Philippine Daily Inquirer


Auto brands throw big parties with new model launches

- By Alvin Uy

It’s been a busy third quarter for the automotive industry, with brands like Toyota and Honda coming up with the most number of new models and variants. The luxury segment was no less busy, with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-benz and Maserati introducin­g their latest models. With the inflationa­ry effects of the TRAIN tax law behind us, the car companies are introducin­g its latest offering to spice up a rather flat year. Here’s a timeline of what’s new and the latest in the market that just happened last quarter.

June 25 - Honda BR-V

Honda Cars Philippine­s was one of the busiest brands last quarter, and its first salvo was the launch of the new 2019 BRV, the 7-seater crossover version of the Mobilio. The new model comes with exterior and interior styling updates, and now comes with a rear view camera. The new BR-V comes with a restyled front and more chrome, and updated its in tainment system with Apple Carplay and Andriod Auto. Prices start at P1,035,000 with the 1.5S and P1,155,000 with the 1.5V variant.

July 9 - Toyota GR Supra

of the most anticipate­d unveils this year for gearheads was the Toyota Supra. The allnew GR Supra was a collaborat­ion with BMW and uses the Z4 platform, and the GR stands for Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s motorsport label. Putting aside its Teutonic origins, the Supra still follows its traditiona­l long hood and short deck proportion­s befitting a soon-to-be classic sports car for this generation. Propelling this sexy rocket a muscular 3.0-liter inline-six that, fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharg­er, rated at 335hp and 500Nm. Although it has Bavarian origins, the Supra was retuned by Toyota with maximum torque kicking in at a low 1,600rpm, it is sure to please even the hard core JDM loyalist. Top speed is rated at 250 kph, with 0 to 100 kph at 4.5 seconds, thanks in part to its eight-speed automatic transmissi­on. Its front engine/rear drive layout and near perfect 50/50 front and rear weight distributi­on adds to its classical sports car appeal immensely too.

July 23 - Mercedes-benz B-class

Auto Nation Group (ANG) introduced the latest generation B-class that now comes with the Mercedes-benz User Experience (MBUX), which was first seen on the new A-class. The system has a virtual assistant which can be activated by pressing a button in the steering wheel or by saying, “Hey Mercedes.” It obeys voice commands for infotainme­nt functions such as destinatio­n input, phone call, music selection, climate control and ambient light ing. Mercedes-benz said MBUX is equipped with a natural speech recognitio­n program, a 7.4-inch touchscree­n, a touchpad on the center console, and touch-control buttons on the steering wheel. ANG says it redefines “practicali­ty, versatilit­y and safety while putting emphasis on a sportier tourer identity.” The latest model is now pitched as a small MPV because of its spacious cabin — bigger compared to the previous Bclass. The new car has more headroom and elbowroom in front and the rear, and its seats are more elevated, promising improved comfort. The rear seats split and fold 40-40-20 to accommodat­e long or irregularl­y shaped cargo. Visibility from inside the car is now also better, according to Mercedes-benz. Powering the new B-class is a 136hp, 200Nm, inline-four gasoline engine that’s paired to a seven-speed dual clutch transmissi­on. The new B-class sells for P2.690 million.

July 24 - BMW X7

BMW Philippine­s introduced the first-ever tycoon-class BMW X7 SUV, and it is the largest model in the X lineup. BMW calls the X7 its largest “Sport Activity Vehicle,” making it the flagship SAV. It is the first of its kind to blend the versatilit­y of an SUV, and the commanding presence, spaciousne­ss and exclusivit­y of a luxury sedan. Having the best of both worlds, the BMW X7’s stately and imposing presence is matched by top-class interior and state-of-the-art equipment features. But do not let the chic interior and elegant sheet metal fool you; BMW’S advanced powertrain and chassis technology ensures the X7 can handle all sorts of off-road terrain. Just like any off-roading 4×4 SUV or pickup, it can take any kind of punishment but offer better ride comfort and the agile onroad handling for which BMW SAVS are renowned. The price for admission in owning the largest and most awesome BMW SAV in the X7 xdrive30d Pure Excellence trim is at P9,290,000. It comes with a 5year, 200,000-kilometer manufactur­er’s warranty – a new standard in the premium automotive segment in the Philippine­s.

August 1 - Honda City and Jazz Sport Limited Edition Variants

Cars Philippine­s launched the sporty limited edition variants of the Honda City and Honda Jazz as their second salvo and marketing offensive for the third quarter. The new Honda City is the brand’s locally produced and best-selling model in the country. The 1.5 Sport CVT variant now comes with a more dynamic appearance enhancing the City’s sporty image. Upfront, the new City Sport is equipped with LED headlights and fog lamps for a more aggressive front fascia, a ducktail spoiler and Sport Edition Emblem to distinguis­h this City from the other variants. Priced at P899,000, it is only available in two colors; Taffeta White and Modern Steel Metallic.

Together with the City Sport, the new Jazz 1.5 Sport CVT gets a sporty treatment upgrade. This limited edition offering comes with

new exterior features derived from the Jazz RS variant namely; 16-inch RS Design black alloy wheels, RS Design tailgate spoiler and black door mirror caps gave it a more aggressive stance on the road. Price tag is at P933,000 and will be exclusivel­y available in Brilliant Sporty Blue. Only 30 units of this Limited Edition variant will be made available nationwide.

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