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Subaru To Launch All-New WRX S4 In Japan In August

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Fuji Heavy Industries, which owns Subaru, has announced that it will be introducing an all-new sports sedan for the Japanese market called the WRX S4, come August 25 this year.

Based on the single teaser image, the model appears to be a WRX STI sedan, minus the signature big rear wing. Bear in mind too, that the all-new WRX and WRX STI models which are already on sale in North America and Europe, hasn’t yet been introduced in Japan.

*Below is a US-market WRX STI model:

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Since the last decade, the market for high-performance sedans in Japan has shrunk, and logically, it’s no surprise to see Subaru want to introduce a more luxury-focused, sub-STI variant of the WRX model for the Japanese market.

Subaru says the S4 name represents “Sports performance”, “Safety performance”, “Smart driving” and “Sophisticated feel,” the last of which gives us a strong clue of what the WRX S4 will be like.

Not much else has been revealed about the WRX S4′s specifications, but a variant of Subaru’s 2-litre box turbocharged engine (probably in a lower state of tune) paired to Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT-type automatic transmission is almost certain. As will be Subaru’s signature symmetrical AWD drivetrain.

The company has mentioned however, that the WRX S4 will feature the next-generation EyeSight advanced driver’s assistance technology, and that it will offer superior environmental friendliness and a high-quality feel.

If or not the Subaru WRX S4 will be made available to markets outside of Japan, is yet to be known.

2014 Proton Global Small Car (GSC) Info Hub: The Myvi Killer?

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Under the stewardship of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Proton Holdings Berhad will soon launch an all-new global model, dubbed the Global Small Car (GSC) – also known as the P2-30A. Unofficially, we understand that the car is due for a launch sometime soon, and we’ve since been following the supposed Myvi-killer very closely.

And just so you don’t miss out on any of the action, here is a compilation of all the insider info, spyshots and more that we’ve put together for the coming all-new Proton GSC:

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Your “Balik Kampung/ Kerja” Checklist: Are You Fully Prepared For The Long Drive?

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Taking care of your last-minute packing? Well, don’t forget that while the right clothes for the holiday season and handphone chargers are essential, your car has a mighty task ahead as well (if you’re driving of course).

Remembering to equip yourself and your car right for the trip can make all the difference between a festival of cheer, or the complete disaster of being stranded someway along your journey.

So before you head off, here’s a quick check-list for you to get through:

The Right Tools:

Night or day, here are some of the bare-necessities. Do you have them? Are you sure? Did you double check?

  • Jumpstart cables – travelling in a group? Well, dead batteries are surprises none of us want to deal with. So why not be the saviour who packs them?
  • Flashlight – Yes, phones do double up these days as decent flashlights, but that just kills your batteries for when an emergency call is needed, right? Remember to check the batteries on them too!
  • Screwdriver – Be it in a set or multi-head type, you’ll never know when a flathead/ Phillips screwdriver may just come in handy. A multi-head screwdriver will of course save you loads of space, but remember to avoid budget brands that fail too easily.
  • Adjustable Wrench – To manage nuts and bolts of various sizes, it’s best to have on board an adjustable wrench that can handle them all.
  • First-Aid Kit – Some cars come equipped with them, where inside, you’ll find all kinds of band aids and things. If your car hasn’t got one, get one. Or compile your own list of items inside an air-tight container. If you already have one, remember to check if it’s needs restocking.

Stocking Up On Water & Snacks

Always remember to keep a few extra water bottles in your car – for your drinking, and for your car’s should some unexpected overheating issues come up. For yourself, remember to sip occasionally to keep yourselves focused. Of course, making the extra stop at a R&R to relieve yourself doesn’t hurt either. Snacks can be helpful to keep you charged and focused. Where possible, get a co-driver to help you with this, and don’t go trying to eat a Nasi Lemak while driving, yea?

Planning Your Route Ahead:

In many ways, modern mobile apps like Waze and Google Maps do a world of good for us when it comes to navigating away from traffic jams. But as great as they are, they have their disadvantages about them as well. For once, they often lead us through strange B-roads which may pose a few more surprises than expected. So while we recommend using Waze, we don’t recommend that being your only mindless option. Go through the various routes offered, pick a right balance between the quickest route, and the safest one too. Take a look at this for a few tips on the best timing to travel this festive season.

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The Crucial Co-Driver:

We all know long distance trips are monumentally exhausting for just one driver – especially if you’re travelling for more than two or three hours. And if the numbers mean anything (which they do) there are far too many accidents that occur in solo-driver instances. Where possible, have a friend or family member to share the load. If it’s impossible to find a co-driver, at least have someone in the car with you to keep you alert.

Service & Maintenance:

It’s never too late to get in a quick service or check-up. Car companies always have all kinds of service offers and free check-ups for you to take advantage of. These multi-point checks often take very little time to do, so best you be on your way at the right time, before it’s too late. In the event that you think you’re good to go, always make sure that your tools (see above for the right ones), and spare tyre is all in check.

Touch N’ Go:

Simply, have you reloaded them yet? Does your Smart Tag have enough charge?

Hands-Free Connectivity:

Of course, most modern phone have the ability of going on speaker modes and what not which relieve your hands, but when it comes to using them for navigational purposes, we don’t have to tell you of the dangers that come from not having a proper mount for them. Make a quick drop at a tech shop (or a gas station), and pick up a proper hands-free device, and while you’re at it, a holder for your phone which keeps things in sight.

This post first appeared on our sister-site Live Life Drive.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 400 Full Review: A Darker Shade Of Luxury

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Malaysians have undoubtedly taken very well to the new crop of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s compact cars. The relatively affordable (for a Mercedes) 2014 A-Class and CLA-Class have impressed many, and as a result, you have the sort of numbers seen on roads today.

But there are those who curse the new flock of three-pointed stars, poking pitchforks and proclaiming that while they may look good, they don’t handle as well as a hot hatch should, nor are they as comfy as a typical Mercedes-Benz should be.

To be fair, they aren’t typical Mercs, are they? They’re part of a new range of cars from the Stuttgart-based company, made to be more affordable than the matured C-E-, and S-Classes. Yet, staying in-line with the common theme of the company, they haven’t exactly been made to break records at the Nurburgring either. They just are, what they are: and that’s a more affordable, and slightly-less prestigious range, of not-so affordable and prestigious cars.

Anyways, if those aren’t for you and it is within your means to look higher up the price scale, here is the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 400, sitting as far up the ladder as possible (in this segment), primed for luxury, with a whopping 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 under its hood.

Mercedes-Benz E 400

Buyer’s Guide:

If the base E 200 and mid-range E 250 models aren’t to your specific satisfaction, you’ve come to the right place. While the E 400 is RM88k more expensive than an E 250, driving it on a daily basis does make your money feel well spent, while just looking at it takes care of any remaining balances. Plainly, the car you see here is as significant a step up as the stepped-up prices.

With BMW Malaysia no longer offering its six-cylinder rival, the 535i, the only other comparable German in the market is the Audi A6 3.0 TFSI for RM515,000. Further east, Lexus also has a GS 350 for RM470k, but the normally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 in that may not rub your aspirations for a premium sedan the same way.

And don’t forget, if it’s boyish ambitions that you plainly need to appease, Naza Italia has a full-blown Italian to offer, in the form of a Maserati Ghibli: RM539k, four doors, Ferrari 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, and all.

KEY SPECS: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 400 Avantgarde

  • Price: RM493,888 (without insurance)
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo
  • Transmission: 7G-TRONIC Plus with Direct Select lever & shift paddles
  • Power: 333hp @ 5,250 to 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 480Nm @ 1,600 to 4,000rpm
  • 0-100km/h: 5.3 seconds
  • Fuel consumption: 7.5-litres/100km (claimed), 8.5 – 10.5-litres/100km (observed)

Mercedes-Benz E 400

Driving a 2014 Mercedes-Benz E 400:

PERFORMANCE: You might imagine that being a Mercedes, power delivery ought to be a lot more tamed and ‘sophisticated’ (a.k.a. lazy) compared with a BMW that was born to do just that. But you’d be quite surprised with just what the E 400 is capable of.

Plainly, 333hp and 480Nm of torque is a mountain of power to live with and it’s enough to blast you past slower traffic with nearly no effort or notice at all. The seven-speed torque converter transmission takes a quarter of a second too long to spring to action in driving modes that aren’t Sport, but the surge of power is so smooth and ferocious at the same time, you don’t mind it at all.

RIDE COMFORT: It’s sublime, to say the least. Having driven the new crop of compact MB cars, this thing is a whole other monster when it comes to ride comfort (just as we remember in the E 200 and E 250 we drove a while back).

In popular cities and urban neighbourhoods where imperfect roads can be a bother, the E 400’s ride soaks it all up so well. Cruising on long stretches of bumpy and undulated Malaysian roads really is an absolute joy to trot along at legal limits. Well beyond that limit, overly sensitive drivers may be reminded of the car’s comfort-minded suspension when things start to twitch ever-so-slightly – but trust us, it’s nothing to bother most people.

Mercedes-Benz E 400

HANDLING: Given the nature of the beast, we had no intention of going out of our way to find a few deserted bends to see out how well the E-Class would get on in the corners.

But given the nature of Waze, what was supposed to be a straight-forward highway cruise to PD ended up being a detour through exactly the kind of roads we were looking to avoid. Even still, it’s wasn’t all that bad. If you work the grip as if you were in a hot car, yes, you’re going to lose it. But if it’s just over a few cheeky twists of the wheel, the car does well – especially with the kind of power you have to burst you around.

NOISE, VIBRATION & HARSHNESS: There isn’t much to speak of, really. A slight amount of wind noises become apparent when you’re gunning it down long highways at ridiculous speeds, but again, it takes some serious effort to bring up any of this car’s imperfections.

VISIBILITY: Having just walked out of a BMW 5 Series and into the E-Class, you get a sense that this car feels a lot narrower and shorter without having compromised cabin spaciousness, the E-Class actually is just hairs smaller (28mm shorter, 6mm narrower overall). However, a world of difference is apparent on the road, when generally manoeuvring around. Seeing out and around is a lot easier as well in the E-Class, than it was in the 5er.

Mercedes-Benz E 400

Living with a 2014 Mercedes-Benz E 400:

When Mercedes-Benz Malaysia launched the E-Class facelift last year, you’ll remember that it was a preview of things to come from the all-new S-Class that was launched months after. In short, you can sort of imagine the level of technological embellishments you’d be getting from the W212 E-Class facelift – even more so from this range-topping E 400.

FEATURES: You can rest-assured that all the standard bits you’d expect from an E-Class are well accounted for: navigation, reverse camera, engine start/stop and keyless entry… the list goes on, so best we don’t waste your time there.

However, there are two things that will likely grab your attention the most: the first being a 360° surround-view camera, the other being its range of entertainment offerings.

The 360° camera combines views from four different surrounding lenses to give you a bird’s-eye view of your car, and is displayed alongside either the rear or front cameras (depending on your driving direction) on the seven-inch display screen.

Overall, the entertainment appointments in the E 400 seem to add up. Rear passengers will be treated to two eight-inch display screens, high-quality wireless Kleer headphones and lots of connectivity options and ports to plug various video and audio devices into. That said, the primary audio system doesn’t quite live up to expected standards – it’s alright, but not quite as fantastic as you’d expect.

Mercedes-Benz E 400

CABIN SPACE: Door to door, the E-Class leaves no room for complaint: it’s wide, comfortable and everything feels good to touch. Headroom, on the other hand, was quite disappointing – especially if you’re a taller chap. If not for the moonroof above which opens a gap in the headliner, it’d be very cramped. No such problem then for rear passengers, who also enjoy some very cushy seats, and a center armrest that folds down and opens up to a pair of cupholders and cubbyholes.

STYLE: We don’t normally address a car’s styling, preferring to leave it to the ol’ adage of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. This time, though, we’re making an exception. The pictures you see here barely do any justice to the car’s overall looks – you can thank the hazy weather and rubbish photographer (who may be me) for this.

The AMG Sports package transforms the E-Class into something visibly more special, adding 18-inch alloys, a bodykit, chrome strips here and there, and twin rectangular stainless-steel pipes at the rear. In the black paint you see it here, it’s just the ticket.

Mercedes-Benz E 400

Verdict: Should you buy one?

With no equivalent six-cylinder BMW to pit it against (officially), it’s a straight fight between this and the Audi A6 3.0 TFSI. The Audi option boasts a Quattro drive, and nearly as many luxury appointments as they E 400, but once you add up all the necessary options to properly match the two, don’t be surprised to see total bill in access of RM560k for your four rings.

On paper, the E 400 looks a lot better for performance as well, being the quicker of the two, courtesy of the extra 23hp, and 40Nm of torque. But yes, Audi’s Quattro ought to right things in the real world, leaving the E-Class just hairs behind at the start, but catching quickly down the straight.

So, should you buy one? Well, if the E 400’s price tag isn’t a cause for any concern to you, then you might as well be interested to know a full-on S-Class S 400 L Hybrid, dubbed by many as the best car in the world, is priced at just RM94k more – that’s if you can manage to book one. If not, then yeah, the E 400 is a decent substitute. And that says a lot.

Next-Gen Nissan Navara To Be Imported From Thailand, Estimated Launch Q1 2015

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While the current-generation Nissan Navara is assembled at the Tan Chong Motor Assemblies’ (TCMA) plant in Segambut, Selangor, the next generation all-new 2015 Nissan Navara will however be imported from Thailand as completely built-up (CBU) model, according to sources from Thailand.

One of the reasons as to why the current-generation Navara was locally-assembled in Segambut was because back then, Nissan Motor Thailand’s manufacturing plant in Samut Prakan was unable to cope with the strong demand for the model, which was also exported from Thailand to Australia – another large pick-up truck market in the Asia Pacific region.

As a temporary counter-measure, production of the Navara was consigned to Mitsubishi Motor Thailand’s plant in Laem Chang, which was tasked with producing Navara models for the export market. For the Malaysian market, TCMA also took-up the responsibility to locally assemble the Navara.

Now that Nissan Motor Thailand has completed the building of a second plant, adjacent to its existing facility in Samut Prakan, production of the all-new Navara for this region is expected to be carried out only in Samut Prakan.

Production capacity for the first year will be 75,000 units, before ramping up to 150,000 units once the outgoing model is retired from all markets.

Export operations will commence come late-2014, with Australia being the first export destination for the Thailand-made Navara, also known as the NP300 Navara. ASEAN countries including Malaysia are expected to introduce the all-new model sometime between the first quarter and second quarter of 2015.

The fact that the all-new Navara will be an imported model also means that Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) is likely to introduce the model sooner, as there will be no additional time required to re-tool its TCMA plant to support the new model.

However, judging by ETCM’s past practice, we suspect that the current-generation Navara, especially in its lower range variants, will continue to be sold in small volumes for a few more years to fleet buyers.

Read more about our interview with Nissan’s Executive Vice-President Mr. Andy Palmer in our latest issue of Carlist.my’s Automotive Industry Review.

Volkswagen Rewards Winner With Brand New Polo Sedan For Raya

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Volkswagen’s “Safe & Stylish Balik Kampung” campaign, which provided Malaysians with the opportunity to drive home a brand new Volkswagen Polo Sedan, has just found its winner.

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