Fast Lane: Bentley offers extreme customisation for Mulliner Bacalar

Bentley offers extreme customisation for Mulliner Bacalar

Bentley’s Mulliner Bacalar offers an unprecedented level of customisation.

Each of the 12 cars produced will be “totally unique”, even as work on the new car is paused until Bentley’s Crewe headquarters reopens.

The “Fulton” is one example of how customers can customise the car. Its rich lacquer red paintwork reveals the car’s unique design in detail. Inside, it is lined with 5,000-year-old open pore Riverwood alongside Piano Black veneer. Upholstery is in perforated Mulliner Beluga and Hotspur.

Iconic VW van gets electric version 

Volkswagen has unveiled the e-Bulli, an electric van based on the VW hippie van of the 1960s. The battery-powered e-Bulli was converted from the 1966 T1 van. The 44hp/102Nm four-cylinder Boxer engine of the original gave way to a 61kW electric motor which produces 212Nm of instant torque. The e-van has a range of close to 200km. It is unlikely to be available in Singapore.

Covid-19 cuts 10 million units from global sales forecast

Automakers are poised for a precipitous drop in worldwide sales this year, according to a prominent forecaster that is slashing its projections for virtually all regions. Deliveries probably will plunge more than 12 per cent from last year to 78.8 million, Bloomberg reported, citing London-based information group IHS Markit. The estimate is down 10 million units from the researcher’s expectations in January.

“The global auto industry is expected to witness an unprecedented and almost instant stalling of demand in 2020,” Mr Colin Couchman, an IHS analyst, wrote. “Risks are heavily skewed to downside, especially how low the market could go and for assessing recovery prospects.”

IHS cut its previous estimates by 2.4 million cars and light trucks for the United States, 2.3 million for China and 1.9 million for Europe.

Polestar 2 EV begins production

Production of Polestar 2 has officially begun in Luqiao, China.

For initial delivery into Europe, followed by China and North America, the new electric performance fastback is the first electric vehicle to be produced at the facility owned by Zhejiang Geely and operated by Volvo Cars.

The Polestar 2 starts with a 300kW/660Nm powertrain driving all four wheels. Its 78kWh battery pack enables a range of 470km.

BMW Group: China showing signs of recovery

BMW Group has closed 80 per cent of its retail outlets across Europe, 70 per cent in the United States, as well as all its outlets in Singapore. The group, which sold 477,111 vehicles in the first quarter, notes that China is showing the first signs of recovery.

Kia extends warranty till June 30

Like sister brand Hyundai, Kia is extending its warranty to customers as a result of the developing pandemic and Singapore’s circuit breaker measures. Cars with warranties expiring between Feb 1 and April 30 this year will have their cover extended to June 30.

Porsche develops 3D-printed seats

Porsche has created a 3D-printed bucket seat concept. The centre section of the seat is partly produced by a 3D printer. Customers will be able to choose between three firmness levels (hard, medium and soft) for the comfort layer in the future.

Singapore’s motor insurance segment posts underwriting loss of $17.4 million

Singapore’s motor insurance segment posted $1.12 billion in gross written premiums last year – a 1 per cent increase. The segment, however, incurred a 7.6 per cent ($41.3 million) increase in total claims paid out, contributing to an overall underwriting loss of $17.4 million, the General Insurance Association reported.

Despite the increase in claims incurred, average motor premium was lower last year. With 2019’s vehicle ownership shift fuelled mainly by a spike in private-hire cars, the sector insured a vehicle population with a higher risk profile – reflected in the 1.4 per cent increase in total accident reports for the year, the association noted.

Mazda marks 100th anniversary with Special Edition models

Originally due to be unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Mazda’s 100th Anniversary Special Edition models have been announced in Japan, where pre-order for these distinctive cars is now open.

The 100th Anniversary models of the Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda CX-3, Mazda CX-30, Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-8, Mazda6, plus RF and Convertible MX-5 will be offered in Japan till the end of March next year.

With Snowflake White Pearlescent exterior paint contrasted with burgundy interior carpet and burgundy leather seats, the anniversary cars are a stand-out celebration of Mazda’s centenary.

Additional bespoke touches include an anniversary badge on the burgundy floormats, on the key fob and embossed into the headrests. Externally, the same badge is on the wheel centres and the side of the car. The 100th Anniversary MX-5 Convertible features a dark cherry fabric roof.

Skoda Octavia to have plug-in hybrid version

The fourth-generation Skoda Octavia hatch (it’s more like a wagon though) will have a plug-in hybrid variant. Bigger than before, the car is set for a European launch around June. Measuring 4,689mm, the new hatch is 19mm longer and 15mm wider than its predecessor, while its boot volume has been increased by 10 litres to 600 litres. It features LED lighting, wheels of up to 19 inches and new paint colours.

Bentley Flying Spur with detachable touchscreen remote

Bentley’s Flying Spur comes with a touchscreen remote which allows rear passengers to access a range of in-car features. The 5-inch screen is part of the new limousine’s suite of on-board technology and is finished in polished metal embellished with diamond knurling.

At the touch of a button, the remote control deploys itself from a magnetised cradle atop the rear centre console. With performance driven by a four-core processor and 1GB of memory, it incorporates a three-axis accelerometer and a proximity sensor combined with haptic feedback. Its lithium-polymer battery allows it to be used while detached from its cradle charger for “the longest journeys”.

MX-30 is first EV to use cork

Cork is not a material often associated with the automotive industry, but in the case of Mazda, this sustainable material goes back a long way.

The company actually began life in 1920 as Toyo Cork Kogyo. Its upcoming MX-30 will have a floating centre console and inner door handle trim lined with cork – making it the first battery electric production car to use the material.

VW, Audi, Skoda dealerships reopen in China

All 2,000 Volkswagen brand dealerships in China are now open again, with showroom traffic during the last weekend of March comparable to the same period last year. More than 95 per cent of the dealerships of Audi and Skoda have also reopened. The SAIC Volkswagen joint venture plant in Changsha also resumed operations this week.

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