Nikhil K Thomas


"On life's vast ocean diversely we sail, Reason the card, but passion is the gale." 
- Alexander Pope

[Photo by Seagram Pearce Photography | CLS 63 AMG | Fuel consumption (combined): 10.6 l/100km | CO2 emission (combined): 248 g/km*]

Volkswagen Polo GT TSI

                           Volkswagen Polo GT TSI

With auto makers in India having slowly killed off their hot hatchbacks over the years, is the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI the car every performance hungry petrol head in the country been waiting for?

The term “hot hatch” is pretty much ingrained into Volkswagen’s DNA ever since the mid-1970s when the Golf GTI showed the world how ‘fun to drive’ and ‘affordable’ weren’t mutually exclusive. Since then, a lot of European auto manufacturers have had plenty of such hot hatches in their product portfolios and even today, Volkswagen pretty much leads this charge with hot versions of the Golf, Scirocco and Polo setting new benchmarks in the segment in the European market. So, back in 2009, when VW had announced that the Polo was coming to India, expectations were naturally high, and when the rumour mill started talking about the car coming in with a 1.2-litre engine, auto enthusiasts throughout the country (us included) were doing cartwheels in anticipation of the 105 PS TSI mill.

Sadly though, while we got the said capacity, what it ended up being was a slightly weedy naturally aspirated 3-cylinder motor with nowhere close to that power output. Thankfully, a little while later, we did get that much promised 105PS in the form of the 1.6-litre Polo and boy, did we love it. But as is the nature of such things, the only performance hatchback left in the Indian market, the 1.6 Polo, was killed off some time back and it seemed like hatches were back to being the affordable, practical beasts of burden that car buyers in general always perceived them to be. Until now that is…

It looks like Volkswagen heard the collective cry of all motoring enthusiasts in the country and finally brought us the car we’ve been pining for all this while, or has it? Called the Polo GT TSI, this new car packs the company’s award-winning 1.2-litre TSI motor (that’s Turbocharged Stratified Injection for all the technology geeks out there, but more on that later) making 105PS of power coupled with a 7-speed twin clutch transmission, making it the most technologically advanced hatchback available in the country at the moment. So what does this mean? Has it reclaimed the crown of India’s hottest hatch? Well, let’s take a closer look.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

                               Mercedes-Benz A-Class 

It might be Mercedes' entry level model in India, but spending a week behind the wheel of this fantastic new machine tells you there is nothing entry level about the new A-Class at all!


Lamborghini Aventador hits 2,000 production mark Less than two years after its lauLamborghini Aventador hits 2,000 production marknch, Lamborghini has rolled off the 2,000th Aventador from its production line with the landmark car finished in Nero Nemesis and heading to USA

Lamborghini Aventador hits 2,000 production mark

Although the Aventador had all the ingredients of becoming the epitome supercar which every petrolhead would lust for and have its poster pasted on their walls, it wasn’t an easy task for it to fill in the shoes of its highly prolific predecessor, the Murciélago. Two years down the line it seems that the latest V-12 powered beast from Sant'Agata is on its way to become a legend in its own way as the 2,000th model rolled out of the assembly line. What is more intriguing is the fact that the Aventador (Related: Lamborghini Aventador Roadster road test) reached this landmark figure in less than half the period of its antecedent as the Murciélago took almost 5 years to clock these numbers (did someone say we are headed for another recession?).

Lamborghini couldn’t have chosen a better shade to commemorate this occasion with the landmark car draped in the stealthy looking ‘Nero Nemesis’ (matte black) colour. The car was brought by an AT&T executive, who already owns a Lamborghini Gallardo LP-550-2 but was impressed by the Aventador’s performance at a media drive in Florida.

Lamborghini's latest accomplishment comes at a time when V-12 powered supercars are facing a slow death owing to environmental regulations. Available in coupe and roadster guise, the Aventador features a waiting list of more than a year since Lamborghini only manufactures 5 cars per day to maintain exclusivity.

Jaguar F-Type : Iconic E-Type successor roars to life

Jaguar F-Type : Iconic E-Type successor roars to life

It's taken the British luxury sports car maker half a century to make its most technologically advanced two-seater convertible yet. Can the F-Type outpace and perhaps even outsell the more experienced competition? We explore the possibility

Fifty long years it’s been since the world first laid eyes on the E-Type and even today some of the most profound personalities from the automotive industry struggle with words when it comes to pinpointing what exactly makes Jaguar’s first ever two-seater sports car that came to life as far back as 1961 a timeless work of automotive art.

Its signature long hood and distinctive face that resembles a hungry catfish on the verge of gobbling its prey didn’t just inspire sports car designers from the 60s but many decades thereafter. Point in case being Tesla Motors’ Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen, who quite categorically attributes the E-Type’s super-clean lines and nice elongated front as being his design guidelines when sketching what ultimately turned into the Pontiac Solstice, a roadster that went into production 44 years later. It incidentally was nominated for the North American Car of the Year and the Design of the Year for 2006. Sadly though, the once GM-owned division is no more in existence; the spirit of the iconic E-Type, however, lives on till date.

With such a strong legacy to fuel their pride, Jaguar design top boss Ian Callum and his team were presumably jittery when they began sharpening their pencils for what was to be the resurrection of Jag’s 2-door sports car success story, albeit in the 21st century.

Behold the Jaguar F-Type. It’s not exactly unchartered territory for Jaguar, but then there is the half a century hiatus to take into consideration. Adding to that ‘Angst’ is the fact that the competition, both national and international, have been upgrading, re-designing and perfecting their products in the same territory for those 50 long years, and so even a heritage smeared car maker like Jaguar is left with more than just a few drops of sweat trickling down its brow.

Ferrari California Review

Ferrari California Review
Specifications Summary
4297 cc, Petrol, 360 bhp @ 7750 RPM power
7-speed, Automatic, RWD
Seating Capacity
2 seater
Power steering
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Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Review

Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Review
Specifications Summary
6749 cc, Petrol, 460 bhp @ 5350 RPM power
6-speed, Automatic, RWD
Seating Capacity
4 seater
Power steering
Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Colours

Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is sold in the following colours in India.
Diamond Black
Jubliee Silver
Midnight Blue
Darkest Tungsten
Blue Velvet
Metropolitan Blue
Woodland Green
New Sable
Madeira Red
Ensign Red
Cornish White
English white
Arctic White
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Latest Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe news from CarWale.
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Recent user reviews on Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.
experience of rolls-royce phantom coupe.

on Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe by Yagya Pandey, 21-May-2010
Exterior it has a compact as well as a sleek look.the metallic finish in the car shows that what a thing it is.also it is a very rare shape that this car has.the shape and [...]
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Ford Ecosport


Ford Ecosport 

The Ford EcoSport is arguably the most awaited car in India. The sub-four meter compact SUV with stunning looks is expected to be launched with a mouth-watering price tag – one that will pitch it directly against the C-Segment sedans. The EcoSport was first unveiled in the concept form at the 2012 Auto Expo and is already on sale in Brazil and China. We now have a lot more information of the upcoming SUV and here is the additional information including specs, features and other info in detail.

The EcoSport will be built at Ford’s plant in Chennai, from where it will also be exported to few other markets in Africa and Middle East. This probably the reason why the India launch has been delayed - Ford is trying to localize maximum components to keep prices in check.

The compact SUV segment is gaining popularity in India – the ride height of SUV, riding and handling of a sedan make them an apt choice on Indian roads. The Renault Duster has already demonstrated the opportunities in the steadily growing segment and there are few more lined-up from manufacturers like Honda (with their new Earth Dreams diesel engine), Hyundai and even Chevrolet. The Ford EcoSport has another advantage on this front – it is less than four meters in length and hence will be extremely maneuverable in city conditions.

The EcoSport will be powered by a tiny, frugal, extremely efficient and highly acclaimed three-cylinder 1,000cc petrol engine called the EcoBoost. Although the cubic capacity of the engine seems meager, it produces healthy 120bhp and 170Nm of torque with the help of turbocharging. This also means that it will be a lot more environment friendly as compared to most other vehicles in the segment. Although there many questions asked globally about the capabilities tiny engine with just 1.0-litre displacement, the post launch reviews from many global markets have been extremely positive.

The EcoSport will also get a diesel engine mill. The oilburner will be the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit from the 2011 Ford Fiesta developing 90bhp and 204Nm of torque. The Ford duratorq engine is also one of the most economical engine in the segment offering efficiency of around 20kpl on highway runs. Both the petrol and diesel engines will be matted to five-speed manual transmission, powering the front wheels. The top-end petrol variants will also be available with Ford dual-clutch six-speed automatic gearbox, which is current available with the Fiesta.


The Ford EcoSport is based on the Amercian car maker’s new Kinetic design philosophy. The hexagonal front grille is the new signature styling already seen on the Ford figo facelift and the recently launched D-segment sedan Mondeo. Unlike the jazzy projector units seen on the concept, the production version gets conventional bulb and reflector units. Fortunately the design remains same and the sleek angular headlamp console looks really neat. The crossover appears really big when looked at from the front, thanks to the fared wheel arches; the roof-rails give the EcoSport a rugged feel. But it looks compact from the side, due to the sub-4 meter length.

The hind side of the EcoSport holds the integrity of the design. The taillamp design is also sharp that gels with the overall flow. Also the door-handle for the tailgate is integrated into the chrome elements of console (look closely at the right-side taillamps, the chrome unit is the door handle). The spare tyre adds to the bulk of the car making it look marginally bigger and has also helped Ford cut the length for tax subsidies.

Ford Ecosport has been spotted testing in India in numerous colours and we expect few of them to be on sale. The flagship bold orange colour will certainly be a part of the list the concept version was unveiled in this colour in India. The Ecosport was also spotted in the new Kinetic Blue and Bright Yellow colours - we hope these are part of the final offering. The colours look superb on the new Figo facelift and go well with the Ford’s new design philosophy.

Ride & Handling:

Just like all Ford cars the EcoSport is expected to be a good handler. The benchmarks set by the Renault Duster are quite high, but the EcoSport with similar monocoque construction and front-wheel-drive setup should be able to match them. Ford might offer an all-wheel-drive version in the global market, but it won’t be made available in India anytime soon. Then again the EcoSport is mainly an urban crossover, not expected to do too much of off-roading.


The compact-SUV will be a five-seater only; also there won’t be an option of adding jumper seats to the rear. This also means that the EcoSport will be solely for personal use and won’t interest fleet car markets. The boot space of the Indian version should be somewhere around 350-litre – putting it at par with space in the C-segment sedans; rear seats can be folded 60:40 to increase space to 560-litre. The tall-boy riding position means that ingress & egress from the EcoSport will be relatively easy, though we suspect that the headroom in the second row might just be an issue for really tall passengers

The dashboard will most probably be black, with silver inserts for the top-end variants. Although, beige has always been the preferred by Indian customers, Ford has generally offered dark interiors giving a sporty touch. There are 20 storage places in the EcoSport including side drawer for the front co-passenger seat and a cooled glovebox. There is also a dedicated place to stow-away your umbrella. The other key features include hill launch start, keyless entry & drive, Bluetooth enabled music system, ABS-EBD with traction control.

Expected pricing:

The size and engine specs of the Ecosport are that of a small car as per the Indian regulations. This means it will get maximum tax benefits and will be positioned very competitively. The compact-SUV will have 80 per cent localized parts and the starting price of petrol variant is expected to be around Rs 6.5 lakh – notch below that of the Renault Duster. The diesel variants should start around Rs 7.5 lakh, while the top-end titanium diesel version is expected to cost Rs12.5 lakh.

Ford is still mum about the rollout date, but has now started building for the launch with the new Ecosport Urban Discovery contest and by displaying the new Ecosport at few prominent locations across metro cities. We did spend some time with the Ecosport at one of these outing and have put together a small first look video of the compact SUV. We suspect that the Ecosport will be launched by the end of May with deliveries starting June. Check the link below for more details of exteriors and interiors of the much awaited car.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Diesel

                                  Mercedes-Benz B-Class Diesel Preview

Mercedes-Benz launched the B-Class in India last and it is success of sort. The B-Class is a CBU imported in limited numbers and the first lot for 2012 was sold-out even before the launch. At around Rs 23 lakh, the cheapest three-pointed-star sounds like a good deal, but it lacks something that is very important for long term success in India diesel powertrain.

Mercedes-Benz now plans to launch the diesel version of the B-Class in India. Along with introducing the new model, the German car maker will also start assembling the B-Class here at its Chakan facility. The diesel B-Class will probably be the B200 CDI powered by a 1.8-litre turbo diesel engine.

Mercedes has delayed the launch of the B-Class diesel as the new engine is equipped with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) that makes it Euro V compliant, but unsuitable for India due to bad quality of fuel. The company has been working on the issue as the same unit will also power the A-Class diesel in India and also in few other developing countries. The 1.8-litre transverse four-cylinder diesel engine develops meager 107bhp, but that also means it will be highly fuel efficient. The company will later also launch the B220 CDI.

The B-Class competes with the BMW X1 on price; however, the body shape is more of a large hatchback than a compact crossover. This is the only thing that goes against the B-Class, as Indian customer prefers vehicles with tall-boy driving position. The B-Class has respectable amount of space in the front and almost acceptable space for large adults in the rear. It has ample boot space of 486 litres that is on par with any midsize sedan. It can also be further expanded up to 666 litres by folding the rear seats. Mercedes is ramping up the Chakan plant and has recently also inaugurated new paint shop. Both the petrol and diesel versions will be assembled here and that will considerably bring down the prices of this entry-level Merc. We expect the prices of the B-Class diesel to be around Rs 25 lakh.

Skoda New Octavia


                                                                   Skoda New Octavia

Skoda recently launched the 2013 Octavia globally. This third generation model has been completely re-designed both inside, outside and has drawn inspiration from the Vision D concept. The new car from Czech manufacturer has a seeming resemblance to the 2013 European spec Skoda Rapide that is based on the same design philosophy. We won’t get the Europe spec Rapid anytime soon, but this D-Segment sedan will come to India in the coming months.

Skoda has moved towards softer lines and more rounded edges to give the Octavia a classier, premium and more modern feel. It has become longer (up from 4.5 meters to 4.6 meters) and wider (up from 1.7 to 1.8 meters) and the wheelbase has gone up by 108mm.This means that interior cabin space has been increased significantly.

However, despite the significant increase in all around proportions the new car is 102 kgs lighter thanks to parent company Volkswagen’s MQB platform. This will be the same platform that is expected to underpin a host of future models from the German automaker’s stables.

In front, the Octavia gets the new Skoda grille which will grace all future models from the Czech automaker. Among the revisions, most significant are the new headlights and tail lamps. The base model has been fitted with halogens up front and normal lights at the back. The top-end variant on the other hand gets bi-Xenon with day-time LED running lights in front and full LED lights for the tail lamp cluster. However, the good news is that Skoda seems to have retained its signature ‘C’ shaped tail lights in both trims.

On the sides, the car is pretty similar to its predecessor save for sharper lines and slightly flared wheel arches. The wheels too have been revised and now feature a sharper design, almost similar to those found on some of the newer VW sedan cars.

Inside, there is a new touch screen as well as a new audio unit. Adaptive cruise control, a new park assist system, a new electro-panoramic sunroof, optional keyless entry and automatic door and ignition system have also been included in the changes for the 2013 model.

Skoda will be offering this new model with four petrol and four diesel engines. The petrol range includes a 1.4TSI in two states of tune – 120bhp and 138bhp. The bigger units include the 1.8TSI having an output of 177bhp and 2.0-litre TSI for the vRS version. The diesel options are 1.6-litre TDI developing either 103bhp or 108bhp, along with 2.0-litre TDI available in 147bhp and 181bhp guise.

The 2013 Octavia will go on sale in various European countries in the first quarter of 2013 and we can expect that Skoda will bring this car to the Indian market by middle of next year. Since the Octavia brand performed better than Laura in India, it is likely that Skoda will revive the name. Also, it will have to be seen whether the current Laura will be discontinued, as the new model is expected to cost a bit. The starting price of around Rs 14 lakh, while the top-end will hover close to Rs 18.5 lakh.

Volvo V40

Volvo V40 Cross Country Preview

Volvo is looking to increase its share in the growing Indian automotive market. The company is already mulling the prospect of setting up an assembly plant in the country and is currently conducting a feasibility study in this regard. The Swedish carmaker aims to sell 20,000 units per year in India by 2020, bringing their numbers closer to that of the German trio- Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

Volvo plans to launch a range of new products in India to achieve this targets and their next vehicle will be the V40 Cross Country. It is basically an entry-level compact crossover – one that will compete with the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3. With the astonishing growth seen in the demand for entry-level luxury cars, we think this is Volvo’s best bet to firmly establish itself in India.

The Cross Country is a toughened up version of the V40 hatchback with 40mm additional ground clearance. The looks of the car are also altered a bit to make it look a bit more rugged. The crossover gets bigger alloy-wheels with chunky tyres, body claddings, roof rails, skid plate and blackened rear view mirrors.

The five-seater Cross Country comes with 40/60 folding rear seats for extra space. It is equipped with safety features like pedestrian detection, auto braking and city safety which have won the Euro NCAP Advanced Award. The V40 Cross Country is equipped with AWD and hill descent control for decent off-roading capabilities.

The European spec versions of the crossover are available with four diesel engine options in the range of 1.6-litres to 2.5-litres with varying outputs. However, in India we are expecting just the 1.6-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engine options.

The petrol engine is a turbocharged unit producing 180bhp and 240Nm of torque. The oilburner is also turbocharged unit developing 177bhp and 400Nm of torque. Both the engines will be mated to six-speed automatic gearbox; unfortunately we might not get the AWD variants in India.

We expect Volvo to launch the new V40 Cross Country in India by March for a price tag of close to Rs 24 lakh. On pricing it will slot in between the Mercedes B-Class and the BMW X1 and will be the new entry-level Volvo car below the S60.

2013 Nissan Altima

2013 Nissan Altima
President Obama should have studied the development of the 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SV sedan before taking the stage against Mitt Romney in last week’s televised debate.
Had the president done that research, he would have learned something about the limits of strategic inoffensiveness and, perhaps, avoided a mostly lackluster performance.

Here’s the problem: In both the car business and politics, it’s not enough to be passionate in pursuit of moderation. Something hotter can come along and knock you out of the box. That is the risk Obama is taking if he continues playing nice with his Republican challenger in future debates. It’s also the risk Nissan is taking with its completely reworked but oh-so-compromised new Altima.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Obama. I like the new Altima. But both of them share a frustrating habit of pulling punches when you yearn for them to go for the knockout.
I was excited when I saw a concept version of Nissan’s new Altima, the fifth generation of that midsize family sedan, on display earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show. It was stunning — radically angled front end with counter-opposed, arrow-shaped headlamps; muscular front fenders and side panels flowing nicely toward the rear end; a nice finish in the end with rear lamps complimenting those up front.
Interior materials were substantially better than any I had seen in previous Altima models. I knew that some compromise was necessary, such as Nissan’s carry-over use of a 2.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine (182 horsepower, 180 foot-pounds of torque) in base Altima models. That engine, in combination with Nissan’s continuously variable transmission, would be nothing to get giddy about in terms of driving performance. But it would be decent enough with a bonus of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway burning regular-grade gasoline.
Besides, the new Altima would also be offered with Nissan’s 3.5-liter V-6 (270 horsepower, 258 foot-pounds of torque). That is the one I was waiting for with the anticipation of a hot presidential debate with my man Obama coming out swinging, jabbing his opponent with tough comments about flip-flopping on social issues and secretly putting down 47 percent of the U.S. electorate as self-entitled moochers.
But the Nissan Altima 3.5 SV’s performance on the road was as frustrating as Obama’s in that first debate. I found a wonderfully clear patch of highway in central Virginia — free of traffic and construction obstacles, a road that invites you to push the accelerator pedal just a little harder than usual. This, I did . . . with all of the satisfaction of listening to the president lamely respond to a sharp Romney jab with a professorial dissertation.
I pushed the Altima 3.5 SV’s gas pedal expecting it to leap to life — stupidly forgetting that I was driving a car equipped with a sample of Nissan’s continued experimentation with continuously variable transmissions.
An aside: CVTs are engineered to automatically transfer power to the drive wheels, the front wheels in the case of the Altima, using a system of pulleys. Fixed gears, as in traditional automatic transmissions, have been eliminated to help reduce mechanical friction and improve fuel economy. Technically, this is a good thing. And, yes, it makes perfect sense — when I’m not in search of the visceral thrill of the feel of a car’s response to a firm smack on the accelerator pedal.
The Nissan Altima 3.5 SV’s response to extra accelerator pressure was the mechanical equivalent of “On the one hand . . . on the other . . . ”
I wanted something more aggressive, although increased aggressiveness might not have made much sense. This is what is equally confusing in the current state of politics and the automobile business.
We want our national politicians to be uncompromising, smackdown warriors in taking on opponents. But we also want them to have the finesse and common sense to compromise, to play nice, if doing so is in the best interest of the country.
The same thing with cars, especially among those of us who love driving: We like sharp looks. We want cars to drive as well as, or even better than, they look. But we also want them to avoid and, failing that, survive horrific crashes. We want them to deliver maximum fuel economy and to do it all at an affordable price which, I suppose, makes wanting a car such as the 2013 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV okay. It delivers on all those wants and needs.
But the inner, deeply flawed me longs for other things — a car with zoom, a president less given to politesse and more inclined to punch the lights out of the competition.

2012 McLaren MP4-12C

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — I dislike being abused by automobiles, being treated as their inferior, which is how I often feel when I climb out of a Lamborghini, a Ferrari or, sometimes, a Chevrolet Corvette. They are heavy, fast supercars, not for ordinary drivers, which is a large part of their appeal. I am an ordinary driver. I long ago jettisoned my racetrack fantasies, although I like driving fast whenever possible. And a car that handles exceptionally well, that treats the road as its private dance floor and me as its favorite partner, wins my heart every time.

But I don’t want to be bullied, roughed up by a too-tight suspension weighted with a heavy anti-roll bars — and then being told to “man up” because the abuse done to my little body is typical of that delivered by “real sports cars.” And I’ve never understood or accepted the claim that it is normal for real sports cars to come with a gas-guzzler tax, a graduated federal excise tax applied to cars that fail to get at least 22.5 miles per gallon in combined city-highway mileage.
How ironic is that? You pay big bucks for a supposedly super-engineered automobile that can’t muster 22.5 mpg. Where’s the genius in that? Where’s the engineering?
To me, the perfect sports car has a simple lightness of being. There is an ease about it akin to a quiet conversation with a loved one. When conversation turns to sweaty action, there is an ease about that, too. It is the pursuit of joy instead of the proof of prowess. The conversation ends. The action stops. There is reason to smile.
Can a sports car do that? Yes. I found it here in Riverside, a beautiful little town along the Santa Ana River, adjacent to the San Bernardino Mountains. Riverside fancies itself a “city of arts and innovation,” which is why I suppose my host, McLaren Automotive of Surrey, England, invited me here.
McLaren is an engineering company founded in 1963 to build cars for Formula One racing. It was enormously successful in that endeavor, winning eight Formula One Constructors’ World Championship titles and 12 Drivers’ Championship titles, thus becoming the only race-car manufacturer to win Indianapolis, Can-Am, Le Mans and Formula One crowns.
Mercedes-Benz and several other car companies have gone to McLaren for help in designing and engineering various automobiles. McLaren complied, but it has now decided to produce commercially available road cars on its own.
If the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C coupe (call it the 12C) is an example of what the company intends to offer, I wish it every success. It easily is one of the best-engineered, most driver-friendly, most fuel-efficient and sensible high-performance automobiles I’ve driven. At its core, and separating it from all of its commercial high-performance rivals, is a rigid, lightweight, carbon-fiber “tub.”
The tub forms the basic structure for the 12C’s two-seat, two-door passenger cabin. An aluminum subframe is attached to the front. A twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-8 engine (592 horsepower, 443 foot-pounds of torque) sits between the cabin and rear wheels in an aluminum cradle mounted to the tub’s rear.
The 12C is a relatively lightweight affair, with a curb weight (including automotive fluids) of 3,161 pounds. Many ordinary family sedans beat that number by 900 pounds. Combine the 12C’s power with its rigid, superlight frame and you get a car that moves from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. And it does all of that without beating you up or rattling your nerves. Credit what McLaren’s engineers call “proactive chassis control” (PCC).
Traditional sports cars are weighted with heavy anti-roll bars to improve vehicle handling, to help them avoid swinging out too far front or rear in fast turns. The improved handling is appreciated. But the ride is miserably compromised. Getting out of a traditional sports car after a long run often leaves the driver ready for nothing except a long sleep.
That isn’t the case with McLaren’s electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated PCC suspension. It is both lightweight and intuitive, providing the right amount of balance and road grip at every turn. It is the most curve-compliant sports car I’ve ever driven. I love it. Of course I do. I love a car that flatters the driver regardless of the driver’s level of competence.
But don’t mistake that to mean that the 12C is a motorized wimp. Its suspension can be adjusted for “normal” or “winter” or “track” driving. And the “track” setting is real stuff. I learned that much in multiple laps at the Auto Club Speedway in nearby Fontana, Calif., with McLaren’s chief test driver, Chris Goodwin, at the wheel.
Had I eaten lunch before climbing into the passenger’s seat next to Goodwin, who enjoys zooming to 130 mph and then hitting the brakes, I would have completely emptied my stomach. But he proved his point. The 12C is as competent on the track as it is usable and pleasant as a daily driver. Even better, it has a combined city-highway mileage of about 25 miles per gallon — my kind of sports car.


BMW X4 Sport Activity Concept

Defining characteristics: BMW family face, apparent lack of rear headroom, new headlight pattern
Ridiculous features: 21-inch concept-car wheels, naming a five-door hatchback a "coupe"
Chance of being mass-produced: Count on it

BMW continues to add new quirky models to its lineup in its quest to become the best-selling luxury brand in the world. The automaker's most recent concept car, which is headed for the 2013 Shanghai motor show, is likely a preview of the next step in BMW's model blitz. Behold the BMW X4 Sport Activity Coupe concept, a baby brother to the larger X6.
BMW hasn't released any technical details on the X4 concept, sticking to discussions of its styling instead, but we assume its relationship to the BMW X3 Sport Activity Vehicle (BMW refuses to call them SUVs) will be similar to the connection between the X5 and the X6.
That means the X4 could likely be powered by the X3's engines, including the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or turbocharged inline-six that resides in the X3. All-wheel drive is likely to be standard, according to previous BMW statements.
Stylewise, if you like the X6, you'll like the X4. The face features BMW's new look, with updated headlights and taillamps that are appearing on vehicles like the 6 Series Gran Coupe. The overall look, it must be said, is remarkably similar to the old 1980's AMC Eagle or perhaps a more attractive take on the failed Acura ZDX. It's a fastback four-door, but BMW insists on calling it a coupe, as German luxury brands continue to do despite its four doors.
No word on how compromised the rear headroom will be for passengers, but that dramatically sloping roofline suggests that it might not be too comfortable back there.

Ferrari F150 ‘La Ferrari’ Specifications

Ferrari F150 ‘La Ferrari’
You are looking at the first images of Ferrari’s new flagship supercar, the La Ferrari, Italian for “The Ferrari.”

Code named the F150, the car that replaces the Enzo at the top of the Ferrari hierarchy made its debut today at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, easily stealing the limelight from all other debuts.
We can confirm that its powertrain is a hybrid setup that pairs Ferrari’s 6.3-liter V-12 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch 'box with its HY-KERS hybrid setup to boost output and lower emissions.
The system consists of two electric motors, one mounted to the gearbox and sending drive to the rear wheels and the other used to take some of the load off the engine by powering auxiliary devices.
Peak output of the combined system is a staggering 963 horsepower, as measured in metric figures. In good ol’ American numbers that’s still 950 horsepower to play with. Torque comes in at more than 660 pound-feet, with the final figure not yet confirmed.
Ferrari hasn’t given final performance numbers just yet, but says the La Ferrari will reach 60 mph in under 3.0 seconds and reach a top speed in excess of 217 mph (expected to be 230 mph). The car’s closest rival, the McLaren P1, which also debuts in Geneva, has similar specs but has its top speed limited to 217 mph. Another area were the La Ferrari is said to outmatch the P1 is in the 0-186 mph sprint, which the Ferrari should do in 15 seconds versus the McLaren’s quoted 17 seconds. Fiorano lap in less than 1:20
Ferrari boasts a lap time of its Fiorano test track of less than 1:20, which is 5.0 seconds quicker than the Enzo and 3.0 seconds quicker than the F12 Berlinetta.
The La Ferrari follows in a long line of ‘special series’ cars from the famous Italian sports car manufacturer. From the GTO of the 1980s right up to the Enzo supercar launched last decade, Ferrari’s special series cars have always been heavy hitters and some of the best examples of the transfer of technology from Formula One to the road.
In the case of the latest car, two of the headline technologies is the new hybrid system, Ferrari’s first on one of its production cars, and a new carbon fiber monocoque developed by Ferrari’s F1 technical director Rory Byrne. According to Ferrari, the central structure displays 27 percent more torsional rigidity and 22 percent more beam stiffness than the Enzo’s already stiff core.
The structure features no less than four different types of carbon fiber, all hand-laminated and autoclave-cured in the racing department using the same design and production methods as the F1 car. This helped optimize the design: various functions were integrated (e.g. seats and battery compartment) into the chassis. The final curb weight, not confirmed yet, is expected to be around 2,800 pounds. Numerous benefits of hybrid tech
Purists may dislike the thought that Ferrari’s latest and greatest supercar is a hybrid, but the beauty of the system is that it not only cuts fuel consumption but it also allows for precise torque vectoring, traction control and brake force distribution. Ferrari claims a 10 percent reduction in the 0-124 mph sprint, along with a 40 percent reduction in emissions compared to a non-hybrid solution.

The hybrid also helps achieve those impressive power figures. While the car’s 6.3-liter V-12, a variation of the unit from the F12 Berlinetta and FF, is a masterpiece on its own, its peak output only reaches 789 horsepower--despite revving to 9,250 rpm. The main electric motor helps lift that to the 950 horsepower figure that will ensure the La Ferrari is the fastest road car to ever emerge from the Ferrari factory in Maranello.

Ferrari F150 ‘La Ferrari’

Ferrari F150 ‘La Ferrari’

Ferrari F150 ‘La Ferrari’

Ferrari F150 ‘La Ferrari’

Powering the electrical system is a lithium-ion battery that’s sourced from Samsung and weighs just over 130 pounds by itself. The batteries are charged in different ways: under braking (even hard braking with the ABS active) and every time the V-12 produces more torque than required, such as in cornering. In the latter instance, rather than the being sent to the wheels, the excess torque is converted to energy and stored in the batteries. Active aerodynamics constantly at work
Another marvel is the car’s active aerodynamics. The engineers’ aim was to deliver the highest degree of aerodynamic efficiency ever achieved with any road car, with a coefficient of drag of nearly 3.0, thanks to technical solutions honed with CFD analysis and fine-tuned in the F1 wind tunnel.
To boost efficiency, the La Ferrari sports active aerodynamic devices front (diffusers and guide vane on the underbody) and rear (diffusers and rear spoiler) which generate downforce when needed without compromising the car’s overall drag coefficient. These devices deploy automatically on the basis of a number of different performance parameters which are monitored in real time by the car’s dynamic vehicle controls.
One further innovative aspect of the La Ferrari is the integration of its active aerodynamics and hybrid system with the other dynamic control systems aboard. Proprietary algorithms deliver optimal integration of all the various systems, automatically and often without the driver even noticing. In cornering, for instance, the HY-KERS keeps the V12’s revs high to guarantee better acceleration on exit.
The brakes are from Brembo are composed of a special carbon-ceramic material. They are housed within 19-inch wheels up front and 20-inch wheels at the rear. The tires are Pirelli P Zeros that measure up to 345/30 at the rear. Also aiding the handling are magnetorheological-type dampers, an electronic differential and Ferrari’s F1-Trac stability and traction control. Production run of only 499 cars
A very advanced and uncompromising approach was also taken for the interior, which features an interface inspired by F1 single-seaters. The seat is fixed and tailored to the driver while both the pedal box and steering wheel are adjustable. The driving position is similar to that of a single-seater and was designed after consultation with the Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who played an active role throughout the entire development process.

New Audi R8

Editor's ViewLighter, faster and more powerful, the 2013 Audi R8 takes its successful recipe up a notch. Tweaks to the lightweight aluminium monocoque space frame and a choice of a V8 or V10 engine that are now mated to an all-new dual-clutch 7-speed S-tronic transmission makes the supercar sharper than before. The R8 retains the legendary Quattro permanent four-wheel drive technology that is the fancy of every petrol head. The V10 engine is borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo.


Audi New R8
Audi New R8

Audi New R8