Fast Lane: Nissan GT-R gets facelift

The 2017 Nissan GT-R.
The 2017 Nissan GT-R.PHOTO: NISSAN
Mini Countryman.
Mini Countryman.PHOTO: MINI
The new Mercedes-AMG E63S 4MATIC+.
The new Mercedes-AMG E63S 4MATIC+.PHOTO: MERCEDES
Range Rover Sport SVR.
Range Rover Sport SVR.PHOTO: RANGE ROVER
Volkswagen Atlas.
Volkswagen Atlas.PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Mercedes Benz X-class.
Mercedes Benz X-class.PHOTO: MERCEDES
BMW M3 Dakar Yellow II.
BMW M3 Dakar Yellow II.PHOTO: BMW

Nissan GT-R gets facelift

The 2017 Nissan GT-R has landed. Beyond cosmetic tweaks, the car's 3.8-litre V6 now delivers 570bhp and 632Nm, thanks largely to increased boost from its two turbocharges. The improved output - put through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and sent to all four wheels - allows the car to hit a top speed of 315kmh. Nissan would not state its 0 to 100kmh timing, but the last car tested in 2012 with 542bhp/632Nm clocked 2.74 seconds.

A more rigid body structure enables better settings of shock absorber, spring and stabiliser rates, and improved road-holding capability, agility and precision of the suspension. All these result in better grip of the tyres and responsiveness of the engine. Tan Chong Motor is retailing the car at $620,000.


Mercedes-Benz inline-six engines make comeback

Mercedes-Benz will resume making inline-six engines from next year, the company said on its website. The German maker stopped manufacturing inline-six power plants in the 1990s when it switched to V6 units.

The new straight engines will first appear in the facelifted S-class limousine and will include an electric compressor (supercharger) and intelligent turbocharging. There will also be an inline-six turbodiesel, as well as a new four-cylinder petrol engine and a new biturbo V8.


Powering cars with waste water

Seat and Spanish water company Aqualia have joined forces to extract natural gas from waste water. The five-year Smart Green Gas project relies on a new highly efficient system for producing biogas from a city's waste water and converting it into biomethane. The biomethane is then converted into compressed natural gas to be used in compressed natural gas vehicles.


A hefty Mini Countryman

The new Countryman is the biggest Mini ever, with an increase in dimensions all round. It is now a full five-seater and boasts a luggage volume of 450 litres (1,309 litres if rear seats are folded). The luggage area can be accessed via an optional electric tailgate with touch-free opening and closing.

Engines include a 1.5-litre three- cylinder in the Cooper Countryman and a 2-litre four-cylinder in the Cooper S Countryman. The result is 136bhp and 220Nm of torque in the Cooper, which enables a century sprint of 9.6 seconds. The Cooper S produces 192bhp with 280Nm of torque and completes the sprint to 100kmh in 7.5 seconds. It is the first Mini to be available with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain too.


Mercedes-AMG's fastest E-class unveiled

The new Mercedes-AMG E63 4MATIC+ and E63S 4MATIC+ are the most powerful E-class cars. Powered by a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 generating up to 612bhp and equipped with cylinder cut-off, the car hits the century mark in 3.4 seconds. Its nine-speed autobox combines a wet start-off clutch for the first time. Another highlight is the completely new AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system.

Torque distribution, which until now was strongly rear-biased, is fully variable for the first time. This ensures optimum traction right up to the physical limit.


Range extenders for Nissan's electric cars

Nissan will soon introduce electric cars with range extenders - small petrol-powered engines that charge the batteries when they are low. The company, however, does not say what the new models are and when they will have the e-Power system.


A supercharged Land Rover

Meet the most powerful Land Rover ever - the Range Rover Sport SVR. Fitted with a 5-litre supercharged V8 producing 550bhp and 680Nm, it clocks a century sprint of 4.7 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 260kmh. Its eight-speed ZF autobox and four-wheel-drive chassis have been tweaked to exploit the stratospheric output.

The SVR features cross-linked, four-corner air suspension and adaptive dynamics with continuously variable magnetorheological dampers. Prices start at $650,000.


Atlas is largest Volkswagen on sale in the US

Volkswagen has unveiled a United States-made, US-only seven-seater SUV called Atlas.

Two engine variants will be available: a 2-litre four-cylinder turbo and a powerful 3.6 VR6, both with eight-speed automatic transmission. The former is a front-wheel- drive while the latter is also available as an all-wheel-drive.

With a length of 5,037mm, a width of 1,979mm and a height of 1,768mm, the Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the US.


Posh pick-up truck by Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz, which recently positioned its Citan commercial van as a multi-purpose vehicle, is now marketing a pick-up truck as a premium lifestyle vehicle.

The X-class concept is a one- tonne pick-up with seating for up to five. It is the first in the segment to be attractive as an urban lifestyle and family vehicle.

Daimler will make investments in the "high nine figures" in the new model, which will be launched late next year.

The X-class' key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Europe.


10 special BMW M3

for Singapore only BMW is making 10 special M3 cars for the Singapore market to mark three decades of the model's success. The M3 Heritage Collection Singapore Edition I comes in three distinctive colours: Daytona Violet Metallic, inspired by the famous race and race track in Daytona, Florida; Dakar Yellow II, taken from the Dakar endurance rally that initially took place from Paris to Dakar; and British Racing Green, a posh colour that originated in British racing history, which began in the early 1900s.

Laser engraving on the carbonfibre trim reminds the owner of each car's special-edition status, while various trim elements add to the car's exclusivity.

The car comes in Competition Package, which includes a tweaked suspension, featuring new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, as well as reconfigured driving modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+).

The standard Active M Differential on the rear axle and Dynamic Stability Control have likewise been reconfigured to match the upgraded dynamics. A 19bhp power hike takes output to 450bhp, allowing the car to reach 100kmh in four seconds, 0.1 seconds quicker than the current M3.


Volkswagen pulls out of World Rally Championship

Four-time winner of the constructors' crown Volkswagen is to quit the World Rally Championship at the end of the year, which is a big blow to the sport, Agence France-Presse reported. The reasons for the pull-out were unclear, but talk has it that the financial burden of its diesel scandal is taking its toll.

Sister firm Audi separately said last week that it was quitting the World Endurance Championship - and with it the Le Mans 24-Hour Race - to concentrate on Formula E.


Opel Insignia Grand Sport to debut in Geneva

Opel's new flagship model, which will be known as the Insignia Grand Sport, is in its final stage of development on roads in the United Kingdom before it makes its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March next year. The car is a five-door hatchback that is based on a completely new architecture and has a considerably longer wheelbase than the current Insignia. The car is up to 175kg lighter and much roomier too.


Rod Stewart's old Lambo fetches $1.6m

Singer Rod Stewart's former Lamborghini Miura sold for £909,000 (S$1.6 million) at an auction in the United Kingdom last weekend. The 1971 Miura, first owned by the rock star, was sold by auctioneer Coys at its first Classic & Sports Car Show sale at London's Alexandra Palace. The car had undergone a £100,000 restoration as well as a performance upgrade.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe