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Audi aims to bounce-back with 2019 transformation plan
Audi bosses have vowed that the company will bounce back this year, after the impact of new WLTP emissions tests led to a sharp drop in sales and profits in 2018. At its 2019 press conference, the firm's finance boss, Alexander Seitz, said that it's better prepared for the second round of WLTP emissions legislation. The carmaker aims to have a general operating permit for all of its powertrains by the end of 2019. Along with simplifying its product portfolio, meeting the new regulations will allow Audi to reduce its fleet emissions. Seitz says that this will help it distance itself from the long-lasting impact of the Volkswagen Group's dieselgate scandal. Environmental concerns and the need to meet ever-tightening CO2 emissions restrictions play an integral part in Audi's planning for the coming years. It has set goals of making all its manufacturing plants CO2-neutral and introducing 30 new electric vehicles by 2025. This is part of a wider electrification programme within the Volkswagen Group, which will result in the launch of around 70 electric models across its various brands by 2030. When asked whether now is the right time for such an investment in EV technologies, Audi CEO Bram Schot said that feedback from customers suggests "60-70 percent of drivers of electric cars are loyal to electrification" and that the overall response to the brand's new E-Tron electric SUV has been overwhelmingly positive. Schot announced the launch of 20 models (including updates) globally in 2019. He has also confirmed that the Audi Q4 E-tron concept showcased at the 2019 Geneva motor show will go into production in two years. Sloting below the E-tron, this SUV expected to reach a wider customer base. Seitz said that an event such as dieselgate “will never, ever happen again.” Audi has strengthened its multi-person checking system for each new vehicle and tightened its internal documentation process. In the US, the brand has already bought back or fixed 85 percent of Audi vehicles affected by the emissions scandal and paid a fine of GBP 683 million to the German government. FELIX PAGE Click here for reviews, images, news, prices and more for Audi India's range of cars. [...]
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SIAM: FY2019 car sales may decelerate to 3 percent
With around eight months of slowdown since July 2018, passenger vehicle (PV) sales in the ongoing fiscal have been marred by negative consumer sentiment on account of high car-loan interest rates, rising fuel prices and the tough liquidity situation in the market. Country's apex automotive body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) pegs the growth in PV sales at roughly 3 percent in the 2019 fiscal, down from its projection of about 8-10 percent at the start of the year. At the 11-month mark since April 2018, passenger vehicles sales have totalled 30,85,640 units, up 3.27 percent year-on-year. For reference, in the period of April-February 2018, volumes had grown 8 percent, to about 3 million units; and passenger vehicles ended FY2018 with a growth of 7.89 percent. Poor market sentiment, which has been a spoilsport to the industry's expectations, has not shown an improvement. Even in the penultimate month of February, sales were in the red (2,72,284 units, down 1.1 percent). Within the PV segment, passenger cars slumped significantly by 4.33 percent with volumes of 1,71,372 units (February 2018: 1,79,122), while utility vehicles (UVs) could only manage a low, single-digit growth of 3.70 percent, clocking 83,245 units (February 2018: 80,271). “Market sentiment continues to remain subdued. High interest rates and high insurance premiums have been keeping customers at bay in the PV and two-wheeler segments. As a result, the industry has not been able to recover consumer demand as expected,” according to Vishnu Mathur, director general, SIAM. “We do expect to see some improvement before the end of the year (CY2019) but as we move into an election phase, we are not certain as to how the situation will pan out over the next couple of months,” Mathur added. “People at this juncture of a major political event are not ready to part with a discretionary purchase, which is what is getting reflected in the numbers,” added Sugato Sen, deputy director-general, SIAM, to explain the crunch situation. Sky-high fuel prices for the most part of the 2018 calendar year and high interest rates on car loans have hampered growth in the critical category of utility vehicles. While the segment was running in the fast lane with over 20 percent growth in the last fiscal, it is now hovering at around 2 percent. Domestic PV sales by categoryFeb 2018Feb 2019ChangePassenger cars1,79,1221,71,372-4.33%Utility vehicles80,27183,2453.70%Vans15,95317,66710.74%Total2,75,3462,72,284-1.11% Mayank Dhingra [...]
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TVS Apache RR 310 receives complimentary update
TVS has issued a release to all Apache RR 310 owners to inform them of a complimentary update available for their bike. The most significant update the RR 310 gets is an updated ECU that might result in improved performance. Other minor updates come in the form of a redesigned windscreen and different bar-ends. TVS is also changing the chain roller on all RR 310s. The chain roller is a small accessory that affects the chain tension of the motorcycle. The RR 310 is TVS’ first fully faired motorcycle and its 312.2cc, single-cylinder motor makes 34hp at 9,700rpm and 27.3Nm of torque at 7,700rpm. The company has requested customers to visit a TVS dealership to update their bikes. They can also get the update when they bring in their motorcycles for a service. Also see: 2018 TVS Apache RR 310 review, test ride TVS Apache RR 310 Cup race bike review, track ride [...]
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India-spec Ford Figo facelift, Figo Blu revealed
Ford introduced the refreshed Ford Endeavour a few weeks ago, and now, it’s time for the Ford Figo facelift’s launch, which is scheduled to take place on March 15, 2019. Now, with spy pictures having surfaced online with just a few days to go for the launch, Ford has revealed the India-spec Figo facelift in official images. In terms of appearance, the India-spec Figo facelift is virtually identical to the refreshed Ka+ (the name for the hatchback in European markets) that was revealed last year. The Figo facelift sports revised front and rear bumpers, a chrome-finished honeycomb grille, restyled headlights and larger 15-inch alloy wheels. The refreshed Figo will be available in three variants – Ambiente, Titanium, and a new Titanium BLU top-end trim, which has a decidedly sportier look. It gets a contrast roof, a black grille and a different design for the alloy wheels. As we told you a couple of days ago, the 2019 Ford Figo’s interior too will get a makeover, with a restyled dashboard more in line with the one seen on the updated Ford Aspire and Ford Freestyle. The facelift’s features list will be longer, too, with keyless entry, push-button start, automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers and a touchscreen infotainment system on offer. However, Ford’s smart Sync3 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay won’t be available on the Figo facelift. In line with upcoming safety norms, the hatchback will get ABS, rear parking sensors, seatbelt reminders and a speed-alert system as standard. The top-spec Figo will also get adjustable rear headrests and a class-leading six airbags.  As is already known, the facelift for the Figo will see a major update on the powertrain front. It will get Ford’s latest 96hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine, mated to a new 5-speed manual gearbox. The range-topping Figo petrol-auto will also switch to Ford’s new 123hp, 1.5-litre engine that’s paired to a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission, instead of the outgoing dual-clutch gearbox. The combination of the 100hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox will be carried forward from the current Figo. Bookings for the Figo facelift are already underway, and Ford is expected to price the 2019 model quite competitively to take the fight to the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10 and Volkswagen Polo. What do you think of the Figo facelift’s looks? Let us know in the comments. Also see: 2019 Ford Figo facelift image gallery 2019 Ford Figo facelift key details revealed Click here for pre-facelift Ford Figo prices, details, reviews, images and videos [...]
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2019 ARRC: Honda India bags points finish at Sepang opener
The 2019 season of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) kicked off with Round 1 held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. It proved to be a fruitful season opener for Idemitsu Honda Racing India, with the team grabbing 10 points in the Asia Production 250cc (AP250) class. Rajiv Sethu recorded his best ever AP250 class finish, claiming 11th place in the first race. Starting from 14th on the grid, he enjoyed a good start, but had to drop back to dodge the riders that crashed in front of him. He managed to overtake two riders on lap 4 to climb up to 11th place and held on to that position. The second race ended up being more challenging for Sethu; despite making his way up to 5th place initially, he dropped down to the back of the pack after sustaining some damage when Irfan Ardiansyah and Rafid Topan crashed in front of him. He eventually recovered to complete the race in 13th place. “This weekend I really gave it my all. Today I was totally focused, as I wanted to be in the top bunch right from the start. While I could do that, I couldn’t save myself from theIndonesian riders' crash before me. My machine had minor problem from the crash impact, but I wanted to finish the race,” said Sethu after the second race. “Yes, I could gain more points for India and my team today but I feel disappointed that I couldn’t close in top 10. Going back to India, the challenge I have is to achieve this in the April round at Bend Motorsport Park.” Meanwhile, Senthil Kumar managed to impress on his ARRC debut, climbing his way up from 17th on the grid, to finish the first race in 14th place – gaining three places on the first lap itself. This makes the 18-year-old the youngest Indian rider and first-ever Indian rookie to score a point in the ARRC.  However, he was unable to complete the second race after crashing out on the 6th lap. “Today was a tough day. My target was to better my yesterday’s 14th finish. By 6th lap, I had already reached 13th spot but the miscalculation at the turn led to my crash. As a racer, my target is to do better and eye for top bunch in every race. So yes, today was been a little disappointing but there is a lot of learning in this too,” he said. The team is now placed 6th (out of 15 teams) in the overall teams’ standings after the first round. [...]
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Attractive discounts on 2018 Nissan Micra, Sunny
In a bid to clear unsold stock of the 2018 model year Micra and Sunny, Nissan dealers in Delhi are offering the models at significant discounts. This limited period offer is a dealer-level scheme and the discounts may vary from dealership to dealership.   Nissan dealers are offering the top-spec Micra XV CVT variant with a flat discount of Rs 1 lakh. The hatchback will be available at Rs 8 lakh (on-road, Delhi). Similarly, dealers are offering the top-of-the-line Sunny XV CVT with a discount of Rs 1.28 lakh, which means the sedan will be available at Rs 9.99 lakh (on-road, Delhi).   In their top-spec XV variants, both models get a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, automatic climate control, push-button start/stop with keyless entry, 15-inch alloy wheels, dual airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist and a rear parking camera. The Nissan Micra is powered by a 77hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine that comes mated to a CVT gearbox, and a 64hp, 1.5-litre diesel that’s paired with just a 5-speed manual gearbox. Meanwhile, the Sunny gets a 101hp, 1.5-litre petrol engine and an 86hp, 1.5-litre diesel motor. Both engines are paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox, with the petrol getting the option of a CVT.   When it was launched back in 2011, the Nissan Sunny rivalled the Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Skoda Rapid. Since then, the competition has moved on, receiving plenty of mechanical and cosmetic upgrades. The Sunny received a facelift in 2014 but hasn't been updated mechanically and this has led to sales plummeting over time.   The Nissan Micra too hasn't been significantly updated since its launch in our market. The hatchback continues to rival the Hyundai Grand i10, the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Toyota Etios Liva. Disclaimer: Discounts vary from city to city. Please check with your local dealer for exact discounts, which may not match figures quoted here. [...]
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2019 Ford Figo facelift key details revealed
After updating the Aspire and Endeavour in the recent months, Ford is now gearing up to launch the Figo facelift on March 15, 2019. With only a few days to go, new details have surfaced that give us a closer look at what to expect from the updated hatchback.  The 2019 Ford Figo will be available in three variants – Ambiente, Titanium, and a new Titanium BLU top end trim. Revised front and rear bumpers, a honeycomb front grille, tweaked headlights and larger 15-inch alloy wheels will help revamp the Ford Figo’s look. A dual-tone roof will further help differentiate the look of top-spec Figos. The Ford Figo’s interior will get a makeover of its own with a restyled dashboard, similar to what we’ve seen on the updated Ford Aspire and Ford Freestyle. There will be more equipment too with the addition of keyless entry and push button start, automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers and a head unit with Bluetooth and navigation. We can now confirm Ford’s slick Sync3 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be given a miss. In line with upcoming safety norms, the Ford Figo will get ABS, rear parking sensors, seat-belt reminders and a speed-alert system standard across the range. Top-spec Ford Figos will also get adjustable rear headrests and will also get a class-leading 6 airbags.   As is already known, the update will also include big changes in the powertrain department. Petrol-manual Figos will see a big power up with the move to Ford’s latest 96hp, 1.2-litre engine that will be paired to a new 5-speed manual gearbox. The range-topping Figo petrol-auto will also make the shift to Ford’s new 123hp, 1.5-litre motor that will come coupled to a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission in place of the earlier dual-clutch unit. The 100hp, 1.5-litre diesel unit, with a 5-speed manual stick shifter, will be carried over from the previous Figo. Bookings for the new Figo are already underway at Ford dealerships. In addition to a better feature set and upgraded mechanicals, Ford is also expected to price its hatchback quite competitively to better rival the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10 and Volkswagen Polo.      More: Click here for Ford Aspire prices, reviews, details and images Click here for Ford Freestyle prices, reviews, details and images [...]
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Review: Mini Countryman vs Volvo XC40 comparison video
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Choosing between the Volvo XC60 and Jaguar F-Pace
I am planning to buy a new vehicle and I have shortlisted the Volvo XC60 and the Jaguar F-Pace. Which one should I go for? Sathisshkumar, Coimbatore AAA If you enjoy driving, the Jaguar F-Pace is far more exciting to drive than the Volvo. Also, the F-Pace has a more spacious back seat than the XC60. The XC60, however, offers much more by way of equipment and comes with a host of safety features. It’s also got a much classier cabin and feels like a plusher car overall. [...]
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Ferrari F8 Tributo showcased at the 2019 Geneva motor show
Ferrari has publically debuted the F8 Tributo at the 2019 Geneva motor show, after having revealed the 488 GTB’s replacement just last week. What’s important to note is that this model is set to be the last non-hybridised V8-powered Ferrari supercar, and will be followed by the carmaker’s first hybrid model. Sales and marketing boss Enrico Galliera told our sister publication Autocar UK at the Geneva motor show that while it was "unfair to say it will be the last, it is fair to say the next will be hybrid”. To that end, Ferrari has already confirmed plans to launch hybrid models as well as a new downsized V6 engine. Michael Leiters, Ferrari technical chief, said: “V6 is the next step to follow downsizing without losing emotion or speed of the car.” It’s likely the next mid-engined supercar will use a hybridised V6 powertrain, meaning the turbo V8 of the F8 will be given its swansong in the current car. Ferrari’s first hybrid model will be revealed within the next three months, Galliera confirmed, one of five Ferraris due this year and one of 15 planned before 2022. In 2022, the firm will launch its long-awaited SUV model. Company boss Louis Camillieri said he was “not concerned on being too late” to the market with the car but “more concerned on being the best and I’m quite confident we will be”. He added: “It takes time to get the best thing. I’m confident it will be spectacular and within our DNA.” Also see: Ferrari F8 Tributo image gallery [...]
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Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV MPV debuts at 2019 Geneva motor show
The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV made its debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show, previewing the German carmaker’s first electric MPV. The all-electric concept is based on the V-class and features a 100kWh under-floor battery with a 500km range, a 204hp motor that drives the front wheels and a 160kph top speed. Mercedes-Benz says a rapid charger gives the Concept EQV a 100km of range in just 15min. While the overall silhouette is very similar to that of the V-class, the EQV gets design cues that echo those seen on Mercedes’ EQC SUV – including the new grille, bumpers and the 19-inch alloy wheels. Despite the addition of batteries, the car's interior space is largely identical to that of the standard V-class. Like the V-class MPV, the Concept EQV also features multiple seating configurations, with an option of having between six and eight seats. The dashboard on the Concept EQV sports Mercedes-Benz’s latest MBUX infotainment system with voice and gesture control. Mercedes-Benz India launched the V-class in India just a few weeks ago in two variants – the V 220d Expression and the V 220d Exclusive – priced from Rs 68.40-81.90 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India). Also see: 2019 Mercedes-Benz V 220d review, test drive 2019 Mercedes-Benz V-class video review Mercedes-Benz GLC facelift India-bound in 2019 [...]
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Aishwarya Pissay competing in FIM Bajas World Cup
After recovering from an injury that put her out of action for nearly six months, Indian rider Aishwarya Pissay has returned to international rallying, participating in the FIM Bajas World Cup in Dubai. Pissay, who is also part of TVS Racing’s roster of riders, is competing in the 450cc, women and junior categories of the event, riding a non-TVS bike. This marks Pissay’s second international event – she represented the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team at the 2018 Baja Aragon and became the first female racer to participate in a Baja World Rally event in the process. However, her run was brought to a premature end when she suffered an injury following a crash. Over the past few months Pissay’s undertaken a lengthy training programme, including training at the Big Rock track run by CS Santosh and conducting further training on sand dunes in Dubai to prepare for the FIM Bajas World Cup. Commenting on her return to rallying, she said, "This is an exciting start to my international racing season. I have been training really hard over the last few weeks in the sand dunes, which has been a tremendous learning experience.” Over 100 riders from 25 countries are participating in the 2019 Bajas World Cup. The event kicks off with a 50km liaison section, followed by the opening selective section of 201.60km on Friday, March 8, 2019. The second timed section of 204.03km takes place on Saturday, March 9. [...]
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2019 Suzuki DR-Z50 launched at Rs 2.55 lakh
Suzuki added a third bike to its off-road range in India – the DR-Z50. Priced at Rs 2.55 lakh (ex-showroom, India), this mini dirt bike might be one of the most expensive toys you can buy for your child. The Japanese company says, “The 2019 Suzuki DR-Z50 is the ideal way to introduce young, beginning riders to the sport of motorcycling.” While that may be true we can’t be anything but amused by the specifications this little Suzuki has to offer. The DR-Z50 comes equipped with a 49cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke air-cooled motor that comes paired to a 3-speed transmission with an automatic clutch. While it would have been interesting to know the numbers, Suzuki hasn’t declared the power and torque figures this bike makes. The suspension on the bike is handled by an upside-down fork and a monoshock. For braking, the bike uses drums at both ends. The DR-Z50 has a seat height of 560mm, a fuel tank capacity of 3 litres and a kerb weight of just 54kg. The dirt bike is available in only one colour scheme – Suzuki’s Championship Yellow – and looks just like a mini RM-Z450, which was launched in India back in October 2018 along with the RM-Z250. Kawasaki also has a mini dirt bike on sale and it is called the KLX 110, but it is slightly larger in engine capacity and is priced at Rs 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India). [...]
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NGT directs VW India to deposit Rs 500 crore over excess emissions
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today directed Volkswagen India to deposit a sum of Rs 500 crore as a part of a case against the carmaker for violating emission norms, according to a PTI report. The carmaker has been directed to make this deposit within two months. According to the report, the tribunal raised the earlier compensation amount of Rs 171.34 crore as a means of "creating deterrence". Responding to the NGT's order, VW India released a statement that its cars comply with the country's emission norms and said that it will challenge the order in the Supreme Court.  "The Volkswagen Group in India reiterates that all cars from the Group are compliant with the emission norms defined in India. The Group awaits the copy of the NGT order,” said the company's statement. Earlier, the NGT had directed Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore by January 18, failing which it would take punitive action against the management.  However, the Supreme Court ruled that that punitive action was not warranted on the German carmaker. VW's emissions scandal first emerged in 2015, with the brand being accused of using cheat devices to help its vehicles pass emissions tests in markets across the globe. In 2015, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) found discrepancies between the laboratory and on-road emission testing of VW’s EA189 diesel engine – a discovery that lead to a voluntary recall of over 3 lakh VW Group vehicles. Last year, the NGT pulled up Volkswagen as it was yet to recall nearly 36 percent of vehicles. [...]
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CFMoto 400NK spied on test in India
It appears as if CFMoto is set to re-enter the market with all guns blazing. The latest spotting of the 400NK makes it the third bike from the company to be seen on test in India in less than 20 days. The 400NK is CFMoto’s street-naked offering that sits between the 650NK and the 250NK, which was also spotted in the country. Contrary to some reports, we believe the motorcycle seen in the spy video is the 400NK and not the 650NK as the wheel design matches that of the international model. Speaking of the design, the 400NK appears to share its aggressive, street-naked bodywork with the larger 650NK and also gets all-LED lighting and a fully-digital instrument cluster. Powering the motorcycle is a 400.4cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled motor that makes 41.4hp at 9,500rpm and 34.4Nm of torque at 7,650rpm. This DOHC, eight-valve engine comes paired to a 6-speed gearbox. The tubular diamond steel frame the bike uses is sprung up by a 41mm telescopic fork and a monoshock. For brakes, the bike employs 300mm, twin discs up front and a single disc at the rear. While dual-channel ABS is available as an option in international markets, it will come as standard in India. The bike also uses CST-branded tyres that measure 120/70-ZR17 at the front and 160/60-ZR17 at the rear, just like the 650NK. The diamond steel frame the 400NK uses could be a contributor to the bike’s hefty kerb weight of 206kg. Meanwhile, one of its close rivals, the single-cylinder Honda CB300R, has a kerb weight of just 147kg. However, the CFMoto does benefit from a much larger 17-litre fuel tank. The segment CFMoto will enter with the 400NK is a highly competitive space in India. Not only are there the likes sport-nakeds, like the KTM 390 Duke (Rs 2.44 lakh) and the Honda CB300R (Rs 2.41 lakh), but also Royal Enfield’s 650cc twins (starting at Rs 2.50 lakh). All-prices, ex-showroom, India. Also see: CFMoto 650MT spied in India    IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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New Ssangyong Korando SUV debuts in Geneva
The new fourth-generation Ssangyong Korando SUV has made its first public appearance at the 2019 Geneva motor show, where the brand also confirmed a 2020 launch of a full-electric model. Some time back, the carmaker released images of its rival to the Nissan Qashqai, showing the car's new exterior look with a redesigned front end, replete with a new grille and headlights, along with sharper sculpting on the side. This new Korando is inspired by the e-SIV concept, which previewed a future electric SUV from the company at last year's Geneva motor show. The e-SIV concept featured an electric range of up to 450km, with a 61.5kWh battery pack driving a 191hp electric motor. Ssangyong says that the new model is 4,452mm long and 1,870mm wide – dimensions that largely match the previous Korando, albeit being fractionally lower at 1,620mm. Ssangyong also announced that the model's ‘robust’ exterior is accompanied by a new-look interior which will feature more head room and rear space, and a 10.25-inch LCD instrument display. Upon launch, the Korando will be offered with a choice of a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel engine. Last year, in conversation with our sister publication, Autocar UK, Ssangyong UK boss Nick Laird said that the EV would be a “huge step forward, even over the current model” and pledged that it would remain a “proper 4x4” with off-road capability. The Ssangyong Korando is also set to be offered with a hybrid powertrain in the future. Also see: 2019 SsangYong Korando image gallery [...]
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PhotoGallery: Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept
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2019 KTM 250 Duke ABS priced at Rs 1.93 lakh
KTM has updated the 250 Duke with dual-channel ABS. Priced at Rs 1,93,421 (ex-showroom, Pune), the updated bike comes at a considerable hike of a little over Rs 13,000. The non-ABS variant of the bike that costs Rs 1.80 lakh will soon be discontinued, owing to the April 1, 2019, mandatory-ABS deadline. Apart from the addition of this safety feature, the 250 Duke receives no other updates. Powering the bike is a 249cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that produces 30hp at 9,000rpm and 24Nm of torque at 7,500rpm. Despite the ABS update, the 250 Duke continues to sit in a bracket where it has no direct rivals. The closest, in terms of performance and price, is the TVS Apache RR 310 (Rs 2.13 lakh). However, we believe that the 2019 Bajaj Dominar 400 will be priced relatively close. Dealers are expected to receive the updated bike in the next few days, with deliveries set to begin soon after. (All prices, ex-showroom Pune) [...]
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Review: Ferrari Portofino video review
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Toyota Innova Crysta G Plus priced from Rs 15.57 lakh
Toyota has silently introduced a new variant for the Innova Crysta diesel, called the G Plus. The Innova Crysta G Plus is priced at Rs 15.57 lakh for the seven-seat version, while the eight-seat option costs Rs 15.62 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). The new Innova Crysta G Plus will be sold to both private and fleet customers as opposed to the Innova Crysta G that is available only on a made-to-order basis and targeted mainly at fleet buyers The Innova Crysta G Plus sits below the GX trim and misses out on features like a music system, rear defogger, and centre armrest for the second row in the eight-seater version, to name a few. The variant comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, airbags, rear parking sensors, AC vents for all three rows and halogen headlamps. The Innova Crysta G Plus will not be sold in the Red and Pearl white exterior paint shades. Mechanically, there are no changes on this variant and comes equipped with the standard 2.4-litre diesel engine paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The Innova Crysta G Plus is not available with an automatic transmission. With the introduction of this new variant, the Innova Crysta's entry level prices (for private customers) drops by around Rs 38,000, as compared to the Innova Crysta GX that is priced from Rs 15.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).         [...]
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Next-gen Mahindra 2.0-litre diesel to come with three power outputs
As the month of March gets underway, there’s only a little over a year to go for the implementation of the Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms in India, which come into effect from April 1, 2020. Carmakers have already chalked out plans to phase out production of BS-IV engines much before the deadline, and most are working on upgrading engines to meet the more stringent emission norms. While manufacturers are yet to share details of their clean new engines, we can now confirm Mahindra is readying a new, BS-VI-compliant, 2.0-litre diesel engine that’ll power its next-gen SUVs. Set to replace the current 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine, the new 2.0-litre diesel from Mahindra will be an all-aluminium unit that will be significantly lighter than the mHawk. Sources close to the company say the 2.0-litre diesel is a full 80kg lighter than the 2.2-litre mHawk, which powers the TUV300 Plus, Scorpio and XUV500. Interestingly, the 2.0-litre diesel will be offered in three states of tune for use in different models. In the all-new Mahindra Thar (due to launch sometime in 2020), this engine will develop 140hp and over 300Nm of torque, a big jump in power terms over the existing model that makes 105hp and 247Nm from its 2.5-litre unit. On the higher end, this 2.0-litre diesel will also be employed in the next-gen Mahindra XUV500 that’s set to launch towards the end of 2020. In the new XUV500, this engine will produce an impressive 185hp – an increase of 30hp over the current-gen XUV500. Expect a corresponding hike in torque as well, which is rated at 360Nm for the current-gen XUV500’s 2.2-litre mHawk engine. The 2.0-litre diesel mill will also be offered in a 150hp state of tune, which could potentially be used for the Mahindra Scorpio. But the cleaner, more powerful engine will come at a cost. The high cost of upgrading diesels to meet BS-VI norms will make them considerably more expensive, so expect the new Thar and XUV500 – armed with the 2.0-litre diesel engine – to be notably pricier than their present-day counterparts. As reported earlier, Mahindra’s new 2.0-litre diesel engine will also power its partner Ford’s version of the next-gen XUV500. Also see: 2019 Mahindra XUV300 petrol review, test drive Mahindra XUV300 buyer's guide video Mahindra Glyd e-mobility service launched [...]
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Royal Enfield Interceptor, Continental GT 650 at California Superbike School
My cheap, waterproof watch read 7:22am as I fired up the Interceptor that morning. I was late by a couple of hours already, so I decided without much provocation that I could afford the luxury of revisiting an old memory. It was of an anecdote involving a wise old man who, in reference to the birth of an old friend of mine, had said it was ‘not a bad time to start at all’. I anchored my optimism on that playful, if slightly mystical, declaration for the remainder of that morning, and it soothed my nerves as I waded through an already wide-awake Mumbai city. About 300km down the road, having handpicked a tree of sizeable circumference to park underneath, I realised I hadn’t done too badly for someone who left home at 7:22am, having slept through a startling alarm bell. Sir Stirling Moss must usually be right about these things, then. A LONG WAY TO GO No longer anxious, I set off again. I could do a stop every 300km if I liked, or more if I fancied running the petrol tank dry. With a cloudless sky above my mildly simmering helmet, I saw no respite in halting either. Life, I figured, would just go on like this for a while. It wasn’t a bad place to be, if I’m being honest. The motorcycle between my legs was designed for this sort of lifestyle. From within my helmet, the faint beat of the 650cc parallel-twin assumed the role of a comfortable white noise that would become a part of my daily routine for the next few days. The suspension oscillated steadily, assuring me it would be there when I needed it, and my tailbone found comfort against the withered old bag I’d strapped to the back of the motorcycle. Inside it was a set of borrowed racing leathers I once called my own. I don’t usually look at my watch on a motorcycle journey. It seems like quite the anti-thesis of liberating travel, to remind oneself of being bound by time. Today was different, though. A few weeks to this day, the map had revealed I lived around 1,400km from the Madras Motor Race Track, where a session of the hallowed California Superbike School (CSS) was to be conducted. This is an institution that has produced some of the best motorcycling talents in the world and 2019 was to mark its 10th appearance in India. I’d never been to the CSS – the inclination was never strong enough despite being a racetrack regular – but this time, the invitation rapidly took the form of an unavoidable commitment. I was going to have to go. A kindly manufacturer was quick to chip in with a race-ready bike – no questions asked – but I surprised myself when I politely declined the offer. There was no way I going to leave you, the made-in-India motorcyclist, behind. As a growing motorcycling community, we are united by our quest for better days. We dream together, toil together, to make more motorcycles our own, to give them names, to figure out the uphill task that our lives tend to be in our own small ways. It just had to be about the motorcycles you and I are daydreaming about these days – the Royal Enfield twins. When RE’s CEO, Sid Lal, comically revealed the prices of both bikes as a combined entity, only to further fuel the world’s anxiety, he really did hint at a belief that implied you could fulfil most of your motorcycling dreams if you bought both together, for Rs 5.55 lakh or thereabout. Why not, come to think of it? Our modest means may limit us to owning just one big bike at a time – if not in an entire lifetime – but for the first time, you can possibly have two instead. The prospect tempted me no end. About five minutes after I had rearranged these thoughts to form one intelligible question, Royal Enfield’s press man had confirmed he was going to fix me up with a Continental GT 650 in Chennai. This left me free to burden our long-term Interceptor with the ‘Great Indian Highway’ test, which would involve clocking a shade over 2,700km in four riding days – the perfect real-world test. It’s no wonder I kept looking at my wristwatch every hundred kilometres or so. There was a sense of accomplishment waiting at the end of the road. With no sign of protest from the Interceptor, save for a punctured rear tyre just around sunset (it wasn’t an easy fix, but India is an incredible country and a determined roadside mechanic made sure he got the job done), I rolled into the town of Tumakuru, a hair’s breadth away from Bengaluru, just in time for dinner. The tripmeter indicated I had travelled 937km from home, and I was keen on a hot meal and some shut-eye. Having calculated nobody in this town would find any real use for racing leathers, or a tail bag that’s breathing its last, I decided to leave it strapped to the motorcycle for the night. The lone security guard in attendance assured me of its safety and I was easily convinced. The next day would see me clock another 360km before I’d arrive in [...]
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CFMoto 650MT spied in India
Less than a week ago, we saw CFMoto testing its 250NK in India. And now, images of the company’s middleweight adventure-tourer, the 650MT, on test in India have surfaced online. The 650MT is seen covered in the same camouflage sticker work as on the 250NK, which doesn’t hide much aside for the colour scheme. The motorcycle spotted in India is the company’s new 650MT that features “improvements over its predecessor, creating a true adventure-tourer.” The ADV motorcycle is based on the platform of the company’s naked bike, the 650NK, and is already on sale in international markets like Australia. However, it uses completely different bodywork, apart from other additional ADV components. The 650MT has a large windscreen and fairing that are typical of an adventure tourer. It also has hand guards and a large single-piece seat. CFMoto has also equipped the bike with crash bars that come as standard. Optional extras include aluminium panniers and an 820mm 'low seat' to reduce the standard seat height of 840mm. The fuel tank capacity is 18 litres, while the weight is 213kg. The website, however, hasn’t mentioned if this is the dry weight or the kerb weight, but we believe it to be the former. The ground clearance for the 650MT is 170mm. The steel diamond frame the 650MT uses is suspended off the ground by a USD fork and a monoshock. Braking is taken care of by twin 300mm discs up front and a 240mm disc at the rear. The bike can also be had with only 17-inch alloy wheels at the front and rear. It misses out on spoked wheels as optional extras, which are a favourite among adventure-tourer enthusiasts. Powering this bike is a 649cc parallel-twin, DOHC engine that makes 56.4hp at 9,500rpm and 62Nm of torque at 7,000rpm. This engine comes paired to a 6-speed transmission. CFMoto’s Australian website does claim that the horsepower figure is Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) restricted, and considering that the Indian market has no such power restriction, we could see the horsepower figure go slightly higher. Now while it still remains unsure who CFMoto is partnering with to bring its motorcycle in India, it is important to note that KTM had entered into a joint venture with the company in October 2017 to expand production. The CFMoto 650MT is priced at $7,990 (Rs 4.06 lakh) in Australia and if the company could price it similarly in India, it would undercut all of its direct rivals, including the newly-launched Chinese Benelli TRK 502 and TRK 502X. [...]
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Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder revealed
Lamborghini has unveiled the facelift for its smaller supercar, the Huracán Evo Spyder, ahead of its public debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show, which is set to begin on March 5. The convertible follows soon after the India launch of the Huracan Evo, which is essentially a facelift for the coupe with design and aero changes and an uprated engine. The Huracan Evo Spyder features the same 640hp, 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10, which helps the drop-top hit 100kph from a standstill in 3.1 seconds; 0.2 sec slower than its hard-top counterpart. Despite weighing 120kg more, the Spyder has the same 323kph top speed as the Huracan Evo. Most of that extra weight comes from the car's soft-top mechanism, which uses an electrohydraulic set-up to lower it in 17 seconds, up to a speed of 50kph. Automatic pop-up rollover bars are placed behind the seats, while the rear window can be retracted electrically, whether the roof is up or down. The Huracán Evo's range of new chassis technologies, including rear-wheel steering and four-wheel torque vectoring, are also available on the Spyder. Lamborghini  claims the car's aerodynamic prowess, with more than five times the downforce and aero efficiency of the old Huracán, has also continued unchanged, while cabin airflow is said to be "minimised" to assure a "quiet cockpit environment”. The Huracan Evo has arrived in India at Rs 3.73 crore (ex-showroom, India), in the first week of February. However, there is no word from Lamborghini regarding an India launch for the Huracan Evo Spyder. Also see: Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder image gallery In conversation with Matteo Ortenzi, CEO, APAC Region, Lamborghini video Sharad Agarwal talks about the Aventador SVJ Lamborghini Aventador SVJ launched in India [...]
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PhotoGallery: Skoda Kamiq image gallery
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Refreshed Maruti Suzuki Ignis reaches dealerships
Maruti Suzuki continues to update its line-up, and following the launch of the new Wagon R and the facelifted Baleno, the carmaker has introduced the updated Ignis. The tall and quirky hatchback gets minor cosmetic changes and more equipment with this update. To adhere to upcoming safety regulations, all variants of the Ignis now get reverse-parking sensors, a speed alert system and a passenger-side seatbelt reminder system as standard. Additionally, the mid-spec Zeta and the top-spec Alpha variants get Maruti’s latest-gen SmartPlay Studio infotainment system and roof rails on the exterior. Interestingly, Maruti is likely to continue to offer the Ignis with LED headlights and DRLs only on the top-spec Alpha variant, whereas the facelifted Baleno gets this feature from the mid-spec Delta trim onwards. The Maruti Suzuki Ignis remains mechanically unchanged. It’s powered by a solitary 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 83hp and 113Nm of peak torque. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT gearbox. Maruti did offer the Ignis with a diesel engine initially, but decided to discontinue it in June 2018, owing to low demand. While there is no official confirmation, expect the updated Ignis to cost slightly more to account for the new equipment it offers. The hatchback will continue to be retailed from Maruti’s Nexa chain of dealerships. Its main competitors include the Hyundai Grand i10, the Mahindra KUV100 NXT and the Ford Freestyle.       [...]
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Pininfarina Battista to get Brembo brakes
Earlier, the design house had revealed that the Battista will put out a mammoth 1,900hp and 2,300Nm of torque, which translates into a 350kph top speed and a blistering pace of 0-100kph in "less than 2sec." For a car that hits 300kph in 12sec – the same time a hatchback takes to reach a 100kph – shedding speed equally effectively will be absolutely crucial. Talking to Autocar India, Automobili Pininfarina CEO Michael Perschke revealed that the brand is working with key suppliers to harness this unprecedented level of performance. Brake specialist Brembo has developed massive carbon-ceramic brakes for the approximately 2,000kg Battista. These brakes also allow for brake regeneration to the battery. Additionally, an active split-tail will act as an air brake to provide extra stopping power. Brembo will also bring in its valuable know-how and expertise from Formula E, as it is the exclusive supplier of the braking system for all the cars in the electric racing series. Another key supplier that Pininfarina has roped in for the Battista is Pirelli. The hypercar will sit on race-derived, Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres mounted on 21-inch alloys to offer the grip and traction that a 1,900hp car demands. The development of the Battista has seen the coming together of a lot of technology partners, led by Croatian electric supercar maker Rimac – which will develop its powertrain and battery tech. Automobili Pininfarina is just a week away from taking the covers off its limited-run electric hypercar, the Battista, at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Want to know more about the cutting-edge technology that will be driving the 1,900hp Battista? Grab the latest March 2019 issue of Autocar India for all the exclusive details. Also see: Pininfarina readies dealer network ahead of Battista launch Pininfarina Battista EV hypercar to have a unique sound Pininfarina, Karma join hands for product development [...]
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Review: Ertiga vs Marazzo vs Lodgy comparison video
Read full comparison story in the latest issue of Autocar India magazine, on stands now.  [...]
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