Monday, July 30, 2012

“Jaguar XKR Special Edition Models Launched” plus 8 more Motorbeam

“Jaguar XKR Special Edition Models Launched” plus 8 more Motorbeam

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Jaguar XKR Special Edition Models Launched

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 10:54 PM PDT


The XKR special edition from Jaguar is right here. Loaded with a set of new features, the special edition comes in both coupe and convertible form. This beast costs Rs. 1.27 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai, pre-octroi). Customers can decide their pick from the six different colors – celestial black, crystal blue, lunar grey, polaris white, rhodium silver and ultimate black. All the models of the XKR house the standard 5.0 Litre AJ-V8 GEN III Supercharged Petrol engine which produces a power of 503 BHP. The car is offered with 6-speed automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift.

The changes in exteriors comprise of the convertible hood color and the wheel design. The hood comes in four colors – black, grey, blue and brown. The car has got the unique 20 inch Orona polished finish alloy wheels. Bi-function HID xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights and automatic leveling adds to the exteriors. Interiors have got their own set of new features and changes. There is use of scraffito grain leather on the seats. Instrument binnacle, door and rear quarter casings, and Poltrona Frau leather headlinings are few other highlights in this edition. One would also find a 7 inch color touch-screen display which is a standard specification here. Jaguar smart key system with keyless entry and keyless start, a Jaguar’s trademark is also seen.

Safety features like Jaguar's Adaptive Restraint Technology system and Pedestrian Contact Sensing system can be seen on board. Adaptive Restraint Technology system is for the passenger safety where as Pedestrian Contact Sensing system raises the bonnet when ever a contact takes place with a pedestrian so that the pedestrian is not hurt due to the hard parts in the bonnet. Jaguar drive selector, Adaptive dynamics, active differential, dynamic stability control (with Trac DSC mode), Jaguar high performance braking system are few other standard features being offered.

Source – Autocar India

Jaguar To Launch XJ Ultimate & F-TYPE In 2013

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 10:49 PM PDT


British Luxury brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, have big plans waiting to be rolled out. The next two years will be rigorous for the iconic brands as a slew of new offerings are expected to hit the markets. It can be a potential threat for the German competitors as the intentions are like wise. Currently, the Jaguar XJ Ultimate and Jaguar F-TYPE are lined up for launch in 2013. These two models are expected to give a bitter competition to the names like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Initially these models will be launched in UK, then on they will be launched in European markets the next year. The same are expected to hit the Indian territories through the completely built unit (CBU) route. These cars will be imported from their Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, UK

“The Jaguar XJ Ultimate, a car that offers space, refinement and technology, is targeted at chauffeur-driven market and as well others, who want to make a statement. The Jaguar F-Type is an all new convertible sports car inspired by the C-X16 concept.” Del Sehmar, Manager, PR and Communication, Jaguar Land Rover, said.

The company has already seen an accelerated growth as the customers are preferring to get back to the iconic brand. This itself is already a potential threat for the German makers. As per its strategy, the company is looking at grabbing the tier II cities and towns. According to them, the customer base is steadily increasing in these markets and tapping them could be highly profitable. To bring the customers closer to their offerings, the company has plans of setting up showrooms in these areas. Their presence is already well established with their dealerships located across 13 cities and all the metros in India. The two year plan of the company comprises of other launches too which include several new sports sedans and sports cars. The competition is just beefing up and it is time for the German Giants to tie their laces and complete with this UK brand to win the race.

Jaguar XJ Ultimate Rear Seat

The Jaguar XJ Ultimate is based on the long-wheelbase version of the XJ and is powered by a 3.0-litre V6, supercharged petrol engine which produces 335 BHP of power. A 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol and 3.0-litre V6 diesel is also available on the XJ Ultimate. All these engines are mated to a 8-speed automatic gearbox. The major changes to the XJ are the ones to the rear seat, where the car offers the best rear passenger comfort. There is a center console at the rear, which separates the two passengers and has controls for power adjustment, massage, lumbar and ventilation. There is also an entertainment package, offering two headrest screens, wireless headphones and 20-speaker surround sound system. The suspension has been retuned for improve rear passenger comfort. On the exteriors, Jaguar has given the XJ Ultimate minor changes like lower air intake in chrome, new alloy wheels, oval stainless steel exhaust and Ultimate badges.

Source – MyDigitalFC

Piaggio Vespa LX125 Test Ride Review

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 06:42 AM PDT

Piaggio Vespa LX125 Review

Piaggio Vespa LX125 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Bike tested: 2012 Piaggio Vespa LX125

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 78,299/-

Piaggio’s latest product in India needs no introduction. After all, it’s called the Vespa. The iconic Vespa has come back to India, for the third time but this time in the hands of the parent company, Piaggio. The scooter market is growing and all the other scooter manufacturers are refreshing their scooter portfolio to deal with this opportunity. We try to find out if Piaggio’s Vespa has what it takes to fight this competition, in terms of offering a good package. So wear your purple pants, blood red t-shirts, bright shoes, style your hair, order pasta and listen to some opera before you start reading this.

Styling – The Italians are obsessed with styling and they leave no stone unturned when it comes to automobiles as well. The Piaggio Vespa looks fantastic with an overall retro look and the clean timeless design, unlike the busy design seen on most Japanese counterparts. The key styling elements include the round shaped headlight, round rear view mirrors, compact looking rear, swooping body lines and the bulge at the side which goes all the way to the rear. This bulge joins the indicators and the side body with the Vespa monogram and reflector, which are perfectly placed.

Generous use of chrome is seen everywhere whether its the head light, the tail light, the grab bar or the heat shield. The end of the handle grip and the front mudguard also has a chrome garnish with the Vespa emblem embossed on it. This was there in previous generations of the Vespa as well. The silver finish brake levers add glitter to the styling package. The design of the alloy wheels is a relief; while most scooters have blunt design (TVS Wego aside), the alloys here have a triangular shape which seamlessly flows with the overall design.

Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – All though, the whole design is retro, the speedometer has a modern touch to it, which is thanks to the carbon-finish background with the speedometer placed in the middle. The fonts and the layout are simplistic yet stylish. The dials are marked all the way to 120 km/h which for a scooter is strange. With Vespa and Piaggio emblem accompanying the dials, there is a digital clock on the speedometer and buttons to adjust the time. This clock is always on, even when you turn off the scooter, which doesn’t make sense. The dials glow up when using parking light or the main headlight. There is the usual solitary indicator for left and right and high beam. Illuminated switch gear is sorely missed at this price point.

Ergonomics – The seating position is upright and you sit noticeably higher than any other scooter but there are no issues of feet not reaching the ground. Sitting position is not comfortable at first, but you will get used to the position. The seat is flat and the pillion part is not elevated. It is very soft and comfortable for long journeys. Switch gear falls into the hand perfectly but it is bit different to operate. While most other scooters have switch that ‘slides’ to operate, the switchgear on the Vespa needs to be clicked.

The rear view mirrors do a fantastic job and provide a clear view of what is behind despite being designed with ‘form over function mantra’. Even big sized people will have no complains. Side stand is hard to deploy and it won't go back with one touch. A feature, in fact a necessity (for elderly) sorely missed. Foot rest for the pillion is placed very far from the seating position and there is no place for female pillion to rest their feet while sitting sideways. A powerful horn for a scooter is a welcome thought and huge under-seat storage is best in class. Glove box has decent space and opens when the key is pushed.

Performance and Gearbox – Start the 125cc motor and it comes to life with unprecedented vibrations. RVM’s, and other parts vigorously vibrate until you reach 25 km/h. Performance of the Vespa LX125 is as good as it looks, splendid! The 125cc engine producing 10 PS of power at 7500 RPM and a juicy torque of 10.6 Nm coming from 3-valve, 4-stroke motor makes it a stonker of an engine. Low end torque is good and 0 to 40 km/h is dealt at decent pace. But after 45 km/h, the 3-valve engine is at its best. The Vespa pulls very strongly and the acceleration is on par with the bikes of the same category.

Mid range is astonishing, 60 to 80 km/h is dealt in a matter of seconds and it pulls all the way to the magic number ’100′ on the speedometer. This is a genuine 100 km/h+ scooter which will munch miles with ease thanks to the 8.5-litre fuel tank. It will also give you a smile when you refill the tank because this is the most fuel–efficient scooter we have ever tested. When driven sanely, it will return figures of 45 km/l which is quite frankly very efficient for what performance this motors offers. Cruising in this scooter is effortless with very little wind blast even at high speeds. The throttle has no feel while cruising which makes it effortless to drive through long journeys.

Ride, Handling and Braking – Ride quality of the Piaggio Vespa is very plush, it absorbs the biggest pot holes and craters to our imperfect roads without any fuss. No matter how the road surface is, you won’t be thrown away nor will your bones hurt. While the ride quality is so good, the handling is not so good. The chassis is stiff but the soft suspension setup, the single sided front suspension and the puny 90 x 100 x 10 tyres don’t make it a ‘sporty handling scooter’.

The Vespa LX125 is very nimble in the city and has a short u-turn radius. The scooter doesn’t like high speed maneuvering or taking sweepers at high speeds because tires loose grip quickly. High speed stability would have been better if the tires were a bit wider. The Vespa is best when driven sedately. Brakes are good from a commuter’s point of view, while enthusiast will ask for more because of the kind of performance this scooter offers.

Miscellaneous – In-spite of the high price tag, cost cutting is seen on various areas. The Vespa has cheap plastics, inconsistent panel gaps all over, over-sized gasket seen from the outside of the gearbox, cheap side stand, absence of one shot spring loaded action, exposed bolt at one side at the front, missing front telescopic suspension, missing front disc brakes, no side step for female pillions, sore placement of lock which opens the storage, mediocre brakes, high price for accessories to name a few. Vespa emboss is seen at many places like grip cover and front suspension cover. Monograms are present at the front and the side body and a small logo appears on the chrome garnish at the front mudguard.

Conclusion – The third coming of the Vespa scooter in India is a very promising one. The scooter does have its drawbacks but offers many things which no other scooter does. The strong performance, stylish looks and Vespa name are enough to lure buyers to get the LX125. Even though the quality is not the best and the price is on the higher side, the Vespa is the cheapest means of head turning transportation in India currently. There is no denying then, the Vespa does a brilliant job as a life style product.

Whats Cool

* Stylish Looks
* Performance
* Storage

Whats Not So Cool

* Average Quality
* Lack of Features

Piaggio Vespa LX125 Specifications

* Engine: 124 cc, single-cylinder, 3-valve, 4-stroke
* Power: 10.06 PS @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 10.6 Nm @ 6000 RPM
* Transmission: CVT
* Top Speed: 100 km/h
* Fuel Consumption: 45 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Monocoque steel high rigidity structure
* Suspension: Arm with coil spring and dual effect shock absorber (Front), Coil spring and dual effect shock absorber (Rear)
* Tyres: 90/100/10
* Brakes: 150 mm drums (front), 140 mm drum (rear)

Piaggio Vespa LX125 Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 1770 mm x 690 mm x 1140 mm
* Wheelbase: 1290 mm
* Seat Height: 770 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 8.5-liters
* Kerb Weight: 114 kgs

- Mohit Soni

Yamaha Continues Ray Scooter Testing

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 04:18 AM PDT

Yamaha Ray Scooter Testing

Yamaha India has been very vocal about its India plans. The Japanese automaker unveiled the Ray Concept Scooter at the 2012 Auto Expo. The company later made it very clear about its plans to bring in a 250cc motorcycle next year. Just recently, Yamaha roped in Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone to become the brand ambassador of the upcoming Ray scooter. The company also revealed its plans to export the Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 to Japan, which would be priced more than double than that of the India version. The made in India R15 is not the first motorcycle to be exported to Japan and Bajaj Auto is already commenced exports of the KTM Duke 125 to the country.

Yamaha will be launching the Ray scooter in the next three months. The company continues to test the vehicle extensively and the above spy shot was sent in by Pankay Biswas, who spotted the Ray on test in Guwahati. The Yamaha Ray scooter is expected to be powered by a 125cc petrol engine, which would produce around 9 BHP of power and 8.5 Nm of torque. Yamaha is yet to reveal mechanical details about the Ray scooter and one can expect the company to offer high fuel efficiency to woo under 24-year old female riders to the Yamaha family. The Ray scooter will be manufactured at Yamaha’s Surajur facility in Uttar Pradesh. It will be heavily localized to ensure the price doesn’t exceed Rs. 50,000/- (ex-showroom, New Delhi).

Yamaha Ray

FTA With EU Could Make German Cars Cheaper

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 04:05 AM PDT

2012 BMW M550d exterior

Your next luxury car buy can be a lot cheaper as the Indian Government plans to slash the existing tariffs. Cars from Germany might cost you just a little above their regular prices in European markets. This will be possible if the Government decides upon 10 percent duty on the import of these cars as a part of the free trade agreement between the two countries. Currently, the tariff that is levied is 60 percent which makes the cars to be priced at much higher figures than what they are in the EU. A shift in the tariff from 60 to 10 percent is obviously going to make a marked difference in the price.

According this agreement, India will be importing 2.5 lakh cars at just a 10 percent tariff. Our automobile industry which is heavily protected due to high import rates will get some relief if this new rule gets implemented. The import of these 2.5 lakhs cars will take place over a span of five years. The first year will see an import of 40,000 vehicles and then on there would be an increase by 5000 vehicles every year. Once the free-trade agreement is implemented, the Government is also in talks to reduce the import tariffs from the existing 60 percent to 30 percent on other cars. The Government is confident enough to deal with this slash in the import duties.

Obviously, it is a welcome move for the European Union as this will help them with greater market access as the current scenario restricts market entry due to high costs involved. In fact, the EU is keen on extension of this liberalized import decision even after five years. But the Indian Government is currently trying to implement it only for the next five years, post which it will reconsider the need to extend the rule. The Government wants to leave some scope for change in case of any need that might crop up in the future. But yes, the beneficiary is the end customer as one can now afford luxury at a lesser price.

Source – Economic Times

Premier Rio Multijet Gets 72 BHP Of Power

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 03:30 AM PDT

Red Premier Rio 2012

Premier will soon be unleashing the Rio with a Multijet heart in metro cities. The Pune based automaker hasn’t been selling a diesel engined Premier Rio in Bharat IV cities as the 1.5-litre TDU5 diesel engine from Peugeot doesn’t comply with the strict emission norms. Quite a few months back Premier made its plans vocal about using Fiat’s diesel motor in the Rio. Recently Fiat and Premier officially joined hands, wherein the Italian automaker would provide 28,000 engines for the Rio over a period of three years. All this time, we believed that the Rio would be offered in a 89 BHP tune.

Now as the launch of the Premier Rio nears, the company has released some information about the Rio Multijet on their website. The Premier Rio will not get a VGT but instead will use a FGT (fixed geometry turbocharger). The 1.3-litre CRDi4 engine produces 72 BHP of peak power at 4000 RPM and 183 Nm of peak torque between 1800 and 2400 RPM. This is just 7 BHP and 31 Nm over the BSIII Peugeot sourced diesel engine and the Multijet powered car weighs exactly the same 1145 kgs as the regular diesel Rio. Everything else too remains the same as the regular Rio.

The reason to drop the 89 BHP diesel engine from the Rio has been done for cost purposes. Premier has been testing the Rio on the Mumbai-Pune expressway day in and day out and we have spotted in multiple times already. With just 72 BHP of power on tap, can the Rio feel as sprightly as one would expect a compact SUV to be? We will have to wait and find out. The wait is not going to be long as the launch of the Multijet enabled Premier Rio seems just around the corner. Meanwhile, checkout the brochure which shows the variants and engine options offered on the Rio.

2012 Premier RiO Brochure

Premier RiO Multijet Brochure

Tata Continues Fleet Testing Safari Storme

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 03:22 AM PDT

Safari Storme Testing

Tata Motors hasn’t stopped testing the Safari Storme yet as the company looks to sort out all issues before launch. The much awaited Safari upgrade has been a long time coming and looks like it won’t be here anytime before the festive season. First unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo, the Tata Safari Storme is a massive leap for the Safari in most aspects. The company has given the vehicle a much better platform (X2), which has been taken from the Aria crossover. This new platform is lighter and will give the Safari much better dynamics than its predecessor.

The Tata Safari Storme on test was snapped by Aqib Jamadar in Satara. There were around 8 such cars being tested on the NH4 highway. Some of these cars are not the top variants and feature regular wheels instead of alloy wheels. Tata Motors might be working to ensure the Safari Storme is trouble free as the company has to now battle with Renault’s Duster, which is priced in the same bracket. The company missed the opportunity of making hay while the sun shone, as the Safari Storme could have been brought to the market at a time when the Duster wasn’t launched and bookings of the Mahindra XUV500 were closed.

The Tata Safari Storme is powered by the same 2.2-litre DICOR diesel engine which does duty in the regular Safari and the Aria. This engine produces 140 PS of power and 320 Nm of torque. The new Safari gets minor tweaks to the exteriors and interiors but the changes to the chassis along with stiffer suspension will bring huge applaud from prospective Safari buyers. It remains to be seen how Tata Motors prices the Safari Storme, which if priced correctly, has the ability to take the market by Storme.

Safari Storme Test Fleet


Honda Unveils New European CR-V

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 02:54 AM PDT

2013 Honda CR-V Europe

Honda had already unveiled the new generation CR-V last December and the sales are on in the North American markets. But the European version was only showcased in concept form and it is not expected to hit the showrooms anytime before October end. However, the company has let out few images of the European version for the onlookers. The European version has a wider engine line-up. The original specifications of the car i.e. length – 4570 mm and heigh 1650 mm have been reduced by 5 mm and 30 mm respectively. The boot capacity is 589-litres and with the rear seats folded down, it becomes 1,648-litres. It sports a power tailgate which is unique to the European model.

Read the Honda CR-V Test Drive Review

The European version of Honda CR-V will be offered with both the two-wheel and four-wheel drive options, which is something new. It will be available in a tweaked 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine producing 153 BHP power output and 192 Nm torque. A 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine producing the 148 BHP of power output and 350 Nm of torque is also offered. Next year, the Honda CR-V will be offered with the new 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine that produces a power of 118 BHP. The European version will also sport a revised front bumper, headlamps with LED daytime running lights and rear LED lights. There would be re-shaped mirrors that incorporate turning signals and a fin-style antenna.

Honda has already confirmed that it doesn’t plan to launch the new CR-V in India anytime soon. The company will eventually bring the updated CR-V as the vehicle is brought in via the CBU route. However, a diesel powered CR-V is unlikely as the volumes are too low to justify the launch. Last month Honda sold 45 units of the CR-V in the Indian market, which is quite decent considering the crossover is available with a petrol engine only.

2013 Honda CR-V Interiors

2013 Honda CR-V

Chevrolet Camaro Gets Insane Modifications

Posted: 30 Jul 2012 01:26 AM PDT

Modified Chevrolet Camaro

Mad MArks Stereo in bradenton, Florida has come up with its latest creation, King Camaro, which is based on the Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible. The creative team have hidden the fifth generation 2012 Chevrolet Camaro beneath the chrome. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro comes with GM’s 6.2-litre V8 engine. The exteriors have been wrapped with chrome. One will find a custom front grille, colorless tail lamp covers, LED strips on the hood opening, devilish-looking headlamps and fog lights in red. What someone can’t miss are the massive 32-inch wheels which provide enough ground clearance. Perhaps, fitting 32-inch on a Chevy Camaro isn’t that easy a task.

The interiors have been painted with red chrome. The interiors tuning covers the most hard parts of the interior and red leather upholstery. Behind the driver’s seat one would find the audio system, speakers and the double-sided LCD flat screen rather than the traditional rear seat bench. Surely the modifications are quite extreme and makes the Camaro look totally crazy. Many feel that the tuner has spoiled the Camaro instead of improving it, by going so extreme with the modifications. The massive wheels are definitely a over kill for a car of this size.

Now you must be wondering how does a person climb into the car? Well you don’t climb in, you jump in. Undoubtedly this vehicle will draw a lot of eye balls on the road but not for the right reasons. Besides, why would any one want to ruin the practicality of the Chevrolet Camaro with such modifications?

Modified Chevrolet Camaro Interiors

Chevrolet Camaro 32-Inch Wheels

Chevrolet Camaro Chrome Modifications

The above Chevrolet Camaro’s wheels seem to be inspired from the Hummer H3 with wooden wheels!

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