Ford Ecosport Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

We have had hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and various other types of cars in our long-term garage. But this is the first time, we get sometime new in its segment. A compact SUV, called as the Ford Ecosport. To be honest, I was keen to drive this car for a long time and we finally got our hands on this SUV. The Ecosport has been the first compact SUV, and since then even Maruti has got into this segment. Check for review & price of Ford Cars

DESIGN ;

In terms of design, the EcoSport manages to excel in leveraging the platform’s strength in creating a compact SUV, which still manages to be very aerodynamic. There is enough road presence and purpose to the design. With the wheels out on the extremities of the vehicle, the raised posture and the spare wheel mounted on the hatch door, the EcoSport has that butch stance that we associate with SUVs.

But, it must be remembered that the design also cleverly uses visual cues to elevate itself into SUV territory. Some of the features that help it achieve this include the roof rails, the aggressive oversized bonnet grille, and the wrap-around rear glass that merges with the kink in the C-pillar, the large stalked door mirrors, the high shoulder line and the body-side cladding that visually raises the EcoSport even more than its already high 200mm ground clearance.

CABIN ;

The Ford EcoSport range is punctuated by three trim levels, and unlike the original, the facelifted model comes with far more equipment. The first and most noticeable difference is the removal of the tyre from the rear door, followed swiftly by the smart LED day-running lights. Check for Ecosport price in Kolkata

Opt for the Zetec trim and your EcoSport will come fitted with 16in alloys, manual air con, all-round electric windows, hill start assist. Other luxuries include a radio/CD player complete with Ford Sync and USB connection and a leather steering wheel. Go up to Titanium and keyless entry and go, cruise control, auto headlights and wipers, and half leather seats are thrown in.

The new Titanium S trim level not only gets a peppy 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine but also 17in alloys, sports suspension, trim and a Sony DAB system.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The highlight of the updated EcoSport is of course the 1.5-litre diesel engine. The oil-burner now whacks out an additional 9 PS of power and the total power output has been bumped up to 100 PS, which also matches the numbers of the Figo twins. Torque remains at 205 Nm and the engine is still mated to the same 5-speed manual gearbox. Gear shifts are not the smoothest out there and still feel a bit notchy. 0-100 km/hr has been improved by a small margin which isn’t really noticeable in normal usage, but what is noticeable is the fact that the TDCI mill has a much better bottom-end now and the car responds to throttle inputs in a very brisk fashion.

The clutch feels lighter now while the turbo starts spooling in from a notch below 2000 RPM. All the 99 horses are delivered across the rev range in a very linear manner. 100 km/hr comes up at 12.76 seconds from standstill compared to 13.43 seconds of the previous model. The EcoSport also gets a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and both of these remain completely unchanged. The EcoBoost is offered with a manual transmission while the bigger petrol engine gets a 5-speed manual gearbox along with the option of a 6-speed DCT.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The ground clearance of the Ecosport has been a boon. At 200mm higher from the ground, this makes it easy to drive on bad roads and even park on not-so-well paved roads. Driving on winding roads is also a lot of fun with the Ecosport. The electronic steering is precise and doesn’t make you feel tired at any moment. However, the suspension set-up is on the stiffer side. This means a lot of the bumps and the occupants feel shocks from the road.

One thing that many experts will miss out on talking is the stowage space in the Ecosport. There is a drawer under the co-driver seat, two one litre boots can fit in any of the front door pockets and even the glove box is large enough.

SAFETY ;

The EcoSport is now offered with an extra variant which takes the total variant count to six – Ambiente, Trend, Trend+, Titanium, Titanium AT and Titanium+. Ford offers ABS on all variants except Ambiente. Dual front airbags are offered on all variants barring the Ambiente and Trend trims. The Titanium AT and Titanium+ trims also get side and curtain airbags. Ford has loaded the automatic variant with Emergency Brake Assist, ESC, Traction Control and Hill Launch Assist. The EcoSport comes with a 2 year/ 1 lakh kms warranty and Ford also offers a 24/7 roadside assistance service.

CONCLUSSION ;

The EcoSport has much going for it in terms of design, focused engine tech and features. To push the envelope Ford has loaded in tech like the Microsoft partnered SYNC system into the car’s audio and telecom features. And Ford India is said to be involving local emergency services to utilise the infrastructure if an emergency arises for the car and its occupants. The system auto dials the emergency services if an airbag is deployed or if detects an emergency ignition cut-off.

But apart from all this the most key metric that can enable Ford to make the EcoSport a really attractive proposition to buyers is the car’s overall length.

At 3,999 mm, the EcoSport meets the sub-4-metre lower duties stipulation and that basically means that the price of this compact SUV can be really aggressive (read affordable). The diesel and the EcoBoost engines will, of course, qualify for the lower duty too.

Mahindra Verito Vibe Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Majority of car sales in the Indian market comes form compact cars, which are small in size, fuel efficient and are the least taxed too. The quest for evading higher excise duties for automobiles means that companies will have to trim their products to place them under the 4-metre length. With many automakers already doing compact engineering very well, it was Mahindra’s turn to use their scissors on the Verito’s derriere. The objective has been achieved for Mahindra designers and engineers with the Verito Vibe successfully becoming a compact vehicle (Mahindra likes to call it a sporty compact sedan), thereby attracting small car excise duties. However as a product, does the Mahindra Verito Vibe offer something significant in the sub 4-metre space? Check On Road Price of Verito Vibe

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The first impression that you will get from the new compact car from Mahindra is that it is the exact Verito with few minor tweaks at the front but when you will walk towards the rear of the car there you will find the real change. So let’s start with the front of the car the new Verito Vibe has the same boxy design at the front but the new grille has given some uniqueness to the front, it now looks more sportier than before, the headlamp clusters also gets a little smoky appearance which once again looks new on the old Verito’s front. The front lower bumper also gets little plastic elements to it which again is a welcome change to the front facial of the car. Now coming to the side profile of the car things start to get a little different here, the Verito Vibe gets a new 14 inch stylish set of wheels which is painted in Champagne color, some of you might dislike the color but Mahindra thinks differently, the side profile of the car also has a bold line which runs all the way to the rear of the compact car, the most significant changes that you will find in the car starts from its C pillars. The first thing that will catch your eye are the huge tail lamps which runs parallel with the rear windscreen, the top of the tail lamps has a little roof rails which once again gives it the sporty look and you will find a little bulging area just under the rear tail lamps (it cannot be called a rear spoiler exactly) just below that area is where you will find the rear boot door, the interesting fact about the rear boot of the Mahindra Verito Vibe is that you don’t have access to the boot from inside the cabin like you do on a hatch rather you will have to step outside the car and access the boot just like any other saloon. The massive rear boot has 330 litre of boot space but the only problem is that there is no lock to operate the boot door from outside the car, there is a switch inside the cabin of the car and once you press the switch then only you can open the rear boot door.Overall the new Mahindra Verito Vibe looks different from the rest of the compact car you will find in the Indian market, the unique looking rear and crossover style of the car will surely grab everyone’s attention. Exchange your old car for Verito Vibe

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

The interiors are done up very elegantly with well placed features, which makes it look like a complete package of comfortableness. The seating is very well designed to provide a cushiony feel by the plush fabric upholstery fitted to it. The Executive Edition is pampered with Italian leather based upholstery, which is far more luxurious and also the steering wheel is leather wrapped in it. Furthermore, it has floor mats as well as matching vinyl door trims that adds to the overall posh look. The rear door trim is layered with fabric that has a smoother holding. Moreover, there is a gear shift knob in leather covering. The parcel shelf is offered behind the rear bench seat for storing a few handy things. There is a central console storage space along with a bottle and mobile holder as well. The AC vent outer ring is in a silver finish that enlightens the interior elements altogether. The extra amenities are the cigarette lighter as well as an ashtray too. The luggage compartment has been layered with a full carpet and below that there is a spare wheel with its tool kit. There are sun visors to both the driver and the co-passenger as well. The center fascia has been given different designs for each of its variants. The instrument panel has a pad that shades it from the sunlight coming through the windscreen and makes visibility better. Additionally, for the front passenger side sun visor, a vanity mirror is also fitted.

The insides are well furnished with an air conditioner unit that also has a heater, which are offered to regulate the temperature. All the seats have been fitted with head restraints for additional convenience to the occupants. The front door has a map pocket that is an added storage space. There are theater dimming interior lights that has the facility with courtesy delay. The trunk room is provided with lighting as well. There is a remote operated fuel tank lid lever on the driver side for added convenience. When it comes to the automated elements, the outside rear view mirrors can be adjusted from inside. The power steering makes the drive much easier and keeps the driver in control of the vehicle at all times. All four doors have power windows, which further adds to the comfort quotient of the passengers. There is a central remote door locking system as well that boosts its security aspect. The music system that is decked into this car is a 2 DIN unit that can support a CD and MP3 player. The USB slot, Aux-In port and an FM tuner function can be enjoyed by four well placed speakers. The rear windscreen is fitted with a defogger that is helpful in foggy climate.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The Verito Vibe uses the same engine as on Verito. Vibe is offered only in a diesel engine trim as Mahindras don’t have a smaller petrol unit to haul this car and at the same time avail the tax benefits of a sub 4 metre car.The Verito Vibe comes across as a decent commuter with no excitement. It can be a weekday solution from home to office kinds. This one is powered by a 4 cylinder 1461cc dCi CRDi Diesel engine. This unit produces a peak power of 65PS at 4000 rpm and a torque of 160Nm at 2000 rpm.This not just any sedan cut into a hatchback project by excusing the extreme third box. In the Verito Vibe, the third box has been reduced to the maximum limit. The overall length of the Verito has been brought down from 4277mm to 3991mm but the wheelbase stays intact at 2630mm. The Kerb weight of the Vibe has shot up too by 15 kgs.

Some issues which were seen in the Verito have been repeated in this smaller version too like the cabin is still not insulated and the growl of the diesel engine is evidently audible inside. Even the functioning of wiper or the power windows appears very crude and basic.The diesel unit however scores well in terms of power delivery. It displays very minimal lag and performs very well in stop go traffic. The gear shifts are not as smooth as the one in Swift DZire but then even the one on Amaze appears notchy. The notchy gears are well complimented by the smooth clutch which comes handy in traffic flooded areas.On highways, the Vibe lacks the punch especially at higher engine speeds. It cruises very well till about 130 kmph but then after crossing it the engine begins panting hard and the efforts taken by the diesel unit get evident. Overtaking is not difficult. The steering is not very smooth and thus maneuvering can be a bit of an issue.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Vibe’s suspension settings remain unchanged from the sedan’s, so it exhibits all the same characteristics. It has a very pliant ride, which leads you to believe that it will not handle well, and when you tiptoe through a corner, you discover that beyond the body roll lies quite a lot of grip. And beyond that grip lies very progressive understeer. Even the steering contributes to this feeling – it is a little vague when pointing straight and feels unreasonably heavy sometimes at parking speeds, but push the car through a corner and it weighs up really well, communicating exactly what is happening under the front wheels and elevating driver confidence to the point where you can find the understeer at the limit. It isn’t the best driver’s car in its segment, but it certainly gets our vote for the best balance between ride and handling.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

A part of the excellent driving experience offered by Mahindra Verito Vibe can be contributed to its sound braking system that does its job perfectly. While the front portion of the car is equipped with disc brakes the rear portion braking is supported by drum brakes. Apart from these, the braking system of the car gets aided by advanced systems like Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system that help maintaining control over the car during sudden braking and fast deceleration of car whenever required. These two systems play a major role in strengthening the security and safety system of car. The safety front of the car is also strengthened with other standard measures such as a strong built, a fine tuned suspension system, driver airbag, steering wheel frame made up of magnesium which reduces impact of collision, central lock, day/night inside rear view mirror, anti-theft alarm, halogen headlights, collapsible steering, door ajar warning, electrical rear window child lock, fog lamps, a laminated windshield, adjustable front seats belts, adjustable head restraints over front and rear seats, remote door locking, and a few others. The safety as well as braking system of this car are one of its biggest USPs and make it one of the most reliable cars

CONCLUSSION ;

The Mahindra Verito Vibe is a sub 4-metre Verito in the true sense. It is identical to the Verito in every aspect except the rear end design and boot capacity. While the hinged boot isn’t much practical, it has helped Mahindra in saving costs of development and production. So does the Verito Vibe make sense? When you factor in the Verito Vibe costs a good Rs. 80,000/- less than the regular Verito, things start making to the mind. If you can live with the rather unconventional rear and boot, the Verito Vibe makes a good case for those who want a practical hatchback which can carry five in reasonable comfort while delivering exceptional fuel efficiency at this price point.

Rolls Royce Dawn Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The Rolls-Royce Dawn is the newest convertible to be added to the illustrious list of Rolls Royce cars in India. The four-seater convertible will only be the second RR convertible in the country after the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. At its price point, the Dawn is almost twice as expensive as its closest competitor – the Bentley Continental GTC.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

Rolls Royce Dawn images and the Dawn itself reveal that it is based on the Wraith Coupe, its bodywork is 80% new. In fact the car carries forward only the doors and grille of the car on which it’s based. The car has a long hood and short rear overhang and yet looks proportionate. With Parthenon grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy remain the most noticeable features of the car. The Dawn is over five meter long, 5285mm to be precise and 1947mm wide and has a wheelbase of 3112mm. At 2560kg it weight about 200kg more than the Wraith. It is no less than a piece of exquisite art. Rolls Royce Dawn colors can be had in any different shades as per the customization required.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Like the exterior, the interior benefits from everything available with the Wraith, except for the Starlight Headliner and its 1,340 individual lights woven into the roof liner. Highlights include acres of wood — it features the largest contiguous portions of wood in any production car — and fine leather, wool carpets, and a wide array of upholstery colors and customization options.Rear legroom is generous inside the Dawn, which, according to Rolls-Royce, is not a 2+2, but a veritable four-seater.“In the world of Rolls-Royce, day to day mathematical norms don’t always apply. That’s why I say in the case of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2+2 does not equal 4,” said Rolls-Royce director of design, Giles Taylor. “The idea of creating a car like Dawn that can be used in comfort by only two adults on a day to day basis is anathema. In creating Dawn we have accepted no compromise to the comfort and luxury of four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.”All told, the Dawn is the most opulent convertible in this niche and its interior look more like a luxury yacht’s than a car. Technology-wise, it’s also identical to the Wraith and features the BMW iDrive-based infotainment and navigation systems.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

Not surprisingly, Rolls-Royce dropped the same 6.6-liter V-12 found in the Wraith under the Dawn’s hood. However, the Dawn is motivated by a Ghost-spec unit, which means output sits at 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, making the drop-top significantly less powerful than its coupe sibling. For reference, the Wraith comes with 624 horses and 590 pound-feet of twist on tap.The power is routed to the wheels by the same ZF-built, eight-speed automatic, pushing the Dawn from 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds. Though it represents a half-second drop compared to the Wraith, it’s still impressive for a vehicle than tips the scales at 5,644 pounds. As usual, top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph.

DRIVE AND HANDLING ;

We haven’t driven a Dawn yet, but we don’t expect it to be much different from its fixed-roof cousin, the Wraith. That car combines an endlessly powerful V12 with a ride so sublime that anything else feels like a Lotus Elise traversing a dry creek bed. The Wraith makes even your Bentley-owning friends marvel at the pin-drop quiet inside the cabin. The only thing you’ll hear is the omnipresent 18-speaker Bespoke Audio system that massages your eardrums as Franz Liszt gently coaxes you onward.

SAFETY ;

Rolls-Royce keeps safety in mind with the Driver Assistance 3 package that includes active cruise control, night vision, a head-up display, high-beam assistance, and a lane departure warning system. Active cruise control maintains a selectable distance to the vehicle ahead while cruise control is activated, and night vision adds an infrared camera that can detect pedestrians in low-light conditions at distances up to 1,000 feet. The camera system on the Dawn provides an almost 360-degree view around the vehicle with distance indicators.

CONCLUSSION ;

Price at 6.25 crores (ex-showroom), it is certainly not the most affordable car in the world, but it’s not made for that. It’s built for a purpose. The purpose is to deliver Rolls Royce experience. The lucky owners can thank the Goodwood England for such machines.

 

Hyundai Grand i10 Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

Hyundai Motors India LTD launched the facelift Grand i10 in India; the hatchback was unveiled for the first time in UK last year. While the hatchback is sold in the European market as the new generation i10 the same car is sold alongside its predecessor in the Indian market.The facelift hatchback which was launched yesterday promises redefined exterior styling, Hi-tech Features, improved performance and Fuel Efficiency. Priced in between INR 4.58 Lakhs – to INR 7.33 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), this new hatchback surely brings a lot on the table. Check for Grand I10 price in Hyderabad

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

There are very few changes to the exteriors but they do give the car a fresher look. The front bumper gets a mild tweak in design which includes a new fog lamp housing, honey comb grille and LED DRLs, which come on only when the handbrake is disengaged. The side profile continues to remain similar save for the redesigned 14-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, the bumper gets the most apparent change which includes a thick black strip with circular reflectors on either side. The Grand i10 has always been a pleasant looking car and the update looks good too.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

Step inside & you’ll find yourself wearing a nice, cheery smile near instantly. The cabin is a class act on the Grand i10. Fit & Finish levels are brilliant for the class. The dashboard is neat & well-put together. Get behind the steering wheel & you recognize the parts sharing that’s gone behind the car, but all that doesn’t really matter. You notice the fully-specced out interiors.The seat height adjust, the Bluetooth enabled entertainment systems; auto-folding mirrors, key-less entry & push-button start. Hyundai have even gone ahead & given the car a cooled glove-box for good measure! Plus, there’s enough storage options in the dash, the gear console & the door-pads to keep everyone happy as punch. What’s more, open the trunk & you’ll be delighted to see the amount of space that’s available. There’s enough in there to stow away the weekend luggage for all four occupants, with the backpack & duffel bag for the fifth occupant squeezed right in.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

This new hatchback also gets a new power source; an all-new, 1.1-litre, three-cylinder diesel motor (codename: U2) which develops 70bhp. Now, diesel engines and three cylinders don’t really go well together, as both are inherently prone to vibration, so it’s no surprise that the Grand i10 flutters and vibrates softly at idle. This new engine may be essentially Hyundai’s 1.4 four-cylinder unit with a cylinder chopped off, but that creamy idle is gone.Counter-balancing shafts have been used to iron out the inherent imbalance of a three-cylinder configuration, so when you rev the engine, it smoothens out a bit. There is a hint of turbo lag, but after 1,500rpm, the motor pulls cleanly and with a fair amount of enthusiasm. Performance feels smooth and linear at best, but you truly miss that strong surge in the mid-range that is so typical of more powerful diesel motors. The top-end isn’t strong either, and the engine labours as you cross the 3,500rpm mark, so it’s best to upshift early. Refinement on the move, however, is pretty good. At low revs, the engine is never intrusive and it’s only when you near the redline that you can really tell it’s a diesel. It must be said that this motor lacks the punch needed to really make the Grand i10 fun to drive, but the new Hyundai does have the right gearing for city driving. The short gearing makes you feel at home in the city and coupled with short throws, navigating through the box isn’t tiresome. We also had a go in the petrol version of the Grand i10 with the manual gearbox (it’s also available with a four-speed automatic). It uses the same 1.2-litre ‘Kappa 2’ four-cylinder motor as the current i10, which is equipped with variable valve timing (VVT in Hyundai speak).And just like the i10, it feels fairly peppy to drive. It may lack the outright performance of cars like the Swift or the Brio but, the power delivery is smooth and there is adequate power throughout most of the rev-range. You get useable power from 1500rpm and this makes it comfortable to drive in the city. Also, a strong mid-range means you can easily cruise at a reasonable 100kph on the highway and still have some power left in reserve for a quick overtaking manoeuvre.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride quality is pliant & the car handles bumps rather maturely. She’s a little out of her element when faced with quick directional changes, but make no mistake. She’ll pull through whatever you throw at her, just not in the most graceful manner, that’s all. The steering feedback sadly is still the typical Hyundai legacy affair & no matter how much time I spend behind the wheel, I still haven’t gotten used to it. The glaring lack of feedback is disappointing & takes away a lot from an otherwise solid city runabout package.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Talking about the safety features, the facelift like Grand i10 gets advanced safety features Rear Parking Assist System with Dual Airbags, ABS, Reverse Parking Sensors and newly introduced Rear Parking Camera which displays all the output on the newly added 7.0 Inch touchscreen monitor.

VERDICT ;

Totally loved the Grand i10 when we had one in our long term fleet and with this update, Hyundai has refreshed the car nicely. The new diesel engine is very good for the segment and even though it still is a 3-cylinder unit, I think it offers very good performance and efficiency. The Grand also has an excellent ride and is pretty easy to drive. The interiors boast of excellent quality materials and even the fit and finish of exterior panels is better than most rivals out there. For me, the Hyundai Grand i10 is easily one of the best city hatchbacks around.

 

BMW M3 Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

BMW is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company. The BMW M3 is one of the latest high-performance versions of the BMW 3-Series, developed by BMW’s motorsport division, BMW M. M3 models have been sold all over the world in three body styles: Coupe,Saloon and Convertible. The BMW M3 is the most successful car in touring and grand touring ever, being the only car to have earned titles more than Porsche 911 in Motorsport. The early E30 M3 model was a sports car advertised and campaigned by many companies including Prodrive and AC Schnitzer. The M3 is unique and differs from remaining E30 models in many ways. It is one of the longest running models, having started production in 1985. The previous M3 coupe was produced in Germany in July 2013, but the M3 name will remain in use for the saloon version.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The exterior is beautifully BMW. It’s a solid evolution in the 3-Series line that will certainly age well. The look is certainly one of understated aggression that combines the calm demeanor of a normal car with the menacing snarl of a true M3.Four real doors with useable interior space means the M3 can accommodate three friends on the ride of their lives. The pictures, however, speak for themselves.Looking deeper, we see many exterior additions to the M3 the standard 3-Seriessimply lacks. A huge front apron, smooth underbelly, and Gurney rear spoiler keep the air moving properly around the car. Downforce is also a key reason for the exterior accoutrements. Past the front grille, air is purposefully directed beyond mere cooling reasons. Air is channeled through the engine oil cooler and creates a Venturi effect that reduces front axle lift, which in turn, improves steering.Twin-stalk style side mirrors and integrated air breathers (the vertical M gills) reward of the front wheels help move air round the car without creating turbulence or drag.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Cabin features cloth/leather combination carbon structure anthracite black upholstery available as standard. Two-zone automatic air conditioner with extended contents and active carbon microfilter is fitted to maintain temperature in the cabin. Ambient light with mood lights educe elegance. Interior mirrors come with anti-dazzle function for the ease of driver while driving at night.. Multifucntion M leather steering wheel with gear shift paddles allows hassle free driving. M carbon made roof renders toughness. M Sport bucket seats are affixed for Driver and co-passenger. Rear gets electrically adjustable roller blinds which can also be used manually. For a further snugger experience, BMW has equipped electrically adjustable seats with memory function and lumbar support for driver as well as co-passenger. Adjustable seat backrests are fitted for the convenience of the passengers. From the BMW connectdrive, M3 features slew of equipment such as BMW Apps, Bluetooth with handsfree and USB connectivity with audio streaming, iDrive touch controller with 22.35 cm colour screen displaywith 1280 X 480 pixels resolution, DVD drive and integrated hard drive for maps and audio files. Besides, a navigation system professional with 3D maps, park distance control in front and rear, rear view camera, BMW head-up display with M views are among other significant features aboard.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The BMW M3 is powered by a 3.0-litre engine  putting out 431 horses at 5500 RPM and 550 Nm of twist at 1850 RPM. The powerplant is a twin turbo inline-6 unit, sending power to the rear wheels. BMW has matched the engine to a 7-speed gearbox which is quick enough to get the car running from 0 to 100 km/hr in 4.1 seconds. The throttle is very responsive and the M3 gains pace the moment you start pressing the pedal. At city speeds, the M3 is easy to drive and turbo lag is almost negligible. Thanks to the not-so-large size of the sedan, it is easy to close gaps in traffic without much fuss and the engine and gearbox work in great tandem.

After dodging Mumbai’s irritating traffic for well over an hour, we finally landed on a completely open stretch of tarmac and it was time to let loose. Stomped the accelerator and the M3 picked up triple digit speeds in no time and soon enough we were itching towards the 200 km/hr mark. What’s remarkable is how seamlessly the car makes you believe that you’re doing speeds much lesser than what the speedo is showing! However, such a car is more enjoyable with the steering mounted paddle-shifters which are a JOY to use. You can also shift gears via the gear lever which slots into S mode allowing you to shift cogs manually.

You also get the usual driving modes to choose from – Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, etc. We were driving on Sport for most of time where the steering and suspension get nicely stiffened up. In Sport+, the issue is that the suspension becomes so hard that the car starts feeling very bouncy, especially on our uneven roads. The 7-speed gearbox does a very good job and is quick enough. The engine loves to be revved all the way to its 7500 RPM redline and the exhaust note is also pure music to the ears. If you’re in the mood for cruising, the M3 will manage 100 km/hr in top gear at 1800 RPM.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The M3 is the kind of car you get into and instantaneously feel like you belong there. Dumb the throttle maps and the gearbox to its least alert setting and the M3 is no more difficult to drive in traffic than a 3 Series. The ergonomics are spot on and the car just feels so well wrapped around you to negotiate traffic. The engine purrs lightly and the exhaust stays quiet as you amble around town. Keep the suspension in Comfort mode even if you are stepping on the gas when you are hustling your way through because Sport mode requires a silky smooth surface. Don’t even bother with Sport Plus. The steering too offers three settings like the suspension. Sport Plus is direct and precise and painful over a period of time. The Sport setting keeps it just perfect but you could lighten up responses in Comfort for most of the time. In addition to these settings for the gearbox, throttle map, steering and suspension, you get M Dynamic mode.

Driving dynamics is the M3’s USP and keeping all the systems on, you will enjoy a really fast M car carving up corners faster than a RWD sportscar is meant to. But it’s as much about fun as it is about being fast. The M3’s active M differential ensures that, with the DSC either turned completely off or in M Dynamic mode you can flatter the drifter in you. The latter is the friendlier one for the enthusiast with a little less skill to catch that powerslide. The DSC allows some slip, intervenes when the slip turns closer to a spin and could be good fun on a winding road. The grip from the Michelins is as good as they come and the brakes are progressive and offer carnivorous bite on a hearty meal of tarmac.

SAFETY ;

The 2017 BMW M3 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as self-drying brake rotors (when the windshield wipers are in use) and automatic brake-pad preparation (when the driver abruptly lifts off the gas). BMW Assist emergency communications is standard and includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.Optional safety features include a surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.

CONCLUSSION ;

BMW’s M3 saloon is a performer, the powerful engine lying underneath is capable of pulling off terrific numbers. Exterior styling is in line with rest of the Beemers, it carries BMW’s signature styling rendering it an assertive semblance. Cabin is spacious and what makes it special is number of luxury gadget infixed. What can deviate you from this car is a high price tag and a continual demand for feeding the car with fuel as it does not offer impressive mileage. Keeping this apart, M3 saloon is for you if you look out for performance on road.

Audi A3 Hatchback Overview

INTRODUCTION

The world of cars seems to have come full circle. Not in terms of sales or the options available, but every single car that has grown over the decades to a size above now needs another model below it that is of the original size of that car. Premium manufacturers are also discovering a market in a size and price bracket below their traditional customers – this works out well for them, as these products are projected as an additional fuel-efficient model for the family in developed markets, and an easier step up to luxury in developing markets. Enter the Audi A3, which will be the easiest access to a premium luxury sedan when it launches.

EXTERIORS AND LOOKS

The 2017 Audi A3 is a facelift and it gets certain upgrades and new elements on the design front. While most of the car remains the same, there are few tweaks that enhance its appeal. To start with , the 2017 Audi A3 now gets a new front grille, which Audi calls ‘diamond inspired’. This grille is now wider and looks more premium as well. The car gets sharper lies this time. The headlamps are also new and have a cut on the lower portion that give it a dynamic look.

It also gets aggressive looking front and rear bumpers. The 2017 Audi A3 also gets new sporty looking 16-inch alloy wheels . The car also sees new taillamps which are 3 dimensional and have dynamic indicators. There is a rear spoiler which is integrated in the boot.The 2017 Audi A3 has got looks similar to a fastback and has a coupe like roof which slopes downwards.

INTERIORS AND SPACE

When you look at it, the A3’s cabin seems a little conservative, especially after the boldly styled interiors of its arch rival – the Mercedes CLA. Nonetheless, the interior remains thoroughly premium, with lovely black textures, plush leather and good quality materials. Audi has retained the all-black wraparound dash design with horizontal lines which heighten the sense of width.

Given that it’s a facelift, Audi hasn’t made any upgrades when it comes to seat comfort or interior packaging. As a result, the 2017 model is just as driver-oriented as the outgoing car. Upfront there is more than enough shoulder support and good cushioning. The under thigh support, too, is commendable. Like the outgoing model, this new A3 falls short of being a proper chauffeur driven premium car. While the rear seat itself is well layered with good contours for two adults, there isn’t much legroom on offer. That said the A3 beats the Mercedes CLA which is worse still and feels claustrophobic at the rear because of its tiny rear windows and huge front seatbacks.

The boot capacity is rated at 425-litres which is big enough for outstation trips and the fact that, the space saver spare tyre is neatly tucked away makes it more practical than the CLA which houses its wheel over the boot floo

For 2017 Audi has introduced wireless phone charging function and full LED headlights as all-new features. Meanwhile, the top-spec variants also get dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors and a 7-inch retractable screen for the MMI infotainment system. Features like start/stop button and keyless entry, however, have been given a miss.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

This car uses a pair of familiar four-cylinder engines that can be found in a number of VW Group cars that are on sale in India, although thanks to Audi’s new performance-based model naming structure, they’re known in these forms as the 35 TDI and the 40 TFSI. The 35 TDI is just the 2.0 TDI producing 141bhp and 32.63kgm of torque, both very healthy figures for a car of this size and weight. As with most of the other cars that use this motor, in the A3, it’s mated to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, though surprisingly, gearshift paddles have been left off the spec sheet; in a car for the self-driven, it’s a desirable option to have. As ever, this engine’s biggest strength is its chunky mid-range and the gearbox does a good job of sensing when you need it the most. The ’box also works well to get you through the slight turbo lag, and it’s very happy to hop straight to sixth and sit there when you’re cruising on the highway. The A3 TDI managed to crack an impressive 8.97sec from 0-100 in our tests, which is quicker than both the BMW 1-series and Merc A-class diesels, incidentally. And not surprisingly, with that mid-range torque, kickdown times are a quick 5.46sec and 7.14sec for 20-80kph and 40-100kph respectively.

But then you drive the 40 TFSI, and it’s even quicker, crossing 100kph in 8.21sec, and despatching 20-80kph in 4.88sec and 40-100kph in 5.63sec in kickdown mode. Yes, it’s the same 1.8-litre turbo-petrol engine that we know and love, and this is undoubtedly its best iteration yet.

It churns out a creamy 177bhp and 25.5kgm, and despite being turbocharged, it simply loves to be revved. Power delivery is smooth and effortless, and so strong is the performance, you wonder if there’s any need for the latest crop of dedicated performance-oriented four-cylinder compact luxury cars. There’s a little hesitation at low revs, but it’s masked superbly by the wonderful seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. And while the TDI can sound a little clattery, this one is beautifully silent.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

A lot is expected from Audi when it comes to driver involvement and the Germans are the masters of that but does this baby Audi drive like the others? Well, the answer is no. Blame it entirely on the new platform, the A3 is simply terrific to drive, a touch above the other Audi’s which are pretty good in their own regard. The electromechanical steering is light at low speeds and weighs up beautifully as the kms pile up. Handling is razor sharp and the A3 will corner with super precision, it will encourage you to push even harder. It loves taking corners hard and you have to appreciate how the light weight chassis offers terrific balance. The A3 also gets ‘Electronic Stabilisation Control’ (ESC) with ‘Electronic Limited Slip Differential’ as standard. High speed stability is very good too and inside the cabin, the speeds seem much slower than they actually are. The A3 is aimed at a buyer who will himself take to the wheel and the driver involvement the car offers will seal the deal for most who like to push their car to the limit.

With superb handling on offer, one would expect the ride quality to be stiff but that’s not the case here. In spite of the low profile rubber, ride quality is fantastic. Both at slow and high speed, the ride remains pliant and both front and rear passengers are engulfed in comfort. The light weight chassis and four-link rear suspension is hugely responsible for the same. The brakes offer good stopping power (all 4 discs) and our test was was shod on 225/45/17 Pirelli Cinturato tyres which offer phenomenal levels of grip. Even on wet surfaces, braking is spot on with no brake fade.

SAFETY AND FEATURES

The A3 sedan earns a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It scores four out of five stars on its frontal crash and rollover tests, and it achieves five stars for the side crash test. The A3 also does well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, earning a top rating in every category. The IIHS names the A3 a Top Safety Pick+. The Audi A4 receives the same rating from the IIHS, while the Volkswagen GTI earns a slightly lower Top Safety Pick designation.

Standard safety features in the A3 include a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors. Other safety features are available. With adaptive cruise control, the A3 maintains a set following distance from the car in front of it, automatically slowing or accelerating with the flow of traffic. The A3 takes traditional adaptive cruise control a step further with the car’s ability to come to a complete stop and take off again, all on its own. Another driver assistance feature, lane keep assist, alerts you if you stray from your lane and gently nudges the car back into its lane. The A3 is also available with rear cross traffic alert, which monitors traffic behind the car while you’re reversing to prevent an accident.

CONCLUSSION

Well, the A3 surely makes a great case for itself. It is much better equipped than its rival, the Mercedes-Benz CLA (read review here), it rides really well and that petrol engine raises the bar of what you should expect from the segment. The only complain with the car would be the design. It is a tad too understated and Audi’s target market, the young professionals of India generally prefer a more flamboyant design. And that is where the CLA has a slight advantage *cough* frameless windows *cough*. However, with the customers now deviating to petrol engines (the A4 petrol has been outselling the diesel by a huge margin), Audi’s 1.4 with its responsive nature, refinement levels and frugality, 19.2kmpl compared to CLA’s 15.9kmpl, could tip the scales in Audi’s favour. All that remains to be seen now is the pricing which we expect to be between Rs 25-30 lakh.