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No 106 May-June 2010 Oman’s Best Automotive Resource OMR 0.500 AED 5.00 QR 5.

00

RaCe
aCe CRRaZyy
Peugeot’s champ car based on 308 platform!
Turbo-charged 1.6-litre, 200bhp powerpack

SupeR Cool
Jaguar XKR 2010 driven
Cat Meet a Bentley boy

Bentley’s regional head


Chris Buxton talks to
Automan about the year
past and the new Mulsanne

Visit us online at www.automanweb.com


editor-in-chief
Mohammad Al taie
Small cars and the environment
There has been an intense focus from established car manufacturers around
the world on the new growth economies of India, China and Brazil and the
AL roYA PreSS & PUBLiShinG lucky early movers in this regard have had their foresight rewarded with
Po Box: 343, Postal code 118 healthy revenues and profits buoying up their balance sheets even during a
Al harthy complex
Sultanate of oman
‘global’ recession. The common thread that runs through any post-mortem
of the success of these markets to buck a world-wide trend usually hinges on
email: automan@alroya.net how all countries have a huge internal trade and a demand for products and
Website: www.automanweb.com
services from their populations.
editorial office:
tel: +968 24479888 extn 300, fax: +968 24479889 In motoring terms, the three economies have another commonality in that
circulation office:
tel: +968 2456 2138, fax: +968 2456 2194
while there is a large degree of demand, it is skewed towards entry level and
small cars. In that way, there is a degree of difference from the demand for
PUBLiSher small cars that is seen in Europe and Japan. They have their own issues with
hatim Al taie hatim@alroya.net
parking and commuting, but aren’t nearly as challenged when it comes to
editor & GM affordability. Hence small cars there may be small in size, but are usually big
raj Warrior raj@alroya.net on features. In the new economies, affordability is the key and between the
co-ordinAtor
cost of acquisition, maintenance and fuel buyers are concerned about how far
Pratibha n Kadam pratibha@alroya.net their money stretches.

deSiGn
Sawsan Al Muharbi sawsan@alroya.info
That’s the sort of market that the new generation of small cars seeks to
address. Whether it is the Tata’s Nano or the newer competition from Reanult-
heAd of MArKetinG Nissan and Suzuki, the aim is to get people off their two-wheelers and in to
Maged Aziz maged@alroya.net
these almost no-frills cars.
MArKetinG
Shruti h Mehta shruti@alroya.net The biggest challenge for the industry and governments is to balance the
Supreme Philips philips@alroya.net
aspirational needs of the vast middle-classes with the impact all these millions
circULAtion of new engines will have on the environment, while factoring in the desirable
books@alroya.net end results of improved transportation, increased employment and the boost
finAnce & AdMin
to the economies of these countries. Of course they all need to address the
Abraham daniel daniel@alroya.net question of how safe these new cars are on a developing road network.

Printer
ruwi Modern Printers LLc
As more companies chase this burgeoning profile of consumer towards an
tel: +968 2479 4167, 2479 8157 increasingly elusive aim of a profitable year, the hope remains that authorities
fax: +968 2470 0545 will continue to promote public transportation as a mainstay of cities and urban
areas instead of allowing a free-for-all on the roads.
© 2010
All editorial content of Automan in the magazine and its
website is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any Poster
form without the written consent of the management of
AL roYA PreSS & PUBLiShinG

Automan accepts unsolicited exclusive editorial material,


but reserves the right to publish any such material. once
published, the copyright for any such material will vest
with AL roYA PreSS & PUBLiShinG

106 | May 2010


sLs AMG
Mercedes-Benz
106
in this issue
k

10
FeatUres
12 k Cover story 46 k Motorshow
Lots of new cars from
The hot little turbo car
from Peugeot - RCZ the Chinese capital
26 k road test
From luxury to mainstream
52 k Preview
MINI’s new countryman
desirable – the Lexus is slowly brought out
ES350
32 k First drive 54 k Bikes
About Peugeot’s e-bike
The Jaguar XKR 2010 taken
for a spin and power scooter

40 k road test 56 k road test


The little Sirion proves to
The Lincoln Navigator - all
luxury yet still a challenger be big at heart

dePartMeNts
4 k News
All the news you can use
from around the world
22 k aCCessorise
MotorsPorts All about various internet
enabled devices and
62 k F1 rePort wannabe tablets
The race report from
China and Spain
38 k iNterview
We meet Chris Buxton,
Bentley’s regional boss
66 k wrC rePort
The race report from 72 k ChiCaNe
Sweden and Mexico Of the options of electric
biking in the future...
{news}

the BMw X1: BraNd New sPorts aCtivity vehiCle


iNtrodUCed to BMw’s PoPUlar X Model raNge

B MW is setting a new benchmark in the


compact Sports Activity Vehicle segment
with the launch of the newest member of
four cylinder engine with 150hp. Accelerating
this agile performer from 0-100 km/h takes
just 10.4 seconds and provides a top speed
intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive technology,
as well as a range of BMW EfficientDynamics
technologies to reduce emissions and fuel
its X model range, the all-new BMW X1. The of 200 km/h. consumption. The suspension technology
youngest model to join the hugely successful X The interior of the BMW X1 is characterised featured in the BMW X1 offers high-precision
Sports Activity Vehicle portfolio comes with all by clear functionality and modern style. The power steering, high performance brakes and
of the features typical of the BMW X range, but elevated seating position, a generous feeling Dynamic Stability Control including Dynamic
at the same time offers a new interpretation of space, the wide range of storage options Traction Control.
of BMW’s Sheer Driving Pleasure. and the variable interior offer ideal conditions The BMW X1 comes with the latest
The driving characteristics of the BMW X1 for enjoying the BMW X1 both in an urban generation of BMW iDrive functions, including
offer the perfect combination of supreme agility environment and beyond. the 6.5inch Business or 8.8inch Professional
and versatile sportiness with an appearance The BMW X1 features an extremely stable navigation systems. The iDrive system has
of a Sports Activity Vehicle and the agility of body structure designed for maximum been updated to provide easy access to all
a BMW 1 Series. Available in three engine occupant safety. It achieved the highest score telecommunication, audio and entertainment
variants and measuring 4.45 metres in length, of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. NCAP functions.
this five-door stands out from every angle as (New Car Assement Programme) is regarded “Our BMW X5 and X6 models do exceptionally
a BMW X model. as one of the most important and demanding well in the Middle East so we are delighted to
The X1 xDrive28i top-of-the-range, six- tests required for new vehicles worldwide. enrich our X model offering with the launch
cylinder petrol engine has a maximum output The test scenario covers accident types of the X1. It will be the entry level X model
of 258hp, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in such as the head-on collision, side crash and variant positioned below the X3 so we expect
just 6.8 seconds and reaching a top speed of side impact against a steel post. this model to attract a younger audience to our
230 km/h. The BMW X1 xDrive25i has 218hp, Modern drive-train technology gives the X model line-up,” said Phil Horton, Managing
reaching 100Km/h in 7.9 seconds and a top BMW X1 superior performance and efficiency Director of BMW Group Middle East.
speed of 223 Km/h. Also available is the all in one. The driver benefits from a powerful,
sporting and economic sDrive 18i, a 2.0 litre economical and low-emission engine, BMW’s

4
{news}

world’s First
FoUr-seater atv
By roBBy gordoN
F airtrade Auto LLC, dealers of Polaris in
Oman, announced the launch of the ATV
(all terrain vehicle), industry’s first four-seat
sport side-by-side. Mohammed Gulzar, General
Manager, Polaris – U.A.E., Patrick Drugeon,
C.E.O., Fairtrade Group of Companies and
Hafidh Al Harthy, General Manager, Fairtrade
Auto LLC, were present at the launch that took
place at the showroom.
The 2010 Ranger RZR 4 has been designed
for Polaris in partnership with racing legend
Robby Gordon. Boasting an 800cc Twin
Cylinder High Output EFI Engine among other
outstanding features, the Ranger RZR 4 is
built for extreme, razor sharp performance
wattayah Motors showCased BeNtley, and agility in the dunes, desert and wide-open
spaces.
aUdi aNd volkswageN at oMaN’s First Being highly unique, the vehicle has already
garnered great interest locally and is now
sPort & lUXUry Car show available on order through Fairtrade Auto.
“2010’s most anticipated ATV is now available

W attayah Motors, exclusive distributor of


Bentley, Audi and Volkswagen in Oman
showcased their leading 2010 models at Oman’s
luxury and premium brands, this event is
the perfect opportunity for Wattayah Motors
to showcase some of our highest quality
in Oman and we are delighted to offer it to our
esteemed customers. At Fairtrade Auto, we are
fully equipped to handle the vehicle’s complete
first Sport and Luxury Car Show. and newest models from Bentley, Audi and servicing needs and related requirements.
Representing Bentley’s powerful legacy and Volkswagen. The Omani motoring public is Polaris vehicles are thoughtfully planned and
legendary performance, the two-seater race highly educated when it comes to the world flawlessly executed,” said Patrick Drugeon,
-style Continental Supersports, Bentley’s fastest of luxury automobiles and we a received a C.E.O., Fairtrade Group of Companies.
model was on display. Renowned for breaking tremendous amount of interest in the models
boundaries, the Continental Supersports can we had on show. “After getting a taste of the
reach a speed of 60 mph in 3.7 seconds range offered at the Sport and Luxury Car
Audi fans were pleased to view the latest Show, we invited prospective customers to visit
dynamic models available from Wattayah the Wattayah Motors Showroom to book a test
Motors including the sporty Audi R8, Audi drive and have the opportunity to experience
S8, Audi TT and Audi A5. Supporting Audi, for themselves the world-class performance of
Volkswagen also showcased the popular sporty these high performance cars in the environment
GTI and the Passat R36. where they belong – on the highways of the
“As a distributor of a number of world class Sultanate.”

geNeral Motors aNNoUNCes New BraNd


Nd MaNager
G eneral Motors (GM) has announced the
appointment of Luay Al Shurafa to the
position of Regional Brand Manager of Chevrolet
devising marketing strategies that will increase
Chevrolet’s and GMC’s sales and build brand
consideration,”.
and GMC, GM Middle East. In his 12 years working for GM in the Middle
“Luay brings many years of experience in East, Luay has successfully worked in finance
various managerial roles, and I look forward and Sales operations. In his previous role
to working with him to take GM’s brands to the as Regional Manager, Kuwait, Levant, Iraq,
next level,” said Fadi Ghosn, GM Middle East Luay worked hand in hand with dealers and
Chief Marketing Officer. He added, “With his in- distributors in individual markets to develop
depth sales experience, Luay will be crucial in sales, service and marketing plans.

5
{news}

volvo Cars Crash-test laBoratory 10 years


When the new safety centre was
inaugurated by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf
in early 2000, it was one of the most advanced
in the car industry - a position it has retained
over the years thanks to the continuous
implementation of new equipment and new
test methods.
The latest technology infusion is in the
form of a set of digital high-speed cameras
that can take 200,000 frames per second.
“The new cameras give us exceptional
scope for studying collisions down to the
tiniest detail. What is more, we have a number
of miniature cameras that are installed inside
the cars to capture what happens with various
key components in the vehicle,” relates
Thomas Broberg.
The crash-test laboratory has one fixed and
one movable test track. The movable track
can be adjusted from 0 to 90 degrees. This
makes it possible to carry out tests involving

V olvo Cars’ crash-test laboratory in


Torslanda turns 10 this year - and the
almost 3,000 full-scale tests that have been
accident scenarios that take place out on the
roads. By analysing these and then testing new
safety technology in the crash-test laboratory,
a variety of incident and accident scenarios,
from frontal impacts to side impacts, between
two moving cars approach at different angles
carried out during the high-tech facility’s first we can improve the safety level in our cars so and speeds. More over, avoidance and
decade have helped give Volvo owners even that they become even safer in real-life traffic mitigation of collision can also be tested. The
safer cars. conditions,” says Thomas Broberg, Senior facility can currently handle more than 400
“We can replicate most of the incident and Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars. full-scale tests a year.

ZUBair aUtoMotive groUP helPs sUltaN NQ


QaBoos
UNiversity stUdeNts to go the ZUBair way

Z ubair Automotive Group and Students from


the Sultan Qaboos University joined forces
this week to organize their very own luxury
Economics transformed the SQU lawns into a
car showroom, giving teachers and students
a taste of what it would be like to own one of
car show aimed at fellow students wanting Oman’s most prestigious and luxury cars.
to know more about Oman’s exclusive auto Showcasing some of the most recently
brands launched models in The Sultanate, the iconic
A proactive team of young marketing Dodge Challenger SRT8 made an appearance,
professionals studying at the Sultan Qaboos bringing back to Oman it’s all new ground
University called on Zubair Automotive Group breaking performance and world-class ride.
this week to help them showcase a fleet Well known among car enthusiasts as the
of luxury and sport cars besides exclusive ‘muscle car’ of all cars, this fierce looking
watercrafts within the university’s grounds. machine was certainly not ignored by passers-
Delighted to assist, Zubair Automotive Group by.
the exclusive distributor of several luxury and Working the floor like an Oscar winner, Not to be disappointed, Audi fans were
sports car brands in Oman, showcased their the style and elegance of the sporty Peugeot pleased to view the latest and dynamic models
leading 2010 models in support of the SQU 308 CC convertible was to be applauded. available from Wattayah Motors including the
Business Week 2010, held at Sultan Qaboos Introduced as the first coupe version of the sporty Audi TT and Audi Q5.
University earlier this week. latest 308 range azgrabbed the attention of Volkswagen pulled out all the stops by
The group of marketing students who its public, managing to turn more than a few bringing other family members to the event
belong to the College of Commerce and heads. including the popular sporty GTI and Tiguan.

6
{news}
gM Pays BaCk sUZUki sX4 hatChBaCk: iNtelligeNt
goverNMeNt loaNs iN
FUll 4wd For all terraiNs

G eneral Motors Company Chairman and


CEO Ed Whitacre recently announced that
GM has made its final payment of $5.8 billion S uzuki SX4 intelligent all-wheel drive
(i-AWD) is part of Suzuki’s world strategy
provide an excellent traction and safe drive on
all terrains. 4WD-Auto mode is suited for safe
to the U.S. Treasury and Export Development with a ‘sporty’ theme. Elegant and dynamic driving on rough roads and rainy conditions.
Canada, paying back its government loans in in both look and performance, it offers In this mode, there is no torque transfer to the
full, ahead of schedule. some of the best features of both a sporty rear and vehicle operates as a front-wheel drive
The announcement came at a ceremony compact and a sport utility vehicle (SUV). vehicle till the time there is pronounced front
to highlight an investment of $257 million at Like all Suzuki vehicles, the Suzuki SX4 i-AWD wheel slip. At this point, torque is automatically
GM’s Fairfax, Kansas, and Detroit Hamtramck embodies Suzuki’s ‘Way of Life!’ philosophy apportioned to the rear wheels to produce all-
assembly centers. The investment will and brand vision in that it will be a pleasure wheel traction, enhancing stability. The 4WD-
prepare Fairfax to build the next generation to drive, use and own. The model’s dynamic Lock mode for traction in muddy and sandy
of Chevrolet’s award-winning Malibu, and and elegant crossover design represents a conditions provides constant torque to both
make Detroit Hamtramck a second source great lifestyle product. The combination of axles up to around 40 mph for full traction
for Malibu, ensuring that Chevrolet can meet responsive driving and 4x4 capabilities sets before automatically switching over to the
market demand for this popular mid-size new standards in performance. 4WD-Auto mode for smooth cruising. The
sedan. It has been engineered from the outset to 2WD mode transmits power primarily to the
The U.S., Canadian, and Ontario be a capable 4x4 to deliver a sharp, dynamic front wheels for a quiet drive with excellent
governments, as part of the launch of the new performance. The Suzuki SX4’s ability to track fuel economy on the tarmac. All this with class
GM, provided loans of $8.4 billion and took the driver’s intention would surprise even leading ground clearance of 165 mm makes
equity stakes in the new company. Today’s driving enthusiasts. this vehicle and great drive on all terrains.
payment of $5.8 billion ($4.7 billion to the Suzuki SX4 i-AWD is powered by a 2000 The suspension system has high levels of
U.S. Treasury and $C1.1 billion to Export cc VVT (Variable Valve Timing) petrol engine bending and torsional rigidity. This along with
Development Canada) completes the payback generating 165 horsepower. The VVT petrol wide tyres helps the vehicle to have better
of these loans. engine also features drive by wire throttle handling and helps the passengers to be
Strong sales of new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, control for great response and a comfortable comfortable over long journeys. The efficient
and Cadillac products are fueling a steady drive. dimensions and a minimum turning radius of
increase in production as GM works to meet SX4 i-AWD is equipped with 4WD-Auto, 5.3 metres help drivers to negotiate narrow
growing customer demand. Sales for GM’s 4WD-Lock and 2WD modes which can urban streets with relative ease and park in
four brands are up 36 percent through March accessed with a flick of switch according to the spots too small for bigger SUVs.
versus the same period in 2009. driving conditions. The three driving modes

7
{news}

Ferrari UNveils 458 italia iN oMaN

F errari’s new 458 Italia was unveiled to


media and customers during an event held
at the Ferrari showroom Al Kuwair in presence
of putting the thrill into driving as a result
of track-derived technological innovations.
The Ferrari 458 Italia is a completely new
of Pietro Innocenti, General Manager, Ferrari car from every point of view: engine, design,
Middle East and Africa and Nizar Al Shanfari, aerodynamics, handling, instrumentation and
Vice President, Shanfari Sport Cars Division, ergonomics, just to name a few.
the official importer of Ferrari in Oman. The powerful hart is a 4.499 cc engine with
Nizar Al Shanfari commented: “We are glad an output of 570 Hp at 9.000 Rpm and a torque
to welcome Mr. Pietro Innocenti for the first of 540 Nm at 6.000 Rpm (80% available at
time in our country. His recent appointment 3.250 Rpm). The Ferrari 458 Italia accelerates
as General Manger in the Middle East and from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3,4 seconds,
Africa areas witnesses the increased focus on 0-200 km/h in 10.4 seconds, and top speeds
Gcc counties. Our target is to improve and lies close to 325 Km/h.
to share passion about the prancing horse With the Ferrari 458 Italia, Maranello has
heritage: this new amazing car will definitively brought a highly distinctive new car to its useable in day-to-day driving like all Ferrari’s
make our job easier”. 8-cylinder range. The company now offers two recent models.
The new V8-engined berlinetta is a models that share a common, race-derived
synthesis of style, creative flair, passion and DNA, both exceptionally sporty and fun to
cutting-edge technology, characteristics for drive in true Ferrari tradition, but aimed at two
which Italy as a nation is well-known. For this very different kinds of client. While the Ferrari
reason Ferrari chose to add the name of its California was created for owners requiring
homeland to the traditional figure representing a more versatile sports car with a practical
the displacement and number of cylinders. edge, the 458 Italia is designed for owners
Designed to fulfill the expectations and for whom the priority is uncompromising on-
ambitions of our most passionate clients, road performance with occasional track day
the 458 Italia continues the Ferrari tradition capability, but who still demand a car that is

8
{news}
volkswageN at the eXPo
iroN MaN 2 drives aN aUdi r8 sPyder 2010 iN shaNghai

R obert Downey Jr. has returned to his role


as the ingenious engineer and superhero
Iron Man. The world premiere of Iron Man 2
skin, along with a high-strength aluminum
frame known as the Audi Space Frame. And
they both have their hearts in the right place:
took place recently in Los Angeles. Along with a glowing artificial one in Iron Man’s chest,
Robert Downey Jr., several other big names and an impressive mid-engine design in the
accompanied director Jon Favreau down the R8, which is visible externally.
red carpet, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett With its jet propulsion, the Iron Man suit
Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Sam worn by Robert Downey Jr. is unrivalled – and
Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson – and right in the the R8 Spyder, with its 525 hp engine, needn’t
centre of things, the Audi R8 Spyder. Robert fear its rivals either. The 5.2 liter FSI engine of
Downey Jr. arrived for the premiere at the El the R8 powers the two-seater convertible to
Capitan Theatre in the supercar. It was a scene a top speed of 313 kilometers an hour. Only
straight out of the Marvel Studios movie, in flying could be better – and in this case, Iron
which main character Tony Stark drives the Man clearly comes out on top. But Robert
open-top two-seater. Downey Jr. hardly needs to concern himself. Volkswagen supports Expo theme of
The R8 Spyder is practically custom-made In the movie, he has the best of both worlds. ‘Better City – Better Life’
for the superhero, a technological genius who “Just like the first movie, Iron Man 2 is the Shanghai’s World Fair Expo 2010 ‘exclusive and
needs to drive the car without his high-tech perfect environment for the Audi R8. Like us, official automobile sponsor’ - Volkswagen - will
suit, but doesn’t want to miss out on innovative the technologically ingenious Super Hero Tony be taking a fundamental part in implementing
technology. Robert Downey Jr. and his R8 Stark represents Vorsprung durch Technik. the motto of the Expo, “Better City – Better
Spyder put Audi’s philosophy of Vorsprung And just as the R8 Spyder was developed Life”, to promote German trade, sustainable
durch Technik to good use: Iron Man’s visual from the Audi R8, the Super Hero Tony Stark development and environmental protection.
capabilities are optimized by the helmet, for surprises us with new innovations,” said Lothar Volkswagen will support the German and
example, and the R8’s high efficiency LED Korn, Head of Marketing Communications at Austrian pavilions by providing vehicles, and
headlights likewise provide for good vision. Audi. Robert Downey Jr., alias Tony Stark, also offer a glimpse of the future with its electric
The supercar from Audi matches the Super drove the Audi R8 in the first Iron Man movie, vehicle technology.
Hero’s indestructible suit with its own carbon which was released in May 2008. The consulate general of the Federal
fiber composite materials in parts of its exterior Republic of Germany and the German Chamber
of Foreign Trade have also been provided
with a total of nine vehicles; with staff and
guests of the Austrian pavilion receiving three
Volkswagen T5 Multivans and one Phaeton.

Driving presentation of the Volkswagen


electric cars
Volkswagen is introducing a number of new
initiatives in China this year, which supports
the Expo theme of a sustainable and
environmentally aware life.
Volkswagen will present its electric
and hybrid models in Shanghai this June.
Journalists from all over the world will be
among the first to test drive the vehicles and
become acquainted with the innovative power
of Volkswagen in electric mobility.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary since its
inception during the Expo 2000 in Hanover,
visitors to the pavilion will be able to have
their pictures taken standing in front of the
‘Autostadt’ while they wait to enter stand.
Volkswagen is present inside and outside
of the Expo, with 3,650 Touran taxi cabs
operating throughout the sprawling city,
especially for the world fair.

9
{news}

PorsChe world aNd asiaN


PreMieres iN BeijiNg

C elebrating the World Premiere of the new


Panamera and Panamera 4 at Auto China
2010 in Beijing, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG,
Stuttgart, is rapidly enlarging the Panamera
model range. Following the successful start
into the market of Porsche’s fourth model
series last year, the new entry-level versions
of this outstanding Gran Turismo will be
available from May 2010.
Like the proven V8 models already bringing
home more than 50 awards worldwide, both
the Panamera and the Panamera 4 are unique
Gran Turismo combining sporting character
with superior comfort and practical, everyday
driving qualities. Both models are powered
by a newly developed 3.6-litre V6 featuring
Direct Fuel Injection and delivering maximum 20th aNNiversary oF the legeNdary
output of 300 hp (220 kW) plus peak torque of
400 Nm/295 lb-ft. In line with Porsche’s usual MClareN F1
model designations the Panamera conveys its
power to the road via its rear wheels, while
the Panamera 4 comes as standard with active
all-wheel drive.
I n 1988, McLaren took the decision to
expand from Formula One and design and
build ìthe finest sports car the world had ever
experience.
The F1 bristles with innovative design.
The central driving position, which ensures
Porsche’s new Gran Turismo models, just seenî. In March 1990 the team that was to superb visibility and no compromise on
like the new Cayenne Hybrid S celebrating its create the F1 came together for the first time. control positions for the driver; the pannier
Asian Debut at the Beijing Auto Show, offer In its 20th anniversary year, the McLaren F1 side lockers providing unprecedented levels
the outstanding qualities of the consistent is considered by most people to be one of of luggage capacity in a car of this type; the
Porsche Intelligent Performance development the greatest cars of all time. Its exclusivity, patented suspension system to provide both
strategy: Featuring new technologies such as technical innovation, racing provenance, control and ride quality.
the Auto Start-Stop function, all three models revolutionary packaging and extraordinary The F1 was launched at a price of £540,000
make do with well under ten litres of fuel/100 driving experience have made it an icon. in 1994, and over the course of the next four
km in the New European Driving Cycle. Just two years later, the McLaren F1 road years 64 F1, 5 F1 LM and 3 F1 GT road cars
Presenting the concept study of a high- car was launched to the world on 28th May were produced, together with 28 F1 GTR
performance mid-engined sports car with 1992 in Monaco, with the first production car race cars. An additional six prototypes were
highly efficient, low-emission drivetrain delivered to its proud owner in December produced.
technology in Beijing, Porsche is once again 1993. In October 2008, a delivery mileage F1 was
proving the company’s competence in The F1 defines the McLaren road car DNA sold at auction for £2.53 million, underlining
hybrid power at Auto China 2010. The 918 McLaren is a carbon pioneer. The McLaren the F1ís status as one of the great motoring
Spyder prototype combines high-tech racing Formula 1 team was the first team in Formula icons.
technology with electric mobility to provide 1 to use a carbon fibre chassis in 1981. Nine On 27th April 2010, McLaren Automotive
a truly fascinating range of qualities: On the years on, these Formula 1 techniques were celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the start
one hand the emissions of a small compact developed to create the carbon monocoque of the F1 programme by inviting F1 owners
car of just 70 grams of CO2 per kilometre on for the McLaren F1: the resulting structure past and present to a celebration dinner at
three litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, on the weighed just 100kg whilst offering the highest the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking,
other hand the performance of a super sports levels of strength and safety. The bare carbon England. The following day, after an insight
car accelerating from a standstill to 100 km/h fibre passenger doors weighed just 7 kg into McLaren Automotiveís exciting plans for a
in just under 3.2 seconds, reaching a top each (which included the weight of the side future range of high performance sports cars,
speed of more than 320 km/h, and lapping intrusion beam). the owners were treated to a display of 21
the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in less than The F1 defined the McLaren road car DNA: McLaren F1 road and race cars, the largest
7:30 minutes, faster even than the Porsche low weight, low polar moment of inertia, clever number of F1 cars ever assembled in one
Carrera GT. packaging, superb quality and innovative place.
design, resulting in an outstanding driving

10
{news}
iN other News
Volkswagen increased 61.4% year-on- the opening of the Seoul Consumer Cash of up to
launch subsidiary year to 99,903 units due Advanced Design Studio $3,000.
Volkswagen r gmbh to increased output of the in the heart of the 2010 Jeep brand
new Fuga, Note and other World Design Capital. The Consumers who purchase
export models. studio is based in the city’s Jeep brand 2010 model
Production outside of Gangnam area, which is year vehicles can choose
Japan saw a increase of considered not only the 0 percent financing for
98.5% year-on-year to most exciting and stylish 36 months or attractive
rolls-royce 218,924 units marking part of Korea’s capital, but financing rates for longer
announces an all-time record for the also one of the world’s terms or up to $4,000
successFul FirsT month of March. trendiest neighborhoods. Consumer Cash.
Volkswagen has responded QuarT
uar er
uarT In the U.S., production GM Daewoo President Consumers who
to growing market demand Rolls-Royce Motor Cars increased 94.3% year-on- and CEO Mike Arcamone purchase a Jeep Liberty,
for factory upgraded announced recently that year to 48,804 units due to said that design will Jeep Grand Cherokee or
vehicles with the launch the company has enjoyed increased demand for all continue to be a key to the Jeep Commander can
of a new wholly-owned a successful first quarter in models led by Altima and company’s success. “Our choose 0 percent financing
subsidiary - Volkswagen R 2010, with sales increasing Maxima. award-winning Korean for up to 60 months or
GmbH. by 60% worldwide In Mexico, production designers were responsible Consumer Cash of up to
Tasked with creating compared with the same was up considerably by for the Chevrolet Cruze, $4,000
sporty and exclusive period in 2009. 161.1% year-on-year to Spark and yet to be In addition, consumers
models, Volkswagen R Sales in APAC were 38,508 units fueled by launched Aveo,” said who purchase or lease a
GmbH’s workforce of double the same period robust sales of the Tiida Arcamone. Liberty, Grand Cherokee or
over 350 employees in 2009, with sales in and Sentra. One of 10 GM global Commander and finance
meets individual customer Mainland China more In the U.K., production design centers and the through GMAC Financial
preferences for sporty, than trebling. Sales in increased 68.7% year-on- design base for GM’s global Services are eligible for up
customised versions of the United States, Europe year to 35,300 units due to mini and small vehicles, to $1,000 in GMAC Bonus
Volkswagen vehicles. This and the Middle East also increased demand for all the GM Daewoo Design Cash
includes fitting sportier showed substantial growth. models and particularly the Center has relocated Consumers purchasing a
exteriors, exclusive The new Rolls-Royce brisk sales of the Qashqai. its advanced design Jeep Wrangler are eligible
interiors, and installing Ghost was successfully In Spain, production saw function to Seoul from its for $500 in Mopar &; Bucks
professional racing introduced into a number a considerable increase headquarters in Bupyeong, dodge brand
powertrains and running of global markets following of 148.5% year-on-year Incheon, in order to Consumers purchasing
gears. its international launch in to 7,902 units due to enhance its function and most 2010 model year
Volkswagen R GmbH California, including the increased demand for all specialty. Dodge brand vehicles can
produces three versions largest market for Rolls- the models led by Navara. choose from 0 percent
of Volkswagen vehicles; Royce, the United States. In China, production chrysler group llc financing for 36 months or
performance-enhanced It is notable that Ghost has increased 64.0% year- announces may 2010 Consumer Cash of up to
and upgraded sports cars not yet been delivered to on-year to 62,574 units u.s. incenTiVes $3,000.
– the R models, and cars China and that the surge marking an all-time record Chrysler Group LLC Consumers purchasing
fitted with customised in sales in this market for a single month. recently announced 0 a Dodge Avenger, Dodge
independent equipment - during the first quarter was Production in other percent financing on Grand Caravan or Dodge
the R-Line and Exclusive generated solely by Rolls- regions was also most 2010 model year Nitro can choose 0 percent
models. Royce Phantom models. remarkably up by 217.0% Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep; and financing for up to 60
Volkswagen R GmbH also With the introduction year-on-year to 25,836 Ram truck vehicles when months, or up to $2,000
serves as an important of Ghost this trend is units due to increased financed through GMAC Consumer Cash Consumers
conduit to Volkswagen expected to continue. output in Thai. Financial Services. who purchase Dodge
Motorsport. Volkswagen R chrysler brand Charger can choose from
GmbH is the main sponsor nissan resulT For gm opens seoul Consumers purchasing 0 percent financing for up
for this year’s Scirocco march 2010 and adVanced
V
Vanced design 2010 model year Chrysler to 72 months or Consumer
R-Cup - the most eco- Fiscal year 2009 sTudio brand vehicles can choose Cash of $3,000 Consumers
friendly one-make cup Nissan’s global production With a renewed focus 0 percent financing for purchasing a Dodge
series in the world, with up in March increased 85.2% on designing, building up to 60 months, or 1.9 Challenger can choose
to 80 percent lower CO2 year-on-year to 318,827 and selling the world’s percent financing for 72 from attractive financing
emissions thanks to Bio- units. best vehicles, General months through GMAC rates from GMAC
CNG as fuel. Production in Japan Motors has announced Financial Services, or

11
{Cover Story}

So Much froM
So little
For all its success in europe, Peugeot has not made much
headway in the Middle east. Perhaps, it was lacking a brand
champion like the stunning new rCZ. we test it in spain...
| Author: Raj Warrior |

12
{Cover Story}

T
wo months and two trips to Spain. It is not as if one would ever
complain about the events that makes these trips necessary.
First a tryst with a Lamborghini and then with a Peugeot. Before
you do the classic double-take with a “pyuwhat?” as an accent on it,
let’s tell you something about the car that the French brand had laid
out for us.
Now, we don’t have to tell you the position that Peugeot finds itself
in here in Oman. In many ways it is a microcosm of the brand’s status
in the Middle East, give or take a few percentage points here and
there. Safe, solid cars with a flair for style and some lingering questions
over long-term reliability and ability to withstand and operate in the
region’s harsh environment. Peugeot usually even finds it a tough job
to compete with most other European makes, especially the German
ones except in their dominant market of North and East Africa.
Of course, like most car makers, the past few years have been one
of churn. They now have increased their product penetration into the
region, offering a diverse range of cars from the small 206 and 207,
through an Iranian sourced 206 sedan for the value for money markets
and on to the rather zippy 308 and executive level 407. What is really
missing from the portfolio is a genuine SUV. In Europe, Peugeot sells
the 4007, an SUV based on the Mitsubshi Outlander, but it is limited in
its ability to offer the car in other markets.
So at the outset, Peugeot has to be able to make its presence felt
with a rather limited arsenal. That’s where thinking out of the box
helps the brand. Most drivers would agree that the most noticeable

13
{Cover Story}

of Peugeot’s models are the CC variants of its hatchbacks - the 206 The RCZ, akin to other speciality models like the CC variants, uses
and 307CC. With their rather bubble topped silhoutte sticking out in the economy of scale and engineering reliability of a the 308 base
traffic, to the long hair that tends to stream out from the open driving model. In an interesting discussion, company officials explained the
positions, people do notice the cars. It isn’t as if they are very practical rationale behind the RCZ’s evolution. To Peugeot, while making inroads
to begin with. What with the need to use a particular floorpan and in world markets is desirable, dominance of their home market in
then accommodate all the moving parts of a collapsible metal roof, the France and on a broader scale, Europe, is essential. In that the M1
interiors are strictly laid out as typical 2+2. From personal experience, vehicle segment, also kown as the C/C+ segment is most significant
we would rather call it a 2+1.x arrangement for anyone other than a in terms of volume with turnover due to the nature of cars in that
child needs to sit sideways on the rear bench. band.
So how do you go about matching the demanding needs of a brand The 308 architecture is thus the one that best fits the needs of the
that must make an impact worldwide, with a car that can be seen as brand. From the hatchback that starts the bottom end of the segment,
a brand champion in all markets? You can’t have the supercar 908 evolutions include the SW, CC and new variants like the 3008 and
everywhere to do that job, but you can project the next best thing. 5008 that offer more volume on the same wheelbase. The RCZ is
That is where the RCZ comes into existence and sets out to compete meant to be the top end of the M1 segment in terms of positioning
with established models like the Audi TT. We know that comparisons and somehow has to distinguish itself from the rather urban feel of
can be odious and often are, especially to the people behind the the CC.
weaker of the compared cars. But in the case of the RCZ the TT is a The biggest distinguisher here is the double bubble canopy that
sort of evaluative benchmark, though it shouldn’t be, especially seeing hogs the tail-on view of the car. It was loved as a concept on the 308
that it comes from a brand that’s ‘higher’ on the aspirational ladder RCZ shown at Frankfurt 2007 and became, along with the aluminium
and offers power packs that are larger as well. So we, unlike the bulk arches and the redesigned front end with its rather largish and
of the journalists on the trip, will not compare the two, other than restyled logo, the features that mark the RCZ in its production form.
remark on some passing similarities of form. The Frankfurt show in 2009 again served to launch the production

14
{Cover Story}

<< in the case of the rCZ the tt is a


sort of evaluative benchmark, though
it shouldn’t be, especially seeing that
it comes from a brand that’s ‘higher’
on the aspirational ladder >>

Typical items from the peugeot parts bin


sit comfortably side-by-side with an almost
custom designed interior.

The RCZ is the first Peugeot to sport the


redesigned logo.

15
{Cover Story}

<< the dial communicates its fixation with France with


the major speed stops demarcated in 70, 90, 110 and
onwards >>

model, which, like its other short-run variants is not manufactured at knows you have the wherewithal to prevent the car from lifting off
the main plant north of Paris, but rather at the specialist Magna Steyr every once in a while.
plant in Graz, Austria. Why would we disapprove? We don’t. In the nature of our drive
The reasonably compact dimensions of the 308’s wheelbase we went over 160 many times and the spoiler does help keep the
result in a vehicle that doesn’t occupy too much road area. What is rear axle firmly planted, especially when you consider the otherwise
instantly noticeable is that the signature Peugeot long front overhang sleekly aerodynamic shape of the car. The question is whether the
is retained, while the rear overhang is very much visually in keeping extra complexity of a motor was needed? If you park the car and
with the hatch origins. As for passenger space, the lower hip point, switch off everything the spoiler doesn’t retract on its own when in
alongwith the slightly flatter layout ensure that the front two seats manual mode. Why not just have a fixed wing, especially with a fixed
get all the legroom they require. Visually, the aluminium arches stand roof car?
out, especially on the blue car that we tested. We understand that When you get to the interiors, you are immediately at ease if you
the colour scheme also encompasses body coloured arches, sort of have been in a Peugeot before. The dial communicates its fixation
allowing a buyer to blend in with the blacks and greys of the typical with France with the major speed stops demarcated in 70, 90, 110
car pool in Europe, but what would be the point of that? and onwards. However the style of the console has changed with the
As for the rear double-bubble – again the company chose to use of photo-etched treatment and backlit markings. The central clock
go against expectations by making it from glass rather than the reflects a similar treatment.
polycarbonate that we expected. After all this car will not be a volume The seats are nicely contoured with a wrap-around feel and feature
seller. Despite this the company has got a dedicated supplier in the integrated headrests, carrying the sporty feel onwards. The dash and
form of St. Gobain Glass who made this unique form for them. steering wheel are wrapped in a soft-feel leatherlike material and the
An additional feature has been incorporated that we have a few gearshift has the typical aluminium knob look of sporting cars.
mixed feelings about. An adjustable, deployable air spoiler sits on the In order to allow ease of entry into the rather cosseted confines
lip of the rear deck. In auto mode, it comes into its own at around 160 of this arched cabin, the door opens almost 90 degrees. Now when
kmph, but if you are one of the laddies who enjoy this sort of show, you consider that the door is quite large along the horizontal plane
you can have it deploy even when stationary just so that everyone due to the need to access the rear bench and the almost right-angled

16
{Cover Story}

This rear spoiler is going to be the subject of much


discussion as it serves more to uplift one’s vanity, while
playing its part in increasing downward force on the
rear axle.

17
{Cover Story}

<< Finally this car is about the marriage of a low


capacity, high-performance engine with a level of
handling and agility that makes for an interesting car >>

opening at its extreme, the car’s width increases dramatically making overboost) and a maximum power of 200bhp at 5800rpm, it enables
packed municipal parking lots a challenge. Even then, with all the the RCZ to accelerate from 80 to 120kmph in 6.5 seconds in fifth gear
opening available, it took the writer quite some doing to even get and 0 to 100kmph in 7.6 seconds.
into the rear seat. The front seat was not pulled back, just in case it The 4-cylinder engine has a capacity of 1598 cm3 combined with
became impossible to get out. a range of innovative technologies like the twin-scroll turbocharger
For all purposes the car needs to be treated as a two-seater with for performance and instant response at very low engine speeds,
space for a couple of handbags available at the rear. direct petrol injection, and variable valve lift coupled with variable
Interestingly enough, the RCZ comes with two engines now and valve timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts (VTi technology),
will be joined at a later stage by another one at a later stage. The two for reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
engines were available at the event, a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol The “sound of the engine” during acceleration has also been
unit, which we have seen before on the top level 308 and a 2.0-litre optimised through the use of Sound System technology. A different
diesel unit that is meant principally for the European and North African sound is created according to the engine speed, just like a musical
markets. Most of us are familiar with the collaboration between Peugeot instrument. Partnered with a six-speed manual gearbox the engine
and BMW that saw the French marque adopt the high-performance has the wherewithal to deliver the complete package of blistering
1.6-litre petrol units used on the MINI brand, while offering its high- start, great low-end acceleration, overtaking ability and a top band
pressure HDI small diesel range in return to the German brand. In that makes the car sound like a banshee.
Peugeot parlance THP engines, now offer the best driving experience Of course the platform has its limitations. The engine powers the
on a small platform and the 200 horsepower is nothing to be sneezed front-wheels and by choice the wheelbase remains in the zone of
at. With its maximum torque of 255Nm at 1700rpm (or 275Nm with the 308 itself. The resultant ride is smooth and stable, but you can

18
{Cover Story}

feel the tail on occasion around the corners. The suspension is also
not the most refined to have on a small sports car, but Peugeot has
for long shown an affinity towards the use of a rear torsion beam.
Compared to the standard ‘Platform Two’ vehicle, the ride height has
been lowered by 20mm, the centre of gravity is also lower by 40mm,
the front track has been widened by 54mm and the rear track is wider
by 72mm.
The shock absorber calibration has also been revised to ensure the
best possible levels of road holding and the RCZ will be available with
both 18” and 19” wheels and tyres.
On versions of the RCZ fitted with the petrol turbocharged 200 bhp
THP engine, the front suspension benefits from a special lower anti-
roll bar to make the car even more responsive and agile.
Finally this car is about the marriage of a low capacity, high-
performance engine with a level of handling and agility that makes for
an interesting car. Even on the twisting hill roads that characterised
the countryside around Bilbao and Pamplona the car handled like
it was glued to the road. With the sport pack and the short throw
gearshift that is included with it, the car allows one to use the wide

19
{Cover Story}

torque band to overtake even on climbs, while offering the extreme


opposite for cruising along urban thoroughfares – the toruq band now
works in your favour as without overloading the engine the car can
shunt along in a comfortable third gear. The best part is that even
from that point in its running you can floor the accelerator without
shifting gears and the car does do its best to accommodate you.
On a note of caution, potential owners need to understand that
the large glass double dome does not translate into a panoramic roof.
The roof is very snug and sports car like while offering the strength of
steel to protect you in case of a flip-over.
One would expect the RCZ to come to the Gulf region with only the
200 horsepower THP engine, though we hope that the car then gets
its announced six-speed automatic gearbox with the 156bhp version
as well to complement the nature of the car. And Peugeot are trying
their best to keep the RCZ distinct from the CC, having promised
that their use of the three letters breaks new ground for them – on 23
purpose. We may yet see further models from other platforms join the
RCZ in the line-up.

20
BODY SPRAY / EAU DE TOILETTE / AFTER SHAVE
{accessorise}
This column brings The laTesT, The TrendiesT and The musT-have accessories, gadgeTs and Toys ThaT we
Think our readers should have. This monTh iT’s an alTernaTive camera special

Make a streak Part oF yoUr CoNNeCted liFestyle

D Networked walkMaN PhoNes


ell released plans for Streak, a 5-inch Android™-based Tablet
designed to provide people the best “on-the-go” entertainment,
social connection, and navigation experience. Early in June the Sony Ericsson announced a new duo which continues the iconic Sony
Dell Streak will be available across the UK at O2 stores, O2.co.uk, The Ericsson Walkman phone legacy. With more than 130 million Walkman
Carphone Warehouse, and later in the month at Dell.co.uk. Pricing and phones sold worldwide, Sony Ericsson now adds two affordable
data plans for the UK will be announced by O2 ahead of availability. Walkman phones to its portfolio – without compromising on features.
Later this summer, Dell plans to make Streak available in the U.S. Sony Ericsson Zylo and Sony Ericsson Spiro provide consumers
The Dell Streak is a compact and powerful companion for people with the best music experience they have
who want to expand their ability to access their digital lives on the go, come to expect from Walkman phones but
and realize tomorrow’s technology today. The spacious 5-inch screen is go one step further and marry music with
ideal for experiencing thousands of Android Market™ widgets, games social networking. From Twitter to Facebook,
and applications, all without squinting or compromising portability. B consumers can catch up with friends at just
uilt-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and available 3G connectivity brings easy access a touch of a button while still listening to
for downloading and listening to music, updating social networking their favourite music on the Walkman player.
status in real-time, and staying connected to friends and family through Another key function available on both
e-mail, text, IM, and voice calls. phones is TrackID – which allows consumers
On-the-go students, mobile professionals, and active families will to access the name and artist of a track they
find Streak’s web-browsing capabilities as natural as a laptop. The hear playing wherever they are. This function
5-inch screen is large enough to present Web pages in their natural has proved popular with music lovers world-
form, create a comfortable viewing experience, and make turn-by-turn wide with 129million TrackID lookups in 2009
navigation simple and safe. The Dell Streak leverages Qualcomm’s alone.
Snapdragon™ solution with integrated 1GHz processor to combine Sony Ericsson Zylo and Sony Ericsson Spiro
basic functionality, performance, and benefits of a laptop in a pocket also feature the human curvature design that
friendly size. is now consistent across the whole Sony
The Dell Streak was designed with the future in mind and will support Ericsson portfolio. Beautiful and timeless
over-the-air updates including platform upgrades, Adobe Flash 10.1 on human curvature also incorporates an
Android™ 2.2 later this year, video chat applications and other software ergonomic keypad which makes the handset
innovations. easy to use.

22
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al RoYa pRess & pUBlishinG hoUse | ph: +968 24479888 | Fx: +968 24479889 | info@alroya.info
{accessorise}

add aN edge to yoUr eNtoUrage


C
onsumers who desire a do-it-all device can now rely on the pages and images from the e-paper screen in color on the LCD, opening
enTourage eDGe™, the world’s first dualbook™, that combines up video links from textbooks or dragging and dropping terms and
the functionalities of an e-reader, tablet netbook, note pad and names from the e-book into a Web browser to easily search for additional
audio/video player and recorder into one, sleek solution. The product is information.
making its official debut at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics enTourage Systems is building its own e-book store, which has access
Show in Las Vegas January 7-10 on display in the e-Book TechZone, to over 200,000 trade books and more than one million free public
Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Central Hall booth #12140 and domain books digitized by Google, as well as to many popular magazines,
the Innovations showcase in the LVCC Grand Lobby. newspapers and periodicals. This includes popular higher education
The enTourage eDGe is a dual-screen, WiFi-enabled electronic e-textbooks in a variety of subjects from publishers such as McGraw
device that merges an e-paper screen with an LCD screen for enhanced Hill and John Wiley & Sons, as well as content frequently adopted by
professors for course use from Oxford University
Press.
The enTourage eDGe includes a built-in noise-
cancelling microphone and 1.3 Mega Pixel camera to
easily capture audio and video content, perfect for
classroom lectures or taking down meeting minutes.
The microphone can pick up audio from up to 30 feet
away and stores the files in MP3 format. The product
also runs on the Android operating system, making it
easily customizable for each user.
With the enTourage eDGe, consumers also get
a complete eco-system to complement their user
experience. enTourage Systems backs up all material
directly to its servers, ensuring user documents are
never inaccessible if a unit gets damaged or goes
missing. This also includes the e-book store enTourage
Systems is building from scratch, giving the company
the ability to answer to consumer demands of what
content they’d most like to see. To complement the
user experience, enTourage eDGe users can also
easily share files between devices.
The enTourage eDGe also comes with a battery
with advanced power saving modes to stay powered
longer, with a minimum of six hours utilizing the LCD
interactivity. The left side is comprised of a 9.7” diagonal e-paper screen and over seven days if simply accessing the e-reader. The product
display, where users can easily read e-books in PDF and EPUB format, was also designed with portability in mind, folding a full 360 degrees with
draw diagrams and take notes. The right side of the product is a 10.1” ability to orient its displays horizontally or vertically, so a user can hold
diagonal LCD screen for easy Web surfing, email and instant message the enTourage eDGe as a book, single screen or prop it up like a laptop.
composition and sending and video watching. This screen also includes This feature is also useful to orient the screens most comfortably whether
a virtual keyboard for convenient typing. These two screens work the user is right- or left-handed.
uniquely together to make content more interactive, such as pulling up

hi teCh astroNoMy at yoUr haNds


Celebrating 50 years of optical innovation, Celestron reach. Although large in aperture, with its conveniently
offers the Limited Edition 50th Anniversary CPC 800 located carrying handles and an instrument weight of
GPS. This elegant telescope features a hi-tech carbon only 42 lb., this telescope is portable enough to setup
fibre tube, striking 50th Anniversary graphics and a in your backyard or take with you to your favorite dark
limited edition eyepiece kit. sky location.
Only 300 50th Anniversary Edition CPCs are being Celestron’s new CPC Series with revolutionary SkyAlign
made available worldwide, making this a must have Alignment Technology re-defines everything that
collector’s item. amateur astronomers are looking for — quick and simple
Turn this scope to planets and see amazing detail on alignment, GPS, unsurpassed optical quality, ease of
the surface of Jupiter; see Cassini’s Division in the rings of set-up and use, ergonomics, enhanced computerization
Saturn, and resolve details on the surface of Mars. Even and, most important, affordability.
the distant Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are within your

24
{Road Test}

Chariot of Aspiration

Packed full of goodies and with the reliability of a front-wheel drive


geartrain, the lexus es350 brings desire to executive motoring.
automan tests the 2010 variant
| Author: Charles Aitchison | Photography: Basim Al Muharbi |

26
{Road Test}

T
he ES350 is a medium-size four-seater and I expect most people above average
sedan. Of course, it will seat five people, height would feel more comfortable with it.
but as with almost all so-called five- The general feeling in the cabin is that it’s all
seaters, the fifth seat is really for occasional very nicely and tastefully done, and a lot of
use only. We’ve come to expect the very thought has gone into the design. The quality
highest standards from Lexus, so does this and fit of the materials is very high. On closing
car make the grade? First impressions are of the door, once you’re inside, the steering
the usual tight and even shut lines and superb wheel comes towards you to the previously
paintwork that we expect of Lexus. The White set position, or to the memory position (there
Pearl pearlescent paint on the test car is very are two for each of the front seats) when you
attractive, both at a distance and close-up. push the seat memory button. When you stop
Although now increasingly common in GCC, the engine and open the door, the steering
on this and other brands, that’s not surprising, wheel retracts towards the dashboard, making
as this particular paint finish is both beautiful egress easier.
and practical – reflecting the burning sun while The cabin is well designed, both
looking smart and producing an interesting, ergonomically and aesthetically, with high
ever-changing shimmer. quality materials throughout. The knobs and
There are three versions of the ES350 – in switches all have a nice, solid feel to them.
ascending order, Exclusive, Limited and Super Even the rear-view mirror shows the attention
Special. It was the latter on test. to detail and the quality of the fittings, as the
Settling into the car, the seats are covered way it moves makes the job of adjusting it
in what is quite obviously top quality easier than in any other vehicle I know. Most
perforated leather. There are three levels mirrors are stiff & have a tendency to overshoot
of seat cooling available separately to front when you adjust them – this one just moves
seat occupants, and both front seats have to the desired position. A neat touch is the
two memory settings. As well as all the double-hinged grab handles above each door
usual adjustments, the driver’s seat squab – unusual and practical. Similarly, there’s a
extends, so those with longer legs can get lockable box built in to the rear seats behind
some additional under-thigh support – very the central armrest – useful for keeping things
welcome for your reporter, as it would be for safe when the car is being serviced, perhaps.
anyone with longer than average legs. It’s The rear seats are comfortable and have
fun to watch it extending, as the way it rolls plenty of legroom and enough headroom for
out, taking the leather seat covering with it almost everyone.
without stretching it overmuch is very clever. The air conditioning, audio system, phone
I’m surprised the market doesn’t demand this set-up and operation and sat-nav are all
facility as standard, as comfort at the wheel is controlled via the central screen, which is also
so important for enjoyable and safe motoring, the monitor for the reversing camera.

27
{Road Test}

The audio system on the model tested is no evidence of it during the test, even during
a 14 speaker Mark Levinson system, and it’s fairly spirited driving. This is impressive, as the
excellent. The radio does all one would expect, 3.5 litre engine puts out 300bhp, and 150bhp
as does the 6 DVD changer. There are USB going through each of the front wheels is a lot
and Aux sockets for MP3 player, iPod, etc, and for the contact patch to cope with. Steering is
these work well. On the Exclusive and Limited nicely weighted and just does what you would
versions there’s an 8-speaker audio system. want and expect. The suspension is set for
Also on the audio side, it’s easy to connect a comfort rather than sport driving, but that’s
phone with Bluetooth into the system – very fine; this is a luxury town car, not a sports car
convenient, and a good safety feature. The - although it can go like one if pushed.
system will store your all of your contacts The six-speed gearbox does what it’s
automatically if you tell it to. There’s also a meant to do in a smooth and unobtrusive
calendar facility, and you can store memos in manner. The tiptronic facility works fine,
the system, although it doesn’t sync with the although it would be nice to have the system
calendar in your phone. match engine revs to the newly selected
The air conditioning is adjustable lower gear when using tiptronic mode - but
independently for each side and is very that’s generally only available on cars with
powerful. Combined with the three-level seat paddles. There’s not really much more to
cooling it’s easy to achieve a comfortable say about it, it does its job very well. The
temperature. There’s also seat heating, engine is smooth throughout the rev range
but that’s unlikely to be used much in GCC. and, with 300bhp it can get the car moving
Interestingly, the large central locker between rapidly. It’s always useful to have more power
the front seats is also air-conditioned. Useful than you usually need - it can get you out of
for keeping chocolate from melting between trouble, as sometimes it’s better to be able to
the shops and home, perhaps. Actually, accelerate to avoid a tricky situation than to
chocolate is quite a good metaphor for this brake, and this is one of those cars in which
car – it’s smooth, quite tasty (aesthetically and that’s possible. Cars have a way of influencing
dynamically, rather than literally, obviously) driving style – some can turn even a timid
and makes you feel good. driver into a boy-racer, others turn boy-racers
As a powerful front-wheel-drive car, it into steady cruisers. The ES350 is more in
wouldn’t be a surprise to get some torque the latter category – it will certainly produce
steer on hard acceleration in the first two the goods if you want strong acceleration, but
gears. However, whilst I didn’t try to provoke its natural gait is that of rapid and relaxed,
it, there were moments when I wouldn’t have rather than rapid and racy, progress. Pushing
been surprised if it had shown, but there was it hard feels like whipping a well-bred and

28
{Road Test}

29
{Road Test}

loyal middle-aged horse to perform in a race safety and ease; in practice I’m not so sure.
that it shouldn’t be in in the first place – it just There’s a warning beeper for parking as you
doesn’t feel right. might expect, as well as the rear camera view
The high level of equipment includes such being displayed on the monitor when you
features as adaptive HID headlamps that select reverse gear. There are many other
turn with the front wheels, panoramic glass features, of course, but those give an idea of
roof with moon roof and jam protection, Pre- the very comprehensive specification.
Crash safety system (that tightens seatbelts The ES350 is very well made; swift, stylish
and pre-loads the brakes to make them react in a sophisticated, undemonstrative way, well-
more strongly) and, on the Super Special, equipped, superbly quiet and comfortable, and
radar adaptive cruise control that keeps a with excellent manners. Also, because it’s a
chosen distance between you and the car in Lexus, we know that so long as it’s serviced
front. I do wonder about this, as the pushing correctly it’ll last until the end of time. Driving
into the smallest space, even at speed, which it, one feels cosseted and well insulated
is all too common in Oman, can result in the from the outside world. It’s a good choice
brakes being applied to keep the set distance. for someone who wants a very comfortable
One potential consequence is that, as well large-ish car of high quality and doesn’t feel
as gradually falling back in the stream, there the need for a show-off, mine’s-bigger-than-
is the possibility of being hit from behind as yours trophy car. To extend the chocolate
the system brakes sharply when another car metaphor, it’s like a really good quality Swiss
barges into your lane just in front of you. or Belgian chocolate – smooth as silk and
It’s really down to individual choice and thoroughly satisfying..
experience. In theory it’s an excellent aid for

30
{Road Test}

31
{First drive}

Super cool cat


with the introduction of the all-new 2010
jaguar Xkr supercharged convertible,
jaguar has finally crossed into supercar
territory

A
nyone knowing about British cars will The best part is attention to detail and with comforts like leather, seat heating and
know that, while Jaguars are about engineering refinements that now comes cooling the typical three spoke steering wheel
beauty, they are also about speed and with the 2010 arrivals. The long bonnet and the interior now comes with host of
power. In-between ownership changes from design reminds us of the legendary E-Type, it improvements and authentic craftsmanship
Ford to India’s Tata Motors; there’s been is offset nicely by the chrome-lined air intakes with real wood veneers. Real wood veneers
some change in the attitude for the brand. in the front bumper. Modernism comes in remain an important part of Jaguars
Tata Motors seem to be more content to let the form of LED taillights at the rear and craftsmanship and now include a new Rich
Jaguar continue as a luxury car brand selling surely the XKR looks much more refined and Oak veneer option but the new XKR comes
modest number of models instead of trying complete than its pre-2010 versions. Design with its own unique Dark Oak. A Knurled
to become a volume global player [the plan wise, the 2010 XKR isn’t much different from Aluminium veneer is also available now. The
hatched by Ford for Jaguar that miserably its previous generation, but Jaguar designers story of rewriting finesse continues with the
failed]. Now that there’s a shift in ideology, have worked really hard to implement some removal of the previous editions budget-cum-
that makes greater business sense and the nice styling effects that clearly underline the borrowed looks such as new switchgear and
results are beginning to show. Given that sporting pedigree of this coupe sport. The the replacing the old fashioned traditional gear
Jaguar let chief designer Ian Callum and his XKR is instantly identified by its low and stick with the innovative JaguarDrive Selector
crew decide on the exterior and the interior, wide stance, unique lower rear valance and a as its transmission control interface. This flush
the refreshed 2+2 grand tourer XKR is a revised tailpipe design. fit knob is located in the central console and
stunning car in terms of design, proportions, The cars dual coloured cabin is clean, gently rises when in use. The first application
elegance and aggressiveness. elegant and quite spacious. It is peppered of this system came in the XF saloon where it

32
{First drive}

worked so well there that Jaguar decided to equipment. The Audio system options range Unlike the previous editions, the supercharger
transcend the experience into the XK. (there from the HD radio single-slot or multi-disc CD is much quieter now and helps the engine
is not an XK series) Despite its high-tech players, or the ultimate, high-end Bowers & deliver breathtaking performance that’s
approach, what is commendable is the fact Wilkins system which is a 525-watt system almost too easy to control. Thanks to the
that Jaguar has managed to avoid things like with Dolby ProLogic II Surround Sound, three sixth-generation, high-end twin vortex system
BMWs infamous iDrive-style controllers and channel stereo with a unique amplifier, mid- supercharger that has been employed to
needlessly complex arrays of buttons. Instead range speakers and high-output and low boost power from the V8 engine. Technically,
of a myriad switches, drivers of the XKR can distortion and specially designed tweeters. it is a compact Roots-type unit, feeding air
use the touch-screen friendly multimedia through twin intercoolers, which in turn are
interface. driving impressions water-cooled by their own discreet cooling
In true, contemporary Jaguar fashion, a circuit. This efficient design helps improves
great deal of useful and intuitive technology is I have to admit that my seven-day test drive the superchargers thermodynamic efficiency
controlled by the clear and elegant 7in touch- behind the wheel of the Jaguar XKR was a by 16 per cent over its predecessor and also
screen in the centre console. It provides treat every second. The new lower stance and improves noise quality to the point where the
Touch-screen access and control for the deeper side extensions give the car a lower unit is now virtually inaudible.
climate control and audio systems, for the centre of gravity and excellent aerodynamics. Jaguar’s latest AJ-V8 Gen III series
Satellite Navigation system, for Bluetooth The car is enjoyable to drive most of the supercharged powertrain sets the XKR model
mobile connectivity and for Jaguars Portable time and considering its engineering and alight with 510ps on tap from the 5.0-litre
Audio Interface-which are all standard architecture, it’s an easy car to live with. V8 engine which is mated to an electronic

33
{First drive}

<< the car is enjoyable to drive most of


the time and considering its engineering
and architecture, it’s an easy car to live
with. Unlike the previous editions, the
supercharger is much quieter now >>

34
{First drive}

six-speed transmission. With this combo, it The steering wheel has perfect weighting
responds brutally fast to a kick the throttle and is razor sharp in its feedback. Nothing
and the power knocks you back in your seat, else registers in my consciousness and I do
not letting up until you reach its governed top realize that much of the refined handling is
speed or redline. In terms of performance probably due to the car’s extensive use of
figures, it knocks the 0-100km/h sprint time lightweight aluminum and magnesium for
down to 4.8secs, just a second shy of the portions of the body structure also. While,
Porsche Panamera turbo! Meanwhile, I’m extra power is always welcome as it means
trying to imagine the case, if this car had improved throttle response from the engine
launch control like BMWs current M5! for the driver and at the same time there is
Even at idling, the 2+2 cat’s exhaust sound also an improvement in the torque curve.
rocks and it seems it has been enhanced But, one doesn’t fail to notice the amazing
to provide a deeper and more powerful torque low-down in the rev range which has
resonance that matches the increase in greatly improved. And the best way to check
torque at low revs. At higher engine speeds this efficiency is in overtaking situations.
the intake acoustic feedback system combines Now, there’s another issue with a power
with the exhaust system to provide more of boost. Considering the extra boost from the
that unique sound quality character. I am supercharger kit, besides top end power,
satisfied with at least one of the prerequisites finding the right balance right across the rev
of such a sporting GT, which is that when you range is another important factor to consider
start really driving this car, the engine sings in evaluating any sports car.
to you. After all, it’s all part of the mystique Arguably, the new Active Differential Control
that you buy into. (ADC feature is absolutely necessary for a car
While, the benefits of the XKRs aluminum with high levels of power - something we’d
rivet and bonding in the body shell and chassis probably have to agree with similar powered
are already acknowledged, in the car now cars with limited slip differentials. In either
feels much lighter, livelier and is definitely case, the electronically or mechanically
entertaining on road. There’s no cowl shake controlled modules continuously adapts to
or vibrations even when traveling over poorly both the driver’s demands and the amount
paved surfaces. Thanks to the reworked fully of grip available at each individual wheel.
independent wishbone suspension system With ADC on board, we were pleasantly
that now comes with stronger control arms, rewarded with a point and shoot ability and
stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and new greatly improved cornering speeds and better
cross members to further increase stiffness directional stability. We didn’t encounter any
and strength. unwanted or typical side effects of many

35
{First drive}

but also potentially improved stability when


required. Despite its brutal power, the XKR,
is not a loose cannon. It seems to be able
to challenge the driver when a moment
arrives and the time and place is perfect.
Plus, the bonus is that with the Dynamic
Stability Control system modes available,
one can choose sportier mode/stance
settings allowing the more experienced
driver to fully exploit the cars performance
and enjoy greater involvement in controlling
it.
I really enjoyed Dynamic Mode most as
it sharpens the cars instincts as the shocks
respond faster and firmer, the throttle
response is quickened. You also get extra
torque reserves and the transmission will
allow the engine to rev up to 6,800rpm rev
limiter without up shifting. With DSC off,
allows you to switch the systems electronic
protections off completely by pushing the
button for about 10sec. This allows the
driver to really push the XKR to its grip
limits and letting it slide through turns
nicely throwing the rear out and getting
back in line at the end of the turn. The big
cat rides on standard 19in asymmetric alloy
wheels shod with high-performance Dunlop
SP 01 tyres.Up front are 245/40ZR19in tyres
and 275/35ZR19in tyres in the rear which
contribute quite well in road holding.

Verdict

I am pretty sure that most petrolheads will


agree unanimously that the three letters
XKR that sign off this sports car has the
ability to demand desire and command
respect. It also becomes aspirational
because of its price tag, and naturally the
XKR is that sort of a car that will remain
pretty high on a true Jaguar enthusiasts
purchase list. But is it really any good and
worthy anymore considering it has a hefty
price tag and that it is a lot of money to
spend on a new car as there are some pretty
capable machines around in the range
such as Astons V8 Vantage, BMW M6 and
Maserati GranTurismo S? We think despite
formidable opposition, Jaguars flagship
XKR is a spectacular piece of automobile
styling and technology. The model has
evolved very nicely and can hold on its own
convincingly.

36
{First drive}

<< the electronically controlled, 6-speed Zr


6hP28 transmission offers virtually undetectable
gearshifts and can be controlled either from
steering wheel-mounted paddles, or full automatic
with s mode, via the jaguardrive selector >>

37
{Interview}

{A head for luxury}

automan meets Bentley’s regional boss


during an exclusive drive in oman for
three of the brand’s cars – including the
Continental supersport.

Chris Buxton has a very down to earth


approach for the key man behind a brand
like Bentley

38
{Interview}

Q: bentley has a unique approach to American and European markets. But also This market has sold more forward orders
sales in the region adding india into the there is growth in the Middle East. In 2008 for the Mulsanne than anywhere else in the
basket of countries you handle. how we had the record year, we dropped a little world, far more than America, Europe or the
important are the new growth markets of bit last year mainly due to India and South UK. We’ve done 322 forward orders, America
china and india to a brand like bentley? Africa – those two being the smaller markets has done 220. Bear in mind that this car hasn’t
in my region and they were hit by the credit arrived yet. Theyve had the unveil, we’ve had
A: I am just back from the quarterly sales crunch. However the GCC states are very the unveil, people have seen the press and
conference in the UK and the results show consistent. More than the drop in volumes it shows the inherent strength of this market
that to China, we just can’t supply enough in other markets what is interesting about that we are in.
cars. They take everything we can build for the GCC states is the mix. They take very
them. The rest of the world is still struggling, expensive cars. Q: when the rolls-royce bentley split
America is down, Europe is down, India is They enjoy the different amounts of options happened, rr took the top end with the
consistent with the Middle East. It is a steady that we can give them. The average option phantom, while bentley’s new car was
market, where we are slowly growing and the price is much higher here than anywhere the continental, a long way down the
dilemma for us and many other companies is else. ladder. so what actually brought about
this big China-India debate. the mulsanne?
I was at the big Mulsanne launch in Delhi Q: how many cars do you sell in the
two weeks ago and that was the question that region? A: I think that what happened was that when
I kept getting asked, how big is China and RR moved they just took 5 people. We had a
how big is India? And its a learning curve for A: About 600 units. We will do about 580 factory that at the time could produce 7000
me – having never worked in China though I this year, we did around 612 two years ago, cars. It needed investment, if you went to the
go to India quite a bit, India is a much smaller so anywhere around that figure is the norm. factory in 1996 it was a very old-fashioned
market and though we’ve been longer in India Our biggest markets by far are Saudi Arabia British factory. Bringing in the Continental
we all know that the economies of th etwo and the Emirates. Last year Saudi lead and allowed us to generate revenue and invest.
countries are vastly different in many respects the year before the Emirates and that will The outside of Bentley’s factory looked very
so we may probably sell less in India. But the probably be the same this year too and I old-fashioned with its northlit triangular roofs
strange fact is that there are probably more can’t call it, they both compete for it month and brick walls. Inside, it is state-of-the-art
Bentleys in India today than there are in by month. without the robots. What the Continental
China. I don’t like quoting figures since they allowed us to do is grow to a better size.
change so often, but we’ll probaby do about Q: in terms of personalisation, where Then what it did was allow us to bring in the
25-30 units in India this year and we may do a do you see the most requests coming variants on the small car platform as we refer
thousand in China. But as I stand here today, from? to it – with the Flying Spur and Convertible.
there are more Bentleys in India than China. Then it allowed us to do the Mulsanne. The
A: Perhaps Qatar. The Qataris order three reason the Mulsanne is so important for us
Q: could you tell us something about the tone paints. I was talking about the cars that is that it is the first big Bentley to be on its
mulsanne’s role in this year’s sales? come down the line and we have a Flying own chassis since the 1930’s when we did the
Spur at the moment that’s got three exterior 8-litre. That’s why its so important for us. It is
A: The next model we are launching in the colours. This is really difficult to get to build finally just a timing issue.
area is the Mulsanne. You probably have because Bentley is very old-fashioned. So you
already seen the car. The car in Dubai was can imagine when you put the request in, my
a static car so no one’s actually driven it yet. old-fashioned colleagues at the factory kind of
We will have dynamic cars out in this summer go – never! But the customer is always right
and customer cars will probably arrive by and so we build what the customer wants. So
December-January. I’ll be very open – like any we have ten three-tone cars currently in build
car manufacturer we get only one chance to and I saw one car on the line and knew that
launch. So we’ve slipped back a bit with the one was coming to the Middle East.
Mulsanne but it arrives in December-January.
Q: what’s the most popular model of
Q: you had indicated that the middle your’s in the region?
east’s proportion of your sales has
multiplied three-fold from 5 to 15% A: Well that’s got to be the four-door Flying
is this due to an overall drop in sales Spur and its split between the 560 Spur and
numbers or increased activity in the the 612 Speed. Very naively when I came to
region? the Middle East I thought that the GTC would
be popular because of all the sunshine until I
A: Mainly it is a result of the drop in the realised how much of it there was.

39
{Road Test}

40
{Road Test}

NavigatiNg aN
oN-road course
while offering luxurious interiors, the lincoln Navigator
has its task cut out for it to make a dent in the luxury sUv
market against entrenched competition
| Author: Charles Aitchison | Photography: Basim Al Muharbi |

E
ven for Oman, where we are used to very hours of testing I was still almost as aware of
large SUVs, this one is big! Although it as at the beginning. The perforated seats
it’s the size of a small truck, and is high are heated and cooled. In spite of the leather
and heavy, it actually drives much better covering being exclusive to Lincoln, I found
than you might expect, having a good ride, it to be rather ordinary at best. Personally
enables excellent views of surrounding traffic, I prefer alcantara, then cloth, as they are
and, for such a large vehicle, it’s surprisingly more practical than leather, especially in hot
manoeuvrable. With due allowance made for countries. However, the dictates of fashion
the width and length, it’s manageable until are such that leather is the default covering
it comes to narrow spaces and parking. It’s for any vehicle that aspires to up-market
not a town car - take it shopping if you must, status. Preferences with seats are many and
but other shoppers won’t thank you for doing varied, so it comes down to personal choice. I
that. Even in its class it’s big – for instance, suggest that, if you’re considering the Lincoln,
one’s eye level is significantly higher than in a you take plenty of time sitting in it and ideally
Landcruiser Amazon or a Nissan Armada, so if driving it, and take note of how it feels. As with
height is a measure of status, then this vehicle all cars, this exercise is usually best conducted
is king of the hill in the full-size SUV stakes. on your own or with a companion, as then
Sitting at the wheel, it’s immediately obvious you won’t be distracted by chatter from the
that the alignment of the major controls with salesman. Any technical and financial matters
the driver’s seat was not a high priority for can be dealt with in the showroom. Of course,
the designers. The steering wheel is quite some sales people are very reluctant to let
significantly off to the left. Why this is the potential customers go out on their own, for
case, especially with such a large vehicle, is a all sorts of reasons, some of them protective
mystery. It’s not as if there’s any lack of space of the customer, some possibly not so. The
in which to ensure that the steering wheel, adage “He who pays the piper calls the tune”
pedals and seat are aligned, and yet they have seems an appropriate one here.
completely missed the boat on this. Maybe The cabin is plush in a very American way.
the person designing the position of the major The front seat passenger is faced with a very
controls and the person specifying the position large blank panel, which has the air bag behind
of the seat worked in different offices. No it. I don’t know if it’s an extra-large American-
doubt as an owner one would get used to this, size airbag that they’ve put in there, but the
although I found that at the end of several panel is certainly a distinctive feature.

41
{Road Test}
MyKey is now a regular feature across power running boards. When a door is
the upper end of the Ford range. It enables opened, the running board on that side lowers
parents to limit top speed, volume on the itself down. This is quite amusing and actually
music system, has a no-seat-belts-no-music practical as well, as the vehicle is so high that
feature and the warning for low fuel comes it’s useful to have a half-way step to and from
in sooner. These are sensible measures for the ground. Also powered is the tailgate. This
those with young drivers in the family. There’s is just as well, as it is very large and heavy.
also the coded entry system, enabling you to The system works fine.
lock the vehicle with the engine running. The information sheet handed out by the
Microsoft Sync, which is now standard dealer states: “Punctuated by a striking chrome
across the Ford range, although not fitted to grille, the Navigator exudes confidence.” That
the test vehicle, will be fitted to those available is, indeed, how it looks – however, for your
from now on. It’s a voice or touch-screen reporter at least, it also exudes a sort of
command communications management tasteless flashy bling – a very large chrome
system for mobile phones and digital music grille that says “look at me” and cares only
players. Being able to control your GSM or that people look, not what they think. Surely
iPod with voice commands is an excellent a stylish development of the Ford Expedition
facility – for both convenience and safety. It’s (on which the Navigator is based) would be
also fun. more appropriate? In an effort to distinguish
Whilst bigger doesn’t necessarily mean the Lincoln from the Ford, Lincoln have gone
better, it does result in plenty of space inside. way over the top, confusing quantity (of
There are three rows of seats for up to seven chrome) for quality.
people - eight if a third seat is substituted for The four-wheel drive is part-time, selected
the standard cool box between the second electronically via convenient buttons on the
row seats. The third row splits 60/40 & folds console. For on-road use it’s rear wheel
flat electrically. Typically, the third row seats drive. Whilst the Navigator will cope fine with
in most large SUVs are on the small side, trips such as visiting camps in the Wahiba, it
being suitable only for children; however, is not a serious dune-bashing device. The
those in the Navigator are full-size, and this is electronically selected four-wheel drive is
commendable. The middle row folds down so sometimes reluctant to stay in 4WD mode – it
that, in combination with the third row when clicks in and out when on full lock on sand, for
folded flat, there is space for two medium-size instance. It’s as if it can’t cope with the need
people to sleep. The removal of the cool box to adjust for the wheels tracking different radii,
between the seats in the middle row would so it disengages & then decides to re-engage,
make for a much larger, shared sleeping area, making rather uncomfortable-sounding metal-
rather than two separate ones. to-metal clanking noises in the process.
One unusual feature worth noting is the The Navigator’s close relative the Ford

42
{Road Test}

43
{Road Test}

Expedition does the same job with similar The extra chrome is unlikely to impress
equipment at significantly less cost (RO16,495 anyone in the deserts or wadis, so I’m left
against RO19,850) and, for this reviewer at wondering if this vehicle is trying to fill a
least, in a much more honest-looking way. niche that doesn’t really exist. On a positive
Yes, there is the higher status associated note, it does have a certain presence; it’s very
with Lincoln; however, if you want a vehicle commodious and is well set-up for camping
to impress others while driving around town, expeditions. One of its best qualities is the
there are better choices. The Navigator does way it glides effortlessly along in a quiet, well-
have a higher quality interior, air suspension, damped way. For long-distance touring it’s
adaptive cruise control, power folding mirrors worth considering if you want to be able to
and the auto-folding running boards. Both sleep inside your vehicle. Also, it would make
models have the good safety feature of power a very good tow car, especially as it has sway
LED indicator repeaters in the door mirrors, control. Anyone who has had the experience
visible to vehicles in the blind spot. If you of a trailer weaving and taking over a car will
opt for Sat-Nav, you also get the option of a know how valuable that can be.
reversing camera. I’m surprised the Sat-Nav
isn’t standard.

44
{Road Test}

45
{motorshow}

Poised to
become king
auto China is beginning to flex its muscles in both domestic
and international motoring. overdrive examines some of the
interesting merchandise at Beijing. By Chandan B Mallik

T
he business of automobiles in China is overall as it represents much more than just are also opening up studios and research
pretty serious by most standards and its exhibits. centres in China. Nissan along with its local
growth has been extremely impressive Right now and in future, the focus for partner and Bertone are the latest names
in 2009. In 2009, Chinese sales of cars, trucks success in the Chinese automotive market is joining the bandwagon.
and other vehicles soared to 13.6 million, a 46 brand management and customer retention, The Beijing Auto Show may have been the
per cent rise from the previous year’s levels and just not production strategies. The big automotive show in the first half of the
and comfortably higher than the 10.4 million Chinese market is one of a kind, and not year, but the next big auto show is set to be at
equivalent vehicles sold in the US last year. only in its high growth rate. More than fifty the Shanghai Expo which opens officially this
Only 33 years ago, there were only one million brands are vying for the buyers’ attention. weekend. A mass of new energy and hybrid
privately owned cars in the whole of China. In recent years Japanese, Korean, American, cars are set to launch at the Expo which is
Although car makers – both domestic and European, and domestic OEMs have built up being focused on green technology and
foreign chose Beijing to launch new cars and sizable surplus capacity. environmental concerns.
concepts, many analysts strongly believe that Besides manufacturing, design houses –
Shanghai is more important for the business both manufacturer in-house and independents

Ford start concept >>

B y any measure, Ford’s Start concept, which


actually is Ford’s own first concept car in
three years, was definitely one of the top stars
of Auto China. Roughly the size of a Mini, the
five-seat premium concept car surprised many
with its minimalistic design and intelligent de-
tails. The clean and timeless design seems to
have been inspired by the Alfa Romeo Zagato
SZ and the Porsche 356 Speedster in particu-
lar. It features an ambitious design, which in-
cludes laser-cut LED lights as well as two other
sets of running lamps. The Start Concept also
comes with the latest connectivity technology
as well as “fun to drive” vehicle dynamics.
The Start Concept will get a host of cutting
edge technologies and will feature a new
1.0-litre, 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine which
Ford contends will have a comparable horse- delivering C02 emissions below the 100 g/ maximize fuel economy. The new minicar has
power and torque quotient to a traditional nor- km mark. The compact power plant will come been designed to cater to a new global trend
mally-aspirated in-line 4-cylinder all the while coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission to for ultra-compact cars

46
{motorshow}

lamborghini >>

D esigned for “discriminating super sports


car enthusiasts,” the China Edition
features a grey exterior with black and
orange accents. Inside, the cabin is outfitted
with alcantara upholstery, carbon fiber trim,
orange accents, and an individually numbered
badge.
Like the standard Murcielago LP 670-4
SuperVeloce, the China Edition weighs 100kg
less than the Murciélago LP 640. In order to
achieve this “substantial weight reduction,”
the SV has a high-strength sectional steel
framework and a variety of carbon fiber
components.
Power is provided by a 6.5-litre V12 engine
with 661hp and 660Nm of torque. It enables
the hypercar to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in
3.2 seconds, before topping at out 342km/h.
Production will be limited to 10 units and they
will be available exclusively in China.
Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce China Limited Edition

“ The fact that Ferrari chose Beijing as the official coming out party for its fastest ever front-engined road car is a clear
signal of the importance of this market to the crew from Maranello ”
Ferrari 599 gTo >>

F errari officially presented a more perfor-


mance oriented version of the 599 at the
2010 Auto China in Beijing. The company’s
newest and fastest ever front engine sports
car bears the GTO initials to support its per-
formance credentials, but it is not an entirely
new car. Sort of a street-legal stepping point
between the production 599 GTB Fiorano and
the track-only 599XX, the 599 GTO evokes the
famous Gran Turismo Omologato designation
made famous by the legendary 250 GTO of the
1960s and the muscle-bound 288 GTO of the
1980s. That’s quite a legacy to follow, so it’s a
good thing the 599 GTO brings the goods.
Output from the 6.0-litre V12 – itself derived
from the Enzo’s engine – is up from 612
horsepower to 661, with torque up a modest
9 lb-ft to 457. Coupled with a 195kgweight
reduction program – now tipping the scales
at 1495 kg , the leaner and meaner 599 can
sprint to 62 miles per hour from a standstill
in a scant (and very specific) 3.35 seconds, lapping the Fiorano test track from which its 24 secs. Only 599 examples will be built with
with a top speed in excess of 208 mph, while donor’s name is derived in a blitzing 1 minute, a price tag approaching nearly $460k.

47
{motorshow}

“ The first time we saw something that could roughly be equated to a sport coupe from this was a few years ago at
the Detroit Auto Show was a shabbily assembled presentation. The star of Geely’s new midrange Gleagle brand was
the GS coupe and with the Volvo acquisition, Geely has a bright future ahead ”
geely
gleagle gs

G eely presented an assortment of 11


concept cars at Auto China in Beijing
this year - from a small electric car to a
limousine and including sports cars, off-road
jeeps, pickups and SUVs. It was an elaborate
effort to test customer perception to Chinese
automaker’s various proposals as the company
searches for a consistent design direction for
its Englon, Gleagle and Emgrand sub-brands.
On the showstand, most of the local media’s
attention was on the Gleagle GS - an entry-
level 2+2-seater fitting into the ‘Global Eagle’
range. Similar in size to Scion Tc, the GS is
powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged inline
four producing 127 horsepower. It can be
paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox
or a seven-speed dual clutch unit.

hyundai dongfeng’s hand-crafted


2011 Verna / accent “hummer” H and-crafted can be something of a
double edged sword in the car business.

H yundai’s fluidic sculpture design language


has now spread to the smallest vehicle in
its lineup, and the new sub-compact slated
Rolls-Royces and Aston Martins are hand-
made treasures that show off their artisans’
decades of experience. The attention to detail
to take the place of the aging Accent was is obsessive.
unwrapped on the floor of the Beijing Motor On the opposite end of the spectrum,
Show. So, it’s not surprising that it looks like there are machines that look like they were
a scaled down Sonata. The Verna features haphazardly slapped together by some
sweptback headlights, a bold grille, and drunken hack in a toolshed. This Dongfeng
rearview mirrors with integrated LED turn “Hummer” falls solidly into the latter
signals. Inside, the cabin boasts higher quality category.
materials and an improved design.
Power comes from two new Gamma petrol
engines with multiport fuel injection. The
base 1.4-litre produces 106 hp and 135Nm
of torque. When equipped with a five-speed
manual, the Verna consumes 5.7 litres/100km
I f at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
That could very well sum up Volkswagen’s
strategy with its Phaeton. The flagship saloon
Vw phaeton

and with the four-speed automatic and the was designed to take “the people’s car” up-
Fuel Economy Package, the Verna consumes market into Mercedes S-Class
6.2-litres/100km territory was first introduced
in 2003. It underwent
a facelift in 2009
and has now
undergone yet
another bout of
surgery.

48
{motorshow}

“ Despite the initial rumours, the car will most likely not going to be marketed as an 8 Series, but rather being an
extension of the 6 Series. In either case, the German automaker’s latest concept is meant as an ideological follow-up
to the Concept CS 2007, with BMW using the Gran Coupe to set the tone for the future of four-door coupes ”
bmw concept gran coupé

W ith an exclusive Design Night on the


evening of the first press day at Auto
China in Beijing, BMW introduced a new
by a length of almost 5m, a height of just
under 1.40m and a low centre of gravity
which reflects the body’s aero efficiency. The
European debut at the Paris Motor Show this
fall. Underneath it will use the same ‘backbone’
platform that underpins the current 5-series,
concept: BMW Gran Coupe. The Gran Coupe is production ready model will be launched in 7-series and 5 GT. The car will offer the same
an elegant 4-door car with striking proportions 2012 and the Gran Coupe Concept will make its mix of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel
and has more than a passing resemblance engines as those cars, and an
with the CS Concept. eight-speed automatic
It’s quite clear that the concept study gearbox.
symbolizes the new design direction
for BMW with lots of elements
seen in the recent new
models or concepts. The
design language
concentrates
the fundamental
values of the
brand, including
the famous
Hofmeister Kink
and kidney grille.
Furthermore,
the Gran Coupe
inspiration came
from classic
BMWs, like the
3.0 Csi. The
proportions are
characterized

“The shooting break (yes, it’s ‘break,’ not ‘brake’, according to M-B’s marketers) design isn’t something new – we’ve
seen it before in smaller vehicles like the original BMW Z3 M Coupe. Mercedes-Benz takes the shooting break concept
one step further with the addition of two rear doors and a healthy dose of next-generation style ”
mercedes shooting break
concept

T he Mercedes Shooting Break concept is the


quintessential definition of an ultra premium
sporty wagon - and it looks like it could well be a
new car in the product portfolio of the Mercedes
range, ready to take on the BMW 5 GT head-to-
head.
While the level of detailing of both the
exterior and the interior of the Shooting Break
concept is outstanding - from the front and rear
lamps, exquisite side door mirrors, elegant satin
aluminium metallic grey exterior paint, front grille and rear exhaust. that is the most striking, with a meticulously detailed environment.
Though it is a concept, the roof line also seems too compromised to The 2+2 type seating configuration features rear bucket seats that are
allow for suitable interior space and it is detached from the DLO line, so as upright as the front seats, but overall the cabin feels like that of a
there is no real stream of continuity. As with the F800, it is the interior luxurious yacht.

49
{motorshow}
“It’s getting clearer by the day that Honda is planning to be a big player in the small car segment, especially in
emerging markets such as India and China ”
honda- li nian
everus concept

I n 2008, Honda and its Chinese partner


Guangzhou Honda Automobile had
announced an entirely new brand for the
the first production Li Nian model to hit the
Chinese market soon. Several reports suggest
the offering may ride on a stretched City
saloon, which itself is built off a stretched Fit
platform. This means power will be provided
by a 1.5- or 1.8-litre engine.
Chinese market called Li Nian. Li Nian roughly
translates to English as ‘idea’
and is based on Guangzhou
Honda’s desire to create
a new domestic brand
for China. Li Nian
hopes to pursue
lofty ideals with a
challenging spirit,
or an affordable car
with dynamics and
stylishness.
The City-sized Everus
concept is the second product
jointly-developed by both
companies and features angular lines
and an Acura-like grille.
Although, few details are known about the
Everus, Honda has confirmed that it will be

iaT
chevrolet
crosswind ii concept
mpV5 Volt concept

I AT is one of China’s biggest prototype


companies, providing styling
engineering support to the OEMs. The
and G M chose the Beijing motor show to
show the Chevrolet MPV5 Volt - a new
hybrid prototype inspired by the Volt saloon.
been developed to showcase the flexibility of
the Voltec platform which will be used across
a range of different types body segments in
Crosswind II concept was one of three Sharing the same essential design theme the near future.
very competently resolved full-size models as its four-door counterpart, the MPV5 has
displayed on their large stand at the show,
and it is a development of the Cross-Coupé
model seen two years ago in Beijing. It’s a
simple concept: the top half is coupé, the
lower half has a tough offroader aesthetic,
and it’s powered by a 150kW electric motor.

50
{motorshow}
“ The MG Zero Concept is a compact show car presented at the 2010 Beijing
Auto Show that could preview a production model planned for market launch
mg Zero concept in 2011. Among the features are futuristic interior and an exterior display for
text messages ”
T he Zero was one of the surprises of the
Beijing show, and represents the best
example of the new ‘Facet Flow’ MG form
Anthony Williams, the brand’s British director
of design.
In terms of exterior surfaces, this car appears
language that the design teams in Shanghai close to production and SAIC expects the Zero
and UK have been developing. It seems that to compete with the Ford Fiesta and Fiat’s
MG has set its eyes on the lucrative Chinese Grande Punto to attract entry-level younger
small hatch segment, and the company’s customers. The Zero boasts a floating center
first crack at the market debuted in the form console, complete with touch screen controls,
of Zero Concept at this year’s Beijing Motor as well as some kind of communication system than is the norm in China, to ensure a more
Show. At shade over 13 feet long, the five- on the rear of the vehicle. The Zero will use an European stance to the car. SAIC expects
door car is designed to offer more style than all-new platform from SAIC, called EP, which production to start later this year, with sales in
space. MG says the vehicle was penned by crucially allows for fitment of larger wheels Europe targeted in their plans.

Vw e-lavida concept

D esigned and developed by Shanghai


Volkswagen, the Lavida is the first VW
created without the assistance of German
overlords. Available in the China since 2008 the
Lavida is based on the Golf MKIV (aka the
PQ34 platform). However, details
for the E-Lavida concept
with its unique styling and
an unspecified electric
powertrain are limited.

chana green i concept

C hana is one of the biggest winners in the


rapidly-changing Chinese car market. With
sales up 92 percent in 2009 to 518,000, they’re
he confirmed that the Green-i concept was
designed purely in the China studio.
Revealed at the Beijing Motor show, the
features interesting styling and shiny green
goblin look.

the best performing domestic brand now with car meets the needs of future hi-tech driving
the entry-level Green Star being a top-selling habits and uses steer-by-wire or Brake Energy
model. There’s long been an association with Regeneration, which retrieve power from
Italian design houses, coordinated from their the braking process to charge the batteries.
European studio in Turin, headed by design CHANA Green-i Electric Car measures 3.23m
chief Luciano d’Ambrosio, but talking with him long, 1.67m wide and 1.56m high and

“That the Chinese automotive world is maturing fast was clearly indicated by the notable absence of weird or eye-
catching doppelgangers by a bit more sophistication. Chinese car manufacturers have seriously brought their car
designs up to global design standards ”

51
{Preview}

52
{Preview}

Your couNtrYmaN
calls
MiNi has prereleased details of the fourth
model in its line-up – the Countryman

W
ith the addition of the MINI and a wide-opening tailgate, the Countryman
Countryman as the fourth variant in offers more space – which can be used in a
its model family, MINI is taking the wide variety of ways – to go with its raised
inimitable MINI feeling into a new dimension. seating position and optimised ride comfort.
The MINI Countryman crossover bridges the Plus, the “go-kart” feeling for which MINI is
gap between the classic MINI concept and a byword has been preserved and takes on a
a contemporary Sports Activity Vehicle. Its new dimension with the optional MINI ALL4
broader range of abilities in both urban use all-wheel-drive system. The MINI Countryman
and beyond paves the way for larger and expresses the defining virtues of the brand in
evolving target groups with a greater need for terms of design, premium quality, handling,
space and flexibility to experience the driving efficiency and the scope for customisation –
fun that comes with a MINI. and does so in an absorbingly individual way.
The brand’s first model to feature four doors

The MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI new suspension technology, which includes
Cooper D Countryman can be ordered as a front axle with MacPherson spring struts
an option with MINI ALL4 permanent all- and forged track control arms, multi-link rear
wheel drive. Here, an electromagnetic suspension and the electromechanical power
centre differential positioned directly on steering system EPS. The MINI Countryman
the final drive varies the distribution of comes as standard with the Dynamic Stability
power seamlessly between the front and Control (DSC) system. Available as an option
rear axles. In normal driving conditions are Dynamic Traction Control (DTC, standard
up to 50 per cent of the drive is sent to on the MINI Cooper S Countryman – both with
the rear wheels, in extreme situations as front-wheel drive and ALL4 all-wheel drive –
much as 100 per cent. The result is a and MINI Cooper D Countryman with ALL4)
new, traction-led expression of the agile and an electronic locking function for the front
handling for which MINI is famed. This axle differential.
ability is underpinned by sophisticated

The MINI Countryman comes as standard The MINI Countryman will be available with far the best balance between output and fuel
with four seats, while a three-seat bench is three petrol and two diesel engines at launch. consumption in its displacement class.
available as a no-cost option. Its interior All the drive units are sourced from a new
enhances comfort over long journeys with generation of engines optimised using the
generous legroom, headroom and shoulder BMW Group’s development expertise. And they The new model combines larger body
room. The rear seats can be moved forwards all meet the EU5 and ULEV II exhaust emission dimensions, increased ground clearance and
and backwards individually or in a 60 : 40 split standards. Output ranges from 66 kW/90 hp four side doors with the hallmark features of
(three-seat bench), the angle of the backrests in the MINI One D Countryman to 135 kW/184 MINI design. Short overhangs, a high window
can be adjusted and the backrests can be hp in the MINI Cooper S Countryman. With its line, a commanding over-the-wheel stance
folded down either individually or in a 40 : twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection and the wrap-around look of the windows –
20 : 40 split (three-seat bench), all of which now complemented by fully variable valve extending all the way around the vehicle –
allows luggage capacity to be increased from management, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol create typical MINI proportions.
350 litres to a maximum 1,170 litres. engine in the range-topping model offers by

53
{Bikes}

Mobility as an option
Peugeot used its rCZ press event to highlight its position as a
scooter and bicycle manufacturer as well as a provider of ‘alternate’
transportation solutions. automan checked out the wares

54
{Bikes}

T
here aren’t too many car manufacturers
around the world who are also equipped
to make motorscooters. And then what
are the chances they also make bicycles?
Peugeot chooses to be different in that they
see their mainstream buyers in Europe as
needing mobility solutions and anyone who
has seen the traffic in Paris will realise that
offering a good motorscooter as transport is
a must.
At the event we have featured elsewhere
in the magazine, Peugeot also showed off its
two-wheeled line-up. Ranging from a variety
of bicycles to two motorscooter ranges
powered by 150cc normally aspirated and
125cc supercharged engines, the French turns at slow speeds. The pillion rider gets a Contrary to our expectations, the e-bike was
manufacturer has a decent range on offer. command position and two grab handles, but rigged up as an assist-only model, requiring
We took a morning out to check on the two the position requires one to step-up over the one to pedal to activate the motor. On the
models that caught our eye. The first was the pillion. As for braking, the presence of ABS as plus side, the assist level can be regulated
125cc boosted engine on the Satelis range an option goes down pretty well. This scooter from the readout panel and can be switched
of bikes. This engine allows the scooter to would be a nice addition to Oman’s scenery. off altogether. There is also a regular 7-speed
fall below the radar of the French licensing As for the second ride of the day, take a gearing on the bicycle, just in case you cherish
laws, making it legal to ride without a licence. bicycle, add a battery and hub motor and you the choice of pedalling uphill without motor.
However, it is quite powerful, allowing one to have the 25-kg e-bicycle that lends a green With a range that allows you to use the
clip along at above the speed limit. Ride quality halo to Peugeot’s biking efforts. The battery bike effectively in urban areas it may sell in
is excellent and the bike itself is remarkably can be unlocked from its carry position on the Europe. But with a price tag of above RO
stable and with a well-communicated centre bike’s rear, hauled to your home and office 1000/- the market remains open to quite a
of gravity that lets you do really steep banked and can be plugged in to be charged up. few Chinese made e-bikes.

55
{Road Test}

56
{Road Test}

Big at Heart
the daihatsu sirion continues to silently capture the
fancy of people with large needs and limited budgets

| Author: Charles Aitchison | Photography: Bassem Al Muharbi |

T
here seems to be an unwritten rule switches for adjusting the door mirrors. It’s
in Oman that bigger is better. The to the right of the steering wheel. Anyway,
Daihatsu Sirion flies in the face of that once that’s dealt with, on setting off the first
idea. In practical terms, it has all of the impression is of a car that’s light to steer and
accommodation and features that most people easy to control – the major controls work just
need; indeed, the Sirion provides a surprising as they should, resulting in a car that is very
amount for such a small package. As a means easy to drive from the start. The only criticism
of up to four people zipping about town in in this respect is that the steering is perhaps a
an effortless and safe manner, being easy to bit too light. This is confirmed over time, as
park, highly manoeuvrable and attractive to there is very little resistance to steering effort;
look at, it ticks most people’s boxes for the you have to steer out of corners as well as into
essential requirements. them, as there’s so little self-centring force.
The Sirion on test has a 1.5 litre Toyota Getting up to speed, the engine does its
engine – not big, but then as the car is small job fairly quietly and smoothly. One rather
and light it doesn’t have to pull much, unless unpleasant surprise is that the speed warning
it’s fully loaded with people and luggage. beeper comes in at an indicated 119kph.
The performance is sprightly, the four speed These devices are bad enough when they
auto box works well and there is never any come in at some point above the national
question of the car’s ability to keep up with, or speed limit, never mind below it. Also, why
even lead, the general flow of traffic. There’s do those on some cars sound continuously,
also a 1.3 litre engine available. while others give a few “beeps” or “bongs”
First impressions at the (adjustable for only? On this point, whilst the speed warning
rake) wheel are of a good driving position, beeper is designed to promote safer driving,
large windscreen, more space generally than their effectiveness is questionable, to say
might be expected of a small car, a clear and the least. For those who want to exceed the
well set out instrument panel with major and limits it makes no difference if the beeper
minor controls falling easily to hand and set is sounding when they are doing 130kph
out in a logical way. The driver’s seat adjusts or 160kph. Also, there’s an argument that,
for height, and in any case headroom is very as the beepers are so irritating, they result
generous in front - less so in the rear, although in aggressive driving, and an irritated driver
only the tallest adults might find it limited. is naturally going to be less considerate of
The front seats are well shaped and covered others. The result, at least sometimes, is the
in material that looks attractive and should be exact opposite of that intended.
very hardwearing. Settling in at the wheel, The ride is good for the size of car, and
the only strange element is the position of the better than might be expected for a small, light

57
{Road Test}

58
{Road Test}

car with quite small wheels. The compromise useful feature because you don’t have to move the trunk, which could sometimes matter, as,
between ride and handling is well judged, the gearstick - one push to change down, a whilst it is fine for the size of car, it is not large.
leaning towards the sporting, and it’s all the second to change back up is all that’s needed. The rear seats split and fold down in the usual
better for it. The controls are in harmony with It’s a small thing perhaps, but it does suit the way for hatchbacks, giving a useful load area
each other – all quite light, the road-holding car well, it makes for swifter, easier progress to cope with those.
and handling are good, as might be expected and will enhance the ownership experience for The exterior of the car shows good quality
for a light car with quite a wide track - the many. paintwork, good panel fit and sensible, well-
distance between left and right hand wheels The interior fittings and minor controls are designed features such as the high level brake
- and generally the driving experience is mostly well laid out and of good quality. The lights, up on the C pillars where they can easily
thoroughly enjoyable. The large amount of overall result is well designed, nicely styled be seen through following cars.
glass makes for good all-round views. and practical. For instance, there are no The Sirion is a well-made car of character
The instrument panel is clear and well fewer than four cup-holders for the two front and style. The Toyota connection should result
designed. Speedo and rev counter consist of seat occupants, and two more for those in the in well above average reliability and can’t do
quite shallow arcs, rather than being circular, rear. This is a car for people who like to have any harm to the resale value. It does its job
and although unconventional, it works just refreshments to hand! There are large open competently and, with the minor drawbacks of
fine. The read-out for which gear is selected trays below the glovebox and in front of the over-light steering and the irritating speeding
is clear and positioned dead centre, as is the gearstick, as well as door pockets. Perfect beeper, it scores highly in almost all aspects.
neat little digital read-out for fuel consumption, for those who like to clutter their car up with Whilst the demand for small, economical cars
time and distance information. maps, sunglasses, sweets, etc. It’s good to is less in Oman than perhaps anywhere else in
The audio system is comprehensive, with see power windows all round, with auto one- the world, there is, nevertheless, a place for
single CD player, FM & AM radio and an Aux push facility for the driver’s window. such vehicles, as is apparent judging by the
socket for iPod/MP3 player. The position of Although the rear seats are small, they number of Sirions and other small cars one
the Aux socket is not ideal, but shouldn’t be are adequate for all but large or tall adults. sees in Oman. Whether for a young person
a problem. They have an adjustable backrest, with two as their first car or simply as a runabout,
The four-speed auto box works well. The positions, the one with the most backwards this car should be on the shortlist for anyone
handy button on the side to give a quick rake being the one to suit adults, the more who wants a handy, inexpensive (RO4,775 –
change down to third for overtaking or engine upright position might be better for young RO5,000 depending on model) and economical
braking is a good feature – once common children, especially if a safety seat is fitted. car for getting about town.
here in Oman, now less so, it seems. This is a The more upright position gives more room in

59
{Launch}

Featherweight
performer in town
the dream mix of road and track car is in oman now, with the
launch of lotus here, with select models on offer

60
{Launch}

T
he English marque with a racing heritage driving experience: the mid-engined layout 2000 cars a year, thus ensuring this dynamic
is in Oman. Shanfari Automotive used gives exceptional agility and the Lotus new sports car’s rarity and exclusivity.
an event based around an evening at engineered suspension ensures incredible
the Oman Automobile Association’s go-kart ride and handling. Powered by a Lotus-tuned Lotus Exige S
track in Seeb to announce the acquisition of 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 280 PS, and The Lotus Exige is a renowned high
the dealership for Lotus cars in Oman. weighing just 1350 kg, the Evora delivers performance coupe that has a well earned
A press release handed out by the an exhilarating experience true to the Lotus reputation of choice for drivers who demand
company says “The appointment of Shanfari DNA characteristics. uncompromised performance, both on the
Automotive Co LLC (trading under the Because one of the roles of the Evora is road and on the track.
name Shanfari Lotus) demonstrates Lotus’ to attract new lifestyle customers, as well as The 2010 Model Year also sees the
further commitment to the growing Middle performance aficionado’s to the Lotus brand, introduction of a few key changes to the
East market. Shanfari Lotus will also offer the Evora offers a more refined ownership Exige to enhance the look and improve
performance car track training courses (from experience than Lotus’ existing smaller four aerodynamic performance. A restyled front
2011) for owners to learn to drive their cylinder models. Its elegantly styled cabin end and new larger, rear wing that not only
Lotus sportscar in a track environment and is beautifully trimmed and its equipment list reduces drag, but also gives a more muscular
to prepare them for the new GCC Lotus Cup includes contemporary features such as an stance enhancing the lightweight shrink-
races starting next year. advanced touchscreen multi-media system wrapped look of the whole car.
“Shanfari Lotus is based in Muscat and and electric power-fold door mirrors. Careful The composite rear wing is based on the
will have dealership and service facilities in attention has also been paid to its ease design from the Exige GT3 road car concept
Al Khuwair initially, with further locations in of use. with wider, taller door apertures, shown at the Geneva Motorshow in 2007.
the future.” narrower sills and higher seating position Compared to the 2009 Model Year Exige
The evening’s activities were split up into making getting in and out of the cabin a tailgate mounted wing it is 181 mm wider and
two segments with a press conference early less athletic undertaking than it is in Lotus’ mounted 46 mm higher and 61 mm further
on to inform journalists about the event, smaller sports cars (Elise, Exige, Europa and back. Careful airflow management increases
followed an hour later by the arrival of Dr 2-Eleven), whilst the design of the cabin itself stability, reduces drag and, most importantly,
Noel Guckian OBE, the Ambassador of the will accommodate two 99th percentile (6ft maintains the impressive downforce figures
United Kingdom to honour the launch of the 5in tall) American males in the front seats. of 42 kg at 160 km/h.
brand. The latter event saw the cars being The ‘convenience factor’ of the Evora Since the Exige S2 was launched in
unveiled and invited dignitaries getting a extends to all areas of the car. For instance, 2004, the power has increased from 190 hp
taste of the acclaimed handling of the cars beneath the skin the entire front-end structure through 220 hp to 240 hp in standard road
through a series of demonstration drives is a high tech aluminium “sacrificial” modular form – more for the track centric Exige Cup
around the tightly wound go-kart track. unit, with bolt on attachment to the main 260 - and the new larger air intakes improve
The cars unveiled that evening included extruded aluminium tub. This modular unit engine cooling for these current higher
the brand new Evora, the Exige and the Exige is not only designed to deform for maximum powered Exige variants.
Cup 260. safety, and to make the production assembly
Addressing assembled newspersons, process more efficient,
Chris Edwards, Shanfari Automotive’s affable but also to reduce
General Manager marked on Shanfari Auto’s repair costs in the
ability to connect with the customer profile event of a frontal
required for a brand like Lotus. He also delved impact.
into the heritage of the marque, remarking The Evora will be
on founder Colin Chapman’s passion that led hand crafted and built
to some of the most exciting cars. on a dedicated new
assembly line within
Lotus Evora 2+2 Lotus’ advanced
The first all-new Lotus since the iconic Elise manufacturing facility
roadster made its debut in 1995, the Evora at Hethel in the East
enters the sports car market as the world’s of England; capacity
only production mid-engined 2+2. The limitations will restrict
Evora provides a tremendously rewarding production to less than

61
{Motorsports - F1}

Faultless Webber wins


with style in Spain
a first and a third, two podiums, another three trophies for the over-
flowing cabinets in Milton keynes. it was a decent haul for red Bull
racing at the afternoon’s spanish grand Prix

62
{Motorsports - F1}

M ark Webber drove the race of his life in


Barcelona on Sunday afternoon, leaving
Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel behind
Schumacher led a beaten Button home with
Massa sixth.
Adrian Sutil drove a great race for Force
on the way to the third Grand Prix victory of India to claim seventh after resisting huge
his career. The Australian won the race to pressure from Renault’s Robert Kubica, who
the first corner as Vettel tucked into second lost out at the start in a collision which sent
place ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and BMW Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa to the pits
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, and steadily set with a tattered right rear tyre.
the pace as he pulled away. Behind them, Rubens Barrichello put in a
By the time they had all made their first pit superb performance for Williams to move
stops, Webber was more than nine seconds from 17th on the grid to ninth place, and
ahead of Hamilton, who had outfumbled Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari claimed
Vettel in the tyre changes. The German a point at home despite a drive-through
got held up waiting for Alonso to come by penalty for clobbering Karun Chandhok’s HRT
to his pit, and then Hamilton went one lap in an odd accident in which the Spaniard
longer than Red Bull had expected. As Lewis passed the Indian but turned in well before
rejoined, Sebastian was heading for the he’d cleared his car. Chandhok subsequently
outside line into Turn One, but as Hamilton lost his front wing but retired with associated
had to jink round one of the Virgins which damage after pitting for a replacement. With
was hugging the inside line to let them go, HRT’s Bruno Senna crashing in Turn Four on
Vettel had to run wide into the run-off area the opening lap, it wasn’t a great outing for
and that cemented Hamilton’s position. the Spanish team.
As Webber controlled things at the front, Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and BMW Sauber’s
Hamilton drove like a demon to keep Vettel Kamui Kobayashi finished 11th and 12th,
at bay, while further back Alonso established separated by eight-tenths of a second after
himself in a comfortable fourth ahead of a race-long scrap, while Nico Rosberg was a
a three-way scrap for fifth between the lowly 13th after getting bundled back in the
rejuvenated Michael Schumacher in the infighting on the first lap and later having a
Mercedes, McLaren’s Jenson Button (who bungled pit stop which required his Mercedes
had lost out to the German in the stops) and to be pushed back to its pit for a wheel to be
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. retightened.
While there was always the threat that Hamilton was classified 14th ahead of
something might shake out of these various Vitantonio Liuzzi, who had an oversteering
groups, there wasn’t much action as afternoon in a Force India that stopped out
stalemates set in, and it was not until Vettel on the track on the last lap. Then came Nico
ran wide in the Turn Seven esses on the 54th Hulkenberg who had several good fights
lap that things came to life. The German before losing ground in the second Williams.
pitted at the end of the lap for a fresh set of Three laps down, Jarno Trulli took a narrow
Bridgestone’s soft tyres, but thereafter never ‘new teams’ victory for Lotus with Timo Glock
set the pace that might have been expected challenging him all the way for Virgin and
of fresh rubber, suggesting that his RB6’s finishing only 1.4s adrift. Team mate Lucas
handling problems were more serious than di Grassi was a further lap down, the final
worn rubber. It transpired that the balance finisher in 19th.
was never good, and that subsequently the Thanks to the revised points system,
brakes had lost their edge. Webber’s victory throws him back into
He was lucky to drop only to fourth behind contention again. Button still leads the
Alonso, and another slice of fortune awaited drivers’ championship with 70 points,
him as, 10 laps later, Hamilton’s left front followed by Alonso on 67, Vettel on 60,
tyre gave up and sent him into the wall in Webber on 53, Rosberg on 50, and Hamilton
Turn Three. That was a bitter blow for the and Massa on 49.
Englishman, after a fantastic drive in which McLaren still lead the constructors’ with
he had really taken the fight to the Red Bulls. 119, with Ferrari second on Ferrari 116 from
Now Alonso was second, and as Red Bull on 113, Mercedes GP on 72 and
Vettel claimed the final podium position, Renault on 50.

63
{Motorsports - F1}

Button and McLaren spring


Shanghai surprise
jenson Button won a nail-biting Chinese grand Prix for Mclaren
on sunday afternoon, with team mate lewis hamilton chasing him
home second after a race of many parts

64
{Motorsports - F1}

I t began with light rain, a jump start by


Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and an incident
in the first corner when Vitantonio Liuzzi spun
the safety car was deployed again on the
21st lap. Alguersuari had gone off in his Toro
Rosso, damaging the nose wing and leaving
his Force India into Kamui Kobayashi’s BMW debris on the racing line. In a flash Button’s
Sauber and Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso, lead was wiped out, as was Hamilton’s 40s
bringing out the safety car. deficit to the leaders.
Alonso, and the chasing Red Bulls of Mark The safety car pulled in on the 25th lap, but
Webber and Sebastian Vettel immediately there was a huge traffic jam at the end of the
pitted to switch from slicks to wet tyres, back straight as Button backed up the field
leaving Nico Rosberg in the lead for Mercedes so much that Hamilton actually had to pull off
GP from Button. As racing resumed on the on to the grass to avoid hitting Webber right
sixth lap these two continued to lead, chased in front of him. The Australian then got hung
by Renault’s Robert Kubica and, briefly until out to dry on the exit to the final corner, so
his BMW Sauber’s Ferrari engine broke, Pedro that he had dropped from sixth to 11th place
de la Rosa, all of them on Bridgestones slicks. by the time he crossed the line.
Further back, Hamilton had taken the late As half distance approached, Button led
decision to switch to wet tyres, but three laps Rosberg by a second, with Hamilton fast
later it was time for slicks again. This time as closing on his old sparring partner Kubica
they headed for the pits, Vettel and Hamilton for third. The tough Pole had resisted him in
had an incident where the Englishman passed Melbourne, but here the McLaren’s straight-
the German on the entry; as they left their line pace sealed the issue in Hamilton’s
respective pits both got sideways, and there favour on the 29th lap, and soon Hamilton
was a question mark over whether Hamilton was giving Rosberg a hard time.
was released into his rival’s path. Then Vettel Now he was himself only 4.7s adrift of
appeared to move over on Hamilton, pushing Button and scented victory. On Lap 34 he
him towards other team’s pits. After speaking pulled the same move on Rosberg that had
to both drivers, reviewing video evidence earlier embarrassed Schumacher, but to
and debating the matter, the race stewards everyone’s surprise Rosberg fought back and
decided to reprimand both Hamilton and repassed the McLaren. That was the moment
Vettel for driving in a dangerous manner. in which Hamilton lost his chance of victory,
Back out on the track, Hamilton then as Button’s lead over him stretched from 4.6s
dished out a driving lesson to Vettel, passing to 6.2s within a lap.
him with ease as he outfoxed both Red Bulls Hamilton did the smart thing on Lap 37,
in one move on Lap 12. switching to another set of fresh intermediate
At that stage Rosberg had a 2.9s lead over rain tyres, before Button, Rosberg and Alonso
Button, who was biding his time. The 2009 did likewise a lap later. In the stops Hamilton
champion made a mistake on the 18th lap had overtaken Rosberg, and now it was
that saw Rosberg increase his lead to 4.5s, mano a mano between the McLaren drivers.
but a lap later it was the German’s turn to To begin with Button pulled away, opening
err, as he slid off in the final corner and his lead to as much as 9.9s, but as his tyres
handed the lead to Button. lost their edge Hamilton moved in again, and
Rosberg’s error had been caused by heavier a major mistake by Button at the hairpin on
rain, and that triggered yet more wholesale Lap 51 left him tiptoeing home to the flag
pit stops on the 20th lap as Button, Rosberg, just 1.5s ahead.
Kubica, the Pole’s impressive team mate Behind Rosberg, Alonso drove beautifully
Vitaly Petrov, Hamilton and Vettel all piled in to recover to fourth place ahead of Kubica
for intermediate rain tyres, joining Mercedes and Vettel, with Petrov doing a great job
GP’s Michael Schumacher, Webber, Toro for Renault to catch and pass Alguersuari
Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari, Force India’s and Schumacher to take seventh ahead
Adrian Sutil, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and of Webber, with Massa finally passing
Fernando Alonso who had all stopped the Schumacher at the end.
previous lap. In the constructors’ stakes, McLaren have
But just as it seemed things might settle 109 points to Ferrari’s 90, Red Bull’s 73,
down there came another dramatic twist as Mercedes GP’s 60 and Renault’s 46.

65
{Motorsports - wrc}

SEBASTIEN CLINCHES
FOURTH VICTORY IN
RALLY MEXICO

66
{Motorsports - wrc}

D efending World Champions Sébastien


Loeb and Daniel Elena snatched a fourth
victory in Rally Mexico in five years, as Loeb
M-Sport Ford Rally Team after setting
several impressive stage times on day two
and Argentina’s Federico Villagra finished in
to withdraw his Škoda Fabia S2000 before the
restart. His demise promoted Toshi Arai to
11th overall.
took the outright lead in the 2010 FIA World seventh place and gave the Munchi’s Rally Solberg - winner of Rally Mexico in 2005
Drivers’ Championship as a result of claiming Team its first points of the season. - promised the grand attack and he was a
an unprecedented 55th WRC win. Spain’s Xavier Pons produced a scintillating man of his word. He reduced Loeb’s lead
The French duo were forced to run first time in the 19th special stage and that was to 41.6s after a stunning run, but that was
on the road through the final three special sufficient to push him back above Czech surpassed by the flying Ogier. The Frenchman
stages of the re-named Rally Guanajuato driver Martin Prokop and into an S-WRC lead beat Solberg by 4.1s to snatch second overall
Bicentenario, but the 55.5s overnight he had lost with clutch problems on Saturday. heading to the penultimate 17.94km special
advantage was too much for either Pons finished eighth overall. stage at Comanjilla. The fight for the runner-
Norwegian Petter Solberg or Frenchman The S-WRC success for Pons was the fifth up spot was down to just 1.4s.
Sébastien Ogier to overturn. in the relatively short lifespan of the new Latvala and Hirvonen both managed to
Loeb and the Citroën Total World Rally Ford Fiesta S2000 – it achieved outright get inside Loeb’s stage time and maintained
Team duly claimed another haul of maximum victories in Monte Carlo and Qatar on its fourth and fifth overall, Solberg was sixth and
WRC points on the second round of the debut weekend in January and took outright Villagra consolidated his seventh place. But
championship. “I had a good lead today and victories in the Kuwait International Rally and Pons overhauled Prokop to regain the S-WRC
was not going to take any risks with that the Rally Torrié in Portugal yesterday. category lead. The Spaniard beat the Czech
when I started first on the road,” said Loeb. Portugal’s Armindo Araújo cruised through by 22.1s to take a 17.3s lead into the final
“I was just breezing through the last couple the remaining three stages on Saturday two stages.
of stages trying to keep my concentration.” to claim a comfortable win in the P-WRC Loeb continued to ease his pace and take
The gripping tussle for second position category and the final place in the overall no risks through the penultimate stage and
eventually ended in Solberg’s favour. He and top 10. Once Japan’s Toshi Arai had lost Solberg managed to pip Ogier by 0.8s to
Ogier began the day separated by just 2.7s considerable time changing a damaged reduce the Frenchman’s grip on second
and the contest was only decided to the wheel on Saturday, it was plain sailing for the position to just 0.6s. Ford management
Norwegian’s advantage on the final super defending champion, who snatched the series instructed Latvala to slow down and enable
special stage when he set the fastest time. lead in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. championship leader Hirvonen to pass
It marked a fitting end to a terrific three-day Loeb had only to defend a 55.5s lead over him into fourth position, while Pons all but
battle. two tricky gravel stages and the final timed clinched victory in the S-WRC section by
Ford team orders dictated that Jari-Matti super special to make certain of a fourth moving a further 4.9s in front of Prokop.
Latvala was ordered to slow down on the victory in Mexico and a 55th WRC win. But The final 4.42km of the super special
penultimate stage and enable BP Ford Abu the main centre of attention was the prospect stage settled the fight for second place.
Dhabi World Rally Team colleague Mikko of a titanic tussle between Solberg and Ogier Loeb confirmed his 55th WRC win by the
Hirvonen to move up to fourth overall and for second position. A mere 2.7s separated margin of 24.2s and Solberg pipped Ogier for
claim two extra FIA Drivers’ Championship the duo heading to the 28.7km of the the runner-up spot in a thrilling finale. The
points in his quest for a maiden world title. Guanajuatito stage. remainder of the top 10 held station, with
The Blue Oval had been beaten fair and With a refettled car, Pons was determined Pons confirming his S-WRC victory and Ara˙jo
square over the Mexican gravel by Citroën, to challenge Prokop for victory in the S-WRC emerging as the comfortable winner in the
although the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally category, but Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah P-WRC category.
Team maintained a six-point lead over the had fallen by the wayside at the overnight Action in the 2010 FIA World Rally
Citroën Total World Rally Team in the FIA halt. It appears that the former P-WRC Championship resumes with the Jordan
World Manufacturers’ Championship. champion had damaged the inlet manifold Rally on April 1st-3rd, which also includes
Norwegian Henning Solberg confirmed on a heavy landing on the final stage on the third round of the FIA Middle East Rally
an excellent sixth overall for the Stobart Saturday evening and the decision was taken Championship.

67
{Motorsports - wrc}

Hirvonen wins in Sweden!

68
{Motorsports - wrc}

F
ord Focus RS WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen moved from the front of his car, causing its
got his quest for the 2010 World Rally engine to overheat. But after an otherwise
Championship drivers’ title off to the strong performance, Sordo put a brave face
best possible start today by winning the open- on the result.
ing round of the series, Rally Sweden. “Fourth place is not bad, but of course third
Hirvonen, team-leader of the BP Ford Abu would have been better,” he said. “The first day
Dhabi Team, took the lead on Friday and suc- was okay, then we made a mistake, but that’s
cessfully fought off a two-day attack from rally sometimes. It’s okay though, we need to
defending champion Sebastien Loeb, who fin- look to the future now. And fourth place will
ished second, 42.3sec behind in a Citroen C4 give me a good start position in Mexico, where
WRC. the others will be cleaning the road.”
Today’s win was the 12th at World Cham- Sebastien Ogier of the Citroen Junior team
pionship level for the Finn, who lost the 2009 had a largely trouble-free event to finish fifth
title fight by a single point to Loeb. Under the on his Rally Sweden debut, 4min 15.3sec adrift
new WRC points system, Hirvonen opened his of Hirvonen’s winning time. “It’s a good result
2010 account with a maximum score of 25. for all the team and I want to thank them for
After a careful approach through the final giving me a second season - it’s a great op-
snow-covered stage, Hirvonen and co-driver portunity. The rally was good for me on day
Jarmo Lehtinen leapt onto the roof of their one then got a bit more difficult when we had
car at he finish control to celebrate their win. to conserve our place. So it was less fun that
“It’s absolutely fantastic!” said Hirvonen. “And I expected! But the most important thing was
I’m really happy it’s over after those last few to finish and get experience.”
stages; you can’t imagine how nervous I was Sixth was Stobart Ford team driver Henning
in there. It’s a perfect start to my year, I’ve Solberg, tackling his first event with new co-
never won the first round before, but after last driver Ilka Minor, and adjusting to a new Eng-
season I’ve got one more year of experience. lish language pace-note system. “I wanted to
Now I plan to carry on like this. It’s a new catch Ogier, and I couldn’t do any more, so
game in Mexico and I can’t wait to get started we have to be happy,” he said. “In the car it’s
again.” working well with Ilka. You’ll see later; this is
Having lost out to Hirvonen in a tyre gamble a winning team!”
on Saturday afternoon, Loeb began Sunday’s Henning’s British team-mate Matthew Wil-
competition trailing by 16.1sec. But after son was seventh in his Ford Focus RS WRC, to
failing to make a big impression on today’s collect six championship points. “I’m slightly
opening two stages, the Frenchman took the disappointed by Friday’s pace, but once we
uncharacteristic decision to give up on the vic- got the car sorted we improved on Saturday
tory challenge after SS18, settling for second, and today. I’m glad to get to the finish.”
and 18 championship points instead. Norwegian Mads Ostberg was eighth after
“It’s been a tough weekend, and Mikko has an up and down event in his 2007 spec Subaru
done a perfect rally,” said Loeb. “We made a Impreza WRC. The Norwegian had some en-
little mistake yesterday, but even without it I couraging stages but lost time in snowbanks
don’t know if I would have been able to beat and with a braking problem today. “A frustrat-
him in the stages. He was strong and he de- ing time,” he acknowledged. “I hoped my bad
serves his victory. I did my best. There’s noth- luck would stop this year but it seems not.
ing more to say.” I’ve done some mistakes, and we’ve had some
Third in Sweden, 33.1sec behind Loeb, was problems with the car. I guess it evens things
Hirvonen’s team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, who out. I hope we’ll get out again this season;
started his season with a 15 points haul - help- we’re working on some S2000 things.”
ing to put Ford in the lead of the manufactur- Petter Solberg’s first event in his 2009 spec-
ers’ contest. “It’s not been an easy weekend,” ification Citroen C4 WRC turned out to be a
said the Finn. “We were struggling on Friday, disappointing one, with the former champion
but the speed started to come right on Satur- ending the rally ninth after failing to gel with
day afternoon. I’m really pleased to finish in his car. “This rally didn’t go our way - whether
this position on the first round of the season.” that’s down to me, or something else I don’t
Fourth went to Loeb’s team-mate Dani Sor- know,” he said. “Something hasn’t been right,
do. The Spaniard finished 1min 26.2sec be- that’s for sure. Things worked well before the
hind Latvala, largely because of a silly mistake rally, and the set-up should be the same as
on Saturday when a blanking plate wasn’t re- Sebastien Loeb’s. What can I say?”

69
{Motorsports}

CHEVROLET SUpERCARS ME
CHAMpIONSHIp TESTS NEW dRIVERS
the powerful eight cylinder the one of the fastest growing
racing machines to see if they categories in the Middle East,
had the mettle to participate the Chevrolet Supercars ME
in the Chevrolet Supercars Championship has continued to
ME Championship’s upcoming go from strength to strength and
season. Several new competitors has found some of the region’s
took part in the test session, most competitive drivers in the
which was supervised by cockpit of its Chevrolet powered
Championship Organizer Sherif cars.
Al Mahdy. With four of the The Chevrolet Supercars ME
rumbling Chevrolets blistering Championship is the result of the
around the track, anticipation unique collaboration between
for the beginning of the new Bahrain International Circuit and
season was high as old and new Chevrolet Motorsport.
drivers looked on hungrily as Fahad Al Musalam claimed
the newcomers tore around the victory in the SC09 class in the
circuit. 2009-10 season with a dominant

T he Chevrolet Supercars
Middle East Championship
held a two day promotional
drivers, veteran competitors and
sponsors were invited for a taste
of next season’s racing action.
Drivers and sponsors were
invited to attend the two day
event where the Bahrain based
display of driving, finishing on
96 points and an impressive
nine podium finishes. Australian
event at Bahrain International The event gave aspiring series celebrated the completion born Tarek Elgammal closed the
Circuit to promote the region’s drivers the opportunity to take of yet another successful season year in second overall with 86
most adrenaline pumping to the outer track at Bahrain and looked forward to the points, while Abdulaziz Al Yaeesh
championship, where new International Circuit in one of upcoming 2010-11 season. As claimed third with 70 points.

sTe
sTeFan bidding For 2011 F1 enT
enTry
Serbia’s Zoran Stefanovic has minute, but Formula One racing’s Pirelli enters race to supply
confirmed that his team, currently governing body has re-opened the
known as Stefan GP, is bidding to selection process for next season 2011 tyres
fill the final slot on the Formula with the aim of boosting the field

I
One grid for 2011. It follows his to 26 cars. talian tyre manufacturer Pirelli has confirmed its intention to join
failed attempt to take part in this Announcing his bid, Stefanovic the bidding process to supply tyres to the Formula 1 field next
year’s championship using the also revealed his intention to season.
former Toyota squad’s cars. build a Formula One-standard Michelin and Cooper Avon had been the only firms in the running
The FIA chose to keep the race circuit as part of the planned to replace Bridgestone but Pirelli – which has competed in F1 over
2010 grid at 12 teams rather Stefan Technology Park. Tthe track three different stints in the past – has now revealed it will present a
than the permitted 13 after one would also serve as the team’s proposal to the teams and the sport’s stakeholders by the time of the
new team dropped out at the last base. Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.
French firm Michelin was the first would-be tyre supplier to reveal
renaul
enaulTT To oFF
oFF
FFer
er Fans Formula its interest in succeeding former rival Bridgestone from next season
one Track day packages and has since presented teams with a proposal to switch to 18-inch
wheel rims for 2011.
The Renault Formula One team designed to offer a rare glimpse However, American company Cooper last week confirmed it was
are to open up their doors this into the challenge faced by the also in talks with the FIA to enter the sport through its Avon brand
summer. The ‘Feel It’ programme best drivers on the planet every and its lower-cost bid is reportedly favoured by Bernie Ecclestone.
will see paying members of the other weekend. The fast-track Having been involved in F1 for eight years from the world
public get behind the wheel at training programme will take the championship’s inception in 1950, Pirelli returned to the grid in 1981-
Budapest’s Hungaroring circuit, participants from junior Formula 1986 before re-entering the sport for a further three-year stint from
home of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Renault cars to modern Formula 1989.
Renault say the experience is One machinery in just one day.

70
PLAY
Watch all the best car videos

http://automanweb.com/automan-tv
{Chicane}

Does assisted cycling


have a future?
A weekend of driving cars and riding scooters
is broken by a tryst with an electric cycle

I
f you can hark back far enough into the by Peugeot breaks any new grounds. This 25
smoke-laden past of motoring, you will kilogramme bicycle is driven by a hub motor
note that the first claimants to the crown on the rear wheel, which draws power from
of an automobile were in fact not powered the clip-on Lithum Ion battery on the rear.
by an internal combustion engine, the In the truest form, it is electrically-assisted,
defining essence, if you may, of the modern since you have to pedal to engage the electric
automobile. There were other differences too drive. No coasting and no regeneration from
– tricycle running gear seemed to be in vogue braking. This leads to a very simple system
as was the afinity to driving exposed to the that can get you across a crowded european
elements. inner-city.
Wikipedia tells us that on 31 December On the other hand, with a price tag of
1895 Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. well over a 1000 euros, this bicycle is hardly
Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle going to capture any of the 120-million strong
with “6-pole brush-and-commutator direct market of China.
current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear Again, while battery technology has
wheel.” Isn’t it surprising that with all the advanced by leaps and bounds, the core
news we have been getting about various necessity for the advancement of the electric
car companies celebrating their centenary, bicycle has got to be a way to cut recharge
the 100 years of the electric bike passed as times. Human beings as a rule don’t plan
silently as the vehicle itself does? ahead, that’s why we have a yellow light to
Of course, now the electric bike has taken tell us when the fuel tank is ‘nearly’ empty.
on a new level of importance in the umwelt It is no joy to remember to detach the
of transportation. The environment and the battery, carry it to your office and plug in the
internal combustion engine’s effect on it recharger every single time you ride the bike.
is on the top of every nation’s agenda and Plug and play has to move more towards the
there now exists a dedicated move to electric play aspect of the phrase!
propulsion as a primary mover. The environmental aspect of sourcing
Another interesting fact about the electric the materials needed for the batteries and
bicycle may have also escaped you. Wikipedia recycling them will feature in talk-shops
again tells us – It is estimated that there around the globe. But then that’s not just for
were roughly 120 million “ebikes” on the road bicycles, that’s the way we are headed with all
in China as of early 2010. The “Electric Bikes other forms of transport as well.
Worldwide Reports – 2010 Update” estimates While Peugeot is proposing a positive
that 1,000,000 electric bicycles will be sold in influence on our lives and the environment by
Europe in 2010. The same report estimates performing the mindshift to using bicycles and
that sales in the USA will reach roughly their electric variants, the journey ahead for
Raj Warrior is editor of Automan and has 300,000 in 2010, doubling the number sold all of us to take the lifestyle change onboard
been in the thick of the Automotive journalism in 2009. will be hard, almost as hard as the sensation
field from the past 15 years. So where does that place the electric of sitting on a bicycle seat for a short trip.
bike today? In the weekend we spent at a I can’t foresee the future for electric bicycles
Want to comment or have your say? Email hideaway luxury hotel in Spain testing the as a means of transport for the affluent. As for
at raj@alroya.net. Identify yourself or your new Peugeot RCZ, I got an opportunity to test the needy masses, human ingenuity will rule
message will be trashed and your id blocked the ‘mobility’ end of Peugeot’s business. Now, as much as need will.
it isn’t as if the electric bicycle as proposed

72
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