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Honda Jazz Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

It looks like Honda has been readying the facelift Jazz hatchback in Japan. This is the mid-life facelift that the new generation hatchback will receive. Some Reports states that the facelift Jazz hatchback which is popularly known as Honda Fit will be launching within the next few months in the markets of Japan. Now the popularity of the premium hatchback from Honda has risen to a great extent in the recent year’s credit goes to the Indian consumers who are now getting their hands on the premium hatchbacks as well. Check Ex Showroom Price of Jazz

The upcoming Jazz hatchbacks according to the leaked reports on the internet are getting plenty of exterior as well interior changes. These changes will make the hatchback a far better competitive rival to the Hyundai Elite i20, Maruti Baleno.

EXTERIORS ;

The Honda Jazz has a strong design identity of its own and thus all three generations of this hatchback show an evolutionary direction. One might be tempted to call this car a compact MPV as certain angles does make it look like a shrunk down MPV. There are certainly some nice design elements which make the Jazz look premium like the headlights which are similar to the City (they are single barrel while the City gets dual barrel), they merge into the grille that gets a piano black finishing and a chrome line below. Honda’s angular design does make the Jazz look attractive at the front while at the side, the Jazz come across as big which is largely due to the glass area, the vehicle getting both front and rear quarter-glass for added green house. Find best offers on Jazz

The B and C pillars are blackened which will certainly look good on light colours like white while a strong belt line runs from the door, merging with the rear tail light at the top and flowing through the rear bumper on the bottom. The tyres look small on the car and bigger wheels (at least on the top spec trims) would have made the car look more balanced. The rear is nicely done with reflectors right next to the windscreen while a large chrome bar is right below, featuring the Honda logo. The reflector and rear LED tail lights together make the rear portion look a bit like the Volvo V40. There is also a rear spoiler (the VX trim gets a bigger one) with stop lamp while the bumper has a black rectangle mesh finish on either side to reduce the visual bulk. Just like all other Hondas, the design of the Jazz isn’t outright exciting or eye catchy but it does have subtle appeal.

INTERIORS ;

The Jazz shares the dashboard with the City and it has a really funky design with a flurry of asymmetric cues. It is well thought-out, with nice touches, including multiple cubby-holes and the touch controls for the air-con. There are as many as nine cupholders and quite a few cubbyholes too, so you won’t find yourself short on storage spaces for small items. Quality is quite decent, but it still can’t match the Hyundai as far as fit and finish is concerned. Also, overall plastic quality, though largely good, is still a notch down on the class best.The top-of-the-line Jazz comes with an all-black cabin which looks quite sporty. Apart from the top VX, all other variants get beige fabric, which makes the cabin feel even more airy, but gets soiled easily.

Like the old car, the brilliance of the Jazz lies in its unbelievable space efficiency. Entry into the massive cabin is made easy by large doors which open wide. Outward visibility is good, thanks to the generous glass area, but the front quarter-windows near the slim A-pillars obstruct view. The front seats have a tall seating position and are pretty broad with generous bolstering, comfortable over long journeys. In the rear, the seat squab is a touch short, so under-thigh support is not as good as we would have liked. Other than that, it’s hard to fault the back seat. The adjustable back rest, terrific head and legroom, plus generous width, make the Jazz’s bench comfortable. The flexible manner in which the rear seats function is also outstanding. But unlike the old car, only top-spec Jazz models will get the ‘magic seats’ at the back. These seats split, fold flat and flip upwards to make space for all shapes and sizes of cargo – that’s if the massive 354-litre boot won’t meet your needs anyway. These seats now also allow you to form a recliner by pushing the front seat backrests fully till they meet the rear seat base.

The top Jazz VX trim comes equipped with a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system. There’s also satellite navigation, a reclining back seat, automatic climate control with feather-touch operation, steering-mounted audio and Bluetooth controls, height adjustable driver’s seat, a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel and auto folding rear-view mirrors. On the safety front, it comes equipped with two airbags and ABS with EBD. Surprisingly, although it gets a reversing camera, there are no parking sensors.

PERFORMANCE ;

The engines on offer on the Jazz are the 1.2-litre petrol with a five-speed manual transmission and the other is a CVT (continuously variable transmission). This will be the engine is higher demand as the price between petrol and diesel have narrowed and there is a higher demand for petrol cars now. This petrol engine has sufficient grunt to drive in the city, however you need to work your way up to extract the best possible performance. The Honda Jazz 2016 is more powerful than its competition not just on paper but even in real world. The Jazz petrol has a fuel efficiency of about 12-14 km/l in the city, while on the highway it will be between 14-16km/l.

The second engine in the Honda Jazz 2016 is the 1.5-litre diesel that churns out 98bhp of power and 200Nm of peak torque. This comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine has sufficient grunt to be driven in the city or on the highway. There is sufficient pull available from the engine at almost any rev range. The diesel is a lot more powerful than the petrol and even its competition. Its ease of driving gives it an edge over the competition. The diesel is a lot more fuel-efficient than its current competitors. In the city, it will return about 15-17km/l, while on the highway it will be between 18-23km/l depending on your driving.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The ride quality of Honda Jazz 2016 is good and is also an improvement over earlier Hondas. It does a good job of absorbing the bumps. The Michelin Energy Saving tyres help to increase the fuel efficiency of the Honda Jazz 2016, however, they aren’t that sticky on the road. The handling of the Jazz is good. This along with the peppiness of the diesel, is a great combination. The steering feedback is excellent and it weighs up well. This is indeed one of the much better electronic power steerings in the market.

SAFETY ;

The front passengers are shielded with the presence of dual airbags. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) are offered as well. Along with this, you also get a rear parking camera, front fog lamps, driver seatbelt reminder, rear windshield defogger and an immobiliser.

VERDICT ;

We Indians are hatchback crazy. It’s no secret that we simply cannot get enough of their practicality, ease of use or the low running costs and a few other distinct advantages that they have over sedans or SUVs. Needless to say, carmakers are well-versed with this trend and have actively introduced new and improved products over the years. And although a similar movement is taking place in the flourishing compact crossover space, it’s the hatchbacks that continue to demand a lot of time and effort from established carmakers. Honda, for one, is making all the right noises with the Jazz. The new Jazz certainly looks the part, has a versatile cabin with loads of space and for the first time – the efficiency of a diesel motor. It’s still not an enthusiast’s choice but that’s passable because it’s not what Honda was looking to make here. The Jazz is all about practicality and you get plenty of it.

 

 

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Renault Captur Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

The Duster has been a smash hit for Renault in India, bringing many new buyers to a brand not very popular until then. The Kwid further established the French carmaker’s credibility and now, Renault hopes to repeat the success with the Captur, a premium SUV with strong crossover DNA.The Captur shares the engine, transmission and chassis with the Duster, which is a good thing as they’ve proved their mettle over the years. But what makes it more expensive than the Duster. We’ll find the answer in this review. check EX Showroom Price of Captur

EXTERIORS ;

The Captur’s crossover design may not appeal to all at first glance. But, spend some time with it and the edgy design grows on you. We once parked it next to a Duster at a restaurant and were pleasantly surprised at how mature the Captur looked. Yes, it isn’t as tall as a conventional boxy SUV, but there’s no doubt that it looks like a premium offering. Will you give it a second glance? Oh yes. It’s got a bit of novelty on its side for now, and the bright orange colour our test car wore only aided the eye-ball grabbing. There are some premium car elements here too. That includes the full-LED headlamps and the Audi-like ‘dynamic’ turn indicators. Low beam has a wide spread and a long throw too. But, in terms of illumination – it felt just a bit brighter than the LED projectors we’ve used in the Ignis or the Dzire. Find best offers on Captur

The profile and the rear are a notch understated compared to the face. The design here has some understated French flair, which is going to be an acquired taste for most. That said, the 17-inch wheels look classy, and the 215/60R17 tyres look just right sitting under the flared wheel arches.The two-tone is well-executed, and it’s easy to see why Renault say the Captur was designed to sport a dual-tone paint scheme even since it was conceptualised. Keep in mind that the dual-tone combination will be an option. There’s quite a lot of customisation options on offer as well, which should give you the liberty to deck the Captur up the way you want to. From the rear, the Captur tries hard to shrug off the resemblance to the little Kwid. The tail lamps, the bumper and the windscreen all look like polished, grown-up version of the hatchback. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in our books, though.

INTERIORS ;

While there’s nothing to complain about the chic exteriors, the interiors are a bit of a hit-and-miss. The wrap-around dashboard is a fresh design and certainly feels like a step up from the Duster’s. There are also some great design touches such as the butterfly-shaped instrument cluster that gets a large digital speedometer in the centre, flanked by a tachometer and a fuel gauge. And I really like the ambient LED lighting and design of the air conditioner controls. However, our biggest gripe is the type of materials that have been used for the dashboard and the overall use of hard plastics for the interiors. They don’t feel as upmarket as they should for a car in this category, especially the roof liner which feels like it’s from one full segment below.Then there are some slightly wonky design elements, like the centre armrest – it doesn’t fold away and interferes with the operation of the handbrake lever. We really hope that all variants of the Captur offer hill- hold assist; trying to start moving from a standstill on an incline will be quite tricky otherwise. Then there are the front seats. Only the driver’s seat gets height-adjust, which is fine. What isn’t fine, however, is the fact that even the lowest setting on the seat is so high that it not only gives you a commanding view of the road but also of the entire top of the very large dashboard; this serves as a visual reminder of the basic quality of plastics that populate much of the cabin. And, if you’re on the taller side, say over 6ft, you are going to be uncomfortably close to the roof. The other ‘fit’ issue with the Captur can be found in driver’s footwell. The pedals are well proportioned and placed, but forget a dead pedal, there’s almost no space to the left of the clutch. This means the driver needs to keep his left foot under the clutch pedal when cruising; not an easy transition to make if you have large feet.

Renault made a big deal about its ‘panoramic’ windscreen and minimal A-pillars, along with the quarter windows designed to provide you much better situational awareness of what’s around and in front of you. While the side-to-side visibility is great, sitting so high up behind a raked windshield cuts out a bit of the view of the sky. Now, this isn’t a problem when it comes to driving, but it does give you a feeling of looking at the world through a narrow letterbox.The front seats themselves aren’t too bad though. The two-tone white- and-black leatherette seats look and feel good, and there’s enough support for your back and under-thighs, as well as sufficient bolstering for your shoulders when tossing the car around corners. The design and similar contouring are seen on the rear seats as well. While two adults, or even three in a pinch, can sit fairly comfortably, the kneeroom is nothing to write home about, and the rising window line robs the back of some airiness. The rear cabin space also gets its own set of AC vents which should be useful on hot days.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Captur is powered by the very familiar 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine. Although this 108bhp motor is identical to the Duster, Renault has fine-tuned it, to boost refinement and drivability. Unlike our experience in the Duster which has pronounced turbo-lag under 2000rpm, the Captur feel more linear and there is a nice build-up of power from as low as 1600rpm. It felt significantly more refined too thanks to the better sound insulation. This motor comes in its own beyond 2000rpm and carries on till 4300rpm, after which power tails off. Even on the highway the punchy mid-range makes overtaking just a flex of the right foot away. Although the sixth gear ratio is really tall, it’s a great cruising tool that keeps the engine spinning at just about 2,000rpm at 100kph; great for stretching your fuel tank. The Captur will be a better city run about than the Duster too thanks to the lighter clutch and slicker gearbox. Like the Duster, the Captur’s ride quality is exceptional. It smothers even the biggest of potholes with ease and even on rough roads you can maintain a fair clip. In fact, the faster you go, the better the ride. Also Renault has worked hard on the refinement and it has paid dividends. The cabin is very well insulated from the outside and it’s only when you cross the three-digit mark that there’s some wind noise entering the cabin through the A-pillars.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Captur is dynamically very sound and it was bound to be since it shares it underpinnings with the Duster. Handling characteristics are very similar to the Duster. The steering offers good feedback, sometimes more than you would like. It still has the mid-turn kickback but can be irritating at times. Nevertheless, this is the best steering in the segment as far as enthusiastic driving is concerned. The Captur is not unnerved in changing direction and while doing so there isn’t much body roll.The Captur offers a very settled ride. It is barely moved by rough and bad roads. At slow speeds, almost every undulation is filtered before it reaches the cabin. At high speeds, the rear passengers did feel a few jolts over very rough roads but overall, the passengers would find no reason to complain as far as ride is concerned. Braking performance is progressive with the pedal offering good bite.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

The list of Renault Captur safety features include Front Disc Brakes, Drum on Rear, ABS with EBD, Rear Parking Sensors, Central Locking, Driver & Passenger Airbags, Crash Sensors, Rear Seat Belts, Seat Belt Warning, Power Door Lock, Child Safety Locks, Side & Front Impact Beams, Passenger Side Rear View Mirror, Rear Camera, Centrally Mounted Fuel Tank, Engine Immobilizer, Automatic Headlamps, Follow Me Home Headlamps and ISOFIX Child Seat.

VERDICT ;

So on the whole is the Captur a welcome addition to the market? Yes most certainly. It is stylish, offers unique style and is unlike another product in many ways. The fact that Renault is going to town with personalization options is also great. These span everything from excessive (!) chrome add-ons to theme-based decals, even an array of roof wraps and a cool chrome embellishment for the front grille (kind of reminds me of the A-Class’ diamond grille). Now to the prices – which start at ₹ 9.99 lakh for the petrol and go all the up to ₹ 13.88 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the top-end diesel model. The car will compete in the C-SUV space (compact SUV) and that currently sees products like Creta, Compass, etc. All I know is that I would have been surprised if Renault were to price the car at a premium. the current prices are very aggressive – as this is a Duster rival too after all. There are just three variants on offer and the base RXe variant comes with plenty of equipment, as I too pointed out earlier. Is the space hotting up then? You bet! Your move Maruti Suzuki (S-Cross facelift notwithstanding)! Dare I say the Vitara, baby?

 

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Fiat Linea Classic Review & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

The Fiat Linea Classic is a beautiful car, make no mistake about it. The Linea has been sold for quite a few years in the Indian market though it has not really set the charts on fire in terms of sales. However, there’s no denying that it is a beautiful car. However, the expensive price tag of the regular Linea has put it out of reach of the masses. Fiat has now taken a cue from Ford and has launched a version of the Linea at a more affordable price point. The company has chopped prices by removing some features instead of developing a whole new sub 4m Linea. check EX Showroom Price of Linea Classic.

EXTERIORS ;

Its image is well designed with plenty of aesthetics that make it look very elegant. Its front fascia consists of a bumper which is in body color. This is available to all the variants as a standard feature. While the front radiator grille in the top end is in silver, rest have it in black. Whereas, grille has chrome over its surround. On its either sides, there are dual parabola headlamps integrated. Outside door handles as well as the outside rear view mirrors are painted in body tone. There are steel wheels integrated to all the trims, while the top end is offered with wheel covers. The rear end has a sleek boot lid with a pair of radiant tail lamps surrounding it. This also has a company emblem in the center along with the other standard variant badging as well.

INTERIORS ;

The Linea Classic comes with a grey dashboard with beige seats and accent pieces. The dashboard is quite similar to the Linea T-Jet though several features of the regular car are missing here. The Classic has a conventional knob-type air conditioning system in comparison to climate control offered in higher spec vehicles. The Classic Plus does get a climate control air conditioning option though. The infotainment system also seems to be dated. The Blue and Me Bluetooth setup is missing along with USB and Aux input.The car also gets manually adjusted rear view mirrors instead of electronically adjusted ones. There are no steering mounted controls and the instrument binnacle has been revamped. The seats have also been revamped and are definitely not as comfortable as the regular sedan. However, there is ample space as compared to several vehicles at a similar price point. There is a supersized boot in place as well.

PERFORMANCE ;

When Fiat launched the Linea Classic, we all were skeptical about how it would perform as the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine only outputs 75 BHP of power and 190 Nm of torque, which is down on the regular Linea’s 90 HP and 209 Nm. Considering the regular Linea isn’t quick and the Linea Classic also weighs as much, we were expecting disappointing performance. However the Linea Classic has surprised us with the way it moves. The engine lacks VGT which has somehow become a blessing for the car in city conditions. Unlike the VGT equipped Linea diesel, this lower output motor has turbolag well contained which gives it slick performance in the city.

The Linea Classic’s mill is very tractable and power delivery is linear. You will never feel the lack of ponies in city conditions. Want to amble around town at 20 km/hr, sure you can do that in third gear without a hitch. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear near the redline while cruising on the highways in top gear at 100 km/hr will make the tacho needle tick at around 2500 RPM. What further complements the Linea Classic’s drivability is the light clutch with a dead pedal although the gearbox is a bit resistant and isn’t a fast shifting unit. One can expect a mileage of 14 km/l in the city and 16 km/l on the highway with 100% AC usage.

The meat of the performance comes between 2000-3500 RPM and post that the Linea Classic’ powerplant really starts to lose breath. NVH levels are good in the lower part of the powerband but once past 3000 RPM, the oil burner starts becoming audible and is very loud post 4000 RPM. The motor itself is very lethargic in the higher end of the power band and redline comes in at 5100 RPM. This isn’t a car you would want to rev hard as there is no top end power. Thus the Linea Classic doesn’t far well in outright acceleration and 0-100 km/hr takes around 18 seconds. You need to downshift on the highways to get going while overtaking.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

With regards to the braking mechanism of this sedan, front wheels are equipped with ventilated disc brakes whereas, the rear ones have a pair of standard drum brakes. It is further integrated with an anti-lock braking system with an electronic brake-force distribution. This will allow the driver to have stronger control over the vehicle over all kinds of roads. In case of suspension, the front axle has an independent wheel whereas, the rear axle is mated with a torsion beam type suspension. These axles are integrated with helical coil springs with double acting telescopic dampers along with a stabilizer bar. A hydraulic based power assisted steering is bestowed for much efficient handling along with tilt adjustment facility. About 5.4 meters of its minimum turning radius is very useful, particularly on narrow roads.

SAFETY ;

The Fiat Linea Classic feature anti-lock braking system in Classic plus and Classic plus alloy wheel variant of Multijet diesel version. The safety features such as engine immobilizer, double crank prevention system, fire prevention system are available in all Linea Classic variants.

VERDICT ;

The Linea Classic is definitely one of the most beautiful, spacious and comfortable sedans out there and the price point is particularly attractive as well. If you can make do with the lack of some features, this is the car for you. To know more about Fiat Cars in India, visit here for more details.

 

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Volkswagen Ameo Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

If you are out looking for a practical compact sedan, there’s a new entry heading your way from the land of the hyper speed autobahns and beer gardens or ‘Biergarten’, as the locals would say.

The Volkswagen Ameo, which will be delivered to customers starting next month, is the long overdue result of VW attempting to crack the escalating compact sedan segment. Essentially a boot-ed version of the Polo, the Ameo is the first ever VW model to be designed purely for the Indian market and the brand has made no bones about the fact that it’s betting big on this car.Check Ex Showroom Price of  Ameo

On paper the Ameo checks most of the right boxes and it certainly looks and feels the part. But going beyond what’s apparent, how well does it behave out on the road and more importantly, is it a worthy alternative to the current crop of compact sedans? A brief drive across the scenic route towards Wai suggests it just might be

EXTERIORS ;

The design of the Ameo. On the outside and for the most part inside the cabin too, the design and layout remains identical to the petrol version. Like is the case also with almost all the other compact sedans, the Ameo looks a bit gawky when viewed from the side. The stubby boot is disproportionate with the front of the car, and the impression that the third box has been slapped on to the rear of the hatchback is inescapable. But, the design doesn’t hurt the eye and in fact, viewed straight-on from the rear, the Ameo’s design actually seems to have a unique character which still ties in well with other VW cars. Find best offers on Ameo

All the familiar design elements of the Polo are there in the Ameo TDI diesel too, as also some of the distinguishing tweaks to the design of the airdam, front fender, the new tail-lamps and boot lid

INTERIORS ;

The Volkswagen Ameo diesel has the same interiors as the petrol model and there is nothing to differentiate between the two models except the tachometer which is marked till 6000 RPM on the oil burner. The dual-tone black and beige interiors look very nice and this is nothing but a Polo cabin with slight improvements to the rear headroom due to the re-designed C-pillar. But the rear seat lacks in legroom, knee room and under-thigh support so this isn’t a car you would want to sit behind, specially if you are tall.

The Volkswagen Ameo is equipped with a ton of features, many of them are segment first like rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, window opening and closing using key remote, one-touch up/down for all windows and anti-pinch windows. There are decent amount of storage spaces but the boot is far from being the biggest in the segment. Where the Ameo can’t be matched is the build quality, it feels very solidly put-together and is made like a tank.

ENGINE ;

The Volkswagen Ameo is available with a 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine. The petrol is available with a five-speed manual and the diesel even has an option of a seven-speed DSG. The NVH levels on both the engines are a bit off. There is more than sufficient power in the petrol and the diesel is certainly a lot more powerful. The petrol engine is noisy and the diesel engine has a lot of clatter noise. Overtaking is a breeze with the diesel engine, however the petrol needs a downshift. The automatic version of the diesel is a lot more comfortable to drive and convenient to use.

Drivability is good on both. The sudden boost after 1800rpm is reveling. There is always the joy of driving the diesel engine. Also, the clutch is a tad deeper than the petrol engine. The diesel clutch is heavy, which makes it difficult to drive in city traffic.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Don’t let the sporty looking flat-bottom steering wheel fool you. The Ameo is a compact sedan, after all, and it handles exactly like it’s supposed to. Like all other cars in its class, the Ameo’s suspension set up has been oriented towards comfort. That said, it has got the second best balance between ride and handling, after the Honda Amaze. The steering on the Ameo feels vague around the straight-ahead position and is slow to turn in. It’s initially light but becomes gradually heavier as more lock is applied. All in all, it lacks the consistency in feel that’s to be found in rivals like the Ford Figo Aspire.

The production-spec Ameo rides on 15-inch wheels as opposed to the bigger 16-inchers seen on the show car at the Auto Expo. Nevertheless, the Ameo’s ride quality is quite good – we sampled it across both pothole-ridden city streets and wide open tarmac on the highway. It deals with undulated surfaces rather well despite transmitting some sharp bumps from on the road into the cabin. So what’s not to like in terms of dynamics? Well, the Ameo, like all other compact sedans, has that inherent floatiness to its high speed ride. One has to make constant steering corrections to keep the thing true to its line.

VERDICT ;

The Volkswagen Ameo diesel is a very good package since it comes with great build quality, loaded equipment list, a power packed engine and two really nice gearboxes. The compact sedan does look a bit quirky from certain angles but looks are always subjective. Overall, Volkswagen has got a really fine product on their hands with the Ameo TDI and we really wish it fetches more sales now because the numbers of the petrol Ameo have been far from satisfying.

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BMW M4 Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

BMW has always captured the finest elements to make a car, and successfully unleashed them into entities of grandeur and luxury. This all new model shows the world just why this prominent company dazzles in what they do. The BMW M Series M4 Coupe stands as one of the rarest and most exquisite machines to cruise our streets. The two door vehicle is a blend of both performance and style: It is destined to rule our streets with speed and ferocity, but without compromising on luxury and comfort. This high end sports machine is powered by a M TwinPower turbo engine, which sends it sailing to exhilarating top speeds rarely seen on Indian streets. This high rev engine is built as a six cylinder petrol format. Translating the massive engine capacity to speed is a seven gear dual clutch transmission system, specially designed for the needs of expensive machine. The inner prowess is balanced by the beauty that paints it from the outside: Its low profile is designed for aerodynamics and stealth on the streets. Its fluidic, streamlined shape gives it an imposing look rarely found on regular roads. Its trimmed front grille, stylistically shaped headlights and elegant bumper are all sure to bring it to the fore of all its viewers’ eyes.

EXTERIORS ;

Exteriors in M4 Coupe are exclusively highlighted; which supports the reflection of power. Talking of strength, every detail in this vehicle has been so nicely carved from carbon-fibre that it offers limitless strength to the machine. These features make it trustworthy and durable in the long run. BMW M4 embraces very attractive air inlets-being very stylish and also offers voluminous air that passes through the engineto cool it in the long, high-performance run. Sportiness is at its height with a muscular powerdome that characterize the contours of the twin turbocharger engine. Also, an extended bonnet is there to make the car look even sportier. Alongwith the marvellous ergonomics that the car offers, a perfect combo of stabilized aerodynamic style is also served; for which there are air curtains and air breather.Other exterior equipmentincludes 4 bevelled tailpipe finishers in the rear, M kidney grille that comes with double slats, M exterior mirrors, M gills and the M twin tailpipe. The alloy wheel size of tyres is 18 inches and tyres are radial, tubeless type. All these features in car serve unbeatable performance with its efficient technology, design and on-road driving pleasure.

INTERIORS ;

Much like the exterior, BMW kept it simple when it came to interior updates as well. In fact, the only noticeable difference in the entire interior design are the newly-designed and illuminated M4 logos on the seatbacks. It’s a nice touch and all, but far from revolutionary. Interior trim pieces like those along the nose of the dash, around the HVAC vents, and on the center stack come in either chrome or are electroplated for a black-ish appearance. The latter can be found on the long trim strip that traverses the full width of the dash and on the door panels, to go with the trim element that surrounds the cd changer and HVAC controls. Chrome trim can be found on the steering wheel and around the HVAC vents.

You’ll also find that the dash now gets the same contrasting double stitching that the rest of the interior upholstery has. But, more important than that is the upgrade to the infotainment system that brings about the updated OS, which is also found in the new 5 Series and includes a multi-tile layout that’s easy to use. The Professional navigation system comes standard and is capable of providing a normal birds-eye view of your route or a more in-depth 3d view that accurately displays buildings and other structures in the surrounding area with near-perfect accuracy. Other standard features include BMW’s ConncetedDrive services to go with advanced Bluetooth phone connectivity, inductive charging, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

On the options front, you can opt for the Carbon Interior Pack that includes a healthy dose of Alcantara wrapped around the steering wheel to go with carbon fiber inlays throughout the cabin. As part of this package, the transmission gear selector and its surround also come with a carbon fiber finish to tie up all of the loose ends in the styling department. And, considering the car itself didn’t change aside from these minor updates, the passenger space inside carries over unchanged as well. That means you’ll find 42.2 inches of legroom up front and 33.7 inches in the rear to go with 55.3 inches of shoulder room up front and 51.7 inches in the rear. Headroom for the coupe is rated at 39.8, but if you opt for the convertible, you can enjoy unlimited headroom with the top down.

PERFORMANCE ;

The M4 is a powerful car that’s capable of cornering at impressive speeds. It has a huge amount of front-end grip, doesn’t roll in corners and responds to steering inputs very quickly. The steering is heavy enough, but it doesn’t give much natural feedback. The adjustable suspension can be made firmer when you’re driving harder, but in any mode the car is agile and precise.There’s not a great deal that’ll keep up with the M4 in a straight line. The twin-turbocharged 425bhp straight-six engine pulls strongly, even in higher gears. However, while from outside it sounds great, from where you sit it’s harsh and loud.

Choosing the wind-in-your-hair approach does – as usual – come with a weight penalty; the drop-top is 200kg heavier than the M4, in part because of its complex folding metal roof. This means it takes a little longer to hit 62mph in a sprint, but you’ll rarely notice it on the road.A six-speed manual gearbox is standard but we’d recommend specifying the optional seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic. It allows you to make far better use of what the quick-revving engine has to offer, thanks to its reliable and lightning-quick gearshifts. It also makes the car a little more easygoing in traffic and around town. The launch control system can be very fiddly to use, though, and doesn’t restrict wheelspin as well as some rival systems.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The BMW M Series M4 Coupe scores as an all round accomplishment. Its stunning performance is balanced by smooth handling. A top notch suspension system and braking capacity together guard the vehicle’s ferocity, keeping it within safe lines. The adaptive M suspension gives the car a smooth flow, helping swallow all abnormalities on the rough Indian streets. The 18 inch alloy wheels are V-spoke style, modeled for maximum braking efficiency. The wheels are armed with superior braking calipers, building the best braking and cornering capacity for the vehicle. A sophisticated cruise control with braking and speed limited ensures a stress free drive for the man behind the wheel. The M servotronic assistance feature brings the car an additional driving aid on all speed ranges. The M double clutch transmission, armed with drivelogic, brings the most efficient transmission to the car’s engine, building the finest of handling. The machine’s prowess is guarded by safe handling for a well balanced drive.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

A car that weighs around 1500 kg and that has power figures like 431hp and 550Nm of torque which is enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 kmph in 4.1 seconds needs to have some pretty nifty braking and safety features. The BMW M4 has carbon ceramic brakes with all the driving safety aids BMW could throw at it. The list goes on and on and on like, 8 Airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), DSC, MDM, etc.

VERDICT ;

And there you have it. The new M4 in coupe and convertible form promises a little more power and slightly better performance while keeping the same interior and exterior looks. The biggest news is the updated infotainment system that mirrors that in the new 5 Series, but that’s okay because the M4 is already a pretty menacing vehicle all the way around. Of course, some of you might find that the naturally aspirated RC F is a better choice while others might want to give that ATS-V a try. But, at the end of the day, each of the models here are exceptional, and I recommend you give each a test drive to see what really fits within your desire of what a sports coupe should offer. You’ll certainly be envied by your neighbors regardless of what model you come home in, so get to it, then come back and post a picture of your new baby once you take delivery.

 

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Skoda Supeb Price & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

That name was also met with wry amusement when the previous Superb was launched in 2001. But Skoda had the last laugh, for that Superb, based on the previous Passat with its wheelbase stretched for space, was a better car than the VW and rode British roads much more serenely. Check Price of Superb

Still, if Skoda’s hefty new car is to gain credibility, then it needs a USP. That’ll be the Twindoor, in which the bootlid either hinges open conventionally or can stay rigidly attached to the rear window as the whole assembly opens to reveal a vast load bay. A conventional estate version is also available. This Twindoor boot, together with enormous rear legroom, make the Superb unique in its sector, if indeed it occupies any known sector.

EXTERIORS ;

The exterior design remains the same across all variants and is impossible to judge from the outside about the variant of the car since none of the variants carry any badge. The long face comes with a large Skoda logo and the classic Fabia like grill along with the chrome inserts across and the lower on the air dam giving that nose a bold smart look. This fairly imposing front look makes you forget its enormous length of this car.

The Halogen Projector headlamps replace the Bi-Xenon headlights head lamp. The headlights retain the auto On/Off feature. The front fog lamps also remains along with the cornering feature (Turn Lights) on them. The exteriors rear view mirrors auto foldsand have the turn lights integrated in them. Thesemirrors also have the auto dimming feature which useful while driving at nights.

The car looks long and wide from the side.The doors come with chrome strip that givesthe car rich a look. The windows boarders also get the chrome detailing around them while the pillars are blacked out identical to that on the Skoda Superb Elegance. The rear door is huge so you know inside the car leg and head room is not an issue. From the back it looks a bit different it feels plain and a bit disconnected from the front. The tail lamps have a soft glow and run a bit on to the booth lid. Unlike other cars the way the model name is written this is something new, in most car the badge is on one side. The little bit of chrome on the booth lid is subtle and comes with an integrated little lip making a statement with being in your face

INTERIORS ;

Once seated in the driver’s seat, you will be delighted with the brilliant visibility over the bonnet that is on offer. The dual tone shades for the cabin really light up the ambience. However, Skoda could have imparted a better design for the dashboard. Areas around the centre console and door pads imparted a bland unexciting feel. That said, little details like the silver accents around the vents, touchscreen and gear shifter do add a nice touch to the overall appearance. All the buttons are spread out in an accessible manner and finding a function should not be a chore.

While the front electric seats have nice contours to hold you in place and also offer appropriate support for the back, it lacked enough under thigh support. Well, the Superb’s rear was always the talk of the town and this will rightly continue. Occupants can enjoy even more legroom thanks to the overall increase in dimensions. There is no denying that it is the rear portion of the cabin that will make it stand clear of its opponents. The rear can seat three passengers easily and there is enough head and shoulder room too. However, the lack of proper under thigh support was again sighted. 625 litres of luggage can be swallowed by the boot whose lid opens like a hatchback, unlike the earlier double opening boot lid design that has been canned.

Highlights of the equipment list on the Style variant are keyless entry, a 6.5-inch colour touch screen infotainment system, leather seats, electric driver seat and bi-xenon headlamps with curve light assistant. Buyers also get eight airbags, multi collision brake, parking sensors with camera and dual-zone climate control. Unique additions to the L&K variant are the three-zone climate control, electric boot lid, boss button (front passenger seat position electrically controlled from rear seat), cooled front seats, fatigue detection and a virtual pedal (contact free access for the boot).

PERFORMANCE ;

Powering the Skoda Superb are two engine options – 2.0-litre diesel and 1.8 litre petrol. The 2.0-litre TDI produces 177 PS of power at 3600 RPM and 350 Nm of peak torque at 1500-3500 RPM. We only got the 1.8 TSI DSG variant to test at the drive which makes 180 PS of power at 5100 RPM and 250 Nm of torque at 1250-5000 RPM. There is no hint of turbolag in this motor and it goes off the mark quite briskly. As you rev up the motor, the progress gets more stronger. The entire rev range is silky smooth and never does the engine feels strained or overworked. Redlining this engine is a bliss, which comes up around 7000 RPM. It sounds very sporty as you rev higher but no vibrations filter through the cabin. NVH levels are supreme and the cabin is very well insulated.

Mated to the 1.8 TSI is a 7-speed automatic DSG gearbox. The dual-clutch transmission is famous for its lightning quick shifts and is mated very well to the Superb. It changes cogs in milliseconds and with the manual pedal shifts it is super fun to drive. However, it upshifts automatically after hitting the redline. In the regular D mode it changes gears early, which is best for city driving. Put it in the S mode and it pulls strongly at higher revs holding the gear longer. We also drove Octavia TSI back to back and the younger sibling feels more sprightly with the same engine at the lower end of the rev range because of its lighter weight. Skoda claims 14.67 km/l of fuel efficiency but in real world conditions you may get around 10 km/l.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride of the new Superb is pliant. One of the best ride qualities in this segment. The previous Superb was stiff but this one has the perfect ride quality. The handling too is agile. Despite the length, it doesn’t feel very large and does well around bends. The Superb even has sufficient grunt with the more powerful engine options. The steering wheel is lively and it weighs up nicely too. What else we liked on the Superb is the ground clearance. Despite the long wheelbase, it didn’t touch even once on badly designed speed bumps.

SAFETY ;

Skoda has done no compromise in terms of safety as you get top notch equipment with the new Superb. The list is long and here it is – 8 airbags, ABS, EBD, Hill Hold Control, multi-collision brake, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, traction control system, electronic stability control and more. Skoda after sales service has been controversial in India but according to the carmaker, they have improved a lot in terms of turn around time, spare part costs, customer satisfaction after the launch of the new Octavia. The Czech carmaker says customer satisfaction level has gone up in the recent past and they are working hard to get everything right when it comes to after sales.

VERDICT ;

With the mechanicals being the same, the facelifted Skoda Superb drives very much like the outgoing version.

There is enough power on tap for most Indian roads and more. One advantage is that you don’t feel the car’s size when in the driver’s seat. The suspension is fairly pliant and our only complaint will be the 16-inch wheel size. Overall ride quality is focused on the rear seat occupant, who has enough legroom to sit stretched out.

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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.