GOOD FOR: Plush interiors, comfortable rear seat
LOOK OUT FOR: Brake wear, power steering issue
Buying a used luxury car is often a good bargain and the Mercedes-Benz C-class is a prime example of that. At the time of launch, the C-class costed close to Rs 50 lakh (on-road), and today you can buy a pre-owned one for half that amount. So, if you are in the market for a luxury sedan that offers comfort, quality interiors and brand value, the C-class is a good option, more specifically, the C 200. And the reason for this is the smooth 2.0-litre petrol engine making 184hp and 300Nm of torque, mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox, and its high levels of refinement.
Launched in 2014, Mercedes brought in the C-class as a fully imported model and it was only a year later that local assembly commenced. Also, the C 200 is available in a single trim (Avantgarde), which is well equipped in terms of features. You get LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, an 8.4-inch display with Merc’s COMAND system, a 13-speaker Burmester audio system, and other goodies like a three-zone climate control. Think of the C-class as a comfy, relaxed cruiser that you can use on the chaotic peak-hour runs and also on long weekend getaways.
However, there are a few things you need to know before you go for one. Yes, it’s a Mercedes for half the price, but what doesn’t change is service costs and spare part prices. It is a luxury brand, so a basic service every year will cost around Rs 30,000. And if you have a mishap, spare part prices are on the higher side. Mercs aren’t really prone to breaking down, or being problematic, but there are a few niggles that come up. For example, the alternator can fail after 40,000km, so if the car in question has covered more than that, get this checked. A new alternator for the C-class is over Rs 1 lakh. There have also been a few complaints of brake wear as early as 20,000km. An easy way to know this is to keep an ear out for a grinding or squealing sound from the brakes.
Also, cars manufactured between June 2016 and March 2018 were recalled for a steering column issue where due to the column not being electrically grounded properly, the airbag deployed without warning. Check the instrument cluster to see if the airbag warning sign is on. Another recall was for cars manufactured between November 2016 and February 2017 to fix the seatbelt pretensioner that would not engage due to a fluid imbalance. Other general checks include the battery life, condition of the brakes – which for a car over three years is crucial – and that it has a perfect service history. Cars from Mercedes’ pre-owned program are the best bet as they are in the best condition mechanically and cosmetically, although, they will command a premium price. Individual owners are the next safest bet before you start looking at dealers where little attention is given to the cars.
Another bonus would be if the car you are looking at has extended warranty. It is worth paying a premium on these as it saves you a lot of money later and if the seller is asking a bit more for the extended warranty, you should go for it. After you buy the car, remember, you will need to take extra care, and if it is your first luxury car, you will need to drive it carefully and more importantly, correctly.
HOW TO GET ONE IN YOUR GARAGE
Buyer beware …
Check the brakes for any grinding or squealing noise, especially in cars that have covered over 25,000km. A new set will cost over Rs 10,000.
Make sure the steering column has been fixed, if the car was part of the models recalled.
If the car has difficulty in starting or is displaying a warning light, it might be an alternator issue. A new one is expensive, costing over Rs 1 lakh.
Also worth knowing
When looking at luxury cars like this one, it is advisable to take a trusted mechanic along with you, so you can assess if there are any more complicated issues. Look for a complete service history and make sure the car’s warranty is still valid. Owners tend to repair cars outside the authorised service centre; this not only voids the warranty, but also comes with a high risk of permanently damaging the car.
How much to spend
Rs 25-27 lakh
The C-class is over four years now and the asking price is in the range of Rs 25 to 30 lakh. Dealer-owned cars are more expensive and you also have less room to negotiate. There is also a chance that they have been sitting in the showroom for a while. Look for a private-owned car that is well kept. An even safer option is looking at the Mercedes pre-owned programme. Now while the cars here command a premium, they are sure to be in excellent condition.
FactfileYears produced2014-present Price when newFrom Rs 40.90 lakh Engine4 cyl, 1991cc, petrolPower184hp Torque300Nm 0-100kph8.11sec Top speed235kph Economy14.74kpl (ARAI) [...]
With its India entry imminent, MG Motor has been in the news of late. The company has been conducting road shows across major Indian cities to gain some traction among the masses, and has been drip-feeding information about its first product for India, the MG Hector SUV. We’ve seen it being tested on multiple occasions, and we know that it will be loaded with a bagful of features. Now, with just a few months to go for its launch, we have access to a fresh spy shot – and details – of the petrol-engined MG Hector automatic.
We can now confirm that MG will offer a dual-clutch automatic transmission on the Hector SUV. Alongside a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox – developed in-house by MG-SAIC – will also be available with the Hector’s 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine.
Among its peers, the MG Hector will only be the second petrol SUV to offer a dual-clutch auto; the first one being the Jeep Compass, which has a 7-speed DCT mated to the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The MG Hector’s other rivals – the Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V – are available with a torque-converter and a CVT, respectively.
Interestingly, the MG Hector’s dual-clutch automatic gearbox will come with a Sport mode, and paddleshifters are likely to be part of the package. Sources close to MG say the dual-clutch auto ‘box has been tested for over 2.6 million kilometres globally.
While the dual-clutch automatic will certainly be a draw for many buyers, what will also attract them is the MG Hector’s features list. Lower variants of the Hector will get a single sunroof, while the top-spec Hector will feature a panoramic sunroof that would be the largest in the class. In addition, the Hector will also pack a 10.4-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system, the largest of its kind in India.
Also on offer with the Hector will be a 360-degree surround view camera, along with a Harman Infinity audio system that will comprise of four speakers, four tweeters and a subwoofer. Steering-mounted controls for the audio and telephone functions will likely be standard, and other features could include a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, push-button start, keyless entry, cruise control and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
In addition to the turbo-petrol, the MG Hector will also get a 2.0-litre diesel engine. MG Motor India has previously said it has achieved 75 percent localisation of parts at SAIC’s plant in Halol, Gujarat, which means the MG Hector’s price should be truly competitive when it launches in the middle of 2019.
2019 MG Hector image gallery
MG Hector to be available on subscription through Myles
MG Hector spotted on test [...]
Skoda has released a sketch of the interiors of its new Vision iV electric SUV concept. Design sketches of the new concept SUV, which will make its debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show, show a significant departure from Skoda’s current design language. The new cabin layout features open spaces, an independent, free-standing infotainment screen on top of the dashboard, and a minimalist layout overall. The lack of a transmission tunnel is said to open up a lot of space for storage – the area can be used for wireless charging for up to two mobile phones.
The Skoda Vision iV electric SUV is going to be a closer to production concept that the brand’s 2017 Vision E concept. Previously released sketches of the exterior, however, indicate the two concept cars will share similar exterior design.
Along with its all-electric SUV concept, Skoda will also have the production-spec Vision X concept – christened the Kamiq for European markets – on display at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The concept SUV is expected to spawn an India-spec model to rival Hyundai’s Creta as well, which will be underpinned by a heavily localised MQB A0 IN platform and be on display at Auto Expo 2020.
Skoda India has recently launched a six-year warranty pack for all its models, called Skoda Shield Plus, and has recently launched the range-topping Rapid Monte Carlo variant, with prices starting at Rs 11.16 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Skoda Kamiq SUV interiors revealed
Upcoming 2019 Geneva motor show preview
Skoda Superb facelift leaked [...]
Benelli has big plans for its second innings in India with Adishwar Auto Ride, a subsidiary of the Hyderabad-based Mahavir Group. The company had already re-launched earlier models like the TNT 600i, TNT 300 and 302R in India and bolstered its line-up yesterday with the launch of the new TRK 500 and TRK 502X adventure bikes. The company also announced plans to launch at least five more motorcycles in India in 2019.
So far, all these bikes have been coming in as CKD kits, which are manufactured at the Benelli QJ factory in Wenling, China and assembled in the new facility set up by AARI in Telangana. However, the company is also working on localising its line-up to reduce costs and the first product to benefit from a significant level of localisation, will be the retro Imperiale 400, which rivals Royal Enfield’s bikes.
The Imperiale 400 sports classic 1950’s styling, with generous amounts of chrome and simple, retro features. The bike was first unveiled at EICMA 2017 and is clearly targeted at the Classic and Bullet range from Royal Enfield. This motorcycle was unveiled with a Euro-IV-compliant motor, but we have learnt that Benelli is currently developing a Euro-V/BS-VI compliant version of this engine, which is the unit the bike will have when it goes on sale in India. The single-cylinder, air-cooled engine currently makes 20.4hp at 5,500rpm and 28Nm at 3,500rpm.
Further still, AARI and Benelli are working on increasing the localised content on this motorcycle and it is possible we could see components like the wheels, tyres, brakes and electricals coming from India. Whether the frame, suspension and body-work will also be locally-sourced is unclear at the moment.
The Benelli Imperiale 400 features a 41mm telescopic fork and twin shock absorbers. Braking is taken care of by a 300mm front disc and a 240mm rear disc. As you can see, the specifications, most notably those of the engine, are akin to that of the Royal Enfield Classic 350 - a bike that will directly rival the Imperiale 400.
Even if the Imperiale 400 does receive a significant amount of localisation, it will be hard to match the price of the fully made-in-India Royal Enfield and a price tag of Rs 2 lakh plus (more on the lines on the Classic 500) is a realistic expectation. That being said, the Imperiale 400 will be the cheapest Benelli to go on sale in the country as the single cylinder TNT 250 is no longer on sale here.
If things go as per the plan with Benelli’s localisation efforts, expect to see the Imperiale launch by the end of the year, or in early 2020, certainly before the BS-VI deadline of April 1, 2020. [...]
Ather Energy, the Bengaluru based e-scooter start-up has leased a 450 to a customer in its home city, officially commencing its rental program. The lease options have been introduced with the help of Autovert, another Bengaluru based company that provides financing options for electric scooters.
The lease options are available on both models Ather currently offers - the 340 and the 450 - for durations between 13 months and 36 months. The down payment options for the 340 range between Rs 30,000 and Rs 65,000, which varies the monthly rental from Rs 3,977 to Rs 2,274, respectively. Similarly, for the 450, down payment options range between Rs 40,000 and Rs 75,000, which results in monthly rental amounts between Rs 4,220 and Rs 2,517. The monthly rental amount remains the same irrespective of the duration (13 months to 36 months) and changes only according to the down payment amount. For more info, head to the Ather Energy website.
At the end of the lease period, the customer has the option to buy the same scooter for an amount between Rs 10,000 and Rs 45,000 for the 340 and between Rs 10,000 and Rs 55,000 for the 450 (depending on down payment amount and duration of lease).
Something to be noted if you are considering leasing an Ather for a shorter duration is that only a part of the down payment is refundable for any period lesser than the maximum possible 36 months. For a period of 13 months, you will be refunded 60 percent of your down payment. This value increases with the duration.
The lease program also includes an Ather Service subscription through which the brand will take care of the logistics and replacement of spares when service is due. The spares covered by the plan are wheel bearings, steering bearings, fork seal, swingarm bushes, brake pads, primary and secondary belts, and a top-up of brake fluid and fork oil. The lease also includes a charging cable for the 340 and a home charging unit for the 450.
Ather is currently present only in Bengaluru but has plans to expand to multiple cities by early 2020.
2018 Ather 450 review, test ride
Ather 450, 340 electric scooters get new subscription plans [...]
Renders of the Renault Kwid EV, a model that was previewed by the K-ZE concept that was showcased at the 2018 Paris motor show, have surfaced online. The leaked computer generated images provide more than a hint of what the upcoming small all-electric vehicle will look like from the outside.
As it is an EV, the all-electric Kwid sports various stylistic differences when compared to its petrol-powered counterpart. The biggest change is at the front, where one can see a new grille, headlight and front bumper design. Unlike a conventional combustion engine, the EV powertrain does not require air intakes or a radiator grille, which explains these changes.
At the rear, the hatchback gets new tail-lights and a slightly redesigned rear bumper. The light units at the front and rear appear to be LED units, which are meant to provide a more modern look. The front air intake and rear air outlet seem to be just design elements, serving no actual function.
Coming to the all-electric powertrain, it is being jointly developed by Renault and Dongfeng (the French brand’s Chinese partner) under the eGT New Energy Automotive joint venture that was formed last year. While no technical details of the production-spec Kwid EV have been revealed yet, the K-ZE concept featured a claimed range of 250km in the NEDC cycle and was capable of being charged via domestic plugs and public charging infrastructure.
The Renault Kwid EV will likely have its market premiere in China. It will be produced at Dongfeng's production facility in Shiyan in central China, which has an annual production capacity of 1,20,000. Production is expected to commence sometime soon.
Renault has planned to introduce at least one EV in India by 2022 as part of its ‘Drive the Future’ mid-term plan from 2017 to 2022. Speaking to Autocar India at the 2018 Paris motor show, Carlos Ghosn had said that while the Kwid EV is logical for the Indian market, its launch is not imminent. However, seeing as Renault India has plans to bring an EV to our market by 2022, the likelihood of the model being the Kwid EV is high.
Renault Kwid EV spied testing [...]
The current BMW 1 Series is a rear-wheel drive hatchback, equipped with a 3.0-litre, turbo-petrol, inline six-cylinder engine in the M140i variant, which produces 340hp and 500Nm of torque. The Australian division of BMW has decided on a proper send-off for the current-gen model with the Finale Edition – a AUD 3,000 (around Rs 1.5 lakh) option over the standard M140i that costs AUD 62,990 (about Rs 31.72 lakh). The Finale Edition is only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and is exclusively for the Australian market.
With the Finale Edition, BMW offers cosmetic tweaks such as black-chrome exhaust tips, a blacked-out kidney grille, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry and start, adaptive M suspension, along with M Sport brakes with blue callipers, and one of the three available designs for the 18-inch alloys. On the inside, you get leather upholstery, an 8.8-inch infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging and a Harman Kardon sound system.
Once the current generation 1 Series is discontinued, it will mark the end of the rear-wheel drive layout on the hatchback; the next generation 1 Series is going to be a front-wheel drive car, though BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive will be an option.
The 1 Series was on sale in India with a 2.0-litre diesel and a 1.6-litre petrol engine. It was, however, discontinued back in 2017. BMW has made no statement regarding bringing the next generation 1 Series to our market.
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Toyota revealed the fifth-gen GR Supra just a few weeks back at the Detroit motor show. Despite its recent debut, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) – which is Toyota’s performance division – has already unveiled its concept for the new Supra. The Supra TRD concept includes a host of exterior cosmetic changes, but gets no mechanical updates.
Starting from the front, the concept has a new front splitter with fins for improved air flow, new fins on the side skirt, and spats at the rear. TRD has also fitted the car with door garnishes and a new trunk spoiler that accentuates the ducktail design at the rear. All these parts have been made from carbon fibre and have been designed to improve air flow and stability. The last major change is in the form of the new 19-inch forged-aluminium wheels with a mesh-spoke design.
The official Japanese TRD website, where the concept was showcased, includes a teaser at the bottom of the page which states ‘to be continued’. This suggests that this is only the beginning of the upgrades for the new Supra, with a possibility of performance upgrades to be introduced at some point in the future.
Toyota to make more performance cars
First new-gen Toyota Supra sells at nearly Rs 15 crore [...]
Kia Motors has taken the wraps off of its Soluto sedan. Introduced in the Philippines, the Kia Soluto is available in two variants – LX and EX.
The Kia Soluto is based on the Hyundai Reina sedan that’s sold in the Chinese market which, incidentally, is based on the last-generation Hyundai Verna that was sold in India. In terms of dimensions, the Soluto measures 4,300mm in length, has a 2,570mm long wheelbase and 475 litres of luggage space.
Feature-wise, the top-spec Soluto gets leatherette upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering and gear lever, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and voice commands, rear parking sensors, a parking camera with guidelines and a digital MID. Safety kit on offer includes dual airbags, ABS with EBD, child seat anchors and rear door child locks.
Powering the Kia midsize sedan is a 1.4-litre petrol engine that puts out 95hp and 132Nm of peak torque. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed torque converter automatic.
Kia is also offering a massive 5 year/160,000km general warranty with the Soluto. As of now, the Soluto is only being offered in left-hand drive markets so it’s unlikely that Kia will launch it in India. The Kia Soluto rivals the Toyota Vios and the Honda City in the Philippines.
Closer to home, Kia is readying the launch of its first product in our country, the SP2i SUV. The Hyundai Creta-rival is will be built at the brand’s plant in Penukonda, Andhra Pradesh where it is currently undergoing trial production. Following the SP2i, Kia’s second launch in the country is likely to be a compact SUV that will be showcased at Auto Expo 2020. The Korean brand’s third made-for-India model, a cross-hatchback, is scheduled for launch in 2021.
Top-spec Kia SP2i SUV likely to get 18-inch alloy wheels
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Kia SP SUV to get sporty turbo-petrol variant [...]
It’s probably for the best that the man who came to collect my previous long-term car – a Maruti Dzire I used for 18 months – arrived with what would become my next long-term car; the blue Maruti Ciaz you see here. For no other reason than it made the exchange a whole lot easier. I grabbed all my stuff from one car, chucked it into the other and carried on with my life; it was great.
Oh, who am I kidding? There was a lot more to it than that. Not only because I’d grown quite attached to the Dzire and felt odd giving it up after so long, but also because I’d left so much stuff lying around it that took time to collect. In fact, not all my leftovers were physical; some were digital. Always delete your phone data from a car’s infotainment system before you give it away, folks.
And before you knew it, that oddly wide-looking boot could be seen hooking the right turn out of the gates of One Autocar Plaza, and it was gone for good.
The procedures didn’t stop there, however, as welcoming a new set of wheels also takes time. First step was a quick round inspecting the bodywork; and since this car had been a press test drive car before making its way to our fleet, it came with a few dings and scratches around the bodywork. Understandable, of course, but photographed and promptly sent to the good folks at Maruti, nonetheless. Then there was the matter of noting down the odometer readings and fluid levels, checking that all the papers were in order, putting in a fresh fuel-record card and pairing my phone with the SmartPlay infotainment – dumping all the data I’d just deleted from one car, into another.
And then onward to me being a bit unnecessary – deciding whether or not I like the rear sunblind (a cool new feature for me) deployed or not, whether to keep the rear headrests raised for passengers or lowered for visibility, and picking which of the many informative screens in the colour multi-info display (MID) I’d like the best. All these choices are likely to change in the first week of use.
A few quick first thoughts on the car, before even turning a wheel – and there are quite a few, as I’ve just jumped out of Maruti’s smaller sedan, the Dzire. This is bigger, of course, but even the seating position, the view out and the dashboard layout remind you you’re in a segment above. Personally, I prefer the shape of the Dzire’s dash, but this one does have a regal air about it and I like the new, lighter shade of faux wood. This one also has leather upholstery, which is nice. It’s still trimmed in a light cream colour, unfortunately; I can already see the carpets turning brown. There’s a lot that’s familiar too – switches, stalks, levers and the Smartplay touchscreen.
The bigger size is bound to impact my driving style. As is the fact that it’s a mild hybrid with stop-start technology; but we’ll just have to wait and see. All will be revealed in the next report. [...]
Formula 1’s launch season is well underway, with just over a month to go before the 2019 season kicks off in Australia, and McLaren is the latest team to pull the covers off its 2019 car.
McLaren’s iconic papaya orange colour continues to dominate the Renault-powered MCL34’s livery, with the car now featuring new blue elements, which McLaren states are a nod to the team’s broader racing heritage. The car will make its on-track debut at the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain next week.
This year, McLaren will field an all-new driver line-up for the first time in 12 years. Carlos Sainz has joined the team, after previously driving for Renault, with F1 rookie Lando Norris partnering him.
“The MCL34 is the result of an immense amount of hard work and dedication throughout our team. We’re all committed, motivated and united in our ambition to return McLaren to competitiveness, and the MCL34 is only the start of this process,” said McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown.
“We have a fresh driver pairing, who together represent the new generation of Formula 1 talent, and are an integral part of the team and our collective effort to advance McLaren forward.”
In an effort to re-establish itself as a contender for race wins, McLaren has made some key new signings – former Toro Rosso technical director James Key will now serve as McLaren’s new technical chief, while former Porsche World Endurance Championship boss Andreas Seidl has been appointed as the team’s new managing director. [...]
Audi has revealed the first official sketches of its Q4 E-tron concept ahead of the car’s unveiling, which is due in March at the Geneva motor show.
It has not yet been made clear if this concept directly previews the same Q4 (expected to launch later this year) which has already been spotted in camouflage undergoing winter testing. It does, however, provide some insight into the next generation of Audi's electric models following the E-tron SUV and E-tron GT sports sedan.
The sketches show a compact SUV with coupé-like styling, an expansive front grille and illuminated E-tron branding on the front bumper and side sills. The car seems to have traditional door mirrors instead of the system of digital cameras and interior touchscreens which were offered on the E-tron SUV. Audi’s Matrix LED headlights seem to be featured as well.
A sketch of the car's interior shows a driver-focused dashboard that borrows elements from the new and recently launched Q3, with buttons largely removed in favour of touch-sensitive screens and panels.
The production of the Q4 E-tron is expected to begin in early 2021 – a year after the standard Q4 model is due to go on sale.
Audi e-tron SUV video review
Audi e-tron review, test drive
Audi India sales decline 18 percent in 2018 [...]
Even with the launch of the much-anticipated Harrier, Tata Motors has seen sales figures take a dip in the month of January. In a bid to attract more customers and to clear unsold stocks of the previous year, Tata dealers are currently offering discounts on select models from their range.
Save up to Rs 54,000
The Tata Tiago has been on sale since 2016 and competes with rivals like the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R and the Hyundai Santro. The hatchback, which is due for a facelift later this year, is powered by an 85hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 70hp, 1.05-litre diesel mill. Both engines come coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission, while the petrol gets the option of a convenient 5-speed AMT gearbox as well. Dealers are currently offering benefits of up to Rs 54,000 on the 2018 stock of the Tiago. This comes in the form of Rs 15,000 exchange bonus and Rs 39,000 cash discount on purchasing the hatchback.
Save up to Rs 69,000
Tata’s stylish compact sedan, the Tigor, is sold in nine variants and is priced from Rs 5.42-7.51 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Tigor is based on the Tiago and is mechanically identical to its hatchback sibling. Buyers of the Tigor can avail discounts of up to Rs 69,000 on 2018 models of the sedan. Dealers are offering an exchange offer of Rs 25,000, along with Rs 44,000 as a cash discount. The Tata Tigor competes with the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Hyundai Xcent and Honda Amaze in the compact sedan segment.
Save up to Rs 79,000
The Tata Nexon is one of the safest cars on sale in our market. The compact SUV secured an impressive five-star crash test rating from Global NCAP, making it the first made-in-India model to do so. Powering the Nexon is a 110hp, 1.2-litre petrol and a 110hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine – both of which can be had with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed AMT gearbox. The Nexon is currently being offered with benefits of up to Rs 79,000 on the 2018 stock. Buyers can avail an exchange bonus of Rs 25,000, along with Rs 54,000 as cash discount with the sub-four-metre SUV.
Save up to Rs 1.14 lakh
The Hexa is currently Tata’s most premium offering. The SUV is sold in seven variants and is powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine that can be had with either manual or automatic transmissions. There’s also a four-wheel-drive version on offer. Dealers are offering a massive Rs 1.14 lakh discount with 2018 models of the Hexa. This comes in form of a Rs 30,000 exchange bonus on top of a Rs 84,000 cash discount.
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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TVS has launched a new graphic scheme on its Star City Plus called the Kargil edition. The bike is based on the SBT (Synchronised Braking Technology) variant of the Star City Plus. At Rs 54,399, the bike costs Rs 1,035 over the Rs 53,364 price of the dual-tone SBT variant of the Star City Plus.
TVS has said the bike’s design has been influenced by the environment defence personnel serve in. Last year, it conducted a ‘Kargil Calling - Ride for the Real Stars’ ride across 3,500 touch points in the country. The ride took place on the anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas (July 26) to celebrate the contribution of the Indian Defence Forces and was lead by similarly styled, Kargil-inspired Star City Plus bikes in five cities.
The Star City Plus is powered by a 109.7cc engine that makes 8.4hp and 8.7Nm of torque, and the Kargil edition will be available in select dealerships across the country.
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V ABS priced from Rs 92,645 [...]
Renault is the latest Formula 1 team to reveal its challenger for the upcoming 2019 F1 season. The new RS19 continues to carry the team’s now signature yellow and black livery, and also sports the more simplified front and rear wings that are now mandated by the new aerodynamic regulations.
Last year, Renault achieved its strongest result yet since returning to F1 as a works team in 2016, with a fourth place standing in the constructors’ championship. The team will be looking to keep that momentum going for the 2019 season; a newly refurbished dyno at Viry has been commissioned and will be used throughout the season to develop the power unit.
Outlining the team’s aim for 2019, Renault F1 Team managing director, Cyril Abiteboul, said: We go into this season aiming to keep this strong and measured momentum. We do not target x or y position or a number of points: what I want to see is that the team continues its trajectory of progression towards the top teams. Engine excellence will be our priority in Viry while the structure now in place in Enstone strives to improve the competitiveness of the chassis, season after season.”
This year will also see former Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo join Renault alongside Nico Hulkenberg. Explaining how the new driver line-up serves as an additional motivational factor for the team, Abiteboul said: “The added momentum of the Daniel-Nico partnership brings confidence to the team this season. I believe we have one of the strongest – if not the strongest – driver line-up on the grid.”
“Individually, they are very strong and I feel the two will complement each other extremely perfectly. The energy they have brought to the team is very tangible and I hope we can give them a car to show their considerable talent.” [...]
BMW Motorrad unveiled the next-generation of its flagship superbike, the S1000RR at EICMA 2018. The update comes a decade after the first generation of the RR was launched and BMW claims that it has revised almost every component of the bike resulting in less weight and noticeably higher performance. The new S1000RR was teased on BMW Motorrad India’s social media pages and we believe it could make its way here in June 2018.
While engine capacity remains unchanged at 999cc, the in-line-four engine sports an all-new design and produces 207hp at 13,500rpm and 113Nm of torque at 11,000rpm – an 8hp increase over the older bike, with unchanged torque figures. The biggest change to the powertrain is the addition of BMW ShiftCam Technology, which allows variable valve timing and valve stroke on the intake valves. As a result, the rider will have access to more performance throughout the rev band. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox equipped with an up/down quickshifter.
The S1000RR also receives updates to its electronics. A six-axis IMU helps power the cornering ABS and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). The bike also gets four riding modes – Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race. All of this can be toggled via a new 6.5-inch full-TFT display.
Other upgrades come in the form of a redesigned chassis comprising lighter components and a WSBK-inspired swingarm. As a result of the new, lighter engine and frame, the bike has a 197kg kerb weight – a whole 11kg lesser than the outgoing model.
The 2019 BMW S1000RR will most likely be priced higher than the outgoing model, which starts at Rs 18.05 lakh (ex-showroom, India).
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At the launch of the CB300R, Honda announced that it had already received three months’ worth of booking for the street-naked motorcycle. Honda has priced it at Rs 2.41 lakh (ex-showroom, India), which puts it in the competitive entry-level sports bike segment.
Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice president – sales and marketing, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, said, “Honda has put the spotlight on the growing middleweight category and motor enthusiasts across India have responded. In just 25 days since the start of bookings, the CB300R is already booked for over three months, based on our current production plan”. While this is impressive, the company hasn’t given out an exact figure. This means, there could have been a limited-production plan to begin with.
The CB300R is being sold in India as a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) offering and is available across Honda’s 22 Wing World dealerships in the country for a booking amount of Rs 5,000. The company has also said that deliveries are set to begin from March 2019 onwards.
The CB300R has been tweaked slightly for the Indian market. While the bike uses the same 286cc, four-valve, single-cylinder, DOHC liquid-cooled motor that is paired to a 6-speed gearbox, the India-spec engine makes 30.4hp at 8,000rpm and 27.4Nm of torque at 6,500rpm. These figures are slightly lower than the UK-spec bike and the spec sheet of the India-spec CB mentions that it makes 1hp less at 8,000rpm (instead of 8,500rpm) and 0.1Nm of torque less at 6,500rpm (instead of 7,500rpm). The Indian model also uses Michelin Pilot Street tyres instead of the Dunlops found on the international-spec model. Its kerb weight of 147kg also makes the CB300R one of the lightest motorcycles in the segment.
In terms of competition, the CB300R goes up against the BMW G 310 R (Rs 2.99 lakh), KTM 390 Duke (Rs 2.44 lakh) and the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 (which start at Rs 2.50 lakh)(all prices, ex-showroom, India).
2019 Honda CB300R image gallery
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The Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition has been revealed before its debut at the Chicago motor show. The Japanese brand has had the Land Cruiser in its line-up for a long time now; to be specific they will be celebrating 60 years of the full-size SUV (not including its initial years as the BJ in 1951) with the new Heritage Edition. The Land Cruiser has a massive following due to its great off-road capability and reliability.
The main change on the Heritage Edition is that all the chrome-finished bits – like the grille, rear-view mirrors, tailgate, etc. – have been instead finished in darkened chrome. The SUV gets 18-inch BBS wheels that are finished in bronze and are exclusive to the Heritage Edition. Toyota has also removed the side steps from the SUV to hark back to its purpose-built off-roader look. The limited-run Land Cruiser SUV is offered in only Midnight Black Metallic and Blizzard Pearl colours options.
On the inside, the SUV is trimmed in all-black leather upholstery, with bronze contrast stitching. Special all-weather floor mats and floor lining are also part of the package. The Heritage Edition will be sold only as a five-seater with no option to spec a third row of seating.
On the mechanical front, it continues to use the 5.7-litre V8, which produces 386hp and 544Nm of torque, from the top-end Land Cruiser on sale in the US. The engine is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel-drive system.
Only 1,200 units of the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition will be sold, with sales beginning later this year in international markets. There is no word from Toyota regarding which markets it will be offered in.
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IMAGE SOURCE [...]
Mahindra Electric is set to witness robust demand for its electric vehicle (EV) product portfolio. The EV manufacturer has been in advanced talks with many stakeholders who wish to be part of the green mobility scenario. Recently, it revealed that its electric three- and four-wheelers will soon be supplied to around five cities in India for last-mile connectivity operations.
"In three or four cities, there is very serious talk about setting up a fleet of vehicles. We will also, hopefully, very soon announce the project with Uber following up the commitment made last year," said Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra, at the announcement in Mumbai. "It took much longer than what we thought because the policy didn't get announced and then there was this whole business of registration being free, which was supposed to happen but has not happened yet. That makes a huge difference between commercial viability. Now that we have gotten all that sorted out, we will probably announce our first pilot certainly within this month."
Goenka has revealed some information about the upcoming EV demand, saying that the company will be supplying around 40-50 units of its e-Treo three-wheeler and e-Verito sedan to this pilot project(s) each, which may later be ramped up to "any number".
Mahindra Electric has currently ramped up e-Verito sales to around 400-500 units including the EESL order; the electric carmaker says that it has seen huge demand for the green sedan from several fleet companies across India. The brand says that it has sold 15-20 e-Veritos each to several fleet operators in Delhi, of which "some will succeed, some will not". The one's that do succeed "will obviously buy more vehicles".
"There are some companies who are demanding up to 2,000-3,000 vehicles in the next three months," pointed out Dr Goenka. Apparently, there are fleet operators in Delhi-NCR who are betting big on operating a fleet of 3,000 to 4,000 e-Veritos in Delhi alone; the scenario is quite similar in other cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.
FAME II: THE NEXT STEP
Pawan Goenka is also optimistic about the announcement of the anticipated FAME II scheme. He says that it will "definitely be announced before March 31, 2019" and "will lay out a roadmap for EVs." He says, "If there is no change done to it [policy] and [it] is similar to what was to be announced on September 7, 2018, it would be a very good scheme for EVs."
The MD of Mahindra further acknowledged his support of the revision on import rules for EVs and their components, which he said is "quite prudent and is balanced between promoting Make in India and ensuring that EVs do come in to India. Because you can go overboard either side – if you put heavy duties you slow down EVs and if you put no duty, you discourage domestic manufacturing. It is a fine balance and very nicely done."
"The only concern that has come in which I hope will be corrected is imposing duty of five percent on EV battery cells (lithium-ion cells), which was duty-free up until now," he goes on to say. "The EV battery and battery cells were duty-free for importing in India for using in EVs. At present, they have put a duty on both cells and the battery. In a way, it is right to put duties on the batteries because many companies who are making them in India from cells, but these cells are not being manufactured in India. Therefore, it will have an adverse impact immediately on the price of the vehicle, as it is we are struggling to get the price right. And 5 percent on cells will mean a lot of money – for instance, the e-Verito will get costlier by around Rs 16,000-17,000 and that will not be good for the domestic market. We will write to the government; my take is that the government can put a sunset clause for making it duty-free for up until a particular period or when the battery cells are available in the country."
Referring to the demand for electric three-wheelers, Dr Goenka said, "The sky is the limit". He says the company is waiting for the FAME II scheme to be announced, which will have similar benefits as proposed (if not higher) for the three-wheeler category. Mahindra has at least half-a-dozen potential customers in talks with the company for ordering 2,000-3,000 electric three-wheelers each, bringing the potential total demand for EVs to around 10,000-12,000 units.
Mahindra is ramping up production for the e-Treo at its Bangalore plant on the back of huge demand. In January 2019, the company sold 143 units of the electric three-wheeler. The company has already been selling 800-1,000 units of e-Alfa Mini EV each month.
Considering the considerable demand for its EVs in hand, Mahindra is planning to ramp up production at its plant, which has a capacity to produce around 1,000 electric three-wheelers and 500- [...]
Every edition of the Parx Supercar Show brings a four-wheeled surprise that puts a big grin on every showgoer’s face. This year’s edition – the first since 2015 – is no different. For the first time ever, the Parx Supercar Show 2019 is also playing host to 100 vintage cars, 100 vintage bikes and 100 superbikes as part of the Western India Automobile Association’s (WIAA) centenary year celebrations. So not only are there some truly special cars in attendance, there are more than a mere handful of them! The Parx-WIAA Centenary Year Auto Show 2019 began today and is being held in Mumbai over the weekend.
Showstoppers in the supercars category include the McLaren Senna and the LaFerrari. This is the first time a Senna has been brought to Mumbai and it sure is attracting a ton of attention at the Parx supercar show 2019. Parked next to it is the brutal-yet-beautiful LaFerrari hypercar and sharing floor space with these hypercars at the Parx auto show is the achingly gorgeous Lamborghini Countach. Also part of Gautam Singhania’s display of cars is a vintage Rolls-Royce, a Lamborghini tractor and a crazy Sandrail beach buggy, with a Chevrolet-sourced V8 putting out 1,300hp!
Among attractions in the vintage car section are the Benz Patent Motorwagen replica, along with an 1896 Ford and a 1903 Humber Humberette. Included among the vintage bikes display are a number of BSAs, Nortons and Triumphs; whereas the superbike class is packed with powerful entries such as the Kawasaki ZX-14R, Suzuki Hayabusa and more.
The cars will be on display at the MMRDA Grounds, BKC until Saturday, February 9, from 9am-6pm. After this, they will set off for the parade on Sunday, February 10, at 11:30am. The rally will take the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, pass Worli Sea face and Haji Ali, and then move to Marine Drive, finally ending at Ballard Estate at around 1pm.
Want to know where can you get passes to the Parx Auto Show 2019? You can buy them online on BookMyShow, or at the venue, itself.
2019 Parx-WIAA auto show image gallery [...]
The Two-Wheelers Helmet Manufacturers Association has requested more strict enforcement towards making helmet usage mandatory. The Association says that it has been proactive in taking up the issue of helmet safety on Indian roads.
“Urbanisation has led to doubling in traffic fatalities in the past few years with the number of deaths around 3,00,000 per year as per WHO report. Most people affected are pedestrians and two wheeler users,” said Rajeev Kapur, president, Two Wheelers Helmet Manufacturers Association and MD, Steelbird Hi-Tech India while sharing his thoughts on National Road Safety Week on the sidelines of SIAM's seminar.
The Association has said that it welcomes the move made by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) of issuing the draft notification for bringing the two-wheeler helmet into the BIS mandatory certification list and implementing the new standard IS4151:2015 – the India-specific helmet standard. However, the body feels that there is need to further take corrective measures to reduce fatalities.
"Notification issued by MoRTH on bringing two-wheeler helmets in mandatory BIS list needs to be gazetted immediately. Awareness alone will not work. Strict enforcement is required. The government should make helmets mandatory across India,” said the manufacturers' association.
The association further requested MoRTH to bring in the rule for all OEMs to provide helmets with a two-wheeler as per the motor vehicle act; the same is done by few companies at the moment. In addition to this, the Association says that two-wheeler manufacturers should supply a protective headgear at the time of purchase which conforms to the specifications prescribed by the Bureau of India standard under act 1986.
The industry body estimates that the minimum investment to meet the demand of all the two-wheeler users in India will be around Rs 6,000 crore. This amount is inclusive of working capital; and the time frame required would be minimum two-three years. The organisation urges manufacturers and other companies to come forward and invest in this segment. [...]
Honda has just stepped into the 400cc space with the new CBR400R. The faired sportsbike is designed to rival the Kawasaki Ninja 400, which until now was the only motorcycle in the space. The new bike is based on the CBR500R, with the biggest change being the lowered engine capacity.
The CBR400R is styled just like the updated CBR500R that was unveiled at EICMA late last year. It is not just the bodywork that's similar to the 500R, but also the colour schemes. The new CBR400R features the same sleek and sporty styling elements the CBR500R got in 2018. By the looks of it, the 400R also offers the newer riding position of the 500R that is racier. According to Honda, the CBR400R has “styling that is full of speed”. The sportsbike also features all-LED lighting.
Powering the new model is a 399cc, liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder engine that makes 46hp at 9,000rpm and 38Nm of torque at 7,500rpm. Honda has also said that it has reviewed the intake system and optimised the valve timing. The company also added that the slipper clutch which the 6-speed gearbox uses is newly adopted and ‘fun to manipulate’. The bike is also equipped with a fully digital instrument cluster.
Suspension duties are taken care of by a conventional, telescopic fork and a monoshock. The bike also uses a single disc brake at the front and the rear. As for the tyres, the 400R uses 120/70-17 at the front and a 160/60-17 at the rear. While the Japanese Honda website has given a 192kg weight figure, it hasn’t mentioned if it is the dry or kerb weight, but we believe it to be the latter. Interestingly, the website also has a claimed fuel efficiency figure of 41kpl, achieved while the bike was running constantly at 60kph, with a rider and pillion. The fuel tank capacity of the CBR400R is 17 litres, just like on the 500R.
The CBR400R is available in three colours in Japan – Grand Prix Red, Matte Axis Gray Metallic and Pearl Glare White. It is priced at 7,93,800 Yen (Rs 5.16 lakh) in Japan. For reference, its direct rival, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 is priced at 6,63,000 Yen (Rs 4.31 lakh).
While there is no news whether Honda will bring this motorcycle to India, we believe it would sit nicely above the CB300R in the company’s line-up.
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Automobili Pininfarina wants its very own electric hypercar, the Battista, to have a 'natural' sound, as opposed to an artificial engine noise piped through a speaker, according to Michael Perschke, CEO Automobili Pininfarina.
A thrilling soundtrack is an intrinsic part of the hypercar experience but electric cars are lacking in this department. But although the 1,900hp Battista may not emanate a sound similar to a thunderous V12, customers will hear a unique sound which Perschke says will be 'loud' and 'interesting'.
Pininfarina engineers plan to amplify the 'natural sound' or the high-pitched whine of the electric motor to provide a unique aural experience. "And of course, the sound picks up over speed because the faster you drive, the more opportunities you have to channel the sound through a 'pipe' and then amplify it," Perschke added.
Along with the electric motor sound, Pininfarina engineers could tune the bodywork as well and use a combination of wind noise and airflow to create an exciting sound. "We want it to be genuine, sexy and interesting as we don't believe in an artificial sound system," he said, adding that the company is still finalising the method to achieve that sound.
The intention is also that the Battista should be recognised by its sound when it drives by.
Late last year, the electric hypercar, earlier codenamed ‘PF0’, was named after Battista Farina, who founded the Italian design house Pininfarina in 1930. The name recognises Battista’s dream to see a range of exclusively Pininfarina-branded cars on the roads. A near-production spec model is set to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show next month. Handmade at the company facility in Italy, the production version is expected to go on sale in 2020 at a price of $2-2.5 million.
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The fifth edition of the of the Ultimate Desert Challenge (UDC) concluded in Bikaner after three days, with Kabir Waraich (with co-driver Amber Udasi) and Gaurav Chiripal (with co-driver Karan Arya) winning the Off-road and X-Cross segments respectively.
Waraich, competing in a Polaris RZR 1000, completed the off-roading competition with an impressive tally of 1,090 points, out of a maximum total of 1,100. He managed to defeat 35 other teams to defend his title, making this his third Ultimate Desert Challenge victory in four attempts.
“It’s a hat-trick of wins at the UDC and I couldn’t have been happier. This particular win did not come easy, as the competition was very tight and scheduling was such that we were continuously running back-to-stages. I was feeling sleep-deprived at times but somehow I kept pushing myself and good results followed. I would like to thank my co-driver Amber without who this win wouldn’t have been possible,” said Waraich.
Gurmeet Virdi (with co-driver Kunal Kashyap) bagged second place overall in the Off-road segment with 1,050 points, followed by Gagandeep Gill ( with co-driver Amardeep Godara) in third place with 894 points.
This year also saw the introduction of the new X-Cross segment, essentially a closed-circuit rallying contest requiring competitors to run eight back-to-back laps of 21km each over sand and gravel. Ultimately, only six out of the 12 competitors in the segment were able to complete all eight laps successfully. Chiripal clinched victory in the segment, clocking in a time of 2 hours 43 mins and 8secs in his Polaris RZR 1000. He was closely followed by Devendra Singh Rathore (with co-driver Vinay Bhatnagar) and Vikas Tanwar (with co-driver Rajit Kadian). [...]
Maruti has revealed the prices for the Baleno RS facelift on its Nexa dealer website ahead of the model’s official launch. The facelifted hatchback is priced at Rs 8.76 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
As with the standard Baleno model, the Baleno RS facelift gets a redesigned front fascia with a larger grille and a new bumper with prominent central air dam flanked by large faux-vents housing the fog-lamps and a chin spoiler. Down the sides, the profile remains unchanged, although the alloy wheels as per the single image appear to be new.
Under the hood, the 102hp, 998cc, three-cylinder Boosterjet powerplant from the pre-facelift model carries forward unchanged. The unit continues to be paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard with no automatic gearbox option. Stopping power is provided by disc brakes on all four wheels.
There are no images of the car’s cabin yet – though as per dealer sources, the cabin for the Baleno RS forgoes the black-and-blue theme from the standard Baleno in favour of an all-black cabin to go with its sportier credentials.
The levels of equipment offered are at par with the top Alpha trim of the standard Baleno with kit that includes Maruti’s new SmartPlay Studio infotainment system, auto climate control, tilt- and telescopic-adjust steering, keyless entry and go, LED headlamps and electric fold wing mirrors, to name a few.
Safety kit on offer includes dual airbags, ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors.
The Baleno RS facelift continues to rival the likes of the Fiat Abarth Punto, the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and the Tata Tiago JTP. The new Baleno RS, when officially launched, will continue to be sold from Maruti’s premium Nexa dealership chain.
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In preparation for the Hector SUV launch in the second quarter of 2019, MG Motor India has turned to tech major Adobe to bring the industry’s only end-to-end digital solutions platform in India.
This partnership will help the brand chart out its entire customer journey – from the buyer's initial expression of interest to final purchase. “This deep access to customer insights will allow us to engage prospective customers with experiences that are personalised, relevant, and compelling, starting with the current pre-launch phase,” said Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India.
The move would give MG Motor India access to a gamut of Adobe Experience Cloud products for the purpose of handling its digital media – making MG among the first automobile brand in India to adopt Adobe's entire suite of digital marketing products. “With the car-buying decisions of customers increasingly being influenced by digital media, it is imperative to provide a seamless, yet not in-the-face customer experience at all instances during digital customer interaction,” Rajeev said during the announcement.
The Adobe Experience Cloud platform will be responsible for delivering a differentiated customer experience for the brand. Everything from managing the Adobe Cloud Experience interface with customers via the revamped MG Motor India website to managing the entire step-by-step digital interface with customers around its launch will be handled by the platform.
As part of its digital strategy, Adobe will help MG Motor India build and consolidate its experience onto a common platform. This would include the brand's website, dealer websites, and digital screens. With the implementation of Adobe Analytics, MG India will leverage insights derived from digital interactions between the brand and its customers across these channels, to further deliver personalised customer experiences. Additionally, the brand’s recently revamped website has been moved from WordPress to the Adobe Experience Cloud, keeping in mind enhanced customer experience and personalised content as the core.
“Technology has transformed the way customers interact with the world around them and has rapidly evolved the expectations of brands. Digital, and the era of experience, are at the core of brands looking to thrive, especially in hyper-competitive sectors like the automobile industry. This industry has an array of objectives including appealing to a wide audience, establishing a deeper customer connection, and truly standing out from the pack. We are excited to partner with an iconic brand like MG and look forward to working with them as they enter the Indian market,” said Kulmeet Bawa, managing director, Adobe South Asia.
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