Archives October 2020

Hamilton owns the most Formula 1 race wins record with number 92 at Portimao

October 28, 2020 / 0 Comments / 157 / MOTORSPORTS

Lewis Hamilton created history at Portimao by winning his 92nd Formula 1 race, thereby passing Michael Schumacher as the Formula 1 driver with the most number of race wins.

Earlier, it was normalcy restored with the Friday practice going along unlike at Nürburgring. The drivers took their time to understand the new track which had very high elevation changes and changing wind directions made it difficult for the aerodynamic effects to kick-in. The practices were smooth apart from a few spins here and there. Pierre Gasly had the rear of the car on fire which brought out the red flags and the returning Lance Stroll, who informed that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and got cured, collided with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Turn 1. Haas F1 had announced that both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will not be driving for them in 2021.

QUALIFYING

The first part of qualifying started as usual with the “SATURDAY MAN” George Russell again putting in mega efforts to put his Williams into Q2. The Ferrari powered cars of Alfa Romeo (Kimi Raikkonen & Giovinazzi) and Haas F1 (Kevin Magnussen & Romain Grosjean) were eliminated along with the other Williams of Nicolas Latifi, who qualified 20th.

The second part of qualifying saw both the Mercedes and Ferraris attempting to get into Q3 on the medium tyre as opposed to the softs preferred by all other teams. The Mercedes pair easily made it to Q3 but only Charles Leclerc of Ferrari making it to Q3 on medium tyre and Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari was unable to go any better than 15th. The session ended with Australian Daniel Ricciardo spinning out and just about nudging the barriers. He managed to scrap through to Q3 with the 10th quickest time. The 2nd part of qualifying saw Estaben Ocon of Renault, Lance Stroll of Racing point, Alpha Tauri’s Danill Kvyat, Williams’s George Russell and Ferrari’s Vettel bow out.

The Q3 began with the Mercedes putting their times on board on a set of soft tyres and going into the 1:16s. Redbull’s Alex Albon put his first time on a set of mediums but had to go for the soft tyre run hoping for a bit more pace. The Mercedes switched plans to go to mediums for the final runs in Q3 probably hoping that the cold temperatures would suit the medium tyre better and that was what exactly happened. The Mercedes pair went a couple of tenths quicker than their soft tyre runs and Lewis Hamilton managed to pip Valterri Bottas to the pole position by 0.1 seconds. Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez and Albon completed the top six. The two Mclarens of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris followed them with Pierre Gasly qualifying 9th. Ricciardo could not set a competitive time in Q3 as his rear wing needed to be replaced following the spin in Q2.

RACE

The race was to provide drama right from the start. As the circuit was damp, it meant everyone had to scrap through carefully on the dry tyres. Hamilton made a clear getaway and held position but soon began to lose temperature in his tyres and began sliding everywhere. Almost everyone struggled barring the most experienced Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi probably made the start of the season by gaining as many as 10 places – from P16 to P6 by Lap 1. Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen made contact which led to the Racing point getting spun and ending up dead last. Perez had to pit for a fresh set of mediums following the spin. Hamilton struggled to keep up with the tyres and was passed by Bottas. The Mclarens made a splendid start to race into P2 and P4 by Lap 1.

Carlos Sainz moved past a struggling Bottas on Lap 2 to gain the lead of the Portuguese which he kept for as long as Lap 6. By Lap 8, Sainz was passed by both the Mercedes and the Red bull of Max Verstappen as he reported to be struggling with the soft tyres. Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly showed great pace by making up places. On Lap 18, Lance Stroll’s upward movement was cut short when he collided with Lando Norris while attempting an overtake into Turn 1. He received a 5 seconds time penalty for the incident and the collision resulted in both Norris and Stroll falling to the back needing a front wing change. Hamilton showed great pace through out and a made clean pass on Bottas on lap 20 to regain the lead of the grand prix. Sergio Perez who had to pit earlier because of the collision with Max made some great moves and showed great pace in going as high as P4 before pitting again for the second time. George Russell made the medium tyres last long and ran as high as P7 for the initial half distance of the race, the highest position he has raced at in his career. Perez pitted for softs hoping to be gain a pace advantage over all others who were on mediums, but the drop in temperature meant the soft tyre not working as expected and a P5 turned quickly into P7 for him in the last 2 laps with Gasly and Sainz managing to get past him.

At the front though, it was a complete Lewis Hamilton show. Post his overtake on Bottas, he never looked back and put up another strong performance to finally break the record of Michael Schumacher for the most number of wins in Formula 1. He clinched his 92nd victory with over 25 seconds margin on Bottas. Max Verstappen finished third and took the final place on the podium. Charles Leclerc put up a strong performance to end P4. Gasly, Sainz and Perez rounded off the top 7 with Ocon, Ricciardo and Vettel completing the top 10. Red Bull’s Alex Albon finished a lowly 12th and he was lapped by his teammate Verstappen. Lance Stroll was the only car to retire from the grand prix after reporting damage from the collision with Lando Norris.

This win further extends Lewis Hamilton’s lead in the championship and further stamped the dominance of Mercedes in the Constructor’s championship with another 1-2 finish.

Mercedes-Benz localizes its AMG Production in Pune, India

October 22, 2020 / 0 Comments / 113 / Car News

Mercedes-Benz, who celebrated their 25th anniversary in India in 2019 has further strengthened its commitment to Indian market by localizing their production of AMG segment in India. The current AMG portfolio in India comprises the 43, 53, 63, and GT series of high performance vehicles across different body shapes.

AMG localization in India underlines the world-class production prowess of Mercedes-Benz India

  • AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé will be the first AMG product to roll-out of the assembly lines at Mercedes-Benz India’s production facility in Chakan, Pune
  • High flexibility of the production facility with NGCs, Sedans, SUVs, and now AMGs to be manufactured in one facility
  • Mercedes-Benz India currently produces 10 CKD models across segments in its state-of-art production facility in Chakan, Pune
  • AMG performance vehicles introduced in 2010 in India, are currently imported as CBU (Completely Built Units)

Pune: India’s largest luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz today further deepened its commitment to the Indian customers, by commencing the localization of a Mercedes AMG model in India. AMG is Mercedes-Benz’s performance sub-brand having a wide portfolio of performance limousines, performance SUVs, SUV Coupés, and sports car in its wide portfolio in India. The AMG brand has a dedicated retail presence through the AMG Performance Centers located across Indian metros. The AMG performance brand has a leading market share in the performance market in India.

The first Mercedes-AMG product to roll-out of the assembly line from Mercedes-Benz India will be the AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé. The ‘made in India’ AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé will become an exciting addition to the fascinating world of AMG Driving Performance in India.

Commenting on this strategic announcement, Martin Schwenk, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India stated, “The AMG brand over the years has become synonymous with performance motoring in India and remains highly aspirational. The decision to locally produce AMG in India underlines Mercedes-Benz’s clear roadmap for the Indian market and our long-term commitment to our Indian customers. We want AMG to be more accessible to the potential customers and play a bigger role in our overall portfolio we offer in India. This decision is an important milestone towards strengthening our AMG ambitions in India further.”

“The AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé is an important model in our portfolio having the distinction of being one of the highest selling AMG models in India. We are proud to introduce this dynamic SUV Coupé for our Indian customers now in its ‘made in India’ version. The addition of the stylish AMG GLC 43 Coupé will further cement our strong position in the performance SUV segment. We are confident, the launch of the locally produced AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé will drive in value and aspiration for our customers and help the dynamic SUV Coupé retain its top preference among the discerning AMG customers.” elaborated Mr. Schwenk.

Commenting on the localization decision of the AMG, Piyush Arora, Executive Director, Operations, Mercedes-Benz India stated, “Our production facility, is a global benchmark in quality and technological advancement in manufacturing, and remains the backbone of our growth story in India. We are highly excited to commence the local manufacturing of AMG in India as it will add a new production milestone in our India journey, further deepening our commitment to the Indian market. The decision to commence localization of the AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé firmly reiterates our significant manufacturing prowess and innovation in manufacturing, developed over the last two decades. We are glad to offer world-class products to our Indian customers with substantial local value addition, in the shortest possible time.”

The AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé combines new, expressive design features with improved performance. The latest version of the MBUX infotainment system, with AMG specific functions and displays, introduces an innovative control concept that adds to the vehicle’s feasibility for everyday use. The practicality of the vehicle is further enhanced by the exceptional amount of space provided for passengers and luggage, and a comprehensive range of safety features. The vehicles exceptional agility and sporty driving dynamics ensures that Mercedes AMG meets the brand promise of “Driving Performance”.

Tata Harrier BS6 – The Truly Ultimate SUV

October 22, 2020 / 0 Comments / 146 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

Tata has finally introduced the Tata Harrier BS6 after all the anticipation and fanfare

Pros:
+ The best Tata vehicle till date. Period. The styling is surely a head-turner
+ 168 bhp and 350 Nm of ample power and torque makes it an effortless highway cruiser
+ Excellent engine-gearbox combo makes it a perfect mile muncher. Absolutely no lag from the Hyundai sourced gearbox
+ Fantastic music system by OEM standards. One of the best We have ever seen
+ Extremely spacious 5 seaters. The cabin looks great with neat faux wood touches and good plastics around this part
+ Built like a Tank. The bonnet, tailgate, doors are heavy and feel they are built to last
+ The AC is a bone chiller. The best we have experienced in recent times. Blower levels 6 & 7 could have been less noisy
+ Great feature list with a panoramic sunroof, electric driver’s seat, auto headlamps, cruise control and safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, HDC. Also, the headlights gave a good intensity
+ More importantly, much better than the 2019 model in every possible way. Tata should have launched the diesel-automatic back then

Cons:
– With great power comes great responsibility. Although direct, the steering is very light post 120 kmph. You would have to be really careful in sudden direction changes
– The engine gets noisy in Sport mode where the gears are changed at 4000 rpm and the noise is unpleasant
– The gearbox is a delight but slightly misses out on the wow factor in terms of acceleration. Manual mode doesn’t help much
– No petrol option! A big opportunity missed. Every other competitor is offering this. No AWD either
– Small dead pedal for an automatic, I could not accommodate my foot
– Electric boot release and hydraulic struts for bonnet are missed. Esp the former, it’s a task to open and shut the boot and bonnet
– Small issues like the infotainment lag could be fixed through a software update
– The top-end XZA+ retails at 24 lakhs on road, Delhi

After arriving with a bang at the 2018 Auto Expo with the H5X Concept, Tata promised the final production model was going to be extremely similar to the show car. The design team lived up to its promise when the Tata Harrier made its official debut in production form. The SUV with an all-new design language and butch proportions made the Harrier very desirable. But when the spec-sheet was released, it left a lot to be desired. The Harrier had a 30hp deficit, missed out on an automatic transmission, and there were some initial glitches with the vehicle as well. Now Tata says those glitches are no more, so we drove the new 2020 Harrier to find out.

What’s New?

The 2020 Harrier is more or less the same as the outgoing model. However, there are some small yet significant changes:

  • The 2020 Harrier now gets a massive panoramic sunroof in the top-spec variant, which is largest in its segment
  • It also gets an auto-dimming inner rear view mirror which was sorely missed on the outgoing model
  • A 6-way electrically adjustable driver seat has been added to make things easier for the driver while on the move
  • Extra USB port with improved accessibility
  • A new colour option called ‘Calypso Red’ with dual-tone options
  • Newly designed dual-tone diamond-cut 17-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels
  • Slimmer ORVMs while still managing to offer a good view
  • ESP as standard on all variants
  • Additional warranty of 5 years/unlimited km

Exterior

Why fix something that isn’t broken?  The Tata Harrier was always a stunning car it dropped jaws when it arrived as an H5X concept in the auto expo 2018. Tata promised back then that the production variant would be closely matched to the concept and boy they kept up their words. Although the exterior changes aren’t significant, some additional bits add to the already striking looks of it. It’s one of the very few cars that have styling as its USP. The headlamps follow the trend of being placed below making way for the DRLs on top. This is something that cannot be attempted by many cars and fortunately, Harrier excels in it. While we still couldn’t get over its beautiful front, we were drooled by the superb finish of the rear tail lamps integration. It’s certain that Tata Motors has put in a lot of effort to ensure that there is no stone left unturned especially in the design department. 

Speaking of the roof, Tata has now given the Harrier a large panoramic sunroof which Tata claims is the widest in the segment. Mind you, it’s not just another panoramic sunroof as it comes with some of the most intelligent features such as rain-sensing, anti pitch etc. It’s the small yet significant things like these that separated it from rest of the breed. Apart from the roof, which also does eat a little bit of headroom for the rear passengers, the cabin has largely been left untouched. The roof rails complement the oral characteristics of the Harrier and they do a perfect job in enhancing the appeal. As discussed earlier, Tata has decided to follow the crowd and opt-in for the Diamond-cut alloy wheels. In a nutshell, it’s one of those SUVs that you would look back after parking it.

In case you could, we would strongly recommend you to pick the dual-tone variant as it goes well with the charismatic SUV. TaMo has also bought in the dark edition which looks strikingly hot.

Interior

The interior of the Tata Harrier is not very different from the model that was launched last year. The overall layout of the dashboard remains the same – it still has a 7.0-inch TFT display and an 8.8-inch central touchscreen. The infotainment screen is intuitive to use but could have been wider. however, there is no wireless charging option and no tyre pressure monitors. Also, while the upper half of the dashboard is all premium and plush, the plastics used in the door panels deserved an improvement. 

But, what’s commendable has the home-grown manufacturer has come a really long way from the days of Indica to the mighty Harrier:

There are a few small changes, which, interestingly, have done wonders in improving the overall ergonomics of the car. For instance, in the 2019 Harrier, the USB port under the climate control was tucked in too far below the centre console. Fortunately, now it has been brought forward, making it easy to use without contorting your body. There are also two more USB ports – one in the central armrest and another for the rear passengers.

The steering gets a plethora of control options. Cruise control, a volume control to name a few. Quality of stalks is top-notch, something that we wish to see in other Tata cars as well. We really love the Bangalore option on the interiors. It looks very upmarket and premium. The seats are really supportive, and squeezing three people are there is definitely not a problem unlike its counterpart as always like the creator. If we had to pick one thing that we really loved about the interiors of the Harriet, it’s the wooden trim running across the dashboard this goes very well with the angle of the interiors.

Driving

1 of the 2 most significant changes to the  Tata Harrier is the introduction of a more powerful version of the 2.0L diesel engine. Called “Kryotec170”, the motor now produces 168 BHP (@ 3,750 rpm) and 350 Nm (@ 1,750 – 2,500 rpm). That is a gain of 30 BHP over the old Harrier! And the good news keeps coming. The second one being that the Harrier finally gets a 6-speed AT which does the job perfectly well. The automatic is priced at a premium of around 1.2 L lakhs over the manual variants, although this is marginally higher than the generic price gap between the Manual and the Auto, we really feel its worth it.

Astonishingly, the weight of the car has increased but on the other side, the power-to-weight ratio too has increased from 82 bhp/ton to 98 bhp/ton which is a healthy 20% increase from the earlier one and this is evident when you are munching miles on the highway.

The automatic gearbox has been sourced from Hyundai and is very smooth & competent. It’s one of the BEST we have driven in recent times. Tata has put in the effort to reduce the NVH levels & it shows. On startup, the car does not feel as nervous as before. The AT is superbly tuned and enjoys a good partnership with the Kryotec170. This smooth-shifting AT makes the Harrier far easier to drive in the city. Liftoff the brake pedal and the Harrier will start crawling forward instantly which is a boon in densely congested cities like Namma Bengaluru. The SUV moves off seamlessly from a standstill & there is no lag to speak of. Light accelerator input is all you’ll need to commute. The accelerator pedal is also feather-light and has a minimal throw, which just makes this AT that much nicer to drive. With an easy right foot, the gearbox shifts up early and shift quality is very smooth.

On the open road, the 168 bhp & 350 nm give the Harrier AT enough muscle to please even enthusiastic drivers. Fast drivers won’t be left wanting on long expressways. The acceleration is quick enough. This SUV is a capable cruiser that munches miles comfortably, seeing 100 km/h @ just 1,700 rpm and 120 km/h @ 2,200 rpm. Overtaking slower moving traffic is an effortless experience too & the Harrier AT is a brilliant long-distance companion.

Apart from the default ‘City’ driving mode, you get the ‘Eco’ mode for the ‘Kitna deti hai’ which feels fairly better than the conventional Eco mode of other cars. The ‘Sport’ mode is where the actual fun is. The car begs to be revved harder. The throttle response is fantastic and the gear shifts happen at higher rpm. WIsh the sportiness had transformed into the steering to translating the weight. We would like to see in the Harrier is an all-wheel-drive system. As far as we know, Tata Motors has no plans to introduce an AWD/4WD version and the demand is admittedly minuscule, but they should think about it. An AWD AT will make the Harrier a kick-ass tourer, while also bestowing it with more marketing cred.

NVH levels have overall improved. but the diesel starts getting loud above 3,000 – 3,500 rpm. Once past 4,000 rpm, the engine note is Loud. Nevertheless, the EXCELLENT music system from JBL comes to your rescue. We would rate it a well deserved 9/10. The vocals, the bass and the treble are top-notch.

While the Harrier ticks most of the boxes right, the biggest let down is the way the steering has been tuned. The steering is heavy at parking speeds and is FEATHER-SENSITIVE at triple-digit speeds after 120 kmph. This is a hindrance in over-taking as it’s not the most-confidence inspiring of the lot. We really wish TaMo had spent a good bandwidth in tuning it to good standards. We would have largely preferred steering that is light on the parking speeds and gets heavier with food speeds.

Ride & Handling

Tata has always known to pack punch in the driving dynamics, especially in the handling department. The Safari, the Hexa, the Aria have all-known to handle well without apt nervousness at triple-digit speeds. With the Harrier underpinning the LandRover’s legendary platform, things have moved to a whole new level. There is body roll, a fair bit of it, but there is also good grip and you can carry rather high speeds through bends.

The Harrier still delivers the best ride quality in this segment, a little firm at low speeds but once you pick up speed it steamrolls over everything. You can cruise ad decent speeds over small potholes and frequent speed-breakers in Karnataka and yet you won’t have anything much to complain about.  The braking is spot-on in most of the conditions. On the upside, all variants of the Harrier get ESP as standard and then there’s that Terrain Mode dial which delivers different engine maps for wet roads and off-road terrain, though this remains an FWD SUV with no sign of 4×4 in the foreseeable future.

Shutterdrives Says… 

Without a certain doubt, The Harrier is the best product we have seen from the Tata’s stable. It’s a bundle of Almost everything that you would expect at this price bracket, it drives well it looks astonishingly amazing and is loaded with bells and whistles. If there is something that’s lacking in this otherwise perfect SUV, its the steering sensitivity at higher speeds and we really wish, the sticker price was slightly easier on the pocket because we expect the 7 seater Gravitas to launch shortly and Tata might position it a good couple of lakhs higher in order to avoid the cannibalization for Harrier. Tata has also roped in a Dark edition of the Harrier that takes the styling to a whole new level.

Shutterdrives Rating -> 8.5/10

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Audi launches its Luxury All-rounder Audi Q2 in India

October 17, 2020 / 0 Comments / 125 / Car News

Audi India has launched its Audi Q2 which is anticipated to give the customers a perfect mix of comfort and adventure experience.

It comes with a string of brilliant features:

  • Eye-catching design portrays power and style with a bold Single frame grille, striking roofline and sporty spoiler being focal points
  • Sporty, elegant and luxurious, the cabin typifies the Audi interior design
  • Standard fit quattro all-wheel drive ensures highest levels of grip and traction
  • MMI display, Audi Virtual Cockpit and Audi Phone Box among long list of features
  • 0-litre TFSI petrol engine produces 190hp and 320Nm and powers the Audi Q2 from 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds
  • Now on sale in India, starting from INR 34,99,000 Ex-showroom
  • Complementary Peace of Mind offer bundles 5 year Service Package with 2+3 years Extended Warranty and 2+3 years Road Side Assistance

Mumbai: Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer today, announced the launch of its sporty all-rounder Audi Q2 in India. Perfectly suited to everyday driving and a capable companion on adventure trips, the Audi Q2 is a luxury all-rounder. The bold design with sublime cuts and creases will strike a chord with young and progressive Indian customers who want to make a statement with their choice. Sporting features usually reserved for models from a class above, the Audi Q2 is yours from INR 34,99,000 Ex-showroom. 

Model Name Variant Ex-showroom (in INR)
Q2 40 TFSI quattro Standard* 34,99,000
Premium 40,89,000
Premium Plus I 44,64,000
Premium Plus II 45,14,000
Technology 48,89,000
Complementary Peace of Mind offer bundles:                      

5 year Service Package with 2+3 years Extended Warranty and 2+3 years Road Side Assistance

*Panoramic glass sunroof available at an additional @ INR 1.5 Lakhs. 

 

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head of Audi India, said, “The Audi Q2 is a car we are beyond thrilled to introduce to our India line-up. We’ve listened to customer demand and brought in the fantastic, yet practical Audi Q2 in the run up to the festive season. The characterful design, plush interior and long list of features are just one part of the appeal. Having driven it extensively, I can vouch that the Audi Q2 is a thrilling drive. The 190hp, 2.0-TFSI engine, Progressive Steering and quattro make every drive an exciting one.”

The Audi Q2 is engineered for every need and feels at home anywhere, the city or in the great outdoors. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine that puts out a strong 190hp. With Progressive Steering, quattro all-wheel drive and sporty dimensions, this is a car that offers excellent driving dynamics and courtesy Audi Drive Select, you can customize the driving experience to your liking.

There’s flexibility and convenience built in to the package as well. Luggage room is expandable from 405 litres to 1050 litres so you can pack everything you need for that long getaway. The LED Ambient lighting package allows you to pick between 10 different colours using the MMI display. Particularly interesting is the inlay based ambient lighting that gives a futuristic look to the Audi Q2’s interiors.

The Audi Phone Box which charges your phone wirelessly ensures you remain connected on the go. Further, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the high-resolution TFT MMI, you can take work and play wherever you go. Talking about convenience, the Comfort Key ensures that you do not need to take the key out of your pocket. The 2-Zone Air Conditioner ensures customized temperature settings for the driver and the passenger.

Mr. Dhillon added, “Our sixth launch for the year – the Audi Q2 is another solid step in our endeavor to provide Indian customers with a wider range of choices from the Audi portfolio. We are happy that we could bring it to customers right in the middle of the festive season.”

For the best ownership experience, Audi India has offered an introductory ‘Peace of Mind’ package that comes bundled with a 5 year Service Package with 2+3 years Extended Warranty and 2+3 years Road Side Assistance.

‘myAudi Connect’

With exciting customer-centric features, the latest version of the App offers several additional functions including a login for Audi Club India members, payment options to enable in-app merchandise purchase, exclusive offers from Audi Concierge, offers on car-life products and online help and support – all of this within a secure framework and in compliance with data protection. These features are offered as standard for all Audi Q2 customers. Potential customers and enthusiasts get access to features including Augmented Reality, placement of test drive requests, product brochures and service cost calculators amongst others.

Key Highlights of the Audi Q2:

Engineered to perfection:

  • 0-liter four-cylinder TFSI engine puts out 190 hp (140 kW) & 320 Nm of torque.
  • Seven-speed S tronic Dual Clutch Transmission allows quick and slick shifts.
  • quattro Permanent all-wheel drive system for excellent traction and grip.
  • Four-link suspension & Progressive steering for adept handling.
  • Audi Drive Select System to tailor how your Q2 drives.

Dressed for any occasion:

  • Strong Singleframe grille with Octagonal Design with large air inlets.
  • Eye-catching low roof design to make a statement.
  • The sporty design ensures you make a statement where you go in the Audi Q2.
  • High shoulder line converges into a long roof spoiler and a diffuser for that sporty coupe look.
  • The Audi Q2 is 1548 mm tall, 1805 mm wide, 4318 cm long and has a wheelbase of 2593 mm.

Form follows function:

  • Sit in a sporty driver’s seat position, with good all-round visibility.
  • High entry and seating position offers good visibility.
  • The luxurious, comfortably upholstered interiors ensure you’re always taken care of.
  • Lots of storage compartments available at all seats.
  • The large luggage compartment can be expanded from 405 to 1,050 liters.

Premium cabin with Audi Virtual Cockpit:

  • High resolution 31.24 cms, 1440 x 540-pixel TFT display.
  • Audi Virtual Cockpit screens display detailed data and comes with two display modes – Classic and Dynamic.
  • LED Ambient lighting package offers ten colours.
  • Lighting is elegant and subtle and can be varied using the MMI.

Connected to the future:

  • Audi’s standard MMI screen is positioned high on the instrument panel for ease of use.
  • MMI system offers controls using natural language operation and integrated MMI search.
  • Audi smartphone interface brings Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® so you always stay connected.
  • Navigation, Phone, Music, and selected third party apps can be accessed using the MMI menu.
  • Audi Phone Box offers wireless charging and is located at the centre console for easy access.

Audi Sound System with 10 loudspeakers including a subwoofer, and a six-channel amplifier that produces 180 watts.

A record equaling number 91 for LH44 at Nürburgring

October 12, 2020 / 13 Comments / 356 / MOTORSPORTS

Lewis Hamilton has equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of the most number of Formula 1 race wins (91) at the Eifel GP at Nürburgring on Sunday.

The race weekend invited a lot of eyes initially because of the Ferrari junior program drivers Mick Schumacher and Callum Illot scheduled to run the Alfa Romeo and Haas F1 cars during free practice 1 on Friday. But all the build-up could not see the light as both free practices 1 & 2 were called off because of excessive fog which meant that the helicopter could not take off and that could have compromised safety. This posed a very unique challenge for the drivers and teams as well, as everyone had minimal running before qualifying on a track where none had driven the new F1 cars as Nürburgring wasn’t part of the F1 calendar for the past few years. Racing point found themselves under pressure as Lance Stroll was taken sick supposedly by food poisoning and had to miss out on racing. This paved way for the man dubbed as “SUPER-SUB” this season, NICO HULKENBERG. He was near the track because of his commitments with German TV broadcasting. Ultimately, Nico Hulkenberg would drive in place of Lance Stroll during the qualifying and race. The free practice 3 turned into a decent 90 mins running for every team and driver. Scuderia Ferrari found some pace during the practice session which was very different from the last few races.

QUALIFYING

Undoubtedly it was Nico Hulkenberg who was the first to go out to have some running across the track in a car he had already driven at Silverstone. The first part of qualifying saw the Haas of Romain Grosjean, both Williams of George Russell and Nicolas Latifi, Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen who made his 323rd Formula 1 race start thus becoming the most experienced Formula 1 driver in terms of the number of race starts and the Racing point of Nico Hulkenberg being eliminated. Antonio Giovinazzi scrapped through to the 2nd part of qualifying by posting a time just 0.020 seconds quicker than Romain Grosjean. Nico Hulkenberg, though qualified 20th but was lauded for the commendable effort as he was just 0.8 seconds of his team-mate Sergio Perez and just 0.4s away from going into the 2nd part of qualifying with such minimal running and joining the team just hours before the qualifying. Max Verstappen topped Q1 with the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton completing the top 3.

The 2nd part of qualifying saw Sebastian Vettel who was out-qualified by his teammate for the 8th race in a row, both Alpha Tauri’s of Pierre Gasly and Danill Kvyat, Alfa Romeo of Giovinazzi, and Haas of Kevin Magnussen getting eliminated.

The final part of qualifying saw Valterri Bottas put in a mega effort to claim pole position by 0.256 seconds, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen qualified 3rd after being the closest to the Mercedes. Charles Leclerc too put in a mega lap to equal the best qualifying position for Ferrari in p4. The other Red Bull of Alex Albon, both Renaults of Ricciardo and Ocon, McLarens of Norris and Sainz, and Racing point of Sergio Perez completed the top 10.

RACE

It was to be a dramatic start as the run towards Turn 1 was long enough and the slippery downward sloping nature of Turn 1 would invite a lot of lock-ups and sliding. Lewis Hamilton made a slightly better start and was momentarily ahead of the Bottas but was pipped by Bottas coming out of Turn 1. There were a lot of lockups from Albon, Gasly, and Magnussen throughout corners 3 to 7. Sergio Perez moved up ahead of Ocon and kept fighting with Norris over p8. At the back, Hulkenberg made a good start to gain 3 places to P17. Giovinazzi had a terrific start to go to P10. Charles Leclerc held off a challenge from the pacy Ricciardo for 9 laps before Ricciardo breezed past the Ferrari. Valterri Bottas held a good 2 seconds lead over Hamilton until lap 13 when he locked up heavily going into Turn 1 and allowed Hamilton to breeze past him through turns 2 and 3. Lap 14 saw the first major incident of the race with George Russell coming off worse in a 3 way battle between him, Vettel, and Raikkonen. Raikkonen locked up and understeered straight into Russell damaging his rear suspension and giving him a left rear puncture thus retiring him from the race. The virtual safety car to recover Russell’s Williams allowed few drivers to pit and all the top 4 runners pitted for new tires. On Lap 17, Kvyat missed his braking point at the penultimate corner and went onto the grass coming onto the track just ahead of Albon and they collided taking the front wing out of Kvyat’s car. Bottas’s race which had turned horrible due to the big lock-up turned even worse when Mercedes had to retire his car due to a problem with the power unit (supposedly the ERS – Energy Recovery System). Lando Norris had electric issues with his car as well and was passed by Sergio Perez but Norris continued with a not a 100% car. Perez made another move on Charles Leclerc on Lap 35 to move into 4th place. Lando Norris retired his car on Lap 44 and thus brought out the Safety Car. The biggest losers of the Safety car were both the Racing points as they were on road to a brilliant 1-stop race as compared to the 2-stop by everyone else. Both the racing points almost raced half race distance on the softs they had started on. Safety car allowed a free pitstop to everyone except Grosjean who made up places to P7 with other pitting.

On the Safety car restart, Perez pressurized Ricciardo for the final place on the podium but Ricciardo managed to stay ahead with some disciplined driving. Hamilton went on to win the race with Max Verstappen finishing second. Daniel Ricciardo finished third and thus making Renault the 7th team to finish on the podium in 2020 – the most since 2012 (7 teams on the podium). Sergio Perez finished a brilliant 4th and his teammate for the weekend, Nico Hulkenberg made up 12 places to finish a brilliant 8th – thus taking Racing Point to 3rd in the constructor’s championship – 4 ahead of McLaren & 6 ahead of Renault. Sainz, Gasly, Leclerc finished 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively and the final 2 points positions were taken by Romain Grosjean and Giovinazzi. Kimi Raikkonen starting his record 323rd race, ended up in the 13th position as he was given a 10 second time penalty for colliding with George Russell. Sebastian Vettel finished out of the points in 11th position at his home race. Albon, Bottas, Norris, and Ocon retired with engine-related issues.

Lewis Hamilton was presented a helmet of Michael Schumacher, as a noble gesture, for equaling the highest number of race wins in F1 history, by Mick Schumacher.

Nico Hulkenberg was voted Driver of the Weekend by F1 fans around the globe.

Mercedes-Benz launches EQC to kickstart the Luxury EV segment in India

October 8, 2020 / 0 Comments / 153 / Car News

Mercedes-Benz with its brand new launch of Mercedes-Benz EQC moves towards its new era of e-mobility and “sustainable luxury” in the Indian Automotive landscape. This will be the first Luxury Electric Vehicle in India.

PUNE: India’s largest luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz today started the new era of future mobility in the luxury segment with the launch of Mercedes-Benz EQC. The launch of the EQC represents Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to the automotive industry’s journey towards a sustainable future and signifies a major milestone towards Mercedes-Benz’s “Ambition 2039” which aims to achieve climate-neutral mobility. The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first product under Mercedes-Benz EQ brand, a comprehensive product and technology ecosystem that aims to shape the future of mobility, which derives from the Mercedes’ brand values of ‘Emotion’ and ‘Intelligence’.

The EQC is launched with a comprehensive ecosystem that makes it as much fun to drive as a practical car for the customers. The EQC ecosystem promises to take care of the entire customer journey comprising ordering the car online or offline through a showroom, innovative finance packages from DFS, service and charging support across Mercedes-Benz India’s renowned and dense network of 100 outlets in 48 cities, an industry first battery cover and a bunch of best-in-class service packages.

The EQC was launched in India by Martin Schwenk, Managing Director & CEO and Santosh Iyer, Vice President, Sales & marketing through a digital event streamed from the company’s Centre of Excellence in Chakan, Pune.

Launching India’s first luxury EV, Martin Schwenk, Managing Director& CEO commented, “EQC is one of the most anticipated cars in the luxury space and we are glad to pioneer a new segment in India, that of the Luxury EV. We are excited to launch this car for our discerning customers in India who always wanted a practical electric car with a long range, which is very stylish, extremely refined and fun to drive, laden with the latest generation intuitive technology, extremely safe, has zero tailpipe emission, and -most importantly- a pure Mercedes. The EQC meets all these criteria of today’s tech savvy customers as it combines effortlessly design, functionality, technology and luxury together in a unique package. Our objective is to put our combined experience and understanding of the Indian market and customers behind the EQC, and create a long-term, worry-free, sustainable and green mobility ecosystem in India. The EQC will become a torch-bearer towards sustainable luxury in India.”

Mr. Schwenk further added, “Listening to the customers, we launched the EQC in India after creating a nationwide ecosystem that will seamlessly support the EQC customers’ ownership requirements. The entire customer journey of an EQC customer promises to be simple and worry-free starting from booking the car online or offline, financing, wall box installation, to charging and service facilities available across our network. In addition, we are also working towards setting up fast DC chargers on popular routes in tandem with our expansive network spread.”

“EQC will be rolled out from 13 locations in 6 cities in the initial phase. In all such locations, we have exclusive EQC display areas along with dedicated EQC teams who will take care of all the sales and customer service requirements of an EQC customer. With some of the most attractive finance schemes, a comprehensive service package and an industry first battery cover on offer, we are confident owning an EQC will not only be novel but also hassle-free vehicle to own. It definitely marks Mercedes’ leap into a new era, in which electric mobility is reliable, simple yet exciting. We are confident EQC will pave the way for further expansion of our green cars portfolio and underline our electric ambition in India suitably.”

Intelligent Futuristic Exteriors and Interiors that offer sustainable luxury

The EQC radiates ease and modernity where SUV practicality meets sports car sleekness. The EQC’s design language speaks with progressive clarity; exemplified by unique features such as the Widescreen Cockpit, LED strip light front and rear, and the black panel radiator grill. The EQC’s interior is both progressive and modern, using renewable materials for the upholstery and featuring rose gold finishing. The MBUX intuitive system is a revolutionary infotainment system with natural voice control, touch-sensitive surfaces and seamless navigation.

Optimum planning before a journey | Mercedes me app’s benefits

New Mercedes Me Connect features: benefits all existing Mercedes owners.

With the vehicle’s battery management, the users can remotely check the EQC’s battery status, access the status of charging, available range and indication upon charging completion. The user can also remotely define the maximum status of charge and set as per convenience.

Pre-entry climate control feature ensures the user can set the vehicle’s individual zone temperatures before the drive. The Anti-theft alarm system, along with Mercedes me connect gives notification on the App in case of any unwanted movements inside the locked car, and for tow away protection. EQC Compatible charging stations across India are also visible on the EQC Navigation system for ease. Other key features of Mercedes me connect are:

  • Biometric ID access for unlocking the car ensures complete safety
  • Opening and closing of car windows, sunroof remotely from anywhere
  • Geo-fencing: Set a perimeter for car’s movement and receive notifications
  • Vehicle Finder: Enables the car’s horn and flashes the lights
  • MB India continues to offer the Corona Testing Centres in Navigation System through MBUX
  • All EQC customers and existing Mercedes customers will receive new and exciting Mmc features OTA periodically

EQC drivers can plan their destinations from the home or office, enter a departure time and bring the interior to the desired temperature. The Mercedes me app creates transparency and helps drivers to plan upcoming journeys to best effect. Programming is possible directly via MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience or via the Mercedes me App.

Intelligent recuperation| Preserves and perseveres

To ensure that the technical operating range is used to the maximum, the Mercedes-Benz EQC also charges its batteries when on the move through intelligent recuperation. The driver has a major influence on recuperation. He/she is also able to influence the recuperation level using so-called paddles behind the steering wheel. The paddle on the left increases the level of recuperation, the paddle on the right reduces it. The following stages are available:

  • D + (coasting)
  • D (low recuperation)
  • D – (medium recuperation)
  • D – – (high recuperation): This makes one-pedal driving possible, because in most situations the recuperative deceleration is enough not to require operation of the brake pedal.

Fit and Healthy package:

The fit and healthy package of the EQC comprises an ENERGIZING comfort programs, ENERGIZING coach, front seat heating, AIR-BALANCE package for fragrance, ionization and filtering of the interior air. There is also ambient lighting with program-specific lighting moods. The EQC’s ENERGIZING package’s unique features thus has positive effects on the occupants.

The ENERGIZING programs in the EQC comprises unique programs like:

  • Refresh | Vitality | Training

It has video instructions, e.g. to loosen up the muscles (only available when stationary)etc. The EQC also provides a 3-minute audio information tips for sustained promotion of one’s health and day-to-day well-being, for the head, shoulders, torso, lower back and pelvic areas of the body

Safety features in the EQC:

Taking care of the occupants’ safety, the EQC features 7 airbags, attention assist, PRE-SAFER system, ESP and Active Brake assist.

Technical Data: 

CO2 emissions 0 g/km
Power consumption (NEDC) (20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km)
Range (WLTP) 445 – 471 km
Drive system 2 asynchronous motors, all-wheel drive
Output 300 kW (408 hp)
Peak torque 760 Nm
Top speed 180 km/h (governed)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5.1 s
Battery Lithium-ion
Battery energy content (NEDC) 80 kWh
Battery weight 652 kg
Length/width (incl. mirrors)/height 4,761/1,884 (2,096) /1,624 mm
Wheelbase 2,873 mm
Luggage compartment (depending on equipment fitted) approx. 500 l
Kerb weight (EC)/perm. gross vehicle weight/payload (EC) 2,495/2,940/445 kg

Complete hassle-free ownership experience of EQC: Individual household feasibility survey, wall box installations at home or office, all-inclusive in car price

EQC retail network: Phase wise roll-out of EQC for an enhanced customer experience | Phase I comprises 13 location in 6 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai | Phase II roll-out to cover other metros

EQC Service & Warranty: Comprehensive service packages offering complete ease of ownership to customers:   

  1. 5 years unlimited kms Comprehensive Service Package
  2. 5 years unlimited kms Extended Warranty
  3. 5 years unlimited On-Road Assistance

First time in the auto industry: Mercedes-Benz India is going to offer the ‘industry first’ 8 years or 1,60,000 kms (whichever is earlier) battery cover for the EQC

Buy-back value for EQC: Assured buy back value for 3 years during the time of purchase for customers

Attractive EMI from DFS India with STAR Agility: 40% lower EMI with Star Agility for a loan tenure of 3 years, starting at an attractive INR 144,111 per month

EQC charging ecosystem: Mercedes-Benz’s densest network spread across India will support any charging & service related requirements for the EQC customers

  1. The EQC has a range of 450 km (as per WLTP) at one full charge | Highly suitable for all kind of intracity travel and daily usability  
  2. For any intercity travel, Mercedes-Benz India has 100+ charging points in 48 cities across the country which are equipped with wall box charging facility
  3. In addition, EQC head unit via navigation will guide customers to the nearest public charging station

Online buying: Customer can order their EQC online from the comfort of their home at: www.shop.mercedes-benz.co.in

  • With its seamless, clear design and color highlights typical of the brand, EQC represents the design idiom of Progressive Luxury
  • With respect to quality, safety and comfort the EQC is the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles, and highly convincing in the sum of its attributes
  • Dynamic performance thanks to two electric motors at the front and rear axles with a combined output of 408hp & 700 Nm of Torque| 0-100 in just 5.1 seconds
  • Connected Car technology with the new EQC:
    • The recently introduced new Mercedes Me Connect App provides all-new user interface. | Sharper and easier to consume, the new map interface comes with colored 3D map layouts
  • Fit & Healthy with the EQC: EQC offers a combination of luxury and comfort programs which can improve the fitness, safety and sense of well-being of customer:
    • Unique ENERGIZING comfort programs, an ENERGIZING coach, front seat heating, AIR-BALANCE package
  • The new Mercedes-Benz EQC is priced at INR 99.30 lakhs (all prices are ex-showroom, India) Price includes for the first 50 units: AC Wall Box charger, home electrical charger, 5 years unlimited on-road assistance, 5 years comprehensive service package, 5 year unlimited kilometers extended warranty, 8 years/160000kms battery cover  

Hyundai i20

October 6, 2020 / 0 Comments / 122 / Upcoming Cars

Hyundai is all set to add the all new 3rd generation of Hyundai i20 to the Indian market soon. It was supposed to be showcased at the Geneva motor show but had to be put off in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. It is expected to hit the showrooms by the first half of 2021. This would also be the first time that Hyundai would be bringing its N-line trim to the i20 but it is awaited whether that would be available for Indian markets or not. The new i20 in India is expected to come with 3 engine option – 1.5 liter diesel engine, 1.0 liter turbo and 1.2 liter naturally aspirated petrol trim. It is expected to get an all new platform and with the shots available it seems to be on the same lines as the new versions of Hyundai Verna and Elantra.

The car is expected to bring in a lot of new features like the connected car technology, a change in the instrument cluster and infotainment systems. It is expected to be priced around Rs 7-11 lakhs (ex-showroom price). It will be pitted in one of the most competitive segments in India Auto market and is expected to rival the likes of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Toyota Glanza, Tata Altroz and Honda Jazz.

A tale of numbers in Formula 1 2020

October 5, 2020 / 0 Comments / 116 / MOTORSPORTS

Formula 1 never ceases to impress us. Be it the superb straight-line speeds or the daring wheel to wheel racing or even the crazy social media presence. But like every other sport, Formula 1 churns out some impressive numbers (and coincidence sometimes).

Let us see one such “Hell of A Coincidence” moment from Formula 1 2020 season:

After 10 rounds of races in the current season, the lead for the championship looks somewhat like this –

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 205 points
  2. Valtteri Bottas – 161 points
  3. Max Verstappen – 128 points

Now, these are plain numbers on the first look & very much accepted given that these 3 have shared the podium 6 times in the 10 races so far.

But again, this is Formula 1!!!!

Let us have a closer look at the difference between the points:

  • Hamilton leads Bottas by 44 points – 44 is Lewis Hamilton’s car number. No, No, it doesn’t stop here just yet.
  • Bottas leads Verstappen by 33 points – 33 happens to be Verstappen’s car number!!!
  • And as Maths would suggest, Hamilton leads Verstappen by 77 points. 77 – Uh, oh!! This happens to be Bottas’s car number!

Coincidence? Definitely so!!!

The top 3 in championship are separated by the number of points equaling their car numbers.  

Like every other season, an add up of numbers does bring in some interesting things to look out for. Let us see what the Formula 1 2020 season has brought out in terms of numbers till now:

1: A first race victory for Pierre Gasly at Monza, Italy! A difficult 2019 followed by the tag “Race Winner” – Never lose hope during difficult times!

2: Only the second time Alpha Tauri (previously Toro Rosso) managed to win a F1 race. Coincidentally, the first time was also at Monza and that race victory introduced us to one of the legends of the sport and four-time champion, Sebastian Vettel.

3: Three young Ferrari Academy drivers to make their Formula 1 weekend debut this year. Mick Schumacher is expected to drive the Alfa Romeo at the Eifel grand prix this weekend and similarly Callum Illot will be driving for Haas F1 in free practice 1. Robert Schwartzman will be driving the F1 car during the final Friday practice 1 of 2020 season at Abu Dhabi. All eyes will be on Mick Schumacher as he would driving at his home race track, a track which is just a few miles away from the birthplace of his father and Formula 1’s all time great, Michael Schumacher.

7: The highest number of driver’s championships won by a single driver, Michael Schumacher. What seemed to be impossible achievement, is set to be equaled by Lewis Hamilton if he manages to win the championship just one more time. Looks very likely, 2020 could be it! Brace yourselves, Michael Schumacher fans, you got to share the top spot tag now!

31: George Russell has now outqualified his teammate in every qualifying session till date, thereby leading the qualifying battle by 31-0 (21-0 to Robert Kubica and 10-0 to Nicolas Latifi)

91: The highest number of race wins by a driver, Michael Schumacher. Lewis Hamilton has currently 90 race wins under his belt. One more in the next 7 races to come this year and he will equal the great Michael Schumacher in terms of race wins. A few more, and one could say Lewis Hamilton is the most successful Formula 1 driver in terms of race wins!!!

96: The highest number of pole positions by Lewis Hamilton. With 7 races yet to come this year and future (maybe), he is all set to cross the 100 mark! The second highest number of pole positions is 68 by Michael Schumacher – which Hamilton has bettered as a Mercedes driver alone (69 pole positions as a Mercedes driver)

322: The highest number of race starts by a Formula 1 driver. It was held by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello till the Russian GP but has been equaled by the ICEMAN Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi is all set to own this record during the next race weekend at Nürburgring. But the question is for how long? Formula 1 veteran, Spaniard Fernando Alonso is coming back to racing with Renault in 2021. He currently has 311 race starts to his name. If Kimi decides to stop racing, Alonso is sure to own this record next year! But will Kimi hang up just yet? Coming days would tell!!

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