‘Volkswagen On Tour’ comes to Penang

volkswagen us

I caught up with the inaugural ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ brand showcase that took place in Penang last week. We actually went twice coz it was so much fun! Admittedly, the first time was a bit of a short session coz I had to sort out my hotel and other things after I got stuck on the Penang Bridge after running out of gas. Haha!

bicycle popcorn

There is popcorn, test drives, and a play pen for the kids. This all comes at a rather reasonable admission fee – it’s free! Yup, it’s the classic Volkswagen hospitality in action here, which I’ve experienced to my delight on a trip to Germany last year.

polo r wrc
The Polo R WRC that just won the FIA World Rally Championships 2013

Volkswagen On Tour‘ will literally tour the entire nation – there are 13 stops all over Malaysia, so it’ll be coming to a place near you soon! It’s an invitation to everyone for an exclusive brand experience right at your doorstep.

volkswagen tour penang

It’s a lot of fun, I managed to catch the press conference where Ms Petra Schreiber (Director of Marketing & Communications, Volkswagen Malaysia) was holding court and fielding questions from the media.

driving gti simulator

I went back again the next day. I wanted to collect all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that forms a coaster. There are a lot of activities you can do at the ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ roadshow – my favorite being the Golf GTI simulator.

gti simulator

This isn’t something that you can get to see in arcades – the setup is so realistic that your *entire bucket seat* moves and you really get thrown around a bit if you drive into gravel beside the virtual track at high speeds. I know people who set up expensive steering wheel and pedal combos to play racing simulation games at home.

driving simulator

Prepared to be blown away! You’ve never seen anything like this. There are even pistons to move your seat around the 3-screen immersion Golf GTI simulator – you really get the exhilaration of driving on track that I actually flinched when I made a fast and tight corner. :)

gti puzzle

You get a piece of the puzzle that forms a coaster after you experience each station.

popcorn challenge

There is another interesting one called Popcorn Challenge which uses a clean source of energy (namely, you) to power a popcorn machine. A stationary bicycle is hooked up and your kinetic energy from pedaling the bike makes the corn pop.

popcorn

You can have the satisfaction of eating the popcorn that you’ve just made with your own energy after that too!

shout out loud

There is also an interactive station called Shout Out Loud where you can rally four (4) people to speak into each of the microphones at each corner of a model city to light it up. The louder you are, the more intense the blue light becomes.

think blue wall

It’s a brilliant way to showcase their ‘Think Blue.’ philosophy which is all about fuel efficiency and educating the public on carbon emissions for a sustainable future, as well as how Volkswagen is applying it to their award-winning automotive technology for a better tomorrow. Guess which one is the message we wrote?

ISOFIX

There are exhibits where you can familiarize yourself with Volkswagen’s advanced safety technology like their range of child safety seats and ISOFIX (child seat anchor). This would be of interest to parents with small children or people who’re planning to have kids!

kids station

There is a place for kids to learn and play too, which is great for parents with small children. The kids can have age-appropriate fun and learning while you get your own fun and learning in…test driving the latest Volkswagen models!

test drive

It’s the most popular station so remember to sign up early while you wait your turn.

volkswagen test drive

There’s also a ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ photo contest where you can snap a photo of yourself with a complete coaster puzzle.

interactive stations

You can get each piece of the puzzle by going to each of the stations (Popcorn Challenge, Test Drive etc) and after you’ve completed it, the redemption counter will give you a free gift for completing all the stations.

Volkswagen On Tour

You just need to post a photo of yourself with the complete coaster with the #VolkswagenOnTour hastag on either Instagram or Facebook and tag @VolkswagenOnTour or the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page respectively (remember to follow the accounts first) and stand a chance to win one of nine prizes, including an extended two week test drive with any of your favorite Volkswagen models!

coaster puzzle

It’s really a lot of fun for the whole family and you get to experience the latest (and eat some popcorn you made with your own energy while you’re at it).

volkswagen tour schedule

We had a blast and we’re looking forward to the Selangor stop of the tour! ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ will be heading to 13 locations nationwide between now till March 2014. Get more details about the stop nearest to you at www.volkswagenontour.com.my.

Think Blue. World Championship 2013

think blue championships

3.48 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers! That’s how much the winners of this year’s Think Blue. World Championship 2013 managed in Germany for the finals! The father and son duo drove down the designated 592 kilometer route from Berlin via Wolfsburg and Weimar to Frankfurt am Main. I’ve been to most of the cities in the route during my trip to Germany last year with Volkswagen and it’s hard to imagine such fuel efficiency but they did it!

think blue malaysia

This is the culmination of the Think Blue. regional preliminaries which our own country participated in. I wrote about the first Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 held in Philea Resort, Malacca in Malaysia earlier this month which saw Mr Ong Ling Kern coming up top and going to Germany on an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the Think Blue. World Championship.

think blue dresden

The regional competition in Germany were different – in addition to quiz questions and fuel efficient driving challenges (which were the tasks in Malaysia too), they had challenges like building miniature energy plans for renewable energy and cooking regional dishes with locally-sourced ingredients.

mavis kitchen

I thought the last one was quite interesting! It’s a concept that’s taking hold in a lots of places, like Byron Bay in Australia. In addition to the surfer culture there, there’s a lot of emphasis on low-food-miles and locally-sourced produce. The menus at the best restaurants like Mavis’ Kitchen (gotta remember to write about that) has large gardens and only cooks with ingredients that are in season and from surrounding orchards and farms!

think blue world championships

I thought that was a really good concept for the environment – very in line with Volkswagen’s Think Blue. philosophy which is a holistic approach to foster environmentally compatible mobility and sustainable individual action by raising awareness about sustainability and eco-conscious behavior.

think blue contestants

Back to the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany, the results on 12th September goes to Volker Muller-Tonnissen (52) and his co-driver Jorn-Luca Muller-Tonnissen (16) who is also his son! They averaged a mere 3.48 litres per 100 kilometres on the 592 kilometre route using the new Golf TDI BlueMotion. What’s more impressive was the set-up – each car competed with three occupants plus balance weight so it’s a full load! Each vehicle has a load of exactly 294.4 kilos so no one has an unfair advantage from size and built over distance (due to the balance weight).

winners tb

The most efficient performance driving father-son duo were also the winners of the German national preliminary contest. There were also 16 other national winners competing (including our very own Mr. Ong Lin Kern from Malaysia) and the second place went to the team from the Canary Islands (3.63 liters) and third was snagged by Russia (3.67 liters).

malaysia results

Mr Ong’s team representing Malaysia came in at 13th for an average consumption of 4.08 liters per 100 kilometers.

united states team

That’s not too bad considering they came in ahead of teams from Argentina and the United States (which came in at last at 17th with 4.57 liters/100 km).

think blue volkswagen

All the participants visited the International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main after the event, where Volkswagen had a stand showcasing several efficiency models. They also got a very unique experience at the Volkswagen test centre in Ehra-Lessien where cars like the diesel-powered Golf TDI BlueMotion, the natural gas powered eco-up! and full hybrids like the Touareg Hybrid were shown. To cap it all off, they are among the first ever drivers to get the opportunity to test drive the Volkswagen XL1 (the highly anticipated most efficient series vehicle in the world) as well as the first purely electric high volume production Volkswagen – the new e-up!

e up

This is the third year of the Think Blue. World Championship and Head of Marketing at the Volkswagen Group quoted that they almost doubled the number of participating countries and motivated several thousand people from around the world to find out about driving efficiently. It’s the perfect embodiment of the Think Blue. philosophy which aims to inspire people and contribute to significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions by adopting a more intelligent driving style.

malaysian team

Find out more about Think Blue.

Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 in Phileo Resort, Malacca!

think blue philea

I was down in Malacca over the weekend for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. This is the culmination of the push for sustainability and eco-awareness that had 30 finalists nationwide competing against each other to win the title of Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver.

philea

Philea Resort is an ideal setting for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. It’s an eco-resort located close to Malaccca. I’ve stayed here before earlier this year as a surprise my better half gave me. Its wooden chalets and sustainable living concepts are perfectly in sync with Volkswagen’s Think Blue. philosophy.

indoor stations

There are five tests in total for the first ever Think Blue. – National Challenge – three of the stations are indoors and and the remaining two of them outdoor driving challenge.

Station 1 was a quiz which had participants answering questions based on a booklet given during the journey here.

test 2

There is also a physical puzzle where finalists arrange cubes to the 9 tips for better fuel consumption described in the Think Blue. booklet. This is a time based challenge totaling to 10 points.

ipad test

The iOS Think Blue. Challenge app which I’ve been playing quite a bit is also one of the tests! The iPad game at Station 3 is where the finalists had to play the Think Blue. driving challenge online. The objective is to chalk up the most distance using the least fuel! Extra fuel was given for those who answer the bonus round correctly. The better you do; the more points you have! 10 points.

driving orange

Station 4, an orange was placed in a bowl on the Polo Sedan which humorously alludes to the tofu scene in Initial-D for driving fans. This is a physical driving test which contributes 20 points of the total score. As this was also a time based challenge, a penalty of 2 seconds was imposed if the driver knocks over any orange cones. And if the orange (the fruit, not the traffic cone) falls out of the bowl, the driver will need to stop the car, pick up the orange and continue driving – while the time is still ticking!

stations

The final challenge, Station 5, is a 20 kilometre drive at the track with the seventh generation of the Golf 1.4 TSI. This is a fuel efficiency test where every one of the finalists will need to apply the fuel saving tips they learnt throughout the Challenge. This better you score on the fuel consumption, the more points you’ll get. 50 points.

backseat

I hopped into one of the cars for the last challenge – it’s obvious that the participant has already read all the fuel saving tips in the booklet. He didn’t use air-conditioning, the windows were up (to improve aerodynamics), he switched up to the highest gear and tried to keep it there, coasting on gradients and keeping the speedometer stable.

fuel consumption

The best performer got an amazing 3.7 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel in real time driving!

ivan

Ivan from the Events team and Dara from PR were there to guide us around.

food philea

I was watching some do better than the others while sipping artisan coffee brought in to the lobby. I must say that Volkswagen always have the best treatment during its events! I was lucky enough to go to Germany with them last year.

think blue bag

Coincidentally, this is also where the winner of the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 will be headed! It was a very close one as scores were tabulated and re-checked. The next morning, the winners were announced.

trophies

The prize-giving ceremony was held on three different level podiums – the 1st place is the lowest and the 3rd place highest, signifying the fuel consumption of the three winners. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the philosophy of Think Blue. – the holistic approach adopted by Volkswagen to foster environmentally compatible mobility and sustainable individual action.

winners

The “winner” is thus the person with the lowest fuel consumption. Ong Ling Kern narrowly defeated 29 other finalists (the runner up was 2 points behind – something he could have made up with one more correct question in the quiz) with Ong Wu Zhuan (no relation – who also got a Samsung S4 smartphone) and Chew Fun Sing (iPhone 5) bagging second and third place.

press con

Thus, as the first ever Malaysian Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 champion, Ong Ling Kern is off to represent Malaysia on an international driving competition held at the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany from 6th-10th September.

malaysian think blue

Winners from all around the world will take part in the world championship by competing against each other in a drive from Wolfsburg to Frankfurt in Germany.

slalom

The world champion will be determined based on the lowest amount of fuel used to complete the distance.

orange

Imagine doing that on the Autobahn! I’d love to see them try every possible fuel saving technique. There are some which are proven “hypermiling” (a relatively new buzzword for energy efficient driving) techniques built-in to newer Volkswagen cars like the start/stop system which automatically stops the car engine at red lights.

test 4

The Think Blue. initiative by Volkswagen is constantly striving to combine environmental protection with cutting-edge automotive technologies to give drivers low-emission vehicles.

finalists

However, drivers also need to play a part in adopting eco-concious behavior both on and off the road and that’s what events like the weekend’s Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 is set to promote!

blu monkey

Interesting fact: Blu, the Think Blue. mascot is a monkey designed in Malaysia and adopted byVolkswagen AG in Germany! :)

Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. Think a trip to Germany!

taschenbergpalais keminski

Volkswagen Malaysia has kicked off the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 in Malaysia to spread the philosophy of Think Blue. and to display the brand’s efforts on the importance of fuel savings and that a change in driving behaviours could further reduce CO2 emission.

The hunt for Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver is on and that person will get the chance to compete with others like him/her from around the world at the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany!

think blue logo

The qualifying round starts from 1-21st July and there are 2 ways you can take part:

1. Register at any Volkswagen dealerships in Malaysia
2. Play the Challenge online via Facebook at www.facebook.com/VolkswagenMalaysia

To be eligible, participants would have to be aged 18 years and above and possess a valid driving license in Malaysia.

Shortlisted participants will move on to the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 that will be held from August 17th to 18th, where they will be competing against each other in real driving situations to become Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver.

The winner of this Think Blue. – National Challenge will then represent Malaysia in the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany from September 6th to 10th, 2013 and stands a chance to explore Germany, from Wolfsburg to Frankfurt, via a German-engineered Volkswagen, to become the world’s most fuel-efficient “Think Blue.” champion.

eco footprint

The Think Blue. World Championship app reveals another facet of Think Blue. – Volkswagen’s holistic approach to sustainability. The game heightens awareness of more efficient driving and shows that all drivers can make their own personal contribution to environmental protection without sacrificing driving pleasure.

The principle of “Think Blue.” is perfectly reflected by the game and inspires everyone in adopting a healthy driving behavior in an exciting and entertaining way.

Now, let me inspire you to take part in the challenge and be in the running to win a trip to Germany by sharing my own personal experience gained from a Volkswagen trip there last year.

obama hotel

I went to Germany on a Volkswagen trip last year. It was a very interesting trip, while in Dresden, I stayed at Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski – it’s the very same place President Obama stayed in while he visited Dresden. That’s a bit of interesting trivia there. I didn’t know until we checked into the hotel.

driving germany

Anyway, I traveled from Dresden to Wolfsburg (where the Volkswagen factory is) and then to Berlin and Frankfurt and had a blast going around and experiencing new things. It was my third trip to Europe at the time.

electric car charging

I like how the bigger cities have initiatives for fully electric cars with special parking lots. The same parking bays have charging facilities too – meant to encourage people into adopting a more environmental friendly mindset and behavior.

up car

It’s not just about up! – their fully electric car.

think green

It’s an entire mindset that affects every single aspect of Volkswagen’s efforts to create environmentally friendly products and solutions. It’s about encouraging eco-conscious behavior and a sustainable future through economical fuel consumption and reduced carbon emission.

glass factory

This can be seen from their production facilities (this is the famous glass factory right outside Dresden)…

vw mini

…to the fun and educational interactive displays at Wolfsburg where you can learn a lot more about Think Blue.

e drivers

The initiative is present from the manufacturing floor to the topmost management decisions. I saw various places where you can sign up to test drive the Golf Blue-e-Motion.

eco cars

The people in Germany are very conscious about vehicle emissions. They even have various ratings on their car based on how environmentally friendly the car is. In fact, electric cars are also cheaper due to tax breaks.

think blue

I think Think Blue. is an amazing holistic mindset that we need to instill deeper over here – such as little things like no-vehicle zones and priority parking for electric vehicles.

water usage

I have had the chance to experience Germany from Dresden to Frankfurt thanks to Volkswagen and now you can have the same experience, but only much better!

wolfsburg station

I can guarantee you it’ll be one of the most valuable experiences of your lifetime!

germany trip

Find out more about how you can win a trip to Germany by being the nation’s most fuel efficient driver at thinkblue.volkswagen.com.my.

The Icon Is Back!

disguise

Greetings! How do you like my disguise? Heh. It’s a pair of oversized sunnies, a huge bright red bulb of a nose and a fake mustache.

the beetle

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2012 during the weekend – it’s a two day free event that’s open to the public and all the slots were snapped up really quickly. The Icon Is Back is the theme of this year’s show and it features the new Beetle prominently.

disassembled beetle

There’s even a fully disassembled classic Beetle in the foyer!

photo kiosk

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I have to say, this year’s show surpasses the previous one by leaps and bounds. There are a lot of interactive displays and fun stuff to do that I spent nearly 4 hours there to play around and experience everything.

facebook connect

There are kiosks that use Facebook Connect which you can interact with…

qr registration

…and you get issued a QR code wristband when you register.

beetle booth

I was there early and went for the strategically placed photo booth outside to snap a photo.

photo booth

There are no lack of things to do while waiting for the show to start.

icon is back

The Icon Is Back kicked off with a cinematic experience that is simply mind blowing. There was a countdown and the huge darkened hall exploded with a symphony of images and sound.

It started out by featuring a couple of classic Beetle commercials from back in the day…

testimonial

…and has personalities like Patrick Teoh, Melinda Ooi, JJ (from Hitz FM) and others reminiscing about owning and driving the original Beetle.

The screen is over 180 degrees and you have to crane your neck to see everything that’s going on. I really liked that – it provides a good kind of sensory overload. :)

light dance

The show continued on with a launch gimmick that has choreographed dancers with light and shadows before The Beetle was driven on stage.

It’s one of the hallmarks of Volkswagen events – everything is a wonder to behold and just when you thought that it was over, another feature starts that tops the previous one.

The auditorium was packed with people and the first area where The Icon Is Back cinematic experience is held was the best part for me. It was just amazing, the way they pulled off the entire thing.

new beetle

Next up is the area where you can see all the Volkswagen cars in addition to the much anticipated new Beetle. Now, this isn’t a standard static display but a highly interactive one.

like booth

There are stations located throughout that allow you to scan the QR code on your wristband to Like it and as an added bonus…

map

There’s a passport that’s handed to you when you enter – it’s a map of the entire showroom and not only does it provide you with clear signs on where is where, the “passport” also has places for stamps which you can only get once you’ve visited the area!

I think that is a brilliant idea! You get a gift if you get all the stamps from the hostess, I spent a lot of time inside until the batch I was with was nearly gone and the showroom empty. Heh.

think blue

The Think Blue initiative area is one of the highlights with interactive displays which shows how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

little bugsters

There’s also a place for kids to play with…

vw cafe

…and a cafe of sorts where you can have a drink of water and some candy after walking around – all complimentary, of course.

stage performance

The stage has constant shows merging people and cars in a unique performance.

…and of course the star of the Volkswagen Das Auto 2012 Show – The Beetle! :)

black beetle

There are two variants for The Beetle – the 1.2L TSI and the 2.0L TSI.

It’s the centerpiece of the show and everyone flocked to check out the interior and features. The 1.2L Beetle features a 105PS turbocharged 4-cylinder engine while the 2.0L version has a power output almost twice that, topping out at 200PS with a 7-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG) while the former is equipped with a 6-speed DSG.

das auto show

There are a lot of different colors too, I suspect the Tornado Red and Saturn Yellow would be popular but I personally like the Deep Black with Pearl Effect. There’s also a Pearl White version if you like that color.

ipad games

I would allocate a lot of time to this place – there are a lot of fun things to do, like the various iPad games which you can play. Note that it’s connected to the screen and what you do is reflected so even while you wait your turn, you’ll be entertained with people playing badly. Heh.

There are photo booths scattered throughout the space, the Beetle Photo Booth being the most popular one. I met Tung Ai while queuing up, he introduced himself as a reader of my blog and we chatted for a bit.

tung ai

This is the photo we were queuing up for – look at how interactive the screen was, that’s the two of them posing behind the screen. Thanks for saying hello! :)

pov

This is what the photo looks like from POV – you can see where you are in relation to the background that you choose so I saw a lot of creative poses.

beetle photo booth

This is mine. Heh. I wanted to wave out but settled on putting my arm on the window and pointing ahead instead.

photo download

There’s also a QR code at the back of the instantly printed photo where you can download a high resolution digital copy of! You can also Share it on Facebook and Twitter! Nifty.

screenshot

I managed to get all the stamps for my passport and got free gifts at the end, and also a tattoo. Temporary of course.

volkswagen passport

Here’s one of us posing with it, hello Penny!

penny hb

It was a lot of fun, I didn’t realize how much time I spent inside until I realized that people were slowly filtering out. I can’t wait for the next Volkswagen Das Auto Show! I really fb like the social media interactive integration of the show this year. By the way things are going, it looks like it’s only going to get better! :)

Volkswagen Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany

transparent factory germany

The glass building behind us is actually a factory for assembling Volkswagen Phaeton. It only does that and the cars you can see are all spoken for – they’re just awaiting for the owner to pick it up. We went on a tour of the transparent assembly plant in Dresden as part of our trip and it was surprisingly interesting!

german guide

This is our English speaking guide – you must have a guide with you when you tour the VW transparent factory and no photos are allowed inside.

You can hear her speak a little here.

pheaton factory

However, you can take photos outside of the assembly area. This entire factory assembles Volkswagen Phaetons only. It’s fully customizable in Dresden, Germany. This is where people come to buy a Phaeton – you’re guided to an area where you can choose everything from the color of the car to the interior features and get your own customized VW Phaeton.

volkswagen phaeton factory

I was rather astounded by the sheer cleanliness of the factory – it’s totally unlike any other factory I’ve ever been to before. The employees even have white overalls that are spotless! I don’t know how the Germans do it but we could learn a thing or two from them.

glass factory germany

The interesting thing about this factory is that it’s one-of-a-kind. The buyer experience it offers and the tall glass building combined with the robots makes this unique. There are automated carts that follows a magnetic path (which can be changed) along the factory floor so parts will be available to the staff when needed.

pheaton

You’ll probably be wondering how they get the cars out of the tall transparent building – it’s automated! There’s a car lift that goes up to the floor you want and rotates to the segment you want to extract a particular car (always a Phaeton since that’s what this factory produces). Very nifty.

vw factory dresden

There’s also a huge sphere where you can watch commercials, old ads and so forth – watch out for the latest one, it’s quite funny and targeted towards the Asian market since it’s the largest market now. The Volkswagen Phaeton transparent factory is worth a visit if you’re ever in Dresden. It’s a remarkable example of German efficiency and one of the attractions in Dresden – it’s the only transparent factory of this scale here.

transparent factory

I don’t think the Volkswagen Phaeton luxury sedan is coming to Malaysia in it’s current form e.g. infinitely customizable so purchasing the car is an experience in itself. However, it might be coming (don’t quote me on this) in several preset models – check out the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page and ask, they’re more qualified to speak about this than me. :)

Wolfsburg – the auto city within a city

wolfsburg

I took a day trip down to Wolfsburg from Berlin today with the others. It’s about an hour by train.

wolfsburg rail tickets

We had first class tickets thanks to Volkswagen Malaysia – it’s 76 Euros each way. The train travels quite fast though, the display says 135 km/h so I reckon it’s about 135 km away from Berlin. ;)

autostadt

This is an interesting city primarily coz it won’t exist without the auto industry. The Autostadt (literally “auto city” in German) is the reason the city has prospered back in the day.

Interesting trivia: The roof area of the Autostadt is larger than the entire Principality of Monaco!

It was the bit of trivia that stuck the most to me. Heh.

autostadt cars

I collect facts like this coz I’m a bit of a general knowledge freak. Aud is like that too, I guess we’re just one of those people who absorbs the most random facts like a sponge.

Unlike her, I usually get it wrong when I regurgitate the facts though. Haha.

Anyway, the Volkswagen group owns nine brands – Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Audi, Bentley and several others. I was quite surprised by this. I didn’t know Lamborghini was owned by them.

ice cream

There are a lot of pavilions representing each car brand in Autostadt. The factory itself has its own doctors, restaurants, and stuff like that. There are several pavilions worth mentioning.

bugatti veyron

Bugatti. This beautiful and large (from the outside) pavilion only has one car. Yes, it’s the Bugatti Veyron.

Lamborghini also has a single car in their pavilion but what made it truly awesome is the intense hardstyle music playing with smoke and strobing lights. You gotta check out this video to experience what it feels like.

lambo

The car also flips to the outside, I didn’t know until after we went out and I took a photo of the car and asked Nigel to help take a photo of me with the car and the car flipped back inside, leaving a blank wall. Nifty.

Volkswagen has a pavilion that features two very interesting cars:

new beetle

The new Beetle. No, not the Beetle from the Das Auto show in Malaysia last year, this is the latest one that hasn’t hit our shores yet.

[Edit: My mistake, it's the same one that VW brought to Malaysia last year. It's still not for sale in Malaysia though.]

vw up

A custom Up! electric car.

up car

I reckon it looks a lot better than the stock version. :D

up usb

Up! also isn’t available in Malaysia yet, so I got a 4GB USB drive for 13.30 Euros (about RM 52). I collect thumb drives and I also tend to buy souvenir t shirts when I travel. I usually don’t wear them, I have a Stonehenge t shirt that I haven’t even opened from my backpacking trip to London a couple of years back.

email

Anyway, the Volkswagen pavilion also has an interactive screen where you can put in your name, email address and make a music video out of it and send it to yourself. It’s part of their Think Blue initiative.

german

I intentionally didn’t use English even though that option was available. I used German to muddle my way though. Heh.

Posted: 8:32 am Wolfsburg time (GMT +2)

Driving at the actual Sepang International Circuit!

sic race track experience

Yes! I can strike another one off the bucket list! I’ve actually driven on the Sepang International Circuit – one of the official F1 race tracks around the world! w00t!

model

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto event held to herald in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 at SIC and got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime chance. Heh!

vw

I was there pretty early – the event was very well organized – there’s even parking near the paddock and a shuttle to ferry you there so you don’t have to walk.

driving experience

After a quick registration, I signed up to test drive the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

polo gti

I got the 9:45 am slot so I grabbed a quick breakfast of hot noodle soup and coffee before testing out the car.

testing

This is a real world 7.7 km circuit around SIC comprising of various conditions you’ll expect in your daily commute.

I was quite impressed with the car – it handled the straights very well as you can see in the video above. The traffic was pretty light at that hour so the kind folks at Volkswagen let me drive through it twice. This isn’t the actual track (more about that later) – there was a lot of stuff to do that day.

racing sims

…like this driving simulator located throughout. It’s customized so you can see the new Volkswagen Polo in the simulator.

I also went for the Volkswagen Driving Experience – which is basically a safety course. Obstacle avoidance, emergency braking, stuff like that. It was a lot of fun though and I was so glad I got there early coz the spots were all quickly taken up till 4:30 pm.

polo models

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Volkswagen Polo GTI. The car is a beauty!

gti

All the meals were provided that day. I guess they don’t call it a VIP experience for nothing. Heh.

lunch

Catering was done from Pan Pacific so the food was pretty good.

scirocco r

There’s also a Volkswagen Scirocco R car inside – this is the actual car used in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011.

scirocco r cup

Here’s another angle of the car. I don’t think this highly tuned and spec-ed up car is road legal but won’t it be a blast to drive it? :D

girls

Anyway, the event that everyone has been hoping for with two fingers crossed came up after lunch – the lucky draw to drive an actual Volkswagen car ON the Sepang International Circuit! The names were announced and there was a mad rush to the monitors see if we were one of the lucky ones.

lucky draw

FUCKYEAH.JPG

I think I’m going to have a stroke. *pounds chest

twitter

My name was on it! I am going to drive on an actual F1 circuit. There are people who would kill for this. I know, you all hate me. ;)

on track

I suited up in safety gear and went into the car. There were Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Scirocco up for grabs and as I headed to mine, I suddenly thought – how am I going to film the experience?

safety gear

I mean, this is an experience of a lifetime, I’ve gotta get it on film! Thus, I randomly scanned the crowd of people who weren’t as lucky and picked one at random.

celine

Say hello to Celine! She’s from Penang and has agreed to be a passenger in return for filming the Sepang International Circuit drive.

race

I actually filmed the entire experience (or rather, Celine did) but I had the radio on at the beginning – it was Eminem feat. Dr Dre – I Need a Doctor and I forgot to turn it off so I couldn’t upload most of the drive around SIC.

I can tell you though, it was hair-raising. I pushed the Volkswagen to its limits, hitting 220km/h on the straights and doing corners at 180 km/h. I have to say, the latter is not to be attempted by anyone less than a professional.

sic track

I nearly skidded out of control three times and it’s a testament to Volkswagen’s ride and handling which corrected my amateur mistakes. I think I might have frightened Celine though, heck, I frightened myself at the power of the car and the experience of driving at high speeds on an actual racing track.

Thank you for the experience of a lifetime, Volkswagen. I’ll never forget it. :)

Good luck in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 season!

Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011

vw das auto

I just came back from the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I am suitably impressed. Volkswagen sure knows how to come up with amazing events. I got to experience driving on the actual Sepang International Circuit last week and this time they have an incredible launch gimmick that you have to see for yourself. It’s epic!

vw girl

Anyway, I went there quite early and strolled around the reception area at Stadium Bukit Jalil before the dome experience started.

driving sim

They have driving simulators scattered around so you’ll have no shortage of entertainment.

snacks

You would not want for food or drink either as there are people going around with trays of intriguing hors d’oeuvres.

food

I had more than a couple since I haven’t had breakfast. Heh.

ipad

There are also Volkswagen Ambassadors walking around with iPads to take your photo – this will be uploaded to dasautoshow.com.my so you can download, tag or share the pictures.

driving2

The dome experience is hands down the HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended) of the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011. You are ushered into a complete spherical dome to see the new offerings of VW and what the future has to offer.

dome

It’s a 30 minute experience that blew me away.

electric scooter

Petra Schreiber, the Marketing Director of Volkswagen Group Malaysia came on stage riding a futuristic electric scooter. This. Is. The. Future.

ramp

The show then started with the latest yet-to-be-released Volkswagen cars been driven right INTO the dome and around it. It rates way up there as one of the coolest launch gimmicks I’ve ever seen. Check out the video – it’s mind-blowing! :)

The dome is a complete 360 projection screen so it’s pretty amazing to be bombarded (in a good way) by interactive images everywhere you look. It’s like 3D, wait, 4D, or maybe 5D coz you can smell the exhaust of the cars. It’s the future, yo. ;)

cars

The dome is structurally made with a loop around it so a convoy of cars can drive around it. There are ramps leading up and down too so the cars can get on the stage for a closer look before being driven away again…

ella

…and just when you thought things have ended, a bunch of kids came on stage singing Reach by Gloria Estefan.

…and when you thought that was it, someone stood up on the third row and joined in – it’s Ella! She’s a Malaysian artist, I didn’t see her at the show until she joined in the song. I managed to capture that on video. Sweet.

elaine daly

I also got a photo with Elaine Daly – she was the MC during the event.

vw beetle

This is perhaps the most photographed car during the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011The 21st Century Beetle.

beetle interior

It’s a classic and it comes in red. It’ll come to Malaysian shores soon, and I bet the demand would be huge for this.

convertible

We literally had to be chased out of the dome coz we were taking so many photos with the VW Beetle. :)

golf

The dome experience does not end there – the entire portfolio of existing Volkswagen cars is on display outside.

golf gti

Golf GTI

eos

I love the Eos convertible. Imagine driving this baby around town.

prassat

However, one of the more interesting things revealed in the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 is that there will be 3 models that will be manufactured in Malaysia! This includes the Passat – and I think localization is a great idea, it’ll drive costs down and make the cars more affordable to the general public.

driving

I went in the morning so the domes are not lit – I heard that the lighting makes the dome much more surreal at night so drop by this weekend if you can. The Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 is at Stadium Bukit Jalil and will be going on from 10-11th September. Head on over for a peek at Volkswagen’s new offerings!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...