Saturday, 15 June 2013

Harley Davidson 883 SuperLow

 Harley-Davidson decided to start assembling some of their bikes in India. Now this means more than just a change in descriptive moniker from CBU to CKD. It also means a huge change in import duties levied which in turn brings the price tag down - by Rs. 2 lakh! Ok, so you still won't be able to get yourself the H-D XL 883R Sportster for less than its previously mentioned tag, but now you can get the Iron 883 and the Superlow. Muntaser Mirkar shares his impressions on the latter.

Harley Davidson also makes the Forty-Eight, Super Glide/ Dyna, SporsterElektra Glide and the V-Rod.

And then there’s the extremely nimble and super slick Superlow – just as the name suggests, this bike is quite literally, super low! Ground clearance on the Superlow is just 100mm – a full 41mm lower than the Sportster. What that results in is a bike with a really hunkered down look that sports wide and tall chrome handlebars. Speaking about chrome – it’s everywhere on the Superlow, in stark contrast to the Iron. The engine is chromed, the crankcase is chromed, the bars are chromed, the leg guard is chromed, the fuel tank cap is chromed, heck, even the springs on the rear suspension are chromed! But that’s not the only difference that the Superlow has with the Iron 883. The fuel tank itself is more teardrop shaped – rather than angled and tall, the Superlow’s tank is curvy and sits, well, low!

But all that overdose of bringing everything closer to Mother Earth has brought about a significant change to the way this bike handles. The centre of gravity has quite obviously dropped by a bit as well and coupled with the Superlow’s 120/70 ZR18 front and150/60 ZR17 rear tyres, it makes for some really slithering handling – something riders will much appreciate in heavy city traffic. This is probably the slickest Harley to ride around on and it’s even got the bling to attract enough attention to keep your head held high. The curved fuel tank can hold 17 litres of fuel – so compared to the Iron, it is definitely a whole lot more convenient in terms of everyday usability.

While both new variants of the 883R Sportster are infinitely better looking than the parent bike, they do have a problem – and a potentially big one at that. As mentioned earlier, both the Iron 883 and the Superlow have shed their ground clearance like a tree in autumn and that means they ground on every single speed breaker on Indian roads. And if those bumps are anything like we had on the ride in Rajasthan between Jaipur and Jodhpur you’ll need to really take it slow and there’s still no guarantee that the bike’s underbody will stay scratchless. That apart, at price tags of Rs. 5.50 lakh for the Superlow and Rs. 6.50 lakh for the Iron 883, Harley-Davidson have brought their legend even more accessible to potential enthusiasts than the 883 ever was. That makes these 883 variants Navy Cuts on wholesale rates then? Absolutely!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Pagani reveals the Zonda Revolucion

After close to a decade and a half of amazing auto enthusiasts, including a number of special and super-limited editions, Pagani has released its final Zonda. Being touted as a “car designed to amaze both on the track and in a car collection,” the Zonda Revolucion draws the curtain on a legendary run of automotive excellence. This final evolution of the Zonda was showcased at ‘Vanishing Point’, the 9th global Pagani congregation.
Considering it is indeed the final Zonda (though we’ve heard that before), Pagani has seen to it that it speeds off into the horizon with brutal intensity.
Pagani also makes the Huayra.
The automaker has worked on the motivation of the Zonda Revolucion by re-tuning the same 6.0-litre Mercedes AMG V12 engine up to 800PS and 729Nm torque. A 6-speed sequential gearbox with unbelievably fast shifts (20 ms) aids transference of all that power and torque as efficiently and as quickly as possible. With specs like this, speed is a given, but the Zonda’s engine won’t have to work hard because of the Revolucion’s 1,070 kg kerb weight. Pagani has used elements like a carbon-titanium monocoque and carbon fibre body to ensure an astounding power-to-weight ratio.
Other features include a 12-mode Bosch traction control system, Brembo braking system with lightweight CCMR discs, ABS, a two-mode downforce reduction system that adjusts the rear wing at the touch of a button, deflectors on the hood and a vertical stabilizer bar just below the rear wing.
Although there are no performance figures available yet, the company founder Horacio Pagani had this to say, “Limits are made to be overcome. We knew that Pagani Zonda R was already a fast car, the fastest ever on the Nuerburgring Nordschleife. We knew it would be very difficult to design and build a car that was even more extreme. But thanks to the creativity of our designers, engineers, and the whole Pagani family, we created a beautiful object and the fastest Pagani vehicle ever. A car that I am sure will electrify all our customers and fans all over the world.”
The Pagani Zonda Revolucion will come with the price tag of a whooping Rs 16.45 crore.

MV Agusta launches the F3 800

MV Agusta has pulled the covers off the eagerly awaited MV F3 800. The new F3 800 is based closely on its F3 675 stable-mate. MV Agusta says it combines “the exhilaration of a 1000cc Superbike with the handling of a 600cc Supersport; the torque of a V-twin with the rev limit of a four-cylinder.”

The inline three-cylinder engine of the F3 800 shares the same bore as the F3 675 at 79.0mm, but the F3 800 gets a stroke of 54.3mm which is 8.4mm longer than the F3 675. The result is a 798cc bike that produces 150PS and 88 Nm of torque. The rev-limiter kicks in at 13500 rpm.
The fuel injectors are new, which assist the power increase over the 675. The lightweight engine uses a counter-rotating crankshaft and also gets a slipper clutch. MV Agusta claims a top speed of 268 kmph for the new 800. It is fitted with Brembo monobloc calipers up front; Marzocchi forks that are completely adjustable as is the Sachs shock. It will come with Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa sport radials.
The F3 800 comes loaded with electronics like traction control and full ride-by-wire technology. “There are in fact no mechanical constraints between throttle and butterfly: the injection mapping and ignition are what defines the optimum fuel-air mix to give the best performance at all times and under all load conditions,” MV Agusta says. It comes with three pre-set injection maps and one fully customisable one.
The bike will be available in three colour combinations: Pearl white/black; red/silver and matte/metallic black. The F3 800 sports a price tag of USD 18,280 which is equivalent to Rs 10.40 lakh.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Mini Coupe and Roadster

The Mini Coupé is a sports car produced by Mini. It was unveiled in June 2011 and formally launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011. It is the first two-seat Mini. It was joined by a convertible version called the Mini Roadster in 2012 following its showing as a concept car in 2009. The Coupé is known by the internal code R58 and the Roadster by code R59.


The Coupe, which went on sale in the UK from 1 October 2011, is based on the Mini Cabriolet, but with only two seats allowing a bigger boot of 280 litres (9.9 cubic feet). The Coupé’s windscreen is angled rearwards by 13 degrees more than in the cabrio’s and the aluminium roof is 29 mm (1.1 inches) lower than standard Mini Hatch. The rear spoiler rises at speeds above 50 mph (80 km/h).
Rear view of Coupé JCW
The range of the Coupé follows a similar pattern to other Mini models; featuring Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper SD and the range-topping John Cooper Works (JCW). The JCW version accelerates from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph (240 km/h) thanks to a turbocharged 208 bhp (155 kW; 211 PS) 1,598 cc four-cylinder. The Cooper SD is a 2.0 L turbo diesel producing 141 bhp (105 kW; 143 PS) available in some markets. All are equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox with the option of automatic on all but the JCW.


A 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster
The Mini Roadster is the convertible version of the Coupé and was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009 as a concept, and formally launched at the Detroit North American International Auto Showin January 2012.
The range of models and engines mirrors the Mini Coupé with a range of 1.6 L petrol engines in various levels of power and a 2.0 L diesel engine offered in some markets. Depending on the market, the soft top is either manually or partially electrically operated.

Vauxhall's newest offering, the VXR8 GTS

 The new 2014 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS goes on sale this year-end in the United Kingdom. Priced at Rs 46.91 lakh in the US, it shares the supercharged 6.2-litre LSA V8 engine of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Coming from the HSV Gen-F GTS from General Motors’ Holden subsidiary, the rear-wheel-drive VXR8 GTS racks up 584PS and 738Nm of torque combined with a six-speed manual transmission with an oil cooler and a twin-plate clutch. Buyers will also have an automatic gearbox option.
The VXR8 GTS is significantly more powerful than its stable-mate, the 2014 Chevrolet SS, who’s normally aspirated 6.2 V8 engine makes 420PS and 562Nm of torque. GM’s British unit hasn’t released 0-100 acceleration or top speed figures yet, but if numbers of the current VXR8 are anything to go by — powered by a normally aspirated LS3 V8 engine — it touches 100kmph in just 4.9 seconds and tops out at 250 kmph.
Features include 20-inch alloy wheels with performance tyres, AP six-piston disc brakes, a rear diffuser covering quad exhaust pipes and a body-coloured rear spoiler. Brake torque vectoring, magnetic ride control and electronic power steering add to the list of technical specifications. The interiors get a make-over with an upgraded instrument panel with suede-style inserts, a new instrument cluster, gauges, centre console, appliqués and door trims.
“The very fact that cars like the VXR8 GTS still exist proves that there is a small, but immensely passionate band of customers out there who want to drive something which is unique and special,” said Vauxhall executive Stuart Harris.
If the VXR8 GTS does well, people in the US can hope for an SS version of the GTS.

Monday, 3 June 2013

2013 Chevrolet Corvette C7 coupe/ convertible

The Chevrolet Corvette (C7) is a sports car being produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors introduced for the 2014 model year. It is the seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette and the first to bear the Corvette Stingray name since the 1976 third generation model. It is expected to start delivery in the 3rd quarter of 2013. This new version will available with right-hand drive in the UK market for the first time since Corvette was introduced in 1953. It replaces the Corvette C6

It will compete with the likes of the Audi R8 V10 5.2, the next gen Lamborghini Gallardo, the McLaren MP4-12C, Aston Martin DB9 and the Ferrari 458 Italia

To check out the brutishness of its mighty 6.2 litre heart, click here!

Development and introduction

According to Motor Trend, GM executives have been planning the next-generation (C7) Corvette since 2007, and officially revealed it in Detroit at 7pm EST on January 13, 2013. The car was originally planned for the 2011 model year, but was delayed, and currently expected to arrive in fall 2013 in the 2014 model year. Mid-engine and rear-engine layouts had been considered, but the front-engine, rear-wheel drive (RWD) platform was chosen to keep costs lower. Although GM decided to go with the lower costing structure, they certainly did not hold back on the power. The C7's all-new LT1 6.2L Small Block V-8 engine is expected to increase the overall speed, while also increasing the overall fuel economy from the previous 2013's 26 MPG highway rating. This engine puts out 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 460 lb.-ft. of torque (624 Nm), which gives it an estimated 0-60 time of less than 4 seconds .
Car and Driver said in April 2011, "We anticipate change in the C7 will be apparent at a glance, even to casual observers ... it seems certain the coupe will feature a split rear window – a la the one-year Sting Ray coupe of 1963. In this case it will be an optional feature." An interior makeover is also expected with upgraded materials with seats comparing favorably with the buckets found in Porsches and BMWs. The front-engine Y platform will be essentially unchanged from the C6 with an improvement expected in steering linearity and feel. The Z06 and ZR1 will continue, while the Grand Sport may become the base model. The C7 should hit dealerships in fall of 2013.
On October 18, 2012, GM made an official news announcement and confirmed that the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette will debut on Sunday evening, Jan. 13, 2013, in Detroit. Chevrolet also showed the new Crossed Flags logo for the new 2014 Corvette.


2014 Corvette Coupe Taillights
Production of the 2014 Corvette is estimated to begin in August or September 2013. Corvette Bowling Green, Kentucky Assembly Plant tours should begin again about September or October 2013. As noted previously, the official announcement date for the 2014 Corvette was on the 13th of January, 2013. As presented, the new generation Corvette will resurrect the "Stingray" name, last used in 1976, which should appeal to its current owners' demographics though whether the prized younger 'aspirational' market will recognize the name will be the subject of much marketing study. The interior includes wide-bottom seats as standard, with sportier versions with high side bolsters optional.
2014 Corvette Convertible 2013-03-05 Geneva Motor Show 7858
2014 Corvette Coupe 2013-03-05 Geneva Motor Show 7853
Features of the new generation include a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel. Its fenders, doors and rear quarter panels remain composite. The underbody panels are made of "carbon-nano" composite and it makes use of a new hydroformed aluminum frame which locates the four wheels an inch farther apart, front to rear and side to side. Despite the increased use of aluminum and other light weight materials, the overall weight of the car remains the same as that of the previous generation's.
The new Corvette LT1 engine, the first of the Gen 5 family of Small Block engines, retains the pushrods acting on overhead valves design, and brings several technologies new to the engine line, such as direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing that have been widely available in the market in the vehicles of numerous, and much lower-priced, competitors. Fuel injectors are located under the intake manifold. It remains rear-wheel drive with the transaxle located in the rear. Transmission choices include a 7-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
The 2014 Corvette at the North American International Auto Show January 17, 2013. Shows the Kalahari color interior in a Cyber Gray coupe.
Opinions at the unveiling varied widely. Some noted the Camaro-style rear tail lights and the evolutionary, rather than revolutionary styling. According to Bill Visnic, an analyst at auto information company, he was "on the fence" about the design. “There is a need to make them distinctive, but in the case of the Corvette, there is still a need to pay homage to the tradition, and that gives you a mash-up of ideas," he said. "I think it is effective but expected. There is nothing ultra-radical about it. But that is what Corvette is now to Chevrolet and GM.”


In the past, the Corvette was largely owned by the older generation. About 46 percent of Corvette buyers in 2012 through October were 55 or older compared with 22 percent of Audi R8 and 30 percent of Porsche 911 customers. The head of Chevrolet marketing, Chris Perry, acknowledges that too many people see it as the car of "the successful plumber." John Fitzpatrick, Corvette's marketing manager said "It's the old saying, 'Nobody wants to be seen driving an old man's car, but everybody wants to be seen driving a young man's car.' " Towards that end, GM plans to make the C7 more aspirational to younger people, a camouflaged version of the car was made available in the popular videogame Gran Turismo 5 in November 2012. The production version seen above was later released for the game in January 2013, along with a Gran Turismo TV promotional video.