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You wait ages for a ‘bus’ and then two come along at once. Well, two plug-in executive saloons have ‘arrived’ within the span of a week to be precise – the Mercedes-Benz E350e and the Volvo S90 T8. While both are locally assembled and armed to the teeth with premium features, the respective strategies are quite different.

At RM392,888, the Mercedes-Benz E350e helms the CKD range of E-Class saloons and supplements two other popular petrol variants; the E200 and E250 (the E300 is available as CBU only), while the Volvo S90 T8 at RM368,888 (with a dearer Plus variant at RM388,888) is positioned as the ‘volume-getter’ and is priced below its fully-imported petrol T5 and T6 variants, courtesy of existing tax incentives for CKD hybrids which isnt going to last forever, mind you.

Mechanically, the S90 T8 differs from the E350e in that it comes with all-wheel drive (the rear wheels driven by electric motors) while the latter sticks with RWD. The Volvo also has the edge in system power output with 407hp and 640Nm against the 286hp and 550Nm of the Mercedes, as such it’s the faster car from idle to 100km/h (4.8 seconds vs. 6.2 seconds), subject to the batteries’ state of charge (10.4kWh vs. 6.2kWh in capacity) of course. The larger battery pack of the Volvo also means a higher electric-only range of 50km against the 33km of the Mercedes-Benz, though the S90 T8 does end up having a smaller fuel tank at 50 litres, as opposed to the E350e’s 60 litres. Both cars ride on nothing less than air suspension (applicable to the S90 T8 Inscription Plus variant) and have luxuriously appointed cabins.

This could become an interesting three-cornered fight if and when the BMW 530e decides to join the party. Will the Scandinavians finally put a dent in German armour?

You wait ages for a ‘bus’ and then two come along at once. Well, two plug-in executive saloons have ‘arrived’ within the span of a week to be precise – the Mercedes-Benz E350e and the Volvo S90 T8. While both are locally assembled and armed to the teeth with premium features, the respective strategies are quite different.

At RM392,888, the Mercedes-Benz E350e helms the CKD range of E-Class saloons and supplements two other popular petrol variants; the E200 and E250 (the E300 is available as CBU only), while the Volvo S90 T8 at RM368,888 (with a dearer 'Plus' variant at RM388,888) is positioned as the ‘volume-getter’ and is priced below its fully-imported petrol T5 and T6 variants, courtesy of existing tax incentives for CKD hybrids which isn't going to last forever, mind you.

Mechanically, the S90 T8 differs from the E350e in that it comes with all-wheel drive (the rear wheels driven by electric motors) while the latter sticks with RWD. The Volvo also has the edge in system power output with 407hp and 640Nm against the 286hp and 550Nm of the Mercedes, as such it’s the faster car from idle to 100km/h (4.8 seconds vs. 6.2 seconds), subject to the batteries’ state of charge (10.4kWh vs. 6.2kWh in capacity) of course. The larger battery pack of the Volvo also means a higher electric-only range of 50km against the 33km of the Mercedes-Benz, though the S90 T8 does end up having a smaller fuel tank at 50 litres, as opposed to the E350e’s 60 litres. Both cars ride on nothing less than air suspension (applicable to the S90 T8 Inscription Plus variant) and have luxuriously appointed cabins.

This could become an interesting three-cornered fight if and when the BMW 530e decides to join the party. Will the Scandinavians finally put a dent in German armour?
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‘Compelling’ and ‘Toyota Innova’ are rarely mentioned in the same breath, but as far as product updates go, the new top-of-the-line 2.0X variant is as attractive-looking as a utilitarian MPV will probably ever get. The new colour option (Crimson Spark Red) certainly helps, as do the lower body skirting and wheel overfenders which give the Innova the aesthetics of an SUV (it has more ground clearance than most soft-roaders). And then there are the new LED headlamps and daytime running lights, dark tailgate garnish and black 17-inch alloys for a sportier flavour.

The interior of the 2.0X comes with dark leather seating as standard (drivers seat gets 8-way power adjustments), but more interesting is that the second row is now made up of two captain’s chairs instead of a three-across bench. This arrangement reduces occupant capacity to seven but is otherwise a more comfortable option if a full head count of eight isn’t a priority. Drivetrain is unchanged – 139hp/183Nm 2.0-litre paired with a six-speed auto – as is the safety spec (seven airbags and vehicle stability controls are standard), though you can now have around-view monitoring with the optional DVD navigation head unit. Price for the 2.0X is RM132,800, a RM9,000 premium over the 2.0G.

countersteer.my added 5 new photos.

‘Compelling’ and ‘Toyota Innova’ are rarely mentioned in the same breath, but as far as product updates go, the new top-of-the-line 2.0X variant is as attractive-looking as a utilitarian MPV will probably ever get. The new colour option (Crimson Spark Red) certainly helps, as do the lower body skirting and wheel overfenders which give the Innova the aesthetics of an SUV (it has more ground clearance than most soft-roaders). And then there are the new LED headlamps and daytime running lights, dark tailgate garnish and black 17-inch alloys for a sportier flavour.

The interior of the 2.0X comes with dark leather seating as standard (driver's seat gets 8-way power adjustments), but more interesting is that the second row is now made up of two captain’s chairs instead of a three-across bench. This arrangement reduces occupant capacity to seven but is otherwise a more comfortable option if a full head count of eight isn’t a priority. Drivetrain is unchanged – 139hp/183Nm 2.0-litre paired with a six-speed auto – as is the safety spec (seven airbags and vehicle stability controls are standard), though you can now have around-view monitoring with the optional DVD navigation head unit. Price for the 2.0X is RM132,800, a RM9,000 premium over the 2.0G.
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What do you do when you have an abundance of horsepower and rubber on a clear Sepang track? Keep calm and countersteer. #MercedesAMGC63S riding on new #ContinentalMC6 ... See MoreSee Less

Mercedes-AMG E63 S
The time it takes to read out the names of Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Toto Wolff (try it), the Mercedes-AMG E63 S would probably have reached 100km/h from standstill. Yes, just 3.4 seconds for a near two-tonne, four-door executive saloon. Then again, this one has 612hp and 850Nm from AMG’s venerable 4.0-litre V8 force-fed by two newly-developed twin-scroll turbos, with a fully-variable 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system (and a 9-speed multi-clutch automatic) to help it lay down all that brawn. Before you smack the E63 S with your LV man-bag or handbag for not being a rear-wheel drive saloon anymore, there is a ‘Drift’ mode where the driver can decouple the front diff on the fly and turn the E63 S into a smoky, tyre-annihilating machine, if he/she dares. Yet despite its ludicrous performance, the E63 S isn’t without a conscience. When sensible progress and not track hooniganism is the order of the day, the E63 S has the capability to shut off half its cylinders in the name of fuel efficiency. The price for this potent machine is RM998,888. #AMG50Years
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WIN THIS RENAULT SPORT F1 TEAM CAP!

We met with Nico Hulkenberg recently, the German drives for the Renault Sport F1 team and is currently 10th in the drivers’ standing with 34 points. He also put his signature to an official team cap and we are giving that away (one prize only). All you need to do is to give us your prediction of the top 10 finishers of this weekend’s race at Sepang (example below) on the comments section. Only the correct predictions submitted before the start of the race at 3pm Sunday stand a chance to win the cap. In the event of a tie, the earlier submission wins. Dropping us a ‘Like’ or sharing this post would be nice too. Good luck!

(Note: this contest is applicable to residents staying in Malaysia only)

Example of a submission:

1. Max Verstappen
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Daniel Ricciardo
5. Kimi Raikkonen
6. Valtteri Bottas
7. Nico Hulkenberg
8. Carlos Sainz
9. Fernando Alonso
10. Esteban Ocon

(Go to https://goo.gl/efSWVw for the latest F1 news) #RenaultSport #nicohulkenberg #SepangF1

countersteer.my added 5 new photos.

WIN THIS RENAULT SPORT F1 TEAM CAP!

We met with Nico Hulkenberg recently, the German drives for the Renault Sport F1 team and is currently 10th in the drivers’ standing with 34 points. He also put his signature to an official team cap and we are giving that away (one prize only). All you need to do is to give us your prediction of the top 10 finishers of this weekend’s race at Sepang (example below) on the comments section. Only the correct predictions submitted before the start of the race at 3pm Sunday stand a chance to win the cap. In the event of a tie, the earlier submission wins. Dropping us a ‘Like’ or sharing this post would be nice too. Good luck!

(Note: this contest is applicable to residents staying in Malaysia only)

Example of a submission:

1. Max Verstappen
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Daniel Ricciardo
5. Kimi Raikkonen
6. Valtteri Bottas
7. Nico Hulkenberg
8. Carlos Sainz
9. Fernando Alonso
10. Esteban Ocon

(Go to goo.gl/efSWVw for the latest F1 news) #RenaultSport #nicohulkenberg #SepangF1
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Porsche 911 GT2 RS @ Nürburgring Nordschleife
Porsche called Lamborghini and said they wanted their Ring record back, and then the new Porsche GT2 RS -- the most powerful 911 ever made with 700hp/750Nm from its 3.8-litre bi-turbo flat-six driving the rear wheels only -- promptly delivered. According to Porsche, no trick tyres or any clandestine mods were deployed, just sheer driving performance from the 340km/h-capable 911 and balls of steel from its drivers. If the skies over Nordschleife look a bit dark in the video, it's because the record-setting run began at 7.11pm (on 20th September, 2017) and ended some 6 minutes 47 seconds later. You could use the next seven minutes to trim your toe nails, but we think it is probably better spent watching this. #PorscheGT2RS
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Volvo XC40
Whatever Volvo is paying their designers, we think it's probably not enough for the all-new XC40 compact SUV is yet another Volvo that's so easy on the eyes. When it does arrive in Malaysia (perhaps early 2019?), the XC40 will square off against the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3. Possible powertrains include a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder as well as a plug-in hybrid 'Twin Engine' option. Till then, feast your eyes on cool Nordic design. #VolvoXC40
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Why Mercedes-Benz has got your back

“At the end of the day, every electric car is only as sustainable as the electric it uses.”