Audi opens a Showroom at Nagpur

Audi opens a Showroom at Nagpur
Audi India has opened a showroom in Nagpur as part of its network expansion strategy. The showroom was inaugurated by Michael Perschke, head, Audi India & Gautam Kale, managing director, Audi Nagpur.

Spread over a total area of 9684sq ft, the showroom is the biggest luxury car showroom in Nagpur. It can accommodate 10 cars & will display Audi’s entire model range available in India. Audi Nagpur will also manage the 30,000sqft Audi service facility located in MIDC Hingna.

The German carmaker will expand its footprint in India & will cover markets like Bhopal, Coimbatore & Delhi West in April 2012. Audi India plans to expand its network to 25 dealerships by 2012.

Used Santro and City are the top sellers from Mahindra First Choice.

used old hyundai santro at first choice
Used Hyundai Santros & Honda Citys, from the B  & C segments respectively, are currently the best selling models from Mahindra FirstChoice Wheels (MFCW) outlets. These Mahindra outlets offer used cars from various brands, so you can expect to see a Tata Nano sitting alongside an Audi A4 in a First Choice outlet.  

Prices range from Rs 1 3 lakh for a used petrol Santro (2001 10 model) while the second generation petrol City (loosely known as the ‘Dolphin’ 2004 05 model in the used car trade) can be yours for Rs 3.5 4.5 lakh. The C class Mercedes 2002 03 petrol & diesel models can be bought for as little as Rs 6.5 to Rs 7 lakh. However, luxury cars constitute only 3 percent of total sales.

Interestingly, just like in the new car market, Mahindra FirstChoice has witnessed a shift in customer demand from petrol to diesel cars over the last 6 to 8 months.

used old honda city at first choice
“Availability of diesel cars is very low as we are unable to source good cars due to the sudden shift in customer preferences. Those who possess diesel cars are not keen to part with them. New diesel technologies will take about three years to come into the market & that is when more diesel cars will be available at our outlets,” says Sharad Agarwal, National Head Franchisee Operations.

About 60 percent of the cars sold at the outlets range from 3 to 5 years in age with 20 percent in the 0 to 3 year age bracket, with the balance in the 5 plus year category out of the 25 to 30 cars on display at each outlet.

used old hyundai santro and honda city at first choice
Used cars are sourced through new car dealers, online networks, through leasing & corporate tie ups & walk in exchange of cars. FirstChoice offers 95 percent financing facility to customers through its in house finance arm Mahindra Finance, & partnerships with financial institutions.

FirstChoice expects to sell 30,000 cars in FY’12 through 150 outlets primarily in tier I & II towns, with a sales target of one million cars & 300 outlets by 2014.  

New BMW’s affordable GS is for India

new BMW affordab;e GS for India
BMW is readying the F650 GS from its ever popular adventure family for launch in India. The name could lead you to think back to the mid nineties, when another BMW, the big single engine powered Funduro, launched here courtesy the Hero group. The F650 GS is however a very different animal as compared to the Funduro, that was a bike ahead of its time. Unlike the Funduro’s big single, Rotax developed engine, the GS’s trellis frame holds a more potent, four stroke, liquid cooled, 798cc parallel twin motor that is shared with the 85bhp F800GS. Power for the F650 GS is although capped at a milder 71bhp.

At idle the F650 GS’s fuel injected BMW powerplant settles into a smooth rhythm with a muted, bass rich exhaust beat. The saddle of this near 200kg motorcycle is considerably high, enough to make the bike feel a shade daunting at first. But get it off the stand & going, & you find yourself towering above everything else on the road in a really commanding position. This confidence inspiring seating position will work its charm on you fairly quickly, as the light action, cable operated clutch makes it easy for a rider to tap deep into the parallel twin engine’s smooth & uncomplicated performance.

new BMW affordab;e GS for India liquid cooling radiator
Our brief test ride proves the GS is a capable work horse, ever willing to trot slowly without kicking up a fuss. The BMW is flexible enough to allow you to pull smoothly forward from a patient 30kph in third gear without any stuttering or fuss. Start using your right wrist with enthusiasm however, & the GS transforms into a stallion, breaking into a thundering gallop in a flash. 71bhp of creamy smooth power & a healthy 7.6kgm of torque prove really rewarding to use, ample whether in the city or gunning the F650 GS out on the highway.

new BMW affordab;e GS for India seating and silencer
The versatile motorcycle’s wide handlebar & comfy upright riding position makes it easy to ride & maneuver around on our crowded roads. It comes as no surprise the GS’ telescopic front suspension & monoshock rear setup are capable of thundering over the worst surfaces with complete authority. It feels as though the F650 GS barely registers any of India’s commonly found lumpy tarmac or potholes, making this a truly ideal motorcycle for daily use in our demanding conditions. Ride quality remains remarkably flat always, with as much comfort on offer as possible despite such varying road conditions. Another praiseworthy asset to the F650 GS is it maintains all this solid composure despite when riding with a full size adult as pillion.

While BMW’s off road enthusiasts may bemoan a conventional chain being used for final drive instead of a shaft, & alloy wheels (17 inch front & 19 inch rear wrapped with capable, German Metzeler rubber) the GS is more than capable of handling any terrain you dare to ride over. The ABS brakes felt reassuring, this important safety feature certain to reduce the stress of riding this new motorcycle.

The baby GS is a well rounded motorcycle that can be ridden daily, & everywhere, provided the standard seat height of 820mm doesn’t scare you away. The F650 GS goes on sale in May 2012, backed by the proven after sales & service care provided by Navnit Motor’s, BMW Motorrad’s Mumbai based importer. The ABS equipped F650GS is expected to launch at an attractive Rs 8 10.5 lakh on road price in Pune.

Hyundai has Launched it's new i20

new hyundai i20 front viewHyundai has launched the updated i20. The new version is called the i Gen i20.

The refreshed car gets a light dose of Hyundai’s latest fluidic sculpture design language, which is clearly visible in the front styling. The headlights are slimmer & the grille is hexagonal.

The front bumper is completely new with re styled housings for the fog lamps & a much wider chin. The hood design is also updated, possibly due to new EU crash test regulations. Styling changes to the rear include a new bumper & re profiled tail lamps. It also gets turn indicators on the wing mirrors & a new eight spoke alloy wheel design.

new hyundai i20 rear view
The new i20 now comes with two petrol & one diesel engine options. Petrol engines include a new 84bhp 1.2 Kappa petrol engine with Dual VTVT mated to a five speed manual transmission & a 1.4 litre 98bhp Gamma unit mated to a four speed automatic gearbox. Also on offer is a 88bhp 1.4 CRDi diesel that comes with a six speed manual transmission.

New features include a reverse camera with display in the cabin mirror, auto headlights, six airbags, four wheel disc brakes, supervision cluster & rain sensing wipers, a smart key with push button start, a leather wrapped steering wheel & gear knob, electric folding & heated wing mirrors, tilt & telescopic steering wheel & a 2DIN CD/MP3 audio system with four speakers, USB, aux in & Bluetooth connectivity along with steering mounted audio controls.  



Ex Showroom  Delhi (Rs.)












Asta(O) with Sunroof


Sportz AT













Review and Test Drive Of new Audi Q7 V12 TDI

new Audi Q7 V12 TDI
Audi’s stock in trade, the Q7 3.0 TDI is a finely balanced machine. It may tip the scales at an ungodly 2.3 tonnes, but with 56kgm of twist available & 241bhp of power, even this most basic diesel manages to deliver plenty of performance. Truth be told, you don’t need more than a 3.0 litre V6 to power a car like the Q7. But what’s luxury if not the exceptional, taken to excess. What indeed?

new Audi Q7 V12 TDI on road
Say a big hello to the emperor of excess, the Q7 6.0 V12 TDI, a formidable beast of a car that is so far over the top, it’s almost floating up there in the ether. To believe – to really, truly believe – they say you have to see things with your own eyes. So before doing anything else I take a good look under the bonnet. & even though I expect a large engine to be sitting there, seeing the thing in the flesh actually shocks me. You have to remember, this the Q7, an SUV that has probably the largest nose & bonnet around. Yet the 5934cc motor is so large you can barely squeeze your hand into the gap between the firewall & the engine. Yet Audi claims that this is actually a compact V12. Compact? Compared to what, Sri Lanka? Still, there is plenty of modern envelope stretching high tech here. The crankcase is made up of a secret material that allows it to be strong, light & more compact at the same time, the crankshaft is made from chromium molybdenum steel & the pistons are aluminum.

new Audi Q7 V12 TDI engine view
Time to step in & see what 493bhp and, more importantly, 102kgm of torque feel like. But first, a quick glance around the cabin to see what’s different, what’s special. For all practical purposes, this looks like a regular Q7. Sure there are some special bits like the alcantara & brushed aluminum trimmings, but some of the other zany extras offered with this car seem to be missing. You can order the car with a fully leather wrapped cabin, complete with double stitching. You can cover the insides with more carbon fiber than an F1 car and, if you really want to go nuts, you can even order a rear loading bay that’s lined with wood like the deck of your favourite yacht.

new Audi Q7 V12 TDI side view
I fire up the motor with the driver’s door open & pump the accelerator mildly, & there, among some diesel clatter & the sound of fans going ballistic, is something I just don’t expect – a bit of good old V12 whine. & then I’m suddenly aware of something else, this motor, once revved, smoothens out so beautifully; it’s unreal. The first few minutes behind the wheel are spent tracking the camera car. & this is difficult. By the time you hit 1750rpm this engine has attained its peak torque output of 102kgm, & that makes it feel like there is a giant spring yanking you forward. Remember, normal everyday cars have approximately 12 15kgm of torque. Camera work done, I finally get a chance to use more right foot. & as expected, the shove in the back is massive. The Q7 feels like it weighs no more than 300kg; you charge at the horizon in giant explosive puffs from the motor. & keep the throttle nailed for more than three seconds & Q7 goes from seriously quick to warp speed I no time at all. Audi’s claimed time for this car is an eyeball popping 0 100kph in 5.5 seconds & you only need a short ish stretch to allow this mammoth to punch up to its limited top speed of 250kph. & the further past 200 you go, the more impressive the sustained thrust gets. However, despite the smooth running V12, & the general levels of overall sophistication, power delivery feels crude & almost savage at times. & that’s all part of its car with an oversized engine charm.

new Audi Q7 V12 TDI rear view
What’s less than charming, however, is the suspension. Yes, Audi has stiffened it & it feels much sportier than the regular car, but drive the Q7 harder, putting all that twist into the equation, & suddenly it feels somewhat inadequate. The chassis feels like it’s made of tinfoil, the springs feel like they are made from marshmallows. Push harder still & you get bouts of radio silence from the steering wheel. Of course, the problem is that the motor is tossing this 2.6 tonne car around like a ragdoll & the Q7 has to fight hard just to keep its head above water. One thing’s for sure, handling is nowhere near as good as that of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, quite easily the world’s premier sporting SUV.

new Audi Q7 V12 TDI front view
Audi says the Q7 V12 TDI is headed to India & that it will cost approximately Rs 1 crore. For your money, you will get the world’s first production V12 diesel, 493bhp, surprisingly good fuel economy & massive, massive bragging rights; probably exactly what some Indian customers are looking for.

Fact File
Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex showroom price Rs 1 crore (estimated)
Fuel Diesel
Type 12cyls in Vee, 5934cc, turbo diesel
Power 493bhp at 3750rpm
Torque 102kgm at 1750rpm
Gearbox 6 speed automatic
Length 5063mm
Width 2000mm
Height 1697mm
Wheel base 3002mm
Chassis & Body
Weight 2635kg

BMW recalls 5 series & 6 series models

BMW recalls 5 series & 6 series models
BMW is recalling 1.3m cars globally amid fears 5 series & 6 series models could catch fire. This is for model year 2003 2010 cars.

BMW said: "In some remote cases, the battery cable inside the boot may be incorrectly mounted.  This can result in the electrical system malfunctioning, the vehicle failing to start and, in some cases, to charring or fire."

Fewer than 1 per cent of cars inspected so far have exhibited the problem. BMW said it had received nine reports of the defect. An official said: "no injuries to a person have been reported to us."

The car maker will write to owners of all cars affected. It said checks will take around 30mins & be free of charge.

The recall affects around 368,000 cars in America, 283,000 in Germany, 109,000 in Britain & a further 102,000 in China.

New Maruti Ritz is coming soon

New Maruti Ritz is coming soon
Maruti is all set to give the Ritz its first mid cycle facelift & here is the proof. These spy pictures were posted on the Ritz's facebook page.

New Maruti Ritz is coming soon
As seen in the images, the updated Ritz will feature a slightly altered front fascia starting with a more prominent chin, an updated Audi esque grille, restyled fog lamp housing & bonnet. The facelifted Ritz will also feature updated interiors & lighter shades. Under the hood, we expect the 84bhp 1.2 litre petrol & the 74bhp 1.3 litre diesel motors to be carried over.

Expect the updated Ritz to be launched in the coming months.

New Nissan Sunny Auto is likely by Feb 2013

Nissan Sunny Auto likely by Feb 2013
Nissan Motor India is planning to expand the Sunny range with the launch of an automatic variant by February 2013.

The automatic option will only be available only on the petrol variant & will feature a basic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) 'box for the Indian market to keep costs down. This will help Nissan pitch the Sunny AT against the Maruti Swift Dzire AT which is available with a four speed auto 'box on the petrol variant & is the cheapest automatic transmission equipped saloon in the market.

In terms of pricing, we expect the Sunny AT to be priced at around Rs 80,000 more than the Sunny petrol manual variant.

Lewis Hamilton clinches pole in Malaysia

Lewis Hamilton clinches pole in Malaysia
Lewis Hamilton & Jenson Button maintained McLaren's 2012 qualifying superiority as they repeated their Melbourne grid result & filled for the front row for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher produced the best qualifying performance of his Formula 1 comeback as he took third for Mercedes, while world champion Sebastian Vettel chose to run the harder tyre & will start fifth for Red Bull.

Just as had been the case in Australia, Hamilton's first pole shot in Q3 was sufficient to secure the top spot, as his 1m36.219s proved unbeatable.

Button was second fastest after those runs, but was pushed back by Schumacher. Mercedes had left it late in Q2 & looked in danger of being eliminated before surging into the top 10, & then went for just one run in Q3.

That meant Schumacher was back in the pits by the time Button launched his retaliation, the McLaren edging the Mercedes off the front row by just 0.023 seconds. Schumacher beat his team mate Nico Rosberg by five places & a little under 0.3s.

The Q3 battle was incredibly close, with just 0.4s covering pole to eighth place.

Red Bull was not a pole threat again   Q1 pacesetter Mark Webber qualifying fourth, & Vettel choosing the harder Pirelli & setting the sixth quickest time. They were split in the results by Kimi Raikkonen, but the Lotus   which was fastest in Q2   will drop to 10th on the grid due to its five place penalty for a gearbox change. Raikkonen's team mate Romain Grosjean was seventh quickest.

Against the team's own expectations, Fernando Alonso got Ferrari into Q3   although he could only manage to beat Sergio Perez's Sauber to ninth. Felipe Massa was closer to Alonso's pace than he had been for most of the Melbourne weekend but he missed the Q2 cut & was 12th.

Several of the underdog stars of Melbourne qualifying fell back into the midfield in Malaysia. Pastor Maldonado briefly got into the top 10 despite an early trip through the gravel in Q2, but he was pushed back to 11th as the Mercedes delivered their late laps. Maldonado will start two places ahead of Williams team mate Bruno Senna.

There were no Force Indias or Toro Rossos in Q3 this week either. The closely matched Paul di Resta & Nico Hulkenberg claimed 14th & 16th for Force India, just 0.013s apart & split by Daniel Ricciardo, whose Toro Rosso team mate Jean Eric Vergne locked up in Q1, flat spotted a tyre & consigned himself to 18th. Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber brought up the rear of the Q2 pack.

Both HRTs made the 107 per cent cut this time, & will not even start last, as Heikki Kovalainen's penalty for passing under the safety car in Australia will drop the Caterham from 19th to last.

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time         Gap

1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren Mercedes     1m36.219s

 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren Mercedes     1m36.368s   + 0.149

 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m36.391s   + 0.172

 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull Renault     1m36.461s   + 0.242

 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus Renault        1m36.461s   + 0.242

 6.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull Renault     1m36.634s   + 0.415

 7.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus Renault        1m36.658s   + 0.439

 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m36.664s   + 0.445

 9.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m37.566s   + 1.347

10.  Sergio Perez          Sauber Ferrari       1m37.698s   + 1.479

Q2 cut off time: 1m37.477s                                   Gap **

11.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams Renault     1m37.589s   + 0.874

12.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m37.731s   + 1.016

13.  Bruno Senna           Williams Renault     1m37.841s   + 1.126

14.  Paul di Resta         Force India Mercedes 1m37.877s   + 1.162

15.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso Ferrari   1m37.883s   + 1.168

16.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India Mercedes 1m37.890s   + 1.175

17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber Ferrari       1m38.069s   + 1.354

Q1 cut off time: 1m38.437s                                   Gap *

18.  Jean Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso Ferrari   1m39.077s   + 1.905

19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham Renault     1m39.306s   + 2.134

20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham Renault     1m39.567s   + 2.395

21.  Timo Glock            Marussia Cosworth    1m40.903s   + 3.731

22.  Charles Pic           Marussia Cosworth    1m41.250s   + 4.078

23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT Cosworth         1m42.914s   + 5.742

24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT Cosworth         1m43.655s   + 6.483

Teat Drive and review of New Maruti Ertiga

new maruti ertiga
We've just driven the Maruti's new Ertiga & initial impressions are that the company has yet another winner on its hands. The Ertiga gets the basics right. It has three rows of seats, can seat seven & comes with the option of both petrol & diesel engines. Also, its monocoque construction promises much in terms of car-like comfort & driving manners.

new maruti ertiga interior and steering
With a length of 4265mm, the Ertiga is shorter than the other MPVs in the market, namely the Toyota Innova, Mahindra Xylo & Tata Aria. What’s more, it also sits lower than the others, so those upgrading from a small car will immediately take a liking to it. Styling at the front is typically Suzuki. The headlights that sweep back towards the A-pillars are reminiscent of the new Swift & there is more than a hint of the Ritz on the front grille & bonnet. Tail styling, though, is ordinary & conforms to the MPV design template.

new maruti ertiga engine view
Despite its small footprint, the Ertiga is quite spacious inside thanks to the wheels being placed at the extremities. Its wheelbase is 2740mm which is just a shade shorter than the Innova’s & Xylo’s. This unquestionably helps middle-row occupants. The middle row can slide back 240mm, so there is acres of space to stretch out in. Even after adjusting these seats for the third row passengers, you have more than sufficient legroom. The seats themselves are comfortable, if a tad soft, & feature a very well positioned centre armrest. The flat seat & a near-flat floor bode well for centre passenger comfort. It’s also easy to get in & out courtesy the large rear doors & ideal seat height.

new maruti ertiga rear seating
Getting into the last row requires some contortion. The seating position is not ‘knees-up’ like other MPVs, which is good, but the seat squab is abit short & compromises thigh support. Shoulder support is good & headroom is decent.

new maruti ertiga dickt rear
The front seat occupants on the other hand get really supportive seats. The view out of the windscreen is good, though the thick A-pillar can be a problem. That said, the driving position is really nice & car-like & the impression is of driving a Maruti Swift on stilts.

new maruti ertiga rear view
With all seven seats in place there is just enough space in the back to hold just two soft bags. For more space, the third row can be folded flat. You also have the option to fold the middle row. The 60:40 split further aids flexibility.

new maruti ertiga air conditioner
The Ertiga will be sold in three variants each for both petrol & diesel models. Except the base petrol model all variants get ABS, while the top models also get driver & passenger airbags. Climate control is not available on any trim level, though middle- & top-spec cars do get twin air conditioners to help cool the large cabin.

new maruti ertiga silver
Powering the Ertiga is a new 1.4-litre petrol motor from Suzuki’s acclaimed K-series family of engines. Peak power output is 93.7bhp at 6000rpm & torque is 13.26kgm at 4000rpm. Refinement is really impressive with a very quiet idle. There is a good spread of power which makes the engine fit for both city & highway driving. Driveability is fairly good, though the build-up of power sometimes seem slightly slow, & this is especially true in the mid-range.

new maruti ertiga dicky
The other engine on offer is the 1.3-litre Fiat-sourced turbodiesel that also does duty on the SX4. Peak power here is 88.8bhp at 4000rpm while max torque is available at 1750rpm. The initial power is only decent, but there is a surge of power once the turbo kicks in at about 2000rpm, & out cruising on the highway the engine works like a treat. Both petrol & diesel variants come with smooth-shifting five-speed gearboxes that come allied to light clutches. The noise levels in the cabin are low thanks to the extensive use of sound-deadening materials in the engine bay.

new maruti ertiga rear seating man
Maruti’s goal with the Ertiga was to make it as car-like to drive as possible & it has succeeded in its mission. Key to this is the Ertiga’s use of a car-like monocoque chassis as opposed to a more rudimentary body-on-frame construction. The ride is always flat & pliant at speed & there is also no low-speed bounciness associated with typical MPVs. Even sharp bumps are tackled with aplomb. But it’s really from behind the wheel that the Ertiga impresses. You can take turns with confidence, body roll is well contained & in general the feeling of control is very reassuring. The steering offers good feedback & is light enough at city speeds & manoeuvrability too is terrific & this is one of the USPs of the Ertiga.

new maruti ertiga silver interior and seating
The Ertiga is large inside yet not so large on the outside, which is sure to appeal to buyers who find the current crop of MPVs a bit too unwieldy & large. Its engines score well on refinement & driveability & are expected to be fuel efficient. While prices are revealed by mid April, we expect them to range from Rs 7-9 lakh. This combination of seven seats & a hatchback, & the ease of use it delivers may just be the beginning of the end for old-school MPVs.

Fact File
Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex-showroom price Rs 7-9 lakh Ex-showroom (estimated)
Fuel Petrol / Diesel
Installation Front, transverse, front-wheel drive
Type 4 cyls in-line, 1373cc, petrol/ 4 cyls in-line, 1248cc, turbo-diesel
Power 93.8bhp at 6000rpm/ 88.5bhp at 4000rpm
Torque 13.25kgm at 4000rpm/ 20.39kgm at 1750rpm
Gearbox 5-speed manual
Length 4265mm
Width 1695mm
Height 1685mm
Wheel base 2740mm
Ground clearance 185mm
Chassis & Body
Weight 1160kg/1235kg
Wheels 15inch
Tyres 185/65 R15
Front Independent, MacPherson struts
Rear Non-independent, torsion beam
Type Rack & pinion
Type of power assist Electric assist
Front Ventilated discs
Rear Drums

2012 BMW 328i Automatic EPA

Specification Modification Image Review 2012 BMW 328i Automatic EPA
Another Dimension, Another Dimension
Compared to the E90 3er, the 2012 3-series sedan is about 3.7 inches longer, rides on a 2.0-inch-longer wheelbase, and has wider tracks front (1.5 inches) and rear (1.9). The growth pays dividends to back-seat passengers; legroom increases by 0.7 inch, there’s 0.6-inch more knee room, and a smidge more headroom. Despite the newfound bigness, BMW claims that the sedans will weigh 88 pounds less than similarly equipped last-gen cars. Imagine what they could have done if it stayed the same overall size.

The larger car still looks svelte, however, and wears an evolved version of current 5-series styling. Its face is pulled tighter than before, with the headlights stretching to meet the trademark kidney grilles. The single lower intake has been split into two. Cars with the optional xenon headlights are equipped with LED eyebrows. BMW describes the overall profile as wedge-shaped, which, okay, it might be, but it’s no Lamborghini Gallardo. 
 BMW says 328i models equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission are the only models to receive a revised estimate, with the six-speed-manual-equipped version retaining its 23/34-mpg rating. BMW is investigating the reason behind the discrepancy, but regardless of the automaker’s findings, the EPA’s estimates will remain for the 2012 model year. The government’s fuel economy website currently doesn’t show the change, however BMW’s consumer page has been updated to reflect the revised numbers.

A BMW spokesperson told us that the EPA doesn’t test every car, and manufacturers must instead conduct their own tests following the EPA’s test cycle and submit figures each year. Sometimes, the EPA will validate those figures by repeating the test cycle itself. In this case, the EPA requested a 328i automatic for testing, and came up with different numbers.
We’ve been impressed with the performance from the 2012 BMW 328i’s new turbocharged four-cylinder thus far, and the promise of better fuel economy was a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of proposition. Now, we suppose you just get slightly less cake.

Packaging explained
BMW offers the latest 3-Series Sedan in base configuration and four optional “Design Lines:” Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line, as well as an M Sport Line (late introduction).
All models will come with goodies like a 6.5-inch color display with iDrive, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, step-up wheels (17-inch on 328i, 18-inch on 335i), while the 335i adds HID headlamps, wood interior trim, a moonroof, powered front seats and an anti-theft alarm.

Sport Line models come with black exterior styling bits, a 10mm-lowered suspension, red piped-and-stitched leather or leatherette seats, a black headliner and various red accents throughout the cabin. Luxury Line 3-Series models substitute the Sport’s gloss black or aluminum interior trim with inlayed wood, wile the exterior receives additional chrome styling bits including more grille slats and chromed grille surrounds. Luxury and Modern Line 3-Series models will be offered exclusively with leather seats with a specific seam pattern and either contrasting stitching (Luxury) or piping (Modern). Modern builds on Luxury with matte chrome exterior and interior trim, a choice of aluminum, pearl metallic or textured wood interior trim and a “dark oyster” dashboard and steering wheel.,,

Plans of aAudi's aggressive new model

new audi q7
Not content with merely grabbing the attention of India’s luxury car buyers, Audi is continuing its relentless charge for market share with the launch of several new models in the coming months. First up, & most important, will be the Q3, Audi’s compact SUV that is confirmed for a June 2012 launch. Audi may have lost the first mover advantage to the BMW X1, but the company is confident that it can claw back lost ground.

In fact, the Q3 has quite a few strengths that the X1 lacks. The most notable being its superior packaging. In contrast to the X1’s rear wheel drive layout & longitudinally mounted engine, the Q3 with its transverse motor offers better space utilisation & is more spacious in the back. While the X1 is rear wheel drive, Audi will sell the Q3 at launch only in four wheel drive. Company officials say that they want to deliver the full Audi experience, & that means kitting it with a full fledged MMI system & luxury pack, similar to the A4. Expect the Quattro equipped Q3 to start at around Rs 26 lakh for the 170bhp 2.0 TDi.

Another SUV from Audi is also on the cards, but this time around it’s from the other end of the spectrum.

new audi q7
Audi’s Q7 is already well established in India. But Audi still wants to go a step further & launch the insanely quick 500bhp V12 diesel Q7 (see our drive, pg 72). Audi feels there is a limited market for a vehicle that can lay claim to being the fastest SUV in the country. However, Audi engineers are worried about India’s dusty conditions, since the V12 Q7 has ceramic brakes, which are sensitive to dust, as standard. Hence, the green signal to launch the V12 Q7 still hasn’t been given.

Audi will also continue its policy of offering some of its sportiest cars in India. The superlative RS5, the R8 & R8 V10 have been on sale for some time & Audi’s attractive & affordable sports car, the TT will be relaunched this month too. “We are looking to get the new TT at a very attractive price,” said Michael Perschke, head, Audi India. The 208bhp 2.0 TFSi could start as low as Rs 40 lakh & we could get the range topping RS as well.

new audi q7
The most significant car for Audi, however, could be the new A3, a car that would almost certainly make it to India as soon as a right hand drive version of the yet to be launched saloon is available globally. Also using a transverse engine for space efficient packaging, the A3 saloon is likely to be a game changer for the German luxury carmaker in India.

Taxi market Dzire christened the Swift Dzire Tour

maruti suzuki swift dzire taxi
Maruti has named the taxi spec version of the Swift Dzire as the Dzire Tour. This version is basically the first generation Dzire & it now comes only in the base LXi (petrol) & LDi (diesel). Standard features include an AC, power steering steel wheels. Both front & rear bumpers, outside rear view mirrors & door handles are black.

The Dzire Tour is priced at Rs 5.91 lakh for the diesel & Rs 4.88 lakh for the petrol variant. It will only be sold to taxi & fleet operators. This model will go on sale next month (April 2012) onwards.

Given below is a price comparison of the Dzire Tour & its competitors (all prices, ex showroom, Delhi).




Maruti Dzire Tour

Rs 5.91 lakh

Rs 4.88 lakh

Tata Indigo XL

Rs 5.91 lakh

Rs 6.29 lakh

Toyota Etios

Rs 6.69 lakh

Rs 5.14 lakh

Mahindra Verito

Rs 5.97 lakh

Rs 5.04 lakh

Lamborghini Ferruccio Beautiful Concept By Mark Hostler

Lamborghini Ferruccio Beautiful Concept By Mark Hostler
The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the famous Italian sports car brand, Lamborghini. In 1963, Ferruccio Lamborghini started the company with the intent of creating supercars to compete with models from Ferrari. Now, as a celebration of this event, & as an homage to Ferruccio Lamborghini, Mark Hostler, a transportation design student at Staffordshire university, has created the Lamborghini Ferruccio Concept.

According to the designer, the concept is "a car that takes inspiration from the company’s lineage, & also showcases the current design language & innovations of the company in their trademark flamboyant style." The concept’s front end, bonnet, & super wide rear end were inspired by the Countach. The front & rear wings were inspired by the Miura, while the sharp nose & mirrors, & aggressive air intakes across the body & roof take their inspiration from the current Lamborghini design language.

The concept was designed to use a small 5.0 liter V12 engine with two turbochargers & feature direct injection technology.

Hit the jump for a video of the Lamborghini Ferruccio Concept by Mark Hostler.

Jenson Button storms Gonna Australian GP victory

Jenson Button opened the 2012 Formula 1 world championship with a commanding victory for McLaren in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

World champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) managed to get up to second from sixth on the grid, fending off pole sitter Lewis Hamilton's McLaren & the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Fernando Alonso salvaged fifth place from Ferrari's difficult weekend, having proved much more competitive in the race.

Button claimed the lead at the start with a better getaway than his pole sitting team mate, & then quickly established a lead of three seconds, which stayed stable through the opening stint.

The two Mercedes occupied third & fourth initially, but Vettel overtook Nico Rosberg on the second lap, & Michael Schumacher's run in third lasted only until lap 10, when he retired with a gearbox problem. That elevated Vettel into third, but the champion was 12 seconds down on the McLarens by then & could make little impression.

Third place qualifier Romain Grosjean (Lotus) dropped to sixth off the line, & was another early retirement when he clashed with Williams's Pastor Maldonado on lap two. Maldonado would lose ground with a trip through the Turn 6 gravel three laps later, but rejoined in ninth.

The gap between the McLarens grew to 10s at the first stops when Hamilton emerged behind Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) & Sergio Perez (Sauber), who were running extremely long first stints.

That allowed a train of cars to develop for second, as Vettel gained & brought Alonso who made a great start then jumped Rosberg in the first pitstops with him, & Rosberg, Webber & the recovering Maldonado closed in too. Webber had initially fallen back with a poor start & a first corner clash with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who had to retire.

The lead order remained static until Vitaly Petrov's Caterham brought out a safety car by stopping on the pits straight with a steering problem in the middle of the final pitstop sequence.

The McLarens had both just stopped, whereas Vettel had not, & the Red Bull was able to get in for its tyre change under the safety car & get back out between Button & Hamilton.

Vettel was still no threat to Button, though, as the 2009 champion confidently pulled away from his successor at the restart & left the Red Bull to fend off Hamilton through the final stint.

Webber also benefited from pitting under the safety car to get in front of Alonso at the last stops. The Ferrari could not keep up with the Red Bull thereafter, & as Webber chased Vettel & Hamilton home, Alonso had to focus on successfully defending fifth from Maldonado who made the task easier when he crashed heavily on the very last lap.

Behind, a huge battle between the Saubers of one stopper Perez & Kamui Kobayashi, Rosberg's Mercedes which fell back with tyre wear & early pitstops & Raikkonen also ended in last lap drama, as Kobayashi emerged with sixth ahead of Raikkonen & Perez, while Rosberg's Mercedes tumbled to 12th.

The final lap chaos ahead allowed Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo to pick up his first F1 points at home with ninth place, despite having lost ground in a first corner clash with Bruno Senna (Williams), which also sent Jean Eric Vergne off the road in the sister Toro Rosso. Paul di Resta completed the top 10 for Force India.

Felipe Massa briefly made it into the top 10 in the second Ferrari, but struggled with poor pace & high tyre wear, making three stops & falling back to 13th before retiring with damage following a collision with Senna.


Pos Driver Team Time

1. Button McLaren Mercedes 1h34:09.565

2. Vettel Red Bull Renault +2.100

3. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +4.000

4. Webber Red Bull Renault +4.500

5. Alonso Ferrari +21.500

6. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari +36.700

7. Raikkonen Lotus Renault +38.000

8. Perez Sauber Ferrari +39.400

9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari +39.500

10. Di Resta Force India Mercedes +39.700

11. Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari +39.800

12. Rosberg Mercedes +57.600

13. Maldonado Williams Renault +1 lap

14. Glock Marussia Cosworth +1 lap

15. Pic Marussia Cosworth +2 laps

16. Senna Williams Renault +4 laps

Fastest lap: Button, 1:29.187


New Toyota Fortuner Review and Test Drive

new toyota fortuner
Toyota’s Fortuner created a frenzy when news of its imminent arrival first surfaced on our pages in November 2008. Here was a proper middle of the road Toyota SUV that seemed to tick all the must haves. Yes, weak brakes were a big issue on early cars, the Innova like interiors increasingly faced a lot of flak, & buyers really did miss having the option of an automatic gearbox; Checklist for the facelift done then.

new toyota fortuner front lokk and view
As facelifts go, this is a good one, especially from the front. Toyota has thought it important enough to upgrade the entire nose of the car and, as a result, looking at it head on gives you the impression that this car is all new. Sharp lines replace the outdated rounded forms, the new Fortuner’s wider wraparound headlights & wider chin give it a fuller looking face, & with cuts on the bonnet bumper & chin, this Toyota SUV looks more Land Cruiser than Fortuner. The chrome grille is now much wider, the rounded, pod like Xenon elements in the headlights look good & the new alloys are smarter & lighter looking. The wheel & tyre size, however, are the same. Also the same, expectedly, are the doors, the general glass area, & the big wheel arches. Toyota has made changes to the rear too, but the changes here aren’t as well thought out or executed. The rear wheel arch now extends back into the rear bumper, which does look nice, & there is a new Land Cruiser like bar of chrome across the tailgate. But the transparent tail lights with their odd looking red elements look distinctly aftermarket & cheap.

new toyota fortuner interior and steering
Toyota has updated the cabin of the Fortuner & though it hasn’t done as thorough a job as with the exteriors, perceived quality has gone up. The swathe of piano black wood running across the dash is quite impressive, the Camry steering wheel looks better than the Innova wheel used earlier, & the automatic gearlever looks pretty upmarket too. You get a reversing camera, powered seats & even cruise control. The double DIN touch screen audio system is easy to use as well, but the silver satin finish contrasts with the design of the interiors & makes it look like an aftermarket addition. The shiny plastic surrounding the vents is cheaper looking still. The seats of the Fortuner remain the same – the driver’s seat is supportive & adequately padded, there is sufficient room in the rear for three, though the third row is best for kids.

new toyota fortuner side view
The biggest change, however, is that the Fortuner now gets an automatic gearbox. Now this is 2012 & we are well into the era of eight speed autos & twin clutch gearboxes, but Toyota’s automatic is pretty basic. This is strange, because competitors are literally throwing gears at their SUVs these days. The Ford Endeavour comes with a five speed automatic, Hyundai’s recently launched Santa Fe comes with six & even the cheaper by half Scorpio Automatic has six gears. & the Fortuner has no paddle shifters & no tip tronic either. All you get are three regular forward gears plus one overdrive; as simple as a spanner. But simple doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

new toyota fortuner seating
With 35kgm of torque produced from just 1400rpm, the Fortuner has plenty of pulling power, & that means Toyota can use tall gearing. So second on the Fortuner is as tall as third on the Endeavour & the gearing gets even more spaced out after that. What also helps performance is that this two wheel drive automatic Fortuner is 95kg lighter than the four wheel drive manual. So it feels pretty lightfooted & full of energy as you step off the line. Toyota’s 3.0 litre lump is also pretty smooth & so pottering around town, with the high geared motor ambling along, is really relaxing. You can cruise up to speed quite effortlessly; you always feel like you have plenty of torque to dip into, & the leviathan really does feel effortless, even when pulling up inclines. Things are pretty relaxed out on the highway too. The Fortuner accelerates well on half throttle, the big diesel motor merrily gurgling along, & getting to its natural cruising speed of approximately 130kph is no sweat too.

new toyota fortuner engine view
Things, however, get a bit sticky when you’re in a hurry. The gearbox’s lack of ratios & sluggish nature mean kickdowns are only executed after a bit of a pause. You really need to ‘kick’ the accelerator to get a downshift going & the gearbox seems to get flustered, even jerky at times. Still, the automatic Fortuner is no slouch & in fact is much quicker than the manual four wheel drive car in a straight line. It is a second faster to 100kph at 11.8 seconds, three seconds faster to 140kph which comes up in 23.9sec, & by the time you get to 150kph, the automatic car is four seconds clear of the four wheel drive manual. Dropping the front drive shafts, differential & low ratio transfer case sure seem to have made a difference. This very strong performance also makes it substantially quicker than the four wheel drive Ford Endeavour 3.0 auto, which is approximately two seconds slower to 100kph & a full 10sec slower to 140kph. & despite having fewer ratios, the Fortuner is quicker in gear too. It only gets out dragged by the monocoque Hyundai Santa Fe which, despite having four wheel drive, is a second & a half quicker to 100kph. What’s also noticeable however that is the Toyota motor doesn’t get too strained or vocal when it is on the boil; the common rail unit remaining strain & stress free as well.

new toyota fortuner gear
Toyota has also left the tuning of the suspension largely untouched, so there is some amount of stiffness at low speeds & you do feel the bumps on broken surfaces. Up the pace, however, & the ride smoothens out, & that little bit of extra stiffness in the springs means that there is not much boat like pitching. What’s also different & quite nice on this car is the lighter steering. Now devoid of the push pull of the four wheel drive system, it’s much lighter to use & this is particularly impressive when the Toyota is driven in city conditions. Full fat SUVs are seldom great driver’s cars – the physics just aren’t in their favour – & the Fortuner is no different. Body roll is still considerable, body control is loose, & it feels progressively top heavy the harder you drive. The light steering that is devoid of feel around the centre doesn’t help either. What Toyota has improved considerably are the brakes. In 2010, Toyota upgraded the Fortuner’s weak brakes with larger & thicker front discs & this has really improved things. Pedal feel is better, the Toyota has more stopping power & you don’t need to pay attention to braking as much as you had to earlier. Hit the brakes hard at 80 and, with help from the ABS system, the new Fortuner comes to a dead halt in 24.6 metres, a full four metres shorter than the earlier car.

new toyota fortuner frint bonut
Though this version has no four wheel drive or low range, the torque of the motor & the impressive traction of the rear wheels mean you can actually go dirt tracking. The ground clearance is the same, so rocky ground isn’t as much of an issue & you can go pretty far off road too, as long as you keep things real & don’t try anything too ambitious. Deep sand & slush, however, are best avoided.

At the pumps, the Fortuner 2WD Auto isn’t too bad. We got 7.8kpl in the city and, thanks to the tall fourth gear, 12.7kpl on the highway.


new toyota fortuner dashboard and music system
new toyota fortuner front view
The Fortuner has always been hugely appealing & this facelifted two wheel drive automatic is no different. Just what the doctor ordered for self driven customers who will primarily only traverse the urban jungle. The new baby Land Cruiser looks are quite appealing, the insides have a slightly richer feel to them, there’s plenty of additional equipment on offer & the automatic gearbox, despite being just a four speed unit, works quite well with the torquey motor. Performance is strong, the lighter steering & better brakes make this facelifted car nicer to drive and, at Rs 20.69 lakh for this version, the Fortuner is semi affordable as well. A more upmarket interior, more gear ratios & paddle shifters would have all been on our wish list, but despite that the Fortuner remains hugely appealing. As tough as nails, as dependable as the rising sun & rather fuel efficient too, Toyota has just gone & made its top trump even more appealing.

Fact File

What it costs
Ex-showroom (Delhi)20.69 lakh
Warranty36 months/1,00,000km
InstallationFront, longitudinal
Type4-cyls in-line, 2982cc, turbo-diesel
Compression ratio17.9:1
Valve gearDOHC, 4 valves per cyl
Power168bhp at 3600rpm
Torque35kgm at 1400rpm
Power to weight89.12bhp per tonne
Torque to weight18.56kgm per tonne
TypeRear-wheel drive
Gearbox4-speed automatic
Wheel base2750mm
Chassis & Body
ConstructionBody on ladder frame, five-door SUV
Wheels17-inch alloy
SpareFull-size, alloy
FrontIndependent, double-wishbone, coil spring
RearNon-independent, 4-link with coil spring
TypeRack and pinion
Type of power assistHydraulic
Turning circle11.8m
FrontVentilated discs
Tank size80-litres
Range at a glance - Engines
Diesel3.0 Diesel, 168bhp Rs 19.99-20.99 lakh

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