NEW LUXURY https://newluxury.co Luxury Today - Test driving the best of Cars, Food, Wine and Lifestyle Sun, 26 Sep 2021 06:15:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 Hyundai Kona Electric: Start a new journey https://newluxury.co/hyundai-kona-electric/ Sun, 26 Sep 2021 06:12:59 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3169
GEARHEAD

 

Hyundai Kona Electric: The start of a new journey

Anyone who wants to embark on an electric journey should seriously consider the updated Hyundai Kona Electric

hyundai kona electric

What it is

In marketing, the brand-consumer journey can be understood through the AIPL model – Awareness, Interest, Purchase, Loyalty.

For electric vehicle (EV) brands which have been trying to break into the Singapore market in the past few years, it would appear that consumers are already passing the half-way point of that journey – thanks to government incentives and plans to roll out more charging stations.

But with more and more EV models slipping silently into showrooms, consumers may be unsure about which to choose. So why not take a leaf from your financial adviser’s book and start small? But not too small that you will face range anxiety or cabin space issues.

One ideal candidate then is the Hyundai Kona Electric.

This attractive-looking sub-compact SUV is a pure electric model available in three variants with standard or long range.

At 4,205 mm long with a 2,600 mm wheelbase, it enjoyed a mid-life refresh recently, accompanied by striking new paintwork such as the Dive In Jeju shown here.

What is new

Apart from the six shiny new exterior colours, the Kona Electric’s new stuff include:

  • 25-inch digital cluster
  • 8-inch Display Audio with multimedia features
  • Ambient light technology to illuminate front footwells
  • Sharpened front and rear lamps and smoother nose
  • Snazzier 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Blind-spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA)
  • Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
  • Rear Seat Alert (RSA)
hyundai kona electric

What it feels like

Inside the five-door electric crossover is a cabin that is modern and airy. There is no gear lever, only four buttons on the lower centre console for P, R, N and D.

Below them is a Drive Mode button to toggle between Eco, Normal and Sport, with each selection represented by its own look in the vivid 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.

The front seats are ventilated and the driver’s seat is electric with lumbar adjustment – all very luxe for a relatively dinky car.

But it is the drive that is the Kona’s best attribute. Electric power means near-instantaneous torque and the Kona Electric can blast off like a ballistic missile. Forget about the 0-100 kmh sprint – unless you intend to drag race.

For short bursts of speed on the move, it delivers eye-popping elasticity. This pocket rocket is perfect for snappy overtaking and quick cornering.

Its handling is confident with an accurate steering and low centre of gravity due to the battery pack situated under the seat. The suspension set-up of front MacPherson struts and rear multi-links also contribute to its excellent composure.

There are other delightful features too. One is the ability to use the paddle shifts behind the steering wheel to not only adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking and slow the car, but also bring this EV to a complete halt just by pulling on the left paddle – without stepping on the brakes.

Another clever and convenient item is the Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA). If you’re the kind who can’t keep your hands off your smartphone while stationary at the lights, you will never get honked by an angry driver behind you when they turn green. That’s because a chime and an image in the cluster with the message “Leading vehicle is driving on” will alert you that traffic is moving again.

hyundai kona electric

What is available

There are three versions of this Hyundai – the Kona Electric, Kona Electric Sunroof, and Kona Electric Sunroof Long Range.

The first two variants are equipped with a 39.2 kWh battery while the Long Range version has a 64 kWh battery.

39.2 kWh 

Range: 305 km

0-100 kmh: 9.9 sec

Top speed: 155 kmh

Charging time:

Up to 100% – 4 hr 20 min (11 kW AC charger)

Up to 80% – 48 min (50 kW DC charger); 47 min (100 kW)

64 kWh

Range: 484 km

0-100 kmh: 7.9 sec

Top speed: 167 kmh

Charging time:

Up to 100% – 6 hr 50 min (11 kW AC charger)

Up to 80% – 64 min (50 kW DC charger); 47 min (100 kW)

What it costs

The entry-level Kona Electric is currently priced at S$144,888; the Kona Electric Sunroof is S$149,888; and the Kona Electric Sunroof Long Range is S$169,888 – all with COE.

Packed with Hyundai’s full suite of wide-ranging safety features and impressive build quality, consumers who buy a Kona Electric will probably continue with the carmaker to the final stage of the AIPL journey – loyalty.

 

Hyundai Kona Electric / Kona Electric Long Range

Motor – Permanent magnet synchronous

Battery – 39.2 kWh / 64 kWh

Power – 100 kW / 150 kW

Torque – 395 Nm / 395 Nm

Transmission – Single-speed reduction gear

Range (WLTP) – 305 km / 484 km

0-100 kmh – 9.9 secs / 7.9 secs

Top speed – 155 kmh / 167 kmh

Distributor – Komoco Motors, tel 6475-8888

hyundai kona electric

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Kappo cool: Taro Takayama https://newluxury.co/kappo-cool-taro-takayama/ Thu, 15 Jul 2021 03:00:02 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3147

EPICURE

Kappo cool: Taro Takayama

Takayama is the high-end kappo-style restaurant in Downtown Gallery at Shenton Way with a menu and atmosphere that will transport you to Japan

 

 

taro takayama kappo

Chef Taro Takayama at his eponymous kappo restaurant in Downtown Gallery at Shenton Way, Singapore

So here we are for a second year, stuck in town because of a virulent variant and having forgotten the taste of airplane food. Well, not really – anyone who can forget something that unpalatable has probably forgotten to take his gingko biloba too.

But there is no need to experience separation from delicious foreign fare, especially if it’s refined Japanese cuisine, because there are many wonderful alternatives in Singapore. One perfect example is Takayama in Downtown Gallery at Shenton Way.

taro takayama kappo

Hairy crab: Shiso leaf/Caviar

Takayama is a kappo-style restaurant helmed by Chef Taro Takayama, who hails from Wakayama prefecture in the Kansai region, close to Kyoto and Osaka and where kappo cuisine originated.

This genre is considered more casual and less refined than kaiseki, but not at Takayama, where it is traditional but stylish, flavourful yet subtle.

taro takayama kappo

Chutoro with special homemade soy sauce 

Takayama’s unique cuisine is further enhanced by the ambience – elegantly, upscale décor with dark wood and stone, and the pleasant omotenashi or service and hospitality of the warm and witty chef.

With his friendly personality and quirky sense of humour, Chef Takayama is a poster boy for Kansai plus perfect English. You know the stereotypical Japanese sushi chef, unsmiling and linguistically challenged? He’s probably not from Kansai.

At Takayama the restaurant, there are two menus for dinner – Omakase for $280, and the Premium alternative for $380. Both can be paired with sake, starting from $78, or just a bottle from the beverage menu with not only sake but also wine, shochu and beer.

taro takayama kappo

Chef Takayama searing a slice of bonito with a charcoal ember

The Fumitsuki Premium menu, or July Premium, is a luxurious 10-course menu that will transport you back to whichever part of Japan you choose – both visually and gustatorily.

It starts with an explosion of colours in a bowl – Japanese spiny lobster or ise-ebi is swimming in a sea of ikura salmon roe, Osaka yuba or beancurd skin (delivered daily by air), and Hokkaido muraskai uni or sea urchin. All these elements are brought together by light ponzu sauce and two fat broad beans for colour and crunch. Refreshing, especially with a sip of light junmai ginjo from Gifu.

The menu continues with tim sum. Well, not really and a bit more extravagant. A deep-fried spring roll is filled with hairy crab or kegani wrapped in a shiso leaf, with a large dollop of Kaluga caviar on the side. The crab meat is fine and fresh, unlike some fridgey-smelling versions you may have tasted in a dingy sushiya somewhere else.

taro takayama kappo

Monaka: Foie gras/Homemade jam

What follows next is a celebration of sashimi with five successive platters.

  • Hoshigarei spotted halibut (more prized than the usual hirame olive flounder) served with snow salt flakes that are light as air and a square of crunchy engawa or fin.
  • Aromatic aburi katsuo or bonito seared by a stick of binchotan charcoal and topped with young ginger, yuzu zest and finished with homemade ponzu sauce. Fantastic.
  • Kue or longtooth grouper with a spot of umeboshi for a sweet and sour finish to this relatively plain-tasting fish.
  • Chutoro or medium fatty tuna with a special homemade soy sauce that may look as viscous as engine oil but is fabulously rich and slightly sweet.
  • Otoro aburi with ponzu sauce. This piece of tuna is not just fatty – it is the fattiest part of the stomach, called jabara or the snake’s stomach. This parcel of pure fat will slither, I mean, slide down your throat.

The sashimi was perfectly paired with consecutive glasses of junmai daiginjo – first the Shinomine from Nara, then the Tatenokawa Phoenix from Yamagata.

After that bonanza of fish, a sweet and creamy cleanser in the menu is presented by the monaka wafer, filled with foie gras, orange jam and some narazuke pickle for crunch.

Then comes a slab of chargrilled amadai – tilefish with flesh so fluffy and light that contrasts with its crispy skin and scales, and paired with a novel ratatouille for its juicy sweetness and a sprinkle of fragrant mint-like kinome leaf.

taro takayama kappo

Confection: Matcha financier

Next, and even more surprising, is the bed of soba okayu or buckwheat porridge for the awabi or steamed abalone with liver sauce.

It is followed by A5 Kumamoto wagyu with sweet Osaka onion sauce (young kaizuka-wase) – the perfect foil for the oily meat.

Equally luxurious is the donabe claypot of rice with kinmedai golden-eye snapper with generous shavings of black truffle.

To round it off, sweet Shine Muscat grapes, velvety mango and homemade melon ice cream, followed by the chef’s signature matcha financier with its airy centre and slightly crisp edges. Simply fabulous.

At Takayama, you don’t have to yearn for Japanese cuisine, it’s just Downtown.

https://takayama.com.sg

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Michelin-starred Kimura’s special sushi https://newluxury.co/kimura-special-sushi/ Sat, 20 Mar 2021 09:29:40 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3110

EPICURE

Michelin-starred Kimura’s special sushi

 Sushi Kimura stands out in the Singapore high-end sushi scene for its one Michelin star and unique ingredients

 

 

Sushi Kimura

One Michelin-starred Sushi Kimura at Palais Renaissance, Singapore

Unless you’re a recluse who believes social interactions are like radio deejays’ banal banter and nothing but a total waste of time, the pandemic has profoundly changed your life.

One result of that – assuming you’re the upmarket sort – is the inability to fly to Tokyo, aka sushi wonderland, to pay homage at the temples of gastronomic genius such as, say, Sushi Saito, Sushi Yoshitake or Sukiyabashi Jiro.

If you’re the type who could regularly score a seat there, suddenly being confined to Singapore and the local sushi scene would probably have startled your posh palate, not to mention alarmed your delicate sensitivities – especially if the local “itamae” or his assistant were the type to unleash a string of Hokkien (usually at another staffer or his regular who BYO-ed whisky).

Chef Tomoo Kimura of Sushi Kimura in Singapore

That is why Sushi Kimura at Palais Renaissance distinguishes itself not only for its authenticity but differentiates its premium menu with uniquely source ingredients and unusual arrangements.

Sushi Kimura is helmed by chef-owner Tomoo Kimura and assisted by two Japanese chefs who are unlikely to be acquainted with any Hokkien words unless they are uncharacteristically colourful.

Chef Kimura’s ichiban dinner menu is called Rikyu and comprises:

  • Seasonal starter
  • Tender cooked abalone
  • Three kinds of seasonal sashimi
  • Grilled Fish
  • Seasonal platter
  • Eight kinds of sushi
  • Rice bowl
  • Soup
  • Dessert
Sushi Kimura ebi

Sushi Kimura’s ebi

In addition to the surprising culinary twists, each course is served with Chef Kimura’s welcome good cheer and excellent command of English.

Here are some highlights of the top dinner course:

Depending on how bad your withdrawal symptoms are, the first sip of the seasonal starter – a bowl of fish broth – should transport you to Tokyo immediately.

This owan contains slippery jyunsai or water shield, yuba or beancurd strips, and two hotaru ika or firefly squid.

The tender abalone is as advertised, and the succulent shellfish simmered in Junmai sake is served with a dip of pure liver sauce, which Chef Kimura drops a dollop of his special shari or sushi rice into halfway through.

There is seasonal sashimi and there is Sushi Kimura’s unusual seasonal sashimi combo.

Fat chunks of bonito are accompanied by kue – a 24 kg whopper of a longtooth grouper caught near Goto island off Kyushu – and aoyagi gai, a rarely served round clam.

The clam is interesting for its unflattering alias – baka gai or idiot clam (because its foot sticks out of the shell like a tongue). Its crunchy texture is full of clammy flavour but it is still only a close second to the kue’s resilient texture and sweetness.

What stands out, however, are the seafood’s non-piscine friends on the side – a dollop of koji miso to accompany a tomato wedge and snow pea, plus a slice of sweet kumquat slice and a cube of capsicum jelly.

You will never see anything like this in Tokyo and Chef Kimura co-opts them not only to be different but as a wonderfully tasty and refreshing addition.

Sushi Kimura's nodoguro

Sushi Kimura’s nodoguro

The grilled fish or yakimono was nodoguro or black-throat seaperch. Grilled to perfection, it is a juicy, oily treat of tender flesh.

The seasonal platter is a trio of bites that are akaza ebi scampi from Shizuoka, topped with caviar specially curated for Chef Kimura; murasaki sea urchin; and ankimo monkfish liver nearing the tail end of the season.

Sushi Kimura's special caviar and nori

Sushi Kimura’s special caviar and nori

In addition to the caviar, the other special ingredient is a thick sheet of nori or dried seaweed from Kumamoto. A product of the first harvest and double the usual thickness, it is unique to Kimura. Paired with the uni, it softened the brininess with strong umami and a satisfying crunch that an ordinary thin slice of nori doesn’t have.

Then it was sushi time with a limited edition sake from Niigata – initially fruity on the nose but with a long and pleasantly dry finish.

Chef Kimura’s aka shari or sushi rice comes from Yamagata and is prepared with a blend of two types of aged Kyoto vinegar – two years and 15 years. The result is yieldingly firm shari with individual grains that is slightly sour but otherwise well-rounded and is perfectly balanced with the tender neta or topping.

Some of Kimura’s fish are sourced from Hiroki Hasegawa, a fish broker from the chef’s home prefecture of Kanagawa. Hasegewa san is famous for taking great care of the live fish before shipping out to his many illustrious clients.

Sushi Kimura's kinmedai

Sushi Kimura’s kinmedai

The sushi:

  • Hasegawa san’s tai or sea bream from Sagami Bay – translucent with a plump, fleshy texture and mellow flavour.
  • Kasugo-dai or small sea bream, which melted in the mouth and paired perfectly with the firm rice.
  • Hasegawa san’s kinmedai or golden-eyed dai with a squeeze of sudachi or citrus. The kinmedai was a stunner because unlike the white flesh with a strip of crimson skin, the belly cut at Kimura looked like pink mother-of-pearl. It was tender, sweet and the best sushi of the night.
  • Kampachi or amberjack had the usual satisfying springy sweetness.
  • An uni handroll with a top half of murasaki from Miyagi and a lower half of bafun from Hokkaido was crunchy and sweet umami.
  • Kuruma ebi or prawn sushi.
  • Otoro or tuna belly came from a giant Atlantic bluefin tuna, chosen because the 389 kg whopper – aged for three weeks and served aburi or seared by charcoal embers – was in its prime and the Japanese version wasn’t.
  • Another very special highlight was the huge hotate or scallop from Iwate, wrapped in lightly toasted nori. It was huge because it was five years old and not the usual one-year specimen. Sweet, juicy and oh so satisfying. A tie with the kinmedai.
  • An intricate rice bowl heralded the conclusion of the main courses, with ikura or salmon roe, onsen tamago or onsen egg, uni, and negitoro or scraped tuna. It was accompanied by a tiny bowl of piping hot soup.
  • The tamago cake was equally fancy and composed of egg mixed with flounder, grouper and yamato imo or mountain yam. Delicious.
  • For dessert, there was a premium pink strawberry, Shizuoka’s saccharine sweet musk melon and a square of cheese made with fish!

Who says you have to go to Tokyo to find something special.

https://www.sushikimura.com.sg

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665° F

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Wakanui

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Fastest 911 GT3 ever https://newluxury.co/fastest-911-gt3-ever/ Sat, 20 Feb 2021 07:30:17 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3102
GEARHEAD

 

Fastest 911 GT3 ever

Porsche’s street-legal race car is set for a year-end debut

Porsche 911 GT3

Celebrate the end of the pandemic with the latest 911 GT3. The seventh edition of Porsche’s street-legal race car is speeding into town at the end of 2021.

Developed in collaboration with Porsche Motorsport, this is as close to as pure racing technology in a production model. Its droolworthy specifications include:

  • Double wishbone front axle layout
  • Swan neck rear wing
  • Strikingly massive diffuser

The GT3’s sophisticated aerodynamics originate from the successful GT race car 911 RSR and generate significantly more downforce without noticeably affecting the drag coefficient.

The naturally aspirated 375 kW (510 PS) 4.0-litre six-cylinder boxer engine is based on the drivetrain of the 911 GT3 R, tried and tested in endurance racing.

Top speed is 320 kmh with the six-speed manual gearbox and 318 kmh with the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission. Acceleration from zero to 100 kmh is 3.4 seconds – even faster than the previous 911 GT3 RS.

Despite being track-ready, this high-performance machine is still perfect for everyday use.

 

Maximum performance

In the performance position, the manually set wing and diffuser elements significantly increase the aerodynamic pressure for high cornering speeds.

During final testing, the 911 GT3 lapped the Nuerburgring-Nordschleife over 17 seconds quicker than its predecessor.

Development driver Lars Kern took just 6:59.927 minutes for a full 20.8 km lap. The shorter 20.6 km, which had previously served as a benchmark, was completed in 6:55.2 minutes. This new model runs on the optionally available Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres.

Porsche 911 GT3

Similar weight
Despite a wider body, larger wheels and additional technical features, the weight of the new GT3 is on a par with its predecessor. With manual gearbox it weighs 1,418 kg; with PDK 1,435 kg.

The front bonnet is made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), and there are lightweight glass windows, optimised brake discs and forged light-alloy wheels.

There is also a lightweight sports exhaust system to cut kerb weight by 10 kg.

In the cockpit is a new feature – the track screen. At the touch of a button, it reduces the digital displays to the left and right of the central rev counter (which reaches up to 10,000 rpm), to information such as tyre pressure indicator, oil pressure, oil temperature, fuel tank level and water temperature – essential when driving on the circuit. It also includes a visual shift assistant with coloured bars to the left and right of the rev counter and a shift light derived from Motorsport.
For now, the new 911 GT3’s retail price starts from S$724,888 (without COE) when it is available in Singapore at the end of 2021 from authorised Porsche dealer Stuttgart Auto.

The price includes a five-year free maintenance and warranty package, registration and additional registration fee (ARF), 12 months road tax, vehicular emission scheme (VES) fee/rebate, and GST.

Distributor – Stuttgart Auto, tel 6472-4433

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An advanced Avante https://newluxury.co/advanced-avante/ Fri, 08 Jan 2021 08:01:57 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3089
GEARHEAD

 

An advanced Avante

The Hyundai Avante compact sedan showcases fresh new styling and features with a brand new platform

Hyundai Avante

Jeremy Clarkson says he no longer tests cars because they are becoming increasingly dreary and similar, which is a bit of a surprise considering that his two favourite wines – rosé and Blue Nun – are as bland as baby food.

But perhaps the former Top Gear host and current The Grand Tour star could make an exception now and then because some new models, far from being unexciting, have been transformed into unusually excellent examples of motoring.

Clearly worth a review is the new Hyundai Avante.

The Korean marque has given its once-ordinary sedan fresh and dramatic four-door coupe styling and a brand new 3rd Generation platform.

The equipment level has also been raised to near-premium levels, with the Hyundai SmartSense Advanced Driver’s Assist System as standard.

 

Features

The 7th-generation Avante is longer, lower and wider. At 4,675 mm long (a 55 mm increase over its predecessor) and 1,825 mm wide (up 25 mm) lighter, its wheelbase has been extended by 20 mm to 2,720 mm, making it the roomiest car in its class.

Altogether, there is more front headroom, and better front and rear legroom than the previous model.

Under the bonnet is a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine mated to Hyundai’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) to drive the front wheels.

The IVT is an eight-step continuously variable transmission with one key difference – the IVT uses a chain belt instead of a conventional CVT’s link belt to transfer torque more efficiently. With the Avante’s IVT software programmed to be more responsive to pedal input, the engine feels like it has more than just the 123 hp and 154 Nm on tap.

Even more impressive is that you hardly hear it because the Avante has achieved best NVH or noise, vibration and harshness in its class with improved noise absorption/insulation materials and frame design.

Inside, the cabin’s “immersive cocoon” layout endows the Avante with a modern, new look and premium features. Enveloping the driver like a cockpit, there is an eight-inch infotainment system, a bright and dynamic 10.25” LCD Supervision Cluster with digital meters that change appearance depending on the drive mode selected, streamlined air vents, a unique cornering grab handle along the centre console for the passenger, and an electric parking brake.

And in a segment-first, the Avante also boasts wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Hyundai Avante

Drive

The Hyundai Avante is available in three versions with varying trim levels – the Avante Auto, Avante Auto S, and Avante Auto Elite. The last one is the top-of-the-line variant with two front electric seats and an electric sunroof, among other noteworthy features.

Slide into the driver’s seat and even someone as lanky as a basketball player – Asean League only, though – will be able to get a good driving position.

The Gamma II 1.6 MPI engine is admirably enthusiastic, and the steering nicely weighted.

It helps that kerb weight of 1,210 kg is 45 kg lower than its predecessor’s, thanks to a higher proportion of Advanced HighStrength Steel used.

With a suspension set-up of front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beam, the low-slung Avante is well-balanced in sweeping corners. It has a very good blend of comfort and handling, sort of like low-fat milk’s neat combo of calories and calcium but without the expiry date.

For more oomph, the lower centre console’s Drive Mode button offers Normal, Eco, Sports and Smart options. Each displays a different pair of meters with its own colour and font in the beautifully rendered digital instrument panel.

 

Hyundai Avante

Safety

But perhaps more impressive is the new Avante’s array of standard SmartSenseTM advanced safety technologies – Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Following Assist (LFA) Driver’s Attention Warning (DAW), Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA), Blind-spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA) and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA).

It is standard kit for the Avante S and Avante Elite, with the improved FCA system preventing forward collision with obstacles such as a vehicle, pedestrian cyclist or oncoming vehicle when turning left at junctions. FCA both warns the driver and controls the vehicle’s braking function.

LKA’s lane keeping assistance prevents accidental lane departure by sensing road markings, automatically steering the car if necessary.

Even more helpful is LFA, which uses the front view camera to pick out lane markings and automatically adjust the steering to help keep the car centred in its lane of travel, or if the lane markings are unclear, follows the path of the vehicle ahead, hence its name Lane Following Assist.

 

Price

Banded A2 under VES with a S$15,000 rebate, the Hyundai Avante range starts from the Hyundai Avante Auto listed at S$90,999, and goes up to the Hyundai Avante Auto S at S$94,999, and the Hyundai Avante Auto Elite at S$99,999.

At under S$100,000 with COE, the Hyundai Avante is an attractive proposition that successfully packages sleek styling, good roadholding, a comfy ride, class-leading safety features, and a spacious cabin with a deep boot into a COE Category A family sedan.

 

Hyundai Avante Auto Elite

Engine – 1,598 cc inline-4

Power – 123 hp @ 6,300 rpm

Torque – 154 Nm @ 4,500 rpm

Gearbox – 8-step continuously variable transmission

0-100 kmh – 10.4 secs

Top speed – 195 kmh

Distributor – Komoco Motors, tel 6475-8888

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A new X factor https://newluxury.co/new-x-factor/ Fri, 08 Jan 2021 07:45:04 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3078

GEARHEAD

 

A new X factor

The pure electric BMW iX will arrive in late 2021 with a new design and mobility proposition

BMW iX

With its all-electric powertrain and radical grille that looks like something taken from a giant meat grinder, the first-ever BMW iX will lead the way for a new generation of cars by the German luxury manufacturer.

The iX, to be launched in November 2021, comes with all the necessary nouns and adjectives for proper veneration as BMW’s technology signature car – optimised aerodynamics, intelligent lightweight design and extensive use of natural and recycled materials.

Equally inspiring is the model’s fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology for outstanding efficiency and long range.

This is the newest version of BMW’s drive technology with two electric motors, power electronics, the charging technology and a high-voltage battery.

The power unit, developed to be manufactured sustainably without the use of rare earths, produces an eye-popping 500 hp. Zero to 100 kmh will accelerate into supercar territory at under 5.0 seconds.

Ferrari SF90 Spider

Futuristic interior

Inside, the spacious cabin promises futuristic details from a shy tech approach. They include speakers integrated out of sight, the head-up display’s projector discreetly recessed into the instrument panel to render it nearly invisible, and a clear crystal iDrive controller on a wooden centre console.

But perhaps more desirable than all those stylish details is that owners won’t have to wait forever to charge the battery.
The new charging technology enables DC fast charging at up to 200 kW, allowing the BMW iX battery to be charged from 10 to 80 per cent of full capacity in under 40 minutes.

And to charge the high-voltage battery from zero to 100 per cent at 11 kW from a Wallbox, it will take just under 11 hours.

With combined power consumption at less than 21 kWh/100 km, and zero g/km in combined CO2 emissions, the BMW iX will be the sophisticated tree hugger’s most appropriate automotive accessory.

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Venue verve https://newluxury.co/venue-verve/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 01:26:28 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3045
GEARHEAD
 

Venue verve

The Hyundai Venue compact crossover is surprisingly stylish and spirited

Hyundai Venue
Unless you’re driving an imposing car to match the equally imposing doorman with his immaculate white turban, arcing around the Raffles Hotel’s elegant driveway can be a somewhat self-conscious affair.

But even if you’re not in something with a hood ornament more expensive than your last holiday, there’s no reason to feel intimidated at the Raffles while in a Hyundai Venue for one important reason.

Before this, however, it is significant to note that the Venue is a chic crossover that bears testament to how far South Korean marque has journeyed as an automotive brand. Within a couple of generations, its models have gone from cheap to credible and now, cool.

Hyundai Venue

Features

The Hyundai Venue may be a small SUV but it is attention-grabbing with its good proportions, snazzy grille and two-tone paintwork.

Recently refreshed, the Venue has been updated with Hyundai’s distinctive cascading grille and more SmartSense active safety and driving assistance technologies.

But these two additions are found only on the Hyundai Venue 1.6 Auto “S”, which costs an extra S$5,000 over the basic Hyundai Venue 1.6 Auto.

But like a wagyu supplement in a degustation menu, the slight premium of the Venue 1.6 Auto “S” is worth it for the extra features like blind spot collision warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision avoidance assist, driver’s attention warning and leading vehicle departure alert – all in a car that is priced under S$100,000.

That “S” suffix could well stand for “Special” because the two-tone paint transforms the Venue into something like a Korean Mini (you have to screw your eyes slightly though).

There is no denying, however, that the highlighted roof, mirrors and exterior trim make the Venue as trendy as TikTok.

The dash of colour inside – on the fabric seats, centre console controls and air vents – also imbue the spacious cabin with a fun ambience. An iPad-like eight-inch centre colour screen and audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay complete the lengthy equipment list.

Hyundai Venue

Drive

As can be inferred from its model name, the Venue 1.6 Auto “S” has a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to Hyundai’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) to drive the front wheels.

The IVT is essentially an eight-step continuously variable transmission but as with regular Coke versus Coke Zero, there is one major difference – the IVT uses a chain belt instead of a conventional CVT’s link belt.

The chain belt flexes less than the more commonly seen link belt, thereby transferring torque more efficiently.

Complemented by the precise programming of the IVT’s software to make it more responsive to pedal input, the Venue feels more enthusiastic than a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine normally would.

The IVT can also be manually shifted using the gear lever (there are no steering wheel-mounted paddles). The fact that it downshifts obediently, even at higher speeds, means engine braking is easily accomplished, which makes the Venue even more fun to drive.

But like a gift that keeps on giving, the Venue boasts another attribute that is even more unusual – 2WD Multi Traction Control.

On the lower centre console is a rotary knob that will elevate this little crossover to the level of models with inordinately priced hood ornaments and allow Venue drivers everywhere to venture into the Raffles Hotel’s magnificent driveway with pride and confidence.

Pressing this “Drive / Traction” ring toggles between the drive mode options of Normal, Eco and Sport, and the traction choices of Snow, Mud or Sand.

Granted that the surface of the Raffles Hotel driveway doesn’t fall into any of those three categories mentioned. Then again, how many mass market cars offer such a unique feature or guarantee you won’t embarrass yourself by possibly slipping and sliding while making a brisk U-turn?

But perhaps a feature that should be more appreciated on the daily drive is the Venue’s pliant suspension. The set-up of front MacPherson struts and a rear torsion beam, riding on 17-inch wheels (15 inches for the non-“S”), produce confident handling and a composed ride.

But the latter can be enjoyed by only two occupants (unless a third is a furkid or real kid) because the Venue is really compact.

It may not look it but it is slightly smaller than the Hyundai Kona crossover at 4,040 mm in overall length with a 2,520 mm wheelbase, although these are overcome by the interior’s efficient design and the car’s 1,565 mm height.

Hyundai Venue
Price

For such a chic and competent crossover, the Venue is eye-poppingly affordable. Banded B for its neutral positioning under VES, the Hyundai Venue 1.6 Auto is listed at S$91,999 while the Hyundai Venue 1.6 Auto “S” is S$96,999.

Packed with safety features and a whole lot of style, the Venue is a small but special SUV. Best of all, it will take you to high-end hotel or hawker centre with aplomb.

 

Hyundai Venue 1.6 Auto “S”

Engine – 1,598 cc inline-4

Power – 121 hp @ 6,300 rpm

Torque – 154 Nm @ 4,500 rpm

Gearbox – 8-step continuously variable transmission

0-100 kmh – 11.2 secs

Top speed – 186 kmh

Distributor – Komoco Motors, tel 6475-8888

 

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Electric dream https://newluxury.co/electric-dream/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 03:40:22 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3056

GEARHEAD

 

Electric dream

The Ferrari SF90 Spider is a sexy roadster that happens to be a hybrid

Ferrari SF90 Spider

Go topless in a greener Ferrari.

The convertible version of the SF90 Stradale, the Prancing Horse’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, promises to caress your bouffant while making you feel a bit less guilty about driving a very fast car.  

The mid-engined SF90 Spider has the same supercar performance as the SF90 Stradale but with one extra show-stopping feature – a retractable hard top (RHT).

Deployed in 14 seconds, even when on the move, it is the latest iteration of the Ferrari mechanism that is even more compact and uses aluminium to make it 40 kg lighter than a conventional alternative.

And when it is up, the RHT offers optimal sound insulation and promises not to deform at high speed – which sounds like it would also be the perfect material to use for protecting your home during a typhoon except that it’s a bit small. And expensive.

Ferrari SF90 Spider

 

Electric power

Under the curvaceous sheetmetal of the SF90 Spider lies the same petrol-electric powerplant as the SF90 Stradale. The 4.0-litre V8 turbo engine works with three electric motors to deliver an eye-popping total of 1,000 hp to all four wheels.

Two of the motors power the front wheels to give the SF90 Spider an electric front axle, while the third is located between the engine and the F1 eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which does not have a reverse gear.

Instead, the two front motors do that job, which means the SF90 Spider only becomes a classic rear-wheel-drive Ferrari in reverse.

 

Ferrari SF90 Spider

Engine – 3,990 cc V8 turbocharged

Power – 780 hp @ 7,500 rpm

Torque – 800 Nm @ 6,000 rpm

eDrive power – 220 hp

eDrive range – 25 km

eDrive power – 220 hp

Battery capacity – 7.9 kWh

Max combined power – 1,000 hp

Transmission – 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox

0-100 kmh – 2.5 secs

0-200 kmh – 7.0 secs

Top speed – 340 kmh 

Distributor – Ital Auto, tel 6475-1118

Ferrari SF90 Spider

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R power https://newluxury.co/vw-golf-r/ Thu, 05 Nov 2020 07:52:31 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3030

GEARHEAD

 

R power

Volkswagen’s new Golf R is the all-wheel-drive powerhouse

new VW Golf R

The flagship model of the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf has broken cover.

VW this week revealed the latest Golf R at its world premiere and it’s not only the most powerful Golf variant but the most powerful R ever.

The new Golf R uses the same trusty EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine but it now has even more oomph. The unit packs maximum power of 320 hp (up 30 hp from the previous Golf R) and maximum torque of 420 Nm (up 40 Nm), delivered via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to all four wheels with a new all-wheel drive system. Zero to 100 kmh is 0.2 of a second swifter at 4.7 seconds.

The 4Motion with R-Performance Torque Vectoring has a new rear final drive that distributes the drive power of the turbocharged petrol engine in the Golf R not just between the front and rear axles, but also variably between the two rear wheels.

In a corner, this means up to 100 per cent of the power can be sent to the outside wheel, making the Golf R more agile than a terrified bunny being chased by a hungry cheetah.

Also new: the 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive is networked via the Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM) with the electronic differential locks (XDS) and adaptive chassis control DCC for optimum traction and precise handling.

new VW Golf R

 

Six appeal

Even more impressive is the range of driving modes. There are six, half of which you won’t be able to use in Singapore without risking life, limb and licence: Comfort, Sport, Race, Individual, Special and Drift. 

Race is for track use, while Special is like Race but specially set up with softer dampers for the Nordschleife, the Nürburgring’s North Loop, otherwise better known as The Green Hell.

Drift is a word that should be self-explanatory but if it is not, it is likely the term “car control” is not a familiar one either.

 

Volkswagen Golf R

Engine – 1,984 cc inline-4 turbocharged

Power – 320 hp

Torque – 420 Nm

Transmission – 7-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox

0-100 kmh – 4.7 secs

Top speed – 250 kmh 

Distributor – Volkswagen Centre Singapore, tel 6474-8288

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Meet the beast https://newluxury.co/meet-the-beast/ Sun, 01 Nov 2020 03:45:34 +0000 https://newluxury.co/?p=3010

GEARHEAD

 

Meet the beast

In the arena of four-door pickup trucks, the Jeep Gladiator is a charismatic beast 

Jeep Gladiator

Not many people are aware but the father of modern Singapore enjoyed his cars and bikes, perhaps as much as he did spicy sambal belacan made for him by a Malaysian royal.

Some of these vehicles featured prominently in Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s early political career, as chronicled in his memoirs.

There was the comfortable Studebaker, when he needed a break in cool Cameron Highlands from tension-filled political struggles; the modest Morris Minor that belonged to his father and that he drove to cloak-and-dagger meetings with the sinister leader of the communist party; and the upmarket Mercedes-Benz 220 that ferried him to election rallies before he became Singapore’s first prime minister.

Obviously the Minister Mentor knew his cars and chose them well. So what would he make of the Jeep Gladiator if he were here today?

Jeep Gladiator

Features

To put it in the local context, the Gladiator is basically a double-cab pickup, although a lot more stylish and capable than the Japanese equivalent, not to mention much bigger. But in 1950s Singapore, there was no double-cab pickup and the Minister Mentor’s loyal supporters were often ferried to polling booths in the back of an ordinary lorry.

As the truck version of the Wrangler sport-utility vehicle, the Gladiator is longer with an extended wheelbase and a 1,531 mm long cargo bed, which would have been a tight squeeze for half a dozen supporters.  

On the other hand, if they were in the cabin, they would have enjoyed the excellent rear legroom. This is because the Gladiator’s wheelbase is an eye-popping 3,488 mm – more than the four-door Wrangler’s 3,008 mm. It contributes to the Gladiator’s immense overall length of 5,591 mm. That is over 18 feet, or about two feet more than a standard mid-sized sedan like the E-Class at 5.0 metres.

Hulking over traffic, with a front bumper that juts out defiantly, the imposing Gladiator makes a seven-seater Audi Q7 look dinky and timid.

Sitting high in a spacious interior that is identical to the Wrangler, there is the same rugged horizontal dashboard and easy-to-use controls, with electronics like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as pitch and roll graphics and other off-roading aids.

The Gladiator also has the same versatile option of removing the doors, roof panels and rear window. Finally, and perhaps more essentially, there are the familiar grab handles to haul yourself up into the 1,843 mm-tall truck. With its relatively small load bed, you won’t be moving house in it but you can certainly carry a few mountain bikes.

Powertrain

If the MM were to drive the Jeep Gladiator, he would probably find it more Studebaker than Mercedes-Benz. But he might also appreciate its prodigious 4×4 capability when visiting far-flung parts of old Singapore.

The Gladiator is a full-fledged off-roader, with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. The transfer case allows selections of 2H or two-wheel-drive high-range (ie rear-wheel-drive); 4H Auto or four-wheel-drive high-range that is rear-biased; 4H Part-Time for rougher or more slippery terrain; and 4L for four-wheel-drive low-range.

There are actually two versions of Jeep’s four-wheel-drive system, as offered in the Jeep Gladiator Overland and Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. The latter is geared towards heavy-duty off-roading, with a more hardcore suspension and differential and costing an additional S$20,000.

Jeep Gladiator

Drive

At 2,104 kg, the Jeep Gladiator Overland is no lightweight Japanese pickup (the Rubicon is even heavier, plus another 100 kg).

With its body-on-frame construction, you also sit higher to literally look down on car drivers while seeing eye to eye with bus captains.

But from behind the wheel, the Gladiator’s initially intimidating mass seems to melt away. It shrinks to the size of a normal SUV and is surprisingly manoeuvrable.

Part of the reason is the easy steering, a necessary requirement for off-roading. But while it is light, the steering isn’t vague like Donald Trump’s responses to questions about his Covid-19 condition.

The quiet V6 with its beefy torque and the eight-speed auto’s seamless shifts also contribute to the effortless handling. The Gladiator seems so chill; the overall experience is one of calm progress as it traverses smoothly above the fray, its demeanour in sharp contrast to the smaller and busier Wrangler with its lighter 2.0-litre engine and shorter wheelbase.

The catch is that as a truck, the Gladiator has to be registered as a commercial vehicle with the telltale 70 kmh speed limit sticker on its tailgate.

But embracing a beeping speed warning and forsaking the fast lane for the middle of the road can be strangely liberating too. Together with the Gladiator’s overall composure, it results in a relaxing drive that is only marred by the occasional goods vehicle on the expressway going slower than a tortoise with a bum knee.

Then again, there’s always the Gladiator’s muscular V6 for some swift overtaking. 

 

Jeep Gladiator

Price

Despite its size and weight, the Gladiator delivers a stress-free drive accompanied by an equally comforting mileage of 10.8 litres per 100 km under the combined cycle.

Less painless is the price. The Jeep Gladiator Overland is listed at S$159,999 without COE, while the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is S$179,999 without COE.

Not everyone will need a massive four-door truck with a cargo bed but more than a few will want one because it is so very cool. After all, the Gladiator looks more menacing than the communist threat and as indestructible as the MM’s legacy. Surely he would approve.

Jeep Gladiator

Engine – 3,604 cc V6

Power – 285 hp @ 6,400 rpm

Torque – 347 Nm @ 4,100 rpm

Gearbox – 8-speed automatic transmission

0-100 kmh – 9.1 secs

Top speed – 155 kmh 

Distributor – Chrysler Jeep Automotive of Singapore, tel 6479-3333

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