New C-class Cabriolet
Fast lane: New C-class Cabriolet Mercedes-Benz C-class CabrioletPHOTO: MERCEDES

New C-class Cabriolet

The Mercedes-Benz C-class Cabriolet is here. It is the first rag-top derived from the popular C-class compact sedan and it looks delectable. Two variants are available: the C180 Cabriolet ($222,888) and the C300 Cabriolet ($281,888).

The C180 is a 1.6-litre 156bhp/ 250Nm cruiser capable of hitting 100kmh in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 222kmh. The C300 is a 2-litre 245bhp/370Nm bruiser capable of reaching 100kmh in 6.4 seconds and a peak velocity of 250kmh.

700 Toyota Prius recalled

About 700 Toyota Prius hybrid cars in Singapore are affected by a global recall to fix a glitch with the car's parking brake. The Land Transport Authority says motor dealers will be notifying affected car owners.

According to Reuters, Toyota Motor is recalling about 340,000 of its latest Prius model in Japan and overseas to fix the parking-brake issue.

Asian cars more reliable, says survey

Toyota is again leading in the United States reliability survey from Consumer Reports magazine.

According to Reuters, General Motors' Buick is the first American brand in at least 35 years to crack the top three. It is the fourth straight year that Lexus and Toyota finished in the two top spots and they have had an outstanding performance since Consumer Reports began tracking brand reliability in the early 1980s.

Buick did well in the survey because it had few models and none of the pick-up trucks or truck-based SUVs that hurt the ratings of GM stablemates Chevrolet and Cadillac, says Mr Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Asian carmakers still dominate for reliability, with seven of eight brands deemed "more reliable" based in Japan or South Korea. Volkswagen's luxury Audi brand is the only German manufacturer among the eight "more reliable" brands.

First convertible Range Rover

Range Rover's Evoque Convertible is here, filling a niche last occupied by the Land Rover Freelander Softback in the late 1990s. The version offered is a 2-litre 240bhp/340Nm model with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It hits the century mark in 8.6 seconds and a top velocity of 209kmh. Its automated roof stows in 18 seconds and can be raised in 21 seconds at speeds of up to 48kmh. The topless Evoque is $293,999.

$20.4b settlement for Volkswagen emissions scandal

A United States federal judge has approved Volkswagen AG's record- setting US$14.7-billion (S$20.4-billion) settlement with regulators and owners of 475,000 polluting diesel vehicles.

According to Reuters, the German carmaker said it would begin buying back the vehiclesnext month. The action by US district judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco marked the latest development in a scandal that has rocked Volkswagen since it admitted in September last year to using secret software in its diesel cars to cheat in exhaust emissions tests and make them appear cleaner than they really are.

Zombie-fighting car on auction

Britain's most bizarre car auction will take place in Hampshire next week, with lots including a dilapidated Batmobile, a giant bowl of spaghetti Bolognese and a Nissan dressed as a dog. There will also be a zombie-fighting Ford Fiesta, a Ford Ka covered in fur, the Bolognese-covered Beetle and a 1999 Daihatsu HiJet dressed up as Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine. Go to for details.

Geely's new brand designed in Sweden

China's Geely is moving upmarket, with a newly launched brand called Lynk & Co. The Lynk & Co 01 is a crossover designed and engineered in Sweden. It is touted as a tech-laden SUV which will come with the world's first app dedicated to cars. The car will be followed by Lynk & Co 02, 03 and so on.

New Seat Leon

Seat has unveiled its facelifted Leon with subtle design tweaks. It will have greater connectivity and new Euro 6-compliant engines. The turbodiesels range from a 1.6-litre 115bhp to a 2-litre 184bhp. Petrol units, all turbos, range from 110bhp to 180bhp, with a new 1-litre three-cylinder 115bhp.

A more dynamic Kia Sportage

Want a sportier Sportage? Kia now offers its mid-sized SUV with what it calls GT Line trim. It will have features such as bi-xenon headlamps, LED fog lamps, skid plates and 19-inch two-tone rims.

Inside, a flat-bottom leather steering wheel, perforated alloy pedals, and a piano-black and satin chrome trim complete the package. The car's suspension has also been tuned to offer a more dynamic performance on the tarmac.

Say goodbye to red lights

Hitting a series of red lights on a miserable commute could become a thing of the past with the help of technology that is now being trialled in Ford cars.

Ford's Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory uses information on traffic light timings from a roadside unit to display to the driver the best speed to travel at to get a green light.

Drivers in Britain spend two days a year waiting at red lights.

Audi engineers prepare for electrification

Audi is sending its engineers back to school. In preparation for the marque's electrification drive, the first batch of automotive engineers have gone back to class at the Technical University of Ingolstadt in Germany for a 31/2-month course. They will be completing their modules - including Electrical Machines and Power Electronics, and Concepts for Electrified Vehicles and Energy Storage - in January. Audi says if the programme is successful, it will offer similar courses to all its employees.