Fast Lane: New, sleeker Prius

Toyota's latest Prius hybrid sheds its geeky outline to adopt a sleeker form.
Toyota's latest Prius hybrid sheds its geeky outline to adopt a sleeker form.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

New, sleeker Prius

Toyota's latest Prius hybrid sheds its geeky outline to adopt a sleeker form. Expected to arrive here by the first quarter next year, the fourth-generation petrol-electric model also boasts more intelligent technology, reported Agence France-Presse.

Its new shape is designed to win over buyers who want efficiency without sacrificing looks. The new car is noticeably longer and slightly wider and lower than the current one. It is expected to be 10 per cent more frugal too.

Racing in your home

Want the thrills of racing without the spills? How about an Evotek simulator, a sleek and high-tech piece of machinery that lets you tackle a series of tracks around the world without leaving your den. The realistic Sym 027 model is yours for about $100,000 (no COE required), from JSD Group, which has the Evotek distributorship for Asia, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

More joint projects

Daimler and Renault-Nissan will deepen their cooperation. Their original joint project portfolio has more than quadrupled to 13 projects. The most recent result of their cooperation is the new Infiniti Q30, which is based on the Mercedes-Benz A-class. Production starts later this year. Electric versions of new Smart Fortwo and Forfour will be powered by Renault electric motors.



Bigger but lighter Civic

Honda's 10th-generation Civic (left) has just been revealed in Detroit, looking sleek and sporty. The car is wider, longer and its wheelbase has been extended. Yet, it is said to be lighter than the current model. The engine variant to look out for will be the 1.5-litre turbo, mated to a continuously variable transmission. The car will be available as a sedan first, followed by a hotter-looking hatch. The bad news is that fans in Singapore will have to wait till the second half of next year to get their hands on the car. The good news is that COE prices should be noticeably lower by then.


New Monster from Ducati

Ducati's new Monster 1200R (left) will have 160bhp on tap from an "R" version of its Testastretta twin-cylinder engine. The engine powers a revised chassis to ensure maximum effect and rideability, the Audi-owned bike-maker says. In addition, it gets a brand new design for its tail and front section. It should arrive in Singapore by the second half of next year.


New TT Roadster arrives

Audi's new TT Roadster (left) has arrived. At 4,177mm, the two-seater convertible is 21mm shorter than its predecessor. The wheelbase, on the other hand, has grown by 37mm to 2,505mm. Hence its overhangs are correspondingly shorter.

At 1,832mm door to door, it is 10mm narrower. With the top up, it has a commendable drag-coefficient of 0.30. The TT Roadster 2.0TFSI quattro costs $265,700 with COE.


Bugatti's new concept

Volkswagen-owned Bugatti has unveiled a life-sized concept (above) that is based on a digital model it unveiled two weeks ago. The outrageous Vision Gran Turismo is said to be the template for Bugatti's next real-life product. Bugatti says based on computer simulations, the car is capable of exceeding 400kmh on four straight stretches of the Le Mans circuit.

New power fuel

Shell claims its newly launched V-Power Nitro+ contains at least 99 per cent of the compounds found in the fuel it supplies to the Ferrari F1 team. The oil giant says the newly branded fuel has more friction reduction properties than the V-Power it replaces.

It is priced the same as V-Power and remains the costliest fuel here.

Cheaper, better batteries

German components maker Bosch says it is on track to introduce a battery system that will more than double the range of electric cars in five years' time.

With new solid-state cells, Bosch adds that the technology will be cheaper than current systems. Its recent acquisition of the United States start-up Seeo Inc - which specialises in lithium batteries - will help make this possible, Bosch says.


McLaren 675LT is here

The McLaren 675LT coupe (left) is here, with prices starting from $1,475,000 before COE. Limited to only 500 units worldwide, the Long Tail has a familiar 3.8-litre twin- turbocharged V8 with a diabolical output of 666bhp and 700Nm. It weighs only 1,230kg, and hence has a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio of 541.5bhp/tonne. It sprints from zero to 100kmh in 2.9 seconds, and to 200kmh in 7.9 seconds. Top speed is 330kmh.

Electric Rolls-Royce?

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is considering an electric model to meet stricter emission laws in the future. Chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said the BMW-owned marque would make a battery-powered model if technology allowed the car to have the range and performance "that is acceptable to our customers", Bloomberg reported.

Five years ago, Rolls-Royce conducted a roadshow with its experimental electric 102EX; and top executives have always maintained that an electric model would be more in line with Rolls-Royce's image than a diesel variant.

Going for low emission

Jaguar Land Rover has revealed an electric drive technology that could be used to create future low- and zero-emissions vehicles.

In three recent research projects, the group's high performance, modular electric drive module - developed in-house - produced twice the power and torque of any electric motor-generator in production today. These can be inserted between any engine and transmission to create an instant hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

The experiment is the result of a two-year £16.3 million (S$35.3 million) research project partly funded by Britain's innovation agency.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - CTFAST19'. Print Edition | Subscribe