AUDI A6 TO FEATURE NEW MILD-HYBRID TECHNOLOGY
Fast Lane: Audi A6 to feature new mild-hybrid technology Audi's all-new A6. PHOTO: AUDI

AUDI A6 TO FEATURE NEW MILD-HYBRID TECHNOLOGY

Audi's all-new A6, sporting styling cues from the A8 and the latest infotainment system, will be due here as early as the fourth quarter of the year.

Engines in the executive sedan feature new mild-hybrid technology. A belt alternator starter works together with a lithium-ion battery to enable the A6 to coast at speeds of between 54kmh and 159kmh, and to initiate its start-stop function earlier - at speeds of up to 21kmh.

In real-world driving, the technology reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.7 litres per 100km. A 3-litre turbodiesel is paired with an eight-speed Tiptronic, while a 3-litre turbocharge petrol has a seven-speed dual-clutch - both driving an all-wheel system.

PEUGEOT 508 SPORTS FASTBACK LOOK

Peugeot's new 508 takes on a sportier look, with frameless doors and alloy wheels designed to fill the wheel arch housings. Its fastback-style tailgate opens to a 487-litre boot. Equipped with full LED lighting, the 508 will have a distinctive nocturnal look.

Inside, the latest generation of Peugeot's i-Cockpit reigns, with full-grain leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10-inch touchscreen angled towards the driver and a 12.3-inch head-up digital instrument panel. Available with six petrol and diesel engine-transmission combinations, with outputs ranging from 130 to 225hp. It is due to arrive in the second half of next year. (pix)

INFINITI Q50 REFRESHED

A 2018 version of the Infiniti Q50 is here, with minor cosmetic tweaks to the interior trim, headlights and tail lights. The higher Sensory variant comes with lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, forward-collision warning and collision intervention. Its engine and transmission remain unchanged. Prices start at $159,800, with the certificate of entitlement.

BMW JOINT VENTURE IN CHINA TO PRODUCE ELECTRIC MINI

The BMW Group has signed a "letter of intent" with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to produce electric Minis in China from next year. The German group will also further strengthen its alliance with the Brilliance group.

With Brilliance, BMW already runs a battery factory for electrified BMWs produced in Shenyang. This is the first battery factory operated by a premium automobile manufacturer in China

NISSAN AND DENA TO LAUNCH DRIVERLESS SHUTTLE

Nissan Motor and mobile game-maker DeNA Co will begin a field test of Easy Ride, a robo-vehicle mobility service being developed by both companies, on Monday. During the test, in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, participants will be able to travel in vehicles equipped with autonomous driving technology along a set route. The route spans about 4.5km between Nissan's global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping centre.

Using a dedicated mobile app, passengers can choose from a list of recommended destinations. An in-car tablet screen will show selections of nearly 500 recommended places of interest and events in the vicinity.

PORSCHE GT3 RS HAS ARRIVED

Porsche has announced its latest GT3 RS, powered by a 520hp 4-litre naturally aspirated flat-six. The new car is based on the 911 GT3, which has re-calibrated rear-axle steering. The 911 GT3 RS accelerates from 0 to 100kmh in 3.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 312kmh.

It is available for pre-order, with prices starting at $819,688 before the certificate of entitlement.

VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC TO GO TOPLESS

Following in the footsteps of Range Rover, Volkswagen will make a convertible version of its T-Roc crossover. To roll out in the first half of 2020, it will be Volkswagen's first topless sport utility vehicle. The German group will invest more than €80 million (S$129 million) in its plant in Osnabruck, in north-western Germany. The plant also assembles the Porsche Cayman. The T-Roc was launched in Europe late last year. To date, it has garnered more than 40,000 orders.

SKODA VISION X IS A CNG HYBRID-ELECTRIC DRIVE

Skoda's Vision X concept is powered by petrol, compressed natural gas (CNG) and electricity. A 1.5-litre turbocharged engine designed for use with CNG - a rarity for turbos - produces 130hp and 250Nm.

One CNG tank is located under the rear seat, the second behind the rear axle. The CNG unit drives the front axle, while an electric motor powered by a 48-volt lithium battery drives the rear axle, when necessary.

The all-wheel-drive concept also has a petrol engine paired with another motor - a belt-driven starter-generator. A maximum torque of 70Nm is available from standstill, noticeably intensifying the spontaneity when starting and agility in short bursts. At full whack, up to 1,000Nm is available. It has a range of 650km, thanks to a petrol reserve tank.

LIMITED-EDITION AUDI R8 V10 RWD

Audi will produce 999 rear-wheel-driven R8 V10 Coupes and Spyders. Some 40 to 50kg lighter than the all-wheel-drive variant, the rear-driven coupe hits 100kmh in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 317kmh, versus 3.5 seconds and 320kmh accomplished by its all-wheel twin. The Spyder does 3.8 seconds and 316kmh (versus 3.6 seconds and 318kmh).

DRIVER ASSISTANCE AIDS INCREASE REPAIR COSTS

Advanced driver assistance systems are important safety aids, but they are adding significantly to the cost of car repairs, according to industry expert What Car?.

Such technologies, which use cameras and radar sensors to help to mitigate the risk of a collision, also include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot warning and speed limiting devices. But should repairs be necessary, the bill can rise by as much as 123 per cent.

According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost of a car repair bill has risen by 32 per cent over the past three years to £1,678 (S$3,059). With crash avoidance technology fitted to about 6 per cent of vehicles on roads in Britain, average repair cost is expected to rise by another eight points by 2020. Among quotes What Car? received for replacing sensors, prices reached as high as £1,459 for an adaptive cruise control sensor on an Audi Q5, £1,629 for a distance sensor on a Volkswagen Touareg and £2,024 for a forward collision mitigation unit on a Mitsubishi Outlander. At the other end of the scale, £690 was charged for a radar sensor on a Toyota C-HR and £483 for the same part on a Skoda Kodiaq.