Fast Lane

The Jeep 4Speed
The Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the revised C-class coupe and cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the revised C-class coupe and cabrioletPHOTOS: JEEP, MERCEDES-BENZ, VOLKSWAGEN
The Jaguar Epace sport utility vehicle
The Jaguar Epace sport utility vehiclePHOTOS: JEEP, MERCEDES-BENZ, VOLKSWAGEN

Jeep 4Speed a light,nimble ride

Jeep, a brand which is stubbornly conservative, has unveiled what it deems to be a bold concept. The Jeep 4Speed  bolsters the Wrangler's off-road capability and performance through extensive weight savings and showcases an all-new 2-litre turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed autobox.

Besides a carbon-fibre bonnet, high-clearance carbon-fibre wheel arches and carbon-fibre rear tub, the car is nearly 56cm shorter than the Wrangler. Its wheelbase, however, remains unchanged.

Bentley Bentayga stowage unit gets fingerprint security

Bentley is introducing capacitive fingerprint sensor technology with a secure stowage unit in the Bentayga. Developed by Bentley's personal commissioning division Mulliner, the fingerprint sensor is applied to a high-pressure die-cast aluminium stowage unit located in the cabin.

This discreet locker creates an ideal place to stow valuables while at the beach, on the ski slope or when utilising valet parking services.

Infiniti earns top honours in customer service study

Infiniti took the No. 1 spot in the latest JD Power 2018 Customer Service Index Study. Overall, the brand achieved a score of 876 on a 1,000-point scale - 48 points above the industry average and 14 points above the premium segment average.

The 2018 Customer Service Index Study includes ratings on five service-related factors to customer satisfaction: service adviser, vehicle pick-up, service facility, service quality and service initiation.

New Volkswagen engine said to cut fuel consumption

Volkswagen claims to have made a petrol engine that is as efficient as a diesel. With cylinder deactivation and complete shutdown during coasting, the new 1.5-litre TSI ACT BlueMotion has an output of 130hp and will be found across the Volkswagen range soon.

Volkswagen electric car to tackle Pikes Peak

Volkswagen will field an electric car for the Pikes Peak climb. The Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24 in Colorado, the United States. The four-wheel-drive sports car will tackle the 19.99km route from the start at 2,800m to the summit at 4,300m above sea level.

Volkswagen last entered the Pikes Peak hill climb in 1987 with a dual-engined 652hp Golf. But it did not win. "It is about time we settled the score," says Volkswagen motorsport director Sven Smeets.

Refreshed Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe and cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the revised C-class coupe and cabriolet, just weeks after it showed off the saloon. With cosmetic tweaks that accentuate the car's already curvaceous form and additional features to spice it up, the model should stay more relevant among two-doors.

More importantly, there will be new four-cylinder engines, some of which are equipped with a 48-volt micro-hybrid electric boost feature. And, as usual, there will be Mercedes-AMG C43 variants too. The cars should arrive by the fourth quarter of the year.

Audi and Global Bioenergies produce 60 litres of e-fuel

Audi is still pursuing its synthetic fuels ambition. In the case of its "e-benzin" (e-petrol), the Ingolstadt company, together with Global Bioenergies, has produced 60 litres of the "carbon-neutral" fuel, which is not crude oil-based and is compatible with existing infrastructure. It is currently produced from biomass and is free of sulphur and benzene, making it especially low in pollutants when it burns.

Range Rover Sport SVR breaks Ferrari 458 Italia's record

A sport utility vehicle is not meant to outperform a supercar, but that is exactly what happened when the new Range Rover Sport SVR took on a mountain road in China. Driven by Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung, the car set a record for negotiating 99 corners of the famous Tianmen Road on March 13, with a time of nine minutes and 51 seconds for the 11.3km ascent. This beat the previous best of 10 minutes and 31 seconds set by a Ferrari 458 Italia in 2016.

Jaguar's second SUV - the compact E-Pace - has landed

Authorised agent Wearnes is offering three variants of the Jaguar E-pace sport utility vehicle, all with a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 249hp to 300hp. Prices start at $193,999 to $232,999 with a certificate of entitlement.

Mazda's SkyActiv-X engine to rival electric powertrain in emission

Mazda says the average electric car emits about 128g/km of carbon dioxide, while a Mazda SkyActiv-G petrol model emits around 142g/km. In this "well-to-wheel" comparison, Mazda believes it can improve the internal combustion engine sufficiently to match electric vehicles. Its new SkyActiv-X engine - the world's first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition - is one such improvement.

This petrol engine, which behaves like a diesel, overcomes two issues that have, until now, impeded the commercialisation of compression ignition petrol engines - maximising the operating zone in which compression ignition is possible and achieving a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition.

Mazda, however, will still join the electrification race. It will have an electric vehicle and micro-hybrid by next year and a plug-in hybrid in 2025.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe