The new 2-series Active Tourer is the first modern BMW to have front-wheel drive and a three-cylinder engine
Fast Lane The new BMW 2-series Active Tourer is powered by a new ultra-lowfriction three-cylinder engine producing 134bhp and 220Nm of torque from 1,250rpm. -- PHOTO: BMW

BMW GOES FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE

The new 2-series Active Tourer is the first modern BMW to have front-wheel drive and a three-cylinder engine. Measuring just 4.34m long (only marginally longer than a 1-series), 1.8m wide and 1.55m tall, the Active Tourer is nonetheless adequately spacious inside. The 218i variant is powered by an all-new ultra-low-friction three-cylinder engine producing 134bhp and 220Nm of torque from 1,250rpm.



 

 

CITROEN MAKES FUN CONCEPT A REALITY

Citroen has decided to produce the Cactus, a fun concept it first displayed in 2009. The C4 Cactus features plastic body panels with playful "Airbump" air capsules along the sides to absorb minor impacts. Inside, it boasts a completely digital driving interface called Citroen Multicity Connect. Several apps are accessible via a 7-inch touchscreen. For the first time, front airbags are encased in the ceiling and will deploy over the windscreen. This frees up more storage space on the dashboard.

PEUGEOT'S HATCHBACK SHRINKING

Peugeot is shrinking. Its new 108 is an urban runabout measuring just 3.47m long and 1.62m wide, with a turning circle of only 9.6m. It is powered by a 1-litre 68bhp or 1.2-litre 82bhp engine, and is available as a conventional hatchback or one with a retractable fabric roof.

NEW TOPLESS AUDI

Fans of topless motoring can look forward to yet another new model: the Audi S3 Cabriolet. The compact soft-top is powered by a 2-litre turbo producing 300bhp and 380Nm, allowing it to zip to 100kmh in 5.4 seconds. With all-wheel drive and S tronic transmission, the car promises to be stable and smooth.


CHINA FIRM BUYS HYBRID CARMAKER

China's auto parts giant Wanxiang has outbid rivals to clinch the ownership of American hybrid carmaker Fisker Automotive for about US$150 million (S$190 million). The Financial Times reported that bidders included Hong Kong telecoms tycoon Richard Li. Fisker's first and only model is the Karma, a plug-in hybrid sports car which was panned by the automotive press.

RENAULT UNVEILS NEW TWINGO

Renault's new Twingo is a rear-engine micromini made in collaboration with Daimler's Smart unit. Like its forebear, it comes in a choice of four vibrant colours.

PORSCHE HALTS 911 GT3 DELIVERIES

Porsche has halted delivery of its new 911 GT3 after two caught fire in Europe. Porsche Asia Pacific told Life! there is a freeze on deliveries pending investigations into the cause of the fires. Porsche's Singapore agent, Stuttgart Auto, says it has had 17 bookings for the GT3 so far, but none has been delivered. Worldwide, 785 cars have been delivered, and Porsche recommends that owners stop using them until they are recalled for inspection. The track version of the iconic 911 hits 100kmh in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 315kmh. Prices in Singapore start from around $710,000.

TOYOTA TESTING WIRELESS RECHARGING

Toyota's future plug-in hybrids and electric cars will feature wireless recharging. The automotive giant is testing a charging method called magnetic resonance, which employs electromagnetic coils buried beneath a parking space and receptive coils in a car's undercarriage. When aligned, charging takes place wirelessly. To help the driver align the car correctly, Toyota has developed a function for its Intelligent Parking Assist system, which shows the position of the transmitting coil in a parking space.

VOLKSWAGEN TO UNVEIL NEW SCIROCCO

Volkswagen will unveil its Scirocco, which has been given a facelift, at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Besides revised front and rear looks, it will have a more refined interior, higher equipment level and a choice of six petrol and diesel engines.

OFF-ROAD VERSION OF PANDA 4×4

The new Fiat Panda Cross is based on the Panda 4x4. It features adaptive all-wheel drive, electronic stability control, electronic locking differential and assisted hill descent. A new terrain-control selector offers the driver a choice of three driving modes. It is available with up-rated versions of its 80bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet II and 90bhp 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo.

CHEROKEE GETS TECH AIDS

Jeep's new Cherokee will be equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It will be the first Jeep to disconnect the rear axle for better fuel efficiency. Engines include a 2-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel with stop-start which churns out 170bhp and 350Nm of torque. It will have a slew of technological aids, such as Rollover Mitigation, off-road anti-lock braking system, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, Lane Departure WarningPlus, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection.

GIULIETTA PACKS NEW ENGINES

The 2014 version of Alfa Romeo's Giulietta packs new engines and technologies. The star power plant is a new 2-litre turbo diesel with a third-generation common rail system which is said to be even more precise and refined. Up to eight injections a stroke are possible, resulting in quieter operation with reduced emissions. Onboard, it boasts a so-called Uconnect system, which allows the driver to access myriad functions.

HAMBURG PLANS TO GO CAR-FREE

Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city, is aiming to be car-free in 20 years. Planners envision a green metropolitan area interconnected by a network of cycling tracks and pedestrian walkways. The city is a tad bigger than Singapore and has a slightly lower population density.

NEW MERIVA MINI-MPV

Opel's new Meriva mini-MPV has a new grille and newly designed headlamps with daytime-running LEDs. It has a range of Euro 6-compliant petrol engines as well as a 1.6-litre "Whisper Diesel". In Singapore, its 1.4-litre turbo petrol is likely to be popular. This is mated to a revised six-speed automatic transmission.