McLaren has unveiled the 570S Coupe, a 570bhp, 600Nm lightweight racer with a "class-leading" power-to-weight ratio of 434bhp per tonne
Fast lane - McLaren 570S Coupe, New Optima, Alpina 50th Anniversary Alpina. -- PHOTO: ALPINA

LIGHT AND POWERFUL

McLaren has unveiled the 570S Coupe, a 570bhp, 600Nm lightweight racer with a "class-leading" power-to-weight ratio of 434bhp per tonne. The 570S accelerates from 0-100kmh in 3.2 seconds, and to 200kmh in just 9.5 seconds. Top speed is a respectable 328kmh, made possible by a uniquely tuned mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8. It delivers power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch autobox.

TAN CHONG OPENS IN LENG KEE

Tan Chong International has opened a new sprawling facility at No. 25 Leng Kee Road to house its two brands, Subaru and Nissan. It spans 6,668 sq m over seven floors. Costing $40 million, it has twice the space of the previous Subaru showroom, with close to 1,600 sq m dedicated to Nissan on the second floor. This is Nissan's first presence in Leng Kee and the showroom is twice the size of its familiar Bukit Timah premises.

BIGGER, MORE LUXURIOUS RX

This is the new Lexus RX, with the biggest spindle grille in the family. It offers more space (thanks to a longer wheelbase) and higher levels of comfort and luxury. It is also equipped with a slew of advanced preventive safety features. Versions include a 3.5-litre V6 and petrol-electric hybrid. And like newer Lexus models, it will have an F Sport variant for those who want a sportier-looking car. It is expected to arrive here by the fourth quarter.

OPTIMA GETS MORE SPACIOUS

Kia's latest Optima is an evolution of the current K5 model, built on a chassis that is longer, wider and stiffer for improved ride and handling and a more spacious cabin. Engines include a new 1.6-litre turbocharged four- cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Besides being marginally longer, taller and wider, it also has an extended wheelbase. That means more interior space. There is no word on when it will arrive in Singapore.

SHOP FOR ELECTRIC CAR ONLINE

Amazon Japan has started selling electric cars. According to Agence France-Presse, the online shopping giant is now offering the BMW i3, a lithium- powered tall hatch. Two variants are available - a regular i3 with a declared range of 229km and one with a range extender that allows it to run up to 300km.

Customers accustomed to completing their purchases in one click might, however, be disappointed. After loading the car into their virtual shopping cart, they will have to wait for a phone call from BMW requesting documents proving they have a parking space and a place to charge the vehicle.

BOXSTER SPYDER STAYS MANUAL

The new Porsche Boxster Spyder retains some of the characteristics of its predecessor. For instance, its fabric roof is still opened and closed by hand and the car is available with only a manual transmission. The car has a 20mm lower ride height, powerful brakes taken from the 911 Carrera, even more direct steering, and a 3.8-litre flat-six with an output of 375bhp. It takes around 4.5 seconds to hit 100kmh, while top speed is around 290kmh.

EDITION 50 FOR ALPINA'S 50TH BIRTHDAY

Bespoke car manufacturer Alpina will create 50 saloons (or estates) and 50 similar coupes to celebrate the company's half century this year.

Based on the B5 Bi-Turbo and the B6 Bi-Turbo respectively, each vehicle will include hand- crafted Edition 50 body and trim, and a heavily revised V8 that will propel the luxury five-seater from 0-100kmh in 4.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 326kmh. With 800Nm and 600bhp, Edition 50 is the most powerful road car developed by Alpina.

GREATER EFFICIENCY AT TOYOTA

Toyota's New Global Architecture, which calls for platform and component sharing, will reduce resources by up to 20 per cent. It also calls for lighter, smaller components to deliver a lower centre of gravity, better fuel efficiency and more rewarding performance. Overall powertrain efficiency will improve by 25 per cent and overall power rise by more than 15 per cent. Hybrids will be 15 per cent more efficient than they are today.

Half of all models sold will use the new platforms by 2020. The new strategy will halve the investment cost necessary for development of a new model.

MERCEDES-BENZ LAUNCHES HYBRID SUV

For the first time in its SUV history, Mercedes-Benz is offering a plug-in hybrid model, the GLE 500e 4MATIC. With a 3-litre twin-turbo V6 paired with an electric motor, it has a system output of 442bhp and 480Nm. Like most other German plug-in hybrids, it is able to move on pure electric power for up to 30km.

COMING: A MERC PICK-UP

Before the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz will launch its first pick-up - the first premium manufacturer to do so.

With a payload of about 1 tonne, the Merc truck will cater primarily to the American market, but possibly also to a growing trend of pick-ups being used as recreational vehicles in other markets.

PEUGEOT 208 HATCH TO USE TEXTURED PAINT

Peugeot is introducing textured paint, starting with its new 208 hatch. The paint adds "a contemporary twist" to individual personalisation and will initially be available in Ice Grey or Ice Silver. Cars can be specified with an optional Lime Yellow or Menthol White pack, available for exterior, interior or both.

Available from June, textured paint offers several benefits. First and foremost, it emphasises the striking lines of the 208. Secondly, the texture - which is subtly granular to the touch - is more hard-wearing and easier to care for than conventional matte paint.

It offers exceptional resistance to micro- scratching and does not suffer through frequent car washing.

Thirdly, because it is applied by production robots at the advanced Poissy plant in France, quality is guaranteed for the lifetime of the car.