Fast Lane

X-Trail
X-TrailPHOTO: NISSAN
Gran Turismo
Gran TurismoPHOTO: BMW
Polo
PoloPHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
BMW X3
BMW X3PHOTO: BMW
Arona
AronaPHOTO: SEAT

Nissan X-Trail gets facelift

Nissan's flagship crossover, the X-Trail, has been given a mid-life revision. Cosmetic changes have resulted in a 50mm increase in overall length to 4,690mm. Width and height remain unchanged at 1,830mm and 1,710mm respectively. Wheelbase is also constant at 2,705mm.

Inside, the car comes with better finishing and more driving aids.

Likewise, the Qashqai gets freshened up with more premium features and safety aids such as intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition. Both cars should arrive by October.

BMW 6-series Gran Turismo's sexy silhouette

The new BMW 6-series Gran Turismo may well be the sportiest-looking GT from the Bavarian marque. Vehicle height has been reduced by 21mm, while the rear end has been lowered by 64mm. Its length has been increased by 87mm while width remains the same.

These changes have contributed to a more low-slung silhouette without compromising on interior space or practicality. In fact, it offers more headroom and boot space than its predecessor. The rear has three full-size seats and customers can opt for electrically adjustable chairs.

Kia Sorento GT gets upgrade

Cycle & Carriage has just introduced the Kia Sorento GT variant, with enhanced stability and driveability. The seven-seat all-wheel-drive also comes with better equipment and finishing to entice those who want practicality and driving enjoyment in a sport utility vehicle.

Prices start at $158,999 with certificate of entitlement, which is not bad for a huge car from a brand that has pipped Lexus in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, an industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality.

Volkswagen Polo upsizes

Volkswagen's sixth-generation Polo will roll into Singapore as early as the middle of next year. It is the largest Polo yet, breaching the 4m mark at 4,053mm tip to tip. This means substantially more cabin and boot space.

It is also as well equipped as the bigger Golf, with features such as adaptive cruise control, digital instrumentation and LED headlights.

Lighter, sleeker and roomier Audi Q5

Audi's new Q5 has landed, more powerful and sleeker than before. Prices start at $239,700 with certificate of entitlement. The mid-size sport utility vehicle is 4.66m long, 1.89m wide and 1.66m tall, with a 2.82m wheelbase - making it bigger and roomier than its predecessor. Yet, its kerb weight has been reduced by as much as 90kg with the use of more high-tensile steel and aluminium.

BMW X3 to arrive in January

The new BMW X3 is out and is slated to arrive in Singapore by January next year. The new model will boast semi-autonomous aids such as active cruise control, steering and lane control, and lane change assistance.

A diesel variant is powered by a 3-litre straight-six delivering 265bhp and a whopping 620Nm of torque (80Nm more than the previous equivalent). Zero to 100kmh takes 5.8 seconds and top speed is a decent 238kmh.

For the first time, there will be a range-topping X3 M40i.

Electric Merc available in Singapore

Ken Jie Cars, a relatively new parallel importer here, has brought in an all-electric Mercedes-Benz B-class. The B250e - which Daimler has no plans to introduce here - is retailing at $148,900 with non-guaranteed certificate of entitlement.

The tall hatch runs on a 28kWh electric system with 132kW on tap. It clocks a decent 7.2-second century sprint and a top speed of 159kmh. It has a claimed range of 199km on a full charge.

McLaren 720S in action

The shark-like McLaren 720S takes pride of place on the cover of Torque this month.

Read an in-depth review of the British supercar and see fresh pictures of it in action.

The latest issue of Singapore's top motoring monthly sets the stage for comparative reviews. This month, the Renault Megane Sedan goes up against the Volkswagen Jetta Sportline.

In the hatchback arena, the Nissan Pulsar, Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308 compete for attention and, hopefully, car buyers' chequebook.

Also, find out how different a 1997 Mini Cooper is from a 2016 version.

Still clueless on the Vehicular Emissions Scheme that will kick in in January? Find out in Torque, out at newsstands now.

Seat Arona to debut in September

Seat has entered the compact crossover arena with the Arona. Manufactured in Martorell, Spain, it will make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Together with a large sport utility vehicle due next year, the Arona will expand Seat's crossover range to three. It currently has a sole SUV, the Ateca.

New Audi A8 limo with hybrid power

Audi's next A8 limousine will be unveiled later this month and it will be the first to feature an electrified drivetrain across the range. The car's 48-volt electrical system powers a mild hybrid drive which assists its combustion engine.

The mild hybrid drive comprises two main components: a water- cooled 48-volt belt alternator starter, which complements the conventional pinion starter, and a lithium-ion battery in the luggage compartment, which stores energy.

The car comes with a fully active electromechanical suspension and dynamic all-wheel steering. The A8 will also raise its body during a side impact to further shield occupants.

Porsche seeking the best driver

Porsche is searching for the best driver in the region. Its 2017 Porsche Asia Pacific Driver of the Year will pit drivers against one another in two qualifying rounds.

The winner gets a fully sponsored trip to the Porsche Experience Centre in Los Angeles.

To enter, participants must complete an online theory test at www.licencetothrill.asia no later than July 31. The top 30 performers will qualify for the next round of the competition, which will test their driving skills at the Sepang race circuit in Malaysia on Sept 8.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe