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FEATURES: Great India Drive — I l 50 Years of AMG — II l New York Auto Show l Shell Experience

` 125.00

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Volume 12 / Issue 010 / May 2017 16-page Maruti Suzuki supplement with May 2017 issue

ROAD TEST NEW HYUNDAI XCENT

Compact sedan now goes global

EXCLUSIVE FIRST DRIVE

BUGATTI CHIRON

1,500 horsepower. Driven!

FIRST DRIVES

Ford Figo S TDCi Volvo S60 Polestar

PUBLISHING

COMPARO: Maruti Suzuki Ignis v Hyundai Grand i10

EXCLUSIVE

Kia set to enter India

CONTENTS

REGULARS

6

WELCOME

8

BULLETIN

21

COLUMN

22

INBOX

106

THE GBU

FIRST DRIVES

23

RENAULT LODGY STEPWAY

The popular MPV receives a mild facelift

24 BUGATTI CHIRON

Raising the bar yet again, but by how much exactly?

34 FORD FIGO S

Ford’s popular hatchback gets

a dose of sportiness

40 VOLVO S60 POLESTAR

Sensible performance car for

the sensible mortal

TESTS

46 TATA HEXA AT

Tata’s latest attempt to conquer

the lucrative MPV segment

52 MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN

Is the biggest variant of the iconic

model more MINI than ever?

58 HYUNDAI XCENT 1.2 CRDi

Mid-life facelift and a faster beating heart for the small Korean sedan

COMPARO

64 IGNIS AGS v GRAND i10 AT

War of the auto-boxes, it’s Japan v Korea

in the small car segment

FEATURES

72 HYUNDAI GREAT INDIA DRIVE - I

On an epic journey from the mountains to the heart of India with the Tucson

82 50 YEARS OF AMG - II

An insight into the V12 era, the CLK-GTR, and the Pagani Zonda

89 SHELL EXPERIENCE

Behind the wheel of their Gordon Murray Design concept car

96 NYIAS 2017

All the automotive superstars from the heart of the Big Apple

100 ART OF PERFORMANCE

Jaguar’s latest initiative showcases the prowess of their line-up

102

104

105

SPORT

F1

WRC

NEWS

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May 2017

THIS MONTH’S STORIES AT A GLANCE Volume 12 I Issue 10 I May 2017

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34

40

46

52

58

64

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WHAT

MAKES US

DIFFERENT

WELCOME

It Never Rains but It Pours

THE MONTH GONE BY DEMONSTRATED THAT THE automobile industry in India is indeed an exciting industry to be in but for all the wrong reasons. It all started with the 1 April deadline for BS-III vehicles. The Supreme Court ruled that no BS-III vehicles would be allowed to be sold after 1 April. A few manufacturers were saddled with stock that had been produced before 1 April but had not been sold. A little more clarity from the government would have helped avoid this awkward situation.

The imminent introduction of GST is likely to give rise to a few fears until the actual rates are announced. Unfortunately, we are still in our post- Independence socialist mindset and tend to categorise all possible products as luxuries. How can a refrigerator or a washing machine or even a car be categorised as a luxury product? When will we let our masses enjoy these products by making them more affordable?

The final blow came with the state government suddenly increasing the price of petrol by Rs 3, ostensibly to finance the drought situation in the state. International prices of petrol today are half those that prevailed three years ago but the consumer in Maharashtra will pay very nearly the highest price of petrol ever. Bad news for two-wheeler and car owners. Taxes in Maharashtra on petrol are more than 150 per cent. Isn’t that extortionate?

Unlike other automobile magazines, Car India is devoted cent per cent to CARs, SUVs and MUVs.

There are no bikes or commercial vehicles to be found in Car India. Therefore, we have a very focused readership and also give our

advertisers better bang for their buck!

Our editorial team is passionate about cars. They live, drink, eat and breathe cars. This lends the crucial extra touch to their editorial efforts.

Our editorial team is bound by a strict code

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May 2017

ASPI BHATHENA EDITOR

of conduct. In an industry where foreign junkets and gifts are rampant in order to win over editorial staff, we strive hard to maintain our editorial integrity and balance.

Our emphasis is on bringing out a quality, information-packed issue that does not rely on mere filling up of pages. We are not in competition with magazines that are in a page count race.

Finally, we never exchange advertising for good reviews. Just take a look at our ‘Car of the Year Awards’ for the past eleven years. Not a single wrong one!

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Head Colour Correction & Quality Control Deepak Narkar

Editor Executive Editor Copy Editor Principal Correspondent Senior Correspondents Correspondents Art Director Head Design & Production Designers

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Sanjay Raikar

Staff Photographer

Saurabh Botre

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DPPI, Corbis

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Administration Executive

Roshni Bulsara

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CEO

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Published at Next Gen Publishing Pvt. Ltd., Trade World, C-Wing, 2nd Floor, Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W), Mumbai 400013.

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BULLETIN

BULLETIN

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

New DZire

The second-generation Maruti Suzuki DZire was revealed and will be launched this month. In an exclusive preview for select media, Car India got a closer look

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THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHTS

THE NEW MERCEDES S-CLASS hasbeenrevealedwithmore tech,newengines,andeven more ways to relax P 12

www.carindia.in

VOLVO HAVE CELEBRATED 90 years of existence, launching

theall-newXC60globallyand

theS60Polestarhere P 14

KIA HAVE CONFIRMED THEIR Indiaoperations,includingtwo India-specificmodels,investing big in a facility in AP P 15

The first interesting change is that unlike all the older versions of this compact sedan, the 2017 Maruti Suzuki DZire drops the ‘Swift’ prefix to its name and will now be marketed simply as the ‘DZire’. This will help differentiate itself from the Swift hatchback and, in turn, help improve the pride of ownership of the sedan buyers.

Even though Maruti are trying to project the Swift and the DZire as different cars, the front design of the 2017 DZire and the forthcoming 2018 Swift (launch expected around the 2018 Auto Expo) have a lot in common. Right from the shape of the new projector headlights to the new hexagonal grille, the DZire and the yet to be launched Swift appear to be mirror images of each other. The rear follows Suzuki’s new design language, which is also seen in the likes of Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The DZire has LED tail-lamps, a new shape for the bumper and a chunky chrome slat with ‘DZire’ stamped on it.

The new DZire will be launched in India on 16 May. Maruti have been known to price their products very aggressively, and we expect the new DZire to be launched with a slight hike in price.

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BULLETIN

NEWS

The current car is priced between Rs 5.35 lakh and Rs 7.03 lakh for the petrol variants, while diesel trims range between Rs 6.16 lakh and Rs 8.58 lakh, all prices ex-showroom, Delhi. The new DZire has quite a few new cars to compete with, including the recently refreshed Hyundai Xcent, Ford Figo Aspire, Honda Amaze, Toyota Etios, Volkswagen Ameo, and the latest entrant in the compact sedan segment, the Tata Tigor.

Maruti aren’t trying to be adventurous with the engine options. Although they have recently introduced a new 1.0-litre BoosterJet turbo-petrol engine in the Baleno RS, the DZire will continue to be powered by the tried-and-tested 1.2-litre K-series petrol and the 1.3-litre DDiS turbo-diesel units which are expected to be further optimised to improve low-end performance and fuel efficiency. It will be interesting to see if the 2018 Swift gets the compact and peppy BoosterJet. Going with the trend, even the petrol engine, along with the diesel mill, will come with the option of a five- speed manual or an Auto Gear Shift (AGS) option from the V variant onwards.

The DZire has been a huge success in India and is often seen soaring on the monthly car sales chart, usually being outsold only by India’s most popular car, the Maruti Suzuki Alto. The DZire has sold over 13 lakh units since its launch in our country back in 2008. Fleet-owners are among the biggest contributors to making it a blockbuster who have been buying the reliable sedan in bulk. Back in 2012, when the DZire got a makeover, the older version continued to cater to the taxi-fleet buyers as the DZire Tour.

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Similarly, the current DZire will keep rolling out of Maruti’s plant but will be mainly targeted at these commercial users.

Since the 2017 car is being projected a notch higher in its bracket than before, it will come with more comfort, convenience, and safety features. It’s the first Maruti to get a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel. Like the newer Maruti Suzuki models, it will come with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system equipped with a music system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. Similarly, top- spec models will come with reverse camera, keyless entry and a Start/Stop button. Safety won’t be overlooked either, so expect ABS with EBD and dual airbags as standard along with ISOFIX child-seat anchors and pre-tensioner- equipped seat-belts.

Being an all-new model and not a facelift, it’s based on the fifth- generation B-platform which also underpins the Baleno. With the lighter platform — the petrol is 85 kg lighter and

the diesel 105 kg — re-tuned powertrains and more aerodynamic design, the new DZire is expected to be more fuel-efficient. Currently, the petrol manual DZire has an ARAI certified 20.85 km/l, while the petrol automatic claims 18.5 km/l. Meanwhile, both the diesel manual and AMT claim 26.59 km/l.

Overall, the DZire is a larger car with a longer wheelbase (20 mm longer than older car), and is also more spacious inside. But it’s still below four metres with an overall length of 3,995 mm. The cabin is roomier and the seats are more comfortable. There are even rear air vents to keep back-seat passengers cool. Moreover, the boot space has been increased to 316 litres. The ground clearance has been lowered by seven millimetres (163 mm) to make the sedan look wider.

The new DZire will be offered in four variants in petrol and diesel engine options each: LXi, VXi, ZXi, and ZXi+ (petrol); and LDi, VDi, ZDi, and ZDi+ (diesel).

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BULLETIN

NEWS

Next-level Luxury

The revised S-Class, a 2018 model with all three iterations — Mercedes-Benz, AMG and Maybach — was shown to the world under one massive roof

THE PREVIOUS W222 AND X222 S-CLASS MODELS were leaps and bounds ahead of not just the rest of the field, but also their predecessors when they were launched back in 2013. The new car retains the proportions and some of the interior layout styling, but is heavily revised not just in the features department, but also in the engines and badging choices. Updated autonomous solutions, more comprehensive safety and interface ideas, and an array of all- new OM656 straight-six and V8 engines make their presence felt, and in a big way. The most noticeable change is the form of the new headlamp clusters. The MultiBeam LED headlamps with Ultra Range High Beam now feature even more advanced active lighting, telling with the three ‘torches’ acting as the light signature. The headlamps, with high beams on, are capable of illuminating up to 650 metres of the road ahead. The new front grille gets a chrome-outlined three-slat layout, a la Maybach, while the AMG models also get a

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chromed vertical slat for a more pronounced stance, plus a sportier lower air-dam. The cabin continues with a familiar look but, underneath, has been updated with a plethora of advanced comfort and convenience features. A wall-heating function and enriching Agarwood fragrancing being key to what is essentially a breakthrough in mood management: Energising Comfort Control. This ‘wellness function’ combines the climate control, music system, seat heating/ventilation and massage controls, the 64-colour ambient lighting, fragrancing as well as wall-heating to create an environment in the car best suited to your mood — or to change the one you’re in, as needed. Six programmes are available:

Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort, and Training. The dual 12.3-inch screen info-display continues and looks like one seamless panel. It also allows the driver to choose one of three display modes: Classic, Sporty and Progressive.

The cabin itself gets spruced up with a classier layout, subtly redone. It still looks every bit as posh; however, one can’t help but see the family resemblance in here. The concierge service is now even more advanced, akin to a personal assistant, allowing passengers to use the Linguatronic voice control for various conveniences, other than navigation and calling, such as making hotel reservations or booking movie tickets. The safety features now include a smarter Distronic adaptive cruise control which, together with the Active Proximity Control, Active Steer Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, and Active Emergency Stop Assist, allows for stop-go cruising and supports a higher maximum speed as well as speed moderation around curves. Traffic Sign Assist is also part of the package. The addition of Road Surface Scan and updated Magic Body Control, which also packs a more advanced Curve tilting function, all point to greater autonomous capability.

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Besides, the car now calculates the driving style by using map and navigation data. Now on to the engines. The initial model line

sees five models. The fist is the new S 560 petrol (in both -Benz and -Maybach guises), with a 469- PS BiTurbo 4.7-litre V8. The all-new S 350 d and

S 400 d are next, with a brand-new straight-six

3.0-litre turbo-diesel making 286 PS/600 Nm and 340 PS/700 Nm respectively, an all-new AMG S 63

gets the M177 4.0-litre motor tuned up all the way to 612 PS and 900 Nm, and, finally, the barely- changed-because-it’s-already-so-potent AMG

S 65 with the BiTurbo V12 making 630 PS and

1,000 Nm, paired to the AMG SpeedShift 7G-Tronic driving the rear wheels. Speaking of which, the S 560, S 350 d and S 400 d all use the 9G-Tronic automatic with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The S 63 gets the AMG nine-speed SpeedShift multi-clutch unit and 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. But not the S 65. That’s old-school brute force delivered with a slightly fluffier and better- autonomous velvet cushion for 2018.

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There are more new drivelines planned, too. The inclusion of a 48V Integrated Starter Alternator and electric booster compressor is indeed big news. Expect an S 400 and S 500, with the new M256 3.0-litre BiTurbo straight-six engines making about 350 PS and 410 PS respectively. The new modular engine architecture will not just improve weight but also refinement, being developed from the

outset as the spearhead for a whole family of new engines. Stay tuned for more on that front. There is also an electric model — with a pure electric range of 50 km thanks to a larger 13.3 kWh battery — as well as an all-new BiTurbo V8 engine planned. The all-new S-Class will roll out globally in a phased manner. We should see it arrive later this year.

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BULLETIN

NEWS

Ninety Years of Volvo Cars

A CAR-MAKING VENTURE THAT BEGAN BACK IN 1927 has become a notable name in the automobile world today. Volvo Car Corporation began back on 14 April 1927, with the roll-out of the ÖV4. From there on, automotive safety was priority. In fact, Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson founded Volvo on the idea that “cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we do at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain safety”. Their core values remain safety, quality, and environment care even today. Volvo went from being a Swedish carmaker

ŠKODA HAVE USED THE SHANGHAI MOTOR Show to share their vision for change with the Vision E Concept, which is the Czech manufacturer’s first electric car. The new Škoda Vision E Concept is a five- door SUV coupé which boasts of a claimed 500-km range on electric power and meets Level 3 requirements for autonomous driving. Škoda plan to add five purely electric models to the company’s product portfolio by 2025. The Škoda Superb will be offered with a plug- in hybrid option by 2019. The Vision E Concept is powered by a powerful lithium-ion battery pack, which powers motors generating up to 225 kW (305 PS), allowing a top speed of 180 km/h and a claimed range of 500 km. The two electric engines, one on each axle, drive all four wheels. The front- and rear-wheel drive is suitably adjusted to ensure the highest degree

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to a global player, taking on established names, balancing simplicity and luxury with functionality and reliability — a blend of much appreciated elements. From iconic models like the P1800 to more popular models today, notably the XC60. From using angular impact tests to families of crash-test dummies, Volvo have continued to raise the level of safety features packed into an automobile, paving

Škoda Vision E

of stability, dynamism, and safety at all times. The Vision E can operate independently in traffic jams, go into autopilot on motorways, stay in lanes and swerve, carry out overtaking manoeuvres, independently search for free parking spaces, and park and

the way forward for their Vision 2020, where the aim is that no person should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. Volvo recently announced Zenuity, a joint venture with Autoliv, Inc, for autonomous driving software systems. Their all-electric car will see the light of day as a 2019 model, with the first electric car rolling out in China. Volvo Auto India celebrated the occasion by introducing the first Polestar model in India:

the 367-PS S60 Polestar. You may read the first drive review on page 40.

leave parking spaces by itself. This is enabled by various sensors with different ranges and numerous cameras that constantly monitor the traffic situation.

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Audi Mobile Terminal

AUDI HAVE LAUNCHED THE THIRD EDITION of their Mobile Terminal in India offering the Audi experience in over 40 cities. Initially introduced in 2015 as a customer- focused initiative, the Audi Mobile Terminal, which is based on the Audi Terminal concept, is a fully-functional mobile showroom

designed to provide the complete Audi experience to potential customers — whether in a metropolis or a non-metro city. The aim of the Audi Mobile Terminal is to take the brand to the doorstep of the Audi customer, while also showcasing Audi brand values experientially. Besides displaying a

host of Audi range of products, Audi Collection and accessories, the Audi Mobile Terminal concept serves as a hub for conducting test-drives and enables customers and potential customers to connect with Audi dealers for enquiries, new bookings, and after-sales support.

Kia Confirm India Facility

KOREAN AUTO MANUFACTURER KIA MOTORS, ONE OF THE FASTEST- growing automotive brands, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government of Andhra Pradesh to build a new manufacturing facility in the Anantapur district. The construction of the facility will commence in the last quarter of 2017. This will be Kia Motors’ first facility in India, representing an investment of US$ 1.1 billion (Rs 7,050 crore, approx). Production is expected to begin in the second half of 2019 to the tune of about 3,00,000 units each year. Kia have stated that they plan to make a strategically placed compact sedan and compact SUV especially for the Indian market. Kia currently have many distinct products in their stable, the likes of the Picanto, Rio, Cee’d, Cerato, Optima, Soul, Sportage, Sorento and the newly launched Stinger. Hopefully, most of these products will find their way to our shores.

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Shell Technology Centre

SHELL HAVE OFFICIALLY OPENED THEIR NEW TECHNOLOGY Centre in Bengaluru. A major technology hub, it is spread over 52 acres, custom-built to house up to 1,500 experts, who would collaboratively work on worldwide innovative energy projects. The Technology Centre is one of the three main technology hubs in Shell’s global network of R&D centres. The other two are located in the Netherlands and the USA. The new centre houses a variety of technical experts, laboratories and technology demonstration units, and is home to a wide spectrum of technical disciplines with specific expertise in fields such as liquefied natural gas, sub- surface modelling, data analysis, engineering design, bitumen, distillation, water technology, and enhanced computational research. The centre is also helping pioneer efforts — using its IH2 (waste to fuel) technology — to turn forestry, agricultural and municipal waste into transportation fuels, with a new demonstration plant being built at the site. Read more about Shell and what went down during their #MakeTheFuture their plans on page 93 of this very issue.

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BULLETIN

NEWS

WE HEAR

Isuzu MU-X Incoming

Isuzu of India will introduce their medium- sized SUV, the MU-X, in India on the 11th of this month. The new 4.8-metre-long five-seater SUV will be positioned below the MU-7 and provide some Japanese flair to the burgeoning segment. We expect it to mark the début of the new 1.9 Ddi Blue Power motor with 150 PS and 350 Nm, as offered in the Thai market, with manual and automatic transmission options. The 4x4 version uses the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel seen in the MU-7.

Nissan Sunny Prices Slashed

Nissan’s made-in-India sedan, the Sunny, is now available from just Rs 6.99 lakh (ex- showroom, Delhi). The price of the CVT automatic XV variant has been dropped to a very accessible Rs 8.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) — a steep drop of Rs 2 lakh — making it the most affordable CVT sedan in the country. The all-manual diesel range starts from Rs 7.49 lakh for the XE, going up to Rs 8.99 lakh for the top-end XV.

Mahindra KUV100 Hits 50K

Mahindra & Mahindra have sold 50,288 units of their sub-four-metre compact SUV, the KUV100, since its launch in January last year. One of the early entrants in this space, the KUV100 combines a small footprint with a spacious interior and rugged SUV look, and is an immediate head-turner. This highly competitive segment has seen a lot of action since, with new launches every few months, and the baby Mahindra has done well to hold its own amidst this onslaught.

BMW M5 Performance Edition

BMW India have introduced the swansong for the F10 M5 in India — the Performance Edition. The launch was announced via the company’s official Twitter handle, but no official communication regarding the details or the price was available. Only 200 units are available. Expect a price north of Rs 1.5 crore.

Safari for the Armed Forces

Tata Motors have signed a contract to supply 3,192 units of the Tata Safari Storme 4x4 to the Indian Armed Forces under a new category of vehicles: GS800 (General Service 800). The Ministry of Defence had floated an RFP for vehicles with three basic criteria:

minimum payload capacity of 800 kg, hard roofs, and air-conditioning. Developed indigenously, the Safari Storme 4x4 has completed a total trial duration of 15 months across varying terrain.

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Jeep Compass Unveiled

AFTER INVESTING US$ 280 MILLION (RS 1,800 crore), FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India are all set to roll out the Jeep Compass from

their plant at Ranjangaon, near Pune, this June.

FCA claim that they have had to invest in quite a

bit of new technology and processes to realise

the made-in-India dream. At the current rate,

they expect to launch the Compass in the third

quarter of this year. It will be the most affordable Jeep yet. Like every Jeep, the Compass will have all

the goodies not just for tackling a rough road,

but for those who seek to kick their off-road

lifestyle into gear. It’s 4,398 millimetres long, 1,819 mm wide and 1,667 mm tall, running a 2,636-mm wheelbase. The Compass offers 178

mm of ground clearance with a 19° approach

angle and a 32° departure angle. Jeep’s Selec- Terrain system uses the intelligent four-wheel- drive system to dynamically distribute torque. If you’re worried about fuel efficiency, fret not; it uses a dynamic rear-axle disconnect that can decouple drive to the rear axle when four-wheel traction is not needed. Engine choices include the 1.4-litre Multi-Air turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with 160 PS and 250 Nm, and the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four- pot with 170 PS and 350 Nm. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a seven- speed twin-clutch automatic. While the 4x4 driveline seems like an essential part, the Driveline Disconnect Technology (DDT) disengages the rear axle making it a 4x2 front- wheel-driven compact SUV for the road.

Pre-owned Electrics

FIRST CHOICE WHEELS BY MAHINDRA

have given India its first platform for pre-owned electric vehicles. Mahindra

First Choice Wheels (MFCWL) and

Mahindra Electric have set up shop in Bengaluru. Their partnership has

borne fruit in the form of ‘Elektricfirst’, a unique warranty programme for pre-owned electric vehicles. MFCWL assure that the platform

will be transparent and will offer

customers the option of buying, selling or exchanging pre-owned electric cars. In addition to this structure, Elektricfirst covers various electric and electronic components of the car. They are also offering an Elektricfirst+ option which has additional warranty benefits.

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JUST LAUNCHED

We bring you the dope on all the latest cars that are in the news

AUDI A3

The 2017 Audi A3 sedan has arrived and in two variants, 35 TFSI petrol and 35 TDI diesel, priced at Rs 30.50 lakh and Rs 32.30 lakh onwards (ex-Delhi) respectively. Audi’s entry-luxury sedan has been given a makeover with the petrol variant getting the biggest cut of the updates. Both cars get new headlamps and tail-lamps. The MMI navigation plus with a retractable monitor is standard. The biggest change is in the

petrol variant, which gets the 1.4-litre turbo unit with 150 PS and 250 Nm. Power is delivered to the front wheels via Audi’s seamless seven-speed, dual-clutch,

S tronic. Making an appearance for the first time is

Cylinder On Demand (COD) technology, which cuts off two of the four cylinders when not required; for example, when idling or when the maximum output is

not needed, for instance, when cruising. The Audi A3

35 TFSI has a claimed fuel efficiency of 19.2 km/litre. The A3 35 TDI does not receive any engine upgrades

and continues to be powered by the same 2.0-litre,

in-line four, turbo-diesel engine that produces 143 PS and 320 Nm, mated to a six-speed, dual-clutch,

S tronic gearbox powering the front wheels. The A3

35 TDI has a claimed efficiency of 20.38 km/litre.

FIAT PUNTO EVO PURE

FIAT India have launched the most accessible car in their portfolio. This entry-level Punto is priced at Rs 5.13 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). FIAT are known for their driver-oriented as well as the manic Abarth versions of their cars. Will the Punto Evo Pure make an impression in the compact hatchback market? The Punto Evo Pure has replaced the outgoing Punto Pure and has become the most accessible option in their current portfolio. The car continues to be powered by the same 1.2-litre FIRE petrol engine which makes 68 PS at 6,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 96 Nm at 2,500 rpm. The power is reined in by the same hardy five-speed manual gearbox.

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FORD FIGO AND ASPIRE S

Ford have come up with a Sports Edition of the Ford Figo hatchback and the Ford Aspire sedan, giving both a sportier and trendier look. The Sports edition looks sharper with a dual-tone roof, wing mirrors, a sportier grille and black insets in the headlamps. Further changes include a smart-looking spoiler that complements the sporty design, a reworked suspension setup, and larger 15-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 195/55 rubber. The 1.2 petrol and 1.5 diesel engines remain unchanged. The Figo S petrol costs Rs 6.31 lakh and the diesel Rs 7.21 lakh. The Ford Aspire S compact sedan costs Rs 6.51 lakh, while the diesel is priced at Rs 7.61 lakh (all ex-showroom, Delhi). You may read our first drive report on page 34.

May 2017

CAR INDIA

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BULLETIN

NEWS

JUST LAUNCHED

We bring you the dope on all the latest cars that are in the news

HYUNDAI XCENT

Following the launch of the updated Grand i10, Hyundai have launched the Xcent sedan, based on the same car, priced between Rs 5.38 lakh and Rs 8.42 lakh (ex- showroom, Delhi). It will be manufactured right here in India and exported to global markets. Changes include new front and rear bumpers, the inclusion of LED daytime

running lamps, a split tail-lamp unit at the rear, and that big patch of black cladding on the rear bumper. Inside, changes include

a slightly tweaked interior which now packs

a seven-inch touchscreen that sports Apple

CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, in addition to the usual USB and Aux inputs. It comes with Hyundai’s new 1.2-litre three-pot diesel engine, alongside the familiar 1.2 petrol engine. Power and torque figures are 75 PS and 190 Nm for the diesel and 83 PS and 114 Nm for the petrol. You can catch the full road test of the Xcent 1.2 CRDi on page 54 of this very issue.

LAMBORGHINI HURACÁN PERFORMANTE

Lamborghini have brought in the new, lighter and faster Huracán Performante to India at Rs 3.97 crore (ex-Delhi). It has recently set the record for the fastest production car around the Nürburgring with a time of 6:52.01, beating the remarkable Porsche 918 Spyder by 4.99 seconds. The Huracán Performante is the third Lamborghini car to be launched in India this year following the Huracán RWD Spyder and Aventador S. Under the hood, the Huracán Performante packs the 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 engine which now produces 640 PS and 600 Nm. The new car is also 40 kg lighter than the standard Huracán. Power is fed to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It will accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and power on till its (limited) top speed of 325 km/h.

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MAHINDRA SCORPIO ADVENTURE EDITION

One of the popular vehicles in Mahindra’s portfolio, the Scorpio, has been launched in the ‘Adventure’ guise as a limited edition. Updated graphics accentuate the Scorpio’s macho stance. The feature-train doesn’t end there, though. In addition to the graphics, the exterior has been given a dual-tone treatment in White and Mist Silver. The gunmetal alloys, with red callipers peeping out, complement the paint job. While the front of the SUV remains unchanged, the tail-lamps have been given a smoked-out appearance. The interior is now upholstered in faux leather. The 4x2 and 4x4 variants of the Scorpio Adventure edition are priced at Rs 13.62 lakh and Rs 14.80 lakh respectively (ex-showroom, Pune)

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MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS ‘CONNOISSEURS EDITION

Mercedes’ flagship S-Class is now available in a ‘Connoisseur’s Edition’ exclusively for the Indian market in both the S 350 d L and S 400 L variants, priced at Rs 1.21 crore and Rs 1.32 crore (ex- showroom, Pune) respectively. This special edition comes equipped with a host of features that make the car safer and friendlier for the chauffeur-driven elite. The executive rear seat allows travel in absolute comfort. The seat reclines almost completely at 43.5° angle and the additional thigh support, in combination with the electrically extending footrest (available in the ‘Chauffeur package’), ensures maximum comfort. Another pleasing feature is the ‘Air Balance package’. This allows one to control the oxygen levels and the fragrance within the cabin. There are six fragrances to choose from. For the first time in India an S-Class gets ‘Night View Assist Plus’, which supports night-driving by detecting pedestrians and large animals much earlier in the dark.

TATA TIGOR

The Tata Tigor ‘StyleBack’ has been launched from Rs 4.83 lakh (ex-Pune). Based on the Tiago hatchback, it’s had its wheelbase stretched by 50 mm. In fact, the sedan looks very different from the hatchback that spawned it. The Tigor has different rear doors, a coupé-like roofline and a larger 419-litre boot. It also weighs 50 kg more than the Tiago. The Tata Tigor is powered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines with drive modes. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder Revotron petrol engine produces 85 PS and 114 Nm, while the 1.05-litre three-cylinder Revotorq diesel motor produces 70 PS and 140 Nm. Both engines are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox with drive going to the front wheels. The petrol line-up costs between Rs 4.83 and Rs 6.39 lakh, while the diesels cost between Rs 5.76 lakh and Rs 7.32 lakh.

PORSCHE 911 GT3

THE ALL-NEW 911 GT3 FROM PORSCHE IS A landmark moment for most automotive enthusiasts as, in the age of downsizing and turbos, with even the 911 Carrera not spared, Porsche have introduced a larger 4.0-litre six- cylinder boxer — naturally aspirated, of course — revving all the way to 9,000 rpm, no less. The new 991.II model is sleeker, lighter and looks even faster standing still than the

outgoing model. Under the skin is the new 3,996-cc, dry-sumped, naturally-aspirated, boxer-six developed for Cup racing that makes 500 PS at 8,250 rpm, with a peak 460 Nm of torque coming in at 6,000 rpm. While a six-speed manual transmission is available, the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) twin-clutch automatic box is standard, driving the rear wheels. The GT3 will do 0-100

km/h in 3.4 seconds and go on to a top speed of 318 km/h (with the PDK; 3.9 seconds and 320 km/h with the manual transmission, respectively). The new 911 GT3 is available to order with prices starting at Rs 2.2 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai) without any customisation of accessories. And, no, there’s no extra charge for the manual transmission.

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BULLETIN

NEWS

JUST LAUNCHED

We bring you the dope on all the latest cars that are in the news

VOLKSWAGEN POLO GT SPORT

Volkswagen India have introduced the go-faster looking Polo GT Sport models at just Rs 20,000 more than the erstwhile GT TSI and TDI pair, at Rs 9.46 lakh and Rs 9.57 lakh (ex-Mumbai) respectively. The GT Sport models pack a black roof with glossy black spoiler, 16-inch Portago alloy wheels with 185/60 R16 rubber, and eye- catching GT Sport side stickers are the new external upgrades in the Sport Edition. To complement the exterior, the GT Sport also comes fitted with leatherette-finished seat-covers embossed with the GT Sport branding. The GT TSI continues with the 1.2-litre TSI turbo-petrol unit with 105 PS and 175 Nm, paired to the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission driving the front wheels. The GT TDI now moves on to the new 1.5-litre turbo-diesel, making 110 PS and 250 Nm, paired to the sweet-shifting five-speed manual transmission.

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VOLKSWAGEN VENTO HIGHLINE PLUS

The Volkswagen Vento has received a new top-spec variant, the Highline Plus trim level, from Rs 10.84 lakh (ex-Mumbai). The Vento has sold in massive numbers across India in Trendline, Comfortline and Highline trims and now the German carmakers have gone and introduced an even higher-spec Highline Plus variant that adds full-LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and a parking camera to the already feature-rich Highline model. The new Vento Highline Plus is available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and manual transmission, 1.2-litre turbo-petrol DSG automatic, and the 1.5-litre turbo-diesel with a manual transmission. Prices are Rs 10.84 lakh, Rs 12.06 lakh, and Rs 13.42 lakh respectively.

VOLVO S60 POLESTAR

After much teasing, Volvo Auto India have finally launched the S60 Polestar, their most scintillating performance variant of the S60, at Rs 52.5 lakh (ex-Delhi). Volvo’s Polestar division have burned the midnight oil to ensure that this one, even with its 1,969-cc four-pot motor, delivers hair-raising numbers. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine delivers 367 PS and 470 Nm thanks to a bigger turbocharger, a supercharger and new internals. Transferring the power to all four wheels is a tweaked eight-speed auto box and a BorgWarner four-wheel- drive system. It also gets Öhlins suspension, 80 per cent stiffer springs, adjustable dampers, and a carbon-fibre strut brace up front. The Pilot Super Sport tyres are developed by Michelin exclusively for the S60 Polestar. Volvo also worked on the steering to extract greater feel and feedback. The interior of the car gets sporty treatment with new leather upholstery, new road- going front bucket-seats, and a carbon- fibre centre console.

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Gavin Green

‘The jobs at the heart of today’s car industry will go the same way as boatswains and wainwrights’

TOMORROW’S CARS WILL BE ‘iPhones on wheels’. Honestly, if I hear another car company boss say that I swear I’ll stick a Tumblr up his YouTube and he’ll no longer be my Facebook friend. Car chiefs today are obsessed by connectivity. I hear more today at car press conferences about phoning friends, voice-activated messaging, streaming music, sat-nav and apps than I do about engines, handling and ride quality. The headline ‘innovation’ for the new Citroën C3 was its connected camera. Those great old DS engineers would be spinning in their hydro-pneumatic graves. It is partly because car companies have been rubbish at connectivity for years. They are also desperate to woo millennials, who apparently have to be continually connected to lead fulfilling lives, and are about as interested in cars as Homer Simpson is in an evening jog. So that means on-board Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 24/7 connectivity, etc. With all this going on, goodness knows how anyone is going to be able to concentrate on driving. I fear, with this new breed of fully connected cars drivers will become like many of today’s pedestrians, walking around fixated by their screens, paying no attention to where they’re going, immune from the outside world, smartphone sleepwalkers turned into driving zombies. Our phones may be smart but people are getting stupid. When permanently connected to the internet, we are disconnected from each other. This is hazardous on the pavement. It’s positively dangerous on the road. As I write, the government has just increased penalties for mobile phone use while driving, and good thing too. But hands-free is still legal. Never mind that what matters is keeping your mind on the road, not your hands off your phone. We should be concentrating on the tarmac, not on our touchscreens. Voice activation means we can send texts, tweets or Facebook messages. Just ask Siri. We can book restaurants and car

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As cars become more connected (and eventually driverless) and electrified (and eventually fully electric), tomorrow’s cars will be very different

parks, and find the cheapest fuel, all while on the move. Spotify puts the world’s music library just a touch away. You can phone a friend to relieve the tedium of driving. Scores of apps are being developed to make driving more ‘entertaining’ (that is, to take our minds off driving). So while the government urges us to put those smartphones away, the car industry wants to put the wretched smartphone at the heart of your car. At this rate, fully autonomous cars can’t come a moment too soon. Some of the new connectivity is welcome, of course. Shareable digital locks, enabled by on-board Wi-Fi, will open new car-usage possibilities. Owners could authorise garages, via an app, to collect and return cars after servicing. They don’t need to be at home, or even in the country. These shareable locks also allow owners to form their own car-

sharing networks, and use their vehicle like an automotive Airbnb. Connectivity can make cars safer, allowing them to communicate with other cars and objects, boosting their ability to avoid accidents. But when car connectivity takes our minds off the drive, it is stupid technology. I also wonder if the car industry has really thought through its new love affair with Silicon Valley. As cars become more connected (and eventually driverless) and electrified (and eventually fully electric), tomorrow’s cars will be very different. So will car companies. Sebastian Thrun, the tech genius behind Google’s driverless car programme and probably the most influential ‘auto’ engineer of the early 21st century, reckons autonomous vehicles could cut the total car population by up to 96 per cent. After all, only about four per cent of cars today are in use at any one time. Other studies put the figure at 40 per cent. Either way, car production is likely to plummet. Many of the distinguished engineering jobs at the heart of today’s car industry will disappear. Dynamic engineers (no more driving), safety engineers (no more crashing) and powertrain engineers (no more pollution from internal combustion engines) will go the same way as boatswains and wainwrights. The important jobs at these slimmed-down car makers will be the designers, marketers and electronic engineers. Should it concern car chiefs that these are the very skills at which Silicon Valley excels?

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LETTER OF THE MONTH

ENVIRONMENTAL

CONCERNS

I am writing to you from an environmentalist perspective. We are without a doubt seeing the effects of global warming. While automobiles may be contributing to some part of it, there are means to reduce that even further. When will people realise that every- day actions can make a difference? That seems too much of a burden on the mind right now. What I am curious about is electric vehicles. Where are the hybrid and electric vehicles promised? We have the Toyota Prius hybrid, the e-Verito, and the e2o. The Mahindra cars still have to deal with range anxiety. When will proper sustainable technology come in? Are Nissan planning to bring in the Leaf any time soon? And what about the X-Trail Hybrid they were supposedly going to get here? Shouldn’t automotive publications take the initiative to publicise alternative means of propulsion? You should go out there and get electric vehicles and pit them against popular

LARGE VEHICLE FOR A LARGE FAMILY We are a large family: two adults, three kids, and a large dog. We enjoy travelling during vacations and try for two to three long holidays every year. We are looking for a suitably strong, easily repairable (hoping that occasions for repair are few and far between), and spacious vehicle that can accommodate us and our luggage. It should also be comfortable for long journeys. Any suggestions? Prateek Anand, Jalandhar

Hello, Prateek, There are a bunch of MPVs available in the market that you may choose from. If your budget allows you, check out the Toyota

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cars and show the world that they can hold their own. Deepa Jadhav, Pune

Dear Deepa, Thank you for your letter. You raise some pertinent issues. We do test electric cars whenever they hit the market, but so far none of the pure EVs has the same capabilities as the combustion engines available in the market. Therefore, a comparison as suggested by you is a little premature. However, we do hope things will change in the future, especially with the imminent arrival of Tesla’s Model 3 on our shores.

Innova Crysta. If you need something more economical, consider the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Renault Lodgy. Make sure to test-drive all the cars to zero in on one that answers all your requirements.

UPGRADING TO A COMPACT SEDAN I am looking to upgrade from my Maruti Suzuki Alto to a compact sedan. I live in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and I drive about 30 km to work every day. Most of my commute is on the highways and I am looking for a petrol-powered compact sedan that can cruise comfortably at 100-plus km/h. My other priorities are cabin space, refinement, and safety. I have short-listed the Volkswagen

Ameo 1.2 MPi Highline and the Honda Amaze iVTEC VX-CVT. Should I go in for either of these cars or wait for the Tata Tigor? Gopalakrishnan S, Thiruvananthapuram

Hello, Gopalakrishnan, You need not wait for the Tata Tigor because it has already been launched and we have driven it as well. You may read our first drive report in the April 2017 issue. A new Maruti Suzuki DZire in the same segment is in the pipeline as well. You may read about it in the ‘Bulletin’ section of this issue. Otherwise, the two cars that you have short-listed are capable ones in this segment. Make sure to test-drive each to find out which of them is the appropriate one for you.

SUGGEST THE RIGHT HOT-HATCH I have been a follower of your magazine for a while now and hope to get your opinion on which hot-hatch I should choose. My list includes the new Volkswagen Polo GTI and the iconic MINI Cooper S. I am currently undecided between the two and need your advice. A comparison between the two by you would be something to look forward to. Sameer Deshmukh, Bengaluru

Dear Sameer, That is an interesting choice you have put forth. The Volkswagen GTI is over Rs 5 lakh cheaper than the MINI Cooper S; however, the latter is definitely more of a style statement. Therefore, if you are looking for something more understated and economical, go for the GTI. If, on the other hand, you want something with more visual appeal and charisma, the MINI is the obvious choice.

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What

more

could

than

we sleeps?

ask and

a comfortable

for

a city

car

that

never

RENAULT LODGY STEPWAY

FIRST DRIVE

Story: Sarmad Kadiri Photography: Sanjay Raikar

E’VE GOT A NEW CAR to shoot. And in order to make the pictures more spectacular we decided to do a night out and capture the brilliant sights of the Maximum City. The car in question is the recently upgraded Renault Logdy Stepway, which fits in the sweet spot between the ultra popular and more expensive Toyota Innova Crysta and the über practical and compact Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. The 2017 Stepway gets a bunch of cosmetic upgrades, including stylish chrome accents on the grille, body cladding on the sides, bumpers in a new shape, and new matte grey 16-inch alloy wheels. It also gets the variant badge on the A-pillar (our car boasted of being the top- of-the-line RxZ) and ‘Stepway’ branding on either side. The base RxL version comes with the tried and tested 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine producing a lower 85 PS and mated to a five-speed transmission. Our RxZ also comes with the same tried and tested K9K engine but churns out 110 PS and comes with a six-speed gearbox. Offering three rows of seats, the Stepway has the option of seven-seat and eight-seat versions. All the seats are reasonably comfortable, though the third row offers little under-thigh support because of the high floorboard.

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Plush cabin and comfortable seats for the entire family makes the Stepway is an appealing package

Over the years, Renault’s 1.5-litre oil-burner has gained the reputation of being a frugal and very reliable engine. The 110-PS version does have a slight turbo-lag that becomes evident in slow-moving bumper-to-bumper traffic (remember, the city that never sleeps). The K9K feels more at home at highway cruising speeds. The clutch on the 2017 Stepway feels lighter than before, which, I am sure, will be a big relief for city users. The steering is on the heavy side and offers good feedback and control. What remains most impressive is the supple ride quality of the Renault as it irons out practically all the road undulations. Our RxZ variant came with two-tone art-leather upholstery which goes well with the cabin’s brown-and- beige theme. The centre console comes with piano black accents and hosts a large touchscreen infotainment system. All three rows get air-con vents and handy charging sockets, and there are a fair number of cubby- holes across the cabin. The Lodgy Stepway is an appealing package and is significantly cheaper than the Crysta, with its price starting at Rs 10.13 lakh and going up all the way to Rs 12.05 lakh (both prices ex-showroom, Pune) for the seven- seat top variant that we drove. If you like what you see in these pictures, you should really consider this under-rated car.

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CHIRON

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WHAT

IT

IS

GOOD

FOR?

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BUGATTI CHIRON

FIRST DRIVE

More power, more performance, more money — but what does Chiron do that Veyron didn’t? Does it move the game on? And is the exclusive place its two keys unlock worth the entry fee?

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Story: Chris Chilton Photography: James Lipman

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BUGATTI CHIRON

W16 engine’s four turbos are now much, much bigger — it’s what it needed

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OR A CAR THAT MAKES A BIG noise about going fast, the Bugatti Chiron does a great job of going slowly. Slow, of course, is a relative concept. At 200 km/h, the kind of speed when your average affordable fast car is starting to breathe a little heavily, the Chiron’s cabin is an oasis of calm, your right foot treading as lightly on the right pedal as a pond skater dancing on the water’s surface. A pond skater that’s about to slip on some concrete wellies. ‘Okay, you can start picking up some speed now just to get ready,’ my co- driver Loris tells me gently from the other side of the weird carbon septum that divides the passenger compartment. There’s a brow in the motorway ahead and traffic in the slow lane to the right. But I lean into the pedal because I trust Loris. Bugatti trusts Loris. So does Lamborghini. And Pagani, and Koenigsegg. Loris Bicocchi is the go-to man for supercar dynamic tuning. But does Loris trust me? How must it feel to sit beside a stranger knowing you’re about to give them the okay to unleash 1,500 PS and do their absolute damnedest to go as fast as physically possible on a public road in a car that’s electronically limited to 420 km/h? As we crest the hill and the motorway unfolds ahead, Loris nods his head slightly and makes a chopping motion with his hand. Before his wrist has even reached the end of its arc, I’ve pinned the throttle. The four turbos take a breath and the W16 pins us both to our seats. I can feel my cheeks flush and my hands instinctively grip the wheel tighter as the car hurls itself forward. One-thirty. One-forty. One hundred and fifty miles per hour. The increments on the speedometer are ticked off as quickly as you can say them, and with the same nonchalance. One-sixty. One-seventy. That long straight we could see from the crest? Half of it is in the rear-view mirror. Not that I’m looking anywhere but forward. One-eighty. One-ninety. At this load the Chiron’s water pump is pushing enough water to fill a bath in 11 seconds and the scenery rushing past the side windows looks almost as liquid, a cosy Constable-like country scene now a Rothko smear of green. Two hundred miles an hour, and still pulling as hard as a senior-league hot hatch in the prime of second gear. When I hit an indicated 200 mph (322 km/h) in a 911 Turbo S a few years back, chasing Georg Kacher in the then-new AMG SLS on the autobahn, those last few mph came slowly and the car left you in no doubt it was giving its all. I got out shaking as if I’d just been pulled from a shipwreck in the North Sea. But the Chiron feels relaxed and rock-solid. There’s no commotion at the steering wheel, no vibration, just the muted roar of 16 cylinders and the whoosh of air being barged aside. Coming through! Two-oh- five. Two-ten. Two-fifteen. Two… the car’s still barrelling forwards

There’s no commotion, no vibration, just the muted roar of 16 cylinders and the whoosh of air being barged aside. Coming through!

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when Loris calmly raises his hand. ‘Okay,’ he says cheerfully, ‘this is our junction.’ I push hard on the handsome art deco brake pedal and the giant eight-piston callipers drop 100 mph (161 km/h) as if they’re flicking away a cigarette butt. We peel off the motorway and I try to mentally digest what just happened. We didn’t reach the Chiron’s electronically limited top speed of 260 mph (420 km/h), or even the 236 mph (380 km/h) it will do without the second key engaged to activate the low-drag mode. But we could have, if we didn’t have a rendezvous with Jamie Lipman’s Nikon, and had carried on one more junction. People will ask what’s the point of a 420-km/h car when there’s hardly anywhere you can safely and legally do that speed. But, maybe, it’s not the fact that the Chiron can do 420 km/h that’s so impressive. It’s that it can do the 217 mph (350 km/h) we just did, the 350 km/h that’s the maximum for almost every other supercar, a speed that ordinarily requires huge space and endless aborted autobahn runs before you get the traffic break you need, and you can do it just about anywhere you want to do it. But is the Chiron a one-trick pony? Does it have anything to offer when (or if) shrinking straight roads becomes a bit, well, ordinary? More to the point: does it do anything the Veyron didn’t do back in 2005? Forgive us for being a little cynical, but does it actually move the game on? To find out, we’ve come to Portugal. Where could be more appropriate to drive a grotesquely expensive hypercar than western Europe’s most impoverished country? ’Ave it, Pedro! Although there are classic cars worth far more, no four-wheeled vehicle on earth makes a better statement about wealth than the Chiron, even if the old men wearing that cloth cap, brown cords and leather jacket uniform that’s peculiar to ageing Portuguese gents sat at the roadside couldn’t possibly imagine that it costs £2.4 million (Rs 20 crore, approximately).

OH, THATLL DO…

Badge Over-engineering Only one piece of the car was made purposely heavy:

the Bugatti ‘macaron’ badge. Consisting of 140 g of silver, the version on the Chiron features a 3D logo and receives five layers of enamel, followed by baking and hand polishing.

Billet to Drive In line with Bugatti’s ‘no plastic’ policy, almost every single switch is made from hard-wearing aluminium. The barely visible strip (see at the right) across the rear of the car underneath the rear lights and the steering wheel are both milled from solid billet.

Speed key (with Chiron logo) is needed to reach maximum velocity

The Chiron does luxury like luxury should be done, but rarely is

Who could, without prior knowledge? Because that really is an outrageous amount of money. And what it buys isn’t fundamentally much different from many other supercars. Leaving apart the legal ramifications of getting caught doing 350 km/h on a road like this with a 70-mph (112-km/h) limit, or the moral issue of doing it when other cars are present, does the very real performance advantage over a 488 GTB make it worth 10 times more than the Ferrari? That’s a question only proles like us are likely to ask, says Bentley and Bugatti CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer. Chiron customers have an average of 47 other cars. They already have the Ferrari. Maybe three. They don’t have to think twice about whether the monthly finance payment is going to leave them enough left to pay the mortgage. They spend £300,000 (Rs 2.5 crore) on options, like the tinted carbon bodywork. One bought six Chirons, a £14-million (Rs 119 crore) order, and didn’t flinch when he was told there was no multi-pack discount. ‘A customer who comes to Crewe to buy a Bentley flies first- class and stays in the best suite at the hotel,’ explains Dürheimer. ‘A Bugatti customer arrives in his own plane. And he owns the hotel.’ I hope that kind of wealth means they have a lackey to open the Chiron’s door for them, because your very first point of contact with the car is a slightly loose- fitting arc of plastic that’s about as tactile as the wobbly handle on a 20-year-old oven. The Chiron deserves better; in every other area, the detailing on this car is out of this world. Bugatti talk about the authenticity of the Chiron’s materials, and a no-plastic concept. ‘What you see is what you get,’ says Dürheimer, and what you do see and get is almost always made from carbon-fibre, leather or aluminium. Our car’s optional exposed carbon bodywork is so beautiful you almost expect the lacquer to ripple like water in a pool when you reach out to touch it. Grin and bear the handle interaction and the cabin is no less outrageous, starting with the speedometer. It takes pride of place in front of the driver’s view, where you’d normally find a rev counter in a Porsche or Ferrari — a reminder that in this car absolute speed is more important than the engine kind — and reads to 300 mph (or 500 km/h, wherever relevant). ‘It’s analogue, not digital,’ Dürheimer explains. ‘If a little

Decelerate Bugatti had to show the EU homologation team an emergency stop from 400 km/h (249 mph). There are 420-mm discs with eight-pot callipers at the front, six pots biting 400-mm rotors at the rear, with cold air directed across their surfaces to keep them cool.

Sound Investment The W16 sounds better this time around but high-end home-hi-fi brand Accuton provides the real music. The system delivers sound frequencies way beyond what the human ear can even detect. Each of the four tweeters has a one-carat diamond membrane.

Stiff Records The Chiron’s sandwich layer composite chassis is rated at 50,000 Nm per degree for stiffness. That’s as stiff as an LMP1 car. To put it another way, if you put a vertical load of two tonnes on the front corner, the rear corner on the opposite side would flex by just 0.5 mm.

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Ride height is tweaked as you switch between driving modes

Steering wheel is milled from billet. The airbag, thankfully, isn’t

Chiron needs giant ceramic discs and every calliper VW could spare

Spoiler has four positions, depending on mode and speed

Exposed carbon

bodywork is

optional

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BUGATTI CHIRON

boy looks through the window when the car is parked, we want him to be able to see the numbers.’ The biggest surprise is there’s no giant touchscreen. No screen at all, in fact. Everything is operated through the two digital displays either side of the speedometer and/or the four rotary dials on the raised centre console. They move with the precision of the controls on a mid-century camera. Click, click, click. They’re genuine aluminium, too, not coated plastic, or just boring old black plastic like the rubbish you get in the centre console of an ordinary expensive car like the £230k (Rs 2 crore) Bentley Continental Supersports I drove a few weeks ago. See the steering wheel? Looks good. Feels better. It’s hewn from a solid aluminium billet. Even the elegant blue buttons sprouting from beneath the hub — one a driving-mode dial, the other a starter button — are illuminated anodised aluminium. The Chiron does luxury like luxury should be done, but rarely is. In that respect, Bugatti have raised the bar. But what about the mechanical hardware? While almost all other hypercars have at least an element of hybrid power, including the 918 Spyder Dürheimer oversaw during his time at Porsche, the Chiron sticks to its quad- turbo W16 guns. You can see why: the old engine was capable of delivering the 1,500 horsepower target with some work, and the cost of developing an entirely new drivetrain — even before the emission scandal exploded — would have been huge. As would the weight. The W16 is 436 kg as it stands. That said, the successor to a car that

left all others looking dated suddenly seems slightly off the pace. And that’s the only possible context in which you could use that phrase when talking about a car that reaches 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds and 300 km/h in less than 14 seconds. Breathing through four new turbos that are almost 70 per cent bigger than the original Veyron’s (but now arranged to operate sequentially to improve gas speed and reduce lag), the 8.0-litre W16 makes 1,500 PS and 1,600 Nm. That’s almost 50 per cent more power than the first production Veyron (1,001 PS) and 300 PS up on the Veyron Supersport. The seven-speed gearbox is carried over, but almost everything else is new. Including how the Chiron feels. The chassis features adaptive dampers and the ride comfort is staggeringly good given that this car also has to be able to work at almost five km a minute as well as it does at five km/h. Leave the driving mode selector in its auto mode, badged EB for Ettore Bugatti, and the huge tyres (20-inch front and 21-inch rear) seem completely unfazed by changes in surface. At the same time, the damping is excellent. When the road throws up a surprise yump, the car’s mass falls earthwards evenly, landing four-square, its bump and rebound energy bundled out of the door like a gunman at a presidential rally. The steering is better, too. Not brimming with finger-jiggling feel, like a McLaren’s, whose busy-ness would likely be unbearable at 420 km/h, and not Ferrari-like darty off the straight ahead, but

It’s properly fun to drive — as easy as a TT, but no TT ever makes you smile like this, flowing effortlessly from one corner to the next

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It’s pretty special in there. You’d be snapping souvenir selfies too

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crisp, linear and perfectly weighted. Switch the driving mode past Autobahn (soft dampers, low ride height) to Handling and that steering gets heavier, perhaps a little too heavy, and the dampers take a tighter grip. They’ve a huge amount of mass to control, and occasionally, when you lean hard on the giant ceramic brakes, you’re reminded that this car weighs 1,995 kg. But it’s properly fun to drive. As easy as a TT, but no TT makes you smile like this. Dial the pace back to six- or seven-tenths and it’s at its best, flowing effortlessly from one corner to the next and leaving you sure that there’s more to this car than simply autobahn attacks. Handling mode also relaxes the ESP, and if you close the throttle sharply on a tight corner, you can feel the rear end move enough that you need to unwind the steering a smidge to stay on course. Loris says it’ll drift under power, too, given enough space, but not having a dry lake-bed handy I decided to take his word for it. That’s down to a nagging awareness of the value, and not anything scary in the Chiron’s dynamic make-up. There’s nothing scary about the Chiron, except, maybe, getting it out of its parking space. The turning circle is dreadful. Which does slightly undermine Bugatti’s GT aspirations, although the fact that there’s now at least a small luggage area under the nose means it’s more usable

Steering and damping far superior to those of the Veyron

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FIRST DRIVE

BUGATTI CHIRON

BUGATTI CHIRON

PRICE: £2,400,000 (Rs 20 crore)

ENGINE: 7,993 cc 64v quad-turbo W16, 1,500 PS at 6,700 rpm, 1,600 Nm at 2,000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE: 2.5 seconds 0-100 km/h, 420 km/h, 4.5 km/l, 516 g/km CO2

SUSPENSION: Double-wishbone, adaptive coil springs

WEIGHT: 1,995 kg

than the Veyron ever was. More usable, more handsome, more artfully constructed; and, yes, even faster. Anyone can make a car go fast if they throw enough power at it. And, maybe, someone like Hennessey will come along and break the rumoured 279-mph (450- km/h) record Bugatti hope to set next year in a car without the speed limiter activated. But that won’t diminish the appeal of the Chiron. Because to make a car do those numbers and do them time and again without breaking or needing a rebuild every few runs, while also making it ride better than a hot hatch, as refined as a Bentley and as easy to drive as a supermini — that is what’s so incredible about this car. While other hypercars are leaning towards track-based performance, and some can’t even be used on the road at all, Bugatti have built a car that’s as good at popping down the shops as popping up in Guinness World Records. But didn’t the Veyron do much of that too? The Chiron is shockingly fast but, judged objectively, it doesn’t make the leap in performance its predecessor made. Which is as much a reflection on the might of the original Veyron as anything.

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Surprisingly practical, but the Bug still has an otherworldly aura

That said, it’s impossible to experience this car and not be bowled over. Not simply by the performance, but the totality of the package and, for me, the craftsmanship. Conversations about the Chiron will always gravitate towards its sheer speed, but like a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead, there’s so much enjoyment to be had from this car even just trickling through traffic, or simply parked. Granted, there was the small matter of a recession to deal with, but it took Bugatti 10 years to sell all 450 Veyrons. More than half of the 500 Chirons have already been spoken for, despite the price doubling. Normally, at this point we’d be thinking about what other car you could have for the same money. Is there something better? And there is, at least in parts. A McLaren’s steering is like a lossless file to the Veyron’s MP3. A Porsche GT3 is more playful. A V12 Aston’s soundtrack will be playing in your head long after the Chiron’s has been forgotten. You might well be thinking you’d spend your notional £2.4 million (Rs 20 crore) on one of those other cars then use the rest to buy a kick-ass holiday villa somewhere tropical or a rubbish football team or, maybe, eradicate child poverty in an entire African city. But that’s not thinking like a Bugatti customer. If you were so rich that you could spend £2 million with as little concern as you had handing over the fiver for this magazine and a Freddo choc bar, you would. Because most other fast cars are largely interchangeable. A McLaren 650S feels and sounds different from a Ferrari but offers much of the same experience. But the Chiron is different. Maybe, it doesn’t change history like its predecessor; but there is still nothing on earth quite like a Bugatti.

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FIRST DRIVE

FORD FIGO S TDCI

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As Ford add the letter ‘S’ to the Figo, we find out what the buzz is about

Story: Ravi Chandnani Photography: Sanjay Raikar

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FIRST DRIVE

FORD FIGO S TDCI

The Figo S is similar to the standard diesel variant, which means it has decent acceleration, good roll-on timings and the ability to cruise at triple-digit speeds without any problem

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DDING A LETTER TO THE NAME OF A car can mean a world of difference depending on what the letter stands for. Like Ford’s iconic racer, the GT40, wherein ‘GT’ stood for Grand Touring and ‘40’ represented the 40-inch height of the car. But when Ford announced the Figo S, where the S stands for Sports, things got interesting. Now the concept of a sporty family hatchback is not a new one; however, we were excited to see Ford’s representation of the same. Therefore, we headed to the Little Rann of Kutch to see how well the Figo S justifies its Sports badge. We have to say that Ford have done a fairly good job with the styling of the Figo. It looks like a fun little car with ample styling cues that are eye pleasing. But in the S, they have taken things a bit further to evoke the sporty feel. For starters, the grille gets a sportier honeycomb treatment, a new rear spoiler, which, Ford say, is for better downforce, and a new dual-tone paint job adds some sportiness to the styling. Furthermore, the bigger 15-inch blacked out wheels with wider tyres add some muscle and zing to the exterior. On the inside the story remains more or less the same, with just a few changes like a blacked out centre console and new red stitching for the fabric upholstery, underscoring the fact that this is the ‘S’ variant. Wait, did I say variant? Yes, I did; because in essence the Figo S is the Titanium variant with a few extras and not an entirely new model. It features the same 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine that powers the standard model. It produces the same 100 PS and 215 Nm and comes with a five-speed manual transmission. However, what has changed in terms of mechanicals is the suspension tuning. Ford have firmed up the suspension to give the Figo a sportier handling, but more on that later. First, let’s talk about the engine and transmission. The 1,498-cc four-pot turbocharged diesel motor does have 215

Nm of torque, which is sufficient for a city hatchback like the Figo. However, this torque arrives at 1,750 rpm. Before that, there is

hardly any hint of it. In most situations I was waiting for the turbo lag to disperse before the Figo got going. The refinement of the 1.5-litre engine is not quite impressive as you can clearly hear the motor almost throughout the rev range. Add to that the ample tyre noise and the drive becomes one noisy experience, which can tire anyone out on long drives. The five-speed manual gearbox is good with smooth and precise shifts

and a lightweight clutch. However, I hope that Ford take care of things like the turbo lag, refinement and cabin insulation in the next-generation Figo. Now, once the turbo kicks in, you have enough power and torque to get out of any situation; well, almost. The acceleration, after the turbo kicks in, is linear, making the driveability better, given the fact that you keep the engine

The all-black theme adds sportiness to the cabin

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FIRST DRIVE

FORD FIGO S TDCI

above 1,800 rpm. But that was easier said than done. When it comes to performance, the Figo S is similar to the standard diesel variant, which means it has decent acceleration, good roll-on timings and the ability to cruise at triple-digit speeds without any problem. However, overtaking a truck on the highway will require you to shift to a lower cog to get the drive. With nothing new to explore in the engine and transmission departments, let’s move on to my favourite bit: handling. Now with a “sportier” suspension tuning, the Figo does feel more planted in the corners, although it has slightly compromised this car’s famous ride quality. I was able to feel every bump, undulation and pothole, which was not a nice experience. The firmed up setup does help in the corners, though. The Figo does stick to the chosen line and the feedback from the steering is decent at best. The best part of this suspension setup is that now you can push the Figo harder than before, which somewhat justifies the ‘S’ badge. In the braking department the Figo is impressive as it gets ABS with EBD as standard. The disc-drum combination has ample feel and feedback which inspires confidence. The bigger and wider tyres provide ample grip on tarmac; however, on surfaces like dirt, the grip isn’t that good. But then again, who drives on such surfaces every day? Overall, the new Figo S does get sporty, but only in the handling department. The firmed up suspension has made the Figo S more enjoyable in the corners but, at the same time, the ride quality has taken a bit of a hit. At Rs 7.43

FORD FIGO SPORTS EDITION

PRICE: Rs 7.43 lakh (ex-Pune) ENGINE: 1,498 cc, in-line four, turbo-diesel TRANSMISSION: Five-speed, manual, front-wheel-drive MAX POWER: 100 PS at 3,750 rpm MAX TORQUE: 215 Nm at 1,750-3,000 rpm

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A new honeycomb grille and dual-tone paint are the main differences on the outside

Other noticeable difference on the outside are these 15” wheels with ten-spoke design

lakh (ex-Pune), you get a Titanium trim Figo with a few extra bits, an ‘S’ badge and firmed up suspension. And, yes, for petrol-heads, there is the petrol option as well where you get a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder motor that produces 88 PS and 112 Nm and comes with all the bells and whistles as the ‘S’ TDCi variant. So, will I recommend the diesel Figo S? Well, it is a different variant from the standard Figo, it handles better, has somewhat sporty exterior and interior but lacks the ride quality of the regular variant. If you long for a car that is good in the handling department, then the Figo S diesel is an option worth considering.

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Brave

Heart

Viking

Volvo’s S60 Polestar has a lot more than what meets the eye

Story: Ravi Chandnani Photography: Volvo India

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B IG AND MIGHTY WITH A brave warrior’s heart. Well, that’s a Viking for you and me; however, these colossal human beings from centuries ago were also kind, gentle and loving people. And there is no other company in the automotive

world that helps us envisage that side than Volvo. The Swedish car-makers, known for being the flag-bearer of safety technology in the magical world of cars, also have a side we Indians are not quite familiar with. And that is their wild side; the Polestar side. These Swedes come up with unique, and often crazy, cars that are capable of surprising the inner child and bring a massive grin on anybody’s face. This time, on their 90th Anniversary, they have launched a car

with qualities that are often not associated with Volvo by the general people, although these qualities are very much an integral part of Volvo. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the Volvo S60 Polestar. This little sedan may not look intimidating at all but

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VOLVO S60 POLESTAR

FIRST DRIVE

it’s the heart of this car that has the potential to leave you awestruck. So to experience this new Viking from Sweden, we headed to the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore for a morning filled with entry/exit speeds, hitting the apexes and nailing that throttle hard. The weather in Coimbatore was ideal for a nice track-day, the ambient temperature not being too hot. As I walked towards the pits, the sight of a Rebel Blue, the trademark Polestar shade, S60 Polestar was simply amazing. As I moved closer, I realised how well- executed the paint job was. But what really caught my eye, in terms of styling, was the Polestar branding on the S60. Little blue monograms placed at strategic places added a lot more excitement to the overall appearance of the car. The brushed-finish 20-inch wheels with über-cool design and huge 371-millimetre Brembo rotors with six-piston silver callipers, again with Polestar branding, assured that the beast resting under the bonnet was to be taken seriously. As I walked around the car, many more aspects of the Polestar detailing caught my attention; such as the front

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FIRST DRIVE

VOLVO S60 POLESTAR

42

splitter, the rear spoiler and diffuser produce 33 kilos of downforce at 250 km/h with the front splitter adding another 21 kilos to help make the car stick to the tarmac like glue. On the inside, the cabin resembles the standard S60; however, new road-going bucket-seats with better leather upholstery, new steering wheel leather trim, blue stitching and, most of all, a carbon-fibre centre console that is made from actual carbon-fibre and not just a carbon weave justify the Polestar badges all around the car. All these raised the excitement quotient even more. I was getting eager with each passing second. I shared my eagerness with the Swedish Touring Car racer, our instructor for the day, and he was happy to hear that I was itching to go. So, without further ado, we headed to the pit-lane exit and off we went. The first thing that thrilled me was the way the 2.0-litre, four-pot, turbo and super- charged Drive-E engine responded when I nailed the throttle. It behaved like a well-tamed beast that can have a standard four- cylinder engine for breakfast and still be hungry. After all, 367 PS and 470 Nm of torque from a puny production-spec four-cylinder motor are more than ample for any sane human

being. The genius minds at Polestar were able to attain these numbers because they

played around with the engine in more ways than one. First of all, they replaced the valves and valve springs with newer and better ones and then fitted new camshafts with larger lobes for more lift time, thus feeding more air and fuel mixture into the engine. But they did not stop there; they changed the con-rods, increased the size of the turbocharger, threw in a supercharger, fitted a larger air intake and a higher capacity fuel pump (for an extra dose of fuel) to help the engine breathe better and be more efficient. They also tuned the eight-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox for faster shift timings and precision control in corners. The S60 Polestar also gets a BorgWarner all-wheel-drive system which was further tuned by Polestar engineers for optimal calibration and torque distribution. This car is also 20 kilos lighter than the previous-generation one. These changes have dramatically altered the way the S60 feels in the engine department. What enthralled me the most was the feeling that I experienced when I got going. The power and torque delivery is as smooth as butter and, at the same time is also quite rapid. I came to a halt at the pit-lane exit, hit the brake with the left foot and nailed the throttle

with the right foot. The revs went up to optimal levels thanks to the launch

Simple cabin made sportier with

ample Polestar badging and carbon-fibre centre console

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May 2017

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control. The moment I let go the brake, the S60 Polestar took off like a rocket, barrelling towards C1 at Kari. Sensational acceleration with a sane amount of urgency was, simply put, brilliant. As I approached the 50-metre mark, I lifted my right foot off the throttle and hit the brakes, and as soon as I did that the Brembo system reminded me that I had to be a little less aggressive on the pedal for the car slowed down more than it needed to. This shows that the braking performance is more than adequate. As I turned right, looking at the apex, the S60 Polestar too was headed in the same direction with no signs of understeer or loss of grip. The all-wheel-drive system worked flawlessly, distributing equal amount of power to the front and rear wheels. After two quick laps behind the instructor we were back in the pits and this time we were let out on our own. I made the most of this opportunity as I really pushed the S60 hard into

every corner, trying my best to bring out any hidden flaws. However, there were no mentionable ones. The suspension, made by Öhlins and further tuned by Polestar engineers, performed exceptionally well on the bumpy Kari track. In the chicane on the back end of the track, I was hitting the kerbs and despite that the suspension took everything in its stride to keep the car on the right line. The Polestar engineer, present at the event, mentioned that Öhlins and Polestar have worked together extensively to provide the optimal performance setup for the car. And for that the suspension features springs that are 80 per cent and stabilisers that are 15 per cent stiffer as compared to the standard car. However, one can easily adjust the stiffness further to get the right setup for one’s preferred driving style. The S60 Polestar I drove was set towards a slightly soft setup for the bumpy track and, honestly, I think this worked quite well as there was enough leverage for the

The small four-pot 2.0-litre twin-charged motor is potent with 367 PS and 470 Nm

VOLVO S60 POLESTAR

PRICE: Rs 52.5 lakh (ex-Delhi) ENGINE: 1,969 cc, in-line four, twin-charged, DI, petrol TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed, automatic, all-wheel-drive MAX POWER: 367 PS at 6,000 rpm MAX TORQUE: 470 Nm at 3,100-5,100 rpm WEIGHT: 1,751 kg

Polestar embossing on the seats and the Rebel Blue stitching give it a very sporty character

The beautiful 20-inch wheels are shod with specially-developed low-profile Michelin tyres

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FIRST DRIVE

VOLVO S60 POLESTAR

The radar sensor detects obstructions, then warns the driver and finally tells the computer to brake in case there is no response from the driver

The S60 Polestar is a car that ably commingles performance with safety, build quality, ride quality, handling, and top-notch equipment

The stock pedals were not sporty enough so the Polestar guys made these for the S60

suspension to work in the best way possible. The car handled exceptionally well on the bumpy track with almost no noticeable body-roll. Corner after corner, lap after lap, my confidence just went higher and higher and I was pushing the car more and more. Throughout my 20 minutes on the track, never did I feel frightened by the power or the handling of the car, except when the brakes were applied automatically as I got too close to the instructor’s car on lap one. This was when I experienced the S60 Polestar’s radar-based safety system. Incidentally, this is the second car from Volvo India to feature this system. After about six odd laps, I was left with a really happy feeling. The S60 Polestar is a car that ably commingles performance with safety, build quality, ride quality, handling, and top-notch equipment. The 1,969-cc, four-pot, twin-charged motor with 367 PS and 470 Nm

of torque has more than ample performance. Moreover, it’s refined, has a great exhaust note, and is mated to a superb eight-speed automatic gearbox. It can handle a bumpy track with utmost precision and, at the same time, let you enjoy the ride by being aptly comfortable. Besides, there is the whole array of Volvo safety systems, including the radar-based safety features, that come as standard. The car has space for five adults, a big boot for the weekend’s worth of luggage and all the gadgetry one can ask from a luxury sedan. Now, here is the shocker: despite being priced at Rs 52.5 lakh (ex-Delhi), which makes it a bargain performance sedan with high practicality, the S60 Polestar will be limited to just 30 units for the Indian market. I would still say that it’s a great car to buy while you can because the S60 Polestar is a sensible performance car for a sensible being.

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Tata Motors’ latest MPV, the Hexa, wants to dominate the MPV segment. Will it be able to do so? We delve into the mystery

Story: Ravi Chandnani Photography: Sanjay Raikar

ULLING A BOEING 737, CLIMBING hills and going through some seriously rough terrain is how Tata Motors have depicted their latest MPV, the Hexa. And I must say that the advertising team has done a good job of creating a rugged and tough image of this MPV. However, the question that popped up in my head was: is the Hexa meant do all these things or is it here to shake up the MPV segment ruled by the Toyota Innova Crysta? Hence we decided that a proper road test would reveal the true nature of the Hexa. To begin with, the styling of the Hexa reminded me so much of the Aria, Tata’s former attempt at making a modern MPV. According to Tata, however, the Hexa is all new and is based on their recently introduced Impact Design language. But hints of the Aria are still very much evident, albeit with a few polished up creases. Starting at the A-pillar right up to the D-pillar, the Hexa reminds you so much of the Aria. I can understand the connection between the two; however, the Aria was in the past and the Hexa is now. So let’s focus on that. The styling of the front end is butch and muscular to give the MPV a rugged and aggressive stance, possibly to evoke a go-anywhere image. The side profile, with its muscular wheel-arches, black cladding and a strong shoulder-line, support the front end quite well. What’s surprising, though, is the way the rear end has been done up. It just lacks the aggression of the front and side profile. Since looks are subjective, I leave it to you to decide. Move on to the interior and you notice that Tata

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designers have actually put in some effort to modernise the cabin. It looks good and the overall layout is pretty contemporary. To project the “Being Big” theme on the inside, the designers have made everything in extra-large size such as the massive air-con vents and a-c controls, protruding and large twin-pod instrument console, dominating centre console, and wide arm-rests. What stood out the most for me was the quality of the interior. Now, Tata outsourced the upholstery work to Benecke- Kaliko, a renowned German brand, for interior trim. The seats and the door inserts were all done by Benecke- Kaliko and they feel really nice. However, when I touched the dashboard, which I assumed was draped in leather, it turned out to be hard plastic that mimicked leather. I failed to understand the designers’ idea behind that. Well, apart from the plastic dashboard, the rest of the layout is pretty neat; though the plastic quality and certain fit-and-finish aspects can be nudged up a notch to really make it impressive. Space inside the Hexa is pretty good, too, with wide and comfortable seats and plenty of knee- and head-room in the front and second rows. The third-row seats have fairly decent knee-room although it might not be comfortable on long drives. Feature-wise, the company has left no stone unturned as you get their latest ConnectNext Touchscreen Infotainment system by Harman, which is quite intuitive and comes with an array of connectivity options. A 10-speaker JBL system, which includes a sub-woofer, delivers crisp and clear sound. The steering-mounted controls for Bluetooth telephony and music streaming work flawlessly. The whole setup seems very German

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TATA HEXA AUTOMATIC

ROAD TEST

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ROAD TEST

TATA HEXA AUTOMATIC

car-like. Now don’t get me wrong here, as I am just trying

to compliment Tata for thinking like Europeans to

tantalise Indian taste buds. There are a lot of 12V sockets and a lot of big cup-holders. Overall, the Hexa is quite loaded when it comes to features. A muscular exterior combined with a decent interior and features do make the Hexa a fairly contemporary MPV. However, what attracts my interest is that engine under the bonnet. Tata have used their famed 2.2-litre, Varicor 400 diesel engine in the Hexa. It displaces 2,179

cc of air, has four cylinders and a big turbocharger. This results in a humble 156 PS being produced at 4,000 rpm and a massive 400 Nm from 1,700–2,700 rpm. Mated to this engine is a six-speed automatic transmission that sends the power and torque to the rear wheels.

The first thing you notice when you get into the driver’s seat is the commanding view of the road ahead. The Hexa

is not gigantic in proportions, but, for some, the

dimensions can be intimidating while driving. Anyway, the driveability was pretty impressive at city speeds. The

engine is a bit rough around the edges but it somewhat makes up for that in linear torque delivery, especially low down in the rev range. Besides, the cabin is well-insulated

as you can’t really hear the engine once inside the Hexa;

however, it is pretty audible when standing next to it. The refinement game needs to be upped. The six-speed automatic gearbox in the Hexa shifts fairly smoothly, though the time it takes to go from one cog to another is relatively relaxed; faster responses from the gearbox would have made things more fun. It would have made the Hexa respond slightly better when it came to performance. Talking of which, our test results revealed that the Hexa takes 13.11 seconds to go

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Welcoming cabin however, quality has scope for improvement

The 2.2-litre Varicor 400 engine has good bottom-end torque delivery, however, it lacks refinement

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Overall Height 1791 mm

ACCELERATION (km/h)

Tata Hexa XTA (Rs 17.45 lakh, ex-Pune) 1111

Car Road Test 479

Ground Clearance 200 mm

Wheelbase 2850 mm

Overall Length 4788 mm

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

WHEELS & TYRES

Cylinders

Four, in-line

Wheel size

19”

Layout

Front, longitudinal

Tyre size

235/55 R 19

Type

Turbocharged, DI

Fuel

Diesel

Bore x stroke

NA

BRAKES

Capacity

2179 cc

Front

Ventilated discs

Compression ratio

NA

Rear

Ventilated discs

Valvegear

Four valves/cyl

 

SUSPENSION

ENGINE OUTPUT

Front Double wishbone with coil springs

Max power (PS)

156

Rear

Coil spring, five-link rigid

Power peak (rpm)

4000

suspension

Red line (rpm)

6800

Max torque (Nm)

400

Torque peak (rpm)

1700-2700

ACCOMMODATION

 

Seating

6

Head Room, F/R

990/970 mm

TRANSMISSION

Leg Room F (max/min)

1090/900 mm

Six-speed, automatic

Knee Room F (max/min)

750/560 mm

1st gear

NA

Knee Room R (max/min)

990/690 mm

2nd gear

NA

Shoulder space

1465 mm

3rd gear

NA

Fuel tank

60 litres

4th gear

NA

Boot space

NA

5th gear

NA

6th gear

NA

DRIVER AIDS

Reverse gear

NA

ABS, EBD, Hill-hold

Final drive

NA

Drive wheels

RWD

 

CAR RATINGS

STEERING

Design & Style:

1112

Type

Lock to lock

Rack and pinion,

Powertrain:

1111

electric power-assisted

Performance:

1111

3.3 turns

Fuel Efficiency:

1112

Dynamic Ability:

1112

Space:

11111

HIGHLIGHTS

Creature Comforts:

1111

Driver Appeal:

1112

Space

Features

 

Safety:

1111

Interior:

1112

 

Suspension:

1111

Engine refinement

Handling

Ride Quality:

Handling:

1111

1112

Steering:

1112

Braking:

1111

Width 1903 mm (excluding mirrors) Front Track NA, Rear Track NA Kerb Weight NA

TEST RESULTS

IN-GEAR SPEEDS (KM/H)

Indicated

True

20

18.4

40

38.2

60

57.2

80

77.0

100

96.6

120

116.8

STANDING 1/4 MILE

0-400m sprint

18.63 s

Terminal speed

117.43 km/h

BRAKING

80-0 km/h

100-0 km/h

2.79 s, 30.23 m 3.05 s, 43.03 m

PERFORMANCE FACTORS

Power:Weight (PS/tonne)

NA

Specific Output (PS/litre)

71.59

Specific Torque (Nm/litre)

183.57

FUEL CONSUMPTION (KM/L)

OVERTAKING ACCELERATION

Roll-ons (km/h, seconds)

40-60

60-80

80-100

100-120

TOP SPEED

Claimed

 

City

8.0

Highway

12.0

Overall*

9.0

2.66

* Overall is 25% highway

3.90

and 75% city driving

5.29

7.89

 

TEST CONDITIONS

Altitude

550m above MSL

NA

Weather

Warm, windless, dry

PERFORMANCE

200

180

160

140

120

100

80

60

40

20

0

0

2

2.75

0.91

4

6

5.2

8

2

8.67

10 12 14

13.11

16

18

19.55

TIME (seconds)

20

22 24 26

28

CAR INDIA’s test and performance data is the sole copyright of Next Gen Publishing Pvt Ltd. No part of the data or text can be used in any form for any purpose or promotion or advertisement without the explicit written permission of the editor. (Performance testing by Ravi Chandnani)

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May 2017

CAR INDIA

49

ROAD TEST

TATA HEXA AUTOMATIC

from 0 to 100 km/h and it would easily touch a top speed of over 180 km/h, which is quite decent for an MPV of this size and stance. To drive, the Hexa feels more relaxed than it appears thanks to the soft suspension setup, which helps with ride quality but takes away a bit of handling. It can absorb bumps and undulations quite well with very little jitter making it to the cabin, though the body-roll that comes with it due to the soft setup can be bothersome for many. Pushing the Hexa hard into a corner will yield disappointing results because of the ever-present body- roll. The steering is weighted well but lacks feedback. Brakes provide ample bite to stop in time but, just like the

A muscular exterior combined with a decent interior and features do make the Hexa a fairly contemporary MPV

50

CAR INDIA

May 2017

steering, feedback needs improvement. Overall, the Hexa is easy and convenient to drive in the city and has a good ride quality, but when it comes to handling, it can certainly be improved with a slightly stiffer suspension setup and more feedback from the steering. The automatic Hexa is priced at Rs 17.45 lakh (ex- Pune), which makes it the most expensive variant you can buy. At this price it comes with ABS, dual front, side and curtain airbags, comfortable seating, fairly good ride quality, a decent interior and a quiet cabin. But it misses out on traction control and ESP, which is available in the manual top-end variant. The Hexa might be less expensive than the competition but there are a few things that can be improved to make it really stand up to the competition.

Boot space, with the third row in use, is quite good

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ROAD TEST

MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN

Has the extra-large Clubman lost the MINI’s essence, or is it more MINI than ever before?

Story: Sarmad Kadiri Photography: Saurabh Botre

52

CAR INDIA

May 2017

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HEATED ARGUMENT IS ON AT the office garage. Sipping the morning chai, my colleagues are divided over the new MINI Cooper S Clubman. It has just returned from the early morning shoot and one group strongly argues that it’s a tad unfair to call such a spacious car a MINI. The Clubman is the biggest car in the MINI line-up, over a foot-and-a-half longer than the regular MINI. The other group, meanwhile, loves this substantially larger car and the practicality it brings along. The stretched silhouette, long roof-line and a steep D-pillar give it estate car-like proportions. This bunch loves the design nuances such as the familiar MINI face, attractive circular LED headlights that come with DRL (daytime running lights), the unmistakable hexagonal grille, and, finally, the bonnet design with a prominent power dome and sleek air-scoop.

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The design tends to grow on you and soon more people join the conversation about the new MINI, sip some more tea and ogle the Clubman. And this is what they observe: a powerful shoulder-line, prominent wheel-arches, great-looking tail-lights, and chrome exhaust tips sitting on the edge of the rear bumper. The final enticing bit was the unmistakable split boot-lid. How can you not love these barn-type doors? The gang was bowled over as they took a closer look at the cabin’s retro-gorgeous styling. There are plenty of familiar parts from other MINI models along with a large cockpit for the driver and an even larger circular touchscreen right in the centre of the dashboard. The latter manages the infotainment, telephony and most of the driver’s aids. I found the touchscreen to be extremely receptive but some of the icons felt small for my stubby fingers. So I resorted to the Controller dial that sits on the centre console.

May 2017

CAR INDIA

53

ROAD TEST

MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN

As in the MINI, the Clubman has a bunch of aeroplane cockpit-like toggle switches to crank up the engine, turn on/off the ESP, and one for the Start-Stop system. There are switches on the roof as well, one of them dedicated to the optional panoramic sunroof — the largest glass roof in the entire MINI range. You also get cruise control and can opt for rear-view camera, Parking Assistant and even a Head-up Display. Safety features include dual front airbags, crash sensor, ABS, cornering brake control and tyre pressure indicator. Talking about optional features, our test car also had the ‘Excitement Pack’ which offers a range of ambient lighting for the cabin and even projects the MINI logo on the driver’s side whenever one opens or closes the car’s door. If you spec your car well, then there’s the option of getting electrically adjustable front seats with memory function as well. At the rear, there is generous knee-room. Well, I never thought I could say that about a MINI. While the rear seats are comfy, the glass sunroof brightens up the cabin, the rear seat’s backrest is also adjustable, and there’s even an air-con vent. No sweat. The only time the MINI can make you break into a sweat is when you have a flat. There’s no spare wheel but then the Clubman comes with run-flat tyres. The silver lining is that there isn’t a spare wheel eating into the very useful boot space of 360 litres. Since the rear seat backrest can be tumbled down, the luggage capacity can be further increased to 1,250 litres. Now to the go-kart-like driving thrill that the MINI brand has been known for. The good news is that the same two-litre, in-line four twin-turbo petrol propels the Clubman, which also does duty in the MINI Cooper S, churning out an identical 192 PS and 280 Nm. The bad

The cool retro cabin borrows plenty of parts from other MINI models

MINI’s peppy 2.0-litre petrol performs the duty on the Clubman

54

CAR INDIA

May 2017

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Trendy circular touchscreen manages the infotainment, telephony and driver’s aids

One can further set up the Clubman using the Sport or Green driving modes

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news is that the Clubman weighs about 150 kg more than the three-door. This disappointed a few during the group discussion which was still going strong. I reasoned that the Clubman has a top speed is 228 km/h and that we managed to pull a 0-100 km sprint in an impressive 8.6 seconds. That eight-speed automatic Steptronic transmission has been given a broader gear spread, which translates into better low-end power and peppier mid-range. So, managing quick getaways from slow-moving traffic or making a quick dash from a traffic light is almost as engaging as in other MINI cars. During test we managed to do a quarter mile run in a respectable 16.53 seconds, doing 147.99 km/h. In fact, it can very comfortably cruise at that speed and we even managed to achieve 200 km/h without any stress. For those who enjoy driving, there’s also the option of Sports Automatic Steptronic transmission which comes with shift paddles. Our test car had the feature and we missed no opportunity to play around with the eight- speed, especially before entering a fast corner and during overtaking manoeuvres. It’s longer and heavier, and I’ve said that before. When you compare the Clubman to an estate or even a premium sedan, it definitely feels agile and sporty, but not as go-kart-like as the smaller MINI. The firm suspension setup keeps a check on the body-roll and

Cockpit-like toggle switches to crank up the engine, manage ESP and Start-Stop system

Front seats come with extendible base, to aid under thigh support

May 2017

CAR INDIA

55

Overall Height 1441 mm

ROAD TEST

MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN

MINI Cooper S Clubman (Rs 38.50 lakh, ex-Delhi) 11111

Car Road Test 480

Ground Clearance x60 mm

Wheelbase 2670 mm

Overall Length 4253 mm

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

Cylinders Layout Type Fuel Bore x stroke Capacity

Four, in-line Front, longitudinal Turbocharged, DI Petrol 82.0 x 94.6 mm 1998 cc

Compression ratio

10.2:1

Valvegear

DOHC, four valves/cyl

ENGINE OUTPUT

Max power (PS)

192

Power peak (rpm)

5000

Red line (rpm)

6200

Max torque (Nm)

280

Torque peak (rpm)

1250

TRANSMISSION

Eight-speed, automatic

1st gear

5.250

2nd gear

3.029

3rd gear

1.950

4th gear

1.457

5th gear

1.221

6th gear

1.000

7th gear

0.809

8th gear

0.673

Reverse gear

4.015

Final drive

3.200

Drive wheels

FWD

STEERING

Type

Lock to lock

Rack and pinion,

electric power-assisted 2.5 turns

HIGHLIGHTS

Space Cabin Performance Fun to drive

Firm suspension

WHEELS & TYRES

Wheel size

18”

Tyre size

225/40 R 18

BRAKES

Front

Ventilated discs

Rear

Ventilated discs

SUSPENSION

Front

MacPherson Strut with

Rear

coil spring and damper Multi-link axle

ACCOMMODATION

Seating

5

Head Room, F/R

980/965 mm

Leg Room F (max/min)

1240/1060 mm

Knee Room F (max/min)

890/710 mm

Knee Room R (max/min)

840/590 mm

Shoulder space

1350 mm

Fuel tank

48 litres

Boot space

320-1250 litres

DRIVER AIDS

ABS, ESP, Brake Assist, cornering brake control, DSC, Drive Modes, tyre pressure indicator

CAR RATINGS

Design & Style:

Powertrain:

Performance:

Fuel Efficiency:

Dynamic Ability:

Space: 11111

11111

11111

11111

11111

1111

Creature Comforts:

Driver Appeal:

Safety:

Interior:

Suspension:

Ride Quality:

Handling:

Steering:

Braking:

11111

11111

11111

11111

11111

1111

11111

11111

11111

Width 1800 mm (excluding mirrors) Front Track 1564 mm, Rear Track 1565 mm Kerb Weight 1465 kg

TEST RESULTS

IN-GEAR SPEEDS (KM/H)

Indicated

True

20

19.6

40

39.3

60

58.5

80

77.5

100

96.8

120

116.0

STANDING 1/4 MILE

0-400m sprint

16.53 s

Terminal speed

147.99 km/h

OVERTAKING ACCELERATION

Roll-ons (km/h, seconds)

40-60

60-80

80-100

100-120

2.09

1.95

2.26

2.96

TOP SPEED

Claimed

228 km/h

BRAKING

80-0 km/h

100-0 km/h

2.73 s, 33.52 m 3.65 s, 56.38 m

PERFORMANCE FACTORS

Power:Weight (PS/tonne)

131.06

Specific Output (PS/litre)

96.10

Specific Torque (Nm/litre)

140.14

FUEL CONSUMPTION (KM/L)

City

10.0

Highway

17.0

Overall*

11.75

* Overall is 25% highway and 75% city driving

TEST CONDITIONS

Altitude

Weather

550m above MSL Warm, windless, dry

PERFORMANCE

200

180

ACCELERATION (km/h)

 

160

140

120

100

80

6.5

0

60

4.6

5

40

3.25

20

2.10

0

8.6

0

11.45

0

2

4

6

8

10 12 14

16

14.78

19.78

TIME (seconds)

18

20

22 24 26

28

CAR INDIA’s test and performance data is the sole copyright of Next Gen Publishing Pvt Ltd. No part of the data or text can be used in any form for any purpose or promotion or advertisement without the explicit written permission of the editor. (Performance testing by Sarmad Kadiri)

56

CAR INDIA

May 2017

www.carindia.in

you hardly ever feel the extra weight or length. It changes direction swiftly and with ease that very few cars of the size can boast of. There’s not a dull moment behind the Clubman’s wheel. The ride is slightly more forgiving than that in the MINI three-door, for the bigger MINI soaks in more of the road undulations. Yet you can’t call it plush or sublime and the low-profile tyres don’t help this cause either. It tries hard to keep most road bumps from filtering through to the cabin, but the impact is loud and clear over the occasional ditch or pothole. You can further set up the Clubman using the driving modes, depending on your need for ride comfort, sportiness or efficiency. Thus, apart from the standard MID mode, you can increase the performance by switching to Sport or go for comfort and efficiency by selecting the Green mode. The latter also helps stretch a litre of fuel to 17 km on the highway. Driving in the usual city traffic returns close to 10 km/l, thus bringing the overall fuel efficiency to 11.75 km/l. With the help of brake assist and dynamic stability control we managed to bring the car to a halt from 100

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Don’t you love these barn-type doors?

Roomy rear seats make the Clubman perfect for families

km/h in just 3.65 seconds, over 56.38 metres. And what’s hot is that it also comes with brake energy recuperation to aid the Green mode. If you look at the positioning, the Clubman, priced at Rs 38.50 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), demands a premium of Rs 7 lakh over the three-door MINI. But then it offers a lot more practicality in terms of space and usability without losing out on the iconic fun-to-drive trait that MINI cars are known for. Do tell us whose side you are on in this heated ‘MINI More’ argument!

May 2017

CAR INDIA

57

Accent on Updates

It is update season at Hyundai and this time it’s the Xcent’s turn

Story: Ravi Chandnani Photography: Sanjay Raikar

FTER LAUNCHING THE 2017 VERSION OF THE Grand i10, Hyundai have now updated their entry-level sedan, the Xcent. However, it doesn’t just get a facelift; the changes are more than what meets the eye. To begin with, the front end of the Xcent now gets substantial updates with a new face that features a funky chrome grille that dominates the fascia. Then there are the LED DRL (daytime running lights) that add to the stylish layout. At the rear, new tail-lamps, bumper and a shark-fin antenna add class to this little sedan. Inside, things are pretty much the same as before. The black-beige theme continues to give the cabin a rich feel, with high-quality plastics and fabric adding to the overall chic character of the interior. Equipment remains pretty much the same with automatic air-con, steering-mounted controls, adjustable steering, a lot of small storage spaces and a cooled glove-box staying as they were. One major thing that has changed, however, is the upper centre console, which now features a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with

58

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May 2017

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HYUNDAI XCENT 1.2 CRDI

ROAD TEST

May 2017

CAR INDIA

59

ROAD TEST

HYUNDAI XCENT 1.2 CRDI

stuff like Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The screen also doubles up as the display for the parking camera. The quality and fit-and-finish of the interior is as top-notch as before. Space-wise, the Xcent is again similar to the previous generation car since much of the mechanical configuration stays the same. This means there is ample space for four adults, and more than enough boot volume for a weekend’s worth of luggage. Head- and knee-room are good enough for average Indian adults. Overall, the excellent cabin attributes continue to provide good value for money so far as space and equipment are concerned. As for the engine, the Xcent now features a faster beating heart. Gone is the old 1.1-litre CRDi, three-pot motor, making way for the new 1.2-litre U II CRDi motor that made its début on the Grand i10. The new 1,186-cc turbocharged diesel motor is good enough for 75 PS and 190 Nm, which is more than adequate for this lightweight sedan. Linearity is the name of the game for this engine as the torque comes in gently at 1,750 rpm; however, you can feel its presence much before that. Furthermore, the turbo-lag has been kept to the minimum, giving the car better driveability. Refinement has improved as compared to the earlier car because there is hardly any engine chatter making its way into the cabin. However, at high rpm there is some engine chatter that becomes audible. Since this is a city car, there is no need for exploring the minute high-rpm possibilities. The engine is mated to a five- speed manual transmission, which has well-spaced gear ratios and the shifts are smooth with short throws. The additional four PS and 10 Nm might not sound like a lot but they do make a difference when it comes to performance. In our test the Xcent was four seconds quicker from 0 to 100 km/h and it attained an almost two km/h faster top speed as compared to the earlier model. In terms of fuel efficiency, the new engine outperformed the older one by posting an overall figure of 17.25 km/l, which is pretty good for a city car. The new engine has not affected the handling or ride quality at all, which is a good thing. The earlier Xcent was among the best in the segment so far as ride quality was concerned and the new one carries forwards the legacy. The suspension setup is pretty well sorted, giving the car excellent bump

60

CAR INDIA

May 2017

The big, seven-inch touchscreen is quite intuitive

Adding class to an already classy sedan are these LED DRLs

www.carindia.in

Overall Height 1520 mm

ACCELERATION (km/h)

Hyundai Xcent 1.2 CRDi SX(O) (Rs 8.69 lakh, ex-Pune) 11112

Car Road Test 481

Wheelbase 2425 mm

Overall Length 3995 mm

Width 1660 mm (excluding mirrors) Front Track 1479 mm, Rear Track 1493 mm Kerb Weight NA

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

Cylinders Layout Type Fuel Bore x stroke Capacity Compression ratio Valvegear

Three, in-line Front, transverse Turbocharged, DI Diesel 75.0 x 84.5 1186 cc NA DOHC, four valves/cyl

ENGINE OUTPUT

Max power (PS)

75

Power peak (rpm)

4000

Red line (rpm)

4750

Max torque (Nm)

190

Torque peak (rpm)

1750-2250

TRANSMISSION

Five-speed, manual

1st gear

NA

2nd gear

NA

3rd gear

NA

4th gear

NA

5th gear

NA

Reverse gear

NA

Final drive

NA

Drive wheels

FWD

STEERING

Type

Rack and pinion,

Lock to lock

power-assisted 2.8 turns

HIGHLIGHTS

Equipment

Space

Ride quality

Handling

Price

WHEELS & TYRES

Wheel size

Tyre size

BRAKES

Front

Rear

15”

175/60 R 15

Discs

Drums

SUSPENSION

Front

Rear

MacPherson Strut with coil spring and damper Coupled torsion beam axle

TEST RESULTS

IN-GEAR SPEEDS (KM/H)

Gear

Indicated

True

1

40

37

2

71

67.5

3

105

100.5

4

140

134.2

5

159

154.0

STANDING 1/4 MILE

0-400m sprint

20.02 s

Terminal speed

110.29 km/h

OVERTAKING ACCELERATION

ACCOMMODATION

Seating Head Room, F/R Leg Room F (max/min) Knee Room F (max/min) Knee Room R (max/min) Shoulder space Fuel tank Boot space

 

Roll-ons (s)

Speed

3rd

4th

5th

40-60

3.53

5.96

8.93

5

60-80

3.65

4.80

7.00

990/920

80-100

10.74

6.52

6.45

1140/950

100-120

NA

10.07

9.00

820/625

860/660

1300

TOP SPEED

43 litres

Achieved

154 km/h

407 litres

BRAKING

80-0 km/h

100-0 km/h

2.77 s, 28.66 m 3.30 s, 42.54 m

PERFORMANCE FACTORS

Power:Weight (PS/tonne)

NA

Specific Output (PS/litre)

63.24

Specific Torque (Nm/litre)

160.20

FUEL CONSUMPTION

City

TEST CONDITIONS

16.0

Highway

21.0

Overall*

17.25

* Overall is 25% highway and 75% city driving

Altitude

Weather

550m above MSL

Warm, light wind, dry

DRIVER AIDS

ABS, EBD, Reverse Parking Camera

CAR RATINGS

Design & Style:

Powertrain:

Performance:

Fuel Efficiency:

Dynamic Ability:

Space:

Creature Comforts:

Driver Appeal:

Safety:

Interior:

Suspension:

Ride Quality:

Handling:

Steering:

Braking:

11112

11112

11111

11111

11111

11112

11112

11111

11112

11112

11111

11111

11112

11111

11112

PERFORMANCE

200

180

160

140

120

100

80

60

40

20

0

0

2

1.05

4

3.10

6

8

6.10

10.60

10 12 14

16

16.63

24.05

TIME (seconds)

18

20

22 24 26

28

CAR INDIA’s test and performance data is the sole copyright of Next Gen Publishing Ltd. No part of the data or text can be used in any form for any purpose or promotion or advertisement without the explicit written permission of the editor. (Performance testing by Ravi Chandnani)

www.carindia.in

May 2017

CAR INDIA

61

ROAD TEST

HYUNDAI XCENT 1.2 CRDI

The refinement of the 1.2-litre CRDi engine is quite good

absorption. It goes over undulations and potholes with poise, keeping the jitters away from the cabin occupants. The setup doesn’t just provide good ride quality, it also lends neutral handling. The car feels planted in the corners

with minimal hints of body-roll and understeer. However, the steering, though well-weighted, feels vague at times; it could do with a little more precision and feedback. The brakes have ample bite with just the right amount of feel. Although the new Xcent has not evolved much in terms of aesthetics, that new 1.2-litre CRDi diesel motor does make a big difference. Its smooth and refined character makes driving a joyful experience. Besides, you get good- quality interior, contemporary exterior, top-notch equipment, neutral handling, superb ride quality and brilliant fuel efficiency. However, at Rs 8.69 lakh (ex- Pune) for the top-end variant, it seems a bit pricey but then again if you don’t want to compromise on anything, the new Xcent seems like a fair deal.

The earlier Xcent was among the best in the segment so far as ride quality was concerned and the new one carries forwards the legacy

62

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May 2017

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` 125.00

Shell Experience

New York Auto Show

50 Years of AMG II

FEATURES: Great India Drive — I

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TEST XCENT

NEW ROAD

HYUNDAI

now goes global

Compact sedan

Volume 12 / Issue 010 / May 2017 / Total Pages 132

EXCLUSIVE FIRST DRIVE

1,500 horsepower. Driven!

TESTED

Hexa AT S

MINI Tata

FIRST DRIVES

Clubman

TDCi

S60 S Polestar

Ford Figo

Volvo

COMPARO: Maruti Suzuki Ignis v Hyundai Grand i10

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COMPARO

HYUNDAI GRAND i10 v MARUTI SUZUKI IGNIS

Hatch

Attack

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We pit the established Hyundai Grand i10 against its newest rival, the Maruti Suzuki Ignis

Story: Anosh Khumbatta Photography: Sanjay Raikar

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May 2017

CAR INDIA

65

ROM THE DAYS OF THE HUMBLE AND game-changing Maruti 800, hatchbacks have always been in demand in our country. The segment has flourished as more and more manufacturers joined the fray, giving us a flood of small, frugal and feature-packed city cars to choose from. The cars you see on these pages fit into the same compact hatchback segment priced between Rs 6.5 and Rs 7 lakh, but built with totally different philosophies; they couldn’t be more different from each other. Hyundai have, over the years, carved a firm niche in the Indian market and their Grand i10 has been one of the bestsellers since 2013. Although getting a little long in the tooth, the Grand i10 still holds its own amidst the new models being introduced every year. It has proved to be a reliable and comfortable city car with a comfortable interior and solid build quality. Clearly the formula works, and for 2017 Hyundai have given us a mid-cycle facelift which includes a new hexagonal grille and headlights up

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CAR INDIA

May 2017

front, with LED daytime running lights (DRL) adjoining the round fog-lamps lower in the bumper. At the back, the tail-lights have been updated, while the interior retains its basic design, with the addition of a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rear a-c vents and parking sensors. The oldest and most successful player in the Indian market, Maruti Suzuki have introduced us to several successful hatchbacks over the years and their legendary service support, accessible in all corners of the country, has made this the go-to brand for Indian families since the late 1980s. For 2017, Maruti Suzuki have added the Ignis to their compact hatchback line-up, and just a glance will tell you that this is an all-new design, like nothing we have seen on our roads before. Maruti Suzuki decided to go the micro-SUV route with the stature of this new car, and from certain angles it looks somewhat like an old Maruti Zen pumped up on steroids. The design shares traits with

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HYUNDAI GRAND i10 v MARUTI SUZUKI IGNIS

The dual-tone dashboard in the Ignis is divided horizontally

COMPARO

The integrated touchscreen and flowing design add a touch of class to the Hyundai’s interiors

the compact Japanese kei cars, with the tall-boy look, high seating with great visibility all around, and easy manoeuvrability through city traffic — it doesn’t fit into any conventional body type, and this uniqueness is sure to turn heads. Since we were comparing these cars for city use, we decided to put convenience first; we picked the highest- spec variant available without a clutch. The Grand i10 Sportz gets the optional four-speed automatic gearbox, while the Ignis Zeta gets a five-speed AMT unit. The top- of-the-line Grand i10 Asta and Ignis Alpha variants get more creature comforts; however, they are only available with manual transmissions, so let’s get this automatic hatchback shootout under way. Side by side, both cars look to be from different planets. The Hyundai stays the tried and tested path, with a low roof-line and gentle flowing curves that we know quite well, while the Ignis stands 75 millimetres taller at 1,595

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May 2017

CAR INDIA

67

Overall Height 1595 mm

ACCELERATION (km/h)

COMPARO

HYUNDAI GRAND i10 v MARUTI SUZUKI IGNIS

Maruti Suzuki Ignis Zeta AGS (Rs 7.64 lakh, ex-Pune) 1111

Car Road Test 482

Ground Clearance 180 mm

Wheelbase 2435 mm

Overall Length 3700 mm

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

Cylinders Layout Type Fuel Bore x stroke Capacity

Four, in-line Front, transverse Naturally-aspirated, MPFI Petrol 73.0 x 71.5 mm 1197 cc

Compression ratio

10.0:1

Valvegear

DOHC, four valves/cyl

ENGINE OUTPUT

Max power (PS)

83

Power peak (rpm)

6000

Red line (rpm)

6250

Max torque (Nm)

113

Torque peak (rpm)

4200

TRANSMISSION

Five-speed, automatic

1st gear

NA

2nd gear

NA

3rd gear

NA

4th gear

NA

5th gear

NA

Reverse gear

NA

Final drive

NA

Drive wheels

FWD

STEERING

Type

Lock to lock

Rack and pinion,

electric power-assisted 3.75 turns

HIGHLIGHTS

High seating

Exhaust note

Slow gear shifts

WHEELS & TYRES

Wheel size

Tyre size

15”

175/65 R 15