Fast Lane: Mercedes-Benz GLB, Audi Q8 TFSI e and more

Spacious Mercedes-Benz GLB
Spacious Mercedes-Benz GLBPHOTO: BMW
Audi Q8 TFSI e with electric range of up to 45km
Audi Q8 TFSI e with electric range of up to 45kmPHOTO: AUDI
Most powerful Volkswagen Golf GTI
Most powerful Volkswagen Golf GTIPHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Bentley Flying Spur with twin-turbo V8
Bentley Flying Spur with twin-turbo V8PHOTO: BENTLEY

Spacious Mercedes-Benz GLB

At 2,829mm, the wheelbase of the new Mercedes-Benz GLB compact multi-seat crossover offers 100mm more stretching room than the current generation B-class.

The boot has 500 litres of stowage with the third row folded flat. The second row can be moved fore and aft.

The GLB 200 Progressive Line is powered by the 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It develops 163hp and 250Nm of torque and sprints to 100kmh in 9.1 seconds.

It retails at $182,888, while the more powerful and all-wheel-drive GLB 35 is priced at $231,888.

Audi Q8 TFSI e with electric range of up to 45km

What do you get when you pair a turbocharged V6 with a 100kW electric motor? The new Audi Q8 TFSI e.

Available with quattro all-wheel-drive and two power choices, the Q8 plug-in hybrid promises the best of both worlds. The Q8 55 TFSI e quattro has 381hp, while the Q8 Competition 60 TFSI e quattro has 462hp.

A 17.8kWh battery gives both an electric range of up to 45km. They are not coming here, though.

Most powerful Volkswagen Golf GTI

With 300hp, the new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport1 is the most powerful Golf GTI. It has a Nurburgring driving profile to suit the track characteristics of the legendary circuit in Germany.

The first Golf GTI Clubsport was launched in 2016 on the 40th anniversary of the GTI.

The latest Clubsport has so much power going to its front axle, it should be either a hoot or a horror.

Skoda AI app can listen for faults

Skoda has developed an artificial intelligence app which can detect the smallest changes in engine sound.

The algorithm compares sound maps against stored patterns and detects any changes, which allows for rapid diagnosis of problems with a 90 per cent accuracy rate.

To use, a technician needs only to record the engine sound via a smartphone microphone. An algorithm then compares the recording with stored sound patterns and, based on this, provides a description of the result.

The software is able to recognise 10 patterns, including for components such as the steering system, air-conditioner compressor and the clutches in the car's dual-clutch gearbox. It will expand to include other service items.

Retired BMW and Mini EV batteries get useful second life

Retired BMW and Mini batteries will have second use as mobile power units adapted and produced by Off Grid Energy.

With BMW Group putting 25 electrified models on the roads by 2023, this collaboration is comforting.

BMW Group UK will supply Off Grid Energy with battery modules for it to adapt to create mobile power units, giving retired BMW and Mini electric vehicle batteries a useful second life when they can no longer efficiently be used in cars.

The first prototype unit is now up and running, powered by lithium-ion battery modules extracted from a Mini Electric development vehicle.

It has a 40kWh capacity delivering a 7.2kW fast charge and will be used at BMW and Mini UK events over the next year.

Bentley Flying Spur with twin-turbo V8

The Bentley Flying Spur is now available with a 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 making 542bhp and 770 Nm of torque.

It hits 100kmh in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 318kmh. It has cylinder deactivation and is 100kg lighter than its W12 twin.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2020, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe