Fast Lane: Mercedes-Benz e-concierge, BMW upgrades OS worldwide, and more

Mercedes-Benz has launched the Mercedes Me Connect e-concierge service here.
Mercedes-Benz has launched the Mercedes Me Connect e-concierge service here.PHOTO: REUTERS

BMW Definition CE4 redefines scooter styling


The BMW Definition CE4 is an electric scooter with a flat battery pack in its underfloor. Combined with a compact drivetrain, it allows BMW to break into traditional scooter styling and also frees up space for a lit storage compartment which can be accessed from the side.

The position of the battery pack creates a low centre of gravity, which enhances handling.

The scooter's panels do not completely cover the side section at the rear. Instead, they stretch across parts of the vehicle's side like little wings allowing views of the drive unit, cooling ribs, single-sided swing arm, spring strut and tooth belt. The 10.25-inch display is the largest in the scooter segment.

Mini Vision Urbanaut more than just a minivan


The Vision Urbanaut is Mini's take on the Volkswagen ID Buzz minivan.

Unusually tall for a Mini and measuring 4.46m long, the Urbanaut comes in three user modes: Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe. The first and last are stationary, where the electric car is used as a hangout. In Wanderlust, it can be driven or it will drive by itself.

Find where you parked with Mercedes-Benz e-concierge


Mercedes-Benz has launched the Mercedes Me Connect e-concierge service here.

The downloadable app helps owners find their Mercs in a sprawling carpark, check their vehicle's status, book a servicing slot and summon for accident recovery.

It can also link to the owner's Google Home and fitness wearables, and offer real-life traffic information with Internet-of-everything connectivity.

BMW upgrades operating system worldwide

BMW has launched its most extensive software upgrade. More than 750,000 vehicles worldwide will receive the latest version of BMW Operating System 7.0.

It is also the largest over-the-air update ever rolled out by a European manufacturer. The upgrade includes new, expanded and enhanced functions, such as Google Android Auto and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

The new software version is available to customers in Singapore from this month and can be downloaded free of charge.

Customers will receive a push notification in their vehicle as soon as the upgrade is available.

Stephan Winkelmann to lead Lamborghini and Bugatti

Mr Stephan Winkelmann will return to head Lamborghini next year, while retaining his helmsmanship at Bugatti.

He takes over Mr Stefano Domenicali, who will become chief executive of Formula One.

Mr Winkelmann was president of Automobili Lamborghini from 2005 to 2016. Lamborghinis introduced under him started with derivatives of the Gallardo and ranged from the V10 Huracan and V12 Aventador to limited editions and one-offs.

DS Automobiles unveils contact-free interface


DS Automobiles, the premium arm of Citroen, is working with Ultraleap, a global leader in human-machine interface, to bring mid-air haptic and hand-tracking technology to future DS models - a move which could spell the end for touchscreens and buttons.

First seen in the DS Aero Sport Lounge concept, the contact-free interface means no more finger stains on screens. Research has found that the use of gesture control and haptics in an automotive setting results in three times greater accuracy when compared with a touchscreen.

Grab recalls full fleet of Hyundai Kona Electric cars


All Hyundai Kona Electric cars here will be recalled to fix a flaw which could cause them to go up in flames. According to Hyundai agent Komoco, there are 228 Kona Electric cars registered here. Komoco says it has submitted an application of recall to the Land Transport Authority.

Meanwhile, ride-hailing firm Grab, which has 200 Kona Electrics in its fleet, has informed drivers of the recall.

In a message earlier this week, Grab told drivers that the recall was for checking, and if necessary, replacing the batteries. It says the exercise will take around 90 minutes for each vehicle.

The batteries are supplied by South Korea's LG Chem. The recall is part of a global campaign involving more than 76,000 vehicles to date, sparked off by more than a dozen fires in South Korea and elsewhere in the last two years.

Elsewhere, General Motors has just issued a recall of 60,000 units of the Chevrolet Bolt, which also uses batteries from LG Chem.

Ferrari SF90 Spider does 0-200kmh in 7 seconds


Could this be the speediest topless car in the world? The Ferrari SF90 Spider does the century dash in 2.5 seconds - a time unsurpassed by any other production convertible.

The Spider goes from 0 to 200kmh in seven seconds and on to a maximum velocity of 340kmh. Which is one reason for its retractable hardtop (a rag top might blow right off under such speeds).

The roof deploys in 14 seconds and takes up only 100 litres of stowage. The car is a plug-in hybrid with two electric motors, giving it all-wheel traction.

Daimler, Geely team up to build next-generation engines

German carmaker Daimler, the company behind Mercedes-Benz, will cooperate with China's Geely group to build its next generation of engines, reported Reuters, which quoted the Handelsblatt business daily.

Citing company and industry sources, the report said most of the engines will be made in China. The alliance with Geely, which owns a 10 per cent stake in Stuttgart-based Daimler, means that the German group's existing partnership with Renault will expire.

Most capable Jeep Wrangler


The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is touted as the "most capable and powerful Wrangler yet". The off-roader packs a 6.4-litre V8 delivering 470hp and 637Nm. It will cross streams up to 825mm deep and on tarmac, hits 100kmh in around 4.8 seconds.

Fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, it promises on-road dynamism as well.

On trails, the 4x4 will crawl up and down steep slopes at engine idle speeds. New half-doors are available for those who want an open-air feeling. VW to invest $116 billion in future technologies The Volkswagen Group is pressing ahead with its transformation into a digital mobility company. The group will spend around €73 billion (S$116 billion) on electrification, hybrid powertrains and digital technology over the next five years.

Volkswagen said investments in capital expenditure and R&D for future technologies will be raised to 50 per cent (from 40 per cent previously) of the group's total investments of around €150 billion. About €35 billion will be spent on full electric vehicles. Audi SQ2 gets more power Audi's SQ2 has been refreshed for next year. With 300hp and 400Nm from its 2-litre turbo, the compact crossover is a firecracker. It hits 100kmh in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 248kmh. It is not known if or when it will arrive.

Street-legal Lambo racer


The Lamborghini Huracan STO (Super Trofeo Omologata) is a road-homologated super sports car inspired by the racing heritage of Lamborghini Squadra Corse's one-make race series with Huracan Super Trofeo Evo, as well as the Huracan GT3 Evo, which has won the 24 Hours of Daytona thrice and the 12 Hours of Sebring twice.

Equipped with a naturally aspirated V10 making 640hp and 565Nm, the rear-wheel-drive Huracan STO despatches the century sprint in three seconds. It maxes out at 310kmh.

But its essence is in its aerodynamic efficiency, light weight, unfettered steering and first-class braking, which deliver the emotion of a track experience on the road.

VW app for remote parking

Volkswagen's Touareg uses the VW Remote Park Assist Plus app to get you in and out of tight parking spaces without a hitch. Get out of the vehicle and press and hold the "Drive" button on the app, and the sport utility vehicle will slot itself into or exit the space. No sweat.

Renault Kangoo overhauled


Renault's new Kangoo will include an electric variant. The compact van has a completely redesigned exterior, a high level of equipment (including a digital rear-view mirror) and new materials.

Jaguar Land Rover to test autonomous vehicles in Ireland

Jaguar Land Rover is partnering with global software, mobility and telecommunications companies to test autonomous vehicles.

Future Mobility Campus Ireland will be a test bed spread across 12km of public roads. Jaguar's electric I-Pace will be deployed for testing.