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Fiat Linea Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

The Italian sense of design and styling is unparallel across the world and the physical proof it is exquisitely cited by Fiat Linea. Designed over the “Centro Stile” platform, Linea is an exclusive piece-of-art that comes with a complete package of power and performance. At present, the sedan is offered with two engine options that include a petrol and a diesel engine. Apart from a beautiful exterior design, Linea incorporates latest safety features and best-in-class comfort features. Fiat presently offers this sedan in five versions that include Active, Dynamic, Dynamic Pack, Emotion, and finally Emotion Pack. Each one of these trims can be availed with diesel and petrol fuel option. Check Ex Showroom Price of Linea 

 

EXTERIORS ;

The Fiat Linea has always been an attractive looking car and in spite of its age, it still manages to look very good and appealing, the vehicle hasn’t dated much even after being launched more than six years back. With the facelift, Fiat wants to inject freshness in the Linea and they have succeeded to quite an extent. While the pre-facelift model will be continued to be sold in India in Linea Classic avatar, the updated model isn’t vastly different in external appearance with most body parts being identical. In fact some even prefer the old car’s classy looks over the new model’s busier styling. What ever said and done, stay with the facelifted Linea for a couple of hours and you are bound to like the new model’s fresher looks. Find best offers on Linea

Up front you get a new grille along with a new bumper which drastically differentiates the face of the car with the pre-facelift model. On the sides there is little to differentiate the old and the new which isn’t much of a matter as the Linea has always had an attractive profile. The key difference on the side is of course the new alloy wheels and the turn indicators on the rear view mirrors. At the rear, revision to the boot and bumper of the Fiat Linea are the biggest changes with faux diffuser sitting on the lower half of the rear bumper. The number plate no longer resides on the rear bumper but is now placed on the boot, between the tail lights. The Fiat logo has been shifted further upwards on the tail gate while the thick chrome strip above the rear bumper gives that premium touch. Overall the Fiat Linea facelift looks fresh and is much more appealing than the old model.

INTERIORS ;

The interiors have the same layout. However, what the Fiat Linea 125S gets are some additional features. For instance, there is now a touchscreen system which also has navigation. The Microsoft Blue & Me is now gone. The new touchscreen is a bit small, but it is good enough. The Fiat Linea 125S gets rich leather interiors and speaks a lot about attention to quality. Where the Linea excels is clean interiors with decent stowage space.

The Linea 125S comes loaded with features like automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers and in fact this is the only sedan in its segment that still offers the twin-aero wipers, which are a lot more expensive than the regular wipers. The tough build quality and the spacious interiors make Fiat Linea a great sedan. The rear legroom is not in the league of most sedans though. The 500 litres of boot space is also large and offers more loading area due to the hydraulic lifts present. The Fiat Linea 125S has one of the best builds in the

PERFORMANCE ;

The turbo-petrol motor now develops 125PS of power and 208Nm of torque. That’s 11PS and 1Nm over the older T-Jet. Is the extra oomph noticeable? Not entirely. The engine feels just as sprightly as before, and you’d have to really wring the living daylights out of it to make the extra horses sweep into action. Get going, and it picks up pace cleanly till the rev needle hits the 2,000rpm mark. Once past this, you get the 208Nm in one concentrated shot that can easily get addictive. Bury the accelerator pedal into the mats, and the 125 S will torque steer like nobody’s business. Much like the Punto Abarth, the engine has a nice raspy note and the exhaust behaves like its sitting in a church. The engine has plenty of power for you to behave like a hooligan with. Keep the motor on the boil and it’ll reward you by plastering a grin on your face. Sadly, though, the wallet won’t be too happy. The claimed mileage figures have dipped from a respectable 15.7kmpl to a decent 14.2kmpl, but, out in the real world — expect somewhere around 10kmpl for mixed driving conditions.

Is the gearbox still rubbery? Ah, yes. How I wish I could say it was otherwise. Good news is that it doesn’t completely ruin the experience. It takes you a little time to get used to the rubbery action, post which you can stretch the Fiat’s legs. Speaking of legs, the clutch on the Linea can be an absolute pain for the left one. The travel is simply too long and can get plain annoying when you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. Low-speed ride is a strong point with the Fiat. The well-tuned suspension does just enough to not upset the cabin when bad roads raise their ugly heads. Moreover, the healthy 190mm of ground clearance gives you that extra bit of confidence whilst tackling broken terrain. The flipside is that the soft suspension tends to make the ride slightly ‘floaty’ once you move into triple-digit speeds. We’re sure a set of stiffer springs will make the Linea a lot more fun, especially around a set of twisties.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

This is a firmly set-up car but has a pliant and supple feel over potholes. Ride comfort or ground clearance are both non issues, and the handling is quite engaging. The Apollo Alnac tyres, which earned quite a bit of flak in the more powerful Abarths, feel just about up to the job here. They have good traction, even in the wet, and only tend to spin up easily in first gear.The hydraulically assisted steering wheel is a bit on the heavier side in the city, and the large turning radius can be tedious in the city. Fiat recommends a cold tyre pressure of 36psi for the front and 33psi for the rear. Any lower and the heavier engine in the front will make you work extra hard to steer the car. I think it will really be a close call between the Vento TSI and the Linea when it comes to driving pleasure in this segment as both cars take different routes towards entertaining the driver.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The Linea 125s gets ABS and EBD as standard while you can also expect dual front airbags as well for the safety of the passengers inside. This car has value-for-money package featuring all the essentials that are required to be a perfect family car. It features an automatic climate control unit with rear knee level AC vents..Cruise control, ambient lighting on dashboard and other functional features make this sedan a tough competitor.

VERDICT ;

The Linea 125s definitely does not get lot of cosmetic upgrades but the subtle changes have actually made the car look more sophisticated. What will appeal to the customers though is the new powerful 1.4 Litre T-Jet petrol engine and all that power and torque that it actually generates from the engine. Hopefully Fiat has also worked on the gearbox as well just like we mentioned little earlier in this article to actually do some justice to the engine and all that power and torque that it generates.

 

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Volkswagen Jetta Price & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

This company is the fully owned subsidiary of the German automobile company has officially rolled out the facelifted version of its premium sedan Volkswagen Jetta in the country’s car bazaar. This latest version received quite a few changes in terms of its exteriors and interiors. However, there are no mechanical changes made to this vehicle and it continuous to extract power from the same 1.4-litre TSI petrol and 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines, which are currently available in the outgoing models. Both these engines are available with six speed manual transmission gearbox as standard feature. However, the diesel version is also available with a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission option. At the same time, the manufacturer has also retained all its trim levels including Trendline Comfortline and Highline for the buyers to choose from. Check Ex Showroom Price of Jetta

EXTERIORS ;

The 2017 VW Jetta continues the design started in 2011. It’s clean – anodyne, even. Some criticized it as “boring” when it debuted. Compared to the swoopy designs of its contemporaries, maybe it was a little boring. The Jetta’s straight lines and creases are in sharp contrast to the curvy, flame-like surfacing of, say, a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. But here’s the thing: The Jetta’s design has aged well. Other automakers have felt compelled to redesign their compacts in whole or in part since the 2011 Jetta’s debut. VW has made minor tweaks, but the basic design remains the same as it ever was.Up front, there’s a very sober, thin grille opening between the two headlights that continue the grille’s overall shape, turning up at the outside edges. There’s a lower grille opening below the bumper strike face that doubles this shape. Two clean hood creases start at the meeting point of the upper grille and the headlights, streaking back in an elegant arc toward the side mirrors. Find best offers on Jetta

In profile view, the Jetta has a crease that runs from the corner of the headlight lens to the area just above the taillight lens. Unlike some sedan designs, the crease does not bisect the door handles. A secondary crease is formed low on the doors, creating a plane that coincides with flat surfacing on the bumper areas that is visible from the side. My test car had elegant yet simple 16-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels that dressed the Jetta up without trying to make it look like a race car. That kind of honest design choice is laudable nowadays.At the rear, the upper crease from the sides continues all the way around to form the upper edge of the relatively short trunk lid. A major horizontal line emanates from the inner section of each taillight and forms the shadowbox over the license plate. There are a half-dozen lesser horizontal line elements in the rear bumper cover alone.

INTERIORS ;

Step inside the cabin and you would be disappointed with the interiors having no prominent changes. The only addition is the new flat-bottom steering wheel, also seen on the facelifted Polo and Vento. It gets paddle shifts for the Jetta and feels excellent to hold. The instrument cluster has been revised and now gets a Fatigue Detection System, which is apparently a not so important feature to have. However, the revised cluster has a 3D effect to it, which lifts the mood of the cabin. Everything else remains unchanged including the black and beige dashboard colour combination that looks good but with tacky wood accents running in the middle. Gloss black panels would have been appreciated instead of those out of place looking faux wood trims.

The centre console on the Jetta facelift gets the same touch screen infotainment system having 6 CD changer, AUX, Bluetooth connectivity and 8 speakers that sound crisp with tight bass. Touch sensitivity is average but pairing Bluetooth takes some time. You get a similar multimedia unit as the Vento in the lower variants of the Jetta. There is no sunroof on offer but you don’t feel the need of one as the cabin is pretty airy giving a good sense of space both at the front and rear. Legroom at the back is good enough for buyers who like to be driven around. Boot capacity is impressive, having 510-litres of space. In terms of quality, fit and finish, the Volkswagen Jetta is amongst the best in its class, everything feels good to touch and long lasting.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The Jetta comes with two engine options, the 1.4-litre petrol engine and the 2.0- litre diesel engine. The petrol engine is mated with a six-speed manual transmission, which manifests a decent 120bhp of torque and 200Nm of power, whereas the diesel engine is also mated with six-speed DSG or manual transmission, which churns out 138bhp of torque and 320Nm of power. We drove both the manual petrol and the DSG diesel engine.

First we drove the 2.0-litre diesel automatic and it is highly adaptive. Press the gas pedal and the gears downshift in no time. There is a thorough feeling of thrust which pulls you back when revved hard. There is plenty of power available at any given point of time. The fun factor truly comes because of the perfectly tuned DSG gearbox, which is so accurate with its gearshifts, this finely tuned engine. While cruising, the transmission shifts into the sixth gear at speeds of about 70km/hr

While we drove the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, it dint excite us after driving the diesel DSG. Though the engine was turbocharged it dint give the same feeling as the 2.0-litre diesel did. There was some power latency till it crossed the 1900 rpm mark and then the turbo kicked in. This power was actually enough for daily commuting to work or when you hand the steering wheel to the chauffeur. The six-speed transmission was truly for cruising purpose.

Out of the two engines I would pick the diesel DSG as it has more power and better mileage. We recorded a mileage of 16km/l overall in city and highway whereas the 1.4 litre petrol gave a mileage of 12-13km/l in both city and traffic conditions. The DSG being more efficient yet powerful, it would be the right choice for the ones who wish to drive the car themselves plus maneuver in daily city traffic conditions.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Jetta has been right on top of the segment when it comes to ride and handling. The VW Jetta is among the few cars in its segment which has maintained a fine balance between comfort and sportiness. The suspension setup is reasonably firm and yet compliant. On one hand it manages to bulldoze most of the road undulations, keeping the car’s occupants free from unnatural jerks and bumps, and at the same time darts through fast paced corner confidently and with minimum body roll.

The electronic differential lock and ESP further encourage the driver, as the Jetta claws on to the tarmac as you exit the corner. The Volkswagen Jetta feels solid and well engineered, with the suspension-chassis match made in automobile heaven. The steering, although light, is fairly communicative and adds to the joy of driving. In the Rs 15-20 lakh segment, there aren’t many cars that can boast of such driving pleasure.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

The manufacturer has equipped both its front and rear wheels with a sturdy set of disc brakes, which are further loaded with superior brake calipers. In addition to these, there is an anti-lock braking system including brake assist function that helps to augment this mechanism. At the same time, it also has an electronic stability program that keeps the vehicle agile by reducing the loss of traction. This sedan also gets a robust suspension system wherein, its front axle gets a coil spring system featuring shock absorbers and stabilizers. At the same time, its rear axle gets multi-link suspension system loaded with stabilizer bars, which helps to keep this sedan well balanced. Furthermore, it is also integrated with a rack and pinion based electric power assisted steering that has speed sensitive function, which supports a minimum turning radius of 5.5-meters

All the variants in this model series are blessed with same set of safety features, which ensures maximized protection to the occupants. The list includes break pad wear indicator, retro reflectors in all four doors, six airbags, engine guard, central locking system with 2 remote control folding keys, three rear head restraints and an advanced engine immobilizer. This model series also has electronic stability control, ABS with brake assist function, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, hill hold control and height adjustable front seat belts.

VERDICT ;

Is this nip-and-tuck job enough to change the fortunes of the Jetta? Unlikely. While the Jetta—from Rs 13.87 lakh for the petrol and Rs 15.08 lakh for the diesel (ex-showroom, Mumbai)—is priced competitively, the competition is either more advanced or gets more features to fascinate the buyers. The 2016 Jetta concept, which was showcased at the Beijing Auto Show last year, would clearly be a game-changer for the company in India. Until then, the company would hope that this facelift is able to keep the interest in the car alive.

 

 

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Honda Amaze Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

The company’s operations have returned back to normal and production has limped back up since. However, there has been one other deficiency in Honda’s portfolio in India – a very key ingredient for success in today’s skewed market scenario. And, that is a diesel engine in its most vital models. Check Ex Showroom Price of  Amaze

Honda has always meant petrol for Indian car buyers and that hasn’t stopped them from buying cars such as the CR-V or the Accord. But with the overwhelming majority of small car buyers now choosing diesel over petrol and Honda increasingly relying on its hatches for volumes, a diesel engine in its grasp is being sorely missed.

Honda has had large diesel engines in its European line-up and its i-CTDi and i-DTEC engines have been around for sometime. With a plan of catering to markets like India, Honda had earlier this year showcased a small 1.6-litre diesel engine. Finally, a slightly smaller (1.5-litre) version of this diesel engine will make it to the Indian market shoehorned into the bonnet of the ‘Amaze’ – the sedan version of the Brio hatch.

EXTERIORS ;

That said, the new Amaze is now on offer with a CVT transmission, only for the petrol version though, a segment first. A facelift usually results in a younger, more appealing looking car, and of late it also includes the addition of newer features and technology. The Amaze gets exactly that. With competitors like the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and Ford Figo Aspire offering more bang for the buck, the Amaze was beginning to feel a bit dated inside out. So it gets a revised front end including a new grille and bumper, and redesigned tail lights at the back. The grille gets more chrome, like the other newer Hondas, especially the Mobilio, extending all the way to the headlights on either side. The bumper is now more muscular thanks to what look like flared nostrils at either end to house the fog lamps. The tail lights look a lot more attractive too, thanks to the new design. Find best offers on Amaze

INTERIORS ;

The Honda Amaze gets a major change on the inside. It gets an all new glossy black dashboard with centre console resembling the Honda City. This new dashboard gives the car a premium feel. Now, there is a new in-dash music system layout and even climate control too. A new instrument cluster too has been added to the Amaze., however the same steering wheel is retained. The new Amaze facelift comes with a similar set of features like integrated music system with bluetooth, steering mounted audio controls, dual airbags, ABS, climate control AC being some of them.

Where the Honda Amaze has an advantage over the competition, it is the rear seat space. The rear seat knee room and head room are one of the best in its segment. The Amaze with its 400 litres of boot space is one of the largest in its segment. The Amaze is a practical compact sedan and this is what works in its favour.

PERFORMANCE ;

We’re familiar with the 1.2-litre i-VTEC motor, having driven it extensively in the Brio and the Jazz. Like all modern Honda petrol engines, it is near-silent at idle and has good overall refinement. Like the Brio, it’s available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic.

The performance is similar too. Responses low down are great (better still with the automatic and its torque converter push) and it gets off the line eagerly. Unfortunately, it is let down by a weak mid-range, and you will find yourself shifting down every time you want to pick up the pace. This can be very annoying when you’re cruising on the highway, and here’s where you’ll really feel this engine’s lack of grunt. Its real strength is in its top end and it gets a second wind if you rev it beyond 4500rpm. However, here’s where things get quite noisy, and we can’t imagine too many Amaze owners will be gunning it to its redline in everyday driving. The five-speed manual is a delight to use – very light and accurate, with a compact lever and short throws. The clutch is light too, which should be helpful in traffic. The automatic gearbox is closely related to the one used in just about every automatic Honda car in India. Honda uses a CVT automatic for the Amaze (and the Brio) in Thailand, but has opted to use the five-speed torque converter in India to save on import costs. It’s a good thing they have, too, as this ’box works well with the 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine, with smooth and quick responses off the line. There’s a bit of a flat spot in the middle, however, amplified by the engine’s weak mid-range, so fluctuating your pace in stop-go traffic can result in some hesitation in the power delivery. Although the shifts themselves are quick and seamless, the gearbox doesn’t have the sharpest reactions to your throttle inputs. Punch your foot down to overtake and there’s a noticeable pause before it kicks down a gear, but once it does, it’s happy to let the engine soar all the way to its redline before shifting up.

Now, on to the 1.5 i-DTEC ‘Earth Dreams’ diesel engine, which has been derived from the larger 1.6 diesel that powers European Hondas. This made-for-India 1498cc motor is a state-of-the-art four-cylinder engine that features 16 valves and twin overhead camshafts. Honda has focussed on reducing friction and weight as far as possible, and to this effect, has worked with Idemitsu to develop a special low-friction oil just for this engine. Also, the block is all-aluminium, which reduces weight considerably, and the engine sits on liquid-filled mounts instead of standard rubber ones to minimise vibration.

Fire up this engine and what immediately becomes evident is that the great refinement that Honda cars are famous for is more down to its silent petrol engines. You will feel a shudder from the front of the car as the motor rumbles to life, before it settles down to a reasonably quiet idle. But the clatter starts as soon as you get off the line, and it never goes away. The vibrations can be felt in the pedals too. It’s like having a loud, chatty passenger in the car with you. This is a result of the engine block being made of aluminium rather than iron – the less dense material is nowhere near as good a sound and vibration insulator. It’s a bit of a sore point, but thankfully it’s the only one; in just about every other way, this engine is an absolute gem.

Set off, and you’ll notice there’s precious little turbo lag. That’s because Honda has tuned the engine and the fixed-geometry Honeywell turbocharger for better low-end response. Unlike the compact diesels we’ve become used to, it produces its power in a smooth, linear manner, rather than with a sudden burst, and it has a lot of elasticity for a diesel engine. Peak torque of 20.4kgm is produced at 1750rpm, but there’s plenty of shove right from about 1200rpm, and it pulls strongly to about 3800rpm. The power then gradually tails off till it hits a very conservative 4200rpm rev limit. In fact, this diesel engine doesn’t rev anywhere near as high as some of its competition and this is because Honda’s research has shown Indian drivers tend to upshift early. The Amaze managed an impressive 0-100kph time of 12.97sec, but we feel it could have been faster still if not for the rev lock Honda has installed in the interest of engine preservation (it will not rev past 2000rpm when the car is stationary).

The Amaze cruises quite well too, thanks to reasonably tall gearing, and the meaty torque spread makes light work of overtaking on highways. The only issue is that, even at cruising speeds, you can’t get away from the engine drone. At 120kph, the 1.5 diesel turns over at a vocal 2,800rpm

DRIVING DYNAMICS;

When you talk about ride quality, Honda cars usually have a good balance and the Amaze is no different. Honda has set up the suspension for a family car and hence the ride quality is good. The Amaze absorbs most of the craters in the road with ease without making the passengers uncomfortable. With a ground clearance of 165 mm, one would expect the Amaze to bottom out frequently, however this ‘Made for India’ car will truly surprise you. Yes, it did kiss its underbelly on a few occasions but it stayed clear more often than we would have imagined. Handling is predictive and the steering feels quite mannerly at high speeds. The Amaze is certainly not the sharpest car in its class, but it’s one which gives you a healthy dose of fun when driven on the limit.

VERDICT ;

With the launch of new rivals in the compact sedan segment, the Honda Amaze started looking old amongst the fresher lot that come with new styling and latest equipment. However, getting some drastic changes inside out, the Honda Amaze facelift now offers a much more appealing package that can fend off some of its competitors. The heavily revised interiors are a fresh breath of air but the only chink in its armour is the lack of rear parking sensors that are only available as an accessory. The updated front and rear profile get sleek design elements that give it a broader stance and makes the Amaze’s presence felt on the road. Honda has marginally increased the price but it’s worth the extra penny spent.

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BMW Z4 Review & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

BMW essentially struck gold in the compact, two-seater market when it released the Z4 back in 2003. It featured a sporty exterior, with potent, naturally aspired engines, and could be had as a soft-top convertible or in coupe form. That first generation lasted until 2009, but before the first-gen made its exit BMW was able to introduce a Z4 M in both forms with performance credentials good enough to get the little car that could up to 60 mph in as little as 4.8 seconds if you knew how to shift it right. The second-gen came to be in 2009 and, while most of the engine choices were naturally aspirated, one was offered with turbocharged goodness. Within a couple of years, the entire drivetrain lineup went turbo, and BMW hasn’t looked back since. The second-generation model lasted from 2009 to 2016 and, ever since its discontinuance, fans and purists everywhere have begged for the third-gen model – an all-new roadster that’s due for the 2018 model year and has been caught many times testing out in public over the last two years. At the kickoff of Monterey Car Week, BMW decided to release the Concept Z4, a wild interpretation of the upcoming roadster and something that at least gives us a little hint as to where BMW is going with the third-gen model.

EXTERIORS ;

It has neatly sculptured exteriors with modernistic cosmetics all over. To start with the front profile, it has a radiant headlight cluster with high intensity bi-xenon headlamps and indicators. It has four LED day time running light rings for giving it a distinct appeal. In the center, it has a signature kidney bean shaped radiator grille treated with chrome. Just below this, it has a body colored bumper featuring a pair of air ducts and a wide air dam. Its air ducts have a thin chrome strip, which makes it look more classy. It is flanked by a couple of fog lamps that gives out bright light. The slanted forward bonnet has a total of four expressive lines and these compliment the iconic logo embedded on the hood. Coming to its side profile, it is extremely stylish thanks to the masculine wheel arches for giving it a distinct look. They are fitted with a set of stylish 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with logo embedded on it. These rims are covered with tubeless radial tyres that gives a superior grip. Its front wheel arches have an air vent with chrome strip and integrated with LED blinkers. The door handles and the ORVM caps have been treated in body color. These outside mirrors are electrically adjustable and integrated with side turn LED indicator. It also has heating as well as memory function for increasing their convenience. It has a curvy rear profile and yet it has a sporty appeal. Its small tailgate has a spoiler and LED third brake lights. It is decorated with its name lettering and insignia to emphasize its exclusiveness. Surrounding this is the aggressive taillight cluster with LED turn indicators and signature brake lighting pattern. The bumper houses a pair of round shaped exhaust pipes, which are treated in chrome. All these put together makes it one of the best in this segment.

INTERIORS ;

Inside the 2016 BMW Z4 you’ll find a classy interior done up in high-quality materials, though the standard “SensaTec” vinyl upholstery strikes a discordant note in such a luxury model. If it were us, we’d definitely opt for the sun-reflective “Kansas” leather. Customization possibilities abound, including two-tone color schemes and unique trim that give the cabin a noticeably more eye-catching look. There are some practical details here too, including a handy cargo shelf behind the seats.Speaking of practicality, the Z4’s passenger compartment has an edge on many other two-seat cars by virtue of above-average legroom that gives taller drivers and passengers a chance to stretch out. Another advantage includes the rear quarter windows that go a long way toward eliminating the blind spots commonly found in traditional soft-top convertibles.Out back, the Z4 offers a decent-sized cargo hold that provides 8 cubic feet of stowage with the roof raised. With it lowered, the two roof panels take up a good bit of that space, but there’s still more room here than you’ll find on most other retractable-hardtop convertibles. An available trunk pass-through between the seats also makes it possible to transport longer items.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

BMW Z4 is available in India with a sole 3L TwinPower petrol engine option. The six-cylinder engine comes fitted with twin turbochargers for better throttle reflexes and minimum turbo lag. Further, the double-Vanos system alters the valve timing and injection system outputs as per desired driving mode.Engine churns out a massive 306HP of pure power at 5800 rpm and max torque of 400Nm starting at as low as 1300rpm further continuing up to 5000rpm. The power delivery is simply brilliant with almost no lag whatsoever. Power is generated linearly and neatly all the way up to the very redline. Moreover, the best bit of the 2979cc gem is the near-perfect exhaust note. A sweet whining burble at every downshifts and a mechanical crackle whenever floored down. This symphony of mechanical and electrical trickily defines the soul of Z4 as a true roadster. A seven-speed sport automatic double-clutch transmission (yeah, that long) is mated to the engine for effortless gear variation and better fuel-economy. One clutch each for even and odd gear trains shifts the cog with minimum time-lag and almost no interruption in traction. For sportier feel, paddle shifters are mounted onto the steering column. This manual form of shifting enhances the driving ecstasy in the BMW Z4 roadster. Regenerative braking system along with BMW EfficientDynamics elements builds up a very respectable amount of fuel-economy of 10.37kmpl for the Z4. However, being a rev-happy product, an average enthusiastic drive with bring the real figures to about 7.5-8kmpl.

Handling and ride quality is outstanding, especially on fast chicanes and switchback roads. Massive tyres provides tons of grip and control even at high speeds. However, the electric nanny is still the party spoiler as it restricts almost any tyre smoking and rubber shredding action. Steering is razor sharp with quick and conforming feedbacks. A great mix of comfort, agility and stability is what defines the attributes of the Z4’s chassis. Near perfect 50-50 weight distribution aids too to deliver a well-planted ride. However, the only grouse is the spooky wobbliness of cabin under high load due to the convertible platform. DSC and CBC tightens the cornering lines effectively and therefore making high-speed maneuverers a piece of cake for the Z4.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

A BMW car is always expected to be the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ and the Z4 does impress with its handling prowess. It darts into corners with eagerness, devoid of much body roll with the steering giving close to razor sharp precision but lacking a bit in feel. There is quite a lot of torque firing up the rear wheels and going a bit aggressive into a corner (with the traction controlled turned on), you can slide around this Bimmer, so it’s not really the most well behaved although it remains glued to the road in a straight line. The big grouse though is the ride quality. It’s far from cosseting as almost every irregularity on the road can be felt through. The low profile rubber makes you become extremely cautious over bad tarmac while speed-breakers can catch the Z4’s underbelly off guard. This is simply not the car you would want to drive over bad roads, because as much as it unsettles the occupant, it also tends to rattle a bit (with the roof down as the roof is lying folded in the boot). Braking performance is good, as expected from a BMW car.

SAFETY ;

The BMW Z4 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP although the old model (first generation) was given a 4-star rating. Considering the advancement of the vehicle, we expect the current model to get a 5-star rating. The Z4 comes loaded with a lot of safety kit, including front and side airbags for the driver and co-passenger along with active safety features like ABS, CBC, DSC and DTC. The sports convertible also gets roll-over protection system, side-impact protection, three point seat belts with pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limiters.

VERDICT ;

The Z4 is more of an experience than anything and cars like it don’t exist to add numbers to annual sales but wow people, enhancing the brand’s value.As a machine in solitude, the Z4 does have its drawbacks in the form of an almost unusable boot with the roof down and the lack of a softer suspension mode to soften things in the urban jungle. Anything beyond would actually be nit picking, unless making a direct comparison with its rivals, which we haven’t done yet. The BMW Z4 is a capable drop top and for almost Rs 69 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, it’s good value too, provided hedonism is a belief you side with.

 

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Tata Zest Price & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

The past few years haven’t been good to Tata Motors’ passenger car division. It has had a few good products, but there always was something that didn’t sit right. Of course, there were even more things that were brilliant about the products, but desirability, one of the most important things in an economy such as ours where a car still remains in large part a luxury rather than a necessity, was absent. Tata has now recognised this, and has thrown everything they have behind the new range of products that will launch from now on, and it all begins with this small car that will replace the cheapest sedan on the planet – the Tata Zest. Does it manage to deliver what Tata so badly needs? Check Ex Showroom Price of Zest

EXTERIORS ;

Tata Zest was designed with inputs from the company’s three different design studios – Pune (India), Conventry (UK) and Turin (Italy). Several designing processes were also carried out by the help of Jaguar Land Rover – company’s luxury vehicle divison, as more than 6000 engineers and technicians worked relentlessly and rigorously across five countries and eleven centres. All the aforementioned hard work resulted in the birth of a distinct and never-seen-before sedan in the form of Zest. Being based on a thoroughly modified X1 platform, The all-new styling of the Zest is based on its new design direction of ‘Confident Dynamism’. As far as the front fascia is concerned, it flaunts the all new company signature grille with the newly introduced ‘Humanity Line’. This front grille is complimented immensely well by the dual projector headlamps with chrome accents, which are standard for every variant, except the base XE. Moreover, the top-end trim XT also enjoys LED daytime running lamps. The front bumper boasts triangle shaped twin fog lamps and double slat air dam.

Coming to the side profile of the sedan, it has an enlarged C-pillar which makes the roofline a bit sloppy. The Zest has body colored ORVMs with blinkers and turn indicators, body colored door handles, and body colored bumpers as standard across the entire range of variants. The flared wheel arches have been bestowed with 15″ alloy wheels which, again, are standard feature and offered with each and every variant. At the rear-end of the car, the Zest is the first car in its segment to flaunt LED tail lamps. The whole tail lamp cluster is quite stylish and feature a wrap around design. The boot-lid gets a lot of chrome treatment, particularly around the horizontally positioned strip, company logo and model badging. Tata Zest is being offered with 6 vibrant colors – Buzz Blue, Venetian Red, Sky Grey, Dune Beige, Platinum Silver and Pristine White. In all, Tata has finally succeeded in carving out a niche sedan that is good looking, stylish and sporty. It won’t be an exaggeration to term it ‘The Best Tata Car’ till date in the exterior designing aspect.

INTERIORS ;

Now most of the Indian consumers wants maximum out of their cars interior because this is the place where most of them and their family would spend their time in. Tata has tried to make the interior look new and fresh and we must admit that the interior of the Tata Zest neat and and modern compared to other Tata Motors products.The first thing that catches everyone’s eye when they step inside a car is the dashboard, in the case of Zest compact sedan Tata has fitted a completely new dashboard which looks very modern and premium. Tata have used Java Black & Latte colors. The newly designed three spoke steering wheel looks new.In addition to that Tata also has highlighted some important bits with chrome which overall adds a very interesting and premium finish to the dashboard. The top end variants definitely gets lots of goodies like Harman touchscreen multimedia system with 8 audio speaker, Voice recognition and SMS readouts and even steering mounted controls. The top trim also gets automatic temperature controls which can be operated via the touchscreen interface.

Now coming to the comfort factor the seats definitely feels comfortable while the white colored leather seats make the interior feel plush and appealing. From the pictures it is quite clear that the rear seats has sufficient amount of leg room which will definitely be useful during long journeys but what you will lack are the storage spaces inside the cabin, there is neither any arm rest on the front or even in the rear seats which is bit disappointing though. However at the rear of the car you will get a 360 litre boot which can help you store lot of luggage’s but the Swift Dzire or the Honda Amaze provides even better boot space.The base XE trim gets lot of important goodies like tilt adjustable power steering, air-conditioner with a heater option, front power windows, manual central locking and foldable key but unfortunately you won’t be getting any audio system with this trim. While the top end trim gets Automatic climate control, Multifunction steering wheel with voice command, Rear parking sensors, Electrically adjustable wing mirrors, Driver seat height adjustment, Harman music system with 8 speakers which supports

PERFORMANCE ;

The Tata Zest is offered with the tried and test 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel engine which produces the same output as it used to earlier. This engine is sourced from Fiat and is also popularly called as the “National Diesel Engine of India”. While offered with a 5-speed manual earlier, it now also gets paired to a 5-speed AMT automatic gearbox, making the Zest the cheapest diesel automatic in the country and also the only diesel automatic car in its segment. The bigger news is the new 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine, which has been developed by Tata Motors in conjunction with AVL. It’s the first and only turbocharged petrol engine in its class.The 1.2-litre Revotron turbo engine uses an alloy head and a cast iron block, it belts out 90 PS at 5000 RPM and 140 Nm of torque at as low as 1750 RPM (up to 3500 RPM). The Zest gets a clutch lock and once you start the vehicle, you will really appreciate the low NVH levels, the motor is super refined with no vibes at all. In fact, the NVH is so good that at speed with the audio system playing, you can’t hear much of road, tyre or wind noise. Drivability is where the 1.2T Revotron mill truly shines, it offers an excellent low and mid-range punch but lacks top-end thrust. There is no turbo lag and performance is instant too, with power delivery being linear. The engine doesn’t rev quickly though and you do have to work the gearbox for quick overtakes, more so if the RPM drops below 2500 RPM in higher gears (4th and 5th).

So for instance, driving at 90 km/hr in fifth and you stand on the pedal, the motor does take its time to pull, clearly fifth gear is for cruising. Redline comes in just under 6000 RPM with the tacho glowing red once you whizz past 5500 RPM. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear with the tacho ticking in at around 2300 RPM in top gear at the same speed, so the engine is relaxed when you want to maintain cruising speed on the highway. Tata Motors has tested the engine for 3 lakh hours and there are many highlights of this powertrain – 10% faster than the closest rival, highest power and torque density in it class, 23% better peak torque than the closest rival. The engine doesn’t sound sporty but you can hear the turbo whistle. This is not the motor which will put the tarmac on fire as it’s not tuned for high revs but drivability is its forte. Still, it does cut off smoothly when it hits the redline (like European cars) and doesn’t feel jerky there.While accelerating, if you lift off, the RPM doesn’t drop quickly, it increases a bit and then falls very slowly. First gear is good for 50 km/hr while second will see you do 90 km/hr. The engine won’t rev more than 5000 RPM in neutral. The Revotron engine also has a first in class drive mode selector (developed with Bosch), you can choose between Eco, City and Sport. By default, the car is in City mode and a touch of a button on the centre console changes the mode (which is reflected on the 2.5-inch display on the instrument cluster). This change happens on the fly and the Eco mode is aimed at mileage, the Sport mode boosts performance marginally while the City mode gives you the best of both (the throttle response is altered). You can feel the power trailing off a bit in Eco mode while the accelerator feels more instant in Sport, the 0-100 km/hr timings reflect the difference in different modes and the same is significant. The 5-speed gearbox offers smooth shifts and the clutch is light too. We can expect a mileage of 13-15 km/l from the petrol Zest.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The final area where huge strides have been made is the chassis and suspension. Without getting into too much detail, what you need to know is that Tata has managed to find a sublime balance between ride and handling; perhaps even the best in this class. Drive it over any manner of road blemish and it will flatten it out impeccably, and quietly. Even big potholes hardly faze it. Road shocks are cushioned brilliantly and the sense of calm in the cabin even on a really bad surface is amazing for a car in this segment. The only time it comes close to being caught out is when you drive it quickly over large road undulations, at which point, it may pitch a little at the rear. Under very hard braking too, the rear can get a bit unsettled

Amazingly, the relatively heavy and tall Zest darts around corners quite capably too. Its wider tracks help it feel more planted than an Indica, and the body movement is very well controlled for a car that seems to ride quite high. Yes, there is a bit of body roll but the overall balance of the chassis doesn’t make it an issue. The new electric steering unit, borrowed from the Nano Twist, also works really well. It’s pretty accurate and the ‘active return’ feature does subtly make things easier on the move. At speeds, the steering does feel a bit light but doesn’t take confidence away from the driver.

SAFETY ;

The Tata Zest uses a baked hardened steel in its construction. It gets front and side crumple zones along with protection bars for rear passengers. Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and Corner Stability Control (CSC). The Zest feels strong, the doors close with a reassuring thud and the thickness of metal is good too. However, the vehicle isn’t tested by Global NCAP yet and we can only comment on the safety of the vehicle after a crash test rating has been given to it. The company has crash tested the Tata Zest at its own facility and it meets Indian regulations.

VERDICT ;

It must be said that Zest is probably Tata’s best and well coveted attempt to target most sort after compact sedan segment. It actually breaks away from what we Indians are used to seeing in Tata Motors product portfolio till date as this sedan brings forward the company’s latest design philosophy and engineering to conquer competition. In sheer performance, the petrol is the one that impresses the most while the availability of an automatic in diesel is definitely going to attract a great number of seekers. The attractive pricing at which the company has launched the Zest into the market, will surely pull a lot of customers towards it, especially when it comes to the first-in-segment diesel automatic variant.