Fast lane: Aston Martin toasts James Bond

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition.

Aston Martin toasts James Bond

You would expect the Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition to at least have a retractable missile launcher. But no, the car merely has subtle styling additions inside and out. These include a unique Spectre Silver paintwork, sterling silver Aston Martin badges front and rear, and discreet "007 Bond Edition" exterior badging. It wears 10-spoke gloss black diamond turned 20-inch alloy wheels, bright aluminium bonnet vents, side strakes and grille, a carbon-fibre front splitter and rear diffuser, and grey brake calipers. Meanwhile, Aston Martin offers a peek into its future design with its so-called DB10, a prototype which will star in the latest Bond escapade, Spectre. The car is likely to have a V8 supplied by MercedesAMG.

Singapore to get Jaguar Project 7 racers

Singapore will be allocated a handful of Jaguar Project 7 racers. The most extreme modern Jag yet, the Project 7 is based on the delectable F-Type, but endowed with more power, more aerodynamic aids and a more luxurious interior. With 575bhp and 680Nm from its 5-litre supercharged V8, the two-seater topless car will reach 100kmh in 3.9 seconds. Only 250 units will be built and prices in Singapore are expected to start from $800,000.

Tech to make trailers transparent

Land Rover researchers have developed an innovative camera system that makes a trailer or caravan appear see-through when being towed. The Transparent Trailer will make overtaking safer and help in trailer manoeuvring by improving visibility. A Cargo Sense app allows drivers to monitor the status of the trailer and cargo. Sensors on the floor of a trailer could alert the driver if the load is shifting or if a transported animal is in distress - reducing the potential for accidents and injuries.

Edison electric supercar

Canadian energy company Sunvault Energy Inc and America's Edison Power Co have teamed up to create a revolutionary electric supercar that will be powered by graphene batteries. The car will also have a graphene integrated hydrogen fuel cell to provide an extra level of confidence to offset any potential range anxiety. The Edison Electron One will be built by the newly incorporated Edison Motor Cars. It will be powered by a motor at each wheel, giving it superior traction despite 1,355Nm of torque. The car is expected to be ready by the first quarter of next year and is expected to clock the century sprint in under 2.5 seconds. Most amazingly, it can be recharged in five minutes.

Hyundai targets younger crowd

Hyundai is wooing younger buyers with its new i20 Active, latest Santa Fe SUV, and i40 with Android Auto. The i20 is a crossover based on the i20 hatchback, in the same vein as the Volkswagen Cross Polo. The Sante Fe has been tweaked stylistically to appear more hip and less boxy. And Android Auto pairs with a smartphone and projects it onto the car's infotainment monitor.

New Bugatti concept

Volkswagen-owned Bugatti has yet to launch a second model after its discontinued Veyron. In the meantime, fans can feast their eyes on the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo, a virtual concept the French marque developed with Polyphony Digital Inc, creator of the Gran Turismo video game franchise. Bugatti says the project is a tribute to its racing heritage of the 1920s and 1930s - even though the concept looks nothing like the cars of old.

New Kia Sportage unveiled

The face of Kia's all-new Sportage represents the biggest change to the car's design. Its headlamps are no longer integrated with the grille. Instead, they sweep back along the outer edges of the more sharply detailed bonnet and bolder wheel arches. Immediately recognisable as a Kia, the Sportage's lower, wider "tiger nose" grille adds more volume to the lower half of the car's face, resulting in a more imposing and stable appearance. From the side, the car retains the swept-back silhouette of the outgoing model, with a roofline that tapers slightly towards the rear, longer front overhangs, shorter rear overhangs and a longer wheelbase.

A Cactus for the beach

Citroen is taking its funky Cactus to another level with the Cactus M concept. With more pronounced wheel arches, an upright windscreen, a raised body and large wheels, the Cactus M looks like it is built for the sun, sea and surf. Its design is a hint of the cultish Citroen Mehari, a vehicle created with the same "go-anywhere" philosophy. The cabin is completely open, connecting the occupants to their surrounding environment. Passengers access the seats in the back by climbing over the sides of the car, using the built-in steps on either side at the rear.

Jaguar XE arrives

Jaguar's newest baby has landed. The XE sports sedan looks more convincing than the preceding X-Type, with a stature that is similar to the current mid-size XF. Built on a new aluminium-intensive platform that is also used for the new X-Pace crossover and XF executive sedan, the car promises dynamism and efficiency. Its cabin is likewise a step up from the X-Type's, with a premium cockpit and decent rear legroom. The boot is also sizeable, if a little shallow. Prices start from $199,999 for the 240bhp 2-litre version.

Two-tone Swift

Suzuki's popular Swift model now comes with two-tone paintwork, with the roof in a different colour from the body, a la Mini. It also has a new twin-slat chrome grille and gun metal rims. Inside, the Swift SE features leather-andsuede upholstery with silver stitching. There is now chrome trim on the door panels and fascia, making the cabin more classy-looking.

New DS4 models

The new DS4 and DS4 Crossback are two variants of the same model. The former is an elegant hatchback, while the latter is a car with "go anywhere" looks and a higher driving position (30mm more than the hatchback). The DS4 will be the first DS model to feature a new THP 210 S&S engine. The engine delivers 210bhp and 285Nm of torque from 1,750rpm. There is also a 120bhp/300Nm BlueHDi 120 S&S, paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

BMW unveils more hybrids

BMW is launching a slew of plug-in hybrids. The new BMW X5 xDrive40e, BMW 225xe and BMW 330e are making their debuts. They will be followed by the 740e in the next two years. Using technology first seen in the revolutionary BMW i8, the cars can be driven in full electric mode at speeds of up to 125kmh. Unfortunately, they may not be imported into Singapore because there are no measurable incentives for plug-in hybrids here.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - CTFAST05'. Print Edition | Subscribe