Fast Lane: Audi’s range-topping turbodiesel SUV

Audi SQ8.
Audi SQ8.PHOTO: AUDI
Electrifying ice-cream van.
Electrifying ice-cream van.PHOTO: NISSAN
Get local coffee at a Shell station.
Get local coffee at a Shell station.PHOTO: SHELL SELECT
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.PHOTO: PORSCHE
Porsche 718 Spyder.
Porsche 718 Spyder.PHOTO: PORSCHE
Citroen C5 Aircross.
Citroen C5 Aircross.PHOTO: CITROEN
Ford Puma.
Ford Puma.PHOTO: FORD
Honda’s facelifted Civic.
Honda’s facelifted Civic.PHOTO: HONDA

Audi's range-topping turbodiesel SUVDiesel is not quite dead yet.

Audi has just announced a range-topping turbodiesel SUV with 435hp and 900Nm of torque. The SQ8 is powered by a 4-litre turbodiesel V8 with two turbochargers. It is the most powerful diesel on the European market. The SQ8 TDI will have active roll stabilisation, all-wheel steering and sport differential. It goes from zero to 100km in 4.8 seconds, with top speed restricted to 248kmh. There are no plans to bring it to Singapore yet.

Japanese carmakers tie up with SoftBank in self-driving car project

A self-driving car joint venture between SoftBank and Toyota Motor will receive investment from five Japanese automakers, Reuters reported. Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Isuzu and Toyota unit Daihatsu will each take a stake in the venture called Monet. Announced last October, Monet has already received investments from Honda Motor and Toyota’s truck-making subsidiary Hino. SoftBank is the largest shareholder with a 40.2 per cent share, with Toyota owning 39.8 per cent.

Electrifying ice-cream van

Nissan has taken the ICE (internal combustion engine) out of the ice-cream van, creating an all-electric, zeroemission concept. Nissan partnered Mackie’s of Scotland, a family-owned ice-cream producer, to make the dessert more guilt-free. Most ice-cream vans, particularly older models, have diesel engines which are kept running to operate the refrigeration equipment. These motors are criticised for producing harmful emissions, including black carbon, when left idling. The prototype van is based on the e-NV200, Nissan’s electric light commercial vehicle.

Nissan’s Leaf gets longer range

Nissan has unveiled a range-topping Leaf e+. It has 217hp and 340Nm on tap and a driving range of 383km. Its 62kWh battery pack offers 55 per cent more capacity and approximately 25 per cent improvement in energy density, while retaining a similar shape and size as the 40kWh pack. Other than a 5mm increase in the car’s overall height (based on 16-inch wheels), the car’s dimensions are unchanged.

Get local coffee at a Shell station

A vending machine which dispenses local coffee with roasted beans ground on the spot? And why not? Shell has rolled out this concept at more than 10 of its stations, while its Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim station has a Ya Kun Kaya Toast counter. The oil giant is revamping its station network, with an emphasis on rebranding its Shell Select convenience store. All 57 stations will be revamped by the end of next year.

Porsche’s new Spyder and Cayman

Porsche has introduced the 718 Spyder and 718 Cayman GT4. For the first time, both cars share a technical base, including a 4-litre six-cylinder naturally aspirated engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The boxer engine generates 420hp in both models.

While the GT4 represents the entry- level GT road model from Porsche, the Spyder offers opentop adventures.

New Citroen C5 Aircross is here

The new Citroen C5 Aircross has landed. It offers a best-in-class boot capacity of 580 litres, three individual rear seats and a suspension with progressive hydraulic cushions. The cushions slow down rebound movement to avoid sudden jolts. Powered by a 180hp 1.6-litre turbo paired with an eight-speed gearbox, the C5 Aircross is perky, smooth and efficient. Prices start at $132,999.

Ford runs with Puma

Ford has unveiled a new compact crossover: the Puma. Powered by a 155hp 1-litre three-cylinder turbo engine with 48-volt mild-hybrid system, the Puma is the first new model to see light of day since the American company announced it was paring down its car line-up last year. With distinctive wing-top mounted headlamps and a 456-litre cargo area, the Puma is positioned to jostle in the hotly contested small-SUV segment. There is no news of its availability here.

Civic gets a fin antenna

Honda’s facelifted Civic has arrived. Changes are mostly cosmetic, with retractable mirrors, chrome garnishes on the fog lamp housing and rear bumper, and the addition of a fin antenna. Inside, the infotainment set gets more switches and an improved Bluetooth system. The cabin gets a lift from dark brown accent panelling. The 1.5-litre turbo variant goes for $118,999, while the 1.6-litre non-turbo starts at $90,999.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2019, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe