Fast lane: Audi stretches A8L

Audi A8L Extended
Audi A8L ExtendedPHOTO: AUDI
2016 GT-R Nismo
2016 GT-R NismoPHOTO: NISSAN
Beetle and open-top Golf Cabriolet
Beetle and open-top Golf CabrioletPHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Toyota Fortuner seven-seat SUV
Toyota Fortuner seven-seat SUVPHOTO: BORNEO MOTORS

Audi stretches A8L

Audi took almost a year to make a one-off 6.36m six-seater limousine for a European customer. With its already generous wheelbase extended to 4.22m (almost 1.1m longer than the A8L's), the car makes use of more aluminium to ensure rigidity. The A8L Extended "affords exquisite comfort for passengers occupying all of its six seats", Audi says. The manufacturer adds that it already has more requests for this extra long limousine.


Singapore Model 3 orders

At least 83 people in Singapore have placed orders for Tesla's yet-to-be-produced Model 3, with one buyer booking two cars, according to a Facebook fan club of the American electric car brand based here. That figure is more than six times the number of bookings placed when Tesla opened its order books here a little over a week ago. The 439-strong fan club says it is possible that non-members in Singapore whom it does not know about have placed orders. Globally, Tesla has collected nearly 350,000 orders for the Model 3.


Recalls deplete Takata cash

Japanese airbag-maker Takata, behind the auto industry's largest recall, projected burning through almost a quarter of its cash over the next year if repairs continue at the current pace, Bloomberg reported. Cash and cash equivalents may drop to 49.7 billion yen (S$620 million) by the end of March next year, said an anonymous inside source. Takata reported 65.6 billion yen on its balance sheet as of the end of December. The estimate highlights the risk to Takata's viability posed by airbag inflators that deploy too forcefully and explode, spraying metal and plastic shards at vehicle occupants. The defect has prompted recalls by more than a dozen auto manufacturers.


Nismo sets drift record

Nissan has set a Guinness world record for the fastest drift. Using a specially tuned 2016 GT-R Nismo, the Japanese maker clocked a drift at an insane speed of 304.96kmh. Mr Masato Kawabata, the Japanese drift champion and title holder for the D1 Grand Prix series, set the new record to clinch the top spot from former record-holder Jakub Przygonski of Poland. The drift attempt was held during a special event that took place at Fujairah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.


Tie the knot with VW

Volkswagen Singapore has set up a wedding rental programme. "For a very reasonable price, couples can opt for either the iconic Beetle or open-top Golf Cabriolet to have and to hold - and to drive, of course - over their wedding weekend," the company says. Both cars are in Pure White colour, which matches a wide range of themes and decorations. Each rental includes insurance for two drivers.


Smart parking service

German components-maker Bosch is developing features which will reduce the stress associated with parking in the city. Its community based parking, an open service platform, allows cars to identify and report available kerbside parking spaces. This information is made available via a car's navigation system. This will be rolled out by 2018, Bosch says. And by 2019, it will have a new self-parking aid. This feature can guide a car - autonomously if needed - to parking spaces up to 100m away, where it then manoeuvres the car into an available space.


Seat franchise named

Lian Fong Group, which holds the franchise for Chery, has revealed the name of its newly landed Seat franchise: Vertex Euro Motors. It says it is the only Seat dealer in the Asia-Pacific. "As such, Singapore is going to be the first and the only market in the region to present the Leon Cupra 290 during our official launch slated for the third quarter of this year," a spokesman says. The car is Seat's most powerful and fastest series-production model.


Merc woos borrowers online

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Singapore has launched an online credit application (www.mbfs.com.sg/calculator). It comes with a financial calculator and allows users to see a line-up of its vehicles here and find out the monthly hire-purchase and leasing rates.


VW plans bonus cuts

Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and other top executives are in talks about significant bonus cuts to help resolve a dispute over management pay in the midst of the emissions-cheating scandal, reported Bloomberg. Mr Poetsch agreed to retroactively reduce a payout stemming from his previous job as chief financial officer, according to Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephan Weil, who sits on VW's supervisory board. The board will discuss cutting flexible executive compensation at its meeting next Friday, Mr Weil said. The embattled German carmaker has been under increasing pressure over executive bonuses after labour unions and Lower Saxony, the company's second-largest shareholder, opposed generous remuneration because of the need to cushion the financial hit from the scandal.


Toyota Fortuner arrives

The new Toyota Fortuner sevenseat SUV has arrived in Singapore - 11 years after the first model made its debut here in 2005. The new car has the same domineering road presence as its predecessor and is also powered by a 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine (with a slight increase in output). But now, it has a six-speed transmission instead of a four-speeder. The car, priced at $188,888 with COE, also boasts more features, including more powerful air-conditioning (with separate controls for rear occupants), an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment monitor and larger shock absorbers for a better ride.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'Fast lane: Audi stretches A8L'. Print Edition | Subscribe