Mercedes Benz AMG GT Class Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

Think of it as the facelifted AMG GT. Three years have passed since Mercedes-AMG first showed off its two-seater hot rod and now the guys and girls at Affalterbach have given it a mid-life nip and tuck. The distinctive ‘Panamericana’ grille with its wide-spaced vertical slats is the giveaway; pre-facelift cars have a single horizontal spar across a wide open snout.

The GT range is now nine-strong, if you count all variants across Coupe and Roadster body styles, plus the GT3 and GT4 racing cars. The GT Coupe sits at the foot of the line-up, its £98,760 asking price the only one to dip below six-figures. Next is the GT Roadster, costing £110,160.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Although smaller than the SLS AMG, the GT can be considered the former’s spiritual successor from a design point of view. The sports car’s lines are muscular and dramatic, two features that are more noticeable now that the veils have been lifted. Much like the SLS AMG and the iconic 300SL Gullwing, the GT is highlighted by its long hood, a short boot and a greenhouse that has been moved farther toward the rear.

Needless to say, the front fascia also reminds me of the SLS AMG. A wide grille fitted with Mercedes’ new diamond pattern dominates the landscape, with beautifully shaped headlamps extending onto the fenders. Down below, a thin air dam makes up most of the apron, while large intakes are mounted on each side to help cool those large front brakes. The resemblance continues around back, but, much like its front end, the Mercedes-AMG GT’s rear fascia brings new styling cues into the equation. The thin taillights provide a great contrast to the beefy bumper and large exhaust tips. More importantly, the regular trunk lid of the SLS has been replaced by a larger lid that now incorporates the rear glass.

Overall, the AMG GT is shorter than the SLS AMG, but at the same time it kept the latter’s wide and low stance. The design is not overly dramatic and it certainly doesn’t represent a significant departure from the SLS, but the AMG GT boasts that pure sports car emotion we expect from vehicles that can perform on the street as well as on the track.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

However, getting inside the Mercedes AMG GT-S was more or less similar, because the way the dashboard and centre console are laid out, it is no less than the cockpit of a plane. The steering wheel is similar to the one that we saw on the C63 AMG S. The instrument cluster is also similar to other AMGs and it is clear and easy to read.The centre console is large and comes with an array of buttons. At the front, you get a thin strip of small buttons which are used for the AC and climate control system. Behind them, you get the knob for the COMAND infotainment system and at the very back is a small but chunky gear selector that is shared with the G63 AMG. You don’t get Mercedes’ traditional steering-mounted gear selector on the AMG GT-S. The centre console gets 4 buttons on either side and they are used to select driving modes, toggle the engine on and off, tweak the suspension settings, toggle the traction control, etc.

The seats are very snug and provide good support all around. Frontal visibility is excellent and you also get a good view of the long bonnet. The ORVMs offer a good field of view while the tiny rear windscreen is pretty much useless in tight situations. We didn’t get a chance to check out the Burmester audio system of the car though, since we were quite immersed in getting a eargasm from the exhaust note. The AMG GT-S is definitely very long and it takes some time getting used to the sheer size. Cargo carrying capacity isn’t much and the boot should be able to hold just a couple of bags with 280-litres of space.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The GT gets a 4-litre, V8, direct injection, twin turbo, and all aluminum motor. As you can tell by the previous sentence, this one is one high tech car. And I still haven’t mentioned the 7-speed Directshift DCT rear mounted transaxle which connects to the engine via a carbon fibre driveshaft. Phew, this is intensive. Not to forget, this drivetrain also gets four driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race. And for those who are choosier still, there’s an Individual mode wherein one can choose various setups from the stock modes and create an all-new one.On the road, the best way to enjoy the AMG GT is to select the Individual mode. Turn the drivetrain and exhaust to Sport+, the dampers to Comfort, and do leave the ESP ON! Then, it’s just a matter of how much gas you give. Floor it in a straight line and the AMG GT shocks you with the amount of grip it possess. It catapults off the line and just goes on building momentum relentlessly, gear after gear, revving effortlessly to 7,000rpm, and sounding great all the while.Floor it around bends, and again, a little twitch later, the GT is back doing what it does best – chasing the horizon with utmost ferocity. It is here that one appreciates leaving the ESP on because the engine’s grunt easily overwhelms the rear tyres. Leave it off and if you have a lead right foot and a hand-eye co-ordination of a baby – like me – you will scare yourself silly every corner.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Driving this car quickly on the road means peeling your eyelids back and dialling your concentration levels up to 11. That hyper-responsive wheel offers just enough feedback at the straight-ahead to keep the car from feeling nervous on the road, although it doesn’t escape by much.And yet both off and on-centre, the steering is in serious need of greater confidence-inspiring weight and feedback. The firm springing makes the helm react to every medium-sized bump that the front wheels cross, and this, on a really testing B-road, can challenge your capacity to guide the car smoothly and with total precision. Want exciting? You’ve found it all right.The ride is short and staccato. It’s slightly less aggressive when the softer damping modes are selected, but no less busy. Long-wave undulations hardly disturb the level of the body at all, but when the road’s topography turns particularly savage, the suspension often becomes skittish, as tyres part company with the road surface and impacts thump through that spaceframe chassis.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

The body structure of this sports car itself is a representation of next level safety in the auto world. It has a precise structure featuring crumple zones at critical locations and impact beams for added strength. This enables to create a protective shell for the occupants inside and safeguards them from impact. Besides these, airbags and three point seatbelt are already present to minimize injury risks. Like other Mercedes models, this GT S too gets an Attention Assist function that analyzes the driving data and detects signs of inattentiveness of driver towards driving. There are other advanced features like adaptive brake lights, electric parking brake, automatic child seat recognition, tyre pressure monitoring system and a few other security functions.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The AMG GT now comes in three flavours in India – S coupé, Roadster and R coupé – and the best part is that they all fall within a pretty tidy price band that’s just Rs 14 lakh across. So it’s simple, right? Ignore the base S model and go for the R, the loudest, most powerful and most visually dramatic. Not quite, and although a full evaluation on the road will have to confirm this, we suspect that some might find the R a little too much for everyday use, be it the noise, the ride, the sharp throttle or even the added width. The GT S has plenty of drama as is. But as ever, there will inevitably be plenty of takers for the top dog of the range, even though most will never take the R to a racetrack. So just where on the sportscar spectrum does the AMG GT R fit? Like all rear-drive AMGs, it’s still a shouty, tail-happy animal if provoked, but this time there’s more to it than just that, provided you drive it right. The lap records are proof of that. It serves as the quickest-accelerating, most powerful version of the AMG GT range, while simultaneously being the sharpest-handling and most track-focused. Think of the Porsche 911 Turbo and GT3 RS rolled into one, and you get the picture. It’s equal parts GT and R, and at an almost reasonable Rs 2.23 crore (ex-showroom), we hope to see a number of ‘Beasts of the Green Hell’ on Indian roads.

 

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Mahindra Scorpio Features & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

Mahindra Scorpio was the first passenger vehicle to be introduced by the automaker and has made a lasting presence in the Indian utility market, ever since it first arrived in 2002. The SUV commands a strong demand in rural as well as urban markets and the Mahindra has consistently updated its highly popular offering with new features, more powerful engines and improved off-road capability. The Scorpio’s wide and lasting appeal as the authentic off-road SUV can be traced to its commanding and aggressive design, the powerful2.2 litre turbocharged mHawk engine that propels it ahead of others and true all-terrain capability with its tough body-on-chassis construction and shift-on-fly 4WD. Coupled with its elevated seating position, the Scorpio imparts that unique ‘King of the Road’ feeling to the driver. In its latest avatar, the new generation Scorpio is built on an all-new platform with Cushion Suspension and Anti-Roll Technologies. It comes with advanced technology features and exterior styling that’s more contemporary but reflects Scorpio’s signature aggression and muscularity. Always the trendsetter in technology, the Scorpio is India’s 1st mild hybrid SUV with Intelli-Hybrid technology. The Scorpio is also available with the frugal 2.5 litre turbocharged m2DICR diesel engine in the entry-level S2 variant. Check for Scorpio price in Pune

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

Let’s start with the front end. The faceis now more aggressive than the Scorpiowe’ve been used to so far. Instead of tryingto fit in the new family grille onto an olderdesign (as seen in the older Scorpio), thedesigners have finally got an opportunityto start afresh. The grille, headlampsand bumper are all new. The hexagonalgrille is unique and, instead of the usualseparations in the form of slats, featuressmaller inserts finished in chrome. Theheadlamps go well with the grille, are edgy,and feature projector lighting and parkinglamps in the form of LED eyebrows thatadd to the macho character. The hood isredesigned and the functional scoop thatsits on it uses the same grille pattern.

The sides? Well, apart from the frontfender, everything else is exactly the sameand is disappointing, after all, this vehicle issupposed to be the next-gen Scorpio. Theheadlamps now wrap around the fenderthat also features a mock vent like bezel, theside cladding is exactly the same, and onlythe front section has been redesigned sinceit is part of the new face. Larger 17-inchwheels (16-inch in the previous model) lookgood but are more car like than SUV. Thewheels however fill up the arches well.Move to the rear and you know it is aScorpio even though the design is a lotbusier than before. A black applique runsacross the upper part of the tailgate. Itlooks better on a darker shade like the blueScorpio you see here, but the silver numberplate garnish is boxy and loud. The basemodel is in fact easier on the eyes since itdoesn’t feature any contrasting garnish.The window is now smaller and the visiblearea even less. But it doesn’t affect visibilitysince the outgoing model’s rear windowwas unnecessarily large. The windowshape is unique and complex, even therear defogger grids aren’t straight lines butangular. The clear lens tail lamps are newand feature bright LED lighting but thechrome insides look aftermarket especiallyduring the day. However, the verticalpillar-mounted reflectors have now beenditched for non-reflective black inserts.

The bumper however is exactly the sameas before. Overall, the exterior is still verymuch like the current Scorpio’s except forthe more aggressive face

COMFORT AND SPACE ;

The interiors on the new Mahindra Scorpio have been heavily reworked too. And for the better. The dashboard is all new, as is the steering, the door trim and the seats. The dash with its layered design looks more upmarket now and the choice of materials, colours and the attention to fit and finish is a huge improvement over the outgoing Scorpio. The instrumentation is more in line with the new Scorpio’s youthful aura while it remains easy to read and throws up a decent amount of info including gear indication.

The operability of controls – dials, buttons, stalks et al – is crisper and better dampened too on the new Mahindra Scorpio. Mahindra has paid attention towards improving the ergonomics as well. The aircon vents are not only better shaped, their effectiveness has improved as well. Also, the power window switches have now moved to the doors from the central console as on the previous Scorpio. Though this is thoughtful change, it has negatively affected how one works the driver side seat height adjustment; it leaves no space between the seat and the door to put your arm in. We would have also liked the front armrest to have more adjustability; currently, it moves along with the seat back, which is quite pointless.

As for space, there isn’t a big improvement over the older Scorpio. Having said that, apart from lack of elbow room upfront, there’s nothing to complain about; there’s more than adequate room all round be it for head, knee or shoulder. And the boot with the jump seats folded offers good luggage room.

Mahindra has garnered a reputation of delivering an exhaustive features list on its products. The new Scorpio is no different. It is comfortably the best equipped SUV in its class, at least in this top of the line S10 trim. The new Mahindra Scorpio S10 gets a touchscreen multimedia system with Satnav and bluetooth. There’s reversing aid, climate control, cruise control, a multi-functional steering wheel, rear AC vents, power ORVMs, automatic headlamps and rain sensing wipers. The new Scorpio also gets a strut operated bonnet and this is important because it tells us Mahindra’s intent of moving up the premium ladder by offering convenience related bits the lack of which aren’t exactly deal breakers in this class.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

A key reason for the Scorpio’s success, right from the time it was first launched has been its strong engines. The 2.2-litre 118bhp mHawk is carried over from the previous car, has been further refined, mildly retuned and mated to a new gearbox (the same five-speed 5MT320 unit from the Xylo). Performance is even better than before and the new Scorpio lumbers past the 100kph mark from rest in 13.4 seconds, which is 1.4 seconds quicker than the previous model; pretty impressive for a 1.8-tonne vehicle. In-gear acceleration too is a shade quicker than before, especially in third and fourth gears.

But it’s not the outright performance, but rather the manner in which the engine delivers its power that is at the heart of the Scorpio’s appeal. The torqueymHawk motor is so responsive that it makes the heavy Scorpio feel light on its feet and faster than the VBOX numbers suggest. The engine pulls without fuss from as low as 1,500rpm and there’s a strong surge after 1,800rpm. The mid-range punch of this motor is superb and you feel there’s a surplus of power. Overtaking is effortless and the Scorpio can be wafted past slow-moving vehicles quite easily. It’s not an engine that likes to be revved though and it’s best to shift up before 4,000rpm to land back in the meat of the powerband.

The engine is amazingly refined as well and at cruising speeds it’s impossible to tell it’s a diesel. The new gearbox is better than before but still feels quite notchy and the clutch could have been more progressive and lighter.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Scorpio remains a ladder frame chassis with a live axle at the rear. In the face of the monocoque, front-drive competition will be a disadvantage for on-road dynamics. Mahindra claims that the torsional rigidity of the chassis has been increased significantly, and that it is now a modular platform that will give birth to more vehicles. Judging from the way the front and rear of the Scorpio feel connected while going around a corner, I believe them. The Scorpio rides almost as well as the Duster, with no discernible difference most of the time. Where the Scorpio lags behind the Renault is in steering feel – it weighs up well, but there is no clear message sent to your fingertips when the wheels are losing grip. The Duster delivers the message better. Another thing that works in the Duster’s favour is the front-drive architecture – it will always understeer. The Scorpio’s rear drive means that it can get unpredictable on the limit, so if you’re going to drive around corners quickly, the Scorpio isn’t for you. However, if you’re going to use your SUV off-road, the Scorpio becomes the automatic choice because the very things that make it not as good a road car as the Duster will have it scampering out of sight of the Renault when the going gets tough. It would also be my choice for cross-country trips thanks to Mahindra’s widespread service network.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

Mahindra Scorpio is comprised with caliper type ventilated disc brakes at the front while at the rear, drum brakes are present. In addition to this primary braking system, there comes Anti-lock Braking system as secondary braking system for immediate and emergency braking purposes. Although, ABS ain’t a standard safety feature across the entire variant range but it is available S6+ trim onward on this SUV. The company has offered dual front airbags as safety feature, albeit with top-of-the-trims – S8 and S10. However, the S6+ trim comes loaded with a front driver side airbag as standard feature. In addition, there are side intrusions beams for added safety; but, what irony, the entry-level S2 variant is even deprived of them. A special mention goes to Mahindra’s Voice assist system which timely keeps reminding the driver regarding the door ajar, seat belt warning, low brake fluid, and fuel on reserve. It is on offer with S6 grade onward as standard feature. Also, one gets to see the Tyre-tronics system with the Scorpio which is an indispensable safety feature as it keeps on updating the driver about the exact air pressure and temperature in each tyre. Apart from the aforementioned features, there are a few more features which ensure the safety of the occupants as well as vehicle, directly or indirectly. These features are Digital immobilizer, Anti theft warning, Seat belt reminder lamp, Speed alert, and Auto door lock while driving.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Mahindra Scorpio is a great value for money. Honestly this would be my pick over their own XUV5oo as the Scorpio is more true to its roots to being a SUV rather than just looks like the XUV. The New Generation Mahindra Scorpio is not just next level in terms of design but also in terms of features and equipment. Let’s see if it still holds its on as new SUV’s keep entering the market.

 

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Land Rover Discovery Sport Facelift Review

INTRODUCTION ;

While the success of the Freelander 2 was overshadowed by the stylish Range Rover Evoque, there is no denying that the car offered a comfortable drive experience and was accompanied by great off-road capability. However, before Land Rover introduced the mildly refreshed Freelander 2, they had already started work on its replacement -the Land Rover Discovery Sport. And now that it is finally here, can it up the ante and set a new benchmark for the brand? Check for Discovery Sport price in Hyderabad

EXTERIOR AND DESIGN ;

The Discovery Sport has a lot of similarity in styling to an Evoque. Many onlookers even asked if this is the new Evoque and we realised that in colours like white and silver, one could mistake the Discovery Sport as a Range Rover Evoque. Once, the new model year Evoque makes its way into India, we shall note that there is a major difference between the two. To speak of the styling, it has a sleek front grille with pulled back headlamps and DISCOVERY embossed above the grille stating that this is a part of the Discovery family. Land Rover has discontinued the Freelander2 and this is its replacement. There will three families under the Land Rover brand, Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.

The Discovery Sport is the newest member of the Discovery family and it is based on a new platform, which will be used for more Discovery products in the near future. The side profile of the Discovery Sport has a sloping roof, a design that is similar to that of new-generation Land Rovers. The Land Rover design DNA has been retained the clamshell bonnet and the floating roof. The Discovery Sport is certainly a looker. Find best offers on Discovery Sport

INTERIOR AND SPACE ;

On the inside, the Discovery Sport is straight and simple. Purposeful, yet classy. It cannot be termed very premium but the build quality is solid and built to last. The finish in some areas does feel ordinary. The instrument cluster has twin dials and is lit in white, having a simplistic design. A new centre console comes in place and houses the gear dial which rises for use only when the ignition switch is activated. A new touchscreen infotainment system is seen in this SUV which is easy to operate even while driving, however, it takes time getting used to the interface .The driving position is not very tall but near perfect, and offers good visibility. The seats are firm, well contoured and comfortable. The seats also have electric adjustments. The vehicle over all is pretty spacious and has air vents for all rows. The huge panoramic glass roof further makes it feel spacious. The unique thing here is that every passenger gets a USB charging point which makes it a total of seven USB ports.

The Discovery Sport is slightly longer than the Freelander 2 and hence it also comes as a seven-seater option. Hence it makes this compact SUV a good option for a larger family. But its only the kids who can occupy the third row comfortably . The seven-seat version gets a space saving spare tyre instead of the full-size spare which is found on the standard five-seat version.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

There is only two engine options on the Discovery Sport – both use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit, producing two outputs – 148bhp and 177bhp.

However, our test car used Ford-derived 2.2-litre diesel and the Sport’s most noticeable connection to the past is unmistakably that engine, which currently shadows everything the car does with the clatter and gunsmoke odour of yesteryear. Denying the car the new four-cylinder Ingenium oil-burner from launch was clearly the model’s on-paper Achilles heel and, to a greater or lesser extent, that’s the way it plays out on the road.

However, although the direct-injected 2.2-litre motor is not a paragon of refinement or efficiency, its later-life development has at least ensured that it produces the unmistakable surge expected of a modern blower-equipped diesel.

On stream, its 310lb ft of torque is a plentiful amount, and it feels that way. For a car that tipped the scales on the wrong side of two tonnes when we weighed it, a sub-9.0sec 0-60mph time is very decent. So is the 9.0sec it takes to get from 30mph to 70mph, very slightly bettering the time we recorded for the much-admired 2.2-litre engine in the Mazda CX-5 a couple of years ago.

In fact, the soft underbelly of the package is at times evident less in the 20th century motor and more in the 21st century gearbox to which it has been shackled.

Rather inevitably, the nine-speed automatic transmission’s keenness to keep the engine spinning at its productive mid-range pitch means that you’re going to have to live with a lot of downshifting – particularly on the motorway, where the never-ending 47.5mph per 1000rpm final ratio cannot be trusted with even modest acceleration.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Discovery Sport deals with speed bumps well and rides smoothly at higher speeds, especially on the motorway. Clever adaptive dampers (called Adaptive Dynamics) are available as an option, but there’s really no need to bother spending the extra.

Things can get a touch bumpy around town in the Discovery Sport, though. Expansion joints and worn surfaces unsettle the suspension a little, a problem that is exacerbated by fitting alloys larger than the 18in rims that come as standard with SE and SE Tech trims. 20in wheels are certainly best avoided.

There is a fair amount of body lean when cornering in the Land Rover Discovery Sport. As a result, it feels a bit sloppy along twisting, country roads compared with an Audi Q5 or a Jaguar F-Pace. Fortunately, though, the Sport holds the road well and has reassuringly precise steering, so you always feel confident and in control.

All models come with Terrain Response, a system that allows the driver to select from a variety of four-wheel drive modes tailored to different surfaces, such as grass, mud and sand. It means the Sport is better off-road than just about anything else in this price bracket.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The Land Rover Discovery Sport comes loaded with features like seven airbags (driver and front passenger, driver knee, side airbags for first two rows). It also gets features like ABS with EBD, Electronic Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control, TPMS, Emergency Brake Assist and Trailer Stability Assist. In terms of after sales service, Land Rover still has a long way to go before it can match the service quality levels as well as the network spread of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.

BOTTOMLINE ;

Land Rover has enhanced its product against the German rivals and there is no denying that the Discovery Sport is far more superior product. The company has invested more on the underpinnings and this what makes the Discovery Sport a better buy for those who need capable off-roaders. If you only want luxury, then pick the Range Rover Evoque.This is more luxurious and is at par worth competition, but not an capable off-roader as the Discovery Sport. Our personal pick is the Discovery Sport, as we like to love to go off the road very often.

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Volkswagen Polo GT Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

The hatchback market in India has always been a popular one, especially among the middle class people, who form a large section of the crowd. Volkswagen Polo GT is one of the popular hatchbacks in the country. There are lots of Volkswagen Polo GT variants to choose from that offer different sets of features and are available at different prices.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

The exterior styling of the Polo GT TSi isn’t very different from that of regular Polo. The changes are very minor and the easiest way to determine the difference is by spotting the GT and GT TSi badges around the car. The other difference on the GT TSi are the new alloy wheels, black-colours wing matters and the black-coloured spoiler. The Polo GT comes in multiple colours, though the best one is the red that has been retained from the first-launched Polo. That is the best colour we will recommend to get the Polo in. The Polo GT looks a lot more sporty than the regular Polo. Check On Road Price of Polo GT

The Polo still looks fresh in design and with its new chrome additions, it still looks upmarket. The German automaker’s paint quality just makes the Polo look so good and adds to the premium-ness. The red colour that our GT TDI came in, is not available on the regular Polo. The Polo doesn’t fail to appeal to us. The regular Polo looks premium in styling, and looks best in the blue colour. The alloy wheels add some more styling to the Polo.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The interiors of the German car are also similar in design to that of the regular Polo. But now the car gets an all-black dashboard with a piano black finish centre console, instead of the dual-tone dashboard in the regular Polo. The car comes with dual-tone seats. The GT gets a flat bottomed steering wheel with audio Bluetooth and voice command controls integrated in them. The car gets GT doorstep garnish as well.

The new Polo GT TDI comes with ambient lighting, aluminium pedals, automatic air-conditioning, a Monochrome Multi-Function Display, a music player with USB, AUX-in, CD and SD card inputs and 4 speakers. Bluetooth Connectivity and Voice Command are also available.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Volkswagen is betting big on downsizing the world over and the Polo GT TSI uses one of those engines which are part of this strategy. The 1.2-litre TSI mill is insanely awesome and needs little introduction, we had a gala of a time with our long term Vento TSI. The turbocharged mill thrusts out 105 PS at 5000 RPM and 175 Nm between 1500-4100 RPM, with those kind of torque numbers, the GT TSI puts even bigger petrol engines to shame. Start the engine and you will be spellbound by the NVH or rather the lack of it. The powerplant is so refined, there is absolutely nothing to be heard. In spite of that, the motor is very quick to make progress, it has a fantastic punch in all parts of the powerband – low, mid and top although top-end rush could have been better.

Driving the car in the city is a relaxing ordeal, the motor is quick to respond when you need it and the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission works its magic to keep the vehicle in the right cog at all times. When driven sedately, there is no hint of the forced induced beast which powers the Polo GT but give it the beans and the world transforms. The GT TSI takes off with urgency and hits triple digit speeds in a jiffy. While VW claims a 0-100 km/hr time of 9.7 seconds, the best we could record on our VBOX was 10.09 seconds, putting the GT TSI on par with the GT TDI in terms of outright acceleration. The problem with the GT is that the gearbox won’t let it rev more than 1200 RPM at standstill. Thus when you launch the car, there is some bit of lag which robs crucial milli seconds from the 0-100 km/hr time.

As the above table shows, the GT TSI is faster at the top-end thanks to it having a good punch near the redline which comes in quite early at just under 6000 RPM. Although the tachometer shows redline at 6500 RPM, the GT seldom crosses the 6000 RPM mark with only first gear seeing the motor rev till 6200 RPM. There are three driving modes, D for drive, S for Sports and tiptronic function which let’s you shift gears on your own (there are no paddles!). In D mode the gearbox takes it easy, shifting early and as per throttle inputs, on full throttle it swaps gears at around 5500 RPM while in S mode the motor pulls to around 6000 RPM. In manual mode the gearbox remains in the lowest gear and won’t upshift till redline but if you don’t give full throttle, it won’t downshift. Gears will automatically change in manual mode if you fail to do so.

The 7-speed DSG unit offers slick shifts and shows the urgency you would want from a performance car. The Turbocharged Stratified Injection is itself fast revving and becomes audible post 3000 RPM, creating an addictive note post 4500 RPM. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear and you can comfortably cruise in top gear at 100 km/hr with the tachometer ticking in at just 2100 RPM. The vehicle pulls very quickly to 140 km/hr (it does 150 km/hr in fourth gear) and post that progress is a bit tamed although given the road, the GT TSI will easily top out at 190 km/hr. When you turn on the car, the cluster reminds you to put your foot on the brake to engage gear, in spite of that one can change between N, D and tiptronic without touching the button on the lever. With our heavy foot and redlining day and night, the GT TSI returned a respectable mileage of 9 km/l. Driven sedately, this car will easily give double digit numbers.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Jokes apart, driving the GT TSi is great. It behaves well when you want it to and even returns a good fuel mileage. That does depend on your driving style as well. The more you push it, the more visits you gotta make to the gas station. Yes, you will have fun pushing it, but that can be quite pricey on the pocket. The brakes can be quite touchy. Press the pedal and there is a definitive lag in the bite. At speeds you may be coming up on a car pretty quick and you may ease on the brakes to slow down the GT TSi but it doesn’t till you press quite hard on the pedal, and instead of gradually bringing the car to a halt kind does it with an unwanted jerk.

One aspect that I was quite disappointed with was the way the GT TSi corners. Though I was at 90km/hr, the car seemed very wallowy while taking a corner. There is a certain confidence level on gets when throwing a car around a corner; I guess the GT TSi has a different learning curve. Cornering in the VW does feel quite soft and nowhere close to sharp. Nonetheless, if you do have a long straight stretch and barely any traffic, be sure to put the car in manual, ride every gear to the red-line before you shift and watch the speedometer hit 190kmph! Now that is something fun to do in a car that has a badge saying GT TSI.

SAFETY ;

Last year when it was reported that some of the most popular compact cars sold in India failed crash tests done by Global NCAP, almost immediately Volkswagen announced dual front airbags as standard fitment on all variants of the Polo. That says something about the company’s commitment to safety. The GT TSI gets ample safety features such as dual front airbags as standard, anti-lock braking system, rear-parking sensors, electronic stabilisation programme and hill-hold function. However, we believe that in addition to rear-parking sensors there should have been a rear-parking camera too.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The price tag of Rs 8.08 lakh is slightly on the higher side, considering the fact that the only major change is the bigger engine. But then it is actually not Volkswagen’s fault – the 1.6-litre engine means it does not qualify as a small car as per the Indian tax regime and you have plenty of options that are bigger and yet fit the bill at the price point. The top-end Maruti Suzuki Dzire and Honda Amaze with extra boot space are available for a lower price tag, but neither would match the GT TDI in performance and handling. And that is the reason why it has been launched as a sort of a limited edition model. This is not for those looking for the biggest car their money can buy, but for those looking at a quick, convenient hatchback with benefits of a diesel

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Volkswagen Ameo Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Volkswagen has been present in India since a few years now but it was just this year that they launched a made for India product with the Ameo. Within no time, the Ameo became Volkswagen’s best selling car in India, with its sales being more than all other VW cars combined. This was only with a petrol version on sale and now the Ameo’s popularity is set to increase further as the diesel model has been launched, available with both manual and DSG automatic transmission. We drive the car from Mumbai to Nashik and back to analyse how the updated diesel motor fares in the compact German sedan. Check for Ameo price in Hyderabad

The Ameo is the first Volkswagen car tailor made for India and it competes in a segment where there is a lot of demand, hence pricing and value proposition remain important.

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

From the front the Volkswagen Ameo looks identical to the Polo. The bumper’s length has been reduced by 35mm to make space for the boot. Upto the C-pillar things remain the same. Then comes a new boot. From the rear, the Ameo looks more like the Skoda Rapid. The German automaker is looking at enhancing its reach with this new compact sedan. The wheelbase is the same as the Polo and there is no other difference, expect for a new boot and different colour options.

CABIN ;

The superbly appointed interior is back too, with VW’s typically restrained-looking dashboard and exceptional fit and finish. The long equipment list on this Highline trim returns, replete with a touchscreen, rear-view camera, automatic wipers, cornering lamps, cruise control, two airbags and ABS. In fact, those last two safety features are standard across the range. The DSG auto version additionally gets ESC and a hill hold function. Finally, the rear seat – it isn’t the most spacious, especially on knee room, but if your use is only occasional, it might be good enough.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The new Ameo TDI is offered with the same 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine as is the Polo and Vento. Only difference is in the larger turbocharger which has enabled the engine to deliver a tuned-up 81kW or about 110PS of peak power and a peak torque of 250Nm – that is quite impressive for a small car that weighs just over 1,150kgs. With the idling engine rpm level being about 800rpm and the redline starting at about 5,200rpm, the delivery of power and torque is perfectly tuned within the mid-range for power, and low-rpm range for torque. Peak torque kicks in as early as 1,500rpm and turbo-lag is quite minimal. The result is an eager performer for a car in the CS segment. The Ameo’s gear ratios have been spaced just right and from when you slip into first gear, there is enough room to work the gearbox through either a passive city driving cycle or an aggressive mix of cruising and over-taking on the highway.

While idling and when you are outside the Ameo, this four-cylinder still has the trademark diesel clatter, but step into the cabin and the good insulation package manages to cut out a lot of the noise. You can still hear the engine at cold start and at high revs. The manual gearbox is a clean shifting 5-speeder and can easily be your choice especially with so much low-end torque available to exploit. The 7-speed, dual clutch DSG automatic is another USP altogether in the Ameo. With so many buyers now preferring automatics, it is a good call to go with the DSG. But then this is not just another auto transmission, this is VW’s popular dual clutch gearbox. Shifts are quick and the gearbox is equally adept at offering shifts for economical, slow-paced driving as it is for aggressive, dynamic driving. You don’t get steering mounted paddles, though manual gear selection with the stick is possible. There is a sports mode too.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride on the Ameo is on the stiffer side and the setup is able to absorb most bumps and imperfections without sending much back into the cabin. However, when you do hit a really deep pothole or bad imperfection the audibility of the suspension taking a beating is quite loud in the cabin. The slightly stiffer suspension setup provides decent stability at high speeds though the car tends to get flighty when encountering undulations at high speed and there is body roll when you go through the corners. However, one thing that Volkswagen has managed get right is the steering. It is precise, weighs up correctly and is an excellent tool for the ‘point and shoot’ style of driving.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Ameo on the whole is a pretty nice car, especially when you consider the equipment you get for the money you pay along with the fact that it is a Volkswagen, and is thus a very well-engineered car. Volkswagen has learnt from its previous mistakes and is offering a bucket load features this time which adds to the Ameo’s value for money quotient.

Build quality and quality of materials used is pretty good, which gives the Ameo a more premium feel. What’s more, it is a familiar looking car though that’s something which works in its favour but could also be a bit of a turn off for some. Not a deal breaker though, especially since it drives well, has a good balance of ride and handling, and of course the fact that this car has been made specifically for India. A little thing to be proud of, no?

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Renault Captur Safety Features & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Renault Captur is the new SUV from the French manufacturer which will be launched in India. The Captur looks radically different from the Duster, though it is based on the same platform and also shares the same engine. The launch of the Captur is expected to happen this mont Renault has discontinued the Scala and the Pulse. It is focussing on new products now. The cross-badging of vehicles with Nissan has also stopped. The Fluence and the Koleos also have been discontinued. The Captur is the new global product from Renault.This SUV is built on the B0 platform. This means it shares its underpinnings with the current Duster. The Captur sold in Europe is built on a different platform. There is no similarity between the two. The B0 platform has been highly localised already, hence it brings a price benefit to the Captur. Renault India wants to get a stylish and modern SUV that will appeal to young and trendy car buyers. It reckons, this will be that SUV for them. Check for Captur price in Hyderabad

EXTERIOR AND STYLE ;

The biggest USP of the Captur is in the styling. Renault has rendered it more crossover styling than a traditional boxy SUV. However, the SUV elements are still very much there like flared wheel arches, cladding, faux skid plates and segment best ground clearance of 210 mm. And those 17-inch alloy wheels also scream SUV. Renault has equipped the Captur with LED headlamps and tail-lamps. You also get fog lamps with cornering function and the best in all are the LED DRLs and dynamic swipe indicators (at the front) which Renault likes to call floating indicators.

The Captur is also the widest and longest car in its segment but that is more due to redesigned bumpers as the track and wheelbase is identical to that of the Duster. The side profile is highlighted by distinct proportions. The shoulder line rises up as it goes backwards and adds to the style quotient. The rear quarter bears a little similarity to the Kwid but that’s ok since it is part of the same family. Chrome has been generously used all around and Renault will be offering a lot of customisation options on the Captur at the dealership level, something similar to what they are already doing with the Kwid.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

When it comes to Renault Captur interiors, there is a lot to talk about. It is one of the most attractive and premium-looking car from inside as well. The dashboard layout and design is much better than what is found on the Duster. It looks fresh, decent yet dynamic with butterfly-shaped instrument cluster, large digital speedometer with tachometer and a fuel gauge. The cabin is lighted with ambient LED lights that look really cool and premium. The plastics used are of decent quality.

The top-end variant of Renault Captur features a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB connectivity options. It also supports voice command, navigation and acts as a rear camera display, when needed. However, it misses Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Other features on the inside include steering mounted controls, cruise control, electrically operated wing mirrors and automatic climate control, which is a standard feature acoss all variants. 2017 Renault Captur is quite a comfortable car. The two-tone white-and-black leatherette seats are very comfortable and they look good too. It offers good under-thigh support, knee room, back support and shoulder room, which makes Captur a perfect car for long journeys. Even three average adults on the rear won’t have any complaints regarding space and comfort. The rear gets its own set of AC vents too.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Renault offers the tried-and-tested 1.5-litre H4K petrol mated to a five-speed manual and a 1.5-litre K9K diesel motor with a six-speed manual on the Captur in India for now. On our first drive, we got the diesel version and we were quite impressed with it. This DCi motor makes 110hp and 240Nm like in the more powerful version of the Duster, but refinement levels have really hit a new high. On the Captur, this engine is the quietest it’s ever been.

This 1.5 DCi motor has always had a bit of turbo lag and it’s the same story with the Captur. However, once spooled up, power delivery is punchy and the motor pulls strong and smooth almost all the way up to 4,700-4,800rpm. Power doesn’t trail off rapidly like a typical diesel and this makes the Captur rather fun to drive. Of course, if it had delivered 20-30hp more, it would’ve been absolutely perfect. But it’s not that the Captur feels underpowered at speed. With a wide powerband like this, overtaking manoeuvres are a breeze. And combined with the car’s solid stability on wide open roads and fairly high speeds, it has all the makings of a great highway cruiser.

DRIVING AND HANDLING ;

Driving the Captur calmly inside the city is something you learn to do. The heavy clutch bites in quite late, and when it does – there’s not much progress from the engine. You will have to go heavy on the throttle, and get the engine ticking over 2000rpm if you want to get anywhere quickly. Below the 2k mark, the Captur feels a bit lacklustre. This means that a quick overtake inside the city, will most definitely require a downshift. When the turbo kicks in, it kicks in with all its might. So, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to ‘control’ the surge. But, drive it around for a while and you’d learn to work around it, and time your overtakes to make use of this wave of torque. Roll on times are quite strong – the Captur does 30-80kmph (in third) in 7.77 seconds, and 40-100kmph (in fourth) takes 11.56 seconds. For reference, an all-out 0-100kmph sprint is dealt with in 13.24 seconds. It could be a lot faster, if the ESP wasn’t as obtrusiveOut on the highway, the Captur is at absolute ease. It’d make for a fantastic road-tripper. Getting to triple digit speeds is a fuss-free affair, and maintaining it easier still. Slot it into sixth, set the cruise control and let it take over. The open highways seem like the Captur’s natural home. It sips consciously here too – the big Renault returned a respectable 21.09kmpl, whereas the figure was a healthy 15.50kmpl inside the city.

SAFETY ;

In terms of kit, the top-of-the-line Platine variant comes well equipped. The infotainment system comes with a touchscreen interface, sat nav and can play music through USB, aux-in or Bluetooth. You also get rain sensing wipers, LED auto headlamps with dynamic turn indicators, climate control, rear parking sensors with reverse camera, keyless-go, leather upholstery and rear AC vents. In terms of safety, we feel Renault should have offered more than two airbags as its rivals offer as many as six in their top variants.

CONCLUSSION ;

In a crowded compact SUV segment, the Captur really stands out for its styling and level of customization. But it’s much more than just a pretty face. A spacious and very practical cabin and boot make it the ideal choice for a family car. And it’s great to drive too. Renault has omitted some of the key features such as the sliding rear bench split seats and automatic transmission that are offered globally. However, the Captur is a well-rounded car and will find a lot of love from those who like to stand apart in the crowd.

 

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Hyundai Xcent Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Hyundai has finally launched their sub-4 meter compact sedan in India Xcent which is based on their popular hatchback the Grand i10. The compact sedan rests on a longer wheelbase. Although it did attract a lot of attention during the time of its launch slowly began to lose composure mostly because of its underpowered diesel engine. However, the facelift Xcent promises to have improved itself and worked on what its predecessor lacked.The facelift sedan not only has received a new and more powerful diesel engine but also has received both exterior and interior cosmetic as well as feature updates as well. Check Price of XCent

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

While the Grand i10 facelift got minor changes to the exteriors, the Xcent gets pretty big changes. The most obvious change here is the new hexagonal grille which intends to make the Xcent look like a mini version of the Elantra. You also get a new bumper. The updated front fascia is a hit or miss design and it looks quirky at best. The side profile remains unchanged save for the new diamond cut alloys while at the rear you get a tweaked bumper and a more mature looking set of tail lamps. All in all, the Xcent looks fresher now and much different than the outgoing model.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The New Hyundai XCent 2017 comes with a touchscreen system this time. This touchscreen has MirrorLink and voice recognitions with Navigation. The XCent gets some more updates on the inside in terms of features, as it will get cooled glovebox too. The New Hyundai XCent 2017 will continue to be offered with black and beige interior trim and the seats will have integrated head rests too. It offers bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, push start and stop, memory storage of 1GB in the music system, reverse parking camera, dual airbags and even ABS. A new seat fabric will be seen here. The steering wheel and the gear knob remain the same. The top end variant comes with leather steering.The space in the XCent has been good. The front row seats offer good amount of knee room for the front passengers and the rear seat knee room too is good on the XCent. There is a rear AC vent too that comes on the XCent and it gets a rear charging socket too. As the competition of the XCent is increasing their features, Hyundai will update New Hyundai XCent 2017 with more features. Find best offers on Xcent

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

With 75PS of power and 190Nm of torque at its disposal, the Xcent is now more potent than before. It’s the same 1.2-litre diesel engine offered in the updated Grand i10 and feels very similar to use. Hit the push button starter and the motor announces its awakening with a noticeable amount of vibrations that only smoothen out once you’re on the move.Once you get going, though, in mere seconds you understand that this powertrain is ideal for the city. The clutch is light and bites early, and you can crawl ahead without actually needing to use the accelerator pedal. Dab the A-pedal and progress is quick. The Xcent is, of course, heavier than the Grand i10 and the gearing does seem to have been tweaked a bit too. So while the Grand had no perceptible turbo-lag, it is noticeable in the Xcent. Understandably, it isn’t as quick as the Grand i10 with a tested 0-100kmph time of 16.20 seconds (nearly 3 seconds slower than the G10). Even the in-gear acceleration isn’t as rapid with the rise from 30-80kmph taking 9.82 seconds (1.89 seconds more than the Grand i10), but then again the Xcent is the bigger car, so the performance difference is reasonable.

However, by no means is it under served as there’s enough grunt below 2,000rpm to make smooth headway. City speeds of 40-60kmph can be hit without much throttle input, since the peak torque is delivered from as low as 1,750rpm. Thanks to the healthy low-rev performance, it’s also easy to get a good fuel efficiency figure, with our tests getting us 19.04kmpl in the city and 23.87kmpl on the highway.The best way to pick up the pace is to shift up around 2,800-3,000rpm. Revving the motor further makes it feel strained and get louder, but power tapers off quickly. There’s no use of teasing the redline with this engine and while rivals like the Aspire and Ameo offer exhilarating performance, the Xcent gives you exactly how much you need – nothing more, nothing less.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

To give you an idea of the progress Hyundai has made in the ride and handling department over the years, here’s a fact. The Xcent tackles the bumps better and generally feels more surefooted than the more expensive Verna did at launch back in 2011. No, the Xcent still doesn’t ace this section of the test,Potholes and the like are dispatched with some firmness from the suspension, but still, it’s never to the point of being uncomfortable. In most scenarios, the ride feels like an improvement over the Grand i10. Perhaps that’s down to the stiffer rear setup on the Xcent, or possibly the switch to larger 15-inch wheels and tyres. However, suspension travel is quite limited and the car does tend to thud on big bumps. Excellent sound insulation helps maintain the calm in the cabin, with the workings of the suspension never intrusively audible.

Out on the highway, the Xcent feels adequately planted, but the overall ride isn’t as flat as we’d have liked. The vertical motion is more pronounced at the back especially when the car is not loaded up.As for the electrically assisted steering, it isn’t what you’d call lifeless and weighs up enough to give you confidence at high speeds. But venture out on to a twisty course and you’ll be able to tell that the Xcent’s basic underpinnings are nice and stiff, and that it’s the inconsistent steering feel which is the weak link. Within the confines of a city, though, you’ll be more than happy with the minimal effort required to twirl the light steering and ease the Xcent into, say, a tight parking spot. The small turning circle and hatchback-like dimensions help here in a big way.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

2017 Hyundai Xcent comes with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The company has offered dual front airbags as standard fitment across the entire variant line-up of the new sedan. In addition, several premium features such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Impact Sensing Auto Door Unlock, Keyless entry with Smart Key, Rear Parking Sensors, Rear Camera with display on audio, Central Locking, etc. are available with the top-end variants. Though, it looks bleaker than the preceding model, which had ABS as standard safety feature. Also, the other sedans in the segment come equipped with more safety features than Xcent.

BOTTOMLINE ;

All said and done, the updates do make the Xcent better as a package. On the whole, it does seem better equipped to take on the competition. More importantly, the facelift comes just in time as Tata is dialling up the heat in the form of the Tigor and Maruti Suzuki has the all-new DZire on the horizon. With prices starting at Rs 5.38 lakh for the base-spec petrol and going all the way up to Rs 8.42 lakh for the top-spec diesel, the little sedan from Hyundai does seem like a no-nonsense choice if you need nothing more than a comfortable sedan for commuting within the city.

 

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Porsche Macan Engine & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

When Porsche decided to step into the SUV segment with the Cayenne, Porsche purists we’re all that happy, expecting the brand to soldier on with different 911 variants until times end. But, the Cayenne turned out to be a huge success, and the German brand decided to come out with a compact model named the Macan. Originally code named Cajun, the Macan hit the market in the spring of 2014 and became an immediate success, being one of Porsche’s most sold models. Be that as it may, the compact luxury segment is intense, so Porsche needs to keep things fresh until the next-gen model comes to be at the turn of the decade.

Now, we’re getting a first look at the facelifted model thanks to a new round of spy shots. There won’t be a whole lot of change on the table, but the headlights and taillights should get a new layout, and it looks like there’s a bigger chin spoiler up front. The interior is set for some minor nips and tucks as well, and the available engines could get some minor retuning to help keep things interesting.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

From the front this is a typical Porsche. The headlamp cluster is inspired from the Porsche 918 Spider. With strong muscular lines on the bonnet the Macan looks intimidating. The grill is on the bumper with added scoops on the side with twin chrome strips. Below which are the LED DRL’s with the chrome cladding in the centre. This adds a rugged look but with a lot of class. From the sides the Macan looks like a shrunk down Cayenne. The design is rather simple. The wheel arches are big enough to support the large alloys and the red painted callipers for the turbo looks gorgeous.

Porsche has stuck to its more car like side profile that gives aggressive shoulder line to the Porsche Macan. Though you can add a fibre or carbon cladding for a bit sportier look. This adds elegance with tradition. The tri-line wrap around kidney shaped LED tail lamps are typical vintage Porsche with a lot of modern touch. The bumper is raised high with twin exhaust on each side making the count 4. These are encompassed by the same chrome cladding as in he front. The one thing that always gives me a negative vibe is the small rear windscreen. It is fine in sports cars but why in an SUV. It’s time Porsche makes the necessary changes.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

Its interiors are made using superior grade material including leather upholstery, which gives a luxuriant look to the cabin. Although, it is known to be a sports car, it has a classy interior design, which is unusual for a vehicle in this segment. This model series gets Platinum Grey and Black color scheme, which is further emphasized by silver inserts. The cockpit section has a classy design dashboard with layered principle and is decorated with metallic accents. It is further equipped with aspects like a infotainment system, cooled glove box unit, an air conditioning system and a proficient analog clock. The front cabin also has individual sport seats, which have height and backrest adjustment facility. These well cushioned seats are covered with a good quality Alcantara leather upholstery that renders a plush appeal to the cabin. The most attractive aspect of the cabin is its 3-spoke steering wheel, which is covered with smooth-finish leather upholstery. Beside this, it is also decorated with a lot of aluminum accents and the iconic company’s badge that accentuates the cabin. On the other hand, there are several utility based features provided inside the cabin like storage compartment, dual front sun visors with vanity mirrors, three accessory power sockets, lockable glove compartment and integral headrests on seats.

At present, this model series is now available in three trim levels. However, all these trims have identical set of features, which makes the journey fascinating. The list of aspects include power windows with one-touch operation, electric luggage compartment lid release (front and rear), remote central locking, and windscreen washer system with aero wiper blades. This series also gets an advanced instrument cluster featuring a 4.6-inch color display along with three analog gauges. They provides informatics like engine speed, fuel levels, vehicle speed, outside temperature, tachometer, fuel consumption and several other such important notifications. Its cockpit section houses an advanced automatic air conditioning system featuring an integrated carbon fibre filter that helps to keeps the entire ambiance pleasant. Apart from these, this model series also have aspects like door sill guards with model specification, two individual cup holders, LED reading lights and electrically adjustable steering column. Apart from these, the car maker is offering several advanced features as optional like a heated steering wheel, cruise control system, fire extinguisher, interior surveillance, smoking package, light design package, preparation for Porsche vehicle tracking system and seat ventilation including heating function.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

As mentioned, the Macan uses a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit. Before you write it off, know that the engine makes 252hp and 370Nm. The horsepower figure actually betters the S Diesel’s 245hp, though the diesel’s 580Nm is way higher. Still, the performance numbers are quite revealing.With launch control engaged, the Macan charges to 100kph from a standstill in a very satisfactory 6.6 seconds. Interestingly enough, that’s 0.1 seconds better than what we managed with the Macan S Diesel. In fact, acceleration up to 180kph and, in kick down, is near identical to the diesel version. It’s 110kg lighter than the diesel and that undoubtedly helps its case. Even away from the drag strip, the Macan feels quick and athletic. Flooring the throttle won’t result in neck-snapping acceleration, but that gentle push back into your seat happens. The Macan is quick to build speed, though the mid-range is where the action really begins. There on, the engine pulls all the way to 6500 rpm and beyond, with a sporty, if slightly muted, snarl giving a nice soundtrack. The 7-speed PDK dual-clutch and its quick shifts (manually actuated via the paddles or gear lever) are integral to the Macan’s brisk performance, but upshifts aren’t imperceptibly smooth at max attack.

It’s a good engine-gearbox package that manages to compliment the Macan’s outstanding handling. The quick turn-in, the precision of the steering, the balance of the set-up and even the way it brakes just elevates the Macan into a different league. The clever all-wheel-drive system (it can send up to 100 percent torque to either axle) ensures there’s always immense reserves of grip while the standard adjustable dampers do their bit to keep the Macan settled and composed at all times. Ride quality is also a highlight with suspension and high-profile 18-inch tyres easily absorbing most of what our roads can throw at them. What’s also impressive is that you won’t need to shy away from off-road tracks either. The stock tyres provide reasonable grip, the all-wheel-drive system supplies the requisite power and you can even raise ride height by 40mm to clear obstacles.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Quite simply, no other compact luxury SUV is more engaging and fun to drive as the 2017 Porsche Macan. Some may come close, but the degree of capability and driver connection is elevated to a degree that makes its Porsche badge represent more than just a fashion statement.No matter which engine you opt for, you’re going to get acceleration that either matches the class best or utterly blows it away. And while the Macan’s steering doesn’t communicate as well as what you get from a Porsche 911, it’s still better than the majority of cars on the road — let alone SUVs. The same could be said of the handling in general. Grip is plentiful, and the Macan changes direction with confidence and poise. It encourages the sort of driving you’d expect to experience in a sport sedan rather than an SUV. Note, however, that if you want the full effect and have room in the garage for a set of winter tires, we would highly recommend the summer tires for their added grip.Thankfully, this impressive handling capability doesn’t translate to a stiff-legged ride over bumps and ruts. Indeed, the Macan is quite comfortable and quiet over just about any road surface, something that cannot be said of other athletic SUVs. The optional 20-inch wheels don’t upset the ride enough that we would recommend avoiding them if you prefer the looks of a larger wheel.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

All Porsche Macan models come with six airbags, including head and side airbags for front passenger and driver, and curtain airbags that offer head protection to both front and rear occupants. They also have a tyre pressure-monitoring system, hill-hold assist (so you don’t roll backwards on a hill start), as well as the full range of electronic traction and stability aids.There’s also a system that senses if you’ve just had a collision but still moving, then automatically activates the brakes to hopefully stop you rolling into the path of another accident. Lane departure warning is standard while lane assist and blind spot monitoring are on the options list.Sadly, automatic emergency braking (AEB) isn’t. Some city cars get this important feature as standard, which can help prevent a front-end collision with cars, pedestrians and even large animals. The fact that it’s not even available on a premium SUV is unacceptable, and although when it was tested in 2012 the Macan received five stars from Euro NCAP, without this feature under today’s standards it wouldn’t have scored that high.

BOTTOMLINE ;

Porsche has brought in a vehicle that’s powerful, extremely aggressive and beautiful inside and outside. The power output is much and it can quite easily be termed as the sportscar with finest handling. The engineering has created a piece that will leave one at awe and the execution will tempt one to drive around a few blocks further. It is desirable with not much left for one’s imagination. However, the maintenance cost can be a little hefty but then again it’s Porsche and that is a small price to pay for the experience that the sportscar offers.

 

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BMW 7 Series Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

The BMW 7 Series is the flagship sedan offering from the German carmaker. It is offered in three engine options, two diesel engine and a petrol engine. The BMW 730Ld comes four variants, 730Ld Design Pure Excellence, 730Ld M Sport, 730Ld DPE Signature and the 730Ld Design Pure Experience. The BMW 740Li is available only in one variant 740Li DPE Signature whereas the BMW 750Li comes in two variants, 750Li DPE and 750Li M Sport, both being directly imported to India. In terms of safety, the BMW 7 Series comes with ABS (Anti lock Braking System) with brake assist, airbags, electronic vehicle immobiliser and active front seat headrests. Key features include 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, Servotronic steering assist, LED fog lights with reflection technique, executive lounge seating, automatic start/stop function, heated front and rear seats and 4 zone automatic climate control.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

The 7 Series has always been the more sport oriented of all the luxury sedans. It’s still a proper luxury car, but the sporty BMW character always shows. It’s no different in the new model. In fact, the 7 is now a lot more dynamic in terms of styling and even gets an M sport package as you see here. Like most of its new siblings, the 7 Series now gets a more prominent kidney grille that merges with the headlamps. It’s a larger unit and features BMW’s Laserlight like in the i8. The bumper gets LED fog lights that sit within a prominent chrome element near the air dam. The sculpted hood is typical BMW and adds to the muscular front.

Move to the side and you’ll notice that the car is much longer. However, it’s still shorter in length when compared to the Audi A8L and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The front and rear bumpers protrude adding to the length and design. A prominent shoulder line runs across the door handles, and the C-pillar still looks a lot like the previous generation 7. The signature Hofmeister kink (the kink on the rear window frame) is for the first time a single piece in a series production BMW.

There’s a lot more chrome too. The air breather surround is finished in chrome and joins the chrome strip that runs all the way along the lower side of the doors. This is a now 7 Series signature and one that distinguishes it from other flagships. The rear looks very smart, elegant and modern at the same time. The LED lamps are sleek and split by a chrome strip. The contoured rear bumper looks chunky and gets chrome surrounds for the dual-exhausts.

CABIN AND SPACE ;

While the previous 7 Series’ cabin design was rather conservative, the new-generation model goes all-in on the latest technology. A standard LED “light carpet” illuminates your entry as you approach the car, while you’re greeted upon entry by ambient LED lighting and the latest version of iDrive, which notably adds touchscreen functionality and the Gesture Control system. The latter strikes us as more of a gimmick than anything else, but you’ll certainly impress your passengers when you turn up the volume by moving your fingers through the air.

The 7 Series’ standard long wheelbase affords truly copious rear legroom and is complemented by an unprecedented array of rear-seat luxuries, including the optional and very cool tablet-based infotainment system that’ll have you feeling as if you’re in a sci-fi movie. Bespoke touches like wood-trimmed seat belts suggest that a page has been taken from Porsche’s highly successful ultra-luxury playbook. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to be up front, either, what with the sublime available multicontour seats and nifty heated armrests. No matter where you are in the 2017 7 Series’ cabin, it’s a privileged place to be.

The 7’s trunk is suitably grand, measuring 18.2 cubic feet. Additionally, a standard cargo pass-through allows longer items to poke into the rear seat via an opening in the rear seatback measuring 8 inches wide and 9.5 inches high.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The new 7 Series destined for Indian shores will initially be offered with a single engine option, namely a 2993cc, in line 6 cylinder diesel unit. The engine itself is not new; however it has been tweaked for overall performance and enhanced efficiency. Fitted with a turbocharger, variable intake geometry and piezo injectors, this common rail diesel unit stands as testimony towards true blue German engineering and refinement.The engine now delivers 258Hp @ 4000 rpm as opposed to 231 horses earlier, and torque has also gone up from 520Nm to 560Nm which kicks in as low as 1500rpm. Unlike the earlier car, the new car is now mated to an all new eight speed automatic with steptronic. With all these changes in the drivetrain, the new 730Ld is capable of going from 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds, shaving close to 1.7 seconds off its predecessor! The agility of this machine is serious business and despite its girth, the 7 Series retains the DNA of being a true blue driver’s car

Ensuring you get the best out of the machine, BMW has managed to strike an elusive balance between comfort and performance. The front axle retains the now familiar aluminum double wishbone construction, while the rear employs the patent protected integral V rear axle. In order to optimize the suspension, BMW has modified the ball joints, added stiffer hydraulic dampers and new rubber bearings which have allowed the engineers to further reduce vibrations.Incidentally, all new BMW 7 Series models will now come with automatically controlled rear air suspension, which maintains the ride height regardless of load and driving conditions. Complimenting the chassis is the Electric Power Steering which is light to use but does take away in terms of absolute feedback to the driver. On the whole, the car, despite its length, drives like a sportscar and the handling is impeccable for such a car without having to compromise on ride quality.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

At the very limit, the old 7-series was a blast. But in everyday driving, it felt heavy from behind the wheel and its inconsistent ride marked it down further. The new car improves on the latter fronts. The steering is light enough in Comfort and the all-round air suspension has improved ride quality by a big margin. With the dampers set to Comfort, the 7-series deals with most imperfections with a lovely softness, though you do still feel a mild tremor in the cabin every time a wheel goes over something like an expansion joint. Comfort Plus is softer still, perhaps unnecessarily so, as it also adds more float over undulations and makes the ride feel unsettled. You can get by on the highway just fine with the suspension in Comfort but if you plan to drive hard, you’d be best off in Sport. Yes, you sacrifice some level of bump absorption but the Seven also becomes far better tied down with more weight to the steering and feedback from it as well. Dyed in the wool BMW fans won’t be sold on the electric power steering but it is accurate and offers a great sense of control. The 730Ld’s 50:50 weight distribution also comes into play in the corners. The big BMW changes direction without delay and for a five-metre-plus-long limousine, it feels remarkably sharp and agile.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

Standard safety equipment available across model series include active front headrests, multiple airbags, deactivable key for passenger side airbag, ABS with brake assist and dynamic braking lights, cornering brake light, dynamic stability control including dynamic traction control, electric parking brake with auto hold function, electronic vehicle immobilizer, ISOFIX child seat mounting, tyre pressure monitor, crash sensor, side-impact protection, rear doors with mechanical childproof lock and three-point seat belts at all seats.

BOTTOMLINE ;

By just about any measure, the 2017 7 Series is an excellent vehicle. Though it’s more expensive than some class rivals, it is far from the most expensive car in the class, and there’s a lot of value with that middle-tier price tag. The 7 Series features several powerful engine options, including a plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s new for 2017. The base 7 Series is more fuel-efficient than rivals, and it has one of the largest trunks in the class. And in a class that’s often judged by how luxurious the rear seats are, the 7 Series stands out for providing plenty of rear-seat comfort features and more legroom in the back than pretty much every rival.

The 7 Series provides a lot of positives for a decent price. But in a class where every car attempts to provide buyers with everything they dream of having in a vehicle, there are going to be some other outstanding choices. The Audi A8 costs about the same as the 7 Series, and – like its German rival – combines performance and luxury in a stylish manner. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has arguably the nicest interior of any car on the market, and it’s worth noting that the few minor complaints about the BMW 7 Series usually take the form of “the 7 Series’ isn’t quite as nice as the S-Class.”

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Merecedes Benz AMG CLA45 Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Back in January of 2013, Mercedes-Benz pulled the sheets on the CLA Class at the North American International Auto Show. The car was a bit of a gamble for the German automaker, combining a compact, entry-level platform with four doors and a fastback coupe roofline. The formula ended up working and the CLA went on to be a smash hit, selling in record numbers across the globe. Alongside more pedestrian specifications was the hotrod AMG model, which packed in aggressive styling, driver-oriented interior amenities, sharper suspension, and a serious power boost. Last year, the AMG CLA45 got even more underhood performance, and now, Mercedes is giving it a refresh with new body components and new cabin equipment.Overall, it’s a pretty mild update for the four-door coupe, but considering the car’s popularity, not to mention last year’s horsepower infusion, Mercedes didn’t need to do much to keep the buyers rolling in.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

The CLA is the sedan based on the A-Class and the resemblance is striking at the front. The side profile reveals the coupe lines of this compact sedan which features a sloping roof that neatly merges with the boot. The design influence from the CLS is apparent at the rear. The CLA in stock guise is also a very attractive car and the AMG version is simply irresistible in appearance. This car is very aerodynamic, having a drag co-efficient of just 0.23, making it one of the slipperiest cars in the world. It has very smooth flowing lines giving it a sleek profile.

Being an AMG, you get all those go-faster bits which clearly signal at the intentions of this 4-door performance car. While in size, it isn’t any bigger than a D-segment car, it still has loads of presence with an attitude which few can match. Right from the body kit to the massive rear diffuser, all look so sporty yet elegant on this Afflerbach tuned machine. Larger air intakes and aluminium accents are immediately striking while the 10-spoke 18-inch wheels proudly flaunt the CLA45’s big fat discs and red brake callipers. The biggest give away about this 2.0-litre engine not being your regular run of the mill motor are the quad-exhausts at the rear.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

From behind the wheel, racy cabin accoutrements such as a sport steering wheel, red-ringed HVAC vents, and a microsuede dash cover are clues that you’re driving something more special than a regular Benz. Aggressively bolstered sport seats provide more than enough squeeze to keep occupants located during high-speed cornering. That said, the cabins of the 45s are as cramped and impractical as those of the CLA250 and GLA250. Front-seat space is adequate in both cars, but taller folks would be wise to skip the optional panoramic sunroof; it steals precious headroom, and with it, back-seat passengers won’t find their accommodations nearly as, well, accommodating. VIEW 45 PHOTOS

Perched atop the shapely dashboard is the same 8.0-inch COMAND infotainment system that is also standard issue on the other CLA and GLA models, but navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all extra-cost options. The system offers no touchscreen control; instead, a small rotary knob on the center console is pushed, pulled, or spun to manage functions. It generally works well, and we prefer physical controls, but with the addition of the aforementioned smartphone-integration menus, a touch-sensitive screen would make life easier.

The GLA45 offers slightly more rear-seat headroom and hatchback practicality, while the CLA45 is claimed to be quicker, handles a bit flatter, and sports a sexier shape. But either of these siblings will provide plenty of fun on your favorite back road. There is a third relative that blends together the best of the CLA45 and GLA45 but, regrettably, isn’t available in the States: the CLA45 Shooting Brake. Mercedes-AMG sells this ideal, albeit curious, blend of practicality, speed, and seductive bodywork in other parts of the world but not in the United States, where wagons are shunned in favor of SUV-like amalgams. Still, the smallest AMG specimens that we do get are delightfully sinful and carry the bragging rights that come along with having the most powerful production turbocharged four-cylinder in the world hammering away under the hood.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

Apart from the smaller displacement and lower cylinder count, the biggest difference between the CLA 45 and most AMGs is that it’s not rear-wheel drive. It uses Merc’s 4Matic four-wheel-drive system to help manage all that power better, but since it’s based on the A-class’ MFA platform, it’s primarily front-wheel drive, with additional power being sent rearward as and when necessary. As a result, there’s a lot of grip, but also a lot of understeer, and you have to drive it like a front-wheel-drive car to really get the most out of it. To properly tuck this nose-heavy car into a corner, it’s best to lift off, add some steering lock and then power through, rather than just flooring it round a bend. It’s at this point that you’ll also notice that the steering is a bit too light at speed, and doesn’t feed you much information from the road. This lightness is great in traffic though, and the CLA’s small dimensions (it’s about the size of a new Toyota Corolla) make it easy to manoeuvre. The CLA’s body movements are also superbly contained when you’re being enthusiastic with it, and that’s all down to the way the suspension’s been set up. It’s not adjustable or adaptive like some of the bigger AMG cars, and the corollary of that good body control is a somewhat firm ride. It’s acceptable for a car with sporting intent to be stiffly sprung, and we’re sure the standard CLA will be a lot more comfortable, but the 45 AMG’s ride simply lacks the sophistication and flexibility of bigger sports sedans, including Merc’s own E 63. It also lacks a bit in refinement, letting in a lot of road noise at highway speeds, although you can’t argue about the fact that it feels very stable. You must, however, remember to ‘crab walk’ the car over big speed breakers or rumblers, as it has a long wheelbase and not a lot of ground clearance. Finally, that engine. Five minutes in and you won’t doubt Mercedes’ lofty claims about it. Whether you’re attacking some corners or just cruising, there’s plenty of power available anywhere in the rev band. In fact, it’s easy to lose track of how fast you’re going if you don’t periodically check the speedo. That’s partly because there’s no perceivable step or shove in its delivery, just a great big surge from the get-go, with mild peaks around 2,000 and 4,000rpm.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

There is no denying that the ride is harsh, the suspension travel is limited and you are going to feel everything under the wheels – even the white paint that demarcates the lanes. At high speeds the car bounces even on the smallest of undulations and the Recaros don’t do much to alleviate the suffering. Probably the only cars of this size that score lower than the CLA 45 AMG in ride are the Minis. The ground clearance is not optimum for India and you need to be really careful over speed humps, especially since the lowest part of the car is the exhaust muffler.At the primary level this is a front-wheel drive sedan and even with the all-wheel drive assistance, the front bias is pretty evident. The car tends to understeer when pushed hard through the corners, but in a way I think it is a good thing since most buyers will be first timers to the world of performance cars.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

The automaker has incorporated several sophisticated safety aspects that provide unmatched protection to the occupants. It has an active parking assist with PARKTRONIC that gives excellent assistance to the driver, while maneuvering in tight corners. At the same time, its high end versions also have a 360 degree camera that minimizes the efforts required to park this saloon. It also has a tyre pressure monitoring system, impact protection beams, bi-xenon headlamps, ATTENTION Assist function, adaptive brake with hill start assist, central locking system, neck-pro head restraints and anti-theft device

BOTTOMLINE ;

The line ‘Happiness comes in small packages’ holds its relevance with the CLA45AMG. No one could have ever imagined a 2-litre engine to be this responsive and power packed. Agreed, it does not deliver spine pulling performance but then the figures it generates is second to none in its segment. This compact sedan from Mercedes-Benz produces sprint timings close to a BMW M3 at half its price.

If looks could talk, the45AMG’s design would have screamed of its rich hyper action heritage. With an increased focus on efficiency, there are not many cars which boast of such performance. Even the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X falls short to match with this baby AMG. Being the most affordable all out performance car, the CLA45AMG should make it an enthusiast’s parking…just make sure you don’t end up picking bets while racing around at night.

 

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