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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Audi A4 Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

The A4 which has been selling for over 40 years now has been the Audi’s longest and best selling sedan. With its sharp and aggressive looks, this sedan has gained high popularity and has also elevated Audi’s position in India. The car maker claims that with its progressive design, efficient driving dynamics and class defining interiors, the A4 can take on most cars in its space. A4 price in Mumbai

Audi recently beefed up the A4 with a more powerful 177hp 2.0 TDI engine. It also gets Audi Drive Select to improve driving comfort and overall performance. The new sedan can reach a speed of 100 km/h from standstill in just 7.9 seconds. We decided to see if it is as impressive in the real world as it seems on paper.

STYLE AND DESIGN ;

Immediately recognizable as an A4, the new sedan is slightly larger than its predecessor, a sign that Audi redesigned it using the same successful recipe we’ve come to know for decades. The shape hasn’t changed and the styling is familiar, albeit with sharper lines. This comes as no surprised given the new 2016 Audi Q7 and the 2016 Audi R8 received similar treatment. The model is more aerodynamic than its forerunner, and according to Audi, it’s also the most aerodynamic in its class, with a drag coefficient of only 0.23. Exchange your old car for A4

“The shape hasn’t changed and the styling is familiar, albeit with sharper lines.” While the front apron got only minor changes in the foglamp/intake area, the grille and the headlamps are as fresh as they get. Both feature sharper design cues, while the headlamps have a new pattern and extend less toward the fenders. There’s also a slightly reshaped hood. Together, these new features make the A4 look significantly more aggressive. The rear sports similar styling. The new bumper, the slightly shorter trunk lid and the slimmer, redesigned taillights give it a fresh and bold appearance. By contrast, the profile hasn’t changed much, even though Audi meddled with the side skirts and the quarter-windows.

As far as dimensions go, the new sedan is 1 inch longer and 0.55 inch wider, and its wheelbase has gained 0.6 inch. The car’s height has remained essentially unchanged. The big news regarding the A4’s revised body is that it’s 33.1 pounds lighter than its predecessor’s, contributing to an overall weight that has been decreased by up to 264 pounds, depending on trim and engine.

Alongside the sedan, Audi also unveiled the A4 Avant, which features the same styling updates and a sportier roof. The wagon is less aerodynamic than the sedan, with a drag coefficient of 0.26. Both models can be had with optional LED and matrix LED headlamps.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The cabin space feels very plush and upmarket with fine quality leather stitched seats. The driver and front passenger seats get electrical controls and also have memory settings to store different positions of seats. The lumbar support can also be adjusted electrically.

Front row legroom is decent with the driver feeling confident about the cockpit. The levers and controls are placed at an easy distance and are very convenient too. The steering wheel feels similar to other Audi models with controls mounted on it. These controls do the basic functions but for the rest one has to juggle with the music system.

Rear legroom is not impressive and especially for taller passengers who would often complaint of being cramped. But then it is not just the A4 which has this issue, the same being the cases with the C Class and 3 Series too where the rear passenger comfort and space have been ignored completely.

One of the most impressive features of this car is its fantastic music system. With its amazing sound distribution inside the cabin, it scores really well. The music system can play music via Bluetooth and CDs. Our variant did not have a USB plug in but instead it had IPod connectivity jack inside the glove box. We believe a conventional USB port won’t have harmed the cabin.

It gets conventional storage options under the seat, glove box and on the door trims. It also has cup holders on the central console. If the storage options in the cabin are not enough then perhaps the 480L of huge boot space shall be sufficient for anyone to just pack the necessary and head out for a month.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The 2017 Audi A4 is offered with the same 2.0-litre diesel engine with the 35 TDI nomenclature. The engine produces 188 HP of power at 4200 RPM and 400 Nm of twisting force between 1750 to 2500 RPM. The engine is now mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, unlike the earlier A4 which came with a CVT unit. Power is sent to the front wheels and there is no quattro on offer. The engine feels refined and isn’t too noisy. Power delivery is smooth and instantaneous and the sedan responds well to throttle inputs. Turbo lag isn’t felt much and the surge of power post 2000 RPM is very strong and continues till a notch above 4500 RPM. Top speed is a claimed 237 km/hr but progress dulls post 200 km/hr.

The A4 feels sprightly and eager. The gearbox understands driving styles well and responds very quickly. Gear shifts also happen fast. The new A4 is lighter than the older model by around 150 kgs and thanks to that, it feels even more livelier to drive. You also get paddle shifters and the option of shifting gears with the gear knob too. The TDI mill is also very efficient and churns out 14-15 km/l on the highways if driven sedately while under hard driving, efficiency drops down to 9-10 km/l (ARAI rating is 18.25 km/l). You get driving modes like Comfort, Dynamic, Individual and Auto though the A4 doesn’t come with an Eco mode.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Audi never had any issues with ride and handling. With the new platform of the 2017 Audi A4, things have enhanced further. The ride of the 2017 Audi A4 hasn’t changed much, it is still somewhat similar. Due to longer wheelbase, the suspension has been softened. The handling of the 2017 Audi A4 is crisp. The steering wheel doesn’t feel slack at any point and has good feedback. The alacrity of the chassis is at par with the other new Audis.

The A4 is designed to offer more comfort that outright handling finesse. However,it balances both these aspects well. Braking is right up there too. What impressed us most was the hight speed stability. The car feels relaxed even at 150km/h and keeping one oblivious of the speed outside.

SAFETY ;

New generation safety equipments have been installed in the latest model of Audi A4. The car comes with Electronic Stability Program (ESP), with traction control and Antilock Braking System (ABS), to ensure that the driver has complete control over the vehicle during emergencies. Apart from this, the car features dual stage front airbags, side and curtain airbags, to protect the passengers from the impact of collision in the event of accidents. Contributing to its amazing safety is the ‘Servotronic’ speed-sensitive power-assisted steering wheel.

BOTTOMLINE ;

Audi A4 is the flagship car of Audi and it satisfies Indian customers needs. Audi A4 provides a pleasant ride with features of safety, comfort and luxury. The cutting edge design and the state of the art technologies make this car to be more distinct. The A4 is a great car and creates a very tough fight to its competitors. It’s worth the money spent on it but keep an eye on detail about its maintanence

 

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Merecedes Benz AMG GLS63 Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

Coming to the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63, the SUV is the performance iteration of the standard issue Mercedes-Benz GLS that is already on sale in the country. The performance SUV gets AMG bodystyling complete with the trademark quad exhausts, LED Intelligent Light System with integrated LED DRLs and red painted brake calipers. You also get a panoramic sunroof, ORVM logo projectors, and an Easy Pack tailgate which can be electrically opened or closed.Inside, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 gets an AMG steering wheel finished in Nappa leather, temperature controlled cup holder and multi-contour front seats with massage function. You also have Thermotronic automatic climate control, memory package as well as a Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround system.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

The GL-Class is one huge vehicle and feels almost tank like in traffic, where other cars feel like ants in comparison. The huge dimensions aside, there is little to tell the GL63 AMG from the regular GL-Class as both look quite similar. The GL63 AMG has the AMG bodykit which does tell it apart but it’s really the quad exhausts at the rear which immediately make people sit up and take notice. This ain’t a regular GL, this one has a beast of a motor under its belly, which the ‘V8 BITURBO’ badges near the front wheels easily reveal. The rear carries the AMG badging and if you look closely, you will also notice the massive 21-inch wheels wrapped around super wide 295 mm tyres. So in essence, the GL63 AMG does little to signify it carries a 5.5-litre behemoth in its arsenal.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The interior section gets exclusive AMG package that has a 4-spoke, multi-functional, AMG performance steering wheel covered with nappa leather upholstery and it is further accompanied with paddle shifters. The front cabin is fitted with multi-contour seats, which are fully power-adjustable and has a memory function as well. These seats have been covered with a combination of leather and designo leather upholstery, which enhances the plushness of internal cabin. Additionally, this variant gets stainless steel door sill panels embossed with AMG lettering, which will provide a distinct look to the interiors. The elegantly crafted dashboard is integrated with an advanced command online multimedia system featuring a 7-inch color display along with a 6-DVD changer , 10GB hard disc, Bluetooth interface, USB port and SD card slot.

This luxury SUV is incorporated with innovative comfort features that provides unparalleled luxury to the passengers. It is fitted with a THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system that regulates the air quality, temperature and keeps the cabin cool irrespective of temperature outside. It is also incorporated with a PARKTRONIC active parking assist system that features a 360 degree camera, which provides excellent assistance to the driver, while parking. The list of features include, fully power-adjustable seats with memory function , AMG high performance steering wheel, electrically operated easy pack tailgate, ambient lighting system and temperature controlled cup holder. It is also blessed with an easy entry system with second row 60:40 split seats, which makes it easy to gain access to the third row.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The all new Mercedes Benz GLS Class 63 AMG is powered by a V8, 5.5-litre petrol engine that has a displacement capacity of 5461cc. Further this engine is incorporated with a twin-turbo charger producing a peak power of 557bhp between 5250 to 5750rpm and a peak torque of 760Nm between 2000 to 5000rpm. The engine unit is mated with an AMG SPEEDSHIFT Plus 7G-TRONIC automatic gearbox.

The powerful engine of Mercedes Benz GLS Class 63 AMG that churns out of a whooping power has a top speed of 250 Kmph. It performs well both in the crowded city streets and highways as always keeping up its standard. Mercedes Benz GLS Class 63 AMG gives an incredible performance with the powerful engine and braking system incorporated in it. The suspension system in this vehicle is of great quality. This SUV is blessed with AIRMATIC air suspension system on both front and rear axles. There is an adaptive damping system that enables it to adjust precisely as per the road conditions.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Behind the wheel, the GLS63 is a rocket ship. Select Sport+ mode, slip the transmission into manual shifting mode, and this docile SUV turns into a burbling, quarter-mile destroying monster. The drive modes really do change the driving demeanor. Comfort mode does just that, making it rather smooth and compliant over rough roads yet not porky around turns. The steering is nicely weighted and only requires a few turns from lock to lock.Selecting Sport+ mode wakes up the GLS’ AMG heritage. The steering tightens, the throttle response becomes more direct, the transmission shifts more quickly and keeps the revs high in the V-8’s power band, and the exhaust note becomes far more aggressive. Body roll is surprisingly well kept, even on twisty roads. Braking is powerful, with the six-piston calipers using every square inch of metal on the rotors.All told, the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 is a surprisingly fun vehicle to drive.

SAFETY ;

Standard safety features on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class include automatic crosswind stabilization, trailer stability assist, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and a driver attention/drowsiness monitor. Also standard are a rearview camera and a five-year subscription to mbrace Connect (includes Mercedes-Benz roadside assistance).For additional peace of mind, mbrace Secure is available and includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location and more. The Premium 1 package adds a blind-spot monitor and lane-keeping assist, while the Driver Assistance package contributes adaptive cruise control, an upgraded collision mitigation system with pedestrian recognition, speed limit assist and “active” blind spot and lane-keeping assist systems that can automatically guide the car back into its lane if the driver fails to heed their warnings.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 is quite the vehicle. It goes fast, its interior is functional, it can tow 7,500 pounds, and it will most likely be parked out front by the valet. What’s not to love about that?Sure, this SUV won’t be setting lap time records at the Nürburgring, but that’s not the point. This is the SUV for the dad who wants to drive a sports coupe to work, but has to pick up the kids from school. He has to haul little league equipment to practice on Saturday, before relaxing on the lake Sunday afternoon on a ski boat he towed in. The GLS63 is a jack-of-all-trades vehicle that combines the functionality of a SUV with the performance of a muscle car.

 

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