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Car Reviews

FIRST DRIVE: 2020 Hyundai i30 N Malaysian review – worth RM300k?

Korean car brands have truly come a long way, as evidenced by the success enjoyed by Hyundai and Kia. The fact that Hyundai is now the third largest passenger car manufacturer in the world – behind Toyota and Volkswagen – is a testament to its accomplishment, but now is not the time to be resting on its laurels.

With former BMW M boss Albert Biermann on board to lead the new N division, Hyundai is aggressively expanding its high-performance vehicle portfolio, even going as far as to host a BMW M-like N Festival. But the cars, like this i30 N, prove that there’s actual substance beneath all the marketing talk.

Powering the i30 N (available in Malaysia as the fully-specced i30 N Performance) is a 2.0 litre Theta T-GDI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 275 PS and 353 Nm (378 Nm on overboost) of torque. It’s paired with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission which drives the front wheels. The century sprint is done in 6.1 seconds, and tops out at 250 km/h.

According to Hyundai Sime Darby Motors, only 20 units will be sold in Malaysia (imported from Czech Republic), and they are all kitted to the brim. The only thing that’s apparently omitted from the spec sheet is the panoramic glass roof. And oh, there’s just one colour on offer, which is the Performance Blue you see here. Is it worth RM300k, then? Find out what we think in our video review. Enjoy, and stay safe!

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Auto News

Here's How You Can Drive A McLaren Elva Fast Without Destroying Your Face

Mclaren - Here's How You Can Drive A McLaren Elva Fast Without Destroying Your Face - Supercars and Hypercars

If you’re losing track of all the new open-top hypercars, we won’t blame you. The McLaren Elva is one of many windscreen-less Swiss bank balance liberators to emerge in the last year or so – joining the likes of the Ferrari SP1 and Aston Martin V12 Speedster – but it does have something of a USP hidden up its carbon fibre sleeves.

It’s an ‘Active Air Management System’ which ensures that the alfresco supercar experience doesn’t make it feel like your skin is being torn to shreds each time you venture over 30mph. McLaren has explained how it works in this new video.

Welcome to McLaren Tech Club, a series of short films you can enjoy in your own home. Join us weekly for a behind the scenes look at the incredible technology in our cars.

Tech Club is for those who want to take their automotive knowledge further, delve deeper and get to the core of what every McLaren car is about – using technology to help deliver the incredible driving experiences for which the pioneering supercar company is renowned worldwide.

This week, we kick things off with the just launched McLaren Elva. An incredible car, with its world first ‘Active Air Management System’ which uses aerodynamics to deliver a comfy drive at 70mph, without a windscreen.’

Who better to take you through this new tech than McLaren Automotive’s Design Engineering Director, Dan Parry Williams.

Want to know more about #McLarenTechClub – post your questions below and each week the videos’ presenter will respond and react to them. Dive into the conversation on social using #McLarenTechClub and we will respond.

We’d recommend having a watch through – it’ll be easier to visualise thanks to all the snazzy CGI plus McLaren Automotive design engineering boss Dan Parry Williams pointing out the inlets and outlets. But to sum up, the Elva is hiding a “hook-shaped” duct in its nose, which takes high-pressure air from the front, turns it 120 degrees, and spits it out of a vent in the top of the clamshell.

This creates a barrier of air just in front of the cabin. Oncoming airflow hits it and curves up and over the occupants, making life much more pleasant. Parry Williams says that at 70mph, driver and passenger will be left “in relative calm” with their hair (providing they have some) “unruffled”.

Mclaren - Here's How You Can Drive A McLaren Elva Fast Without Destroying Your Face - Supercars and Hypercars

How far over that point you need to go before proceedings take a much breezier turn, we’re not sure – with an 803bhp twin-turbo V8 borrowed from the Senna, the Elva is capable of reaching much higher speeds awfully quickly. But regardless, it’s an impressive system.

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Car Reviews

FIRST DRIVE: F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé in Lisbon

At long last, BMW finally has an answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLA, and it’s the F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé. Our man Jonathan Lee (Jlee, as he goes by) recently sampled the compact four-door coupé in Lisbon, Portugal, and for those wondering, he’s in the pink of health. Never better, in fact.

Okay, back to the car. Unlike the 2 Series Coupé, the 2GC shares the same FAAR front-wheel drive platform as the 1 Series and outgoing 2 Series Active/Gran Tourer. We’ll let Jlee (himself a design undergraduate) explain the car’s “unique” styling approach in the video, but know that the car features the automaker’s latest suite of gadgetry, including the Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control and the Digital Key.

The 2GC is available with a number of turbocharged engines, with the base 218i variant being powered by the latest B38 1.5 litre three-potter. It makes 140 hp and 220 Nm of torque, while an overboost function delivers an extra 10 Nm in fourth gear and higher. The zero to 100 km/h sprint is done in 8.7 seconds before hitting a top speed of 215 km/h. Depending on the market, this engine is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

At the top of the range is the M235i xDrive, utilising BMW’s most powerfu four-cylinder engine yet – an uprated B48 2.0 litre unit that makes 306 hp and 450 Nm. It does the century sprint in 4.9 seconds before hitting the limiter at 250 km/h. Unique features include a sports auto gearbox, a mechanical Torsen limited-slip differential, a strut tower brace, additional strengthening around the front subframe and centre tunnel, and standard M Sport steering, brakes and suspension.

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Auto News

2020 Subaru Outback: Not Cool, But Very Useful

Is the 2020 Subaru Outback cool? Not really. Is it fast? No. But is it good looking? Nah, it’s actually sort of nerdy looking. Would I buy one? Yes, because of what it can do. And the public feels that way, too. It was the best-selling midsize crossover in 2016 and 2017, and 2018 and 2019. Whatever the formula is, it’s a winner. And for 2020, it’s new, again.

The base Subaru Outback starts at $27,655; the Onyx is about $36K; and the top touring XT model will set you back $40,705. That Onyx trim is new for 2020, as is a hands-free liftgate, 11.6-inch touchscreen, standard EyeSight driver safety features and the optional DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System.

The 2.4-liter turbo-boxer in the Outback four is THE perfect engine for this car. It’s quick enough off the line and from a rolling start with 260 hp, and it plays well with the continuously variable transmission. Unlike some CVT cars that “upshift” (or move to a lower ratio) when you give it just a little gas, the Outback seems to understand what the driver is trying to do (note that the base engine in the Outback is a 182-hp, 2.5-liter boxer-four). Also, the Outback has great brakes for a regular, nonenthusiast vehicle. I was pulling out of the parking lot and gave a small pump; the car was stopped within a few inches of pedal travel. They aren’t rock hard or too sensitive, just the right amount for the effort you give.

The big infotainment screen in the Subaru Outback looks cool and colorful, and it didn’t take me long to learn the quick buttons for different functions. It has two knobs for tuning and volume, always welcome, but buttons for the climate. That’s better than just having it in the screen menus, but not as good as a big, chunky knob like the Toyotas and Lexuses of the world.

My child seats went in easy, and there’s enough space so junior and junior-junior can’t kick the seats in front. And the cargo area will fit anything south of a new refrigerator without folding the seats down. If you did need to transport a fridge, I think it would still fit in the Outback’s max cargo setting.

This Outback is the only wagon-like vehicle in its class, which includes the Honda Pilot ($31,650 base price), the Ford Edge ($31,100), the Hyundai Santa Fe ($26,125) and others. It’s not the “coolest” in the class—the new Santa Fe looks great—but it’s probably the most useful, and it’s rock solid in inclement weather. And come on, nerdy isn’t what it was in the Saved by the Bell days. It’s cool to be nerdy now. It just means that you’re a huge fan. I’m a car nerd. I’m a video game nerd. Or maybe I’m just a huge nerd.

Specs

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $26,645 (base); $34,895 (Onyx Edition)

Drivetrain: 2.4-liter turbocharged H4, CVT, AWD

Output: 260 hp @ 5,600 rpm; 277 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,884 lb

Pros: Space for all and not boring to drive

Cons: You won’t win any show ‘n shines or get parked up front at the valet

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Car Reviews

Red Bull adds Charouz F3 driver Fraga to junior programme

Red Bull has signed Igor Fraga to its junior driver scheme ahead of his maiden campaign in the FIA Formula 3 series with Charouz Racing.

The appointment comes a month after Fraga defeated another Red Bull protege Liam Lawson to the 2020 Toyota Racing Series crown in New Zealand.

The Brazilian driver enjoyed a race-winning campaign in the F3 Regional European Series last year, finishing as the top non-Prema runner in third.

The 21-year-old also has prior experience in esports, with victories in the inaugural FIA Gran Turismo Nations Cup and McLaren Shadow in 2018 being the highlights of his gaming career.

He had already been signed on to drive alongside Niko Kari and David Schumacher at Charouz in the second season of the new FIA F3 series in 2020.

Red Bull officially revealed its young driver roster in January, but has since added FIA F3 contender – and now Carlin F2 racer – Jehan Daruvala to the programme and also recruited Sergio Sette Camara as the official reserve driver of its two Formula 1 teams.

Fraga joins an expanded Red Bull junior roster that includes Super Formula driver Juri Vips, Yuki Tsunoda, 14-year-old American driver Jak Crawford as well as his TRS title rival Lawson.

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Car Reviews

2021 Kia Seltos first drive, 2021 Roland Gumpert revealed, Tesla Cybertruck seeks a home: What’s New @ The Car Connection

First drive: 2021 Kia Seltos rides in style

The 2021 Kia Seltos piles on style like fresh Wranglers, crisp button-up shirts, hard-wearing felt Stetsons and shined up East Texas belt buckles. We recently drove the Seltos in the hill country outside San Antonio, where swamp oak and cedar elm share Texas dirt with shiny, new temples erected for high-school football.

Review update: 2020 Cadillac XT6 fades from 3-row party

The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is late to the three-row crossover SUV party. For some, such as the BMW X7, Lincoln Aviator, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade, being late to the party is an art form in lasting impressions. This is not the case with the 2020 Cadillac XT6. 

2020 Nissan Titan vs. 2020 Ram 1500: Compare Trucks

2020 Ram 1500 and 2020 Nissan Titan full-size pickup trucks have similar form factors: engine in the front, a cabin in the middle, and an open bed in the back. From there, the two diverge quickly. As a result, the 2020 Ram 1500 earns a 6.2 TCC Rating and the 2020 Nissan Titan earns a 5.4. 

From Motor Authority:

2021 Roland Gumpert Nathalie First Edition

2021 Roland Gumpert Nathalie revealed

Regular readers of Motor Authority will recognize the Gumpert name from Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur, the German supercar company whose Apollo set lap records at both the Nürburgring and Top Gear Test Track during its prime.

2020 New York auto show postponed until August due to coronavirus concerns

Organizers of the 2020 New York auto show confirmed Tuesday that next month’s show will be postponed until late August due to increasing health concerns related to the spreading coronavirus in the area.

2022 Mercedes-AMG C53 spy shots

Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the new C53. It should debut late this year or early next, as a 2022 model. The regular C-Class is due around the same time while the new C63 should arrive six months to a year further out. 

From Green Car Reports:

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla is looking for a US location to build Cybertruck—and more Model Y

Tesla’s reservation page for its eagerly anticipated Cybertruck still indicates that the company plans to begin deliveries of at least one version in late 2021. And yet the company has just revealed one of the first concrete indications that it’s homing in on a production location for the new product.

This Tesla Model 3 sounds like a gasoline car

When it comes to electric cars, one of the hardest things for automotive enthusiasts to get over is the lack of engine noise. But even if an electric car doesn’t have a sonorous V-12 or a bellowing small-block V-8, that doesn’t mean the owner has to drive along in silence.

Truck modifiers behind “Diesel Brothers” hit with $850,000 fine for pollution

David “Heavy D” Sparks and David “Diesel Dave” Kiley, along with other defendants in the case, run a Utah-based shop that modifies diesel trucks. These modifications often include tampering with emissions-control equipment, hence the fine.



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Car Reviews

First Drive: The Atlas Cross Sport Sure Looks the Part

How Crossy and/or Sporty is this Atlas? Let me tell you! It’s handsome, its interior previews improvements that will soon come to the full-size Atlas, and is otherwise chunky. Volkswagen has solved the Atlas’s biggest issue (its interior), but a few small problems persist.

Yes, Volkswagen has succeeded in making the Atlas shorter (but kinda not really? The wheelbase is the same). In that spirit, I have shortened this review into three limericks but not really because there’s still reading to do if you want to understand them.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART

There was once was a car called the Atlas
That was designed to be the opposite of matchless
They’ve improved it all sorts
With the Atlas Cross Sport
By making it handsome but not statless

The Atlas and the Tiguan may be the only reasons we get any Volkswagens in the US and Canada at all anymore. They bring new customers to the brand and plenty of them. But whereas we have romantic visions of designers on easels drawing cars by hand, it felt more like the Atlas was designed on a spreadsheet. It was designed to join a segment. Volkswagen looked upon the midsize segment and said: “Yes, one of those, please.”

The benefit of hindsight tells us that that was a good decision, because money. But it did lead to some sacrifices.

The benefit of hindsight also tells us that the Atlas’ interior left much to be desired. It was acceptable, but only just. The Atlas Cross Sport, pushes the needle closer to good, even dipping into it. Gone is the god awful faux wood veneer (even that description feels generous) and in come the colorful seat materials, a nice new steering wheel, and the solid trim choices.

And that was deliberate, so the Cross Sport can only be considered a success on that score. Volkswagen is proud to say that it is taking the Atlas Cross Sport in a stylish direction, rather than an off-roady one. This, my powers of foresight tell me, is another smart decision.

Focusing on style rather than off-roadiness—or, let’s be honest, in this segment, with one exception, it’s more like off-fauxdiness—was savvy. The MQB platform is an excellent and flexible platform but that doesn’t mean it’s limitless. Yes, you can go off-roading in anything. You can cast a Llama as Hamlet, but that doesn’t mean it will be as convincing as a lion. By focusing on style, VW has given itself a task it can achieve.

And it has achieved it. The old Atlas felt like a Golf whose vents and screens and trim pieces had been moved farther apart until the interior was big enough for seven passengers. The Cross Sport’s interior feels cohesive. Like it was designed to be the size that it is. Outside, too, it’s an improvement. The new grille is much nicer and the profile looks great. Good job, VW.

All that said, VW is moving into a busy segment, so it had better be good.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE?

To unlock the auto business there is a narrow key
And VW thinks they have found it with the narrow V
It’s not too small
And can carry it all
But now they’ve picked a fight with the Grand Cherokee

When VW made the decision to make the Atlas Cross Sport, they, reasonably, saw all of the sales in the two-row midsize SUV and decided that it wanted a piece of the pie. The pie is pretty well spoken for, though. This is the segment that the Honda Passport, the Ford Edge, the Grand Cherokee, and many more all fight in.

That means that the Cross Sport’s sizeable 40.3 cubic feet of trunk space is going up against the Passport’s 50.5 cubic feet. Its V6 also has to compete with the Jeep’s Hemi. And its 20 mpg combined (4-cylinder AWD) has to compete against the Edge’s 23 (2.0 AWD).

The truth is, though, that VW’s copy of Excel hasn’t stopped working. The Cross Sport’s fuel economy isn’t great, but it is by no means unique in that quality. It may not, officially, have as much trunk space as the Passport, but it is among the larger cars in the segment.

And with 5,000 lbs of towing capacity in V6 guise (2,000 lbs as an I4), it compares well against the Ford and the Honda, which can only tow 3,500 lbs. I suspect most people will opt for the V6 just because it feels like the right engine for a car this size, but be forewarned that you’ll get pretty dismal fuel economy of 19 MPG combined. 

The V6 is nicer to drive, though. The four-cylinder chucks out impressive power and torque numbers ( 235 hp, 258 lb-ft), but it’s a little harsh off the line. Whether that’s gearing or VW’s attempt to convince buyers that they won’t want for speed, I cannot say, but the result is that the V6 is much smoother and more confident.

The transmission, an eight-speed automatic unit, still displeases me. It feels like it’s in the wrong gear a shocking amount of the time and never more than at low speeds. Otherwise, it’s fine, though. The ride isn’t exactly cloud-soft, but it’s more than acceptable and the handling inspires the appropriate amount of confidence.

The starting price of $31,565 is right on, too. Like the other SUVs in the segment, though, that amount creeps up steeply, with well-equipped models easily costing 10 grand more.

IN CONCLUSION

There once was a car known as Cross Sport
A wider audience it did court
It prolly will,
It’s pretty chill
And it doesn’t feel like a last resort.

Put briefly, this is a big improvement over the Atlas. And VW feels similarly because most of what I’m praising this car for, apart from (specifically) the red interior and the roofline, will become available with the next generation of long-roof Atlas, which is good.

And some of the Atlas’s weaknesses as a family SUV, the lack of screens, the sneaky storage spaces, and the clever little touches that Honda and Toyota are so good at, don’t matter quite as much on the Cross Sport, because it isn’t quite as specifically a family crossover. The Cross Sport feels well-judged for the segment and it will undoubtedly help VW’s sales figures lean even more heavily onto the side of the SUVs.

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Racing

'Drive to Survive' will reveal 'truth' of Williams' 2019

Claire Williams has said the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ will allow the team to tell their own story on the struggles of the 2019 season.

The second season of the popular series will be released on Friday and Williams are set to be one of the early focal points after they turned up to testing in Barcelona two-and-a-half days late.

That very much set the tone for what would be a miserable 2019 campaign for the fallen giants of Formula 1, who spent much of the year racing exclusively at the back.

“I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but the episode is around 2019 testing, and I think it allows us as a team to tell a version of events that we may not otherwise have had the opportunity to be able to show people,” Williams said when asked by Motorsport.com about the impact of ‘Drive to Survive’ on Williams.

“[It allows us] to really show the blood, sweat and tears, and the pain that really goes on behind a situation.

“People can sometimes just see a situation and not truly understand it and make a judgement. I hope that our episode really shows the truth behind the scenes and how painful it was for all of us.

“From our perspective as well, it’s a great opportunity, a great platform for be able to show the real stories behind two cars going out on the grid on a Sunday afternoon.”

Claire Williams went on to say that the team have learned to ignore the cameras, while the Netflix camera crews themselves remain respectful throughout the filming process.

“You ignore the cameras. They’re very good, the Netflix team are fantastic,” Williams added.

“We’ve obviously worked with them for two years now, and they’ve always been very mindful and conscious of where they are and where they’ve put themselves.

“We’ve always been a team that is quite open about sharing with people this great sport that we’re involved in, and show what it takes to be a Formula 1 team.

“Having cameras around doesn’t necessarily bother us because we understand the long-term impact of what those cameras are doing.”

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