmed modes for on and off-road

Although most Cayenne drivers will never take it off-roading, it's actually purpose-built to take on the worst of Mother Nature, thanks to the optional three-chamber air suspension, a ground clearance of 240mm, a ramp angle of over 21 degrees and a fording depth of 525mm.

And fundamental to this capability are the five newly defined off-road modes, which depending on the selection, optimally conditions the engine idling, the shifting of the transmission, all-wheel drive and the PSM stabilisation.

The different modes also adjust the air suspension to adapt to the ground clearance needed for the particular type of off-road setting; gravel, mud, sand or rocks.

Hyundai i30 1.4 GLS DCT Turbo (A)

Let's be honest - Korean cars get a bad rep. Flimsy, boring, ugly, we've all heard these words thrown around before. And you know what? We can't readily disagree. Korean cars of old did often display these characteristics. However, in recent times, there appears to be a shift, most notable in the hiring of key figures from the big European brands. 

Kia brought out the Stinger, a car that excited and impressed us greatly. Then there's the new Hyundai Kona, a crossover that punches well above its weight. And now, there's this brand new i30, the third generation of Hyundai's hatchback offering. 

The sharp and stylish front end is headline by the cascading grille

Can the good times continue to roll? 

A new look

From the off, the new i30 looks visually appealing. Its combination of sharp lines and angular details is headlined by the cascading grille at the front. It's certainly more interesting to look at than you'd expect. Especially compared to its impossibly dull and uninspiring predecessor (visually, at least), the new i30 looks a whole lot more grown up. 

It also looks a little bigger than your typical hatchback, because it is. Measuring in at 4,340mm in length, the i30 is actually longer than a Volkswagen Golf by 82mm. 

There's reasonable legroom at the rear to comfortably seat three adults

Bigger and better

Due to the fact that it's fairly long for its class (with a 2,650mm wheelbase), the interior of the i30 feels quite spacious. More relevantly, it's comfortable, and feels thoroughly well-built. 

However, you can definitely tell that it's been specced on the cheaper side (as compared to the Kona, for example). The 5.0-inch LCD infotainment screen looks almost cartoonishly small, especially since you have larger-than-necessary buttons flanking it on either side. 

Other than that, equipment levels are decent enough. Dual-zone air-con, wireless charging, electric lumbar support on the driver side, auto cruise control and speed limiter - it's quite generous for a sub-$100k car. 

The i30 has a very sizeable and deep 395-litre boot

The i30's boot, at 395 litres, is pretty sizeable. In fact, it's more than the Golf, the Ford Focus or the Mazda 3, and second only to the Peugeot 308 (which has an enormous boot of 470 litres).  

Forward and go

The i30 is motivated by a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, which produces 138bhp and 242Nm of torque. It's a punchy enough engine, but you do need to get it working over 1,500rpm to feel the power.

When you do, it certainly pulls with verve and gets up to highway speeds easily enough, with ample torque even in fourth and fifth gears.

However, it's quite a turbo-dependent engine, meaning that there's basically no juice under 1,500rpm, most notable in gears one and two. This can be a little problematic when climbing up the ramps of a multi-storey carpark, for instance.

Too little gas and the i30 creeps up the ramp much too slowly. Too much gas and the car will surge forward a little too quickly. You just have to be a little more careful at very low speeds (under 10km/h), because the lack of progressiveness could catch out an inattentive driver. 

The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox

The ride is well-sorted and comfortable, with good pliancy capable of soaking up all but the biggest of bumps in the road. The chassis is also pretty taut. Thus, it's unfortunate that the steering lacks feel, even if it's well-weighted enough that helps to enhance stability around corners. 

The other small quibble we have is the driving position. The steering wheel can't be lowered enough for you to reasonably put the seat at its lowest setting, which means you do have to sit a little higher up than you'd prefer. 

As far as fuel economy is concerned, we managed to get around 13.5km/L, which is respectable for an engine of this capacity.  

The 1.4-litre engine churns out a healthy 138bhp and 242Nm of torque

The new Hyundai i30 was designed and built in Europe, and you can definitely tell. There's a certain solidness about the car, from the build quality to the way it drives, that definitely feels more upmarket than you'd normally expect from a Korean car.

So to answer our initial question, yes, the good times have continued on. For a sub-100k car ($93,999 as of 11th March 2018), the i30 is a practical and sensible hatchback that actually offers pretty good value for your money. 

The new generation i30 is markedly improved from before, with a noticeable improvement in overall quality

Yes, it's a little on the bland side, but that's not really going to be a problem at all. After all, if you're looking for a more exciting drive and better quality of life, you're going to have to fork out more moolah for one of the European models. But if it's true driving excitement you're looking for, there is a certain i30 N headed our way later this year.  

czwartek, 22 marca 2018


The revived Brabham brand teases its new supercar just by letting people listen

Instead of teasing its new road car, like most manufacturers would, Brabham is letting folks listen to it. That’s right, the revived Brabham teased its latest -- dubbed BT62 -- by releasing a sound clip of the car’s exhaust. 

If you’re not familiar with Brabham, then you probably haven’t paid attention to Formula 1, or you're new to the sport. Founded in the early 1960s by Jack Brabham and Ron Taurnac, Brabham had a lot of success during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. It started to fall apart after Bernie Ecclestone -- yes, that Bernie -- sold the team in 1988. The most notable accomplishment for Brabham, besides being one of the biggest car suppliers in the 1960s, was its “fan car,” developed by noted F1 car designer Gordon Murray.  

Keeping the F1 spirit alive, Brabham chose to name its road car in the same way it’s been naming its racing cars since the company’s inception. Aside from its name, and now its exhaust note, we don’t know much else about the car. We’ll know more after Brabham reveals the car on May 2. Until then, tune in above.

Grab to remove ComfortDelGro cabbies from JustGrab service

All ComfortDelGro cabbies will be removed from ride-hailing app Grab's JustGrab platform, just a month after they had been given the option to opt into the service.

ComfortDelGro launched UberFlash in January in partnership with Grab's competitor, Uber Grab opened the service - which offers flat fares to commuters for a ride in either a taxi or private-hire car - to ComfortDelGro cabbies in February, despite not having a partnership with the taxi operator.

It, however, partnered with the five other taxi operators here a year ago to offer JustGrab. A Grab spokesman confirmed that ComfortDelGro cabbies will continue to be able to take bookings through the GrabTaxi service, which dispatches metered taxis to commuters.

ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi operator here with more than 13,000 taxis, had in January launched UberFlash in partnership with Grab's competitor, Uber. Like JustGrab, the service dispatches the nearest ComfortDelGro taxi or Uber private-hire car to riders.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had also said on Monday (19th March) to other media outlets that it was concerned about the move as taxis should offer metered fares unless their companies had 'endorsed Grab to offer flat fares on their behalf'. It issued Grab a warning as a result. "Taxi drivers are reminded that they can only accept flat fares set by registered third-party taxi booking service providers such as Uber and Grab if these are endorsed by taxi companies," said an LTA spokesman. As such rides are not endorsed, these cabbies are deemed by LTA to have 'overcharged' commuters.

GrabTaxi head Melvin Vu told The Straits Times the offer to opt into JustGrab had been extended to ComfortDelGro cabbies as a means for them to earn additional income. "We strongly believe that taxi drivers, as self-employed individuals, should be given the choice and flexibility to join all platforms, and not be limited by corporate arrangements," he said. "We will continue to actively engage the LTA to encourage innovative thinking and taxi companies to work with us on improving driver livelihoods and passenger experience."

National Taxi Association Executive Secretary Ang Hin Kee agreed that cabbies should be allowed to take bookings from any booking service. This would allow for a more open and competitive market, he said. Cabbies are not employed by the taxi operators and only rent their vehicles from the firms so placing too many restrictions on their choices would make it seem like an employee-employer relationship, he added. "If operators restrict drivers to only one booking app, it essentially limits their customer choice," said the MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC.

The new Nissan Leaf is Europe's best-selling zero-emissions electric vehicle

In just over a month since the new Nissan Leaf officially went on sale, Nissan has confirmed that it has received over 20,000 orders across Europe for the latest model. That is one sold every 12 minutes, making it the fastest-selling electric vehicle in Europe. The new Leaf is the next generation of the world's best-selling zero-emissions electric vehicle.

More than 300,000 customers have chosen the Leaf since it went on sale in 2010 - and now this all new model offers even greater range, improved dynamic design, class leading advanced driver assistance technologies and enhanced connectivity. The new e-powertrain in the new Nissan Leaf delivers 110kW (148bhp) and 320Nm of torque, improving 0-100km/h acceleration to 7.9 seconds.

The new Nissan Leaf delivers a range of up to 270km on the Combined Cycle, or up to 415km in city conditions, on a single charge. It also comes packed with Intelligent Mobility innovative technology, including ProPILOT driver assistance for a safer, more comfortable drive and ProPILOT Park, for fully autonomous parking at the touch of a button.

70 years of the Porsche sports car and 30 years of the Type 964

Porsche Classic will be appearing at the Techno Classica 2018 show with a new stand concept, numerous product highlights and extraordinary vehicles.

Over more than 1,500m2 in hall 7.0, where the Group will be situated, the brand will be celebrating two anniversaries simultaneously: 70 years of the Porsche sports car and 30 years of the Porsche 911 and Type 964. Traditionally, the brand's offering focuses on original parts, new service offers and restorations.

Using a fully restored Porsche 959 as an example, alongside the body shell of a Porsche 356, visitors can see the quality of a Porsche Classic factory restoration for themselves. In addition, 13 Porsche Classic partners from seven European countries will be exhibiting vehicles for sale and offering information about their range of services.

Lamborghini Squadra Corse sets a new record

This is the number of Huracan racing cars, divided into Super Trofeo and GT3, that Lamborghini Squadra Corse has produced from 2015 to date, thus being one of the most prolific motorsport departments in the world.

"In 2017, for the seventh consecutive year, Automobili Lamborghini set a new production record, with 3815 road cars delivered. Equally extraordinary is the number of racing cars that Lamborghini Squadra Corse has produced in just three years since the launch of the Huracan Super Trofeo and Huracan GT3, proving that the growth trend of our brand is definitely positive also with regards to motorsport customers." said Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Lamborghini Squadra Corse is one of the few motorsport departments in the world that can pride itself on manufacturing its own racing cars totally 'in-house', from the design to the production, which takes place on the same line as the road Huracan, within the factory of Sant'Agata Bolognese. Unlike standard road cars, racing Huracans are followed along each assembly station by skilled and qualified technicians from Lamborghini Squadra Corse to ensure maximum care in the assembly.

The brand new BMW X2 launched in Singapore

BMW Asia and Performance Motors has launched the first ever BMW X2, a car that is more than just a new BMW X model. With its unmistakable design and sporty, urban genes, it makes a confident impression both in its class and within the BMW X model family.

Bold in character, personality and ambition, the new BMW X2 certainly is striking and unique to look at The design of the all new X2 is immediately striking, with its low-slung porportions (70mm lower than the BMW X1), unique details like the inverted kidney grille and brand logos on the C-pillars, and the all new M Sport X package.

The M Sport X Package includes visual enhancements such as a bespoke diffusor insert, new rear bumper and tailgate design, as well as side skirts, all clad in a Frozen Grey contrast colour. This adds to the X2's rugged design and bold personality. 

Inside the driver-focused interior, all controls have been ergonomically arranged for easy and effortless operation. The elevated seating position, for both driver and passengers, offers improved all round visibility.

The seats also come in a unique Aluminium Hexagon Anthracite trim, adding an extra dose of character and personality. The digital services from BMW ConnectedDrive and BMW ConnectedDrive Services - both of which are now available in freshly updated form - add further intensity to the overall experience.

The cabin comes equipped with unique touches like the Aluminium Hexagon Anthracite fabric seats As part of the M Sport X package, the X2 is fitted as standard with the M Sport suspension, which lowers the ride height by 10mm. This contributes to the overall sportiness of the driving experience, offering excellent agility and increased feedback. Powering the X2 is a 2.0-litre petrol engine, mated to a seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission. 

Together with the launch of the brand new BMW X2, BMW Asia is also organising a special hunt, dubbed 'Be the One Who Dares Hunt', where the grand prize is an exclusive BMW X2 driving experience for two in Germany. To find out more about it, you can head to 

The first time the public will be able to feast their eyes on the first ever BMW X2 will be on Saturday, 24th March, at the Spartan Sprint at Palawan Green in Sentosa. As the most rebellious and extroverted member of the BMW X family, it is fitting that BMW Asia has partnered with Spartan Race Singapore for this latest launch. 

Skoda returns to Singapore in a SMART new way

Skoda, the leading automotive manufacturer in the Czech Republic, announces its much-anticipated comeback to the Singapore market. Four of Skoda's crowned jewels, the Rapid Spaceback, the Octavia, the Superb and the Kodiaq, will find its home at the brand's new flagship showroom located at Skoda Centre Singapore on 26 Leng Kee Road.

The return of Skoda in Singapore is part of the 'Future 15' markets mapped out in the brand's growth story The launch of Skoda in Singapore signals an important milestone for the brand as Singapore is part of the 'Future 15' markets mapped out in its growth story. It will also be the first Southeast Asian market to have a direct dealership.

As the parent company, Volkswagen Group Singapore will directly import and run Skoda's retail operations here.

This will mean better control of the ownership experience for Skoda owners from the moment the customer purchases the car to the collection and aftersales. And for the first time, Skoda customers in Singapore will have access to the latest model lineup straight from Mlada Boleslav, Skoda's headquarters.

The new Skoda Singapore showroom, occupying a space of 940m2, is a testament to the company's commitment in this market. Modelled after the brand's global identity, the fresh, striking and modern design of the showroom reflects the qualities of the Skoda brand while the clean and spacious layout emphasizes the brand's promise.

The showroom's space of 940m2 is a testament to the company's commitment in this market The open and welcoming approach allows direct and easy interactions with the Skoda sales representatives, which is central to the customer experience.

At the core of the Skoda brand is its 'Simply Clever' philosophy, which means the simple sophistication of ingeniously designed cars.

The reputation of Skoda as a maker of inexpensive but strikingly functional cars can be found in its very DNA. The 'Simply Clever' philosophy not only eases its customers' lives, but also makes using and driving the car itself more intuitive and simpler.

With the alliance of Skoda and Volkswagen in 1991, Skoda cars now have the advantage of sharing the Volkswagen Group technology and parts, such as the MQB platform across its entire range. This means high-quality cars without the high price tag.

Combining generous dimensions, innovative assistance systems, comfort, powerful engines and Skoda-typical 'Simply Clever' features - making performance, fun and comfort sync like never before. That's what Skoda SMART is.

According to Mr. Ricky Tay, the intention is to meet the mobility needs of Singaporeans with Skoda's lineup The Skoda story is like none other. Every car with the winged arrow on its bonnet proudly stands for a long tradition of constant innovation. It has a deserved reputation for cars built to the highest standards, engineering innovation, championship-winning motorsport and outstanding customer service.

Its production volume and export to over 100 countries around the world makes Skoda the leading carmaker in the Czech Republic. Its key to success lay in vehicles that are ingeniously designed, highly reliable, and affordable to own. 2017 marks the best year in Skoda's 122-year history, with a delivery record of more than 1.2 million vehicles worldwide.

"We could not have chosen a better time to bring the brand back to Singapore. Globally, Skoda is going full throttle ahead with new models, solutions and products for the mobility of the future that will delight Skoda fans around the world. With the return of Skoda to Singapore, our intention is to meet the mobility needs of Singaporeans with Skoda's lineup of award-winning models," says Mr. Ricky Tay, Managing Director, Volkswagen Group Singapore.

Car buyers in Singapore will be able to experience what Skoda SMART means starting from 23rd March 2018.