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Schumacher is back!

The legendary man is back! Michael Schumacher will join Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button on the starting grid in next season's Formula One World Championship. The only difference this time is that he won't be piloting for Ferarri, but for Mercedes GP instead, what used to be Brawn GP.     And that is the big question. Why did he go to Mercedes after so many years with the Stallion from Maranello? He was one of their chief advisors and placed in such a position with high regard and now he's jumped ship to Mercedes, where his old mate Ross Brawn resides. Could it be his loyalties remain with Ross Brawn for engineering such an amazing car for him season after season that he was willing to make the switch?   The next thing that most people will want to see is if Schumi can actually still win. For starters, at least 70% of his compatriots expect him to win the Formula One World Championship next year. And who can argue with them? He has won 7 titles so far and is an all time great. But he will be facing stiff competition from the younger generation such as Lewis Hamilton who have often talked about wanting to challenge the champion, "Well, now they have a chance, so they'd better use it" says Michael.   The 40-year-old German will be paid

CheeJun

CheeJun

 

The most handsome Ford Focus yet

[extract]   Say hello to the new Ford Focus.   This stunning new model is set to make heads turn.. It has all the hot-hatch ingredients with massive driver appeal, a handsome look to it, and technology that is up to date. Set to go on sale in 2010, the third generation of the family car will showcase a dramatic new look that

CheeJun

CheeJun

 

Sexy S60!

Here's the official photo of the new 2010 Volvo S60. It's new found curvy contours is a far cry from the boxy shape of the early Volvos. Some might say that such a design philosophy from Volvo has made it lost its uniqueness but I quite like it personally. The all new S60 will most likely share its underpinnings with the next generation Ford Focus. This would guarantee above average handling capabilities to take on the king of luxury compact sedans - The BMW 3 series.   The new S60 will be powered by the new 1.6L Ecoboost engine from Ford. Most likely to be mated to the Powershift dual clutch transmission.  

SYF77

SYF77

 

A new VW Golf is on the way

Volkswagen may have just released the 'new' Golf, but look! This version is set to be the replacement for the current version by 2012, two years sooner than anticipated. And not surprisingly, the styling for the new Golf is evolutionary.   There are hints of the Polo's rear lights, just extended and the front looks sharper and a tinge more aggressive. But under that skin is where the new Golf is set to make milestones, a leap that reports have suggested, will equal that of Ford; from the Escort to the Focus in 1998.     No more bigger is better. The new Golf will be based on a smaller platform to reduce its kerb weight, and many components have been borrowed from the Polo. Lightweight body panels will be used and small capacity forced induction engines to further reduce fuel consumption. The Golf will combine a already fuel efficient 1.5-litre diesel unit with three compact electric motors, and the plug-in drivetrain can operate on battery power alone below 50km/h for around 48 km. Above that speed, it works in tandem with the oil-burner, and takes over entirely at motorway speeds. The result is a startling 48km/litre

CheeJun

CheeJun

 

Farewell my Civic

After 3.5 years of ownership, I bid farewell to my Civic 2.0 today with mixed emotions. It has served me well and I wish to share my ownership experience with fellow car enthusiasts here in Mycarforum.   Even today, the design of the Civic looks attractive to me despite it being launched some 4 years ago. The futuristic dashboard will still continue to be a talking point for the Civic many years down the road. Build quality of the Civic is beyond reproach. The car is well put together with no hint of rattling during the past 3.5 years. Knobs are still solidly in place.   The Civic is fun to drive, responding to the slightest input from the right foot. The K20Z engine is mated to the 5 speed automatic transmission perfectly to deliver creamy smooth performance. Perhaps, the only complaint about the drive is the slightly heavy steering wheel. Road noise insulation could do better as well.   Like most cars, the Civic does have its share of mechanical glitches. The electric motor in the power steering needs to be replaced after one year of ownership as it kept making a loud

SYF77

SYF77

 

Cost of car ownership In Singapore (for my case)

Blog post by sgbluechip: I drive a humble Japanese car which I bought brand new 3 years ago. I paid the full amount in cash and hence no expense on loan interest was incurred. I would like to see if it is worth keeping my car or change to taking taxis on a daily basis.   Cost of car: $46,000   Yearly costs:-   Road tax and radio: $769   Insurance: $700 (50% NCD+5% police white card for good driving record)   Petrol: $1200 ($100 per month. My workplace is near my home but extremely inaccessible, though parking is free)   ERP: $20 (I rarely go to town area)   Yearly servicing: $150 (I do it only once a year, since I drive an average of 10,000 km per year)   Other wear and tear: $200   Parking at home: $765 (No way to avoid this unless you are living in private property)   Parking outside home and office: $120   Car wash: $144 (twice a month@ $6 each time)   Depreciation: $4,000 (minimum)     If I were to drive my car for the full 10 years, it will cost me $40,000. As the scrap value at the end of 10th year is $6,000.   Hence the total cost of my car ownership is $8168 per year. If I were to take a taxi everyday to work, it will cost me about $20 daily. That alone will cost me $4,800 a year. Though there are days I am on MC and leave, let

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How many Italian Stallions are we gonna lose before year's end?

No...not again. Honestly my heart can't take much more of this. It's barely been two months since a Blu Chairo Ferrari F430 was turned into a submarine in a basement carpark somewhere in Bukit Timah.   My heart sank when I saw a picture of the smashed and splintered remains of a Rosso Corsa Ferrari F430 on the front page of a local Chinese newspaper. Being effectively illiterate in Mandarin, I got the girlfriend to read it out for me. But looking at the pic, it couldn't have been good news anyway. I honestly can't tell what model it used to be. Not from the picture anyway. As far as I can tell, it has on those 360 Challenge Stradale rims but it could've been a 430 owner that opted for those. Since then, it's been confirmed (from the above pic) that it used to be an F430.   The report reads that this poor baby got a little too intimate with a guardrail along Nicoll Highway early on Saturday morning. By early I mean like 7am in the frigging morning. No points for guessing what the owner was probably doing when he crashed. Definitely not taking a leisurely early morning drive that's for sure.   Ahhh...how wonderful it is to be laid in the cradle of affluence. Instead of relating the usual weekend activities of shopping, movies or hanging out with friends, on Monday morning to your mates, you get to say, "Oh...nothing much...just crashed a Ferrari 430"   This is how it probably used to look when it left the Maranello stables...

911fan

911fan

 

No news on new OPC scheme despite it being just 1 month away

Alright...I think this is one of the dumbest things ever. In less than a month, LTA will be implementing the new OPC scheme on cars that've opted into the new scheme. But apparently there's no information or details on when the car will be under the new scheme. I actually called them up and even the LTA Customer Service Officer has no clue.   That's hilarious isn't it? The government body that's in charge of the new scheme has no idea too. Excellent! With less than a month before the new scheme kicks in, OPC owners are still in the dark about when they're supposed to pay the $100 admin charge(which is another government money-making scam if you ask me...) or where.   But one thing's for sure though, there's no chance I'll be using my car on X'mas eve. Guess I was gullible to have expected the government (of all people) to be generous about it. Like that's ever gonna happen! Ha!

911fan

911fan

 

Nissan GTR round the Nurburgring in 7m 29s? "Lies!" says Porsche

Porsche have accused Nissan of providing false information that the GTR could go round the challenging Nurburgring in 7 minutes 29 seconds. They were so sure that the GTR could not do it that Porsche actually bought one! I know some might have heard about this before, but I managed to find a video which may prove Porsche's claim true that the GTR didn't actually complete a lap as fast as Nissan claimed it did, or that their test drivers suck.   The main reason why Porsche was so adamant that the GTR could not have possibly achieved that time is because the GTR was just 1 second off the time of the Porsche Carrera GT which is close to hypercar status. The GTR in the hands of the Porsche test driver did a time of 7 minutes 54 seconds. Moreover, the Porsche 911 Turbo and the GT2 were also faster than the GT-R: the turbo managed to achieve a time of 7 minutes and 38 seconds while the GT2 finished the lap in 7 minutes and 34 seconds. And the Germans could never accept being defeated on home soil. So here it is. The epic battle of the stopwatch begins the moment you click 'Play'.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p45OuyWhUfE&feature=player_embedded

CheeJun

CheeJun

 

Saab brand dead - official announcement

[extract]   General Motors has issued an official announcement saying that it will gradually shut down Saab, following a breakdown in the negotiations with Spyker after "certain issues" arose in the deal.   A previous deal by Koenigsegg to buy up Saab feel apart in late November, and General Motors then reiterated that it will shut down the 72-year-old Swedish brand if it is not sold by end of 2009.   General Motors

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2010 Hyundai Sonata

The 2010 Hyundai Sonata has finally been released in Korea and I believe it should be coming to our shores in the near future. Finally, new Sonata owners won't have to worry about ignorant Singaporeans who flag their cars down as a taxi..     Recently launched in Seoul, Euisun Chung, Hyundai

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The Toyota Celica is back!

Thierry Dombreval, vice president of sales and marketing of Toyota France, has confirmed that the Toyota Celica will make its return in 2010. This will be the 8th generation of the rear-wheel drive sports coupe and Toyota will be developing the new Celica in collaboration with Subaru. The old Celica was a banging good car and I bet the new one will be even better.   The standard GT version will come with a 1.8-litre engine which produces 140bhp, the GTS version will showcase a 1.8-litre 180bhp engine with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. Well these are the speculated engines that Toyota will produce for the new Celica but hopefully more details will be available soon for the version that is going to be sold here in Singapore.   Car 'zhngsters' get your wallets ready!

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The future of motoring

This is the real deal. It is NOT a hybrid. This is the Honda FCX Clarity. It is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell which generates energy to run the electric motor so the only emissions coming out from the exhaust is, water. The 'new' Prius is now obsolete. If you wanted to make a real fashion statement Mr Di Caprio, you could have just bought one of these instead of 3 'Priuses'.     Of course Singapore doesn't have one of these yet but this car drives as any Honda would, and it looks better than the Prius too. The cost of hydrogen is approximately the same as petrol, at least in the US, but unlike petrol, it can never run out since hydrogen is infinitely available throughout the entire universe! One tank of compressed hydrogen has a range of about 435km and the motor generates a 136bhp. 25.6km/l. Bugger off Prius.     Luckily and ironically, the biggest petrol-head of all time Jay Leno does think this is the future for cars. This is the 'saviour for our sports cars' according to him and that stars drive the Prius mainly because they think that they have the 'moral superiority' that they are 'saving the earth'. Well done Jay Leno, you are the only smart Hollywoodian. Sadly though, this is only available in California for now.

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Facelifted Ford Galaxy receives power 'Boost'

The subtly facelifted Ford Galaxy MPV that will be making its world debut at the 2010 Brussels Show in January 2010. More significantly, the revised MPV marks the debut of Ford's all-new 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine, which is highly efficient.   The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost STCi engine employs turbocharging and direct injection technologies. It pumps out 203HP at 5,500 rpm with a maximum torque of 300Nm, delivered across a broad 1,750-4,500 rpm range.   Linked to a standard dual-clutch transmission (DSG), the revised Galaxy performs the century sprint in 8.8 seconds with a top speed of 217 km/h.   On the outside, the new Galaxy features a subtly redesigned snout with a more sculpted bonnet. It also receive revised lower and upper grilles along with new silver roof rails and LED tail lights.   I am looking forward to the new Ecoboost/DSG combination to be deployed in the Ford Mondeo. This will pose some serious challenge to the Japanese camps with the appropriate pricing.  

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How hard is it to sell a lesser known car in SG?

The year's coming to an end and it caps off a great 10 plus months for me in driving the newest cars injected into the market in 2009.   But looking back, it just makes me realise how somewhat 'traditional' the local market is, that brands like Skoda and Renault have been given the coldest of shoulders when buying a car. And it's even more troubling that apart from the usual suspects of impression makers like Audi and Volkswagen, Skoda was actually the other brand that stood out from the rest.   Yes yes I know they're owned by VW and nearly the whole car besides the glued badge at the front and rear are from it's German parents, but if that's the case, why is it that Skoda isn't doing better or as good as Vee-dub? In a recent article in the Straits Times, a compiled list showed that VW posted a 99.5% increase in their sales figures from a year ago, while Skoda didn't make the list.   I did ask a couple of friends and the words that came up the most in their responses were Russian, plastics are cheap and they might break down more often than most other cars. What they forgot to mention though were the issues with selling a Skoda on the second-hand car market, a genuine concern when buying a less popular brand.   No doubt it's a huge market, but no one is really looking for a Skoda are they. And even if they were, the owner would be hard-pressed to sell their car at a price much lower than he/she would have liked. A recent visit down to the (empty) Skoda Showroom scattered with salesmen yielded no solution to my resale woes when posed with the very question of "How ah? This one can resell easy anot?".   When I took the Skoda VRS Combi out for a spin a couple of months back, it felt like a GTI in a slightly larger body. Not a bad thing considering the punchy and raucous engine felt more than sufficient moving the added weight of the combi around corners and on straights. The chassis was amazing, built on the GTI itself and paired up to the DSG box, made for 5 hours of driving fun that I haven't had in a while.   For Renault...how many people actually know the French car-maker is tied up so close to Nissan, they more or less own each other.   So is there a prevalent sentiment within our car buying culture that instantly rules certain brands out without much care for consideration? But what's your say? Why do you think its such?

Ragingbull

Ragingbull

 

Audi A1 teaser

This is Audi's idea of a teaser shot of their upcoming subcompact A1. While most automakers like to shroud the car in a sea of black with just the headlights on, or drape a cloth over the entire body to reveal just the grille, Audi have decided to vandalise walls.   The teaser shot doesn't say very much; the signature Audi front grille seems very much unchanged except at the edges, a prominent front end and Audi's bold design is nothing new. To me its like they were more interested in seeing the graffiti artist paint the thing rather than actually show the world what their new A1 could look like. Theres even a video!     Nonetheless, this Audi is set "to repeat the success that we have enjoyed with the A3 in the compact segment. With the A1, we

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2011 BMW 3 Series spied!

The king of compact luxury sedan is set to be reborn in about 2 years' time. Expect exceptional aerodynamics with a Cd figure of around 0.24. Turbocharged units will be in full circulation at BMW by the time the new 3 Series hits the streets. We may see a 1.5L three-cylinder petrol turbo engine delivering about 150hp (112kW) while their diesel counterparts are likely to offer around 300Nm of torque. The 8-speed automatic gearbox that makes its debut in the 7 Series will find its way into the upcoming 3 series.   My personal opinion is that BMW is making a wise move to downsize the engine capacity and employing turbocharging technology to compensate for lower capacity. This is going to be an industrial trend. Just look at the success story of VW's 1.4 TSI units that have won numerous awards over the past couple of years. Ford has just introduced their 1.6L Ecoboost turbo powerplants and Hyundai group is set to release their 1.6L Turbo engines in 2010 too. Such a move by automakers benefit a market like Singapore whereby road tax are tied to engine size. In addition, a lower capacity engine usually implies better fuel efficiency.   From the video, the outline of the new 3 series appeared rather conservative. I hope that it will not end up looking like a baby 5 series and has it's unique styling clues. This is vital in order to take on it's good looking competitors such as the Alfa 159, Audi A4 and Lexus IS250.

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Malaysia imposes a 20 litre cap at petrol kiosks...

If you haven't been keeping up with the news lately, Malaysia just started a new rule for foreign registered cars. From today onwards, foreign registered cars will not be allowed to pump more than 20 litres of petrol within 50 kilometres of border areas. Put a cap on those tear ducts because it's not all that bad.   Unless the Malaysian authorities have found a way to measure the amount of petrol you've pumped, you can just easily pump 20 litres at this petrol station then go on to the rest to top off your tank. Assuming you're that determined. True that it's an inconvenience but only a minor one for those looking for half-priced petrol. Be warned though. If you're caught flouting this rule, there'll be a heavy price to pay. Literally, in the region of RM$100,000. I'm sure corrupt Malaysian officials will be having a field day with this one for a while to come.   Personally though, I think the Malaysian government (as usual) are implementing a rule that's going to end up shooting themselves in the foot. Considering that border towns like Johore are going to feel a steep drop in revenue with Singaporeans finding less reasons to drive up North. It's not unlikely that the Malaysian government won't reverse this rule if they suddenly find it unpopular with the locals and (most definitely) foreigners.   Unfortunately, there is some confusion regarding this new rule. Some are misinterpreting it and assume that the Malaysian government expects Singaporean cars to leave JB with only 20 litres of petrol in their tanks. Does it mean the excess fuel has to be siphoned out of the tank and burned? The more prudent motorists out there would understand that this rule only limits the amount of petrol you can buy before re-entering Singapore.   Nevertheless this is a dark day for those who frequent the North for a quick pitstop. It's just a shame my little Swift never got a chance to sip half-priced petrol. Sigh...

911fan

911fan

 

Toyota Wish - Parallel Importers vs Authorised Dealer

For those who are considering the latest Toyota Wish that was recently launched from Borneo Motors, there might be some things you should take note before you sign on that cheque book.   Although the Borneo Motors (BM) Wish does come with seemingly better interior equipment, when you go chassis deep, it might be a different story.   The BM Wish might come with higher quality leather and a high-end audio system but transmission wise, it is equipped with a 4-speed automatic while the Toyota Wish 1.8X from the Parallel Importers (PI) is equipped with a silky smooth 7-speed CVT gearbox.   The engine in the BM Wish might have a higher capacity but it produces less horsepower than the PI Wish. The torque figures are a little higher though not significantly so. The 200cc difference in capacity has a great impact on the Wish

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2010 Nissan Qashqai facelift

Here's a first look at the revised Nissan Qashqai, launched about 3 years ago. Most of the cosmetic changes concern the front end. Such as the hood, bumper, fenders, grille and headlights to give it a more aggressive look. There are also two new exterior colors, revised tail lights with LED technology, and newly designed 17-inch alloy wheels. Better quality materials can be expected with improved NVH levels. The engine lineup remains unchanged.   I took a look at the Qashqai when it was officially launched by Tan Chong Motors. There was a lack of steering mounted controls back then, which seems abit strange since this feature can be found in much cheaper Korean models. In addition, an extra pair of side airbags wouldn't hurt either. I hope that these points will be addressed when the revised Qashqai makes it's debut in the Lion city.

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The silent performer

Bridgestone just launched their new flagship touring tyre, the Turanza GR-90, in Bangkok. The GR-90 is the successor to the critically acclaimed GR-80. Touring tyres are essentially comfort biased.   The GR-90 has Intelligently designed rounded corners, combined with ideal construction rigidity to provide superior handling over a wide range of roads. The tread design features rows of low and high-angle winding grooves and flexible construction to deliver outstanding traveling dynamics and better water dispersion. This leads to a higher level of safety and comfort.   The GR-90 proved to be incredibly silent on rough road conditions as compared to the GR-80 at the media launch.   My Civic 2.0 used to run on a set of GR-80 some 3.5 years ago. The tyres are decent with acceptable grip and good comfort level. My only complaint about the GR-80 is the soft sidewall, making the front tyres appear under inflated even though I pumped up to 250 kPa. I hope that the GR-90 will come with a stiffer sidewall.

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Lamborghini Ankonian Concept

This will probably be the coolest looking 'environmentally friendly' Lamborghini the world has ever seen. Its a concept of the new Lamborghini Madura which is scheduled to be Lamborghini's first ever supercar attempt to please tree-huggers. Its downsized, sophisticated aerodynamic slimmer body means that the Madura is slated to be more environmentally friendly than its other fuel guzzling counterparts.     Known as the Lamborghini Ankonian concept, this mid-engine supercar features special OLEDs which have been flushed between the bodywork to act as headlamps, And this Lamborghini, as with all Lambos, is as bold and aggressive as ever. Even the name Ankonian, orginates from a bull famous for black hair.     The man who designed it, Slavche Tanevsky, clearly had his eye on creating the next Batmobile.. This revolutionary design looks to bring Lamborghini's styling department up to a whole new level, making this one even more radical than the Reventon.     Hopefully this car will be released as shown by 2016 because I must say, this car looks absolutely stunning..

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