Fast Lane: Named for elegance and sportiness

Named for elegance and sportiness
Named for elegance and sportinessPHOTO: FERRARI
Wider engine range for Mercedes-Benz GLA
Wider engine range for Mercedes-Benz GLAPHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ
More aerodynamic Ghibli
More aerodynamic GhibliPHOTO: MASERATI
Lighter Cayenne
Lighter CayennePHOTO: PORSCHE
An edgier Volvo
An edgier VolvoPHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
Torque's first night out
Torque's first night outPHOTO: TORQUE
Kia to get new body type
Kia to get new body typePHOTO: KIA

Named for elegance and sportiness

Behold the Ferrari Portofino, successor to the entry-level California T. The drop-top V8 is named after a town renowned for its charming tourist port and, over the years, has become internationally synonymous with elegance, sportiness and understated luxury. With 600bhp, it hits 100kmh in 3.5 seconds. It offers two rear seats suitable for passengers on short trips.


Wider engine range for Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes-Benz launched the facelifted GLA last Friday. It looks a tad more rugged and comes with a wider range of engines. Top of the range is the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4Matic, which promises improved driving dynamics and driving stability. Prices range from $166,888 for the GLA180 to $277,888 for the all-wheel-drive GLA45 4Matic.


More aerodynamic Ghibli

Maserati's new Ghibli GranLusso was revealed at the Chengdu Motor Show on Aug 25. It features a new front bumper with dedicated chrome inserts and new front grille with chrome bars, in line with the latest Maserati design signature. The new styling contributes to "a substantial improvement" in aerodynamics. It comes with adaptive LED headlights with glare-free high beam.


Lighter Cayenne

Porsche has unveiled the new Cayenne. The third-generation SUV is up to 65kg lighter and will be powered initially by two six-cylinder petrol engines, both mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox. A 3-litre turbo V6 makes 340bhp, 40 more than its predecessor, while a 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 churns out 440bhp (+20). The latter propels the Cayenne S to 100kmh in under five seconds and onto a top speed of 265kmh. The new Cayenne is based heavily on the 911 sports car. For the first time, the SUV has mixed tyres and rear-axle steering. The car will be available to order in Singapore later this year.


An edgier Volvo

Volvo's new XC60 has arrived and it looks to be the sportiest, most stylish and best equipped crossover in its segment. About the size of its predecessor, but boasting an edgier design, the car comes with a slew of safety and semi-autonomous features. The first variant available is the 320bhp T6 R-Design priced at $258,000. A254bhp T5 will follow next month and is expected to be around $228,000. Both are equipped with an eight-speed autobox.


Torque's first night out

Torque, Singapore's leading motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines, held its Torque On The Move 2017 Night Edition on Aug 26. The eighth edition of its annual automotive telematch was the first to be held at night and was inspired by the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race. It was flagged off at Singapore's newest and largest automobile hub Carros Centre.

Sixty pairs of participants had to decipher clues to find four checkpoints called Torque Junctions. The teams found themselves bowling with a tyre at the Bridgestone junction, swinging away at HomeRun Baseball and solving Motul jigsaw puzzles at yet another Torque Junction location. There were also late-night activities in the bonus challenges - participants had to seek out 24-hour F&B outlets, nightspots and "the scariest place in Singapore".


Bosch's auto-brake with cyclist detection

Bosch has launched a new predictive emergency braking system with cyclist detection which can automatically bring the car to a full stop from 40kmh. As soon as an imminent collision is detected, the Bosch iBooster initiates full braking in just 190 milliseconds (blinking twice takes longer).

The components maker has also unveiled an exit warning, which can detect other road users who are approaching from the rear or who are already to the side or rear of the car, and promptly warn drivers before they open their door.


Unlock car with phone

Your phone as car key? Bosch hopes to deliver such a feature soon. With it, car owners can also use an app to give other drivers permission to use their vehicles. An additional virtual key will then be sent via the cloud to other smartphones, allowing providers of car-sharing services and fleet operators to manage access and keys flexibly.

In such a device, the car door unlocks once the driver is less than 2m away. As soon as the vehicle has been unlocked, any predetermined individual settings, such as those for the rear-view mirror and seat position, are activated. Likewise, once the driver and phone have left the car and moved more than 2m away, the car locks up.


Removable private-hire decal case dropped

Police and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) have stopped pursuing the case of a Carousell seller who advertised a removable private-hire decal for sale last month.

"As the seller had removed the Carousell post and no evidence was found of transactions taking place, the police and LTA will not be investigating the case further," an LTA spokesman said. "LTA takes a serious view of any attempt to forge or tamper with the private-hire car decal and will take action against any person doing so."


Kia to get new body type

Kia will show off a new concept, which the next Cee'd will be based on, at the Frankfurt Motor Show this month. It will represent a new body type for Kia. Styled at Kia's European design centre in Frankfurt, just 500m from where it will be unveiled, the "extended hot hatch" combines its striking visual presence with real-world versatility.


Audi to offer solar cells for sunroofs

Audi and Alta Devices, a subsidiary of Chinese solar-cell specialist Hanergy, are working together on a project to equip sunroofs with thin-film solar cells. The first prototype is to be built by the end of this year.

In the future, Audi aims to cover almost the entire roof surface with solar cells. The electricity they generate can power, for example, the air-conditioning system. At a later stage, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery of Audi's electric cars.


People wary of autonomous vehicles

According to tech research firm Gartner, there will be multiple launches of autonomous vehicles around 2020, but most consumers are still cautious about them. In a poll of 1,519 people in the United States and Germany, it was found that 55 per cent will not consider riding in a fully autonomous vehicle, while 71 per cent may consider riding in a partially autonomous vehicle. Respondents, however, agree that these vehicles offer advantages, including safe transportation when drivers are tired.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2017, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe