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Audi RS5 launched at Rs 1.1 crore
Audi has launched the second-generation RS5 Sports Coupè in India at Rs 1.1 crore (ex-showroom). The RS5 debuts the two-door coupè body style of the latest-gen A5 in India. Currently, the A5 line-up in India consists of sportback and convertible models.   Powering the new RS5 is a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol motor that is a big departure from 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 that powered the last-gen RS5. Even though it may be smaller in displacement, the engine new churns out a solid maximum power of 450hp and a humongous 600Nm of peak torque. Interestingly, the figures indicate that the new RS5 matches the old car on power, but produces a significant 170Nm more torque. As for performance, Audi claims the new RS5 can do the 0-100kph dash in just 3.9sec – half a second faster than the previous RS5. As expected, power is channelled to all four wheels via Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system mated to an eight-speed gearbox.   The sports coupé also boasts a limited top speed of 250kph in standard form. You can also upgrade to a top-speed of 280kph which is a paid opition. The new RS5 features Audi Sport’s aggressive styling cues. 19-inch wheels are standard, while 20-inchers are optional. On the inside, there is enough RS-spec elements to ma1ke you feel that you're in a performance car. Sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, Alcantara leather upholstery, sport pedals and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument system with RS highlights – these are a few elements that distinguish the RS5 from the standard A5 models.   At Rs 1.1 crore, the RS5's pricing is considerably cheaper than its direct rival, the BMW M4 that costs Rs 1.33 crore (ex-showroom).  [...]
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Mahindra Bolero crosses 1 million sales milestone in India
Mahindra has announced that sales of its Bolero utility vehicle have crossed the milestone of 1 million units. The Bolero has achieved this feat 18 years after it first went on sale. The car also enjoys the distinction of being Mahindra’s best-selling model of all time. To many, the Bolero is also the vehicle that helped establish Mahindra’s image in the market as a maker of rugged vehicles. The original Bolero (launched in 2000) was based on the Armada and has been updated over the years to keep it relevant, which made it a regular on the 'top 10 passenger vehicles by sales' list for most of its life span – that is, until two years ago, when it witnessed a sales drop. It made its comeback to the top 10 in February 2018 with sales of 8,001 units in the month. The Bolero has recorded a 23 percent year-on-year growth in the last fiscal – more than the 20.9 percent clip at which the UV segment grew in the same period. In the April-February period of the 2018 fiscal, Mahindra sold 65,906 units of the Bolero UVs. In conversation with Autocar India, Vijay Ram Nakra, Chief- Sales & Marketing - Mahindra, spoke of the key factors that have played a role in this revival in sales. “A strong comprehensive strategy for small cities and rural markets that the company put in place eight months back – complemented by the Bolero Plus – has helped the SUV regain lost volumes,” he said. For those who may not know, the Bolero Plus is a marginally shortened version of the Bolero. Its sub-four-metre length and 1.5-litre diesel engine qualify it for the government's lower rate of taxation on ‘small cars’, allowing Mahindra to price this version very competitively. Spec-to-spec, the Bolero Plus undercuts the regular Bolero by Rs 90,000, explaining how Mahindra has managed to make deeper inroads into the price-sensitive utility vehicles segment.   [...]
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Pininfarina-designed Hybrid Kinetic Group H500 takes shape
After recently revealing the H600, Hybrid Kinetic Group will unveil another electric model, later this month. This car uses micro-turbine range-extender technology and is of Pininfarina design. Due at the Beijing motor show on 25 April, 2018, the H500 sedan is a smaller sibling to the H600. It shares its powertrain technology with that car, as well as Hybrid Kinetic's HK GT coupé and K550 and K750 SUVs. The details for the H500 have yet to be revealed, though. However, the cars it shares its technology with offer up to 1,000km of range and use battery packs with 50,000-charge-cycle life spans. A preview image shows that the H500 will have four doors and a rear roofline that extends further back than on regular sedans, giving it the sort of silhouette we've come to expect from models prioritising rear head room, such as the BMW 3-series Gran Turismo. By opting for this bodyshape, the company has decided to mirror design trends in China, where demand for cars with generous rear room is higher than in most other countries. This is evident with the number of long-wheelbase versions of cars, such as the Jaguar XEL and XFL, on sale there. An image of the H500's interior shows that it features a wrap-around dash screen with a digital instrument cluster in addition to the other screen in the lower centre console. Pininfarina, the Italian design house, is soon to launch its own car company with an exotic electric hypercar which is being designed to rival the Bugatti Chiron. The brand has penned all of Hybrid Kinetic's models as part of a partnership worth £55 million (approximately Rs 504 crore).   [...]
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VW Group may replace CEO Matthias Muller
Matthias Müller looks set to stand down as Volkswagen CEO this Friday, April 13, 2018, in what is being described as an “development of the management structure". Reports in German media suggest Müller, who has been at the helm of the Volkswagen Group since the emission scandal was revealed in September 2015, will be succeeded by Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand. Volkswagen issued a statement confirming that it's considering management changes that “would also be associated with personnel changes in the board of management”. When contacted by our sister publication Autocar UK, however, a spokesman couldn’t confirm whether that included the removal of Müller from the group’s lead position. Autocar UK understands that Müller's departure comes as part of plans thought up by Wolfgang Porsche, Hans Michel Piëch and Hans Dieter Pötsch. The former two come from the families that control more than 52 percent of the Volkswagen Group, while the latter is the chairman of the Supervisory Board. Müller’s departure would also leave a vacant space on the board of Porsche, where he also has a seat. Müller has led the Volkswagen Group through one of its toughest periods as it faced fire for its emissions cheating scandal. He inherited the top role from Martin Winterkorn, who resigned when the scandal broke. [...]
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New 4-year/1,00,000km warranty for Renault Kwid
Renault India has announced a new warranty offer on the Kwid for 4 years/1,00,000 km (whichever is earlier), along with roadside assistance. The new car warranty programme consists of a 2-year/50,000km standard warranty and a 2-year/50,000 km extended warranty. The company would be looking at easing the ownership experience as well. The Kwid is currently offered in five variants and two engine options. While the 0.8-litre variant is offered only with a manual transmission, the Kwid 1.0 gets the option of an automated manual transmission (AMT). Alongside the new warranty programme, the company has also upgraded the Renault Secure programme. The scheme now offers an extended warranty, along with roadside assistance, for up to 5 years or 1,00,000 km (whichever is earlier) on all Renault models. Direct competitors of the Kwid, like the Datsun Redigo and Maruti Suzuki Alto, offer similar warranty packages. Maruti Suzuki offers a standard warranty of 2 years/40,000km with an option of an extension up to 3 years/1,00,000km (whichever is earlier). The Redigo, on the other hand, comes with a standard 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty which can be extended to 2 or 3 years/unlimited kilometre along with roadside assistance. The carmaker has been introducing some aftersales initiatives from time to time such as the Renault Assist, Workshop on Wheels (WoW), Passion on Wheels (PoW), customer apps and customer service camps.       [...]
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Review: 2018 Grazia vs Ntorq vs SR 125 comparison
The evolution of the scooter has not been too dissimilar to that of the mobile phone. Its transition from being elementary and a mere convenience to being feature-packed and indispensable has been a fast and spectacular one –  this applies to both, of course. The scooters of today, just like mobile phones, have to be multi-faceted – and be excellent at it, too. In the Indian context, this smartphone-level of expectation falls onto the 125cc segment. The 100cc segment can plod along a little longer while offering vanilla operating systems and sedate selfie cameras; but a 125 gets no exemptions. That should explain these bright, shiny-new scooters in the pictures, reaching out for your attention with intensity you haven’t witnessed before. Take a look at all the images of the bikes being tested, here. LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP Going with the disclaimer of looks being subjective, let’s take a quick look at the TVS Ntorq 125, the Aprilia SR 125 and the Honda Grazia. The Ntorq is the newest design of the three (the SR 125 came later but its styling already existed in the form of the SR 150) and it does look flashy from most angles. The under-styled front is a disappointment, but the over-styled rear-end compensates for this and the overall effect is that of a sporty scooter that’s not as blatantly boy-racer as the Aprilia. It’s got too many textures and colours going on, however, which may not be to everyone’s liking. While the overall visual package is a considerable effort from TVS, (it really has been getting its details spot-on – look at the pegs, the digital meter, the seat etc) it’s not necessarily the scooter with the best fit and finish on this list. That scooter is the Grazia. It’s not a dramatic design in any way, and this shade of white certainly doesn’t do it any favours, but it’s a clean, crisp looker. The panels align perfectly well on the Grazia and the textures are tasteful – even if they aren’t enthralling like those on the Ntorq. It just about skims a sporty outlook in this company but its popularity suggests that this is a good recipe. It’s not a scooter you’d turn around to look at one more time after you’ve parked it, however. That scooter would have to be the Aprilia SR 125. The SR is blatantly sporty and with its tall-ish, edgy stance it looks most suitable to be a motorcycle alternative. The beak at the front-end is done just right and its slim, minimalist tail-end looks fantastic – this is the best-looking sporty scooter in the country right now, by a long shot. It isn’t the best built one, though. The plastics seem dated, overall, and while nothing on it comes across as flimsy, it’s a fair distance away from the premium touch-and-feel experience the other two scooters here offer. To summarise, it’s the SR you’ve to have if you’re in college and want to look like the coolest whizzing blur your classmates have ever seen; the Ntorq if you’re in college and want to stand out in a crowd; and the Grazia, if you were once in college, some years ago. NEED FOR SPEED That these scooters need to satiate one’s performance appetite goes without saying, and each makes a credible attempt, in this aspect. In a market with sky-high expectations, however; speed alone isn’t enough. Refinement, tractability and efficiency are things a 125cc scooter has to be held accountable for and here’s how this trio goes about it. Let’s start with the slowest – the Grazia. This is a typically-Honda package – muted and linear but not exhilarating. The Grazia’s 124.9cc motor produces 8.5hp and 10.54Nm of torque; it starts off on a refined note and stays that way till about 65kph. It has a lot to offer beyond that, of course, but it loses steam and composure, past that mark. It registers a top speed of 87.9kph if you persist – but that’s clearly out of its comfort zone. This isn’t apparent in isolation but in comparison to the others, it’s impossible to ignore. The Grazia is a city-happy scooter, however. It accelerates from 0-60kph in 9.2sec and is stress-free at urban speeds, but it simply lacks the excitement you’d want out of a 125. The Ntorq fares better. Its 124.7cc, 3-valve motor makes 9.4hp and 10.5Nm of torque – likably healthy figures – and it translates to an encouraging performance package. It feels strong being launched and it is the quickest of the lot, going from 0-60kph in just 8.81sec. TVS has lent it a rather RTR-ish exhaust note, as well, which stays racy till about 60kph before fading away into a scooter-ish soundtrack. The motor does a fine job of being vibe-free and consistently tractable, and the Ntorq retains momentum all the way to its top speed, which is 95.4kph. The heavy throttle-twist action may not appeal universally but it lends a substantial feel [...]
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Rolls Royce Cullinan tests to be on social media ahead of launch
The British luxury carmaker has revealed that it will publicise some of the most gruelling parts of the Cullinan's testing programme through its new deal with television channel National Geographic. The luxury model has been testing for three years in Northern Europe, the Middle East and the United States. As part of RR's deal with National Geographic, the Cullinan will now be filmed and photographed as part of the 'The Final Challenge' series, which will be posted on social media. The Cullinan, due for launch later this year, is claimed to mix ultra-luxury with genuine off-road ability. Rolls-Royce unveiled the car's pop-out, tailgate-mounted seats and table recently, following confirmation of the car's name. Recent spy shots showed the Cullinan with the least disguise we've seen yet, revealing a lot of the Phantom-like look of the car. The pop-out seats are rear-facing and intended for use while the car is not in motion; each of them bears the Rolls-Royce logo and both fold back into a compartment in the boot floor. The Phantom's design influence is clear to see, with a near-identical fascia at the front and D-shaped tail-lights at the rear. The boxy design shows that the Cullinan takes after the Phantom rather than the smoother-looking Ghost. Spy shots show that the rear doors are rear-hinged, as seen on both the Ghost and the Phantom. The rival to the Bentley Bentayga was called 'Project Cullinan' during its development. The name is inspired by the Cullinan Diamond – a 3,106-carat jewel extracted from a South African mine in 1905. The diamond was split into nine stones, with the two largest stones used in the British imperial crown and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the Cullinan name had been “hiding in plain sight.” “It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product,” he added. The Cullinan – which Rolls-Royce refers to as a 'high-sided vehicle' rather than an SUV – is likely to use a developed version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12 engine. A plug-in hybrid powertrain could also be offered at a later stage, using technology from parent company BMW. Rolls-Royce has dismissed a diesel option due to the comparative lack of refinement offered by such units. The all-wheel-drive car will use the same aluminium spaceframe platform as the Phantom, called the 'Architecture of Luxury', by the automaker.   [...]
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PhotoGallery: 2018 Grazia vs Ntorq vs SR 125 comparison image gallery
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2018 Hyundai i30: 5 things you need to know
Hyundai’s i30 has been spied testing in India near Chennai recently, leading to speculation about what the hatchback is doing here. Here’s what you need to know about the i30: Is it an Elantra hatchback? The i30 is a premium model that was first unveiled at the 2016 Paris motor show. It slots in above the i20 in Hyundai’s international line-up and rivals the likes of the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf, in hatchback form. It is also available in coupé and sedan body styles. For India (and for the US), the Korean brand sells the model as a sedan, known as the Elantra. What about engines and power? The Elantra sedan is one that we’re familiar with; the i30 hatchback shares its underpinnings with this sedan, as well as most of the mechanical bits. The powertrain, however, differs for every market. The Elantra in India gets the 152hp, 2.0-litre petrol and 128hp, 1.6-litre diesel engines; both of these get six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. Based on the badging, the i30 hatchback that was spied in Chennai was powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine. It looks sporty. Is there a performance version, too? International markets also get a more extreme version of this car – the i30 N hot hatch. Hyundai’s performance arm has taken the i30 hatchback and changed its exterior to make it look faster. The carmaker has added wider intakes, a rear diffuser, twin exhaust pipes, N-labelled brake calipers and 18-inch (optional 19-inch) alloy wheels. The front-wheel-drive hot hatch is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol motor, which is available in two states of tune – 250hp and 275hp. In its former state, 100kph is reached from a standstill in 6.4sec, while its latter state shaves 0.3sec off that time. What about the technology it comes with? The standard models and the i30 N are all typical of the brand; they are quite feature-rich. While the India-spec Elantra is just at par with its rivals in the segment in terms of features, the hot hatch gets also gets a gamut of safety features beyond the usual six airbags, ABS and Isofix seat mounts. Driver-assist features include autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, lane keep assist and high beam assist technology. The car can also recognise road signs and display them in the car’s TFT instrument display cluster. Is it coming to India? Hyundai has not confirmed (or denied) plans to bring the i30 to India – there’s a high chance the car spotted was just a test mule to test components. The fact that the Elantra (and even the Creta) shares certain components with the i30, adds weight to this assumption. If brought to India, the i30 would be pricier than the current lot of sub-4-metre hatchbacks and would actually cost as much as mid-size sedans and SUVs. Then again, Hyundai did pioneer the premium hatchback segment in India in 2008 with the launch of the original i20; so don’t be surprised if Hyundai does decide to bring the i30 to India, in the future. Should Hyundai launch the i30 in India, and would you buy a premium hatchback for SUV or sedan money? Let us know in the comments section below. [...]
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Indian Army-spec Tata Safari Storme deliveries commence
About a year ago, Tata Motors had formally signed a contract to supply as many as 3,192 units of Safari Storme to the Indian Armed Forces. As we had reported earlier, the Safari Storme beat its prime rival, the Scorpio to become the choice of general vehicle for the Indian Armed forces. This conclusion was achieved after more than a year of rigorous testing conducted in various terrains across the country. Tata Motors has now officially begun deliveries of the Army-spec Safari Storme SUV. The new Tata Safari Storme for the Indian army is categorised under the new GS800 (General Service 800) vehicle classification, which subscribes to the basic criteria of a capable hardtop vehicle with air-conditioning and a minimum payload of 800kg. A new set of images show the Army-spec Tata Safari Storme from all angles. The SUV gets unique matte-green paint and is devoid of its chrome trim in order to avoid any type of reflection. The erstwhile chrome-bits are either painted in the same green shade as the vehicle, or have been blacked out. The vehicle gets special blacked-out lamps on the front and the rear bumpers. It also gets two special, heavy-duty hooks at the back and a unique jerry-can holder on the left rear fender. The alloy wheels are also painted in matte-green, like the rest of the body. Tata Motors had previously clarified that the Safari Storme for the armed forces gets an upgraded drivetrain and a significantly modified suspension setup. The standard vehicle comes with a 2.2­litre diesel engine, which is good for 154hp and 400Nm of torque. The army wanted to move away from a GS500 (General Service 500kg) platform – which includes the Gypsy – as the need was for a hardtop vehicle with a heavier payload-carrying capacity. As mentioned before, Tata Motors has begun deliveries to the Army and Navy, which will take place in a phased manner. Image source [...]
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In conversation with Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover
On the sidelines of the Geneva motor show, Speth talks about the future of diesel, on profitability and opportunities in JLR’s product portfolio. On the future of diesel engines I am convinced that, for us, diesel will play a role in the future. A few automakers have said they are stepping out of diesel completely. It would be a pity if this impacts the development of diesel. Although hybrid and electric vehicles will play a very important role in the future, no one can make the transition over a weekend. We also have seen that modern, high-tech engines, internal combustion engines are a good choice. It is predicted that by 2025-2030, around 20-30 percent of vehicles will be electrified. That sounds like a lot, but it also means 60-70 percent vehicles will continue to use an internal combustion engine. So, the internal combustion engine will have a big role to play in modern mobility. If you look at modern high- tech engines, diesel has several advantages; it’s better from a fuel consumption point of view, the CO2 emissions are 20 to 30 percent lower, and there is a solution to reducing the NOx with modern technology. With Adblue, NOx is not the big issue anymore. So, facts and figures should be put on the table and governments, environmental groups, journalists, and automakers should sit around the table and create the right platform for future mobility. On the impact on profitability due to investment in internal combustion engines and electric cars Developing internal combustion engines as well as electrics is a challenge. Apart from the fully electric i-Pace and the hybrid Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, we also have to refine the conventional internal combustion engines, which stretches an organisation unbelievably, and margins will be impacted. Because, at the end of the day, let’s say you have a certain period of time until everything is settled, to understand the costs coming out of the infrastructure, and the kind of connectors required to set-up charging. That means you have to prepare for everything because everybody expects the car to have everything. It’s a question of manpower, of skills, but also quite clearly, at the end of the day, of money. On strategy for investment and expansion this year In the current financial year, we are going to spend 4.3 billion pounds. It’s quite clear, the investment is high as we are committed to spend over proportionally, because we are still in a catch-up mode since other carmakers have developed a critical mass of volume and they have more facilities. We sold around 6,00,000 vehicles last year, while otherssold millions of cars. They’ve had 20-30 years to achieve this level and therefore we cannot catch up so soon. We are going to start a new plant in Slovakia which will go on stream this year, we have expanded a little in India, and we have expanded in China and South America. On addressing gaps in the model portfolio Overall, there are white spaces wherever you look, not just in the lower segments but also in the segments we are currently operating in. Take for instance the 3-series segment. We have one car, the XE, while BMW has the 3-series, 4-series with a coupé, convertible, sport brake and a GT version. So the key question is, do you expand the current segment you are in and offer the customer another alternative? Or do you step down and then attract completely new customers? So we have a lot of opportunities and we are evaluating them. On the growth of the joint venture in China In China, the JV is a very good development, it was absolutely the right decision to go there and absolutely right decision at the end of the day to produce there. We are delivering not just the Evoque or the Discovery Sport for China, we also have developed an XE LWB and an XF LWB – fantastic vehicles which also improve the image and expand the product portfolio of Jaguar in China. So it’s a very interesting market, GDP growth is stabilised, car market – especially the premium car market – is overproportionate to the normal market, so we are in a good position there. Also see: JLR India to launch 10 models by March 2019 2018 Range Rover Evoque Convertible launched at Rs 69.53 lakh 2018 Jaguar F-Type SVR review, test drive Jaguar XE and XF now get Ingenium petrol motor in India [...]
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Audi RS5 India launch on April 11
Audi is all set to launch the second generation of its RS5 sports coupé in India on April 11, 2018. The RS5 is the high-performance version of the Audi A5 coupé and also debuts the coupé body style of the latest-gen A5 in India. At present, the A5 line-up in India includes Sportback and convertible models. Under the RS5’s hood is a new 2.9-litre, twin-turbo V6 petrol motor. The engine is a drastic departure in spec to the last-gen RS5’s 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8. The new RS5’s engine may be smaller in displacement but it packs a solid punch with peak power at 450hp and max torque at 600Nm (up 170Nm). Audi claims a 0-100kph time of 3.9sec for the new RS5, which is half a second faster than the old car. The sports coupé also boasts a limited top speed of 250kph in standard form; it remains to be seen if Audi India will offer the optional RS Dynamic package that ups the figure to 280kph. The said package also includes lightweight components, like a carbon-fibre roof, to bring the weight down by 60kg. A sport exhaust system is also on offer. As expected, power is channelled to all four wheels via Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed gearbox. The new RS5 features Audi Sport’s aggressive styling cues. 19-inch wheels will be standard, while 20-inchers are expected to be offered as an option. On the inside, there will be enough RS-spec elements to tell you this is a performance car. Sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, Alcantara leather upholstery, sport pedals and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument system with RS highlights are the few elements that will distinguish the RS5 from the standard A5 models. Once launched, the RS5 will rival the BMW M4 that costs Rs 1.33 crore (ex-showroom). Also see: New cars and SUVs launched in 2018 New car launches around the corner Budget impact: Audi India to hike prices by up to 4 percent 2018 Audi A6: 5 things you need to know [...]
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2018 Mercedes GLS Grand Edition launched at Rs 86.90 lakh
In order to clear existing stocks of its flagship SUV in India, Mercedes-Benz has launched a special-edition version of the GLS, badged the Grand Edition. Available as the GLS 350d diesel and the GLS 400 petrol, and both priced at Rs 86.90 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the limited-run SUV gets cosmetic changes on the outside and more equipment in the cabin. Compared to the standard models, which retail at Rs 82.90 lakh, the special editions are Rs 4 lakh dearer. The exteriors of the Grand Edition get automatic LED headlamps with a black surround, new black-finished, 10-spoke, 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome-finished fins on the bonnet and Grand Edition badges all around. Exclusive paint options include Citrine brown metallic, Designo diamond white bright, Cavansite blue metallic, Obsidian black metallic, Iridium silver metallic and Tenorite grey metallic. On the inside, the GLS Grand Edition is near identical to the luxuriously appointed standard model and features a heated three-spoke multifunction steering wheel (wrapped in nappa leather) with paddle shifters, 12 function keys, and a nappa leather airbag cover. It also gets a new, redesigned instrument panel with a semi-integrated colour screen. The Mercedes GLS Grand Edition also comes with a rear seat entertainment system as standard, which was previously only an option on the GLS. This comprises of two 7.0-inch high-definition touchscreen infotainment screens mounted on the front seat backs; they are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. Mechanically, the special edition is unchanged and is powered by the same 258hp/620Nm, 3.0-litre V6 diesel is the GLS 350d or a 333hp/480Nm, 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine in the GLS 400. The nine-speed automatic transmission, which power all four wheels (Mercedes’ 4Matic system) is also standard, as is the active suspension system called Airmatic. Mercedes also offers new service packages along with the Grand Edition – the Compact Pack (Rs 75,000 for the GLS 400 and Rs 1.04 lakh for the GLS 350d) is for two tears and comes with unlimited mileage for maintenance related work on the premium luxury SUV. Also see: Mercedes GLS 350d review, test drive 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 450 video review New-gen Mercedes petrol engines coming to India this year Mercedes vehicles now get radar-based tech in India [...]
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Tyre killers in Amanora removed after Pune police notice
The tyre killers that were installed in the Amanora Park Town have been removed following the Pune police sending a legal notice to the management. The device was installed near the Amanora Pearson School in order to deter vehicles, particularly two-wheelers, from using the wrong side of the road. However, the police asked for its removal citing the usage of the tyre killer on public roads had been done without permission of any government agency and that the device is not approved by the Indian Road Congress due to the risks associated with it. Speaking to a publication, traffic police inspector, JD Kalaskar said, “The spikes are very sharp and can turn fatal if someone falls there. Especially with the school around, the risk is severe. They had not sought permission for any such installation. Even though it has been put up inside the township, the road is being used by the masses and we have to ensure their safety.” On the other hand, the management of the Township said in a statement that the measure had been introduced to ensure the safety of the children attending the nearby school. There had been a significant number of accidents on that spot prior to the installation, and the number of vehicles plying on the wrong side had reduced after the tyre killers were put it. While the tyre killers have been deemed an extreme measure to curb accidents and wrongful road usage, the move was hailed by the populace across social media platforms. Despite the risk, do you think extreme measures like tyre killers the only answer to help people adhere to road rules? Or is there a better solution? Please let us know in the comments. SOURCE IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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Pune mall installs tyre killers to deter wrong-way driving
The Amanora Park Town mall in Magarpatta, Pune, has installed tyre killers on their roads to deter vehicles from using the wrong side of the road. The move has been mooted as a solution to curb the high number of accidents that occur due to driving or riding on the wrong side of the road or in the wrong direction in a one-way lane. Pune is well-known as for the high number of two-wheelers plying on its roads, and the number of accidents that happen in the city, due to a lack of adherence to traffic rules, is correspondingly high as well. Tyre killers are essentially metal strips with a ramp on one side and spikes on the other end. The design is meant to discourage a vehicle from using the road in the wrong direction by puncturing the tyre, hence the name. However, if used in the right direction, the spike bends, allowing trouble-free progress. It seems that, like with everything else regarding traffic and roads in India, a punishment is always the more viable option compared to actually educating the populace to use roads correctly. Do you think installing tyre killers is a good option to help reduce traffic accidents in the country? Let us know in the comments. IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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Honda 125cc scooters recalled
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has issued a recall for its 125cc scooter family. The affected scooters include the Honda Grazia, Activa 125 and the Aviator. According to the Japanese manufacturer, they have identified a defect in the quality of the bolt flange which is mounted on the front telescopic forks. The above defect has affected 56,194 units of the 125cc scooters. To address the defect, Honda will inspect its 125cc scooter manufactured from February 7-16, 2018, and has announced that it will be notifying affected customers through call / e-mail / SMS for inspection of their vehicle. Customers can also check whether their vehicle is affected by using the unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the special section on Honda India’s official website. If your scooter comes under the recall-affected list, Honda will replace the faulty part, if required, free of cost. Dealerships have already started fixing the recalled vehicles and Honda has urged customers to book an appointment before heading to the service centre to avoid any inconvenience. Also see: 2018 Honda Activa 5G launched at Rs 52,460 Honda two wheelers hits 35 million milestone Honda PCX Electric scooter showcased at Auto Expo 2018 2017 Honda Grazia vs Suzuki Access 125 comparison   2017 Honda Grazia 125 review, test ride [...]
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Choosing between an Audi A4 and BMW 5-series
Should I buy the BMW 5-series or the Audi A4? I know both are from different segments but I am considering the top-spec Audi A4, which costs around  Rs 50 lakh, and the base model of the BMW 5-series, which costs around Rs 57 lakh. Which is more value for money? Kushal Agarwal, Kolkata AAA The A4 is a very refined car with a great ride and fantastic build quality but, overall, the 5-series is a much more compelling package in terms of driving pleasure and image. We feel you should go for the 5-series. It is a size bigger than the A4 and will be more comfortable too. [...]
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Lynk & Co 02 crossover revealed
Lynk & Co, the new brand from Chinese car firm Geely, has unveiled its new 02 small crossover at an event in Amsterdam. The 02, which will only feature electrified powertrains, sits alongside the bigger 01 SUV and a saloon called the 03 in the nascent company’s range. The firm says that 02 will offer 'sporty' handling to appeal to a European audience. The 02 will initially sold internationally by 2020 using the three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine from the Volxo XC40, likely in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid form. A full electric version is planned, but it unlikely to arrive before 2021. That will use the same electric motor as the forthcoming XC40 EV. Lynk & Co, which has the same owners as Volvo, began selling cars in China last year. It says the new 02 is central to its plans to gain a share in the European market. Like the 01, the 02 is built on Geely's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, also used by Volvo for the XC40. The platform is highly adjustable, and the 02 has a shorter wheelbase, lower ride height and wider rear track that the 01. It also has stiffer rear suspension, to make it more sporty. The 02 will be offered in a range of two-tone colours schemes, with a limited number of 'personas' instead of trims. Lynk & Co has put a heavy focus on in-car connectivity, with large touchscreens and infotainment systems, along with what it claims is the ‘world’s first in-car share button’. Lynk & Co models won’t feature traditional trim levels and options. Instead, the firm says it will offer a series of one-price collections. Along with its other Volvo-based models, the 02 will be built at Volvo’s factory in Ghenk, Belgium. The company says that its models will be designed with European handling tastes, with an emphasis on being fun to drive. Lynk & Co's focus on 'globally connected urbanites' was also shown by a new partnership with online designer retailer Tictail, who will work with the car firm on a collection entitled 'The City Dweller Series'. [...]
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Blog: Keep it shining
I love polishing and keeping my cars shining just as much as I love driving them. In fact, I like polishing so much that I’d voluntarily detail a friend’s car when I’m done with my own. You may not believe me but advising fellow car nuts on how to go about washing and polishing their cars can pan out to an in-depth conversation. Also, no overseas trip of mine is complete without visiting a car care product shop. A shining car always stands out. That aside, for me, a well-detailed set of wheels is like being well groomed at an awards night dinner and is as important as personal hygiene. You may wonder what products I use and brands I recommend, but honestly, most products from known manufacturers like Armor All, Turtle Wax, Formula 1 and the entire 3M range are all equally good. If you want to pamper your car and have deep pockets, try products from Autoglym, Griot’s Garage or other premium brands. However, it’s not just great products that make your car look great but rather how thoroughly and methodically you do the cleaning and polishing work is what matters the most. At times, I use many household products on my cars like Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner to remove grime and tar from door trims and wheel rims, Silvo metal polish on chrome, or even Vaseline petroleum jelly to protect chrome in the monsoons. Clothes-washing brushes are excellent to clean the tyres before polishing them and if your headlamps look a bit dull. And if you really can’t get your hands on a restoration kit, use toothpaste! As much as I love glossy paint, any car polish job would be incomplete without polished interiors. They look great, especially the veneer or faux wood in older cars when applied with furniture wood polish. Of course, if you suffer from OCD like me, you wouldn’t want to make any compromises on your pride and joy and will use the very best products available for specific jobs. They undoubtedly make a difference over makeshift ones. I follow self-made rules, like allowing only a washer trained by me to wash my cars after a sort of induction period. Besides using only micro-fibre fabric, I like to have dedicated pieces of cloth to wash wheels, bodywork and glass.  I’ve always been tempted to buy a car wash system but never ended up buying one. Lately, I have been excited about waterless car wash technology. Not only does it save water, but also time. Best of all, it saves your car from the threat of rusting, especially older cars, as there is no risk of water being retained in cavities. All this would mean nothing if you don’t maintain your car between polishes; it’s best to avoid parking under a tree or keeping your paint exposed to the sun. Or even further, protect your car from people wearing jeans standing against it – those buttons can scratch your paint. I’ve been doing this from the time I’ve attended college lectures!  Image credit: Clinton Pereira [...]
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Review: 2018 Renault Zoe e-Sport review, test drive
Now before you ask, no, you can’t buy it and it’s not coming to a showroom near you. In fact, it’s not coming to a showroom at all. So then, why am I driving this electric blue Renault Zoe e-Sport – a one-off prototype? Because we are told it’s electric; and that electric cars are the future. But it’s a future that gives enthusiasts like us sleepless nights. Just imagine a world without internal combustion and one that is ruled by emotionless, boring cars, silently roaming streets like appliances. That’s the cue for the Zoe e-Sport to come in and comfort us with the prospect that EVs (apart from their goody-good image of saving the planet) can be fast and fun. Okay, Tesla has already proved that EVs can deliver sportscar levels of acceleration, but the Zoe e-Sport takes it another level by bundling supercar-slaying performance in an ordinary hatchback. This could be the template for a GTI (or GTe?) hot hatch in the next 7-8 years.  The Zoe e-Sport is also a showcase of Renault’s Formula E racing technology and no doubt, the famous adage, ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday,’ will soon apply to EVs, too. It also makes me digress a bit to the lost opportunity Mahindra Racing’s super successful Formula E campaign is. If Renault can stuff Formula E bits into a Zoe why can’t Mahindra do the same to a KUV100 as a one-off? That would have made some statement at the Buddh circuit. Coming back to the e-Sport; it packs two Formula E motors, each to power the front and rear axle. Collectively, they produce 460hp of pure electric power distributed through all four wheels. The e-Sport has a tangible link to a road-going Zoe, but like a typical ‘silhouette’ race car, there is not a part in common between the race and road versions. The e-Sport has a tubular chassis built by racing specialist Tork engineering and the body is made of carbon fibre. Hunkered down on massive 20-inch alloys that sit under outrageously flared-out wheel arches, the Zoe e-Sport – with its massive front air dam, carbon-fibre spoiler, and rear diffuser – certainly looks the part. The underpinnings, too, are pure race car, with a double wishbone suspension front and rear, pro Öhlin dampers that are four-way adjustable, AP racing brakes and mechanical differentials on both axles with a 45/55 front/rear split. Inside, it’s all racing car too, with a roll cage and a pair of Recaros with 6-point harnesses. There’s a single screen in front of you, which looks very high-tech and gives you all sorts of information on the power flow, and a trio of chunky rotary switches which select drive and vary the power output. It’s a stripped-out cabin with not much by way of creature comforts. Forget air-conditioning, there isn’t even a proper blower, and the windows are fixed and don’t roll down, whilst the door handles are flimsy levers. All this has been done in the name of saving weight. But tipping the scales at 1400kg, the e-Sport isn’t exactly light; and that’s because of the two 20kWh lithium-ion battery packs placed low down in the floor, that alone weigh a very hefty 450kg. It may not have a favourable power-to-weight ratio, but with max torque available from a standstill, the Zoe e-Sport, according to Renault, will rocket to 100kph in 3.2sec and into 210kph in just 10sec. This makes the electrified Renault quicker than a Porsche Turbo. Time to test the claim? That’s exactly what I’m here for, on a hot, sunny day at the Dubai Autodrome. ALIEN WEAR Turn on the e-Sport and you can hear various wooshes and whirrs as it comes alive. Select Drive, engage the highest voltage setting (for max power) via the rotary controls on the dashboard and the e-Sport is primed for take-off. You know the car is alive when a gentle prod of the right pedal is all it takes for the e-Sport to lunge forward like a frightened cat. The smallest flex of your foot is met with an instant response and there is absolutely no delay in power delivery. I hold a steady ‘throttle’ trundling down the pit lane of the Dubai Autodrome, which allows me time to adjust to the relative lack of sound, which bears no resemblance to a high-strung racing engine. There’s a steady hum from the electric motors and cooling fans behind me, which sounds like some industrial machine. It all feels quite alien. Exiting the pit lane, I press down on the accelerator and that hum turns into a high-pitched whine as the e-Sport bolts forward. The acceleration is incredible and pushes me into the deeply contoured Recaro bucket; but what I can’t get my head around is how the rapid build-up of speed is accompanied by a complete lack of drama. There’s no loud, manic scream to the redline, no interruption of power with gearshifts, but just a strong, seamless and linear shove forward which actually serves to mask the [...]
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KYMCO to start selling scooters in India by 2021
KYMCO is a name many in India haven’t heard of. But that doesn’t mean it's a brand not worth knowing. So let's begin with that Who is KYMCO KYMCO or Kwang Yang Motor Co is the biggest two-wheeler brand in Taiwan, a very pro-scooter market, so much so that you hardly see any motorcycles or step-through on the wide streets of Taipei. KYMCO is also a household name in South East Asia and its even the fourth largest scooter brand in Europe. KYMCO’s product line-up consists of everything from traditional scooters and step-throughs to premium maxi-scooters as well as ATVs and side-by-sides, and even a couple of small capacity motorcycles. More recently, KYMCO just took the wraps off its new IONEX EV solution and the new Many EV scooter that is the first model under the IONEX umbrella. You can read about that here, or you can move on to the next big question in this article. What took them so long? More interesting, from the Indian context, is that chairman Allen Ko just announced the company’s plans to enter the Indian market within the next three years. This begs the question, if KYMCO is such a big name internationally, how could they have ignored our market all this time? After all, scooters have been hot property in India  for some years now and the temperature is only getting higher and higher. When we asked Ko this, he responded that the company has been looking at India for a number of years now, nearly two decades actually. In fact he has made a number of visits to India himself to meet local manufacturers and get a first hand feel for the market. But the company has only now felt that the time is right and the fact that they’ve taken this long validates a message Ko is very clear about - KYMCO is not in it to get involved in the numbers game. So what kind of products can we expect Before we address the actual products themselves, let's talk about how they will arrive in our market. At the moment, KYMCO is keen to find a local partner and this is their top priority, despite the fact that Ko is aware that most JVs have had a poor record in our country. However, KYMCO seems quite committed to the three year timeline and says that it will come into India on its own if an appropriate partner cannot be found. And that brings us back to the products. While the company says no fixed strategy has been decided yet, it is clear on the fact that it wants to go premium and will offer a mix of EVs and maxi-scooters. This is well in line with the company’s plan to have ten new electric products under its IONEX umbrella in the next three years and its target to hit a sales mark of half a million EVs in the same time period.  A glance at KYMCO’s current line-up reveals a number of premium 125cc offerings and even a full-size maxi-scooter with a fuel injected 125cc heart called the X-town 125i. Of course, they might offer larger capacity machines as well, to truly differentiate from the crowd. Here too, there a numerous options like the single cylinder 300cc and 400cc Xcting models and even the new, twin cylinder AK550. More will certainly debut over the next couple of years. The same apples to the EVs - there will be a number of new ones on sale by 2021, so its too early to speculate here. What about dedicated models, developed specially for India? KYMCO is no stranger to the fact that India is a notoriously hard market to break into. This is probably why they’ve taken the wise decision to avoid being sucked into the allure of the enormous numbers that make up our market. Bigger companies have attempted this and failed - some repeatedly. So while it recognises the value of having a dedicated product designed and developed for our market, KYMCO admits that this will take a bit too long. Hence, the first products to go on sale will come from the existing product portfolio. But for now, it's too early to tell whether these first products will come as a CBU (something they’re trying to avoid), or whether they will be locally assembled, or if full local manufacturing is possible right from the start. What KYMCO is saying now is that they’re certainly interested in eventually using India as an international manufacturing base. Slow and Steady That’s the game plan KYMCO is going for and you shouldn’t expect an extravagant, screamer of an entrance into our market. Instead, the company stresses on the fact that it will take this one step at a time. Dedicated products for India are certainly on the wish list and its why KYMCO is so keen to find a local partner, so as to better understand the requirements of our market. But as of now, the main focus appears to be on deciding what their strategy for India will be and we’ll only hear more as 2021 draws closer. [...]
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Jeep Compass Trailhawk showcased in India
The India-spec Jeep Compass Trailhawk was displayed at a dealer meet recently. Expected to appear in showrooms in the coming months, the more rugged Compass already rolls out of FCA’s Ranjangaon facility for other right-hand-drive markets like Japan and Australia. Positioned as the new top-spec variant in the Compass range, the Trailhawk is powered by the same 173hp 2.0 litre diesel engine as the standard model, which also gets a 163hp 1.4-litre turbo-petrol motor. However, the six-speed manual has been replaced with a nine-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all-four wheels. The Compass Trailhawk is expected to be a diesel-only model for our market. The model’s Trail Rating comes from features like Jeep’s Active Drive Low-range 4WD technology for serious off-roading duties and a new 'Rock mode' for its Selec-Terrain 4WD system. The Trailhawk also sits 20mm higher than its standard counterpart and gets uniquely designed front and rear bumpers, which make for better approach (30 degree) and departure (33.6 degree) angles; its breakover angle stands at 24.4 degree. The SUV also gets hill descent control as standard. The new top-spec variant also features a bit of show to match its go anywhere capabilities such as new 17-inch alloy wheels, a dual-tone black and silver exterior finish, red recovery hooks, a black-painted anti-glare bonnet decal, underbody skid plates and all-weather floor mats in the cabin. Bookings for the more rugged SUV have begun, with Jeep dealers quoting an increase of about Rs 2.5 lakh for the Compass Trailhawk over the standard top-spec model that retails for Rs 21.92 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Also see: 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk review, test drive 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk video review 2017 Jeep Compass review, road test [...]
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Toyota Yaris TRD revealed
Toyota has taken the wraps off a sportier version of its Honda City rival, the Yaris Ativ TRD, at the ongoing 2018 Bangkok motor show. Typical of the Japanese brand’s models to wear the performance-focused badge, the mid-size sedan features various cosmetic changes. The body kit is also expected to be used on Singapore-spec TRD model (called the Vios there). On the outside, the Yaris TRD sports dual-tone side skirts, the front spoiler and rear faux diffuser finished in red, and a redesigned front bumper that houses enlarged fog lamp surrounds. Red highlights are also visible on the outside rear-view mirrors while the boot spoiler is finished in black. Besides the body kit, the model doesn’t get any TRD badges, special alloy wheels or any mechanical changes for that matter. The main differences between the Yaris Ativ and the Vios can be found in the cabin and under the hood. The former gets a 1.2-petrol litre engine, while the latter is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol and gets more premium interiors. As we had reported earlier, the Japanese brand has begun taking bookings for the Yaris in India (incidentally, we get the Singapore-spec Vios). The India-spec model, which was also showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo, is powered by a 108hp, 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, petrol engine and will be available with a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-step CVT automatic. No diesel engine is expected though a hybrid model is on the cards for a possible future launch. Expected to rival the likes of the Hyundai Verna, Honda City and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, the Yaris for India will be heavily localised; which means prices are likely to be competitive – in the region of Rs 8.4-13.5 lakh (ex-showroom). The top-spec variants are expected to come with segment-first features such as gesture control for the touchscreen infotainment system, a tyre pressure-monitoring system, 60:40 rear seat split, adjustable three-neck restraints for the rear seat, a roof-mounted rear air-con with ambient lighting, a powered driver’s seat and front parking sensors. Considering Toyota had previously introduced TRD Sportivo versions of the Etios Liva hatchback, Etios sedan and the Fortuner SUV in India, it is possible that the carmaker will bring the body kit for its Yaris after the standard model arrives. Do you think Toyota should bring the Yaris TRD to India? Let us know in the comments below Also see: Toyota Yaris Ativ TRD image gallery Toyota Yaris may not get diesel option at all In conversation with N Raja, Toyota India 2018 Toyota Yaris vs rivals: Specifications comparison 2018 Toyota Yaris: 5 things you need to know Toyota Yaris sedan first look video IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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Top 10 fuel-efficient petrol cars in India
Buying a petrol car over a diesel one in India has its advantages – mainly the lower initial cost and comparatively better levels of refinement and NVH. With prices of diesel slowly achieving parity with petrol and the various recent international diesel emission scandals, the Indian industry is seeing a gradual shift towards petrol engine cars. Still, fuel efficiency is one of the most important factors an Indian consumer takes into account when buying a car. Hence, here’s our list of the 10 most fuel-efficient petrol cars on sale in India today. Though the figures quoted ahead are ARAI certified, they do not reflect real-world efficiency figures as those tests are conducted in the lab under ideal conditions. 1. Datsun Redigo - 25.17kpl Datsun’s Redigo, when powered by the 54hp, 0.8-litre engine, shares the top spot with the identically equipped Renault Kwid. The brand has also introduced a 68hp, 1.0-litre model (ARAI fuel efficiency of 22.5kpl) of the tall boy hatchback, with an AMT version expected to launch in January 2018. While the Redigo isn’t the most well-equipped or most spacious car, with prices starting at Rs 2.81 lakh (on-road, Delhi), the frugal engine and its styling, the Redigo is a decent buy. The automated manual version of the Redigo 1.0 has recently been introduced recently at Rs 3.81 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Also see:  2017 Datsun Redigo 1.0 video review Renault Kwid vs Datsun Redigo video comparison Datsun Redigo review, road test Nissan, Datsun prices to go up by 2 percent 1. Renault Kwid - 25.17kpl The rugged-looking Renault hatchback shares the 0.8-litre engine with the Redigo, and the same ARAI-rated fuel-efficiency figure. Slightly more premium and spacious interiors, along with a touchscreen infotainment system on the top-spec trim, are a few of the reasons to go for the Kwid, whose prices start at Rs 2.67 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). A 1.0-litre version and an AMT variant are also available, along with a more rugged-looking Climber version. Also read:  Renault Kwid road test 2017 Renault Kwid long term review, third report In conversation with Fabrice Cambolive, Renault Group 3. Maruti Alto 800 - 24.7kpl There’s a good reason why the Alto 800 is one of India’s most popular small cars – its price (staring at Rs 2.51 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi), its fuel efficiency and Maruti’s extensive service network. The 48hp, 796cc motor helps the lightweight car post the third-best fuel efficiency figure on this list. Also see: Redigo vs Alto 800 vs Kwid vs Eon comparison Maruti Alto 800 facelift review, test drive Maruti Alto crosses 35 lakh unit sales 4. Maruti Alto K10 - 24.07kpl It is a better-looking and more upmarket version of the Alto 800, with a peppy and 68hp, 1.0-litre engine. It’s a great choice as an urban runabout with a price tag starting at Rs 3.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). It also comes with an automatic variant that is claimed to be just as fuel efficient as the manual. Also see:  New Maruti Alto K10 review, test drive Renault Kwid 1.0 vs Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 vs Hyundai Eon: Specifications comparison 5. Tata Tiago - 23.84kpl Priced from Rs 3.26 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Tiago is a good-looking hatchback that features a stylish, yet practical interior and decent levels of equipment. Its size and features put it in a segment that's slightly above the other cars, but the 85hp, 1.2-litre engine is a bit lacklustre in terms of performance. An AMT version is also on offer. A performance version and an all-electric version of the hatchback were showcased recently at Auto Expo 2018.  Also read:  2017 Tata Tiago long term review, final report Tata Tiago review 6. Tata Nano GenX - 23.6kpl While the Nano GenX is a marked improvement over the original Nano, the package is let down by its image, poor ride quality and lack of luggage space. However, it is the most affordable car in India with prices starting at Rs 2.28 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Along with the price tag, the efficient 38hp, 624cc engine, interior space and manoeuvrability in tight spaces are a few of the reasons to buy one. Also see: SCOOP! Tata Electric Nano will be launched as the Jayem Neo Tata Nano AMT long term review, final report 7. Maruti Celerio - 23.1kpl   Maruti brought out a minor facelift for its Celerio recently, priced from Rs 4.20 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi); though not much had changed. Besides a claim that the hatchback has been upgraded to meet upcoming Indian safety norms in terms of pedestrian, offset and side impact regulations, the model is more or less the same, with Maruti having missed the opportunity to equip it with a touchscreen infotainment system. The 68hp, 1.0-litre three- [...]
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Review: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 450 video review
Also see: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 450 petrol India review, test drive 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class facelift India review, test drive [...]
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First 3D printed car on roads by 2019
The world’s first 3D printed car looks set to make production next year – and its maker believes it previews an “inevitable” change that’ll affect the whole industry. Produced by Chinese company Polymaker and Italy-based vehicle manufacturer X Electrical Vehicle (XEV), the Smart-sized LSEV is almost entirely made using 3D printing technology, which creates parts from the ground up, layer by layer. Only a few components, such as the chassis, glass windscreen and tyres, are made using conventional methods. This means that, like most 3D printed products, waste material produced from the production of the vehicle is drastically reduced – something that Polymaker boss Xiaofan Luo said will “inspire more [car] companies to adopt 3D printing”. 3D printing has also enabled Polymaker to reduce the number of plastic parts in the car from 2000 (using conventional built methods) to just 57 – a vital improvement that could help to significantly reduce the environmental impact of car production. A prototype for the LSEV demonstrates the performance it can offer. The prototype is claimed to be capable of a 93-mile range and can do 43mph. It weighs 450kg – close to half that of a Smart Fortwo. The LSEV is on display at Shanghai’s China 3D-printing Culture Museum. It will be shown at the Beijing motor show next month. It took three days to build the prototype and XEV expects production to eventually total around 500 units per year on a single production line. When sales open sometime in late 2019, likely to be in China first, prices are estimated to start at about £7100. Luo believes that the LSEV will soon be followed by more 3D printed cars. He said that: “The availability of more functional high-performance materials will enable 3D printing to be used on many more applications.” He described 3D printing production as “an inevitable trend in the [car] industry”. Established manufacturers have recently begun to use 3D printing for component production. Mini offers 3D printed trim that can be completely customised, while Bugatti has developed a 3D printed brake caliper that it claims is 2kg lighter but tougher than the previous part. [...]
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New Volkswagen Touareg revealed
Volkswagen has finally taken the wraps off the third-generation Touareg SUV. The German carmaker calls the new Touareg the “biggest leap forward” in the history of the SUV, as they attempt to push their flagship model further into premium territory. The new-gen SUV, unveiled in Beijing, has been redesigned with new technology, road-focused styling and a revamped interior that is dominated by VW’s new Innovision Cockpit. The new Touareg will come with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine generating 278hp and 599Nm of torque. A second 3.0-litre V6 diesel making 225hp and 500Nm of torque will follow in autumn, as will a 3.0 V6 petrol with 330hp and 450Nm of torque. In some international markets like China, the Touareg range will also include a 357hp plug-in hybrid that will arrive in late 2019. That variant is likely to go on sale in Europe, although no date has been set. A 409hp/900Nm 4.0 V8 diesel will be offered in some markets, likely including the UK, from late 2018. All of the engine options are powered through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with standard all-wheel drive featuring a centre differential lock, with five standard and four optional drive modes. To aid driving dynamic, the Touareg features electromechanical active roll compensation, which adjusts the anti-roll bars to smooth the ride when cornering. It also has air suspension to boost ride, and intelligent all-wheel steering to aid handling. The new Touareg is built on the same VW Group MLB platform as the latest Porsche Cayenne, the only exterior part the two now share is the front windscreen. It is wider and longer than its predecessor but falls a bit short in length. The dashboard is built around VW’s new Innovision Cockpit, which merges a 15-inch infotainment touchscreen with a 12-inch digital instrument cluster. The customisable infotainment screen also controls features such as smartphone integration, air conditioning and seat massage functions, while analogue controls remain for the volume and other frequently used switches. Standard equipment includes LED lighting all round, multi-coloured interior LED lighting and a 1,270mm long sliding panoramic roof. There is no news on the new Touareg’s India launch as of now. [...]
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Royal Enfield Rumbler 350 launched in Australia
Royal Enfield has launched its Thunderbird 350 in Australia at AUD 6,790 (Rs 3.41 lakh). However, due to trademark naming rights (probably down to the Triumph Thunderbird) Royal Enfield had to go with another name and hence the bike is now known as the Rumbler 350 in Australia. Other than the ‘Rumbler’ badging and law-mandated orange reflectors on the fork, the motorcycle remains identical to the Thunderbird 350 that is sold in India. It will be sold as a LAMS (Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme) offering in Australia. Royal Enfield says that the Rumbler 350 is targeted at ‘new riders, returning riders and those seeking a new cruiser with a stress-free and relaxed ride’. The Indian bike maker first launched its Thunderbird cruiser in India back in 2002. Since then, the styling has remained more or less the same. Over the years, the bike has received minor changes, like a revised headlight, seat and instrument cluster, among others. Powering the Rumbler is the same air-cooled, 346cc single-cylinder engine found on the Thunderbird, Classic and Bullet 350 in India. Paired to a five-speed gearbox, it makes 19.8hp and 28Nm of torque. The Rumbler 350 employs a single downtube frame and gets a 280mm single front disc, along with a 240mm disc brake at rear. While we can have the Thunderbird 350 in five colours (Stone, Marine, Lightning, Flicker and Asphalt), the Australian Rumbler 350 is only available in three of them (Stone, Marine and Lightning).   [...]
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