Global News

Mini is broadening its all-electric vehicle portfolio with the introduction of the new Mini Countryman E. With increased dimensions, the latest Countryman model offers a spacious and family-friendly design. It measures 13cm longer and eight centimetres taller than its predecessor, providing more interior room and enhanced storage capacity. The luggage compartment, with a maximum volume of 1,450 litres, easily accommodates bulky items when the rear seats are folded down. The model’s 202 mm ground clearance ensures a comfortable ride on uneven roads.

Customisable and Stylish Trims

The Mini Countryman E comes in four new vehicle trims, allowing for extensive personalization of both exterior and interior elements. The Favoured Trim highlights brand-typical design features in Vibrant Silver, and buyers can opt for a contrasting roof and mirror caps in the same colour. The model’s clear and streamlined surfaces are accentuated in the striking Blazing Blue shade. Inside, the Favoured Trim includes comfortable sports seats and a newly designed sports steering wheel featuring a textile strap instead of the traditional six o’clock spoke.

Enhanced Performance and Agility

The Countryman E is powered by a 204hp electric motor, delivering 250Nm of torque. This enables the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 8.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 170km/h. The continuous acceleration of the electric motor enhances agility, emphasizing Mini’s signature go-kart feel. The vehicle’s battery, with an energy content of 66.45 kWh, supports DC fast charging up to 130 kW, allowing the battery to charge from 10% to 80% in just 29 minutes. The model boasts a range of up to 462km in the WLTP test cycle.

Modern and Aerodynamic Design

The new exterior design of the Mini Countryman E accentuates its off-road character. Short overhangs, a short bonnet, and a long wheelbase create a dynamic and agile appearance. The redesigned octagonal front grille and distinctive LED headlamps enhance the vehicle’s modern look. Optional light signatures for the front and rear lights allow for further customization. The slightly curved roof seamlessly connects to the redesigned C-pillar, adding sporty accents, while the distinctive Mini rim designs are available in sizes ranging from 17 to 21 inches.

Spacious and High-Tech Interior

The new Mini Countryman E offers nearly three centimeters of additional width in the shoulder and elbow areas, providing more space and comfort for the driver and passengers. The dashboard features a two-tone textile cover extending into the door panels, while the central round OLED display with a 240 mm diameter and high-quality glass surface controls all infotainment and assistance systems. The new Mini Operating System 9, accessible via touch or voice control, enhances user interaction. The Mini Experience Modes offer an immersive driving experience, and the panoramic glass roof brings natural light into the spacious interior.

Advanced Assistance Systems

The Mini Countryman E includes innovative assistance systems for improved comfort and safety. The optional Driving Assistant Professional enables partially automated Level 2 driving on motorway-like routes, allowing the driver to take hands off the steering wheel at speeds up to 60km/h while remaining alert. This system can identify necessary gaps in traffic for lane changes and adjusts the vehicle’s speed for optimal assisted lane changes.

Mini’s latest offering, the Countryman E, exemplifies the brand’s commitment to combining style, performance, and advanced technology in an all-electric package, making it an ideal choice for families and eco-conscious drivers alike.

In a significant move for the future of autonomous driving, China has granted nine companies the green light to begin testing Level 3 autonomous driving systems on public roads. This approval comes approximately eight months after the Chinese government issued guidelines for the nationwide initiative and started accepting applications from firms interested in testing their self-driving technologies.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has confirmed that Nio, BYD, Changan Auto, GAC, SAIC, BAIC BluePark, China FAW Group, SAIC Hongyan, and Yutong Bus have received approval to test their autonomous vehicles on restricted roads. These tests will allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel, marking a significant step towards the deployment of Level 3 semi-autonomous vehicles in China.

While Level 3 autonomous vehicles are not yet commercially available in China, these tests are expected to pave the way for the introduction of such systems for individual buyers and fleet operators. Currently, at least 10 car manufacturers in China, including Huawei and Xpeng, sell vehicles equipped with Level 2 systems.


Alpina, the renowned automaker famed for its unique blend of luxury and performance, has unveiled the GT versions of its B3 and B4 models. This move caters to BMW enthusiasts desiring a sophisticated package that delivers M-like performance.

The new GT models boast a significant power boost. The twin-turbocharged inline-six engine now delivers 529hp, an increase of 34hp, and 729Nm of torque. This positions the Alpina B3 GT sedan and B3 GT Touring, along with the B4 GT Gran Coupe, on par with BMW’s M3 Competition models.

Alpina has attributed this power increase to revised engine mapping. The enhanced performance allows the B3 GT sedan to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds. The B3 GT Touring and B4 GT Gran Coupe achieve this in 3.5 seconds. All models feature power distribution to all four wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

Visually, the GT versions maintain a subtle yet distinctive look. They feature small canards and a front splitter, along with a redesigned black diffuser and new exhaust tips. Alpina’s signature shades of blue and green are available, alongside a broad range of BMW Individual colours. The Alpina badging is prominent on both the exterior and interior, including the GT script in Oro Tecnico.

The B3 GT is offered in both sedan and wagon trims. These models, based on the 3 Series, sport the smaller grille compared to the M3, providing a different aesthetic choice for buyers. The B4 GT, available in Gran Coupe format, shares the same power and performance enhancements.

These models will be exclusive to the European market, with deliveries starting in November. Pricing begins at 101,700 Euros (RMRM518,008) for the B3 sedan, 102,900 Euros (RM524,098) for the B3 Touring, and 105,100 Euros (RM535,348) for the B4 GT Gran Coupe.

The new GT versions from Alpina offer a compelling alternative for BMW buyers seeking a luxurious yet powerful driving experience. With M-level performance and unique Alpina styling, these models provide a sophisticated option in the high-performance vehicle segment.

There has been an ongoing debate about whether electric vehicle (EV) owners need to purchase tyres specifically designed for EVs. While some argue that EVs require special tyres, many EV owners find that standard tyres perform well and offer long life. Michelin, a trusted tyre manufacturer, has weighed in on this issue, dispelling the myth that EV-specific tyres are necessary, as reported by Torque News.


Before diving into Michelin’s stance, it’s important to understand some widely accepted facts about EVs:

  1. Weight: EVs are generally heavier than similarly sized vehicles with conventional powertrains due to their large batteries.
  2. Torque: EVs offer more torque and deliver it more smoothly than most conventionally powered vehicles.
  3. Noise: EVs are quieter inside the cabin, amplifying tyres and road noise.
  4. Efficiency: Range and efficiency are critical for many EV owners.
  5. Spare tyres: Most EV models do not come with spare tyres.

These characteristics influence tyre selection, emphasising durability, noise reduction, and efficiency. However, these needs are not exclusive to EVs; many conventional vehicles share similar requirements.

Michelin’s Perspective on EV Tyres

Michelin asserts that their latest generation of tyres are “EV Ready” and do not need to be specifically labeled as EV tyres. According to Michelin product managers, their tyres inherently possess the qualities that EV manufacturers and consumers seek, such as long wear, noise reduction, and low rolling resistance.


Volkswagen is significantly expanding its ID.7 electric vehicle range with the introduction of new models, including the high-performance ID.7 GTX and the versatile ID.7 GTX Tourer. Both models boast impressive features and performance capabilities, solidifying Volkswagen’s commitment to electric mobility.

High-Performance ID.7 GTX and GTX Tourer

Leading the charge is the ID.7 GTX, a fastback model equipped with a 340PS output and electric all-wheel drive. This powerhouse vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, thanks to its dual-motor setup that delivers 250 kW. It also boasts a substantial WLTP range of up to 595km, making it both a thrilling and practical choice for EV enthusiasts. The ID.7 GTX supports fast charging with up to 200 kW at DC stations, allowing the 86-kWh battery to charge from 10% to 80% in just 26 minutes.


BMW is gearing up for a major shift with the launch of the fourth-generation 1 Series, including a new M Performance variant. Despite retaining its front-wheel-drive architecture, the new iteration brings a host of cosmetic and technological upgrades while hinting at a future shift in nomenclature by dropping the “i” from its petrol model names, starting with the M135.

M135 xDrive

Performance and Powertrain Options

The M135 will be available at launch, powered by the latest iteration of the B48 engine. This 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivers 296hp in regions with stricter emissions regulations and 312hp elsewhere. Torque is consistent at 400Nm, enabling the M135 to sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 250km/h.

Other engine options include a 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder mild-hybrid in the 120, producing 168hp and 280Nm of torque. This variant can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 7.8 seconds and has a top speed of 225km/h.

For diesel enthusiasts, there’s the 120d with a 2.0-litre turbo engine, generating 161 horsepower and 280Nm of torque, achieving 0 to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 222km/h. A more affordable 118d variant offers 148hp and 360Nm of torque, completing the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.3 seconds and matching the 120d’s top speed.

Exterior and Design Evolution

The new 1 Series maintains its recognisable silhouette, but with sharper, more aggressive headlights and taillights reminiscent of the latest X2. The M Performance version, the M135, stands out with a quad exhaust system borrowed from the X1 M35i and X2 M35i, and the signature M-specific side mirror caps and kidney grille badge. The M135 also features plenty of glossy black trim and a sportier grille with horizontal slats.

The standard 1 Series models, whether equipped with the M Sport Package or not, sport a unique grille design with interlaced vertical and oblique lines. Notably, the new 1 Series is BMW’s first model to offer a contrasting roof finish in glossy black. Wheel sizes range from 17 inches up to 19 inches for the M135, which can also be equipped with optional compound brakes.

Interior Upgrades and Technological Enhancements

Inside, the 2025 1 Series offers a dramatic departure from its predecessor. It now features BMW’s latest iDrive 9 infotainment system with dual screens- a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.7-inch touchscreen. The interior design emphasises minimalism, evident from the removal of most conventional buttons and even the traditional iDrive rotary knob.

M135 xDrive

A new gear selector replaces the chunky gear lever, and the cabin boasts a fully vegan interior as standard. The M135 variant comes with additional sporty touches, including body-hugging front seats with an illuminated M logo and standard shift paddles for its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

BMW’s fourth-generation 1 Series introduces significant upgrades in both design and technology while maintaining the core attributes that have made it popular. The inclusion of a high-performance M135 variant and a range of efficient engines ensures there is a model to suit a variety of preferences. As BMW continues to evolve its lineup, the new 1 Series sets the stage for future innovations and improvements in their entry-level segment.

M135 xDrive

1 Series

In light of the recent Daihatsu safety testing scandal, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has extended its investigation into other domestic automakers dating back to 2014. This probe has uncovered fraudulent conduct in type approval applications by major players including Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Suzuki. Consequently, these companies have been compelled to suspend production, shipment, and sales of the affected models.

Toyota’s Safety Testing Misconduct

Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker, admitted to submitting falsified data in pedestrian and occupant safety tests for current models such as the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross. Additionally, internal audits revealed tampered crash tests for discontinued models including the Crown, Isis, Sienta, and Lexus RX. Despite these infractions, Toyota asserts that its internal checks have verified compliance with all safety regulations, indicating no immediate action is required from vehicle owners.

Mazda’s Engine and Crash Test Alterations

Mazda revealed that the engine control software of the MX-5 RF roadster and the Mazda2 subcompact hatchback had been altered during official output testing. Furthermore, improper modifications were made to crash test vehicles of the discontinued Atenza/Mazda6 and Axela models. Nevertheless, Mazda confirmed that these production models still meet safety standards.


Subaru has announced the nearing end of production for the 2024 model year (MY) BRZ in Japan, prompting enthusiasts to take notice. However, this development doesn’t spell the end for BRZ availability in other markets. Current stock will still be accessible through local dealerships, offering potential buyers a window of opportunity.

Not leaving BRZ fans in the lurch, Subaru plans to unveil a mildly updated version as early as July 2024. The refreshed 2025 model year BRZ for the domestic market will focus on new features rather than significant design changes.

One notable update for the six-speed manual version is the inclusion of a Sport mode, previously exclusive to automatic models. This mode, inspired by the Super Taikyu racing series, offers adjusted throttle settings. Additionally, Active Sound Control will now adapt automatically based on the selected drive mode, mirroring functionality found in automatic transmission models.


The new GTI Clubsport, an enhanced variant of the facelifted GTI, introduces several key updates from the regular Grand Touring Injection (GTI) models from Wolfsburg. This more powerful version features distinctive design elements, including a unique front bumper, a prominent rear spoiler, and larger Quadrifoglio-style wheels, available in 18-inch as standard with an optional 19-inch set.

With the launch of the Mk8.5 models, the power difference between the standard GTI and the Clubsport has narrowed. The standard GTI now produces an additional 20hp, increasing its total to 261hp. In contrast, the Clubsport maintains its 296hp, preserving a 35hp advantage. Additionally, the Clubsport benefits from an extra 30Nm of torque, bringing its total to 400Nm.

Both models are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DSG), marking a departure from the previous Mk7 generation, where the Clubsport was available with a manual gearbox. In terms of performance, the standard GTI accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds, while the Clubsport does so in 5.6 seconds. Both models are electronically limited to a top speed of 250km/h. However, the Clubsport offers an optional Race Package that boosts the top speed to 268km/h and includes a robust Akrapovič exhaust system. This package also upgrades the Clubsport with chunkier brakes and a special mode within the Sport driving profile to further enhance performance.

Standard features for both models include a limited-slip differential and progressive steering, with optional adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) for improved handling. Inside, both the GTI and the Clubsport are equipped with an enlarged 12.9-inch touchscreen for the upgraded infotainment system. Notably, the touch sliders in these models are now illuminated, and the steering wheel has been updated to feature traditional buttons instead of capacitive touch keys, addressing previous usability concerns.

The new GTI Clubsport combines enhanced performance, distinctive styling, and improved technology, making it a compelling choice for enthusiasts seeking a track-ready version of the iconic GTI.

The Bugatti Chiron, a symbol of hyper sports car excellence since its debut in 2016, has reached the end of its production with the final unit, ‘L’Ultime,’ crafted by Bugatti’s skilled artisans in Molsheim. Limited to just 500 units, the Chiron has set remarkable milestones, being the first road car to achieve 1,500PS and the first production car to exceed 482km/h. This last Chiron Super Sport revisits the original design ethos introduced eight years ago, blending ‘Atlantic Blue’ and ‘French Racing Blue’ into a seamless colour scheme, complemented by matching wheels, a custom blue Bugatti macaron, and hand-written details that chronicle its historic journey since 2016.

The Super Sport’s design pays tribute to the Chiron’s illustrious legacy while showcasing Bugatti’s evolution in craftsmanship. The unique colour interplay, the bespoke elements like the ‘500’ motif engraved on the engine cover, and the intricate hand-woven leather interiors underscore the Chiron’s status as a pinnacle of automotive achievement. The design not only honours the past but also highlights Bugatti’s commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Since its debut, the Chiron has remained at the forefront of automotive performance and luxury, embodying Bugatti’s philosophy of ‘Form Follows Performance’. The Chiron family, including models such as the Chiron Sport, Chiron Pur Sport, Chiron Super Sport, and special editions like the Chiron Super Sport 300+ and Les Légendes du Ciel, has continually pushed the boundaries of what is possible in a hyper sports car. Each variant has built upon the Chiron’s legacy, offering unique features and performance enhancements that have cemented its status as a leader in the hypercar segment.

As Bugatti transitions to a new era, the final Chiron Super Sport stands as a testament to the brand’s heritage of performance, luxury, and innovation. The interior of this ultimate Chiron is a masterpiece, featuring ‘Deep Blue’ leather, ‘Blue Carbon Matt’ finishes, and intricate hand-woven leather panels that reflect the car’s bespoke nature. Every detail, from the carbon fibre elements to the French flag on the mirror wings, highlights the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that have defined the Chiron.

The final Chiron not only commemorates the end of an extraordinary journey but also heralds the beginning of Bugatti’s next chapter, promising continued excellence and groundbreaking advancements in automotive engineering and design. As Bugatti moves forward, this ultimate Chiron serves as a bridge between the brand’s storied past and its ambitious future, setting the stage for new innovations and continued leadership in the hypercar market.


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