Stories you can't miss

Quite a sight, the Range Rover Velar is now available in Malaysia.

- Velar P250 RM529,000
- Velar R-Dynamic P250 RM588,800
(Both rated at 250hp/365Nm; 0-100km/h 6.7s)

- Velar R-Dynamic P380 (Price on application)
(Rated at 380hp/450Nm; 0-100km/h 5.7s)

Quite a sight, the Range Rover Velar is now available in Malaysia.

- Velar P250 RM529,000
- Velar R-Dynamic P250 RM588,800
(Both rated at 250hp/365Nm; 0-100km/h 6.7s)

- Velar R-Dynamic P380 (Price on application)
(Rated at 380hp/450Nm; 0-100km/h 5.7s)
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Sixth-generation Lexus ES (2018)
Here's a glimpse of the sixth-generation Lexus ES that's due to be unveiled at the Beijing motor show in a few days time. While the Camry-based, front-wheel drive ES doesn't command as much limelight as the more illustrious LS, it nevertheless played a pivotal role in the early years (late 80s, early 90s) when Lexus offered only two models in its entire North American line up. But with crossovers and SUVs being the rage these days, can the 'humble' ES still hold its place even if it has a snarlier snout than before? #LexusES
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Mercedes-Benz Malaysias one more thing’.

There were no black turtlenecks, jeans and sneakers, but the chiefs of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) -- CEO Dr. Claus Weidner and VP Mark Raine – still managed to pull off their own take of Steve Jobs infamous encore moment by swapping their formal wear for black polo tees to emerge with a different look to launch the EQ electric mobility brand in Malaysia, moments after revealing another sterling sales achievement of 3,335 units for the first quarter of 2018; the best first quarter ever and the second best-selling quarter recorded in MBMs history.

The EQ brand, which denotes a future where mobility is driven by electric propulsion and intelligence, will encompass an ecosystem of customer-focused product and services beyond the vehicle itself. While MBM is tight-lipped as to upcoming EQ models, the current Mercedes-Benz E350e and C350e plug-in hybrid models will now wear an EQ Power emblem on their fenders and come with its own maintenance package, home-charging wallbox and a one-year access to chargEVs public charging network. This is on top of an expanding network of EQ-branded charging stations set up by MBM.

MBM will unveil more EQ charging stations in conjunction with the showcase of the Concept EQ at Desa Park City next month (https://goo.gl/8mkZEQ), following installations at Bangsar Shopping Complex, Sunway Pyramid and Pavillion KL. #switchtoEQ

countersteer.my added 5 new photos.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia's 'one more thing’.

There were no black turtlenecks, jeans and sneakers, but the chiefs of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) -- CEO Dr. Claus Weidner and VP Mark Raine – still managed to pull off their own take of Steve Job's infamous encore moment by swapping their formal wear for black polo tees to emerge with a different look to launch the EQ electric mobility brand in Malaysia, moments after revealing another sterling sales achievement of 3,335 units for the first quarter of 2018; the best first quarter ever and the second best-selling quarter recorded in MBM's history.

The EQ brand, which denotes a future where mobility is driven by electric propulsion and intelligence, will encompass an ecosystem of 'customer-focused' product and services beyond the vehicle itself. While MBM is tight-lipped as to upcoming EQ models, the current Mercedes-Benz E350e and C350e plug-in hybrid models will now wear an EQ Power emblem on their fenders and come with its own maintenance package, home-charging wallbox and a one-year access to chargEV's public charging network. This is on top of an expanding network of EQ-branded charging stations set up by MBM.

MBM will unveil more EQ charging stations in conjunction with the showcase of the Concept EQ at Desa Park City next month (goo.gl/8mkZEQ), following installations at Bangsar Shopping Complex, Sunway Pyramid and Pavillion KL. #switchtoEQ
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UPDATE: Diess to helm Volkswagen AG as Müller exits

(Excerpt from press release)

The Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft have resolved to extensively revise the Group’s management structure. Volkswagen is thus systematically continuing to transform its business and establishing even more efficient Group management in a phase of highly dynamic change in the Company and the entire automotive industry. In order to sustainably implement the new structure, there will be a number of changes on the Board of Management. Matthias Müller steps down as Chairman of the Board of Management by mutual agreement, effective immediately. At its meeting on Thursday, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Herbert Diess as his successor.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch expressly thanked Müller for his dedication: “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group’s strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before. For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company.”

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Diess is not a drill.

It would be fair to say that the high drama of Volkswagen AGs boardroom manoeuvres wouldve dominated headlines across Europe if not for the shocking exit of Barcelona from the UEFA Champions League last night.

Various media outlets are reporting the exit of VWs CEO Matthias Mueller; widely credited for his role in steering the company out of the Dieselgate storm and still with two years to serve on his contract, to be replaced by Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess (pictured); an outsider who only joined the board of management in 2015 from rival BMW.

To add intrigue to the mix, an ambiguous two-paragraph press release (below) was issued earlier in the day which indicated an imminent change in leadership, but also implying that the situation was fluid (wow). #Volkswagen

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Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (AG) considers a further development of the management structure of the Group, which would also be associated with personnel changes in the Board of Management and with changes in the specific responsibilities of the Board of Management members. This could also include a change in the position of the chairman of the Board of Management.

On the basis of these considerations, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft is currently in discussions with certain members of the Supervisory Board and of the Board of Management. Mr. Matthias Müller showed his general willingness to contribute to the changes. It is currently open whether the considerations and discussions will lead to a further development of the management structure or to personnel changes in the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.

UPDATE: Diess to helm Volkswagen AG as Müller exits

(Excerpt from press release)

The Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft have resolved to extensively revise the Group’s management structure. Volkswagen is thus systematically continuing to transform its business and establishing even more efficient Group management in a phase of highly dynamic change in the Company and the entire automotive industry. In order to sustainably implement the new structure, there will be a number of changes on the Board of Management. Matthias Müller steps down as Chairman of the Board of Management by mutual agreement, effective immediately. At its meeting on Thursday, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Herbert Diess as his successor.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch expressly thanked Müller for his dedication: “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group’s strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before. For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company.”

---------------------------------------------

Diess is not a drill.

It would be fair to say that the high drama of Volkswagen AG's boardroom manoeuvres would've dominated headlines across Europe if not for the shocking exit of Barcelona from the UEFA Champions League last night.

Various media outlets are reporting the exit of VW's CEO Matthias Mueller; widely credited for his role in steering the company out of the 'Dieselgate' storm and still with two years to serve on his contract, to be replaced by Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess (pictured); an 'outsider' who only joined the board of management in 2015 from rival BMW.

To add intrigue to the mix, an ambiguous two-paragraph press release (below) was issued earlier in the day which indicated an imminent change in leadership, but also implying that the situation was fluid (wow). #Volkswagen

---------------------------------------------

"Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (AG) considers a further development of the management structure of the Group, which would also be associated with personnel changes in the Board of Management and with changes in the specific responsibilities of the Board of Management members. This could also include a change in the position of the chairman of the Board of Management.

On the basis of these considerations, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft is currently in discussions with certain members of the Supervisory Board and of the Board of Management. Mr. Matthias Müller showed his general willingness to contribute to the changes. It is currently open whether the considerations and discussions will lead to a further development of the management structure or to personnel changes in the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft."
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countersteer.my created a poll.

BMW X2 sDrive20i vs. MINI Cooper S Countryman Sports

BMW Group Malaysia may have put some of its customers in a conundrum of sorts with the successive introduction of the BMW X2 and the MINI Cooper S Countryman Sports; two stylish crossovers targeted at the ‘young’ and affluent. Okay, you'll never mistaken one for the other, but the hardware under the skin is pretty similar.

Both models hail from the same UKL platform, both front-wheel driven and powered by the same 192hp/280Nm turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with the BMW having a newer 7-speed dual-clutch transmission as opposed to the MINI's 8-speed auto. On paper, the MINI is quicker to reach 100km/h from idle (7.4 seconds) compared to the BMW (7.7 seconds) but the latter has a marginally higher top speed of 227km/h as opposed to the MINI’s 224km/h. Curiously, both cars also have identical kerb weights (1535kg) and wheel/tyre sizes (225/45R19).

While the BMW measures slightly longer bumper to bumper and has a more spacious trunk (470L vs. 450L), the MINI is taller and sits on a wheelbase (2670mm) that's identical to the BMW’s, which means there isn’t much to separate the two in terms of interior packaging either.

If this is down to price, the fully-imported BMW X2 (at RM320,800) would be out of the reckoning given that it is substantially costlier to acquire compared to the locally-assembled MINI at RM245,888; an eye-popping difference of RM74,912 despite the two having similar levels of standard equipment.

Well, BMW would gladly point to the fact that the respective brands appeal to different customers who rarely cross-shop. Hence, for the purposes of this unscientific poll, let’s assume the BMW and MINI are identically priced. Now, which one would you rather have? #BMWvsMINI
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Its definitely a sign of the times we live in when a new model is touted with seven USB-charging ports, but thats what the soon-to-be-launched Nissan Serena S-Hybrid promises, along with more tech, safety features and amenities.

The fifth iteration of the best-selling MPV in Japan will see it come with a seven-seat configuration this time round (previously up to eight) with the second row featuring two standalone captains chair and a third row that can now slide fore and aft. Six airbags (including curtain airbags) have also been confirmed as standard fitment on the S-Hybrid, along with electronic stability control. The new Serena also adds overhead Around View cameras (as per the X-Trail), object detection when the vehicle is reversing, driver attention alert and hands-free opening of the powered sliding doors, as part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility initiative.  

The 150hp/200Nm mild-hybrid powertrain (based on a direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cyl.) is largely carried over from the previous generation but has an updated Eco motor that provides drive assistance (from idle) while functioning as an alternator at the same time. The Serenas fuel efficiency is rated at 14.2km/l (NEDC cycle), which qualifies it as an EEV. Prices for the Serena S-Hybrid are expected to remain competitive, subject to specification levels of course. Click here (https://goo.gl/rQjVsx) to find out where to view it in the metal. #NissanSerena

countersteer.my added 5 new photos.

It's definitely a sign of the times we live in when a new model is touted with seven USB-charging ports, but that's what the soon-to-be-launched Nissan Serena S-Hybrid promises, along with more tech, safety features and amenities.

The fifth iteration of the best-selling MPV in Japan will see it come with a seven-seat configuration this time round (previously up to eight) with the second row featuring two 'standalone' captain's chair and a third row that can now slide fore and aft. Six airbags (including curtain airbags) have also been confirmed as standard fitment on the S-Hybrid, along with electronic stability control. The new Serena also adds overhead 'Around View' cameras (as per the X-Trail), object detection when the vehicle is reversing, driver attention alert and hands-free opening of the powered sliding doors, as part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility initiative.

The 150hp/200Nm mild-hybrid powertrain (based on a direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cyl.) is largely carried over from the previous generation but has an updated 'Eco' motor that provides drive assistance (from idle) while functioning as an alternator at the same time. The Serena's fuel efficiency is rated at 14.2km/l (NEDC cycle), which qualifies it as an EEV. Prices for the Serena S-Hybrid are expected to remain competitive, subject to specification levels of course. Click here (goo.gl/rQjVsx) to find out where to view it in the metal. #NissanSerena
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The MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid; 224hp/385Nm (42km electric range) is now available for RM255,888. Its also the first ever MINI plug-in to be assembled outside of Oxford; the gentlemen standing next to the vehicle are believed to be CKD as well.#MINIelectric

The MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid; 224hp/385Nm (42km electric range) is now available for RM255,888. It's also the first ever MINI plug-in to be assembled outside of Oxford; the gentlemen standing next to the vehicle are believed to be CKD as well.#MINIelectric ... See MoreSee Less

There are many, many ways to spend RM4 million on cars, but it can’t get much better than swiping the Amex Centurion for the exceptional pairing of a 550hp/770Nm Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo (from RM1.94 million) and a 911 GT3 (from RM1.7 million). The launch of the Panamera Sport Turismo in Malaysia – a wagon-ised version of Porsche’s four-door saloon – sees three variants offered; the aforementioned Turbo with a 4.0-litre V8, the 330hp/450Nm Panamera 4 with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 (RM990,000) and a 462hp/ 700Nm Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (RM1.125 million) which incorporates a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain.

What you need to know is that all three variants have all-wheel drive and that the Turbo Sport Turismo is easily the fastest of the bunch (0-100km/h in 3.8s, 304km/h top speed). You can check out the new Panamera Sport Turismo range and give the ‘bespoke’ 500hp/460Nm 911 GT3 (in Riviera blue) a good once over at the Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur this weekend (roadshow ends 1st April). #Porsche #SportTurismo #GT3

countersteer.my added 5 new photos.

There are many, many ways to spend RM4 million on cars, but it can’t get much better than swiping the Amex Centurion for the exceptional pairing of a 550hp/770Nm Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo (from RM1.94 million) and a 911 GT3 (from RM1.7 million). The launch of the Panamera Sport Turismo in Malaysia – a wagon-ised version of Porsche’s four-door saloon – sees three variants offered; the aforementioned Turbo with a 4.0-litre V8, the 330hp/450Nm Panamera 4 with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 (RM990,000) and a 462hp/ 700Nm Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (RM1.125 million) which incorporates a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain.

What you need to know is that all three variants have all-wheel drive and that the Turbo Sport Turismo is easily the fastest of the bunch (0-100km/h in 3.8s, 304km/h top speed). You can check out the new Panamera Sport Turismo range and give the ‘bespoke’ 500hp/460Nm 911 GT3 (in Riviera blue) a good once over at the Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur this weekend (roadshow ends 1st April). #Porsche #SportTurismo #GT3
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countersteer.my shared F1's Australia 2018: Race Highlights.

F1
Five observations of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix:

#1 Mercedes-AMG is still on top
Hamilton may have missed out on victory by a 'software glitch', the 2018 W09 race car is easily half a second ahead of the rest, ominous signs...

#2 Verstappen rattled
It's rare to see Max being passed at the start (or being passed at all in a race, unless it's a Mercedes), then losing the car at Turn 1 on lap 10 (supposedly due to some damage to his car) and failing to challenge Alonso at the latter stages, finishing a frustrating sixth after qualifying fourth.

#3 Alonso & McLaren revival?
It's too early to say but at least Alonso didn't have to park his McLaren due to some mechanical issues. Got lucky with the safety car and drove like the Alonso of old, holding off Verstappen for a much-needed fifth place.

#4 Same old, same old at Honda
After showing amazing reliability at pre-season testing, the Honda engine at the back of Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso gave up just 13 laps into the race (MGU-H failure). Team mate Brendon Hartley did finish the race, but lacked pace and ended up last.

#5 Lightning struck twice at Haas
While the race probably could've done with a few more overtakes, you can't say F1 lacks drama. Poor Haas was poised to grab a bucket load of points (the team finished 8th out of 10 teams last year) until the curse of the (threaded) wheel nut struck, twice, putting both drivers out of the race. The sponsors must have gone nuts watching that.

Next race is in Bahrain, 8th April 2018. Can't wait.#FormulaOne #F1
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Mercedes and Ferrari lock horns once again Down Under. It's your Australian Grand Prix highlights ⬇

GE14: Between a rock and a hard place

Choosing to start a 'new Proton' shouldn't be an option on the ballot.

Remember Volkswagen?

Signs of life at Proton