Monday, November 19, 2012

“Land Rover Discovery 4 Test Drive Review” plus 8 more Motorbeam

“Land Rover Discovery 4 Test Drive Review” plus 8 more Motorbeam

Link to Motorbeam.com

Land Rover Discovery 4 Test Drive Review

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 06:05 AM PST


Land Rover Discovery 4 Test Drive Review

Land Rover Discovery 4 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car tested: 2012 Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 76,39,640/-

Land Rover is one of the oldest four-wheel drive vehicle manufacturers in the world, developing one of the most capable SUVs that money can buy. The British automaker first launched the Discovery in 1989, which shared underpinnings with the flagship Range Rover. Today the Land Rover Discovery is in its fourth generation and is called the Discovery 4 (LR4 in the US). The vehicle has got several awards including the best large SUV in the world. This 7-seater SUV is quite capable and benefits from Land Rover design and technology. It is available in India with a TDV6 diesel engine, making it an formidable alternative in the full sized SUV space.

Exteriors – The styling of the Land Rover Discovery 4 is very similar to the Discovery 3. The vehicle uses the same integrated body frame structure but the lights are now altered to give the Discovery a more smooth appearance. The rounded styling is very Range Rover like and makes the Discovery look modern yet retro. Even though the overall styling of the Discovery is true to the original model, the latest version is significantly more aerodynamic than its predecessors.

The front grille is very prominent and the wheel arches have a massive bulge. The headlights and tail lights are LEDs and the massive 19-inch wheels give the Discovery 4 a purposeful stance. The subtle lines on the body are very neatly executed. This Land Rover is menacing in size and measures 4838 mm long, 2176 mm wide (with mirrors) and 1837 mm tall. The ground clearance of 185 mm can be increased to 310 mm with a touch of a button. With such massive dimensions, the Discovery 4 is almost unmissable on the road at attracts a lot of attention.

The Discovery 4′s cabin is impressive. Not only is it luxurious, it is highly practical too.

Interiors – Quality levels of the Discovery 4′s cabin is absolutely top notch. Everything has been well put together and the attention to detail is simply mind boggling. The beige interiors are extremely roomy and the large glass area gives an airy feeling to the passengers. The high seating gives an excellent view of the road ahead and everything falls in place, like the perfect positioning of the power window switches and the highly adjustable front arm rests (there are no rear arm rests in the Discovery 4). The steering wheel is big and has quite a few buttons to control audio, telephone and cruise functions. We love the way the horn buttons are placed.

Clean and easy to read instrument cluster features a rectangular screen to display vital vehicle information on the move. One can toggle between vehicle set-up (speed warning, alarm sensors, reverse dip-mirror, drive-away locking, 2-stage unlocking, etc) to audio system, etc. Distance to empty and a digital speedometer is displayed too.

The Discovery 4 has keyless entry with the push button start button located on the left side of the steering wheel. The stalks feel solid and the premium materials are very soft and feel good to touch. The round AC vents have silver surrounds and the use of silver, wood and beige is very tastefully done. The center console houses a touch screen system which carries vehicle information and various other features including audio, phone, etc. The terrain response system sits right below the AC controls, while the gear lever is a stick shift and the hand brake is electronic.

Land Rover have made the Discovery 4 very practical. This vehicle is a 7-seater in the true sense and offers oodles of versatility. There are two glove boxes and the amount of storage locations in this SUV is truly worth noting. Even the last row of seats have good storage areas and you can always find a bottle holder in the Discovery 4. The second and third row of seats fold flat to give an enormous amount of luggage space. Charging points and AC vents are present on all rows of seats. There is even an AUX port for rear passengers!

The first two rows of seats are comfortable and offer excellent amount of legroom and headroom. The last row of seats offer decent legroom and the jump seats are more suited to kids. The split tail gate lends the Discovery 4 an easy way to store and retrieve luggage. The parcel shelf is adjustable. All three rows of the Discovery 4 have a sunroof, although only the first row one opens. The Harman/Kardon Logic 7 surround audio system offers very good sound quality. There is even a small refrigerator right below the front centre arm rest.

Performance – Powering the Land Rover Discovery 4 in India is the same 3.0-litre, twin-turbo diesel engine which does duty in the Jaguar XF S. However the Discovery 4 is a much heavier vehicle but this motor copes up very well. Producing 245 PS of power (XF produces 275 PS) and most crucially 600 Nm of torque, the Discovery 4 is very drive-able. The best part about this TDV6 powertrain is the ability to offer 500 Nm of torque in 500 milliseconds from idle. That is an 83% of maximum torque available instantly. Performance is very good from SUV standards and the Discovery 4 responds to throttle inputs briskly.

This engine is mated to a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic gearbox. Shift the gearbox into manual mode and the instrument cluster conveys to you – ‘Command shift activated’. On full steam, the Discovery 4 will sprint to 100 km/hr from standstill in 9.6 seconds. That is very comfortable for a vehicle which weighs almost 2.6 tonnes! Engine is refined and revvs all the way to a shade above 4500 RPM.

Land Rovers are very capable off-road and the Discovery 4 carries the same genes forward, which makes it an extremely capable machine on the road less traveled. With an approach angle of 36.2 degrees, ramp break over angle of 27.3 degrees and departure angle of 29.6 degrees, the Discovery 4 is at home in every situation. The highly sophisticated Terrain Response System (with 5 settings), Hill Descent Control (with Gradient Release Control) and adjustable ride height makes it a cake walk to go off-road. The wading depth of 700 mm makes the Discovery the perfect vehicle for cruising through water logged roads.

Driving Dynamics – Even with all that weight and hefty dimensions, the Discovery 4 offers splendid dynamics. With so much bulk to move, the Discovery 4 does have body roll, although its well contained and handling is safe and predictable. A larger anti-roll bar helps in reducing the vehicle’s roll rates. Cornering is precise with steering giving ample feedback to the driver. Road holding is excellent and the Discovery doesn’t get unsettled at speed. The anti-drag lips on the front bumper are said to reduce aerodynamic lift at high speeds by up to 50%.

Ride quality is one of the best we have seen in this segment and the Discovery 4 absorbs everything in its stride with utmost zest. Potholes? What potholes? The Discovery simply glides over the worst of roads, soaking up everything without transferring even a hint to the occupants. We are thoroughly impressed with the braking performance of the Discovery 4, the vehicle stops right in line without any hint of uneasiness. Pedal feel is excellent and Land Rover has used aluminum in the brakes to reduce weight.

Verdict – SUVs are turning soft these days and no longer offer go-anywhere capabilities. In these times, Land Rover has successfully managed to give SUV lovers the best of both worlds. The Discovery 4 is luxurious but at the same time practical. It is splendid on the road and off it too, offering very good dynamics. The Land Rover badge further enhances desirability, making the Discovery 4 easily the best full sized SUV in the market today.

The Discovery 4 is a good blend of luxury, practicality and off-road performance, something which every SUV should be.

What’s Cool

* Practicality
* Ride quality
* Features
* Off-road capability

What’s Not So Cool

* No paddle shifts
* CBU model

Land Rover Discovery 4 Specifications

* Engine: 2993 cc, LR-TDV6
* Power: 245 PS @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 600 Nm @ 2000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed auto
* Top Speed: 180 km/h
* 0-100 km/h: 9.6 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 6-7 km/l (City), 8-9 km/l (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Electronic Adjustable Independent Air Suspension
* Tyres: 255/55/19 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: 360 mm ventilated disc with twin-piston sliding calliper (Front), 350 mm ventilated disc with single piston sliding calliper (Rear)
* Safety: ABS, Electronic Brake Assist, Roll Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control, 8 Airbags, Parking Aid With Rear Camera

Land Rover Discovery 4 Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4838 mm X 2176 mm X 1837 mm
* Wheelbase: 2885 mm
* Ground clearance: 185 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.90-metres
* Boot Volume: 280-litres, 1192-litres (with rear seats folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 82-litres
* Kerb Weight: 2583 kgs

LML Unveils Star 125cc 4T Automatica Scooter

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 03:44 AM PST


2012 LML 125cc 4T Automatica

LML has discontinued its production in India but their scooters in international markets are creating quite a good presence. At the 2012 EICMA motorshow in Milan, LML showcased their range of scooters, the LML Star Light along with the newly introduced Star 125 cc 4T Automatica. The Star Light range has engine options ranging from 50 cc to 125 cc in the 2-stroke segment and from 125 cc to 200 cc in the 4-stroke segment. The Star 125cc 4T Automatica, as the name suggests, gets a variator (automatic) transmission and rest of them are mated with a 4-speed manual gearbox.

The Star 125 cc 4T Automatica is LML's first automatic scooter powered by a 4-stroke, 125 cc engine producing 6.8 PS of power at 8000 RPM and employs a Variator transmission, which was developed and provided by Adler. The company claims a fuel efficiency figure of 46 km/l and the scooter has a 7-litre fuel tank. The frame is made of welded steel pipes which are integrated into the sheet metal body to reduce the weight and enables the scooter to be more maneuverable and agile. The rear brake is no longer operated by pedal on the footrest and instead, it's done via a brake lever on the left handle like in conventional automatic scooters.

The styling of the scooter is retro and in tune with its vintage-styled Star Deluxe range of scooters and looks somewhat like a Vespa. The scooter has been unveiled in four variants, namely Classic, Glamour, Vintage and Prestige. Also, a variety of color combinations will be provided with the option of customization. The Star 125cc 4T will be available at a price of €2,250 (Rs. 1.57 lakh) when it is launched in December 2012. LML is unlikely to get this range of retro scooters to India.

 

2012 LML 125cc 4T Automatica Side

 

Will Honda’s Amaze Displace Maruti’s DZire?

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 03:34 AM PST


2013 Honda Brio Sedan

Honda’s comeback in the Indian market is led by diesel-powered cars. The first vehicle to get a diesel engine in Honda’s India line-up is the Amaze, which is the sedan version of the Brio hatchback. A diesel option in any vehicle can offer drastic increase in the chances of success. Thus the Honda Amaze is likely to increase sales by such a dramatic amount, that the Japanese automaker might have to resort to waiting period on this sub 4-metre sedan, which is developed specifically for emerging markets.

Honda has conducted a media drive of the Amaze in Japan. According to the reviews flowing in, the company has hit jackpot with the Brio based sedan. Our friends from Autocar India have driven the vehicle and their review reveals some interesting bits about the car. Here are some salient points about the Honda Amaze -

  • 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is based on the 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine. It uses twin-cam and 16-valves.
  • Honda hasn’t revealed power figures but around 80 BHP of power is expected. This diesel motor uses a fixed geometry turbo.
  • This diesel engine is refined and responsive. There is very little turbo-lag and the motor does offer a surge once the turbo spools up.
  • Clutch and gearbox is light and smooth, making the Honda Amaze a very good city car. Fuel efficiency should be around 24 km/l.
  • Steering has more weight than the light steering found in the Brio hatchback.
  • 60 mm longer wheelbase than the Brio gives the Amaze very good rear space, more than the DZire.
  • Three people can sit in comfort at the rear due to low centre tunnel. Doors are longer than the Brio.
  • Dashboard is identical to the Brio. Boot space is bigger than the DZire’s 316-litres.
  • The Amaze gets double chrome slats on the front grille along with a different bumper to differentiate it from the Brio.

Clearly the first impressions about the Honda Amaze are very positive, with the vehicle appearing to be better than the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire in most aspects. The Amaze will be launched in April 2013 with both petrol and diesel engines on offer. Both engines are mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The petrol Amaze will get a CVT gearbox later. Expect prices to start at around Rs. 7 lakhs for the base diesel variant.

Honda Brio Interiors

Honda Brio Sedan

Source – Autocar India

All New Range Rover Sport Set For 2013 Launch

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 02:18 AM PST


2013 Range Rover Sport

The next generation Range Rover Sport is in the pipeline and will be launched in 2013. This new model (codenamed L494) will see a lot of changes and deviations from the outgoing version. It will have an all new aluminum chassis and body modified from its bigger brother, the new Range Rover, thus dumping the older chassis which was borrowed from the Discovery. This in turn will make the new Range Rover Sport a lot lighter, by about 400 kgs, and more agile. The new model will also be available as a 5–seat as well as 7–seat options, making it quite a practical SUV.

Read The Range Rover Sport Review

There are few changes in the styling with a sloping roof, big spoiler and other cosmetic touches which give it a sportier appearance. Land Rover says that this new Sport will be more sporty to drive and will possess better handling characteristics. They are testing the car at the Nurburgring for improved driver involvement and feel with a quicker steering and better tuned suspension. Thus the new Range Rover Sport will give good competition to the likes of the Mercedes ML63 AMG and the Porsche Cayenne GTS.

The 2013 Range Rover Sport is expected to be powered by the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, boasting of 255 BHP of power as well as the supercharged 5.0–litre V8 petrol engine with more than 500 BHP of power. It is also expected that a new diesel-electric hybrid engine, developed by Land Rover, will find its way into the new Sport. Due to all the changes, it is expected that it will be slightly more expensive than the current model, but given the capabilities and a more complete package, the new Range Rover Sport will definitely be worth the asking price.

2013 Range Rover Sport Side

2013 Range Rover Sport back

Source – AutoExpress

Guess This White SUV

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 01:24 AM PST


This white colored beast has a go anywhere attitude. The shape is unmistakable so it shouldn’t be difficult to guess the above vehicle.

Yamaha To Focus On Scooters, No New Bikes Till 2015

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 12:21 AM PST


Yamaha Majesty Scooter

Yamaha plunged into the scooter market in September 2012 with the launch of the Ray. Yamaha plans to focus only on scooters till 2015 by which time they expect the Indian scooter market to grow from the current 20 per cent to a whopping 40 per cent. So the Japanese motorcycle company will not launch any new bikes till 2015 but a range of scooters with different profiles and target customers which they expect to give considerable boost to their overall sale volumes.

Read The Yamaha Ray Review

Yamaha had launched the Ray mainly for the young female population and gained almost 5000 bookings within a few weeks and sold about 16,000 units by end of October. They plan to sell about 40,000 to 45,000 units by the end of 2012. Their next scooter will be quite sporty and will be targeted towards young men. By the end of 2015 Yamaha are eying a market share of 20 per cent in the scooter category.

Along with this Yamaha are also going through an expansion plan. They have invested Rs. 1500 crore in a new plant in Chennai which is expected to start production in 2014. Also they are expanding their dealerships from 1300 to 2000 outlets by 2014. The R&D division is working for better localization of products and other measures to reduce the cost of motorcycles and scooters. Thus with new product line-up, new factory and better localization, they are targeting to sell 1 million units by 2014 and an ambitious 2 million units by end of 2016.

Thus entry into the scooter market definitely comes as an added advantage because data from Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers says that sales of scooters in October rose by 32.39 per cent, whereas motorcycle sales grew by only 6.71 per cent. The Japanese company also announced that after 2015, they will launch a new commuter bike in the 125 cc category. It will be priced between Rs. 40-50,000/0. But till then their current bikes will receive only upgrades. Thus there is no hope of a 250 cc bike from Yamaha in the near future.

Source – MyDigitalFC/a>

Honda Recalls CBR250R Due To Brake Issue

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 12:02 AM PST


Honda_CBR250R_HRC

Honda has recalled 11,500 units of the CBR250R in India due to a front brake issue. This recall affects motorcycles manufactured between March 2011 to September 2012. It is a voluntary recall and will take less than an hour to be conducted at a Honda dealership. The problem will be resolved for all affected vehicles free of cost. Most likely all Honda CBR250R motorcycles sold in India are affected by the front brake issue as sales of the CBR250R commenced in India in March last year.

“There is a possibility of limited ineffectiveness in front brake application, though this concern doesn’t impact the overall braking functionality and effectiveness of front and rear brakes under normal riding conditions” – Honda said in a statement.

This brake issue related recall doesn’t affect ABS equipped Honda CBR250R motorcycles. This quarter-litre CBR is powered by a 249.6 cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine which produces a peak power output of 25 BHP at 8500 RPM and peak torque output of 23 Nm at 7000 RPM. This engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission. The CBR250R accelerates to 100 km/hr in less than 9 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 155 km/hr. The styling is inspired from the VFR1200F and Honda locally manufacturers the CBR250R in India, helping it to price the bike very aggressively.

The Honda CBR250R indirectly competes with the KTM Duke 200 and Kawasaki Ninja 250R, as pricing of the after mentioned bikes is very different from the Honda motorcycle. The CBR250R is available in 4 variants – Standard, Standard tri-color, ABS and ABS tri-color. The tri-color variants are priced at a premium of Rs. 1500/- over the regular colored CBR250Rs. The Honda CBR250R range starts at Rs. 1.92 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai).

Honda_CBR250R_Instrumentation

Volkswagen India To Import Bentley Cars

Posted: 18 Nov 2012 11:09 PM PST


Did you know that Bentley was owned by Rolls-Royce for quite a few years? After Rolls-Royce hit financial troubles, the owners sold the off company. While BMW took over Rolls-Royce, it was Volkswagen who took over Bentley. The German automaker invested $2 billion in reviving Bentley and as they say, the rest is history. Today Bentley is doing very well in the super luxury car space, competing with Rolls-Royce for market share.

India is one of the most promising markets in the world, with sales of luxury cars increasing gradually. Bentley is present in India through its tie-up with Exclusive Motors, who are the official importers for the British car brand. However this could change soon, as Volkswagen is planning to bring Bentley under the Volkswagen Group Sales India umbrella. This would result in Volkswagen becoming the official importer of Bentley cars in the country.

In May this year, Volkswagen had announced the appointment of Volkswagen Group Sales India as the official importer of Porsche. By importing themselves, VW has better control over the prices which results in higher profits for the German auto giant. Bentley cars are produced in Crewe, England and are hand built. Thus there are absolutely no chances of prices of Bentley cars coming downwards as CKD operations are not possible.

Bentley currently sells the Continental Flying Spur, Continental GT, Continetal GT Convertible and Mulsanne in the Indian market. The Bentley range starts at Rs. 2.15 crore (on-road, Mumbai). The company presented an SUV Concept – EXP 9 F at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, which could go into production next year.

Land Rover Discovery 4 Picture Gallery

Posted: 18 Nov 2012 04:49 AM PST


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