No 132 August 2012 Oman’s Best Automotive Resource OMR 0.500 AED 5.00 QR 5.

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Visit us online at www.automanweb.com
2013 Porsche Boxster
Narrowing the gap to its
911 rear-engined sibling
M-B SLS GT3 AMG
2012 Suzuki Swift Dzire
Impressive packaging
from India
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BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMA BRIC INFLUENCE IN OMAN! N!
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editor-in-chief
Mohammad Al taie
AL roYA PreSS & PUBLiShinG
Po Box: 343, Postal code 118
Al harthy complex
Sultanate of oman
email: automan@alroya.net
Website: www.automanweb.com
editorial office:
tel: +968 24479888 extn 300, fax: +968 24479889
circulation office:
tel: +968 2456 2360, fax: +968 2456 2194
PUBLiSher
hatim Al taie hatim@alroya.net
editor & GM
raj Warrior raj@alroya.net
execUtive editor
chandan B Malik chandan@alroya.net
deSiGn
Sawsan Al Muharbi sawsan@alroya.info
heAd of MArketinG
Maged Aziz maged@alroya.net
circULAtion
books@alroya.net
finAnce & AdMin
Abraham daniel daniel@alroya.net
Sumy Mol sumy@alroya.net
WeBSite & it
Mohammed f draz mohammed.draz@alroya.net
Printer
ruwi Modern Printers LLc
tel: +968 2479 4167, 2479 8157
fax: +968 2470 0545
© 2012
All editorial content of Automan in the magazine and
its website is copyrighted and may not be reproduced
in any form without the written consent of the manage-
ment of AL roYA PreSS & PUBLiShinG
Automan accepts unsolicited exclusive editorial
material, but reserves the right to publish any such
material. once published, the copyright for any
such material will vest with AL roYA PreSS &
PUBLiShinG
Ramadan Mubarak
DODGE CHALLENGER SRT
6.4L V8 SRT HEMI® ENGINE, 470 HP
DODGE CHALLENGER SE
3.6L V6 ENGINE, 305 HP
DODGE CHALLENGER RALLY PLUS
5.7L V8 HEMI® ENGINE, 375 HP
The Purchase offer is valid at any Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & RAM showroom across the Sultanate.
*THE PURCHASE OF ANY DODGE CHALLENGER VEHICLE WILL GIVE YOU AN AUTOMATIC ENTRY
INTO THE BLUE BOX RAFFLE AND YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF THREE CHRYSLER 200 VEHICLES
DURING RAMADAN.
OFFER VALID FROM 1st JULY TO 30th AUGUST, 2012. DRAW DATES ARE 28th JULY, 11th AUG & 1st SEPT.
WITH ANY PURCHASE IN THE
T H I S R A M A D A N
WIN 1 OF 3
BLUE BOX OFFER*
CHRYSLER 200 VEHICLES
Ţ A v£hI0L£ wI1h IHP£00A8L£ 51¥L£ AN0 51uNNIN0 P£RF0RHAN0£
Ţ A FR££ hI0h vALu£ 0IF1 v0u0h£R wI1h £v£R¥ PuR0hA5£
Ţ A 2nd 0PP0R1uNI1¥ 10 £N1£R IN10 1h£ 8Lu£ 80x RAFFL£
Ţ FR££ R£0I51RA1I0N Ţ FR££ b ¥£AR5 J J00,000kH wARRAN1¥
Ţ FR££ ARA8IAN Au10H08IL£ A5500IA1I0N H£H8£R5hIP
2458 4530 or email us at info@chrysler-oman.com
DHOFAR AUTOMOTIVE WISHES YOU
JEEP
®
CHEROKEE
3.7L V6 engine, 210 HP
Ramadan Mubarak
JEEP
®
COMPASS
2.4L DOHC VVT engine, 172 HP
JEEP
®
PATRIOT
2.4L DOHC VVT engine, 172 HP
Accessories/features shown in the visual may not be part of the standard model. *Offer valid only on Model Year 2012 Passenger Vehicles. Rental, Leasing and Commercial Purchases are
excluded from the offer. High value Ramadan gift may vary from model to model. Enquire in Showroom for more details. Credit Card purchase is subject to approval and a surcharge will apply.
The Purchase offer is valid at any Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & RAM showroom across the Sultanate.
mideast.jeep.com
Join us at Jeep Middle East
Jeep
®
is a registered trademark of Chrysler Group LLC.
*THE PURCHASE OF ANY JEEP VEHICLE WILL GIVE YOU AN AUTOMATIC ENTRY INTO THE BLUE BOX
RAFFLE AND YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF THREE CHRYSLER 200 VEHICLES DURING RAMADAN.
OFFER VALID FROM 1st JULY TO 30th AUGUST, 2012. DRAW DATES ARE 28th JULY, 11th AUG & 1st SEPT.
WITH ANY PURCHASE IN THE
T H I S R A M A D A N
WIN 1 OF 3
BLUE BOX OFFER*
CHRYSLER 200 VEHICLES
ǩ A ¥ERICLE WITR IHPECCABLE 5TYLE AND 5TUNNINß PEPF0PHANCE
ǩ A FPEE RIßR ¥ALUE ßIFT ¥0UCREP WITR E¥EPY PUPCRA5E
ǩ A 2nd 0PP0PTUNITY T0 ENTEP INT0 TRE BLUE B0X PAFFLE
ǩ FPEE PEßI5TPATI0N ǩ FPEE 5 YEAP5 l 1000,000KH WAPPANTY
ǩ FPEE APABIAN AUT0H0BILE A550CIATI0N HEHBEP5RIP
36 37
Author and photography
EDITORIAL NOMINEE
HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE
SPORTS CAR
FIRSTDRIVE
Genesis Coupe, gets an impressive makeover for 2012. Automan
checks out the car in Oman
Explorer reinvented
32 33
Author and photographs: Chandan B Mallik
EDITORIAL NOMINEE
2012 FORD EXPLORER
MID SIZED SUV
F
ord’s best selling seven-seater Explorer
is available in both front- and four-
wheel drive configurations depending
on markets with a choice of several trim
levels and powertrains. Our market gets the
290hp 3.5-litre Ti-VCT V6 engine and six-
speed automatic transmission set-up with
SelectShift manual mode. The 4x4 models
Although Ecoboost technology is available in
the US in smaller displacement engines for
the Explorer, we think that the V6 3.5 in our
region is perfect for the package offered
Driving impressions
The car’s 3.5-litre V6 is well suited for the job both on and off-road and one
doesn’t miss it not having a V8. Besides a comfortable interior and command
view, a thoughtful feature is that the steering wheel and pedals adjust for
different drivers. The car feels rock-solid at freeway speeds, well-damped
over broken pavement and very confident when negotiating a corner. The
responsive steering demonstrates Ford’s skill at tuning an electric power
steering system (very few carmakers are capable in mastering this aspect).
The newdial-the-electronic terrain management system takes away the manual
old diff-lock management system and the pre-programmed software will allow
the driver to traverse over various types of surfaces on regular all-season
tyres. In most situations, specialized tyres are not required as the Explorer
has enough torque to help it blast through sand or traverse deep ditches and
steep hills. On normal day-to-day use, the car offers quiet a smooth ride over
most terrain. Despite riding on a crossover architecture, the Explorer’s chassis
is super rigid [actually it uses twice as much high-strength steel compared to
the previous edition]. That along with excellent NVH management means a
quiet cabin, excellent ride quality and solid handling that befits the Explorer’s
considerable size.
ord’s best selling seven-seater Explorer
is available in both front- and four-
wheel drive configurations depending
on markets with a choice of several trim
levels and powertrains. Our market gets the
290hp 3.5-litre Ti-VCT V6 engine and six-
speed automatic transmission set-up with
SelectShift manual mode. The 4x4 models
FIRSTDRIVE
12 13
EDITORIAL NOMINEE
2012 KIA RIO
SMALL CAR
C
h
ic
R
io
!
In one single stroke, Kia Motors has transformed the 2012 Rio
hatchback and put it into a growing list of impressive compacts
that significantly shifts the goal posts in terms of dynamics,
style, performance and equipment, observes Automan
Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photographs: Raj Warrior
K
ia Motor’s second entry-level model in Oman and in the region is the Rio, which is offered in two body styles –
sedan and hatchback. Very much like the current wave of successful Ford compact models which the Blue Oval
rebodied over their respective platforms and made them into stylish trendsetters. The fourth generation 2012
Rio brings with it an all-new platform [internal code UB] and with an all-new design language and a host of impressive
features, the Rio which led life more or less incognito till now emerges as a confident player, good enough to take on
the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Mazda 2, Hyundai Accent, Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Peugeot 207, arguably
the key players in Oman’s subcompact segment.
As the hatchback is more Europe biased, Kia targeted two popular models from this market – the Ford Fiesta and
Peugeot 207 as comparative benchmarks. With the 207, Peugeot became the European leader in the B2 segment and
also successfully demonstrated its small car expertise besides offering several body styles including a cabriolet, while
Ford also offers several variants including high performance ST editions.
In familiar territory
Extensively revised mid-engined all-new 2012 Porsche Boxster driven in
Germany
18
32 12 36
in this issue
58
PREVIEW
M
IN
I m
a
xe
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u
t a
g
a
in
59
The extreme MINI John Cooper Works
GP follows eagerly in the tyre tracks of
its predecessor and with an even greater
spring in its step
AUTHOR: Chandan B Mallik
PREVIEW
E
PERFORMANCE
Chandan B Mallik
wait for their turn at Yas Marina
42 43
News
06 Ramadan offers in Oman
08 2012 Porsche Boxster, 2012 Subaru
Impreza and all-new XV CUV and Lexus ES
launched
BraNdwatch
10 Volkswagen considering Malaysia as
part of global gameplan, Lexus RX part
production out of Japan, Aston to limit
Zagato production
11 Mitsubishi to enter luxury segment, new
cover story
18
spotlight
42 Taxi ride: Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3
F1 Safety Car at Yas Marina Circuit
tested
12 2012 Kia Rio hatchback
26 2012 Suzuki Dzire
28 2012 Toyota Corolla
32 2012 Ford Explorer
36 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Motorsports
56
61
tech talK
52 All about steering systems
previews
54 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II
58 2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP
62 2012 Subaru XV CUV
66 2012 Audi TT RS Plus
68 2013 Cadillac ATS
72 2012 Suzuki Splash/Ritz
74 2012 BMW 6 Gran Coupe
62 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting
chicaNe
80
www.automanweb.com
NEXT ISSUE
2012
McLarEN Mp4-12c
42 58
Visit our website for daily updates!
88
Ramadan
2012 offeRs
This year for Ramadan and beyond,
most authorized car dealers are wooing
consumers in Oman with a plethora of
offers, packages and schemes. Automan
has compiled some of these offers.
Consumers advised to check specifc
details of these Ramadan or special
promotional offers with the retail outlets
concerned as the offers and packages
may vary from model to model and/or
may be specifc to model/s on offer.
MHD Land Rover
Five models are offered with different
promotional packages ranging from
free insurance, Apple IPad3s, free
3-year/72,000km service and Land Rover
merchandise.
MHD Jaguar
Special offer on models runs up to 30
September, 2012 and depending on model
includes free service for 3-yr/ or 48,000km to
72,000km, free registration
SBA-Renault
Special offer on models runs up to 10
September, 2012. Depending on model
includes free service for 2-yr or 30,000km,
free registration, free 6-yr extended warranty,
buyback facility, roadside assistance, scratch
and win gifts and grand raffe.
ZAG European Motors
Special promotion for various Peugeot
models runs up to September 21. Models are
offered with free service, 5-yr/one million km
warranty and guaranteed trade-in.
ZAG Dhofar Automotive
Special promotion for various Chrysler,
Dodge and Jeep models runs up to 30
August and includes free registration, free
5-yr/100,000km warranty, free Arabian
Association membership, high value gift,
opportunity to enter ‘Blue Box’ raffe to win
one of three Chrysler 200 models.
ZAG Audi Oman
Special promotion for various Audi models
runs up to September 30. Offer includes 3
years/unlimited mileage warranty and free
24-hour roadside assistance. All models, with
the exception of the A1, will also receive
5-yr/105,000km free service. All ‘A’ models will
come with one year free insurance while the
Q5 and Q7 will come with free window tinting.
Besides these, customers get a chance to win
an A1 hatchback and complimentary dinner
voucher. Apple MacBook Pro is offered with
A6, A7, A8, Q5 or Q7 purchases while A1, A4
or A5 customers will receive a new iPad.
ZAG VW Oman
Special promotion for various Audi models
runs up to September 9. Offers include 5-year
extended warranty, 5-yr or 75,000km free
service, 5-year roadside assistance, free
insurance for selected model and a special VW
gift for every purchase.
ZTC Mercedes-Benz
Special offer on models runs up to
31 August, 2012, under an array of
Integrated Service Packages (ISP) which
depending on model includes 2/5-yr
30,000/105,000km free maintenance and
service, insurance, Mercedes-Benz hamper
with branded accessories. The ‘good as
new’ ProvenExclusivity certifed pre-owned
range boasts some surprises too, with two
years complimentary service.
SBA-Nissan Oman
Prior to Ramadan, Nissan Oman launched
10 special ‘Sports’ editions of popular
models. These cars are offered with
special OEM accessories, graphics and
badging. For Ramadan, under the ‘Jackpot
offer’, most of the Nissan models offer
free insurance, free registration, 6-year
extended warranty, two assured gifts plus
chance to win four cars in a grand raffe.
SBA Lexus
Special promotion runs up to September
30. Models are offered with free
registration, high value gifts, free service
2-yr/30,000km etc.
Infniti
Ramadan offer includes complimentary
3-yr/50,000km (periodic service), free
registration, six year unlimited mileage
warranty, assured high value gift which
includes a range of luxury products
besides fve chances to win a luxurious
holiday package.
Ford
Ramadan offer includes 3-yr/64,000km
service, parts and maintenance, high
value free gift, 6-yr unlimited mileage
protection, 24-hr roadside assistance,
assured high value gift and grand raffe to
win two cars.
ZAG Mitsubishi Oman
Special promotion for various Peugeot
models runs up to August 31. All
customers who purchase vehicles during
the promotional period will beneft from
6-yr unlimited mileage warranty, 6-yr
roadside assistance, free registration and
a free gift voucher. All Pajero, Outlander,
Galant and Pajero Sport models will
beneft from 3-yr/50,000 km service
package. All Lancer, Lancer EX and ASX
models will beneft from a 2-yr/30,000 km
service package.
OTE Hyundai
Special promotion runs till 25 August, 2012
across all models. Packages include free lifetime
service, free insurance and free fuel, flm tinting,
LG TVs, fortnightly raffe draws for cars and gold
coins and one bumper prize of on fnal draw on
September 09, gifts and gift vouchers.
OTE Subaru
Free life time service contract, free 300-litres of
fuel, free insurance and gift vouchers on select
models.
OTE Chevrolet
Promotion runs till August 31. Depending on
model, packages include free insurance, free
insurance, 3/5-year or 30,000/50,000km service/
maintenance packages, 500-litres of fuel and gifts
OTE Cadillac
Four-year/100,000km complimentary service and
maintainance, regional roadside assistance for
4-year/100,000km, resale value guarantee, fve-
year/one million km warranty, free gift vouchers,
fuel, IPads etc.
Towell Auto Centre
The Mazda Ramadan promotion - ‘Get more than
you wished for with your Mazda’ is valid until 30th
of September 2012. Besides attractive schemes,
the focus model is the CX-9 SUV which is being
offered with free registration, free service up to
100,000km and assured buyback value of 50.55
per cent and a special Ramadan gift.
SBA Toyota
Ramadan promotion runs till August 31 and every
customer is offered a free service package for
2-year/40,000km on passenger cars, 4WDs and
MPVs, free insurance on select models, high value
gifts and grand raffe for two cars on September
09.
V-Kool
V-KOOL, the global leader in the high-
performance premium window flm
market for both automotive as well as
architectural flm coating is offering
discounts up to 30 per cent.
Kia
Ramadan offer runs up August 29,
2012 and includes free insurance on all
passenger cars, 4WDs and MPVs, free
service up to 3-yr/ 50,000Km on wide
range of models and assured gift to all
buyers.
Suzuki
Ramadan offer includes free Oman/UAE
insurance, free registration, 2-yr/40,000
km service package, attractive prices and
gift hamper with each purchase that also
includes X-Box 360.
MHD Volvo
Special offer on models runs up to 27 October,
2012 and includes free service packages
for 3-yr/30,000km, 3-yr unlimited mileage
warranty, 24-hr road assistance and 50 per
cent assured resale value.
MHD MG
Special offer on models runs up to 27
October, 2012 and includes free registration
and one year comprehensive insurance, free
100,000km lube service, free AAA recovery
facility for 5-yr or 120,000km.
99
For more information call: 2458 4530 or email us at info@chrysler-oman.com
DHOFAR AUTOMOTIVE WISHES YOU
Ramadan Mubarak
DODGE CHALLENGER SRT
6.4L V8 SRT HEMI® ENGINE, 470 HP
DODGE CHALLENGER SE
3.6L V6 ENGINE, 305 HP
DODGE CHALLENGER RALLY PLUS
5.7L V8 HEMI® ENGINE, 375 HP
Accessories/features shown in the visual may not be part of the standard model. *Offer valid only on Model Year 2012 Passenger Vehicles. Rental, Leasing and Commercial Purchases are
excluded from the offer. High value Ramadan gift may vary from model to model. Enquire in Showroom for more details. Credit Card purchase is subject to approval and a surcharge will apply.
The Purchase offer is valid at any Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & RAM showroom across the Sultanate.
mideast.dodge.com
Join us at Dodge Middle East
Dodge is a registered trademark of Chrysler Group LLC.
*THE PURCHASE OF ANY DODGE CHALLENGER VEHICLE WILL GIVE YOU AN AUTOMATIC ENTRY
INTO THE BLUE BOX RAFFLE AND YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF THREE CHRYSLER 200 VEHICLES
DURING RAMADAN.
OFFER VALID FROM 1st JULY TO 30th AUGUST, 2012. DRAW DATES ARE 28th JULY, 11th AUG & 1st SEPT.
WITH ANY PURCHASE IN THE
T H I S R A M A D A N
WIN 1 OF 3
BLUE BOX OFFER*
CHRYSLER 200 VEHICLES
AND OUR GIFTS TO YOU ARE
Ţ A v£hI0L£ wI1h IHP£00A8L£ 51¥L£ AN0 51uNNIN0 P£RF0RHAN0£
Ţ A FR££ hI0h vALu£ 0IF1 v0u0h£R wI1h £v£R¥ PuR0hA5£
Ţ A 2nd 0PP0R1uNI1¥ 10 £N1£R IN10 1h£ 8Lu£ 80x RAFFL£
Ţ FR££ R£0I51RA1I0N Ţ FR££ b ¥£AR5 J J00,000kH wARRAN1¥
Ţ FR££ ARA8IAN Au10H08IL£ A5500IA1I0N H£H8£R5hIP
CHALLENGER-AUTOMAN-230x300.indd 1 7/19/12 3:11 PM
10 10
Oman news & ReGIOnaL news}
SATA has introduced the revamped all-new
2012 Porsche Boxster and Boxster S in
Oman, after a global unveiling at the Geneva
Motor Show in March. Both variants of the
Porsche Boxster have a new, lightweight
body and a completely re-designed chassis,
offering a comprehensively changed open-
top two-seater in the Sultanate. Both the
Boxster and Boxster S models are powered
by fat-six boxer engines with direct petrol
injection, enhanced by electrical system
recuperation, thermal management, auto
start/stop function as well as electro-
mechanical power steering. [See p-18 for
our frst drive impressions in this issue of
Automan]
OTE Group & Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd
introduced the all-new fourth generation 2012
Subaru Impreza and all-new crossover SUV,
the 2012 XV. Both vehicles were unveiled by
His Excellency George Hisaeda, Ambassador
of Japan to Oman, in the presence of Sheikh
Saad Suhail Bahwan, Chairman OTE Group,
Tatsuya Sone of Subaru. The new Impreza
will be offered with a 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre
four-cylinder engines and the usual bells and
whistles including Subaru’s asymmetrical
all-wheel drive system and second generation
Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable
transmission.
The XV which uses Subaru’s 2.0-litre
horizontally-opposed Boxer engine is also
mated to Lineartronic (CVT) transmission and
standard all-wheel drive is probably the most
unique vehicle in the SUV/CUV market to sport
this kind of engineering architecture.
Hot cars launched in Oman
2012
Porsche
Boxster
suBaru
ImPreza
and xV
hyundaI records Best eVer
sales In regIon
mercedes-Benz drIVes mena
golf tour forward
A pragmatic Hyundai Motor Company may have lowered
its 2012 global forecast for the global auto industry by
500,000 units due to faltering European economy and
tightening registration restrictions in China, its Middle
East sales are hitting record highs. Hyundai has reported
its best ever frst half year sales for the full Middle East
region where it registered an increase of 13 per cent
in total sales compared to the frst six months of 2011,
selling 161,554 vehicles.
Hyundai enjoyed increased sales in almost all of the GCC
and Levant countries, with Kuwait leading the way with
impressive growth of 127 per cent. Bahrain experienced
a massive 99 per cent increase in sales, while the UAE
saw sales shoot up by 77 per cent, Qatar by 60 per cent
and Oman by 48 per cent. Among the Levant countries,
Lebanon and Jordan also enjoyed strong starts to the year
with sales up 32 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.
Mercedes-Benz will be the Offcial Car Sponsor of the
forthcoming MENA Golf Tour for a second consecutive
year. This growing partnership reiterates the shared
commitment to drive the game forward in the region. One
of the major sporting highlights of the region, the second
edition of the MENA Golf Tour will have six events on its
expanded schedule which, for the frst time, includes a
stop in Saudi Arabia. The extension of Mercedes-Benz
support to the tour is a ringing endorsement to the
popularity of the Tour which is aimed at creating healthy
playing opportunities for the region’s leading amateurs
and professionals against a competent international feld.
“Our association with the MENA Golf Tour demonstrates
our support to the sporting community in the region and
is very much part of our drive to promote the close ties
between the sport of golf and Mercedes-Benz,” said Frank
Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz
Cars, Daimler Middle East & Levant.
11 11
The introduction of the
all-new 2013 ES350 marks
the sixth generation of
Lexus’ popular luxury sedan
since its introduction over
20 years ago. Featuring the
signature Lexus spindle grille,
a progressive new design
and enhanced handling,
the ES brings new levels of
refnement and quality to
the entry luxury segment.
“Since its introduction in
1989, the ES has been the
benchmark luxury sedan for
quality, reliability, ride comfort
and value,” said Toshio
Asahi, deputy chief engineer,
product planning at Lexus.
“The new ES250 and ES350
will raise the benchmark
standards once again.”
For the frst time, the Lexus
ES will be available with a
2.5-litre four-cylinder engine.
Meanwhile, The Lexus ES350
is powered by a 3.5-litre V6
engine with Dual VVT-i that
delivers 268hp at 6,200rpm
and 248 lb.-ft. of peak torque
at 4,700rpm. The six-speed
sequential-shift automatic
Electronically Controlled
Transmission with intelligence
(ECT-i) provides enhanced
driving performance, fuel
effciency and smooth shifts.
The new ES features a lower
profle and clean styling
lines from front to rear.
All four corners are pulled
tightly inward to the wheel
arches, creating distinctive
proportions. Built on the
fexible front wheel drive ‘K’
platform, the car’s wheelbase
has been lengthened by
1.8in, while the overall length
of the vehicle has grown
an inch along with widened
track, resulting in shorter
overhangs and a more
spacious interior.
During the elaborate
showroom launch, keys were
handed over to the frst
customers of the new car.
2013
lexus es
strong sales for gmc In me
Jaguar attracts regIonal
talent In unIque gloBal Brand
camPaIgn
GMC capped a successful frst half of 2012 in the Middle
East after recording year-over-year sales growth of 16 per
cent. GMC sold 22,295 vehicles over the period, which
represented the brand’s highest frst half sales period
in the region since 2008. In Saudi Arabia, GMC’s largest
market, sales increased by 21 percent due in part to the
launch of the Terrain. There was also strong growth in
Oman (up 40 per cent), Qatar (up 32 per cent), Bahrain
(up 32 per cent) and Lebanon, where sales more than
doubled. The strong performance in the frst six months
of 2012 was driven by chiefy, the Terrain crossover. The
impressive sales fgures come at a time when GMC is
celebrating the 100th anniversary of the brand. The GMC
logo was frst unveiled to the public at the New York
International Auto Show in 1912.
With a new Jaguar logo, brand campaign, expanding
line-up of cars and an increased focus on younger drivers,
it is an exciting time for Jaguar. The recently launched
and highly innovative ‘ALIVE’ marketing campaign aims
to increase Jaguar’s brand awareness among a new
audience. Tied to the marque’s ambitious future plans,
the campaign is deliberately provocative, designed to
capitalise on the existing emotional pull of Jaguar’s cars,
and challenges consumers to answer: ‘How alive are you?’
To add a Middle East impetus, Jaguar has worked closely
with talented individuals from Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi
Arabia to create short online flms that capture what
makes them feel alive. The series of high quality web
flms and viral material portray the spirit of the Jaguar
ALIVE campaign and are hosted on the global Jaguar
website, as well as on the MENA regional Jaguar social
platforms. The next flm in the series captures a TV
personality from the UAE, and will be followed closely by
an individual from Morocco.
Hannah Naji, Marketing Director for Jaguar Land Rover
MENAP, said “We are delighted with the outcome so
far. It has been so exciting working with such a variety
of talented individuals and each one truly encapsulates
the Jaguar brand personality through their work and
attitude. Thanks to the support and hard work of our
dealer partners, we identifed the individuals that would
best represent the Jaguar customer and it was an honour
to have worked with them for this element of the ALIVE
brand campaign.”
We are aware that Aston Martin’s stunning V12 Zagato
got the green light for production some months ago.
The car maker had initially planned a limited run of 150
units, but now has revised the numbers to 101. While,
no offcial reason has been given but speculation is that
this is due to slow sales and the fact that each car takes
2,000 man hours to build.
Lamborghini, the Italian auto giant known for
manufacturing luxury and sports car has reported to
keep its SUV’s price tag at GBP1,35,000. The Urus SUV
has been in the headlines even before it was unveiled
at this year’s Beijing Motor Show. Although the launch
date has not still been fnalized, the earliest it can
be expected is by 2016. It will come with a 4.0-litre
V8 engine [could it be from the Bentley stable?] with
maximum output of 600bhp and the torque of 650Nm.
These specs suggest that it will be closely competing
with the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne. As per the
word on street, the coming Urus will be by far the
cheapest Lamborghini model.
It’s no secret that the Yen has taken its toll on
Japan-based manufacturers for several years and
it seems that the automotive industry is beginning
to realize that in order to maintain its bottomlines,
it has to fnd alternative cost effective production
solutions. Toyota Motor Corporation, which has till
now defended its Japan production has indicated that
it will invest $100mn in its Cambridge, Ontario plant
to help increase output of the Lexus RX CUV. In fact,
the Toyota’s Ontario factory is only production outside
of Japan to produce some of its Lexus models. “This
is a big and ambitious project with new technology,
exacting standards and tight timelines,” Brian Krinock,
president of Toyota’s Canada manufacturing unit. The
expansion will take the plant’s Lexus capacity from
74,000 units a year to 104,000, including 15,000 RX
450h hybrids. By the time production begins in early
2014, the plant is expected to have added about
400 new jobs and take overall employment to 6,900
workers.
Looking to grow its sales in Asia and beyond,
Volkswagen’s quest is now to fnd a new partner.
Reuters has reported that Volkswagen is interested in
at least a partial stake, if not a controlling interest in
Lotus-parent Proton as a way to continue a production
presence in the region without having to build its own
factory. Currently, Volkswagen has presence in Malaysia
through a DRB-HICOM facility in Pekan, where it builds
the Passat and frm plans are in place to build the
Jetta and Polo soon. VW’s strategic relationship with
Proton is fguring importantly in Volkswagen’s plans for
expansion and logically it makes sense for VW buying
into Proton to help ensure its business objectives. While
Volkswagen is being tight-lipped about the whole idea,
but CEO Martin Winterkorn did recently mention: “It’s
our clear goal to continue the successful (expansion)
course of past years with great dynamics and stability.”
While Europe’s economy falters, for many European
carmakers, the bouyant Asian markets is where they
[the carmakers] believe potential is.
It’s been years since one would remember
Mitsubishi offering a luxury sedan, but the
Japanese automaker has certainly plans for it.
Mitsubishi is reviving two of its models -- Proudia
and Dignity with some help from Nissan’s
premium brand Infniti. Mitsubishi will launch the
two models which are a result of an OEM deal
with the Nissan Group and Mitsubishi in Japan
and China. Both variants are based on the Infniti
M standard and LWB platforms. The Proudia is
the standard model while the Dignity is a long
wheelbase variant based on the Infniti M35hL
LWB and will be a China-specifc model.
While the Infniti ‘M’ profle is mostly much
untouched by Mitsubishi, cosmetic changes
include the automaker’s waterfall front grille, a
different front bumper and Mitsubishi badges.
For the Proudia, Japanese buyers can opt for
either a 3.7-litre V6 with 328-hp in rear-wheel
drive or all-wheel drive, or a 2.5-litre V6 with
222-hp in rear-wheel drive only. Both variants
get seven speed automatic transmissions. The
Dignity comes in at 5.9 inches longer than the
Proudia and has the same hybrid powertrain
found in the M35hL LWB which is a 3.5-litre V6
paired to an electric motor for a combined output
of 359-hp.
12 12 12
watch
malaysIa’s Proton In Volkswagen’s
Volume gamePlan?
mItsuBIshI enterIng luxury car segment
a
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breaking news
suzukI to take Vw to
court
According to Automotive News Europe, Suzuki
will approach legal arbitrators in the UK in an
attempt to pressurise Volkswagen to return its
19.9per cent stake in the Japanese automaker. In
2009, VW purchased the Suzuki stake for around
$2.1bn when the two embarked on a corporate
partnership together, but the relationship soon
hit trouble. Suzuki accused Volkswagen of failing
to deliver on promises of shared technology,
while the German manufacturer reportedly
took issue with Suzuki opting to source a small-
displacement engine from rival Fiat. Suzuki has
offered to buy back its shares from Volkswagen
at market prices, which values them at around
$2.5bn. The ICC International Court of Arbitration
in London will handle the proceedings.
Aston Martin to limit
Zagato production
Urus: cheapest Lamborghini?
Toyota to shift part RX production
to Canada
Social media site Facebook is becoming a preferred
platform for automakers to release teasers of new models
and joing this trend is Nissan’s 2013 all-new Pathfnder.
Images released suggest it will remain faithful to the
concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The
incoming model will use a car-based unibody architecture
similar to the current Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango. We
expect the new SUV will
continue with its VQ
V6 in 3.5-litre
engine with
Continuously
Variable
Transmission
[CVT].
A rejuvenated competition and an unstable European
economy has forced Audi to pushed back its goal
of becoming the world’s largest luxury automaker
by 2015. Speaking with Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler revealed their new target
is 2020. He declined to give estimates on vehicle
sales, but cautioned the “road [ahead] was getting
bumpier.” Despite the lowered expectations, Stadler
said: “It is not about overtaking BMW tomorrow
or the day after, but to seize and secure the top
position.”
Kia Motors is beginning to fex muscles in a segment
that’s traditionally been dominated by models such
as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus.
Codenamed K3 for the domestic market, the car will will
be longer, lower and wider than the current car with an
extended wheelbase. The new car will feature futuristic
and dynamic styling, a sleeker profle, LED front and rear
lamps and a chrome-fnished waistline.
Mitsubishi Motor Corporation made headlines last
month after it sold its Dutch assembly plant to
bus-maker VDL Group for a token amount of €1.00.
But this greatest automotive steal for the buyer
comes with strings attached. Mitsubishi has had
the plant on the block with this negligible price tag
for some time with the caveat that the buyer retain
the Japanese automaker’s 1,500 workers. VDL has
promised to do so, possibly so it can use them
to build cars for BMW under contract, according
to the report, though in its announcement of the
sale. Mitsubishi had already scheduled the Born,
Netherlands, factory for closure later this year. The
plant, which builds Colt subcompacts and Outlander
crossovers, has an annual capacity of some 200,000
vehicles, but is operating at only a quarter of that
number.
Keys of a bright Argos Orange Lamborghini Aventador
LP 700-4, bearing chassis number 1,000 was handed
over to its new owner by amborghini President and
CEO Stephan Winkelmann. The symbolic handover
also marked the production milestone for the Italian
manufacturer as it rolled off the assembly line at the
Sant’ Agata Bolognese plant in Italy.
French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen posted a
net loss of $990mn for the frst half of the year,
underscoring the diffculties the company faces
with the French government over its restructuring
plan. The maker of two-thirds of France’s cars
is in a tailspin as a deepening recession in
many markets in Europe takes its toll on its
business — Europe is Peugeot’s main market.
With the current economic crisis in Europe, the
automotive market is expected to shrink by 8
per cent this year. Peugeot announced earlier
this month that it would close a major factory
in France and cut 8,000 jobs — part of a plan
to save €2.5 billion by 2015. Those savings will
also come from effciencies gained by an alliance
with General Motors. About half of those savings
are expected to come this year alone. Meanwhile,
General Motors pushed aside yet another chief
executive at Opel as it moves to reverse more
than a decade of losses in Europe. GM said Opel
CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke had stepped down to
take on “special assignments” for GM CEO Dan
Akerson. GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, who
heads Opel’s board, will serve as acting head
of Europe until a successor to Stracke is found.
Girsky is now Opel’s fourth CEO in less than
three years. Hans Demant was pushed aside in
November 2009 and was replaced two months
later by Nick Reilly, who lasted until April 2011.
Two weeks ago the supervisory board for Opel
approved a business plan aimed at returning to
proftability. But that plan was widely regarded as
falling short of making needed changes.
Ironically, just fve months ago, Peugeot and
Opel announced a product-development and
procurement alliance aimed at producing
substantial cost effciencies for both companies.
While GM has bought a 7 per cent stake in
Peugeot, but most of the projected savings won’t
kick in for several years, and meanwhile the
companies are plagued with plunging sales as
Europe’s economy firts with recession.
Patrick Pelata,
who stepped
down as
Renault’s chief
operating offcer
more than a
year ago after a
botched espionage investigation, will leave the
company next month. Last year in March, we
had reported that the industrial espionage case
involving three top Renault executives and the
automaker’s electric vehicle secrets was swirling
out of control. At the time, it was thought that
Pelata, the automaker’s chief operating offcer,
would take the fall to protect Carlos Ghosn’s job
as Renault-Nissan chief executive offcer. Shortly
after that report broke, Pelata announced his
resignation, which Ghosn immediately denied.
Now it turns out, Ghosn didn’t get the last word
and Renault has accepted Pelata’s resignation.
Pelata is scheduled to depart effective August
16 to pursue opportunities outside the Renault-
Nissan alliance.
13 13 13
euroPean car makers are facIng tough tImes
2014 Kia Cerato to take on
segment’s best
All-new Nissan Pathfnder details
leaked on Facebook
renault coo quIts followIng esPIonage consPIracy
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breaking news
Audi backs off ambitious
2015 goal
Mitsubishi sells plant in Europe
for just one euro
Lamborghini hands over 1,000th
Aventador
fIRst dRIve
14
edItorIal nomInee
2012 kIa rIo
small car
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rrio
r
K
ia Motor’s second entry-level model in Oman and in the region is the Rio, which is offered in two body styles –
sedan and hatchback. Very much like the current wave of successful Ford compact models which the Blue Oval
rebodied over their respective platforms and made them into stylish trendsetters. The fourth generation 2012
Rio brings with it an all-new platform [internal code UB] and with an all-new design language and a host of impressive
features, the Rio which led life more or less incognito till now emerges as a confdent player, good enough to take on
the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Mazda 2, Hyundai Accent, Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Peugeot 207, arguably
the key players in Oman’s subcompact segment.
As the hatchback is more Europe biased, Kia targeted two popular models from this market – the Ford Fiesta and
Peugeot 207 as comparative benchmarks. With the 207, Peugeot became the European leader in the B2 segment and
also successfully demonstrated its small car expertise besides offering several body styles including a cabriolet, while
Ford also offers several variants including high performance ST editions.
fIRst dRIve
16
Kia seems to have combined the three
strong points in the new car’s package: visual
appeal, personality and technical ability.
Compared with the outgoing Rio, in the looks
department, the car’s all-new styling has
signifcantly gone up several notches and in
Oman could be considered among the winners
in its segment. Designed by Peter Schreyer
and his team, the Rio does seem to mimic the
work he did with the Optima and has ensured
that the car’s profle, proportions, stance
and jewelry are pretty enough for people to
notice. It is no longer the ‘just’ point A-B basic
transportation anymore.
Schreyer has been able to create an original
design within the same profle of two different
for the sedan and hatchback versions with
unique visual treatments. Up front, either
model comes with individually designed large
cluster headlamps with SMD daytime running
lights, signature grille [black in hatchback and
chrome in sedan]. Actually very few parts are
shared between the models. The lower grille
is smartly divided into three sections to give
a sporty look and also aids in visual stance.
The rear end is beautifully rounded off with
horizontal LED-fred taillamps on either side of
the rear hatch which comes factory-ftted with
a smart spoiler. Our top of the line EX also
came with power moonroof and Bluetooth
compatibility.
Sheet metal ratio with glass in this car
with cab forward architecture is very well
balanced and the surface treatment comes
with smooth and soft character lines which
complement the fared mudguards. While
most competitors focus on a boxy body
form to prioritize functionality, a length of
4,046mm, a wheelbase of 2,570mm, a width
of 1,719mm and a height limited to 1,455mm
reinforced by wide tracks [1,524mm] and
large 17in designer alloys wheels shod with
low profle rubber means that the Rio hatch
gets shortened body overhangs and pushed
out wheels to the corners. These not only
provide a form that is compact and sporty,
but to some extent convey a sense of stability
to the occupants. By carefully interpreting
the basics form and then giving it energetic
character lines beftting a stylish compact
hatchback, we are sure Kia not only has
created a design that is highly distinctive, but
will also prove timeless. Compared with the
Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Jazz and
Toyota Yaris, the Rio has a longer wheelbase
but shorter overall length and it’s wider and
lower than most competitors.
Although the front windscreen appears
quite large, the rake has been calculated in
such a way that occupants are protected from
the bright afternoon midday sun. The base of
the windscreen has moved forward by 156mm
and up by 18mm. The Rio’s sleek styling does
result in outward visibility that isn’t quite as
good as some competitors, especially for
rear occupants. The new Rio’s cabin is more
spacious and also feels more spacious. Front
legroom is increased by 45mm, while front
headroom is improved by 8mm.
The boot access is 100mm wider and the
capacity is now 288 litres and cabin storage
includes a larger, 15-litre glove box, a larger
centre console wîth 3-litres of extra capacity
and pockets to hold a 1.5-litre bottle in the
front doors and a 0.5-litre bottle in the rear
doors. The car’s dashboard is wide and
is stylish and exceptionally busy, yet not
distracting. A peek into the interior indicates
not only showcases an interesting lay out, but
is hugely improved over the previous model
in all departments. There’s evidence of bigger
premium car design or functional elements
such as the sports motorcycle inspired ‘three
cylinder’ instrument cluster, an enhanced
Verdict
For punters in the market on a budget for a
compact economical car with stylish presence,
luxurious interior and decent urban manner,
then this is the one car defnitely to look at.
It’s excellently designed, the interior looks
clean and high-tech, and the quality of the ft
and fnish is easily well above average. Over
all it’s well above what anyone expects from
this category of car and we applaud Kia for
successfully raising the benchmark.
17
For customers looking
at a stylish, spacious,
practical hatchback
with premium quality
feel and attractive
price point, this is an
unbeatable package
sense of perceived quality and unprecedented
levels of equipment and specifcation, and
ultra tight tolerances.
In terms of accommodation, the car is
spacious for its size and adults will love the
perfect-ft stylish front seats which come with
adequate thigh-support and side-bolstering.
Unusual for the segment is also a sculpted
rear split fold rear seat adds comfort in a
surprisingly roomy rear row. New fabric
upholstery feels smooth and breathable, and
during the test of the car never experienced
submarining effect (sliding forward under your
seatbelt). Meanwhile, as the line of the car’s
C-pillar swings a bit low, it means that tall
passengers need to take care stepping in and
out of the car. In terms of cargo management,
there’s quite a bit of fexibility available and
288-litre of space is available with seats
upright and the split fold seats when fattened
almost double that.
The electric power multifunctional steering
wheel adjusts for both tilt and reach and
the driver faces a comprehensive instrument
panel in a three-binnacle format. We counted
13 switches steering on the steering wheel
which groups controls for audio, cruise, trip
computer, and phone on four spokes, with
standard stalk controls on both sides. The
three-cylinder instrument panel provides the
usual info, including an engine temperature
gauge which many manufacturers have
relegated to warning lights now. Crisp white-
on-black lighting with red needles and central
display ensures readability day or night. The
central console is also busy and I must admit
the switch gear is by far the best encountered
in the segment and would comfortably outclass
some of the premium German offerings.
Sporty side profle and sheetmetal
sculpture effect is pretty upmarket
fIRst dRIve
18
Under the bonnet is a carry forward 1.4-litre four-cylinder
normally-aspirated engine which has been tweaked to offer
108PS at 6,300rpm and 140Nm of torque around 4,200rpm.
Kia has preferred to continue this set-up with a 4-speed
automatic transmission with clutchless manual [Tiptronic]
instead of CVT. Those worried about the overdrives for
fuel effciency need not worry as that has aspect also been
factored in the set-up. The car’s suspension package is
also modern by segment standards and comprises of front
MacPherson strut and torsion beam rear axle along with
thicker front swaybar and uniquely tuned dampers.
Driving impressions
First thing that strikes is that there’s no evidence in the ride
and handling of the old Rio anywhere. The new Rio is fun to
drive, with a willing engine, reasonably capable four-speed
transmission and well calibrated suspension as long it is
not pushed unnecessarily. Although the engine can become
vocal at high revs, it remains surprisingly smooth and
balanced and we can feel that the automatic transmission
has been programmed for economy so you have to be
forceful with the throttle to prompt a swifter downshift
when sudden bursts of speed is needed, or alternatively
you can shift manually. In manual, the downshifts are faster
than the upshifts. The electric power assisted steering
wheel feels natural at peak hour crawling, but we did notice
an occasional odd reluctance to return to centre in more
routine urban driving. This is not Kia’s fault, but an inherent
drawback that most electric-power steering cars face these
days. The key reason for this switchover from mechanical
or hydraulic set-ups was energy savings and effciency
in contrast to service costs that are encountered after a
few years such as pump failures, leaks etc in conventional
systems and hence the pay-off is more than justifed. This
doesn’t mean that the Rio is boring – its suspension ensures
a bigger car comfort feel and is tuned adequately for Oman’s
road conditions for stable ride. On the open road, Rio was
an enjoyable companion with a generally neutral feel. Ride
quality is frm but still comfortable, aided by a structure
that feels among the most solid in the segment. Some tyre
rumble from the Rio’s rubber is heard depending on road
surfaces and it becomes noticeable from beyond 100km/h
and up. There’s hardly any wind noise that comes into the
cabin at highway speeds as well. Brakes are adequate most
of the time but can feel spongy.
rio rivals
Chevrolet Sonic
The Aveo replacement is built on a new General
Motors global platform. And with style content
and features, GM has worked hard to make the
car attractive as a buying proposition. The rear
seat accommodation is among the best in class.
In many other attributes such as performance
and handling, the Sonic is at par with most of
its rivals.
Hyundai Accent
The mechanical twin of the Rio, Hyundai’s Accent
redefnes expectations in the subcompact category
by offering the company’s distinctive and upscale
“Fluidic Sculpture” design, best-in-class standard
fuel economy, exceptional roominess and a full
complement of standard safety features. Despite
surprising technology and a signifcant increase in
safety features, Hyundai holds the line on pricing
from the prior generation.
Ford Fiesta
The global Fiesta was conceived as the next
milestone under the ONE Ford plan to design
and develop vehicles that meet the differing
needs, wants and expectations of customers
around the world. It’s stylish inside and out and
offers several class-leading features as standard
that increase convenience and add connectivity.
The car is great to drive, rides comfortably and
is one of the most refned cars in its class.
Mazda2
Originally launched in 2007, the new Mazda
2 was frst introduced in Europe, Japan and
Australia. Mazda 2 is the latest in a line of
stylish, insightful and hugely fun-to-drive
small cars in the B-car (subcompact) segment.
Through its smart design and outstanding
driving performance, it has been highly
acclaimed throughout the world, winning 48
automotive awards, including “Car of the Year”
accolades in many markets.
20
edItorIal nomInee
Porsche Boxster
sPorts car
closer to
perfection
21
cOveR stORY}
Author: Chandan B Mallik
as the entry-level ticket
in the porsche family, the
mid-engined Boxster has
always been an enjoyable
car, but somewhere missed
a close connection with its
charismatic 911 sibling.
with the all-new 2012
Boxster, porsche has taken
some giant leaps forward
and has narrowed down the
differences.
automan went to germany
to find out more
22
{cOveR stORY}
Zero to 100km/h comes up in a Ferrari-matching 4.8
seconds while 200km/h from rest is achieved in an equally
impressive 17.3 seconds, these being what the Boxster can
do when equipped with the sport plus package and the pdK
transmission
F
ifteen years ago, the original Porsche Boxster
made its debut. Porsche’s classic and successful
approach of creating an affordable mid-engined
sportscar with engines in the right place became the
backbone of the Boxster and its derivatives such as the
Cayman. That frst-generation Porsche was fun to drive
and arguably the most sporty and competent of the
then Teutonic trio represented by Mercedes-Benz SLK,
BMW Z3 and inexpensive sports cars like the Mazda
Miata.
However, from the very beginning, there was a
massive gap between the performance and handling
of the mid engined and rear engined siblings -- the
23
Boxster and the classic 1963 911. Over the
years Porsche has tried to narrow the gap
between the two models and never in its
history has Porsche ever neglected the Boxster.
In fact, the sports car maker kept it fresh and
as a result each successive generation of the
Boxster improved signifcantly both in terms
of looks and performance. We are pretty
sure that somewhere in Stuttgart there’s still
this debate amongst engineers about the
superiority of Porsches unbroken line of rear-
engined models dating back to 1948 which
also includes the 911s versus a mid-engined
thinking man’s sports car -- light, stripped,
and toned down for utmost agility.
Irrespective of the arguments and debates,
one fact is for sure that Porsche has taken the
product development goals to a new level and
this also includes the new Boxster. One of the
prime objectives was to make the car more
attractive, package it with improved hardware
and secretly somewhere try to narrow the
performance gap between the model and its
illustrious 911 sibling.
The starting point for such exercises usually
begins with what you don’t see. Actually,
there’s almost nothing that’s been carried over
from the earlier 987 in the new Boxster, also
known as the 981 internally. It is based on
the all-new seventh generation 911 and that
means there’s a completely revamped chassis
which sports a longer wheelbase and a wider
track also. Like the new 911, the new Boxster
is longer, slightly wider and a half-inch lower
than before.
At frst glance, this latest version appears
that fact that the original 911 had inspired the Boxster is without doubt.
with the all-new 2012 Boxster, porsche has taken some giant leaps
forward and has narrowed down the differences without creepinging into
911 territory
24
{cOveR stORY}
more mature than the outgoing model and a closer
inspection of the detailing gives away most of the
story. In the styling department, Porsche designers
have looked into the design heritage of the model
series and on a conservative note have also taken
advantage of the new dimensions by introducing
several evolutionary ideas.
In the latest Boxster, a strong crease runs along
the inside edge of the fenders, which makes them
appear less rounded than those of the previous
model, or even the new 911. On one hand the car
appears mature and a bit aggressive with its lowered
stance. There are more than just soft hints of the
Carrera GT in the design when you look at how the
bespoke doors have been designed and merged with
the sculpted side panels which nicely fow into deep
air scoops just behind the doors. The new windscreen
has also been raked further to allow vertically stacking
the 918-inspired cluster headlamps and there’s a rear
spoiler uniquely integrated with the taillamps. What
we liked in the overall look was its simplicity and
avoidance of excess ornamentation that has helped
in giving the new Boxster its mature look.
While dimensions have grown and more kit added,
overall weight of the Boxsters have actually gone
down. Thanks to smart usage of hybrid construction
including aluminium space frame and in sheetmetal,
the weight of the Boxster has been knocked down by
25kg and in the ‘S’ by 35kg. And when one factored
in the additional equipment on board, this is a
tremendous achievement by the engineers. Some
a small reason for Boxster owners to be proud about: amazing
infographics!
stylish large wheels fill the wheel arches with confidence and
enhance the ride quality of the car
our favourite detail is the cabin layout and in particular the
driver-focused central console
driver-centric central console is by far one of the best in the
segment
the chrono package is now available in the Boxster for the first
time
sheetmetal for the sides are heavily influenced by the gt3
25
integrated rear spoiler now blends in the tail lamp profile
roll over protection has been cleverly integrated in design
contoured sports seats are body hugging and offer excellent
lower lumber and lateral support
Familiar badging on the wide and squat rear
spoiler can be operated automatically or by the driver
whenever he wishes
headlights are now more detailed in terms of jewellry and have
been further extended towards the raked windscreen
twin exhaust outlets come out from the middle of the lower valance
parts from the bin that have been used include the
Carrera’s new electro-mechanical steering and front
suspension. The only component that comes from the
outgoing model is the rear axle. The roadster uses a
fabric top and can open in lightning fast nine seconds.
Interior space is excellent, and an extra inch of
rearward travel has been added to the seats. The cabin
has been upgrade with latest styling cues from the
family and the tall centre Carrera GT-inspired console
that houses the shifter and a number of secondary
switches are the biggest evidence of this. Porsche’s build
quality has signifcantly improved over the years and
there’s a feel of bespoke touches everywhere. The car’s
new seats come from the 911 which offer terrifc lateral
support and comfort. There’s the usual assortment of
goodies, beginning with the large tachometer at the
centre of the instrument cluster, paddleshift-equipped
steering wheel and smartly designed vents.
A couple of things Porsche didn’t radically change
were the Boxster’s fat-six engines. While the base
versions decrease in displacement from 2.9-litres to
2.7-litre, a new intake, cylinder-head revisions and a
less-restrictive exhaust freed up 10 extra horses for a
total of 265hp at 6,700 rpm, but torque falls by 7 lb-ft
to 2,07lb-ft at 4,500-5,800 rpm. We quickly discovered
that it was effciency that dictated these changes and
with the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox Porsche
says that almost 15 per cent increase in highway fuel
26
cOveR stORY}
economy has been possible.
The second option is in the ‘S’ variant which
gets a bigger 3.4-litre package that bumps
power up to 315hp, just 5hp more than the
outgoing Boxster S, while torque holds fat
at 266 lb-ft. But the main gain in the new
car is lighter mass and other aerodynamic
improvements which helps the Boxster S to
impressively knock off about a second off
the standard Boxster’s estimated 5.5sec 0
to 96km/h times. Both Boxster and Boxster
S are using direct injection and also feature
new technologies such as electrical system
recuperation, thermal management and start/
stop function.
Several driver aids have been included and
the biggest news in the handling department
relates to traction. To improve traction, Porsche
has introduced Porsche Torque Vectoring or
PTV onto the rear wheels with mechanical rear
axle differential lock. Other roadster features
include optional Sport Chrono Package for
the frst time in the Boxster. Another option
introduced on the Boxster is the new Porsche
Torque Vectoring system, or PTV, which uses
both the locking rear differential and rear
brakes to effectively shift torque from side-to-
side to improve cornering.
Driving impressions
Traditionally, the Boxster with its mid-engine
was seen as harder and faster which is why it
has been preferred as a driver’s car where the
focus has been more on performance than
how it looks. For the new Boxster, our hosts
had planned a nice mix of 400km of Germany’s
roads including stretches of unrestricted
Autobahn, through the picturesque winding
roads
In the Black Forest, country roads and
runs across small towns and villages over two
days. Firing the motor and one is rewarded
with a delicious rasp to the exhaust note
from the six cylinders and we move initially
in convey from the Porsche Museum travelling
a few kilometers downtown and with the
sun coming up we open the roof and let the
Boxster rip past on the Autobahn and then
through the countryside and occasional
villages. The Boxster delivers wonderful open-
top experience and a louder soundtrack to
match. The friendly residents of most villages
don’t seem to be perturbed and one doesn’t
get sneers for disturbing the rural tranquility
when pushing the fat six to its high 7,800rpm
redline. Our route takes us through some of
the best driving roads in Europe and so far we
are enjoying the driving nirvana.
While going through the slow stretches
which have controlled traffc arrangements,
we noted how well the new Boxster can cope
with everyday city roads. The chassis is stiff
and feels like a proper coupé, thanks to 40
What are the major revisions for the new Boxster?
The 2013 Porsche Boxster has undergone signifcant
revisions both cosmetically and engineering wise. We
have developed a new chassis and added 2.4in of
wheelbase and total length stretching by 1.3in. We
have also moved forward by about four inches the
windscreen. We also wanted shorter overhangs in the
roadster which is also a bit lower than before.
What was the reason to reduce displacement of the
engine in the entry level segment and how has it
affected the car’s performance?
Reduction in displacement doesn’t mean that we have
downsized performance. If you look at the power-to-weight ratios now, what’s more impressive is the fact
that the base car has shed 25kg. And with engine mods and remapping we are getting 10hp more as well
as fuel economy benefts. The S has also lost 35kg.
Where have the key design infuences come from?
We have looked into the family. The tall front mudguards and sloping headlamps bear a clear hint of 911
and deep air scoops just behind the doors have some similarities with the Carrera GT. We have consciously
avoided using excess ornamentation.

How would you defne the new styling?
The design of the car is more dynamic and more masculine with new dimensions and altered proportions.

In your view, the most signifcant technical highlight?
One of the technical highlights is surely the body’s aluminium
hybrid structure which has reduced the car’s weight by 25kg
and 35kg in the entry and S models respectively. Achieving
fuel effciency of 15 per cent would also be a part of this
technical highlight.
Very much like the seventh-
generation Porsche 911,
the new Boxster is longer,
slightly wider and a half-
inch lower than before.
It makes extensive use
of lightweight materials
including magnesium and
aluminium which results in
both a lower overall mass
and a better centre of gravity
face tO face
27
while, the porsche
Boxster’s mid-
engine layout is
a critical defining
factor in design
and the model’s
authenticity,
but the design
of the new rear-
engined seventh
generation
911 has clearly
influenced the new
Boxster’s overall
styling
per cent more torsional rigidity, but the ride
from the large 20in rims appears stiff, especially
at low speeds. And although compliance and
comfort improve as you go faster.
We spent most of our time during our Stuttgart
sojourn in a Boxster equipped with the Porsche
Doppelkupplung, or PDK, or dual clutch. The
reality is that the Porsche semi-manual package
is so good and so quick it will be the option of
choice especially for those who expect to spend
signifcant time stuck in traffc.
Adding to our confdence was the Sport
Chronos Package which features some trick
magnetorehological transmission mounts. That’s
the same basic technology that graces several
new high-performance suspension systems,
including those from Ferrari, some Audia and on
the Cadillac V-Series.
Once in the wilds again after a series of
short coffee breaks and driver changes, I
decide to explore the new Boxster ‘S’s real
character. The updated direct-injection engine
with higher compression, a cleaner dual intake,
more aggressive valve timing and a higher
overall engine speed, it feels like an engine
that’s been specifcally tuned for the track. Its
performance is progressive and very responsive
in low rev bands but it’s in the midrange, past
4,000rpm, where Boxster S really excels. The
torque availability and matching enthusiasm as
it crosses 4,500rpm is amazing. Touching the
redline as you power up and down the updated
PDK twin-clutch gearbox is not only rewarding,
it feels really quick too when you slam the
throttle pedal. One does have to be reminded
that the 311bhp Boxster S is a light car now and
its power-to-weight ratio 230bhp per tonne as
compared to a stock 911’s 246bhp per tonne
goes a long way and gives it that raw edge in its
performance. Although the Boxster S has been
tuned to maintain a respectful distance from
the latest 911, at times we wonder whether
the same basic 3.4-litre engine which doles
out 350hp in the base Carrera can be tweaked
further to create more powerful derivatives in
future?
Even the suspension is a darling of sorts.
While some of the really fast rollercoaster-like
sections allowed us to give the powertrain a real
workout, it wouldn’t have been possible without
a capable suspension. Besides fantastic stability
on straights, and unlike the outgoing model
which had a bit of nervousness every time you
went hard on the throttle when exiting a corner,
the new Boxster just seems planted to asphalt.
And that makes carrying speed through a really
fast section of corners massively enjoyable. It’s
not easy to get the tail out, and this new car
has lost some of its playfulness, but the amount
of grip available here is so high it often feels as
fast if not faster than a 911.
Regarding the electro-mechanical steering
system which was introduced with the
seventh generation 911, we still have some
reservations. We fall somewhere in the middle
of the discussion. The biggest weakness of this
system is that there is no progressive build-up
and as a driver you feel the same degree of
resistance in a tight, high-speed corner as you
do during a moderate-speed, less aggressive
turn, which means that the new Boxster suffers
from that steered-from-the-hip cohesiveness
which models with hydraulic set-ups seems to
offer generously. We are sure Porsche engineers
are aware of this system faw and will offer an
optmised solution. We liked the car’s brakes
which are spot on and makes the driver’s life
much easier in critical manouevering.
Verdict
New Boxster owners will appreciate the
fact that it is a car that can punch well
above its weight. Massive fun to drive,
superbly built and reasonably practical as
a sports car and ticks most of the boxes
right. Meanwhile, 911 owners need not
worry about the growing infuence of
the Boxster in the Porsche line-up.
Highly Dzirable!
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28
edItorIal nomInee
2012 suzukI swIft dzIre
comPact car
29
O
man’s automotive market is beginning show its infuence
and ability to encourage manufacturers to introduce new
brands and models. At the same time, market changes
indicate that the Sultanate’s markets are also benefting from
the new global wave of thinking that’s currently prevailing in the
automotive industry. This is no better illustrated in the way the
focus has shifted from faltering economies such as US or Europe
towards promising economies which are currently being led by
Brazil, Russia, India and China [BRIC] countries in particular.
What may be seen as brand new frst time entries from
relatively new players in Oman now are actually products from the
industry’s current bright spots in BRIC which have either designed
or specifcally developed for those markets. The latest in this wave
of cars is one from India – Suzuki Swift Dzire.
The creation of the Swift Dzire is quite interesting as it came
out of necessity. The car was developed in 2005 [on the previous
generation Swift platform] as an in-house project initiated by
India’s Maruti Suzuki to design a three-box notchback version of
the model under 4,000mm overall length.
The all-new 2012 Dzire introduced in India in February this year
is built on the Swift’s new third generation platform. Although the
DZire appears more compact than its offcial 3,995mm length,
most of its dimensions have all increased compared to the previous
generation Swift. The width of the car is now 1,695mm (up 5mm)
and the overall height stands at 1,530mm (up 25mm), while the
wheelbase is the same as the new Swift’s at 2,430mm. The car
fIRst dRIve
30
rides on 15in alloy wheels shod with 185/65
tyres.
Since, the Swift was originally designed as a
hatchback, the idea of creating a variant with
a short boot to some may seem like a design
afterthought. Suzuki designers worked hard to
integrate seamlessly the boot into the overall
styling and profle is evident in the compact.
In real time, the boot is short by contemporary
sedan standards and even has a Bangle-butt
which said to be inspired from the Kizashi.
The car’s front end is similar to the Swift
hatch, but what differentiates is its stylish
new bumper, revised front grille and the lower
air dam which in this car is more angular
and wider. Common parts are the cluster
headlamps and blacked out A-pillar.
Considering the price point of this car
[which has also shocked several rivals], the
Dzire’s interiors is a massive step up from its
potential competitors. It begins with a spacious
two-tone black-and-beige trim and looking at
materials, ft and fnish, it does appear to have
been designed with genuine fair. In general
the cabin is very well laid out and ergonomics
are brilliant and so are essential kit such as
the steering wheel, Kizashi-inspired waterfall
design centre console, the auto climate
control and the integrated audio system with
six speakers. But, these new elements along
with the new lighter beige and black dual
tone colour theme give the car’s cabin a much
more upmarket feel. There is also the addition
of wood fnish inserts on the dash and door
panels, silver accents, chrome inserts and
leather trim have also been thrown in. The car
also gets all of the intuitive storage options
that were offered in the new Swift.
Front seats are wide, supportive with soft
cushioning and come with height adjustment.
Front head, shoulder and leg room are quite
good. Since the DZire’s roofine slopes down at
the rear, we were expecting some compromise
in the rear for occupants. However, Suzuki
designers have cleverly addressed this issue
by changing the angle of the seat back to give
occupants better head and leg room.
In terms of practicality, the car’s boot offers
316 litres [which is 112 litres more than the
Swift hatchback]. Creation of extra space,
however, is limited as the rear seats don’t fold.
The only thing it lacks is Bluetooth mobile
phone connectivity which is usually available
in pricier models.
Suzuki is offering a normally-aspirated 1.2-
litre four-cylinder K-series engine with variable
valve tech on the intake manifold. The power
31
Well laid out interior is bright
and cheerful with most of
the expected features and
practicality. Sadly, the rear seat
doesn’t split fold.
Cockpit feel is nice and controls are placed/grouped according to
function and easy/convenient to operate
output is 86hp at 6,000 rpm and 114Nm of
torque at 4,000rpm and four-speed automatic
gearbox with overdrive.
The front suspension is of Mc Pherson strut
with coil spring and rear suspension is of torsion
beam with coil spring same as Swift hatchback.
Suzuki says that a few modifcations in the
rear suspension have been done to offset the
effects of the additional weight on the rear
axle and also improve the ride quality.
Safety kit includes EBD, ABS with Brake
Assist, Due to the additional structure at the
rear, there’s a modest gain in weight, the DZire
weighs about 30–35 kg more than the regular
hatchback.
Driving impressions
During the entire period with the car, it gave an
impression of being a bigger car – especially in
the powertrain department. The car’s electric
power steering is extremely well weighted and
precise with lots of feedback which is a surprise
as there are very few car manufacturers in
the world who have been really been able to
induce an element of sportiness in this set-up
including expensive models.
For city driving, the Dzire loses none of the
agile Swift hatchback’s driving appeal despite
its extra weight. While overall behaviour of
the car is very neutral and there are no nasty
surprises, the car remains eager in its road
manners. Considering the fact that the Swift
hatchback was the base platform for this car
which had a sharper and stiffer ride, in the
Dzire, it is obvious that the suspension has
been recalibrated to offer a softer and more
compliant ride.
While the four-speed automatic is no
DSG in terms of response time, it shifts well
with smooth shift quality. The engine has
been mapped to offer instantaneous throttle
response at low revs and the gear ratios appear
well distanced for smooth acceleration.
Suzuki has clearly dialed in the performance
of the car for effciency and pressing the O/D
button disengages the overdrive (4th) gear,
thus making third as top gear.
This is a handy feature for commuters
driving in road conditions where the gearbox
is constantly shifting between the top two
gears especially on mountain roads. The
braking offered by the front discs and rear
drums are adequate but not the sharpest in
this segment.
Verdict
India’s Maruti Suzuki has worked really very hard on delivering
a complete value package which includes contemporary
engineering, quality interiors and overall kit. Given the price
point in Oman, all the three Dzire variants available represent
great value.
Still going strong
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32
Author: Chandan B Mallik
the current toyota
corolla is in its tenth
generation and 39
million units later,
the highly popular
global model now has
an interesting story
to tell – thanks to
a localized initiative
by its authorized
representative.
automan checks
out a specially
kitted model called
‘exclusive’ in oman
33
L
ast month it was a momentous milestone
for Toyota when it crossed its 200 million
unit production mark. It has taken 76
years and 11 months for this achievement and
in this historic journey, the compact Corolla
has played a signifcant role since it was frst
introduced in 1966.
Now in its tenth avatar and still popular as
before even in Oman, what keeps the model
ticking despite increasing pressure from
competition is its recent styling refresh, bullet-
proof reliability, solid engineering, value for
money and extremely strong residual values.
It’s no secret that in its success career, the
Corolla did several wonders to the segment
as consumers were exposed to several never
before features and overall improvement in
areas where it matters most. In the past,
customers in this segment had to be content
with somewhat bland styling, budget interiors
that were mostly devoid of features that one
is accustomed today. While Toyota packaged
the tenth generation Corolla exceptionally
well with rock solid mechanicals and replaced
the old staid look with a sleek and modern
design with nice proportions, and cosy
interiors, though comfortable for occupants
it isn’t as aspirational when touch and feel
the classy interior of the Corolla’s bigger
sibling – the current redesigned Camry. With
the Camry’s revolutionary change in interior
design including touch and feel, Toyota has
successfully shown the world that it can offer
a premium feel even in volume cars. While
enjoying the current Corolla for what it is, we
can expect Toyota designers to incorporate
trendy designs and features for the interiors
of this global model when it arrives next.
In Oman, the Corolla is offered with two
normally-aspirated four-cylinder powertrain
set-ups beginning with the 121hp 1.6-litre
and moving up to the134hp 1.8-litre 16-
valve DOHC with Dual VVTi and effciency
technologies. Both engines are mated to four-
speed automatic transmissions. Interestingly,
when the latter engine was introduced it was
considered as a class benchmark.
In terms of road going manners and
performance, the car feels solid and its electric
power steering feels quite at home. Due to
the focus on effciency and fuel consumption,
Toyota engineers have mapped the engine’s
electronics for optimized performance.
While the gear ratios are widely spaced, the
automatic transmission is smooth-shifting. On
asphalt the Corolla’s softly sprung suspension
absorbs imperfections quite well, body roll is
minimal and urban drivers will appreciate the
car’s light speed sensitive steering wheel. In
day-to-day driving, the cabin is very quiet,
except for occasional tyre noise emitting from
harsh asphalt. The car feels solid and NVH is
very good as we didn’t encounter squeaks or
rattles. Brakes are sharp and stopping power
is good.
Verdict
We appreciate the way Toyota’s Oman retail partner Saud Bahawan
Automobiles has taken an initiative to help keep the model fresh in news
by giving it a special treatment in the form of a body kit and interesting
embellishments. For punters preferring a frugal, trouble-free mode of
transport and no specifc desire for sporty performance, the 2012 Toyota
Corolla perfectly fts the bill and the bonus is that with a little effort the car
can be made a bit more attractive.
Toyota Corolla ‘Exclusive’ exterior features
Interior is conservative in design
contrast to the chiseled exterior,
but Toyota has ensured that it
has most features that are in this
segment
1: Raised ‘Exclusive’ polymer badging 2: Front lower sports skirt with integrated chrome garnished foglamp 3: Modifed rear sports valance 4: Chrome side mouldings
1 2 3 4
Explorer reinvented
34
Author and photographs: Chandan B Mallik
edItorIal nomInee
2012 ford exPlorer
mId sIzed suV
fIRst dRIve
35
F
ord’s best selling seven-seater Explorer
is available in both front- and four-
wheel drive confgurations depending
on markets with a choice of several trim
levels and powertrains. Our market gets the
290hp 3.5-litre Ti-VCT V6 engine and six-
speed automatic transmission set-up with
SelectShift manual mode. The 4x4 models
although ecoboost technology is available in
the Us in smaller displacement engines for
the explorer, we think that the v6 3.5 in our
region is perfect for the package offered
Driving impressions
The car’s 3.5-litre V6 is well suited for the job both on and off-road and one
doesn’t miss it not having a V8. Besides a comfortable interior and command
view, a thoughtful feature is that the steering wheel and pedals adjust for
different drivers. The car feels rock-solid at freeway speeds, well-damped
over broken pavement and very confdent when negotiating a corner. The
responsive steering demonstrates Ford’s skill at tuning an electric power
steering system (very few carmakers are capable in mastering this aspect).
The new dial-the-electronic terrain management system takes away the manual
old diff-lock management system and the pre-programmed software will allow
the driver to traverse over various types of surfaces on regular all-season
tyres. In most situations, specialized tyres are not required as the Explorer
has enough torque to help it blast through sand or traverse deep ditches and
steep hills. On normal day-to-day use, the car offers quiet a smooth ride over
most terrain. Despite riding on a crossover architecture, the Explorer’s chassis
is super rigid [actually it uses twice as much high-strength steel compared to
the previous edition]. That along with excellent NVH management means a
quiet cabin, excellent ride quality and solid handling that befts the Explorer’s
considerable size.
inside the cabin
safety features
practicality
Cargo volume measures 21cft behind the
third row (comparable to boot space in a
big sedan, and among the best in Explorer’s
class), 43.8 cft behind the second row
(comparable to a compact SUV or crossover
with the rear seats folded), and 80.7
behind the front seats. The cargo space is
substantially less than what’s available in
say GM’s Chevrolet Traverse or GMC Acadia
but competitive with the rest of Explorer’s
competition. There’s a little bit more
maximum cargo volume in a Dodge Durango
or a Honda Pilot.
It’s very easy to change configurations in the
Explorer. The second seat folds like magic at
the touch of a button on each side, bouncing
back up with the pull of a lever.
suspension
Manual shifting
Very much like the
Ford Taurus, the
Explorer’s SelectShift
function can only be
operated by a switch
on the gear lever itself.
Sometimes we wonder
why this was done as
drivers operating the
car in this mode will have to continuously track
the level. A paddle shifter arrangement would
have been better.
The 2012 Ford Explorer comes standard with
a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower
and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed
automatic transmission Four-wheel drive
(there is no low-range gearing) is optional and
includes Ford’s Terrain Management System,
a selectable four-mode system that optimizes
traction electronically for different conditions.
Hill descent control and hill start assist are
also included.
36
the snow/gravel mode allows less wheelspin, provides conservative
throttle control, and enables earlier transmission upshifts. This should
help stabilize handling, making the Explorer easier to control in sloppy
conditions, though you’ll still need to exercise care when slowing down.
the sand mode provides more aggressive throttle, holds the
transmission in gear longer, and desensitizes traction control.
Because, unlike in snow, to make progress in sand you need
wheelspin.
terrain management also includes hill descent control, which
provides engine braking to increase driver confidence and control
when descending a steep incline.
Mud/ruts allows more torque as throttle increases. Stability
control is desensitized to help maintain momentum over soft or
uneven surfaces.
terrain management
design
Ford designers have ensured that the
current Explorer looks contemporary. The
current Explorer was launched before
contemporary rivals including Dodge and
Jeep were able to launch their redesigned
Durango and Grand Cherokee models.
The GMC Acadia would be considered the
oldest amongst this group.The focus up
front is the trademark grille has a pair of
slim horizontal chromium bands between
the three bars, along with wraparound
wing-shaped headlamps. The car’s
C-pillar is aggressively raked and B-pillars
blacked-out. At the rear, a traditional
approach contrasts the front where Ford
has continued with a one-piece liftgate.
Complementing the front are full-width
chrome garnishes. With a lower and
significantly wider form than the outgoing
Explorer, this new fifth-generation model
appears more masculine than most
crossovers. Although mechanically
the Explorer is a crossover now, Ford
continues to promote it as an SUV, not a
CUV.
37
Verdict
With the Explorer, Ford has demonstrated that
it can produce one the best, seven-passenger
sport-utility vehicles that money can buy in
an extra ordinarily well-kitted package. The
Explore confdently delivers the function and
family friendly features of a minivan with a
more rugged emotional appeal, off-road and
towing capability.
38
Author and photography:

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39
edItorIal nomInee
hyundaI genesIs couPe
sPorts car
in keeping w
ith im
pressive perform
ance upgrades,
genesis coupe now
sports m
ore aggressive coupe styling,
com
plem
ented by im
proved interior m
aterials and design
40
fIRst dRIve
having a normally-
aspirated v6 3.8 in this
rear wheel drive car
ensures a healthy dose of
road performance
41
C
onsidering how the global automotive
market is operating these days, rarely
does an agenda for mid-cycle update
for a model include an exhaustive new sheet
metal switch over. Hyundai, which is riding on
commercial success worldwide with its new
wave thinking and fuidic sculpture design
language across it model line-up can still pull
an interesting composition.
The coupe was created as an up market
aspirational model for the brand to represent
its Genesis line-up. Although Genesis is
not an offcial sub brand, it does represent
sophisticated engineering, design and
performance. Whether Genesis becomes
formally the sporty brand in future is
something that remains purely speculative for
the moment.
The Genesis Coupe was designed primarily
for the US markets which has an assorted
mix of offerings – aggressive muscle from the
American Big Three to Japanese and European
lifestyle, middle and heavyweight players.
Somewhere, in-between sits the Genesis
Coupe which when launched in 2009, which
at the time attempted to marry luxury and
performance in an affordable package for the
Korean brand. A few years in the business and
with more idea about the market specifcs,
Hyundai has decided to boost the car’s
prospects with an inside-out comprehensive
revisit. Hyundai Motor America introduced the
redesigned Hyundai Genesis Coupe in a North
American debut at the 2012 Detroit North
American International Auto Show as a 2013
model.
In the US, the car is offered with several
powertrain options – ranging from an entry
level 2.0-litre turbocharged to top-of-the-line
3.8-litre V6 with low and high output versions.
In Oman, customers are offered V6 3.8-litre
low output in one single trim only.
As before this car remains easy to spot from
a distance as it retains its design profle mix of
rakish sports-car infuences and more practical
attributes, but the sheet metal has now
evolved post refresh. The Z-shaped character
line which was introduced continues along with
redesigned the bonnet and corporate grille
complete with fake air inlets. New fog lights
and LED daytime running lamps also debut as
part of the exercise and at the rear, the sign
off includes new LED tail lights and chromed
dual exhaust tips, as well as a blacked-out rear
diffuser panel. Over all the design language
has evolved nicely without being frivolous.
Mechanically, the coupe is based on a
shortened platform of the Genesis sedan.
Compared with rivals such as the Nissan 370Z,
the overall length and wheelbase is 15.1in and
10.6in longer respectively.
In its construction, Hyundai hasn’t
resorted to using exotic composite material
or lightweight aluminium. In terms of build
quality, the car scores very well with extremely
well-fnished and tolerances.
Inside, it is evident that the car’s rather low
shoulder-line has allowed more glass area and
much better visibility than many other coupes.
And by coupe standards, front-seat head
and leg room in the Genesis Coupe is quite
impressive. Hip room in the front seats is wider
Tiptronic in the Genesis can be
operated from the shifter
Our favourite detail in the cabin would be the torque meter
Touch and feel in this
car is premium. Layout
in general is very good
and so is space for
front occupants
42
fIRst dRIve
by almost three inches than some competitors.
Seats are sporty with nice bolstering and
driver also gets power lumber adjustment
facility. Rear accommodation in most coupes
is more symbolic than functional, and in the
Genesis it gets better than many. Folding rear
seats help make the 10-cubic-foot trunk more
useful, even if there’s no hatchback to widen
the narrow entry hole.
The general layout in the cabin wouldn’t be
described as fashy but a better description
would be its business. Everything is laid out
well, including controls and instrumentation
which Hyundai has spiced up with some bright
chrome trim soft-touch surfaces upgrades to
give the look and feel inside more of an upscale
ambiance. The instrument cluster now features
an electroluminescent gauge cluster for better
readability. One of our favourite details was
the torque meter in the central console and
also the keyless stop start system. While specs
include Bluetooth as standard, modcons such
as a reverse camera or satnav are missed.
For the powertrain, Hyundai has adopted
a formula similar to what some others are
practicing. Similar to Nissan’s VQ-series V6
which powers everything from the Altima and
370Z to the Infniti FX35 and G37, Hyundai’s all-
aluminum Lambda V6 3.8-litre which powers
the Genesis sedan and the Veracruz SUV has
been reconfgured to represent the topline
power equation. The engine is programmed
to offer 306hp and 266 pound-feet of torque
with the help of Dual Continuously Variable
Valve Timing (Dual CVVT) and a Variable
Intake System (VIS) that helps cylinders
breathe most effciently at both low and high
revs. The six-speed automatic transmission
has also been upgraded with two extra cogs
and comes with paddle-shift manual-shifting
capability.
While most of the industry has opted for
electric power steering even in expensive
sports cars, Hyundai has resisted this change
sensibly and continues with a speed sensitive
hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering which it
claims to have recalibrated with an even
13.8:1 ratios making it seven-per cent quicker
than before.
A retuned suspension goes along with
the refreshed package which includes a
MacPherson strut dual-link front suspension
and a fve-link rear suspension setup. The
front suspension is mounted to the body via
subframe. To tighten the chassis and control
body roll, 23mm diameter front and 19mm
diameter rear stabilizer bars are ftted.
On the safety front, besides a rigid steel
structure, a full complement of electronic aids
such as Standard safety technology includes
driver and front passenger advanced frontal
airbags, along with front seat-mounted side
airbags, side air curtains and active front
head restraints. Also included are standard
four-channel ABS with Electronic Brake-force
Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and Electronic
Stability Control (ESC).
Weight distribution is 56:44 front:rear.
Driving impressions
At idle and in almost any rev band, there’s a
deep and throaty engine exhaust note that
the clean sheet design and subsequent upgrades to the genesis coupe
definitely uplifts the model’s aspiration levels for potential customers
looking for a refined car with pleasant road manners and handling
Stylish wheels are
dedicate to this model
3.8-litre normally aspirated V8 and six-speed transmission
are perfectly mated
Usable boot space
is surprising. It will
take in more than
the customary set of
golf clubs
At any engine speed the
sountrack from the twin
exhaust tips is awesome
43
flters in the otherwise serene cabin. Hyundai
did claim that it did employ an intake sound-
induction tube specially for the job and it’s
a nice feeling. The V6 is silky smooth and
steady and revs climb freely with a blip of
the throttle. Although its peak torque doesn’t
arrive until 5,300 rpm, the engine is strong
from 2,000rpm and seems paired very nicely
with the eight-speed transmission. As very
few sports cars are equipped with 8-speed
transmissions, we were wondering whether
it actually benefted or compromised the car’s
overall performance.
During the frst round of the test we drove
the car in automatic and found that the gear
shifts respond pretty fast at light throttle. In
the second round, when using the shifter
gate in manual it goes in Sports mode and
there’s some evidence of aggressive mapping
– although not as aggressive of say a Ford
Mustang GT. Thirdly, thumping the accelerator
in manual mode using the paddle shifters allows
drivers to shift gears according to their own
agenda. So, as far as driving entertainment
Hyundai has effected a host of improvements,
the down shifts are much better than before.
We think there’s still scope of making it a bit
more intuitive and livelier.
Meanwhile, the springs, dampers which all
have been recalibrated for better performance
translate into solid road feel, control, and
comfort with noticeably less body roll. The
suspension soaks up irregularities and keeps
the tyres planted and the speed-sensitive
steering which has a 13.8:1 ratio, feels much
quicker. We loved the turn-in attitude, which is
progressive and predictable, and its accuracy
allows for confdent placement of the car in
true point-and-shoot fashion especially in
fast corners. On the highway the
car feels solid and tight and subtle
steering corrections do not result in
over-reactive directional changes. We
presented the coupe with winding
roads in Amarat and the chassis does
offer excellent dividends to the driver.
When the pace quickens, the car as
expected displays modest roll and
control can be turned completely off and tyre
burn outs are quite possible.
While in the US, a track focused Genesis
coupe variant is also offered with Hyundai’s
three-stage traction/stability control settings
and a performance braking kit by Brembo,
in the Oman destined cars, there’s a nod to
enthusiasts which is driver-selectable stability
control mode and this is supported by car’s
unfaltering Brembo braking system, which
uses monobloc fxed calipers and substantial
13.4in front/13.0in rear vented rotors which
does its job as expected – offering sure and
sharp stopping power.
Verdict
Hyundai has much to be proud of with its frst
rear-drive sport coupe. While it may appear
less aggressive in driving dynamics than say a
Ford Mustang or Dodge Charger, it is by far and
away the value leader. Now into its third year,
coupe has its career well sorted out.
specIaL featuRe
EXpLOSIvE
pErfOrMaNcE
Chandan B Mallik
44
Even cool cars need some TLC. After a few hot laps,
the car pits in for necessary checks and some extra
cooling while journalists wait for their turn at Yas
Marina
45
specIaL featuRe
46
The rear
spoiler
may look
oversized to
an onlooker,
but when you
are traveling
250km/h
plu, you need
that aero-
advantage
Like the stock car, the gull-wing
door has been retained in the
Safety Car
Tyre pressure and
temperature play a
crucial role on track
Maylander’s
office for official
track duties is F1
inspired
Manual switches
control traction and
stability. The large
red switch is for
emergency engine
cut-off
lubrication remains mostly stock,
minor medications to the intake
tract, valve control linkage, racing
exhaust system and oil supply
systems are permitted. Even the
suspension package must be as
in the standard car and luxuries
such as carbon-ceramic brakes
or wheels larger in diameter than
18in are strictly no-nos.
The AMG SLS GT3 F1 Safety
car is one of the fne examples
of how these purpose-built
variants can look and perform.
Optimising the power-to-weight
ratio is important so is the weight
balance between front and rear
axles. Weight saving measures
which are visible are the carbon
fbre body panels that replace
most of the aluminium bodywork
except the roof and doors,
while lightweight transparent
polycarbonate replaces heavier
glass of the cabin. As expected
a full aerodynamic body package
has been applied, including
a front aero splitter, bolt-on
small DTM-style winglets on the
corners of the front mudguards,
rocker sill extensions and a
massive carbon fbre wing
complemented by an aero
diffuser. AMG says that these
changes help produce huge
downforce for the car equivalent
to 276kg at 200km/h.
Inside the cabin is a stripped
of most kit that’s found in the
stock version. As required by
safety regulations and expected
there’s a roll-cage and two fxed
rally seats. Instrumentation
is track dictated and are all
placed within reach of the driver
in custom built carbon fbre
housings. Instead of the usual
dash there is a simple digital
instrumentation display and
buttons on the fat bottomed
steering wheel that let you
scroll through the various
information screens provided by
the onboard telemetry system.
Other buttons on the wheel
are for the radio, selection of
neutral, pit-lane speed limiter
and most importantly the high-
beam button for fashing the car’s
headlights at slow-pokes ahead
that are clogging up the track.
Driver gets a ventilator for fresh
air that looks like a periscope
attachment inside the car.
Steering wheel is detachable and
similar to Formula One cars with
an array of buttons for various
functions. I also note a third
pedal in the footwell which turns
out to be the clutch pedal. The
means that the stock car’s dual-
clutch transmission has been
replaced by a racing-specced
transmission, Maylander told me
later was actually Hewland-built
single-clutch automated six-
speed sequential. The beneft
is that due to extreme high
torque demands, it offers much
more durable gears and lots of
alternatives for gear ratios. But
most importantly, it also weighs
40kg less than the stock car’s
double-clutch set-up.
In the suspension department,
the car’s uses lightweight, forged
aluminium control arms and the
suspension is fully adjustable for
track, camber and ride height, as
well as for damper compression
and rebound. Connecting the car
to asphalt are forged aluminium
single centre-lock 18in rims
wrapped in asymmetric racing
slicks [300/68 – front and 310/71
– rear]. Motorsport-specced
steel brake discs come with six-
piston front and four-piston rear
calipers. The car uses a 120-litre
carbon fbre-reinforced plastic
fuel tank and onboard air jacks
for quick pit stops.
Compared to the stock The
AMG SLS GT3 F1 Safety car’s
chassis has been lowered by
18mm and width it is 50mm
wider. Every inch of this car has
something unique, and suggests
that form and function can live
together. While, the stock car’s
gullwing doors are retained,
entering and exiting the car
needs a little practice for frst
timers. Inside, the seats are
fxed, but any driver can get into
a comfort zone quickly, thanks
to adjustable tilt-and-telescoping
steering wheel and also height
adjustable pedals.
As I’ve been engrossed in the
details of the car, I only realize
the time spent when a member
of the support team gestures
my turn and advises me to get
change in to appropriate clothing
– which is a racing suit, boots,
47
balaclava and helmet. After getting in
the car, a click and locked four-point
safety harness ensured that I was
ready for the ride.
While I get settled in and tighten
my helmet strap, I notice Maylander
taking a quick note of the centre
console, which houses numerous
switches, buttons and dials. When
I asked him about this and its
relevance to the drive ahead, he
mentioned that the most intriguing
part of the job was controlling the
traction control and ABS of this rear
wheel drive car, especially on a fast
race track. He pointed to the rotary
dial with settings marked from 1 to
11. Settings 1 to 5 are for the wet,
6 to 10 are used in the dry, while 11
was referred to as ‘the Nordschleife
setting’. Maylander basically meant
that it’s tuned for tough tracks, like
Germany’s Nurburgring. Although,
traction control and ABS can be
completely disabled it’s best left to
the professionals to decide what they
want to do.
Maylander also mentioned about
the dial that he uses to control the
three different engine mappings.
Besides a map for wet conditions,
one for fuel effciency and the third
one fondly referred to by Maylander
as ‘maximum attack’ and this mode
he suggested depended on the
passenger!
Once the doors were shut and pit
lane exit green lighted, Maylander
ficked the ignition switch and
pushed the starter button. The big
6.3-litre V8 instantly roars in to life
and what a racket it makes with
over 560hp and 600Nm on tap. Must
admit, there’s this thunderous feeling
of American muscle somewhere, as
even at idle, the noisy German car’s
cabin failed to hide vibrations or
intentions.
A quick depress of the light clutch
and a right toggle on the paddle
engages the frst gear with a metallic
clunk. I’m immediately transformed
into thinking of a possible launch
control scenario as Maylander
releases the clutch and let the car
pull away from standstill. The car
is rough and since there’s no noise
insulation visible, even the whining
of the drivetrain bearings also flter
in to the cabin. At the end of the pit
lane I notice that Maylander released
the speed-limiter button and quickly
merged into the main track.
Through the intercom, Maylander
said that he would perform two
laps – one to warm up the new tyres
and then the performance demo
lap. Good news for me to enjoy two
different driving scenarios. The frst
lap by Maylander’s standards can be
best described as gentlemanly track
performance, but it was during the
second lap that one gets to the grips
of this car.
Once Maylander was assured that
I was a spirited passenger, he let the
car loose on track. The car’s rack-
and-pinion steering with steering
power assistance and steering ratio
adjusted for Maylander merely
translated in to a track loving point
and shoot affair. At corners and exits,
one could feel the accompanying
G-forces with brisk acceleration. On
our favourite long straight stretch at
Yas Marina, Maylander could push
the car upto 230km/h just before
the braking points which was a bit
disappointing in the sense that a
few weeks before this event, we
were clocking 255-260km/h on
this particular stretch in an Italian
branded supercar! Giving the beneft
of doubt, let’s say Maylander was
saving the car for a few more night
rounds! The SLS GT3’s exhaust
soundtrack and accompanying blips
[and sparks] in-between gear shifting
was undiluted aural pleasure.
AMG has established itself as a credible in-house
alternative to independent tuner houses. With a
superb line-up of evocative products and some
extreme machines like the GT3 we experienced at Yas
Marina, it goes without saying the brand has a very
strong foundation and business model
a
u
t
o
m
a
n

s

t
a
k
e
Yes, it has an extra large spoiler
All strapped and ready for take-off
48
High drama at Hockenheim
alonso: too early to think about
championship
49
mOtOR spORts
The double World Champion arrived in Hungary certain to go
into the summer break leading the Drivers’ Championship. Only
twice during Alonso’s F1 career has the Championship leader
after Hungary not gone on to take the title – but Alonso, while
acknowledging he is in a strong position, refused to be drawn on
his chances this year of taking a third World Championship.
“I think we are in a good position in terms of the points we
achieve in the frst half of the season, but we are only half way,”
he said in the FIA press conference on Thursday. “We did ten
and there remain another ten important races with the same
possibilities for everybody. I think the distance between the top
six is not a gap that is impossible to recover. You just need or
two good races and you are up there. So, we need to keep the
concentration, try to keep maximising what we have in our hands
every weekend. Sometimes we know that can
be a podium, sometimes maybe it’s a
ffth position, sometimes a seventh,
but we cannot afford to make any
mistakes or anything that we will
regret. We need to keep doing
good – some good consistency
but in terms of the Championship
it’s obviously way too early to think
and still McLaren, Red Bull, Lotus,
Mercedes – anyone is in contention
at the moment.”
change at Toro rosso?
Fernando Alonso took his third win of
the season with a controlled drive to the
chequered flag in a German Grand Prix
that saw Sebastian Vettel stripped of second
place following an illegal passing move on
Jenson Button two laps from the finish
Ascanelli is not present in Hockenheim and offcially is “on holiday”,
though rumours in the paddock have been suggesting his absence
may be more permanent. When asked directly during the FIA Friday
press conference, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost refused to
be drawn, saying: “I can only tell you that Giorgio Ascanelli is on
holiday and there’s confdentiality between the two parties. That’s
all that I can say to this.”
When pressed on the matter Tost replied “Sorry, I’ve said
everything.” After a good start to season, in which they took points
in both Australia and Malaysia, Toro Rosso have been left behind
by the rest of the midfeld pack, failing to score in the last seven
grands prix. Nevertheless, Tost struck an upbeat note, suggesting
that luck had not been with his squad and that better things could
be just around the corner. “We started the season quite well. We
scored points at the beginning and then we struggled a little bit.
For example, in Monaco, Jean-Eric Vergne was in seventh place
ten laps from the end but then it started to rain a little bit and di
Resta and some others passed him. In Valencia, Daniel had a good
chance to score points but then he had a crash with Petrov.
“I think that we will come up with some new upgrades for the next
races. And I’m quite positive and optimistic for the second half of
the season.”
50
Webber wins British Grand prix
F
errari’s Fernando Alonso was second, ahead of
Webber’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Behind
the top three Felipe Massa drove a strong race to
fourth. The two Lotuses were ffth and sixth with
Räikkönen outgunning Grosjean after the Frenchman
ran a compromised race having pitted in the early
exchanges. Michael Schumacher took seventh for
Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was eighth for McLaren
after failing to make an impression on the race
despite leading out-of-sequence for a short while.
Bruno Senna was ninth for Williams and Jenson
Button took the fnal point in the second McLaren.
Alonso had converted his pole position into a good
lead at the start but Webber stalked him all the way.
And with the Ferrari and Red Bulls running different
strategies, Webber had the speed advantage when
he needed it. He made his move on lap 48 of the 52.
Alonso did what he could to defend but didn’t take
any heroic measures – Webber was going through
and both drivers knew it.
Alonso started the race on the hard tyre, as did
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, the rest of the top ten
opted for the soft tyre. Alonso made a good start and
retained the lead while Webber hung on to second
and Michael Schumacher kept third. Felipe Massa
slipped past Sebastian Vettel into fourth. Alonso and
Webber pulled away while Schumacher held up the
feld. The hard tyre was plainly the better rubber
today, and Alonso used it to good effect, sprinting
away to establish a lead of several seconds in the
frst stint. Being delayed but unable to make an
impression on Massa, Vettel pitted early, taking on
the hard tyre on lap 11. On the fresh, hard rubber
Mark Webber won a strategic
British Grand Prix with a
finely judged race that saw him
take the lead in the last five
laps
51
mOtOR spORts
Life in the fast lane
Walter Lechner has enjoyed a wealth of success in a motor racing
career spanning fve decades, and the veteran Austrian former
driver, team manager and now championship organiser and
promoter still shows no signs of slowing down.
Lechner is the driving force behind the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
Middle East which, over the last three years, has become the
region’s headline race series.
When the Porsche GT3 Cup cars debuted at Qatar’s Losail
International Circuit back in March, the one-make series had
reached another milestone in linking the region’s top fve race
venues for the frst time.
With Doha joining Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Reem in Saudi
Arabia on the GT3 Cup calendar, it takes a huge effort, and expert
management to keep, the series running like clockwork, as it does,
and Lechner likens his role to that of an orchestra conductor.
“It takes a lot of hard work and organisation because it involves
such a big logistical operation, and last season was the biggest
challenge to date with Qatar joining the calendar for the frst time,”
he said. Lechner was lured to motor racing in the 1970s by the
exploits of a driver adopted by his home country. “My frst racing
highlight was winning the European Formula Ford championship
back in 1979. Three years later I won the Formula Vee European
Championship. From then on I was a professional racing driver
and had many race wins and captured the Interserie Sportscar
European titles six times. Racing the famous Porsche 956 and 962
Group C sportscars was the highlight of my career. I stopped racing
in 1996. “But by then I had already set up the Lechner Racing
School to give young people their frst insight into motorsport and
the chance to learn new driver skills. I also established my own
team, Lechner Racing, which has enjoyed great success over the
years, especially since frst entering the Porsche Supercup Series
in 2003. Since then we have scored countless race victories and
captured the team title on four occasions.
Running teams in the Supercup made Lechner think about creating
a series in the Middle East. “It took several years of planning,” he
says. “But with the backing of Porsche Middle East and Africa and
Porsche Motorsport we got it up and running, and it’s very much
here to stay.”
So what makes the Porsche GT3 Cup series stand out? “Lechner
explains: “It’s a combination of things, starting with the Porsche
GT3 Cup car. We’re lucky in that each year this is the frst Cup
Challenge series anywhere in the world to receive the latest
version of this fantastic example of state-of-the-art Porsche racing
machinery. Delighted with the success of the series in the frst three
seasons, Lechner is highly optimistic about the road ahead.
he put in a brace of quick laps and managed to steal two places when everything
played out. “I used the momentum and got past Felipe and Michael at the same
time,” said the German. “We brought the right strategy which brought us back – but
you always have a little more on the tyres at the end. I was a little bit too far away to
get Fernando at the end – but I’m very happy with third today.”
The real interest was ahead of him as Alonso was reeled in by Webber. Running
two hard tyre stints, Alonso had pulled out a lead of six seconds over Webber –
but the Australian started to come back late in the race. He took his second stop
before Alonso and, with fresh hard tyres versus old hard tyres began to close the
gap. Alonso pitted for his mandatory set of soft tyres perhaps earlier than he would
have liked. It maintained his lead but Webber ate up the four-second gap as the
Ferrari struggled on the softs. Webber made a textbook pass with the DRS down the
Wellington straight, emerging in front out of the Brooklands corner.
In his heyday veteran
driver Walter Lechner
[left] raced Porsches
at Le Mans and col-
lected a host of titles.
Today his adrenalin
rush comes from run-
ning the region’s top
motor racing series,
the Porsche GT3 Cup
Challenge Middle
East in particular
52
Lorenzo scores magnifcent Mugello victory
Y
amaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo delivered
YYhis second consecutive Mugello masterclass,
repeating last year’s performance to take victory
in the Grand Prix of Italy. Starting from second on
the grid, Lorenzo was quick to pass pole man Dani
Pedrosa and take the lead on the frst lap. Although
initially diffcult to pull away, the Mallorcan put
everything into his pace, dropping into the 1’47s to
become unbeatable and gradually extend a lead to
fnish 5.223 seconds clear by the fnish line. The win,
his ffth this season, puts him on 185 points, 19 clear
of Pedrosa in second.
Ben Spies’ run of bad luck continued today in
Mugello, the Texan struck down with possible food
poisoning on one of the hottest race days of the
year so far. Despite experiencing physical sickness
and dizzy spells he hung on to complete the race,
taking fve Championship points. He remains in tenth
with a total of 66 points heading to his home race at
Laguna Seca in two weeks time.
Once again there were uneven results for the
Repsol Honda Team at a Grand Prix, this time in
Italy. Dani Pedrosa was on the second step of the
podium at Mugello, whilst Casey Stoner had to fght
back to eighth after a midway point run off track.
The Repsol riders thus reach the halfway mark of
the season with the Spaniard in second —19 points
off leader Jorge Lorenzo— and Stoner in third -37
points off the top.
When the lights went out, Dani Pedrosa used his
pole position to take the holeshot at Mugello, but he
ran slightly wide and Jorge Lorenzo was able to take
him on the inside of the long opening turn. Andrea
Dovizioso had moved up into the fght by the end of
the frst lap of his home race, whilst Casey Stoner
had suffered a bad start and dropped to eighth.
The Australian recovered two positions on the
second lap and attempted to catch up with Nicky
Hayden. Meanwhile, Pedrosa got past Dovizioso on
lap fve slotted into second. By then, Lorenzo had
already opened up a gap of around a second at the
head of the feld, with his Yamaha a few tenths faster
per lap despite a push from the Repsol Honda Team
rider. Stoner was again suffering from chattering on
his Repsol Honda RC213V from lap ten onwards, a
problem which caused a loss of braking power on
one occasion that dropped him down to tenth when
he rode off track.
As the laps progressed, Stoner managed to catch
up and pass Bautista and Barberá. He would have
to settle for eighth place in the end. Pedrosa was
having issues with his rear tyre stepping out, as he
tried to up the pace in pursuit of Lorenzo. He placed
second, ahead of Dovizioso.
Lorenzo leads the standings with 185 points,
Pedrosa has 166 and Stoner has 148. The MotoGP
class returns in two weeks at Laguna Seca.
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53
mOtOR spORts mOtOGp
The MotoGP World Championship put the fnishing touches to a fantastic Dutch
TT weekend. A podium double for the Repsol Honda Team from Casey Stoner
and Dani Pedrosa capped off what had been a successful day of racing for the
Spanish energy company, following on from wins for Marc Márquez in Moto2
and Maverick Viñales in Moto3. The MotoGP result also spices up the World
Championship standings, as Stoner pulled level with Jorge Lorenzo at the head
of the classifcation after his rival DNF’d at Assen.
Starting from the frst and second spots on the grid, Casey Stoner and Dani
Pedrosa remained in the lead at the opening corner. It was Pedrosa who again
made a perfect start, taking the holeshot. That put them out in front, and
also took them away from an incident in which Álvaro Bautista bowled Jorge
Lorenzo out of the race after misjudging his corner entry.
From the opening laps, the Repsol Honda Team duo began to open up a gap
and broke free from the pack on their own. The victory was still to be decided
in what was a race of two halves: Pedrosa led and even clocked the fastest lap
of the race, but it was the reigning World Champion stuck with his teammate,
passed him with ten laps to go and took win number three of the season.
It was a weekend of highs and lows
for the Repsol Honda Team at the
German Grand Prix, as Dani Pedrosa’s
frst win of the season contrasted with
a last lap crash for teammate Casey
Stoner. Both riders were challenging
for the lead right from the off, leading
up to a fnal lap in which Pedrosa
set the fastest time of the race and
Stoner crashed out on the penultimate
corner.
Sachsenring is a favoured circuit for Pedrosa, who took
his sixth win at the track today —his third consecutive
victory in Germany in MotoGP. Reigning World
Champion Casey Stoner started from
pole, with Pedrosa joining him on the
front row in third. Both got a good start
and it was the Spaniard who grabbed
the holeshot, followed by Stoner passing
on the inside at a series of left handers.
The duo, as expected, set a pace that
was impossible for the rest of the feld
to follow, opening up a gap. Stoner
tried to pull away from Pedrosa, but the
Spaniard stayed with him and launched
an attack on lap 19 of 30. Pedrosa overtook at the end
of the straight, gaining some breathing space when
Stoner’s RC213V shook soon after.
Stoner did not give up and regained the lost ground,
sitting behind his teammate and preparing a defnitive
move. Based on the pace of the fnal ten laps, both
knew that it would go down to the wire. Two laps from
the end, Pedrosa put in a race fastest time to pressure
Stoner. On the fnal time around, with just two corners
to go, Stoner fell and Pedrosa took the chequered fag
—setting another fastest lap in the process.
The MotoGP World Championship moves on to Mugello
for another race in seven days time, with Pedrosa and
Stoner in second and third in the overall standings and
14 and 20 points, respectively, behind Jorge Lorenzo.
F
rom the time man frst conceived the
idea of non-animal transportation, he
has also been faced with the problem of
how to steer the transport. In the case of a
horse, donkey or indeed elephant, all that was
needed was to point the animal’s head in the
correct direction. But the minute you attached a
transportation bed behind it and added wheels
below that, the problem was the animals would
turn but the cart, chariot or sled would continue
in a straight line.
Thus was born the idea of steering
mechanisms. In water craft, the use of an oar
angled out behind the vessel taught man how
important a rudder was. In land transport the
solution couldn’t be that simple because solid
ground is a lot more unforgiving than water is -
and as the transportation platform evolved and
became more complex, the means to steer it
had to change as well.
If we skip over the centuries of land transport
before the automobile and come right to the
early generation of the breed we will notice that
the three-wheeled variants almost equalled the
four-wheeled in early popularity. Even Daimler-
Benz’s frst examples were three-wheeled,
largely because of the ease of steering a leading
wheel that pivots with a tiller like handle to aim it.
However, one of the reasons that three-wheeled
cars went out of fashion was their inherent
lack of stability in the turn. An understanding
of simple physics will show that with enough
velocity at work, the resultant vector through
the centre of gravity of the vehicle will fall
outside the triangular footprint, resulting in it
falling over.
So four-wheeled transportation was to become
the norm for carrying people and cargo.
In carts, it is possible to attach both the
front wheels on a solid axle that pivots on its
centre - provided that the wheels sit below the
load platform and are thus unhindered in their
turn. However, if a driver has to turn this sort
of mechanism, the work effort is huge and will
necessarily need heavy gearing. Hence from the
days of the frst automobile, the front wheels
were steered independently, with the wheels
pivoting on their mounts at the end of the axle,
with connecting rods and a variety of steering
mechanisms transferring the rotation of the
steering wheel into lateral push and pull to turn
each wheel.
The most common of the mechanisms in
use is the rack and pinion whereby the steering
wheel turns a concentric pinion gear that moves
on a fat toothed rack, thereby changing rotary
motion into lateral. Another reasonably common
54
tech talk
THE MECHANICS
OF OF ST STEERING EERING EERING EERING EERING EERING
The idea of all-wheel steering has been explored by several carmakers since 80s. However,
practical applications have been limited due to various reasons. Below, a schematic
representation of the systems.
55
Car steering systems
play an important
role in daily use and
safety of the vehicle.
Automan explains
some of the elements
of the steering system
that connects you to
your intended path
Author: Raj Warrior
mechanism, especially in heavier vehicles in the
recirculating ball type. The recirculating ball
steering mechanism contains a worm gear inside
a block with a threaded hole in it; this block has
gear teeth cut into the outside to engage the
sector shaft (also called a sector gear) which
moves the Pitman arm. The steering wheel
connects to a shaft, which rotates the worm gear
inside of the block. Instead of twisting further
into the block, the worm gear is fxed so that
when it spins, it moves the block, which transmits
the motion through the gear to the pitman arm,
causing the roadwheels to turn.
The worm gear is similar in design to a ball
screw; the threads are flled with steel balls that
recirculate through the gear and rack as it turns.
The balls serve to reduce friction and wear in
the gear, and reduce slop. Slop, when the gears
come out of contact with each other, would be
felt when changing the direction of the steering
wheel, causing the wheel to feel loose.
Some vehicles also had a worm and sector
(or worm and gear arrangement) like old Willys
rotates at the end of the steering shaft and
moves a toothed sector.
Nowadays, because of the advent of power
steering, most cars use rack and pinion, because
it is possible to multiply the steering effort on the
pinion by means of the power assist. Most cars
that use power assist on the steering still have
hydraulic servo boosters that take input from the
steering shaft and by means of hydraulic power
(in turn powered from the engine) add force in
the direction of turn.
Newer generation cars have begun to use
electric or electronic systems to aid the steering
effort. In this case an electric stepper motor is
used, with the advantage that it does not draw
power from the engine, but from the battery,
thereby being preferred in smaller engined cars.
Greater electronic control has also aided in
the growth of speed sensitive steering, which
takes input from the wheel speed sensors to give
greater assist at slow speeds and less at higher
speeds.
Also, newer generation cars are taking
electronic steering assist to a new level, whereby
it connects with the vehicle’s steering angle
sensors, stability sensors and pitch and yaw
sensors to pre-emptively steer to correct a path.
Some adaptations of this can be seen in lane
departure warning and correction mechanisms.
Some manufacturers like Nissan and Infniti
have also experimented and brought to the
mainstream cars that have the ability to steer
their rear wheels as well. In some cases the
system is passive, in that it allows the locked (on
a vertical axis) rear wheels to unlock for a time
in order to offer tighter turn circles. In active rear
steering the wheels are turned by electric motors
but to a lesser degree than the front wheels
and depending on vehicle speed may be turned
in the inverse direction of the front wheels (at
slow speed) to take sharp turns or in the same
direction (at highway speeds) to allow for quick
lane changes.
More and more new cars are opting for electric power assisted steerings. Schematic
represention [right]
Cut away of Mercedes-Benz
active steering set-up in a
driving axle
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rolls-royce phantom
Series II evolves further
Thoughtful updates with the introduction of cutting-edge technology,
enhancements to an already peerless drive-train and improvements in
connectivity are the key highlights in Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II
57
A
lmost nine years after its original
introduction in 2003, the Rolls-
Royce Phantom has been able to
hold on its own – thanks to its timeless
design appeal, bespoke craftsmanship and
state-of-the art powertrain engineering.
Currently, the Phantom range includes three
distinct body styles -- saloon, Extended
Wheelbase, Drophead Coupe and Coupe.
While appreciating the fact that the current
Phantom has established its credentials in
design as timeless in their appeal, but as
technology has moved forward rapidly, it is
apparent now that Rolls-Royce didn’t want
to be left behind in this race.
Rolls-Royce has revisited the models and
given them a technical facelift along with
a cosmetic makeover and these refreshed
models were unveiled at the Geneva Auto
Salon. For the current year, these models
go as the Phantom Series II and are able
to distinguish themselves [especially the
saloon] as the spiritual successor of the
[new] Phantom that was introduced by BMW
Group.
From the exterior, the profle remains
unchanged, but as they say it is in the details.
To a casual viewer, the evolutionary external
styling of the Series II hides the most
comprehensive update to the model since
it was frst launched. The exercise begins
with the Phantom Saloon and Extended
Wheelbase versions wear a new front wing
R-R badge with repeat indicator while three
new wheel options, including painted, part-
polished and polished, add to the range of
21in wheels, the largest ftted as standard to
any production car.
Meanwhile, recessed elegantly behind
rectangular light apertures and re-designed
front bumpers are new full LED light
clusters. The signature is an elegant and
dramatic bar, capturing the simple elegance
of a continuously lit element, a feature
complementing Rolls-Royce tail light design.
For balance and proportion, this is integrated
horizontally across the centre of Phantom’s
four-compartment headlamp which also
incorporates electronically-controlled
refectors that focus the beam of the lights
in the direction of travel.
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Inside the cabin, the traditional
dashboard gets a larger 8.8in control
centre with higher resolution displays. A
stylish new chrome controller, discreetly
hidden within the centre console and
rear-centre arm rests when not in use, is
fanked by function keys such as menu,
telephone and navigation to allow easier
access to infotainment functions. The
display system has been enhanced with
3D maps with landscape topography,
guided tours and enhanced points of
interest. A full complement of cameras
offer front, rear and bird’s-eye views to
help ease parking this large car.Under
the coachwork, a brand new ZF 8-speed
automatic gearbox and rear differential
now works with the 6.75-litre V12 engine.
The new combination has been designed
to help improve fuel consumption by 10
per cent as well as reduce emissions from
388g/km to 347g/km. The direct-injection
petrol engine develops 720Nm of torque
and more than 75 per cent of which is
available at as low as 1,000 rpm. The
torque curve remains largely fat between
1,000 and 3,000rpm. The longer ratio in
the new rear differential compensates
shorter ratios in some gears of the new
8-speed gearbox, maintaining the same
engine speed to augment ‘waftability’, a
trademark character of the model series.
It takes 60 pairs of hands and more
than 450 hours to design, construct and
craft each Rolls-Royce motor car and the
carmaker is exceptionally proud of its
bespoke department which also caters to
one-off requests.

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two wheelbase options are being offered as
before along with the usual fringe benefits
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M
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The extrem
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INI John Cooper W
orks
G
P follow
s eagerly in the tyre tracks of
its predecessor and w
ith an even greater
spring in its step
AuTHoR: Chandan B Mallik
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F
ollowing the trend of building extreme
MINI’s by tuner house John Cooper,
now comes the latest iteration, a John
Cooper Works GP special. This isn’t the frst
maxed-out MINI. It may be recalled that in
2006, the John Cooper Works GP Kit was
announced, with a high-pressure turbo hike
to hit a punchy 136bhp per litre specifc
output.
The latest John Cooper Works GP MINI was
unveiled at the recent MINI United festival at
Le Castellet in France. Touted as a limited to
2,000units worldwide production, this edition
has been specifcally designed to deliver
extreme performance on both the race track
and the road and is currently completing
a programme of testing in preparation for
series production.
As the fastest production MINIi in history,
the new John Cooper Works GP has already
made its intentions clear when it lapped the
Nürburgring-Nordschleife in a very impressive
8min and 23secs, which makes it about
19secs faster than the previous generation
JCW GP model that sported a 1.6-litre force-
fed unit with 210hp and 180 244Nm of peak
torque.
While MINI hasn’t yet released offcially
how much power the newest MINI John
Cooper Works GP will offer, but an educated
guess suggests that it will certainly be more
than the 210hp of the previous model. The
tuner has indicated that the twin-scroll
turbo engine will generate outstanding
torque, display remarkable elasticity and
also demonstrate a healthy appetite for free
revs.
So, how will all this be achieved? Like its
predecessor, the GP-spec hardtop loses its
back seat for weight reduction. It also gets
a full complement of power and suspension
upgrades, including a race-spec suspension
and brakes, and sports exclusive aero
tweaks, wheels and graphics to differentiate
itself from “regular” JCW models.
Besides chassis engineering and suspension
visits, aerodynamic tweaks include large front
and rear aprons, side skirts and a bespoke
roof spoiler are complemented by a newly
developed rear diffuser which optimises
airfow around the underbody.
Meanwhile, the interior of the car also
matches the car’s exterior mood. With rear
seats removed, it focuses on the needs of the
driver and co-driver.
From the exterior, the car can be identifed
through its unique paintwork and prominent
GP badging.
John cooPer works couPe
gP to Be droPPed
While several prototypes for a new generation MINI
John Cooper Works Coupe GP edition have already
been caught on the roads, but new developments
have surfaced suggesting the model will never see the
light of day.
The news stems from sources in Europe and North
America that suggest the carmakers’ top brass have
apparently concluded the model would step too
closely on the toes of the hatchback JCW GP which
could impact on sales. The report comes somewhat
as a surprise considering the company has spent a fair
bit of time and money developing the model up until
now. Had it made it to production we would have seen
a MINI Coupe variant with 220hp as well as a number
performance enhancements and weight reducing
modifcations.
breaking news
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H
iroshima, Japan-based Fuji Heavy Industries which produces
Subaru brand motorcars now moves into the busy sub 2.0-litre
displacement crossover segment with the all-new Impreza-based
XV. Like the new Impreza, the Subaru’s XV’s arrival in markets was
affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March. But the fact
that Subaru has managed to get the XV into production is a remarkable
achievement.
The XV is aimed at rivals such as the Mitsubishi ASX, Hyundai ix35
and Nissan Qashqai or Juke. Interestingly, Subaru has chosen to drop
the Impreza name association in the overall badging, perhaps an effort
by the carmaker to create a standalone product to sit below the bigger
Forester in its SUV range. This phenomenon is gaining worldwide
marketing acceptance – Volkswagen did away the Passat connection in
the new CC, Honda dumped the Accord badge in the Crosstour and even
BMW discontinued the 5-Series connection in the GT.
Compared to the Impreza fve-door hatchback, the XV gets a well-
defned exterior differentiation to set it apart from its sibling. The only
common sheetmetal – apart from the platform under the vehicle – is
in the roof, bonnet and doors. The XV is about 35mm longer than the
fve-door hatchback Impreza at 4,450mm, but 30mm shorter than the
sedan that has the same exterior dimensions as the previous-generation
Impreza. Although the XV is a high rider, sitting 220mm above ground,
the overall height has been kept to 1,615mm. This is lower than most
of its rivals, which means the XV can claim to have the lowest centre of
gravity in the class.
For the interior, Subaru designers have tried to match contemporary
65
subaru’s impreza-based crossover, the all-
new Xv, has a unique one-of-a-kind powetrain
packaging
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feature that are found in the class and the
roster includes generous space for fve
occupants and usable interiors. Add to that
features such as Multi-Function Display
(MFD) located in the upper middle section
of the instrument panel which also serves
as central command for information. The
standard MFD provides the driver and
passengers with information necessary
for practical driving—such as outside air
temperature, time and can also notify of
continuous travel time and average vehicle
speed. The software is designed to provide
the driver with extensive support in terms of
safer and economic driving.
As a family vehicle, the cabin’s architecture
is quite fexible. Although overall cargo space
is marginally smaller than the hatchback it is
still able to cope with most re-arrangements.
With the standard 60:40 split rear seatbacks
folded, this versatile fve-door crossover
provides a completely fat load foor with up
to approximately 52.4 cubic feet of carrying
space. The cargo area is outftted as standard
with a cover that can be pulled into place or
removed, a removable waterproof tray, tie-
down hooks, and grocery bag hooks.
Helping the lower centre of gravity and
eventually handling, two boxer engines
displacing 1.6- and 2.0-litre will be available.
Both engines are all-new and replace the “EJ”
engine currently used in all Subaru passenger
vehicle lines. Developed in response to
heightened demand for environmentally-
friendly functionality, this new “FB”
engine retains the proven benefts of the
horizontally-opposed engine while enhancing
fuel effciency and delivering performance
better tuned to practical use, with a focus
on torque in the low- and mid-speed ranges.
The new engines use lightweight parts
and materials for more effcient operation,
as well as variable valve timing on both
inlet and exhaust valves. Both engines are
teamed to Symmetrical All- Wheel Drive via
Subaru’s second-generation Lineartronic®
Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Subaru’s unique AWD system allows the
benefts of all-wheel drive to be utilized to
their maximum potential and with a high level
of safety. Subaru’s electronically controlled
all-wheel drive system integrates a MP-T
(Multi-plate transfer (multi-plate clutch))
into the transfer used to distribute torque to
the rear wheels. Operating based on a 60:40
(front:rear) torque distribution pattern, the
transmission control unit responds to driving
conditions such as acceleration, climbing,
and turning in order to adjust the front-rear
torque distribution in real time. Whenever
slipping of the front wheels is detected, the
system increases the amount of torque being
distributed to the rear wheels, thus ensuring
suffcient traction.
The XV should drives more like a
conventional hatchback than an SUV and,
while it can’t claim to be as sharp as the
Impreza hatch and sedan, most drivers will
be well satisfed by its fat cornering and
compliant ride on its MacPherson strut front
end and double-wishbone rear set-up – both
of which have been modifed to give the XV
a car-like driving character.
Safety features include Vehicle Dynamics
Control (VDC) that combines stability and
traction control functions. Traction control
works to augment the Symmetrical All-Wheel
Drive functionality. The 4- wheel disc Anti-
lock Brake System (ABS) integrates Electronic
Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake
Assist safety system. A new Brake Override
system ensures that the engine power will
be cut when both the brake and accelerator
are pressed simultaneously.
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Audi has added some more punch to its
existing TT RS which it now identifes as
TT RS plus. Technically, it’s an even more
focused version of the TT RS with factory
upgrades to its power and output besides
some cosmetics. The transformation from
TT RS to TT RS plus involves tuning the
2.5-litre, fve-cylinder TFSI petrol engine
to extract an additional 20PS and 15Nm
of torque compared with the stock. The
resulting 360PS and 465Nm is channeled
to the quattro all-wheel-drive system
through either a six-speed manual gearbox
or the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch
transmission. With the latter installed, the
TT RS plus Coupe catapults from rest to
100km/h in just 4.1secs (manual version
4.3secs), closely followed by the Roadster,
which needs 4.2secs (manual version
4.4secs). Top speed is limited to around
280km/h.
The TT RS plus with dual-clutch
transmission also comes with launch
control which optimizes acceleration from
a standing start. The quattro permanent
all-wheel drive system, which operates
with a multi-plate clutch, transfers engine
power to the road in supreme style.
Despite these suitably headline-grabbing
fgures the RS plus models also stack up
in economy terms, the Coupé achieving a
combined economy test fgure of 33.2mpg
and the Roadster 32.8mpg in the same
test, thanks to the extremely lightweight
Audi Space Frame (ASF) bodies. The TT
RS plus Coupé with manual transmission
weighs just 1,450kg. The Coupé with
manual transmission, including quattro
drive, weighs just 1,450kg and its power-
to-weight ratio is 4.0kg per hp. The
power-to-weight ratio of the Roadster is
4.2kg per hp. Under the bonnet a carbon
design package also gives the engine
compartment of the TT RS plus a more
exclusive look, and in its suitably sporting
cabin a TT RS plus logo on the gear knob
serves as a subtle reminder that this
particular RS has even more to offer.
A high-performance brake system
comprising of four-piston fxed calipers,
perforated brake disks are installed on the
2012 audi TT rS plus
front axle. The Audi TT RS plus is ftted
with 19in wheels shod with 255/35 tyres
are are painted black with contrasting
red rim fanges. The wheels are ftted
with tires. The adaptive damping system
known as Audi magnetic ride is available
as an option. A large, fxed rear wing
increases downforce at the back of the
car. The single frame radiator grille also
sets the Audi TT RS plus apart visually:
Its diamond-pattern mesh is in highly
polished anthracite, its trim frame has a
matt aluminum-look fnish. The housings
of the exterior mirrors are made of carbon
fber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). This
variant will go sale in Europe frst followed
by other markets.
69
gets a steroid jab
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C
adillac’s most signifcant luxury car,
the all-new rear-wheel drive luxury
sport compact, the ATS, is ready for its
Middle East debut soon. First unveiled at the
North American International Auto Show in
Detroit, with the ATS, Cadillac aims to take on
a competitive segment currently dominated
by premium German and Japanese brands.
Four trim levels will be offered: base, Luxury,
Performance, and Premium. Options will include
sport seats with power-adjustable bolsters, a
head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane
departure warning, blind-spot detection, a
rearview camera, adaptive headlamps and
collision-sensing brakes. Premium models
come standard with an upgraded Bose audio
system and satellite navigation. Standard
safety features will include anti-lock brakes
(ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution
(EBD), traction control and stability control.
Options will include adaptive cruise control
and a lane departure warning system. Also
noteworthy on the 2013 ATS is the inclusion
of Cadillac’s latest infotainment interface, CUE
(Cadillac User Experience). The system’s 8in
touchscreen display works very much like a
tablet computer, allowing users to swipe,
pinch and zoom to access data and change
functions.
Cadillac is pretty serious about this product
and like other contemporary models in the
line-up, the ATS has been tested and refned
on Germany’s famous Nurburgring racetrack
and in its design and construction, the ATS is
a new expression of Cadillac’s Art & Science
execution philosophy, built on a foundation of
driving dynamics and mass effciency.
71
The 2013 ATS is built on a new Alpha platform and has been
designed not only to be smaller, but more agile and sporty with one
of the lowest curb weights in the segment - less than 1,542 kg.
Modern weight saving hardware has been employed inside out -- an
aluminium bonnet, magnesium engine mount brackets and even and
fbre composite door trim panels are some of the components.
At launch two of the available three direct-injection engines will be
offered: an entry level 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine good for 200hp
and 188 lbs-ft of torque and the top-of-the-line 3.6-litre V6 puts out
318 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Six-speed automatic transmission will
come as standard.
On the handling side Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control sport
suspension [the heart of the FE3 Sport Suspension package in the
CTS] could also be offered. Boasting a near prefect 50:50 weight
distribution and a greater power-to-weight ratio, wide front and rear
tracks - 59.5in (front) and 60in (rear) along with lower center of
gravity, on road performance will also be facilitated by standard 17in
rims with 225/40-series and enhanced with18in rims and 255/35 run-
fat tyres. Models with the FE3 suspension will feature asymmetric
and wider rear 18in rims.
While the frst generation Cadillac CTS was once considered a
commensurate alternative to these luxury sport compacts, its larger
proportions are better suited to compete with midsize luxury cars
such as the BMW 5 Series. With the ATS, Cadillac now offers buyers
a choice that’s more apples-to-apples. And while it’s launching as a
sedan, we expect to see coupe and wagon variants of the Cadillac
ATS in the next couple of years.
CUE also uses haptic feedback, which senses when a user’s fngers
are near, changing menu options accordingly. A variety of functions
can be synched from a mobile device, which virtually eliminates the
temptation to pick up the phone while driving. Also on CUE is a voice
recognition system that’s much improved over previous versions.

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the cadillac ats is aimed squarely at competi-
tors such as the BMw 3 series, audi a4, and
Mercedes-Benz c-class and lexus is.
Daily,Weekly,Monthly rentals.
Get the
best rates!
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pRevIew ew
The Suzuki Splash/Ritz is a city car which
was introduced in model year 2008. In
Europe it was co-developed by Suzuki
Motor Corporation and Germany-based
Adam Opel. It debuted as a concept car
at the 2006 Paris Auto Show and the
production model debuted at the 2007
Frankfurt Auto Show. The Splash is slotted
below the Swift in the European and Indian
market line-up, and uses a shortened
wheelbase version of its chassis. In the
Japanese market line-up, however, it is
slotted between the Swift and another
model called the Solio.
The list of exterior changes includes
new front and rear bumper styling, new
bonnet and grille design, new design seat
fabric and graphite colour scheme, Piano
Black fnish to centre console and Black
cloth fnish to the front door armrests. The
changes in bumper designs have resulted
in an overall increase in length of 60mm,
taking the car to a still very compact
3,775mm length overall.
Sparkling Blue metallic has now also
been added to the colour range as an
option, adding to Galactic Grey, Silky Silver
and Cosmic Black metallic paint fnishes
as well as Superior White and Bright Red
standard solid colours.
On the inside its elevated driving position
means it can comfortably seat fve adults
with plenty of legroom and luggage space,
at the same time providing a great view of
the road. The high seating position makes
for easy entry and exit, while folding
the one-touch rear seats forward – split
60:40 – creates a virtually fat load foor
and opens up 573 litres of luggage space
(VDA), including a handy waterproof
compartment beneath the boot foor.
Two spirited but highly economical
engines are offered: Suzuki’s 68 PS VVT
1.0-litre (Variable Valve Timing) three
cylinder unit and latest Dual VVT (inlet
and exhaust camshaft) 94 PS 1.2-litre
petrol engine that was frst used in the
all-new Swift. Both engines are tuned and
engineered with an emphasis on everyday
driveability and cost-effective motoring
with combined fuel consumptions of
60.1mpg for the 1.0-litre and 55.4mpg for
the 1.2-litre (automatic 49.6mpg).
All models offer a comprehensive
2012 Suzuki Splash
AuTHoR: Chandan B Mallik
equipment list as standard including four
airbags, CD tuner with MP3 player and
steering wheel-mounted audio controls;
leather-trimmed steering wheel; remote
central locking; front electric windows with
driver’s auto-down; electrically adjustable and
heated door mirrors; height-adjustable front
seats; tilt adjustable steering wheel and an
information display.
The Splash/Ritz is quite popular with
consumers in congested urban areas as it
is compact enough to manoeuvre with ease
through narrow streets or to slot into tight
parking spots and yet remain economical to
run.
75
The ultra compact Ritz/Splash is a highly succesful global model for Suzuki
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pRevIew ew
The third m
odel in the BM
W
6 Series line-up, the all-
new
G
ran Coupé is all set to establish a new
benchm
ark
in the top-class prem
ium
segm
ent in term
s of aesthetics,
em
otionality and m
odernity in the M
iddle East
AuTHoR: Chandan B Mallik
77
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pRevIew
claims that the Gran Coupé also makes its mark with exclusive
equipment features and a level of practicality unmatched by the
model’s rivals.
As with all BMW models, the 6 Series Gran Coupe features an
exclusive options list that includes comfort seats and sports seats,
active seats, seat ventilation, exclusive Nappa leather, ceramic
applications, heated rear seats and 4-zone automatic climate control.
A Bang Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System is also part of
optional package.
Under the long bonnet are forced-fed engines -- a 3.0-litre inline-6
turbo engine in the 640i Gran Coupé which produces 320hp from
5,800 to 6,000 rpm and good for a 0-100km/h acceleration fgure of
5.4 seconds and the bigger 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, producing 407hp
and 600Nm of torque in 650i. Common to both the engines is an
8-speed sports automatic transmission.
BMW’s Driving Experience Control is added to the centre-console
to allow the driver to alter accelerator response characteristics,
engine response, power steering characteristics, stability-control
settings, damper characteristics and shift characteristics of the
automatic transmission.
Just as any BMW, the 6-eries also incorporates a whole range of
active and passive safety features. It includes BMW Park Assistant,
Speed Limit Information, camera-based Collision Warning with
braking function in conjunction with Active Cruise Control and the
latest-generation full-colour BMW Head-Up Display that projects
symbols on the windscreen in 3D.
80
pRevIew
Mercedes cLS
Shooting Brake
Within a span of less than a month, two flavours of the production version of the
all-new 2012 CLS Shooting Brake – regular and AMG – have been released
81
82
pRevIew
interior appointments which afford both CLS models a sense of
luxury normally found in the S-Class.
Drive comes from several powertrain options [normally-aspirated
V6 3.5-litre and V8 5.0-litre] and the AMG variant will get the latest
twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 channeling a healthy 525hp and 516
pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels via AMG’s SPEEDSHIFT
seven-speed automatic, which comes with several modes to choose
from including sport (S), manual (M) and controlled effciency (C).
The latter helps save fuel by relying on an engine stop-start system,
smoother transmission mapping and earlier shifts. Automatic rev-
matching and a launch control function are also included, making
even novice drivers look like the pros. Besides this, a higher
output version of this turbocharged powertrain will also be offered.
Meanwhile, the non-AMG models will also get the ECO start/stop
function.
Air suspension is offered standard in the regular CLS Shooting
Brake, while handling is improved over the regular variants, thanks
to the latest version of the AMG Ride Control sports suspension
system. While in the regular model driver effciency is also increased
by the standard electro-mechanical power steering, the AMG version
gets specifcally designed electro-hydraulic steering. Once again,
drivers of the AMG versions will be offered options to choose from
ranging from “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport plus” modes. However,
just in case the transmission and suspension adjustments weren’t
enough, the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake also has three settings for
its electronic stability system. The aerodynamics should also make
a signifcant contribution to the effciency of the Mercedes-Benz CLS
Shooting Brake which has a Cd value of 0.29.
Safety package has been enhanced with an array of more than a
dozen driving assistance systems including Active Blind Spot Assist
and Active Lane Keeping Assist [which are available as part of the
Driving Assistance package Plus], in combination with DISTRONIC
PLUS, BAS PLUS and the PRE-SAFE Braking systems.
39154 PC Oman Boxster Ad-Woman Magazine.indd 1 6/21/12 12:32 PM
84 84 84
Perhaps it’s because I’ve made a career as a car journalist or it could
be because I enjoy driving so much - but every time I take a vacation
in Europe, I usually end up renting a car and driving to various places.
There is this allure about Europe that puts its in a different sphere from
most other destinations. First of all most of Western Europe is rather
manageable as a travel destination. You can take your pick of cities in
France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria and if you are feeling a bit
more adventurous and romantic, perhaps you could squeeze in Spain,
Portugal, Italy and perhaps Greece.
With the Olympics just over the horizon, the United Kingdom wasn’t on
the travel map, with the huge rise in prices of hotel rooms and bed and
breakfasts. And we weren’t feeling goaded enough to do Scandinavia or
venture into Eastern Europe. So we found ourselves at the start of a two
week road trip that saw us wend our way through Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland before getting
back to Frankfurt.
The Euro Zone crisis may be dumping all sorts of mayhem on the
countries of Europe, but till now you won’t notice much of the fallout on
the streets of their cities. Tourism is thriving and the advent of the July-
August holiday season brings with it hordes of tourists from as far afield
as India, China and Japan, and you cannot visit any major attraction
without running into crowds of people speaking a dozen languages.
The pleasure of driving in Europe is compounded by the type of people
you meet - from the staff at the car rental who make the process so quick
and pain free, to complete strangers on the road, who go out of their way
to drive ahead of you to show you the way to a place you want to get to,
to a Turkish couple running a kebab shop who made it one of the best
dinners we had without speaking a word we could understand.
But it is the driving environment that really takes the cake - orderly, fast
and with impeccable road manners in most places. Of course Germany
leads in our opinion because of its autobahns, with most stretches having
no speed limits, clean convenience stops and lovely places to drive to in
the first place. It is really no wonder then that Germany makes cars that
are so much at home on the autobahn, solid, fast and environmentally
conscious.
Perhaps it was sheer luck (for me, the auto journalist) that a lot of
automotive activity coincided with our visit. From the surprise automotive
trade fair in the heart of Nuremberg’s old city, to the coincidental DTM
weekend in Munich as we visited the BMW Museum, to the German
F1 over a rainy weekend at Hockenheim. But the biggest surprise was
the hidden jewel of the Schlumpf collection in Mulhouse, just over the
border with Basel. Despite almost a couple of decades in the business,
I hadn’t heard of it. It is now a French state run museum and contains
one of the most extensive and detailed collections of vintage cars. From
steam-driven cars of the 1890’s to a hall full of Rolls-Royces of the early
1920’s to three examples of the Bugatti Royale along with the largest
Bugatti collection, you cannot get tired of the old beauties. The United
States of America was the home to Henry Ford’s revolutionary moving
production line, the consequent affordability of the car and the concept
of driving for pleasure, but you can see in this museum the genesis of
European motoring. Cars that could hit 200 kmph in the early 1920’s,
sports cars that could hit 300 and stately cars that were fit for kings,
princes and grand dukes as much as for tyre barons like Michelin sit
cheek by jowl with 2CVs and their ilk.
And just down the road from this museum is another one dedicated
to trains. Could any man ask for more to sate the boyhood he never
outgrew?
Driving in the
Euro Zone
{ChiCane}
Raj Warrior is editor of Automan and has been in the thick of the Automotive
journalism field from the past 15 years.
Want to comment or have your say?
Email at raj@alroya.net.
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