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.

 

 

BMW M5 Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

BMW took the automobile engineering to a new level by designing vehicle and modifying them into high performing vehicle under the same roof. The BMW M division of BMW manages the motorsport car designing and it often takes in cars from other departments and creates high performance versions of them. BMW M5 is one such car which was morphed form the BMW 5 series executive car. This car was undeniably the fastest sedan at least back when it was released back then. The design of the latest version of BMW M5 is more on the sleeker look appeal instead of the curvy features its sibling BMW M3 is known for. Together however these two cars set new standards in terms of what to look forward to in the motorcar luxury vehicles. Powered with a V8 petrol engine, the car is a winner in terms of performance. The looks of the vehicle are rather splendid due to the simple fact that they are out of the BMW M factory. All the cars coming out of that garage come with a unique blend of class and mass appeal, they are sporty yet they seem executive. One might confuse their looks to be more of a regular luxury sedan but these bad boys pack in them some of the most impressive features automobile industry ever witnessed.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

Known as the F10M, this is the first M-car to get its own internal designation. This new M5 comes from a long line of illustrious predecessors starting from the E28 M5 of 1985. But the latest M5 is different – it’s the first one to feature fewer cylinders than the one it replaces. BMW also says that about 80 percent of the components on this car are either completely new or heavily modified. The M5 uses hydraulic power steering and a strong and light suspension. Like the standard car’s chassis, it’s made up of double wishbones up front and multi-links at the rear. Brakes come in the form of massive 400mm discs and six-piston calipers up front and 396mm discs at the rear, with sticky Michelin Super Sport tyres on optional 20-inch rims to control it all. Sheer mass is the only minor disappointment on the spec sheet – the M5 weighs a rather portly 1870kg. It’s important to know that the M5 doesn’t have a spare tyre, and neither does it have run-flats like other BMWs. So you only have a puncture-repair kit to rely on – not good.So, how will the neighbours know you’ve bought an M5? Well, they’ll have to look for the quad exhaust pipes sticking out of theback, the un-missable 20-inch rims and the discreet M5 badge on the boot lid. Other hints include the tiny spoiler on the boot, the aggressive chin, the extended side sills and the chrome vents on the front wings. Some might be disappointed with the lack of visual flair, but M cars have always been discreet and this characteristic has always been part of the appeal of the M5.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

BMW didn’t have much to say about the interior in the initial press release, but the photos confirm our expectations.Following in the footsteps of other recent BMW interiors of the M variety, the new M5 comes with a plethora of M badges on almost every seat and panel, along with sportier bucket seats exclusive to the model. Merino high-grade leather upholstery is standard, with BMW Individual semi-aniline leather likely offered as an optional. With the wheelbase slightly longer than the outgoing model, the overall interior volume should be a bit larger as well.M-specific features aside, the M5 comes with most of the equipment seen in the regular sedan. The new 5 Series got a dashboard design based on the larger 7 Series, including the big infotainment screen in the center, more storage spaces in the door panels, and improved sound absorbing materials for less noise inside the cabin. All of these features are clearly visible in these shots of the M5.

The seats should be 20-way adjustable (compared to the 16-way standard units) and include ventilation and massage functions. The technology package is the same and includes a high-resolution, 10.25-inch touchscreen that provides access to navigation, phone, vehicle functions, and entertainment features, as well as Apple CarPlay, WiFi hotspot, and wireless charging. The gesture control feature, which is optional on the 5 Series, should be included as standard on the M5.Other highlights include an M-style instrument cluster with classical circular dials and red needless, as well as an additional digital speedometer on the left-hand side. The rev counter on the right includes a variable rpm pre-warning field and sporty shift lights when the Head-Up Display is switched on. In the centre of the instrument cluster, the driver will find the readouts for the gear selection, Drivelogic shift program, M xDrive mode and M1/M2 set-up, and the drive and suspension settings currently engaged. When the Head-Up Display is activated, key information will be projected onto the windscreen.The redesigned gear selector also features a three-position rocker switch for selecting the Drivelogic shift programs. As usual, the gears of the new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission can be changed using both the selector lever and the shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

BMW M5 comes with an M twin turbo V8 petrol engine. The engine is capable of generating a maximum output of 560 bhp while the torque reaches a peak of 680 Nm. The vehicle can hit the 100 kmph mark in mere 4.3 seconds. However a different package with tweaked engine is offered to give out more specified performance. Names the Competition Package, this version gives out a maximum output of 575 bhp while the pick up becomes a tad more quicker with the car hitting a speed of 100 kmph in merely 4.2 seconds. The vehicle’s gifted 8 cylinder engine is capable of generating these power figures due to its connection to a linear power curve that has extreme thrust of a double turbocharger. The intercoolers and the company’s patented TwinScroll charging technique enable the vehicle to have a better response rate resulting in improved overall efficiency. The engine reacts to even the slightest of the touch by the accelerator and due to the Valvetronic and high precision injection, the vehicle manages to hit high speeds and ground breaking performance in general. The car also comes with the acclaimed BMW EfficientDynamics which helps in measuring features such as Auto Start Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration. In the competition package however one can gind the engine increased by harnessing the upper rev range. . The vehicle offers an average of 10.1 kmpl and the CO2 emissions are decent enough at 232 gms emitted per km. These are impressive considering the elite stature of the vehicle. These figures are possible due to the lightweight manufacturing and effective fuel injection system. Brake energy regeneration also allows the vehicle to convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy so that the car can hit high speeds without relying much on the fuel consumption. This technique will be more effective for Indian roads since this allows all the energy generated during traffic, etc. to be stored for later usage.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The M division has now further enhanced the ride and handling characteristics of the previous M5. The ride suppleness of the M5 is excellent and at times feels better than the existing 5 Series. It is quite astonishing that how good the ride of the M5 iThe M division has ensured good ride, as buyers can use it for touring as well. The light steering wheel reduces the stress of the driver, especially when driving in bumper-to-bumper city traffic.Despite the increase in ride suppleness, the M5’s handling attributes haven’t been compromised. The handling has been further augmented thanks to the alacrity and flexibility of the F10M chassis and underpinnings. The BMW M division has safeguarded the handling bit, as it is one of the base roots for the M cars . Track is where the car will really impress you. Push it till your limit and it won’t run out of juice, there will still be more to offer.

SAFETY ;

The 2016 BMW M5 comes standard with ventilated antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, cornering brake control, brake-fade compensation, automatic brake drying and hill hold assist. It also comes with front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, knee protection, side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints, a rearview camera and a subscription to BMW Assist emergency services.Carbon-ceramic brakes are a stand-alone option, as is a night-vision camera system capable of identifying and displaying oncoming animals, objects or people beyond the range of the car’s headlights. In addition, the Driver Assistance Plus package adds lane departure and blind-spot monitoring systems, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, speed-limit information, and side- and top-view cameras.

CONCLUSSION ;

Not even two model generations ago, BMW was a firm believer in naturally-aspirated engines and rear-wheel drive, with xDrive being reserved just for SUVs and a couple of 3 Series and 5 Series models. With both the world car market and BMW’s marketing evolving in a constant and rapid way, the Bavarian carmaker now has a 100-percent turbocharged engine lineup and more xDrive variants than rear-driven ones. With Audi’s marketing hype revolving mainly around Quattro and with Mercedes-AMG also jumping on the all-wheel-drive bandwagon, it seems that BMW’s M has no choice but think about xDrive sedans and/or coupes as well. AWD is pretty much the biggest change in the new M5. The styling is evolutionary, the drivetrain is similar to the previous M5 Performance Package (save for the extra torque), while the new technology is a given with each new generation. The big question is, are you ready to embrace a non-traditional M5 with AWD and significantly better performance instead of a purist-oriented RWD sedan?

Virtual Telephone Systems for Business

What Is A Virtual Telephone System

A virtual phone system, or cloud telephone system is becoming the go to option in a bid to counter the BT business ISDN & analogue switch off. Virtual phone systems negate the need for line rental as your business will pay for the line & the handset rather than paying for phone lines. A virtual phone system allows your business to save costs on maintenance, as there is no need for expensive hardware to be maintained.

Why Choose Cloud Telephone Systems?

With such fast initial setup & ease of deployment, virtual phone systems are becoming the go to cost effective solution for small businesses, with flexible contract periods & an easy to manage budget for solutions that are based on a per seat basis. Virtual telephone systems can be a very good solution for businesses who have limited capital spend.

Benefits Of Virtual Telephone Systems

✓ Never miss a call again ✓ Feature rich updated (1) ✓ Cost effective for growing businesses ✓ Very quick set-up timings ✓ Professional appearance ✓ Smartphone twinning & applications ✓ Keep your original number

Why Choose Best 4 Business For Virtual Telephone Systems

✓ Best 4 Business is an award winning Unified Communications & recognized cloud provider, Find Out More… ✓ Best 4 Business has many satisfied customers who can vouch for our cloud/ virtual solutions. Find Out More… ✓ Best 4 Business is recognized by comms business & comms national leaders in news & media for telecoms ✓ Best 4 Business had flexible contracts that offer great rates for all businesses.

If Virtual Phone Systems Are Purchased Upfront – Price Plan, £129 Per Handset

Duration Monthly Cost 60 Months £9.99 48 Months £11.99 36 Months £12.99 24 Months £14.99 12 Months £17.99

If Virtual Phone Systems Are Rented/ Leased – Price Plan

Duration Monthly Cost 60 Months £12.99 48 Months £14.99 36 Months £15.99 24 Months £17.99 12 Months £20.99

With such a robust virtual phone system solutions, Best 4 Business Communications has been able to achieve the following up-time stats:

Total B4BC Uptime

January 2016 – 99.82% – 31 February 2016 – 99.93% – 29 Days March 2016 – 100% – 31 Days April 2016 – 100% – 30 Days May 2016 – 100% – 31 Days June 2016 – 99.74% – 30 Days July 2016 – 99.68% – 31 Days August 2016 – 100% – 31 Days

Your Own Server & Portal With Virtual Phone Systems

Best 4 Business ensure that all prospects who choose our bespoke virtual telephone systems get their very own server & portal, a virtual system mirrors a traditional phone system in terms of features & functionalities, however you save on capital investment. B4BC customizes the virtual phone system to your businesses requirements & hence no two solutions are the same.

 

Skoda Rapid Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

The Skoda Rapid is the most important product in the Czech carmaker’s India line-up. It is an India-specific product and a volume player for Skoda.

Half a decade into its life, the Rapid gets its first major design revamp and sheds the face it inherited from the Fabia. We hit the road with the aesthetically sharper, more powerful and better equipped Rapid to see just how much more appealing and fresh it feels now. Check On Road Price of Rapid

EXTERIORS ;

The Rapid’s fascia is completely new. A new chrome-outlined grille and angular headlamps bring it more in line with its bigger brothers, the Octavia and the Superb. Below the grille sits a redesigned bumper, with a large, honey-combed lower air intake, prominent air dam and fog lamps. In profile, the Rapid has not changed at all, and the only revision round the back is the lightly redesigned bumper and tailgate-mounted chrome strip. Other nouveau embellishments include the projector headlights with “jewel-shadow” daytime running lights as Skoda calls them and chrome moulding on the door handles. On the whole, the clean lines and sharp edges make the Rapid look fresh, purposeful and contemporary.

Other changes include a new 110hp diesel engine and some equipment upgrades. As earlier, the Rapid will be available in three trims – Active, Ambition and Style, with petrol as well as diesel, and manual as well as automatic options.

INTERIORS ;

On the inside the Rapid gets fabric seats. The Dashboard is the same which looks dated. There haven’t been any changes to the interiors, which is not a very pleasant thing. It does not get a touchscreen either, which is available on most cars in its segment. The Rapid Black Edition has cruise control too. It is a spacious car and has very good leg room, even at the rear. The seats are high and have good padding and support. Getting in and out of the car is very convenient. Like in all Skodas the trunk space is phenomenal with one drawback being that the boot can’t be opened from the outside unless the user does so with the key. The boot can be opened by a one touch button from the inside, but hitting the unlock button for the doors does not unlock the trunk. The spare wheel is not a full size one and gets a narrower tyre.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

;Powering the front wheels is a 1598cc oil burning lump which features like double over head cams and a high pressure direct injection system. While you don’t have to guess where this engine comes from, what you will keep wondering is how different this engine feels in the Rapid. Pushing out a 105 PS @ 4400 rpm and a meaty 250 Nm of torque between 1500-2500 rpm, the Rapid is tuned in a slightly different way compared to the Vento. While it’s slightly more audible, performance throughout the rev range is extremely linear with a crisp throttle response. In fact driven around town, the Rapid actually feels quicker than its German sibling. However numbers tell a different tale.

Flat out the 100 comes up in 12.03 (11.16 seconds for the Vento) seconds which is a tad slower than the Vento. Roll-on figures reveal a similar story. The 40-120 in fourth gear takes 17.12 (16.29 seconds for the Vento) seconds which are some very good figures. Keeping the throttle pedal buried we maxed the Rapid out at 182 km/h. There is absolutely nothing to choose between the Czech and the German when it comes to performance. Braking is also a sure footed affair with the Rapid featuring dual rate brake assist along with ABS which helps in shedding speed rapidly.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Driving around slow moving traffic and by lanes, we really appreciated the direct and easy to twirl steering which makes it easy to maneuver. Low speed ride is absorbent and pot-hole infested roads were also dismissed without any problem. But large road imperfections do make their presence felt in the cabin, as the suspension thuds through them. On the highway, the Rapid displays good stability and the comfortable ride makes it an able cruiser. Over undulating surfaces it does tend to bounce a bit and a flatter ride would have been welcomed. Around twisty sections, the Rapid feels willing and the direct steering, good body control and loads of grip gives you lot of confidence. The brakes too offered good bite and stopping power felt more than adequate.

SAFETY ;

Talking about safety, Skoda India is offering ABS and dual front airbags as standard across all the trims of the new Rapid. You also get Hill Hold Control and Electronic Stability Control with the DSG transmission. Skoda has had a bad reputation in India when it comes to after sales but they’ve come a long way in making the process transparent and reliable. They are also offering 4 year service car programme as standard with the new Rapid that covers 4 years warranty, 4 years of roadside assistance and an optional 4 year service package.

CONCLUSSION ;

The update has certainly made the Rapid a lot more competitive. For starters it looks a lot sharper than before, gets more features along with ABS and Airbags being standard across all variants. Skoda has also looked into the warranty aspect and is now the only manufacturer offering a standard four year warranty along with four years of Skoda Roadside Assistance and Skoda maintenance Package. With prices for the base petrol manual starting at 8.19 lakh and going up to Rs. 12.55 lakh for the top end Style DSG (ex-Mumbai), prices are on par with the competition. The Rapid makes a strong case for itself for those who like to drive and appreciate a well-built product.

Toyota Innova Crysta Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Toyota Innova Crysta 2016 is the latest edition of the famous Innova model with a facelift in exterior styling and luxurious interior features. The Innova Crysta variants are available in manual and automatic transmission versions, widening the options for customers. Currently, Innova Crysta variants are available as GX, GX Automatic, VX, ZX and ZX Automatic, with ZX as the top-end variant.Check Ex Showroom Price of Innova Crysta

EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;

Like we said, the Crysta is a complete departure from the older Innova. Everything has been reworked extensively in order to give it that premium appeal. The design is fresh that ditches the slender proportions for a wider, more muscular stance. It is safe to say that the older generation was long in the tooth in terms of design, despite multiple facelifts. Toyota couldn’t have timed the update better. The front now features a prominent hexagonal grille that gets two massive chrome slats that flow into the projector headlamps. Most of the real estate at the front is taken up by the large bumper. We particularly like the detailing in the smoked-out headlamps and the placement of the LED pilot lamps. The lower half of the grille is glossy black, which helps break the bulk at the front.

Over to the side, the Crysta’s van-like proportions come to the fore. While there’s nothing interesting to speak of other than the large 17-inch wheels, we like how Toyota has managed to keep things simple and uncluttered. Little dabs of chrome on the door handles and the outside rear-view mirror add a touch of class to the profile.The rear ditches the triangular tail lamps for a much more aggressive, sabertooth inspired design.The rear profile is nearly slab-sided, with a large glasshouse that takes up most of the space. Subtle touches like the spoiler and the shark-fin antenna add some spice to an otherwise boring rear profile. Exchange your old car for Innova Crysta

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Arguably the biggest transformation has happened on the inside and the cabin feels spacious, open and crisply styled. The modern dashboard looks fresh, is well detailed and the swooping dash top looks really great without being overdone. Details like the single piece of metal strip which runs across the top of the dashboard looks premium and classy. Visibility from the high front seats is good and this makes it easy to drive especially in traffic.Despite the swooping dash, ergonomics are spot-on and everything from the touchscreen to the Air-con controls are tilted upwards for ease of use. The blue backlit instrument cluster looks modern and the digital centre screen hosts a comprehensive trip computer. USB and aux-in ports are cleverly placed in the middle for an easy access for front and rear passengers. As an observation we would have preferred more USB ports especially considering it’s a premium seven seater. The touchscreen is intuitive to use and it host various information like satellite navigation, eco display (which shows how efficiently you are driving), Bluetooth telephony and music system controls. On the downside I would have preferred the volume control to be a knob for easier access while driving.

As far as upholstery is concerned the top of the line ZX variant gets leather seats. But while in the manual transmission variant you get an all-black cabin which looks sporty, the automatic features a more classy brown upholstery. Overall quality especially on the upper portion of the dashboard is quite good and Toyota has added some elements to justify the high asking price. The touch points like the armrest on the doorpad is covered in soft velvety fabric, the chunky leather wrapped steering with large control button is great to hold, the gloss black finish on the front doorpads look classy (weirdly the rear doorpad gets wood finish) and even the control stalks are of high order. But considering it’s an expensive car we expected better consistency especially lower down in the cabin.The sea of black hard plastics around the glovebox, cupholders and doorpads look shiny and the graining could have been better too. Even the air-con buttons are too small and the chrome finish doesn’t look very convincing. We also felt that although the old Innova didn’t have the premium leather dash top and modern design, it had better quality consistency across the cabin.

Thanks to the larger dimensions the cabin feels wider and is more spacious than before. Seat comfort is first rate and the contoured front buckets are very comfortable. The driver seat in this top Z variant is powered too, and combined with the telescopic steering adjust, finding an ideal driving position is extremely easy. The middle row sees the biggest improvement and the extra cabin width has allowed Toyota engineers to give larger and more accommodating captain seats.The middle-row buckets are supportive, underthigh support is really good and the reclining backrest makes this a great chauffer-driven car. The ceiling mounted blue ambient lighting and the large glass area makes this a great place to be in.Even the front passenger seat can be adjusted using a well designed lever from the back. If you love working on the go, the foldable trays in the back are placed at an ideal height and their 7 kg weight capacity make them perfect to place your laptops on.

The third row though is not a huge improvement over the old car and the combination of the high floor and low seat makes it comfy only for short stints. You also get a removable headrest for the middle passenger (how will he fit in the narrow seat is a different matter) and all three occupants get three point seatbelts.Visibility from the third row though is hampered by the stylish triangular quarter glass. With all three rows up, boot space is reasonable and can be extended by folding the last row when not in use.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

So the updates to the exterior and interior are both huge improvements, but there’s even more good news in store. The Innova Crysta comes with two entirely new diesel engines, a 2.4-litre with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a 2.8-litre with a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.4 manual first, and when compared to the old 2.5-litre engine, there are some similarities. This one too is not very refined, sounding a bit gravelly at start-up and then again at higher revs, and it also doesn’t enjoy being revved a lot, making you want to shift up well before the redline. However, both these aspects are slightly improved from the old car. The Crysta settles into a smooth and relatively silent hum at low to medium revs, and though you’ll still want to shift up early, you get more out of each gear now. The rest is all positive. For one, there’s more power – 150hp is a significant jump in power over the old 102hp, and at 13.1sec, the Crysta is a full 4.4sec faster from 0-100kph than the previous car! It even feels much stronger when you’re overtaking, which is essential when you’re out on the highway with a fully loaded-up car; this is helped by its solid 343Nm of pulling power that’s made as low as 1,400rpm. The old Innova was geared very short, so cruising in fifth on the highway was a noisy affair and the engine sounded strained. The newer car has a much broader torque spread and relatively taller gearing, so it feels a lot more comfortable loping along at high speeds, although we feel a sixth ratio would have made it more effortless still. So it’s a great highway cruiser, but if you find yourself in traffic, you will notice the clutch pedal is on the heavy side and that the short gear lever needs a little more effort. It’s also got three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Power. Eco is best for when you’re in town and want to stretch every last litre of diesel, while Power yields the quickest responses to accelerator inputs. But Normal mode is the best for everyday driving, delivering a good mix of power and efficiency.

What really tells you that the Innova is now a seriously premium car is the availability of an automatic gearbox. The six-speed unit also comes with a larger, even more powerful diesel engine – 2.8 litres with 174hp at 3,400rpm and 360Nm at 1,200-3,400rpm. This car is properly quick, being able to cross 100kph in just 11.5sec, and this is despite the fact it weighs almost 1.9 tonnes! The automatic gear shifts themselves are smooth, but we feel the system is too eager to change gears sometimes, even when not necessary. And while there are no paddle shifters for manual gear control, you can change gears manually with the gear lever itself.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The premium feel of the Innova Crysta is also in the way it drives. Though this vehicle has a ladder frame (subframe) chassis, it feels very comfortable. The ride remains composed and passes on minimal undulations of the road. The new chassis is even more stronger now. An improved suspension sees the ride quality improve a lot over the earlier vehicle, there is much less pitching and rolling now. Hence it is ideal for long distance travel.

At slow speed you can feel some thuds inside, but higher speeds its good. The steering wheel feel a bit heavy at parking speed. But as speeds rise, it gets better and a joy to hold and drive. The brakes are also very good and a progressive. The all round visibility of the New Toyota Innova Crysta 2017 is excellent and one drives in a commanding portion. The Innova Crysta is also a great vehicle to drive within the city. It has a tight turning radius hence taking sharp U-turns is a breeze. Even parking poses no problem.

SAFETY ;

Toyota has upped the game in the safety department as well. The Japanese automaker is providing seven airbags with the new Innova including a driver-side knee airbag for the range topping ZX variant. Dual front airbags and ABS is standard across all the variants. There is Vehicle Stability Control and Hill-Start Assist Control on offer as well. Toyota is providing 3-point seatbelts with adjustable headrests for all the passengers including third row seats. The Toyota badge is known to offer hassle-free after sales in India with a wide reach and network spread across the country. Longevity is tried and tested while the resale value of Toyota cars is up there as well. We expect low maintenance and spare parts cost due to high localisation (the diesel engines will soon be made in India).

CONCLUSSION ;

The confidence Toyota has in its MPV product is quite similar to how the buyer perceives the vehicle to be; simply commendable. We saw it when Toyota pulled the plug on the Qualis when it was absolutely flourishing in our market. Then came the Innova and it ultimately caught up and even outsold its predecessor. Buyers still swear over its bullet-proof reliability and they’re ready to part with even Rs 18 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai) for the top-end versions. While in the latest iteration, the Innova Crysta, is a substantial improvement over the old Innova’s strengths, it will come at a premium. Especially, as it now ticks all the boxes to contend in the higher end of the MPV segment. And we believe that buyers will just carry on and pile on the bookings.