Fast Lane: Renault Koleos gets new engines

Renault Koleos gets new engines.
Renault Koleos gets new engines.PHOTO: RENAULT
BMW 3-series Touring.
BMW 3-series Touring.PHOTO: BMW
Mitsubishi’s reworked ASX.
Mitsubishi’s reworked ASX.PHOTO: MITSUBISHI
Volvo, Uber unveil production-ready self-driving car.
Volvo, Uber unveil production-ready self-driving car.PHOTO: VOLVO
Skoda’s China-specific city crossover, the Vision GT
Skoda Vision GT.PHOTO: SKODA
Kia Niro EV.
Kia Niro EV.PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
Honda Mean Mower V2.
Honda Mean Mower V2.PHOTO: HONDA
Jaguar has made a limited-run edition of its XE SV Project 8.
Jaguar has made a limited-run edition of its XE SV Project 8.PHOTO: JAGUAR

Renault Koleos gets new engines

The latest version of Renault's flagship sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Koleos, is powered by a choice of two new turbodiesel engines. With a refreshed exterior and upgraded infotainment system, the Koleos competes with its Nissan twin, the X-Trail.

It comes with a suite of advanced safety technologies, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. As an SUV, it has high ground clearance and four-wheel-drive.

Mercedes-AMG's 4-cylinder 421hp engine is world's most powerful

A 2-litre Mercedes-AMG engine with 421hp has emerged as the world's most insane four-cylinder power plant. The M139 engine exceeds the M133, previously the world's most powerful four-pot, by 41hp. Maximum torque has also increased from 475 to 500Nm. The four-cylinder is available in another state of tune, with a 387hp variant for less extravagant applications.

BMW 3-series Touring gets more space

BMW's latest 3-series Touring is sleeker, lighter and roomier. It has an M Sport Plus edition, with a plug-in hybrid joining the line-up next year. The 3er wagon first appeared 32 years ago. Since then, more than 1.7 million units have been sold, with the previous generation accounting for more than 500,000 units.

The sixth-generation model measures 4,709mm (an extra 76mm) by 1,827mm (an extra 16mm) and 1,440mm tall (an extra 11mm). Its wheelbase has been extended by 41mm to 2,851mm.

Facelifted Mitsubishi ASX more powerful

Mitsubishi's reworked ASX comes with automatic transmission, four-wheel-drive and more onboard features.

The 2020 model also gets a more powerful engine (a 2-litre normally aspirated unit) and a revamped interior. Details of its pricing are to be confirmed at a later date.

Lamborghini launches Future FAB Innovation & Transformation Award

Lamborghini has launched a new awards programme dedicated to women aged under 30.

The Future FAB Innovation & Transformation Award will be presented to three young women "who share Lamborghini's philosophies and approach to ideas". They must apply these to one of three areas: sustainability, art and design, or technology.

Candidates can apply at future.fab.lamborghini till Oct 14. Results will be announced in December.

Volvo, Uber unveil production-ready self-driving car

Just over a year after one of their driverless cars hit and killed a woman in Arizona, Volvo Cars and ride-hailing firm Uber say their self-driving car is ready for production.

The pair entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes. An autonomous Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicle will be the first production car "that in combination with Uber's self-driving system is capable of fully driving itself".

The features of Volvo Cars' autonomous drive-ready production vehicle include several backup systems for both steering and braking, as well as battery backup power. If any of these should fail for some reason, the backup systems are designed to immediately act to bring the car to a stop.

Kia Niro EV has a $180,000 price tag

Kia's battery-powered Niro EV is here at long last. Only the long-range variant is available. With a 64kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack with enough juice for a range of up to 455km, the car is equivalent to sister brand Hyundai's Kona Electric.

Plugged into a 100kW fast charger, it takes 54 minutes to recharge the Niro EV's battery to 80 per cent. With a 150kW motor with 395Nm of instant torque, the car hits 100kmh in 7.8 seconds.

The battery pack is located below the floor between the front and rear seats, giving the car a low centre of gravity and freeing up space in the cabin.

The car is retailing at about $180,000, largely on account of its high open market value (OMV or approximate landed cost) of around $55,000. The Kona Electric's OMV is around $39,000.

Skoda to roll out fifth SUV in China

Skoda's China-specific city crossover, the Vision GT, combines compact dimensions with generous interior space. It offers high-tech features, packaged in a dynamic design.

The production version will roll out later this year, bringing the Czech manufacturer's sport utility vehicle line-up in China to five (the highest number). The Vision GT is 4,416mm long, 1,906mm wide and 1,633mm tall, with a 2,611mm wheelbase.

Properly inflated tyres enhance EV energy efficiency

The energy efficiency of electric vehicles (EVs) can be improved by 3 to 7 per cent with proper tyre inflation, according to a recent ExxonMobil study. The first-of-its-kind study followed three identical EVs, each with different tyre air-loss rates, as they travelled 8,654km on various roads in the United States for six months. Results showed that properly inflated tyres enhanced EV energy efficiency by as much as 7 per cent.

Audi e-tron, Jaguar i-Pace recalled

Audi and Jaguar are recalling their first electric cars. Audi has flagged its e-tron for a battery fire risk related to a faulty wire harness, which might allow moisture to get into the battery. Audi says there have been five instances globally where a battery fault light turned on because of the moisture issue. It is offering e-tron owners in the United States loaner vehicles and an US$800 (S$1,094) cash card to cover fuel and incidentals during the recall period, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Jaguar's i-Pace is also being recalled to fix its regenerative braking system, which may exhibit delay between the point when the brake pedal is depressed and the brakes taking effect.

Fastest lawnmower by Honda

In a real hurry to mow your lawn? Look to Honda's Mean Mower V2, which has just set a new record of hitting 161kmh in 6.29 seconds. With a power-to-weight ratio greater than that of a Bugatti Chiron, the Mean Mower runs on a 999cc engine from a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. The record-setting feat was undertaken by Jess Hawkins, an experienced stunt and race-car driver.

Plug-in hybrids' bleak future

Plug-in hybrids are a waste of time, according to IDTechEx Research. Despite a deluge of such models from a growing list of manufacturers, IDTechEx says "the fundamentals are all against them". Those offering the most desirable pure electric cars currently "have long waiting lists". There is no queue for plug-in hybrids, the company asserts.

General Motors has abandoned its Volt plug-in hybrid. Britain withdrew support for such cars because users rarely plugged them in, relying, instead, solely on their internal combustion engines. Hence, despite a growing number of choices, plug-in hybrids' market share has been dropping since 2013, it adds.

Only 15 Jaguar racer sedans

to be made Jaguar has made a limited-run edition of its XE SV Project 8. With 600hp from a supercharged 5-litre V8, the compact sedan clocks a century sprint of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 300kmh. Only 15 units will be made.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe