Fast lane

Driving a GT-R with a joystick.

Driving a GT-R with a joystick

A remote-controlled GT-R, anyone? That is exactly what GT Academy winner and Nismo driver Jann Mardenborough got at the Silverstone circuit recently. Operating a DualShock4 controller, he drove the monstrous racer at over 200kmh - from the cockpit of a helicopter. A few millimetres of button movement or joystick travel was all it took to unleash the GT-R's wild power. The remote-controlled vehicle is capable of a top speed of 313kmh.

Borneo Motors' new models

Toyota and Lexus agent Borneo Motors is looking to expand its range of products here. Among the more exciting models due here as early as next year are the long-awaited Toyota Supra and the Toyota Prius+ (which could replace the Wish as an affordable compact seven-seater). Seven-seat variants of the Lexus RX and Toyota Harrier are also said to be in the wings. But it will be the Supra which will get sportscar fans sweaty. One version is said to be powered by a BMW 3-litre turbocharged inline-six engine with more than 300 horses.

Bosch battery for hybrids

Components maker Bosch has announced a new 48-volt battery for hybrids. The battery requires no active cooling and its housing is made of plastic, bringing costs down further. The lithium-ion unit is poised to become a mass seller as carmakers increasingly explore hybrid solutions to lower emissions.

Range Rover with soft curves and battery power

The new Range Rover is out, complete with soft curves that are so in fashion and available with battery power. A plug-in electric-petrol variant will have 404bhp and 640Nm on tap and a claimed electric-only range of 50km. Charging is said to take only 2 hours 45 minutes. Its electric powertrain is supplemented by a 300bhp two-litre Ingenium engine. Then there is the 565bhp Range Rover SV Autobiography Dynamic (yes, a mouthful), which "mixes sumptuous interior with V8 supercharged performance". It hits 100kmh in just a tad over five seconds. The new Range Rover could arrive by the second half of next year.

Mini goes retro

Mini is introducing the retro 1499GT in Britain. With 102 horses from its three-cylinder turbo engine, it does the century sprint in under 10.5 seconds. It sits on a sports suspension and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox with sports-car-inspired rev-matching technology and all-round disc brakes. Only 1,499 units will be made and they are currently available only in Britain.

Phantom in new colours

Rolls-Royce’s new Phantom made its South-east Asian debut on Sept 26 at the Esplanade. To be available in both standard and long-wheelbase, the new limo marries traditional Rolls-Royce values with modern amenities and new colours, including a two-tone interior finished in Arctic White and Purple Silk. Delivery in Singapore will begin in the first quarter of next year.

Peugeot’s game car

Peugeot’s flight of fantasy takes the form of a game car called L750 R HYbrid Vision Gran Turismo (above). Supposedly with 750bhp and able to hit 100kmh in 2.4 seconds, the virtual racer looks wild even for a concept. Coming to a PlayStation4 game console near you.

Brunei Sultan’s Porsche on the block

A special 1995 Porsche 993 Turbo Cabriolet (above) once owned by the Sultan of Brunei, along with more than 80 classic and sports cars, will be put under the hammer by international auctioneers Coys at its Spirit of Motoring’ auction in London’s Royal Horticultural Halls on Tuesday. The car is one of only 14 of the 993 Turbo Cabriolets  produced and is the only right-handdrive example in existence.

It is estimated at £500,000 (S$900,000) to £700,000.

More from Mazda

Mazda will show off two concept models at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show on Oct 25. One is a new compression ignition petrol engine and the other, a compact hatchback  concept. Also to be displayed will be the CX-8, a new three-row crossover, as well as a special edition Mazda MX-5 Red Top.

New Rexton coming in December

SsangYong’s new Rexton flagship is slated to arrive in Singapore in December. It will have a 2-litre turbocharged engine paired with a six-speed Aisin autobox. The 4x4 inherits its DNA from three generations of Rexton and will have modern amenities such as Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, a high-definition 9.2-inch navigation screen and 3D all-round cameras.

Link-up for Renault’s electric vehicles

Renault is acquiring a 25 per cent share in Jedlix, a Dutch start-up launched by Eneco Group that specialises in smart and sustainable charging of electric vehicles. The alliance marks a key step forward in Renault’s ambition to become a major EV supplier. The two have been partners since 2015.

Breathalyser’s 50th year

The breathalyser has turned 50. First used by the British police on a motorist in Shropshire on Oct 8, 1967, it replaced the previous method of determining if a driver was drunk (whether he could touch his own nose with eyes shut, walk in a straight line or stand on one leg). Back then, there were 1,640 road fatalities attributed to alcohol.

Since the use of the breathalyser, there has been an eight-fold reduction in the number of deaths alongside a dramatic increase in car ownership.

But in England, 200 people a year still die in accidents where at least one driver is over the alcohol limit, according to the British Department for Transport. The department  found men were twice as likely as women to fail a breath test, a trend that was consistent across all age groups.

Correction note: This story has been updated for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2017, with the headline 'Fast lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe