Volvo V60 D5 hybrid in India preview

Volvo Motors India are very upbeat after the fantastic response they received for the Volvo S60 and the Volvo XC60, two products which were unveiled in India within a gap of 3 months. Both these cars have now started commanding a waiting period. Well, we at Indiandrives have got information from one of Volvo’s PR agencies that Volvo are going to launch the Volvo V60 D5 hybrid in India by next year. It would be India’s first diesel hybrid car and notably the first diesel hybrid production car for the world as well. We had earlier given you a preview of the Volvo V60 D3 and you may follow the link for the same. However the D5 hybrid is another prospect altogether. This car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2011 and showed the perfect promise of the diesel economy along with hybrid emission talents.

The technology is not being used in a sedan or SUV but a station wagon. Yes, you read it correct, the Volvo V60 D5 hybrid in India would be a station wagon. Well, I am not going to elaborate on the looks of this car here since that has been extensively done in my previous article. The thing that I would be concentrating on more would be the technology that this car would carry around. Apart from the 2.4 liter turbocharged diesel engine which is good for 218 Ps and 440 Nm of torque, this car also gets a 71 Ps producing 12kW Li-ion battery pack. This battery pack or rather the whole electrical system is termed as ERAD which translates to Electric Rear Axle Drive. It is said that this electric motor provides a range of 50 kilometers. Combination of both the diesel and electric motors would result in a huge 1300 kms of range on a tankful for this big station wagon. That is impressive by any standards. This battery pack has been developed by a power company in Sweden named as Vattenfall and Volvo Motors. Within 4.5 hours, the battery can be completely charged with a 10A power socket. If one has the 16A socket, then the charging time is reduced to only 3 hours. Methods to save the battery power range from the usual brake energy regeneration system and a new and innovative pre-heating/cooling system. The latter increases or decreases the cabin temperature for air conditioning needs well in advance before the vehicle actually starts on its journey. It can be activated via a mobile phone or an inbuilt timer.


Inside the car, the interiors are as innovative as they can be. According to the driving mode selected, the interiors change color reminding one of the eco friendliness of the car. There are three modes namely Pure, Hybrid and Power. Well, the names are self explanatory and the Volvo V60 D5 hybrid can also calculate the maximum range even before one steps on the gas. All the driver aids inside the cabin ensure that the vehicle is being driven in the most efficient mode and there should be as little pollution possible. The Electric Motor is on its own in the “Pure” mode whereas “Power” is the mode in which the diesel and the electric motors work in unison ensuring 289 Ps of power and approximately 640 Nm of torque. Here the performance factor takes over and the Volvo V60 D5 can ditch its awkward side skirts and propel itself from 0-100 kmph in only 6.7 seconds. At any point of time, one push on any of the three buttons will decide which mode you want to drive in. For the “Hybrid” mode, it is more of both the motors combining together and giving the best balance of low emissions as also driving pleasure. In this mode, the average of the vehicle would stand at 53 kms per liter and also CO2 emissions in the range of 49 kgm. This figures are simply outstanding for any vehicle, leave alone a station wagon.

Not one to skimp on equipment, Volvo Motors would provide the vehicle with an optional All Wheel Drive system or AWD. This unit would also differ from all other conventional system wherein which the power transmission is handled mechanically. Instead an advanced central control unit would distribute the torque here. In all these techno warfare, Volvo Motors certainly haven’t forgot their main mantra and that is “Safety”. The electric motor as also the battery pack don’t compromise on the company’s high safety standards. They are safely tucked away in their own enclosure. They are not present anywhere close to the crumple zones or air bags deployment. In the interests of enhanced safety, Volvo Motors have also provided the V60 hybrid with a circuit breaker which would actually cut off the battery functions in the event of an accident or crash. As of now, the vehicle would only be rear wheel drive with that optional AWD system.

This car is scheduled to go into production soon and Volvo Motors are ensuring that the battery pack in this vehicle is designed for longevity and trouble free operation. However cost would be a major hindrance and Volvo are taking their Chinese owner Geely’s help in reducing costs. Prices are still speculated and the best that I can think of in the Indian context would be something close to Rs 60 lakhs for the hybrid variant. However going by the details that were given by the Volvo PR agency, this car is worth every bit of that money and is especially worth for a country like India where diesel is cheaper than petrol.

While this may not be related to the launch of Volvo V60 D5 hybrid in India, it definitely is related to Volvo Motors’ Indian operations. One of cousins recently went to check out the Volvo S60 car in a Volvo show room. He came back very impressed with the knowledge that the sales person had plus the innovative method of explaining the vehicle’s attributes. The sales person had an Apple Ipad with him and in the Ipad was an application specially made for Volvo Motors, known as iVolvo. Using this application, he could literally walk my cousin though the various technologies and systems that Volvo employs in the S60. While many would be bored of listening to Dynamic Stability, Laser Assisted auto braking and stuff, the interactive iVolvo application was a refreshing change and very interactive as well. It also took my cousin through some Volvo design theme and the testing of a car’s fuel efficiency in ideal conditions. Simply amazing. That is what my cousin had to say and he also said that this was the best show room experience that he ever had in his life. Kudos to Volvo Motors India for taking up this initiative.

BlueMotion technology – an insight

Volkswagen India have launched their 2011 Volkswagen Passat in India with BlueMotion technology. Now the name sounds eerily similar to Mercedes’ BlueEfficiency and BMW’s EfficientDynamics. Well it is precisely the same albeit at a lower cost but with almost the same benefits befitting the other Germans. Like we had earlier reported that Volkswagen India are going to start a Think Blue initiative with the launch of the 2011 Passat, now we would be taking you through the BlueMotion technology world. BlueMotion essentially means providing the vehicle with exemplary power, fuel efficiency and at the same time leaving less of a carbon foot print. Now all these terms cannot be taken in the same vein or can they be? As they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”, this has been taken to the next level by Volkswagen with the BlueMotion technology.

To save fuel (in all the terms) we have options of cycling to work, car pooling with colleagues, taking the stair case instead of the elevators or even shutting off the car’s engine in traffic signals. However the new 2011 Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion does all of this without leaving out the convenience factor in them. To start with, under the hood, the Passat boasts of a high tech TDI engine which has the latest direct injection technology and a turbocharger. With this, one gets lower emissions, more power and higher fuel economy. The surge of torque that this car carries with it ensures that one doesn’t have to change gears too often, thus maximizing efficiency. The optimized gear ratios of this car with both the manual and Dual Clutch transmission have longer ratios, delayed downshifts and early upshifts in the interest of better fuel economy and proper combustion of the fuel. This car gets the Auto start-stop as standard and this ensures that the engine is turned off automatically at red lights or in a traffic jam. This happens only when the vehicle is stationary for more than 15 seconds. Once the traffic jam clears up or the lights turn green, just press the accelerator and the motor comes to life. Mind you, during this time, the other electrical appliances inside the car are still running, ensuring no discomfort to the occupants. There is also a gear shift indicator inside the car which encourages the driver to select the right gear, given the right condition, to maximize the fuel efficiency. Last but not the least, the car boasts of brake energy recuperation. The kinetic energy which is usually wasted during braking is now converted into electricity and recharges the car’s battery.

There are ultra low rolling resistance tyres and also friction saving materials inside the engine compartment to ensure a smooth sailing for the car and in the process aid in better fuel efficiency as also good driveability. Engine management software has also been highly modified so that the car runs in its peak efficiency all the time.

Aston Martin coming to India next month

Significant rise in income as also a now pompous lifestyle amongst many Indians are forcing many foreign companies to begin investing in India. As we have time and again iterated, all the luxury car companies as also the ones catering to the budget/niche market are making their presence felt here in India. Well, if we Indians can welcome all of James Bond movies, then why not his very desirable high tech car? Yes, rumors have been floating around that Aston Martin are ready to enter India as early as next month. To this very regard, Aston Martin have opened up a dealership in South Mumbai, Kemps corner to be exact. Even before its official entry into India, the company has found about 32 buyers for its products. The Mumbai dealership is being handled by Infinity Group, the same ones who are handling BMW’s dealership in Indore and Mumbai.

To start with, Aston Martin would have two dealerships in India. One in Mumbai and the second in New Delhi. Deutsche Motoren would be handling the duties in New Delhi. Aston are banking on their DB5, DB9, Vantage V8 and the Rapide to sell extremely well. It is also being said that the current James Bond, Daniel Craig would also come down to India to be a part of the operations. Now BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Audi would have more competition to fend off. For more information on the Aston Martin’s welcome ceremony in India, stay tuned to www.indiandrives.com.

100,000th engine rolls out of Ford’s Chennai plant

Just a year after setting up their engine facility in Maraimalainagar Nagar, Chennai, Ford India have achieved the distinction of rolling out the 100,000th engine from this plant. The beauty of the thing is that the 100,000th engine was rolled out barely in 14 months of start up of the plant. This engine plant is highly flexible in the terms that it can roll out both diesel and petrol engines from the same production line. It is also the first in the world for Ford wherein both the engines are produced from the same line. Michael Boneham, Ford India’s Managing Director and President said that this engine unit stands true to the commitment of the company in delivering high quality products to the Indian and global community. He also said that the mother company in Detroit had rightly predicted that this plant would be crucial for their operation and Ford India have justified the $500 million investment done in this plant.

Though this plant is capable of producing 2,50,000 engines per year, it is now said that, after the 100,000th engine milestone that the next 100,000 engines would be produced at even a faster clip. It is also being said that about one third of the engines to roll out of this plant have been exported to markets as diverse as Thailand, Mexico and South Africa. Currently the plant manufactures 1 diesel engine and 5 variants of the petrol engine.

Tips on buying a used Ford Ikon

Ford India’s decision to do away with the Ford Ikon car recently was not a shock for many. The car was anyways long in the tooth and had already been replaced by its more classier cousin, the Ford Fiesta, in the global market. However now even the old Fiesta is getting replaced with an entirely new one, so it was a wise decision to axe the ageing Ford Ikon. However along with the axe comes a bonus, that of diminishing second hand Ford Ikon prices. I know that its been more than a month since anything worthwhile has been contributed to the used cars section. We are short staffed at the moment and this is the reason. When one of my friends recently sold his 8 year old Ikon and went and brought a new Fabia, another of my friend, who was very much interested in the Ikon asked me for some tips on buying a used Ford Ikon and here is what I had to tell him. Mind you, this is only the tip of the iceberg and lot more things have to be taken into consideration while buying a used car and especially a Ford Ikon.

First of all, the Ford Ikon was available in 4 variants. A 1.8 and 1.4 diesel, 1.6 and 1.3 liter petrol engines. The 1.4 engines were introduced as part of satisfying the economy brigade whereas the 1.6 was more for the enthusiasts who wanted more out of the Ford’s willing chassis. The 1.8 diesel was for taxi operators or for those looking for diesel economy. The main reason why many people prefer not buying a used Ford Ikon is because of the high maintenance tag associated with it. Well let me be clear on this. Yes, a used Ford Ikon does have a higher maintenance thing going on for it than the others in its class. First and foremost, the Ford Ikon is built on a tough chassis and so there wouldn’t be too many squeaks and rattles coming its way. The exterior body paint, though used to look dull on the old lot of cars however still will do with a wash and wipe sequence. Tougher body shell than the Maruti Esteem ensures less of dangling bumpers. Well you can get dangling bumpers if the said car has been in a shunt and the owner is one of those “chalta hain “ attitude people. Fixing the front or rear bumpers would set you back by approximately Rs 5000. The front door, if it has got a ding or doesn’t close properly, would have to be replaced and it is a costly affair at Rs 9k. The bonnet would go for Rs 7k whereas the front windscreen for Rs 5k and the rear one for 3k. The bonnet also costs Rs 3k. Not exactly cheap and so one must look or rather scrutinize the used Ford Ikon before buying it.

Tyre tread pattern for cars with steel wheels need to be checked properly. If the tyre appears bald, then ask the previous owner to have the tyres replaced. Also bald tyres indicate that the suspension must have also taken a hit. Check for suspension arm bushings visually and also for any oil leaks from the suspension. Now comes the time to check if all the light glasses have blacked out or are clear. If it’s the former, then either the glass can be cleaned or it can be replaced. Its not a costly thing. Checking out the interiors of the car would reveal minimal squeaks or rattling body parts as the Ikon has a tough body shell. However the interiors would seem Spartan in front of the modern cabins that today’s cars have to offer. Check if the lights are all working properly. Put on the handbrake or press the brake pedal to ensure that even the brake lights are working. A major problem with the Ford Ikon is its AC. It was notorious for throwing out fumes or hot air instead of cold one. Check the AC duct pipes and in my honest opinion, get a AC specialist with you for checking the car’s AC. It is better to detect or nip the problem at source rather than have to pay Rs 11k for getting the AC overhauled. The Ford Ikon’s interiors get soiled easily for the cars after 2004, which used beige as an option for upholstery. However a simple shampoo job would do the trick.

Seats are comfortable for the front passenger and driver however for the rear ones, it would be an intimate affair. The Ikon boasts of a hump in the form of the transmission tunnel at the rear and this limits the space available. Seating two however wouldn’t be a problem. The boot space is also good however it is marred by suspension intrusions. Few Ikons have been reported with some rust in the boot, so check if the boot hinges and all are rust free. Also check the seat belts and if they are past their expiry date. There shouldn’t be too much of slack when you brake hard. For the part of driving the car, the idle should feel real smooth and the car shouldn’t be sluggish while negotiating the city traffic. If it does, then the imported from Brazil fuel injector would have to be replaced and it would cost approximately Rs 5k. Yes, it is that expensive plus there would be a waiting period before that part is procured from Carnival Land. The Ford Ikon was known for its razor sharp steering response and a used one shouldn’t be different. The steering pump is highly reliable and so there shouldn’t be any issues with it. The 1.8 diesel, though a rare find was not much of a performer but then had many issues related to the engine. It is best to leave this car alone, even if it is available at a steal of a price. The 1.6 petrol though is a jewel however beware of tuning boxes attached or free flow exhausts used. In stock form, the engine develops 90 Bhp of power however tuning box specialists have known to take it to 120 Bhp +. Rev the engine and if you experience a screech instead of the free revving noise, then the timing belt has gone kaput and would set you back by Rs 3000. Brakes however have been an issue with Ikons from day one and if you experience that you have to push the brakes real hard, then don’t be alarmed as it is a known Ikon issue and buyers of a second hand Ford Ikon will have to learn to live with them.

On a bad stretch of road or potholes ( both which are more than readily available on Indian roads), the used Ford Ikon’s suspension should behave without any clunky noises. If it does clunk, it means a major suspension overhaul. Moreover, if the car pulls to one side during the test drive, then it also indicates wornout suspension bearings. Overall, it has been noticed that people shy away from buying Ford Ikons but then the newer lot consisting of the 1.4 TDCi engine are the gem for those looking for diesel power and economy. However the 1.4 diesel would be a rare find considering that it is a new unit.  The second hand Ford Ikon price for a 2000 model would be somewhere close to Rs 90,000 whereas for a 2005 model 1.6 petrol, it would be Rs 2 lakhs. Closer to 2008/2009 models would be available for Rs 4.33 lakhs. Be prepared to shell out a premium for the 1.4 diesel if you happen to find one. Ford has taken care of their service part and so there shouldn’t be any graying patches over it.

Change of guard at HSCI

Honda overall seems to be changing its executives in India. First was some one from the bike department and now it is the turn of Tatsuya Natsume to go back to Japan and Mr. Seki Inaba taking his place as the Marketing Director of Honda Siel Cars India. The former would actually go to Honda Philippines as their President and CEO. He has been associated with HSCI from the last 4 years and most of the success that the company has enjoyed in India can be attributed to him. Before he left India, Mr. Natsume said that his experience here was one of a learning one and he was pleased to be part of a growing economy which is also the fastest growing automobile markets in the world.

The new Marketing Director of Honda Siel Cars India, Seki Inaba has a been a long serving employee in Honda Japan and will be part of the 9 directors of the company in India. He has got an overall excellent marketing and sales experience as also the know how of changes in consumer trend towards automobiles.

Koenigsegg Agera lands in India

India, recently, has seen an influx of luxury car companies landing here with their bag and baggages. We have almost all the supercar building companies like Ferrari, Buggati, Lamborghini and many more. So how could Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg be left behind. Well, Koenigsegg have finally come down to India and have unveiled their product last night. Inter-Globe General Aviation was the company which launched this car here in India and at a stratospheric price tag of Rs 12.5 crores. Inter-Globe General Aviation is the subsidiary of InterGlobe Enterprises. The latter can be credited with introducing and running the Indigo airlines, a low cost affair in air travel. Other than the supercar, they also launched yachts, boats, motorcycles, premium helicopters and private jets in India. Not only that, they also rebranded themselves as InterGlobe Established Products known as The Estd in brands.

The Koenigsegg supercar is hand built in the company’s facility in Sweden and only 18 of such cars are made in a year. The Koenigsegg Agera uses a 4.7 liter V8 engine which makes 910 Bhp of power at 6850 rpm whereas the huge torque of 1100 Nm comes in at 5100 rpm. The car weighs in at just 1290 kgs. It has got a specially developed transversal transmission with paddle-shifts. The 0-100 kmph speed is dispatched off in this car in only 2.9 seconds whereas the top speed is a good 435 kmph. Koenigsegg CEO and Automotive founder Christian Von Koenigsegg was present at the launch and he said that though Europe, UK and China were their primary markets,  he expects India to be also a part of the bigger fish. He said that out of the 18 cars that they produce globally, only 2-3 would be allotted to India for this year. The Estd also launched another German supercar, the Gumpert as also the Vyrus motorbike and a cruiser from Hollister. The unveiling was done in India’s capital, New Delhi. The CEO and President of The Estd, Nigel Harwood was also present there. He said that The Estd plans on taking the Indian luxury market by a storm with its wide range of product offerings in land, air or water. No mention or comparison with the Buggati Veyron was done. It is also being mentioned that very soon Pagani Hyuara and Maserati are going to make their way to India. We at Indiandrives heartily welcome all these exotic brands.

2011 Volkswagen Passat launched in India

Volkswagen India which has been long teasing the Indian public with spy shots of its 2011Volkswagen Passat, have finally launched the car in India today. The car was unveiled in front of the press at 11.30 am at the Taj Lands End in Bandra, Mumbai. As expected, the earlier detailing of this car which we had captured in our preview (Volkswagen Passat 2011 preview) was right. Volkswagen India have as of now introduced the 2.0 TDI BlueMotion diesel. This high tech diesel power plant makes 170 Bhp of peak power whereas the transmission option runs both into DSG and manual trims. The new 2011 Volkswagen Passat in India uses the same platform as the outgoing car however it uses all new parts. Inside, rear seat space has increased by notches whereas the use of higher end materials makes it seem even more premium now.

The new Passat gets a cabin which mirrors that of the outgoing model however unlike the old car, there is a lot of chrome going around the cabin. The dash is horizontally split and the instrument dials are inset. On the outside, the new car gets a new head lamp cluster and new grille. The tail lamps are also new units. The new car however will be offered only in diesel option and later on in the year, a 1.8 TSI petrol unit is expected to join the diesel. There would be three trim levels on offer and those are, the base model, the 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Trendline with its Rs 20.80 lakhs price tag, the middle variant, the 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Comfortline which would go for Rs 23.80 lakhs and the top end 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Highline which would cost Rs 26.65 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai.

BMW Z4 versus Audi TT – war of the roadsters

Guess we can’t get enough of the Germans. Or is it so that so many German cars have inundated the Indian car scene that we are falling short of options? Whatever be the scene, we at Indiandrives love the German cars. They are so boringly perfect that you tend to look out for faults in their build quality or other things. On the contrary, Japanese cars have more of that fragile build quality thing but totally dependable reliability. Well, the battle in this article ain’t about Germans and Japanese. Its more about the Germans versus Germans. This time, its arch rivals, BMW and Audi. Both have their roadsters in the name of the BMW Z4 and the Audi TT. The Audi TT in India is a very famous car and one which many would call as a mini R8 whereas the BMW Z4 in India is more Japanese than German in its looks. So with no bias on either car, the contest is all set to begin.

Looks

In this segment, its all about desirability and both the cars are equally desirable. However in my honest opinion, it is the Audi TT which slightly inches forward with its stately looks. The long snout of the BMW Z4 in India never really cut the mustard with most of the staffers at Indiandrives and even the ladies gravitating more towards the Audi TT. The Bulgarian beard for the front end along with the LED wrapped head lamps and large air dams would catch any one’s fancy. The strong shoulder and waist line hint at aggression and merge so subtly into the rear tail lamps. The all LED configuration for the tail lamps ensure that one doesn’t miss out this car on the highway or on the street. The twin fat exhausts reminded me of the Audi R8. The BMW Z4 in the meanwhile also cries for attention. Its long snout not withstanding, it is overall a handsome looking car. Its Corona head lamps scream for attention whereas the kidney grille somehow doesn’t look too good in front of the Audi goatee. The alloy wheel design of the BMW Z4 however is far better than the Audi one. Where the Audi’s wing mirrors look functional, the ones in the Z4 are more aerodynamic. The nicked in stop lamp and the dual circular exhausts are the talking point of the rear of the BMW Z4.

The Audi TT in India wins this round as it is simply too cute to be dismissed whereas the BMW Z4 on its own looks good but pales in comparison with the TT.

Cut to the interiors and both the cars here are German in their own right. The Audi is the more flamboyant of the two in the interior part. The leather seats with red inserts and liberal dashes of chrome all around make this cabin look very special. The flat bottomed steering wheel and the red color for the instrument cluster also signifies that this is a high end German car. One also sits a bit higher in the Audi TT. In the meanwhile, the BMW Z4 in India is more about subtlety. It has that typical BMW steering wheel with all the controls on it and those meter dials which may look boring in daylight but as the sun sets, those meter dials feel better than those on the TT. Seating is low to aid the center of gravity and handling for this rear wheel driven car. There are  two child seats in the rear for the Audi however for the BMW, there is no such provision. Well, as discussed earlier, there is nothing to fault in the cabin for both and both feel extremely well put together. Feature wise, both are feature rich and one wouldn’t feel anything lacking in either of the cabins. Going by the comfortability factor of both the cars, the Audi rates a bit higher because of the comparatively high set seats than the BMW. Boot capacity for the BMW is 310 liters while for the Audi, it is 250 liters. The BMW’s boot capacity however reduces significantly with the top down, to 180 liters.

Tough call, this one however the Audi wins again due to the sheer practicality it offers with 4 seats and good looking interiors.

Now comes the real part where I am sure the Bimmer will win. Any BMW for that matter is tuned to have perfect race car like handling characteristics. The BMW gets aluminium axles instead of the conventional steel ones found on cars in this category. Though BMW don’t proclaim themselves to be aluminium kings, the fact that they use the metal is proof enough that they take it seriously. Due to a 50:50 even weight distribution, the BMW Z4 in India balances its act well. Being a rear wheel driven vehicle, the Z4 is one hell of a fun machine. There are 3 modes of driving the BMW Z4. One is comfort –the one which is used for mundane driving, next is the Sports mode – used for some fun driving and the third one is the Sports+ mode – the maniac mode for driving. Few would rarely select the last option. The BMW also gets a launch control wherein traction control is turned off (it is also turned off at the Sports+ mode). Handling is exemplary and never once did I feel that this car would break traction and plaster me onto some other car or structure. Yes, with traction control off, tail spinning antics are possible. Ride quality is typically BMW stiff but then in the Sports+ mode, it is overtly so. However ones driving sports cars wouldn’t mind the trade off.

The Audi TT in India comes to the party with Quattro all wheel drive system. Like we all know, Audi makes extensive use of aluminium for construction of its cars and the TT is no different. So one gets the typical Audi ride quality that is expected from Audi’s sedans and also the immaculate handling of the Audi R8. Where the BMW sometimes felt like it has reached the edge of its handling capabilities, the Audi is more like a leech which will not let go off its victim. However ride quality, even though was promised would be good, was more on the bumpy side. It is softly setup and ingress egress isn’t a problem in this car. And did I mention that both the cars please aurally. The BMW at slightly higher revs whereas the Audi starts its vocal drama from lower down the rev range.

No questions for this one as the BMW Z4 in India wins this round.

Engine options are single for both the cars in this comparison here. The Audi TT in India gets a 3.2 liter V6 FSI engine. Light alloy cylinders and forged steel pistons ensure that 250 Ps of maximum power is put out whereas the peak torque of 320 Nm is also developed between 2000-3500 rpm. The 6 speed S-tronic DSG gearbox can be driven both in comfort and Sports mode. Slot the system into Sports mode and the Audi TT moves from 0-100 kmph in only 6.3 seconds whereas the top speed is 230 kmph. The BMW Z4 in India, on the other hand, gets a smaller 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine which develops 302 Bhp of power and peak torque of 400 Nm at 1300 to 3700 rpm. It gets a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The run from 0-100 kmph is completed in only 5.2 seconds whereas the top speed is an electronically limited 250 kmph. Brakes work fantastically for both with the Audi registering far more pedal travel than the Z4. Safety is equally good in both.

Coming to the fuel efficiency, the BMW Z4 in our earlier tests had returned 6.7 kmpl for the city and 10.2 kmpl for the highway. The Audi TT was the one which had to prove its mettle and it returned a tad lower than the BMW figure with 6.3 kmpl and 9.6 kmpl respectively.

The Bimmer clinches this round due to its superior engine and fuel efficiency figures.

Testing any sports car is an exhausting affair as one tends to be more attentive due to the speed warped zones that these cars take one to. Nevertheless, the main aim of this cars is to provide motoring thrills to the maximum. They are the kinds which would attract all the eyeballs in an event, look too much like sports cars but still can be used as everyday cars. It depends on how one looks at them. The TT would steal the limelights once you look at it and also the interiors would make you go wow. However when it comes to performance, the BMW eclipses the Audi and regains lost ground with its fun to drive factor. The Audi TT price in India is Rs 46 lakhs whereas the BMW Z4 price in India is Rs 61 lakhs. Both these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. At this price, the Audi definitely wins but for the true enthusiast, it would be the BMW.

Neeta Tours and Travels places an order of 40 buses with Mercedes-Benz

Neeta Travels, one of India’s largest touring companies have placed an order of 40 buses with none other than Mercedes Benz. Out of the 40 buses, 10 are supposed to be 3 axle coaches whereas the rest would comprise of 2 axle coaches. As part of the deal, 11 buses from the first lot were handed over to Neeta Tours and Travels. The handover ceremony was done at Chakan, Pune which incidentally has the Mercedes-Benz India plant. The keys for the buses were handed over by Mr. Peter T Honegg, the CEO and MD of Mercedes- Benz India Ltd. All the eleven coaches were of the 2 axle types and Mr. Anil and Sunil Savla from Neeta Tours and Travels were present to receive the keys from Mr. Honegg.

Neeta Tours and Travels owner, Mr. Sunil Savla said that they currently have many Mercedes buses in their fleet and they have been the most economical to maintain as also run. He said that commuters also prefer going for the Mercedes coaches because they emphasize the comfort, reliability, safety and quality which is perceived of the brand. He further said that they have an existing fleet of 20 Mercedes buses and the total would now rise to 60 with the addition of 40 more Mercedes buses.  Mr. Anil Savla, not to be left behind, said that Neeta Travels plans to stay ahead of the competition and hence want the best for their commuters. The decision to select Mercedes buses over the others is something which they would never regret. He also said there are some key features as standard in Mercedes buses like the personalized lights, music speakers and also AC controls that come with each and every passenger seat, make the journey of the commuters endearing. He said that such customers repeatedly choose Neeta Tours and Travels for the wonderful experience that they get time and again with these buses.

The rest of the buses would be delivered in installments within the next 3 months.