CarBuyer Singapore https://www.carbuyer.com.sg Singapore's authoritative automotive news source Wed, 12 May 2021 14:40:23 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-carbuyer-square-logo-white-big--32x32.png CarBuyer Singapore https://www.carbuyer.com.sg 32 32 2021 Audi A3 sedan and hatch launch in Singapore [updated w/video] https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-audi-a3-sedan-and-hatch-launch-in-singapore/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-audi-a3-sedan-and-hatch-launch-in-singapore/#respond Wed, 12 May 2021 16:01:00 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42509 Fourth-gen Audi A3 small luxury sedan/hatch debuts in Singapore and pushes the small car tech … Continued

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2021 Audi A3 Sedan

Fourth-gen Audi A3 small luxury sedan/hatch debuts in Singapore and pushes the small car tech boundary with the first 48V mild hybrid system in the class, sharp styling, and numerous improvements


SINGAPORE
Updated: May 12, 2021 with Walkthrough Video
First published: May 11, 2021

Audi Singapore has launched its fourth-generation A3 small luxury car here in Singapore. Click here check out the Audi’s official video presentation, where CarBuyer’s Chief Ed Derryn Wong pops up in a guest appearance to talk about the car. 

The new Audi A3 Sportback is priced at S$166,140 and the Sedan at S$167,890. Both prices include COE and VES.


Derryn and Ju-Len walk you through the three important things to know about the 2021 Audi A3 Sedan

The A3 is best known for condensing the Big Audi experience into a more manageable, less expensive package, and this new version looks to continue that with some class leading tech.

The car is the first machine running on the VW Group’s MQB EVO platform to debut here, with the Volkswagen Golf Mark 8 set to launch in June 2021. As a result, the A3 has lots of mature features for a small car, and it’s also the only small car to pack a 48V mild hybrid system. 

A3 Sedan (left) and A3 Sportback (right)


At launch, the car is only available with a 150hp 1.5-litre turbo engine, but with the hybrid bits, that makes it efficient enough to garner a VES A2 rebate of S$15,000. 

As always, we have full details in our initial coverage of the A3 sedan and Sportback (hatchback) at their international debuts if you want the full skinny. 

Design

2021 Audi A3 Sportback


The car hasn’t grown hugely, which is a good thing. The sedan at 4,500mm long, 1,820mm wide, and 1,430mm tall, is 40mm longer, 20mm wider, and 10mm taller, while the wheelbase of 2,637mm remains the same.

But attention is likely to centre on the sedan, and for good reason: The previous A3 Sedan was a big hit for Audi here in Singapore. The new model should continue that trend, especially since it looks a fair bit sexier this time around. 

2021 Audi A3 Sedan

The styling echoes the rest of the lineup, but interestingly it looks far more like the A5 Sportback than the A4 Sedan, and that’s crucial for the eye-driven small lux segment.

Besides the now-typical Singleframe grille and full LED (non-Matrix as standard) headlights, the lines are more angular and aggressive (such as the increased rake of the windscreen, the bonnet’s figure lines), giving the front end a more focused appearance. 

There’s also more of the ‘quattro’ influence going on, with the car gaining contoured fenders and ‘scooped’ doors/flanks which make it appear more sporty. CarBuyer had a hands-on look at the A3 before launch, and the effect is much more pronounced in real-life than in photos.

2021 Audi A3 Sedan

Anorak alert: Unlike before, the sedan and hatchback share the same taillight units. They have dynamic indicators, while the front lights do not. 

Drivetrain/performance

The shift to the MQB Evo platform (although Audi doesn’t term is specifically as such) brings numerous benefits thanks to access to the VW Group’s latest tech. 

48V mild hybrid tech isn’t new, but has until now only been found on larger cars such as the A6, A7, A8 models, or Mercedes-Benz’s new S-Class for a big example. Compared to a 12V mild hybrid system (such as the new Suzuki Swift Sport) a 48V system can remain with its engine off for longer, coast further, and run an electric air-con compressor so occupants don’t get hot at stops.





Audi says the system recuperates up to 12kW of energy from stops alone, and contributes 0.4L/100km to overall efficiency. An active air intake also contributes to efficiency, with overall drag reduced 0.04 points to 0.25cD. 

The improvement in fuel efficiency from 5.0L/100km on the old 1.4 to 4.7L/100km on the new car seems incremental, but the new car is larger, heavier, and more powerful (150hp against 122hp). 

The crucial thing here is that the mild hybrid tech helps the A3 bag a VES A2 rebate of S$15k, which improves cost effectiveness tremendously and it’s something all cars must contend with in 2021.  

That aside, the A3 looks sprightly on paper. With 150hp and 250Nm and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it does 0-100km/h in 8.4 seconds, almost a whole second faster than the old 1.4 sedan. That’s because the hybrid motor adds 12hp and 50Nm to the engine’s torque when moving off. The new platform also boasts new multilink rear suspension setup Audi says will improve handling and ride further. 

Interior and equipment

The cockpit layout differs significantly from previous, with a driver focused design that brings bigger Audis to mind. The driver’s side is quite exciting, with a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit now flanked by twin air con vents. 

To the right is a 10.1 inch touchscreen with the latest Audi MMI (Multimedia Infotainment) system, again the same as found on larger Audis. 

It’s conveniently placed and easy to use, unlike the facelifted A4’s touchscreen. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay feature here too. Wireless mode isn’t available yet, but without a wireless device charger this is also slightly less useful anyway.

Audi has lost the MMI control dial but have kept one button at least: there’s a touch-sensitive volume/track navigation button/dial next to the gearshifter.  

There’s more interior room and storage, thanks to the gearshifter now shrinking to a nub, made possible as it’s completely shift by wire now.

The A3 does have lane-departure warning now, though notably there is an absence of forward collision warning/mitigation and a full suite of active safety systems. 

The car’s interior room seems improved this time around, despite the wheelbase staying the same, as it seems Audi has packaged the car a little better with legroom feeling a tad bit more spacious, and no headroom issues despite the sporty sedan styling. The Sportback has better headroom and accordingly an easier-to-load boot, though it’s smaller than the sedans – 380-litres against 425-litres. 

Audi A3: History and competition

Looking for a second-hand A3 sedan? Ucars.sg has a wide selection from as low as S$45k


The A3 first appeared in 1996 solely as a hatchback, and was one of the first, if not the first, premium small cars around, preceding the A-Class (1997) and 1 Series (2004). However it only became a regular sight on the roads with the third-gen which debuted in 2014 since that’s when it was first offered as a four-door. 

We rated the third-gen Audi A3 one of the best small luxury sedans here, primarily because in 1.4-litre TFSI trim it was very frugal, decently equipped, and relatively affordable – having a Cat A COE – compared to its rivals. 

Back in 2014, the only other small sedan was the first-gen Mercedes-Benz CLA, but we preferred the A3 for its better rear space and more comfortable driving experience. 

Speaking of the competition, it’s certainly heated up in 2021: BMW now has its 1 Series hatch and also the 2 Series Gran Coupe as a four-door, while Mercedes-Benz has the A-Class in both hatchback and sedan forms now. Hit the links to read all our reviews of those cars. 

2014 Audi A3 Sedan – small, luxurious and frugal

We have a review of the third-gen 2014 Audi A3 Sedan 1.4 in its 122hp Cat A COE form, with Ju-Len proclaiming: “If a bigger car fits your needs better, there are plenty around for similar money or less. Buy the A3 Sedan if what you want is not a big car, but a nice one.” 

It was also available as the fun drop-top Cabriolet with the 1.4-litre engine as well, while those who demanded more power could opt for the 280hp all-wheel drive S3, which impressed us in Sportback mode.

2017 Audi RS 3 Sedan: 400hp from the ballistic 2.5-litre inline 5 engine



The true king of the A3 lineup has always been the RS 3 of course, which could be pretty much all the car a driver could want thanks to its dramatic, intense five-cylinder turbo engine.


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2021 Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid Review: Swift Stinger https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-suzuki-swift-sport-review-singapore-price/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-suzuki-swift-sport-review-singapore-price/#respond Wed, 12 May 2021 01:56:50 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42475 The Suzuki Swift Sport returns in 2021 and single-handedly revives the affordable pocket rocket class … Continued

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The Suzuki Swift Sport returns in 2021 and single-handedly revives the affordable pocket rocket class in Singapore


SINGAPORE

If want a truly fun-to-drive, sporty car for less money, what’s on the menu? Now that Skoda’s Octavia VRS has been phased out in preparation for a new (more expensive) model, basically nothing below S$150k with COE – besides the Suzuki Swift Sport.

The current-generation Suzuki Swift platform dates back to 2018, if you don’t include the mild facelift that it was given earlier this year. Its selling point was always very straightforward: a small, fun-loving and premium compact car. Suzuki’s expertise as a small car maker also means that the brand is very good at maximising value from its platforms as well as localising them to suit needs of drivers across the world. The Swift is a good example of this, as the European, Japanese, Indian and Asian versions are all slightly different.

The Suzuki Swift Sport, for drivers who remember stuff way back into the 1980s, began life as the Swift GTi way back in 1986. It had a 1.3-litre, DOHC 16-valve engine with 97 horsepower and was a right hoot to drive. The second generation Swift GTi arrived in 1989, and this was the car that really grew Suzuki’s reputation beyond that of just a maker of economical compact cars on the roads of Singapore as more car enthusiasts came to discover the car’s incredibly dynamic nature.

Remember these guys?

The Swift Sport nameplate however, traces its roots to the car that was launched in late 2006. Codenamed the ZC31S, many can still be seen on our roads today, a testament to how durable and popular the sporty little compact hatchback really is. 

At this point, rivet-counting car enthusiasts and Suzuki Swift fans may be thinking, “Wasn’t the current-generation Swift Sport launched in 2017?” 

Yes it was, actually. CarBuyer’s intial report on the car was six (!) years ago. The Japanese-market-only Swift Sport has a 1.4-litre turbo engine with 140 horsepower and a few have made their way into Singapore via parallel import channels.

Hang on to your butts though, as the Swift Sport we’re now officially getting is technically a better and more affordable deal for the Singaporean market. Designed to meet Euro 6d emissions and primarily for sale in Europe, the K14C engine from the Japanese Swift Sport has been detuned slightly and is now the K14D. However to make up for the slight power loss there’s a 48-volt mild hybrid drive system glued to the drivetrain that gives the engine an additional boost during acceleration, without the extra fuel consumption of a high-boost turbocharger. 

The result is a sporty, compact, made-in-Japan hatchback that sits in a VES A2 rating, which gives the car a substantial S$15,000 rebate already figured into the sale price. Compact hatchbacks were once the default car of choice for many drivers here, but rising COE prices and better designed small crossover SUVs have forced a change in the automotive scenery here. So, is the new Swift Sport still a relevant car?


Continue to page 2: Interior and design

2021 Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid Review – CarBuyer.com.sg
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Interior and Design
Page 3: Driving Experience
Page 4: Conclusion / Revisiting the classic Swift Sport

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The surprising secrets of BMW’s new 4 Series Convertible https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021_bmw_4_series_convertible_singapore_price/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021_bmw_4_series_convertible_singapore_price/#respond Tue, 11 May 2021 04:45:00 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=40012 BMW went soft with the new 4 Series Convertible. We found out why…  11 May … Continued

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BMW went soft with the new 4 Series Convertible. We found out why… 


11 May 2021 Update: The BMW 4 Series Convertible is officially on sale in Singapore from today, with the 420i Convertible M Sport Pro now commanding S$266,888 with COE and the more powerful BMW 430i Convertible M Sport Pro going for S$305,888 with COE

SINGAPORE — BMW will pull the covers off its new 4 Series Convertible in Singapore this month, and whatever you think of open-top cars, the German premium carmaker seems to regard the people who drive with fondness. Emanuel Varga, the product manager for the new 4 Series Convertible, calls them a “truly exclusive and very special customer group.”

Singapore is getting 420i M Sport and 430i M Sport Pro versions. Both have a 2.0-litre turbo engine but in different states of tune: 184 horsepower and 300 Newton-metres of peak torque for the 420i, and 258hp and 300Nm for 430i. That translates into 0-100km/h times of 8.2 and 6.2 seconds respectively.

The Convertibles list for S$246,888 (420i) and S$285,888 (430i) with certificate of entitlement. That’s S$19,000 and S$10,000 more than you’d pay for the Coupe versions of each respective car.


Prefer a roof over your head? It’s the 4 Series Coupe for you…


For the extra money you get all the visual drama of the current 4 Series Coupe, with the ability to bare your face to the wind. Touch a button and the 4 Series Convertible’s soft top folds away in just 18 seconds, and it works on the go, as long as you keep things slower than 50km/h.

But talking to BMW folk, you get the feeling they would almost prefer you to keep the top up so everyone can see it.

Thomas Roth, the new car’s project head, calls the roof its main innovation. It replaces a folding metal roof in the previous 4 Series Convertible, and though it’s a return to a more traditional way to give a car an open top, BMW says it’s anything but old fashioned.

“We decided to go back to the soft top because we now have the technology to combine the best of two worlds,” he said in a virtual conference. That tech is a “panel bow” design, a light, rigid arrangement that gives the roof its shape and structure. 

“We have these bow panels that are really connected to each other, and they are stiff, they are light of course and they are very clean, which means, you see a kind of hardtop and coupe character,” Mr Roth said.

Conventional soft tops use a series of rods that support the soft material stretched over it. That traditional design has its advantages: it’s relatively light and doesn’t take up much room. The downsides have to do with noise and temperature insulation, and the fact that the soft roof material sometimes sags between rods.

Folding metal roofs are the opposite: secure, quiet and well-insulated when up, but bulky when folded and relatively heavy.

BMW says the new roof is 40 percent lighter than the hardtop that engineers gave the last 4 Series, and the bow panel design solves the other ragtop problems. “If you drive on the motorway, there’s exactly the same level of noise like in a coupe,” said Florian Moser, a spokesperson for BMW. “It’s really amazing.”

Then there’s the idea that a convertible should look like, well, a convertible. “The car body is shiny, with this metallic paint, and the soft top is fabric basically. So, what that combination brings is a very intriguing contrast,” said Lim Seungmo from BMW Design. The contrast between a fabric roof and metal body adds that touch of exoticness you’re supposed to feel when you see a convertible, he said.

The fact that the fabric doesn’t sag means the 4 Series Convertibles’ roofline is exactly as BMW’s designers intended. “The panel bow system underneath (enables) the design without any sagging or tent-like, hanging effect, which the conventional convertible used to have, so now the new 4 Series Convertible has perfect tension with this canvas top,” Mr Lim said.

On a more practical note, the new roof leaves more space for cargo: the car’s boot is 80 litres bigger than its predecessor’s.

Project head Roth also said the lighter roof means a lower centre of gravity, which in turn makes the car handle better. That’s something we’re looking forward to finding out for ourselves.

Yet, the fact that it had a metal roof didn’t seem to harm the last open-top 4 Series. BMW sold more than 800,000 of the previous 4 Series cars, and roughly 15 to 20 percent were Convertibles, according to Mr Varga, the product manager. Unusually, sales of the car actually started to pick up towards the end of its product cycle. 

In any case, open top cars occupy something of a special place in Munich. “BMW has a longstanding tradition with convertibles. It started back in the 1930s. And since then, the passion for convertibles hasn’t receded, so we truly believe that the convertible segment is something worth investing in,” Mr Varga said. 

Given that BMW built just two models with folding hardtops in nearly 90 years, the new 4 Series Convertible’s fabric roof is a return to form. “Actually, it’s clear,” Mr Moser, the spokesperson, said. “A true convertible needs a soft top.


READ MORE: The latest hot shizz on CarBuyer!

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3 Features Every New Car Should Have In 2021 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/3-features-every-new-car-should-have-in-singapore-2021/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/3-features-every-new-car-should-have-in-singapore-2021/#respond Mon, 10 May 2021 10:02:53 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42458 If you’re buying a car in Singapore in 2021, whatever the price, it should definitely … Continued

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If you’re buying a car in Singapore in 2021, whatever the price, it should definitely have these three features or face major FOMO


SINGAPORE

If you’ve ever gone car shopping, you’ll realise some features are common throughout a segment (size and type, a small SUV for example) and price position (mainstream, luxury), but in 2021 we’ve noticed some trends that have gone beyond the pigeonholes and are almost universal in any new car worth its salt. If a new car you have your eye on is missing one of these features, maybe it’s time to cast your net a little wider.

1. Active Safety

Why it’s important: Because safety.

In the past, we’d look out for a strong structure made with high-strength steel and at least six airbags. But these days it’s no longer enough to take a beating, because modern cars should be able to stop or mitigate accidents before they happen. The past two years have seen active safety systems proliferate into every major segment and every major brand has its own suite of safety systems.

The arrival of active safety in Toyota’s current Corolla Altis last year highlighted what an industry-standard feature it’s become, and in 2021 it’s continued on Toyota’s super-popular Yaris Cross, the facelifted Honda Odyssey,

Active safety suites, such as Honda’s Sensing, Toyota’s Safety System, and Mazda’s i-Activsense, should include the following, least. It stands to reason that mainstream systems carry these features, so you should expect the same, or more, in active safety systems from luxury brands too.

Forward collision warning/mitigation: Will warn you of an impending collision with another vehicle and/or obstacle. Better systems will detect pedestrians, cyclists and even animals.

Active cruise control: A corollary to the above, it enables the car to follow another car in traffic while keeping distance automatically.

Lane keeping/guidance: Warns the driver audibly or via steering wheel vibration that they are straying from their lane. Better systems will apply steering assist to keep you within the lines.

Cross traffic alert/avoidance: Warns the driver if they are reversing into traffic. Better systems will warn you and brake automatically, and also do the same in forward cross traffic.

2. Connectivity

Why it’s important: Stay connected safely and legally, and helps you to get around too.

Five years ago syncing up your smartphone with Bluetooth to enable calls and audio streaming was the best you could expect in-car, but now it goes much deeper with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Both smartphone integration systems allow you to ‘use your phone’ through a car’s infotainment screen, which isn’t just less distracting that tapping on a tiny screen, it’s also legal unlike ‘handphone driving’ which carries penalties of disqualification from driving, a fine of up to S$1,000 and/or six months jail. PSA: While talking via handsfree and using in-built touchscreens while driving is legal, it’s still distracting so try to do so only when stationary.

Having the feature also means you can access navigation features (as long as you have internet access) which saves you an extra chunk of change from ‘in-built’ navigation. Lastly, the iOS and Android assistant features are also open to you, meaning you can ask them to call someone, play music, or give you news and weather.





Both systems work via USB cable, but newer car models, like the Kia Stinger, and most new BMWs, can do it wirelessly.

When is a whole lotta tech too much tech? The new S-Class makes us wonder…

3.A good VES rating

Why it’s important: A VES rebate means you get more car for a smaller price tag

Ok this isn’t so much a conventional feature as a end result. Last year, the Vehicular Emissions Scheme improvements have meant an increase to penalties and rebates for cars that pollute more or less, respectively. Its purpose is to encourage consumers to shift to less polluting, more efficient cars, and we can say it works pretty damn well.

A S$15,000 rebate is significant, especially for a mainstream car, but if you compared a car with a good VES against one with a penalty, the price gulf becomes very wide indeed.

For instance, if a car has a hybrid variant which scores VES A2 (S$15,000 rebate) and a conventional gasoline variant that has a VES C1 rating (S$10,000 penalty), if all other things remain equal there would be a S$25,000 price difference between the two. Assuming a mainstream car which would cost around S$100k and you can see a major 25 percent difference to price. And with increased penalties coming into play from July 2021, the different would increase to S$30,000 later this year.



If a car has a decent price and VES B rating, well no great sin there. But a car with a good VES rating will always have a sticker price advantage over one that’s neutral, or even more so against a car with a VES penalty. That’s how the new Suzuki Swift has remained price-competitive (it has a mild hybrid system), and why Toyota’s Yaris Cross isn’t even sold here in its regular petrol-engined form – it would be pointless, with the price difference made by VES. Even at a more expensive price point, such as the Toyota Harrier midsized SUV, the price difference between the hybrid and the regular gasoline 2.0 is such that the latter makes very little financial sense, given the hybrid model packs many advantages.


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2021 Lexus LC Convertible Review: Forza Lexus https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-lexus-lc-convertible-review-singapore-forza-lexus/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-lexus-lc-convertible-review-singapore-forza-lexus/#respond Sat, 08 May 2021 09:01:30 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42406 If you’ve dreamed of fiery, Italian, open-air motoring with fewer rough edges, the Lexus LC … Continued

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If you’ve dreamed of fiery, Italian, open-air motoring with fewer rough edges, the Lexus LC 500 Convertible could offer a tremendous ownership experience in Singapore


Photos by Leow Ju-Len, Lionel Kong

SINGAPORE 

The LC 500 Convertible is an Italian car that simply happens to be manufactured by Japan’s premier luxury carmaker. 

If you know the Japanese, this isn’t weird at all with the ethos of kaizen. Whiskey, European food, and cars are all things that weren’t founded in Japan, but are now at a world-class level.



Likewise, with Lexus injecting ‘Lexus F’ into its veins over the past decade, it now has a stable of truly exciting cars that are well worth owning. That includes the halo car LFA, and more real-life cars like the RC F and the now-discontinued GS F. But the most desirable Lexus of the now has always been the LC, the brand’s grand touring, 2+2 coupe.

The pre-facelift LC Coupe from 2017



Back in its 2017 debut it really rocked our socks, and made us recalibrate our Lex-pectations further. In 2021 the new drop-top Convertible model does that again, especially since our recollections of previous Lexus drop-tops like the IS-C and SC 430 are a not-particularly-exciting haze.



In 2017 what we said the LC would look just as good roaming the streets of cyberpunk Tokyo as it would old Florence. The LC Convertible continues that with alfresco flair. It doesn’t rock the LC design boat, since it’s already a pretty wild ride, visually, and the car makes the transition to convertible seamlessly.



Muscular proportions, a huge spindle grille, very pointy lights, and weird intersecting lines that only Leuxs could make work well – all of this blends into a sexy coupe that has a possibly extra-valuable aspect for owners in this category: Uniqueness. You won’t find LCs, whether coupe or convertibles, at every stop light. Given the Lexus reputation for quality and reliability, it won’t be a case of rarity due to The Cold Feet Of Excessive Upkeep and Maintenance.



If that uniqueness is all over the skin, it’s matched underneath it too: The LC’s glove-like, monoposto-style cabin is unabashedly that of a sporty, focused car.


The LC is Japanese-does-Italian, this Mitsuoka is Japanese-does-American



In an era of glass cockpits, it’s starting to look old (or old school, if you like) with its buttons and knobs. The Lexus Remote Touch infotainment system feels outdated too, but we actually enjoyed having everything at our fingertips, despite the seat ventilation controls being migrated into the infotainment system. The system now syncs up with your phone via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay too.

The car’s instrument panel is similar to that of the RC’s, with a large, digital dial that moves to the centre in Sport mode. It’s not as slick or sharp as the latest digital panels, but it certainly looks more convincing for a performance car, not to mention dramatic. 

And the LC Convertible isn’t lacking in drama, thanks to its vociferous heart. Unlike most cars now, the 5.0-litre V8 is naturally-aspirated, which means it revs faster, roars louder, and is more controllable than a typical turbocharged one. 

Turbo engines might usually have more power and torque, but we can’t imagine wanting more than the 470hp the LC’s engine makes. With no turbos stuffing up the pipes, the V8’s sonoros wail is like the call of an exotic, endangered animal. It’s not just thrilling for what it is, but also an increasingly rare noise to come by in the Age of Electrification. You’d have to be jaded indeed to not crack a smile the first time revs peak. 

The LC is thrillingly fast on its feet, but not blitzkrieg-nutso fast. This is a GT after all, not a hardcore sports car and the ride/handling matches those expectations. Here the choice of a fabric soft-top comes clear, since a hard-top would have made the car heavier in all the wrong areas.

5.0-litre non-turbo V8 might not have the outright horsepower of turbo units, but it’s thrilling to hear, use, and a rare bird now



The LC is not an especially light vehicle, with the Convertible weighing 2,045kg on average. A soft-top also allows more flexibility in deployment – it works at up to 50km/h, and takes 15 seconds. 


There’s a little thump from the big wheels and a little more flex than the coupe, as expected, and as a cabriolet you will hear noises you usually wouldn’t in a coupe, but out of Sport or Sport+ mode, it’s decently comfortable and certainly livable in day-to-day driving.  

On a practical note, this is obviously not a car for family people. The boot is 149-litres-tiny, while the rear seats are ideal for sentient beings up to a Labrador retriever in size, and even they might chafe after a while. 

Leave the kids at home. Or if you’re an LC owner, probably avoid them altogether…

But anyone is very unlikely to buy this as an only car,  you’d buy it for its rarity, its looks, the thrills of the V8 roar and open air motoring. In this, the LC is uniquely thrilling.

The closest competition is Maserati’s GranCabrio with its thrilling 4.7-litre V8, but it’s a car that’s showing its age in all areas, and simply can’t match the Lexus in quality.


On the German front, BMW’s larger 8 Series Convertible is sexy in its own, more brutish fashion and it also offers a V8, albeit turbo one with more power and a less exciting soundtrack. And there’s always the classic Porsche’s 911 Cabrio or Targa, though they’d both be above S$600k with COE or options. If you want to go really left-of-centre then there’s even Morgan’s Plus 4 roadster. 

But as modern 2+2 drop tops go, the Lexus LC Convertible presents an attractive proposition of thrilling Euro-style GT motoring as made by Japan’s best luxury brand and all the positives that come with. 

Lexus LC Convertible 

Engine4,969cc, V8
Power470hp at 7100rpm
Torque540Nm at 4800rpm
Gearbox10-speed automatic 
0-100km/h4.7seconds 
Top Speed270km/h
Fuel Efficiency12.7L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$20,000
AgentLexus Singapore 
PriceS$572,800 with COE and VES
AvailabilityNow
Verdict Bravissimo! Italian-style open-air V8 experience, except Lexus-fied

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S$5.5 million McLaren Elva drops into Singapore https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/mclaren-elva-singapore-price-new/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/mclaren-elva-singapore-price-new/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42389 McLaren’s limited edition Elva roadster arrives in Singapore for a special preview, carrying a hefty … Continued

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McLaren’s limited edition Elva roadster arrives in Singapore for a special preview, carrying a hefty price tag along with it


SINGAPORE

McLaren’s Elva roadster, a special limited edition model that’s part of the brand’s top-rung Ultimate Series range alongside the Senna and Speedtail, made its debut in Singapore at an event held at the Esplanade on 6 May. 

The Elva will be restricted to a production run of just 149 units globally, and will be offered to customers on a first-come-first-served basis. Singaporean punters who are interested should be ready to set aside around S$5.5 million, for that is what the car is expected to cost here, without including a Certificate of Entitlement (COE).

McLaren says though that each individual Elva will be produced through their McLaren Special Operations (MSO) programme, making each unit effectively bespoke, and as such the final transaction price might vary significantly, depending on the customer’s specifications.



The Elva comes without a roof and a windscreen in its default guise, but the car is completely road legal. Singaporean buyers who wish to take their Elva out on the roads here would have to get McLaren to fit a windscreen at the factory in order to comply with local regulations.

Power comes from a a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that produces a colossal 815hp and 800Nm of torque, enabling the car to rocket from 0-100km/h in under three seconds. In windscreen-less guise, the car also features what McLaren calls an Active Air Management System, which helps to create a virtual canopy over the cockpit.

From left to right: McLaren 720S Le Mans, McLaren Elva, McLaren 620R

The display car at the event was finished in the iconic Gulf Oil livery colours that featured on McLaren’s race cars during the 1960s and 70s. Alongside the Elva, McLaren also displayed the 720S Le Mans and 620R limited run sports cars, with both being nods to McLaren’s sporting heritage. Just 50 units of the 720S Le Mans and 225 units of the 620R will be made, of which one of each will be allocated to Singapore.


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2021 Subaru Outback Review: Crossover Pioneer https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-subaru-outback-review-singapore-price/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/2021-subaru-outback-review-singapore-price/#respond Thu, 06 May 2021 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42362 Subaru’s Outback delivers SUV-like practicality without carrying the stigma of driving one SINGAPORE Well before … Continued

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Subaru’s Outback delivers SUV-like practicality without carrying the stigma of driving one


SINGAPORE

Well before the term ‘crossover’ even entered the mainstream vehicular lexicon, Subaru was among the first to pioneer the trend of mixing two different body styles into one. The original Outback from 1994 started out as a raised version of Subaru’s Legacy Wagon, effectively turning it into a pseudo-wagon SUV of sorts, a formula that was later copied by Volvo and Audi.

Today’s Outback has been spun off into its own nameplate, but the car’s Legacy roots remain evident. It still looks like a Legacy Wagon on stilts, although ironically Subaru doesn’t actually make a regular Legacy Wagon any more, so the Outback serves as a de facto estate version of the new seventh-generation Legacy.

That said, there are signs that Subaru are trying to make the split between the two a bit more explicit. For starters, the regular Legacy saloon is no longer produced for right hand drive markets (including Japan), whereas the Outback remains available. So if you want a large-sized Subaru that’s not a Forester, the Outback is now your only option here.

It’s not a bad option too. Subaru has tended to give the Legacy evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes through the generations, and the same applies to the Outback. The car’s styling is relatively conservative, instantly recognisable as a Subaru wagon, with the raised ride height, heavy-duty roof rails and plastic cladding around the wheel arches outlining its rugged character. It’s not really a head-turner, but the Outback has always been about function more than form anyway.

The interior is somewhat more impressive though. A very modern setup sees a large, vertical-oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen (a la Volvo) take centrestage on the dashboard. Most of the car’s functions are accessed through this screen, which can make things a bit fiddly on the move, but the display is clear and the system runs quite smoothly.

There’s some very clever tech on offer too. The Outback features what Subaru calls the Driver Monitoring System (DMS), first featured on the recently updated Forester. Essentially Subaru’s version of Apple’s Face ID, it uses a set of cameras and sensors on the dashboard to scan your face, and then set the car up according to your preferred preset settings, like the seat position and even the air con temperature. It’s quite a cool feature actually, although do remember to remove your mask so that the system can properly identify your mug.

Then there’s also Subaru’s Eyesight suite of driver assistance technologies, which incorporates stuff such as adaptive cruise control with lane centering function, autonomous emergency braking and steering, and lane departure warning, to name but a few functionalities. 

The rest of the interior does feel decidedly upmarket, with nice soft touch materials and Nappa leather upholstery helping to uplift the overall ambience of the car. And of course, as a wagon, there is plenty of cargo room at the back, with 522 litres of boot space on offer, expandable to 1,726 litres if the rear seats are folded down.

On the road, the Outback is probably about as average as they come. It majors more on comfort really, with a very pliant ride quality that smooths out most road bumps. Refinement is excellent too, with barely any noise permeating through the cabin even at speed. The 2.5-litre boxer engine is smooth and effective, although performance feels slightly blunted by the car’s CVT gearbox.

The handling of the Outback can best be described as competent. Given that it’s not as tall as your usual SUVs, body roll is kept nicely in check. The car’s all-wheel-drive system keeps it tracking neutrally in the corners, and safe is probably the operative word here. It does the job, but it doesn’t feel particularly exciting.

Nevertheless, there’s much to like about the Outback otherwise. At the very least, it’s a credible crossover alternative to most modern crossovers, being actually comfortable, rugged, spacious and practical, without carrying the negative stigma of driving a towering SUV. All of the good stuff, with few of the bad stuff, in other words.

Subaru Outback 2.5 i-Touring Eyesight

Engine2,498cc, horizontally-opposed four
Power188hp at 5800rpm
Torque245Nm at 3400-4600rpm
GearboxContinuously Variable Transmission
0-100km/h9.6 seconds
Top Speed206km/h
VES BandingC1 / +S$10,000
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
AgentMotor Image Enterprises
PriceS$170,800 with COE
AvailabilityNow
Verdict:Legacy-based Outback offers most of the benefits of a crossover SUV but with few of the drawbacks

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Ferrari 812 Competizione to slip into Singapore in September https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/ferrari-812-competizione-and-its-aggro-aero-to-slip-into-singapore-in-september/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/ferrari-812-competizione-and-its-aggro-aero-to-slip-into-singapore-in-september/#respond Wed, 05 May 2021 13:54:19 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42337 It’s 30hp more powerful than the 812 Superfast, weighs 38kg less, and has no rear … Continued

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It’s 30hp more powerful than the 812 Superfast, weighs 38kg less, and has no rear window. And those are just three of the many reasons the 812 Competizone is bonkers…

SINGAPORE — Ferrari’s 812 Competizione and 812 Competizione A make one thing clear: when Ferrari wants to press your buttons, it knows exactly where to jab. The Italian supercar brand has just shown off the two special versions of the 812 Superfast, the V12 coupe that first met the world at 2017’s Geneva motor show (remember those?).

Both are part of Ferrari’s “special series” line-up, meaning they’re limited-edition, hardcore versions of a model as it approaches retirement (although Ferrari tends to refer to them as “new models”). Think F12tdf to the F12berlinetta.

Roughly two-and-a-half years in the making, the new Ferraris take a striking car and turn the drama up to 11. They have an aerodynamic “blade” across the bonnet inspired by racing livery but properly functional, and the coupe has no real rear window — a camera system lets you see what’s behind you, creating the technical freedom for a fixed rear panel with vortex generators that make the huge, full-width tail wing more effective. It looks a treat, too, doesn’t it.

Ferrari tends to build limited-edition cars by the hundred, and technically this is true of the 812 Competizione even though its availability is on the high side: 999 will leave the factory, with production getting underway early next year and deliveries due in the third quarter of 2022 in Singapore.

The 812 Competizione A (the “A” is for “aperta”, Italian for “open”) is meant to be more exclusive, with only 599 units slated for production. That starts in the fourth quarter of 2022 so mid-2023 is our guess for when you will see one in Singapore.

They might as well have built only a dozen, though: Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s chief marketing and commercial officer said at a virtual press conference that they are all sold out.

Want this view? It can actually still be yours

Oh well. Ferrari will ship a 812 Competizione here in September for invited guests to look at even though every last one spoken for. Probably to inspire a bit of FOMO in ditherers, and for the fast-acting customers to congratulate themselves on their good taste.

It’s way too early for Singapore pricing details, but Italian prices (500,000 Euros in Italy for the coupe and 578,000 for the targa top) suggest S$1.6m to S$1.8m without options or Certificate Of Entitlement, with the open top car at the higher number.

Or you can have this view — for more money, but with more exclusivity

Worth every penny, if you ask us. For one thing, the 812 Superfast lives up to its name, so the fact that this is a sort of 812 Superfaster means it has more ability to make us drool than all the pasta in the world.

But perhaps more poignant (and less icky) is that it could mark a farewell to arguably the purest of all Ferrari engine types: the naturally-aspirated, non-electrified V12.

What a farewell, though: the 6.5-litre engine revs to a barmy 9,500rpm, and makes 830 horsepower at 9,250rpm. Maximum torque — all 692 Newton-metres of it — arrives at 7,000rpm, long after most engines have run out of puff, if they even rev that high.

The 1.5-plus tonne two-seater goes from 0 to 200km/h in 7.5 seconds. Let that sink in for a second. The sprint to 100km/h takes 2.85 seconds, if you’re interested, and the 812 Competizione won’t stop accelerating until it blows past 340 km/h. 

The laptime around Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit is 1m 20s flat. That makes it the fastest non-hybrid Ferrari around the place (the SF90 Stradale, SF90 Spider and the LaFerrari all crack the 80-second mark).

The performance is courtesy of the fact that it’s 30hp more powerful than the 812 Superfast, and 38kg lighter. It also has a new rear-wheel steering system that’s independent. That means the rear wheels don’t have to steer in parallel, and instead can each point at whatever angle is appropriate. Chief technology officer Michael Leiters said tonight that the system sharpens turn-in but can also help to stabilise the car, and it makes the driver more confident.

The upshot of it all is that the new car is 1.5 seconds faster than the 812 Superfast. Effectively, the 812 Competizione is what it looks like when Ferrari is in competition with itself.


READ MORE: The latest hot stuff on CarBuyer.com.sg!

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Updated seven-seater Peugeot 5008 arrives in Singapore https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/peugeot-5008-suv-singapore-price/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/peugeot-5008-suv-singapore-price/#respond Wed, 05 May 2021 03:25:31 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42320 Price at S$136,888 with COE, the crossover SUV has new LED lighting and a restyled … Continued

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Price at S$136,888 with COE, the crossover SUV has new LED lighting and a restyled face that complements the car’s economical 1.2-litre turbo engine


SINGAPORE  

The seemingly relentless rollout of new seven-seaters in Singapore continues with the updated Peugeot 5008, even as the COE quota reduction is making its presence felt with the steep increase in recent COE prices. 

Similar in concept and execution as the smaller, five-seater Peugeot 3008 that was updated earlier this year, the bigger 5008 gets a new frameless grille at the front, and the front headlights have also been redesigned. They now feature new LED light signatures with three-claw tail light motifs at the rear and scrolling indicators.

The 12.3”-inch digital instrument panel and 10” high-definition capacitive touchscreen infotainment system in the car is just about identical to the one found in the 3008, which we found to be one of the classier designs currently out there, and equally easy to adapt to quickly. 

A 1.2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine drives the car’s front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s the same engine found in the Peugeot 3008, and also in the new Peugeot 2008



It’s the only engine variant that we are getting in Singapore, as we will not be getting the 1.6-litre turbo engine available in some other countries. The reason is simply down to our unique COE system that automatically pushes any car with more than 130 horsepower into the Category B ‘large car’ class. The Peugeot engine’s 129 horsepower just squeaks into the Category A COE bracket, making the 5008 one of the few seven-seaters available here with a Category A COE.

The other obvious competitor with seven seats, SUV styling and a Category A COE is the Mercedes-Benz GLB 180 which costs around S$50k more than the base variant of the Peugeot 5008. Here’s what we thought of the larger engined GLB 200.

In this age of 180+ horsepower MPVS like the new Kia Carnival, the big question is of course will the little engine have power to properly move a fully loaded 5008? You’ll have to wait for our full test drive to find out, but from our impressions in the 3008 it’s a very torquey and punchy engine so should manage the extra baggage of the larger car quite well. On paper, the car’s 0 to 100km/h acceleration time of 10.2 seconds is decent but not quick, and it also claims a not-too-shabby fuel economy of 5.2l/10km. 

The car’s interior is largely unchanged but that’s a good thing to us because the current-gen Peugeot cockpits, with the compact steering wheel and well-placed controls, make plenty of ergonomic sense from the driver’s perspective.



The 5008 hides two seats in the third row that fold away, expanding the boot from 780 litres to a massive 1,940 litres. The middle bench features three individually adjustable seats, and Peugeot claims that with all seats folded and the front passenger seat tipped forwards, objects up to 3.4 metres long can be safely carried in the car. 

It’s also packed with a wealth of active safety features including Lane Departure Warning and Driver’s Attention Warning.

Order books are already open, and the way we see it COEs are not going to get any lower in the next couple of months so if you’re shopping for a premium level seven-seater but without the luxury car price tag and fuel bill, the Peugeot 5008 is one of the cars worth checking out.


Want a smaller hybrid SUV instead? Here’s what we think of the Toyota Yaris Cross

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Toyota donates Hiace van to Singapore Association of Mental Health https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/toyota-donates-hiace-van-to-singapore-association-of-mental-health/ https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/toyota-donates-hiace-van-to-singapore-association-of-mental-health/#respond Wed, 05 May 2021 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.carbuyer.com.sg/?p=42313 Donation by official Toyota distributor Borneo Motors part of company’s community outreach efforts Photos: Borneo … Continued

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Donation by official Toyota distributor Borneo Motors part of company’s community outreach efforts


Photos: Borneo Motors

SINGAPORE

Borneo Motors, the official distributor for Toyota vehicles in Singapore, has donated a new Hiace van to the Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH), as part of the company’s outreach efforts to enrich lives in Singapore. The official handover ceremony took place at Toyota’s showroom at Leng Kee Road, and Borneo says that the donation aims to help SAMH enhance their ability to reach out to the community.

“Through our donation, we aim to support SAMH in realising their vision of promoting mental wellness for all through greater mobility,” said Jasmmine Wong, CEO of Borneo Motors. “This is in line with Toyota’s vision of creating mobility for all, and is representative of our commitment to enriching lives, developing people and contributing to the Singaporean society,” she adds.

The donated Hiace van will help SAMH to provide a safe and timely mode of transport for beneficiaries attending the programmes and activities across SAMH centres, and enable beneficiaries to attend external events, engagements organised by SAMH or corporate partners, and appointments (i.e. medical appointments or job interviews) accompanied by SAMH staff.



The SAMH is Borneo’s latest community partnership in Singapore, with the company also recently teaming up with the Singapore Golf Association, through the distributor’s Lexus brand, to be their exclusive partner for the next three years, with the aim of fostering future golfing talents in Singapore, and promoting the sport here. Borneo also sponsored Singapore’s Olympic gold-winning swimmer Joseph Schooling in 2018.


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