Fast Lane: New Mercedes-AMGE43

Jeep Comanche
Jeep Comanche PHOTO: JEEP
Mini One D Clubman
Mini One D ClubmanPHOTO: MINI
Astra Sports Tourer
Astra Sports TourerPHOTO: OPEL

New Mercedes-AMGE43

Hot on the heels of the new Mercedes-Benz E-class is the Mercedes-AMGE43.

Powered by a 401bhp 3-litre biturbo V6 that accelerates to 100kmh in 4.6 seconds and a regulated top speed of 250kmh, it will go on sale in Germany in September and in Singapore next year.

New Ducati distributor

Ducatisti SG has taken over the Ducati distributorship in Singapore from Minerva, which has held the franchise for three decades.

Owned by the sole agent for Ducati in Thailand, the new franchisee aims to at least double sales. According to Land Transport Authority figures, Ducati sold 109 bikes here last year – its lowest number since 2009.

Fewer vehicles stolen

Vehicle theft fell for the second consecutive year to 325 cases last year, down from 350 and 441 in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

The General Insurance Association says the figures include Singapore vehicles stolen overseas.

Accidents involving foreign vehicles have also fallen – from 4,252 in 2014 to 3,766 last year. The association attributes this to local drivers taking a more defensive stance when foreign vehicles are in the vicinity.

Total accident reports have not eased though. Last year, 148,194 accident reports were filed, down from 150,332 in 2014. But as a percentage of vehicle population, both stood at 15.5 per cent.

New Civic engine for Atom

Honda and Ariel Motor Co have renewed their exclusive engine supply deal for the Atom and the new off road Nomad.

A new supercharged Civic Type R engine with up to 350bhp will send the Atom to 100kmh in about 2.7 seconds and on to a top speed of more than 250kmh.

Jeep unveils Comanche

The Jeep Comanche is among seven concept models unveiled at the Jeep Safari in Utah starting this weekend.

Based on the Jeep Renegade, the Comanche is a nod to Jeep pick-up trucks of years past. Its wheelbase has been stretched by around 15cm to accommodate a 2m flat bed.

The truck is powered by a 2-litre turbo diesel mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Lock, which includes low range and a locking rear differential.

Basic Clubman

Mini has unveiled a utilitarian version of its new Clubman.

The Mini One D Clubman is driven by a 1.5-litre three cylinder turbo diesel engine. It has 116bhp and 270Nm at its disposal, and reaches 100kmh in 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 191kmh.

With a CO2 emission of 99g/km, it would qualify for a $15,000 carbon rebate if it arrives here.

Tourer with more room

Opel’s new Astra Sports Tourer might give the latest Audi A4Avant a run for its money.

About the same size as its predecessor but up to 190kg lighter, the Opel wagon looks promising at first glance.

Its sharper styling aside, the car is roomier than before. The driver gets 26mm of additional headroom and passengers in the rear have 28mm more legroom. The car can also take up to three child seats in the rear and can carry up to 1,630 litres of luggage.

A probable engine for Singapore would be a 200bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection with 300Nmof torque.

It sends the Tourer to 100kmh in about 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 234kmh.

GM buys over self-driving vehicle start-up

General Motors is acquiring Cruise Automation, a San Francisco self driving vehicle start-up, Reuters reported.

Neither party revealed the value of the deal, but technology website Re/Code cited sources as saying GM paid US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion).

GM intends to use Cruise’s technology and people to accelerate its effort to develop vehicles that can operate without a human driver, potentially as part of ride-sharing fleets “as soon as possible”, GM president Dan Ammann said in an interview.

Cruise founder Kyle Vogt recently controlled an AudiA4 with a game console.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2016, with the headline 'Fast Lane: New Mercedes-AMGE43'. Print Edition | Subscribe