Fast Lane

Suzuki's new 2016 RM-Z250.
Suzuki's new 2016 RM-Z250.PHOTO: SUZUK
Toyota Alphard (left) and Toyota Vellfire (right).
Toyota Alphard (left) and Toyota Vellfire (right).PHOTO: TOYOTA
Honda’s RC213V-S.
Honda’s RC213V-S. PHOTO: HONDA
Audi new A6.
Audi new A6. PHOTO: AUDI
Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Mercedes-Benz GLC. PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ

MERC GLC UNVEILED

Behold the new Mercedes-Benz GLC. The coupe-like compact sport-utility vehicle is bigger than the Merc GLK and comes with three choices of engines initially: two turbodiesels putting out 170bhp/400Nm and 204bhp/500Nm and a turbocharged petrol producing 211bhp/350Nm.

The range is fitted with air suspension - a first for the segment.

A CAR THAT CAN READ YOUR MIND

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a car with sixth sense. Its Mind Sense project measures brainwaves to monitor driver concentration. The human brain continually generates four or more distinct brainwaves at different frequencies.

By monitoring which type of brainwave is dominant, an onboard computer could potentially assess whether a driver is focused, daydreaming, sleepy or distracted.

Other onboard monitors keep track of pulse and breathing rate to monitor driver health and stress level. Touchscreens will predict which button a driver wants to press as his fingers are in mid-air - to minimise time spent with eyes off the road.

Its researchers are also using a haptic accelerator pedal, which will vibrate to warn drivers of hazards.

AUDI NEW A6 ON SHOW AT DRIVING EVENT HERE

Audi has unveiled the facelifted A6 and A6 Avant at a driving event here. The engine line-up includes three Euro 6 turbocharged petrol units producing 190bhp to 333bhp.

The most efficient is the 1.8TFSI. Mated to a revised dual-clutch gearbox, it is said to consume just 5.7 litres of fuel for every 100km.

The cars were put through their paces at the Audi Driving Experience, a 10-day event at the Changi Exhibition Centre which began last Friday.

AUDI ENGINE DEVELOPMENT CHIEF QUITS

Audi's engine development chief has quit, reported Reuters. Mr Stefan Knirsch, who has led powertrain development at Volkswagen's flagship luxury division since late 2013, will leave the company at his own request, the carmaker said.

Audi did not say when Mr Knirsch would leave the company or whether he had found new employment.

A former head of quality management and engine development at Porsche, Mr Knirsch leaves Audi as it is broadening its range of electric cars and exploring self-driving vehicle technology.

Four years after Audi surpassed Mercedes-Benz in luxury car sales worldwide, its lead over its Stuttgart-based rival is shrinking. Mercedes' sales surged 14 per cent in the January-May period, from a year earlier, to 729,000 cars, while Audi's rose only 4.3 per cent, with a total of 745,000 cars.

By comparison, Audi outsold Mercedes by 91,000 cars last year, which saw BMW take the luxury car sales crown for a 10th year.

CONTROL YOUR RANGE ROVER WITH A PHONE

Fancy piloting your Range Rover over treacherous terrain from your phone? Researchers at Land Rover did just that recently with a Range Rover Sport that obeyed steering, accelerator and brake commands.

The user can also control the transmission via phone as the car negotiated an offroad course at 4kmh. The driver could also use the smartphone to reverse the car out of a parking space if someone has parked too close for him to open the door or allow the driver to become his own off-road spotter, to guide the car over off-road obstacles from outside the vehicle.

In another exercise, a Range Rover Sport could make a 180-degree turn on its own. The autonomous vehicle could extricate itself from the most difficult situations, such as dead-end roads or congested carparks.

Elsewhere, the group is working on a "pothole alert". A Range Rover Evoque can spot the location and severity of potholes and broken manhole covers - and adjust the suspension in milliseconds. It can then share the information with other cars via cloud technology.

HONDA RACE BIKE IN ROAD-READY VERSION

Honda's RC213V is a race bike that has won consecutive MotoGP championships. Now, there is a street-legal version: the RC213V-S.

Its 999cc 238bhp engine, paired with a six-speed gearbox, has been detuned to produce between 159bhp and 215bhp. It will have lights, rear-view mirrors, an exhaust muffler with a catalyst and everything else that makes it street legal.

MERCEDES VITO HITS SINGAPORE'S SHORES

Mercedes-Benz has launched the new Vito here. The mid-size van is available in 109 CDI and 114 CDI form, with a load capacity of up to 1,250kg.

TOYOTA MPVS ARRIVE

The new Toyota Alphard and Toyota Vellfire are here. Key features include a luxurious interior with captain and ottoman seats in the second row, sculpted metal surface and wood-grain trim. The large cabin is cooled by a tri-zone independent air-conditioning system. On the dash, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment monitor takes pride of place. The multipurpose vehicles are driven by a new 2.5-litre engine.

HOLD YOUR HORSES FOR THE NEW MUSTANG

Those shopping for a muscle car might want to hold on to their horses. Ford's new Mustang is slated to arrive as early as the next quarter, and the latest, before Christmas.

The variant fitted with a meaty 5-litre 435bhp V8 will arrive first, to be followed by a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder that puts out 310bhp. On a power-per-litre basis, this is Ford's most powerful production engine today.

LIGHTER, REDESIGNED SUZUKI RM-Z250

Suzuki has announced details of its new 2016 RM-Z250, which features a Holeshot Assist Control system as well as new suspension, a lighter, redesigned frame, new brakes and new engine components.

The motocross model is able to optimise power delivery to offer the best possible launch from the gate and acceleration to the first corner.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - CTFAST20'. Print Edition | Subscribe