Fast Lane: Porsche remakes classic 911, Kia Niro EV to arrive in December

The Lotus Emira. The first cars are expected to arrive as early as the end of the year. PHOTO: LOTUS

Lotus Emira buyers love stick shift

For those who think the manual transmission is dead, think again. According to Lotus agent Wearnes Automotive, 40 per cent of bookings it has collected for the new Emira sports car are for the supercharged 3.5-litre V6 six-speed manual.

At an estimated half a million dollars before certificate of entitlement (COE) for the car, those who prefer stick shift are also the well-heeled. The V6 has 400bhp/420Nm and hits 100kmh in 4.3 seconds, before peaking at 290kmh. It is also available with a six-speed autobox, which boasts a 4.2-second century sprint.

The first cars are expected to arrive as early as the end of the year. Wearnes says it has collected more than 30 bookings.

The 60 per cent who placed orders for the 2-litre turbocharged inline-four (an AMG-sourced unit paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox) will have to wait, as there is still no indication when that variant will arrive. It has 360bhp/430Nm, hits 100kmh in 4.2 seconds and boasts a top speed of 283kmh. It is estimated to cost $400,000 before COE.

Lease a BMW with Flow scheme

The BMW 116i model. PHOTO: BMW.COM.SG

Want a BMW but don't want to plonk down a huge down payment? Performance Motors' Flow leasing programme allows you to do just that.

Take the example of a BMW 116i M Sport with a selling price of $186,000. A regular hire-purchase deal requires a $74,400 down payment (40 per cent of purchase price, according to regulations), with $1,515 monthly instalments over 36 months. This works out to $128,940 in three years.

A Flow deal requires a $10,000 down payment, with $2,728 monthly payments over 33 months (three months waived for a promotional period up to May 6). This works out to $100,024 in three years. Also, road tax, insurance and regular servicing will be covered.

Of course, a leased car will never be yours. But for those who are in the habit of changing cars every three years, this may be worth considering.

Remake of classic 911 for $1.2m

The Porsche 911 Sport Classic. PHOTO: PORSCHE

Porsche is remaking 1,250 units of the 911 Sport Classic for collectors who own a 911 from a bygone era. The 911 Sport Classic is inspired by the original 911 (1964 to 1973) and the 1972 911 Carrera RS 2.7.

The wide body (otherwise reserved for the 911 Turbo), a fixed rear spoiler in the style of the legendary "ducktail" Carrera RS 2.7 and a double-bubble roof underscore the distinctiveness of the 911 Sport Classic.

It is powered by a 3.7-litre, twin-turbo flat-six engine making 550hp, sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed manual gearbox.

Slated to be the most powerful manual 911, the car will arrive next year, with a price tag of $1,234,488 before COE.

Volvo buys stake in online marketplace carwow

Just as Toyota Financial Services bought Singapore vehicle trading portal sgCarMart in February, Volvo Cars has taken a strategic minority stake in carwow, an online vehicle marketplace in Europe.

Through its venture capital arm Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the Swedish company says it hopes to "gain valuable insights in areas such as online sales, customer acquisition and content creation, which will help its shift towards online and direct customer relationships".

New Kia Niro EV slated to land by December

The Kia Niro EV 2023. PHOTO: KIA

Kia's new Niro EV has a 64.8kWh battery pack powering a 150kW motor. It is the third new EV that Kia has unveiled, alongside the EV6 and Soul EV. Globally, the carmaker plans to offer 14 EVs by 2027.

The Niro EV promises a range of 463km. At 4,420mm long, 1,825mm wide and up to 1,570mm tall with a 2,720mm wheelbase, the Niro is based on Kia's third-generation "K" platform. It is expected to arrive in Singapore by year-end.

A more responsible Polestar

The Polestar 2 (Standard Range Single Motor). ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Swedish electric-car maker Polestar is making its Polestar 2 greener and more ethical. The car's CO2 footprint is being reduced by 750kg a car with the use of renewable energy in aluminium component sourcing and production.

Blockchain traceability is now applied to mica as well as cobalt. The technology allows Polestar to trace risk minerals from material source to finished product.

The car's battery capacity has been raised, with faster charging for the Standard Range Single Motor variant.

Citroen cans Grand C4 Space Tourer MPV


Citing growing customer preference for sport utility vehicles, Citroen is canning its Grand C4 Space Tourer multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). It will, however, continue to offer fully electric versions of the e-Berlingo and e-SpaceTourer for customers looking to transport up to nine people.

Production of the Grand C4 Space Tourer in Vigo, Spain, will cease in July. Those who still want a combustion-engined Citroen family mover can opt for the C5 Aircross or the new C5 X.

Renault sells stake in Russian carmaker for one rouble

The Renault Group logo pictured in front of the automobile plant in Moscow, Russia, on April 26, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

French carmaker Renault will transfer its 68 per cent stake in Russia's biggest carmaker Avtovaz to a car research institute for one symbolic rouble, Reuters reported. It is the latest example of local institutions snapping up bargains as Western firms flee.

The Russian trade ministry said Renault's factory in Moscow, which produces cars under the Renault and Nissan brands, would be passed to the city's government.

Both the carmaker and the French government, which owns a 15 per cent stake in Renault, declined to comment on the deal, which was first reported by Russian news agencies citing Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov.

The trade ministry said Renault would have the right to buy back its Avtovaz stake within five to six years from Nami, an institute founded more than a century ago which is behind the design and building of Russia's cars and trucks - including the limousines used by President Vladimir Putin.

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