2019 Nissan Leaf [Malaysia]

The second-generation Nissan Leaf has made its launch debut in Malaysia, several months after the electric vehicle was presented at last year�s Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS). Arriving as a fully-imported (CBU) model from Japan, the Leaf doesn�t qualify for incentives under the current Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) scheme. However, it does get complete import tax exemption, and is only faced with 10% excise tax and SST, so the sole variant that is available to customers is priced at RM 188,888 on-the-road without insurance.

Each purchase comes with a three-year/100,000 km warranty and three-year/60,000 km free service maintenance, while the car�s lithium-ion battery gets an eight-year/160,000 km warranty for peace of mind ownership. If you want an alternative to the conventional method of buying a car, Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) is also offering a car subscription service for the Leaf, which costs RM 3,500 a month for a three-year contract. At the end of the term, customers can choose to buy the car at current market value based on prior negotiations, or opt for a new Leaf altogether.

There�s also an owners privilege programme for Leaf adopters, where they will enjoy complimentary 23 days a year usage of the X-Trail, Serena and Navara for other travelling needs, during the first three years of ownership. For the money, you�ll get a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery (ETCM is considering bringing in the 62 kWh version), which is a significant improvement from the 24 kWh unit fitted to the first-generation model launched way back in 2013. As such, the claimed operating range is 311 km based on the NEDC test cycle.

Recharging the 350-volt battery is done with a Type 1 port located at the car�s nose (or SAE J1772 if you want get technical about things) and the onboard AC charger that is rated at 6.6 kW. Every Leaf purchased comes as standard with a single-phase home wallbox charger that delivers 6.6 kW of single-phase AC charging power, and it will take approximately seven hours to fully charge the battery.

If you�re away from home, you can also drop by any of the 17 Nissan dealerships operated by ETCM for free usage of the same 6.6 kW wallbox. The company says it plans to install more chargers in other ETCM locations in the future. You can also plug the car to other public charging stations, but keep in mind you will need to use an adapter (not provided with the Leaf) if the stations feature a Type 2 connector. We�ve been told that Nissan is working on a Type 2 to Type 1 adapter, which will be sold as an accessory when it becomes available.

An even faster means of charging is DC charging, and the Leaf is capable of receiving up to 50 kW via a separate CHAdeMO port, which will fully charge the Leaf in about an hour. Several companies in Malaysia have already set up DC charging stations, including ABB Malaysia (Subang Jaya), Nichicon (Bandar Baru Bangi) and PLUS (Ayer Keroh R&R).

The battery pack itself is mounted underneath the vehicle floor, and supplies power to an EM57 electric motor that drives the front wheels. The mill puts out 150 PS and 320 Nm of torque, which results in a zero to 100 km/h time of 7.9 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 155 km/h. Regenerative braking is present, and there are different modes to adjust the aggressiveness of the system, including D and B modes on the gear lever, along with an Eco mode. There�s also an e-Pedal function, which allows you to accelerate and fully decelerate using just one pedal.

Unlike the first-gen car, the new Leaf features a less divisive design that draws inspiration from the IDS Concept and fifth-generation March/Micra. At the front, you�ll find Nissan�s signature V-motion grille flanked by angular LED headlamps, giving the EV a rather aggressive face.

Down the sides, part of the C-pillars is blacked-out to create a �floating roof� look, a cue that is further perpetuated by a �kink� on them. For our market, the Leaf comes with 17-inch �Turbine� wheels, wrapped with 215/50 profile tyres. Meanwhile at the rear, the �boomerang-shaped� taillights mimic the light signature of the daytime running lights up front, and they blend in neatly with the two-tone tailgate.

On that mention, the Leaf is available in six exterior finishes, including four single-tone and two dual-tone options. For the former, there�s Brilliant Silver, Super black, Gunmetal Grey and Deep Blue Pearl. Meanwhile, the first of the themed options sees a Pearl White body and Deep Blue Pearl roof, while the other matches a Magnetic Red body to roof painted Super Black.

Moving inside, the redesigned dashboard is now simpler in appearance, as the two-tier instrument cluster has been replaced with a single seven-inch, full-colour, customisable display instead. Elsewhere, all the air vents have been reshaped, with those in the centre now being much slimmer than in the past. These occupy a centre stack that also holds a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is paired with a four-speaker sound system. In terms of interior equipment, you get automatic air-conditioning with a timer function, a multifunction steering wheel, keyless entry and start, as well as seats trimmed in leather/Alcantara. For the last item, two colours � Graphite Black and Stone Grey � are offered for all exterior finishes.

As for safety and driver assistance systems, the Leaf gets six airbags (front, side, curtain), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), ABS, EBD, brake assist, Hill Start Assist, as well as several Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield systems. These include Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Around View Monitor (I-AVM) with Moving Object Detection (I-MOD), Driver Alertness (I-DA), Ride Control and Trace Control.

2020 Audi SQ7 TDI

More than three years in the market have been sufficient for the Audi SQ7 TDI to get a styling makeover, which brings it in line with the 2020 Q7, as well as the performance-oriented SQ8. The exterior styling differences compared to the outgoing iteration include new headlamps, grille, and front and rear bumpers, plus the addition of a chrome strip that joins the taillights together. The squared quad exhaust pipes have been replaced by round ones and the wheels are newly designed too.

It is inside, that the company�s designers and engineers concentrated most of their efforts. As with the latest Q7, the performance model gains two screens in the center of the dashboard, with the top one serving as the infotainment system and the bottom one being used for controlling the air conditioning.

Other improvements include the addition of more glossy materials. The list of tech features is extensive and includes standard digital instrument cluster and optional head-up display, an Alexa virtual assistant, Wi-Fi hot spot, voice control, traffic information online, navigation with Google Earth, four-zone air-con, soft-close doors, Bang & Olufsen sound system, air quality package, ambient lighting, HD Matrix LED headlights and so on.

The 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 diesel engine with the electric-powered compressor has been carried over. It continues to deliver 435 PS and 900 Nm of torque. As before, 0-100 km/h acceleration is completed in 4.8 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

The standard Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is coupled to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The SUV still comes with all-wheel steering while the stopping distance can be improved by opting for the pricey carbon ceramic brakes.

Audi will open the order books for the facelifted SQ7 at the end of the month, and it will arrive at dealers across Europe at the end of September. Pricing will kick off from � 94,900 (US$ 106,456) for the five-seater and � 96,420 (US$ 108,161) for the seven-seater model in Germany.

Saleen Maimai, MAC and S7 Le Mans

The Saleen brand was launched in China over the weekend with a little help from Jason Statham and pop star Chris Wu. While that�s not too unusual, the nearly hour and a half long event saw the unveiling of a new electric vehicle and a crossover. However, the big news was the announcement that the S7 was going back into limited production.

Greg Kable tweeted the electric city car is called the Maimai and will feature a 107 hp electric motor. That isn�t much, but the model will reportedly have a range of up to 305 km/h.

The Maimai isn�t much of a looker as it features slab sided styling and plastic body cladding. The coupe also appears to be a two-seater with a compact interior and a small trunk. The company also showed a sportier variant featuring a revised front fascia and a comically large rear spoiler.

Next up is the crossover which is reportedly called the MAC. It features a slender grille that is flanked by LED headlights. The model has also been equipped with a sporty front bumper, plastic body cladding and a rakish windscreen. Other highlights include a sloping roof and a dynamic greenhouse.

The crossover is slated to go into production next year and it will be powered by an internal combustion engine that develops 400 hp and 450 Nm of torque. Little else is known about the model, but it presumably has all-wheel drive.

Last but not least, the company announced a limited run of S7 Le Mans. They have a Ford-sourced 7.0-liter V8 engine that has been equipped with two turbochargers. This enables the model to produce 1500 hp and 1800 Nm of torque. In terms of performance, the car will reportedly accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 2.2 seconds and have a top speed of 480 km/h.

Despite being owned by China�s Jiangsu Secco Automobile Technology Corporation, the new S7s were made in California.

Ford Ranger Baja Off Road Package

The Ford Ranger Raptor may eventually make its way to the United States, but as enthusiasts patiently wait to see if that actually happens, the Long McArthur Ford dealership in Salina, Kansas has started selling Rangers with a Raptor-inspired design.

Dubbed the Ranger Baja Off Road Package, it sports a number of aftermarket accessories that really beef up the look of the mid-size pickup truck and are sure to win over some who are in the market for an aggressive-looking pickup.

Included in the package are a set of flared fenders from Bushwackerm which are very similar to the ones of the actual Ranger Raptor. In addition, an Addictive Desert Design rack has been installed in the rear alongside a spray-in Rhino Pro bed liner. Other mods made include �Ranger Baja� graphics that closely mimic the look of the Raptor graphics on the rear quarter panels.

Long McArthur�s Baja Off Road Package is completed with Fuel Tactic 18-inch wheels shod in 33-inch off-road tires. There is also a Pro-Comp 2-inch front suspension lift and a Fox 2.0 rear shock upgrade. The dealership will sell customers its package for a US$ 10,000 premium over a standard Ranger. Not that cheap, but we suspect that those wanting to take the Ranger off-roading will be more than willing to pay that premium for the vehicle�s improved capabilities � plus, of course, its wilder looks.

2020 Smart EQ Forfour [spy shot]

Scheduled to arrive in the market at the end of this year following a world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the Smart EQ Fortwo and Forfour will bring relatively minor styling changes compared to the existing versions.

As you can see on this 2020 Smart EQ Forfour prototype, the only visible camouflage tape covers the headlights, taillights, front bumper, and grille. The lights will get new LED signatures likely inspired by the Smart Forease+ Concept and the grille has a similar shape to that of the Smart Vision EQ Concept from 2017.

The facelifted version continues to feature air vents on the left-hand side rear quarter panels, despite the fact that it will no longer offer internal combustion engines. Still, the electric motor needs cooling as well so maybe they are functional after all. Since the 2020 Smart lineup will be an all-electric affair, we could see some powertrain upgrades such as more power and bigger batteries compared to the current electric versions. If that�s the case, the Fortwo and Forfour should offer a higher driving range and possibly better acceleration.

The 2020 Smart EQ Fortwo and Forfour will be the last Daimler-engineered models. In March this year, the German carmaker announced it sold a 50 percent stake of the city car brand to China�s Geely. The two carmakers formed a 50:50 joint venture under which new Smart models will be engineered by Geely and styled by Mercedes-Benz. The all-new Smart EVs co-developed by the two companies will be made in China from 2022.

Next-Gen Audi R8

Audi has revealed that the next-generation R8 will adopt electrification, but has yet to decide exactly what type of powertrain it will use. During a recent event in Europe, Audi Sport managing director Oliver Hoffman told Motoring that the German company has a number of interesting concepts for the next R8 in the works and confirmed the supercar won�t be powered solely by an internal combustion engine.

The R8 has been the halo supercar for the German car manufacturer ever since it was introduced back in 2006. The second-generation model was launched in 2015, and while the basic design of the car hasn�t changed dramatically, ii doesn�t look dated at all. With this in mind, Hoffman revealed that Audi Sport has plans to continue updating the current R8 range with new and exciting models before a successor is launched in a few years� time, perhaps in 2023.

New Cupra Concept

Seat�s performance brand Cupra has dropped a new teaser of its upcoming concept car that will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Accompanying the new photo is a short release that reveals the concept is all-electric and �represents the vision of how Cupra wants to reinvent sportiness.� When the first teaser video was released a week ago, we speculated the concept could preview the next-generation Leon hot hatch.

As it turns out, it does not, because Cupra says it�s a high-performance vehicle that �accentuates the sleekness of a sports coupe with the presence of an SUV.� The concept vehicle is said to bring together �the silhouette of a four-door crossover, with the presence of an SUV and the sleekness of a sports coupe.� The proportions are influenced by the electric powertrain, with the study being the first road Cupra to use all-electric propulsion.

It�s also worth noting that this is an exclusive concept to Cupra so chances are it won�t be �recycled� into a design study for Seat or other VW Group brands. The teaser image reveals a sleek profile and a rear end featuring high-set LED taillights united by a light strip and featuring the illuminated Cupra logo at the center.

The rear end also features a diffuser that�s said to provide both functional aerodynamics and �an emotional feeling of performance.� At the front, the headlights� familiar LED signature is complemented by an illuminated Cupra badge on the bumper that echoes the logo at the rear.

New Corvette C8 ZR1 [render]

Great things are coming for the all-new 2020 Corvette C8, which has only been unveiled in base Stingray spec thus far. Still, even at its �lowest�, the mid-engine C8 is capable of extremely impressive things, such as reaching 96 km/h from a standstill in under 3 seconds. So what does this mean for future versions of the car? Well, they will undoubtedly feature more power, as you would expect from a Z06 or a flagship ZR1 model.

According to unnamed sources from within GM, the C8�s new chassis has been designed with electrification in mind, meaning that mild- and plug-in hybrid versions are in the cards, with a potentially fully electric model also within the realms of what�s possible.

Now, if acceleration is your main concern, you could also argue in favor of an electric motor mounted in front so as to provide the C8 Vette with all-wheel drive � such a setup would make plenty of sense on a track-oriented spec like the ZR1.

As for what such a car might look like if past ZR1 models are any indication, we can expect more hardcore aerodynamic bits to be strapped on � like a massive rear wing, more pronounced spoiler lip up front, beefy side skirts and so on. Or, what we�re seeing here in this rendering by X-Tomi, which is unfortunately missing the current ZR1�s blacked-out A-pillars.

Inside, it should boast a more racy design, with standard body-hugging seats, more Alcantara throughout and other unique touches. Performance will remain a mystery for the time being, but we expect that a future flagship Corvette C8 model will be able to hang with any other supercar in the world.

2020 Toyota GR Supra [USA]

Toyota fans can rejoice as the 2020 GR Supra has gone on sale in the United States. The first 1,500 models are Launch Editions which are based on the well equipped Supra 3.0 Premium. Pricing starts at US$ 55,250 excluding a delivery, processing and handling fee of US$ 930. While there have already been reports about significant dealer markups � including two we found asking US$ 79,024 and US$ 86,361 � it appears most are holding the line on pricing. 

Regardless, the Launch Edition comes nicely equipped with heated leather seats, carbon fiber trim and an 8.8-inch infotainment system with GPS navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay support. The model also has a wireless smartphone charger, a head-up display and a 12-speaker JBL premium audio system.

Special touches include red mirror caps and 19-inch alloy wheels with a matte black finish. There�s also an individually numbered carbon fiber badge on the dashboard and a graphic showing Akio Toyoda�s signature. Following the Launch Edition, Toyota will offer the entry-level Supra 3.0 which starts at US$ 49,990. Customers can also opt for the 3.0 Premium which begins at US$ 53,990 and includes much of the same equipment as the Launch Edition.

Regardless of which model is selected, all Supras are powered by a BMW-sourced turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that produces 335 hp and 494 Nm of torque. It is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission which sends power to the rear wheels via an active locking differential. This enables the car to accelerate from 0-96 km/h in approximately 4.1 seconds, before hitting an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

We were pretty smitten when we drove the Supra earlier this year, but its launch comes at an interesting time as recently revealed 2020 Chevrolet Corvette features a mid-engine design and a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces up to 495 hp and 637 Nm of torque. While it�s not a direct competitor, the Corvette will start at less than US$ 60,000 which could make some potential Supra customers think twice.

BMW Z4 sDrive30i [Malaysia]

The G29 BMW Z4 has now officially gone on sale in Malaysia. BMW Malaysia is only bringing in a sole engine variant of the third-generation drop-top, and this is the sDrive30i in M Sport trim. The Z4 sDrive30i M Sport goes for RM 479,800, on-the-road without insurance (with five years Unlimited Mileage Warranty, Free Scheduled Service Programme and BMW Tyre Warranty Programme).

The sDrive30i variant is equipped with a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 255 hp and 400 Nm from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm, and this is paired with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 5.4 seconds and a 250 km/h top speed.

Standard kit includes a M Sport Suspension and Variable Sport Steering, along with wireless phone charging and Intelligent Parking Assistant with a Reversing Assistant feature. There�s also Connected Package Professional, which will allow owners to add on more features from the ConnectedDrive store. The Z4 also comes with a BMW Digital Key, which enables the driver to lock/unlock and operate the vehicle with the use of select Android smartphones via Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Via the BMW Connected App, the Digital Key can be shared with up to five people.

A choice of five exterior colours is available for the car, and these are San Francisco Red, Misano Blue, Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver and Alpine White. These can be matched with a pick from three interior colour options � black d�cor with black stitching, Magma Red with black stitching or Cognac with black stitching.


2020 BMW X1 [Australia]

The facelifted BMW X1 will arrive in Australia in October in four different versions, with an AUD 44,500 (US$ 31,320) starting price for the sDrive18i. The front-wheel drive, entry-level model has 140 PS and 220 Nm of torque, and comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, wireless charging pad, 8.8-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, sport leather steering wheel, Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant and Sensatec upholstery as standard.

Available from AUD 49,900 (USD 35,120), the X1 sDrive18d gets a 149 PS and 330 Nm diesel engine and the same standard gear as the base grade. For the sDrive20i, which packs a 192 PS and 280 Nm petrol four, you�ll have to pay at least AUD 48,500 (US$ 34,135). This version of the premium subcompact crossover adds a 10.25-inch infotainment system, head-up display, lights package and electrically-operated tailgate.

The top-of-the-line xDrive25i can be ordered from AUD 62,900 (US$ 44,270) and is powered by a 231 PS and 350 Nm of torque petrol engine, with all-wheel drive. Paying the premium will also bring you standard 19-inch wheels, M Sports steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, anti-dazzle mirrors, rear seat adjustment and others.

2021 Cadillac Escalade EV

An all-electric version of the Cadillac Escalade is allegedly in the works and tipped to launch sometime in the middle of next decade. Speaking with Cadillac Society on the basis on anonymity, sources purportedly familiar with future product plans at Cadillac claim that GM�s luxury brand will offer the Escalade in all-electric guise after the fifth-generation model launches for the 2021 model year.

Details about the powertrain set to be used by this electric Escalade remain uncertain but by the time the vehicle launches, there will likely be a number of large electric SUVs on the market. To ensure it is competitive with rivals such as the Tesla Model X, Cadillac will probably look to offer the vehicle with upwards of 643 km of range. Given the size of the Escalade, we would expect the vehicle to feature one electric motor driving the front axle and one electric motor powering the rear axle.

The electric Cadillac Escalade won�t only receive an all-new powertrain. The large SUV will inevitably come outfitted with Cadillac�s most up-to-date Super Cruise system to offer semi-autonomous driving. As the vehicle is still a few years away, it is difficult to predict how much more advanced Super Cruise will be over the system currently available.

Talk of an electric Escalade comes shortly after it was revealed that the next-generation model will also be sold with the supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 engine powering the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06. This could give the Escalade upwards of 650 hp and 881 Nm of torque, potentially making it the most powerful vehicle in the Cadillac range.

Jaguar J-Pace

While Jaguar is staying tight-lipped about its future plans, they recently invited jurors from the World Car Awards to take a �sneak peak of its premium models for the 2020s and beyond.� This included a look at the XE and F-Type replacements as well as the upcoming electric XJ. The jurors were also given a glimpse of several all-new models including the J-Pace. While the World Car Awards didn�t say much about the vehicle, it�s expected to become Jaguar�s range-topping crossover.

Rumored to compete with models such as the BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS, the crossover is expected to ride on the company�s new MLA platform. The platform will debut on the 2020 Land Rover Defender and the company has previously revealed it can accommodate conventional, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The architecture can also support fully electric vehicles, but there�s no word on whether or not we can expect a J-Pace EV.

At the other end of the spectrum, the company is working on a small crossover which could adopt the A- or B-Pace moniker. Little is known about the model, but it be �considerably less expensive� and presumably slot beneath the E-Pace which starts at US$ 38,900. However, the crossover doesn�t appear to have been green-lighted quite yet.

2021 MINI Countryman [spy shot]

MINI introduced the facelifted Hatch and Convertible last year and now the company is turning its attention to the Countryman. Recently spotted undergoing testing in Munich, the facelifted crossover has a heavily disguised front fascia which covers a revised grille and updated headlights. The model has also been equipped with a new front bumper that features a wide lower opening and vertical intakes.

The styling updates continue at the rear as we can see modified taillights and what appears to be a more rounded tailgate. We can also expect a new rear bumper, but details are hard to make out. Spy photographers couldn�t get close enough to snap interior pictures, but the Countryman could be outfitted with a larger and more modern infotainment system. We can also expect more personalization options and possibly some new features and/or additional standard equipment.

Since the Countryman recently received a host of powertrain upgrades, engine options could carryover. That�s not necessarily a bad thing as the 2020 John Cooper Works Countryman has a �comprehensively redesigned� turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 301 hp and 450 Nm of torque. This enables the model to accelerate from 0-96 km/h in 5.1 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of 250 km/h.

The JCW Countryman wasn�t the only model updated for 2020 as the plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 received an improved battery pack with a larger capacity of 9.6 kWh. This increased the crossover�s electric-only range from 19.3 km to approximately 25.7 km. Since this is our first time seeing the updated Countryman, the production model is likely a ways off. Nothing is official, but the crossover could be introduced about a year from now as a 2021 model.

Renault e-Plein Air

Renault is celebrating the 10th anniversary of 4L International by unveiling a modern take on the Plein Air. Dubbed the e-Plein Air, the concept is a result of a collaboration between Renault Classic and Renault Design. Melun R�tro Passion, which specializes in parts for classic French vehicles from Alpine, Citroen, Peugeot and Renault, was also involved in the project.

Renault didn�t say much about the model, but noted it has a modernized design and an electric powertrain sourced from the Twizy. While the automaker was coy on specifics, we can see the concept a retro-inspired design that closely echoes the original.

Despite this, the e-Plein Air has been equipped with a fully enclosed grille that appears to be constructed out of white plastic. The model also has two-tone seats and a modified rear passenger compartment which appears house a battery or electric motor. Regardless of what�s underneath, the rear end is fitted with a wicker basket that is held in place by two leather straps.

Although we do don�t know the exact specs, the Twizy is available with two powetrain options. The Twizy 45 features a 6.1 kWh battery that sends power to an electric motor that develops 5 hp and 33 Nm of torque. It enables the model to travel approximately 100 km/h on a single charge and hit a limited top speed of 45 km/h.

The mainstream Twizy uses a more powerful electric motor that develops 17 hp and 57 Nm of torque. Thanks to the extra oomph, the EV can hit a top speed of 80 km/h.