Fast Lane

405-horsepower 5-litre V8 Defender
Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept – a full-size sport utility vehicle
Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept – a full-size sport utility vehiclePHOTOS: BENTLEY, LAND ROVER, LEXUS, MERCEDES, REUTERS
Mercedes-AMG E-class Coupe
Bentley Bentayga
Mercedes-Benz G-class

Land Rover pays tribute to V8 engine 

Land Rover is marking its 70th year with the unveiling of a 405-horsepower 5-litre V8 Defender. The most powerful and fastest Land Rover, the car is said to clock a century sprint of under six seconds and a top speed of close to 170kmh - very quick for an offroad-dedicated vehicle.

The Defender Works V8 pays homage to the early high-powered engines in the Series III Stage 1 V8 from 1979.

Lexus's big, bold SUV concept

Behold the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept - a full-size sport utility vehicle measuring 5,014mm by 1,986mm, and with a wheelbase of 2,974mm that rivals a limousine. Going by the LC500, which started out as a concept, the LF-1 should reach showrooms by 2020.

The flagship crossover will boast the latest tech, with options of a fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, petrol and all-electric drivetrain. By around 2025, every Lexus model will be available either as a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option. The rear-wheel-drive LF-1, with its aggressive 22-inch wheels, will be the first to offer this option.

New Mercedes-AMG 53-series models 

Mercedes-AMG is extending its product range with the addition of three new models and, at the same time, introducing a new model designation: the 53-series variant of the CLS, E-class Coupe and E-class Cabriolet.

The cars are powered by a new 3-litre engine featuring twin-turbocharging and an electric auxiliary compressor. The inline-six engine generates 435hp and 520Nm of torque. Its EQ Boost starter-alternator momentarily provides an additional 16kW and 250Nm of torque.

Distinguishing features of the new 53-series models include a twin-blade radiator grille, front apron in A-wing design and AMG side sill panels.

Nissan and Nasa join forces 

Nissan has tied up with American space agency Nasa to work on autonomous technology. Nasa Ames Research Centre in California's Silicon Valley will collaborate with the Japanese carmaker on research and technology development for future autonomous mobility services.

The duo will launch a working demonstration in Silicon Valley by next year. Under a five-year partnership, researchers from Nissan Research Centre in Silicon Valley and Nasa Ames will work towards integrating driverless vehicles "safely and seamlessly" into existing urban environments.

Infiniti to go electric 

Infiniti will offer electrified powertrains from 2021. Battery-powered models will comprise more than half of the premium brand's global sales by 2025.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance company's e-Power technology will feature a small petrol engine that charges a high-output battery, eliminating the need for an external charging source, providing the convenience of re-fuelling with petrol, while offering the same driving experience as a pure electric vehicle.

Bentley Bentayga to compete at Pikes Peak 

The Bentley Bentayga has entered the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The "race to the clouds" takes place in Colorado on June 24.

It will be Bentley's maiden Pikes Peak challenge and may allow the overweight all-wheel-drive bearing the name of a track-bred luxury brand to scale new heights.

Nissan promotes solar energy

Nissan is doing a Tesla. Its solar panel unit has started selling solar panels for homes in Britain. Nissan Energy Solar's solution allows users to store excess energy for use at night - including charging their Nissan Leaf on cloudy days.

Toyota is still the best-selling car brand

Toyota has again emerged as Singapore's best-selling car brand, with 19,133 new vehicles registered last year.

According to Land Transport Authority figures, Toyota stayed ahead of Honda, which had 16,013 cars registered. Mazda was third with 8,509 cars, followed by Mercedes-Benz with 7,976 units. BMW came in fourth with 5,591 units.

Outside of the top five, Audi and Volvo stood out. Luxury brand Audi sold 2,604 cars, outstripping for the firt time its mass market sibling Volkswagen, which had 2,450 new registrations. Volvo had a record year with 1,526 cars sold. All figures include parallel imports.

A more powerful Mercedes-Benz G-class

The new Mercedes-Benz G-class has all the values of the thoroughbred offroad model intact. But it has a new suspension, dynamic select driving modes and, of course, a true offroad mode. Bigger all round than its predecessor, it will be powered by a 4-litre V8 biturbo engine with 422hp and a maximum torque of 610Nm from 2,000rpm.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2018, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe