Monday, November 5, 2012

“Lexus Reveals LF-LC Blue Concept” plus 9 more Motorbeam

“Lexus Reveals LF-LC Blue Concept” plus 9 more Motorbeam

Link to Motorbeam.com

Lexus Reveals LF-LC Blue Concept

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 09:53 PM PST


2012 Lexus LF LC Blue Concept Front

Toyota's luxury brand Lexus has revealed its concept car Lexus LF-LC Blue which became one of the major attractions of the 2012 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. It was shown earlier at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show as well. The exterior is covered with the all new Opal Blue color with a futuristic sports car design language. Lexus LF-LC is sculpted with the use of advanced materials and technologies like carbon fiber and next generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system.

Under the hood is an enormous 500 HP petrol/electric hybrid engine powered by the Atkinson cycle combustion engine combined with an advanced high-energy battery pack that churns out supercar performance in an efficient manner. The LF-LC has the most powerful hybrid engine by Lexus till date. The concept's exteriors are bold and striking. The grille housing the Lexus badge looks quite aggressive with its sharp curves. The daytime running lights in the front are ‘L’ shaped with the combination of vertical fog lamps. The air intakes behind the doors are deep to aid faster engine cooling. The glass roof sweeps back beautifully to the rear, which continues the same design language as the front.

The interiors are a mix of brown and white with beautiful brushed metal trim and wood accents featuring two LCD touch screens for navigation, entertainment and information display. We don't know when Lexus will put this concept into production. We hope that the production version retains most of its bold character and the futuristic design. The competition is heating up in the sports hybrid space as concepts showcased by car makers like BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz have gathered a lot of attention these days.

2012 Lexus LF-LC Blue Concept Interior

2012 Lexus LF-LC Blue Concept Rear

Royal Enfield Will Double Production At Chennai Plant

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 09:50 PM PST


royal enfield bullet desert strom

Royal Enfield’s new Chennai plant will enable them to achieve a capacity for producing 1.5 lakh or more units per year, which is double of what they manage now with just 75,000 units. This will in turn help them to meet with the massive demand for the country's biggest lifestyle motorcycle company. This new plant is situated in Chennai, in an area of fifty acres of land. Royal Enfield has invested Rs. 150 crore in infrastructure to build their highly coveted bikes. The plant will start production sometime in the first quarter of 2013.

Last year, Royal Enfield sold 75,000 units. But this year, till October 2012, they have already sold 82,000 bikes. So they expect to sell about 1 lakh units till the end of this year. The company's growth was an amazing 50 percent in the last few months, which is a trend that the company is expecting to maintain for the coming months. So the new plant will give them the capability for production which is proportional to the growing demand. Royal Enfield customers currently face long waiting lists stretching into months, for their bikes to arrive. So this comes as a ray of hope for present as well as future buyers.

This iconic British Motorcycle Company saw a great change in image and desirability after the launch of their ‘Classic’ series in 2009 namely the Classic 350 and Classic 500 with the revolutionary Unit Construction Engine technology earlier used in the Thunderbird TwinSpark. This gave a new life to the brand which for many years was struggling with sales and was famed for their unreliability. This new engine and the revamped image of the ‘Classic’ brand has given Royal Enfield a wider audience and fan base which has resulted in tremendous sales. The latest entry into their stable is the much awaited Thunderbird 500, which is a great combination of superior cruising comfort with the power of the fuel injected 500cc engine from the Classic 500. The company has many expectations from this motorcycle to further contribute to the sales and popularity of the brand.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Launch

Auto Sales Increase Due To Festive Demand

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 09:44 PM PST


GM Talegaon Plant

Although, the Indian automobile industry has faced some challenging times this year, the Indian festive season looks to uplift the spirits and bring some cheer to the market as major players have posted good sales figures in the month of October (HERE). The festive season started with Navratras and is expected to continue till Diwali. The demand for automobiles is the highest in this season and the car makers look to cash in on this opportunity. After a decline in sales earlier this year, the festive season is bringing in some cheer for vehicle manufacturers.

In the two-wheeler space, Bajaj Auto, one of the major players in the market reported 3% increase in sales by selling 3.6 lakh two-wheeler units and more than 50,000 commercial vehicles in the month of October 2012, compared to the last year. TVS Motor also reported a 4% sales increase this year to 1.86 lakh units of two-wheelers. Hero MotoCorp, the country's biggest player of two-wheelers, reports the sales figure touching 5,29,215 units which is higher than 3% in the month of October 2012 compared to the last year. During the Navratra festival the company has reported sales of more than 3.5 lakh units in 15 days.

The four-wheeler market also experienced a boom in their sales chart during this season. Maruti Suzuki has been the top seller by selling more than 1.03 lakh units. Mahindra's sales increased by 13% this year to 82,898 units during the month of October. In the case of Tata Motors, sales growth of commercial vehicles topped the sales growth of passenger cars this year. 21% increase in commercial segment which comes out to be 47,026 units while 16% increase in passenger car segment to 21,119 units in October. Eicher Motors however experienced lower sales by 6% to 3945 units in the commercial segment. We hope the Indian automobile industry has a happy Diwali by posting great sales numbers this month.

Piaggio Vespa Plant Inauguration

Source – EconomicTimes

Nissan Launches Update For 2013 GT-R

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 09:36 PM PST


2013 Nissan GT-R exterior

This legendary successor of the iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R gets yet another set of updates for 2013, as Nissan has launched the Nissan GT-R 2013 version (called the 2014MY) recently, going on sale in Japan on the 19th of November 2012. This comes as no surprise as the Nissan GT-R, ever since its launch in 2007, has got better and better every year by leaps and bounds. The original car took the motoring world by surprise as it was faster than the Porsche 911 Turbo (its main rival) but was priced only half as much. The GT-R, in 2007 posted a time of 7:38:2 on the Nurburgring, where as the latest 2013 version has posted a time of 7:18:6! With a sophisticated launch control system, it does 0 – 100 km/hr in just 2.7 seconds, which is only but 0.2 seconds slower than the fastest car in the world, the Bugatti Veyron.

There have been no changes on the exterior and it looks pretty much the same as before. Also the new Nissan GT-R boasts the same 3.8-Litre twin-turbo V6 engine, but with the power pumped to 545 BHP (12 BHP more than last year and 65 BHP more than the original) and torque to 631 Nm. Nissan has achieved this by improving the intake efficiency, reducing airflow resistance and improving exhaust flow which has ultimately improved the low end and mid-range power delivery as well as high end acceleration.

The Nissan GT-R's performance was never owing to the power alone, but a brilliant chassis and suspension setup and brilliant weight distribution. For the latest version, lots of small subtle changes have been made to improve the agility and the amazing control that the GT-R has always been praised for. Nissan has lowered the center of gravity and fine tuned the suspension which improves cornering, grip and high speed stability. Also the brakes have been further improved. All changes have been done without affecting the ride quality and comfort which usually is the commonest quality lacking in most super cars. The steering response and feel too has been improved.

The interior has been offered in two trims – Black Edition and the Premium Edition. The Black Edition has a very sporty feel, with red and black interiors and steering wheel with RECARO bucket seats bring offered as an option. The Premium Edition is more stylish with fashionable two-tone interiors and Semiarinin leather seats. At the moment, the Nissan GT-R is miles ahead of its main competitor – the Porsche 911 Turbo. In spite of costing a lot more than its price in 2007, the GT-R is still less expensive than the 911 Turbo. But with the Turbo version of the latest Porsche 911 on its way, the competition is getting hotter than ever!

2013 Nissan GT-R dash

Updated Mahindra Stallio Spotted On Test

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 07:49 AM PST


2013 Mahindra Stallio

No, Mahindra hasn’t forgotten the Stallio just yet. The company continues to test the Stallio, which it launched more than two years back. The motorcycle was plagued with problems, forcing Mahindra to temporarily pull the plug on the product. A re-launch was expected earlier this year but has been delayed time and again. The reason is obvious. Mahindra wants to address all the issues on the Stallio before re-launching it in the Indian market.

Mahindra has made many changes to the Stallio, most of which are under the skin. The styling looks similar to the old bike although fresh graphics have been added to the tank. Mahindra continues to test the Stallio in and around Pune and a launch could happen anytime in the next couple of months. The Mahindra Stallio is powered by a 106.7 cc engine which produces a power output of 7.3 BHP and a torque output of 8 Nm. This engine is mated to a 4-speed gearbox. At the time of launch in 2010, the Mahindra Stallio was priced at Rs. 41,199/- (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

Mahindra is working hard to ensure their foray into the motorcycle segment is a successful one. The company is not only putting extensive hours in testing their upcoming products, but is also taking feedback from customers prior to launch. This enables them to make changes before the product reaches the mass market. The Stallio is the only Mahindra motorcycle which went on sale. The company had also showcased the 300cc Mojo, which is now due for launch in 2014. Mahindra pulled out from Engines Engineering recently and has setup its own R&D base for 2-wheelers.

Mahindra Stallio Facelift

Updated Mahindra Stallio

Many thanks to Rohit Paradkar for sharing the spy pictures with us. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Honda Starts Countdown For CBR500 Unveil

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 05:06 AM PST


Honda CBR500 Countdown

Honda has started a countdown on its official website, which points to a 12th November unveil for a range of motorcycles. Although Honda remains silent on the upcoming motorcycles, the covered motorcycles above are none other than the CBR500, CB500 and CB500X. The Japanese automaker will showcase these 500cc machines at the upcoming EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, which is open to the public from 15th to 18th November. These 500cc motorcycles are specially developed for emerging markets like Thailand and India.

All the three upcoming 500cc bikes from Honda are different in terms of styling but share most of the parts to offer aggressive pricing. The Honda CBR500 is a full faired machine, while the CB500 and CB500X are naked versions of the CBR500. Honda will offer combined ABS as an option on all these machines, which are likely to be launched in the Indian market in 2013. Prices are expected to start at around Rs. 3.5 lakhs for the CBR500, while Honda might bring in the CB500 at a later date.

Powering the Honda CBR500 is a 470cc, parallel-twin, engine employing liquid cooling. This twin-cylinder engine comes from the CBR250R (two engines joint in parallel format) to produce 46.9 BHP of peak power and 40.65 Nm of peak torque. Top speed is expected to be 169 km/hr while a 0 – 100 km/hr timing should be dealt with in less than 7 seconds. In order to keep costs in check, Honda has not given the CBR500 any high tech hardware. The Honda CBR500 will compete with the Kawasaki Ninja 650.

Ford Classic vs Toyota Etios – Shootout

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 04:17 AM PST


Fiesta_vs_Etios_Review

When it comes to entry level sedans, there are a very few choices. While Maruti Suzuki’s Swift DZire sells the most in the segment, it commands a huge waiting period and offers a very small boot. The Ford Classic and Toyota Etios are two of the most under-rated cars in the C-segment. Both vehicles have a lot to offer but put together, they sell less than half of what the DZire manages alone. If you are in the market for an entry level sedan, which one would should you choose between the Toyota Etios and the Ford Classic? Let’s find out.

While the Toyota Etios is much younger in terms of the design (the Etios was designed around 3-years back, while the Classic was designed almost 10 years ago), in terms of styling, the Classic looks much better than the Etios. The Ford Classic won’t attract attention like the fluidic Hyundai Verna, but in front of the bland looking Toyota Etios, the Classic looks very good. The boxy appearance of the Etios makes it very plain-Jane. Toyota has tried to spruce things up with the use of chrome but that doesn’t seem to help much.

Interiors

On the interiors side, both cars are very different. The quality of interiors in the Etios is very un-Toyota like, with plastic quality far from being the best in the segment. Cost cutting is very evident and the Etios doesn’t feel well put together. The Classic on the other end, has excellent built quality and feels well put together. The doors shut with a assuring thud, while the Etios’ doors are flimsy. The lighter shade of the Etios interiors gives it an airy feeling, while the all black theme (with silver inserts) gives the Classic’s cabin a more mature feel. The centrally mounted instrument cluster in the Etios is not to our tastes and is very distracting.

Toyota_Etios_18

What the Toyota Etios lacks in quality and fit and finish, it pulls back strongly over the Ford Classic in terms of interior room. The Ford’s rear seats lacks legroom and under thigh support. The Etios on the other end offers excellent amount of legroom for rear seat passengers. The Etios can carry five full-sized adults in comfort, while the Classic is more suited for kids at the rear. The Etios can also swallow more luggage than the Classic, with a boot that can accommodate 595-litres against the Classic’s 430-litres.

When it comes to petrol power, the 1.5-litre engine in the Toyota Etios produces 89 BHP at 5600 RPM and 132 Nm at 3000 RPM. The 1.6-litre petrol engine in the Ford Classic produces 101 BHP at 6500 RPM and 146 Nm at 3400 RPM. Both cars use a 5-speed manual transmissions which offer smooth shifts. Even with the extra power on tap, the Classic is not too significantly quicker than the Etios. The Classic is one of the fastest accelerating petrol cars in its segment but the Etios’ short gearing and lower weight helps it keep up with the Classic.

When it comes to diesel engines, both cars have almost similar power output. The Ford Classic uses a 1.4-litre DuraTorq motor to pump out 68 BHP at 4000 RPM and 160 Nm at 2000 RPM. The Toyota Etios uses a 1.4-litre D-4D engine to generate 67 BHP at 3800 RPM and 170 Nm at 1800 RPM. Both cars offer excellent driveability with minimal turbolag. Gearshift quality is good in both the diesel engined vehicles. In terms of mileage, the petrol Etios offers slightly better mileage, while in case of diesel, its the Classic which edges ahead slightly.

Both cars have good dynamics but the Fiesta edges ahead with sharper handling, good steering feedback and better high speed stability. The Etios has a very light steering, which is a boon in city conditions but vague at speed. The low weight also results in the Etios not being glued to the road at triple digit speeds. Ride quality of both cars is very good, with slight stiffness at low speed. Both cars have a turning radius of 4.9-meters which makes them easy to maneuver in crowded city traffic. Braking performance is on par with good stopping power.

The Toyota Etios range starts at Rs. 6.50 lakhs for the base petrol J variant and goes up to Rs. 9.49 lakhs for the top end VX-D diesel variant. The Ford Classic range starts at Rs. 6.71 lakhs for the base petrol LXi variant and goes up to Rs. 9.49 lakhs for the top end diesel Titanium variant. Equipment levels are almost similar in both the cars. The petrol Classic is cheaper than the petrol Etios by a considerable amount, while the top end diesel variants are priced the same. The Etios also suffers from the taxi image.

If you want a practical vehicle (more space, big boot, better resale value), the Toyota Etios is for you. But if you want a vehicle which will put a smile on your face every time you take the wheel, the Ford Classic should be your choice. Better quality, superior driving dynamics, fantastic engines and excellent mileage put the Ford Classic ahead of the Toyota Etios in this shootout.

Further Reading -

Ford Classic Test Drive Review
Toyota Etios Test Drive Review

Yamaha Launches Limited Edition Fazer & FZ-S

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 01:53 AM PST


2012 Yamaha Limited Edition

Yamaha has launched limited edition variants of the Fazer and FZ-S in the Indian market. This is the third time the company has offered limited edition versions of its popular 150cc motorcycles. The launch coincides with the upcoming festive season, where Yamaha expects to see a boost in demand for its products. In 2009, Yamaha had launched special editions of the FZ16, FZ-S and Fazer, which were painted in white and blue. In 2010 the company launched midnight special editions of the FZ16, FZ-S and Fazer. This time around the limited edition is available on the FZ-S and Fazer, the FZ16 doesn’t get a limited edition model.

The limited edition Yamaha Fazer and Yamaha FZ-S get the Yamaha name on the front forks, racing stripes on the alloy wheels, purple colored grab handles and midship muffler along with a new purple and silver dual tone paint job. There are absolutely no mechanical changes to either of these motorcycles and they continue to be powered by the same 153cc, single-cylinder petrol engine. This motor belts out 14 PS of power and 13.6 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 5-speed gearbox.

The limited edition models do come at a minor premium. The Fazer limited edition is priced at Rs. 78,130/-, while the limited edition FZ-S is priced at Rs. 73,030/- (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi). Thus you pay Rs. 1500/- more for the limited edition models, which is well worth it, considering not too many of these will be sold. Yamaha had launched two limited edition variants of the R15 Version 2.0 earlier this year, one with fiery red paint job, while the other was finished in white and red colors.

2012 Yamaha Fazer Limited Edition

2012 Yamaha FZ-S Limited Edition

BMW X1 Facelift Reaches China, India Launch Soon

Posted: 04 Nov 2012 11:25 PM PST


BMW X1 Facelift China

Earlier this year, the Bavarian luxury car maker launched the facelifted BMW X1 in Europe and US. The same facelift has now been spotted on the Chinese roads. The vehicle is all set to be launched on November 12, 2012 in China. The BMW X1 is manufactured in China by the Brilliance-BMW joint venture. The same venture also churns out the BMW 3Li and the BMW 5Li. After its official launch in US, the car maker is launching it in the dragon country pretty quickly with a lag of just five months.

The facelifted BMW X1 comes with few new features like a new front bumper, remolded headlights, new side mirrors, newly designed taillights and an updated rear bumper. The luxury car maker had also given options of choosing either an xLine trim or a Sport Line trim to add that bit of aggression to the vehicle. The xLine features extended bumpers and side-skirts, air-intakes and the grille with Titanium Silver matt finish and a set of exclusive 18-inch alloys in Y-spoke design. The Sport Line trim has similar features but with a black high-gloss finish.

The facelift also carries the company's fuel-saving Efficient Dynamics technology along with the Brake Energy Regeneration and a Start-Stop system. The BMW X1 xDrive28i is powered by a TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder engine that generates a peak power of 300 HP and 406 Nm of torque. The pricing would start from 2,80,000 Yuan (Rs. 24.42 lakhs) and the top end variant will be available for 4,98,000 Yuan (Rs. 43.13 lakhs). BMW has also launched the X1 facelift in Malaysia.

The facelifted BMW X1 has been spotted in India quite a few times already, including once at ARAI. However BMW has chosen to delay the launch for reasons best known to them. Audi is on the tail of BMW as far as sales go and the new X1 should help the Bavarian automaker fend off competition from its German rival for sometime. BMW’s next launch in India is the 6-Series Gran Coupe, later this week. We expect BMW to launch the facelifted X1 by the end of this year.

2013 BMW X1 China

2013 BMW X1 Facelift

2013 BMW X1 Interiors

Spy Pictures Source – AutoHome.com.cn

Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Returns 28 km/l

Posted: 04 Nov 2012 11:12 PM PST


2012 Civic Diesel

There is a new fuel efficient model joining the European markets. The all new Honda Civic hatchback is equipped with the Japanese brand's recently revealed 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine. This engine features Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology. It has been developed exclusively for Europe and built alongside the Civic hatch itself at Honda's factory in Swindon. Honda has also announced the pricing for the 1.6 i-DTEC Civic. It starts from £19,400 (Rs. 16.71 lakhs) for the base SE model, rising to £20,595 (Rs. 17.74 lakhs) for the ES and £23,175 (Rs. 19.97 lakhs) for the top-of-the-range EX.

Read The 2012 Honda Civic Review

The newcomer to the engine range is a much welcomed economical edition. The Honda Civic diesel will have a power output of 120 PS at 4000 RPM and torque output of 300 Nm at 2000 RPM at its disposal. On the combined cycle, the Civic equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox and the 1.6 diesel engine will return 78.5 mpg UK (27.78 km/l) and emit only 94 g/km, which makes it emissions tax exempt in the UK. The same powertrain will be offered in 2013 on the European CR-V as well. Standard features on all trim variants of the 1.6 i-DTEC model are identical to the equivalent 2.2-litre i-DTEC cars, but with the addition of new 16-inch alloy wheels.

While Honda is betting big on its new range of diesel engines for the European market, the automaker doesn’t plan to bring any diesel engine in the Civic, Accord or CR-V in India. The 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is said to be too advanced for Indian fuel conditions and is not being brought to the petrol dominated U.S market either. Honda will instead focus its attention on smaller diesel engines, which it is developing for the Brio, Jazz and City models.

Civic i-DTEC

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