Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year People!!!!! And a Picture of a Ferrari Dino to end 2011

2012 beckons! I hope it will be another fruitful year for all of us.

Anyway, I do not wish to be retrospective as too many other websites, facebook and twitter postings would want us to sing Auld Lang Syne and other nostalgic stuff. I did nostalgia recently already remember?

But let's end 2011 with a photo of what a new 'small' Ferrari will never ever be like again. Small and totally curvy for the sake of being curvy. The Dino 246GTS. Spotted around Petaling Jaya early this year and that little car sounded great too. Oh yes, it wasn't equipped with a V8, but a 2.4liter V6. It was actually marketed as 'almost a Ferrari' back then as this was supposed to be the budget line for Ferrari. But everyone calls it a Ferrari Dino. It is actually worthy of the name, even without the supposedly required V8 engine that a Ferrari should have.

But it is small, and if it's small you don't really need such a large engine. Especially in those days. Check out how small it looks next to a Suzy Swift. Dainty isn't it?

Happy New Year people.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Cover the Century Ultramax and Century Battery Assist Launch


A few days ago I received an invitation to attend the launch of Century Battery Malaysia's new Ultramax battery as well as the Century Battery Assist – Which is Century Battery's new Emergency Battery Assist Service. It was to be held on the 15th of December 2011 at a top secret facility somewhere in KL. I decided to attend.

Well, actually it was held at KLPAC (Kuala Lumpur Performance Arts Centre) in Sentul East (which is actually a glamorous name for someplace Off Jalan Ipoh). It just felt like someplace mysterious to be as if you look at the photo below, it does look like some military bunker of sorts.


But anyway, once I entered the KLPAC's lobby cum event location it looked....


...like any other launch event. Which is good. Obviously.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maybach bites the dust....Again

No one wants a Maybach actually. They'd rather buy Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Aston Martins and even Perodua Myvis. Which is why parent company Daimler AG, more famous for owning Mercedes Benz is ending the brand in 2013.

Read what I think about this whole thing here. Posted over at MyAutoBlog.org.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Of Nostalgia, Of Supposedly Having No Future and the Rolls Royce Corniche

I feel a little nostalgic. I suppose with the big four-zero closing in rapidly one would suddenly feel that life has just passed by in an instant. Just fifteen years ago I was at the prime of my life, just starting out my career in. Just twenty two or so years ago I sat for my SPM or MCE for those older than I. It is of this period in my life that I believe is pretty interesting on several levels.

But then again, I have always had a pretty interesting teenage and very interesting twenty something life. It is indeed a blessing and a whole dose of luck that I am still, relatively speaking, in one piece. Aside from a weak left knee, some broken bones and a nice scar on my forehead I am glad to report I managed to survive my school and college days. In fact, I should be extremely thankful. Which I am.

Now one incredibly interesting story that had happened in my past was the fact that I happened to end up at the St. John's Institution, Kuala Lumpur in 1988 and was to sit for the SPM the following year. So at SJI I was put into the last class as it was the only one that offered arts as a subject. I couldn't count properly at that time so I basically hated accounting. Nothing balanced and before I ruined my SPM I had decided to take arts as a subject. And being in the last class this meant that we were the black sheep of the whole school. It also meant that it was a bloody fun place to be when you are 17.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

With Power Comes Stupidity................

......Or was it responsibility? Sometimes a high speed convoy is actually a very dangerous thing to be in. It may look cool, but one mistake, as was the case over in Japan. A convoy to a supercar meet ended up in the most expensive pile-up to date.

A Ferrari up front lost control and the rest couldn't stop in time) and a bazillion Yen worth of Ferrari (about 8), Lamborghini (1), Nissan (1 GT-R) a few Mercedes Benz (3) and a Prius (somehow caught in between all that carnage). Sometimes being rich does not mean you have the skill and talent to handle more than 300bhp. Some of you out there have the skill to only operate a Prius. Or an ugly Peugeot 207. Or actually ride in a bus. Understand?

This is also the reason why I seldom participate in any 'drive-to' TT (teh tarik) sessions as it is actually quite dangerous. This is also the reason why I prefer to do b-road runs by myself. Sometimes, the kampung roads around the famed Ulu Yam - Genting Sempah area can be pretty dangerous - Chickens, dogs, cattle and even village folk who simply make U-Turns whenever they want as it IS their everyday road. Of course, you would be doing the run early in the morning or late at night. But it pays to be careful and it also pays to take it a little easy sometimes.

I still do agree to morning runs myself. But I am not bothered to wake up early these days. Anyway, this is an epic fail. Truly epic.
Destroying a Testarossa isn't cool. 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Things May Be Quiet As I Have Been Busy....and a List of Cars

Busy. This is a nice excuse to give everyone that you're just too lazy to start typing something. But I actually have been a little busy with family, work and friends. Work for MyAutoBlog is ongoing but other stuff has slowed down a little. It is Idul Adha anyway and I should be taking a breather from things.

Now that being said, I have prepared a short list of what I think about a few of the cars currently on sale in Malaysia (grey imports not included)
Toyota:
Camry - Ultimate Unclemobile, it makes me sleepy as soon as I enter one
Corolla Altis - Smaller Unclemobile, same effects happen as soon as I get into one.
Vios - Dull, tinny sounding and I rather drive an Inspira
Prius - Unclemobile that's trying to save the world.

Honda:
Accord - Unclemobile with handling
Civic - Decent Transport with a badge that Malaysians like
City - Skinny tall car with a badge that Malaysians like
Insight - Better looking than the Prius, but not as well built. I still won't buy it though.
CRZ - Hybrid little coupe for posers, mums, wives, girlfriends, daughters. Not a "Tap-R."

Lancer GT -  A car all Inspira owners yearn for
Lancer Sportback - A car that looks good but no one buys it because Proton might make one and cause its resale value to drop drastically
ASX - a toad of a car..why buy one when a Sportback looks and drives better?

Peugeot
308VTI -dull handling, heavy, underpowered French croissant
308turbo - dullhandling, heavy, better powered French croissant
3008 - Hippotamus on wheels, enuff said.
207 Sedan - Ugliest car in Malaysia. Why buy it over an Inspira? The Badge? You stupid, stupid person you.

Volvo
All Volvos - For Life. This means you only buy one throughout your whole life.

I think I'll end it for now. I've got to be someplace elsewhere soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Mitsubishi Evolution To Be A Diesel Hybrid

" Imagine that, a Mitsubishi Evolution like the Evolution X pictured above may not emit a single exhaust drone at the traffic lights as the stop-start function has kicked in and when it accelerates, would sound like a Toyota Prius, i.e no sound at all, or like a Volkswagen TDI diesel accelerating or worse still, like a old Mercedes 240d taxi that is still in use somewhere in Africa."

Sigh, another petrol icon may bite the dust.

Read HERE to read what my opinion is on the matter over at CarThrottle.com.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New F30 BMW 3-Series - Evolution, not a Revolution and a bit on the earlier E90 3-series


It's a Monday morning over here and I've decided to tell you readers what I think of the new BMW 3-Series. I suppose staying home and waiting for an electrical appliance to arrive allows more time for thoughts to come spilling out of me. In a nutshell, the new BMW 3-Series, codenamed F30 is pretty much like the outgoing E90 3-Series. It looks pretty much the same with the exception of the front. Much like the fridge my wife recently purchased. It basically looks the same as the outgoing one - square with doors on it. Okay, not exactly a fridge but you do get what I mean.

The front seems longer and more pronounced than before accentuating the rear wheel drive nature of the car (but I think the current Mercedes C-class does this better - it looks more rear-wheel accentuated with its fat rear arches). It still is a 'traditional' BMW 3-series in that the styling still looks evolutionary instead of a totally radical revamp. Current E90 and E46 owners may feel totally relieved as the new car does not make their model look like something totally out of date and irrelevant. That being said, the styling is summed up like this - new front end, but from the A-pillar backwards, everything is the same. Yawn. Yes, I feel it is slightly boring. More F01 7-Series long bonnet styling please.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Little Extras You Get For Writing, the Perodua Myvi Extreme should have another name and the Project Kahn Range Rover Vogue

By now most of you would notice that I have actually come a fair bit from when I first started way back in 2006. Back then I basically wrote because of the very simple yet famous TopGear motto of "How Hard Can It Be?" 


And so because of this simple thought of how hard can writing automotive related stuff can be I blogged, and blogged and blogged my heart out. Some felt that my thoughts about certain cars were true, some  hated them, some didn't know what to think about what I said but in life you shouldn't try to please everyone. In fact the person that you should firstly please is yourself. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Update On The 1990 W124 Mercedes Benz 200e Featured Previously

The 1990 W124 Mercedes Benz 200e featured in here as well in CarThrottle previously is alive and well. It dutifully serves his master well in his daily commute to and from the center of Kuala Lumpur to his place of residence somewhere on the hillslopes of Ulu Klang. This car shares this duty with a Mazda Roadster, so it gets to rest its old legs for a few days at a time.

The car has evolved again actually. From the upgraded AMG alloy wheels in the first feature (above) in here to the WALD bodykitted feature over at CarThrottle (below), it now has a new leather interior in grey in place of the fabric trim and a new body kit.

It sports an AMG bodykit these days.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Subaru Impreza S204 - This Limited Edition Scooby Runs RON95

Some of you regulars and those who know me personally are aware that I happen to drive a global specced (one that the official Subaru dealer brings in instead of those grey market imports) Subaru Impreza 1.6ts and the good thing about this car is that it has 80% of the performance of the Impreza WRX and the fuel consumption of a regular 1.6liter car (mine anyway).

Now the other fun thing about running a global spec Subaru is that it runs happily on RON92, 95, 97, 98 or even 100. This is unlike the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars that are actually very very happy with 100RON. You put our 97 and it basically runs happy albeit with slightly less power due to the ECU retarding ignition timing a fair bit. Then you try RON95 because RON97 costs a whole lot more these days. Now non-turbo cars wouldn't have much problems as things aren't tuned so aggressively but when you have a turboed Impreza or even a Lancer Evolution, the car's ECU would already be working overtime trying to keep the engine from running lean and then prematurely detonating thereby requiring an expensive overhaul.

And when you start modding the darn thing it gets trickier. Add an exhaust system, intake and up the boost things go wonky and the stock ECU that is already compensating for lower octane will give up and head for home if you try running RON95. If you still cannot get it, it basically means that the engine bites the dust, kicks the bucket, heads for the happy hunting grounds, swims with the fishes or gets killed to death if there ever was such a term. So how do you go about doing up a Subaru Impreza WRX or a Mitsubishi Evolution properly? You go for a proper tune-up job.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Car Mods: 1st Gen Perodua Myvi Mod Tips


I suppose this article is a tad bit late as Perodua has already launched the second generation Myvi. But then again, I have news for you. There is actually no difference betweeen the old 1st generation Myvi 1.3 and the new Myvi 1.3 beneath the new bodyshell, new floating type dashboard and the electrically assisted power steering that supposedly helps the engine make 4 more horses (quite true, but slightly off as the Myvi actually came with an improved cylinder head when it was facelifted – giving more torque lower down and one or two horses but this was not mentioned at all. Why? Who knows.) I should know as my mother in law just bought one and I don't seem to think that there is a big difference compared to the pink one pictured herein after a hard drive up to Genting Sempah using the old Bentong Road (lots of body roll, lots of holding on to the steering wheel for support).

Anyway, you now have a 1st generation 1.3 Myvi from 2005- mid2011. How do you improve the performance of a Myvi? You sell it and buy yourself a Proton Inspira 2.0. No? You're stuck with it for the next five years at the very least because you took a nine year loan that only breaks even in four and a half years? Okay. Aside from being suicidal as you're stuck with a tall, skinny tyred town car for the next five or so years your options are limitless. Remember, this is Malaysia. Everything that you want to do to it can be done. The only thing that would limit you is money. The lack of it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

If This Is 2004.....

...this would be the quality of photos we would use for our point and shoot blogging and spur of the moment articles. My car reviews would have photo quality like this photo below. Terrible isn't it?
Taken by a Nokia 6610i's CIF camera. This was taken sometime early 2011. This photo was obviously not taken in  2004 as that would mean that my wife's Myvi has gone back through time as the first MYVI was made in 2005. And mankind has not invented the time machine for general use as yet. Unless this was something I am not aware of.

Do take a look at my other website amalaysiaman.blogspot.com to have a look at the comparo pictures and the main article. You can click on the link above or here to go direct to the article itself.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aston Martin V12 Zagato - Too Much Like A Nissan? I think so too.

Do you think the new Aston Martin V12 Zagato looks too much like the Nissan 370Z or the Nissan GT-R? I do. It basically shows that Zagato these days are running out of ideas. Take a look at my posting here over at MyAutoblog.org. There are comparison photos for you to decide. I already have.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Trip to Australia Special: The FG series Ford Falcon XR6

I recently went on holiday to the Gold Coast in Australia. Like my last holiday that required me to fly somewhere I rented a car. The thing about having your own set of wheels is that you are not dictated by the rigidity of public transport or the whims and fancies of tour guides. You are free to plan your journeys and maximize the time you spend in foreign lands. So in Australia, the land of Koalas, Platypuses (or Platypi or Platypus'), Roos and Wombats I rented a car.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Eid-Ul-Fitr Over Here In Malaysia and I Am Full

Full of food. After a whole month of fasting we've now arrived at the point of eating. Kuala Lumpur has about half of its denizens away due to the 'Balik Kampung' phenomenon. Those who aren't muslims also take full advantage of this long holiday to go shopping or to travel to someplace. The roads out of Kuala Lumpur were jammed but as I am writing this, it isn't as everyone has basically arrived to where they wanted to be.

As for some 'Hari Raya' advice on cars and motoring I have to say;

that this is still the ugliest sedan you can buy in Malaysia today.
and this is a wayyyyyy better buy than that regardless of the badging. I know of a story where someone bought one 1.8 manual version and converted it to a Lancer GT right down to the windows - it now has embossed on the glass Mitsubishi instead of Proton - over RM18,000 worth.

On another note, I shall be reviewing one of the fastest Subaru Impreza STI S204s around. Now we all know that  the S204 is already a limited edition Impreza GD model that has all the goodies and is quite fast in its stock (which isn't very stock at all) form. The thing about this car is that it is a JDM (Japan Domestic Market) car and in Japan, they like running these cars on 100ron instead of the 97ron or 95 ron we have over here. So if you end up buying one, the minimum octane rating you should run on your JDM Impreza STi is 97ron. Any lower and you may incur engine knocking and later on a rebuild if your pistons start to melt like some Japanese Nuclear reactor.


Anyway, this S204 (Pictured with an Impreza GC8 here) makes over 360whp (wheel horsepower) and a good 51kg/m of torque from 95RON. Read about this sometime after my Raya break folks. Sometime here could be a while....I may be a little lazy. You never know.

Monday, August 22, 2011

MTM Audi A1 Is NOTHING Like The Poofy Audi A1 On Sale In Malaysia - And That Car Has Issues

"....it is gravity defying in that the tiny (still) front-drive Audi A1 can accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h in 4.5seconds and go on to 324km/h. In such a small car doing anything above 300km/h must be like riding a bicycle downhill at breakneck speed without any safety gear or even any clothes on."


Click here to read more about this tiny tot. Over at myAutoblog.org.




That being said I would never buy the Audi A1 1.4 sold by the local distributors for RM189,000+. I can bloody buy a Scirocco 1.4 for about the same price. 


One other reason why I won't buy the A1 1.4 here from the local distributors is the fact that they purportedly ordered the A1 without the painted silver A - C Pillars and they are outsourcing the painting to some local MudGuard-lo.  This basically means that the quality isn't factory fit and if you actually dinged it, you may see red paint underneath. They couldn't even bother ordering the car with the optional (yet very sought after) Audi A1 look. Wonderful isn't it? So anyone who bought that close to RM190K little Audi actually has part of their Audi painted by some Malaysian...or a Bangladeshi working for the Malaysian. Which is worse.


This little bit of information was supplied to me by someone who knows someone who happens to know a whole lot about Audis in Malaysia.  Of course this could be hearsay and you shouldn't take my word for it....but remember, this is Bolehland.



New McLaren Lacks Soul

"Of course, you could engineer 'soul' into the car and this is what McLaren will be doing to all MP4-12Cs after this. The main changes to the car centers around a sharper throttle response and a better exhaust note. Somehow these two items add 'soul' to a car, "


Click here to read more about it. Posted over at MyAutoblog.org

Monday, August 15, 2011

News About Lotus And The Lotus Evora IPS

This is the link to the full write-up of our late night/early morning chance meet with the boys from Lotus Cars Malaysia. I've posted it on CarThrottle.com. Basically our conversation with the guys from Lotus has enlightened us on their business plan and a few marketing tricks too.

Oh yes, more pictures and more on the Lotus Evora IPS. Click here to go straight to the article.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Late Night Rendezvous With A Lotus Evora IPS

It is still hard to spot a Lotus that isn't an Elise in Malaysia even though Proton has owned Lotus for a good fifteen or so years. I happened to be with a few friends and we managed to catch one at a car wash in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. The Lotus Evora IPS in the photograph above is still undergoing testing for our local climate especially in the transmission department since its the first automatic Lotus since the 1980s. It was just back from a run to Kuantan and back to see if all systems are go.



The Lotus Evora IPS with its 276HP 3.5liter V6 engine coupled to a 6 speed automatic gearbox and flappy pedals is on sale in Malaysia for a reasonable RM460,000 (without roadtax and insurance). Stay tuned for a longer write-up and better pics of this chance meeting soon.

Thanks to the chaps from Lotus Cars Malaysia who basically entertained our questions at 230am on a Sunday morning. 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport Is Finally Revealed

Suzuki has finally revealed the new Suzuki Swift Sport. Based on the recently launched new Swift launched early this year it should be equipped with the same 50mm longer wheelbase and lots more size and space. And we in Malaysia haven't even received the new bread and butter Swift to date. The reason we are not getting a new Swift when Singapore has already got the latest Swift models is that we assemble out Swifts locally. I suppose CKD packs of the current Swift have not run out to make it economically feasible for them to bring in the latest model. Boo Hoo to Suzuki Malaysia.

Anyway, aside from the small rant above the new Swift Sport should be going on sale sometime next year. If it is brought here we should get the 5 door version instead of the one pictured above which is certainly a Euro only variant as even the Japanese got the 5 door version of the previous Swift Sport.

It will get a revised 1.6liter DOHC engine that'll put out 134hp instead of 125hp. It also gets 160Nm instead of 148Nm torque. I suppose this is to offset the slight gain in size (and bulk) of the new car. It also gets a 6 speed gearbox  and 17 inch alloys too. I suppose the alloy wheel upgrade is necessary considering the car is slightly larger now.

Whatever the case is I hope that it'll handle like the earlier car, which was bloody good (aside from having a slightly tallish sitting position which is actually typical in all modern superminis). I rate that car as one of the best affordable drives around. You can click here to go to read about what I thought of the soon to be replaced Suzy Swift Sport.

Monday, August 08, 2011

At The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 & Directional 5 Tire Launch

It was a whole day event held on the 30th of July 2011 which I attended together with a pal of mine, Firdaus (who maintains his own VW Polo GTI blog). The event was pretty good actually. We got to know about the new Eagle F1 tires and they had food. There was breakfast, lunch and tea. We had food and was asked to drive around some cones, sat through a product briefing, was driven round and round the Proton High Speed Oval Test Ring and then drove round a short time attack course - which I promptly got confused and drove an extra trip around some cones. Give me a proper track or a navigator as I am useless in memorizing stuff.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

2012 Volkswagen Golf Gossip - It's Supposedly Sportier

"And while journalism takes an ugly turn due to the mess concocted by the henchmen within the Rupert Murdoch media empire and while Lady Gaga still entertains us not with her songs but by her lack of clothing during her public appearances, Autocar UK has reported that the upcoming Mk7 Volkswagen Golf will look sportier than ever."


So the 2012 Golf Mk7 is supposed to be sportier. But a word of advice folks. It is still bound by the rules of Volkswagen and its design philosophy. It isn't going to be a Lancia Delta Integrale any time soon. Sigh. 


Click here to read about it. It is also posted over at MyAutoblog.org. What can I say? They welcome my stuff over there! Enjoy.

ABT Tunes the New, New Beetle

"The totally new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has barely hit most markets around the world but as usual, the tuning houses have gotten their hands on it. ABT, known for tuning VW Group cars have their pimped out Beetle ready and wants us to call it the 'Speedie'. A bodykit, alloy wheels and 'go-faster' stripes and it deserves to be called 'Speedie'? I doubt it if you went out and bought the base 105hp 1.2liter TSI version. Even with ABT's ECU tweaks for that engine. But do continue reading anyway."


Click here to read about it. Posted over at MyAutoblog.org. 

New Lancia Stratos Stalled

Ferrari has stalled the revival of the Lancia Stratos. Scared of competition?

Click here to read about it. Posted on MyAutoblog.org.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The MGB GT

The MGB GT is a car that I had driven many years ago but one which I remember like I drove it only yesterday. It was a car that my late father once owned and sold around the time I was born (circa 1972) and a car that I had the pleasure of driving very often during the 1990s. To the friend of mine who let me drive the car, you know who you are, and I am extremely grateful for the experience. No,my father didn't actually sell the MGB because I was born. Some other incident happened so I am safe to say that I wasn't the reason my old man sold his sports car!

"The 1.8liter engine sounds typically old school. The twin SU carburettors (which need proper fettling to get it in-synch) and that simple four branch manifold as well as how the engine is tuned for the MGB (instead of, say a pathetic Austin Maxi) makes for a very butch sounding 4 cylinder engine. You won’t find this much bass in any new car these days. The sound on idle and when it starts to move is something which you could never replicate in a new twin cam, multi-valve and fuel injected engine. "


Click here to read more about it. Posted over on MyAutoblog.org.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Proton Saga FLX - Proton Updates The Saga Automatic With A CVT

Imagine the recently facelifted Proton Saga FL (Face Lift - so utterly obvious) with another letter slotted in behind the 'FL'. Nothing else happens except the model becomes the FLX (Face Lift X-tra?)

I suppose the extras are incorporated into the now common and slightly better looking Saga FL (The car is less dumpy looking compared to the original).The new additions is a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) in place of the ancient (in circa 2011) 4 speed automatic gearbox, ABS (Anti Lock Brakes), EBD, driver and passenger airbags. These extras or more of these extras are found in the Saga FLX Executive Auto as the FLX Standard Auto only gets the CVT as a new toy. It doesn't even get the airbags. This means that the Saga FLX Standard is still stuck in the 1980s.

Oh yes. This main change is the CVT gearbox. It has six virtual ratios and the main reason Proton has adopted this transmission unit is to bring their cars up to date. A four-speeder is ancient these days and does not allow enough ratios for the car to have decent acceleration down below and a low-rpm cruising speed that a transmission with more than four gears would allow. This added gears also means better fuel economy which in turn allows for better emissions. A Proton with Euro 5 emission controls?

I suppose this is the way to go. CVT. But I hope that Proton sourced the CVT from a reliable source and not one that is half baked. You see, CVTs have a belt/chain system that can change through infinite amounts of ratios between the maximum and minimum values. The transmission somehow keeps the engine running at optimum or high revs when you need the grunt and the gears then slur up to the desired road speed. Of course this means a slightly rubber band effect (A Mitsubishi Lancer/Proton Inspira has this effect but a B8 Audi A4 somehow does not -which is why the A4 costs a whole lot more). Personally, the only CVT that is worth driving is the one in the Audi. I've driven Fiats, Mitsus, with CVT gearboxes which I hate.

The other issue is reliability. Even on the latest Lancer GTs it has been known to overheat until Mitsubishi started putting in its own specific transmission cooler (the first batch GTs in Malaysia DID NOT have this option). The previous pig-ugly Honda City had CVT and some experienced problems so much so that when Honda launched the current City, it had a traditional torque convertor transmission. The Fiat Punto of the 1990s had CVT Belt slip problems giving its owners head and heartaches as well as the distributor back breaking warranty claims.

And now Proton offers one in its bread and butter model. I have my doubts. We've seen Honda turning its back on CVT with the latest City on the grounds of costs but this isn't the clincher yet. The clincher is the fact that when the new Toyota Passo was launched over in Japan it had a CVT box but when Perodua launched its latest Myvi, it was still equipped with a normal torque convertor box. Cost savings I suppose, but I somehow believe that reliability issues were the main reason Perodua stuck with the torque convertor box for the new Myvi Automatic.

But Proton seems to be Proton. Always trying to be innovative and slightly ahead of the curve. Remember the time when Proton pushed the Gen2 AND Savvy hatchbacks at the time when everyone wanted sedans? Now, when we see people buying Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 308s, and a whole lot of affordable hatchbacks Proton have no new ones in the market. Proton using CVT boxes may actually be the way of the future, but I am quite worried that they've actually moved forward too soon. Or that Proton bit more than they could chew. Time will tell and lets hope that the gearboxes are reliable.

But the real issue that got me writing is the fact my pal Zairul brought up. The SAT Switch that is located in the Proton Saga FLX. What the heck is a Stepped Automatic Transmission (SAT)? Why does Proton think that we need a switch that needs to simulate a normal torque convertor transmission as it does not have a sport mode with manual shift or 'tiptronic' functions at the gear shifter nor does it have flappy pedals behind the steering wheel. If you do not have control over the shifting why bother with the need to feel the slurring of the gears like a normal automatic gearbox when it would be smoother without it?

Does this actual mean that Proton is so afraid that normal users would feel alienated or feel that the new Saga FLX drives like it has a rubber band tied around its gearbox? I think this is the reason as I cannot think of another reason other than this. If it does not allow any semblance of driver control other than P,R, N, D and L  then there isn't any reason to have 6 virtual ratios to simulate a normal transmission.

Its like the Ford Fiesta or the VW Polo. You get a DSG gearbox that you have no control whatsoever and its only the power of marketing that drives you forward. There are no flappy pedals or manual shifting options in these cars too.

So S.A.T.actually means Silly Advertising Thingamagic and not the past tense of SIT, or the short form of Saturday. It does absolutely nothing whatsoever except add another acronym to the Proton Saga. You get FLX, ABS, EBD, SRS, CVT with SAT. Lets end this article with WTF is Proton's marketing people up to again?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A pathetic looking rally Honda Hybrid wins.....and the losers whine and complain.

"This hybrid Honda competed in the Formula 1000 Tarmac Rally Series and was officially requested to withdraw due to complains by rival teams stating that the hybrid rally car has an unfair advantage. "

Spoilsports. Being whipped by a skinny tired hybrid of a rally car is so pitiful. And when you start whining and complaining about it, it sounds worse.

Click here to read about it. Written by yours truly, posted over at Myautoblog.org.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Proton Savvy and Fried Mamak Mee

I like frequenting our local mamak stalls and restaurants. Most of us do actually as the food and drinks are cheap and the atmosphere very relaxed. A nice mug of teh tarik and a roti canai would do wonders especially since both items would only cost you RM3.00 and below. It’s 2011 okay, and not 1989 where you could get both items for about RM1.00.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What I think of the new and improved but still challenged in the looks department BMW 1 Series

"Firstly, it is not styled by Chris Bangle. Any BMW not styled by Chris Bangle is a good BMW (with the exception of the 1st generation BMW Z4 which is messy with all the lines here and there, but still proportionate).....".


Click here to find out more about what I think of the new 2012 BMW 1 Series. Posted over at Myautoblog.org.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Good Die Young: BMW Is Killing Off The 1 Series M Coupe...

...after they produce it for one miserable year. And the thing is, motoring enthusiasts aren't really coming in droves to buy this car. Everyone's talking about this car as a return to BMW's E30 M3 roots but people aren't really buying it. They want big huge V8 M3s instead.


"But the question is, is the M Division into selling cars that are actually the 'Ultimate Driving Machines' or up to market forces? The reason I stated market forces because the report also stated that BMW admitted that less than a thousand units of the 1 series M Coupe will be produced instead......."


Click here to read more about it. Posted over on Myautoblog.org.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Since everyone's doing an Audi TT into an R8.....

"..... if you're rich and you couldn't care less about your Audi R8 looking like a TT, you should be the one doing such a thing. Everyone is making cheaper cars into more expensive ones so it will be something unique indeed if someone did it the other way round. "


Click here to read about it. Posted on Myautoblog.org.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The New Perodua Myvi: Pictures and Opinion


Typical Toyota/Daihatsu. In a way that is. The reason being that this all new Perodua Myvi is actually a million times better looking than the Toyota Passo version of it that was launched circa 2010 in Japan. That car (pic below) ended up looking ultra feminine and basically caters to the Japanese 'Ah Soh' customers (or those not familiar with the term - older auntie type people). These sort of customers buy the Passo simply as a means of transport. To the market and back. To the weekly bingo game and back. To the Hair Saloon and back.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Presenting Another Crazy Russian Monster SUV cum Sportback - Dartz Nagel

".... these Russians amaze the heck out of us. I get very amazed watching Sukhoi SU30s do incredible low speed maneuvers (at airshows), seen those large Russian Mil helicopters dump tons of water over fires (in a demonstration), felt the robustness of an AK47 and have even met a 75 year old Russian rocket scientist/engineer (who was still employed at the time) due to my line of work but when it comes to making cars, the Russians seem to think in ways weirder than even the Americans...."


The Russians are now King of the SUV hill. In my opinion that is.


Click here to read about it.

R172 Mercedes Benz SLK gets tuned by Piecha Design

"Styling exercises actually make more money for these tuners as nearly everyone wants the car to look really good outside of clubs, bistros and hotel lobbies instead of tearing up the autobahn."


Bodykits hit the streets so fast it makes your head spin. The new R172 Mercedes Benz SLK gets tweaked as soon as its out of the showroom. But as usual, its only about the looks. Performance parts take awhile longer.


Click here to read about it.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Subaru small cars are now Toyotas and why the new Impreza is slightly dull

"Of course it does. But they're so utterly predictable and dull vehicles. Take the Toyota Passo a.k.a Daihatsu Sirion/Boon a.k.a Perodua Myvi a.k.a Subaru Justy. They may look slightly different with different eylashes, skirts or jewellery, but they are basically the same shape."


So economic pressures have led Subaru to stop making their own small cars. Sad news. And why does the new Impreza look a little dull?




Click here to find out. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Austin Mini 1275GT

I wrote a piece for Carthrottle.com on the Mini 1275GT recently. Imagine that, driving a tiny little car all the way from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur. I left at night from Simpang Pulai near Ipoh and it was raining. The wipers were intermittent in that the wiper motor did not have enough juice to move them all the time (due to faulty grounding) and I was basically driving a dark B-road in the rain. Quite a scare but at least the very old car had good lights to balance things off slightly.

On those B-roads I felt like Paddy Hopkirk driving in a rally. Of course this wasn't a snowy Monte Carlo but it was pretty wet nonetheless. Driving a Mini on a B-road is certainly one of motoring's greatest pleasures.

Driving on the highway was slightly unnerving at the start. You feel slightly small until you get used to those lorries and busses passing by or when you're passing them instead. At least you can maintain a steady cruise of about 100km/h so that progress isn't that slow. It was a nice slow drive basically, one that I could actually enjoy listening to that 1,275cc engine and transmission do its Mini-like thrum. No other car has a noise combo like it so much so that when BMW made the new Cooper S, that supercharger actually mimicked that original gearbox whine.

 "On the B-roads it was a little bouncy but on the 12 inch Minilite wheels and tire combo the ride felt waaayyy better than the original 10inch rims and tires. I suppose this is due to the improvement in modern rubber. The Mini actually cornered better and rode more comfortably than when it first left the factory nearly 35 years ago. "

Read more about the Mini 1275GT here.

p/s. I did not drive back to KL without some semblance of back-up. Two cars left for KL that night, the other was this car from the cat family. A real mis-match.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More on my trip to Kuantan and something about New York's Yellow Cabs

As some of you readers may have read I was in Kuantan recently and this is a slightly more detailed write-up about it. Of course, I still left some bits out, mostly non-motoring. I took hundreds of shots, from a 16mp camera down to a 2mp camera phone. This mostly came from a 5mp camera phone as downloading a lot of 16mp photos takes up bandwidth and a chunk of my data plan. But what these photographs do is tell the story.


Click here to read about Kuantan.


And now, on something iconic. The yellow cabs in New York will be replaced in 2013 by Nissan Minivans. Sigh.

Click here to read more about it. Posted on MyAutoblog.org.

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