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Automan MAY 2014 | 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class | 2014 Aston Martin Vantage S Q-spec |2014 Ford Fusion | Mitsubishi Attrage |2014 Volkswagen XL1 |2014 Peugeot RCZ |Ferrari 458 Speciale

now, the regions Best Automotive Resource

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May 2014 Issue no 153

14

YEARS

2014

t
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C
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ewrites th

Mercedes r

ith all-new

segment w
e premium C

Middle East
Exclusive!

2014 C-class

750
2014 H-D Street

ugeot RCZ
this issue
age | 2014 Pe
tr
At
i
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bi
driven in
su
en XL1
Mit
sion |2014
14 Volkswag
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2014 Ford Fu
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artin Vanta
2014 Aston M

Spot report: 2014 Beijing Auto Show | Feature: Tour of Oman with Project Rushmore

ALL-NEW RANGE ROVER SPORT


The Empty Quarter. 650,000 km of hostile,
unforgiving terrain. Yet on the 3rd November 2013,
with speeds in excess of 200 km/h, one vehicle set
the fastest ever recorded crossing in a blistering
10 hours 22 minutes. The all-new Range Rover Sport,
performance driven to another level.
newrangeroversport.com

Land Rover MENA

in this issue
18

COVERstory |

cover story
18-24 2014 maserato ghilbi
44-49 2014 kia soul
NEXT ISSUE
2014 mercedesbenz c-class

M-B C-Class

Fourth generation brings


it to head of the pack in
the premium C-segment

firstdrive |

36

International news
26-35 2014 Geneva motor show REPORT

26

46

62

New multimillion riyal Ferrari and Maserati service


centre opens in Muscat, , Maserati Ghibli arrives in
Oman in style, Regional launch of Ferrari California
T in Dubai, Third generation MINI hatchback launched
in region, impressive reveal of Porsche Macan SUV in
Oman, Mercedes SUVs put to the test as part of brand
event, Land Rover and Extreme Sailing Series Act II thrill
Oman residents , Volkswagen introduces R variant
in the Golf family, New compacts from Mitsubishi
introduced in Oman, Muscat municipality takes
delivery of Yamaha bikes, New appointments at Nissan,
Harley-Davidson introduces MY14.5 models, Hyundai
announces top Middle East footballer as brand
ambassador for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

IDx development, Porsche to replace defective 911 GT3


engines and delay GT3 RS launch, Porsche confirms
downsizing strategy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in talks
with Suzuki? Bentley releases glimpse of its first SUV,
Peugeot to focus on sportier hatchback variants, Poor
response to SRT Viper, MINI to grow as brand family,
New battery chemistry to double driving range of
electric cars like R8, New Camaro to be built on new
lighter platform, Jeep planning a sub-Renegade model?
Alfa Romeo designer defect to China, Tokuo Fukuichi
admitted to Toyota Board of directors, Iker Casillas
& Ricardo Kak are Hyundais FIFA brand ambassabors,
Top regional executive appointments at Bentley, Gerry
Dorizas joins GM from VW India

Close encounters with a different


kind of supercar

ars,
tion c ng
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Star p cles, stunn
y
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c
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moto s and mor alon
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conce neva Auto
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2014

Oman and regional news


6-13 2014 Shell Super Mileage Challenge held in Oman,

brandwatch
14-17 Nissan chief supports unusual approach with

VW XL1

56

CONTENT METER

also driven
36-39 2014 cadillac XTS Platinum VSport
40-43 2014 chevrolet camaro zl1
50-53 2014 Volkswagen tiguan
exclusive First drive
54-56 2014 datsun GO
previews
58-59 Maserati Alfieri concept
60-62 citroen c1 concept
64-65 Hyundai Intrado concept
66-69 Jeep Renegade concept
70-73mclaren 650s
74-75 volkswagen T ROC ConcepT

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

MOTORSPORTS
76-79 FORMULA ONE, regional HAPPENINGS, uae desert

challenge, WRC

80 Chicane

80

editor-in-chief

2014

Mohammad Al Taie

hatim@alroya.net

EDITOR & GM
Raj Warrior

raj@alroya.net

executive EDITOR
Chandan B Mallik chandan@alroya.net
contributing EDITOR
Anne Kurian
annekurian@alroya.net
HEAD OF Design
Sawsan Al Muharbi sawsan@alroya.info
photography
Elvis John Ferrao
marketing
Sayantani Ghosh sayantani@alroya.net
circulation
books@alroya.net
FINANCE & ADMIN
Sumy Mol

sumy@alroya.net

Website & IT
Mohammed F Draz mohammed.draz@alroya.net
Printer
Ruwi Modern Printers LLC, Muscat
Tel: +968 2479 4167, 2479 8157
Fax: +968 2470 0545
2014
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 management 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

While on the W205, Mercedes looks like it is back to the leadership position
on product that it enjoyed during the nineties. The car is now the complete
package - style, power, handling and an almost uncanny feel of being almost
S-class in feel, just in a smaller size. One would wish that a brand like Aston
Martin had the wherewithal to fund such a renewal of its portfolio, which
faces the challenge of staying relevant as competitors toss out far better,
advanced products.
It is this need to stay relevant to markets around the world that has seen
a venerated old brand like Harley-Davidson produce a new generation of
smaller bikes in the Street sub-brand. Initially being made in India and the
USA, these bikes are supposed to attract a new type of buyer who aspires
to the brand, yet can either not afford or doesnt want the bigger bikes that
the brand makes. We check out the 750 in a Middle East exclusive test in
this issue.
At the other end, we have also driven the amazing Volkswagen XL1 with its
two-pot diesel and electric hybrid drivetrain. Driven either in combo or just
on one of these sources, the drive tells you what a future commuter car will
be all about reaching your destination in the least time, least discomfort
and least fuel consumption. It realy does seem a very long time ago when
cars were all about being excessive. Do you miss those days?
We are sure that the average customer in China doesnt. They want the most
car for their limited money and they definitely would like to drive in some
clean and fresh air.

14

YEARS

Now, Automan is available in bookshops in


the United Arab Emirates too! Get your copy
or let us know which outlets you would like
to see us in

>>

3:20 PM

publisher
Hatim Al Taie

Mercedes has chosen the Beijing show to show their long-wheelbase variant
of the W205 C-class. With the knowledge that most of their buyers are likely
to be chauffeured around, most premium brands have made long-wheelbase
variants of their cars in China for the past decade. How soon, do you think, it
will take to export these cars to other markets?

4/15/14

Editorial office:
Tel: +968 24479888 Extn 300, Fax: +968 24479889
Distribution:
Tel: +968 24490386, Fax: +968 24121045
Subscription:
Tel: +968 24493701, Fax: +968 24121045

Email: automan@alroya.net
Website: www.automan.me

The Beijing motorshow may only come once in two years but it is increasingly
serving to showcase the worlds latest crop of high end vehicles while bringing
out the best of what the worlds largest automotive market can offer. It isnt
surprising that brands from around the world choose to display their latest
China specific wares here. Whats surprising is how many of these will then be
manufactured in China and then exported to other parts of the world.

Automan_230x300mm.pdf

AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING


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Al Harthy Complex
Sultanate of Oman

Oman & region


news

New multibranded
motorcycle retail
outlet opens in
Muscat

A special welcome in Oman


for Ferrari 458 Speciale

lfardan Motors, the


official importer of
Ferrari vehicles in Oman,
introduced the Ferrari
458 Speciale the brand
most powerful and
technologically advanced
naturally aspirated V8

Berlinetta. The car was


launched at the Ferrari
Showroom in Al Azaiba.
The Ferrari 458 Speciale
joins the Ferrari range
alongside the 458 Italia
and 458 Spider and, like all
special-series Ferraris, is
aimed at a specific kind of
owner, in this case those
looking for an even more
focused sports car that
offers extreme driving
6

www.automanweb.com

emotions.
As a result, with the
latest 458 Speciale, the
new addition has yielded
powertrain, aerodynamics
and vehicle dynamics
advances that transform
an already exceptional

458 Italia into a car


genuinely worthy of the
Speciale moniker. The
result is a completely
new, uncompromising,
streamlined sports car
concept. The car unveiled
had an unusual red livery
featuring a blue and white
central stripe inspired by
the historic NART (North
America Racing Team)
colours.

MAY 2014

The 1,290kg 458 Speciale


gets a mid-rear-mounted
4,497cc GDI naturally
aspirated Ferrari 8-cylinder
engine, which punches
out 605bhp at 9,000rpm
and maximum torque of
540Nm at 6,000 rpm. Its
record 135bhp/litre specific
power output is also the
highest ever achieved
by a naturally-aspirated
road-going engine. F1
technology transfer to the
Ferrari 458 Speciale was of
fundamental importance to
its development, including
the production processes.
The car uses F1 inspired
dual-clutch transmission.
Mohamed Kandeel, General
Manager of Alfardan
Motors said: The 458
Speciale is the ultimate
expression of the V8
range from Ferrari and a
natural progression of the
Ferrari product line. The
458 Speciale is the very
essence of what a Ferrari is,
with sleek lines, advanced
aerodynamics and power
that can translates to
outstanding track times
with ease. This is a car
like no other, one that
brings another level of
sophisticated design ethos,
extreme technologies and
ultimate power.

eres some exciting news for


motorcycle and scooter aficionados in
the Sultanate from Al Fardan Motors. No
more relying on grey imports or making
elaborate trips to neighbouring countries
to purchase a KTM/Triumph/Aprillia
motorcycle or Vespa/Piaggio scooter
or SandX off-road vehicles. Thanks to a
brilliant initiative by Al Fardan Motors,
two-wheeler enthusiasts in the Sultanate
can be rest assured of their purchase,
after-sales servicing/parts and warranties.
The new multibranded boutique-styled
outlet located near Honda showroom in
Wattayah.
Mohamed Kandeel,General Manager of
Alfardan Motors said: With the opening
of the Alfardan Motorcycle showroom
here in Muscat, the choice of models
available for two-wheeler riders has grown
exponentially. Each of these six brands
truly epitomize all the characteristics that
make motorcycles special and unique, and
the opening of our showroom offers riders
and enthusiasts the broadest spectrum
of choice for premium high-performance
motorcycles, ATVs and scooters in the
Oman market.
As a one-stop lifestyle and upmarket retail
outlet, in addition to the range of twowheelers, the facility also has a dedicated
corner for branded motorcycle apparel
and accessories. For after-sales services,
there will be no waiting as the service and
parts centre for the two-wheeler is located
next to the recently opened multi-million
riyal Ferrari and Maserati Service Centre in
Ghala is already operational.

Sayarti inks deal


with Magneti
Marelli

Refreshed 2014 Audi A8/S8


introduced in the Sultanate

Audis top-of-the-line sedan, the A8 L and its


sporty sibling, the S8 were jointly unveiled at
the Bait Al Zubair museum last month. Among
the key highlights is the engine line-up, which
has once again become more powerful and
efficient while the new assistance systems
and the innovative Matrix LED headlights
make driving more composed than ever.
Ahmed Shariefi, General Manager of
Wattayah Motors said: The new Audi A8
is a complete technological package over
delivers on the basics, boasts features and
innovative technologies never seen in its class
before. The new A8 also offers outstanding
drive, enhanced handling, acceleration
and thoughtful technology solutions not
currently found in the segment. For the
previous model year, Audi replaced the A8
Ls naturally aspirated V8 with a pair of new
motors - a supercharged V6 and an absurdly
powerful twin-turbocharged V8.
The A8 L is available with a no less than
three engine options. Entry level models get
a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that produces
333hp and 328 lb-ft of torque. The mid-level
engine is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8,
which is good for 420hp and 406 lb-ft of
torque. The top end gets a 6.2-litre W12 that
churns out 500hp and 463 lb-ft of torque. All
engines pair with a smooth-shifting eightspeed automatic gearbox and Audis quattro
all-wheel-drive system.
The A8 L is fitted as standard with a full
air suspension and handling dynamics can
be further tightened up with the optional
Sport Plus Package, which brings adaptive
dampers, dynamic steering a rear sport
differential that sends torque to the outside
rear wheel in turns to quell understeer.
An Audi Drive Select System offers drivers
the choice of several different suspension,
steering,
transmission
and
engine
calibrations.

www.automanweb.com

april 2014

Post warranty car maintenance is a


worrying factor in the Sultanate as
owners are virtually at the mercy of
service providers. Sayarti has tied up
with one of the worlds top suppliers of
automotive components, service parts,
Magneti Marelli for distribution and retail
in Oman. Magneti Marellis portfolio
consists of over 50,000 parts for all brands
of cars European, Japanese, Korean
and American. Magneti Marelli is part of
Chrysler Group and its distribution setup is looked after by Mopar since 2008.
In Oman, Sayarti will promote these
parts supplies through its 200+ strong
retail network and also use them at its
own service workshops. Oman is the
first country in the Middle East to launch
Magneti Marelli as a brand which was
founded in Italy in 1919. As of now Magneti
Marelli is being represented in 19 countries
and the set-up also supplies OEM parts
for most of the major car manufacturers
in Europe, North and South America and
Asia. There are 86 manufacturing set-ups
worldwide that produce Magneti Marelli
products.
The Magneti Marelli product range
will cover everything from automotive
lighting, electronics systems, exhaust
systems, after-market vehicle parts,
lubricants, batteries, and collision
replacement parts among others.
Arun Kumar, General Manager of Sayarti
said: When we were establishing Sayarti
for the first time our concept was quite
simple to offer a one-stop-shop for all a
customers car care needs whilst offering
top quality service, the very best products,
affordable prices and convenient
locations. Magneti Marelli is a brand that
shares very similar ideals, and it is these
ideals that will ensure that this remains a
long and fruitful partnership.

Rolls-Royce Wraith
drive in Oman

he newest member of the Rolls-Royce


family, the 2+2 Wraith got itself familiar
with the Sultanates picturesque roads and
landscape as part of the brands regional
office and Omans official retailer Al Jenaibi
Automobiles joint initiative last month.
Resurrecting a venerable nameplate last used
in 1938, the Wraith coupe seeks to combine
the traditional Rolls-Royce virtues of elegance,
refinement and fine craftsmanship with a
sporting spirit heretofore unseen in the brands
opulent but laid-back offerings. Along with
a supremely comfortable cabin, the Wraith
packs the most powerful motor ever fitted to
a Rolls-Royce which is a 624hp twin-turbo V12.

Mechanically, it is a close relative of the Ghost


sedan, the Wraith sets itself apart from its
more formal four-door sibling with a sweeping
fastback roofline and elongated C-pillars that
provide an athletic counterpoint to RollsRoyces stately, upright radiator grille. Among
cutting edge technologies introduced in this
car includes the application of ground-breaking
technologies like Satellite Aided Transmission
(SAT), specially-tuned air suspension with
adaptive dampers. A nearly infinite amount
of options are available, and the car can be
further personalized with unique paint colors
and interior furnishings through Rolls Bespoke
Commission programme.

Infiniti goes in to
overdrive with
new Q50

Encapsulating Infinitis vision of future premium sport


sedans, Infiniti Q50 sedan has been officially launched
across the Middle East including the Sultanate of
Oman. The launch in the Sultanate was marked
by the presence of Infiniti officials along with the
importers chairman Sh Ahmed Suhail Bahwan.
The Q50 marks a new era for the brands model
range and it brings distinctive design, several world
first technologies, engaging performance and a
new standard of in-car connectivity. Offering new
levels of driving personalisation, Infiniti Q50 is for
the new generation of young-minded, premium
customers seeking Infinitis unique fusion of inspired
performance and hospitality.
With the Infiniti Q50 range, Infiniti introduces the
brands first hybrid powertrain to the Middle East
alongside the 326hp 3.7-litre V6 engine variants. The
hybrid variant uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with
Infinitis Direct Response Hybrid System [similar
to integrated motor assist] delivering net 350hp
and 536Nm of combined torque with Intelligent
Dual Clutch Control, making it capable of reaching
100km/h from a standing start in 5.1secs.
Juergen Schmitz, General Manager, Infiniti in the
Middle East, said: Infiniti Q50s muscular, athletic
appearance brings a blend of dynamic exterior
styling and Infinitis signature double wave interior
to create design which creates an emotional
engagement. Infiniti Q50s looks alone make it
standout in its class.
Automan also attended the regional first drive event
for the Q50 in Dubai last month. The first drive
impressions will be presented in our June 2014 issue.

have in Common?
april 2014

www.automanweb.com

Ford Mustang 50th


anniversary celebrated in
Dubai

n April 17, Fords iconic Mustang turned


50, and it joined the exclusive club
of vehicles that have been in continuous
production for 50 years. Around the
world fans of Ford Mustang roamed far
and wide to celebrate 50th anniversary of
their favourite and the Middle East is also
no exception to this adage. On April 19,
Dubai acted as the focal point for Mustang
aficionados from all over the region who
overwhelmingly poured in numbers to be
part of a 300-car grand parade last month.
The customer-cum-media event took place
from Meydan Hotel in Nad Al Sheba with a
drive to Palm Atlantis and loop back through
Al KhailRoad and Sheikh Zayed Road. The
morning started early in a carnival-like
atmosphere where participants lined up
their Mustangs for inspection at the hotels
car park. A competition was also organized
for the best restored and best customised
Mustangs. The oldest Mustang spotted
was from around circa 1965 while the
modded /tuner versions included several
Boss editions, Shelby and Roush tuner
creations. The parade was kicked off with
Dubai Police escort and the lead car being a
Mustang Roush in Dubai Police livery.
Despite the heat and humidity during
the afternoon, there was no let down in
enthusiasm amongst participants, even
the few from Oman and elsewhere. In pure
carnival spirit, the organizers also arranged

open air entertainment with a local band,


food stands and RC entertainment at
the venue. It may be recalled that when
the Mustang was first produced in 1964,
it was in a time when the wealth of the
baby boomers was increasing, optimism
was growing and the image captured the
imagination of the generation.
Ford Mustang is undeniably an iconic muscle
car that has its own unique following, said
Ford Middle East & North Africa director
Kalyana Sivagnanam. Meanwhile, in the US,
Ford presented a special limited to 1,964-unit
production 50th anniversary edition, which
is based on the all-new 2015 Mustang GT
fastback with performance pack. In Middle
East, it was the tie-up with Red Bull events
that made the headlines. Ford Middle East
has teamed up with Red Bull in 20 co-shared
events including a pro-drifting programme.
A specially prepared drift Mustang was
presented along with its driver.
Throughout its history, the Mustang has
often been featured in TV shows, music
videos and movies, its most famous outing
being in the James Bond film Goldfinger, as
well as appearances in Charlies Angels and
the music video for Crazy. This connection
to pop culture has helped to establish
the cars huge fan base, not only in North
America but also in several markets
worldwide.

Regional launch of
Porsche Macan in
Dubai

Bentley adds
new variant in
Continental GT
line-up for ME

More drama and excitement


along with sharper sporting edge
is what is going to be the USP of
the new GT V8 S models which
now come with lowered and retuned sports suspension, sharper
steering, dramatic S signature

ollowing its global debut, Porsches fifth


new model, the Macan SUV has now arrived
in Middle East. Porsche Middle East and Africa
HQ organized an elaborate day and a half
programme to facilitate journalists, dealer
reps to get acquainted with the new arrivals
in and around Ras Al Khaimah. The new Audi
Q5-based Macan will be offered in two flavours
Macan and Macan S. As expected both have
been extensively engineered to exhibit true
Porsche sports car qualities like outstanding onroad handling and performance besides its light
off-road capabilities. The styling of the Macan
has deliberately been kept somewhat different
to that of the bigger Cayenne with styling cues
from the 918 Spyder and 911.
Two turbocharged V6 engines displacing
3.00-litre and 3.6-litre are being offered along
with 7-speed double-clutch [PDK] automatic
transmission with Tiptronic. Air-suspension is
standard and Porsche now offers electronic
vectoring control which senses wheel spin
and controls torque with maximum grip. For a
premium offering in the segment, pricing has
been kept exceptionally attractive from AED
2,58,000 3,20,000 (Macan S), AED 3,48,9004,20,000 (Macan Turbo) and AED 2,48,000
3,00,000 (Macan S Diesel). Bespoke options/
services will also be available now, thanks to
the appointment of an expert from Germany.
The Macan is built in Germany and Porsche
aims to sell 50,000 units or more in year one
of its production. Automan also attended the
regional first drive event for the Macan in Dubai
last month. The first drive impressions will be
presented in our June 2014 issue.

styling cues and a distinctive


soundtrack from the uprated V8
engine. The new GT V8 S models
feature a more powerful version
of Bentleys high-efficiency 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine developing 521bhp at 6,000 rpm and
peak torque of 680Nm available
as low from 1,700rpm. The CGT V8
S is available in both a coupe and
convertible bodystyles. Automan
attended the first drive event and
will present a full review of these
cars next month.

have in Common?
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ive resource
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14

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2014

now GoES rEGional

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april 2014

MAY 2014

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11

Second generation
Hyundai Genesis
launched in UAE

Hyundai Motors seems have plotted the


career of the second generation Genesis
in such a way that it moves into a territory
that some of its key rivals have virtually
abandoned due to lack of products. The
new Genesis comes with new styling a
sensible evolution of the brands Fluidic
Sculpture theme and puts it right
into the premium entry luxury segment
with an enhanced feature pack. Despite
moving the model up, Hyundai still has
no plans to create a befitting sub brand
and continues to promote its cars as
value proposals.
The new Genesis is incredibly wellequipped in every configuration,
offering even more content than the
first-generation Genesis. This additional
content includes a generous suite
of standard safety and convenience
features, unsurpassed in its class.
The heart of the Genesis 5.0 is the
award-winning 5.0-litre Tau V8 engine
producing 420hp at 6,000rpm and 383
lb. ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm. The Tau V8
engine family has been named to Wards
prestigious Ten Best Engines list three
times. In keeping with its V8 sibling,
the 3.8-litre V6 Lambda engine utilizes
direct-injection and produces 311hp at
6,000 rpm and 293 lb.-ft. of torque at
5,000 rpm.
Both engine variants use eight-speed
automatic transmission which now offers
enhanced shift logic and speed, better
acceleration, sport-mode mapping,
shifting smoothness, and transmission
efficiency. All eight-speed transmissions
include SHIFTRONIC manual shift
capability with ergonomically-placed
paddle shifters for spirited driving with
manual shifting. Automan also attended
the regional first drive event for the
Genesis in Dubai last month and the first
drive impressions will be presented in
our June 2014 issue.

Snippets

IHE holds 10th Annual Product


Show
International Heavy Equipment (IHE)
LLC, part of the Zubair Automotive
Group, recently hosted its tenth
annual IHE Product Show at the Zubair
Recreation Club in Seeb. This years
show witnessed an impressive display
of heavy construction machinery,
trucks and numerous products from
IHEs extensive brand portfolio
in conjunction with the principal
representatives from each brand.

Infiniti posts impressive sales


in region
Infiniti has announced sales increased
12

www.automanweb.com

MAY 2014

to 5,892 units across the Middle East


in Financial Year 2013 (April 2013 to
March 2014) - a rise of 19per cent
compared to the same period for 2012.
Significant increases were seen across
the GCC making Infiniti one of the
fastest growing premium automotive
brands in that market. Meanwhile, Al
Ghassan Motors in KSA are the latest
dealer additions to the growing Infiniti
retail network in the region.
Online gamer to racer
qualifiers open
Nissan and Sony Computer
Entertainment have announced that
online qualifying for the 2014 Nissan

PlayStation GT Academy is now


open in the Middle East. In addition,
10 live qualification events for the
gamer-to-real-racer competition will
be held across seven countries in the
region between the April 25 -- May 31.
Following the live qualification rounds,
the 14 aspiring race drivers with the
fastest times will be selected for the
regional finals to be held in Dubai,
UAE, alongside 14 qualifiers from the
online competition.
Chevrolet doing well in Oman
Seventy per cent of Chevrolet models
available in the Middle East are all-new
or have been recently refreshed. And

this has helped 36 per cent increase


in Chevrolet passenger car sales in
Oman for Q1. Oman was one of the
strongest regional markets that
posted the highest overall growth
for Q1 when compared to Q1 last
year. Maurice Williams, President and
Managing Director of General Motors
Middle East said: Im delighted to
see such positive growth. Its fantastic
that so many customers in Oman are
experiencing not only the extensive
features that our vehicles offer, but
also the Chevrolet Care servicing
program and low cost of ownership
that comes with having a Chevy.

Middle East debut


of all-new 2014 Jeep
Cherokee in Dubai

The new generation of the Jeeps mid-size SUV,


the Cherokee is a key model for the success of
the Jeep in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle
East and Africa). The incoming new model
comes in with a lot of promises in its bid to
redefine the segment. It has been designed
to deliver proper 4x4 capability and comes
with a segment-first nine-speed automatic
transmission, fuel economy improvements of
more than 45 per cent (versus the outgoing
model), superior on-road ride and handling, a
cutting-edge, revolutionary design, world-class
craftsmanship, class-exclusive technology and
more than 70 advanced safety and security
features.
For the Middle East, it will be available in Sport,
Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk trim levels,
powered by the new 3.2-litre V6 Pentastar and
the 2.4-litre MultiAir Tigershark engines, both
of which are paired to the all-new nine-speed
automatic transmission, used for the first time
in the mid-size SUV segment.
The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be the
benchmark for mid-size SUVs with a new level
of on-road driving dynamics and fuel economy,
while at the same time improving the 4x4
capability that customers expect from Jeep,
said Jack Rodencal, Managing Director of Fiat
Chrysler Middle East.

Jaguar proves its mettle at Yas Marina


Within weeks of its global ride and drive
programme in Europe of the all-new F-Type
coupe, the second family body styled
variant, Jaguar Middle East was quick to
organize driving experience of Jaguar cars
at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The daylong event consisted of hot laps in the F-Type
convertible [both V6 and V8 variants] and
XKR. Among technology sessions, there
was demonstration of safety electronics
like stability control [ESP] in various road
conditions including zero traction. The sign
off was friendly autocross competition for
participants. The hard top all-new F-Type
coupe was also previewed [not driven] at
the venue. [Eds note: see detailed preview
of F-Type coupe elsewhere in magazine].
And heres a quick recap of the F-Type

convertible which represents a return


to the companys heart. In profile it is a
two-seat, convertible sports car focused
on performance, agility and driver
involvement. The F-Type is a continuation
of a sporting bloodline that stretches back
more than 75 years and encompasses some
of the most beautiful, thrilling and desirable
sports cars ever built which provides Jaguar
with a broader line of sports and GT models.
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type combines
low vehicle weight, high and superb
aerodynamics to achieve a pure sports
car experience, yet with Jaguar elegance
and luxury. A true two-seat sports car,
the all-new Jaguar F-Type is equipped
with a modern, lightweight soft top that,
when lowered, serves as its own tonneau

cover. This not only provides a weight


savings, but also improves packaging
and contributes to the cars low centre of
gravity for greater agility. The top can be
fully raised or lowered in just 12 seconds
at speeds of up to 48km/h. Its multi-layer
construction includes a Thinsulate lining
for optimal thermal and sound-insulating
properties. The F-Type showcases the new
supercharged Jaguar engines, a 3-litre
supercharged V6 in 340hp and 380hp
states of tune and the 5-litre supercharged
V8 in the V8 S with 495hp and 460 ft-lbs
of torque. All variants are equipped with
the new Intelligent Stop/Start system
to enhance fuel economy under certain
driving conditions.

MAY 2014

www.automanweb.com

13

has not been locked down yet because the car


will modified and adapted to accommodate
India-specific features. On the design front it is
expected to wear a model-specific appearance
that will fall in line with the rest of the Tata SUV
line-up.
Interestingly, power will come from a Tatasourced 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine
that will be mounted longitudinally in the engine
bay. The setup is creating a major challenge for
Tata engineers because the LR2 is designed to be
equipped with a transversally-mounted engine.
Power will be sent to all four wheels via either
a manual or an automatic transmission, and the
SUV will reportedly retain the LR2s off-road
prowess. The Indian edition of the Land Roverbased Tata SUV will go on sale in 2016 at the
earliest.

Since 2008, Porsche has been offering hints about the


possibility of downsized engines
for the next-gen Boxster and Cayman. And three years
later, a senior Porsche executive confirmed that a fourcylinder engine with a horizontally-opposed boxer
design was in the works. Now, Porsche CEO Matthias
Mueller has not only confirmed the above but has also
gone a step ahead by revealing some specifics on the
new engine.
We will continue with the downsizing strategy and develop a new four-cylinder boxer engine which will see
service in the next-generation Boxster and Cayman,
Mueller said. We will not separate ourselves from efforts to reduce CO2. When asked how much power
Porsches flat-four would produce, Mueller said up to
400hp. The most powerful versions of the current Boxster and Cayman are the recently revealed GTS models,
which produce 330 and 340hp respectively.

This is a story we have been anticipating from


the time we knew that Tata Motors were buying
Jaguar Land Rover from Ford. We have gone
on record in the pages of AUTOMAN years ago
about how we saw the reason behind the move
extending to using outgoing platforms in India.
You have only to realise that Tata Motors had
spent close to half a billion dollars on their Indica
car platform and production setup. Seen against
this, buying JLR was cheap.
What surprised us all along was Ratan Tatas
insistence on keeping the Tatas at arms length
from their UK operations. In hindsight this
proved to be astute as the brands thrived and
are at the forefront of the luxury and premium
markets, backed by some astounding products.
However, back to Tata using the older platforms.

Seen from an Indian perspective the LR2 and the


series II Discovery are still way ahead of anything
that local brands can offer. And it makes sense
for JLR to monetise the older platforms and
their tooling in the process of allowing Tata
Motors to spin out new bonus models at way
lower investment than they did on the Indica.
Additionally, JLR are increasingly moving
towards aluminium body structures, adding a
further point towards moving steel structures to
lower cost production areas.
Now that we have this inside information, we
can safely assume that its only a matter of time
before the series II Disco becomes the next
Safari and the old S-type also makes landfall.
Thankfully the X will not move to India. It is after
all a Ford platform.

Breaking
news

Peugeot to return to US, if

14

The last car Peugeot officially sold in the US was the 405 in 1991 after a 33-year run. PSA chief Carlos
Tavares is keen to rekindle the French lion brand for this market, but on a cautious note says return to
the US market was possible only if four conditions were met. These include:
Establishing a distinctive three-brand portfolio consisting of Citron, Peugeot and DS
Reducing the number of model lines from the current 45 to 26
Returning the company to profitability in 2016
Modernizing the automakers manufacturing facilities to boost efficiencies
At present, Tavares forecasts these goals being reached around 2017-2018.

www.automanweb.com

MAY 2014

brandwatch

The current Land Rover LR2 which was launched


in 2007 has served well in global markets till
now. However, as it is at the end of its life cycle,
it will be replaced by an all-new global model
soon. An interesting development is taking place
regarding the outgoing model in India and some
selected markets where it will carry on wearing
a Tata badge. As of now, for the India market,
Tata Motors assembles LR2s from knock-down
kits and its plan to entirely manufacture an
entry-level premium SUV for the Indian market
using Land Rovers technology has gained
significant momentum. The project will use the
original tooling from Land Rovers factory in
England, which will be shipped to India once UK
production of the LR2 ceases.
Meanwhile, sources close to Tata Motors say
that the monocoque chassis SUVs final design

Porsche to offer
four-cylinder
engines in next gen
Boxster/Cayman

Alliances
important for PSA
turnaround

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, which has been hit hard by the


European market slump, has reported cumulative net
losses of more than $10.4bn in the past 2 1/2 years.
CEO Carlos Tavares has an ambitious turnaround plan
which calls for PSA to reach an operating margin of
two per cent on sales by 2018 from a three per cent
loss last year.
As part of this Back in the Race strategy by Tavares,
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen will keep its industrial partnerships with General Motors, Toyota and Fiat.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Chinas Dongfeng Motor
as a 14per cent stakeholder in PSA will not affect the
automakers other alliances, according to Tavares.
Cooperation with GM, Toyota and Fiat to jointly build
about 1.25mn vehicles a year basis will enable PSA to
save about 100mn euros a year.
PSA confirmed that its alliance on diesels with Ford
will continue. The two companies are developing new
engines that will meet Euro 7 emission rules. PSA and
GMs Opel brand will build minivans at each others
factories in France and Spain, although the companies
ended plans to build subcompact cars together.

news

Tata Motors preparing premium entry


level SUV for India based on LR2

Electric cars to roar [literally]


by 2019

European Union lawmakers want carmakers to reduce engine noise from petrol- and diesel-powered cars by
25 per cent by 2019 and during the same period it wants the near silent all-electric cars to mimic the sound of
a comparable conventionally engined car at speeds of up to 20km/h. The EU has passed laws that will require
car-makers to fit new generations of electric vehicles with speakers to mimic the sound of a comparable conventionally engined car. The union recently voted in favour of passing the law designed to protect hearingimpaired pedestrians who may not hear one of the near-silent electric vehicles creeping up behind them.

A previous directive from the EU had called for a voluntary system that relied on car-makers assessing whether the battery or fuel cell-powered vehicle required an artificial noise to make it safe around
pedestrians.

Three-cylinder
bug bites
Mercedes-Benz
too!

Citron announces
aggressive game
plan
Considering that the next generation of the Boxster
and Cayman sports cars arent due until the end of the
decade, it may be some time before we see Porsches
new four-cylinder boxer put into use. However, there
could be a possibility of the engines being introduced
in the current cars, which will hit their mid-life cycle upgrades in two years.

Toyotas new
Atkinson Cycle engine
is super efficient
Toyota Motor Corporation has announced the development of two hyper-fuel-efficient small-displacement
petrol Atkinson cycle engines. The portfolio includes a
three-cylinder 1.0-litre and four-cylinder 1.3-litre which
will be introduced across the range from next year in
14 different variations. The fuel-efficiency of the onelitre engine in particular is remarkable. This new engine
it will replace won the 1.0-litre category of the International Engine of the Year awards four years in a row
from 2007-2010.

PSA Peugeot Citron has announced several measures that it will take as part of the carmakers mid
to long term business strategy aimed at returning
to efficiency and profitability. By 2020, Citroen will
have reduced its existing line-up of 45 models to 26
models as part of platform optimization which will
significantly help in reducing costs related to product
development, production and marketing.
Besides optimizing the platforms, a third premium
brand will also be created. PSA chief Carlos Tavares
while announcing the above also said that existing DS
line-up would be promoted to a full-fledged premium brand sitting alongside Peugeot and Citron.
The three brand line-ups will complement each other
as a result.

Daimler has a partnership with


Renault and a new generation
of three- and four-cylinder
engines are said to be under codevelopment. It will take at least
two years of work before these
engines hit the market.

Reports from Europe are suggesting that MercedesBenz is actively considering three-cylinder engines
for compact cars with hybrid modules. Mercedes
engineers are said to have examined three-cylinder
engines in detail and agrees that they are preferable

in cars with transverse-mounted configurations. In


packaging a hybridized engine in the front end, the
four-cylinder engine has its limitations, said Daimler
powertrain head Bernhard Heil.

All these critical decisions are part of a back in the race roadmap that will also include expansion
programme in China. PSA wants to triple production by 2020 with help from joint-venture partner
Dongfeng as well as enlarge the DS family. Moreover, PSA will boost the modernization process of its
factories to cut costs.

MAY 2014

www.automanweb.com

15

Golf is 40

Volkswagen is celebrating the 40th birthday of the most successful European car of all time: the Golf. More than 30 million vehicles of the best-seller have been
sold and from the first to the seventh generation, the Golf has been a pioneer of technological progress.

1964

First child seat prototype


Inspired by how astronauts travel rearwards,
Bertil Aldman, medical doctor and subsequently
professor in traffic safety at Chalmers University
of Technology, developed the very first child
seat prototype. Volvo was closely involved in
the development and testing was carried out in
a PV544.

1967

Reversible front passenger seat with special


child backrest
The first child seat to be sold to customers was
created by turning the front passenger seat
around. Adding a padded backrest with straps
made sure that the rearward-facing child was kept
in place. The solution was sold as an accessory for
the recently introduced Volvo Amazon.

1972

Whether turbocharged engine, direct-injection engine, electric or plug-in hybrid drive system; whether ABS, ESC, XDS or 4MOTION; whether Adaptive Cruise
Control, City Emergency Braking, trailer stabilisation or Automatic Post-Collision Braking System; whether automatic air conditioning, Dynaudio sound system,
touchscreen with proximity sensor or LED headlights; whether GTI, GTD or GTE it was always the Golf through which the most important technologies and
trends of our time were democratised.

Golf Mk I: The first series production Golf


rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg
on 29 March 1974. Where for decades the
Beetle and thus rear-mounted engines and
rear-wheel drive had dominated the scene,
a new era had now dawned: that of the
transversely mounted front engine and
front-wheel drive.
As the successor to the legendary Beetle, of
which over 21.5 million units were built, the
Golf Mk I, designed by Giorgio Giugiaro and
Volkswagen Design, had to live up to the
immense expectations that it would carry
on the success story of what until then was
the worlds most successful car. It worked:
the modern and reliable drive concept, the
excellent spatial economy and ultimately
the design as well, won over the market to
such an extent that by October 1976 the
one-millionth Golf had been produced.
In launching the first Golf GTI (in 1976),
Volkswagen heralded the introduction of
greater dynamism in this class, while the
Golf D (naturally aspirated diesel engine,
1976) and the later Golf GTD (turbodiesel,
1982) marked the breakthrough for diesel
cars in the compact segment. With the Golf
Cabriolet, introduced in 1979, Volkswagen
launched an open-top car that was at times
the best-selling cabrio in the world.
Golf Mk II: As of August 1983, passengers
no longer sat quite so close to each other,
as use of space have been improved
once more. It was then on the Golf that
the regulated catalytic converter was
introduced (1984), anti-lock braking system
(ABS, 1986) and power-steering to the
lower medium class. In 1986, syncro was
16

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MAY 2014

introduced, opening up the option of allwheel drive in the Golf class.


Golf Mk III: With the launch of the third
generation Golf in August 1991, Volkswagen
heralded a new era of safety. This Golf was
the first of the series to have front airbags,
starting in 1992, while major advances in the
area of car body construction also resulted
in significantly improved crash safety. In
addition, numerous other technological
milestones of the model range are linked
to the third Golf. Many new features
made their debut in this new Golf: the first
six cylinder engine (VR6), cruise control,
oxidation catalytic converter for diesel
engines (1991) and the first direct injection
diesel engines (TDI in 1993). Likewise,
ABS became a standard feature on all Golf
models in 1996. In 1993, Volkswagen had
also introduced a new convertible based
on the Golf Mk III, a new all-wheel drive
model (syncro II) and the first Golf Variant
(an estate).
Golf Mk IV: Under the direction of
Hartmut Warku, then Head of Design
at Volkswagen (Group), the Golf Mk IV
crystallised the clear, precise design that
lived up to the history of the Volkswagen
brand more than ever before while
setting its course to the future. With the
debut of ESC (in 1998), the car continued
to democratise safety. Also in 1998,
Volkswagen unveiled the first all-wheeldrive Golf with a Haldex clutch the Golf
4MOTION. One year later, ESC became a
standard feature, initially in Germany.
The first direct-injection engine (FSI) and

the debut of the standard head airbag


(window airbags) followed in 2002. Also
in 2002, Volkswagen launched the R32,
with a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
It was this top model of the range that
in 2003 was the first to debut with the
revolutionary dual-clutch gearbox (DSG).
Golf Mk V: This was the Golf that boasted
levels of comfort and dynamic performance
that left many competitors way behind in
2003. The same went for the cars security
features. One factor that underlines the
stability of the laser-welded bodywork
was the 35 per cent increase in torsional
rigidity demonstrated when the Golf Mk
V made its debut in 2003. On request, the
Golf was now also available for the first
time with side airbags together with the
six standard airbags (front, side front and
window) there were thus eight protective
air buffers on board. In comfort as well
as dynamic performance, the Golf Mk V
scored in numerous areas, including: its
new four-link rear suspension, seven-speed
DSG, bi-xenon headlights, panoramic sliding
sunroof, plus the worlds first twincharger
(in the 2006 TSI), combining turbo- and
supercharger. In 2006, the Golf Plus made
its debut; in 2007, the CrossGolf, a new
Estate and the extremely fuel-efficient Golf
BlueMotion (4.5 l/100 km or 62.8 mpg).
Golf Mk VI: In just four years, a further
2.85 million Golf cars had been produced
by the end of July 2012, based on the
sixth generation of the car launched in
2008. And once again safety made great
advances too: the car body was so rugged

that it passed the EuroNCAP crash test with


flying colours, gaining the maximum five
stars. Meanwhile, more TSI engines and a
transition among the turbodiesel engines
(TDI) from unit injection to the common
rail system resulted in greater dynamic
performance and lower fuel consumption.
A top performer here was the second
Golf BlueMotion with a combined fuel
consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km (74.3
mpg), equivalent to 99 g/km of CO2. New
assistance systems, such as Light Assist
automatic main beam management and
Park Assist, made the sixth generation the
most advanced Golf to date.
Golf Mk VII: On 4 September 2012,
Volkswagen celebrated the world premiere
of the seventh generation Golf. The weight
of the new Golf was reduced by up to
100 kg, thereby reversing the often cited
upward weight spiral. Fuel economy was
hence also improved by up to 23 per cent.
The new Golf TDI BlueMotion consumes
only 3.2 l/100 km (88.3 mpg) (equivalent
to 85 g/km of CO2) under standard NEDC
conditions. In addition, Volkswagen has
equipped the Golf with an entire armada
of new assistance systems some as
options and others as standard. In 2014,
Volkswagen electrifies the compact class
with the Golf: the all-electric e-Golf with a
range of around 190 kilometres is already
available to buy. In addition, the new Golf
GTE will be launched in autumn. Its plug-in
hybrid drive system achieves a standard
fuel consumption of 1.5 l/100 km; in allelectric mode, the Golf GTE can be driven
for 50km.

Important
milestones in
Volvo Cars child
safety history:

Volvos first rear-facing child seat


Rearward-facing child seats are designed to
support the neck and help spread the force of a
frontal impact over a larger area. Frontal impacts
are the most frequent and usually the most
severe impact situation.

1976

The booster cushion a world first from Volvo


Children from 3 or 4 years and up travel facing
forward using the standard safety belt with a beltpositioning booster cushion. Volvo Cars policy is
that children should use a booster cushion until
they are 140 centimeters tall and 10 years old.
When using a booster cushion, the child runs
about a 75 percent lower risk of being injured
compared to being unrestrained.

1990

Worlds first integrated booster cushion


The first integrated booster cushion was an
ingenious fold down and out version in the
rear center position in the Volvo 960. Double
integrated pop-up booster cushions in the outer
rear seats were introduced in the Volvo S40 in
1995.

1999

Worlds first rear-facing seat for ISOFIX


The world-first solution for the standardized,
car-integrated ISOFIX fittings was actually two
rearward-facing seats in one. Both seats one for
infants and one for toddlers up to four years of
age could be fitted in the same ISOFIX frame.

2007

Worlds first two-stage integrated booster


cushion
Two-stage integrated booster cushions were
introduced in the Volvo V70 estate. The two-stage
version, with two sitting heights, enables a better
belt fit regardless of the childs size. Child adapted
safety belt load limiters were also fitted.

2014

Inflatable Child Seat Concept


The innovation, which is still in the development
stage, is easy to install and can be tucked away in
a small bag when not in use. This means that the
child seat can be easily transferred between cars
and the bag even fits in carry-on luggage when
flying or travelling.

Volvo looks at safer child seats

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Volvo


Car Groups (Volvo Cars) dedication to
protecting the smallest and most vulnerable
car occupants. The China-owned Swedish

carmaker has designed a lightweight and


inflatable rear-facing child seat concept
using groundbreaking technology. The seat
concept presents new opportunities, for
example grandparents and friends who take
care of your kids and need an ultra-mobile
child seat. It is also very convenient when
travelling by taxi, rental car or bus, situations
where you historically had to rely on the
safety measures available.
The seat has an innovative pump system that
is silent and efficient in its construction which
helps the seat inflates in less than 40 seconds
and deflates with an integrated pump. The
total weight of the seat less than 11 pounds,
half the weight of a contemporary seat, and
it is constantly online via Bluetooth, enabling
a wide range of features, including remote
controlled inflation. It fits into a weekend
bag together with other necessities. The
Inflatable Child Seat Concept faces the rear
of the car, as it is the safest way for children
to travel.

Costly ignition switch recall


debacle for GM
A delayed recall of 2.6mn GM vehicles following reports of at least 13 deaths and 31 front-end
crashes linked by faulty ignition switches is turning out to be a nightmare for 52-year-old Mary
Barra, who has been CEO less than three months. Barra is reported to have been grilled by
more than 20 members of the
House Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigation. The top executive
tried to explain the situation
by focusing on the new GM
rather than the pre-bankrupt
company that approved the
defective ignition switches
knowing they didnt meet the
companys own specifications.
While this is happening and GM
trying to fix the problems in the
cars involved in the recall, the
PR fiasco has seen replacement of both the senior vice president of global human resources
and the senior vice president of global communications and public policy. Prior to this, two
engineers have also been suspended.
The 2.6mn vehicles affected by the ignition switch recall in the US include 2003-2007 Saturn
Ions, 2007-2010 Saturn Skys, 2005-2011 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstices, and
2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models. Vehicles with the faulty ignition switches can
cause the key to move out of the run position to the accessory or off positions, leading
to a loss of power. If the key turns to one of those positions, officials say the front air bags
may not work if theres a crash. Meanwhile, GM said it will fix another defect involving the
ignition of the small cars it has recalled for faulty switches. The new recall is for cars produced
during the 2003 to 2011. This recall will see a replacement part of the ignition mechanism -- the
lock cylinder into which the key is inserted -- because the current ones could allow the key
to be pulled out while the car is running.

Not the best scenario for GMs recently appointed CEO. The general perception is that GM is slow to
communicate, slow to act, and, at times, requires additional effort of [the agencys Office of Defects Investigation] that we do not feel is necessary with some of your peers, NHTSA ODI director Frank Borris
wrote in a 2013 e-mail to GMs own product-investigations head, Carmen Benavides.
Meanwhile, some global analysts place more blame on managers and executives who are still with the
company -- the decision makers behind a penny-pinching ethos that placed pressure on engineers and
suppliers to save money in any way imaginable. GM now says it will cost the company US$1.3bn for the
expanded recall. Thats up from the US$300mn that GM first announced and later expanded to more
than US$700mn.
MAY 2014

www.automanweb.com

17

COVERstory |

C-CLASS NOW SCORES


ALL A-PLUS
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MAY 2014

Mercedes-Benz has finally announced its intention to take back the lead in
the premium C-segment with its next generation C-class. Using technology,
class leading luxury and a new found handling edge, the C now truly lives up
to the baby S-class tag
Author: Raj Warrior |Photography: Author and Supplied

Class Reformer

2014 Mercedes C-class

MAY 2014

www.automanweb.com

19

COVERstory |
2014 Mercedes C-class

Two fascias are available on


the car with the one on the
left integrating motorised
aerodynamic louvres just one
of the tricks available to lower
the drag to 0.24

The technological edge is brought


in with even more of the driver
interface moving to the HUD. The new
instrument panel features the iPad like
monitor with a reworked controller

ercedes-Benz unveiled the new W205


platform based C-class at a month
long event held for international
media in Marseilles, in the south of France. As
part of the event, media got an opportunity
to drive the new iteration of Mercedes
C-segment sedan in various trim and engine
combinations, including the hybrid diesel
engine combination.
Over two days, the routes chosen allowed
participants to enjoy the beauty of the village
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MAY 2014

roads of southern France along with substantial


highway and city driving. In addition, in a
series of workshops, participants were taken
through the technological improvements that
the new car enjoys, with one on one sessions
with designers, engineers from chassis,
aerodynamics, structural and interiors as well
as telematics and electronics.
The C-class is set to be a technological tourde-force with its new structure having been
lightened by almost 180kgs to allow for new

systems and features - the end car is 100kgs


lighter and enjoys a Cd of 0.24, by far the
lowest in its segment. In addition to extensive
restyling of exterior panels and addition of
underbody airfoil members, an innovation in
the form of a closable louvre arrangement
for the front grille too adds to the low drag
coefficient. This system is fully automated,
opening to allow the engine to get extra air
as required and is available for Exclusive trim
levels and above. The lower weight and better
efficiency add to better mileage.

The sea port of Marseilles in the South of


France served as the location for the global
press reveal of the C-class.

On the second day, the morning was devoted


to exploring the collision avoidance and safety
technologies on the C-class on a closed track
MAY 2014

www.automanweb.com

21

COVERstory |
2014 Mercedes C-class

While the C-class has been in production since 1993 the car is only
in its fourth generation with the W205 being the latest iteration

W202
1994-2000 Model Years
The first genuine C was seen
as a successor to the iconic
190, with design attributed to
Murat Gunak

W203
2001 - 2007 Model Years

W204
2008 - 2013 Model Years

The C-class buyer now gets a grade of interiors that rivals the S-class for sheer touch and
feel premiumness. Beginning from the silky contours of the new controller to the unique
feel of the lighter cabins, including a near white interior available on higher grades including
the 400 variants, you get far more than you bargained for full marks to M-B!

W205
2014 Model Year onwards
Redefining the segment,
with technology, new build
technics and superb interiors

The profile has been tightened, with twin


character lines matching with a rearwards
biased cab. The C now looks very much like
a shrunken S-class

The platform itself is the first ajor iteration of


the new modular Mercedes Rear-wheel drive
architecture (MRA) - one on which we will
see the next E-class as well. Both the MRA
and MFA (front-wheel architecture) allow for
variations of four-wheel drive, albeit with
different arrangements, with the C getting
4Matic.
The body shell of the new C also has far more
aluminium integrated into it, with almost all
hang-on parts made from the silver metal, the
roof and even suspension mounts and such.
The front door now weighs in at a little over
12 kgs, with even the anti-intrusion member
made from formed extruded aluminium.
Of course the C-class is also available with the
complete range of engines, from a 180 combo
till 400 (thats a turbo 3.0-litre V6) as well as
an AMg variant in petrol engines, while the
diesel range also rises from a new 1.6-litre unit
through to the C300 diesel hybrid with 204hp
and 27hp from the assist (with an efficiency of
3.6-litres per 100km in the bargain).

22

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MAY 2014

MAY 2014

www.automanweb.com

23

COVERstory |
2014 Mercedes C-class

At launch the car has a range of engines


from the 4-cylinder 180 to the V6 biturbo
400. However the newer hybrids promise to
be equally interesting - with the 300 diesel
hybrid available at launch, while the petrol
hybrid is set to launch later on.
The C is an early iteration of M-Bs MRA
architecture, soon to be seen on the next
E-class

The interiors of the cars have also undergone


major improvements, with more leg and
headroom, a sportier driving position,
redesigned steering wheels and centre
console and a grade of finish that benchmarks
the S-class for quality and touch and feel. In
most configurations the area in front of the
car will be dominated by the heads-up display
and large centre panel, that seems so much
in connect with the times with its Pad like
contours.
The console is kept clutter free by moving
the gear selector up to the steering wheel,

matched by paddles behind the steering


for manual overrides of the 7-speed auto
transmission. The extra space on the divider
is used for hidden storage and the enhanced
multimedia input that clearly looks like it came
off a Star Trek set. The combination of touch
pad and click-and-dial with haptic feedback is
extremely intuitive to use.
On cars equipped with the Airmatic suspension
system, ride height and quality is controlled
from the selector right next to the Comand
interface. The car can sit as much as 50mm
lower at speeds (in tune with the Sport and

Sport+ settings, or can be raised by almost


as much to overcome bad surfaces (albeit
reverting to datum at speeds above 80).
However, the real 3-series beating elements
can be found in the seamless manner in
which the engine and gearbox play with each
other, transferring every input to the wheels
with less than 300 milliseconds of lag. On
this tighter platform, with an almost perfect
weight distribution, the car responds with
alacrity to every blip on the throttle, making
the C400 so good that we would take it over
any 3-series (except the M) any day.

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MAY 2014

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Visit YouTube

Motorshow
news

Easter
weekend
bonanza
A few genuine surprises and clearer industry intentions to adapt topped the 13th Beijing International
Automobile Exhibition [Auto Show] agenda this year
Author: Chandan B Mallik

o most of us who are familiar with the Chinese automotive market would
now rate Beijings Auto Show is one of the biggest and most important
shows on the calendar in arguably the worlds largest car market. However,
for unexplained reasons, the press access was only limited one day from two. However, this aspect didnt affect our enthusiasm to cover the show given the time
constraints.
Driving for a Better Future was the theme of Auto China 2014, and the show
which was held during the Easter weekend did focus on innovations and new technologies in automotive development, especially in vehicle design, energy savings
and environmental protection.
Automakers are looking to Chinas biggest auto show this year to help boost sales
in this huge but cooling market. Total sales last year reached 17.9mn vehicles, but
growth is expected to slow from 15.7per cent to as low as 8per cent, even as ambitious newcomers prepare to enter the market.
However, Chinas automakers appeared as the underdogs at Beijing auto show.
As foreign and domestic brands jostled for attention, it was clear that domestic

26

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MAY 2014

brands like Chery, Geely and SUV maker Great Wall were overshadowed. These
aspiring domestic brands are facing fierce global competition from biggies like
General Motors and Volkswagen besides other global players. Interestingly, the
current Chinese leadership has made it a national priority to catch up with neighbouring Japan and South Korea by creating globally competitive automakers and
its obvious that no one is in a mood to yield. While, non-Chinese brands have long
dominated the premium end of Chinas market, some regard this market so important that they are ready to deviate from the industry trend of selling the same
models everywhere and are designing specific solutions for this country.
Digital and social media played a great part in generating awareness about the
show. Tweets from Peugeot , Volkswagen, BMW, Citroen, Honda, Kia, Audi , Lexus
, Jeep and several others helped build up the pre-show hype. Mercedes-Benz went
a step further and even arranged to live stream of its press conference.
In all 118 world premieres took place including 31 world and 45 Asian premieres.
And making their debut for Chinese market for the first time at the Beijiing platform were Lincoln, McLaren and Qoros. Here are the key highlights from the show

MAY 2014

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27

Audi

The Audi Q4 small SUV concept revealed is believed to be a


preview of the forthcoming new sporty SUV that will compete
with successful models like the Range Rover Evoque. The Audi
gets the firms new-look grille, which will first feature on the
new Audi TT. The Q4 concept will feature four seats, rather
than five, to reinforce its sporty image and has many of its
controls on the steering wheel for a less cluttered dashboard.
Audi also took the wraps of its TT Offroad Concept. The
Audi TT offroad concept provides a glimpse of how we might
imagine a new model in the future TT family, says Prof. Dr.
Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management
for Technical Development. It combines the sporty genes
of the TT with the strengths of a compact Audi SUV. . In
addition to very similar physical appearances with the Allroad
Shooting Brake concept, the two share the same plug-in hybrid
propulsion systems (the plug-in part is a bit misleading, as
the concept simply needs to be parked over an inductive pad to
take advantage of Audi Wireless Charging technology).

Bentley

Bentleys well-kept secret about hybridization possibilities came out


in the open in Beijing. The British brand is envisioning a powerful
and even more efficient future with the Bentley Hybrid Concept a
technology showcase that previews Bentleys first plug-in hybrid
model, set to be a dedicated version of the all-new SUV available in
2017. Bentley promises the plug-in hybrid system will offer a power
increase of up to 25 per cent together with a 70 per cent reduction
in CO2 emissions, both without any compromise to the exquisite
luxury, timeless design and industry-leading refinement

Citron

Premium cars are the fastest-growing segment of the worlds


largest automotive market and French car brand Citroen thinks
it will have good chance with the newly created DS-sub brand.
Citroen has a joint venture with Chery and he DS brand was
launched in China in June 2012. The DS gets its distinctive premium
positioning inspired by top-shelf French-style luxury. The first
car to go on sale was the locally built DS5. At Beijing was a new
concept, the DS 5LS R, a red hot show car expanding on all the
attributes of the DS 5LS, particularly its power and top-quality
materials and a midsized CUV inspired by the Wild Rubis concept
unveiled at last years Shanghai auto show.

BMW

BMW thinks theres a slot to create a new sedan above the


7-Series and below the Rolls-Royce Ghost. The German brand
officially unveiled the Vision Future Luxury Concept giving the
worlds media an in-the-flesh look at not only a future design
theme for the brand, but its possible new flagship model. The
4-door sedans styling is expected to mark an evolution from the
Gran Lusso Coupe concept, designed by Pininfarina and shown
last May at the Concorso dEleganza at Villa dEste in Italy. Could
this be the rumoured 9-Series?

Chevrolet

Chevrolet had 11 models on display and the brand introduced the new-generation Cruze developed specifically for China, and the first model to be
equipped with GMs new-generation Ecotec small-displacement engines. There is also the Trax urban SUV equipped with on-demand all-wheel drive and
the Chevrolet MyLink system. The Chinese-market Cruze has styling inspiration from the Chevy Tru 140S Concept and is different to the North American
market version.

Honda

Ford
Bugatti

The automaker introduced the fifth Legend in the Veyron the Black
Bess. The legend editions may do nothing to alter the Grand Sport
Vitesses already prodigious performance, but certainly have buyers
hooked to their themed exclusivity.

Buick

The new Enclave SUV and the updated GL8 were among the
10 Buick vehicles at Beijing. The new Enclave has updated
styling, a refreshed interior, as well as additional safety features and power steering. Other Buicks on display were the
LaCrosse, Excelle GT and Encore SUV.

Cadillac

The Cadillac brand had four models on display, led by the


new second generation CTS sedan along with the XTS luxury
sedan which comes with a range of new innovations. Other
models included the SRX SUV. With the ATS, Cadillac is targeting the younger generation of luxury car buyers in China.
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MAY 2014

Fords plan to launch 15 new models in China by


2015 and to do that it will serve some existing
and new models. Its no secret that for over a
year, Ford has been considering reviving the
Escort nameplate. The first indication of that
came at last years Shanghai Motor Show where
Ford showed a clean, straightforward take on
Fords current styling in a compact car. The
Blue Oval said at the time that it wanted to
create a model that was stylish but not one
that is arrogant or pretentious. A year later it
looks like the minimalist vehicle might make its
production as indicated at Beijing. The second
vehicle was the Everest Concept SUV which
showcases the future of the Blue Ovals truck
line in China. While it is a concept for now, were
sure that JMC, Fords Chinese joint-venture
partner, will build a production version soon of
this seven-passenger SUV. Fords Asia Pacific
design team has helped conceive the SUV
for China. The 2015 Ford Mustang, which was
unveiled globally in December last year was on
display at the Chinese auto show for the first
time will be available with two engine options
a 2.3-litre EcoBoost and a 5.0-litre V8 in the
domestic market.

Honda had announced prior to the show it that it


would unveil a concept car that previews a new
model exclusively developed for the Chinese market.
The Concept B Hybrid car looks like a cross between
the CR-Z and Hyundais Veloster. Dongfeng Honda
also presented a prototype of the all-new Spirior. The
current Spirior is essentially the Honda Accord Euro
or Acura TSX variant for the China-market. Another
important debut for Honda in Beijing was the third
generation Fit. Meanwhile, Hondas till now US-only
Acura brand also made its debut in Beijing. Honda
hopes production versions of the MDX, RDS, ILX and
the NSX Concept will drum up support for its luxury
brand in an ever-growing Chinese car market. Honda
hopes its new-value concept will help it get the
brands foothold into the entry-level petrol-electric
game in China.

MAY 2014

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29

Lincoln

Hyundai

Ford used the venue to launch its luxury Lincoln brand in China. The
MKX Concept SUV was presented as the key model. This car shares its
underpinnings with those of the Ford Edge Concept that we saw in LA,
but the changes made by Lincoln stylists are consistent with the brands
design direction.

The Hyundai ix25 SUV might not draw the crowds like
some of Beijings biggest launches, but the budget entry
crossover is set to be an important model for Hyundai.
The car is based on the Hyundai i20 and is billed as a
Chinese-market-specific high-volume budget model.
Hyundai also managed to get the Korean pop star Kim
Soo-hyun to make a very brief and very late appearance
at the show.

Infiniti

Infiniti is pressed ahead with the Q50 Eau Rouge highperformance sedan. Infinitis Director of Performance
Sebastian Vettel has been testing the 560hp prototype
version at the Millbrook Proving Ground automotive
testing facility, UK.

Kia
Jeep

Fiat SpA and its Chrysler Group LLC arm announced that their Jeep brand would
begin manufacturing in China next year with Fiats local partner, Guangzhou
Automobile Group Co. That will allow Jeep to avoid steep import taxes. At the auto
show, Jeep also displayed its new Renegade model and some localized concepts
based on current production models.

Kia presented a concept sedan which aims to bridge the


gap between its Cerato/Forte and Optima. The K4 is a
midsize sedan measuring 186 inches long and riding on a
106-inch wheelbase that makes it bigger than the Forte/
Cerato [K3] and just a few inches shorter than the Optima
[K5]. The car gets familiar Kia-style bodywork, with a high
boot and low nose to give it a wedge shape and a familiar
if somewhat new take on the headlights and grille seen on
other new models from the Korean automaker.

Mercedes-Benz

The final production version of the forthcoming MLC SUV was previewed via a
concept called the Coup SUV. We think it is a step forward for the brand as it
breaks the BMW monopoly of creating seemingly unrelated market niches to
create something new entirely. The M-B MLC has been conceived as a rival to the
second-generation BMW X6, which will be premiered at the Moscow auto show
in August. A production version of the Concept Coup SUV, known internally
under the codename C292, is planned to head into Mercedes-Benz showrooms
during the latter half of 2015. To be badged as the MLC, it will be assembled
alongside the third-generation M-class, with which it shares its mechanical
package, at Mercedes-Benzs US plant in Alabama. Despite being based on the
third-generation M-Class, the MLC will receive a uniquely styled body and features.
The MLC line-up will include a range of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel
engines as well as plug-in gasoline-electric and diesel-electric hybrid drivetrains.
Topping the lineup will be a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 MLC63 AMG and
twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 MLC65 AMG models from the brands AMG
performance car division. Mercedes also unveiled the LWB version of its smaller
C-series sedan.

Nissan

Lexus

Lexus in recent years has slipped behind German luxury rivals Daimler and BMW in
the US and is trying to play catch up in China where it is behind Audi in sales. Toyota
Chief Executive Akio Toyoda has been pushing Lexus to adopt a more aggressive,
performance image, responding to concerns of the brand losing ground to rivals.
At the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Lexus quietly presented a prototype model with a
turbocharged motor. This motor was showcased along with the world premiere of
its NX compact SUV at Beijing. The NX is being seen as an intermediate model thats
expected to fill a massive void in Lexus range below the large RX model, giving the
Japanese luxury player a genuine rival to the trendy segment leaders like the Audi
Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. The LF-NX concept was previewed at the Frankfurt
motor show in September 2013 and Lexus has toned down the production version.
Like Ferrari which has returned to turbo-charging applications, under the bonnet
of the new Lexus will be the luxury carmakers first forced-fed turbo new 2.0-litre
charged petrol engine in the brands 25-year history. A petrol-electric hybrid offering
is also expected to be among the variants to counter the frugal German and Swedish
diesels.
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MAY 2014

Nissan is looking at China to help drive its global turnaround. The Lannia Concept,
created by the Chinese staff of its Beijing design centre looks a bit like a fastback
from the rear and definitely gets inspired by the Friend-Me Concept. The car looks
production ready and if Nissans product boss, Andy Palmer statement is any
indication, the new model might not be limited to just China.

Peugeot

Presenting the Exalt Concept using a variety of unusual


materials and basically picks up where the show-stopping
Onyx concept left off two years ago. The four-door Exalt
concept adopts a similar approach exhibiting a body
character reinterpreted by the combining bare metal and
an efficient sharkskin-inspired textile. In homage to the art
of the French motor car from the twenties and thirties, this
one of a kind project was meticulously handcrafted using
the skills of a master panel beater for sheetmetal. Under
the bonnet is a 1.6-litre inline-four with 270hp, while the rear
axle is powered by a 50kW electric motor. Combined output
of 340hp is possible for the all-wheel drive car.

MAY 2014

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31

Porsche

China is the second largest single market for Porsche


after the US and events like Auto China reflect the
rapidly growing interest in Porsche. The German
brand celebrated the world premiere of the Boxster
GTS and Cayman GTS which feature more powerful
engines and additional standard equipment befitting
the GTS badging. The Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS
get mid-mounted 3.4-litre 6-cylinder boxer engines
which deliver additional 15hp compared to their S
counterparts. This means the Boxster GTS has 330hp
and the Cayman GTS has 340hp. Torque has been
increased by 7 lb.-ft. in each model: 273 lb.-ft. in the
Boxster GTS and 280 lb.-ft. in the Cayman GTS. With
the standard Sport Chrono package, optional PDK
transmission and Sport Plus button activated, the
Boxster GTS reaches 60 mph from a standstill in 4.4
seconds (4.7 seconds with manual transmission) and
4.3secs (4.6secs with manual transmission) in the
Cayman GTS. The top track speed for the Boxster GTS
is 174 mph (173 with PDK) and 177 mph (175 with PDK)
for a Cayman GTS. Alongside the new GTS sports
cars, the 919 Hybrid and the 911 RSR racecars, and the
918 Spyder also made their Chinese market debut in
Beijing.

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Tesla

Volkswagen

The redesigned Volkswagen Touareg has made its debut at the Auto
China show in Beijing. With a refreshed styling front and rear, new features and trims and greater efficiency, Volkswagens rugged yet refined
premium SUV is more competitive than ever.
The second idea presented was the New Midsize Coup concept car.
Its a four-door coup is low in height (1,422 mm) and very wide (1,838
mm), it has a low visual centre of gravity, short overhangs, muscular
shoulders and side sections, a dynamic roof line with markedly sweptback C-pillars, a short trunk lid and long bonnet. The concept car is just
4,597 mm long and thus shorter than a Passat or Jetta. The concept car
outdoes the other two in terms of its width and it is thus midsized. A
team led by Volkswagen head designer Klaus Bischoff integrated these
sharp proportions in a body design that makes the New Midsize Coup
a powerful and avant-garde proponent of a new, compact saloon class.
The concept has a 220 hp four-cylinder TSI engine, allowing it to sprint
from 0 to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds, with a top speed of 152 mph. The car
sits on 20in wheels with 245/40 tyres. Could this be the new Jetta?

Jeeps all-new Renegade is the brands smallest SUV which


will be built by Fiat in Italy but engineered by Jeep when it
comes to demonstrating capabilities
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MAY 2014

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Haima

Tha Haima S5 SUV made its official debut. It is the second SUV for Haima after the larger Haima S7.
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 150hp and 210nm mated to a 5-speed
manual or a CVT sending power to the front wheels.

Haval

Great Wall Motors Co. unveiled its latest model, the Haval 8 and
Haval H2, its smallest SUV so far. The Haval H2 will compete with
fine cars such as the Chery Tiggo, the Haima S7, and the Geely
GLEagle GX7 and is powered by a 1.5-litre engine with two levels of
outputs.

Changan

Baojun

Two new models from SAIC-GM-Wulings entry-level


Baojun brand made their debut. The 610 hatchback
is a sibling of the 630 sedan, the brands first model,
which was introduced in 2012. The 730 is a sevenseater family vehicle was specially designed for
Chinese market.

BYD

Chinas carmaker BYD Co, backed by Warren Buffet may have posted a slump in first-quarter net
profit compared with a year earlier, citing sluggish
traditional auto business, the brands pure electric
car e6 caught a lot of attention at Beijing. The e6 is
one of the car models quite popular with taxi fleets in
Shenzhen.

The Changan Grand Raeton and the Changan XT


prove that a local Chinese company can also be
innovative too. Changan presented a big frontwheel-drive stretch limo and a cute, pink compact
hatchback.

Hongqi

Hongqi is the brand owned by First Auto Work Group in north-eastern China since
the 1950s. The brand presented Hongqi L5 which means red flag in Chinese
originally started life as a government only vehicle as a replacement for foreign
brands to showcase self dependency. It was recently made available to civilians as
a luxury alternative to imports. The Hongqi L5 is powered by a 6.0-litre V12 engine
that produces 402hp and 548Nm of torque. The cabin offers luxurious features like
the premium leather upholstery, headrest mounted touchscreen displays, rear air
vents and premium legroom for rear occupants.

Changfeng

Changfengs obsession with older generation Mitsubishi SUVs was quite clear at the show. The Liebao
Q6 debuted looking perfectly old-school and clearly
inspired by a Pajero. Meanwhile, the Heijing Q6 is
based on the second generation Mitsubishi Pajero
which was made in China by the Changfeng-Mitsubishi joint venture until 2012. The agreement was
terminated after Guangzhou Auto bought Changfeng Auto in late 2011 and Changfeng has license to
use the platform. Various self-designed variants also
including the Liebao Q6 are based on this set-up.

Chery

Chery unveiled its Alpha concept car sedan a day


before show. The sharply styled Alpha concept
previews the new Chery Arrizo 5 sedan which will
be launched on the domestic market later this year.
A 1.6-litre four-cylinder with 126hp and 155Nm and a
new 1.2 turbocharged four-cylinder with 130hp and
212Nm mated to a 5-speed manual or a CVT will be
offered.

JAC

The JAC Refine A6 Concept debuted on the Beijing Auto Show, featuring an aggressive styling with a huge shiny grille and mean looking headlights. The JAC Refine
A6 Concept previews the upcoming JAC Refine A6 sedan that will be launched on
the China car market later this year. The A6 Concept was powered by a 1.5 turbo
1.5 turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 170hp and 251Nm, mated to a
six-speed DCT.

JMC

Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC) is 30 per cent


owned by Ford and as a significant role player, it
help Ford boost its footprint in the country. JMC is
expected to produce the Everest SUV among other
new models.

Zotye

LIfan
Dongfeng
Denza

Mercedes-Benz parent company


Daimler had announced two year ago
that it was forming a new electric car
brand for the Chinese market with its
local partner BYD. The new brand was
called Denza. The joint venture combines Daimlers expertise in vehicle
engineering, safety technology and
quality production with BYDs leading
battery technology.
At the show, the first production
Denza model was revealed. Its a small
electric hatch slightly larger than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and it has a driving range of 186 miles on a single
charge of its lithium iron phosphate battery. Power comes from an 86KW electric motor that can spirit the
car to a top speed of 93 mph. The battery has an impressive 47.5-kilowatt-hour capacity and can be safely
charged at home.
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MAY 2014

At the last Dubai motor show, Dongfeng was present


with some products which did have direct influences
from Hummer. This manufacturer seems to be doing
well on its own now despite the fact the it faced
resistance from the Chinese government which effectively blocked GM from selling Hummer to Sichuan
Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company
when it was promoting/protecting domestic players.
Dongfeng also showcased its Number 1 sedan concept which is based on the Citroen C6 platform that
was manufactured from 2005 until 2012. The platform
is the first fruit for Dongfeng after the purchase of
a 14 per cent stake in PSA, the mother company of
Citroen.

Geely

A clean, unified four-door hatchback that shows


even Chinese companies can break out of their
archaic design moulds with professional help. Copy
may be an honour on the Eastern side, but its criminal on my side, says Peter Horbury, Geely Groups
senior design vice president.

Sporting more than a passing resemblance with Audi


sedans, the Lifan 820 sedan which was expected to
debut at Guangzhou Auto Show [but didnt] finally
had its show debut at Beijing Auto Show. The car will
only be available with a 130hp 1.8-litre mated to a
5-speed manual and later on a 160hp 2.0-litre version
will be launched later this year.

Youngman

If there was an award for the most outrageous


presentation, then it would have certainly gone
to Chinese automaker Youngman. Youngman
presented a blinged outdated Malaysian Proton,
complete with a body kit and gold chrome finish
and Lotus badges. While Engineered by Lotus
branding was all over Youngmans Beijing auto show
stand and Lotus PR was quick to point out that it
had no relationship with Youngmanengineering,
importation, or otherwise. The only connection is that
DRB Hicom owns both Proton (the original source for
this car design) and Lotus.

Relatively a new player in China, Zotye bought


production tooling and manufacturing rights for
a number of phased out cars from big automobile
manufacturers to produce cars for the Chinese
market, mainly from Fiat and its production began
around 2005. In the interim period it has established
itself as a player in the A-, B-segment in China, and
now it seems that this carmaker has expanded its
reach with new and bigger models like the Zotye
Z500. Power will come from a new 1.5 turbo fourcylinder petrol engine with about 150hp, mated to
a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic. Zotye is
also working on a new 1.8 and 1.8 turbo that will be
launched in early 2015.

Qoros

Qoros, is a new year-old car brand which had a


high-profile debut in UK last year. The brands
second production model, the Qoros 3 Hatch was
presented to Chinese audiences for the first time.
It is a compact hatchback featuring bold, dynamic
design, excellent connectivity, and generous
interior space and equipment. Also making its
China debut was the Qoros eBIQE Concept, an
innovative electric bike design and connectivity
showcase.
MAY 2014

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35

FirstDrive |
Volkswagen XL1

A different kind of
supercar!

ts not every day that you are introduced what not only is a
genuine technological milestone in motoring but also to what
could possibly be the future mode of our daily transportation.
Future forms of personalized transportation have been conceived
by many carmakers and designers, but few have been able to
bring actual goods to the consumer table.
Experts predict that future transportation solutions will be super
efficient individual pod-like structures using pure electric or some
form of hybridisation. This is the strongest view as of now shared
by many progressive and innovative carmakers and theres a
genuine sense of purpose as evident by whats currently on offer
as a result of the demands/strain on natural resources.
Almost drawn from science fiction, the Volkswagen XL1 besides
being the most fuel-efficient production car in the planet with a
fuel consumption performance of 0.9 l/100 km, it is an urban car
that can actually be used.
It all started when Dr. Ferdinand Pich, Chairman of the
Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, formulated the visionary
goal of bringing to market a production car that was practical in
everyday use with mandatory fuel consumption of one litre per
100 km. In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality. The
XL 1.0-litre was presented as early as in 2002 and then in 2009.
In these two versions, two occupants sat slightly offset, side by
side, nearly as in a conventional vehicle.
Now, enters the 2014 XL1, which represents the third evolutionary
stage of 1.0-litre car strategy. Product designer and developers
have taken the car to a new level by accomplishing several
techno-creative goals. Priority jobs included optimizing mass and
better occupant placement for starters.
In all 250 units will be made and 200 sold to customers worldwide.
Five units are destined to find homes in Middle East too and more
can be heading this way should there be a demand for this exotic
machine. The practical runability of this supercar was proved by
a real-time demonstration at Dubais Autodrome recently.
At first glance, essentially, this futuristic looking two-seater
car follows pure sports car design principles -- low weight, top
aerodynamic profile, low centre of gravity among others.

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Author: Chandan B Mallik

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The XL1 uses advanced composites in construction which results


in its low weight of 795kg. The package is combined with
exceptional aerodynamic profile of Cd 0.189 and a low centre of
gravity. In perspective, the XL1 is 3,888mm long and 1,665mm
wide and 1,153mm high. For comparison VWs Polo has a similar
length (3,970 mm) and width (1,682 mm) but is significantly
taller (1,462 mm). Even Porsches Boxster is 129mm taller than
the XL1.

| Photography: Supplied

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37

At launch the car has a range of engines from the 4-cylinder 180 to the V6 biturbo
400. However the newer hybrids promise to be equally interesting - with the 300 diesel
hybrid available at launch, while the petrol hybrid is set to launch later on.

A thoroughly
entertaining car
which has the
correct set of genes
to set it apart in the
class
In its construction the XL1 uses newlydeveloped carbon-fibre reinforced polymer
parts and to make the project economically
viable together with suppliers, Volkswagen
has developed and patented a new system for
CFRP production in what is known as the aRTM
process (advanced Resin Transfer Moulding).
The car also uses lightweight polycarbonate
instead of glass to its advantage.

and exit the car. And when compared to the


driver and passenger seating arrangement
in previous concepts which was tandem, in
the XL1 it is close to a normal car as two
occupants sit slightly offset, but side by side.
Elsewhere, the cabin is compact and there
are conventional analog instrumentation and
a busy central console. Modern conveniences
also include cabin air-conditioning!

In the car there are no conventional mirrors


as the rear view duties are taken care by
cameras and screens which are placed in
housing on the winged door. Meanwhile, the
doors are designed to make it easier to enter

The cars principal power source is a


turbocharged 48PS 800cc two-cylinder diesel
engine which sits right behind the occupants
along with other hardware. VW says that the
two-cylinder TDI engine was derived from the

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1.6-litre TDI, which is used to power the Golf


and Passat. The 0.8 TDI exhibits the same
data as the 1.6-litre TDI common rail engine
in terms of cylinder spacing (88 mm), cylinder
bore (79.5 mm) and stroke (80.5 mm). In
addition, the engine also gets special piston
recesses for multiple injection and individual
orientation of the individual injection jets.
The excellent, smooth running properties of
the common rail engines were transferred
to the two-cylinder engine. Two cooling
fans are placed on top of the engine-motor
combo facing upwards for ensuring thermal
efficiency.

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 debuted at the 2011 Chicago Auto


Show as the highest-performing Camaro and the most technically
advanced car ever developed in its class

Besides the diesel motor, there are electric


motors connected directly to the wheels. The
E-motor which adds 27PS to the kitty gets its
energy from a lithium-ion battery pack neatly
concealed in the front of the chassis. Power
[all modes diesel, electric or combined]
is sent to the wheels via seven-speed dual
clutch [DSG] gearbox. Thanks to its plug-in
hybrid system, the two-seater can also cover
a distance of up to 50 km in all-electric mode
and therefore with zero local emissions. In
terms of performance, the XL1 has a top
speed of 160km/h and can accelerate to 100
km/h in 12.7secs.
Theres a lot of software programming that
has gone in involving the various drive
modes, sensors and hardware involvement.
For instance,
gears of the automatically
shifting seven-speed DSG are also always
selected with the aim of minimising energy
usage. An engine controller regulates all
energy flow and drive management tasks,
taking into account the power demanded at
any given moment by the driver.
Running gear weight has been reduced by the

use of aluminium parts (including suspension


components, brake calipers, dampers,
steering gear housing), CFRP (anti-roll bars),
ceramics (brake discs) magnesium (wheels)
and plastics (steering wheel body). Frictionoptimised wheel bearings and drive shafts,
as well as an entirely new generation of
optimised low rolling resistance asymmetric
tyres (front: 115/80 R 15; rear: 145/55 R 16)
are fitted in this car.

Driving impressions
Getting in and out of the small car isnt very
complicated as the wing doors are hinged
at two points: low on the A-pillars and just
above the windscreen in the roof frame, so
they do not just swivel upwards, but move
out slightly forward as well. The doors also
extend far into the roof and hence offer extra
head room to manoeuvre. Once settled in the
cabin, the outward view is like that from the
interior the low slung Lamborghini Gallardo
Spyder, except that the car is long and wide
as a stock Polo.

An indicator at the bottom of?the central


speedometer simply reads READY. Pull the
lever of the automatic shifter to D, and
push the accelerator and the electric motor
integrated into the gearbox gently whirs like a
home blender, and the XL1 moves off.
In combined use, the E-motor acts as a torque
booster for the TDI engine. As soon as the
electric mode button on the instrument panel
is pressed, the car is propelled exclusively by
electrical power. On its own, theres enough
juice from the batteries to enable it a decent
driving range of around 35kms and when
engaging his mode, several things happen.
First, the TDI is decoupled from the drivetrain
by disengaging a clutch, and it is shut down.
Meanwhile, the clutch on the gearbox side
remains closed, so the DSG is fully engaged
with the electric motor. Regenerative brakes
assist the recharging effort. Lift the throttle
and the XL1 coasts, but gently depress the
brake pedal and the system switches to
regenerative mode.
Restarting of the TDI is a very smooth and
comfortable process: In what is known as
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39

pulse starting of the TDI engine while


driving, the electric motors rotor is sped up
and is very quickly coupled to the engine
clutch. This accelerates the TDI to the required
speed and starts it. The entire process takes
place without any jolts, so the driver hardly
notices the TDI engine restarting.
When the cars engage brakes, the E-motor
operates as a battery regenerator. In certain
operating conditions the load shared between
the TDI engine and the electric motor can be
shifted so that the turbodiesel is operating at
its most favourable efficiency level.
How this car operates on road is quite
fascinating. As expected it feels quite a bit
different than a modern car. The steering is
pure mechanical and you can feel the weight
of the car. Steering ratios are calibrated to
factor in stability as the cars wheels are quite

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narrow and hence turn circle is generous.


When driving the car with the diesel engine,
the unassisted steering lightens up a bit [at
least it feels that way], and the XL1 seems
to run more quietly as road noise overtakes
the cars mechanical noises. In full throttle,
the acceleration response is modest and we
were able to propel the car at 140km/h plus
on the Autodrome without toppling it over!
Despite our initial apprehension regarding
the road holding, the skinny tyres actually
provided a comfortable ride up to city speeds
but at speeds over 110km/h, the cabin can be
a noisy place.
For a car with so many systems on board, the
information display system is old fashioned
and hence keeping up to date with status
of operations is cumbersome. It takes some
concentration to figure out whats happening

with the flow of power from the engine,


motor, and battery details on the dashboard
info screen. We would expect a user-friendly
digital interface to be incorporated in future
productions versions.

Verdict
After teasing the world with two prototypes
since 2002, VW now presents a saleable
XL1 thats long and wide as a production Polo
and carries a height similar to Lamborghinis
Gallardo Spyder with an extremely low drag
coefficient and incredible efficiency-oriented
technologies underneath. We tried out the
car in all the three modes and the way the
E-motor and TDI engine interact with each
other is remarkable. Overall, its a car that can
be put to practical use, but since its going be
available in limited numbers, it will eventually
become a collectors item in the very exclusive
segment of our motoring community.

RoadTests |

Aston Martin Vantage S Q spec

Dressed up
extreme Vantage

aking fast sports cars has been British


sports car maker Aston Martins core
business for a century now. As the
brand tries to reinvent itself and cope
with contemporary market demands, it
has started looking at bespoke solutions for customers
for various models as part of its business strategy. It
may be recalled that a few weeks ago, Aston Martin
arrived at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show
with its most compelling bespoke sports car creations
to date. The two tailor-made personalisation entries
sub branded as Q by Aston Martin included a V12
Vantage S and Vanquish Volante. The bespoke V12
Vantage S had a Stratus White exterior with a Jet Black
roof and orange accents, revised grille, orange brake
calipers and satin finish carbon fibre components.
The interior had True Teal leather upholstery and
Californian Poppy orange accents on the seats, doors
and paddle shifters. Of the two, the Volante had a
restrained appearance with an exposed carbon fibre
tonneau cover, White Essence leather seats, Cream
Truffle stitching and satin finish walnut trim. Enough
of Geneva debuts, lets get back quickly to the basics
of our tester.
Technically, its quite easy to describe the Vantage S
as a package which combines Astons biggest, most
powerful V12 engine into its smallest car. Besides
this, the car has been restyled to reflect is position
as the flagship of the new Vantage range and the
evidence begins with the restyled grille that does
away with the traditional aluminium vanes. Aston
designers have replaced them with a new carbon
fibre arrangement with sporty black carbon fibre or
titanium silver mesh finish. The grille is functional

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too and according to its creators, the specific design


has been created to maximise airflow to the V12
engine. We are also not surprised that the new grille
is inspired by that of the CC100 Speedster Concept.
From its predecessor, the models profile is similar
and it has carried forward the pronounced bonnet
vents and flared wheel arches which are host to new
lightweight forged alloy ten-spoke wheels.
Meanwhile, the cabin is familiar place with most of
the Vantage trappings and equipment. You get singlepiece moulded carbon fibre backed seats which are
adjustable but as a single unit. This means it can be
a little difficult to find a 100 per cent seating position
if your dimensions dont match the stock seats!
As such the cabin is a mix of old and new styling
elements and some of items like the cheap switch
stalk and old fashioned dot matrix display could have
been replaced in this version. These are items that
are the driver is constantly exposed to and after all,
this is not exactly a budget car either. Overall visibility
is restricted due to the cars low height and thick
pillars and hence a lot of reliance is on the rear view
mirrors for traffic and blind spot management.
Besides these niggles, the Q bespoke division
attempts to give some individuality to the cars
personality. Bespoke features in this car are to be
found in the paintwork [exterior pack], stitching
and Rose Gold embellishments [interiors]. The
level of craftsmanship is commendable by industry
standards. Cosmetics apart, were more interested in
the engineering and what lies underneath the sleek
composite body lines.
When you open the Vantages bonnet, theres
virtually no empty space. The 6.0-litre naturally

With the exception of the One-77, the new Aston


Martin Vantage S is the fastest road-going car the
British sports car brand has yet offered. Automan
was among the very few publications invited
to check out the bespoke Q spec version in the
Sultanate last month
Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao

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43

RoadTests |

Aston Martin Vantage S Q spec

On sale since the


end of 2013, the
car gets a new
grille inspired by
the new CC100
Speedster and a
new Sportshift III
AMT gearbox
aspirated AM28 V12 engine from the Vanquish has
been neatly shoe-horned in the engine bay and to
ensure the car gets top spot in terms of performance
it has been reprogrammed to bump up output and
torque which stands now at 565bhp and 457lb ft
[up by 55bhp and 37lb-ft]respectively. Credit in
part to this enhancement also goes to adapting
race car technology like CNC machined combustion
chambers and the use of hollow cam shafts. The
car also benefits from a new automated manual
transmission called Sportshift III AMT from Oerlikon
Graziano. Aston claims it is a major development of
the automated manual gearbox that is found in the
current V8 Vantage S. The hydraulically actuated
automated manual transmission offers motorsportstyle paddle shift changes for optimum performance
delivery and efficiency of this V12, besides being 25kg
lighter than the outgoing six-speed manual gearbox.
Interestingly, this race-derived and motorsport
proven technology is used in Aston Martin Racings
race-winning Vantage GT4, GT3 and GTE competition
cars. It promises for great driver control with only
milliseconds of torque interruption and delivers
precise and swift gear changes.
Supporting the new powertrain is an active chassis
now. The Vantage S also debuts three-stage adaptive
damping with three driver selectable -- Normal,

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Sport and Track modes. The system also governs


the level of power steering assistance offered in two
stages. The cars hydraulically assisted steering also
gets a quicker 15:1 steering ratio for crisper handling.
Large disc brakes are by Brembo and damping
system was developed by Bilstein. The cars twostage Dynamic Stability Control is from Continental
which can be completely turned off by the driver
whenever required.

Driving impressions
When we received the car for this report, it had done
1,500kms only. We were aware that the car hadnt
been run-in completely [usually it takes 5,000km]
and hence would have been programmed to operate
in safe mode, a precautionary measure to ensure
that it couldnt be physically manhandled! While, this
approach serves the manufacturers needs, it also
limits the testers ability to fully come to terms with
the ultimate capabilities of the vehicle.
Automans first impressions are something like this:
while cosseted in a luxury bespoke interior, the
behaviour of the car on road suggests that the car
wants to dictate how it wants to be driven. Its a
bit of a rogue, if left unchallenged. For example
when you drive the car in D mode, with each gear
change, especially upshifts, theres evidence of

excessive engine braking which means that the cog


transmissions are not smooth. Although, quieter than
before, the engine seems to demand that it be driven
over 4,000rpm for optimised performance. Engine
braking is least when you engage paddle shifters
mode and are able to control the throttle.
While it takes a little while to get accustomed to the
mechanics of the car, the steering feel is very close to
that of the V8 version and the cars front end despite
being heavier due to the extra cylinders. The nicer
side of the car is being able to nudge that Alcantarawrapped wheel and point the front end of the car as
you wish. Even in default chassis mode, the body
felt flat and composed. The ride in general is very
connected, as expected but theres still a suppleness
that prevents it from feeling abruptly curtailed. When
you reach that level, its a hint for the driver to go
in for the Sport mode which allows the car to open
up to the next level of say a track day performance.
We also decided to play combo with the car, that is
leave the shock absorbers in Normal and press the
other Sport mode, the one that opens the baffles
and rewards the driver with a meaty growl besides
quickens the gear shifting.
What we realized end of the day, despite the
limitations and niggles, the car loves to be pushed
hard. Theres no doubt that this is a very quick car,

but its still a few notches away from perfection,


especially at lower rev bands due to shall we say
mismatched electronics. While peak torque comes at
5,750rpm and it allows the V12 S to deploy its power
surprisingly well, the automated manual is short of the
same torque converter momentum as found in cars
like the Jaguar XKR-S GT, for instance. As a drivers
car, the Vantage S on one hand excels in handling
and its V12 soundtrack, but the flip side is that the
cramped cabin and not-so-ergonomically friendly
seating will tire out the driver and co passenger very
quickly. Also not helping in the effort is the squeaky
body and excessive wind noise from the mirrors in
particular even at modest highway speeds.

Verdict
Aston Martin thinks it has created a masterpiece
with the new Vantage S. Despite the infusion of
some new race-derived technologies in a physically
smaller package, one is reminded of the more
relaxed and communicative feel of the longer DB9
and Vanquish. The Vantage S ushers in an altogether
new experience and bespoke Q appointments now
allows even greater scope of individualization. But
Aston needs to work on the transmission and get
it right as it can turn out to be a dampener if not
attended soon.

MAY 2014

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45

RoadTests |
2014 Ford Fusion

Upping the Fusion


game plan
Ford has recognized that it had to move its midsized sedan contender, the Fusion, a few notches up
if it wanted to make a significant dent in the highly
contested market. With the all-new 2014 Fusion,
thats seems exactly the job description. Automan
evaluates the new arrival in the Sultanate
Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao

If you look back a few years at the American


branded mid-sized segment cars in particular,
then it seems they have been sort of neglected
by their respective parents when it comes to
grooming or presentation. Contrast that with
the leaders in the segment who have wasted
no time and energy getting their respective
merchandise up-to-date and spot on with
design and technology influences.
In the past few years, Fords line-up of cars
has improved considerably in terms of design,
content and engineering under the One
Ford approach. And its quite clear now that
this momentum will also touch mainstream
models like the Fusion. And its high time too
as in Oman, this segment is quite a busy with
lot of models to choose from like the US-built
Japanese branded models like the redesigned
Honda Accord and Nissan Altima or stylish
Korean models like the 2013 Kia Optima and
Hyundai Sonata, besides perennial favourite
Toyota Camry and Europeans like Volkswagen
Passat, Peugeot and Chevrolet Cruz among
others. Another significant trend noted in this
segment is downsizing of powertrain options
and introduction of forced fed options by
several brands.

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Fords new Fusion assignment has therefore


come at a time when not only the segment is
not only extra active, but also demands the
best from what the Blue Oval is able to offer.
The outgoing edition of Fords US-designed
and built Fusion did receive attention from
its creator but more in the engineering
department than styling. Actually, the styling
efforts during the mid-cycle refresh was more
focused on giving the car a corporate look
which meant a very familiar chrome grill up
front [which was virtually shared with every
model including SUVs]. Designers did attempt
to give the car a squatter profile and hence
its lower valance was redesigned. Overall, it
appeared more of a cut and paste job than
a ground up redesign and that is something
Ford was pretty serious about removing in the
successor.
As an observer, its obvious this is no easy task
and requires both investment and a will to
move forward. To begin with, the new Fusion
is not a rebodied interpretation on a carryover
chassis. The incoming model is mechanically
based on a new world-car platform from
Ford that offers more structural rigidity for
both enhanced safety and improved driving

dynamics. Compared with the outgoing


edition, exterior dimensions grow marginally
and Ford claims that the new dimensions have
allowed for better cabin space management
despite its swoopy coupe like styling.
In its styling, the new Ford design DNA
application so far has been best portrayed in
the smaller global models like the Fiesta and
Focus. These cars have been meticulously
metamorphosed from mundane me-too to
stylish lifestyle-oriented models with striking
standalone identities. And its not Ford alone
that has discovered the power of design in
boosting car sales. Design led aggressive
South Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia
are now largely acknowledged as pioneers
in volume segments with their respective
segment offerings. Irrespective of segment
entry or premium, carmakers now know
that consumers are looking at this aspect as
well as the overall packaging in a purchase
decision.
As a result, at first glance the car is able to
entice anyone with its handsome and very
much Europe-inspired styling. A bold grille,
sheet metal with bolder and better defined

MAY 2014

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47

RoadTests |
2014 Ford Fusion

Very much in line with the styling treatment vetted to the Fiesta
and Focus, Ford has trained its attention to its mainstream
mid-size sedan in the region, the 2014 Ford Fusion which now
comes with a blend of top-drawer visual experience and efficient
technologies

character lines and a slightly longer and wider


body give the new Fusion a planted look. And
compared to its predecessor, theres definitely
a more upscale look. Fit and finish have
improved by American standards, but Ford
will still have to do more work if it wants to
get the premium European level tag image
on its side.
In terms of accommodation, the Fusion is a
five-passenger sedan and has a pleasant and
airy cabin. Theres plenty of space up front
for legs, shoulders and heads. The concave
door trim gives an impression of space and
strangely, the narrow, body-hugging sport
seats seem to be a slight mismatch in its
surroundings. This is because the unlike
normal sedans, the front seats sit low in
the cockpit and when you consider the cars
relatively high bonnet line, it is a little hard to
find a perfect seat height with unobstructed
outward vision. However, on the flip side, the
headrests sit at a surprisingly neutral angle,
and dont force your head to tilt forward as
aggressively as in some other vehicles.
Fords eco-friendly credentials also show up
in the cloth trimmed seats which are made
from 100 per cent recyclable materials. And
the seat cushions and head restraints use a
type of polyurethane foam that Ford says is
derived from the oils of plant seeds including
soyabean. Materials and finishes on the
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dashboard and upper portions of the doors


are straightforward and attractive. But we did
find ragged edges along the top seam of the
map pockets.

In terms of practicality, the rear seat split


folds to offers 16c-ft of cargo space, which is
slightly more than its key competitors: Toyota
Camry and Nissan Altima.

The central console is quite busy and uses


manual climate control knobs which are easy
to see and are well laid out. The drivers
instrument cluster is modern and goodlooking, with a pleasing illuminated blue
needle on the speedometer. One nifty feature
is the overhead interior lighting, which you
can turn on and off with the swipe of a finger.
The steering wheel feels fine in hand.

The Fusion offered in the Sultanate comes


with as standard a 2.5-litre four-cylinder
engine thats rated at 175hp and 175lbs-ft
of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels
through a six-speed automatic transmission.
On the safety front both active and passive
features have been considered well.
Engineers increased its body strength by 10
per cent, using more high-strength steels
such as boron. In fact, Ford claims that the
Fusion safety team targeted top-of-theline ratings in each public domain safety
benchmark, including National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration ratings, the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top
Safety Pick and top ratings in world markets
where the car will be sold.
Besides the above, Fusion is designed with
customer safety in mind. Engineers increased
its body strength by 10 percent, using more
high-strength steels such as boron.The Fusion
safety team targeted top-of-the-line ratings
in each public domain safety benchmark,
including National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration
ratings,
the
Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick
and top ratings in world markets where the
car will be sold.

Ford is on a smart technology drive and quite


a few elements are evident in this respect in
this car. Notable techno-led features include
adaptive cruise control, automated parking
assist, blind-spot detection, the Sync voice
command system and the latest generation
of MyFord Touch. The latter is a new addition
to the Fusion and utilizes a customizable
touchscreen display to control many of the
Fusions electronic features. Ford is aware
of user feedback as regards to its Microsoftbased MyFord experience and has assured
us that it has been improved in this newest
iteration.
Meanwhile,
rear
accommodation
is
comfortable with adequate leg and knee
room and so is headroom for tall occupants.

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49

RoadTests |
2014 Ford Fusion

Sayarati AD
Besides the above, the car comes standard
with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability
control, front seat side airbags, front knee
airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard
is Fords MyKey, which can be used to set
certain parameters for teen drivers. Optional
equipment includes blind-spot monitoring,
rear cross-traffic alert, driver drowsiness
detection and lane-departure warning, lanekeep assist, and collision warning with brake
intervention.

Driving impressions
If the new Fusion felt big on the inside, then
it also feels big on road with its planted
ride. Outward visibility to the front has
been improved thanks to the new Fusions
relatively slimmer front roof pillars. Within
the crowded segment of mid-size sedans,
the new Fusion, although of American origin
will actually be remembered and enjoyed
more for its European-flavoured driving

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experience. Acceleration and torque delivery


are impressive and the best part is that the
Fusion in this set-up doesnt claim sporty
aspirations.
Electric-assist power steering is standard on
all Fusion models and weve typically found
these systems notably lacking in feel in many
cars. However, the calibration in the Fusion
is one of its strongest features as it provides
remarkably communicative feedback and
definitely one of the better versions of this
new industry-wide trend we can vouch for. On
the move the assist is good and progressively
it becomes lighter and comfortable as speed
is gained. Meanwhile, the six-speed automatic
transmission shifts in all the right places and
holds gears as expected.
While this segment has witnessed various
levels of competence when it comes to
performance, dynamics and handling and we

are happy to note that the tester Fusion was


able to convince us that it has successfully
raised the bar even higher, combining a
comfortable and controlled ride with engaging
handling for a family car. This car is confident
and composed when cornering, and very
much at the top of its class and NVH has been
very well contained as the car is remarkably
quiet on the highway.

Verdict
The mid-sized sedan segment in Oman is quite
competitive with models like the redesigned
Honda Accord and Nissan Altima and Korean
models like the 2013 Kia Optima, Toyota
Camry, Volkswagen Passat and even Peugeot.
Each of these cars has certain advantages,
but shoppers looking for a family sedan that
provides a sharp driving experience, luxury
car options and head-turning looks will make
an informative choice in the Ford Fusion.

RoadTests |
2014 Mitsubishi Attrage

Minimax!

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with the promise
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The all-new 20
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B Mallik |Photograp
Author: Chandan

itsubishi Motors priorities


have
drastically
changed
over the past few years and
the metamorphosis sees the
performance being traded for
efficiency. While the carmaker still ponders
what it will do with halo products like the
Evo successor, its renewed focus on smaller
and efficient family cars has become clearer
with the introduction of global models like
the Mirage hatchback and its sibling sedan
version, the Attrage. Both new models were
introduced in the Sultanate simultaneously
a few weeks ago and are based on common
platform and powertrain engineering. Both
cars are built at Mitsubishis Laem Chabang
plant in Thailand.

Instead of calling it the Mirage Sedan, the


Attrage name is actually a combination of the
words attractive and mirage. The car was
first unveiled at the Shanghai motor show
as the G4 concept sedan. At first glance,
the Attrage is clearly linked to the Mirage in
design to some extent, but it does get its own
distinctive feature pack. The cars dimensions
are compatible with the pack leaders in the
segment and its overall profile is well balanced
thanks to its 4,245mm length, 1,670mm
width, 1,515mm height on a 2,550mm wheel
base.
When parked side by side, the Mirage front
end definitely has Japanese design flair,
while the styling elements seem to be more
influenced by Asian tastes in the Attrage. To

able and

begin with, the cars redesigned nose comes


with a larger chrome grille, bigger head-lights
and restyled front bumper with slight over
the top overhangs. The car overall appears
cute with aero tweaked touches up front
resulting in a drag coefficient of 0.29.and a
bold character line which kicks up towards
the rear. Mitsubishi has been able to keep
the cars weight under 1,000kg, 905kg to be
precise.
Considering the price point and positioning,
the cars interior looks pretty decent in its
layout but we wouldnt say its awe inspiring.
The piano black centre console is the centre
of attraction and has a busy set-up. This
is where the head unit and automatic airconditioning controls are housed. We liked the

The Mitsubishi Attrage is a B-segment sedan that shares


underpinnings with the Mirage and like the hatchback that was
simultaneously launched, it is imported from Thailand
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53

The cabin is basically designed with the principal of minimalism without compromising working
efficiency. The instrument cluster design is basic with the very visible display screen in the middle
and the layout of the central console is dominated with large manual controls

One of its major


USPs is its claimed
combined fuel
economy of 21 km
per litre on the
European NEDC
cycle, achieved
by having a low
kerb weight and
an efficient 1.2litre three-cylinder
MIVEC engine
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april 2014

simple configuration that Mitsubishi has opted


for and also the large and easy to see control
buttons for air-conditioning. In terms of space
inside the cabin, the car takes full advantage
of its 2,550mm wheelbase. Front seats are
simple in design and well padded and can
be adjusted manually. Front occupants also
get access to usable cubby holes on the door
pads. However, Mitsubishi has dropped the
idea on the rear passenger doors in favour
of creating accommodation for three adults
without feeling uncomfortable or cramped. If
there are only two occupants at the rear, you
can also unfold the centre mounted armrest,
sit back and enjoy the ride. Instrumentation
is basic, and you do get essential information
from the dot matrix type display. Analogue
fuel gauge is replaced by digital bars. Plastics
used on the dash are hard to touch, but the
fabrics used elsewhere are quite upmarket
by contrast. All round visibility is quite good
despite the cars slightly cab forward stance.
Some of the higher specs features like Eco
mode, keyless entry or push button stop start
switch were not available in the entry level
tester. The cars boot can take in 450 litres of
cargo, or three golf bags.

As a car focused on energy saving, as expected


theres electric rack-and-pinion steering and
3A92-series three-cylinder MIVEC unit, which
offers 78 PS at 6,000rpm and 100Nm of
torque at 4,000rpm. Transmission is INVEC
III CVT and also comes with a manual engine
braking feature. Keep the car agile and
planted on road, the suspension set-up is
modern and up front you have MacPherson
struts and coil springs, and a torsion beam
axle at the rear. Safety equipment, besides
a strong body structure, safety also includes
electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, drivers
and front passengers SRS airbag.

Driving impressions

With more and more cars coming on to the


market with smaller displacement engines
and lesser cylinders, the attitude towards
these set-ups is definitely changing. Small
cars like the Attrage are nippy, and zip
around congested roads with utmost ease.
While the Attrage is not expected to be a
supermini on steriods, it does come across
as a decent urban city car. The test cars
three-cylinder MIVEC engine delivers enough
torque to the front wheels via the CVT set-

up and considering all parameters including


driving the car with air-conditioning on full
blast, we are genuinely pleased to find out
that the engines performance is surprisingly
agile for a typical everyday drive. Besides
lively acceleration, it pulls pretty steadily
even with full load. The 0-100km/h sprint is
super smooth, thanks to the INVEC-III CVT.
However, due to the nature of CVT-equipped
cars, the transitions as usually felt in cogged
set-ups is not there. But what is there when
you observe the tachometer is that the
engine rev and speed build up complement
each other. At around 2,000 rpm, this car will
cruise comfortably all day long at 80km/h.
Another feature in the CVT set-up is that for
downhill drives it offers the driver the ability
to brake the engine [equivalent of running
the car in low gear] and hence avoiding over
use of the brakes. To do this, the shifter has
to be put in the B slot. While the cars airconditioning is exceptional in keeping the
cabin cool and occupants comfortable, the
electric rack-and-pinion power assist steering
feels is very light at low speeds, but it gets
excessively heavier at higher speeds. And as

expected for this type of set-up, it also feels


very numb. A small flick of steering offers
very little feedback and it doesnt inspire
confidence. Riding on 185/55 R15 tyres the
cars road grip was commendable and body
roll very well controlled and contained.
However, for the class and segment of car,
the NVH of the Attrage would be described
as average. The engine can be loud initially
when pushed to highway speeds but settles
nicely without feeling strained. But in city
runs, the cars manouevrability is where it
really excels with its short 9.2m turning circle,
parking the car even in the tightest spot is a
delight.

Verdict
On a global level, Mitsubishi Motor
Corporation has re-entered the booming l
baby-car segment with all value guns blazing
and in markets like Oman, it will represent
exceptional value pricing and features for
most consumers in the light-car segment.

april 2014

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55

RoadTests |
2014 Peugeot RCZ

Racing ahead
with style

rench brand Peugeot officially


rolled out the restyled version of its
swoopy 2+2 coupe in 2013. And its
about right time that this happened
to this model. Depending on
market roll outs, the RCZ has been on roads
since 2010 and in three years it seems that
Peugeot has realized that its potential Audi TT
rival could use a personality boost. As a result,
most of the effort has been painstakingly
devoted to give the car a distinctive new
identity as part of the catch up process in a
compact, but niche segment.

With a timely facelift for the current model year, Peugeot has
increased the appeal and exclusivity of its halo RCZ Sports
Coup. Automan spends some time with the car in the Sultanate
Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao

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Ever since it was conceived and introduced


as one of the best-looking two-doors on the
market, Peugeot are still keen to capitalize on
that aspect alone and perhaps this is one of
the reasons that the nip and tuck exercise is
more cosmetic than an outright engineering
job. Mechanically, the RCZ continues to be
built on the robust and agile first generation
Peugeot 308 family hatchback platform
and in profile, it has a racy theme with
some unique features like the bubble roof
and low slung profile. These key design
and functional features remain untouched.
According to Peugeot, the refreshed RCZ now
fully embodies the new signature of Peugeot:
MOTION & EMOTION.

Call it a nose job or whatever, the designer


scalpel has ensured that the cars gets
a matured face now which also seems
to promotes fluidity within the brands
conservative design language. Instantly
noticed up front is the new grille design
which is now accentuated by a lower air
intake which is also extended on each side
by a set of daylight LEDs. Overall, the front
is now a bit more aggressive with its higherset matte-black grille offset by a lower air
dam running in a slash below it. The RCZ also
gets trimmed in LED daytime running lights.
Besides these, what else is noticeable is the
fact that the entire glasshouse and roof is now
more than a deep coloured silhouette, sort
of complementing the front end treatment of
the car.
The interior of the car continues with its
conservative theme. We were expecting the
dashboard to get some transitional elements
from the new genre of stylish Peugeots like
the 308/508. Despite their absence, one
can still live with the interior and familiar
Peugeot elements like trimmed leatherlook dashboard, large instruments, chrome
headed gear shifter lever, sporty designed
and body hugging seats and some genuine
adult occupant space behind. While we liked

MAY 2014

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57

RoadTests |
2014 Peugeot RCZ

The cabin is basically designed with the principal of minimalism


without compromising working efficiency. The instrument cluster
design is basic with the very visible display screen in the middle
and the layout of the central console is dominated with large
manual controls

Macpherson struts up front and a


multilink system with a hollow antisway bar at the rear keep the RCZ
glued to the ground.
the contrasted white stitching on the leatherlook dashboard that adds a classy feel, but
the flip side is that you have to live with a lot
of reflection on the windscreen. Meanwhile,
the heavily bolstered front seats wrap around
you and hug you in comfort while offering
outstanding lower lumber support. The
electric drivers seat has ample adjustment to
get nicely square-on to the reach and rake
adjustable multi-function steering wheel, and
things ergonomically work very well. The
RCZ is also one of the brands representative
models where evidence of attention to detail,
especially on ergonomics is clear.

Mechanically, the RCZ is a carryover of the


previous generation and that means for the
Oman market it uses the same high output
turbocharged 163hp 1.6-litre four-cylinder
petrol engine mated to six-speed automatic
transmission.

Despite the RCZ being a compact, it has


always been very practical, with a generous
volume boot for its category, having a capacity
of 384-litres, to which are added storage
compartments under its floor (more than
30 litres extra). Folding the back of the two
additional rear seats increases the maximum
carrying capacity of the vehicle to 760-litres.

Driving impressions

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Underneath, the RCZ keeps the previous


models suspension and brake set-up. That
means disc brakes all around, with the front
ones vented. Large 19in wheels are also
added to the spec list for the current model
year.

We are aware that there are even powerful


variants of the RCZ available in European
markets, and the availability of the RCZ in
one single specification in Oman means that
we are limited to a car that actually shoulders
a lot of responsibility as a halo model for the
brand. Well, in that respect we are happy to
note that the car makes all the right noises,

and can be paddled manually through the


tiptronic-style box, has a tight chassis and is
close to being qualified as a sports car. The
RCZ still feels plenty quick and the torque
delivery from the four-cylinder is pretty
punchy too. The engine is free revving and
likes to be pushed hard to redline. Even its
exhaust makes a well-endowed stirring noise.
The revised suspensionset-up is a simple
MacPherson front with a torsion beam rear
but combine that with a wide track and low
centre of gravity, then things start getting
noticeable. Also aiding in the effort are the
short overhangs which are deliberate to
facilitate instant turn-in response. For the
record, the front and rear tracks considerably
widened by 54mm and 72mm compared with
the 308 on which its loosely based.
Meanwhile, large 19in wheels dont dampen
the cars handling and the wide tracked RCZ
can actually cope with fast corners confidently
without the usual tail end games. For a front

MAY 2014

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59

RoadTests |
2014 Peugeot RCZ

wheel drive car, the suspension is very welltuned and we think that the track dimensional
changes are key to the RCZs exceptional onroad handling.
Complementing
the
chassis
is
the
transmission. Gear shifting in the six-speed
automatic changes as intuitively programmed
and holds them as long as they are required.
But we did note during the run at Amerat that
shifting down a gear under braking to help
pull the RCZ up, shifting down a gear under
braking to help pull the RCZ up, however,
it did not shift down a gear to try and keep
the car at a constant speed while running
downhill.

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Among the changes noted are that the RCZ


now rides 19in alloy wheels and low-profile
Continental tyres which have replaced the
Michelins. They are great to look at and fill
the muscular wheel arches and it isnt just
looks, they seem to perform quite well despite
the absence of tricky torque-distributing
technology which several front- wheel driven
small cars in the class are employing these
days. Of particular note is that the steering
wheel weight and feedback is absolutely
brilliant! Push this car into a fast corner and
the way it reacts it is difficult to ascertain
whether this car is all-wheel drive or frontwheel drive with a limited slip differential.
This is where superb electronics chip in to

mimic a mechanical system and this car has a


chassis performance balance that easily rivals
that of the Renaultsport Clio if you consider
purity and control.

Verdict
Arguably, the RCZ is stunning car to look at and
comes with a decent engineering package. It
isnt designed to be aggressive like the higher
priced TT, but does offer adequate punch. We
think that RCZ is an honest car which is liked
for its design than hardcore track skills. And
in some ways, underrated car

TWOWheels |
Harley-Davidson 2014.5 models

Let the miles


roll by

Project Rushmore is the largest scale new model launch programme in Harley Davidsons 110-year history which encompasses eight
new motorcycles that feature improved performance, rider ergonomics, and dramatic styling updates. Automan was invited to join the
Oman leg of the brands press tour last month with these bikes
Author: Chandan B Mallik |Photography: Elvis John Ferrao

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TWOWheels |
Harley-Davidson 2014.5 models

s a brand, what is keeping HarleyDavidson at the top of its game is


its capability to innovate and come
up with exemplary packaging
and detailing in its range of
motorcycles. The whole effort is now dictated
by what it calls Project Rushmore and in
short the outcome of the efforts is designed
to show up in four key areas of motorcycling
control, infotainment, feel and style a step
forward for the brand which is as always in
an overdrive mode.
Most of the line-up which benefits extensively
from this programme is now available in the
region and specifically covers eight models.
As part of an elaborate exercise to generate
awareness, Harley-Davidsons Middle East
organized a two-day long riding programme
which saw us hitting some of the Sultanates
enchanting tourist spots, besides enjoying
the spectacular mountain roads on these new
bikes. Among the new repertoire we focused
on several models like the Breakout, Sportster
Touring and Dyna Lo Rider in particular
besides taking turns in the other models in
the line-up that were offered.
Day One of the programme saw us ride to
Wadi Dayqah dam from Muscat. I chose
the Sportster 1200T to begin the journey.
As Harley-Davidsons newest addition to its
Sportster family, when you look at the bike,
what immediately strikes is its simplicity as
a concept. Basically, H-D took the low-slung
and easy-to-handle chassis of the SuperLow
883 and added the power of the Evolution
1200 V-Twin engine that produces 70.8 ft.-lb.

of torque. To this package, touring features


included a detachable windshield and lockable
saddle bags. Compared to the SuperLow 883
chassis on which its based, the new 1200T
has floorboards that are mounted three inches
more forward, which makes it easier for riders
to place their feet flat on the ground.
Also, as on all Sportsters for 2014, the
1200T has an electrical update that includes
a revised wiring harness, plus an analogue
speedometer and a digital tachometer.
Theres also a new oil tank and side cover,
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The cabin is basically designed with the principal of minimalism without compromising working
efficiency. The instrument cluster design is basic with the very visible display screen in the middl

designed for easier access to the battery and


diagnostic terminal. Our tester also came
with optional factory-installed ABS.
Since its based on the SuperLow 883 model,
the new 1200T has the same fork angle,
wheel sizes and tyres. As a result, the bike
feels light due to reduced steering effort,
which also means that in real-time one can
ride all day long without getting tired, thanks
to its generous power and torque availability
across the power range and well spaced out
ratios from the gear box. What I particularly
liked about this bike is that Harley calibrated
the SuperLow 1200Ts ergonomics for
average height or shorter riders [51- 57]
which means the handlebars and foot controls
are within comfortable reach. The Reduced
Reach seat with 4in of extra padding also
aids in pushing the rider further forward.
At Wadi Dayqah dam when all the bikes
where lined up, the second bike that striked
out was the Softail Breakout and I decided to
try it out on Day Two of the ride. It reminded
me of how customization could recreate the
genes of a classic design. Instead of a weird
and whacky job, the design team has done
an impressive job of creating a profile so
impressive that it has been chosen as Captain
Americas bike in the upcoming Marvel movie
The Winter Soldier.
The styling DNA of the Breakout is muscular,
long and low and screaming the attitude of
the 60s dragsters. Its a machine which is a
genuine head turner with plenty of style and
customised features like wheel design for
instance. The alternating-position alternating
black and machined aluminium spokes is

The cabin is basically designed with the principal of minimalism without


compromising working efficiency. The instrument cluster design is basic with the
very visible display screen in the middl
simply gorgeous. In fact, the entire Breakout
package is a mixture of contrasting paintwork
and lush chrome accents. Extended to the
Twin Cam 103 engine, this design cue adds
to the commanding look of the bike. The
bike comes with wide and impressive drag
handlebars which in turn require a forwardleaning riding position, for an even more
aggressive stance. For the ride, we balanced
and calibrated the spring load to give it a
neutral feel in view of those big wide wheels.
The bottom line you get a smooth, fun ride
in streets or winding along country roads.
The third bike which I chose was the Dyna
Low Rider model which is back in the line-

up with some authentic 70s styling and an


attitude to match. The Low Rider is also an
attractive bike to look at with its very classic
ambiance and there was no reason not to
like the Amber Whiskey/Vivid Black two-tone
colour combination. This particular offering
was regarded as one of Harley-Davidsons
first-ever factory customs at the time which
not only offered a platform for accessoryminded inspiration, it delivered a seat height
that made these motorcycles accessible to a
whole new segment of buyers. So, among
the things which were of interest to me for
inspection, yes, was the ride/seat height.
Actually, the seat height is quite low at 25.4in
and this aspect is commendable from Harley
MAY 2014

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65

!
NG
I
C
UN THAT
O
N
T Wheels
N
AN TWO
E2014.5 models
E
Harley-Davidson
G
V
E
N
THE LL CHA ALUE
WI YOU V R
CA
W
O
R
H
U
YO

MORE THAN 250 MODELS, 40 BRANDS,


15 CATEGORIES AND ONLY ONE
WINNER IN EACH CATEGORY!
announces the thrills and prestige of its own Car of the Year awards. With
enough packed in to take you through the year and a unique format of selection,
Automans COTY awards will reward the best models on offer in Oman in 2014
Look out in every issue of Automan till January 2013
When we test drive cars, we will not only judge each
car for how good it is for you as a buyer, we will also
possibly select it as our editorial nominee in one of 13
categories:

2014

13 Categories for Reader Voting

The cabin is basically designed with the principal of minimalism without


compromising working efficiency. The instrument cluster design is basic with the
very visible display screen in the middl

If the car deserves the tag, we will tag it as Editorial


Nominee for the category it best suits. Look out for
this logo on each story:

NOW IN ITS 3RD YEAR

adjustable handlebar riser, which creates a


notable change in rider posture.
On road, as expected, it feels like a Dyna
which essentially means that wants to be
ridden sportily, but touches down easily, and
is somewhat limited by its short suspension
travel in the rear. Meanwhile, the Twin Cam
103 feels appropriate and very strong for this
bike. Brakes worked fine and the double discs
set-up front exhibit a noticeable advantage
over the single front disc on some of the
other Dyna models. Anti-lock brakes are also
now available in this model. Handling wise, I
personally think it is one of the best suited for
cross-country riding.

Verdict

engineers who have thought beyond simple


feet-on-the-ground comfort. The ease at a
standstill to addressing full-body ergonomic
comfort on the move leads to rider confidence,
factors well in this bike. After riding it in the
winding roads, it became evident that the
research chaps at Harley have studied the
ergonomic equation involving seat, handlebar
and footpeg positioning of a variety of riders
and then devised an optimised solution. H-D
66

claim the bike will easily accommodate riders


from ranging in height from 51 to 61 and
besides this arrangement, H-D have placing
the foot controls two inches forward of typical
Dyna mounts. The key to the new system is
the removable lumbar seat extender, which is
removable also. It makes a huge difference
by moving the supporting edge of the seat
forward or backward by 1.5in. Also unique to
the 2014 Low Rider is an easily and infinitely

Harley says the eight motorcycles of Project


Rushmore with innovations and technical
enhancements driven by the companys
constant customer interaction and feedback.
Well, the two-day ride experience and being
able to get acquainted with the bikes in the
best bike riding territory in the Middle East
has given us a better understanding and a
genuine perspective of how Harley-Davidson
is moving forward. We can safely assume
that Project Rushmore as a well-timed step
to keep the brand firmly affixed at the top of
the touring segment.

YOUR CARS SEAL OF


EXCELLENCE!

www.automanweb.com

MAY 2014

EDITORIAL NOMINEE
NAME OF THE CAR

2013

CATEGORY

01 Small Car of the Year


02 Mid-size Car of the Year
03 Large Car of the Year
04 Premium Car of the Year
05 Luxury Car of the Year
06 Hot Hatch of the Year
07 Sports Car of the Year
08 Performance Car of the Year
09 Small SUV of the Year
10 Mid-size SUV of the Year
11 Large SUV of the Year
12 Premium SUV of the Year
13 Performance SUV of the Year

We will keep a running tally of all the editorial choices


till August, after which, we will allow you, the reader to
select further nominees through SMS and online at our
website, all the way through till our October issue.
And thats when things get really exciting!
The nominees in each category will go through a
selection procedure that will result in one clear winner
in each category.
Additionally, our editors will also give two unique
awards :

14 Best debut Model in Oman


15 Editors choice

At a glittering, year-end ceremony, the winners of each category will be awarded the
Automan Car of Year Award in its class.
www.automanweb.com

TWOWheels |

Harley-Davidson Street 750 Exclusive

Streetfighter!
Its still a year away before it reaches export markets like the Middle East, but Harley-Davidsons
all-new India-built Street 750 has been created with a purpose. Automan is among the first few
publications in the world to bring you this exclusive first ride report from the country of its origin
Author: Faisal Khan

he Street 750 and its smaller sibling the Street


500 were first showcased at the Delhi Expo in
January 2014 and represent a new genre of
all-new Harley-Davidson models in 13 years.
The Street 750/500 will be built in Haryana,
India and Kansas City, USA. The India-made bike will also
be sold in Asia, Europe and Middle East.
The tester supplied for this report was among the first
pre-production dealer demo models to be offered to
select journalists and hence not expected to be 100 per
cent perfect. We began the exercise with an open mind
and did expect some niggles here and there. Whatever
the shortcomings, we expect them to be resolved by the
time the customer models are ready for delivery in June.
To get a better perspective, we have benchmarked the
Street 750 against the CBU [completely built up] units
that the brand sells in India. This was done deliberately as
we were keen to see H-Ds global manufacturing prowess
when it comes to building bikes outside home territory.
As the first completely new motorcycle added to Harleys
line-up in, one begs to ask, what exactly is the Street
750/500? Is it a smaller variant with modern take from
the existing family of air-cooled V-twin engine machines
or a retro take on the liquid-cooled V-Rod which was
introduced with the new Porsche designed Revolution X
engine?
At first glance, we think after examining the bike closely
its a bit of both. The frame of the bike is made of steel
tubes and since it is a cruiser, it is also low. In its profile,
HD has tried to inculcate traditional styling cues from

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TWOWheels |

Harley-Davidson Street 750 Exclusive

the 883/Sportster Lo Rider upfront with


some styling influences from the V-Rods at
the rear. As a result, it looks like a hybrid
of sorts, but communicates clearly that its
from the family of cruisers with its cruiserfriendly 1,534mm wheelbase. The front
takes cues from the Night Rod especially in
the headlamp with its cafe style fairing and
stubby mudguard. Instrumentation is typical
Sportster influenced, and the speedometer
pod sits above the headlamp. Its a mix of
analog and digital systems and offers various
bits of information like gear positioning, trip
meter, reserve fuel indicator, low oil pressure,
engine diagnostics among others. The fuel
tank is classical Harley teardrop inspired with
a lockable and offset filler cap and it also gets
a horizontal character line. We like the way
the narrow rear end of the fuel tank flows
smoothly into a wide saddle seat. The riding
stance is good for average height Indian rider,
but taller riders may not find it ergonomically
perfect for their liking.
The bikes liquid-cooled 749cc 60V-twin uses
four valves per cylinder and gets chain driven
single overhead camshafts. Engine sits tightly
in the frame, very much like that in the V-Rod
which suggests centralized mass with low
centre of gravity for better handling. Instead
of using two separate silencers, to save some
weight both exhaust pipes are rolled-into-one.
The unitized construction of the engine also
hosts the six-speed gearbox. Final drive is by
belt and engine output and torque is a bit of
guess work due to absence of official figures.
We think it should be good for 56-60hp and
6.62kgm of torque at 4,000rpm.
In terms of suspension, the arrangement is
conventional with hydraulic shock absorbers
up front and swing arm with dual shocks at
the rear. The front forks come with rubber
boots to protect them, quite apt for Indias
rugged and dusty conditions. The tail end of
the bike is squat and the mudguard is broad
to accommodate fat 170/50 R15 tyre. Braking
is via a pair of single, ventilated discs at both
ends and ABS is not offered on this set-up.
Daytime running lights is standard, but while
the mirrors are small and dont offer a clear
view of whats behind.
While the profile and features are acceptable
in the Street 750 as a whole, however, on
closer scrutiny, the fine print details begin
to emerge. At this stage, to be fair, we will

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classify them as pre-production niggles.


Surprisingly, there are glaring examples of
cost cutting, something you would usually
see in a budget priced bike and not in a
branded bike of this calibre. Theres evidence
of shoddy welding on the frame, exposed
wiring and even the paint work didnt appear
to be top notch as you see in other models in
the line-up. In a Harley, you dont expect to
see exposed wires hanging out perilously in
awkward places. While most of the wires in
the harness are heat wrapped, the wire leads
to the brake switch and horn were hopelessly
exposed. And then there are some other
causes to worry about besides the cheap and
flimsy plastic indicators and switchgear.
As part of the running gear, H-D India is
outsourcing some components particularly
brakes and suspension -- from domestic
suppliers. We have no issues with that but
an alarm bell rings when you begin to know
where its coming from. A particular supplier,
called Endurance, whose quality has been
questioned by other India bike manufacturers
like Bajaj Auto, is supplying brakes and fork
components. This to us represents cost
cutting to a new level and perhaps at the
cost of safety later. Cost cutting is evident
elsewhere too. Can you believe it that the
footpegs dont have return springs and when
you ride the Street 750. The overall build
quality of the tester, we are sure, if compared
with H-Ds own standards would not fare so
well, at this stage.
Attention to detail has been a shortcoming
so far and we think this is where H-D
manufacturing and quality control needs to
put their foot down and bring it on par with
the other merchandise.

Riding impressions
Electric start the 749cc, liquid-cooled engine
which settles into an unrefined idle. Like the
pushrod engines, theres a lot of mechanical
chatting. Acceleration response to throttle
response is good as the torque spread is well
laid out. The engine has decent pep lower
down with a stupendous mid-range, it pulls
the Street 750 to triple digit speeds in a jiffy.
In fact, performance from this V-Twin motor
is the best part of this bike. First gear is good
enough for 55 km/hr and the 6-speed gearbox
is relatively smooth but finding neutrals is

The Harley-Davidson
Street 750 is a bike
made to a price. It
does offer strong
performance and
a good ride quality
but as a package,
it has quite a few
shortcoming which
are difficult to
ignore.

close to impossible (no false neutrals but


when parking neutral is difficult to get). The
Street 750 returns a fuel mileage of 20-25
km/l, which is good for a bike of this weight
and engine size.
The Street 750 doesnt sound like a typical
push rod engine Harley. While the company
has tried to give it the same vocals through
acoustic management, it lacks the punch
of other Harley bikes. The exhaust note is
subdued and perhaps high performance
Screaming Eagle Stage I or Stage II kits
may do the intended job. However in spite
of its 218kg weight, the Street 750 is quite
agile and easy to ride in the city, being very
nimble on its feet. The steering is light and
handling is good too with the bike being
stable through long sweepers. The tester
had hard compound tyres, which lacked grip
though and prevent the rider from taking
tight corners.
The ride quality is very good and the Street
750 absorbs most of the bumps in its stride.
The seating is upright with a wide handlebar
making the ergonomics good for short riders.
However both the brakes are poor, they lack
initial bite altogether (cost cutting on the
braking system becomes evident) and with
so much performance on tap, there isnt
stopping power to match. At this price, ABS
should have been offered, at least as an
option. The Street remains stable at speed
and with the engine not throwing out much
vibes (in spite of being a V-Twin), you can
cruise at high speed for long.

Verdict
Harley-Davidson has taken its traditional
cruiser design, endowed it with modern
powertrain engineering and downsized
the package to suit the specific market
requirements, and at some point in its
lifecycle, it is obvious that pricing will play a
key role too. The American motorcycle brand
is banking heavily on the Street 750/500
series to attract a new genre of customers to
the brand. Right now, it needs to sort out the
production related niggles and move forward
while balancing the pricing and qualitative
issues.

MAY 2014

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71

PREVIEW |
Ferrari 458 Speciale

Trendsetting is something Ferrari is pretty good at be it for track or road going cars. Ferrari engineering has proved time and time again
that lessons learnt from track racing can successfully be adopted and applied in road going cars. Actually, no one in say Formula One till
now has said with a straight face that this form of racing has actually benefited road cars. And this is one of the key strengths that helps
keep Ferrari on top of its game.
Living proof now comes in the form of the 458 Speciale which was introduced in Oman last month. In this instance, Ferrari takes powertrain,
aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics from the already exceptional 458 Italia and gives them a work out befitting the Speciale moniker.
The result is a completely new, uncompromising, streamlined sports car concept.
Many of the sophisticated solutions being applied for the very first time to an in-range car in the 458 Speciale, including its advanced
active aerodynamics, will become a standard feature of all new Ferraris in the future.
Flanked in the Maranello marques range by the multi-award-winning 458 Italia and 458 Spider, the new mid-rear-engined V8 berlinetta
was designed to boost both performance and driving emotion to unprecedented levels, yet simultaneously guarantee smooth, effortless
control in all kinds of situations.
Having lavished meticulous attention on the power unit that was named Best Performance Engine at the International Engine of the
Year Awards for two consecutive years, Ferrari has now built its most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever (605 cv) with an extraordinary
specific power output of 135 cv/l , the highest ever achieved by a road-going naturally aspirated engine.
Thanks to an equally exceptional weight/power ratio of just 2.13 kg/cv, the 458 Speciale can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 3.0
seconds (0-200 km/h in 9.1 seconds) and also clocked a lap time of just 1:23.5 at the Fiorano Circuit.

The 458 Speciale is the latest product of Ferraris


core philosophy of extreme technological
innovation and research
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MAY 2014

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73

PREVIEW |
Ferrari 458 Speciale

Aerodynamic requirements guided the work of the Ferrari Styling Centre, which led the project in cooperation with Pininfarina, to sculpt
the cars forms to ensure they were more performance-oriented than ever. The most notable features in this sense are the front and rear
movable aerodynamics which balance downforce and cut drag, thus helping make the 458 Speciale the most aerodynamically efficient
range production car in Ferrari history (E Index of 1.5).
The technology used in the vehicle dynamics subsystems which gives the driver instant confidence and control at high speeds, natural
power oversteer management and precise response to commands are further advances in an area in which Ferrari is already a wellestablished leader.
One of the most innovative features of the 458 Speciale is the Side Slip angle Control system (SSC) which makes it easier to achieve car
control on the limit, thereby greatly improving driving emotions. Thanks to the development of an accurate new algorithm SSC performs
instant-to-instant analysis of the cars side slip, comparing it with the target value and then optimising both torque management (via
integration with F1- Trac traction control) and torque distribution between the two wheels (via integration with the E-Diff electronic
differential).
Part and parcel of the cars development included Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres which were specifically honed for it in an intensive
collaboration programme involving, amongst other factors, numerous track test and simulator sessions. Conceived for the 458 Speciale,
they boost performance over a single lap in the dry as well as improving performance consistency in subsequent laps. They also allow the
car to avail of maximum available grip in the wet.
The above-mentioned technical content has improved the 458 Speciales single lap time and also delivers repeatability of that performance
on subsequent laps that is absolutely unprecedented for a car not designed exclusively for track use. The result is that the 458 Speciale
has the fastest response time (0.060 s) and highest lateral acceleration (1.33 g) ever achieved by a car in the Prancing Horse range.

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MAY 2014

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75

MOTORSPORTS |

HAMILTON LEADS MERCEDES ONE-TWO AT Sakhir

Designed for extra kilometres*


at no extra cost
* Comparison between a standard fuel and that same standard fuel containing our fuel economy formula.
Actual benefits may vary according to vehicle, driving conditions and driving style.

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ewis Hamilton led Nico Rosberg


to a dominant Mercedes onetwo tonight in the most exciting and
most memorable Formula One Gulf
Air Bahrain Grand Prix ever held at
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in
Sakhir.
The landmark 10th edition of the
Kingdoms Formula One race certainly
lived up to the hype as the top flights
greatest drivers put on a spectacular
show over an eventful and hugely
exciting 57 laps, held for the very first
time under floodlights at The Home
of Motorsport in the Middle East.
Following the conclusion of the 2014
Bahrain Grand Prix, BIC Chairman
Zayed R. Alzayani said: I would first
like to congratulate Lewis Hamilton
and the Mercedes team on an
outstanding victory today, in the most
exciting race ever seen at the BIC,
bringing a fitting end to a momentous
10th anniversary weekend at Bahrain
International Circuit.
Today, we attracted a record
crowd of 31,000, our highest ever
attendance for a single day and I am
delighted that the crowd was suitably
rewarded with a phenomenal display
of racing..
Bahrains first-ever night race
attracted the biggest ever single
day crowd at BIC, with the Main
Grandstand and corporate boxes all
sold out. The 31,000 crowd for Sunday
bettered the 28,000 from last year,
while the total 85,000 over three days

dwarfed the 73,000 total of 2013.


Hamilton crossed the finish line the
winner as BIC Chief Executive Shaikh
Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa waved the
chequered flag, with teammate
Rosberg trailing by a mere 1.085
seconds following a heated battle for
the lead over the final 10 laps.
An impressive display of fireworks
then brightened up the night sky over
the spectacularly lit desert circuit as
Hamilton stepped out of his Mercedes
W05 cheered on by the thousands of
fans in attendance.
Force Indias Sergio Perez joined
Hamilton and Rosberg on the podium,
leading the rest of the pack who
were nearly half-a-minute behind the
Mercedes pair.
At the podium ceremony in front of
a packed Main Grandstand, Hamilton
was presented his trophy by His Royal
Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad
Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy
Supreme Commander and First
Deputy Prime Minister.
Mercedes, being represented by
Engineering Director Aldo Costa, were
handed over their trophy as winning
constructor by Gulf Air Acting CEO
Maher Al Musallam.
Rosberg was awarded by Minister
of Transportation HE Kamal bin
Ahmed Mohammed, while Perez
was presented his prize by Bahrain
Motor Federation President HE Shaikh
Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Its great to see that we have such a

great following here, Hamilton said


after the podium presentation. I am
so grateful to the team for getting us
up here. This is my first win in Bahrain,
which is nice.
Mercedes dominance was never
more clear than when Hamilton and
Rosberg built a huge gap in front
of the rest of the field after only
the second safety car period ever in
Bahrain. With 10 laps to go and the
safety car coming in, the Mercedes
pair charged ahead and created a lead
that was nearly as long as BICs main
straight in just a single lap.
The two teammates were then
engaged in a breath-taking duel that
could have gone either way, but in
the end it was Hamilton who claimed
the win.
Perez crossed the finish line a whole
24.067 seconds behind.
It was really exciting, Hamilton
described. Nico drove fantastically
well, it was hard to keep him behind
me. I was on a real knife-edge at the
end but just managed to take it.
Rosberg, who started from pole
position but then gave up the lead
to his teammate at the first turn,
commented: I strongly dislike
coming second to Lewis, I have to say
that, but it was definitely the most
exciting race I have ever raced in my
whole career.
I think today was a day for the sport,
we put on a fantastic show and I will
be back to win here next season.

May 1st 2014 marks the 20th


anniversary of arguably F1s darkest
day, the death of Ayrton Senna in the
San Marino GP of May 1st 1994.
On a weekend already enveloped by

grief following the tragic accident of


Roland Ratzenberger in qualifying,
the sport suffered the shattering blow
of Ayrtons passing after his crash
during the race.Such was the depth

of feeling Ayrton generated, and the


presence he cast across Formula 1,
hearing the news of his death was a
moment that all F1 fans through that
era will never forget.

We are available online 24 hours for


your comments and suggestions.

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note the station ID.
Then log on to www.shelloman.com.om/tellshell
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MAY 2014

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77

MOTORSPORTS |

Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Im fighting with the car

Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in


Malaysia

ewis Hamilton had never won in Malaysia, until


a crushing drive in Sepang on Sunday finally
rectified that after an eight-year quest. The 2008
world champion was never troubled, taking the
lead from pole position at the start and calmly
controlling the race from Mercedes team mate
Nico Rosberg, who eventually finished 17.3s adrift
in second. Hamilton also added fastest lap to
round off a near perfect weekend.
The Silver Arrows one-two enabled Rosberg to
retain his championship lead, but Hamilton now
jumps up to second, 18 points adrift.
Sebastian Vettel also got his title defence off the
ground, but was a beaten third, 24.5s behind
Hamilton. The Red Bull driver challenged Rosberg
very closely on one occasion and got within a

second around the 34-lap mark, but dropped back


after his fellow German repelled him, and later had
to ease up to save fuel. Nevertheless, he received
15 points for his afternoons work.
Daniel Ricciardo should have followed Vettel home
having got the better of a wheel-to-wheel battle
with his team leader early on, just after the world
champion had unsuccessfully tried to defend his
second place off the line from the fast-starting
Rosberg. But the Australian had dropped back
nearly 10s when his race completely fell apart
during what should have been his final stop on the
40th lap.
The left front wheel on his RB10 was improperly
secured, and after being wheeled back to the Red
Bull garage to have that rectified he was given a

10s stop and go penalty for an unsafe release. As if


that wasnt bad enough, in between that fumbled
stop and the subsequent enforced one that he had
to make, Ricciardo needed another after one trip
too many over the Turn 14 kerb damaged his front
wing and led to a problem with the right front
tyre.
Ferraris Fernando Alonso was 11.4s behind Vettel
at the chequered flag, having clawed back past
Nico Hulkenbergs Force India in the closing
stages. Where all of the leading runners opted
for three pit stops, Hulkenberg went for two and
though he couldnt quite hold off Alonso, he was
able to finish a bold fifth.

Doubts raised about new Concorde Agreement

n 2001 the FIA gave undertakings to the


European Commission about its commercial
and regulatory role in the Formula One World
Championship. The agreement between the
FIA and the Brussels Competition Directorate
General was published in the Commissions Official
Journal on the June 13 2001. The Commissions
notice confirms that the FIA agreed to modify its
arrangements to establish a complete separation
of the commercial and regulatory functions in
relation to the Formula One World Championship
and the FIA World Rally Championship where
new agreements are proposed which place the
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MAY 2014

commercial exploitation of these championships


at arms-length. The Commission also noted that
the FIA would improve transparency of decisionmaking and appeals procedures, and to create
greater accountability.

and especially formula one is a particularly complex


technical activity requiring important investments
in technological research and development it is
indispensable for all participants to agree on the
way the series are organised.

The document went onto to explain that the


separation of commercial and regulatory functions
would be achieved by using arms-length
commercial agreements which will provide for
fixed payments to FIA. These fixed fees would pay
for the FIAs fulfilment of its regulatory duties. The
Commission also commented that; As motor sport

More than a decade later the FIA has accepted


a new Concorde Agreement in which both the
Federation and the smaller teams can be out voted
in the F1 Strategy Group. This is what happened
at the recent meeting in Bahrain where the FIA
found it impossible to introduce a cost cap strongly
supported by the smaller teams. By accepting a

or the first time since 2012, Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel


has been bested by his team mate in two consecutive
races. But why did the world champion seem to struggle so
much in Sundays Grand Prix in China? After the race Vettel
explained all to reporters
Q: Sebastian, looking at your start it seemed like you got
away very well, but what happened then?
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, I think I had the best start of the first
three cars, but of course it was not enough to catch Lewis
(Hamilton). Then it became difficult in the first stint, as Lewis
pulled away quite fast and I did not have any slipstream.
Luckily I could stay ahead of Fernando (Alonso) in the
beginning. Then probably I came in for my first pit stop a lap
too late, but looking at the result it would not have made a
big difference. During the race I just did not have the grip
to keep up with Fernando, as on the long back straight the
DRS zone only begins somewhere close to the middle of it,
and up until that point the Ferrari just pulled away and then
there was no chance to get close enough again to attempt
to overtake. Overall there was not a lot more that I could do
than P5, as the gaps were just too big to the frontrunners. I
could have maybe saved two, or even three seconds in total
if I avoided fighting for position with Nico (Rosberg) but still
the result would have been exactly the same in my opinion.
Q: No driver likes to move over for his team mate - and you
dont have a history for doing that. So did you move over for
Daniel Ricciardo or did you just run wide?
SV: I did move over. Although initially I did not understand
why (I had to) because we were on the same tyres, unlike in
Bahrain, and that was also the reason why I double-checked
when I got the call from the pit wall. At that point Daniel
(Ricciardo) was on a different strategy, and I realised that
I had to move over, as there was no point of holding him
back with him having a two-stop strategy. At that point in
time I was still on a three-stop, which we changed later on,
also to a two-stop strategy. Towards the end of the race I
also realized that I did not have the pace, which was not
really clear to me at that earlier stage, and which you could
see in the result of me having a 24 second gap. I was even
happy to keep the distance to Nico (Hulkenberg), and not
lose another position.
Q: How is it for you to drive in a car that you do not feel too
comfortable in?

Ferrari aims to be second-best


2014 team

decision-making process that can be dominated


by an alliance between the larger teams and the
commercial rights holder the FIA appears to have
weakened its regulatory power.
Despite this seemingly emasculated role are
there other advantages for the FIA from the new
Concorde Agreement? From an income point of
view surely the answer is yes. In addition to fixed
regulatory fees worth 14.8 million each year, the
FIA has the option to buy, for a price of 460,000
US$ (nominal value), 1% of the shares and loan
notes of Delta Topco (the estimated market value
of which is approximately $70m) if and when CVC
decides to sell.

SV: Well, I am not yet where I want to be, and Im pretty


much fighting with the car. It is an ongoing process.
Sometimes it feels that we are making one step forward,
but then also one backward again. Hopefully we are able to
make some steps into the right direction for the upcoming
races. In general, I am not unhappy about the result today, I
am unhappier about the condition that we are in.
Q: How much are you pinning your hopes on the upgrades
that are coming at upcoming races?
SV: Obviously we know where our main weaknesses are, and
this is not in the corners (laughs). At the beginning of this
race I did not have a chance to overtake Fernando (Alonso)
and this is why I decided to drop back. What happened next
I do not know, and I do not fully understand yet. I was very
slow on the prime tyres.
Q: How do you see your championship chances for this year?
SV: For sure not easy - definitely not a walk in the park as
we still cannot think about catching up with Mercedes. Then
again, the season is not over - at least I have not heard that
yet - so we are still facing a long year. So anything should be
possible - still! The truth is that we have a great car, and now
we need to work on the upgrades and implement them in
the best possible way to make sure we get more power out
of the engine.

fter experiencing their least competitive


showing of the season in Bahrain, Ferraris
engineering director Pat Fry has said that
the teams short-term priority is to establish
themselves as the second-best team in F1 racing
- not to catch runaway championship leaders
Mercedes. Following the race in Sakhir, in which
Frnando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen claimed ninth
and tenth places respectively, the Italian team
undertook a detailed evaluation of their F14 T in a
bid to extract more speed from a car it was hoped

would challenge for the world title.


Since the Bahrain race, its been a very busy
time for us, as we examined all areas of car
performance from the power unit to suspension
configurations and aerodynamic improvements,
Fry said in an interview on Ferraris website.
We are naturally working as hard as we can on
closing the gap to the top teams, with Mercedes
having a reasonable lead over the rest of the field.
MAY 2014

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79

ChicaneOpinion |

Techno
Evolution,
or is it a
Revolution?

Its a brave new world out there. Everywhere you turn, you meet the new unknown. What was familiar and
proven to you is now replaced by scrum of electronic chips, flashing lights and some form of automaton.
And you havent even been transported into the unnerving world described by Aldous Huxley in his iconic
Brave New World.
There is a joke that has is almost as outdated as Huxley himself, which goes that if you want your VCR
programmed you need to ask your seven year old. I am old enough to have used a VCR (Video Cassette
Recorder for the uninitiated) and savvy enough to have known how to program one. But the conundrum
continues with the passing of the VCR into the age of not just hard disk based storage but the move to shift
all your data into the cloud. Now your seven year old will tell you how to get on to the cloud.
This rapid pace of technology presents its own challenges to us as consumers, even if we are relatively clued
in at what point do you throw out your PS3 for the PS4? Do you spend RO 20 more for an air-conditioner
that can sense when you are in the room? When is it worthwhile to buy an Ultra-high definition television?
And does the move to having concave viewing surfaces mean that you have travelled full-circle in a way from
the day of the convex cathode ray tubes?
Over the past month, I have also repeatedly come face to face with the tech advance in automobilia. Lets
see, the days of the around-view monitor and blind spot indicator seem to be almost an age old. The current
generation of AVM is so realistic that it looks like there is a camera tower on top of the car. And BLIS has
stopped being a complete pain by going off only when the car in the blind spot is actually in the blind spot.
However, as I mentioned, these are yesterdays news. Now four cars in a week of testing had advanced cruise
control with braking to a complete halt, three had the ability to tell you if you wandered from your lane, with
the Jeep Cherokee acting as if it would steer you back, while the Infiniti Q50 actually steered quite nicely (as
long as the road gently meandered and didnt turn). The Q50 even had the worlds first production drive by
wire steering ayout.
This comes complete with two independent motors for the front wheels and a feedback motor for the
steering itself, just to dial in feedback and avoid the steering from coming across as a PlayStation controller.
Of course the obvious questions are then, why only three settings for feedback intensity? Why not go the
whole hog and allow us to dial in both force and ratio? And at what point does it become dangerous?
Of course technology also is present in things like the new Hybrid drive systems (on the Q50) or the newer

Raj Warrior is editor of Automan and has been in the


thick of the Automotive journalism field from the past
15 years.

generation of terrain response controller on the Jeep Cherokee or the Porsche Macan. Indeed in all this
clutter, the new Genesis almost seems plain Jane with its cabin comfort biased features. But then this
technology brings with it the challenge of how best to use it. My seven year old can drive a better race on
the PlayStation than I can largely because I cannot accept the lack of feedback on the controller. So while
I would want my cars feedback to be as realistic as possible, while my kids would accept any old steering.

Want to comment or have your say?


Email at raj@alroya.net.
Identify yourself or your message will be trashed and
your id blocked

At some point, all this technology is going to reach the magic Eureka moment where society, designers and
governments will either say, lets allow autonomous cars or will do a U turn and say stop. Just because
the Q50 now has two touch screens, does it have to allow your facebook feed as another means to distract
the driver? On the other hand, isnt technology really nice when you use the feed to your front camera and
radar to see what the car two cars ahead of you is doing? Or use the camera to add a new dimension to
around view by showing you what the road or terrain is like under your cars hood, very useful to avoid rocks
or potholes? Take your choice evolve or be part of a revolution? The choice is yours. It is indeed a brave
new world.

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