Car Tips

2014 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (F36) Launched In Malaysia: 428i From RM390k

By 1 month ago 0 comments

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BMW Malaysia has just launched its all-new 2014 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe (F36). Here to directly take on the 2014 Audi A5 Sportback (RM359,900), here’s how the four-door coupe Beemer gets on for prices:

  • BMW 428i Gran Coupe Sport Line: RM389,800 (without insurance)
  • M Sport Option: RM29,000
  • Vehicle Track and Recovery with Safety Upgrade: RM5,900

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Buyer’s Guide:

If you’re wondering how this differs from a similarly-proportioned BMW 3 Series GT, well, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is shorter in length, lower in height, and narrower in width overall. But don’t forget, this is still a coupe, so you can expect all the sloping roofline and frameless window arrangements. And like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Gran Coupe here has a one-piece liftgate for better boot access.

BMW 428i Gran Coupe:

  • Engine: 2.0-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine
  • Transmission: Eight-speed Steptronic Auto
  • Horsepower: 245 @ 5,000 – 6,500rpm
  • Torque: 350Nm @ 1,250 to 4,800rpm
  • 0-100km/h: 6.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 250km/h
  • Combined consumption: 6.6l/100km

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Exterior Styling:

On the outside, the four-door Gran Coupe features all the recognisable traits of a regular 4 Series, but for the slight increase in overall height by 12mm – the rest of the Coupe’s exterior dimensions appear exactly the same, but of course for the addition of two extra doors from the original Coupe.

Detailing is identical as well, with high-gloss black fitments here and there, nine-slat kidney grille, Air Breathers, frameless windows, 18-inch alloy wheels, and more. The only other difference to note is that the F36 has four pillars (A, B, C, D – like the F34 3 Series GT), while the F32 gets on with just three pillars.

But as always, how your car ends up looking, is highly dependent on your choice of options, in which case here, includes a BMW M Sport package as an option, while the Sport Line trim is standard. See more on this below.

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Interior Design:

Inside the all-new 4 Series Gran Coupe, you’ll find all the common fitments of a modern BMW, more so the recently-launched line of 4 Series variants (Coupe, Convertible). The immediately visible free-standing 8.8-inch LCD Control Display features has a split-screen function, and is equipped with BMW’s Navigation System Professional. To manage the system, BMW’s latest iDrive Touch Controller is seen ready in the center console.

The seats are you see them here are in an exclusive Ivory White, integrated within a black interior scheme – of course, all this is subject to change, depending on the BMW Line and package of your choice.

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SPACIOUSNESS: Where practicalities are concerned, the four-door coupe has a 2+1 rear seat arrangement with a 60:40 split-folding rear backrest: folded flat, this creates up to 1,300 litres in conjunction with the boot’s standalone 480 litres of space.

Speaking of the boot, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has a one-piece liftgate, which uniquely features a larger opening for better usability. And, there’s also BMW’s contactless opening and closing of the boot lid, which need only a foot swipe beneath the rear bumper to open the hatch.

Looking at BMW’s technical sheet, cabin space comparisons with the regular 4 Series Coupe reveals that the Gran Coupe has 27mm more headroom and 44mm more door-to-door space in the rear, but it loses out only in door-to-door width in the front by 18mm.

M SPORT PACKAGE: Taking things even further in the four-door 4 Series, you can opt for your 428i with an M Sport package, which as we know adds a few more M badges, an M-specific bodykit (aero pack), 18-inch M light-alloy wheels, and an M Sport suspension amongst many other M goodies. An Estorial Blue metallic and Carbon Black metallic paint finish is reserved just for this package.

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Driving Dynamics:

To tame the 2.0-litre BMW TwinPower engine available here, are two neat additions that bring to life the 4GC. For starters, you have the Adaptive M suspension (available as standard on both variants), which allows you to modify you damper settings to suite your current driving styles: choose to stiffen your ride for your exuberant getaways, or soften it all up to turn your car into a cosy cruiser.

Then you have BMW’s four unique driving modes, available via the Driving Experience Control feature: ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Each of the modes represent various configurations of your car’s accelerator pedal, transmission as well as air-conditioning settings, and shape them up according to which settings you prefer at the time.

If you haven’t already been clued in to how this works, ECO PRO mode will, for example, save you up to 20% of fuel by reducing the A/C’s strength, taming the throttle response and optimising your transmission’s shift points to save you the most fuel. Likewise, shifting the car into Sport+ mode gets everything working for maximum attack, even switching the Dynamic Stability Control off in favour of Dynamic Traction Control.

 

 

Seven Rules of Owning a Car: Here’s A Quick Checklist

By 8 months ago 2 comments

 

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Owning a car sounds like an easy thing to do; you just get the keys to one, and drive it wherever, right? Wrong. There are loads of things to consider before you’re actually considered a responsible, safe and worthy owner of a car.

Here’s a quick guide for you to consider:

Knowing Your Road Rules:

While most drivers often study hard for their written driver’s license exam, it’s all often forgotten the moment they set a wheel out onto the road. Knowing what every road sign and white line is absolutely important to being a responsible driver, and to avoid getting a ticket for illegal driving manoeuvres like crossing over a double line.

Being financially stable

Before you even think about buying car, you need to know if you can really afford all the costs that go into owning one. After you’ve paid the price and have taken the keys to your new car, there are still plenty of costs to consider, like your car’s monthly instalment, regular maintenance services, insurance renewals, damage costs, broken parts that may need replacing, and all other things that come with owning a car. Anything could happen at any time with your car when you drive out on the road, so it’s always good to be financially prepared.

Knowing when to service your car

If you want your car to be properly functional and operable throughout the years, then be sure to keep track of all your servicing dates, and make sure to meet all your appointments. Once you know it’s time, head over to the mechanic and perform all the necessary checks and fixes. Delaying this can prove highly costly, so don’t procrastinate!

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Give it some TLC

Be sure to give your car all the ‘tender, loving, care’ that it needs: from a good wash every few weeks to a wax or a polish ever so often. Keep your car looking new and fresh at all times, and you’ll be rewarded with a car that looks great, and will maintain its resale value much better when or if you plan to sell your car after a few years.

Keeping track of your insurance, road tax and drivers’ license

These may have very little to do with the actual action of driving a car, and it can also be one of the most tedious to monitor as they’re often out of sight every time you drive. And, not only is driving with an expired license or road tax illegal, they’ll also warrant a nasty fine from the authorities if you’re caught without the proper documentation.

Keeping an eye on your oil and tyres

Be sure to check all the liquids in your car are okay, and always have an eye out for the condition of your tyres. Oils (engine, transmission, brake) are absolutely crucial to your cars operation, while making sure your tyres are properly inflated constantly and have a good amount of thread on them is just as important. Get some initial help from your local mechanic or someone who’s familiar with these issues to learn what and where to look for problems.

Knowing your priorities

Owning and driving a car is a major responsibility. As a driver, we’re often responsible for the lives of the passengers we carry, and those around us on the road as well – one bit of carelessness is enough to end the lives of many. So how do we manage this? By knowing your priorities.

Arriving at your destination safely and without endangering the lives of others should be on top of your list of priorities – miles ahead of arriving at a location quickly, or faster than someone else. Always do everything you can within your abilities to take the safest measures possible, and never be too confident about your abilities on the road – accidents often happen to the best of us, even when we think we’re perfectly in control.

DIY: Replacing a Sway Bar Link

By 8 months ago 0 comments
A sway bar link in need of replacement

A sway bar link badly in need of replacement

A sway bar link, or “dog bone” as known by more enthusiastic petrol heads and repair related personnel, is one of the various components of the suspension system. Basically a metal rod bolted to anti-roll bar on one end while the other usually onto a suspension arm or chassis, this simple contraption twists the anti-roll bar and limits the amount of roll whenever the vehicle is cornering or on imbalanced surfaces.

But because this little metal rod is connected via at least one ball joint, they would require replacements whenever the rubber bush is torn or it has loosened in its socket. This is usually indicated by the sound of something loose while driving over rough roads. Fortunately the repair procedure is fairly simple. Here’s how

Tools:

  • Socket wrench or closed end spanner
  • Antirust spray
  • Replacement sway bar link
  • 2 car jack sets or one jack plus jack stands

Method:

1. Loosen the wheel nuts, jack up the vehicle before removing all together the nuts and tire. Place the wheel under the vehicle in case the jack fails

The link connects the stabilizer bar to the  chassis or suspension

The link connects the stabilizer bar to the chassis or suspension

2. Locate the link and spray some antirust. The rubber boot covering the ball joint is probably torn and possibly leaking grease

3. With the correct-sized socket wrench or spanner, remove the nuts holding the link in place, then pull out the link itself

Raising the lower arm eases fitting of the new unit that's much stiffer

Raising the lower arm eases fitting of the new unit that’s much stiffer

4. A new sway bar link should have its ball joints tight. Therefore depending on its design, it is possible that both ends are not wide enough to fit through the openings. Rather than changing the mounting bolts’ angle by brute force, it is a lot easier to raise the lower arm or wheel hub assembly with another jack until both the link’s bolts fit.

5. Screw back the nuts at both end until tight

6. Refit the wheel and lower the vehicle

Car Paintwork’s Worst Enemies

By 9 months ago 0 comments
Picture from DrBeasleys.com

Picture from DrBeasleys.com

A vehicles desirability can be influenced by its pedigree, brand, model, and design. Nonetheless, one of the simplest ways of putting some wow factor into it is with a shiny glossy coat of paint. Maintaining a good quality paintwork is pretty much straight forward. But there are a few situations or agents which can do more harm than expected

Picture from WikiMedia.org

Picture from WikiMedia.org

Ashes

They appear when a fire or even haze has is around. Being alkaline-based, washing with too little water may ruin the paint.

Solution: Dust off loose ash particles from the surface. Then wash and rinse with generous amount of water

Picture from TreeServicesManchester.com

Picture from TreeServicesManchester.com

Tree Sap

Many Malaysians love gardening, some even have one or two fruit trees next to the porch. But while the trees really do freshen up the atmosphere, some like mango trees have a tendacy to discharge tree sap. These gooey substances can easily stain, smear and stick onto the paintwork on contact.

Solution: Appy tar remover or rub-down using mineral spirits (petrol or karosene) as soon as its spotted, then wax over to seal in a layer of protection.

Picture from Telegraph.co.uk

Picture from Telegraph.co.uk

Petrol/Diesel Spillage

Spillage is very rare with the use of safety cut-off devices integrated into fuel pumps. However when they do, not only could they leave an unmistakable stain, but  may even corrode the paintwork and metal beneath it.

Solution: Wash off any leftovers with plenty of water then wipe dry any oil residue immediately. Polish and wax the area to properly clean and seal with a protection layer

Picture from DetailersDomain.com

Picture from DetailersDomain.com

Dirty Car Wash Utensils

Most car owners would probably wash their beloved vehicles once or twice a month while a handful of particular bunch could even clean it every week or even more often. But unaware by many, dirty washing tools like sponges and mitt especially those that have accidentally fallen onto the ground may have already picked up grains of sand and grit. These if unremoved willl leave dreadful scratch marks

Solution: Clean thoroughly any sponge or cloths used for wiping the vehicle after they are picked up.  Having a spare set of cleaning materials is also a good backup plan

Picture from MentalFloss.com

Picture from MentalFloss.com

Bird Dropping

A common sight for many of us, bird droppings should never be treated lightly. Not only is the poop acidic, there is also a huge question of what the feathery fole ate before passing through its digestive system.

Solution: Wash off the bird dropping  immediately as it is detected. Wipe with a lifting action because it may contain grit and sand which might scratch the paintwork. Some polishing and waxing may be required it it is already stained.

Picture from AutoGeekOnline.net

Picture from AutoGeekOnline.net

Insects and bugs splatters

Cleaning them can be a handful particularly when you have drove head-on into a swarm of them. Insect guts are acidic, thus can potentially corrode the paintwork if left for too long

Solution: Clean it off with plenty of water and car wash solution. Some polishing, tar remover, and waxing may be required it it is already stained

Annoying Driving Habits Of The Average Malaysian

By 9 months ago 12 comments

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Driving around the city can be a bit frustrating– from the crazy traffic to the crazy drivers. Without any specific accusation, we’ve encountered countless cases of poor Malaysian driving standards, as we’re sure you have too. So if you’re guilty of one of these annoying habits or know someone who is, pay close attention, and stop yourself (or that someone you know) from being a menace to society! Here’s how you can do your part in making a change.

No signal lights

The problem: Making turns or switching lanes without using your turn signals.

The solution: When you’re planning to turn at the upcoming junction, don’t forget to indicate your move to others. The rule says that you should flick on your turn signals roughly three seconds before the corner – but even still, there’s no harm in indicating sooner. This helps to keep drivers around you aware of what you’re doing next. Avoid cutting lanes or making turns without a signal first, and you’ll probably also avoid an angry driver coming at you for your careless mistake.

Cutting through traffic queues

The problem: When you’re stuck in traffic and cars from way behind refuse to queue, and cut into a lane, which then causes more congestion, frustration and anger than necessary.

The solution: Be patient, and just wait for the flow to ease, just like everyone else who is stuck in the same traffic jam or plan to take a different route that is not as congested. Cutting a queue is rude and inconsiderate – so don’t be surprised if you end up a victim of road rage for cutting a queue.

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Double-parking

The problem: Cars that illegally park and block other cars that are legally parked.

The solution: How would you feel if you urgently needed to rush out of your parking spot, and find that your car’s blocked in illegally by another unmanned, parked car? That’s exactly how someone else feels when you block them in irresponsibly. So before you do this, have you considered every other option? Would it be easier to come at a time when traffic is a little less?

If you absolutely must double park for absolute emergencies, make sure you either have a friend in the car who can possibly help you move it; we also suggest leaving your mobile number somewhere on the dash, so that others can call you if no one else is around to help you stay in the car. Even if you do so, don’t take too long or go too far away from your car – always keep it within eyesight.

Inconsiderate parking

The problem: Cars that are parked with no regard for parking boxes. I’m sure you’ve seen them. One single car taking up two parking spaces or more?

The solution: There are yellow lines for a reason, and if you’re parking in a rush, it’s still only responsible for you to do it right. You are only a menace to society for being guilty of space wasting.

HonkingHorn

Illegitimate honking at every car

The problem: Honk! Honk! Honk! Drivers who are too friendly with their vehicle’s horn, or enjoy its sound too much.

The solution: The horn put in your car is there so that you may use it to warn other drivers of your presence, and signal to them to back off when they get too close. It isn’t your personal curse tool to use whenever you’re annoyed about things not going your way. And even if you do use it, a quick tap on it usually suffices. Only if someone still doesn’t get the idea, then you let them have it.

Driving on the Emergency Lane

The problem: Drivers who use the Emergency lane for reasons that aren’t emergencies, but to simply get ahead of traffic.

The solution: Don’t use the emergency lane. It’s as simple as that. As it should only be kept for emergencies, and not your impatience. Plus, this draws us back to the issue of cutting queues, which as discussed, is rude, inconsiderate, and warrants punishment.

Stop and stare

The problem: When there is an accident on the road, it seems that our first instinct  is to stop and stare, and probably take a few pictures along the way. This is exactly why we suffer from traffic jams despite how avoidable it may be.

The solution: Stop doing this! If you an accident, look quickly to see if you can share some help. If you spot no need to offer your assistance, keep driving. Don’t stop, stare, ogle, and possibly hit the car ahead of you while you’re not looking straight.

What other common driving habits irritate you on the road? Tell us!

DIY: Throttle Body Cleaning

By 9 months ago 0 comments
Picture from ImportTuner.com

Picture from ImportTuner.com

A throttle body is part and parcel of the air intake system which controls the amount of air flowing into the intake manifold via a butterfly valve. Over time, oil residue and dirt will eventually build-up inside the resulting to poor acceleration, jerkiness and possibly higher fuel consumption.

There are various methods of cleaning the throttle body, each depending on the extent of gunk accumulation inside and effort willing to spend on. Here is possibly the simplest for minor gunk flushing.

Tools

  • Throttle body cleaner
  • Used newspaper

    Off-the-shelf throttle body cleaner

    Off-the-shelf throttle body cleaner

Method

1. Start the vehicle to warm it up, then turn it off

2. Disconnect air breather hoses connected to the throttle body. Depending on vehicle models, one might also have to remove other components that might restrict access

Disconnect hoses and part that might hinder access. PCV valve as highlighted in red

Disconnect hoses and part that might hinder access. PCV valve as highlighted in red

3. It is unlikely to see the gunk as they are likely to build-up behind the butterfly valve. Press and turn the linkage that will in return open up the valve

Butterfly valve has to be opened to see the extent of the dirtiness

Butterfly valve has to be opened to see the extent of the dirtiness

4. Spray the contents of the cleaner generously into the throttle body and Position Crankcase Ventilation valve, PCV. Leave if for 5 minutes for the cleaning agent to dissolve the gunk. Wipe away excessive cleanser that may flow out

ThrottleBody02

Squirt contents into the throttle body behind the butterfly valve

5. Start the engine and keep the revs from 1.5K rpm till 2.5K rpm. It is possible but normal to experience slight difficulty turning the engine over as airflow into the throttle body may have been restricted by the cleanser. Do expect some amount of erratic idling

6. Once the idling has been stabilized, turn off the engine and repeat step 4 again

7. Reassemble parts removed earlier