BMW i8 – An expert Overview

BMW i8 is a known super car to everyone as it was first debuted and shown to people in a super hit Hollywood flick Mission Impossible 4. In this movie this car is shown in the climax scene driven on the roads of Mumbai. Audience in theater were quite amazed when they saw this future car in the movie and I myself didn’t wink my eyes when I saw this car in the movie.

So from then to now i tried to read all updates about this car and now I am writing this post after long hours spent on experimentation. This is my review on one of the most anticipated car in the automobile history.

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Image Source: www.facecarsx.com

History & Advent:

2009-2010:

The BMW i8, first introduced as the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics, is a plug-in hybrid sports car developed by the German Automobile Legend BMW. This was first started in the year 2009 under the vision of fine automobile designers Mario Majdandzič and Jochen Paesen (Exterior Design and Interior Design). At first it came with a combination of a three cylinder turbo diesel engine and two electric motors with 139 horsepower. It was first unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto show and then followed by Auto china in the year 2010

800px-BMW_Concept_Vision_Efficient_Dynamics_Front

Image Source: en.wikipedia.com

2011:

With some Major and as well as Minor changes, the 2009 model was redesigned and then unveiled at 2011 Frankfurt Auto show. During this year BMW named this experimental car as BMW i8 Concept. It was also shown at Tokyo Motor Show 2011 and Geneva Motor Show 2012.  It was featured in the film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

bmw-i8-concept-live-photos-2011-frankfurt-auto-show_100362961_m

Image Source: www.thecarconnection.com

2012:

The BMW i8 concept is redesigned and gives it a Spyder model look during this year under the vision of Richard Kim and was unveiled in Auto China 2012 in Beijing and won an award of the best concept car. Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic was first introduced in this car in the same year.

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Image Source: www.blackdreamer.com

2013-2014:

Was considered as the present running BMW i8 model officially. The design of the BMW i8 coupe prototype was based on the BMW i8 Concept. This model has major changes right from its looks and as well as performance. The enhancements include Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic for less weight, aerodynamically optimized body with BMW eDrive technology and carbon emission was reduced to 59 g/km.

It also included with a hybrid synchronous electric motor as a secondary power source which was developed and designed exclusively for this car by BMW motors. It is designed to work individually as well as also to assist the gasoline engine during acceleration. The recorded top speed in electric mode is 121Kmph and reaching a maximum distance of 35kms. It takes about 3hours for a full recharge. This monstrous prototype was tested in Miramas test track in France.

After this initial testing, with slight changes to this prototype the final production model was designed and shown in 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show and then followed by Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez under the vision of Benoit Jacob. After this the product was started in April 2014.

2014-BMW-i8-front

Image Source: www.yournextcars.com

Performance :

While reviewing this car we have to consider the three modes in this car : SPORT, COMFORT and ECOPRO MODE. I will review those three modes hierarchically so that we can understand the aspects very easily.

Starting with Comfort Mode, the car in the comfort mode will use both the power trains. This mode offers a constant balance between a sporty performance and as well as efficient fuel consumption. This mode offers an unrestricted access to all the resources of the car and the user really feels quite comfortable in this mode. The maximum range of driving experience in this mode is about 500kms, if the fuel in the tank is full and battery pack is fully charged.

Then the Eco-Pro Mode. In this mode the car runs solely on electricity. This mode can also use fuel only under circumstances of battery charge drops below a given level; this mode is also designed in such a way that in circumstance such as battery down, Throttle failure occurs – the internal combustion engine gets automatically activated. It is more like a common eco-safety car in this Eco-pro mode. The performance of the car is increased to 20% when compared to the comfort mode as there are some restrictions which are applied on using certain features of the car such as air-conditioning, seat heating etc. This is the best of the three modes

Then comes to the most anticipated Sport Mode. It offers features such as manual gear selection, suspension settings. In this mode the driver can get the maximum acceleration and the top speed. And while getting at this, lots of energy is produced and wasted, and to save on this – BMW founded a technique to keep the battery topped up, while running in SPORT mode the car also activates “maximum energy recuperation during overrun and braking”  through this the electric motor’s generator function’s and it recharges the battery using kinetic energy.

Safety Review:

This awesome car is a two faced one. One is a monster which can run quite high and the other is an eco-specialist. The car offers maximum safety although it has the power to sprint like a leopard. This car comes with safety measures like side and curtain airbags and the battery is also well protected by a crash proof mesh. It provides maximum safety in Eco-pro mode. It also has an intelligent safety system to ensure extra safety

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Image Source: www.bmw.com

Looks:

When it comes to looks, the BMW i8 is unbeatable – as it is considered as a design that will stand as a remarkable resemblance for the future sports cars. Narrow headlights, laser technology, Carbon reinforced body, dihedral gullwing doors – all of them are jaw dropping. Complimenting these looks, one of the top clothing brands Louis Vuitton produced a series of carbon-black luggage for BMW i8 !

BMW-i8-3

Image Source: www.overdrive.in

Rivalry & Running Cost:

BMW i8 faces rivalry from some of the finest cars in the world – right from Audi’s prestigious R8 to Ferrari Berlinetta, Porsche 911 turbo to the C7 corvette Stingray. And yes, It costs a whopping $135,925 🙂

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Image Source: www.racingflix.com

Bottom Line:

Pros

  • Design
  • Potential mileage
  • Performance
  • Looks
  • Eco Features

Cons

  • iDrive doesn’t meet the expectations
  • Very Narrow Base(not suitable on Indian roads)
  • Price tag

Although it has some demerits, the car looks fantastic and remarkable. But we have to consider that BMW should pay some more attention to make this car as a role model to the future cars. If anyone is ready to spend a whopping $135,925, this will not be a wrong choice as the car has some amazingly distinctive features when compared to other cars in the market.

Visit BMW Website: www.bmw.com

BMW M4 — Unveiled On an Aircraft Carrier!!!

BMW has launched its M3 series in 2010 and it is taught to be as one of the most successful premium cars released in that year and through this car BMW has gained a huge reputation as well as clients throughout the world. With this success BMW was planning to release a new car in the same M series, and yup you get it right – it’s the M4 🙂 So BMW is planning to make this car to be as successful as its predecessor. It has unveiled their new M4 Coupe DTM safety car. By hearing this name you will obviously get a question, ” what is this safety car..?

As we know that premium brands like BMW release new cars with grand names such as Gran Turismo, Cabrio etc. but this car was released with a tag behind its name as “DTM safety car”. So,what on earth is this BMW’s DTM safety car? It is exclusively designed for the Moto GP when it was first revealed on the company’s Facebook page and now it sets its target towards the DTM racing and when it comes to safety the new BMW M4 is equipped with many features which includes the famous BMW M Performance parts and also a lot many things are made of carbon fiber which includes rear diffuser, mirror caps, rear spoiler and front splitter. We know that the carbon fiber is meant to decrease the weight of the car and also at the same time its heavy duty and strong enough to tackle road accidents. Hence, major car manufacturers are concentrating on carbon fiber instead of aluminum and iron mixture. It also gets a black grille, side skirts which are made as per aerodynamic principles and an exhaust system made from titanium. The model also has a DTM livery, a KW coil over suspension and emergency lights which are placed on the roof. These are some of the parts which are equipped on outside of the car.

 

BMW M4                                                                                                     Pic Courtesy: YouTube

Interior:

When it comes to Interiors, BMW is a company which never compromises on anything. The inside of the car has some unique parts which are exclusively designed only for this car by the BMW group. It receives parts such as the Recaro racing seats, Schroth harnesses and carbon fibre trim and under the hood, it just follows the standard model i.e. from its predecessor BMW M3. The DTM safety car is equipped with a 3.0-litre Twin Power turbo six-cylinder engine which can develop a range of 429bhp and 550 Nm of torque and this speed monster is amazing with this power pact combination from both outside and as well as inside.

The Grand Release:

By looking at such exotic features we sure consider and expect a grand release for this monster of a car. BMW also thinks same and it has unveiled this monster on a never before race track [ oh yeah, you are getting it right 🙂 ]. For this grand release BMW selected an Aircraft carrier for the prestigious launch. BMW recently released a video flaunting this new car drifting over an aircraft carrier ( which many of you might have already seen it shared on Facebook ) . In this video, the M4 drifts along the edge of the Aircraft carrier CVN-74 ( a U.S Aircraft carrier ) and the amazing thing in this is that the CVN-74  is still a working US aircraft carrier. We know in the past, Land-Rover hired a retired U.S.S Intrepid aircraft carrier to unveil its Discovery Vision concept but unlike Land Rover, BMW flaunted the M4 on a working & very much active aircraft carrier! This video is trending all over the internet not only on video streaming websites like YouTube but also in Twitter, Facebook, Reddit as well. This video has got a whopping 3.2 million views, since its release and it’s quite amazing.

Video:

The BMW M4 Coupe was displayed at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and it will hit the market in 2014 as a 2015 model. After its release this model can face a huge competition especially from Jaguar and Mercedes Benz as they are also planning to release their new car from their successful lineups.

Bottom Line: When it comes to bottom line we can definitely say that the new BMW M4 can be a huge success from its Predecessor and with this BMW can increase its reputation worldwide and with the great safety measures BMW can certainly prove that, it will always stay as an unbeatable pioneer in the automobile industry.

A proverb states that “The beginning is the most important part of the work” and BMW has already given a good start. All we have to do is wait for the result., which in our opinion – will ROCK !

2014 BMW M4 Coupe

Visit BMW India Website: www.bmw.in

PORSCHE MACAN AN “INTENSE” ENTRY

Looks like history has it coming back for the legendary sports automobile car maker, Porsche. The recent launch of its “second” SUV, MACAN that was launched at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show as well as the Tokyo Motor Show, during the same year, is commencing its European sales. The Porsche Macan, derived from the Indonesian term meaning tiger, shares the same vigor but, comes in a smaller package.  A compact SUV that aims on being a roaring success just like its older cousin, “Cayenne“.
The Macan has picked up a few “uber chic” features from its predecessor, the Cayenne and has the word refined flashing on its new design. Built with five doors and five seats, practicality remains constant with Porsche. The tiger comes in 3 different variants.

Macan S Diesel
Macan S Diesel (Image Source: www.wallpaperup.com)

 

LEGACY:

Being the second of its kind, Porsche has made sure that a few aspects like the handling, speed and the lightness be given a lot of priority. The look and feel of this compact aluminum bodied SUV goes down low and thus gives the driver a feeling of driving a sports car.  With a combination of round lines that have fine and precise edges and benignly smooth rear wings, the Macan has a few adaptations from its distant cousin, the 911 turbo, and a few more adaptations like the impeccable head, tail lamps as well as the front spoiler lip from the Porsche 918. And the unique side profile that the designers have named “Porsche Fly line” which, is the coalescence of eclectic proportions.

Striking a perfect balance at being a compact SUV and a sports car, one shouldn’t be bewildered by the thought that the MACAN is built for rough terrains or rocky patches, neither should the assumption run wild to put oneself into believing that the MACAN is a “wannabe” sports car. It is an SUV with the reflexes of a sports car. Porsche has smartly added in some whooping features that make the Macan even more desirable. The aerodynamics has been given substantial thought and even though the Porsche Macan is a compact SUV, what really matters is what lies under the hood.

With a wheelbase the measures about 43.3 cms, the Macan emphasizes on the “compact yet spacious part “and hence, the boot space can generate more space by simply folding the seat downwards, which generously create 500+ liters of space. Apart from that, Porsche has added in glowing eyes during the day (day time lights) and a revolutionary Light system, the PDLS or the Porsche Dynamic Light System, which consists of a projector halogen bean that has both dynamic and static cornering lights. Also, Porsche highlights the Bi-Xenon headlights that come equipped with the Turbo mode.

VARIANTS:

The variants come from the same family but share different engines. Rolling in with a 4-wheel drive, the Macan S that has a 3.0-liter V6 biturbo frontal engine that thrusts 340 bhp or 250 kW producing 538Nm of torque. This compressed powerhouse sprints 0 to 60 miles or 96.5 kms/hr in just 5.2 seconds and swooshes the roads with a top speed of 156 km/hr..

The Macan S Diesel is differently designed. It comprises of a 6cylinder, 3.0-liter rear placed engine that thrusts 258 bhp or 190 kW producing 580 Nm of torque. This beast sprints 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds and swooshes the roads at 230 km/hr.

And lastly, the Macan Turbo that shares certain similarities with the Macan S, has a 3.6 -liter frontal engine but thrusts 400 bhp or 298 kW and producing 550 NM of torque (Rightly named tiger) does it simpler with a 0 to 60 in 4-6 seconds and sprinting at a top speed on 164 Km/hr.

But, one thing that all the Macan variants share in common is the 7 speed PDK (Porsche Doppel Kupplung ) the paddle gearbox that quick responsive gears that do not hinder with the power supply that is distributed to the wheels. Worried about slowing this electromechanically steered compact sprinter? Porsche has added silver colored aluminum monobloc fixed caliper brakes for the Macan S and the diesel model whereas the turbo gets a color twist of red.

SUSPENSION & TECHNOLOGY:

Choose your suspension that comes in a choice of Steel and Air, which works based on yet another Porsche system, the PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) The air suspension, as opposed to the steel suspension, helps you adjust your ride height 15mm lower. The PASM also helps in providing electronic damping controls that allow you to spoil yourselves with various modes such as “The Comfort Mode, Sports Mode and Sports plus Mode”

Image Source: www.expertreviews.co.uk
Image Source: www.expertreviews.co.uk

The traction is managed by the PTM (Porsche Traction Management) system as well as the PTV (Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus) and comes inbuilt with all MACAN models, which constantly keeps a track and adapts to various driving conditions smartly in accordance to the driver’s style. Macan’s are also built with an “off road” mode that you can activate while traveling at a speed on 80 kmph, by simply touching the respective button.

INTERIORS:

Being a compact SUV, one cannot expect the commodious space that was found aplenty in Cayenne. However, the MACAN is graciously spacious enough to comfortably place five individuals.

The Macan comes equipped with a multi functional steering wheel that is inspired by the 918 Spyder lets your fingers keep a tab on the gears. Another lucid detail is the 4.8-inch color display placed on the right hand dial. This assists you with your navigation.

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Image Source: www.flatsixes.com

Porsche has also management in its communication effectively with the PCM (Porsche Communication Management) an advanced system that communicates and provides the desired navigation information, infotains you with wide accessibility to readily available essential online services through a 7inch high definition touch sensitive screen.

Music Freak?

The Porsche MACAN comes equipped with a Burmester Sound System(optional for all models) featuring 16 speakers and a sub-woofer. (So you go, Boom Boom all the way)

Image Source: http://www.porsche.com/microsite/macan/middle-east.aspx
Image Source: http://www.porsche.com/microsite/macan/middle-east.aspx

Porsche has also given some serious thought into the safety and security measures in the Macan and hence the PSM (Porsche Stability Management) and the PAS (Porsche Active Safe) systems were structured. Built in sensors moderate and monitor your travel, the speed of the vehicle and prevents your vehicle from colliding by applying brakes when needed. Lastly, the Macan also has the LCA (Lane Change Assist) system that allows you to take charge of the tricky lanes and puts you out of jeopardizing situations.

Lance Change Assist Feature. Photo Source: www.autobahnbound.com
Lane Change Assist Feature. Photo Source: www.autobahnbound.com

 

COMPETITORS:

Macan S goes head on against its direct competitors such as the Mercedes M-Class, BMW X5, and Audi Sq5 whereas; the Macan Turbo and the Macan S Diesel collide with the Range Rover Sport, BMW X6, Mercedes GL-Class and presumably its own cousin, Cayenne.

IMPACT ON YOUR POCKET

The Macan S is all set for a base pricey grab of US$ 49,900 whereas the Macan S Diesel and the Macan Turbo are available at US$ 78,500 and $72,300  respectively in the international markets.

Interested? It is anticipated that the Macan would carry a hefty price tag (70-90 lakhs) in the Indian Market.

Visit the Porsche website : http://www.porsche.com

Face Off : Hyundai i20 vs Maruti Suzuki Swift

The Hatchback segment is a heavily contended area of the Indian market. Although a multitude of cars from various manufacturers have entered the fray over the past five years, two names have managed to always stay on top:  Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. The Swift and i20 have been clashing against each other for years now and with both offering a host of features and space at a reasonable price point, the battle in this segment eventually became a two horse race between the Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20.

Lets take a look at what makes both these hatchbacks so successful and what may be the better choice for you as a buyer.

Exterior:

Swift:

The current gen Swift is more of an evolution from the previous generation than a full blown facelift. As a result merely the dimensions of the headlights and taillights have been changed. While many consider the new look to be more contemporary, the Swift falls a little behind the competition in this department. However, the finish and choice of colours have greatly improved over the first model and the car makes for a far more premium offering.

Verdict: 7/10

i20:

Hyundai’s latest fluidic design philosophy greatly aided the ailing company’s fortunes around the world. With the launch of the Fluidic Verna, the company revived its sales figures to even displace Indian heavyweight Maruti from the top spot in multiple segments. Following the phenomenal success of the Verna, Hyundai applied the very same design methodology to the i20. While the previous generation i20 was criticized for its plane Jane looks, the new i20 is far more edgy in terms of design. Free flowing lines emanating from the hexagonal grille run across the body of the hatchback add to the hatchback’s “fluidic” nature.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Interior:

Swift:

Maruti has made tremendous strides with the interior of the Swift. Replacing the conventional beige and grey colours with an all-black cabin vastly improved the car’s upmarket feel. The dashboard has been thoroughly redone with high grade plastics and quality buttons. However, we do find some evidence of cost cutting with some areas where fit and finish isn’t entirely perfect.

The integrated music system is far more appealing and features steering mounted controls. Although the peak volume is quite impressive, cabin acoustics could have been fairly better. Though this can be fixed with after-market speakers.

Cabin space is good but not exceptional with even tall passengers sitting at the back in adequate comfort.

Verdict: 7/10

i20:

The i20’s interiors are one of the best around. The premium plastics and chrome touches across the dash improve on the premium feel of the car. The blue ambient lighting is quite pretty when compared to the rather low key white light of the Swift. The music system features the conventional USB, iPod, AUX In inputs, however, the car’s acoustics are excellent and give the passengers an immersive experience.

One major flaw of the i20’s infotainment system is the positioning of the rather small monochrome screen. The size, position and control units for the display is simply not ergonomically sound.

Verdict: 7/10

Under The Hood:

The Swift and i20 are powered by both petrol and diesel units. For the purposes of the comparo, we will be considering the petrol variants of both cars.

Swift:

The Swift is powered by an updated 1.2 L engine that features variable valve timing that improves performance and fuel efficiency. The new chassis has improved weight reduction, which means the power to weight ratio of the current gen Swift is one of the best in its class. The petrol mill churns out 85 HP @ 6000 RPM with a peak torque of 114 Nm hitting at 4000 RPM. Although the claimed mileage is 18.6 km/L, the Swift gives about 14 – 16 km/L in the real world. Still a commendable job from the little hatch.

Verdict: 8/10

i20:

The i20 is powered by a similar specked engine and also offers the latest in tech wizardry to ensure maximum fuel efficiency and performance. The 1.2 L four cylinder engine puts out 82.8 HP @ 6000 RPM and 113 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM. However, the Hyundai hatch is much larger and heavier and as a result performance takes a big hit. Although claimed mileage is 18 km/L, the i20 gives about 12/13 km/L in city traffic conditions. Despite the lack of power, the engine is extremely refined and quiet even beyond 4000 revs. Hyundai has done an impressive job with cabin noise insulation as well.

Verdict: 7/10

Performance:

Swift:

One can argue that the Swift does not posses the refinement of the i20 or the features, however despite its shortcomings in build quality and the like, the Swift runs circles ’round the i20 when it comes to the drive. The Swift has always been a tuner’s favorite and for a good reason, with a superb rev happy engine and good power to weight ratio, the Swift is an absolute blast to drive. Brakes are strong and responsive and react well when put under test. Gear shifts are smooth and the gearbox works with minimal fuss. The turning radius is better than the i20 and the car also offers good rear visibility. Given that it is a Maruti, spare parts are also easily accessible and cheap.

Verdict: 8.5/10

i20:

The i20 is a bit of a disappointment here. With a hatchback this large, you would think that Hyundai would put a more powerful engine under the bonnet. Sadly however, the 1.2 L petrol mill provides poor low end torque and as a result the car fails to pull away when you need it the most. Although noise insulation is impressive, Hyundai has skimped on the engine to provide more features. While many may consider a feature loaded car as a value for money product, the i20 fails to impress as a driver’s car. The brakes, despite providing adequate braking capability, feel spongy and lack the bite that the Swift offers.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Verdict:

While both cars are placed in the same segment and cost about the same, the Swift and i20 belong to totally different worlds. While one tugs and pulls at your heart, the other makes a whole lot more sense. One is meant to be driven while the other is meant to be driven in.

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The Maruti Suzuki Swift

So for the better driver’s car, it has and will always be the Maruti Suzuki Swift. However, for the more feature loaded and spacious of the two, our pick would definitely be the Hyundai i20.

2012 hyundai i20
The Hyundai i20

Image Sources: Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai

Visit Maruti Suzuki India Website: http://www.marutisuzuki.com

Visit Hyundai India Website: www.hyundai.com/in

Face Off : Renault Duster vs Nissan Terrano

What lies between two muscular beasts and one bumpy road?

Read on, and take your pick between two of the most competitive, strategically priced SUV’s introduced to India and supposedly built for the rugged Indian roads.

Renault Duster:

Nissan Terrano:

Albeit, the identical looking car roll-outs, Nissan was known to lead Renault by example. The launch of Nissan Micra, the hatchback had Renault’s pulse, a similarly designed car introduced to India. The same trend carried on with the sedan launches i.e Nissan sunny and Renault Scala. However, Renault decided to break the old tradition of following Nissan, and created a compact SUV that would bring about radical changes to India.

So, who is the winner? Well, lets find out.

Renault Duster (looks):

Renault Duster

 

The Renault Duster, considering its design and features was introduced to India with a rather nominal amount ranging between Rs. 7.86 lakhs- Rs. 11.91 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi)

At a glance, the general term “commodious” might escape everybody’s mouth. The mid sized brawny beast packs up a pretty decent fight and has its share of secrets under the hood.

Nissan Terrano (looks):

Nissan Terrano review

 

A little late but an effective entry by Nissan, the Terrano has the excellence parameter up and going. Competitively priced and yet another choice to spoil the customer. The Nissan Terrano (available in petrol and diesel) is priced between Rs. 9.51 lakhs- 12.28 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi)

 

With new and improved tail lamps and stylish doors the Terrano has definitely created an impact on Indian roads. Although, the design takes Nissan a notch higher, it somehow brings a fond recollection of Duster.

INTERIORS

Duster:

The capacious interiors resemble the exteriors; the obvious circular look consumes the vehicle inside out, right from the air-vents to the round edges of the centre console to the circular exteriors. However, the driver’s seat has a mind of its own, you might move back and forth along with it while applying the brakes. Renault has chosen to let the duster with an open storage space on the top. Overall, black finishes on the dashboard and doors as well as the joy of comfort are appeasing.

Renault Duster interior

 

Terrano:

Considering a revamped and a fresh looking Terrano, Nissan has bought in a few basic changes to the interiors to give it a fresh and vibrant look. However, you might love what Nissan has done to the new and groovy music system. The shapes of the A/C vents are rectangular as opposed to the common circular shapes on the Duster. The interior colors of the doors and the dashboard are infused with a dual tone, Beige is predominant towards the lower part of its dashboard and this pattern is uniformly followed on the doors as well. Beige and black are two primary colors. To add storage space, Nissan has chosen to include a lid on the top of the Terrano. Nissan has certainly worked meticulously on the interiors of the Terrano.

Nissan Terrano interior

 

Taming the Beasts: 

Duster & Terrano:

Rightly built for Indian roads, the Duster and Terrano prove their respective expertise with a decent mileage that the companies claim, both Duster (85 PS diesel, 20.45 kmpl and 110PS, 19.01 kmpl. Petrol, 13.4 kmpl) and Terrano (18.48kmpl diesel & 11.6 kmpl petrol) possess the abilities to battle bumpy roads with their massive power, solid torque and efficiency. The duster has a bit noisy engine. (Although the 1.5 dci k9k diesel engine is epic) whereas the quieter Terrano has just about the same engine (1.5 litre k9k diesel engine)

Renault-Duster-Review-Engine
Duster under the Hood

Duster petrol is available in 2variants, the 1.6 litre RxE, 1598 cc petrol engine and the RxL that too has a 1598 cc Petrol engine producing 104 PS. Whereas, the Renault Duster has launched various diesel variants (1.5 RxE, 1.5 RxL, 1.5 RxL110, 1.5 RxZ, 1.5 RxL 110 Adventure Edition and the recently launched limited edition variants)

That produces 85PS/200NM or 110PS/248NM (with a six speed transmission) depending on your choice.

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Terrano under the Hood

The Nissan Terrano provides just about the same. With a 1.6 litre petrol engine that offers 104 PS and the same torque as the Duster (145 Nm) whereas the Terrano Diesel that has a fair share of variants too (85 PS, XE, XL and XL Plus and 110 PS, XL XV and XV Premium) that are powered by the K9K diesel engine, provide similar output options as the Duster, 85PS/200Nm or 110PS/248 Nm.

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The Driving Dynamics of both the SUV’s are identical and there aren’t any evident mechanical changes. The setup, brakes, tyres, suspension, are the same between both the SUV’s and are known to strike a perfect driving and handling balance. Both the SUV’s belong to the 2 wheel drive segment and hence, it isn’t recommended going completely off roads with either of the rides. Overall, the driving dynamics of the compacts seem to sustain the reputation of both the SUV’s.

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Kit’s and Features:

Duster and Terrano share the same Kits. Both the vehicles come equipped with ABS airbags, terrain shield guard to shield your engine against the rocky terrains, reverse parking sensors. The drawback with Terrano is, that you don’t get the option of dual airbags and a good audio system with impressive controls even if you pay a considerably higher amount than the Duster. The Duster RxE and Terrano XV models provide impressive features like key-less entry, steering with tilt adjust with height adjustable seats and so on.  However,  as discussed earlier, the Duster’s driver seat jerks a bit under braking whereas the Terrano’s seat seems to be impervious to such situations.

Our Final Word:

Although both the SUV’s are from different bloodlines, they somehow share same instincts. The Duster that has served longer years on the road than its nemesis, the Terrano but, both the SUV’s managed their way into setting perplexing yet persistent standards in the minds of the customer. It is difficult to choose between the French Hunk and its Japanese counterpart.

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Renault celebrated Duster’s second anniversary recently and to double the celebration, is selling the limited edition duster at a special price tag of Rs. 8.88 lakhs.  With an average sale of 6000 units every month, Duster has certainly left a competitive dent in the minds of its competitors.

Renault Duster Anniversary Edition
Renault Duster Anniversary Edition

Nissan Terrano is catching up fast with its arch rivals, with an average of 3000+ cars rolling out each month, the Terrano seems to be doing good considering a severe battering from competitors like Renault Duster and Ford Eco Sport.

Nissan-Terrano-2014-625x353

 

Both the vehicles are commodious enough to comfortably seat a family of five and sufficient boot space to easily accommodate ample amount of luggage. The engines of both the compact SUV’s are just about the same and deliver a well balanced drive. Indian roads are certainly going to feel less bumpy in either of these vehicles. The features and offerings remain the same in both the vehicles However; the prominent difference in both the vehicles lies in the pricing. Duster certainly wins the price war with Terrano. Duster offers it’s variants for a lesser price but compromises on the looks. The Terrano on the other hand has an exemplary design and looks visually appealing.

Bottom Line: If you want a visually enhanced duster, you can go in for the Terrano. Else, the Duster gives you just about the same and goes a little easy on your pocket.

Visit Renault India website: http://renault.co.in

Visit Nissan India website: http://www.nissan.in

The All New Skoda Octavia – an expert review

The all new Skoda Octavia is inspired by sharp looks and elegant feel. The new Octavia is totally different from the old Octavia. The only similarity is its name. The front grille, the curves, the badge and even its dimensions are different from the old Octavia. The new Octavia is bigger, plusher and better than the previous one. It is based on Volkswagen MQB or modular querBaukasten platform which is a modular kit system developed by Volkswagen for all FWD (front wheel drive) cars with transversely mounted engines in its family range.

New Skoda Octavia

Styling:

The styling of the Octavia is straight forward and sharper making it look mature without any gaudy curves. The car looks much stronger and aggressive with the front end design and sleek headlamps with day time LED. The headlamps come with Xenon lights for better visions during nightfall. It also comes with C-shaped tail lamps.

Interior:

Coming to the interior it feels like a whole new world with soft touch plastic. The dash has a sharper look with straight lines and the elegant finish around it. The dashboard is clad in a combination of black and ivory. It comes with a 2 zone climate control which makes you feel cosy and pleasant. The centre console has a touchscreen audio system with USB, AUX-in ports and Bluetooth connectivity. It also comes with a sat-nav which is useful in city driving. The glove box houses a CD changer and even has cooling functions with a controller. The instrument panel is simple yet elegant and offers comprehensive readouts. The seats are electrically adjustable in 12 ways and made of ivory leather. They are large, comfortable and provide passengers with a comfortable journey. The driver seat too has quite a lot to offer. The steering is rack and pinion with power assist. Skoda has also worked on its safety adding 6 airbags, ABS and EBD with multi collision brake system which comes with a 5 start euro NCAP rating. The Skoda has increased its wheelbase in order to give more leg room. The tyres of Skoda offer a good grip too.

Now coming to the boot space, the new Octavia sports a notchback design and offers acres of boot space. It offers 590 litres of space when the seats are upright, and what is more interesting is when the seats are down. It offers 1580 litres of space with the seats down.

New Skoda Octavia interiors

Under the hood:
The new Skoda Octavia comes with 4 -cylinder and 2.0 litre TDI engine that produces a maximum power of 143 bhp at 4000rpm and a torque of 320 Nm at 1750rpm.For those who are petrol heads the Skoda is going to release its vrs model shortly which pumps 220bhp from its 2.0 litre turbocharged engine. The diesel engine of the Octavia starts up with a little crackle but it is way better than any other diesel cars. The Octavia can speed up in no time as there is an ample amount of power on the tap. It moves on to 100kmp in less than 9 seconds after starting it. The 6 speed gearbox is very easy to use and requires very minimal gear changes. The Octavia is a very driver friendly car which stays planted even at high speeds. The steering set up is well balanced making it poised and composed. However with low speeds the ride can get a little bumpy.
Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen share the same engine and therefore the ride of the new Octavia is almost at par with the Audi which is very obvious, making it the best ride in the luxury segment. It offers almost everything a customer is looking forward to in a big sedan. On the whole it is very comfortable, has a sublime ride and refined motor which is very powerful when compared to other sedans.
The new Skoda Octavia is priced at 16-19 lakh and has a very impressing fuel efficiency of 20.6 kmpl (ARAI). It also has a very interesting top speed of 190 kmph. It comes with a monocoque chassis. The diesel car has a fuel capacity of 50 litres and the kerb weight is 1340 kg. What attracts the customers even more is a 3 years unlimited km warranty on the car.

Bottom Line:

After reading all this it’s quite difficult for one to find faults with the car. But nothing comes perfect. Compared to the old one it isn’t as much fun-to-drive. It lacks the old Octavia’s emotion and it is also quite pricey. But on the whole we can say that Octavia is purely a driver’s car. It performs faster and drives better. It is also very luxurious and comes with most bells and whistles. The boot space is main highlight of this car. We can therefore conclude that the all new Skoda Octavia is the MAN IN SUIT.

Visit Skoda India Website: http://www.skoda-auto.co.in


Hyundai Eon 1L – an expert review

When you plan to buy a car in the entry level segment, your options are large and for sure will include the Hyundai Eon, The Suzuki Alto K10 & the Datsun GO, to name the front runners.

Hyundai-Eon-1.0-Litre
Picture Credit : Hyundai Press Release

The Hyundai Eon boasts of an excellent packaged interior and the design is based on the fluidic concept and is sure to turn heads. The only thing that was a let-down was its engine option. A mear 800cc engine was shadowed by the 1l engine in the Alto K10 and the 1.2l under the hood of the Datsun Go.

Fortunately, Hyundai identified this problem and has introduced the Eon with a 1L engine. This engine is derived from the i10 sold in Europe and has come to the Indian shores for the first time. Based on the Kappa-2 Series of engines, it spews out 69ps and 9.6kgm of Torque. The older 800cc unit had only 56ps and 7.6kgm of Torque.

The exterior package of the Eon remains the same. The only thing that will differentiate the Eon from a normal spec Eon will be the 1L badge of the tail gate. The interiors too remain the same.

hyundai-eon-1-litre-kappa-road-test-review-india-zigwheels-20062014-g09_640x480

Picture Credit: Zigwheels.com

The 3 cylinder engine with VTVT (Variable Valve Timing) technology has an Aluminium engine block and head which makes it light. Along with this it features a low-friction timing chain and piston cooling jets, that keeps the car frugal. Although it is slightly down on fuel economy front,  it is still a winner at 20.3 KMPL (ARAI Figures)

On the inside, the engine start grunt by itself differentiates it from the standard eon. The vibrations coming into the cabin and through the gear stick are much lesser. The engine even idles smoothly. However, an aluminium engine translates to a noisier cabin. The soft suspension makes it a breeze for pot holed areas of the city. The car is well insulated to keep out wind and road noise.

The gearbox being the same seems better mated to the new engine and is much more comfortable. However torque at lower RPM is not available. You don’t need to work the gears much and the engine is happy at higher gears at lower rpm’s. This combo of engine with the gearbox has a time faster by 2.6 seconds to 100 kmph which is quite large. The Eon has always been a good city run-about with its smaller engine which did its duty perfectly in the start-stop traffic. This new engine makes it comfortable on the highways too. The 800cc engine felt inadequate and out of place on a highway.

Hyundai Eon:

Over all the Eon is a better place to be in than its competitors. The cabin just has a premium feel to it and the overall feeling is that you are in a car that is from a higher segment. There are no additional features on the interiors to set this variant apart. The car is available in only one variant which is the Magna +. This variant has power windows for the front, key less entry and internally adjustable outside mirrors. The integrated music system with USB & Aux input is an optional extra. The Airbags are also not a part of the package here.

At the time of launch, the MD & CEO of Hyundai Motors India Limited said “Hyundai Eon has been a trendsetter of style, performance, design and finesse in its segment and has received good acceptability and appreciation from its customers. Hyundai consistently innovates to meet and exceed the demands of the customer and the 1.0-litre Kappa engine now offered in Eon is an extension of our modern-premium brand philosophy and will delight our customers with unparalleled driving experience and further consolidate Hyundai’s position in the domestic market.

Bottom-Line:

The Eon is a futuristic & modern design when compared to its competitors. The only problem that existed was the small engine. This has been solved by getting this engine option. The overall package is really enticing as the car has been priced at 3.83Lacs – Ex Showroom Delhi.

Face Off: Hyundai Xcent vs Honda Amaze

Hyundai Xcent_Honda Amaze

The Indian car market is right now cluttered with these small and nimble cars known as “compact sedan’s”. Ever since Maruti decided to stick the swift with a boot, though the outcome was awkward styling, the Indian buyers took a liking to this platform, so much so that the desire sold around 1,97,685 units in the last 12 months. In reality that’s more than some car makers wish to see in their sales report of their whole model range combined!

In Action:

Honda Amaze, based on the Brio has done wonders for Honda. It restored the lost sheen of Honda into the Indian car market, it is arguably the car responsible for kick starting Honda’s big comeback, contributing to 63% of the company’s sales last year. The bursting demands for such cars just shows that more and more Indians are taking a liking towards these types of cars. Maybe it’s the compactness, meaning practical drive around town or maybe it’s the friendly styling these cars carry or maybe it’s the thought that you get a sedan for the price of a premium hatchback.

Not wanting to be left out on this race for jackpot, Hyundai launched very recently its version of a compact sedan in the name Hyundai Xcent. One look in the front and its crystal clear that it is based upon its best seller, the Grand i10. Going up against a tough competition with the Honda Amaze. Does the Xcent have what it takes to prevail?

Hyundai Xcent_Honda Amaze

Looks:

Trying to incorporate a spacious cabin and a boot to go along with that in a 4 meter platform would be any designer’s nightmare. Having said that, the Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent are well proportionate cars. This is due to the fact that both have a similar sized bonnet and the sheer length of the rear makes them look like actual sedans. The trunk offers practicality as well, with the Amaze offering 400 liters of boot space and 407 liters for the Xcent. Design wise, we would say both are winners in their own way. While the Honda Amaze comes with sharp line and cohesive shape makes it look sporty. Hyundai Xcent’s stylish front grille and chrome detailing make it look quite upmarket. However Hyundai could’ve worked better on making the rear a little bigger. So the choice of preference by the design would be any individual’s opinion.

Interior:

These cars are manufactured in the hopes to cater the 4-5 people’s family, keeping in mind the requirement of space and comfort. This is where the Honda Amaze shines over the Hyundai Xcent. Honda stretched the Brio’s wheelbase for the Amaze by 60mm giving it more legroom, making it better spacious than its competition. The seats are also made with good cushioning making it the more comfortable. The Xcent has derived its seat from the Grand i10 hatch, altered just a little. The cabin of the Xcent can house tall passengers with ample of legroom and headroom, but the narrow cabin makes it suit two passengers than three. Moving over to the front the Xcent does a good job, the two-tone effect and the cabin quality is excellent in its class. You get good console, great fit n finish and a very stylish and modern looking dashboard. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Amaze. What it makes up in the cabin space it lets down in its cockpit. The materials in the dash feels very cheap plastic and screams budget. The audio system, the AC and the whole dash package feels little from an old car.

Features:

Hyundai Xcent takes the cake in this one. Go for the top end SX (optional package) and you would be bombarded with features that would send some executive sedans home crying. There’s auto climate control, a rear AC, rear parking sensor and rear view camera with a display, key-less entry and go, a cooled glove box, a 1GB hard disk for music, Bluetooth, USB aux in and CD player. For Xcent these are serious selling points against the limited features of Amaze with its electric folding mirror and USB and aux enabled audio system but no CD player or Bluetooth, it lacks in climate control.

Performance:

Hyundai Xcent retains the Grand i10’s new 1.1 litre 3 cylinder engines trying to minimize the cost but revamped it to get a little more power and torque producing 81bhp @ 6000rpm for the petrol and 71bhp @ 4000rpm for the diesel. Hyundai Xcent performs really well in the city conditions with abundance in power in the lower and mid range, but it suffers in the highway as it has no top-end grunt.

Honda Amaze on the other hand is a pocket-rocket and that’s no surprise having bigger 1.5 liter engine than the Hyundai Xcent, it produces 98.6bhp and 20.3Nm of torque. The refinement of the engine is a letdown but however the Honda Amaze produce ample amount of torque in every band range. Though the Amaze has a bigger engine of 1.5 liter engine it claims a note worthy mileage of 18kmpl for petrol and 25kmpl for diesel, while the Hyundai Xcent produces an average of 15.7kmpl on city and 19.1 on highway for petrol considering it’s just a 1.1 liter engine.

Bottom-line: It is notable each of these cars shine in their own ways. But overall the Honda Amaze would be a much better option, but that doesn’t mean Hyundai Xcent is a bad compact sedan, all it needed was some cabin space and some grunt in the engine. Thus a common person can enjoy the practicality as well as the sedan’s platform in these compact sedans.

Honda India Website: https://www.hondacarindia.com

Hyundai India Website: http://www.hyundai.com/in

Fiat Avventura – a Pre-Launch Review

I am sure there are many reasons for people to own a Ferrari car. What about the consumers who think they can’t afford one in their lifetime. The savior for them is FIAT which we call in our friend’s circles as (Ferrari In Affordable Transport), which holds major stakes in Ferrari. The awesome news is : Fiat is coming out with this fantastic sporty model, the Fiat Avventura !

Good things : Time tested 1.3 litre diesel engine, Ride and build quality, handling dynamics, Stunning Design, Stylish looks, High ground clearance

Not so good things : Resale value, Niggling issues, after sales service, spare parts availability

 

Utility Vehicles:

Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV finds big attraction with most consumers. Consumers feel that the suv size is a measure of safety since it’s larger and heavier, room for more people, carrying extra luggage, off-road purpose and their strong road presence. Driving a SUV is often associated with the idea of macho, tough and independent person. At the same time it has its drawbacks like expensive to buy, fuel guzzler, expensive to maintain, hard time in parking them in crowded places. Here comes the idea of mini-suv/compact suv/crossover, where it combines the benefits of suv and cars. This in the recent time has runaway success in India and brands like Renault duster, Ford Ecosport is perfect example. In near future Fiat India will join this club by launching its rugged outdoor styled crossover Fiat Avventura. The crossover which was unveiled at 2014 Auto Expo, Delhi.

 

Fiat India

Fiat Avventura at Auto Expo:

Specs and Features:

Fiat Avventura is based on the same platform of Fiat Punto, which will enable Fiat to share parts and components. The length of the vehicle will be within 4 meter segment to get benefits on excise duty. It will be launched in both petrol and diesel versions. Petrol versions are expected in 1.2 litre and 1.4 litre units. Diesel version is 1.3-litre multijet engine, which will deliver 93ps and 209NM of torque. It will sport the new headlight design, projector headlamps and redesigned front grille. The front grille which will also be seen in the 2014 Fiat Punto facelift. Ground clearance in Fiat Avventura is increased to 200mm and fitted with wide 225 tyres around 17 inch alloys. Spare wheel is not fitted with the hatch though it appears to be, which is fitted on a swing arm. Side profile is designed with plastic cladding on the wheel arches and door. The interior console and dashboard looks more premium with its dual tone color. The other features include steering mounted audio and call function controls, armrest for driver, rear AC vents, power windows, power steering and vanity mirrors. The safety aspects include dual airbags, engine immobilizer and Anti-locking braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD). Front wheels will be equipped with ventilated disc brakes and rear wheels with drum brakes. Considering the off road nature of the vehicle Fiat Avventura is fitted with roof rails, navigation system etc.

Competitor Vehicles: Ford Ecosport, Toyota Etios cross, Volkswagen cross polo

Bottom-line:

Fiat products are better in terms of technology, engine but few factors as we mentioned above has affected their sales in the past. Things have started to improve recently as Fiat India has put in strategy to increase the number of its products offerings, expanding the dealership network and increasing the spares part availability. This will help them to build their brand image in a better way. Fiat India website has made announcement that Fiat Avventura will be launched soon. Fiat has crafted it in a manner it will sure be a head turner. Fiat Avventura launch is crucial to set the path for the future launches, considering the company’s plans to bring the iconic jeep brand from Chrysler to India.

Visit Fiat India Website: http://www.fiat-india.com

 

Jaguar F-type convertible – Owners pride !

Panthera Onca is a species found commonly in the western hemisphere. There is another brand of Panthera Onca also known as “Jaguar” which has its presence all over the world and more powerful than any beast. Yeah, you’re right -We are taking about the Tata Motors owned Jaguar car company. Staying true to its sporting bloodline the Tata Motors owned Jaguar’s F-type convertible is any racers dream. Showcased in the Paris Motor Show, the F-type found its way to the top of the food chain and it rivals the likes of Porsche 911 and Porsche Boxster.

Jaguar F-Type @Paris Auto Show:

Overview:
It’s here in India and its here for good. The first thing that one would notice is all the beautiful curves and creases, Jaguar has incorporated in this beast. Gazing at this you would be totally lost for memory to try and remember the next best magnificent thing that you have ever seen. Jaguar has put a lot into this car to make it one of the best car there is, also it is notable that this is the first Jaguar without the oval grille.

This jaguar is such a car that switches between a Sunday evening parties to Monday morning track day car with no problem at all. Get behind the drivers wheel and you will know the true purpose that this car has been built for. A foot on the Accelerator pad has the capacity to release the grunt stored in this 3.0 litre V6 supercharged power house producing 340 Horse power. The exhaust is designed in such a way that the sound coming out would put even a thunder storm to shame. Amazingly enough the people at jaguar have added an option which upon the flick of a switch makes this noise even louder. Yes, you heard it right LOUDER!

Jaguar f-type convertible

 

Specs:

Not for the faint hearted. 340Bhp is just for starters, Jaguar offers more options under the F-type hood with a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 producing 380Bhp @ 6500 revs and  460Nm torque between 3500-5000 rpm. And then there is a third option, a barking mad V8, more powerful more torque than the V6, I’m talking in terms of light years…This V8 produces 495Bhp @ 6500 rpm and 625Nm torque between 2500-5500. 1 Jaguar having 495 horses… now that’s truly something! Jaguar has tried to make the F-type convertible, light by crafting it with light weight aluminum body. The outcome? Light and nimble, extremely responsive piece of machine which clobbers any straights or corner and this F-type is extremely good at what it does!

Ride:

Obviously no driver of a convertible would drive around in all the hot spots of the city with the roof on (except when the rain gods thinks otherwise). So when you do let the roof down, it is so very clear the interiors have been given attention in order to look as smacking as the exterior. The F-type pampers its buyers by handing them with a choice of 14 color themes and three finishers for the interior including its-n-bits like bronzed switches.  Thus making you want to flaunt the cockpit to the less fortunate ones who can only glance, while you strike by. One of the good part is that a convertible offers you the privacy you need when you need it. Want the roof back on? The F-type does it with the minimal of efforts, so much so that you can have it on even when you are driving at 50km/hr. Practical? Yes indeed.

Though the base V6 is the least powerful of the lot, Jaguar has crafted it in a way never at any point of time drivers will feel short of breath or the crazy need for extra horse power. It’s just a very exciting machine, switch the roof down let the hurling thump of the exhaust haunt your ears as you watch every poles, trees, buildings, people and places in just an instant even before you could say F-type with its heart stopping acceleration of 0-100 in 5.1 seconds. Drive it to the max and this jag can treat you to a top speed of 260 km/hr, if that doesn’t sound much the more powerful F-type 5.0 supercharged V8 will accelerate from 0 to 100 in just 4.3 seconds and this will max out in a blinding top speed of 300 km/hr, such an incredible feat to reach and the jaguar should do it in style.

Bottom-line: Looks + Powerful engine + Rich interiors + Expertise of Jaguar = F-Type

Jaguar f-type Convertible

Visit India Website: www.jaguar.in