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MCF Hangout with Follow Me Japan

Over 60 MyCarForum (MCF) members, together with their partners and families, gathered at Singapore Recreation Club on Saturday afternoon to attend the MCF Hangout with Follow Me Japan. The event, a unique collaboration between sgCarMart and FMJ, offered MCF members insights into the many interesting sights and attractions in Ishikawa, Japan.
  During the event, sgCarMart Senior Automotive Journalist Desmond Chan spoke about some of his personal experiences driving overseas, as well as some key tips on how to best plan and enjoy a road trip. He also briefly touched on some of the unique road conditions and peculiarities when it comes to driving in Japan.
  Additionally, Mr. Yuta Abe from FMJ also presented on the many unique attractions that Ishikawa offers. Ishikawa Prefecture, located 500km away from Tokyo, is bordered on three sides by the Sea of Japan, and by Mt. Hakusan on the fourth. This allows visitors to enjoy the best of both mountainous and sea-facing scenery. Ishikawa is especially beautiful in the Autumn, with bountiful harvests making for delectable cuisine, and spectacular scenery thanks to beautiful natural sights.
  Ms. Mandy Tay, an award-winning photographer, also shared with MCF members her experience travelling in Ishikawa. She shared some of her culinary highlights, such as incredibly fresh oysters, as well as the ample hospitality and kindness of the people of Japan.

FMJ Managing Director Ms. Risa Nishimura talks about how her experience in planning exciting journeys to Ishikawa Prefecture.  
sgCarMart Senior Automotive Journalist Desmond Chan speaks about his experiences with drive trips.
Ms. Mandy Tay talks about her experience travelling in Ishikawa, and shared some of the photos taken there.  
Head over to her Instagram account to check out more of Mandy Tay's work.  
A specially curated guide to car rental journeys in Ishikawa has extensive information on unique attraction, beautiful scenery and ideal driving routes.    
Guests had the chance to sample snacks from Ishikawa.  
Lucky draw prizes include a selection of unique Japanese snacks, as well as car rental vouchers.  
To see more photos from the event, click here.

Porsche says it only makes 2 similar sports car each year

Despite selling approximately 25,000 units of 911s and 718s annually, Porsche claims that it only makes 2 identical sports car every year.

This an interesting surprise as Autocar found out when it had the opportunity to sit down with Porsche plant manager Christian Friedl for an interview.

Of course, this fact is a testament to the personalization options Porsche has for its buyers. With up to 39 variants of the 911 and 718 Boxster/Cayman models on the market, customers can pick whatever they need and dress it up with the near countless possible combinations of colours and trims.

It isn't enough for Porsche though as it intends to launch even more options for its vehicles and, before long, it is possible that every single car rolling off the production line will be distinct from all others.

Italy's Nardo test track re-opens after renovation

After spending S$53 million on renovations, Porsche has announced the reopening of the Nardo Technical Center in Italy.   The renovations lasted seven months and the track has since been resurfaced plus it includes a new innovative guardrail system that was developed by Porsche Engineering specifically for high-speed testing use.  “This proving ground has always been one-of-a-kind and is now more than ever a cornerstone of the Porsche development strategy and of the vehicle testing activities in the automotive industry as a whole.”Malte Radmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nardo Technical Center and Managing Director of Porsche Engineering remarked.   Since 2012, the Nardo Technical Center has been operated by Porsche and features over 20 tracks and facilities on an area of more than 700 hectares. Its key feature is the world famous 12.6km-long high-speed circular circuit that enables manufactuers back then to bring cars to its maximum speed. Currently, up to 90 other automotive companies are using its testing facilities for future technologies, such as fast-charging behavior of EVs, new driver assistance systems, connected services and autonomous driving.

Red Bull cars to feature iconic 007 logos at British Grand Prix

Aston Martin will be celebrating the James Bond Heritage by dressing up two Red Bull cars with the 007 logos on their cars. These logos will appear at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Other than the 007 logo, the Formula 1 cars will also get a decal of the Bond number plates on the back of their rear wings. Max Verstappen will be featuring the plate from the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger (1964), while Pierre Gasly’s car will feature the Aston Martin V8 number plate from The Living Daylights (1987).

To complete the look, the team’s pit garage will also feature wall graphics inspired by Q’s MI6 laboratory.  

Aston Martin cars have always been connected to the James Bond franchise since its beginnings. Through the years, Bond got to drive many models, such as the V8 Vantage Volante, the DB10, the DBS and the iconic DB5.

Ferrari's new SUV might get more power than Lamborghini's Urus

Ferrari has been silent about its upcoming SUV which has been in development for sometime. You can expect it to get more power than the Urus.   The car, developed under the Purosangue name (Italian for ‘thoroughbred’ or ‘pure blood’) has been confirmed by Ferrari last year. Yet to be seen by anyone outside its factory gates, the SUV will likely push the performance of such vehicles to new heights, Car and Driver reported.   It is believed that the Purosangue will be powered by a V8 engine from its current stable of powertrain options and will likely be paired to some kind of hybrid system. Unless Ferrari comes out with a revolutionary platform for the car, the electric motors should be powering the SUV's front wheels while the engine turns the wheels behind.   With all the major luxury brands having at least one SUV in their line-up, it is only a matter of time before Ferrari joined the party.

Self-leveling center wheel caps will make some VW owners very happy

Something that can please owners who might have some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is Volkswagen's new Self-leveling center wheel caps.   For those who don't know what they do, these Dynamic Volkswagen Hub Caps, as Volkswagen calls it, allow the Volkswagen badge “to stand freely within the item, meaning that the roundel is always the correct way up, no matter the speed of the car or the position of the wheel".   According to Volkswagen U.K., these caps are described as “deluxe items” that add “a touch of super-luxury to compatible models.” On the topic of models that can use it, it is ironic that the wheel caps are not suitable for the luxury models such as the Touareg and Phaeton. That said, owners of the Up!, Polo, Lupo, and T-Cross can’t use them either.   Price wise, they cost around S$263 a set and owners of cars that can fit them can order them through U.K.'s Volkswagen Retailer Network.   This is not the first brand nor car to have such a feature as Rolls-Royce has been using them for quite a long period of time.   “If you’re after a touch of that super-expensive segment on your Volkswagen, or if you just want to quell the niggling irritation of badges pointing in different directions to one another, being upside-down or not being perfectly horizontal when parked, then these are definitely for you,” explains James Woolfe, Accessories and Merchandise Product Manager at Volkswagen U.K.

Daniel Ricciardo has fun with the new Megane R.S. Trophy-R

Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has a go in the new Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R at Goodwood. Interestingly, he chooses to go sideways up the hill.   We have no idea why he did so but instead of going flat out on the hillclimb, Ricciardo choses to go sliding with the handbrake at relatively low speeds. We are sure he is having fun and we are also pretty sure the rear tyres is going to have a few flat spots after this peculiar run.   As for the car, it is the current record holder at the Nurburgring for the fastest production front-wheel drive car and compared to the Megane R.S. Trophy, the Trophy-R is 130kg lighter and with 296bhp, the car will complete the century sprint in 5.4 seconds. It tops out at 262km/h and is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox.  

Which one of the twins is faster? The Z4 or Supra

By now, we should all know both the BMW Z4 M40i and Toyota Supra share the same engine and have nearly the same amount of power. So which is faster in a straight line?   According to BMW, the Z4 puts out 340bhp while Toyota claims that its Supra makes do with 'just' 335bhp. Both cars are using the same ZF-manufactured eight-speed automatic gearbox and both wear the same Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.   So with only a 40kg difference in weight, this race should be a close one right? Watch the video below by Carwow and see the answer for yourself!      

FCA choses ZF as the transmission supplier for its cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobile has chosen transmission manufacturer ZF as its supplier for its upcoming rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles with front-longitudinal engine configuration.   “We are pleased being nominated as global transmission supplier by FCA. This is our second major order for the new 8HP and it confirms our strategy to focus on plug-in hybrids as an every-day solution and to develop attractive products in these areas,” ZF Chief Executive Wolf-Henning Scheider said.   The new automatic gearbox is equipped with an integrated electric drive and can be used in plug-in hybrid vehicles that FCA plans to produce. While the company has not declared which of its models will get the transmission, it is expected to find its way into some of the company’s bigger cars.   To be built at ZF's factory in Germany, production of the new gearbox is scheduled to start in 2022 and will also be manufactured in other locations such as the United States and China at a later date.   According to ZF, FCA's deal with them is the second largest order in its history while its largest single order happened with BMW just three months before this.

Could this be a lighter Hyundai i30 N?

Riding on the success of its first hot hatch, Hyundai seems like it is working on a lighter and faster version of its i30 N. Could the car spied here be AWD variant too?   As reported by Carscoops, the car shot at the Green Hell features parts you won’t find on the standard i30 N. Check out the new simple-spoked wheels, new lip spoiler and the new side skirts which have been fitted. Also the rear has been fitted with new bumpers and diffusers. While details are sketchy for now, it is stated in the article that the lightened Hyundai i30 N won’t have any more power than the standard model but that isn't really an issue as we have driven one and power isn't something it needs urgently. That said, the company might also be working on a version with more power and has admitted to an all-wheel drive drivetrain for the car and could add slightly more power to it. There is also news that a dual-clutch variant of the i30 N will soon be released.

Ferrari details how SF90's hybrid powertrain works in video

Wonder how the new 986bhp Ferrari SF90's hybrid powertrain works? The Italian company has released a video showing it in its various driving modes.   For those who aren't aware of what is powering Ferrari's latest product, the SF90 is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine that makes 769bhp and 800Nm of torque on its own. It is matched to three electric motors, one of which is fitted between the V8 and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission while the other two are located at the front axle, bringing the total power output to a staggering 986bhp.   That said, when the driver is in the mood to be green, the supercar can be driven in front-wheel drive mode with the front two electric motors for up to 25 km.   Despite being a hybrid, the car only weighs 1,570kg, allowing it complete the century sprint in 2.5 seconds. It will then touch 200km/h in 6.7 seconds before hitting its maximum speed at 340km/h.  

The one and only Lamborghini SC18 Alston detailed

Want to know more about the one-off model created by Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse motorsport division, the SC18 Alston? Carfection has the perfect walkaround-the-car video for you.   Shot at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019, the car is the first model to be created by its motorsport division and also happens to be the first time the Aventador-based model appeared in public.   Lamborghini fans can probably see that the car has cues of other lamborghini specials like the Centenario's rear lights, Sesto Elemento's roof and parts of the Veneno at the rear. Despite it being so wild-looking, the car is said to be road-legal and has done 139km so far.   There are much more details about the SC18 Alston but i guess we shall let Henry Catchpole talk you through the rest of the car...   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=323&v=BmdZVnGKI14

Urus nearly doubles Lamborghini sales for first half of the year

It is no surprised that with the arrival of the Urus, Lamborghini's sales would increase. Its latest year-to-date sales report confirmed that.   The high performance SUV, which is now also its best-selling model, topped 2693 examples or 59% of sales from the brand between 1st of January to 30th of June this year. Thanks to the Urus, Lamborghini sold a total of 4553 vehicles around the world. In comparison, it only sold 2327 units in the first half of 2018 before the Urus went on sale, a whopping 96% lesser cars than it sold in 2019.   Interestingly, the demand for the Aventador and Huracan has dropped but officially, there wasn't any explanation on why so.   Sales of Asia Pacific for Lamborghini increased by more than double to 1184 examples but the highest sales growth goes to America which saw a 128% sales increase over last year. That says the largest market belongs to America and is followed by China, Britain, Japan and Germany.

Aston Martin Vanquish likely to come with manual gearbox

In an interview with Aston Martin Chief Executive Andy Palmer, Car Sales, an Australian publication, found out that the new Vanquish is likely to get a manual gearbox.   Going against the trend, the upcoming mid-engined car will of course get another transmission option but we are pleasantly surprised to hear of another sports car manufacture other than Porsche who would offer a self-shifting option to its customers.   That said, Palmer did not specifically say ‘yes’ directly when he was interviewed.   “I’ve already made a commitment that I want to be the last manufacturer in the world to offer manual sports cars and I want to honour that commitment,” Palmer remarked.   The new car will be using an aluminum platform and a twin-turbocharged V6 with a small electric motor, and while the company hasn’t said how much grunt it will have, you can expect it to have around 800bhp or so.

Honda refused Dyson's plan to build car at its factory

The company that is best known for making vacuum cleaners wanted to build its new electric cars at Honda's U.K. Swindon production site but was rejected.   As seen in an article published by Carscoops, Dyson was said to have sent a letter to a local MP in Wiltshire, which revealed Dyson wanted to make the most of unused parts in Honda’s local factory.   “The most annoying thing is that 12 months ago we went to see Honda at Swindon,” he wrote. “We knew that they were only using one of their assembly buildings, (and we asked) if we could rent the unused one. They refused.”   That said, Honda denies the rejection and in a statement, stated, “We are aware of a letter between Dyson and James Gray MP, the contents of which are factually incorrect.”   Since then, Dyson has already committed to building its electric vehicles in Singapore and recently moved its global headquarters to our sunny island.   After announcing its intentions to make electric cars in 2017, Dyson also released sketches of an electric SUV being developed by the company. Dyson hopes its plant in Singapore will become operational in 2020 and intends to launch its first model in 2021.

Last seventh-generation Corvette sells for $3.65 million

With the new mid-engined Chevrolet C8 coming soon, someone has bought the last front-engined seventh-generation Corvette for a lot of money. In fact, he paid S$3.65 million for the car which only retails for S$110,000 in the U.S.   The model is question a black Z06 model and has been bought by Dan Snyder, the CEO of digital media company inLighten and founder of Dan Snyder Motorsports.   The car was donated by Chevrolet and it was bidded at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction which also hosted the auction for the last Dodge Viper and Dodge Demon ever built last year. Interestingly, both cars also went to Dan Snyder at S$1.35 million each.   “It’s exhilarating to win and a privilege to have the responsibility of caring for these historic vehicles that I believe are an important part of America’s heritage. To me, they exemplify American craftsmanship, engineering excellence, and manufacturing prowess,” Snyder said.   Dan Snyder and his son has as collected almost 100 performance cars over the years, including 30 Vipers and has pointed out that the Z06 that he just collected will not be a garage queen.   The sum of money from the Corvette will be donated to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which assists fallen and injured military members, first responders and their families.

Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution making a comeback again?

Mitsubishi has said before that it is not intending on making another Lancer Evolution. But there are reports that a new one is in the works.   According to Autocar's article, it claimed that Mitsubishi is planning to revive the Lancer Evolution and build an 11th-generation model, as it found out from unnamed “Japanese-based sources”.   It explained that Mitsubishi wants to spice up its lineup and try to cater to the enthusiasts. Using the CMF-C/D F4 platform from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and parts that could be shared with the next-generation Megane R.S., the new Evo might sound like a possibility.   While some reports cited that the car could be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder paired with the addition of a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, others said that it could use the existing 1.8-litre turbocharged lump found in the current Megane R.S.

Next Audi R8 might get to keep its V10 afterall

With the current R8 nearly halfway into its product life cycle, officials inside Audi are already discussing the new generation's powertrain.   With electrification a large possibility, will we see the demise of its natural-aspirated V10 engine?   Not so according a report by Autocar, which claimed that there are many in Audi that want to see it live on.   The V10 is an icon, and a USP within the segment”, said Audi Sport’s managing director Oliver Hoffman. “With the current R8, our customers love this car. We are fighting for the V10, but [for the next-gen] it’s more or less a question of ICE or electrification, and which kind of engine is useful for it.”   It also helps that Lamborghini is thought to remain committed to offering a V10 in the successor of the Huracan, which in turn a sister car to the R8.   Hoffman added, “Lamborghini has to have a naturally aspirated engine, no other brand stands for NA like Lamborghini. We are working very close with the guys from Sant’Agata. The only way to develop such kinds of cars is to share the cost for development work and to have a very, very tough platform strategy.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger pranks customers buying EV

Arnold Schwarzenegger is keen to push people to buy Electric Vehicles and has come out with a funny prank to convince car buyers to get an EV.   In partnership with American company ElectricForAll, the movie star released a video on YouTube with him disguised as a car salesman. He then approaches those looking to buy electric cars and suggests that they should opt for a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle instead.   In one instance, a couple wanted a new Nissan Leaf but he took out a Hummer instead, revving its engine and spewing pollution into the air. Of course, the customers were not pleased but it was pretty funny.   There are more funny examples in the video but we shall let you watch the rest of the three minute plus video to find out. All in all, it’s a pretty fun way to promote EVs by highlighting some of the downsides of conventional petrol-powered cars.  

Speed limit for unrestricted sections of the Autobahn

As the summer heat is building up, Germany is forced to put on speed limits on usually unrestricted sections of the Autobahn to prevent accidents.   Yes, you read it right as Bloomberg has reported that the high temperatures “could create potentially deadly cracks” on the Autobahn. As a result, the officials have made some sections of the highway enforced with a speed limit of 100 km/h.   With temperatures hitting 38.2 degrees Celsius and a possibility of breaking the country’s all-time record of 40.3 degrees Celsius, these cracks could very well happen and could cause drivers who drive into them, lose control of their vehicles.   Earlier on, there were reports that a number of other highways in the country had to be closed earlier this month when sections of pavement cracked as temperatures topped 30 degrees Celsius.

Someone brought Need For Speed into real life

For those of us who grew up playing Electronic Arts's Need For Speed series, this might bring back some good memories.   Based on the Underground 2 installment of the series, a Russian Youtuber made a real-life version of the game for fun but it turns out cooler than expected. We won't describe what the video is like but we are pretty sure the one minute video might very well tempt you to dig that game out to play again.

This could be how the new Land Rover Defender looks like

We all know the Land Rover Defender is coming and it seems like someone has managed to take a photo of it without camouflage.   Leaked online through a number of Land Rover forums before making its way onto Twitter, the photo is actually a photo of the new Defender’s digital gauge cluster.   From that digital side view of the new SUV, we can see that it is more modern and rounded than its predecessor. We also noticed that there seem to be a small side window incorporated into the roof much like some of its previous variants.   The new Defender will be using a revised version of the MLA platform used by the likes of the Range Rover Sport and Land Rover Discovery, with engines options probably similar to those cars too.   The car is expected to be debut globally in September.

James May answers some random questions from viewers

Want to know more about The Grand Tour's James May? Here's a video of him answering some of his fans' questions. We wonder why does his fans want know things like "Have you stopped sweating from driving in China with no air con"...   Anyway, the good news is that there are also normal and interesting ones like "what car must every car enthusiasts drive at least once in their life" and " What is the greatest supercar of all time". The answer might be predictable but still fun to know.   Shot by DriveTribe, James May also divulges in the video what he would like to own in the future and what car excites him.  

Possible Toyota and Mazda collaboration in the future

A Japanese publication has suggested that Toyota/Lexus may share a rear-wheel drive platform and inline-six engine with Mazda.   A couple of months ago, Mazda announced that they are developing a family of straight-six Skyactiv-X engines for use in its higher-end models and these engines can be matched to a rear- and all-wheel drive drivetrain.   This prompted Best Car to investigate, revealing that Toyota’s first Mazda-based model could be a successor to the Mark X sedan that sells in Japan and other ASEAN markets. Lexus could then use the same plaform for a new coupe to sit between the RC and LC in its existing line-up. While this news might seem a little far-fetched, it is definitely a possibility with an increasing number of manufacturers coming together to share common architecture and parts.

The 2022 WRC season will see the cars turn hybrid

The FIA has revealed that the World Rally Championship will start using petrol-electric hybrid rally cars from the 2022 season. Using a common hybrid unit, the cars will have to be able to run on pure electric power during transit stages through cities while the hybrid powertrain will provide an electric power boost on special stages. To make the sport more entertaining, the teams will be given more technical freedom in 2025 even though this has not been confirmed. Also revealed by FIA is a few other new regulations that will soon come into effect. One of them is the stopping of tyre development from 2021 through 2024 in a bid to reduce costs and prevent a tire war among manufacturers. Another one is will require teams to use either a production car bodyshell or compete in vehicles with a tubular spaceframe chassis with a shell on top that features carryover parts from the standard road car it is based around. Cars with bigger dimensions will also be allowed to scaled down to comply with dimension targets.
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