Fast lane

Lexus LS (above).
Lexus LS (above).PHOTOS: AUDI, BMW, CHRISTOPHER TAN, FORD, MCLAREN, VOLVO

New Lexus LS to come in three variants

The well-heeled will have one more car to consider from the first quarter of next year, when the new Lexus LS arrives.

Looking quite unlike any LS before it, the latest flagship will be in three variants, all with a 3.5-litre V6 mated to a 10-speed autobox.

An LS500 with twin-turbos delivering 415bhp takes top spot, followed by a normally aspirated LS350 with 311bhp and an LS500h hybrid with 354bhp.

Prices are expected to be more competitive than previous LS line-ups.


Auto megamart opens

Carros Centre, Singapore's largest automotive hub, will be staging a Sunday Carmart tomorrow for buyers and sellers of used cars. For a nominal fee, used-car owners can display their vehicles for sale.

The event is held in conjunction with Heat 2 of the popular European Mobile Media Association (EMMA) in-car entertainment competition and the EMMA Style Show, a showcase for the latest automotive aesthetics products and modification parts. There will also be a Honda Civic Fest.

The venue is 60 Jalan Lam Huat and the event is from 10am to 6pm. Admission and parking are free.


Fuel cell hybrid trucks

By 2021, American hybrid truck- maker Nikola Motor Co will bring to the market the Nikola One and Two, a class 8 hydrogen-electric truck line-up that will deliver more than 1,000 horsepower and over 2,700Nm of torque - nearly double the horsepower of any semi-truck on the road.

Built with Bosch's eAxle electrical platform, it will be the world's first true dual-motor commercial vehicle for a long-haul truck. It will be paired with a custom-designed fuel cell system - jointly developed by Nikola and Bosch - designed to deliver benchmark vehicle range.


Ford Focus RS offers Drift Mode

The Ford Focus RS Edition (above) features unique styling, including signature Nitrous Blue paintwork with black exterior details, two-tone seats and carbon-fibre trim.

Equipped with a 2.3-litre 350bhp turbo engine, all-wheel-drive and a mechanical limited slip differential for the front axle, the pocket rocket promises flawless blast-offs.

The car's drive modes include an industry-first Drift Mode for controlled oversteer drifts under circuit conditions and Launch Control for a century sprint of 4.7 seconds.


BMW has largest line-up of plug-in hybrids

BMW has introduced the biggest line-up of plug-in hybrids here.

The cars are the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, BMW 330e (above), BMW 530e, BMW 740Le xDrive and BMW X5 xDrive40e. In addition, the longer range BMW i3 is also available here now.

All iPerformance models allow tailpipe emission-free driving without compromising on driving pleasure. This is because their lithium batteries, when fully charged via wall-mounted outlets, provide enough range for most commutes here. But, when needed, their petrol engines are called upon immediately.

The BMW line-up is the widest range of its kind here.


Singaporean wins Ferrari race

Singapore racer Ringo Chong's double-podium victory at the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific race was slightly overlooked at last weekend's drama-filled F1 Grand Prix here.

In a line-up of 29 competitors, Mr Chong, a 51-year-old veteran, led from start to finish on both Saturday and Sunday (Race 1 and Race 2). In his Ferrari 488 Challenge, he outpaced world-class drivers at the 23-turn Marina Bay street circuit, which is notoriously difficult for overtaking.

"It was a dream come true," says the jubilant Singaporean. "I am not only honoured, but also especially proud that it's a win for Singapore and on home ground too."


A futuristic McLaren for new Gran Turismo video game

McLaren has created an Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo (above) for the new Playstation Gran Turismo Sport video game.

Created in response to calls for "unique, visionary GT cars" by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi, the car provides a peek at what McLarens might look like in 2030 and beyond.

Featuring Integrated Active Aero features and a prone driving position, the 1,150bhp hybrid racer will debut in the game, which will be available from Oct 17.


Easy phone calls on the go

Audi's new Audi A5 Cabriolet (above) comes with seat-belt microphones and an acoustic hood for convenient phone conversations on the go.

Why anyone would want to talk on the phone while in this beautiful open-top is puzzling, though.

Priced at $245,621, the car allows for easy roof operation. Just a quick pull of a switch is all it takes to automatically open the soft top fully in 15 seconds or close it in 18 seconds - even while driving at speeds of up to 50kmh.


New Volvo crossover

The new XC40 (above) completes Volvo's line-up of three crossovers. It is built on a new modular platform co-developed with Chinese owner Geely.

The car will initially be available with a D4 turbodiesel or a T5 petrol four-cylinder engine. A hybrid version and a pure electric version will follow.

The XC40 will also be the first Volvo to be available with Volvo Cars' new three-cylinder engine.

It will be built in Ghent, Belgium.

Christopher Tan, with additional reporting by Lionel Seah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Fast lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe