Fast Lane: BMW's electric iX3, Opel Astra, Harley-Davidson's Sportster S

The BMW iX3 is the first China-made BMW.
The BMW iX3 is the first China-made BMW.PHOTO: BMW

BMW iX3 an affordable premium electric car

BMW's electric iX3 is here. The first China-made BMW packs 210kW and 400Nm, and sprints from 0 to 100kmh in 6.8 seconds. This puts it on equal footing with the petrol-powered BMW X3 xDrive30i.

Top speed is electronically limited to 180kmh. The rear-wheel drive has wheel-slip mitigation and a 80kWh battery offering a claimed range of 459km.

It is also the least expensive X3 at $252,888 - thanks largely to tax incentives it qualifies for and emission surcharges its petrol siblings attract.

Merc SL to be 2+2 again


The new Mercedes-AMG SL roadster will once again be a 2+2 seater. PHOTO: MERCEDES

The new Mercedes-AMG SL roadster will once again be a 2+2 seater (the first time since 1989), with the second row able to accommodate passengers up to 1.5m tall.

The interior comes in either single or dual-tone nappa leather. A symmetrical instrument panel is designed as a sculptural, powerful wing, flanked by four galvanised turbine nozzles. Their surfaces merge into the instrument panel in the form of powerful power domes.

The instrument cluster's high-resolution 12.3-inch LCD screen is not designed to be free-standing, but integrated into a high-tech visor. This prevents reflections caused by sunlight.

Nissan to probe brain of its Formula E drivers

Nissan Motor has launched a programme focused on brain function and anatomy research, training and development for its Formula E drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland.

It uses advanced brain imaging and analysis to determine the anatomical specifics of professional racers to develop optimised training.

The first stage involves detailed analysis and testing of the racers' brain functions, compared against a control group of non-racing drivers. All drivers will perform a range of tasks on state-of-the-art driving simulators while their brain activity is monitored and recorded.

Based on the results, a training programme involving electrical brain stimulation will be developed with the aim of improving driver performance.

Opel's roomier new Astra available as plug-in hybrid


Opel Astra (2022). PHOTO: OPEL

The new Opel Astra is available as a plug-in hybrida at two performance levels.

The compact will have an eight-speed automatic transmission, LED headlights and ergonomically-certified seats.

The rival to the VW Golf will launch as a five-door measuring 4,374mm long and 1,860mm wide. At 2,675mm, its wheelbase is 13mm longer than the previous model's, promising more room inside. Boot capacity is 422 litres.

The German brand, now part of the Stellantis alliance, will make only electric cars from 2028.

Harley's 228kg 121hp Sportster S


Harley-Davidson Sportster S. PHOTO: HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Harley-Davidson has unveiled the Sportster S, a 121hp V-twin performance bike with a lightweight chassis.

With its 11.8-litre fuel tank topped off, the bike weighs 228kg - light for a Harley. A high-mounted exhaust is designed to produce a pleasing low-frequency tone.

Harley has no information on pricing.

Jaguar Land Rover's new regional head

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has appointed Alistair Scott as its new Asia-Pacific managing director.

Mr Scott, who will manage 16 markets out of Singapore, has over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, and has worked in various Asian countries, including South Korea, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

He has worked for auto companies such as SsangYong Motor, Subaru, Fiat and Honda, before joining JLR in 2013. Porsche invests in Israeli startup

Porsche has taken a minority stake in Griiip. The Israeli start-up has developed a cloud-based data platform which enables the transmission of motorsport data directly from the racing car to drivers, teams and fans.

The company's personalised digital media platform, RAMP (Racing Media Platform), offers a unique approach to fan engagement in motorsport in order to attract younger audiences seeking a more immersive viewing experience.

The solution includes direct access of raw data from the vehicle electronic units through a hardware component known as the "Red Box".

Son of slain German tuner to make all-terrain sportscar


Marc Philipp Gemballa Marsien. PHOTO: MARC PHILIPP

Marc Philipp Gemballa, the 27-year-old son of Uwe Gemballa who founded the German tuning company which bears his name, has revealed an off-road supercar named Marsien.

His company, Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH (not associated in any form with Gemballa GmbH), will use the Porsche 992 Turbo S as base vehicle for the unique all-terrain racer.

It will be manufactured in Germany, tested in the sand dunes of the Arabian desert and available to clients worldwide. Production is limited to just 40 units, with more than half already spoken for.

The late Uwe Gemballa was found murdered in South Africa in 2010. Police believe his death was tied to an illegal money laundering scheme with convicted Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir.