Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Day I Test Drove A Mercedes Benz A200

Yesterday was my lucky day!  My friend just pitted in his Mercedes Benz E200 for services at Jati Transport.  They gave him a loaner car which is this cool A-Class.  Sadly it is only a A200.  Nevertheless, it is better then nothing.  I took a quick spin from Kiulap to Serusop and I have to say I am very impress with this little car!

Like I said in the previous, the handling and rides on this car is really outstanding.  I cannot praise enough about it! LOL!  This here is the lowest spec from the A-Class range but it does come with lots of cool options!  Firstly, even for a low spec model it still comes with full driver's side electric seat!  The interior seats are fully covered with soft fabrics that has white stitches all over the contour of the seat.  

For the exterior,  you will note that this particular model comes with an optional BND$1800 "Diamond Grille".  Another features worth mentioning is the utilize of full LED and HID system.  The headlights, signal lights, DRL and reverse lights are all equipped with LED systems.  You cannot find any traditional standard bulbs in this car!

Another big thumbs up for this car is the Collision Prevention Assist that comes standard in all A-Class ranges.  The system can detect the distant between the A-Class and those in front given it is stationary or moving .  If it is too close the system will give both visual and acoustic warnings.  Can you believe we actually tested this system.  Not on purpose, but due to one idiot driver who just turned into our lane thinking that the road belongs to them!   Luckily the car gave us a loud acoustic warning and my friend who was driving at that time was able to swirl the car to safety! Really big thumbs up this safety system!

In term of performance, this 1.5litre turbocharged 4 pot is actually not too bad at all.  I don't know why when we tested the A250, it didn't provide much fun compared to the A200.  I think partly also because there were 3 occupants inside the car and our fats probably killed some of the fun in that car.  LOL 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Day I Sat In A.....Mercedes Benz A250

Good morning readers!  Last week I was fortunate enough to ride shotgun with my buddy who was testing this beautiful Mercedes-Benz A-CLASS A250.  This here you looking at is the high spec version.  It has the full AMG package including the body aero you looking at right now.   It has a 2.0L, 4 pot engine that packed with 210hp with 350Nm.  0-100km/hr will send your hair flying in just 6.6secs. This white one here also come with an optional sunroof.

Below is the infamous new "Diamond grille" I talked about in my previous posts.  That piece you looking at cost BND$1800 as I was told.  I am really digging on the grille.  It has to be the coolest grille ever to be fitted onto a car

The interior is the usual story.  High quality German built as expected from Mercedes-Benz.  It has a LCD for the infotainment plus those cool SLS air-con vents.  Carbon-fiber looks material can also be seen splatted across the dashboard.

Very comfortable full leather sports bucket contoured seats with red seat belts

Standard 18" wheels with red painted brake caliper, standard on A250.

When we tested the car we had 3 occupants sitting inside, so the acceleration some how felt slow to me.  Apart from that,  handling and ride were really firm and smooth.   Gear shifting was slow given it is a 7speed Dual clutches or what Mercedes-Benz called 7S-DCT.   In my opinion, for BND$66,000 it has to be the best sport hatch you can currently buy in Brunei.  Hey this car is even cheaper than my MINI!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Re-Fresh ER34 - Exterior Paint Pt.3

Just checked my car last Friday and it is good to see there is "some" progress going on.  From what I can see now is they are patching up cracks and dents from my harsh driving.

I know some readers will question me why put my ER34 to such a dirty workshop.  Well,  this workshop is much better now then compared to 8 years ago when ER34 had its first respray.  I trusted this workshop because I know they can deliver based on their skill and experience.   No point putting your car in a fancy workshop when they can't match the skill and experience.  I knew the owner since Day 1 when I had my car and he really is a down to earth guy.  As a matter of fact, this workshop is an authorized workshop for a local agent,  *AHEM* NISSAN *AHEM". LOL!  All the bodykits are done here!

I think the next progress will be sanding, then it should be heading straight to the paint booth for final spray.  Hopefully I can get my car before my birthday.  Hehe.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Visit to LEXUS Showroom

The latest LEXUS IS250 GEN III is finally here!  Judging from pictures and standing in front of the actual thing is two different worlds apart.  I must say I am very impressed with this white LEXUS IS250 F-Sports exterior!  This car was launched just last week at NBT LEXUS Brunei.

There are two specs available.  Normal spec costing BND$65000 on road!  And this white IS250 F-Sport cost around BND$79000 (OTR)!  Sorry no picture for the low spec.  There are very different in term of looks.  My opinion is to stick to F-Sports!

Sadly for Brunei market the 2.5 V6 engine is the only engine choice. If I can recall it only has about 200hp on tap.

18" wheels standard on F-Sports.  Looking just like the older brother LF-A wheels

The interior is simply class leading compared to C-Class or 3-Series.  It has a big LCD screen, soft touch air-con control, Mark&Levinson Sound system and other premium options added in this F-Sports version

And best of all, the LF-A styled instrument cluster!  If you are a fan of LF-A instrument you will love this car because it works just like the one in LF-A!

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Mercedes A-Class is finally here in Brunei!

When this car was announced last year, I felt in love with the design  immediately!  Sadly the car was due for mass market only in the first quarter of 2013.  I do not have the luxury of waiting so we ended up with a BMW 1-Series that never happened and bought a MINI Countryman S instead.  Which till today after seeing this A-Class I still think we made the right choice on choosing the MINI.

I am told there are 3 versions of A-Class available.  The lowest spec cost around low BND$50K, second spec around BND$58k and the highest spec command a price tag of BND$65K.  My apologise as I am not sure this red A-Class is the lowest spec or Mid spec.  It is definitely not the highest spec because it doesn't come with the signature "Diamond" front grille.

There is another model called the AMG A45, price tag for that wild beast is BND$80K+.  It is one of the fastest hatchback money can buy and best of all it is a A-M-G! I can say compared to a BMW 1-Series. the A-Class is more equipped then a BMW 1-Series.  The interior is much more roomy and the sport seats is really an eye-catcher!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Services due for my two rides


Well well well, two messages just pop up from two of my rides when I started them last few days.  There are messages for overdue general services.  Firstly,  is the Porsche Boxster S which is due for services in 2 days follow by MINI Countryman S which is already 800km overdue for services!  

My Boxster is hardly driven and the last services was done in April last year. And I think I put down around 5000-6000km for that period.  This is what I like about modern day's car,  they are so advance to the point where the ECU will calculate when to bring in your car for services.  Compared to a few decades ago where the general rules of thumb is to get your car serviced every "5000km" or at least every 6 months.  This rule is still being practiced by many owners and workshops.   Nevertheless,  it is good to know there is techology that will guide you when to pit in for the next services.  

As for MINI, this is the car first service!  The car just clocked over 12000km in just over 9 months from new.  I remembered when I received my Nissan Skyline, the first services was at 1000km.  Then second services at 5000km, talk about advancement in today's car!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Re-Fresh ER34 - NPC 10" Organic Clutch

While the ER34 is awaiting new paint, I have another item hand-carried back from Brisbane, Australia!  This is a clutch kit from NPC Performance.  They have a website which you can access for your car clutch needs.  They only specialize in clutches and they have years of experience on all sort of JDM especially Nissan Skyline.  

I came across their website from Nissan Skyline Australia forum.  Their name came highly recommended by many fellow Skyline owners.  Once I got their details I quickly sent them an email of my current ER34 step-up.  Few days later, one of their representative, Doug, replied and recommended 10" organic kit which can hold up to 300kw(roughly 400hp).  The best part with this kit is it will drive like factory and at the same time also suited for hard street use!

The 10" organic kit cost me AUD$643.50, roughly around $850 range.  I could go with OGURA or EXEDY but apparently no one in Brunei can recommend me a proper answer for my suited need.  From my past experience, an in correct set-up of clutch will harm driveability or worst damaging the gearbox!  Luckily with fellow friends from forum who owned similar car like mine, I was able to get what I need for my ER34 Clutch.  

Now I just have to wait for my ER34 to be ready.  Then it will go straight to workshop for clutch replacement and general services.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Re-Fresh ER34 - Exterior Paint Pt.2

Good afternoon Readers!  I just came back from checking on my ER34 an hour ago.  Here is the fresh pictures that I took.  As you can see, everything from the exterior had been removed!  All that it is left is the standard body shell. 

Without the side skirts and bumpers my Advan Racing II wheels actually looks big!

 I left the car there a month ago and today is the first time I actually seen the car.  I think the next step for the workshop to work on the car is putty, sanding and repairing of the fiber-glass bumpers.  The final steps would be ready for fresh new paints!  Which color?  Stay tuned for more update soon!

Interior door panels had been removed too!