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with all-new 2014 Ghibli

MaSerati on the offenSive

bonuS previewS

alfieri

Maserati

intrada

hyundai

t roc

Volkswagen

650s

Mclaren

c1

citroen

uae

in

suVs

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now, the region’s Best Automotive resource

April 2014 Issue no 152

14

YEARS

2014
2014
Automotive resource April 2014 Issue no 152 14 YEARS 2014 ME Exclusive! 2014 Datsun GO driven
Automotive resource April 2014 Issue no 152 14 YEARS 2014 ME Exclusive! 2014 Datsun GO driven
Automotive resource April 2014 Issue no 152 14 YEARS 2014 ME Exclusive! 2014 Datsun GO driven
Automotive resource April 2014 Issue no 152 14 YEARS 2014 ME Exclusive! 2014 Datsun GO driven
ME Exclusive! 2014 Datsun GO
ME Exclusive!
2014 Datsun
GO
driven in thiS Xts iSSue 2014 cadillac PlatinuM VsPort 2014 cheVy caMaro zl1 2014 kia
driven
in
thiS
Xts iSSue
2014
cadillac
PlatinuM
VsPort
2014
cheVy
caMaro
zl1
2014
kia
soul
discoVer
2014
with
Mercedes-Benz
zl1 2014 kia soul discoVer 2014 with Mercedes-Benz 2014 Geneva auto Salon : Behind the scenes
zl1 2014 kia soul discoVer 2014 with Mercedes-Benz 2014 Geneva auto Salon : Behind the scenes

2014 Geneva auto Salon : Behind the scenes and our analysis

Cover material shows here
Cover material shows here
COVE r story | Maserati Ghibli With this new model, the Italian brand has Germans
COVE r story | Maserati Ghibli With this new model, the Italian brand has Germans
COVE r story | Maserati Ghibli With this new model, the Italian brand has Germans
COVE r story |
Maserati Ghibli
With this new model,
the Italian brand has
Germans sedans in sight
18
18
first drive | 2014 Kia Soul Second generation CUV has been refined with quality lifestyle
first drive |
2014 Kia Soul
Second generation CUV has
been refined with quality
lifestyle trappings inside out
44
36
36
drive | 2014 Kia Soul Second generation CUV has been refined with quality lifestyle trappings inside
40
40
drive | 2014 Kia Soul Second generation CUV has been refined with quality lifestyle trappings inside
54
54
drive | 2014 Kia Soul Second generation CUV has been refined with quality lifestyle trappings inside

in this issue

CONtENt MEtEr

cover story

18-24

2014 maserato ghilbi

44-49

2014 kia soul

NEXt issUE 2014 MErCEdEs- bENz C-Class
NEXt issUE
2014 MErCEdEs-
bENz C-Class
2014 kia soul NEXt issUE 2014 MErCEdEs- bENz C-Class oman and regional news 6 - 1

oman and regional news

6-13 2014 shell super mileage Challenge held in oman, 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 muni Cipality 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

brandwatch

14-17 nissan ChieF supports unusual approaCh with 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 kaká are hyundai’s FiFa brand ambassabors,

top regional exeCutive appointments at bentley, gerry dorizas Joins gm From vw india

cars,

Star production

motorcycles, stunning

and more @

2014 Geneva Auto Salon

concepts

26
26
cars, Star production motorcycles, stunning a n d m o r e @ 2014 Geneva Auto
m o r e @ 2014 Geneva Auto Salon concepts 26 international news 2 6 -

international news

26-35 2014 geneva motor show report

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

motorsports

76-79 Formula one, regional happenings, uae desert Challenge, wrC

80 chicane

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

editor-in-chief Mohammad Al taie 2014 AL roYA PreSS & PUBLi ShinG Po Box: 343, Postal
editor-in-chief
Mohammad Al taie
2014
AL
roYA PreSS & PUBLi ShinG
Po Box: 343, Postal code 118
Al harthy complex
Sultanate of oman
email: automan@alroya.net
Website: www.automan.me
Editorial office:
tel: +968 24479888 extn 300, fax: +968 24479889
distribution:
there is no argument to the premise that automobiles are as much about the
product that you buy, as they are linked to the brand, country of manufacture
and the subliminal message that they convey. it is almost automatically
assumed that if a car drives past you with two-doors, two seats and an open
roof, it has to be an expensive sports car, its owner has to be rich and the
lady sitting shotgun is the lucky wife. unless of course if the lady is to drive,
then we would be challenged for assumptions. no, we aren’t trying to be
sexist - quite to the contrary!
tel: +968 24490386, fax: +968 24121045
Subscription:
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PUBLiSher
hatim Al taie
hatim@alroya.net
editor & GM
raj Warrior
raj@alroya.net
As carmakers look further afield for customers, it is time to push the barrier
of generalisations. Just because a car is big, it doesn’t become a man’s car
and for heaven’s sake would manufacturers stop putting colours that seem
to have come out of a salad recipe on a car, just so that it appeals to a lady
(or one’s feminine side). what is at stake here is our society’s insistence on
putting people into convenient slots - from our cradles where boys get blue
and girls pink.
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
oddly enough we had a conversation with Ferrari’s product development
team reecntly, where we put the premise that the rapid styling change to
the Ferrari California t was largely in response to a demand that it look more
masculine. the discussion rolled on, but the message that came through was
that the brand primarily catered to males, with the occasional female buying
any of their cars - not just the California. is it fair to say that our hormonal mix
would influence our choice of cars? Or is it just that women are more rational
in their purchasing?
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
again as brands look for newer buyers to increase volumes, long held views
on gender, country and race are changing. Some of the most affluent and
emphatic buyers are from countries that were long associated with economy.
that’s not true anymore - and even a brand like maserati has moved into
a segment better suited to tapping this huge market that is looking for an
entry into the italian brand’s cachet. it is on the back of this that the brand is
targeting a volume of 50,000 units a year in 2015. that is a challenging target
and needs so many traditional german brand buyers to shift allegiance.
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
in addition to the ghibli, that is meant to drive this trend, we are choc-a-bloc
with stories, news and reviews that make us the best automotive read in the
region – that’s one perception we can endorse.
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
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Oman & region

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O m a n & r e g i o n news third GENEratiON all-NEw MiNi

third GENEratiON all-NEw MiNi hatChbaCk laUNChEd iN rEGiON

S porting classic MINI proportions and an instantly familiar design that’s packed with character, the incoming model is completely

new from the ground up and MINI claims that every component has been back to the drawing board in an effort to optimise its function, performance and style. However, the car is dimensionally different -- it is 3,821mm long (MINI Cooper S is 3,850mm), 1,727mm wide and 1,414mm tall. These measurements make it 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been extended by 28mm, while the track width has been en- larged at the front by 42mm and at the rear by 34mm. Besides the dimensional changes, the new car sports traditional design cues such as the hexagonal contour of the radiator grille, circular headlights, ‘side scuttle’ indicator surrounds, upright rear light clusters and black lower body edging have all been subtly rein- terpreted. The interiors have been extensively revisited.

6

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april 2014

Contrary to popular thinking about the new MINIs using co-devel- oped engines like in the past [BMW and PSA worked together to create the “Prince” line of 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder engines], the engines in the new MINI’s have been developed by BMW independently as part its own scalable engine architecture for three, four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. And for the first time, the MINI Cooper and Cooper S variants will be available with a choice of two turbo- charged engines – a 136hp 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 192hp 2.0-li- tre four-cylinder in conjunction with six-speed automatic gearbox. The car’s suspension set-up has also been designed with flexibility in mind through the new Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) set-up option which actually lets the driver control the stiffness of the suspension. The regional launch took place in Dubai. Prices in UAE begin at AED140,000 and tops out at AED 170,000.

POrsC h E MaCaN sUV arri VEs iN OMaN iN stylE
POrsC
h E MaCaN
sUV arri
VEs iN
OMaN
iN stylE
POrsC h E MaCaN sUV arri VEs iN OMaN iN stylE 8 www.automanweb.com april 2014 P
POrsC h E MaCaN sUV arri VEs iN OMaN iN stylE 8 www.automanweb.com april 2014 P
POrsC h E MaCaN sUV arri VEs iN OMaN iN stylE 8 www.automanweb.com april 2014 P
POrsC h E MaCaN sUV arri VEs iN OMaN iN stylE 8 www.automanweb.com april 2014 P
POrsC h E MaCaN sUV arri VEs iN OMaN iN stylE 8 www.automanweb.com april 2014 P

8

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april 2014

P orsche’s fifth model line, the Macan sports SUV, was launched in style under

the theme “Life, intensified” to a packed audience at the Al Bustan Hotel last month. Christer Ekberg, managing director of Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE attended the car’s launch. “With first deliveries of the all-new Macan starting on April 12, Porsche will launch a world first and enter a new segment. I have no doubt that this car will be another sauccess for Porsche, with the

long-term commitment and intensive efforts of our local Porsche Centre here in Oman,” said Ekberg. Poised to set new standards in driving dynamics and enjoyment, both on and off the road, many elements in the Macan SUV’s design and performance have been inspired by the brand’s sports cars, including the 911 and the 918 Spyder. Three derivatives are available at Porsche Centre Oman for order: Macan S, Macan S Diesel and Macan Turbo. The Macan S is equipped with a 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine, delivering 340 hp and also features an active all-wheel drive with an electronically controlled, map- controlled multi-plate clutch. This all-wheel drive is fitted on all Macan models. From the outset the Macan boasts the recently

developed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK), which transfers power as required and almost free of interruption in tractive force. This enables the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2secs, when equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package, and reaches a top speed of 254km/h. The Macan S Diesel is the economical long-distance runner of the three Macan models. Its 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine achieves NEDC fuel consumption figures of between just 6.3 and 6.1 litres/100 km. The diesel variant accelerates from 0 to 100 km in just 6.1 seconds, when fitted with the Sport Chrono package, thanks to its 245- hp engine. It achieves a top speed of 230 km/h. The Macan Turbo takes the top spot in the model series and is set to be the most powerful petrol-powered vehicle in the compact SUV segment. The car is powered by a 3.6-litre V6 biturbo engine offering an unrivalled 400hp and catapults the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds (with Sport Chrono package), reaching a top speed of 266km/h. The basic retail prices of the Macan S, S Diesel and Turbo in Oman are OMR26,500, OMR26,100 and OMR36,600 respectively.

M ErCEd PUt tO th
M ErCEd
PUt tO th

Es s

UVs
UVs

E tEst

M ErCEd PUt tO th Es s UVs E tEst as Part Of braNd EVENt M

as Part Of braNd EVENt

M ErCEd PUt tO th Es s UVs E tEst as Part Of braNd EVENt M
M ErCEd PUt tO th Es s UVs E tEst as Part Of braNd EVENt M
M ErCEd PUt tO th Es s UVs E tEst as Part Of braNd EVENt M

M ercedes-Benz

tO th Es s UVs E tEst as Part Of braNd EVENt M ercedes-Benz is super

is super confident with its SUV line-up in the

Middle East for 2014 as the brand witnessed record sales

in 2013. As part of its season’s opener, Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant offices once again organized a regional SUV event in Dubai under the ‘Discover 2014’ tag. In different themed situations, the well-attended event permitted participants to discover the versatility, capability and luxury elements of the SUVs including AMG variants ranging from the entry level GLK right up to the Gelanderwagen ‘G’ Class. The action part of the event took participants both on- and off-road and exercise culminating with

drag races at Dubai Autodrome. Commenting at the event, Dirk Fetzer, director, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant said: “Our range of unrivalled luxury off-roaders offer a stable of powerful, attractive, capable, versatile and intelligent SUVs that appeal to the lifestyles of a new generation of regional customers: Customers who question convention and seek only the very best. With so much to experience and enjoy in the Middle East, Mercedes-Benz resolutely delivers on its promise to live the life.”

have in Common? april 2014 www.automanweb.com 9
have in Common?
april 2014
www.automanweb.com
9
laNd rOVEr aNd EXtr EME sailiNG sEri Es aCt ii thrill OMaN r EsidENts
laNd rOVEr
aNd EXtr
EME
sailiNG
sEri Es aCt
ii
thrill OMaN
r EsidENts
EXtr EME sailiNG sEri Es aCt ii thrill OMaN r EsidENts L ast month, Land Rover
EXtr EME sailiNG sEri Es aCt ii thrill OMaN r EsidENts L ast month, Land Rover
EXtr EME sailiNG sEri Es aCt ii thrill OMaN r EsidENts L ast month, Land Rover

L ast month, Land Rover Oman was very much at the heart

of world-class sailing action in the waters off Muscat. The

premium British car brand hosted the award-winning Extreme

Sailing Series™ as global series main partner. In the three-day event, eleven of the world’s very best professional sailing teams were racing ‘Stadium Style’ in high-performance Extreme 40 catamarans. “It has been an absolute honour for Land Rover Oman to be hosting the Extreme Sailing Series™ at the second Act of out of a total of eight on the global tour this year,” said Rob Preston, regional customer services director for Land Rover MENAP Region. “To see these world class teams racing with the stunning backdrop of Muscat is a sight to behold. We very much

look forward to welcoming the Series back next year and wish all the elite teams the very best of luck for the next Act in Qingdao, China at the beginning of May.” David Aziz, CEO- Automotive, MHD LLC said: “It was an amazing experience for us as well as our

customers and members of the media who spared their time to go sailing on the Land Rover Extreme 40. We hope to make it a bigger event next year with additional Land Rover Experiential activities added on”. On the final day, just four points separated the top four boats, with The Wave, Muscat, SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand all within grasp of the top spot on the podium. But it was the local Omani team, The Wave, Muscat, who snatched the victory, dominating the final race and pushing Emirates Team New Zealand into second place and the Swiss team, Alinghi into third. Now in its seventh season, the Extreme Sailing Series™ is an award-winning and adrenaline-fueled global Stadium Racing series competed on Extreme 40 catamarans. The circuit is one of only five global sailing events that are endorsed by the International Sailing Federation, including the America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the World Match Racing Tour and the PWA World Tour.

NEw COMPaCts frOM MitsUbishi iNtrOdUCEd iN OMaN

G eneral Automotive Company, the official dealer for MitsubishiinOmanintroducedtheallnewMiragehatchback

and its sedan variant the Attrage. These two all new models will see the tri-diamond brand rejoining the booming subcompact market after a 19 year hiatus. The all-new Mirage is a global car developed on the concepts of high fuel efficiency, affordability and compactness. Powering the cars is an extremely efficient 1.2-litre three-cylinder DOHC engine that features the latest version of Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control

(MIVEC) variable valve-timing system that maximizes fuel efficiency and power output while greatly minimizing exhaust emissions. This engine produces 77hp and 74 lb.-ft. of torque.

Consumers have a choice between a smooth-operating 5-speed manual and an advanced continuously-variable transmission (CVT) with Idle Neutral Logic. Toshiaki Nomura-san, President of Mitsubishi Motors - Middle East and Africa said during the launch: “With the Mirage our aim was to minimize the environmental impact while maximizing driving exhilaration. The mirage easily succeeds on both counts. Compact, light and easy to drive, it delivers spirited performance at an affordable cost and class-leading fuel efficiency. Better still, it does so without compromising on power, comfort or passenger protection.”

still, it does so without compromising on power, comfort or passenger protection.” 10 www.automanweb.com april 2014

10

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april 2014

VOlkswaGEN iNtrOdUCEs ‘r’ VariaNt iN th E GOlf faM ily
VOlkswaGEN
iNtrOdUCEs
‘r’ VariaNt
iN th
E GOlf
faM
ily

V olkswagen is continuing its Golf product offensive with the flagship of

the model series - the new Volkswagen Golf R. The hot hatch is powered by a newly designed 300PS TSI engine, which is 30 PS stronger but also 18 per cent more fuel efficient than that in the previous model. Maximum torque has also increased by 30Nm to 380Nm and like all three previous Golf R models power is transferred to the road via a permanent all-wheel drive system which according to VW is the latest version of the 4MOTION system with fifth-generation Haldex coupling. Delivering pure dynamic performance are a newly configured sport suspension system [compared to the base Golf, its ride height was lowered by 20mm, which makes the Golf R 5mm lower than the GTI], the new progressive steering system and “ESC Sport” - which

can now be fully deactivated for driving on a race track. The cars heading in this region are equipped with 6-speed dual- clutch gearbox (DSG,) a Stop-Start system and battery regeneration. In addition, the Golf R will also be available with XDS+ at the front and rear axles. This active system brakes the wheels on the inside of a bend during fast driving through bends, optimising steering behaviour. In the latest version, known as XDS+, this functionality is applied to a larger range of dynamic performance. Prices in UAE begin at AED149,000 and top out at

AED169,500.

in UAE begin at AED149,000 and top out at AED169,500. MasErati Ghibli arriVEs iN OMaN E

MasErati Ghibli arriVEs iN OMaN

E ven a low weather front in Oman couldn’t dampen the spirits of Alfardan Motors

Maserati Ghibli launch programme. The latest addition to the Maserati family received a warm welcome in the Sultanate. For the uninitiated, the all-new Ghibli marks a turning point in Maserati’s history. It was first unveiled at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show and has arrived barely months after the new Quattroporte. The Ghibli gives Maserati two four-door sedan models for the first time in its history. Smaller,

shorter, lighter, more dynamic, at OMR 29,500 it is less expensive and more economical than the flagship Quattroporte. The car uses a twin turbocharged, 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine offering an output of 410hp enabling performance of 0-100km/h in 5.0secs and top speed of 285km/h. The Ghibli shares much of its core architecture, including its crash safety, chassis, suspension architecture, engines and LED headlight technology, with the larger Quattroporte, though it is 50kg lighter, 173mm shorter in the wheel base and 291mm shorter overall. Price in Oman will be around OMR29,500.

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april 2014

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11

Francois Goupil de Bouillé Mustansir Lakdawala Monal Zeidan kEy aPPOiNtMENts at NissaN aNd iNfiNiti Iraq
Francois Goupil de Bouillé
Mustansir Lakdawala
Monal Zeidan
kEy aPPOiNtMENts at
NissaN aNd iNfiNiti
Iraq and Turkey are the two new markets where Nissan seeks
to expand its operations in the region. To service the market,
Nissan Middle East has appointed Mustansir Lakdawala as deputy
managing director and director of sales and Monal Zeidan, director
of marketing, which is a newly created position in the organisation.
Zeidan will work hand-in-hand with sales, after-sales and corporate
communications to support business growth.
Meanwhile, Francois Goupil de Bouillé has been appointed Vice
President, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), for Infiniti,
effective April 1, 2014. In this role, he will be responsible for
managing Infiniti’s entire business and steering its growth plan in
this region. He succeeds Fintan Knight who has elected to pursue
interests outside of the company.

12

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april 2014

outside of the company. 12 www.automanweb.com april 2014 NEw MUltiMilliON riyal fErrari aNd MasErati sErViCE CENtrE
outside of the company. 12 www.automanweb.com april 2014 NEw MUltiMilliON riyal fErrari aNd MasErati sErViCE CENtrE

NEw MUltiMilliON riyal fErrari aNd MasErati sErViCE CENtrE OPENs iN MUsCat

Ferrari and Maserati motorcar owners in Oman can now be satisfied with the fact that Alfardan Motors, the exclusive importer of Ferrari and Maserati vehicles in Oman has opened the multimillion Omani Riyal first-of-its-kind authorized service centre in Muscat. The latest state-of-the-art 2,315sq-m facility is located in Ghala and is within three kilometres of Alfardan Sports Motors’ Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in Meydan Al Azaibah. This full climate controlled facility has been designed in accordance with the specifications and standards of Italian sports car manufacturers Ferrari S.p.A and Maserati in terms of creativity, authenticity, professionalism and luxury. The workshop has fourteen work bays and will be managed by Ferrari and Maserati factory trained personnel. The complex also hosts spare parts warehouse. More investments are planned to expand the facility with body shop, paint booths among other capabilities. During the inauguration ceremony, Omar Hussain Alfardan, President and CEO of Alfardan Group said: “Opening the Ferrari and Maserati Service Centre underlines our commitment to provide the finest service to our customers in Oman especially with the growing number of luxury car enthusiasts in the country. The opening of this new facility complements the company’s success in the luxury car market and provides us with the opportunity to serve our esteemed customers by offering them superlative after-sales service. We have worked very closely with both the iconic brands to ensure that this state-of-the- art facility reflects the highest standards expected from Ferrari and Maserati.”

MUsCat MUNiCiPality takEs dEliVEry Of yaMaha bikEs

Distributed exclusively by the Zubair Automo- tive Group in Oman since 2001, 20 units of the Yamaha SZR16 motorcycle were delivered to the Muscat Municipality Transport department by the agency. The handover ceremony was held at the Al Wadi Al Kabeer transport depot. All bikes were painted in-house at the Zubair body shop facility in the Muscat Municipality colour scheme. The SZ-R comes powered with a 153cc air cooled, 4 stroke, SOHC, 2-valve engine that produces 12hp at 7,500 rpm and 12.8Nm of torque at 4,500rpm.

with a 153cc air cooled, 4 stroke, SOHC, 2-valve engine that produces 12hp at 7,500 rpm
2014 shEll sUPEr MilEaGE ChallENGE hEld iN OMaN Six two-man teams [four competing, two non-competing]
2014 shEll sUPEr MilEaGE ChallENGE hEld iN OMaN Six two-man teams [four competing, two non-competing]
2014 shEll sUPEr MilEaGE ChallENGE hEld iN OMaN Six two-man teams [four competing, two non-competing]
2014 shEll sUPEr MilEaGE ChallENGE hEld iN OMaN Six two-man teams [four competing, two non-competing]

2014 shEll sUPEr MilEaGE ChallENGE hEld iN OMaN

Six two-man teams [four competing, two non-competing] in identical Kia Optima cars took the over 100km/h challenge in Muscat to find out the best driver performance as far a fuel efficiency goes. The mileage championship was won by Mundhir Al Minji and co-driver Mohammed Salim Ali Al Rawawi. The start/end point was the Shell service station at Burj Al Sahwa with the route taking the participants through various city and highway driving situations with mid-point at the Oman Dive Centre. Participants and marshals were briefed by Shell experts prior to the rally. All six cars were tanked up by Shell and based on the car’s fuel economy, penalty points etc, the winner was selected. Each car was accompanied by a marshal to ensure strict conformity to set rules. “We’ve always been passionate about fuel, our scientists have dedicated over 70 years to the extensive fuel research and development. It’s this passion that drives us to create new and improved fuels for better transportation. The petrol we sell in Oman has special additives that ensures clean running of the engine,” says Georgie Zachariah, retail marketing manager of Shell Oman. “With real-time events like the 2014 Shell Mileage Challenge, we are able to demonstrate the benefits of safe and efficient driving,” added Zachariah. Automan acted as the adjudicator for the event and also fielded a non-competitive team.

for the event and also fielded a non-competitive team. rEGiONal laUNCh Of fErrari CalifOrNia t iN
for the event and also fielded a non-competitive team. rEGiONal laUNCh Of fErrari CalifOrNia t iN
for the event and also fielded a non-competitive team. rEGiONal laUNCh Of fErrari CalifOrNia t iN

rEGiONal laUNCh Of fErrari CalifOrNia t iN dUbai

The regional launch of the Ferrari California T took place at the Dubai International Financial Centre, in the United Arab Emirates. The new Maranello’s “T” in the stands for “turbocharged,” which the new mantra for the V8 California. The new 3.9-litre V8 uses a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers and direct fuel injection and produces 553hp at 7,500 rpm and 557 lb-ft of torque at 4,750rpm. These figures represent bumps of 70hp and 185 lb-ft of torque over the old naturally aspirated 4.3-liter V8, with both peaks hitting lower in the rev range. The new California addition wears almost classically gorgeous sheetmetal shaped by Ferrari’s hired pens at Pininfarina.

sheetmetal shaped by Ferrari’s hired pens at Pininfarina. harlEy-daVidsON iNtrOdUCEs My14.5 MOdEls As part of its
sheetmetal shaped by Ferrari’s hired pens at Pininfarina. harlEy-daVidsON iNtrOdUCEs My14.5 MOdEls As part of its

harlEy-daVidsON iNtrOdUCEs My14.5 MOdEls

As part of its extensive product drive in its 110th year of business, Harley-Davidson has introduced three new models to the existing range of motorcycles. These additions come within weeks after the new Street 750 was revealed and launched in India and the launch of Project RUSHMORE. The mid-year release includes the retro-cool Dyna-based Low Rider, nimble SuperLow Sportster 1200T [touring] and Street Bob Special Edition. Coinciding with the Middle East introductions, Harley-Davidson Middle East and North Africa organized a two-day tour of these bikes along with stock models in Oman. The event saw riders visiting several picturesque locations in the Sultanate via motorways, country roads and locations visited included Wadi Dayqah dam, tranquil villages of Al Hijayr and Al Alya, Nakhl Fort among others.

april 2014

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13

POrsChE tO rEPlaCE dEfECtiVE 911 Gt3 ENGiNEs aNd dElay Gt3 rs laUNCh

S even hundred eighty four owners of the 2014 Porsche GT3 including BBC Top Gear pre-

senter Richard Hammond can now be relieved of

a possible fire risk agony. Owners worldwide of

this US$131,000-191,000 supercar have been living

in fear after two 911 GT3s were gutted in Switzer-

land and Italy after their engines apparently self ignited resulting in the car bursting into flames. Porsche promptly alerted drivers of all 785 cars not to drive the cars till the cause of the fire risk was ascertained. And the cause has been located to a screw joint on the connecting rod. What hap- pened is that the loosened connecting rod dam- aged the crankcase, which in both cases led to leakage of oil which then ignited. As a corrective measure, Porsche will be replac- ing the engines of all 911 GT3 vehicles of model

year 2014. Now, engines with optimised screw fit- tings will be used in all Porsche 911 GT3 vehicles of model year 2014 – including in those that have not been delivered yet. The relevant Porsche Cen- tres are in direct communication with customers worldwide to discuss the further course of ac- tion. Porsche points out that no other 911 models or other model series are affected by this action. It is also understood that deliveries of up to a further 1,000 of the two-seater sports cars worldwide are pending while the engines are replaced. Mean- while, Porsche CEO Matthias Muller has indicated that company may have to reconsider the launch timing of the GT3 RS which was expected to ar- rive this summer in view of the above.

was expected to ar- rive this summer in view of the above. NEw CaMarO tO bE

NEw CaMarO tO bE bUilt ON NEw liGhtEr PlatfOrM

of the above. NEw CaMarO tO bE bUilt ON NEw liGhtEr PlatfOrM C hevrolet’s sixth-generation Camaro

C hevrolet’s sixth-generation Camaro is due for launch next year. Unlike the new Mustang, which

is one of the key rivals of the Camaro, which has been

given an extensive design makeover and engineered on a new platform, GM’s plan is to focus more on engineering than change its well-accepted retro- inspired looks. The second biggest news is that pro- duction will return to the US [the current production comes from Canada] and will be built at the Lansing Grand River Assembly. This facility produces cars on Alpha and Sigma platforms. The Alpha platform cur- rently underpins GMs’ compact to mid-size, front- engine, rear-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles in- cluding the Cadillac ATS, CTS and CTS-V coupe, sedan and wagon. A possible preview of the new Camaro concept can be seen in the upcoming Transformers 4 movie.

POrsChE CONfirMs dOwNsiziNG stratEGy Porsche “will continue with the downsizing strategy” and the sports car
POrsChE CONfirMs dOwNsiziNG stratEGy
Porsche “will continue with the downsizing strategy” and the sports car and SUV maker will create a new four-
cylinder boxer petrol engine for the next generation of the Boxster and Cayman. The engine will be capable of
developing up to 395hp for the top variants. This information comes from Porsche chief Matthias Müller himself.
The last time Porsche
used a four-cylinder
engine was in 1995
when the 968 was
discontinued.
This arrangement reminds us of the transition between
Volkswagen’s Golf VI to Golf VII. The new Golf is built on the
MQB platform. Meanwhile, Ford has also taken an evolution-
ary approach with the styling of its 2015 Mustang which is
built on a dramatically new platform, it will interesting to see
how it affects the current Camaro’s prospects as the current
model has actually outsold the Mustang in the US.
NissaN C
hi
E
f s
UPPOrts
UNUs
Ual aPPrOaC
h with
idX d
EVE
lOPMENt
A t the Tokyo Motor Show in November 2013,
Nissan’s executive vice president Andy Palmer
said that although Toyota’s 86 sportscar was a
potential competitor of its forthcoming IDx, Nissan’s
focus was to connect heritage and innovation with
the future Gen X customers. The development
process therefore involved forward-thinking group
of planners, engineers and designers with next-
generation customers.
Now it seems that slow sales of Toyota’s 86 sports
car, vindicates the contrasting approach Nissan has
taken in developing its own affordable rear-drive
coupe for the road. Unlike the classically styled 86
and its Subaru BRZ twin, the IDx instead uses retro
styling cues used in classics like the Datsun 1600 and
Datsun 510 in particular. The IDx concept emphasises
on simplicity and affordability and personalisation.
Rather than emphasising outright performance,
Nissan instead places more importance on
‘personalisation’, pointing to the fact that it relied
heavily on feedback from so-called ‘digital natives’
born after 1990 in the design of the car. “This
approach defines the car,” says Palmer. “Carmakers
have a responsibility to bring those people back in
and it was vital carmakers move away from the more
traditional approach if they wish to re-connect with
younger buyers. We set out with a strategy that said
we wanted to create something that was not in the
form of a classical sportscar.”
Reports of slow sales on
the Toyota 86 stem from
comments Toyota Europe
research and development
vice-president Gerald Kill-
mann last month. Killmann
stated that development
of cabriolet derivatives was
paused due to sales levels.
breaking
news

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april 2014

brandwatch

news

PEUGEOt tO fOCUs ON sPOrtiEr hatChbaCk VariaNts

t c h news PEUGEOt tO fOCUs ON sPOrtiEr hatChbaCk VariaNts fiat ChryslEr aUtOMObilEs iN talks
t c h news PEUGEOt tO fOCUs ON sPOrtiEr hatChbaCk VariaNts fiat ChryslEr aUtOMObilEs iN talks

fiat ChryslEr aUtOMObilEs iN talks with sUzUki?

T he current trend suggests most automakers would like to have a few SUVs in their line-up, French cark-

maker Peugeot thinks it has enough and hence it plans to devote much of its development resources to creat- ing sporty versions of the new-generation 308 hatch, rather than investing in SUVs despite the promises. This indication came at Geneva from chief executive of- ficer Maxime Picat. Picat said developing a hot hatch rival for the Volkswagen Golf GTI was a priority, while adding that he felt Peugeot’s current batch of cross- overs and SUVs was “enough”, despite the worldwide boom in high-riding models. Picat also clarified that the Golf R-rivaling 308 R concept from 2013 Frankfurt mo- tor show was still not locked in for production as the company was concentrating on other sportier 308 vari- ants first.

A lthough, it is too early to predict what sort of deal would be finalized eventually, analyst think that the Italian-American conglomerate may help Suzuki by buying out Volkswagen’s 19.9 per cent share. It’s no secret that Suzuki and Volkswagen aren’t on the best of terms. If this happens, then Fiat Chrysler stands to gain tremendously in markets like India. At the Geneva motor show when asked about co-operation with Su- zuki, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said he had a great relationship with Suzuki president Osamu Suzuki but refused to divulge any further. Marchionne said it was one thing for a car producer to have competition with rivals, and another to make smart investments and collaboration. “I’ll try and do anything that works and that meets that target.”

NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8 First previewed by
NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8 First previewed by
NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8 First previewed by
NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8 First previewed by
NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8 First previewed by
NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8 First previewed by

NEw battEry ChEMistry tO dOUblE driViNG raNGE Of ElECtriC Cars likE r8

First previewed by the simply- named e-tron concept in 2009, the electric R8 went on to set a Nurburgring record for EVs in July 2012. If it went into production, it will coincide with the arrival of Gen II R8 which is due to arrive as a MY2015 model. The production version could arrive by 2016-17.

with the arrival of Gen II R8 which is due to arrive as a MY2015 model.

O ver the past few years, several automakers have showcased some extreme possibilities with elec-

tric cars. Despite the availability of technologies, the key element that had dampened the enthusiasm for production green lighting has been the effective driv- ing range. One of the car’s that reached this border

driv- ing range. One of the car’s that reached this border It could be a win-win
driv- ing range. One of the car’s that reached this border It could be a win-win
driv- ing range. One of the car’s that reached this border It could be a win-win
driv- ing range. One of the car’s that reached this border It could be a win-win

It could be a win-win situation for both parties as Fiat and Suzuki have co-operated in the past, with Fiat re-badging the Suzuki SX4 as the Sedici, and Suzuki transplanting a Fiat-made diesel engine into its Swift small car for Europe. Suzuki’s influence as a global brand took a hit after its withdrawal from the North American car market in 2012. However, Suzuki is exceptionally strong in India, where Fiat Chrysler has nominal presence with Fiat and is keen to promote Jeep. A shared platform could be sold under Suzuki badges in India, China, Japan and the rest of Asia, as a Chrysler in North America and as a Fiat in Europe, the Middle East and Brazil. The two companies forged the partnership in 2009 when VW bought 19.9 per cent of Suzuki shares, but it fell apart two years later when both companies accused each other of breaches of the arrangement. One of those alleged breaches was Suzuki’s sourcing of the diesel engine for Swift from Fiat. It will be interesting to see whether f Fiat Chrysler moves forward with Suzuki. Marchionne is due to make a major statement on the strategic direction of his company and the future model direction of each of its eight brands – Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Lancia, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge on May 6 in Detroit.

Lancia, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge on May 6 in Detroit. nical development Ulrich Hackenberg. Hackenberg said
Lancia, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge on May 6 in Detroit. nical development Ulrich Hackenberg. Hackenberg said

nical development Ulrich Hackenberg. Hackenberg said that the project has been given new life thanks to a ‘mystery’ breakthrough that doubles the driving range to around 450km on a single charge. Now, the big question is: whether Audi will decide on whether to re-start development on an electric R8?

line was Audi’s radical R8 e-tron electric supercar. From Geneva, we gather that the project which was almost shelved could be revived as Audi engineers have figured out a way to overcome issues with the car’s limited driving range. This breakthrough infor- mation comes from Audi AG’s board member for tech-

april 2014

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15

bENtlEy rElEasEs GliMPsE Of its first sUV

JEEP PlaNNiNG a sUb-rENEGadE MOdEl?

GliMPsE Of its first sUV JEEP PlaNNiNG a sUb-rENEGadE MOdEl? J eep’s new Renegade SUV currently

J eep’s new Renegade SUV currently qualifies as the brand’s smallest product, but the brand’s

product onslaught will not end here. Reports from US are suggesting that the iconic American manufac- turer is planning to position a new entrant under the Renegade, which as of now appears to be the fast- est growing trendy segment. Should all go ahead, the proposed new baby Jeep is still a few years away from seeing the production line. Meanwhile, Jeep is planning to introduce the Grand Wagoneer, a proper seven-seater, full-sized SUV as its flagship SUV. Creating the Renegade wasn’t a tough job as it uses a modified version of Fiat’s Small Wide architecture platform. Jeep junior could be based on the next gen- eration Fiat 500 as the company is currently under pressure to reduce its CO2/emissions figures.

B entley has released a teaser image for the company’s first ever SUV which will be built on a corporate platform which is also used by the next-gen Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. It seems that Bentley has

factored in the feedback from the concept EXP 9 F which was showcased for the first time at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The yet unnamed SUV will be powered by a 575hp 12-cylinder engine that will send power to all four wheels via an automatic transmission. Bentley claims to have over 2,000 pre-orders for the car and expects to sell 3,000 units per annum when in full production. Bentley’s SUV is targeting the iconic Land Rover Range Rover and is expected to offer serious on and off-road capabilities. Meanwhile, Bentley has disclosed plans to increase production of the W12 engine from the end of 2014 onwards. The unnamed SUV will hit the roads in 2016 and will be assembled at Crewe in UK. A V8 ver- sion will join the line-up later.

The incoming Renegade competes will have models like Nissan’s Juke or MINI Countryman as rivals,
The incoming Renegade competes will have models
like Nissan’s Juke or MINI Countryman as rivals, the
Jeep compact SUV will be competing against the Ford
EcoSport and the Volkswagen Taigun.
The market can now expect future generations of MINIs evolving conceptually similar
to the existing models, but with greater levels of differentiation. We hope a smaller new
MINI, like the Rocketman concept may have a place in the line-up someday.
Rocketman concept may have a place in the line-up someday. M iN i tO GrOw as
M iN i tO GrOw as ‘braNd faM ily’ M INI’s expansion into new market
M iN
i tO GrOw as
‘braNd faM
ily’
M INI’s expansion into new market niches with models like
the Paceman or Countryman have often met with criticism

from purists and the top guys at MINI are aware of this. At Geneva, some indication was given as to what would be the future direc- tion. On one hand MINI has indicated it will not go the MAXI way [bigger cars], and at the same time it doesn’t want to limit its busi- ness prospects as a maker of one three-door hatchback model. According to MINI’s custodians, there’s space and place for all sev- en variants -- hatch, Cabrio, Coupe, Roadster, Countryman, Pace- man and Clubman. MINI thinks the brand family will grow success- fully with the current line-up and their derivatives as long as they brought something different to the table. This means clearly MINI is not looking at ‘standalone’ models for now. Mini senior vice president Jochen Goller also denied a possibility of self-capping the models and hinted that an eighth model could be considered in due course, but as of now it was not a priority. Instead, MINI’s suggested short-term gameplan is to expand exist- ing model lines with new derivatives rather than adding all-new standalone products and first of the mark in that direction will be the five-door version of the new hatchback which is expected to be premiered at the Paris motor show this September.

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april 2014

POOr rEsPONsE tO srt ViPEr

POOr rEsPONsE tO srt ViPEr A t the beginning of October 2013 we heard a report

A t the beginning of October 2013 we heard a report about Chrysler’s decision to cut SRT Viper

production by a third due to slow sales. SRT CEO Ralph Gilles responded late November by saying “the plant is booked solid. We actually have several hundred units outstanding we still have to build.” Now, production of the model has stopped for at least two months due to very low demand. SRT at the beginning of this month had 756 unsold units, representing a whopping 412-day’s worth of supply. So, the big question is: why is the demand so sluggish? Market analysts suggest two factors. One, the car has very high starting price of US$102,485, and secondly, the absence of an automatic transmission. Besides these two, formidable competition comes from the more attractive Corvette Stingray which is more affordable. Chevrolet will soon introduce a hotter version of the Corvette Z06 early next year and that is expected to complicate things more for the SRT Viper. The brand moved just 91 units in January and February in the US.

GErry dOrizas G M Holden has announced the appointment of former
GErry
dOrizas
G M Holden has announced
the appointment of former
dOrizas G M Holden has announced the appointment of former Volkswagen India boss Gerry Dorizas as

Volkswagen India boss Gerry Dorizas as its new chairman

and managing director. Dorizas will be responsible for both the Australian and New Zealand markets. Dorizas replaces Mike Devereux, who has relocated to Singapore as vice-president of sales, marketing and aftersales for GM’s International Operations division. Among key responsibilities, Dorizas will oversee the factory shutdowns in 2017 and transform the company into a vehicle importer. Devereux announced his departure from Holden late last year, just as the company was in the early stages of negotiations with the then-new coalition federal government.

a lfa rOMEO d EsiGNEr JO iNs Gr Eat wall G reat Wall Motors has
a
lfa rOMEO d
EsiGNEr JO
iNs Gr
Eat wall
G reat Wall Motors has appointed Ramon
Ginah, former chief interior designer
from Alfa Romeo Chinese brand. Ginah’s work
includes the design of the cabins of the 4C
concept and Giulietta as well as the upcoming
Giulia, SUV and new Duetto. News of Ginah’s
Great Wall appointment coincides with a
number of other new positions at the company.
Olivier Molody – formerly creative director
at BMW DesignworksUSA – has joined Great
Wall as director for detail design, while fellow
former Designworks employee Nils Uellendahl
heads east to become senior interior designer.
tOkUO fU
k
U
iC
hi JOi
Ns tOyOta bOard
Peoplewatch
news

T oyota’s global design chief Tokuo Fukuichi will be the first designer to sit on the company’s board of directors when his appointment comes into effect this month. Fukuichi will retain

his position as global head of design for the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands and will join the board after the general shareholders’ meeting. His influence on Toyota’s design direction over the last few years has been noticeable, particularly with Lexus, as the company strives to make its traditionally very conservative products a little more exciting. However the execution of production cars is still questionable – the Toyota GT86 a prime ex- ample – but with a designer given the power to push design quality through the decision-mak- ing process perhaps this latest development will help the cause. Current president Kiyotaka Ise will leave the board and become chief officer of the R&D department, overseeing materials engineering, fuel cell development and sports vehicle management.

fuel cell development and sports vehicle management. hyUNdai fifa braNd aMbassadOrs L egendary football stars
hyUNdai
hyUNdai
fuel cell development and sports vehicle management. hyUNdai fifa braNd aMbassadOrs L egendary football stars Iker

fifa braNd aMbassadOrs

L egendary football stars Iker Casillas and Ricardo

L egendary football stars Iker Casillas and Ricardo Kaká have been appointed by Hyundai Motor Company,

Kaká have been appointed by Hyundai Motor Company, the official partner of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), as global brand ambassadors for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. “We are very excited to announce these legendary football stars as our World Cup Ambassadors,” said Tak Uk Im, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hyundai Motor Company. “Through Casillas and Kaká, we hope to share the passion and

excitement of the tournament with every corner of the world, while once again showcasing Hyundai Motor’s commitment to the world’s most popular sport.” The brand ambassadors will play a central role in building relationships between Hyundai and football fans, through

a broad range of marketing activities this year. Activities will include television and print advertisements, digital marketing programs and on-site events. Hyundai Motor’s partnership with FIFA began in 1999 and is currently set to run until 2022. Meanwhile, Oman Trading Establishment (OTE) the official distributor for Hyundai Motor Company in Oman, has announced the signing of one of the Middle East’s most successful football stars, Ali Al Habsi, as an official brand ambassador for the company. Ali Al Habsi

is one of the region’s best known and most decorated footballers, and the signing comes

after Hyundai recently revealed superstars Iker Casillas and Ricardo Kaka as its global brand

ambassadors for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

NEw r EG iONal aPPO iNtMENts at bENtlEy
NEw r
EG
iONal aPPO
iNtMENts at bENtlEy

W ith immediate effect, Stephen Reynolds takes over as regional director for Bentley Motors Middle East and Asia Pacific. Reynolds will head up operations for Bentley Motors across the Middle East and Asia Pa-

cific markets, including sales, marketing and after sales and will be based in Crewe, England. Reynolds replaces Geoff Dowding, who has now taken the position of director for the Mulliner division. Neil Wilford will act as regional manager for the Middle East, India and Africa territories with immediate effective for Bentley. Wilford will be based in Dubai, and takes over the reign from Chris Buxton.

for Bentley. Wilford will be based in Dubai, and takes over the reign from Chris Buxton.

april 2014

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17

luxury contender

its E-segment

best with

E-class and 5-series?

on Germanys

to take on the

Maserati itakes

the Ghibli. Has it done enough

Raj Warrior |Photography: Author and Supplied

Author:

COVE r story |

2014 Maserati Ghibli

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april 2014

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19

I f there is one brand in town that is really in a hurry to
I f there is one brand in town that is really in a hurry to

I f there is one brand in town that is

really in a hurry to hit the big league,

it is Maserati. On the dealership level,

huge investments have been made in new showroom and service centres. There is an added sense of urgency in communicating the brand to customers. And the global office, that looks after sales in markets outside the traditional Europe and North America is already at high throttle as it brings the brand’s latest offerings to the region.

You cannot blame them – it has been almost 8 years since the previous generation of the

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april 2014

Quattroporte brought in larger volumes of customers than the brand had been used to in its history. The 2013 MY Quattro thus had to build on the appeal, broaden the base and still make sense in new markets around the

Unlike the previous iterations of its namesakes, the Ghibli is a four-door sedan. Gone are the days of the sublime GT shape of the 1967 model or the boxy mediocrity of the second generation. The M157 platform now hosts

world. That the car had the 3.0-litre V6 to

a

proper four-door with sufficient legroom

put it in the 110,000-dollar plus bracket was itself compelling for a brand that is used to

and access at the rear to make it a chauffeur driven car if needed, though that’s not going

higher altitudes. Now the Ghibli, the first true contender for the E-segment, is in town with

to

be its fate in the region.

a package that places it at the 77,000-dollar

In

terms of size, the Ghibli is smaller than the

bracket and above. So, should you abandon your draems of an E-class for this Italian sedan with Ferrari-made engines?

Quattroporte, though not by much. Like its bigger brother, the platform’s success lies in its intelligent combination of production-line

The larger challenge facing the

Ghibli is to beat competition

with the cabin interiors and

feature pack – not just one

of the lightest E-segment

structures in the market.

april 2014

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21

Use of a dual-cockpit theme is strengthened by the sloping dashboard while all touch surfaces
Use of a dual-cockpit theme is strengthened by the sloping dashboard while all touch surfaces
Use of a dual-cockpit theme is strengthened by the sloping dashboard while all touch surfaces

Use of a dual-cockpit theme is strengthened by the

sloping dashboard while all touch surfaces remain

classy and modern. The rear legroom too, is befitting

of a sometimes chauffeured car.

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Saad Chehab is the Chief Marketing Officer of Maserati, having moved to the position from a leadership role with Chrysler and Lancia in Europe. This auto industry veteran looks back at the century long history of Maserati as a major factor in projecting the brand into the future.

as a major factor in projecting the brand into the future. While both the engine variants
as a major factor in projecting the brand into the future. While both the engine variants

While both the engine

variants of the 3.0-litre are

manufactured by Ferrari,

the characteristic remains

solely Maserati including

the sound from its variable

dampered exhaust

including the sound from its variable dampered exhaust manufacturing that includes high-strength steel and

manufacturing that includes high-strength steel and aluminium. An expectedly tight body is complemented by almost neo-classic design by Ramacotti, that reminds you of the new Alfieri concept in some cases and the

Quattroporte’s lines in other. The proportions are reminiscent of a classic GT, with short rear overhangs and large wheels in the bays, clad

in low-profile rubber.

The interiors have also been significantly differentiated. Forget the choice of materials

and colours for an instant, especially sice you can still customise your buy, and look at the placement of controls, the dual-cockpit seating arrangement, new multimedia interface with

a significant move away from the CJD parts

bin and the use of tactile highlights around the screen and along the centre console.

The aim of the interiors is to give a 5-seater layout that feels so much like a 4-seater. The rear centre is usable with its scooped out squab. But its the four outer seats that you fall in love with. Talk about taking luxury to the next level. Support is firm and unyielding as a sports seat should have, yet you can just relax in its suppleness when stretched out. And the rears have been hollowed out to add

to the legroom.

The car comes with two versions of the 3.0-litre V6 engine. Yes, these are made by Ferrari as a vendor to Maserati, though Ferrari egineers went to great lengths to specify that it isn’t a Ferrari engine. Potato, Potatoh? Not quite. These engines are made to Maserati specifications and are matched with a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox, just like the larger 3.8-litre is in the Quattroporte.

The smaller of the two engines (both of which are biturbo) generates 330hp and 500Nm of torque, while the larger one is rated for 410hp and 550Nm of torque. So as you can see whether you take the Ghibli or the Ghibli S, you have more than enough power at your disposal. First point of differentiation from the competition. And you get this not just in the rear wheel drive layout of the regular car - you can also opt for the AWD arrangement that is more suited to snowy climes abroad.

The Ghibli also becomes the first Maserati to debut a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine for markets that are happier with the oil-burner. This engine is also no laggard with 275hp and 600Nm of torque, again mated to the 8-speed gearbox with a different tuning and a different selection of gear ratios. The engine is no noisier than the petrol.

Speaking about noise, both the petrol engines are particularly fond of being revved. You push down hard and the engine rewards you with lots of instant oomph, though there is a tiny feel of lag as you spool up in comfort mode. Of the five selectable modes, the comfort is the most likely choice for city driving as it handles the speed bumps the best. Go sport or above and you feel the tightening of the recoil, though the one feature that seems de-facto standard on German competition, namely. air-suspension, is missing.

Our drive of the cars took us out from the heart of Downtown Dubai to well beyond the Al Ain road, Bab al Shams and the tracts outside Dubailand in the Emirate. Although it was an unusually dusty and windy day, with sand blowing over the roads, the NVH level ensured that almost no wind noise was apparent and even driving at speed with left wheel on sand and right wheel on tarmac couldn’t pull the car off line.

That in itself was surprising, since despite its bulk, the Ghibli has a dry weight of under 1800kgs, largely due to the reduction of unwanted mass in the body structure and even in areas like the suspension where aluminium double wishbones are used.

april 2014

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23

Reduction in weight has brought with it performance benefits – both in the regular and S versions. You hardly feel the almost 3-metre wheelbase as you thread at speed through the corners. The weight distribution is exactly 50-50 on the front and rear axles and the wedge-like stance assures precise road orientation. And it helps that the Ghibli remains almost traditional with its hydraulic steering.

Of course the larger challenge is to beat competition with the cabin interiors and feature pack. From genuine leather, soft-touch interiors, ventilated and cooled seats, a 3-D navigation system with voice interactivity and an option to have a 16-channel, concert hall grade Bowers and Wilkins sound system with 15-speakers and 1,280-watts, the customer is spoiled for choice. And that only adds on to the confusion or lack of it, depending on your bent of mind. On the one side you have Italian flair, timeless design, a good solid structure and all the touches that a Maserati brings with it – subconsciously you begin to smell the Dolce Vita at every turn you take. On the other, the segment leaders are all German marques that have established their leadership by giving the customer exactly

what he or she wanted, sometimes well before they even knew it. Technology leaders, innovators, lords of reliability and quality, the brands have the wherewithal to fend of this upstart by offering more of the same.

But our bets ride with the Ghibli. It has made its mark in the segment. The packaging

is right, as are the choice of engines and

standardisation on one type of gearbox and

the selection of consumer-facing technologies.

If there is anything that we see missing, it

would be the air suspension and perhaps an

announcement of a dedicated performance edition with the larger 3.8-litre V6 in it, just

so that the segment up to the Quattroporte S

is covered.

Beyond that, its the sheer appeal of owning

a Maserati, with its 100-year history, its

mediterranean heritage and its link with Italian roots that smell of Balsamic Vinegar, Olive oil and Cheese that tell you that you

are buying into something that’s timeless. In a Ghibli the chances are that you won’t rush

to upgrade, because that really doesn’t mean

anything when seen from the brand’s vision

of providing technology that makes driving so

much more fun.

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26 www.automanweb.com april 2014

International

news

Swiss delights
Swiss
delights

The annual 84th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show continued with its unique status of being neutral territory which also encouraged global car makers to present their A-list products and concepts Author: Chandan B Mallik

T he 2014 Geneva Motor Show was certainly a delight for both media and visitors as it featured interesting and some spectacular releases. Several key announcements were made across the board, notable among them were the rear-engined Renault Twingo city car, Porsche’s new endur- ance racing program and the extreme 1,341bhp Koenigsegg One:1. Be-

sides new cars and futuristic concepts, Geneva also treats automotive aficionados with historical, classical and even racing cars. An early 1920s Chenard & Walcker and last year’s battle scarred Audi R18 e-tron Quattro were among those displays.

The key message emerging from Geneva was that automakers are once again pay- ing attention to realistic needs of motoring/transportation. Small, stylish and yet practical cars shared equal space with hybrids and supercars. As always, the tun- ers were in big force with their wares. Among the motorsports related announce- ments, Honda’s decision to return to motorsports was welcomed as a message was clear that the Japanese brand was back in business. Following the recent foray into the World Touring Car Championship, Honda will be back in F1 from 2015 as an engine supplier also.

april 2014

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27

bUGatti Well before the show there was a rumour that Bugatti won’t start work on

bUGatti

Well before the show there was a rumour that Bugatti won’t start work on its new Veyron-succeeding hypercar until the current production of its Veyrons sold out. Bugatti talked more about the 2014 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Rembrandt special edi- tion, designed to honour company founder Ettore Bugatti’s brother, Rembrandt.

CadillaC

Among the models that Cadillac brought to Geneva was the ELR Coupe.

CadillaC Among the models that Cadillac brought to Geneva was the ELR Coupe.

ChEVrOlEt

Chevrolet stand had a bright yellow Z06 [pronounced “zee-oh-six”] as the key attraction. Arguably, it has been developed as the most track-capable Corvette in history, so much so that much of the technology developed for the Z06 road car is actually being used on the C7R Le Mans racer.

road car is actually being used on the C7R Le Mans racer. fOrd The biggest news

fOrd

The biggest news from Ford at Geneva was the highly refreshed Focus.

news from Ford at Geneva was the highly refreshed Focus. bMw The facelifted BMW X3 was

bMw

The facelifted BMW X3 was officially unveiled along with the European debut of the M3. BMW also introduced the front- wheel drive 2-Series Active Tourer which it says has been designed to compete with the Mercedes B-Class. The 2-Series Active Tourer follows in the footsteps of the Concept Active Tourer and adopts a slightly generic design. But the key focus is in the interiors and engineering. BMW’s new 4 Series Gran Coupe has also made its world debut at Geneva. The Gran Coupe is a four-door version of the latest 4 Series, and will rival the Audi A5 Sportback.

the latest 4 Series, and will rival the Audi A5 Sportback. hONda The Japanese brand’s confident

hONda

The Japanese brand’s confident return to form was clearly visible in Geneva as the Civic Type R took centre stage and a model of the new NSX’s drivetrain was also shown. Another star from the brand on display was the RA271, Honda’s very first F1 car.

MitsUbishi Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling
MitsUbishi Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling
MitsUbishi Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling
MitsUbishi Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling
MitsUbishi Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling
MitsUbishi Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling

MitsUbishi

Mitsubishi continued its SUV concept drive at Geneva. It is now believed that styling DNA one of the concept cars will eventually inspire the Pajero/Montero replacement in the coming years.

fErrari

McLaren’s closest rival from Italy is Ferrari. The Italian supercar brand used the Geneva show to introduce the California T and also its return to forced-fed engines. In addition to a substantially restyled exterior, it also features a new turbocharged V8 engine, which is good for over 550bhp. Ferrari is exhibit in Geneva also included an FF fitted with Apple’s brand new CarPlay system. CarPlay is compatible only with the iPhone 5 series (5, 5C and 5S). A wireless connec- tion will arrive soon and the Italian super- car will continue to utilize the proprietary infotainment system but users will be able to access CarPlay by pressing a virtual but- ton located on the dedicated dashboard. After the user interface is loaded, all the buttons will look very familiar to those who own an iPhone.

buttons will look very familiar to those who own an iPhone. CitrOëN The all-new C1 scheduled

CitrOëN

The all-new C1 scheduled to reach dealerships later this year in Europe was the key car from the French brand. The C1 shares it foundations with the second generation Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo. However, Citroën’s C1 has the most radical styling of the trio. There’s still a little confusion with the overall design treatment which includes the grille, vertical DRLs, blacked out A-pillars and contrast roof which are features found in the ‘DS’. Citroën C-line design lan- guage, introduced by the C4 Cactus, may well take some time to filter through the range.

Cactus, may well take some time to filter through the range. iNfiNiti New high-perfornfiniti has finally

iNfiNiti

New high-perfornfiniti has finally confirmed that the Q50 Eau Rouge will present itself as the brand’s new high performance car. At Geneva engine details were confirmed and with a tuned higher output V6 engine from the Nissan GT-R, there should be little doubt that this Infiniti has BMW’s M3 or Lexus’s RC F in mind.

V6 engine from the Nissan GT-R, there should be little doubt that this Infiniti has BMW’s

MErCEdEs-

bENz

Mercedes-Benz

2014

The for

its

made

Coupe

S-Class

at

debut

public

official

seemed

also

It

Geneva.

SL by 2LOOK gearing

was

Mercedes

that

spring

the

up

the

introducing

CarbonLOOK

SLK

and

Geneva.

in

Editions

not come at the cost of the

growth plans, but growth will

Clubman

One. The six-door

at Geneva. MINI has ambitious

new MINI

presented the Clubman concept and

MINI design chief Anders

the brand

brand currently.

from

MiNi

key message

models it will produce. MINI

petrol engine

model in the

that was one

1.2-litre three-cylinder

biggest production

MINI will not go the MAXI way at least,

a limit both in size and number of

the Countryman crossover, which is the

bonnet resides

a

size limit for its models. Meanwhile, under the MINI One’s

The brand will have

two-inches wider than

brand’s ethos.

and about

concept is 4.4in longer

Warming said that the current Countryman was the new

has

motor

the

of

Output

engine.

turbocharged

lb-ft

and 180Nm of torque.

in was 206

and

DIG-T

to 218hp

producing 102bhp

27lb-ft

and

18hp

first

by

increased

which

BladeGilder,

Nissan’s

respectively.

Novem-

Japan,

Show,

Motor

Mazda

Tokyo

the

at

unveiled

at

appearance

European

official

first

its

had

the class.

Mazda2 supermini is

best-looking cars in

2013,

ber

Mazda’s global entry level car, the

Geneva.

its succes-

of

for replacement soon and the design

car. In Japa-

Hazumi concept

due

to the

widely believed

‘spring up’ or ‘bound’, which

sor is

Hazumi translates as

‘well-suited to a small car that appears

nese, Mazda claims is

car can

If the production

with energy.’

Mazda will certainly have

to be bursting

this concept,

stick closely to

the best-looking cars in the class.

one of

R. Showcased alongside the regular Juke facelift, the

NissaN

tweaks but packs an extra punch from its 1.6-litre

NissaN tweaks but packs an extra punch from its 1.6-litre Nissan presented the facelifted Juke Nismo
NissaN tweaks but packs an extra punch from its 1.6-litre Nissan presented the facelifted Juke Nismo
Nissan presented the facelifted Juke Nismo Nismo RS derivative carries over the same styling 30
Nissan presented
the facelifted Juke
Nismo
Nismo
RS derivative carries over the same styling
30 www.automanweb.com
april 2014

ssaNyONG

its

besides

exercise

rebranding

its

on

owns

was after which in of

Mahindra

is focus of its

key

Ssangyong’s

&

a a Mahindra as

India’s

concept.

SSanyong

SUV

XLV

exercise,

impressive

rebranding

the

planned

part

As

brand.

its

than

earlier

Korean

this

year

is This

which

fourth

2016

company’s

by

logo

its

the

be

change

will

will

2017.

Co.

market

Motor

SUV

Dong-hwan

US

in to change

Ha

entry

1954

in

provide

inception

and a

to

aims

and

since

rebranding

years

nearly

30

coming

disputes

labour

rebranding

of

The

history

has

brand

the

appeal

to

fresh

owners.

frequent

Alfieri coupe concept

MasErati

the

its 100th anniversary, introduced

name of Maserati’s

Maserati is celebrating

by the first

Motor inspired

GranTurismo chassis, the concept

International

on a shortened

at the Geneva

heritage. Maserati also had

founder. Mechanically, based

as homage to the brand’s racing

CEO Sergio

Limited Edition.

was presented

Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna

Marchionne also hinted what was happening with the SUV project. “We are

the debut of the

The first bodies

SUV.

the Levante

production of

Alfieri Concept

Mirafiori facilities ready for

ready

The production

getting

brand and Marchionne hinted that

are expected for 2015, says Marchionne.

production of the Alfieri could start in 24-28 months if all the signs were right. Now

appeared to be the key highlight for the

seen whether it gets green lighted or not.

SW. Peugeots

308

second generation

Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1 ]

Peugeot also presented the

with co-developed

car of the year.

greater level of differentia-

day the 308 was named

108 [along

PEUGEOt

evolution over its predecessor. The

which shared body shells but this time theres a

of the first

and headlamps that

as on the eve

chrome grille

that brings a significant

for Peugeot anyway

latest face, with a horizontal

variant featuring a retractable fabric roof.

show

second-generation debuts in Geneva. Unlike the outgoing models of the C1 and 107

t was a great

entry-level model has reached a new generation

the brands

with an iteration of

with tattoo artist Xoil. The model can be distinguished by its special exterior finish and a

three- and five-door model but also as a 108 TOP!

the two,

more restrained of

had their

Peugeot is the

not only

as a

tion between the siblings. The

108 will be offered

Tattoo concept created in collaboration

The new

feature a step in their lower surface.

a five-door 108

Peugeot also showcased

and woven wool inside.

combination of leather

w o o l i n s i d e . combination of leather it remains
w o o l i n s i d e . combination of leather it remains
it remains to be
it remains to be

skOda

The VisionC Concept signals a global renewal and expansion of the brand’s model range. The aesthetic language of the “five-door coupé” introduces the next design evolution – aimed at being more expressive, dynamic and emotional. The sheet metal treatment engages slightly con- toured, concave and convex surfaces, as well as sharp, precise character lines. In profile, there’s a bit of the Audi S7 somewhere in the design treatment. The front end of the cars combines a light signature based on triangular shapes with the typical Škoda grille and very much like the Volkswagen T-ROC Concept, the VisionC is mechanically based on the flexible VW Group’s MQB platform. The powertrain is a dual-fuel CNG/petrol 1.4-litre TSI/81 kW turbo engine and cogged transmission.

MQB platform. The powertrain is a dual-fuel CNG/petrol 1.4-litre TSI/81 kW turbo engine and cogged transmission.
JaGUar Jaguar presented the XFR-S Sportbrake which now joins the XFR-S Sedan and XKR-S as
JaGUar Jaguar presented the XFR-S Sportbrake which now joins the XFR-S Sedan and XKR-S as

JaGUar

Jaguar presented the XFR-S Sportbrake which now joins the XFR-S Sedan and XKR-S as the third member of the ballistic R-S family. Like its siblings it uses a 542bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 pro- ducing 680Nm of torque. With 0-96km/h coming up in 4.6secs, it is just 0.2secs slower than the XFR-S Sedan despite weighing around 90kg more. Among the key announcements from Jaguar was its new BMW 3 Series-rivaling sports sedan that would bear the XE badge.

3 Series-rivaling sports sedan that would bear the XE badge. 32 www.automanweb.com april 2014 hyUNdai Hyundai

32

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april 2014

would bear the XE badge. 32 www.automanweb.com april 2014 hyUNdai Hyundai unveiled the Intrado concept, which

hyUNdai

Hyundai unveiled the Intrado concept, which paves the way for an upcoming compact crossover. The Intrado concept was styled in Rüsselsheim, Germany by the Hyun- dai Design Centre Europe and represents not only a styl- ing exercise but also Hyundai’s intentions to use more ad- vanced materials and technologies in upcoming models.

ad - vanced materials and technologies in upcoming models. JEEP Jeep’s all-new global Renegade is small
ad - vanced materials and technologies in upcoming models. JEEP Jeep’s all-new global Renegade is small
ad - vanced materials and technologies in upcoming models. JEEP Jeep’s all-new global Renegade is small

JEEP

Jeep’s all-new global Renegade is small SUV will be built by Fiat in Italy. It will use architecture and powertrains from the new 500XL, but will receive Jeep specified engineering and features. Several variants are planned and the top versions will be Trailrated.

kia Kia showed the Stinger concept agiain and the EV Soul. MClarEN British supercar maker
kia Kia showed the Stinger concept agiain and the EV Soul. MClarEN British supercar maker

kia

Kia showed the Stinger concept agiain and the EV Soul.

MClarEN

British supercar maker McLaren has expanded its line-up with a hardcore version of the MP4- 12C, dubbed the 650S. It was shown in both Coupe and Spyder form. Designed to “provide the ultimate in driver engagement on the road and on the race track,” the 650S is heavily influenced by the 12C and P1 and in the line-up will be positioned in-btween the two existing models. The production of the MP4-12C will now be limited to orders as the carmaker gears up for the 650S volume production.

as the carmaker gears up for the 650S volume production. laMbOrGhiNi On the Lamborghini stand, the

laMbOrGhiNi

On the Lamborghini stand, the all-new Huracan made its public debut. The Huracan is the official replacement of the Gallardo. The new car which has had several private viewings before the Geneva introduction has already attracted a lot of interest. Lamborghini claims it has re- ceived over 1,000 orders for this car.

claims it has re - ceived over 1,000 orders for this car. lEXUs Lexus surely impressed
claims it has re - ceived over 1,000 orders for this car. lEXUs Lexus surely impressed

lEXUs

Lexus surely impressed us with a fine example of racing pedigree by introducing the RC F GT3 concept at the Geneva. Lexus also showed its new BMW 4 Series-rivaling RC Coupe in Europe for the first time along with the RC F and the hybrid RC 300h with new F Sport equipment level for the first time.

with the RC F and the hybrid RC 300h with new F Sport equipment level for

april 2014

www.automanweb.com

33

tOUriNG

sUPErlEGGEra

Disco

Romeo

Alfa

the

time

a first Romeo

The

made

Superleggera

Touring

by

Volante

the

of

edition

2012

the

at

was

debut

its

of coupe

curvy

The

show.

motor

Geneva

Alfa

of

design

the

by

inspired

clearly

Romeo

Alfa

the

1960s,

the

of

Romeos

Touring

by

penned

2600

0 and bodywork

2000

concept

the

2014,

a For

particular.

the

in

Under

and

green.

gold

in

returned

the

heart

the

lies

svelte

is

which

Competizione,

8C

Alfa

good

V8

450hp

4.7-litre

by

powered

more than just an Adam with additional plastic body cladding as the ROCKS version features a

uses a newly developed three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine which

VaUXhall/OPEl

ROCKS – its urban mini-crossover. It’s

revisions. ROCKs

and comes with some engineering

the Adam

wheels with help from a new 6-speed manual gearbox.

Opel took the wraps off

full-length electric folding canvas roof

lb-ft of torque to the front

delivers 115hp and 122

more design fo-

Volvo’s presentations have been

VOlVO

concepts

Estate completes the trio of

have attended,

In the last few shows we

the Coupe and the

different. Volvo’s Concept

Thomas Ingenlath following

cused and Geneva was no

is nothing more than a shoot-

under senior vice president design

last concept

alternative grille

P1800 ES. The

created

last year. An

the classic

we saw in Frankfurt

XC Coupe and channels

body changes were the key indicators of change. Meanwhile, rear-

the Concept Coupe

of

brake derivative

ing

Coupe which we saw in Detroit.

some lower

insert and

end borrows DNA from the XC

VOlkswaGEN

[USA],

a Scirocco to once CrossBlue

the

a Volkswagen also CrossBlue Following

and

[China]

Coupé

cars,

concept

[India]

Taigun

giving

again

is

future

possible

ahead

look

un-

Volkswagen

models.

SUV

concept

SUV

T-ROC,

a the

the

veiled

be

model

to

new

previews

that

upcom-

the

between

positioned

VW

Tiguan.

the

and

Taigun

ing

facelifted

introduced

also

revised

and

Polo

the

of

version

coupe.

the

of

version

for to 96km/h sprint of 4.2secs.
for
to
96km/h
sprint
of
4.2secs.

34

34

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april 2014

april 2014

the of version for to 96km/h sprint of 4.2secs. 34 34 www.automanweb.com www.automanweb.com april 2014 april
the of version for to 96km/h sprint of 4.2secs. 34 34 www.automanweb.com www.automanweb.com april 2014 april

sale by 2015 for Europe. But which countries get it in

of production hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on

and Europe.

it will have full range

Japanese market, US

company acknowledges that commercial success

tOyOta

Toyota announced that

cell vehicle to

the fuel

mini,

first production car to carry the new powertrain is likely to be very similar to the FCV.

will bring

success it has had with Prius. However, the

on the Aygo super

In 2015 we

european projects director at Toyota said:

key focus was

While the

is hoping to repeat the

Gerald Killmann,

could depend on infrastructure. Toyota

depend on the infrastructure providers. The

Europe for fuel-cell vehicles would

showcased as VIZIV 2. changes. Key changes

sUbarU

VIZIV Concept was and design

of development of the

next stage

being replaced by

The

a number of new features

single side doors of the original concept

VIZIV 2 introduces

rear section and

up to the

now extend

noted are the large,

where a 1.6-litre

a four-door layout, while the rear doors

hybrid

used is a plug-in

with high-

The powertrain

turbocharged engine is combined

sliding backwards.

open by

with one front motor and two rear motors.

direct injection

horizontally-opposed

CVT transmission

torque-compatible

V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE
V T t r a n s m i s s i o n torque-compatible rOlls-rOyCE

rOlls-rOyCE

Rolls-Royce seemed to have prepared a minor makeover for the Ghost which it now calls “Series II”. The Ghost gets redesigned LED headlamps with daytime running lights along with different bonnet surface and bumpers to provide a sense of extra width and height.

and bumpers to provide a sense of extra width and height. GUMPErt Germany’s Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur, the

GUMPErt

Germany’s Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur, the maker of the Apollo supercars has managed to secure a new investor and in a way its future. Gumpert wasted no time in rolling out a brand new model called the Explosion. Explosion isn’t an extreme supercar like the Apollo but it does enable Gumpert to reach a wider audience. Meanwhile, Gumpert’s stunning Tornante, which was first previewed in concept form at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, will make its production debut in 2015. This car will be based on the platform of the Apollo and will be built on order.

april 2014

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35

eFForts to heLp

has GenuineLy put in extra

CadiLLaC

rivaLs

eLevate the xts aBove the Likes oF doMestiC

Luxury sLot

extent into the preMiuM

and to soMe

and japanese.

CurrentLy enjoyed By the GerMans

the 2014 xts pLatinuM vsport in

autoMan CheCks out

Contender

the Brands hottest

uae,

Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Nabeel Ferzan

rO ad tests |

2014 Cadillac XTS Platinum VSport

POwE r

POwE

r

n rO ad tests | 2014 Cadillac XTS Platinum VSport POwE r with sOPhisti Cati ON
n rO ad tests | 2014 Cadillac XTS Platinum VSport POwE r with sOPhisti Cati ON

with

sOPhisti

Cati

ON

36

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april 2014

I t’s an ambitious effort by General

Motors’ luxury brand that will not go

unnoticed. The Cadillac model that

replaced the DTS and STS was the XTS

which has now been in the market for

less than two years. Depending on where it

is sold, Cadillac offers the XTS and variants

aimed at appealing everyone, so there is the standard, luxury and top-of-the-line Platinum trims. The XTS Vsport is the latest and only variant in Platinum trim collection which comes with interesting hardware more than a few cosmetic add ons.

We mentioned something about hardware.

To be precise, it’s what’s lurking under the bonnet. The Platinum XTS Vsport version gets

a new twin turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 motor

which produces 410hp and 500Nm of torque. This engine represents a comprehensive upgrade to the dual overhead cam V6 motor that is standard in the CTS and entry level XTS. This means this engine represents a gain of 105hp and 142Nm of torque when compared to the standard XTS’ naturally aspirated 3.6-litre engine. This generous bump in power and torque has been put to good use by ensuring through software programming that it delivers steady torque in the engine’s operating band from 1,900

to 5,600rpm. Cadillac says that the cylinder heads are also unique as they feature a high- tumble intake port design that enhances the motion of the air charge for a more-efficient burn when it is mixed with the direct-injected fuel and ignited in the combustion chamber. Identifying the XTS Vsport from the exterior is its unique grille and variant specific badges.

From the very beginning, the XTS didn’t come across as an average American car as it was well built and befittingly equipped. We have no complaints with the quality of the materials in the cabin. It’s a sumptuous and quite modern interior with some interesting add-ons like the CUE. GM is promoting CUE heavily and the set-up includes a 12.3in reconfigurable gauge cluster and a unique eight-inch touchscreen interface in the central console that supposedly mimics modern tablets with capacitive-touch controls. While the system is presented as the latest in automotive haptic control industry merchandise, it’s not without its shortcomings. Many users of CUE have reported it difficult to operate. While automakers are keen to outdo each other with features and gadgetry, both Cadillac’s CUE and Ford’s Microsoft Supplied Sync have often come under fire from consumers, particularly in the USA. In fact, poor consumer

ratings of some of the models equipped with these systems have affected overall ratings. However, if that is kept separately, the features and engineering pack in the XTS is quite impressive even by German or Japanese standards. Besides, the third party supplied CUE and issues with it, GM has invested cutting edge technology in building the car. Strategic use of high-tensile steel means the XTS has a lighter curb weight than the Audi A6. And the level of standard features is genuinely impressive when you consider high end features like magnetic ride control, HID lighting and Brembo brakes. The factory supplied standard safety features on the XTS include dual front, side, side curtain and knee airbags, brake assist and traction and stability control systems. Additional safety systems which fall under Driver Awareness package include Lane Departure Warning, which uses cameras to alert the driver if the vehicle unintentionally drifts into the adjacent lane, Side Blind Zone Alert, which employs radar technology to alert the driver to other vehicles in XTS’ blind spots when making lane changes, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which warns the driver of oncoming traffic while backing out of a parking spot, including angled parking.

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37

A thoroughly entertaining car which has the correct set of genes to set it apart
A thoroughly entertaining car which has the correct set of genes to set it apart
A thoroughly entertaining car which has the correct set of genes to set it apart
A thoroughly entertaining car which has the correct set of genes to set it apart

A thoroughly

entertaining car

which has the

correct set of genes

to set it apart in the

class
class

Driving impressions

From the onset, it is clear that the engine has been programmed for a specific purpose and intent. The forced fed engine is just as excellent in the XTS as it is in the CTS, however, it seems less aggressive as even the figures suggest [10hp less versus the smaller, lighter CTS]. The flip side it seems that the driver is treated endless torque for vehicle responsiveness. The car’s super fast reacting

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magnetic ride suspension appears comfortable with the large 20in tyre/rim combo. Despite its weight and, the Cadillac XTS’s acceleration is well accepted even by rival standards and the car is capable of handling winding roads better than you might expect with a planted and supple ride.

While this new engine and extra horses generates smooth and effortless power befitting a large Cadillac, where it lacks a

bit when compared to the Germans is in its aggressiveness. Instead, it feels more on the lines of a spirited luxury executive car set-up. Noise levels are low and isolation from road imperfections is fine.

Unlike most car companies who in the name of fuel efficiency have moved on to electric power-steering systems and abandoning the hydraulic systems and have spoilt their car’s handling as a result of their vague on-centre

feel, in that context it was a pleasant surprise to experience this car’s reassuring feedback.

feel, in that context it was a pleasant surprise to experience this car’s reassuring feedback. All credit for this attribute definitely goes to the XTS’s good old-fashioned hydraulic assist setup, which uses Magnasteer to automatically adjust steering-effort levels based on vehicle speed. While steering feedback is good, the steering- wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which are supposed to showcase the car’s driver- focused intention is oddly programmed to work only when the gearshift selector is in the

“M” position. It makes on-demand downshifts an annoying two-step process and now a days in many cars the driver can action paddle shifting on demand even in ‘D’ mode. Thanks to the all-wheel drive, this car offers satisfying road manners and thanks to the suspension’s automatic adaptability between ride quality and handling it makes a satisfying job.

verDict

Let’s be absolutely honest. The XTS isn’t a pure driver’s car out and out, even in Vsport

trim, and perhaps that is reserved for a tuned performance version later! However, there’s an air of genuine uniqueness in the XTS Vsport model as it is offered only in the top spec Platinum Collection. Cadillac’s new XTS Vsport intends to be a befitting reply to driver-oriented rivals. Well, it hits most of the boxes right, apart from some niggles. It’s got standalone styling and is elegantly appointed with soft leather surfaces and real metal trim and host of luxury features. In UAE, the car is offered with pricing starting at AED 285,000.

april 2014

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39

rO ad tests |

2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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k iNG kONG Of MU sCl E Cars For the latest model year, Chevrolet’s Camaro
k iNG kONG Of MU sCl E
k
iNG kONG
Of
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sCl
E
Cars
Cars
Cars

Cars

Cars
Cars
Cars
Cars

For the latest model year, Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 benefits from a subtle nip-and-tuck. Automan checks out the refreshed car in UAE Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Nabeel Ferzan

C hevrolet has kept the Camaro flame in vogue with several interesting flavours. With each passing year since introduction, General Motors has ensured its newsworthiness remains intact with periodic upgrades in performance and technology upgrades, so much so that

it has become the envy of many exotic cars and ultra-luxury coupe/ convertibles.

For GM, the Camaro is not only an important model but also a successful one too. One of the reasons being its ability to outclass and outsold bitter rival, the Ford Mustang for the past three years. And keeping the ZL1 variant up to date for 2014 are the most

prominent changes visible are its refreshed front and rear ends. Up front, the upper portion of the grille has been vertically compressed, creating a slightly wider appearance, while the lower section has been widened to improve cooling. At the rear, the classic Camaro taillamps have been dumped in favour of horizontal units. Also the boot lid and the diffuser have been updated with aerodynamics in mind.

The interior mostly goes unchanged into 2014, save for two new options: Recaro sport seats and a full-colour head-up display. Camaro’s interior is pretty basic and the theme continues with the ZL1. There’s the typical and familiar mix of chromed plastic, hard plastic and soft touch materials. What lifts the interior in the ZL1 is the Recaro

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

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41

performance seats and Mylink infotainment system. A new type of sued microfibre covers the dash,

performance seats and Mylink infotainment system. A new type of sued microfibre covers the dash, reducing distracting reflections and improving the looks also. Camaro’s boot is surprisingly deep and the back seat allows opening up more space. Unlike a Toyota Camry, the ZL 1’s boot opening is narrow.

On paper, as a muscle car, the Camaro ZL1 is defined by its supercharged 6.2-litre LSA V8 engine which produces a staggering 556 lb-ft of torque at 4,200rpm and helps it move

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into super car territory with warp speed performance of 0-100km/h in just 3.9sec. And thanks to extra cooling made possible by the Camaro’s larger engine bay, the CTS-V sourced engine for the ZL1 now arrives with 580hp. Our tester came with six-speed automatic with TapShift controls.

GM’s sophisticated Magnetic Ride Control suspension system is standard, with two settings (“Sport” and “Tour”) to match driving preferences. The five-setting Performance

Traction Management system is borrowed from the Corvette ZR1. Magnetic Ride Control uses a magnetized fluid inside its shock absorbers. An electric charge gets sent through a coil in the shock, which has the effect of thickening the fluid.

This is the sort of technology that gives the car its dual nature – road or track day focused. Turning the charge on and off adjusts shock rates very quickly, responding almost instantly to changing road conditions. That means that

ZL1 can deliver a very comfortable, smooth ride in “Tour,” then instantly sharpen up in

ZL1 can deliver a very comfortable, smooth ride in “Tour,” then instantly sharpen up in “Sport” at the touch of a button in the central console. nterestingly, the ZL1’s unique quad-exhaust pipes borrow butterfly valve technology from the Corvette. However, unlike the Corvette’s system, the ZL1’s valves are active on ignition. The reward comes when the key is turned with a characteristic meaty growl. A rear-differential cooler is standard on both manual and automatic cars.

The ZL1 retains the Camaro SS’ 365 mm rear disc brakes with four-piston Brembo calipers, but the car’s front units have been replaced with larger 370mm discs clamped by six- piston calipers, providing much improved stopping power.

drivinG iMpressions

Driving the Camaro, even in its base form is a delight. The chassis and various powertrains are perfectly mated for their respective assignments, be it the basic V6 or eye- popping supercharged V8.The ZL 1 tested by us offers the kind of acceleration that requires the driver to constantly watch out and warn passengers.

It’s a genuinely a sports car with gentlemanly skills. It allows the flexibility to be driven

normally or hard. In no way, does one feel trapped in a punishing sport coupe every time

Key cosmetic

upgrades include

single-piece taillamps

and a new spoiler. Also

new is the MyLink

infotainment system

for the first time in

the Camaro.

you drive. We like the balance of ride comfort available for more relaxed driving.

In most driving conditions, the ZL1 is composed, utmost balanced with equally impressive handling, suspension and braking components. ZL1 manages stopping duties with six-piston Brembo brakes in front (four- piston in the rear), discs all around and four- channel ABS.

As mentioned earlier, the base Camaro handles pretty well, but ZL1 has its own game plan. It feels more planted and confident, thanks to some extra engineering. Unseen under the bonnet, there’s a brace to enhance chassis stiffness, and special stabilizer bars have been added to the suspension. From the exterior, the ZL 1 gets dressed with some specific aerodynamically profiled kit that help produce downforce at speed, an essential bit of kit when it comes to improving road holding and performance.

The nice thing about this car’s engine is its broad torque curve, and this allows pleasurable driving as we were able to minimize shifting and concentrate more on throttle control and steering inputs. The Recaro seats are supportive in all the right directions and hold occupants tight. The second row is for occasional use only.

The high shoulder/low greenhouse remains unchanged and poor rear view makes lane changes and reversing very nerve-wracking. The rear vision camera helps in parking situations, but it’s still no substitute for a clear line of sight. Despite the cosmetic niggles, it’s a genuine delight to drive this car which has a bit of Corvette and a bit of SS!

april 2014

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43

rO ad tests |

2014 Kia Soul

rO ad tests | 2014 Kia Soul Author: Chandan B Mallik |Photography: Elvis John Ferrao 44
Author: Chandan B Mallik |Photography: Elvis John Ferrao
Author: Chandan B Mallik |Photography: Elvis John Ferrao
rO ad tests | 2014 Kia Soul Author: Chandan B Mallik |Photography: Elvis John Ferrao 44
rO ad tests | 2014 Kia Soul Author: Chandan B Mallik |Photography: Elvis John Ferrao 44

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Kia Motors introduced the offbeat styled Soul in 2010 and now it enters into its
Kia Motors introduced the offbeat styled Soul in
2010 and now it enters into its second generation as
an evolution of the original design.
Automan checks out the car in the Sultanate shortly
after the international launch

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45

W hen Kia Motors introduced the first generation Soul in 2010, the boxy tallboy hatchback

W hen Kia Motors introduced the first generation Soul in 2010, the boxy tallboy hatchback came at a time when the segment

wasn’t clearly defined and competitors were having mixed results with their respective interpretations. Despite its standalone design and reasonable features package, the Soul didn’t win hearts outright globally with the exception of Europe and US. These two matured overseas markets received the Soul wholeheartedly and as a result the model did extremely well with more than 760,000 units sold. In fact, it’s the second best-seller

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in the US after the Cerato. The key reason for this turnaround was the downsizing trends, concern about fuel economy, and the affordable Soul appeared as “the right car at the right time” for US buyers from a functionality perspective and very few people are aware that in 2009, the original Soul was the first car by a Korean brand to receive the distinguished ‘Red Dot design award’. Encouraged by the Soul’s success story, Kia has re-engineered the second generation model with significant changes inside out. The new Kia Soul was created by the Kia design team under the supervision of Peter Schreyer, Hyundai and Kia Motors President

and Chief Design Officer.

At first glance, the proportions, the profile,

the roofline appear unchanged and five years on the market, the new Soul has very much earned a new platform. The car is

based on Kia’s flexible ‘K’ architecture which

is also used in some of the new sedans. As

a result, this car is technically should be

considered as a crossover utility vehicle than an oversized hatchback on stilts. Dimensions have changed marginally. With a wheelbase that’s increased by 0.8in helps free a bit more room in the cabin. Overall dimensions are similar, with length up by 0.8in and width up by 0.6in. Conversely, overall height is down

The versatile Soul shines brightly when it comes to interior in particular. Kia has significantly

The versatile

Soul shines

brightly when

it comes to

interior in

particular. Kia

has significantly

improved the efficiency and maneuverability of this urban oriented small crossover
improved the
efficiency and
maneuverability
of this urban
oriented small
crossover
improved the efficiency and maneuverability of this urban oriented small crossover april 2014 www.automanweb.com 47

april 2014

www.automanweb.com

47

0.4in, largely because ground clearance has been dropped from 6.5in to 5.9, giving the Soul

0.4in, largely because ground clearance has been dropped from 6.5in to 5.9, giving the Soul a more planted look. Unlike the weight

loss regime practiced these days, the weight

of the new Soul is up by 42kg on account

of increased levels of content and more

substantial build.

Kia designers have not messed with the iconic

boxy design of the original, instead producing

a version that evolves the styling and

sharpens it. With a wrap-around windscreen, muscular wheel arches, stylish front LED rimmed headlamps and a sloped roofline help convey car’s athletic presence supported by a more aggressive front face and stylish rear. Despite the similarities with the outgoing model like the trapezoidal shape outlining the greenhouse, sheetmetal is all new which is clearer when the two models are parked next to each other. And for the first time, as a stock factory option, the Soul is being offered with bi-colour schematics. Inside the cabin, there’s a world of change and we have no reason to be unhappy with the new cabin design, higher quality materials and touch points. Kia has packed the generously sized Soul with enough standard gear to ensure it is confident against its diverse competitors and the lengthy standard features list includes cruise control, six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth and audio controls on the artificial leather wrapped

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steering wheel. A glossy black finish can be found around the controls in the central

console and around the gearbox lever and Kia’s use of a circular theme throughout adds

a bit more quirk to the Soul [lesser than the

MINI], as do the stylish audio tweeters that are now integrated into the air-vents. Rear view camera was also part of the kit in the test model. On the practical side, this car is as good as a modern SUV. A number of small and large storage compartments are located throughout the cabin, including four cup holders, four bottle holders, a massive glovebox, little storage areas on the side of the front seats and an under-floor storage area in the boot. Meanwhile, cargo space is up to 238litres with the rear seats up and 1,251 up to the roof with the second row folded.

The Soul in Oman will come with a normally

aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine which is good for 130hp and 118 lb-ft. Although

it is a carryover engine, Kia has re-tuned it

and the torque availability at 1,500rpm has been increased by five per cent. Power is sent to the front wheels via six-speed automatic transmission. That the Soul would like to remain modest is proved by its conventional suspension set-up comprising of MacPherson strut up front and torsion bar at the rear. The front setup now boasts a new subframe held on by four large

bushings and and a relocated front stabilizer bar and steering box help improve braking and directional stability. Electric power steering is along for the ride, this time with Kia’s nifty FlexSteer system with three driver selectable drive models.

On the safety front the Soul features airbags, ESC, ABS, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, hill-start assist, and vehicle stability management.

Driving impressions

It’s not that often in this part of the world that gets to evaluate a boxy city car. Things like the slightly lower hip point in the new model doesn’t go unnoticed which makes for even easier entry and exit. Perched high, driver and passengers get command view, generous headroom and legroom. We are also happy to note that we did not encounter a typical blind spot thanks to the Soul’s excellent visibility. This car is full of surprises and despite its squarish upright profile, the Soul is a pleasant road car to be in. In typical city traffic, the new Soul is way more comfortable and it’s far quieter inside until you decide to aggressively push the motor to 3,500rpm plus.

Acceleration and power delivery is much better than before, thanks to the recalibrated torque delivery at 1,500rpm. The front-wheel-

drive car feels poised, confident and the feedback from the electric power steering is quite good. Kia’s suspension engineers have spent a lot of time tuning this version of the Soul to offer improved ride and handling, and it shows dramatic improvement. The real surprise comes when you push the new Soul harder into some corners usually reserved for sporty sedans. Here, the tall bodied car’s suspension loads up nicely with no nasty bump stops, no shrieking or soft SUV-like wallowing, thanks to the stiffened by 29 per cent [over the old model] body. What’s more, the rear torsion beam tube is thicker— now 76.0mm vs 70.2mm and the added rear subframe with specially tuned bushings effectively help filter out the “moan noise”— the constant awareness of road coarseness.

As a result, the car has a luxury ride feel The FlexSteer system that’s on offer is now entertaining and adds to some driving character. It offers different steering settings and in Normal mode, it feels nicely weighted and direct, which is perfect for around town duties. While in Sport mode it is much heavier and better suited to highway driving. Like many other Hyundai and Kia products of recent times, the Soul’s gets a new three-stage Flex-Steer system, which can be operated from a button on the steering-wheel. While there is a modest difference in effort between the three, the system feels just fine. Considering road noise is hardly heard inside the cabin, we’re surprised that there’s engine noise whenever the transmission brings it above about 3,500 rpm.

whenever the transmission brings it above about 3,500 rpm. Verdict The new Kia Soul is a
whenever the transmission brings it above about 3,500 rpm. Verdict The new Kia Soul is a

Verdict

The new Kia Soul is a lot more mature in appearance,

distinctive personality of this model

is highlighted even more and with more quality features, this car is now much better than before in most departments and is also very attractively priced. Price in Oman is OMR6,975 irrespective of colour combination package.

and the bold,

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49

rO ad tests |

M2014 Volkwagen Tiguan

sMall sUV, biG aMbitiONs

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checks out car in the Sultanate For 2014, the Tiguan, Elvis John Automan Volkswagen’s smallest
checks out car in the Sultanate
For 2014, the Tiguan,
Elvis John Automan
Volkswagen’s
smallest
SUV carries
largely unchanged.
Author:
Chandan
B Mallik over
|Photography:
Ferrao
its launch
2007, Volkswagen’s Tiguan
ince
in
valances: one for on-road use and
one specially tuned
has had an enviable career
Both models are distinctive
rise, particularly in
for off-road
driving.
– the
Europe where it enjoys a market
leader status.
been a large
“On-road” variant has an
18 degree angle
of approach
The Middle East has traditionally
while
the “Off-road” one has 28
degrees.
And it’s not
SUV market but
much
in
line with
global
just cosmetics
alone.
Both siblings now
show greater
in character, dynamic performance
market trends,
now seems
to be a pent
there
smaller vehicles, including
for
SUVs/CUVs.
up demand
We now see
independence
and
styling cues. In addition, like the
on-road version, the
off-
more of these
is now also
vehicles on
roads in
the Sultanate of
road version
available with a
top equipment
off-road specialist is
line. In
this case, the
known as the
Track & Style (on-road:
“Sport & Style”). At
the rear,
versions have an angle of departure of
Tiguan
that
in the
region
all Tiguan
25
tremendously
from
of offered Volkswagen’s
refresh.
degrees.
built
the
is PQ35
in platform
[also
used The and has the in
had
of mild the
refresh
2012
and
during
While
marketing
pundits
would
love
this
simple
yet
in Oman. exercise the car benefited The
is upped
level
standard
equipment
effective
way
creating
slot
the
in Tiguan,
think
the Golf which current process VW VI]
sort a on
promoted
the
Tiguan
to
a slightly-
that
should
considered
whole
package
more
more-premium-but-not-quite-luxurious
positioning.
now offers the
than
it anything
This
is a because,
this
segment,
on
Being as innovative
it
can, Volkswagen
size
alone
consumers
have
selection
of
we cars
to
Tiguan with
two distinctive identities through
a smart
choose
from
of be else. Toyota’s
charming
a RAV4,
Ford’s
refreshed
have crafted two different front
move. Designers
design
Escape,
Honda’s
CR-V,
Mazda
a as CX-5 fine for
or
even
competent
april 2014
www.automanweb.com
51
The Tiguan distinguishes itself from other small crossover SUVs with an upscale interior and sophisticated
The Tiguan distinguishes itself from other small crossover SUVs with an upscale interior and sophisticated
The Tiguan distinguishes itself from other small crossover SUVs with an upscale interior and sophisticated
The Tiguan distinguishes itself from other small crossover SUVs with an upscale interior and sophisticated

The Tiguan distinguishes itself from

other small crossover SUVs with an

upscale interior and sophisticated

driving dynamics. And since it is based

on the Golf VI platform, it’s handling

closely mimics the hot hatch

entries from South Korea. However, the Tiguan has more to offer on the plate

Volkwagen is aware that most crossover shoppers want an interior that’s straightforward and versatile as well as comfortable. The Tiguan delivers on those expectations and there’s a bit of Golf’s sporty influence its front seats which are body hugging and comfortable. Lumbar support is very good in the front seats. Considering the car’s dimensions [length 174.5in/width 71.2in/height 65.in /wheel base 103in], the interior is really spacious, and the quality of the materials in the cabin is first class, as is fit and finish. The controls are intuitively laid out and the driver enjoys an excellent commanding driving position. On the practical side, the second-row seats slide and tilt, leaving ample space for adults. With the 60:40-split seatbacks folded there’s 56 cubic feet of cargo space available. And scouting around the SUV’s interior one also discovers small ‘hidden’ storage bins under the floor plus a twin-compartment glovebox and various other places for keeping knick-knacks in the vehicle. What we liked about the interior, besides it impeccable build quality, touch points and materials, nothing seems to have been forgotten or is out of place.

Our test car came with a TSI 1.4-litre four- cylinder engine mated to 6-speed automatic

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gearbox. The car also came with all-wheel drive which VW labels it under its BlueMotion technology package. This engine offers 160PS at 5,800rpm and also develops a maximum torque of 240Nm between 1,500 and 4,500rpm.

The flexible PQ35 platform has allowed VW to give the Tiguan independent rear suspension set-up and coil set-up up front. In terms of safety, Volkswagen continues to offer a few more safety features than you’d typically expect to see in a small crossover. In addition to the usual front and side airbags, rear side thorax airbags—not often available in this class. The car scored 5-stars in Euro NCAP testing.

Driving impressions

Usually, crossovers feel a bit unwieldy on the road due to their soft suspension setup and raised ride height, but the Tiguan feels relatively comfortable and at home. One of the key differences immediately noted [when compared to the older Tiguan] is that there’s virtually no turbo lag from the four cylinder engine. While the Tiguan doesn’t charge ahead as fast as some V6-powered compacts in its class, it makes up for its horsepower deficit with plenty of useful low-end torque and hence acceleration is exceptional and

so is torque availability across the engine’s bandwidth. That’s not all, the 4MOTION system has been tuned with fuel efficiency in mind and that means most of the time the car acts as a front wheel drive as it gets 90 percent of the power goes to the front wheels. And depending on driving situations, the rear axle brought into play, step by step. This is done by an electrohydraulic all-wheel drive clutch. An important difference compared to the previous generation 4MOTION: no speed differences are needed between the front and rear axles to activate the all-wheel drive clutch, since pressure is built up via an in-built electric pump arrangement.

The interior is well insulated from engine, road and wind noise and the high driving position and comfortable seat makes the Tiguan a really relaxing car to drive. And as much as we like hardcore 4x4s in our region with hi and low range selectors, the Tiguan despite being AWD, actually offers the convenience of never having to shift a lever or push a four- wheel-drive button. Once we got to some dry, roads near Amerat, we let the Tiguan show off its talent on some off-road trails stretches. We do have to agree now that engine cubic capacity doesn’t matter anymore if it is engineered correctly. The Tiguan was very responsive as we went through the mountain roads, and we also appreciate the car’s sporty suspension set-up. As expected, it does lean

There are many SUVs similar in size to the Tiguan, but the Tiguan offers one

There are many

SUVs similar in size

to the Tiguan, but

the Tiguan offers one

unique advantage

of having a smaller

displacement

high performance

powertrain

a little bit in corners but VW has managed to keep this to a minimum. The steering weight is very good and is responsive to driver inputs. On secondary roads, the suspension although slightly on the stiffer side, is well settled and muted all the uneven elements we went over and once we hit the highway, the ride stayed smooth and composed.

Verdict

The Tiguan is priced between more upmarket premium rivals like the Audi Q3 and mainstream segment rivals models like the Kia Sportage. It enjoys a mid-range niche position along with promising new models like the Mazda CX-5. SUVs like The Sportage and Hyundai ix35/Tucson offer similar levels of space and a whole lot more equipment for less money, but no small displacement engines.

space and a whole lot more equipment for less money, but no small displacement engines. april
space and a whole lot more equipment for less money, but no small displacement engines. april

april 2014

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EXC lU siVE First drive

2014 Datsun GO

baCk iN bUsiNEss!

After 32 years of absence in global markets, Nissan’s Datsun brand is being revived with a new job description and India is the first port of call. In this Middle East exclusive, Automan checks out the first offering, the GO hatchback. Author: Aariz Rizvi | Photography: Faisal Khan

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www.automanweb.com

april 2014

D atsun as an automotive brand was born in Japan in 1914, when a local

D atsun as an automotive brand was born in Japan in 1914, when a local Masujiro Hashimoto San founded the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works in 1911 and produced

the company’s first car: the DAT. DAT was an acronym of the company’s investors’ family names. Over the years, the company name saw several iterations and eventually renamed as Datsun in 1931. Despite great products and the original ‘Z’ car in its fold, Nissan phased out the brand globally in 1986 as part of its unified brand strategy.

The iconic ‘Datsun’ name has now been revived with a renewed intent and purpose as the parent company finds a better use for it. The 21st century Datsun will represent the multi brand parent as modern, affable and affordable manufacturer of motorized transportation in price conscious, high tariff structured emerging markets like India which are looking at affordable solutions.

The Indian volume market operates quite differently than the Middle East or other matured markets. Due to high duties and fuel pricing, it is a volume market where entry

level models rule the roost. Currently, this segment is dominated by a variety of models from Maruti Suzuki followed by Hyundai.

Nissan aims for a sizable chunk of the pie with Datsun, and the compact GO hatchback is its first domestic model built in and for India. Nissan has kept development costs low as mechanically the GO is based on proven engineering. Mechanically, the Go uses a platform which also forms the base of the Micra along with its powertrain. The five-door hatchback has been moulded in the familiar Micra profile but it does get its own set of clothes and design character. The length of the car is 3,785mm and its width is 1,635mm, placing it firmly in the small car category. Its height is 1,485mm and its wheelbase is 2,450mm. Pleasantly proportioned, nothing appears quirky in its design language and it looks well balanced from every angle. The diamond shaped signature grille is prominent