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Power figures for upcoming A45 Mercedes-AMG leaked

Curious about what horse power numbers Mercedes-AMG's upcoming A45 will put out? An online publication has managed to confirm its specifications.   Labelled under the codename M139, Carscoops has claimed that the new A45 AMG will get a base output of 382bhp and 480Nm of torque from its new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. An S variant will have even more power with 415bhp and 500Nm of torque.   A quick calculation reveals a staggering 208bhp per litre which is a figure that definitely right up there when it comes to mass production cars. Beside that, the engine revs to 7200 rpm and is said to have a torque curve that will deliver power in a fashion similar to a naturally-aspirated engine.   Some interesting facts about the engine include having a new twin-scroll turbocharger that features a turbine housing with two different flow passages that run parallel to one another. It also receives roller bearings which helps to reduce friction and improve responsiveness.   Elsewhere, the engine is made of aluminium and gets a forged steel crankshaft and forged aluminum pistons which reside in Nanoslide-coated cylinder liners.   Mercedes-AMG has also uprated its cooling capabilities and equipped it with an electric water pump that operates independently of the engine. The car will also come with an additional radiator that supports the main radiator in front.

Hamilton convinced that Ferrari’s engine features a power mode

Despite Lewis Hamilton's team winning all seven races so far in the 2019 calendar year, the Formula 1 champion is still weary of his rivals in Ferrari. To be more exact, he feels that Ferrari’s engine features a power mode that his Mercedes does not have.   “They were so quick on the straights,” Hamilton remarked in an interview with Autosport. “They definitely have another power mode that we currently don’t have. So, all of a sudden they turn up the power and he (Vettel) pulls away massively on the straight, even if I have DRS open.”   Certain that he isn't just talking nonsense, the British driver pointed out that the evidence whereby his team was losing up to six tenths of a second on the straights compared to Ferrari in the Canada's qualifying session.   “In the race I know all of a sudden they pick up a lot of pace on the straights [as well] but that’s the name of the game,” “They’ve clearly done a great job with their power unit.” he added.

New special edition Bugatti to debut at Monterey Car Week

It seems like another new limited edition model like the Bugatti Divo will debut at the upcoming Monterey Car Week in California come August.   As reported by The Supercar Blog, this new Bugatti will be produced in a low production number and could cost in excess of S$6.8 million like the Divo. Only 40 units of the Divo will be built and every single unit was sold before it was revealed in public.   The new model will coincide with the 110th anniversary of the French car manufacturer and it seems apparent that the new model will join the Chiron 110 ans Bugatti and one-off La Voiture Noire to help celebrate this milestone.   It is likely to be based around the Chiron and there have been reports that Bugatti is developing a new model with an even greater focus on weight saving and aerodynamics than the Divo. We will only know more about the car as we get closer to the event.

BMW's V12 won't stick around for long

BMW reckons its large twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12 will not have much of a future soon as emission regulations round the world get tougher by the day.   In an interview with Autoblog, BMW M Chief Executive Markus Flasch has been quoted saying that the engine, which sees action in the 760Li, will not be existing in another model in the foreseeable future.   This is interesting as the flagship 602bhp 7 Series is reported to be selling well in the Middle East and China. In fact, the BMW says that it has been producing the engine as fast as it can ever since the M760Li was introduced, confirming that there is demand for such a powertrain.   Meanwhile, Ferrari and Lamborghini vow to keep their V12 engines with help of hybridisation.

Head of Toro Rosso says F1 drivers now can take the physical stress better

Just as F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton feels that drivers need to face a stronger physical challenge while racing, Toro Rosso boss reckons that it is not possible to fully tire out today's drivers after a race.   In an article published by Autosport, Tost pointed out how experienced drivers are nowadays, even before they enter Formula 1, with plenty of guidance in terms of modern-day dieting, nutrition and physical preparation.   “Of course, you cannot compare this time with - let me say - 20 or 30 years ago when Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell or whoever collapsed after a race,” said he said.   “They never saw a fitness center from the inside and some of them were smoking as well and in former days, I remember that some cars did not finish the race and then they talked about gearbox problems. Hey, they were smoking beforehand and they were not fit enough to finish the race and then they put it in any gear so that the car stopped.”   “They were not fit enough. This is reality.”

Is the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider the best convertible on sale now?

Reviews for the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider has started surfacing online and U.K. publication, Autocar has managed to get their hands on one too...   The Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta was a very much well-liked open-top ferrari, with it being the last topless Ferrari that is equipped with a naturally aspirated V8 engine.   So would replacing it with a turbocharged unit in 488 Pista Spider make it as good a drive as its predecessor? Watch and find out in their video below!  

Hand sanitisers and sunscreen might be bad for your car's interior

Ford has released a press release for the European market stating that hand sanitisers and sunscreen might be bad for a car's interior as they enter the summer season.   According to its engineers, chemicals found in these products can apparently react with certain surfaces, causing them to wear out prematurely unless they also feature some type of special protective finish. “From hand sanitisers to sun lotions to insect repellent, consumer trends are constantly changing, and new products are coming on to the market all the time. Even the most innocuous seeming product can cause problems when they come into contact with surfaces hundreds and even thousands of times a year,”said Ford of Europe Senior materials engineer, Mark Montgomery.   Richard Kyle, a materials engineer added on, “There were instances of particularly high wear in Turkey and we managed to trace it back to ethanol potentially being a contributing factor, and most likely a popular hand sanitiser that contained 80% ethanol - far higher than anything we’d seen before. Once we knew what it was, we were able to do something about it.”   To prevent advance wear, Ford says that they run tests at temperatures as high as 74°C and in some cases, they even simulate exposure to the sun, launching ultra-violet light rays at a car’s interior. Plastics are also tested for strength at temperatures as low as -30°C before using a rubber ball that weigh quite a lot more than a normal football, to bounce repeatedly off the materials to make sure they don’t crack.  

BBR makes 2019 Mazda MX-5 go faster and harder

If you feel your 2019 Mazda MX-5 that has the uprated 181bhp 2.0-litre engine not brisk enough, BBR has the solution for you. First up is the performance package called Super 200 and it include the brand's cold air intake system, stainless steel exhaust manifold, K&N air filter and StarChip ECU remap, boosting the horsepower figure by 18bhp and 14Nm of torque, or 199bhp and 224Nm of torque in total. The second package (Super 220) is the one that catches our attention and in addition to what has been installed in the Super 200 package, the Super 220 includes high-performance camshafts, valve springs and retainers, pushing the total power output to 218bhp and 217Nm of torque. That said, those figures have been achieved using 99-octane gasoline. “This is the first time that over 100bhp-per-litre has been achieved from a normally aspirated Mazda MX-5motor without internal modifications”, said the tuner’s Managing Director, Neil McKay. “And additional development has seen BBR achieve more than 110 hp per liter with the inclusion of our bespoke performance camshafts, which is astonishing for a road-friendly engine that now also produces over 200Nm from just 3,000rpm.” The aftermarket company also has other goodies like a 2.5-inch center exhaust section with a choice of rear silencers, and a 4-into-1 tuned stainless steel exhaust manifold that incorporates a performance catalytic converter, to push out a couple of extra horses. Both packages have a 12- to 36-month extendable warranty.

More details of the Honda e released

Honda has released more details of its e's platform and battery pack. The compact hatch is the first vehicle to feature the automaker’s dedicated EV platform and they have engineered the car to have its battery pack mounted within the wheelbase of the vehicle on the floor for a low center of gravity, giving it a perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
Using a CCS2 DC rapid charger, Honda says the e will be able to achieve a 80% charge in just 30 minutes. Its 35.5kWh water-cooled lithium-ion battery pack is also compatible Type 2 AC plug and will allow the car to do more than 200km on one full charge.
Honda has previously claimed that it has received more than 30,000 pre-orders for the european market. The car will be debuting later this year with a dashboard equipped with five displays and door mirrors replaced by side cameras.

Forza Horizon 4 players get new LEGO expansion pack

Forza has has given its Horizon 4 players a new LEGO expansion pack called Lego Speed Champions pack. The racing game which is available on Xbox and Microsoft Windows, is a competitor for Sony Playstation's Gran Turismo Sport and is known for its huge vehicle choice. The new expansion pack allows players to race a few Lego cars including a McLaren Senna, a Ferrari F40 and a 1967 Mini Cooper S rally car. The pack opens up a new themed world that includes a ‘Falcon Speedway’ circuit and the ‘Super Mega Awesome Adventure Stunt Park’. It will allow drivers to race through an airport, a pirate cove and many more areas. Interestingly, players can also choose to drive the game's normal car selection while racing through these LEGO worlds.    

Upcoming Ford v Ferrari movie shaping up to be a good automotive movie

20th Century Fox has released the first movie trailer for the upcoming automotive movie, Ford v Ferrari. Starring Matt Damon as Caroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles, it tells the story of the fight between Ford and Ferrari to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. This is the fight which gave birth to the legendary Ford GT40 and we all can't wait to catch the movie in theatres when it opens on the 15th of November.  

FCA And Renault's merger might continue afterall

It is rumored that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault have resumed talks to revive its potential merger. Its merger plan failed a couple of weeks ago and FCA blamed the French government for it. According to Reuters, Nissan wants Renault to significantly reduce its 43.4% stake in return for its support of a $48billion merger between FCA and Renault. In the article, FCA chairman John Elkann and Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard have been holding talks about continuing the negotiation, but both companies are refusing to comment on the reports officially. A senior advisor from FCA, Toby Myerson was also spotted at the Nissan headquarters in Japan for discussions with top management and would have likely include Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa. Also in the article, it explained that the Nissan head has long believed that its alliance with Renault needed “re-balancing”. This is because Nissan is much larger than Renault but it only holds a 15% stake in the French automaker and no voting rights, while Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan. The French government has since responded, willing to reduce its 15% stake in Renault in an effort to see the merger come to fruition, but only if that would benefit both FCA and the Alliance in general.

James May finds out how good the Honda Civic Type R is

Many journalists have reviewed the FK8 Honda Civic Type R in detail but James May reckons he can do a better review than others... If you have some free time and don't mind having a few laughs, check out his 'relevant' review of the well-received Japanese hot hatch below. Just don't be disappointed if you didn't learn anything new about the Type R. =  

MCF MarkDown with Skoda

More than 75 MyCarForum (MCF) members, together with their partners and family, gathered at the Skoda showroom at 26 Leng Kee Road on Saturday for yet another entertaining MCF MarkDown with Skoda. It was during this time when everyone present got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the comprehensive range of Skoda cars, such as the Octavia and the Karoq. Given that young families and several enthusiastic fans of MCF MarkDown made up the crowd that morning, it was natural to see them so eager to learn more about the cars from the Czech Republic carmaker.
sgCarMart Editor, Julian Kho, also took this opportunity to share with the guests his experience with the Skoda Octavia and the Skoda Karoq. More importantly, he gave his honest opinions about how he feels about the Octavia.
“With its well-engineered and well-thought out development, the Skoda Octavia may have discovered its own spectrum of remarkability. It’s the sort of car that’s made by the common people, for the common people,” Julian said.  
More excitingly for the guests, they were given the opportunity to test drive a number of Skoda models, such as the Octavia 1.4, Octavia RS245, Karoq, Kodiaq and even the Rapid Spaceback - all done to allow them to have a personal touch and to let the guests have a feel of the cars themselves.  
Skoda has proven to be a suitable brand for families.  
Needless to say, like all MCF Hangouts, guests were treated to a mouth-watering buffet spread, as well a variety of activities to spice up the day, including quizes.  
Guests also took back a goody bag to remember the event by.      

ZF shows off how its external airbags can soften collisions

ZF recently gave a live demonstration of the prototype for the pre-crash external side airbag system in Germany. According to the company, the system which only works for side impact crashes, can help save lives and reduce occupant injury severity by up to 40%. In Germany alone, they account for nearly 700 deaths per year, nearly a third of all occupant fatalities. Up to 30% of the force of the offending vehicle could be reduced by the external side airbag which is deployed milliseconds before a collision to provide an additional lateral crumple zone. ZF did not detail how it works but said that the external airbags can communicate with the car's radar, cameras sensor systems. They “developed algorithms that are capable of determining if a crash is imminent and decide whether or not to deploy the airbag.” Challenges faced by the ZF include the programming of the system to reliably recognize an unavoidable collision and deploy the external side airbag before the collision takes place. The other issue it faced was that the airbag has a capacity of between 280 and 400 liters, five to eight times the volume of a driver airbag making it harder to fill up fast enough.  

Carfection gives the BMW Z4 M40i a go

BMW says its new Z4 is a more driver-focused car than its predecessor. Is it true? Carfection's Henry Catchpole takes the M40i variant for a go on a road trip across Southern Spain. Known more as a cruiser than a bruiser, the Z4 hasn't been the default open-top sports car for the driving enthusiasts. But that is set to change with its latest generation, which in M40i guise, is equipped with a sweet 3.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 335bhp and 500Nm of torque. Watch the beautifully shot video review below if you want know how the new Z4 fares!  

French government says Renault-FCA's failed merger not its fault

The French government has been blamed for the failure of Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles's proposed merger. But it disagrees. It only took 10 days for the merger to fail as Reuters reported that the French government, which has a 15% stake in Renault, took things overboard by demanding a series of guarantees and concessions that were deemed excessive by FCA. A French government official then called FCA's Chairman John Elkann to persuade him to reconsider the offer but was rejected still. According to French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, the government engaged in the negotiations constructively but they weren’t ready to commit without the consensuses of Renault’s partner, Nissan. Meanwhile, Nissan's said that it would be neutral on the merger proposal. The article went on to say that the people in FCA was actually fine with Nissan's stance and put the blame on the French government for the collapse of the deal.

Aston Martin role in new James Bond film confirmed

A classic Aston Martin V8 Vantage will star in the new James Bond film. As much was confirmed after an amateur video surfaced on social media showing the car on set during filming for 007’s next outing in Norway. The video provides confirmation that the latest Bond movie will feature a petrol-powered Aston, following recent speculation that Bond would be seen behind the wheel of the £250,000 all-electric Aston Martin Rapide e. There’s nothing to suggest the Rapide e won’t make an appearance as well but now we know for sure that Bond will get his V8 hit.
Bond last drove the classic Aston in the 1987 film, The Living Daylights, with actor Timothy Dalton at the helm. Both a convertible and hardtop version of the V8 Vantage appeared in the movie.’ The ‘Q-branch’ hardtop version featured a range of upgrades, such as retractable skis, spiked snow tyres and an afterburner hidden behind the rear number plate. Like all Bond cars, Dalton’s V8 Vantage was also fitted with a host of gadgets, including a pair of heat-seeking missiles, a police scanner radio, laser beams built into the front wheels and a self-destruct function. Whether or not similar toys will appear on the Vantage for the latest Bond film is yet to be confirmed.



Tuk Tuk goes to the Nurburgring to set a record

Someone has managed to get a tuk tuk from Thailand onto the Nurburgring before proceeding to time its lap. Of course, the iconic three-wheeler won't be beating any lap records set by a production car but since there isn't any such record yet, this is the first recognised timing set by one. In its press release, the team behind the lap record revealed they have been preparing it for the record three years ago. It then proceeded to attempt the record a year ago but it suffered a breakdown on the track. To make sure it didn't do so again, specially-made engine components, including forged pistons, were manufactured and fitted by a company which works with Koenigsegg.
Employing the help of an “anonymous racing driver dressed in white” and two passengers in the rear, the tuk-tuk set a best time of 31 minutes and 49.46 seconds on 23th of May. According to one of the passengers, “the little three-wheeler was flimsy and very unstable. Some corners were made on two wheels! We never, ever, want to do this again. It was horrible!”. For those who are wondering, there was no info on how much the tuk tuk made but a typical tuk tuk from Thailand uses a 550cc or 660cc 3-cylinder engine that makes around 35bhp to 50bhp

Toyota GR Supra built with modifications in mind

Like the mk4 Supra, Toyota expects the new GR Supra to be popular with the tuners and aftermarket parts manufacturers.. With that in mind, Toyota has designed the all new Supra to be ready for modifications straight out of the factory. As seen on an article written by Motor Trend, the engineers at Toyota designed the front of the car with air intakes large enough to ensure modified examples get enough air if aftermarket tuning companies wanted to turn up the boost. As the stock car does not need the extra cooling, Toyota then simply blocked off the excess intakes with black plastic which the standard car doesn’t need. All tuners need to do is fit different grille inserts free of this plastic to increase the amount of air the car can suck in. Also at the front, Toyota built in air ducts near the front wheel arches to push away air which is being sucked in from the front. These air ducts are sealed from the factory but they can be replaced with functional ones. In the same way, the engineers also created air intakes for the front and rear brakes but they have been sealed off too from the factory as they are not needed too.  Moving to the rear, Toyota made sure there are space for additional cooling equipment for the limited-slip differential when tuning companies start to increase power of the sports car. They even went to the trouble of installing a mounting location for these parts. Lastly, the GR Supra's rear bootlid has been reinforcements under the composite skin, allowing a large wing to be easily fitted with its forces transferred safely through the bodywork. It even features pre-tapped holes in the strut towers and radiator supports so strut-tower bracing can be easily fitted.

Top Gear releases new trailer for its new season

BBC has released a trailer for Top Gear's upcoming 27th season. This season features new hosts, Paddy McGuinness and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff. They will be presenting the show beside Chris Harris. For those who don't know who Paddy McGuinness is, he is an comedian in Britain and is known for hosting TV shows like Take Me Out, while Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is a former England cricket captain and current broadcaster. Due to the high amount of time and commitment needed, former host Matt LeBlanc decided to leave the show while Rory Reid stepped down from his post to front the spin-off Extra Gear. No official date has been given for the series's premiere but BBC promises the show to hit our screens “sooner than you think”.      

No Drift mode for new Volkswagen Golf R

With the new eighth generation of the Golf set to be launched in soon, fans have already asked what could be game-changing in the new Golf R. As reported by Carscoops, Jost Capito who is now the boss at Volkswagen’s R division, revealed that the new Golf R is unlikely to get a Drift mode. While we understand that the Golf R has always been the more restrained choice for the hot hatch enthusiasts, we couldn't help but imagine that Capito, who used to be with Ford, would implement such a feature. “The Focus RS feels geared up for fun above everything”, he said. “Drift mode is a free piece of technology that comes from the drive systems they’re using. But it’s not for us.” He was then questioned on whether the R needed a four-wheel steering system, like the current Renault Megane R.S. He replied, “it’s just not necessary on a car the size of the Golf” The new car is expected to have more than 300bhp but nowhere near the 400bhp mark as reported earlier in the year.

Toyota's Supra believed to be producing more power than declared

A U.S. publication has gotten their hands on a new Toyota GR Supra and hooked it up to a dyno. The car produced more power than officially stated. BMW, which have been reported before on other occasions to under quote its power figures, apparently did so with the engine in the Supra too. According to Toyota, the car is supposed to output 335bhp and 494Nm of torque but the dyno threw up figures of 339bhp and 578Nm of torque instead. Car&Driver did the run with the car running in fifth gear and since these numbers were wheel horsepower outputs, it meant that at the crank, the 3.0-litre turbo straight-six could have actually been pushing around an impressive 370-380bhp. On a side note, the magazine noted that the peak torque figure achieved may be a little inflated as the car’s torque converter probably isn’t fully locked until higher up in the rev range. This also explained how the magazine managed to clock the car doing its 0-96km/h timing in a scant 3.8 seconds while its official 0-100km/h figure was 4.3 seconds.

Alpine might be making its A110 GT4 road legal

A road-going version of the Alpine A110 GT4 has been spotted going around Nurburgring. The prototype is set to get more power than the base variant. As reported by Carscoops, the prototype was photographed wearing a livery inspired by the GT4 race car but is noticeably less aggressive as it eschews the ventilated carbon fiber hood and adopts a smaller front spoiler. Also noteworthy is a smaller wing on its boot that says “A110 GT4” If this road-legal version of the A110 GT4 comes true, the car could be loosely based on the A110 Cup that comes with a track-tuned suspension with adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers and a 40mm lowered ride height and a magnesium Brembo braking system. The engine remains largely the same but will likely get a boost in power for the GT4 to a possible 266bhp or more.

BMW makes cheeky video following Mercedes CEO's departure

Mercedes-Benz's CEO Dieter Zetsche, is retiring and BMW has decided to come out with a humorous video to send him off. With a Zetsche lookalike, the video imitates the CEO's last day at work as he leaves the company. We won't spoil the clip for you but what happens after that is a pretty classy poke from BMW to its rival. Zetsche has held the reigns of the company for more than 13 years and has passed on his responsibilities to Ola Kallenius at the company’s 2019 annual shareholder meeting. Zetsche is a well respected figure and has played a key role in restructuring Mercedes-Benz following the collapse of the merger with Chrysler. That said, Dieter Zetsche will return to Mercedes-Benz and he is currently complying with a two-year-long hiatus regulatory rule in order to return to Daimler in 2021 as Chairman of the Supervisory Board.    
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