|HIGH ON THE HIGHWAY:
(From left) The gorgeous Lamborghini Aventador J; The cute and chic Fiat 500L
The 82nd Geneva Motor Show that rocked Switzerland for 10 days last month was a true testament to the auto industry’s renewed hopes of selling the bold and the beautiful. With the Downturn threat seeming to have subsided, Geneva happily showcased a bunch of expensive, luxurious and furious cars, along with hybrids and other eco-friendly wheels. Take a look.
This close-to-production concept, designed in-house, is a peek into the new face of Tata’s designs. The well-proportioned car is full of attractive details. The Renault influence is clearly visible, but this Tata looks just right. While the concept has been displayed as a super-efficient range-extender, the production cars are likely to be powered by Tata’s three-cylinder DiCOR engine, previewed at the Delhi Auto Expo as well as an all-new three-cylinder petrol. The pillar-less ‘switch-blade’ doors aren’t likely to make it to production either. They look stunning on the prototype, though.
VW Cross Coupé
The Cross Coupé shown at Geneva is much closer to production. Staying true to its original form, its squarish lines are bold and handsome, the squared-off wheel arches have been carried over from the concept shown at Tokyo last year and the grille and headlights, neatly incorporated into a single element, work really well too. And it has a coupé-like vibe to it. The motors are very strong — they put out 300-odd bhp combined. It’s a plug-in diesel hybrid system that uses two electric motors and draws electricity from eight lithium-ion batteries. The Cross Coupé will be built on VW’s new MQB modular platform and is designed to be flexible enough for varying body styles. A lower-cost version of the Cross Coupé will almost certainly be evaluated for the Indian market.
|Bentley EXP 9 F
Another car on the MQB platform, shared between Audi and VW, is the new A3. Audi says it can now deliver a premium, high-quality driving experience with a lighter, more efficient platform, and that the new A3 will be proof of that. There will be a saloon version that’s to come to India, as well as a Cabriolet, but for now the hatch will be the first car on this platform. Material quality, MMI controls and in-car connectivity will be up to spec with the rest of the Audi range.
Bentley EXP 9 F
Bentley wanted to build the fastest and most expensive super-luxury SUV money can buy, and if first impressions of the EXP 9 F are anything to go by, the British carmaker is bang on target. The EXP 9 F is powered by a re-engineered version of Bentley’s W12 engine, capable of 290kph claimed top-speed. In addition to the flagship W12, a V8 diesel and a V6 plug-in hybrid are planned too. Designers claim the interiors have better quality materials and are more luxurious than any existing SUV. It’s as long as a Range Rover, but sits lower and has a sportier stance. It’s expected to cost nearly Rs 2.4 crore.
The face-lifted Cruze will soon be launched in India with updates seen on the hatchback version. The facelift includes a wider chin, vertically-aligned fog lamp clusters, and a new razor-wire-like design for the grille, replacing the earlier one. While the shape of the headlamps remains, it now features a clear-lens treatment with silver-reflector materials replacing black plastic accents. New alloy-wheel designs will be included too and the rear seats will be re-designed to improve headroom. Chevy may increase the power of the 2.0-litre VCDi diesel motor to 163bhp.
|VW Cross Coupé
At present, the C-Class is the most affordable Mercedes in India, but the company will soon enter a previously unexplored segment with the new A-class. The production version of the concept shown at the Delhi Expo was unveiled at Geneva. Although the styling has been toned down, the A-class looks stunning nonetheless and retains the muscular look of the concept. It’ll be powered by 107bhp and 136bhp 1.8-litre, common-rail turbo-diesels and a 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo petrol unit in two states of tune, producing either 120bhp or 154bhp. Since expensive hatchbacks remain niche products in India, a four-door saloon will come later. There are plans of a 4WD A25 AMG too, developing about 350bhp from a turbo-charged 2.0-litre four-cylinder motor.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
The star of the Geneva show was undoubtedly Ferrari’s fastest and most powerful road car ever. The 6.3-litre, 730bhp F12 Berlinetta replaces the 599 and marks the arrival of a new generation of V12 engines. Ferrari claims a 0-100kph time of 3.1 seconds and a top-speed of over 340kph. Even before its launch, the super car is already a hit, and Ferrari has received deposits for around 360 units. The F12 is shorter, narrower and lower than the 599. The first right-hand-drive F12s are expected only early next year, and the price is estimated to be around Rs 4 crore.
Fiat has extended its retro-chic 500 range with the new 500L. It borrows styling cues from the standard, two-door hatchback, particularly in the headlights and the grille, but this five-door version is longer, wider and taller. The 500L may be produced in India, and with a bit of nip-and-tuck, could duck under the important 4m mark, crucial for Fiat to make it really competitive. It could be a game-changer for Fiat if it can get the price right.
To be positioned above the yet-to-be-launched EcoSport, the Kuga will complement Ford’s SUV line-up here. The 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine will be ideal for the Indian market, and a more powerful version of the same engine is also available. A 148bhp, 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol is part of the Kuga range. However, it has only two rows of seats, which might be a deterrent in a market like ours, which favours 7-seater SUVs. The Kuga is based on the European Focus hatchback, and Ford says it will come up with a wide array of safety kits and a high-tech infotainment system.
Lamborghini Aventador J
Unlike conventional convertibles, the Aventador J has no retractable or removable roof or even a windscreen. It gets its name from the World Motorsport Governing Body’s ‘Appendix J’ regulations, which define racing car class specifications. The ‘J’ is also a reference to the one-off 1970 Lamborghini Jota, a high-performance version of the Miura. The Aventador’s carbon-fibre monocoque has been extensively modified to make up for the lack of a roof, and because Lambo has eliminated the air-con, navigation and stereo system, the J is significantly lighter too. If you are looking for an open-top V12 Lamborghini, the good news is that a more conventional Aventador roadster is in the works and is expected later this year.
Mitsubishi revealed the new Outlander, based heavily on the PX-MiEV concept earlier previewed at the Tokyo Motor Show. Minor changes from the concept include a softer front end with circular fog lights, and a revised front grille and bumper. The outgoing car’s 2.4-litre petrol will be replaced by a 2.0-litre 148bhp unit. But the real good news is that there will be a 2.2-litre, 148bhp MIVEC clean diesel engine too. Front and 4WD versions will be on offer, with stop-start, a new six-speed automatic gearbox and an eco-driving mode.
Pix courtesy: Autocar India