Fast Lane

M850i
M850iPHOTOS: AUDI, BMW, DUCATI, PORSCHE, SKODA
Ducati MIG-RR
Ducati MIG-RRPHOTOS: AUDI, BMW, DUCATI, PORSCHE, SKODA
Audi RSQ e-tron
Audi RSQ e-tronPHOTOS: AUDI, BMW, DUCATI, PORSCHE, SKODA
Skoda Karoq
Skoda KaroqPHOTOS: AUDI, BMW, DUCATI, PORSCHE, SKODA
Porsche's eighth-generation 911
Porsche's eighth-generation 911 PHOTOS: AUDI, BMW, DUCATI, PORSCHE, SKODA

BMW 8-series convertible unveiled

With its 8-series coupe still warm from the oven, BMW has revealed its topless twin. The 8-series convertible comes in two versions: a V8 petrol and a six-cylinder diesel.

The V8 is the more likely version headed for Singapore. It goes into the M850i, with 530hp going to all four wheels. The big cabrio's roof opens and closes in 15 seconds and can be operated when the car is moving at up to 50kmh. The car is about the same size as the coupe and has "only a small number of additional convertible-specific and weight-increasing measures".


Ford's new lighting technology for safer night-time driving

Ford's all-new Focus is the first car to read road signs and lane markings and match its headlight beams to what lies ahead or even around the corner.

The system is designed to better illuminate cyclists and pedestrians at junctions and roundabouts and will respond more quickly than relying on driver steering inputs to support safer night-time driving. The system also avoids reliance on the Global Positioning System that may not accurately reflect changes to road layouts. The car will illuminate curves ahead before the driver needs to turn .


Hyundai invests in computer vision start-up

Hyundai Cradle, Hyundai Motor's corporate venturing and open innovation business, has invested in Allegro.AI, a technology company specialising in deep learning.

The partnership will allow Hyundai to speed up deployment of AI technology in many business areas. Allegro.AI's platform simplifies the process of developing and managing deep learning-powered solutions, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, security and logistics.


New Scania trucks more fuel-efficient

Scania has launched a new line of trucks in Singapore. The New Truck Generation is the result of 10 years of development work, involving the company's largest investment of about 20 billion krona (S$3.1 billion) and more than 10 million kilometres of test driving.

The new trucks are said to be 5 per cent more fuel-efficient than the preceding line. They are also equipped with exhaust treatment to neutralise nitrogen oxides, which diesel engines tend to emit more of.


Ducati to launch electric mountain bike next year

The Ducati MIG-RR is an enduro electrically assisted mountain bike from the famed Italian motorcycle marque. It is a collaboration between Ducati and Thok Ebikes. It will be available in Ducati stores across Europe from spring next year. E-mountain bikes allow cyclists to take on climbs that, without the motor boost, would not be possible.


BMW provides electric i3 for The Ocean Cleanup initiative

Since 2013, Dutch student Boyan Slat has been working on a dream to rid the Pacific Ocean of large amounts of waste plastic. During that time, the 24-year-old has become famous for his The Ocean Cleanup initiative.

During an event in San Francisco this week, BMW supplied his team with an electric i3. In September, three of the electric cars were also delivered to The Ocean Cleanup office in Rotterdam.


Audi concept to hit the big screen

The fictional Audi RSQ e-tron will be the first Audi concept to feature in an animated movie. Created for Twentieth Century Fox's Spies In Disguise, the electric racer "combines automated driving with artificial intelligence and transformational technology".

The RSQ e-tron will be driven by super-spy Lance Sterling, voiced by Will Smith. With a hologram speedometer and fully automated driving technology, the two-seater "embodies the visionary design language" of Audi. The film will be released in September next year.


First Alfa Romeo SUV available in Singapore

Alfa Romeo's Stelvio is here. The Italian marque's first sport utility vehicle (SUV) will be offered as a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder making 200hp and 330Nm of torque. Power goes to all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission. The century sprint is accomplished in 7.2 seconds and velocity peaks at 215kmh. It comes with all the comforts associated with modern models, giving Alfa a credible stab at the exploding SUV segment. It is expected to be priced around $238,000 with the certificate of entitlement.


Skoda Karoq has landed

The Skoda Karoq is here. The compact sport utility vehicle measures 4.382m by 1.841m and sits 1.603m tall, with a wheelbase of 2.638m. The version here is a top-of-the-range 150hp 1.5-litre turbo mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It comes with cylinder shutdown for extra efficiency. Its flexible seating offers up to 1,810 litres of boot capacity, up from 521 litres when all seats are up. It has four driving modes and a slew of driving and safety aids.


Electric cars powered by water-based fuel

Australian-Israeli start-up Electriq-Global, formerly known as Terragenic, is launching a water-based fuel to power electric vehicles. The system runs on a liquid fuel which is 60 per cent water. It reacts with a catalyst to release hydrogen on demand. The gas is then used to generate electricity. The spent fuel is sent back to a plant where it is replenished with hydrogen and water for re-use.

The company announced this at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv this week. It said electric buses powered by batteries provided a range of 250km and required up to 300 minutes to recharge, whereas buses powered by its fuel will provide a range of 1,000km and could be refuelled in five minutes.


Porsche GT2 RS MR is fastest road-legal car 

Porsche has set another record on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife. On Oct 25, its GT2 RS MR with 700hp completed a lap of the 20.6km circuit in six minutes and 40.3 seconds. No other road-legal vehicle has ever been so fast.

Porsche test driver Lars Kern was at the wheel of the sports car, which was set up for the challenge with the help of Manthey-Racing experts.


New 911 due next year

Porsche's eighth-generation 911 is all set for a European debut early next year.

The car is undergoing final testing around the globe - shuttling between climate zones with temperature differences of up to 85 deg C, sprinting across elevation changes spanning more than 4km and enduring traffic jams in major cities.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2018, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe