Fast lane

Monster 821 (above).

Ducati's Monster 821 first of five new models

Providing a sneak peek at next year, Ducati has rolled out the first of five new models - the Monster 821.

The iconic naked motorcycle from Borgo Panigale is presented in an updated version to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original model. The 821 inherits all the character and charm of the first Monster 900 - the model that injected new life in the naked racers' segment - by combining high performance, agility and rider-friendliness.

It has features found in the Monster 1200: a sleek, streamlined design with completely redesigned tank and tail end. Other features include a new racing silencer and headlight, and a colour TFT display.

New Kia SUV comes to Singapore next year

Kia has launched the Stonic compact SUV (pictured) in Europe.

Slated to arrive in Singapore around the third quarter of next year, the Stonic will have a range of efficient engines, including a 1-litre turbocharged direct injection unit delivering 118bhp; a 1.4-litre multi-point injection naturally aspirated 98bhp unit; as well as a 108bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel.

All versions are paired with a six-speed manual transmission and are front-wheel drive.

Singapore, however, will have an automatic gearbox. The 1-litre engine develops an impressive 171Nm of torque across a wide rev band starting at 1,500rpm.

It sends the Stonic to 100kmh in under 10 seconds.

First airbag system for sunroofs

Hyundai Mobis, South Korea's largest auto parts maker, has developed the world's first airbag system for sunroofs.

Quoting South Korea's Yonhap news agency, Bernama reported that the system is mainly for panoramic sunroofs in sport-utility vehicles to minimise head injuries in rollovers.

The development will help Hyundai Mobis tap a market worth an estimated 6 trillion won (S$7.2 billion). The market is expected to grow by an average of 11 per cent a year by 2022 as global demand for SUVs is on the rise.

It takes 0.08 seconds for the airbag system for a sunroof to go off.

Lighter, stronger Aston Martin DB11 Volante

Joining the DB11 Coupe, which was launched last year, is the new Aston Martin DB11 Volante (above).

Powered by a 4-litre twin-turbo 510bhp V8, the car is built around a bonded aluminium structure first seen in the DB11 Coupe.

Lighter and more rigid than the model it replaces, the DB11 Volante promises to deliver a broader envelope of abilities via three driving modes.

It comes with an eight-speed autobox and a limited-slip differential with dynamic torque vectoring.

Polestar 1 to launch in 2019

It seems everybody wants to start a sub-brand. Polestar (above), Volvo Car's performance arm, has revealed its first model - a hybrid grand tourer and the first of three Polestars rolling out in the next few years.

To be built at a new Chinese plant, the 600bhp Polestar 1 will be ready by mid-2019. The two-door 2+2 has an internal combustion engine paired with an electric motor. It promises an electric range of 150km - the longest of any plug-in hybrid today. It will have a mind-boggling 1,000Nm of torque.

Volvo Cars and its parent group Geely Holding are investing an initial 5 billion yuan (S$1 billion) on the Polestar project.

Brisk EV sales for BMW

BMW Group's sales of electrified vehicles in the first three quarters of this year have exceeded those achieved in the whole of last year.

According to the company, electrified sales topped the 10,000 mark last month - setting a record for a single month.

With its line-up already totalling nine models, 10,786 (an additional 50.5 per cent) BMW i, BMW iPerformance and Mini Electric vehicles were delivered last month worldwide, bringing the year-to-date total to 68,687 (an additional 64.2 per cent).

Volvo's new electric bus

Volvo has launched a new electric bus. The 7900 Electric is a two-axle 12m city bus with low floor and three doors. It is said to consume 80 per cent less energy than an equivalent diesel bus. Battery capacity ranges from 150 to 250kWh, with an operating range of up to 200km.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Fast lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe