Fast Lane: 2-litre Boxster out

The Porsche 718 Boxster Stuttgart (left) and The 718 Boxster S (right).
The Porsche 718 Boxster Stuttgart (left) and The 718 Boxster S (right).PHOTOS: PORSCHE, MERCEDES-BENZ, JAGUAR, DUCATI, OPEL

2-litre Boxster out

Porsche has released its first 2-litre flat-four turbocharged engine and it is used first in a "back to basics" version of the Boxster.

The Porsche 718 Boxster Stuttgart - named after a successful race model Porsche used in the 1960s - packs 300bhp/380Nm, making it almost as powerful as its current 3.4-litre normally aspirated siblings.

The 718 Boxster S attains 350bhp/420Nm from a 2.5-litre flat-four forced fed by a turbo with variable turbine geometry.

That makes it more powerful than the current Boxster S and Boxster GTS.

With dual-clutch transmission and Sport Chrono pack, the 718 Boxster hits 100kmh in 4.7 seconds (quicker than the GTS), while the 718 Boxster S does it in 4.2. Respective top speeds are 275kmh and 285kmh.

The cars are expected to arrive in Singapore in the middle of the year, with prices starting from $258,788 before COE.


COEs revalidated for cars at all-time high

Motorists revalidated the COE of nearly 10,000 cars last year, or more than 10 per cent of cars that had reached their statutory 10-year lifespan.

The Land Transport Authority said the 9,906 COEs that were revalidated consisted of 7,891 five-year extensions and 2,015 10-year extensions.

Of the five-year extensions, three-quarters were Category A COEs (cars up to 1,600cc). And of the 10-year revalidations, the opposite was true - nearly three- fifths were Category B COEs (cars above 1,600cc).

The number of revalidations was an all-time high for cars.


Opel unveils GT concept

Opel has pulled the wraps off its new GT sports car concept (above).

The turbocharged, front mid- engined, rear-wheel-driven GT is a "purebred, pared down, yet unashamedly avant-garde" car.

It is even shorn of door handles and door mirrors.

But the production version (if there is ever one) is unlikely to be as radical.


Tesla seeks Chinese partner

Tesla boss Elon Musk is searching for a Chinese partner to start up production in China. Bloomberg reported him saying that he had held "a number of high-level meetings" with the Chinese government.

Tesla posted its strongest quarterly sales in China for the three months ended September, as it prepares to begin sales of its Model X SUV this year.

Securing a local partner would help it circumvent import tariffs of at least 25 per cent, while abiding by regulations that set a ceiling on foreign ownership of auto-making ventures at 50 per cent.

While Mr Musk cautioned that falling oil prices could dampen interest in electric vehicles, worsening pollution could prove a boon to makers of cleaner vehicles that are exempt from restrictions such as number plate quotas in Beijing.


Mercedes launches GLC SUV

Mercedes-Benz launched its new GLC mid-sized SUV (above) yesterday.

Based on the C-class, the model replaces the GLK, which was not available in right-hand-drive. It is bigger than the GLK all round.

Merc is starting with the GLC250, which is powered by a zesty 211bhp/350Nm 2-litre turbocharged engine that drives all four wheels.

It is priced at $225,888 with COE.


California T offers special handling option

The Ferrari California T is now available with Handling Speciale (HS) option. HS includes new damper settings and modified springs that make the car stiffer.

The car's gear-shift logic in Sport mode is modified to become even quicker.

Its revised F1-Trac logic helps ensure even better acceleration, particularly when going around corners and on more bumpy road surfaces.

The HS package also includes a new exhaust system with silencers featuring two primary pipes and a new geometry.


Jaguar to unveil 320kmh F-Type next month

Jaguar will show off a 320kmh version of its F-Type soon. The new F-Type SVR (right) will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month and go on sale from the third quarter. Capable of 320kmh, it is developed "to exploit the two-seat aluminium sports car's full potential while retaining its day-to-day usability".


Apple's car project chief quits

The head of Apple's car project is quitting. Mr Steve Zadesky, who has been overseeing the company's electric car project for the last two years, has said he is leaving the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mr Zadesky, who previously worked on the iPod and iPhone teams, is leaving because of "personal reasons".

The imminent departure, as well as a reported hiring freeze, could mean the project stalling.


New concepts from Ducati

Ducati has unveiled its all-new draXter concept bike (top), which interprets the XDiavel model "from a sports viewpoint". The number 90 on its side marks Ducati's 90th anniversary this year.

Meanwhile, the Ducati Scrambler Land of Joy, Peace Sixty2, Revolution (above) and Artika are new Ducati Scrambler proposals which could be produced.

The customised bikes mix retro and modern elements.

The Revolution, for instance, has a leather rider-only seat as well as new fork yokes and a new plate holder.

Dedicated on-tank pin striping nicely offsets the black colour scheme so typical of bobber bikes. The 17-inch front and rear wheels emphasise the bike's custom character.


Help to keep your foot light on the gas

The driver's foot is responsible for one-quarter of fuel consumption. Up to now, the only thing that could be done about this rule of thumb was to drive gently and take eco-driving courses.

But now, Bosch has developed a technical aid in the shape of the active gas pedal. Its gentle vibration tells drivers when they have crossed the line from light touch to lead foot. This helps drivers to be light-footed and is expected to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 7 per cent. Expect to see this feature in new models soon.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'FastLane'. Print Edition | Subscribe