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  1. We all know about the Nissan GT-R and its need for speed. Now the 'Godzilla' is all set to get wickedly faster with Nismo - the performance arm of Nissan - unveiling the GT-R Nismo. There have been no spy shots whatsoever, so the closest we could get are pictures of the GT-R Track Edition. The future Nismo version will be based on the 2014 GT-R and will feature a series of updates that will transform the 'Godzilla' into a real track machine, while keeping it perfectly suitable for the road. On the exterior, Nismo will work on improving the car's aerodynamics, so lower front and rear bumpers, wider wings and sill side skirts, plus a huge wing at the rear is to be expected. Inside the car, the GT-R Nismo will most likely get special suede-trimmed Nismo sports seats with red stitching, plus a redesigned steering wheel, pedals, gauges and gear knob. Under the hood, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine delivers at least 20 horses more than the standard 550bhp. There have been rumours that the GT-R Nismo will hit 100km/h in two seconds. Wait a second. The current GT-R already does the century sprint in three. Wouldn't that mean that the GT-R Nismo will be able to outsprint a 1,200bhp Bugatti Veyron Super Sport over short distances? Well, as exciting as the GT-R Nismo is going to be, we're having a hard time accepting that it will be able to hit 100km/h in two seconds flat, at least on street tyres. What do you think?
  2. ST_Opinion

    Toyota replacing robots with craftsmen

    Inside Toyota Motor's oldest plant, there is a corner where humans have taken over from robots in thwacking glowing lumps of metal into crankshafts. This is Mr Mitsuru Kawai's vision of the future. "We need to become more solid and get back to basics, to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them," said Mr Kawai, a half-century-long company veteran tapped by company president Akio Toyoda to promote craftsmanship at Toyota's plants. "When I was a novice, experienced masters used to be called gods, and they could make anything." These gods, or Kami-sama, are making a comeback. At Toyota, the company that long set the pace for manufacturing prowess in the auto industry, the next step forward is counter-intuitive in an age of automation: Humans are taking the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and car-building. "Toyota views their people who work in a plant like this as craftsmen who need to continue to refine their art and skill level," said Mr Jeff Liker, who has written eight books on Toyota. "In almost every company you would visit, the workers' jobs are to feed parts into a machine and call somebody for help when it breaks down." The return of the Kami-sama is emblematic of how Mr Toyoda, 57, is remaking the company founded by his grandfather to tilt priorities back towards quality and efficiency from a growth mentality. The effort also comes as the world's largest carmaker shifts to manufacturing platforms that could cut costs by 30 percent while maintaining annual production of three million vehicles in Japan. Learning how to make car parts from scratch gives younger workers insights they otherwise wouldn't get from picking parts from bins and conveyor belts, or pressing buttons on machines. At about 100 manual-intensive workspaces introduced over the last three years across Toyota's factories in Japan, these lessons can be applied to reprogramme machines to cut down on waste and improve processes, Mr Kawai said. Toyota has eliminated about 10 percent of material-related waste from building crankshafts at Honsha. Mr Kawai said the aim is to apply those savings to the next-generation Prius hybrid. He credits manual labour for helping workers at Honsha also improve production of axle beams and cut the costs of making chassis parts. Though Mr Kawai doesn't envision the day his employer will rid itself of robots - 760 of them take part in 96 percent of the production process at its Motomachi plant in Japan - he has introduced multiple lines dedicated to manual labour in each of Toyota's factories in its home country, he said. A year after the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008 sent US car demand tumbling, Toyota began recalling more than 10 million vehicles to fix problems linked to unintended acceleration, damaging its reputation for quality. In the aftermath of the crisis, Mr Toyoda paused announcing new plants even as rivals GM and Volkswagen push for further new capacity. In the years leading up to the recalls, Mr Kawai had been increasingly concerned Toyota was growing too fast, he said. "To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine." -Photo by Bloomberg
  3. BMW presents its third generation range of bike collection. Like their premium production vehicles, the bicycle collection also meet top standards in quality and design. The 2014 collection possesses more than just visual enhancements - as it provides a range of new technical features with components by top manufacturers like Shimano and Suntour. The design of the new hydroformed frame gives the bicycle's functional geometric shape a stylish and dramatic look.The frame is robust and light, guaranteeing maximum power transfer with minimum effort. The frame is reminiscent of a motorbike, tracing the outline of the tank. Another enhancement is the bike's seamless design. The welding lines are smooth and all cables run inside the frame. The bold colour contrasts and subtle branding further complement the clear-cut design by DesignworksUSA - a wholly owned subsidiary of the BMW Group. The new bike collection includes the BMW Cruise Bike, a new sporty version of the M Bike, the Cruise e-bike (available here in 2015) and the BMW Trekking Bike. BMW has been building innovative high-quality bikes for the past 60 years. In the 1950s BMW produced its first bicycle made of aluminium, a material that would only become popular in the industry around three decades later. The 2014 bike collection 2014 and accessories will be available online and from selected BMW dealers from March.
  4. Akram_saheed

    Bosch & Sonax MCF Car Clinic

    After several years, I found myself waking up at the early hours of the morning. Armed with no more than a (single) handful of hours of sleep. I grabbed my red bull and took a cab down to MyCarForum’s first car clinic session held at the Bosch Headquarters together with Sonax. It was alarming to see a small number of enthusiastic forum members, including the legendary Radx (left), arriving at the venue earlier than most others. Post registration, the members were free to mingle around the reception area. With no digital interface to hide behind, the 30-odd participants were unmasked and for some, it was the first time they saw the members in person. The only means of identification were the white labels with their names matched to their MCF user ids. Old pals rekindled while new friendships were made. The pre-event segment also provided an occasional opportunity to mix with the MCF team that were present. Concurrently the carpark area had a small gathering, and was bustling with activity. MCF stickers were being applied on several cars. Spotting brand new designs, the stickers were available in three colours of white, silver and yellow - and once again white seemed to be the crowd favourites this year. After light breakfast, it was time for a group picture. In the age of iPhones and selfies, it was refreshing to see someone with a DSLR taking a proper picture. Subsequently the members were gathered at a meeting room where Country Manager, Ken Lee officially kick started the event with a short introduction of Bosch. He went through the brief history of the company, several products Bosch has pioneered in the automotive industry and the position of the German titan within the local automotive industry. For example, I learnt that Borneo Motors and Kah Motors utilise Bosch batteries for their cars – including Toyota, Lexus and Honda. And little did I know Bosch were one of the key firms to establish cutting edge technologies including start-stop systems, energy recovery systems or even lighting technology, among others. Ken was candid and was keen to answer any questions that were thrown at him. He handled the crowd well, and in a clever manner, evaded certain questions. Let alone his position, his product knowledge was inspiring. Once the introduction was over, the group was split to three groups. A mini-ice breaking session was held by the group leaders where everyone introduced themselves. An added aspect of the ice breaking session saw members drawing questions from envelopes and answering them faithfully as possible. The questions range from asking your favourite F1 team to the number of points you scored for your driving test. Then it was the start of the Bosch car clinic - comprising a station for brake pads, batteries and wipers respectively. The product specialists from Bosch were present to give a simple but concise explanation of the products. The explanations were easy to understand and the product knowledge the specialists possessed were remarkable. They answered any and every question patiently, intelligently and with in-depth knowledge. And most importantly with a smile. After a short tea break, the event resumed with the second half of the car clinic - Sonax.The clinic was led by Davin who went in detail and demonstrated the key issues when handling car maintenance. He demonstrated various Sonax products including car shampoo, leather treatment products, car wax and car sealant. Making its debut at the event was the brand new, Sonax XTREME Protect + shine Hybrid Net Protection Technology sealant. While already on sale in overseas markets, the DIY sealant – as advertised by Davin – offers a wax free high gloss coat for your car at probably a fraction of price to conventional paint protectors. The XTREME Protect+Shine covers your cars paintwork with a glossy protective coating for protection that is touted to last every quarter along with enhancing the bodyworks colour that is mildly better than showroom condition. As demonstrated by Davin, the results were almost immediate and impressed the members. The application is easy and almost effortless, with no pre-treatment or drying times. Of course this being Singapore, many questions were raised on its effectiveness against bird droppings – and lets just say the best way to treat bird droppings is to address the issue as soon as possible! The event concluded mid-day with scrumptious food catered by Bosch and a sales of retail items from Bosch and Sonax. After catching up with their forum friends, the members started to head home, after collecting their goodie bag which had, among others, spark plugs and wipers that were custom to their vehicle. Throughout the event, the members were candid. None complained, none made faces or a fuss and everyone had a ball of a time and were sporty for anything the organisers were willing to throw at them. At the end of the day, as the organiser started packing up, the question on most members’ lips was, “When is the next event?”
  5. Local Formula One race promoter, Singapore GP, is inviting members of the public to sign up as race officials. Public registration for a total of 180 available positions is open now and will conclude at 11:59pm, 31st March 2014, local time. Positions are available in key trackside functions, including track marshals, flag marshals and fire marshals, among others. Depending on the area of responsibility, each marshal can expect to clock a minimum of 32 hours of training. First time race officials will attend approximately seven days of theory and practical training, conducted over weekends starting in May. Highlights of the practical training include performing recovery and extrication exercises on a Formula BMW open-wheeler and a Subaru WRX. Senior officials will also undergo specialist hands on training in fire safety and track recovery. To those interested, do take note, you have to above 18-years of age as of 1st January 2014, be physically fit and fluent in written and spoken English. You should also be able to commit to all scheduled training sessions and must be available to participate in all three days of the race - from the 19th to the 21st September 2014. Successful candidates will be notified by the end of April. Applications must be submitted via Singapore GP's race official recruitment website. Members of the public keen to apply for other contract positions may do so here.
  6. Akram_saheed

    Freebies from MyCarForum at SmartKids Asia

    MyCarForum will be at the SmartKids Asia event - Asia's largest Educational Kids' fair, held at Hall 5 of the Singapore Expo between the 21st and 23rd March. Freebies - ranging from cashcards to power banks - will be given out at MyCarForum's booth to its members. If you are a Premium Member, simply send an SMS (from a number registered with your Premium Account) to 8450 2687 with your MyCarForum username in the message body. Thereafter, you will receive a SMS coupon to take part in a sure win lucky draw. Simply present this SMS coupon at the booth, H15, during the event days and walk away with one of many attractive prizes! If you are not a Premium Member, don't worry as you can upgrade to one for FREE now! Non-Premium members will receive MCF's car decals and car sticker - available in three colours. There is no purchase or hidden agenda involved. This is a pure rewards programme for the premium members of the forum. The list of prizes up for grabs in the sure win lucky draw are as below. Good luck!
  7. Singapore's great weakness is that it is an absurdly small nation. Paradoxically, one great strength of Singapore is that it is an absurdly small nation. Hence, Singapore can try things out on a national scale that few other nations can dream about. Let me suggest one such bold national project. Let Singapore become the first country in the world to have an all-electric fleet of vehicles: cars, trucks, taxis, buses, etc. Singapore can create a new chapter in world history by becoming the first country in the world not to have petrol-fuelled engines on the road. And why should Singapore do this? There will be at least three massive benefits from doing so. Healthier population First, Singaporeans will breathe much cleaner air. Without petrol and diesel engines, there will be much less carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter and other pollutants in the air. As a result, I have no doubt that the health of Singaporeans will improve. There will be fewer instances of asthmatic attacks, and incidents of cancer may also go down. Singapore will also become the quietest city in the world. Economists have not yet established simple and easy ways of measuring such “positive externalities” that will flow from an all-electric fleet in Singapore. Yet, there is no doubt that the environment will improve massively. Singaporeans will become a happier nation and Singapore will become an ever more attractive destination for the best global talent. (Oops, maybe I shouldn’t say this!) Second, Singapore would be positioning itself for the day when a global carbon tax or emissions trading system is introduced. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released its latest climate change report. The evidence is now irrefutable. Human activity, especially in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, is warming the planet. Many countries will suffer the negative effects of rising sea levels and bouts of extreme weather. Singapore will be one of the biggest losers if the worst-case scenario unfolds. While Singapore is too small to make a large difference to climate change mitigation efforts, an all-electric fleet would help us deal with a global carbon tax, thus boosting national competitiveness. Delay climate change By creating an all-electric transportation system, Singapore can help to delay climate change. How? Singapore’s behaviour alone will not make a massive difference. But bear in mind that the Asian middle-class population is about to explode, from about 500 million now to 1.75 billion by 2020. If these new middle-class citizens begin buying petrol-burning cars, the planet will be literally, not metaphorically, fried. Clearly, some powerful examples will be needed to demonstrate that the world would be better off not buying petrol-burning cars. By going all-electric, Singapore will act as a key catalytic agent to help to prevent global warming. The manufacture of electric cars emits more carbon than that of traditional vehicles because of the energy-intensive methods used to mine, smelt and process the iron, lithium and rare earth elements that go into the batteries and other components of electric cars. But studies have shown that electric vehicles make up for this by having much lower carbon emissions when they are in use. Most of Singapore’s electricity is generated from natural gas, a relatively clean fossil fuel. Using electric cars will result in an effective 66 percent reduction of carbon emissions in comparison with petrol- and diesel-powered cars. Cars as status symbols The third benefit of creating an all-electric fleet is that it will help to reduce the obsession with cars as a status symbol, as electric cars will simply be seen as functional vehicles to get from point A to point B. For the few Singaporeans who insist on having status symbols like Maseratis, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, I would like to strongly recommend the Tesla, the environmentally friendly status symbol. By moving to an all-electric fleet, we shift the status competition in Singapore away from having the most powerful and fastest cars to having the most environmentally friendly ones. So who should lead the charge to convert Singapore’s car fleet into an all-electric one? I think I know what is going on in the mind of any Singaporean who is reading this sentence. Every Singaporean will expect the Government to take the lead. Unfortunately, this is the wrong answer. If the Government tries a top-down strategy, there will be a lot of resistance. The only way such a massive change can take place smoothly is for it to be a bottom-up initiative. New developmental approach Indeed, as Singapore approaches the 50th anniversary of its independence and Singaporeans ponder on the next 50 years, the country should consider a major change of approach to the future development of the country. Singapore has been extraordinarily successful in our first 50 years because of a remarkable number of government-initiated policies. Let me just cite Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport, PSA, and the Singapore Newater story as a few examples. None of these were citizen initiatives. However, for the next 50 years, we will need a balance of government-led and citizen-led initiatives. Making Singapore the first electric vehicle nation should be the first citizen-led initiative in the nation’s history. Anyone who thinks that a single citizen cannot make a significant difference should look at the record of Tesla Motors and its chief executive Elon Musk. Mr Musk is giving a personal guarantee (including with his personal money) that the Tesla will retain as much second-hand value as the equivalent Mercedes. Even more astoundingly, he has begun building charging stations so that you can drive from Los Angeles to New York in a Tesla. If you can drive across a large country like the United States in an electric vehicle, it is surely possible to do so in Singapore. No charging station in Singapore will be more than a few kilometres away. In fact, charging stations could even be installed in private parking lots and driveways. The Government can help by creating an infrastructure that supports electric vehicles. It could also provide tax and other benefits. Currently, because of the high cost of electric vehicle batteries, such cars cost more, thus placing the vehicle in a higher tax bracket than cheaper but less environmentally friendly cars. Even the recently introduced Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) does not offset the higher costs. Sadly, Tesla had to close its dealership in Singapore without selling a single fully electric car after less than a year because it was not able to receive “green tax benefits” from the Government. But the benefits that would flow from the creation of an all-electric fleet would be far greater than the tax revenues that the Government stands to lose in giving out tax benefits. In short, it is a “no-brainer” for Singapore to become the first country in the world with an all-electric vehicle fleet. No other country can do it as easily as Singapore. The benefits in all dimensions - environmental, health, social - will far outweigh any costs. Indeed, I cannot think of any real cost to making the change. So the big question is: Which citizen of Singapore will stand up and take the lead? If the movement succeeds, it will “electrify” both Singapore and the world. The hour has come. Let the right man or woman stand up and lead the movement. -- ST ILLUSTRATION : Miel by Kishore Mahbubani for The Straits Times
  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydtGew7bWuw Avid car collector and self-confessed automotive gear head, Jay Leno, recently had the opportunity to test drive a really unique and bespoke vehicle - which most could only dream of. Anyone who wasn't born a minute ago would be familiar with a vehicle that has made several appearances in various films - the Batmobile. The 'Keaton' Batmobile from the hit film, Batman and Batman Returns, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton was what got me into cars. To me it is still the most iconic vehicle of Hollywood, even ahead of the Austin Mini’s from The Italian Job, the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style endloader or the DeLorean from Back to The Future, among others. I was four and I still have a faint memory of watching it at the Capitol Theatre and till date, it is still my favourite. It was unlike anything I have seen before. It was futuristic, sleek and to be honest I find it sexier than Michelle Pfeiffer in latex. It barely had lights, had a fictional aircraft engine, an afterburner and that tail which pretty much look like angle wings but in a more gothic fashion a symbolism for silent guardian angel maybe? Thankfully I had an opportunity to see it in its entirety when I visited Warner Bros theme park in Brisbane. When Joel Schumacher took over, there were two different Batmobiles for Batman Returns and Batman & Robin. While the 'Kilmer' Batmobile was still bearable the fins looked ridiculous it had a stupid face and it had a skeleton like design. It looks like a piranha on wheels. The Batmobile from Batman & Robin's looks so bad, I don’t even want to talk about it. After an absence of eight years in the silver screen, Batman was rebooted in the hands of Christopher Nolan - and among things we got a new Batmobile, and even a backstory. I have to admit, my initial reaction to first teaser picture of The Tumbler was not very positive. It looked funny, had no front axle, didn't look as sleek as anything as the previous ones and wasn't really flashy or attractive. Then I thought why it would work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJB3hqUsHDE Batman is not about a fashion statement, he is a vigilante, a guy in an outfit fighting crime. He needs the muscle, firepower and speed to get things done quickly and it doesn't have to look pretty. And it does have to look a little provoking – to announce his arrival – and to pancake cop cars in the evening news. Function over fashion.
  9. With its sights set on the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Jaguar could be planning a full range of models for its upcoming entry-level car - possibly called the XS. The XS will replace the X-Type, finally giving Jaguar a product in the highly competitive luxury compact sedan segment. According to sources, the car will also be available with coupe and wagon bodystyles (rendered images below). Jaguar's upcoming 3 Series and C-Class fighter seen testing and wearing a modified XF body is also poised to be clad in an all-aluminum monocoque body structure, similar to the XJ, to save weight. According to Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's Global Brand Director, an aluminium monocoque is a first for this market and on this sort of scale, by the time they go on sale, the new saloon, coupe and estate will be the most efficient, refined and advanced cars in their class. Plus, the car is expected to be offered initially with Jaguar's small capacity turbocharged four and supercharged six-cylinder petrol and diesel engine. This will also mean that entry-level cars are able to emit less than 100g/km of CO2 without the need for hybrid technology. The baby Jaguar is scheduled to be due in 2015 and it sure is one exciting cat. Purr.
  10. We are at the last quarter of 2013, and in a flash another year will soon be upon us. I did not realise it is the end of September until I saw Vivocity preparing for Christmas. The movies I used to watch as a kid are being remade. Cartoons nowadays lack the entertainment feel, air travel has become more affordable, with more tourist arrivals recorded. There was no Terminal 3, kinetic rain or Project Jewel when I was a kid. Things were simple, mechanical and, if I may add, fun. Cars have, over the years, shed the typical boxy designs and are adapting more fluid, dynamic aesthetics complemented by exotic materials like Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) or composite aluminium or light reinforced steel. Automobiles have become faster, safer and in most cases prettier. On one end of the scale we have the likes of Koenigsegg, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Pagani who are pushing the boundaries of automotive engineering by producing cars that accelerate faster, setting new records and giving fans like myself a sense of excitement. On the other end, we have cars that are greener. Hybrids, turbocharging, range extending EVs - automobiles that are trying to rectify the problem of global warming, pollution and climate change. The way I see it, there is another group - cars that are loaded with so much driver enhancement technologies that they become...boring. Nothing but just machines with wheels and an engine. These group of cars are usually loaded with more advanced cameras, radars and sensors than a F-22 Raptor and are usually decorated with features and novelties like Adaptive Cruise, Lane Departure Warnings, Cyclist Detection Systems, Full Braking and in the near future Autonomous driving and parking. So in future, what is my role as the driver ? Over the past two decades technology has evolved faster than ever with land lines almost disappearing, public phones becoming endangered, hand phones that have reduced from military grade walkie-talkies to handsome machines fashioned from a single piece of aluminium, glass and sapphire crystal. Phones have evolved from the basic purpose of communication and networking to pocket diaries, 24-hour assistants, credible portable entertainment hubs and most importantly - has shrunk the knowledge of the world to the palm of your hand. But I don't want cars of the future to do the same. There is a reason cars like the Porsche 911, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce or even BMW have been marketed with specific terms. Ultimate driving machines, carpet ride, greatest/ultimate Gran Tourers. And when the machines take over (slowly but surely they will), what will cars be called? Called me old fashioned but cars are meant to be driven and not driven in - or in this case driven by a robot. With technology replacing almost everything, including humans and their jobs, where is the novelty of living?
  11. Regan_ong

    Infiniti explains name change of lineup

    Infiniti caused quite a bit of hullabaloo late last year when it announced it would be changing its vehicle names so that all of its cars start with Q and all of its crossovers and SUVs start with QX (not the ones on the number plates seen locally). Now, the luxury division of Nissan has posted a video that explains the historically relevant reason for the new Q badge. Well, Infiniti is returning to the Q name to pay homage to its very first model, the Q45, and it's starting with the all new Q50 sedan. Now, however, while most of Infiniti's 2014 models will get the new Q badge, the G37 Sedan will keep its nameplate through model year 2015 (despite the fact that Infiniti already changed the G37 Coupe and G37 Convertible models to the name Q60). Are you getting confused? Watch the video below to understand better.
  12. When Sebastian Vettel qualifies at the front, there is nothing that can stop the German from grabbing the top step on the podium. Out of 88 race starts he has with Infiniti Red Bull Racing - from Australia 2009 to Singapore 2013 - he has 22 lights to flag victories and three Grand Chelem titles (currently tied with Nelson Piquet) - meaning he has qualified in pole, won the race after leading every lap of the race and set the fastest lap of the race in the same weekend. Still his record is one more than Juan Manuel Fangio who has five world championships under his belt, but one less than the legendary Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Even Fernando Alonso, Niki Lauda and Stirling Moss only have one each and interestingly James Hunt and Kimi Raikkonen have none. As the Singapore Grand Prix concluded - minutes before 10:00pm - with fireworks lighting up the already colourful and vibrant Marina Bay CBD area with stunning backdrop from the Singapore Flyer to Marina Bay Sands and ANZ to Maybank towers and hysterical cheers from the attendees - Vettel recorded his third consecutive win this season, his third consecutive win at the street circuit and his seventh podium overall. The question remains if there is anything that could stop the German driver. Unless Adrian Newey is removed, I doubt so. The problem with F1 right now is not about the lack of overtaking or people getting bored with the same person winning - it's just that rival teams have yet to produce their own Adrian Newey including legendary ones like Scuderia Ferrari and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. McLaren seem to be a little off pace this year while only one of the two Ferraris seem to be interested in any actual racing. Over the past two years, the sport has evolved from who is winning and fighting for the championship to who had the best recovery or who managed to finish third after a strenuous battle. As stated earlier, as soon as Vettel qualifies on the front grid - you can prepare tomorrow's sports headlines today. Even yesterday at the sixth SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel won the race after qualifying in pole with a record setting time of 1:42.841 - which is even faster than Kimi Raikkonen's lap record. Not even the tropical climate of heat and humidity or the intervention of the safety car - courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso - could hinder or delay the triple world champion from claiming another this season. After 61 laps, Vettel won by a staggering 32.6 seconds over title contender, Fernando Alonso in the Prancing Horse, who leaped from seventh at the starting grid while Kimi Raikkonen catapulted to third from starting 13th on the grid
  13. Akram_saheed

    Ferrari goes superleggera on the 458 Italia

    Like Porsche and Lamborghini, Ferrari has the habit of releasing stripped out, track focused models based on their mid-engined supercars. Following the lineage of the F360 Challenge Stradale and the F430 Scuderia, the Prancing Horse has gone all 'Superleggera' on the 458 Italia. Sporting a different front facia, rear end body work, fins protruding before the rear axle and a more flush and slippery body to accommodate the active aerodynamic systems, the V8 equipped 458 Italia that has been given a power bump in a trimmer package of almost 1.3 tonnes. More power, lighter weight, active aerodynamics and a mid-engined V8
  14. Are you a driver who does not use his vehicle too often? We have good news for you. DirectAsia.com an award winning online insurer has launched a new car insurance aimed at leisure drivers. This first of a kind motor insurance is available to drivers who use their car less than 8,000km per annum. You do receive all the coverage but just at a reduced premium, including Off-Peak cars. Interestingly drivers who drive less than 8,000km per year are less prone to accidents. As such DirectAsia would like to reward such drivers by providing savings to their premiums. Through introduction of such premiums motorists can be expected to save between 10 to 15 percent, all you have to do is drive less. CEO of DirectAsia.com Simon Birch commented the new low mileage based insurance saves motorists money if you do not drive frequently or you possess a second vehicle that is not used often. He is also delighted to be the pioneering company to offer such a service in the tropics. DirectAsia.com, is a new and innovative online insurance provider that began operations back in June 2010. As a dedicated direct personal lines insurer, DirectAsia.com provides fast and easy access to insurance needs online. They are fully licensed and regulated by MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore). The company
  15. With a long standing tradition of building compact, open top sports cars that started with the S600 and ending with the S2000, Honda seems intent to get back into the game. After seeing the success Toyota/Subaru has had with the 86/BRZ, Honda is primed to one-up its rivals. According to a source within Honda, a new affordable sports car is being seriously considered, but don't expect something as high-end as the S2000 - think small, quick and light. The car would be small, probably even smaller than the Mazda MX-5, and come equipped with either a 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre in-line four with i-VTEC. Keep your expectations low on its power output, but thanks to its light weight which is rumored to sit around 900kg, the car should have adequate acceleration along with good handling and an overall agile driving experience. There's even talk that the "S1500" may come with a mid-engine layout, in the style of the Honda Beat. As for the car's design direction, Honda would either use the Japan-only N-ONE or make it look more like the current Civic. We reckon the N-ONE's styling would do justice because it pays homage to the iconic S600. Rumours of a new Honda roadster have appeared and disappeared with tide-like regularity since the moment the S2000 died, and none of them have come to pass. The NSX revival was followed by nearly a decade of will-they, won't-they rumours and telephone-game whispers before Honda actually buckled down and built something. It seems like the same thing could be happening here. Either way, let's wait for Honda to come up with this answer to the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 in 2015 or 2016.
  16. Let me get one thing straight. Personally I am not a fan of McLaren. I have nothing against the team, its Formula One drivers or the firm's awkward behaviour of naming its cars after fax machines. It's just like Manchester United vs Liverpool or Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer or Tiger Woods vs well whoever he competes with. However there are one or two things I admire about McLaren. Firstly, its futuristic, yin-yang inspired factory at Woking, U.K. Secondly, the automaker's approach to cars and the firm's obsession with implementing technology. I have mentioned a countless number of times in the blog, as much as I like cars and the science, art and engineering behind it - I like technology, gadgets and gizmos. As such I cannot think of any other automaker in this era (perhaps besides Audi) that harnesses science, technology and cars as well as McLaren. Ferrari is a front to sell road legal Formula One cars to fund their F1 programme while Lamborghini is a German engineered Italian on steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Pagani is a new kid on the block that is all about theatricality, flamboyance and art. McLaren celebrated - with pride - their 50th anniversary as a racing team. 50 years is a long time, but the British firm has only created five road going cars thus far, and all five have been blockbusters in their own right. We have the iconic and legendary McLaren F1, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the MP4-12 and 12C and now we have the long awaited and alien looking McLaren 'Designed by Air' P1. The McLaren P1, together with the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari, welcome the next generation of hypercars and motoring in general. They are from three different countries in one continent but they share a similarity - they are all hybrids. Unlike its predecessors, the McLaren F1, Porsche Carrera GT and Enzo Ferrari, they are not purely naturally aspirated. Each feature an electric motor of some sort to boost performance to an already capable internal combustion engine. http://dai.ly/x14g7to In the case of the P1, the futuristic looking vehicle is unlike anything I have ever seen. The aesthetics have time travelled 10-15 years from the future, combined with the technical limitations of today. It is powered by a substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, coupled to a single electric motor, for a combined power output of 903bhp. Top speed is electronically limited to 350km/h, with the 0-100km/h standing start acceleration taking less than three seconds. The McLaren P1 will power from rest to 200km/h in less than seven seconds, and on to 300km/h in less than 17 seconds - a full five seconds quicker than the McLaren F1. Despite this, the P1 is also efficient with CO2 emissions less than 200g/km, and the ability to cover more than 10km in emissions free electric mode. Undergoing the final stages of testing before commencing on first customer deliveries soon, fellow self-confessed automotive and collector, Jay Leno, became the first man outside the development team at Woking, and Jenson Button, to drive the McLaren P1. The 12 minute video is pretty much split into two sections, a tour of the McLaren engineering centre that looks nothing short of a cathedral while the second part is Leno thrashing the all new hypercar on what I think is the Top Gear test track - who was gleaming with excitement every single minute of course. As mentioned at the start, I am not a fan of McLaren, but does that mean I should not be jealous?
  17. Regan_ong

    Fuel prices across the border increase

    Malaysia has raised the retail price of diesel and RON95 petrol by RM0.20 a litre (S$0.08) each. But what has that got to do with Singaporeans since they are only entitled to pump RON97 petrol and above? The price hike, effective from 3rd September 2013, is in line with the government's initiative to cut costly subsidies. "Currently, the government bears an RM0.83 (S$0.32) subsidy for a litre of RON95 petrol and RM1.00 (S$0.38) for a litre of diesel. The RM0.20 subsidy reduction means the government still provides a RM0.63 (S$0.24) subsidy for a litre of RON95 and RM0.80 (S$0.31) for a litre of diesel," said Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the Finance Minister. "The subsidy cut will save the government an estimated RM1.1 billion (S$422,682,700) this year and another RM3.3 billion (S$1,268,048,100) in 2014," he added. RON95 petrol is now priced at RM2.10 (S$0.81) per litre and diesel at RM2.00 (S$0.77) after the hike, up from RM1.90 (S$0.73) and RM1.80 (S$0.69) respectively. Well, for Singaporeans who travel frequently up North to fill up, here's the not-so-good news. The price per litre of RON97 petrol has also been increased by RM0.15 starting 4th September 2013, bringing its price to RM2.85 (S$1.10), up from RM2.70 (S$1.04) previously. On the other hand, the good news is that the increase in Malaysian fuel prices is still incomparable to the skyrocketing prices at local pumps - diesel retailing at $1.71 per litre, RON92 at $2.20 per litre, RON95 at $2.24 per litre and RON98 at $2.38 per litre.
  18. Based on the all new Audi A3 sedan, the Audi A3 Cabriolet makes its public debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The car has grown from the preceding model, from 4,240mm to 4,420mm in length, with the wheelbase increased to 2,600mm. It also sits wider at 1,790mm, but stands shorter at 1,410mm. Additionally cargo load has increased by 60 litres to 287 litres. The A3 Cabriolet is around 50kg lighter than the previous model with a kerb weight of just over 1.3 tonnes. Like the saloon, the face of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is characterised by the single frame radiator grille, which is flanked by flat headlamp housings with either halogen or xenon bulbs. The headlamp clusters are highlighted by the signature monolithic daytime running lights
  19. Law enforcement teams, firefighters and medics across Europe are adopting the all electric Nissan Leaf as a key frontline emergency support vehicle. Emergency services in Portugal, France, U.K. and Switzerland have deployed Leafs as community support vehicles, with a number of other countries considering making the switch to battery power. The first force in the world to go electric was Portugal's PSP (Pol
  20. Regan_ong

    Zouk's anti-drink driving campaign

    A night of partying may be all in good fun, until it's time to go home that it. All too often, late night revelers get behind the wheel after a one drink too many. Accidents caused by drunk driving is a major problem all around the world, and the city state of Singapore is no exception. But one nightclub is taking an unconventional approach to prevent drunk driving. The solution - a 'Pee Analyser'. Working with marketing agency DDB Group Singapore, popular nightspot Zouk came up with the charmingly named Pee Analyser, a urinal-based system that detects the amount of alcohol in a punter's pee before issuing a warning if they're over the legal limit. And here's how it works. When a driver arrives at the club, they hand over their keys in exchange for an RFID parking card. Once activated, the card is capable of identifying a driver and recording information regarding the driver's alcohol level. It does this by way of a urine testing device fitted in the urinal, a device that its maker says will instantly reset to accommodate consecutive readings, thereby avoiding any mix-ups with the pee of previous urinal visitors. The urinal-based testing device is paired with an RFID reader that detects, tags and reads information from the cards, so if a patron's pee contains too much alcohol, a message will flash up on a screen directly in front saying - "Maybe you've had one too many to drive. Call a cab or use our drive home service." Of course, there's a chance the person peeing may be too drunk to focus on the words in front of them, or simply too wasted to compute the information, so when they hand in their card at the end of the night in exchange for their keys, an RFID reader at the exit will convey the information from the tagged card to the valet, who'll once again suggest the car-owning clubber to make alternative arrangements for getting home. The pee analyser may be the most technologically advanced approach, but some experts have called urine testing an unreliable method for determining alcohol impairment. And although the system is only installed in male toilets, we reckon it still does some magic in curbing the numbers of drink drivers. Good work there, Zouk. Check out the below video from DDB Group Singapore to learn more about the system.
  21. ST_Opinion

    Driving towards a driverless commute

    It is the 15th of June 2030, and for Sam and Sue of Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is going to be a busy day. Their daughter Sophia has a 9:00am karate match. At noon, her older sister Sally's high school graduation will begin. And, by 3:00pm, the house must be ready for Sally's graduation party. At 8:40am, Sam uses a smartphone app to order a ride from Maghicle, Ann Arbor's mobility service, which uses self-driving robotic vehicles. Within minutes, Sam, Sue, and Sophia are headed for the karate club. En route, Sophia studies videos of her opponent's past matches, while Sue catches up on e-mail and Sam orders appetisers and flowers for the party. They arrive at the club on time, and the robot proceeds to pick up someone else nearby. Sally, who must arrive at school by 10:30am, has already ordered a Maghicle ride. When she boards at 10:15am, she receives a text message from her best friend Amanda, who wants to ride with her. Sally enters Amanda's address in the Maghicle app, and the robot chooses the best route. At 11:30am, as a victorious Sophia trades her karate uniform for something better suited for her sister's graduation, Sam receives a text message confirming that a small temperature-controlled pod has delivered the appetisers for Sally's party in the secure, refrigerated drop-box at the house. When Sophia is ready, the family orders another Maghicle ride, this time to Sally's school. They take their seats and, as Sam waves to Sally sitting with her classmates, he is struck by how quickly 17 years have passed. In 2013, Sam's day would have been far more difficult, stressful, and expensive. He would have wasted far too much time in his petrol guzzling Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), stuck in traffic jams or searching for parking. Now, because he does not need to own a car, he spends far less on transportation and has more time to do as he pleases. With services like Maghicle enabling people to get around safely, affordably, conveniently and sustainably, Sam does not have to worry about his family getting into car accidents, as his parents worried about him. By contrast, today's road transportation system is inconvenient, unsustainable and dangerous. Of the nearly one billion motor vehicles worldwide - enough to circle the planet 100 times if parked end to end - some 95 percent depend on oil for energy, making car travel subject to resource geopolitics and price volatility. Furthermore, combustion engines account for more than one-fifth of the world's carbon emissions, contributing significantly to climate change. And, with more than 1.2 million people dying on the road each year, car travel remains a proven killer. Sam's world of 2030 is not mere fantasy. But achieving it will require a thorough overhaul of the existing road transportation system - and that means overcoming the complex combination of public and private elements, vested interests, ingrained business models and massive inertia that has so far impeded its development. Indeed, with certain institutions and industries benefiting when all of the system's components - vehicles, roads, fuel stations, traffic laws, regulations, vehicle standards and licensed drivers - work together, no transformational development has occurred in road transportation since Karl Benz invented the car and Henry Ford popularised it. A narrow focus on, say, developing better batteries, improving fuel efficiency or making car production more sustainable is inadequate to catalyse the needed transformation. A genuinely transformational solution is needed - one that meets the needs of consumers, businesses, and governments. An integrated network of driverless, electric vehicles that are connected, coordinated and shared should form the core of that solution. Such vehicles would be programmed to avoid crashes, leading to fewer deaths and injuries and less property damage. In order to minimise the excessive resource consumption associated with driving, the vehicles would be tailored to trip characteristics, such as the number of passengers. For example, lightweight, two passenger vehicles can be up to 10 times more energy efficient than a typical car. In the United States, where 90 percent of cars carry one or two people, reliance on such vehicles would result in a dramatic decline in carbon emissions, which would fall even further as a result of less road congestion and smoother traffic flows. Moreover, the land and infrastructure needed for parking would be significantly reduced. Under such a system, personal mobility could cost up to 80 percent less than owning and operating a car, with time efficiencies augmenting those savings further. For Americans earning a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (S$9.25), time spent driving at a speed of 30 miles (48km) an hour costs $0.24 cents a mile (S$0.31 per 1.61km). At the U.S. median hourly wage of US$25 (S$31.89), each mile costs $0.83 (S$1.06). Given that Americans drive roughly three trillion miles annually, saving just one US cent a mile implies $30 billion (S$38 billion) in annual savings. The technology needed to advance such a scheme exists. The task now is to introduce prototype systems in representative communities, in order to prove what is possible, discover consumers' preferences, determine the most attractive business models and identify and avert unexpected consequences. Once the prototypes have proved effective and practical, they should scale quickly without public incentives. As with other innovations - such as mobile phones, e-books, digital photography and music, and flat-screen televisions - large-scale deployment will occur when the new technologies reach the market tipping point, when their value to consumers exceeds the costs to businesses of supplying them. Policy makers would be responsible only for guaranteeing the expanding system's safety. A cleaner, safer, more convenient road transportation system is possible - and closer to being realised than many believe. It needs only the chance to prove itself. Picture credit: Agence France-Presse
  22. [extract] Before I start griping about the problems that I have with driving in this country, I'll like to clarify certain facts first. I have been driving only for more than half a decade, and am only in my mid-twenties. So I guess on the experience scale I will probably rank myself in-between amateur and intermediate. But having been travelled in a family car since I was four, and as a frequent cab user, I may actually have an idea or two on what I am blabbering about
  23. Regan_ong

    Toyota 86 could get a new engine

    Fans of the 86 listen up. Rumour has it that Toyota is preparing a power boost for its popular 86 sports coupe. The Japanese brand has teased numerous concepts of its two-door cult car with upgraded engines, including a supercharged TRD version (above) built in the U.S.A and a twin-charged version (below) created by its in-house skunkworks Gazoo Racing. But those were designed to showcase the ability for aftermarket tuners and were not really suitable for mainstream production. Now, the Chief Engineer of the 86, Tetsuya Tada, has finally admitted that his team is developing a number of ways to increase performance of the showroom version - one of which will definitely make it to production when the 86 receives its mid-life upgrade in 2015. "I hope to make an engine upgrade at least one time with this car. We have already tried all possibilities and there are several types of 86 prototypes at the Toyota proving ground now; one is a turbocharger, one is bigger displacement and the other is a special hybrid system," said Tada. Tada did not divulge any further details, but inside sources claimed that the most likely option is an increase in displacement, bumping the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed engine up to a 2.5-litre and increasing power from 200bhp to around 260bhp. It is understood that this option would be the most cost-effective solution, which not only maintains the integrity of the lightweight concept but prevents placing additional stress on the drivetrain that a turbo charger would, or the complexity and weight penalty of a hybrid system. However, both alternatives are not being tested in vain, as they are likely to be introduced on the next generation 86. Either way, it is almost certain that the hybrid system Toyota is currently working on will make its way into the next generation 86. However, it is unlikely to be a conventional and heavy battery pack but rather a road-going development of the super capacitor system employed in its Le Mans sportscar racers, which are not only smaller and lighter but can store and deliver energy quicker for rapid bursts of acceleration. Come on Toyota! We certainly hope to see a more powerful 86.
  24. Regan_ong

    Ram's 1500 Rumble Bee Concept

    Following a teaser released earlier, Ram has introduced the 1500 Rumble Bee Concept. The concept marks the 10th anniversary of the Rumble Bee, a popular model inspired by the Super Bee muscle car of the late 1960s. This muscle truck is based on a 2013 Ram 1500 Road/Track (R/T) and has a two-door, two-wheel drive setup with a matte 'Drone Yellow' paint. Both sides of the truck feature a new 'Speed Bee' design within a glossy black stripe which fades into the honeycomb. It sits on glossy 24-inch Vellano VRH alloys and has a two-inch lowered suspension courtesy of King Suspension. The dual-exhaust tailpipes, fuel door, badging, hood vents and front grille are in glossy black, adding on to the car's aggression. Traditional Rumble/Super Bee colours and graphics spread throughout the vehicle, including the Ram R/T-based interior that features black and 'Drone Yellow' leather sport mesh seats with two-tone yellow/light-grey stitching. 'Rumble Bee' lettering and Ram logos adorn chairs, floor mats and door bolsters. Now if you look closer - there is a real amber-encased bee mounted into the rotary gear knob, which will light up to expose a honeycomb pattern background. Is that weird or cool? There are also two buttons positioned below, which make the cat-back Mopar dual-exhaust system go from loud to louder. The unique honeycomb pattern is shared with the door trim and the dash, where a milled aluminum '10th Anniversary' commemorative badge serves as the truck's ID. Powering the 2013 Ram 1500 Rumble Bee Concept is a HEMI 5.7-litre engine mated to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission delivering 395bhp and a peak torque of 551Nm. Talk about a huge-ass rumbling bee ramming your way..
  25. Regan_ong

    What a good deal this Miata is, BUT..

    The Mazda MX-5 Miata was regarded as one of the best-driving, most influential sports cars of the past two decades. And believe it or not, one of these iconic sports cars from Mazda has been lying around in the garage, never driven for 23 years. Recently, on auction site eBay, an owner, from Kingman, Arizona, has listed his 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale. In the description, the seller said the car, which was never registered, didn't come with a set of keys, so he had to have a set made. Though the paint is clean and shiny, the Miata didn't escape minor cosmetic damage over the years, with scratches on the hood, the trunk and the factory hardtop that is included with the car. The front, right fender has a small dent as well. The seller also added that the car was stored in a building with windows, so the paint is faded in some places. It's antenna and battery is missing, and the only non-original parts on the car are the windshield wipers. The clear-title car comes with all paperwork, according to the seller, but, besides the owners' manual, he didn't specify what other documentation would be included. But more impressively, the car has only clocked 44km on its odometer! According to the seller, he bought the car with 32km on it, and explained that 11km were added when the car was towed home. Frankly speaking, it's getting hard to find ones that haven't been beaten to hell. If this is accurate, it is about the cleanest and nicest Miata we have ever seen, and it looks like it just came off the showroom floor more than 20 years ago. Though its story is a bit strange, this barn find appears to be in excellent shape and looks like a really good deal not to be missed. As of this writing, the auction has one day to go, and the current bid is just USD$10,500 (S$13,335). Unfortunately, it's a left-hand drive and if someone were to ship it over to Singapore, it would most probably lay around in the garage too, till its next owner ships it back overseas. Note: Photos shown are not of actual vehicle.
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