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The Valhalla was just a concept car which Aston Martin presented 2 years ago, a possible new model after the Valkyrie which would also be mid-engined. While it may have remained a concept for a while more, the change in ownership and management last year has seen the hybrid supercar being given the green light for production.

Led by Aston Martin’s CEO, Tobias Moers, the Valhalla is the latest and most significant product of the brand’s Project Horizon strategy. It will broaden the model portfolio to reflect Aston Martin’s presence in Formula 1 and drive the transition from internal combustion to hybrid to full electric powertrains.

Aston Martin Valhalla

Technology expertise from F1 team
Built with chassis, aerodynamic and electronics expertise drawn from its F1 involvement via the Aston Martin Cognizant team, the Valhalla is expected to offer superlative performance, dynamics and also driving pleasure. It will be a rolling showcase of technology employed in the highest level of motorsport.

Propelling the Valhalla is its all-new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain with a rear (mid)-mounted 4-litre twin-turbo bespoke V8 engine originating from Mercedes-AMG (a V6 had been considered before). This is said to be the most advanced, responsive and highest performing V8 engine ever installed in an Aston Martin, developing 750 ps to power the rear wheels.

Supplementing the V8 engine is a pair of EMotors, one mounted on the front axle and the other on the rear axle. The motors, which get energy from a 150kW/400V battery pack contribute a further 204 ps to give a total system output of 950 ps.

Aston Martin Valhalla

Aston Martin Valhalla

When driven in EV mode, power is directed exclusively to the front axle. In other driving modes the power is split between front and rear axles. The percentage sent to each axle constantly varies according to driving demands. In certain situations, 100% of electrical power can be sent to the rear axle, supplementing the full output of the V8 engine for maximum performance.

Bespoke 8-speed DCT
Completing the powertrain is an all-new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission from an Italian supplier. Exclusively engineered and built for Aston Martin, this new paddle-shift gearbox has been developed specifically for use with hybrid powertrains. It has ‘e-reverse’ which utilizes the electric motors and thereby saves weight by negating the need for a conventional reverse gear. The transmission also has an Electronic Limited-Slip Differential on the rear axle for maximum traction and handling agility.

Running in EV-only mode, the Valhalla is said to be capable of a maximum of 130 km/h and up to 15 kms with a fully charged battery pack. When the maximum output of 950 ps is used, the Valhalla is expected to reach a top speed of 330 km/h after going from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds.

The Valhalla will have technologies drawn from Formula 1 via the Aston Martin Cognizant team which is competing in the championship.

Carbonfibre tub for low weight
Structurally, the Valhalla is built around a new a carbonfibre tub for maximum stiffness with minimum weight penalty. Featuring Formula 1-style pushrod front suspension complete with inboard mounted springs and dampers reducing unsprung mass gives a brilliant packaging solution. For the rear-end’s multilink design, there are Multimatic Variable Spring rate and Adaptive Spool Valve (ASV) Damper units providing adjustable ride frequency.

In addition to stiffer suspension, Track mode sees ride height significantly reduced in order to maximize downforce. At the other end of the speed scale, a front axle lift system raises the nose for improved approach angle on awkward inclines (and Malaysia speedbumps).

Considering the sort of speeds the Valhalla can travel at, stopping power also needs to be superior and high-performance Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes (with brake-by-wire technology) are fitted. And to keep the car stuck to the road even in the most extreme cornering conditions are Michelin tyres (20 inches front, 21 inches rear) developed specifically for the Valhalla.

Aston Martin Valhalla

Aston Martin Valhalla

With a target dry weight of less than 1550 kgs, the Valhalla will have an unrivalled power-to-weight ratio compared to its class rivals. Weight of a different kind – that generated by aerodynamic downforce – also plays its part in Valhalla’s unmatched dynamic capabilities. Benefitting from a flow-down of the Valkyrie hypercar’s Formula 1-inspired aerodynamic philosophy, the Valhalla employs a combination of active aerodynamic surfaces – specifically the front surfaces and rear wing – and masterful management of underbody airflow through dramatic venturi tunnels.

LHD and RHD to be available
To maximize sales globally, Aston Martin will offer the supercar in lefthand and righthand drive layouts. It has more cockpit room that the Valkyrie with many Formula 1-inspired hallmarks. An innovative new Aston Martin HMI system features a central touchscreen display and incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Adjustable pedals and steering column enable the seat bases to be fixed to the chassis structure.

“When we created the Valhalla concept, we were keen to emphasize the design legacy of the Aston Martin Valkyrie and that intent remains unchanged, but the execution has evolved considerably in order to reach production of this all-new car. Though the legacy of Valkyrie is clear, Valhalla is now a more mature, fully resolved piece of design. One which combines the pure aerodynamic function you would expect from a marque competing in Formula One, together with the beautiful form, striking proportions and exemplary detailing for which Aston Martin is renowned,” said the company’s Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman.

Aston Martin Valhalla

Aston Martin has not said how much or how many cars will be available although the number is likely to be more than limit of 150 units that the Valkyrie has. The sophistication of the supercar means production will be over a longer period and it is believed that first deliveries are likely to start in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Custom specification for Aston Martin V12 Speedster

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Sprint Qualifying Race starts today at 4:30 pm in England/11:30 pm in Malaysia

As the pandemic seems to be easing, health authorities in the UK are willing to allow spectators at events again and this will be the case for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend. 140,000 spectators will be allowed into the circuit to watch the 10th round of the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship and to see if their countryman, Sir Lewis Hamilton, can improve his position in the championship.

For this round, there is something extra in the form of a sprint race which will offer additional excitement for spectators and also a different challenge for the teams. The Sprint Qualifying Race is 100 kms long which is 17 laps of the Silverstone circuit. Being run over a shorter distance, drivers will be flat out from start to finish, with no pit stops needed. The best effort will be necessary as the finishing order will determine the starting positions for the main race, so there is a chance to improve on the position gained in Qualifying. There are also points for the top three finishers of the race.

The starting grid for the Sprint Race has already been determined by a qualifying session yesterday in which Hamilton took pole position with Max Verstappen alongside. With the running of this extra race, the normal schedule has been changed and there is less practice time for the teams to fine-tune the cars’ set-up. They had one free practice session yesterday and there will be another one today before the Sprint Race. This will place more pressure on the mechanics and engineers who have less time to work.

“The start and first lap is one of the riskiest moments for a driver and sets the driver up for the race they have to come, so having two standing starts to contend with, firstly in the Sprint Qualifying Race and then the standard Sunday event, will add extra drama and pressure. Losing out in the Sprint Qualifying Race will have a big impact on the main race, and could make your Sunday very tricky,” said Mercedes-AMG’s Toto Wolff.

Drivers love racing and the Sprint Qualifying format means some extra racing. “The usual format has been pretty standard apart from a couple of weekends where there has been less practice, so it will be nice to try something different and see if it is going to really mix up the weekend,” said Valtteri Bottas. “I guess it can go really against you or for you, but we will find out.”

Red Bull stays ahead
With 5 consecutive victories, Red Bull Racing has a strong hold in the leading position of the championship. Better results in recent races by the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team have kept the gap to 44 points, though. It’s the same thing in the Drivers Championship where Max Verstappen remains at the top with Hamilton 32 points behind and surely eager to change that as soon as possible.

Where the F1 championship began
This will be the 72nd British Grand Prix and it is one of the two events that has been consistently a part of each year’s championship. In fact, the current Formula 1 World Championship had its start at Silverstone in 1950 but the former airbase runway was not always used. In some years, the Aintree circuit in Liverpool was used and between 164 and 1986, the Brands Hatch circuit hosted F1 races.

Lewis Hamilton has been the most successful driver in the history of the British GP, having won his home race on 7 occasions, the first win with McLaren in 2008. However, among the teams, Ferrari has the most – 17 wins since their first one in 1950 at the first F1 race.

Scuderia Ferrari’s first F1 win was at Silverstone in 1950, the year the world championship series began.

Vaccination does not make you immune to COVID-19 infection. but it may help reduce the severity of the effects. You can still get infected and you may not show symptoms but spread the coronavirus. Do not stop taking protective measures such as wearing a facemask, washing hands frequently and social distancing. #kitakagakita

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Electric vehicles run on electricity, so they will not give off smells that have been associated with the motorcar for over 100 years. Those smells are typically the fumes of the fuel, exhaust gases and also lubricants in some cases.

In a Ford-commissioned survey, one in five drivers said the smell of petrol is what they would miss most if they switched to an electric vehicle, with almost 70% claiming they would miss the smell of petrol to some degree. Petrol also ranked as a more popular scent than both wine and cheese, and almost identically to the smell of new books.

Association with the Mustang
This led Ford to look for a way to help those with a fondness for the evocative smells of traditional petrol cars to make the transition. Their solution: a high-end fragrance that fuses smokiness, aspects of rubber and even an ‘animal’ element to associate with the Ford Mustang heritage.

The Mustang connection is because Ford is now selling an electrically-powered variant of the bestselling sportscar in the world – the Mustang Mach-E GT. It was revealed over last weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. However, it’s not for sale and is part of the carmaker’s ongoing mission to help dispel myths around electric cars and convince traditional car enthusiasts of the potential of electric vehicles.

Created by a perfume specialist
Known as ‘Mach-Eau’, the fragrance was created by British fragrance specialist, Olfiction, with ingredients that each add a specific element of the scent’s story. Olfiction’s Pia Long, an Associate Perfumer in the British Society of Perfumers, has been creating fragrances for some of the most famous perfume brands and was instrumental in its inception.

Her starting point was to look into the chemicals that are emitted from car interiors, engines and petrol. This included benzaldehyde, which is an almond-like scent given off by car interiors, and para-cresol which is key in creating the rubbery scent of tyres. These were blended with ingredients like blue ginger, lavender, geranium and sandalwood that added metallic, smoky and further rubbery accents. An ‘animal’ element was also included, giving an impression of horses to underline the Mustang heritage. The bottle also comes in a container shaped like a fuel pump.

The all-electric Mustang Mach-E GT.

“Judging by our survey findings, the sensory appeal of petrol cars is still something drivers are reluctant to give up. The Mach Eau fragrance is designed to give them a hint of that fuel-fragrance they still crave. It should linger long enough for the GT’s performance to make any other doubts vaporise too,” said Jay Ward, director, Ford of Europe Product Communications.

Other carmakers have perfumes too
While Ford has no plans to commercialise the Mach Eau fragrance, other carmakers have licensed the use of their brand names on perfumes for many years. Exotic carmakers like Lamborghini and Ferrari have a line of perfumes though they are essentially perfumes without that ‘connection’ the car smells.

Mazda Design also got involved in the carmaker’s first perfume product in 2017. The perfume, with a blend of wood, rose and leather fragrances, was intended to be associated with Mazda’s KODO: Soul of Motion design concept. While the bottle was typical of such products, the outer case that it was stored in was meant to symbolize the KODO design and won a gold award in Germany’s iF Design Awards.

Mazda’s KODO: Soul of Motion perfume (left) and two of the many Ferrari perfumes in the market.

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Long wheelbase (LWB) sedans are not new but in earlier years, they were largely limited production cars, often extended by third parties (not the carmakers themselves). Generally, LWB cars were in the uppermost segment of the market as they were seen to confer more ‘status’. It was only in the 1980s that carmakers began to consider LWB variants as part of the range for a model.

BMW was one of the carmakers that saw a growing market for LWB sedans and E32 7-Series (1986 – 1994), it offered a factory-engineered and built LWB variant for the first time. However, this variant was intended for customers in the Middle East and Asia, where the owner typically sat behind and was driven around by a chauffeur. In Europe, even flagship models like the 7-Series were often driven by owners themselves who didn’t need the extra length or space for what was already a large sedan.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

As economies grew, especially in China, demand for LWB models increased with more and more customers willing to pay extra for the additional status. With China being such a huge market, manufacturers like BMW were willing to special engineer variants for just that market as there was enough volume to justify the development costs. Often, when the LWB models were launched, the company would say that it was only meant for China.

Assembled in Malaysia
As distributors in other markets began to get more requests, BMW has changed the policy and sees enough volume to make LWB variants a part of the range for some models. This includes the 3-Series and now this has come to Malaysia in the form of the 330Li M Sport. And it is not imported from Germany (or China) as a CBU product either; it is assembled locally at the BMW facility in Kedah. Local assembly enables the price to start from RM277,164.22 (excluding insurance) with full exemption of sales tax until the end of the year.

Proportions maintained
In developing the LWB version, the designers have maintained appealing proportions even while extending the wheelbase by 110 mm compared to the standard version. This allows the overall body length to increase to 4819 mm which is also 110 mm longer than the standard body. The increase provides an extra 42 mm of legroom for the rear passengers.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

The kidney grille of the 330Li M Sport is suitably sized for the car, with black struts distinctively framed in chrome. Flanking the grilles are Adaptive LED Headlights which will vary their intensity automatically depending on traffic conditions at night.

Besides the BMW Individual High-Gloss Shadow Line, the exterior features M Aerodynamics and M Sport Packages, 18-inch M light alloy wheels in Double-Spoke style 848 M bicolour with mixed tyres and run-flat tyres, double-sided exhaust tailpipe finishers with a trapezoidal design in the rear, as well as the panorama glass roof, and welcome lighting on both sides.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

258 ps TwinPower Turbo engine
Although there is added weight with the longer bodyshell and chassis, the 4-cylinder 2-litre TwinPower Turbo petrol engine should still be able to maintain the same level of performance as it has an output of 258 ps/400 Nm. Accelerating through the gears of the Steptronic Sport transmission, the 100 km/h mark should be passed within a claimed 6.2 seconds. Fuel consumption is claimed to be around 13.5 kms/litre.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

The LWB variant of the 7th generation 3-Series has the same suspension set-up (double wishbones/multi-link) as the standard wheelbase version. But it was not just a matter of lengthening components alone; the driving dynamics also had to be considered and suspension tuning revised to ensure a similar level of performance even with the additional weight and length.

Inside the 330iL
As for the interior, the 330iL M Sport gets interior trim finishers in Aluminium Tetragon with highlight trim finishers in Pearl Chrome around the cabin. The driver has an M leather steering wheel and M-specific foot pedals, with electric adjustment for the seat to easily get the right driving position. The Comfort Access System makes getting in and out easy. Boot space is 480 litres, improved with the storage compartment package that offers more stowage possibilities.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

The infotainment, navigation and driver display systems are managed by the latest BMW Operating System 7.0. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional has a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument panel while the Navigation System Professional has a 10.25-inch touchscreen.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

A new app for interaction
Owners can now have greater digital interaction with their car via the new My BMW App. This app provides easy access to a wide range of remote services, on-the-go navigation, and e-mobility features. Intended to replace the BMW Connected App after this month, it is available for free download to smartphones from the respective Android and iPhone stores.

The new 330Li M Sport is available for purchase from today but for now, visits to showrooms are still not permitted under the FMCO. However, those who wish to start the purchase process can do so by making a booking at the BMW Shop Online.

2021 BMW 330iL M Sport

Click here for other BMW news and articles.

As with other car companies these days, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has to use online media to launch its new products and today, it officially introduced the new Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4MOTION. Assembled locally, the 4-door fastback is priced from RM247,671 without insurance and with full sales tax exempted (until the end of 2021).

Facelifted version
The Arteon, as flagship of the Volkswagen range in Malaysia, has been in the market since 2020 and the one launched today has the cosmetic changes of the updated model that made its global debut last June. Besides the exclusivity and sportiness that the R-Line package adds, the new model also comes very extensively equipped with high-tech and premium features as standard.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4MOTION

These include a full-LED headlight system with Dynamic Cornering Lights while the LED 3D rear taillights have sequential turn signals. The driver’s seat has 14-way adjustment while the luxurious ambience can be personalised with a selection of 30 colours (of adjustable intensity) for ambient illumination.

New, more powerful engine
Under the bonnet, the powertrain is a new and more powerful one. While being similarly turbocharged and having a 2-litre displacement, the EA888 TSI engine in the latest Arteon produce 280 ps with 350 Nm of torque available between 1,700 and 5,600 rpm. These numbers are 70 ps and 30 Nm more than before and still flow through a 7-speed DSG wet dual-clutch transmission. The claimed acceleration time is 5.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, with fuel consumption said to be up to 13.5 kms/litre.

All-wheel drive with 4MOTION
What’s significant for the new model is that the power goes to all four wheels, instead of just those at the front. The system enabling this is 4Motion, Volkswagen’s all-wheel drive (AWD) system. While many people may think that AWD is only good for off-road driving, it is actually useful on the road too.

With all 4 wheels powered, traction is improved and this will be appreciated on wet or slippery roads. Acceleration can also be improved and grip during cornering is also better. Of course, the Laws of Physics still apply so having 4MOTION doesn’t mean that you can drive around a corner faster than the capability of the tyres to grip the road.

AWD systems like 4MOTION have ‘intelligence’, sending power to whichever wheel needs it at any given moment. If it senses a wheel starting to spin, the system cuts the power going to that wheel and sends more power to whichever of the other wheels can best use it. Because it all happens automatically, the driver can focus on driving.

The 4MOTION system in the Arteon R-Line is one of two versions which Volkswagen developed. In Arteon application, because the engine is mounted transversely, an electro-hydraulic Haldex coupling is used whereas the other version for models like the Touareg SUV employ a mechanical Torsen centre differential to distribute power to the front and rear wheels. This is because of the engine being installed in a longitudinal orientation.

Power delivery is on an infinitely variable basis by a multi-plate clutch. Normally, power is mainly transmitted to the front axle, which saves energy. However, in the event of an impending loss of traction, the rear axle is activated in a fraction of a second. The distribution of power to all four wheels becomes active before wheelspin occurs, rather than being reactive. A loss of traction is therefore virtually excluded. However, should any wheel slip occur, power is immediately transmitted to the wheels where it is needed. An Electronic Different Lock also helps to improve traction and reduce understeer.

Dynamic Chassis Control, which is standard, has up to 15 selectable increments which are varied using the adaptive dampers. There are also 5 different driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual) so driving preferences can be personalized.

Extensive safety features but no AEB
In the area of safety, Volkswagen has always made sure that its customers get the best possible protection and as the flagship model, the Arteon has an extensive list of safety systems to help the driver avoid accidents. These driver assistance systems include Lane Assist, Side Assist, Driver Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. There’s also a 360° Area View system which let’s the driver see all around the car not only for precise parking but also to spot hazards. The display is customisable to full or split views.

If an accident does occur, there’s a Post-Collision Braking System which prevents a second collision (if the car is propelled uncontrollably), and an Intelligent Crash Response System that activates to cut fuel supply, switch on hazard lights and unlock the doors to enable rescuers to get to the occupants.

The usual active safety systems like ABS with Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Control are also present but it is rather surprising to find Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) not available. This system activates to automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not do so when a collision is likely to occur. According to VPCM’s Managing Director, Erik Winter, AEB is available for the Arteon but the system is still undergoing tests in Malaysian conditions so it is not being installed yet.

However, while AEB is not present for now, there is something called Maneuver Braking which is active from around 1.5 km/h up to 10 km/h. It is active during reversing as well as moving forward, so it is effective during parking and prevents bumping into a wall or another vehicle. The Maneuver Braking system is basically an extension of the Park Distance Control system which has been around for a long time.

Arteon drivers will also be alerted to reduced pressures in the tyres by the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Once the normal pressures are set, any significant change will be noticed so the driver will not drive too far on an under-inflated tyre and damage it.

Interior with R-Line silver trim
The spacious cabin of the Arteon with R-Line silver trim has EgoComfort seats which are handsomely sculpted and upholstered in Nappa Carbon leather. The seats are structured for comfort and reduced fatigue on long journeys and for the driver, there are up to 14 adjustment options as well as a massage function. The ambient lighting has a choice of 30 colours with adjustable intensity to match just about any mood.

The high-resolution 11.7-inch Digital Cockpit not only shows the usual information like road and engine speeds but can also have a navigation map overlaid across the instrument panel. The display is customizable with 6 views for over 30 combinations, including 2D and 3D navigation.

The 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment system comes with voice and gesture control and supports wireless App-Connect to Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Besides using the touchscreen, the driver can also go handsfree and use voice commands or switches on the steering wheel.

Going with the flagship status of the model is the premium Harman Kardon sound system which has 12 speakers (11 speakers plus an additional centre one). The speaker grilles are crafted from ultra-thin 0.5 mm high-strength steel to support optimal acoustic performance. The 700W digital sound system employs a 16-channel digital amplifier with surround sound that can be enhanced by pre-determined acoustic settings – PURE, CHILL OUT, LIVE and ENERGY.

Trade-up offer
VPCM has a Trade-Up campaign for existing owners of the Touran, Cross Touran, Sharan, Passat CC and Passat (B7) who want to buy a new Volkswagen. With this campaign, owners will be able to enjoy an additional RM3,000 in trade-in value for all models currently on sale, including the all-new Arteon R-Line. While the present FMCO conditions do not allow for showroom visits, bookings for the new Arteon (as well as other models) can be made via the Volkswagen eShowroom which is always accessible from a smartphone or computer. For more information, visit www.volkswagen.com.my.

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Hyundai Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) will soon have the first N Line model for Malaysia with the launch of the Kona 1.6 Turbo N Line. The SUV is a high-performance version with styling that sets it apart distinctly. With the high output, it will have the most powerful powertrain in the market’S SUV B-segment.

Sporty design elements boost both looks and aerodynamics. With more power, better handling agility and premium tyres, each vehicle makes driving an invigorating rush. Along with superior performance, the N Line maintains a balanced combination of technology, safety and comfort.

2021 Hyundai Kona N Line

Smartstream engine and transmission
The powertrain is the Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi unit. This is a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder petrol engine paired with a Smartstream 7DCT (second generation of 7-speed Dual Clutch transmission).  Peak power output is 198 ps of power at 6,000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,500rpm. The Smartstream powertrain has been tuned to provide sharp response as well as operate efficiently.

2021 Hyundai Kona N Line

Motorsports-inspired looks
The N Line treatment for the Kona is associated with motorsports, especially rallies, with body-coloured claddings, and diamond-cut wheel design. The interior features a dedicated N Line colour package in one-tone black leather combined with suede as well as a ventilated and heated seat function for the driver and the front passenger. In addition, there is distinctive red stitching, metal pedals and a N logo on the gearshift knob, steering wheel and seats.

“With the introduction of the Kona N Line, we are confident that the Kona will lead the B-SUV segment, not only with its looks and but also with its performance. There has been keen interest among Malaysian motorists on our N and N Line brands, so we foresee good response, especially for the sportier Kona N Line,” said Low Yuan Lung, MD of Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors.

2021 Hyundai Kona N Line

Kona 1.6 Turbo as well
Besides the Kona N Line, HSDM will also be offering the Kona 1.6 Turbo which has a similar powertrain but without the N Line treatment.

Pricing has not been announced but bookings can now be made for those who want to be the first in town to own these new models.

The Story of N – Hyundai N (w/VIDEO)

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