Looking at the Evoque, it is clear that this is a Range Rover like no other. This crossover SUV loses the traditional boxy dimensions and is wrapped instead in a sexy silhouette. Much of the LRX Concept styling that debuted in 2008 at the Detroit Motor Show has trickled over into the production vehicle and whilst it isn’t conventionally pretty, has the sort of sex appeal that captures attention from both men and women in equal measure. This was clearly evident from the way the Evoque elicits stares, finger pointing, and tongue wagging wherever it went. This compact SUV is the third model in the Range Rover line-up and sits, literally, as the baby of the fleet, under the massive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.
We have been receiving a tonne of absurd/incredible onboard footages from around the world; from the splashing on-the-road comeback in Russia all the way to the I-Shouldn’t-Be-Alive flying plank recording from the States. Having all those, are there any of such that had ever surfaced from our own beloved Malaysia? As a matter of fact, we do have one that fits into the absurd category that we see today.
Few cars appeal to both men and women at the same time, and the Audi A1 S-line you see in these pictures is one example that breaks that convention. Most women like its cutesy appeal while most men will approve of its sculpted curves. In S-line trim, you get a more aggressive bodykit, a rear spoiler, as well as 17-inch alloys. The optional contrasting roofline is mandatory and helps to give the A1 the correct amount of zest. And whilst the rest of the world is only now beginning to introduce LED DRLs in their headlamp designs, Audi has moved the game on further with their new, signature, single strip DRL. Those DRLs, ladies and gentlemen, are the money-shot and I promise you will spend time just ogling at them.
There’s bad news for those who have been planning to purchase (or get onto the long waiting list) a Volkswagen Polo GTI (<url=http://www.zerotohundred.com/newforums/features/392596-driven-volkswagen-polo-gti-2.html>reviewedNov 2011). We recently heard that the latest shipments of VW’s compact pocket rocket has been held up, pending a price review. With plenty of buzz online, many were hoping that this news was merely hearsay.
Naturally aspirated, turbo-charged, supercharged, hybrid, diesel. Does choice of powerplant matter very much these days? If there’s one thing I realize by now, it is the reality that a great driving car can have any of the abovementioned engines under their bonnets. I suppose in a sense, you could say that we at Zerotohundred are unbiased that way – irrespective of engine type or displacement, we’re like cars that deliver the best thrills whilst maintaining the calmest composure.
Certain cars look good in just about any colour. ViperGrün (or ViperGreen in regular English) happens to be the colour of our Scirocco R test car and I’ve got to say, it is looking pretty sweet. No, this is not a colour that just any car can pull off; imagine any other car within the VW family (or any other car for that matter) in this particular shade and I can imagine myself turning a little green already.
Several weeks back, we tested the VW Golf R, and having picked up the keys to the Scirocco R, I was interested to see how it would stack up against its R sibling. Essentially, almost every component from the Golf R has been shoehorned into the sleek, sexy profile of the Scirocco. Oh, but minus two driven wheels.
There no question about the aesthetic appeal of the Scirocco; it is undoubtedly the looker in the entire VW line-up. Parked under my porch, I noticed my neighbours, out for their morning walks, pointing and talking about the green car. Similar treatment was given to the Scirocco to make it visually more aggressive – front bumper has been restyled with larger air intakes and has a pair of integrated DRLs, there’s also new side skirts, a rear diffuser, and tailpipes on each corner on its rear. All these external changes brings a mean stance to the car, and distinctly marks the R apart from its TSI brothers.
Similar treatment has been dished out to the interior; leather wrapped, three-spoke, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, RNS510 navigational head-unit, blue needles in the gauges, and leather and suede wrapped semi-bucket seats up front. While all these extras are well received, the sports seats do make accessibility to the rear a little more challenging. Of course, this should prove to be little issue if you’re the type who doesn’t fancy extra baggage.
Power figures in this car are unchanged from the Golf R; you get the same de-tuned 2.0-litre four pot turbo that churns out 255PS and 330Nm from as low as 2,400rpm. Acceleration, depending on how much pressure is applied on the pedal, can be very rapid. Zerotohundred sprint is dispatched in 6.0 seconds and while this is a fraction slower than the Golf R (5.7 seconds), you have to bear in mind that the Scirocco makes do without the 4MOTION AWD system.
Plant your foot in the throttle (and I found this to be rather addictive) and there’s a whiff of wheelspin as the tyres up front work hard to cope with the surge of power and torque. The R’s electronic differential does an admirable job with keeping torque steer at bay, and alleviating unwanted mishaps. The best part? I had a silly smile on my face every time I pushed the Scirocco hard. The engine’s soundtrack isn’t the most impressive (let’s be honest, four cylinder engines don’t sound all that good anyway), but there’s enough sporty raspiness with an addictive whump at every gearchange.
Because there’s no AWD system, the Scirocco R actually weighs almost 125kgs lighter than the Golf R. This pared off fat gives the Scirocco an advantage in agility. Not just that; the Scirocco R also has a wider rear track and lower roofline which improve on the car’s center of gravity and dynamics over the Golf R. Attack apexes aggressively and you’ll be amazed at just how much speed, and confidence, the car can carry in, and out, or a corner – lithe and nimble, with plenty of pace on the straights. There’s decent feedback from the electromechanical steering too; a little artificial granted, but well weighted and does the job well enough to inspire confidence.
Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) comes as standard with this car, and offers the choice of three damper settings are available – Comfort, Normal, and Sport. In both Normal and Sport, I found ride to be a little too harsh (especially given the amount of pot-holes we have here). You have to remember; the Scirocco R rides on 19-inch alloys wrapped in low-profile rubbers. Yes, I’ll admit it; I left the car in Comfort mode most of the time (firm ride, and good balance). The brakes on this car worked brilliantly as well – 345mm front discs and 310mm on the rear; the pedals were firm with plenty of stopping power.
If I had to pick one between the two (Scirocco and Golf, that is), it is likely that I’d have gone with the ‘Roc. Less practical, yes… but the Scirocco is more visceral, more aggressive; you’re seated lower into the car and for whatever reason, the exhaust note is actually better sounding. And, despite the slower numbers, the Scirocco is the more engaging ‘R’ car here. Oh, did I also mention how it looks much better?
Unfortunately, every rose has its thorn and the Scirocco R is no different. Perhaps the biggest issue is its price; at RM280k, the ‘Roc is RM10k dearer than the Golf equivalent, which essentially is packing more tech (4MOTION AWD). In Europe, the Golf R is actually priced about 10% higher than the Scirocco R and sits higher up in the VW hierarchy. Sadly, that’s just the way our cars here are taxed. In terms of outright performance, the ‘Roc also loses to its closest rival. On my last night with the ‘Roc, I came across an RS250 and engaged it for a short, spirited drive. The stark reality is: the ‘Roc is unable to outrun, or chase, the RS250. This is difficult to ignore, especially when you factor in the RS250’s much cheaper asking price.
At the end of the day, the Scirocco R is an absolutely brilliant car, one that is just about the perfect package. It isn’t the quickest off the line, or the fastest hot-hatch around, but then there are few rival manufacturers with cars this well put together. Admittedly, the Golf R is cheaper and more practical, but hey – if you can already afford the Golf’s sticker price, what’s an extra RM10k spent for an extra dose of fun? This is a classic battle between want or need, and I will say this – those who want will be well rewarded.
Driven: Volkswagen Scirocco R – YouTube
To view/download hi-res pictures of the Scirocco R, click here.
Volkswagen Scirocco R
• Zerotohundred: 6.0secs
• Top Speed: 250km/h (claimed)
• Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo
• Power: 255PS / 6,000 rpm
• Torque: 330Nm / 2,400 – 5,200 rpm
• Weight: 1,439kg (kerb weight)
• Fuel Economy: 8.0L/100km (claimed)
• Wheels: 8J x 19
• Tyres: 235/35 R19
• Price: RM279,888 (OTR excluding road tax and insurance)
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There was a time where the GPS was not around, and the maps and signboards were the only way to tell whether you are on the right track, or totally lost. And since it is now available to be fitted in vehicles, getting around in town and even at new places has never been that easy. And that goes the same as dash cams.
Since the introduction of this small in-car mounted digital video recorder, the internet has been filled with a lot of amazing footages of both amazing escapes and horrific accidents. And one of the countries that are really obsessed in fitting this gadget onto their vehicle is Russia. It is understandable as they are facing a harsh driving condition due to the harsh climate which leads to quite a lot of traffic incidents. The only effective way in proving that one is innocent or how the accident really happened is through the recording of this helpful gadget.
There’s a glint of sun shine followed by a gentle breeze billowing through the curtains into my room. A whiff of sea breeze. I open my eyes and watch the ceiling fan slowly spinning. There are many reasons to smile especially since I’m here in Langkawi, thanks to Volkswagen Group Malaysia (VGM) who have flown us here for the launch of the 1.6 Polo Sedan. It is the third model to be sold after the introduction of the 1.2 Polo TSI and 1.4 Polo GTI and debuts as the cheapest car sold in the VW line-up.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – forced induction is the way forward for the automotive industry. The concept isn’t new, and various manufacturers have dabbled in this dark art before, but it wasn’t until a few years back that German manufacturers started mass producing this tech. BMW are no strangers to the art of forced induction, and have recently introduced the F10 5-series with the 2.0L turbo in-line four cylinder to replace the 523i (which had a 2.5L with 177PS/230Nm). The 528i (which had a 3.0L with 262PS/310Nm) has also been replaced with the same 2.0L mill, but with less power but more torque, making 240PS/350Nm. Thanks to BMW Group Malaysia, we were recently able to drive the 520i for a couple of days and form our impression of the entry level 5er.
As I mentioned earlier, under the bonnet lies a 2.0L four-pot with TwinPower technology. While easily mistaken as having two turbos, TwinPower actually denotes the use of twin-scrolling single turbo unit. Maximum power is produced between 5,000 – 6,250rpm and max torque between 1,250 – 4,500rpm; decent enough numbers for the average day-to-day commuting. Driven normally, we found the 520i to be a very able cruiser – squeeze the throttle and there is barely any turbo lag (although if you mash the throttle, lag is more apparent). Eight seconds is all it takes to get from zerotohundred; this is impressive, considering its heft (1,715kg) and modest performance figures. Top speed is rated at 226km/h and while we managed 224km/h, you will need plenty of (empty!) tarmac to even attempt this.
Standard equipment includes the ability to switched between several driving modes. These modes control the car’s acceleration, engine, steering, transmission, suspension system and traction control. While the most extreme mode (SPORT+) sharpens throttle response and turns off traction control, the mildest mode (ECO-PRO) helps to improve upon fuel efficiency. This is achieved not just by optimizing the drivetrain, in-cabin electronic comfort gadgetries also work to reduce consumption. ECO-PRO is like a little educational game – drive the car within its economical limits and your ‘score’ is the bonus kilometers added to the vehicle’s range. I actually tested this out, and in my 20km commute, I was able to ‘extend’ my journey by 4.6km; pretty impressive stuff. Standard BMW EfficientDynamics includes Brake Energy Regeneration, Electromechanical Steering, an 8-speed automatic transmission, as well as an automatic Start/Stop function. Come to a halt at a set of traffic lights and the engine shudders to a stop. Let go of the brake pedal and the engine shudders back to life very quickly. This can get slightly annoying, especially if (like me) you have to deal with a lot of traffic lights during your daily commute. Thankfully, BMW has included a button to turn this feature off.
The 520i is sharp and precise in the corners; more so, in fact, than that 523i thanks to its smaller, lighter engine. Although its steering is nicely weighted, it does lack a little feel. Suspension is set up primarily for comfort (bear in mind that this is the level entry 5er), so there will be body roll if you are over enthusiastic when attacking twisty roads. On pimply road surfaces common in KL, this car soaks up most undulations with minimal fuss. Shifts from its 8-speed automatic box are seamless, and it doesn’t take very much to go past legal road speeds. Compared to the Jaguar XF that we drove earlier, the 520i was much more dynamically sorted. A visit to our favourite ‘test track’ was of course a given, and I managed to hit 190km/h… without the gonad-shrinking sensation I had in the XF (the XF managed a sliver over 200km/h here). If you would like to view the video, let me know and I can get that sorted out.
Overall, the 520i impresses. Its lines remain very current despite having been around for two years now. The F10 is definitely less bold than the previous generation E60, but will continue to appeal to BMW’s target market: middle-aged businessmen and executives. The only exterior cues that differentiate this entry level 5er are its 17-inch alloys. The interior is typical BMW, with expansive use of wood or aluminum trim. Soft-touch plastics everywhere, fit and finish is of the usual, high BMW standards. If I had to nit-pick, I’d say the cabin was a little boring. Other standard kit includes Bluetooth and iPod/iPhone connectivity, sat-nav system, dual climate control, automatic headlamps, iDrive (so much easier to use today, than when it first debuted!)… the list goes on but suffice to say, standard equipment is substantial. Priced at RM358,800, the 520i undercuts the outgoing 523i by a whopping RM25,000; cheaper, more powerful, increased efficiency, and cheaper road tax – that is never a bad thing in our books.
To view all the pictures of the BMW F10 520i, click here.
BMW F10 520i
• Zerotohundred: 8.0secs
• Top Speed: 224km/h (tested)
• Engine: 2.0L twin-scroll turbo inline four cylinder
• Power: 187PS / 5,000 – 6,250 rpm
• Torque: 270Nm / 1,250 – 4,500 rpm
• Weight: 1,715kg (kerb weight)
• Fuel Economy: N/A
• Wheels: 17’ x 8J alloys
• Tyres: 225/55 R17
• Price: RM358,800 (OTR excluding road tax and insurance, with (BS+RI))
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There was a time when cars from Jaguar used to look very boring. All business, and no fun – that was the sort of vibe that Jaguar portrayed. Well, not anymore. I’ve just picked up the keys to a Jaguar XF-S and I find it an incredibly good looking car. And I’m not the only one – the XF seemed to appeal to both men and women alike. Surprising indeed, especially since there have been very few well designed British cars.