McLaren P1 supercars
Fast Lane McLaren P1 supercars. -- PHOTO: MCLAREN

$1.5-MILLION SUPER TOY

Seven McLaren P1 supercars have been snapped up here, despite the model being available only in left-hand drive. This far exceeded McLaren agent Wearnes Automotive's expectations.

At just over $1.5 million each before taxes, the P1 is an expensive toy - especially when it cannot be used on public roads here. Buyers are said to be a mix of track enthusiasts and collectors. The petrol-electric P1 weighs less than 1,400kg, and boasts 903bhp and 900Nm. It hits 100kmh in 2.9 seconds, and 300kmh in merely 17 seconds. Top velocity is electronically limited to 350kmh.

SAAB 9-3 BACK IN PRODUCTION

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the Chinese-backed new owner of Saab, has resumed production of the 9-3 at the make's Trollhattan factory in Sweden. Automotive News Europe reported that full production will start by the end of this year, while an all-electric model will appear later.

Saab agent Trans Eurokars says NEVS has contacted it and it has expressed interest in representing the marque, which went bankrupt in 2011 in the hands of Spyker.

The Dutch sports car maker accused long-time Saab owner General Motors of sabotaging the Swede's financial viability by blocking a deal with a Chinese investor.

PEUGEOT-CITROEN SEEKS PARTNER

French group PSA-Peugeot Citroen says it is in talks with potential new overseas partners after a Chinese newspaper reported that Dongfeng Motor Co may buy a 30 per cent stake. Discussions underway include new funding for the troubled French car maker's development, according to wire news agencies.

According to a China Business News report, Dongfeng is considering a 10-billion yuan (S$2-billion) investment to buy 30 per cent of Peugeot, its partner in an existing joint venture in China.

MORE SAFETY FEATURES FOR MINI

As if its dinner plate-sized speedometer is not enough, Mini will incorporate head-up display in upcoming models. They will also have collision warning and pedestrian warning systems, including a city braking function which will make it easier to avoid dangerous situations. And despite their compactness, cars will have parking assistance. Adaptive cruise control will also be available, as will adaptive headlights.

ROLLS-ROYCE CHAUFFEUR LESSONS

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is rolling out a pilot series of chauffeur driving workshops in the Asia Pacific region, the first of its kind. The so-called "White Glove Programme" will be introduced in markets such as Singapore, Taiwan, Macau and Thailand, where there are traditionally a larger proportion of chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce owners. It will be conducted by UK-based Rolls-Royce expert, Andi McCann, who is experienced in working with chauffeurs and racing drivers. He is the company's approved VVIP chauffeur and etiquette trainer.

The new BMW Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo hits 100kmh in 4.6 secon. -- PHOTO: BMW

WORLD'S FASTEST DIESEL CAR

Alpina has made what it claims to be the world's fastest production diesel. The new BMW Alpina D3 Bi-Turbo hits 100kmh in 4.6 seconds (just shy of its petrol twin's 4.2) and a top speed of 278kmh (305kmh for B3 petrol). But it produces only 139g/km of CO2 while doing so. With 700Nm of troque, the D3 is expected to be more effortless in city traffic too.

-- PHOTO: BMW

BMW 4-SERIES GOES TOPLESS

Hot on the heels of its 4-series Coupe, BMW has unleashed the 4-series Convertible. Lower, wider and longer than the outgoing 3-series Convertible, the topless car comes with a three-piece retractable metal hardtop. Initially, two petrol engines and one diesel will be available. A Gran Coupe - or "four-door coupe" - version will follow soon.

-- PHOTO: HONDA

NEW ODYSSEY OUT NEXT YEAR

Honda agent Kah Motor will launch an all-new Odyssey in February next year. The MPV sheds its sleek profile for an Estima-like silhouette.

Powered by a 2.4-litre engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, the new Odyssey will be available as a seven- or eight-seater. It boasts a higher equipment level and, obviously, more space.

-- PHOTO: DUCATI

SPECIAL DUCATI IN HONOUR OF RACER

Ducati has unveiled the 1199 Panigale S Senna, in honour of the F1 ace Ayrton Senna who died 20 years ago. The special version superbike will be available only in Brazil from June next year.

Only 161 pieces will be made, signifying the number of F1 Grand Prix raced by the late Brazilian star. The special livery colour was chosen by Ayrton Senna himself during his visit to the Ducati factory only a few weeks before his last race in Imola in 1994, and later used to produce a first series of 300 motorcycles designed to honour the star in 1995.